I just got some email from AARP that stated that the Medicare will have largest COLA [cost of living adjustment] increase in 26 years for 2009. It will be 5.8%...that's a start.
This is good news [yes, I am old enuff to get AARP ]...but my first question was regarding the current budget deficit, where will they get the money? The article states there will be a raise among certain individual's payment:
Social Security Hike Largest in 26 Years
By Carole Fleck - October 16, 2008 - AARP Bulletin Today
More than 34.9 million older Americans will get a 5.8 percent increase in their Social Security benefits next year—the largest hike in 26 years.
Rising inflation drove the 2009 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to greatly surpass this year’s 2.3 percent raise. The 5.8 percent adjustment is the highest since 1982.
And in more welcome news, the standard Medicare premium for 2009 will remain unchanged from $96.40. Premiums will rise only for single people earning more than $85,000 annually, or for couples earning more than $170,000.
Still, recipients won’t come out ahead by much, says Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College. Because Medicare Part B premiums—deducted automatically from Social Security benefits—generally rise faster than the COLA, “the net benefit will not keep pace with inflation,” she wrote in a brief issued today.
From 2000 to 2007, Medicare premiums rose faster than the COLA—9.8 percent per year compared to 2.7 percent, she pointed out in the brief, which was coauthored by Dan Muldoon, a CRR research associate.
David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP, called the COLA “a welcome development” in light of the economic downturn and the erosion of people’s retirement savings, but cautioned that it would only go so far. [snip] ##
Here is the Barack Obama half hour ad, and to quote Barack from The Daily Show, "Informercial" -- you gotta love a guy who tells it like it is! It is moving, and it feels real, and he is telling his intentions -- they can't be in stone promises as things change, but these are his intentions, and he will try to make it happen. The man and his hopes and philosophy -- enjoy:
The 1/2 hour Barack Obama ad on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC was fabulous! It will be on again at 10:00 Easter, 7:00 Pacific and worth watching if you can. I've yet to find it available online, but I'll keep you posted if I find it.
## PS McCain managed to air a very powerful, slick ad w/cinema tricks we all know and love, the fore-boding panning left, finding the worse photos, having a sniper-looking shot cut next to an amazingly bad photo of Obama, as if shooting him...the dirty tricks, the slick tricks, it really does make a negative impact after the feel-good of the 1/2 hour bio /closing ad.
So, again, no complacency about who will win -- VOTE EARLY if you can, but please make sure you VOTE!
I'm confused. If a convicted felon can't even vote, why can Ted Stevens, a Republican Senator from Alaska still run for senate?
From the Washington Post: "Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, one of Congress's most powerful Republicans, was convicted yesterday of lying on financial disclosure forms to conceal his receipt of gifts and expensive renovations to his house, just eight days before he faces voters in a tight reelection contest. This Story
*Stevens Found Guilty on 7 Counts *Investigations: Sen. Stevens Found Guilty *The Fix: Corruption Conviction of Sen. Stevens Enhances Democrats' Prospects *Sen. Stevens Found Guilty in Corruption Trial *The Sleuth: Ted Stevens's Movie Pick Turned Out Bad *Profile: Ted Stevens
The 84-year-old lawmaker, the first sitting U.S. senator to go on trial in more than two decades, sat quietly as a jury foreman in federal court read the verdict after less than a day of deliberations: guilty on seven felony counts, each with a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The senator, who probably will face a less severe penalty under federal sentencing guidelines, left the courtroom without answering reporters' questions."
Did I ever mention that I sooooooooo want to see "Wicked" the musical? I read the book when it first came out, but oh...when the musical came out, I was thinking there was no way this could be good, could it? until I bought Wicked [2003 Original Broadway Cast], and ooooooooh, yes! I want to see this so badly. I want to go home and see it on Broadway...:
I did miss it when the touring cast was here in Seattle...sigh. ##
Personally, I'm not very sickened by Palin's 150k funds for her wardrobe, I think it is a lot of money, but the contributions were given in good faith that they would be used in the best way needed for their party. The look has changed, her hair is softer now, her makeup less "garish", her whole look is much better, and looks do count in this society. That being said, this is a great political cartoon:
I still afraid that too many people who are planning on voting for Obama are too complacent. Even watching Bill Maher's recent show, the two "former" republicans kept feeding into the audience's hopes for a Democratic victory by repeating that he's a shoe in...thank god /dess that Tim Robbins was one of the guests and could keep reminding folk to vote, vote early and be counted early, and to not presume the election is won.
