What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 100...Dear Mr. President... Today would have been my Father's 96th Birthday.

Day 100

Dear Mr. President,

This is my 100th letter and I wanted it to be something special, so I thought I tell you how the government has helped my family over the years.

This is September 30th, and if my father had lived he would have been 96 today, but he’s been gone for 46 years… he died of a massive heart attack at the age 50. It seems almost inconceivable that he’s been dead almost as long as he lived, and I’ve already lived 15 years longer than he did.

When my dad died I still had three siblings living at home with my mom. Although I was only 20 at the time, I was on my own with two children of my own. My three siblings that were still at home were 13, 8, and 3 years of age. Thankfully my mother was able to collect Social Security for herself and the 3 kids. Although my mother was almost 50 at the time, she was able to get a job that included health care for her and the kids… I don’t believe that would not be possible in today’s economic climate. Even though they had to move to a smaller house, my mom was able to get the younger kids is a state daycare program, which today would not be possible either.

It was Social Security that allowed my brothers and sisters to go to college and make a life for themselves, in spite of losing their father at such a young ages. I don’t know what would have happened to my family without Social Security, but I am truly grateful it was there for them.

On Day 2 of my LTTP’s (letters to the President) I told you about my brother Charlie passing away at age 57. Charlie lived 7 years longer than my father, and like my father, Charlie had high blood pressure. Charlie had been out of work for almost two years and was uninsured when he died. He was however, able to get his blood pressure medicine through Planned Parenthood at no cost to him. All they ever asked was a donation when and if he could make one, just to defray the cost of the medication. Without the help of Planned Parenthood Charlie would most likely have died even sooner than his 57 years and we are grateful for those extra years.

My husband and I are currently collecting Social Security and we are both on Medicare, which I must say is a wonderful program, for which we are both extremely grateful, since we are both cancer survivors.

I am just one person… this is just one family, and all of these “Government Programs” that have helped us survive are the very same programs that the Republicans would do away with. We quite simply can’t afford to let that happen. We are counting on you to fight for us and for our families… for we represent millions of other families all over the country.

So for my Father, on what would have been his 96th birthday, I implore you to please keep fighting…. for America and Americans.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 99...Dear Mr. President... It's time for an 'end run' around Congress.

Day 99

Dear Mr. President,

It’s not easy putting yourself out there, expressing your beliefs, offering your ideas on how to move this country forward, but you’re doing it. I want you to know that you’re not alone… Two Governors have now proposed establishing single-payer health plans in their states… Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont and Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana.

Although there are significant legal challenges ahead, it is clear that both of these Governors are dedicated to doing what is best for their states, their people and employers. Both states would of course have to ask for waivers to opt out of the Affordable Care Act, which you signed in 2010.

You can well imagine how the insurance companies will react to these bills, because they will stop at nothing, and spend whatever it takes to defeat any proposed single-payer plans. In Vermont alone, insurers will lose 625,000 residents’ health care premiums and their profits. It would also sever ties in the state between employment and health care, putting no health insurance mandate on employers. Insurers cannot afford to let even one state succeed in implementing single-payer, because it wouldn’t be long before all states and employers would be demanding it.

So while all the Republicans are yapping about ‘big gov’mint’ and returning the power to the states… here are two Governors proposing just that. In this case I’m all for it, because if it passes, and it would, it would be the first significant step towards a national single-payer plan, which is what you wanted in the first place.

I remember when the tobacco industry yelled and screamed when states first started proposing laws than banned smoking in restaurants and bars, saying that they would lose business, people would go to places where they could smoke… etc… etc… That scare tactic only worked for so long, because in fact, the smoking ban was actually good for business. The people who didn’t smoke simply stayed away from smoking establishments, choosing to stay home instead.

My question today Mr. President is:  Will you support Govs. Shumlin and Schweitzer’s request to opt out of the Affordable Care Act and allow them to implement a single-payer system in their state? I can’t think of a better end run around our Republican lead Congress then to circumvent them at every possible opportunity.

So by putting themselves out there… Govs. Shumlin and Schweitzer are leading the way for real health care reform, and I hope they can count on your support in their efforts on behalf of the citizens of Vermont and Montana. Then we’ll see who’s next.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 98...Dear Mr. President... The G.O.P. is a P.O.S. ~ no not that POS!

