489 Comments

My message to Senator Manchin this noon time. My next step is to look into who bought him, perhaps Moscow Mitch's Putin oligarchs friends? Manchin making his announcement on Fox News without warning President Biden is quite suspicious. Hopefully the cracks showing in the GOP will create a new math for the Senate sooner hopefully than later. Yes, I've always been an optimist. It's a lot more fun than being a pessimist.

Dear Senator Manchin,

Because of the power you hold in your hands, you have an impact that goes far beyond West Virginia. You need to explain yourself not just to West Virginians but to women like me in Texas and Americans as a whole. First, I do agree with you that it would be better to fund fewer programs like the child tax credit for ten years and make them permanent rather than throw smaller, less permanent dollars at too many programs. However, the alternative of doing nothing is unacceptable. Your statements on Fox News this morning are quite frankly horrifying to me and so many Americans. You are making sure the women in this country work for half the wages a man does when childcare is taken out of our wages. You are making sure children starve because all the entitlements have been going to the rich and corporate big money interests because our politicians have been bought by the legalized bribery of Citizens United. You are making sure that income disparity increases and further makes life miserable for the working people that deserve a share in the profits their work made possible. The climate conflagration is already making us spend billions on weather disasters and so we save money by going to sustainable energy sources. Remember tornado alley is moving Eastward right into West Virginia! Your job should be to make West Virginia the state the leader in promoting sustainable energy production and retrain its workers for those jobs. By not saving America by not tweaking the filibuster and making sure the right to vote remains a right for ALL, you are assuring that United States back-slides into total authoritarianism and minority rule. My opinion on the filibuster is to go to 41 Senators to keep the debate going rather than 60 to stop it. We even have the Supreme Court dismantling democracy by making rulings based on a future ruling of the Court to take away Roe v. Wade putting all the women of Texas into subservient roles like the Hand Maidens Tale nightmare. Along with their rulings on Citizens United making bribery of our elected officials legal resulting in them voting with their donors while ignoring the will of the People and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act allowing states to go back to confederacy minority rule and autocracy, the Supreme Court has become anti-democratic and in Contempt of the Constitution. I would reduce the number of Justices to seven and get rid of the last two who are illegitimate because of then Majority Leader McConnell's Contempt of the Constitution. Those kind of games are unfair and abhorrent to me.

Please become a statesman and save America as a constitutional democratic republic! Get $1.75 B passed for 10 year programs like childcare which is keeping women working below minimum wage and our children starving. Make the filibuster work as tool for the minority to be heard but not give them a total veto over the majority. Pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Then go home an tell West Virginians that they get their share of the entitlements the rich have been squandering and their voice will now be heard. It isn't now. I don't care whether you are a Democrat or a Republican because neither party represents me because of their extreme positions on everything. Actually the Republican Party seems to have no positions on anything except preserving their power and suppressing women along with many others that do not deserve such unfair treatment in a country that still tries to call itself a democratic republic.

Please don't delay. You know there isn't much time before gerrymandering and voter suppression will take away democracy forever. It is already gone in Texas and many other states. I don't live in a democracy and my constitutional rights are being stripped away. For what? So rich are entitled to get richer and we become a state of indentured servants to the oligarchic kleptocracy. No, we are better than that. You have the ability to become a statesman and save the very foundation of American democracy. Please do the right thing before it is too late. NEVER give up the fight for democracy and economic well-being FOR ALL THE PEOPLE this time!

Stressed out in Texas. Catherine Learoyd

P.S. No, I do not want a canned reply. I want ACTION!

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Cathy, this might also be submitted to WaPost, or a W. Va press? Deserves to be widely shared. Manchin is an imposter.

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Manchin is a saboteur.

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Since Manchin wants to preserve the filibuster, he absolutely is a saboteur. Filibuster comes from a word meaning sabotage. The filibuster allows for minority rule. That’s crazy. Civil rights legislation was filibustered for years.

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And 'saboteur' comes from 'making noise by walking around with clogs' so that no one can be heard. Pretty much like the clogged minds doing filibusters.

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Sabotage comes from the industrial Revolution where a disgruntled French worker threw his wooden shoe (sabot) into the gears of a large machine, disabling it and causing expensive repairs.

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Never tire of learning something new, every day. Thanks for that tidbit.

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And the Senate just did a carve out to the filibuster to raise the debt ceiling. Don’t hear Manchin calling for one for voting rights

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While there's no question that the modern legislative filibuster can be defined as sabotaging U.S. democracy, it actually derives from the Dutch vrijbuiter, but came to English in the 1840s from the Spanish filibustero, meaning "freebooter"—that is, a pirate or plunderer. This essay on the etymology of the term clarifies that. https://www.etymonline.com/word/Filibuster

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And AZ Sinema seems to be another one. Full page ad in AZ newspapers from AZ Chamber of Congress thanking her for "her fighting against the Reconciliation bill that will raise prices on our state's families.". Maybe Republicans should have said "for" instead of "on".

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Whatever has gotten to all the other Republicans has taken Manchin. The fact that he appeared on Fox to say this seems proof to me that he's on their side and not ours. And Sinema, too ~ is it power or greed? Is it blackmail?

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He's in a Republican state. TFG took WVa by 40% over Biden. But as I said, he's also a tool of the fossil fuel industry--not surprising given coal's role in WVa--and his own wealth is of primary importance to him. That is to say, he has a lot of forces pushing him in a direction we don't like, but deep down I think he's an amoral SOB.

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“ And Sinema, too ~ is it power or greed? Is it blackmail?“

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All of the above?

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Sinema is probably equally amoral, and similarly concerned with wealth, but I don't think she's involved with the fossil fuel industry.

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I agree. Simply sending something to the Muppets don't go as far as getting the word to others through the press and social media. Post it on their twitter page.

