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.

Monday, July 21, 2014

USA, Savior Of The World

After the first Rocky movie hit the theaters, one of my clinical psych teachers commented about how good it can actually be to come in second.  This is not the way people of any nationality want to feel.  Everyone has been primed to be number one and nothing else will do.

There is a movement afoot for the United States to be number one in worldwide rescue missions.  We just absolutely cannot let anyone else hold first place in anything.  We must be the leaders.  That's the competitive spirit!  That's the way it is praised.  Be first everywhere -- in sports, in education, in wealth, in war, in space, in rescue missions and even in meddling.  Number two will not do even in looking the fool to the world.  Ask any country that sticks it's hands out to take our dollars or our help while turning to their neighbors to "LMAO". 

Joe Klein, a columnist in Time, stated in the July 28, 2004, issue that President Barack Obama needs to step up and address the worlds problems, especially the Central American "refugees" at our Southern borders and, "well, lead".  President Barack Obama said in a speech the end of last week that the United States needs to take the lead in "this", referring to problems in the Ukraine.

Rebel Russian sympathizers and/or Russian troops are blowing commercial airliners out of the sky now.  It wasn't enough to just kill each other on the ground. 

Hamas and Israel are at it again.  Egypt and John Kerry, our Secretary of State, have tried to negotiate a cease fire.  Hamas keeps lobbing missiles.  Israel keeps lobbing back.  War has escalated to boots on the ground in the Gaza Strip and Netanyahu says he knows what Israel needs.

Afghanistan holds a vote and then the loser yells for a recount.  The western world supervises a recount.

Egypt took giant steps forward and then giant steps back.  Syria, a situation never solved, has lost the number one space in the headlines.  Yemen, too.

A few dozen stolen girls escaped their captors.  Then, this tragedy took a back seat to more "pressing matters".  Where are the rest of the girls?

Let's face it, our southern border concerns are just about as insoluble as the concerns between Palestine, Hamas and Israel, the various branches of Islam, or Islam and the rest of the religions of the world.  But there we are in the middle of everywhere borrowing money and passing it out to save everybody but ourselves.

Are you parents?  At home, what would you do if your infant daughter were crying from hunger and the need to be changed at the same time your constantly squabbling twin two year old boys were at it again, and your six year old needed help with his/her homework and your eight year old started saying he needed a ride to soccer practice?

Well, first you would prioritize .  Which is the most serious problem?  Which child is the most helpless?  How can one parent split herself all those ways?  You can't, so you delegate.

You would yell for Dad to separate the twins.  You would have the soccer player help his/her younger sibling with the homework and you would feed and change the baby yourself.  If you were really smart you would get the Dad to pack all the older children into the car and take the soccer player to practice.  Hence, the chaos is eliminated so that you can feed and bond with the infant.

So what does our President do?  He tries to negotiate with Putin, the Ukraine, and the out of control rebels while sending Secretary of State Kerry to Israel, while petitioning the Congress of no so he can get enough dollars to actually do something about the border, while not giving many sound bytes to the temporarily simmering countries of the rest of the Middle East.  He lets other world leaders help supervise election squabbles and sift through the plane disaster zone, while trying to armor himself against the constant attacks from the Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers, Congress, the Supreme Court and every other organization at home and abroad who thinks they can do it better even if they don't have the intelligence facts and contacts to know what exactly "it" is.  Do the run on sentences leave you as out of breath as the President must be feeling all the time?  Good!

Then, God forbid, he stops amidst all this chaos for a game of pool, a game of pickup, or a dinner out with his wife and he comes under even more attack by people who wouldn't consider doing without their own version of R and R.  Do they understand the research findings about planned rests refreshing and energizing us to produce more?

Really, people, the job is hard enough on a good day without special interest groups or individuals and the press deciding just what the priorities are and who should deal with which.  Much less, does the Chief Executive need the interference of prevaricators, foot draggers, and blustering of the other parties.

And really, Mr. Klein, you are blaming the Tea Party and citing Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge about the border uprising?  I'm a veritable bleeding heart liberal Democrat and I, too, am saying "enough is enough", send most of them back.  Let them go south of their country.  Let them go anywhere else.  We're broke and operating on overload.

The United States of America is not the Savior of the World.  We are financially unfit to lift the world from poverty.  We are in a pre-divorce setting with parties at odds and states threatening secession.  It is time for us to quit forcing ourselves and our ideas on the rest of the world.  We need to spend our own dollars on ourselves and our national debt.  We need to regroup, rethink, reorganize, prioritize and delegate responsibility.  And, if in the process of fixing ourselves first, we become second best in world politics, so be it.  Let us do it with the grace and dignity with which it was handled by the Greeks, the Holy Roman Empire and the United Kingdom.  And let our President get some rest.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Message To Central America

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."  Emma Lazarus

Romantic, isn't it?  Per Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, this is the inscription that was put on the Statue of Liberty in 1883.  I'm not sure "we've come a long way baby" is a good thing at this point.  This country certainly no longer can handle all your tired, poor or huddled masses.  At least only the most liberal unrealistic ones wearing rose colored glasses think we can.

