Martian Child

Peace From Broken Pieces

Yesterday morning while trying to face being me right now (and that shit ain't easy, trust me) and have the courage to get out of bed and motivate myself, I wanted to start cleaning my house and turned on some music. The first song to fill the room with loud music on the random playlist was "Story Of Your Bones", by my dear Jennifer Nettles. All of the sudden the reality that someone I love, whose fame and adoration and wealth is deserved and certainly earned, has truly fallen away from me in every way but what originally brought us together through 16 years in love, honor, and cherished friendship. The last time we spoke was after a Sugarland show in my hometown. The last time I saw Sugarland was on my 36th birthday, when they played again in Columbus, this time in the local arena with several thousand screaming, adoring fans - and I cried in joy at the then-biggest state of her rise to superstardom. Before the show I ran into Brooke, Jenn's best friend since childhood back where they grew up in Douglas, Georgia. I asked her to tell Jenn if she saw her to call me, that my number hadn't changed, and that her phone wasn't even going to voicemail. I wanted to walk into a room again and see her before she saw me, watch her face light up and her body jolt, then have her walk toward me - open armed with that wide mouthed smile, take me in her arms and squeeze me lovingly like she always did. I hugged Brooke goodbye hoping she would remember to tell Jenn about seeing me and give her my message. I didn't get to see her that night and ended up crying myself to sleep over it, because it mattered to me that much. I didn't expect anything and gave her ground for being both exhausted and monumentally busy for the duration of that worldwide tour year and was simply grateful to be there hearing her sing in front of me again, and sated myself on letting her stand on my proverbial shoulders now and then when rapturously playing her music for people who hadn't heard her before and still street teaming to secure new fans to her talent.

So there I am listening to the first love song she ever wrote, the one that always made her cry when she tried to sing it and insisted I not make eye contact the first time she sang it for me. When she first told me about it we were hiding in the most remote corner of the Uptown Tap's (her regular Columbus venue for both Soul Miner's Daughter and Jennifer Nettles Band shows) back courtyard outside enjoying our pre-show ritual of showing up early to have face time and play catch-up. It was her first solo Jennifer Nettles Band show after the demise of SMD. She nervously told me about it and how the only way she could write a love song after so many years was to write about Todd, just before they were married in 2000; and about her parents - all three of them, starting with Carla & Marcus, her mother and stepfather. We talked more about her biological father, the wreck that is Beamon, and how he fit the first half of the song. It was a very intimate, revealing conversation and I did my level best to just hold her hands across a patio table and listen to my friend explain some new present in song that she was about to share with me. We had already talked about the break-up of Soul Miner's Daughter after she sent me an email telling me she could explain it over the phone, and I finally confessed to her that I never liked Cory much at all. The first time she had to play without him, due to an illness (but still billed as SMD) she was more nervous before the show than I'd ever seen her. We had a talk and I explained to her that no one came to these shows to see or hear Cory, they came to see and hear her. I asked her what reason she had to think that she couldn't do this effortlessly and she threw me a look and then hugged me, telling me she loved me and thanking me for my faith. I smiled and told her it's a good thing I believe in her when she didn't believe in herself and she humorously, in her exaggerated manner exclaimed "Well ain't THAT the damned truth!" If memory serves, that show was the beginnings of her departure from the band, effectively ending it as she was not only instrumental but irreplaceable as well, and the beginning of her solo endeavor as the Jennifer Nettles Band. During a game of pool before the first JNB show in Columbus before the CD was released, she surprised me with a tackle hug/kiss combo evidenced in the photo (upper left, taken lovingly by Tay with my own camera upon my return from the bar with more beer) which is my favorite picture of us together. She held onto me for a lingering minute, all smiles, and remembered a pending conversation we were to have and then looked at me with that "HOLY FUCK, I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!" face. She took me by the hand and led me outside where it was quiet and empty, told me about this new song she would be unveiling later and the rest is history. Story Of Your Bones was released in 2000, the year Shane died. Jennifer was on her way for a tour break at Lake Lanier the Friday it happened, and I emailed her then manager Tom the following day to have him break the news to her. She called me an hour later in tears asking what happened, and wanting to know how Maggie and the kids were doing. We cried together before and after I passed the phone around, and from that time on she always made a point of asking about Mags when she wasn't around. I won't ever forget the cracking in her voice when she tried to speak to me that day and how it brought us all even closer together, and all of the love and good energy she sent us for such a crushing time.

