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Making My Vote Count: Remembering 9/11 Victims

Stephanie Veronica Irby

September 11 use to remind me of a special time when I was approaching the first of many rites of passage. Many years ago I got my learners permit on September 11. Like any teen it was an important time in life. You got to drive the family car with all your friends watching. Although accompanied by a parent, you were practicing to enter the world of cool.

Today, I still remember the moment that I drove home from the DMV with my learner’s permit pulling into the driveway as my friends gave me that right-on look. However for the past eleven years it’s been overshadowed by another memory.

I often think of Stephanie Irby and Bernard Brown II, his teacher and classmates. I visited the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon a few months ago. I had all the intentions of visiting the 9/11 memorial in New York the next day, however my schedule would not permit it. It is my intentions to do so on my next trip to New York.

I’m certain that I will continue to think of them throughout my life. On November 6, 2012 I will be thinking of them as I step inside the voting booth.

On that September 11th when I received my driver’s permit, I was 3 years away from exercising another rite of passage. At that time, I did not realize that I would be eligible to vote for the first time. At that time the voting age was 21. The law had changed and I would soon be voting.

My family who were both democrats and republicans made sure that I understood the importance of voting. My family had been instrumental in the civil rights movement and the men in the family had been registered voters since reconstruction. I knew of the fights as well as the loss of life to regain and retain those rights bestowed upon my ancestors who had been slaves. As a result, exercising my right to vote is mandatory.

In 2008 it was not only special but a passionate privilege to vote. We had an undisputable man of color running for the Presidency. Qualified in every aspect, Barack Obama gained the respect of the masses throughout the world. It was a turning point in American history, I thought.

On September 11, 2001 America suffered a ravaged air attack by a militant group named Al-Qaeda. The architect was a fellow by the name of Osama Bin Laden. George W. Bush was in his first year as President after a questionable election involving the votes in Florida. Bush walked into his Presidency with a surplus on the national debt. Bush decided to give a tax cut, and continue rolling back regulations that started with Ronald Reagan and the trickle down economic theory.

Soon after the 9/11 attack a rally cry for war made its way to Capitol Hill. Believing the George W. Bush’s Administration story that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction, Congress voted to support a war against Iraq. Eventually, the nation found that there were no weapons of mass destruction. This was a stunning revelation in that we had gone to war against Iraq who was not responsible for the deadly attacks on New York’s twin towers, the Pentagon and the plane in Pennsylvania.

America disrupted the lives of Iraqi citizens. Through our military we wreak havoc in the form of death and destruction on Iraq. We also encountered a loss of life and limb of many young American soldiers. Interest rates remained low and that coupled with deregulations of the banks lead us to the unsound derivative market made up of bad mortgages. Detroit continued to build cars while experiencing an overwhelming inventory. The deficit soared, and the people in charge raided it for personal gain. Companies like Bain Capital approached marginal yet healthy businesses under the pretense of investing and busted them out thus earning the nickname of Goodfellas. The Goodfellas sent jobs overseas so that they could receive a profit when the products returned back to America to be sold at high prices. While the mafia may have been proud of the way they did it, Henry Ford was turning in his grave.

Halliburton, a company that was once under the control of Vice President Dick Cheney also made out like bandits with the defense budget taking no prisoners. During this time period, a CIA operative was revealed, and Scooter Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff was convicted. Taking more liberty, President George W. Bush commuted Libby’s prison sentence.

America had not only suffered an attack from Al-Qaeda, but lead by Dick Cheney, she was being attacked from the in your face greed from Corporate America. The Al-Qaeda assault brought her to her knees. The corporate greed tumbled her over on her side. Americans were losing jobs and personal wealth from their homes and pension plans by the hundreds of thousands. Wall Street was on the verge of collapse. The federal government bailed Wall Street out and they showed their gratitude by giving themselves big bonuses as they laid off workers.

When Barack Obama was sworn in January 2009, he found a gravely ill America. The man rolled up his sleeves and went to work to save her. First he gave her a much needed infusion through a stimulus package to the states. Some states refused the income while others squandered it. Florida through Rick Scott turned down funding for a rail project which would have created jobs for the state. It would have helped to pull the state out of its bad economy due to the housing market. The same is true for New Jersey. Both states have republican governors. Both Chris Christie and Rick Scot made claims that the projects would place financial hardships on the state in the future.

