Americans Are In Trouble: Debt, Declining Life Expectancy, Shorter Too

Thinking of Bobby Kennedy’s real passion during his ’68 campaign for the American worker highlights exactly why our candidates – and our next president – needs to pay some serious attention to the plight of Americans, especially those of the working and middle class.

Yet everybody better start paying attention to the American worker, who is greater in debt (less and less see any relief from debt outside of bankruptcy or death), more likely to have to work two jobs or more just to survive, less likely to receive appropriate and timely health care, and under greater measures levels of clinical depression, fatigue, and stress than ever before. See my next (up) post.

New studies show Americans across the board (rather than pockets of wild wealth in a sea of people who have relatively little to nothing in comparison) are doing much worse financially than their European peers, AND that both our height and life expectancy is turning from new longevity to a shortening (yes, we’re living less longer and no longer growing as tall as our European neighbors, which is believed due to our harsh working schedule, bad diet, and far less accessibility to health care since most civilized nations have some type of universal access to care).

Oh, and our infant mortality rate is on its way back up. Not good.

Interestingly, the beginning of the “change” we’re seeing in less health for Americans dates back to about 1982. Hmmm… Reagan was in office, and advocating an economy that allowed for a handful of rich fatcats with the rest forced to buy his bumper sticker foreign policy. Much of the rule since 1982 has been Republican. Coincidence?

Thank The President For The Latest Gas Price Hike

No joke. With crude oil prices already well past the record $100/barrel that we used to treat as the great marker for “peak oil”, where was the price going to go but WAAAAY up when Bush does the following in the past week:

* More saber rattling at Iran with “evil” charges amounting to the same damned things the U.S. is doing in Iraq
* Goes to Israeli Knesset (their Congress), plants a huge wet kiss on PM Olmert, and manages to dis both Iran and Barack Obama in the same charge as he also indicts Muslims in general
* Only then does he go to Saudi Arabia to ask them to increase oil production, at which point the Sauds flipped him the bird and sent him home as gas prices jumped by as much as 30 cents in a 24-hour period in some locations
* Threatens our own Congress who stopped the record levels of oil reserves Bush has been spending a fortune in storing (waaay above what any other admin has done, and Bush increases the reserve everytime the price rises like he wants to just hand energy companies all the tax dollars not being spent on the Pentagon)

Oil just closed on the stock market at a record $133.17/barrel. Thanks, President Bush! What latest horror will you enact?

Someone Finally Grabbed The War Blank Checkbook From Bush

We haven’t heralded this move by House Democrats last week (joined by two whole Republicans) that kept Bush from getting another blank check from them (on our dime and the lives of our countrymen and women) to wage endless, pointless war. It brought cheers and happy tears from this progressive!

As noted, however, the battle isn’t over. The Senate could pass the latest Iraq-Afghanistan spending bill from Bush, which would bring it back to the House to work through, perhaps as a newly minted entity. And unless the bill is defeated by a LOT, Bush will veto anything that comes to him with less than he demands (the tin-plated God he thinks he is).

So give your support by telling your House and Senate reps to vote AGAINST more blank checks that do nothing but kill and maim Americans, Iraqs, and Afghans while making war profiteers like Bush and Cheney’s best friends even richer than they were before.

McCain Campaign Populated By Lobbyists, Defense Privateers

Just how many McCain finance chairman, etc., have either had to step down or pretend they don’t hear the questions being asked about their participation in the ironically-entitled Straight Talk Express?

Far, far too many.

For Dems and perhaps for most of the country, the biggest enemy we face isn’t Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, maybe not even al Qaeda. It’s the threat of a McCain Administration that would continue the loathful, lousy work of the Bush Admin (aka Dewey, Cheatem, and How!).

Does Anyone Like Bush Anymore?

(Cough. I hope this headline doesn’t get picked up the wrong way. Cough.)

Bush has fallen to yet NEW lows of presidential approval. But I have the same question I’ve had for his entire monarchy: how the hell did even one person approve of him in the first place, let alone now?

And let me know where the big differences between Bussssshed and McCain lie; short of an electron microscope, I’m thinking maybe we won’t see many.

Middle Class America: “We’re Not Better Off Than 5 Years Ago”

With each new economic poll, more and more Americans express real concern about the economy and their declining ability to meet their financial obligations with fast-escalating food, fuel, housing, and medical costs when their paychecks haven’t shown any significant lift throughout most of the Bush Administration.

Future Journalists: Love Seymour Hersh, Maureen Dowd, Keith Olbermann

I found this piece in The Observer fascinating about the new MTV show “The Paper” showing kids (the piece notes Baby Woodwards, but I’d prefer perhaps a Baby Bernstein all things considered) on a school paper in Florida that I somehow managed not to know existed.

As a card carrying member of the press (try not to think less of me considering a good prostitute makes a HELL of a lot more and with dollops more respect), I grew up just knowing I had to be a journo; I learned how to read BEFORE kindergarten so I could read the newspaper and not have to trust my grandmother to faithfully tell me what it said.

