Mitt, My Good Man





Romney: Rivals’ attacks a ‘good warm-up’

copyright © 2012 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or  BeThink.org

Dearest Mitt . . .

I am unsure if we have had the pleasure of an in-person exchange.  I too travel in political circles.  However, I do not recall.  Perhaps we met in the past.  I trust I have done business with you and your firm, Bain Capital.  Bravo on your successes.

Please allow me to introduce myself by way of this letter.  This morning, I caught a glimpse of your Today Show interview with Matt Lauer.  I heard you speak of the exaggerated envy now heard on the campaign trail.  Oh, my friend Mitt, how I relate. If I might; well stated my man. People do want what they do not have. First Bain, then the White House.  Indeed, one Chief Executive position ensured that you were a world power.  The other is but a natural transition. Instead of having a seat at the table of global influence, as President of the United States, you, old man, will own the table.

I concur with the thought expressed in the title of a Wall Street Journal Mitt.  The Bain Capital Bonfire. Romney has a good story to tell, if he’s willing to tell it. Might you have read the account my friend?  The treatise speaks of the gains and losses, signature events in our glorious Capitalist system.  You know the tale dear Mitt and I trust you will articulate it well. I look forward to the day when you share it with me personally; perhaps, over dinner.  Until then, may I offer my own anecdote.  It speaks of why I do not envy you.

Mitt, my man, I am an extremely wealthy individual.  Granted, financially, I have had my share of ups and downs.  At birth, I was born into money.  My father, Michael, had been a very poor young man.  One of thirteen children, the son of first generation Americans, Michael had to work his way to the top.  

Michael enrolled in University. He may have been the first in his family.  He completed his degree in Accounting.  Michael sought and realized Certification.  Then, “visionary” that he was Michael opened his own business. The man was an expert at making money.  He made millions for his client and much for himself.  Ultimately, his firm grew and grew.  

At the time of my birth, my parents lived in a large house on a hill.  The estate was built only a year before.  “Mother” designed the private residence herself.  She chose the neighbor and the acreage.  It was a beautiful plot of land, rolling hills, a deep forest to roam through.  I used to  wander the woods for hours on end.

As a seedling, conceived in a Waldorf Astoria Hotel suite, you might correctly imagine that, as  a child, my clothes were all New York designer collections.  My backyard playground was furnished with the finest swing sets.  We had two.  Sliding boards, climbing bars, and seesaws as well.  Among my favorite toys was not a plaything at all.  Made of wood, large and spacious, a cabin graced the grounds.  Outside of my little log home was a sandbox.  The container for tiny grains did not sit on a lawn. No. the box was built deep into the soil. When I sat within, a portion of my body might appear buried below the surface of the land.  Did I mention the whirly-bird? Oh, Mitt, my life was a child’s delight . . . or so it might have appeared.

I trust any child would have been envious of me, all that I had, and did daily. We vacationed often. A skating weekend here, days away at a resort . . . Sun and fun. Snow and frolic.  ate at the best restaurants regularly. My “father” owned one, that is, in name only.  The Penthouse was an investment made on a client’s behalf.   Taxes, title exchanges. . . shelters and such.   I am sure you understand old man.

My Mom too lived a lovely life. She had no need to work.  Philanthropic endeavors were her want.  Dressed to the nines, she volunteered hither and yon.  At times, the women would play. Bowling. Cards. Shopping.  Mommy was active in many an organization.  Religious affiliations were a wondrous source of shared pleasure.  Father’s career was furthered through the associations.  Mother made friends with the women during daylight hours.  In the evening, the men would join their wives at a club.  On countless occasions, a bigger bash was planned.  

Often, my parents hosted these.  The best china, the finest crystal, and oh the food.  Catered gourmet delicacies filled every room.  As a tot, I would sneak out of my room and “steal” a snack. Sure to be noticed, I was met with a smile and “Is she not so cute?”

Cute? Charming? Endearing? So it might seem. Reason for envy? Absolutely!  That is, if it were true.  Yes, the tale is accurate.  The account is my life.  However, as blissful as it might sound, as beautiful as it might be or have been, it was not.  There were hidden hurts.  

I was a spoiled child. Not spoiled, overindulged or a tike with too much.  I had nothing! There was no love. My parents had no time for me. The two hired a woman to raise me before I was born.  I was given everything, anything my little heart desired, except a connection.  Try as I might, I could not bond with my parents.  I had elder sisters. However, they too abandoned me prior to my first appearance in their home.  

The pair was forever busy.  Each had friends who were surely more fun than a baby sibling.   Fine fabrics hung in their closets and were worn on their backs.  Their bedrooms were as full as their lives without me.  While it may seem that only I was unhappy in this home, in this family, at the age of eight and one half, I discovered the truth.

Ten days after my parents wedding anniversary, my Mom walked out!  I was eight.  My sisters were much older.  It was a Sunday. The five of us were it the same eatery we dined at each Sunday, just as we had for years.  We just ordered dinner when my eldest sibling asked for her allowance.  Mother said she could not have it until she cleaned her room.  Father, on the other hand, assured her she would never need to clean.  He would forever furnish her with a Maid and of course, her pocket money  

I will not bore you with the details or the drama, my friend.  Suffice to say, my mother looked across the table at her selfish children, her moneyed husband whose sincerest interest was to have more, and decided she wanted none of it.  Mommy rose from the table.  Walked towards the door and then, through it.  She left!  Stunned, the rest of us sat there for a minute.  I wonder; was my father thinking of the food that had yet to arrive, or . . .

I will never know. He never spoke to me much.  The next day he did tell us to clean our rooms. We did, but it was too late.  Mother was determined to make a life for herself and any of us who wished to join her.  For a time, there were two of us children.  My eldest sister and I elected to be with our Mom and her new husband, the man I finally felt I could call Dad.

While Mommy was awarded child support and alimony, she refused each.  Barbara wanted none of Michael’s “Dirty Money!” She had had enough of what she characterized as “ill gotten gains.”  That was the reason she chose to give it all up.  We moved to another State and to other than a wealthy suburb.  Our family of four lived a far different life than the one we had always known.  We were poor, dirt poor.

Living on $1500 a year . . . Yes, you read that right. Fifteen-hundred a year for a family of four.  Welfare knocked on our door and said, “You need to apply for financial assistance.  You are eligible.” However, my parents refused.  Mommy wanted no handouts.  Daddy yearned to make it on his, our own.  Mommy gardened.  Daddy did all our household repairs.  Logan returned to school and also worked for meager wages.  Mother too secured a position.  You might recall the once vibrant five and dime, W.T. Grant and Company. Mommy’s employee  discount helped.  The woman who for a score purchased her lingerie at Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Bonwit Teller’s and other  exclusive establishments bought my first brassiere at Grant’s.

As a child in this newer reality, I was allowed one new outfit in the Fall of the year, for the first day of school and one in the Spring.  Chic, expensive, exceptional and elegant designs? Not anymore.  There were no dollars for such fabulous duds.  Next to nothing at little cost would have to do.  This was true in every aspect of life.

Mommy grew vegetables. Daddy helped.  All our produce was fresh grown.  Breads, pies, cakes and cookies all came out of the family oven.  Store bought goodies were a luxury we could not afford.  Later, Daddy took up fishing.  Even before that, all our entrees were prepared from scratch. Meals were a time for conversation and connections. At last, I was connected!!!!!  That is rich; a richness I envied whenever and wherever I saw it.  Ultimately, I had it! With not a dime to my name, I had love!  I was loved!!!!!!  Mitt, I trust you likely think you have love as well, and money, and that is the reason others feel envious.  Again, I relate to your reality my friend Mitt.

Over the years, wealth once again became part of my life, or perhaps more accurately, in my Mom’s life, by extension, I too had enough. The family moved to another magnificent house.  A panoramic window looked out onto the ocean. The neighbors were highly educated, esteemed, experts in their respective fields.  You know Mitt; they were our kind of people.

While our life was similar to what it was in earlier, years it was not as it had ever been. The difference; this time was our greenbacks were clean!  We laughed often at our lot in life as we do now upon reflection.  So my friend, I do not envy you.  I have and want not.  Oh certainly Mitt, I, as most humans might, enjoy nice “things.”  I acknowledge that is far easier when earnings are great.  However; while I never expected to quote Governor Rick Perry, in this moment I will.  “There is a real difference between Venture Capitalism and Vulture Capitalism.”  My personal experience Mitt is: A vulture capitalist eats children and families.  A venture capitalist feeds people so that they might prosper.  A free market Entrepreneur wishes to ensure that every person, one and all, have the earnings necessary to live well.

References and Resources . . .

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Why We Say Save Our Schools





copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or  BeThink.org

I am but one who will stand strong to ensure an equal education for all.  All who do or plan to, will express themselves in various ways.  Some will March. Others will Rally or gather in Conference.  Several have, do, or expect to act locally.  Countless change what they can for children within the dynamics that define their family.  Nationwide, innumerable Americans join hands and embrace a common cause. Let us Save Our Schools.

Jointly, we wear our hearts on our sleeves so that our children, our communities, this country can see we care.  As our forefathers did before us, Americans invest in a shared future.  We trust that learned little ones, as well as those denied an adequate education must have a solid foundation on which to build.  Our offspring and we will suffer if, indeed, we do not work for the good of our young.  It seems our many decades long shortsighted education “solutions” have already had an adverse affect.  People from every political Party and point of view proclaim the need to teach the children well.  

The Left, “Right,” and middle muse; our education system needs reform. We must Save Our Schools.  The questions are how, which schools; charter, private or public institutions and why?  These queries lead to further reflection.  What might be preserved, reserved, reformed or left for ruin?  Would it be better to transform an arrangement that many agree fails our young?  The answers spur people to act.  It seems with little forethought, the process has already begun.  Indeed, change commenced decades ago.  

Headlines herald the news. Jonathan Mahler wrote in The Deadlocked Debate Over Education Reform. “The modern school-reform movement sprang to life in 1983, with the release of “A Nation at Risk,” an education report commissioned by the Reagan administration that boldly stated…that the United States had embarked upon a “unilateral educational disarmament…The Clinton administration’s emphasis on national standards… President George W. Bush’s declaiming of “the soft bigotry of low expectations”… ”

For some, the history is nothing in comparison to what we witness daily.  Children are being left behind.  The past was but prologue. It is now our present.  Education observer Mahler continues. “On to the current generation of reformers, with their embrace of charter schools and their attacks on the teachers union. The policies and rhetoric changed, often dramatically, but the underlying assumption remained the same: Our nation’s schools are in dire need of systemic reform.”  The debate as to how, why, when and where has become less about the little ones and more about rhetoric.  Messages are “framed” to ensure that a political agenda is maximized.

Today. Public Education has all but Perished.

The Frame; Change arrived in the form of “No Child Left Behind.” This law caused our children to languish further.  The One-Size-Fits-All tools adopted fit very few.  The state and the nation are pursuing policies that have not closed the achievement gap and have aggravated the situation for many students.  “Indeed, No Child Left Behind’s ‘get-tough’ approach to accountability has led to more students being left even further behind, thus feeding the dropout crisis and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” ~ Bob Valiant. Kennewick School District. Education Matters. March 19, 2011

Political postures are effective, that is, for all but the young and their Moms, Dads, Grandparents and Guardians. These elders see the pain on their little loved ones faces.

