Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, Senator McConnell

$8.8 billion. $125 per person.

Wow! I see what you mean about tightening our belts at home. We sure have our priorities straight, huh?

Superficial bragging rights for those who feel love based on the amount spent on unnecessary, commercialized tokens of love? Yeah, baby! Tax dollars to assure cardiac care for all Americans? We’re shooting (pun intended since this suggestion comes from your side) for unf'ingconstitutional.

Warms my heart, how about yours?

I heard those numbers and thought about the Valentine’s days of my life. As a child, my parents took me to the store and helped me choose a package of cards that I would give to my friends. That was my gift from them – participation, encouragement, enjoyment, and pocket change. And that was plenty for me.

On VD eve, I enjoyed gluing hearts and glitter to a shoebox in which classmates would deliver my Valentines. The most thoughtful part of the process was deciding which of my classmates would receive the twenty or so Valentines I had to give. I carefully reviewed the list. The people who were nice to everyone were first and got the biggest ones. The decisions got tougher later. Raymond spit paper wads in my hair and tripped everyone who walked down the aisle beside his desk so I could scratch his name off the list. Dennis flicked his cartridge pen at me and laughed when he splattered ink on my new dress. Forget him. Melissa was mean to everyone. She was an easy no.

I thought about character, theirs, and consequently my own. Had I treated anyone so poorly that people would scratch my name off their lists? I didn’t think so but it was still exciting to see those cards in my box. That made every Valentine I came home with at the end of the day meaningful. So I thought, at least.

By the time my children were in school, the rules had changed. Each student was to bring a Valentine for every child in the class. They meant nothing because of that, but the kids didn’t seem to notice. And, by then, many parents were buying gifts for their children – boxes of heart candies, beanie babies, Barbie dolls, stuffed animals . . . It became another  competition for parents. The same people who would have filed for divorce if their husbands failed to send the required dozen red roses to work also bragged about what they had spent on their children for VD.

As an adult, I was not interested in Valentine’s Day. I have to admit, though, that I did appreciate the husband who brought me a tin of throat lozenges and a hand-made card the Valentine’s Day I was in bed with pharyngitis.

I cannot produce accurate poll numbers, names, or positive party affiliations. Well, I could produce names but that wouldn’t be nice. I can, with a fair amount of certainty, assure you that the women who ranted, cried, threatened no sex for a year if not divorce if their demands were not met (sound familiar?) on the days leading up to VD, were not liberals. Nor were the ones who did no work on VD because they were so busy watching the florist deliveries to make sure no one received anything more elaborate than what they got.

It would be absurd to deny that there are personality differences between conservatives and liberals, or that these differences don’t show themselves in circumstances and occasions that aren’t normally considered political. I’m glad Valentine’s Day came so soon after your letter referencing ‘living within our means’ so this particular difference would occur me. There will be exceptions on both sides, but my experience has been that a typical liberal feels love for, and loved by, the person who helps others, shares with the world, or makes a difference - not when someone charges a dozen roses and dinner in a crowded chain restaurant. Liberals don’t need assigned days, commercially prescribed ways, crowds of friends saying it’s cool, or anyone’s approval in order to show or feel love. (Actually, we’re used to having conservatives make fun of us for loving others, and trying to imply that when we campaign to help others –including them—we are really trying to get everything for ourselves.)

The next time you try to address living within means, I suggest you start with leading by example. Spend what you have – every cent in America, buying things made in America. Or, do you only mean that for others and not yourself and other hoarders? See, nothing trickles if it’s hoarder (and it especially won’t trickle over here if it’s hoarded in another country). Please, don’t assume (incorrectly again) that you are speaking only to conservatives when you include statements about trying to live within our means. Some of us (probably some conservatives, too, but they must not mind your insults) have successfully survived within our means for years and resent you for not doing the same.

Since you used tightening the belt and living within our means as a comparison to national economy, I would like to explain how I prioritized and managed to do this. Hopefully, it will influence, or guilt-trip control the demands you and your party make now that President Obama caved to your hostage-taking exercise in bullying. I did not spend what most people do on Valentines or holiday gifts for my children and I never spent what I didn’t already have. That left us with plenty to help others. I kept a rotary telephone so long that kids had to ask how to use it and only gave it up then because the phone company forced me to change. I’m still using furniture that belonged to my great-grandparents. I have a fat television and a car that makes people point and laugh, because not replacing what works leaves us able to help others.

I have what I need and like what I have.

When things got tight in my home, I cancelled the monitoring service for the security system, not my daughter’s music lessons or dance classes. And no one in my family would ever have thought to demand a higher allowance for herself knowing that it would mean I could not afford to take her sister to the doctor.

If I were going to go into debt, it would be to start a business, or to keep someone alive.

If you need more (I know you’ve heard from many already) real life examples of people who have and/or do live within their means and still can’t make it in this society where hoarders are sitting on money that could create jobs, please ask.

Hope you receive the heart I want you to have today.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Another Overdue, Dishonest Response From Senator McConnell

Thank you for explaining that your party purposely destroyed our economy, for telling me how proud you are of becoming a wealthy man at the expense of the people you voted into frightening, painful situations, and for admitting that you agree with my suspicion that you just might possibly be a sociopath. I couldn’t be more relieved if Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Clarence Thomas requested prosecution for the crimes they have committed, or if John Boehner paled and shouted, “Psych! We didn’t expect you to believe that nonsense about transparency, debate, jobs, and the constitution.”

