Christmas Is a Celebration of Peace

December 21st, 2010

By John M. Williams

I love Christmas! I love the message that the Prince of Peace was born nearly 2,000 years ago and has left a lasting universal impression of peace among all nations.

I love listening to Silent Night, The Little Drummer Boy, Joy to the World, O Come All Ye Faithful, White Christmas, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, What Child Is This?, O Little Town of Bethlehem, The First Noel and Angels We Have Heard on High. These are moving spiritual songs that praise God and the birth of Jesus Christ, an individual whose life changed the world.

History records that in three years, Christ performed many, many miracles. He made the blind see, the non-vocal speak, the lame walk, the lepers cleansed, the hungry fed, the sick and the naked clothed. He taught us to love one another and not to hate. His story of the Good Samaritan resonates worldwide on how we should treat everyone in need. There wasn’t a particle of hatred in him. There wasn’t a gram of greed in him. He asked us to follow his way. It is a message we need to heed.

Today, as we celebrate his birth, the world is in need of his influence more than ever. Greed, corruption, hatred and bellicose dominate today’s news headlines. The income disparity between rich and poor widens by the score annually. This income disparity is aided by politicians whose mission is to expand the wealth of individuals through government policy while simultaneously using or creating government policy to crush the middle class and poor. Where is the Christianity that politicians and the wealthy proclaim they follow?

Unfortunately, the world still has not learned to live without war. There’s the Iraq War, and the South Ossetia conflict between Georgia and Russia, and there’s the war in Afghanistan, the Tibetans are trying to revolt, the Sudanese are committing genocide and Mexico has its drug wars. There is a world war to combat terrorism. All wars are destructive. With the firepower on the market today, what sane individual would start a war? The world needs a true Prince of Peace who can persuade warriors to become peace makers. President Barack Obama is a peace maker. Pope Benedict XVI is a peacemaker. Bishop Desmond Tutu is a peacemaker. Nelson Mandela is a peacemaker. The late Pope John Paul II was a peacemaker. These individuals have the moral authority needed to be peace makers. The world should listen to them. They are followers of the Prince of Peace. They know that peace brings prosperity and progress.

I am not here to defend the Christian belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I leave that task to theologians and other Christians.

The world celebrates Christ Mass on December 25. We need to carry his message of love and peace in everything we do. Christ message of loving your fellow human beings changed the world for the better. His message is reinforced annually when we celebrate Christmas. We need to brand ourselves with his message, so we can continue making the world a better place to live.

Send any comments on this article to jwilliams@atechnews.com.

The President Capitulates; McCain Prevaricates

December 11th, 2010

By John M. Williams

This week, I saw President Barack Obama capitulate to Senate Republicans and negotiate an agreement that continues the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of the population for two years. The Republicans were playing hardball, and the president was playing mush ball.

This same week saw Senator John McCain defy the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the Chairman of the Joint of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and the Department of Defense and essentially call for another report to be done on the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy regarding gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. McCain said that since we are fighting two wars this is not the time to end DADT. McCain also hinted that his military service in the Navy gave him better insight into maintaining DADT then the Pentagon’s report did. Admiral Mullen reminded the senator that he had also served in the Navy at the same time McCain did. Mullen supports repealing DADT.

President Obama agreed to a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003. These cuts give millionaires and billionaires huge tax breaks that they don’t need. The cuts along with two unpaid wars and the expansion of an unpaid Medicare prescription program have drained trillions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury. The result has been a ballooning upon ballooning federal deficit with no end in sight.

Despite campaigning on a promise to end the millionaire/billionaire’s tax cuts, the president, to get tax cuts in other areas for the middle class and poor, agreed to a two-year extension. He says given the political climate he negotiated the best deal he could. Maybe he did. I still believe he capitulated on the cuts. He should have fought for a year’s extension. Better yet, he should have made an address to the nation on why he opposed the continuation of the millionaire/billionaire’s tax cuts. The nation would have rallied around him and demanded the Republicans drop their extension and holding unemployment benefits hostage. In the 2012 presidential campaign, the Republicans will make the extension of the cuts a campaign issue, and they will lie about its benefits to the economy. Will the president, not the Democratic campaign, have the nerve to challenge the Republicans on this issue and win? I have my doubts in both areas. Still, I want President Obama to win!

