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Monthly Archives: December 2017

I came across this column by way of a crossword puzzle clue and pursued it to the originator of the quote.MA

By Steve Nelson

“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” – Samuel Johnson, 1775
Heated debate has arisen throughout the nation as a result of Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest. Athletes and others are kneeling, sitting or, in at least one case, lying on the ground as the anthem plays. This protest has become intertwined with the Black Lives Matter movement, particularly since the latest among the endless string of questionable police shootings of black boys and men.

Our national anthem ends, “ . . . for the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Who are the “free?” Who are the “brave?” Who are the real patriots?
The United States of America was forged out of a deep longing for freedom and the bravery of colonists who sought liberty from the oppression of England. In 1775, just the year before the Declaration of Independence, Massachusetts formed a government that proclaimed, perhaps for the first time, “God save the people,” rather than “God save the King.” The revolutionary movement’s refusal to mindlessly recite the mantra of authority of Great Britain was an essential part of the establishment of the United States of America.
The Declaration of Independence, adopted a year later, stated in part:
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

For black Americans, the ensuing years have been anything but “free.” From slavery, through Jim Crow and enforced segregation, through unequal education, through mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow, the promises of the United States of America have been diluted and withheld.
As with the colonists in the 1760’s and 1770’s, the American “Form of Government” has become “destructive of these ends” for women, children and men of color. And so, as true patriots did in 1775, folks of color and their supporters are refusing to sing, pledge or otherwise declare fealty to the nation that has failed to “effect their Safety and Happiness.”
It is deeply ironic that the nation is divided in this way. The modern day loyalists, who have appropriated symbols of the original independence movement, are deeply angered by the refusal of black folks to honor the anthem or to pledge their unconditional allegiance to the government. The Trump campaign and its racist figurehead are most violently outraged by the resistance. Those symbols – the flag, the Star Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance, the ubiquitous “God Bless America” – once the anthems of freedom, are now the rallying cries of the oppressor. They are the contemporary iteration of “God Save the King.”
I don’t suggest that a revolution is imminent or justified. The difference between 1776 and 2016 is that the prescience of the founders of our democratic republic provided us with mechanisms for reinvention, recalibration and reconsideration.
Patriotism does not inhabit the lyrics of the bombastic anthem, the unconstitutional Pledge of Allegiance or the trite and seductive melody of God Bless America. Patriotism is not demonstrated by waving a flag.
Patriotism inhabits the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Patriotism is demonstrated by the bravery of men, women and children who love the country enough to demand that it fulfill its overdue promises.
Colin Kaepernick and the millions of Americans who kneel in protest or march in solidarity with those who want Black Lives to matter are the real patriots.
Trump and his “patriotic” supporters are scoundrels, no better that the overbearing Loyalists whom we rejected 240 years ago. This time, as Pogo eloquently stated, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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No backsies Marco, You had an opportunity to voice your opinion and vote no. It is clear that you are no better than YOUR Resident, DJT.MA

Talking Points Memo
Allegra Kirkland
18 hrs

17 in ’17: The political moments you already forgot

© Provided by NewsCred

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said Friday that he believes the recently passed GOP tax bill did too much to help the bottom line of America’s largest corporations.
“I thought we probably went too far on [helping] corporations,” the Florida Republican told the Fort Myers-based News-Press.
“By and large, you’re going to see a lot of these multinationals buy back shares to drive up the price,” Rubio continued. “Some of them will be forced, because they’re sitting on historic levels of cash, to pay out dividends to shareholders. That isn’t going to create dramatic economic growth.”

The bill passed by the Republican-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump last week slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. It also includes a number of provisions that benefit the country’s wealthiest residents rather than the middle-class Americans the GOP has insisted will benefit from the plan, including a cut to the top income tax rate and for pass-through businesses.
The bill will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
Rubio told the News-Press he was unconcerned about polls showing that most Americans disapprove of the legislation, saying the media has unfairly influenced peoples’ opinions and that ultimate perception of the bill will be based on “what their paycheck is telling them.”

