…don’t blink!

That’s what Heritage Action’s 31-year-old president Michael Needham is advising his Tea Party rookies in the House of Representatives.

Don’t blink!

In the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial “The Strategist Behind the Shutdown,” Needham is hailed as the craftsman behind the tragedy in which millions of Americans find themselves. Himself a pawn in the game of high stakes funded by the likes of billionaire brothers, David and Charles Koch, Needham vows to wreck havoc with Obamacare.

So what is the endgame–is there any exit strategy short of Mr. Obama rolling over? Mr. Needham admits that ObamaCare will never be repealed as long as Mr. Obama is president, but he still thinks it can be defunded or delayed: “Look, Democrats usually win these fights because they do a better job of not cracking. Obama says he will never blink and we believe him. They’re very good at this. We’re obviously very bad at it.”

At some point, doesn’t there have to be a compromise? That’s the way the system works, after all. Mr. Needham agrees, “at some point in this fight somebody has to blink.” His mission, he says, is to persuade “the House not to blink first.”

And so conservative wonder boy, Michael Needham, wears a broad smile in the face of the government shutdown. “Why so?” you ask. Because Needham believes “…we are in a great position right now” since he feels the Republican Party and the conservative movement will win the political battle over the shutdown.

One wonders why Needham credits the democrats with not blinking first.

Perhaps it has something to do with the Democrats’ steadfast commitment to the 98% of Americans whom Republican delegate Mitt Romney claimed not to represent during his run for the presidency.  Helping the less fortunate among us is not a game of “see who blinks first,” as Needham seems to think. 

He says the path to victory now is for the House to keep passing bills to open up popular agencies of government, such as the national parks, the National Institutes of Health and Veteran Affairs: “I don’t think that the Senate can keep refusing to open up these agencies as the shutdown drags on and on and on.”

Like his predecessor Ed Feulner, founder of Heritage Action, Needham believes that ” ‘in the war of ideas there is no room for pacifists,…” Those within his party in opposition to Needham’s ideas “denounce him as everything from cocky to a GOP wrecking ball.” Sources interviewed for this article, “both inside and outside of Heritage have complained of late that Mr. Needham’s $7 million lobbying shop has become the tail that wags the $75 million think tank.” 

Michael Needham is unconvinced that shutting the government for weeks and weeks is a bad thing for the economy. His only concern is the repeal of Obamacare. All else is of little consequence.

So it seems fair to say that Needham, Cruz, and their financial backers have the President in their sights, and are determined to…

…take the president…down…

………hugmamma.

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what’s the difference?…

As events continue to unfold in Syria and the world looks on, wondering what to do, I too wonder…what would we do if the atrocities heaped upon the Jews by Hitler…were to play out in today’s society?

Adolf Hitler in Yugoslavia.

Would we vacillate about Hitler…as we are vacillating about Asad?

Would we allow German Jews to be killed by non-German Jews…as we sit by and watch pro-government Syrians murder those opposed to the government?

Would we complain of war weariness having fought one world war…as we are complaining of the several wars already fought in the Middle East?

Would we oppose President Roosevelt’s taking us to war…as we are now opposing President Obama’s efforts to level the playing field in the Syrian civil war?

Would we stand by as Jews are gassed to death…as we now watch as Syrians are poisoned by lethal chemicals?

Do we value Syrians less than we value Jews? Or do we value others’ lives…

…less than we value our own?…

………hugmamma.

Propaganda Poster

role model…you’ll be surprised!

I borrowed this from blogger friend Jo, Chronicles of Illusion at http://jobryantz.wordpress.com/

Jo’s one of the very few Aussies I know. If she’s what they’re like Down Under, then those folks…live life large… and they don’t care who knows it.

The following is an example of Jo’s humor.

Who’s Your Role Model for 2013?

This is fun. I promise you WILL laugh when you find the identity of your role model.

NO CHEATING! I was really surprised to find out the name of my role model. Don’t scroll down yet….

To find the identity of your personal role model, do the maths below…

Then scroll down to find your hero.

It is crazy how accurate this is!

NO PEEKING!

1.) Pick your favourite number between 1-9

2.) Multiply by 3

3.) Add 3

4.) Then again multiply by 3… I’ll wait if you need a calculator

5.) You’ll get a 2 or 3 digit number

6.) Add the digits together

NOW SCROLL DOWN

And with that number, see who your ROLE MODEL is from the list below:

1. Einstein

2. Queen Elizabeth

3. Snoopy

4. Bill Clinton

5. Mrs Brown

6. Gandhi

7. Barack Obama

8. Winston Churchill

9. Hugmamma

10. Jack Kennedy

I know, I know…. I just have that effect on people.

P.S. Stop picking different numbers!

I AM YOUR IDOL, JUST DEAL WITH IT!

…hugs to jo…for making my year!!!…Nashville 09-2010 00023

………hugmamma.

…my son…

I’m certain I speak collectively for many Hawaiian mothers, especially those like me without sons of our own.

President Barack Obama addresses the House Dem...

President Barack Obama addresses the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barack Obama makes me proud.

He may not have the blood of my Hawaiian ancestors coursing through his veins. What he does have…is the aloha spirit… which envelopes all…as ohana…family.

I don’t profess to speak for all islanders of my native land. I can only speak what’s in my own heart.

Barack Obama loves his family…his country…and all those who share in his passion for both.

