Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

There were two very tragic recent killings.  Both of the victims were unarmed.  Both victims never had a chance.  However, the outcry by the public to these two shootings have something to say about us as a people.  The first shooting was of an unarmed black man who was pulled over by a University of Cincinnati police officer.  The second was an unarmed lion in Africa by a Dentist.

You are immediately going to scream how could I possibly compare the two incidents?  I can compare them simply because the outcry from the general public is so different, that it begs the question “Have we become so desensitized to human on human violence that the killing of an animal in Africa is more important than the killing of an unarmed man by the very police supposed to protect him?”

When the University of Cincinnati police officer shot and killed the unarmed black man, the outcry was very predictable.  We so-called “bleeding heart liberals” were crying about the incident like it really mattered.  When the lion was killed, not only were we “bleeding heart liberals” crying about the incident like it really mattered, so was everyone else.

In the first incident, the unarmed black man was killed shortly after the police officer ordered him out of the car.  When he attempted to exit the car, he was shot and killed.  I did not see any thing in the video that would give the officer a reason to shoot him.  He never even made it out of the car before being shot in the head.

In the second incident, a famous lion was shot by a dentist with a bow and arrow.  According to the reports I read, the lion was not on the game reserve.  He was outside the reserve.  It is also reported that the lion was lured out of the reserve with fresh meat before being shot.  The lion was then beheaded after the wounded animal escaped for two hours before being killed.

Naturally, everyone blew a gasket over the killing of Cecil the lion.  He was famous after all.  Plus, he was protected by the government of Zimbabwe.  The dentist is facing the possibility of extradition back to Zimbabwe in order to face charges over the killing.

The University of Cincinnati police officer has been arrested and charged with murder.  He is currently out on bail, and remarkably wants his job back.  Something we have seen way too many times in our country.

The police officer has his backers.  They are willing to give excuses for why he shot and killed an unarmed man.  The dentist also has his backers.  These are so-called “big game hunters.”  I refuse to back either.  To me, “big game hunters” need to be castrated!  The very idea of killing an animal just to hang a “trophy” on your wall is disgustingly immature.

They will tell you that big game hunting is a sport.  They are lying.  Big game hunters are as much a sportsman as Jack-the-Ripper was or the University of Cincinnati police officer was.  Anyone sitting in hiding just to kill something is a coward and not a sportsman.  It says more about their inferiority syndrome than anything else.

Before you start yelling about me being anti-hunting, you are wrong.  I have no problem with the average hunter who kills for food.  That won’t sit well with the PETA crowd, but a simple fact of life says humans are carnivorous creatures.  As a result, we will kill animals for food.  Killing for food is hugely different from “trophy” hunting.

But, that brings us back to the point.  Why is there so much more of an uproar over the killing of an animal than there is over the killing of human being?  If Cecil was a human, you might hear the right-wing, especially those talking heads at Fox News saying things like:

Cecil should have know that he was leaving the reserve.

Cecil should have identified himself as being some famous and protected.

Cecil should have just listened to what he was being told.

Cecil is a deadly weapon all by himself.  He is huge after all.

Why did Cecil roar so loudly?  That would certainly make me panic, too.

Cecil should have been wearing a collar so the shooter would know he was a pet.

Now, if all of those comments sound ridiculous about Cecil, why do they sound so reasonable when speaking about a person?  Both “shooters” could be said to have “been doing their dangerous job.”  Which also would be stupid.  Unfortunately, that seems to be the reality of us today.  We are more willing to cry over the shooting and killing of a lion than we are over the shooting and killing of an unarmed person.

I am very saddened that Cecil the Lion was shot and killed.  If the dentist who killed him broke laws in the killing, he should be held responsible.  And, I don’t care if the jails in Zimbabwe are “hellholes” or not.  If he did break the law, he should simply be allowed to rot in them.

However, I will shed far more tears over the killing of DuBose by that University of Cincinnati police officer.  Sorry, but the killing of innocent people, especially by police officers who are sworn to protect those very people, is far more tragic than the killing of a lion.

