Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope this got you in the Christmas mood.  

I know that I have been very neglectful of late.  Please understand that I am an old gal who takes forever to accomplish things these days and life got in the way of blogging.  I promise to be back in 2011 with an explanation.

I am leaving for my daughter's California home on Thursday and won't be returning until 
January 4.  I do hope you will return to my hodgepodge then.  I will try to catch up with your blogs after the holidays.  

Have a very merry Christmas and a joyous New Year. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

War and Peace

By tradition the holiday season is the time to think of peace.  Doves, the symbol of peace, are common on greeting cards. 

Man has yearned for peace since the beginning of time.  And yet, more ruinous wars are fought with each generation with more lives shattered with each successive combat.

In my lifetime I have seen too many wars and the devastation that ensued.  I was in high school when WWII broke out.  The draft was immediately put in place.  At my graduation ceremony there was a sobering moment when the young men in the graduation class who were already in one of the services were asked to stand.  Half of the boys stood up and we all knew that meant they would go directly to war.  Some went to their deaths; or to lives shattered by the horrible things they witnessed or had to do.  It was called combat fatigue then, but is now diagnosed as post traumatic stress disorder.

WWII was followed by a few years of relative peace for Americans, but soon some of our young husbands were sent to the Korean War.  This was followed by the Viet Nam war in time for our sons to be drafted into that terrible conflict.

My son enlisted in the Navy to avoid the Army (or to void being cannon fodder, as they then said).  I was fortunate that he was a good musician and was accepted into special services and served his time during the Viet Nam War in the Navy band on aircraft carriers.

We all know the suffering that the two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan,  has heaped upon many of this generation.  The war in Afghanistan rages on unabated with six more families getting  the word yesterday that their young men were killed.  Instead of celebrating this Christmas, they will be in mourning.  They join too many families that have gone through this unspeakable pain.

While the wars have stolen our youth and depleted our treasure,  until 9/11, they have been even more catastrophic for our enemies.  It is always the innocent who pay the most terrible price in any war.  And for what? 

Unless a country is attacked, I believe that wars are started by a few corrupt powerful men for pure greed.  Oh yes, they give us the platitudes that it is for our safety and the war is  necessary. Nonsense!!  I am an old woman and have seen enough exploitation of the masses to know that this is the most venal of manipulation.  Brain washing on a large scale is the way to control we, the people.   Tragically,  it works.  

I am sure you have heard the old 'saw' that as long as there are two men and one woman there will be war.  Of course, that's trite but there is a kernel of truth in the statement.  While we are programmed to fight or flight, I cannot believe that this includes war.

During this season when we yearn for peace let us refuse to be manipulated into continuing the dreadful war in a country far removed that has ruined so many lives   Let us rise up en mass and demand an end to the Afghanistan war that continues to hemorrhage death and destruction. 

Peace is taught by all religions; let us demand of our leaders that they listen to the 'word' and follow its precepts. 

My wish for all is a peaceful world.  My special wish for you is a joyous holiday season.  May good health and happiness be yours in 2011 and may we see an end to war.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An Abomination

 Obama's tax cut proposal has certainly stirred up a hornet's nest.  Two things that I think are important to read are Robert Reich's editorial titled An Abomination. The link is below.

Ronni Bennet who writes the blog Time Goes By  posted an excellent essay today on the hidden, and terrifying, aspect to the proposal that hasn't been covered by the media.  I urge you to read it and follow through with action.

Obama's Stealth Attack on Social Security

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Please read the post below and then come back to read this update.
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) tells me that time is of the essence on this proposal as Congressional members try to get out of Washington for the holidays. In an email, the NCPSSM said, 

Flooding members' offices is what is absolutely needed...House members have been far more vocal in their opposition to this deal than we’ve seen in the Senate but it’s vital that seniors and their families contact their representatives in both.

"Far too many in Washington don’t understand the fundamental threat of what’s being proposed and they need to hear from seniors.”

At their website, the NCPSSM has set up Payroll Tax Letter to legislators that is similar to what you can do at Here are instructions:
  1. Follow this link
  2. Under “Elected Officials,” enter your Zip Code and press Go
  3. At the top of the next page, select “Issues”
  4. At the top of the page, select “Tax Holiday is no holiday at all”

Separate letters to the House and to the Senate will appear. Feel free to personalize them. Fill in the required information, press “send message” and you're done.

PLEASE DO THIS in addition to calling and emailing individual lawmakers. And please don't put it off for later. Time is short and the future of Social Security is at stake.

