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Tomorrow September begins.  During September, my older brother will celebrate his birthday, my son will celebrate his birthday, and my oldest grandson will also celebrate his birthday.  Should be a nice month for family happiness, and it will be.

However, in today’s world, it also means that the Iowa Caucus’ are just a few months away, and the New Hampshire primary is right behind.  That means while we are attempting to celebrate birthdays, we will be inundated with political advertisements.  It seems that every election cycle begins earlier, and earlier.  This one is no exception.

Unfortunately, this election cycle appears to be heading in a very ugly direction.  Since I am considered “old” that is bad enough.  But for my children and grandchildren, that puts a chill down my spine.  And, if you were to look at what is being said and look at history, you will find frightening parallels as well.

I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.  World War II was still a fresh memory in our parents minds.  Our father served in the Navy during the war and was recalled during the Korean War.  Additionally, the “red scare” was really ramping up.  There were real fears that there could be another world war.  In 1962, that nearly came to be with the Cuban Missile Crisis.  I remember seeing the fear in my parents faces.  I remember the somber mood of the country.  We were sure that a full-out nuclear exchange was just around the corner.

This was also a time when “white America” still ruled with an iron fist in many parts of the country.  The Jim Crow laws were in full force.  I remember, while vacationing in Florida and other southern states seeing the signs that read “colored restroom” and “colored drinking fountain.”  I really didn’t understand at the time what that was about, but I do recall wondering why they were there.

Women were expected to “stay home” and take care of the kids.  Men were the “bread winners.”  And, it must be said that wages were sufficient that one-income households were actually viable in those days.

Today, we face different circumstances.  Things have gotten better, or so we are expected to believe.  The Civil Rights Law and the Voter’s Rights Law took care of Jim Crow once and for all.  Civil rights were the law of the land.  No more “blaming” others for our problems.

But, have things really gotten better?  Today, the “stay at home” mom is almost non-existent.  One-income families have a much harder time making ends meet because wages are so much lower when compared to spending power back when I was a kid.

More and more states have passed Voter ID laws that mimic the Jim Crow laws of the past.  Meaning their true intention is to prevent people from voting.  At least “certain” people.

Our police have become more militarized.  I actually remember the “beat cop,” though it was being phased out at the time.  Police did not seem as “trigger happy” as they are today.  Even we “white delinquents” could have a “conversation” with the police.  That wasn’t the case in black neighborhoods, though.  I remember seeing blacks being hounded by police in my neighborhood.  Neighborhoods were more segregated then.

One of my friends, who was black, dropped me off at the house and was pulled over by a cop just two blocks away who just “wanted to know what you are doing in this neighborhood.”  Sound familiar?

As I listen to our Republican candidates, I cannot help but remember those days.  I listen to people like Donald Trump talk about “deporting” all of the “illegal” immigrants, along with their children who were born here and thus citizens, and I remember a small lesson in history.  Back in the 1930s when the depression was high, many states, counties, and cities in the Southwest and Midwest, deported millions of Mexican immigrants, even if they were here legally or citizens.

The excuse was to make sure they didn’t take “whites” jobs away from them.  In places like Houston, whole neighborhoods were vacated.  And, I wonder if that is where Donald Trump got his idea.

I listen to both candidates and conservative talking  heads talk about the so-called “war on Christians” and wonder what the hell are they talking about?  Then I remember seeing on TV the KKK rallies of the past talking about how they were of sound “White Christian” stock and better understand the “War on Christian” meme.

I hear Chris Christie talking about “tracking immigrants” like FedEx packages, and I remember watching movies of Nazi German police saying to someone “papers please.”

I hear Ben Carson comparing slaves being brought into the country “in the bottom of slave ships” to other immigrants and saying those slaves had the same immigrant dreams, and I wonder who is he trying to impress with such stupidity.

He then goes on to say there is “no war on women.  There may be a war on what is inside a woman.”  Say What?????  With which part inside of women are we supposed to be at war?

