Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Now that John Boehner has announced his resignation effective at the end of October, we are hearing a whole lot from the right-wing nuts.  The biggest concern they seem to have is that now “we can get a Speaker who fights for conservative values.”  “Conservative Values.”  Those are two words that have changed meaning over the years.

According to these people, all this country needs to become “great again” is to go far right.  By adhering to draconian laws, budgets, and be willing to wage war anywhere at anytime, we will become “great again.”  Don’t take my word for this either.  Just listen to the people spouting these words of wisdom.

You only need to look at the leading candidates for the Republican nomination.  You will hear all of the hypocrisy you need to hear.  The lies, innuendos, and hate rhetoric coming from them would have been cause for a public outrage just a few short years ago.  Yet, today, these words are being hailed as the “Truth” by the far right-wing.

Carly Fiorina has been lying about her record at HP, and especially about the Planned Parenthood videos.  Yet, she is considered “gaining ground” on the rest of the field.  Her brazen lie about the videos showing a “fully formed fetus lying on the table, still moving” and then having someone say “we need to keep it alive to harvest the brain” is total fabrication.  It isn’t in the video!

But that doesn’t matter to Fiorina.  It would seem that she is very good at lying and has no plan to stop it either.  Her record at HP is nothing like she is trying to describe it.  The “revenue growth” she claims she helped to bring to HP was only caused by HP buying a competitor.  After that “merger” she laid off over 30,000 people.

When Fiorina was “fired” she received a multi-million dollar “golden parachute.”  None of those 30,000 people she fired received anything near that.  Carly Fiorina was “forced out” of HP because she tanked the business.  There was no other reason given for her “firing.”

Dr. Ben Carson put his foot in his mouth again over who should or should not be President.  He said he would never advocate that a Muslim be allowed to be President.  Apparently he wants to add a “religion” test to running for office.  Something banned in our Constitution.

He has tried to “clarify” his comments, but fails at every turn.  His latest was saying that “anyone who places their religion above our Constitution should not hold office.”  Yet, he still has not criticized or called for the resignation of people like Kim Davis who is doing exactly that.

It would seem that if a “Christian” is putting their religion above the Constitution, that is okay.  It just isn’t any good for any other religious person to do the same thing.  His definition of “religious liberty” is Christians have liberty to do whatever they want.  Other religions are required to follow those Christian laws whether they like it or not.

Then we have that lovable Senator Ted Cruz.  He seems to think that we should assassinate the leader of another country.  At the “Value Voter Summit” this past weekend, he said exactly that.  The only thing that got as much applause was the announcement of John Boehner’s resignation.

“Value Voters Summit.”  That term is very suspicious to me.  This is a group of people who believe you can break the law anytime you disagree with the Constitution on “religious” grounds.  They claim to be Christian Conservatives, yet hate “helping” the needy.  They are all in favor of going to war with Iran.  They oppose women’s rights.  They oppose civil rights for anyone who is not part of their little world.

In my opinion, they are the very definition of an oxymoron!  They awarded a law-breaker one of their “awards” and their straw poll gave the presidency to Ted Cruz who advocates assassinating a country’s leader.  If that is their “Values” I don’t want anything to do with them.

I don’t understand how a political party can sink so low.  We have a complete party now claiming that we should have a “cafeteria styled Constitution.”  This will allow you to pick and choose which laws you want to follow.  It will give you cover by saying if you hate a law, you can claim “religious liberty” and get away with your hate.  That is, of course, only if you are claiming their Christian Values as your religious cover.

If you are of any other religion, you don’t get that free pass.  As a matter of fact, if you belong to another religion, you aren’t even eligible to run for office.  If they get into power, you won’t even be able to vote unless you “denounce” your religion’s tenets like Dr. Carson says.

Somehow, I don’t really believe that America has gone crazy.  I believe that the vast majority of Americans are sane and see what this stupidity is doing to our country.  But, everyone loves a good headline, and these crazies are giving us plenty of them.

The problem is that is seems like we have rolled back the clock to the 1920s and 1930s.  It was during those times that crazies in Europe were running their mouths with hate and condemnation.  The “sane” people believed they were just a fad and would fade away.  They didn’t fade away and WWII was the result.

My concern is that today’s rhetoric by politicians who want to be President, sounds a lot like it did back then.  I can only hope that the American People won’t fall for the gimmick.  If they do……

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Many people have heard about the Know Nothing Party.  It was also known as the Native American Party and in 1856 changed its name to the American Party.  Before you think otherwise, it had nothing to do with Native Americans.  This party was very anti-immigrant.

