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Mr. Obama had two themes for his campaign in 2008: Hope and Change. This post will discuss his 2008 message (Hope and Change – Act 1) and look at what he did and allowed Congress to do during his watch in pursuit of “Hope” and “Change”.

The last line of Mr. Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention was, “And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once more the last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.” This was the conclusion of Act One.

Just to remind you, here are some more excerpts from his Convention Speech with parenthetical remarks of mine to point how he performed in Act 2, carrying out his promises:

“We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put away a little extra money at the end of each month so that you can someday watch your child receive her diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.” (selectively chosen statistics to blame others “The bureau, which doesn’t compile statistics on “family” income, reported that per capita income rose during Mr. Bush’s two terms, from $29,159 to $32,632 (using 2005 dollar values as a base). During Mr. Obama’s 15 months in office, per capita income has dropped nearly 1 percent to $32,343.”)

“We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.” (actually, Mr. Obama is now measuring the strength of our economy in terms of unemployment figures using new rules to make the public believe that fewer people are unemployed than when he took office)

“The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.” (he never explained any details of that promise)

“Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship our jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.” (The jobs “created and saved” that Mr. Obama constantly lists do not account for those lost. the number he should discuss is net job gain or loss. For example, ABC News on January 23rd of this year reported, “Since Obama took office in January 2009, when the economy was still shedding jobs en masse, there has been a net loss of 1.7 million jobs.”)

“I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the startups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.” (Instead, in his recent State of the Union speech he proposed raising the Capital Gains tax from 15% to 30% because that would hit his bogeymen, ‘the rich’, hardest.)

“I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95 percent of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.” (According to the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, “In contrast, middle-class families who have either invested in securities or built small businesses typically must sell a large portion of their investment at the peak of their savings, in order to pay for a large expense like retirement, a child’s education, or the purchase of a home. At that time, these investors have no choice but to pay tax on their capital gains.” So by doubling the Capital gains tax, Mr. Obama do what to “95% of all working families.?)

“And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.” “Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stopgap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.” (We are only 3 years toward Mr. Obama’s 10 year goal, but if you look at the price of gas, you might think we are more, not less, dependent on “Oil from the Middle East.” The day Mr. Obama was inaugurated, the National average for regular gas was $1.85 and 3 years later it was $3.55.)

“As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies retool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of bio-fuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.” (I’m not sure I need to comment on this fantasy. “Five Million new jobs”? How does this square with the 1.7 million net jobs lost in Mr. Obama’s first three years?  Invest in Solar power like Solyndra?)

“As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home. I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease.” (Mr. Obama may well have achieved some successes here, like the capture/killing of Osama Bin Laden and the withdrawal of many of our troops from Iraq. He failed, however, to take advantage of his success with Bin Laden to extract himself and the US military from the Afghanistan conflict. He is also proposing to cut vital Military programs to balance his budget rather than working to make the military more efficient by changing purchasing and contracting systems that are huge and inefficient and whose current beneficiaries make large campaign contributions.  His “tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons” seems to have only encouraged Iran. )

Either Mr. Obama was too naive to understand that he could not deliver on all these promised changes or he intentionally tried to deceive the voters who had “hope” those goals could be met.  If the Liberal Press is correct, that Mr. Obama is one of the smartest men alive, it must therefore conclude that he knew he could not perform and was intentionally deceiving the public. If that is the case, Mr. Obama does not deserve our trust and should be removed from office in 2012. If Mr. Obama was just naive, the Liberal Press must conclude that Mr. Obama is not so smart after all and has failed because he is not smart enough for the job. Either way, in spite of his ‘soaring rhetoric’ and promises of Hope and Change, Mr. Obama has not earned a second term. He has not earned the Trust of the people, nor has he delivered on his promises.  To the contrary, he has deceived those who believed in him.

Do you feel deceived?  Do you think he deserves another 4 years?  If so, why?

A good friend today sent me a link to the video below.  I laughed out loud for 8 minutes.  It seemed like two.  If you need a good laugh, I guarantee this will do the trick.  Stick with it to the end.  The punch line is worth the trip by itself, though, I’m sure you will enjoy the journey.

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John Branyan may have a bit of fun with it, but I think he is onto something when he takes time to point out our diminished language skills.  I also think his punch line is a topic we should discuss more.  It is now on my list for a future post.

