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That Flag?

  • Posted on June 25, 2015 at 8:22 pm

A couple years ago, I had some students that wanted to depict the Confederate flag on their scratch art projects.  I told them I would not allow it because it is a racist symbol.  They argued with me about that issue and did not believe me.  I said, “Let me see, how about I put racist symbols on Google images and see what happens?”   I did that and of course many images came up but the Confederate flag was smack dab in the middle of all that hate.  My students told me that just because it is on the Internet doesn’t make it true.  These are middle school boys growing up in southern Michigan with the mentality that there is nothing wrong with that flag.  I periodically have students that have challenged me on this issue, swastikas, and the KKK.  Sometimes they are testing me to see what I will accept and sometimes they are just so used to being around these symbols and seeing them that they just don’t know any better.

I know there has been more of this these past few years and it is related to the Tea Party movement and, of course, to the fact that we now have a black president.  Over the years, the more that I see of President Obama, the more I realize how much hatred there is in our country.  This is more than a Republican or Democratic issue.  Those Republicans that refuse to work with President Obama have refused from day one.  They don’t hate him because he is a Democrat; they hate him because he is a black Democrat.  I have always found President Obama to be a tad more Republican in his stances than that of a progressive Democrat.  I could not understand why the right could be so down on him.  He has done so much that they should be happy about.  Getting up the “courage” to take down this racist symbol is in my mind, is a joke.  As an educator, I know it is racist and so do all these powerful people.  I am no more educated than most of them, but so many of them, like these young boys, do not want to face the truth.

John Oliver said it right when he talked about the Confederate flag, “The Confederate flag is one of those things that should only be seen on t-shirts, belt buckles and bumper stickers to help the rest of us identify the worst people in the world.”   I laughed when I watched his piece on this because that is exactly how I see it.  Whenever I see someone with that flag, I think I know what they are about and I choose to avoid them.  It does however; make it easier for them to find each other in a crowd, if they are looking for like-minded people.  Now that it is out in the open and everyone knows it is a racist symbol, one would think that people would want to get on with the healing and remove it from any part of their lives.  If I were wearing something that I discovered was racist, rest assured, I wouldn’t want to wear that thing again.  For me, the Civil War was a part of history and should be treated as such.

What does our country stand for?  We go into other countries trying to democratize them.  We say we stand for all that is good and right in the world and for freedom of speech.  At home, we have allowed hate groups to spread their hate.  Whether it is the KKK, Neo-Nazi groups, or the American Family Association, hate groups teach hate.  They start when people are very young children to indoctrinate them with their personal form of hate.  These peoples’ rights are protected and often by groups like the ACLU.  I don’t know what we can do to stop all of this hate, but I do know that children are not born hating anyone.  Hatred is a learned behavior.  We believe in free speech so these people are still going to be allowed to spread their own form of hatred but it should be clear that anything that breeds that hatred should not be accepted on government property, whether it be federal lands or state owned, or allowed within government programs.  We, as a country, must be leaders on this issue.  It is clear to me that these flags and monuments to a time when we were a country with a master and slave population, need to be put in a museum.  It is time that we healed as a nation and worked to support each other.  Race should not be what defines us as a people.  Our spirit, integrity, and character should.

It Takes a Village and Other Thoughts

  • Posted on October 5, 2013 at 11:17 pm

I have deliberately not spent much time writing about the politics of D.C. this year because it is just so depressing.  However, I must clarify that the D.C. is not really the District of Columbia when it comes to politics; it is disastrous corruption.  This week, it appears we are on the brink of disaster once again.  The focus now is on the blame game, but I am tired of the unreality of the Tea Party movement.  If you just do a little reading on the internet, it is not hard to see that much of the financial backing of this “movement” is from the Koch brothers.  What is going on in politics is about money, not from the little people but from big business and influences that have nothing to do with the masses.  We are fed information from corporate owned media that wants to perpetuate their own purposes.  I notice on Facebook the Tea Party is alive and well, infiltrating and rotting the minds of people by making them more concerned about some person on welfare than the corporate welfare that permeates Washington.  There, I got that off my chest.  Now, I can write about what is really on my mind and that is children.

Global Children

Let’s Embrace the Creativity in our Children


I recently reread Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes a Village” and I feel a need to share what I am thinking about politics, children, and how it all fits together.  Hillary wrote this book long ago and some of the data is outdated, figures are probably even worse today, and of course, she wrote it before the technology revolution of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, iPads, iPhones, and everything else that kids are exposed to today.  I have a couple of brothers that think “It Takes a Village” is funny and they have made sarcastic remarks to me about this, but I don’t think most people understand how important it is that we all are part of creating the next generation of adults.  I think if we start at the top, and I mean the politics in Washington D.C., it isn’t hard to see how uncivil our country has become.  How could this hatred and bullying not permeate down into the minds and thoughts of our children?  People seemed shocked when some kid takes out many people at a mall, theater, school, or any place else where an opportunity is presented.  I think it isn’t hard to understand the pain and the suffering that these young people are going through.  Mental health is just not there, but mentally is there anything right with what is happening with the politicians that are in Washington supposedly leading our country?  I believe the political discourse has much to do with all of the negative things that are happening in our country.  Since Barack Obama became president, there has been an unprecedented amount of blatant racism.  Obama was not my first choice by far, but he is president and he was even reelected.  It is time that the party of “no” started to understand that what they are doing is destroying this country.  As far as the “Affordable Care Act” goes, it is now the law of the land.  I say, “Get over it.”  I wanted single payer.  I didn’t get my way but it is now time to see how it works.  The Tea Party Republicans have turned into nothing but bullies.  They want their way and nothing else.  They don’t really care about people, it is just about the next election.  Seriously, I care about my job, just like the next person.  However, I am not going to destroy some children in order to get what I want with the ones that are going to help get me a better evaluation.

