Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Accentuate the positive

Saul Loeb, AFP, from msnbc
There was an old song that Bing Crosby, I think, sang back in the old days when I was young. It was called something like "Don't Mess With Mr. In-Between." (The link takes you to the lyrics, if you want to see them.)

Elizabeth Edwards knew how to accentuate the positive in her life. She had some very public trials that many of us watched her go through. I was always struck by the grace with which she faced adversity. Everyone has trials, but she had more than her share, I would say, and now she is gone at the young age of 61, leaving behind two children who are not yet teenagers.

Elizabeth also fought for health care for everyone, she never gave up. And that is one reason for this post today: to say thank you to Elizabeth and all the others who wouldn't give in to the political drama that said it couldn't be done. While it's not perfect, at least the door is open. I am glad for that.

But other than thanking Elizabeth, I have also spent the morning sending emails to anyone who I think might actually be listening. The tax break "compromise" that Obama has crafted is blowing up in his face, because the only ones who love it are those who will be reaping the benefits. Read this post called "Tax Cut Deal a Hidden Threat to Social Security." I depend on Social Security for my retirement, and I have a whole lot of company. All those of us who are not wealthy need what we paid into for our entire working lives to be there for us today.

But really, I am trying to accentuate the positive here. I'm having trouble finding the positive, though, since the only people who will be having their taxes go up are those who make $20,000 or less. According to Jason Linkins, the ones who find this a great deal are:
--the highest earners
--the wealthiest 1 percent of the population
--the wealthiest Americans
--hedge fund managers and private equity investors
--an individual earning $110,000
--4 million taxpayers with income in the mid- to high six figures
--estates over $5 million
Unfortunately for me, none of those categories are remotely where I belong. Although I don't make $20,000 or less, it's only because of Social Security! Now I don't usually get political on this blog, but I am really, really having trouble controlling my anxiety and trying really really hard to find out how I can do something about this awful situation. If you feel as I do, please write to your representatives in Congress and let them know what you think.


  1. Are you beginning to feel like a cooked goose? NJ and I both cheered when Obama was elected, now we both despise him with a vehemence previously reserved for our previous president. We had no idea we elected a Republican in Democrat clothing. Write my representative??? Gimme a break! The only way any member of congress will pay attention to anything we have to say is if we sent him a few hundred thousand dollars, give or take. Do I sound a bit cynical here?

  2. I am becoming more and more convinced that not just voter, but general apathy is causing our country to be taken over by the 2% who are active.

  3. Oh my goodness, I'll need a lot of space to respond to this post. I'll start with Elizabeth Edwards since that's where you started. I too feel great sadness about her death but remain extremely puzzled.

    When she published her first book I read it and have to say I still find it a very troubling book, something that to this day I cannot put my finger on. Whatever it was I knew as I closed that book I could never consider voting for the Edwards for the White House.

    A lot of time has passed, a lot of water has gone under the bridge and I never saw anything to make me change how I felt.

    All this was during his first run for the White House, and long before the sexual episode. All this time I've remained puzzled by that feeling.

    She is gone now. No doubt she was a brilliant woman and loved her family and her country dearly. She's also left me with an unsolved puzzle.

  4. It was a sad day losing Elizabeth. She endured whereas many others would have crumbled. She was a real inspiration.

    My feelings are similar to yours when it comes to this tax break situation. I feel helpless to do anything about it though. Our representatives only do what is in their best interests regardless what we say. Issues as important as this should be put before the people for a vote. I don't see much changing anytime soon.

  5. Now to the second part of your post. It's a bit problem for me as you see I am a recovering political addict. I fight every day to not be drawn into the political world. I will always vote but cannot allow myself to be involved more than that.

    As an addict this is what I do these days. We're now in uproar stage. Every cable channel, blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. have blasted off like rockets. It's far too soon to know what the final outcome will be. I don't watch the news and only scan the newspaper on a hot topic.

    I wait a few days or weeks, whatever it takes, until people return to their senses and begin to make sense in their writings and comments.

    Then I begin to move around among sources to see what's come out in the wash. At that time I form an opinion.

    It's the only way I can handle it.

  6. I agree with everyone else...there is no way anyone will hear our pleas because we do not have the millions they want. I do not understand why they didn't just let all the tax cuts expire. Come on can you expect a tax cut when we are AT WAR!! The only reason we are in this position is because of the richest 2% and the wars. If we continue this madness, we deserve what we get.

  7. Linda, I guess I am also an addict. I do try to stay away from too much politics, because then I get in the state I was in this morning. I'm better now, it helped to write this, and to hear the comments. I needed some perspective and my equilibrium is returning...

  8. yeah i am sitting here listening to it on the TV right now...ugh...dont i remember a campaign slogan about change...

  9. Thanks for talking about the Social Security threat DJan. Too many people do not have time to read about these things and understand what may be happening. The articles you linked to give a good idea. It does look to me as though Social Security will end up the way the riches American wish it to go – that is in the gutter. If everyone who depends now or will soon depend on Social Security would write their representatives and they were inundated with emails I have a feeling it would make a difference. Apathy is not a way to obtain anything, thinking about it is not either, action is. Thanks for mentioning this threat.

  10. I agree with Peter one's going to listen. Obama sold us out...which is not surprising to me...because I live in Chicagoland...seeing how shady politics can's politics as usual...Obama just changed addresses. Now we're stuck with Rahm back here wanting to give running the city a try...what the heck is going on? What's it going to take to get these guys out of here? Sorry to rant.
    I too will soon be depending on SS and will be angry to not have the funds needed.