Day 98

Dear Mr. President,

I’ve solved the riddle of how to handle the GOP from now on… this not only works for those candidates running on the GOP ticket, but for those already in the House and Senate. And, it explains the vast majority of GOP supporters, albeit, a few exceptions.

The G.O.P. is a P.O.S…. no, not that POS… the Party of Sociopaths. Think about it for just a minute and I’m sure you’ll agree. Just look at some of the common features and descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths and see who fits the profile.

Glibness and Superficial Charm… a few names instantly come to mind... Perry, Palin, Bush, Bachmann, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Cantor, and Boehner… to name a few.

Grandiose Sense of Self… yep the Grand Old Party feels entitled to certain things as their right. Their right to pay less in taxes, their right to make obscene profits, etc…

Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt… at their core is a deep-seated rage that is split off and repressed. They do not see others as people… we saw evidence of that in all three debates, from the audience applauding 235 executions in Texas, to yelling yes to the ‘let him die’ question. And, not once did any of the candidates object to the audiences’ callous disregard for human life because they do not see them as people.

Manipulative and Conning… they are self-serving and never see the rights of others. They are covertly domineering and hostile, while appearing to be charming. Sound like anybody you know?

Shallow Emotions… they are often outraged by insignificant matters, while remaining unmoved and cold, by things that would upset a normal person. This one is easy… outraged by your birth certificate and your religion, but unmoved by the plight of the unemployed, the homeless, the hungry, and the elderly… to name a few.

Callousness, Lack of Empathy… unable to empathize with the pain of their victims having only contempt for their feelings of distress, and readily taking advantage of them. The first thing that comes to mind is the GOP’s stance on immigration. This can also apply the GOP wanting to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Some other related qualities… contemptuous of those who seek to understand them. That certainly explains how they treat you Mr. President. They do not perceive that anything is wrong with them it’s always the other guy. Although conventional in appearance, they are tyrannical authoritarian, secretive, paranoid, and narcissistic. Doesn’t that just about sum up the vast majority of the Republican Party?

So you see Mr. President, the GOP is a POS, and now that you know that you’ll know how to handle them in your own inimitable style.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 97...Dear Mr. President... mired in a cesspool of mass incivility

Day 97

Dear Mr. President,

On a recent trip to Germany, Pope Benedict at one point while addressing the crowd, called for spiritual renewal among the people. That got me thinking about what that really means, and what I think is really missing in the public arena. Good Manners.

How can we, as a people, achieve any kind of spiritual renewal if we lack basic manners? We see it day after day, on the news, in the papers, and especially on the web… people posting all sorts of rude things on Facebook and Twitter. Then like ripples on the water after a pebble is dropped, those rude comments generate even more… and so it goes on and on until we’re all mired in a cesspool of mass incivility.

You know what that’s like Mr. President… you experienced it when Rep. Joe Wilson yelled out “You Lie!” in 2009 while you were addressing Congress. That was not only disrespectful, but, exceedingly rude.

Recently while working on her reality series, Bristol Palin was verbally attacked because someone doesn’t like her mother, Sarah Palin. He shouted obscenities at a young woman who has absolutely no responsibility for things her mother says or believes. But for some reason that young man thought he had the right to berate Ms. Palin while she was out doing her job. While I am certainly no fan of Sarah Palin’s politics or beliefs, it is totally unacceptable to take it out on her daughter.

Even within my extended family, there are bouts of incivility. My nephew recently posted on his FB wall… “Apparently I’m rude! HA!”  To which I replied, “I find that nearly impossible to believe… I know who raised you, and I know who raised her…LOL” meaning… I know you have manners. I’ve never known him to be rude, and my guess is that he wasn’t actually rude, but someone took it that way.

You’d think that would have been the end, but a few days later his sister pops in with her own comment directed at me… “I find it funny Gadfly Granny made such a comment… considering we all know how wonderful she treats people.” To which I replied, “How would you know Jess, since you unfriended me a couple of years ago because I didn’t appreciate your “rude” and profane posts.” (posts that would appear on my wall from time to time) At that point she told me I was “…nosy and mean” and that she was “tired of me giving her family a hard time yet again…” Really… I was essentially telling her brother that I didn’t believe he was rude, and his sister thought that I was rude and nosy… sometimes you just can’t win.

