Monday, August 08, 2005

The Kitchen is Open

There are usually people sitting around my kitchen table visiting, whether or not I am there. There are few rules and the first is very important. IF YOU CAN'T BE NICE, GET UP AND LEAVE. Don't come back until you have cooled off and decide to be civil. The second is thia: If you pour the last cup of coffee from the pot, you have to make a fresh one!

Any subject ia acceptable so long as you remain calm and reasonable. Having a problem with a spouse? Tell it to Mumzee. Need an interesting new recipe on a tight budget? If Mumzee doesn't have one handy, she probably knows someone who has.

When talking politics, try to remain reasonable and, if you simply must use a cuss word, please garble it so that it sounds cute instead of filthy. And, if you can't refrain from personal attacks, just leave the site, There are lots of others where you may find those who agree with you. Mumzee may be an old lady but she still has ways to punish those who misbehave.

So, come on in, let me know what bothers you today and, if all goes well Mumzee will kiss it and make it all better.

17 Comments:

Blogger Doogman said...

Yo! Welcome to the blogosphere!!

11:50 AM  
Blogger Doogman said...

I'm fascinated by these '...ways to punish those that misbehave...' - tell us more Mumzee...

11:53 AM  
Blogger Mumzee Mary said...

I had a couple of things to do when my son and one or another of the foster sons were in their teens. I am reputed to have "the fastest shoe in the west" and can whip off a clog and nail a kid in the forehead from all the way across a room. Another favorite that worked was to set my fingernails right behind an ear and urge them to a standing position. For a long time, I walked around lop-sided if I didn't have a six-foot-tall lunk hanging from my upraised arm. They still duck when I move suddenly near them.

Inventivity is a mother!

12:12 PM  
Blogger Mumzee Mary said...

My mama woke me up this morning. Now, I know that Mama has been dead fro forty years but she still occasionally wakes me up, usually for a scolding. This morning she said, "You didn't properly thank that sweet man who set up your blogspot for you! He did it out of the goodness of his heart because, for some unknown reason, he seemed to take a liking to you and did you a kindness. I'm ashamed of you! Now get right down to that computer and do what is right!"

Okay, Mama, I'll behave! You're absolutely right. I just became over-excited at making a new friend and gaining my very own blogspot where folks can stop by and chat. I'll do it roght now!

Folks, look at that fuzzy face that was posted by "doogman". Like most of the men in my life, he isn't nearly as tough as he looks. That is my wonderful new friend, "the guru", who knows more about computers that Bill Gates and is much more approachable. Of course, he has his own site, so I hope you will all check it out at http://www.macwebguru.com/, go to "contact", ignore the grumpy greeting, and tell him "thanks" for being so kind to mumzee. Then go back and read all the good stuff he has on there for your edification. It'll do you good!

5:45 AM  
Blogger Thomas Mc. said...

'mornin, Mumzee. I slept in this morn', the alarm didn't go off. I thought it was dead, but after playing with it awhile it started workin' again.

Dang, if you ain't turnin' into a techie, now yer a bloggin!

6:29 AM  
Blogger Mumzee Mary said...

It was sorta like childbirth under anesthesia, Thomas. I was just a-dreamin' away and, suddenly, there it was! Dr. Guru was smiling proudly and announcing that I was a Mumzee.....again!

You know that I am as far from a techie as you can possinly get. I'm learning as I go, which is my normal way of doing things. My friend, Sheila Samples has a little blog and has urged me to joing her from time to time and I'm just too dumb to be able to get on! You might like to check her out at http://sheilastuff.blogspot.com/ She uses it to post some articles as well as short stuff that her thinking is not quite ready to convert to a full-fledged article.

But then, Sheila is a REAL writer, does research and all that stuff. I am not so disciplined. I start my day watching the news and C-Span, something makes me mad, and I go to the office and fire off a rant while the heat is still going. If I let it get cold, I may never get it pulled together.

Drop in again, pal! I consider you one of my best on-line friends as well as the operator of a great site with the fine discernment to use everything I write! See you at http://thomasmc.com/index.htm

6:43 AM  
Blogger Thomas Mc. said...

I got up this morning, poured my coffe, and sat down to weed out my email, and found your note, and dropped in to say 'hello.' Then I went out on the deck and drank my burned bean nectar and said hi to the birds and the black squirrel, and made sure the ol' bear didn't tip over the bird bath, or break any trees looking for something to eat.

I don't know if I'll have to get a new alarm. That clock radio is about 20 years old, and I think I got it on the clearance shelf at Target for $4. It replaced another that was about 10 years old and looked just like it. That one died a horrible death when it started playing these kind of games with me, making me late to my job doing home health care in Denver. One day I got so mad at it for getting me in trouble with the boss that I took it out into the parking lot next to my apartment, swung it around by the cord a few times and brought it crashing down on the pavement. Some people didn't understand my "punishing" an inanimate object like that, but it sure made me feel good sweeping up the little pieces and throwing them in the dumpster. Heh heh.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Mumzee Mary said...

