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Dear President Obama

  • Posted on November 11, 2012 at 11:13 am

The election is over and now the real work begins.  I saw how hard you fought for your reelection and the toil it took on you on election night.  However, the real work is just beginning.  Republicans don’t want to believe you were given some kind of mandate, as they still do not believe in science, polling, and reality.  While they appear stunned by the results, I suggest you get to work on becoming the leader that the American people deserve and want.

I don’t care about words like “mandate”.  I care about the American people.  From my point of view, it is obvious that the American people want to see that 2% pay their fair share of taxes.  It’s time to stand firm for America with all of the things you talked about during the election.  Create a government that is for the people not for Wall Street.  The people want good paying jobs, quality schools, a living wage, and an end to the never-ending cycle of war.  We want our infrastructure built up so we don’t have to worry about bridges, potholes, and the next big storm.  We want a transportation system that isn’t built on an America from fifty years ago.  We want a government that doesn’t pay special attention to minority groups of people like billionaires, millionaires, and those Tea Party nuts that follow Grover Norquist.  We actually want the two parties to sit down together and develop ideas that help the country and not hurt it.

The American people are a giving people.  Whenever people are in need, we give.  We step up and do our part to try to help people in trouble.  It is in our nature when diversity strikes, that the best in us comes out.   However, don’t ask us to give up the hard earned Medicare and Social Security programs that are the life blood for so many of our poor and middle class people.  The media folks keep talking about the “fiscal cliff” which is a rather nauseating term.  I cannot imagine standing on a cliff without feeling nauseated by the edge that I could fall over.  However, it is the constant drum of the “The Sky is Falling.” from the media giants that nauseates me more than the talk of the cliff.  It is obvious the media people are trying to get us, the American people, ready for the big hammer to fall.  Those same media giants are in the pocket of big business and those billionaires and millionaires.  I say Mr. President, “Stand tall and firm for the American people.”  Most of us out here know that Social Security doesn’t need to have the age raised or Medicare turned into some kind of insane voucher program.  We, the American electorate, reject those notions.  The cap on Social Security could simply be taken off and the government could stop looting it.  Let those with wealth do without those special breaks they get for being so rich.

Mr. President, you won!  The Republicans are just going to have to get over it.  Act like the winner you are and stand firm for the American people.  You owe us for standing with you when you needed us.  Now you must stand for us when we need you!  The American people need you to fight the good fight for the poor and the middle class.  You do represent all of America and that includes the 2% but the wealthy need to do their part for America.  It is the poor and the middle class that really give for this country.  We give out children to war and our sweat to build up this country.  It’s time that the wealthy gave what their best at as well and that would be their money to help reinvigorate our economy, educate our people, and develop our infrastructure.  All is possible when everyone steps up and does their part.  Don’t be afraid to ask the American wealthy to step up and do their part to make America a place where all can succeed again.


Katherine, an American voter and taxpayer

The Definition of Insanity

  • Posted on July 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm

This guy may look unassuming and normal, but he has the power!

We’ve all been told that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting a different result.  This came to mind to me when I thought I was going through a “Ground Hog” moment when I heard the House passed their bill again last night.  Yes, they may have made some minor changes to it, but truthfully, why waste our time with something that you know isn’t going anywhere?  Steadily this week I watched the “Dow” go down, down, down, and I thought about how it had just recovered after the big slump of 2008!  Leave it to politicians to play political games that make everything unstable for all people.  Waiting until the last possible minute to settle this issue is costing our country in many ways.  I still feel that this was orchestrated just for political reasons and that both parties want to dig deep into Social Security and Medicare and make changes that aren’t probably what the American people want. Here is an opinion piece from Patrick Martin at the World Socialist Web Site.  Now, don’t let the fact that it’s on the WSWS website deter you.  This is interesting and really should be read.

I don’t trust either party, but I have to wonder what’s going on with the Tea Party people because most of them seem absolutely clueless!  The Republicans have prostrated themselves at the altar of Grover Norquist.  He has far too much power, far more than any one person should have!  Here I found a video way back in the 2008 primary where Grover gets to ask a question during one of the Republican Primary debates.

Many of the guys took the pledge to never raise taxes.  If you don’t take the pledge, you don’t get any love from Grover.  All I can say is “never” is a long time!  I just can’t get over how powerful this guy really is.  He seems to come before God and family for politicians!  I went to Wikipedia and he has a long history of working for lower taxes.

Now I don’t care much for Lawrence O’Donnell or his show but this is a good clip to watch.

So, the real question is why is Grover so powerful?  It appears to me that he has deep pockets and the total backing of the Republican Party.  This document should be read but it has some scary bits in it.

I thought these two items were very telling of who is behind Grover and what the plan is.

On Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, Norquist said the following about the Bush Administration, “We is them, and they is us. When I walk through the White House, I recognize as many people as when I would walk through the Heritage Foundation.”

“My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”— The Nation, 10/12/2004

Both of these quotes should disturb anyone reading them.  This is the guy that has the power in Washington, not you or me.  We should all be afraid.  I’ll end this piece by letting you know that Grover can be a funny guy.  Maybe it’s his “good old boy charm” that has helped him get where he is today!  This is from his own website doing a comic stand up routine for the “Funniest Celebrities in Washington”, whatever that is.  This is his baby, Americans for Tax Reform.

Michigan Polls and Stupid Politics

  • Posted on July 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Some how this cartoon reminds me of our current politicians!

I have many different things on my mind today so don’t think I’m nutty when my thoughts hop around.  I watched a few minutes of the Chris Matthews show last night and Chris was bemoaning a recent poll from Michigan.  In the poll, if the election were held today, Mitt Romney would beat President Obama 46 to 42.  I guess that means that 12% of the people refused to pick either one in that poll.  Chris has always acted like Michigan will vote for Obama.  He obviously doesn’t realize that we have a Republican House, Senate, and governor.  He thought it was just because Mitt’s dad used to be our governor many years ago.  There is a lot more to it than that.  I’m one of “those people” that are still smitten over my stolen vote during the 2008 Democratic Primary.  Matthews and other political pundits seem to be blind to the fact that there are a number of people that are not happy with the direction this country is going.  The Tea Party is like the antithesis of how I feel, but when you put both the far right and the far left together, that’s a lot of ticked off people.