This article was written by Allegra Kirkland from Talking Points Memo and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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Abraham Lincoln Stated: “If you want to test a man’s character, give him power”. This  current administration has made that clear.  We have cabinet comprised of a group of wealthy people who due to their money make, coerce or intimidate people to get their way. Their objective appears to be imposing uninformed opinions on the American people while repealing and replacing existing laws and protections. Did you know that the GOP (Dupublicans) have been trying to play fast and loose with social security by touting it as an entitlement? Social security and Medicaid are not entitlements  but savings that keep people make all of their working life.  This maladministration Has taken credit for what was accomplished by previous administrations while taking other  ill-advised actions that will go against the well being of the often Cited American people in the future. The same American people who voted them in based on their Lies and soaring unrealistic rhetoric. All the while our so-called legislators are busily pushing us into a spiral of worse health care and less personal wealth due to an abominable Tax plan. The political system we use has been touted as one of the best however due to the voters taking our eyes off of our elected officials they have committed acts in our names and lied to us about what they have done. There are few if any laudable character traits in our Congress. The few possible Statesmen or Women are overwhelmed by the self serving party line seat fillers who have shown their character over the past 10 years. We have ignored or misunderstood their activities until it hits us at home (then it is too late). It is OUR DUTY as voters to investigate these folks as their campaign speeches are no more than “orchestrated information” to gain election using often absent or skewed facts. These tit for tat campaigns are rarely completely honest and we must see them as just that. I see the campaign speeches as either lies with a smattering of truth or truth with a smattering of lies, the key is be informed so you know the difference.

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The National anthem-Star Spangled Banner has been controversial for the Third (3rd) verse shown below:

“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore  That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,  A home and a country should leave us no more!  Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.  No refuge could save the hireling and slave  From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:  And the star ­spangled banner in triumph doth wave  O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

The highlighted area are  the lines in question. There can be multiple interpretations however with this historical note: many African and white Americans and were on the British side because of promised freedom for their assistance. The highlighted lines speak to that particular issue. The misrepresented statements by Colin Kaepernick do not tell the entire story, his statement on the this particular verse was taken with no context and therefore misunderstood by many whose biases allow them to accept  to accept errors when Ethnicity and race are involved. It is a fact that the writer of the poem :Francis Scott Key was a slave owner and anti abolitionist as indicated by this excerpt from his Wikipedia biography:

Slavery and American Colonization Society
Key purchased his first slave in 1800 or 1801 and owned six slaves in 1820.[15] Mostly in the 1830s, Key manumitted (set free) seven slaves, one of whom (Clem Johnson) continued to work for him for wages as his farm’s foreman, supervising several slaves.
Throughout his career Key also represented several slaves seeking their freedom in court (for free), as well as several masters seeking return of their runaway slaves. Key, Judge William Leigh of Halifax, and bishop William Meade were administrators of the will of their friend John Randolph of Roanoke, who died without children and left a will directing his executors to free his more than four hundred slaves. Over the next decade, beginning in 1833, the administrators fought to enforce the will and provide the freed slaves land to support themselves.
Key publicly criticized slavery’s cruelties, so much that after his death a newspaper editorial stated “So actively hostile was he to the peculiar institution that he was called ‘The Nigger Lawyer’ …. because he often volunteered to defend the downtrodden sons and daughters of Africa. Mr. Key convinced me that slavery was wrong—radically wrong.” In June 1842, Key attended the funeral of William Costin, a free, mixed race resident who had challenged Washington’s surety bond laws.
Key was a founding member and active leader of the American Colonization Society and its predecessor, the influential Maryland branch, the primary goal of which was to send free African-Americans back to Africa. However, he was removed from the board in 1833 as its policies shifted toward abolitionist.
Key used his position as U.S. Attorney to suppress abolitionists. In 1833, he secured a grand jury indictment against Benjamin Lundy, editor of the anti-slavery publication, the Genius of Universal Emancipation, and his printer, William Greer, for libel after Lundy published an article that declared, “There is neither mercy nor justice for colored people in this district [of Columbia]”. Lundy’s article, Key said in the indictment, “was intended to injure, oppress, aggrieve, and vilify the good name, fame, credit & reputation of the Magistrates and constables” of Washington. Lundy left town rather than face trial; Greer was acquitted.
In August 1836, Key agreed to prosecute botanist and doctor Reuben Crandall, brother of controversial Connecticut school teacher Prudence Crandall, who had recently moved to the national capital. Key secured an indictment for “seditious libel” after two marshals (who operated as slave catchers in their off hours) found Crandall had a trunk full of anti-slavery publications in his Georgetown residence, five days after the Snow Riot, caused by rumors that a mentally ill slave had attempted to kill an elderly white woman. In an April 1837 trial that attracted nationwide attention, Key charged that Crandall’s actions instigated slaves to rebel. Crandall’s attorneys acknowledged he opposed slavery, but denied any intent or actions to encourage rebellion. Key, in his final address to the jury said:
“Are you willing, gentlemen, to abandon your country, to permit it to be taken from you, and occupied by the abolitionist, according to whose taste it is to associate and amalgamate with the negro? Or, gentlemen, on the other hand, are there laws in this community to defend you from the immediate abolitionist, who would open upon you the floodgates of such extensive wickedness and mischief?”
A jury acquitted Crandall.
This defeat, as well as family tragedies in 1835, diminished Key’s political ambition. He resigned as district attorney in 1840. He remained a staunch proponent of African colonization and a strong critic of the antislavery movement until his death.”