But, the reality of all of this is the same thing.  Talking heads say the Republican Party is becoming more racist.  They are claiming that Trump is a “flash in the pan.”  That is a very dangerous narrative.  It is obvious to see that Trump is setting the Republican Agenda.  That is why everyone else is trying to “out-Trump Trump.”

It also conjures other bad memories.  It brings us back to the Jim Crow days.  It brings up how Mussolini and Hitler rose to power by blaming those lousy “others” for all of Italy’s and Germany’s problems.  It brings back memories of lynchings of black people.  It brings back memories of the Japanese-American internment during World War II in this country.  It brings back the “great repatriation” of Mexicans in the 1930s.

I have been saying for some time that the current Republican Party wants to take us back in time.  At first I thought they wanted to take us back to the “Robber Baron” days.  But, now I am not so sure.  Now, I am beginning to believe their intention is much more sinister than that.

It is possible that Trump represents the last battle of the “old white men” who are afraid “their” country is gone.  Where they had it good, and everyone else were simply “moochers.” Or, it could be the beginning of new era in American Politics.  One that is a rehash of past, similar politics of hate.

In either case, don’t expect the rhetoric to be toned down anytime soon.  It may not tone down at all.  That is why we all better keep close tabs on what is being said.  And, don’t lose sight of history.  Too many things sound all too familiar from a not so friendly past.

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Kim Davis, the County Clerk of Rowan County in Kentucky stopped issuing marriage licenses to everyone.  Since the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal, she has refused to issue any licenses.  She says her “religious beliefs” forbid her from issuing licenses to same-sex couples.  Knowing that is blatant discrimination, she has decided not to issue any licenses.  Two gay and two straight couples have filed suit against her.

They claim they should not have to drive to another county in order to get a marriage license.  They want to get their license in the county where they live, work, and pay taxes.  But, Ms. Davis doesn’t care about her oath to serve the people who elected her.  She only cares about her personal beliefs.

As a result of the law suits, she has been ordered by two different courts to begin issuing marriage licenses to everyone.  She still refuses.  She can’t be fired from her job since it is an elected position.  She refuses to resign even though she is breaking the laws she is sworn to enforce.  Now, she is asking the Supreme Court to delay the previous orders.

The unfortunate side of this mess is that Ms. Davis is not alone.  There are other County Clerks who are following along with her unlawfulness.  As usual, they are trying to use the “religious beliefs” aspect to justify their unlawfulness and bigotry.  This could get very ugly for everyone, especially Ms. Davis if she is found in contempt of court and either heavily fined or jailed.

So, I believe there is only one answer to this mess.  One that is fair for everyone, and could even help the government raise more revenue.  Thus, helping to balance the budget.  The answer is to stop marriages altogether.  That may sound very crazy to many people, but it has some reasoning behind it that makes sense.

First off, if religions desire to “marry” people, let them.  Just don’t give any civil recognition to them.  By not giving any civil recognition to them, I don’t mean their children are illegitimate or anything like that.  I simply mean there will be no civil benefits for being “religiously married.”

Here is how this works.  Whether two people get a “religious marriage” or not, they have the right to cohabitate.  We will call it “domestic partnerships.”  Under this plan, there will be no tax filing status of “married filing jointly,” “married filing separately,” or “married head of household.”  Each person in the partnership will have to file their taxes separately as single people.

Since civil marriage will be eliminated, children of domestic partners will maintain the name of the mother, not the father.  The children can be given the father’s name only if the father formally adopts them, and the mother agrees in writing to forego all tax advantages she may have gotten by declaring them as dependents.

Furthermore, if the domestic partners separate, only the “legal” parent will be entitled to custody of any children.  If that partner does not fulfill those responsibilities they shall be charged with abandonment and punished with a jail sentence.  There will be no child support awarded to the legal parent from the non-legal parent.

When filing tax returns, only the parent who is the legal parent of the children can claim them as dependents.  Further, upon the death of one of the partners, there will be no “estate tax exemption” for the spouse.  Only children who are the legal dependent of the partner will receive those estate tax exemptions.

