Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown...Our hearts are broken





16 December, 2012

I, like many across the country and in the international community, am stunned and saddened by the murders of innocent children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut. As news of the incident continued to unfold through the day, the enormity of the tragedy grew worse. President Obama spoke for the country when he said that, “Our hearts are broken.”

I do not have words to explain what the parents must be feeling at the senseless loss of their children and loved ones lives. But as a husband and a father I feel an emotional connection to the families in Newtown. Their loved ones' lost hopes and dreams are a loss for us all.

In the coming days and weeks many people will come forward with theories and suggestions about how to avoid the next horrific incident. I am obviously not an expert but there are a few things that are clear to me.

The first is that there are too many guns in America and they are too easily obtained. Being able to purchase weapons at gun shows, etc, without a 'background' check is nonsense and should not be allowed. Private citizens don't need to own large capacity assault weapons. Who are we kidding? Politicians need to step up and be counted in the discussion of a fair and reasonable interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Second. Our country needs to focus more resources on mental-health services. As the world becomes more complex...technically, politically, and socially...mental health services need to have the resources to recognize, treat, and counsel people most in need.

Finally we should understand that Newtown is our town too. Keep the people of Newtown in your thoughts and in your heart.

jt

Monday, October 29, 2012



29 October, 2012Citizens United and You

No matter what happens in this election, one thing is certain; the Citizens United decision has changed the election funding process in ways that are bad for ordinary people. The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision opened the door for a flood of money from Democratic and Republican political super-PACs and campaigns, wealthy individuals, and corporations, to influence the outcome of elections.

During the presidential primaries this spring and summer we all saw various millionaires propping up the campaigns of one republican presidential candidate after the other. Many of these candidate's extreme policies, in and of themselves, should have made their primary bids fairly short. But the Republican Party would not or could not rally around Governor Mitt Romney. That set the stage for moneyed interests like Sheldon and Miriam Adelson to contribute, since July, more than 30 million dollars to those campaigns, according to the Bloomberg Business Week. These wealthy individuals, with apparently nothing better to do than play a chess-game with the electoral process for their own amusement, would drag out before the American public a stream of presidential hopefuls ranging from the comical, the delusional, the hateful, the hypocritical, and the cynical.

Here in Massachusetts my phone has been ringing off the hook with very negative calls against Elizabeth Warren. I’ve gotten calls from Crossroads GPS, Senator Olympia Snowe, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and an anonymous female voice warning me about Warren’s record. I’ve gotten mailers from Americans for Tax Reform, the US Chamber of Commerce and others warning me about Elizabeth Warren’s threat to the free trade system. I can’t watch TV without constant commercial interruptions condemning Elizabeth Warren; the candidate I am going to vote for, regardless of the expensive smear campaign against her.

According to the October 28th Springfield Sunday Republican, 10 wealthy business couples or individuals in Massachusetts have contributed more than 7 million dollars to federal and state political contests this year. The article comments that, "…it would be na├»ve to think that high-powered business executives aren’t expecting a return on their investment," according to Mary Boyle, a spokeswomen for Common Cause’s National Office in Washington, DC.

I know that my honestly given $15 contribution to the candidate(s) of my choice won’t get me a private meeting with them. I don’t think it will gain me entrance to a (what was once smoke-filled) room full of petty movers and shakers. And I also don’t think I’ll be on any politician’s speed-dial list of donors. But the most troubling aspect of this Supreme Court decision is how it disenfranchises millions of working people who make $5 or $10 dollar contributions to the candidate of our choice. With one check, a guy like Sheldon Adelson can cancel out the input and hopes of millions of people like me.

jt

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


THE REPUBLICAN FIVE-POINT PLAN



Aside from the obvious characters who put "Let’s put WHITE back in the White House" bumper stickers on their cars, or the billionaires who seem to have nothing better to do than write million dollar checks to the Romney/Ryan campaign, I really cannot understand why a rational person would even consider voting for them.

Governor Romney has stated that he has an economic plan to create 12 million new jobs. But this "Five-Point Plan" completely lacks any specifics, except cutting funding for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) which Romney announced in the first debate. This plan simply repackages the same old republican rhetoric in new clothes.

Many Americans may not have even seen this plan, so here it is in brief:
Point one says "…by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of oil, coal, gas, nuclear, and renewables." What this means is scrapping environmental protection so that they can drill, baby, drill.