Wonk Room by Think Progress

During this critical political season, separating fact from fiction has never been more important. When a story breaks, you want to know the facts right away and spread them to your networks before the conservatives spin it all wrong. So, our partners at Think Progress launched the Wonk Room, the first public policy rapid response blog, to do just that; to give you the facts and arguments you need to be the most effective activist in town on key issues facing our nation, including climate, the economy, health care, and national security.

While McCain Implodes, Media Just Focuses on Obama-Clinton

Even if I were a Republican (oops… hands started to shake at that thought, sorry), I would be asking two HUGE questions after watching the media the last few months:

– How is it John McCain can spew the most ridiculous, bombastic, often hateful and WRONG claptrap while the media spends all its time discussing blacks, women, and Hispanics like each is a single separate personality and mindset?
– How is it that the media can spend so little time on anything of real value re: Clinton and Barack Obama while hitting us endlessly with questions about race, religion, lies-turned-into-truth and other issues that aren’t paramount to voters who want help with ending the war, restarting the economy, keeping their homes, and finding a way to afford groceries, fuel, and medical care?

Oh wait, here’s a third question:

Why should we believe a mainstream media on any of this WHEN they told us for months that Hillary Clinton couldn’t lose and McCain couldn’t win when they now flip it to suggest Hillary can’t get nominated and McCain can’t lose?

Bush Hits Yet Another New Poll Low

CNN is reporting – in the wake of much talk that Bush’s popularity had finally bottomed out as people stopped paying attention to him – that President Bush has hit a new all-time low in both presidential polling as a whole and his own numbers specifically. The 31% approval for Bush CNN just reported is the lowest in Bush history for the cable news network’s polling.

Gee, I’m sure these new lows have nothing to do with the reminder of the lies he took us to war in Iraq with five years ago, Bush’s “let the mortgage CEOs eat cake while starving homeowners heat their houses with burned default delinquency notes”, or his latest claims that all in Iraq is hunky-dory.

On This Fifth Anniversary Of War With Iraq

Think very carefully about who you want to represent you in the White House come January.

Can we afford a John McCain who made that silly gaffe subsituting Iran with Iraq (something Bush Washington has made very easy to do) until latter-day-neocon-nutcase Joe Lieberman corrected him?

I say no. A yes for McCain is a vote for more bloodshed.

Note, too, that no less than seven out of every 10 Americans feels the Iraq War is directly hurting our economy (the other three, I suppose, believe that the war IS what remains of our economy ::sigh::) and that even if the war ended now, we will continue paying costs for it for many, MANY years into the future.

Bush Will Bail Out Billionaires, Watch Middle Class And Lower Sink

As you may have noticed the last few days, Bush’s rhetoric last month where he announced the government would sit back and not involve themselves in “individual contracts” private between mortgage brokers and mortgage holders so Americans “can pull themselves up by their own boot straps, like I never had to do even once in my life”, says Bush WILL rush in to bail out the billionaire CEOs and other financial institutions hurt themselves by the mortgage industry collapse.

So if you’re losing your home, tough. But the Bushies still need your tax dollars to bail out the people foreclosing upon you. Get out! Personally, I can’t see why anyone who either owns a home or wishes someday he or she may be able to do so would vote for McCain. Those who own the banks who own those houses, however, probably would vote Mac.

More Republicans In Charge Of The Hen House: American Banks Are Failing Faster and Faster

Gee, 100-200 MORE banks are expected to go belly-up soon. Makes you want to maintain that really great Republican “compassionate conservative” financial wizardry that the Bushies brought us with as many as 1 in 10 American homes now in foreclosure, default, or in serious danger of going into default right now which doesn’t count the tens of thousands of homes already seized.

Yet Bush is threatening to veto any effort by Congress to put a moratorium on foreclosure actions. As Keith Olbermann put it Wednesday night, Bush’s kind, compassionate message to scared American home owners is, “Screw you!” Doesn’t matter that the foreclosure crisis is very likely, many economists say, to result in a full-scale U.S. economic depression (recession’s much nastier stepmother).

(But, hey, at least the banks are willing to WORK with Michael Jackson whose California “Neverland” estate is due to be sold at sheriff’s auction in mid-March. Whew! Wouldn’t want him to curtail those half million dollar afternoon shopping sprees! What? His buddy, the Sultan of Brunei can’t bail him out as often as the Saudis have bailed out President George W. Bush long before he hit office?)

A Nation Depressed: Why We Need More Than Prozac And Zoloft To Jumpstart America’s Optimism

As I sat battling the entire long weekend with pesky hardware problems among two different PC systems in addition to household leaks following some record snowfall all while experiencing the joy of feeling my glands swell and my nose turn raw while I also reviewed my tax returns, I couldn’t help but think that if misery loves company, I’ve got a multitude of new pals.

Sure, some Americans are having a decent time of it, but that percentage is literally dropping more everyday. Even among those who identify themselves as mostly maintaining their current living standard in one of the roughest prolonged financial “repressions” in the last century, many agree that not only is the U.S. in trouble economically, but our mental state is suffering, too.