That's funny! I never need an alarm clock because I don't have a fixed schedule or a boss to chew me out and wake up very early anyway, so I figure I may as well get dressed and go to the office.

The best alarm clock I ever had was one of those $ 10 alarm clocks that are sold in those little junk catalogs where those in the business can order vitamins, bed pads, and ED herbal medicines as well as all the stuff that
s advertised on late-night TV. It's loud as heck, blasts your eardrums and demands a prompt response. As my better half gradually lost his hearing, he "borrowed" it from me.

There it sits, on the other side of the bed. He has it permanently set for 6:30 a.m. and it dutifully goes off every day unless he remembers to puch the button. I do occasionally have insomnia or get wakened in the middle of the night, and so set my mental clock to allow myself to sleep in. It never fails! He forgot to push in the button and the thing goes off at 6;30 a.m.!

He, being hard of hearing, takes a few minutes to rouse enough to turn it off, by which time I am wide awake. However, if you need a new, effective alarm clock, I heartily recommend it instead fo some tinny digital chrping that is conducive to being overlooked.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Thomas Mc. said...

Actually, I have the radio set to a classical station that plays soft music in the morning. The volume is on low, so I slowly wake up, and it is set early so I can hit the snooze if I want to. I'd rather ease into the day, than storm into it.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Mumzee Mary said...

When Dad was working and I was not, I used to sleep later as he got up and went to work. Now I'm working and he is not, so I bail out of bed and hit the ground running. Can't wait to get into the trenches and lobbing rocks at the big bad wolf! Maybe it's true and we really do get better instead of just older......

9:47 AM  
Blogger Mumzee Mary said...

With apologies to George Jones

I can't afford no rockin' chair
My body's tired but Bush don't care
My fanny's flappin' in the air
Cause I can't afford no rockin' chair

Went to WalMart and bought a chair
They said it was the finest there
But China made the thing so cheap
It fell and dumped me in a heap

I can't afford no rockin' chair
My body's tired but Bush don't care
My fanny's flappin' in the air
Cause I can't afford no rockin' chair

They tell me I'm too old to work
And I ain't never been known to shirk
I make a little and pay my tax
So Bush is givin' SS the axe

I can't afford no rockin' chair
My body's tired but Bush don't care
My fanny's flappin' in the air
Cause I can't afford no rockin' chair

I try to save but what the heck
Medicine still takes my check
But Bush says I can pay some more
Those insurance companies sure are poor

I can't afford no rockin' chair
My body's tired but Bush don't care
My fanny's flappin' in the air
Cause I can't afford no rockin' chair

My only son has gone to war
And I still don't know what we're fightin' for
If he should never come back home
I guess I'll die here all alone

I can't afford no rockin' chair
My body's tired but Bush don't care
My fanny's flappin' in the air
Cause I can't afford no rockin' chair

7:52 AM  
Blogger Mumzee Mary said...

WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR

by Mary Pitt


.....but fear itself" In this time of trying constantly to "rightly separate the word of Truth", we must cling tightly to these wise words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We are so bombarded with threats, real and imagined, by our own government as they urge us to mistrust our neighbors, to suspect any person who looks different, and to wrap ourselves in sheet plastic and duct tape, that we are prone to be reluctant to ask, "Why?" This is abetted by the mainstream media and the polling firms with their question, "Is America safer than it was before"..... nine-eleven or the Iraq invasion or the invasion of Iraq?

We are supposed to search our fear levels now against our fears then in order to determine whether the Bush policies have been right or wrong or whether he was such a good choice in the first place. Our answer is going to, somehow, govern the path of the nation in the future? Nonsense! The Bush administration does not care a damn what you, or I, or anybody, think or feel about anything. Their agenda was set from Day One and, regardless of intervening events, they steadfastly refuse to deviate from it. I can only imagine how they must chuckle over the polls that show the President's popularity ratings to be in the dumpster or that the people think the Iraq war was a mistake. They know that there is nothing that we can do to change their course short of the evolution of the Religious Right into thinking individuals and the conversion of the major corporations to a policy of working for the public good rather than for profits. They have the power, they know it, and they intend to use it!

A better polling question would be, "What do you fear most?" Options could be: loss of freedom, loss of privacy, loss of voting rights, etc,. etc. A very small fear which inflicts those of us who write on progressive websites is the spectre of jackboots coming to our door. We tell ourselves that the chances of such a happening are remote, but haven't we all read about "Big Brother"? With the passge of the dread Patriot Act, we learned how easily our privacy could be invaded to the point where all our other rights could be cancelled by the accusation of "un-Americanism" or "givng aid and comfort to the enemy". The thought police came out in full force, cutting off any public questioning of military policies, foreign and domestic.

