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November 4, 2010

Beware of Career Politicians!

Washington seems to be irrevocably broken. We no longer have politicians who leave their communities from Alabama to Wisconsin and go to work in Washington on issues that will benefit their constituents. Once elected by their home town and state, politicians go to Washington armed with personal agendas and to do lists. That’s why D.C. is currently filled with Republicrats and the Class of 2010 will introduce Teapublicrats into Washington’s political structure. If a politician goes to Washington and dares to try to change the corrupt, crooked, fraudulent practices s/he will be labeled as ‘Public Enemy Number One’ and everything they try to work on — no matter how good for America — will be blocked. Saying that our government is a social order of elite cliques is an understatement.

Washington is FILLED with career politicians who are only interested in getting rich and re-elected. I am not being scornful nor am I mocking people who are civic minded. It is just difficult to explain why anyone would spend $150 MILLION dollars on a campaign to get a job that pays $180,000 a year. What could cause such a reckless financial decision? Could it be the personal benefits: the kickbacks, salary for life, unbelievable insurance and the ability to vote for a raise for yourself?

Washington is damaged and only American voters can change it. We have to put a stop to this madness that works against us. The only people who seem to benefit from the Washington political system are the corrupt Washington fat cats. We need term limits: two 2 year terms. Politicians should campaign the way they intend to govern and govern like they campaigned. Politicians should go to Washington, focus on what they campaigned to do to benefit their community and then leave D.C. when they’ve done their job. We need to stop politicians’ ‘special benefits’. Politicians should receive Social Security and Medicare just like everyone else. There should be a five dollar limit on campaign contributions and only from individual American citizens. We need our elected officials to be civic minded public servants instead of special interest directed career politicians.

We also need to be independent thinkers. That’s the only way Americans are going to benefit from our political system. Do not let either political party control your mind. Do not hate a candidate only because he is a Democrat. Do not hate a candidate only because she is a Republican. Do not trust a candidate just because she is a Democrat. Do not trust a candidate just because he is a Republican. If you do, you will forever be their puppet without benefits.

Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he will not work with President Obama on Programs that will benefit Democrats and Republicans alike. He said that his goal is to get a Republican in as President in 2012. Excuse me, but how does this help Americans get jobs, and loans, and homes and cars? He doesn’t care about how his decision will create consequences for you and me. Plotting the next election only benefits his personal agenda. McConnell is the Senate minority leader with an obligation to govern for Americans in a manner that transcends his own partisan goals.

It seems that given the choice of supporting something that was good for the country, but would also benefit Barack Obama politically, McConnell would screw over Americans. He is willing to do what’s beneficial for his personal political agenda; and not necessarily good for us Americans.

Our Teapublicrats MUST work together in the next two years so that America can get out of the ditch she’s in. If these politicians do not work together we will all suffer tremendously.

If the economy does not improve soon, more businesses will lay off more employees. Those of us with jobs could lose our jobs. If we lose our jobs we can’t buy anything or support our local businesses. If we don’t support our local businesses they will go out of business. If they go out of business there will be less taxes coming into our communities. If there are less taxes flowing into our community our Mayors will have to cut services in our communities and the downward spiral will continue until we are ALL affected. This can turn into a living nightmare for all of us. We have to work together as Americans and make it clear to individual politicians we elected that they must work for us, that getting America back on its financial feet is goal number one.

Our politicians are living THEIR American dream. We have to convince them to work for us: for you and me so that we can live our American dream.

We have to let them know that we will not tolerate 2 years of dysfunction that leads to more suffering for us while they sit on their behinds and get paid. We have to remind them that we the voters have the power to stop their dreams. We have to demand that they work together to create jobs and do what’s best for ALL of us.

Empower yourself. Force politicians to do the work you sent them to do in Washington. Contact your elected officials: tweet, email, call or write your Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor and Legislators and insist that they work together and do what’s right for America.

Contact your elected officials: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

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October 18, 2010

Is The Tea Party Good For America?

Is the “Tea Party” good for America?

Last year after the first “tea parties” were held on Tax Day, 51% of Americans had a favorable view of the Tea Party (“TP”). According to Rasmussen, this year, that number went down by 10 points. Now 41% of polled voters have a favorable opinion of the TP, while 35% view it unfavorably — 23% are undecided. The Rasmussen also informed us that male voters are more likely to have a favorable opinion of the TP than female voters but there are many, many female Tea Partiers (“TPiers”) and we know that 70% of Republicans view the TP favorably.