I remember reading the news by happenstance that she and Todd had divorced two to three months before I knew anything about it. Unable to reach her in the normal ways I was now facing that she was somewhat untouchable because now she has publicists and handlers and stylists just to name a few, all industry people I've never met. Damien and I were driving somewhere not long after and I cried in frustration as he held my hand, and I explained that she went through a divorce and I wasn't able to be there through any part of it for the sake of offering her love, comfort, and support. I remember introducing her to Damien after phone calls and emails alluding to the new man in my life. She was in the stables courtyard of Rankin Square sitting and talking to Anna when we walked in from the breezeway and she leaped to her feet to greet me with a hug, excitedly whispering into my ear "Is that Damien? Is that HIM? Lord have mercy honey, he's cute!" She greeted him after my proud introduction with a hug and then held my face in her hands while looking me directly in the eye and telling me how happy she was in that moment. It was before a Jennifer Nettles Band show and the band accompanied us down the street to a Jamaican restaurant for dinner. She got her first face time with the love of my life, and on the walk back to the Tap the three of us walked ahead of everyone else. I asked her about her most recent trip to Guatemala for Pasac Segundo, where she went to help with the construction of a new school and insisted that we go together the following summer. She walked beside me, cradling my arm in hers and told me it was nice to see me happy and having something for myself for a change. Then Sugarland and life happened paving the way for brand new stuff. The last time she was at the Tap, it was the first Sugarland show in Columbus. Damien's youngest sister got to meet her and Jenn surprised Mom by remembering her by name. Kristian surprised me in the courtyard by bounding up to me smiling with a guest list and pen in his hand, giving me the bro-hug and telling me to write how many people I wanted on the guest list by name as he offered his back as a desk to write on. He kept giggling and squirming while I wrote names, insisting I add anyone I wished. It was a great night.

One afternoon a few years ago in downtown I spotted a guy that looked exactly like Todd while Christi and I were in the truck and I asked her to go back around the block. I got out of the truck and walked toward him calling his name and he took a look at me and called back to me by name and gave me a big bear hug. We spoke for a minute and he asked me if I knew, and I told him that I did. He asked if I'd talked to her, and I said no. We exchanged numbers before I left and I called him later that evening to talk more and explain that I wasn't the kind to take sides if no one was clearly in the wrong, and that the details were not only none of my business, they were of no consequence. We talked for about an hour or so and I felt a bit better about things for a while. It was wonderful to have been in that place at that time because who knows if I'd have ever seen him again, let alone to have the opportunity to show him I was as objective as always and lend him my support before he went back to Afghanistan as a contractor. Before we ended that call he thanked me for at least the 5th time and told me that while everything was on an upswing in his life, it was nice to speak so openly with someone who had been there through thick and thin with her longer than even he had.

As of this moment, she's 14 albums into her career including the live show and DVD. I was there for the first 10 of them, and that makes me very happy. Recently I found out that she is remarried. It was more news I'd read online, again by happenstance. She has had an entire relationship with and is now married to a man I've never met and only seen one picture of, online. I'm happy for her, but I miss that friendship. All of the emotions associated with this are so raw and unnerving that it's one more thing I simply go to pieces about because of the sadness the distance brings me now.

I'm going through one of the most difficult times of my life right now that has rendered me isolated, lonely, hurt, angry, confused, mournful, bereft, and disappointed for a metric fuck-ton of reasons - past and present - and this song and all of its associated memories was another catalyst for a monumental breakdown for most of the day until several hours after Best Beloved came home to make me all better. Couldn't make myself get out of bed in the morning, and cried. Felt empty and didn't want to see or speak with anyone but Damien (still don't) and cried more. Couldn't get motivated to do any of the things that needed to get done, felt like '50 lbs. of shit shoved into a 10 lb. bag', was flooded with loss and feelings of panic and abandonment, and got the dreaded 'cry headache'. Couldn't get it together and had all manner of stupid, ridiculous, and partially scary thoughts (in hindsight) until I put all of my focus on putting myself together for my man so he can come home to a more peaceful and settled me, then broke down within minutes of him getting home because I had not accomplished all I wanted to get done before his arrival. The manic, broken-brained, shitty pendulum in my head that I'm a slave to had swung in the other direction but I lost time and then he came home early. We sat and talked and he held me while I cried, and I shared with him all that had happened since he left for work. His best magic is the way he can infuse me with love, safety, contentment, protection, support, and understanding - as only he can.

