A “Dialogue” with Senator Lamar Alexander

For reasons I cannot yet fathom, I received in my inbox today (Please note the date of this post), an August 5th, 2011 epistle from Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander:

 

August 5, 2011
Dr. M. B. “bud” Fields, Jr. Dma
2007 Morris Avenue
Columbia, TN 33401
Dear Dr. Fields, Jr. Dma:
Thanks very much for getting in touch with me and for letting me know what’s on your mind regarding the budget and the debt limit.
On August 2, 2011, I supported the debt reduction agreement, formally known as the Budget Control Act, because at a time when the federal government is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends, this is a welcome change in behavior that I am glad to support. Make no mistake, this is a change in behavior-from spend, spend, spend to cut, cut, cut.
For the first time, for every dollar we are raising the debt ceiling, we are reducing spending by a dollar-not adding to it. This reduction in spending is about $2.4 trillion over ten years. If Congress did this kind of dollar-for-dollar reduction in spending every time a president asked Congress to raise the debt ceiling, we’d balance the budget in ten years. And balancing the budget is exactly what our goal should be. That’s what I did every year as governor of Tennessee. Families in America do it every day.
It is time to balance the government’s books and live within our means. These spending reductions are an important step-but they are just one step-and no one should underestimate how difficult the next steps will be. These spending cuts do almost nothing to restructure Medicare and Social Security so that seniors and future generations can count on them and taxpayers can afford them. This problem wasn’t created overnight, and it won’t be solved overnight. This was an opportunity to take an important step in the right direction-toward stopping Washington from spending money it doesn’t have.
I’m grateful you took the time to let me know where you stand. I’ll be sure to keep your comments in mind as the debt limit and spending issues are discussed and debated in Washington and in Tennessee.
Sincerely,
Lamar
I did feel the need, or was compelled to respond to what so apparently was a personal, and heartfelt message from my United States Senator:
Good Sir:
I must respectfully disagree with you.
If my family budget was required to find several unheld trillions of dollars for the unauthorized prosecution of three wars, my family budget would not, I assure you, be in balance.
If my family budget was required to insure the survival of 25 million unemployed neighbors, my balance would not be in balance.
If my family budget was somehow required to make sure that my driveway, yard, and fountain were rebuilt because of thirty years of complete disregard, lying in disrepair, I can assure you that my budget would not be in balance.
If 12 million of my neighbors came, one by one to my door, begging for scraps from my table, I in my good and Christian heart would do all within my power, regardless of my budget, to feed, clothe and house them. I promise you, my budget would not be in balance. Any belief otherwise would be of the purest folly.
We, the people…” Senator. “...provide the general welfare…’ Senator.
These may be terribly uncomfortable or even inconvenient portions of our founding documents for some, perhaps even yourself. But in my family, you represent a veteran, disabled terminally ill-diagnosed member, sole bread-winner, and family Patriarch. If TennCare did not help me, I would literally die. If my severely-priced medications were not paid for, to control a condition which I did not cause, and would never voluntarily foist upon my good neighbors in Tennessee, I will die. I am 55 years old, Senator. I am the son of a Senator, a life-long participant in democracy at every level.
The sad fact is, Sir, that according to my family budget, I was supposed to be dead in 2007. I know. Go figure. But, for reasons I do not yet understand, the best information of my 24 (unpaid) Doctors was incorrect. I still cannot walk, or work, or leave my home unassisted. I cannot create income, for fear of losing the pittance my more than 30 years of work now provide me in an $1,100.00 per month Social Security Disability, while the Social Security Administration STILL, after winning an Appeal, no less, will not pay my back pay. That would do a lot for my family budget, Senator. But it would do nothing for the more than 12 million Americans who live in…cars.
So, Senator, please use some reality in your determinations. We need JOBS! We need, deserve, and expect the respect of a government who is, at every possible turn, determined to expunge us from the debate, the discussion, and even if possible the reality of freedom. There is so very much I want to do, Senator. I cannot. But, what I can do, I must do. I can write.
Don’t you DARE try to compare the needs of my nation to the needs of my family.  It’s completely disingenuous, and beneath you. Come eat at my table. Sit where I sit, and tell me that America needs to cut more from my budget, while those who single-handedly reap more than 80% of this nations wealth pay nothing into the coffers of the country that made their wealth possible. Convince me that their existence is more important to the nation than mine is to my family. What truly unmitigated gaul, Sir.
Tell the Social Security Administration to pay what it’s own Appeals Board said it must, Senator. And, please. Do it before you attempt to remove them from the fabric that IS America.
You state your beliefs. Mine differ. I hope we can communicate with a bit more revealed honesty, and have a dialogue about what really matters to the people YOU have been elected to represent, Senator. Consider this a note from your boss. I am not pleased.
The greatest victim in these days could well be our nation itself. But, for me, the greatest loss of her people is the ability to discuss with one another the important themes of our current existence. We just don’t talk to one another any more. We must (and, I think, are doing so) change this reality. We can disagree without being disagreeable, I believe. Democracy rules through the words of her people. Hear mine, I implore you.
Respectfully,
M. B. “Bud” Fields, Jr. DMA
2007 Morris Avenue
Columbia, Tennessee 38401
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A Silly, Salacious, Sagacious, Saturday

