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Archive for the ‘President Obama’ Category

“Who Built That?” – Another Spasmodic Approval of Romney Fraud!

This is an article posted to the Easton StarDem last week, by Dan Bongino, Republican candidate for US Senator from Maryland.

Dan Bongino – Another Republican candidate buying into Romney’s fraudulent TV ad

Recently, I awoke at 5am to the sound of my six-month old daughter Amelia crying. When I entered her dark room to soothe her, I saw my wife, struggling to stay awake, holding Amelia in one arm as she was attempting to work on her barely lit computer screen with her other arm. My wife Paula is an entrepreneur and a small business owner. She also happens to be a first generation immigrant, who suffered through much chasing her American dream–all of her hard work culminating in her pledging allegiance to our flag as part of her citizenship ceremony. We both remember this as one of the proudest days of our lives.

I am writing of this incident because it succinctly describes a scenario repeating itself all over America today. Small business owners are making incredible sacrifices in their struggles to keep their businesses afloat. This is the reason why the President’s “you didn’t build that” comment has infuriated Americans across the political spectrum. The simple fact is that my wife did build “that.” She built her business, through countless hours of hard work and a commitment to a quality work product. I marvel daily at the countless hours she spends at her home office designing and repairing small business websites. She is the very epitome of the American dream, collectively enhanced but most importantly, self-made and personally driven.

The President’s statements are equally infuriating because he is attempting to create a fissure between Americans where there isn’t one. No Republican I am aware of is running for office on a platform of no taxes, no roads, no teachers and no military. I cite these examples because the President chose to mention the use of roads, the work of good teachers and the development of the backbone of the modern internet, through a military research initiative, as examples of how government should be the primary recipient of accolades for individual success. This is absurd and displays a backward logic which is hard to justify. It is the very success of people, such as my wife, willing to put their names behind a business endeavor, with no guarantee of success, that finance the government projects which the President speaks of. It is my wife’s, along with millions of others struggling for a better tomorrow, sweat, toil and willingness to take a risk that has made America exceptional amongst nations, not its roads.

The economy is clearly struggling. Americans are hurting and they are scared. Scared that for the first time, yesterday may have been the best it was ever going to be. This outlook has never been a component of our national psyche. The President’s statements will haunt him in this election as they echo all over our vast country. As my wife and I struggle through this historically poor economic recovery, I feel the pain of Americans hoping and praying that there is a better tomorrow and I ask the President to stop creating division by asking who built what, and to focus on getting our growing legion of unemployed Americans, just asking for a chance to build anything, back to work.

Dan Bongino, a devoted husband and father, served in the United States Secret Service for more than a decade, in which he was assigned to the elite Presidential Protective Division. He represented the U.S. as a lead government security official in over 25 countries. Holding graduate degrees in Business Administration and Psychology, Dan has gone on to start several successful businesses in Maryland. As an entrepreneur, he understands the role small businesses play in establishing a framework for continued prosperity and economic growth.

Wisconsin’s Results Affect Us All

Scott Walker – Union-busting puppet of Koch Brothers

Walker is the right-wing hero-du-jour. Spinners argue the Right is emboldened because he survived. Attacks on worker rights, cuts in education, tax cuts and restricted voting, will now spread even more rapidly across the country.

I foresee more compromise. Walker barely survived the backlash caused by his lies and radical actions. He lost the Senate! He experienced a brutal recall, with a drop in popularity.

Of course, the Tea Party and Koch Brothers look-a-likes are waving a victory flag. But Walker’s, Kasich’s and Scott’s bloody noses will remain sore.

Where does that leave the President? Exit polls showed President Obama will take Wisconsin. It seems that many voters objected to the recall itself, not because they endorsed Walker’s radical policies.

Elected officials face important choices: Will the Middle Class and poor continue to pay for the catastrophe caused by 32 years of failed right-wing lies? Will America continue cutting education, health care, infrastructure, retirement security, clean water and air? Will we continue to approve CEO multimillion-dollar bonuses for jobs sent abroad, breaking unions, fudging books and lying to meet quarterly profit margins?