It's not the fact that I'm significantly depressed, stressed WAY out, overwhelmed, overtired, overstimulated, and sleep deprived; or the fact that I'm having some kind of mid-life crisis/menopausal breakdown and am currently driving a flashy, fast sports car. It's the grief, the disappointment, and the anger. My grief has been the most constant and consistent theme in my life (my father came up with that observation) and when multiple things break at the same time so do I - easily broken down into pieces and feeling equally shattered, with no scratch on the surface. I'm not bitching because I happen to be bipolar, have PTSD and three other psychological/emotional disorders - that's just my lot in life and I take responsibility for as much of that as I can by taking my medications as I'm supposed to and accepting my own learning curve about my own mental illnesses. I have no choice but to filter everything through those elements and there's no basis for comparison because it's all I know. It's backed-up grief over the loss of dearly loved family and friends that I have lost to death, and grief I always carry for the ones who let me down and leave me disappointed. It's a combination of my childhood sexual abuse and a lifetime of injustice about it. It's things I'm starting to remember that happened to me when I was much younger than originally thought, horrifying things that started a chain reaction of unraveling in my teens culminating in a clinical nervous breakdown, suicide attempt, and institutionalization after previous months of therapy brought out too much too soon for me to handle at 16. Less than a year later a team of doctors concluded I was manic depressive (now classified as bipolar), anorexic, and that I'd been in a serious clinical depression for at least the past 6 years - and they didn't even know about the cutting and the multiple drug abuses that would go on for years, leading up to my discovery of heroin. It was while I was on a weekend visit home from the psych ward that my mother informed me she had filed for divorce from my father after years and years of bitter fighting and acrimony, and that she was moving out of the house. It's the wellsprings of rage I carry that threaten to make me psychotic should it ever get away from me to the point that there is no kill switch. I could go on but this is already turning into a self indulgent blues jam and I'm exhausted from it and from feeling like I'm made entirely of very thin, fragile glass when I haven't even scratched the surface of how truly fucked up and broken I really am.

Damien and I have decided that it is time to take my doctor's recommendation of going back into therapy with a list he provided on my last visit of psychology referrals for consideration and find the right therapist for me to talk to and finally finish what I tried to decades ago. I didn't come this far and work this hard for nothing and we deserve the life we both want to have. I'm closer now than I have ever been to bringing all of the broken parts into a sustainable harmony I can live with so that I may find the peace I need to accept what has always been unacceptable - so that I can be the best man I can be for both Damien and myself and insure a life of purpose and deeper meaning. I know there is a lot I must learn and relearn and habits I've developed through four decades now that hold secrets and clues to help bring light into so much darkness. In ways I'm terrified of it all, and in other ways I am resolved to the notion that it's finally just time to get it all out and fix myself as much as is possible, once and for all. I'm resolved that no matter what comes from it, I cannot keep trying unsuccessfully to make a life out of this patched and moth eaten memory that bullies and torments me out of nowhere anytime I feel even slightly vulnerable. All it does is diminish what I know to be good about me and replace it with agony, and I have 41 years worth of experience to now say fuck that bullshit and start declaring jihad on the irreconcilable.

For now, I hope for some peace of mind today and the energy to keep soldiering on - brave face or not. I think I've earned at least that.

The Most Beautiful Heartbreak

Now and again something finds you when you most need it. Sometimes, if you're really lucky, that thing will open your eyes in a way they've never been before and you are forever changed. The best documentary films are transformative things that don't merely serve to educate, they go into your heart and mind and make a home there for a while. Especially the ones about people - so that you will know they happened.

YOU need to know this story, and see the film so that you will know these people happened. You need to share this story with everyone you know. Make this post viral so that more people can know what I'm sharing with you. Films like this don't come around often, but they definitely have the power to change us. That's worth watching, and ultimately how we keep memories of people alive, because they happened - and that's important.