Spoiled Children Become.....

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A year ago, I began to write this post, then things got in the way.  I was buried until last week when a friend sent me an article by John Rosemond.  It reminded me of the post I wanted to write and why.  I loathe the power-hungry, its-all-about-me class of “leaders” in Washington, D.C.  I think they are the product of an age of liberal permissive parenting.

In 40 plus years of working with folks in everything from the military, to the welding shop floor, to the engineering office, to the board room, to the classroom, I discovered that people who functioned well had one thing in common.  They understood discipline and authority and were, themselves, self-disciplined.  Those who were less functional did not respond well to authority or discipline and were personally lacking in self discipline.

Today I see a society that functions at a lower level than in the past.  More people are dependent upon others, especially dependent on government programs.  More people feel that they deserve more than what they get, regardless of what their input is.  Many in the political class feel that if they think something is right for them, it must be right for most others.  They feel that their knowledge is better than yours and that they know what is best.  They have egos that cause them to disregard the input of others and allow them to disrespect others without giving it a second thought.  They are so self centered that they fail to understand the real world around them.  Their opinion of themselves is so grand as to make them believe that if they do something, it must therefore be right.  They feel that they have been granted the right, if not the duty, to redefine truth to fit their world view.

Where does this ego, this me-first attitude come from?  Why is there such a lack of discipline, especially self-discipline?

In the early 1980s, I was fortunate enough to hear John Rosemond speak to a group of parents from my local school district.  His message was strong, simple, and not at all like the fancy “group think” that was the fashion of the day.  He said to be good parents and prepare children for the real world all that was needed was to give children discipline, and love, and reasons to respect others.

The article my friend sent is copied below.  It speaks clearly to the belief I have about the result of liberal, permissive parenting.  It is available like much of John’s work at his website:  http://www.rosemond.com/

Here is the article:

Children ruled by feelings grow into misguided adults

Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of England, once said, “One of the great problems of our age is that we’re governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thought sand ideas.” 

Quite so, and it is equally accurate to say that “one of the great problems of our age is that children are being raised and educated by people who care more about their feelings than they do their thoughts and ideas.”

The child’s feelings have been the paramount consideration in both spheres since the late 1960s, when parents became convinced that they should no longer take their cues from their own upbringing, but from mental health professionals.  As a consequence, the focus of American parenting veered sharply away from training the child’s character and mind toward that of protecting his feelings from insult (i.e. disappointment, failure, embarrassment and other basic facts of life) and elevating his opinion of himself.

Psychologist Thomas Gordon, author of “Parent Effectiveness Training,” the best-selling book of the 1970s, said that because children do not like being told what to do, adults should not tell them what to do.  Children who submit to their parents’ authority, Gordon said, grow to be adults who “fill the offices of psychologists and psychiatrists.”

We now know of course, that this isn’t true. Gordon and others like him were pulling this baloney out of thin air.  Research psychologist Diana Baumrind’s decades -long study of parenting outcomes finds that the most well-adjusted children come from households presided over by parents who are loving but unequivocally authoritative.  It turns out that the parenting model promoted by the mental health community compromises child mental health!

Indeed, the mental health of America’s children has been in free fall since the 1960s.  Today’s child is much more likely to become seriously depressed, commit suicide or become a bully.  And researchers have found that high self esteem predisposes people to depression (therefore, suicide) and is characteristic of bullies.

How ’bout them apples?  Feelings have the potential of greatly enriching one’s life.  But unless they are governed by reason, feelings are unruly and destructive beasts. (my emphasis)  People ruled by their feelings say stupid things, make stupid decisions and fail to learn from experience.  The current epidemic of “cutting” among teenagers is a prime example of feelings run amok.

For more than a generation, children have been encouraged to express their feelings rather than control them. They’ve been told that all feelings are valid, which isn’t true. The result is that many young people believe their feelings trump the feelings of others.

When all is said and done, the child mental health crisis in America is the result of raising children who have lots of emotions but no emotional resilience.  They’re full of self esteem but have little respect for others. This cannot lead to a satisfying life.

The emotionally sturdy person is characterized by a high level of respect for other people.  Instead of wanting attention, a person pays attention, looking for opportunities to serve.  That’s what good manners are all about, and learning good manners is where the good Life starts, not by learning to recite all 50 state capitals at age 3 to applause from a roomful of adults.”