Sen. McCain is a liar. Before he became a captive of the right wing fringe of his party he was willing to repeal DADT provided the military supported the repeal. It does. He opposes the repeal. He has changed his mind because the crazies in his party oppose it. McCain has lost his independence. He has the spine of a jellyfish. Unfortunately the Republicans, with McCain leading, blocked efforts to repeal DADT, and once again demonstrating that civil rights remain an anathema to conservatives.

Mr. Obama is a leader. However, he needs to show his leadership abilities more frequently and forcefully then he has. He must show he is the President of the United States of America, the most powerful political position in the world.

Send your comments to jwilliams@atechnews.com

You Must Vote!

October 2nd, 2010

By John M. Williams

People with disabilities must vote on November 2, 2010!

Every eligible voter must vote on November 2.

Since I turned 21, 44 years ago, I have voted in every local, state and national where I lived. Voting is my way of voicing my opinions on what I want my three levels of government to do. I shall vote on November 2 because I want my country to be in drive and not reverse. Democrats controlling both houses of Congress will carry the country forward in jobs creation, in creating a cleaner environment, in protecting civil rights, in pursuing improved healthcare, in policing safe work places, in funding programs benefiting people with disabilities, protecting social security, Medicare, Medicaid and reigning in Wall Street.

Republicans controlling one or both houses of Congress will try to transport us backwards. This could mean greater unemployment, larger federal deficits, the expansion of decaying infrastructure nationwide, the widening of the gap between the rich and the middle class and poor, the expansion of air, water and land pollution, an increase in the number of sick people, less accountability from businesses and other atrocities.

The gulf oil spill showed the country that the Republicans care more for big money than the working class. Not a single Republican condemned the spill. Instead one Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton apologized to BP because the federal government demanded a $20 billion compensation fund to be paid to the gulf victims. Barton called the fund a shake down.

I believe it is healthy to have divided government provided the opposition parties want to govern and are willing to compromise. Without compromise, governing will not happen. The people then lose. If the Republicans control one or both houses, they will not compromise.

We know that Republicans have contempt for middle class and poor people and voters must remember this. Republicans love passing legislation that enriches the rich. They oppose legislation that provides benefits to middle class and poor workers. Such legislation produces poverty by political design.

Voters must remember that when they enter the polling booth, they are making a choice between good and evil. Democrats represent good, and the Republicans represent evil.

Let’s pray that good triumphs evil.

To comment on this column send an e-mail to jwilliams@atechnews.com.

I Was There!

September 2nd, 2010

By John M. Williams
I was in Washington, DC on August 28, 1963 when Martin Luther King gave his immortal I Have a Dream speech. I was visiting a great aunt and uncle who lived on Connecticut Avenue in Northwest. My uncle Tommy O’Toole had retired on June 30, 1963 from the police force serving the White House. President John F. Kennedy attended his retirement party. My uncle and aunt had invited me to visit them before I started college the following week. I had arrived on August 25 and was leaving on the 30th.
My uncle was not feeling well and declined to attend the March, but he had a retired police officer friend of his accompany me to the march. It was warm that day, and very cloudy. My aunt insisted that I take an umbrella. I did.
We arrived at the Reflecting Pool mid-morning. I can’t tell you how w got to the Reflecting Pool from my uncle’s place. I remember we parked in a lot on 14th and walked to the Reflecting Pool. My uncle’s friend used his connections with the police to get us a standing room only place about 200 yards from the Lincoln Memorial. Tens of thousands of people were all ready there and tens of thousands of people were arriving throughout the day. I saw about 20 African-Americans for every Caucasian. There were Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans, though they were in smaller numbers than the 20-to-1 ratio. I had a powerful pair of binoculars. My uncle loaned them to me. I could me more than a mile. During the day I spotted such notables, besides Martin Luther King, as Charlton Heston, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, maybe Paul Newman and others. The binoculars were nearly glued to my eyes throughout most of the day.
Even though I was 18, I understood the gravity of the goals behind the march. African Americans wanted full citizenship. They wanted better schools. They wanted better jobs. They wanted voting rights. They wanted an end to segregation. They wanted an end to the killings, beatings and lynchings. They wanted decent housings. They wanted an end to apartheid. They wanted to be Americans. I supported their goals.
I was overwhelmed by the numbers of people. I was overwhelmed by the peacefulness of the cloud. I was overwhelmed by the integration of myself into the crowd. I was accepted by the African-Americans as a brother. I was not an enemy. Neither was my companion.
I joined hands with the people to sing a number of Negro spirituals, including We Shall Overcome. I did my best to follow the words.
I was there for hours before the speeches started. Except for Martin Luther King’s speech, I do not remember anything any of the speakers said. The most famous pat of his speech appears below.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
I was thunder struck by the speech. Everybody there was. The crowd roared and clapped, shouted and shouted and clapped. They loved his message. I knew this was an historic moment that I would always remember.
During supper, I discussed the day’s events with my aunt and uncle. They were glad I attended. So was I. I still am glad I was there!

