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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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If that headline makes you angry, you aren’t even close to the rage I have right now.  We have seen them everywhere.  “Support our troops” stickers, magnets, slogans are all around us.  But, I have to say that hardly anyone really means it.  I am sticking to that comment.  To tell you the truth, I am one really pissed off veteran.

The other day the Donald started a ruckus when he said John McCain wasn’t a “hero” because he was “captured.”  He went on to say that “I like those who weren’t captured.”  It only proves that Trump has no idea what it is to serve.  But, of course, Trump never did serve so he wouldn’t know anything about it.

I have the same feeling for the vast majority of politicians, candidates, and ordinary people.  They have no idea what it is to serve, but yet they want you to believe that they “support our troops.”  We are called “heroes.”  We are “thanked for our service”.  As I have written before, I am sick of the hallow platitudes.

Something that politicians and apparently the media doesn’t want you to know is that vets are being ignored once again.  In case you missed it, and you probably did since no one wants to talk about it, the VA is about to run out of money.  With all of the sequester budget cuts, there is a $2.5 Billion hole in the VA’s budget for this year!

After all of the hand wringing over the problems vets are having getting treatment at the VA in the last year, we are sitting on the verge of the VA having to shut down hospitals and giving furloughs to medical workers at hospitals and clinics because it doesn’t have the money it needs to properly serve the veterans they are supposed to help.

Instead of looking into the real problems at the VA, Congress led by Republicans passed a law that allows vets to see private doctors if they have to wait too long at the VA.  On the surface, that sounds very reasonable.  However, there was no added money in the VA’s budget to cover these added, and more expensive, costs.  It has to come out of the VA’s budget.

Something else the media and politicians don’t want you to know about the VA.  The VA hospitals and clinics receive the highest “customer service” marks of any medical service in the country.  The quality of treatment at the VA has never been in question by vets.  Only the time lag in getting that treatment.

That is the real problem facing the VA and vets.  A lack of sufficient clinics and hospitals to help vets with wounds.  The lack of sufficient staff to man clinics and hospitals.  That is not being addressed by this new “privatization” of the VA that Republicans want to turn the VA into.

As a result, money that should go to the help vets at VA hospitals and clinics are being siphoned off for “privatization” of VA benefits.  So, if you are a vet needing assistance at the VA, you are looking to lose that help because of a budget shortfall.

The VA wants to use money from the “privatization” pool to offset their budget shortfall.  So far, Congress has failed to even acknowledge there is a budget problem at the VA.  At the same time, Republicans are falling all over themselves saying who is and who isn’t a hero.

This may be a shock, but I don’t give a flying f&*% who you call a hero and who you don’t.  I only care about the thousands of vets who need help and are on the verge of losing it.  I only care about those who have served being “supported” by our government and public for the service they gave.  I only care about the millions of my brothers and sisters who are homeless.  I only care about the millions who can’t afford to feed their families.

We have been at war now for over 15 years!  Those two wars have created thousands upon thousands of needy vets who returned home shattered either physically or mentally by those wars.  The politicians did nothing in advance to make sure they would be cared for once the wars were over.  Nothing was done to help the VA prepare for what was about to hit them.  Veterans deserve to not be abandoned by our public and our politicians.

Those of us who served our country only want what we “EARNED”.  That is right, what we EARNED through our sacrifices.  Our families have sacrificed too.  The time we spend away from our spouses and children.  The childhood illnesses we missed.  Our child’s first steps.  Our child’s first words.  The constant worry our spouses faced every time we were away.

After all we have given, our thanks are hallow platitudes and we are tossed on the trash heap of society.  No one wants to really look at the vet who suffered severe burns when he was bombed.  No one wants to watch a vet who lost his legs trying to get around.  No one wants to talk to a vet with PTSD who has trouble forming a proper sentence.

No, we are expected to go to war whenever politicians think it is necessary and then drop out of sight when we return.   In short, we are just too expensive for ordinary people to care about.  This isn’t anything new either.  This treatment of our veterans goes all the way back to the end of the Revolutionary War.  Vets were promised land for their service, but none got it.  It was all sold to speculators before the end of the war to help pay for it.

Veterans are not interested in hallow platitudes.  They are not interested in “feel good” phrases that make the public feel good about themselves.  They want help.  They want the resources given to the VA to ensure they get the treatment they need.  They want the support their families need to get through the severe trauma these physical and emotional problems are causing their family.

