#dearcongress and mr. president

Taken by my friend Amy.  Obviously this guy needs spell check and has a lot to say, but it seems to sum up the stupidity Americans are currently being forced to deal with

Taken by my friend Amy. Obviously this guy needs spell check and has a lot to say, but it seems to sum up the stupidity Americans are currently being forced to deal with

#DearCongress and Mr. President,

Hi it’s me, the average American. I am Republican but don’t blame me for the current brand of Republicans as I think a Tea Party is best for little girls, teddy bears and dolls.

(And I am fresh out of pink ties and hankies for the ever tearful John Boehner and wow, I should have taken that photo of him smoking cigarettes and drinking red wine when he came to PA to stump for Gerlach in August 2010.)

You all claim it started over Obamacare. Well…Democrats you can’t blame everything you don’t like on Republicans, and Republicans you can’t blame it all on Obamacare. And while you puff, preen, and posture, we are still waiting for you to do what? Oh yes demand reform on the part of the insurance companies. While you all fight, they just get richer and nothing changes.

Anyway, I don’t care if you are Republicans and Democrats, I am over, yes o-v-e-r this Government Shut Down. It was a dumb ass idea that should have remained a Walter Mitty moment that never, ever happened.

We hold the following truth to be self-evident: we didn’t elect any of you people for this. And while you puff, preen, and posture on Capitol Hill, with an occasional scripted quip from the White House, ordinary people suffer. And pay for your mess.

Also, this whole idea of government shut down has roots in a guy from the Carter administration named Benjamin Civiletti. (Just thought I would toss that in there)

Now people are freaking out about the US defaulting on debt and investor confidence is shaken seriously by the government shut down. Well wow, what took them so long?

And when we are talking debt and stuff Mr. President and Congress, can we quote Mr. President before he was President?

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasi…ng America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

America does deserve better. And I think any politician taking part in this farce known as government shut down should be voted out of office. I guess my sentiment is not so unusual because I noticed my Congressman Jim Gerlach has stepped away from the pack, hasn’t he? He joins Meehan, Dent and Fitzpatrick, right?

I want to believe in our party system of Republicans and Democrats but I do not see any of them doing what they should. I see both parties as having been marginalized by extremists, extremism, corruption, and special interests. And it doesn’t matter what any of us regular folk believe or want. The only ones BOTH parties of elected officials in Washington listen to are the super rich , well connected, and the very powerful. The proverbial political king makers. No one else matters.

You have closed our parks and monuments. Including Valley Forge Park. Public roads run through the park, will we get fined for being on public roads? Apparently you are fining everyone else who goes to land technically owned by the people. Maybe you should fine all the deer too?

VF closedI find it ironic that you can pay the park rangers to fine runners like John Bell of Chadds Ford, but you can’t get back to the business of government? Mr. Bell has now retained a lawyer and will fight the $100 ticket in Federal Court and who can blame him, except we all will end up paying for all litigation that this government shut down results in, won’t we?

Which brings me to the heart of the matter. I have to ask Mr. President and Congress why this government shut down is not a tax-free event? After all, we as every day Americans have nothing to do with this and I think this should be like when Comcast and Verizon and PECO screw up and they have to adjust your bill. Why not adjust our tax bills accordingly? I see no reason why we should pay for your foolishness anymore then we already have to.

And let’s talk salary and benefits Mr. President and Congress ok? I pay my own health benefits. As Americans, we all pay for YOU as a collective. That’s a great deal being a politician. You can declare war on each other and do less than you usually do, and we have to pay for it. You aren’t living up to your job descriptions and if you were in corporate America you would be what? Oh yes, oh my, you would be fired.

The Government Shutdown stinks. Why should we all be paying because you can’t get along? Has it ever occurred to you or do you care that you make us all embarrassed to be an American at this point on some level?

How can we take pride in a government that is no better than a bunch of kids fighting on the playground?

With all due respect #DearCongress and President Obama? GROW UP. Running this country needs to stop being about the agendas of politicians and special interest groups from BOTH parties.

Let’s end this #AmericanHorrorStory .

Love,

Me

fiscal cliff headache

“Fiscal cliff” is the term we are hearing enough to make our heads collectively explode used to describe the politically fiscal conundrum that the U.S. Government will face at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 are scheduled to go into effect.  And basically no one in Washington should have been allowed to go home for either Thanksgiving or Christmas without a VIABLE solution in place.