Puppetmasters, Charles & David Koch

The alternative is to rebuild our country, with historically fairer taxes. To empower workers with fair wages, based on their productivity that creates huge profits.

Wisconsin is a warning to the President and progressives, who will need to work harder, stretch more, educate and reach out more, to counter the increased power of big money. “Big Money” out-spent their opponents 7 to 1!  “Big money” demands a big reaction.

Are voters okay with “Big Money” taking over our future? It reminds me of the scene in Star Trek: First Contact, when, after going back in time, just prior to first contact between Earth and Vulcan, the Borg Queen is about to stop it from happening. Her words are startlingly appropriate: “Watch your future’s end!”

Minority Relations, Part 1

Also posted on

How are we doing in our relations with minorities?  I contend, not as well as we would like to think.

First, let me talk about the black community.  It would be hard to miss the furor about the Trayvon Martin murder.  I won’t even try to go into the details of this “incident”.  It is being extensively covered from many sides.

Trayvon Martin - The murdered African-American youth, in Sanford, Fla.

It can only be hoped that the white community may have been brought back to reality.  It is no secret to the members of the black community that young black men, in particular, are at risk.  In this instance, the risk was of murder, but daily, it also involves arrest and lengthy incarceration for arguably minor offenses.  Recently, on Rt. 50, I passed a vehicle stopped by the side of the road with two sheriff’s deputies rooting through the trunk.  I knew full well what was happening and the high probability that a young black man would shortly be heading to jail.

But even these examples only begin to scratch the surface.  Even in the urgency of the campaign season, we have the opportunity to do things differently.   During the past two campaign seasons, I went into black communities and had great experiences. The looks on the faces of some people were rewarding, when a white man came to their doors, asking for their votes.

But, since then, I felt I needed to adopt a different viewpoint and approach.   Too often, we come to them (the black community) and tell them they need to get out to vote.  Perhaps, this time, instead of telling them what they should do, it might be better to spend a little time and ask them in greater detail how things are, what they are experiencing and what they need.  In short, work for a dialogue from which we might both learn.  It could lead to action steps as well as closer relations.

I will never forget coming to work in Baltimore the morning after the murder of Dr. King.  Because of the strength of our relationships, our bi-racial staff was able to come together and not let the tragedy divide us.  At least, in our little corner of the city.  But the division between our races is deep and has a long history. The work to bring us together must continue.

It seems that every time there is a tragedy, such as occurred with Trayvon Martin, we are in danger of having to start over.  We, in the white community, may have become complacent.  The racial portrayal, and supposed harmony, on television, among other things, has lulled us into this complacency. We often ask, “Haven’t we made gains? How bad can it be?”

Yes, we have made gains, but relations remain strained.  It is essential that we listen to the ‘baying’ of the right-wing mob.  It is clear that racism lives, and that they do not want a black man in the WHITE House.  Yes, it comes down to just that level.  Racism

Listening to the needs of the black community is going to be essential to moving race relations forward.

is back on the streets, alleys and even parlors, where we can see it.  But knowing racism is alive and well is not enough. 

We must continually renew the relationships between progressives and the black community.  And so, now it is time again to go into black communities and create a new dialogue.  Certainly, they have things to say to us that need to be said and that need to be heard.  It is not just about racism; it is about what is going on in their communities, and how their hopes and dreams need support from us.  But first, we must understand what those hopes and dreams are.  Then, we may broach the issue of voting for someone who can be of help.

Perspective On the Presidency

The following post is written by our newest guest blogger, Roger Burt, PhD. Roger is currently the Manager for the “Wendy Rosen for Congress” campaign. He is a long-time Maryland resident, political activist and psychologist, involved in setting up & working in mental health programs in Baltimore County.  He brings a different perspective to my blog and provides new insights into the 2012 election cycle.

Also posted on

Van Jones is a co-founder of Rebuild the Dream and is a bright and perceptive person. Recently he commented that in watching President Obama, he was able to see that a president walks a tightrope. In his role, because of diverse forces, he cannot stray too far from the track he must walk on. Jones commented that with the advent of the Tea Party, they had yanked the rope to the right – hard. With the arrival of the Occupy Movement, the young millennials yanked the tightrope back. 

