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Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

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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The Republican Party is supposed to be the party that believes in the sanctity of the Constitution of the United States of America.  They are always spouting off about what is legal and what is not legal according to the Constitution.  We have had this conversation before, but the most recent comments from the Republican Party demands we look at what they are really talking about again.

This whole mess sprung up again because Donald Trump came up with a brilliant “immigration” plan.  First, he will build a wall all along the border with Mexico.  Naturally, in order for this wall to be effective, we will need placements on it for guards and/or soldiers to stop those Mexicans from illegally crossing the border.  He hasn’t yet said if we should “shoot to kill” anyone who tries to cross his border wall like they did in Berlin.

Second, he wants to triple the size of the Border Patrol to enforce his stringent “security” measures.  It would take at least tripling the number of border patrol agents to meet his goals.  That would cost well over several hundreds of millions of dollars to pay just for the agents.

Third, he says all undocumented immigrants will be deported.  But, being the famous “family guy” that he is, he won’t break up families.  No, he will deport any children with their parents, even if they were born in the U.S. and are citizens.  It is estimated that the cost of doing this is well into the Billions of Dollars.

Fourth, he will repeal the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.  Or, at least the first part of that amendment which states that: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”  He even went on to say that the Fourteenth Amendment is “unconstitutional” and should be repealed.

Just about everyone in the Republican Field has jumped on the “birthright” bandwagon.  Marco Rubio is the lone dissenter on this issue.  But that may be because if the Fourteenth Amendment is repealed, he is ineligible to run for President.  Marco Rubio was born to Cuban aliens who were allowed to live in the U.S.  However, neither of his parents were “naturalized” until four years after Marco was born.  Meaning he was not born to “naturalized” parents.  As a result, his birth in the U.S. would not guaranty his citizenship and therefore make him ineligible to run for President.

The funny part of this is Bobby Jindal falls into the same category.  His parents were in the U.S. on visas.  It is unsure if they were on “student visas” or “work visas” but they were not citizens when Bobby was born.  That would make him ineligible to run for President as well.  Yet, Jindal is in favor of repealing the Fourteenth Amendment.  Although he doesn’t want people like his parents included in that repeal.

Additionally, if you were to take a close look at cases like Citizens United, you will find that the Fourteenth Amendment had a helping hand in creating “personhood” for corporations.  Way back in 1886 in a Supreme Court case reviewing how railroads could be taxed, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, the headnotes recorded that Chief Justice Morrison Waite asserted during arguments that “we are all of the opinion” that the Fourteenth Amendment “applies to these corporations.”

There have been other cases that have upheld that decision.  It is one of the primary precedents that the current Supreme Court used to rule in expanding the Fourteenth Amendments rights for corporations into the First Amendment rights.  So, maybe if the Fourteenth Amendment was repealed, there would be a great argument to overturn Citizens United as well.

There are some on the Republican side that even want to curtail “legal” immigration.  One pundit says that would be the greatest thing for the “American worker.”  He claims that in 1970, 1 in 21 people in the U.S. were “legal” immigrants.  Today he claims that number is 1 in 7.  That all sounds very politically correct.  Yet, he also fails to mention that the “free trade” agreements we entered into have cost us millions of jobs because it allowed U.S. owned corporations to ship our jobs overseas.  The American worker has been hurt by these free trade agreements far more than by immigrants.

But, if you think all of this is funny or doesn’t affect you, you better think again.  We have been a nation of immigrants  from the time the first “settlers” set foot on its ground.  Even if you consider citizenship beginning after the Revolutionary War, that means the vast majority of our “citizens” were born to immigrants who came here from somewhere else.

I wrote once before, my grandfather never became a U.S. Citizen.  My grandmother was a citizen, so the “birthright” clause doesn’t affect me personally.  But it could have.  How many of you have parents or grandparents or great grandparents who were not citizens at the time they gave birth?  According to the Republican Party, if you do, you are not “really” a citizen of the U.S.  You are an “anchor baby.”

We do need major reforms to our immigration system.  However, we need to have honest open discussions of the real problems.  We cannot continue to use “dog whistle” arguments just to get votes.  Are we really supposed to become the East Germany of the western hemisphere and build walls on our borders?  Are we really supposed to do what Dr. Carson says and use drone strikes on our own lands to stop illegal immigration?