So you see Mr. President how quickly civility unravels even in families. See how one little pebble dropped innocently into to pond can become a tsunami… and so it goes on all around us. In the long run, it’s not a spiritual renewal we need, it’s a lesson in manners and a return to civility that we all need, myself included.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 96...Dear Mr. President... One Crazy, Scary group of people...

Day 96

Dear Mr. President,

Last night I watched the third Republican debate… ‘sigh’… it was truly awful. Each one gets more and more difficult to watch and listen to because the candidates are so hateful, vile and absolutely committed to seeing you fail as President.

For those of us that believe in this country and want to see it recover, and see people begin to rebuild their lives, it is sickening to listen to such unashamed hatred, of not only you Mr. President, but the poor, the uninsured, the unemployed, seniors and children. I say this because they would slash programs for all of these groups. Some of them claiming and even promising to do it on ‘day one’ if elected. Appalling!

I’m sure you’ve heard that Michele Bachmann said that you have the lowest approval rating of any President in modern times. Really Michele? So she’s saying that in addition to other things she knows nothing about, that she don’t understand that numbers are sequential… 1,2,3,4, etc… and that your 40% approval rating is in fact, a higher number than Ronald Reagan’s 35%, or G.H.W. Bush’s 29%, or G.W. Bush’s 25%, or Nixon’s 24%? It must be that math thing again… she doesn’t get it.

And then we had the illustrious Rick Santorum, who not only didn’t acknowledge the service of Stephen Hill, or chastise the audience for booing, but when Hill asked the candidates what they would do with troops like him, Santorum went into a rant about sexual activity having no place in the military. Santorum said he would repeal DADT, and that removing it is a dangerous social experiment. What experiment is he talking about? I’m telling you Mr. President these people are scary… crazy, scary.

A few other choice tidbits that made me roll my eyes were: Gary (I promise) Johnson saying that the biggest threat to national security is that the U.S. is bankrupt, and Perry saying that the federal government has not engaged in any border security. So doubling the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents since 2004 is nothing, and the $200 million in federal funds to fill gaps in border security is nothing? It must be that math thing again… you know Mr. President… big scary numbers.

But my favorite head shaking moment came when Gov. Perry, while defending a question about his 2007 attempt to require all girls in Texas to be vaccinated against HPV, he said that if he made a mistake back then he’ll accept responsibility for it, but that he will always err on the side of life… What! Perry, err on the side of life? OMG… how many ways can you spell HYPOCRIT? Perry has more notches on his cowboy belt than any other Governor in history… 235 executions. Executions that he doesn’t lose any sleep over by worrying if any of them were actually innocent, but he will always err on the side of life… Really Gov. Perry?

One of these homophobic, ignorant, no math, murdering, RepubliTHUGS will be running against you in 2012… one crazy, scary group of people… 

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 95...Dear Mr. President... The Good, the Sad, and the Ugly.

Day 95

Dear Mr. President,

Yesterday was an amazingly joyful day and a depressingly sad day, for me, and millions of other Americans and people around the world.

September 21, 2011 in Sacramento California, in 100-degree weather, nearly 1,200 people from all walks of life, from countries all around the world, and ranging in ages from 18 to over 80, became U.S. Citizens. What a transforming and beautiful event.

My dear friend Lenka, whom I wrote about on Day 91, raised her right hand, took her oath, and swore to uphold the laws of the land and the Constitution of the United States, from any and all enemies both foreign and domestic. She did so without reservation or hesitation, because becoming an American Citizen was her lifelong dream. The oath is almost identical to the one you swore too on your inauguration, except these new Americans also swore to pick up arms and defend this country.

After all the paperwork was completed, Lenka, her daughter Romana, and I celebrated at a local restaurant with lunch and a bottle of champagne. I didn’t want the day to end, I didn’t want that feeling of joy to end, I didn’t want to come back to the realities swirling around my small world, instead, I wanted to revel just a little longer, remembering all the happy faces, filled with pride and love of their adopted country. I wanted to remember the little children watching parents become citizens, because now it means that they too can become citizens without fear of deportation later on in life.

