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Feeling the Bern

  • Posted on March 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Feeling the Bern

I am a sixty-year-old woman that had pretty much given up on having a candidate to vote for that was not the lesser of two evils.  This year, my dream candidate arrived in an unlikely package of a seventy four year old man that calls himself a Democratic Socialist.  I see Bernie Sanders as my once in lifetime political candidate cut in the model of FDR.  He is running a campaign that is both positive, which is how I have always lived my life, and issues oriented.  The appeal for me is the way he includes everyone in the process.  He knows he needs the people to be with him, not just for the vote but to make anything happen.  It really is not about him; it is about us!  How unusual that in politics today where most candidates are so full of themselves that they can’t even understand how us little people live, we have an opportunity to vote for a person that has always stood up for the people and is willing to take this on, even if it is the last thing he does!

I have had people say to me that he is too old.  My father lived to be ninety-seven and was a sharp person.  I feel no one has an expiration date stamped on his or her forehead.  Some people unfortunately die young; others seem blessed with long life.  Bernie’s ideas and platform have called me to him.  He believes we can make this country better and I believe it as well.  If other countries can provide universal healthcare, why can’t we?  My sister died an early death because she didn’t have health insurance.  I feel strongly about this topic.  I have given money to people on Go Fund me pages because they needed money for surgeries.  This should not be happening in our country.  A poor person’s life should be as valuable as a wealthy person’s life.  Republicans like to call us a Christian Nation.  I don’t particularly care for that label, as I believe in a separation of church and state.  However, if you want to go with that idea, then what would Jesus do?  Would he let people die on the street or suffer?  I doubt it.

AS far as tuition free public colleges go, I am all for this.  As a teacher, we have been pushing for college for everyone for the last several years.  Unfortunately, college is largely unaffordable for most people of lower and middle economic standing and thus unattainable.  I believe we need to be an educated nation.  It is better for our work force and it helps to teach tolerance of other people’s ideas.  We should be embracing college for all that are able to withstand the rigors of a higher education.  We should also be investing in trade schools as well.  I recently read an article about many American students going to Germany for their free college program.

Germany wants an educated work force and they know some of those foreign students are probably going to stay there and be productive in Germany using what they have learned.  Our country needs to embrace the concept of free tuition for public colleges.  Our kids are the future of this nation.  Do we really want some of our best and brightest students to skip college because they can’t afford it or leave after a year because they have accrued too much debt?  Do we want our children enticed to live in other countries because they have a better life style?  Do we want our children facing massive college debt that largely forces them into years and years of an ever-growing debt payment that sometimes gets larger because they can’t get the principal down on their paltry salaries?  I think we can do better as a nation.  We seem to have plenty of money for prisons and war.  Maybe we need to invest in our children first!

A few years ago, I read that the cost to house a prisoner at the little prison in Coldwater, Michigan was around $27,000 a year.  Most schools in Michigan are getting around $7000-$7500 to educate students.  I know that most prisons cost like double the figure from Coldwater, so that seems like a bargain.  However, from my point of view, I could see that money easily spent on educating people instead of building prisons and especially those “for profit” institutions.  Bernie also has talked about how the years from 0-4 are so important for children’s future well-being.  He wants affordable childcare for parents that have to work.  He has mentioned getting the proper training for the childcare workers so these children can be in a loving environment where they are nourished.

Bernie wants to invest in our country.  He knows our infrastructure is pathetic.  We need everything repaired.  There hasn’t been much invested in this country in years.  Why can’t we invest in our country?  We spend an unbelievable amount of money on these wars that seem endless to me.  I think we need to invest in our roads, our water systems, affordable housing, airports, modern transportation systems that move the masses, and building businesses that can thrive in this country.

Bernie believes in the American people and he will do everything he can to keep jobs here.  He has been against many of the trade bills that have devastated our country and moved so many of our jobs out of this country.  He bellows on and on about the 1% and how much they own and how little the rest of us own.  He has ignited a flame in the people with that bellow and it is what happens when he tells it like it is to the masses.  He asks us to have the courage to join him.  How can we not join the man who has dedicated his life to the people of this country?

This ad means so much to me.  I look at my students in school and I see all of them in this ad.  Yes, I know that the ad features adults but I see my students.  I think our country needs to come together and be the best that we can be.

TOGETHER from HUMAN on Vimeo.