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Write letters to the editors of every paper across the nation. And remember to ask: why are we pretending, respecting, and even negotiating with an an entire obstructionist party in our government who signed on to disrespecting a fair election? Why are they trying to bring our country down into a kleptocractic dictatorship? It is a waste of our time and money to pretend they are Americans. They are homegrown terrorists to our country, our rights, our health and well-being and our future. Say their names OUT LOUD and make them leave our halls of governance while they unashamedly stand public trial. Anyone who trespasses on our rights and governance, aiding and abetting treason and insurrection against on the most important day of our democracy should not have any rights to claim the 5th. THAT should be considered blasphemy against our democracy and the Rule of Law.

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oops. doesn´t go as far. arrrggghh

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There’s an edit feature now. Click the 3 dots by your post.

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Ah. Thank you.

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Great news! Thanks Lisa

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You CAN edit on here now, you know! (It's like I've become the "Good News Elf" this holiday season letting people know we can edit on Substack now!) Just look at the bottom of your post for the 3 dots next to "Delete". Click on them and then "Edit" and your comment comes back ready for you to edit! I guess all our bitching paid off...

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Oops...didn't see Lisa's post below that says the same thing...whatever...good news is worth repeating!!

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Haha! I made a standalone comment the other day in re the new edit function which went largely unnoticed. I guess I know where I stand 😉

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I noticed, Daria, and did a happy dance.

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Nah...some days when there are a ton of comments things can just get buried. We might need to keep reminding people here and there. Besides, anybody who knows me KNOWS to take anything I say of a technical nature with a very large grain of salt.

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Dec 20, 2021·edited Dec 20, 2021

Time to test the edit feature…

Done. Yay, thank you and you’re welcome - I, too, was asking for the ability to edit. 🤙🏻

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I have submitted it as an op-ed to WaPost and as a LTE to the West Virginia Gazette and USA Today.

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Brava!

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Wonderful! Thank you.

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Yay! Good luck, it needs to be widely read.

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I did get a nice note back from the WaPost that they couldn't use my op ed. Loved that the United Mine Workers told Senator Manchin to support BBBB. We need to make it the 4 B's Biden's Build Back Better so once passed Biden will get credit!

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So glad you had a reply! Bravo to you for your efforts.

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Cathy, I'm glad WaPo acknowledged your effort. I'm hopeful UMW and pressure from others will sway Manchin.

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Yes. Please do, Cathy!

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Dec 20, 2021·edited Dec 20, 2021

Brilliant letter:

"You are making sure children starve because all the entitlements have been going to the rich and corporate big money interests because our politicians have been bought by the legalized bribery of Citizens United. "

Just one thought:

It is not Citizen's United, per se, that has resulted in our representatives being bought; that ruling just made base corruption legal.

It is the culture that America has taken on since Ronald Reagan first showed how to win through corruption and lying. Once Ronald Reagan glorified greed, then, it was OK for "everyone" to do it.

So, it is American Culture, or, perhaps just human culture, in the absence of any penalty at all, that leads to base corruption.

More generally: It is the choice we all have: The high road or the low road, that separates corruption from "the right thing".

Not the Supreme Court.

PS.....the above is sort of excerpted from the writings of an early Christian Church father named Athanasius, a Greek from the fourth century, who wrote an essay on the origin of evil.

He states: Evil is the CHOICE between the high road and the low road.

Not Satan, not the Supreme Court, but, each of us is the origin of evil through our choices.

So, it is not my idea.

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But it is a service that you brought it forward.

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A further point: it seems to me that America is a living exemplar of the guy on third base who thought he hit a triple.

Think to its beginnings- a bounteous land, two major oceans to shield it from enemies of consequence, a temperate to semi-tropical climate, and an original group of settlers willing and able to settle it. The opportunity to be a great nation was there for the taking - and the early Americans took it. In so doing they exhibited an endless capacity for hard work, boundless vision, the example of brilliant Founding Fathers - and and endless rapacity and cruelty when needed.

America became the world’s greatest superpower, a physical, economic, cultural and moral (at times) behemoth. With that came inevitable overreach.

I believe that America peaked in the 1960s and early 70s. In those years millions of young Americans, brimming with idealism, sought to curb the overreach. They fought against the war in Vietnam. They fought in favor of civil rights for blacks, and in the latter stages for women. They crusaded for environmental justice, particularly after Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. They forged a cultural explosion in music, movies and art. Some even imagined different ways of organizing life, with the commune movement for example. And they did all this with verve, wit, and righteous anger.

Sadly the movement burned out, a turning point for America. After a few desolate years in the Seventies when self-doubt crept into America after the loss of the Vietnam War and the impeachment of Richard Nixon, along came Ronald Reagan to “renew” America. His administrations were a call to America’s glorious past - a fierce renewal of the Cold War, blow after blow struck against unions, an orgy of deregulation so that businesses could flourish without the onerous burdens of the federal government. The Eighties was a wild and chaotic decade with Wall Street running amok, endless chest thumping by those prone to such displays, silly shows of strength against phantom enemies in Panama and Grenada. And on the darker side, there was the HIV epidemic, burgeoning economic inequality and a blindly zealous war against drug use, in the prosecution of which America begat the industry of incarceration.

This is when the culture change that Mike S. spoke of above took root. America became, for the poor and newly created poor, a land of bread and circuses. Fast food outlets proliferated and cheap reality television kept eyes on the set and minds away from revolution. The scandal of the obesity crisis reared its head and it and other related, prevented illnesses ran parallel to a general disenchantment and de-energizing of the American spirit. The deck was stacked against the marginalized and they sought their comforts where they could.

Fast forward and you have the Facebook-iPhone evil twins who together ensured that social media stormed the citadels, crashing its way into virtually every life. Communities of discontent arose where they hadn’t existed. Rabbit holes revealed themselves in YouTube with its endlessly looping videos and Twitter, with never a shortage of bitter insults and people trying in vain to get the most “likes” with the spiciest mots juste.

