Surprise!

Supreme Court upholds Obamacare. The Democrats are shocked! They the Democrats are not used to it. Victories, I mean. The Democrats were preparing themselves for defeat (that is what they do).

Daily wisdom
From horse’s mouth
Snatch defeat from jaws of victory.
Oh no! We won!

Supreme court upholds Obamacare. The Democrats are shocked! They the Democrats are not used to it. Victories, I mean. The Democrats were preparing themselves for defeat (that is what they do). It was so close! First there was a short bittersweet moment when “Fix” News and CNN announced defeat of the insurance mandate. And the Democrats were ready to fight for the next defeat (that’s what they do). And then after the “Fix” News and CNN photo finish, somebody behind them had an idea to read some more pages of the decision  and the truth hit hard – Democrats won. Holy crap! Now what? How do we agree on the compromise with Republicans if we won? Will the Republicans agree on the compromise or will they demand the surrender? But how do we surrender after we won? Democrats wondered.

And I would like to reassure my fellow Democrats. You will find the way. You always do.

The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance

Daily wisdom
From horse’s mouth

 “The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance ” Thomas Jefferson

Amen! Just look around! Global corporations, bankers and their servants-the politicians. Welcome to the world of kings, priests and nobles.

Cost of the “Progress”

Experts have a stark warning: that unless we change course, the perfect storm of population growth, dwindling resources and climate change has the potential to converge in the next century with catastrophic results.

Unchecked growth.
Consumption

Economists and politicians are talking about the need to “grow our economy” This blind addiction to growth remind me of hoards of locusts dying after devouring their food supply until their is nothing left for their sustainability.
I hope eventually humanity will come to it’s senses. I hope.

But recent events dashed whatever remains of my optimism. In a radio interview with Voice of Christian Youth America, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) argued that his belief that global warming is a hoax is biblically inspired. Promoting his bookThe Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, Inhofe told interviewer Vic Eliason on Wednesday that only God can change the climate, and the idea that manmade pollution could affect the seasons is “arrogance

Continue reading “Cost of the “Progress””

A Personal Story about the Social Safety Net

So in my life there were many cases of compassion and generosity; too many to mention everything here. However the majority of help came from Government programs: Aid to Dependent Children, food stamps, Project Headstart, Medicaid, and Grants and Government backed student loans for college. Would I and my brothers and sisters have made it without the safety net provided by the Government? Would we all have become contributing members of society? I think not.

Wally Markovic

By Wally Markovic

Thoughts on Liberal Progressiveness and Compassionate Conservatism – A Personal Story About the Social Safety Net

What happened to that whole Compassionate Conservatism idea? You don’t hear much about it these days? Weren’t Bush’s tax cuts for the rich supposed to help fund Compassionate Conservatism?  However even if funded, with over 46 million Americans below the poverty line and millions homeless, I’m not sure that the Compassionate Conservatism could alone will solve the problem.

Mitt Romney says not to worry about the poor. After all, there’s that safety net! So how many homeless children are there in this “Great” country? How many families with malnourished children? The poverty line is defined as $22,350 (total yearly income) for a family of four. I know that I couldn’t raise a family of four on that. Over 15% of the population is below this poverty line!

 

Our family was poor
Grandpa Joe

My familiy was definitely poor when I was growing up. Though, thanks to my mom, it usually didn’t feel like it to me.  Somehow, Mom managed to successfully raise all five  of us with little help from my dad. I must admit that the concept of Compassionate Conservatism, which existed prior to my birth played a part in our family’s break from poverty.

My mother lived with her aunt and grandmother in a summer cottage at McCollum Lake, just outside the city limits of McHenry, Illinois. There is a whole story about this cottage and my family, but I’ll save that for another time. Suffice it to say, it was a one-story house with a quaint little front porch. No running water. No bathtub or shower. The Kitchen wasn’t much bigger than a closet. Today they make houses with walk-in closets four times the size of that kitchen. 