When Senator Obama ran for the presidency he talked about “hope and change”.  My problems with Obama started early on when he spoke glowingly about paying those math and science teachers more money than other teachers.  That is union busting language that just serves to divide teachers.  I figured he was secretly a Republican and I knew I couldn’t vote for him.  That was in July of 2007.  Now that wasn’t my first exposure to Barack Obama.  The first time I had ever heard of Barack Obama was during the Kerry nomination.  I really liked Obama’s speech at the 2004 convention.  I guess that line about red states and blue states but the United States really got to me.  I thought this guy could be president some day, you know like some time off into the distant future, not four years from then.  Then of course I heard the speech in 2007 where he spoke in front of the National Education Association and I was unimpressed.  It seems to me for being a “no drama” president; we have had nothing but drama since he became president.  Right now I feel that the American people have been whipped into frenzy over the debt ceiling debate just to get us bent to the will of both parties.  I don’t believe either party is innocent in this debate.  It almost feels like the only innocent people are the American people.  Just like the time when banks and corporations were just too big to fail, it seems like we are being brought to the edge of a cliff and told you must get down off the cliff and you have only two choices, now both choices are bad.  The Republicans want us to jump off that cliff and the Democrats want us to fly off that cliff.  Either way we pick to get off that cliff is going to end up with a similar result.  I feel there is much fake outrage about all of this.  I was over to Black Agenda and Bruce Dixon has written a piece that just says it all for me as both parties have been in cahoots for years in their “drama-o-drama”  machine playing good cop to the other guy’s bad cop.  You must read this piece!

Now this is a guy that has supported Obama.  I probably would have supported him in the last election, if he hadn’t stolen my vote, because I have always been a lifelong Democrat.  However, after the election was over, I wanted President Obama and still want him to be a successful “Democratic” president.  He just hasn’t been that!  He has continued the Bush policies and even extended them into another war in the Middle East.  Most people, even Republicans, should be able to see that he is nothing more than an extension of GW, from policies to vacation taking.

We are being told he is a Centrist.  That is only true if the “Center” has shifted dramatically right.  Some people think he is like Reagan.  While I think he admires Reagan much more than any other president, I think he is more like GW.  He speaks better than GW, but the policies are the same which makes you wonder who is really pulling the strings in this country.  It certainly isn’t the American people because he doesn’t seem to care about us.  He can’t even get the “feel your pain” speech down like President Clinton could always master.  In President Obama, I am often left wondering just what the Republicans are holding over his head.  Is there something they could let out of the bag at any given time, some dark secret that we haven’t already heard?  Does he secretly wear tiger costumes and exhibit inappropriate behavior like Representative Wu?  I’m at a loss as to why President Obama acts the way he does.  He certainly hasn’t lived up to the rhetoric of what his promises during the campaign suggested to the people that voted for him.  I never believed him, so I don’t exactly feel betrayed.  However, those that believed in this guy have to be wondering what’s going on with him?  Did he change or is it a reality that the job of the president is just so overwhelming that us “little people” just don’t and couldn’t possibly understand what it means to be president?

Anyway you look at it the American people are always taking a back seat to the corporations and the wealthy in this country.  I don’t want to hear how I am pushing “class warfare” because the truth is the people in power have kept this war going for years.  The Republicans have fed their people the line about “personal responsibility” to the point where many on the right look down with disdain at the guy that isn’t making it in this country.  If it is their own kid, they are getting on the phone and calling in favors to get their kid employed the old fashioned way, not based on merit, but on nepotism.  They can’t stand the look and feel of affirmative action, but they love the fact that they can get their kid “in” because of who they know.  The poor have never had this advantage in life or politics.  The poor don’t have someone they can call when their kid can’t find work.  There is a divide in our country between the haves and the have nots, but most people are in denial about it.  They secretly know they make those calls but they pretend that their kid did it on his or her own merits.  I always find it so interesting when I watch TV pundits and discover that many of the young people getting their feet wet are the sons and daughters of those earlier figures.  It isn’t what you know but who you know that counts in this country.  If you know someone powerful, you probably will get what you need.  However, if you’re like most people you don’t have some sugar daddy just waiting to give you a job.  You must create your own life based on what you can get and what you can strive for.  Back in the fifties and sixties after WWII many people surpassed their parents economically by going on to college.  They benefited from low school loans, to the low cost of college, to even the GI Bill.  When they got out of college, they could live the American dream.  Some of them didn’t even have to go to college to live that dream.  They built automobiles.  The point is there was a dream that most Americans could grasp.  Now, after forty years of Republican and Democratic political failures, we have reached a point where some of our children may not do as well as their parents.  That American dream is becoming a nightmare of student loans, no job prospects, and even forced moves of hundreds and thousands of miles away from family just to find a job!  It is no wonder that if you have the means to help your child find work that you will pull in that marker that someone owes you!  The point I’m trying to make is that the current economic situation is very much related to the constant bickering between the two political parties and their need for greed.  While the politicians are busy shuffling the chairs on the deck of this sinking ship, they don’t deal with the reality which is jobs and job creation.  They only care about making businesses more comfortable and keeping the wealth in the hands of the wealthy.  Truthfully, businesses can go anywhere for their labor and that is what they’re doing.  Our governmental policies favor this.  Neither political party cares enough about our country to remember that our best asset is our people.  They care more about their own political careers than anything else.  They will continue to build their careers off the backs of the middle class and the poor.  They will continue to ask the American people to squeeze one more dime out of their crappy pension, Social Security, or college fund so they can give it to corporations and those wealthy “job creators” to piss away on anything but creating real jobs.  I’m disappointed in the politics of my nation.  I want the students that I teach to be able to have real dreams for their future.  I don’t want politicians that play these stupid games representing me.  If this is the best that we can do in our country, we’re in real trouble!