Point two says… "When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance." Point two actually means school vouchers and defunding public schools.

In point three they talk about " …forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences." Trade agreements per se aren’t big job creators — they increase exports, but they also increase imports. And while a confrontation with China is the implicit subtext, Romney is apparently unwilling to get explicit.

In point four Romney states he will "…cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget." This claim rests on the assertion that he will offset huge tax cuts by closing loopholes — but he refuses to name a single example, because tax breaks are popular. Also, Medicaid — once his biggest single spending target — turns out to have substantial public support so he has stopped talking so loudly about turning power over to the states and making it a voucher system.

And finally in point five he says he will "…champion small businesses by reducing taxes, simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business, and by repealing and replacing Obamacare." His tax cuts for small businesses, actually means tax cuts for rich people; the hedge funds, not mom-and-pop stores.

This five point plan panders to people’s frustrations in a poor economy while at the same time offering no tangible specifics or realistic policy plans for how it will get us the 12 million more jobs it promises. In their debates, both Romney and Ryan have avoided the facts, insisted their plan won’t cost the public anything, and contradicted their own previous claims.

jt

Saturday, May 12, 2012

President stands for equality



12 May, 2012

These past few days have been historical for the country.  President Obama and members of his cabinet have publicly come out  in favor of gay marriage.  No more beating around the bush.  No more stopping short of saying it.  No more guessing. The president is standing up for equality, non-discrimination, love, respect, and  family. 

This is a really big deal because President Obama has done what no other sitting president has ever done.  Especially in the middle of a reelection campaign. He has plainly, openly, and honestly said that all Americans should enjoy the benefits of a loving relationship whether they are straight or gay couples. This act of courage carries a great deal of political risk for the president.

The misinformed, the self righteous, the haters, the zealots, the disingenuous, the conservatives, and the fanatics will all turn themselves blue with poisonous comments against the president but the fact remains; equality, commitment, and love have won out.  

For my part as an African American who has personally seen and experienced the pain of inequality, racism, ignorance, and fear, I applaud President Barack Obama for his stand against intolerance.  Our country will be better for it!

Jose Tolson

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Why should I care

31 October, 2011
Zuccottl Park, NYC

The Occupy Wall Street protests, which began as a small group of protesters in New York City's Zuccotti Park,  has changed the national conversation around the economic 'gap' between the richest 1% and everyone else. 

It has changed the conversation around the meltdown of the economy and why so few people and financial firms have been held accountable for their risky behavior;  behavior which destroyed the futures of so many lower, middle, and upper-middle-class people.

The national and international "Occupy" protests have broken the silence of denial and forced the media, politicians, columnists, as well as international organizations to publicly acknowledge these economic disparities. 

New York City's 24-hour televison news station, Channel 1, has a continuous designated segment entitled "Occupy Wall Street".  Locally you may have noticed that there is more news, discussions, and information about these protests across the country and the effect they are having.  More and more the news media is wondering out loud if our financial policies are "fair". 

It is because of this movement that the national focus on the economy has changed. This movement, unlike other so called 'popularist' movements, is a genuine expression of the way ordinary people, the 99%, are feeling  about being kicked to the curb by the greed of the rich.

jt

ps.
The blog postings below list ways that you can help.


***

30 October, 2011
Zuccotti Park, NYC

A couple of blog corrections about the "Occupy Wall Street"  movement.

First, The best website to contact, get information from, and make donations to the Occupy Wall Street movement is:
http://www.occupywallst.org/

not "occupytogether.org"  that I listed in the earlier blog posting.

Second, as I mentioned below, the weather in New York City has turned very wintry and the need has increased for the items below.  This list can also be found on the occupywallst.org website.

Needs

  • insulated gloves, wool hats, scarves
  • long underwear / smart wool thermal socks
  • 300 hand warmers, 300 foot warmers
  • waterproof boots in all sizes
  • disposable shoe covers
  • winter coats
  • hot beverages
  • thermal heaters
  • all weather sub-thermal sleeping bags
  • tarps
  • all-weather tents
  • foam padding / insulation for inside of tents
  • wooden pallets to get tents off the ground
  • cots to get people off the ground (don't currently have any - could really use these)

Dropping Off In Person In NYC

Daily until 9pm at the OWS storage space at 52 Broadway Ave, ground floor.
After 9pm at the OWS Comfort Station on the east side of Liberty Square (aka Zuccotti Park)

Where To Ship

Occupy Wall Street
118a Fulton St
PO Box 205
New York, NY 10038


Third, I again want to encourage you to send this blog information to one or two other people.  The national conversation has changed because of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  We are the 99%.