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One of my college history professors once talked about the two chambers of Congress.  He explained that the House of Representatives would always have turmoil.  He based that idea on the fact that it was made up of a lot more people from varying parts of the country.  As a result, he claimed it would be more difficult to get a consensus on many issues.

On the other hand, he said, the Senate was considered more of the “adult” house in Congress.  Since each state only gets two seats in the Senate, and since the rules in the Senate were far more strict than in the House, it was much more likely that compromise would flourish in the Senate.

Way back then, that seemed like a reasonable concept.  I figured that with only 100 members in the Senate, it would be a lot easier for both sides to sit down and compromise on issues in order to get things accomplished.  The country would be able to move forward, and the rights of the minority population would be protected.

The idea that the Senate was the “adult” house of Congress took into consideration that both parties wanted to accomplish good things for the American people.  It took into consideration that compromise was a good thing.  It took into consideration that both sides knew they weren’t going to get everything they wanted.

Unfortunately, something happened along the way since my time in college.  That something became partisanship.  I am not talking about ideological partisanship.  I am talking about “my way or the highway” partisanship.  Believe it or not, this all started back in the 1980s.  It began with the election of Ronald Reagan as President.

Now, I am not going off on a bash Reagan campaign here.  I am simply stating facts as I see them.  This isolationism between the parties began when Reagan got the Fairness Doctrine cancelled in 1987.  If you don’t remember the Fairness Doctrine, here is a simple definition of it.

The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949.  It required the holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission’s view, honest, equitable and balanced.

It had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented.  If stations did not follow the Fairness Doctrine, they could lose their license.

The demise of the Fairness Doctrine under Ronald Reagan led directly to the partisan “talk radio” we suffer through today.  It allowed broadcasters to present their views without having to offer contrasting views.  As a result, the conservative movement ran screaming to the microphones.  As Rush Limbaugh once boasted: “Reagan brought down the wall, and I was the first to scramble over the ruins.”

The demise of the Fairness Doctrine directly led to the existence of radio hosts like Limbaugh, Jones, Huckabee, and of course Fox News Network.  They were free to bloviate whatever they wanted without having to talk about the other side.  Why were the conservatives the first to use such tactics?  Because they always felt that the mass media was against them.  They believed that they could get more people to vote for them if they could “tell” their side without fear of being forced to “tell” the other side.

Over the years, this has led to the rise of such wonderful groups like the Tea Party.  These fanatical conservatives consider “compromise” to be a four-letter word.  They consider “fair and balanced” reporting as being “liberal” and “socialist.”  As a result, we now have two basic camps in the media.  One is ultra-conservative and the other is more liberal.

This means that if you really want to find a “fair and balanced” perspective on issues or candidates you need to search through hundreds of sources.  Most Americans don’t have time for that.  As a result, we have settled into those same two camps.

As a result, more ultra-conservative Senators have been elected.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but when these same Senators refuse to compromise in order to move the country forward, that is a bad thing.  When these Senators are at the mercy of the money of radical ultra-conservatives who only care about their own pockets, that is a bad thing.

The demise of the Fairness Doctrine has also led to the “coming out” of radical videos.  It is now okay to heavily edit a video of a conversation you have had with someone just to show how bad the other side really is.  You do not have to show the whole video to show complete context anymore.  The latest round of videos aimed at Planned Parenthood is a perfect example.  There have been others.  And, I dare say from both sides.

That is why you don’t hear anyone telling their audience that these videos were heavily edited to show one side of the issue.  They don’t have to say that anymore.  You may say ethics would force them to “tell the truth” but ethics took a back seat with the demise of the Fairness Doctrine.

As a result of all of this nonsense, we have a dysfunctional government.  We have two houses of Congress full of spoiled brats who cry that everything must be their way or else.  We have Senators who actually want to shut down the government in order to “defund” Planned Parenthood simply because they hate abortion.  Abortion is not the only services Planned Parenthood offers, but that is enough to shut them down.  Even if it means shutting down the government.

