Friday, June 01, 2012

Wants -- Don't Wants in 2012 Election

The News and Politics category at BlogHer is engaging their readers on the topic of the upcoming 2012 Election.    Their writer's observation has been  that individuals often write what they do want, but some may prefer to express their thoughts by saying what they don't want to occur in this election and/or to our nation. I'm reminded of what's occurring politically in California.

The time is ripening for California political campaigning to intensify, since our Primary Election is upcoming Tuesday, June 5th.    This will be our State's first election since redistricting changes.  Also, Primary Election voters can now vote across Party lines.   Another major Primary change is that the winners will be the top two vote-getters regardless of political party.  I supported these changes, but such a system is not without risk.  Many candidates for an office could result in a vote split allowing final candidate selections in November to be individuals least preferred by a majority of voters.  All those who cast their ballot for those candidates who were eliminated might have had a total vote count greater than either or both winners received

Below is a comment I wrote rather quickly at BlogHer, so is far from inclusive about what I do want candidates to discuss in this 2012 election.  I thought with all the election issues this year maybe I should have more across-generations discussions.   Exchanging views seems to me would be important since many of the blogs I usually encounter reflect similar points of view to mine. 

What do you think?  Are you able to have civil discourse with those who have different views than yours?   

(Your comments are welcome here and/or there, but you'll need to register with BlogHer which I did several years ago.  I don't know what specific aspects of the political discourse they'll introduce, or how frequently in the future.  They seem to be a primarily younger women's site, do have a "Senior" sub-section under their Life category -- where I recently commented, also.  Men are welcome at BlogHer, too, the last I knew.  Ronni Bennett at "Time Goes By" wrote some guest blog articles there a few years ago engaging some younger readers in some interesting dialogue. 

I do want to hear a REAL debate on issues between Presidential candidates.

I do want them to discuss the critical issues facing this nation.

I do want them to avoid injecting social issues into the conversation as a way to divisively distract voters.

I do want to know the contributors names to all Super Pacs.

I do want Social Security preserved (not changed to private investing) for the sake of my children and their children, generations to come, as can be done despite rhetoric to the contrary.

I do want health care coverage plans for all to be increasingly made available and not cut as promoted by some. 

I do want a Congress committed to working together to solve the nation's problems instead of focusing on being obstinate.

I do want Congress to institute a combination of budget cuts and revenue increases that address our deficit in gradual stages and not in one gigantic traumatic action.

I do want to see the middle class re-established in this country (remember the 99%.)

I do want to see tax rate increases for the 1% as Warren Buffett and others affected believe to be warranted in this time of our nation's need.

I do want to see wasteful subsidies such as with the oil industry reduced or eliminated since those companies are making millions in profit.

I do want to see budget reductions in military spending which even they say are warranted.

There are a lot of other matters I want and others I don't want, but this is a start.


  1. Our primary is coming up, too!!!! I want what you want!!!!

  2. Like your list. I mostly want to preserve SS for future generations. None of the candidates at the National level have said current benefits would be changed. Also Medicare is an issue. I want Medicare overhauled to take care of the truly needy. Folks who can afford to pay more should. I don't know how that would work (the devil is always in the details).

    So-called "oil industry subsidies" which are really the same tax breaks all companies get. They are not an issue for me but Ethanol subsidies certainly are. Ethanol use is wrecking food prices and food is very important and a non-elastic commodity.

    I support Simpson-Bowles and think those who call it the "cat-food" commission do a disservice to those who formulated the recommendations. Obama appointed the members of this commission with input from Congress. Its like working with a mediator and then saying you won't play after negotiations are over, and you didn't get your way. Some Democrats like to tax and Spend, but as Bill Clinton said, them days are over....especially if you care about future generations.

    Lately, Congress has been working together for good or nought, and unless you are prepared to give away democracy, that's how it will continue. I like divided government, however.

    As for social issues, I am prolife and prochoice (not for me, but other women should govern their own bodies). I do not want subsidies for Planned Parenthood extended. Targeted specific funds for breast care and STD prevention are okay, but send them directly to the Susan B. Komen Foundation and/or other NGOs in this field.

