Monday, October 27, 2008

Out of the Mouths Of Babes!

From the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A twelve-year-old girl from Canada addressed the plenary session of the Rio summit. The camera would occasionally pan to the audience of environment ministers from all over the world, who could be seen listening to her every word with rapt attention:

"Hello, I'm Severn Suzuki speaking for E.C.O. - The Environmental Children's Organization.

We are a group of twelve and thirteen-year-olds from Canada trying to make a difference:
Vanessa Suttie, Morgan Geisler, Michelle Quigg and me. We raised all the money ourselves to come six thousand miles to tell you adults you must change your ways. Coming here today, I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future.

Losing my future is not like losing an election or a few points on the stock market. I am here to speak for all generations to come.

I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world whose cries go unheard.

I am here to speak for the countless animals dying across this planet because they have nowhere left to go. We cannot afford to be not heard.

I am afraid to go out in the sun now because of the holes in the ozone. I am afraid to breathe the air because I don't know what chemicals are in it.

I used to go fishing in Vancouver with my dad until just a few years ago we found the fish full of cancers. And now we hear about animals and plants going exinct every day -- vanishing forever.

In my life, I have dreamt of seeing the great herds of wild animals, jungles and rainforests full of birds and butterfilies, but now I wonder if they will even exist for my children to see.

Did you have to worry about these little things when you were my age?

All this is happening before our eyes and yet we act as if we have all the time we want and all the solutions. I'm only a child and I don't have all the solutions, but I want you to realise, neither do you!

  • You don't know how to fix the holes in our ozone layer.
  • You don't know how to bring salmon back up a dead stream.
  • You don't know how to bring back an animal now extinct.
  • And you can't bring back forests that once grew where there is now desert.

If you don't know how to fix it, please stop breaking it!

Here, you may be delegates of your governments, business people, organizers, reporters or politicians - but really you are mothers and fathers, brothers and sister, aunts and uncles - and all of you are somebody's child.

I'm only a child yet I know we are all part of a family, five billion strong, in fact, 30 million species strong and we all share the same air, water and soil -- borders and governments will never change that.

I'm only a child yet I know we are all in this together and should act as one single world towards one single goal.

In my anger, I am not blind, and in my fear, I am not afraid to tell the world how I feel.

In my country, we make so much waste, we buy and throw away, buy and throw away, and yet northern countries will not share with the needy. Even when we have more than enough, we are afraid to lose some of our wealth, afraid to share.

In Canada, we live the privileged life, with plenty of food, water and shelter -- we have watches, bicycles, computers and television sets.

Two days ago here in Brazil, we were shocked when we spent some time with some children living on the streets. And this is what one child told us: "I wish I was rich and if I were, I would give all the street children food, clothes, medicine, shelter and love and affection."

If a child on the street who has nothing, is willing to share, why are we who have everyting still so greedy?

I can't stop thinking that these children are my age, that it makes a tremendous difference where you are born, that I could be one of those children living in the Favellas of Rio; I could be a child starving in Somalia; a victim of war in the Middle East or a beggar in India.

I'm only a child yet I know if all the money spent on war was spent on ending poverty and finding environmental answers, what a wonderful place this earth would be!

At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us to behave in the world. You teach us:

  • not to fight with others,
  • to work things out,
  • to respect others,
  • to clean up our mess,
  • not to hurt other creatures
  • to share - not be greedy.

Then why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?

Do not forget why you're attending these conferences, who you're doing this for -- we are your own children. You are deciding what kind of world we will grow up in. Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying "everything's going to be alright" , "we're doing the best we can" and "it's not the end of the world".

But I don't think you can say that to us anymore. Are we even on your list of priorities? My father always says "You are what you do, not what you say."

Well, what you do makes me cry at night. You grown ups say you love us. I challenge you, please make your actions reflect your words. Thank you for listening"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Economics Sweepstakes Quiz

"Guess which presidents since WWII did best on these eight generally accepted measures of good management of the nation's economy," That's the lede on a San Francisco Chronicle story by Arthur L. Blaustein, dated Oct. 19, 2008 and the results are fascinating.

The article asks us to choose which president excelled on a given economic measure. Match the president with the measure below.