So we sat passively by while the rich got their juicy tax cuts and the factories that provided the life-sustaining jobs moved to other shores where people could be found who were sufficiently desperate to work for nothing and the few jobs that were available were either mnd-numbing slave labor or were already taken by illegal immigrants accustomed to living from hand to mouth. We watched the numbers mount on the casualty list of our American soldiers, and comsoled ourselves that they were there for a "noble purpose". We saw our Congress, the representatives of the people as they held midnight votes on controversial measures with extended time limits so that Congressmen could be extorted on the floor of the House to chnge their votes to the "right" position.

But fear is like grief, the mind tires of it. Just as Cindy Sheehan's mind tired of her grief and converted it to anger at the meaningless death of her beloved son, our minds are tiring of the fear. We can now see that the entire premise of the Iraq war and, just possibly, even the attack on the World Trade Center were staged in order to fill us with horror so that we could be better maneuvered into a position of support for allowing the ruling party to take total control of our country and, thus, of our personal lives. As the bodies pile up in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are beginning to ask, "WHY?" and the lack of believable answer is only ringing silence.

While the slow awakening of the "herd" is progressing, so does the fear that the President feels of the American people. From day one, the President has appeared in public only under tightly controlled conditions, while the Vice-President is rarely seen, other than at gatherings of corpotate moguls. Even the prospect of meeting a defenseless woman who wants only answers to the reasons for the death of her son drive him behind gates and Secret Service personnel for protection. As his "front men" fall into disrepute for vindictive and illegal behavior, the security for the President increases. He appears before groups of military people who are well-controlled or before vetted influential party members in order to mouth his messages of fear which is meant to immobilize opposition.

One can hardly contemplate the current situation without recalling the stories of President Abraham Lincoln and the fact that his office was opened to personal visits from the mothers and wives of those who had fought and died in that Great War Between the States, the Civil War, on both sides! If that President could meet private consolation and prayer with those women, why does the President of today so fear this one woman? She could be escorted down the road to the Ranch House under the watchful eye of the Secret Service, frisked for hidden weapons under those baggy shorts, and her every word monitored. Let her ask her questions and give her real answers. Let us all ask our questions and give US reasonable answers! We are a free people and you are our employee!

No, Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea, it is not the American people who are afraid of un-named and unseen "terr'ists". It is the President who is afraid, and afraid most of all of the very people whom he is sworn to serve and to protect. Go about your business. It is not our fear, for many of us have already awakened from it and others are beginning to stir. The most frightened person in our nation today is the one who resides at the White House.

Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who operates a small business caring and advocating for the handicapped and the under-privileged. Questions and comment may be directed to mpitt@cox.net.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Mumzee Mary said...

FALSE PREMISES AND DAMNED LIES

by Mary Pitt

Some times it is a bit difficult to tell the difference between these two concepts but, often, we will find that the former is based on the latter For instance, when you hear someone say that we had to invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein was responsible for the World Trade Center bombing, you know that it may be a false premise if the speaker truly doesn't know any better. However, when President Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Colin Powell stood before the people of the United States and the world and declared that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction, was a threat to his neighbors and an imminent threat to the United States, that was a damned lie!

When Jessica Lynch was captured by the Iraqis, the assumption was made that she would be raped, tortured, and killed by the "heathens" and her heroicism was presumed, a false premise. When the hospital where she had been treated was over-run and she returned to American hands, we were told that she was "rescued" from a state of mistreatment. Not only that, but she was also credited with performing a heroic feat at the time of capture which allowed some of the others to escape. When the dust settled, after a hero's greeting and a solemn ceremony to bestow a medal for her "heroism", the truth began to trickle out. Her friend, Shoshona Johnson was raped and imprisoned as well as being subjected to tortuous conditions, but she was returned home with no fanfare and no ceremony other than the belated bestowal of a medal, and that at the urging of Ms. Lynch! Perhaps, when all is said and done, such treatment is less important when suffered by a black woman? And, is it turned out, the heroic act which delayed the on-rushing Iraqis was performed by a young man whose name has been forgotten by all but his family and his companions. And yet the heroism of Jessica Lynch lives on as a legend based on false premises with a few damned lies thrown in for good measure.

Another invented legend to inspire faith in the misadventures of the administration is the story of Pat Tillman. Great and well-deserved praise was heaped upon this young man who was just ready to begin his career as a professional football player when he enlisted in the military in the mistaken conviction that he would be serving in the preservation of the future of our democracy. His tragic death on the battlefield was hyped as an example of noble sacrifice because of his high visibility in the public mind. Those who read their news on the internet were almost immediately aware that he fell as the result of "friendly fire" but, in the face of all the government publicity, it was a very long time before the public, even the family, were allowed to know the truth about the way his precious life was wasted, another false premise based on a damned lie!