But alas, I was forced back into recognizing an ugly part of America that was about to unfold on the very same day… the murder of Troy Davis in Georgia. I’m not going to get into his guilt or his innocence, but the fact that my country and now Lenka’s and 1,200 other peoples country, can still support the death penalty even though it has been proven to be flawed and ineffective. When our country is still murdering people in the name of the law, then the law is wrong, and we as a people are greatly diminished because of it. Sadly, in many ways America is still like many third world countries that we criticize as being barbaric… for we too, are proven barbarians.

Today as I opened the Sacramento Bee, I began eagerly scanning the pages looking for an article and maybe some pictures of the swearing in ceremony, hoping to recapture yesterdays bliss. I couldn’t find anything, not even a mention or a statistic about the number of new citizens. I enquired with a FB friend the works at the Bee… he didn’t know why the paper had quit covering those events, but that he’d been asked by the INS to be a guest speaker at a future event. “That’s great,” I said, “but what about yesterday?” I would have loved to save and frame a small article for Lenka, but I guess 1,200 new citizens isn’t big news these days, or maybe with all the anti-immigration rhetoric, it isn’t welcome news. Mr. President, I hope you’ll join me in apologizing to those new Americans, because their huge achievement deserves some recognition.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers, 
Your Gadfly Granny

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 94...Dear Mr. President... You've caught the vermin in their own trap.

Day 94

Dear Mr. President,

The last paragraph of my letter to you on Day 66 began with… “Brilliantly played Mr. President… and I have to say it again… Brilliantly played Mr. President.

Just when the GOP has been lulled into believing that you will acquiesce to all their demands, you lure them into a trap of their own making and slam the door shut. And like all captured vermin they’re snarling, snapping, and viciously trying to claw their way out of the trap.

Now that the Republicans have participated in two debates that clearly show each of them intend to kill health care reform, kill environmental reforms to combat global warming, kill job creation and the American Jobs Act, kill the Dream Act and Immigration reform, and kill any kind of tax loophole reform, or revenue raising bills you have proposed in the past… you spring the trap.

You’ve shown the Republicans for what they are… the “Kill anything Obama Party” even if it means destroying this country and watching ordinary Americans fall deeper in debt. You’ve shown the American people that the GOP has no other plan except that of keeping you from winning re-election. You’ve shown that if Republicans could have their way they would kill unions, kill collective bargaining rights, and kill any tax cuts for average Americans, while keeping tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

After pleading with you in letter after letter, to stop trying to negotiate with the GOP, you finally said enough is enough. It was music to these old ears to hear that Social Security is off of the table and that you would veto any attempt to cut Medicare benefits without raising taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers. My heart beat faster when you said that you will not support any plan that puts the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans.

This is the Obama I voted for in 2008, and this is the President Obama I will vote for again in 2012. You’ve given all of us proud liberals and progressives a bit of indigestion this past year, but I finally understand the master plan. I understand that you have not strayed from your true beliefs, and that you remain the “Peoples President”… and I expect to see you fulfill even more of your campaign promises in the months to come. Fulfilling those promises is the trump card that only you hold, so now that I know you’re not afraid to use it, I say… it’s time to ‘double down’!

So Mr. President, brilliantly played… you’ve sprung the trap on the GOP with their own vile rhetoric of ‘kill anything Obama’… even if it means killing America. You’ve shown them to be exactly what they are… “The Party of Petty Politicians.”

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 93...Dear Mr. President... A few things I hope to hear you say.

Day 93

Dear Mr. President,

This is the first of several letters that I will send letting you know some of the things I hope to hear you say in future speeches or in your travels around the country.

My fellow Americans… you have suffered enough at the hands of the Republican Party. Their idea of imposing a draconian-based austerity program on working and middle class people will not bring prosperity to the American people.

I have to take some responsibility for some of your suffering too… my failure to recognize that the freshmen in Congress and the Republican Party, have no interest in furthering the common good of the American people, has aided and abetted that suffering… a suffering I can no longer ignore.

My first order to relieve your suffering will be to direct all banks and mortgage holders to reduce all mortgages to reflect the actual current value of all homes, and to reduce their monthly payments to reflect that new market value, regardless of whether people are in default or not. I will not tolerate the discrimination of homeowners that are currently fulfilling their contracts, nor will I allow one more home to fall into foreclosure because of this travesty of fraud and greed.  There will be no reduction in mortgages held or owned by corporations or businesses. This is for working families and will take effect beginning on October 1, 2011… so banks and mortgage holders… you better get your house in order.