Grandma.
Mary Ellen (Dwyer) Cooney (Grandma)

Our neighbor Sam Nathenson knew that my mom’s aunt and grandmother could not afford to drill a well and carrying large water jugs into the cottage every other day was a challenge. Sam offered to share water from his well and had a pipe run from his property to the cottage. Sam and his wife Madeline were great neighbors. They would always have gifts for me and my brothers and sisters. And even though they both worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week, they would sometimes pick up groceries or other items in town for my great grandmother. Were they conservatives? I am sure they were fiscally conservative. Other than that, I have no idea about their politics. I did know that they were Jewish; in rural McHenry of the 1950s that was quite unusual.

Mom and Grandma Mary Cooney:  Family in the Front Yard
Mom and Grandma Mary Cooney: Family in the Front Yard – My Mom is in the lower left and my Great Grandmother in the far right.

Various social programs funded by the State of Illinois also helped my family. We received Aid to Dependent Children for a number of years, and I know that my sister Cassy attended the Headstart Program. I was in high school at the time and worked as a helper aid in the Headstart program during the summer. My mom was receiving food stamps, and I know she did not appreciate those stares at the checkout counter. Would things have turned out ok without this assistance? Who knows? But, I think not!

I remember a friend’s father was locked up for two years for robbery. He just wanted food to feed his wife and three kids. Yet, with a little help from the state and others Mom was able to make ends meet. My brother Barry and I helped out by delivering papers in the morning for many years. One year at Christmas,  I was up to 220 papers. Some kids would drop their routes in the dead of winter, but I really liked those tips at Christmas time.

Mom Before Kids. Life was not easy
Mom Before Kids

What I do know is that I was able to graduate from IIT, and with the help of my wife, Diann, who graduated from the University of Illinois – Chicago, we successfully raised our own two kids. My son, Ken, recently received his Masters in Social Work from Loyola University and is now helping people in Chicago. My daughter Lauren is a veterinarian doing a three year residency in cardiology at the University of Wisconsin. My brother Barry was able to serve in the Navy, graduate from the University of Illinois Chicago, and receive his MBA from Northwestern University. My Sister Cassy graduated from Loyola and is now a pediatric nurse at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. My Sister Jean is a professional civil engineer working for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. She received her master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Southern Illinois University and recently passed an eight hour exam to obtain her Professional Engineering (PE) License in the state of Oregon.

Thinking about Jean, I have to tell you that she was pregnant at sixteen and had four children before she decided to get her G.E.D. Yet, she went on to receive an associate degree from a junior college, a civil engineering degree from Southern Illinois University and then her masters. Jean did this without any help from her first son’s father or her ex-husband. Obviously, it is not possible to do this by yourself. Jean received help from her family and the State of Illinois  and a social worker who enabled her to receive assistance from the Jewish United Fund for pre-natal care and the delivery of her first child, Greg.

Our family survived thanks to the social net.
Mom and all her kids – We all made it with a little help along the way.

So in my life there were many cases of compassion and generosity; just too many to mention everything here. However, the majority of help came from government programs: Aid to Dependent Children, food stamps, Project Headstart, Medicaid, and grants and government-backed student loans for college. Would I and my brothers and sisters have made it without the safety net provided by the government? Would we all have become contributing members of society? I think not.

So where does that leave us? The safety net has been shrinking with the destructive “War on Welfare” and shrinking revenues for both state and federal government. The current housing crisis and economic disaster has left so many in a real predicament, and now this country has more poor families today than ever. Whatever road we take will be costly. Do we carry out a  “War on Poverty” instead of continuing the “War on Welfare”? Or, do we just build more jails – many more jails?

Although, given my family history, I prefer the “War on Poverty” solution, the “more jails” solution is attractive to some. It punishes “lack of effort” and “laziness.”  It even has the added benefit of  providing us with a very cheap labor pool. Prisoners are now manufacturing a lot more than license plates. A partial list includes: furniture; upholstery; garments; printing; metal products; mattresses; office panel systems; etc. And let’s not forget that in addition to making stuff, prison labor can be utilized to provide useful and cheap services too, including: laundry, bindery, welding, refurbishing, data processing, and contract labor among others.