DINOS, RINOS, and the Two Party System

  • Posted on July 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I have been wondering what happened with Cenk on MSNBC.  I noticed that Al Sharpton was working during his time slot.  I thought Cenk was on vacation but since I haven’t been really watching much of MSNBC this summer, I didn’t really know what was going on until I came across this video today.

I’m not writing about Cenk being canned at MSNBC.  I’m more concerned about something he said in his video.  Like many people that think like I do, he states in the video that President Obama is a Republican.  I’ve been saying this for a long time.  However, what really got me was that he basically said he knew this because he was once a Republican himself.

The Democratic Party was infiltrated by these Republicans, probably because they lost their own home in their own changing party.  As the Republican Party moved more right, so did the Democratic Party because of the shift of these people from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.  I always have found it strange that people like Ariana Huffington and Markos Moulitsas were speaking for my party.  They both were Republicans before they were Democrats.  I could never understand how this happened in “my” party.  Who would have ever thought that both Governor Perry from Texas and Representative Bachmann from Minnesota were once Democrats?

Yesterday I read something over on Hullabaloo that just made me angry.

Now I want to disclose here that I haven’t really associated myself with the Democratic Party since they stole my vote during the 2008 primary.  I consider myself to be an FDR democrat.  In fact I passed out flyers for Michael Dukakis long ago.  So when I say, “We Democrats!” this is what I mean.  It seems that we Democrats, are supposed to keep carrying water for President Obama because he’s the best we’ve got.  I never got on that ship to begin with, so when it’s sinking it’s not my job to bail out that water.  If President Obama wants to get my vote, he needs to stop modeling himself after GW and start reading books about FDR, protect the programs FDR helped create, and get us out of these wars.  In the article that I mentioned here, there was much talk about “progressives”.  I just want to state right now that I have come to hate that word.  It’s bullshit really.  In my own life, I consider myself to be liberal in my politics.  That word has been so libeled by the media that people are afraid to admit their liberal.  I think of liberal as being “mind expanding, open minded”, and not closed off to new ideas.  Essentially, I am liberal because I believe in letting people make their own choices in life.  While I am rather conservative in my social values, I believe that everyone needs to be treated with respect and that includes respecting their choices.  I personally don’t believe who people are sleeping with, or their religious choices or non choices needs to be a part of politics.  This is why I can still be deeply disappointed with what John Edwards did to his family but still understand the politics when he said he wanted to be a voice for the voiceless.  I am not moved by the scandal story of the day that is probably put out there at some opportune time to get rid of certain politicians that aren’t quite “falling in line”, much like Cenk at MSNBC.

My politics speak more about social justice than anything else.  I find it, yes, morally offensive, when my government decides it is more important to feed and clothe the wealthy than to take care of the least of its people.  I know that sounds rather religious in tone but truthfully it is about being human and compassionate.  How can a real human walk by and ignore suffering that they see?  Too many times I’ve heard conservatives use those words, “They should just pick themselves up by their bootstraps.”  The problem is what if they have no boots, little education, and no hope?  When we can provide all three, a pair of boots, education, and hope, we should do it.  In the end, everyone will be better off because that person will become a productive member of society who could potentially be the next person to give a hand to someone else.

A few weeks ago, I saw part of an old movie, Spencer’s Mountain, with Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara.  The movie is about a family.  The dad is a miner and he comes from a family of miners.  His oldest boy is the top in his class and the family realizes that this is an opportunity for their son to create a better life for himself and potentially the rest of the children by going to college.   Yes, I know you can remember the show, “The Walton’s”.  In Spencer’s Mountain the father’s dream was to build some grand home for his wife and family.  However, he eventually gives up that dream for the real dream which is his family, and helping them have a better life.  Here is the most important part to the movie and it is the point I want to make here.

As a person who really has the heart of the real Democratic Party in her soul and is not some come to the party lately person, I think our country should be helping those at the bottom elevate so they can have dreams too.  I’m not talking about letting people sit and do nothing.  I’m talking about helping people get a good education, find a good job, and fulfill their dreams and even help them get dreams.  As an educator, I think we must fund quality education for all.  Job creation should not be a problem.  There are plenty of things that need to be done in this country.  Instead of building roads and bridges in Afghanistan, we could be building and fixing them here.  We have an infrastructure that is failing from our road system, to our electrical grid, to even some of the old schools that need to be updated.  There is plenty to do here.  Some of our big cities look like war torn zones.  We could go in and fix these as well.  We should be thinking about the future.  What is going to draw business to your state or my state?  It seems to me that as a government we aren’t doing much here in our own country which is leading to not only a failing economy but also a failing of our people.

We should all be frightened by these two current parties!

My sister and I were talking last night and we both felt that the American people weren’t worried about some terrorist coming in the night and yet the American people are being terrorized by high unemployment, high prices for everything from gas to food, and now the latest threat, losing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  The terrorist in our lives happens to be our inept government!  The politicians have all swung so far right that they have lost touch with the American people.  I live in a Republican community and I have to say on any given day when I really talk with my Republican friends they aren’t that far away from my own thinking.  It seems that most of us want to be able to raise our children in peace and know that there is a good future waiting for them when they become adults.  That is the American dream!  We may have different ways and ideas about reaching that dream, but truthfully that American Dream is being threatened by a two party system that essentially has turned into a one party system.  Our government has swung so far to the right that they have forgotten that most of the American people are more concerned about their own personal families than anything else.  For years we were threatened with the” imminent” attack that awaited us from Osama Bin Laden.  I can remember many police sessions at my school where I was informed that it was an ideal place for a terrorist to show up because it was so unexpected.  We have been prodded like cattle to get on a plane or attend a political rally and we have given up the very freedoms that we proclaim to love so much.  Now, in addition to those freedoms, we are expected to give up those standards of American life, like Social Security, that we have paid into for all of our lives, to once again, stave off terrorism.  We have to pay for all of the things that we cherish like more money for defense, more money for homeland security, more money for politicians to run their offices, less money for education, less money for the arts, less money for Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.  Yes, for those of you that don’t understand sarcasm, I am being facetious here.  The politicians from both parties are telling us if you want to feel safe at night, this is what we have to do now.  I’m not buying it.  If this were all true they shouldn’t have taken 2% out of my payroll taxes and kept the Bush tax cuts in place last December.  Once again we are being sold a bill of goods.  While it appears that the two parties are so far apart that they are at an impasse, don’t buy it.  Something will happen and they will get a plan.  Unfortunately, it will not favor the majority of the American people.  We will once again be told that we all must share in this “sacrifice” when the only ones doing the sharing will be you and me.  I don’t have the answers but I know our two party system is broken.  We need to get rid of both of these pathetic parties and get fresh people in Washington that are not bought and paid for, that care more about the promise of America than the promise of their next election.  We have been told for years that we are stuck with the two party system but we have to change this government.  We need people in office that are not loyal to either party but loyal to the American people.  I cannot understand anyone in a party that would sign an oath to a person such as Grover Norquist.  The only oath they should be taking is one to the American people.