It’s time our country started caring about their most important resource and that is our children.  Politicians battle it out while kids are suffering in homes where stressed out parents are out of work, where money is a constant source of frustration, and where affordable, good daycare is difficult to find.  If these politicians would focus more on getting the economy going instead of worrying about who can cut the most fat out of the budget, we would all be better off.  These are the same people that in one breath tell you, “You can pry my gun out of my cold dead hands.” but in another will be telling a woman whether she can have birth control or not.  If that isn’t crazy, I don’t know what is.  The Tea Party wants less government control but actually, they want to control everything that happens in our lives.  They want to keep the government out of their lives but want it when they want it for their own gains.  They can give government funds to churches to feed people but not to people to feed themselves.  Our children today are growing up in a society filled with hate, so if they hate, it is understandable.  I am the most positive person I know and truthfully, it has caused me pain at times because I tend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe that’s naïve of me but I think I’d rather have a heart than be heartless and I see the Tea Party Movement as a heartless, soulless, creature that cares for no one, least of all the children.

When I was a kid, I became involved in politics because my family was into politics.  My parents were FDR Democrats.  I can remember some very heated discussions with different members of my family.  Many of my brothers today are staunch Republicans.  I think my parents would wonder how they could be so far from their roots.  However, we know our children are not cookie cutter reproductions of us, so it is understandable when some change from their roots.  What I don’t understand is how today there is so much hatred for both parties with each other.  There is a lack of respect for the president and the Democrats and there is a lack of respect for the Republicans.  I think the Tea Party Movement has brought out the worse of both parties.  They have decided that they are not going to negotiate anything which means absolutely nothing is going to be done.  From my point of view, it seems like there should be more being done to get this economy moving.  All that is happening is fighting.  How much money has to be wasted on the countless number of times the House has tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act?  I’ve lost track of how many times they have voted on it.  It must have cost many trees and hours of work for that legislation to be re-voted on in the House.  They don’t mind wasting that money but as for some person out of work hoping to get an extension on unemployment well, he/she is just a lazy bum looking for a handout.

Our children deserve better.  We had a better country when I was young.  We cared about each other.  I went to college and my school loan was $3600, something I didn’t have to kill myself over to pay back.  Kids today come out with unbelievable stress from school loans that would break the back of anyone.  It seems that education is for only the rich these days or those willing to live in a debtor’s hellhole for most of their lives.  We promise them that if they do well in school, they will get a good job when they get out.  Then we send those good jobs overseas or bring workers here because “We don’t have enough qualified people to do those jobs.”  Most of us know that this is just another way for business to get cheaper labor.  We send our kids off to fight wars that are made up of faulty intelligence only to act like, “Oh, my bad!”  Peoples’ lives are manipulated, so when one of them comes back and shoots up something, should we really be surprised?  Our children deserve better.  We send them off to school, which used to be fun, but is now turned into some kind of testing nightmare, should we really be surprised when they’re turned off and tuned out?  Our children deserve better.

We put kids under an unbelievable amount of stress from the constant talk about being fat, to what not to wear, to how they are constantly failing in schools, and how we were so much smarter than they are today.  I am so tired of the way we treat our children.  We tell them that they don’t measure up at every turn.  “Oh Johnny, your test scores really do suck.  I didn’t mean to say you are stupid but…..”  When does this abuse of our children end?  When are we going to look at children and see them as the gift they are?  When are we going to look at a child without measuring how fat or thin, or stupid or smart, or whatever other label we have deemed to put on them but as a person to nurture and help grow into a productive adult?  If we want a better country, we had better start taking care of our children.  We cannot simply drop them off at daycare or at the school door hoping that something better will appear.  We have to all nurture these children.  If you are a storeowner, do not act as if that child is there to steal from you.  Show some interest in the children in your community.  If you are a teacher, try to figure out why some children are misbehaving for you, maybe you will be the only real friend they have that day.  If you are a politician, think about how your actions are destroying our country and causing the nightmares of today for countless children across this country that go to bed hungry, poor, and tired, and wake up to the same nightmare they had when they went to bed.  I feel strongly that if a child lives with hatred, he/she learns to hate.  Do you remember this poem?  It is time we thought about how to take care of our children.


Dorothy Law Nolte

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.

If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.

If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.

If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.

If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.

If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.

If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.

If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.

If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.

With what is your child living?


Standard and Poor’s, My Thoughts

  • Posted on August 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Just like every other American I have been wondering about the Standard & Poor’s decision to down grade the United States long term rating.  I have been thinking what affect it might have on the country and even my own personal situation.  The personal situation comes up because the stock market is so volatile.  Now I don’t have a lot of money, but I do have some investments and it seems to me that they had just bounced back from the beating they took in 2008.  I decided I would do my own investigation into this rating decision.  Instead of reading the newspapers, I personally think it’s best to go the source.

The reason seems to be tied more to politics than anything else.  We all know that the country seems to be on a confused path.  Most Americans know that the Bush tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, should not have been renewed.  We are at a point in this country where the politics from the Republicans and the Democrats seem to be weighing heavily on our country by the very ineptness showcased by both parties. We are left in our small towns and big cities wondering if there is anyone in this government that knows what the hell their doing.