Also, feel free to copy any or all of this post and use it at your blogs. Attribution to TGB is not necessary.

category_bug_politics.gif Yesterday, Crabby Old Lady told you why President Obama's agreement with Congressional Republicans to extend unemployment benefits while retaining the Bush-era tax cuts is a bad idea. She intended to let me move on to some lighter material today, but further digging show that the deal is much worse than a giveaway to rich people.
Included in the proposal is a temporary “payroll tax holiday” - that is, a two percent cut in the FICA (Social Security) deduction for workers although not employers. The duration of this holiday is so far unspecified, but for one year, it would cost $120 billion which would be made up, says President Obama, from the general fund.
This is a DISASTER for Social Security – and no one in Washington is talking about it.
Don't take my word for it. Take the word of Bruce Bartlett, an economics expert, former domestic policy adviser to President Reagan and treasury official during the George H.W. Bush administration writing in November (please read this carefully; emphasis is mine):
”What are the odds that Republicans will ever allow this one-year tax holiday to expire?...My point is that if allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire is the biggest tax increase in history, one that Republicans claim would decimate a still-fragile economy, then surely expiration of a payroll tax holiday would also constitute a massive tax increase on the working people of America.

“And what are the odds that the economy won't still be fragile a year from now? Zero, I would say.

“...a payroll tax holiday is Pandora's Box and best left unopened. Republicans would prefer to destroy Social Security's finances or permanently fund it with general revenues than allow a once-suspended payroll tax to be reimposed.

“Arch Social Security hater Peter Ferrara once told me that funding it with general revenues was part of his plan to destroy it by converting Social Security into a welfare program, rather than an earned benefit. He was right.”
At Hullabaloo yesterday digby, who titled her post, One More Nail in the Social Security Coffin, correctly identifies the ultimate outcome of a payroll tax holiday (again, my emphasis):
“The 2012 election is looking like its going to be about taxes and deficits (as a proxy for fixing the economy, since everything else is off the table.) And from what I can see, the president is going to be competing with the Republicans on who will lower both of them the most. Social Security is in maximum danger in that environment.”
Nancy Altman at FireDogLake makes a point that has been bothering me for a long time – that so many in Congress, and the president too, do not grasp the crucially important nature of Social Security's self-funding by American workers (my emphasis agaiin):
“Today’s Democrats fail to understand the program, and so are not only blind to subtle assaults against it, but seem to conspire in those assaults. All I can say is that with the Republicans and the Democratic President, perhaps unwittingly, conspiring to destroy Social Security, the American people don’t stand a chance.”
masslib, who also writes at FireDogLake, is as suspicious as I am:
”...something doesn’t smell right here. We have a presidential deficit commission that just proposed cutting social security benefits and essentially means testing it into a welfare program, and now we have Republicans and the President agreeing to an employee Social Security payroll tax to be paid from the general fund. Well, what could possibly go wrong...”
Go wrong. Go wrong...
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) issued a press release yesterday saying, "There is no such thing as a 'temporary' tax cut." Further,
"This 2% payroll tax cut is the beginning of the end of Social Security as we know it...Proposals like this threaten the program’s independence, forcing Social Security to compete for limited federal dollars."
Not to put too fine a point on all the above: if the payroll tax holiday were to become permanent - and it will if it passes Congress with this current proposal - it will force massive cuts to Social Security.

It is a stealth attack on the program.
It will destroy the system.

Which is what the Republicans have been trying to do for decades.
Not one journalist at President Obama's press conference yesterday raised this issue. They are blind to it while they rattle on about whether the president is flip-flopping on campaign promises rather than dealing with the substance.

In fact, at this moment as I write, CNN is insulting my intelligence (for the zillionth time) by reporting that the payroll tax holiday would be a big help for Americans because it would put more money in their pockets. The reporter, apparently, is ignorant of the consequences to Social Security and old people. Bah!
Many sources have reported that the number of calls objecting to the entire proposal crashed the White House phone system yesterday. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said his office received more than 900 calls from his tiny state. Let's keep it up.

Certainly you should call if you prefer, but says lawmakers prefer to email and it is a better choice than the telephone to be sure to get through and to be able to clearly explain your position.
At, you can simultaneously send the same email to all three of your representatives and the president, but you must be registered. You can do that here. It is a quick, easy registration and you can immediately write your message.

Yesterday, President Obama defended his agreement with Congressional Republicans as “a good deal for Americans.” I vehemently disagree and it is particularly not so for old people.

If you agree, please email the president and all your representatives now to tell them this is a disaster and unacceptable. Be sure to mention the Social Security issue as well as the tax cuts for the rich that are getting all the attention.