Barack Obama goes about his work without the fanfare of his powerful Office.

Barack Obama does not gladhand…or backslap…or coo sweet nothings in the ears of his challengers.

Barack Obama invites all to sit down at the table, knowing that is the way of a good host. Remembering all the while that he is…the host under whose roof all sit. As such, it is his duty to uphold the…law of the land in justice…and concern for those who are the least among us.

Barack Obama took up that for which he was destined…the Presidency of the United States. He did not flinch in his duty to his fellow Americans. No obstacle was too great that he could not overcome.

Barack Obama is a son of Hawaii. No piece of paper can substitute for the acceptance of a woman born and raised on Maui.

Barack Obama is Hawaii’s son…and therefore…my son.

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetor...

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetoro and Barack Obama, mid 1970s (l to r) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…what mother…wouldn’t be proud…………hugmamma.

withdrawal…???

That’s my husband’s take on how I’ll respond to the day after, i.e. November 7. 

President Obama @ UNC

President Obama @ UNC (Photo credit: mehlam786)

Today is Election Day.

Washington’s movers and shakers for the next 4 years are being decided upon today. Even as I write.

I actually left the gyrations of politics behind a few days ago. The nonstop spin of media pundits and the constant polling wore thin.

For me, the die was cast when I mailed in my vote for President Obama. Nothing anyone could say or do would make me reflect upon my decision. That is until SHE happened along.

Sandy.

Two major American cities were brought to their knees by Mother Nature. She reminded us that in the end, we humans must look to each other for comfort, solace, and resurrection.

Watching high winds and swollen waters overwhelm our puny structures was humbling. To this day, I have difficulty dispelling the notion that our existence is, at best…whimsical.

Running parallel is my feeling that what does matter…is us. In the blink of an eye, we could cease to be.

Cole's Restaurant Hit by Hurricane Sandy in St...

Cole’s Restaurant Hit by Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island, NY. (Photo credit: bozer★)

And in that same blink what’sapparent is that we can’t take it with us…stuff, that  is.

Governor Romney promises, with him as President, we will be able to have stuff..to buy stuff.

In and of itself, that’s not a bad thing. It’s how Romney plans to do it that threatens our already tentative existence.

To do that, he guarantees 12 million new jobs. It’s certain those jobs will involve fossil fuel, the primary pollutant affecting climate change.

Short term solutions are the life blood of a corporate raider. A career for which Romney takes pride, having made millions for himself and investors while at Bain Capital.

Romney’s business mentality…taking care of the now, squeezing as much out of the moment as possible, getting out before the tide turns, hoping for the best, not looking back, and above all…having no regrets.

In contrast, President Obama has deliberated the long term effects of his actions. A sign, perhaps, of his professorial background. He has made value-based decisions, including ones to do with climate change. Not all have been politically correct. In some instances the President has lost favor with one group or another, even his own liberal constituency. But at the end of the day, he remained true to his own moral compass.

The President made the last campaign speech of his political career last night in Iowa.

He reminded the audience, those standing in the cold with him and we who watched on TV while comfortably ensconced in our warm homes, that he and his wife were catapulted to the national stage with their first win in that state during the last election. He spoke of local meetings with only 20 folks in attendance…of backyard barbecues…of meet and greets in community centers and church halls. Small town folks…with small town values.

As I watched the President and the First Lady embrace to the raucous applause of cheering Iowans, I identified with the unassuming couple at the center of the crowds.

President Barack Obama embraces First Lady Mic...

President Barack Obama embraces First Lady Michelle Obama as she prepares to leave for her return to the United States April 5, 2009, as President Obama continued his overseas travel schedule. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barack and Michelle Obama hail from families who struggled to keep food on the table, clothing on their backs, and rooves over their heads. Education was a priority in both their households. And as a result of having been raised by loving and supportive parents and grandparents, Barack and Michelle continue to display the same for all those in need of that same love and support.

Like the Obamas, my worldview embraces all those who struggle in their daily lives. I’ve been there. To some extent, I’m still there. Retirement looms on the horizon for my husband and me, and my daughter, an artist, will always live frugally.

Knowing that I am part of a larger human community makes Mother Nature’s whimsy more bearable.

I am not alone.

When I die I won’t care about the stuff I leave behind. I will take my leave of this transitory existence knowing that I share the love and support of all those with whom I have aligned my life.

…love thy neighbor as thyself…

…he’s not heavy, he’s my brother…

…do unto others, as you would have them do unto you…

…no man is an island unto himself…

…share and share alike

…verily I say to you, inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me…

…the obamas…my kind of people…

………hugmamma.

English: President Barack Obama, First Lady Mi...

English: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, sit for a family portrait in the Green Room of the White House, Sept. 1, 2009. Français : Le président Barack Obama, la First Lady Michelle Obama et leurs filles Sasha and Malia, assis dans la Green Room de la Maison Blanche pour un portrait de famille, 1er sept. 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

undecided?…or…independent?

Politics are personal.

Barack Obama in Des Moines, Iowa

Barack Obama in Des Moines, Iowa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Most of us don’t like revealing our voting choices. We like to keep them…close to our vest.

So it was a nice change to read the following by an Iowan, who claims to be an Independent voter.

I know about Independents…I’m one myself. I voted for George W. Bush the second time around.

What I hadn’t a clue about…were Iowans. Now I know them…a little better. And I like what I’m hearing.