Jones’ imagery and his perceptions strike me as exceedingly realistic. He concludes that there must be two sources of power: The presidency is one, but there must also be a movement, although there may be more than one. In this instance, it is the Occupy movement he is referring to. And it cannot be merely a movement. If it is to have real effect, the movement cannot be desultory or without the power of substantive meaning. Of course, in Occupy, we do not yet see a firm or immutable focus. Instead we see energy and meaning which has youth behind it, as they assert their future, although its ramifications are yet to be made clear or, for that matter, the effect they will have. They have clearly changed the dialogue. We are now discussing wealth inequality in a way which did not exist just a short time ago. History will eventually instruct us about what else this movement might mean.

But fundamental importance is found in the existence of a meaningful movement. There must be change and dynamism in a society and not just government alone. What we have to ensure is that the movement is not merely selectively substantive, but directs its energy in behalf of all the citizens.

Many of us are building an alliance with our President, in the movement or movements we support. At the same time, there are critiques being leveled at Obama as if he has not done enough. Do we hear a cry for purity? Purity is not my favorite word. We heard its rattle in crises in South America, as countries and the futures of the people were torn down. Purity is rarely achieved, if it is achievable at all, or even desirable.

On our shores we created a government with checks and balances. Only recently, the checks have been coming from the opposition in the form of immobilization of government. In spite of the tightrope the President must walk, another job he has to manage is overseeing the need for order, to maintain a government against those who would tear it down.

These images make it clear that we all need to tend to the positioning of the tightrope, and tug it in constructive directions, as we assist our President in governing. What is particularly alarming at this time, is that we are seeing people who are not tugging the tightrope in a direction, but are trying to fray it, if not cut it down, entirely.  And so, our movement must partly be in defense to those who would destroy it all. 

This perspective is essential as we weigh alternatives among ourselves. There is executive authority, and there is the movement or movements of the people. In these things, we achieve order and progress. Thank you for your thoughts, Van Jones. They both, inspire, and direct us.


The True Andy Harris…Obstructionist!

What is my ‘issue’ this election cycle?  The farther we go into the Republican Primary season, the more it seems that Gingrich, Romney, Santorum & Dr. Ron, will destroy each other, then move on to President Obama, after the carnage settles. This made me think about what might have the most impact from my efforts in 2012, as well as a direct benefit to my community.  Yes, I’ll be supporting the President for re-election – there’s no sane alternative – but I feel I can do more for myself and my community by helping to achieve an important goal, locally!

Politics and ideologies aside, “What galled me the most in 2011?” The Republican-led House came to a standstill regarding the most important issue in the country: JOBS! Continuing to have millions of unemployed isn’t good for anyone; neither the unemployed, nor the country. But what did the Republicans introduce to change that? Not much! What they did introduce had strings, so heavy, attached to them that they were dead on arrival.  The Republican-led Congress, with Tea Partiers pushing hard to obstruct any compromise, reached their goal…Obstruct any legislative initiative put forth by the minority Democrats or the White House. In fact, the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), summed up his party’s position best, when he said, “There will be no cooperation with the White House until the resident there is replaced.”  You can’t get much clearer than that, can you?

McConnell - "The King of Obstructionism"

We constantly hear the ideologues talk about “deregulation”, “lower taxes”, “more government help”, or “less government help.” Honestly, none of this will convince corporations, sitting on TRILLIONS in cash, to expand and hire.  Some say that getting rid of regulations or lowering corporate taxes would help.  I say, “Baloney!”  I’ve started several businesses over the years and if I could make money with an idea, I ran with it! It didn’t matter if there was paperwork to fill out or if the tax rate was 35% or 50%.

No, the real issue for job creators is that they don’t see a functional legislature in DC. Without negotiation and compromise, there can never be agreement. Ideological extremists are keeping the “middle” from ever being attained.