I must warn you though, watching this is no easy journey. It will test you and force you to find your limits. It will break your heart in the most beautiful way possible. It will devastate and ravage your peace of mind for a while, but if you stick it out you will find a kind of humanity, hope, and deep, unending love you couldn't imagine existed. I'm not being dramatic either. This is as real as it gets. This is a film about tragedy giving birth to activism. It's about friendship and commitment in the face of injustice. It's as much about love as it is about evil, only in the end love wins as it always should.

On November 5, 2001, Dr. Andrew Bagby was murdered in a parking lot in western Pennsylvania; the prime suspect, his ex-girlfriend Dr. Shirley Turner, promptly fled the United States for St. John’s, Canada, where she announced that she was pregnant with Andrew’s child. She named the little boy Zachary.

Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne, Andrew’s oldest friend, began making a film for little Zachary as a way for him to get to know the father he’d never meet. But when Shirley Turner was released on bail in Canada and was given custody of Zachary while awaiting extradition to the U.S., the film’s focus shifted to Zachary’s grandparents, David & Kathleen Bagby, and their desperate efforts to win custody of the boy from the woman they knew had murdered their son.

What happened next, no one ever could have foreseen…

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Cameron Museum

The Most Emo I Get

Sitting by myself, on the couch.
High pain day, very frustrating with misfiring major nerves.
Scared of this pending surgery and recovery for months
that is only 1/3 of my chronic and sometimes debilitating physical and psychological pain.
Aching for people I love now sleeping soundly 2,200 miles away
who love and sustain me on levels
that I won't get to see again and hold in my arms again until Spring
months away
who help make it all better than the high dosages of 6 different medications daily, 9 pills total each day
making me FUCKING crazy.
Alone in the dark and stillness.
Thrashing in pain and unable to be comfortable no matter what I do
and I don't have a brave face left just to skate on pride with to feel in control of my body again.
Crying and sobbing
because sometimes this shit is just too hard
and I passed my limit for it months ago.
Because I'm being a whiny candyass.

A-Ha Moment

I just had a significant moment, another "WHOA. HOLY SHIT, I'M *THAT* GUY NOW... FUUUUCK ME RUNNIN'!" moment to add to the growing arsenal. I say these things to honor a moment, not to complain and not to air grievances unsettled - but sometimes a person can only take so much, you know? I live with the absolute love of my life in our idea of paradise (literally a desert oasis - the backyard has Phoenix's largest man-made lake, three blocks from the desert) and we are happy with our lives and our life. Who really gets that fortunate? Who can really say what I just said, and how many do you know personally? That's some serious fucking shit right there. I have nothing to complain about, and it's a waste of precious time better spent on being the best, most kind and compassionate man I'm able to be. I will not squander that on one more second of grief I've chosen and appropriated for myself, fuck that shit, I've done as much of that bullshit as I'm ever doing again.

I'm settling in for the evening, and I go to take the nighttime meds when I take inventory of the AM and PM medications for this pillbox (which doesn't have space for the mid-afternoon meds) to make sure I'm as diligent about this as possible - because tonight I'm starting the newest addition to the pharmaceutical slave trade in my daily diet, and as I'm preparing to now take 4 pills at night instead of the usual three, which already cause me to question my own sanity during this dosage adjustment, it occurs to me - pills in one hand and green tea in the other - I'm THAT guy now. I made it to 40 years old, which is astonishing on levels. I never imagined I'd be that guy and certainly never wanted to be him, so I've got this new shit to deal with now, right? NOPE! Fuck that, don't have time. Because 1. This is only for a time, and not the rest of my life, and nothing is taking my attention away from my path. 2. I don't really have a 2, so suck it. ;-)

So I'm that guy now, and you know what? SO what. That's right, so - fuckin' - what. Kiss the fattest part of my ass, 'that guy' - don't get comfortable because you are here on borrowed time as it is.

I got stuff to do now, dig?


I Think I Figured This Place Out

After 2 years, you'd think I would have gotten hip to this already. I keep telling people that there is something about the pace of life out West that is so much more relaxed and soothing than any other place I've ever been, let alone lived in. It crystallizes for me every time I walk outside, day or night, and smell the desert and look up and can see the constellations and planets in the quiet stillness of night or the deep, unending blue of a daytime sky overhead that stretches on forever.

