Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Story of Compromise

Dear King of Filibuster Abuse:

Since I know writing to you is a total waste of time and my only hope for change is by reaching the people who support you, I’m reconsidering how to proceed with this project. There’s also that nasty problem coming in January – Rand Paul. I ignored Senator Bunning for the most part but that won’t be possible with this one.

You might have to share space. That seems likely since your party gives the impression that you share a brain. Then again, he might surprise me and demand his own space. I guess I have a few weeks to see if this becomes Life With Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul (otherwise know as hell), or if I have to come up with a new blog name for my letters to him.

Meanwhile, I offer this short story for your supporters. In order to get them to see it, I’m sure I must include appropriate buzz words, so here goes:

If you believe Jesus died for you, this country is falling apart because we took prayer out of school and Christ out of Christmas, and the troops are fighting for your freedom, please copy this story and send it to everyone on your mailing list:

The Story of Compromise

Mary put the kids to bed and mopped the kitchen floor before she approached John with the bad news. “Because of your boat accident, we’re a little short this month.”

“How much is a little,” he asked.

“Three hundred.” To avoid seeing the disgusted look she was certain must be on his face, she picked at the nail she had broken on the dryer door earlier. “The amount of your deductible. I thought maybe you’d skip the golf trip this time.”

John snorted but didn’t miss a play on his video game. “Think again, Mary. I’ve gone to Florida one weekend a month for as long as you’ve known me. Way it’s always been. Way it’s going to stay.”

“But we don’t have the money, John. And we can’t keep borrowing from the retirement account. Soon, there won’t be anything left.”

“It’s my money.” He slammed the game on the arm of the chair. “Thanks for making me lose.”

“Your money? I thought it was ours,” she said. “I have a future to consider here, too.”

“Maybe you should consider making deposits,” he said as he picked up Sports Illustrated and settled on a page. “If you want to claim the savings, you’ll have to put something in. Far as I know, my hard-earned dollars are the only ones going in there but you keep taking them out.”

“Maybe I will,” she said. “Soon as you start paying me for washing your clothes, cooking your meals, hauling your kids around, keeping your books, sweeping your floors . . .”

“Cut the drama, Mary. Nobody made you marry me.”

“You wanted children. And you wanted me to stay home with them,” she reminded him.

“You made your bed.”

“Literally,” she said. “No matter how you change the subject, the fact remains that we don’t have the money for your trip this month. We’re scraping bottom and the kids need school clothes.”

“Guess you’ll have to find somewhere to trim the budget,” he said. “Cut on groceries. Cancel a dance class or a sports team. Drive less. You’ll figure it out.”

“You think the whole family should do without so you can play golf? It’s your fault we’re in this bind. Your boat, remember?”

“Give up your manicure,” he said, burying his nose deeper into the magazine.

Mary looked at her hands. “John, that’s the one thing I do for me. I go once a month. I’m gone two hours and you’re gone two days, and my outing costs less than you spend on one meal while you’re gone.”

“Whine, whine, whine. Is that all you can do? You always want something from me, Mary. Instead of thanking me for all the other manicures you get, you’re whining about the one I’ve asked you to give up.”

“One manicure won’t fix this problem, John. Five years of manicures won’t fix this problem. And it’s your boat.”

“And it’s always going to be my boat, and I’m always going on the golf trip,” he said. “Tell you what, though. I’m willing to compromise.”

Mary’s heart skipped a beat. Could it really be? “Compromise? You’d really do that, John?”

“Yes,” he said. “Here’s the deal. You give up manicures for the next year, cut salads from the grocery list because I hate them anyway, cancel dance classes and soccer teams, and I’ll make sure the kids get their school clothes by borrowing from my dad. You won’t have to touch the retirement.”

She thought it over, wrote it on paper, reviewed the deal, and considered carefully. “That’s a compromise to you? It feels terribly lopsided in your favor. Can’t you give up a dinner or share a hotel room with Rob until we’re out of the hole?”

“Mary, get over yourself.” Bob lowered the magazine and smiled. “Both sides find something they aren’t happy with in every compromise.”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet, Senator McConnell

Dear Senator McConnell:

Since you are supposed to be serving as a leader, I will follow your lead. You haven’t seen anything yet.

I take a tiny bit of credit for making all politics NOT local. Years ago, my refusal to fall for that line confused some of my friends. I explained, repeatedly, in person and in as many forums as I could possibly visit on the internet, that those of you elected to national seats affect the lives of all of us, so we should start campaigning across state lines. I believe I warned you way back then that I was going to do this, and I keep my promises.

Today, people from across the country (and world, actually) ask me what they can do to help Kentuckians oust you from our Senate seat. And I tell them. Politicians across the country request campaign donations from me, send updates to let me know what they support and why they disagree with me on other issues, and know that they are not dealing only with locals any more. The people I meet on the internet know more about representatives who do not represent their state than ever before. I did not do this on my own but mark it on my list of successes.

You, Senator McConnell, have made quite a name for yourself but I will stay on this project until you are gone. Your name is so huge these days that you need all the help you can get to spread such ugliness.

I’ll try to start with the positive. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for proving that Ronald Reagan was brain dead and George Bush never had any power. Now that you have earned the position of lead puppet, and the Chamber has come forward, it is obvious to everyone that the Republicans planted in political offices are only placeholders to be manipulated. Bad news for you is that you have gone so far overboard that this disgusts even some of the people who supported you before.

If I get my way, that ‘some’ number will grow. In the words of a very foolish man, “If you think it’s bad now, wait until next year.”

Republican Senators recently said that they won't pass healthcare for the 9/11 first responders because they don't want to work the entire week from Christmas to New Years Day. This is wrong on so many levels. You wasted the year with your obstructionism so you should stay as long as it takes to get the work you were elected (and are paid) to do. Most people get one day off work for a holiday. Who do you think you are? And you’ve shown how little respect you have for non-Christians by demanding that your religious celebration is more important than the nation’s business.

Following your lead again, I don’t want to waste my Christmas week rehashing all of your words and actions so I am just going to list a few of the more disgusting selections so far this week:

Mitch McConnell Found His Calling: Scrooge of the Year You had some good competition but won with 42% of the votes after spending your year leading a record number of filibusters against unemployment insurance, job creation, health care reform, Wall Street reform, health care for 9/11 first responders, the DREAM Act, Social Security cost of living adjustments, collective bargaining rights for public safety officers and just about anything that might benefit working families.

Mitch McConnell Accuses Obama of Plan to Seize Internet Of course, this is not true but you depend on your base to keep their fingers in their ears and their eyes closed rather than look for the truth. Shame on you.

The 9 Biggest Conservative Lies About Taxes and Public Spending Check them out. You will probably be proud to see that you’ve propagated every one on the list.

Dear Mitch McConnell: What the hell are you talking about on net neutrality? Mitch McConnell said that the proposed rule would "harm investment, stifle innovation, and lead to job losses." Would it really hurt you to tell the truth about one thing? (Glad to see that others are writing.)

McConnell Vows to Make Next Two Years Hell for Obama I’m copying this straight from the article since I couldn’t possibly say it better myself. “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a vile classless political hack of all hacks, at least is up front about his motives and priorities. He would sell out his own mother to regain the majority in the Senate and to destroy the Obama presidency to put a Republican back in the Oval Office. So, it should come as no surprise that he unleashed a slew of fresh threats aimed at President Obama and the Democrats during a Politico interview. And that he relishes his role as a bomb-throwing partisan obstructionist. McConnell gloated to Politico that if Democrats think the GOP’s scorched earth policy is bad, “wait ‘til next year.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told CNN's "State of the Union" that members of his party need more time to consider the START accord. "I've decided I cannot support the treaty," McConnell said in his first outright rejection of ratifying the treaty during the current lame-duck session of Congress. Seriously, Senator McConnell? 17 freaking pages? You can’t make it through 17 FREAKING PAGES? You are disgraceful.

Sarah got the misinformer of the year award, probably only because she talks faster and tweets more. Maybe you can try harder next year?

I do wish you a Merry Christmas, Senator McConnell. I hope it is as merry as that of the poorest, most resentful person in this country.

Sincerely,

Sandy

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Putting Mitch McConnell on Notice About His War on Truth

Dear Senator McConnell:

I’ve been reminded several times in the last week that we are still at war. Someone on the internet reminded me of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sadder still, friends reminded me last night that we are still involved in another war, also started unnecessarily by the Republican Party – The War on Truth. This one led to the support you needed to carry out the others. Since it is being fought on American soil and destroying everything that I hold dear, I have decided to make it the one I will fight.

Following, is what I wrote about your party's War on Truth several years ago. Since you’ve shown little regard for the letters I send you, I doubt you’ve followed my other writing so I am bringing this to you.

War on Truth, by Sandy Knauer

"Lord, I am not worthy to receive you. Say the word and my soul shall be healed."

The brilliance of the Bush administration's war on truth was in commandeering an unsuspecting army that had already surrendered critical thinking skills in return for the promise of paradise. A lifetime of reciting self-deprecating mantras like the one above, and blind faith in a deity who would expect it in return for the favors his father sent him to bestow, prepared the Christian soldiers for an unapproachable administration, sent by a higher power that considers itself above question.

