Civil Free Fall, Platforms 2012

We come to what was intended to be the last of the 2012 Platform comparisons, Social Reformation or do what I say whether it is in your best interest or not. Both parties have a great deal to say about Society and social direction, both have their own ideas about the course our nation should be traveling and what is wrong with us. Obviously, the Candidates at every level have been speaking their minds for many months on many of the issues so we might think we know what is in store for us if one party or the other win the day in November, but do we really understand the platforms.

I am to the best of my ability going to try to keep this to the issues within the platforms and keep my opinions out of the way. I saved the social issues to the last knowing this would be the most difficult.

Let’s get to it shall we?


Civil Rights

We believe in an America where everybody gets a fair shot and everybody plays by the same set of rules. At the core of the Democratic Party is the principle that no one should face discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability status. Democrats support our civil rights statutes and we have stepped up enforcement of laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace and other settings. We are committed to protecting all communities from violence. We are committed to ending racial, ethnic, and religious profiling and requiring federal, state, and local enforcement agencies to take steps to eliminate the practice, and we continue to support enforcement of Title VI. Nothing

Women’s Rights

We will urge ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Nothing
We will continue to promote the full engagement of women in the political and economic spheres. We will work to address underlying socio-economic problems, including women’s access to health, education, and food security. And we will ensure that women are equal participants in reconciliation and development in areas affected by conflict. Under our Constitution, treaties become the law of the land. So it is all the more important that the Congress—the Senate through its ratifying power and the House through its appropriating power—shall reject agreements whose long-range impact on the American family is ominous or unclear. These include the U.N. Convention on Women’s Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the U.N.
President Obama overturned the “global gag rule,” a ban on federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that provided information about, counseling on, or offered abortions. And that is why the administration has supported lifesaving family planning health information and services. The United Nations Population Fund has a shameful record of collaboration with China’s program of compulsory abortion. We affirm the Republican Party’s long-held position known as the Mexico City Policy, first announced by President Reagan in 1984, which prohibits the granting of federal monies to non-governmental organization that provide or promote abortion.
The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs. Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the Sanctity of innocent human life.
We are committed to ending violence against women, why Vice President Joe Biden originally wrote and championed the Violence Against Women Act during his time in the Senate and why we support reauthorizing and strengthening it now. Nothing
The President and the Democratic Party believe that women have a right to control their reproductive choices. Democrats support access to affordable family planning services, and President Obama and Democrats will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers. The Affordable Care Act ensures that women have access to contraception in their health insurance plans, and the President has respected the principle of religious liberty. Democrats support evidence-based and age-appropriate sex education. Nothing


See my notes below

My Notes: I urge you to read in its entirety the GOP statement on women’s health services beginning on page 13, I have not posted it here. I also recommend reading those UN White Papers, Conventions and Reports the GOP takes issue with. The links are below. The GOP has stated their intention to overturn the Affordable Healthcare Act. Within this context they have also stated their firm intention to limit access women’s health services including abortion, birth control and other services where these collide with ‘moral’ convictions of the insurance provider, employer or medical services provider. This information is provided in detail on pages 32 – 34 of the GOP Platform.

Same Sex Marriage & DOMA

We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary, in which some judges usurp the powers reserved to other branches of government. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several States. This is more than a matter of warring legal concepts and ideals. It is an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values. My Note: I left out several paragraphs of fluff, read on page 10

We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other States to do so.

I could simply do what others do; I could simply rail at the sound bites of the day. Rail at the stupidity of the news coverage from those who should be informing us but are not, more shame them. I could simply stop where I am, this is hard and not terribly popular this road of compare and contrast. I feel I am losing audience each time I post. Honestly, I thought I would be able to end the Platform 2012 review today, I thought this would be the end. I suppose it could be, but with less than 40 days to Election Day and would that make sense? Should I simply stop where I am? Perhaps.

Civil Rights, not privilege granted because someone granted a favor but RIGHTS. The GOP spends a great deal of time in their Platform 2012 criticizing Liberal Activist Judiciary. The GOP doesn’t seem to mind Judicial Activism though when it is their own, in fact they frequently praise judges, legislators and Governors for their activism, for their creative stripping of citizens’ rights. Yes, the GOP truly doesn’t seem to have a real problem when it is Activism that strips citizens of Rights guaranteed within the Constitution, Rights enumerated by the Bill of Rights or defined by our Declaration of Independence as inalienable so long as those citizens affected aren’t models of Right Christian Propriety.

Well, despite my intent to end it here it seems we have one more to go, maybe even two.


Poverty and Programs

Voter Suppression or better said maybe the Right to Vote

Republican Party Platform:

Democratic National Platform:

United Nations Human Rights:

Convention on Women:

United Nations Women:

Convention of the Rights of the Child:

Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

Taxes, Platforms 2012

I said I would take on taxes, but there isn’t much to say on the issue of taxes when it comes to the two parties. I say this with a bit of disappointment; once again, the two parties do not make it easy to do a side-by-side comparison. This time it isn’t the GOP who fails to put in black and white their intent, this time it is the DNC that is a bit opaque. This being said, here are what the two parties have said about their plans for taxes.