I am a political activist. I am a political junkie. Are you?

If you are like me, these days in our national environment are fraught with those who “know”, and those who do not. Today, for instance (not the Sunday news shows, which today will ALL be gifted by the presence of Michelle Bachmann (R-MN). Oh, Lord. I just have to remember that if it’s not writing, it’s research.

Today, however, I was witness to the continuing drama of Iowa, and the Straw Poll/Debate Grand Slam. I also got a look at Texas Governor Rick Perry.

I was pleased that Ron Paul got a very close second to Michelle Bachmann (R-MN). Had only a few hundred of the write-in voters had chosen him, he would have won. The second largest vote count was interesting, especially since the suddenly “presumptive” front-runner (either Perry or Mitt Romney, depending on your personal taste) wasn’t even there. I then treated myself to a well-deserved nap. When I awoke, I did some research on Governor Perry.

What I cane away with was very troubling to me, for several reasons.

When Candidate George W. Bush announced his intent to run, nobody was happier than the average voter…of Texas. Same here, with Perry. Despite his PR to the otherwise, he is largely vilified in his own state. His caterwauling about jobs coming to the state lie primarily in Military assignments, immigrant labor, and minimum wage jobs. All three categories are, in one way, “seasonal” jobs. Basic/AIT training troops bound for Afghanistan lead to a not only temporary, but very transitional job base. Think tourist season at Fort Sam Houston of Fort Hood, for instance. Lackland AFB is a major basic training facility for the U S Air Force, so some “Zoomies” stop by for a while. Nothing permanent in these jobs, yet there is a lot permanent about the legislative acts this pariah has saddled the people of the Lone Star State with during his many years in the Governorship. Then, there is his absolute involvement in “The Response”, which has a much more nefarious implication than the mere attachment of this office, his State Treasury, and Security personnel for the event, attended by some 30,000 conservative evangelical Christians.

It seems that the Governor is only filling a temporary J.O.B., but is actually an elected “Prophet” of a very scary sect, with world theocratic designs. Rachel Maddow had a great intro to this information on her show this week, and I encourage you to watch this. The Staff Writer for the Texas Observer, whose story “The Army of God”, broke the story here.

Sara Posner, in an informative writing, works to help readers understand The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and Governor Perry in a timely article.

If you believe you are a Prophet of God, called to usher in the government of God, on Earth, in the United States, you might be Governor Rick Perry.

As to his governorship, the rebukes are legion.

It seems Mr. Perry has a problem with Service Veterans voting.

It seems Mr. Perry feels no sense of obligation to follow the Fair Voting Act when it comes to redistricting in Texas, either.

It seems Mr. Perry is not so bullish on education in Texas, either. So far, in the past year, $4 Billion cut in State-wide education funds.

One should recall that this is the man who truly believes the Departments of Education, The EPA, and the Department of Commerce must/will be forcibly removed, entirely from the federal government.

And then, of course, there is the money. Governor Perry, and his former staff assistant have created a Super PAC, which has no limits on the amounts of contributions given. A leaked email tells us how that one is going to work, if you are a supporter.

So, is this politics as usual? Or is it Politics as usual–Texas Style? I know what I think. Tell me, what do YOU think?

What I think about the Debt Crisis, and the Downgrade!

In a statement today concerning the downgrading of the United States’ credit worthiness by Standard and Poor’s, Tennessee District 4 Representative, Republican Scott E. Desjarlais weighed in.

“Rep. Scott Desjarlais, who voted against last week’s debt deal, said he’s been part of the ongoing effort by House Republicans to put the country on a “fiscally sustainable path.” Desjarlais says Senate Democrats and the President have blocked those efforts to enact what he calls ‘common sense spending reductions.'” (WPBS.org, August 8th, 2011)

Well, Representative Desjarlais, the people YOU represent are displeased with you, and your party, and those you more represent than we. You participated willingly in a manufactured crisis which has now, along with the same credit agency who routinely awarded “AAA+” rating to Credit Default Swaps to curry favor (and amazing profit) with the corporatist bosses, the Tea Party Terrorists, and the party who has, since his inauguration, sworn to all who would listen that the ONLY purpose they (and thereby, via extension, you) hold is the elimination of this Presidency, “no matter what”.

