Posts Tagged With: President Obama

Discarded Obama Campaign Stickers

I was visiting overseas during the U.S. Presidential election, but I tried to stay informed. This was my first time to ever contribute to a Presidential campaign. I was also the first time I was really actively involved in any campaign. The Obama campaign had sent me a few bumper stickers as a thanks for donating and I was so excited that whenever I do get home… I was going to be able to post my Obama stickers on my little OLD truck. But my conservative mother threw them away! No thought given to the idea I may WANT them. No consideration, just trash. Some I had actually purchased. 

This campaign MEANT something to me! I willingly gave up my middle class lifestyle because of my Multiple Sclerosis and I had a tough decision to make – my lifestyle or my health. My health won-out! I gave up living in a nice house with one of my most favorite people in the world as a roommate, driving a BMW convertible and living in the exciting city of Las Vegas for living at home with my parents, with no car, in a small town in Mississippi. Like I said… NOT an easy decision, but a necessary decision. I knew the sacrifices I was going to have to make and I was lucky to have a loving and supportive family to help me.  

I struggled for two years with no healthcare because my M.S. was a pre-existing condition and this was during the time Obama was trying to get what is now labeled Obamacare passed. For the first time I saw something in politics that directly affected me and it was the President leading the cause. My new standing as a poor person with no insurance helped me see a side of this issue like others could not. I was living solely on my social security disability income and living at home, I was still only barely by. Eventually I qualified for Medicare and FINALLY had health coverage.  

My conservative, Republican, Christian family that watched more Fox News than ANY other news outlet, called Obama a socialist and believed all Fox News said, even though I was one of the very people Obama was trying to help with Obamacare – they saw it as evil and bad and so was Obama. This is when a passion for what was going on in politics began to grow IN me. My frustration also grew because I could not get them to see and understand – I AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE” Fox News is demeaning! My parents had Social Security & Medicare and others in my family even had Medicaid and they witnessed my struggle with health issues all-the-while I had no health insurance. I began to see “conservative” to equal – I got mine and I do not care about you.

Needless to say this created a struggle for me in relating to my family and even strains our relationship today. I felt like an outsider in my own family.  Church was so important and BEING Christian was even more important. But as the conservatives boasted of their Christianity, I witnessed a great deal of not so Christian actions. Being gay has helped me see “church”, Christians, and even God in a much different light. I saw the principles of the Democrats relate more to Christianity than the “religious right”. I wrote a blog specifically to try to engage people to explain how “conservatives” were Christian (http://wp.me/pKLa8-GU) and e-mailed a blog that asked the same but in a friendlier tone than I had be able to muster! (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2012/11/time-for-christians-to-make-a-choice/) Republicans extol their Christianity but for me it conflicts with their politics and I feel the Democrats live it by their politics.

I see Jesus as someone that would spend time with gays, having wine and talking with them, not standing in line at Chick-fil-a so the company has more money to prevent gays having equality! I see Jesus touting the GOOD of Obamacare, not worrying how it could affect his personal coverage if the uninsured get access to care! This creates for me my biggest struggle – it makes me see my dearly devoted, Christian mother and others in my family as hypocrites! They already dislike me for being so different in how I think… how could they deal with being viewed as hypocrites? Or possibly even racist because of things they say about Obama? Oh yeah, that is why it was such an internal struggle for me to live that close to them. I hate myself for seeing my family the way I do. We DO love each other… but there is no respect unless there is agreement and I just can’t agree with them. They refuse to listen to my points because I think they do not want to see the hypocrisy. But any attempts I make to talk and try to understand only ends badly! I am a critical-thinker and NEED more than rhetoric and “faith” to understand things! Now I live far away and even at a distance it still hurts me!

My father was diagnosed with Dementia and suddenly Fox News was not on the tv as much (if any actually). A few months later he had a stroke, then 9 days later died. At his funeral, all that spoke (including me) mentioned his trademark little, old, piece of crap Toyota trucks he had over the years.  I did eventually get a little money and had the opportunity to travel to see my friend I call Little Buddy (one of my FAVORITE people in the world) and when I returned from that trip – I bought a little, old, piece of crap Toyota truck like my Dad used to have. I was looking forward to putting my Obama stickers on MY little, old truck, but they were thrown away because no one considered them relevant at that house  – the same as me… discarded without consideration or concern!

P.S. I do love my family and they do love me… like my facebook relationship status says – it’s complicated! My writing is to express feelings I am unable to share otherwise and this is how I feel now.

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OUR President

I had to post this because I almost forgot what a REAL President and First Lady look like….

The photo to the left is a post I recently saw on facebook!  I shot off this post on facebook as my status, “I saw a post earlier today that was a photo of FORMER President George W. and Laura Bush with a caption that read, “I had to post this because I almost forgot what a REAL President and First Lady look like….”! How DISRESPECTFUL! I am sorry America… but PRESIDENT Barack Obama and FIRST LADY Michelle Obama are REAL and he is PRESIDENT! Even if you do not agree with their divisive politics that help the poor have insurance and teach children about nutrition and exercise… at least have respect that they ARE the PRESIDENT and First Lady of the United States of America!! Even when the person you did not vote for wins….he (or she) is still winner and comments like above just show you are a SORE LOSER!”  

I was ashamed and embarrassed for the person that posted it for so freely being disrespectful to OUR current President and First Lady, Barack and Michelle Obama!  True, not all Americans love the current President and some may even miss FORMER President George W. and Laura Bush.  But for someone to infer that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are not REAL and deserving of our respect is a VERY SAD commentary of discourse in America.  To disagree with the politics of the President is completely normal if you have differing views, but the growing acceptance to disrespect the office of President is alarming to me.