At the time, in the 1840s and 1850s, this party hung its banner on anti-immigration and anti-Catholicism.  They were mostly middle-class and lower middle-class people who were afraid of just about everything.  They hated immigrants because they feared immigrants would take their jobs.  The hated Catholics because they believed in the spiritual leadership of the Pope.

The one item that killed the American Party was the fact they refused to take a stand on slavery.  In 1856, they ran Millard Fillmore for President.  He came in dead last, and the party started to fall apart.  By 1860, it was so bad for the American Party they didn’t bother to run anyone for President.

Seems the anti-slavery members of the party flocked to the Republican Party and those in favor of slavery flocked to the Democrats who ashamedly was still in favor of slavery.  The issue of slavery killed the American Party more than anything else.

The term “Know Nothing” came from members, when questioned about their anti-immigration organizations, simply said “I Know Nothing.”  But, they were powerful in places like Ohio.  As a matter of fact, in 1855, no less than 43 members of Congress were avowed members of the Know Nothing Party.

Their hatred for Catholics became extremely evident when the Vatican sent a stone to be placed in the Washington Monument.  A group of Know Nothings stole the stone from the work site and dumped in into the Potomac River.  Shortly after this incident, and with the Know Nothings howling about the stone, funding for the Monument dried up and construction was halted.

I asked the question at the beginning because I see some very frightening signs of the same “Know Nothing” platform today in the Republican Party.  The party has become virulently anti-immigration.  Most people say they have become nativist in nature.  You only need to look at Donald Trump with his anti-immigration stance to see that is true.  Of course, he isn’t alone on that issue, but he is still the front-runner.

Today, overt anti-Catholicism has waned.  There are still pockets running around, but Republicans need conservative Catholics to help them get elected.  Today, the one group that stands out for their hate is Islam.  Even Dr. Ben Carson doesn’t believe that a Muslim should ever be elected President.  Just like the anti-Catholic stance of the Know Nothings.

Some other similarities include immigrant status.  The Know Nothings for example wanted a 21 year residency before an immigrant could even apply for citizenship.  You didn’t hear too much about “undocumented immigrants” because at the time, immigrants were not required to carry immigration papers.  It was much easier to assimilate into the American population for immigrants back then.

They also advocated for the principle that foreign-born could not hold public office.  That would mean Ted Cruz couldn’t even be a Senator, much less President.  They advocated that foreign-born, even when naturalized, could not vote.

The Know Nothings were more against Catholics than any other group of people.  They were known to attack Irish and German Catholics simply for being Catholic.  Today we see similar attacks going on against Hispanic immigrants, like the group of Trump supporters who attacked a Hispanic homeless man in New York.

We see anti-Muslim rhetoric from every candidate on the Republican side.  We have seen plans foiled that intended to attack and kill Muslims.  We have seen Muslim Mosques attacked.  We heard about the threatened attack on a mostly Muslim town in New York State.

The voter suppression laws we have seen passed in several states are designed to limit voter access to minorities, young people, and the elderly.  That, to me, is very similar to the Know Nothing Party’s platform.

In the 1870s and 1880s the American Party showed some signs of life again.  The major section this time was in California.  They were vehemently against Chinese immigration.  The Know Nothings there were terrified that Chinese immigrants would take their jobs.  The difference wasn’t that we couldn’t let Chinese in the country, but their platform called to keep Chinese and other Asian nationalities from holding industrialized jobs.

I am afraid we are seeing history repeat itself.  As Yogi Berra would say “it’s deja vu” all over again.  We have seen this nativism rear its ugly head from time-to-time.  We have seen racism continue in this country, though not in its “institutional” form as in the past.  We have seen religious hatred before.

The problem is this time we are seeing a major Political Party embrace these atrocities.  This time, the Know Nothings are not a small party trying to gain strength.  This time the Know Nothings have hijacked a major political party.  The Republican Party is nothing like it was when I grew up.  It is not the party my father supported.

Rather it has become a party that was taken over by fringe elements hell-bent on a platform that splits the nation into two groups.   Those with power, and those without.  You only need to look at the rants coming from their candidates and their supporters to know I am correct and who they think should wield that power and who should be blocked from it.

I believe the answer is clear.  The Republican Party has become the “Know Nothing” Party of the 1840s and 1850s.  We can only hope their existence is as short as it was then.