Because of this frenzy of partisanship, Mitch McConnell says he won’t have negotiations with Democrats over the upcoming funding bills needed to fund the government.  He says he would consider what to do once Congress returns in September.  He has refused to hold negotiations with Democrats for months.  Which is another reason we are facing another government shutdown come the end of September.  All because he is afraid of the spoiled brats on his side of the aisle.

I don’t know if that History Professor is still alive today.  I do believe that he would have to reconsider his idea that the Senate is the “adult” house in Congress.  And, it all has to do with Reagan getting enough of his people on the FCC to kill the Fairness Doctrine.

If you really care about our country and “fair and balanced” reporting, we need to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.  Its demise is the root cause of our dysfunctional government and the isolationism between parties.  When you don’t have to present both sides, the truth will never come out.

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Once the GOP took control of both houses of Congress, we were told that we would see what “governing” was all about.  They would make sure that everything went smoothly, and “things would get done.”  We are coming close to the end of the year and we now see what their definition of “governing” is all about.

As usual, their version of governing is kicking the can down the road.  As the economy gets better, they still want to enslave us with their “austerity” budgets.  They favor “supporting our troops” yet they are allowing the VA to run out of money for health care of our veterans this fiscal year.

The highway transportation fund is about to shut down on July 31.  The Senate decided to pass a bill that would fund the highway transportation fund for six years.  But, as usual, they would only give it enough money for three years.  I don’t know how you will allow the highway transportation fund to work for six years if you are only going to give it money for three years.  I must have missed that equation in the “new math” Republicans seem to favor.

Naturally, being so eager to “govern” the Senate leadership must have talked everything over with the House Republican leadership so their bill would “sail” through the House.  Wrong!  Seems the House doesn’t want to take up the Senate bill.  Yes, in order to pay for the Senate bill, especially if you want to pay for the whole six years, you need to raise taxes on someone.  The House is totally against that.  But, the biggest stumbling block isn’t about how to pay for the bill.  It is simply that the House doesn’t want to take up a 1,000 page bill just days before their yearly, or should I say monthly, recess begins on August 1.

Of course, the bill had a lot of hurdles to get by in the Senate as well.  There were far more important issues for the conservatives than simply funding the highway transportation fund.  There was a fight over repealing the Affordable Care Act.  Cruz and Lee had to attempt to put an amendment on the highway transportation fund that would repeal the Affordable Care Act.

They consider that amendment germane to funding the repair of our highway infrastructure.  How, they never really said.  Then there were amendments that would change the abortion laws in this country.  Somehow abortion has a real impact on how the highways are fixed in the country as well.

The Senate version of the highway transportation fund is going to pass the Senate.  But, it won’t even be taken up by the House.  Instead, the Senate will take up a House bill that will give money to the highway transportation fund for three months.  That means it will run out of money on October 29 instead of July 31.  How convenient.  Pass a kick the can down the road bill and head out for vacation!

The only good part of this kick the can down the road bill is that it will include “some” money to the VA.  I haven’t heard if it will be the full $2.5 Billion the VA needs to keep from shutting down hospitals and having to furlough thousands of health care providers, but it is at least a start.

Somehow we have become a country where politicking and running for office has become more important than actually doing you job in office.  How can it be that Congress is so in favor of their recesses that they can’t stay in Washington and do their job?  Don’t you think the voting public would be happier if Congress stayed at work until it was finished?

Republican politicians have recently said the American people need to work more hours to help the economy grow.  One of the principles I taught in Leadership and Management classes is you lead by example.  If Republicans want Americans to work more hours, why are they working less?  Especially when you consider all of the nightmarish issues that face our country.

We still have to pass the 2016 budget, which won’t be easy.  There is the debt ceiling problem lurking in the near future.  With the passage of another kick the can down the road bill, we will still be facing a problem giving money to the highway transportation fund.  As a result of this mess, we are facing the real possibility of another government shutdown.  And all Congress seems to care about is their August Vacation.

They told us that they would “work with our friends across the aisle” yet they refuse to hold any discussions with Democrats on the budget.  They refuse to discuss any part of the budget and the sequester problems with Democrats except increasing spending for the Department of Defense.  How is that “working with our friends across the aisle?”