On the college campus where I write and teach in Iowa, the trees are aflame with red and yellow leaves and the students — more than 90 percent of them if 2008 numbers hold strong — are ready to vote for Barack Obama. With early voting, many students cast their ballots before they headed home for fall break, to far-flung states where their votes may not matter quite as much.

Still, at least according to the media’s incessant reporting, a large segment of Iowa voters are still independent and undecided. And they’re getting a lot of attention. I’m a registered independent, and I’ve spent my whole life in the Midwest — MichiganWisconsin and now Iowa — so I’ve gotten a lot of calls from pollsters over the years. And every time they ask me whom I plan to vote for in November, I always tell them I’m undecided.

It’s always a lie.

I always know whom I’m going to vote for months before the election, though I’ve cast votes for at least three different parties over the years. For many Midwesterners, saying I’m undecided is akin to saying it’s none of your darn business. In Iowa, it’s often hard to predict how people will vote, largely because it’s a fairly private place (there’s plenty of elbow room) and it’s an awfully polite place, too. We try to get along despite our differences. Bumper stickers and yard signs go away swiftly once an election is over.

Defying Convention

While I can sort of guess whom most of my students will vote for based on their T-shirts and the Howard Zinn books sticking out of their backpacks, I’m less certain about the political leanings of my fellow bowlers on Wednesday nights or my fellow worshippers on Sunday mornings. Last week, at the same stoplight, I saw a Romney sticker on a Prius and an Obamasticker on a massive Dodge pickup. Iowa defies convention. Still, I believe these mythical swing voters will once again go for Barack Obama in 2012. Here’s why:

— We don’t like to change horses in midstream. Here in the Midwest, if we hire someone to do a job, we try to stay out of the way and let him or her finish it. It’s stoicism common among the farmers and laborers of the region. Good work takes time. You can’t solve a problem overnight. You plug away a little every day.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic presi...

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic presidential candidate, strolls the Iowa State fairgrounds Aug. 16 in Des Moines. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is, I think, a big reason George W. Bush won Ohio in 2004 and why Wisconsin GovernorScott Walker staved off a recall attempt earlier this year. It’s simply a matter of respect. Iowans remember, acutely, the economic collapse of 2008 and understand a community doesn’t recover from disaster overnight. Federal assistance and federal subsidies have helped Iowa recover from many unforeseen disasters in the past; while we don’t trust the government to do everything, we understand that effective federal programs, such as Obama’s economic stimulus, student-loan and health-care plans, can steadily help a nation work toward recovery. If we see some progress, we are patient people.

— Iowa’s a “live and let live” kind of place. I recently learned that a well-educated gay man from the East Coast, now living in rural Iowa, whom I met at a cocktail party, is probably voting for Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, an insurance company employee I met at church, a married father of three who dresses in khakis and polos, turns out to be one of the fiercest liberals I’ve ever met. I know a small-business owner who is still undecided, but he’s wavering between Obama and theGreen Party. A former student of mine in Ames, an Iraq war veteran, will probably vote for Obama, but may very well go for the libertarian Gary Johnson or write in Ron Paul.

Few Converts

He doesn’t trust Romney on foreign policy or civil liberties. Simply put, for those coveted independent voters, Romney-Ryan’s hard turn to the right on social and military issues is disconcerting. Most Iowans don’t like to put their noses in other people’s business, whether it’s a neighboring home or a distant nation. Divisive social issues and jingoistic nationalism, which Republicans are pushing hard in Midwestern swing states, may mobilize the party’s base but they do little to create converts to conservatism.

— Wall Street is very far away from Iowa. In the Midwest, we don’t trust fancy. And while those on the far right have long tried to paint Obama as the elitist in this race, in Iowa, Romney is going to have a hard time hiding the silver spoon that’s been in his mouth since birth.

It’s not that Iowans resent wealth; it’s more that they resent the kind of wealth that Romney has accrued in his life, most of it “unearned” income — wealth that seems to grow through the manipulated magic of Wall Street rather than the pluck and perseverance we prefer. Wall Street’s recklessness in the past decade has had a profoundly destructive effect on Main Street and the fields that surround it. It’s hard for Iowans to forget that Romney made his money in a system that exploited, in multiple ways, the modest resources of the average American family.

In Iowa, we tend to follow our strong opinions with a polite disclaimer: Well, I may be wrong, you know. And I may. Yet one thing is certain. No matter which way Iowa goes this year, it won’t be long before the pollsters come back to us, looking toward the 2016 caucuses, asking us whom we will support the next time the presidency is at stake. And we’ll get everybody excited, by letting out a low whistle, shaking our heads and muttering, “Well, gee, I don’t know yet. I’m undecided.”

Have a nice day.

English: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in O...

English: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in Onawa, Iowa on March 31, 2007. Onawa Public Library. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

(Dean Bakopoulos teaches at Grinnell College. His most recent novel is “My American Unhappiness,” now out in paperback. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this article: Dean Bakopoulos at bakopoul@grinnell.edu.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.net.

a little odd…

The hostile environment surrounding our elections seems to eat away at one’s core. In order to prevent such an occurrence, one has to step back, breathe deeply, and take a broader view of the picture.

The political landscape has disintegrated into millions of dollars worth of negative ads…running 24/7. And, of course, there are the media pundits only too ready and willing to guide us through the maddening maze.