It is well to remember that all facts can be understood under the cloud of ones own biases and understanding (or misunderstanding) but facts remain facts no matter what covering they may have.

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I have decided to not use the letter “P” when addressing, writing or speaking about the current administration’s head. Given the words and actions of this TOTUS, in my opinion there is no reason to elevate him in name to leader of our country. Looking at the recent tweets and speeches along with the statements by UN representative Nikki Haley I have determined that the sooner we can elect a replacement the better. It may prove to be unwise to impeach as we could have Mike Pence or even Paul Ryan which could put us in a deeper hole. It will already be a tough slog to bring the Government back to normal after mid term elections but if we as the often cited “American People” pay attention and realize that our political system’s health depends on us not the people we have elected over the years by not fully vetting them. It is true that campaign rhetoric is more talk than action but we must look at the backgrounds of the candidates and their backers. All of this information is readily available if one choses to look. A starting place is examining multiple sources of news and information, there is and never will be a one stop know it all source as there will never be a 100% accurate source. This past election should prove that all information is not true and all politicians are not 100% honest. This dishonesty is partially the fault of the voters (us) as we appear to want to be riled up by buzzwords and sound bites, this desire for entertainment belongs to the TV set not in election campaigns. We as voters need people who do not play to the crowd but have serious answers to serious questions. It is wise to remember that all campaign promises cannot be accomplished as we still have 535 seat fillers who have been in office too long and need to be replaced hopefully with better people. As a voter and citizen I have made the leap to understanding politics by reading multiple sources of information in order to become a well informed voter and I hope you will do the same. NO more “P”!

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By Martha Tesema 15 hours ago
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin got an early Christmas present on Saturday when a mysterious package addressed to him was found near his Bel-Air home late Saturday night.
Los Angeles Police Department’s bomb squad was called to Mnuchin’s neighborhood and, according to Associated Press, the package turned out to contain horse manure.
The manure was gift-wrapped in a box and marked as from “the American people.”
According to the New York Post, the “gift” also included a card that referenced President Donald Trump and the recently passed tax bill. While it was most definitely not the best Christmas present for the Mnuchin family, it definitely was for many folks on Twitter, who had a field day with the news.
Mnuchin, who was a Hollywood producer and banker before joining the Trump administration, has had a few public relations dustups of late. Most famously, he was pictured showing off money with his signature on them to his wife, Louise Linton.
He also got into trouble for using an Air Force jet to inspect Fort Knox in Kentucky, which happened to put him on a flight path to see the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. His wife, an actress, also accompanied him on that trip, which is under investigation by the Treasury Department’s Inspector General.
Mnuchin is protected by the Secret Service, who have now taken over this investigation from the LAPD.

