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Back in October of last year, which seems like a couple of weeks ago, I titled a column here at Fab 40, "Gone To The Swamps." In that article, I lauded the accomplishments of the Fab 40 women, and a few gentlemen, and the open-mindedness I've always found here. "Because of that fact coupled with the critical situations our country finds itself in," I said then, "every few days I feel compelled to spew forth here what I hope is taken as fodder for thought. Put more simply, I feel a rant coming on. No offense intended, just venting . . .

The focal point of the news in recent weeks has been the horrid state of the nation's economy. President Obama has been lauded by the majority, a healthy majority at that, and crucified by the minority opposition, both inside Washington and out. This atmosphere has succeeded in dubbing the Republican Congress "The Party of No". This "Party of No", it’s said, fails to offer any better, or even alternative, plans. But, they ARE NOT the only culprits! My rant is totally non-partisan.  

I've come to believe that the persons in congress, regardless where they plop themselves as to 'side of the aisle', are of a different species. Something akin to a one-celled entity intent only on survival in their plopping spot. There seems to be a total lack of an observing eye, or a listening ear focused on the masses that elected them. Any semblance of a thinking brain ceases to function in any area outside the innate survival instinct of the brain stem. AT entering these hallowed halls, the transformation begins.

With all the outrage about the bailouts having run its course on cable news, now the story out is that those that yelled the loudest are the recipients of, according to CNN, middle of the night contributions to their various self-interests. In public, one senator, I won't even name names here, flatly stated that the automobile industry, in general, were a bunch of losers and demanded that they 'give us our money back'! Perhaps, he was angry because Chrysler Corporation only gifted him with a lousy thousand dollars. That is pretty cheap for selling your soul, if I do say so myself! Once I'd stooped to that level, I'd surely expect to be a bit better paid!  I would remind him, though, it was not 'his' money as he probably didn't pay his taxes either, or found ample loopholes to escape through.

Still, this everyday occurring news is not what has me in a riled state! We almost get rather hardened to that, which is also counted upon by this elusive congress person species. What does have me riled is the general psyche of most people. The things that will be targeted while other travesties are swept under the rug. All we hear is the spending proposals of the administration are also outrageous! The stimulus won't work and the proposed budget is socialism even bordering on fascism according to one congress person, or was that the eloquent governor of Louisiana, who has failed miserably on instituting the programs already in place to assist Katrina victims? He fumbles at leading the help to one city in his state, but is going to tell our president how to run the nation? Typical enough, I suppose. Maybe he can see Cuba from his front porch?

Yet amidst all this doom and rhetoric, this wild idea of Mr. Obama's to overhaul healthcare's skyrocketing costs, boost our failing education system, work toward insuring us energy independence and preserving our planet is plunging us to bankruptcy! The proposed tax cuts to middle-income and working families, keyword - working, is met with disdain. Why were tax cuts to the upper 5% of wealthy citizens lauded as the creators of jobs!? The oil that runs the engine? (no pun intended) God forbid, the middle-class gets anything. We don't matter that much, I suppose. We are just the nuts and bolts of it all which can easily be outsourced! No, any kind of spending at a time of near depression is wrong. It must be blocked! Until, that is, it's time to drop a few bombs, rebuild a nation that we leveled, and pay the hospital bills of the Octomom's kids! THAT riles me more than anything! Then, the fount is endless!

We're told there's no money left in the States' coffers. Major cuts must be made to healthcare services, libraries and schools. Even worse, fire departments and police! We've spent ourselves into bankruptcy, we're told. It's got to stop! Yet, no one, NO ONE that I've heard, has raised their ire over the costs to the taxpayers for funding, feeding, the intensive medical coverage into the millions, a free house, continual air time on the news, promotion of websites for donating more money to the cause, or worse, the cost of raising fourteen children from birth through college! No, this self-centered person riding on the religious angst of the pro-life advocates, has conned the system to the max, her own parents, and yes, even her own progeny through artificial impregnation for her own selfish motives. Yet, no one says a word. No congress person speaks out in outrage at the spending.  

Perhaps, the folks in awe of this woman, or the news channels that flock to give her just what she wants, could explain the justification to the families of the dead law enforcement officers or firefighters who are understaffed due to lack of funding, to the family of the lady who died on the floor of an emergency room for lack of insurance and attention, or to the family forced into bankruptcy when a catastrophic illness struck and their insurance was inadequate, the man with twenty-five or thirty years seniority who just lost his pension and then his job, or to the mothers who see children die because they can't receive the latest cancer treatment. Or, the ones who lost family in the collapse of an Interstate bridge over a river while we re-build bombed out air strips in Iraq. Or even to the dying species and euthanized pets because their preservation isn't worth saving. That life doesn't count.  