I really believe that the Tea Party rhetoric totally exacerbated this situation.  Michelle Bachmann even continues to use this in her speeches as if she somehow has the correct solution to the problem.  The problem with her stance is that she still clings to the idea that voting no was a good solution because after all raising taxes should never happen.  President Obama, for his part, has been weak and ineffectual.  While he seems to be embracing those very items that the Republicans want like changes to Medicare and Social Security, he refuses to really push two things that could be game changers, raising taxes on the higher incomes and retracting from these endless wars.  President Obama has embraced just about every program President Bush began.  The Republicans actually should love President Obama as he gives into them at every turn.  The change in governing from the Bush times to the Obama times is really flawless.  There really isn’t any real change.  I know President Obama ran on the words, hope and change, but actions speak much louder than words.  From my perspective, President Obama is much closer to Republican thought process and governing philosophy than he is to Democratic principles.  So, you might be wondering why I see this as basically a political problem even though in my mind the two factions are actually close in their basic philosophies.  I see them as playing “good cop, bad cop” roles.  They show us how divided they are but secretly they are still going to parties together, golfing, and having friendships with each other.  How else could such seemingly diverse people like James Carville and Mary Matlin stand each other enough to be married to each other?  Now, you can say politics makes strange bedfellows, but I believe this is just another hoax on the American people.  The people in the two parties seem more interested in their own personal situations than they do the best interest of the country.  The politics have gotten in the way of governing.  Each decision seems to be a calculation about who is going to gain or lose from the decision.

There is an article that caught my attention.  It’s from June of 2009 in the Bloomberg Businessweek.

This article is by Nikola G. Swann who is the primary credit analyst for the rating decision.  The article was about why the United States still had a AAA rating status.  One thing caught my eye, so I compared what he said to the current document about why they changed the rating status.  Here is the most important part of that document.

Why does Standard & Poor’s continue to view the U.S. as a AAA credit?

We believe the U.S.’s key credit strengths include:

• A high-income, highly diversified economy, with unusually flexible labor and product markets.

• The unique advantages associated with the U.S. dollar’s preeminent role as the world’s most used currency.

• The country’s openness to trade and capital flows and experience in adapting to associated fluctuations.

The country’s stable political system with strong, long-established institutions, its ability to respond to changing economic and financial circumstances, and its transparency in policymaking.

However, this is the part that really caught my eye.

Still, we believe that the fiscal outturn in the U.S. will be somewhat better than that in the U.K. because of what we view as the greater diversity and, consequently, resiliency of its economy. We expect that the U.S.’s net general government debt will rise to about 90% of GDP by 2013; we expect that of the U.K. to rise to nearly 100%.

It’s the 90% by 2013 of GDP that I found interesting.  If you go to the current document, in one scenario the 90% is met at 2015 and 101% by 2021 and in another 77% by 2015 and 78% by 2021.  Obviously, one is the downside and one is the upside scenario.  The document than goes on to compare what S&P deems to be similar countries to the USA and why they made a rating change.   The country that stands out is Canada.  Of course we are friends with Canada and there are always comparisons to be made.  However, I will point out here that there is a huge difference between our populations.  Canada has nearly 34 million and we have over 307 million.  The debt to GDP ratio for Canada is much lower than any of the other countries and is listed at 30% of GDP.  I found this interesting considering the fact that Canada has universal health care.  Their taxes aren’t crazy really and they don’t even tax lottery winnings.

They have oil reserves that are second only to Saudi Arabia.  That’s something I didn’t know.  They also rely on the United States for both import and export business.  I n 2009 73% of their exports were to the USA and 63% of their imports were from here.  So, you might be thinking how does this all tie together?  In the document that explains how the S&P came to their decision they said this:

We have changed our assumption on this because the majority

of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise

revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.

They also said this:

The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as

America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective,

and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt

ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in

the debate over fiscal policy. Despite this year’s wide-ranging debate, in our

view, the differences between political parties have proven to be

extraordinarily difficult to bridge, and, as we see it, the resulting

agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program

that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently. Republicans and

Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on

discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee decisions on

more comprehensive measures.

From my viewpoint it looks like politics got in the way of everything.  Some people think that this was political because of S&P alone.  I don’t know about that.  This document might explain something about their influences.

It appears that some of the people and their families that work for S&P have given more to Democrats than Republicans.  As you scroll down, you will notice S&P contracts with the federal government.  I don’t know how any of this ties together, but I’m sharing it here because it might be important as a matter of disclosure.

The truth is we have been on a downward spiral for years.  We have spent money on two wars that was essentially borrowed money.  We were told early on that the Iraq war would be paid for by Iraq oil reserves or some such nonsense.  The military has basically doubled in spending and while doing all of this, we did not sacrifice anything other than our young people who gave so much for these wars!  While our soldiers were giving their lives and limbs, back home we were embracing the Bush tax cuts.  In each of our states we have witnessed the problems associated with all of this.  As the federal government put more in the wars, we received less in our respective states.  Many states are hurting and a good reason they are hurting is the lack of funds.  Cuts have been made across the country.  This year is unprecedented in the cuts that many states are facing.  The cuts that are most personal to me are those to education.  To me, educating our people is extremely important for the future growth and stability of our country.  An uneducated electorate is dangerous.

I sit here frustrated by a president and Congress that can’t seem to do what is necessary for the betterment of our country.  Get us out of these wars, including Libya, and get rid of the Bush tax cuts!  However, the most important thing our government should do is a jobs bill.  Certain states get an influx of cash from the federal government in the form of disaster relief.  Texas received $74,523,000 for hurricane Rita alone.

I feel Michigan and many other states have economic disasters that are never addressed quite like those states that have floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes.  Our whole country needs some disaster relief to rebuild the shambles from the economic disaster left from the loss of the manufacturing jobs.  In my mind, if we build it, they will come.  Just like in the movie, “Field of Dreams”, we should build our country up.  We should fix our infrastructure, transportation, and bring broadband everywhere in the USA.  We should not be cutting money from education but infusing money into education to get every student prepared for 21st Century jobs.  If we do this, we will make this country a better place for business and growth.  Everyone will win from this scenario.  Yes, if we build it, they will come.