And then add in Trump.

And then Covid.

American culture - we, the people - is far down the well now. Gone is any pretense of purity or nobility or exemplification of America as that shining city on the hill.

Most of what most people do now is deeply meaningless and it is hard to generate a sense of communal enterprise. This is not the America we all knew.

“Kathy, I’m lost”, I said.

Though I knew she was sleeping.

“I’m empty and aching,

And I don’t know why.”

Counting the cars

On the New Jersey Turnpike,

They’ve all gone

To look for America.

All gone to look for America.

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Brother O’Donnell, I have appreciated your contributions to this forum in the past and look forward to more insightful comments in the future. However, I am compelled to address some of your thoughts in this rousing portrait of our nation’s history.

“Think to its beginnings- a bounteous land, two major oceans to shield it from enemies of consequence, a temperate to semi-tropical climate, and an original group of settlers willing and able to settle it.” What a wonderful vista, “a bounteous land.” “an original group of settlers willing and able to settle it.”

Think of the Indigenous peoples; think of their bounteous land, soon to be ripped from them and despoiled beyond belief! Think of these aboriginal peoples innocently and generously aiding these hapless brigands to survive in this beautiful land, so unforgiving of those who try to settle it with no knowledge of its hidden gifts and unseen snares.

Here is a telling sentence: “The opportunity to be a great nation was there for the taking - and the early Americans took it.” There was the “opportunity” for greatness, but instead these not-yet-Americans chose, not the sterling qualities of generosity and high morals, but the lower instincts of avarice and brutality. What they took were the lands and lives of those who had flourished on this continent for thousands of years!

There was one sentence that captured some of the reality of the founding and building of the colonies, and later the states: “[T]hey exhibited an endless capacity for hard work, boundless vision, the example of brilliant Founding Fathers - and and endless rapacity and cruelty when needed.”

When is rapacity and cruelty “needed”? When should we praise it as “endless”?

But not content with the genocide of these native inhabitants and the seizure of their lands and treasure, the foreign intruders began to “import” Black bodies ripped from their homelands in Africa. These enslaved human beings, my forbearers, were brought here to do the onerous, and oftimes deadly, labor without recompense––providing the foundation for the great wealth this nation enjoys––for those who are described as exhibiting “an endless capacity for hard work”

While I may be accused of overreaction to your comments, I found your words, in the main, to be so in tune with the myths that have been perpetrated, in song, story and film––and in the “history” books––that have enabled the purveyors of rapacious propaganda to hoodwink the American people for five centuries! What we see and experience today is the culmination of those 500 years of deceit and hidden degradation.

This is no Hollywood extravaganza; this is real life. John Wayne is not going to ride in on his trusty steed and roust the “bad guys” and chase them out of town.

Of course there is much to admire in the history of our nation. Of course there were times, moments at least, when we rose to the heights of the Founders’ rhetoric. But for too much of our history––from the beginning––the story has not been grand and too many people have been ground under the merciless heel of the insatiably greedy and abjectly immoral.

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Amen, Brother Willis. ( Fla to NYC)

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Yes, indeed, Mr. Willis! We are in a time of reckoning in this country and it is hardly befitting for us to be thumping our chests. As you point out, our fore fathers killed off the natives and enslaved the black man. Where is the honor in that? Where the dignity?

While the struggle for democracy at this moment is very real and of the utmost importance, we must acknowledge our wrong doing in humility. We must repent of our sins while at the same time insist and fight for a better and more equal America.

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I agree Ms. Heins. We are definitely at a crossroads and the only way we can be sure we make the right turn now is to face the reality of our history. If we decide on a course of action based on our mythical past, the way forward will be a false as the myths we base it on. Only reality can breed reality.

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That is a profound response and I thank you for it. I feel very badly that I managed to put a gauzy spin on the formative years. I take your reproach fully.

I thought that the part I wrote about “endless rapacity and cruelty when needed” would do more than it did do, in retrospect. “Needed” of course referred to the perceived needs of the settlers.

My main point was to be on the modern cultural trough that many Americans have fallen into and is so hard to escape. So, having been criticized for the length of my writing in the past, and not wanting to look like I was trying to be a mini Professor Cox Richardson, I summarized the early years briefly.

Too briefly. I see that now and can only offer apologies for it. I appreciate you taking the time to point this out so vigorously.

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MR. O’Donnell. I take off––not tip––my hat to you! Your gracious response to my assertive?––aggressive?––response, was most impressive! It lived up to my earlier assessment of you and your wisdom and perspective and humility.

My comments were intended, not only make a forceful statement of the historical and present-day facts as I see them and have experienced them, but also to shine a spotlight––floodlight––on our knee-jerk tendency to allow the American myth––fairy tale––to creep into our day-to-day chit-chat and discourse.

In addition, I wanted to give you another chance to edit––to rewrite––your comments…as you have so admirably done.

Again, I salute you for your laudable and invaluable sense of reality and responsibility. This nation––this world!––is in desperate need of women and men who can look themselves in the mirror and still tell it like it is!

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Not that I am trying to sell religion, since, I walked away from the Baptist Church 38 years ago, however,

The American Orthodox Christian (Greek) Church is a well managed church, with well read and well trained priests who are NOT chasing little boys around on Sunday and who can provide a wealth of reading material on fourth century Conference at Nicaea where Christianity was defined.

I attend every week. I get great comfort from the beauty of the choir and the 1600 year old liturgical chants.

Maybe give it a try?

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Whose bounteous land? It was there for the taking? Whose?? And what about the African holocaust that brutally killed so many, turning them into slaves - and that for generations? No. I cannot agree with you, even though I love the song...

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The prophet Micah in the Tanach (old testament to most christians) was railing against the leadership of Jerusalem for their dishonesty and avarice. He predicted the downfall of the land if the leadership didn't make an about-face. His words, likely the only ones of his that most folks know, is (I use the New International Version, which is a good translation of the Hebrew):

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God."

