Contact your Senators, Congressperson and President

Dear Readers,

I know it seems that it seems we have talked about the ‘tax reform bill’ endlessly, and picked it apart like the bones from Sunday’s chicken, but this is one of the most destructive pieces of legislation currently in the works, and it is too important for us to stop talking now. We still stand a chance of changing the minds of enough to keep it from passing, and I think we cannot stop now. Keith has some suggestions for us to mount a final effort to keep Congress and Trump from raising our already-astronomical national debt, and hitting us where it hurts. Please take a moment to consider some of these ideas and let’s launch one final push to change the minds of some of our elected representatives! Thank you Keith, and thank you readers!

musingsofanoldfart

It would not be a surprise to know that the US Congress and White House are highly dysfunctional. They have long ago forgotten why they are there. It seems opinions of the donors and oligarchy are the only ones that matter. We need to make our voice louder and consistent. Irrespective of any party affiliation, we must cease with the tribal BS. The party you support does make mistakes, many of them. Don’t just accept them because they are made by folks in your tribe. And, if you think it is only the other party, think again.

Please call your Senators, Congressperson and President and tell them messages they need to hear.

  • Please do not pass a Tax Bill that favors the elite and tell us it does not do so. That is an insult and a lie.
  • Please do not pass a Tax Bill that increases our debt. It…

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What the World Needs Now… Respect

Friend and fellow blogger John Fioravanti of Words To Captivate fame, has written an excellent, thought-provoking post about ‘respect’. Such a simple word, yet one that seems so difficult sometimes. In this piece, John searches his own heart and finds, as we all do, that he is not always true to his own ideals. Please take a few moments to read John’s piece which, I think, has much value in these uncertain and difficult times in which we live. Thank you, John, for your deeply introspective piece, for making us all think, and for your generous permission for me to share this with my friends and readers.

Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti

“We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.”

~ Barack Obama

In my last post in this series, “Let Us Change the World!”, I reflected upon the role of education in bringing about positive change in the world through a quote by Nelson Mandela. His words were spoken in the context of a speech he made to students in Boston in 1990 to encourage them to remain in school and help transform the world into a better place.

Young person working on a laptop computer.Lifelong learning can be achieved online, through books, and by listening to others. (Image courtesy of Pixabay)

As a retired secondary school educator, I…

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Senator Susan Collins Is The Real Reason The RNC Is Now supporting Judge Roy Moore Again

Senator Susan Collins earned our kudos when she voted against the abominable ACA repeal bill a few months ago, but now? Not so much, since she sold her soul downriver to the big money donors and came out in support of the latest tax “reform” bill that is destined to cause nothing but grief for the 99% of us who are not wealthy. Ms. Collins current term does not end until 2021, so perhaps she believes we will forget her treason against We The People by then. Please read Gronda’s excellent post to see where Ms. Collins stands and what she is doing now. Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Image result for images for susan collins mcconnell SENATOR COLLINS

It seems that the republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine did a major fubar by being talked into voting for the US senate tax bill in the wee morning of December 2, 2017.

Her constituents have held her to task bigly for this vote to where it is very unlikely that she will vote in favor of the final legislation.

The US Senate’s Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aware of this fact and he needs to guarantee that 51 republicans will vote in favor of the final bill’s passage.

Image result for image of breakdown of us senate between democrats and republicans

So, the RNC Republican National Committee officials which had previously withdrawn their support for the alleged pedophile republican candidate Judge Roy Moore who is running to become the US senator from Alabama on December 12, 2017, but they have reversed their earlier decision and are now backing him because the republican senate leaders need his vote to pass their…

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Congress – Please listen to the nonpartisan economic groups