Voters also said that if the Tea Party was organized as a political party, 34% would prefer a Democrat in a three-way congressional race; 27% would vote Republican and 21% say they would vote for the TP.

After doing a tremendous amount of research I came to the conclusion that the TP doesn’t have any real set of guidelines, long-term goals or realistic solutions that defines it as a group. On the other hand they have a few beliefs in common that make them unite when it’s opportune.

TP members say that they want to “take back” America! They say that America is heading in the wrong direction and we need to take control and fix it before it is too late. Bu they don’t say specifically what they want to fix. The rhetoric sounds damn persuasive and even more terrifying. It has many Americans frightened, anxious, enraged and ready to wage war!

TPiers believe that the federal government is a special interest group and that government and big business work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors. Of course there was no TP before President Barack Obama. This contradicts their insistence that it’s really all about big government since big government didn’t bother them when George W or any other person was president.

The TPiers won’t commit to what part(s) of big government they would get rid of to create a small government. Do the TPiers want to get rid of Student Loans, Federal Education Funding, Job Corp, Public Transportation, Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare or any of the many government programs that build our roads, highways and bridges or the programs that protect our food supply, etc.? These are the things that ‘big government’ does. If our government isn’t responsible for these big issues that the majority of all Americans benefit from, who is going to create, fund and manage these programs? The TP doesn’t have an answer. They seem to be only interested in throwing random thoughts into the wind where they leave the thoughts…floating aimlessly…with no solutions.

TPiers are only interested in the economic state of our nation, not any of America’s social issues, unless, it’s something they don’t like such as: welfare, abortion, or gay and lesbian (GLBT) rights. The Republican Party candidate for Senate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, said, “And these programs that you mentioned — that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward — are all entitlement programs built to make government our God. And that’s really what’s happening in this country, is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government.”  TPiers wants us to believe that if we lose our jobs because of the Republican-caused economic crisis, or if we lose our house because of the Republican-backed bank fraud, or if we can’t afford health care insurance because Republicans blocked the public option, don’t worry; the government won’t have to help you because God will provide.

TPiers also allege that they are being painted as extremists, which they say they are not when they are in their smaller social club group. But they agree that when they come together and have joint meetings of different sects from different cities and states they are extreme in their vocalizations and outrage.

What is puzzling is that even politicians that owe their nominations to the TP tend to shy away from admitting to being a part of it. For example, here in the great State of Florida, Marco Rubio the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate said, “I think there is a real misunderstanding about what the Tea Party movement is. The Tea Party movement is a sentiment in America that government is broken – both parties are to blame – and if we don’t do something soon, this exceptional country will be lost and it will become just like everybody else.”

It seems that politicians use the TP to gain campaign funds and the nomination and then discard or distance them self from the TP in order to reconnect with mainstream voters. This is a very shrewd strategy! This strategy allows politicians like Rubio to tap into the ranting and raving of the TP without them self having to look or sound angry or extreme – they can blame the rage and disorderliness on their TP audiences. How incredibly conniving of mainstream Republicans!

How is this even possible? How can an ideological group that is only 18 month old allow mainstream politicians that do not support their beliefs to manipulate them and dispose of them so blatantly?! It seems that greed may be the answer.

Some TP leaders are thinking about their personal futures and are trying to find a way into mainstream politics. Yes, they want to be a part of the same big government that they loathe and preach against daily. TP leaders are involving themselves in the more traditional American political scene. From before the primaries and now as the mid-term elections draws closer, some tea party groups seem to have aligned themselves with one candidate or another and these alignments are changing the nature and character of the TP. Many TP sects are seeing a shift in their focus. They are moving from being ideologically linked groups of people who want to advance an ideal, to being candidate focused groups that are participating in the infighting between generally like-minded candidates. The thing is the TP leadership doesn’t want their activists or supporters to know that there is bickering and infighting in their ranks.

So back to my original question, “Is the “Tea Party” good for America?”

In a civic sense I believe that answer is yes because the TP has engaged and encouraged citizens to involve themselves in maintaining the good order of our fair republic – just as the country’s Founders envisioned it.

