Why We Need Marriage Equality

IMG_1401Whats happening in the country right now is pretty remarkable in regards to Americans views of gay people. More and more Americans approve of same sex marriage, the latest CNN poll showed 58% of the public approves of same sex marriage. As more people realize they have gay kids, relatives, friends they realize there is no reason to discriminate against gay people. And for the upcoming generation, people under 30, they dont care in the least of someone is gay or straight. There are still ultra conservatives that are highly against gay marriage; I always wonder why those people dont spend more of an effort to reduce divorce than they do to try to deny peoples civil rights. Let me be totally clear, the way I see it and the way I understand the Constitution all citizens are to be treated equally and are able to pursue happiness. This issue is clearly a legal and moral verdict that says gays should be able to marry and be treated as equals to their non-gay peers.  Its pretty amazing that it was as recently as 2004 that Karl Rove used same sex marriage as a political wedge issue to get people out to vote for George W. Bush. The hate towards gays that that brought out was a disgrace in American history. It allowed gay youth to be bullied, beaten and killed. Karl Rove using peoples lives like that will certainly haunt him if there is an afterlife.

I want to focus on other parts of this issue; same sex marriage is good for our country, community and family itself. In the past gays had always been ridiculed, portrayed in movies as hopelessly destined to live a miserable life. In the Reagan years Ronnie was known to tell gay jokes to his buddies. Ronnie also, because of his bigotry towards gays, ignored the HIV/AIDS crisis for 7 years because he thought it was a gay disease. This of how many lives around the world would be saved today if Reagan allocated research funds to combat the disease. Now its a global epidemic with millions dying, which perhaps could have been lessened if Reagan had lifted a finger. This is an example of how discrimination against gays has actually hurt the entire world.

I want to talk about how acceptance of gay people will help the world, the U.S.A. and most importantly gay youth. When I was a kid struggling with my sexual identity I honestly didnt know what I was. Depictions of gays on TV or in the movies were all of very effeminate hairdresser type people. I knew that wasnt me so it was confusing for a teenager. I am so glad that there are positive role model examples for gay youth now, people who are willing to speak out and come out. Suicide rates among gay youth are about triple what they are of non-gay youth. Now if young people can see positive role models who are gay they can start to feel better about themselves and more accepted into society. This is where same sex marriage comes in and comes in strongly. If a young man in high school realizes he is gay and can not only deal with the fact that its ok he is gay; but he along with his non-gay friends can grow up and pursue part of the American dream that includes getting married and having a family. This is so important that the youth in our country feel that they have a future. Its equally important for the country to see that gays can and want to settle down for a longterm traditional marriage. What a great example this would show society, especially if the gay divorce rate is significantly lower than the non-gay divorce rate. Having married gay couples in a neighborhood, with or without children, would show such great stability to our nation that has a divorce rate of over 50%.  Also for those gay married couples that want children what better way is there for them to adopt, to have an arrangement to have their own kids. Stability is what this country needs and same sex marriage can bring it to our society.

Same sex marriage is vitally important to the future of our country. That high school boy no longer has to think of committing suicide he can think of a future just like his peers. For society the stability this could bring is something to learn from.  Its time to think about the future, the future of kids growing up who will one day run this country and world. People are born gay, just like they are born left handed. Its time to let the gay community become complete equals of non-gays and our society will be better off.

My goal is to have that high school boy or girl realize their future has the same opportunities and excitement as their peers. Join me in making a better future for them.


What If We Were Wrong About George W. Bush?

Image 73Today we think we know everything, we decided Bush ruined the economy; going into Iraq was the biggest military blunder the United States ever made. Adding the new Medicare entitlement, issuing TARP they were all things that we see now as a failure. After all one of the biggest drivers of the long term National debt are the Bush tax cuts. What if the way we look at things today is in fact proven wrong in history.

Lets start with Iraq; common knowledge now says going to war to remove Saddam Hussein was a complete waste of American and Iraqi lives, it took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan; a war that could have ended perhaps 10 years earlier if properly fought. But what if in history that time of invading Iraq was what made Muslim countries realize they didnt have to live under a dictator, they too could have free lives. Women could have equal rights with men. This could have been the catalyst for the Arab Spring; toppling the dictator in Egypt. And as we are seeing unfold the uprising of the Syrian people. Right now its an ugly mess that no one knows what to do about. Egypt seems like it could turn into an extreme state; Libya is a mess and mass slaughter is going on in Syria. But, what if, this is how freedom works. Perhaps in 50 years the Middle East will all be free democratic societies? They say the people of Iran are very similar to the people of America. Imagine a Middle East with no wars, no conflicts; all because they make their decisions democratically and all voices are heard. Imagine if the start of all this came from George W. Bush’s idea to topple Saddam and give the Iraqi’s freedom and democracy. In 50 years Afghanistan could also be a free prospering democracy with a thriving economy and justice for all, especially women. And, in turn, if the Palestinians’  also opted for freedom rather than war and terrorism and the long standing grudge with Israel was over. Imagine a future where education and tolerance were taught instead of hatred and violence. And what if this happened because of the invasion of Iraq.

