Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Something is definitely wrong.  No, I am not talking about the political environment either.  We have begun to see more and more mothers being arrested simply because they have allowed their children a little independence.  When is it okay to allow children to “go to the park to play” without supervision?  That seems to be at the heart of this question.  But, more importantly, why is up to strangers and/or police to make that determination instead of the parents?

Nicole Gainey, a Port St. Lucie, Florida mom was arrested on Saturday for letting her 7 year-old son Dominic walk alone — in the daytime, with a cell phone — a half-mile to a local park. “I honestly didn’t think I was doing anything wrong,” she says. “I was letting him go play.”  But, she was arrested for letting her son “go play”.

During his approximately ten-minute walk, the boy passed by a public pool, where a patron asked him where his mother was and other questions. As he told a local news station, “I got scared and ran off to the park, and that’s when they called the cops.” Police picked up the boy at the park, brought him home and arrested his mother for felony child neglect. In their report, police noted that “numerous sex offenders reside in the vicinity.” Gainey says the cops “just kept going over that, you know, there’s pedophiles,” which sounds to me like the kind of problem that perhaps there’s a better approach to than whisking kids off playgrounds and arresting mothers. The State’s Attorney’s office notes that there is no law regarding how old children can be before they can travel unaccompanied.

In case you missed that last sentence, the State’s Attorney’s office notes that there is no law regarding how old children can be before they can travel unaccompanied.  If that is the case, how can the police arrest this woman for felony child neglect?  Where is the “probably cause” needed to arrest someone of a crime?  There isn’t one, except that a total stranger thinks that allowing a child to go and play is child neglect, and a police officer agrees.  Talk about making up laws as you wing it.

This case falls on the heels of the other one that was reported on in South Carolina.  Debra Harrell let her child play at a park near where she worked while she worked her shift.  She was arrested too.  Not only that, she lost her job because of the arrest.  Her daughter is 9 years old.  She even lost her child to the custody of the Department of Social Services for a brief time.  She has subsequently got her daughter and her job back.  But, she still faces charges and can spend up to ten years in prison for letting her daughter to “go play”.

I have always believed that as a parent it is your responsibility to gradually allow your children more and more independence.  That is the only way that gain the tools necessary to live on their own in the real world.  I do not understand this rush to treat parents as criminals simply because they believe their children are capable of playing by themselves or with their friends.  That has always seemed natural to me.  I went outside to play by myself when I was the age these children are.  I used to walk several blocks away from my house in order to go play basketball.  I even walked by myself several blocks to school when I was 5.

Today, there seems to be a rush of the self-anointed, self-righteous people who think that children are incapable of playing outside by themselves.  Just because they need to have their children under their thumb 24 hours a day, they think everyone else should keep their children under the thumb as well.  It is just another case of pushing your values on other people whether they want them or not.

Yes, I know that children face problems out in the world.  We, and our children faced the same problems.  Before you argue that I was in the military and therefore living in a “closed” neighborhood, I was in the Coast Guard and we lived in the local community.  With only about 25 people stationed in an area, the government didn’t provide base housing.  The difference is that we and our parents taught our children how to protect themselves and to run away when faced with uncertainty.  Today, it seems the people afraid of their own shadows don’t want children to enjoy themselves without the parents chasing after them.

As a matter of fact, Ms. Gainey’s son showed exactly what children should do.  When he was peppered about personal and private matters by a stranger, he ran away from that stranger!  That was precisely what I taught my children to do.  He showed that he would not allow strangers to hurt him.  Yet, he was dragged out of the park by police and his mother arrested.

Every child is not the same.  Each parent is not the same.  Some children can “go out and play” by themselves earlier because their parents taught them to protect themselves.  Maybe the difference today is that people are not interested in “neighborhood” closeness.  Maybe the difference is that some adults are more interested in “proving” they are better parents than their neighbors.  Whatever the case, these arrests are not doing any good.

Child neglect is a very bad thing.  But, child neglect is not feeding your child.  Keeping them locked up in the cellar.  Locking them in a car for several hours.  Physically beating them.  Or, a host of other evil things that some parents have been convicted for.  But, letting a child play outside is not child neglect.  Police said there were pedophiles in the area.  Yet, over 90% of children sexually abused are not abused by strangers.