Now some people might be wondering why I am not a Hillary Clinton supporter.  Back in 2008, I was a John Edwards supporter because of his issues addressing poverty and healthcare.  He was a flawed candidate and I moved on to Hillary Clinton and had an opportunity to attend a rally at South Bend, Indiana.  I was impressed with her and left supporting her.  Naturally, when she came into this election, my first impulse was for Hillary and that first woman president concept.  However, I study politics and read a lot about what is happening.  I discovered that Hillary was involved in things over the last eight years that really left me wondering what I ever saw in her.  It’s the whole money thing.  My son is always asking me when is enough enough?  Why do the rich always want more?  Her speeches to Wall Street firms for hundreds of thousands of dollars just put a nail on that coffin for me.  Her ties to Wall Street, the $350 some thousand that a Wal-Mart billionaire put into the Hillary Victory fund, her questionable ethics when she was Secretary of State, and the interesting Clinton Foundation donations during that time are inexcusable.  To add to this, she pushes for troops on the ground and war, which has created crises in Libya and Syria and make me see her as a very flawed candidate.  When she said we would never, ever have single payer, I wondered why anyone would support her.  Her constant use of the word “I” and not “We”, (Well lately, she seems to have gotten that message.) tell me she just doesn’t get it.  She has really become the candidate of the “establishment” Democrats.  This, for me, is just unacceptable and excessively far right of where I want the Democrats to be.

In reality, I feel like my party has abandoned me in favor of a center right party that appears to be a lot like the old Republican Party before it went very crazy.  I find myself unsubscribing from emails, un-liking Democratic candidates on Facebook, and very discouraged by the direction my party is going.  I see people pretty much the way Bernie does when he was asked a question about religion which I will share in the video below.  I believe we should be giving each other a hand up not stepping on people’s fingers when they are trying to pull themselves up out of despair, poverty, suffering, getting an education, getting a job, and volunteering.  We are all connected and it is time we all see what Bernie sees.

I can’t seem to embed this video, so here is the link.  I get the link to work so you will have to copy it and paste it into another url tab.  I am sorry you will have endure the ad first.  I guarantee it is worth watching.



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.

Past is Prologue

  • Posted on June 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm

My mind works in mysterious ways.  I decided to take the “Way Back Machine” ride.  On the news yesterday there was much talk about what President Obama said about troops coming home from Afghanistan.  It sounds like too little, too late to me.  I was thinking about something I heard recently about the cost of the wars.  The amount I remember is two billion a week.  That is one hefty sum which led me to the internet to do some research.  I came across a recent document from the Congressional Research Service entitled, “The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11.”

Inside this document there is Table 1 that breaks down the yearly cost.  I highly suggest looking at the document as there are some strange things within it.  Considering these figures, I went on to look up some other information as it pertains to the U.S. National Debt and I came across some interesting old articles.

The cost to continue these wars is staggering.  On CSPAN yesterday morning Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat from Ohio, said that it costs $400.00 a gallon for gas for those troops on the front line in Afghanistan.

If you read this article you will also discover that it costs a billion dollars for a thousand troops.  Just think about that!

The day before, I also heard Senator Manchin from West Virginia say that the Chinese are mining copper in Afghanistan.  They benefit from our troops in the area but they don’t pay for them!  What are we mining?  Probably more terrorists that hate us!  Representative Kaptur also had a discussion with President Obama.  She wants to take 1% of the defense budget and put it into a jobs program.  She wants to utilize unused bases around the country to start these programs for rebuilding communities hit hard by these economic times.

What I’m trying to get at are a couple of different things.  First of all the Republicans have taken back the tax level for the wealthy to the fifties.  (They have said it’s not just for the wealthy but that we all benefit.)  As a woman, I used to joke about how the Republicans want to take us back to the fifties.  However, it is no joking matter.  Back in 1999 for the first time in 25 years, the US Government planned to reduce the size of the national debt.

Towards the end of the Clinton term in September of 2000 he said this, “Like our Olympic athletes in Sydney, the American people are breaking all kinds of records these days. This is the first year we’ve balanced the budget without using the Medicare trust fund since Medicare was created in 1965. I think we should follow Al Gore’s advice and lock those trust funds away for the future.”

Everything was looking promising.  Of course we all now know how much fun everyone made of Gore’s “lockbox” statement.  There is more here on what he had to say on the subject and it is worth remembering considering the current state of things.

So, what changed everything?  As far as I can tell there were four episodic things that changed the direction of our country.  First were the 2000 election and the decision by the Supreme Court.  Second were the Bush tax cuts.