DNC – Tax Plans

GOP –  Tax Plans

Individuals  – Individuals –
Democratic Party cut taxes for every working family – providing $3,600 in tax relief to the typical family over the President’s first term in office – and we are committed to extending the middle class tax cuts for the 98 percent of American families who make less than $250,000 a year, and we will not raise taxes on them.We support allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest to expire and closing loopholesWe are committed to reforming our tax code so that it is fairer and simpler, creating a tax code that lives up to the Buffett Rule so no millionaire pays a smaller share of his or her income in taxes than middle class families do. Extend the 2001 and 2003 tax relief packages—commonly known as the Bush tax cuts—pending reform of the tax code, to keep tax rates from rising on income, interest, dividends,and capital gains;

Reform the tax code by reducing marginal tax rates by 20 percent across-the-board in a revenue-neutral manner;

Eliminate the taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains altogether for lower and middle-income taxpayers;

End the Death Tax; and Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax.

My Notes:Starting with the ‘Death Tax’, most of us in the 97% will never have to worry about this, as we won’t be inheriting estates valued in the millions, just as an example in 2011 the amount exempted from tax was $5,000,000.

Interest, dividends and capital gains; really how many of us working for a living  actually worry that are very small incomes from these amounts are being taxed at a lower rate or not at all? Do you worry? By the time we retire and are living on our Social Security and small retirement funds we don’t have large enough incomes to pay federal taxes, we are part of the 47% that no longer pay taxes because our incomes aren’t large enough. Again, this is a bit of dishonesty on the part of the GOP. Sounds good but really isn’t honest, or perhaps it is simply stubbornly stupid.Across the board reductions without reform makes no sense, especially in combination with repeal of the AMT.

Both the GOP and the DNC are correct, the tax code does need reform. That reform needs to look at how taxes are calculated, what deductions are fair and sensible and ultimately how taxes are paid. Today, all citizens pay taxes, income, payroll, state and local. These come off the top of our earnings before we can save for our future. Our tax code is ancient, unwieldy and frankly nothing more than a partisan bat to beat the other side with. The language of the DNC in their platform makes me as uncomfortable as the road to failure the GOP plan represents.

Corporations – Corporations –
We are also committed to reforming the corporate tax code to lower tax rates for companies in the United States, with additional relief for those locating manufacturing and research and development on our shores, while closing loopholes and reducing incentives for corporations to shift jobs overseas. We will reform the tax code to allow businessesto generate enough capital to grow and create jobs for our families, friends and neighbors all across America.To level the international playing field, and to spur job creation here at home, we call for a reduction of the corporate rate to keep U.S. corporations competitive internationally, with a permanent research and development tax credit, and a repeal of the corporate alternative minimum tax.

We also support the recommendation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, as well as the current President’s Export Council, to switch to a territorial system of corporate taxation, so that profits earned and taxed abroad may be repatriated for job-creating investment here at home without additional penalty.

My Notes:The DNC doesn’t really tell me enough on this one, nice words but doesn’t give me enough to go on. During the first couple of years of this administration a total of 18 Small Business Tax Cuts, but don’t let this go to his head of these some were only temporary; in total there are only 5 that were permanent.

You can’t have it all, but the GOP is right those we do business with our partners and competitors are mostly using a Territorial Tax system. It only makes sense we look closely at this system and weigh whether it makes sense for the US to move forward with a more balanced approach for the future.Big sticks aside, we must align ourselves with a global economy and encourage business to bring work and do business here, on our shore.However, you can’t have it all. You can’t have taxpayer subsidies, corporate welfare, loopholes big enough to float the Queen Mary through and lowered tax rates that mean the wealthiest corporations in the world pay big fat Zero’s in Taxes or worse, get refunds each year while at the same time entirely reforming the Tax Code.

That is it in a nutshell taxes from the two sides of the battle for our hearts, minds and pocketbooks. You wouldn’t think taxes would be such a battleground would you, but it is more than just who pays, it is a moral distinction these days.

Reagan had his Welfare Queen moment; with his derogatory description, he shifted our entire worldview from the nuclear dust bowl family in need of our support to the lazy usually black single mother, defrauding the system. Reagan’s legacy endures, he reshaped presidential politics and his worldview continues to affect the public’s reactions, including the issue of taxes; who pays them and how they are used to the public good. When I see signs and Facebook posts about taking the country back, I have to wonder, from whom and for whom. These are two random pictures from the conventions, notice anything?

GOP National Convention Delegates, Google Image

DNC National Convention Delegates, Google Image

We, the people continue to our own detriment to defend the wealthiest of this nation in their extremely successful efforts to rape us of all we work for, all we save, all we need to make life even semi-safe, semi-comfortable and semi-palatable for our future. We hold up signs demanding the college transcripts of the current President of the United States but shrug at the GOP Candidate paying 14% on an income of $13,000,000, more than many will earn in their life time.

Meanwhile, we find nothing disheartening in the idea that Veterans, old people and children might not receive even basic care they need under a Republican administration. Nearly half this nation would be disenfranchised and receive even less than they do today because they are part of the 47% that do not pay any taxes!

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Taxes are not redistribution of wealth, nor are taxes class warfare. What taxes are is a the duty of each citizen to insure a civilized and safe society.

“I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

2012 Platforms, Foreign Policy Knot

I needed to take a short break from the Platforms of 2012; the slog through ideology and rhetoric was depressing me. I felt as if the words of both parties were meaningless, stones rolled down from mountaintops gathering in the valleys below piled high enough none of us could pass through to the other side.

