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.

 

 
 
 

…a kid like no other…

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Michael Jackson’s talent. I was reminded of it a couple of days ago when one of the TV channels ran the song/dance videos from Jackson’s hit album “BAD.” The station was celebrating 25 years since the album’s release.

Michael Jackson

At the time “BAD” hit the airwaves, I wasn’t impressed. Like many, I preferred the sweet, innocent, black Michael. “Who was this whiter, sexier, long-haired version?” I thought. Unwilling to accept that he had changed, just as we all do, I dismissed him…and his music. Not until his death did I resume my admiration for a talent the likes of which we haven’t seen before, and probably won’t see again. 

I recently picked up another Jackson biography at Half Price Books, for 20% off no less. “My Friend Michael” by Frank Cascio is an honest depiction of the mega watt star from the stance of a young man who grew up knowing Jackson since age 5. At the time Michael was in his 20s. Along with his brother, Eddie, Frank got to know the boy behind the man…the Michael Jackson whose childhood was swallowed up by a career run amok.

Who can judge what should and shouldn’t have happened in another person’s life. We all do what we need to do to survive. Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, did for his family what any father in the same dire straits might have done. The fact that he drove his sons with a heavy hand, denying them the ability to experience other facets of life is something Jackson, Sr. will have to square with his Maker when the time comes.

We all have personal baggage left over from childhood, be it good, bad, or indifferent. Having my fair share of issues, I can see that life is never a straight path to old age. That Michael even made it to 50 is a wonder. The pressures he faced, perceived or real, would’ve taken a lesser man down.

The Cascio family of New Jersey offered Jackson a safe haven from all the ugliness that others hungry for fame and financial gain dished out.

Michael Jackson wasn’t without faults. Who is? What’s that line? People who live in glass houses…shouldn’t throw stones. We all tend to forget that, especially when the media whips itself up into a feeding frenzy. Great white sharks have nothing over the papparazzi when it comes to ripping people to shreds if given half the chance.

I’ve read all manner of books about the “man behind the mirror.” In doing so I’ve been able to formulate a pretty well-rounded impression of Jackson.

I subscribe to the notion that Michael was indeed misunderstood. He wasn’t blameless to be sure, but he certainly couldn’t take the time to explain every aspect of every decision he made. Remember the hyperbaric chamber in which he was photographed lying in repose? According to Cascio…

When he was photographed in a hyperbaric chamber, rumors began flying that he slept in it–in reality he’d donated it to a local hospital to be used in the treatment of burn victims. Of course, sometimes Michael was just being a character, joking around, but the impetus for his behavior was never as freaky as people were always so quick to assume.

And about the surgical masks Jackson had taken to wearing?

When he wore a surgical mask, people thought he was hiding some new plastic surgery–in reality he was at first protecting himself from getting sick before performances; then he found that wearing the mask made him feel like he was in disguise (when in fact it called more attention to him); and ultimately he turned it into a one-of-a-kind fashion statement, having his silken surgical masks custom-made.

Under normal circumstances, folks might have been asking if it were any one other than Michael Jackson…”Where were the parents?” Haven’t you wondered that with the likes of Brittney Spears and Lindsey Lohan? Perhaps because the Jacksons were black meant the standards were somehow different.

That, I think, was the underlying issue with the public’s perception of Michael Jackson and his family. It’s the same dilemma with President Obama.

Without precedence for blacks who succeed beyond their wildest dreams, Jackson and Obama are scrutinized to the nth degree. Journalists try to get inside their brains to determine how in the heck such unlikely candidates for success…succeeded. And we, the public, are caught up in the media tidal wave. It’s up to us to grab for whatever life raft we can to bail ourselves out of the flood of hysteria that ensues.

Elvis Presley

Most of my generation will remember the similar persecution of another amazing talent who took the world by storm…Elvis Presley. He with the voice, and moves, of a black entertainer. Nothing like him had happened along before.