ADA: Still a Long Way to Go

August 15th, 2010

By John M. Williams

Twenty years ago Monday (July 26, 1990), around 11:00 a.m., I was sitting on the South Lawn at the White House between then Senator George Mitchell (D-ME) and Senator Bob Dole (R-KS. I was one of thousands of people attending the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (http://www.ada.gov/.) . The signing was an historic moment for the country, for people with disabilities and me.

The ADA is intended to eradicate discrimination against certain protected groups, to “level the playing field” so that everyone has the same access and opportunity, unhindered by prejudice. This anti-discrimination law is a civil rights act, not an entitlement program,

I had never seen so many people with different disabilities assembled in one place. The South Lawn had been invaded by an army of people with disabilities who had worked tirelessly for decades for this triumphant event. There was plenty of euphoria in the air. Surely this law would change their lives and the lives of future generations of people with disabilities. I heard many people with disabilities proclaim the event and the day their independence day.

Two decades later, I believe the ADA has had limited success. It has not in my opinion been the success people had heralded. There are still far, far too many unemployed people with disabilities. There are too many under employed people with disabilities. There aren’t enough students with disabilities attending community colleges and higher learning institutions. There aren’t enough people with disabilities in jobs’ training programs. Etcetera.

The ADA offers enormous potential for people with disabilities. For the law to be effective it must be enforced continuously regardless of the political party controlling the White House and even Congress, ThePeople with disabilities and other advocates must hold Congress and the White House responsible when employment laws are not enforced.

People with disabilities must hold public and private sector employers accountable if they fail to hire qualified people with disabilities. If it is true that nearly 1/5 of the U.S. population has a disability then why aren’t more people with disabilities visible in politics, law, the arts, business, education, information technology. journalism, medicine, science, construction, research and other fields.

The range of assistive technology products today give even the most severely disabled person an opportunity to work. For the ADA to work, employers’ attitudes regarding the abilities of people with disabilities must change. Employers must learn more about assistive technology products and they can do this by visiting www.atia.org.

Also employers should learn about the contributions of John Milton, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Christi Brown, Stephen Hawking, Harrison Ford, Cher, Agatha Christie, Hans Christian Anderson, Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Branson, Jay Leno, Daniel Inouye, Max Cleland, Ludwig Van Beethoven and Theodore Roosevelt. These individuals had and have disabilities.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Minds are being wasted when the ADA is not enforced.

What Do Independents Want from Their Government?

July 15th, 2010

By John M. Williams

I confess that in recent conversations with three individuals (who asked me not to use their last names) who call themselves independents, I would call them conservatives. In conversations with Jack. Alan and Patricia, (all college graduates), I learned they detest all levels of government involvement in every facet of American life.

What is it that they oppose? On a national level, they enumerated their staunch opposition to me on the government bailouts for Wall Street and General Motors, the passage of healthcare reform, the passage of bank reform, the President’s Afghanistan policy, the war in Iraq, immigration reform and not allowing British Petroleum to clean up its own mess.