Spouses of domestic partners will not be eligible for Social Security checks based on their partners income.  If their spouse dies, they will not be entitled to any income from Social Security as the surviving spouse as they are in many cases today.

If children are eligible for those Social Security Payments, a court appointed trustee will manage the money to ensure the surviving partner does not financially benefit from those payments to the children.  The same will be true for any inheritance a child may receive from the legal parent.

If the will of the deceased partner leaves everything to his partner, that partner will be forced to pay the full inheritance tax just like anyone else.

Corporations will no longer be required to provide health insurance to partners of their employees.  They will continue to provide health insurance to employees and any legal dependent children.  Partners will have to get their own insurance unless that corporation decides to continue to offer the plans as they do now.

All of these rules will be enforced upon everyone.  If two people enter into a religious marriage, they will still be considered domestic partners under the law.  No marriage licenses will be issued by any government entity to anyone.  Basically, marriage will disappear as a state sponsored entity.

Under this plan, divorce will be eliminated.  In order to prevent total chaos in these separations, the couple will need to file with a court a separation plan that includes property division and joint loan/mortgage plans.  That is more to protect the lenders than anything else.

We will basically be able to eliminate “divorce court” thus saving the states and cities lots of money.  The federal revenues will grow because there won’t be anymore tax exemptions simply because someone is married.  The estate tax revenue will grow because partners won’t get the tax breaks currently offered.

We won’t hear anymore hypocrisy from multi-married candidates about “family values” because there won’t be anymore families.  We won’t hear anymore about “single mothers” because every legal parent will be technically a “single parent.”  And finally, we won’t have any County Clerks or other government office holders breaking the law by refusing to issue marriage licenses to people they hate.

Let’s face facts.  Aside from any religious beliefs you may have, the only real advantage to getting married is for tax purposes.  Eliminating those tax loopholes makes the civil endorsement of marriage mute.  And, bigots cannot claim “religious beliefs” to practice their bigotry and denying civil rights to those they hate.

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One of  the things that has hurt our economy and wages has been the idea of Franchises and Sub-Contract work.  Some people think they are great for our economy.  But, these two business models were invented to keep the “parent” company from having to follow any labor laws.

For example, companies like McDonalds, Burger King, etc., have used the franchise model for years.  They say they have no responsibility for any complaints about wages or violations of labor laws because their stores are “franchises” owned by private people.

Yet, they charge an un-godly amount of money so the franchise can use the name.  Additionally, they dictate the uniforms, where franchisee’s can purchase their product, and a whole host of other rules.

They maintain that these rules are necessary to “maintain” the quality their brand is known to provide.  Without these rules, franchisee’s could change the uniform and/or purchase from other vendors which would affect the quality of the product.

Yet, even though they dictate all of these rules, they claim they do not own the store, and are not “joint-employers” of the franchise.  This has resulted in parent companies to effectively elude responsibility for labor problems.

That may all change.  There was a little-known case before the National Labor Relations Board that challenged these models.  In the case, the Teamsters Union was in a battle with Browning Ferris Industries over unionizing drivers including sub-contractors.  Browning Ferris Industries is a waste management company that uses sub-contractors.

On Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Browning Ferris Industries qualifies as a “joint employer” alongside one of its subcontractors. The decision effectively loosens the standards for who can be considered a worker’s boss under labor law, and its impact will be felt in any industry that relies on franchising or outsourcing work.

This ruling has huge impacts for both the sub-contracting and the franchising industries.  This ruling means that the huge companies can no longer hide from their responsibilities for workers who basically work for them.

The ruling was made along party lines.  The three democrats on the board ruled in favor and the two republicans ruled against it.  The majority members wrote that parent companies shouldn’t be absolved of their obligations to workers at the bottom of the contracting chain.

It is not the goal of joint-employer law to guarantee the freedom of employers to insulate themselves from their legal responsibility to workers, while maintaining control of the workplace.  Such an approach has no basis in the [National Labor Relations] Act or in federal labor policy.