Among the laws set to change at midnight on December 31, 2012:

  • are the end of last year’s temporary payroll tax cuts (resulting in a 2% tax increase for workers),
  • end of certain tax breaks for businesses
  • shifts in the alternative minimum tax
  • rollback of the “Bush tax cuts” from 2001-2003
  • beginning of taxes related to President Obama’s health care law
  • the spending cuts agreed upon as part of the debt ceiling deal of 2011 will begin to go into effect.
  • As per Barron’s, over 1,000 government programs – including the defense budget and Medicare are in line for “deep, automatic cuts.”

So, can we call it a depression now?

How much did the Obama family’s vacation to Hawaii cost US Taxpayers this year? Will that be a fiscal cliff cut? (It should be.)

Will there be a settlement of sorts before year-end?  Hope so, but a definite truism on this is neither political party wishes to be responsible for this mess. Another truism is this country is all sorts of porked up, so I think if they wanted to they could protect more necessary programs and slice and dice politically motivated ones. But I am but a mere mortal and female what do I know?

I have been living this economy since 2008 and yes I have survived without going ass deep into debt.  But I learned to live within my means, and that is definitely something more need to learn how to do. And I pay my own health benefits.

One of the things that used to fascinate me about growing up on the old Main Line and living on the new Main Line was the preposterousness of people. They would drive around in cars they couldn’t afford and live in homes that were grand and Barbie’s dream house- like and surprisingly devoid of furnishings at times. It was about the image.

To an extent it is the American Achilles heel of worrying more about the image than financial reality and fiscal responsibility that has gotten us into a pickle we should have learned our lesson from – what happened during the Great Depression.

For years the current administration refused to call a recession a recession, now they dance around the term depression (much like they danced around the term recession.)Obama in pretty worded speeches makes references to financial struggles not seen since the Great Depression. (You might wish to check out this article in Forbes from September.)

If you don’t got it, don’t spend it.  Now all of us who have adhered to that rule are paying the piper of others as far as I am concerned.   And for all those super rich, super liberals who voted again for Obama because of their guilty bank accounts, are you happy now? How’s that hopey changey forwardy thing working out?  Is anything better? Mind you I am not singling you out alone as there enough posturing conservatives who talk a good game and do nothing which I find equally intolerable.

Here’s a CNN Update:

Fish or cut bait? Obama, Congress to meet on fiscal cliff

By Tom Cohen, CNN

updated 11:07 AM EST, Fri December 28, 2012

Washington (CNN) — Is it political theater or a true last-ditch effort to avoid the fiscal cliff?

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders will discuss the looming tax hikes and spending cuts of the fiscal cliff at a White House meeting on Friday, as increasingly anxious markets and taxpayers look for any hint of progress.

Stocks opened lower on Friday amid growing fears that the president and legislators will fail to strike a deal, which also caused the Consumer Confidence Index to drop on Thursday.

Economists warn that continued stalemate could cause another recession as taxes go up on everyone with the expiration of lower rates from the administration of President George W. Bush, coupled with slashed government spending, including for the military.

9/11

On September 7, 2006 I wrote an editorial about 9/11 for Main Line Media News which I would like to share with all of you.  Eleven years later, it still resonates.

I have been to downtown NYC a few times since I wrote my original column a few years ago.  I have watched NYC rise proudly again.

Face it, we are ALL different after 9/11, but I have to say we have become a country divided.  Over everything.  From the town to town, city to city, state to state to Washington D.C., we have become a country of extremism – especially politically.  We are all still Americans, but are we always proud of that? Hyper liberal, hyper conservative, what happened to the people in the middle? Who cares about the people in the middle?

When did it become a crime to disagree with the status quo?  To disagree with elected officials? To wish for better in the somber shades of a desperate recession? To be just a little bit different?

Who will do the healing if not each one of us ourselves?  Who do we believe in? Who can we believe in? Can we hope for anything or is hope still just an overused word in our everyday vernacular? And after this election, will “forward” also be over-used?

(NOTE: I apologize in advance for the spacing in the article – not how it was originally, but there is something a little wonky with posting this and I can’t get WordPress to cooperate)

Five years after September 11 what have we learned

Published: Thursday, September 07, 2006

 Sept. 11, 2006, is the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and United Airlines Flight 93’s crash in the field in Shanksville, Somerset County. This date has special significance to every American, and intense personal significance to far too many individuals who lost friends and loved ones.
But September 11, wasn’t the first time terrorists visited the World Trade Center. In truth, Feb. 26, 1993. was the date of the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. I worked in New York at that time at an office located downtown in the financial district.
On that day, I had accompanied an office friend to the World Trade Center to grab an early lunch and to check out some stores in the shopping concourse. We were back outside the Trade Center buildings, getting ready to cross the street, when suddenly the ground shook and moved. I remember that we were looking directly across the street at Century 21, a department store in Lower Manhattan. Then something happened that rarely happens in New York: Everything went eerily still and quiet. We looked up at what we first thought were snowflakes beginning to float and fall from the sky. After all, it was February.