    No organization receiving tax dollars should be allowed to contribute to a particular election campaign. What PP did is wrong wrong wrong.

    I do want subsidies for NPR and other goals like infrastructure funds to states extended. Pay for it with a rise in the gasoline tax.

    I want a health care system like that in Utah. Every state should fashion its own I think.

    Whatever we do, we must pay for it. The one percent cannot pay for all of it, that is a numeric pipe dream. Tax code overhaul is the answer...flat taxes for everyone.

  3. I wrote a long response, and the message above says it was published, but I don't know where it went. Weird.

    Basically, I want many things. Simpson-Bowles for one. Think it will happen?? Dianne

    1. Your long comment is here! Who knows what happens sometimes, but glad your views didn't get lost out there in wherever.

  4. Big topic, for sure.

    I agree with all your points, and most of Dianne's. Here are a couple of additions and also responses based on my disagreements:

    1. I want to see firm, fair, regulations imposed on all of our financial institutions.

    2. I want to see federal contributions to Planned Parenthood increased dramatically, with no restrictions. Over-population is the basis for most of the problems in the U.S. and the world, and women's health generally is a big problem among the poor.

    3. I want to see the draft restored as part of a "Service for America" program for all young men and women. This would be a big step in breaking the dominance of the military-industrial complex within our government, and heading off future unjustified wars.

    4. Agree with you that oil subsidies should end, and with Dianne that ethanol subsidies are particularly bad. We need a bipartisan commission to look at all corporate subsidies and recommend which that should be dropped or modified.

    5. We need the same type of commission to look into federal funding of job training (some 46 programs) and remaining federal funding of general welfare programs. There's a need to separate the wheat from the chaff, and eliminate the chaff.

    There could be many more items, but our combined lists should give a candidate plenty to think about (assuming candidates actually think deeply).

  5. Thanks, Dick, for providing some more important issues we'd like our candidates to discuss. You've pinpointed some really important ones.

  6. I read your list and it is a good one. Here in Georgia I have given up talking politics with people around me. It is discouraging to try to have a good discussion with people who gave up thinking for themselves and only listen to Fox News and propaganda from mindless Georgian politicians. I believe now that we are going to an oligarchy type of government and that the “silent majority” as it were has not figured it out yet. Money has been in the culture of this country from the beginning and at the end it will destroy it.

  7. Your experience with individuals who have a narrow perspective is not unique based on what friends in other states have told me they're encountering. I, too, am concerned about the type government we could have. I'm always disappointed when little more than half of registered voters actually cast a ballot in Presidential elections. Other elections draw just over a third of voters. I wonder what has to happen for people to care about what kind of government and nation we have?

  8. I like your list and would add Dick's proposals, too. And if I had all that I wanted, it would include •Separation of church & state: No tax funds for religious organizations and, the other side of the coin, no tax-free status for church properties.
    •No cuts whatsoever for public schools and libraries.
    •Withdrawal of the U.S. from all its wars. The only reason the politicians seem to want to reduce social spending is to enable the continuous waste of our treasure in war.
    •Zero tax breaks for moving manufacturing or any other kind of jobs off shore.
    •Jail time and meaningful fines for white-collar crimes.
    •Decriminalization of marijuana.

    1. You've added some really important issues. They seem like such common sense matters, but our lawmakers prevailing convoluted thinking processes seem to prevent them from seeing the forest for the trees -- or maybe they're so focused on the forest they're oblivious to the individual trees. Maybe they're attending to only a select few trees as they bend and bow to the monied forces influence.

      I've wondered if our legislative branches should have term limits? Is there any way to curtail the number of lobbyists? More and more they seem to be the true legislators and those we elect are merely their puppets.

  9. Dick when I completed my MA in Demography in the early 1970s, overpopulation was a hot issue. Now birth rates are dropping all over the world. Births in Muslim dominated courties a different problem. Has to do with the status of women.

    The 40 years I worked in the field of Demography and much discussion took place. Contraception was pushed by the big Pharmas (Depro provera, birth control pills, etc.). Some saw this push as racist. Eventually, Economic Development got a hearing, and you see the results today.