None of this is any surprise.  Both the House and Senate Republicans cannot even keep their own caucuses in order.  There is another bid to take the gavel away from Boehner.  Cruz is calling his leader a liar on the floor of the Senate.  And compromise within their own caucuses is considered a four-letter word to their conservative wackos.

As a result, we still have not seen any real meaningful legislation that will move the country forward.  We haven’t seen anything that resembles a “working” Congress.  We only see Republican infighting.  We see disharmony among Republicans.  We still see them calling each other “conservatives in name only.”

It means that each Republican is trying to prove he/she is the true conservative in order to get the Tea Party money launderers to give money to them.  Their motto seems to be, “damn the country!  Full speed ahead on campaign financing for me!”

Of course, some of this could be dampened down if the Congress would pass real campaign finance reform.  With big money calling the shots especially for Republican candidates, this infighting and name calling will just continue.  I guess that is the price you pay for trying to buy elections.  Don’t you just love Citizens United?

Regardless of the reasons, the Republican controlled Senate and House of Representatives are still giving wide audience to just how NOT to govern.  They are proving once again that they have no idea of what the word “leadership” really means.  And, as usual, we the American people are still suffering and paying the price for it.

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In a couple of weeks the Republicans will hold their first debate of the 2016 Presidential Race.  Yeah, I know, it is probably too early for such things, but after all, it is only about six months away from Iowa and New Hampshire.  So, with a total of 16 candidates, and probably more before the whole thing gets really going, they probably think it is time to weed out some of the less likely successful candidates.

The problem I am having with the current crop, isn’t that they are running.  It is what is coming out of their mouths.  A lot of people in the media, especially on the left, are calling a number of the current crop of Republicans “wackos” or “cuckoo-birds” or “clowns.”  Sorry, I won’t buy into that description.  It is far worse than that.

The problem I see is that these people are actually describing their vision of what America should look like.  They are actually, for once, being honest about their hatred for everything a democracy is supposed to be.  They are showing us, with their own words, that if there was ever a crop of candidates running for President that really hate America, they are it.

There is the vulgar, bloviated Trump calling immigrants “rapists” and disparaging former POWs.  We have the ALEC mouth-piece Walker telling America that unions should all be banned and we should be happy with whatever the company says we should be paid or how many hours we should work.  We have the Canadian Senator Cruz hating anything that has to do with governing or compromise for the common good.  We have the theocratic hypocrite Huckabee saying a deal with Iran “will lead the Israeli’s to the gas chamber.”

Then we have the more “moderate” Republicans like Bush, the brother of one of the worst President’s in our history talking about taking away abortion rights and reproductive rights from women and eliminating Medicare.   Then we have that outreach candidate Rubio who claims that “no one wants bad air or water” yet is calling for the elimination of the very agency responsible to protect our air and water, the EPA.  His reason?  It is hurting his rich donors who rely on polluting our air and water to make their millions.

The list goes on and on.  Everyone of these “candidates” seems to find something about democracy that totally disgusts them.  They constantly tell the American people, they are only trying to listen to the American People.  Yet, they continuously vote against the very laws that the vast majority of Americans want passed.  When I say “vast majority” I am referring to poll numbers at 70% or more.  How is that listening to the American People?  Simple, you are NOT  the American People, unless you belong to the top 1% of the income earners.

In several states, photo ID cards are required to vote in person.  Yet, these same states have very lax laws pertaining to absentee voters.  It is far easier to cast an improper vote by absentee ballot than at the polls.  Yet, they claim they are just protecting the ballot box.  Of course the only people who will have trouble getting their photo ID will be young people, poor people, and old people.  All people who Republicans don’t want to vote at all.

Women’s rights have been under attack since the country was founded.  Women have always been classified as “second-class citizens.”  They weren’t even allowed to vote until 1920.  Republicans want to control how they live their lives, how many children they must have, and what decisions they can make for themselves.  According to Republican candidates, women are not capable of putting together a “rational” thought.