  11. Obama doens't ahve the spine it takes to stand up to Repugs, who are basically the mouthpiece for the upper 2 percent and the corporations. With health care, he set the bar way too low - why didn't he start with the public options and medicare for everyone? Michael Moore nailed it. Until profit is removed from health care, we're all basically cooked. As Alan Grayson said one day in Congress, the Repub health care plan is: Don't Get Sick. The Obama answers to Bush tax cats: get Rich Fast so that you, too, can save over $100,000 a year in taxes.

    He won't get my vote again.

  12. P.S. I thought Elizabeth Edwards was a class act. Ole Johnny boy didn't deserve her.

  13. When John Edwards was running for the Democratic nomination, I thought he looked like a televangelist. I could not see what Elizabeth saw in him. She was always too good for him, God rest her soul.

    And then when Obama was elected, I could not see what people saw in him. I thought he was disingenuous. I still do. He has let you all down.

    Only by actively getting involved in politics, and discussing politics, and making politics your business, will you ever get what you deserve.

    I think your blog is the perfect place to get political, Djan, and do it often. You can't get what you don't ask for... :-)

  14. I am very frustrated with the tax cut situation. I agree that we should let all of them expire, and start paying our national bills! But I don't know what to do about it. I have sent this message to my Representative and Senators already. What else?
    I don't trust economists. I think they make it up as they go along. Recent history has shown that tax cuts do not help the economy. Raising the taxes necessary to pay for the demanded services does. And cutting the payroll taxes, but saying it's not really the Social Security money makes no sense at all. It just reinforces the concept that Social Security money is just part of the general fund and not protected. That's a dangerous road to go down.

  15. I don't feel qualified to comment on your political situation really. I haven't spent enough time there to be knowledgeable. I see Obama as having tried really hard to make worthwhile changes but he is being quashed like an ant under someone's big foot! Now is the time to stand behind him and support him, not turn against him.
    In England we have a coalition government at the moment and it is having its problems but Mr. David Cameron, our Prime Minister said something I thought was worthwhile. He said that the responsibility for the recovery of the country and its finances was the responsibility of all of us,not just the government and I think he is right. Perhaps it is time for all of us to stop expecting other people to do everything for us, to take responsibility for our own lives and see what we can do.

  16. I don't know about you, but I like Obama. I intend to vote for him again.

  17. I told you, "politicians are assholes."

  18. When first I read about Elizabeth Edwards' death my thoughts were: "This will hit Rachel really hard." That's because my youngest daughter, Rachel has breast cancer, is near the end of chemo and probably going to have radiation after having a left side mastectomy. Sure enough, she phoned me and said it hit her hard....wondering if she will follow suit - battle for five years only to lose her life. She's just turned 42 - way too young to die.
    Politics enter into this because our leaders and much of our population is unwilling to lower their standard living to be able to provide clean air, clean water, and food grown without chemicals and genetic engineering. We're killing ourselves by killing the environment. I'm watching my children's lives curtailed because of ignorance of the masses and personal and corporate greed. My older daughter suffers from Antiphosphlipid syndrome and Hughes syndrome and has been unable to have a normal life for over three years. These diseases are rapidly increasing. Our bodies cannot sustain health in the midst of the toxic environmental assault.
    I'm sad for Elizabeth Edwards' children and for all who suffer cancers and other environmentally caused illnesses that shorten or otherwise hamper normal functioning. Someone else is going to have to do the fighting for I'm out of gas for the political arena.

  19. My heart goes out to Elisabeth's children. She was a remarkable woman.

    Tax situation...oh baby...don't even get me started on the mess we're in!

    God bless ya and have a most splendid day sweetie!!!

  20. Hey girl, I just wanted to thank ya for hoppin' on my blog. I sure hope ya'll enjoy the ride.

    In the words of that silly old Granny Clampett, "ya'll come back now, ya hear???"

    Have a wonderful evening sweetie!!! :o)

  21. Elizabeth Edwards was a very classy woman, she will be missed.

    If the Republicans had accepted extending the tax cuts to everyone except the very rich this would not be an issue. We in the working lower middle class really need those tax cuts to be extended.

  22. I am watching CNN and the press conference with President Obama and Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton is backing President Obama for the tax proposal presented this past Monday. I agree with both of them, the wealthiest "should pay more taxes" to help the middle and lower incomes. That said, Clinton totally supports this proposed bill and feels it is the "best deal on the table". He said "principle compromise" is what our country is founded upon, and if not, we would be in a stale mate. He feels he is right to get it passed before January, when the Republicans may not have the incentive to agree to the proposed agreement.

    Clinton admitted he makes "a lot of money" and he will benefit from the extended tax cuts, but he also said he would not support it if it stood alone, because he has always believed the wealthy should pay more taxes than the middle and lower classes.

    President Obama has a huge pile on his plate. I doubt anyone would want to be in his shoes now. The problem I see, is some Republicans and some Democrates are like those recent UCLA and USC fans fighting and drawing knives before a game! Blind, black or white attitudes refuse to compromise. It is "their way, or the highway". That view point will NEVER accomplish anything. In my opinion, that view point is the same as a dictatorship.

    I believe our President is a good communicator and has the American people as his "North Star", as he stated in his speech on Monday. I want to believe he will get us where we need to be, and he is willing to compromise, because he wants to move forward.

  23. I am so discouraged..I try not to listen to the news so that I don't become more discouraged.
    Where is the change? and what happened to yes we can?

    Elizabeth Edwards what a lady. I have not read her book. Breast Cancer..such a sad disease. I felt sad for her children:(

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