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Okay guys, They Think I’ts Over. They Won!

I’ve been watching a lot of television lately, since I twisted my ankle and am trying to stay off my feet.  

And I see and hear a pretty clear thread:  It’s just a matter of how we cut and “finesse” SS and Medicare.  It’s in the works.

Here’s an example.  This morning, on Morning Joe, Candidate Toomey was being interviewed.  BTW, shortly before his appearance, Mika said something to the effect, “…or Sestak is crazy and just lied.”  And someone picked that up — using Sestak is crazy as an opening to another thought but repeating the words.  Okay, it’s out there now dancing it’s way onto Dancing with the Stars. Joe Sestak may be crazy.

Hey, Let’s put Glenn Beck on the War Against the Debt Commission

Only a matter of time – Glenn Beck has offered his voice to the entitlement wars (no, not defense, SS and Medicare)

Have you ever wondered why we even have SS?  It’s not an American idea.  It’s from Germany in the 1800s.  Hmmm, let’s see who else was prominent at that time — Karl Marx, Frederich Nietsche….The progressive wave of European social insurance infected America and this is the result of it.  This is European thinking, not American.

Come on, those French monkeys must have taken the lead.


Socialism is the fanciful younger brother of the almost expired despotism whose heir it wants to be:  its endeavors are thus in the profoundest sense reactionary.  For it desires an abundance of  state power such as only despotism has ever had.

Glenn, want to edit your statement?

Here’s an interesting soundbite if we think about his audience:

When FDR signed that SS bill,  it wasn’t designed to subsidize a cushy retirement, so seniors could jet set all across the globe on vacations. [it] was meant as insurance.  In 1930 life expectancy was only 58  for men and 62 for women, the retirement age was 65!  You weren’t  even expected to get benefits.  Today life expectancy is 75  for men, 80 for women and too many people rely on SS funding their shuffleboard tournaments.

You should have saved.

FAIR says 72% of his audience is 54 or older (not counting younger than 18).  Just sayin.

Come on, President Obama – surely you can find a spot for him.  

Let’s put aside that he is enormously wealthy – No, I changed my mind.  Let’s not.

A short diary – but I want to begin my luxurious life quickly this am.  I’ll be back.  

ERSKINE BOWLES TO 90 YEAR OLD MOTHER: We All Have to Make Sacrifices

From USA Today:

Erskine Bowles realized how tough his task will be leading President Obama’s War on the Federal Budget deficit when he told his 90 year old mother of his appointment.

She was proud of him.  Then she said, “Don’t mess with my Medicare.”

Yet the only solutions capable of raising enough money are politically dangerous …: tax increases and major reductions in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Says Bowles:

We can’t do this without a lot of pain



the patron of workers, fathers, carpenters.  Myself I call him the patron saint of little old ladies who have old houses.  A saint barely mentioned in the New Testament but remembered richly and deeply in the tradition of the Church.

Many people made me – carefully and with precision.  That I may have disappointed their hopes for me has naught to do with them – we all live in the world which often crushes us.  And in the long run, I’ve turned out well – okay.

Those people – my maternal grandmother, my mother, my aunts, my youth’s closest friend all had devotions to St. Joseph – thus so do I.  My mother had a framed photo of him in our kitchen – and often spoke out loud to him during the day – thus so do I.  My friend had a statue of him in her home and at her wedding put her bouquet in front of his statue instead of the Blessed Mother – quite the stir in church.  I try to keep fresh flowers before his picture (it was my mother’s) during the summer and Fall and also take roses from my garden to his statue in Church.  My son was born in St. Joseph’s Hospital.

One of my favorite St. Joseph stories is a Garrison Keilor one.  Jesus said to Joseph:  I don’t have to listen to you – you’re not my father.

On this date, Italians have a St. Joseph table.  My Aunt Tee always had one full of really good food – no process stuff and good wine.  Now, I think:  how did she afford it – it’s not easy to have parties now or then.  But she found the money – and anyone who wanted to come came – door open all day.  God rest her soul.  I grew up in Little Italy in Chicago – there was a gentle sort of competition amongst the Irish (St. Paddy’s Day) and the Italians (St. Joseph) as to celebration in the City.