Honestly, I continue to try my damnedest to be even-handed as I look at the two Platforms. I am trying to find the good, the bad and the downright ugly in each; offering the words straight from the Platforms themselves and minimal commentary from yours truly. Admittedly, I take only a small cut from each, but I try to take what is relevant and can offer a true comparison, I provide the links to both of the platforms so you can read for yourselves the entire product of the unthinking minds of our political leaders.

I simply could not do the normal alignment with foreign policy. I was unable to place them side-by-side and contrast, there simply is not enough common ground on this issue. I recommend for those of you interested in looking at where the two parties stand, read for yourselves.

I have to tell ya’ll, this past week of idiocy, well it has just scraped my brain raw. I have felt as if I was standing in a room of evil imps and they were running their sharp nails down blackboards while playing Cat Scratch Fever on out of tune guitars.

DNC – The World

GOP – The World

Diplomacy and Foreign Relations  – Divine Providence & American Exceptionalism –
The Obama administration has moved away from Cold War thinking by reducing the prominence of nuclear weapons in America’s national security strategy, and it has urged others to do the same. As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee the defense of our allies. A strong and effective strategic arsenal is still necessary as a deterrent against competitors like Russia or China. But the danger in this age of asymmetric or non-traditional warfare comes from other quarters as well. With unstable regimes in Iran and North Korea determined to develop nuclear-tippedmissiles capable of reaching the United States, with the possibility that a terrorist group could gain control of a nuclear weapon, it is folly to abandon a missile shield for the country.
The President and the Democratic Party understand that we have a special obligation to every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman who puts their life on the line for our nation. We must send them into harm’s way only when it’s absolutely necessary. When we do, we must ensure they have the equipment and the support that they need to get the job done. And we have to take care of our troops, their families, and our veterans when they come home.Eleven years of continuous military operations and repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched our forces and strained their families. Going forward, our troops will face fewer deployments, allowing them more time to train and ensuring that they are ready for the full range of missions they may have to face. We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness.We support military women’s exemption from direct ground combat units and infantry battalions.We affirm the cultural values that encourage selfless service and superiority in battle, and we oppose anything which might divide or weaken team cohesion, including intra-military special interest demonstrations. We will support an objective and open-minded review of the current Administration’s management of military personnel policies and will correct problems with appropriate administrative, legal, or legislative action.

The spiritual welfare of our troops and retired service members should be a priority of our national leadership. With military suicides running at the rate of one a day, with post-service medical conditions, including addiction and mental illness, and with the financial stress and homelessness that is often related to these factors, there is an urgent need for the kind of counseling that faith-based institutions can best provide.We support rights of conscience and religious freedom for military chaplains and people of faith. A Republican Commander in Chief will protect religious independence of military chaplains and will not tolerate attempts to ban Bibles or religious symbols from military facilities. We will enforce and defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the Armed Forces as well as in the civilian world.

Frankly, the GOP has taken the opportunity to disparage the current administration and declare war on the world, any Platform statement that begins with American Exceptionalism and within the first paragraph continues with the following statement:

“While the twentieth century was undeniably an American century—with strong leadership, adherence to the principles of freedom and democracy our Founders’ enshrined in our nation’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and a continued reliance on Divine Providence—the twenty-first century will be one of American greatness as well.”

Their diatribe begins on page 39 of their Platform. Nowhere within the Platform of the GOP is ending wars we have fought for a decade on the radar. The idea that our nation should impose a set of ‘values’ on the world, should continue a policy of Manifest Destiny in the Twenty-First century, has me shaking in my boots.

On the flip side of the Divine Providence – Chickenhawk strategy of the GOP, the DNC continues the Iron Fist inside the Velvet Glove, a policy that while imperfect has restored our reputation worldwide. The DNC Platform has specifics in most cases and strong words for those nations on the path of developing nuclear and biological weapons and nations that continue to harbor terrorists. Key though is the following statement;

America’s leadership extends beyond our economic prosperity and military might – it is also rooted in our enduring commitment to advancing a core set of universal values. These include an individual’s freedom to speak their mind, assemble without fear, have access to information, worship as they please, and choose their own leaders. They also include dignity, tolerance, and equality among all people, and the fair and equitable administration of justice. The United States was founded upon a belief in these values, and people of every race, region, and religion around the globe have claimed these principles as their own.”

The DNC Foreign Policy statement begins on page 21, there is a significant amount of information including specifics on our relationships with Iran, Russia, North Korea and China. The significant difference between the two platforms is the absolute lack of specifics by the GOP, other than the demand that all sovereign nations apply the same ‘moral’ rules and religious ‘freedoms’ of America (e.g. no abortion, limit marriage, freedom of Christianity). This is consistently found in the stated intent to withdraw support from NATO and the United Nations unless both reform to suitable standards consistent with the Republican moral platform, calling both corrupt (page 45).

This is important, I am going to keep repeating it…..the Platforms were voted on by those who were elected to attend the conventions, the delegates. These Platforms are what the national conventions agreed represent the principles of the party, all the candidates running under the party letter whether a big “R” or a big “D” and receiving money from that party agree to adhere to those principles.

I don’t buy everything on the DNC platform, never have. But this year, yeah this year I am voting a straight Democratic ticket for the first time in my adult life. I am voting for every single Democrat I can find, locally, at a state level and at a national level and yes for the President.

Be none of you Outrageous

Why? Because the GOP scares the Hell out of me.

Next? Taxes and last but not least, the social issues. Then back to the history of the platforms through the last 100 years.

How did we get here? How did it get this bad?