With attention to detail, Obama also worked hard on a health care bill. President Obama knew that he had to rid America of the pre-existing condition plague, and he did so. Pre-existing condition was a problem and has been a problem for a very long time. It has denied people who have paid premiums the coverage that deserved based on pre-existing condition. Hugh medical bills have sent many Americans into bankruptcy.
With other stimulus actions, the jobless hemorrhaging was slowing.

The President was fighting to save America but still had to fight Al-Qaeda and the Goodfellas who was determined to regain power and continue their assault with their promise to” see that he fails”.

As commander and chief he was successful at weakening Al-Qaeda and finally doing what George W. Bush failed to do in seven years, he gave the order to kill Osama Bin Laden. He also ended the war in Iraq and has made plans to exit Afghanistan.

America was back on all four and making an effort to raise to her knees when the enemy within decided to drive her to default. At the last minute they blinked in their game of chicken but the game itself lowered the old girl’s credit rating. It was another setback slowing our growth.

These actions by the enemy within have kept many Americans from regaining employment and avoiding foreclosure. The enemy within have justified their actions by declaring the national debt to be out of control and the financial hardship it will be on the following generations.

Deficit spending has been a part of this country from the Revolutionary war. The patriots borrowed money from France to finance the war against the British in America’s quest for independence. It also combined the debt from all of the states and financed it through deficit spending. Over the centuries, the debt has grown. Except from the Revolutionary war and up until deregulation the debt was always financed through the capital markets within the U.S.

Today’s deficit spending is being financed by China. This of course started with President George W. Bush. Why, because through the monetary trickled down theory, Americans were encourage to spend and not save so there is no place to borrow unless it’s from the Greedy. The greedy of course don’t find the returns to be worthy of their investment. Instead following the same model they use in busting out companies, they are busting out America.

Although the hemorrhaging has subsided, Mr. Romney, the Republican candidate, insists that President Obama has made the situation worst through his policies including the health care bill.

Romney has not cited anything that he would do different that would improve the economic status of America. As a matter of fact he has not shown any plan of what he will do if elected President to get America back on her feet. Will he continue the course that President Obama started or will he throw everything out and start a new? No one knows what Mr. Romney plans to do, so we have look at what he has done as a business man and Governor of Massachusetts.

As the head of Bain Capital Mr. Romney dismantled companies causing unemployment for many workers who lost their pensions and health care. It also devastated towns housing these dismantled businesses.

Mr. Romney who was born and raised in Michigan thought it was in the best interest to let General Motors go broke. The best interest of whom is the question? I would venture that he felt it would be in the best interest of the vultures like Bain Capital.

Betting on America, President Obama bailed the auto industry out and now they are making a profit and unemployment is lower.

It has been said that when Mr. Romney left as Governor of Mass, the state was 47th in job production. Not exactly a statistic to brag about if you running for President as a job creator.

Further Mr. Romney who refuses to show more than 2 years of tax returns keeps his fortune in overseas banks. Perhaps this is to escape from paying his fair share of taxes. This action also signals that Mr. Romney doesn’t have faith in America and he may just let her go bankrupt. He will not be hurt by this move since his fortune is overseas. Further we don’t know as to the form of his fortune. Is it in gold or in some other currency other than the American dollar?

If America goes bankrupt, this will compound the problem. The value of the dollar is already at an all time low. It will be zero, and all those with small fortunes will join the soup line. That move will also threaten national security placing us in the hands of our enemies without.

When it comes to health care, Mr. Romney makes it clear that he will return to the policies of old. In the case of health care he will repeal it and place Americans back to the day that they must purchase their own health care. It will make insurance companies richer, and will not provide most Americans with coverage. The mandatory purchase will only have people either paying premiums on coverage they will be denied based on pre-existing conditions or paying in penalties. These individuals will also be caught up in purchasing policies with high deductibles that they will never reach. Nothing will change for Americans under such a plan.