As usual, the Republican Party loves the Constitution of the United States.  Well, should we say the Republican Party really loves “parts” of the Constitution of the United States.  Any of the parts that deal with minority rights, women rights, immigration, taxes, or anything that puts people ahead of corporations, well they don’t “love” them so much.

They are always calling the President a “socialist” or a “communist.”  But if he were a “communist” he would be all in favor of taking away our liberties in favor of state rights.  That is what communism is all about.  The state and its corporations are all that matters.  At least that was the Leninist and Stalinist versions of communism.

Just to make sure that the people surrendered to the state, they made immigration and emigration almost impossible.  They even built walls to make sure people couldn’t get out.  That is essentially what the current crop of Republican Party Candidates are calling for us to do.  Wouldn’t that make them the “communists?”

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All of the talking heads are going on and on about Donald Trump.  Some hate Donald Trump, and others are in love with Donald Trump.  Trump is still leading the polls and the regular Republican field is falling further and further behind.  Only Carson and Fiorina seem to be able to keep up with him, but just barely.

We are hearing all sorts of people telling us that Trump is the “strong leader” this country needs.  We are being told conversely that Trump is bad for America and simply a buffoon.  However, his backers are not listening to the converse arguments.  They are listening to the first argument.

As everyone waits for Trump’s star to fizzle out, he seems to be getting stronger with every interview.  At least stronger with the base of the Republican Party.  He even appears to be overcoming the one thing most thought would drag him down.  His support for exceptions in abortion cases.  Trump believes in exceptions for rape, incest, and the woman’s life.

That puts him at odds with the vast majority of the Republican field.  However, his “strong leadership” seems to be pardon the pun, trumping his exception stance.  This has caused the rest of the field to shift ever more right in order to gain the nomination.  Something that every candidate did in 2012 and cost the Republicans the election, according to some.

More and more of the Republican field are starting to sound more like Trump than  Trump.  Unfortunately for them, they sound more like parrots seconding everything Trump says first.  That doesn’t go well with the fringe of the Republican Party who usually selects their candidate.

Trump wants to deport 11 million people.  He doesn’t care if any of them were born in the U.S. making them citizens.  As far as Trump goes, the 14th Amendment granting birthright citizenship doesn’t count towards these people.

As a result, at least 13 of the current 17 candidates are in favor of changing the 14th Amendment to take away birthright citizenship.  They are pounding away at “building that wall” on the border with Mexico.

But, what is really going on here?  Are these candidates really bringing up things of real importance?  Or, are they using their infamous “dog whistles” to make people angry in order to get their vote.

I am of the opinion that they are simply using “dog whistles” to get your vote.  If you talk loud enough about how “someone else is the root cause of all of our problems,” then you don’t need to speak in coherent sentences and provide real solutions to our problems.

What is happening on the Republican side of the election is really quite scary.  Latinos, mainly Mexicans, are being used as the scape-goats for all of our ills.  See, it isn’t that the corporations are shipping our jobs overseas which is causing employment problems, it is those damn Latinos who are taking our jobs.

It isn’t the rich who want their tax cuts that is breaking the budget, it is tose damn illegals who are bilking the system for everything they can get.  It isn’t college men who are raping all those coeds, it is those damn illegal landscapers.

Everything is the fault of those lousy illegals.  And, when you cannot blame them, then it is obviously those murderous Muslims who are the real danger.  What they are asking is how can we have a prosperous and safe America with all those Latinos and Muslims running around killing us and raping our women?

The fringe right-wing fanatics are lapping all of this up.  They are screaming at the top of their lungs that Trump is right!  They are claiming that both parties have abandoned the American People in favor of all of these “others.”  That is what their definition of “political correctness” is all about.

Throughout history we have heard the same “dog whistles” being blown.  There is always a scape-goat to explain what is wrong with a country.  We have heard it right here in our country before.  The “welfare queen” scenario made famous by Ronald Reagan.