On the home front, the same tactics prevailed. Social Security is a prime example of the preponderance of "business as usual" and the persistent use of "the big lie". No less than the President himself announced to us that the Social Security trust fund is "broke", that all the money that Americans had paid in preparation for their basic retirement income was "gone"! The special treasury bonds in which it was "invested" as it accumulated are only "worthless pieces of paper" and there would be no funds available to pay the pensions upon which American workers had come to depend. The truth is that strengthening this fund might possibly require a slight tax increase on those most able to pay it, but that is not a prospect that is acceptable to the corporation-loving, big-money men who are currently in control of our nation. It's more of the same: tell a big lie, let the people develop a false premise, and destroy the program based on what, by then, passes for fact.

It is very hard in these times to hold onto the truth and even harder, in many cases, to even find where it is hiding. Any objections to the path down which we have been led for the past five years are met with the handy-dandy label of "sore losers" and "just politics". When truth raise its head, it is immediately dismissed as we are instructed to "move on". Under the convenient covering of "patriotism", crimes by public officials, machinations of the American monetary system and policies, and outright treason are being denied and the accusations dismissed as "rumors and left-wing propaganda" as the juggernaut of multinational takeover rolls over the Constitution of the Land of the Free.

Where this situation and our nation as a whole will end is a matter of pure speculation. The simple solution would be if the ballot box could restore sanity to our leadership, but that is not certain under the present system of creative vote-counting and questionable ballots. The predictions of another Civil War are too horrendous to comtemplate. There appears to be no hope for any decisive action in Congress as the Republicans parlay their unassailable majority into a rubber stamp for the administration and the Democrats are listening to the siren song of those who say they cannot win without moving to "the middle". The recent Senate "compromise" accomplished nothing as the Democrats agreed to allow the confirmation of the questionable judges in return for a promise that the Republicans would not destroy the power of the Senate "this time" but would save their filibuster power for something "more important"..

We saw the last President ushered out of office in a hail of epithets, insults, and damned lies, but we are constantly being told by the adminstration that we should "play nice"; mustn't accuse the President of lying because that is un-American and unpatriotic, must "move to the middle" because more American voters want more compromise and coalition, have to "compromise" in the interest of "national security" because, (of all things), there's a war on!

Yes, there is a war on. The sham war of aggression was sold to the American public by a damned lie and we were left with the spin doctors feeding us false premises via the mainstream media. In addition, there is the war that is being valiantly fought by those who dare to tell the truth and to stand up for its value. The Downing Street Minutes made barely a ripple in the lockstep media as they gamely move on to decide in advance whether the Democrats should run Hillary Clinton or John Kerry for President in 2008. Why is it just fine for the Republicans to lie, cheat, steal, and do anything to ridicule and diminish anyone who dares to stand up and speak the truth but the Democrats are afraid to raise their voices, (with rare exceptions), in defense of the those principles which the American people have supported?

Let's stop "running on principle"! Let's start calling a spade a spade and a liar a liar! Let's hire the "Saturday Night Live" crew who can depict George W. Bush, Karl Rove and Company as the greedy manipulating little societal rejects that they are! They fear us! If they did not, why does Cindy Sheehan have to sit in a ditch alongside the road in a vain attempt to speak to the President? Why are people thrown our of halls where the Leader of the Free World is telling us why he is going to take away our Social Security simply because of their message T-shirts or the bumper stickers on their cars? Why is our White House, The People's House, fortified and barricaded until nobody but the inner circle and gay prostitutes can gain access?

We have less to fear from Bin Laden and all his minions than the damage that we are suffering as a nation and as individuals as we are forced to bow our necks under the yokes of the burden of obedience that has been placed upon us. We must remember that we are a free people and, as such, we have the right to speak openly and freely in opposition to any oppression that threatens us. Let us, then, stand up on our hind legs, throw out the voting machines, force our Governors to order our National Guard home form Iraq, and change the course of the country. Let us elect people who will be Representatives of the People, restore our democracy, re-build our factories, as co-ops if need be, restore the taxes for the rich, and get our nation back to its former state of honesty and respect.

Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who operates a small business caring and advocating for the handicapped and the under-privileged. Questions and comment may be directed to mpitt@cox.net.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Mumzee Mary said...

REVELATIONS OF A REFORMED REPUBLICAN

by Mary Pitt


I never questioned why I was a Republican. I was born a Republican. My daddy was a Republican, my mama was a Republican, and so, of course, I was a Republican. It never occurred to me to doubt it. This commitment was reinforced by listening to the conversations of my elders as they talked about how that "good old Kansan", Alf Landon, was going to beat that smart-aleck Franklin Roosevelt, go to Washington, and "straighten out the country." That was good!