The war on truth is creative, carried out behind the scenes, between the lines, under the covers, and up their sleeves. A few subliminal messages, offered in the form of innocuous religious phrases, served as weapons to kill intellects and souls, leaving empty shells to skew the body count. The shells, accustomed to chanting thoughtlessly, now repeat the administration's mantras like automatons.

Embracing God fearing as an admirable trait, Christian soldiers welcomed the opportunity to stockpile admiration, and readily assumed foreigner fearing, non-believer fearing, liberal fearing, and tax fearing. Proud of their Christian soldiers status, they sacrificed logic and accepted anything the administration presented as Christian values, without demanding harmony with their traditional values.

In meshing religion and politics, this administration uses the bible to remind their followers that they already embrace one documented set of contradictions that can be interpreted to support whichever side of the issue benefits them at the time, and it would somehow be sacrilegious not to accept the same level of contradiction from their earthly leaders. They call on their followers to pray, when action would be more appropriate, knowing that puts them in the vulnerable position of waiting for what they trust as an infallible decision from a higher power. Questioning higher power, worldly or heavenly, is a weakness.

By combining religion and politics, this administration has successfully silenced millions of unsuspecting victims. Now, these people march in fear of losing paradise if they question their spiritual or mortal leaders. Stripped of free will and the ability to process new information, they aren't capable of seeing what is happening to them, so we must protect them. We must become true soldiers in the war on truth, arm ourselves with facts, and combat the insidious messages they unknowingly spread. We must ask questions of and for them, and fight to refill their shells with what this administration took from them.

The Republican Party (including its Tea Party branch) has capitalized on innocence and ignorance.

<***>

Consider this fair notice. I am putting together an army of truth-seekers. We will call out you, and all of your followers, every time we hear or read that you falsified information, or made an untrue assumption or claim. We will do it in public and in private, in front of supporters and children (especially in front of children), and we will not cloak or messages in politically correct, nice words. We will not talk about our friends on the other side of the aisle because people who lie are not our friends. I’m sure you will understand since it was your party who laughed at the idea of diplomacy and said there is no “nice” way to deal with enemies and liars are the enemies of this country.

Sincerely,

Sandy

TO MY READERS: Please help fight this war on truth by putting your politicians, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family on notice and holding them responsible for their parts in spreading lies. You are welcome to share my letter.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grounds for Divorce

Dear Senator McConnell:

I’ve had a somewhat rocky week with my fantasy husband, Lawrence O’Donnell. First, he disappointed me by defending President Obama’s decision to pay your ransom demands. I thought I might be able to excuse this slip even though I could not understand how a professed socialist could possibly endorse the reverse Robin Hood plan but then, last night, he used the words fair enough in the same sentence with your name. If ever there were grounds for divorce--fantasy or real--this surely qualifies.

Other readers might be snickering at me but I’m sure you understand living in a fantasy world. The difference I see between the two of us is that I admit that I entertain fantasies and you don’t. I do it for a laugh, not because I hope to fool anyone into believing that I am married to Lawrence O’Donnell. I do it as a compliment to Mr. O’Donnell, and to make the point that I share (more often than not) his positions and philosophy. And I do it to show that I appreciate his television personality. I make sure everyone knows that I respect the fact that he has a wife and that I have no serious hope or desire to interfere.

You, on the other hand, do not admit that you are living fantasies. I can't speak to your personal relationships and will stick to what I know - your relationship with The American People. You obviously hope to convince us that you are a Christian and a public servant. When it is obvious that a few people do believe those things about you, you do not attempt to clear up the misunderstandings.

I won’t pretend to be an expert and I will not look up appropriate bible verses. That isn’t necessary. Common knowledge and professed beliefs confirm my impression that Christ taught the opposite of what you live. Christians care about everyone, and they take care of those who have the least. They are not selfish, they do not lie, and they do not take what they don't need away from people who need it. They do not believe they deserve everything they want at the expense of others.

Odd, isn’t it, how you, Senator Kyl, and other fantasy Christians have convinced your authoritarian followers to rationalize resenting aid to the needy, and that “tithing” for the common good is an evil thing when it serves people you don't like? Odder still is that you have convinced some needy people to believe you actually care about them while you stab them in the back.

Do you honestly believe Christ would be pleased to know that you guys have insulted the very people you have held for ransom by implying that it is an affront to him for anyone to ask you to refrain from a long celebration of his fake birthday to remain in Washington to do the work you sloughed off the last two years? That’s a rhetorical question. I don’t believe it is possible for you to think anything that irrational. What I do believe is that your twisted principles allow you to take advantage of the pathetic people who will jump on your sick bandwagon and defend themselves against another fantasy war on Christmas.

Shame on you.

Sandy

p.s. In case it helps, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, as far as I've heard, mentions nothing about the Senate, and does not mean anyone is obligated to tell.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sociopaths and Social Dominators

Dear Senator McConnell:

I said some things about you the other day that even I thought were harsh. Since I am angry with you, I considered the possibility that sociopath and social dominator might fall into the category of name-calling if my emotions were speaking louder than my knowledge. I spent the day with checklists and eased my mind. After checking off everything on this list, I feel comfortable with my opinion that both fit without emotion as the driving force.

 Manipulative and conning e.g. I will obstruct and hold the U.S. hostage until I get my way


 Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them e.g. Announcing dishonestly that you have not heard from constituents who don't agree with you


 Irresponsibility/unreliability e.g. I refuse to do my job because my only goal is to see President Obama fail


 Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams e.g. I deserve a tax break that I don't need even if it means other people in this country will be hungry, homeless, without health care


 Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. e.g. The majority of people in my country are hurting but I don't care as long as I get what I want.


 Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed e.g. My party drove this country into the ditch but I will blackmail President Obama into continuing the same failed policies so I can blame him


 Lack of realistic life plan/parasitic lifestyle

 They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible.

 They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used.

 Grandiose Sense of Self

 Feels entitled to certain things as "their right"

 Pathological lying

 Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis.

 Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities.

 Lack of remorse, shame or guilt

 Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities

 The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

 Shallow Emotions

 Callousness/Lack of empathy

 Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

 Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

?  Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them (Not sure about this one. I believe you don’t think anything you do politically is wrong, but I don’t know that you fail to recognize wrongs like missing the hamper with your socks.)

 Authoritarian

 Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired

 Conventional appearance

 Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life

 Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)

 Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim

 Extreme narcissism and grandiose

 They scapegoat; they are incapable of either having the insight or willingness to accept responsibility for anything they do. Whatever the problem, it is always someone else's fault

 Lies with impunity because followers will not check, or believe the truth when presented to them

 Desire for power is so strong that no amount of power will satisfy them

 Will go to any extreme to gain power and will justify any means to get what they want

 Intimidating, ruthless, vengeful, and without conscience

 Scorn noble acts like charity, helping others, intelligence

 Believe there is no real right or wrong so whatever they can get away with is right for them

For years, I have tried to decide who is more at fault, the Mitch McConnells and George Bushes, or the thoughtless people who elect you. I resent all of you the same, since one couldn’t destroy this country without the other. Your authoritarian followers are intellectually weaker but, since laziness and lack of character are the reason, I don’t think that excuses them for shirking personal responsibility. Social dominators like you, who know exactly what you are doing, are the real danger when you carry your thirst for power to outrageous extremes – as in holding unemployment hostage until you get the tax breaks you don’t deserve but will insist on anyway at the expense of the country. (At least you proved, finally, without doubt, that you care nothing about this country or the people in it. I guess that’s the silver lining, but somehow being right doesn’t feel like much of a concession.)

This is all I have time for today but I will return soon with specific examples for each. Meanwhile, I call on my fellow Americans (especially Kentuckians) to help with this project – by sending links to articles that demonstrate examples, or adding to the list since there were a couple of criteria that I wasn’t sure you met.

Sadly,

Sandy

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Puddles of Pain

It seems not much changes when you are in office. I wrote this years ago - one of the few poems I have published. Sad how apt is still is today.

Puddles of Pain

Sequestered by collective greed
neglected puddles of pain
forgotten people bleeding
from wounds they've yet to sustain
They cry out, why can't you see
we're hurting here below
we're sick, we're poor, the oldest ones
possibly someone you know

Insulted by terminal apathy
starved for a morsel of hope
buried by society's fears
under what we refuse to know
They screamed out, we didn't hear
left them without smiles
the weak, the slow, the broken
possibly your neighbor's child

Trampled by heinous lies
pillaged of their dreams
forgotten humans dying
on cold, one-way streets
They reached out, we didn't see
the many blatant signs
the lost, the weary, puddles of pain
running through our lives

Sandy Knauer
ã January 2004

Friday, December 10, 2010

Who Are You, Senator McConnell?

There are some of us with no way out. We've paid the dues, walked the miles, swung the hammers, carried the loads, jumped through the hoops, and still wound up buried beneath the rubble.