I did not want to mention it in the very first paragraph, but now I am one sentence into my third paragraph I will say it – I think it may, in part, be because he is black!  But now I said it I will not dwell on it, but it does deserve mentioning.  I find ANY white woman pointing in the face of a black man to appear racist to me.  To see a sitting governor do it to a sitting President!  WOW!  I am not so naive as to think Obama is the first President to be disrespected, but to mention race one more time…. as a society, maybe this is a good place to start toning down the hatred, rhetoric, hyperbole – even if it is so we do not appear to be racist.  Political discourse will ALWAYS be a part of politics, but it is possible to disagree without being so blatantly RUDE!  

The following is a reply I recieved about my post, “We’ll just have to ‘Agree to Disagree’ on your post. Obama is NOT my president, and Michele will never be my ‘First Lady’. Disrespectful or not, what is disrespectful, in my opinion, is how fast Obama’s administration has managed to degrade and destroy what has taken millions of working-class families decades to accumulate. Perpetuating the ‘handout mentality’ of low and poverty-level Americans is like ‘keeping them in chains’, they might as well call it ‘Slavery’.”  All I could say to myself was WHAT THE FUCK?  I want to respect her opinion, but I am at a complete loss to know what she THINKS Obama has done?  It is rhetoric that has NO fact to support it!

Yes… we (she and I) DO have to agree to disagree! I in NO way have seen him perpetuate ANY such policy – namely because Congress has done NOTHING to support ANY of his polices since ObamaCare.  Even ObamaCare is not so much about entitlement for the poor (the poor already had Medicaid) but for people like me with pre-existing conditions like Multiple Sclerosis! I had no health insurance for 2

Our President is ALSO a loving husband and father!

years and so YES, I supported ObamaCare… because now I have insurance and I am getting treatment again. But I feel conservatives only see he is a Democrat and does not understand that ObamaCare was built on Republican Bob Dole’s health plan that was the basis for Romney as a Republican Governor to also use.  Even in an effort to gain bipartisan support, they tried to demonize the program that in Romney’s own suggested alternative (as Presidential candidate) to his own plan established in Massachusetts wants to keep the KEY provisions of ObamaCare! They FIGHT it just because it is a Democrat’s plan.  But even as a Democrat… I never said or acted as if Bush were not MY President, because at the end of the day we are all still Americans and that even includes President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama!  As all past Presidents, I feel they have represented America with ALL the best intentions that what they did (do) was (is) good for our country!  I feel both the President and First Lady have represented America very well, with grace, poise and  dignity – they are a GREAT First Family!

Repeating LIES does not = Truth!

I have a disdain for A LOT of the Tea Party’s divisive politics and how they feel cooperation and compromise are an evil part of politics.  Even

Hyperbole is BAD for the Nation and BAD for your soul!!

as a CHILD I was taught to share and play nice with others!  A concept that escapes most Tea Party idealist.  The Tea Partiers seem to ALWAYS go back to our “Christian” fore-fathers as their point of reference.  They want to legislate their Christian beliefs in a nation founded on Christianity – NOT FREEDOM!  The founders of our nation left England because the KING was basically “legislating” his idea of Christian beliefs .  The founders intentionally left religion out of our constitution because they knew religion and government were separate entities.  As a gay man in America, I am astonished at the idea that Christians (not all… but A LOT) in some way feel that if I am given equal rights and benefits of marriage, it in some way  effects their marriage.  They feel they have a responsibility to remove freedom in our nation and enact laws based on their beliefs.

MY Presidents!

Bush was MY President, Obama is MY president and even if Romney wins he will be MY President, because I am proud to be an AMERICAN more so than a Democrat (or even a Republican as I was most of my life)! People need to unite, love, support and encourage each other – not say things like Obama is NOT MY President… unless you have left the USA and surrendered  your Passport & citizenship- He is YOUR President…. just maybe not who you voted for! 

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Spread Your Wings… Not Hate

So what if I don’t go to heaven, it will just give you more room to spread your wings since you are such an angel!  I have heard, “You can love the sinner without loving the sin.”  I am gay, so how can you love me and not love gays?  Labeling me a sinner helps me lose respect for most people simply because they are pious enough to say that like they are not sinners also… they are perfect! Like my parents, I know there are some that can’t commit to the hate because they do feel a commitment to love the person, but because of their religious convictions, they cannot truly embrace and love the person fully.  So, if they cannot truly love the person, they will fight to prove the sinner is less and deserves less from life.

New York just passed legislation that will allow gays to marry in New York.  The LGBT community had a leader in their effort – Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  Unlike President Obama, Gov. Cuomo not only courted the gay community with promises while taking their money, he took the

This is NOT who I voted for!

cause to heart and fought to deliver.  I have been a big supporter of President Obama, but his inability to lead and fight for causes he campaigned on is making me wain. Mr. Obama is not even making his Democratic base happy trying to pacify conservatives while playing golf with Boehner like he is a buddy and not the guy that has kept Obama from being the man of change he promised to be!  Why is he not leading the cause like Gov. Cuomo, fighting for real healthcare reform (Medicare for ALL or at least a government option) instead of straddling the fence?

Christians forget all about the love Christ taught and spend so much time trying to be Christian instead of Christ-like.  I am so happy to be free from religion and its archaic belief system.  Surprisingly for most, I find myself closer to God being Spiritual instead of being religious.  I lost a good friend because she felt marriage needed protection from gays joining a facebook page called “Protect Marriage”.  My heart broke, a friend felt my having the opportunity to marry in some way threatened her… in someway would affect her marriage!  She feels she needs protection?

