Goals

The goal of any political party is to "win."

There is talk of strategy, raising money, ground games, and volunteer coordination to engage in a campaign that puts a candidate on the "winning" side and keeps them there. There is talk of messaging to appeal to the public. There are committees put in place to ensure that the opponents "lose."

It becomes very easy, with all of the emphasis on winning, to lose sight of the real goal, and that is to serve the public good.

Any elected official is supposed to serve the public good, regardless of whether that is local or federal office. To win the office, one must promise to serve the public good.

And yet, instead, there is the overarching emphasis on winning. Win the election. Win the vote for your bill. Win over your opponents. Win. Win. Win.

What a novel thought it must be to be elected and then, instead of focusing on winning, working with your fellow legislators, examining the actual issues and their causes, and working together in an open dialogue, paying attention to what your constituents want, and coming up with a sustainable solution that serves the public good over getting your ideology to win. Some may even call that a naive thought.

Let us consider, however, if we elected people who all thought that way. They will not be from the same party. They will have different perspectives and ideas. They will have the idea that they are to work for the public good, and recognize that the public good is not defined by just their personal views, but considers what the public are saying as well.

The goal of those people would be to have a government that functioned. They would fight and argue, but at the end of the day, they would come up with something that enacted real solutions that served the public good.

You might be tired of seeing "serve the public good" by now.

That's too bad, because that's the goal.

We have people in Congress right now that, after 6 years of people calling for better federal action to address gun violence, can only commit to think about talking about the issue.

We have people in Congress who, after 6 years of the people demanding a better healthcare system, can only think about going backwards with it.

We have people in Congress who, despite decades of people calling for an end to the influence of money in our political system, refuse to reform how we conduct campaigns.

Actual action on any of these, and literally hundreds of other issues, could amount to them "losing," and that doesn't serve the "winning" goal.

We, the people, can change that. Our goals are to have the public served by government. Our goals are for actual, sustainable solutions to the issues that have plagued us for over a century. If we demand better candidates, support new faces getting involved, and vote for them instead of clinging to someone whose only real goal is "winning," we can make that change.

We can demand universal healthcare, recognizing that it will reduce costs in the long run, provide economic stimulus and security, combat poverty, and increase equality in our society.

We can demand sensible federal regulation of weapons and ammunition that encourages responsible and safe gun ownership and use, recognizing that while we have our rights, we need to be responsible about them and be accountable at the same time.

We can demand that we have a robust education system that serves from early childhood to late adulthood. We know that will lead to innovation, high production, equality, a growing cultural appreciation, encourage the arts, and allow everyone the opportunities to live a prosperous and fulfilling life.

We can demand that our role in the world is to serve as an example of the best democratic principles, to inspire those in other countries, and to be a leader that works towards peace in the world through diplomacy before military might.

We can demand that we work with our environment and ecology, rather than tearing it apart or abusing it, in order to encourage long, fulfilling, and prosperous lives, as well as preserve our planet as our home for future generations farther than we can think of.

All of these are working for the public good.

The people's goals are to serve the public good.

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Veterans and those in military service

The following is the text from an article shared with me by an individual I recently met. As our President continues to try and use veterans politically, I thought it would be good to share this with you.

I truly do appreciate the sacrifice given by those who serve and hold them in high regard.

The original article can be found at -

https://buff.ly/2y0h2mH

By Col. Robert Killebrew, U.S. Army (Ret.)

A thousand years ago when I was about to begin my military career, a wise old retired Marine colonel, a veteran of the carnage at Tarawa, gave me some advice. Paraphrased here, he said:

So you want to be a career soldier? Good for you. But remember that the longer you stay in uniform, the less you will really understand about the country you protect. Democracy is the antithesis of the military life; it’s chaotic, dishonest, disorganized, and at the same time glorious, exhilarating and free — which you are not.