As far as the economic meltdown in 2008; and the lackluster job growth during the 00’s we now know a few more things. One is that all of the economic success of the Clinton administration was due the the tech bubble which burst as W. was coming into office. The glory days of 4% GDP were really a myth. That left W. in a big hole when he entered office. At the end of his term in office the bank failures and economic collapse were largely due to the over leveraged mortgage market. But, it was actually Bill Clinton that signed the infamous law that let the speculators and Wall Street take the gambles they did. It was  Clinton, not Bush, who deregulated the mortgage market such that allowed for its collapse. Whereas Bush is the one that takes complete blame for the second Great Depression we are still going through, what if it actually wasnt his fault or his doing? So, one of his biggest legacy failures might not have been caused by him.

The overspending and creating a new entitlement with Medicare today is seen as a failure; in the future it could be seen as the beginning of universal healthcare for all in the United States of America. What president Obama has initiated as his healthcare plan could be viewed as a continuation of that plan, what all other industrialized wealthy countries have: Universal Healthcare. Bush’s actions could be seen as a step in the right direction.

What we must admit now is that we dont know what the future holds. All of the ‘what if’s’ I just stated could turn out to be completely wrong; but perhaps they could be proven to be completely right. Look 50, 100 years into the future, Mr. Bush could be seen as a visionary who promoted a free society. His work in helping with AIDS was remarkable. We do have to realize that we dont know now what the future will hold. What we must acknowledge is that today’s thinking could be proved wrong.

We might have been completely wrong about George W. Bush and his legacy in history. Or not.

The Unemployment Crisis v National Security — Which President Better Handled Crisis Bush or Obama

To me this is a very interesting question; since I am on the front lines of both disasters I can speak to both of them. If you think back to 9/11 it was one of the most devastating days in American history and in my life. At the time we lived 3 blocks from the Twin Towers; we werent allowed to go back to our apartment for 2 weeks because the entire area was a crime scene. What 9/11 did the most for me was take away the security I felt. I had always felt terrorism was something that happens in other places, certainly not in the US and certainly not in Manhattan. The bombing of the Towers in 1993 reinforced my opinion that terrorists were inept and unable to do anything inside the mighty USA. The reaction from our government was swift and hard. Everything changed. Intelligence gathering changed, new Cabinet level departments were created. We started from zero and relooked at the way we did everything; and we made massive changes. No expense was spared to make the country safer from the terrorist threat we now faced. Being a New Yorker and seeing the towers gone was a devastating thing to go thru. The towers were ugly, not much architecture; but they were ours. They were a beacon on Manhattan. When you got off the subway and werent quite sure which direction to go in, seeing the towers always told you where you were. The attack against America was met with a complete head on reorganization and a policy of preemptive war fare, to make sure we weren’t attacked again.

Fast forward to September 2008 when Lehman went bankrupt, the markets were dropping 700 points day after day. There was a scare that there would be a run on the banks. We had a negative GDP of 9%, we were losing 800,000 jobs per month. In the end the total job loss from the financial crisis and recession was 9 million jobs lost. Nine million. The stock market went to under half its 2007 peak. There were no signs of things getting any better. The government bailed out the banks with TARRP and Obama put in place an $800 billion stimulus. And then that was pretty much it. The stimulus did a good job of fending off another Great Depression.

