barbra streisand…speaks

The Movie Album

I subscribe to Barbra Streisand’s blog via The Huffington Post.

It’s rare for Streisand to take center stage unless it’s to do what she does best…sing and act. I’ve found, however, that she also writes eloquently. 

With the political quagmire in Washington having a deletorious impact upon the lives of everyday Americans, I wanted to share Streisand’s heightened concern…in her own words.

As we now enter the third week of the unnecessary government shutdown, Americans should remember the words of GOP Representative Martin Stutzman, “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” This statement reflects a cultural resentment in the land over a changing America. Maybe if the President calls and says he respects the Congressman and the Speaker, the country could move forward.

As the October 1 New York Times front-page story pointed out, this shutdown was conceived in meetings sponsored by the billionaire Koch Brothers and former Reagan Administration Attorney General Edwin Meese. The purpose was to defund the duly authorized Affordable Care Act by holding the rest of the government hostage. Talking points were prepared for members of Congress and tens of millions of dollars were spent on propaganda trying to convince Americans that the health care law was going to ruin America and end their health care options.

President Obama has provided access to health care through private insurers that will both help our economy and millions of Americans. It should be noted that the ACA was based on an idea from the conservative Heritage Foundation. The 2012 GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney signed similar legislation in Massachusetts as Governor. Our country is one of the few major industrial nations in the world that did not provide access to health care for its own people. Many have a simple, single payer system.

The opening days of the ACA showed significant demand for health care access. Perhaps the greatest Republican fear is that their rhetoric about the ACA, including government “death panels,” will be quickly proven false. When explained properly, the provisions of the ACA are quite popular. Americans will soon understand that the law provides both needed benefits, and reduces medical costs and the deficit in the long run. This is the forecast by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

There is no excuse for the obstinacy of Speaker Boehner insisting on renegotiating a law passed by Congress and deemed constitutional by the GOP-led Supreme Court. There should be an immediate vote in Congress to re-open the government of, by and for the people. Let the people see the Tea Party Republicans vote.

This government shutdown has had immediate effects. It has delayed the death benefits for survivors and associated funeral costs of the soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan. This is just the most outrageous outcome of the GOP’s actions. Embarrassed Republicans quickly tried to pass an ad hoc fix. They pretend the World War II Memorial should be open and ignore that imported seafood is not being inspected. This shutdown is also costing the American people real money — over a billion dollars so far. The stock market has reacted by shredding over 600 points, as uncertainty mounts and Americans are thrown out of work.

Reacting to polls, the Republicans switched gears and decided that Obamacare was not the issue but federal spending was. A budget sequester is already in effect cutting federal spending in arbitrary ways. The deficit has already been cut in half. Our children are now being denied placement in Head Start programs, and vital other government services, like medical research, have been curtailed. The Senate also accepted the Republican total budget number, but this was not enough. The GOP decided to fool with the full faith and credit of the United States by threatening to exceed the debt ceiling.

Apparently there were enough moderate Republicans left in Congress to pass the Senate bill to end the shutdown and pass an immediate debt ceiling extension, but SPEAKER BOEHNER, fearful of the Tea Party and its billionaire backers, WILL NOT ALLOW A VOTE. The GOP position is, “Give us what we want or we will promote economic chaos.” They ultimately want to overturn the results of the last election.

In this country, our elections are supposed to mean something for policy outcomes. In 2012, the President was easily reelected with 332 electoral votes, the Democrats picked up two more seats in the Senate and received over 1.1 million more votes for Congressional seats than the Republicans. The Republicans were able to retain control of the House of Representatives because GOP-led state legislatures redrew Congressional lines after the reapportionment and redistricting following the 2010 census. According to the latest AP-GfK POLL, the approval rating of the Congress is 5%, the lowest figure ever recorded.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich noted one of the real aims of the Tea Party conservatives is to undermine the faith of the American people that the federal government can solve national problems. Given all the voter restrictions Republicans have instituted on the state level, they hope fewer and fewer Americans are civically engaged and vote. This should particularly concern American women as it took nearly 150 years of struggle to have this “right”.