Whether we are resistant to change in our music, or find it difficult to accept that all races are created equal, we should keep reminding ourselves that…for better or worse…we all inhabit the same earth. None of us are going anywhere…except to meet our Maker. Until that day we should all try to be less quick to judge.

Shakespeare’s Shylock from “Merchant of Venice” says it more eloquently…

Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means,
warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer
as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us,
do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility?
Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his
sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge.
The villainy you teach me, I will execute,
and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.
(Act III, scene I)

 

………hugmamma.

Michael Jackson performing The Way You Make Me...

non-profit hospitals offer financial assistance…???

Learned something new while watching ABC World News tonight with Diane Sawyer.

Seems a woman who owed a hospital $27,000 was on the verge of losing her house. With the help of an ABC investigative reporter, the woman’s bill was lowered to $7,000…allowing her to keep her home.

Non-profit hospitals (I never heard of the concept…Have you?) are required by law to publicize the fact that financial assistance is available to those in need…even folks with health insurance.

How is that possible? Government money.

Non-profits get our money. It’s only fair…they give back.

So next time you’re in a hospital, check if it’s non-profit.

Felicia Willems: Thank You Affordable Care Act

If it is…look for some kind of public notification which indicates the hospital is in compliance with the Affordable Care Act‘s financial assistance requirements.

The ACA directs the IRS to establish Section 501 ( r ) of the Internal Revenue Code to implement new community benefit rules for hospitals that are subsidized through the federal tax exemption. These new rules are currently in effect and require that hospitals do the following:

1. Establish written financial assistance policies describing who is eligible for free or reduced cost care and publicize them to patients and the community.

2. Refrain from extraordinary collections actions against patients before screening them to determine whether they qualify for financial assistance.

3. Limit fees charged to patients eligible for financial assistance to rates paid by Medicare or the lowest amounts paid by insured patients.

4. Conduct a regular community health needs assessment and implement a plan to address selected needs.

(An excerpt from   http://blog.credit.com/2012/05/how-obamacare-keeps-debt-collectors-out-of-hospitals/  )

…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.

powerball!!!

The Lotto Powerball logo

The Lotto Powerball logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re like me, and I do pride myself upon being normal…although at times I’ve been known to behave somewhat “aby-normal”…then you were off in your own fantasy land dreaming about the $500 million dollar jackpot that was up for grabs recently. 

Not usually the gambling type, hubby and I get involved only when the $$$ signs are too many to ignore. So we were in it to win it with a wager of $10 bucks.

As the jackpot continued to climb, experts bemoaned the fact that the odds of winning were growing slimmer and slimmer. Something like one in 700 million, I think. So, of course, daydreaming was all I could do.

After all…it was free…no matter how grand the imaginings.

Paying off bills, a trust fund for our daughter and enlarging our retirement, nest egg…those were at the top of the family “to do” list. Surely not an uncommon trio of wishes. The remainder, however, were unique to my own corner of the world…at least in their specifics.

Tent City

Tent City (Photo credit: kuow949)

The “tent city” that shelters the homeless in our east side community must relocate every so many months, so as not to overstay their welcome among the residents in the area. There’s a fine line between accommodating the poor and guaranteeing the rights and privileges of nearby property owners. Those who organize the hospitality are good Samaritans, who are trying to remain good neighbors.  After all, they’d like to ensure that their “tent city” be invited back, albeit temporarily.

Fantasy number one with my power ball winnings?

Build a permanent structure to house, feed, and aid the homeless. Organize clinics wherein volunteer doctors and nurses could tend to the physical needs of the residents, and job clinics where volunteer, business reps could assist in preparing residents to become serious, wage earners again.

Fantasy number two?

Hurricane destruction, Union Beach, NJ

Hurricane destruction, Union Beach, NJ (Photo credit: spleeness)

Provide financial assistance to a community devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Perhaps one resembling my own, small town. Whether it be in providing a steady feed of  material goods to a  shelter where folks are housed temporarily, or establishing a home schooling situation where the children could continue their education, or buying good, used cars for folks to get around.