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What a week, and it is only Wednesday!  We have seen more things crop up lately that I am not even sure where to begin.  I will start by reminding you some of the Republican policies that they want to enforce on this country.

One policy is that companies should have a free hand in deciding how much to charge for their product.  They should also be given a free hand in deciding just how much their employees make producing their products.  They tell us we should “trust” companies to “do the right thing,” and that companies will find solutions to problems we face, including climate change.

They tell us that health care costs are too high.  They tell us that we have “the best health care system” in the world.  They are willing to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding.  They keep expressing their belief that “religious liberties” means you can do whatever you want as long as it is in line with your “religious beliefs” including discriminating against other people.

They are constantly claiming that the science is wrong on Climate Change, even though 97% of scientists tell us that it is not wrong but correct.  Then they tell the Pope to “leave science to the scientists.”  Maybe they should follow their own advice.

So, let me try to figure this whole week out.  Volkswagen was caught cheating on the EPA emissions tests.  Seems they sat down with their smartest people and came up with a software they placed into their diesel engine vehicles which showed lower emissions than was actually being emitted.

The case blew up when, in all places, West Virginia decided to test these “clean diesel” vehicles while actually driving them.  They discovered over 40 times the pollution being emitted than the company and their software claimed they were putting out.  This wasn’t a mistake.  This was a deliberate criminal act.  They “designed” the software to cheat on the test.

If you purchased one of these Volkswagens because you believed the claims about them being clean diesels, you were lied to.  You were cheated.  You are actually driving a car you thought was safe for the environment, but you are causing far more pollution than if you drove some other vehicle.

Remember, Republicans want us to “trust” corporations to do the right thing.  They want us to believe that corporations have the environment and your health at heart and will not do anything to make matters worse than they already are.   Remember, Republicans claim that you can take a company’s word on all matters.  Yeah, right!

The Pope is visiting our country this week.  Conservatives are having a hard time with this visit. On one hand, they love the Pope for his anti-abortion and anti-same sex marriage stances.  Yet they loathe him at the same time because he claims that free market capitalism paves the way towards “greed.”  That they don’t like.  They also loathe him because of his paper on Climate Change.

As usual, conservatives are “cherry picking” what is good and what is bad about someone else.  Some of the more radical anti-environment lunatics are going to boycott his speech to Congress tomorrow.  I say, good.  They weren’t going to listen if he brings it up anyway, so why waste time being there.

In his paper, the Pope used scientific data to show why he believes climate change is real.  He also went on to say that it “is our moral obligation to protect the planet that God has given us.”  That is the part that really has the conservatives up in arms.  How dare a religious leader tell us it is our moral obligation to save the planet?

His social agenda, which is based on the teachings of Jesus by the way, are so repulsive to conservatives we are hearing people like Ann Coulter say: “It is no wonder our Founding Fathers didn’t trust Catholics.”  How nice Ann.  I didn’t realize you were around with the Founding Fathers and know for certain they didn’t “trust Catholics.”  You aged nicely.

Still, these same conservatives should love this Pope as well.  Today his going to anoint a Spanish Missionary to the highest level of sainthood.  Problem is that this missionary is connected to all sorts of evils that were done to the Native Americans living in California at the time.  Including forced labor and torture!  I won’t be surprised if they start claiming the torture done to inmates at Guantanamo Bay was just condoned by the Pope since he is raising a torturer to sainthood.

When it comes to religious liberties, well, Dr. Ben Carson doesn’t believe that includes ALL religions.  He even went so far as to say the Muslims should not be allowed to be President.  He later tried to clarify that he was referring to any person who “puts their religion above the Constitution.”  Well, Dr. Carson what about Kim Davis?  Isn’t she putting her religion above the Constitution?  I haven’t heard you call for her resignation yet.  Or, is it because she claims to be a Christian, so that exempts her from “your standard?”

The Republicans claim health care costs are way too high.  And, for once they are correct.  Yet, they refuse to let Medicare “negotiate” the costs of prescription drugs with the big drug companies.  Medicare Part D recipients are at the mercy of drug companies “doing the right thing.”

We saw this week what that means.  One drug company raised the price of one of their prescriptions over 5000 percent.  It went from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill.  This drug is intended to help HIV and Cancer patients and has been around for years.  Because of the announced increase, the average cost out-of-pocket cost for this drug went from about $1,000 per year to over $63,000 per year.

Yeah, that is showing how companies will “do the right thing.”  In fairness, the CEO announced he would roll back the cost of the drug because of all of the hoopla.  I still haven’t heard if he is rolling it back to the original cost, though.