Harris - "Student Obstructionist"

Our local, do-nothing, obstructionist, extremist is Andy Harris; so, I am committing to replacing him with someone who will “play nice with others.” After all, isn’t that how our Founding Fathers created a country?  Over the next few months, on this blog and The Daily Times (Salisbury, MD newspaper), I will be exposing the non-record of Mr. Harris and showing my neighbors on the Eastern Shore, that this man has no clue how to work in Congress, where negotiation and compromise have become lost arts!  I will also expose his positions on Social Security, Medicare, job creation, alternative energy and other issues that are critical to people.  The more Harris talks, the more his vitriol and hatred of the President becomes evident…his goal is to support those who have no vision, except to remove the President from the White House. Unfortunately, his goal ignores the very people who pit him in office, and it’s time for Harris to answer for his failures.

Obama Made The Right Decision!

The Republican attack on the President regarding the loss of jobs with the rejection of the KeystoneXL pipeline, was nothing short of hypocritical. Their ‘spin’ doesn’t include the fact that more jobs will probably be created if the pipeline was approved; what they don’t say is that those jobs will most likely be in the field of “oil recovery and clean up” after the pipeline has it’s first accident that destroys water supplies in the pipeline area.  Are those the kind of jobs we really want to create? Is that the kind of environmental damage we want to turn a blind eye to?  Apparently, the Republicans are more driven by oil company executives than they are for the safety of America, including our future generations. Wasn’t it the Republicans who wanted to protect future generations from inheriting the budget deficit? Why are they willing to sacrifice those generations for immediate profits? I think we all know the answer to that question!

President  Made the Right Decision

The President made a reasoned and reasonable decision when he instructed the State Department to deny the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.  This project  has the high potential to endanger the environment, and the impact on the public health needed a thorough review.  However, Congressional Republicans demanded a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision within sixty (60) days (an untenable deadline).

Time is needed to determine the consequences of the proposed 1700-mile pipeline, which would run through one of the Midwest’s major sources of drinking water.  A thorough safety review is necessary before giving the go-ahead to this project.

Natural resources must be developed in a responsible fashion.  To that end, the President has taken steps to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, including:

* Importing 1.1 million fewer barrels of oil daily

* Increasing wind and solar power by 70 percent

* Supporting over 200,000 clean energy jobs

In addition, fuel economy standards for automobiles and light trucks have been raised, in order to decrease our use of oil for transportation.

Decisions such as this, which have long-term consequences for the environment and for our and our children’s health, cannot be made arbitrarily and without adequate study beforehand.

Carol Ann Ellis

NDAA…So Long Constitution…Hello “1984!”


We all thought the Patriot Act was/is terrible, taking away our precious rights as Americans! The NDAA (National defense Appropriations act) surpasses the PA, hands down! While we and the media have been sleeping, Congress and the White House have been moving to give more power to the President and the military, making the US Constitution a laughable piece of archaic mumbo-jumbo, that means little in today’s “world order!”

If you aren’t familiar with the NDAA, check out these links (and weep):

The Maddow piece is very good (, as is the piece that Jon Stewart did on his show.

The President will apparently sign the bill, since it was he (the WH staff) that requested some of the powers included in the final draft.

It seems to me that we are being brought into the “new world order” whether we approve or not and screw the Constitution!! AND…it has all been done under the cover of darkness…it’s only recently that the national media has done any real reporting on it!!

Scary stuff! What’s the old saying from pastor Martin Niemoller?

“First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Harris…Hypocrite? Or Just A Typical Worker Asking A Question?

Folks on the Eastern Shore did not overwhelmingly support Andy Harris in his 2008 bid for office as 1st-District Congressman. Although the Baltimore native won the majority of his home area votes, he wasn’t known well enough on the Eastern Shore, where people aren’t considered “locals” unless you AND your parents were born here. Harris is a New York native.

Of course, Frank Kratovil wasn’t a home-grown boy, either, having been born in PG County and not moving to Queen Anne’s County until 1997, having been appointed as State’s Attorney. His advantage over Harris in ’08 was based upon his strong showing in Queen Anne’s County, and “hanging on” in other shore counties.