You have participated in the elimination of the credit worthiness of the United States, and her people. You have been an active player in the political terrorism  now upon us. You state you continue to intend to keep this disgrace to democracy going, cutting as much more as you possibly can, refusing to raise taxes, and to help where you are able, to cause as much discord and democracy-killing activity as you possibly can.

Thanks for letting us know, Mr. Desjarlais. Democracy now knows who at least one of her enemies is. The people of the 4th Congressional District, the State of Tennessee, and this nation take note of your stated intentions. We will not ignore you, be casual or apathetic toward your efforts, and we absolutely will do all we can to hold you accountable for the continued refusal to put the needs of the United States above your own.

What will happen in Wisconsin tomorrow is but the beginning of a firestorm of refutation by the people of this country. We want Jobs, NOT Cuts! You can continue to ignore those you were elected to represent–ALL the citizens of your district. I truly hope you will not. But, either way, your willingness to sell our democracy down the river for your own aggrandizement and profit have been noticed. Thanks for that.

That’s what I think. What do YOU think?

The “After” Party!

It would benefit every American citizen to look at the Debt Limit Ceiling Increase Bill, and read it carefully. What you find there may well surprise, or even shock you. I leave it to your better intelligence to determine how, or if this is going to help you.

From a practical standpoint, I can tell you that if you are a Graduate or Professional Student, or if you currently are a Pell Grant holder, this bill will simply stun you. Why the Pell Grant, and it’s most successful recipients were targeted in this Bill confuses me. But then, many of the things happening around the halls of Congress are confusing me.

For instance, the Senate refused to relieve the pressure on the Tea Party/Republican-created (as in manufactured, artificial, not REAL) crisis with the FAA. 8,000 employees, and more than 74,000 contractors are now unemployed until at Least October, 2011. The likelihood is that, given recent shenanigans by these political terrorists (There, Mr. Vice President. Blame it on ME!), they may never work again. Fact. At least, that is their intention. Why?

Well, now that’s a very interesting story that might just be more about you than you think. It has to do with, of all things, unions. Without going into the details so much, or giving the general dynamics obviously in play here, the one sticking point has to do with whether or not a union member not voting is equal to a “No!” vote. The terrorists want it so. The unions do not. Something about “every member is entitled to their vote, as they wish.” But the holdout is about…that.

Meanwhile, the employees of the FAA, and the more than 74,000 construction workers do not work, and do not get paid. Okay, no big deal, in view of the crinny gillions of jobs being worked every day by honest, hardworking Americans, right? These bums deserve what they get, with their ridiculous wages, impossible to maintain pensions, healthcare that God couldn’t buy, and that insane “collective bargaining” thing that is destroying the moral fabric of America as we know it.

What you may not understand, or be willing to accept, is that this is merely the opening salvo from a small group of disenfranchised nut jobs. (If you disagree, tell me. I said it. I stand by it.) The larger, over-reaching reality for this “group” (not party; they deserve no such recognition in this country) is not to change the dynamic of the political discussion. Nor is it to become a significant member of the political scene in America. Their desire is to change the America we live in. Nothing is causing more froth in their mouths than the idea of a Constitutional Amendment. They want to change America itself, and intend to do so. Their corporatist, big business, “Corporate Aristocracy” plan includes, as a first issue, the elimination of the middle class in this country.  They are succeeding, and where they are not, they are purposely creating every available means to nullify us. Telling hundreds of thousands, via the Koch Brothers, of democratic, or at least demographically identified democratic populations in Wisconsin to be sure to submit their Absentee Ballots no later than TWO DAYS AFTER the recall elections is but one scheme we will see replayed, state by state, over the course of the coming elections. Closing, again in Wisconsin, DMV branches in Democratically majority districts, while extending hours in those within Republican majority districts, is another ploy the Koch Brothers’ puppet, Governor Walker is using to further marginalize his opposition. There is a legitimate question in Wisconsin as to whether or not the Governor actually CAN do this, but that is not the question we must ask ourselves here, and now.