Students Struggle to Survive…

Curriculums have been cut to the core.  Classes canceled. Test scores and statistics govern what occurs. “Thousands of schools across the nation are responding to the reading and math testing requirements laid out in No Child Left Behind, President Bush’s signature education law, by reducing class time spent on other subjects and, for some low-proficiency students, eliminating it.”  School Districts confronted with possible punishment, or the promise of financial rewards, dependent on student test scores, thought it wise to remove coursework that did not pertain to the subjects tested.  

Reading and math became the sole priorities. All other topics in a school’s curriculum, with the exception of Science, at minimum, were reduced in scope.  Some disciplines, such as the Arts, Social Science, and Literature were as the children, left further behind to the point of being lost.  For persons who care about our progeny, this point alone became the raison d’être for a Save Our Schools March, a Rally, a Conference, and a mass Movement.  The populace observed Students Stifled Will Not Sing or Soar. The pain became more and more palpable.

Students Stifled Will Not Sing or Soar.

Critical Thought, Creativity, and Curiosity are now null and void in our schools.  Public and private institutions wane.  Rather than a shared success among all students, today we have winners and losers.  Parents work to see that their children achieve.  The less financially fortunate will wait in enrollment lines for hours in hopes that by lottery, their young ones will triumph.  

Yet, few truly do.  In contrast to the much-touted claims, children who are accepted into these so-called “exceptional” charter schools are, in actuality, no better off than those who are rejected.  After a lengthy study, Senior Harvard University Lecturer Katherine K. Merseth observed, “No matter how they are measured, there are some amazing charter schools…At the same time, however, we know that there are many charters that are not successful. A further disappointment for me is that essentially given the freedom to create any form or structure of schooling, the vast majority of charter schools look just like the schools we’ve already got. ”

Religious schools fare no better.  Often seen as the savior for less than affluent parents, they also struggle with standards. Hard times push Catholic schools toward crisis.  Enrollment is down and the need to satisfy an insatiable American need for “accountability” is up.  Government sponsored voucher programs contributed to each of these truths.  Popular conventions are also the reason that Standardized Tests Taken by Nine Out of Ten Voucher Schools.

Even private schools have not fully escaped what often holds young learners back.  Standardization, in other words and ways, the testing craze is alive and well in exclusive schools.  These privileged institutions too have seen the errors of this way. Entrance exams are inaccurately evaluated. “Substantially equivalent” educations are as advertised.  Differences, in the end, are not realized,  Hence, as might be expected, most every curriculum in each locale has suffered, just as students have.  Again, as parents pour over test scores and the scours on little ones faces, in harmony, they chant “Please Save Our Schools!”

“Only two subjects [math and reading.] What a sadness,” said Thomas Sobol, an education professor at Columbia Teachers College and a former New York State education commissioner. “That’s like a violin student who’s only permitted to play scales, nothing else, day after day, scales, scales, scales. They’d lose their zest for music.”~ Sam Dillon The New York Times.  March 26, 2006

Students are at risk when punitive policies promote more scales, less music!

“Teach to the Tests.”

Proud Papa Barack Obama understands the problem and spoke to it in March 2011.  As the nation’s Chief Executive stood before students and parents at a town hall hosted by the Univision Spanish-language television network, at Bell Multicultural High School, in Washington, District of Columbia, the Professor turned President said, “Too often what we have been doing is using these tests to punish students or to, in some cases, punish schools.  Yet, Administrations Mandate More Standards, Scores, Statistics, and School Closures.  Today, Performance is Reviewed Rigorously. “Race To The Top Requirements” rule.  Please peruse Race to the Top Program Executive Summary.  Department of Education. November 2009

While intellectually, Mister Obama understands the myriad hazards associated with “common core standards,” he and his Administration adopted these.  “Standardized-test scores can provide useful information about how students are doing  But as soon as the scores are tied to firing staff, giving bonuses, and closing schools, the measures become the goal of education, rather than an indicator.  Race to the Top went even beyond NCLB in its reliance on test scores as the ultimate measure of educational quality.” ~ Diane Ravitch. Historian and author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.  Newsweek. March 20, 2011

Race To The Top Myths.

  • Teachers are to blame for the education crisis.
  • Business practices build solidly performing students and schools.
  • Rigor is “right.”
  • Teaching is a task anyone can do.

Race To The Top Truths.

“Race to the Top? National standards for math, science, and other school subjects?  The high-powered push to put them in place makes it clear that the politicians, business leaders, and wealthy philanthropists who’ve run America’s education show for the last two decades are as clueless about educating as they’ve always been.” ~ Marion Brady. veteran Teacher, Administrator, Curriculum Designer and Author. Washington Post

Administration after Administration administers standardized exams.  The scores reveal one truth consistently; our children are not standard.  Each is a Whole being, a child who yearns to learn more than memorize.  Indeed, to commit a fact, figure, or formula is not learning at all. Rote and regurgitate; this rhythm does not resonate in a mind, heart, body or soul.  Adults will tell you, in retrospect such an education is not an education at all.

Still policymakers are intent. Reinstatement. Rewrite. When will Legislators learn? The Race Leaves Children Further Behind. Please Save Our Schools!

National Standards. Low Expectations.

Countless concur. Standards and standardization in our schools has not helped advance humanity.  These are the cause of the stagnation we see in our schools.  Indeed, with the restrictions imposed, more students and Teachers dropout of an already diminished system.

More than five years ago, it was calculated that “Every Nine Seconds in America a Student Becomes a Dropout. Then and now we pay the cost for inadequate education structures.  

The number of Teachers who dropout of our schools in the first five years of their careers is far greater than that of students.   Studies show the most qualified Educators leave first.  Little support, poor conditions, and poverty play roles in what occurs.  Innumerable acknowledge; scarcity and the problems this puzzle presents within our society, specifically for our schools, is intolerable.  

Writer Kozol perhaps, speaks for the American people when he says,  “Good God, with all these gifts, useful energy, innocence, curiosity, why don’t we give [our children] everything we have?

This question is one every individual has asked at some time in their lives.  Even the childless are troubled by perceived injustices.  Teachers are troubled.  Parents perturbed.  A Professor ponders and shares her exploration. University of Berkeley Social Scientist Dacher Keltner reminds us of our roots.  Innately, humans hold dear the notion “survival of the kindest.” This truth is our strongest instinct. “Because of our very vulnerable offspring, the fundamental task for human survival and gene replication is to take care of others,” said Keltner.

Dacher Keltner’s research reveals that Political divides and partisanship disappears when compassion, particularly for the children, is the issue.  Possibly, this is the essence that energizes the masses to Rally, to March and to build a Movement.  The people are compelled to call for action.

Finally, as education worsens Moms and Dads put their habits and hubris aside.  Many have decided dollars can no longer dictate deeds as have been true in the past.  Compassion for the children can and must be our guide.  

Perhaps, that is the real reason people from every political Party will join hands. In Washington District of Columbia, in Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, California, in every State in the Union the public proclaims, we will not abandon our public schools.  This is why I will March, attend a Rally, Register for a Conference or two, and you? Will you?

References for Real and Rhetorical Education Reform . . .

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The People Ignored or Ignore?



Obama’s Journey: All Aboard!!!!

“All aboard?” The conductor cries out.  The people, men, women, and children file in.  The train fills quickly.  Finally, after what are only mere minutes, the engine turns.  Steam, or today, diesel fumes, billow out the pipes.  We are off on a road of no return. It is another election season. In truth, these never really begin nay end.  The cycle is as the chug-chug of any locomotive; it is continuous, monotonous, a wearisome drone.  The series starts as it always does, with hope, dreams of change, and the catechetic realization that the Messiah has come.  Soon we see this redeemer is but a man or woman, a meager mortal.  He, be he the President of the United States, the Libyan “Leader,” the “boy next door,” the “good girl,” you or me is not the savor we imagined.  

Days, weeks, or months pass.  It might even be a near three years. Nonetheless, sooner or later, perchance, all along, we realize he or she did not liberate us from all that keeps us down.  Indeed, after a while, the people proclaim Ignore this Mr. President. You already ignore.  Yet, in truth, the writer just as most the rest of us ignored reality all along.  The promises we attributed to Candidate Obama were not as we thought we heard. On any and most every subject, our redeemer realized as he or she pledged.  The problem was, as it is, we ignored, as we do today, the obvious.

Our rescuer never had omnipotent power.  He did not come with the supreme excellence we saw in the blinding lights of a projected image.  He was, as he is cautious, conservative and well connected.  She too has her flaws.  Diplomacy? That was never her style.  She Demands. Now he commands.  The President, just as the Philanthropist, is the Chief.  How did they achieve such authority and acclaim, we the people anointed, appointed and bestowed powers upon them that allow them to speak for us.  We knew who he or she was.  Yet, we told ourselves, in time, what was would be different. Hence, with all the others, we hopped onboard. Inconvenient realities?  Statements and actions contrary to what we wanted to believe? Ah, the public said in harmony, these too will pass.

In 2008 the people could have heard what hearkens forward to today’s veracity.  Obama Supports FISA Legislation, Angering Left  As Senator, Barack Obama forgave the indiscretion of wiretaps.  He voted for what was characterized as the “compromise Bill.”  The compromiser was conciliatory months before he was elected.  Six days later, other actions prompted the headline Obama’s Supreme Move to the Center, just as he has consistently done as President. Perhaps those no longer aboard think of tax breaks and the recent reforms foregone and agreed upon.  The President still does.  The question is will he again  concede and why might this be a possibility? We the people ignored the power of our silent approval

People persuaded or desperate to believe act as parents of a very young and irresistible child.  You may have seen these, easily swayed by cuteness, Moms and Dads on the train.  The tot held dearly in the arms of those who love him or her defies any and every request.  Still, Mom and Pop smile.  Looks or words of scorn are set aside.  Parents tell themselves the behavior is but a phase. Besides, in the moment, seconds after the transgression, the child cried out, “I will listen Mom.”  “I will not do it again.”  Daddy, “I did not mean to . . ”  Just as the caregivers, the bandwagon forgives the unforgivable.  

Oh, you protest. “He lied.”  “She told an untruth.” “What of the promises, those broken and the ones now characterized as a work in progress?”  Well, there always were assurances and excuses.  The need to compromise, at least temporarily is a truism, when needed.  One can say that the unfilled vows are of this milieu of compromise..

It is we who pledged much, who pulled the wool over our own eyes.  When we climbed on board we chose to suspend disbelief.  Now we scream.

I am so angry, frustrated, depressed . . . .  pick an appropriate descriptive adjective. This is a BAD deal.  It would have been far better to have a drawn a line –  A LONG TIME AGO.   You CANNOT fix the deficit problem simply by cutting  . . .

Others muse “I hate Obama,”  It seems “support for Obama depends” on the person.  Objective observers, if there are any, laugh.  How silly the scene.  Humans blame others for what they feel.   The President did as he said he would do on the campaign trail, for the most part, with few exceptions.  Indeed, how many of us when immersed in realities out of our control, acknowledge that perchance, we must take a different path?