Here is some food for thought.  I think if the Republicans hadn’t taken over the House of Representatives, we wouldn’t have received this rating.  In fact, we will never know, but I believe the stock market would be far more stable.  Prior to the Republicans taking over the House, the stock market was coming back.  Things were picking up some.  I was happy to see my personal portfolio coming back.  However, when the Republicans came in, everything changed.  Everything constricted in government from money to jobs.  The FAA even had to furlough people because decisions couldn’t be reached.  Jobs were held up because decisions couldn’t be made.  Representative Boehner and the Tea Party may be standing by their convictions, but I say at the detriment of the entire country.  I say shame on the Tea Party Republicans for letting our country down and shame on President Obama for treating this deficit debate like a political game as well.  After the debate all we heard from the pundits is who won and who lost.  It’s obvious the American people lost and no one could possibly consider these politicians to be winners!

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.

This Little Piggy Went to Market and Brought Home Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz

  • Posted on April 6, 2011 at 12:11 am

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

(Warning!!!  This piece is to be read with a hillbilly, sarcastic voice to feel the full effect of my thinking content.)

Hey all you women, especially Hillary Clinton supporters, step up and vote for Obama.  You know you want to.  After all the Democrats with President Obama are going to put Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz in charge of the DNC since Tim Kaine is going to run for the senate.  I smell something a bit off here.  Oh, that’s right.  Since my vote was stolen and given to Obama on May 31st of 2008 in the Michigan primary, I haven’t been a very happy Democrat.  So, let’s appease all those disheartened women voters.  After all Debbie is just so likable.  I’m sure that the “good old boys” on the Obama campaign team were just trying to figure out how they’re going to get those cranky women to vote for Obama.  You know how those women are.  They just can’t seem to get over the 2008 election.  Let’s throw them a bone!  Hey, Debbie!  We need you!

I like Debbie.  I think she’s a fine woman but I also think she is being used.  Maybe she doesn’t mind being used since Hillary has set the pace for women everywhere.  Obama can call her a racist, bitch slap her with music by JayZ and she’ll step right up and do his bidding as though they are “old” friends.  I know this says a lot about politicians of both genders when they so easily let those “little” indiscretions slide like water off a duck’s back.  Yes, I know.  We are supposed to think it is all for the greater good and all that other crap we’ve been told over the years.

I remember the 2008 primary when Hillary gave that wonderful speech about putting some cracks in the glass ceiling and then she caved when all of us women wanted her to stand up for us at the convention.  She capitulated and conceded to Obama.  Those of us that were closely following the race could see that it was rigged.  They got rid of the old Michigan and Florida problems and Hillary won all of the “real” big Democratic states.

The race was a dead heat even though the Democratic Party tried to paint it as an Obama run away train.  So, you’re probably wondering why I’m bringing all of this up today.  It seems to me that President Obama has a little problem.  It’s called a woman problem.  He’s hoping that Debbie can get us women back on board where we belong.  You know, it’s the same thing as “barefoot and pregnant” or “back in the kitchen”.  Whatever you want to call it, they are looking for simple, easy tricks to get women to vote for President Obama and Debbie is just the ticket to get us on board that Obama train!

Truthfully, I can’t tell you how I’m going to vote.  I just know that everything the Republicans seem to be doing lately looks good for Obama.  All of these crazy, Republican governors are scaring the hell out of most sane people.  With their slash and burn mentality, it makes me not wish for a Republican president to do the same on a national level.  In walks Representative Ryan with his crazy scheme to destroy Medicare and Medicaid.  Is the Democratic Party scripting this stuff?  It just makes you wonder.  However, President Obama is more Republican than Democrat in my book.  I have such a dilemma in the coming year with figuring out what to do.  Oh, Debbie, are you going to help me make that awesome decision and twist my arm to vote for Obama?  Are you going to tell me how it’s about abortion, gay rights, education and the right to belong to a labor union?  I know those crazy Republicans are just like the big bad wolf at the little piggy’s door.  They will huff and they will puff and they will blow all my dreams away!  Okay, I’m laughing now because in my mind the two parties are so much alike that it really is sad that I have no real choices in the next election.  I can vote for bad or I can vote for worse!  I can vote for President Obama who seemingly never met a Bush policy that he didn’t love.  Better yet, I can vote for some crazy, Tea Party loving Republican that never met a Bush policy that he didn’t love!  Choices, choices!  Hmmm, wonder which Bush policy lover I’ll be voting for.  Oh, is Jeb Bush ready to throw his hat into the ring?  I think it still might happen!

Meet John Doe

  • Posted on December 23, 2010 at 11:10 pm

I caught an old movie tonight that is well worth sharing my thoughts on.  The movie is “Meet John Doe” made in 1941 and directed by Frank Capra.

This is a classic movie showcasing the talents of Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck.  Barbara plays Ann Mitchell a reporter that just lost her job.  She cooks up a letter to the editor that causes quite a calamity.  She creates a figure called John Doe that is down on his luck, out of work and ready to jump off city hall.  All the politicians are up in arms as they are being bombarded with calls from people worrying about John Doe.  She works a deal with her old boss and he hires her back.  They decide to find some dope to play the part of John Doe so they can milk this story for all it’s worth.

In walks Gary Cooper who is Long John Willoughby a used up pitcher for some ball team.  Ann thinks he’s the perfect man to play John Doe because he has his all American good looks and he’s a ball player to boot!  Ann coaches him and he protests the lack of decency in the way people are treating each other.  As all this goes on the circulation for the newspapers grows and grows.  Ann approaches D.B. Norton, the rich new owner of the paper and an oil tycoon to push this John Doe idea even more and get him on the radio.  D.B. Norton and Ann cook up a plan together.  She wants money and he wants something much bigger which he doesn’t exactly let Ann know about.