Or maybe they could explain to their Creator why they shunned responsibility for the proper care and dominion of the Planet Earth given to them so they could know this life. I'd really like to hear their thoughts if they are able to muster up one more moment of actually thinking.      

Susan Haley, Author
RAINY DAY PEOPLE – A Novel
FIBERS IN THE WEB  

**Susan Haley is the published author of two books, several articles on networking, an award-winning poet, and a contract copy editor and book reviewer for AME Marketing out of San Diego. She also contributes a column to "The Florida Writer" the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association, of which she is Facilitator for the Sarasota County Chapter. The audio version of her novel "Rainy Day People" was recently awarded runner-up Finalist in the 2008 Indie Excellence National Book Awards. She also contributes a variety of editorials and excerpts of her work to various E-zines and newsletters and local papers.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Stella65 wrote Mar 29, 2009
    • Wonderful article!
      I’ve always felt that no matter what government or President is in office, the biggest problem is a lack of perspective.  Like you said, it’s a ‘what about me’ mentality that some of the elected officials cling to.  When we criticize a leader solely based on the political party, when we vilify a plan solely because ‘we’ didn’t come up with it or as in your example, a governor who has failed to institute programs to help his own constituents, there’s definitely a problem. Working together for the benefit of all, seems to be a foreign policy in itself.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Mar 31, 2009
    • I applaud your concise ‘nailing it on the head‘! What a laugh that the congress would consider themselves ‘We the People’ . . .



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tamra wrote Apr 1, 2009
    • Another good post!  "We the people" outside the beltway always seem to suffer at the hands of our leaders who act as if they know better than we as to what we  need.  But they are so out of touch, having only their own selfish interests at heart, that in the end, we are left with more challenge for survival rather than support from leadership.

      One point I’d like to throw out for discussion -  

      How do you help a people that won’t help themselves?  

      In Lousiana, no amount of government assistance or superior leadership can fix the Katrina problems if the people as a whole won’t help themselves.  (Now I speak from personal, first-hand experience on this issue, currently living with a patched ceiling from Hurricane Ike.)  Why is it the government’s fault that someone’s house is still a wreck 3 years later?  I don’t expect the Great State of Texas to fix my house, so please help me understand why Louisiana should be fixing anyone’s house?  

      Sorry if that seems a bit simplistic, but I tend to look at things from a very logical point of view.  Guess I’d never make it in DC!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Apr 2, 2009
    • Hello Tamra

      Nice to see you again and glad you enjoyed the column. It’s nice to know that at least three people related to where I was coming from. :)

      As for your point for discussion. I agree with you completely, too. People that won’t, or don’t know how to, help themselves cannot be helped with any amount of success unless they are removed from the environment that nurtures it. Again, it’s the system and the corrupt congress persons who are only placating for votes.

      The state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans have been given tons of federal money over the years ‘earmarked’ for the rebuilding of the levees, or at the least, reinforcing them. The plethora of political corruption from the congress down through state, county and city government was so ingrained, that no one even seemed to notice that the levees were not being repaired other than the occasional band-aid for appearances sake.
      When you have congress people voting through tons of entitlements simply to conjure votes in a certain district, then bitching about it when other districts that don’t affect them get the same thing, shows the hypocrisy that runs rampant.

      It’s like the current budget battles. How many congress people did you hear stand up and squawk when the money was being spent at the rate of billions every month to fund a war that should have never been started? The concensus on that is pretty much the majority now. Yet, all of a sudden, when this country or the working people become recipients, the immediate warcry goes up saying the budget will bankrupt future generations. That’s crap, really, because future generations have long since been burdened by the last eight years of record spending, waste, and corruption. Now, it’s more like fly crap in pepper. It’s again pandering for votes to regain power, NONE of them care about the country as a whole.

      When you have entire segments of society that have been reared under suppression, then bought and sold again for votes, you’ve created generations of well-fare families that know nothing else. They look to everything from their so-called ‘leaders‘. Meanwhile, the black mayor of New Orleans sat on his duff in a city miles away while empty school busses stood idle. Had that been me, and I was stranded on a bridge for days, I’d a WALKED out of there. But, I’ve been raised to go after what I want or need, not wait for it to me. I can’t even imagine being literally ‘barred’ from equal education opportunities. If you look back through history, just about every problem we have can be traced back to greed, self-centeredness, politcal corruption, an “I got it coming to me” attitude or yes, in some cases pure ignorance.

