Tag Archives: fiscal cliff

NOT ENVIOUS JUST HUNGRY,By Louise Annarino,December 27, 2012

28 Dec

NOT ENVIOUS JUST HUNGRY,by Louise Annarino, december 27.2012

 

On January 20, 2012 I wrote the following commentary.Sadly, near a year later, failure to address the issues I discussed are driving the country over a fiscal cliff, created by Republican intransigence and refusal to raise taxes. We may also be about to go over a social justice cliff with far worse consequences for this nation.

 

“Let them eat cake !” Marie Antoinette purportedly responded when told of bread riots in the streets of Paris; failing to heed the warning that her 1% lifestyle would not sit well with the 99% who were hungry, jobless and hopeless. Americans are hungry, jobless and homeless; but, thanks to the safety net of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and food stamps they are not quite so hopeless nor desperate as those who overthrew the French monarchy. Everyone should be grateful we have a “food stamp president” !

 

Politicians used to understand that the social contract between the rich and poor was an essential cog in the economic engine of the country; and, the very thing which would allow citizens to amass wealth, without the threat of harm to the nation or themselves. Republicans and Democrats alike passed into law programs to create and protect a strong middle class. It was understood and agreed upon that the American dream was not built on envy, but on the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

 

The latest crop of Republican congresspersons seem to have forgotten this. The top 1% of investment earners (one cannot honestly call them wage earners) would have 99% of us wage earners believe that reminding them of this social contract is un-American, anti-capitalist, and irreligious.

 

Now, Republican congressional leaders undermine the Golden Rule, claiming, as men who are right with God, that anyone who oppose their economic and social order policies, must be wrong;and,not only are they wrong but they are evil, which carries the weight of immorality. Asking that the Golden Rule be applied to economic policy does not make the 99ers immoral, unpatriotic socialists, un-American, nor envious.

 

Years ago, before labor laws, civil rights laws, and a system of public education for all children created a middle class, the working class had to be satisfied with crumbs from the table. Labor unions, civil rights activists, and public education created a place at the table for workers. But now, Governors like John Kasich (R-OH) tell us we are envious when we ask for a menu, question why no food is being served to us, or ask how they arranged to have nearly all the food piled on their plates as it disappeared from our own.  They say we are envious. No, we are simply hungry, hungry for justice.

 

Today, I suggest it is not a budget deficit which will destroy this country; but, a social justice deficit. President Obama and Democratic leaders are right to insist on continued stimulus spending and safety net protection, and increased taxes on the top 1-2% ; any further efforts to compromise us into starvation will do more harm than good. Productivity, not hoarding seeds, is what puts food on the table.

FISCAL CLIFF OVER BENGHAZI,By Louise Annarino,November 29,2012

29 Nov

FISCAL CLIFF OVER BENGHAZI , By Louise Annarino, November 29,2012

 

On September 11, 2012 4 Americans in the diplomatic service of the United States, at one of the most dangerous postings in the Middle East were murdered in Benghazi, Libya.

 

During the first 2 weeks of September 2012, 32 Americans were killed in Detroit; one of them and Iraq Vet and father of five children named Davis Nelson, who pushed aside a woman neighbor about to be shot by her husband in a domestic dispute and took the bullet himself. (http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/19568205/32-people-murdered-over-15-day-period-in-detroit ).

 

By the time of the Benghazi murders,Chicago had already seen 400 Americans murdered within its borders during 2012. During August 2012 alone, 38 persons were killed.( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/01/chicago-homicides-reach-4_n_1929015.html ).

 

In Columbus,Ohio 83 Americans had been murdered between January 1 and  November 29, 2012.  The breakdown: 88% male, 70.7% African-American, 56.5% age 20-39, 79.3% shooting victims. ( http://www.dispatch.com/content/pages/data/crime-safety/homicide/homicides.html ).

 

During the past year, more than a 1,000 children died before their first birthdays in Ohio. The breakdown: 6.3% white, 5.7% Latino, and 15.8% African-American; likely the highest in the nation for African-American babies. ( http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/11/29/black-infant-deaths-worst-of-bad-news.html ).

 

More than 1 in 5 of all American children live in poverty; 1 in 3 American children of color live in poverty. As a result, America loses half a trillion dollars per year in lost productivity, increased health care costs, and increased crime. ( http://www.childrensdefense.org/newsroom/child-watch-columns/child-watch-documents/forward-for-children.html ).

Excuse me for finding American’s obsessive concern about fiscal cliffs and the terrorist attack in Benghazi nothing short of ridiculous. Many Americans live on the fiscal cliff, just over its edge struggling to hang on, or at the bottom of the cliff all of their lives. Many Americans face the threat of violence and death daily in American cities and towns. The silence has been deafening in addressing these issues. It is not that Americans have been unaware of the problem; but, their solution has been to flee to suburbs and gated communities rather than addressing the needs of fellow Americans they identify as “the other”.

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and others warn us that we must protect the low tax rate of the richest of the rich and their investments. To do so he insists we cut  redefined entitlements. Entitlements are those things to which one is entitled; over which one has ownership rights. These same small-government proponents propose taking away our property rights, our entitlement to the Social Security and Medicare benefits we paid for through payroll deductions from every paycheck we have ever earned by reason of our labor. They have redefined entitlements as gifts from our socialist president, and socialist Democratic party. Please, spare us the hypocrisy. You spare us very little else.

And John McCain reminds us daily that 4 Americans died in Ben Gahzi. Mr. Cain, where is your outrage over the Americans killed by violence in the hearts of our cities every night? Over the infant mortality rate for our babies? Over the 3532 American Iraq War dead? Which you supported despite the obvious lies used to justify it. Forgive me if I find your outrageous disdain for Ambassador Rice the farce it is.

It has been difficult for me to write because it has been difficult to channel my anger toward those who continue to obstruct the people’s business in Congress, who continue to filter their world view through a racist and sexist lens, who believe they lost the 2012 election simply because they mistakenly and incompetently marketed their party platform to the public, and who only regret the failure, but not the use, of their voter suppression efforts.

I admire President Obama’s ability to tolerate such hypocrisy and continue to seek workable agreements with persons whose words twist reality, whose motives cannot be trusted, and whose sexist and racist world view is potentially harmful to so many Americans. We must demand  that President Obama, Rep.Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC)and Sen.Harry Reid(D-NEV) ask more of their Republican colleagues, not less, in their negotiations. At the very least they must demand respect for people of color and women (including Ambassador Rice), adherence to truth, and a firm commitment to openly support any agreements they reach.

I grieve the loss of life in Ben Ghazi, and continued threats to those Americans who represent our country abroad. But, I also grieve the the daily threats to America’s children and families who face on-going threats of economic loss and violence, especially within the African-American community. Where is our outrage on their behalf? Who will speak for these Americans? Will you?