It is hard enough to protect children from bad people.  I cannot imagine how terrifying it must be to be arrested simply because your child was allowed to “go outside and play”.  That is insane!


Read Full Post »

Sunday marked the 45th anniversary of man landing on the moon.  On July 10, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped from the lunar module onto the surface of the moon with those famous words: “One small step for man.  One giant leap for mankind”.  But, did you ever wonder what would have happened in the 1960s if Ken Ham and his ilk had political power?  We probably would not have landed on the moon.

Ken Ham, leader of Answers in Genesis has a problem with space exploration.  He thinks we are wasting money trying to discover if other intelligent life is out there.  He wrote on Sunday “I’m shocked at the countless hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent over the years in the desperate and fruitless search for extraterrestrial life. “

He went on to say “Of course, secularists are desperate to find life in outer space, as they believe that would provide evidence that life can evolve in different locations and given the supposed right conditions!  The search for extraterrestrial life is really driven by man’s rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution!”

He has been known to howl at the moon on several occasions when it comes to science.  See, he doesn’t believe that science actually exists.  He doesn’t believe anything that he cannot find in the bible, which he considers to be a scientific tome.  But, that doesn’t keep him from coming up with different interpretations of what he is reading than other religious scholars.

He even goes on a rant that even if there were alien beings in the universe, they are all doomed to hell.  His interpretation of the bible is justified in his own words.

And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel. You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.

Jesus did not become the “GodKlingon” or the “GodMartian”!  Only descendants of Adam can be saved.  God’s Son remains the “Godman” as our Savior.  In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we see the Father through the Son (and we see the Son through His Word).  To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong.

An understanding of the gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race—human beings who are all descendants of Adam.

So, once again we find Ken Ham making up his own beliefs.  This is the kind of thinking that would have stopped JFK from getting the financial support for his quest to land a man on the moon.  We all know from history, that Kennedy didn’t give a damn about the science of landing a man on the moon.  He only wanted to beat the Russians there.  It was more of a political show than a scientific show.

But, the science that came out of landing a man on the moon has had a tremendous effect on our lives.  I am still in wonder that the computers used to land a man on the moon had less computing power than a pocket calculator does today.  That is making the most out of what you have.  But, Mr. Ham doesn’t think any of that is necessary.  He wants to stop further space exploration because he considers it an affront to his god.

He even goes on to say that we must be alone in the universe.

The Bible, in sharp contrast to the secular worldview, teaches that earth was specially created, that it is unique and the focus of God’s attention (Isaiah 66:1 and Psalm 115:16). Life did not evolve but was specially created by God, as Genesis clearly teaches. Christians certainly shouldn’t expect alien life to be cropping up across the universe.

Now the Bible doesn’t say whether there is or is not animal or plant life in outer space.  I certainly suspect not. The Earth was created for human life. And the sun and moon  were created for signs and our seasons—and to declare the glory of God.

I don’t know if there is intelligent life on other planets.  Statistically, the probability exists that there is.  I don’t doubt that there probably is life out there, but, until we have proof of intelligent life on other planets, I will keep an open mind.  I refuse to live in a fantasy world where one book seems to have all the answers.  Nor, do I believe that if that book doesn’t directly address a question, I can make up whatever I want it to say.

Ken Ham and his Answers in Genesis group are part of the larger problem humanity faces.  These are people who refuse to look at the universe and think what a wonderful and mysterious place it is.  Whether you believe in a god or not, the universe is a splendid place.  We must continue to explore whatever is out there.  Unlike the closed mind society of the Cult, we are creatures of inquisitiveness.  That is what makes us what we are.  There are questions.  We are bound to discover the answers.

Read Full Post »

You just can’t stop the images from flooding into your mind.  The death and destruction.  The faces of fallen friends.  The faces of the women and children killed.  You see danger behind every tree or wall or fence.  The fear grows with every step you take.  Your eyes are glancing from side to side looking for the danger.  You are on edge.

That isn’t taking place in Iraq or Afghanistan or even Vietnam.  It is happening as you take a walk down your street in your hometown.  Something triggered all of the memories of those conflicts.  Sometimes it isn’t even war that brings these memories.  It is natural disasters or plane crashes or even boating accidents you worked.  Something that you have witnessed while serving is suddenly flooding back into your conscious memory.