Third was the tragedy of September 11th.  Finally, fourth were the decisions to go to war and remain entrenched in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya for basically ten years.  Now some would say I forgot about the sup-prime mortgage problem.  However, I think like dominoes, when you put in motion all of the other things, well, shit happens!  It’s like what came first, the chicken or the egg?  In my mind the Bush tax cuts have put an unbelievable strain on our country that can be felt across the nation.  We feel it on our roads, in our schools, and worrying about our jobs.  While many people may think they want to keep their tax cuts, most are probably not thinking about the true cost of those cuts and who benefits the most.  The tax cuts are tricky because they have embedded into them something for families.  So, when the wealthy get their big cuts, people with children are probably okay with it because they get their cuts as well.  Most people don’t think about how those cuts have cost our country in so many ways.  As the federal government does less and less for us, they push more and more back onto the states.  We all know the result of that, cuts and more cuts locally.

States seem to be getting desperate.  I learned about “Project 60” proposed by the governor of Idaho.  Hmm, what could that be?  There is talk on the internet about a Chinese company building a self contained city and bringing their own workers over.  Could we be that desperate?  Here is the message from Governor Otter.

I went to the Project 60 PDF file.  The link is on the page.  Embedded into the nice brochure is this:

Establish an Idaho EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program which grants visas to foreign nationals investing $500,000-$1,000,000.

I ended up at this blog today and I am wondering about all of this.

One guy called in on CSPAN yesterday and he stood out because of what he said.  He called us a “plantation nation”.  The wording could have been slightly different than that but I do remember the plantation reference.  He basically feels that business in their pursuit of all things global have made out country and its citizens into a plantation like setting.  We are like a slave nation.  We are the good little worker bees and big business is the owner of the plantation.  He wants the slaves to revolt!  Our children are being told that they are going to have to compete globally.  I don’t think the wages in China are going to bring our own wages up here.  There is no loyalty any more to country.  The loyalty seems to be to business.  Business will go wherever they can produce their product cheaper.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be better but the bottom line is the bottom dollar.  If business can use programs like “Project 60” to import cheaper labor, they will do it.  That means that all of us that thought our jobs couldn’t be out sourced to another country better start thinking about the past and how it relates to the future.

War, What is It Good For?

  • Posted on June 16, 2011 at 1:03 am

I just have to know if anyone knows how many soldiers died last week.  I was watching ABC Sunday morning with Christiane Amanpour a week ago and she posted the deaths at the end.  There were 14 soldiers in Afghanistan.  I find this so troubling because it simply will make no difference if we stay there two years or two weeks longer.  We got Bin Laden so I say, “Bring the troops home!”

A couple of weeks ago one of my ten brothers called me.  He is a big Obama supporter.  He knows how I feel about the 2008 election and the corruption I see in both parties, but ever hopeful, he asked me if I was going to vote for Obama.  I thought for a minute and I told him two things.  I said the problems with the 2008 primary in Michigan have never been addressed by Obama or the Democratic Party in a way that is believable or satisfactory to me.  Here in Michigan my primary vote was stolen and given to Obama!  However, I told him that if Obama wants my vote, he could do one key thing and probably get it.  He could bring the troops home and end these wars!  I don’t mean a little slight of the hand trick of putting troops in another country and saying we have left the other country, like troops from Iraq placed in Afghanistan.  I mean bring them HOME!

And please tell me what is up with the media?  I get it.  Arnold is a bum.  John is a low life, swindling attorney that you couldn’t trust with your ugliest girlfriend.  Anthony is a fourteen year old boy with a hard on for the secret, or not so secret, life of the internet.  So, why does the media care so much?  It never ceases to amaze me how sex becomes more important than being lied to by an American President who took us to WAR!

In our country, either the media thinks we are more interested in politicians’ sex lives or we are that interested.  I for one am not more interested in the secret lives of politicians than the back deals that they make with corporations to pick pocket the American people.  I’m going to tell you right now I don’t care who you are sleeping with.  I don’t care if you take naked pictures of yourself and send them to other people that probably send some of their own back to you.  However, I do care if you pass legislation that takes us into war, strips money from education and gives it to the defense department, or takes money from the WIC program and gives it to other defense contractors.

After all Republicans never met a defense bill that they couldn’t resist passing and Democrats never can truly stand up to the Republicans, not even for the American people.  Talk is cheap in Washington D.C. but heaven forbid if you have a sex scandal.  You can secretly be a bum, but if the world finds out that you are a bum, well, that’s a problem.  My mother used to call that the “Spartan rule” but being a Michigan State Spartan, I now take offense to that reference.  Arnold, John and Anthony perhaps thought that “When in Rome do as the Romans do.”  I don’t know if all three were just doing what other politicians get away with on a daily basis, but I have to wonder why some politicians can be forgiven their bad behaviors and others cannot.

