Tara's Thoughts

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

In the face of  the massive, ongoing power-grab by the right-wing conservatives in the service of their corporate masters there has been little to cheer about in recent months.  Item by item we have seen our constitutional protections threatened, our rights degraded and our societal safeguards pulled out from under our feet. 

Underlying so much of these losses is the fact that our politicians are almost completely bought and paid for by corporations looking to curry favor from elected officials.  And in the face of such large amounts of money, most politicians lose any shred of integrity they may have had and think only of how they will win re-election when their current term is up. By accepting large corporate campaign donations the elected official feels obligated to make political and legislative decisions that favor their corporate donors – usually at the expense of the middle class, the working poor, seniors, the mentally ill and other vulnerable groups, not to mention the environment.

BUT!  We finally have  some good news as a result of the passage of Ballot Measure H which passed in yesterday’s Los Angeles election. Measure H is the first step in changing the way elections are held in the state of California.  Establishing public funding for political campaigns is the only way we will ever get our democracy out of the clutches of big money and level the playing field so that qualified candidates can run for office without having to seek out or accept corporate or private donations.  When elections are publicly funded the elected officials will not be beholden to any donor. They will be able to do the job they were elected to do without corporate influence and without spending – as they do now – almost 30% of their day fund-raising for their next election rather than doing the people’s business.

Public funding for campaigns exists now in 7 states and it works!  Read on for a statement from the California  Clean Money Campaign:

http://www.caclean.org/progress/

Yes on H logo -- Support Fair Elections!

Voters Resoundingly Say “YES” to Fair Elections in Los Angeles!                                                                               

Last night, Los Angeles residents sent a message to  leaders across the state and across the country:  It’s time to end corporate and big money special interest control of our political system.

By an overwhelming 3-1 margin, 75% of Los Angeles residents voted “YES!” on Measure H, the Los Angeles Clean Money, Fair Elections measure.

The immediate ramification of Measure H is that bidders on large city contracts will no longer be allowed to make campaign contributions to elected officials who decide who wins – some of the most potentially corruptive campaign contributions one could imagine.

But the most important result of Measure H is lifting the maximum balance in the City’s public financing campaign trust fund.  This will eventually allow L.A. to move to full, Clean Money, Fair Elections public funding of campaigns, so that candidates don’t take big money from any special interest donors and are accountable only to the voters.  And believe us, when the time is right, we’ll be asking you all to help demand that it does!

This victory has statewide and national implications.  As Nick Nyhart, President of the national Public Campaign said:

“There should be no doubt about it – this is a victory that will boost the fortunes of money and politics reform far beyond LA.”

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I couldn’t have said it better so I’m quoting a recent post by Meredith Menden:

“Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit!

We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

LET’S SEE….

That’s $585 X 180= $105,300

per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

What about those special

education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an

hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

Wait a minute — there’s

something wrong here! There sure is!

The average teacher’s salary

(nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days

= $277.77/per day/30

students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

Make a teacher smile; repost this to show appreciation for all educators.

Update: I’m glad that many people have shown their support for teachers by reposting this note, but I am not the original author. I received this as an anonymous chain letter email, and I wanted to share it to support the public workers of Wisconsin.”

Are you aware that most of our elected officials spend 1/3 of their day fund-raising for their next election instead of doing the people’s business?

Most of our economic and social justice problems can be traced to corporate donations buying our politicians and civic leaders. Money from special interests corrupts the system and drives up the cost of winning an election making it virtually impossible to run for office without huge sums of money from large corporate donors.

On March 8 California has an opportunity to level the playing field by passing Measure H. Public funding is a system that is working in 8 states and has a proven track record of removing the conflict of interest that exists when politicians are beholden to the corporate donors that support their campaigns.

Measure H will allow those elected officials who opt to use public funds to actually do their jobs instead of spending 30% of their time fund-raising for their next election.

Please read about Measure H and do what you can to support its passage. The Yes on H web site will answer all your questions.

http://www.yesfairelections.org/

California Gull

Image via Wikipedia

This is a reprint of an article from yesterday’s Salt Lake Tribune:  I want to personally thank  Tribune columnist Robert Kirby for a welcome reality check.  In an era of absurd news items this is one of the more absurd of late.

