Marc Platt's Politics: I'm a Lefty

Apr. 5, 2013

Americans LOVE fast foods. Micky D's, Burger King, KFC, Papa Johns..You name it, people go there and a lot of our fellow citizens with advanced degrees from our major universities work there for $7.25 an hour ($15K-per-year).

The Sequester that our government just let happen is going to cost our fellow citizens 750,000 MORE jobs.

On "Mainstreet": The results of the March Jobs Report are in and our shit is fucked! 496,000 former workers left the job force because they couldn't find work, etc...Unemployment is down to 7.6, but that number is misleading because the number of people eligible to be working or looking for work dropped to 63.3%, the lowest since 1979.

Meanwhile on "Wall Street": Stocks are back UP to pre-crash numbers. I have been watching the Dow Jones soar SINCE the election. It has steadily gone up.

What does that tell us?

Well...Non-farm payrolls have gone up half a million jobs since January 1, 2013. There are plenty of former executives and college graduates working at Burger King, McDonalds and KFC at minimum wage. The average age of a fast food worker is men (28yo) and women (32yo). 

The retail sector lost almost 25,000 jobs, possibly an effect of the payroll-tax hike that was part of the "fiscal cliff" settlement at the beginning of the year.

On Thursday April 4, 2013 many east coast fast food workers risked getting fired by going out on strike to protest low wages and poor working conditions.

We need solutions. 

Okay, let's start with a company like Yum Yum Corporation. They OWN the franchises of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza hut. They franchise their stores to smaller groups of people all over the country and world who own these franchised stores. So each store is owned by a mom and pop or investment partners. These OWNERS pay their staff as little as possible. Most employees are minimum wage earners ($7.25-per hour). The MAIN company is off the hook, because while the menus are set at "Franchise Prices" and the parent company reaps huge profits, the smaller franchised stores may not make as much so the labor force pays the price.

The average MW worker makes $15,000 per year. If they are paying $12,000 in rent, their shit is fucked. They must have a second MW job just to have pocket money.

My solution is two-fold, raise the minimum wage by $2.00 AND incentivize these BIGGER PARENT COMPANIES with nice tax breaks to offset a $1-per hour pay raise accross the board. If the parent company kicks in $1-per hour and the government does the right thing and help these people get caught up with cost of living in America, then our society will be adjusting to the fact that MANY more people are shifting towards these unsourceable low wage earning jobs that are now the new normal in America.

For my right wing alarmists, please note that The Fed has been trying to stimulate the economy, buying $85 billion in bonds each month to lower the longer-term interest rates. They will continue this practice until it sees substantial improvement in the labor market.

My solutions are not perfect. They are just a starting point for dinner table discussions. I'd love to hear people in Washington have this discussion in a real way. They will be forced to if this movement gains any traction. Many low wage earning jobs are at fast food places that cannot be outsourced to China or Taiwan. These jobs are in YOUR local neighborhoods. These workers are paid $7.25 and are burning out, leaving the workforce and whittling the middle class even lower and lower on a daily basis.

Something to think about.

Mar. 28, 2013

Guns are NOT the problem. The people who shoot them are AND the people who enable murderers are the problem in my opinion. This is MY opinion. These are not facts.

First...A few important questions:

If not now, when? If not us, who?

Who are we and when will we be heard by the people we pay to represent all of us?

How do we get through to them?

These are good questions that deserve answers.

Telephones, computers, letters and showing up to town halls are probably the ONLY way congress will pay attention to ordinary people, more so than lobbyists who are well-paid to mold opinions of our lawmakers with cash.

What if Mayor Bloomberg spent some of his millions on putting together a competing organization with the NRA? Don't laugh...He is spending a lot of money to run ads against measures the NRA abhors. Bloomberg could organize his own lobby and fill it with sensible people who will protect the 2nd Amendment AND have enough citizens on board who REALLY will be accutely aware of the REAL climate our country faces.

Protection, hunting animals and target practice are all reasonable uses for guns and legal. People hunting other PEOPLE is NOT a good thing for anyone.

I really like this idea of a competing organization. Maybe it is nutty, but possible to knock the NRA off it's perch as "THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN." Someone can hopefully take most members away from the NRA with a well-organized gun organization that really cares about all Americans. This new organization would have sensible leaders who would do the best thing for the citizens of our country and NOT the gun manufacturers who have the NRA and many of our best and brightest representatives in their back pockets.

All I ask is that you THINK about it yourselves. An idea is worthless if it is not at least explored.

I will send this out to as many people as I can reach. At least I'm willing to play the fool in a public way and take a stand.

Mar. 22, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama knows how to give a speech. The Israeli people now know this first hand, as Obama was able to turn a heckler's heckles into a standing ovation during his speech at an Israeli university 3/21/2013.

He then went on to make points about the necessity of a two-state solution that would have surely been derided if the speech had been made on U.S. soil.

The President used political tactics that would normally seem risky, but he knew that these people would listen and respond to having them put themselves in the Palestinians shoes. Brilliant! Obama mentioned that he had spoke to some Palestinian youths just before his speech at the Israeli university. Obama said the youths reminded him of his own two daughters Sasha and Malia.