So, back to my original thought, will I vote for President Obama or not in 2012?  I have to wonder what things will look like in the fall of 2012.  Will we still be involved in three different wars in the Middle East?  Will I see my hard earned tax dollars go to more war funding?  Edwin Starr sings it best for me!

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. 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.

War, what is it good for?

  • Posted on January 22, 2011 at 1:01 am

So, I’m looking around on the internet just reading tonight and I noticed Keith Olberman is out. I don’t really care about Keith, so I read on and look for news on the wars.  I never hear much any more about either war, even though there is constant turmoil in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  It all seems pretty much null and void in the minds of the American people.  I sometimes wonder if I am the only person that thinks spending all of this money to blow up a couple of countries is insane!  I came across this site which seems interesting.

According to this site, here is the defense budget for 2011 and it does match up with what I have found on the Whitehouse budget website as well.

Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Overview

For Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, which begins on October 1, 2010, the Obama

Administration has requested a base budget of $548.9 billion for the Department of

Defense (DoD). This is $18 billion, or 3.4 percent, above the appropriated Fiscal Year

2010 base budget of $531 billion.

In addition, the Administration has requested $159.3 billion for “Overseas

Contingency Operations,” to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This brings the Fiscal Year 2011 defense budget request to a total of $708.3


What I am noticing is that high cost for the two wars.  I looked up the population of Iraq which is around 31.5 million.  California has a population of around 37 million.  What I am getting at is this:

Check out the federal budgeted money for California or any state for that matter.  I think there is something wrong with this picture.  That money spent on the wars could really be helpful back over here in our own country.  Of course the conservative Republicans have other ideas.  Here is where you can check out their proposal to reduce spending.

On the two page summary, I noticed many interesting cuts to everything from the arts and humanities to the repeal of the Davis Bacon Act which requires the government to pay the local prevailing wage.  I wonder what’s up with that, less money for the common man, just trying to make a living of course.

The other day I was listening to the Ed Schultz radio show for a few minutes on my way home from school.   Some one was sitting in for Ed.  A guy called in who really cracked me up.  He was on a rant about Senator John McCain and he said McCain has been taken care of by the government is whole life.  This man couldn’t believe McCain’s stance on health care since McCain has essentially been taken care of with government health care his whole life.  I had to laugh because it was essentially true, except for the stint he had when he was a POW.  The politicians in office just don’t get it.  They have everything at their finger tips like money, power, health insurance, great pensions and they just cannot see what has happened to the common worker in America.

The American people need to pull their head out of the sand and figure out what is really going on.

Big business and government combined is a lethal combination for the American worker.  Labor unions have been destroyed over the last forty years.  One of the last of the unions still standing are the teachers unions.  They are the next to go.  This is the way the American people are being programmed right now.  There is a constant drumbeat against the teachers and their unions.  We are being told how poor our education system is and it is the fault of the TEACHERS!  Tenure is a dirty word.  We are being programmed that it is the problem and it must go!  I’m only throwing this out there because as a teacher, I can feel the target on my back and I can see what is going on.  We, the people, are being programmed once again that business is good, privatization is good, and labor unions are bad, bad, bad!

All across the country we have business people getting into government.  Here in Michigan we have our new governor, Rick Snyder, a business guy.  I listened to his state of the state address and he was very short on anything specific in terms of cuts and spending for the most part.  The big thing he talked about was building a bridge to Canada.  Here is a transcript from his address.

It had a lot of “fluff” but not much substance.  I expect in April when he gives the next speech he mentioned, we will hear more specifics.  I don’t think his address was much different than most others.  I just would like to know what his plans are for the budget.  He wants to change the small business tax but he doesn’t say how he’s going to pay for these changes.  Some in K-12 education are worried that he is going to take from that budget to give to the public colleges.  I don’t know what is going to happen, but I think it will mean more pain in education whatever is decided.  This year I had to pay 3% more into my retirement with no additional benefit.  Next year it could be more.  We don’t have a contract and we are probably not much different than most schools in the state that are wondering what the budget is going to be.

The other day I was applying for a bus grant to take some of my art students up to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and I asked the school secretary what portion of our students was on free and/or reduced lunches.  Our school was around 61% but she said one of the elementary schools is somewhere around 90%.  These are scary numbers.  We need jobs for American workers.  I feel like I’m on a wheel that just keeps going round and round.  War, what is it good for?  What is it really doing for the American people?  We know what it is doing for some corporations.

You must listen to this video because it is so interesting.  The wars will continual until they are financially unsustainable because it is in the best interest of corporations.  War, what is it good for?