Personally, he voiced a major concern of mine. I also still think that once in the privacy of the home or voting booth, people may change their minds because of the race factor. Don't forget bigotry runs long and deep in people. I was just looking at "The Week" website to find people commenting to the following article that "I hope he does win" I pray McCain does steal the election" etc etc which tells a person just how virulent things are, and that "dirty tricks" is sooooo not beyond the Republican's. They are smart smart smart when it comes to getting elected, but so wrong and anti-constitutional once in office. I am not breathing freely yet - far from it.
Here's the article I spoke about:
It's not over yet. News & Opinion Friday, October 24, 2008
How McCain can win
The polls give Barack Obama such a big lead that even Republicans are talking about John McCain "in the past tense," said Adam Nagourney in The New York Times. "But is it really over?" GOP strategists, and even some Democrats, say McCain still has "a viable path to victory" if he can reel back Republican states slipping to Obama, including Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina.
"A come-from-behind surge could still propel John McCain to victory," said Kenneth Bunting in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, but that's highly unlikely. It "might take a big event of unimaginable impact, some mysterious phenomenon pollsters can't measure or a suddenly brilliant strategic shift by a Republican campaign that in recent weeks has committed one myopic miscalculation after another."
Actually, there's a "losing scenario" for Obama that doesn't involve game-changing outside events, said Noam Scheiber in The New Republic online. "It goes something like this: Obama wins all the Kerry states plus Iowa and New Mexico, giving him 264 electoral votes, then narrowly loses the rest of the red states where he's currently competitive."
It's not hard to imagine a "McCain upset," said Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal. Senior citizens might turn out in record numbers to "vote for the older guy," or McCain could find traction on the issue of taxes. The "Obama love" out there is deep, but McCain has 43 percent of the country pulling for him, and "nobody in politics has so repeatedly relished coming back from the dead."
Please, everyone, vote, and vote EARLY to not skew the returns in favor of McCain. A lot of people like to endorse the "winning" candidate, and also may decide, why bother? my vote won't count. To that I urge y'all to remember 2000 and the "shenanigans" and the stolen election.
..and, remember, the Dems called "uncle" first instead of fighting because of "the greater good" which turned into the horror of a bailout, multiple occupying of countries, undeclared wars, budget deficits, lies, a failing economy, health care failure, insurance bailouts, our troops in harms way, their death and dismemberment, civilian deaths in foreign countries, tapping our phones, reading our mail, torturing prisoners, being jailed without being told why, no representation, the richest of our land getting richer while we lose our savings, homes, and jobs, the environmental impact of ignoring Mother Earth's needs to support big and bigger business and CEO's interests, Cheney & Haliburton, Enron and the reality of workers losing hard earned 401ks, being the "bad guy" and bully of the world, and losing the respect of nations, China bailing us out fiscally, people having to go to Canada for flu shots, or cheaper medicine, insurance premiums increasing, Part D for medicare recipients such as the disabled and the elderly, spreading fear as the message to win elections, lies, Roe v. Wade in jeapordy, a president who didn't even blink when he heard that the Twin Towers were attacked - instead he stayed in his seat listening to a children's book being read, not capturing Bin Laden when the chance was available, instead moving and withdrawing troops from Afghanistan at that time, the lies about WMDs to justify Iraq occupation, Condi Rice lying about knowing about the terrorist strike prior to 9/11 and the subsequent weasle-wording, strong ties and friendship going way back regarding oil between the Bush and Bin Laden family, Bush allowing the Bin Laden family to leave our country without any questioning while all other flights were suspended, Cheney and Bush both being conspicuously absent after 9/11, Bush landing on a carrier shouting "Mission Accomplished" while he wore his unearned pilot's jacket, and the subsequent years our troops have been shot at and killed and maimed in Iraq, and the National Guard, while being untrained, being sent to Iraq, and the lack of protective gear and machinery sent with our young people to Iraq, the lack of conditions when the troops needed treatment in our own hospitals, our troops going over on 2, 3, 4 and 5 tours of duty within as many years, and the 12 month tours stretching out to 15 months and more which would push anyone, even the most trained personnel, beyond their limit to react well in a hostile takeover, and the utter devastation we've inflicted on our own people, and don't forget the long long time it took to have Bush show up at the Twin Towers and the even longer time it took for him to visit the devastation of Katrina, and many are still, STILL homeless, bills get railroaded through the house and senate to bail out the rich, wall street, and now insurance companies, despite our letters to our congresspeople and senators, but the time it takes to get aid to our less fortunate, the victims of Katrina, and Medicare and Medicaid, don't see a sou, and there is so much more beyond my free association here...please don't forget what these 8 years have done to us as individuals, and the US as a nation and how it has lost the respect of so many.