Why is he doing it? What benefit does he get from such actions? It is very apparent that Governor Walker is anti-democrat. Agreed? He is anti-union, as well. Agreed? He is anti-worker, anti-middle class, and anti-anything which sustains the presence of those whom his handlers, and the Tea Party think should NOT be a part of the dialogue which, for more than 20o years, has shaped our nation. Agreed? Yet, he is but one example of a multi-dimensional, multi-tiered attack on the America which has stood the test of time.

It is that very dialogue which is at risk. Opening a conversation with “It is going to be the way I want it, period.” is really NOT a conversation starter, folks. Yet, that very strategy has gotten the goons of the right a current score of 3 wins, no losses nationally. I am willing to accept the current political rhetoric that says Americans are in shock at what they are seeing. Okay, be shocked. Quickly.

This debate is about doing away, entirely with Government itself. Do not think otherwise. It is about eliminating entitlements–period. Do not believe otherwise. It is about CHANGING the FORM of America, turning it into a corporatist theocracy. Period. And, the Tea Party is a very public, unashamed, and unabashedly vicious tool of that goal. Period. Lookit.

84,000 jobs, one day.

Yeah, so what? It’s not my job. Hell, I haven’t had a job in two years. So what if we don’t have teachers to teach our future generation? So what if we don’t have the right to demand a decent wage for ourselves, or others? So what if we don’t have healthcare? Or retirement? Or a future?  What do you want ME to do about it? I’m just one man (or woman), trying to exist, raise my kids, and survive, because brother, that’s where I’m at. Survival.

Yes, you are. My question to you is “Who put you there?” Was it you? Is this the life you think makes up the American Dream? Have you somehow abdicated your right to achieve the American Dream for yourself, your family?  It is not a simple question, but it does lead to a better question that you really MUST answer:

“What are YOU going to do about it?”

The Tea Party is designing its members’ uniforms as we speak. They believe they are unstoppable. Silence is consent. Whether those uniforms be red, blue or brown makes no difference. Whether they wear Crocs or jack-boots is insignificant. But, that they are aiming for your street really should matter to you. Whatever you have, they want. Not because it’s of value. Because YOU have it. They just don’t WANT you here if you are intelligent, thinking, involved, active, voting other than their way, gay, immigrant, elderly, black, unemployed, or trying to advance your position in any way other than their corporatist, draconian agenda. It’s you they are coming for.  95 of them halted more than 80,000 jobs, “for as long as it takes. We will NOT accept any way other than ours.” Make no mistake about it. “Their way” is to completely dismantle every union in America today. It is the first, and only purpose behind the recalcitrant temper tantrum of the extreme Right, the Republicans, the Tea Party. They hate you. They intend for you to disappear from the American landscape. Along, I might add, with many other “targets” they openly espouse for insignificance, nullification, or extinction. If you believe otherwise, I hate to tell you this, but you are a fool. It’s not true because I say it. It’s true because THEY say it. As loudly and as passionately as they tell their base, and the American people this is a spending issue, it is not. It is a union issue. Again.

I have some news for you. There really IS something you can do about it. You owe it to yourself to find out what that is. Because you are reading this, you can. There is a voice of more than 6,000,000 other Americans who find themselves just where you are. The only difference is that these Americans are being empowered to change their reality, find jobs, feed their families, have affordable healthcare, clean water, clean air, and elder security. Go to http://www.moveon.org, and find out just how many of your neighbors who, just like you, cannot accept non-representative rule in America. Then, join them. Learn how to respond to these anti-patriots. Understand that there is a growing population in America who are actively working, every day, to train people just like yourself to do for yourself what you simply cannot do BY yourself.

Then, try to remember why America is a place that people risk their lives, sometimes multiple times, to call their home. If you dare to look at her, Lady Liberty is still there, her torch raised high. But, she is no longer the hope merely of those outside her shores. Lady Liberty’s lamp is burning brightly to the farthest reaches, nooks and crannies of America itself. She is compelling us to answer the same questions. Do we not, have we forgotten what the American Dream has always been? Are we unwilling to rise up against the tyranny before us, and just simply let that dream die, without so much as a whimper?

There are millions, millions of Americans who, this very day, are coming together to re-declare their right to the American Dream. They are joining together to re-claim it. You can, too. Just go to http://www.rebuildthedream.org. Find out where it’s happening. Because your family, your community, and most importantly your nation expect it of you. Join the movement to reclaim the American Dream, and share your voice with millions of Americans who will, in these coming months, proudly answer the most important question with but one unified answer:

This is MY America. This is OUR Dream. You may not legislate it away, sell it to the highest or most influential bidder, nor kidnap it from my grasp! It is MY dream, and you can’t have it!

That, you can do. Will you?