The Loss of Innocence

  • Posted on November 29, 2010 at 9:52 pm

An Innocent Kid Named Katie

I have come to realize that growing up in my family I lived a fairly sheltered life.  Even though I grew up with those ten brothers, I really wasn’t exposed to anything too shocking as a young kid.  I grew up protected from most of the foul things that happen in the world.  I didn’t know about perverts back then.  I wouldn’t have even understood the word as a kid.  I had the freedom to ride my bike around town and didn’t have to worry about much of anything except getting my chores done and doing my homework.  I always felt like I really was emotionally immature when I went to college as the lessons I learned during college went far beyond the walls of a classroom.

I went to Michigan State University in the fall of 1973.  Life for me at MSU was idyllic.  When I was a senior I remember thinking that my life at MSU was like living under a glass bubble.  Of course I was oblivious to the serial rapist and killer that were stalking students because MSU didn’t want the bad press.  Regardless of that issue of safety, I always felt like college life was some kind of utopia.

While at MSU, I was introduced to so many different people from all over the world.  I worked at the International Center in the cafeteria, so I really enjoyed all of the different people I met.  In the two towns that I lived when I was in elementary and high school, I never really came in contact with anyone unusual but a few exchange students.  It was rare to come across anyone of color.  We were all white.  I remember when I was in seventh grade a black girl came to our school.  I remember people said she was “Mulato” which was supposed to mean she was of mixed race, black and white.  However, back then no one would have used the term “black”.  In my memory I thought the girl was beautiful as she was so pretty.  I never spoke to her.  I just remember this weird thought about that beautiful girl and find it interesting by the lack of exposure I had as a kid.

In my world I lived in the greatest country in the world because I had been told that ever since I could remember.  We all have been told that for as long as I can remember.  My parents were FDR democrats that loved President Kennedy, the first Catholic president.  We were Catholic, so of course we loved Kennedy!  I briefly remember my world being shattered when Kennedy was assassinated.  I remember sitting in my third grade classroom when I found out the news.  It was traumatic but even then I was still innocent to what I believed in our government.

In high school I really loved politics.  I came from a family that talked about politics a lot!  It was during the Nixon years and all of that corruption was fascinating to me.  You might think I could have lost my innocence then, you know when Nixon really was a “crook” even though he said he wasn’t!  His Vice President had to resign because he was corrupt.  He pled “no contest” with the condition that he resigns from office!  Do you all remember Spiro T. Agnew?  That was a juicy time for politics with everything going on with Watergate and the ending of the Vietnam War.  You would think my innocence would have been lost during that time but it wasn’t.  I always thought we were the best, bravest, smartest country in the world.

Oh, yes, I fell for every propaganda piece I was raised with from the celebration of “Columbus Day” to “Thanksgiving” to periods in our history that are really highly tainted with our land grab from the Indians!  I loved the fact; yes I said, “Fact” that we always were there to “help” other countries, especially those “developing” countries.  You know the ones that have unclaimed minerals we might want some day!  I really thought we were always working for the greater good of the world.  I never thought we might be working for the greater good of corporations.

I lived like this for years in blissful ignorance.  I thought of only the good that we do as a country.  I never thought of it any other way because we are the best.  Our country was always showcased in my mind as the place everyone else wanted to come to and live.  Everyone wanted to come to America because we’re so wonderful.  The “big daddy” type government was fine with me.  In that government the President was like a “daddy” that wanted only the best for HIS children.  (Yes, you could say I’m still angry that we don’t have a woman president and who knows if we will ever get one.)  All of this thinking about the past is just simple, honest reflection about how stupid I was and how stupid most Americans are when it comes to their government.

I think I began to lose my true innocence over the last ten years.  It began with the 2000 election that was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court.  That was just wrong.  The state should have just counted the votes and recounted just like they have done every other race before and after.  I don’t see the Supreme Court running into Alaska to settle the senate race or into Minnesota a few years ago for that senate race.  They should have stayed out and that was the beginning of the loss of my true innocence.  I realized that my vote really didn’t count.  In fact, no votes really mattered because the decision took away everyone’s vote in the country.  Bush had an argument that it would do some kind of irreparable harm to the country.  The harm actually came from the decision the Supreme Court made.  Prior to this I had nothing but respect for the court system, especially the Supreme Court.  I wasn’t happy years before during the Clarence Thomas hearings, but once he was sworn in, it really didn’t matter.  I respected the court.  I didn’t have to like him or his rulings but I could still respect the court.  I have lost that respect because of at least two decisions, if not more.  The Bush vs. Gore decision was the first and the other case was the 5 to 4 vote that gave corporations some kind of “personhood” where they can spend unlimited money for campaigns.  Essentially corporations are more important than people!