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The above title may be recognized from the TV show “X files” however the truth is actually out there but comes to us more by accident than intention. Mitch McConnell in an interview stated that he wanted to work in bipartisan  manner in the next Senate. It is rather odd that he made that statement after pushing through an abominable Tax bill on a unilateral basis without the usual debate and in record time. This action is designed to gear up support for the upcoming election cycle in hopes of keeping a partisan majority in the Congress. You may remember Mitch famously stated that then President Obama would get nothing passed in this Senate and Paul the little child Ryan went along with it. So President Obama used executive orders to get things done. The ACA could have been great but Mitch and Paul wouldn’t have it so we have a hybrid that works somewhat. Mitch and Paul have not said a word about this Presidents executive orders that rescind programs and protection so whose welfare do you think they care about? The Resident Evil has one objective and that is to glorify himself at any cost . To that end he has installed a cabinet and other folks who will push his image and the lies that go along with that. Our Neer do wells have seen fit to ignore much of this while they gear up for elections instead of doing what they have told us they would do. It is incredible that these under performers treat us like idiots (and we have allowed it) while pushing anti People agendas under the guise of governing. To find the truth one only has to look at the fast work on a Tax bill that does more harm than good, allowing the Resident to threaten other countries without comment and lying to us (the often cited American people) all the while. If lying truly set pants on fire the there would be lucrative market for Trouser replacements on the Capitol steps, not to mention a rise in fire extinguisher use. It is my hope that in the remaining time of this Residency that we may be able to un-elect  some of the less moderate legislators and get some folks who will not be influenced by the long serving members who have agendas that do not include their constituents. It is our duty as voters to ignore the rhetoric and vote based on real facts. I have listened to aspirants who identify as conservative, liberal, progressive and other labels, these labels mean nothing if their ideology does not agree with yours. This is not a right or wrong situation , it is simply  what is good for all of us not some of us. If in your mind these ideas are not yours then vote for someone else. Our political system is not a game show where the audience has to be entertained or amused, it is serious business that needs careful study as if for a final exam. Once we study, we will make better choices.

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Elyse Wanshel, HuffPost 19 hours ago

This Disney heiress is taking a stand against the GOP tax bill — even though she’s going to benefit from it—

Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Walt Disney Company co-founder Roy O. Disney, wants you to be infuriated about the Republican tax bill.
She explains why in a powerful NowThis video on Wednesday, pointing out that the legislation means a “very fat tax cut” for her on income she “did not do anything to earn.”
“This bill will give me this tax cut while also killing health insurance for over 13 million people,” Disney said. “It will let me pass over $20 million to my children, tax-free. And all my friends with private jets? They get a tax cut too.”

Disney fears that the idea of social mobility, that kids from a poor family can achieve the American dream — as her grandfather Roy and great-uncle Walt, did — is quickly becoming unrealistic.
“But I will be able to stay comfortably right where I am,” she said. “Does that strike you as fair?”
Disney also references President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”
“Given how this bill was written, I think it’s looking a lot like a nightmare from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’” she said. “Have I made you angry yet? I really hope I’ve made you angry. You should be. No one who votes for this tax bill will be voting with your life in mind. But you will pay for it.”
In a 2015 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Disney, who is a documentary filmmaker, said she has always felt like a rebel in her conservative family. When she attended Columbia University, she recalled being so anxious about her peers viewing her as a snob that she had a cab drop her off blocks from school. In 2014, when Meryl Streep called Walt Disney a “bigot,” his grandniece publicly agreed by posting on Facebook how much she loved the actress’s remarks.
“Anti-Semite? Check,” she wrote. “Misogynist? OF COURSE!! Racist? C’mon…”
In a Nov. 30 op-ed for USA Today also deploring the tax bill, Disney wrote:
“Although I was raised amid privilege and good fortune, I have always been cognizant of income and wealth inequality. It has never sat well with me.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost . This is link to video on twitter .