In the last decade, we’ve seen one big change after another; most of them pretty awful. For example, we’re now seeing our first generations in recent American history where working adults are NOT making more than their parents did; where there is grave concern that what little “universal” health care we currently enjoy – Medicare for seniors and Medicaid for poorer kids – is failing badly.

Not since the Great Depression of the late 1920s-1930s have so many Americans:

  • either lost or are in serious danger of soon losing their homes
  • seen their paychecks cover less and less of basic living costs
  • needed to use credit cards more and more to pay for groceries and prescriptions, and basic costs, which is considered usually a very bad sign of economic health
  • worry that their own kids won’t be able to afford to go to college, own a home of their own, have a job that will cover their basic livings expenses, etc.
  • Considering so much of this picture has become grim under the Republicans’ watch, how can ANYONE even consider voting for a McCain or a Huckabee in November? As a Democrat, I’m not sure my candidate can bring about enough of a change as quickly as our country needs but I’ll take that concern over choosing one of the GOP disasters.

    A Small C Conservative’s Lament

    I stumbled onto the American Spectator and was struck by Andrew Neuman’s column titled  Where Corn Counts.  Neuman targets his column to the “Movement Conservatives”, whom he identifies as those responsible for the “dominant narrative of ideas and events issuing forth from the constellation of talk radio hosts, columnists, and think tanks that the mainstream media put under the heading of ‘Conservative.'”  Neuman contends that if the Republican party were to actually follow the guidance of these leaders that they would find themselves with the Greens and Libertarians, fighting over 3% of the electorate every election. 

    I agree with the gist of Neuman’s point actually, but I’m afraid that in arguing the one issue which he seizes upon to make his point that he sadly misses the boat.   Neuman takes issue with the Movement Conservatives who brook no support for bio fuel research and production.  Continue reading

    Republicans: We Trust In The Brilliance Of Dead People Who Killed America

    Sorry, I got felled by hand problems the last few days BUT… I’m even more distressed to listen to the Republicans debate at California’s Ronald Reagan Library in the last GOP debate before Super Tuesday next week invoke in every other word the name of Ronnie Raygun – the man who said “fuck the poor; if you aren’t a millionaire, I don’t want to hear from you” – in every other breath.

    The LAST time Ronald Reagan had a salient thought was back in the 1950s when, as a Democrat, he headed the Screen Actors Guild and tried to mediate the damage being done by horrible hatemongerers like Joe McCarthy tried to force everyone in government and Hollywood to name fellow workers and friends as “reds”, even when it was not true. After that, he got involved with Nancy Davis, an even less talented actress (but oh so rich and from old California Republican money) than First Lady – not that Ronnie was a good actor), became a Republican and, like too many in the GOP, disconnected his brain. By the time he reached the White House, he was already well into the grips of Alzheimer’s Disease – it’s a huge lie that the effects came after he left office; Alzheimer’s does NOT work like that.

    So if you aren’t afraid YET that the Republicans want to return to the “glory” days of the Reaganomics 80s, you damned well should be. Anyone who didn’t make it rich in the 1980s had a damned hard time… and the people who puppeteered Reagan made sure of that!

    The State of the Union (SotU) Address: If Only Bush Spoke The Truth

    Considering Bush has been known €“ mature, wise fellow that he is €“ to flip the finger at press and photographers, a part of me wonders if, on the occasion of his final State of the Union delivery tonight (Monday), he might just tell the truth, certain that no one can do a damned thing about all the misery, injustice, and death he has wrought. God knows the man looks for opportunities to smirk ever more insultingly.

    So here’s what I think he would say if truth serum were administered to him just before the speech:

    Good evening, you pussies and ingrates:

    I could give you my usual bullshit about how I gotta hard job and I work hard (damned, I say that a heluva lot) but we all know if damned good ‘o me to bother to put in eight hours a WEEK between my naps, ball game watching, riding my mountain bikes OVER old ladies, and planning for the vacations I take ev’ry few days.

    But anyways… I won’t make this long ‘cos you don’t wanna hear it and frankly, I like to pretend to get into bed real early like so I can hide my drinkin’ and druggin’ I’d make certain you’d do federal time for. So let’s get this sucker over with.

    Too effin’ bad if you don’t like the job I’ve done; it was never up to you anyway. And mixed in with all the lies was a little truth, anyway. Like when I said I wanted to make America an ownership society €“ not my fault if you thought YOU would be the owners when I really meant Saudi nationals, wealthy Kuwaitis, and scores of other rich for’ners would come in and buy everythin’ up ‘cos I made sure you can’t afford to breathe.

    As for Iraq, boo-frickin-hoo so many have died. At least they’re not people I care about. My dumb-as-dirt daughters are just fine and livin’ like princesses so I don’t give a tinker’s damn that your kid is too dumb to get into college ‘cos I dumbed down the requirements for public education or ‘cos I made sure they can’t afford to go on to school. After all, we gotta military recruitment quota to fill and it’s not like there are jobs out there for your grown kids to get; and where they can find jobs, I’ll make damned well sure they are jobs that can feed a family. Besides, college ain’t all its cracked up to be. Just look at me and I went to a bunch of the best effing schools in the country. Continue reading