If women are allowed to participate in the job market, Republicans say they must accept less money for doing the same job as their male counterparts who are doing the exact same work.  Why?  Because they are women, pure and simple.  They don’t have the same economic needs as men do.  Besides, women should be kept at home, barefoot and pregnant.  They should be totally dependent upon men for their lives.

Republican candidates are all up in arms about the Iran Nuclear Deal.  As mentioned, Huckabee claims it will lead to the next holocaust for the Jews.  The funny thing about all of this is that the largest area of anti-Semitism in this country is in the south.  You know, places like the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.  More synagogues and Jewish Cemeteries are defaced in the south than in any other part of the country.

I have always found it funny that the Republicans claim to be the biggest supporters of Israel when the vast majority of their constituency are mostly anti-Semitic.  Since groups like the KKK and Aryan Nation and others have their headquarters in these states, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to know this is true.

Republicans, led by their propaganda machine Fox News, has shown continuously that they don’t like the idea of talking about people of color being killed by Police.  They always turn the tables and say that if that person of color just followed the police officer’s orders, they “might” still be alive.  I like that “might” they always seem to throw in there.  When things like “Black Lives Matter” come up as slogans to stop police violence, they try to turn the tables and come up with things like “All Lives Matter.”

They then cry when someone calls out that it isn’t white people being systematically murdered by police officers.  They refuse to reasonably discuss the possibility that maybe, just maybe, these police officers are in the wrong and not the victims.  But that would mean having to actually acknowledge that this country still has a race problem.  Something they refuse to even consider.

Their latest gambit is their cry for “religious liberty.”  According to them, if your religion says it is okay to discriminate against someone else, then it is legal to discriminate against them.  If your religion says it is wrong to have an abortion, you must stop everyone else from getting an abortion.  If your religion says it is wrong to use contraceptives, then no one should be allowed to use them.  If you are a Muslim, you should be put on a “watch-list” since you are obviously a terrorist.  And to help things out here, you are not supposed to be allowed to immigrate here.

That is their definition of “religious liberty.”  To them, “religious liberty” means that they are free to believe what they want.  You on the other hand must believe what they do.  If you don’t, you get no civil rights.  If you don’t believe what they do, you are second-class citizens.  If you are a minority, you must “do as you are told” and not think for yourself.

The Christianity I was taught says we are supposed to “help” the poor.  The Republican idea of “helping” the poor is to eliminate the social safety net.  Medicaid?  Who needs medical insurance if you are poor?  Medicare?  No, get a voucher and spend thousands of dollars you don’t have to keep your insurance.  Social Security?  Why are so many people living so long?  If they outlive their “expire-by-date” let them just fade away.

According to them, Christianity is really all about helping the rich get richer.  It is all about making sure the poor louts stay poor.  It is about letting the sick and elderly just die away to save money.  It is all about cutting public education funding.  Poor kids are supposed to stay poor, so why bother to educate them.  Women should know their place.  They are nothing but homemakers and baby-factories.  Like children, women should be seen and not heard.  Their only purpose in life is to “serve” their man and spread their legs whenever they are told.

That is what these 16 Republican Candidates are offering our country.  That is what they believe America should be.  They want America to be a white society, run by rich white men, and bereft of everyone else.  That is their utopia.  That is their definition of the American Dream.  If you are a worker, you don’t have the right to the American Dream.  Just shut up and accept what pennies they throw at you for your labor.

Jobs?  Health Insurance?  Livable Wage?  Union Representation?  Women’s Rights?  Civil Rights?  Those are all “socialist” or worse yet “communist” ideas.  They have no place in America.  They have no place in our society.  They are all evil ideas put forth by “Satan.”  But, don’t take my word for it.  Just listen to the trash coming out of their mouths.

My first impulse is not to watch the first debate on August 6.  But, it is also like watching a train-wreck.  You hate what you are seeing, but can’t take your eyes off of it.  The problem is that if any one of these dangerous people actually make it to the White House, that train-wreck will be America.  That is the real danger facing us.