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.... Spoiled Adults

I often feel that much of our elite ruling class is the product of permissive parenting – a lack of respect for others, an ego-centric view of the world, and the constant cry that it is “Not Fair” when things don’t go their way.  To read another view of what the ‘poorly parented’ folks in Washington are doing to us, I highly recommend epaautos.com

More on “fairness” in a future post.

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Yesterday, I received an email from a discussion group with whom I often converse.  The day’s discussion was about a youtube type movie that discussed more new ‘facts’ about the Obama eligibility issue.  One participant, a College Professor and quite (politically) Liberal woman from Portland, responded to the conversation without any real facts, but based on her beliefs, that Mr. Obama was obviously a natural born citizen and qualified to be President.  In fact she stated that he was doing a great job and that she was proud that she would be voting for Mr. Obama this November.

I politely disagreed with her assessment of the job he is doing and stated that he may be qualified to be President based on his birth and citizenship, but, as to his skills, experience, and ethics, he might just be the least qualified person ever to hold the office.

Then, this morning, I read the Wall Street Journal and wished that our Liberal friend would some day read something other than the New York Times.  If she did, she might have great difficulty answering the questions posed in Steven Moore’s opinion piece today which is copied in its entirety below:

By STEPHEN MOORE, The Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2012

President Obama has frequently justified his policies—and judged their outcomes—in terms of equity, justice and fairness. That raises an obvious question: How does our existing system—and his own policy record—stack up according to those criteria?

Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?

Is it fair that the richest 10% of Americans shoulder a higher share of their country’s income-tax burden than do the richest 10% in every other industrialized nation, including socialist Sweden?

Is it fair that American corporations pay the highest statutory corporate tax rate of all other industrialized nations but Japan, which cuts its rate on April 1?

Is it fair that President Obama sends his two daughters to elite private schools that are safer, better-run, and produce higher test scores than public schools in Washington, D.C.—but millions of other families across America are denied that free choice and forced to send their kids to rotten schools?

Is it fair that Americans who build a family business, hire workers, reinvest and save their money—paying a lifetime of federal, state and local taxes often climbing into the millions of dollars—must then pay an additional estate tax of 35% (and as much as 55% when the law changes next year) when they die, rather than passing that money onto their loved ones?

moore

Associated Press Photo

Is it fair that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel and other leading Democrats who preach tax fairness underpaid their own taxes?

Is it fair that after the first three years of Obamanomics, the poor are poorer, the poverty rate is rising, the middle class is losing income, and some 5.5 million fewer Americans have jobs today than in 2007?

Is it fair that roughly 88% of political contributions from supposedly impartial network television reporters, producers and other employees in 2008 went to Democrats?

Is it fair that the three counties with America’s highest median family income just happen to be located in the Washington, D.C., metro area?

Is it fair that wind, solar and ethanol producers get billions of dollars of subsidies each year and pay virtually no taxes, while the oil and gas industry—which provides at least 10 times as much energy—pays tens of billions of dollars of taxes while the president complains that it is “subsidized”?

Is it fair that those who work full-time jobs (and sometimes more) to make ends meet have to pay taxes to support up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who don’t work?

Is it fair that those who took out responsible mortgages and pay them each month have to see their tax dollars used to subsidize those who acted recklessly, greedily and sometimes deceitfully in taking out mortgages they now can’t afford to repay?

Is it fair that thousands of workers won’t have jobs because the president sided with environmentalists and blocked the shovel-ready Keystone XL oil pipeline?

Is it fair that some of Mr. Obama’s largest campaign contributors received federal loan guarantees on their investments in renewable energy projects that went bust?

Is it fair that federal employees receive benefits that are nearly 50% higher than those of private-sector workers whose taxes pay their salaries, according to the Congressional Budget Office?

Is it fair that soon almost half the federal budget will take income from young working people and redistribute it to old non-working people, even though those over age 65 are already among the wealthiest Americans?

Is it fair that in 27 states workers can be compelled to join a union in order to keep their jobs?

Is it fair that nearly four out of 10 American households now pay no federal income tax at all—a number that has risen every year under Mr. Obama?

Is it fair that Boeing, a private company, was threatened by a federal agency when it sought to add jobs in a right-to-work state rather than in a forced-union state?