I have studied theological theory and understand that many people consider hagiography a superstition.  It is what it is – but I have an obligation to my family and my traditions.  More importantly, I believe in my own way.  I’m off to purchase Zeppolini, a traditional pastry for the Feast Day.  And I think I’ll have a day off from blogging and worrying and fretting and being angry – and just let the good Saint protect me as I go about my garden work.  This short diary is a thank you to him.  We are both of us among friends here.

So to all on Docudharma – Happy Saint Joseph’s Day.  A man pictured as old with a beard and a lilly (we get the Church’s politics).  Now his image is more of a young, handsome strong man who transcends the politics of the Church and represents a good man who worked hard to keep his family safe during difficult times (as all times are) and who cherished his wife and son.  


An Update on the Debt Commission

Republicans have now named Sen. Judd Gregg (New Hampshire), Senator Tom Coburn (Oklahoma), Senator Mike Crapo (Idaho) – in the House Rep. Paul Ryan (Wisconsin), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Rep. Dave Camp (Michigan)

joining these Democrats named by Harry Reid:

Sen. Richard Durbin (Illinois), Sen. Kent Conrad (North Dakota), Sen. Max Baucus (Montana)

President Obama named David Cote (a Republican), CEO of Honeywell International, Alice Rivlin who was budget director under President Bill Clinton and now at Brookings Institute.

President Obama also named: Ann Fudge a CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands and a force behind Brand Obama in the election, Andrew Stern, SEIU head, Erskine Bowles who started his career at Morgan Stanley and later founded an investment banking firm.  He is now president of University of North Carolina.  Also named is

Alan Simpson (Wyoming) who was the No. 2 Republican in the Senate for a decade.

This commission has a strong conservative flavor – save for Illinois – the Senate and former Senate appointees come from conservative/moderate lesser populated states.

Let’s focus on Kent Conrad for instance.

He is one of five members of the Senate who threatened Speaker Pelosi to hand over power to an independent commission that can slash and privatize SS and Medicare.  Or they would allow the US to default on its debt.  

His website is absolutely swoony about SS and Medicare.  The one in five South Dakotans who are on SS must be impressed with the lies on that page.  I certainly was.

Conrad voted NO on establishing reserve funds and prefunding for SS

which would require that the Fund be used only to finance retirement income of future beneficiaries

ensure that there is no change to benefits for individuals born before January 1, 1951

Here Comes the Debt Commission – Part II

The Republicans have now named Senator Judd Gregg (New Hampshire), Senator Tom Coburn, Senator Mike Crapo, Representative Paul Ryan, Rep Jeb Hensarling, Rep. Dave Camp.

The Democrats have named Senator Kent Conrad, Senator Max Baucus and Sen. Richard Durbin.

Note the numbers – Republicans have six members and the Dems have 3.  I presume Reid will name will name 3 more Democrats.

Obama has named: David Cote (a Republican) CEO of Honeywell

Alice Rivlin – former Fed Reserve vice chair.  Now at the Brookings Institute.

Ann Fudge – a former CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands.  Worked on Obama brand in election.

Andrew Stern of the SEIU

Erskin Bowles, former Clinton staff member. He started his career at Morgan Stanley and now President of University of North Carolina.  

Alan Simpson – former Republican Senator  

Read this Slowly and Carefully – This is Who We Are. This document Belongs to Us.

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separate.

The corporations and broken government are not connected to us and haven’t been for some time.This time it’s not separation from another nation, but from the predators in our own nation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

life = healthcare for all, freedom from want, respect for the working class

liberty = privacy rights

pursuit of happiness = where to begin….

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.  That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

It’s a grand document which mentions happiness more than once in its founding papers.  A grand document.  Sadly, ignored by people presently in charge of our lives, in government and corporations and corporations’ slithering hangers on.

Prudence, indeed, will dicatate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

…while evils are sufferable.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

A government presently in the control of a ruling class (not only national corporations, but transnational corporations) unconnected to its citizens.    