We also heard it loud and clear in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s when the Nazi party blamed the Jews for all of the ills afflicting Germany. Hitler and the Nazis talked about the Germans being the “master race.”  It is becoming more evident that all of the talk about “American exceptionalism” is basically the same thing.

Dog whistles are nothing new and all by themselves are not really a danger.  The danger starts to become real when more and more people start reacting to those dog whistles.

The real danger about dog whistles is they don’t stop once the enemy is vanquished.  Once the primary enemy is defeated, another enemy is picked out for the dog whistles.  And that beat goes on until only a select few are allowed to exist.

It has been said many times that history repeats itself.  The reason history repeats itself is not because of history, but because we fail to learn from it.  I have always believed in the mantra that if we fail to learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

I am beginning to see history repeating itself, again.  There are way too many people who want to become our leader by using dog whistles instead of real policies.  These people are playing to fear rather than reason.

The leader of the pack is Donald Trump.  Unfortunately, too many of his rivals are picking up the hammer and swinging away as well.  This can best be shown when Rick Santorum claims that no other developed country has “birthright citizenship” like we do.  He also claims that is reason enough to change the 14th Amendment.

But, using his own logic, we are also the only developed nation that does not have universal health care.  Yet, he says we “don’t need” universal healthcare.  That part of the “developed country” comparison doesn’t fit the dog whistle tactic.

Even if Donald Trump’s star fizzles out, we will be left with many candidates who will carry on with the dog whistle tactic.  There is no shortage on the right of enemies.  There are the Latinos, the Muslims, the gays, the socialists, the poor, minorities, women, the elderly, etc.

At some point you will discover that you are part of the problem, if you already aren’t.  Remember, if you are working, Jeb Bush says you are lazy and need to work more to help America prosper.  You don’t have to be paid more, just work more.

It would be easy to blame Fox News and right-wing radio for all of this hate being thrown about.  But, be honest, if the American People would reject this hate speech from the beginning, it could never gain ground.

Some claim that the fringe has taken over the Republican Party.  I am inclined to believe that as well.  However, the only reason the fringe has taken over is because reasonable Republicans have let them take over.  They have not fought for their party.

The Democrats faced a similar problem in the early 70s.  But, instead of bowing to the fringe, the mainstream Democrats fought back.  As a result, the Democratic Party was able to recover and become viable again.  It took a few years, but it succeeded.

There are some on the far left that say that was a bad thing for the party.  But, whether you like it or not, this country is more centric than extreme.  But only when reasonable people say enough is enough to the extremists.

As it is shaping up, the upcoming elections are going to have some very real ramifications for this country.  The only question that really remains is will the extremes prevail, or will reasonable people say enough is enough.

Although I am confident that reason will ultimately win out, there are no guaranties in life.  Time will tell.

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Back in the late 60s when we heard someone say something really stupid, we would ask “what are you on man?”  Today, I sit here wondering the same thing.  Only, I am not talking or thinking about any of my friends.  I am talking about our politicians.

I have been following and participating in politics for over 50 years.  In all of that time, I have never heard such idiotic things coming out of politicians mouths as we are hearing today.  I have never seen a party shy away from a very positive record before either.

We are looking at two political parties with totally differing views of the world.  One party wants to be progressive and move the country forward, and the other is conservative and wants to go back to the good ole days of the 1890s.  One party claims that our best times in the 20th century was in the 1980s.  The other party has a better record of job growth and economic growth than that time period, but won’t talk about that record.

The Republicans are always talking about how wonderful the Reagan years were.  They tout his accomplishment of job growth.  Today they are saying we basically live in an economic wasteland.  But, the statistics prove differently.  Under Reagan, in his sixth year as President, unemployment was still over 7%.  In Obama’s sixth year it is at 5.3%.

Republicans will claim that workforce participation is lower under Obama.  And, in a sense they are correct.  The difference is in the 80s we baby boomers were a strong part of the workforce.  Today, more and more of us are retiring.  Since we still make up the largest portion of the population, that means there are less people who are participating in the workforce.

Under this administration, the stock market has reached record numbers.  If you have a 401K plan you doing great.  If you have an IRA you are doing even better.  If you own stock in the company you work for, you are doing far better than under Reagan.