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Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Louisiana.  What do all of these states have in common?  They all have lax gun laws, and they have all had mass killings in the last 12 months,

Then of course there is Colorado.  Where a man was just convicted of the mass shooting of innocent civilians at a movie theater.  Colorado also has lax gun laws.

Now, before you get angry about those comments, yes there have been mass killing in just about every single state regardless of gun laws.  Yet, it is also clear that most of the killings in other states are done by criminal elements involved in gangs, drug traffic, etc.

The problems with these other shootings, including the shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut, is that the victims were not innocent bystanders tragically caught in the crossfire of criminals.  They were targeted by people who just wanted to shoot and kill people.  In most cases using guns they owned.

You will hear about how guns stop crime.  Yet, where there are more guns, statistics prove there is more crime.  States that have strict gun laws complain that the majority of their criminals who have guns, get them from states that do not have similar laws.  Meaning they are transported from states like North Carolina that does not require background checks if you purchase a gun at a gun show.

Last night another shooting took place in Louisiana.  Three people were killed in another movie theater.  Nine other people were wounded.  The shooter eventually shot himself to death.  We don’t know why this happened, and as of the writing, we don’t know who did the shooting.  The police only say he had a criminal record going back a long way.

Which brings us back to the point.  How did he get his gun?  If criminals are not supposed to be able to purchase guns, how did he own a gun?  The answer is that there are no standardized laws that require background checks on who is purchasing guns.  These criminals are allowed to either go personally, or send someone to a state with lax gun laws and get whatever they want.

In Ohio yesterday, something I predicted would happen, happened.  One of those publicity hounds who claim to be “protecting” recruiting stations accidentally fired a round from an AR 15 assault rifle.  Fortunately, no one was injured.  Yet, it could have been another tragedy committed by another stupid person with a gun.

After the incident, the owners of the mall where the recruiting station is located, asked the police to escort all armed civilians from their property.  The publicity hounds howled about that saying: “If something happens here and hopefully it don’t and if it does I hope they hang the people who own the place.”

Funny, the only person who fired a gunshot was one of their own.  He could have killed someone.  Should he be “hanged?”  These idiots are showing up all over the place even though the military has asked them to stay away.

I have not, am not, nor ever will advocate for the removal of our right to own guns.  I do however, want stricter laws to ensure that criminals, mentally impaired, domestic abusers, and terrorists either foreign or domestic, and others not capable of rational thought cannot get guns.  That is not too much to ask.

I have always found it interesting that you need to take a test to get a driver’s license but not own a gun.  Yes, the gun advocates say that driving is a privilege and owning a gun is a right.  But, far more people are killed with guns than with cars each year, and that number is growing.  Doesn’t it make sense that universal background checks and proper training should be required to own a gun?

If you want to see how dumb these lax laws are, just look at Kansas.  They recently passed a law allowing people to carry concealed guns without a license or proper training!  That is really smart!

Sorry, but if you are looking to place blame somewhere for these mass shootings, all you need to do is look at the NRA, the gun lobbying groups and those “open carry” nuts.  They are the ones who refuse to support reasonable laws that protect citizens from the wrong people getting guns.

Maybe it is time we look to “hang” them for their crimes.  They are the ones causing this environment to exist.  You have to make up your own mind on this.  I know where I stand.  I believe I stand on the side of reason.  Just because you have there “right” to own a gun, doesn’t mean you have the capacity to safely own a gun.  Which means you shouldn’t own a gun.

If that pisses you off, it just proves my point.

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I will freely admit that I am not a Constitutional Lawyer.  I will also admit that my education included not only history classes, but civics classes.  So like everyone else of my generation, I have a basic understanding of our constitution and how our government works.

The unfortunate side of politics today is that there are a slew of people on the Republican side claiming that they only wish to “defend the constitution” and constitutional rights.  Some like the Canadian Senator claims he is a constitutional lawyer.

According to these “learned” people, the Supreme Court has “overstepped” its authority in declaring same-sex marriage as legal.  They claim that the court has no legitimacy in overturning laws that were passed by Congress, States, or popular propositions.  According to these “learned” people, the court does not have the right to determine which laws passed by these means are constitutional or not.