Labor Unions and advocacy groups have been hoping for a decision like this one.  They claim that if a company maintains such control over how a franchise is run, they should be legally liable for the workers even if they technically work for a franchise.

Of course everyone doesn’t agree with the ruling.  The negative reactions from the business community were swift. The National Restaurant Association, a leading lobby for the industry, issued a statement Thursday saying the ruling “is overturning years of established law that has worked to help grow business and feed our economy.” The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, said the ruling would have a “devastating economic impact.”

The ruling cold have major impacts on the brand companies who use these models.  It will make it easier for them to be considered as “joint employers” whenever there is a conflict of labor laws.  Something they have been able to avoid for years.

Of course the Franchise Association claims that the franchisees will be the ones hurt the most.  I don’t quite see that claim since they won’t have to face these problems alone anymore.  But time will tell on that point.

In any case, companies like McDonald’s have been dreading this ruling for a long time.  The board’s general counsel, who functions as a kind of prosecutor, has already named McDonald’s as a joint employer alongside some of its franchisees in several cases involving alleged unfair labor practices. Many observers took that move as a sign that the board would soon revise its standards for what makes a company a joint employer.

The thing that we can be sure this ruling will bring, is more attacks against the National Labor Relations Board from business groups and Republicans.  Republicans have already called for closing down the National Labor Relations Board.  This ruling will simply make those calls even louder.

It is way too early to tell what impact this ruling will ultimately have.  But, I think it was the right decision.  Huge companies have been able to hide behind these business models for too long.  If a company actually dictates how a franchise is to operate, they should be classified as a joint employer and share responsibility for how their employees are treated.

 

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We are in the midst of a terrible rampant disease in our country today.  That became evident to thousands of people who were simply watching the morning news broadcast in Roanoke VA yesterday morning.  WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were doing a “live” interview with Vicki Gardner, an official of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Suddenly shots rang out.  Both Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed, and Vicki Gardner was seriously wounded on camera by a disgruntled, former employee of the station named Vester Flanagan.  It turns out that when Flanagan arrived at the scene, he saw that the camera was pointed away from Parker.  He patiently waited until it was on her again before opening fire.

This tragic case is going to be talked about for quite a while.  Both gun control advocates and the NRA are going to have a huge fight again.  But, you can expect that nothing will be done about gun control, again.  The news media has already blown this up.  Fox News asked why this isn’t a “hate crime” since the shooter was black and the victims were white.

Donald Trump said that this wasn’t a “gun problem” it was a “mental health” problem.  He is all in favor of keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill people, but doesn’t say how that is to happen.  The President is calling, again, for gun control legislation.

I have already made my view clear about how much I want to see meaningful gun control legislation that helps keep guns out of the hands of people like this.  This writing is not about that.  It is more about the disease of violence that has gripped our nation.

Did you know that this country averages at least one “mass killing” per day?  The definition of “mass killing” usually means that more than two people are killed in one crime.  Think about that for just one minute.  We average at least one “mass killing” every single day!

There has been a lot of talk about crime, especially over at Fox News.  We hear about black-on-black crime.  We hear about hate crimes and mass killings like the one in Charleston, SC.  We hear about police abuse, mostly against black citizens, but not always.  We hear about police officers being killed.  We hear about serial killers.  The list goes on and on.

Everywhere you look, you can read or hear about violent crime taking place somewhere.  This has definitely become a disease.  But, what has provoked Americans to react in such violent ways?  What could possibly be the root cause of all of this violence?

The answers to those questions vary depending upon whom you talk to.  Liberals usually say it is because we have too loose gun laws.  Conservatives say we don’t have enough people with guns to protect themselves.  Some blame race.  Some blame religion.  Some blame sexual-orientation.  Some blame poverty.

The national debate about violence is being drowned out by the loud mouths on all sides of the issue.  I believe the primary root cause of all of this mass violence is simply hate.  I don’t make that accusation lightly.  But, I believe that hate has become so rampant in our society that mass violence cannot help but follow.