Is it fair that our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids—who never voted for Mr. Obama—will have to pay off the $5 trillion of debt accumulated over the past four years, without any benefits to them?

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It looks like the Obama Administration once again has the press in its pocket as it builds its case for four more years.  Witness the recent front page headlines of the reported large drop in unemployment for January.

The biggest single issue of the 2012 Presidential Campaign is unemployment, or jobs.  Having taken note of that, the Obama team is working on their reelection strategy.  The goal, of course, is to bring the unemployment number down to below what it was when Mr. Obama took office.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is what has happened to the unemployment rate since 2006.

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Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 8.9 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.7 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.8 9.4
2011 9.1 9.0 8.9 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.1 9.1 9.0 8.9 8.7 8.5
2012 8.3

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Isn’t that amazing.  The rate was 7.8 for January of 2009, but by the time Mr. Obama had found his way to the Oval Office (after the Inauguration Balls and all of the celebrations) it was 8.3 for February, 2009.  Remember that number?  That is what was just reported to be the unemployment rate for January 2012, just 36 months after Mr. Obama took office.  8.3% unemployment then.  8.3% unemployment now.

So now President Obama can say that, in spite of inheriting the entire problem from Mr. Bush, he has stabilized things and has Unemployment on its way back down.  In fact, he can say, it is right where it was 36 months ago.  His policies and leadership are doing the job he promised to do.

But, there’s a bit of a problem with the statistics.  You see, in February 2009, the 8.3% unemployment was measured as the unemployed part of the 66+% of the working age population that participated in the workforce.  In January of 2012, the 8.3% is the unemployed part of the less than 64% that was reported to have participated in the workforce, according to the BLS.  That means millions of people who were not working were also not counted as being unemployed.  Close to 8,000,000 people who are not working have been taken from the statistics under Mr. Obama’s watch.  1.2 million people were taken off the rolls in January of 2012 alone.  The reasons given for this statistical slight of hand are variously stated as “no longer looking for work,” “aged out of the work pool,” etc.  Do you think that the reported 243,000 new jobs reported last month caused the “unemployment rate” to drop from 8.5 to 8.3% or do you think maybe the 1.2 million people they stopped counting as part of the labor pool had more to do with it?  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 88 million people are not participating in the workforce today.  The BLS number was just over 80 million when Mr. Obama took office.  So Mr. Obama can say that unemployment is now the same as it was in February of 2009 just after he took office, yet there are 8,000,000 more people not working yet who are also no longer counted in the statistics as they were in 2009.

People Not In The Labor Force - from http://www.zerohedge.com

If you use the more realistic number of persons in the labor pool that the BLS used in February 2009, what we really have is not a drop to 8.3% unemployed, but, a rise to 11.5% unemployment.

Are we really so dumb that we believe unemployment is the same as 3 years ago?  Or, are we just numbed into agreeing with what we see, hear and read 24/7 from the (Obama Campaign HQ) mainstream media?

Let’s consider the situation if the Republicans put out press releases and claimed that in a head to head national race, either Romney or Gingrich or Santorum would win in November by 10 points.  They could easily do this if they  just didn’t count California or any of New England.  How do you think the press would report that?  Do you think they would take the Republican press releases without question and broadcast or print them as distributed?

Let’s see:  The New York Times reports that Mr. Obama’s Administration has “created or saved” 2.5 million jobs and now has unemployment back down to where he “inherited” it.  The NYT somehow buries on page 16 the fact of 8,000,000 fewer people counted by the BLS in the labor pool…….. It sure must be nice to have the press leading your reelection campaign committee.

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Rob Cornilles stopped his regular life.  He stopped his business life.  He stopped his family life.  He turned all his time over to running for Congress.  I’m convinced he did not do it for power as many do.  I’m convinced he did it for the right reasons.  He wanted to participate in fixing Washington, D.C.

I have met Rob on three occasions.  He is sharp in that he grasps the important parts of a situation quickly.  He is thoughtful and concerned.  He takes a business approach to problems, always seeking an effective solution.  He remembers and shows gratitude.  He is humorous and personable.  If you don’t believe that, watch a bit of fun he had just a week before the election.

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He lost and I am sure he is very disappointed.  He is not accustomed to failing.  But he failed only at being elected.  He did not fail at getting more people involved in the system.  He did not fail at setting a great example for political conduct.  For that we should all be thankful.  In fact, here’s my note of thanks to Rob.