In short, we want what we deserve.  We want to be treated with dignity.  We want to be treated with respect.  What we really want is to be treated, and not worry about losing that treatment because of a lack of funds.

Apparently it is more important for people like Donald Trump to get a tax cut than to give the needed help to our veterans.  So, unless you are willing to start calling out your politicians for ignoring the plight of our veterans, you can shove your hallow platitude bumper sticker.  You may just run into another really pissed off vet who will let you have a different response to your next “thank you for your service.”  And, it won’t be “you’re welcome.”

 

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I am not really sure what to say about the political environment today.  We have been ensnared into falling into two basic camps.  Conservative or Liberal.  But, as everyone really knows, that is insane.  The American people as a whole are neither conservative nor liberal.  I believe that the vast majority of the American people are in the middle.

There are arguments about whether or not we are middle-left or middle-right.  I really think it depends on who is running for office.  Yes, there are pockets where ultra-conservative and/or ultra-liberal politics wins out, but that is really a minority not the majority.

This is all coming to a head during this 2016 Presidential Election Cycle.  You can see it everywhere you care to read headlines.  Some “pundits” are calling for a more radical liberal agenda.  Others are calling for an ultra-conservative agenda.  Neither is even listening to the American People.

There are even those who are now claiming that Donald Trump is a “refreshing” political voice.  They argue that he is willing to speak his mind regardless of whom he pisses off.  They say we need more politicians like him to keep our politics from becoming too “boring.”

This is all stupid rhetoric.  What we really need is for our politicians to actually look at our problems and listen to the people.  That is not as hard as you may think it is.  However, it isn’t going to happen, especially on the Republican side, because they believe that the country is ultra-conservative.  They believe that the American people want to be able to discriminate against someone.  They believe that the American people want religious leaders to dictate policy.

Democrats are not much better.  They are very quietly saying things they have said for years.  They also listen too much to Wall Street.  Remember, Wall Street is where most of the money comes from in order to run for office.  As a result, both sides of the aisle have allowed for regulations on financial institutions to be relaxed again.  This is becoming the same old tired politics from our past.

Democrats seem to think that talking quietly is the correct choice to get elected.  Republicans think that being boisterous is the way to get elected.  The problem is that both sides are only looking at primaries and not the over all health of our country.  Instead of discussing how they foresee the country moving forward, they use 20 second sound bites to talk down the other side.  It is basically our fault.  We allow them to use such tactics because we refuse to ask the tough questions.

I said earlier it isn’t difficult to find out just what the American People want.  If you look at the polls, you can see a lot of issues where there is a majority opinion on lots of issues that politicians still try to divide us over.  Things like gun control, for example.  You will discover that the American People want to be able to own guns.  Yet, you will also find that the majority of Americans want reasonable control over who can own guns.  The vast majority of Americans believe in Universal Background Checks before being allowed to purchase a gun.

The majority of American people believe that same-sex marriage is protected by the constitution.  They do not want the government telling churches or religions that they must perform religious marriages, but they do believe that same-sex marriage is legal and should be protected.

You will also find that the vast majority of Americans believe that income inequality is a real problem in growing our economy.  They want a higher minimum wage.  They believe that the super rich should pay more in taxes.  They believe in Social Security and Medicare.  They believe in a woman’s right to choose abortion or not.

Put simply, the American People do not want anyone in government running their personal lives.  They expect the government to protect them from violence, crime, and robber barons.  They expect a fair chance to reach their own version of the American Dream.

But, instead of hearing plans about how we can best achieve the wishes of the American people, we hear about things that only matter to a slim minority of the electorate.  We only hear about what the Conservative Christian Cult wants to hear.  We have politicians calling immigrants “rapists” and other derogative terms.

This is not politics.  This is hate.  This is control.  This is pure stupidity.  As I said this is mostly our fault.  We fail to hold these wackos accountable for their stupidity.  We tolerate their ignorance and hate.  We just turn away and then say, well candidate A is less evil than candidate B.

Then we blame the candidates. We call them liars.  We say they are only interested in their own power.  We have mid-term elections where less than a third of registered voters actually show up to vote.  The next time you really want to blame someone for our political largess, look in the mirror.