      No one likes to deal with truths. It’s often very painful. Most especially when you have to look inside yourself. It’s so easy to blame. I’m not blaming any one person. I’m blaming a system that has the potential of being what it was dreamed to be by our forefathers. Somewhere along the way, the innate negative instincts of human nature became the majority. And, no, no one can help them.

      That’s my take on it anyway. I’ve been wrong before. :) I only have to live with my own conscience.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tamra wrote Apr 2, 2009
    • Oh girl, I think you are exactly RIGHT!  Short-sightedness and selfish whims have dictated our national policies for many, many years.  Now we are feeling the dreadful effects.  Once again, you make perfect sense!

      Yes, you are right about generations of people bribed for their votes in return for handouts.  I suppose I usually find it hard to understand the Louisiana predictament because I was raised in a very different environment only a short distance away just across the state line.  

      Texas attitude has always been one of strong independence and self-reliance, even a willingness to take great risks to improve the circumstances.  Historians suggest it comes from the challenges of agriculture-based businesses and oil prospecting that shaped our Texas culture early on, and still does so to this day.  Most people I have known all my life don’t expect anyone to give them anything, and aren’t patient enough to sit around and wait for someone to hand it to them.  People pull up their boot straps (get it, Texas/boots) and just make it happen.

      If only that same culture could have developed just a few hundred miles to the east....   Maybe all of those empty school buses we saw during Katrina would have simply been driven out of there by private citizens who wanted to get out.  People who would have thought “Why wait for the “govment” to do something?  Let’s just go, for pete’s sake!”

      Like Nike says, “JUST DO IT!”



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Apr 2, 2009
    • Interesting read! I feel your outrage on many of the same things.....



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Apr 3, 2009
    • Actually, if the lost art of critical thinking is applied, the magnitude of all these problems we face, is easy to figure out. With a few rare exceptions, which every rule seems to have, innate human nature is universal. We are products of our environment and moreso, our experiences. Setting all states and regions, nations even, aside, if a person has all motivation and opportunity squelched, ambition soon follows.
      If it were a matter of genetics, there are too many questions left unanswered. And, I’ll be frank here: the hue and cry of many whites is that most urban blacks are lazy. But, if you look at the periods of slavery, black people worked from dawn to dusk in fields like dogs. Most were uneducated and loyal to the ‘mastuhs‘. And what did it get them? In many cases, not all, but many, whippings, selling blocks, and horrid quarters to live in. They were beaten if they were caught learning to read for fear that education would foster rebellion, their families were often torn apart and their women used for sexual gratification. Why do we suppose there are so many with mixed ancestry? How could a race be treated this way and not develope a certain amount of hostility and rebellion? Could we? We must have been pretty infuriated, as we sailed the ocean in search of an escape from tyranny! Yet, we then, over time create what we ran from.

      The same holds true with countless other cultures! What about the Native Americans who were almost anihilated in the quest west? Many who had helped the first settlers survive their first winter. Suddenly, we are buying and selling and taking over their ‘world‘! Indians were the true Pantheists. They didn’t believe any ‘man’ could own God’s, or to them, the Spirit’s earth. They lived and moved with it. It was their sustenance. And, it is ours although that fact has been sadly forgotten in our feelings of superiority over all living things.

      It holds true with tribes and cultures, and ‘systems’ everywhere on the Planet. The few powerful USE the many for their own rise to aquisition. In a different way, because the system encourages it, that’s what the breeder out in California did in having 14 children. She uses the ‘many’ of her own children to get what she knows will be available to her. She has no concern who pays for it, just that they do.

      I could discuss this stuff for hours and tend to digress. I’ve come to believe we really do walk this realm, each of us, alone. There has never been equality or freedom on this Planet and there never will be. It is but a fragment in evolution. Regardless, one’s religious beliefs, and I don’t belittle anyone’s personal faith, there is only ONE truth. The answers will be given us when we expire. There are no chosen few who were given the ‘real’ truth. A book is a book. All we can do here, is attempt to leave it a better place than we entered. If that is no more than planting a flower where there are none. As long as ANYONE lives in a mindset of blame and prejudice, power or vindictiveness, climbing up the back of another, we shall continue to reside in a field of weeds. Of course, I only speak for myself. Now, I must retire to my garden. :)

      Susan



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tamra wrote Apr 3, 2009
    • “...if a person has all motivation and opportunity squelched, ambition soon follows.”