My question is who does marriage need protection from …. Donald Trump (married 3 times I remember), Newt Gingrich (cheated on one of his 3 wives while she was being treated for cancer), Elizabeth Taylor (a total of 8 marriages to 7 different men)?  But no one takes picket signs to keep them from marrying, AGAIN!  They are adulterers, that is mentioned as being a sin in the Bible more often than being gay.  Adultery even breaks one of the Ten Commandments!  Where is the outcry for protecting marriage from adulterers?  Great Bible characters like King David were adulterers , so if there were a great Bible character that were gay, would marriage need protection? 

I know I will not be able to convince religious people to become more Spiritual than religious, but maybe I can help them see that they’re being hypocrites and are only demonstrating hatred.  If you do not support gay marriage… don’t marry a gay or go to their weddings!  There is no need for Christians to deny gays the right to be married in order to protect their own marriage.  The sad thing is their hate blinds them from logic and the meaning of living in a country with FREEDOM, not just a country where everyone is free to believe the same as them.  Please – do not use religion to justify your HATE!

I hope to hear this a lot more – Andrew Cuomo for President 2016! I wish it were possible for 2012!

http://www.newser.com/story/121931/new-york-governor-andrew-cuomo-turned-gay-marriage-into-a-personal-mission.html

http://www.newser.com/story/121945/now-making-the-rounds-cuomo-2016.html

http://www.newser.com/story/117921/bill-clinton-its-time-for-gay-marriage.html

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Politicians Are the Spoiled Children from Our Childhood

As children, we did not like playing with the kid that always cried, “If you do not play my way, I’ll take my ball and go home!”  Now we know what became of those kids – they became politicians.  Politicians are blind to the effects their partisanship is having on Americans.  Their new mantra is, “Give me what I want or I will hold the democratic process hostage.”

“There comes at times leverage moments, a time when the president will capitulate to what the American people want right now,” he (Eric Cantor) said. “They don’t want to raise taxes, they don’t want borrowing to continue out of control.”(3)  This is laughable!  He thinks that the American people want him playing politics as usual and using leverage to get what he thinks he and Republicans want? The House of Representatives is only one of three parts of the legislative process.  Americans do not want you to hold passage of raising the debt ceiling as LEVERAGE!

Is he really in touch with what Americans want?  “Changes to Medicare and Medicaid remain wildly unpopular and more than two-thirds of registered voters want to repeal Bush-era tax cuts for households that make more than $250,000 a year, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.”(2) Billionaire Warren Buffet is one of the wealthiest men in the U.S. and even he understands what Americans want better than Rep. Cantor.  Mr Buffet says Americans want the wealthiest (those make $250,00 or more) to pay more and make cuts for those making less than $250,000.(3)  He knows and understands the rich are better suited to absorb paying more in taxes.

Even small business owners know they can do more.  “Tax cuts for the wealthy, according to Teahan, will do nothing to bolster his firm. They won’t affect his hiring decisions, they won’t encourage him to buy new equipment or help him move into a bigger warehouse. He says all of those decisions — the nuts and bolts of actually running a small company — depend on the his customers’ economic conditions, not his personal tax rate.”(4) But my theory is they (Congress) cannot see beyond their own self-interest and wallets.

I know I seem to beat up on Republicans a lot, but I am a fiscal conservative with liberal social views.  The Republicans are the party that is supposed to reflect my fiscal conservative views and they cannot even represent my fiscal conservative views anymore!  Now fighting Democrats on everything is all I see from Republicans.  All of Washington,D.C. is out of touch with what Americans want – Democrat and Republicans alike.  Now the Republicans start wanting to attack Medicare and Medicaid with this crazy voucher idea…. they are driving me even further away!  The solution to helping with cost of Medicare and Medicaid is to attack healthcare costs not established working programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  There is also room for making Medicare and Medicaid more efficient and to better control abuses to the system.  Work together (yes even with a Democrat President and Democrat Senate) to solve problems Congress – STOP THE PARTISAN crap! More evidence just in – Cantor does not want to be reasonable… just play political games!(5)

The Republicans are too fond of the throwing the baby out with the wash idea!  Being responsible does not mean be radical!  Learn to play well with other and listen to Americans…. or WE will take your ball and send you home!

(1)http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/10/eric-cantor-debt-ceiling_n_847149.html
(2)http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/05/04/voters-dislike-gop-plan-to-change-medicare-medicaid/
(3)http://www.mediaite.com/online/warren-buffett-bush-tax-cuts/
(4)http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/04/small-business-owners-bush-tax-cuts-rich-repeal_n_857204.html
(5)http://www.newser.com/story/117875/gop-backs-away-from-budget-compromise-reports.html

My TIP JAR! Do not be afraid to tip your writer!


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I Enjoy My Rage: Am I the Only One?

Republicans continue to attack the poor and seek to further benefit the rich! Where is Americans outrage over what the Republicans are allowing the tea baggers to do?  I once considered myself a fiscal conservative with liberal social leanings.  Now the Republicans are trying to pass their CRAZY “budget blueprint”, I am seeing that I cannot even call myself a fiscal conservative anymore by this far, far right fiscal thinking.  I am beginning to have RAGE against the Republican Party for allowing the tea baggers to be the tail wagging the dog.  Republicans are proving crazy is infectious!

The Republicans are alienating independents like me by catering to these nut bag tea baggers.  Even Donald Trump is gaining momentum with the “birther” theory as part of this “Tea Party” movement (I agree with Bill Maher – I will stop calling them tea bagger when they stop calling it Obamacare).  Showing this is a movement of nonintellectuals.

The “budget blueprint” that passed the House of Representatives today (Friday, April 15, 2011)1 calls for changing Medicare to a voucher system, cutting Medicaid and food stamps, all while not only keeping the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest but also reducing the top corporate and individual income tax rates from 35% to 25%.  Where is the rage against this?