Last year a few thousand people arrived at our border illegally.  They filled buses, trucks, various forms of transportation supplied by some of the most amoral individuals alive today --  smugglers of human beings.  These individuals, sometimes called coyotes, sell false hope of better futures to desperate parents who want a chance at the U. S. A. for their children.

When the numbers of abandoned kids reaching our country was over 52,000 (now 57,000) this year, United States citizens began to demonstrate --  to say "no more", "we've had enough, "send them back".  And according to the current President, many (possibly most) will be sent back.

But before your children are returned to you, this country has to feed, clothe, shelter them and provide them with a hearing.  Our current and immediate past presidents have both made decisions that brought on this crisis concerning immigration.  President George W. Bush signed a law which makes it illegal to send children back without due process.  President Barack Obama offered a type of amnesty to children who were innocent bystanders in their family's bringing them here illegally.  But that applies only to those already here. 

The court system dealing with undocumented workers in our country is sorely pressed.  It is not prepared to deal with tens of thousands of children, most arriving alone, who have to be cared for until they receive the hearings President Bush's law requires.  But the coyotes, who care nothing about anything but taking your dollars, keep slipping them over the border by the vehicle load.

These people, slugs that they are, don't tell you of the dangers your children, or even your adults, will face.  Have you heard of the truck loads of people who smother to death en route?  Have you heard of the bodies discovered in the deserts where people die from thirst or the elements?  Have you seen the televised pictures of your children crammed together like sardines in a can while they wait for the courts to review their cases?  You haven't?  Well, perhaps your priests, your teachers, your merchants can give you warning about what is going to happen should you decide to abandon your children to coyotes and the hand of fate.  Yes, you abandon your children!!!

First of all, we have gangs in our country, too.  A lot of Hispanics are caught up in these gangs.  The gangs often use violence to threaten children into their groups. There are frequent shootings -- usually called "drive-bys" - where Hispanic kids are killed.  A few years ago, an Hispanic neighbor of mine was being sought as a suspect in such a shooting.  Then he, himself, died in a drive-by.  Having more money in America makes killers more mobile and increases, not decreases, the chance of death.  We also have drugs here thanks mostly to Mexican cartels.  But we also have drug manufacturers here.  I don't use illegal drugs, but if I did, I know of four places to buy them within walking distance of my house.  I can see some from my porch.  However, I have to drive six miles to buy groceries.

Also, you need to accept the fact that most of the children you send will not be living in the Hollywood Hills in a $6,000,000 mansion.  Very few American children do either.  Your babies will probably be living in crowded inner city communities, a lot of which are considered slums.  A lot of U. S. A. born children live there, too.

Some North Americans like to have Hispanics come to the states where climates are warm.  They put your people to work as migrant farm workers.  Why?  They say that Americans don't like to do such hard work and besides, they can get illegals to work for less wages and without benefits such as paid vacations and holidays and health insurance.  In other words, your people are happily exploited.  We have some homegrown slugs here, also.

Housing is a concern as well.  A lot of Hispanics help their friends and families come to the United States.  They hide them in their rented apartments until work can be found and they can move elsewhere.  But do you know what?  Our laws do not allow more than two persons per bedroom.  If your friends get caught with more than that, they can be evicted.  They will lose their own homes because they try to help you.

Now, one of the arguments many USA citizens use to justify people coming here illegally, is that this is a country built of immigrants.  Well, that's true, of course.  But I speak to you not only as a fourth or fifth generation descendant of immigrants, but also as a fifth or sixth generation descended from a Native American.  And I am saying to you that we have too many undocumented people here right now.  We definitely do not need more.  We need you to take responsibility for your own families and make for them as good a life as possible.  If your cities are too violent, move to the country.  Use those thousands of dollars to relocate locally rather than wasting them with the coyotes.

You see, this country has been in poor financial health for several years now.  I can't imagine how isolated you must be not to have heard that.  Our unemployment rate has gone down to 6.1 per cent --  finally!  Do you understand what that means?  That means that 61,000 out of every 1,000,000 Americans who should be working cannot find jobs.  That does not count the ones who no longer qualify for unemployment insurance because they have been out of work too long.  It does not count the ones who are trying to start businesses because they gave up looking for jobs.  It does not count our homeless/jobless people who beg for quarters on the street.  They have started begging quarters in the local Price Chopper grocery stores.