From a constructive, helping America to be all she can be point-of-view – my answer is a resounding no. Their candidates are erratic and are on the fringe of one extreme or another. They are not unifiers. They are dividing America with hostilities. The TP has not brought anything new to the table. They have no solutions and their political naiveté is worrisome. Simply put, they are obstructionists.

Initially I thought the Tea Party was a noble movement of independent free thinking spiritual people from all walks of life. What I have discovered during my research is that the TP could just as well become a neo-Nazi type party if they are not contained.

We cannot sit idly by and watch a few ‘non-thinkers’ without solutions take over the American political system. It seems to me that those who know do not speak and those who speak do not know. If ‘thinkers’ do not unite and make our voices heard we will all have to live with the decisions that the ‘non-thinkers’ made and it will be our own fault.

Keep your eyes on the prize — vote on Tuesday, November 2 and Early Vote if it’s an option in your State!!!

Peace, Love and Understanding!

 

December 16, 2009

Health Care Reform: Even Without The Public Option It’s BETTER Than What We Have Now!!!

With all the Health Care Reform brouhaha about losing the public option (which I want 100 %!) it may seem that we Democrats are losing the Health Care Reform battle – that’s not true.  Don’t believe the hype.

No,  we are not getting everything we want (neither is anyone else) but the chances of us getting everything we wanted with hundreds of law makers voting in Congress and needing 60 votes in the Senate was never realistic…it wasn’t going to happen; not ever.  There are too many politicians with specific political interests and geographical interests to make any one group or region completely happy.

But let us not forget the prize — Health Care Reform.  Let us re-focus. I know we’re in the middle of Hanukkah and Christmas is next week but we must get this done.

Even without the public option an additional 33 million Americans will receive health care benefits – we want that.  Even without the public option all insurance companies will legally have to cover you and me and our families and friends and neighbors regardless of pre-existing conditions – we want that.  We have NEVER had that in American health care before.  That is major!!! That is worth it to me. Plus there are other benefits even without the public option.

Don’t forget that when Health Care Reform is passed it WILL be tweaked in the upcoming months and even years to come so that things that seem to be lost now can be added later

The important thing is to PASS HEALTH CARE REFORM NOW so that we have a foundation to build on; we can always make the bill better later.  If we don’t pass Health Care Reform now the precedence will be set that says we really don’t care about Health Care Reform and we will probably never see health care pass in the next 30 years — we can’t wait 30 more years!!!  Remember that this fight has been going on for over 60 years!!!  This is the closest we have ever been so let’s get this done in 2009.

Please contact your elected officials and tell them to PASS AMERICA’S HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!

You’ll find links to e-mail, tweet, postal addresses, and phone numbers for key elected officials from our President to State Legislators at http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.  All you have to do is enter your zip code and your elected officials’ information will pop up.

Keep your eyes on the prize.  Call your elected officials today!!!

Happy Holidays!

December 3, 2009

Economy: Why NOW May Be A Good Time To Refinance A Mortgage

Why Now May Be a Good Time to Consider Refinancing a Mortgage

By JENNIFER SARANOW SCHULTZ

 

With mortgage rates hitting record lows, it may be time to think about refinancing.

The rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage with no points hit 5.01 this week, slightly up from 5 percent last week but down from 5.97 percent this time last year, and the 15-year fixed mortgage rate hit 4.46 percent, compared with 4.47 percent last week, according to the latest data released Wednesday from Bankrate.com. These rates are at, or close to, the lowest levels since the company’s tracking began in 1985.

At the same time, the Mortgage Bankers Association said interest rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgages it tracks fell for a sixth straight week, remaining below the 5 percent level, “widely viewed as a psychological tipping point” according to this article.

The record lows are thanks to a combination of the Federal Reserve showing no inclination to raise short-term interest rates and investors and foreign central banks maintaining a healthy appetite for debt issued or guaranteed by the United States government, said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com’s senior financial analyst. And they come as many homeowners are finding themselves owing more than their house is worth and are having trouble making mortgage payments.

There is also a limited-time government program that helps people to refinance if they are slightly underwater. The “Home Affordable Refinance Program” is not as widely discussed as the related loan modification program. And it has been criticized by some housing experts for helping financial players profit. Still, it aims to help homeowners who have a mortgage balance equal to or greater than the value of their home refinance and obtain more affordable monthly mortgage payments.

