Sunday, December 7, 2014

So You Voted The Republicans In

Congratulations to the Republicans.  They once again have control of the House and the Senate.  If you give them the presidency, as well, in 2016, they will assume you have given them permission to do whatever they want to you.

You voted Republican?  Do you own your own business?  Good vote!  Are you one of the upper one per cent?  Good vote!

Did you vote Republican because that's what Mommy or Daddy taught you to do?  Shame upon you for not using the mind that the Good Lord gave you.  Here is what you gave the Republican Congress permission to do with that less than discerning vote.

1.  To leave the minimum wage at less than half what you need to support your family.

2.  To tax the middle class to pay for farm supplements for rich farmers.

3.  To chain CPI.  You know what CPI is.  It's the Consumer Price Index.  It's the figure used to determine how much increase you will get for Social Security.  Unchained CPI causes your Social Security income to rise at the rate of inflation.  Chained CPI does not rise at the rate of this increase  --  you know, the increase in how much everything costs.  Chained CPI forces you to buy the cheapest meats, fruits, vegetables.  So you will get to figure out what meats are cheaper than the hamburger that has been your mainstay since retiring.  (And it will affect all future generations because it will constantly keep the base of our Social Security payments lower than the rate of inflation).  In other words, we will have to have huge retirement packages just to survive.

4.  To raise the cost of heating, cooling and traveling fuels.

5.  To run oil pipelines through our beautiful land so that Canada can ship oil to foreign countries.  How many permanent jobs will this create?  Fifty, per the oil company's representative, himself.

6.  To favor big business over you.

7.  To favor farm conglomerates over the small farm owner.

8.  To give insurance companies free license to continue unethical practices which The Affordable Care Act eliminates.

9. To cut taxes for everything concerning the upper middle and upper classes while taxing the middle, middle at will.  Oh, yes, so they can receive their lifetime retirement package even for working only a handful of years.

10.  And most of all, you rewarded them for all their attack ads, their lies and their fraudulent advertising.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Blindness And Deafness Of Racist Rage

I pledge allegiance to the flag
Of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands
One nation, under God, indivisible
With liberty and justice for all.
You say you want justice for the events in Ferguson, Missouri.  Oh, really?  I don't think so.  Since early August, you have been demonstrating both violently and peacefully throughout the St. Louis area, telling all of America that if the Grand Jury did not rule to indict Officer Wilson that there would be hell to pay.  Thank God that the Grand Jury took a good length of time to examine the evidence  --  all of the evidence available  --  and to offer justice for all, not just Michael Brown, Jr.

For Mr. and Mrs. Michael Brown, Sr., there can never be enough "justice".  The baby boy they gave to this world will never grow to full manhood.  The young man they loved even when he misbehaved will never grow old.  A lynch mob set on Officer Wilson would not be sufficient to assuage their pain.  Although it may lessen with time, and warm memories fill in the emptiness, it is what it is and nothing can change it.

To express the obvious, none of us have perfect children  --  not the Browns, not myself, not even the President and Mrs. Obama.  We adults are not perfect ourselves, so how can we expect to rear perfect children.  And we all love these babies of ours through thick and thin.  There would be something wrong with us if we did not. 

But, there are things we do that make the situations worse than they have to be.  For one, we can be in denial about what is really going on with our children.  At least in the early stages of the rage, the Brown family refused to view the video of Michael's behavior in the convenience store.  Because of that, they did not know how out of control he was that day.  Had they watched the video, it would have been apparent to them that he was no stranger to violence and that a person who behaved as he did was engaging in bullying behavior.  And before you strike out at me and say that he didn't deserve to die, let me say that nobody does, whatever the color of the skin or how deep the anger and rage.

Another thing that would have helped the situation was if the Browns had hired a white lawyer, instead of an enraged and racist African American.  It would have been better for them, too, if they had used someone with a better success rate.  For instance, had he actually been effective in the case concerning Trayvon Martin, a real travesty of justice, they would have had a stronger voice.

And then there is the problem with using blackmail to attempt to control the situation anyway.  Besides the fact that blackmail is illegal, people eventually get tired of it and take legal action, or worse.  Who knows, we white folk might eventually get so sick and tired of your riots and temper tantrums that we throw a few ourselves.

There is also the embarrassment that this situation offers to your more cultured and reserved members of our society.  One African American man wrote a Facebook article in which he disclaims the behaviors because they tend to reinforce the negative opinion other cultures have of the African American community.  It would, no doubt, leave the Reverend Martin Luther King in despair.  Have they learned nothing from me, he might want to ask?

There is also the problem of yelling that police officers not shoot an unarmed man.  This viewpoint that people are not dangerous if they do not carry a gun, is a national problem of denial.  Control the guns, control the guns, everybody says.  But as recent events show clearly, a lot of damage and death can fall in the wake of a man with a knife, or a fist, a choke hold, or even a bad attitude. 
Some people are saying that Michael's size should not be considered a factor.  Baloney!!!!  Did you see how he stuck his arm straight out and moved that convenience clerk across the floor?  Size does matter.  Anytime you have a confrontation with someone larger than yourself, you are going to need some very effective self-defense skills to come out the victor.  An officer seated in a car, who cannot open his door and stand, is in a very vulnerable position.  And the trigger finger on that big fist was headed toward the trigger of the officer's gun.

Wearing blinders and not listening to the position of everyone simply propels rage in ourselves and others.  Constantly expressing our hurts and rage, serve as a bad model for our children.  When they lack our maturity and self-control, they strike out on the basis of our anger, sometimes getting themselves in over their heads.  In situations where there is real racism and real profiling, it is best to work from the inside  --  with our votes, our service to our community, and with our willingness to be a shining example of dignity and respect for each other.  Violence and blackmail and blind and deaf rage do nothing to improve our interactions with each other.  And as the very astute African American man said on Facebook, violent protests simply show the whole group up to be exactly what the most racist among us think the race to be.

To African American activists across the land, pick your issues with great care from now on out.  Not all situations are so obviously inappropriate as the Trayvon Martin situation.  Your collective voice will be more effective if your issues are pure.  Make sure the autopsy results match the verbal reports of witnesses before you jump on the bandwagon of rage.

Justice is meant for all Americans, not just the black or the dead.  Justice even applies to our police officer's who risk their lives for us all the time. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Executive Orders

Executive Order, per the Random House College Dictionary, Revised Edition 1988 Printing, is "a regulation having the force of law issued by the President of the U. S. to the Army, Navy, or other parts of the Executive branch of the government".  Make note of the date in this dictionary.  Much as Republican Congressmen would like for us to believe so, Executive Order was not an invention of President Barack Obama.

It is covered in the 1991 World Book Encyclopedia.  This World Book says they are directions, proclamations or other statements that have the force of laws and that they require no act of Congress.  One of the most famous, it says, was the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring freedom for all slaves in parts of the country under Confederate control.  Get it?  This is not an invention of current Democrats or this President to deal with an obstinate and obstructionist Congress.

Both Democratic and Republican Presidents have used this method of making changes to laws for generations.  Of our 44 presidents, only William Henry Harrison did not use it at all.

In The White House Diary of Jimmy Carter, the former President mentions Executive Orders seven times.  One of these was in reference to future Presidents using the method to change laws or orders from his presidency.

John Adams used the technique once and Franklin Delano Roosevelt did so 3,522 times. 

Wickipedia states that they have full force of the law when they are based on power granted to the President by the Constitution or are based on Acts of Congress that delegate the president at least some discretionary power.

Now it is not for the likes of me or the average voter to determine the lawfulness of specific ones of these orders.  That is for a proper Court of Law to determine.  Even Congress will have to wait to see if the courts find the President's actions lawful.

But make no mistake about it, most Republicans are going to hope they rule against the President just as most Democrats will hope they rule for him.

In the meantime, we need to maintain our good sense.  Cooler heads in the court system will take the politics and the accusations out of the proceedings and make determinations based on law  --  at least we hope and pray they will.  It wouldn't hurt, either, for Congress to try at least a little to produce some actual laws on the current hot topics.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Change -- In A Pig's Eye

The November 17, 2014,  Time Magazine cover features Mitch McConnell with the word Change.  Well, it wasn't even that date before it became apparent I could already tell you "in a pig's eye" to that.  You say Mitch McConnell undercutting the President's every move (U. S.- China Agreement) is change?  Sounds like same ol', same ol' to me.  Or are you suggesting that talking of repealing parts of the Affordable Health Care Act is change?  Hardly.  Maybe you mean exploiting Hispanics for their votes while talking about extreme border security measures is Change?  Think again  --  or maybe I should say, think for a change.