First Love

Many years ago, when I was 18 I married the man who saved my life. I loved him desperately at the time, thought I couldn’t draw breath without his smile. Because we were good together but we were also really bad together. He was ready to settle down and be a husband, be a man, but not really. I was still spinning, from all the pain that had been inflicted on me and that I had inflicted on myself. I didn’t know how to love with my whole heart and didn’t know how to trust anyone to love me. Then again, perhaps I knew enough not to trust.

Although we were married for five years, we did not spend the entire time living together, in fact spent less than two years under the same roof. When I was 23 we came together for a brief time because I wanted to see him, to know what I was walking away from, what I was giving away. My heart hurt then, I knew I still loved him but we couldn’t be together because I was ready to heal and grow up and he couldn’t be part of it. The baggage we had didn’t belong together and the life I wanted didn’t have a place for our history.

I had shared all my secrets with him; he knew the darkest parts of me. He let me cry them out in fury and fear. He never told me it would be ‘okay’, only that he wouldn’t let anyone else hurt me, ever. I believed him. Sometimes he told me I was strong, but he also told me I could be stronger that I could be more. He hated my weakness and my fear of the world, when I was 18 I was afraid sometimes even of him, mostly I was afraid he would fail me, or worse still that I would fail him.

We failed each other.

I have married since then of course, badly and well. I have loved since then, also badly and well. Each time I near a milestone, a birthday or an anniversary I wonder though what would have been had we been different, or in different places in our life. Was his love for me conditional on his need to save me? I often think this might have been a part of it, I was broken and he set about to fix me. Within our marriage, during our time together I didn’t grow stronger but dependent on his approval. My heart beat for him, his anger would send me in a tailspin. We had a normal marriage with normal arguments that couples have, but looking back I wonder now if this is true given how truly dysfunctional I was.

I was blind to his faults, seeing only his care for his extended family and me as the measure of the man he was. His care was strange though, did not make sense to anyone but him. I am grateful today but then I only wondered why he put his future, his wife and his life in danger. He sent me away, telling me nothing but that I must go that I was a risk he couldn’t afford. I left broken hearted with an uncertain future, rejected by the man who promised to love me and to save me.

My husband was an armed robber.

I had returned finally to my father’s house. I was across country when a phone call came from my sister-in-law, she told me my husband had been convicted of armed robbery along with two of his cousins. This was how he had been paying the bills, no one knew. Not for months, but he knew that soon they would be caught and this is why he sent his daughter and me away. He was sent to prison, I wrote him while he was there but he said he wanted me to file for divorce, to end our marriage that it would be best for me.

I didn’t do it. I would not do it until he was released.

Three years later, he was released from prison on parole. I had saved my money to return to Texas to see my now convict husband. I didn’t know what I thought of the situation. I still loved him in my heart but I had gotten stronger, I had started to dream of a new life. In our letters, we had shared our dreams and they weren’t the same.

I took the bus from Seattle to Austin; it gave me time to think. He met me at the bus station in Austin. He looked the same, his smile was still the same but his eyes were clouded with pain. It was a sad reconciliation; we stood in the middle of the station and held each other. We had both changed; we were different people with hopes and dreams that flowed in different directions. I didn’t have money back then for hotels, I stayed at his sister’s house and he was staying with his mother.

We sat up late that first night we talked until morning. I asked the question I never asked in my letters.


He couldn’t answer; maybe he just wouldn’t answer. We talked about hopes, dreams and the future. We talked about love. In the end, we talked about ending our marriage. We both cried. For three days, we talked and we cried. We hugged and we cried some more.

At the end of those three days, he took me back to the bus station and put me back on the bus to Seattle. He stood and watched me leave, he waved as the bus left the station; he didn’t smile just a small wave of his hand. We knew it was the end and I think we were both sad.

He knew me better than any person in my life ever had. I think he disappointed me worse than any person ever had. Now and then, I search for him, just to know that he is still on the earth. I think I would be sad to find out he was no longer alive. He was my first real love.

Awards, I suck at this

I have some catching up to do; I suck at this I think I might always suck at this. It isn’t that I am humble; I am just somewhat lazy I suspect. Some very kind and wonderful people have given me and my blog a nod, awarding my blog awards. This really is kind and I feel honored by their recognition, really I do; it is always nice when fellow bloggers recognize your work, not at least accepting their recognition is somewhat like giving the finger to the Academy Awards Show when you win Best anything.

Without further ado, let’s get right to it, shall we?

From Sapna at Just Another Wake Up Call, I was given the Sunshine Award. This was truly nice because compared to her frequently uplifting, insightful and truly loving entries I can be a bit of a downer. I encourage everyone to visit Sapna, I certainly do whenever I see she has posted again.

Sunshine Award –

  • Love or Money

Why not both? Really I don’t believe love can withstand poverty any more than money can buy real love. Nevertheless, why do I have to choose? I want both, I want love and to work with that person I love to obtain a life together that is without abject poverty.

  • High Salary or Job Satisfaction

When we are young I think we should go for the most money we can make learning all the things we can learn. Unless we are lucky enough to land in the career we love the first time out, we should move about, skip jobs as often as possible, find mentors and continue to search for what we love. Go for it! Earn as much as possible. Fight for every dime you can make. The truth is you only have about thirty years of true productivity. Once you hit your fifties your earnings will start to diminish in most career paths, then you can follow your passions.

  • Favorite Book

The next award will delve into my favorite books so I am skipping this one for now.