After a while, if you stay in, you’ll be tempted to say, “Look, you civilians, we’ve got a better way. We’re better organized. We’re patriotic, and we know what it is to sacrifice. Be like us.” And you’ll be dead wrong, son. If you’re a career soldier, you may defend democracy, but you won’t understand it or be part of it. What’s more, you’ll always be a stranger to your own society. That’s the sacrifice you’ll be making.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that old colonel in the aftermath of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s remarkable press conference the other day over the president’s call to the widow of an Army soldier killed in Niger. There’s been a lot of commentary about the general’s attitude toward civilians who hadn’t sacrificed — who weren’t of the “one percent” who had — and it seems to me that most of it misses the point. Masha Gessen’s New Yorker article, “John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup,” comes close, given President Donald Trump’s tendency to hire retired generals who complement his own authoritarian leanings. Certainly we need to be alert for the next three years — having at Trump’s elbow a retired general who disdains civilians should raise some concerns.

But the larger point that strikes me, as a retired infantryman, is the self-pity in the general’s tone. Look at us; we’ve made sacrifices that you don’t appreciate. The only good American is one in uniform, or, ultimately, the ones under tombstones in Arlington. Sadly, this kind of sad, pitying flag-waving impresses too many of my fellow citizens the same way that the insubordinate Douglas MacArthur did in the 1950s — and MacArthur is said to be a favorite of Trump’s.

Let’s be frank. There’s nothing “glorious” or “sacrificial” about choosing to be a soldier. We give up personal freedom for the privilege of serving our country, and we enter a closed-off profession that is enormously satisfying, but can also be physically, emotionally, and intellectually demanding. We accept the risk that some of us get killed or wounded. In return, the country gives us decent pay, an early retirement — some bodies get pretty broken up in twenty or thirty years — and health care. It’s not a bad deal.

But the other sacrifice — the one the colonel talked about — is that few of us quite fit into the “dishonest, disorganized and glorious” mess is American democracy. That makes us good bureaucrats and maybe good chiefs of staff, but not someone who has a gut-level understanding of democracy — the role of a free press, for example, or the give and take of backroom dealing. We chose the life we lived. Being part of the “one percent” doesn’t make us any more entitled than any other citizen. And while we’re happy that the public respects military service, too much respect makes us a little uneasy, for the reasons the old colonel said. We are privileged to serve, not the other way around.

Kelly is understandably upset that Trump — acting on the general’s advice — publicly fumbled a call to a young widow. Part of the general’s problem is that he serves a president without empathy for anyone but himself. Another is that the same president has now politicized Kelly’s private grief.

But that odd press conference has exposed Kelly’s emotional, personal disdain for the citizens he served in uniform and still serves in a sensitive political post. His remarks lead me to wonder if he really understands that soldiers are the servants of democracies, not some special race apart. A MacArthur or a George Patton, disdainful or ignorant of democracy but close to the president is dangerous to the Republic and is unbecoming his distinguished service in a profession that doesn’t need anyone’s pity.

Bob Killebrew was an Army infantry and special forces officer for 30 years. He is a member of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

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The Distraction of the Bogeyman

Fear is a natural response to the unknown. It creates anxiety. It creates that knot in our stomachs and gives us our fight or flight response. And fear has long been used as the ultimate way to manipulate large groups of people into action, causing mobs, wars, and oppression.

The manipulation directs our fear towards a target, say illegal immigrants, or adherents to certain religions, and rather than trying to get your understanding of that target, points out all of the differences to you and attaches crimes to anyone having those differences. It makes that group of people into the bogeyman.

We all know what to do about a bogeyman, right? First, you behave like good little children do. Get in step with everyone else. Otherwise the bogeyman will "get" you. The bogeyman is always "out to get you." Then, when we get a little braver, you chase after the bogeyman and drive him away. Then you set up security so the bogeyman will always be kept at bay. And you never, ever go outside of your secure place.

Our president and his allies in Congress spend a significant amount of time creating bogeymen for us worry about. According to them we have murderous gangs pouring in through our open borders to menace our most vulnerable communities or there are millions of "illegals" sneaking across borders to steal US jobs. We are barraged with claims of terrorists making their way into peace loving countries like the US as refugees and wreaking havoc in the name of Islam. Or that North Korea is going to attack us imminently.