But where was the real work that needed to be done? Why was there no commission to see exactly what caused the financial crisis. Financial crisis and recession are different. Financial crisis are much harder to overcome. So why was there no investigation into what happened, how it happened and how we could prevent it from happening again? Why didn’t president Obama create a Cabinet level Jobs Czar; someone who would focus 100% of their time getting people back to work. Nine million unemployed. Thats a devastating number. Why wasnt this crisis treated like 9/11. Why wasnt the full force of the government there for the human casualties; the ones who through no fault of their own are unemployed. Unemployed not just for a week, month, 6 months, but for years. The government should have handled this as a complete crisis and made policy changes; investigated how people get hired. It is widely known that people who are longterm unemployed are discriminated against in their search for a job. How on earth is that allowed in the USA? The president has not done enough to create jobs. A cabinet level position would have helped; it still could. Someone who can move heaven and earth to get people working again. Yes the GOP obstructed some of Obama’s ideas, however Obama’s reaction to the monumental job losses was inadequate. We are still in crisis mode and nothing is being done about it. That is just unacceptable. How many peoples lives need to be ruined  before something major and dramatic is done to help the longterm unemployed? And I am not talking about extra unemployment insurance; I am talking about restructuring and helping people get jobs. This is especially important since for the last 30 years the middle class has seen their annual pay lessen. More was needed, and its not too late.

So my original question, which was more devastating to America 9/11 or the 2008 financial melt down in my opinion the financial meltdown was a lot more devastating. 9/11 was a horrible day, 3,000 people died, we went to wars where many other people died. We lost our sense of invincibility. But this financial meltdown has effected many more people. 9 million jobs lost. 25 million un/underemployed; 5 million longterm unemployed. And the economy is not strong, many companies are announcing layoffs for next year.

I wish Barack Obama reacted to the jobs financial crisis the way George W. Bush reacted to September 11, 2001.

How Low Will the GOP Go?

With 3 days left until the election I have been reading so many articles that actual made my draw drop. Not just the regular political spin, but out and out lies. We shouldnt have to deal with lies coming out of campaigns or politicians; the media has failed to call out lies which just leaves voters to believe what ever they hear. Most voters dont do much research so they listen to what their party or candidate has to say. One thing over the years thats always surprised me is that Dems question everything, they question a D president, congress, everything. The GOP stands in line and backs up whomever in the GOP is speaking. This to some might seem like loyalty to me it seems like lying and withholding the truth. Let me give a few examples of how low the GOP is sinking:

  • The GOP is criticizing Obama’s handling of the natural disaster hurricane Sandy. This to me is appalling, the last disaster to happen was Katrina where Bush completely botched the rescue efforts, had no preplanning and had the head of FEMA who was an unqualified unprepared man who Bush owed a favor to. Obama took a different course, he completely reorganized FEMA; he was out in front of the storm and had people ready to go as the storm was hitting. The GOP criticizes this response, when in fact they should be learning from it, offering more help. Partisanship when people are suffering and dying is criminal.
  • The GOP and Romney have thrown Chris Christie under the bus for working well with Obama during the crisis. Again, this is more than just a political game these are people’s lives being lost, homes ruined and the GOP is more concerned with politics than they are with helping suffering citizens. Where was Romney, why didnt he encourage his followers to see how they could help. Using people’s lives as political pawns is more than just disgusting behavior it should be a federal crime. These people should be jailed.
  • The tea party is one of the biggest threats to the stability and economic recovery today. Their mantra of not compromising is akin to a child in a sandbox not sharing his toys. The tea party nearly brought the country to default, our credit rating was downgraded because of the lack of Washington being able to solve problems; ie the tea party acting like children having a temper tantrum. No grand bargain was made last year directly because of the tea party. The fiscal cliff is another one of the tea parties doings; since they wont compromise everything is at a stand still. And the GOP blames Obama for the downgrade and for not having the leadership to strike a grand bargain. When in actuality it was John Boenher who couldnt sell a tax increase to his tea party base.
  • And the most egregious of all the GOP offenses, and showing how low they will go and have gone was their strategy to regain power. The decided on a scorched earth strategy from the day Obama was inaugurated. The decided to block each and every measure Obama and the Dems put out there to try to fix the Depression we were falling into. Imagine the millions of extra people working now if it werent for the GOP plan of Obstructionism. Instead of helping out, having ideas and contributing they just voted down the line no on everything. From day one. Our country was in severe crisis and the GOP is more interested in power. Again, this should be a federal crime. They are elected to help our country and they don’t instead they deliberately sabotage it. My word for this: treason.