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Rick Newman
Yahoo Finance

December 20, 2017

Keith Parsons expects to have some unhappy clients in 2018.
Parsons is a tax preparer in Covina, Calif., outside Los Angeles, who looked over some of his clients’ recent tax returns to see how they’re likely to fare under sweeping changes Republicans are poised to pass. For some, taxes will drop. But others will end up paying more to Uncle Sam. “I’ve talked to several of them,” Parsons says. “They’re stunned. They’re all under the impression that they’re going to receive a tax cut.”
The Republican tax bill, which President Trump is likely to sign into law before Christmas, includes $1.5 trillion in tax cuts during the next 10 years. The majority of those cuts will accrue to businesses. About 80% of individuals taxpayers will end up paying less, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. But 5% of taxpayers will end up paying more, largely because of lost deductions that will raise taxable income.
Lower tax rates are meant to offset the loss of deductions, leaving most people better off. But some taxpayers will get caught in the seams of the new tax structure, by falling into a higher tax bracket, in some instances, or losing so much in deductions that lower rates don’t close the gap. Here’s a sampling of taxpayers who expect to end up worse off under the GOP tax plan:
The California tax preparer. Keith Parsons’ own tax bill will go up under the GOP plan, as it will for many of his clients. Parsons, 61, who’s married with two kids in college, claimed about $30,000 in itemized deductions in 2016. Under the GOP rule changes, his state and local tax deduction will now be capped at $10,000, and he’ll lose the personal exemption for all four family members, or $16,200 worth of deductions.

The GOP plan is supposed to make up for eliminating personal exemptions by doubling the amount of the standard deduction, to $24,000 for a married couple. But that won’t save Parsons money. With fewer itemized deductions, it will make more sense for him to claim the standard deduction. Overall, that would reduce his deductions from $30,000 to $24,000, or push his taxable income up by about $6,000. He’ll still fall into the same tax bracket, and his overall tax would increase by $1,035, he estimates.
As for his clients, they’re likely to be stung by two changes: the new cap of $10,000 on all state and local tax deductions, and the elimination of all personal exemptions. “You keep hearing the Republicans touting the doubling of the standard deduction,” Parsons says. “But you don’t hear anybody on the Republican side talking about the removal of the personal exemptions. The more children you have on your tax return, the more it’s going to affect you.”
The freelance writer in Boise, Idaho. Susan, who asked us not to use her last name, ran the numbers and estimates her tax bill will rise by a modest $200 or so under the GOP plan. “Trump is calling this a giant tax cut for the middle class, a Christmas present for the middle class,” Susan says. “I don’t see that. It’s certainly not a tax break for me.”
Susan, who’s 57 and divorced with two adult kids, bought a house this year and counted on being able to deduct interest on her mortgage to lower her tax bill. That won’t change. But like many others, Susan will now see a diminished benefit from itemizing because of the new cap on state and local deductions. She worries that could dent demand for homes and lower property values. “It’s a new wrinkle I’m worried about,” she says. “It’s possible my house won’t appreciate because people could lose the incentive, from a tax perspective, to buy a house.”
The retired purchasing manager in New Jersey.  Donald Barnett of Fair Lawn, NJ, expects his tax bill to rise by about $3,400 under the new law. The retired purchasing manager, who’s 76, will lose two personal exemptions, for his wife and himself, and thousands more in state and local taxes he’ll no longer be able to deduct. Overall, that will raise his taxable income by about $20,000. He’ll drop from the 25% bracket under the current law to the lower 22% bracket under the new law. But his overall tax bill will still go up, simply because he’ll be paying tax on so much more income.
It won’t be catastrophic. “I’m a person of decent means, so this will impact me mentally more than financially, Barnett says. “But I don’t think it was done fairly, and I think it will hurt a lot of people.”
“I have a continuing problem with the inequitability of this,” adds his wife Jeannie, 69. “There is no middle class in this country any more. The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.”
The Pennsylvania surgeon. Brian, who also asked that we don’t use his last name, talked with his accountant about how the new rules will affect him. “I’ll end up paying more in taxes because my taxable income will go up considerably,” the 51-year-old surgeon says.
Brian’s practice is a pass-through business, which means he pays most of his income at individual tax rates. But since it’s a service business, he won’t get the maximum benefit of a new tax-cut for pass-throughs. In 2016, he deducted about $32,000 in state and local taxes. That will now be capped at $10,000. His marginal tax rate could decline, but not enough to offset the loss in deductions.
Brian also worries that the new, lower limit on mortgage-interest deductibility could make it harder to sell his home, should he want to do that. The new law will limit the deductibility of interest to mortgages of no more than $750,000, which could affect the sale of his home in the future. Brian worries that potential buyers might exert pressure to lower the price from what it might otherwise be, in order to get the full benefit of the interest deduction.
“I voted for Trump,” Brian says. “Clearly this law benefits him and all his friends in corporate America. But I’ll end up paying more in taxes. This has not left a pleasant taste in my mouth.”
The aircraft engineer in Louisville. Jacob Zettwoch manages his taxes carefully every year, making sure to claim enough deductions, including charitable ones, to remain in the 15% tax bracket. But the loss of personal exemptions for 4—himself, his wife and two school-age kids—plus the new cap on state and local deductions will raise his taxable income and bump him into the next bracket, which will be 22% under the new law.
That matters because the income on dividends is tax-free if you’re in one of the two lowest brackets. Above that, however, filers have to pay capital-gains taxes on dividend income. Zettwoch, 41, receives shares from his employer as part of his compensation, and he’ll now have to pay taxes on that income.
His overall tax bill may stay more or less the same, but he objects to the way backers of the bill characterize its effect on families. “They’re pulling the wool over people’s eyes when they talk about doubling the standard deduction,” he says. “For a family of 4, you’re actually worse off, between losing the exemptions and doubling the standard deduction. In my case, I’m going to lose deductions. It will drive us into the next tax bracket.”
Confidential tip line: Encrypted communication available.