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.  The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States.  To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

King of Britain is just the ruling oligarchal class now.  And we are living through the repeated injujries and usurpations –  

Here Comes the Debt Commission

According to the AP, President Obama named David Cote, CEO of Honeywell International and former Fed Reserve Vice Chair Alice Rivlin to the Panel.  He also appointed Andy Stern, president of the SEIU and Ann Fudge, the former CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands.

And again with the skin stuff:

For far too long, Washington has avoided the tough choices necessary to solve our fiscal problems (he says in statement announcing new members)

Formerly named to make the hard decisions that will probably not affect them personally: Democratic former White House Chief, Erskine Bowles and Sen. Alan Simpson of Montana and Senator Dick Durbin.

and Harry Reid’s choices:

Kent Conrad (North Dakota) and Max Baucus (Montana).

What?  Grover Norquist wasn’t available?

Hey “folks” – can you help me out – (no money involved)

I’d like to write a diary on my “savvy entitlement” use.  As well – Obama himself tells us “folks” are asking him a pertinent question.  It would be good to hear some critical thinking and interpretation from the “folks” at the Docudharma “Folk Community” to aid the president in framing an answer to this burning query.  

When bush left to pursue further commitments to excellence, too bad he didn’t take the word “folks” with him.  Alas, it is always front and center.  And while “folks” is well “folksy” and denotes a real populist bent – as we know, the people using it are not so much interested in us as “folks” as they are in using the word as much as possible.  And it is possible oh so much.

I would also like to engage the readers here who are entitled – I myself am a Social Security/Medicare queen.  I thought I’d go thru a day wherein I use my “savvy” instincts with my entitlements to live the good life most “folks” deserve.  Would like to hear from some of you how you cope and for instance, what you do with the monies left over from your entitlments (including unemployment insurance, help from the state, etc.) and how you can “tighten your belts” or “make the sacrifices” – “everyone has to make sacrifices” after all.  


Here are some quotes from the quick talk Obama gave to the folks at The Brookings Institute – the Hamilton Project:

“Folks ask me how do I maintain my idealism”?

Never occured to me to ask such a question – but perhaps some of you have some thoughts on the subject.

then, he works the Brookings/Hamilton folks into a smiling lather:  I am a free trade guy and believe in markets.

On its face, not particularly pernicious but to folks on Main Street – not what we really need to hear right now.  Though of course, remember – he is talking to the folks at Brookings.  Then:

“How do we in fact deal with the losers in the global economy”?

These guys are uniquely qualified to understand and answer this question:  they are all winners, so we can learn a lot from them in how to win and rub off this damned “loser” tatoo from our foreheads.  Plus, I get real nervous when the elites start talking about how to “deal” with me.

Then, he goes on to talk about – oh don’t make me say it – okay, training.  Since I know how to clean house and scrub floors – I’m in good shape to find work but can only hope my age won’t interfere with me getting that work, and I feel guilty wresting it away from other younger workers – though my wresting days are behind me.  It’s true I worked for a measly 49 years or so and was good at what I did but believe me, I wouldn’t last a day in a lawfirm today.  So much has changed in the electronic field – and everything there is faster than ever.  Let’s face it, I ain’t that fast anymore – and wisdom is certainly not overrated in the job market.

So –  Any suggestions, thoughts? Any tweaks, framing issues.  Is there a folk song in here somewhere?  

And in closing, folks.  Here is a interesting comment for lefties like us, and he says he considers himself a lefty precisely at this point.

Too many folks have been interested in defending programs the way they were written in 1938.

We need to adopt 21st century solutions for a 21st century economy….

This leftie wouldn’t talk too much about a 21st century economy as something we should hold up but as an entitlement queen, it’s my guess the folks at Brookings and the Hamilton Project consider me and my ilk part of the problem.  

So I open the floor to you – firstly, how can you cut expenses and “make sacrifices” – and secondly, how can we as a community get rid of the neon sign on our foreheads – l.o.s.e.r. – the electric costs alone from it blinking off and on are becoming exhorbitant.