With a party as out of control as the GOP is they must not be able to retake the White House. Its far too dangerous. The lagging economy can be blamed as much on the GOP and Obama. Mitt Romney is an empty suit who will be pushed around by the tea party. He must not become president. Vote for Barack Obama

Why You Should Vote For Obama

Its true the economy has been bad for 5 years now; the improvements seem unnoticeable, the unemployment and longterm unemployment rates are staggering and painful. Obama seems a bit distant, aloof and like he doesnt have a sense of urgency with job creation and the anxiety many Americans feel; the unemployed ones being anxious about never finding a job, the employed ones anxious about being laid off. Many say Obama had 4 years to fix this and he didn’t, so why am I now endorsing Obama? Many many reasons:

  • What Obama walked into was a financial crisis, a housing crisis and a recession. Most recessions have played out in similar ways, downturn then upturn, or a V-shaped recovery. A financial crisis is an entirely different animal; in economic study after study the facts prove that recovery from a financial meltdown is very much what we are feeling right now. Its more L shaped; its a much longer road back to full employment than a normal recovery. The GOP would have you believe that Obama is to blame for the weak economy, that is not the case.
  • The 2009 Stimulus plan Obama put in place kept the unemployment rate from going to 15% and staying there for years; this stimulus was essential for creating 5.2 million new jobs. The Auto bailout and bankruptcy has produced a thriving auto industry in America once again. I believe the liquidation of GM would have had far worse consequences on the American psyche than Lehman Brothers did. The problem with the stimulus is that it was too small, as most economists predicted at the time it should have been twice or 3 times the size. Obama could not get that passed because the GOP blocked him and many of the Dems were Blue Dog Dems that vote like GOP.
  • Health Care ACA – Obama was the first president in history to pass a healthcare plan. We are the richest country on earth and should have healthcare for all. This bill might not be perfect but its time for the GOP to stop acting like spoiled children and to help work on the bill to make it better. Romney wants to repeal this bill and replace it with nothing. He said poor people can call an ambulance and go to the ER. This is not leadership.
  • Surviving the scorched earth policy of the GOP. The GOP decided to stop Obama at all costs; even as the country was going towards another Great Depression the GOP was obstructing every bill, idea, proposal from the President. To me this is treasonous behavior and should be investigated and punished by jail time; anyone who votes against the best interests of this Country should be jailed. Even with all of this Obama was able to get things done.
  • President Obama has sought equal rights for all, including endorsing same sex marriage and trying to end the discrimination gay people suffer through. He has appointed more diverse candidates to the Supreme Court; 2 women, one being Latino. Its of the utmost importance to have differing points of view on the court as the appointees will be there for decades.
  • Militarily Obama has been brilliant. He reopened the hunt for bin Laden; took a huge risk in making the order to have boots on the ground to take bin Laden out. If this mission failed his presidency could have been ruined. He reset the war to focus on al Qaeda, chopped off its head and also took out many senior level members of the group across the globe. His use of drones has been extremely successful. He ended the Iraq war, he has set an end date for the war in Afghanistan. He has also brought honor back to the United States after Bush alienated so many of our allies. He has built coalitions and has the world behind us in working with Iran and many other issues.
  • Economic growth is far better than it was. As we know he walked into office with 800,000 jobs being lost per month and a GDP falling at an astonishing rate 0f 9%; conditions like this not seen since the Great Depression. Since that time we have seen 44 consecutive months of job creation; we have not fallen back into recession, housing is coming back, manufacturing is coming back. Two prominent economists, one from Harvard the other from the IMF have stated that Obama has laid the ground work for a more robust economy over the next 4 years. It would be horrible to see Mitt Romney in the Oval taking credit for Obama’s work.

These are some of the reasons I think Obama deserves a second term, I encourage every American reading these words to vote for Obama on election day. Also, dont forget to vote Blue for Senate and House.

Our Personal Relationship with the President

I always thought this would be an interesting idea for a movie, the segments of our lives that happen in presidencies. The President of the United States is a big deal and shapes history. Right now there is a close race and no one knows what will happen. Either Romney looses as becomes a question for trivial pursuits or Obama loses and becomes Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush like; considered a loser now but uncertain what history will actually say about our recent presidents. That does make this time kind of exciting, not knowing what will happen and what our future holds for us. Its also very interesting to know that what we think today might be seen differently in 50 years. Maybe George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq will be seen as a turning point in the middle east, the catalyst for the Arab Spring. Maybe he will be viewed as a hero for starting his Freedom Agenda. Or, conversely, maybe he will be seen as the turning point in American politics and future. The man who bankrupted us, the man who showed the United States looking weak because we couldnt control the insurgency in Iraq or Afghanistan. To me thats very interesting, we dont know how he will be viewed. We dont know how President Obama will be viewed, savior of another Great Depression or continuing policies that made the situation worse.