Even the wind is different here. Back in the South, every breeze feels exactly like the last one - fighting the chains of relentless humidity just to BE. Here, every breeze feels like you're being hugged by someone you love wearing the softest shirt imaginable. I find it impossible to walk outside and not fall madly in love with this place each time.

Then there are the people here that I've grown to love and taken in as family. They're an amazing bunch, and almost every one of them is also from someplace else. Ohio, New York, Oregon, California, Maine, Connecticut, Florida, Texas, Canada, I could go on and on. Every single friend I have that isn't born and raised here says the same thing - they love it here and cannot imagine living anywhere else. We sit and relax and spend time together with the doors and windows open, and invariably one of us stops to point out the fact that we can look out from the living room and there are palm trees dancing in the breeze, and how amazing that is to us.

People don't yell here, and if you happen to see or hear it, it's shocking because it's such a rare thing. I was scared to death to make this move because it meant leaving behind all I ever knew, so imagine my surprise to now understand that such was necessary for us to have this life now, where every day is better than the last and Damien and I are more in love now than we were 10 years ago. We even look at each other like we did in the first months of dating, and I cannot even explain how fantastic that is, let me just tell you.

The price of being a Southerner and never getting the opportunity to travel out of your environs is that you wind up very insulated and your focus on life narrows so that you lose conception of things you would do well to see. I suppose that's true of anywhere, but I am a Southerner so that is the only basis for comparison I have to draw on. I have a lot of issues and a lot of baggage that has followed me around for 40 years now, and here I find the courage to chuck that shit in the dumpster and then pee all over it. It's the thing I think I've figured out the most about life now, life here, that enabled something possible that I never considered.

Once you trek out West and spend some time here, you find peace. You find your most authentic self. You look inward and can accept all that is in there, and it seems all at once manageable where it never did before. You find your missing bravery out here. I've told people that Damien and I have never been happier before, and I think it has a lot to do with accepting this place and letting it enfold us into its giant cosmic hug. We've had to look inward and really put ourselves before all else, relying on one another in ways we never have before and looking inward with a more deliberate eye, and in that process have learned more about one another - our family - our home - than we knew was possible. I don't think we were ever as affectionate with one another as we are now. He will kiss and let me hold him outside in public now, which is a big deal for anyone that knows him at all.

I totally get why the new age thing took out here, because this place does feel magical. That magic is very empowering. California is too much for me, New Mexico is too steeped in itself for me at this age, Texas is like looking through every apple in the bunch to find the one you'll eat, and who has time for that, and everything East of Texas I already know everything I'm ever going to need to know about life there. Everything North is just too goddamned cold for me, so that leaves Arizona as home base - where I feel my best, most authentic self.

I came to live in the Sonoran desert and found myself. I came here to start a new life, sight unseen, and loved it as soon as I caught the glow of Phoenix in the distant night sky driving up the 10 from Tucson on the final leg of the cross-country journey that brought us here. I felt like I belonged here immediately, and that has not changed since - not even once.

I came here and found peace, and so has every person we know that has come to visit us and every person we know that now makes a home here. My only wish is that my other loved ones had the resources to follow suit, because their REAL lives are waiting for them out here.

Checking In &/or Comfortably Numb Resurrection


Maybe this can be my outlet again to vent and get it out. I'm in Phoenix, after all, maybe a little rebirth here is in order.

I want all the great things that ground me to mean what they used to again, instead of living day to day with chronic, sometimes debilitating and unrelenting pain from spinal damage that makes me not notice those things with the same vigor. Instead I hobble around like a man twice my age at 40 and I miss my friends and sisters and brothers so much I'm aching from it. I want to be able to cope with being on so many different medications as a result that I have a panic disorder, a separate anxiety disorder, and I'm back on bi-polar meds again. Then there's Neurontin, Flexeril, Trazodone, Xanax... My whole life now is in 3 separate pill boxes for AM meds, early PM and Bedtime - divided by 6 different doctors, 4 of whom are specialists. yeah, I'm THAT fucking guy right now. I swear sometimes I'm losing my sanity, no joke. I need all that stuff back.

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So how are you motherfuckers?