We aren't lazy. We aren't trying to get something for nothing. We are trying to get rid of what we have – multiple sclerosis, arteriosclerosis, cancer, AIDs, bad luck, corporations that sent our jobs overseas, companies that were run out of business by the Waltons. We've fallen and we can't get up. You seem to take great pleasure in our misfortune, as long as you have your fortune.

We hurt. And you spit on us as you kick us aside or step over us.

Your prayers haven't cured us or made us disappear. Your God hasn't put the goodness in your heart to help us, to stop blaming us, or to realize you are not better than us because you have figured out how to beat the system and take advantage of us.

Your words and inactions destroy what our diseases and misfortunes haven't already taken. It's not enough for you that our bodies and circumstances have failed us. You aren't satisfied until we've lost our homes and spirits as well.

We've done nothing to you. We've done nothing to deserve our fate. We don't want to live and we can't die. You've destroyed our lives and jailed our Dr. Kevorkian, because, after all, you believe you own our souls and the rights to our decisions.

You decide we should live without medical care, without pain medications, without unemployment, without social services, without food. You don't care. You simply do not care about anything other than your power and your wealth, which you have abused.

We're in your hell. Who does that make you?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dear Blackmailing Hostage Taker:

(I have to admit that I get a little satisfaction in knowing that people will recognize you by that name.)

I was too upset to write yesterday and figured I’d probably get myself in trouble. Usually, I carefully weigh my wording to make sure I don’t cross lines or call you names that I shouldn't but the last couple of days, civility was not possible for me. Today, I’m writing because I can thank you for at least one thing.

The kids make fun of me because I take notes – when I read the news, watch television, talk on the phone . . . I do that for a couple of reasons. When I write something, I am more apt to remember it correctly. Also, I hate to trust my memory for details so the notes make me feel more secure about repeating what I’ve heard or read. However, thanks to you, today I was able to answer questions and make statements without my notes, or Google, or calling anyone for verification.

One guy asked: What kind of sociopath that already had millions of dollars would want more if the condition was millions of hungry elders? Who wants to live in a society where the old and poor are wandering the streets looking for cans or handouts?

I knew the answer without notes: Mitch McConnell!

Someone else suggested: Prayers really are answered.

“Absolutely not,” I was able to say without hesitation. “If that were true, Mitch McConnell’s tongue would have fallen out for lying, Sarah Palin would have gained at least 400 pounds (most of them in the form of warts on her face), and at least a couple of Republicans would have developed a conscience or accidentally spoken a truth.

“How can anyone be so heartless?” Someone tossed out on an internet site.

“Simple,” I typed. “Apparently, being born Mitch McConnell makes heartless simple.”

“Who could possibly think it’s a good idea to give tax breaks to the wealthiest and then deny a $250 pittance to those who depend on social security?”

Mitch McConnell’s party,” I shouted.

And to think, a few months ago, there were actually people in this country who didn’t know who you are. I doubt that will happen again – ever.

Monday, December 6, 2010

On Behalf of My Grandchildren, Senator McConnell, I Share My Pain with You

Surely, when your party talks about “sharing the pain” you don’t mean that as a one-way offer. It would only be fair if we share our respective pain with one another, right?

So you’ll know what to expect, I will describe my pain. It isn’t something I enjoy doing, but I think you deserve to know what you're in for.

If I sleep more than five straight hours (almost impossible these days), I wake with my eyelids stuck to my eyeballs, stiff joints and sometimes dislocated hips and/or shoulders if I accidentally roll over during the night. The eyes are more bothersome than painful, but a dislocated hip can be excruciatingly painful if the muscles have reacted. It will probably disgust you to know that I don’t brush my teeth right away, because there’s less chance of my jaw or wrist dislocating if I wait an hour or so. I hope you can deal with the dry mouth that long.

The fun part about sharing my pain, though, is that it changes so frequently that there is never a dull moment. I can start a project with an aching wrist and finish it feeling as though my knee is separating or my neck might break from the weight of my head. Dull aches fill some days while others are mostly electrical shock sensations. Increased eye pressure will make me completely forget that my left arm is numb or that my skin is so fragile it hurts for my hair to brush my cheek. If you’ve never had a Charlie horse in your neck, your breast, or your chest, or a flared intercostal nerve, I’m afraid you are in for a huge surprise. And if you haven’t fallen flat on the floor because you didn’t know your knee or hip was out when you tried to stand, you haven’t lived the wild life. Better buckle your seatbelt!

But something tells me this isn’t the pain you had in mind. So, I promise I will carry half the heartbreak of turning over your fortune to pay for that stupid war you started and, in return, I will only ask that you suffer an hour or two of wondering how we’ll survive if the social security check is cut and the Medicare deductible raised. We can split wondering how to pay the utility bills even-Steven but I’ll carry the brunt of the aches that accompany living in this cold, drafty place. Don’t thank me because I’m not that nice; I simply don’t think you are strong enough to endure as much as I do.

So far, I think I’ve been extremely fair. However, about that “cancer” you are trying to inflict on my grandchildren – it all changes here. You did say that increasing the deficit is a cancer to our children and grandchildren, and now you are holding our government hostage until we allow you to inflict a HUGE $700 billion cancer on our children and grandchildren. (I assume you mean mine since I haven’t heard anything about your children and grandchildren.) I refuse to share your guilt for that. I have pleaded with you for years not to hurt my grandchildren so you get to carry this one on your own.

I could have done more to warn my fellow Kentuckians about you. I could have campaigned harder for your opponents. But those children were not involved; they did not get a vote, and there was nothing they could have done to protect themselves from you. Guilt isn’t something I do well and considering the rest of my pain and my willingness to share yours, I deserve this break from your guilt.

I will also claim an exemption from the burn of the blood that is on your hands now, as well as what is to come. You do know, don’t you, that the decisions you are making now will cost lives. Closer lives – not lives of strangers in foreign countries that don’t seem real – people right here in your city and state will die because you want them to. Others will want to die because of the life you have forced them into by thinking that protecting your tax break is more important than their lives. That will be a heavy load, Senator McConnell, that the people who voted for you will have to help you with. Not me. My clear conscience is not negotiable.

Please let me know when you plan to hand over your fortune to pay off your war. I need time to prepare for sharing that pain with you and I’ll want to order balloons and noisemakers.

Since you continue to shirk your responsibilities and embarrass us by not hanging around to hear what others have to say, I'm bringing this to you:



And I ask that you respond to Sen. Mary L. Landrieu's question about how Democrats were supposed to negotiate with you after you've said repeatedly that your top priority is to see President Obama defeated 2012.

Sincerely,

Sandy

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Today's Short response to Senator McConnell

"All of this finger-pointing is doing nothing to create jobs," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "It's a total waste of time."

My response: Then put your middle finger down now and stop wasting our time.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lame Duck Laundry List For Senator McConnell

Dear Senator McConnell:

I spent the evening trying to decide how to address you. If I were your boss, I would fire you, effective immediately. If I were your spouse, my bags would be packed and there would be no looking back. If I were your friend – well, I would question my sanity for that decision. I think you deserve to be put in timeout for behaving like a two-year-old.

I’ve decided to address you like the despicable, dishonest bully that you are. The only thing that exceeds your dishonesty is the gall it takes to stand with a straight face and say that you care about the American people, and that the election was a month ago so you wonder why the Democrats have stalled. I’ve had enemies treat me with more respect and kindness than you do, and I can’t imagine anyone trying to insult my intelligence more often than you do. It would be laughable if it weren’t so important and so pathetic.

Your stall tactics are as transparent as the rest of your lies. You were sent to Washington to do a job, and that job affects my life, along with the lives of everyone I care about. If you don’t want to do that job, resign. Who do you think you are to hold us and our government hostage? Seriously, what on earth makes you think this is acceptable? It is blackmail – some say it is treason. I will join any and every group that tries to prove either of these, and I will give them all of my time. Legal counsel advised recently that there will be grounds for a class action suit when the people can prove personal damage as a direct result of your refusal to act on important matters in a timely manner. I hope what you delivered in writing to Senator Reid today will serve as proof that you have done exactly that.

Here is what THIS American person (and the majority of others I have spoken with) expects you to do, immediately:

• Let the Bush tax breaks expire for income over $250,000
• Speak out openly, loudly, and immediately against the violence your party is inciting, and the civil war they are encouraging
• Pass the Disclose Act
• Repeal DADT
• Ratify the START treaty
• Pass the DREAM act
• Extend unemployment benefits
• Keep your hands off Social Security and Medicare
• Say NO to your party’s absurd attempts to dismantle the constitution

There is no excuse to stall, filibuster, stomp your feet like a spoiled brat and demand everything your way, or to lie to the American people any more. Lead your party through the appropriate actions to get these things done quickly and smoothly during this lame duck session, and don’t imply that anyone other than you is responsible for this heavy load during the final weeks. You have obstructed for years. You blew off the President when he invited you to the White House after the midterm. You have stated repeatedly that your only goal is to obstruct this President at the expense of THE American people.

That is the truth. Own it. You’re living in a YouTube world now, and we aren’t all foolish enough to deny what we’ve seen and heard for ourselves.