You don’t have to look far to see all of the signs of hate today.  The birthright citizenship issue is based on hate.  The deportation of undocumented immigrants, especially since it is intended to target one group of people, is based on hate.  The idea being spread by too many people that all Muslims are terrorists is based on hate.

County Clerks refusing to issue marriage licenses to anyone because they don’t want to issue them to gay couples is based on hate.  The idea that you can justify discrimination against any group of people using “religious belief” is based on hate.

Unfortunately, hate is all around us.  Unfortunately, it is being flamed by politicians and news outlets.  Any time a politician targets any group of people as being those “others” that is whipping up the flames of hate.  Every time a news outlet or talk radio host puts labels on groups of people to show how they are causing all of your problems, that is whipping up the flames of hate.

We are living in a society where so-called conservative politicians keep talking about “pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps” all the while blaming certain groups for all of America’s ills.  That is not “pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps” that is playing a blame game.

D’Souza, who I consider to be mentally ill, said after the shooting “I hope the President shows pity for the victims, and not the gay black guy who killed them.”  That is stirring the flames of hate.  We always hear about liberals trying to raise the “race card.”  Yet, it is the so-called conservative media that keeps bringing it up whenever something like this happens.

It is very clear that we have a real hate issue in our country.  I lived through the civil rights era.  I witnessed the pure hate against anyone who wasn’t white.  I also understand that hatred wasn’t just against people of color.  It was against anyone not classified at the time as a “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant” or WASP.

The hatred was mostly against Blacks but included Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and any other group that wasn’t a WASP.  Religion was used as justification for that hatred.  Religion was justification to keep those “others” down.  Violence against those “others” was justified in the Bible.

Today, we are hearing the same rhetoric.  Today we are seeing the same hatred for those “others.”  Those “others” may have different names, but it is the same rhetoric and the same hate.  So-called conservatives say we should follow the Constitution.  Yet, they claim you can ignore the Constitution if you have a “religious belief” against it.  That isn’t patriotism, that is treason.

In the meantime, thousands of our fellow citizens are dying by violence.  Thousands of our fellow citizens are murdered, raped, brutalized, beaten, or abused simply they are different.  And what do our politicians do?  They blame the victims.  What do their talking heads do?  They blame the victims.  What do we as a society do?  We turn away and pretend it didn’t happen.

Hate has permeated our society so much, that we simply believe that there is nothing we can do about it.  Hate has been with mankind since we first stood upright and walked.  So, how can we stop it?  In other words, we seek excuses and not solutions.

Sorry, but it is our fault as a people that we are surrounded by so much hate and violence.  If we as a people do not stand up and say STOP IT, it will continue.  The problem is, if you look at history, dictatorships begin with hate.  Fascism begins with hate.

It may seem amusing to many people that certain politicians want to use the “blame game” to gain votes.  But, every time they use that game, it stirs the flames of hate.  It becomes justification for violence against any group of people who are “different.”  If you want proof, simply look at what Trump said when asked if he condemned some of his “followers” attacking a homeless person in New York.  He simply said, I am paraphrasing here, “well some of my followers are passionate.”

Trump is not alone in the field either.  I have used the term “so-called conservatives” earlier because these politicians and talking heads are NOT conservatives.  To call them such is an insult to the real conservatives in our country.  I don’t agree with conservatives and their policies, but we have had conservatives who were not filled with hate, and we still do.

No, these people are simply hate mongers.  They want control.  As a result, they are willing to allow street violence as long as it gets them votes.  We suffer a tragic disease called “violence.”  One of its biggest root causes is hate.  If we don’t stop listening to, and silence the hate mongers, we are all doomed to more violence.  That is how you destroy a society and establish a dictatorship.

We as a people can still stop this disease if you are willing to step up and do something positive.  Otherwise, we lose and our society will become a footnote in history.

