Talking turkey on Turkey Day

For me, the best parts of the holiday meal at my mother's home include mashed potatoes, dark turkey meat with gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

The least favorite part of that meal is the conversation with Dorothy and Izzy, my mother's upstairs neighbors.

Izzy says there is absolutely no need for the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, NASA, Amtrak or the Department of Agriculture. Nothing, not even the turkey we are eating, needs to be inspected by a government snoop.

Dorothy sees the unemployed, hippies, communists, vegetarians and President Obama as all being "un-American."

While just about nothing anyone can say will budge either of them from their positions there is a lot we can say, if we sit down to dinner with a plan, that will be useful in clarifying things for the other people around the table. And when you add up all those "other people" at Thanksgiving dinner tables around the country, you're talking about millions.

Working America, in a recently published guide, offers four tips for "talking turkey" at the dinner table this year.

The first is to keep the tone conversational. When "Izzy" says that corporations need tax breaks in order for them to be able to create jobs, don't rant and rave. For the benefit of everyone else around the table, try asking a question: "CEOs are making record profits right now. So how do more tax breaks for them create jobs?"

The second tip is to carefully get out any fact that might be relevant to the conversation. The idea here is not to win the argument right there but to equip everyone at the table with a fact they will remember the next time they hear Izzy or someone like him making that same claim.

Example: The richest 5 percent of households obtained roughly 82 percent of all the nation's gains in wealth between 1983 and 2009. The bottom 60 percent of households actually had less wealth in 2009 than in 1983, meaning they did not participate at all in the growth of wealth over this period.

When people start talking about politicians, try to steer the conversation toward issues. While Rick Perry's debate flubs, Herman Cain's memory lapses, and anybody's sex scandals are easy to talk about, issues, when brought up clearly, will be remembered for a long time.

Example: Wall Street control of government is a big problem. When there's a revolving door between lobbyists on K Street and Capitol Hill, you have total corporate control of government.

The fourth overall tip is to end with a solution. Example: We need to invest in jobs, not corporations.

To help with the second tip, getting out a relevant fact, Working America provides a bunch of facts about both the 99 percent and the 1 percent.

To name just a few:

The average wealth of the 1 percent is 225 times higher than the wealth of the typical household.

In just one generation the 1 percent almost quadrupled their incomes.

Thirty years ago, the average CEO made 40 times as much as an average worker. Now, it's 200 times as much.

The 1 percent is not an accident - it is the result of policies pursued by lawmakers under their control.

When you sit down to dinner be prepared to use your questions, your observations, and your facts to debunk major myths that are sure to be told and re-told at the dinner table.

My mother reports that Izzy is already telling people in the building that the Occupiers are "America-hating elites who don't even know what they stand for."

She will be ready for him Thursday when she tells him the Occupiers come from all walks of life. They are teachers, unemployed, mothers, youth, seniors, professionals, construction workers, firefighters and so on and so forth.

Their message is clear: We need to end a situation where the 1 percent have almost everything and the 99 percent have almost nothing.

As for the protesters being un-American: This kind of protest is part of a proud American tradition protected by the U.S. Constitution.

The other people around her table will have more good information to take home with them.

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  • I am of Occupy Baltimore revolutsiya people. I see patriotic American people of all culture standing together in fight of freedom from oppression from capitalist criminal dictator beasts. The 1% devils are in filthy greed ruling America with feeding of nation's ruling class with dirty money. With wealth of arms making our young people forced to war in Asia, as if we had draft to army. This hidden draft is poverty spiked with no job available to them. They are forced to kill and die as if state made them conscripts. Heroic workers loosing homes to bank for corporate swine kill jobs, now far less workers are forced to suffer task of 3 people as they earn less money. Comrades of worker now lost hope as they lost jobs. We hear lies of communist medicine killing people. "Thousands of people die as they wait for care like heart surgery, or lack of doctors" Lies!!! The fact is private system in USA kills people by forcing lack of care due to no health insurance. When mortal sickness forces system to treat patient, too late as neglect of condition due to no insurance has made last ditch treatment useless to cure patient. 1% lies site the few people who are forced to wait under communist health care who die while they wait. Socialist medicine insures ALL PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF CLASS EQUAL CARE NOT BASED ON ABILITY TO PAY. Far, far more people get good care in Russia, Canada, Britain, as health care is a right promised by state. In USA, I got very ill in 2009. I now owe hospital $38,433 for treatment over two week stay. As disabled man, I now get great state provided care, but how can I ever pay this bill?Heroic noble Vladya Illiech Lenin said "Communism is not the end but the means to an acceptable end." I see that America needs a time of Communist people's rule. Then we MUST strictly control any capitalism, as we guarantee all people freedom from poverty. I can't say if Russia's abandonment of Communism is a grave error. In Rodina,(motherland) market is carefully controlled by state. As a new class of ultra rich exists in Russia, These people dare not cheat the people as the 1% does in USA. Corporate crime and dirty greed can earn one hard prison and loss of wealth to those who fleece the people. Russia is plagued by corruption and a horrid 10% poverty rate. unacceptable. As unacceptable as the 21% poverty rate and unpunished corporate crime in America.
    We must fight for change in America now

    Posted by Soldat Lenina (soldier of Lenin.), 12/01/2011 6:33am (3 years ago)

  • And do we blame both parties? I think so. So why support Obama? Why not pull unions to their own party?

    Posted by Hugh Breyer, 11/25/2011 10:01pm (3 years ago)

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