Those Dog Days of Summer

  • Posted on July 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Why does this remind me of Washington politics?

Many of you might be wondering why I haven’t posted anything lately.  I have been so busy with two online courses that I am taking.  They are self paced and I wanted to get them done so I actually can have some summer.  I have been working like I am possessed!  I am happy to report that I am finally finished with both courses.  A couple of weeks ago I came across an article that made me think.

We are creating new jobs in America.  As our manufacturing jobs continue to be outsourced we have some new biomedical type jobs being created.  However, this one I had to read twice to decide whether it was put out on the internet by “The Onion” or some other prankster.  It seems that some people are just fed up with dog poop.  There must be a market for this product or it probably wouldn’t be produced.  Deborah Violette is a property manager for a housing complex.  At this complex, Timberwoods Commons in Lebanon, New Hampshire you must submit your dog’s DNA.  This just means a swab of the dog’s mouth.  However, it will cost you.  You can check out the article to see what the fees entail.  When Deborah finds dog poop, she sends it to a lab to be analyzed.  If it’s your dog’s DNA, heaven forbid what the penalty might be.  It’s a strange new world.

I’m sure some of you are thinking this is a good idea and maybe I’m missing something.  I just think it must be time to get into the biomedical research business because there sure is plenty of dog poop around!  I have a fenced in yard and my dog has his own personal lavatory.  I won’t be analyzing his DNA any time soon.

Since I have dogs on my mind, I wonder what will happen with the budget talks in Washington D.C. as we move into the dog days of summer.  I keep thinking about that August 2nd deadline.  According to some experts a deal has to be reached between July 15th and the 22nd in order for all the dominoes not to fall.  Where is President Obama in all of this?  Once again it appears that the devil is in the details.  Just like the deal struck in December, I’m sure the President will work his magic and give in to the demands of the Republicans.  Jo Connelly has written about the work ethic of the House and laments days gone by when things were settled over a drink or two.

I came across this opinion piece that does a pretty good job of summing up the status of our current congress.

As far as President Obama goes, I keep hearing the song from the Wizard of Oz in my head, “Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!”  The President is lost in a forest when suddenly the Cowardly Lion hops out and tries to scare him.  Those Republicans are pretty scary and President Obama seems to need constant companionship and protection just like Dorothy.  So we, the American people, end up with a standoff.  I see a whole lot of nothing going on but posturing.  These two political opponents are wasting much political capital trying to look like they’re doing something important.  What I see is crazy Republicans antics from the far right facing President Obama, a Republican from the middle.  Too bad we don’t have any real Democrats that could balance this scale out a bit better.  Republicans have changed so much in the last forty years that it is shocking.  However, the Democrats have changed even more.  Back in the seventies Republicans were all about population control.   They even supported Planned Parenthood!

The current Democrats are as bad as the Republicans.  They are helping the Republicans find ways to chip away at Social Security and Medicare.  President Obama and the Democrats are playing games just like the Republicans.  I hear in President Obama’s speeches that hint that these programs must be changed.  He implies that he will protect them but from my perspective it seems to me that he protests too much.  We all know he will cave just like he caved in December.  He doesn’t stand for anything but he wants us to believe he does.  His principles are not clearly defined.  He hasn’t been leading this country.  He caves on Elizabeth Warren and he will cave on this as well!

These dog days of summer make me think that the American people better get their pooper scoopers ready.  There is going to be a lot of crap to clean up after the summer is over!

Health Care Costs and the American Dream

  • Posted on June 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

Are you a "have" or a "have not"?

This week at school all of us teachers were encouraged to attend a meeting about our health insurance.  It was an unsettling meeting for me because it is astounding to see that the cost of insurance is so high.  Some things just didn’t make sense.  It appears that the best deal is if you are single.  If you are married and without kids, you are going to pay more than if you were just two single people.  That just doesn’t make sense to me, but it is what it is.

We have three different plans to choose from.  The green plan is the plan you never want to use and if you choose it, it probably will mean you never go to the doctor….for anything plan!  The blue plan is the plan if you are thinking, “Okay, I don’t want to pay anything out of my pocket right now…..Let’s just hope nothing comes up but the basics plan!”  The white plan is for the people that are superstitious and think, “There shouldn’t be any major problem this year but I better be on the safe side because I don’t want to worry about it plan!”  The other part of the meeting was about the possibility that one of three things could happen.  We could have to pay 10%, 20%, or whatever is left after a state mandated cap is put on what schools pay for insurance, which could mean the possibility of a family having to pay a balance of over $6000.