These are overt threats to make us want to have stricter closed borders and a stronger military. There is some substance to the claims, otherwise it would never be believable, but the claims, phrased in this manner, are also a distraction preventing us from actually dealing with the issues involved.

If we take the time to examine each bogeyman, we find that, in reality, unauthorized immigrants, aside from being in the country unauthorized, are law abiding people who work, pay taxes, may own homes, arrived here legally and overstayed their visas, don't get the benefits of social economic programs, are positively contributing to their communities, are doing jobs that many in the US simply won't do, and can't vote in our elections. In fact, of the population of unauthorized immigrants, only a little over 7% are ever convicted of a crime, and only 2.7% convicted of a felony. In comparison, of the total population of the US, according to a study provided by the University of Georgia, 8% have been convicted of a felony. 

The claim of immigrants, authorized or unauthorized, stealing jobs away from US citizens has been made for over 100 years now, and has been levied against the Irish, Italians, Germans, Eastern Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Middle East, Africa, Cuba, Mexico, and all of South America at one time and another. The reality has always proved that the maligned immigrants make their own jobs, or do the jobs that people in the US steadfastly refuse, and our economy actually grows and becomes more prosperous as a result. Our nation grows and becomes more secure by welcoming them into an atmosphere of opportunity, and our culture is enriched. Always.

We can look at refugees in a similar way. While the FBI may indeed be actively investigating terrorist activity with regards to refugees that come into the country, very few of those investigations prove any terrorist plot. The percentage of refugees being investigated as compared to all other other terror investigations probably only accounts for about 3-4% of the FBI investigations. Again, most of those investigations do not prove that a terrorist threat existed. And looking specifically at Islam, much like Christianity, the percentage of those around the world who support or participate in extremism is rather low. It is higher in a few regions, but overall Islam, like Christianity, does not support extremist groups.

North Korea is a threat. There is no doubt about it. However, the liklihood of North Korea striking out is largely dependent on how our President is dealing with them. Our President seems to enjoy antagonizing a leader of a country who is more than willing to use nuclear weapons on a whim. We should be questioning who is the greater threat at that point.

And then there are the more insidious kinds of bogeymen we are directed towards. We are told of the great inefficiencies and corruption of our own agencies, like the EPA or the Department of Education, and how the regulations of these agencies are harming our economy. We are now told that the FBI, who we trust to carry out the investigations that protect our populace, are a disgrace because they are now "being used politically."

Our agencies have served faithfully to afford us a clean environment in which to live, provide education for the public, create opportunity for our businesses to thrive while at the same time protecting the rights of workers and families.

Our FBI is apparently just fine so long as it is investigating the Clintons and not any Republican lawmaker or executive? Who, exactly, is politicizing the FBI?

The point is that what I have described are 6 different bogeymen to distract us, make us fearful, angry, and get us to fight amongst ourselves or support policy that limits us. Every week we are given more to think about or argue. And while we are thus distracted, we are not coming up with sustainable solutions to the very real issues that affect us. This the politics of fear and division, which we must get past in order to progress and actually prosper.

The real way to deal with a bogeyman is to acknowledge the truth of it. The shadows are always scary until you reveal that there is nothing in them. This is not to say that there are no monsters in the world or that there are no threats. There are. We must study the actual facts surrounding them in order to combat them and be able to live with less fear and more hope. We must have people in our government who are not going to give in to fear themselves or encourage the fear in others, or worse, are the real monsters that threaten our nation.

In his State of the Union, the President said "the state of the Union is strong because our people are strong." He then played on our fears in this world and created divisions based upon those fears, belying his statement about our Union. He gave us bogeymen to be distracted by in the form of unauthorized immigrants, terrorists, our own regulatory agencies, and enemy states.

This past week House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes made our FBI a bogeyman.