Mister Obama is no different than the child who charms a Mom or Dad.  Just as any “newborn” does, Barack endeared himself to us by being a novel entrance into our mundane lives.  “He is cute!” exclaimed and enthusiastic country.  Magazine covers were devoted to his appearance.  President Beefcake? was quite the comer.  On board that train, heads turned.

You may recall, before “Barry” Obama ever took office a headline read, Time Nears Completion of Every Possible Obama Cover Variation.  Joseph Biden also captivated, proclaimed, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”  How could a bandwagon of people resist that dazzling smile, the cheerful disposition, and the brilliant mind, all in one man?  America did not.

I recall my own experience.  As someone who did not support Senator Obama for President, I too stood in line. I drove miles and waited for hours just to see and hear him.  A crowd of thousands packed the stadium.  We endured heavy rain as we waited.  Yet, all remained patient.  Once the doors opened, the ample audience climbed on board.  Another long delay did not quell enthusiasm.  Nor did the countless oddities.  I listened and heard the masses applaud pronouncements that were and are contrary to the supposed “Progressive” platform.  I wondered, as did a Sun Sentinel Reporter.  The day after the “demonstration” of love and idolatry, Anthony Man penned, Did Obama know where he was for Sunrise rally?

In those days, the American people ignored the glaring contradictions and deluded themselves in regards to the challenges.  As a nation, we were enamored.  The possibility that someone might show us the way entranced the electorate.  People “hoped” this charismatic gentle man, “No Drama Obama” would be the calm after the storm.  Thus, with abundant anticipation, people said, ‘Come on board Barack.” Be our Commander-In-Chief.  Do as the public thinks should be done even if you never said you would.

A President should lead.  A President should stand for something.  A President should not be afraid of speaking bluntly –  to those who oppose him politically, to those who support him, to the American people.

Today, these same individuals utter in disgust or with much “disappointment” in a man who is as he told us he would be, ” You have on occasion demonstrated that you know how to do that. ”  Innumerable inquire with seemingly infinite support, Mister President,” Why did we not hear that blunt speech as this crisis was developing?”

In 2008 you inspired people with your words, with your call to something better…. Increasingly, many of us are giving up, pulling back, because we find we are not listened to.  Our concerns, if not ignored, are dismissed.

So go ahead Mr. President.  Ignore me.  Ignore all the voices that have been trying to explain to you, trying to help you help this country.  You might as well.  It seems as if you have been ignoring us all along.

In truth, it took two.  Hand-in-hand  we traveled with our peers, the future President, and together we gave rise to the rally cries.  Obama is the Change.   We have hope.  We believe, “Yes, we, he can!”  Once we were all aboard we proclaimed in unison, Senator Obama has the Audacity to Reclaim the American Dream..  He was indeed the candidate with the compelling biography. His mere presence propelled us to become passengers.  Today, together on the train once more, riders offer only remorse.

In the days and years to come, persons who never boarded the train, people who remained stalwart on the platform at the station will express the sentiment; once again.  The public ignored the candidate who is now President..  Just as assuredly passengers will shriek as they have “There are achievements.   I do not deny that.  But they are far from what we were promised, far from what we had reason to expect.”  Indeed historians and scribes will reason. Nonetheless, proclamations will persist, and defensive postures will seek solace in the safety of a crowd..

People will adopt a plea .”Perhaps it is arrogant to think my personal thoughts are of any value to anyone other than myself.  Yet when I offer them, people respond.  So long as they do, I will from time to time offer them.  As I did yesterday.  As I am doing today.”  Hmm?  Might these words be as candidate and President Obama would say?  As long as there are people aboard I am “fired up.” “Ready to go.” Climb onboard Americans.  Get ready for another ride.

References. Resources. Rally ‘Round and Ignore . . .

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Progressives. Meek.Greene. Strangers in a Strange Place



Campaign ’10: Meek v Greene [1st Debate Overview]

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

More than a month has passed, actually now it has been two.  In the third week of June, I heard the song in my head for the first time. With each day that passes the volume increases.  Friends, family, and familiars were privy to what has been a curiosity for me. Still haunted by what I know needs to be shared farther and wider, today I tell you my tale.  The story begins with two Florida Democrats.  Each aspires to fill the one open United States Senate seat.  The date; June 22, 2010.  I was amongst those invited to attend the initial Meek Greene debate.. The place?  The Palm Beach Post headquarters.   The time? Midday.  The reality realized and the reason my mind marinated in the melody titled It’s About Time. Today, Democrats, Progressives are not as they were.

I knew this was true and have for quite some time.  Still, never was this veracity as stark as it appeared to me on that day.   Oh yes.  Daily, none of us escapes what fills the airwaves.  We have heard the newer definitions and seen greater divisions within the Party; indeed, the population, for years.  During election seasons yours and my mailbox burst with messages, all of which signal the metamorphosis.   Often, in most every campaign, “It is about time, about space, and about two men [or women] in the strangest place.”  The difference for me, is blatancy.

A close comparison, face-to-face with the candidates, the two campaigns, persons in the crowd, and the strange circumstances that surround each of these, magnified what is evident everyday.  Amongst the audience alone, there were Democratic loyalists, persons with a strong  commitment to the Party.  Independents, people from the Press, there only to cover a story took their chairs.  Present were former Republicans, individuals who did not identify their preference, and those truly enamored with a billionaire’s earnings.  Then, there were a few such as me.  I value the common good, government of, by, and for all people.  The commonweal, I believe, is the basis for all that ensures a quality life, liberty and the possible pursuit of happiness.  We were a somewhat skewed sampling of the electorate. Within the Senatorial candidates and campaigns one could see aspects of any or all of us.

Their beliefs, background, and circumstances that brought each challenger to this scene were as dissimilar as the makeup of the spectators.  Jeff Greene led a lavish life of luxury and indulgence.  Even in the hard times, he managed to attend all the best schools and work in exclusive environs.  

Kendrick Meek has a skeleton in his closet, or at least that is how Mister Greene framed the phenomenon.  That aside, Senatorial hopeful Meek has a far more humble background.  He is and has always been an average American, amongst the working class.  Despite his less than glamorous childhood; he has achieved. Ultimately, Mister Meek worked his way into the Halls of Congress.  Currently, he serves Floridians in the United States House of Representatives.    Separately and together the two personify the strangeness of the times we live in and the dilemma that has become Democratic politics.

In 2010, Democrats are a divided bunch.  Perhaps, they always were.  Near a century ago, Will Rogers asserted, “I do not belong to an organized political Party.  I am a Democrat.”  At present, a far Left fringe and followers of a more conservative liberal agenda are self-identified Progressives.   As one author observed, Beware of the Progressive Democrat.  Helen Redmond cautions against a “Party of Lemmings.”  One might wonder . . .

What Do Progressives Believe?

When I was younger, I trusted that Democrats believed in social equality.  Those who identified themselves as advocates for democracy, a principle that speaks to government of, by, and for the people, marked off the box on their voter registration forms that denotes, “Democrat.”  However, slowly, over the decades, a silent transition occurred.  

Democrats began to define themselves as “Progressives,” or at least many did.  Unlike a score ago, when a large body of research revealed “that individuals were frequently unable to correctly identify their ideology, unlikely to express an ideologically constrained set of political values, and unable to consistently use ideology to inform their political preferences in a coherent way,” today individual survey respondents  report a preference for  an ideology that does not fit neatly into the conventional  liberal or conservative categories.  

Polarization has come to define political elites and the common people. People presume that labels are legitimate.  The latest examination of the electorate exposes what is evident through Jeff Greene and Kendrick Meek.

Let the Debate Begin. Pundits, Press, the Public Define Progressive Positions

The opening scene began with little fanfare.  The dynamic duo, or applicants for the United States Senate seat, walked onto what sufficed for a stage, and spoke to citizen concerns.

Democratic Party neophyte, frequently featured CNBC guest speaker, The Man Who Shorted the Subprime Market, also known as a billionaire, Jeff Greene espoused his expertise.  Next to him, and there to promote his past performance, as well, was United States Congressman Kendrick Meek.  

Years earlier, the specifics of what each said, would not have been defined as democratic.  Today, we see this novel truth daily. Countless Democrats, moderates, conservatives, and liberal, call their positions Progressive. Studies seem to support  the divergence that has occurred.  For me, the hour and one half encapsulated what had occurred over time and in the vast space we classify as America.

The candidates posited their “Progressive” practices.  Humanitarian travels were amongst Greene’s treasure trove.  A trip to an island Republic, certainly would calm the United States, Cuban conflict. Further investigation revealed that Cuban American affairs were not Mister Greene’s priority.  Personal purchases played a primary role in what was professed to be a charitable  mission.  

Kendrick Meek humbly offered his own openhanded gestures. He unassumingly touched on his work in Haiti.  The Congressman never mentioned the banner headline; Haiti tragedy puts Kendrick Meek in spotlight,  his record. or the ample documentation to support his claims.  

Congressman Meek has often been characterized as an actual Progressive by numerous reputable and respected organizations.  On many themes the Representative speaks and votes  as a more liberal person might.  However, whether or not Mister Meek is an authentic Progressive, well, that depends on who you ask and what actions you assess.

For persons who favor a fuller, more robust reform than we have seen enacted, Kendrick Meek can be quite regressive and Progressive. Thus, the dilemma for persons in the audience such as me.  I felt  and feel immersed in a strange time, at a strange place,  almost as though I were in outer space.

The only clear consensus; corruption.  Weeks before the big debate, billionaire Greene stressed what average Americans might think questionable, regardless of a Party affiliation.  Jeff Greene accused Kendrick Meek. and the Congressman’s Mom of being in the pocket of an arraigned developer.  Mister Meek responded then, and in this more public forum.  Meek maintained his innocence and addressed his association.  Jobs and development for Liberty City residents was the reason Representative Meek had any relationship with the local businessman.  

Surely a Progressive or a Democrat would declare that rationale just. Yet, what of Congressman Meek’s vote on House Resolution 310?  “It hands over  public lands to an organization that seeks to develop them for its own private uses.”

What might spur a shopping spree or justify a jaunt to Cuba with no visible altruistic intent?  Well, only Jeff Greene knows for sure and he has yet to suggest what might help a Progressive believe he had the people’s best interest at heart.  Evidence for such a claim cannot be easily unearthed.  Nonetheless, the candidates Campaign Manager, in a telephone conversation, assured me that aspirant Greene is absolutely a Progressive.

Emblematic of Elections and Electorate

During the formal appearance, and earlier in interviews held with the Editors, Jeff Greene and Kendrick Meek outlined their stance on the issues.  Jeff Greene articulated his values and addressed his financial worth as well.  People’s interest was obviously peaked.  After all, money in America is not only a source of pride, as it is for the billionaire businessman; it is also scorned.  Dependent on your principles or principal a person could be impressed or disgusted by what they think decadence.  