The Democrats by default come across as less fanatical and more level-headed.  “Democrats dismiss this strategy, saying that although some spending cuts are needed to rein in deficits, wholesale reductions in education, public works, research and other core government programs leave Americans unable to compete globally.” says Pat Dollard2.  While programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the defense make up the majority of the budget, these programs can be improved, made more efficient or even reformed without throwing the baby out with the wash! Where is the rage from the poor?

GE made $14.2 billion profit and paid no taxes and in fact received a $3.2 billion tax benefit. 3 GE also employs a 975-employee tax department4 to insure they find as many loopholes as possible.  Why are the Republicans leading their fight by attacking programs that assist the poor and elderly instead of attacking the corporations they are trying to help even more with an even lower tax rate?  Why are they not trying to get the U.S. out of 2 very expensive wars?  My thoughts are the Republicans are influenced by the self-serving interests of the Tea Baggers.  The tea baggers are self-indulgent and have the idea, if it does not benefit me – cut it.  Where is the rage against Corporate America?

Wall Street bonuses increased 17%5 from an already astronomical amount, after the government bailout.  Why have the Republicans not besieged Wall Street in this “budget blueprint”?  Again, does it have something to do with protecting big money?  The poor are an easy target that find it difficult to have access to defend itself in a government that money = access!  The poor do not have access as demonstrated by my unsuccessful attempts to have an elected official listen to my concerns about E.R.I.S.A. and inspiring a blog Mr. Smith Still Needs to go to Washington6.  Where is the rage against Wall Street?

There was a time when it was political suicide to even mention cutting, changing Medicare or Social Security!  The idea of such  caused outrage!  Where are these groups now?  Are they allowing the Republicans to hang themselves?  Why aren’t the old school Republicans curtailing the Tea Baggers?  Where is the call to reform for Corporate America & Wall Street?  Where is the rage against the Tea Baggers?  In the past I would hear tea baggers say they wanted to “take America back” and I would ask, who are they taking it from?  Now I know, they want to take it from the poor and helpless so they have more for themselves.  I am glad my tax money does something to help the poor, sick and elderly because I do not have the money the tea baggers are trying to protect from the government.  I wish I could do more to help the poor, sick and elderly! Why don’t the Democrats harness this rage and take America back – from the crazy tea baggers (note: I am not using rhetoric, I am saying who I want America taken back from)! Am I the only one outraged?

Help me out… give anything… even if it’s only a $1

1 http://www.aolnews.com/2011/04/15/house-passes-6t-spending-cut-plan/

2 http://patdollard.com/2011/04/republicans-propose-6-2-trillion-in-budget-cuts/

3 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html

4 http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/GE-Bringing-Creative-Tax-Strategies-Light-57849-1.html

5 http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-02-23/news/27057087_1_bonuses-wall-street-personal-income-tax-collections

6 https://thomasajohnston.com/2010/11/09/mr-smith-still-needs-to-go-to-washington/

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Repeating A Lie Does Not Make It True

Repeating something or saying it louder,  does not make it true.  “A lie told often enough becomes truth” – Vladimir Lenin,  “There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.” – William James; these are quotes that apply to today’s political environment.  Fox News repeating that they are “Fair & Balanced” does not make it true but: Fox News – A Voice for Conservative Americans – now that is truth!  Everyday I see and hear smart people repeating tripe that make me ask, how gullible can you be, or to ask them to cite their sources.  Rhetoric is not a source.

Recently a friend posted something on Facebook that reported President Obama would cancel The National Day of Prayer, observed in May each year.  He was offended and then the post made some asinine comment about Muslims. He also asked in the post, “If you agree, copy and paste no matter what religion you are, this country was built on Freedom.”  Even though this report is untrue, it has made its rounds on Facebook since Obama became President.  Now here is my taking it one step further – If, ” this country is built on Freedom” – why couldn’t President Obama be free to end The National Day of Prayer?  Why can’t he be free to be a Muslim?  Or is the American Freedom they speak of only freedom to believe the same as them?  Why are so many outraged when someone (especially in leadership) has a thought or belief different from theirs?

Real Time with Bill MaherOne reason I love “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “Real Time with Bill Maher” is because these shows point out the exaggeration and hypocrisy used in politics and the media today. The Daily Show with Jon StewartFox News, conservatives and now birthers (people who do not believe President Obama was born in the U.S.) make themselves easy targets to be mocked by these programs because  of the huge doses of hyperbole that they use.  I feel the reason is they only hear themselves!  They are spewing this misinformation nonstop and never stop to listen.

Obama Birth CertificateBirthers began demanding, “Show us the birth certificate!”  Once the birth certificate was made public, they questioned its validity. When the State of Hawaii verified the birth certificate was legitimate, they started making up things about how Hawaii did birth certificates in 1961 that make it a fake.  The excuses why they cannot accept that President Obama was born in the U.S. has to based on some crazy conspiracy theory similar to U.F.O.s in Roswell, Area 51 or the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories. Obama was born in the U.S., we have freedom of religion so why would it be a problem for him to be Muslim instead of Christian, and what frightens them most ….. could it be the one point they do not argue… he is black.  They need to just stop and listen to how ridiculous they sound, but with a majority of Republicans believing President Obama was not born in the U.S. – crazy is something we may have to get used to.

Now that there are birthers elected into Congress, I see them the same as all politicians – only concerned about themselves.  Many campaigned on cutting wasteful government spending, but they will not try stopping the farm subsidies they receive.  Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-TN (over $3,000,000); Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-MN ($251,973); Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT ($230,000); Sen. Gordon Smith, R-OR; Sen. Ken Salazar, R-CO; Senator Charles Grassley, R-IA ($654,000); Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-SD (her father received over 750,000); get farm subsidy checks from the government, but Congress is NOT trying to cut farm subsidies.  Instead they are trying to cut: education, Head Start, school nutrition programs, elementary education, Pell Grants, the EPA, transportation, Planned Parenthood, Americorp, financial regulators, health research, the CDC, job training, heating for poor families.  I see them as bullying the poor. Why are they not wanting to find and cut waste in the Defense Budget?  Finding ways to cut and find savings in Medicare/Medicaid and/or Social Security?  They prefer misdirection to hide their hate and lack of compassion for the poor and needy!  They need you to be afraid and HATE also!