The presidents are six Republicans: Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, G.H.W. Bush and G.W. Bush; and five Democrats: Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton.

The questions are:

1. The highest growth in the gross domestic product?

2. The highest growth in jobs?

3. The biggest increase in personal disposable income after taxes?

4. The highest growth in industrial production?

5. The highest growth in hourly wages?

6. The lowest Misery Index (inflation plus unemployment)?

7. The lowest inflation?

8. The largest reduction in the deficit?


"The answers are: 1 Harry Truman; 2 Bill Clinton; 3 Lyndon Johnson; 4 John F. Kennedy; 5 Johnson; 6 Truman; 7 Truman; 8 Clinton.

In the Economic Sweepstakes, Democratic
presidents trounce Republicans eight times out of eight!"

During the 20th century, the Dow Jones Industrial average rose 7.3% per year on average under Republican presidents; 10.3% under Democrats. Investors gained a whopping 41% more under Democrats.

Democratic presidents have increased the national debt by an average of 3.7% per year. Republican presidents by 10.1%. During the same time period, the unemployment rate was on average 4.8% under Dems; and 6.3% under Reps.

Real middle class wage growth is double when a Democrat is president according to research by Professor Larry Bartels of Princeton University.

The Clinton-Gore administrations presided over the longest peacetime economic expansion in our history and left us the biggest budget surplus in history.

The Bush-Cheney administration has brought us the weakest job creation cycle since the Great Depression, record deficits, record household debt, a record bankruptcy rate, a substantial increase in poverty and the largest deficit in history.

The Bush administration, supported by a Republican Congress enacted a sweeping tax cut in 2001. The wealthiest 1% of Americans realized 43% of the gain.

In less than 18 months, the federal government's 10-year projected $1.6 trillion budget surplus just vanished.
This reversal is the direct result of Bush's tax cuts!

Let's keep this taped to our bathroom mirrors so we won't forget it when we enter the 2012 election season.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Woman Should Be Forced to Have a Baby!

It is my firm conviction that when talking about a woman's right to control her own reproductive rights we MUST assert that termination of a pregnancy is a private, medical, personal matter; that NO government should have the right to force a woman in America to have a baby.

John McCain's sneering, snide, reference to "a woman's health" when expressing his opposition to late term abortion in the last presidential debate was the last straw. We have to take control and seek to get government out of this issue. I urge everyone who reads this to get busy and educate the American public about this bottom line issue.

Nobody in this country would question a man's right to control his reproductive rights. It should be the same for women. Women must have the right to control their own bodies.

We have to stop accepting the right wing's language when discussing the termination of a pregnancy. The issue is not whether a woman should have a right to an abortion. It is whether a woman should be forced to have a baby. Women's health and, in particular, reproductive health must be returned to its rightful place in our society; to the private realm.

This issue is non-negotiable. Return a woman's reproductive health to her own control or we will launch a campaign to abridge a man's right to the same.

If you are reading this and you agree with me, let your congress members know it. Better yet, send a copy of this letter to them with a note saying you agree.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Keating Economics: John McCain and the Making of a Financial Crisis

Today, at noon EST, the Barack Obama campaign released a short documentary explaining what happened several years ago in the Keating Savings & Loan scandal - a scam that John McCain was involved with. I hope you'll click on the title to this post, watch the video, and share it with everybody you know because this campaign has gotten ugly and it's time to take off the gloves.

Why is Barack Obama releasing this video at this time? Because the McCain campaign persists in lying about Sen. Obama and airing television and internet ads that distort the truth about Sen. Obama, and because the stakes are waaaaay too high to turn the other cheek.

When I decided to vote for Obama in the primary I had one doubt about him: that he would be tough enough to fight with all the tools in the tool chest to win the presidency. With this video I know that I voted for the right person.

The Keating scandal landed Charles Keating in prison and cost American taxpayers billions of dollars. That scandal had some of the stench of the current financial crisis we find ourselves in. It is for that reason that I urge you to watch this video and share it widely with friends and family. The voters of this country deserve to know that John McCain hasn't learned; that he persists in associating with people who game the system, and that he continues to advocate for them.

Sen. McCain is either not very smart, or is thoroughly unprincipled. I leave you to decide which.