Although more jails with its cheap labor supply, cheap goods and ability to compete with China may sound attractive, I still have to go with that “War on Poverty” idea. We’ve already locked up over two million Americans. That’s .7% of the population. And there’s another five million on parole or probation. The United States already has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world.

So how do we conduct a “War on Poverty”? I know what worked for my family, and I don’t see any reason why it would not work for others. I’ll present a few ideas in my next letter to get the ball rolling. I’m pretty sure that we’ll need both Liberal Progressiveness and Compassionate Conservatism in our “War on Poverty”.

No Attendant on Duty

The lower and middle classes have been misled into eating their own in order to satisfy the gluttony of our wealthiest and most privileged.

One sign reads, “I-Zoom;” the other, “Cash and Credit.”  Reacting too slowly, I enter the latter lane.  Preceding me is a 1980’s Buick.   A pale, thin, senior citizen arm extends from its window and attempts to swipe a credit card. The now unsteady hand pushes buttons, but the gate doesn’t budge.  Visibly shaking, the hand retracts, only to remerge trying to insert a bill and coins.  Traffic is building; horns are beginning to blare. The hand’s tremor increases; the panic is palpable.  It is difficult to watch.  Relief! Finally, the indicator flashes, “PAID;” the gate raises; the elderly woman and her companion are emancipated. They proceed down the Indiana Toll Road.

Honey, do you have change?

Subsequently, I approach the less-than-user-friendly machine and notice the yellow “No Attendant on Duty” sign plastered on the window of the vacant tollbooth.  The State of Indiana has determined that eliminating an employee, an “attendant”, a public servant is of a higher priority than helping its visitors and its citizens.  “Cut the government payroll” has become the mantra of the Tea Party driven Republicans.  At what cost?

I segue to the recall vote of Wisconsin’s Governor Walker.  A day prior to that vote, I speak to a neighbor couple.  They are good people.  Both are high school graduates; she does clerical work, and he works on the line at a non-union candy bar wrapper plant.  I query them as to whom they might be voting for.  They indicate that they view both candidates as the “same”, but they would vote for Walker.  Why?  Because teachers are overpaid.   I ask another neighbor why Walker targeted the collective bargaining rights of teachers, but not those of firefighters and police officers.  He replies, “They are important.”  Evidentially, he forgets that I was a teacher for over twenty years.  Additionally, he is unaware that the police and firefighter unions supported the politically savvy Walker in his first run for governor. Divide and conquer.

Dems mention our nation’s growing income inequality and Republicans bellow, “Class warfare!” Truth be told, we have class warfare now!  However, it’s not between the classes, but within the classes.  The lower and middle classes have been misled into eating their own in order to satisfy the gluttony of our wealthiest and most privileged.

“The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.”Thomas Jefferson

The Koch brothers, Adelson, and their ilk appear to be on the path to be the controllers, hence the governors of this nation, a nation whose government would exist for their and only their interests.

Let’s face it. The superrich have little need for government services. Unless they are the recipients of government largess a’ la Halliburton, it is a hindrance.   Billionaires do not need: public schools, public transportation, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, universal health care, or pensions. Unless offered ambassadorial appointments, they don’t want nor need government jobs for their kids..

Superrich Machiavellian gamesters and their minions have brilliantly manipulated a sizeable portion of our population to be jealous and envious of the people, the public servants,  who “enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness.”

Apparently, it is easy to generate middle and lower class envy towards the bus driver, the teacher, the toll taker, the postman, or the union plumber.  We know him; he is our neighbor; he isn’t that special.  The only difference is that he has better job security, wages and benefits than us.  So we ask ourselves, “Why the hell should he get more than us while being paid with our tax dollars? Let’s take away his!”