  • Television Character you adore

I don’t actually have one of these. Can I say Rachel Maddow? Not really a character, but she is funny and smart.

  • Favorite music

70’s Rock –n- Roll, R & B, Soul, Blues and Lyle Lovett

  • Favorite type of movie

I don’t have a favorite type. I watch all types depending on my mood at the time I sit down. I could give you a few of my favorite all time movies, which might give you an idea of how truly, eclectic I am:

Streets of Fire The Commitments
Pretty Baby Million Dollar Baby
Little Shop of Horrors Heartbreak Ridge
American Werewolf In London Underworld
Dracula (with Frank Langella) Bram Stokers Dracula

Now that I have shown my mostly juvenile taste in movies, no class I know. Shall we move on?


My friend at Fifty-Four and a Half often speaks her mind and my own. She does so with a great deal of wisdom and far more diplomacy than I am ever able to muster. I have enormous, gargantuan, gigantic respect for her. She is also kind, funny and compassionate. I am gratified that she offered me this –

Please visit my friend at:

What do I have to do? Only tell you about five books I love. I could I suppose tell you about five books I love right now, that would perhaps make you rush to the store and buy them. Instead I am going to tell you about five books I simply love and why.

In no particular order:

Swan Song – a dark look at human nature at the apocalypse, the ultimate fight of good vs. evil. I think I have read this book at least five times. The author has a way with characters and words, with emotional balance. I have read most of his work, much of it is dark; Swan Song remains my favorite. If you read and enjoyed The Stand, this is graduate studies.

The Rights of Man – I read this first when I was 14 as a classroom assignment. My Social Studies teacher assigned it to his ‘advanced’ students; I suspect to make us shut the hell up. Since that time I have revisited Thomas Paine time and again, quoted him more than once. His views, while not always aligned with my own because of the two hundred years that separate us, are fascinating but especially in this book must be taken in context with the purpose of the book, a direct rebuke of Edmund Burke in “Reflections on the Revolution in France”.

Half The Sky – what can I say about this book? This is a modern day censure of all of us and any of us. We are so damned concerned about our small lives sometimes we conveniently forget the greater world that fails to thrive. Half the Sky reminds us that modern day slavery still exists; women especially are vulnerable, living without protection, living brutal lives. It is written in a way not to titillate but instead simply introduces us to another side of life and to some of life stories of women who escaped forced prostitution to make new lives, women who were willing to tell their stories so we could become more aware. This is an amazing book, an amazing outreach. I had to read it slowly, now I am searching for ways to help.

The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings – my father first gave me the Hobbit for Christmas when I was 12-years old. I curled into myself and read it straight through on rainy days and nights in Seattle. I begged for the remainder of the books after that and read them over the remainder of the year, one after the other. I have read this series more times than I can count between then and now, each time taking something different away from the stories. I have always believed the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings was the most finely crafted allegory ever written.

The Handmaids Tale – I struggled with picking the last one on my list, there are so many I love. Ultimately I had to pick the one I just recently went back to, this book grabbed me off my bookshelf shook me like a wet dog and said “READ ME AGAIN, Dammit!” Margaret Atwood has the ability, with words to paint pictures of and for women, to make us consider options that we should not wish for and futures that are bleak in worlds not meant for freedoms or joy. This one is timely and frightening.

Now I am supposed to only tell you about five books, but I just have to give a shout out to one of my favorite giggle books:



Finally, my friend at Why am I here in a handbasket nominated me for this one:

Her quick takes are funny and to the point. I love making stops at her blogs for outtakes on life; they are never off target even if sometimes uncomfortable. She often makes me laugh out loud in the middle of taking a drink of coffee. I encourage you to stop by.

That being said, here are seven (7) things about me:

  1. I have fourteen tattoos, no they don’t hurt but I surely felt the pain getting them
  2. I have five (5) full blood siblings, 3 known ½ siblings, 7 step-siblings, 1 adopted sibling
  3. I have been married more than two times, no I won’t tell you how many more than two
  4. I will be 55 years old this month
  5. I own 100 pairs of high heels
  6. I was born with three nipples, had I been born 200 years earlier they would have burned me at the stake as a witch
  7. I have had more than 30 surgeries

That is it. I am also supposed to pick bloggers I love, or bloggers who deserve awards. However, my notion is everyone I follow and read deserve them. If you haven’t got one of these, grab one and follow the rules!Or grab this one, the only rule on this one is link back to me and tell me and everyone else the one thing you would like to do to make the world better.

What a Tangled Web, 2012 Part II

I was accused by one of my siblings on the other side of the political aisle of offering a biased review in Part I of the 2012 Platform. I am trying hard to not be too biased, but admit freely and without shame to being on the side of the Democrats more often than not this year. This hasn’t always been true, not every year since my turning 18 and voting for the first time in 1976 for Jimmy Carter. While I did not regret my vote for the man I still consider the most honest politician elected as President in my lifetime, my next vote went to Ronald Reagan, a vote I continue to regret to this day. Oddly, I liked the first George Bush despite his association with Ronald Reagan and though I voted against him when he ran the first time, I voted for him for a second term. That second term was the last time I voted for a Republican for the Presidency, it was also the last time the GOP put a reasonably sane and moderate person before the general public to vote for.

