The Spanish word for “hold hostage” is SECUESTRAR – The sequester is holding hostage all those who are about to get hit by the across-the-board meat ax. And these across-the-board automatic cuts fall heavily on the heads of little children who are being held hostage in this political standoff.
I was talking to a radio host yesterday who assured me that the hostage-takers in Congress would inevitably have to blink. He said, “Once the massive layoffs begin in the Department of Defense and cancer researchers in the Centers for Disease Control and inspectors who make sure our food and air and medicine are safe… well, they won’t let that happen.”
Oh, won’t they.
I’ve lost my faith, you see, in this Congress. Yes, there are good people and smart people and patriotic people amongst the members of Congress. But as a whole, as an institution, they function on a par with drunken idiots behind the wheel of a car careening off a fiscal cliff. And I mean no disrespect to drunken idiots. (more…)
Norma de la Rosa didn’t sleep the night before because she was afraid. Norma is the president of the El Paso Teachers Association and she’s not afraid of much. Not politicians or reporters or giving speeches before hundreds of people, but she was about to do something no one in El Paso had done before. She had invited the entire community to come to what is being called their Ground Zero. She was afraid that no one would come.
Ground Zero is what we call the pit left after an explosion. After an attack. Bowie High School was Ground Zero for hundreds of students whose futures were attacked. The students at Bowie are smart, energetic teenagers with as much right to a future as anyone else’s kids. The school is located along the border. You can throw a rock and hit Mexico. There is a high poverty rate among families. High unemployment. Many students are English Language Learners. These boys and girls need an excellent education to meet the challenges that are part of their lives.
Strong unions in Michigan have been a force in strengthening the middle class by bringing back more than 20,000 jobs while helping rescue the then-collapsing auto industry. In states with these so-called “right-to-work” laws, workers make an average of $1,500 less per year, 21 percent more people lack health insurance and workplace deaths are 51 percent higher than states without the law.
Read more here
Check out our very own Lily Eskelsen at a rally to protest Michigan’s attack on working families.
We’re all in trouble when I start a sentence with, “… and reasonable people in Congress will find a way get this done…” and the room explodes with laughter.
Because we’re in this mess for lack of a sufficient number of reasonable people. When this soap opera began, there was a standoff between Democrats and Republicans in Congress over how to balance the budget, and with the clock ticking, if they didn’t get agreement it would mean (again) the shutdown of the Federal government.
Since neither side actually wanted to see that happen with an election coming up, they agreed to put it all off until now. They said things would be different because they agreed to come back … with axes.
The deal with the devil was that if they couldn’t agree on how to balance the budget, all the Bush tax cuts – some of which helped the middle class and some of which helped the rich – would expire (as the law requires unless they are extended) AND practically everything in the national budget would be chopped by 10%.
They would just start swinging axes blindfolded at everything from funding for hurricane emergencies to after-school programs for poor kids. Chop!