Disgusted,

Sandy

p.s. The cost of Cokes did not double today. Truth is, they were on sale last week and returned to the regular cost today. Same as nobody is "raising" taxes by allowing Bush's "sale" to end - as planned, by the Republicans. You might want to get honest about that, too.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Senator McConnell Isn’t As Loveable As Uncle Charlie

To put it as nicely as possible, Uncle Charlie was full of crap and everyone knew it. He told me wild tales about pulling the plug in the bathtub, Daddy swirling down the drain, and someone having to rescue him from the river. He had fish stories, and deer stories, and the big, unbelievable stories about most every topic. He was fun, because we knew not to believe him.

He also played games. With me, it started out he would give me a quarter if I would scratch his back. I scratched his back – over here, a little higher, harder in the middle – until my fingernails threatened to fall off. When I finally cried uncle, he said he would pay me that quarter next time he saw me. I knew I would never see that quarter but about five years into this game I did remind him that next time never got there. He upped it to a dollar then, and said he was saving those quarters and dollars in the attic for me.

When I started bringing boyfriends around, Uncle Charlie told them what I would be able to buy with that money – houses, cars, big things, since I had faithfully scratched his back for so many years. I scratched, smiled, and rolled my eyes at the boyfriends, knowing I would never see a cent. Uncle Charlie wanted his back scratched, I didn’t mind doing it, and that was all there was to the story.

If I had believed – past the age of six – that Uncle Charlie was going to pay me those quarters, I would have been naïve. I would also have been terribly disappointed and he would have been a jerk if I had depended on that money to buy a house, or car, or anything big or small.

For some reason, this game isn’t nearly as much fun when President Obama plays me and Senator McConnell is Uncle Charlie.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving, Senator McConnell

Dear Senator McConnell:

I purposely omitted “Happy” from the title because I am sticking to my honesty campaign and, the truth is, Thanksgiving is not the happiest day of the year for me. I do, however, have much to be thankful for I just rehash those things every day except the one day assigned. I’m rebellious that way; never loved anyone more because it was Valentine’s Day, or dreaded winter any more or less because of something a groundhog did or did not see.

Thanksgiving will always live under the cloud of having been the day my father was diagnosed with cancer and, consequently, the day my happy world changed. I had known disappointments before then, even had some complications in my life at the time, but nothing (so far) compares to the devastation I felt that day (although December 13, 2000 was a close second). I knew my father would not survive because his eyes died that Thanksgiving Day, resembling the heartbreaking, lost forever look in the eyes of many fighters returning from war. I hope you have met a few so you will understand what I’m talking about.

I’m writing this while my pumpkin cake cooks, and I’ll go through the motions tomorrow, preparing the rest of the meal, smiling and playing games with the family, and allowing myself one day of the year to be defiantly thankful even though I know it is irrational to begrudge a day for causing me sorrow. I’ll post this tonight but expect you and your staff to be out tomorrow. When that occurred to me, I wondered who you will think of most on your day off – the unemployed who wish they didn’t have another day off, the people fighting the wars you started, or maybe the people who are stuck in hospitals receiving cancer diagnoses and hoping you heard Wendell Potter’s confession about destroying Michael Moore’s movie SICKO and creating the fake grassroots group that purposely destroyed our ability to have an honest debate about health care reform.

If you let me know which library is most convenient for you, I’ll have them hold Mr. Potter’s book, Deadly Spin, for you. Maybe, you will be thankful for the opportunity to denounce your Party for stealing the truth from the public, and for the opportunity to apologize for your continuance of that deception, and most of all the opportunity to call press conferences, appear on talk shows, and speak with newspaper reporters to set the record straight. If timing ever worked this well for me, I would be extremely grateful.

As I watched my father die, and as I contemplated my own mortality a couple of times, I realized some of the things that I am most grateful for (364 days a year). One of those is that money really does not matter in the big picture. Sure, it’s nice to be able to afford effective pain management when terminal, or when politicians have decided that tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% are more important than universal health care, or even affordable medications, but money cannot buy peace of mind, a clear conscience, a second chance to make things right, or respect.

I guess, on Friday, I will be grateful to you for reminding me how grateful I am that my father spent his life giving to others, harming no one, playing fair, lifting everyone he met, and honestly making this a better world just by being himself. If given the opportunity to choose a perfect life, I would have to say that I have had it because I was raised by an honest, loving man. Maybe he set the standards too high, and that's why I expect so much more than I get from you.

Today, I ask you to consider history and legacy. Your name will appear in the history books, possibly as one of the people instrumental in bringing down the Unites States of America. I’m not sure that even our enemies will consider you a hero for that; I think it will be an ugly page that no one should truly want to see their name on. If it all falls apart tomorrow, or even if things continue as they are headed, I believe this is how you will be remembered. No amount of money, or power, or Texas textbooks will change that. The truth lives in all of us, and it will live for generations after you are gone. My grandchildren will carry their knowledge and disdain for you the same as they carry love and respect for the great grandfather they never met, as will many others.

You have time, Senator McConnell, to make things right and to change that legacy. In one day, you could stand before the public and clean things up. You could correct the lies your party spread about health care reform, and be honest about what a mistake it would be to borrow money to help the top 2% move more jobs overseas while the middle class dies. You could admit the accomplishments President Obama has made and vow to help him improve on those to make up for your obstructionism this past year. And you could surely influence Senator Kyle regarding START and become a hero for making the world a safer place.

I will be thankful if you do.

Sincerely,

Sandy

Monday, November 22, 2010

We're Tired of Turdblossom Politics, Senator McConnell


Dear Senator McConnell:

I suppose you think when those microphones are in your face you are only speaking to your base, so you can say whatever you want and everyone will believe you. That defies reality, Senator McConnell. The truth is, all of us are listening, and we recognize statements like the following as nothing other than Turdblossom Politics. We deserve more. We expect more. I demand more.

I'm back to parse a few more of your words (can't say I didn't warn you or I'm not good for my word).

"It's time Congress got its priorities straight," [Senator McConnell] said. "It's time Congress focused on job creation -- and that means preventing tax hikes. It's time to set aside the political votes and government spending that the administration and Democratic leaders have put above all other priorities for two years."

Tax hikes? Seriously? When the sale ends and prices return to normal, do you also call those price increases? Calling returning to the original tax rates a ‘hike’ is purposefully misleading, which is not polite, honest, or acceptable.

“We are experiencing what can only be described as a jobs crisis, a sustained period of chronic unemployment; and two years of policies that have vastly increased the size and scope of government and added trillions to the debt and have done little to alleviate this problem.”

Same with implying that the jobs crisis is a result of the last two years. If there is a shred of truth in that, it’s because you have obstructed. The full truth is that President Obama inherited this crisis and you have vowed to do everything in your power to prevent his success in correcting it.

So you will know exactly how much I understand your tactics, I will share what I have observed over the last decade of paying close attention to you guys in Washington as well as communicating with your base out here in the real world. It’s not pretty.

There is an undeniable pattern. Hateful, distracting comments made only to discredit intelligent debate most often come from puppets who are doing what they're always instructed to do – project their guilt onto others. The most brilliant of Turdblossom's devious plans was to turn his brainless wonders loose and have them accuse the opposition of their sins and crimes, either before they pull them off, or before the news worms its way through the media and gets to people who aren't perceptive or paying attention.

The people railing against President Obama are victims. They've been injected by the Turd, and you – perhaps because you have no choice other than to adhere to your leader - who knows they don't have the fortitude to change the channel or see the light, and that they certainly aren't smart enough to recognize or admit the truth when it comes around. They're so infected that they'll keep on spreading Rove’s venom long after he is insignificant (like syphyllis, he's the gift that keeps on giving) and after everyone who isn't also infected sees their scars and knows to back away.

I pay close attention to their accusations. They are almost always what your Party is being accused of, charged with, or investigated for, or the next scandal to break about you. It's clever because it works on so many levels. It distracts from real issues that you can’t or won’t discuss, it infuriates the opposition, it maintains your minions because they feel important for being able to distract and get attention and, most importantly, it takes the wind out of the sails when news of your crimes and scandals breaks. It 'feels like' old news.

Clever, but not nice, moral, or ethical.

On the positive side, if we pay close attention to your accusations we will always know exactly what you are trying to hide. In this case, you are running from the crisis you created. You know what? No one can run that fast. It will stay a step ahead of you so you are only wasting our time with these dishonest statements.

Please reconsider. Everyone I’ve talked to is tired of wasting time.

Sincerely,

Sandy

Friday, November 19, 2010

Finally! A Response From Senator McConnell


I guess Senator McConnell has backed off his promise to “do nothing” now that he interprets the midterm as a mandate for his party. Finally, a response. And it doesn’t look like the typical form letter responses I used to receive.

However, although I am thrilled to see the final line where he encourages me to keep writing, the feelings I have about the rest of the letter fall way short of being pleased, or successfully patronized. I’ll break down my thoughts and feelings below the letter.


Thank you for contacting me with your concerns. You’re welcome but I consider it my civic responsibility to contact you with my concerns. I also, as I mentioned in one of my letters, consider it a matter of life and death. Literally.