By denying Medicare the ability to negotiate drug costs, we are overpaying millions of dollars in drug costs alone.  Why can’t Medicare negotiate prices?  We already pay the highest prices for prescription drugs in the world!  So, why can’t the largest government medical plan negotiate prices to save money?  Because, then you cannot claim costs are too high and we need to scrap the plan, that’s why!

While all of this is going on, we still don’t have a budget.  Republicans still refuse to “negotiate” with Democrats on getting a budget passed, and the real anti-American Ted Cruz is still trying to shut the government down.

What this all boils down to is that the Republicans want us to trust them with our future.  The very companies who they claim will “do the right thing” obviously won’t.  Unless you call gouging, lying and cheating the public in the name of profits as “doing the right thing.”  But, apparently we should still “trust” them.

I don’t know about you, but the more this circus goes on, the more disgusted I get with the Republican Party as a whole.  You may say that it is just the fringe element of the Party that is causing all of this mess.  But, it is the silence from the establishment of the Party that is allowing it to go on and on and on.   I have witnessed better leadership from a kindergarten student.

Simply put, the Republican Party is out of ideas.  It is out of integrity.  It is out of touch with reality.  Yet, they want you to put them in power.  I say that their ideals are being proved on a daily basis to be wrong for our country and our future freedoms.




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I have advocated to call out presidential candidates for their lies and views.  I would be remiss if I did not follow my own call for advocacy.  Today, another Republican Presidential Candidate proved that the Republican Party has no intention of following or abiding by the Constitution of the United States of America.

To open this, let me show you something taken directly from the Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 3 which specifically says:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.  (emphasis mine)

As you can see, we are not allowed to apply any religious test to be elected or to even be qualified to hold any office or public trust.  That means your religion has nothing to do with running for office, or have anything to do with disqualifying you from running for office.

Yet, Dr. Ben Carson, Republican Candidate for President, said a president’s faith would matter to him depending on what that faith is.  “If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter,” he said. “If it fits within the realm of America and is consistent with the Constitution, I have no problem.”

When asked directly if he considered Islam to be consistent with the Constitution, he said “No, I don’t, I do not.”  Thereby declaring that Muslims are not really Americans or qualified to run for President.  “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” he said.

In October, Carson and his wife are set to publish a book.  The title of that book is A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties.  In publicity releases, by Penguin Random House, Carson is quoted as saying: “I believe that making a difference starts with understanding our amazing founding document, the US Constitution.  And as someone who has performed brain surgery thousands of times, I can assure you that the Constitution isn’t brain surgery.”  He further says that he and his wife wrote the book to “help defend” the constitution “from those who misinterpret and undermine it”.

So, explain to me, Dr. Carson, how you claim to “defend” the Constitution, yet be so bold as to eliminate one of the three largest religions on the planet from its protections?  How can you claim to “defend” the Constitution, yet be so willing to place a religious test on people running for office.

I guess the next question Dr. Carson should answer is what “other” religions should fall into the category of Islam and not be protected by the Constitution?  Catholics believe the Pope is the “Vicar of Christ.”  Should we deny Catholics protection under the Constitution because Protestants fear the Pope’s influence?

Hinduism and Buddhism are both “eastern religions” so should they be denied protection under the Constitution?  Currently there are 306 members of Congress who declare themselves as Protestants.  They are split between 13 different sects of Christianity.  Which of these 13 sects falls into your category of being “consistent with the Constitution” and which do not?

This all started because of Donald Trump, of course.  He refused to “defend” the President when questioners at one of his “town hall meetings” said the President wasn’t born in the U.S. and was a Muslim, and “when can we start getting rid of them?”

Critics screamed that Trump should have defended the President.  Trump said “it is not my responsibility to defend the President.”  No, but you should have defended the Constitution and told those morons that Muslims are citizens of this country and have the same protections under the Constitution that Christians do.  You should have said the Constitution does not limit which religions may hold public office.  That it doesn’t matter if the President is a Muslim or a Christian.  We are all Americans!

As I have said before.  Republicans do not give two flying shits about the Constitution.  As a matter of fact, they would prefer that the whole document be scrapped so they can put forth their own fascist version of a Constitution.  Remember, hate and bigotry are never satisfied.  Soon, they will be turning on other “Christian Sects” and Jews as well as Islam.  In other words, you will be next, unless you start holding them accountable!