It is astounding that so many of us can be manipulated into thinking that a lady living in a bungalow, driving a Chevy and teaching kids is a greedy bastard, but a Sheldon Adelson or the Koch Brothers, who garner (I can’t use the word, “earn”) over three million dollars an hour somehow deserve their pay.  It is the American Lie, and it is seemingly unchallengeable.(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEoJ12lsYrU)

One hour’s toil!

Public servants serve us, the public.  When we eliminate their jobs, or make their jobs less attractive, we lower the quality of not only their lives, but ours as well.  All of us should be paid fairly, and protected from financial ruin due to illness and/or old age.  We all deserve that.

Someone please tell me why the  Kochs and Adelsons of this nation can’t share a bit of what they garner so that we all can have a better chance to live a life of safety and happiness.

It is the have-nothings against the have-littles while the billionaires have at it.  It sadly appears that more and more of us will be struggling to just get by; finding ourselves on the tollway to a better future with no change and no attendant on duty.

This doesn’t look good!

 

We are safe! And so are the polar bears!

The North Carolina Legislature accomplished what a bunch of liberal scientist could not.
The state Legislature passed a law that limited the rise in ocean level by 2100 to 1 foot.
(Instead of 1 meter as these liberal scientists predicted.)
That is what I call unorthodox innovative decision!

Global warming and NC law
No worries!

Message to polar bears – you are safe!

The North Carolina Legislature accomplished what a bunch of liberal scientist could not.

The state Legislature passed a law that limited the rise in ocean level by 2100 to one foot.

(Instead of 1 meter as these liberal scientists predicted.)

That is what I call unorthodox innovative decision!

Climate change is illigal.
Go ahead. Make my day.

You, liberals, should learn from these brave people. Instead of moaning and predicting the end of the world NC legislators took action! And they succeeded!

Currently the NC legislators are working on an even bolder proposal to outlaw any meteorites that are planning to fall on their state. They already put those unruly rocks on notice.

But here is a problem. People from around the world started to flood NC as the only Global Warming -Proof place on our planet. 

So my suggestion to the NC legislators is  amend the allowed-sea-level law stating that this law  applies to legal North Carolina citizens only! Amen!

Boy meets Girl

Xenia Axelroud & Joan Benejam meet each other being students of the recognized professor José Tomás (pupil of Andres Segovia) in Conservatorio Superior O. Esplà in Alicante, Spain, from which they hold the Profesor Superior de Guitarra Diploma with the highest qualifications. Later as a duo they worked under the musical guidness of Manuel Barrueco, professor of Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore (USA).

Nathan
The author

She was born in Russia.

He was born in Spain

He grew up in Majorca.

She grew up in Vladivostok.

She wanted to play guitar

He dreamed about guitar.

She went to Barcelona to study guitar.

He was studying guitar in Barcelona.

They met in Barcelona and liked each other.

The girl then went to America to continue the guitar study

The boy stayed in Spain.

That could have been the end of the story.

Xenia and Joan
Barcelona Duo.

But the life’s beauty works in mysterious ways.

The girl returned to Barcelona and they meet again and fell in love. Again.

I watched them playing together. And I saw their love story as I was watching them play.

And while watching them play I understood that it was inevitable that these two are together.

Their love and their music are inseparable.

Lucky for the rest of us.

Xenia Axelroud & Joan Benejam meet each other being students of the recognized professor José Tomás (pupil of Andres Segovia) in Conservatorio Superior O. Esplà in Alicante, Spain, from which they hold the Profesor Superior de Guitarra Diploma with the highest qualifications. Later as a duo they worked under the musical guidness of Manuel Barrueco, professor of Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore (USA).

Since then they offered concerts in Europe, North and South America. They made recordings for the National Catalonian Radio, COM Radio, Radio Orfeo of Moscow, Russian Channel Cultura TV and Spanish channel TV 3, which dedicated news broadcast to the duo’s trajectory.

This is a political blog. And we write t about politics and politicians.

We write about lies and deception and cruelty

We write about inequality and greed.

And I just wanted to write this story for a change.

Because what really matters in this world is love.

Love and music.