If we truly examine these claims, I am sure that we will reveal the truth of what is threatening our nation, and being no longer distracted, can sustainably solve these issues.

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Seneca Falls

It has been a week since my eldest and I joined masses of people in Seneca Falls to march in support of women, women's rights, reproductive rights, gender rights, black rights, brown rights, religious rights, and all civil rights. In other words, we marched in support for the right to be a person.26904085_10215052196768846_5400922430513297033_n.jpg

26805500_10215052195928825_8359785749737333319_n.jpgAfter all this time, how is it that we have to have a protest to insure that we have the right to be a person? Why are we fighting about that? We should be celebrating our diversity. We should be celebrating our individuality, our unique forms of expression, and the fact that all of the different ways that each of us exist adds to our society and makes us something more.

And yet, come this Monday, there will be a vote in the Senate regarding how an individual women will or will not be allowed to govern what happens to her own body.

And yet, women who are, in court, facing the person who assaulted them are being criticized for doing so.

And yet, there are people running for office in Missouri essentially proclaiming that women who are demonstrating for their own rights are "career obsessed banshees who forego home life and children and the happiness of family to become nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she-devils."

27067106_10215052195688819_2382263433253642665_n.jpgAs a matter of law, and democracy, people are allowed to express their opinions. People can think and say how they think abortion is murder, or that rapists are somehow victims when they are confronted, or that feminism means that the concept of family is destroyed. Others, like myself and literally millions of other women and men from all backgrounds, can say those opinions are wrong and we are going to do as much as we can to not let people who are trying to suppress any civil rights into power in our government and that we will fight against any legislation that seeks to curb civil rights in any manner.

And when we succeed, we will celebrate. We will celebrate in Seneca Falls again, marching in solidarity again, and chanting how we appreciate all of our rights and means of expression. When we succeed, we will protect those rights from the assault of those who haven't yet understood that when we all can celebrate our rights, we become something greater. We become the United States.

 

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Today

Today we remember, reflect on, and celebrate a truly inspiring and great man who picked himself and thousands up to declare that they should enjoy the same rights, opportunities, and responsibilities as everyone else in this country.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered most for his famous "I have a Dream" address, but as we reflect on him we should remember more fully what he accomplished, and why that is so momentous for us.

At a time where racism and discrimination were the rule of law, he rose up, organized, and led one of the most influential movements of our nation, and did it peacefully. He engaged people to vote. He engaged people to peacefully protest in marches and through boycotts. He served and caused others to serve. He offered himself to make our nation come closer to achieving the true promise of its ideals.

He was a true hero.

Today I could say a great many things relating to how we are still trying to achieve Dr. King's dream. I could go on at length to try to relate how, despite his work and that of the Civil Rights Movement, we still have a great deal of work to do. It would all be true.

The harsh truth is that among our people, the citizens of the United States, there are groups that are treated as "not us", and worse than that as "less than us." Still.

Today, at this point, no one should have to say that "Black Lives Matter." Women should not have to march again and again to say that they have the right to their own body, or that they are equal in every way to men. Native Americans should not have to protest to have clean water. The entire LGBTQ community should not have to fight to simply be acknowledged and welcomed as human beings. No one should have to be afraid because of what their religion is.

Black Lives Matter.

Women are equal in every way to men.

Water is Life.

No matter your orientation or how you express gender, you are human, and one of us.

Freedom of religion applies to all religions, and all are welcome.

Always.

I realize that these are small and simplistic ways of describing a much larger and pervasive problem that this nation continually faces, and I don't want to be that simple, but sometimes that is the best way to grow awareness, and we need to be more aware of what we are doing.

Today We, the citizens of the United States, should be protecting and providing for all of the people in our country, embracing the diversity within that group, and celebrating as equals.

We don't. Yet.

Today We can still be, and should be, inspired and moved by a hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a Dream of brotherhood and harmony.

Today....  is everyday. 

 

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Good Business

"Good business is where you find it."