Doesn’t feel so good to have me put words in your mouth, does it? I know this because I felt rotten enough to scream every cuss word I know (even made up a few new ones) when I opened your letter dated January 24, 2011, (received February 8, 2011, referencing my November, 2010 phone call and letters) only to find that your first line totally misrepresented my message. I apologize to readers who might be disappointed in me for the dishonest first paragraph of this letter, but that apology does not extend to you. Only for you and your allies in the party of deception and obstruction will I take Anne Northup’s All’s fair in love and politics advice and feed you a dose of your own medicine.

As usual, you managed to insult me and misrepresent the truth on so many levels that I cannot express my disappointment or disgust with a blanket, one-line response so I will address each line.

Thank you for contacting me regarding prevention of a massive tax hike on all American taxpayers.  
            How could you possibly have gotten this from what I said in my ll/18/10 phone call phone call or my 11/22/10 letter in which I addressed your position on the tax bill in which I documented the following?   

"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.

Rhetorical question. No sane person could have thought that when I said, “Calling returning to the original tax rates a ‘hike’ is purposefully misleading, which is not polite, honest, or acceptable,” I was actually contacting you regarding the “prevention of a massive tax hike on all American taxpayers.” I will not patronize you by suggesting that you are not intellectually capable of comprehending my message, nor will I insult myself or the person who answered the phone in your office by second-guessing the clarity of my position. 

You choose to misrepresent my words and your dishonesty is not acceptable, Senator McConnell.

Hearing from Kentuckians such as you helps me represent our Commonwealth in the U.S. Senate.
            How, exactly? Please, explain exactly what you are asking me to believe about this process. 
  • I call and write with my concerns. 
  • You stand in public and deny hearing from people who don’t share your views. 
  • Months later, after you have taken the country hostage, disregarded non-partisan proof that what you embraced as your opinion was incorrect, ignored the constituents who disagreed with your position, survived the media and fact-checking organizations that raked you over the coals, you force your will/destruction on the American people.
  • Then, when it's already done, you send this condescending denial that you heard a word any dissenter said to you.
And you expect me to believe I have been helpful in this process? Seriously? I am not stupid, Senator McConnell. You know that by now so please stop implying that I am. 

Hearing from Kentuckians “such as me” means absolutely nothing to you, and does nothing for the common good of this country. You do not represent our “commonwealth” in the U.S. Senate. You represent your own wealth and the common interests of the top 2% and your corporate puppeteers.

There is no doubt that our country is in the midst of a deep and painful economic downturn.
            Wrong. There is plenty of doubt. Some people think the whole economic crisis is overstated. Honestly. I’ve heard that from fellow Kentuckians. You might want to hit the streets and talk to some real people because real people think all sorts of things and doubt most anything (especially the ones who watch FOX).
My doubt is on the last word of your dramatic sentence – downturn. And I think I know the deep pain you must feel. Despite your diligent effort at obstructing, President Obama still managed, in two short years, to turn us back in the right direction after eight years of George Bush and his rubber-stampers. Truth is, we are on the upturn, no thanks to you. (But, later in this letter you will try to claim his progress as your own.)

Families across Kentucky are tightening their belts and trying to live within their means. 
        This short sentence leaves so many questions unanswered.
  • Which families?
  • What percentage of the population of Kentucky do they represent?
  • Are you implying that Kentuckians were living either above or below their means before?
  • Are you counting Kentuckians who lost jobs and had no choice?
  • Does this mean that the wealthiest (like you) are also trying suddenly to live within your means and spending your fortunes in Kentucky, on things made in Kentucky, and pouring all of that sales tax and job creation into our commonwealth? If so, please give details. Also, I’m selling handmade voodoo dolls and copies of my novel, Race for Terre Bluff, and I’m ready to take your orders.

But for two years, the Administration and its allies in Congress have argued that the solution to our nation’s economic problems was to hand over trillions in taxpayer dollars to Washington bureaucrats and then have them spend it for us.
            You do realize know that you are a Washington bureaucrat, don’t you? And that you are responsible for deficit spending on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, both of which started long before the Administration that you hope to hope to cast negatively with this comment was in office?  

 (I get a strange feeling that you are trying to make allies appear to be a negative word now and that just weird. Didn't it feel uncomfortable when I did it to you earlier?)

Americans are rightly frustrated and have called for Congress and the President to take a different approach.
            Of course, frustration is a justifiable emotion. I’ve tried to explain that to your authoritarian followers when they imply that I have no right to my frustration with their ignorance and willingness to accept your dishonesty. I would like to say let’s call it even, since both sides have called on Congress for change but I’m quite positive that more people on my side have called on Congress for change and that is nothing at all like what you are implying here. You might never admit this in public, Senator McConnell, or to me personally, but I know that you know your ideas are in the minority.You wouldn't have to rely on corporate sponsors for your deception otherwise.

As a U.S. Senator for Kentucky, I am proud of my role in the bipartisan agreement that protected Kentucky’s families and small business from a job-killing tax hike at the end of the year.
            I’m sure you must know this is the point at which I started making up new cuss words. I can only believe you have no conscience.

This legislation that I helped craft represents a clear shift in the debate over our nation’s path to economic recovery.
            Bushit!  - tax cuts do not result in economic growth or job creation

I cannot address the remainder of your letter without raising my blood pressure, and it would be redundant since fact-checking services have already shredded your rhetoric. But, I will address it with my fellow Kentuckians who, sadly, are a little behind the rest of the country in their willingness to ditch Mitch immediately. I intend to catch them up by showing how poorly you represent our commonwealth in the U.S. Senate because you your main concern is protecting your personal wealth. 98% of the people should resent your redistribution of their wealth into the pockets of the 2% who finance the lies you tell.

Fingers crossed that the last line won’t get my head stomped,