So, how are we doing with this?

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An important idea, thank you

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Thank you.

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As I read Heather's description of the heroic soldiers who won the battle against Britain and the words that inspired them to fight, I think about how that call to action was twisted sufficiently to dupe some Americans into believing storming our Capitol was patriotic. The former P had people at all levels of power lined up behind him. Who is lining up to defend President Biden and his plans to restore and strengthen our society? Well, you are one of them, Cathy. Disseminate, publish your letter far and wide. And thank you.

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Send it as LTE to West Virginia papers.

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Important advice. The national press seems more interested in sensationalism than in specifics. Let the people hear your voice, Cathy! And thank you for your thoughtful and articulate comment/letter. ❤️

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“The national press seems more interested in sensationalism than in specifics.” or substance

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I have sent it to the West Virginia Gazette and to USA Today. Thank you for the encouragement. Also the WaPost.

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Same here. They draped themselves in whatever flag to which they declared allegiance.

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Yes to this.

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I'm with you all the way, Cathy!

Below are links regarding the hypocrisy of Joe Manchin. 35 years ago I went door-to-door explaining to neighbors that because of Prop 2 1/2 (Massachusetts property tax ceiling levy) the town needed tax "overrides" in order to fund the school budget. We did and our schools are so much better for being funded. On a national level it is the "guns vs. butter" debate that has gone on for decades.

Make no mistake about it, the only constituent Joe Manchin cares about is himself and his family. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2021/10/joe-manchin-daughter-heather-bresch-mylan-epipen and of course, this: https://www.businessinsider.com/senator-joe-manchin-half-million-year-coal-stocks-climate-crisis-2021-9

While there was some real hope with Biden's agenda, the bottom line and reality is with Manchin's thumbs down, people (women of course) are going to be left begging for funding for social programs (so many that impact women and children directly) and infrastructure (that directly affect rural and poor communities). Lucy (Manchin) pulling away the football once again! 60 Minutes did a piece last night (12/19) on "America's Dirty Secret" which was an eye opening example of how deplorable the conditions are in rural Alabama. People in this country are living in conditions that are as bad as any poverty stricken country. https://www.cbsnews.com/video/60minutes-2021-12-19/

I'm not sure how we get action, but action is definitely needed. The frustration felt by the WH (and anyone with a functioning brain cell) is beyond the pale. The republicans (Manchin is a DINO) have zero ability to govern or lead and mess things up with each of their administrations and the democrats are left cleaning up the crap but have to do so with republicans throwing more of it into the pile.

https://theweek.com/democrats/1005529/joe-manchin-whines-about-35-trillion-but-he-spent-91-trillion-on-defense

https://newrepublic.com/article/164668/media-defense-spending-build-back-better

https://www.businessinsider.com/sanders-manchin-build-back-better-social-spending-opposition-west-virginia-2021-12

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Thank You Cathy, and Thank You Janet!!! And Most of ALL, Thank You Heather!!! It's one thing after Another with the Republicans, BUT joe manchin IS A DISGRACE!!! 😠

Thank you Ladies for Educating the Whole Bunch of Us, With Your Knowledge and your links😊

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Manchin continues in a fairly predictable pattern. The question is, why does anyone accept his “word”?

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Robert Hubbell wrote in "Today's Edition" this: "Joe Manchin announced “live” on Fox News on Sunday that he would not support the Build Back Better legislation. The good news is that we are now free of Joe Manchin’s performative handwringing. He is who we suspected all along. He is a politician in the worst sense of the word: He lacks compassion, empathy, generosity, and honesty. In place of those virtues, he exhibits cunning, greed, narcissism, and selfishness. We can now move forward with a clearer view of the political landscape and greater sense of resolve. If we want to deliver on the promise of a healthier, more secure, and more just America, we must control margins in the Senate and the House that make dissemblers like Senators Manchin and Sinema irrelevant."

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Dec 21, 2021·edited Dec 21, 2021

Robert Hubbell is correct, it seems. But, while we are blaming Manchin, how about the 50 Rs in the Senate who could put Country first. How about working on those avenues to health?

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Good morning, I am full of despair. I needed HCR’s letter this morning. My understanding via WaPo or NYT, that Manchin gave maybe 2 senators a heads up (he called them) but he had one of his staff people call the WH. So, what does that tell you. The gall by which he operates is stunning…Manchin said he can’t go back to the people of WV after endorsing the BBB is stunning…his constituents wouldn’t fare better under a child tax credit? Universal pre-k? He’s a liar, and a snake. And then, NPR piles it on….first thing this am, about Biden’s low approval rating???? I’m terribly distraught. And the climate issue…..

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Dec 20, 2021·edited Dec 20, 2021

Rage. Anger so dark it’s turned to rage. Despair. Depression from a despair that is paralyzing. Now is the moment I have to remind myself of Stacey Abrams response to her stolen loss in 2018 for the will to carry on the fight. She’s my political role model and touchstone. There’s no where to hide. We have to fight on. ❤️🤍💙

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Sending you ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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And he did it on Fox news! Daria is right. He's a saboteur.

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That tells us a lot about his leanings; and we know so much more, thanks to the Press. I wonder if he'll wait till after the 2022 elections to announce he's a Repukelican or do the ultimate damage he can by doing it before those critical elections. I wouldn't put past him to do the latter.

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Agree, Barbara. He's capable of evil similar to McTurtleneck.

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Oh I agree. A spineless saboteur.

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A skilled and cunning one

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Try not to despair.

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One of our nations distinguished educators once said “Don’t let them drive you to despair; fight on.” Indeed, we need such resolve now on behalf of our American experiment in democracy.

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I'm in your camp. I read Cathy's letter and admire the spirit in which it is written but the comments appear to support the NPR polls. "I don't care whether you are a Democrat or a Republican because neither party represents me because of their extreme positions on everything."