Even after you realize you are home, the dread lingers.  The guilt of having survived while others were not so lucky.  The thought of your friends killed while you lived haunt you.  Survivor’s guilt is what they call it.  It is real.  It is affecting everything you do.  It affects your ability to sleep or work or even laugh.  It affects every fiber of your existence.

You begin to feel like “damaged goods”.  You begin to feel like you aren’t worthy of living anymore.  You begin to feel like your family don’t want you around in “polite” company anymore.  You begin to shrink from society and shelter yourself away from others, including those who love you.  You never fully realize what is going on.  You think that somehow you are the cause of the problem.

Far too many times, you settle these internal conflicts with what you believe to be the only answer that is best for all.  You commit suicide.

That is just a very brief and incomplete example of what is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  PTSD affects millions of our veterans everyday.  It is something that haunts memories and lives.  There are many ways veterans cope with PTSD and most of them are self-destructive.  Many will seek help from the VA.  Others too often turn to alcohol or drugs.  Anything that will “make me feel better” at least for a while.  But, they don’t help, they make things worse.

According to statistics, 22 veterans commit suicide every day!  That is 154 veteran suicides every week or 8000 per year.  Why, you ask, don’t these troubled souls get the help they need?  That is a fair question.  Many don’t get the help they need because they don’t fully understand what is happening to them.  Many don’t seek help because they think it is admitting a flaw in their personality.  Real vets don’t feel this way, they think.

Most try to cope with PTSD by themselves.  As a result, they don’t seek the help they need, and eventually push their families aside.  Especially when their family tries to convince them to seek help.  Psychological problems are difficult for anyone to accept.  People with psychological problems have been shunned by society for hundreds of years.  Besides, they don’t need help because they are “heroes”!  Heroes don’t need to be helped.  They are above all of these problems.

How do they know they are heroes?  Because every single day, someone is calling them a hero.  Every single day they hear the term used like “we want to thank all of our heroes for their service”.  In their own minds they start to become mythical.  They buy into the hype and never get the help they need.

That is how a simple word “hero” can affect people.  I know that everyone who uses the word thinks they are paying a compliment to those who have served.  They have risked everything in defense of our country.  They deserve the compliment.  But, sometimes, the simple word “hero” actually de-humanizes veterans.  It puts them on a pedestal that they are afraid of falling off.  They start to believe that if they seek help, they will no longer be a “hero”.  Heroes don’t have flaws.  They suck it up and move on.

We need to see our veterans for what they really are.  They are humans who served our country in some of the most god-awfull circumstances.  They have seen things that most people will never see.  They have lost some of their friends.  They have seen carnage we don’t want anyone to see.  It will affect them!  It will change them!  It will haunt them!

When people start using words like “hero” to describe our veterans, they don’t think about what that may mean.  They don’t understand that it can taken an excuse to “thank you” and then forget you.  No one means to be like that.  No one means to forget veterans.  But, all too often it happens.

I know very few veterans who need hero-worship.  We need respect.  We need jobs.  We need to take care of our families when we finally hang up the uniform.  We simply need to be a “normal” part of society.   What we do not need is to be called a “hero” and then forgotten.


Read Full Post »

I have often scoffed at Bill O’Reilly.  Actually, that is not hard to do.  It seems every time he opens his mouth, something stupid comes out of it.  But, I must confess, I am beginning to have pity on the self-anointed prophet.  I am not a doctor, so I cannot say for sure what is going on in his poor little brain.  But, whatever it is, he definitely needs help.

He had a conversation with Carl Rove on his show Wednesday night.  As I watched the clip, I was stunned that even Carl Rove seemed somewhat bemused by what O’Reilly was saying.  O’Reilly was actually calling for the U.S. to build a “Berlin Wall” on the southern border.  He didn’t actually call it a Berlin Wall, he called it an East German Fence.  He apparently knew that using the words Berlin Wall may have caused pace makers in his viewers to stop working.

He went on to say “I was there and I was there for it coming down — the wall coming down in Berlin — and I was actually there on the scene,” “Nobody could get through that fence, all right? Nobody. It was a formidable obstacle.”  He further justified his claim by saying that the Israelis have built a similar fence to “keep out terrorists”.  Then he said  “We haven’t done that … That’s mistake number one.”  He then suggested that we need to put the National Guard at the border to “stop the madness” there.