People with disabilities should know that Jack, Alan and Patricia oppose the Americans with Disabilities Act, even though they could not discuss any of the titles in the law, nor could they discuss the reasons the law was passed. None of them had read the law. If you oppose legislation, you should have solid reasons for opposing it.

Not one of them knew anything about assistive technology. They opposed tax credits to companies who employ people with disabilities.

When I asked all three, “What would be the economic consequences of a Wall Street failure?”

Jack, a lawyer, said cynically, “There would be many, many fewer super rich people in the world.”

Restaurant manager Patricia said, “While massive unemployment would have resulted, the country would survive.”

Software distributor Alan said, “Life is not a bed of roses.” He added, “Let’s face it. Voters were stupid in 2004 to elect George Bush. The economic crisis is the result of their votes.”

There was no remorse in their voices as they criticize the president and the Democrats for saving the U.S. auto industry. They believe bad decisions by chief executivess have bad consequences. They believe the U.S. auto industry will fail and that the bailout money is a band aid applied to a major wound.

They want BP to clean up the oil spill and get the government out of the cleanup operations. Unanimously, they believe the government demanding that BP put aside $20 billion to help businesses in the gulf area is bad policy. Their solution is BP work out individual claims, even if the claims reach 100,000 plus. Patricia and Alan believe guilty BP officials should go to prison. Jack wants to learn if any BP official is guilty of wrong doing before commenting..

The three people want the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Japan, South Korea , Pakistan and more than 30 other countries. They believe we should not be involved in their internal struggles and bringing U.S. soldiers and materials will reduce federal spending dramatically.

I would like to see the U.S. pull out of Afghanistan. I do not believe our nation building policy will work.

On disability, they believe families should bear the financial responsibility, and other caring responsibilities .

They want Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Labor, Housing, Transportation, Education and Health and Human Services abolished. They also want their taxes reduced and an end to federal deficit spending.

They support mandatory term limits of 12 years for both Houses of Congress.

They oppose segregation but are willing to allow segregation to come back if local communities allow it.

They support Congressman Ron Paul’s (R-TX) assertion that Abraham Lincoln caused the Civil War.

When I asked the three people, “Can you trust businesses to police themselves when it comes to protecting the environment, manufacturing safe foods and other products, and to end employment discrimination?” The three said no. Then Jack added, “Irate public opinion always brings businesses into line.”

“Really!” I said.

Even if Sarah Palin runs against him, they don’t want President Barack Obama to be re-elected. They voted for him in 2008.

When I asked, “Where is Palin’s intellectual strength?” Patricia pointed to Ronald Reagan and George Bush Junior as two presidents without much of an intellect who were successful.

The three of them believe the Tea partiers are extreme right wing conservatives who lack cohesiveness and are leaderless.

I do not understand independents. While I support their concerns about having over bloated levels of government. they do not offer remedies to correct wrongs caused by business and an ineffective government. They certainly do not see any evil when businesses willfully break the law, If they don’t see any evil, does it mean they believe no one does any evil? If the political future of this country is in the votes of independents, then what is our future?

”I’m Not Responsible: Blame Him”