Mister Greene was asked why he thinks himself the more priceless aspirant.  His response evoked thoughts for why he may not be.  Default swaps loomed large in this discussion.  Lead Journalists felt no need to focus on the topic when they addressed Congressman Meek. Issues were the central theme.

Environmental concerns, Mister Meek explained, was an issue that helped demonstrate his consistency.  His record on Education, Health Care, the Economy, and Veterans Affairs, Meek said helped to illustrate that he was a worker.  He has been and would be  there for the people.  In the Meek interview, credit default swaps were not the issue. The financial faultfinding the Editors found in regards to Congressman Meek was his action on overcrowded classrooms.  

Mister Meek believes that Legislators must fund schools as the class-size amendment states.  The candidate cries out in favor of a reasonable student-teacher ratio.  On this subject, Kendrick Meek does exemplify what I think is a Progressive point of view.  

However, only days before the debate Alex Sink, another supposed “Progressive” candidate, and I believe a life long Democrat who seeks the Governor’s seat, stated that she disagrees with Kendrick Meek on this issue.  Jeff Greene appears to stand silently on the subject, perhaps, in the corner of an overcrowded classroom. In this strange time, it would seem there is no safe place.  There are only strange locales where the song plays as background music.  Might we consider many a recent political and philosophical campaign in this country?

Hillary Clinton recently described a progressive as “someone who believes strongly in individual rights and freedoms, who believes that we are better as a society when we’re working together,” (CNN/You Tube Debate). The description offered by Center for American Progress is more precise. Their website explains, “As progressives we believe that America should be a country of boundless opportunity-where all people can better themselves through education, hard work, and the freedom to pursue their dreams. We believe this will only be achieved with an open and effective government that champions the common good over narrow self-interest, harnesses the strength of our diversity, and secures the rights and safety of its people.”

A different perspective is offered by the monthly magazine The Progressive which explains that since 1948 it has “steadfastly stood against militarism, the concentration of power in corporate hands, and the disenfranchisement of the citizenry.

While people and organizations might posture and proclaim an allegiance, what is perchance more real is The Role of Reputations.  Public opinion can be manipulated.  What the Press presents and persons choose to believe can build a movement.  Frequently, voters cast a ballot for or against an aspirant based solely on a sound bite,  Personal jabs can count more than a candidate’s record.

The Role of Reputation

Every person I spoke with before the two men entered the room had an impression of who the individuals might be. The records paved the way; nevertheless, in National, state, or local campaigns the Party, and or person who sets the agenda  will affect electoral outcomes.

Framing and funds to move the message mean more than a “fact” check.  Reputation rules.  A political hopeful will push possible hot buttons, posture, and pay for Press that promotes his or her position.  Personal attacks are preferable, perhaps more so today in a social media saturated society.  On the day of the debate as occurs daily on radio, television, blogs, and periodicals, Progressive politics are not the paramount issue.  Whether he [or she] was a newcomer to the Party or a ” career politician” matters more.

Alliances and allegiances also count.  When a candidate says they support the President and his policies this can work for or against him [or her].  Progressives might pounce, “panderer,” “Party pleaser,” or a person unwilling to really risk reform. On this single subject devoted Democrats have lost what would be their base.

War and Peace. Fund the Fight. Commit to End the Combat.

Congressman Meek supports global tranquility and a pay-as-you-go system.  Each could be considered a Progressive value.  However, in practice, the fiscally aware United States Representative, voted to fund further combat on credit.

Representative Meek recognizes and states, were we to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we, as a nation, would greatly reduce our expenses.  “The war was a reason for chest beating in many cases and saying we need to continue to fight in Iraq, not looking at the price tag,” Meek said. “When it comes down to the war, I think we have to have enough discipline to say when.”  Then, days later, just as he had on other occasions, Congressman Meek voted to continue the flow of cash for endless war.

Strange as the contrast between Representative Meek’s rhetoric, voting record, might be, these are nothing in comparison to the silence heard from the Greene campaign. When asked of the war in Afghanistan, Jeff Greene endorsed an eternal devotion to Israel.  (Meek agreed.)  Mister Greene assured the audience, military engagements in the Middle East would not diminish his dedication.

Jeff Greene (and Kendrick Meek) avowed loyalty to war and peace as though the two divergent possibilities could be one.  The Progressive populace, on the other hand, is more definitive.

Foreign­Policy

Self-identified progressives appear to have a strong commitment to diplomacy in international relations and are predisposed to think of immigrants in a positive light. Zogby reports that 77% of progressives say that it is not America’s job to promote its values around the world and 97% think that our efforts in the war on terror should focus on reducing anti-American sentiment rather than on military force. . .

Activist progressives identified by Pew are even more likely to be dovish in their approach to military affairs than liberals. For instance, 96% of activist progressives think that diplomacy is the best way to ensure peace compared to 76% of liberals. About 78% of activist progressives believe that the United States should take its allies’ interests into account even if it means making compromises with them and 93% agreed that it is acceptable to refuse to fight in a war one believes to be morally wrong..

Then there is the issue of tax and spend.  Did the candidates think it wise to allocate Federal funds to forward America’s future?  As a United States Senator, would Mister Meek or Mister Greene vote to invest even more money in a Military Industrial Complex?  Would either work to endow the infrastructure, education, environmental research, or expand the development of renewable fuels? Perhaps the answer is revealed in personal realities.  Historically, how have Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene handled their own taxes? Obfuscation and again the role of reputation reign in the Greene rhetoric .  Representative Meek returns to his theme, the record.

Tax and Spend

Traditionally, a “Progressive” tax structure is one that charges those with higher incomes.  This is, usually, a prospect that Democrats endorse.  As one would expect, Florida Democrat and candidate for the United States Senate, Kendrick Meek supports such a system.  On this issue, Citizens for Tax Justice with an established thirty-year mission of “working for a fair and sustainable tax system” rated Congressman Meek’s record 100% in support of a Progressive tax.  Citizens for Tax Justice and Congressman Meek advocate for  “Taxation that minimizes distortion of economic markets,” CTJ and Kendrick Meek also think it necessary to “Require the wealthy to pay their fair share.”

Neither are philosophies reformed Reagan Republican Greene, from his actions, would favor.  The fiscally very flush candidate nay his wife, think such an agenda serves them well.  When asked Will Jeff Greene release his tax returns? they exclaimed in chorus, “Hell no!”

Ah; the paradox. For Democrats, and or Progressives this is truly a strange time, a strange place and these two men are in the strangest place, or they are but a reflection of a novel reality.  For me, personally, favoritism for other than the greater good is extraordinary.  In a country where all men are believed to be equal I struggle to understand.  Thus, as I cast my ballot for the candidate that offers a chance at meaningful reforms, Congressman Meek, I could not help but think of America and the newly adopted ballad; Look What They’ve Done to My Song.

Reformers and References . . .

Choice Becomes More Clear; Carole P. Kaye for Florida House District 86



Carole Kaye Democrat for House 86

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

“I don’t really want to stop the show,

But I thought that you might like to know,”


That the choice becomes clearer.

“So let me introduce to you

The one and only”
Carole Kaye, Candidate for Florida House District 86

Local Election Days are upon us.  For months now candidates for elected office have roamed their regions.  Everyday people have had ample opportunity to meet, greet, and yes, even eat a meal with aspirants.  Often, one challenger’s name is better known. He or she may be an incumbent, or closely associated with one. Consider the Florida House race in District 86. Dissimilar Democratic candidates Carole Kaye and Lori Berman appear on the ballot. Who are these office seekers?  What will they do for my community, commerce, our children, and me? Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and parts of Boca Raton constituents, who have not made politics their lives, search for answers as they travel to the polls.

Citizens are inundated with “information.”  Posters dot the landscape.  Banners fly on Boulevards.  Constituents don pins and place placards on their lawn.  Windows and automobile bumpers have not escaped unscathed.  Today, the message heard on avenue is “The time is now.”  Indeed, it is.  Early voting began on August 9 and will continue through August 22, 2010.  In Florida, while technically Primary Election Day is August 24, 2010, in reality it is today. In Palm Beach County House District 86, Primary Election Day is the final deciding date. Democrats with different styles compete for state House 86 seat.  There is no Republican challenger in this race.  The winner of the Primary will represent South Palm Beach County communities. Yet, many people do not feel equipped to decide.  Whom might I cast a ballot for, the much lauded Lori Berman or the lesser known, highly qualified, Attorney, Educator, and person who for years has shared and cared for my backyard, Carole Penny Kaye.  

Bit of Background


Perchance a bit of background might help me, the voter, more than the hype.  For a Democratic aspirant, a District with an overwhelmingly Democratic constituency can be quite attractive.  Fifty-four [54] percent of the people who reside in District 86 are registered Democrats, However, this was not the reason Carole Kaye decided to run for public office in the region.  This territory was and is her home.  From the first, and throughout her life, Ms Kaye has personified a commitment to her community.  

After college, she became a Teacher.  One score and five years later, Carole Kaye returned to the classroom, this time as a student.  Kaye capably completed her law degree.  Since then she has served as an Immigration Attorney.  Ms Kaye, through her skills, and abilities gives voice to persons who are guaranteed due process rights by the United States Constitution.  Carole Kaye believes the rights of her clients must be protected; that calling is her greatest responsibility.  As a Representative she will see herself as a civil servant.  Ms Kaye also affirms that, if elected, the populace she represents will be her principal priority.

Lori Berman, by contrast, is a non-practicing attorney. Originally, Ms Berman entered the race in her home District, 87.  Republican challenger Bill Hager also sought the peoples’ vote in that region.  However, a window opened. Maria Sachs, who had represented District 86, declared herself a candidate for the State Senate seat vacated by Ted Deutch, Ms Berman’s friend and one-time employer. Hence, Ms Berman slammed the door to District 87 shut. As Lori Berman recounts, at the request of her well-connected acquaintance, Representative Kevin Rader, a Delray Beach Democratic legislator, she chose to abandon her plans and run for the seat in District 86. Thus, the now 86th District hopeful, Berman, left her home community and the campaign she began behind.  The opportunity in the new district was hard to refuse.  

Ms Berman, an abundantly funded one-time Legislative Aide to former United States. Representative Robert Wexler and to his successor, Ted Deutch, understood that in a region where only 21 percent of registered voters are Republicans and 23 percent are without a party affiliation, she has an enhanced chance.  The likelihood of a win in this locality was thought far better than it might have been in the race she fled. Soon, Lori Berman will know whether her bet paid off.

Carole Kaye will also learn; is this the year that people take back their elections, or will politicians again exert their power? Will ample contributions and connections trump a genuine commitment?  Only citizens can decide.

Candidates. Campaigns. Community and Commitment.


During the course of the campaign each candidate spoke to fellow Democrats on the issues of import.  Berman and Kaye put out position pages and papers. These too reflect the disparity, the difference between these candidates and the variance in their dedication.

Each has identified them selves as a grassroots campaigner. However, even a local periodical which endorses Ms Berman questions this truth. The Palm Beach Post points to Lori Berman’s well-established network of politicos.   Many on Ms Berman’s list of impressive backers are powerful persons with whom the candidate associated with professionally.  