Okay, let’s look at the East German Fence that O’Reilly seems to love so much.  First, the Berlin Wall was built not to keep people out, but to keep its citizens in.  It wasn’t so formidable that people weren’t able to escape East Berlin.  Actually, thousands of people managed to get past the Wall in order to gain freedom in West Germany.

Secondly, it was a formidable fence especially when you consider that there were “watch towers” positioned all along it with armed guards stationed there with orders to “shoot to kill” anyone trying to get over the wall.  Even so, there were still people who tried to get over or under the wall with that threat hanging over them.

Maybe in O’Reilly’s warped brain this is where the National Guard comes in.  I wonder if he is suggesting that we build our own version of the wall, place watch towers on it with armed National Guard members in them with orders to shoot to kill anyone trying to come over the fence into the U.S.  Here is an arm-chair patriot who has railed against Communism right up to today, advocating that we emulate the East Germans and build a “formidable” fence on our border.

As I said, I am not a doctor.  But, it seems to me that poor Bill has lost his mind!  Maybe Bill is suffering from dementia.  Maybe he has the beginnings of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Maybe he has just lost it altogether.   I think it is time for Bill to seek medical help for whatever is ailing him.

As a veteran, it is absolutely appalling to me that anyone in the country would suggest we emulate the ruthless East German government and build a new Berlin Wall.  Even I didn’t think Bill was that stupid.  There must be a medical reason.

Read Full Post »

We have known for a long time that the far right-wing of the Republican Party is nuts!  We have also known for a long time that the “establishment” wing of the Republican Party is more than happy to subjugate themselves to these nuts in order to get votes.  But, what is happening at the border between Mexico and the U.S. is a disgrace.

Right-wing nuts are lining up to “stop immigration” by keeping buses with illegal immigrants from getting to the shelters and holding areas where they will be processed according to the law.  We have grown adults holding signs that read things like “return to sender”.  At the same time, they are railing against the administration for not enforcing the law.  Well, actually, the administration is enforcing the law.  The law that was passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Republican President named George W. Bush.

The unfortunate part of all of this is that it has gotten completely out of control.  Yesterday in Arizona, a State Representative, Adam Kwasman, who is also running for the U.S. Congress whipped up hatred by decrying that the yellow school bus carrying illegal immigrants was coming.  The shouting started.  He went on to say that “this is not compassion”.  “This is the abrogation of the rule of law.”  He even said to a reporter that “he saw the fear on those children’s faces.”

How nice, a man running for a seat in the U.S. Congress is congratulating himself for terrifying children.  But, there was one slight problem with this situation.  The school bus wasn’t carrying undocumented immigrants.  It was carrying a bunch of kids from a YMCA camp.   When he was informed about the YMCA kids not being undocumented immigrants, all he could muster was “they were sad too.”  No kidding, a group of adults scaring the holy shit out of children just might make them look sad, too.

These scenes are being played out in Arizona and California.  But, rather than fighting for the law to be enforced, these people actually want the administration to break the law and simply send them back without a hearing the law says they must get.  I cannot fathom how adults can be so afraid of children.  But, there you have it.  They are absolutely terrified of them.

Not to be outdone, Louie Gohmert showed his brilliance again.  Okay, so he showed just how stupid a former judge can be.  He claims that what is going on at the southern border is actually the “real war on women”.  According to Mr. Gohmert, “criminal aliens” were responsible for 2,993 homicides in the past six years — as well as 7,695 sexual assaults.   Okay, but what about the other tens of thousands of murder and sexual assaults that take place in this country every year by what can only be described as “criminal citizens”?

As a result of these numbers, Mr. Gohmert claims that the “real war on women” is being waged by criminal alien hordes.  Furthermore  he said:

“Our continued existence is at risk with what’s going on at the southern border.” He blasted the White House for “actually assist[ing] the criminal conspiracy in achieving its illegal goals” by neglecting to adequately enforce America’s laws against illegal immigration.

In my opinion, though he left out the words “white women”, that was what he meant.

I want to remind everyone that immigration was handled differently in the past.  It was even “civil”.  Up through most of the 20th Century, immigrants were not given a green card.  My grandfather was an immigrant.  When he came to the U.S. he was not given a green card.  He went through Ellis Island like all the rest of the immigrants.