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As I was listening to various news reports today and interviews with GOP legislators, It is apparent that our Party line legislators are either not very smart or they think we uneducated rubes. This tax reform according to people who job is the economy and the things that affect it, this tax reform will not serve the majority of us. According to a Legislator from the Northeast anyone making $90000 (middle class) will get $3000 in tax breaks next year. If middle class is in the $90000 annually, then what will someone who makes less than $90000 get or what will anyone in the range of 20 to 50 thousand get? This figure of $90000 does not specify the family circumstances which can affect the tax rate or refund amount(if any). This legislator stated that our economic growth was slow while Obama was in office (that growth was in the 2% range, which is good considering the real estate bubble which almost crashed the economy and keep in mind that the Trump administration is taking credit for the growth). The GOP is offering a growth of 3% which will not happen with this administration, especially with rollbacks of Obama Era executive orders and protections along with this abominable Tax reform. Not many of these legislators have read the entire tax plan but the regularly cite parts of out of context. We have an issue than can only be resolved by the vote and not along party lines. This “sweeping reform” is nothing more than an election ploy for 2018 to show that the neer do wells have done something even if its wrong for us (the American People). I submit that we the Often cited and continually ignored American people become apolitical and not be controlled or swayed by any one party. Both sides have good and bad but primarily it the leaders of each side makes the difference and right now we have 2 of the worst leaders of the majority party. We the American People never signed on for the abomination that is being forced upon us. I would suggest that we the recipients of this “largesse” push for a reduction in pay for all of Congress as they do not have any of the issues of their constituents but continue to benefit from those issues and only seem to address them when election is near. The way to change Congress is to change Congress. We may lose some good representatives but a message needs to be sent. We cannot depend on the Congress governing themselves so it up to us and that is done in the voting booth. We as voters have a choice: bend over or stand up!

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