The mood changed markedly when "good ole Alf came a cropper" and lost resoundingly, leaving us with that smirking, arrogant aristocrat, (who was certainly going to lead us to our doom), in charge of our fate. The first thing he did was to close all the banks and to "take people's money". (The fact that we had no money in the bank or elsewhere did not enter the conversation.) Then, (horrors!), he made hungry people stand in line for the privilege of being given food! The recruitment of the young men into the Civilian Conservation Corps was seen as "depriving farmers of their help" which they were accustoned to hiring at the enormous wage of a dollar a week or twenty-five cents a day. Of course, the CCC wages were sent home to their families by the government but that didn't "get the crops in". In addition, the Work Projects Agency was employing family men to work on the roads, "standing around, leaning on their shovels", and taking a paycheck home to feed their hungry little kids. And it never entered my young mind to wonder at the dichotomy when the war started. At the same time Mr. Roosevelt was cursed for trying to "kill off our boys", the old battery radio was turned on every night to keep up with the progress toward "putting Hitler in his place" and "wiping that grin off ole Tojo's face".

Every four years there was agony as another stalwart Republican tried to vanquish the hated Roosevelt. Wendell Willkie..... Thomas E. Dewey..... the best and brightest of the Republican Party went down to defeat amidst great grief in our household. In the meantime, solace was found as one Republican after another paraded through the Kansas Statehouse. And, finally, FDR was gone! Of course, we were then "saddled with that Pendergast man", Harry Truman but, at least, he was from the middle of the country and understood farmers. Finally, with the election of "Ike", the Republicans were in our heyday. He would cut taxes and restore prosperity, he would cut out all the government spending and get us back on the right track!

There had been great moaning and gnashing of teeth when Mr. Roosevelt had pushed through the Social Security legislation. It was such a stupid idea, making people pay taxes all their lives so they could "retire"! Retirement, as such, was all but unheard-of in farm country. A man worked as long as he could and then "turned things over" to a son, the two families merged, and everyone did as much as they were able until death intervened. Of course, initially, farmers were not included in either the payments or the retirement plan but they hated it anyway. For some twenty years, the money that had been paid into the Social Security fund had been "just a-sittin' there" in the national Treasury and a considerable amount had been accumulated, even at the depressed and frozen wages of war-time.

With the expenses of lend-lease during the war and the foreign aid assistance through arrangements like The Marshall Plan, President Eisenhower found a lot of complaints about "deficit financing" to be a political liability within his own party. It seemed, at the time, to be a good idea to "roll in" the Social Security funds into the General Fund in order to hide the true amounts of the deficit. Having that amount added to the debit side would improve the picture of national solvency even though none of those funds were actually to be spent. However, human nature being as it is, that amount was listed as "available" to the budgeteers and soon it was allocated for current expenses along with the rest of the available funds. What started as a simple bookkeeping procedure had become a "candy jar" which Congress simply could not resist and the money was soon routinely "borrowed" and spent.

I'm not sure when my opposition to the policies of the Republican Party began. I believe it was more of an evolution, begun in the years spent among and sharing the plight of those desperately poor souls who emigrated from the central areas of the country to the Pacific Northwest to work in lumber mills as the result of the lack of work in their former locations. This was particularly hard for the women, living in rudimentary shelters which could only be called "shacks", trying to feed and clothe numerous offspring and to make a "home" of their cramped hovels while fighting eternal homesickness and displacement. These were "company houses" owned by the men who owned the mill where they worked and the rent was taken from the paychecks of the men on payday. If you lost your job, you lost your home as well. Running cold water was furnished but only one of the three dozen or so houses were not graced by outhouses in the back yard.

One particular lady lives in my memory. She looked to be an ancient crone with wrinkled and weather-worn face and intermittent gaps where her teeth should be, her shoulders stooped from hard work and heavy lifting. Nine of her ten children lived in her house, the eldest, a seventeen-year-old, living nearby with her husband and two children. The neighbors learned that this venerable matriarch was thirty-five years old! And then, one morning over coffee, she divulged the fact that she was pregnant....... again. The primitive birth control methods were unreliable, her husband "didn't like" condoms and Mother Nature had taken its course. An abortion would require a visit to an illegal practitioner of questionable medical abilities and the odds were pretty good that hemorrhage or infection would result, leaving almost a dozen small children motherless. This heroic woman steeled herself for the ordeal of another hungry mouth to feed and another underfed body for which they could not afford medical care. It occurred to me then that it just might be better if abortions were legal and could be obtained from a licensed professional and under sanitary procedures.

Later I joined the white collar workforce and became a "Girl Friday" in service to a millionaire merchant. After a year of faithful and diligent labor, I had received one raise and was required to be duly grateful for that honor. When the time came for me to leave, a man was hired to replace me. When I was informed of his starting salary, in the course of my duties of compiling the payroll, I was startled to learn that his salary was to be nearly twice what I was currently earning. When I queried my employer as to the reason, the answer was, "Because he is a man and has a family to support!" ("The Man" was sorely under-qualified and was gone within the month) This in spite of the fact that the boss was well aware that I was the primary bread-winner of my family. A few experiences like that could well turn a nice Republican girl into a "women's libber".