I'd also like to ask, if the Democrats do get in, please don't buy into the idea that a Democrat's first 100 days, or first year, or first 4 years can, and should, be able to change things that quickly!!! We're in a place nationally, and internationally that we've never seen the likes of before as a nation. We're in trouble, and we need to get a new way of thinking into our collective minds /souls /psyches, one that says everyone deserves health care, time, financial care, aid, and that we need to get on the ecological band-wagon NOW and not drill, instead spend money and resources for alternative energy, and transportation, we only have until 2013 to get this done! We need to resurrect the technology of the "GM EV1" [1996-1999] that somehow went "missing" while no one was watching - it won't even cost time or science to get it on the assembly line; I can't imagine that anyone would havae been that insane to actually destroy the plans and tooling to build it, so why reinvent it when it can be on the road PDQ? We need to get us out of Iraq ASAP, that alone will staunch the flow of funds going out. We DO need to talk to other nations, and get the UN to help us persuade other nations to not advance war in the name of or , we need to direct the funds from the "bailout" to the people, not CEOs, we need to not be afraid of the word "socialism", when it is used to speak to a type of health care -- we are not a socialistic government, we are democratic, and within that umbrella we can take the best of capitalism, and socialism, and communism, and any other ism but fanaticism, because that is where we lose our step, when we become too full of ourselves and prefer to win at all costs, even our own freedoms, and choice, and our voice being listened to and heard.
I digressed as usual, and probably have become too emotional to make succinct sense. There needs to be a shift in how we view our elected (or not) leaders, and we need to have more accountability, and not be afraid to ask questions, the hardest questions, for fear that we will be perceived as "un-American". To ask is our right, our job. Our constitution is a framework, which offers within it's pages, the need to have checks and balances, to question authority, not be led by fear of reprisal or name-calling. Let's do our job, and our first job in this process is to exercise our right to VOTE. No matter the polls, the results that come in, make sure you vote -- and if there is an issue you are unsure about on a more local level, or people you know nothing about, research it online, or if you can't find the time, then please, don't vote blindly -- it's ok to leave something blank on your ballot.. but it's not OK to not vote, the one time your voice is counted and heard. ## PS if you think that your right to vote is being interfered with, make sure you document it via taking names, writing down the time, date, reasons stated you can't vote, video or photos if you can, and then pass the information on to your legislators, and if you can, post it on the website too. Write to the editors of your local newspapers. Be heard and counted in how you were cheated of your right. Thank you.
I lucked out this past week despite my overwhelming blues etc. when Amazon sent me a fabulous flick that somehow went under my radar when it first came out in 2004 called Unconditional Love.
This is appealing on so many different levels and sheer joy. Do I need to say more about it than Kathy Bates is in it? I suppose I do.
It is about "leaps of faith" or "inner strength" this middle aged woman goes through; a coming of age story after her husband chooses to get a divorce. Apparently, this blissfully happy woman as wife and mother, truly had no observable clue she was unhappy as she had defined herself. A love of music and singing was repressed when her husband "poo-poo'd" it when she mentioned her desire to sing professionally when they were first married. She accepted it at the time, but all her married life, it has been eeking out, this unrequited love and creativity, as we find her singing along with the radio, with the famous Irish singer "Lark".