I’d like to thank Corrente (speaking of excellence) for putting this video up – and you guys know I’m not real good at embedding, etc.  you can mosey over there and watch the whole thing.


This morning about 4:00 a.m., I was gloriously asleep.  I have become an insomniac, probably due to worries and aging.  So when I get a solid five hours – it’s heavenly.  So there I was sleeping for a change, instead of watching the Russian news channel or worrying about my snow removal bills when I felt something wet on my face.  I turned and opened an eye and both of my dogs were pressed to my bed watching me closely.  What’s wrong?  What’s up?  Is someone at the door?  They both jumped on the bed and from that position stared at my face.  (Buster put his face under my arm like he does when his nefarious enemy, the German Shephard, George, walks by our window.) They wouldn’t move as I tried to sit up – and then – the bed started shaking as though someone was pulling it toward the window.  The dogs remained quiet but drew closer.  Oh it couldn’t be – an earthquake in Chicago, no!  

But indeed it was, about 4am the suburbs of Chicago felt a 4.3 earthquke – epicenter about 50 miles northwest in Sycamore/Virgil, Illinois.  I checked out the weather channel immediately and there it was. No damage reported. Then – back to the Russian channel where I feel more at home.

Two things:  I have something to add to my list of worries: an earthquake.  And aren’t dogs wonderful!

Three things actually:  Looks like that five hours will be an even more rare and beautiful thing in my dream future.  

I Just Watched Joyce Meyer on the religious channel AND

I liked her.  She is a downhome speaker, charming, smart.  Her homily today was “depression” and who isn’t depressed today.  Common sense and funny.  She preaches in one of those huge venues with hundreds of people.  The camera pans these people quite often, and they are shining with the quality of belief – they are happy and look healthy.  She made a lot of sense to me.  Matter of fact, she revved my engine – I’m going to work on library board stuff today which I’ve put off for days.  

My own religious background is urban Catholic.  I see the Church as a cultural institution, and believe in ways which are different than when I was a child.  I won’t bore you with this but the Church is important to me.  I do not believe the Church is the true religion as I was taught in the second grade – People are free to believe (or not believe) as they choose if they are tolerant of others and have decent instincts – none of my business.  Nor does the Church teach this anymore.  My son was taught way differently than I was so I know it has changed.  And I don’t like when the Church is dissed for reasons of faith – this is the religion of my family, my nana, my parents and childhood.  Sure politically the Church is up for discussion – why not?  Though I don’t believe it’s the voting block it’s made out to be.  My own Catholic friends and family are all over the place. The power of the Church lies in primate ties of family, friends, memories. Emotional but again – I am comfortable with metaphysics, so not threatened by myriad ways to peace, enlightenment, cohesion in life.  Plus communion gives me peace, and I believe in grace.  

My question to the community is: Have we given up on these people in Ms. Meyer’s audience?  Do we consider them intellectually clipped, stunted, unworthy of our attention?  Politically, they probably are conservative (this is the meme, isn’t it?) but individually each is different – and no doubt have the same good qualities we here foster and respect in the progressive community.  Politically have we ceded?  Seriously asking – I think we have.  

My takeaway.  I felt better after I watched Ms. Meyer.  I couldn’t stand being in such a crowd – smacks of conformity. But that’s me.  That’s not them and there are a lot of them out there.  Have we given up on these souls?  We shouldn’t.

I purposely did not research Ms. Meyer – I wanted to post this while I was feeling the effects of her homily – she does have a certain gift.

Caveat:  I don’t agree with the Church’s official position (and neither do my family or friends) on gays, abortion.  The priest scandal pains me deeply.  The American Church is quite different from Rome – Conservative Catholics are quite at odds with liberal Catholics.  We are not a monolith.  Really, discussing such matters is not what I’m after – I’ll be happy to delete the diary if the comments are not politically motivated.

UPDATE:  I just researched Joyce Meyer.  Oi Vey!  But these people believe mightily and they must have access to google, and have probably read of her travails in the local papers.            

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