I hope enough Americans draw the opposite conclusion and hold those Republicans responsible for this orchestrated and manufactured crisis fully accountable in 2014.

Coincidentally, the Heritage Foundation, of which Streisand speaks, is funded by the Koch brothers. They, it seems, are attempting to manipulate both sides of the debate over The Affordable Health Care Act.  It’s like a chess game which they plan to win however they can. And we, the American people, are the pawns in these billionaires’ game. And by the way…it’s also the Koch brothers who fund the Tea Party, dictating the direction in which it moves.

…a good read for those seeking the truth………hugmamma.

 

 
 
 
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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.

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

declining an award…

A little bit ago blogger friend, earthriderjudy, kindly designated me a recipient of The Lovely Blogger Award. In doing so, she indicated that her choice was based upon my promotion of others’ blogs. She went on to say that the posts she most enjoyed were those about myself and my family. While I delighted in her validation of hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul, my current involvement in speaking my political mind makes acceptance of the award difficult.

earthriderjudy personally refrains from promoting her political opinions in the public arena…for very good reasons. Her former career as a reporter, and current one as a teacher have influenced her position.

While I respect her stance…I do not share it.

The 2012 Presidential election is too significant for me not to involve myself personally. At least in the writing of my own opinions.

I listen 24/7 to coverage of the campaign, and read whatever comes across my laptop to do with both Presidential candidates.

My overriding concern has been Mitt Romney‘s morphing of the truth to please specific audiences. The most shocking, of course, was his telling remark to donors, behind closed doors, that he was disconnected and unconcerned about the 47% he’d written off as President Obama’s followers. He referred to them as those who felt entitled to the government’s help.

It’s a fact that these include military personnel whose salaries are tax-exempt when at war, and which, in many cases, are insufficient to sustain their families back home. Some depend upon food stamps to survive.

When my mom needed surgery for a hernia she’d had for decades, Medicaid provided the funds for that, as well as additional medical help she’d not been able to afford as a widow of many years, with a family of 9 to raise on her own.

My mom died some years ago, but she might have been one of the 47% from whom Romney would distance himself.

There are many other instances in which Romney has shown his chameleon-like ability to transform himself from “severe Conservative,” to Tea Party extremist, to the current centrist Conservative.

Which Romney will his followers be voting into the White House?

In addition to Romney’s vacillation on important issues…women’s rights to choose and equal pay for equal work…self-deportation of immigrants…specific government cuts he would  make to balance his 20% tax cuts across the board, including for the top 1%…repealing Obamacare, in toto or in part…running mate Paul Ryan‘s Medicare voucher system for those age 55 and under…I have other major reservations about Romney’s bid for the White House.

As an Independent who doesn’t tend toward the Republican Party’s platform, I hadn’t kept abreast of who rocked their world. In other words, who are the “movers and shakers” of the Republican Party.

I got more than I expected when I read The Obama Hate Machine  by Bill Press.

ALEC CROW - 21st Century Disenfranchisement

ALEC CROW – 21st Century Disenfranchisement (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

In the book I was introduced to the Koch brothers, David and Charles.

Right-wing extremists, billionaire oil-men, the Kochs support and fund the Tea Party movement, ensuring that their politicians represent the interests of Koch Industries, Inc.‘s “bottom line.” Front group, Americans for Prosperity…

… hosted a Website offering ‘Tea Party Talking Points.’ It arranged for buses to transport protestors to and from Washington, while also organizing companion rallies in Arizona, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas, New Jersey, and other states. It also circulated a memo with instructions on how to disrupt town hall meetings. On MSNBC, Keith Olbermann described the Koch Brothers as the grand puppeteers of the Tea Party crowd, staying out of sight but ‘telling them what to say and which causes to take on and also giving them lots of money to do it with.’

The Kochs have also more than dabbled in the environmental debate. In their own interests the brothers have contributed heavily to the Republican Congress.