I like a government that works. I believe in Democracy and Transparency, two things I think we are seeing less of these days, especially at the federal level. It is my belief the only way a government works well is when there are tensions over policy and position that can be debated towards a compromise that is best for the American people as a whole. We, that is this nation and our politics have been dominated by a two-party system that has

All American Rocky and All Russian Drago duke it out

polarized us, put us into corners rung the bell and sent us to the center of the ring like prizefighters. We are bloody. We are brutal in our attacks, at every level. We are willing to beat each other down, willing to beat strangers, friends and even family members with platforms and ideology until one of us cry uncle simply to make it stop.

Today I want to pull apart the economic platforms of our two parties, for what they are worth. Neither party is terribly forthcoming in their plans.

DNC – Jobs

GOP – Jobs

Open Markets – yes Open Markets – yes
Small Business – President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to continue cutting red tape for small businesses, helping them sell their goods around the world and access the capital they need to grow. This includes tax cuts for small businesses that make new investments, hire more workers, or increase wages. Small Business – We will reform the tax code to allow businesses to generate enough capital to grow and create jobs for our families, friends and neighbors all across America. We will encourage investments in small businesses. We will create an environment where adequate financing and credit are available to spur manufacturing and expansion. We will serve as aggressive advocates for small businesses.
Since 2008, there have been 18 small-business tax cuts, altogether, the President’s Small Business Jobs Act accelerated $55 billion in tax relief through 2011.
Infrastructure – We support long-term investments in our infrastructure. Roads, bridges, rail and public transit systems, airports, ports, and sewers are all critical to economic growth, as they enable businesses to grow. That’s why President Obama and Democrats in Congress have enacted infrastructure investments that will sustain our Highway Trust Fund and provide states, U.S. territories, and communities with two years of funding to build needed infrastructure. These investments are critical for putting Americans back to work and strengthening America’s transportation system to grow our economy. The President has proposed to go substantially further, including a significant up-front investment in our infrastructure followed by sustained increases in investment paid for with part of the savings from winding down our overseas wars, together with reforms that will better leverage government dollars and target significant projects. We will continue to partner with local communities to support their sustainable development.  Infrastructure – We oppose any funding mechanism that would involve governmental monitoring of every car and truck in the nation. Amtrak continues to be, for the taxpayers, an extremely expensive railroad. The public has to subsidize every ticket nearly $50. It is long past time for the federal government to get out of way and allow private ventures to provide passenger service to the northeast corridor. The same holds true with regard to high-speed and intercity rail across the country.
The DNC has big dreams, it is true we have a crumbling infrastructure and need to address it. It is also true there are billions being spent on wars and Nation building at home should be a high priority, but we first need to deal with balancing a budget and getting our nation out of hock. Though the DNC platform address our debt and deficit; maybe it is me but I think there needs to be a balance between the privatization strategy of the GOP and big dreams of the DNC.
Insourcing– The Democratic Party believes in insourcing so that America can out-build the rest of the world again. We want to cut tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and for special interests, and instead offer tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in the United States of America, betting on American workers who are making American products we sell to the world that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.

We Democrats also recognize the economic opportunities created by our nation’s community colleges.That is why the President has invested in community colleges and called for additional partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train two million workers with the skills they need for good jobs waiting to be filled, and to support business-labor apprenticeship programs that provide skills and opportunity to thousands of Americans. The President also proposed to double key investments in science to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers, encourage private sector innovation, and prepare at least 100,000 math and science teachers over the next decade.

And to make this country a destination for global talent and ingenuity, we won’t deport deserving young people who are Americans in every way but on paper, and we will work to make it possible for foreign students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to stay and help create jobs here at home.

Outsourcing – That will be critically important if States establish Personal Reemployment Accounts, letting trainees direct resources in ways that will steer them toward long-term employment, especially through on-the-job training with participating employers.

We can accelerate the process of restoring our domestic economy-and reclaiming this country’s traditional position of dominance in international trade-by a policy of strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math from other nations. Highly educated immigrants can assist in creating new services and products.

In the same way, foreign students who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math should be encouraged to remain here and contribute to economic prosperity and job creation. Highly skilled, English-speaking, and integrated into their communities, they are too valuable a resource to lose. As in past generations, we should encourage the world’s innovators and inventors to create our common future and their permanent homes here in the United States.

It is an important note on the GOP Platform there is continued support to broaden the H1B and L1 Visa availability during a national unemployment crisis. This means while Americans are without work the GOP proposes to continue to bring in White Collar workers in high paying positions, willing to work on contract thus leaving Americans without access to full time positions. This has been an on-going position of the GOP since 1999, millions have lost their jobs and remain outside of the workforce.
Labor Unions – Support Labor Unions – Oppose and will actively work to bust.

I do not believe America is exceptional, we once were but we have sold our future out and stand in the quicksand of past glory. Could we regain our place on the world stage, rekindle our greatness? Perhaps we can, but not with the philosophy of Manifest Destiny as our standard, not with the drums of war as our song.

Next up? Taxes I think.

Letting go of Animosity

Last week I was in Seattle where both my mother’s live, what a strange twist of circumstance and fate that is. Originally my trip was planned so I could step into the role I have always played so well, the one I am so expert at, Bad and Evil Daughter to my second mother. The plan was for me to move my second mother from the apartment she had lived in for 28 years to Assisted Living, all in a single fell swoop.

The strategy was laid. The deposit was made on her new apartment in the Assisted Living place; it is literally two blocks from where she is now. It is a nice apartment, frankly nicer than where she is living today. The movers were arranged for and the time agreed. Her home care support was notified so they could start preparing her, reminding her she was moving. My second mother has dementia, her memory and cognitive skills on a scale of 1 to 5, five being the best, are approaching two now.