What has always kind of interested me is the 4 year or 8 year time slots presidents play in our lifetimes. For me President Reagan was with me from high school, through college, to living on my own starting a career in NYC. I never paid much attention to him; the image I have of him in my head is from the Phil Collins video where he and Nancy are parodied, I forget the songs name, Land of Confusion maybe? But those years were what I went through and they were also the years I saw Reagan on TV. For Carter I was much younger and didnt really grasp what was going on. My biggest memory of him was his Playboy interview where he talked about ‘lust in the heart’ who wants to hear that from a president? I have memories of being in summer camp listening to the radio when Richard Nixon resigned, having no realization of the impact that had on the Country or the world. For Bill Clinton I was older, in my 20s so I remember him a lot more, but I was never interested in politics until 9/11. I just remember he and Hillary tried to create a healthcare plan, which wasnt of interest to me since I had good benefits at the time. I remember Hillary always having bad hair, she never looked quite right in whatever she was wearing or the headbands.  But those 8 years occupy a time in my life that I will always remember, with the POTUS in the background. Reagan is the president I remember most in the background talking on a muted TV. President H.W. was a lot less memorable to me since he just seemed to be an extension of Reagan. I remember that summer of 1988 when people were all up in arms over who would win; I said to myself and others, Bush will win, stop talking about it.

Through the Clinton years I became more of an adult and I benefited from the economic boom. I remember the 2000 election; I remember being disappointed that Gore lost. In 2001 and 2003 I remember saying that the tax cuts were a big mistake; I personally was doing very well financially and would see only $10 per week savings. I remember clearly thinking this was a mistake and would set our Country on the wrong path. Then 9/11 hit, at the time we lived 3 blocks from the Twin Towers. That was a horrible time, but Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld seemed so resolute, so sure, so reassuring and strong. They seemed to me like the perfect people to respond to the outrageous attack on New York City.  It was such a shame that what they were saying was completely wrong and meritless. And the invasion of Iraq, history will tell, but now it seems like such a waste of human lives and our Country’s debt. When Obama came along I was much more aware, being in my 40s I was much more attuned to what was going on. During his first term I was laid off and havent found a job in 2 years.

Presidents occupy a unique place in our lives; they are there in the background while we are living our lives. To me its very interesting to think of the 4 year segments they each had and my memories of, not what they did, but how my life evolved.

Why Mitt Romney Must Lose

Now that we are getting to the final stretch of the election I am guessing that everyone has election coverage fatigue, I know I do. I am sick of hearing the same talking points from each side over and over; and the same non informative or educated questions asked by the media. However, now is the time to plan your election day. Decide now what time you want to go to the polls, check around your neighborhood, friends, relatives, see if anyone needs help getting to the voting booths. Encourage your friends, kids, parents everyone to exercise their right to vote. Mitt Romney must lose this election, there is no question in my mind about it. The best way for him to lose is for everyone to show up and vote for Barack Obama. I have gone over many times my disappointment with Obama, but Romney would be a complete disaster for this country. Here are a few reasons.

  • The Supreme Court – already this arm of government is far too political, when their job is to be apolitical. The types of people Romney would appoint would make the court far more radical right wing. We need to look forward and stop fighting the battles of the past; abortion rights are settled law for over 40 years; stop fighting it. Appointees by Romney would bring the court back in time, infringe on people’s civil right. Supreme Court appointees is reason enough to not vote for Romney. He could appoint Michelle Bachman.
  • Romney’s tax plan doesnt add up; he talks about $5 Trillion dollars of tax cuts, adding $2T to the military budget and says closing tax loopholes will make this revenue neutral. Every economist who has looked at this plan says there is absolutely no way it could work, it will add to the deficit and debt.
  • All of Romney’s current advisors are from the George W. Bush administration. The neocons, the tax cutters, the deregulators. All the people who brought us to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Romney is not strong enough to stand up to them, we could go to war with Iran which has tremendous implications, ones I think could lead to WW3. As far as job creation goes Bush was one of the few, or the only, president in history to leave office with net zero job growth. Thats ZERO; Obama has already created more jobs.
  • Romney will bring us back in time on civil issues, he has proposed reinstating Dont Ask Dont Tell; he is against gay rights and Marriage Equality. These are issues the majority of the American public now supports, equal rights for gay people. Romney would try to eliminate that.
  • I see Romney as a man without a soul; a man who will say anything at any time to be elected. He did it in Massachusetts, told the voters there he was pro choice, would be more gay friendly than Ted Kennedy; he told them whatever they wanted to hear. Now he is doing the same, he has changed his opinions so many times, even in the same day, I cannot take him seriously. Even George W. Bush was a man who did what he thought was right. Romney is a man who morphs into whomever is in front of him at the time. Thats not what we need as a president.

Mitt Romney must lose this election; make sure you vote so our Country can move forward.