Then car alarms began to go off one by one like the cacophony of many distorted bells. The snowflakes, we soon discovered, were in reality ashes.
People began yelling and screaming. It became very confusing and chaotic all at once, like someone flipped a switch to “on.” At first, we both felt rooted to the sidewalk, unable to move. I remember feeling a sense of panic at the unknown. We had absolutely no idea what had happened, and hurried back to our office. Reaching it, we were greeted by worried coworkers who told us that someone had set off a bomb underground in the World Trade Center garage.
I will never forget the crazy kaleidoscope of images, throughout that afternoon, of all the people who were related to or knew people in my office who sought refuge in our office after walking down the innumerable flights of steps in the dark to exit the World Trade Center Towers. They arrived with soot all over their faces, hands and clothes. They all wore zombie looks of shock, disbelief and panic.
Of course, the oddest thing about the first terrorist attack on New York City is that I don’t remember much lasting fuss about it. I do remember that President Bill Clinton was newly sworn into office, but I don’t remember him coming to visit New York after the attack. Everything was back to normal in Lower Manhattan in about a month, maybe two. After a while, unless you had worked in New York, or lived in New York, you simply forgot about this “incident.”
So, on the morning of 9/11, as I pulled into my office building’s garage and listened to the breaking news on the radio announcing that a plane had struck the World Trade Center, tears began to run down my face unbidden. I knew in my heart of hearts what happened. I said to myself, “Oh no. They came back.”

I remember picking up my cell phone to call my father, whom I knew to be, at that time, on an Amtrak train bound for New York City. I remember him telling me it was fine and he’d be fine. I wanted him to get off in New Jersey and take a train back to Philadelphia. But the train was already pretty much past all the stations and getting ready to go into the tunnel to New York. That very thought terrified me. To this day, I still do not understand why Amtrak did not stop those last trains from going into New York City as the news of the World Trade Center attacks first broke.
I next remember getting in the elevator and getting off on my office floor to find people clustered around television sets and radios. And the news kept getting worse: first one plane, then a second, then a third, and then a fourth.
The images and news just didn’t stop. Camera cuts from lower Manhattan to Washington to Somerset County. They are images that have to be ingrained in everyone’s mind forever like indelible ink.
It took a couple of days for my father and brother-in-law (who had already been in New York on business) to get out of the city, but eventually they got home safely with many stories to tell of what New York was like in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. A lot of people weren’t so lucky. They never saw their loved ones again after that fateful morning. Many people in the Philadelphia and greater Main Line area lost friends, coworkers and loved ones.
On September 11, I knew people who were lost, but fortunately I didn’t lose any loved ones. I remember for a brief time it seemed we were all a little nicer to each other, and politicians actually seemed to come together as one and grieve as a nation grieved.

But here we are five short years later. I have only seen the site one time where the World Trade Center once stood proudly. That was about a year after the attacks. I remember a distinct pit in my stomach and looked away from the car window. This past June I was in Washington, and had the same intense, awful feeling in my stomach as we drove on the highway past the Pentagon.

Life must go on and time can’t stand still, but all in all I can’t help but wonder: What have we learned since about our country and about ourselves? Five years after 9/11 what have we learned and what have we forgotten? What do we need to remember?

six minutes of television worth watching before the election

Last night I did not watch the Republican National Convention, or listen to Ann Romney’s speech. (See and interview with her here.) To get personal, I am sorry she had breast cancer, but you know what? I am a survivor too.  She also spoke about having multiple sclerosis, and again, I am sorry, but I know a very brave woman who struggles with this every day who I think is amazing.  And she doesn’t tell people about her disease, nor do I tell people what I had so other women will identify with me.  It is simply now part of who I am, and to an extent how I view the world.

What did I watch? The season finale of HBO’s The Newsroom which I had missed on Sunday night.

But what I do not get about my own political party, the Republican party, is they put the candidate’s wife, Ann Romney, out there to speak to the women of this country, yet behind the scenes there is embracing of political zealots who I feel have very little respect for women, their bodies, their opinions, their wants, their needs.