Now, taking into account my admission that I am not a Constitutional Lawyer, I must strongly disagree with these “learned” people.  According to the lessons in my civics classes, that is exactly what the Supreme Court is supposed to do.

According to grammar school civics classes of my time, the Congress is to pass laws. The Executive Branch is supposed to enforce those laws.  When there is a question about the constitutionality of those laws, it is the responsibility of the Supreme Court to determine if those laws are constitutional or not.

If this were not the case, we would never have had cases in the past that guaranteed the civil rights of minorities. We would never have had rulings that desegregated our education system.  In effect, we would be living under a dictatorship.

It works this way.  The court does NOT make laws.  They determine if  laws already passed violates the civil rights of citizens under the Constitution.  If it determines that a law does violate the civil rights of citizens the law becomes void.  Thus in the case of same-sex marriage, the laws prohibiting them were deemed to be unconstitutional, they were struck down and same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states.

That is not the same as “making” laws.  By default, the court says that same-sex marriage is legal because the laws passed to refuse the right to citizens was deemed to be illegal.  That is what the court is supposed to do  I don’t agree with the Court on every thing either. Like Citizens United.  But, that doesn’t mean they “overstepped” their boundaries. It means I disagree with their ruling, but their ruling is the law of the land and must be adhered to.

Sometimes I think there is a special doctor and pharmacist on Capital Hill just for Republicans.  That doctor prescribes and the pharmacist is tasked with handing out “stupid pills” to members of the Republican Party.  I also think that the more conservative you are, the more pills you are supposed to take every day.  Some of these people must be on a 10 pill per day dosage.  Otherwise, how can you account for their utter stupidity when it coms to the Constitution?

I am offering this doctor and pharmacist idea as a viable excuse for them, because the other answer is that they don’t care about the Constitution and the rights it protects for all citizens.  In either case, they are not only wrong in their interpretation, they are wrong at the top of their lungs.  Can we at least keep the volume down a bit?

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The biggest unfortunate side of the Chattanooga, TN shooting of 5 service members is that it has become the cause celebre for all of the crazies.  Or, should I say all of the bigots and fringe groups.  Since that tragic day, the wacko bunch has come out of the woodwork faster than you can say “oh shit!”

One gun shop owner, a full believer in the Constitution of the United States announced that his gun shop is now “Muslim Free.”  He doesn’t say how he intends to discover who is and who is not a “Muslim” but there he was standing in front of his all-inclusive Confederate Battle Flag making his announcement.

We have lunatics calling themselves “patriots” in open-carry states now saying they will “defend” our recruiters.  They have started showing up in front of Recruiting Stations openly carrying guns declaring they would defend our recruiters.  This is because they believe that the Defense Department is “wrong” in not allowing recruiters to carry guns wherever they go.

There has been a large outcry on Facebook about the President not ordering the flag put at half-mast in honor of these servicemen.  They claim that the President is “disrespecting” our service members by not immediately issuing the order.

I simply don’t know where to start on this.  So, I guess I will take them one-at-a-time.  First, that gun shop owner who claims to have a “Muslim Free” gun zone in his gun shop.  He claims to have the right to refuse to sell guns to anyone he believes is dangerous.  But, there is no right to refuse to sell guns just because of a person’s religion.

What he is saying is that if you are an American Citizen protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution and have a right to own a gun, you still cannot purchase one in his shop if you are a Muslim.  In other words he has taken on the task of defining who is and who is not a citizen protected by the Constitution.

The simple fact that he is standing in front of a Confederate Battle Flag shouts loudly exactly what he means by “Muslim Free.”  Since he claims he won’t be asking you what religion you belong to, the only way to determine if you are a Muslim is by skin color or name.  If you are not white, and have one of those “funny middle-eastern names” you will obviously be considered a Muslim and refused service.

On the other hand, if you are white, you will be gladly sold any weapon you want.  Apparently, he doesn’t know that there are millions of white people who are Muslims in the world.  Even right here in America.  I personally know dozens of white Americans who are Muslims.