You’ll also hear that part of Kratovil’s victory came as a result of being endorsed by the previous incumbent, Wayne Gilchrist, the well-liked moderate Republican that Harris beat in the Republican Primary.  Gilchrist decided to endorse Kratovil and many attribute that as giving Ktatovil the almost 3000 vote lead over Harris in the General Election.  An extra boost was the high dissatisfaction the the Bush tenure and a refusal by many to put Republicans back in control of the White House.

In 2010, the economy had declined, people were out of jobs, conservatives were pounding “Obamacare” and issues like Gay Marriage, and the rise of the Tea Party changed the political climate.  Doing what they do best, distorting and misrepresenting the facts, (don’t get me wrong…ALL parties do it, but the Republicans are true masters at giving only 10% of the truth), they kept attacking the President’s health care reform as being “Socialist”, ‘Un-Constitutional” and exorbitant, allegedly resulting in $100’s of billions in costs and additions to the Federal Deficit.  The other 90% of the truth, which was withheld, actually showed a net savings over the next 10 years in health care and the resulting deficit.  The Democrats’ failure to overcome the media blitz by the the Republicans resulted in net gains in the House and the Senate, giving the House back to the Republicans and cutting into the ‘super-majority’ of the Senate Democratic majority.

Harris’ prominence as a medical doctor, in opposition to “government-run” health care, have made him a lightning rod for attacks by supporters of the 2010 health care legislation. At a closed-door employee benefits briefing for new congressmen during the November 2010 freshman orientation, Harris was surprised to learn that the Federal employee health benefit plan would leave the new congressmen and their staffers without coverage until the following pay period, 28 days after

Blue Dog Dem who failed his constituents

inauguration! Concerned about this gap in coverage, he asked whether new government employees could purchase temporary coverage to fill this gap. “This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed”, he said through his spokeswoman, Anna Nix. Through a spokesman, his defeated opponent, Frank Kratovil, seized upon this dialogue, characterizing the question as a “demand” for special treatment and for access to the benefits he opposed in the new law.  Furthermore, “Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the Kratovil aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a “gateway to socialized medicine.”

In fact, 74 percent of workers with employer-sponsored health benefits are subject to a waiting period before getting coverage, including 31 percent of whom face a waiting period of 3 months or more, according to a 2010 survey of of employer-sponsored health benefits, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

According to Harris, “the irony is that here, the federal government requires that all these employers provide” coverage, and yet “the federal government doesn’t provide it for its own.” He continued, “It should be changed so that the federal government should cover you from the first day you’re employed.”

But that doesn’t mean Harris thinks a public option is the solution to temporary gaps in coverage for ordinary working Americans transitioning between jobs.

"I want my health insurance...NOW!!!" Waaaaaaaaah!

Harris says, “I’m opposed to Obamacare. I’m opposed to a mandate of any kind on health insurance. This was purely about a technical question.”

Harris said he also found it odd that he wasn’t allowed to pre-buy insurance so that he could have it from day one. “They won’t even sell you the insurance, even if it were out of your own pocket, which is strange,” he said.

Harris said he doesn’t know if he can cover any staff gaps through his congressional allowance. A call to the Office of Personnel Management for clarification on using member allowances for interim coverage was not immediately returned.

My goodness! How the mighty are upset when things don’t go their way. Welcome to the real world, Congressman.  Working Americans have to deal with this every day in their lives.  The difference is that, at the end of the day, you and your staff will be provided excellent health coverage, and nearly 40 million Americans, who pay for you and your colleagues’ coverage, won’t.  That just seems downright wrong in my opinion.  What do you plan to do about it?  I assume nothing, as you have shown your attitude to be about any issue dealing with average Americans!

People Can Now Order Horse Steak!

Unfortunately, President Obama has forgotten another campaign promise; his promise was to make sure that horses be protected from exported or domestic slaughter and consumption. Why is it that our Congress can find common ground on ground horse, but when it comes to creating jobs or assisting the disabled and elderly, they become deadlocked?