Recently on Meet the Press, Romney stated he will keep everything that is in Obama’s Affordable Care Act except the employer mandate. Of course after the interview his people said that he plans to stay the course and repeal it.

The bottom line? No one knows what Romney will do to or for America.
I’m an independent, and I’m not comfortable with that. I know what President Obama has done. Although his policies are moving America back to her feet slowly, at least his policies are working.

Further Stephanie Irby and Bernard Brown II along with all the others who lost their lives as a result of the 9/11 attack deserves better. Our troops including those who gave their lives fighting for this country as well as those who suffered injuries deserve better.

On November 6, 2012 I’m going to make my vote count. What about you?

Are you Registered to Vote? Register yourself and register convince someone else to vote and go to the polls with them on November 6, 2012 or during early voting and vote.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

When Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked about the Obama healthcare law on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, he said, “Well, I’m not getting rid of all of healthcare reform.”

“Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I’m going to put in place,” Romney added. “One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like.”

Mr. Romney states that he will get rid of the unpopular aspects of the bill. In essence he will keep the individual mandate and require the individuals to go out on the market and purchase their own insurance policy. Employers would not be required to provide insurance as an employment benefit.

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    Posted 2 years, 1 month ago at 2:43 pm. Add a comment

    AND THE WINNER IS: AL FRANKEN

    Al Franken

    Al Franken


    MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) – A state election board on Monday will announce Democrat Al Franken as the winner of the Minnesota Senate race, defeating Republican incumbant Norm Coleman, state officials told CNN Sunday.

    Secretary of State Mark Ritchie told CNN the canvassing board on Monday will confirm that Franken won the race by a 225-vote margin.

    Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann oversaw the tallying of roughly 950 improperly rejected absentee ballots Saturday, which was the last remaining
    hurdle in the canvassing board’s procedure. He said no outstanding challenges
    remain and that the only thing left for the board to do Monday is certify the
    numbers. Their meeting will convene at 2:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. ET).

    Franken’s attorney, Marc Elias, in a statement said, “We’ve said all along we’re taking this one step at a time. The next step is the canvass board’s meeting tomorrow, where we have every expectation they will declare that Al Franken won this election.”

    Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan said his team believes that the recount process was broken and that “the numbers being reported will not be
    accurate or valid.”

    “The effort by the Franken campaign, supported by the Secretary of State, to exclude improperly rejected absentee ballots is indefensible and disenfranchises hundreds of Minnesota voters.”

    The Coleman campaign will have seven days after the board and Ritchie certify results to file a post-election contest, which they have indicated they will do.

    Coleman’s attorneys have maintained there was no uniform standard for local officials to follow in identifying improperly rejected absentee ballots to count. They had identified about 650 more ballots that were not in the mix because all parties could not agree on them.

    The Coleman campaign has also alleged that more than 100 ballots may have been accidentally counted twice and may have unfairly benefited Franken.

    “When a candidate is leading because of double counted votes, and votes that get counted even when ballots don’t exist, it clearly means that a contest is the only likely remedy to ensure a fair outcome,” Sheehan added.

    New York Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued a statement Sunday declaring Franken the winner and expressing confidence he would still remain on top even after any legal battles that may follow.

    “There is no longer any doubt who will be the next senator from Minnesota,” Schumer said. “Even if all the ballots Coleman claims were double counted or erroneously added were resolved in his favor, he still wouldn’t have enough votes to win.”

    He also said it is “crucial” Minnesota’s second seat in the senate not go empty, implying Franken should be seated when the rest of the Senate convenes to be sworn in Tuesday.

    Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the chairman of the National Repulican Senatorial Committee, has pledged a GOP filibuster if the Democratically-controlled Senate attempts to seat Franken before all legal battles play out and before Minnesota’s Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty can co-sign the Secretary of State’s certificate.

    Ritchie said the state has no problem with not having two sworn-in senators Tuesday until the process is completed.