Since the Great Recession of 2008, we have seen a record 72 months of steady private sector job growth.  Reagan never came close to those numbers.  Additionally, under Reagan, we saw our biggest export of jobs overseas.  We actually became a country that didn’t make anything.  However, under this administration, we have seen a steady 32 months of manufacturing growth.

Finally, under Reagan, the budget deficit ballooned.    Though he promised to “cut government” it actually grew under Reagan.  More people were hired to work for the Federal government than at any time in our history.  That caused the budget deficit to double, and the debt to triple.

Under this administration, the budget deficit has been reduced by over a Trillion Dollars.  When Obama took office, the annual budget deficit was 1.4 Trillion Dollars.  Today it is about 300 Billion Dollars.

It is true that the overall debt is at record levels.  But there are three factors that drove the debt up to these levels.  The first was fighting two wars on a credit card.  The Bush war machine did not pay for their wars.  In fact, they introduced tax cuts while spending huge sums of money on the wars which was the second factor.

The third factor was the economic collapse.  The money to big banks and other financial institutions to keep our economy somewhat afloat really ballooned the debt.

So, as the political season heats up, the Republicans are ignoring the simple facts that the economy is better than it was under Reagan.  The Democrats, for some unexplained reason, seem loathe to harp on the improving economy as ammunition to prove they are the better choice.

In the past, politicians were very happy to point out all of the wonderful things they have done while they were in office.  For reasons I cannot explain, they don’t seem to want to do that anymore.  As a result, we get bickering, sound bites, and headlines that are lies.

It has become so bad that telling lies is what gets votes, and telling people how much better things really are is unspeakable.  You would think that with all of the tools we now have at our hands to find the truth, it would be easy to call out the liars and ask the others why they don’t talk about the good things they achieved.  But it seems far to easy to listen to stupid sound bites and believe what we are told.

Have we become so embroiled in our own little lives that we don’t care anymore?  Have we become so lazy that we won’t take the time to find the truth anymore?  Have we become so “plugged-into” our devices that we fail to see the world anymore?

Everywhere you go you see hundreds of people with their noses stuck into some kind of device.  They are either on a smart phone, or on a tablet.  You see it everywhere.  I love baseball, and when I watch a game, there are all kinds of people at the game texting or tweeting.  They aren’t even watching the game.

We see all kinds of pictures and other “stuff” on Facebook and other media.  I get all of that stuff too.  And, I wonder, who cares?  Whatever happens during this election cycle, I am afraid that we as a people deserve what we get.

If that means we continue to lose our freedoms to radicals and fascists, we will deserve to lose those freedoms.  Remember, the only politician who has threatened to “call out the troops” is Mike Huckabee.  He wants to use the military to stop abortions.

If we don’t “unplug” from stupid media and start paying attention to what is being said in this election cycle, we will find ourselves in more wars, more civil rights will be taken away in the name of “security,” and our democracy will vanish from the earth.

Although that may sound like a doomsday prediction, it isn’t.  I am merely trying to wake up the country and asking them to “pay attention” to what is really being said and what the facts really are.

What it really boils down to, in my humble opinion, Republicans are lying about the facts.  Democrats are being silent about the facts.  And we, the American People, are ignorant of the facts.  That combination does not add up to a very good election cycle.

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I have to admit that last night was pretty horrible for me.  First I had to decide if I wanted to watch the so-called debates over on Fox News, or if I would prefer watching a British Murder TV Show called “Midsomer Murders.”  But, since I do write political commentary, I figured I needed to watch the debates.

I was actually shocked to discover that the “kiddie debate” was only scheduled to last one hour.  So, I had something to eat and sat down for some indigestion.  Yes, I did eat before the first debate.  I needed something in my stomach in case I needed to reach for the barf bag.

From the very beginning I became aware that these were not debates.  They were Fox News Party trimming sessions.  Fox News was going to use the “debates” as a means to show which candidates they favor and which ones they think should sit it out.

I almost had a deliverance from torture before the second “debate.”  I have satellite TV.  We had several huge thunderstorms hit our area and I lost the signal for quite a while.  I was beginning to think I wouldn’t be able to watch the second debate at all.  If I had been religious, I might have thought God didn’t want our area to watch the debates.  But, just in the nick-of-time the storms passed and the signal came back.

