Budgeting on the backs of the poor

– Bumper sticker of the week: Who would Jesus bomb next? Korea, Iran, or Venezuela.

– Quote of the week: "As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." H. L. Mencken

– Ten ways to help yourself stay calm and live better:

1. Don’t watch the news.

2. Don’t read any corporate newspapers, which include almost all the mainline papers.

3. Live as simple as you can.

4. Don’t use credit cards.

5. Establish a spiritual practice in your life.

6. Read a lot. Fiction, non-fiction. Dump the dime-store novels.

7. Don’t buy into all the high-tech stuff coming out. All they want is your money.

8. Take care of your body and health as best you can. Millions are today without health insurance. Go to the doctor anyway, or the emergency room. Pay $5 a month on your bill. The only way these people are going to implement universal health-care is if they go broke serving those who can’t pay.

9. Don’t drink too much or use drugs and expect to have a calm and happy life.

10. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, unless, of course, you happen to be a masochist or sadist.

– Budgeting on the backs of the poor: Well, guess how George W. Bush is going to afford his war in Iraq? Every social program known to mankind is going to be cut. His priorities: National security and tax cuts for the rich. Getting the ax: Medicaid, farm subsidies, medical and disability services for veterans, environmental protection, federal spending on vocational programs in high schools, housing for the poor. The list goes on. Bush’s budget doesn’t even include the cost of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, or his plan to privatize social security, and yet it is a $390 billion dollar deficit budget, which is actually closer to a $600-700 billion dollar deficit, if it were anywhere near truthful. Any fool who voted for this guy without a million bucks in the bank is about to get what he deserves. The suffering that this budget will cause will not be undone in the next seven generations.

– Here’s a good one: The State Department and Condoleezza Rice object to Cuba and Zimbabwe being appointed to a panel to set up the agenda for the next U.N. Human Rights Commission meeting. Rice claims these countries systematically and routinely violate the rights of their citizens. She doesn’t need to look that far away from home to see that happening.

– Life has a way of waking you up to those things that are most important. Relationships, friends, family, good health, simplicity, sustainability, being able to sleep at night, helping others. What is it that’s so hard about these things? Why do we let our minds wander into places where we don’t belong?

– Some things I’d like to see changed:

• The city government. We need a full-time mayor and a new council. A city manager should not be running the city. No accountability to the public. The council is easily duped.

• Economic development in Knox County has been a dramatic failure. The proof is in the pudding, or rather, lack of. We need new ideas, new people to implement them, and we need to send the good-old-boys to another city that could use their expertise.

• We need to get out of the business of war and into the business of peace. We need a Department of Peace, not a Department of Homeland Security.

• We need universal health-care. Our health system is a colossal failure.

• I do not feel safer by President Bush destroying every social program in this country in the name of national security. Feeling safe involves much more than just protection against terrorists.

• The pharmaceutical industry needs to be reined in. The prices they are charging for medications is a terrorist act, in and of itself.

• I’d like to see all the right-winged Christians disappear, but I suppose that’s asking a little much.