    Some think the way to "control" births is to issue contaceptives. Actually, contraception has always been around, especially since 1800 with the Industrial Revolution, but even before that. Victorian family a MYTH. Contraception not a new need for government "help"...keep government out of it.

    Statistical data show Folks understood how to control the numbers of children per family for eons. Births Linked to crops and food supply. Much evidence exists but I can't put it here. Completed a very long research paper in May 2012 on the topic of contraception, women's movements and the drop in the births tied to the Industrial Revolution for my MA degree (grade=A). (Farmers need live kids, workers in cities don't).

    Much historical research on population from Cambridge University (England).

    Life is a tradeoff. If funds are in short supply (and they are), money would be better spent on children's health care. I would rather see tax dollars go to the S-CHIP programs than Planned Parenthood. You know forestry, I know contraception and population issues. Defund Planned Parenthood (i.e. tax dollars, private funds different).


    1. I recall hearing prominent individuals discussing the over-population issues in third world countries and how they decided the best approach to resolving the population, food and health problems. They justified their support of planned parenthood based on the fact that what they had learned was the primary reason families had so many children was because parents knew a certain number of children would likely die and they needed to be certain to have enough workers to help support the family. Once planned parenthood was implemented in combination with increased health care and better farming methods those families/communities were more likely to begin to prosper.

    2. JoAnn, the folks pushing contraception had the microphone for a long time. I worked on the Staff of the Select Committee on Population for the US Congress and we heard from all of them. I remember Ravensworth suggesting all we needed to do was drop condoms over the jungles of central America and the population issues would resolve themselves.

      When cooler heads prevailed, researchers discovered what people needed was clean water and access to the implements to grow their own food. Microeconomics has also paid off in many places. Small loans to "Small" business people, usually women, led to improved economic circumstances.

      I am sure you have heard about the movement to ensure small producers benefit from fair trade. David and I have tried for years to buy coffee and other products traded fairly with producers in developing countries.

      The old axiom, give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for life.

      Access to health care, sustainable farming practices, good water all play a huge role in bringing down infant mortality in these places. Lower infant mortality means much. Demographic theory is that lower death rate meant lower birth rates. Women always knew what they had to do contraceptive wise. They were not motivated to constrain their fertility before the infant death rate decreased. The drop in the infant death rates is tied to economic development. Karl Marx acknowledged that much.

    3. I don't know about Ravensworth. Sounds like a pretty farfetched idea, but then there have been quite a few of those offered in Congress

      You and I both know there is research and then there's research. Theories and statistics are important, but they're just that. Universality is significant. New theories, sub-theories, evolving facts alter statistics which may only be true for any particular time and place. How long they prevail is another matter. I'm always interested in those for whom the research, theory or statistic does not apply -- given our highly individualistic nature as human beings -- our differences are what I value in us.

      The foundation to which I referred is funded by private funds acquired through technology profits. I believe they promoted a package approach that might require variation in any given setting -- contraception, health and farming. The latter two would include clean water if that needed to be a component. Once the people begin to have basic needs met they can progress toward economic development.

      Yes, I'm familiar with the small loan concept and various groups who are proponents of same, plus results after intervention. I think it may be more productive than much of the foreign aid that gets siphoned off before it ever reaches those the money is intended to help.

      Personally, I don't believe women have always known how to practice contraception, or for some, even been able to do so. I think there have been cultural, religious and/or spiritual beliefs, or other factors that have prevented some women from having the freedom and right over their own bodies and functions. Even today in our country there are those who would impose their belief system on me, whereas I am willing to practice my beliefs and freely allow them to practice their own. I think every woman should be educated about her body functions and has the right to make decisions about her own body. Education simply permits more intelligent choices based on the individual's personal beliefs, situation.

    4. Demographic historical research shows couples have long known how to practice various methods to limit births. Also, much evidence exists to show abortion was used when contraception failed. What has changed over time are the contraceptive methods employed. Also, the status of women has improved in many places including the US and this always leads to fewer children.