Love Actually

My Daddy is my hero. Not many men can say that, unfortunately. He sends daily emails chronically detailing what life is like at home as the primary caregiver for a spouse and soul mate in the final stages of Alzheimer's disease. In part because it keeps him in the loop with all of the family (like me) who live elsewhere, and I'm the furthest away of his 7 children. And in part because it helps keep him sane and he's considering writing a book about his experiences some time in the future. He struggles with his emotions most of the time, but never as much as when he has to be firm with her to cooperate, and it is frustrating to not know what she understands. He feels a tremendous burden of guilt afterward, in addition to all of the daily stress and personal agony - and I want desperately to take some of that away, though clueless as to how - until he said this tonight, and I wrote him the response that follows.
"I was moving around in the house putting up some items I brought home and she seemed to want to stay close to me following me wherever I went. I hugged her and loved on her and she seemed to like that. Maybe she had missed me while I was gone? I wish I knew what goes on in her mind and what she might or might not know and/or understand."

I believe all of those things, but mostly because you're the go-to, you're the protector, and THAT'S who I believe she knows you are or represent on some fundamental level. It's who she's always known, and what is most perfect about life; so those gestures are thank you's for all the comfort and love you bring day by day and hour by hour. YOU are her normal, her most consistent sense of constancy, and her senses are still telling her from your scent, your touch, your presence in a room, everything you ever represented years before this time would be known - that she knows you the best ways she can, and knowing her, hoping it is enough. Remember this on days when you hit a limit or have a moment and give yourself a break when you have to do something you don't want to do. Sometimes there just is no other way in that moment, and if you wouldn't begrudge her that, I can assure you she isn't begrudging you.

I believe these things because it is all I have any right to hope for, but not as much as you all deserve. I believe these things because we all have to take comfort in SOMETHING. But mostly, I believe these things because I believe in YOU.
I am the son of an utterly amazing and selfless man with a fiery temper, and an equally tempered and amazing woman with a bleeding heart and a smile for everyone - but don't turn your back on her. In fact, if either of them is ever pissed off, W A L K. A W A Y. I wouldn't change a thing.

Bitter & Sad

An extraordinary loss for the world happened today when a 18 year old young woman was murdered by the 18 year old boyfriend in a deeply troubled and darkly tumultuous relationship that friends had warned her about. This one affects me personally because Monique Cota was my friend, and just like that, I'll never see her smiling, adorable face with the long hair spun from finest delicate silk, the caramel color of her skin magnifying the deep emerald brilliance of her eyes; almond shaped and always soothing when they met yours - ever again.

She was the kind of girl that you stopped to admire, because her radiating beauty, energy, and sense of calm was amazing. All that power at 18 and she never even knew it let alone wore it on her sleeve - and such a thing on her would seem vulgar - and she was anything but. She was the kind of girl that ran on her own frequency.

I also think she was the kind of girl that was so lovestruck that she wanted to save the broken boy and try to put him together so that he might resemble something of a good man, and see in him potential no one else could see and ran contrary to the pleas and criticism of others. Once she realized he wasn't savable she managed to gather herself up and was planning a move to Cali where she had a new job lined up and a promising future with a childhood sweetheart she had recently become engaged to. That was until Eric Coulter lured her to his parents' home and shot her in the face with his AR-15.

She never had a negative or mean thing to say about anyone and she didn't pick sides. She was all at once together and composed and sure of herself, and I never saw a scratch on her. That's why it pains me to think that inside she might have been in pieces.

A gorgeous, gentle, and kind 18 year old child is dead tonight in Arizona, and two entire families are destroyed while a third family of co-workers are also trying with all their might to make sense of it all and find some peace within this rude shock. That's the family of Fry's Marketplace, or as I like to call it, "628", and I know them well. I should by now, visiting the store sometimes just to say hello and usually about 2-3 times per week - so I'm more of an adopted member of the family, but that's the thing about this that's so special - no one there ever treats me like I'm not in that family. That's how I know how big their bond is and what it's made of.

So to my Fry's family, and all of the friends I've made there, my heart goes out to each and every one of you. This entire thing is just a sad, tragic waste and I'm truly heartbroken. I'll always see Monique just as I did a few days ago, when I waved to her at the CS desk on my way out of the store, and she waved back to me and smiled that smile where her eyes narrowed and she showed teeth, still the beautiful and sweet girl I've always known since she started working there. I cannot take any of this away, as much as I want to, but I can help you carry it. So if you need or want that, I will help you carry it. It's the best I've got.