After Bush got into office we had September 11th which was another time in our history which comes up with mixed reviews.  Many people wanted to do something for the victims and their families.  I can remember a fund raiser we did at our middle school.  Those fund raisers took place all over the country and even the world.  Everyone wanted to help.  However some of that charity money wasn’t put to good use.  After September 11th President Bush could have done so much for our country.  Instead we were told to go shopping and later we found out that little secret that Bush and Condi Rice had known a terrorist attack was eminent all along and didn’t do a thing about it.  So what does President Bush do after all of this?  He takes us into an illegal war; wire tapping, Guantanamo Bay, torture everything he could think of in the name of “Homeland Security” to keep us safe and terrified.  Oh, and yes, he gave us a tax cut!  I never thought our country would ever do many of the things that I now know we have done.  Innocence is a precious thing.  I don’t know that it was all that terrible that I was so gung ho on our country and that I believed in the good of our country.  I call that innocence because I only saw the good side of who we are as a nation.  Now that my innocence has been shattered, I see many blemishes and warts.  The Prince Charming that I thought our country was is really a toad.

It doesn’t stop here.  I could blame all the badness on those Republicans but it just isn’t so.  On May 31st, 2008 I discovered that my precious Democratic Party could actually steal my primary vote just like the Supreme Court stole all of our votes in 2000.  My innocence was really shattered because now I didn’t even have a party to believe in any more.  Before I always had hoped that the Democrats would save us from all of the crazy things that had been happening over the last decade.  Torture, Guantanamo, illegal searches, wire tapping, it would all be gone!  It turns out, I was wrong.  The Democrats aren’t any different than the Republicans.  The new boss looks just like the old boss!  I thought we had two parties but we really just have one.  The Republican side is the real conservatives and the Democratic side is conservative.  That’s not a real choice for those of us that are more liberal in our thinking.

The loss of my innocence came when I was not a child but a grown woman.  You might think I should have known better but truthfully I really didn’t want to think that our government could be that corrupt.  Now I come to the Wikeleaks and boy is that interesting.  Joe Scarborough wants to send a message and nail Bradley Manning.  He wants to send that kid to prison for 25 years.  I wonder what happened to innocent until proven guilty.  I personally find it hard to believe that some lowly private did this entire computer hacking on his own.  Wikileaks revealed the little toad with all the warts that lives in the body of the prince.  Our country has some scary things going on.  The revelations continue to come out and they don’t make me proud of my country.  They also rip off that mask of innocence that I have been hiding under all of these years.  I am now the supreme skeptic.  I don’t trust much of anything our government does any more.  If it’s good for the corporations, our country will probably fight some war, bomb some country or assassinate some foreign leader.  Nothing surprises me any more.  Innocence may be overrated unless you are some poor kid named Bradley Manning sitting in some jail wondering what’s going to happen to you.  I will survive the loss of my innocence but will my country survive the loss of its innocence?

Scared Straight

  • Posted on October 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Voting for Republicans should scare you to death!

Recently President Obama made the following statement, “Americans are so “scared” they’re not thinking straight about the upcoming elections.”  This brought back “Scared Straight” memories.  If any of you have not seen this old documentary.  Here is a small video clip well worth watching.  Essentially, the kids are “cut ups” and in order to set them “straight” they are introduced to “real” convicts.  Watch the video and think about it in terms of politics.  I think the Democrats and President Obama are playing the wrong message.  Democrats may be so scared they can’t think straight like President Obama claims.  Hell, I’m mad as hell at the Democrats for acting so much like Republicans.  However, Obama and the Democrats need to have the “Scared Straight” message to send to potential voters.  Maybe if voters can really think things through, they will realize that although the Democrats are really bad, by God, the Republicans are infinitely worse.

So maybe President Obama needs to use the “Scared Straight” tactic for voting.  Maybe he needs to tell it to the voters straight.  Maybe they have to be scared straight into voting Democratic.  Maybe he needs to introduce them to some real Republicans just like the convicts in the movie.  In the movie clip that I just shared with you, towards the end the convict talked about when you ask the quiet guy to take care of you, you just became his property in every way possible.  Is this what is going to happen if people vote for the Republicans?  Maybe voters need to know what differences will take place.  Right now it’s hard to see any differences between the two parties.

So tell me Mr. President.  Scare me straight.  What evil things will the Republicans do next?  The problem I have is I just don’t see much difference between the two parties.  They both seem to like corporations better than people. I’ll be honest.  I’m not rushing out looking for a Republican to vote for I’m simply looking for someone that puts people before corporations.  The pickings have been slim.