However, I was not yet ready to give up my in-born Republicanism. The policies and practice of the Northwestern Republicans were at that time kindly, caring, and progressive. During the "Carter Energy Crisis", we returned to the Midwest and found ourselves living in a "whole 'nother country". At that time the Equal Rights Amendment, affirming full rights of citizenship for women and making sexual disrimination illegal, had passed in Congress and was still trying to gain ratification by the majority of the States. I recall one instance at the local grocery store when a lady was expounding at length to one and all that, "Them wimmen don't need that big pay. They have men to take care of 'em!" I politely inquired whether she had ever know any woman whose husband had died, become seriously ill, or left his family for the favor of another woman or any woman who continued to work to provide the necessities of life for aging parents. The only reply was, "Humphffff!"

I was also finding it more and more difficult to see the error in feeding hungry children because some mothers might be taking advantage of the system or whether there was justification for ending a program that assured a healthy adulthood for those children who were underpriviled in order to punish a few women who had made a career of becoming "Welfare Queens". I had seen and experienced the good that these programs had brought about for families of my acquaintance as opposed to the poverty of my own childhood.

The religious extremists were already in virtual control of the party and Ronald Reagan did not seem at all as desirable as presidential material as he once had. His administrative policies bore out that judgement. The economy at the lower levels did not live up to his promises as the rich got richer, in the usual pattern of Republican administration. I was puzzled by the Iran-Contra thing which really did not seem to have been something that we should have done but applauded with all the rest of the faithful as that handsone Oliver North stood valiantly and "took a bullet for his Commander-in-Chief", but I bolted the party rather than to support "The Wimp", George H. W. Bush. I really tried, but could see nothing presidential about the man and truly felt that "my party" could have done better.

When Bill Clinton was elected, (without my vote which went to a third party candidate), I applauded his promise of "welfare reform". He had a sound plan for encouraging welfare mothers to work by offering education and childcare supports with continuing assistance while they climbed the employment ladder and re-organized their lives as the family breadwinner. However, what finally got through Congress was something entirely different, simply placing a cap on the eligibility and offering childcare only in some places and for a limited period of time. The next Congressional election resulted in a Republican majority who were honest and open about the fact that they had no empathy whatever for the less fortunate. On the day after I saw Newt Gingrich on the television news, stating that the answer to "welfare mothers" was to "build more orphanages", I changed my party registration.

Since that time I have been a "searcher", totally out of sync with those in control of our nation today. It is alien to my culture to accept the rehabilitated Iran/Contra crooks that are warmed-over from the Reagan administration as well as the new ones that were shipped in from Texas and imported from the Neo-Con think-tanks. However, the "loyal opposition" has proven to be too loyal and to demonstrate too little opposition. The Democrats allowed themselves to be stampeded into giving President Bush carte blanche to "do whatever is neccessary" in retaliation for the World Trade Center attacks and to sit meekly by while the Neo-Cons diverted that permission into an attack against Iraq because of imaginary "weapons of mass destruction". Then they sublimely accepted a Patriot Act that gave even more dictatorial powers to the President even though they had not even been given the time to read it!

Time after time, this performance has been repeated. The great groundswell of populism was squelched by the Democratic party machine and its manipulation of John Kerry into the presidential candidacy. His campaign was loose and disorganized and the best "messages" we heard were delivered by his wife and by his running-mate, John Edwards. Then we were treated to another spectacle on election day that almost equalled the 2000 results in Florida as hanky-panky was conducted at the polling places. Apparently few of the Democrats in Congress were put off by this as they went right back to their old practice of agreeing with the President that we need to stay in Iraq, we need to renew the tax cuts for the rich and the hated Patriot Act, we need to cut unnecessary, (social program), expenditures, and we absolutely MUST spend even more on the military and pork!

The national debt is equalled only by the trade deficit, more citizens of Mexico live in the United States than remain in Mexico, the military is exhausted and their equipment old and in tatters, the middle class are suffering from unemployment and insecurity as their jobs are bleeding first into Mexico, then into the Orient and now into Central America, our personal rights are at the tender mercies of the President and Jerry Falwell, and our Social Security system is under attack! Meanwhile, with all this "honesty and decency" that has been restored to the White House, we have Karl Rove who will "eff" anybody who angers him, a vice-President who feels free to tell a Senator to go "eff" himself, and a President who is quick to offer the one-finger salute to the media, the Congress, and the American people.

It is not easy to confess to having spent a lifetime marching to the wrong drummer and I do understand those who still have a problem with it. I am still not pro-abortion, feeling that it is a tragedy, but sometimes tragedies happen and I am willing to allow others to make their own decisions with their own bodies and in their own lives. I am not anti-American for I have revered my native land for the better part of a century and do not intend to stop now. I love every one of our brave young men who have been placed in harm's way for the unfulfilled ambitions of a small cabal of evil men, and I pray constantly for their safe return. I will vote for a good person of either party whom I feel will truly represent the people rather than special interests, and I will contribute my small bit to support the return of truly democratic government to its rightful place.