On the radio Ann has John say some things laced with hope and based on the advice of her mother, not gloom and doom.  She reaches into the diary of her dead father which is full of wisdom and things her mother says people need to hear today.  This is a quote from the speech, “The character of a country is the sum total of the character of its little punks!”  John asks people to step up and help each other.  He wants them to create a tidal wave of good will.  He tells every John Doe, you know all the little guys, to wake up because they are the hope of the world!

After being on the radio, John is getting a bit antsy and wants to get back to playing ball.  He’s all set to go when a group of people approach him and they tell him how wonderful he is because they have all reached out to their neighbors.  Times are tough and people are out of work but these people have pulled together to help each other and they have formed a club of sorts called the John Doe Club!  John Doe is a man created to give up his life for a principle.  The John Doe Clubs don’t allow politicians to belong to them because as they say “You know how politicians are.”

John Doe turns into a full fledged movement that spans the whole country.  Finally it culminates into a big convention where John is going to give a big speech.  He never reads them ahead of time and he has really come to believe the things he’s been saying.  Just before the convention he discovers the real purpose for all of this.  It was to create a movement such as a third party and use John to nominate D. B. Norton for the presidency of the United States.  I’m not going to tell you quite everything that happens in this story but boy did I love the politics of the people mixed up with the politics of the wealthy.

Throughout this movie you get that feeling that everyone is being used by the wealthy D.B. Norton.  He runs the show and he even runs the police.  He controls the press as well and isn’t it interesting when we have other rich people controlling the press today.  So much of this John Doe movement reminded me of Fox News and the strange connection with the Tea Party movement.  It also reminded me of the John Edwards movement and even Barack Obama’s “change” movement.

When I was part of the John Edwards movement the people that posted online were all about the little people and poverty and doing something constructive to help.  Even after John quit the race a group still stayed formed called the “John Edwards Movement Continues”.  We didn’t want to stop the principles of the movement.  Of course the messenger was flawed and the movement died but there are still people out there that believe in the principles of what Edward’s was saying.  These movements do tend to start with the little guy that is looking for something good to happen in the world.  What I learned is politicians are flawed and little guys do get used.

Right now many are feeling let down by the Obama presidency.  I wrote a post awhile ago called, “Throw Them a Bone Once in Awhile.” In that piece I referred to the “talk” about Hillary trading places with Biden.  To me it is obvious that President Obama has just thrown out that proverbial bone.  With the current legislation we are all supposed to be dancing in the streets.  He gave the wealthy the lion’s share but he threw the rest of us a bone.  That’s supposed to keep us quiet for awhile.  The press is busy telling us how great Obama is right now, working hard to build his numbers.  Chief among them is Chris Matthews who still has some kind of strange fetish for all things Obama!  I’ll hold out on the dancing until after March 4th when we see what they are going to do with the budget.  I think something has to give and since it isn’t going to come from the wealthy, then it’s going to have to come from everyone else, you know the “John Doe” people.  Once again the wealthy control the little guys just like D. B. Norton had his finger in every pie to control John Doe and that movement.

I personally wouldn’t mind if we all started a John Doe movement but of course we’d have to not let any politicians get their hands on the movement.  I see many people would like a third party that could really go somewhere, so we wouldn’t feel like we are throwing a vote away voting for someone other than a Democrat or a Republican.  I’d love to see that happen and I’d love some kind of real movement by the people and I don’t mean the Tea Party crowd that seems to be funded by some rich, conservative benefactors.  If anything real is going to get done in this country, I personally think it has to develop form the people and we cannot put our hopes on any one person because people are flawed.

If you have the time, watch this movie.  I loved it!  You can watch the black and white version here.  I caught a colorized version on TV but watched it again here.

I’m Patriotic, I’m a Republican, Oh the Nonsense We Tell Our Children

  • Posted on November 12, 2010 at 6:32 pm

To me this looks a lot like child abuse. What parent would want their child involved in a political rally this way?

My students have just finished making a six page art journal.  I was busy grading them today when I came across a sixth grade boy’s journal that made me laugh.  The art journals are meant to be personal and tell something about the person creating it.  On one page this sixth grade boy drew an American flag, stated he is a patriot and then stated he is a Republican.  This made me crack up because for years the Republicans have always made that “patriot” label seem like it belongs to them.

After September 11th the Democrats resented the fact that Republicans thought of themselves as being “more” patriotic.  All the politicians had to run out and buy flag pins to prove they are patriots.  It is rare these days to catch a politician without their little pin that supposedly confirms they are a patriot.  I thought it was funny that this boy called himself a patriot and a Republican.  I was raised by two strong Democrats.  I don’t remember being that aware of politics when I was in sixth grade.  I was more into kickball, reading and the Monkees.  I really got into politics when I began high school.  However, the thing that I find most interesting is this idea that a patriot is a Republican.

I think Republicans must be starting out quite young indoctrinating their children.  Democrats and liberals probably have that “open minded” thing that gets in the way of indoctrination.  As a liberal person I know I wanted my son to be a “free thinker”.  I may be paying for that now as my son doesn’t always do everything the way I would like him to do things.  However, I know in my heart I feel it is best to teach in a non judgmental way and he is an adult now and free to live the kind of life he chooses.  Free thinking and that open minded thing can sometimes appear like a person can be easily swayed to a compromise.  Republicans tend to think they are right and anyone that doesn’t think like they do is wrong.  I know this because I have a lot of Republican relatives!

With all of this in mind, I think it’s interesting to think about the make up of the new congress in January.  Already President Obama is talking about compromise.  Standing firm doesn’t seem to enter into any of the Democrats lingo.  There is a famous quote by Alexander Hamilton, “”Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.”   If you think about it, the current Democrats haven’t really shown us what they stand for, so I will not be surprised if they fall for whatever the Republicans want.  They have two strikes against them.  The first is that fact that most of them were raised to have an open mind and listen to the other side.  Second, most don’t seem to have strong convictions.  Yes, I know there is always Representative Dennis Kucinich, but he’s a rarity in this Democratic Party.