Carole Kaye also has gathered and accepted endorsements. The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance officially stated the organization stands with Carole Kaye and her candidacy.  Democracy for America’s Palm Beach County affiliate, and the United Haitian American Democratic Club also offered formal statements of support.  The acknowledgement of these also reflects what is real.  Carole Kaye connects to   a broad group of persons in her District.  She takes every opportunity to express her appreciation for her community as she did just days ago.

As was true for other local hopefuls, Ms Kaye was given an opportunity to seek an endorsement from the Palm Beach County Chapter of Democracy for America.  The District 86 Democrat participated fully in a comprehensive evaluation process.  

Hopefuls were first seen and heard at many neighborhood candidate forums.  Those who were thought viable Democrats received  announcements from DFA.   Aspirants were asked if they would wish to submit a required application for endorsement.  Respondents were also given survey questions to answer.. Also,  exhaustive interviews were mandated. After all the criterion was met, assessments were made.  

More than satisfied with candidate Carole Kaye’s performances and positions, the Chapter then offered their official statement of support.  Ms Kaye  was thusly invited to publicly meet, greet, and eat with DFA members. At this dinner meeting, she would have an opportunity to accept her endorsement, Humbly she agreed to appear.  On that occasion, Kaye stood in front of dedicated Democrats and offered her thanks.

There are many things that I am grateful for in this race for the State House.  I am most grateful that I have not been compromised by the process.  I am grateful that I am firm enough in my positions to withstand the seduction of interest group endorsements and the promise of their donations, I am blessed by the strangers who have become friends and supporters, and I am comforted by the understanding of all who I meet who know, first hand, how difficult it is to run as an outsider in a county where democracy is not always practiced.

I have been asked to leave the race, threatened for staying in.  As they say, win or lose, after running one is never the same.  But I entered because of issues of social justice and intend to win because those issues are too important to come in second . . .especially in District 86.

I am thrilled that it is the voters who make the decision of who will serve…regardless of how the process is manipulated.   The district belongs to those who live in it.  As a resident of District 86, I intend to serve with great respect for the needs of those who live in my backyard.  

I am in this race to win; therefore, I must acknowledge the members of Democracy for America for their treasured endorsement.  Their confidence in me literally made my heart sing.  In the face of so much opposition, DFA’s belief in me gave me the courage to continue to fight.  Because the principles of the group are so close to my own, I am proud that the recognition was strong and unwavering.  I am proud to be the true progressive in my race, to not be, once elected, beholden to any special interest group, set of elected officials or party ideology.  I believe that everyone must have a voice in our democracy.  That ideal will serve as the guiding principle of my term as State Representative for District 86.

Thank you Hillary and Tom and to all the members of DFA.  You have given me the greatest gift—the gift of trust.  I will not disappoint.

Given a chance, those in attendance had faith that Carole Kay would be true to her word. Countless constituents authentically believe the choice has become clear.  A candidate committed to the people is far preferable to one who is but another Party loyalist, lobbyist for professional politicians, and partisan who carries the same old pail.  

Still, there are the many who have not had the time or energy to peruse the periodicals, to probe the candidates’ perspectives, or to authentically assess other than what is seen on the streets.   Elections have begun and so too might we.  People at this event, and others who were able to avail authentic information, today, could choose to do more than cast a ballot.  We might speak to those who are undecided and unfamiliar with Carole Kaye or Lori Berman.  Persons as devoted to a common cause could say, “Citizens who travel to the polls, may I introduce to you Carole Kaye, candidate for House District 86.”

Election Day and the Electorate


Now, we vote, with our hearts, our heads, and staunch determination to do what others think hard.  We work.  We watch. We wait for a novel truth; government of, by and for the people, not partisan promoters.  We hold our collective breath or exhale; express our commitment to our community and Carole Kaye who shares our interests.  As citizens throughout District 86 cast a ballot, we can do more than just hope that this overture did not arrive too late.  

Please remember, in Palm Beach County numerous neighborhood polling places have been open for days.  Tomorrow is another day. We can make this moment a new beginning. Least we forget, most who will go to the polls may have had little time to research, and read anything about the candidates, let alone this treatise.  For them, the choice was not well defined. This introduction is offered as an opportunity to further refine your understanding of the choice presented in District 86 and spread the word.  Contribute in whatever way you can. Volunteer. Take a friend to the polls.  Make telephone calls.  Chat with neighbor, or donate dollars.  

The decision is yours, mine, and ours.  By August 24, 2010 the decision will be made, the die cast.  Carole Kaye can,, with your help, represent us in Florida House District 86., Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and of Boca Raton. Let this elections begin with you.

References for a favorable reality; government of, by, and for the people . . .

Every Woman; Elizabeth Edwards



GMA – Elizabeth Edwards on Oprah

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

She is an eloquent speaker, an expressive author.  Elizabeth Edwards is effervescent, effusive, and has an excellent mind.  She understands profound policy issues as easily as she prepares a sandwich.   Her memoir appeared on The New York Times bestseller list.  Few think of Elizabeth Edwards as every woman.  Other daughters of Eve might say Edwards is exceptional; surely, she is not as I am.  Yet, life experiences might have taught Elizabeth Edwards otherwise.  Just as other ladies, she is brilliant, beautiful, and not nearly equal to a man.

For years, millions of Americans thought Elizabeth Edwards could be a political power in her own right.  However, friends aver, Elizabeth never had an interest in that.   First and foremost, the role Elizabeth Edwards has said is most significant to her is that of Mom.  She was happy to support her husband, glad for the opportunity to speak on his behest.  However, Ms Edwards was content to be behind the scenes.

The wife and mother believed as much of the country did.   Her spouse, John, was quite superior.  Not only was he an accomplished attorney, as was she, He was a Presidential candidate in 2008 and a Vice President aspirant in 2004.  John Edwards had a following, as did Elizabeth.  Each was “stunningly” successful in their work.  Certainly, the two were characterized as a powerful pair.  Neither could be called common.  Average Americans, they were not.  Still, John was the one who could command an audience, or a country.

He was handsome.  Granted, in her youth, Elizabeth was also smashing.  However, by 1998, a woman told an Edwards pollster the lovely ‘Lizabeth looked like his [John’s] mother, or older sister.  Indeed, this casual observer said of the then future Senator’s spouse, “I like that he’s got a fat wife.”   In the new book, “Game Change,” which documents the doings within the 2008 Presidential campaign, it is revealed that the aforementioned anonymous woman remarked in relief, “I thought he’d be married to a Barbie or a cheerleader.”  Perhaps these verbalized thoughts were the first reported glimpse into the present.  Elizabeth Edwards is every woman.  Infrequently, is John Edwards spouse looked upon as a separate individual.  Ms Edwards is regarded as unequal.

Ostensibly, Elizabeth and John were thought to have an exceptional life.   In truth, they were as you and I are.  Elizabeth Edwards and her husband are never free from human emotions.

Humans, adult men, women, adolescents, and sandlot age persons tell others a tale.  People weave a yarn that helps to inform others it also instructs the storyteller.  Dan P. McAdams, a Professor of Psychology at Northwestern and Author of the 2006 book, “The Redemptive Self” states, “(T)hese narratives guide behavior in every moment, and frame not only how we see the past but how we see ourselves in the future.”  This may explain why no two persons are alike.  However, the thought might not help to explicate what is real for a woman and not necessarily for a man.

Either might think themselves a failure if a relationship is severed.  Each could characterize himself or herself as someone who is not good enough. Perchance, societal standards will cause a woman greater stress.  A female might believe herself, damaged goods.  While Americans state that they have progressed beyond such suppositions, in actuality, any or many a label can classify a divorcee as undesirable.  Some will say she could not satisfy her man. Her age might ensure that she is thought to be an unattractive asset.  Perchance, some will say, she was too forthcoming, overly friendly when in the company of other men, a flirt, a floozy, and a femme fatale.  

Then there are the financial ramifications and considerations.  Men, before a divorce and after fare far better fiscally than their counterparts do.  Interestingly, a study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that men who think of women in a more traditional, some would say sexist manner earn more money than those chaps with equalitarian views.  The variance is vast.  The more old-fashioned a gent might be, the greater his rewards.

Women, on the other hand, make less on average than men do.  Parents may posture that an excellent education will nullify the gender gap.  However, the Pay Gap Persists; Women Still Make Less, than men do. Surely, most surmise, Elizabeth Edwards will be amongst the exception.  She need not worry.  Once separate, the conventional wisdom is, Elizabeth Edwards will be equal.  The accepted thought is Edwards is not every woman.

After all, Ms Edwards graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a degree in English. She went on to study American literature and ultimately secured her degree in law. She certainly is set for life. However, her status as a “professional” person, one out in the work-world became less of a priority.  Elizabeth Edwards, as her friends will attest to, thinks of herself as the proud mother of four children: Catharine, Emma Claire, and Jack. Her first child, Wade, died in 1996.  Time away from the office takes a fiscal toll.

In truth, even if Ms Edwards had remained a fixture in a solid firm, she would have experienced as most every other woman has.  Women Earn Less Than Men, Especially at the Top.  No matter the tale Elizabeth or every other woman might tell themselves, there are some facts that females know they must face.  Emotionally we can evolve.  Economically, the road is rougher for the “fairer” sex.

Only the desire to treat someone of a different sex fairly is great.  Parity is not the reality. Be it a former spouse with whom we have feuded, a friend, male or female by nature, wives wronged, and women righted, wish to achieve equality.  This may be why many women welcomed the prospect of “no fault” divorce.

While it is fine to think that we might not wish to place the onus on one or the other partner, in truth, the notion of a “no fault” divorce has done much harm.   A blameless split severs more than a legal bond.  It presents “perverse consequences for women,” says Lenore J. Weitzman, Associate Professor of Sociology at Stanford.  Divorce for women is just different than it is for men.  Perhaps, “There are enormous financial ramifications” even if you are Elizabeth Edwards.  Potential economic woes must worry any woman who contemplates the disillusion of a marriage.  The appearance of wealth, for women, maintained while married, will not warm the cockles of a heart hurt.  Nor will the façade fill her coffers.  Frequently, females face financial ruin, realized in divorce.

That truth has power.  Does a wife such as Elizabeth Edwards weigh the practical and or parse the paradox of a deceitful philanderer.  This may depend on the missus, the mistress, the money, and more.  In a moment, the yarn spun may be sufficient.  In the next minute, the same saga may sound silly, insincere, or just more of the madness.  If a husband is All apologies and earnestly expresses remorse, a couple could come to terms with what occurred.  An admission could kindle forgiveness, or after a series of confessions, one too many might be the permission to leave that a scorned wife sought.  Elizabeth Edwards stated she was “relieved” and hoped husband John’s long delayed disclosure would end the seemingly eternal drama that had become her life.

What we do not know; nor does the soon to be footloose and fancy-free Elizabeth, is how her saga will evolve.  While Elizabeth Edwards is every woman, she is like no one else.  Her tragedy, comic relief, travel, and she are uniquely her own.  This is true whether one’s name is Ellen, Emma, Eileen, Eve, or even Rielle.  What differs is who directs our performance, the stories told.