This is a line from the 1987 movie, "Robocop", which, in addition to being about action, explosions, and robots, characterized a very cynical view of how our nation views the relationship between business and public services. In the film the fictional corporation, Omni Consumer Products, boasts about privatization and profit from every sector imaginable; from military to healthcare, to police and everything in between. The movie then demonstrates the magnitude of harm that results from treating public services as enterprises for profit. There is increased poverty and crime. There is an ever widening income gap. There are people who are dying because they can't afford services.

This is what I think about when someone like Alex Azar speaks of increasing competition in the healthcare system in order to improve it.

Alex Azar, former general counsel for Health and Human Services under George W Bush and a former president for the large pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly and Company, is going through the confirmation process in the Senate to become the US Secretary for Health and Human Services. It is true that he has thorough knowledge of both government and private business approaches to the healthcare system, and has profited greatly in the pharmaceutical industry from the high costs that pharmaceutical companies charge for their products. Some could say that makes him a perfect symbol of what our nation's healthcare has become.

Azar recognizes that there is a major problem with the high costs of healthcare in our country, and favors the approach to lowering healthcare costs through more competition in the market.

Healthcare has been privatized for ages, and there has been some competition between different providers, insurance companies, some pharmaceutical companies and the like all looking to profit from delivery of a service that is supposed to work for the public good. However, despite the fact that we've done it for so long, treating services like healthcare as for profit industries has been one of the worst ideas we have ever embraced. While on the surface it seems like a good idea in that it is supposed to lower costs, save taxpayer dollars, stimulate innovation, etc... the reality is that for public services, there never has been or ever will be a truly free market, so all of the assumed benefits never materialize.

Using healthcare as an example, costs steadily rise, despite there being different providers in competition with one another. To help people cope with the increasing costs of healthcare, more taxpayer dollars are spent on healthcare services and pharmaceuticals. The innovation that is supposed to be driven by a desire to provide better and more efficient services in order to create profit focuses instead on treatments that may take symptoms away, but never seems to address the issue enough to provide a true cure. In many cases, that treatment becomes a large expense that a patient must pay for the rest of their lives. In some instances, such as using opioid based pain treatment, that treatment causes further issues and higher costs.

Certainly, this becomes "good business." It is a guaranteed money maker with a truly captive demographic.

Is it the best way to serve the public?

Literally everyone needs healthcare.

It is the definition of a public service for the general welfare of the people. It is a basic human right. When treated as such, as happens in other countries, research is driven by a desire to actually result in healthy, functioning people. The innovations do happen, and the economic benefit is shared by everyone in that they can now be more productive in other fields. Healthcare providers are still well compensated for their service. They also still enjoy the prestige earned by their position and career. The governments that act as the single payer insurance are able to negotiate lower costs for the pharmaceuticals and services provided. The communities that have this public service provided by their government prosper and thrive, thanks in no small part to the security and stability afforded them by not having to worry about the high cost of healthcare.

We can do this in the United States, and in so doing create a situation where people prosper better here. I have no doubt that with the lower costs, the stability of better health, and the security in knowing that healthcare, if needed, is provided, more businesses will thrive and be profitable.

So I disagree with Alex Azar's approach to addressing the increasing cost of healthcare for us. I disagree with the idea asserted by the fictional Omni Consumer Products, that "good business is where you find it"; with the idea that public services are best served by profit motivation. Public services should benefit the public, and are best served with that in mind.

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The Environment and Jobs

salmon_creek.JPGWe can talk a lot about the atrocities that have been committed to our environment, from poisoning water sources with oil and chemical spills and waste dumping to the toxic exhaust that permeates our atmosphere and causes health problems such as emphysema, cancer, birth defects, to pouring literally tons of carbon in the atmosphere and accelerating the Earth's climate change processes.

We say these things must stop, and that we must conserve our environment so that we can have better health, appreciate our natural surroundings, and be more connected with our planet. We say that we must save our planet because it is the only one we have.