January 5, 2011, was a big day for John Boehner. After twenty years of climbing up and falling down the leadership ladder in the House of Representatives, he had finally made it to the top and was about to be sworn in as Speaker of the House for the 112th Congress.

It was a big day for David Koch, too. After all, he and his brother Charles had done more than any two other fat cats to help Republicans win the House–and he was there in the chamber with his top lobbyists when Speaker Boehner took the oath of office.

Not only that: Koch was awarded a private meeting with Boehner, while his top political deputy, Tim Phillips, enjoyed a one-on-one with representative Fred Upton of Michigan, the new chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

…The Los Angeles Times reported that Koch Industries and its employees were the largest single donor to members of the panel, more generous than ExxonMobil. They shelled out $279,500 to twenty-two of the committee’s thirty-one Republicans.

…And the Kochs’ generosity soon paid off. The budget bill passed by the Boehner-controlled House not only cut EPA’s funding for the 2011 fiscal year by three billion dollars; it abolished most of the agency’s authority to do its job. As decreed by House Republicans, EPA would be banned from spending any money to clean up Chesapeake Bay; from enforcing new water-quality standards in Florida; from issuing new solid-waste standards that would include coal ash from power plants as a hazardous waste; from publishing new air-quality standards for coarse particulate matter; and–biggest prize of all for Koch Industries–from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions from stationary sources.

…It was a big step toward the goal Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore in 2006 of eliminating 90 percent of all laws and government regulations in order to strengthen the ‘culture of prosperity.’ ”

The wholesale retreat from environmental protection led to this conclusion by California’s Henry Waxman, ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee: ‘It apparently no longer matters in Congress what health experts and scientists think. All that seems to matter is what Koch Industries think.’ “

For those of you who so obviously love the world in which we live, as evidenced by the treasure trove of cherished photographs I’ve seen throughout the Word Press blog community, be very wary of the long reach of Koch Industries’ tentacles. ”

…Koch Industries has a bad record of oil spills and air and water pollution. A 2010 University of Massachusetts at Amherst study cited it as one of the top ten air polluters in the country. And it has long been the most-outspoken corporate opponent of any climate-change legislation, because any such government program would inevitably interfere with what it believes to be its right to pollute with impunity.

One of the most damning accounts of the Kochs’ role in undermining global-warming legislation came in a March 2010 study published by Greenpeace: ‘Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine.’ In its report, Greenpeace traces almost fifty million dollars in funds allocated over the course of a decade from three different Koch-controlled foundations to climate-denial front groups working to scuttle policies aimed at stopping global warming.

…from 2005 to 2008…

– Over five million dollars to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation for its ‘Hot Air Tour’ campaign, debunking climate science and opposing climate-change legislation.

– One million dollars each to the Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute for ‘scientific’ studies questioning the reality of global warning.

– $800,000 to the Manhattan Institute for hosting seminars featuring climate change-denial speakers.

– $360,000 to the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy to produce its own documentary rebutting Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

– And $360,000 to the little-known Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, or FREE.

…FREE, headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, operates way below the radar. Its target audience is comprised of federal judges and state supreme court justices, whom they pay to attend seminars where, according to their Web site, FREE’s ‘scientists’ apply ‘economics and scientific analysis to generate and explore alternative and innovative solutions to environmental problems.’ In other words, we’ll pay you to come to Montana and learn why global warming is nothing to worry about, so you can then go home and rule accordingly.

…the Koch propaganda blitz is working. In 2008, both John McCain and Barack Obama agreed that global warming was real, and man-made, and that government had to act. Most Americans agreed. Today, that situation has reversed. Obama’s still pushing for climate-change legislation, but he’s been blocked by Republicans in the House and Senate. Meanwhile, public opinion about climate change has shifted significantly.

An October 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center found that only 57 percent of Americans believed there was solid evidence that the Earth is getting warmer, down from 71 percent in April 2008. At the same time, fewer Americans saw global change as a serious priority. Van Jones, now with the Center for American Progress, credits anti-climate change ads paid for by the Koch Brothers with the dramatic decline in public support for action on global warming.