Then we have more and more threats about Social Security.  One man is saying he wants to dispel the notion that there is an actual fund set aside for Seniors.  He says there is not.  Well, why the h e double hockey sticks isn't there?  Why did Congress elect to spend our money on pork instead of investing it wisely and letting it sit and grow until we retired?  If you were such poor stewards of our dollars, perhaps you will just have to keep funding it (along with COLAs) until we all croak.  In addition, why don't you investigate what Warren Buffet is quoted as saying when they advertise that a $40 investment can turn people into millionaires?  Why not let Mr. Buffet show our Congressmen how to do what they should have been doing ever since the inception of the fund?  Oh, yes, how could I forget?  We the people don't count!  The only ones who are important are the rich and Congress.  Still no change visible.

Robert Reich is calling for repairing our infrastructure which would create direct jobs (actually working on roads and bridges) and indirect jobs (supplying and serving the construction companies and the workers).  The "Teapartiers" are still yelling cut spending.  More Change?  Unh huhhhhh.

Then we have the dumb, dumb (Jonathan Gruber) going around saying that the reason we have the Affordable Health Care Act is because the American people are stupid.  Oh really!  I don't remember the American people voting one way or another on that issue.  I guess he, the man who helped his State formulate their plan  --  the plan used as a guideline for the national program  --  and the man who took $400,000 for consulting on Obamacare  --  must be one of the most stupid of all.  Or maybe he is referring to Congress and the President who actually wrote, voted for and signed the Act into law. 

A word to the wise out there.  You better be careful what you take away from that act.  If you take away Affordable health care for all, or if you let insurance companies go back to insuring us until we need health care and then canceling us; or if you take away care from people who were born with illnesses; or if you do anything to sabotage Americans from receiving medical treatment, then maybe all of us stupid Americans would get smart enough to send your behinds packing in 2016.  Now that would be real change.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Oh Sigh, Here We Go Again

"Here are some handy little tips for those of you who don't want to fall victim to deadly officer shootings.  Do as you are told.  Don't talk back.  Don't be rude or belligerent.  Don't try to escape . . ."
Spoken by Kinsey Millhone, a character in V Is For Vengeance, a mystery by Sue Grafton.

You think?  Thank you Ms. Grafton for your words of wisdom.  I wish every American could find time to read your work.  Instead, many have been poised around Ferguson, Missouri off and on for months now. They are awaiting the opportunity to pitch another tantrum, and pillage and burn with no care as to what really happened or who was at fault.

You assume the demonstrations will be peaceful if the ruling comes down on the side of the police officer?  I doubt it.  They've been "peacefully" demonstrating for several months now.  But here we go again.  They are collecting up.  Travon Martin's Dad is so fearful of it that he was asking them for no violence.  He and his wife seem like very good people.

Time after time after time the family swears their child is perfect.  Some are almost ready for sainthood they are so openly revered.  The ones with drug or criminal histories are just getting their lives back together.  Sometimes this is even true.  But often, grieving parents are in denial of their children's behaviors.  They want to remember the good times and to strike out at anyone who defended themselves against the deceased person's violent behaviors.

In case of the Ferguson, Missouri, situation, there were serious mistakes made on both sides.  The victim brought a reaction on himself, but the police officer overacted after the fact.  His adrenaline was sparked by resistance, and he did not get it back down before he committed a tragic act that can never be overcome.  This time, we have video showing that this young man was a bully and seemed high on something, even if only his own adrenaline that day.

But police officers now are supposed to be perfect . . . to know no fear . . . to kiss the royal butts of all offenders even those who bully them . . . to ignore self destructive behavior . . . to risk their lives, even for the most violent ones.  Get real.  As Ms. Grafton says through Kinsey Millhone's voice, do not behave in a belligerent manner.  You are asking for tragedy when you do.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I Voted Early

The last two elections I've voted early.  This election my vote was all over the place -- Democrats, an Independent and even a Republican.  Shhh, don't tell anyone!  Yes, I voted for the Republican who has shown himself to be steady, reliable, available to constituents and eager to serve.  He seems even to have a brain in his head.  This appears far preferable to his opponent whose attack ad was frivolous and who appears to be poster person for blonde airheads everywhere.

One message my vote is sending this time is we don't appreciate attack ads.  Show us what your credentials are  --  education, experience, awards, goals.  In other words give us your resume.  If you have held office before, tell us how you voted and what you think.  Don't attack your opponent.  That negativity does not tell us what you can and are willing to do for us and our country.

Twice this campaign season, I've been sent partial quotes which framed a candidate very badly.  When the whole quote was looked up on urban legend sites, it was apparent some vicious, evil political strategist was hoping Americans were too dumb to research the comments.  Unfortunately, some of us may not do the research and then will place our votes believing lies, half truths, and downright evil things that are being done to candidates.

It is also important, I believe, to thank political strategists for getting information out about their candidates this year.  Last election, there was a candidate for the House of Representatives I had never heard a word about before casting my vote.  This time, my mailbox was full of advertisements --  sometimes multiple ads for the same candidates on the same day.

Congratulations to all politicians who spoke only the truth as they perceive it and who avoided negative advertising.  And a thousand shames upon every one of you who took people's innocent and informative words out of context and distorted them to make your opponents look bad.

A thousand shames upon you . . .

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Religion Run Amok

As a child, when I went to church almost every time the doors opened, I remember hearing tales of Catholics in South America killing Protestants.  As an adult, I've been aware of the Christian/Protestant wars say, for instance, in Ireland.

Historically, the Crusades  --  wars perpetrated by European Christians against Middle Eastern Muslims  --  are the most predominant religious wars.  The Europeans were trying to take over Palestine.  This country is considered Christian Holy Land because this was where Jesus ministered.

Today, Jews and Palestinians war over land and statehood.  John Knox was a Protestant who was notorious for killing Catholics. 

We are all aware of the Muslim extremists who perpetrate acts of terrorism all over the world today. 

This fighting of wars over religion are examples of religion run amuck.

Really folks, what is wrong with all of us that we could think for an instant that our God or our gods want us to kill each other to make one religion or another the dominant one?  I don't know enough about the Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu religions to speak with any expertise.  However, I do know that Jews and Christians have been told by Jehovah, "Thou shalt not kill."  If it were so important to God that He made it one of his Ten Commandments, He must have found it crucial.  And, most Muslims say that their religion is one of peace.  They tell us that it is only the extremists that misinterpret their religion to espouse holy wars.

Truth be told, we cannot whitewash wars by labeling them Holy.  War is war  --  and it is usually motivated by selfish purposes, not for religious ones.  For example, it is possibly motivated by a wish to receive many virgins for killing others.  In the case of the most sadistic warmongers, the aim is to incite terror in others, thus making the warriors feel pseudo powerful.

The founders of the United States of America wanted to eliminate some of the more questionable goals of war by "separating church and state."  The constitutional laws of our country dictate that government cannot tell us how to worship and religious leaders cannot tell us how to run the country.  Fresh out of the hands of warring religious nuts such as John Knox, they had a great need to worship as they pleased and to have all the people (men anyway) choose how to govern.

When I was that young girl reading about denominational war, I recall asking God to make us a more ecumenical world.  Where denominations are concerned, I believe that has happened.  The Catholics, Jews and Protestants these days offer each other the dignity and respect and freedom to worship as we please.

But, we still have a long way to go to help each other develop mutual respect throughout the worldwide religions.  All of us need to entertain the concept that there can really be nothing holy about war.  War is about power over each other and land grabbing of acreage that doesn't belong to us anyway.  It is simply on loan to us from the creator of our universe.  And, we have to leave it behind for others when we go to meet our maker.

In the brief period of time we have on this earth to learn and teach and evolve, it would behoove us all to respect each others religions and our rights to govern as we please.

To let religion run amuck like we are prone to do, is to invade each others basic human rights.  We should never find ourselves guilty of trespassing on the rights of others.  This is probably our most basic sin, especially when we kill to do so.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Media Pastimes

SARS, West Nile, H1N1, Autism from vaccinations, ADHD, ADHD in adults, Ebola, Ebola, Ebola.  Media overkill.  Media pastimes.  Sensationalism of the year.  The search for a scary topic to boost readership or increase television audiences. 

