Voice in the Wire

December 16th, 2008

Late in the evening of December 6th, in the Exarcheia district of central Athens, 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was out with friends. Shortly after 9pm the group became part of a confrontation with members of the Greek Police. Alexandros was shot and killed.

In the days following the killing Alexandros became a symbol of a growing frustration among Greek youth over the country’s growing economic problems, rising unemployment, and a general perception of an inefficient and corrupt Greek government.

Riots in Athens over the death quickly spread like through out the country and then through out the whole of Europe.

The speed at which the riots spread has in part been attributed to organizers using text messaging and the internet as a means of spreading their message and setting up meeting locations. In an article to the Associated Press, Paul Have wrote…

At least some of the protests were organized over the Internet, showing how quickly the message of discontent can be spread, particularly among tech-savvy youth. One Web site Greek protesters used to update each other on the locations of clashes asserted there have been sympathy protests in nearly 20 countries.

This isn’t the first time we have seen the internet become a tool of the disenfranchised as a means of organizing protests.

When California passed Proposition 8 on November 4th, a wave of Anti-Prop 8 web sites such as Join the Impact, appeared on the web as a means of directing information to protesters and to organize events such as the Nationwide protest of November 15th and upcoming December 20th “Light Up The Night For Equality“.

Even in tightly controlled China, the internet has been used to organize people to effect change in government policies and stop construction of a chemical plant.

The internet is still basically in its infancy and the genie is out of the bottle. It’s difficult to imagine just how the civil rights movement of the 1960′s would have progressed had the internet been available. Imagine watching Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech as a live web cast or if Rosa Parks could have texted all her friends to join her in sitting at the front of buses all over the country on the same day.

Often, as individuals, we feel somewhat powerless against those with power, whether it be government, or the vocal majority. We sit in our homes feeling sorry for ourselves and saying “I can’t do anything about my situation so I’ll just make the best of it.” What we don’t realize is that we are rarely if ever truly alone.

Cross posted at The Pajama Pundit

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Budget

Contact your Congressmen

Contact congress and tell your Reps and Senators to negotiate on the budget in good faith and stop the stupid political posturing. Everything must be on the table, including entitlements and taxes.

House https://writerep.house.gov/wri?terep/welcome.shtml
Senate http://www.senate.gov/general/?contact_information/senators_c?fm.cfm?State=IA

Obama – The Biggest Spender ?

Many congressional Republicans as well as GOP talking heads like Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Fox ?News? pundits Sean Hanity and Glenn Beck, have often made the claim that President Obama has spent more money than any President in history.

When President Clinton left office the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), had estimated a surplus in 2001 of about $800 Billion dollars. So where did it all go?

New York Times writer David Leonhardt took on this topic Tuesday and the results might actually surprise you.

You can think of that roughly $2 trillion swing as coming from four broad categories: the business cycle, President George W. Bush?s policies, policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Mr. Obama has chosen to extend, and new policies proposed by Mr. Obama.

The first category ? the business cycle ? accounts for 37 percent of the $2 trillion swing. It?s a reflection of the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists? assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Micro-managing the Tax Payer Checkbook

image002The President and congress have been working on getting an $85 Billion dollar war spending bill passed. On Thursday the House approved the bill but added almost $12 Billion dollars in spending above and beyond what Obama asked for.

I understand what the first 85 Billion is for. Increased numbers of troops in Afghanistan requires money for transportation, supplies, and infrastructure to maintain them. Money is also needed to continue operations in Iraq.

So what does this extra 12 Billion get us?

First of all, they added an extra $2.2 Billion in foreign aid, above and beyond that of what the president asked for. Why is congresses added more money to foreign aid than what the president wants? I don?t see any reason for it.

Second, $4 Billion of it goes to the purchase of military equipment, including the C-17 cargo planes that the Pentagon has stated it doesn?t need. Hello? If they don?t need them, why are we buying them?

This is the part that gets me. What gives congress the authority to tell the Pentagon that they have to buy these planes even if the Pentagon says they don?t need them? I understand that congress sets the budget, but shouldn?t it be the Pentagon that decides how the money is spent? I can even understand congress saying ok, here is this program for buying cargo planes, you have this much cash to do it with. Then if the Pentagon says they don?t need them or buys what they need, the left over money goes back to congress for other projects. It just doesn?t make sense that congress has the ability to say to the military, or any other government organization, that you have to buy this or that regardless of if you need it or not, that?s just wasteful. Why are we letting congress micromanage the checkbook?

Cross-posted on The Pajama Pundit

The GOP Fu-dget Plan

For some time now myself and others have been railing on the idea that the GOP has been simply fighting against the President?s plan for moving the country forward and fixing our economy without providing some sort of alternative to the President?s budget.

Today the GOP put out a Budget Alternative, or at least a blue-print for one. Maybe it?s a rough draft?

After the break is video from Fox News as posted on the Daily KOS. Read the rest of this entry »

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