The distance to being poor is closer than your backdoor!

Not checking the accuracy of reports and further, asking others to repeat inaccurate (lies) reports, is irresponsible.  This is happening more and more! “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporality embarrassed millionaires.” – John Steinbeck.  As Americans we need to care more about kids, the poor and the jobless than the defense!  Maybe that is where we can or should agree to begin!  I look forward to the day when Congress is looking for “who” needs help more-so than their own personal interest. To quote Jesus, “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” Matthew 25:45.  This is what should be repeated and loudest because it is TRUTH!!

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/03/31/welfare_tea_parties

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/farm-subsidies-paid-congressmen-why-congress-shut-down-database

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/members_of_congress_receive_useless_subsidies_apart_from_their_salaries/

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This, That & the Other – Really Don’t Matter!

This, That & the Other

Desperation and necessity makes my decisions for me – who or what makes your decisions?  Americans (for the most part) always feel the freedom to make whatever decision is best.  But for some of us…. we lack the freedom.   Actually we have the freedom, but not the money to back the decisions we want to make.  I know people who have choices and I envy them.  They complain about this, that and the other.  If they saw things from a different perspective, I think this world would change.  I have a friend here in Bogotá that gets upset (like I do) about the lack of common courtesy used by Bogotanos in public ( in private, it would be very difficult to find friendlier people).  I told him “you may not be able to change the world, but you can change YOUR world”.  Smile, say hello, be nice and he has noticed what I said is true, he is changing his world – in general people are more polite than at first.  He made a good decision and has changed his world and I do feel changing the world is possible – one step at a time!

Desperation helps make nontraditional decisions.  But is the a decision-making process you are familiar with?  I am too familiar with this process.  Two years ago, I found myself one of the millions of Americans with no health insurance.  I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and 2 years with no insurance made me desperate to find a solution.  I tried and exhausted all possible solutions I knew to try.  I even found living only on social security, I made $14 a month too much for Medicaid.  That close but still to far!  After all traditional alternatives were explored, I tried being creative.  After my private insurance quit paying my private disability I had begun to explore places to live on limited a limited income and Colombia was high on the list.  Soon I found they had a government option health care system that even as a resident I could participate in.  Desperate for insurance I made the move to Colombia, South America.

Necessity also makes bad decisions for us.  Some decisions are made and made too late even when necessary.  A friend from junior high school was on disability due to cancer and had a 2 year waiting period for Medicare (same as me) and he had used his COBRA time during the approval stage of getting on disability.  The cancer returned during this waiting period.  There was a front page story about his situation in the local paper and still, he found no help.  I chose to share my stories.  Necessity left him seeking help even from having his story shared with strangers to no avail.  Healthcare reform came too late for him. Charles Aaron Jackson III, 43, died November 21, 2009 at his residence in Osyka.  I often tried to remind myself – it could always be worse.  I hate my friend was one that had it worse. I shared the struggle and when I reached out, it was too late.  Cancer got him before Medicare did.  Insurance was necessary but the decision was out of his control.

This – I often see “this” is little to complain about.  As I complained to a friend about what I felt was a desperate situation, I saw a homeless man walking up the street and picking trough a garbage bag.  My problem is a big problem, but it could always be bigger.  I am not homeless or dying from cancer.  I need that homeless man and the memory of my childhood friend to remind me to keep things in perspective.  I am so lucky, I will NEVER be homeless, my family let me sleep on their floor until they find me a bed.  Even with little medical assistance I will ALWAYS have help getting out of the tub because when my legs are too tired to stand in the shower, they are also too weak to get me out of the tub and again, my family (even elderly parents) help me out of the tub.  More than once, I have NEEDED a cocktail and I have friends that will buy me a drink (lol) even when I am broke – I will ALWAYS have great friends because they care more about helping a friend than hoarding their money.

That – “that” is not my problem.  In the last few years, I have had so many problems I NEVER thought I would have.  As with the healthcare debate, I saw it from a different perspective being one of the uninsured.  Why do we have to find ourselves in a situation before we empathize.  President Obama was faulted for wanting empathetic Supreme Court Justices.  I like that a judge can empathize.  To understand law, I think a judge should empathize with the writers of the Constitution to understand how the law should be applied and also to empathize with the people who the laws are applicable to.  Only a politician would think empathy to be a bad thing!!

& the other – It is not me so why should I worry?  I was told that I gave up my right to share an opinion about healthcare reform because I had “chosen” to leave the country (actually a cousin told me that – distant cousin).  Her complaint was she worked hard for her money and did not want to be paying for others insurance.  I have been so surprised that there is a price for life and health and there is a point people think it is too much to help.  I have alienated myself from religion because of attitudes from Christians like this.  I am happy she can find comfort in her faith because it repels me from sharing her faith.  Maybe she even prayed for Aaron, but thank God she did not have to pay more taxes to save his life.

So let’s try keeping in mind desperation and necessity hinder decision-making.  We will be desperate at times, but knowing we are not the most desperate can help keep this, that & the other in perspective.  We will feel things are a necessity at times, but keeping in mind people are doing without necessities ALL of the time makes this that & the other less important.  This, that & the other are things we need to keep in perspective, empathize with others about and also know how our actions reflect to others our priorities.   In desperate times we should know it is a necessity that “this, that & the other” are kept in true perspective.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

People Really Believe This CRAP!!!