Charles Koch is a smart man. Smart enough to know that he’s “putting one over” on the American public. He admitted as much “in his remarkable op-ed in the March 1, 2011, Wall Street Journal…”

Koch himself acknowledges that American corporations today have been able to use their considerable financial clout to win too many concessions from government. It’s not good for taxpayers, and it’s not good for business, either, says the Journal, summing up Koch’s article, because ‘crony capitalism and bloated government prevent entrepeneurs from producing the products and services that make people’s lives better.’ ”

Following Koch’s own logic, it’s clear that the massive influence of big corporations on our political process must be curbed immediately. And we need to take a stand against wealthy plutocrats who would subvert the American political system to make themselves even richer. On that point, at least, it seems, we and the Brothers Koch can agree. As Charles Koch himself might say, ‘If not us, who? If not now, when?’ “

If the American Presidency is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, shouldn’t the Brothers Koch be given consideration. They are not risk-takers. They only bet on a sure thing. And they have an empire already in place to guarantee their success. Consider the long list of organizations fully or partially funded by the Kochs.

THE ARMS OF THE KOCHTOPUS

FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity are just the tip of the Koch iceberg. Because they operate through various family foundations, and because not all organizations receiving Koch contributions are required to reveal the names of donors, no one but the Koch Brothers themselves knows how much money they have poured into their anti-Obama crusade. But it certainly adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Kochs pour their money out of three family foundations, with combined assets of over sixty million dollars: the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, and the Claude R. Lambe Foundation (named after a close family friend who died). Again, we don’t know them all, but among those organizations…

-The Cato Institute
-Citizens for a Sound Economy
-Mercatus Center, George Mason University
-Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University
-Heritage Foundation
-Institute for Justice
-Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment
-Reason Foundation
-Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies
-Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy
-Washington Legal Foundation
-Capital Research Center
-Competitive Enterprise Institute
-Ethics and Public Policy Center
-National Center for Policy Analysis
-Citizens for Congressional Reform Foundation
-Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
-American Legislative Exchange Council
-Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
-Political Economy Research Center
-Media Institute
-National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship
-University of Chicago
-Defenders of Property Rights
-University of Kansas Endowment Association
-Texas Public Policy Foundation
-Center for Individual Rights
-Heartland Institute
-Texas Justice Foundation
-Institute for Policy Innovation
-Center of the American Experiment
-Atlas Economic Research Foundation
-Young America’s Foundation
-Henry Hazlitt Foundation
-Atlantic Legal Foundation
-National Taxpayers Union
-Families Against Mandatory Minimums
-Philanthropy Roundtable
-Free Enterprise Institute
-John Locke Foundation
-Hudson Institute
-Alexis de Tocqueville Institution
-National Environmental Policy Institute
-Washington University
-Pacific Legal Foundation
-American Council for Capital Formation
-Institute for Political Economy
-State Policy Network
-Fraser Institute
-Mackinac Center
-Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation
-Institute for Objectivist Studies
-Americans for Prosperity
-FreedomWorks
-Bill of Rights Institute
-Study of Political Economy and Free Enterprise
-Excellence in Economics Education

If, and hopefully it’s a BIG IF, Romney is elected President of the United States of America…he will most likely serve…as proxy for Charles and David Koch. If not directly, then indirectly…through Boehner and the Tea Party obstructionists in Congress. In unison, they will all hold Romney’s feet to the fire.

White House

White House (Photo credit: HarshLight)

Then…the purchase of America…will be…complete.

…your choice…your vote…

…IF NOT US?…WHO?…IF NOT NOW?…WHEN?

………hugmamma.

investing…in the presidency?

Mitt and Ann Romney on December 22, 2007, at a...