      Yes, I look at group statistics, that is what demographers do. Group statistics are used to assess need, develop remedies targeted to the greatest number, construct social programs, and then work for legislative means to implement the programs. Later, researchers assess how well programs work and then the cycle begins again if the programs are not doing what they were intended to do. At least that is how it should work. Closing things down when they are no longer needed or wanted is difficult owing to entrenched interests(Dick's point above about employment training programs). Throughout my career I was involved in various aspects of this fascinating process.

      Generally, social programs, medical research, etc. are designed to do the most good for the greatest number. Take child hood vaccinations. Yes, the occasional child may have a negative outcome, but innoculations benefit the group.

      Inevitably, unintended consequences arise no matter what we humans do, some positive and some negative, and/or some individuals are not helped. This is the major shortcoming of any government effort.

      Ravensworth was a big muckytymuck in Population and birth control circles in the early 1970s. I believe he was with USAID. He wanted USAID to fund multi-colored condoms for the air drop over Central America. He was not a Congress person, but many of them listened to him. Many did not.

      Over the years, I have known a number of individuals who worked for USAID or an NGO in the areas of medical, epidemiological or another aspect of public health assistance. I have also had colleagues who served in the Peace Corps and other efforts to help people around the world. One fellow in particular, in Nepal to teach statistics to school children became involved in a water project.

      In the 1970s, I dated a man on the board of the Guttmacher Institute. All this exposure made me an eyewitness to the successes and failures in the area of public health. Perhaps a different view from your perspective, but a view nevertheless.

    5. I respect your view and the value of viable demographic studies as a way to understand our world. Their conclusions provide guidance for addressing problems to formulate group policy in the effort to bring about positive change, generally, in the human condition. I just think the statistical results are not necessarily the end-all be-all. Certainly, no system is perfect, I just think provision is needed for those octagonal pegs that don't fit into the round or square holes of criteria we establish on the basis of demographic studies statistics.

      I do understand the views, moral stance and perspective -- the justifications for the rationale of those who think differently about what I've said here, but -- we agree to disagree for some of the reasons I've noted here. ;-)

      I enjoy your engaging in the discussions here and any thoughts you may have on future topics that may emerge. Your background and experience provides unique information from which we can all learn. I think expressing our varied views and opinions is important.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I moved this comment which is a reply to Xtreme English above.

  11. I would add that until we have election reform and get the money out of politics all else we want is just a pipe dream.

    Planned Parenthood is often the only medical care poor women get. Why is it such a hot button issue? Tax money is wasted on so many other programs that do no good I am always amazed when Planned Parenthood is targeted. I know the religious right hate it because it touches on abortion, but that's such a miniscule part of the organizations work that I find it just stupid to throw the baby out with the bath water.

    1. Darlene, poor people have access to Medicaid and can obtain what they need contrceptive-wise via that health care service. (I know this from personal experience.) Planned Parenthood is not the only game in town. Other NGOs also offer assistance. (Poor children have access to S-Chip. Poor seniors have Medicare.)

      The issue for the prolife folks is that their tax dollars are going for something the oppose morally. The Hyde ammendment bans federal tax dollars going for abortion. Monies to PP are fungible, and can be used anywhere, including abortions. PP is a lobby, or an "interest" to put it another way, and as such like every other interest group in Washington DC feeding at the public trough.

  12. Federal funds for Planned Parenthood cannot be used for abortions.

    1. True, the Hyde Ammendment says that, but the money is fungible and can be used wherever it is needed, wanted, etc. At least that is what social conservatives believe, and that's why they hate PP so much.

  13. Social conservatives tried to make the fungible funds argument when they wanted to cut all support of Planned Parenthood. Ultimately, Congress rejected the claim and continued PP funding. Nary a social conservative has been seen to jump up and shout "fungible" when the question involves my tax dollars going to religious organizations whose ideas I do not support.

    It's hard to think of a more immoral act than bringing an unwanted child into the world, especially into a poverty-stricken corner of the world. Any organization that works to prevent that by giving women the choice of how they want their bodies used has my support.