This is a comedy and love affair about being true to, and ultimately outting, one's inner & truest self. To add to the mix, there is a wee bit o' a murder mystery to boot. I just loved this flick, and happily own it. I know I'll be taking it out to share with others and view again and again. This film is not about "unconditional love" with other people, it is about having unconditional love for oneself. Oh yes, added bonus - if you some times use, as I do, already watched movies (typically they are classics for me -- one of my top 10 is Gaslight) to "talk you to sleep", there is a wonderful "end of movie" bonus where the music at "top menu" is lovely, quiet and non-invasive! It's the little things that make it extra special.
From the Manitoba Herald is a revealing article about a migration to Canada and the Canadian response:
From the MANITOBA HERALD
"A flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The possibility of a McCain/Palin election is prompting the exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and agree with Bill O'Reilly. Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.
I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. "He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken.
Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, drive them across the border and leave them to fend for themselves. "A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. "They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though."
When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about the McCain administration establishing re-education camps in which liberals will be forced to shoot wolves from airplanes, deny evolution, and act out drills preparing them for the Rapture.
In recent days, liberals have turned to sometimes-ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have taken to posing as senior citizens on bus trips to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans disguised in powdered wigs, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizen passengers. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we get suspicious about their age," an official said.
Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan Sarandon movies.
"I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history and English majors does one country need?"
Here's a really interesting piece of an article in the NY Times about some Iraqis who want US Troops out ASAP. Wasn't the "we won indicator" stated by Bush and co. was that when they don't want us, we'll be out? Dare to dream?
link here for the full article: . . . [snip] On Saturday an estimated 50,000 supporters of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr marched in Baghdad to call for US troops to leave Iraq.
But our correspondent says it is not yet clear if the alliance's concerns amount to a serious challenge to the agreement.
The draft in its current form was agreed after lengthy negotiations between Baghdad and Washington, and the US is thought to see the deal as a "take it or leave it" package.
The current UN mandate for US-led coalition forces expires at the end of this year. About 144,000 of the 152,000 foreign troops deployed there are US military personnel.
[For a more in depth article on the protest, click here ]
...on a more personal note...
On Breathinradio.com this past Friday, Gretchen Lawlor, astrologer and life guide, said that this type of planetary configuration has not been seen since the mid-1960s! I immediately, and ego-centrically, thought to myself, dang, then why aren't we all rallying as we did before?
Why are we not more mobilized?
Foolish woman!!! Why was my world so small for me to think that it was me and my other like-minded American citizens who had to be "the ones" back out in the streets en masse...? WWIT?
<-- appropriately *thwacks* self upside the head...!
Any & everyone, who is unhappy with [any] war, global warming, endangered ecology, persecution of religious groups, or believes in animal rights, human rights, peace, free speech, or needs to rally and be heard, making a difference as we [Americans] did in the 60's. Peaceful protest with vigor allowed us to change the course of our women's rights, our involvement in Viet Nam, racial segregation and even more local issues such as saving a reservoir and surrounding homes, a wildlife preserve, even a golf course, in West Hartford, CT. stopping the proposed highway  etc. & other local ills of that time. It all happened in the mid-sixties. That energy, that mobilization, the belief that we can make a difference and change the course of events. We, of all ages, economic backgrounds, sex, race, religions, we gathered and put ourselves out there, and surprise, we did make a difference. We didn't win every fight, but we voiced our dissent with dignity and respect and fervor.
So, why did I presume that these planets, realigned once again, meant that a voice for change had to originate from the US, from "us"? LOL.
Shame on me and my foolish ego-centric mindset... and bravo and brava to my brothers and sisters who are coming out and being heard all over this planet in a peaceful, strong, group voice! Gretchen did read the stars correctly, now it's my job to remember to think globally -- after all, the cosmos doesn't impact only North Americans !
There is a new endorsement that has recently come out which I believe is one of the most important to date.