But I will never again waste my vote in suppport of any person or program that is based on the destruction of our Constitutional rights or our traditions of freedom, just because I have "always" done so. It is well past time for the American public to wake up, realize that they have been horn-swoggled, and to exercise their God-given right to think for themselves..

Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who operates a small business caring and advocating for the handicapped and the under-privileged. Questions and comment may be directed to mpitt@cox.net.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Mumzee Mary said...

THE PRINCES OF PRIVILEGE

by Mary Pitt


Over the past few decades, it appears that the American people are, more and more, turning to people of great wealth to fill positions of leadership and those electees are busily engaged in disconnecting the control of our lives from our individual rights to make our own decisions. Is it our own captivity in the world of make-believe that is brought upon us by our obsession with movies and television with the stories about the extremely rich and the building up of these celebrities to super-human status? Or are we so consumed by our own ambitions to join them in their peccadilloes that we aspire to become like them? The fact is that, too often, the people who are elected on this basis have absolutely no concept of the wants, needs, and desires of the common, middle-class, working American. These sons of high society are brought up in a lifestyle similar to that of the Princes of Saud, never needing, never wanting, and totally convinced that they are entitled to the instant fulfillment of their every whim. Their attitudes toward the "rabble" in the streets in similar to that of the late, un-lamented Marie Antoinette, whose memory lives through the ages for having said, "Let them eat cake!" They view the poor as less than human, literally beasts of burden, and despise the concept of labor unions as an effort by these non-humans to extort from them their God-given lucre.

These princes, (and princesses) are, for the most part, the scions of the wealthiest families in the history of mankind, having, in most cases, inherited great wealth and power from some ancestor who gained it by good fortune or by taking unfair advantage of their fellow man. They have had the advantage of the finest schools and family connections to help them at every turn. If they fail, it's no real problem. Their family and friends will come through, bail them out, and set them back on the path to success. Others may have clawed their way up the ladder of financial success by adroit use of their intelligence, their innate gift of gab, and the judicious use of the backs of others as stepping stones. In most cases, their smartest move has been to run for public office for, once there, they have tapped into the money machine. While the law proscribes the taking of gifts, ways are found of transgressing against those regulations and becoming very wealthy while in office as well as having a choice of very remunerative occupations waiting in the wings when their career "in public service" is completed. Anyone with knowledge of the people who are and have been in government will be able to add names to each of these lists.

This was brought home to the ordinary citizen when President George W. Bush announced the nomination of John Roberts, jr., to a seat on the Supreme Court. In this introduction he stated that Judge Roberts had "worked summers in a steel mill" while attending his Ivy League college. This conjured up, for most of us, an image of a poor teen-aged boy, stripped to the waist, rag tied around his head so as not to be blinded by his own perspiration, laboring in the heat of a blast furnace for the wages he needed in order to complete his education. Not so! His father was the CEO of the steel company and his summer job was quite likely in the air-conditioned office headquarters. He attended a posh boarding school until becoming eligible for Harvard and never had to work in order to continue his education or for any other reason except that he needed something to do. The real job that awaited him was a step that was already half-way up the ladder to power and even more wealth.

Of course, this was impressive to President Bush. After all, he claims to be a Texas oil man and a rancher. Now, as any Texan knows, there are two kinds of oil men, the ones who sit in an office and make deals, breaking a sweat only when it is necessary to go out in the summer heat to check on the progress of the workers or to play a round of golf, and the kind who are out in the fields, running the drilling rigs, doing the heavy lifting and risking life and limb in the operation of the heavy equipment. There are also two kinds of ranchers, the kind who work the soil to grow crops and cattle and the kind who sit on their front porch, overlooking a few thousand acres, while someone else does all the work. Since President Bush didn't own a ranch until after he became Governor, it is plain which kind he is, despite his annual photo-op "cuttin' brush". If he were a real rancher, that brush simply would no longer be there to cut, having been totally eradicated as a nuisance and an eyesore.

Of course, there are many more "Princes of Privilege" in the halls of government who were not born "filthy rich" but arrived there as the result of opportunism which allowed them to amass sufficient financial fortunes to claim a place at the hog trough. By a handsome appearance, a gift of gab, or outstanding performance in the field of sport, they were able to persuade party bosses of their fitness to occupy those hallowed halls. Once ensconced, the road to riches was wide open and there was no speed limit. It is needless to say that there will never, short of a revolutionary event, be any laws or regulations to stop this climb of the greedy into power, and rarely in the very good memory of a senior citizen has there been an exception to the basic rule of government: Money is power.