      Do you think that this new age of hatred toward the rich in higher taxation will cause those who are wealthy among us to lose ambition?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Apr 3, 2009
    • Good question, Tamra

      No hon, it won’t work there because greed isn’t ambition. They aren’t even on the same playing field. I don’t resent any rich person who got there through hard work, dedication and innovation. That’s ambition and it has its just rewards, I’d say.

      The hatred of the ‘rich’ we see now is the hatred of their greed and the criminal ways in which they obtained it. In the ways it was even allowed to happen. In the fact, that the principles of get more get bigger get better, spread through society like a plague. But greed, like a disease, will always find a way to spread. It won’t be squelched by anything, only ingnited again by loss. And they really haven’t lost anything but a bit of power, temporarilly. The fired GM CEO walked away with 23 million in severence pay. Quite a nice retirement fund, I’d say. While others lost their lives work and savings. They should have fired the Wall Street crooks too. By not doing that as well, inequality still rears its ugly head.

      S.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tamra wrote Apr 3, 2009
    • But I think it’s important to remember that most of the perceived “rich” in our land are not those greedy few we see on TV.  Most are the hard-working types you refer to who have built small businesses and offered many of the jobs our people hold.  

      But the hatred is spreading like a plague, too, and many innocent are going to be caught in the web of higher taxes and gov’t regulation.  As a CPA, these are the type of clients I have mostly worked with through the years.  After a while, they, too, will begin to ask “Why should I work so hard just to have the gov’t take it away?  Why should I sacrifice time away from my family only to give half of it away in a myriad of taxes?”  I really don’t know how to answer that question....

      I hope that, as the “change” develops, those ambitious Americans do not suffer.  But I fear too many of them are being wrapped together in one package as the “greedy“.  But I suppose that’s a topic for another day.

      P.S.  I appreciate what you bring to this website, Susan.  You offer me an opportunity to think outside of my dirty dishes and soiled laundry!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Apr 5, 2009
    • Have a great week....
      In the 70's in the UK we had a very strong socialist government which decided to tax the top earners with a 90% tax band ....... so everyone in that category left the country as why would you pay 90pence in every pound (our currency is 100pence make a pound) to the Government where is the incentive plus these earners actually keep our welfare system afloat we also had the highest unemployment we had strikes , 3 day week working , power cuts due to the strikes – huge garbage piles (local council workers on strike) ........ plus all the highly educated professionals moved to the US it was known as the brain drain – I used to pay 55p in the pound in taxes but this year I'm paying 72p with all the various stealth taxes they have introduced – I'm now thinking should I just stop – I have money and just cruise through to retirement and beyond – so I'll not add to the economy, not give people work........... There is no incentive at all.
      Plus my savings are worth nothing due to the interest rate.....I might as well keep my money in a tin under the bed or move abroad and come back later.
      Our Government couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery .........



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Apr 5, 2009
    • A basic truth in life is some folk are competitive – high achievers – goal orientated – some folk like to amble in the background but do get on with their job and then there are people who want to sit at home all day and scratch their ass........
      So why the other two people should be forced to keep the third – if we all sat at home on our sofas watching daytime TV and scratching our collective asses .........they would be no taxes!
      In the UK we look after every person from cradle to grave – which is great if you stumble and fall in anyway – but it's not an alternative lifestyle and now it's seen as this........
      Then this week the Members of Parliament have to declare their expenses – that shifty lazy bunch claim for everything – I mean everything our Home Secretary (effectively minister for police, immigration etc) her husband on her expense form claimed for two porn movies ......YES PORN MOVIES at my expense as my taxes pay this ......I've written to our Prime Minister and very other minister demanding she be sacked ......if I was an employee I would be and she works for me. I also wrote to her and bought two $2 DVD's of porn and put them in and said have them on me !
      You can tell I'm angry .......



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Apr 5, 2009
    • Hey girls . . .