So, I grabbed my barf bag and a bottle of wine and sat back to watch the spectacle.  To say I was disappointed is a vast understatement.  As I had learned in the first debate, Fox News was using this television event as nothing more that a publicity stunt for their network.  They also had every intention to make certain candidates either look bad or insignificant.

To me, nothing came out of the debates of any consequence.  We learned what we already knew going in.  All of the candidates hate President Obama.  They all hate Planned Parenthood.  They all hate Muslims.  They all hate the Affordable Care Act.  They all hate things like Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, SNAP, etc.  They all believe that the American People are lazy loafers who would rather take a government check than actually work for a living at poverty wages.  They all hate the Iran Deal.

We also learned that the vast majority is in favor of a war.  It doesn’t matter if that war is in Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Afghanistan.  Just so long as there is a war somewhere against those Muslims.  They are all in favor of a tax code that makes everyone but the top 1% pay more in taxes.  Yet they call it a “tax cut” or “fair tax plan.”  All but one love the idea that the average person should be armed to the teeth everywhere they go.  Yet, unexplainedly, they held their “debate” in a “gun free zone” and no one was allowed in with a gun.

I am also amazed that some “pundits” actually believe there were winners and losers during the debates.  I guess they are entitled to their opinion, but from what I saw the only winner was Fox News.  Last night we did learn one thing very clearly.  Fox News has total control of the former Republican Party.  They will set the agenda for their party.  If they don’t like you, you are in trouble.

The so-called “moderators” set the tone of the debates and picked all of the subject matter.  The questions were so “front-loaded” with subliminal messages, some not so subliminal, that the question took four times longer to ask than they gave the “debaters” time to answer.

They took pleasure in trying to put an unfavorable light on people like Donald Trump and Rand Paul.  Two people Fox News does not want front and center of their new party.  As anticipated, Megyn Kelly was chosen to specifically go after Trump.  He even whined about it after the debate was over.

Fox News took great pleasure in trying to make Rand Paul out to be anything but a conservative.  They front loaded questions to other participants with negative Paul comments they had no choice but agree that Paul is not a conservative.

The greatest slam went to Dr. Ben Carson.  He got the least amount of air-time of any of the candidates.  It got to a point where even he thought he was being ignored.  It was obvious to me that Fox News has no intention of letting him be front and center of their party either.

The questions were anything but pointed.  They were very leading and very deliberate in getting a response Fox News wanted to get.  Oh, they brought up the “religious liberty” meme, but only when it comes to Christians.  According to Fox News and all of the candidates, it is perfectly legitimate to discriminate against someone who is “not a Christian.”  You can refuse service to gay weddings for example, if you just say you don’t believe in same-sex marriage on “religious” grounds.

However, if you are Muslim, Fox News and all of the candidates believe the FBI and NSA should be able to bug your Mosque.  After all, since you are a Muslim, you are also obviously a terrorist.  Therefore, we need to keep tabs on you and arrest you if you even suggest something is wrong with America during your services.  That is the very definition of the Conservative Christian idea of “religious liberty.”

The one question that really freaked me out was the last one.  They actually asked if anyone had heard from “God” about what to do if they win the election.  Really???????  I don’t know about you, but the last person I want sitting in the Oval Office during times of crisis is someone hearing voices in his head!  To use their own argument, how do we know that the voice in their head is really god’s and not the devil’s?

Last night was a perfect example of how NOT to run a “debate.”  They were not debates.  There was nothing of substance that came from them except whom Fox News favors and whom they hate.  If that is how these “debates” are going to be going forward, I suggest they don’t hold anymore.  Fox News can just let their talking heads pick out the winner and anoint him the candidate for their party.

Around 11 PM Eastern time the travesty was finally over.  I sat there on my couch for a while after the proceedings wondering just what the hell that was all about.  It was a total waste of time for anyone to sit through that three hours of agony.  It was a good thing I had my wine to go with the debate.  Although I drank more of it after the debate than I did during it.  But, it helped me sleep better when I finally went to bed.