To the corporations that pay more to their CEO’s than they pay in taxes… your free ride is over… it’s time to put your CEO’s on the same austerity program you’ve imposed on your workers by cutting their pay, cutting their benefits, and eliminating their ability to organize or engage in collective bargaining.

To the five members of the Supreme Court who determined that corporations are people and voted to support Citizens United… Strike it down and strike it down now… your obviously partisan politics has no role on our Supreme Court and we cannot continue to allow corporations to donate unlimited amounts of money to individual campaigns… including my own. Along those same lines, it is my intention to recommend that Congress pass a law limiting the amount of money that can be spent on campaigns, and that the amount shall be the same for each and every candidate regardless of their ability to either raise or contribute more money to their own campaign. Money has corrupted our political integrity, and the only way to restore that integrity is to ‘starve the beast’.

I’ll be listening Mr. President, and I hope to hear some straight talk in the coming months… straight talk backed by swift action, the American people are waiting too.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 92...Dear Mr. President... Save Me From the 'Good Christians'.

Day 92

Dear Mr. President,

I don’t know how you do it, I don’t know how you keep turning the other cheek when people criticize your faith in God, and still insist that you are a Muslim born in Kenya. I am so sick and tired of people claiming to be “Good Christians,” and yet, acting in very ‘Un-Christian’ ways.

I was appalled at the audience response to the question being asked of Ron Paul about the hypothetical uninsured 30 year old needing long-term care, and if they should just let him die… the audience actually shouted out ‘yes’ let him die. And Pat Robertson saying a man should divorce his wife if she has Alzheimer’s. This is a man who became a billionaire off of Christians and Christian radio for God sake.

Then we have Rick Perry who unashamedly had no problem telling everyone he was proud of Texas’ record number of executions. He said he had no problem sleeping at night even if they occasionally execute an innocent man. And Perry has the audacity to tell us that “God” told him to run for President. If God was going to tell him anything it would be to “stop murdering” his children.

I saw a recent post on Facebook telling people not to buy Pepsi when the new can comes out because they put the pledge of allegiance on it using the pre-1954 version without ‘under God’ in it. It’s a can of soda trying to look patriotic for crying out loud, not trying to incite a riot or over-throw the government. It’s the Pledge of Allegiance!

I recited the original pledge until I was 9 years old, which was good enough for the whole country for 62 years until the Knights of Columbus campaigned Congress to add ‘under God’. In fact, Francis Bellamy wanted to add the word ‘equality’ but the Superintendents of Education were against equality for women and blacks. I’m sure those good people also claimed to be ‘Good Christians’.

This business of having to be so ‘politically correct’ all the time has reached a point where no matter what you say or how you say it… somebody is going to be offended and start calling you all kinds of vile names. Personally, I cringe, every time you end a speech with… “And may God Bless You, and God Bless the United States of America.” I cringe because I know what some people are thinking… that you’re not really a Christian, you’re just pretending to be one.

So after watching both Republican debates, and listening to the ‘Good Christians' on the right spew their vile rhetoric, I have just one thing to ask… “God, please, if you’re listening, save me from those Christians… they do not speak for you, they do not follow your teachings, and they are not loving as you have asked them to be, but forgive them, for they are lost and they know not what they do.”

And to you Mr. President… keep the faith, you are on the right path… you will prevail.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers, 
Your Gadfly Granny

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 91...Dear Mr. President... A New American Citizen to be Proud of.

Day 91

Dear Mr. President,

I want to tell you the story of an extraordinary woman named Lenka. I met Lenka nine years ago after seeing an ad in our local paper offering housekeeping services.

Lenka is from the Czech Republic and was here visiting her Czech boyfriend Jerry, who, at the time, had been in the U.S. for about 16 years. Jerry came with Lenka on that first visit because her English was limited. I knew the minute I met her, that she was special… she stepped into the house and immediately picked up our small Yorkie, who began showering her with endless kisses from his tiny tongue. Lenka was an animal lover, and that was good enough for me.

Over the months we began talking more and more because Jerry told us in our initial meeting that he and Lenka would be getting married in the near future, and we owned a bridal magazine. As time passed Lenka became nervous because her visa was about to expire and she would have to return to the Czech Republic. Jerry told her they would apply for a green card so she could stay longer and not to worry, he would take care of everything.