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Excuse me for asking.  But, what the hell was that last night?  CNN hosted what was supposed to be the second Republican Debate last night.  They even started the telecast telling us that they would probe “policies” and get the candidates to explain why their policies were better than the others.  Maybe I was watching something else, because I didn’t hear too many policies explained.

I have written that I don’t consider these candidates “clowns” as others do.  I don’t consider them clowns because the stakes are way too high,  I do consider them dangerous, and I heard nothing last night that changes my opinion.

There is one certain fact that I did get out of the circus last night.  That fact is that if any one of eight of the 11 main candidates on that stage is elected President in November 2016, we will be at war with Iran by spring of 2017.  Those eight candidates did everything in their power to make sure the American people knew that one “policy” they all supported.

As I watched this fiasco, I again wondered how anyone could consider anyone the winner.  Most pundits are saying that Carly Fiorina won the debate.  Of course, they are laying claim to that claim because she stood up to Trump with her comment “I think every woman in America heard Mr. Trump’s comment.”  Referring of course to the infamous “look at that face.”

There were 11 people on that stage last night.  This is what I took away.  I don’t understand how anyone of us could possibly live in any state other than Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, or New Jersey.  Those states were hyped by their Governors as being “utopias” where there is bipartisan support for the governor and government is running very smoothly.  Everyone in those states has a job, and life is simply peachy.

Rand Paul stood at the edge of the stage looking like a little kid trying to figure out something he could say to get the teacher’s attention.  Mike Huckabee only had a few ideas on his mind.  Bash Clinton, bash the Supreme Court, and bash non-Christians.  Marco Rubio tried to act like an angry man who wants to save the country from Castro-like Democratic government.

Donald Trump stood center stage trying to look like the schoolyard bully he wants Americans to think he is.  Jeb Bush had a huge dilemma.  First he tried to distance himself from his brother, then found himself defending his brother against the attacks from the others.  Carly Fiorina wants people to understand, that as usual, her failed leadership at HP which cost over 30,000 people their jobs wasn’t her fault.  Rather, it was because she went against the status quo.

John Kasich tried to impress everyone with his record.  I will give him some credit, he is the only one of the 11 that actually spoke about working with the other side of the aisle because he understands that without bipartisan support, nothing gets done.  Hear that John Boehner?  Chris Christie tried to  show off his bully credentials as well.  He asked “who is going to prosecute Hillary Clinton?”   Well, Chris, who is going to prosecute you?   Your administration is lurching from one scandal to another. Yet, there has been no prosecution or investigation into you yet.

Ben Carson tried to appear as intellectual.  He argued that he told W. not to invade Afghanistan but to use intelligent ways to get Al Qaeda.  He never said what those “intelligent ways” were and was subsequently attacked by most of the others on the stage.  Scott Walker tried his best to sound like Trump.  He tried to show his credentials of conservatism by claiming that Wisconsin is far better off than it really is.  But, as usual, facts don’t matter to Republicans.

Then of course there was Ted Cruz.  Every time he was asked a question, he stared directly at the camera and tried to sound like a reasonable person.  Except what came out of his mouth was anything but reasonable.  To me, when he stared into the camera to look “thoughtful” I got the impression from his face he was trying very hard not to forget his talking points.

Here is what we know after last night’s supposed debate.  All Republican Candidates hate Planned Parenthood.  All hate President Obama.  All hate Hillary Clinton.  All hate Muslims.  All love war.  All love the idea of us being the “lone wolf” out to protect the world.  All dislike our allies, except for Israel.  They all hate Russia and Putin.  They all hate Iran.  They all hate the Affordable Care Act.

They all claim that education is the ticket to a better life, yet they all support decreasing funding for Public Schools.  The three Governors on stage drastically cut their public school funding since being in office.  You cannot educate children if you don’t spend money to do the job correctly.

Those are the things we know for certain.  Beyond that, we don’t know how they intend to do anything.  On one hand they all spoke about “being a leader in the world” and still want to “go it alone” whenever they think our allies won’t support us.

Most seemed to think climate change is really real, but want us to let the fossil fuel companies to continue burning their filthy energy simply because they think switching to clean energy would “cost too much.”

They want to build up our military.  According to what I heard, none of them think that our military is big enough for their plans.  Of course, no one said how they plan to pay for that military buildup.  Having a huge military costs money.  Where is that money coming from?  Especially when they all want to cut taxes.  Their idea is to reduce revenue and increase defense spending.  That is what Reagan did and it resulted in a terrible economic recession. The math has proven it doesn’t work.