According to the law at the time, each year, he was required to “register as an alien” by January 31.  Since my grandfather never obtained citizenship, he had to register right up to his death.  I remember going to the post office every January to get his registration card.  I would fill it out for him, have him sign it, and mail it back.  I don’t know when green cards became the norm, but I do remember sending in his registration card through 1970 when he passed away.

Even still, we have adult people terrifying young children with their signs, yelling, and pure hate.  Why is this happening?  Why is this necessary?  It is only necessary to those un-American people on the far right who claim to be for liberty and freedom but don’t really want either.  It is only necessary for those who want to gain political points by snuggling up to these lunatics.  Let’s face some facts here, we are talking mostly about children.

Instead of reporting on the actions of these nuts, it is time to stop putting them on camera.  It is time to stop talking to stupid people and start talking about how to best handle the situation.  But that takes real adults.  People like Louie Gohmert and Adam Kwasman should not be confused with real adults.  Hate is on display at the southern border, and it is a disgrace to our country.

Read Full Post »

Well, Congress is back at work, or at least they are in town.  What is the number one priority of Mr. Boehner?  Not making sure the humanitarian crisis at the border is funded properly.  Not passing immigration reform.  Not passing  a real jobs bill like the Transportation and Infrastructure Bill.  No, the number one priority for Mr. Boehner is suing the President over his use of Executive Orders.

Last week, Mr. Boehner said he was planning to sue over a wide range of issues.  Everyone waited with bated breath to find out what those wide-ranging issues were.  Well, he came out and said what they were.  He was going to sue the President because he delayed the enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.  That is right, the President is being sued because he delayed the enforcement of one part of the ACA.  A part that the Republicans are against, by the way.

I am not sure why Mr. Boehner picked this one piece to sue the President over.  Maybe he thinks that will get his base fired up for the mid-term elections.  Maybe he can’t really justify the law suit in the first place.  The Republicans are screaming at the top of their lunges about an “imperial presidency” under President Obama.  They argue that his use of Executive Orders in undermining their powers granted by the Constitution.

Well, President Obama has used the “pen” as he likes to say, less than the Presidents before him.  At this time in his Presidency, George W. Bush used the “pen” over 60 more times than President Obama.  Republican anointed St. Reagan used the “pen” nearly 300 times in his presidency.  President Obama would have to issue the same number of Executive Orders in the remaining part of his Presidency as he has over the previous 6 years just to get close to St. Reagan’s number.

Looking back at history, the whole idea of suing a President over the use of Executive Orders is absurd.  Every President has used Executive Orders in the past.  Some more than others.  Most, not all, Constitutional Scholars and Lawyers say that Congress has no standing to even file a suit like this.  There have been one or two attempts in the past, and the courts ruled they have no standing since they can show no “harm” to them.

As a result, this can only be seen for what it really is.  A political stunt by the Republicans who need to gin up their base for the mid-terms.  Let’s face facts.  The Republican Party is under attack from all aspects of the political spectrum.  They are against the majority of Americans when it comes to important issues.  The latest polls indicate that 55% of all Americans favor same-sex marriage rights, including 30% who call themselves Republican.  Over 70% of Americans favor universal background checks when purchasing a weapon.  Over 70% of Americans favor immigration reform.

On top of all of that, the fringe wing of the Party is still coming out with stupid sayings.  Mr. “Legitimate Rape” Todd Akin is back at it with his book slamming the “establishment” wing of the Party for forcing him to apologize for his comments in 2012.  Then there is  Kentucky State Senator Brandon Smith who cited Mars as the reason that earthlings do not have to worry about the planet’s man-made climate catastrophe.  He said:  “I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There are no factories on Mars that I’m aware of.”  Nobody will dispute that?  Maybe, just maybe, if he had stayed awake during science class, he would know that Mars is at a minimum 100 degrees colder than the earth.

Finally, the Texas GOP goes on trial today, including Gov. Perry in his official capacity, for the redistricting that caused the gutting of the Voting Rights Act section 5.  There appears to be some emails between the two most prominent people who redrew that map that indicate it was done in order to keep the GOP in power.  According to the reports, it seems they plotted to make sure that some districts looked like an Hispanic majority, but was redrawn based on voter turn-out in the district.  Meaning low turn-out of Democrats and high turn-out of Republicans.  If true, that is discriminatory and therefore illegal.