I’ve always considered President Obama to really be a Republican anyway, so I don’t expect that he will hold out for much.  Senator Kennedy is dead, so a lot of the blow back we would usually feel when these discussions get heated just won’t happen.  There is no one left like Teddy Kennedy that will show their outrage at anything.  Oh, Republicans you think we need to change Social Security and give those tax breaks to the wealthy?  No problem.  We just want to get along!

This morning on “Morning Joe” I had to listen to Joe tell me that the American people really get it.  They know that we have to have the tax cuts kept in place for the wealthy to grow our economy.  I’m lucky I didn’t spit out my coffee.  The American people don’t know any such thing.  They are currently being indoctrinated by the media which includes Joe to think this is the right thing to do.  However, it doesn’t make any sense.  If those so called tax breaks were so great, then why are we in so much trouble?  Those tax breaks have lead to our giant deficit.  If the Republicans get their tax break rest assured, they will have to cut something.  Just do the math!  Logic tells me there is an imbalance.  We can’t keep running into the red, so they will make cuts.  They will cut everything they can for the little guys, but they won’t touch the wealthy or big business.  I don’t know where you are on this scale but I can tell you most of you are part of the 98%.  The Republicans will pass that pain to all of us and save the wealthy 2 % from the pain the rest of us will feel.  Those Republicans will expect us to be “patriotic” and indoctrinate us to suffer our own losses in silence.

Right now the media is also indoctrinating us about those crazy Europeans that are protesting everything from the rising retirement age to the cost of college tripling.  We have been told that Americans don’t act like those socialists!  Americans wouldn’t take to the street like that and smash windows and cause chaos because they want to prove a point.  However, they forgot about our own history.  The real question is how much will the American people put up with from these corrupt Republicans and Democrats that continue to do the bidding of big business and the wealthy?  Will we ever get really mad and take to the streets or are we lulled into a false reality that we have no choice but to live with whatever our representatives decide to throw our way?  Democrats and Republicans are labels that don’t seem to really fit any more.  What are they?  What do either party stand for?

The Republicans used to stand for a smaller governmental footprint and states rights, and a form of conservative governing.  They certainly wouldn’t be out “saving” the world and policing it.  However, President Bush changed all of that.  Under the last administration government grew and grew to the point that Republicans can no longer claim to be conservative.  Oh, they can say it, but they certainly don’t live it!  Democrats used to be different than the Republicans.   We could always count on the Democrats to stand up for the rights of people.  Those personal issues of freedom were always really important.  Helping people get a hand up was also important.  We could easily say, “Don’t leave anyone behind.”  It’s kind of like the motto from the military of “Leave No Man Behind”.  However, in recent times the Democrats have left us all behind.  They haven’t stood up for the little guy, the working stiff, the laborer.  They’ve talked about it, but they haven’t walked the walk!

Neither party stands for much of anything any more except for taking care of business.  They take care of the lobbyists and then when they’re out of office they continue to take care of themselves.  Hell, when they’re in office they take care of themselves.  Wouldn’t you love to name your own raise?  I’m taking a class right now because I want to get a raise.  I don’t think the politicians are required to do much of anything to get their raises but they sure do get them.

All of these politicians want the American people to think they are politicians because they are such great patriots!  The truth is we are all patriots.  Being patriotic might mean taking to the streets to protest just as much as wearing a pin and proclaiming your patriotism.  Being patriotic is more than waving a flag and blindly supporting war, any war.  Being a patriot means that you love your country enough to question the politicians.   It might mean working hard at holding their feet to the fire to get them to get something done.  We are all patriots, Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, Green Party, Tea Party, Coffee Party, Independent or whatever party we come from.  Patriots aren’t just Republicans.  In fact patriots can even be gay and lesbians and that just makes those Republicans crazy!

Can You Hear Me Now?

  • Posted on September 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Out in Main Street America the "Right" and the "Left" are a lot closer than most people think.

Unfortunately, I keep thinking about that old commercial for Verizon.  You know the one that keeps asking, “Can You Hear Me Now?”  This one with the mosquitoes takes the cake for representing the Democratic Party and what ails them.

Those pesky mosquitoes could be the Tea Party people but they are really those angry Democratic voters that are planning on staying home this November.  My mother always used to tell me to be careful what I wish for because you might get it.  The Democratic Party has brought on much of these problems themselves.  By moving to the right when they should have moved left when that pesky mosquito was biting them, they lost their momentum.  The party has governed with President Obama at the top much like the old party headed by GW.  I can’t be the only one that feels like this.

The Tea Party people would have us all believe that the country wants to go conservative and right.  I personally don’t believe that.  I think there is a lot of confusion about what we should do as a country.  People definitely want some direction.  Right now there is a lack or failure of leadership.  It’s like being out on a boat and stormy sea comes up and you realize no one on the boat really knows much about sailing.  It could be like when the airplane pilot has a heart attack and we’re all looking at each other to see if anyone can take the controls.  Either way we are screwed!  We want someone to take the helm and lead us out of this storm.  So far we have someone that says pretty things on occasion and then is so TIRED, he has to go on vacation.  I remember when GW was president.  He always said, “It’s hard work.”  Oh, please, we all work hard and most of us don’t get much of a vacation.