Now it may sound like I’m laughing about this but it really is no laughing matter.  The plans range in cost for around $4,000-$6,000 for a single, $10,000-$15,000 for married with no children, and 13,000 to a bit over $19,000 for the family plan.  Now, just think about these numbers.  How can a family that isn’t wealthy afford insurance that costs nearly $20,000 if it isn’t picked up by their employer?  President Obama put forth a health care plan but these are real numbers and numbers don’t lie.  Nothing has really changed except the cost continues to go up for health insurance.  You might be thinking that our costs are unusual.  However, our insurance is with Blue Cross Blue Shield and we don’t have the Messa Blue Cross that we had years ago.  Blue Cross is a not for profit insurance company.  Yes, I know you cannot imagine that such a thing exists.  On paper it does.  However, their CEO still gets paid much like the private sector.  I looked up the rates for the federal employee plans, also through a Blue Cross Blue Shield company, and they are similar, which makes me see that the problems with the high cost of health care have not really been addressed through the health care bill that was passed.  The cost of health care has to come down, all of our salaries have to go up, or we have to create a different plan like single payer which basically reduces the need for the middle man.

In my mind I believe it is foolish that our country hasn’t stepped up to single payer.  If everyone had to pay something and we had Medicare for all, people would be better off.  I know the politicians are doing everything they can to convince us that these programs have to be cut.  Of course this has happened only after they renewed the tax cuts that Bush put in place and they continue to be resistant to the concept of taxing the wealthy at a higher rate.  Of course many of them are the wealthy, so that’s not hard to figure.  Right now our country is in a crisis mode of sorts.  The Republicans are trying to condition all of us to the “need” to tame the debt ceiling beast.  Of course they weren’t whining back in December when they renewed the tax cuts without so much as a whimper about spending.   They also were in a completely different mood when President Bush was the man in charge.  However, President Obama isn’t doing anything in the least to make matters better because he’s going for the cuts as well.  Everyone seems to be on board with some kind of plan to change Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as we know it.  I heard Carl Bernstein the other day on Morning Joe saying we all know these programs have to change.  They will wait until after the election and then get to work on it.  He’s probably right but it’s all dishonest.  When President Obama was running for the presidency he talked about being a “transformational” president.  He thought Reagan was one and Clinton wasn’t.  President Obama has always admired President Reagan so I’m beginning to think he may also become a “transformational” president.  Life as we all know it may be “transformed” into something we have not known before.  Our country is becoming the country known for the “haves” and the “have nots”.  Let’s face it.  You either have it or you don’t in this country.  You either have a good job or you don’t.  You either have health care or you don’t.  You either have money or you don’t.  You either have access to a good education or you don’t.  You either have it or you don’t, but there really isn’t much in the middle any more.  As I’m writing this I came across this opinion piece.  It’s well worth reading.

At school we are heading into our last week.  The students will be finished on Thursday and I’m sure they are all excited for their summer break time.  Teachers are looking forward also but as I was walking out my door the other day I had a moment of sadness.  I had a sixth grade student come in after school to help me work on getting things done for the end of the year.  She told me my room looked sad because so many of the posters and things that made it exciting were taken down and it was so much cleaner.  It didn’t have the excitement that it usually has for her.  She was right of course as everything is being put away for the summer including art materials.  My room is usually a hub of activity, sometimes it can get pretty overwhelming as we use clay, paint and other materials to create art.  I find the summer break good mentally but as I was leaving that day I did feel that sense of sadness because I love working with middle school kids.  I will miss that little girl who is such a little chatterbox full of energy and excitement that comes in to see me after school even though I had her in art class a semester ago!  I will miss the funny boy who I always have to remind to listen because he never hears anything I say.  I will miss the little miss perfect girl that is an awesome art student and cannot wait to get to school to work in art class.  I will miss that boy that would never turn any work in, who I nudged and prodded all semester and got him to get that work in, who is now so proud that he has a good grade!  Most of all I will miss all of the love I feel from these students that really do try to do their best, sometimes under difficult circumstances.  Some of them are in foster homes, some are poor, some are wealthy but all are special to me.  They really are our future and I don’t want to let them down.  Our politicians need to see what I see and fund health care, education and the future of our children.  We don’t need more years of war and devastation.  We need a leader that gets behind the people of our country and lifts the spirits of those that are unemployed by finding a way to make conditions right for creating jobs, who tackles the problems of the high cost of health care and who is willing to keep the American dream alive by fully funding education!

Mr. Prince Goes to Dubai

  • Posted on May 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Erik Prince

Our own, Michigan grown, Eric Prince is off to bigger and better things in Dubai.  It seems that business is good since September 11, 2001 for mercenary soldiers.  His business was Blackwater.  Now that Blackwater has its problems, he has changed the name.  It seems he didn’t like that word, mercenary, back in the day.  I grabbed this from Wikipedia.

When the term “mercenaries” was used to describe Blackwater employees, Prince objected, characterizing them instead as “loyal Americans”. (According to Pelton, who interviewed Prince on his military vision, Prince sees Blackwater’s role in American affairs as similar “to that of Baron von Steuben, Kościuszko, Rochambeau, and LaFayette” — soldiers of fortune who helped fight in American War of Independence. He also compares them to the Flying Tigers, World War II-era fighter pilots who fought for pay in the Pacific theater.[64])

Of course now, that’s exactly what his team of soldiers is currently in Dubai.  This article in the New York Times is quite interesting.

You have to wonder about everything from the technology he is using to the knowledge that he knows about American affairs and think about how he is applying all of this in Dubai.  Of course Wikipedia has all of these silly ideas about what he may be up to.  One of them is to be a high school teacher.  That is laughable except for the fact that he is a major contributor to the Mackinac Center by way of the back door version of the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C.  Teachers in Michigan should be well aware of the Mackinac Center as that organization has been breeding contempt for public education and teacher labor unions for years.  I remember getting pamphlets in my school mailbox that were not exactly public school teacher friendly.

You may recall this segment of the Rachel Maddow show:

From the New York Times article I found this:

The United Arab Emirates — an autocracy with the sheen of a progressive, modern state — are closely allied with the United States, and American officials indicated that the battalion program had some support in Washington.

What I really want to know is what does that mean?  Is this just one more way that we are funneling more money to military exploits and war profiteering businesses?  I am left wondering about these things.  I found this article during my search today.  If you read nothing else from the links that I have given you today, read this article.