So, in order to deflect coverage of these inconveniences, Mr. Boehner has decided it is time to sue the President because he had the audacity to temporarily delay a mandate Mr. Boehner doesn’t like in the first place, for one year.  What a wonderful use of public funds.  Mr. Boehner keeps crying about the President using his power of Executive Orders.  Yet, Mr. Boehner keeps blocking legislation from coming up for a vote.  He keeps saying the House has passed over “40 jobs bills”.  Yet, he never mentions what any of them are, except those infamous repeal ACA bills.

No, Mr. Boehner is fundamentally a coward bowing to the whims of his radical right.  He is too afraid to stand up to the lunatics and actually govern.  So, in order to attempt to save his bacon and phony job, he is resorting to the gimmick of “suing the President”.  One only needs to look at this stunt to realize how depressingly pathetic the Republican Party has become.  The political vacuum they have created in Washington makes it impossible to get any meaningful thing done.  But, to them that is okay.  Only the average American People are being hurt over all of this.

Read Full Post »

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Those are the words inscribed on the Statue Of Liberty.  We have lived by those words for a couple of hundred years.  Yes, there have been exceptions based on racism, but for the most part our immigration system has worked because of the belief in these words.

There was the time when it was illegal for Chinese Immigrants to enter the country.  We have had times when almost every immigrant group faced discrimination after they came here.  The Irish, Poles, Czechs, Italians, etc.  Every group has faced some kind of discrimination after immigrating to this country.

We are facing another example of mass immigration.  Problem is that there really isn’t an immigration system in place anymore.  Republicans in Congress has refused to allow a vote on any immigration reform plan.  They claim they are waiting for the President to “enforce” the laws.  That is a remarkable statement.  This President has deported more illegal immigrants than any President before him.  The Republicans want the current mass immigration problem at the border dealt with by “immediately deporting” all of those children.  Problem is that under George W. Bush, the law he had passed, says that cannot happen.  When especially dealing with children, we need to care for them, and they must be brought before a judge in order to determine if they are to be deported.

So, by not immediately deporting these children, President Obama is following and “enforcing” the law.  If the President should “immediately deport” all of these children, he would not be enforcing existing laws as the Republicans want.  Besides that, if the border is so open, how come we are catching so many people crossing it?  If there was not sufficient enforcement at the border, surely these people would not be in custody right now.

We have faced other “mass immigrations” in the past.  No one will forget the mass immigration of the Irish due to the potato famine.  Even though they were treated harshly when they arrived, no one was calling to close the border to them.  More recently, I was in the Coast Guard when the Boat Lift from Cuba occurred under Reagan.  No one was calling for them to be sent back to Cuba.  We also had to deal with a mass immigration effort from Haiti.  There was the mass immigration from Cuba when Castro took power in 1959.  Hell, even Ted Cruz’s father, after fighting on the side of Castro, paid a bribe to get out of Cuba and into the U.S.

These mass immigration problems are not new.  The only thing new about them is that now we are facing a problem with “those people” instead of “the right people”.  The Irish were allowed in because they were European, but discriminated against mostly because they were Catholic.  The Cubans were looked upon as “victims of communism” so they got a free pass.  The new mass immigration, mostly children, aren’t given that same courtesy.  In the eyes of Republicans, they are simply looked upon as “law breakers” and must be deported immediately.

The self-proclaimed prophet, Bill O’Reilly, said on his show Tuesday, to prove the “difference” between other immigrants and the current immigrants, that his “immigrant ancestors” didn’t accept government assistance.  He fails to mention that at the time of his “immigrant ancestors” there were no government assistance programs.  If there had been, I bet they would have accepted them!

His guest on the show was Kristen Powers, a FOX News contributor and USA Today columnist.  She went after O’Reilly and said:  “We advertise to the world, give us your hungry, your poor, your tired.  But no, not according to Bill O’Reilly. According to Bill O’Reilly, let’s bundle up the children and send them back.”

O’Reilly then got mad, sarcastically telling Powers that she holds “the high moral ground” because she “want[s] an open-border situation that lets everybody in … You want an open-border, you want to accept them all … And I am a cruel barbarian.”  Finally, a comment from O’Reilly that I agree with.  Yes, Bill, you are a cruel barbarian!

This crisis is not what the Republicans want you to think.  They want you to believe this is not about people looking for a better life in the U.S. because their country is in total chaos.  They want you to think that these people just simply want to illegally cross into the U.S. because they will be able to live on government assistance.