Republicans looking for anything to attack Democrats.  Republicans using worldwide health issues as Obama fodder.  Republicans behaving inappropriately to drum up votes.  Democrats siding with Republicans about nonissues in order to distance themselves from a sometimes unpopular President.

It seems on the surface that Republican attacks and toxic campaigning have reached a dangerous peak.  But that's only on the surface.  There are articles surfacing on the internet and in the media accusing both President Richard Nixon and President Ronald Reagan of treason.  And before you start saying that this is Democratic propaganda, read the articles floating around.  Also note the authors.  In the case of President Nixon, the accusation is more of an admission by a conservative Republican columnist, George Will.

Then we remember the infamous Watergate scandal.

The media sensationalism provides the fodder and the fuel which the most amoral Republicans use for political gain.  What is happening to our country?

Granted Ebola could become a threat in the United States.  It is not yet.  In fact it is such a new threat, that it is asinine to begin accusing the President of moving too slowly.  Anything for a vote, folks?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Nobody Plans To Die In Office

When a presidential candidate runs for office, death in office is really not on the agenda.  Setting aside the premonition that some individuals may have concerning their potential demise, most people just don't list "death in office" in their long-range goals.  Why should they?

But politicians do get sick and die -- even President's of the United States.  As recent events have made clear, they can also be made targets of stalkers and malcontents -- even today.  And the Secret Service members can fail at their jobs.

It would behoove us all if each individual candidate would embrace the possibility of death in office due to illness or the hand of others.  Those who do that for us would probably make wiser choices of running mates.  (Mr. President, I am not speaking of Mr. Biden.  I believe he was a good choice).

Through the election campaigns since I have been old enough to vote, candidates have spent too much time evaluating which running mate would bring the most votes and enhance their campaigns.

We need you all to "get real".  These people you choose could potentially be the President of the United States some day.  We need you to examine if they are smart enough for the job.  Are they mature enough?  Are they educated enough?  Do they have the physical stamina?  Will they carry out your political goals?  Are their goals at least similar to yours?  If we elected you and approve your platform, will we want their ideas as well? Is there depth and wisdom to their thinking?  Are they honest?  Will they interact well with foreign leaders?  Are they hawks who will constantly want boots on the ground, nation after nation, or do they exercise good judgment in picking our battles?

And while you are evaluating your potential running mates, turn the spotlight on your own goals, abilities and aspirations.  Are you up to all aspects of the most taxing position of the world today, or is this just some whim you've always nurtured in yourself?

Being President and Vice President of the United States are real jobs, difficult ones.  It is not just an award like becoming an Eagle Scout or Miss Congeniality.  The steps for achieving success as President are not all written out in a guidebook.  They require a lot of knowledge, skill, thought and flexibility.  And they certainly require a lot of prayer.

Then, we the people, need to focus on qualifications more important than political party when we cast our votes.  Are we smart enough for that job?

Monday, October 6, 2014

When Don't They Pounce?

This Week began their show October 5, 2014, with teasers including "what President Obama said that has Republicans pouncing."  So, what does he say that doesn't cause them to pounce?  They're like Sylvester who stands outside Tweety's cage.  They are so obsessed about putting down the President that they stay poised for attack instead of being productive leaders themselves.

Apparently the President caused the attack by stating the obvious truth.  He isn't running for office in November, but his policy is.  I can't determine if it is the staff of the program or the Republicans who are not aware that they pounced before his speech.  There is hardly a Republican ad that doesn't bring up past Obama policy as failed approaches, even the ones that have succeeded.

Too bad Obamacare wasn't the big failure the Republicans had hoped.  Yes, it had a rough start, but have you heard the praise the previously uninsured are giving it?  Have you noticed that unemployment has slipped below six per cent?  What Americans who work for a living don't want to see a minimum wage increase?  What senior citizens would consider giving up their Social Security and Medicare? 

Sorry Republicans, you'd best find another strategy to attack.  Most of your ads that claim politicians support Obama and Democrats get oral thanks for teaching me for whom I should vote.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


I cannot imagine there is an American military person alive today who does not know about the relationship between President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur.  Most individuals who have been exposed to American history know the story as well.  On the far out to left field chance that any American is not aware, please permit me to explain.

General Douglas MacArthur was a respected member of the military under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Truman relied on him heavily also.  He placed him in charge of the military force that the United Nations sent to defend South Korea after the North invaded the South.  He lead the allies to success against the north and then lead the troops into North Korea.  Chinese communists got in the fray and pushed the allies south again.  MacArthur wanted to go into China and extend the war.  Members of the UN thought it would cause WW III.  This put the President and the Joint Chiefs of staff on one side with MacArthur against them.  MacArthur issued statements criticizing the government's strategy on the war.  But the President had already ordered him not to release policy statements on his own.  MacArthur even sent the Chinese an unauthorized demand for surrender.  Then, a Republican Congressman made public a letter MacArthur had written criticizing official policy.

On April 11, 1951, President Truman relieved MacArthur as head of the U. N. Command, U. S. Far East Command and Occupation of Japan.

Whereas the ordinary citizens of the United States have a constitutional right to speak their minds about politics, military strategy and Presidents, military men, by their job descriptions, have given up their right to speak critically about their Commander In Chief and his military plans.  To do so is an act of insubordination which can, and should, lead to "getting one's behind fired."  And to think, Mr. President that you actually called this one back to take the reins over this further military involvement in the Middle East.

For head in the sand types who may have missed it --  General Martin Dempsey went before Congress this week and committed insubordination.  While the President was traveling around promising there would be no combat troops on the ground, Dempsey was before Congress telling them there might come a time when he would advise the President to put boots on the ground.  Really General, is there no end to the disrespect this country will show this President?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Black Hats

How Hollywood of me to think in terms of black hats -- bad guys -- and white hats -- good ones.  But have you ever noticed this?  No matter how black hat a person wants to behave, he/she still wants to be seen as a white hat.

So, how are all the black hat behaving people going to like being recognized as black hats when people finally take note?  Probably not very well.  But as they say in many endeavors, "If you do the crime, you do the time."  If we are talking about being morally bankrupt, not a felony committing criminal, then get set to don those black ones because you sure don't deserve the white.

How do we spy the morally bankrupt?  There are a few characteristics.

Among the most recently recognized bad people are the ones moving some or all of their business enterprises to other countries so they won't have to pay as high corporate taxes.  A really recent big event was when Burger King bought out a Canadian company so they could join the crowd of expatriate businesses.  Perhaps our government should decide to cancel citizenship for any company owners who move their corporate headquarters and taxes abroad.  If they act un-American, they should be un-American.  That would give us several less black hat dudes in our country.

But, maybe natural consequences will take care of that for us.  Just as workers in other countries began demanding higher and higher wages, maybe China, India, et. al., will start wanting a bigger tax cut also.  Why wouldn't they?

Oh, and then there is the everlasting outsourcing.  I hope there is a special corner in the hot place for companies that outsource customer services.  Yesterday morning I got hold of someone on my road assistance program who could literally barely speak English.  He apparently understood it less well than he spoke it, or he was deliberately trying to lose his job. I asked specifically not to have a particular tow service sent because they charge several dollars extra if you use a credit card to pay mileage beyond your policy limit (of 5 miles).  They also don't carry change for a ten so they get overpaid anyway.  When asked where I was having the car towed, the mileage came to 9.11 so he said no, the Firestone was only five miles so I should take it there.  I told him the Firestone was twelve miles -- I had just paid $28 extra a month ago.  He said, no it was five. 

Now, dude, if there is a Firestone five miles from my house, it isn't listed in the phone book.  Besides, you don't have a say as to where I get my car fixed.

Once we got it clear that the customer chooses the repair shop, he told me to hang up and he would text me with the ETA of the tow truck.  Every other rep I talked with that day had me stay on the line.  Why do you suppose he did it this way?  Well, he proceeded to set up service with the tow service I told him not to use.  I had to call and cancel his order and start from square one.  At least all the other reps spoke clear, if accented English.

Then we have the black hats who make all kinds of threats to the public if we convince Congress to increase the minimum wage.  They'll cut employees.  They'll cut hours.  They'll raise prices.  So, dudes, we'll eat somewhere that we can get a decent meal, served by adequate staff, at a reasonable price.  Then we'll watch all your employees flock to these restaurants.  And you'll find your restaurants boycotted like Burger King and others.  Then, there is your corner of the hot place waiting for you as well.