Unfortunately, we've been saying things like that for decades and that message isn't enough to truly make the changes we need. Certainly, because of the actions of environmental activists we progressed with conservation and clean up efforts and regulations (so much so that some claim the environment is clean now and we can stop. It isn't. We can't). Perhaps, to do build on that work, we should highlight some more of the benefits of paying more attention to our environment, specifically economic benefits.

The most obvious job creator right now is working to develop and install renewable energy projects. This creates manufacturing, construction, installation, engineering, research, development, and sales jobs right away. In New York State we have had some unfortunate experiences with a few companies that could provide renewable energy jobs, but we've also had some excellent experiences as well. There are a host of competing solar companies right now, with homeowner tax incentives to help defray the cost of going solar, and more people are getting quotes and buying into this industry, which will only make it more lucrative and affordable. Similarly, there are opportunities for wind generators to be constructed, and good incentive for more areas to invest there as well. A simple job search shows the many opportunities available for jobs in renewable energy.

Renewable energy does not just create jobs; it creates an opportunity for consumers to lower their energy costs in the long run. This, in turn, allows for money to be spent elsewhere in the economy and stimulates growth. It also cuts down on carbon emissions, which can help to slow the rate of climate change and thus the costly effects that climate change is already having on us. Cutting down fossil fuel burning emissions also helps to have cleaner air, water, and soil, and decreases the health effects of pollution, and so cuts health care costs.

The ever present and looming argument against investing in renewable energy has always been the cost, and too few have been supportive of the federal government subsidizing renewables in order to get them implemented quicker. There has been arguments that the government would then be picking winners and losers in the energy market. Truly though, the government has been doing that for decades by subsidizing fossil fuel industries and perpetuating a need for fossil fuel development while stifling development of renewable industries. This could, and should, change.

While addressing climate change we can talk about ways to further mitigate the effects of the greater amount of carbon in the atmosphere. We can encourage planting and nurturing of broad leaf trees. Trees are the greatest consumer of atmospheric carbon on the planet, and we have taken this away with deforestation. There can be great incentives for landowners from urban to rural to plant on their property, with the effect of beautifying their investment, making it worth more, while contributing to the fight against climate change. For some areas there may even be companies put to work for reforestation.

park.JPGEcotourism should also be encouraged as much as possible as it creates jobs in outdoors industry manufacture (such as bicycles, tents, hiking equipment, etc...) as well as jobs for park and recreation areas. Central New York alone can be a great area to explore and escape to. Encouraging birding, sport fishing, hiking, bicycling, camping, or just having an afternoon at the park can encourage jobs from guides to area maintenance to concessions and equipment sales and rentals. Aside from creating employment, encouraging outdoor hobbies also reduces health care costs by encouraging active and healthy lifestyles.

Agriculture benefits immensely from more environmentally sustainable approaches to farming. Farmers can reduce their costs of fertilizers, use irrigation more wisely, and get healthier yields to start with. Encouraging farms to produce more diverse foods benefits the farm from selling more produce to local consumers, but also allows the demand of local consumers to be satisfied. The diverse crops also mitigate the carbon in the atmosphere, and so can contribute to decreasing the rate of climate change. If the farms are selling more locally, then transportation costs can be reduced and carbon emissions due to transportation can be reduced. We can encourage more farms to cultivate beehives and ensure better pollination and better produce yields. If farms also set some land aside for solar or wind projects, they may find a new revenue stream to help their operations. Add to that planting areas of forest to maintain, and give tax credits or grants for doing so, they reduce their overall operational costs.

All of this benefits everyone in our society eventually in a very real economic way, and rather than a trickle down effect, it has more to do with building higher from a stronger foundation. By encouraging environmentally friendly and sustainable industry, we not only reduce many ill health and climate effects, we reduce several costs related to healthcare and energy production, and create sustainable jobs. That is a very real and positive approach for America. That's what we should be voting for.

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The Tax Cut

I know that we are all preparing and celebrating the holidays of this season, and that is a good thing.
However, we still need to face the vote that is likely to happen this week regarding tax reform and why this particular bill is bad for us.

