Tag Archives: veterans

America’s road to the White House – 2012 Edition

Get out and vote!

As we countdown to the elections, there have been many moments that stand out. There are great moments, confusing moments and those moments that will be remembered forever.

There couldn’t be a more important time in America for people to come together and hear out what each side is saying at their campaign rallies, conventions, the upcoming debates and really be able to make an informed decision in November.

This is not an election of which Party to put into the White House but a choice of a leader for our Nation as we continue to work on strengthening our economy, building a better future for our children, putting quality and affordable healthcare in the reach of everyone, advancing our educational system to stay competitive in the world and making sure our service members, military families and veterans have their needs looked after from the time they enlist and each day after.

To lead America into the next 4 years, it means leading and listening to ALL Americans while respecting their lives and the diverse backgrounds many come from as well as the diversity within the United States of America. Without this diversity in our Nation, our great Country wouldn’t be what it is today. Pride in our Country starts with pride in its people.

There have been many speakers at both the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida and now the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. There has been a great deal of finger pointing, looking back at what hasn’t worked, talking to an empty chair (?) and in the Republican Convention there was a great deal of what seemed to be self promotional speeches.

The fact is, this is a time to make a point, take responsibility, state what their nominee’s plan is to move forward and nominate the person for each Party. At the end of these conventions, voters should know more about what each candidate would do to improve the lives of the American people as well as lay out some type of an idea for their overall policies. Give a glimpse into the future if they were to be the one sworn in as President of the United States in January 2013. This is not a race to win or a “family feud” of sorts. This is serious business. Can this person lead? Can this person represent the American people?

When it comes down to it, the decisions made in the past have laid down the groundwork for opportunities today.  Without strong leaders, much of what our Nation is known for would not be in existence today. Many freedoms we often take for granted would not have come about. To be a great leader means working to improve the present while also taking into account lives in the future, not taking for granted what has been fought for in the past and respecting those who have given of themselves for the freedoms we have today.

Between now and election, there will be a LOT of targeted ads running on TV. A good deal of them are being put out from special interest groups saying they “represent” one side or the other. Their point is not to give facts but to get votes. They don’t care if they are misguided votes. A vote is a vote. They have money to spend and they aren’t spending it to educate the American public.

In today’s age of technology, it has never been easier to sit down and watch a speech, debate, read a full dialogue or look up anything a person may have missed during the day or week. Why take someone’s word for what was said? See things, in full for yourself. A vote shouldn’t be made based on emails received, clips on the news, coworkers ideas or based on Party affiliation.

Each candidate has their own website and many of their speeches are posted shortly after they are given along the campaign trail. This enables voters to see for themselves what is happening as voting day gets closer.

Romney/Ryan Campaign 2012

Obama/Biden Campaign 2012

Every vote matters. Are you registered? Each state has different deadlines to register prior to elections. Check here for deadlines and registration.

Question: Have you been watching the conventions? RNC or DNC? Both? What have your favorite moments been?

Here is a video clip from the #DNC2012 of President Bill Clinton speaking. This is the first time ever a former President has nominated a President. This is a MUST SEE speech.

Politics 101-Getting to know your government

Where are interesting websites to learn more about past presidents through President Obama? I decided to take a break with the series that I am working on to look up some interesting links on the history of U.S. Presidents as well as the White House. Here are just a few of those links.

Sometimes the best way to get involved is to know more about the subject. Understanding more about the United States’ past presidents and their accomplishments as well as some of their day to day life can possibly open doors to more interest in today’s activities in the local government as well as what goes on in Washington D.C and our 44th President, Barack Obama.

A very interesting website to visit is The American Presidency Project. This is an online resource of documents that go all the back to President George Washington. Documents include Inaugural Addresses, press conferences, executive orders, State of the Union addresses, convention speeches and much more. There’s even a link to find out the word usage in the State of the Union messages and so far, President Obama’s longest message was 7,904 words. President Theodore Roosevelt however had one that was 27,397 words on December 3, 1907. A few of his used near the same amount of words. This is an interesting link and very informative.

Another link, which is often overlooked, to get to know more about the U.S. government is the White House Website. By clicking on the section “our government” there is a large amount of useful information on the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of the government. There is an area on the Constitution, Federal Agencies and Commissions. A person can learn more about the elections and voting processes and also about how the state and local government work within their daily lives.

By surfing through the White House website, a person can find information such as daily schedules, statements, history on past presidents, pieces of legislations, different issues on a wide range of topics like energy & environment, health care, veterans, taxes, defense, immigration and much more.

Aside from the President and First Lady, there are also links to learn more about different administration members at the White House. If you’d like to send a message to the White House with comments, suggestions or a message of support, there is a link to do that as well under the “contact us” section. You can also mail a letter to the White House.