Well, the Senate all pulled together and sold themselves to the highest bidder. We The People were not, unfortunately the highest bidders, but we are the biggest losers. The Senate, in their effort to be good little lapdogs, refused to listen to the well-educated and very experienced economists who shared a consensus about how the national debt would be negatively affected. They not only refused to listen, but some smugly claimed to disbelieve. Our friend Keith has written a post that says it all as well as I could, so I am sharing his post today, rather than re-invent the wheel. Please take a few moments to read and ponder, and I shall have an additional post a bit later. Thanks, Keith!!!

musingsofanoldfart

Early this morning the Senate passed their Tax Bill, complete with hand written amendments and no public hearings. Senator McConnell declared it a victory for the American people. But, which people? From my reading the people doing a touchdown dance already have an awful lot of money. 52% of Americans disapprove of this bill, but only the opinion of the privileged few matters.

On NPR yesterday, I heard Congressman Kevin Brady, the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, smugly say we do not believe the projections of Congress nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation who measured the Senate bill as increasing the debt by $1 trillion and saying this bill is not as kind as portrayed to people in poverty and middle class. But, Congressman, why do the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Fix the Debt and The Concord Coalition say pretty much the same thing?

Without…

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Robbin’ the ‘hood

For some time now, the big news has been centered around the abomination of the “tax reform” bill in Congress, a version of which has already passed the House and which will be coming for a vote quite soon in the Senate. Both versions cut taxes dramatically for the wealthy, increase them for the average worker, and perhaps most importantly, stand to increase our national debt astronomically, which will ultimately lead to the downfall of our economy. Just today it is reported that John McCain will vote for this bill.
Blogger-friend Kevin Brennan has written a short, sweet and to-the-point piece that I encourage you to read, then get on the phone, send that email, in one last ditch effort to ensure your Senator that he or she will lose your support if they vote for the bill. Thank you, Kevin, for your work and permission to share!

WHAT THE HELL

It sure looks like they’re going to pass that tax increase on the middle class. Oh joy.

I keep hearing that they’re doing it even though they know it’s unpopular. It’s unpopular with their constituents. But that’s a misunderstanding of the situation. The truth is that it’s extremely popular with their constituents, because their constituents are their donors. Corporations, hedge fund tycoons, the top 1%.

Whenever something doesn’t add up, it’s clear the big boys have different motives than they’re broadcasting.

Maybe you heard Lindsey Graham say that if Republicans don’t pass tax reform, “financial contributions will stop.” He doesn’t mean the $30, $50, or even $200 checks from Rush Limbaugh listeners in Flyover Country. He means the big money from the stinking rich who expect results. This tax cut (for them) is the main course.

But, frankly, I don’t believe it and I bet Lindsey doesn’t believe it…

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Charlie Brown Christmas

One of my absolute favourite things about the holiday season is A Charlie Brown Christmas. There is something magical about it, and although there are other Christmas specials I enjoy, this one tops the list. I am working on several other posts, but when I came across this on Erik Hare’s blog, Barataria, I really wanted to share it with my friends! Take a minute, if you will, away from the woes of the world, for they will still be there when you return, and read Erik’s post about the beginnings of A Charlie Brown Christmas! Thank you, Erik, for putting a smile on my face!

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

Christmas is a time for remembering everything that has come before us. It’s not a kind of memorial day when we remember what we lost, but instead a day to remember the great gifts that have come to us over the many years. The circle of gratitude is widened every year as the holiday expands with new love and new memories.

It may be more important this year than ever.

One tradition for many people about my age is “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. In many ways this defines the tension of Christmas itself, even though very little in popular culture has been willing to decry the commercialism that is the true “War on Christmas”. And in the process it gave us a new definition of holiday cheer, bringing Vince Guaraldi’s cool jazz into the warm holiday like a sprig of winter itself.

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Universal Suffrage?