I cannot tell you how many issues the Democratic Party went “right” on when they should have moved left, but I will mention a few.  Guantanomo….yep, still in place, a very Republican thing to do even though our constitutional amendments mentions things like a right to a speedy trial,  blah, blah, blah, stuff we keep ignoring.  Yep, last I noticed we are still fighting two stupid wars and not to mention spending lots of money there.  We could really use a “left” move there.  Health care…..people have labeled it “Obama Care” which does kind of piss me off as they did the same thing with Hillary.  However, it’s a shitty plan that didn’t even consider “single payer” or the “public option”.  I could go “Blah, blah, blah, again!”  They definitely should have gone “left” on this one.  If they had educated the masses on what these two ideas really mean, I think most people would get it.  I’ve had conversations with Republican friends that don’t cringe when I talk about it, so I know it’s all possible.  Education!  Oh, yeah, we now have “merit pay”!  It’s unbelievable that this was brought in under a Democratic president.  Merit pay has always been “union busting” talk from where I stand.  They definitely should have gone left on that one.  There is always that pesky question of who determines what is meritorious!  This could be a great opportunity to bring in Joe Blow’s kid when he graduates from college.  You know Joe Blow, the guy that sits on the school board.  If his kid needs a job, I’m sure we can make room for him.  There must be some teacher we don’t really like that is a bit of a “rabble rouser”, you know, not a “team” player, that we can get rid of for their less than stellar performance.  Wow, definitely should have gone left on that one!   Now here is a real “right” move that should scare a lot of “lefties”.  President Obama has sanctioned the killing or assassination of an American citizen.

I really think they should have gone left on that one.  I cannot even fathom a real Democrat doing this.  It’s like were in some kind of strange new world.  Most people don’t even know about this because it’s not really out in the main stream press.  As you can see, I could go on and on about the fact that the Democratic Party with President Obama at the helm has definitely moved right instead of left.  This is why he is losing so many of us out in the real world.

Many question the Tea Party movement.  I know some of it is fired up by Republicans but there are a lot of people that are angry out here that just don’t understand what is going on with our country.  They thought they were going to get this big “CHANGE” when all they go was some shitty t-shirt.

I guess the “Yes, We Can” ones really meant we CAN be more like Republicans!  We are left hoping a real Democrat will start leading.  The mistake has been that swing to the right when I think we should have swung to the left.

Most Americans simply want government out of their lives.  I thought it was interesting a few weeks ago when I heard Tom Hartman refer to a Libertarian as a conservative Republican that wants to be able to smoke dope and get laid.  I thought it was funny when I heard it, but it resonated with me because most people are far more liberal on social issues than many of them even realize.  Most people just don’t want you or the government “in their face” telling them how to live.  Even those Tea Party people could fall under this category.  For all of the talk about those social issues like gay marriage and abortion, the real concern is money.  If those Tea Party people and the rest of America had jobs and the economy was booming they wouldn’t be so interested in those other issues.  Those “wedge” issues have been used for years by both parties to keep us apart in our vision for the country.  This keeps the masses wrapped up in these social issues that become almost like a bait and switch.  People think they are voting for one thing and then they get something else.  It’s a game these two parties are playing as they both are “right” of center.  There is no “left”.  When I’m saying President Obama and the Democratic Party should have moved left, they are “playing’ us and telling us that it just isn’t possible because the Republicans are such obstructionists.

The truth is the Republicans are obstructionists but both parties want it that way.  They really are working for the corporations, not us.  They are trying to privatize every piece of government they can get their hands on so their buddies, you know their “real” constituents can make more money.  The public school as we know it is done.  Both parties have done everything they could to get private companies in the schools.  These are “for profit” companies.  They only care about the bottom dollar.  This has happened in our defense spending as well.  It’s across the board in every area of government from the federal to the state.  My son lives in Illinois.  They have private companies that sell the license for your vehicles.  It’s expensive.  Look at all the toll roads that have been sold to private companies.  This has been slowly happening.  Our government is serving these special interests so they can make more money while the rest of us are treated like serfs to the kingdom!

If this country is going to revolutionize and get back to what we really stand for someone has to convince the masses that as much as we all think we are so different, we are really alike.  You know the stuff about how the Tea Party people are “crazy” and those “lefties” are just a bunch of left over “Hippies” crap, that’s used to divide us.  I bet we have more in common than we realize.  If we could ever get together and talk and realize that as much as we think we are different, we are the same, we could maybe take back our country!  I cannot sit by and watch my party of my youth, the Democratic Party, become such an elitist, narrow party for the corporations without screaming my head off about how crazy it is that we have come to this!  We the people are Tea Party and Lefties.  We all want the same things.

We want to be able to raise our children in a place we can be proud of where they can grow to adulthood in peace, get a good education without it costing a life of servitude to the banks, be able to get a job that pays a living wage, have health care without going bankrupt over some terrible disease, have our personal freedoms kept safe, and always have the constitution to protect our differences.  The two parties have used everything they could to divide us but most of all it is FEAR.  We must stand up and embrace our differences so that we can actually sit down and have a real discussion about how to repair the problems in our country.  These two parties work hand in hand to help their corporate buddies.  They play games with us and keep us separated.  I have conservative family members.  They think very different than I do.  I know in reality we all want the same thing.  It’s all about everything I mentioned above.  I’m tired of being played and the Democratic Party should have moved left when they went right.  It’s all a game and the American people have been kept “stupid” about the game that’s really being played.

Republicans and Democrats that are our elected officials are largely corporatists.  They both are more concerned with keeping corporations happy then serving the needs of their true constituents.  The corporations in the meantime have inserted themselves in every aspect of our lives including our schools.  As a country we are really left of center, we just don’t know it yet!  Whether we are from the Tea Party crowd or liberal America, we are not being served well by the people that we voted into power.  Their master is business.  We should all be alarmed by how we are systematically being told that things will run better if they are run like a business.  This includes our government and even our education system.  The business class, you know the corporations have taken over our voting process.  They have given us dumb and dumber to vote for and we just keep on fighting with each other trying to convince each other that we are right.  We have no real power any more.  Business has it all and they will keep it as long as we keep voting and putting in their people.