I’ve made my choice…I voted for President Obama.

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is s...

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009. More than 5,000 men and women in uniform are providing military ceremonial support to the presidential inauguration, a tradition dating back to George Washington’s 1789 inauguration. VIRIN: 090120-F-3961R-919 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

These next few days are just gravy.

My brain continues to sift through all the lumps, so that what’s being dished up is…more palatable.

Through all the noise, the media has offered snippets of this Administration’s accomplishments.

To name a few.

Equal pay for equal work…insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions and for dependents until age 26…tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses…the elimination of terrorist leaders, including Osama bin Laden…repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell”…temporarily allowing children of illegal immigrants to remain in the country in which many were born, until more can be done.

Granted, the President has not done all things…for all people. What President has?

What’s disturbing is the ugly rhetoric that has been allowed to surface.

Former New Hampshire Governor John Tsununu has no qualms about slinging racial eptithets in the President’s direction.

One of the most frequent offenders along those lines from Democrats’ point of view, former New HampshireGov. John Sununu, stirred the pot again Thursday night. Appearing on CNN, the national co-chair for the Romney campaign told host Piers Morgan that he believed Colin Powell’s endorsement of President Obama was essentially based on race. 

Mr. Sununu said: “I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States – I applaud Colin for standing with him.”

He later walked back his comments, issuing a statement saying he believed Mr. Powell’s endorsement was based on “his support of the president’s policies.” But Sununu has previously come under fire for other remarks perceived as having racial implications, such as calling the president “lazy,” and saying he wished he would “learn how to be an American.”

Then there’s the abominable Donald Trump who, from time to time,  has interjected himself into this presidential election. Seemingly to draw the conversation away from serious issues, allowing him to momentarily bask in the spotlight, usually…to his complete embarrassment.

It’s not difficult to locate further YouTube examples of right-wing disdain for the Blacks, dating back just a few years.

There’s conservative FOX Channel TV’s Glenn Beck who tends to run off at the mouth…but when confronted about his deep-seated beliefs…refuses to own them.

And then there’s a member of Governor Romney’s church, who clarifies the Mormon viewpoint of Blacks…as being the descendants…of Cain.

So it makes one wonder, why…in spite of President Obama’s accomplishments and an economy that is on the upswing…whites are lining up in droves to vote in favor of Romney. In particular, white men.

…a curious phenomenon…or not?…

……..hugmamma.

there are bosses…and then there are those who care…

As I walked through the automatic doors at our local QFC supermarket a couple of days ago, the first thing that caught my gaze was a brightly colored balloon that said “Happy Boss’s Day.”

“There’s a boss’s day?” I asked myself.

I was aware of  secretary’s day, or in more recent times…administrative assistant’s day. Not a boss’s day.

The moment passed quickly and I didn’t give it another thought. Until last night that is, when my daughter expressed deep admiration for her dad…as a boss.

When my husband left for work this morning, we exchanged our usual bear hugs. Kissing him goodbye, I told him what our daughter had said. I added that, indeed, he was a boss who cares very much about his employees…and always has.

In his usual, humble manner my husband said he hoped he could convince some uneasy workers of that today.

Recently, I had occasion to speak with a woman who had worked for my husband several years ago. She use to arrange our family’s travel, for which I was always very grateful.

It was nice catching up with Chris.

Before we hung up, she mentioned an incident that remains the most memorable of her career.

One day when the company’s owner and a couple of his top executives were visiting with my husband, they happened by Chris’s office. Instead of continuing on his way, my husband ushered the gentlemen inside to meet her. Explaining how valuable she was to the operation, my husband turned the spotlight on Chris.

Years later, she has never forgotten that incident.

As Chris explained it…hierarchy didn’t matter to my husband. Without reservations, he introduced his supervisor to the company’s Owner and Chairman of the Board, and Chief Financial Officer.

My husband is a man of tremendous integrity.

Early in his career, a very grateful client sent my husband a Christmas card containing a check for $500. I immediately set about spending the money, figuring we could buy this, that, and the other. My fantasy evaporated seconds later, when my husband explained that he couldn’t accept monetary gifts for what he’d done as part of his job.

These days we get Omaha Steaks delivered to us…from another, satisfied client. I can’t recollect the last time I bought red meat.

A corporate man, my husband was inclined to vote for Governor Romney as the next President. But as the campaign unfolded, and Romney showed himself to be a man easily persuaded to retrofit his principles to fit his audience, my husband began rethinking his choice. And with Right-Wing attitudes about social issues playing over and over again in the media, my husband is even more convinced that he will re-elect President Obama.

…a boss with principles…who cares about his employees…let’s celebrate them…

………on boss’s day………

through others eyes…

A number of my posts have referenced my cultural heritage…I’m Hawaiian.

I’m also half-Chinese, although I know very little about the culture since my father died when I was one, and my mom was never accepted by her in-laws because she wasn’t Chinese. What I do know was gained from having lived among the Chinese, whose numbers figured large in  Hawaii‘s “melting pot.”

You’ll agree, I’m sure, that who we become is influenced by the environment in which we have been raised. By osmosis, we absorb the good, the bad, and the nuances…of our surroundings.

Born in 1949, I was a Hawaiian on the verge of becoming an American. Once a monarchy, Hawaii became a state of the union on August 21, 1959. I turned 10 that same month.