What might matter most to someone such as Elizabeth Edwards is how the eventuality of a divorce will affect her health.  Will this woman, who loves her life as a mom, be able to help her children?  Divorce, It Seems, Can Make You Ill. Indeed, the research reveals Divorce undermines health in ways remarriage doesn’t heal.  What is a aggrieved Eve or Elizabeth to do?

A captive American audience awaits the details, the decision, or knowledge of the direction a resolute Ms Edwards will take.  For months, or perhaps years, observers asked of the screenplay that appeared often on American television screens, in tabloids, and in books.  Some wives expressed sympathy for exactly what they witnessed in their own marriages.  Singles also empathized.  Elizabeth Edward’s experience is not isolated to the institution of wedlock.  The similarities scream out.

Women pose.  They posture.  Females hide the pain, and the shame. They may shout, shriek, or calmly express distress.  “I am so determined. This time I will lose 40 pounds,” said Elizabeth Edwards as she greeted a guest at the door of her home.  Did she wish to present herself at her best for her husband?  Might Ms Edwards words “show a lack of pretense,” or, as her critics say, was the statement but another act on Elizabeth’s. part.  What role did and does Elizabeth play in this drama?  Can anyone know for sure?

Is she a caricature, stereotyped as a spouse?  What is the story Elizabeth tells herself and others? A women’s place is in the home, on the campaign trail, to pale in comparison to her husband.  

Might her yarn be the same is true if a dame is a professional person, a politician, a plumber, or a Professors wife.   A women’s work is never done, be it that of a domestic, a doctor, a lawyer, a baker, or candlestick maker.  Elizabeth Edwards, as many women can attest to the notion, when you are of the fairer sex, praise pours in sparingly.  Disparagement is distributed frequently. At times, the two are synonymous.  

The former North Carolina Senator’s erstwhile aide Andrew Young exemplifies this.  In his tome titled “The Politician” Elizabeth Edwards is described as the wife and mother could not keep her man.  She “became intoxicated by power, and sometimes looked the other way.”

The Edwards Adviser, as do most, at least in America, acquiesced to the old adage, there is a good woman, behind every man.  A gent does not act alone.  Certainly, John Edwards did not.  Mister Young, in his writings, marvels that Rielle Hunter and Elizabeth Edwards each moved John to do as he has, or perhaps the two damsels did as all people do.  

With societal standards in mind, they pen a tale that reflects their truth.  The title; This is your life (and How You Tell It.)  Men might have opportunities that allow for a more sensational, secure, and solid plot.

Woman work on a screenplay more mired in woes.  She persistently updates the plot.   Just as Elizabeth Edwards, she transforms the treatment of our own life.  She learns and finds Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers. For some, the saga was audacious, and certainly not what they expected from an authority on the law.  Others saw them selves.  Every woman might relate to the reality, Elizabeth Edwards has learned every woman is as she., effervescent, effusive, bearers of excellent minds.  We all experience hurts and heartaches, many of our own making, many more that are not.

“I am a woman.  Here me roar.”  Watch me soar.  I may occupy the planet “in numbers too big to ignore,” but will I ever realize the heights, or have rights equal to those of a man.

Every Woman; Elizabeth Edwards . . .

White Defenders



racist16_400

copyright © 2010 Forgiven.  The Disputed Truth

Originally Published on Sunday, January 10, 2010

In a private conversation reported in a new book, Reid described Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

I have to be honest that I am always a bit skeptical when white folks feel compelled to step up and defend black folks from other white folks. I am even more cynical when it is white Republicans doing the defending. This would be the same Republican party who has since the 60’s run on the southern strategy, whose conventions look more like all-white country clubs, and who have from his election sought to de-legitimize this President. Now we are to believe that they are so concerned with the delicate psyche of African-Americans that Senator Reid’s remarks rises to the level of Trent Lott?

For those who don’t remember Trent Lott was the Republican majority leader who stated that the country would have been better off if unrepentant segregationist Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948.

For the sake of argument, let’s look at Senator Reid’s reported statement concerning then Senator Obama. He stated that he was a light-skinned black man which as far as I can tell would be a true statement. My guess is that Senator Reid was alluding to the fact that historically lighter skinned blacks have fared better in American society than darker skinned blacks so that would be a positive in his bid to become president. On the surface this would appear to be a callous statement however if we look at not only the history of blacks within the majority society but also within the black community the statement tends to stand on its own merits. Now does this excuse the fact that darker-skinned blacks tend to be discriminated more than light-skinned blacks? Of course not, but the truth is still the truth.

Let’s face it folks whites tend to be more comfortable with light-skinned blacks. If you were to poll blacks and say does the fact that President Obama is light-skinned does that diminish his status as an African-American I think the answer would be a resounding no based on the fact that he received almost 100% of the black vote.

The second part of Senator Reid’s remarks could be more problematic in the sense that he stated that Obama had no Negro dialect which could be offensive to some blacks. The question then becomes do blacks, as a group, speak differently from whites and can those differences be readily apparent to the listener? I think Senator Reid was stating that Barack Obama could choose to speak black or white depending on his audience. The problem here is that we are talking about politicians who often craft their message depending on their audience and for a politician to be able to speak to multiple groups is an asset. I think I remember during the campaign how Hillary and Bill changed dialects when they were speaking in black churches or to primarily black audiences. Does that make them racists? I think not, it makes them politicians.

As every successful black man knows who is not in the entertainment business or a professional athlete knows, we live in two different worlds we have to adept in the white world as well as the black world. I have to be able to speak to white businessmen as well as black community folks and they are not the same.

The biggest problem I have with this faux Republican outrage is that in order to determine Reid’s remarks one has to look at his intent. Was his intent to racially disparage Barack Obama? No, in fact in his mind he was giving a list of the positives for then candidate Obama. We must remember this was the beginning of a historical campaign and who amongst us did not consider these if not other positives and negatives of the candidates. The problem for Senator Reid is that his remarks were recorded. To me this just demonstrates the problem with the current Republican strategy and that is it shows their total lack of principles. When you attack everything you find yourself defending some former positions that you once opposed, by doing this you appear hypocritical at best and insane at worse. Republicans defending Medicare?

So what we have is Senator Reid stating that Barack Obama was a light-skinned black man who could speak to both black and white audiences. Yeah, that’s grounds for his immediate dismissal. Speaking as a black man I’m still missing the outrage no matter who had made the statement.

For Michael Steele to go on television and equate what Senator Reid reportedly said to what Trent Lott said is beyond me. Are we to believe that saying the country would be better off today if in 1948 an avowed racist had won the Presidential election is comparable to saying that Barack Obama was more electable because he was light-skinned and he spoke to both blacks and whites? I don’t think so. Have we become so racially sensitive that stating the obvious is now considered racist? The reason Mr. Steele will never be able to accomplish what he was elected to do which I think was to reach out to African-American voters is because in order to defend his task masters he losses any credibility with the very voters he is charged with attracting. Mr. Steele’s remarks may appeal to whites but if that is his core audience then the Republicans would have better served if they had elected another white man who would not have brought the baggage Mr. Steele has obviously brought. Do Republicans believe that blacks are that gullible? I hope not for their sakes.

“Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

~ Elbert Hubbard  

Where is the restraint in spending?



Republican Response to Obama Budget Request – Bloomberg

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

On this fine day in February 2009, President Barack Obama submitted his budget blueprint.  For  the first time, in near a decade, transparency is built into a national financial plan.  The tremendous costs to wage the two wars America is engaged in are no longer hidden.  Outlays for military offenses have been written into the ledger, and not in the traditional invisible ink.  While one might think fiscal and political Conservatives would be pleased, upon receipt of the document, Republicans immediately pounced.  Senator Judd Greggspoke on the Grand Old Party’s behalf when he asked, “Where is the restraint in spending?”

Interestingly, Senator Gregg and his fellow Republican Legislators did not solicit answers to this inquiry when the last Administration reigned.  For all those many years, the Conservatives did not concern themselves with the price the American people paid.  None on the “Right” worried of what might be when “unnecessary”wars are fought The monetary debt left to American children was not a consideration when combat was paid for on credit.  Then, as now, the greater trepidation was expressed for higher taxes.

America attacked its adversaries with borrowed money and on time borrowed from the brood.

As long as parents did not have to pay, or see the billions of bites taken from fruits reserved for their offspring, war, or supplementary spending was wonderful.  What is not so glorious for the wealthy are the words of President Obama, or his plan to pay as we go.  

“Having inherited a trillion-dollar deficit that will take a long time for us to close, we need to focus on what we need to move the economy forward, not on what’s nice to have,” Mister Obama said.  This statement did not make sense to Conservatives who rather do as the previous Administration had allowed them to do, trade common “cents” for an economic crisis.

Comfortable with artificial caps or spending, repeatedly supplemented, Republicans reacted poorly to the introduction of fiscal responsibility in the Obama Recovery Plan.  Intermittently the “Right” expresses concern for the children.  Nonetheless, each rant raises what seems to be the more real issue, taxes.  

Indeed, in the past, Progressives pondered levees.  Most Democrats wondered why Americans were not asked to sacrifice for two wars fought on credit.  It all began early in President George W. Bush’s first term.  The date, September 11, 2001 will live in infamy.  The Council on Foreign Relations explained this in a report.

Following 9/11, the United States launched new military endeavors on a number of fronts, including in Iraq.  Estimates for the total costs of these efforts remain sharply politicized.  Costs have consistently outpaced government predictions.  In September 2002, White House economic adviser Lawrence B. Lindsey estimated the cost of invading Iraq could amount to between $100 billion and $200 billion.  Mitch Daniels, who at the time headed the White House budget office, called Lindsey’s estimates “very, very high” (MSNBC) and said the war would cost $50 billion to $60 billion; shortly thereafter, Lindsey left the White House.

In January 2004, a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the total costs of Iraq’s reconstruction would land between $50 billion and $100 billion.  But in October 2007, the CBO said in a new report that the United States had already spent $368 billion on its military operations in Iraq, $45 billion more in related services (veterans care, diplomatic services, training), and nearly $200 billion on top of that in Afghanistan.  

American initiated battles blazed abroad.  No money was allocated to pay for the combat.  Billions were kept off the books.  American babies were blinded from the truth.  Their parents placed a financial burden on them that could not be calculated.

Each year, with hat in hand, Commander-In-Chief George W. Bush came to Congress and said, cost cannot be a consideration.  We must protect our borders.  The compassionate Conservative Bush assured Senators and Representatives alike, inclusive of Judd Gregg who now reels over the cost of the Obama fiscal plan.  The country must be made safe for your brood and mine.  

Although the past President knew the battles would be protracted, and said so often, he never accounted for the projected expenditures in his budgets.  Very early on, the Bush Administration was asked to design a plan for war-related costs.  However, the White House ignored such silly suggestions.  Congress too did not comply with a request to consider the cash flow.

Iraq Supplemental Requires Transparency

Revenue Watch Institute

Legislative Action

Congress must insist that clearly defined standards of transparency are incorporated into the $87 billion appropriation for Iraq.  Congress must require the President to submit at minimum a quarterly report, detailing the processes by which US funds are disbursed in Iraq, under the conditions elaborated below.

