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Member since: 2001
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This is a wonderful, timely piece

As a youngster who migrated to the East from Tennessee, I remember exactly where I was standing when I first heard him speak. I was mesmerized. One would think young people from the South would know exactly the contempt people of color there were held in by many Caucasians. I did not, but I was only 8 when my family relocated to the Nation's capital.

I had never heard this subject, discrimination against people of color, publicly discussed, and his words had a dramatic impact on me. I know many people are aware of what he did for our African-American community in helping to fight the obstacles prejudice presents, but I have wondered if he personally ever knew what he did for people like me in influencing us to join the fight. He educated me.

I remember his passionately saying in one of his speeches, "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord," and I knew he knew his haters would kill him. The only question was when would be his last day, his last moment. When would he be silenced? And so with that in mind, he made every second count. His persistence during his final days at continuing to speak out knowing doing so put his own life at risk is a heroism most of us cannot even comprehend.

And the truly ironic thing is those who killed him did not know rather than silencing the man, murdering him immortalized his words.

There are few people I admire as much as I do Dr. King, and I think your thread holds a timely message for us all.


What might have prompted Dick Cheney to appear in DC to speak out about current events?

Could the answer to this question possibly be found with once again one needing to follow the money?

Ten contractors were the recipients of 52 percent of the funds received to fight the original war in Iraq -- according to the article at the following link. Would you like to take a guess as to which one was the number one top recipient?


Houston-based energy-focused engineering and construction firm KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR), which was spun off from its parent, oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL), in 2007.

The company was given $39.5 billion in Iraq-related contracts over the past decade, with many of the deals given without any bidding from competing firms, such as a $568-million contract renewal in 2010 to provide housing, meals, water and bathroom services to soldiers, a deal that led to a Justice Department lawsuit over alleged kickbacks, as reported by Bloomberg.

And when questioned about this sticky subject during that war's inception, Cheney casually said he was not on Halliburton's payroll during his Vice Presidential tenancy:

Cheney said Sunday on NBC that since becoming vice president, "I've severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had, now, for over three years."

But, oops....

The report (by the Congressional Research Service) says a public official's unexercised stock options and deferred salary fall within the definition of "retained ties" to his former company.

Both of the above two blockquotes can be found at this CBS news site: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cheneys-halliburton-ties-remain/

So off the top of your head, what do you think motivated Cheney to re-emerge in DC this week to rip President Obama's war policy? Just wondering....


The Farmer in the Well (of Congress)

On the subject of the Farm Bill, it appears 15 Members of Congress voted for their own self-benefit while gutting 47 million of us. The word "service" to them must denote "self-serve" as opposed to serving one's constituents.

From an article dated September 2013, we learned that it was Republican Frank Lucas who introduced legislation cutting SNAP:

"House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) who introduced legislation on September 16 setting forth the House Republican leadership’s proposal to cut SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the food stamp program) by at least $39 billion over ten years. This is almost double the cut in the House Agriculture Committee farm bill and about ten times the SNAP cut in the Senate-passed farm bill. The proposal is expected to go to the House floor this week."

The CBO estimated that these cuts would be deleterious to the most destitute among us:

"1.7 million unemployed, childless adults in 2014 who live in areas of high unemployment — a group that has average income of only 22 percent of the poverty line ....

"2.1 million people in 2014, mostly low-income working families and low-income seniors, who have gross incomes or assets modestly above the federal SNAP limits but disposable income — the income that a family actually has available to spend on food and other needs — below the poverty line in most cases often because of high rent or child care costs....

"Other poor, unemployed parents who want to work but cannot find a job or an opening in a training program — along with their children, other than infants."

All quoted material above can be found at this Center on Budget and Policies Priorities link:


With the passage of this Farm Bill containing 8.6 billion in cuts in food stamps, 15 fortunate members of Congress potentially benefit from the subsidies to be awarded, most of whom will receive thousands of dollars. It is not surprising that each of them voted in favor of cutting the SNAP program. Personally, I would think it would be professionally embarrassing for this information to be made public knowledge, but the term "embarrassed politician" seems to be an oxymoron. Nevertheless, here is the list:


And what name leaps from the page? Why, it is none other than the wife of Frank Lucas! Perhaps you might want to check out the list to see if your representative is listed.

This is the type of information we should use in campaigning against these self-serving politicians. The question we should be asking voters is if your best interests are not being served by your representatives, is it because they serve to benefit themselves? We must do better than this.


Leave No Fingerprints

Alison Lundergan Grimes scored a major political coup today. Running against Mitch McConnell, who has accused her of endorsing Obama's "war on coal", Grimes has now been endorsed by the United Mine Workers of America. I cannot quit laughing.

Thinking back to the day when we were excited to think Ashley Judd might run against Mitch, and remembering the disappointment many of us felt when we learned she had been talked into bowing out by persons within the Bill Clinton camp, this was exactly the correct move for Ashley Judd to make. On another day, in another race, in another place, she, Judd, might step out again. If she does, she will receive a political reward for her cooperation in this race.