We are in a cycle of never ending war created by the war profiteers who are continually fed by our government.  Life as we know it is over unless we stand up and demand changes in Washington D.C.  We cannot sit silently and watch our public schools system continually chastised as “broken”.   Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid also considered “broken”.  Our government, through the use of a media with a penchant for just making money and politicians who also like that good old lobbyist money, keeps telling us that government can’t do anything right.  Everything must be privatized because private companies are better than government.  Erik Prince is a part of all of that private company meme.  We have given the war profiteers the keys to the kingdom and now they rule everything.  They will even decide what your kids are going to learn in school.  I love this video because this guy, Will Richardson, says it like it is.  He says, “Life prep is not test prep.”  In the video he is appalled at the constant use of testing our students are faced with.  At one point he has a Tweet from a parent that bemoans the fact that her Kindergarten child is looking for ways to get out of school.  Richardson goes on to say, “This system is killing our kids.  It is taking all of the imagination, all of the creativity, all of the initiatives, all of the engagement right out of it.”

If we want to suck the life out of our children, let’s keep teaching for a test and test till the cows come home.  It seems to be what the war profiteers want this because it keeps everyone under control.  However, if we want an engaged society that knows how to problem solve and students that can think for themselves, let’s try a different approach.  You may think it is funny that I put this in here.  What, you are thinking, does all of this Eric Prince business, have to do with education.  Well, if he’s connected to the Mackinac Center, it speaks volume and you and I should all be alarmed!  It’s all about making money folks.  Everything is for profit, even your child’s education.

Wall Street Wives, Taxes and Privatization

  • Posted on April 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Illustration by Victor Juhasz

Whew!  Everyone has just breathed that big sigh of relief that their taxes are done and they don’t have to think about them for another year.  However, we should all be thinking about where our tax monies are going instead of focusing on the two parties that would have us believe that we must slash and burn “entitlement” programs in order to contain this unyielding budget deficit.  I, for one, don’t complain a lot about my taxes and I pay plenty in terms of percent of my income.  I am single with no dependents and I no longer run a business that might help for write off reasons.  This puts me in that tax space of hell that most single people understand.  When I add up all the money I pay for federal, state, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, property taxes and sales tax I could be screaming about the taxes I pay.  However, I don’t because I know that we need roads, public education, colleges, hospitals, airports, police, defense and many other things to make our society run.  I know I pay my fair share of the tax burden.  I don’t need any more and I know that many corporations pay nothing.  I also know that many wealthy people don’t share my percent of the burden.  I’ve been saying that we need to change the tax code so those at the top can do more for our country.  They have more, so they should do more.  After all they use more of these government resources than you or I will ever use.  They use the airports all the time to fly wherever they want to be in the world.

However, what I want to share with you today is how the rich have access to the government in a way that you and I will never have.  They take advantage of programs.  They even get programs written for them so they can dip into the honey pot of our tax payer monies.  Many of us that are old enough, remember John Wayne being paid not to farm.  Yeah, that’s funny.  That’s small potatoes compared to what I recently read in this  Rolling Stone article.

The Federal Reserve appears to be at the beck and call of the wealthy superstars.  Even though those wealthy bankers were basically crooks and liars and never had to pay for their shenanigans, we keep forking it over to them and now even, their WIVES!  This is important to read.  It’s from the link within the article about, “Why isn’t Wall Street in Jail?”

Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom — an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities — has ever been convicted. Their names by now are familiar to even the most casual Middle American news consumer: companies like AIG, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. Most of these firms were directly involved in elaborate fraud and theft. Lehman Brothers hid billions in loans from its investors. Bank of America lied about billions in bonuses. Goldman Sachs failed to tell clients how it put together the born-to-lose toxic mortgage deals it was selling. What’s more, many of these companies had corporate chieftains whose actions cost investors billions — from AIG derivatives chief Joe Cassano, who assured investors they would not lose even “one dollar” just months before his unit imploded, to the $263 million in compensation that former Lehman chief Dick “The Gorilla” Fuld conveniently failed to disclose. Yet not one of them has faced time behind bars.

So, we know these guys are crooked and the government knows it too, so what does the Federal Reserve do?  Our government has a “Shadow Budget”.  There is a budget that we see and then there is another one that the Federal Reserve creates.  You must watch this video because it is eye opening.

The Fed books have been opened up and now we are finding out about these secret transactions.  This was brought about by bi-partisan support as the video has stated.  Here is just a snippet from the article:

The Fed sent billions in bailout aid to banks in places like Mexico, Bahrain and Bavaria, billions more to a spate of Japanese car companies, more than $2 trillion in loans each to Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, and billions more to a string of lesser millionaires and billionaires with Cayman Islands addresses. “Our jaws are literally dropping as we’re reading this,” says Warren Gunnels, an aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “Every one of these transactions is outrageous.”

Here is more:

But if you want to get a true sense of what the “shadow budget” is all about, all you have to do is look closely at the taxpayer money handed over to a single company that goes by a seemingly innocuous name: Waterfall TALF Opportunity. At first glance, Waterfall’s haul doesn’t seem all that huge — just nine loans totaling some $220 million, made through a Fed bailout program. That doesn’t seem like a whole lot, considering that Goldman Sachs alone received roughly $800 billion in loans from the Fed. But upon closer inspection, Waterfall TALF Opportunity boasts a couple of interesting names among its chief investors: Christy Mack and Susan Karches.

Christy is the wife of John Mack, the chairman of Morgan Stanley. Susan is the widow of Peter Karches, a close friend of the Macks who served as president of Morgan Stanley’s investment-banking division. Neither woman appears to have any serious history in business, apart from a few philanthropic experiences. Yet the Federal Reserve handed them both low-interest loans of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars through a complicated bailout program that virtually guaranteed them millions in risk-free income.