This was actually posted on a friends facebook page:

“Just heard the most remarkable statement by a Russian native on CNN. Could not believe CNN didn’t edit it. Old Russian woman “You American people don’t understand, you need to listen what they are telling you! I have lived it, this is exactly how Communism works! It is becoming the Soviet Union all over again.” wow!”

This friend is a good guy.  But he is also a hard-core conservative and has no realization that something good can come of this or that he is believing and repeating the panicked rhetoric and other unfounded reactions of other conservatives and Republicans. He jumped on the chance to use CNN instead of Fox News as his source but I wanted to see this video for myself and cannot find this relevant evidence on CNN, Cnn.com or even youtube.  Remember the Republicans… you know the entire party that did not participate in the creation of the healthcare reform bill because they were not in control and resented the Democrats being in charge and doing something for Americans instead of acting on behalf of Insurance companies, Health Management Organizations and Pharmaceutical Conglomerates.  The Republicans are more interested in playing a blame game to try to regain political control instead of actually being bipartisan and participate in creating this bill.  It is so sad that their “power in Washington” is more important to them than trying to actually do some good for Americans.  Since they could not get their DEMANDS all the time… they took their ball and went home!!   Sen. John McCain vows, “There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year,” McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. “They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.” *(2)  He earlier said, “The first casualty of the Democratic health care bill will be immigration reform. If the health care bill goes through this weekend, that will, in my view, pretty much kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year.” *(3)  Talk about sour grapes and a bad sport!!  And he was a presidential candidate.  Why can’t politicians just represent their constituents and quit representing their party affiliation?  I say this to Democrats as well.  The PARTY POLITICS HAS TO STOP!!  How sincere was the invitation from the Democrats for the Republicans to join the debate?  But the Republicans should not have cried and gave up to only change their game plan to traditional party politics.  Both parties together could have created a better plan… but I am happy we have something.  I also hope the Republican party makes comments soon that John McCain does not speak for all Republicans and there will be a real effort to do more great things for Americans now this bitter fight is over.

Also England has had socialized Medicine since 1911 for all workers over 16 and in 1948 extended the system to the entire population.  Last I checked… socialized healthcare has made England neither Communist nor Socialist.  England remains a capitalist democracy.  In an international comparative study of the health care systems in six countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United States), the British health care system was ranked in first place for quality of care. It also gained first rank position for equity and efficiency and a top place ranking for performance overall.*(1)  Amidst all the misinformation about Canada’s universal healthcare system (also called Medicare) which began nationwide in 1966, 43 years later Canada is still not Socialist or Communist.  85.2% of Canadians reported that they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the way health care services are provided in their country and an even higher number (89.8%) rated their physician in the same way though slightly lower ratings were awarded to hospitals (79.9% being “satisfied” or “very satisfied”) *(4)  I bet you could not find 85% of Americans to be satisfied with anything much less healthcare!!  lol  Israel established socialized healthcare since the country was established in 1948 and it remains the sole democracy in the Middle East, well the sole democracy until America leaves Iraq and Afghanistan. lol

The next issue with this argument – the healthcare reform bill is not socialism!!  lol  Or it is not any more socialist than the police forces, fire protection, public education or city water systems used in the United States.  These are all services that are funded by taxes and are shared by citizens.  So why would medical services be considered socialist if these other well established and accepted services are not considered socialist systems?  When politicians use words like socialism to describe anything… it is only to cause fear and panic because their argument is to weak to stand on its own.  It also displays to the educated they do not understand the meaning of the words they are using!! lol

This is where I get ugly…. sorry…. but a day or two before my friend posted that status message on facebook he explained to me as a father, he is concerned for his son.  That is understandable.  Fathers want the best for their kids.  But what about that father with a sick child that has fallen in the cracks, is uninsured and wants desperately to help his son, daughter, or even his wife but has no insurance or access to healthcare?  What about a kid with a serious illness like Spina Bifida, Juvenile Diabetes or Leukemia ….. he or she has a pre-existing condition for life and will make his or her having insurance after he is grown nearly impossible in the current healthcare system.  What about the caps insurance places on treatment of costly illnesses like Multiple Sclerosis or cancer?  How is the healthcare reform bad in these situations? ….. Because sadly, my friend and a lot of Americans are not concerned with that other father… he is not concerned about the pre-existing condition that child will live with long after he or she leaves his or her father’s house…. he is not concerned about the caps on treatments for illnesses like Multiple Sclerosis or Cancer….  he is only concerned with how he feels NOW and is not open to think beyond what he has been taught and believes because as a conservative he is more concerned about his politics.  HE is in a position as a father to protect his child by supporting the healthcare reform bill, help his unemployed neighbor or even a sick former co-worker.  I do not say “he” like “he” is the only one! He is typical of Americans… he is scared… they are scared.

Change is hard and yes, even frightening.  I also feel they are scared of the 1/2 black, Democratic  President that has accomplished something that his predictors have been unsuccessful at achieving and OMG what happens when a President can accomplish things with the cooperation of Congress?  We only have to look to the Bush administration that has left us in 2 wars that has cost more than this healthcare reform will cost, Bush started the big Bailouts for the banks and the economy was crap when Obama inherited his office.  Bush accomplished this with his same party controlled Congress.  So a President getting what he wants from Congress is not new…. but a Democrat President getting what he wants is new!!  Keep it up President Obama – keep fighting for me and the other Americans that have not been able to afford to buy our influence in Washington D.C.!!