Long story short… after Lenka’s visa expired and she was now here illegally, Jerry said there would be no wedding. Lenka was devastated, hurt and frightened, as she learned about all the lies he had told her to keep her here. The woman Lenka lived with told her she wasn’t the first Czech woman he brought to America with the promise of marriage. Of course Lenka could not stay with a man who betrayed and lied to her.

Lenka’s dream of becoming an American citizen did not come easy… after working with immigration lawyers, and finally getting her green card, she could now begin to work toward her citizenship. She got a job, a license, went to school to learn how to speak and write better English, and she is a hard worker, and a wonderful friend.

On Monday September 12th Lenka took her test for citizenship and passed with flying colors. On the 21st of September at 8:30 in the morning she will take her oath, pledge her allegiance, and become a citizen at the age of 50 years, fulfilling a lifetime dream. Those of us who are fortunate enough to know this special woman, know that words alone cannot explain how happy we are for our friend, and soon to be fellow American. America is a better place already, because Lenka is here to stay.

One of the first acts of being a true American citizen will be to vote in her very first Presidential election. Like all new citizens, Lenka takes this responsibility very seriously and will do everything necessary to make an informed decision… I hope very much she chooses to be a Democrat and vote for President Obama in 2012.

I hope you’ll join me in congratulating Lenka for her determination and success at finally becoming an American Citizen, as I plan to be there, watching and cheering.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers, 
Your Gadfly Granny

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 90...Dear Mr. President... Moving Forward from this Day of Remembrance.

Day 90

Dear Mr. President,

On this 9/11 Day of Remembrance it is all too easy to look back, remember where you were and what you were doing on that fateful morning… but what does it accomplish moving forward, and how does it help us heal?

I was 17 when JFK was assassinated… I’m 65 now and I remember in great detail all of the above including exactly how I felt.  Remembering and reliving these events doesn’t change them, and it doesn’t even make us feel any better as time passes. Yes, we feel more appreciative that we are still alive and more grateful for all we have, while others lost their lives or their loved ones.

Instead, today I’d like to focus on the story of an amazing CEO and the financial services firm of Cantor Fitzgerald that refused to be defeated in spite of the catastrophic loss of 658 out of 960 employees. Occupying the 101st and 105th floors of the north tower, no employees in the offices at the time survived – whole divisions were completely decimated. CEO Howard Lutnick’s brother Gary, and his best friend and CFO Doug Gardner, were among the dead.  Lutnick was delayed getting to work that morning because he needed to take his son to his first day of Kindergarten. Others that survived were late getting to the office or away on a scheduled day trip.

Although there were whole divisions that could not be rebuilt, the employees that remained, returned to work, even though family members and friends were suddenly gone, and they had barely begun the grieving process. Within days they were back online with a new purpose and a new determination… to take care of the families of those employees lost on 9/11.

Even while struggling to rebuild the company – 25% of Cantors profits, were set aside for five years to be distributed to the families, which ultimately amounted to over $180 million dollars. Cantor kept that promise, distributing company profits to the families and paying for their health care for the last 10 years. “The best way to show someone you love them is to care for the people they love,” said Lutnick.

“We all had to commit to doing something different. It changed our outlook about what was important about business,” Lutnick said.

The attacks on the Twin Towers, “just created sort of that bang of what type of human being are you right here, right now,” said Lutnick. “I didn’t think there was a choice, either we take care of our friends’ families, or I’m not a human being.”

While we’ll never forget that horrific day, it’s time to move forward, it’s time for Americans to make a choice… do we continue to wage war against our perceived enemies, or do we decide what kind of America we want, right here, right now.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 89...Dear Mr. President... On the eve of Sept. 11th... what have we gained?

Day 89

Dear Mr. President,

On the eve of September 11th I can’t help but think of not only the horrific loss of lives on that day, but the loss of our security and the belief that we were safe in our own country. Wars and violence and terrorism happened to other people in other places around the world, not to our people and not in our country.

We were wrong…

In the ten years since that awful day we have suffered even more devastating losses… Over 6000 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Devastating because these wars were unwarranted, and the cost in lives lost, family devastation, and human suffering is incalculable, and yet we are still fighting and still killing and still sacrificing our young and women.

