The Jaded Prole

A Progressive Worker's Perspective on the political and cultural events of our time.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Addressing the Real Crisis

It is good to see the large turnout of climate protesters at the Power Shift gathering in Washington. As important as the economy is at this moment, it is dwarfed in importance by the reality of the global ecological crises which looms. We will not be the first civilization to collapse due to climate change though on a global scale we will be the largest. Today's youth will have to deal with survival in the new and awful world we've created. Unless this administration takes on adapting our nation to the very different conditions we will soon be facing, there won't be a United States in another 70 years. No issue is more vital and it is intimately tied to the economy as well. Saving the system as it is may work in the very short term but it guarantees disaster down the line.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama's Address -- A Prole's Critique

OK, so maybe Obama does "have a clue" at least about domestic issues. In his speech to the Congress and nation last night he addressed many of the issues that most concern us and I think he is on the right track. He also does well at putting the Repugs in a tight spot by preemptively countering their predictable criticism and setting the trap for their own self isolation.

A few critical questions -- I think it is great that he asks "every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training." but how can we afford to do that? An investment in funding job retraining programs for displaced workers would be a wise investment sure to pay off in taxes and economic growth but I didn't hear that and many of us won't qualify for traditional loans, especially if we are already unemployed. Let's "Leave No Adult Behind."

Healthcare -- I applaud his intent and await the possibilities but tax breaks on insurance policies and electronic records won't do it. We need a single payer program

Social Security -- He scares me on this one. We don't need a Repug lite approach of "creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans." SSI is already a tax-free universal savings account for all Americans and it would take far less money to keep it solvent indefinitely than he is committing to bailing out the banks!

As for his foreign agenda -- he still may not have a clue. I'm glad he is still committed to getting us out of Iraq but his incursions into and bombing of Pakistan only strengthen Al Qaeda and further destabilize Pakistan strengthening militant Anti-Western Islamists. His escalation of our occupation in Afghanistan is unwise and unwanted there and while he is closing Guantanamo, the Bagram gulag in Afghanistan is far, far worse. And yes, we do torture though I hope he means we have stopped. His support of Israel as it moves to the racist right also shows a lack if insight that sets the stage for further US backed atrocities.

All in all, it was a pleasure to hear an intelligent and articulate leader and that does give me some hope but we will have to stay on his case. It was my pleasure to stumble into the opportunity to converse with my local Senator, Senator Mark Warner last week where I pointed out our need to retool for a different era with a new public power grid and rail system and how that would also create jobs. I also pushed the idea of publicly funded skill re-training for displaced workers and he seemed genuinely interested and responded positively to the idea. Of course he's a politician but he is one of the better ones. I hope I planted a bug that will have some results.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

If He Only Had A Clue

He could get it fixed on Wall St.
create real jobs on Main St.
and select a better crew,
He'd end blank checks to Israel
and bring some peace to that hell
-- if he only had a clue

He could make the Congress line up
if he pressed them all to sign on
but instead he tries to woo
the right-wing crooks who hate him
and will still block and berate him
-- if he only had a clue

He could deal with all the Repugs
imprisoning the worst thugs
and save the constitution too
but instead he will continue
their imperialist venue,
-- if he only had a clue

He could close down all our gulags
and end so-called "renditions"
but this he will not do--
He could bring the world together
and address the changing weather
-- if he only had a clue