English: President Sanford B. Dole of the Repu...

English: President Sanford B. Dole of the Republic of Hawaii, his cabinet, and officers of the United States Army, reviewing from the steps of the former royal palace the first American troops to arrive in Honolulu, in 1898, on their way to Manila to capture the city, which Commodore Dewey held at bay with the guns of his fleets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the lead up to becoming an American, I was not allowed to speak my native tongue nor learn about the history of my island home. Instead, I was formally educated in the English language and in American history.

My mom, widowed with 9 children, supported us with her meager earnings as laundress for a Catholic orphanage run by Maryknoll nuns from Boston, Massachusetts. She inferred from them that she should only speak English, and she should abandon her superstitious, island traditions.

As a result of my family’s experience with having to adapt to become  Americans, I am sensitive to others who view America as wanting to usurp their uniqueness as a people…with their own cultural beliefs and traditions.

Despite the Birthers who refuse to acknowledge President Obama’s American citizenship, he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961 at 7:24 p.m. at Kapiolani & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu. His father, 25 at the time; his mother, 18.  You can view the long form of his birth certificate at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/birth-certificate-long-form.pdf

President Obama and I share a commonality…we were born in Hawaii. Me, 10 years before it became a state; the President, 2 years after.

I think most will agree that the first years of a child’s life are the formative ones. They were for me.

English: President Barack Obama signs H.R. 847...

I don’t profess to know all about President Obama, but I sincerely feel he is imbued with the Aloha Spirit so closely identified with the islands we both call home. In fact, he has said as much.

Reflecting later on his formative years in Honolulu, Obama wrote: “The opportunity that Hawaii offered—to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect—became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear.”[38]

President Obama’s approach to foreign policy is reflective of his upbringing.

He stands tall for American values, all the while recognizing that others have the same right to take pride in who they are and in what they believe. In attempting to bring them around to a more democratic outlook in how they govern, the President does not see the need to annihilate the essence of who they are as a people.

Respecting other nations and supporting them as they take the lead in pursuing their own democracies, President Obama acknowledges that America can no longer act  as the imperialist nation it once was.

America remains the most powerful nation on earth. We still “speak softly and carry a big stick.” It’s just that others are more inclined to call our bluff…namely the terrorists…and China.

We need more in our arsenal of weapons than just bullying postures and empty threats.

First and foremost the President is opting to sit around the table with our allies, and other nations important to the stability required in these very uncertain times. He has made every effort to effect what he has said. That he hasn’t done it to everyone’s expectations might be credited, in part, to the rapidity with which events unfold. And the need to remain flexible, feet grounded, but not immovable.

That America must assert its authority as it once did in previous eras, such as during the Cold War, is not seeing where we are today.

The Middle-East is comprised of such divisive factions. There is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution to the problems that exist there.

Governor Romney’s vision of American leadership in the world is a throwback to what prior Administrations have held. Perhaps appropriate to some degree then, less likely today.

President Obama’s’ visits to leaders of the Arab world had been viewed as currying favor with those leaders.

My view has always been that the President was reaching out to people who have always been demonized by us, just as we have always been demonized by them. He was trying to build a bridge. A conversation between perceived enemies, if you will.

The world is not black and white. It is colored…textured…multi-faceted.

We need to live outside of ourselves, in the real world where others are trying to do the same. Realizing that how we expect to be treated by others…is how they would like to be treated by us. Sound familiar?

…i invite you to step back…and see the world…through others eyes…

………hugmamma.

had me…scratching my head…

Do You know sometimes how you see or read something, and it’s got you…scratching your head?

Well, that’s how I felt about the following…

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/18/mitt-romney-auto-bailout-profit_n_1976651.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/bain-capital-sensata-six-arrests_n_1974554.html

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/14/koch-romney-brothers-mitt_n_1965366.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/mitt-romney-employees-voting_n_1975636.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/mitt-romney-women-bain_n_1974837.html

http://www.politicolnews.com/ohio-voting-machines-hig-bain-and-tagg-romneys-role/

I’ll let you peruse them at your leisure.

As I’ve said before, presidential campaigns produce a plethora of interesting information. Some true. Some false. And the bulk…somewhere in-between.

There’s no reason why voters can’t make substantive choices.

Armed with all that the media places in front of us, we can decide which candidate best aligns himself with our life experiences, opinions, and values.

In Flamingo Road, the 1949 Joan Crawford vehicle, David Brian‘s character says it best…

English: L. to R. : Joan Crawford, Steve Cochr...

English: L. to R. : Joan Crawford, Steve Cochran, Richard Egan & David Brian – Publicity still for The Damned Don’t Cry! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If people don’t care…then they deserve what they get.

…voting…our right…our responsibility…

………hugmamma.

what doth it profit a man…if he gain the whole world…

Readers who have continued to visit, despite my political musings of late, know that I have been engaging in Internet conversations with respect to America’s presidential election. As can be expected, the chatter is fast and furious, with both sides tossing their opinions into the ring. It’s the civilized way of…throwing punches.

Politics, and religion, are not topics most folks care to discuss. Understandably so. Confrontation isn’t something we seek out.

However, defending one’s beliefs and fending off those who would make mincemeat of them, is an honorable venture. And sometimes, as in the case of which path our country should take towards economic recovery…I find it a moral obligation to step up to the plate.