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I always try to channel my anger into something constructive. It works.

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Anyone reporting poll numbers seems oblivious to how rarely they are right. Mystifying. I was also angry at NPRs seemingly gleeful reporting on that, Regina. The good news is President Biden has been around this political block a time or two. From all appearances, he just gets up another day to “chop wood and carry water” . Let’s send him, and other members of the administration messages that we noticed.

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In 1907 the nation faced an enormous national debt, and J.P. Morgan saw the financial stability of the nation as threatened. Mr. Morgan called his directors to his Manhattan home, locked the doors to his library, and announced to his directors that they themselves were going to pay off the national debt or not leave that room. It took a while, but in the end the national debt was paid off by the men in J.P.'s room. And i would suggest that an effort to match that of 1907 is in order. President #45 gave an enormous tax break to our One Per Cent; now it is Giveback Time.

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Several years ago, Warren Buffet called on the top-of-the-top US billionaires to contribute at least $1 billion to the US Treasury to reduce the national debt. He did; the WSJ was full of disdainful comments by others.

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So well written! As Berry M. Please share widely in local hews outlets (TX, WVa etc as well as in the National Press. This deserves to be read and discussed!

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Or maybe Fox would like to blast it out for a follow up, hahahaha

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I would venture to suggest that it 's not "Putin's oligarchs" that persuade (maybe control) Manchin's decisions in the Senate, but rather our own capitalist oligarchs that staunchly and pragmatically believe in government of, by, and for corruption through bribery, now regarded as "freedom of speech". They have more money, more lawyers, more political operatives, more ad men, more right wing think tanks, more infiltrating trojan horses like Manchin and Sinema, more press and media doing their propaganda, more organized and active constituents and more ersatz churches than God.

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Dec 20, 2021·edited Dec 20, 2021

"The tactics used by dark money groups like One Nation have evolved and even matured over time as the outer bounds of what you can get away with are more clear," Brendan Fischer, Campaign Legal Center. Consider the lack of enforcement by IRS (resource strapped) and deadlocked FEC. Who else do you consider to be the trojan horses?

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Obviously, it's their judges. There's a steady stream now of comment on the advent and nature of tyranny. The one salient and memorable observation about fascism for me is the inexorable blood bond that develops between political power and business/finance interests. The great irony here is the American deceptive doctrine of identifying tyranny with socialism.

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FBI and CIA. When was the last time they did anything at all towards the trump family, hidden oligarchs international maneuverings or Republican inspired terrorism?

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Thanks, Cathy! As always, you inspire me.:)

I will write my letter today .

As Ellie Kona says….”Engage in a daily action to make your voice heard.”

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Engage in daily action - excellent reminder! Thanks to you for repeating Ellie’s wisdom here.

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Really, do you think Joe is not gleefully aware of your arguments. The two Trojan horses told us who they were way back, But still using hope to accomplish their goal, they have betrayed not only “their” party, but the country. Deliberately and gleefully. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a lightening strike…

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What an excellent letter, Catherine! Thank you for posting it here. As he won't read it if you send it to his office (it will get read by staff and filed), I'm wondering if there's a way you can make it public? We need to think of ways to publicly put pressure on him. Update: I agree with those who recommend sending it as a letter to the editor especially WaPo and West Virginia papers. The Twitter idea is cool too!

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I wonder if there's a way to set up a fund to take out a full page ad in every major West Virginia newspaper on the same day. That might get some attention!

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Honestly, I have been thinking about that also. Wonder how much an ad would cost? I am certain it’s a pretty penny but if all who read HCR’s letters could pitch in a little something, we might be able to pull it off.

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Why isn't the DNC doing that?

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Cathy, your letter is extremely well thought out and articulated. I read it earlier on HH but had lousy internet access so could not comment at the time.

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Dec 20, 2021·edited Dec 20, 2021

(Proof that internet access is essential and why it's in BBB.)

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The Seattle Times yesterday had a story about the lack of broadband service to rural areas and the impact that has on the people who live there.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/when-the-world-turned-digital-hundreds-of-thousands-of-washingtonians-were-shut-out-will-massive-government-funding-solve-the-problem/

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Brava, Cathy!

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Anyone else watch 60 Minutes last night, and now hearing about Manchin feels absolute despair and disgust? For what it's worth, here's his phone number in DC (Senator Manchin’s Washington, D.C. office at 202-224-3954) or you can email him https://www.manchin.senate.gov/contact-joe/email-joe

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I have just finished emailing Lisa Murkowski asking for her to cross party lines and give support to the BBB. I also looked into and discovered that both Alabama's senators are GOP; I emailed them both, mentioning the appalling 60 Minutes segment and urging them also to cross party lines and support the BBB. I'd ask anyone here reading to consider doing the same.

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Write to Every R senator, and call. Then do it again.

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Thank you for the number. I just left him a message asking what his price is so that we can pay him to do the right thing for his constituents and us. I added clearly he sold his ass to the big money and we would raise enough to cover his cost if he voted the right way. I also added fuck you asshole!

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Brilliant

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Yes, I posted the 60 Minutes link in a prior couple of comments - here's a truncated version of what I wrote: Below are links regarding the hypocrisy of Joe Manchin and the 60 Minutes episode:

Make no mistake about it, the only constituent Joe Manchin cares about is himself and his family. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2021/10/joe-manchin-daughter-heather-bresch-mylan-epipen and of course, this: https://www.businessinsider.com/senator-joe-manchin-half-million-year-coal-stocks-climate-crisis-2021-9

While there was some real hope with Biden's agenda, the bottom line and reality is with Manchin's thumbs down, people (women of course) are going to be left begging for funding for social programs (so many that impact women and children directly) and infrastructure (that directly affect rural and poor communities). Lucy (Manchin) pulling away the football once again! 60 Minutes did a piece last night (12/19) on "America's Dirty Secret" which was an eye opening example of how deplorable the conditions are in rural Alabama. People in this country are living in conditions that are as bad as any poverty stricken country. https://www.cbsnews.com/video/60minutes-2021-12-19/

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What would happen if we focused on trying to get Republicans in the Senate moving in the direction of a change in the filibuster? They can come together to pass certain other bills, including the huge military one recently. Are Republicans, every one of them, against a new voting rights bill or a change in the filibuster? Are we, am I , too late to this party?