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We have seen the stock take a bit of a tumble over the last three trading days.  Today, it seems to be balancing off a bit and there is hope the “panic” won’t hit.  But, there are no promises on that front either.  The Stock Market is probably the most fickle thing there is.  It is almost hard to believe we are at its mercy.

Experts are giving a whole lot of reasons for the sudden downturn last week.  There is the Chinese Market which has been sinking for a while.  There is the strength of the U.S. dollar compared to others.  There is the “threat” as some call it, that the Fed will raise interest rates.

So, we have a number of things that are affecting the market in negative ways.  There are those who claim we are on the verge of a total world-wide economic collapse.  Those are mostly the people who sell gold and other precious metals.  And of course, these downturns suddenly spike the price of those medals.

However, I saw a quote from a “Wall Street Expert” who has a slightly different view of what is going on.  It is just one more theory of why we have seen this “correction” as Wall Street likes to call them.  His view was put simply:  “We have too much stuff, and people don’t have enough money to buy it.”

He was referring to the lower than expected profits a lot of companies are projecting.  Meaning, they are making products, but people aren’t buying them because those people don’t have enough money.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan ran for President on the mistaken principle of “trickle-down economics.”  It was eventually called “supply side economics” because “trickle-down” didn’t sound too appeasing to the working class.

In the “supply side” economics of St. Reagan, if you make enough products, the people will buy them.  If regulations were removed and the so-called “free market” was allowed to run amuck, the economy would improve.  Add tax cuts for the wealthy to the mix, and everything would be smooth sailing.  Because, according to Reagan, those rich, greedy, bastards would re-invest their tax savings in companies.

It didn’t work.  His “voodoo economics” as other experts called it resulted in a bloated federal deficit, lost jobs, and a huge recession.  Seems those rich guys did not invest their “tax savings” into companies.  As a result, there was no significant expansion of manufacturing in the U.S.  It was all shipped overseas.

Since then, the Republican Party has stuck with this failed economic plan.  They insist that if we just let it go a little longer, it will prove to be the right course.  The last 35 years of failure shouldn’t be looked at, because they are right.

Another huge factor in Reagan’s “supply side” economics was a bitter attack on the working people of the country.  The Republicans waged open warfare against unions, and they still are, in order to keep labor from gaining any gains in income.  The Republicans have said over-and-over that “companies should determine wages and not the government.”  Of course that is in reference to the minimum wage which is below the poverty line today.

Over the last 40 years, the income of the working class people in America has stagnated.  It has gotten so bad, that in terms of real buying power, you make less today than your fathers did in 1968.  On the other hand, the earnings for the top 1% of this country has grown by over 500%.

Republicans are always crying that wage increases cost jobs.  The fact is just the opposite.  Higher wages means people have more disposable income, meaning they will spend more money on products, thus increasing demand and thereby increasing job growth to meet the demand.

In areas of the country where the minimum wage was increased, there is far more job growth than in areas that refused to raise the minimum wage.  That is especially visible in areas where one part raised the minimum wage and another did not.  The part with the higher minimum wage is experiencing better growth than the other part.

Hell, even people like the Koch Brothers are expressing concern over the growing income inequality in this country.  If the greedy like them are worried, maybe our politicians should be worried as well.  But, the Republicans are still anti-worker.  They don’t like the idea that you earn a livable wage for an honest day’s work.  They don’t like the idea that you should receive overtime for working overtime.  As Bush said: “The way to grow the economy is for Americans to work more.”  He never said you should be paid more for that extra work.

We have been experiencing a growth in our economy.  The problem is that people are still not buying as much as they did before the melt-down in 2008.  The biggest reason they are not spending as much is because they don’t have as much money to spend as they did.  Their income is decreasing while the wealthiest’s income is growing.

There are a lot of reasons that Wall Street took a hit last week.  There are a lot of reasons why it will take hits in the future.  The only question that remains is how big of a hit will it take?  And, if that hit is so big it will ruin the economy again?

We live in a global market.  What happens in places like China and Europe have a direct effect on us.  However, I believe it is possible to lessen that impact as long as we have a strong internal economy.  The only way to have a strong internal economy is to have a population that can afford to live in it.  Which means something needs to be done about income levels for the working people in this country.