June 9th, 2010

By John M. Williams
Watching chief executive officers testify before Congressional committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate can be nauseating and informative. It is nauseating to watch people from Goldman Sachs, British Petroleum, Transocean, Halliburton and Massey Energy place the blame for catastrophic failures on others. Their appearances should be mandatory viewing in classrooms (fifth grade through graduate school) across the country. Viewers could see that these titans of industry, idolatrized by conservative Republicans, are liars, cowards, bullies and conceited. Viewers would learn that these CEOs believe they are above the law.
One reason CEOs blame others for mistakes is they have been lawyered. They have been warned that if they accept responsibility for decisions that cause recessions, accidents and deaths they can be held liable and suffer the consequences – jail time. Obviously they never heard the lines – don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time.
By blaming someone else for their mistakes, CEOs show they are cowards, and they are not to be envied. By lying they show they can’t be trusted. By forcing people to work in hazardous environments, they reveal that they are bullies. They show they are conceited by double talking – avoiding answering questions.
Profits determine the survival of businesses. Excessive profits drive CEOs and their boards to take dangerous risks without concern for the consequences – even if it ruins peoples’ lives. Unchecked businesses have always operated that way. And politicians have always supported them, which is why politicians, mostly Republicans, are silent about condemning Wall Street for the recession, BP and others for the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Massey Energy for the deaths of 30 miners, and for other calamities. Silence can be interpreted as consent.
Federal employees, particularly people appointed by former President George Bush, will undoubtedly say “I’m not responsible for not regulating Wall Street; for regulating mines; and for regulating the oil industry.” They will not be punished for the disasters they helped cause by their willful decisions not to regulate. They knew their positions would protect them.
Some years ago, seven CEOs from the tobacco industry under oath before a Congressional committee swore that tobacco was not addictive despite knowing evidence to the contrary. None of them were cited for perjury. They believed they were above the law. They showed their contempt for truth because they knew the government would not prosecute them. They set the example for future CEOs to follow.
Until we start sending business leaders and their supporters to prison for crimes, businesses will continue to operate unchecked and disasters will continue to happen and lives will continue to be ruined. And culprits will continue to blame others.

Conservatives Produce Calamitous Woes

May 6th, 2010

By John M. Williams

Since my last blog, I have been dismayed by the actions of conservatives worldwide. In fact, I am more than dismayed. I have been angry and puzzled, but not surprised, by their actions.
I am a Catholic. I was an altar boy for 12 years. During my years as an altar boy, I was good friends with at least a dozen priests, maybe even more. I went to movies, baseball games, Broadway plays, dinner, and played games with them. I showered with them. Never did anyone of these priests make any sexual offer or advances to me.
I have been a strong supporter on transparency by the pastors, bishops, cardinals and the papacy when it comes to crimes committed by clergy, especially sexual abuse crimes. The church’s reluctance to deal honestly and openly on this matter fiercely irritates me. The conservative approach to hide the crimes, shield the perpetrators and ignore the required healing among the victims tells me the leaders do not understand the seriousness of the crime and the depth of the wounds. Had the priests who covered up these crimes been parents, they would have understood the pain the parents felt when they learned of the crime against their children and their hunger for justice.
Sexual abuse is a serious crime. Church leaders, who ignored the crime and protected the criminal, should be prosecuted. To protect the criminals is being anti-Christian. The Catholic Church needs enlightened leaders and not conservative leaders who can’t accept the idea that clergy are not above the law when they break it. By hiding crimes, conservative Church leaders drive people away from the Church. What are they thinking? They are not. As a result, the Catholic Church has lost moral authority that it may never recover.
Political Woes
The Republican controlled Arizona state legislature passed laws that allow police to stop people they suspect of being illegal aliens and asked them for identification that shows they are here legally. Other Arizona laws require presidential candidates running in 2012 to show a U.S. birth certificate and denying health care to poor children.
Such craziness is not limited to Arizona. Georgia Republican legislators are considering passing a law requiring presidential candidates to show their U.S. birthdates. A Texas Republican legislator wants to introduce legislation also allowing police to stop anyone they suspect of being here illegally and demand they show they are here legally.
The Arizona alien legislation has produced national protests from Hispanics, civil rights groups, legislators and church groups. It should. The state should be boycotted. Arizonians supporting the legislation should turn their anger on the businesses employing illegal aliens for their cheap labor, as well as their neighbors and themselves, if they use drugs.
In April, Virginia Republican governor Bob McDonnell honored confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War but omitting that slavery was a major cause of the war. His omission produced a major backlash and the governor had to come out and apologize for the omission.
The passed and proposed legislation and proclamation mentioned above are racist. Pale, stale female and male conservatives are showing their prejudices against non-Caucasians. They probably yearn for the time when Caucasians dominated every sector of American life. Extreme far-right wing Conservatives should read U.S. history. If they did they would know that Spaniards and Africans played a significant role in building America. Extreme far-right wing Conservatives have to accept a changing world or leave the country. They are not Americans.