You may not understand either that our country  --  our government  --  is broke.  We are so far in debt that we have to borrow from other countries to pay just the interest on our loans.  We cannot really afford the $4,000,000,000 that our President is asking from Congress to take care of the burden of your children.  Sure, our credit is still good, but if it gets so bad we cannot make our payments, then our credit will no longer be good.  We have to have enough income from taxes to pay these loans and one of the reasons we do not have is because of undocumented workers who hide out and are paid illegally "under the table".  These illegals do not pay taxes. 

Now, we have a legal immigration system in our country.  It screens candidates and takes them in proper order, rather than shipping them by the thousands to become a national burden to an already burdened country.  Most Americans welcome people who arrive at our door legally.  But we do not want and cannot afford anymore illegals at this time.  And you cannot afford to commit the negligence and abuse that you have been committing toward your own kids by sending them here alone.  If you cannot afford to keep your children, then simply quit having them.  When God told Adam and Eve to go and populate the earth, there was hardly anyone on it.  Now most nations, especially their cities, are overcrowded.

Whatever you may have heard about President Obama's Executive Order concerning children brought here illegally, it was not a free ride.  These children had to have already been here for some time.  It was not a blanket of approval for the future.  They must learn to speak, read and write English.  They must attend college or serve in the U. S. military.  They must remain law-abiding individuals and they must line up behind, not in front of, immigrants who arrived legally.  It is a long and hard process for acceptance.

Predictions are that 150,000 more of these children will arrive next year.  So, we are having to drastically increase our border patrols (more expense we cannot afford).  We are, no doubt, going to have to speed up the process of changing, by law, the decisions of the two presidents mentioned above.  And we will have to make tougher and tougher laws to protect our own children and grandchildren. 

Americans tend to have a soft spot for kids.  Sometimes it is to our own detriment.  So, don't exploit the obvious.  If you have a child, it is your responsibility to rear them.  We have our hands full with our own.  We can no longer take care of your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.  Don't waste your hard earned dollars, because you will just get most of the children back again.  Besides if this keeps up, it will mean our financial ruin and we will all be out of luck by then.

Once again, your children are your responsibility, not ours.   We did not conceive them.  We cannot afford them.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Who Am I To Be Judge And Jury?

"'. . . Who am I to be judge and jury?  I don't think I'd have the right not to print it.'"  John Cotton, Reporter.  Character in The Fly On The Wall, Tony Hillerman, Harper Fiction, 1971.

We have evolved a long way in my lifetime.  In my youth, reporters were inclined not to tell the American public  --  the common man  --  the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  For instance, they committed sin of omission by not revealing the probable extramarital activities of past presidents.  Then there was the incident when a man hoping to be his party's presidential candidate got his campaign blown out of the water because his affair was revealed.  By the time a sitting president's extramarital affair was "outed",  the general public said, well, that's not nice, but it is the couple's business.  And what does it have to do with his ability to lead the country anyway even if it is a little tacky?

This situation is just the surface of a reporter's dilemma when researching and writing an article.  They used to believe it was their job to determine what the American public could and should be able to handle.  Fortunately, most of them now understand it is their job to report the facts and the truth as it becomes visible, whatever their personal preferences.  It is also their job to trust their readers (at least most of them) to be able to decide the relevance and importance of these facts.

In the novel mentioned above, the reporter's life was being threatened over a story he was writing.  Two men had already died over it and John Cotton was being threatened openly.

A group of people were committing fraud with taxpayer funds in order to line their own pockets. Exposure of the people would mean their careers and families would be ruined.  It would also ruin the political life of the governor because it happened on his watch and he wanted to run for Congress.

But didn't the perpetrator's of the crime realize they might get caught?  Why did they not worry about the shame to their families before they did the deed?  Is it a reporter's job to care take the families of the criminals?

Part of the dilemma was that the governor truly did not participate in the crime.  Also, he was, by even the reporter's judgment, the best candidate for the job.  So, the country might lose the best candidate because of the crimes of others.

This is not unlike what we have going on right now.  The IRS has messed up.  It is hard not to LOL that we get to see them in the hot seat for a change.  The Veteran's Administration has messed up big time.  The immigration issue has just about exploded in our faces.  And the current Administration is being blamed, kind of like the governor in the fiction described here.

And, of course, the other party is exploiting every flaw, hoping it brings the Senate and the presidency back to them.  And it may, at that.  But it is still the reporter's job to present the facts, the truths and to trust the American public to discern the best candidates for the jobs, whoever they might be.  It is the job of the citizens to separate the wheat from the chaff and vote the best choice available.  I think we usually do that rather well.