Romney family buys voting machines through Bain Capital investment

Cleveland : OH : USA | Oct 19, 2012 at 10:11 AM PDT
BY  send a private message SelectMedia

Tagg Romney, the son of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has purchased electronic voting machines that will be used in the 2012 elections in Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington and Colorado.

“Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a “strategic investment” to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic,” according to independent journalist Brad Friedman.

But Friedman is not the only one to discover the connection between the Romney family, Bain Capital, and ownership of voting machines.

Truth out reports:

“Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7. Hart machines will also be used elsewhere in the United States.

In other words, a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and his brother, wife and son, have a straight-line financial interest in the voting machines that could decide this fall’s election. These machines cannot be monitored by the public. But they will help decide who “owns” the White House.”

Both The Nation and New York Times confirm the connection between the Romney family, Solamere and the Bain Capital investment in the voting machine company, Hart Intercivic, whose board of directors serve H.I.G. Capital.

“Mitt Romney, his wife Ann Romney, and their son Tagg Romney are also invested in H.I.G. Capital, as is Mitt’s brother G. Scott Romney.

The investment comes in part through the privately held family equity firm called Solamere, which bears the name of the posh Utah ski community where the Romney family retreats to slide down the slopes.” Truth out added.

There are also political connections between Solamere and the Romney’s. “Matt Blunt, the former Missouri governor who backed Mr. Romney in 2008, is a senior adviser to Solamere, as is Mitt Romney’s brother, Scott, a lawyer,” according to the New York Times.

Voter ID and voter fraud have been a top issues in the 2012 race, as have claims of Republican voter suppression. Mr. Romney’s campaign has also been the subject of controversy over misleading ads, false claims, sketchy math on his tax plan, and overall vagueness on women’s rights and other hot button issues.

Raising further questions of legitimacy in the Romney campaign is an audio recording recently made public, where Mitt Romney is heard asking independent business owners to apply pressure to their employees to influence their votes. What has also been made public are the emails those employers have sent to their employees with an implied threat that if they don’t vote for Romney they may lose their jobs.

What it all says is that Mitt Romney, with the help of his family and Bain Capital connections, is more than willing to try to take the White House through illegitimate and highly unethical, if not specifically illegal means.

With each passing day, the character and campaign methods of Mitt Romney cast an ever-darker shadow over free and fair American elections.

Yet there is an irony in the Romney campaign that cannot be ignored. For all the noise the right-wing has made in questioning the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency, there have been so many questionable efforts made to help put Romney in the White House, if he wins, there should be great dispute over whether his election could ever be called genuinely illegitimate.

The nagging question is why, if Mr. Romney truly has the qualities that American voters want in their president, does he have to go to such great and questionable lengths to try to win the election.

Watch the video:

Bain-Controlled Company Owns 2012 Voting Machines

…your choice…your vote…

………hugmamma.

experience…the wrong kind

Years ago when I worked at Trans World Airlines (TWA) in NYC, corporate raider Carl Icahn appeared out of nowhere, it seemed. He was in talks with management because business wasn’t good.

English: N8034T (cn 193B-1230)

English: N8034T (cn 193B-1230) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Word around the water cooler was that we’d all be out of jobs if Icahn was put in charge.

In 1985 after succeeding in a hostile takeover of TWA, Carl Icahn was in the driver’s seat. He immediately began selling off the company’s assets in order to repay the debt he incurred in order to buy the company.

Morale plummeted. Departments turned on one another, playing the blame game for the company’s difficulties. Management seemed to “sit on its hands,” unsure what to do…what could it do?…given that Icahn was now totally in charge.

Needless to say, I have no use for corporate raiders. From their lofty perch, people are simply pawns in the master plan. The “bottom line”… is the corporate raider’s false god.

I was fortunate that my daughter’s birth in 1986 coincided with Icahn’s occupation of TWA. I left him to ruin the company… which eventually went…belly up.

To this day I have no regrets about my decision to become a stay-at-home mom.