In the process of doing so, I’ve learned some very disturbing facts.

My previous post, declining an award, spoke to my deepest frustration…that our government is where men like oil-billionaire brothers, David and Charles Koch…shop. You might want to see what I’ve written about their infiltration into the U.S. Congress.

Not lagging far behind is my concern about the example being set for younger generations, now and into the future.

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has proven himself extremely adept at dancing around the truth.

Unlike most, I don’t feel President’ Obama‘s seeming lackluster  performance at the second debate is fully owing… to his lack of preparation…or not wanting to be there…or wanting to appear presidential.

Yes, I think all these things may have been in play. However, I give credence to the President’s assertion that…he wasn’t prepared for…the new and improved Romney. Actually, he wasn’t reformed. He just moved from the extreme right of the Republican Party…back toward the center.

Trying to play to the Tea Party folks, Romney claimed a lot of things throughout his campaign…which he began disavowing in the first debate.

Romney’s opportune transformation back to a moderate Conservative were motivated by his descending poll numbers.

Having been proclaimed the winner of the first debate, Romney’s campaign gained traction. So much so that the race to the finish is now…neck and neck.

Meanwhile the youth of America, as well as the world, see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears, that it’s okay to…sell out one’s values to get what you want…to curry favor with folks who matter when it counts…to rough up your opponent or even knock him to the ground…to say one thing in private and something else in public…to use capitalism as one’s own family crest…to politicize others’ misfortunes to one’s own advantage…to hold oneself unaccountable when asking others to have faith in your promises.

It’s difficult for me to reconcile Romney’s being a man of faith…with what he practices in his professional life.

According to Webster’s, FAITH…1.confidence or trust in a person or thing. 2. belief in God. 3. a system of religious belief. 4. loyalty or fidelity.

How can I have faith in someone who seems to abandon his faith…when it’s convenient?

Is this what we want to teach…our children? How does Romney square what he does…with his 5 sons?

To his credit, Tagg Romney, the eldest, when asked how he felt during the second debate, said he…wanted to go down and take a swipe…at the President.

The younger Romney said what he felt in his gut.

He might have been spared the embarrassing made-for-TV moment…had his father not taken him down the path… by accusing the President of lying in the Rose Garden the day after the attack of the U.S. Libyan consulate.

Moderator Candy Crowley rightfully indicated that the President had, in fact, called the incident “a terrorist attack,” the day after the occurrence.

Truth in journalism…long the hallmark of our beloved Walter Cronkite.

Truth in life.

While we fight to regain our economic standing, to guarantee jobs for everyone, to renew the promise that all can realize the American Dream, to ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren…let us always remember…

For what doth it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul? 

…leading…by example…

………hugmamma.

As expected, most residents of Utah where Romney’s Mormon faith is headquartered will vote for him. Not everyone, however. Utah’s Salt Lake Tribune  has endorsed President Obama in an article entitled “Too Many Mitts.”  http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/55019844-82/endorsement-romney-obama-president.html.csp

business and the oval office…a duck out of water

A good read in today’s Wall Street Journal, the following article brings perspective to the requirements of the Oval Office. Where I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I felt in my gut, this writer nailed it. Perhaps you’ll agree. Let me know what you think.

The Case Against a CEO in the Oval Office
by Alan S. Blinder

Mitt Romney, Mr. 1% - Cartoon

Mitt Romney, Mr. 1% – Cartoon (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Mitt Romney bases his case for being president on his evident success in business, where he made a fortune as CEO of Bain Capital. But are business achievements important, or even relevant, to the presidency?

Probably not. Presidential history teaches us that the abilities, character traits and attitudes it takes to succeed in business have little in common with what it takes to succeed in government. In some respects, they are antithetical.

Think of our greatest presidents. Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the two Roosevelts didn’t have any business accomplishments to their credit. (Well, maybe Washington did, a little.) Neither, by the way, did Republican icon Ronald Reagan, who was once a union leader. Harry Truman sold a few hats, and Woodrow Wilson was a professor. On the other hand, the two truly successful businessmen to win the presidency were Herbert Hoover and George H.W. Bush.

This negative correlation between business success and political success is probably not a coincidence. Nolan Bushnell, the highly successful entrepreneur who founded both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, once observed that “Business is a good game–lots of competition and a minimum of rules. You keep score with money.” That’s virtually the opposite of being president of the United States: The president has no direct competitors (though he does have opponents), must abide by numerous rules and certainly doesn’t keep score with money.

The differences between business and government are manifold. Start with democracy, the preservation and strengthening of which may be a president’s first duty. Not many successful companies are run as democracies; benign dictatorship works far better. All the checks and balances that characterize American democracy would drive a hard-charging CEO, accustomed to getting his own way, crazy.

Sound companies dote on efficiency. They’d better, for the competitive marketplace is a tough environment. If you’re less efficient than your competitors, you’ll founder and probably fail. That’s what we love about capitalism–the survival of the fittest.

While there are niches in the federal government where efficiency matters a great deal, such as in defense procurement or running the General Services Administration, the White House isn’t one of them. Hoover was a sterling manager. But as he learned painfully, the big decisions aren’t about efficiency at all. It may even be critical to cut people a little slack here and there.

Rather than worshiping efficiency, some notion of ” fairness” is typically paramount in government. One of the key success criteria in politics may be public perceptions of fairness, for perceptions and realities don’t always line up.