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500

Phone Numbers
Comments: 202-456-1111
Fax: 202-456-2461

Of course to learn more about the presidents, politics and Washington D.C., knowing more about the White House itself and its history as well as its day to day functions is certainly important. By visiting the White House Historical Association’s Website, a person can see historical pictures, timelines and facts as well as videos, art images and slide shows. There is even an online classroom section for students and teachers to visit. For teachers there are lesson plans (grades K-12) and students have different links to click on for informative and fun lessons.

For those in Florida, getting to know more about the local state government and politicians as well as what is available through their community and state services and be done by visiting the MyFlorida.com website, a person can find information on public schools, taxes, social security benefits, Veteran’s Affairs, unemployment and more.

For Hillsborough County residents, more detailed information can be found by visiting the Hillsborough County Website to find links from different government agencies like the Sheriff’s Office, the Hillsborough County Court House and the website has many more links to visit. By taking time to go through the links on this website, a person can look for job opportunities through the county and state, file for permits, register to vote or find voting times and locations, pay property taxes, search for public records as well as find links to outside resources and more.

This is only a small amount of websites available to learn more about the local and national government and its history and resources. Understanding how the government works allows people to be involved and therefore be part of making decisions and making a difference.

If You Don’t Like It, You Can…

What?

What can you do?

Is that the question you ask yourself, those around you? Or, are you the problem solver, the one with the answers? For me, it goes both ways, depends usually. I am not one that is easily flustered (well according to me). I have learned that some fights are better off avoided and not to “sweat the small stuff.”

However, if you live in the real world like most of us do, many things are pretty unavoidable as much as it takes air to breathe and water to live. Life is far from simple and what should be simple is often made more complicated by someone, even we ourselves by trying to make it more fun, organized and in some way hoping to get the most of our time with the least amount of effort. In the long run, it usually ends up quite the opposite. We seem to always be in need of more time, relaxation and “wind down”. But, what has everyone so wound up?

Do we not have enough time in the day, not enough days in the weekend? Is it too little family time? Is it too little money? Are we faced with too many bills? Is work too hard or too stressful? Is it traffic jams? Is it our healthcare we just heard our government fight over for what seemed like 10 years? Is it guilt? What exactly could it be?

I think it is each of the things I mentioned above but all stemming from one thing. Choice or the lack of. What do I mean by that? Well, I think we have lost a lot of our ability to be in control of our own lives. In many ways I think we have so many choices to make at times, it is just overwhelming. At other times, the choices are taken away from us and basically it is that we take what we are “offered” or we lose our “choice”.

As time has gone on, jobs have changed to grow with the times, That means our job structure, the number of positions and our job security has changed. More time is required to do different things even if you are with the same company. Throughout our government, economy and our population it has always been accepted that “time is money” but that is growing truer as time marches on. Employees are becoming more replaceable to their employer due to the fact employers can hire a new employee at a lower pay rate and gain newer ideas, fresh outlook and again do the same thing at a later date. Many times as well an employer has done away with retirement savings and healthcare plans to save money for the business and the employee has been the one to lose out. Both can see it from their side and explain why one side makes more sense than the other but what a person works for and earns should be theirs to keep is the way I see it. It is basically a promise made to them and held in safe keeping by the employer. It shouldn’t be something that is held above their head like a piece of meat that can be stripped away at the first, second or third sign of trouble. But, what can an employee do? If it is not physically in their hand, signed in a contract, already in a bank account in their name, what can they do? They can’t do anything. It is a case of broken trust basically. It is a case of losing out what is rightfully yours, something you worked for. I mean you have done your job, earned that time and now it is gone. For some, they were just 5 years or so away from retirement and then it is gone. Their retirement, their healthcare and in a lot of cases their job too. If they don’t like it, what could they do? Join everyone else that didn’t like it. Join everyone else that had worked so hard as well. Life dishes out unfairness a lot. People dish out unfairness a lot. Often it is done in the name of “survival” to save a business or to fix a broken economy. What about everyone who is being dumped on? They have no choice in the matter. Their choice is on the Pink Slip.

Do you remember the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009? The law that was designed to protect credit card holders from jacked up interest rates, sudden change in requiring enormous minimum payments and cutting credit lines from one amount down to less than half or even a third or less. Remember also where the banks suddenly required minimum payments of nearly a third of the balance or half the balance? In some cases a person may have had a minimum payment of say $45 and suddenly been required to pay $300 or more? The banks were getting government bailouts and ripping off their customers. Well, they are still out to get the customers. The banks and credit card companies have plenty of tricks up their sleeves and without being prepared, you can get caught in the middle. Well, there really isn’t a middle. There isn’t much you can do if you get caught so you just have to stay ahead of the game. What else can you do?

These are a few tips found in a Reader’s Digest Article in March 2010. “Credit Card Tricks and Traps

*The Catch: After 12 months, banks can raise rates as high as they want on future purchases as long as they give 45 days’ notice.