These last few weeks I have been elsewhere on the Internet, engaging in political conversation. The Presidential election is almost upon us, and I’ve felt it necessary to put forth my own 2 cents. While I’ve not used hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul  as a regular outlet for my views, from time to time I’ve felt compelled to share information that might enlighten readers. And so in the rundown to November 6, a few of my posts will be politically informative.

As always, my opinion is just that…my opinion. What you  do with what I share is…your choice.

I came across the following while engaged in political conversation elsewhere on the Internet.

The summary simplifies the facts about Bain Capital‘s corporate raiding, while Mitt Romney was in charge of the company.

When Romney was the head of Bain, the company went from venture capitalist to leveraged buyout corporate raiders.

They would buy out a healthy company, and borrow a couple of hundred million against the assets of the company.

They would float the company on the stock exchange, and sell millions of dollars worth of shares.

They would then fire the staff, and raid the pension. 

The shareholders would be left holding the bag for 100s of millions.

If it happened once, you could call it bad luck. Instead, it happened 22 times leaving tens of thousands of people unemployed and their pension funds gone.

Now here’s the kicker. The federal government paid $44 million into the pension funds, so that they were funded again.

To add insult to injury, Bain charged the companies it destroyed, millions in management fees. 

Apart from these shenanigans, Bain lobbied congress so the capital gains tax  wouldn’t go up in 2007, and a bipartisan bill was blocked by the Republicans.

I ask you? Are these the qualifications the right-wing wants in a president? A job destroyer? Someone who bankrupts companies? Someone who rips off investors?

Trans World Airlines TWA Boeing 747SP at Heathrow

Trans World Airlines TWA Boeing 747SP at Heathrow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…i ask you…the same questions…

………hugmamma.

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)

 

civility…lost?

“Peace and kindness…but aggressive in what I believe in.”

Something I heard during an interview on NCRP news today. The man who spoke these words is an Oregon art gallery owner who, because of his own experience as a gay  man, helped to promote female artists overlooked in their day, because of their gender. 

I too subscribe to peace and kindness…and agression in what I believe. 

I believe in Obama’s efforts as a public servant and leader for all classes, just as some of you are convinced that Romney will give the middle class and poor  a new direction on the road to prosperity.

That we can be passionate about our political and moral views without repercussion is what makes America great.

Times have changed, however, with 24/7 news, the Internet, social media, and the birth of the Tea Party.

History shows we cannot return to Pandora’s Box…what we’ve already let out.

I’m hopeful the same isn’t true about our treatment of one another…one civilized human being…to another.

News pundits with their redundant questions that sensationalize and fan the fires of hostility, act as catalysts to incite the current incivility so apparent in our country’s political arena.

Like sharks in a feeding frenzy.

…don’t get caught up… in the bloodbath…

………hugmamma.   😦  😦  😦

 

helping the poor…or not…

According to http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/13/news/economy/ryan-medicaid/?source=cnn_bin …

An Urban Institute analysis of Ryan’s budget proposal from last year found block grants would lead states to drop between 14 million and 27 million people from Medicaid by 2021 and cut reimbursements to health care providers by 31%.

Up to 10 million people could lose nutrition assistance since $134 billion would be cut from the program over 10 years, according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

And at least 62% of Ryan’s $5.3 trillion in nondefense budget cuts over 10 years come from programs that serve the poor, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“This budget is Robin Hood in reverse — on steroids,” said Robert Greenstein, the center’s president, when the Ryan plan was announced. “It would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times.” To top of page

 
First Published: August 13, 2012: 5:16 AM ET
 
…again…your vote…
 
………hugmamma.

cast your vote…

Look at the facts…and decide for yourself. No strong-arming on my part.

Comparing Budget Plans
Here’s how budget proposals or campaign promises from President Barack Obama, former Governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan compare…

Individual income taxes
   OBAMA…Raise top marginal income tax rate (now 35%) to 39.6%, limit other deductions for upper-income taxpayers. Raise revenue.

   ROMNEY…Reduce top marginal income tax rate to 28% and reduce other tax rates by 20%. Offset cost by limiting or ending deductions and credit.