Ever wonder whether it really makes sense for everyone to have the right to vote, especially given the results of our last disastrous election? Make no mistake, I support universal suffrage fully, completely. However, our friend Hugh raises some salient points that, while they do not change my mind, they do provide food for thought. Please take a few minutes to read his thoughtful and thought-provoking post! Thanks, Hugh!

hughcurtler

One of the very thorny problems the English (and later the Americans) worried about in the nineteenth century was the question of suffrage: who should vote? The question centered around the issue of whether only those who know best should vote or whether everyone should vote. The concern expressed was whether those who are “ignorant” — i.e., uneducated or the “luckless poor” in the words of Thomas Carlyle — should be allowed to make political decisions that affect the entire nation.

George Eliot dealt with the question in her novel Felix Holt: Radical and it seemed clear from that novel (if good novels can be said to make any single position “clear”) that Eliot was in favor of extending the vote to all men regardless of whether or not they owned property. Interestingly, however, Eliot, despite her liberal leanings, did not think women should be given the vote. In fact…

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Need more to meet in the middle

How do we resolve the divisiveness in our political climate today? One person at a time, I think. We will not solve the problems facing our nation, indeed, our planet, with vitriol and loud voices. Friend and fellow-blogger Keith, as always, makes some excellent points on this topic. Please take a minute to read … this is too important for us to continue as we have been. Thanks, Keith!!!

musingsofanoldfart

The overarching theme of the book “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman” by Miriam Horn is to accomplish lasting, impactful solutions (in this case with climate change and environmental concerns) we need to work with folks in the middle. In essence, the folks in the extremes are too strident and reluctant to compromise.

A good example comes from the Montana rancher as he combats climate change and environmental degradation caused by fracking for natural gas. He works with folks who will address the environmental issues, but permit him and his family to make a living ranching. He notes the fracking companies paint a picture that is far rosier than it is, while some extreme environmentalists want everything to stop and do nothing with the land. At personal risk, he built a coalition of ranchers, environmentalists and government officials who were willing to follow his lead to preserve the environment while permitting the ranchers…

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It Will Get Better

For those of us who are not enthralled with the antics of the man in the White House and his minions, it is sometimes difficult these days to keep our perspective, to see that ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. More than once, I have been sagely advised to look back at history, to note that these dark periods always come to an end and saner heads ultimately prevail. Today, I share with you a post by my old friend and fellow-blogger, Erik Hare, that I found especially encouraging, and I hope you will too. Thank you, Erik, for helping us remember to put everything into perspective, and for your implied permission to share your work!

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

The big meal is over. The Vikings beat the Lions in a thrilling game. All across the nation people are wandering home, full of obligations fulfilled and too much food. Many have had the chance to actually count their blessings, the real meaning of the day, and understand that they are indeed wealthy.

Not everyone is so blessed, of course. Far too many people are alone and afraid, hungry and isolated. For all of the riches of our land they have been distributed unevenly and, at times, apparently at random. Yet this is indeed a good time to be alive to see the world come together, no matter how difficult it seems.

We have much to be thankful for.

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Delivery Systems

What is the purpose of an education? It seems that more and more these days it is considered to be learning only facts and figures, only for the purpose of earning money. Have we forgotten the higher purpose of learning how to think for ourselves, how to understand how the world works? Is this why we have such ineptitude in government today? Have we come to believe that the sole purpose in education is to get a job and make a lot of money, have a lot of ‘things’? Our friend Hugh has some thoughts on this topic that I would like to share with you today, so please read on … and thank you, Hugh, for the post and permission to share!

hughcurtler

In responding to a comment on a recent blog I noted that in teaching our kids we have become caught up in the methods of teaching and have lost sight of the all-important question of what it is that teachers ought to do — not how they might do it more effectively. I want to expand on that for a bit.

We are talking here about what have been called “delivery systems,” the how of teaching rather than the why of teaching. In my response to the comment mentioned above I referred to them as “gimmicks and tools” — mostly gimmicks that arise from the mistaken notion that teaching is a science when, in fact, it is an art. Teacher evaluations, for example, are focused on the question “how well does your teacher teach?” This reflects the larger societal preoccupation with methods rather than substance.  Science, for example, has become…

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