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Blame it on Social Security

The United States is running a one trillion dollars a year budget deficit, and is sixteen trillion in debt. The right wing insists that it is all the fault of social programs and Social Security in particular. The reader should remember that in 2001 the USA had a $236 billion surplus with a promise to grow in the future. Rather than insure the long-term stability of the nation and the social contract between its people and government, the neo-conservatives guided us to huge tax breaks and two wars conducted on credit.   Like a lottery winner on an uncontrolled spending spree, the country burned through our entire surplus, maxed out our credit cards and then raided the piggy bank. The piggy bank, in this case, is the Social Security Trust Fund. The piggy bank is now full of I.O.U.’s, and the conservatives want to welch on the deal now that the “Baby Boomers” want their money back.

Social Security is not a welfare program. Throughout our working lives, we pay into a trust fund that manages the money, using treasury bonds, eventually paying benefits in proportion to our contributions. The money in the trust fund was loaned, not given, to the federal government. Conservatives never much liked Social Security. It’s a wildly popular government program that’s totally solvent until 2033. It will be easily fixable and by then may not need fixing at all. It is an example of government that works, Conservatives cannot allow that to happen. It should be remembered that before 2008, these people wanted to convert Social Security to a Wall Street investment mechanism. As history unfolded, this would have created great security for the Bankers and Hedge Fund Managers but left the remainder of us in trouble.

We must rise with one voice and declare that bill to the trust fund has come due. The same people that took from it to fund wars and tax breaks must now pay it back. It is our money the bill is due and we want it back.

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Victims of Ayn Rand

Conventional wisdom would have you believe that women are inherently caring, compassionate and altruistic individuals. There are, however, exceptions to every rule and the late author and philosopher Ayn Rand is this exception. She is characterized by undying hatred for government, most people and the very idea of human kindness and compassion.

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The Crisis

THESE are the times that try one's soul. The summer activist and the sunshine feminist will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their causes; but they that stand by it now, deserve the love and thanks of man and woman. Inequality, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon equal rights; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as equality should not be highly rated. Conservatives, with an army of billionaires to fund their oppression, have declared that they have the right to bind us to their beliefs. If being bound in that manner is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God. [1]


The crisis of which I speak is the convergence of world and political events, poised to turn back the clock on equal rights and, in particular, women’s rights. In the Middle East and particularly in Egypt, repressive conservative policies attempt to return the rights of women to medieval levels. The Egyptian parliament attempted to introduce legislation to return to female genital mutilation (a.k.a. female circumcision). In Mississippi, a new law that targets abortion services by making restrictive requirements for doctors, may force the state’s last clinic to close. Attacks by state governments on collective bargaining often affect women disproportionately. When I attend or chronicle protest marches and actions in our area, there is always the same small group of faces.  I am heartened by the positive trend of separate groups coming together to unite against the trend created by unfettered money from Conservative supporters. The NAACP now publically supports marriage equality. The Nurses Union leads a nationwide campaign to force Wall Street to pay their fair share with a transaction tax. Unions and progressives in Wisconsin united to attempt to reverse onerous policies of their governor. The “We Are Woman” March and Rally will take place in D.C. on August 18th (see article on Page 5). The summer activists say that these attempts are Quixotic and they do not turn out, even in the summer. I believe that a spark has been ignited that will grow into a groundswell of people and groups united against the Conservative power grab. Victory will not be in a month or a year, it may take a decade to reverse the current trend, but we have begun; only complacency and inaction stand in our way.


[1] The inspiration for this article is Thomas Paine’s, The Crisis, December 23, 1776. Paine, with whom I share a birthday, wrote in a time of despair for the American Revolution. I believe that his words speak across the centuries to us now giving us encouragement to carry on.

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The Red Thread

Within Greek Mythology the thread of life is woven by the Fate Clotho, her decisions can overrule the gods. In the near future, on a brisk November day, she is has two threads in her hand, one red the other blue. What is our fate if she begins to weave with the red one? 

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Waking the Sleeping Giant

The attack on women’s rights, rights long believed settled, has been on a steady increase over the past four decades. A return to near medieval religious orthodoxies has forged an alliance with conservatives determined to march backwards to a day when workers and women had few rights. Through most of this time the Giant, women’s organizations and supporters, slowly diminished and fell asleep. Granted, activism and feminism are clearly not dead, but their gigantic voice of the 60’s and 70’s is very difficult to hear.

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