   RYAN…Create two new tax brackets, 10% and 25%.

Corporate taxes
  
OBAMA…Lower top rate (now 35%) to 28%, eliminate tax breaks, provide incentives for manufacturers. Revenue neutral.

   ROMNEY…Lower top rate to 25%, shift to make it easier for U.S. firms to limit or avoid federal taxes on profits earned overseas. Revenue neutral.

   RYAN…similar to Romney plan, would lower top rate to 25%, shift to make it easier for U.S. firms to limit or avoid federal taxes on overseas profits.

Medicare
   OBAMA…Keep 2010 tax health law. Change the way the government pays hospitals and other health providers. Raise premiums or copays for some beneficiaries, particularly upper income. Total savings of $248 billion over 10 years.

   ROMNEY…Repeal the 2010 health-care law. Raise enrollment age to 67 (from 65 today). Offer choice of existing Medicare or new program that would provide vouchers to pay part or all of private-insurance premiums.

   RYAN…Slowly raise eligibility age to 67 and give those younger than 55 the option of a privately run plan paid in part by the government or keeping a Medicare-type plan. No change for those 55 or older. Would cost $205 billion less than White-House’s budget over 10 years.

Medicaid
   OBAMA…Proceed with 2010 law expanding Medicaid, rework the formula on how much federal government gives states the program. Save roughly $72 billion, combined with other changes.

   ROMNEY…Turn Medicaid into a federal block grant program, giving control and flexibility to states. Unspecified savings.

   RYAN…Turn Medicaid into a federal block grant program, giving control and flexibility to states. Saves $770 billion over 10 years, compared with White House plan, according to Ryan estimate.

Defense spending
   OBAMA…About $487 billion in cuts over 10 years from Pentagon’s current plan. Appropriate $525 billion for it in fiscal 2013.

   ROMNEY…Reverse planned Obama cuts, commit at least 4% of GDP toward defense, equivalent to $545 billion in 2013.

   RYAN…Reverse the planned Obama cut, appropriate $554 billion for defense in fiscal 2013.

Deficit
   OBAMA…Reduce deficit (now 7.8% of gross domestic product) to 3.9% of GDP by 2014 and 3% of GDP by 2017.

   ROMNEY…Balance the budget by 2010.

   RYAN…Reduce deficit to 4% of GDP by 2014 and 0.9% of GDP in 2017.

(As reported in The Wall Street Journal, 8/13/12.)

cod liver oil?…or amputation?

Interesting choice, Paul Ryan for Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate.

(Photo credit goes to http://www.salon.com/2012/08/11/paul_ryan_and_the_rights_long_game/ )

Ryan…an attractive, charismatic, 42 year-old man. A self-professed geek, fitness fanatic, pro-life Catholic, embodiment of the values later made popular by the Tea Party, and ardently supported by the National Rifle Association.

While Ryan did not mince words about his opinion of the President, I applaud the candidate for heartily approving a black man occupying the White House. Paraphrasing Ryan’s words…he thinks it’s “cool.” It’s just that Obama’s not the right one. An opinion to which Ryan is totally entitled.

Also of notable interest were the different effects the loss of a parent had upon Obama and Ryan. The former enacted healthcare for all, including coverage for pre-existing conditions, while the latter wants to…obliterate ensured healthcare for all.  

The President and Ryan have already “tangoed” over their visions of America’s future. Their debates would probably be more Olympian than those scheduled between Obama and Romney. Will the candidate speak for himself…or for Ryan?

According to http://www.biography.com/people/paul-ryan-20828085,

Paul Davis Ryan was born on January 29, 1970 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Father Paul Ryan Sr. worked as an attorney, and mother Betty Ryan was a stay-at-home mom. Ryan has one sister, Janet, and two brothers, Tobin and Stan.