We also have the black hats who use their ill gotten gains to buy elections for their good buddies who will continue to support their morally bankrupt business methods.  Although it didn't work out too well for them during the last Presidential election, they are sure of themselves for the midterm elections.  May God grant that they are flushing their hundreds of millions down the drain.  If this keeps happening election after election, maybe they'll  become part of the veritable unwashed someday.  Don't know whom I mean?  Think Koch brothers.  Think Republican.  Think about giving them their comeuppance.

Let's don't forget the obstructionist Congressmen who are against everything others support -- just because it came from others.  Let's not forget the Tea Party reps who can't tell the difference between needed expenditures and general fluff.  Let's especially not forget the Tea Partiers who then request general fluff for their own locales.  What's fluff for the goose is fluff for the gander.

And then let's hold these black hats accountable.  If they act like that they should wear the hat.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

To The NTH Degree

One of my sons keeps being drawn back to our old neighborhood in another state.  He goes there to find his jobs, thus exposing himself to the negative changes in the demographics.  A couple of weeks ago he was just outside the place where he was staying with friends.  He says a Mexican man walking past turned on him and beat him up for no apparent reason.  This, plus knifings and shootings, happen a lot in this neighborhood.  It is not at all unusual to see illegal Hispanics as perpetrators of such crimes.

My son, a man of as few words as possible, does not talk much about the situation.  This little amount I have gleaned from what he has told various members of the family.  He nearly died from the incident.  He was in surgery for six hours just getting stitches for the damage to his head and face.  He was at "home" doing nothing to attract attention to himself other than being a white man born in this country.  He says there are two truckloads of Mexicans terrorizing the neighborhood.  He can no longer stay where he was.  And he is afraid.

Of course, immigration is, and for many years has been, a hot button issue for politicians.  We have one side clamoring for stronger fences and more border guards.  We have others yelling for more leniency.  We have Hispanic politicos expecting us to legalize -- did they actually say?  --  over eleven million illegals already living and working in this country.

We have Hispanics in our neighborhood who are really good guys like the man who helped me scrape ice and snow off my car and the young girl who, upon seeing me struggle with a weed eater across one shoulder and a cooler in the other hand, came to help put back the cooler.  Yet, we have many, many who turn glaring and hateful faces  -- strangers, that is  --  in our direction when they happen upon us.

Why in the world would people who hate Caucasian Americans so much want to come to our country?  Because they want to take what is ours, but prefer us not to be here.  They want to steal our lives.  They want to take our land.  They want to acquire our livelihoods. They want to turn our children into punching bags.  They want to knife and shoot and kill our citizens.  They want and expect our politicians to, once again, forgive their crimes of illegal entry, of working without green cards or with fake credentials.  They want to eventually control our governments and elect their own kind to tell us what to do.

Now, our Hispanic leaders thus far are kept a bit in the dark.  They seem to believe that all these eleven million? illegals are like their own relatives and friends.  They are not.

One Hispanic friend of mine sent me to a particular store, run by Hispanic acquaintances of hers.  I needed to buy a used washer and dryer.  When she asked me later what they had said, she was very embarrassed.  They had looked at me with dislike and told me they had nothing for me.  This is not an atypical way for Hispanics to treat white folk who were born here.  Nebraska Furniture Mart was glad to sell the appliances to me.  My money was just fine there.

Of course, these Hispanics, legal or illegal, are not going to treat fellow Hispanics with this type of disdain.  They are also less likely to beat fellow Hispanics senseless simply because they are standing there.  They aren't non-Hispanic whites.

So, Hispanic politicians, don't expect a lot of us  --  Democrat or Republican  --  to offer you much sympathy or support when you expect us to welcome into amnesty the hordes of your people who are criminals simply because they came here illegally.  Some of them are good guys, but a lot of them are very, very bad.

Plus, amnesty, by any form or name, simply encourages eleven million more to come.  We need to strengthen those borders to the NTH degree and to stop reinforcing criminal entry by welcoming them later just because they are already here.

And quite probably, some of your Hispanic politicians are among the Hispanics who want to see control of our country transferred to Hispanic hands.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Our Demographics Are Unequal

The various communities across America may be filled with equal opportunities, but demographics show that diversity is not equally distributed.  Let's take the two sides of the state line referred to as Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas.

On the Missouri side, non Hispanic Caucasians number 54.9 per cent in the city proper but 81 per cent throughout the state.  On the other hand, in Kansas City, Kansas, the same group is 39.4 (per cent is implied throughout the rest of the article),  while the State of Kansas has 77.1.  Wyandotte County, of which Kansas City, Kansas, is a part has 42.7.

Hispanics total 28.3 in Kansas City, Kansas compared to 11.2 in the state as a whole.  The number in Kansas City, Missouri is 10 --  the state has 3.5.

Kansas City, Kansas Hispanics outnumber African Americans who represent just 26.3, and 6.2 throughout Kansas.

The Asian population is more equivalent with 2.9 in Kansas City, Kansas and 2.5 in Kansas City, Missouri.  The state of Kansas overall, has more with 2.7 than Missouri's 1.6.  Kansas City, Missouri on the other hand has more individuals of at least two mixed races -- 3.2 to 1.7.  Kansas City, Missouri, also has a few less Native American/Alaskan, .5 to .7.

Compare these figures to the following.  San Diego County has 5.6 African American.  Native American/Alaskan represent 1.3 while Asians are 11.7.  Mixed races --  at least 2 --  are 4.2.  Here, Hispanics are 32.9 of the people and white with no Hispanic is 47.2.

In New York City, African American only is 17.5.  The Asian population is just 8.2 and Native American 1.0.  There are 2.3 of the people who are of two or more races.  Hispanics make up 18.4 while white with no Hispanic is 57.2.

Houston, Texas has a whopping 43.8 Hispanic population.  Non Hispanic whites number just 25.6.  There are 23.7 African American/Alaskan and 6.0 Asian.  Biracial people number around 3.3.  Native Americans are just .7.

Tucson, Arizona has just 41.6 Hispanic with non Hispanic whites numbering 47.2.  African Americans are 5.0 of the people with Asian, 2.9 and Native American/Alaskan, 2.7.  Two or more races represent 4.2.

It is curious what conditions exist which encourage the inequality of where individual segments choose to settle.  Is housing more equitable for one group than others?  Do the coyotes have better resources in one city than another?  Do employment agencies, especially temporary ones, encourage specific groups?  Do friends attract like individuals to their neighborhoods?  Just what jobs that U. S. born citizens don't want to work, do Hispanics do in the states with little agriculture?

What are the neighbors like around your home? Are they diversified?  Do you feel surrounded by non similar groups of individuals?

As mentioned in earlier blogs, demographics experts predict that by 2025, or at least 2050, there will be no more majority in this country.  But will the majority simply be changing at least in some areas of the country?

I cannot forget the words of the Hispanic man, standing on his land on the American side of the border -- "We are being invaded."

Yes we are!  And that goes for some of us more than others.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

When Speaking Of The Poor

On a recent This Week Robert Reich said that Paul Ryan was running around Congress with a new budget that includes a commitment for Americans to take care of their poor.  He said that Ryan had experienced some kind of a conversion.  Good for Paul Ryan.  I hope more members of Congress will see the light and let the light shine all the way from increased minimum wages to supporting all of our most down and out.  I'm sure God, Jesus and Pope Francis will all be proud if this takes place.

According to the Paul Ryan interview in the back of the current Time Magazine, Ryan has written a book in which he proposes that we renew the American idea of equality for all.  Government should ensure we all have that right.

He believes the recovery from our recent recession took too long, certainly longer than any other since World War II.  He seems not to have noticed it was the worst recession since the Great Depression.  It should have taken longer. 

So Ryan, with his newly found concern for the poor and his consistent belief in his own ability to solve our problems, has taken upon himself to start visiting black neighborhoods so he can find out how they are successfully beating back poverty.

Now, herein lies the crux of one of our biggest problems  --  those who think and act like those who are in need of government assistance for handouts are limited to African Americans.  There are people of all races and creeds who are poor.  Experts have been quoting stats for years that show that many, many Caucasians have to depend on assistance.  In fact, a huge draw on subsistence funds is being made by formerly hard working Senior Citizens who have fallen victim to Congressional attempts to save Social Security for future generations. That, although a good and laudable goal, is not a good and laudable excuse for forcing current seniors onto the welfare roles.  There have to be other ways to save the fund than this.