Obviously, I encourage you to read the whole article.  I also think we have to press congress to stop this outrageous transfer of money to the wealthy Wall Street fat cats.  It’s Robin Hood in reverse.  We all pay our taxes.  We aren’t crazy about paying them, but we know that we have to pay something to keep society going.  I have no desire to pay for the fat cats on Wall Street so they can keep their cushy lifestyles.  It’s time we all woke up and really learned more about how our government is being run.  Right now we keep getting brain washed into accepting what must happen to those “terrible entitlement” programs because they are truly the problem.  We are also being told about all those “terrible teachers” and of course now those sleepy, good for nothing, air traffic controllers as well.  This is all smoke and mirrors, so they can privatize everything.  It will just give those fat cats on Wall Street one more thing to control.  I ask everyone that reads my blog to just pass this on and think about who the enemy really is.  It isn’t the teachers and it isn’t air traffic controllers that are asked to work all night by themselves without so much as a potty break.  It’s okay for our Vice President to fall asleep because he isn’t bringing in planes but truthfully, who is really at fault for putting these planes at risk?  I can’t help but wondering why we are hearing about the air traffic controllers right now anyway.  Is there some new reason they’re falling asleep or is there something else in the works?

The next time you hear Rep. Paul Ryan blowing smoke your way, think about the real problems in government and where you tax dollars are being spent.  Here is a quick link for Rep. Ryan from Open Secrets.

Isn’t it nice to know that he rakes in so much money from insurance and health professionals?  Of course they will clearly make more money under his big proposal to privatize Medicare and Medicaid?

Now, that I’ve spoiled your Easter with all my happy talk on my blog, have a happy Easter!

Mr. Rogers Comes to Sturgis

  • Posted on March 25, 2011 at 10:32 pm

"Fred" looking a lot like the original "Fred", Mr. Rogers!

Last night I went to a town hall meeting with Representative Fred Upton.  It was the last of his 18 meetings.  There were somewhere between 75-100 people that showed up for this meeting.  The Sturgis city hall room was packed.  Representative Upton wanted all of us to call him “Fred”.  He’s just one of us, even if he is a millionaire.  He was dressed like Mr. Rogers in his fashionable cardigan and appeared fairly low on that charisma scale.  As my pictures show, you might be wondering if they were separated at birth.  Fred may seem to lack charisma but he has been awarded a very powerful position in the House of Representatives as he is now chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce committee.

“Fred” opened by letting us know that this was a time for him to “listen” to his constituents.  He wouldn’t be answering a lot of questions but he would be taking notes down so he could respond later.  He began the night by telling us that the financial situation in our government is far worse than first suspected.  No mention was made of course of those big tax cuts given out in December.  He said the deficit numbers for the 2012 Obama budget were actually larger than what President Obama projected because the CBO, which he let us know is not biased, basically came up with different numbers that were far more alarming.  As he continued his little speech it was quite obvious that he wants us to be prepared for the big hammer that is going to fall on all of our heads because they (the responsible Republicans in Congress) must do what they have to do to get this budget under control.  He made sure to slam Representative Nancy Pelosi because she was terrible because she wouldn’t let the Republicans have any say what so ever on anything.  He also wanted us to know what a breath of fresh air Speaker John Boehner is because he wants everything to be transparent.  There will be no secrets and the Democrats will be invited to all the tea parties!  He let us know that there would be an open forum with microphones where we could ask our questions.  He wouldn’t be answering those questions but would give a small response at the end.

Fred Rogers looking a lot like Fred Upton!

The first man had a question that I just can’t remember because all I could hear was a pep rally for Ronald Reagan.  When I heard the white haired, old man sing the praises of Ronnie, I felt my ears implode and I wondered if this was going to be a Republican pep rally.  Thankfully, it did not end up being a rally for Republicans.  There were many questions asked which showed me that we have distinctly different viewpoints even in Sturgis.  Sturgis is a Republican area.  The questioners seemed to be from people from all sides of the political spectrum.   There were environmentalists and other people concerned about carcinogens at the meeting who don’t like Fred’s bill to amend the Clean Air act.  You can see the bill here.

There were other concerns about the nuclear power plants in Michigan and one in particular that is a similar model to the GE one in Japan.  There were also questions about hazardous waste from the nuclear plants and the government subsidy of these plants.

Many people were concerned about the continuing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya.  One Vietnam veteran spoke about how we were taken into a trumped up war in Vietnam and these current wars as being similar to that.  He wanted to know why we are there in what the mission is and if it was “accomplished” as President Bush said then why are we still there.  Another gentleman wanted to bring all of the troops back from all of the countries that we are in and establish them in bases here.  He said our economy would be booming if those guys were spending their money here and not in places like Germany.  He said they could protect our borders and we’d have a lot more jobs here because they would be spending their money here.  So, I was wondering how many troops we have in Germany and I came across this article.

Our guys sometimes are nothing more than sitting ducks.  They don’t make the policy.  They just enforce it.  I didn’t hear about this on any newscast lately.  Here is a chart put up on Wikipedia that shows the number of troops we have and then how many are overseas.  I saw another figure on Wikipedia that is closer to 400,000.  Regardless, it looks as though we have about a half a million soldiers around the world ready to police it.

Of course many people had concerns over jobs.  These questions ranged from protecting the middle class to incentives for businesses to CEO pay compared to the common worker’s pay.  My question was like all of the above rolled into one.  I questioned why there is so much talk about the trouble with Social Security, etc. when in December Congress passed the tax bill that made it so I pay 2% less in Social Security.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  If it’s such a problem, why would you make it a bigger problem?  It seems to me a good way to destroy a program.  I also was concerned about the endless supply of money for wars and there is not enough money for domestic spending for things like education.  It seems to me all the real tax breaks go to big business and the wealthy.  If more and more money is going to war, less and less is coming back to the states.  There were some in the audience that mentioned the “Fair Tax” which Feed seems to like.  You can find out more here about this issue. I don’t know enough about this tax but it was mentioned a few times so knock yourself out figuring out how you would do under this tax.  There is a calculator there so you can see how it would impact you.