If you really are wondering my thoughts on who won and lost during last night’s debates, I believe that the only winner was Fox News.  They got their chance to sully those candidates they don’t want around anymore, and set the next “platform” for their new party.  Plus, they probably got record ratings for the time slot.

The only losers during the debates were the American People.  After having to sit through two shams we got nothing new.  We got nothing of substance.  We only got 60 second sound bites after 4 minutes of reading a question designed by Fox News to weed out those they don’t like.

If one of these “participants” actually win the election, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes will be the real power behind the White House.  That is scary all by itself.  To borrow a phrase from those participants, “God Help Us!”

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Question, do you recognize or remember each of these flags?  In case you don’t remember, let me explain them to you.  The first one is the so-called Christian Flag.  This flag was carried by zealots who wanted to eliminate different sects of Christianity from existence.  This flag was carried when it was attempted to wipe out the Mennonites in Western Europe.  This flag is currently the love-child of the Conservative Christian Cult who wishes to discriminate against anyone they want based on “religious beliefs.”

The second flag is the Confederate Flag.  As everyone knows this flag was the battle flag of the Confederate States of America.  The CSA tried to secede from the U.S. basically over slavery.  Yes, there were arguments about “states rights” but that was a cover to say that each state should have the right to make slavery legal if they so chose.  This flag is currently the “official” flag of groups like the KKK and other domestic terrorist groups.

The third is the World War II German Flag.  The swastika is prominent on the national flag.  Of course the Nazis only used the swastika on a red background for its party banner.  That particular flag was also the one used as a battle flag during the second world war by German Troops.  This flag, as well as the swastika on a red flag are both banned in Germany today.  The Nazi “blood” flag is the “official” flag of un-American groups like the Aryan Nation and other Nazi loving groups.

The fourth flag was used by Japan prior and during World War II.  After the war, this flag was banned by Japan and we currently have the red sun on a white background.  This flag has mostly disappeared from history.

The one thing that all of these flags have in common is they were symbols, and still are considered symbols of oppression, hate, bigotry, genocide, and slavery.  The other thing that all of these flags have in common is that they are foreign flags.  None of them have ever been adopted by the U.S. as a symbol of our country.  They are simply foreign flags, mostly from the past.

Which brings us to today’s argument about the Confederate Flag.  There are a lot of people, mostly in the south, who do not want the Confederate Flag banned.  They claim it is part of their “heritage.”  Those other flags are also part of someone’s “heritage.”  Yet, flags three and four are outlawed in their own country because of the atrocities that were committed under them.

What makes the Confederate Flag any different from those others?  Additionally, why isn’t the so-called Christian Flag banned due to the genocide the people fighting under it committed?  I am tired of hearing about the Confederate Flag and the wonderful “heritage” it “honors.”  Since when is genocide, bigotry, hate, and slavery things that require us to “honor” them?

But, even taking all of that away from the argument, the use of the Confederate Flag by any state, group, or citizen to show their “heritage” is basically pledging their allegiance to a foreign symbol.  The Confederate Flag was not and never will be a symbol of the United States of America.  So anyone wishing to fly that flag for any reason is saying their allegiance is to a foreign country that does not even exist.

What it is saying is that any person, group of people, association, or state that uses the Confederate Flag as their symbol is un-American!  It could even be stretched out to say they are treasonous.  You cannot swear allegiance to flags of more than one country.  That goes for all of the other flags being talked about as well.

The Christian Flag is not American.  It was not adopted by this country as a symbol of our nation.  If you fly and pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag, you are being un-American.  It is as simple as that.  True Germans do not swear allegiance to the Nazi Flags.  True Japanese do not swear allegiance to their “Empire Flag of WWII.”  No true American should swear allegiance to either the Christian Flag or the Confederate Flag either.

To try to put this in simple terms, the only flag real patriots of America swear their allegiance to is the official Flag of The United States, the Stars and Stripes.  Flying any other flag is truly unpatriotic.

The next time someone argues with you about keeping the Confederate Flag, or any other flag “flying” call them what they are.  Un-American.  Because, their allegiance is to a foreign symbol.

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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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