You know for years I thought there was a major difference between the two parties.  It’s only been the last few years that the two have some how blended together but we all can still easily recognize a DINO.

You really can’t scare me about merit pay.  That used to be Republican union busting talk.  Some how you thought that was a good idea, so you implemented it.  War used to be something that those crazy Republican “Hawks” always had to dabble in.  Yep, we’re still caught up in these two crazy wars, so there doesn’t seem to be a difference there.  That crazy torture stuff that GW started, which I thought would surely be abandoned along with Guantanamo Bay….well, enough said we still torture or at least we put a hit out on an American citizen and we still have Guantanamo Bay.  How can the Republicans be any worse?  I know it’s the social issues.  Just tell Granny to hang on to her pocketbook and hang on tight.  Those nasty Republicans are looking to snatch away her Social Security check.  They’re also going to get rid of that new fangled health care that no one seems to understand.  By George those Republicans are even going to cut welfare.

All I can say is, “Scare me some more!”  What the Democrats haven’t done is proven they can govern different than the Republicans.  This is a nasty game called politics and it seems like only the most corrupt win.  Well, I do have the answer for President Obama and the Democrats.  Tell the truth. Tell exactly what you think the Republicans plan to do when they get into office.

Here are some starters for you.  It’s not that hard to figure out what they would and would not do.

If you put them head to head, there are differences!

Republicans would:

Aim to repeal the health care bill rather than build on it.

Not pass legislation to extend unemployment benefits.

Pass tax cuts for big business and the high wage earners above $250,000.

Continue to support money for war, any war, because they haven’t met a war they wouldn’t fund.

Would plan on privatizing every aspect of government including education, our roads, anything they can think of to help their buddies.

Repeal the minimum wage because in these tough times we have to let the market determine the wage.

Put everything they can back on the states to pay for because they believe in “state’s rights” above all else.

Give more money to “faith based” organizations.

Take away money from social programs.

Not create any new stimulus projects.

Not provide legislation to fix our crumbling infrastructure.

Cut capital gains taxes and get rid of the estate tax on the wealthiest Americans.

Call for loosening environmental standards to help business.

Push for more off shore drilling without putting safety standards in place.

Now that wasn’t so hard was it?  If you are a Democrat and your mad like me, just think about what the Republicans really want to do. As a Democrat you may now notice that as much as we are disappointed by the current batch of Democrats, they aren’t as bad as the Republicans that we would surely get. Trust me.  They don’t want to help the little guy.  It’s all for big business and corporations.  So, even if you’re mad as hell, vote for the Democrats!

"Scared Straight" should scare you into voting for the Democrats!

“One Nation Working Together”Rally

  • Posted on October 2, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I just happened to be home today and turned on CSPAN and realized the “One Nation” rally was getting ready to begin.  I had heard about this rally through the Ed Schultz show as he had continually talked about it on both his TV and radio show.  Here is Big Eddy talking about it on his show.  It’s rather long but you should at least watch through his little exclamation about Rahm Emanuel.  Rahm left the president on Friday but probably according to the labor unions, he should have left long ago!

As the rally opened they had a local hip-hop choir group which made me want to go to the store like I had planned.  I guess it was entertainment to fill time but I seriously didn’t get the point.  I hung around and caught Ed.  Ed was loud and seemed to be used to rev up the crowd with how we are “One Nation”.  Ed was like one of those loud, screaming Baptist preachers.  He’s either going to convert you with words or scare you into converting.  After Ed was some lame ad about One Nation working together.

Comparisons surely will be made between the Glenn Beck rally and this one.  To me it looks like both rallies have managed to get a rather large crowd to attend each rally.  Midway through this rally they reported that according to some satellite picture this rally is bigger and growing than Beck’s rally.  Both of these rallies tried to channel  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with his words.  Both have a clearly different dream of what they want to see happen in this country.  Beck’s rally was about awarding medals to some people and honoring them as individuals.  As I recall it was to restore “honor” to America.  The implication was that President Obama has some how dishonored our country.  This rally seems to be about sharing the problems facing the American people and saying, “We stand with you!”  The speeches are tied to the writings of Jesus.  The tone is one of that takes on the concept that what happens to the least of my brothers, happens to me.  This seems to be the concept behind the “One Nation” rally.  It actually could be billed as restoring honor to the American people that have been dishonored by the system and corporations!  This rally has allowed people to bring signs whereas the Glenn Beck rally didn’t want any signs for some reason.  One of the most dominant signs I noticed was one that said, “Jobs, Not War!”