Recommended Legislative Language:?

No competitive or non-competitive contracting or purchase activities may be undertaken using any of these funds unless the President certifies that the International Advisory and Monitoring Board mandated by Resolution 1483 has been established, and submits a quarterly report detailing:

  • The extent of Iraqi consultation and participation in the contracting and purchase agreement process.
  • Actions taken to be in compliance with the transparency obligations of UN Resolution 1483.  ?An independent cost and capacity estimate of the activity in question.
  • In cases where non-Iraqi sources are awarded contracts, an explanation demonstrating that Iraqi companies lack the necessary resources and experience to perform the service at the independently estimated cost, and/or within a reasonable time frame.
  • In cases where a no-bid contracting process is employed, a detailed justification for the non-competitive tender, including a demonstration that this justification was made available to the Iraqi public.

(An Iraqi Public Finance Oversight Board should be established as a formal channel to achieve an acceptable level of Iraqi consultation for all large-purchase contracting activities undertaken with these funds.  The International Advisory and Monitoring Board, as mandated under Res. 1483, should be empowered to audit all aspects of Development Fund for Iraq. . . .  

None of these possibilities were put in place.  No one believes the proposal was even taken under advisement.  Instead, the Bush Cheney Administration moved into foreign terrain ready for a fight.  Documents that might help determine the dollars needed to do these deeds were not sent to the House or Senate in advance.  Budgetary reviews for defense spending were deliberately shortsighted   More was left out than included in ledgers.  Emergency Supplemental funds were requested each year.  

In 2001 and thereafter, no one complained, at least not loudly, certainly not the Republicans who now demand we attend to our children’s inheritance.  How might one argue against the need to protect the country, care for its citizens, and pay for the soldiers who keep this country safe?

Conservatives, in the early years of combat were gleeful with Congressional control.  They coalesced.  Democrats, defeated, chose to forfeit dignity and duty.  Progressives no longer believed they had the power to do what was right.  Resigned to the will of the President and his “people,” the Left relented.  Legislators looked the other way when the economic experts strongly stated more money is needed.  Supplemental funds, off budget show support for the soldiers.

On September 8, (2003) the White House requested an additional $87 billion of funding to cover the continued occupation and reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004.  Of this $87 billion, $66 billion will be for military operations, and $21 billion will be for reconstruction in Iraq.

Congress caved.  Trillions trickled out of the country.  A few at home profited from the Shock and Awe plan.  However, no one wished to speak of Halliburton, the ties that remained to Vice President Cheney, or the off-the-book expense of wars.  

For persons affiliated with the Administration, defense contracts, no bid agreements to facilitate the folly known as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the monetary Mission was Accomplished.  However, for the majority of Americans, the loss of credibility, lives, limbs, and cash was a failure.

Citizens feel the calamity in an economic crisis.  Yet, Republican Representatives wish to blame Barack Obama for a budget, which will not hide such outrageous costs.

Total cost of the Iraq and Afghan Wars

The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] now estimates the costs of the Iraq war, projected out through 2017, might top $1 trillion, plus an extra $705 billion in interest payments., The total cost of Iraq and Afghanistan combined could reach $2.4 trillion.

Some experts say even those figures underestimate the true price tag.  Joseph E. Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and former economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, projected in a 2006 paper (PDF) with another economist, Linda Bilmes, that the total macroeconomic costs of the Iraq war itself would surpass $2 trillion.  This analysis differs from that of the CBO, which measured only the war’s budgetary impact.  Stiglitz and Bilmes also predict a somewhat higher budgetary impact than the CBO did, though the CBO responds at the end of its 2007 report that some of the difference may be accounted for by factors like inflation and standard pay increases that have little to do with the Iraq war itself.

More recently, a group of Democrats on the U.S. congressional Joint Economic Committee released a report estimating the total long-term cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would range between $2.6 trillion and $4.5 trillion, depending on how quickly forces are drawn down.  These figures drew pointed criticisms from congressional Republicans, who released a statement (PDF) citing dozens of errors in the report’s findings, some of which were subsequently changed.

Yes, the Republicans actively repute all claims of cost overruns.  For them, money spent on military actions were  and are justified.  The real issue, for the “Right” while subterranean, was revealed; as long as taxes were not raised on their personal wealth “fiscal Conservatives” felt fine.  

During the Bush years, Republicans had reason to feel content.  Those who want no new taxes had a friend in the White House who would hide the costs of combat.  Thus, then, concern was not expressed for the children, the credit crisis, or what these irresponsible parents caused.

Republicans would rather be critical of the Democrats for too many dollars spent and the way the Obama plan proposes to reduce the deficit.  “On the backs of the rich,” those who think themselves “Right” rage.  Perchance it is important to peruse the books.  Republican rants may not reveal what detailed reports do.  Today, if the government continues to fund its fights on credit, as the Bush White House did, our progeny will inherit what prosperous parents refused to pay for with cash.  


Comparing the Defense Budget to the Total Economy

The U.S. defense budget has risen over the past decade but remains substantially lower than historical levels when considered as a percentage of U.S. GDP.  President Bush requested $481.4 billion in discretional spending for the Department of Defense’s 2008 budget.  That figure does not include any of the spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been paid for primarily through “emergency supplemental requests” that are not included in the federal budget’s accounting. War spending is expected to tally to roughly $193 billion in 2008, an increase of $22 billion, or roughly 13 percent, over 2007 expenditures . . .

Allocations toward the “Global War on Terrorism,” which exceed $145 billion for 2008, also fall outside the U.S. defense budget, and do not include the war-budget supplements. . . .

In a global context, U.S. spending on military-related endeavors ranks high.  According to 2005 data from SIPRI (PDF), the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States spends substantially more on military endeavors than any country in the world.  If war spending and allocations to the “Global War on Terror” are excluded, the U.S. military budget is still more than seven times that of its next closest competitor, China. If you include those other expenditures, U.S. military spending surpasses that of all other countries in the world combined.  

That thought alone is awesome.  Rather than build a better world, engage in diplomatic talks with other nations, provide for peaceful negotiations, prepare American children for careers, prevent illness, care for the injured, or maintain the infrastructure . . . all of which would better the world for our offspring,  the Bush Administration spent trillions on destructive warfare.  

In the early years, the White House depleted a budget surplus for much of the money.  Some of the dollars came from the taxes paid by poor and Middle Class.  The super-rich Republicans were asked to contribute a lesser percent of their income.  When dollars from duties were exhausted, the Bush White House sought more funds from creditors.

Grand Old Party politicians, with the help of weakened Democrats, allowed the last Administration to squander more money than is possible to fathom on an unnecessary war.  No thought for the future of our children was mentioned.

Yet, today, with the introduction of a budget that calls for a reduction in troops and defense allocations, Republicans rage.  They do not wish to recognize that  the previous White House  already sacrificed the safety and fiscal sanity of the Seventh Generation.  

Until today, the Grand Old Party could not be bothered with war costs written into the budget.  Republicans did not ask, “where is the restraint in spending?”  Those on the “Right” played with the people’s money as though it or they were mad, and now, on this fine February day, with a transparent plan delivered, Conservatives clamor, what of the children.

Cost of War Off Budget . . .

Republicans Twitter. Jindal Rebuttal; A Tweet



Bobby Jindal’s Rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s Address to Congress PT1

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

The new President of the United States addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time, on February 24, 2009.  Republicans were all a twitter.  Grand Old Party Legislators, thumbs and fingers in flight, sent text messages to their constituents while Barack Obama stood before the nation and its leaders.  Senators and Representatives from the Right were careful not to have their hands seen on camera.  The persons elected to represent the people preferred to obfuscate the truth; they cared not what the Commander-In-Chief might say.  As they anxiously awaited the voice of Grand Old Party, Governor Bobby Jindal, the person who would offer the Republican rebuttal, those on the right of the aisle refused to listen.

Conservatives considered the speech as the regulations they lifted on bankers long ago, unnecessary.  Those on the right thought Barack Obama’s words as taxes.  Text messages stated the Republican sentiment, “Give us a break.”

We need to bring transparency to Washington, D.C., so we can rid our capital of corruption  . . . .

Indeed, a break is what Americans have.  The affluent have loopholes that enable them to break away from laws that require them to pay the tariff that supports society.  Big businesses have lobbyists to do their bidding.  Bankers have supplicants who regularly speak with members of Congress.  Petitioners helped convince policymakers corruption is but the culture of depositories.  Bailout will be beneficial.  In this country, without funds for the greater good, for schools, roads, bridges, research, and development, we have a fractured system.

Republicans and Democrats, at least in government, are also divided.  The people, each of whom is poorer by the day, yearn for help.  They will do the work, if only someone gives them a chance.  Common folk request few dollars.  They ask only for the cash they paid in taxes.  The money was meant to support society, to help provide jobs for the little people.  Average Americans only want to work.  No one welcomes a handout.  The people’s desire is to acquire the dollars they need to buy goods.  

Citizens understand that none of us is here alone.  United we will stand.  Divided we fall.  Americans experience, with Republicans unwilling to consider the greater good, the commonweal, the United States has become a weakened nation.  Yet, in the confutation to the President’s address, Governor Bobby Jindal, of Louisiana presented the traditional divisive wisdom.

We oppose the national Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and create jobs.

If only that had been the way when the Republicans ruled.  However, instead of money doled out in moderation, mountains of cash were poured into protracted wars.  Bills that approved bridges to nowhere were popular and well-funded for districts represented by corrupt Conservative Congresspersons.  Then there is the issue of the train.  Bobby Jindal mentioned it again in his refutation of President Obama’s official oration.  This scandal is surely the Democrats doing . . . except it never was.

In recent days, Fox News hosts and contributors Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Newt Gingrich, Trace Gallagher, and Charles Krauthammer have advanced the false claim — pushed by Republican lawmakers — that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) included a provision in the economic recovery law directing that $8 billion in funds be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas. In fact, the bill does not direct high-speed rail funds to any specific project, and any funding would be allocated by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman.

The bill states that $8 billion shall remain available for the “Secretary of Transportation” for “projects that support the development of intercity high speed rail service” and that the secretary shall “submit to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations a strategic plan that describes how the Secretary will use the funding provided under this heading to improve and deploy high speed passenger rail systems.” The Joint Explanatory Statement of the Conference Report on H.R. 1 further states of the high-speed rail program: “The conferees have provided the Secretary flexibility in allocating resources between the programs to advance the goal of deploying intercity high speed rail systems in the United States.”

Perhaps, this saga is as the story of Sheriff Harry Lee, the Jefferson Parish law officer who Jindal said is a friend of his.  In his address to Americans, Governor Jindal recounted the day he entered the Sheriff Harry Lee’s office.  The Republican lawmaker said to an expectant American television audience, “I had never seen him so angry. He was literally yelling into the phone.”

“Well, I’m the sheriff, and if you don’t like it, you can come and arrest me.” I asked him, “Sheriff, what’s got you so mad?” Jindal then explained Harry Lee had invited volunteers to come with their boats.  These persons were needed “to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters.”