Colin Powell has been devoted to the Republican party, and Bush. In 2003, he surprised many of us by his not utilizing his own voice, wisdom, resources and information to state the case to NOT chase the phantom known as "WMD"s, which brought us into occupying IRAQ and the huge morass we're in, still, ~5 years later.
On "Meet the Press" today, he has found his voice again, and he's endorsed Barack Obama. Wow, this is a huge step forward for Powell and a very powerful endorsement for Obama, methinks the most balanced and well thought out one, to date.
I guess I've been putting off talking about Mom because it takes so much out of me, but for those who are following the story, or people who will learn from my "journey" with Mom's Alzheimer's and all the care-giving related issues, I should try to be more regular in my posts, I'll try, but absolutely no promises. But here's the latest to share.
Methinks the last posts about Mom has to do with Mom's 2 Syncope [read: fainting] episodes with her losing consciousness. This is pretty frightening. Dr Kaur spoke to me as she was on call and we talked about her seeing a Neurologist.
Later after speaking to Dr Chuck Harris, we were going to lower the dose of the Zyprexa and start Leptopril, an anti-seizure med. But something interesting happened during all this...I received a phone call from Brian, her Social Worker, telling me that Mom would be going to be transferred to E-6 where the patients were very very ill. This is a temporary move until they can find a place for her outside of WSH, as the new CEO and the Medicare budget loss has determined Mom, and ward E-6 are de-certified, i.e. not eligible for Medicare since she will not "get better".
She will still be taking her "classes" at E-8 during the week, but will spend the majority of her time will be at E-6. Dr Kaur, who was on call, is also now her new Physician, so there can be some continuity during this transition. I also spoke to her new Psychiatrist, Dr Olsen, and she is very open and amiable. She has been observing Mom, which is goodness, and was open to the information about her background I shared during our 30+/- conversation. She even listened to my concern about her recent outbursts at other residents of late, and her slurry speech. We talked and decided to back up, for re-observation first hand, taking her off the Leptopril, and slowly increasing her Zyprexa dosage again, to see what happens with her mood and her Syncope.
I've been trying to phone and ask about Mom to acclimate the staff to me and put Mom's name in front of them. I also need to get to know the people who work with her too, so it's a slow but forward process.
So, we did visit Mom twice already, and our next visit is on Friday.
The first time there was a distinct "odor" as we entered, which was off-putting, but we had a nice time in the room eating. Mom was very emotional when she saw us, so she must have been feeling confused and lonely and lost and afraid of being "forgotten"..so it was great to see her, and soon she was smiling and enjoying her meal with us.
The people are definitely more impaired. There is one "eater" who tries to come in our room, looking in at us in the "fishbowl" and shaking the door etc. There was also a man on the floor sprawled out, but not driven by a fall. There are folx there who need to be fed, and cared for in the extreme. There were a few familiar faces from E-8 now in E-6 as well. We got there early enough on that Saturday to have a con-call with the IA Gillmans, and it was so lovely to hear Jim and Mom exchange "I love you"s and also to have Mom laugh and twinkle, while eating, when Jim teased her. It's been tough of late to get Mom onto the phone, with her knees hurting, she doesn't like to get up and walk, it's nothing personal when she says "no, I don't want to " when it's the only words she can put together, she can't speak "It hurts to walk", but she can reply to the specific question, but that's not asked, she's only asked if she'd like to speak to "x" on the phone [which means she has to get up and walk there...].
The 2nd visit, Mom was animated, so very animated, and I can't help as if I was failing her some because of my inability to communicate with her, understand her, but that's "my guilts" and feelings of inadequacy, as she loved our visit and our food but mostly our visit. Both times the people I spoke with thought Mom very charming and amiable, although the last week she had started that "acting out" which prompted my chat with Dr Olsen.
I love my Mom, and I sure wish I could see her more often, that she could be here on the Island, but one thing at a time. I did notice that they are more quick to change Mom if she has an "accident", and the 2nd visit, unannounced, she was freshly showered that day, so they may be more on top of these types of activities since they deal with less able people. She looked so pretty and so animated and so sweet and loving and twinkly.