Such misunderstandings about poverty are no doubt the cause of much hatred of the subsistence programs.  Some people think the handouts go only to the black community and this interacts with their extreme and deep rooted prejudices.

I could quote you the stats again, but people have ignored them always before and would probably negate them now.  So, Congressman Ryan, write another book which requires you to look them up yourself.  Then, they might mean something to you.  And while you are studying the facts, take a look at who is in the top one per cent, or two, or three or more.

You and I should be so fortunate as to have a small fraction of the wealth of Oprah, Herman Cain, Puff Daddy, Snoop Dogg, etc., etc., etc.

America, the equal opportunity country, is succeeding beyond belief.  And it's time for Congress to get with the program and continue this equalization by keeping jobs at home, taxing those who have, and limiting our contributions to other countries (at least until we seriously reduce our debt).  And also continuing to work for job creation and pleasing the Almighty by extending opportunity and helping those at home as freely as you pass out cash to the unworthy and false friends abroad.   When speaking of the poor, be cognizant of the facts, the stats, and then educate the knee jerk responsive masses of these facts.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gouging The Public

A friend came by Saturday.  He'd been trying to find a phone number in the AT&T Yellow Pages from a city where he (but not I) lives.  He knew the business exists, because another similar merchant had referred him.  I looked in the Yellow Pages for my little city.  Similar results.  Same for Yellow Book, a Yellow Pages competitor.  They frequently come through when Yellow Pages fails.

I commented on the uselessness of the new trend in phone books -- covering only your own small scrap of space, instead of the previous phone books covering the entire metropolitan area.

"Yeah, they expect everyone to go online for everything, but if you can't be on the internet, that's too bad."

This reminded me of an article I started a couple of weeks ago but never finished.  It's about how the business world controls buying and selling by their individual versions of gouging the public.

For instance, if we want a complete listing of phone numbers even for just our own cities, we must have internet service.  To heck with someone who can't afford internet.  Of course one can go to the library and get an hour of borrowed time, but how often can people make that trip?  And if they go, do they have transportation?  Being poor is being poor.  For the impoverished, being on-line is a distinctive luxury.  I'm not talking about what kind of Smart Phone is inexpensive enough here.  I'm talking about not being able to afford it at all.  The man in question finds the cost over his head, as he found the expense of a car for several years.

Another way businesses gouge the public is to quit making parts for useable, if out of date, equipment.  Perhaps the worst offenders are the makers of printers for computers.  How many times have you had to buy a new printer because you could no longer find ink cartridges or they used a new kind of paper? 

Or how about changing the kind of printer to wireless so they are incompatible with your perfectly good computer. 

In the world in which many of us live, there simply isn't money to replace a computer system just because a printer goes out and the bottom line guys have quit making the kind of printer that goes with it.

This kind of thing is called gouging the public.  It is forcing them to upgrade their equipment or go without completely.  It is one more sign that our world is becoming morally bankrupt.  One more sign of man's inhumanity to man -- of kicking a person when he's down.

I can't imagine a city, state or country where everyone is upper class.  I'm not sure that is even possible.  So why do the fortunate exploit those with less?  I guess money is how they get their jollies.  What do you think?  Oh, yes, same for car companies that quit making parts for useable cars.  I can assure you they won't be getting the sale when the customer is forced to upgrade.  So where's their bottom line then?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Where Are We Now?

Racial tensions blew up once more -- in Ferguson, Missouri.  We witnessed a level of rioting and looting, of anger and hate, that most of us hoped was long behind us.  Certainly, it did discredit to Dr. Martin Luther King and to those who participated with him in a non-violent approach to effecting change.

Those of us across the country, unfortunately have to depend on news sources for our information.  But, after viewing news reports, it seems there were improprieties on both sides of the situation. They caused and prolonged the violence.

The police department is reported not to be very diversified.  Such departments are not adequate if they offer only a token African American or two.  A truly diversified staff can be quite effective in calming a diversified group of people if a situation sparks.

The department was described as not blending and communicating with it's citizens.  If this is true, they have missed a golden opportunity to build rapport and enlist the support of the community as a whole.  Concerned citizens of all races could have stepped in to calm the local community before the situation reached epic proportions.

Some media reports hinted that the police force had a reputation of not getting along well with African Americans.  Before making such reports, more facts needed to be collected.  Hints and facts may be contradictory, so even if an observer mentioned a bad rapport, such statements should have been held back until proof could be presented.  These statements incited wrath nationwide and attracted a more militant and violent crowd to the scene.

Now for Michael Brown, God bless his soul, he is dead.  There is nothing good or bad that is going to bring him back.  Whether he "deserved" it or did not, some courtroom ruling someday is not going to matter a bit to people who ache from the loss of him in their lives.  In one snap judgment, an officer downed an individual who can never get up again.  It is done.  And he had apparently stopped his resistance when he was shot.

According to news reports, the officer stopped the youth because he was walking in the street.  We do that in my neighborhood all the time.  African Americans, whites, Asians and Hispanics walk in the middle of our roads.  It is not construed as a criminal act.

But, was Michael walking in a manner that obstructed traffic?  Or was there a local ordinance against it?  If so, then the officer had probable cause to stop him and insist he get on the side of the road.  You see, this is the kind of fact that needed to be reported, but nobody saw fit to include it.  The nature of the road and it's traffic are essential to knowing whether Michael, the officer, or both were out of line.

Then the next thing that is rather fuzzy is what exactly happened at that police car.  Were Michael's friends and/or cousins up close so they could see and hear exactly what went on or were they across the road?  Was there another officer close enough to see and hear the interchange?  One report said Michael shoved the officer.  Another said he scuffled with him over the gun.  A third said the officer or Michael pulled the other through the window.  Someone said that Michael injured the officer on his face.  How badly?  Apparently nobody disputes that Michael and a police officer scuffled over a questionably important issue and Michael wound up dead with the officer wounded, but still standing.

Next, a national habit -- the habit of not thinking or saying anything bad about the dead -- kicks into gear.  The deceased can be an individual that sold drugs on the corner and is suspected in three drive bys, but once he is dead, everybody is grieving that he was getting his life back in order.  Is Michael being remembered in death as a good and trouble free kid, or was he really good and trouble free?

Enter now the video that shows a suspect, possibly Michael, shoving around a small scrap of a man trying to get the suspect, whoever he is, to pay for $48 worth of cigars.  Not a soda or a candy bar folks -- a $48 item.  Is this really Michael?  Well, we don't quite know, because the family was not shown the tape before it was released.  Yet, Ferguson, Missouri, isn't exactly St. Louis proper.  In small towns where kids spend a lot of time hanging out, most people would know their names.  How well known was Michael to the local police department?  If that is Michael, how often did that giant man in the video shove and bully others?  In what context did the friends with him that day know the real Michael?  At church?  A lot of people behave better at church than they do out in the community.  At family dinners with their parents present?  In school?  Or, were the ones with him that day usually with him?  If so, how did they usually behave -- peaceably or confrontationally?

How do any of us know the truths about Michael or his friends, or even the policeman, since the violence erupted so fast?  The police department and administration of the town wasn't given time to hear the facts much less assess them before the lid blew off.  That's what comes from hordes of people going off half cocked.

This being said, the local police definitely overreacted to the situation.  They armed themselves as if going to war, not crowd control.  They arrested members of the press for doing their jobs.  And, they incited more rioting by their inferior response.  Their behaviors attracted more violence and dissension to the area.

But, basically, whether Michael was a good kid or bad, he brought this on himself by being confrontational with the officer.   When a policeman tells you to do something, you do it immediately with your hands up and visible and your lips sealed.  Right or wrong, racist or not, they hold the power and authority.  You comply until you have your time in court.  And you hire a really good lawyer.

If you scuffle with the police officer, especially if you are as large as the man in the video, you run the risk of getting the officer's adrenaline flowing.  Nobody knows how they will react when they feel threatened.  Can we always turn off a rush caused by threat and fear?

Whether that is Michael in the video, there was not time to assess.  But, to his friends and family, someone needs to say --  if that is Michael in that video, he was no stranger to violent behavior and he needed no gun to cause fear in others, not even a rather large and armed policemen.