*The Tip: Watch your interest rates closely

Some companies are sending out bills in plain envelopes,” says Lewis Mandell, a professor of finance and business economics at the University of Washington. Don’t mistake it for junk mail and throw it out. Remember: After 45 days, the new rate takes effect unless you have notified the bank that you choose not to accept it.

That is just one of the examples of what you will find in the article linked above. Click on the article to learn more. It is a very worthwhile read to pass on as well. This is just one example of ways choices are being taken away. You can chose which credit card you pick by looking at their introductory offers and what they reel you in with but I think most people that have followed our economy and the news over the last few years can truly see what can happen and how much is really out of our control unless we take the time to keep a solid eye on matters each day and keep up with the financial news. Even then, most of us have learned that the banks and financial institutions should not be trusted with our money so many have cleaned up their financial matters and had a quick economical education recently. I mean, if you don’t like it, the banks basically said shove off! They were out to save themselves, not the customer.

Do you ever see the homeless people on the side of the street? If your answer is “No”, where do you live? I have seen them anywhere I have ever lived. In some places more than others and at different times of the year, there seems to be less than at other times. These days, there is more. I have to admit when I was younger I didn’t understand how a person could be homeless. It wasn’t that my family was wealthy but I just didn’t understand how a person didn’t have family member that they could live with. As I grew older, I began to understand. I realized in my teen years that a lot of homeless people in our area were Veterans and that was another thing I didn’t understand. If people fought for our country, why were they homeless? How could that be possible! What was wrong with our Country? My eyes were really getting opened. In my 20’s my husband became a U.S. Veteran and that really affected me even more than I imagined it would. Seeing these homeless Veterans and hearing people insult the fact they were there was unacceptable. What upsets me the most is the fact people don’t know the circumstances behind what brings people to a certain place at a particular time in their life. Was it a choice or a circumstance beyond their control? I genuinely doubt the homeless people I see on the street woke up one day in their bed, at home and had a big breakfast and said, “I think I want to give up my job, my house, my family and go live on the street. That is my CHOICE.”

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” Samuel Johnson

I am not saying we should pay people to live on the street but I don’t think we should be going around judging people not knowing what put them there just like we wouldn’t want someone judging us if we look tired and not so put together one day. What if they went around saying, “She must have been out one of her drinking rampages again last night. I hear she does that all time.” Really? Do we have the right to go around making statements and judging people when we don’t know them? Do we have a right to judge people even if we do? Some of my past blogs have been about judging others for reasons beyond their control or things that show a complete lack of intolerance and to be completely up front, this is something that really gets under my skin. But, this is also one of those character traits that is the most difficult to change about people. The title of this blog, “If you don’t like it, you can…” is basically how I think a lot of people are running their lives. I think big businesses are running their companies to the ground, their employees are becoming less and less important to them and the numbers are more and more the focus.

I think overall our government seems to have become less tied to the people because of so many ties and demands on our government. What do I mean by that? Well, to make this simple and due to the fact I intend to continue this in another blog to follow, the U.S. Government has business in every country in some way. There isn’t a day that goes by in which this isn’t true. Americans are spread all over the world and citizens from every nation are here in the U.S. We are so intertwined with our world this is something that is not only possible but an absolute necessity. Our U.S. President cannot have the attitude to walk away from other nations or snub another nation but instead must be willing to negotiate although at all times, keeping our security and economy safe and secure and a number one priority. Our Country cannot have the attitude of, “If you don’t like it, you can…” when it comes to our diplomatic relations or when it comes to having relations with one another. It hasn’t been working and it will only continue to work against us if we have that attitude. As a Nation that doesn’t work, as a citizen that doesn’t work and as a person that doesn’t work.

You may say you don’t like our President or you don’t like our current administration or how the War is going. That is your choice to not agree with something. Elections are also a time for choosing. The outcome of our presidential elections, show America’s choice and ultimately either way we work with that choice for the next four years. As Americans, we should never try to tear down our Government. By doing so, that is tearing down us. Since earlier wars, there have always been people against the wars this country has fought and I can’t think of many people that would be happy to have our soldiers in harm’s way. Personally, I agree things have definitely dragged on but I chose to support our troops. There is a difference between supporting our troops and supporting a war. I am not the person that has a choice whether or not our war efforts should continue but I do know our men and women in the military deserve my continued support and admiration. I have a choice here and that is what I choose to do. I can be up front about where I stand and I won’t send out a mixed or a false message on what I don’t understand.

You see, in many ways a lot of our choices have been slowly voided. They haven’t so much been yanked away but they just aren’t there in the open anymore. They are being made for us or they just happen to be made “by default” these days. Sometimes they are sent to us but they are done in a way that we don’t notice and the company is able to say we ignored our chance to claim making a choice (like the credit card company mentioned above).

But, we do have many decisions we are responsible for making, many choices each day. Do we notice them? Are we taking them lightly when they really could have a big impact on our life or someone else’s?

Look at the statement this way:

If you don’t like it, you can CHANGE IT.

“What you will be tomorrow depends on the choices you make today.” ODB