The State Bird of Utah is…. the California seagull(!?!) And now they want a state gun!

“A bit of personal disclosure seems in order before I start. Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, is a friend of mine.

Carl and I live in the same neighborhood. I used to be his home teacher. His wife Sherry is a wonderful woman, who, like my wife, struggles daily with the misfortune of being married to a lunatic.

That said, I do not share Carl’s uber-conservative politics. He knows I don’t vote for him. In fact, whenever I see Carl on TV, I want him to shut up. He won’t, though, but then neither will I.

Carl is currently sponsoring a resolution that would make the Browning model 1911 handgun Utah’s official handgun, a move I find completely ridiculous.

First, because we need an Official State Firearm like we need a hole in our … um, never mind. We just don’t need one.

But if we did, it shouldn’t be the model 1911, even though famed Utah gunsmith John Moses Browning invented it.

I get that we have some official state symbols, including a few which actually make sense — the state animal is the Rocky Mountain elk, state fish the Bonneville cutthroat trout, and coal is the state rock.

Then there are the head scratchers, such as the state cooking pot, fossil, tartan, vegetable, HISTORIC vegetable, star, anti-depressant, grass, dance, colonoscopy, hymn, etc.

Note: I made up a few of those. I’ll let you figure out which ones.

I’m against the proposed Utah state gun for the same reason I’m against the California gull as the Utah state bird — it’s a poor fit and representative of Utah only by the thinnest of margins.

The seagull (flybyus excretus) became the Utah state bird not because it’s indigenous to Utah or, frankly, even motivational. It’s because of religion. Seagulls reportedly once ate all the crickets threatening Mormon pioneer crops.

Religion is also behind the official state emblem (beehive), state bug (honeybee), state flower (sego lily), and state vehicle (minivan). None of these are particularly inspirational or even solely specific to Utah.

Carl wouldn’t agree. According to him, the Model 1911 is “an implement of freedom that has defended America for 100 years. … This firearm is Utah.”

With all disrespect, no, it’s not. If you want a gun that is Utah, it should be the Hot Glue Gun. After all, more Utahns own one of those than a .45-caliber automatic.

Scrapbooking, church crafts, weird hobbies and jury-rigged fixes, the hot glue gun has contributed far more to making Utah what it is today than the Model 1911.

Like an actual firearm, a glue gun can be used inappropriately by fools and criminals. I’m both. Following a hiking accident last year, I tried fixing a split toenail with a hot glue gun. I immediately wished for a Utah state burn ointment.

On the bright side, perhaps there’s a loophole in Carl’s Utah state firearm resolution. If it is adopted, maybe then, like the California seagull, it will be against the law to shoot them.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com.

There is a whole lot of the pot calling the kettle black going on these days. Now, before you react to that statement read on.

 For those of you in what we call the “younger generations” who may not be familiar with it, that phrase has nothing to do with skin color. In my grandparents generation most frying pans were made out of iron. Which is a black metal. Most tea kettles – which sat on the stove opposite the frying pan – were silver. Probably made out of aluminum. So the pot calling the kettle black is a reference to those statements where you project your own choices, deficits or actions onto others. Generally others who might have the power to point out to you your own hypocrisy. Here’s one of my favorite Jewish teaching sayings meant to encourage you to look at yourself through other’s eyes before you decide what your reality may or may not be:

“If one person calls you a horse ignore them. If two people call you a horse think about it. If three people call you a horse buy a saddle.”

I’ll end this with one of the wisest statements I’ve ever heard anyone say. “Don’t believe everything you think.”   Dr. Wayne Dyer


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As a member of the Americana-Folk/Rock band, John Zipperer & Friends, Tara performs in around Los Angeles, CA (with an occasional out-of-town appearance). Come see for yourself why John Zipperer's CD "Full Circle" has been on the top 25 of the Roots Music Report Album Chart for over a year!

Tara Sitser - Author / Singer/Songwriter

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