I was going to spend my Labor Day weekend moving my second mother into her new Assisted Living facility. It isn’t what I wanted to do and I approached this task with much trepidation, some resentment and frankly some fear. Anyone who has read Broken Chains knows the story of my relationship with my second mother, the time leading up to this weekend had been filled with a great deal of soul searching and angst. I landed in Seattle Thursday night though and made my way to the hotel with some peace in my heart. It would all be fine, my brother was convinced all the pieces were in place and everything would be fine.

Well, maybe not so fine. The movers, who were supposed to arrive at 9am on Friday morning, arrived at 7am instead. Was I confused? I am certain I wasn’t, in fact I had the move confirmation right there on my handy CrackBerry, right there in green and lime green, 9am. Nevertheless, let me rush across the bridge to and get things moving. When I arrived at my second mom’s apartment, no one was there but her and she was still in bed sound asleep. You cannot get a 92-year-old woman with dementia out of bed and tell her, “come on old woman it’s moving day!” This is simply not the way things work, hell this approach wouldn’t work for me and I am significantly younger. It took her nearly 20 minutes to realize who I was and that I was there, in her apartment.

We talked about her move. She was genuinely confused and resistant to any thought of moving. She doesn’t remember falling and has remained on the floor until her home aid comes the next day. She believes she can continue to live independently and that she is not a danger to herself. She doesn’t remember that she forgets to eat or that she has bouts of incontinence. We had the same conversation at least seven times in the space of an hour.

I called my brother in Korea, it was 3am there but I did not care because I was doing this for him. He didn’t want to be the Bad and Evil Son. We had gone through this with our father who had Alzheimer’s, my brother didn’t understand how bad it was, how horrific the failure was. My brother couldn’t face the failure of our fathers mind. Now we faced the same issue, he didn’t understand or couldn’t face the failure of our mother; she said ‘yes’ but did not retain the information.

I sent the movers away agreeing to pay for their time. I sat with my second mother and continued to talk about the move, about what she needed to make her comfortable with it. I wrote on her White Board, “You Are Moving to Ballard Manor”. I gave money to her favorite caregiver to buy moving boxes so she could start sorting some of her personal things when Veronica was with her, it helps her to feel in control.

I will never hear from my second mother the words I spent my entire life wishing to hear; never will I hear any of these;

Mom and I, San Marco Square, Venice Italy 1965

“I love you”

“I am sorry I hurt you”

“I understand”

Despite my original trepidation, anger and fear going out to Seattle to be the Bad and Evil Daughter, I am glad I went. Although I don’t think my mother knows this, we made peace. She is at the end of her life and I realized in sitting with her over the days I was there, despite it all she deserves my protection and care. For her humanity, for the fact that she was so greatly damaged as a child and was unable to heal throughout her long life she deserves my protection and care. I came away knowing I would always have a small hole, but it was one I could fill by preserving her dignity.

To the other side of this trip, the time I didn’t know I would have I filled in a way I hadn’t originally considered. Early this year I had reached out my first mother, we hadn’t spoken in several years and at the urging of one of my siblings I opened the communication door again. I wanted to repair old wounds and re-create a relationship with my first mother; we had a rocky start the first time. With this in mind, well I just picked up the phone and called asking if I could come to Vashon Island for to visit.

Ferry to Vashon Island

Why not? Surprise I am here!

One visit turned into two, they were both wonderful and peaceful. We were both I think changed in some fundamental ways by life and our experiences. We were both different and the same, but both ready for a different relationship with each other. For me, it was easier to internalize ‘this is my mother, blood and she did what was best.’ I had always pragmatically thought so, but my emotions had overruled my thinking and I wanted to lay at her feet so much of my pain, even when I didn’t realize I was doing this. I can’t speak for her, but at least on the surface she was softer though I worry for her health.

The bonus visit was with one of my siblings, a younger sister! I learned something on this trip, though in my head I have always known. I have this large extended family, some of whom I keep up with at least within the context of social media and some of whom I rarely talk to at all. I think we do ourselves such a grave and terrible disservice by losing sight of the bonds that tie us together. We don’t have to love one another, but at least for me given my status as an adopted child I want at least the chance to know who I love and whether I can love you before I let go entirely.

If you are confused by my references to mothers:

First Mother – my biological mother

Second Mother – my adopted mother

The Party is Over, Platforms 2012 Part 1

First, while I am looking through the lens of history at the two parties that shape our political conversation every four years, it is the Silly Season and both have now released their official Platforms. It would be remiss of me if I completely ignored this event, stuck my fingers in my ears and shuttered my eyes pretending the Platforms of the parties did not matter today. Some would have you believe they do not, but in fact, the Platforms do matter, they matter a great deal. The Candidates shape the platforms along with party leadership, these statements of purpose and intent define Philosophy and how the Candidate, Presidential and others intend to govern the nation if elected.

Ignoring the meat and potatoes of the Party Platforms is a mistake, one that we cannot afford to make as citizens. Let me just say this year, more so than many years I have read thus far the two parties spent much of their time taking swipes at the other side within the context of building their own argument, it was a bit disconcerting. I believe this quote is perfect for the season:

“People never lie so much as before an election, during a war, or after a hunt.”
― Otto von Bismarck

Are both sides in the game liars? Sure they are. I can honestly say I am disappointed in some of the DNC Platform this year, not entirely because of what is there but rather in some cases because of what isn’t there. I am also extremely disappointed the DNC used their opportunity to communicate their roadmap for the future to ‘Bash’ the opposition. I want to know, from both sides, what are your plans and how will you govern in black and white! I don’t care what you think of the other side; in fact, I already have a good idea of what you think of them by now, just tell me what you will do differently.