And my third wish…as in the oft-told granting of three wishes by a fairy god-mother?

Just that we all be thankful…for the small moments that make our lives good…without power ball wins.

 Awaking each day with minds and limbs intact…and working.

Having those we love and who love us…healthy and in our lives each day.

Living in a democracy…unlike any other in the world.

Finding peace on earth…even as we endure the ravages wrought by Mother Nature…and the havoc wrought by mankind…upon itself.

English: Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad looki...

English: Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad looking at an album of photographs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bearing witness to special people among us who take up the mantle of leadership…such as Lincoln and Obama…at great cost to their own…health, welfare, and peace of mind.

It is my contention that all people are good.

No one among us sets out to be bad on the day we are born. Familial and environmental circumstances affect our progress in becoming upstanding, world citizens.

I remind myself…often…that goodness is our origin and that we, in our own way, are trying to get along, even as we carve out our own niches in a society that is ever-expanding.

We are all power ball winners, even as we celebrate the good fortune of the Dearborn family who took home half the jackpot.

They look like us in their normal, outward appearance, and in the values they seem to hold dear, such as adopting a little, Chinese girl as their daughter and sister.

In fact…upon closer inspection…

…they are…us!

………hugmamma.

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.

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.

justice was served…but the memory lives on

As 9/11 fast approaches, it behooves us to remember the severity of Osama bin Laden’s attack against the United States.

National Geographic documented the steps leading up to the massacre in mind-numbing detail, as does the following video shot by private citizens with a bird’s eye view of the catastrophy.

For more than a year the four Al Quaeda Jihadists who learned to fly the jumbo jets lived among us…breathing our air, walking our sidewalks, driving our roads. They shopped, ate, and slept…only steps away from us. While they worked at their horrific mission, we went about our own business…working as usual.

Thousands of American lives were lost on 9/11. Families were forever torn apart. Children, even newborns, lived on without parents. Gaping holes were left in all our hearts. Not to mention the one in NYC…a tangible reminder of our country’s vulnerability to enemies intent upon our destruction…at any price.

President George W. Bush retaliated by taking us to war against Saddam Hossein. The dictator eventually met his maker, Allah. The cost to the American taxpayer?

We’re still paying it off.

And the man who admitted to masterminding and financing 9/11?

Osama bin Laden was silenced forever by President Obama in April of 2011.

No war…no astronomical price tag…

…just good, ole-american know-how…and guts!!!

………hugmamma.   😆  😆  😆

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.  😆   😆   😆

present…and accounted for…

Barack Obama family portrait 2011.jpg…as a husband…and a father…President Obama.

(Photo credit to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_of_Barack_Obama )

Qualities that matter a lot to me…as a wife…and a mother. And yes, as an American enjoying the freedom to choose the person in whom I place my faith and trust to lead us forward in an uncertain world, keeping us safe from harm to the best of his ability.

Without the benefit of a father by my side as a child, mine having died when I was one, I have placed a great deal of faith and trust in my husband as my life partner, and as the father to our only child.

Knowing that he imagines us in those with whom he deals in his professional life, and compares our well-being with theirs, instills a confidence that my husband would do right by all. He wouldn’t knowingly hurt others while striving to make the workplace a better environment in which to function. Effecting change is done with measured determination, with efforts at conciliation, and without malice.

Barrack Obama is a husband, a father, and President of the United States. It’s my perception that he, like my husband, is a man who loves his family and imagines for all of us what he wants for his own family.

An America in which all can partake of the dream envisioned by the Constitution.

An America wherein the wealthy acknowledge their debt to society in willingly giving back.

An America where all are afforded equal opportunity…equal rights…equal benefits.

An America in which a person can preside in the White House, as though ethnicity and cultural and personal differences were insignificant.

…follow your own heart…choose a leader in whom you can place your faith and trust…

………hugmamma. 

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.   😦  😦  😦