Horse slaughter plants are legal again in the United States. Restrictions on horse meat processing for human consumption have been lifted. courtesy of Google Images

In a bipartisan effort, the House of Representatives and the United States Senate approved the Conference Committee report on spending bill H2112, which among other things, funds the United States Department of Agriculture.  On November 18th, as the country was celebrating Thanksgiving, President Obama signed a law, allowing Americans to kill and eat horses. Essentially, one turkey was pardoned in the presence of worldwide media while in the shadows, buried under pages of fiscal regulation, millions of horses were sentenced to death.

Horse slaughter has been prohibited in the United States as funding for inspections of horses, in transit and at slaughter houses, was non-existent. This worked because the horse meat cannot be sold for human consumption without such inspections. The House version of the bill retained the de-funding language and the Senate version did not. The conference committee charged with reconciling the two opted to not include it. The result is that it is now legal to slaughter horses for humans to eat.

Notwithstanding that 70% of Americans oppose horse slaughter, that President Obama made a campaign promise to permanently ban horse slaughter and exports of horses for human consumption (horses can be sent to Mexico and Canada), that documentation of animal cruelty, slaughterhouse stench, fluid runoff and negative community impact exists, it is the taxpayer that will bear the cost!

Wyoming state representative Sue Wallis and her pro-slaughter supporters estimate that between 120,000 and 200,000 horses will be killed for human consumption per year and that Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Georgia and Missouri, are considering opening slaughter plants.

U.S. banks should “undermine” Occupy Protesters: Memo

The following is an article from reporter, Dave Ingram, of Reuters, regarding a memo from a lobbying firm to the American Banking Association, urging them to allow the lobbying firm to perform research into the OWS movement, including background checks and individuals’ motives for participating!  I thought readers would be interested in seeing what is going on in the back rooms of corporations!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Occupy Wall Street movement is a big enough problem for U.S. banks that they should pay for opposition research into the political motives of protesters, said a firm that lobbies for the industry.

Jay Cranford - Sr. Partner

Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford, a Washington-based firm, proposed the idea in a memo to the American Banking Association, an industry group which said on Saturday that it did not act on the idea.  The four-page memo outlined how the firm could analyze the source of protesters’ money, as well as their rhetoric and the backgrounds of protest leaders.

“If we can show they have the same cynical motivation as a political opponent, it will undermine their credibility in a profound way,” said the memo, according to a copy of it on the website of TV news channel MSNBC, which first reported on it. (See MSNBC’s report

Clark Lytle Geduldig counts the banking association among its regular lobbying clients, U.S. Senate records showed.  Other clients include MasterCard Worldwide and a banking coalition concerned about interchange fees.  The firm did not respond to requests for comment.  Its memo said it could deliver research, survey data and plans to use the information in 60 days at a cost of $850,000.

Banking association spokesman, Jeff Sigmund, told Reuters the memo is authentic, but his group was not interested. “Our government relations staff received the proposal – it was unsolicited and we chose not to act on it in any way,” Sigmund said.

The memo is dated November 24, five days after it became public. Sigmund did not respond to a follow-up question about the date. November 24 is also the Thanksgiving holiday. The memo said U.S. financial firms should be concerned about comments that Democratic campaign consultants have made in the news media about trying to harness the energy of the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

“This would mean more than just short-term political discomfort for Wall Street firms,” it said. “If vilifying the leading companies of this sector is allowed to become an unchallenged centerpiece of a coordinated Democratic campaign, it has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bull’s-eye.”

The memo is from Clark Lytle Geduldig’s four name partners. Two of them, Sam Geduldig and Jay Cranford, are former aides to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, a Republican.

Using shorthand for Occupy Wall Street, the memo said:

“It may be easy to dismiss OWS as a ragtag group of protesters but they have demonstrated that they should be treated more like an organized competitor who is very nimble and capable of working the media, coordinating third party support and engaging office holders to do their bidding. To counter that, we have to do the same.”

After performing some additional research on the internet, I found another portion from the memo…


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