Look at Rep. Todd Akin and his “legitimate rape” comments. According to him,and his vast medical knowledge,women’s bodies shut down upon violation making pregnanacy, etc impossible. And look in our own political trashcan in Pennsylvania to Tom Smith, who is running for senate.  He drew a parallel in an interview with the AP between babies born out-of-wedlock and rape. HUH????

Neither of these men should be running for those reasons alone, yet they are.  And they aren’t alone.  How am I as a Republican woman supposed to vote a Republican ticket when just underneath the surface exists a current that is terrifying to me?   Don’t misunderstand me, I am not feeling it for Obama for a second term, but I am having a personal political crisis wondering how the hell I am going to vote?

I have said before that I feel the politics of extremism is ruining this country. It is the undeniable truth.  Which is why when I heard what a fictional newsman (who sadly does better reporting the news that major networks in this country do in reality) talk about Republicans and the Tea Party as a fictional Republican, it was very interesting.

Writers do not just draw from imagination, they draw from real life,  out there are a lot of  people who are torn and apathetic at the same time just like me.  I don’t think this all came out of Aaron Sorkin’s vivid imagination alone.  (Read an interesting article on the series in the Atlantic HERE)

I volunteered for the RNC2000 when it was in Philadelphia.  I have to tell you, I believed a lot more than I do now.  But at that convention, the Republican Party on a national level had some balls and the political  zealots and extremists stayed firmly where they belong on the fringe.

I almost wonder what kind of target I will become now as a blogger for saying I am a Republican but political extremism isn’t the way to go?

Anyway, watch the clip I posted.  I don’t care who did it, or what their political persuasion may or may not be, as Americans it is a perspective we should at least hear out.

Here is what Buffalonews.com had to say:

Brilliant ‘Newsroom’ finale has impeccable timing By Jeff Simon

Enough of all the supremely supercilious Sorkin-bashing. No more. Sunday’s season finale of Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” managed to be the most timely – and one of the best – season finales of a television show I’ve ever seen (and, in my case, that “ever” covers a lot of chronological distance).

On this very evening, the Republicans are gathered in Tampa to see how much commandeering of the American journalistic agenda a storm called Isaac will allow. Two days earlier, “The Newsroom’s” finale led off with fictional journalistic crusader Will McEvoy leading off his news broadcast with a very real issue hotly debated (“defended” is the most apt word) just a few weeks ago: efforts to deny voting rights to those who have no photographic identification…..Put it together with “The Newsroom’s” usual blowtorching of the Tea Party on the (also) plausible grounds that it represents extremism, not Republicanism, and you’ve got the most extraordinary timeliness ever recorded for a TV show in a presidential election year. And all this, mind you, from an HBO fantasy that, thus far, has had to restrict itself to actual events from 2010, when some of the writing was being done….

In the terrific season finale of “The Newsroom” – complete with historically appropriate sideswipes at “Sex and the City” – Sorkin revealed what his theme music all along should have been: bad, scratchy old recordings of Broadway cast albums from “Camelot” and “Man of La Mancha.”

Now THAT would have been the proper introductory tone – smartass, ironic, dweeby, willing to get bruised while pushing boundaries rather than defending a bunch of Holy Prophets who were never anything of a sort.

 

Like it or not, Aaron Sorkin and HBO via fictional characters have given a voice to people questioning the tides of American politics.  Even registered Republicans.

We, as Americans, have been suffering through an economy not seen since the Great Depression if we are all honest with ourselves.  We don’t (thankfully) have a World War looming on the horizon to snap us out of it, but you know what?  We all need something to believe in.

We need as Americans, to have not only something and someones we can believe in, but practical solutions and not pie in the sky ideals.

We do not need to set women back a century or better, and we need to stop a lot of rhetoric which if continued will merely induce more hatred between races.  We need people who actually want to get together from both parties and govern for the good of the people and this country.

Right now it is bull twaddle as usual in Washington, DC.  And in the actual district you see people running around hedging their bets in case the seat of power changes, which in effect means nothing is getting done and we are still paying for it as taxpayers.

You know, I had a ticket for Paul Ryan’s visit to West Chester but I did not go.  I did not go because I did not feel like dealing with the extremeists from either side who were there, including that old fool Frank Lautenberg.  I enjoy politics, I enjoy hearing what candidates have to say, and sometimes even their wives, which is how I got to meet Michele Obama last election in a small setting. I like to hear what candidates have to say, but I can’t hear any of them this election season because they are getting drowned out by the politics of extremism on both sides.

I am getting off the soap box now.