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Somebody said that Dems need to call Rs bluff on voting rights and pass the bill. Lisa Murkowski?

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Again, for what its worth, I just fired off an email to Murkowski to ask her to watch the 60 Minutes segment, to feel it in her heart that the BBB is best for Americans and to cross party lines to vote for it.

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Which other R Senator could break off?

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I just finished emailing both of Alabama's (GOP, no surprise here) Senators saying how appalled I am about the 60 minutes segment and asking them to cross party lines to support the BBB as perhaps their lacking infrastructure could benefit from it.

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Is there a Republican with integrity. Even Liz and Adam are die hard, others are bat-Schitt cult nuts, others are definition of greedy bastards, who is left?

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Lisa Murkowski in Senate?? She listened to Amy Klobuchar.

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Yes, there are

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Cathy, given the length, you should turn this into an essay or call it "an open letter to Manchin" and send it to Ideas at the WaPo and if that doesn't work, to WVa papers as an essay. Check with each place you send as to what length they want. They won't look at something that's way too long. LTEs are generally not more than 200 words in big papers. If you lack anyone who can provide similar advice, let me know here, and I can let you know how to reach me.

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As someone pointed out (I thought it was in HCR, but maybe wassomewhere else) that while it is good for the soul to vent, long letters such as these, get filed and never read. Make them SHORT and PITHY - 3-4 LINES MAX! (and indicate whether for or against the political issue you are responding to).

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I agree, but what are 3-4 lines to get your point across??

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True - that IS a problem - but the advice came from someone worked in the Senate (wish I could find the reference) and whose job it was to deal with the emails and letters - who explained quite concisely what happened to them and how they were dealt with.

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The best thing I've found is to develop a relationship with a member of their staff in your local area or when you go to the state capital and do citizen lobbying.

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There's no proof that The American Crisis was read to the troops before they crossed the Delaware, but it's in my family oral tradition that Private Isaac Cleaver, a Quaker from Germantown, Pennsylvania, who had left the church to join the fight, was a member of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia and was among the 5,000 troops who heard the pamphlet read to them (it was commissioned by Washington for that purpose). Then he and the others crossed the Delaware and lay in the snowy forest overnight, and in the morning they took Trenton Barracks and saved the Revolution, and he took the Hessian short sword made in Hesse in 1745 according to the stamp on the haft of the blade, from the Sergeant of the Hessian Guard. It's been in my family for six generations now and hangs on the wall over my desk, as "inspiration". I had it dated and verified by an antique weapons expert at Sotheby's local office here 40 years ago. The sword is real and I think the story is, too. Though they were selfishly too busy that night giving us the Christmas Gift of the Revolution living, to take the time and do their duty and write down anything of what happened for we later historians. I once offered it to the Smithsonian, but their historians told me an "oral provenance" was insufficient for them to accept. So we keep it.

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Our thanks to Private Isaac Cleaver, to Gen. George Washington, to Thomas Paine - and to you.

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Flattery will get you *everywhere* Jean-Pierre! :-)

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That is a wonderful tidbit of history. I suspect I have a patrilineal ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War; sadly, the side of the family that traced the genealogy was only interested in the maternal line. His entry into the genealogy was "<insert female name> married Tom House, a Farmer, in 1791." That fits with the oral tradition of reporting that every generation of House in the US had a member that served in the military. Until mine.

I have a long story of why my generation broke that but it is not for telling here.

I'd love to have you write about this on Another Fine Mess.

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I'm going to. Friday.

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Dances for joy! Well... trundles happily.

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TCinLA. Absolutely amazing add on to Dr. Richardson's letter. Thank you.

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Flattery *will* get you *everywhere*, Mike! :-)

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:-)

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Between your creative, revolting and scrambled curses, you are, TC, an 'inspiration' to us. Thank you.

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Old Hollywood Rule: "the best flattery is the truth." :-)

thanks!

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You know, TC, I cling to the truth as I know it.

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You do indeed! :-)

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What an inspiring account! Thanks for sharing this "oral provenance" with us, TC :)

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Wow! Thank You TC! Can you post this story on your Substack site with a picture? We could use the inspiration, too!

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No pictures, you never know where one will go nowadays or what it might inspire. I'll try and find another photo of one of these so you can see what they look like, but not the genuine article.

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TC, what a great family story. Maybe it belongs in your family and not hidden away in a museum.

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The problem is, it doesn't meet "museum standards" - unless I was donating it to an "aviation museum."

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Very informative - and interesting! Thanks for that.

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Your historical musings are gems, TC. Awesome family history.

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What an inspiring, indeed glorious retelling of the origins of our democracy, one that evokes the trials of the present moment and inspires confidence. Thank you, Heather!

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Thank you for reminding us that when we lay our “shoulders to the wheel”, we have collectively achieved what others believed inconceivable. As with the American Revolution and the Civil War, we are at a historic inflection point.

Your newsletter is a daily reminder to dig in & keep fighting, regardless of how tired or disenchanted we may become. This may be the fight of our lifetime, the third time our republic nearly slipped through our grasp. This is the moment to clench her in our fists and hold on for dear life.

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Amen, Gina. Thank you for articulating this so clearly!

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Thanks, Professor Lady. I needed this one. Hearing the pundits talk about how Biden’s poll numbers are dropping, I think, “ Come on people! If he wasn’t trying to do something hard, he wouldn’t be doing the job he’s elected to do.”