After graduating from Miami University in Ohio with a degree in economics and political science in 1992, Paul Ryan began working as a marketing consultant for a family run branch of a Wisconsin construction company. He entered politics a few years later, working as a legislative aide for U.S. Senator Bob Kasten, and later for Senator Sam Brownback and New York Republican Representative Jack Kemp. Ryan became interested in government after reading the literature of Ayn Rand, with whom he disagrees philosophically; Ryan has said that he rejects Rand’s emphasis on an individualist philosophy because his personal beliefs center on collectivism, a group-based philosophy.

And according to  http://objectivism101.com/Lectures/Lecture39.shtml,

There are two basic ways of understanding the relationship between individuals in a group. The first way is individualism, which states that each individual is acting on his or her own, making their own choices, and to the extent they interact with the rest of the group, it’s as individuals. Collectivism is the second way, and it views the group as the primary entity, with the individuals lost along the way.

Of primary concern to some of my generation and those that precede mine, Ryan’s economic proposal as set forth for the RepublicanParty some time ago, proposes to privatize Medicare and do away with Social Security as we know it. While these might be ideal solutions theoretically, those who have paid into the system, but have not yet reaped any benefits…will have to fend for themselves. Who in their late 60’s is adept at wending their way through the minefield that is a health insurance carrier’s bureaucracy?

And those senior citizens who are already borderline impoverished, will most likely sacrifice their health in choosing to put food in their bellies. Vouchers for $5,000, as supported by Ryan, will never cover the escalating costs to cure the aging sick in our society.

 The middle class will join the ranks of the homeless, skyrocketing their numbers into orbit in no time.

 The wealthy need not be overly concerned.

(Photo credit goes to http://www.nationalmemo.com/do-romney-hood-and-friar-ryan-steal-from-the-poor/ )

A youthful 42, the epitome of health, with a lovely wife and 2 young children, Ryan represents the future. His father and grandfather died of heart disease. With their passing, perhaps his personal ties to the older generations are easily severed.

Throwing off the shackles of the past is Ryan’s choice. Start over again. Amputate the body parts to keep the life intact, such as it is. No matter that the “parts” represent millions of people who will likely die in the process for lack of health care, rooves over their heads, food in their stomachs. They should be sacrificed for the good of society. Survival of the fittest, after all.

Ryan will have health coverage for himself and his family. His paycheck will continue…on the backs of those who go without. Some may even sacrifice their lives for this, their fellow man. No matter. The past and present should make way for the future. The aged and downtrodden are already on their way out anyway…aren’t they? Let’s hurry them along.

Better the wealthy spare a few dollars for the less fortunate…than all men, women, and children fending for themselves. Pockets of people collecting to form societies unto themselves.

If Obama is perceived as attempting to drive a wedge between the wealthy and everyonelse, Ryan and his running mate will cement that division as did the Berlin Wall which separated East and West Germany.

Ryan said in an interview when his economic plan was first proposed that it’s better to suffer the consequences now, for they would be much worse if such action was delayed. I wonder if he is prepared for the fallout should it be seismic?

More thefts, more killings, more greed, more disdain for the law.

If those with, have no regard for those without…then why shouldn’t it be just as acceptable…the other way around? Consider this when next you hear of some random killing in the news.

Ryan’s own constituents dispute his premise about economic recovery as exhibited on this youtube video.


Ryan claims to have “given up fear for Lent.” And so he has no fear of the consequences his proposal would effect. Seems to me he needs a little more roughening around the edges…like living outside the box…than what he’s experienced in the last 7 years securely ensconced in Washington politics…with health insurance…and a steady paycheck…and power to write and rewrite our governing laws.

I like to think we’re in the midst of downing cod liver oil…and we’re half-way through the dose. And for rampant inflammation, like what our country is now experiencing economically…swallowing healthful medicine is more productive…and humane…than severing limbs.

“Name your poison,” as is sometimes said. 

…the choice is yours…

………hugmamma.  😦  

BTW…where is Romney in all of this? Backing up Ryan, I suppose.  😦

(Photo credit goes to http://skydancingblog.com/2012/08/10/its-the-granny-starver-breaking-news-on-romney-vp-pick/ )