As that expert said:   “We have too much stuff, and people don’t have enough money to buy it.”  Since capitalism is supposed to be based on “supply and demand,” that one sentence makes perfect sense.

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The Republican Party is always talking about state’s rights.  They claim that each state should be able to decide issues on their own.  The two most famous ones are abortion and same-sex marriage.    According to the Republicans only the states should be allowed to decide on these issues.

We have a bunch of other “states rights” issues as well.  Most Republican states have passed some form of Voter ID laws which are intended to suppress the vote.  Yet, according to them, that is okay because only states should be able to decide who should be able to vote and how.

Republicans are now looking to help decide who can run for president.  As you may know, the national party does not set the guidelines for how and whom can be on a ballot in a particular state.  National elections are ruled by each state.  But, this year there seems to be a problem with our democracy.

The Republican Party establishment is terrified that Donald Trump might actually win the primaries.  They have been looking for ways to stop The Donald.  Their problem is that Trump is still leading in the polls.  Worse still, he is leading by a wide margin and is dragging the party further and further to the right.

This has the party establishment scared shitless.  They don’t know what to do to stop the insanity from drowning their party.  Because of Trump, we are seeing almost all of the candidates, including Jeb Bush, making some very ridiculous statements.  The other day, in order to get Latinos to love him, Bush said the term “anchor babies” is not intended towards Mexicans, no it is intended towards Asians.  It is kind of “Pick your medicine.”  Either Mexicans hate you, or Asians hate you.  Bush has decided that since there are far more Mexicans voting than Asians, Asians are the better target.

We have the “wall” discussions.  Anti-Abortion rantings.  Same-sex tears.  Religious belief legalizing discrimination.  And, all of it being raised by candidates who want to be more like Trump than Trump.

So, using their “state’s rights” as cover, Republican Party committees in North Carolina and Virginia have decided they will put an end to Trump once and for all.  Both states are talking about their rules for being eligible to get on the state’s primary ballots.   But, the interesting thing is that these new rules have nothing to do with getting enough signatures, or where you are in the polls.  That is even used to get to the adult table during the debates.

No, their primary rule change would make you ineligible to get on the state’s primary ballot if your do not “pledge” to support the Republican Nominee if you lose the primary.  That’s right.  If you do not pledge to throw your full support to the winner of the primaries, you cannot get on the ballot in Virginia and North Carolina, if the rules are changed.

This is specifically targeting Trump.  Even during the debates, he refused to rule out a Third Party run if he does not get the Republican nomination.  That has pissed off a lot of people on the Republican side.

As it turns out, not only do states want to decide who can vote in the elections, they now want to decide who can even appear on the ballot.  Not based on “traditional” rules, but on “new and made up” rules.  If they don’t like you, you can be sure they will change the rules so you can’t appear on their ballot.

This is called “pick your candidate” Republican style.  Unfortunately, it goes way beyond just who is allowed on the ballot.  It is a prime indicator of just how Republicans desire to govern.  If they don’t like something or someone, just change the rules to suit your desires.  That is not how democracy is supposed to work.

It is not how the Constitution says we are to run our country.  But, I have never accused the current Republican Party of being in favor of the law of the land or the Constitution.  This tinkering with the rules on getting on the ballot with superfluous nonsense is a perfect example of a flawed party.  It is a perfect example of why Republicans should not hold office at any level.

How can we trust a party that randomly changes their own rules in order to shut up people they don’t like.  Both states claim they are looking at changing their rules “independently.”  But, I will wager that more Republican states who hate Trump will be happy to follow along.

I don’t like Trump either.  But, to arbitrarily change the rules to eliminate someone just because you don’t like him, is bad behavior at best.  It is fascism at worst.  Problem is the Republican Party doesn’t care about appearances.  As these proposed rule changes prove, they only care about controlling the people.  You can best control the people when you control the process of who they can vote for or against.