There have been some outstanding Presidents in modern times who were not hampered by their money or their lack of it. Chronologically, they began with Franklin Roosevelt, born of privilege and reared in the luxury of the time, with one exception. His long siege of illness and rehabilitation from the effects of polio served to demonstrate to his young mind the fact that illness, pain, and death do not discriminate between rich and poor. As wealthy as he had always been and despite the fact that he knew no other life, he had a feeling for the ills of the people and was determined to alleviate the poverty which was overwhelming them at the time he came to office. Many of the social programs that exist today were established for that purpose.

Harry Truman, on the other hand, had never been a rich man nor did he ever become one. He was a simple country boy who entered the army in World War I as a private and fought in the trenches in France. Upon returning home, he opened a haberdashery shop in Kansas City which catered to the wealthy politicians and businessmen until friends convinced him to run for public office. He went reluctantly and never lost his humble demeanor nor his understanding of the plight of the poor and downtrodden. Becoming President upon the death of Roosevelt, he did a workmanlike job and then happily went back to his original home where he dwelt happily with his beloved Bess, becoming the epitome of what a President should be. He must have been the example to which Tip O'Neal referred in his advice to young politicians, "Never forget who you are, where you came from, or who sent you here."

Dwight D. Eisenhower was a general in the mold of Washington. He served admirably in two wars and was looking forward to a well-deserved retirement when he left the service, accepting a postion as a college president which well suited his ambitions. After years of being pursued by both parties, he finally consented to run for President and was elected overwhelmingly by a grateful nation. We would do well to re-read his statements about the danger of the military-industrial complex and the havoc they could wreak upon our hapless nation. (Current events have totally borne out his opinion.) Upon his retirement from public service, he went back to the life he had before he yielded to the pleas of a healing nation. His life was, indeed, one that was dedicated to the service of God and Country.

John Kennedy, too was very rich, but he was brought up in a deeply religious family that stressed social responsibilty, a love for humanity and the out-of-doors, and a sense of obligation in gratitude for their good fortune. In addition, the loss of a brother in the war and the struggles of a handicapped sister served to convince him that wealth is no insulation from tragedy. Though his regime was short, his protection of the environment as well as his work for equal rights for all have yet to be undone by his opponents.

And, lastly, there was Jimmy Carter. From financially comfortable, yet not wealthy parents, he was actually a peanut farmer who really worked in the fields from childhood. He was not, by nature, a politician and so was not very good at it, In truth, he may not have been a very good President but none will deny that he is a good man and he was a true representative of the people. He left his home, went to Washington, did his best, and then returned to his home to continue doing what he had always done, helping people. His work with Habitat for Humanity is legend as is his work as a "diplomat at large" anywhere in the world where people are suffering or peace is threatened.

In the upcoming Congressional elections as well as the one for President in 2008, we should look well at the potential candidates for the qualities of these four men, for any lesser person cannot preside over the restoration of our democracy and the peace and freedom for which we have always hungered. We must not be swayed by dirty tricks or bowled over by a savvy media campaign. We must look at the qualities of the real person behind the media hype and the religious squabbles. We must ask ourselves not where but how they were brought up, what their personal goals in life may be, and insofar as possible, their motives in aspiring for higher office. Do they have a feel for the common people? Do they, in fact, even know any common people other than as servants or supplicants? Do they aspire to the job because of a devotion to serve the country or simply as a valuable career step?

If one recalls carefully their history books, one would be reminded that George Washington was reluctant to become President because he felt "unworthy" and he helped to shape the Constitution and the laws to carefully limit the powers of the office. Later Presidents were similarly humble in accepting the position, Eisenhower so much so that he initiated and shepherded to its passage the Constitutional amendment which prohibits a President from serving more than two terms. So now we have a President who said that his job would be "easier" if he were a dictator and has proceeded to act as if he were and the Republican Congress who have assisted in that ambition.

We are running out of time. We must not be impressed by hero worship for someone rich and handsome. We must look behind the custom-made suits and the beneficent aspect which they have so carefully cultivated to discover the snake-oil salesman behind their facade. We must also insist that every eligible voter must vote and that, having voted, their votes must be accurately and fairly counted. And every American citizen worthy of the title must study the candidates in light of their true characters and personal ambitions and put aside considerations of their appearance, their wealth, their promises, or their political affiliations. It will not be easy to put aside our old habits, our prejudices and and all the old biases, but it is necessary for the good of the nation and we must do it. It's the American way!

8:57 AM  
Blogger knowitallman said...

After you have brought your bird bath home, find a place to set up the bath well within sight of your outdoor and indoor spaces. Consider installing a bird bath near your porch, patio, deck, or house's windows so that you can enjoy the birds from anywhere in your home. Find out more about squirrel theme bird bath

9:26 AM  
Blogger knowitallman said...

If space permits, consider creating a sanctuary for the birds in your area. Use stylish bird baths to add style and flair to your yard or garden. Since running water is popular with birds, often enticing them to visit your bird bath over a neighbor's bird bath, use a fountain bird bath to add a special touch. Find out more about arizona bird watching

9:26 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home