Finally, I will openly admit that I find Ted Cruz the most wacked out candidate we have ever seen, and the most dangerous to our way of life. He is a combination of George Wallace and Genghis Khan.  On one hand he “loves the constitution” and wants to “defend every single word in it” yet wants to eliminate the 14 Amendment among other provisions.  He wants to let people discriminate against others simply because they don’t like them or consider them “sinners.”

Then just to make sure his “warmonger” credentials are in tact, he claimed openly “I will kill terrorists.”  So, I have a suggestion for Cruz and any other Republican on that stage who thinks “killing” is the answer to everything.

If you are listening Mr. Cruz here is what you should do.  Since it is important for the American People to really believe that you are willing to “kill the terrorists” why wait?  You can put together your own private army and go over to Iraq and Syria and “kill the terrorists.”  And, it would even be considered legal.

Since you come from that outstanding State of Texas, you should be able to put together quite an army.  You can recruit from the Aryan Nation, the KKK, and that wacky patriotic group called “Open Carry.”  And, since  you are such an avid and great hunter, they will surely follow you into action.

Other American Patriots can help you too,.  They can start a fundraising gimmick on “fund me” and raise enough money for you to arm, equip, and feed your army.  You can even make Steve King from Iowa your deputy commander.  The two of you can then go and show the American Military how “real patriots” can “kill the terrorists.”

Sorry, but what we watched last night was anything but a debate.  It was more of a shouting match between 11 people who desperately need to get more attention.  CNN didn’t help the case any either.  Their “questions” were so soft you couldn’t even call them softballs.  They were more like “mush balls.”

I sure hope this is not what we get to look forward to in the next 14 months.  But then since Republicans do better when no one votes, maybe that is exactly what they want.  Turn off the voting public so they stay home.

Here is hoping that Act III of this comedic drama has some better substance.  But, I am not holding my breath.  You can call one of them the winner if you desire.  I say there were only losers last night.  And, as usual with Conservatives, the losers were the American People.  As the Wicked Witch of the West once said “What a world!”



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Ok, stop it!!!!  I don’t spend very much time on Facebook.  But, one thing strikes me very much when I do go on it.  That is just how far we have sunk as a society.  I know that people love to share things.  I know that people are proud of their families, friends, jobs, etc.  But, I also think enough is enough.

That especially goes for those who are constantly posting those “remember” items.  You know what I am talking about.  Things like “Remember when we rode our bikes all day and only had to go in when it got dark?”  Then it always seems to end with something like “we turned out okay.”

Or, those “Do you remember this?”  with some picture of an item from before 1980.  Okay, I get it, the baby boomer generation is getting old.  Our children’s generation is beginning to get old.  But, really, do we have to reminisce that much?  I will freely admit, I am an old fart.  In a couple of months, I will reach the new age for officially becoming an old fart, I will turn 65.

I remember everything that these people are putting on Facebook.  But, I also remember something else that no wants you to remember about those times.  When I was 9 years old I rode my bike to a Forrest Preserve about 3 miles from my house.  Yet, no one called the police because I was “unattended” by an adult.

I used to walk a half mile to an outside basketball court and play basketball all afternoon until it was too dark to see the ball anymore.  Family Services never showed up at my house to grill my parents as to why I was allowed out on my own.

During the summers, we used to walk to the beach in our neighborhood.  The beach was about two-mile walk.  No one called the police because we were walking alone.  Nor did anyone at the beach call the police because we were there without parents.

When I went to school, and broke the rules on what to wear, I got detention, not a 3 day suspension.  When we went to the prom, none of our dates were turned away at the door because their dresses “showed too much skin.”  When one of my parents pulled up in front of a store, told us to behave, and ran inside for 5 minutes to pick up something, no one confronted them when they came out by shouting just how bad a parent they were.

Unfortunately, all of that happens way too often today.  When a classmate built something and brought to school to show it off, that classmate wasn’t arrested because that something was suspicious, like happened in Irving TX the other day.  A student built a clock that was different.  He brought it to show his engineering teacher, who applauded his work, and later was arrested because another teacher said it looked like a bomb.  The kid was released and no charges resulted, but the school district patted themselves on the back for the incident that never should have happened.