Fair dealing can be important in the business world, too. But fairness per se–in the sense of everyone getting his or her just deserts–rarely is. Markets are engines of efficiency, not fairness. In fact, a generous helping of greed may be good in business, as Gordon Gekko–and before him, Adam Smith–taught us.

Which brings us back to keeping score. Top business executives focus single-mindedly on the “bottom line,” meaning profits. Among the reasons why so many smart business people fail in politics and government is that there is no bottom line–or perhaps I should say there are so many bottom lines that the search for a single one is futile.

A president wants to further the national interest. But that amorphous phrase subsumes dozens of goals, some of which are vague and several of which may conflict with others. Governing is certainly not about profits, whatever that might mean in a political context. The crisp political goal analogous to maximizing profits is maximizing your chances of re-election. But do we really want a president who dotes on that every day? By that ignoble standard, Richard Nixon was surely one of our greatest presidents and Lincoln one of our worst.

A long-standing debate rages over whether companies should act solely in the interests of their shareholders or should consider more broadly the well-being of “stakeholders”–a more encompassing term that includes (at a minimum) employees, suppliers, and the communities in which they operate. Stakeholder versus shareholder perspectives can lead to quite different decisions. Think, for example, of laying off workers or closing a plant. But there is no such debate in the private-equity world, Mr. Romney’s business home. Bain Capital’s website says that the firm’s mission “is to produce superior investment returns for our investors,” period. Governments need a wider view.

A good president communicates well with people and inspires them. Think about Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt–or more recently, Reagan and Bill Clinton. Corporate leaders need communication skills, too, but of rather different sorts. Mitt Romney’s repeated verbal stumbles bear witness to the differences; I presume he was a whiz with balance sheets and corporate boards. Barack Obama may never have met a payroll, but he’s a gifted orator, and empathy and fairness are in his bones.

Presidents must also be patient, a trait not prized in CEOs. A CEO often demands quick action and results. But the American system of government wasn’t designed for rapid change. Those annoying checks and balances are meant to get in the way. You don’t have to remind President Obama that Congress often tosses his ideas out the window–or totally ignores them. That doesn’t happen much to CEOs, whose underlings generally snap to attention. That may be why Mr. Romney keeps telling us all the things he’ll do in his first days in office. Oh, really? He apparently hasn’t met the U.S. Congress.

Setting foreign and military policy is the one place where, as George W. Bush inelegantly put it, the president often is “the decider.” But it’s the rare corporate executive who has any experience in, or even much knowledge of, these matters. Recall former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain stumbling over the names of countries. But it is the rare president who is not immersed in foreign policy virtually every day.

So don’t be surprised to find a superior businessman looking like a duck out of water as a presidential candidate. It is what history and logic should lead you to expect. The business of America’s government is not business.

The Peacemakers.

The Peacemakers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Mr. Blinder, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, is a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve.)

 

English: President Barack Obama welcomes Israe...

English: President Barack Obama welcomes Israeli President Shimon Peres in the Oval Office Tuesday, May 5, 2009. At right is Vice President Joe Biden. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza. Français : President Barack Obama accueille le président israélien Shimon Peres dans le bureau ovale mardi 5 mai 2009. A droite, le vice-président Joe Biden. Photo officielle de la Maison Blanche par Pete Souza. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

the many faces…of a leader

…multi-faceted…sculpted of those he serves…

equal pay for equal work…Lily Ledbetter 

women’s right to choose…Sandra Fluke and Elizabeth Bruce

education a priority in leveling the field of opportunity…Angie Flores

health care for those denied benefits by insurance carriers…Zoe Lihn

constitutional rights for citizens long held at arms length because of their sexual orientation…Zach Wahls

a reprieve for children denied access because of their parents’ immigration status…Benita Veliz

All these and more…many, many more.

A man from among us, who achieved his American dream…holding the door ajar for those that follow.

In Hawaii, where President Obama and I were born, the Aloha Spirit embraces all as ohana…family. Sharing our good fortunes as well as our bad, our happiness as well as our sorrows is how we were raised. We are not perfect people, rather we are imperfect…together.

As islanders we get that…no man is an island unto himself. As islanders we know that our lives are dependent upon others for our subsistence…tourists, shippers, manufacturers, farmers, the military, the investors.

Hawaiians are a proud people, but we are also humble knowing that we are a part of all that surrounds us. We are not the proprietors of all we have, rather we are the caretakers. As such…all must be provided for.

These are my beliefs as a native Hawaiian…and I believe that…

(Photo credit to http://whitehouse.gov1.info/blog/blog_post/agenda-hawaii.html )

…president obama……believes as i do…

………hugmamma.  😆   😆   😆

tiger or leopard…they don’t change…

With the presidential campaign dominating the news, there’s obviously much talk about both candidates. Since I’m neither a politician nor a pundit, I can only speak to what I surmise from all that’s been “hung out to dry.”

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

I liken President Obama and Governor Romney to the “tiger who can’t change its stripes” or the “leopard who can’t change its spots.”

Obama is the product of divorced parents, an African American father and a Caucasian mother. Raised by a single mom, with the help of her parents, Obama managed to graduate from Harvard, work in public service, serve as a senator, and go on to become the first Black President of the United States. His upper class status is the result of his current salary of $400,000 a year and earnings from books he has authored. He’s made known the taxes he has paid, as well as his charitable donations. Time and again Obama has indicated he’d be willing to pay higher taxes as part of the wealthy 2% in our society.