Our rush to war was wrong…

Over 300,000 men and women suffer from PTSD related to those wars, and an estimated 320,000 Vets have brain injuries. Tens of thousands more have lost one or more limbs, and worse yet, over 6000 U.S. war veterans commit suicide every year, that’s 18 every single day.

And while you urge each of us to remember the innocent victims of September 11th, I urge you and everyone else, to remember the innocent lives that have been sacrificed since then, and the lives of the families that have lost loved ones in two unfunded, unnecessary and unjustified wars.

It is wrong…

Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan both sound noble, but what freedoms, and whose freedom has actually been secured? Americans are a lot less free… we still have warrantless wiretapping, ridiculous airport security procedures involving shoes and underwear, the rise of anti-Muslim hate crimes, and the loss of innumerable civil liberties that were part of our democracy.

The Iraqi’s and Afghani’s just want freedom from America’s interference in their country… and freedom from our bombs and our weapons of mass destruction.

I ask you Mr. President, on the eve of 9/11… Has the loss of lives, the human suffering, the sacrifices, the destruction of our economy, the world economy, our freedoms, the security of our country and around the world, been worth the price we paid and continue to pay each and every day?

Let’s honor those innocent victims of 9/11 by turning these wrongs into rights, and bring our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and our sons and daughters home.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers, 
Your Gadfly Granny

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 88...Dear Mr. President... Congratulations! "You Gave 'um Hell Barry!"

Day 88

Dear Mr. President,

What an amazing speech you gave last night… 32 minutes of music to this ole’ Granny’s ears. You said exactly what I wanted to hear, and you delivered it in exactly the tone I needed to hear. Congratulations and “Thanks for giving ‘um Hell Barry.”

You did an outstanding job of communicating precisely what this country needed to hear… a plan to put Americans back to work. On Day 87 of my Letters to the President I asked you to “Call out the current Congress… tell them what your plan is… and to tell them to get started on putting people back to work”… and you did just that. In a brilliant and masterful way, you defined for the American people what The American Jobs Act is, what it will cost, and then asked Congress to pass it now.

I’m telling you, I was cheering from my own family room recliner… I couldn’t have asked for anything more in that speech or in your delivery. There are simply not enough adjectives to describe how I felt, but I can tell you this, my faith and my hope in you and this presidency has been restored.

I have to admit, I’ve been feeling a little disheartened lately. Every time the Republicans would show their utter contempt and total disrespect for you and the office of the President, I took it personally. With each figurative slap in the face and punch in the gut they delivered, I took it personally… because this was not my America. This was not the intelligent thoughtful body politic I had come to expect. Instead it became the body politic of rancor, rudeness and total disrespect for the Office of the President. And, this whole country, the people and even the world, is suffering because of it. We are all being diminished by vengeful politics.

Last night, in your uniquely eloquent way, you brought us back to civility by asking for help and cooperation in putting America back to work… by making Made in the U.S.A. something to strive for and be proud of again. You did it in an honest and forthright manner, with strength and passion… the same passion we saw on the campaign trail, and the same passion we need to continue to hear moving forward.

I honestly feel like I have my President back, and for that I am grateful. Grateful because we need a powerful leader and I know you have that in you, and I know you can deliver that to the American people. Continue to share that passion and vision in all of your stops around the country. And when you run into a politician, whether it is a Democrat, Republican or Independent that promotes obstructionism over cooperation… call them out. Every day, tell the American people which politician’s are the problem, and which ones are working on solutions, then post their votes on your website. Hold Congress accountable, and we will too.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 87...Dear Mr. President... "Give 'um Hell Barry!"

Day 87

Dear Mr. President,

There are probably only a few people who know you well enough to call you Barry… but, if I was one of those people, I would say this on the eve of your speech about job creation; “Give ‘um Hell Barry.” Just as Harry Truman became President in one of this nations darkest hours, following WWII and after the use of the atom bomb… you began your term following the disastrous illegal war in Iraq and the largest debt increases in history incurred under the Bush administration.

Tomorrow night you have a herculean job… the job of conveying to the American people what your plan is for creating jobs. There is nothing more important today than jobs for Americans. Even those of us who know almost nothing about economics, know that the only way out of the mess we’re in is to create more jobs. We understand just enough to know that if people don’t have jobs then they don’t have money, and if they don’t have money they can’t buy goods. If we don’t have consumers buying goods, then the corporations that provide the goods will cut back, and that in turn will put additional people out of work and necessitate the need for even more jobs.