This rally is designed to get Democrats in the mood to vote in November.  The people attending the rally are to go back to their homes and help rally others to support the Democrats.  One nation is working together but not the Republicans because they’re the party of “No”.

Leave it to Al Sharpton to get the party rocking.  “One nation under God” is what he said we were.  He talked about the same things but he really revved up he crowd.  There was talk about bailing out the American people.  The thought was if the government can bailout corporations, then they can surely bailout the American  people when they are having hard times.  There was a comparison to what is spent on education and what is spent on defense.  I believe 5%  of what goes to defense was the figure that was said goes to education.

A native American comic, Charlie Hill, spoke but some of his jokes were a little flat as the rally doesn’t seem to be about bashing people like Palin but building up the American worker.  I think he didn’t get that memo.  The most interesting thing he said was that we’ve been fighting terrorism a long time; all the way back to 1492.  I thought truer words were never spoken.  Columbus gets all kinds of glory from us today but if we were taught the real history of his voyage and the “conquering” of America, we wouldn’t be so kind to him.

After Charlie were many workers and even unemployed people looking for work.  These people came from many walks of life and unions.  They had what I believe was the strongest voice for this rally today.  Larry Cohen from the Communications Workers of America talked about the decline of the unions and the loss of wages and benefits over the last forty years.  He said we used to have one in three in a union and now we have one in sixteen.  I think he had a really strong voice for unions and the many people that followed him from a nurse to a teacher to a transportation worker all spoke very poignantly about the plight of workers today.

There were many well known people at this rally.  I saw Jesse Jackson in the crowd and he also spoke.  Charlie Rangel, Dick Gregory and many others were there as well.  In my opinion the most elegant speaker was Harry Belafonte who talked about Dr. King speaking out about the Vietnam war.  Then Harry spoke out about the two wars we are currently in.  He had the raspy, aged voice of reason that I wish President Obama could hear!  I have to thank the “right winger” that posted this so early on Youtube.  This is not the complete speech as the part about Vietnam and our wars today wasn’t included.

This rally ended up being a real political rally.  The Glenn Beck rally pales in comparison to what this rally was about.  The Beck rally was much shorter and really was about giving out some awards to people that Beck admired for many different reasons.  It really wasn’t a typical political rally as there weren’t speakers talking about fixing the nation or building up a party or even voting.  This rally seems to have been organized to both respond to the Beck rally and the Tea Party people but also to try and rally the “troops” to vote.  If people are listening and they’re Democrats, it could rally them.  They didn’t talk much about President Obama.  I’m sure that was by design.  They talked about an agenda that included jobs, justice and peace.

Even college students spoke at this rally and talked about their student loans.  One young man talked about an education and jobs being our “rights”.  I have to say I agree with much of what he said.  Randi Weingarten from the American Federation of Teachers was also at the rally and gave a rousing speech for education!  She asked all to join in and be one nation together to make a difference in our children’s lives.  Rev. Frederick Haynes talked about bringing our fingers together to make a fist to strike a blow for everything from education to justice.  He repeated many things we need to bring our fingers together for.  Basically, you don’t get much attention when you tap someone with your finger but if they see your fist, they’ll listen.  I liked this guy.  He had a simple way of bringing a big message!  Beau Sia, a slam poet, spoke and it was a great poem about teaching.  I didn’t get to see the whole rally as I have other things I have to do.  I’m sure I saw the bulk of it.  Much talk was given to everything from jobs, justice, education, the prison system, and health care.  The end result is to vote and to vote for Democrats!

I admire the people that were able to go to the rally because they have chosen to try and do something, rather than sit and do nothing.  One woman that is unemployed talked about “Working America” where she helps to organize other unemployed people to go out and volunteer.  This rally was very inclusive with all colors and ages of people.  Beck’s rally seemed very white and old.   I have to give it up to Big Eddy.  He did rally the troops.  He talked about this rally so much that I really wondered if he and the unions could get the crowd he was expecting.  They did.  The crowd was impressive as were the many speakers.

I just wish the Democratic Party was half as good as the people they currently represent.  These people deserve representation that isn’t corrupted by the deep pockets of corporations.  They have gone out of their way to promote the Democratic Party and I believe the Democratic Party should go out of their way to hear these voices.  This shouldn’t be just another rally where nothing ever comes from it but a vote.  We’ve had enough of that.  Everybody gets excited to vote.  Then the politicians go back and we find out they had their fingers crossed behind their backs the whole time we were talking to them.  Let’s all put our fingers together and make a fist.  Maybe if they see our fist, we’ll get what we want!

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