There were many more questions from the cost of cleaning up meth lab houses, which is very draining on our tax dollars, to DOMA, the economy, health care, to the new proposed bridge to Canada, and even the “bridge” card.  One man was very upset at the abuse that he was seeing with the bridge card.  He claimed he had “court documents” that prove that a person was using the card to buy drugs like crack.  He went on and on about this abuse and how he has tried to get this person put in jail for their crimes but to no avail.  He even wanted the congressman to look at those papers to see what he could do.  I know I was sitting there wondering what papers this guy could have in his possession.  He ended his long tirade to let us know that the “offender” of these terrible crimes was none other than his WIFE!  Yes, all of his credibility went out the window with that disclaimer.  Every ex-whatever must have been thinking about that ex-husband or wife that is so full of revenge that they want to put their ex-lover in JAIL!  It was the comic moment of the night as everyone split a gut with laughter when he said it was his WIFE!

The night was interesting and I was glad that it wasn’t a pep rally for Republicans.  I am glad I went to the meeting.  However, I really didn’t get the feeling that “Fred” was doing all that much listening in the sense that it would change anything he chooses to do.  He spoke at the end and mentioned that some of the questions were state issues and he said we could get in touch with our state representative for those issues.  He wanted to clear up the issue about his “Clean Air” bill.  He basically sugar coated what it would and wouldn’t do and let us know that we must do these things to get business to stay in this country and not go to China.  He told us he has been to China and they don’t have any standards so it’s better if we lessen our standards and get the businesses here because we would be doing our part to save the world.  It was some kind of funky logic to me.  I don’t think Fred will be saving the world any time soon with this but I’ll give him credit for at least putting together a “listening” tour, even if it seemed to me that he was more interested in spreading those latest “Republican” talking points around.  I will say this in Fred’s defense, when I have contacted him through email or phone; I always eventually get a response to my concerns.  They may not be what I want to hear, but he does send a personal letter that is not a form letter.  So, Mr. Rogers came to Sturgis and now he’ll go back to D.C. armed with all of his “notes” about our questions and he will join his buddies on Capital Hill and put his expensive suit back on, so he can fit in with that crowd!  To really get the flavor of who our congressman is all about, here is his voting record.

Here is an interview with Fred.  He doesn’t look so much like Mr. Rogers here.  He is dressed in his Washington garb.

Social Security: You are entitled to your entitlement!

  • Posted on February 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm

President Obama and the Republicans are putting their collective brains together to figure out the best way to stick it to the American people on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  All the whining about Social Security is making me just a little bit angry.  There is a constant hum of information that is being pushed at the American people through the many propaganda machines to get us ready for the big changes to come in Social Security.  It’s an entitlement program which basically means that you have paid into it for many, many years and you are entitled to receive benefits from that money when you retire.  You faithfully did your part and now they want to change the game!

In December there was no worry about Social Security when the politicians put through the tax cut bill that included a 2% reduction in what you and I pay into Social Security.  Now if there’s a real problem with Social Security, why would anyone undercut that program even more?  That just doesn’t make sense to me, but of course I’m just a middle school art teacher!

This morning on “Morning Joe” Joe Scarborough said the American people get it.  In Florida Marco Rubio was voted into the Senate and he wants to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70.  So what might be going on with Florida?  From my perspective, it sounds more like the old people that live in Florida that already have Social Security don’t much care what the young people are going to do about Social Security in the future.  As long as those old folks, that do tend to vote, get their cake, they will be happy!

More and more it seems like the young people in our country are really getting the short end of the deal.  We dump everything on them.  These two unfunded wars have been dumped on the future.  We have a big deficit that will have to be dealt with by our future generation.  The unions are dead or dying so young people have to depend on business to have a sense of honor in paying them.  If you are a young person and you want to be a teacher today, expect to jump through many hoops, continue your schooling until you die, and end up with a reduced retirement package when you retire.  It’s probably like this in most other areas as well.

What really troubles me with the Social Security debate is the lack of real understanding of the American people and their circumstance.  President Bill Clinton used to say, “I feel your pain.”  However, most politicians don’t really have a clue what the American people are feeling today because they don’t live anything like you and me.

I’ll start with President Obama.  This is open information that is posted on the Whitehouse website.

If you look at President and Mrs. Obama’s tax returns for 2010, they really are not anything like the average American people.  When you have an income in the 5-6 million dollar ranges, you really have lost touch with people making anything under $100,000 let alone someone making $30,000 or less!  Now let’s check out the Congressmen and see what kind of money they’re sporting.  I apologize as these are 2009 figures but you will get the point. Please note that our Representative Fred Upton is number 31 on the list.  He may sound like one of us but really is he like you?  If you want to check out another of the key player’s salary, Speaker of the House, Representative John Boehner’s net worth go here.

You might be thinking this isn’t relevant but really it is.  We have heard for years how wonderful our government it.  You know all that, by the people, for the people, stuff.  We supposedly have gone beyond having to be property owners to vote and have a say in our elections.  However, the truth is those that have money run this country.  The rest of us just take care of those that have money.  We serve them.  They don’t serve us.  We always hear about their years of devoted service to our country.  All of us have devoted years of service to our country as well.  I teach the children of the future.  You may be a nurse, doctor, scientist, policeman, maid, waitress, soldier, or perform some other noble job, you serve your country.  You pay your taxes, you give to charity and you pay your bills.  You suck it up every time “they” want your children for war and trust me; they want your children as they sure don’t want to give their children for war!

Now they want all of us to just suck it up one more time.  Take those cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid like a man.  Do it for your country!  We all have to pitch in you know?  Many months ago I wrote a post that is worth linking back to.

In it I asked the wealthy to step up for our country.  It didn’t happen because the wealthy are doing the legislating!  They aren’t going to step up.  The best thing we could do is to have a revolution like Egypt and get rid of Congress and start over!  The young people really should be marching because much of what is happening and will happen will be put on them for an even bigger burden.  If you are a young college kid or just out of college a couple of years, you probably have a mountain of school loan debt already.  Do you really need to take on the debt of the clowns working in Washington D.C. too?  Every time one of them opens their mouth and moves their lips, rest assured they’re probably lying to us.  I don’t trust any of them.  At this rate we will continue to spend more money on the Defense Department and Homeland Security and less and less on education, or any of the “ENTITLEMENT” programs!  I hope I’ve given you something to think about.

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