It is still a new thing, and we have to keep vigilant, both here by phone, and when we visit her. As I said she was speaking with a "slur" which doesn't bode well, and continually she thinks there is something in her right hand.
As always, send prayers, healing vibes and light, and love her way. Thank you! ##
This brought me back to Viet Nam peaceful protests and candlelight vigils etc when I was in Jr. High and High School. The anger, the fear, the disillusionment.
Woodward still thinks that of the 43 Presidents that Nixon is "still the one" - as in worse one, but this looks pretty spooky to me and has that deja vu with a foretelling edge of "watch out, you haven't seen nothing yet". I just don't "get it" because we of that era are the people who are "in power positions" now, and it seems like there should have been a learning curve, right?
Are we truly damned to keep repeating our mistakes? "My Mother Myself"? At least "Mom" never endorsed violence, unnecessary violence no less, like that...but we've got Miz Palin who seems to have transcended, morphed? into a crazy abusing power-at-whatever cost politician. Not knowing her record before the VP nomination (things get buried easily methinks) is it power hunger that drives her, or religious fever? She certainly embodies the raw footage that follows - IMHO maybe more than McCain does.
McCain's just so confused and so he sticks with his belief that he's a "maverick"...but, finally, there were true moments of both Presidential candidates core self at the last "debate"; both let loose for a bit, their real passions coming through for a time...such as when Barack [finally] mentioned the cost of the War, and he spoke from his gut with passion for about 5+/- minutes ...and McCain got angry regarding his "golden goose"; his POW status being disregarded as the "sacred cow" it has been to date; untouchable and unrefuted like anything surrounding 9/11 and subsequent actions and abuse of power and funds and resources [our troops], in the campaign, and he finally let go and was his true self; he looked directly at Obama for a few stolen moments, and then looking away he talked about "that one"... his true colors that scared me.
Why does no one get upset about the PTSD of having been in that POW camp, and his not being able to keep a lid on a flaring temper, especially when that sacred cow was touched as not the free pass to "knowing about war" and able to fight the war? It took mere mention of Eagleton's working through his own emotional demons way back in the 70s [in my opinion a smarter path to travel, admit one's issues and take care of them] to taint and oust him from his seat as running mate, but McCain has health issues both emotional and physical to scare us into the need to truly look at Palin as the next President if McCain can't go on...? That is heady, scary stuff.
I digressed, it touched a nerve, no pun intended - but please watch this raw footage at the RNC:
Finally it's posted! This is frightening information, and it should be "out there". This almighty surge apparently ISN'T working, so the deity massaged by both candidates, General Petraeus, isn't some incredible strategist, au contraire -- what is really working now is some sort of classified assasination of certain Iraqi's of "interest". This was outed during an interview with Woodward by Bill Maher of all people - go figure - but it changes so many things on so many levels...and again, we've been lied to under the guise of "confidential" or that "the enemy" will retaliate ...dang will this ever stop?
Breathe, everyone take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Wow. ##
Despite exhaustion and tummy upsets due to lack o' sleep, it is a "banner day" today as today is Mike's 9th B'day and he, Katie, Colby, Robby and maybe Meghan will be here soonest..! It's also kewl cuz Kim and I got to play "catch up" - I missed her lots, and today I spoke to Jim on the phone.
I miss him so much and it felt so good talking about Momstuff with him today, and bouncing things off of him. Score!
Well, trying to take a wee bit o' a snooze prior to 5:00 visitors.
I need the sleep 'cuz tomorrow we head out to Mom's and her new Ward. So far every call has been with someone nice and responsive and receptive to Gerry information passed on. Keeping my toes and fingers crossed. Also, Mom has not had another Syncope episode since Friday AM. All good vibes, prayers and light for Mom please. ##
Historically, I just have always loved Patti Murray for a Senator -- she's been true to her campaign, and humane yet smart always. I was not thrilled to learn that she vote "for" the bailout, or whatever name they wish to put on it, but here is her RSVP to my email - she gets points for responding like Rick Larsen did. "Thank you for contacting me about H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. I appreciate hearing from you about this important issue. The U.S. Senate voted to pass this bill by a margin of 74-25 on Wednesday, October 1, 2008. H.R. 1424 is now being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.