Did I say it was bad for us? Yes. Yes, I did.

The president calls it the greatest Christmas present we could have. He's wrong.

First, this cuts taxes on corporations by a huge amount, and offers little to balance out the loss of income. Inevitably this will mean cutting programs that are necessary for the health of the people of this nation. Already this congress has not reinstated the CHP program that allows children to have have health coverage and therefore keeps them healthy and alive. What further cuts are coming? I will be honest, I am all for going through each program that the federal government spends on, analyzing its worth, and redetermining funding for it depending on what it achieves. That's just a responsible thing to do. I am not for doing that simply on the basis of cutting what are termed as "entitlements," as that isn't a fair way of doing things. The government has a mandate to provide for the general welfare of the people, and should not be hampered from doing so.

Second, the bill still has a provision to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, which is not needed and by no means should be encouraged. It destroys a valuable ecosystem, a whole people's way of life, and encourages climate change by encouraging use of fossil fuels. We should be investing in renewable energy sources, not doubling down on an energy source that will eventually run out and the use of which is more harmful than good for us.

Third, and in tandem with the first point, this is a return to the "trickle down theory" of economics, which time and again has proven not to work. Most recently Kansas attempted this to save their state economy. It backfired. Jobs were not created. Growth was not achieved. Their economy went further down the tubes. Corporations don't create jobs just because they have extra money to spend. They give it to their investors, who either hoard it or only spend a little on their own happiness. While some of that spending may mean a few people get paid for a few goods and services, the bulk of the money remains in the wealthy person's pocket. Corporations create jobs depending on increased demands for their goods and services, and that increased demand can only occur if a larger amount of people have money to spend. That larger amount of people will always be the middle class, who are mostly not wealthy investors. Far better to look at ways to create jobs, get money into the hands of those that are not wealthy, and get the economy going strong from the bottom, the foundation, up.

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Aggression on December 7

Today we should think about aggression and its cost. Why? Today marks the anniversary of aggression against the United States that ultimately led to our involvement in World War II, where we fought against fascism and imperialism. We marked ourselves firmly on the side of fighting for freedom and democracy, of defending those that needed help, and in hopes of attaining peace in the world.
Yesterday our president threw that notion of our nation right out by ignoring hope for peace in the Middle East in favor of currying political favor with his base. By declaring that the US will now recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel he has destabilized relations not only with allies in the Middle East, but around the world, and has taken the US effectively away from mediating any peaceful solution in the Middle East. This also serves to fuel anti US sentiment worldwide and make it easier for terrorists to radicalize and recruit more.
In one aggressive move our president has made the world less safe for US citizens, contrary to what he is charged to do.
Some will say that we are supporting Israel, who is a strong ally and in need of support in the area due to the aggressions of neighboring Arab states. They will assert that the president is taking a firm stance against terrorists. They will say that we needed to take this side to promote democracy.
Nothing can be further from the truth in this situation. Promoting democracy is best served by bringing peace to the area. We already take a firm stance against terrorists and are continually fighting to end their attacks. Israel, as our ally, should want true peace as supportive of their prosperity.
Our own interests in the Middle East are best served by promoting peace in the area, respecting all of the players, and bringing about some accord. It is far easier to do business with a friend than an enemy.
We have to resist this act of aggression in the interests of our own safety and prosperity, as well as promoting democracy and peace worldwide. We have to resist being those we fought in World War II.

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The Tax Scam and the Environment

The Senate is voting on a tax bill that harms our nation in numerous ways, but one of the most egregious offenses to provides for is opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling interests. The idea is that increased drilling will create another economic boom for Alaska. However it will not only harm a fragile ecosystem, it will contribute to accelerating climate change, further pollutes soil and water, devastate wildlife populations, and, not least of all, yet again damage the way of life of indigenous people. If this is permitted it sets a precedent that could affect not only Alaska, but our entire population. It does not need to happen, and should not happen.

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