The next time your elected official says the Affordable Care Act must be repealed, stand up and ask what is their plan to replace it?  Don’t accept 20 second sound bites as an answer either.  Make them spell out their plan.  The next time they say they support the troops, stand up and ask why they slashed the VA budget again.

The next time they talk about gun rights, ask them who should be allowed to own guns?  Should criminals and mentally impaired be allowed to own weapons?  If not, how are you going to keep them from owning guns without universal background checks.

These are just examples of things you can ask about.  Don’t let the fringe groups on either side take over the conversation.  Make your elected official and candidates answer serious questions.  Make sure they are held accountable and go to the polls.

Democracy only works when the people participate in it.  If you continue to stay home on election day, we will lose the very liberties you cherish so much.  And, it will be our fault!  I say it is time to “take our country back.”  We need to take it back from the crazies before it is too late for all of us.

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Another day, another mass shooting.  On the same day the Colorado movie shooter was convicted of mass murder, less than a month after 9 people were shot to death in a church in Charleston, SC, we have another mass shooting in Tennessee.  There is a difference in this one.  Four service members, all Marines, were killed in this incident.  And, the suspected shooter was reportedly born in Kuwait.

This one difference makes this, according to the right-wing, an act of terrorism.  None of the other mass murders that have taken place are acts of terrorism.  The shooter in Charleston has not been charged with domestic terrorism, but rather mass murder.  The guilty verdict in Colorado was not for domestic terrorism either.  But these shooters were both.  I guess that makes a big difference to the right.

The latest shooting in Tennessee may well be an act of terrorism.  But, so little is known about the shooter that we need to learn more before making any claims about that.  We don’t even know yet if the suspect is a U.S. citizen.  Just because he may have been born in Kuwait, doesn’t mean he isn’t a citizen.  He did graduate from a U.S. High School and the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga.

This could also be a case of revenge as well.  Maybe the suspect was turned down for recruitment in the military.  It would not be the first time service members were killed for that reason.  True, it doesn’t happen very often but it does happen.  We just don’t know yet.

The right-wing is also arguing that this shooting will be turned into the use of guns and more gun controls.  But, one does have to ask how the suspect got his guns?  If he is a citizen, then he has the right to get guns.  If he is not a citizen, then how could he get his guns?  That is something that also needs to be looked at.

This country has seen way too many mass murders of this type.  Some have been acts of terrorism, but almost all of them have been committed by U.S. Citizens and not foreigners illegally here.  That should raise some red flags as well.  The fact that the only time the right wants to label them as terrorist acts is when the suspect is supposedly a Muslim, also tells us something.

All acts of mass murder, in my opinion, are acts of terrorism.  It doesn’t matter to me who the suspect is or what religion he belongs to.  All that matters is that mass murder is simply an act intended to make people afraid.  That is terrorism.

Until we treat all cases of mass murder as terrorist acts, this will continue to happen.  This case has nothing to do with immigration or any other trivial matter.  It has to do with someone wanting to frighten people.  They are intended to make people fail unsafe in public.  That is the very definition of terrorism.

None of this matters to the right-wing.  This is the perfect example of ISIS coming to our shores and shooting us to death.  It is the very thing that they want you to be terrified about.  It is exactly what people like Donald Trump want to happen.  It allows them scream about the President and his so-called “lack of border control.”  It is another excuse to go to war.

As one right-wing nut tweeted:

We’ve been saying it forever; hit them HARD over there, or they’ll hit us here. Obama’s been playing footsie with ISIS, this happens.

In order to try to keep these things under better control, we need to start treating mass murder as acts of terrorism regardless of who commits the act.  The Charleston shooter should be charged with an act of terrorism.  We need to make sure that anyone committing such crimes, be charged with the real crime they are committing.

No more excuses.  No more sick attempts at getting headlines.  Terrorism is terrorism.  We need to prosecute it as such.  And, if gun laws wer violated in order to get the guns, those responsible for not following the law and selling these terrorists guns should also be prosecuted as accomplices.

Many on the right won’t like what I just said, but I don’t really care.  I am tired of seeing my fellow citizens being killed by terrorists, both foreign and domestic simply because it is too easy to get the guns they need.  We really need to have a real discussion on how to best make things like this less likely.  Reason usually wins out.  Unfortunately the right-wing nuts don’t know how to even spell reason, much less know what it means.  So, I guess I am just howling at the moon.

 

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