This being said, let’s take a walk on the wild side, shall we?



Immigration: Democrats know there is broad consensus to repair that system and strengthen our economy, and that the country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and requires them to get right with the law, learn English, and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship. We need an immigration reform that creates a system for allocating visas that meets our economic needs, keeps families together, and enforces the law. Immigration: State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked. The pending Department of Justice lawsuits against Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah must be dismissed immediately. The double-layered fencing on the border that was enacted by Congress in 2006, but never completed, must finally be built. In order to restore the rule of law, federal funding should be denied to sanctuary cities that violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, and federal funding should be denied to universities that provide in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens, in open defiance of federal law.
There is of course more on both sides. The DNC has pushed for the Dream Act for young people brought to the US as children, the GOP rejects out of hand and under all circumstances the Dream Act calling even these children criminals. In 2008 the RNC position on H1B Visa’s was to increase the numbers, further. Both sides continue to support this position while Americans continue to be unemployed or underemployed in key white-collar fields.
Veterans: continue to prioritize support for wounded warriors, mental health, and the well-being of our military families and veterans. We will keep working to give our veterans the health care, benefits, education, and job opportunities that they have earned. That’s why the President and the Democratic Party supported the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to provide opportunities for military personnel, veterans, and their families to get a better education. That’s why the President has launched partnerships with the private sector to help veterans transfer their experience into skilled manufacturing jobs, and why the President has proposed a new Veterans Jobs Corps to put veterans to work as first responders. That’s why the President signed an executive order making it harder for for-profit colleges to prey on veterans. That’s why we enacted the Returning Heroes Tax Credit and the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit to give companies incentives to hire vets. Veterans: is essential to meet our obligations to them: providing health, education, disability, survivor, and home loan benefit services and arranging memorial services upon death. All its branches in those various fields must be made more responsive, moving from an adversarial to an advocacy relationship with veterans. To that end we will consider a fundamental change in structure to make the regional directors of the Department presidential appointees rather than careerists.We urge immediate action to review the automatic denial of gun ownership to returning members of our Armed Forces who have had representatives appointed to manage their financial affairs
Both the GOP and DNC have peppered this section with platitudes. The GOP do not recognize that many of the programs they support have already been enacted. Unfortunately, much of the discussion by the GOP in their Troop support and Veteran support was a Faith based such as the discussion of their support of DOMA, which can be found in great detail elsewhere in the Platform. The GOP in their Platform is against the Veteran Jobs Corps, though this is buried in a very long paragraph, along with their support of the proposed Tax Credit incentives for hiring Veterans.
Civil Rights We are committed to protecting all communities from violence. We are committed to ending racial, ethnic, and religious profiling and requiring federal, state, and local enforcement agencies to take steps to eliminate the practice, and we continue to support enforcement of Title VI.We are committed to equal opportunity for all Americans and to making sure that every American is treated equally under the law. We are committed to ensuring full equality for women: we reaffirm our support for the Equal Rights Amendment, recommit to enforcing Title IX, support the Paycheck Fairness Act, and will urge ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Civil Rights Nothing within the platform
Health Care We remain committed to eliminating disparities in health and will continue to make sure families have access to mental health and substance abuse services. We will strengthen Medicaid and oppose efforts to block grant the program, slash its funding, and leave millions more without health insurance. We will continue to invest in our public health infrastructure – ensuring that we are able to respond to emergencies and support community-based efforts to prevent disease. Health Care

  • Repeal Affordable Healthcare Act (ObamaCare)
  • Protect Faith Communities and Provider Choice. This means ensure no care provider, no employer, no doctor or nurse, no pharmacist will have to provide care or transportation even if the care you, the individual needs, goes against their personal ‘faith’.
  • Tort reform, to protect the medical provider from ‘frivolous malpractice’ suits and
  • Return healthcare to the Private Insurance Provider
  • Make costs transparent so you, the unhealthy individual can decide not to seek care given the high cost to both you and your health insurance plan

Well that is it for today; I thought those were some fun highlights. Tomorrow I am going to take on some of the economic issues within both platforms. Both the DNC and the GOP are rhetoric heavy and rather light on facts, figures and just plain bottom line. I have slogged through both of their Platforms countless times now, some of it makes me weep, some makes me so angry I could spit nails into concrete.

Anyone who reads me regularly knows where my heart lies; I seem unable to hide my light under a rock. I am an old hippie at heart, a social liberal to my last poor aging bone. I suppose the difference between me and many of

Special thanks to Google for supplying the photo

my contemporaries who sorta made it, meaning who learned how to earn a dollar instead of a dime; my personal ethos didn’t change with the adjustment in my income level and tax bracket. I haven’t forgotten where I came from; I haven’t forgotten my personal struggles or those who reached out to help me when I was at my lowest, those who held the door open so I could walk through and achieve my dreams. Perhaps my struggles are why I remain so very much committed to the American Dream being a real Dream for all of us.

I swore I would remain pragmatic and fair in my reading of the Platforms. I am trying my best to do so, the tax and economic issues are tough though. Let us all hope I can keep my cool.

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