 

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Is it possible that one major sorts league finally got the domestic violence issue correct?  Domestic violence and sexual abuse have been common headlines in sports for the past few years.  These cases involve professional athletes, college athletes, and even high school athletes.   The problem is only made worse by the “blame the victim” culture that seems to surround, not only sports, but society as a whole.  It just might be possible that one sports league has found a way to break that horrible cycle and actually “help” those involved in these types of cases.

When the NFL found themselves embroiled in a mess over the Ray Rice case last year, the MLB stated it would come up with a “comprehensive plan” to address the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault.  Last week, they announced their plan to the world.  This plan did take a year to be put together, but it was jointly done between MLB and the Players Association.

The significance of this announcement is that both sides worked together to make it happen.  That is really something.  The MLB and its relations with the Players Association was the most fractious relationship for decades.  The Union didn’t trust the Owners, and the Owners didn’t trust the Union.  They really hated each other.

However, peace has broken out between the two groups.  When the NFL found itself in its quagmire over domestic violence with the Ray Rice case as well as others, MLB and their Players Union didn’t want to get sucked into that same quagmire.

The resulting “comprehensive plan” should be looked at by all other sports leagues as a model to follow.  Here is a breakdown of this plan:

  • At the heart of the plan there will be a seven-person Joint Policy Board, composed of two members each from MLB and the players’ union, along with three experts in the field of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. One of the board’s expert members will submit a treatment plan to the full board for approval and oversee the player’s compliance with the plan.
  • A player’s treatment plan could include submitting to psychological evaluations, counseling sessions, court compliance, relocating from a home shared with his partner, limiting interactions with his partner, relinquishing of weapons and other “reasonable directives” to ensure safety of victims. Concurrently, the commissioner’s office will investigate any allegations of domestic violence, sexual assault or child abuse and can place the player on seven-day administrative league during the investigation, subject to appeal.
  • Discipline will come at the commissioner’s discretion, and the policy does not include suggested guidelines for length of suspension; rather, it allows Manfred to “issue the discipline he believes is appropriate in light of the severity of the conduct.  The Commissioner’s authority to discipline is not dependent on whether the player is convicted or pleads guilty to a crime.”  Players can appeal their discipline and have that hearing held by an independent arbitrator.
  • They will establish a 24-hour, confidential help line for players and their families, with bilingual experts available.

It must be noted that this plan is not just about punishment.  It includes a treatment plan as well.  The objective here isn’t just to punish a player, but to help that player change bad behavior.  That is something that is woefully missing from other leagues and their plans.

The fact that three members of the Joint Policy Board are experts in the field of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse is extremely encouraging.  That means people with knowledge of all of the ramifications for everyone involved in domestic abuse can be fully understood.

Some will criticize that there are no “set limits of suspension” in these cases.  I don’t have a problem with that.  Each case should be evaluated on its own.  Punishment should be appropriate to the severity of the case.  The fact that both sides agreed that any appeals will be heard by an independent arbitrator takes away all of the finger-pointing we now see in the NFL.

When Commissioner Rob Manfred and Union Chief Tony Clark released details of the agreement, they said it aims to: “reflect the gravity and the sensitivities of these significant societal issues.  We believe that these efforts will foster not only an approach of education and prevention but also a united stance against these matters throughout our sport and our communities.”

“Players are husbands, fathers, sons and boyfriends,” said players’ association executive director Tony Clark in a statement. “And as such want to set an example that makes clear that there is no place for domestic abuse in our society.

“We are hopeful that this new comprehensive, collectively-bargained policy will deter future violence, promote victim safety, and serve as a step toward a better understanding of the causes and consequences of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.”

I don’t know what you think about MLB.  But, this is a perfect example of how two sides can sit down and come up with a comprehensive plan that takes into consideration the victims of domestic violence.  It shows that organizations can come up with plans that help everyone and not just have knee-jerk reactions to headlines.

MLB and the Players Association should be applauded for their actions on this matter.  They seem to “get it” on this matter.

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