To the world outside Ferguson, I have a few observations to make.  Where were the African American and biracial celebrities at this time?  Caucasian celebrities once walked in peaceful demonstrations for you.  And you can't even come out of seclusion to try to calm the scene?  I'm talking to the Oprahs, the Gayle Kings, the Magic Johnsons and Denzel Washingtons.  You couldn't have come out and said chill, get mellow, wait for the facts?  You could not have offered a little class to the situation?  Instead, we get Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, known tree shakers.  And did you hear Reverend Sharpton speak?  Sounds to me like his message was meant to whoop up more anger, more violence.  What else would declaring that we won't tolerate this any longer be designed to mean?

To the peaceful demonstrators I suggest that the Reverend Martin Luther King would be proud.

To the ones who looted, pillaged, ruined the businesses of innocent businessmen and women, who set fires, I have this to say.  Every time you behave in such a vindictive and disorderly manner you simply reinforce the negative and prejudiced beliefs of every white racist in the country. You have not listened even to your own honored and respected Civil Rights leaders and followed their models.  You have shamed yourselves, your parents, your grandparents and the rest of your race.  And, you have put race relations back once more.  That's where we are right now.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Basic Human Rights

Over the course of history, the population has grown too large for people to be completely autonomous.  There was, no doubt, a good deal of sense when individuals began to bond together for hunting and gathering.  There was safety in numbers.  Less animals like buffalo and deer had to be slaughtered when a group shared the bounty. There was less waste that way.  Crops could be grown by some people working together while others tanned the skins or preserved the foods.

But with the advantages of socialization came problems as well.  Alone, man had complete control over himself.  With others he had to learn to adapt to the needs of his clan.  (You know, what we would call being considerate of others and using manners).  It was not okay for individual man to hurt, steal from or abuse others just because he needed or wanted something they had.

Each society developed their own rules and regulations to keep some from impinging on the individual human rights of others.  William Graham Sumner introduced the word mores into our language in the early nineteen hundreds.  Sumner said -- as we can concur -- each society believes their own mores are the right ones.  Sumner said that believing our own mores are the most desirable is ethnocentrism. 

Per Random House Collegiate Dictionary, ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of one's own group or culture.  It is also a tendency to view other cultures in terms of our own.  Snobbery or arrogance, in other words.  I'm right, you're wrong, and I don't care what you think.

People believe what they are taught to believe and their way is the only right way -- in their own opinion.  But who made their rules?  Did their mores and then their laws evolve from agreement of all individuals, no matter their sex, age, level of education, temperament, etc.?  Or, did a bunch of bullies bash others into submission and tell them what to do?

We've all seen cartoon pictures of ancient man clothed in animal skins and dragging a large club with one hand and a woman by her hair with the other.  Is that the kind of individual that made our rules, or did everybody have a say?

In the Garden of Eden, after God made woman to be a companion for man, there was only one rule -- don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Per Bible history, a serpent enticed Eve to eat the fruit, and then Eve enticed Adam to have some, too.  Adam, of course, could have said no, but did he?  No, he was more than willing to join the fun.  Yet man is never, ever held responsible for his enjoyment.  It is always a woman's fault.

Although most of us know this story from the Christian Bible, which includes books from the Torah in it's Old Testament, other cultures also tell first man/first woman stories and some even tell of the flood.

Much of the thinking and rule making of the Middle Eastern cultures was based on the idea women sinned all by themselves and enticed men to join them.  And God supposedly punished women by making them have the children.  Hence, all things women, especially those related to childbirth, became woman's cross to bear and man should not be involved.

Radical religious people today still blame woman for all sexual exploits, even if a man rapes a woman --  which western cultures now know to be a man's need for power and control over the victim.  It is never a need or aberration of a man that is at fault, it is always the fault of Eve and her female descendants.  Jesus, himself, happened on a stoning where two individuals had actually committed adultery.  He stopped the stoning by saying, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".  Everybody walked away that time.  But stoning still takes place in non-Christian cultures and religious zealots still sometimes kill their daughters who have been raped.  The family's own pride and embarrassment is considered more important than the child they supposedly loved from birth.  Such love I can do without.

From this environment came early Christians.  None of us seem to be able to totally shed our learning and reconstruct ourselves completely with new beliefs.  The early Christians, such as the eleven remaining disciples and Paul and his followers did the best they could.  Yet, we find hints of previous religions in our current religious practices.  For example, the habit of saying Amen was a holdover from Egyptian religions.  Easter came from a celebration for the goddess Ishtar.  You understand?  Our beliefs, our mores, our practices hinge on our backgrounds and our cultural habits. So, we differ in many ways, yet we all think we are right.

Westerners, particularly North Americans, have learned to fight and stand up for our rights.  The country as a whole fought for freedom.  African Americans, with the help of several generations of Caucasians, have fought for their freedom.  Women and slaves had to fight for the right to learn as well as the right to vote.  Both have had to assert their right for equal opportunities of employment.  Both are still fighting for equal pay for equal work.  Both still have to insist that government men and employers recognize their rights.

The revered papers written by our forefathers declare that all men are created equal.  The problem is they were not speaking of mankind.  Their definition, if you recall, did not include women and slaves.  Both were chattel -- the one meant to serve man as servants and the other meant to serve them as people who carried and delivered men's children, plus supervised the running of their homes.

Men began our country.  Men have served as our presidents.  Mostly men have written our laws.  Mostly men have peopled our courts.  Mostly men have served in our churches, written our religious laws.  In fact, Catholics and Southern Baptists still don't permit women in the ministry.  Women are relegated to the serving roles facilitating the work of the important individuals -- mostly white men.

People who are attracted to power positions in religious and public life are usually people seeking control over others as well as personal recognition.  A lot of these individuals take it as their basic right to tell others what to do through mores and rules and laws.  Often their fervor goes well beyond the necessity for helping us all to live well together.  They forget to focus on basic individual human rights.  They focus instead on their needs to tell others what to do.

When people do point out that the federal government is out of line  --  out of control --  they are usually saying the States should have the rule.  Wrong.  No one body, or two bodies, or even four bodies of power should have the ability to infringe on individuals.  Whether government or religious, no group --  Congress, Southern Baptists, Catholics or Muslims, even -- has a right to try to bend others or design rules to bend others to their will.

Both government and religion should facilitate us living more rewarding and happier lives.  They should not be allowed to dictate how we live our daily lives.  They should not be bastions of power for the ever greedy control freaks.  They should not be places where the weak can be exploited by the strong.  They should be places that foster the growth and dignity of each individual, black or white, male or female, young or old, rich or poor.

And once we seek to right a recognized wrong, we need to see to it that the pendulum does not swing too far in the other direction either.  Change comes easier through rational and reasonable means than it does when a whole mob stones -- literally and figuratively.

Don't mess with my rights.  I won't mess with yours.  As long as I don't infringe on you or others, nobody has the right to infringe on me.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lest We Misunderstand

Former Chief Justice John Stevens was quoted this year as saying that he thinks the Supreme Court and/or the Congress should rewrite the Second Amendment to show that Americans have the right to bear arms while in the militia only.  As one author said, thank God he is no longer on the court and can do no more harm.

Their has been a lot of debate in recent years concerning what the authors of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution had in mind when they conceptualized our freedoms and rights.  Many people openly state that the second amendment pertained only to arming of a militia.  But, lest we misunderstand, let's look at the remarks of some of our early citizens who actually influenced opinion and the final document, the Constitution.

In the Thomas Jefferson papers, 334, he stated that "no free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms".  He thought the most important reason that we should "have the right to keep and bear arms was as a last resort, to protect ourselves against tyranny in government".

George Washington once stated that the atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere "restrained evil interference".  He thought they should have a place of honor with all that is good.  As most sane individuals, he apparently knew that guns didn't kill people, people kill people.

In The Federalist Papers at 184-188, Alexander Hamilton is shown to have believed that "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."  Note, he said the people at large, not the militia.

Patrick Henry, in a speech in June, 1788, said the "great object is that every man be armed [ . . . ] Every man who is able may have a gun."  This assumes that until found guilty of being mentally unable, all men should be allowed to be armed.

In the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August, 1789, Samuel Adams said "That the said Constitution shall never be construed or authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience, or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."  Not militia arms, their own arms.