I appreciate you taking the time to share your perspective with me. It has been my pleasure to do so. It has also been my pleasure to share the facts with you, and I feel just a whole lot disappointed that you fail to mention that in your response. How am I to believe that you will amend your public statements and/or your opinions and votes based on the corrected information if you don’t tell me? My perspective is important to me, as I see it is to you, but the facts matter much more.

I believe there is always some common ground even between those who might disagree on some particular issues. I suppose this is true. I honestly feel a bit disappointed in myself for not being able to identify even one issue on which we might share common ground because I am positive there must be one. You have my assurance that I will review your stances – as soon as you publish them in detail enough for me to do so – and identify the common areas.

I want what is best for my constituents, and I work hard [each?] and every day to improve lives of Kentuckians. Okay, maybe we do agree on the right to die. I, too, advocate for the right to die since I live with a number of painful diagnoses for which there are no cures and have considered the possibility that there will come a time when I will decide that I would rather die than continue living in this body. However, I believe this is a decision that only I should be allowed to make, and do not appreciate that you have decided that “what is best for me” is allowing you to serve on my death panel. Nor do I think it is my best interest for you to decide that homeless and hungry is better than the way I am living now. Granted, I live small, but I happen to be happy this way. The $2,000 deductible and cut in social security that you support would complicate my life enough to make health and happiness extremely hard to maintain and I do not think that is in my best interest.

I don’t think it is in the best interest of my children, grandchildren, and fellow Kentuckians to be without jobs, without safety nets, without oversight, or without representation in the Senate. Which brings me to the past year, when you have done nothing but say no and vow to undermine the President we elected. That was not in our best interest and does not, by any standards I would embrace, indicate “working hard” to improve our lives.

While we might disagree on the means, I hope at least our aims are common – better lives for the people of Kentucky. I hate to sound trite but I suppose this depends on your definition of better. From what I’ve seen and heard from you, we don’t share a common definition. To me, better means an improvement, not going backwards as you and your party suggest.

It is a distinct honor for me to represent my fellow citizens in the United States Senate, and I try hard to maximize the opportunity to help the Commonwealth at every turn. Commonwealth is an interesting word from someone who thinks the wealth should belong to 2% of the people. So is maximize, from someone who vowed to do nothing but obstruct, and carried through on that promise.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Again, it has been my pleasure, as well as my responsibility. I tend to maximize my disability by using my mind and heart and what little energy I have left to uphold my civic responsibilities from this chair. However, I am preparing my resume to apply for one of the jobs you will create with your bloated share of the “commonwealth” should you manage to extend the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2% in lieu of keeping me alive. I have experience with utilization of government healthcare, and I am a great reader, so I think you could use me in your office. The doctors will be upset with me but I don’t intend to go down without fighting for my life.

Please keep me informed of those issues that are important to you. You betcha!

Senator McConnell, I have written numerous letters, carefully documenting specifics. This is much better than the typical form-letter response but I am still disappointed that you did not provide a single answer to any of my questions, or one tiny specific regarding what you and your party plan to do – nothing about your plan for jobs, what we give up since you’ve changed your mind about earmarks, your plan for healthcare, what jobs you have created and will create with your tax breaks, why you blew off the President and think we should not be embarrassed, why you have made so many dishonest statements in public . . .

Sincerely,

Sandy

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Will We Forfeit When Senator McConnell Gives Up Earmarks?

I remembered to smile when I dialed, not only because I know that is the best way to sound pleasant on the phone, or because I'm generally not in a good mood before noon, but also because a night of sleep hadn't eased the anger yesterday's news generated. But it wasn't necessary. The pleasant voice on the other end of the phone would have made me smile as soon as she answered. If I were looking for a friend instead of answers, the person answering the phone in Senator McConnell's office would serve my purpose.

Today, I reminded her that Senator McConnell has provided a lot to this state through earmarks


Fiscal Year(s) 2008-2010 Number Cost
Solo Earmarks 134 $298,062,000
With Other Members 66 $159,862,325
All Congressional 200 $457,924,325
All Sponsored Earmarks 233* $1,535,993,325*



and asked what we should expect to give up now that he has reversed his opinion and sworn off earmarks.

The girl in his office did not know. She did take my name and address and promise to pass my question on to him in Washington so he could respond.

Senator McConnell said that with Republicans clear on their commitment to cut spending, attention will turn to Obama. "If the president ends up with total discretion over spending, we will see even more clearly where his priorities lie," McConnell said.

Of course, the Republicans have not been exactly "clear" - as in giving specifics about what they want to cut. In fact, they have run from that question, and they are refusing to serve on the Appropriations Committee. That makes it impossible to believe this is anything more than childish posturing.

Since banning earmarks will not make any difference in spending, the honest debates at this point would be: 1) where Republicans want to cut spending, and 2) line-item veto. But that would not be as self-serving as what Senator McConnell is trying to accomplish with his ban on earmarks.

I'm anxious to see how quickly he responds to my question.

Tax Breaks Are Not About Creating Jobs, Senator McConnell?

I called Senator McConnell’s Louisville office today to ask a few questions. The woman who answered the phone was pleasant and seemingly willing to help, it just wasn’t easy for her to provide answers that either don’t exist or are difficult to admit.

Since his website boasts: “I’m extremely proud of the clarity my Republican colleagues have expressed about what our priorities must be, and that we have listened to the American people,” I asked for clarification of exactly what those priorities might be. She said, “Health care and taxes.”

After consulting my dictionary to make certain I understood the definition of the word clarity, I asked for more. Exactly what does his party plan to do about health care and taxes? She told me they would repeal and revise the health care bill and hope to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Only, she didn’t say wealthy. And she directed me to Senator McConnell’s website for clarity.

I said I had been to the website and didn’t find the information I was seeking so I had a few more questions. What jobs has Senator McConnell created with his tax breaks so far, and what jobs will he create if his tax breaks are extended? She told me he didn’t have to disclose what he does with his personal finances and that the tax break is not relevant to creating jobs.

You could have fooled me. I’m quite certain that job creation has been one of the major “selling points” for extending the Bush Tax Breaks for the top 2%. But I gave her that one and asked what he plans to do for the community with the money he keeps if the extensions go through. Again, she told me he does not have to disclose what he does with his personal finances.

The only conclusion I can draw from this conversation is that Senator McConnell wants the tax break for his personal finances and it has absolutely nothing to do with THE American People.

Just as I thought.

Tomorrow’s question will be: What are you planning for Kentuckians to forfeit when you give up earmarks?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

THE American People Say . . .

Dear Senator McConnell:

That they are tired of the lies and deception.

That they are disgusted that you did not show up for your meeting with President Obama.

That they wonder who you think you are to embarrass us this way.

That they are not as stupid as you hope they are, and that they remember what actually happened in January, no matter how you and your friends try to spin it now.

That they believe the reason you didn't want to meet with President Obama as scheduled is that you know you have nothing to offer, and that you might actually have a sliver of a conscience and be embarrassed to face him. (Other Americans said the part about you having a conscience; I gave up that fantasy a long time ago.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Getting a Little Scary, Isn’t It?

Dear Senator McConnell:

I was sad to see you reverse your decision regarding earmarks, not because I am a big fan of earmarks but because it means one of three things: 1) you don’t know where you stand, 2) you blow with the wind, or, 3) you realize how unsafe it is to oppose Rand Paul and his tea people. I wrote something last week about how none of us can possibly feel safe but didn’t send it to you because I didn’t think you would care. Now that I suspect you might be worried about having your head stomped or ending up in a mysterious plane crash, I’ve decided maybe you should see my thoughts about violence, how the legal system does not protect victims, how your party (including the tea annex) has purposely incited fear and disgracefully condoned violence, and how society has been numbed to very real threats after eight years of being hyped up to fear unreal ones.

Years ago, I suffered a physical attack. I recovered, although particular incidents can resurrect accurate memories of the emotional pain. The part of my experience that feels relevant today is that it took at least six months for me to feel like myself again. Before the attack, I was independent, emotionally and physically strong, and fearless. I thought I knew myself well enough to predict how I would react in any given situation, and that there was nothing I could not handle. I learned quickly that I was wrong about that because I did not react as I would have predicted that night, and I almost decided prosecuting was too much trouble. Consequently, my reality was shaken to the core.

The legal system, which is not set up to wait until victims are physically and emotionally ready to deal with these things, caused as much pain as the assault. Things that people assumed to know about me because of the assault were also damaging. Fortunately, for me, the media was not involved and few people knew what happened to me.

This isn’t really about me but I thought I should qualify myself. This is about all of us, and why I think we cannot possibly feel safe until we address a few serious problems. Stephen Colbert should appreciate that I’m doing my part to keep fear alive, at least until we address the dangers of blaming victims, refusing to get involved, and pretending we don’t see or hear what is going on around us.

A couple of weeks ago, grown men tackled a young woman to the ground and stomped her head before a political debate. Contrary to disappointing rumor, that girl was not and still is not self-serving. She says this is not about her, either. And, though her message is one of forgiveness and love, she is generous enough to allow this story to belong to all of us and to understand my need to do something with it in order to address broader problems. I will do my best to honor her by making it as little about her as possible, by ending with a message of love, and by calling on the public and the media to take responsibility in turning around this violent climate.