Thanks
jt



***

29 October, 2011
Zuccoti Park, NYC

I am going to write a couple of short blog entries about the "Occupy Wall Street"  protest and what we can do in support.

A few  things that you can do is forward this blog to one or two other people so we can expand the information,  visit the "occupytogether.org" website to stay informed about actions taking place,  and make any kind of donations that you can to further the spirit of the protesters.

In the midst of this stormy Saturday the protester's spirits are very high.  The rain, snow, and wind of this early winter storm has not dampened their resolve.  It is a lesson for us all.  The city has taken away the electric generators, that the protesers were using, to keep warm, citing saftey reasons. As you can imagine this has made things pretty desperate.  

Gloves, socks, sweaters and other winter gear (and espeically money) would be a great contribution.  The 99%  movement is our movement.  More to come.
jt

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Zuccotti Park-October 30


30 October, 2011
Zuccotti Park, NYC

A couple of blog corrections about the "Occupy Wall Street" movement.

First, the best website to contact, get information from, and make donations to the Occupy Wall Street movement is:

http://www.occupywallst.org/

not "occupytogether.org" that I listed in the earlier posting.

Second, as I mentioned below, the weather in New York City has turned very wintry and the need has increased for the items below.  This list can also be found on the occupywallst.org website.

Needs

  • insulated gloves, wool hats, scarves
  • long underwear / smart wool thermal socks
  • 300 hand warmers, 300 foot warmers
  • waterproof boots in all sizes
  • disposable shoe covers
  • winter coats
  • hot beverages
  • thermal heaters
  • all weather sub-thermal sleeping bags
  • tarps
  • all-weather tents
  • foam padding / insulation for inside of tents
  • wooden pallets to get tents off the ground
  • cots to get people off the ground (don't currently have any - could really use these)

Dropping Off In Person In NYC

Daily until 9pm at the OWS storage space at 52 Broadway Ave, ground floor.
After 9pm at the OWS Comfort Station on the east side of Liberty Square (aka Zuccotti Park)

Where To Ship

Occupy Wall Street
118a Fulton St
PO Box 205
New York, NY 10038


Third, I again want to encourage you to send this blog information to one or two other people.  The national conversation has changed because of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  We are the 99%.

Thanks
jt





29 October, 2011
Zuccoti Park, NYC

I am going to write a couple of short blog entries about the "Occupy Wall Street" protest and what we can do in support.

A few things that you can do is forward this blog to one or two other people so we can expand the information,  visit the "occupytogether.org" website to stay informed about actions taking place,  and make any kind of donations that you can to further the spirit of the protesters.

In the midst of this stormy Saturday the protester's spirits are very high.  The rain, snow, and wind of this early winter storm has not dampened their resolve.  It is a lesson for us all.  The city has taken away the electric generators that the protesers were using to keep warm citing safety reasons. As you can imagine, this has made things pretty desperate.  

Gloves, socks, sweaters and other winter gear (and espeically money) would be a great contribution.  The 99%  movement is our movement.  More to come.
jt

Zuccotti Park, NYC

29 October, 2011
Zuccoti Park, NYC

I am going to write a couple of short blog entries about the "Occupy Wall Street"  protest and what we can do in support.

A few  things that you can do is forward this blog to one or two other people so we can expand the information,  visit the "occupytogether.org" website to stay informed about actions taking place,  and make any kind of donations that you can to further the spirit of the protesters.

In the midst of this stormy Saturday the protester's spirits are very high.  The rain, snow, and wind of this early winter storm has not dampened their resolve.  It is a lesson for us all.  The city has taken away the electric generators, that the protesers were using, to keep warm, citing saftey reasons. As you can imagine this has made things pretty desperate.  

Gloves, socks, sweaters and other winter gear (and espeically money) would be a great contribution.  The 99%  movement is our movement.  More to come.
jt