Zecharia Johnson, was clear in his beliefs.  He said, "the new Constitution could never result in religious persecution or other oppression because:  [T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons.  They are left in full possession of them."

Benjamin Franklin thought that people who gave up "essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety".  Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

At the Virginia ratifying convention in June, 1788, Patrick Henry is credited with saying, "we should have fine times, indeed, if to prevent tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people!  Your arms wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone . . . Did you ever read of any resolution in a nation . . ., inflicted by those who had no power at all? 

The bottom line is that widespread liberty, and to some degree safety, cannot be maintained without the right for individuals to bear arms.  Without this, the military could succeed in a coup without even having to fire their weapons.  Holding them on the citizens would be all that is necessary.  Our sometimes out of control politicians could pull off a takeover.  Isis, shown on This Week this morning and stating they are coming to put their flag over the Whitehouse, would have no resistance from individuals.  We would have no guns.  If they controlled the militia, they would control the country and we would have no recourse.

Although I greatly sympathize with any parent or other individual who loses a loved one to gun violence, more gun control is just not the answer.  And such controls are not ever going to bring back the one you loved and lost.  It just will not happen.  So in your grief, please keep in mind the words of Patrick Henry that tell us that guns are power and without power, we have no way to protect ourselves.  An assembly of people with no power is fruitless.

What we do need are better means of teaching and identifying problems within our children.  Work toward these goals, not gun control.  We need to offer the services of psychologists to all troubled individuals, rich or poor and young or old.  We also need to remove the stigma which taints people with sufficient courage to go get help.  We need to make this assistance affordable for all and a matter of easy access.  No parent, social worker, teacher or concerned citizen should ever hear the words, we have no beds available to help someone today.  It just should never happen. 

But the most chilling message I saw of all, was that Hitler has been quoted as saying that the biggest mistake they could make was to allow the people to keep their guns.  It must have been too tall an order to carry out, as the citizens apparently did still have at least some of their weapons.  But consider the speaker and his evil intent. 

You have read the words of some of the people who were influential in the formulation of our Constitution.  Do you still believe that they meant that only the militia should be armed?  I don't.
With protecting our freedoms and individual rights, there is some risk.  Don't throw out the baby with the bath water just because a few crazy people betray our forefather's trust.

And really, people, stop trying to bend the Constitution to your own preferences.  The Constitution belongs to us all and to our successors.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why Did The U. S. Bail Out General Motors?

I learned a huge lesson this week.

I remember being quite proud of our government for bailing out our automobile industry when the recession began in late 2007-2008.  After all, this is the country of the car.  We are the proud recipients of Henry Ford's efforts as well as those of other front runners.

My family had owned two Dodge cars in the past.  One was a Dodge Dart, the other a van.  One or the other of them seemed always in the shop, so I had sworn off Chrysler products.   But saving General Motors seemed to me a worthy cause.  One of my favorite cars had been an Oldsmobile station wagon, and then there was our 1959 red and white Chevrolet.

I've told my readers in one of my blogs that my daughter and son-in-law had given me a 1998 Oldsmobile Aurora about four months ago.  At the time I was told I would receive it, Kelly Blue Book showed the car's value between three and four thousand dollars.

Tuesday of this week, the headlights went on spontaneously three times.  Two times, I finally got them off.  The third they stayed on until the battery died.  Two people tried to help to no avail.  On Wednesday, I had the car towed to the nearest trustworthy repair shop.  It is a Firestone that had done good work for me in the past.  There was not even a GM dealer listed in either phone book I consulted.

The bottom line is this particular brand and model of the car has a chronic history of "spontaneous headlights" due to a faulty switch that controls several of the auto's functions.  The best way to stop the immediate problem is to disconnect the battery, which is not under the hood at all.  Now, General Motors cares so much about its customer base that it decided not to continue manufacture of the part.  This is a 1998 car, so these autos were already known to be defective before the bailout.

Firestone called local General Motors dealers and their usual supply sources and were told not only that the parts are not made now, but they have been out of production so long that there are none in the area.  O'Reilly's said someone is attempting to start a firm making such a replacement part, but it will be several months before they are available.  Besides it will cost a pile.

I went on-line and chatted with Brian at General Motors who gave me a 1-800 number for Oldsmobile.  I called, explained the problem and was told to hold the line.  I got cut off.  I called back and after giving the message again, found I had the same rep.  She could have told me sooner.  She took my phone number in case we got cut off again and said she would call three G. M. dealers to see if she could find a switch.  She scheduled a window of time for calling me on Friday, so she would have a chance to research the problem.  She did not call today.

I called the 1-800 number again.  The rep who answered asked my name, my phone number, in case we got cut off, the last eight digits of my vin #, then my whole vin #.  He could not find my call information under any of them.  He asked my case number.  I had not been given one.  So, he had me repeat everything.  Then he began searching and put me on hold.  He came back on and asked if I had pen and paper.  He was going to give me numbers of nearby GM dealers for me to call because his supervisor had told him I should be the one making the calls.  I reminded him I had said up front that Firestone had already called the "local" dealerships.  I told him if they had had the parts here, I would not have been contacting him.  He repeated that his supervisor had said to give me the numbers.  Then he put me on hold again.  Of course, you already know what's coming.  I got cut off again and the rep did not call me back.

I'm remaining fairly calm and collected considering I have no car to drive and probably will have to have it hauled away for junk.  Aside from practicing assertiveness skills by quietly insisting they do their job, I've done nothing to rile the staff.  I've simply asked for help three times from customer services agents who are unwilling to earn their paychecks. 

I believe that somewhere in the General Motors world, there is probably a switch or two left over, and the logical place to contact is the nationwide General Motors number.  I don't know, perhaps a query could be sent out on-line to all dealers and I could purchase the part to be sent to my home.  But that would require a customer services staff that did not have all difficult to understand reps as well as supervisors who saw their jobs as serving the people who bought their cars.

You couple such behaviors with the current recall frenzy, and it looks as though we, the people, should have let this company fold.  I hope future Congresses and Administrations get this message.  Some companies deserve to go under and this one is apparently one of them. 

In case anybody from General Motors and Oldsmobile Customer Services actually gives a care about customers, here is pertinent info.

The first rep who answered twice said her name was Franzie -- at least that's how it sounded.  Remember she did not call me back when we got cut off and she did not call me during the scheduled time Friday.  She also did not enter (or later erased) my information from the computer.

The rep today said his name was Ben.  He was trying to helpful until his supervisor said the car was so old they had probably discontinued the part --  which was what I had told both reps from the start.  I can just see that supervisor shrugging it off as if the person that needs to fix a $3000 auto instead of buying one of their new death traps wasn't worth the time.  Needless to say, if I ever get dollars to buy another car, it will be a Ford.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What Hath Hundreds Of Years Of Experience Wrought?

We all are imbued with tales of Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the "Indies" which turned out to be the American continents.  We've heard the tales of subsequent ships that came from afar bringing people to colonize his finds.  We know that some of these ships overshot his coordinates and landed to the north of their destinations.

Some of the Native Americans, then referred to as Indians, welcomed the ships while others wanted to slit throats and peel scalps in their rage.  Our first Thanksgiving was the result of natives and Pilgrims declaring a truce and sharing a "potluck" dinner.

We remember the tales of the Boston Tea Party so well that all of us sometimes wish we could hold another today.  We even have a group of people -- no doubt an embarrassment to the original raiders -- who invoke the Tea Party term for their own bizarre political schemes.

Some of the greatest minds of our history worked together to form a Bill of Rights, a Constitution and our country.  Against the advice of the Father of Our Country, they even formed political parties.

Eventually -- well, fairly soon, actually --  the Caucasians and "Indians" began to intermarry.  This includes a set of my ancestors a few generations later.  Their offspring no doubt grieved and resented being called half-breeds, a term now renamed and worn with pride.  We call it "biracial" today.

A lot of descendants of these half-breeds probably wish their ancestors had intermarried a few generations later, because if they could prove themselves to be one-quarter Native American, they would be recipients of all kinds of financial advantages.

Some attention was paid to separation of state and federal rights at the beginning.  At the time the Constitution was formed, it was okay, at least in some states, to own slaves.  But women and slaves (even males) were not considered men and therefore not citizens of these United States.  Now slaves, on the one hand, must have been higher in the food chain than white women.  Their owners could count them as three fifths of a person, but for representation and taxation only.  That was better than the no vote status of women who served as the resident scapegoat (since the time of Eve) and as one psychologist once worded it, a receptacle for men's sperm.  Oh yeah, they also bore and birthed their children.