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But President Biden's poll numbers have been steadily increasing since October (538 poll) Eric Boehlert on his Press Run blog has some great information on why the Press treats This President as they do.

See "Chasing Clicks-the Media's Trump slump and shoddy journalism" by Boehlert.

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Thank you Barbara! Follow the money.

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The Press also misses the excitement and the endless opportunities to get before a camera and be dramatic about the trump mess.

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Dear HCR -- I wish that you had been my US History teacher!

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She is, now!

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Indeed, here at Letters From An American University! LFAA U!

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Dec 20, 2021·edited Dec 20, 2021

Kathy, my kindred spirit, I was about to post the same, when I came upon yours.

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Great minds, girlfriend! I feel the same about you.

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At BU? Lucky you!

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No, here, with all of us.

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Dear Lord! Don’t we all!

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Amen to that!

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She is now.

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This Letter should be packaged with appropriate pictures for students who learn from pictures with words spoken to teach the American Revolution for school curriculum. Heather Cox Richardson brings history alive with her profound skill and love of the subject. Over 800,000 West Virginian's if my memory serves me early in the morning, will lose the Child Credit starting in January, 2022. Perhaps they will respond to their Senator when their family can't eat?

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I am from NJ, and I live right off the road Washington’s troops used to advance on Trenton that fateful Christmas. In the before-times, I travelled that road every day to get to my commuter train. Every once in a while it would hit me what happened here and I would reflect on that fact. Lately, however, I find myself walking down my street to the road and just sitting and contemplating. It encourages me to think if we could come together to rid ourselves of one tyrant, we can surely do it again. I just hope we don’t have to fight another war to do so.

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Thank you, Heather for these daily letters. I freely admit to stealing some of the ideas in them for my letters to the editor of our local papers. I had been working on another one that lead with the quote from Abraham Lincoln about “The legitimate object of government,..." before Joe Manchin jerked the football out from under Biden. I may still finish it, since it will tackle the issue of "socialism" as it is misrepresented by Republicans, particularly those who write in to our papers.

I am starting to hear comments from friends and family that they can't expend anymore energy on this, and that they will be OK since they either live in a blue state or are white/Christian. One friend is actively exploring options to become an ex-pat. While I am white and Christian, I live in Wisconsin and have many friends in the LGBTQ community, and my church (UCC) is prominent in the social justice movement. I think just being Christian isn't going to be enough in a few years; it will have to be the right "flavor" of Christian. I am discouraged by the seemingly relentless stream of bad news, but I will not give up without giving it my best effort.

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Thank you for “staying the course” Robin. It isn’t easy to do as we all are learning, and seeing others walk away is god awful. I too have friends “who just don’t want to talk about it” any more. They have theirs, they will be OK, or so they think. Sending good vibes across the border to you, neighbor. Keep on keeping on!

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Thank you for not giving up. Steady kindness to all, whether in agreement or not, within 3 feet of you will make a difference. As President Biden says over and over “ no kidding”.

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Thank you for giving us the the encouragement of the words of Tom Paine and your description of what the Continental troops endured. At 6:30 a.m. in the darkness and temperature of 19 f degrees and the fear of Omicron surrounding us, it is good to be reminded of the sacrifice and suffering that the establishment of our nation incurred.

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Thank you, Dr. Cox-Richardson. I so very much needed today’s history lesson to sustain my belief that, amid the current potential undoing of the revolutionary promise of the republic, if one wants representative government subject to the will of the people, one must sacrifice for it. Lest we witness the unleashing of indescribable forms of tyranny, the struggle for freedom and democracy must be fought for.

Case in point: A couple of days ago, I replied to a fellow subscriber with the following post: “Though I, too, am frustrated with Manchin (and Sinema), stay tuned. A group of Senators that include Manchin are exploring Senate rule changes that would reinstate some form of the talking filibuster, that once exhausted, would conclude with an up or down majority vote. The current thinking is that voter protection legislation would be the first to benefit from this rule change.

“As for BBB, a handful of creative thinkers are stitching together legislation that would fall within Manchin’s $1.7 trillion figure over 10 years. They estimate they could preserve much of the child tax credit expansion, affordable child care and pre-K, fixes to ACA subsidies, with enough left to pick another policy. There also is the advantage of the legislation not lapsing, say in 3 years, were the Republicans to retake power.

“My point is that Dems conceivably can deliver on two principal goals: 1) pass legislation that blocks GOP initiatives to suppress and nullify votes and 2) show they can enact legislation that makes a noticeably enough difference in people’s lives to galvanize the base for 22. As stated, stay tuned.”

I imagine, when we each tuned in this morning and learned that Manchin had withdrawn his support for Biden’s entire Build Back Better agenda, my fellow subscriber felt as betrayed as I. Still, I am confident that the crafters of the edited down BBB proposal could already be contemplating alternatives. Indeed, I am.

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Barbara Jo, I heard your message, and I heard the brave and deep democracy advocate, Debbie Dingell's, message yesterday. Even though you and others fill my heart, there are still questions to ask but not to impede our determination. Manchin walked out of negotiating with the president without warning -- an assistant of his called the WH a half-hour before Manchin appeared on Fox. He has made his deal. Manchin thinks that he knows who's going to win and where the money will be. He has but his soul on it.

I am far from impressed with the Democrats' and Biden's strategy concerning passage of the national voting acts bills or Biden's agenda. I'm not fan of how the Democratic Party let the minority party rule, take the Supreme Court and legislative control of the legislative bodies in a majority of states:

'The breakdown of chamber control after the November 2020 election is as follows:

Democratic Party 37 chambers

Republican Party 61 chambers[1]

Democratic Party Republican Party One chamber with power sharing between the parties'

The Democratic Party has failed the American People in other important ways. We must continue in our role as engaged citizens. Who are the leaders at the forefront of the defeat tyranny?