That is total nonsense.  These people, especially the children, are trying to escape violence that threaten their very lives.  They come from countries that are fighting drug cartels, and other violent groups.  They are looking to live in peace and freedom.  But, what makes them “different” from the Cubans in the 1980s?  Cubans have a tendency to vote Republican.  Because of the Republican stand against immigration reform, these people, if granted citizenship in the future, tend to vote Democratic.  And, that is what this is all about.

President Obama has asked Congress for more money to deal with the problem.  He wants to increase the number of judges so these cases can be legally expedited, among other necessary things.  But, the Republican Party is already balking at the expenditure.  Why?  Because they want to force the President to do what they want.  Break the law!

I often find it amusing that the Republican Party has wrapped itself in the Conservative Christian Cult’s flag and consider themselves “god fearing, good Christians”.  All of their actions prove that they are just the opposite.  And, they wonder why more and more people are turning away from their “religion”.  Maybe rational people just can’t stomach belonging to a religion so steeped in hypocrisy.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Beautiful words we should all live by.  Too bad the Republican Party won’t!

Read Full Post »

Tomorrow is the 4th of July.  It is a day we celebrate our nation’s birth.  All across the nation we will hear the national anthem being sung and end with the words “O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”  Others will stand and say the pledge of allegiance.  It includes the words, “with liberty and justice for all”.

The right-wing will proudly stand tall and sing, or say these words loudly.  They will utter them with false conviction.  They will go on the podium and give speeches rallying their base to “fight for liberty”.  They will use hallow words like “we want to thank all of our men and women in uniform for their service”.  They will utter all sorts of patriotic slogans.  At the end of the day, all of these words and slogans will ring as hallow as they do today.

In Afghanistan our troops will be on patrol.  Fighting for our country.  In Iraq, newly arrived troops will be helping to train the Iraqi Army to fight the insurgents.  All around the world, our men and women in uniform will be working.  The far right neocons will use tomorrow to pump up their rhetoric about fighting terrorists.  They will use that argument to call for a re-invasion of Iraq.

Yet, tomorrow, there will still be millions of people out of work because our Congress won’t do anything to help them get jobs.  Tomorrow, millions more people will have their extended unemployment insurance run out and have no income and face losing everything they spent a lifetime working for.  Tomorrow, women will still be considered second class citizens, especially by the Conservative Christian Cult.  Tomorrow, minorities will still face voter suppression laws in several states.  Tomorrow, LBGT couples won’t be able to get married in most states.

At the birth of our nation, we had to live with the evil “institution” of slavery.  Even though Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal”.  We continued slavery, because, well the slave owners didn’t consider their slaves as “men” or “people’ just as property.  It took a Civil War before this “institution” ended.

We have made small strides in the true concepts of “with liberty and justice for all”.  But, today in 2014, we still have groups of people who are not “free” and do not gain “justice”.  These groups include minorities, women, immigrants and LGBT.  These groups have had their “rights’ trampled on by the far right forever.  All they want is to have equal protection under the law.  Isn’t that what “liberty” really means?

Under the sway of the Conservative Christian Cult, many states are passing very restrictive anti-abortion laws.  The Cult is even fighting against birth control.  I still find it amazing that “contraception” use by women is considered by the Cult as being only for “recreational use”, yet Viagra, and other ED medicines as well as vasectomies are considered for “pro-creation” purposes.  Therefore, these things are still covered under health insurance while many forms of birth control have just be banned by the Supreme Court.

We still have women making anywhere from 80% to as low as 70% of what men make doing the same job.  We have the Cult fighting against such things as violence against women laws, equal pay laws, and ENDA.  We have women all across the nation facing beatings from their husbands just because they are handy.  Women are still victims of rape and yet they are treated as the cause of the rape, not the victim.

The amazing thing is that the Cult is telling women that if they don’t want to get beat or raped, all they have to do is get married.  They claim that feminism is the root cause of all that is wrong with the world.  It is feminism that has caused the decline of the “traditional family”.  Never mind that men set up the “no-fault” divorce clause so they don’t have to pay as much alimony to their wives.  Never mind that it is men who skip out on child support payments.  Hell, there is a misogynist web site called The Red Pill that even offers tips on how to avoid child support payments.  But, no, according to the Cult, it is all the fault of women.