Right now there are some rich business people running for governor across our country.  In my own state of Michigan we have the business guy that refers to himself as the “nerd”, Rick Snyder, who wants to come in and treat the government like a business.  I guess we’ll be seeing government jobs outsourced to China and India pretty soon if these guys get in!  We have been programmed to think that everything should be run like a “business”, so we are all buying into this stuff without really thinking about it.  It probably started with Reagan but it has been continued by both parties.

The Democratic Party can’t hear us because they are too busy listening to their master, the corporations.  The Republican Party has the same master.  As much as these two parties try to tell us one is left and one is right, they are both corporate.  They keep us in a state of confusion and fighting about right and left.  Democrats think Tea Party people are crazy wing-nuts and Republicans think people like me have a screw loose.  We need to realize, as I have said, we all want the same things.  We aren’t going to get it with these two parties as they are currently made up.  We must change them before it is too late and we end up looking like some third world country without a pot to piss in and a window to throw it out.  We are falling off a cliff but we’re holding on by a thin tread just from our sheer stubbornness and will to survive.  We want what is our right.  This includes the “pursuit of happiness” which we will never have until the heavy yoke of the corporate master is removed from our two political parties.  Democratic Party can you hear me now?  Do you know what I’m thinking?  There are a lot of dissatisfied Democrats out here wondering what in the hell happened to our party.  You have to start listening to us or we may end up voting for some crazy Tea Party person just to spite you!

Coffee or Tea? Neither Please!

  • Posted on March 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Coffee or Tea, what do you prefer today?  Today is the coming out party of the “Coffee Party”.  You know the anti “Tea Party” party.  I’m already tired of both of these parties.  Neither one has a clue what’s really going on across this country.  People are anxious but they aren’t looking for cutesy named parties like “Coffee or Tea”.  People are tired of being taken for granted and worrying about their jobs and health care.  Neither of the two major parties, Democratic and Republican, are meeting the needs of their constituents.  Both are working hard to garnish money from lobbyists and those lobbyists are not our neighbors.  This newly formed “Coffee” party has Obama’s fingers all over it from the association to Jim Webb to people that worked to elect Obama.  I, for one, am tired of being manipulated by any political party.  My best guess is these are the “Starbuck” lovers that are willing to pay $4.00 for a cup of coffee.  They are definitely out of my league and are probably what the right refers to as “latte” lovers.  Oh, well, these are just labels we bandy around.  I refuse to put a label on my frustration and distrust of this new movement or the Tea Party one as well.  The Republican Party was quick to get on board the funding of the Tea Party movement so that makes that party completely distrustful to me.  I can probably say the same for this new Coffee Party.  From my point of view I want to hear more politicians sounding like Rep. Patrick Kennedy from Rhode Island:

He isn’t running any more so maybe he decided he was free to say what he’s really thinking.  I don’t know but this is the fire for the people that I want to see in my representatives.

Here is a post by “Wonk the Vote” much worth reading about coffee, tea and FDR.

I really enjoyed reading about FDR and his discussion of a second bill of rights.

I want a party that represents the “workers” of America.  These are the people that keep this country moving from factory jobs, police, teachers, transportation, and healthcare to the guy that picks up your garbage.  These are the people we all know that are our neighbors.  They aren’t a CEO and they don’t work on Wall Street.  They aren’t a Washington politician and while they may own a “mom and pop” store.  They don’t own “Wal-Mart” and they certainly aren’t a movie star!  We are the forgotten in this country.  While we make up the largest share of voters we are woefully under represented in our government.  While the wealthy including the politicians, CEO’s, Wall Street and Hollywood try to manipulate us at every turn by showing us what a war should be on screen, or by telling us to buy those ridiculous light bulbs that don’t last six months let alone five years, to always telling us we are the “greatest” and hoping we still believe that lie or to manipulating us to grasp our little “nest egg.”  We are the greatest to them if we keep buying the same old garbage they keep selling.  It’s time all of us woke up and figured out that these people are only looking at their own best interests.  The politician wants to get reelected so he will tell us anything.  The movie star wants to make more money so they call us to action on everything from the environment to our values of patriotism.  They do this because they are part of the corporate owned media.  Wall Street just wants our money and they will play games with the market to get it.  Once you’re in that market they will shake a few out ever so often and it could be your retirement that’s lost!

We, the true Americans, need to wise up and see these people that garner so much respect in the media for what they truly are.  We have the Internet.  We don’t need to be told by some Joe Scarborough on MSNBC or Wolf Blitzer on CNN or any other media pundit what’s going on in this country.  We can see by getting online and also by talking to our neighbors.  Here in Sturgis we know our property values have gone down.  We know there are vacant homes in town.  We can see that funding in our state is getting pretty down right scary.  We know that everything from the police to schools to state services have been cut and yet we still see plenty of money for war and politics.  We see politicians whooping it up at the Whitehouse with parties and dignitaries and don’t forget about those constant calls from the two parties for money for their next campaigns.  We see money going to two wars and a potential third and no one says, “Whoa, wait a minute!  What about the American people?”  I hear this phrase in my head.  I heard it as a teacher from GW Bush and now I’m playing it over in my mind.  That is over and over, “Expect more and pay less!”  This is in reference to teachers and I am a teacher but it really is in reference to all American workers.  We can all expect to do more and get paid less if we continue to buy what the politicians and the wealth in this country are selling.  Hollywood, politicians, CEO’s will all live large while the rest of us tighten our belts, pray we don’t lose our jobs or health insurance and scrape by.

Now do I want coffee or tea?  Not exactly!  I want real representation and I’m not going to get it over a cup of coffee or tea.  The best I can do as an American worker is to keep putting my voice out there.  I’ll keep calling my congress people and hope they change and I’ll keep saying what I think!

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