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Fern, As I imagine you know, for decades, Republicans, more so than Democrats, have invested heavily in State and local elections. Regrettably, Republicans are now poised to lay the groundwork for undermining the next election. Still, in the last few days, I’ve been uplifted by members of the Senate caucus who no longer expect either Manchin or Sinema to consent to a carve-out and, thus, are exploring rule changes that would resuscitate some version of the talking filibuster that, once exhausted, would conclude with an up or down majority vote. I plan to do all I can to advocate for their success. As for you asking, “Who are the leaders…”, I decided some time ago that it’s up to us to organize and to acquire the knowledge and strength to take responsibility for our collective destiny.

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Sorry for this late response, Barbara. I am familiar with the Koch Bros. long and active engagement with the course of legislatures in a number of states. The Republicans dirty hands are all over the election machinery as well. I saw the Rachel Maddow's interviews with both Bernie Sanders and Pramila Jayapal, last night. There aren't more dedicated public servants with their shoulders to the wheel. Your knowledge and organizing work to awaken more Americans, Barbara, spur our commitment. Thank you.

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Fern, I write to thank you for your kind words, but also to say how much I value your voice on this site. Blessings to you and yours. B

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Barbara, Your message touched me as an embrace from the dear compatriot. Thank you. Such kindness cemented our spirit moving forward. Salud.

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Only thing I would change in your post is that Manchin has already sold his soul. No bets needed.

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I feel that the BBB legislation could be whittled down to 1 billion, and Manchin would find that he couldn't support it. I don't think it is the numbers that have turned him against it.

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Christi, Admittedly, Manchin, whom I’m told has little to no chance of winning re-election in 24 were he even to run, no doubt is driven by self-serving ambitions. Still, if the principals remain committed to resuming negotiations, I would hope that progressive Dems, within reason, would accept whatever terms might be reached, realizing that this “win” combined with the past year’s accomplishments would amount to a formidable record to run on in 22.

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To those who wish to write to Joe Manchin, their representatives or their local papers, I recommend stressing a few points:

1. The $7+ trillion defense budget passed almost unanimously this year would have funded Build Back Better for more than 30 years. And Congress has been passing defense budgets of this magnitude every year.

2. Our defense spending is greater than the next 10 largest defense spending nations around the world.

3. Our defense spending has not provided any more defense than our adversaries enjoy with much less spending and less expensive methods of attack.

It hasn't stopped domestic terrorism and insurrection in our own country. It has not stopped Russia from invading former Soviet satellite nations attempting democracy. It has not protected us from Russia's interference in our elections and social media, as Russia works to disrupt and destroy our democracy. It hasn't stopped the proliferation of weapons and nuclear arms in smaller aggressive natives who threaten us and each other. In fact we sell many of these weapons. It hasn't stopped China from threatening Hong King, Taiwan and southeast Asian and Pacific nations.

4. Whereas we put all our money into military defense and resist investing in our domestic needs, our allies and adversaries do the opposite. They invest heavily in their domestic development, social needs and in international relationships. China has made infrastructure abroad a major diplomatic and economic priority. Cuba a nation the size of Tennessee sends doctors and medical teams to international disaster sites. India produces much of the world's vaccines and medicines. Africa gets most of its economic development support from countries other than the US. Whereas the US is a largest weapons dealer in the world. Our military priorities make us weak domestically.

5. The Soviet Union from 1945 to its collapse followed a course very similar to our present path. It spread propaganda and misinformation about its domestic issues and conditions to reinforce its autocratic leaders. It tried to make domestic conditions appear rosy while they were in fact decaying. They spent an abundance of resources on their military and wars like holding onto Afghanistan. They gave special attention and resources to their one party state leaders and supporters. Then eventually went broke.

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You’ve nailed it David. As we tilt perilously toward an oligarchy, a bloated military is a looming danger. It’s a hungry ghost swallowing more and more resources and an actual domestic threat if it falls into the wrong hands.

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The path forward from here, as laid out by Robert Hubbell:

"The path forward runs through us. We must blaze the path with small acts of democracy that will light the way for others. We must pave the path with our stubborn refusal to listen to those who tell us “You can’t win” or “Be afraid” or “Imagine the worst.” The path forward requires militant optimism—a vow never to give up, even if our role is only to hold the ramparts until future generations relieve us.

...First, engage in a daily action to make your voice heard.

...Second, help change the negative media narrative.

...Third, arrange group visits to the local field offices of your congressional and state representatives."

https://roberthubbell.substack.com/p/todays-edition-the-path-forward-756?r=6pp8t&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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And fourth, Ellie, do something every day not political to reduce stress level in your life. Why does it seem the caring people are the ones taking the biggest hit now while the heartless and smarmy liars continue to ignore reality, history, and their legacy to the next generations?

😖🤯🇺🇸🏃🏽‍♀️

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Yes to self-care! Let’s post this on Hubbell’s Substack. If you don’t have a subscription, may I copy and paste there, giving you credit?

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Post where ever you like. No credit needed. It's just my rant while losing too many wonderful people who did their best to make a better world.

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Ellie, thank you!

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Dear Heather,

Your call, just as that of Thomas Paine's, touches the depths of the soul. Thank you for selecting his lines to bolster the hope we so crave these wintry days. A handful of insurrectionists and turncoats (namely, Manchin) cannot and must not demoralize nor discourage us from standing up to their demonic ploys.

Like Paine and Cathy below, we must use the power of the pen to uplift and flatten the resolve of all naysayers. Like you and Paine, our beloved chroniclers continue to empower us through the grimmest of battles during the bleakest of days.

Thank you!

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Thank you, Professor Richardson. Today's Letter embodies the reason we come here, each and every day.

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"As I woke up [ at Midnite ] to breathe the air ... " around Tom Paine. Thank you Professor Richardson, it has been 225 years to the Day since Tom's pamphlet. We needed that.

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