Obama has a knack for humanizing international politics. He was able to "INCLUDE" the Israelis into his inner circle. The Nobel Peace Prize winner was inclusive and stern in his plea for the Israelis to accept Palestinians as human beings just like them. Bibi Netanyahu could not have been surprised or happy with Obama's popularity with these sentiments. 

This is way bigger than the moment. This speech will be looked back on by the international community for decades. U.S. Presidents have not been this active in Israel for many years. This was a big deal and now American Jews will take notice that Obama is THEIR friend too.

This was a speech about humasn politics NOT military strength. It was empowering and inspiring to a willing audience.

Bottom line is Mr. Obama did an end around and now has many more fans. He truly is an international rock star on a stage that really needs one.

Mar. 15, 2013

Did you know that the mayor of Davie, Florida gave former bartender Scott Prouty and two of his motorcycle dealership fellow employees a proclamation that said they displayed "valiant and swift lifesaving actions in the face of an emergency without thought to their own safety." This was in 2005 when Prouty helped free a drowning woman when her car submerged into a canal along I-75 and sunk into the water.

This is the type of person we are dealing with. Not a self-serving celebrity wanna be. 

Scott Prouty was a bartender at an event in Florida in May, 2012 where Mitt Romney was speaking. Prouty hit record on his camera at the bar when Romney started talking about buying a factory in China with young unmarried girls waiting to find husbands. There was a lot more on the tape, but that one fact was the reason Prouty debated with himself for months whether or not to release the tape, NOT the 47% comments that David Corn (of Mother Jones Magazine) jumped all over.

This tells you even MORE about the guy.

The fact that Prouty was more interested in the lack of "moral fiber" Romney displayed in a private gathering was MORE important than the politically disasterous "47%" comments says a lot about the guy who shot the video.

Prouty waited until September to go for it. He had a lot of sleepless nights, knowing that this act could get him fired from his bartending job. Prouty also was well aware that there would be threats on his person and home. Apparently, there have been threats since the public found out his identity.

Prounty has NOT made one cent from this video. He did land a union gig in Washington and feels safe enough to come out 3.5 months after the election. He made the rounds on MSNBC, publicly identifying himself on the second-to-last "Ed Show."

Prouty could have made hundreds of thousands of dollars if he had come out BEFORE last November 6 or in the weeks following the election.

Prouty (a registered Independent) said he did not want to be the story. He wanted Romney's words to undeniably be the story. Romney has admitted this video hurt him badly in this election. His own words did him in and the country was saved (in my opinion) from another distaerous administration. 

I personally never thought President Obama could lose that election, but with unemployment hovering around 8% I was in the minority in that thought pattern. Mitt Romney was always a terrible candidate and the Obama Ground Game was very strong. Prouty helped seal the deal and will always be at least a footnote in Obama's re-election.

So. What did we learn from Scott Prouty?

I learned that in politics strange things can make a big difference. This was a strange thing. Think of the billion dollars Romney spent with fancy lawyers and advisors and advertisers. In the end it was a 38-year-old bartender who did the U.S. a huge favor and didn't get paid for his efforts.

I hope someday President Obama has Prouty over to the White House for a beer and a personal thank you.

Mar. 14, 2013

Little ditty about Ted and Diane
Two American senators, neither will bend...

Freshman Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) tried to nail California Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Ca) on U.S. Constitutional issues surrounding the Assualt Weapons Ban legislation Feinstein is moving through the U.S. Senate. 

Cruz asked Feinstein if she "would favor exemptions to the First Amendment's freedom of speech" by denying that right to certain books. Feinstein pointed out that she has been on the Senate Judiciary Commitee for 20 years, was a mayor and saw shot-up dead bodies riddled with bullets.

"I'm not a sixth-grader," said California Senior Senator Feinstein. "I'm reasonably well-educated, and thank you for the lecture."

Okay. There is a protocol in Washington that Tea Party members are simply ignoring. Cruz has now been dressed down by John McCain (R-Az) and Feinstein and there will be more rancor as the days, weeks, months and YES years pass and Cruz continues his assault on Senate traditions.

Cruz is NOT American-born and cannot aspire to be U.S. President. The Canadian-born Cruz has landed at the top of his elected possibility in the red state of Texas. He will be there for a full six year term.

There are signs that the Democrats are making inroads at turning the state blue, but it may take 2 election cycles. If Senator Cruz stays far right and his party doesn't shift in a more moderate direction, he will be able to keep trying to shake things up for decades.

The big question is whether the legally-trained Cruz will gain enough allies in the congress for a sustained amount of time to actually make a difference.

He is not afraid to take on respected colleagues and the ire of the "Old Guard." Will Cruz's brash style wear on Mitch McConnell, who is fighting for his political life with electoral challenges coming from within his own state? McConnell may have to reign in the younger senator in hopes he can survive some testy legislative challenges like Immigration and Gun Reform.

Cruz was eager to step up during Rand Paul's (R-Ky) "Talking Filibuster" several days ago. Cruz is no stranger to the camera and it's power. Will it be his downfall? That remains to be seen. I believe if Cruz REALLY is Joe McCarthy for this millenium, than he will do and say something that will put him in hot water with the people. When he pisses the public off enough, they will let him know. It may take 5 more years, but they will let him know.