I have been that uninsured person with a chronic illness and I want no one to be in that same or even a similar situation.  I want to ask the Americans that are upset about the healthcare reform bill to just take one second to realize they can be happy for the ones this will help – even if it is not them!  But if they take the time to learn what the bill is… they will see it is good, the U.S. will not become socialist or communist as a result and most of all – we can share even healthcare in a country as great as the United States of America.  Others do not have to be WITHOUT insurance so others CAN have insurance.  Americans are not as selfish and uncaring as they are presenting themselves to be to the rest of the world with this issue… Americans need to think, read and learn about this (and other) issues without trusting only one news source like CNN, Fox News or even The Daily Show. But I do kind of like they are getting a taste of the fear I lived with, without having an actual bad situation at hand.  But they are getting the taste without having to eat the whole meal I have choked on for 2 years.

President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”  I change that just a little to say, Americans ask not what I can do for myself, ask what can we do for each other. Americans may be afraid of change… I was afraid there would be no change and I thank GOD there is a change!

I feel there is Hope Again for a New way of life for the forgotten Americans!!

Although almost 90% of my blog is opinion, I try not to rely on rhetoric… I try to show where information I consider relevant comes from lol Sources below:

*(1)  Davis, Karen; Cathy Schoen et. al. (May 2007). “MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL: AN INTERNATIONAL UPDATE ON THE COMPARATIVE PERFORMANCE OF AMERICAN HEALTH CARE”

*(2)  http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/88285-mccain-dont-expect-gop-cooperation-the-rest-of-this-year

*(3)  http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/vengeance-will-be-mccains

*(4)  “Healthy Canadians: Canadian government report on comparable health care indicators”

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I Still Have Faith In President Obama!

I left the U.S. to not only find a better climate for my Multiple Sclerosis but to find a country that accepted me as I am – Sick, Poor, Gay and Misunderstood!  It is sad to me I had to search for this acceptance outside of my own country, but I have found Colombia to a refreshingly progressive country despite how the world seems to continue to misjudge this great country!  As I read this speech from President Obama, I was inspired but still ask him and the U.S. political system to keep these words in mind!  I have been constantly screwed by Cigna, my private long-term disability insurer, and I as President Obama asks, try not to demonize Cigna, but it  is very hard.  I will blog more on Cigna another time, but enjoy the hopeful words of President Obama!

“Yes, there are crimes of conscience that call us to action.  Yes, there are causes that move our hearts and offenses that stir our souls.  But progress doesn’t come when we demonize opponents.  It’s not born in righteous spite.  Progress comes when we open our hearts, when we extend our hands, when we recognize our common humanity.  Progress comes when we look into the eyes of another and see the face of God.  That we might do so — that we will do so all the time, not just some of the time — is my fervent prayer for our nation and the world.”

People have said he is great with words but I also feel he is sincere and I am saddened by how the Republicans will not do what is best for Americans and only look out for party interest

Here is the complete speech:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
February 04, 2010

Remarks by the President at the National Prayer Breakfast
Washington Hilton
Washington, D.C.

9:08 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Please be seated.

Thank you so much.  Heads of state, Cabinet members, my outstanding Vice President, members of Congress, religious leaders, distinguished guests, Admiral Mullen — it’s good to see all of you.  Let me begin by acknowledging the co-chairs of this breakfast, Senators Isakson and Klobuchar, who embody the sense of fellowship at the heart of this gathering.  They’re two of my favorite senators.  Let me also acknowledge the director of my faith-based office, Joshua DuBois, who is here.  Where’s Joshua?  He’s out there somewhere.  He’s doing great work.  (Applause.)

I want to commend Secretary Hillary Clinton on her outstanding remarks, and her outstanding leadership at the State Department.  She’s doing good every day.  (Applause.) I’m especially pleased to see my dear friend, Prime Minister Zapatero, and I want him to relay America’s greetings to the people of Spain.  And Johnny, you are right, I’m deeply blessed, and I thank God every day for being married to Michelle Obama.  (Applause.)

I’m privileged to join you once again, as my predecessors have for over half a century.  Like them, I come here to speak about the ways my faith informs who I am — as a President, and as a person.  But I’m also here for the same reason that all of you are, for we all share a recognition — one as old as time — that a willingness to believe, an openness to grace, a commitment to prayer can bring sustenance to our lives.

There is, of course, a need for prayer even in times of joy and peace and prosperity.  Perhaps especially in such times prayer is needed — to guard against pride and to guard against complacency.  But rightly or wrongly, most of us are inclined to seek out the divine not in the moment when the Lord makes His face shine upon us, but in moments when God’s grace can seem farthest away.

Last month, God’s grace, God’s mercy, seemed far away from our neighbors in Haiti.  And yet I believe that grace was not absent in the midst of tragedy.  It was heard in prayers and hymns that broke the silence of an earthquake’s wake.  It was witnessed among parishioners of churches that stood no more, a roadside congregation, holding bibles in their laps.  It was felt in the presence of relief workers and medics; translators; servicemen and women, bringing water and food and aid to the injured.

One such translator was an American of Haitian descent, representative of the extraordinary work that our men and women in uniform do all around the world — Navy Corpsman Christian [sic] Brossard.  And lying on a gurney aboard the USNS Comfort, a woman asked Christopher:  “Where do you come from?  What country?  After my operation,” she said, “I will pray for that country.”  And in Creole, Corpsman Brossard responded, “Etazini.”  The United States of America.

God’s grace, and the compassion and decency of the American people is expressed through the men and women like Corpsman Brossard.  It’s expressed through the efforts of our Armed Forces, through the efforts of our entire government, through similar efforts from Spain and other countries around the world.  It’s also, as Secretary Clinton said, expressed through multiple faith-based efforts.  By evangelicals at World Relief.  By the American Jewish World Service.  By Hindu temples, and mainline Protestants, Catholic Relief Services, African American churches, the United Sikhs.  By Americans of every faith, and no faith, uniting around a common purpose, a higher purpose.