Dear Rob,

Thank you.  Please thank your family for me.  You have already thanked all your wonderful volunteers, but I thank them, too.

The sacrifices that you and your family have made, in order to give the First Congressional District better representation, go beyond what we should be asking of anyone.  I truly appreciate what you have done.

Your effort was herculean yet you seemed calm and even in good humor throughout.  I don’t know how you did it.

Your attitude today as you were interviewed over and over again was refreshingly positive…..”He is a wise man who does not grieve for the thing which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”  – Epictetus

You are a fine example of what this country needs – the citizen representative.  I hope you continue to find ways to help us change our country back to a nation of positive, freedom loving, hard working, innovative and independent people as we once were.

I would fully understand if you chose to return to your previous life and wash your hands of politics.  In fact, if I were advising you, I would tell you not to consider running again without commitments that would assure you of at least a level playing field concerning monetary resources.  I would still love to see you as my Representative.

My real message is just a simple thanks for taking on a job that was neither easy nor fun, but, which had to be done.  You are a hero in my eyes and the eyes of many.

With great respect,

Tom Vail

I live in Oregon’s First Congressional District.  It is a beautiful place with energy and a lot of very good people.  For the past 40 years, it has been represented in Congress by a Democrat.  The most recent one, David Wu, resigned last year after an alleged sex scandal and numerous other incidents of strange behavior. To replace him, a special election was mandated.  That election was yesterday.  Suzanne Bonamici, a Democrat,  won the election and will be my new Congress Member.  I hope that she becomes a responsive and wise representative.  I did not vote for her and my reading of both her past and her experience does not give me much encouragement that we will have any better representation than we had with Mr. Wu.

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Suzanne Bonamici Celebrates Win

The District has over 11% more registered Democrats than Republicans.  And, Bonamici won by more than that 11% advantage.  It was almost a 14% win.  I’m sure a good part of that was due to the Congressional Democratic Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C., who spent more on this campaign than either of the candidates raised for his/her own campaign.  With their $1,500,000 or more blanketing the airwaves, it seemed like non-stop negatives about Rob Cornilles, Bonamici’s Republican opponent.  This saddens me because it is hard not to conclude that the election was bought and paid for in Washington, D. C., over 2,000 miles from here.  If this is the case, you can expect that Bonamici will vote with the Democrats every time, unless she is wiling to lose their invaluable support.  In spite of the left lean of our district, the Democrats in Washington do not always vote for things that suit our district.  I guess that means that we will no longer have a voice in Washington.  I hope that’s not the case.  Unfortunately, Ms. Bonamici’s record as a state legislator gives little hope as she was amazingly partisan, to the tune of voting with her party upwards of 98% of the time.

It is interesting to note that the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee gave only about $85,000 to Mr. Cornilles’ campaign suggesting either they didn’t think the seat could be taken from the Democrats or that they thought Cornilles was a bit too independent for them.  Wouldn’t that have been nice, to have a Congressperson who was not a slave to the party that got him elected.  It was not to be.

Ms. Bonamici tried to distance herself from Mr. Wu while the Cornilles campaign, in the last week tried to tie her to him.  The Oregonian Newspaper from Portland wrote, “Republicans have repeatedly pointed out that Bonamici’s husband, Michael Simon, represented Wu and his campaign as an attorney, and that in 2004 Simon sought to dissuade The Oregonian from running an investigatory article disclosing that Wu was punished while a student at Stanford University after he sexually assaulted a former girlfriend.  Bonamici gave Wu a $250 donation during his 2010 reelection race and had once described him as a “family friend.””  – the Orgonian

Many have suggested that Bonamici’s appointment to the State legislature was a form of payback for helping Democrat Wu.

I’m not happy that she is our new representative because based on her past actions we could be just as well represented by a Democrat from New Jersey (who also votes exclusively with his party).  But, and it is a big BUT, I will support her, and, I will correspond with her staff when I think she properly or improperly uses her newfound power.  I write often to my representatives.  You can, too.  Just go to the link on the left of this page that says. “Write to Elected Officials”   I may not like the result of the recent election, but I will remain engaged.  I hope you do, too.  I also hope Ms. Bonamici proves me wrong.

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