    Posted 5 years, 9 months ago at 3:12 pm. Add a comment

    Sam Curtis: The Same Ole Schickardy

    THE PLOT THICKENS IN THE ILLINOIS SENATE SEAT

    Robert Menendez(left) Harry Reid(right)

    Robert Menendez(left) Harry Reid(right)

    It appears Senator Harry Reid is more involved in the Obama Senate seat than maybe he is willing to admit. According to a Chicago Sun Times article, Harry Reid, the democratic Senator from Nevada and Robert Menendez (D- N.J) called Governor Rod Blagojevich on December 3, 2008 opposing the appointments of Jesse Jackson Jr., Danny Davis, and Emil White. All of these individuals are African Americans. Instead Reid urged the appointment of either Illinois Veterans Affairs Chief Tammy Duckworth, or Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

    Roland Burris, the embattled Governor’s nominee was not on the list. There is absolutely nothing to indicate that Roland Burris who has won a statewide election is involved in any pay for play scheme. However, Reid argues that Burris is tainted, and has threatened along with other Senate Democrats not to seat Burris on Tuesday.

    It seems the Senate Majority leader protest too much. Reid tries to hide behind the arrest of Blagojevich as his reasons for opposing the selection of Burris. This motive however can’t be trusted for Mr. Reid has been exposed for his participation in tainting the selection process. Mr. Reid as well as Mr. Menendez have no legitimate reason in trying to influence the selection of a Senate seat in Illinois. Saying that he doesn’t believe that the three African American men can win statewide in 2010 is not the place of elected officials from the state of Nevada and New Jersey. Mr. Burris would have two years to serve, and it might turn out that his constituents will be pleased with his representation and re-elect him. As stated, Mr. Burris has been elected statewide three times before. This coupled with the election of Barack Obama as President, makes this more likely than not. However, we won’t know if Mr. Reid and the Senate Democrats play politics by not allowing Mr. Burris to take his seat.

    Mr. Reid’s attempt to select someone to his liking and not to the liking of the people of Illinois is just as disgusting as the allegations leveled against Governor Blogojevich. Further it actually sounds like a conspiracy to me. A conspiracy to discriminate on the basis of race. Although he doesn’t say race, his preferred selection has a disparate impact on African Americans representation in the Senate. Barack Obama was the only African American in the Senate before being elected to as first African American President Of The United States. Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer represent females, and apparently Mr. Menendez and Mel Martinez represents Latinos. True Tammy Duckworth would represent Asians, but she lost her election for a Congressional seat in 2006. Further, Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) is Asian. So is Daniel Inouye (D-HI).

    In paragraph six of the governments criminal complaint against Governor Blogojevich, the prosecutor states that “as officials of the State of Illinois,ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS each owe a duty of honest services to the State of Illinois and the people of the State of Illinois in the performance of their public duties”. Blagojevich has the sole public duty to appoint a replacement, not the Senate majority leader or the new chief of the Senate Democratic political operation. The process has been tainted from the start with interference by these men. They have conspired to impede a political process which is set up for the selection of the best representation for the people of Illinois and not for the assurance of winning and obtaining power for the Democratic party. The Senators’ action seems to run a foul of U.S. Code 18 § 372. Conspiracy to impede or injure officer. That criminal statute reads as follows:

    If two or more persons in any State, Territory, Possession, or District conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof, or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave the place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties, each of such persons shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six years, or both.

    Other than for an indictment for Blagojevich, should there be another indictment or two down the pike?

    It’s the same ole schickardy.

    Posted 5 years, 9 months ago at 2:01 pm. 2 comments

    Sam Curtis: The Same Ole Schickardy, From Powell To Burris

    Governor Rod Blagojevich with Roland Burris(right)

    Governor Rod Blagojevich with Roland Burris(right)

    The embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has named Roland W. Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate. Controversy has arisen because Blagojevich has been arrested and charged by the U.S. Attorney Office on allegations of attempting to sell the vacated seat to the highest bidder.

    The Illinois Secretary of State has vowed not to certify the appointment. Harry Reid and the Democrats in Congress with the blessings of our President -elect, Barack Obama are yelling to the top of the Capitol dome that they will not seat Roland Burris.

    It’s all a big smoke screen diverting attention away from Congress’ automatic pay raise and their failure to provide safeguards to assure appropriate spending of the bailed out Corporations.