When the Union beat the Confederates, the states rights issues had reached a crescendo.  One state didn't want another -- or a collection of states -- telling them what to do.  As slavery ceased, Caucasian women moved from their role of supervising passive-aggressive workers to the role of house cleaner.  White men began to have to plant their own cotton instead of riding around on horseback supervising the work.  The world began to make a major change.

It wasn't long before man's focus had to switch to war.  We have World Wars I & II.  We experienced the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, The First Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan collectively.  And many Americans still can't get enough of it.  Many higher ranking Americans still want us in the middle of Egypt, Ukraine, Syria  --  and possibly some day in Iran, China and North Korea -- again.  Oh, yes, and the Muslims want their flag flying over the White House so they can tell us what to do also.  Watching them with our liberated women would be a hoot.

Another thing about Americans is their love of revolutions.  Not just freedom revolutions, but the industrial kind as well.  Or even someone else's war will do.

At one time, when notice of land and potential riches on the North American Continent was broadcast far and wide, we had sane and reasonable immigration policies.  It was controlled by numbers.  There was a stopover place where people could be checked for communicable diseases.  There was a place where people could declare their destinations and who would be on the continent to help them get settled.

Nowadays, people arrive by the plane load, many on visitor and student visas, and fade into the heartland never to be noticed again  --  unless they commit crimes or cause illness.  Others ride here on the tops of trains.  They should be stopped at the border but apparently they are not.  Our newly hired border patrol guards pilot speedy crafts past rafts full of people and point them out --  see there are some of them now.  But do they stop and send them back?  Heck no, they don't even break their speed.  Buses full of them breach both sides of the border and nobody makes them turn around until after they have reached our cities and become our financial burden, our logistics problem.

As predicted by President George Washington, the Spirit of Party is baneful.  The parties can't work together to accomplish much.  Heck, the parties can't even work together within themselves.  Apparently, at least per one expert, there's a problem with John Boehner holding the gavel but Ted Cruz, a bi-racial individual, holding the power.  And why don't I see Hispanic individuals as Caucasian, you ask?  Because a Mexican man, working hard to put me in my place, once told me he didn't like white people.

So, what have we, the people, actually accomplished in all these hundreds of years of practice?  Not very much!

We still quarrel over the meaning of "a right to bear arms."  I wonder what those early Americans would have done for weapons when they heard the words "the British are coming," if they had not had their own.

We haven't lost the foreigners of all ilk who rush to take what belongs to the present citizens.  And that includes the influx of British and Canadian journalists who usurp the jobs of New Yorkers who were born and reared here.

If anything, the quarrels over state's rights versus federal controls have gotten even noisier.

The wish for freedom from the British crown has changed to the wish for freedom from irrelevant laws at all levels of government.  I give you light bulb wattage and high definition television laws as examples.  But then, Congress might have had to do something useful without these.

Americans gave up British taxes on tea for our current situation?  Let's see how many taxes I can remember in a brief session.  City and state sales tax, personal property, tags tax, driver's license, a tax to use a debit card to pay your taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes and county taxes on utility bills, trash removal tax, Payment in lieu of taxes (yes, we actually have this one), city earnings taxes, state and federal income taxes, boat taxes, taxes on phone lines.  I'm sure I've left out many, including some quite crucial ones.  Hence, we have the Tea Party.  But the problem with most of them is that their only ideas revolve around not liking taxes.  They seem to think the roads and bridges pay for their own construction.  They don't believe they should raise taxes even to pay the loans we've already contracted.  Well, maybe they see defaulting on our debts as the American way.  I certainly hope not.

The immigration crisis of today was not such a problem in the beginnings of our country.  There was plenty of land.  Even if the "Indians" minded the Caucasians taking it, there was always the horrible war solution.  Let's see, let me get my six guns.  There seemed no end to the vast natural resources.  People could grow their own vegetables in the back yard and hunt and fish for their meat.  Women knew how to can foods and make quilts out of fabric scraps.  Now we have so many people, we have to live stacked one on top of another with concrete walks instead of land.  We experience water shortages that sometimes go beyond a current drought.  And our ecology worriers moan both about a future low supply of fuel at the same time they moan when we dirty the planet by using it now.
Men had a lot of power in their own domain and didn't have to resort to politics to get their fill of pushing others around.  Women and servants knew their "proper place".  It didn't cost more annually to get your house cleaned than your government paid your teachers.  And let's not even think about the cost of landscaped lawns.

It didn't cost very much to educate people then, either.  Women and slaves hadn't gotten so uppity they expected to read and write. 

The bottom line is we are still quarreling over issues of black and white because we can't seem to get it right to their exact but every changing specifications. 

Women still have to fight for their basic rights.  We still go to war at the drop of a hat -- we just prefer to do it on another turf.

We don't like others micromanaging our lives --  interfering in our individual human rights, so to speak.  We still have others who want to come and take away our stuff -- our jobs, our money, our space, our natural resources.

The only difference is that now our leaders can't find it within themselves to work together to formulate anything.  Glad this bunch wasn't here to do the Constitution.

About the only thing it seems to me we've gotten right is changing the vernacular from half-breed to biracial.  Maybe there is hope for us after all.  Unless, of course, they decide to change their labels again.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"It Ain't Right"

During his speech in Kansas City this morning, the President of the United States said we know that some things just aren't right, but others just "ain't right".

To a crowd that exceeded even that of rock stars who have performed at the Uptown Theater, the President said that today, one of the last two days Congress in in session before the break, the only scheduled vote is whether or not to sue him for "doing my job".  He has a valid point.  It really "ain't right", when they could be working for a change.

The President was quite relaxed during his near thirty minute speech. His wonderful sense of humor was in gear.  He laughed that sources report that he should be out of office before that issue (the potential lawsuit) is resolved.  He joked about Arthur Bryant's barbecue restaurant running out of coleslaw before his arrival last night.    He made a joke that he got it that the Republicans didn't like him holding the office.  But he assured them that he would be gone in two years and then they could dislike the next president, a not too subtle insinuation that the next one would be a Democrat, too. 

He was more serious that his dinner guests last night were able to take advantage of some of his programs to get off unemployment, afford health care and realize a cap on their student loan payments.

He was really serious when he suggested Congress use the last two years of his presidency to work with him to increase the minimum wage and make sure women earn the same wage for doing the same job as a man.  He also hopes they will take care of the problem concerning our infrastructure issues before their break.

His relaxed mode came to an end as he chided those Americans who are cynics.  He said he guessed they thought that made them cool.

I needed a refresher about just what a cynic was.  Do you want one, too?  According to Random House, a cynic is "a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view."

He proceeded into a near litany of American successes which were not achieved by cynicism.  They can be bottom lined by the remark that cynicism didn't put man on the moon.  About these successes, made without cynicism, he was deadly serious.

It didn't hurt his positive attitude, that the economy is continuing to improve and that unemployment remains lower than at the start of his presidency. 

Following his speech, which was well received by numerous attendees, some of whom said "no matter what your party affiliation", he took a leisurely drive back to KCI Airport.  The entourage made an unscheduled stop at Parkville Coffee in Parkville, Missouri.  Thanks to social media, a small crowd soon collected near the shop.  Secret Service representatives selected people from the crowd to greet him personally. 

Thanks to KMBC 9 News, we were able to view him board Air Force One with the two Missouri politicians who get to discuss issues en route.

While covering the final minutes of the stay in Kansas City, the television station announced that Oklahoma Joe's sent out a tweet that three strapping guys wearing Air Force One jackets picked up a fourteen hundred dollar barbecue order assumed headed the President's way.  Now that's some good barbecue, too.  Next trip, he might want to try Kansas City's Gates or Snead's in Belton, as well as Bates City, Missouri's barbecue.

As a parting note, I want to mention the woman who said she got tears in her eyes when he began speaking today.  I can relate to that.  I had tears in my eyes the day I left the polls after voting for him the first time.

P. S.  Mr. President, Oklahoma Joe's did not send coleslaw.  Also, the KMBC 9 staff says this unhealthy eating is going to get you in trouble at home. 

P. P. S.  It really is good barbecue, Mrs. Obama.  Maybe he will let you have some.