As you know, in communities across America today, people are finding it increasingly difficult to fill up their tanks, pay for health care, and afford college tuition. Now, all Americans, even those who have paid their bills on time and have excellent credit, are at risk of being severely affected by the current credit freeze on Wall Street.
People want to know if this crisis is real. I have asked the same question of Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke. I have spoken with economic experts and Washington state business leaders. Companies like Weyerhaeuser and Microsoft have made it clear that something must be done. Power utilities such as Avista and the farm groups such as the Farm Bureau have told me that the government's proposal to stabilize our financial markets is critically needed. Throughout various sectors of our economy, there is deep and genuine concern about market collapse and the potential impact on jobs, credit and pensions.
We have already experienced a slowdown in home sales and construction. Our home state bank, Washington Mutual, was unable to withstand the crisis and was acquired by another institution. Millions of Americans have tried to obtain a loan or refinance their mortgage, but have found it increasingly difficult to find a willing line of credit and in many cases have been unable to do so at all. If this crisis worsens, credit could freeze completely for consumers and companies who use credit to pay their employees or run their business operations. The bottom line is that without a steady stream of credit, American businesses will not be able to pay their workers and Americans will lose their jobs. Because of the impact the financial crisis could have on all Americans, from layoffs to access to credit, I supported the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
I understand the frustration of people who want those on Wall Street to be held accountable for their actions and shoulder the consequences of their own misdeeds. Americans are being confronted with two undesirable options. Either do nothing and let the crisis worsen, or take action and use taxpayer dollars to solve a problem they did not create. Americans are rightfully angry. However, those who created the problem will not be those who are hurt most if the government does not act. My top priority is to do what is best for the people of Washington State and the nation, and that is why I believe government action is urgently needed in this situation.
The original plan presented to Congress by President Bush and Secretary Paulson was a non-starter. Congress rightly refused to give Secretary Paulson a blank check to spend hundreds of billions of dollars without oversight. Congress refused to allow executives of failing companies to walk away with millions of dollars in severance packages while taxpayers paid for their mistakes. This legislation is a more prudent agreement to anchor taxpayer dollars to strict Congressional oversight and scrutiny by independent economic experts. We added assistance for responsible borrowers hit by the foreclosure crisis and plans to recoup money from any institutions which use government money and then see a profit. In the future, it is possible that most, if not all, of the taxpayer money invested will be returned once this crisis comes to a close.
Congress has to be vigilant in our oversight of how this law is implemented. I fought to ensure that every transaction that takes place regarding this funding will be on the Internet for all Americans to see. In addition, I strongly support the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) and other state and federal agencies' investigation into the wrongdoing related to the current crisis on Wall Street. If fraud and criminal activity are uncovered, the individuals responsible must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Congress must take a hard look at the factors that brought us to this point and seriously address them. Congress will be holding ongoing hearings into the causes of this crisis and the regulation reform that is desperately needed and has been missing throughout the duration of the Bush Administration. The next administration has to work with Congress to pass and implement new regulatory measures so that taxpayers are never put in this position again.
It will take both investment and honesty to get our economy back on track. The next administration will inherit this economic crisis along with many other serious challenges. I hope our new President is honest with the American people about where we stand and what it will take to move America forward.
I believe that to move America forward, we need to invest in the infrastructure and education that create economic growth and jobs. We have to invest in our workforce and find a way to make health care affordable and accessible. We have to increase funding for research and development and reward innovation. We have to implement a smart, forward-looking energy policy that ends our addiction to foreign oil. It is time to put America's families first and restore their faith that government works for, not against them.
I grew up with a country at my back - one that when my own father got sick and could no longer work was there with Pell Grants and student loans and even food stamps when my family needed them. I will always remember that. I supported this legislation because the American dream of owning a home or going to college is simply too important to take a back seat to politics or to be put at risk by the misdeeds of Wall Street.
As Congress continues to work to restore our economy, I will continue to stand up for our state and listen to your concerns. Thank you for contacting me, and please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.