It’s inspiring.  This is what we do, as Americans, in times of trouble.  We unite, recognizing that such crises call on all of us to act, recognizing that there but for the grace of God go I, recognizing that life’s most sacred responsibility — one affirmed, as Hillary said, by all of the world’s great religions — is to sacrifice something of ourselves for a person in need.

Sadly, though, that spirit is too often absent when tackling the long-term, but no less profound issues facing our country and the world.  Too often, that spirit is missing without the spectacular tragedy, the 9/11 or the Katrina, the earthquake or the tsunami, that can shake us out of complacency.  We become numb to the day-to-day crises, the slow-moving tragedies of children without food and men without shelter and families without health care.  We become absorbed with our abstract arguments, our ideological disputes, our contests for power.  And in this Tower of Babel, we lose the sound of God’s voice.

Now, for those of us here in Washington, let’s acknowledge that democracy has always been messy.  Let’s not be overly nostalgic.  (Laughter.)  Divisions are hardly new in this country.  Arguments about the proper role of government, the relationship between liberty and equality, our obligations to our fellow citizens — these things have been with us since our founding.  And I’m profoundly mindful that a loyal opposition, a vigorous back and forth, a skepticism of power, all of that is what makes our democracy work.

And we’ve seen actually some improvement in some circumstances.  We haven’t seen any canings on the floor of the Senate any time recently.  (Laughter.)  So we shouldn’t over-romanticize the past.  But there is a sense that something is different now; that something is broken; that those of us in Washington are not serving the people as well as we should.  At times, it seems like we’re unable to listen to one another; to have at once a serious and civil debate.  And this erosion of civility in the public square sows division and distrust among our citizens.  It poisons the well of public opinion.  It leaves each side little room to negotiate with the other.  It makes politics an all-or-nothing sport, where one side is either always right or always wrong when, in reality, neither side has a monopoly on truth.  And then we lose sight of the children without food and the men without shelter and the families without health care.

Empowered by faith, consistently, prayerfully, we need to find our way back to civility.  That begins with stepping out of our comfort zones in an effort to bridge divisions.  We see that in many conservative pastors who are helping lead the way to fix our broken immigration system.  It’s not what would be expected from them, and yet they recognize, in those immigrant families, the face of God.  We see that in the evangelical leaders who are rallying their congregations to protect our planet.  We see it in the increasing recognition among progressives that government can’t solve all of our problems, and that talking about values like responsible fatherhood and healthy marriage are integral to any anti-poverty agenda.  Stretching out of our dogmas, our prescribed roles along the political spectrum, that can help us regain a sense of civility.

Civility also requires relearning how to disagree without being disagreeable; understanding, as President [Kennedy] said, that “civility is not a sign of weakness.” Now, I am the first to confess I am not always right.  Michelle will testify to that.  (Laughter.)  But surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith, or, for that matter, my citizenship.  (Laughter and applause.)

Challenging each other’s ideas can renew our democracy.  But when we challenge each other’s motives, it becomes harder to see what we hold in common.  We forget that we share at some deep level the same dreams — even when we don’t share the same plans on how to fulfill them.

We may disagree about the best way to reform our health care system, but surely we can agree that no one ought to go broke when they get sick in the richest nation on Earth.  We can take different approaches to ending inequality, but surely we can agree on the need to lift our children out of ignorance; to lift our neighbors from poverty.  We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are — whether it’s here in the United States or, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda.

Surely we can agree to find common ground when possible, parting ways when necessary.  But in doing so, let us be guided by our faith, and by prayer.  For while prayer can buck us up when we are down, keep us calm in a storm; while prayer can stiffen our spines to surmount an obstacle — and I assure you I’m praying a lot these days — (laughter) — prayer can also do something else.  It can touch our hearts with humility.  It can fill us with a spirit of brotherhood.  It can remind us that each of us are children of a awesome and loving God.

Through faith, but not through faith alone, we can unite people to serve the common good.  And that’s why my Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has been working so hard since I announced it here last year.  We’ve slashed red tape and built effective partnerships on a range of uses, from promoting fatherhood here at home to spearheading interfaith cooperation abroad.  And through that office we’ve turned the faith-based initiative around to find common ground among people of all beliefs, allowing them to make an impact in a way that’s civil and respectful of difference and focused on what matters most.

It is this spirit of civility that we are called to take up when we leave here today.  That’s what I’m praying for.  I know in difficult times like these — when people are frustrated, when pundits start shouting and politicians start calling each other names — it can seem like a return to civility is not possible, like the very idea is a relic of some bygone era.  The word itself seems quaint — civility.

But let us remember those who came before; those who believed in the brotherhood of man even when such a faith was tested.  Remember Dr. Martin Luther King.  Not long after an explosion ripped through his front porch, his wife and infant daughter inside, he rose to that pulpit in Montgomery and said, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

In the eyes of those who denied his humanity, he saw the face of God.

Remember Abraham Lincoln.  On the eve of the Civil War, with states seceding and forces gathering, with a nation divided half slave and half free, he rose to deliver his first Inaugural and said, “We are not enemies, but friends… Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”

Even in the eyes of confederate soldiers, he saw the face of God.

Remember William Wilberforce, whose Christian faith led him to seek slavery’s abolition in Britain; he was vilified, derided, attacked; but he called for “lessening prejudices [and] conciliating good-will, and thereby making way for the less obstructed progress of truth.”

In the eyes of those who sought to silence a nation’s conscience, he saw the face of God.

Yes, there are crimes of conscience that call us to action.  Yes, there are causes that move our hearts and offenses that stir our souls.  But progress doesn’t come when we demonize opponents.  It’s not born in righteous spite.  Progress comes when we open our hearts, when we extend our hands, when we recognize our common humanity.  Progress comes when we look into the eyes of another and see the face of God.  That we might do so — that we will do so all the time, not just some of the time — is my fervent prayer for our nation and the world.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

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