To Monique's other family, friends, and loved ones; I don't have tears enough for what you're going through let alone what is coming, and I wish you as much peace as you can get - because you deserve it.

Fly away now, precious girl.

Since You Asked...

This post was originally supposed to be a response to a friend of a friend on Facebook, but it was too long to post there. Start by reading the graphic, so that what I've posted beside it will make more sense in context.

I'm glad you asked these questions and I will take my time to answer with as much detail as possible so that it may help make it clear what my position is on these matters. The reality of these issues (that squares itself with the facts - not opinions) of what the tea party's collective ideologues wish to pass off as the threats to American society simply don't gel with logic, reason, or fact.

My immediate family consists of myself and my partner and our household income just puts us in the middle class. We are not in any credit debt and only owe a little under half of the total amount for our car. No payments are ever late for any of our bills, we live under a strictly maintained budget that allows for retirement, 401K, health and life insurance premiums, household necessities (groceries, utilities, rent, etc.) and all other necessary fees. My family does not create any drain on the economy and we are responsible for ourselves. We are part of the 95% of Americans that enjoy the tax credit offered by the current administration to all who earn less than $250K annually, which you may well be part of in that income bracket. I won't however ask you the same questions about where your income goes. None of this changes the fact that as American citizens, and as I've mentioned before in the previous comment to Linda's post, taxes are the lowest they’ve been in 60-80 years, far lower than under several Republican presidents. Taxes on dividends and capital gains are far below the level at which they were under President Reagan. Furthermore, 68.3% of the capital gains tax is paid by the richest 1% of Americans which have been allowed nearly a trillion dollars worth of exemptions that would give that 1% the same amount in a tax break while giving that trillion dollar tax burden to the middle class, while the bottom 95% of Americans pay just 10% of them, so it is unclear how tea party darlings like Romney, Bachmann, Palin, Cain, West, Huntsman, and Gingrich think a capital gains tax cut can be fashioned as a middle class tax break. These politicians have said they back getting rid of the capital gains tax, which now has a top rate of 15% for most assets held for more than a year. That position puts them at odds with bipartisan deficit-reduction efforts over the past year that have called for lowering tax rates on ordinary income and taxing capital gains and wage income at the same rates. Bachmann has previously called for cutting the 35% corporate tax rate down to 9%, a move that would cost more than $2 trillion over ten years. This call for reducing or even eliminating corporate taxes comes at a time when corporate after tax profits are the highest they’ve been since 1947. Bachmann also repeatedly called for the elimination of taxes on money that corporations bring to the U.S. from overseas, even though such a move has not worked in the past to spur job creation and would cost about $80 billion over ten years. I'd love to know how the American middle and lower class conservatives can justify such ridiculous nonsense in any way that benefits them. Eliminating taxes on capital gains would widen the federal budget deficit. The current preferential tax rates on capital gains and dividends will result in $84.2 billion in forgone revenue for the Treasury this year, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

Given that those who identify as tea party citizens see themselves as being a movement created by the working class that claims to use its voice against the seeming injustice of labor unions and an unfair tax burden, it truly irks me that they fail to accept the reality of what truly built, finances, and controls their movement. In short, self professed tea party 'patriots' are being lied to by the wizard when it's corporate self interests that go completely against their own personal self interests behind the curtain, pulling the strings and pushing all of the buttons in an unbelievable Ponzi scheme. Koch Industries, they of the billionaire oil brothers who are taking advantage of the uninformed nature of outrage among a conservative fringe aligning itself as a grassroots movement, underwrites this entire organization by the billionaires in the Koch network of donors. In documents outlining the June, 2010 donor meeting, billionaires like Paul Singer, Ken Griffin, Rich DeVos, and John Childs are regular attendees of these events, which solicit multi-million donations for an elaborate array of right-wing front groups, from tea party organizers like Americans for Prosperity to stealth advertising campaigns like "Public Notice." Unfortunately, many still report on tea party groups like Americans for Prosperity as bonafide grassroots organizations. That's not grassroots, that's corporations as people masquerading as being truly invested in the working class' best interests. YOU ARE BEING LIED TO. The acceptance of lies as a means of justifying anger over the 2008 election results by conservatives is what I find moronic, just as I find it moronic for liberals to continue burying their heads in sand by supporting candidates and career politicians who are failing them as well.

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