We have seen children suspended for wearing what some consider inappropriate T Shirts.  We have seen children suspended for bringing a pop-tart that was shaped like a gun.  We have seen girls turned away from their proms because their dress showed “too much skin.”  We have seen parents visited by the police and Family Services because they let their 10-year-old walk a mile to a park by themselves.  Somehow, suspensions, dismissals, shame, and police accusations have become the norm for disciplining children.  That is disgusting!!!!

Then, in our nostalgia for the days of our youth, we put up stupid things like “remember” items that if you tried to let your kids do today, you will get one of those visits.  How did we become a society like that?  When did we become so suspicious of our neighbors?  When did we become so distrustful as a nation?

And, don’t tell me it started with 9/11 because this stupidity has been going on since long before then.  Neighbors used to watch out for other people’s children.  They understood that neighbors help neighbors.  Today, they are more than likely to call the police because they are obviously better parents than the ones they are calling the police about.

Back in the 1990s Hillary Clinton received a bunch of flack when she said it “takes a village to raise children.”  Problem is, if you look at all of these “remember” items on Facebook, she is being proved right.  Instead of pointing fingers and accusations against people, neighbors only complained when we did something wrong.  And then, they complained to our parents not the police.

Let’s face facts.  Older generations have always complained about the younger generations.  That will probably never stop.  But, I do not remember any of my grandparents generation in my neighborhood decide that the police should be called because I was outside playing with my friends without “adult” supervision.  Hell, when I was in first grade, I walked a half mile to and from school everyday.  No, it wasn’t uphill both ways.  Try letting your first grader do that today!  I bet Family Services will be at your door before your kid makes it home.

The only suggestion I have for my generation, is stop waxing nostalgic about our past, and help ensure that today’s children have the opportunity to the same freedoms we had.  There is nothing wrong with children playing outside by themselves.  Especially when the parents of those children trust them enough to follow the rules.

I find all of these “remember” things on Facebook rather depressing.  That is because I know my grandchildren are not allowed to do what we did.  They aren’t allowed to enjoy the freedoms we had.  Our high school students are still being treated like 5-year-olds rather than young adults.

Our grandchildren don’t have that experience of growing up.  Not because their parents aren’t willing to allow it.  But because their neighbors are not willing to allow it.  I guess that is the new definition for “Family Values.”


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There has been a lot of talk about dysfunction in our government and politics.  We have seen our government decline into chaos and can’t seem to get anything done.  Compromise has become a dirty word.  “Principle” has become a yelling point for conservatives.  All of the pundits talk about this dysfunction and blame it on intransigent politicians.

That is partly correct.  But, there is another word that needs to be brought up and it doesn’t just affect our politics.  It affects our businesses, our sports leagues, and our daily lives.  It is something lacking that is far more troubling to me than all of the other issues, simply because it is the root cause of all of the other issues.

That word is INTEGRITY!

Almost everyone I know already complains that politicians are liars.  They simply don’t believe anything a politician says.  If that is really the case, why would you cast a vote for them?  Why wouldn’t you at least cast a vote for someone in a smaller party as a protest to the liars you claim to be listening to?  No, people say that they believe politicians are lying to them, but they always seem to buy into what the lies are.

We have the Republican Candidates for President telling America it is in the worst shape it has been in since its founding.  They talk about a lousy economy, and blame the President for it all.  They fail to tell you that they are the party behind the 2008 economic collapse, and that the policies they are championing are the same ones that collapsed the economy in the first place.

Since that dreadful year, the economy has grown.  It has grown slowly, but it has grown.  More people are working.  Today’s unemployment is at 5.1% which is lower than it has been for over eight years!  Inflation has been mostly been kept under control.  And, more importantly, manufacturing jobs have seen its largest growth in almost 30 years.

Energy costs are down partly because of the “green energy” policies that are beginning to slowly wean us off fossil fuels.  As fossil fuel demand decreases because of increased use of “green energy” the cost of fossil fuels will continue to decrease.  It has gone down so much, Republicans in Congress want to break the law and allow American Oil Companies to sell American Produced Oil on the open market for higher profits.  We still import about 60% of our oil needs, yet the Republicans want to let American Oil Companies sell their products to other countries.

What ever happened to “American Energy Independence?”  I guess we will never see American Energy Independence as long as oil companies can make more money on the open market than they can keeping our oil in our country.  Hey, Sarah Palin, wouldn’t you call that “treasonous?”

Then we have the whole Planned Parenthood problem.  The group that released those videos that they claim to prove that Planned Parenthood is simply a “body part factory” said the videos were never edited.  Oops!  When you compare the raw video with what was put out, it becomes obvious that they lied!  They not only edited the tapes, they heavily edited the tapes.