Because this race is just too important for Dems to lose. With the difference of perhaps winning one of six strategic Senatorial seats by the Democrats, our ability to retain control of the Senate would hold by a mere slender thread.

While no fingerprints are visible as to the who or how this endorsement of the United Mine Workers of America of Alison Lundergan Grimes was obtained, it is the type of hallmark political maneuver a politician we have come to know as The Natural would quietly arrange.


Baby Boomers pre-paid for the retirement of their generation as well as for the one ahead

This was the a result of the agreement made in 80s due to the huge number of retirees expected when Boomers left the work force. It was said at that time due to the massive numbers set to apply for Social Security, a severe drain on the system would result. That compromise resulted in a substantial increase in the FICA tax which did in fact pre-pay our retirement as well as finance the retirement of the generation before us.

So when you read Boomers are retiring on the dime of the generation behind us, that is simply not true. What is true is that Uncle Sam "borrowed" the funds we accrued in our Trust Fund to finance our golden years. And now that the time has come for Boomers to retire, Uncle Sam cannot repay that which he borrowed. Oops!

How to explain it? That is the conundrum.

And so the blame is placed on the Boomers for the problem, and the generation behind us has been brainwashed into believing we are the problem. We are not, we have done more than our fair share to finance our Social Security. The problem is the Big Lie spread by the right which wants to privatize the system for the benefit of the financial community and to the detriment of Social Security participants. And part of that plan is to turn the generation behind us against us.

In order for Uncle Sam to make a withdrawal against the Social Security Trust fund, a like amount of Treasury Bonds equivalent to the withdrawal must be sold. In this economy, that is not so easy to do. Geithner himself publicly admitted this in a televised interview.

It was and still is a simply a political ploy as a plank in the plan of the Right to restructure the Plan for the benefit of the financial community while easing the burden of the Federal Government to repay its debt to Boomers.


You make too many good points to respond to each so I will just share a few random thoughts

I do take my responsibility to vote very seriously, and I show up at the polls. But in all honesty, if the day arrived when two candidates for president were running and I held both in contempt, I am not at all sure I could convince myself to vote for either. So far that has not happened, but it just might one day unless the Democrats experience some sort of miraculous political reawakening and return to classic Democratic values. Were that to happen that with two candidates had unacceptable positions on important issues and weak moral fiber that I just could not vote for either, I think I would remember that civics lesson.

But there is nothing more important in politics and voting than doing one's homework before following through with a voting decision.

I often think of Nader saying during election 2000 there was no difference between Bush and Gore. I wonder what he thinks about that statement now. I personally was horrified to hear him repeatedly say that, but I do my own research. I was very familiar with the histories of both of these men, and I knew that was a huge misrepresentation (I will be polite here).

I wonder when I hear Jeb Bush is thinking of running, does he honestly believe half this Country has forgotten his behavior (and his lies) during that debacle and that we would possibly consider voting for him? So many problems we have in this Country today, 14 years later, we are experiencing from the George W. Bush* fingerprints in office. Jeb enabled that to happen, violating the Constitution all along the way. Fourteen years is not long enough to forgive and forget.

There are very few things in life one should consider are "win at all costs" -- and stealing elections is not one of those things.

When it comes to being able to respect someone even though they have different personal political leanings, one of the people who is among the top five people I most respect, is former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who is a Republican. He was appointed by Gerald Ford to replace William O. Douglas. In his dissent to the Bush v. Gore majority decision, he wrote the words that actually soothed my soul, meaning I knew when I read them a Republican was confirming my anxiety and distress were well justified. What a man of courage:

It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law. Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by today’s decision. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.


Of course, with things as they are now, sometimes it just easy to look at the different positions on important issues, and make it an issue election. But with the amount of wholesale lying, coupled with the "performance art" of being a politician, it does get very murky at times, doesn't it? But people like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Al Franken, Wendy Davis give me hope.

Always a pleasure chatting with you, H20 Man. You keep things provocative but civil.



I think a lot of my father who passed suddenly without warning. He passed in the middle of the night, suffering a massive heart attack. He was only 50 years old, so as you can imagine, this loss impacted his family pretty hard.

His first wife, my mother, also died of a heart attack in the middle of the night. She was only 28 years old and left behind four young children. The oldest child was seven years old, the youngest was nine months. She was a beautiful, loving woman, a joy to her family and friends.

To his credit, this 28 year-old man made many sacrifices to keep his family together. It was extremely difficult because he had a low-paying job in Knoxville, Tennessee, working as a milk man. He did not make enough following the loss of my mother to pay for child care while he worked his job. Many in the family suggested he had no other choice but to put us in foster homes or adopt us out. This he steadfastly refused to do. As our only surviving parent, my father became our everything.