The second one involves recruiters for our military branches.  We now have crazies “walking the beat” outside recruiting stations carrying all sorts of weapons from assault rifles, sniper rifles, and hand guns.  All without being asked by the Department of Defense to “protect” the recruiters.

One of the greatest things about our country is that our military doesn’t go around carrying weapons everywhere they go.  You will find armed soldiers in other countries, even so-called democratic countries.  I can guarantee you that if our military personnel have been carrying weapons in public before Chattanooga, these very same crazies would be screaming at the top of their lungs.  It would be the proof they need that the government is trying to “take over” the country.

This so-called “protecting our recruiters” is nothing more than a very sick publicity stunt to get their names and pictures in the papers and on news stations.  It serves absolutely no purpose.  As a matter of fact, it is probably going to hamper these recruiters from doing their jobs.

Not many people are willing to cross a line of armed men to walk into a recruiting office.  Additionally, the added publicity these wackos are creating only increases the possibility of another attack.  If that should happen, what is going to be said when these odd-balls start shooting and innocent civilians are killed in the crossfire?  It will be the responsibility of these “patriots” if that happens.  But, of course, they will claim they were just doing their “duty” to protect the recruiters.  Those innocent civilians were just “collateral” damage.

These same people are calling for recruiters to be armed.  To many that sounds reasonable.  However, there is a difference in the training of personnel to carry arms in a combat zone and carrying arms in a civilian area.  There are lots of rules and laws that must be met, even for the military.

That means more training for recruiters, many administrative personnel, has to be conducted before they can carry arms in the office.  It also means that armories must be built and established to house and protect those weapons when not being carried.

The Coast Guard, being law enforcement, has such training for personnel.  However, not everyone goes through it.  I did.  I even had to go through the “shoot-don’t shoot” training.  If you failed that test, you were not allowed to carry a weapon in public areas.

All of this costs money.  The Defense Department is facing calls for cuts in their budgets.  They are facing base closings and reduction in forces.  How can they afford to add the costs of the training and armories needed before recruiters are armed?

Even if this all happens, how can they go to a High School or College Campus with weapons?  If you ask recruiters, you will discover it is hard enough to get to these places already.  Not many of them will be happy if the recruiter shows up carrying a handgun.  As I said, this has more potential to hamper recruiting efforts more than help them.

Third, the issue of the flag at half-mast.  I don’t have a problem with the President ordering flags being flown at half-mast in honor of these men.  Actually, he has issued that order.  But, on the other hand, I have a problem with it being flown at half-mast for these men and not the rest of service members who have been killed.

Yesterday I wrote about the problems at the VA and how fixing it is the best way to “support our troops.”  What I didn’t put in that article is that a veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes.  That means about 23 veterans commit suicide every single day!  Are we to fly the flag at half-mast for them?

Where do you draw the line on that issue?  If the flag was lowered every time a service member was killed, we would never see the flag at full mast again.  That is just a simple fact.  You don’t “respect” servicemen by lowering the flag in honor of their death.  You show “respect” by making sure their families are properly taken care of after their great loss.

You see, once a service member dies, their families are basically cut off.  Just as one example, the survivors of a fallen service member must vacate military housing within 30 days of the funeral.  They lose most of their benefits.  They lose almost all of their “privileges” like shopping at the exchange.  They become just another survivor of a fallen service member.

I seriously mourn the five members who were killed in the senseless shooting.  I also hate it when these kinds of situations brings the crazies out of the woodwork.  These service members deserve better than that.  Their families deserve better than that.

Yes, security at recruiting stations needs to be reviewed.  The DOD says a report is due on Friday.  There are thousands of way to better protect our recruiters than with arms.  Especially when you consider that one “trained” recruiter accidentally shot himself in the leg when he began carrying a weapon.  What would have been said if he had accidentally shot a recruit?

Honor those who were killed.  Remember their families in your prayers, if you are prone to pray.  But, don’t praise these wackos who are looking for nothing more than publicity.  That is not honoring these brave men’s memory.

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