    First, in spite of the allegations surfacing about the pay for play scheme, Blagojevich who is presumed innocent, is still the Governor and has the sole power to make the appointment. The Secretary of State of Illinois is the keeper of the official records, laws, and Great Seal of the U.S. state of Illinois. These duties have remained unchanged since Illinois became a state in 1818. The Secretary of State shall perform all duties that may be prescribed by law. This mandatory language does not give Mr. Jesse White, the current Secretary of state, any discretion in the matter, leaving him with no choice but to certify the selection.

    As to Harry Reid, President -elect Obama and the rest of the Democratic lawmakers, please go and read Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486 (1969). This case involves Congress’ refusal in 1967 to permit a re-elected Adam Clayton Powell Jr. to take his seat with the 90th Congress after being embroiled in scandals (allegedly refusing to pay a judgment ordered by a court in New York, misappropriating Congressional travel funds, and illegally paying his wife a Congressional staff salary for work she had not done).

    In the 1969 case, the United States Supreme Court had to answer the question of whether Congress can exclude a person, who has met the requirements written in the text of the U.S. Constitution and who has been elected to Congress, from serving in Congress.

    The majority opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren held that Congress does not have the power to develop qualifications other than those specified in Art. I, § 2, cl. 1-2.

    Article I, section 5, of the U.S. Constitution states that “each house shall be the judge of…qualification of its own members,” but then immediately states that each House has the authority to expel a member “with the Concurrence of two thirds.” The Court which found that it had a “textually demonstrable commitment” to interpret this clause found that the clause meant that expulsion was the only method for a House after determining that the member is unqualified to serve. The Court reasoned that the authority of Congress in the Powell matter was post facto, i.e., after a member elect had been so created by his/her election under the laws of the state in which the congressional district resided; after his/her qualification for standing in such an election according to the qualifications specified in the U.S. Constitution; and after accepting the oath of office and enrollment into the Congress. In other words, Congress only remedy of expulsion cannot occur until the member elect actually takes the oath of office and of course there must be some wrong doing on the part of that member.

    The Court found that if the Congress went beyond a determination that a candidate member had satisfied the Constitution’s qualifications for membership (and had been duly chosen by, and through the laws of their state) it could not (under the Constitution) go further in examining and possibly rejecting a candidate member before administering the oath of office, and seating them. Thus, the Court found that Powell was wrongfully excluded from his seat.

    Although we are talking about an appointment and not an election, the Burris appointment was made properly under the laws of the State of Illinois, and therefore fits snugly in the ruling of Powell v. McCormick Id. Therefore, Congress must permit Mr. Burris who incidentally, is a Howard School of Law graduate to take the oath and be seated.

    We cite the Howard law affiliation because Herbert O. Reid, a Howard University School of Law graduate and professor, represented Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and argued this landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court. A distinguished Constitutional law professor, Mr. Reid had the assistance of the Howard law school students on the case as legal researchers and practiced his oral argument in Howard University Mock Courtroom. Prior to the Powell case, Mr. Reid taught Mr. Burris who graduated with his Juris Doctors in 1963. Now some forty odd years later, the late Professor Reid is still reminding us of our rights and obligations under the U.S. Constitution.

    Mr. Burris has an outstanding record as the first African American official elected statewide in the State of Illinois. As such, he served three terms as the state’s Comptroller and also served as the states’ Attorney General. Unlike Jesse Jackson Jr., Mr. Burris who unsuccessfully sought the Senate seat early in his political career is not tainted under the current cloud of the alleged Blagojevich pay for play scandal. He at no time voted himself for an automatic pay raise which is something that the current have no shame Congress can say. Further as the Illinois State Attorney General, he did not green-light any pardons of a rich fugitive, reeking with the appearance of impropriety. In essence, the democratic Congress have no reason to bring him up for expulsion.

    We should also note that Governor Blagojevich has not been convicted of any wrong doing in a court of law and as stated earlier he is presumed innocent.

    Although Americans overwhelmingly voted for change in the November elections, it appears that we will start the year 2009, with the same Ole Schickardy from mostly the same ole butt-holes in Congress. We need to vote their butt-holes out the next time.

    Posted 5 years, 9 months ago at 11:14 am. Add a comment