The program is available until June of next year to homeowners who meet certain qualifications, including having loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and having a first mortgage that does not exceed 125 percent of the current market value of the home. (See if you qualify and find out how to apply if you do here).

With the risk that rates may not stay this low for long and that the government program will end, “there is a window of opportunity” for refinancing that will not be available for long, Mr. McBride said. He recommended that those who think they may not qualify for the program to double check what their home is worth to confirm this. Then, even if you don’t ultimately qualify, he suggested considering trying to refinance anyway if you are paying a higher rate on a fixed-rate mortgage or have an adjustable-rate mortgage.

“Today’s record low mortgage rates represent an opportunity for homeowners to refinance at lower fixed rates or to trade out of an adjustable rate mortgage before an inevitable increase in rates and lock in permanent payment affordability,” he said.

Are you considering refinancing in this environment? Why or why not? If so, what kinds of problems and hurdles, if any, have you run into trying to refinance? (Find more information about mortgages here and more information about loan modifications here).

Original link: http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/02/why-now-may-be-a-good-time-to-consider-refinancing-a-mortgage/

November 18, 2009

Health Care Reform: Don’t Be Distracted By The Abortion Talk

Six in ten Americans favor a ban on the use of federal funds for abortion. Fine.  But let’s not let that stop us from passing Health Care Reform. The abortion issue and Health Care Reform are two completely different issues.  Don’t be distracted.  Don’t lose your focus.

I personally don’t believe in abortions but I believe in a woman’s right to chose.  I am not God and will therefore not judge someone else’s circumstances.  I do not believe that “the public at large” or our law makers should create legislation that would prevent many women from getting their health insurance plan to cover the cost of an abortion, even if no federal funds are involved. That’s just too black and white — what about women who are in a medical crisis?

These same people who are screaming that government is too big are the same people who want to micro-manage other people’s reproductive organs and choices.  Hypocrites!!!

Most Americans like most of the current House bill.  They like the parts that add new regulations to the health insurance industry that will stop them from discriminating against pre-existing conditions and provide more coverage for people who can’t afford health care.  Americans also like the language in the bill that requires companies to provide health insurance to their workers. But most of us are not so sure about the language that requires people to get health insurance on their own if they don’t get it through another source.  We agree with and understand the philosophy behind it, but it’s worrisome.

Folks, let us work this out.  Let us create a bill that benefits the majority of Americans.  Let us pass Health Care Reform.  Send a letter via US mail or send an email or call your elected officials and tell them what you don’t like about the existing bill and what you do like and support. Your voice matters.

Participate in the process.  Let your voice be heard. Tell our law makers to make the current House bill even better but please continue to support Health Care Reform.

Contact your elected officials — everyone from our President, Vice President, Senators, US Representatives, Governors and State legislators — by going to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

November 8, 2009

Health Care Reform: House Vote Brings Us One Step Closer To Success

us-congress-building  This morning, we are one step closer to achieving health care reform in the United States of America.  Can I get a “hip, hip!”

Nancy Pelosi and The House voted 220-215 on Saturday night on health care legislation that would provide way past due relief to Americans struggling to buy or hold on to health insurance.  One Republican, Representative Anh “Joseph” Cao of Louisiana voted with the Democrats.

Some Democrats said they voted for the legislation so they could seek improvements in it. “This bill will get better in the Senate,” said Representative Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee who has been outspoken in his criticism of some provisions of the bill but decided to support it. “If we kill it here, it won’t have a chance to get better.”  “Our plan is not perfect, but it is a good start toward providing affordable health care to all Americans,” said Representative Peter A. DeFazio D-Oregon.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and The Senate still have to bring their health care plan to the floor for debate. Once their decision is made then the House and Senate will bargain and hopefully reach a deal on a final bill that will go to President Obama for signing.

The health care legislature passed last night will be paid for through new fees and taxes along with strategic cuts to Medicare.  The plan will extend coverage to 36 million people now without insurance while creating a government health insurance program. It would end insurance company practices like not covering pre-existing conditions or dropping people when they become ill.  Most employers would have to provide coverage or pay a tax penalty of up to 8 percent of their payroll. The bill would significantly expand Medicaid and would offer subsidies to help moderate-income people buy insurance from private companies or from a government insurance plan. It would also set up a national insurance exchange where people could shop for coverage.