Governor Jindal continued, “The boats were all lined up and ready to go. And then some bureaucrat showed up and told him they couldn’t go out in the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration.”

“Sheriff, that’s ridiculous,” said Bobby Jindal on that strange day not so long ago.  The lesson, the Governor shared, is the one Harry espoused during the emergency, “Ignore the bureaucrats.”  Perchance, the people of this country, a nation in crisis, would be better served if they paid no heed to the bureaucrat who told this tale.

The anecdote that the Governor shared, some say, never occurred.  No record that the two men met in person seems to exist.  The only other person, besides the Louisiana Governor, who might verify the narrative cannot speak. No one can inquire of the late Harry Lee, is the story true.  The “Democrat” known to rule “his vast domain in the suburbs for decades while proudly consorting with mobsters and infuriating the city at his doorstep with pronouncements about black criminality,” passed in October 2007.

Such is the state of a broken Union.  Republicans in Congress remain all a twitter.  Grand Old Party loyalists thought the Governor in Baton Rouge delivered a rebuttal speech that was but a tweet, The words of Barack Obama, well, we can only wonder, if those who wish to obstruct and obfuscate will be the obstacle to a genuine recovery.

Clues may come, or these may be apparent in the text, not seen on blackberry screens.  Please peruse the transcript of Bobby Jinal’s speech, in total.  One never knows what they may find hidden from the camera’s view.



Bobby Jindal’s Rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s Address to Congress. PT2


February 24, 2009

Transcript

The New York Times

The Republican Response by Gov. Bobby Jindal

Following is a transcript of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s remarks on behalf of the Republican Party on Tuesday night, responding to President Obama’s address, as recorded by CQ Transcriptions:

Jindal: Good evening, and happy Mardi Gras. I’m Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana.

Tonight, we’ve witnessed a great moment in the history of our republic. In the very chamber where Congress once voted to abolish slavery, our first African-American president stepped forward to address the state of our union.

With his speech tonight, the president completed a redemptive journey that took our nation from Independence Hall to Gettysburg to the lunch counter and now finally the Oval Office.

Regardless of party, all Americans are moved by the president’s personal story, the son of an American mother and a Kenyan father who grew up to become leader of the free world.

Like the president’s father, my own parents came to this country from a distant land. When they arrived in Baton Rouge, my mother was already four-and-a-half-months pregnant. I was what folks in the insurance industry now call a pre-existing condition.

Jindal: To find work, my dad picked up the yellow pages and started calling local businesses. Even after landing a job, he still couldn’t afford to pay for my delivery, so he worked out an installment plan with the doctor. Fortunately for me, he never missed a payment.

As I grew up, my mom and dad taught me the values that attracted them to this country, and they instilled in me an immigrant’s wonder at the greatness of America.

As I — as a child, I remember going to the grocery store with my dad. Growing up in India, he had seen extreme poverty. As we walked through the aisles, looking at the endless variety on the shelves, he would tell me, “Bobby, Americans can do anything.”

I still believe that to this day: Americans can do anything. When we pull together, there’s no challenge we can’t overcome.

As the president made clear this evening, we’re now in a time of challenge. Many of you listening tonight have lost jobs; others have seen your college and your retirement savings dwindle. Many of you are worried about losing your health care and your homes. You’re looking to your elected leaders in Washington for solutions.

Republicans are ready to work with the new president to provide these solutions. Here in my state of Louisiana, we don’t care what party you belong to if you have good ideas to make life better for our people. We need more of that attitude from both Democrats and Republicans in our nation’s capital.

All of us want our economy to recover and our nation to prosper. So where we agree, Republicans must be the president’s strongest partners. And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward.

Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us. Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts.

Let me tell you a story. During Katrina, I visited Sheriff Harry Lee, a Democrat and a good friend of mine. When I walk into his makeshift office, I had never seen him so angry. He was literally yelling into the phone. “Well, I’m the sheriff, and if you don’t like it, you can come and arrest me.” I asked him, “Sheriff, what’s got you so mad?” He told me that he put out a call for volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters. The boats were all lined up and ready to go. And then some bureaucrat showed up and told him they couldn’t go out in the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration.

And I told him, “Sheriff, that’s ridiculous.” Before I knew it, he was yelling in the phone. “Congressman Jindal’s here, and he says you can come and arrest him, too.” Well, Harry just told those boaters ignore the bureaucrats and go start rescuing people.

There’s a lesson in this experience: The strength of America is not found in our government. It is found in the compassionate hearts and the enterprising spirit of our citizens.

We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from across the nation for our ongoing recovery efforts. This spirit got Louisiana through the hurricanes, and this spirit will get our nation through the storms we face today.

To solve our current problems, Washington must lead. But the way to lead is not to raise taxes, not to just put more money and power in the hands of Washington politicians. The way to lead is by empowering you, the American people, because we believe that Americans can do anything.

That’s why Republicans put forward plans to create jobs by lowering income tax rates for working families, cutting taxes for small businesses, strengthening incentives for businesses to invest in new equipment and to hire new workers, and stabilizing home values by creating a new tax credit for homebuyers. These plans would cost less and create more jobs.

But Democratic leaders in Congress, they rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history, with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest.

While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a magnetic levitation line from Las Vegas to Disneyland (NYSE:DCQ) (NYSE:DIS) , and $140 million for something called volcano monitoring.

Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.

Democratic leaders say their legislation will grow the economy. What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line, and saddle future generations with debt.

Jindal: Who amongst us would ask our children for a loan so we could spend money we do not have on things we do — we do not need? That is precisely what the Democrats in Congress just did. It’s irresponsible. And it’s no way to strengthen our economy, create jobs, or build a prosperous future for our children.

In Louisiana, we took a different approach. Since I became governor, we cut more than 250 earmarks from our state budget. To create jobs for our citizens, we cut taxes six times, including the largest income tax cut in the history of our state. We passed those tax cuts with bipartisan majorities.

Republicans and Democrats put aside their differences. We worked together to make sure our people could keep more of what they earn. If it can be done in Baton Rouge, surely it can be done in Washington, D.C.

To strengthen our economy, we need urgent action to keep energy prices down. All of us remember what it felt like to pay $4 at the pump. And unless we act now, those prices will return.

To stop that from happening, we need to increase conservation, increase energy efficiency, increase the use of alternative and renewable fuels, increase our use of nuclear power, and increase drilling for oil and gas here at home.

We believe that Americans can do anything. And if we unleash the innovative spirit of our citizens, we can achieve energy independence.

To strengthen our economy, we also need to address the crisis in health care. Republicans believe in a simple principle: No American should have to worry about losing their health care coverage, period. We stand for universal access to affordable health care coverage.

What we oppose is universal government-run health care. Health care decisions should be made by doctors and patients, not by government bureaucrats.

We believe Americans can do anything. And if we put aside partisan politics and work together, we can make our system of private medicine affordable and accessible for every one of our citizens.

To strengthen our economy, we also need to make sure that every child in America gets the best possible education. After Hurricane Katrina, we reinvented the New Orleans school system, opening dozens of new charter schools and creating a new scholarship program that is giving parents the chance to send their children to private or parochial schools of their choice.

We believe that with the proper education the children of America can do anything. And it shouldn’t take a devastating storm to bring this kind of innovation to education in our country.

To strengthen our economy, we must promote confidence in America by ensuring ours is the most ethical and transparent system in the world. In my home state, there used to be saying: At any given time, half of Louisiana was said to be half underwater and the other half under indictment.

Nobody says that anymore. Last year, we passed some of the strongest ethics laws in the nation. And today, Louisiana has turned her back on the corruption of the past.

We need to bring transparency to Washington, D.C., so we can rid our capital of corruption and ensure that we never see the passage of another trillion-dollar spending bill that Congress hasn’t even read and the American people haven’t even seen.

As we take these steps, we must remember, for all of our troubles at home, dangerous enemies still seek our destruction. Now is no time to dismantle the defenses that have protected this country for hundreds of years or to make deep cuts in funding for our troops.

America’s fighting men and women can do anything. If we give them the resources they need, they will stay on the offensive, defeat our enemies, and protect us from harm.

In all these areas, Republicans want to work with President Obama. We appreciate his message of hope, but sometimes it seems like we look for hope in different places.

Democratic leaders in Washington, they place their hope in the federal government. We place our hope in you, the American people.

In the end, it comes down to an honest and fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government. We oppose the national Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and create jobs.

In recent years, these distinctions in philosophy became less clear. Our party got away from its principles. You elected Republicans to champion limited government, fiscal discipline, and personal responsibility.

Instead, Republicans went along with earmarks and big government spending in Washington. Republicans lost your trust, and rightly so.

Tonight, on behalf of our leaders in Congress and my fellow Republican governors, I say this: Our party is determined to regain your trust. We will do so by standing up for the principles that we share, the principles you elected us to fight for, the principles that built this in the greatest, most prosperous country on Earth.

You know, a few weeks ago, the president warned that our country is facing a crisis that he said, in quotes, “we may not be able to reverse.” You know, our troubles are real, to be sure, but don’t let anyone tell you that we cannot recover. Don’t let anyone tell you that America’s best days are behind her.

This is the nation that cast off the scourge of slavery, overcame the Great Depression, prevailed in two World Wars, won the struggle for civil rights, defeated the Soviet menace, and responded with determined courage to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The American spirit has triumphed over almost every form of adversity known to man, and the American spirit will triumph again.

We can have confidence in our future because, amid all of today’s challenges, we also count many blessings. We have the most innovative citizens, the most abundant resources, the most resilient economy, the most powerful military, and the freest political system in the history of the world.

My fellow citizens, never forget: We are Americans. And like my dad said years ago, Americans can do anything.

Thank you for listening. God bless you. God bless Louisiana. And God bless America.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

References for a perceived reality . . .

Bobby Jindal – Science Fail

© copyright 2009 Storm Bear Town Called Dobson


To view the original, please travel through Bobby Jindal – Science Fail


Bobby Jindal, the GOP governor of Louisiana delivered the Republican response for Obama’s Joint Session of Congress speech. You know it didn’t go well when Fox talking heads calls it lackluster. You are certain it sucked bad when folks over at Little Green Footballs, Free Republic and Red State think he made “Palin look smart,” “guarantees 8 years of Obama” and “anti-science.”

Yeah, Republicans complaining about a candidate being too anti-science. I was shocked too.

But Jindal actually called out volcano monitoring as wasteful, pork barrel spending. The first thought that entered my tree-hugging liberal mind was “there goes his support in the American West.”

According to the US Geological Survey Circular, the US states that have active or possibly active volcanoes are New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. Wyoming is an especially troubling issue since it has Yellowstone – one of the largest volcanoes in the world. 640,000 years ago, Yellowstone erupted and it ejected 240 CUBIC MILES of rock and dust into the sky.

In late 2008 and early 2009 Yellowstone experienced quake swarms – one swarm had over 500 earthquakes in a seven day period.

If Yellowstone goes, most of the midwest would be unlivable and the effects would be felt globally. Mass famine and death would result.

Maybe Jindal is right, we don’t need to monitor anything that dangerous. Just like we ignore hurricanes. What’s the worst that could happen?