      I’ve got a surprise for all of you. My work here is to provide thought food. But surely, my earlier rant in the original column gave you all the clue I’m pretty darn conservative myself. That situation out in California literally had me in a state for days!
      I’ve been fighting for a flat tax percentage for years, Annie. I was raised in a middle-class working family and my father worked in the factories for GM in Michigan for thirty years, then retired and worked twelve more for the Silverdome Stadium in Pontiac, Michigan. You think I don’t just about cry when I see what’s happened to GM and the city of my childhood in the last twenty years. I had work hard bred into me. Then the greed infiltrated the management AND the unions.
      When my husband died at 55 I worked three jobs for five years to keep my home Because I was left with medical debt. We never asked for or was given a damn thing in our lives. Do I hate or resent people who have the work ethic or achieve success? Of course, not. What I hate are the people and the greed that destroyed all that, actually encouraged welfare situations to garner votes and then failed to provide the schools and education to lift the poor out of poverty through education. People actually laid around and made babies because that was the only way they could get an increase in income. The friggin’ systems fostered it.
      And yes, I suffer the same feelings you all have. I’m 66 years old, on my own, and it gets harder and harder to pay the bills every damn month. Still, I look for no hand out. I don’t even agree with older people who run from doctor to doctor damn near for a living because the insurance companies and the “I got it comin’ to me” attitude takes over. That’s why people also resent older people living for f‘n ever and medicare and SS is a damn mess. There are all forms of greed, all forms of resentment, that’s why I fight so damn hard to change the friggin’ SYSTEMS. I also support euthanasia! And I have a legal living will saying no artificial life support, not some thing drawn up on computer site.
      I saw my poor dying father having tubes shoved down his throat and up his nose and in his arms all the while he begged to be left alone. He was 86. But that damn hospital had to soak out his last penny. I literally pulled them away from him! WHY? Because of friggin’ law suits. Does anyone know around here what a doctor has to pay annually for malpractice insurance?? It’s all known to the doctors and PA’s as the CYA principle. Cover your ass! My PA niece told me that. She hates it as bad as I do. She concentrates on the good she can do. The corruption runs deep!
      Ask yourself why seatbelt laws exist in every state? Do you think anyone in the legislature gives a rat’s behind if you die? But those fines bring in tons of revenue to the coffers. I have no problem with requiring a car to have them available, but whether I buckle the S.O.B. up or not IS my choice. I had my life saved once because I got THROWN CLEAR of the vehicle. If I’d been buckled in, I’d have been crushed to death. I refuse to wear one! If I get a fine, I’ll fight it all the way to the Supreme Court! If I see a light flashing behind me, I pull over and exit the vehicle with my hands in the air. PROVE I didn’t have a belt on. And, if I’m dead I don’t give a rip. Oh I have the rebelious side, too, girls.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tamra wrote Apr 5, 2009
    • You guys make some great points!

      Vikki, I hate to hear of such in England.  What a shame.  But I understand what you are saying.  My husband works for a British company, and he regularly sees the socialistic perspective in the mandates that are handed down from the London management.  It leaves me scratching my head asking “Why?”  The philosophy and policy is almost opposite what a Texas mindset would dictate.  After reading you posts, I now know why, but I still don't like it.

      Annie, I know exactly what you mean.  It is VERY hard to sacrifice time away from your children to work when you are giving so much of your wages away to others.  Actually, when you deduct expenses for the numerous taxes we pay, meals out, work attire, child care, transportation costs, etc., there may be only a small bit to take home at the end of the day.  Sometimes it’s just not worth missing out on those few precious years we have until our children are grown.  Our gov't should be encouraging more productivity, not discouraging it.

      Susan, about 13 years ago, I had a client that was a neurology surgeon in Houston.  Then he was paying about $100,000 a year for insurance.  And he had no past history of litigation either.  He had a clean record, that’s just what it cost to protect himself.

      The breeder in California gets to me, too!  I was only able to have my children through infertility treatments, and I feel like she has taken something so vital to many of us and made a mockery of it!  And I think the doctor who assisted her should lose his/her license.  Then there’s the notion that she thinks she can provide a good home to all of those children.  I will never believe she is able to do so.  She is a despicable person in my thinking.

      But I disagree with one point.  Some people laid around and had babies to get more gov't welfare, but not because that was the only way they could increase their income.  Maybe they thought that, but it's not true, no matter where you live in this land.  I grew up poor in a rural setting, but I never considered having babies to draw a gov't check.  Just the opposite, actually.  I figured I'd have more money if I didn't have a baby to feed, and could go to school to increase my earning potential, which I did.  It bothers me that other lazy people don't do the same if they are not happy with their lot in life.  I guess I would agree that some people had/have babies for that purpose because no one has showed them there's another and much better way to increase their income.  But to say that's the only way for them is not true.  There are so many opportunities out there to better oneself.  I believe it's more a matter of ethics and morals, or lack thereof, not a lack of opportunities.



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