And so we all moved in with my grandparents, where we stayed until my father remarried a couple of years later. He moved his new wife and his four children from Tennessee to the DC metropolitan area. And here we have lived for decades. I have looked back on those early years and thought not too many people would have had the determination my father had in protecting the unity of his family while still grieving over the loss of the woman he loved and the mother of his four children. But he persevered and made it work. These words are written to explain why he was so important to us.

Five years ago, thinking about the sacrifices he had made for me I wanted to pay a small tribute to him. He loved many things, but one thing he often mentioned was how beautiful the dogwood trees in Tennessee were and he missed seeing them in this area. I decided to plant a dogwood tree in my father’s memory. I ordered just a very small twig-like dogwood tree from a nursery in Tennessee. I had no gardening skills under my belt, and so I thought I should start out small and keep my expectations low for success.

When the little tree arrived, I dug a reasonably sized hole, planted the tree, fertilized it, and put beautiful reddish mulch around it. I surrounded the mulch with decorative bricks. I tended it everyday, checking its progress. It started to take root and grow. I named it My Daddy Dogwood tree.

The next year, it was gaining height and looking healthy. Then disaster struck. My next door neighbor’s little son lost control of his bike and ran my little tree down. It was broken near the base. I was devastated. Two of my neighbors knowing the sentimental value of the tree to me came over and patched the tree back together. They told me it had only a small possibility of survival.

Each year I have tended to the tree with care. It sprouted another trunk at the point where the base had been severely severed, and from that trunk grew a mid-size tree. But it never bloomed. I had resigned myself to accepting this was the way it would be.

Until today. On this Easter, I discovered from my window five little blooms on my Daddy Dogwood tree. I ran out and looked the tree over carefully, and there are more blooms at the top. I cried when I saw them. The blooms are white with pink edges.

Happy Easter, Dad. Your dogwood tree is beautifully in bloom.


I believe he is corrupt as well

Roberts is sitting in the Chief Justice's seat as payback for services he rendered to George W. Bush* and the 2000 election controversy. During that time frame, he left DC and went to Florida to volunteer his services to Jeb Bush in the recall battle.

Roberts is supposed to be a Constitutional specialist. But many of the public threats made by the Republicans during that time were actually unconstitutional maneuvers. And I do believe a Constitutional expert would have known that, but most lawyers would assume the public would believe whatever it was told. An excellent example of that was the threat issued if Gore prevailed as a result of the recall vote, the legislature would still send a Republican state to the Electoral College. Many people believed it would have followed through with that threat. However, the Florida Constitution specifically provided for the slate to be determined by the plurality of the popular vote. Had the legislature actually done that, the Electoral College could have thrown the slate out, leaving Florida with no vote, for violating its own election law.

As you know, "To the victor belongs the spoils" and the spoils we endure as a result of the Bush* taking of the Office of the United States President do include Roberts sitting in that Supreme Court chair. But "spoils" does not begin to suffice to describe his collective work to date....


This is not new news and I do believe it is worse than that

I have written several times here that the reason the Republicans want to privatize Social Security (or as Bernanke mentioned once, it can be repealed) is due to the fact the government "borrowed" the money and cannot afford to repay its debt. In order to withdraw funds from the Trust Fund account, a like amount of securities must be sold to replace the marker for those funds. In this economy, that is extremely difficult to do. Restructuring seniors retirement could be done in such a way that debt evaporates, thus cutting the overall debt Uncle Sam owes by that amount.

Additionally, the Government has borrowed from Federal Employees retirement funds. There is a law which enables them to do this. Of course, statements have been made this money will be repaid, but more cries that the Federal employees pensions are too high drown that out. Cutting the pensions would over time alleviate part of that debt.

Also, we know the U.S. Post Office has accumulated 75 years worth of funds to pay its employees benefits. I have been looking from time to time in which pocket those funds are being held to determine the total. I cannot find the pocket. It stands to reason that if Uncle would borrow against employees' pensions and Social Security, it probably could not resist dipping into the benefit funds the Post Office has accrued. Privatize that organization and eliminate that debt.

We do know in various states, governors neglected to make mandatory deposits into their employees' pension funds. When the time has come the money is needed, we hear governors saying employees' pensions are too high.

If the Government cannot afford to repay its debt, it obviously it is not going to say that, it can just "erase" a lot of it.

There is a pattern to all this and it is not pretty.


Some people cannot distinguish between Obama the man, Obama the policitian and Obama the POTUS

Those three very different dimensions of this man carry entirely different responsibilities and massive varying weights.

This is a human being who told us after winning his first election in 2008 that we would not like everything he did. During his campaign, he uttered a gazillion times he did not want to be President of the red United States, or just the blue United States, but ALL of the United States. I believe that while this was not quite pleasing to all of his base, he has followed through with that personal goal he set for himself. And that was and is his prerogative.

Although I have spoken out against some of his goals, overall I do believe he will go down in history as one of the United States greatest presidents. He deserves it.

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