Several states and Congress has launched an investigation into Planned Parenthood practices.  Nothing illegal or even wrong has been found.  Yet, people like Ted Cruz wants to defund Planned Parenthood to stop the government from funding “abortion factories.”

Problem is that no federal money can be used to perform an abortion.  Planned Parenthood does not use any of the money it gets from the government to provide abortion services.  It is used to provide breast cancer screening, pelvic cancer screening, STD prevention and treatment, birth control services, and a host of other medical practices for the poor women in our country.  They are usually the only place these women have to go for these treatments.

If these politicians were truly honest, they would also launch an investigation into the group that put out the videos.  They would be asking how they came to the determination of when to edit the videos.  Why they lied about editing the videos.   Where did they get their false credentials to even gain access to the Planned Parenthood facilities.

The other day, the gun nuts put out an advertisement that says America should be more like…. Switzerland when it comes to gun control.  I hope we do.  According to the add, Switzerland has the highest gun ownership in the world and the lowest crime rate.  That means, according to them, more guns means less crime.

Well, they leave out a whole lot of stuff.  Like the fact that since Switzerland does not have a standing army, they use a militia system.  In that system, every male in the country is conscripted.  They are taught proper use and safety of handling a firearm.  Then, the government gives them their weapon to maintain.

Only, the government doesn’t give them any ammunition for their weapons.  They have to go to an armory to get ammunition and only when it is absolutely necessary.  Additionally, every one of these weapons are registered with the government along with who is responsible for it.

They also ensure that no convicted felon or anyone with a history of mental illness is provided one of these weapons.  In other words, they have far more stringent gun control laws than we do.  So, maybe we should be more like Switzerland.  But, I don’t think the gun nuts really want that.

We are seeing bigots being hailed as “martyrs” because they break the law and won’t allow groups of people they don’t like the same civil rights as they get.  The Pope tells us it is our “moral obligation” to stop climate change.  Republicans tell the Pope to leave science to the scientists.  Yet, they are continuously claiming the scientists are wrong or part of some huge conspiracy to bring down capitalism.

We have politicians saying labor unions are evil, mostly because they demand a fair share of the company’s profits for the workers.  We are told that women shouldn’t get paid as much as men doing the same job.  We are told that a minimum wage will “kill jobs” when the evidence proves just the opposite.

What this all boils down to is integrity.  There are always two sides to every issue.  I believe that it is the responsibility of politicians to voice their opinions about these issues.  However, it is also their responsibility to give both sides of the issue and explain why their opinion is the correct one.

But that isn’t happening today.  Politicians are more interested in gaining headlines.  They want to use those infamous 20 second sound bites to define their beliefs.  That isn’t enough.  Ted Cruz want to shut down the government over the Planned Parenthood fiasco.  He won’t admit to the American People that the tapes were heavily edited and thus, suspect.

No, he hates anything to do with women’s rights and therefore he will target anything that helps women.  Planned Parenthood is a prime target for conservatives and has been for years.  So don’t hold your breath waiting for conservatives to be honest about the videos.

But, you also must take some responsibility on this issue as well.  You must stop listening to one side of the issue and agree or disagree with what is being said.  You have to start asking questions of your politicians.  You have to engage in the political process, or we will continue to see this dysfunction in our government.

Integrity is the one thing that can open our eyes to both sides of an issue.  It is the one thing that can help us determine who is the best choice at the voting place.  It is the one thing that a lot of politicians, especially conservatives don’t want you to demand.

Don’t just listen to your politicians.  Look at their actions and compare their words to their actions.  Look at what they said before running for this election.  Compare the differences and ask why they changed their minds.  I hate to say this, but conservatives want a dysfunctional government.  They want you to believe that all politicians are liars.

When people become frustrated with government and decide not to go to the polls, conservatives do better in the elections.  Conservatives know they are the minority party and they don’t want you to go to the polls.  They want you to stay home.

The last thing they want is an informed voting public.  They don’t want you to see both sides of the issue.  If you do, you may decide they are wrong.  It has been said many times in the past, but I really believe that the 2016 elections will have a very profound effect on our country’s ability to move forward.

If you don’t start demanding integrity from your politicians, this mess will continue.  If you don’t start demanding integrity from your politicians those “freedoms” you cherish will be in jeopardy.  We can have a better government.  We can have a better society.  We can have a better life.  But, we must demand integrity from those seeking to run our country before we get them.

It is really up to you!


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