Starting with what we know and resisting the urge to make up what we want to be true will be a good first step. In the case of the young girl who was attacked, I know that a physician, police officers, and a large crowd of people stood within feet of this attack and did nothing to help her. I know that another woman reported that this candidate/physician had treated her inappropriately in the past and that his defense was to blame the person who repeated this story and claim that it happened years ago. And I know that this physician/candidate (now a Senator in Kentucky) claimed he didn’t know the men who attacked the girl until the public identified them as his campaign coordinator and volunteers, one of whom he had posed with for a newspaper photo when the man endorsed him, that Gun Owners of America support this Senator, and that he says he has a mandate from the Tea Party, a group known for making violent threats and intimidating others by sporting weapons in public.

I know this scares me.

What I don’t know is why the woman from the past decided to play down her story. So, again, I allowed a personal experience to influence my thoughts. Recently, a young man threatened physical harm to my daughter, and he called on friends to help him do it. He posted on the internet that he was seeking retaliation and people who were not present stated that my daughter must have done something to deserve this threat. When I defended her and pointed out how wrong it was to blame the victim, the only person to speak up told me I should take the high road and stay out of it. When a detective was assigned to my daughter’s case, she feared repercussions if she pressed charges, and defeated since, instead of defending her, witnesses decided not to get involved.

Following the attack before the debate, I watched the public do the same to the victim. People created details that suited their imaginations and said she deserved this attack. Some left these comments on the internet, below videos of the attack, denying what they saw with their own eyes.

What should concern all of us is that one internet site that boasts "news status" with Google allowed a contributor to post an article and comments that were not factual. When I approached that contributor with the facts, she refused to correct them and banned me from commenting so I could not defend the young girl myself. I reported this to the owners of the site and said that I thought it was socially irresponsible to allow the contributor to endanger this girl with her lies, and they allowed the dishonest post and comments to remain.

Even if each of us did what people accused us of doing - I said something my attacker didn’t like, the girl at the debate meant to harm the Senator with the words on her cardboard poster, and my daughter was rude for not allowing drunken teens to drive away when she forced them to leave the house where she was babysitting – what kind of people believe physical violence is justified in these cases? Who is comfortable knowing that the physical abusers feel empowered by the fact that others condone their behavior, or will not get involved because they fear being hurt, too? How about knowing that sanctioned news sites allow people to print what they want and incite hatred and violence toward you in the discussion that follows?

Who can possibly feel safe knowing that even in a crowd, people can attack and no one is going to help? How is the girl with the poster supposed to leave her home now that the video has circled the globe, and people who recognize her and know that others will cheer them on if they decide to physically harm her for holding opinions they don’t like?

How can anyone be comfortable knowing that, even should victims want to prosecute, they are forced by the system to take action when they are most vulnerable and least able to do so? How many violent crimes go unreported, or how many attackers are never brought to justice because they (and the public) have scared their victims into silence?

How are decent citizens of Kentucky supposed to feel safe with a Senator whose friends stomp heads to keep away dissenting opinions? How are any citizens of this country supposed to feel safe knowing that a man like this is in the Senate, voting on legislature that will affect their lives because people either didn’t want to get involved, protected him, or were afraid to say anything?

The young girl who was attacked before the debate made an extremely kind public statement regarding her willingness to forgive her attacker. I know she is sincere because, like her, I had no trouble forgiving the man who attacked me. Forgiveness is for the person who is doing the forgiving, and it is healing. It isn’t so easy for me to forgive on the larger scale, though, if forgiveness means walking away as though this did not happen.

If I hadn't been too sick to get out of bed, I would have been there the night the young girl was attacked. I would have jumped in. I would have done something. I plan to jump in now, with words. If we don’t wake up and use our voices and our pens to fight violence, we might be forced to watch many more incidents like this one – or worse, since we have one more Senator who is against gun control and a lot of people out there who seem to think they can use the second amendment as their first amendment.

I hope that we, as a society, can send love and positive energy to the victims of this crazy time we are living in, and that we can begin loving our neighbors enough to get involved. Refusing to accept unacceptable behavior is an act of love. The same as we teach children right from wrong to protect them and help them grow into successful adults, we must tell adult bullies we will not accept violence, threats of violence, lies, or people who blame victims.

Now that you - a man who has in one week been thrown under the bus by George Bush and forced to reverse his own opinions and adopt those of Rand Paul – are in this with the rest of us, I hope you will carefully consider your responsibility to THE American People that you speak of so often, and how you can help resolve this problem for us. Someone has to stand up to the bullies and I can think of no one in a better position to do so.

Sincerely,

Sandy

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day Apology, Senator McConnell?

Dear Senator McConnell:

I hear your pal George Bush throws you under the bus in his I have neither the good sense nor the conscience to know what not to say tell-all, crime/horror book. That alone might encourage me to borrow a copy and read it.

Seriously, you advised him to bring home troops because you thought it would secure the election for your corrupt party? Bet you’re sorry now that you spent all those years voting with him, kissing butt, and selling us out, huh?

Nah. On second thought, I bet nothing of the sort. Because I don’t believe you have a conscience. But I am wondering if you will apologize to the Veterans whose service you insulted. It is Veteran's Day and the gesture might be a good political move.

Disgusted a bit more than usual,

Sandy

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Note Cards, Green Tea, and Ginkgo Biloba

Dear Senator McConnell:

The granddaughters pointed out Christmas list ideas in Rainbow Blossom yesterday. I remember thinking that would have been one of the last places I would have shopped for seven and nine-year-old girls, but how convenient that they found things to like in a place I visit often. That increases the chance of my being able to remember when I return. Yet, when the left last night and I went to add their items to the list, I was unable to remember the nine-year-old’s second item. I did remember, however, that I forgot vegetable glycerin so maybe the second item will come back to me when I go back to pick up what I forgot today.

My point: aging sucks for all of us. I understand, more than I want to admit but would be foolish to deny since I am carrying note cards with me these days. This probably explains why you have so much trouble keeping up with things like whether or not you favor earmarks, and if you do or don’t support Rand Paul’s ever-changing positions. (He, by the way, is not old enough to suffer memory loss so I’m wondering just what his problem is.)

I’ve done a little research since it is in my best interest, as well as the best interest of my grandchildren, my state, and my country, to assist you in keeping up. I hope you will consider keeping this letter with you to curb your habit of embarrassing Kentucky with record numbers of flip-flops. The pressure is really on now that we have a second senator who obviously doesn’t intend to sleep through his term or wait for talking points like his predecessor.

Top ten brain foods:
1. jasmine green tea
2. fresh fruit
3. raw nuts (not of the Tea Party variety) and seeds
4. whole wheat bread and pasta
5. beans and legumes
6. quinoa
7. chia seeds
8. greek yogurt
9. grass-fed beef
10. omega-3 fortified eggs

I would also recommend ginkgo biloba. In the past, I was fond of Amway’s Nutrilite but gave that up when I found out how much money they pour into the Republican Party. That shouldn’t be prohibitive for you so perhaps you could suggest they donate product in place of cash?

The following are your previously stated positions:

• Disparaged campaign finance reform as Beltway issue. (Oct 2007)
• Voted YES on Congressional pay raise. (Jul 2009)
• Voted NO on providing a US House seat for the District of Columbia. (Feb 2009)
• Voted NO on granting the District of Columbia a seat in Congress. (Sep 2007)
• Voted YES on requiring photo ID to vote in federal elections. (Jul 2007)
• Voted YES on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress. (Mar 2006)
• Voted NO on establishing the Senate Office of Public Integrity. (Mar 2006)
• Voted NO on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads. (Mar 2002)
• Voted YES on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration. (Feb 2002)
• Voted NO on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations. (Apr 2001)
• Voted YES on funding for National Endowment for the Arts. (Aug 1999)
• Voted NO on favoring 1997 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance. (Oct 1997)
• Voted YES on approving the presidential line-item veto. (Mar 1996)
• Voted YES on banning more types of Congressional gifts. (Jul 1995)
• Ban paid voter registration. (May 2009)
• Require all laws to cite Constitutional authorization. (Jun 2009)

Strongly Favor Absolute right to gun ownership
Strongly Oppose Stricter limits on political campaign funds
Strongly Oppose US out of Iraq
Oppose Illegal immigrants earn citizenship
Strongly Favor Drug use is immoral: enforce laws against it
Strongly Oppose Replace coal & oil with alternatives
Strongly Favor Privatize Social Security
Oppose More federal funding for health coverage
Favor Teacher-led prayer in public schools
Strongly Oppose Same-sex domestic partnership benefits
Strongly Oppose Require hiring more women & minorities
Strongly Oppose Abortion is a woman's right
Favor Death Penalty