The Democrats Win a Major Victory

March 28th, 2010

By John M. Williams
The Democrats won a major political victory when the majority of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate voted for health care reform last week. It should be noted that not a single Republican in the House and Senate voted yes, therefore proving it is the party of no.
I watched President Barack Obama sign the bill into law. Contrary to the Republicans’ predictions doomsday did not happen during or after the bill became law. Nor will doomsday happen as the law takes effect now and in the coming years.
The legislative victory shows the Democrats truly care about ensuring that financial barriers and destructive insurance policies that prevented people from having access to quality healthcare soon will no longer occur.
The victory shows that Democrats are truly a party that believes that the federal government has a constructive role in the lives of people.
The victory shows that the nation is ready for a change which is why most voters pulled the Obama/Biden lever in November 2008.
The victory shows that the will of the people can triumph over money politics.
The victory shows that people who voted yes knew it was the right decision.
The real winners of the vote are the American people. Why? Because 30 million more people will have access to health insurance. Because bankruptcies resulting from high medical costs will decrease. Because more people will have greater access to quality healthcare. Because the law presents the people the opportunity to become a healthier nation. There are other benefits.
The victory reveals losers. The losers are the Republican Party and the haters who supported the deceit and lies the opponents of healthcare reform espoused hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month for more than a year.
History tells us that when people supporting unpopular causes can’t win their arguments peacefully then they resort to threats and then random acts of violence that includes property destruction, bodily harm and then deaths. We saw these actions before, during and after the civil war. We saw them every time civil rights legislation was debated, passed and implemented. We are experiencing some of these conditions now in the aftermath of passing healthcare reform. Unless the rhetoric is cooled and the truth is told, people may die. Most probably people on the right will originate the violence.
Send any comments to jwilliams@atechnews.com.

America: A Country in Need of Leaders

March 10th, 2010

By John M. Williams

Except for presidential leadership, this country’s Republican Party and the business community are leaderless and visionless, and as a result the country is decaying from within. As a result, a weakened federal government, a weaken military, and a fragile economy threaten the standard of living for people on main street, but not Wall Street.
Politically, Americans need to think and act like intelligent, responsible adults. We start by admitting that our federal government is underfunded and economic growth will not eliminate the ballooning trillions in deficit spending. Responsible people know we must raise taxes to reduce the deficit and to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Who among the Democrats and Republicans has the courage to be honest with the American people and tell them, ‘We need to increase your taxes to provide you the services you need to live free.”
We have political cowards running the country and a brain dead American public who believes the federal government can operate forever on deficits. The American public’s naive attitude about paying taxes can be summed up in this phrase: “Don’t tax me. Don’t tax him. Tax that fellow behind that tree.”
To convince the country that we need to raise taxes, renowned business leaders – Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Paul Volker –should be the point men selling the tax increase. Their words have value. And they can’t be cowered by the opposition.
It would be fun to watch the arguments offered by the opposition to tax increases crumble, crumble, and crumble as they battled Gates, Buffet and Volker on the merits. The fiction espoused by the opposition could result in best selling novels. Fiction writers could earn millions writing the speeches and developing charts. To the opposition truth would become non-essential, as it has in the war for healthcare reform.
If the country is to survive, we need tax reform. The American people must decide what services they want from the federal government and what they will pay. Do they want a strong economy? If they do they have to have a balanced budget. This means they have to pay enough taxes to balance the federal budget.
If they want a strong military, they have to pay taxes.
If they want a national transportation policy that benefits commerce and themselves they have to pay taxes.
If they want consumer product safety they have to pay taxes.
If they want safe medicines, they have to pay.
If they want safe drinking water, clean air to breathe, clean land to walk on, they have to pay taxes.
If they want air safety, they have to pay taxes.
If they want the U.S. to lead in research and job development they have to pay taxes.
If they want to be protected against terrorist they have to pay taxes. \
If they want children with disabilities to be educated they have to pay taxes.
If they want to eat safe meat and other foods, they have to pay taxes.
If they want to see a stronger economy that has banks lending more, then the federal government must balance its budget. This means they have to pay taxes.