“We did what we promised the American people we would do,” said Representative Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the majority leader, but he also warned, “Much work remains.”

The successful vote came after President Obama traveled to Capitol Hill to make a personal appeal for lawmakers to “answer the call of history” and support the bill.

During the private meeting with Democrats in the Cannon Caucus Room, the President acknowledged the political difficulty of supporting major legislation in the face of unanimous Republican opposition and tough criticism from conservatives.

Lawmakers credited President Obama with converting a final few holdouts during his appearance at a closed-door meeting with Democrats just hours before the vote. Democratic officials said that the President’s conversation Saturday with Representative Michael H. Michaud, D-Maine, was crucial in winning one final vote.

After the vote, Mr. Obama issued a statement praising the House and calling on the Senate to follow suit. “I am absolutely confident it will and I look forward to signing comprehensive health insurance reform into law by the end of the year.”

But don’t forget, there’s lots of work still to be done.  We will have to make calls, send letters and send emails to our Senators in the upcoming weeks so that they will pass a health care plan.

November 6, 2009

The NY Yankees Are The Champions!!! But NYC Throws LeBron James A Party?

Yankees Parade Baseball  The New York courtship of LeBron James began in earnest when the scheduling gods curiously put his only appearance at Madison Square Garden on the same day as the Yankees’ World Series victory parade.

NY Yankee 5 Hideki Matsui  If you believe in conspiracy theories, then this is right up there with the “chilled” envelope pulled by David Stern in the 1985 Draft lottery, putting Patrick Ewing in New York. You mean LeBron, a die-hard Yankees fan, gets an up-close look while the city is being painted in pinstripes? Is there a better marketing opportunity?

Is this better than anything Madison Avenue could dream up?

Yankees Parade Baseball  The Knicks hope the intoxicating celebrity factor will be enough to sway LeBron next summer as a free agent, because that’s all the Knicks really have in their favor. They can’t offer more money. They can’t offer a better collection of teammates, at least not right away. They can offer Spike Lee while Cleveland offers Drew Carey. They can (and will, you watch) get Spike and Chris Rock, among other celebrity row fixtures, to make a recruiting film in which famous people explain to LeBron why playing in New York will be far more enjoyable than playing in Cleveland.

(Sample pitch from Rock: “Hey LeBron, where you celebratin’ after a tough game in Cleveland? Arby’s?”)

NY Yankees Derek Jeter Trophy  A handful of the Yankees, still smelling of champagne, will be strategically seated at courtside Friday, making LeBron the second-most loved athlete in the house … if Derek Jeter shows up.

Yankees Parade Baseball  Then there’s C.C. Sabathia, big basketball fan and friend of LeBron’s from when Sabathia played in Cleveland; he left for New York and scored an instant jackpot, both with money and a ring. The video screen will constantly show their faces and they’ll get a standing ovation, all designed to show LeBron what it’s like to be a champion in New York. And the fans, no doubt, will chime in, cheering LeBron at warmups (like, who else will they cheer this year?), gushing whenever he does something spectacular and chanting “MVP,” as they did last year, when he dropped 52 on the Knicks.

World Series Yankees Baseball  All this will play to LeBron’s ego and convince him that a star of his magnitude needs to be in New York. That theory, by the way, is obsolete. Maybe 20-25 years ago, a star could receive better perks in New York, as Reggie Jackson did when he left the small market A’s. But with the global media and advertising of today, that’s not really necessary. LeBron blew up commercially without ever leaving Cleveland, and that will continue to be the case if he stays in Cleveland.

NY Yankees 5 A Rod J Z  Obviously, the big factor for LeBron is collecting championships and whether his best chance is in Cleveland with a Cavs’ team that’s probably third-best behind Boston and Orlando and lacks a starry supporting cast, or a Knicks team being furiously stripped and rebuilt on the fly. The Knicks hope it also comes down to the stars and whether LeBron wants to hang with his buddy Jay-Z after the game, or retire to his palatial pad in Cleveland and call it a night.

That’ll be LeBron’s decision to make next July. And guess what? The Yankees should be in first place then, too.

Friday, November 6 @ 8pm EST on ESPN Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks!

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