• Voted YES on reinstating $1.15 billion funding for the COPS Program. (Mar 2007)
• Voted NO on $1.15 billion per year to continue the COPS program. (May 1999)
• Voted YES on limiting death penalty appeals. (Apr 1996)
• Voted YES on limiting product liability punitive damage awards. (Mar 1996)
• Voted YES on restricting class-action lawsuits. (Dec 1995)
• Voted YES on repealing federal speed limits. (Jun 1995)
• Voted YES on mandatory prison terms for crimes involving firearms. (May 1994)
• Voted YES on rejecting racial statistics in death penalty appeals. (May 1994)
• Rated 13% by CURE, indicating anti-rehabilitation crime votes. (Dec 2000)
• Establish an FBI registry of sexual offenders. (Oct 1996)

Voted NO on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads. Vote on passage of H.R. 2356; Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (Shays-Meehan bill, House equivalent of McCain-Feingold bill). Vote to ban “soft money” contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation. Reference: Bill HR.2356 ; vote number 2002-54 on Mar 20, 2002

Voted NO on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations. Vote to ban soft money donations to political parties and forbid corporate general funds and union general funds from being spent on issue ads. The bill would increase the individual contribution limit to candidates from $1,000 to $2,000. Reference: Bill S.27 ; vote number 2001-64 on Apr 2, 2001

Voted NO on favoring 1997 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance. Support of the campaign finance bill proposed by Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Feingold (D-WI). Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)53; N)47 Reference: Campaign Finance Reform Bill; Bill S. 25 ; vote number 1997-267 on Oct 7, 1997 I think this is when you embarrassed us with that static cling comment which I will never let you forget.

Your claim to fame: CREWS has named you the most corrupt member in congress 2007, 2008, and 2009

You can be reached at the following: (Don’t be embarrassed, I have to look up my own cell phone number every time someone asks for it.)

DC Office:
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1702
Phone:202-224-2541
Fax:202-224-2499

District Office- Bowling Green:
Federal Building
241 East Main Street, Room 102
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone: 270-781-1673
Fax: 270-782-1884

District Office- Fort Wright:
1885 Dixie Highway, Suite 345
Fort Wright, KY 41011
Phone: 859-578-0188
Fax: 859-578-0488

District Office- Lexington:
771 Corporate Drive, Suite 108
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: 859-224-8286
Fax: 859-224-9673

District Office- London:
300 South Main Street, Suite 310
London, KY 40741
Phone: 606-864-2026
Fax: 606-864-2035

District Office- Louisville:
601 West Broadway, Suite 630
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: 502-582-6304
Fax: 502-582-5326

I sincerely hope this helps! For your sake and ours.

Sandy

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Parsing Words about the Mid-Term Election

Dear Senator McConnell:

I am here to parse words. See, I think it is important to remind you that words do matter; the words you use as well as how you use them. Since you represent me—granted an uncomfortable situation for both of us--I am going to hold you accountable for your words and highlight your duplicity. I’ve promised the rest of America I will do so, and I owe it to my fellow Kentuckians who have to live down the stereotypes and insults your party validated for the world this week.

For two years now, you have arrogantly presumed the right to speak for THE American People and deny that when they elected President Obama that actually meant they supported his agenda. A G E N D A. Are you still breathing? Yes, brazen woman that I am, I dare to use the word agenda, without shame, because it is not a dirty word. It is a perfectly acceptable noun in polite conversation, and recognized as such by honest, intelligent people. I will not presume to speak for THE American People (especially not the ones for whom you speak) but I will say that THIS American Person, in the spirit of bipartisan taking back stuff, intends to take back the English language.

You can’t have it both ways. You don’t get to say that one election speaks and another doesn’t. That’s just foolish and insulting. Either, you must admit that the 2008 election meant that the majority of voting Americans (see how easy honesty can be – that just flowed right off my fingertips and didn’t hurt at all) support President Obama’s agenda, or you don’t get to imply that Tuesday’s election means that the majority of voting Americans spoke a little in favor of allowing your party to do something other than say no. If one counts, they both count.

Honesty matters, Senator McConnell. No honest person could possibly interpret your party’s ability to win/buy one branch of government (not the one you would lead, by the way) as an indication that the majority of voting Americans support your ridiculous plan to get rid of or shut out our President, or even to toss his agenda aside. At best, it means voters thought there would be a better chance of getting something done. More likely, it means your party’s problem with wording and honesty confused some voters.

I will appreciate at least an obvious attempt at honesty from you. We, THE People (I can speak for all of us here) deserve that. I know old habits are hard to break but promise I will be here to hold your hand every step of the way. Okay, maybe not every step since it would be a full time job and I need to reserve some time for myself, but I will do what I can. It will probably comfort you to know that I am on a ‘words matter’ campaign and plan to parse words with everyone who misuses them. I’m going to ask everyone to do the same, so you will not be alone.

Sincerely,

Sandy

p.s. I truly am sorry that tea baggers made you irrelevant – for your sake and ours.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another Neighbor, Senator McConnell. Karen Was Someone's Little Girl.

Dear Senator McConnell:



“The American People” voted overwhelmingly in favor of President Obama’s agenda so many of your comments confuse me. Remember that election in November, 2008? What did you think "The American People" were trying to tell you when they booted your party out and voted President Obama in? Many of us are unhappy because he allowed your party of no to obstruct and to water-down what he did manage to accomplish but that does not mean we would prefer to have you in charge. That is just faulty logic.



This recent statement from you clearly indicates that you still don’t accept the fact that your party lost, and suggests that you want to forget that your real neighbors in Jefferson County did not elect you.



“I know it’s become fashionable in some quarters to refer to Republicans as ‘the Party of No.’ But if we regularly voted for things we opposed, we wouldn’t be worth much,” he said. “The American people wouldn’t have anywhere to turn if the party in power gets carried away. And it’s clear to me at least that most Americans now believe the party in power got carried away.”


As usual, no one can possibly believe that you have a clue about what “most Americans” are thinking, or how many are living, even in your own neighborhood. Until I see some sign that you are catching on, I will continue to introduce you to your neighbors. Today, I present Karen. She was someone’s little girl.



Karen has a room on York,

a far cry from the mansion she lost on Winter.

Maybe it isn't far.

Three miles, give or take,

seen differently by car, bus, or foot.

It's far enough she can't walk over to look at it any more.



Truth be told,

it wasn't ever a mansion

except in Karen's heart.



It was an investment

to the man who scarfed it for a song at auction,

and remains a source of irritation

to the renters who pay a small fortune for it now,

getting little in return for their money.



It was a cry, for sure.

That part was true and never changes.



Karen was someone's little girl. Had to be.

Mothers can't run out before the baby is born,

so she belonged to someone for a few minutes

no matter what happened later.

Like all little girls,

she came into the world with innocent eyes

and a spontaneous smile.



Maybe the investor got what was left of those at auction too.

With or without joy,



Karen was someone's pride at some point.

Someone clapped when she took her first run across the room,

and noticed when she strung her vocabulary into a full sentence.

Surely, Miss Gray patted herself on the back

for implanting the multiplication tables in Karen's hard head,

and Johnny Rogers puffed his chest

over distracting her from them.



Ah, yes, Karen was someone's crush.

She attracted plenty of attention

from the football player who shared her table in biology class,

and the big eared boy on the bus.

And there was that driver at the moving company

where she answered phones after graduation,

who couldn't keep his eyes off her.

She might even be someone's unforgettable first love.



She thinks she was someone's wife in the seventies

He might have died,

or wanted her dead

and he might still dream about her smile.



Speaking of smiles,

she smiled a lot on Winter,

when she was someone's neighbor.

She waved from her chair on the porch,

took soup over when anyone was sick,

shoveled Mr. Turner's steps,

and made a quilt for every baby born on the street.



She didn't get to smile the day she left.

Her friends weren't out there

when she sorted through her things at the curb

to gather what she could carry,

but she would smile the next time she saw them.

She walked back to Winter as long as she could,

because babies aren't born on York

and there aren't any porches.



She would walk back to Winter to look for smiles,

if she could still walk

She smiled a lot when she still had teeth,

and others smiled back.

She had teeth when she still had insurance.

Teeth and glasses, and allergy medicine

so her eyes and nose weren't so runny, and red.

Maybe she's glad she doesn't have glasses on York,

so she doesn't know when people don't smile back.



She had insurance when she still had a job.

She was somebody's valued employee for thirty years

and has a pin to prove it.

Well, she had the pin

until she lost it on the curb on Winter,

but sometimes she still has memories of the job she loved.

She had a job when she still had her health,

or at least when she still had the strength

to pretend she had her health.



She was someone's inspiration

when she ignored her pain

and continued to work

for her insurance and smile.

The doctor got that

long before the investor came along.



She was someone's friend

when she still had health and a job

and teeth and a smile.



She was everyone's friend.

She loved.

She cared.

She was someone's savior,

everyone's champion,

a crusader of causes.

She is someone's cause now.



She is someone else's sin.



Since someone criticized me for posting only negative things, I tried—really tried—to find some feel-good stories about what you’ve done to help people like this neighbor I introduce today. Didn’t find a thing. Darn. But, to please those who want positive news, I’m including a few links to recent articles I found about Congressman Yarmuth’s involvement in local projects.



