November 17, 2014 – We attacked Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11 to remove Saddam Hussein who presumably represented a potential threat to us by having weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Even though there was no imminent threat to the homeland, our leaders decided to make it so and off we went to attack a sovereign nation. We found out later that he had no WMDs and had nothing to do with 9/11 as acknowledged by then President Bush. In the meantime, the narrative was changed and the attack became a freedom agenda for the Middle East instead of protecting American people from a potential threat. The project was called Operation Iraqi Freedom. Never mind that the Iraqis did not ask us to free them, nor did the American people authorize our government to do so. Furthermore, our leaders then decided to occupy Iraq and build a nation in the western image and democracy, ignoring thousands of years of Middle Eastern history. (more…)
October 30, 2014 – The Beltway Beast: A Challenge to Our Democracy by Munir Moon is a concise look at a litany of problems with the American political system—and a glimpse at a possible solution.
Moon’s main goal is to argue against political polarization. Rather than pointing a finger at one party, individual, issue, or belief system, Moon attacks the beast that is Washington, DC: “the Military-Industrial Complex, multinational corporations, lobbyists, media, and Congress.” If it feels like a lot to tackle in one slim volume, it is; but Moon puts all these oft-discussed issues in one place in order to prime Americans for his proposed solution: a third party.
Moon asserts that The People’s Party of America could help restore balance. The PPA, as Moon presents it, would be people-centered, focusing on “equality, fairness, freedom, and justice.” Throughout the book, Moon presents practical details behind those abstractions—but he doesn’t provide all the specifics, as this is to be an open movement, a community rather than one man’s opinion. (more…)
We are supposed to be a democracy “of the people, for the people, and by the people.” U.S. lawmakers are all for more competition–just as long as they do not have to compete. This reality is underscored by the incumbency rate of almost 80% in the House and the Senate since 1964, according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics. (more…)
There has been a lot of talk about a glass ceiling against women in business and corporate boardrooms. This week’s block by the Senate for a bill that would strengthen equal pay for women is a good example of the challenges we face regarding this issue. Moreover, very little has been discussed about women’s representation when it comes to making policies and laws. The U.S. Senate, one of the two legislative bodies, is represented by a small elite group of rich old men. Women comprise 20 percent of the Senate and 19 percent of the House of Representatives even though they make up 51 percent of the population. Sadly, the U.S. is ranked 91 in the percentage of women in the national legislatures, according to a report by American University, Men Rule – The Continued Under-Representation of Women in U.S. Politics. (more…)
Something that Washington does not want you to know about and hopes that nobody else will discuss during the minimum-wage debate is take-home pay after taxes for low-wage earners. Washington claims that Americans should be paid living wages so that they can live a decent life. However, it is not willing to give up its share of the booty that it would collect from the same low-wage earners it claims to help.
For example, the federal government will collect at least 15 percent of the increased income from those low-wage earners through payroll tax. In other words, if the minimum wage goes up by a dollar, the federal government will take away, directly or indirectly, at least 15 cents of that additional dollar from the working poor.
Asking large corporations, which are in business to make money, to pay additional wages is like asking them to be saints. Government mandates do not have a major impact on large corporations, since they will figure out a way around them. After all, they can rent lawmakers; one former senator famously declared, “My vote can’t be bought, but it can be rented.” On the other hand, politicians do not pay anything from their pockets either. They will just give the money to one group and take it from another, but not from the special-interest groups that finance their campaigns. (more…)