Sounds like a vicious cycle doesn’t it? So tomorrow night I’d like you to think about Harry Truman and the uphill battle he fought against all odds before he was elected President. I know, this isn’t a campaign speech, but it might well be the kickoff catch-phrase opportunity for entering the campaign mode. That catch-phrase should be… “It’s about JOBS stupid.” Let me be perfectly clear… I’m not inferring that you are stupid… of course it’s the reference to Clinton’s, “It’s the Economy Stupid.”

I know you are loath to do any name-calling, but during Truman’s campaign he often referred to the “Do-Nothing 80th Congress,” rather than attack Dewey personally. You, Mr. President, have the same exact opportunity, to call out the “Do-Nothing 112th Congress,” because that is what you have… a dysfunctional, “Do Nothing 112th Congress. Even though Truman was small of stature he used his body language fearlessly, giving the impression that he could go toe to toe with anyone… and that kind of presence does not come by working out… it comes instead, from within.

So tomorrow night when you step up to that podium, think of Harry Truman… and “Give ‘um Hell Barry.” Tell the American people exactly what you are going to do to create jobs. Call out the current Congress… tell them what your plan is… don’t ask their permission or cooperation… tell them to get started on putting people back to work. Now is the time to be assertive, not submissive or conciliatory… it’s the time to define what you want for America… not what you hope Congress will do… what you expect Congress to do.

I watched the whole, painful, obnoxious, debate last night, and not one of them can hold a candle to you… not as a debater, not as an American, not an intellect, or a humanitarian… I‘ll be listening tomorrow night, so once again… “Give ‘um Hell Barry!”

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers, 
Your Gadfly Granny

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 86...Dear Mr. President... Your Vision, Your Message... Rock it!

Day 86
Dear Mr. President,

When has the office of the President looked it’s most Presidential… confident, proud, assertive and masterful? The answer to that question is:  the minute you walked down the long White House hallway to announce Bin Laden was dead! You took full responsibility for the maneuver's risk and success. It was a contagious feeling! A lesson that risk must be taken to achieve victory! You demonstrated a force of ‘power and strength’ in our mind, that united us in our sense of pride. In fact it's all about confidence fueling the energy, because negative headlines do the opposite. We know your office has the power to spin news in the right direction, and here’ how.

Stop the endless government number crunching to ‘prove’ the economy is bad. The more it's done, the more it makes the headlines. A negative reality won't disappear until it is replaced by positive reality, which is that hope and change is already happening! It begins in our mind and is expressed through our actions. It starts with your attitude that no one can meddle with, your personal conviction, belief and self-determination that no one can destroy.

Why are we so convinced that fighting terrorism makes us physically secure? And why aren’t we being convinced that fighting for prosperity, is equally vital and important?  We watch troops knocking down doors in a foreign country to eliminate the enemy there, while we allow internal enemies to shape our thinking and distract us from our goals at home. Our weakness at home is of doubt and division, of blame, negativity and despair. When will we stop tolerating this type of dissention, this lack of unification and lack of respect for the office of the President, and treat it for what it is… acts that border on being treasonous, and counter-productive to the common goals of all Americans and these United States.

Madison Avenue advertising, and public relations media hype’rs will say the "game is in the name." You walk, talk and exude the message. You label it. You reinforce it through endless repetition, sound bites and images. People can't escape the saturation process. We need to focus on ‘progression’ instead of ‘recession’? There is no more time for being remote, cool, intellectual and analytical Mr. President… not when it's necessary to connect with the average Joe. People say personality can't be changed, but there's a history of public figures who have adapted their images to achieve their intended goals. Why continue these tactics of ‘mediator’ or ‘conciliator’ to the GOP, or anyone else when their only goal is to defeat you in 2012.

The kind of people most likely to make you an American Hero for rescuing them from despair, and to reward you with victory are the people - waiting for your Leadership!
Professional campaign strategists can ‘yak’ all day, but the vote will depend upon this one question… can you share your vision, and convey to the people exactly how passionate you are about the direction this country is taking? Not about the current state of the country, but exactly how... the battle isalready being won! 

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers, 
Your Gadfly Granny