Center for Women and Families breaks ground on new apartment complex



Giving Back, Congressman Yarmuth donates congressional salary to local charities



Mortgage Help for Kentucky’s Unemployed [“Thousands of Kentucky families have been hit hard by the economic downturn, struggling to pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads,” said Congressman John Yarmuth, of Louisville. “Ensuring these families can stay in their homes isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s critical to our economic recovery.”]



Congressman John Yarmuth Announces $3M for St. Bartholomew Senior Housing



Looking forward to bringing in Lori soon,



Sandy Knauer

Senator McConnell, Meet Your Neighbors

Dear Senator (much to my regret) McConnell:





Even though this is dated, someone brought it to my attention today so I'm bringing it to yours. Now that you've vowed to do nothing in the Senate, and your candidate, Rand Paul is such an embarrassment you are hiding from sight, you might have time to go back and revisit some earlier decisions. Maybe you can even pull your nose out of the air, walk the streets of Louisville, meet some of the people I've met here, and grow a conscience.

Here are a few who I will never forget. If they survived the devastation of the Bush years and the Republican Party obstructionism so far in the Obama Administration, you might start on and around Broadway. That's where I met most of them. Maybe ride the bus from home to your office, I'm sure you'll see them, or others just like them.



Reverend Stanton - You'd surely have to love this man. Well, maybe not. Most people would.

The alcove seemed a strange location for sorting laundry, but who was I to judge this man? He wasn't blocking the entrance or hurting anything. In fact, his sweet smile was a nicer welcome than I usually received from the security guard.

"Good morning," I said as I passed him to open the door.

"That it is," he replied. "God bless you, dear."

"And you." The door closed behind me. He was out of my line of vision as I stood to wait for the elevator, but not out of my mind.

Another employee joined me before the car arrived. "Where's security? Did you see the bum outside the door?"

It was difficult to honestly answer her question. I had seen the man, but didn't want to call him a bum. "He's a pleasant man," I said.

The elevator arrived and she continued her rant as we rode up together. "I'm complaining. We don't need bums out there blocking the door and begging every time we come or go."

"He did neither when I came through," I reported. "Said good morning and blessed me. Did he ask you for money?"

"No, I didn't give him the chance."

Grateful for my third floor exit, I wished her a good day and headed for my office. When I opened the door, I found my coworkers huddled around our frantic receptionist. "I'm calling the police," she exclaimed. "He has no business out there."

"The man in the alcove?" I asked. "Did he do something wrong?"

"He's loitering," a secretary said.

"He smells bad and he's crazy," the bookkeeper added.

The receptionist picked up the phone and I went out the door and down the stairs. "Have you had breakfast yet?" I asked the man.

He continued to sort clothes into two stacks, darks on one side and light on the other. I say light because he only had one white sweatshirt to go with the three dark items.

"Not yet," he answered. "I'm planning out my day now. Gotta get the laundry done so I'll be ready when they call." He moved the darks to the right and the white to the left. "VA's making room for me to have my surgery. Gonna call when they have a bed available."

"Sir, I have a strange favor to ask. Will you go eat breakfast for me?"

"Reverend," he said proudly. "Reverend Stanton. Army chaplain."

"Reverend Stanton, Miller's cafeteria is two blocks away. I'd give anything to run over for scrambled eggs and a bagel, but I'm already running late for work. Can I talk you into going there to eat for me?" I held three dollars out to him. "Please?"

"Gave up my place last week," he said, ignoring my money and my request. "They keep you forever at the VA, you know. No sense wasting rent money while I'm in the hospital."

"Reverend, you have to move from this spot before the police come. Some employees in the building are uncomfortable with a stranger on the premises. I'm sorry."

Reverend Stanton gathered his laundry, draping one item at a time over his arm until all four were settled. He used his other hand to hold onto the wall and struggle to his feet. When he turned to face me, he looked at my money but made no attempt to take it.

"Knee replacement. Was supposed to just pray and counsel like my first tour. Only reason I re-upped for the second one was to pray with those guys who had been there too long. Ended up getting my knee blown out." He smiled through foggy eyes. "But I can't complain. God brought me home alive."

"Then take this money as a token of my appreciation for what you did for your country," I encouraged.

He patted the clothes with his right hand. "Would you mind if I used your money for the laundry instead of breakfast? If I eat, it won't do anything for your hungry."

I opened my purse and took out another five. "Here, have breakfast and do the laundry. You can't take dirty clothes to the VA hospital."

He stuck the money in his pocket and blessed me a few more times before limping away. I watched until he crossed at the corner, hoping he'd find a friendlier alcove in which to wait for his call from the VA hospital.

He Never Did Like Rice

It was warm, so I sat outside, to eat my lunch in the sun
I met a man who'd lost his way, and didn't know any one
He swallowed his pride, avoided my eyes,
and in a tiny voice, shared with me his plight

My stomach's churnin', feet are burnin', and my heart cries
He nodded his head, self-consciously said, he hadn't eaten in nights
I offered to share my meal, and without thinking twice
He said thanks, you're awfully nice, but I never did like rice

He looked so sad standing there, I offered him a smile
Tried to show I truly cared, before he walked another mile
I didn't have a penny to spare, but I tried to be nice
Said I had enough to share, but he still didn't like rice

I see him nearly every day, on corners here and there
I still hear him ask, have you a dollar to spare
I always say a little prayer, please help him through the night
Let him know how much I care, even if he won't eat rice

He ages faster than he should, from sleeping on the street
Carries along a stick of wood, to aid his crippled feet
I'd help the man, if I could, his stomach pays the price
no matter how hungry he feels, he simply won't eat rice


Could be rice was all he had when he was in Hanoi
Could be hunger isn't so bad, compared to life without joy
Or maybe choice matters more when it's the only thing left in life
So he treasures the freedom - to voice his distaste for rice



After you think about the vets for a few days, I'll introduce you to some other homeless people.

Sandy

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Finally, Something Seems to be Trickling Down, Senator McConnell

Dear Senator McConnell:



Not only was your performance on Meet the Press this morning entertaining, it reminded me to question everything because not much is what it seems. I was nodding along, admiring your artful dance around the questions and enjoying how skillfully you substituted your familiar song in lieu of answers when your expression seemed to change, a ha ha ha slipped out, and you seemed like a real person. And that’s where the trouble started; you seemed like a person I know, who seemed like a different person than he actually is.



If this seems confusing, please stay with me while I try to explain.



A man who seemed like a friend, and who seemed honest, asked me to help him get to Washington. He needed the work he had been offered in Washington but had no one to watch his children while he was gone. I will admit that I am not as nice as I seemed because my first thought was that he should ask the woman he dates, or her children, not me and mine. But he seemed desperate. I said I would talk to my daughter; if she wanted to watch his children for a week, I would help on the evenings she had to work late. He seemed grateful and relieved me of responsibility by assuring me his teen-aged son would watch the children while she worked.



Washington is not the only connection. Like you, he did not go there to work on what we thought we were sending him there to do. Sources close to him reported that he had gone there with a special interest (the woman). In the end, the two of them had a fun time, posed for a few photo ops, and lined their own pockets, but they did not return any of that to the babysitter who thought she was sending him there to do a different job. And, like you, he did not care how badly the people he left behind suffered as a result of his irresponsibility and dishonesty. When the babysitter reported that she had been robbed, her car had been vandalized, she had been threatened with physical harm, and had lost time at her job in order to deal with the problems he left behind, his response was much like your response when David Gregory asked, “Are the tax cuts paid for?” Same as you, he danced all over the place, tossed out some unrelated talking points, pointed a finger at the baby sitter, and suggested that she deserved what was done to her. Like your special interest groups and your party, his special interest sponsored dishonest propaganda about the babysitter and told her to pull herself up by the bootstraps (or eat shit and die, as the case may be).



A week later, he has not answered the one simple question (what is the name of the boy who tried to coax his buddies into tag teaming* the babysitter and vandalized her car?) the same as I can bet that a week from now you will not have answered the simple question, “Do you think the tax cuts you support are paid for?” Honestly, getting this boy’s identification from the irresponsible father seems as difficult as getting that list of donors from you a few years ago, and I don’t have the Courier Journal digging for me.



None of it seems right to me. Unless, of course, right refers to political leanings. In that case, it seems totally right.



While comparing the two situations might seem like a long stretch to some people, I say it is not. The longer people live with corruption and dishonesty, the more normal it seems to them. Those are the things that do trickle down - all the way into the neighborhoods in your community, Senator McConnell.



So, do you think the tax cuts for the wealthy are paid for? It seems like a very simple question. It also seems like THE American babysitters need leaders who demonstrate honesty and courage. Here’s your chance to make a positive change.





Sincerely,



Sandy





*Tag team has several definitions. In wrestling, a tag team consists of two wrestlers who are working together as a team. The urban definition is when multiple guys have sex with a girl and one tags another when a break is needed. When the girl is a babysitter who is trying to force drunken teens out of the house, I think it is safe to assume the urban definition would apply, and the suggested activity would be gang rape.