Romney’s background is one of affluence, having grown up in an upper class, Caucasian family. He served as governor of Massachusetts, followed by a career at Baine Capital where he continued as sole owner and served as CEO for several years while he ran the Winter Olympics in Utah. The perception is that Romney’s wealth amounting to hundreds of millions has been acquired through chicanery. He is revealing only the minimum information required as regards the taxes he has paid, and the specifics about his foreign, offshore holdings.

Dreams from My Father

Dreams from My Father (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the one hand President Obama’s life is an open book, several in fact. Among them, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance . By contrast, Governor Romney seems to be playing his hand very close to his vest.

As ordinary citizens both Obama and Romney are free to live their lives as they so choose. Their capitalistic endeavors are their business.  However, when they ask me to consider their qualifications for President of the United States, trust means a great deal to me. And I have little faith in someone who is dealing me a lot of doubletalk.

I understand there are those who will vote for Romney because they don’t like Obama’s politics. At least I know what his politics are.

Aside from making himself a multi-millionaire many times over, I’ve no idea who Romney is. My overriding  impression is that he will hold tight to his wealth and help others like him do the same.

I credit both presidential candidates as being…

President Barack Obama, joined by First Lady M...

President Barack Obama, joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, their daughters, Sasha and Malia, and Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, prepares to read “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak on Monday, April 13. 2009, to children at the White House Easter Egg Roll. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…exactly as they seem…

………hugmamma.

a brave decision…a necessary one…

English: A member of the audience holds a &quo...

English: A member of the audience holds a “Thank You” sign during President Barack Obama’s speech on medicare fraud and health care insurance reform at St. Charles High School in St. Charles, Mo., March 10, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stepping out from behind his conservative mantle Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts stood apart, and gave voice to his own thoughts on the matter of Obama‘s Health Care Reform Law.

In my 20s I worked for Hawaii Medical Service Association, the Blue Cross-Blue Shield in that state. I was a customer service rep for a few years, helping insured members understand the hows and whys of their reimbursements or nonpayments. It was a tricky path to maneuver, defending the insurance giant’s decisions.

Looking back…it was a lot of mumbo-jumbo, smoke and screens. Granted, it makes more sense when one is ensconced in the jargon on a daily basis. However the reality of it is insurance companies want to give back as little of the money as possible in benefits, that they garner in premiums from its members. At the time I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable that the big-wigs were giving themselves great salaries and nice perks. I heard this from a friend who was married to a rising star in management.

Granted, huge compensation packages are part and parcel of capitalism. Companies use them to attract and keep excellent executives. However in dealing with life and death, making money is not like buying and selling merchandise. Unlike any other enterprise, health insurance coverage deals in morality. Dismissing this fundamental fact in favor of believing that disbursement of health dollars should be strictly measured according to some committee’s valuation is disturbing…at least to me.

I don’t profess to be an expert on Obamacare. Just as there are some good points, I’m certain there are some that don’t bode well for certain groups. I can only speak to those that hold value for me.

Among those items I support…family plans to allow coverage for children until age 26, drug help for seniors, premiums for women the same as for men, no disallowance for pre-existing conditions, and no maxing out of coverage. 

Having to explain to insured members that they aren’t covered for treatment of diabetes or heart disease or pregnancies because they’re pre-existing conditions was like walking on hot rocks. Not fun. Not easy. But I made it to the other side of the argument. And if I didn’t, I turned the customer over to my supervisor. He was better at walking on hot rocks. I guess it helped that he made more money than me. That helps when you’ve got to take on a nearly-impossible task.

 Then there were the times when I had to tackle the conundrum of insured members maxing out their medical benefits. “Oh, sorry. We’re no longer covering your chemotherapy treatment because you’ve run out of coverage. Sorry. Sorry.”

think outside the box

think outside the box (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Ever since I left the insurance business, I’ve been extremely reluctant to deal with my own or my family’s medical claim problems. I know the rigamarole, the yada-yada-yada, the run-around. I’m resigned to the fact that customer service reps are regurgitating what they’ve learned to say by rote. Thinking outside the box is not generally allowed.

insurance

insurance (Photo credit: I am marlon)

Rather than succumb to stress which would ultimately undermine my own health, I try to “think outside the box” to help myself. Not everyone has the means or wherewithall to do the same. So I commend President Obama for sticking his own political neck out, and Chief Justice Roberts for alienating his conservative cronies. They have given a hand up to those unable to take on the big conglomerates by themselves.

Having been to the emergency room on several occasions, I can attest to the astronomical costs those visits incur. After my last trip when I was sure something was terribly wrong when nausea and sharp abdominal pain came on suddenly, I firmly resolved never to return when I saw the $8,000 bill. And I have insurance! So I’m not obligating my fellow taxpayers to foot my expenses. Without health care reform, we’re all paying emergency room visits for the uninsured.

Those with the most to lose, don’t like it when the status quo is disrupted.

Change is inevitable. History overflows with examples. Mankind has always adjusted, sometimes kicking and screaming all the way. Life moves forward, regardless.

My advice? Live long. Live happy. Even if you can’t embrace it, get use to change…

…especially when it’s…for the better of all human beings…not just some…

………hugmamma.