Approximately 40% of all workers in this country work for minimum wage.  That automatically makes anyone with a small family live in poverty.  The Cult and their Republican friends are fighting any move to raise the minimum wage.  They all seem to think that it is perfectly fine for “those people” to work 40 hours per week and live in poverty.  “Those people” don’t do anything meaningful, and should bow down and kiss their employer’s feet for allowing them the opportunity to work and still live in poverty.

Let’s face facts, the only “entitlements” being offered to people in this country are being offered to the super-rich and/or White Christian Men.  We live in a “Corporate Welfare State”.  They are the only people who can even come close to enjoying “liberty”.  That is not what our country is supposed to be.  That is not what I served to protect.  I served, and many others continue to fight for the country that offers “liberty and justice for all”.

While masses of people continue to struggle to survive.  While our Steel Industry faces bankruptcy because of illegal dumping of steel into the country by South Korea threatening over 580,000 jobs.  While our transportation funds, the ones that repair our transportation systems, runs out of money and threatens another 700,000 jobs.  While our military members continue to serve our country, many of them relying on food stamps to feed their families.  Members of the Cult and the Republican Party will give hallow patriotic speeches.

They will loudly use the words of “religious freedoms”, or “liberty from tyranny” or “take our country back”.  But, what they are really saying is if you are not a white male Christian, you have no right to say anything because they believe this is “their” country.  I have seen many political fights in my life.  But, I have never seen such a push to turn back the clock on minority, women, immigration, and LBGT rights like is going on now.  The Cult has all the answers.  It is in “traditional family” where the man is the head of the household and women stay at home.

This gem from Rafael Cruz, Sr., the father of that patriotic Canadian Senator, Ted Cruz says it all:

As God commands us men to teach your wife, to teach your children—to be the spiritual leader of your family—you’re acting as a priest. Now, unfortunately, unfortunately, in too many Christian homes, the role of the priest is assumed by the wife. Why? Because the man had abdicated his responsibility as priest to his family…So the wife has taken up that banner, but that’s not her responsibility. And if I’m stepping on toes, just say, ‘Ouch.’

He believes this philosophy of the man’s role of the priest so much, he has been divorced twice!  Sounds to me that he has abdicated his role, at least when it comes to his marriage vows of “until death do us part”.

No, as long as we have right-wing pundits calling women “sluts” because they favor birth control or abortion.  As long as these same right-wing pundits are praising right-wing militia groups as “patriots” and not the domestic terrorists they are.  As long as the right-wing opposes immigration reform.  As long as we allow this income inequality and war against the poor and women.  As long as we have powerful groups like the Cult and their financial backers like the Koch Brothers, we will continue to live in a fantasy and hallowly say the words “with liberty and justice for all”.

Until the rights of all people, not just the members of the Cult and their allies, are respected and these terrible laws that continue to harm women, minorities, LBGT, and immigrants are overthrown, we will not live in a country of “liberty and justice for all”.  And that is the true American Tragedy!

Read Full Post »

If you are planning to drive somewhere over the 4th of July weekend, you will probably hit road construction on your drive.  Back in Chicago when I was younger, we had a saying that there were only two seasons.  Winter and Construction.  It seemed everytime you wanted to get on a major highway, there was some road construction that snarled traffic.

Bur, we also know that road construction is necessary.  In order to keep our infrastructure running, we need to repair and/or replace outdated roads and bridges.  Currently there are over 100,000 jobs going on where workers are paving roads and rebuilding bridges and modernizing our transit systems.  These projects translate to about 700,000 jobs across the country.

However, if you are also planning to drive somewhere over the Labor Day weekend, you will probably see the exact same road construction you see this weekend.  As a matter of fact, if Congress doesn’t do something soon, all road construction could come to a halt by the end of September.  The Federal Funds for these projects are running out.  Congress knows they are running out.  But, as usual, they took a vacation instead of doing something about it.

All of this work is a combination of the Federal Government and the States teaming up to pay for the construction.  The Federal Government gives States a very large chunk of the money needed to repair our transportation systems.  The Federal Fund is paid for by the 18.7 cents per gallon tax we all pay at the pump.  The problem is that with the poor condition of our roads, these costs are rising while the fund remains static.  Money is still coming in, but not fast enough.  The gas tax hasn’t been raised for over 20 years but the costs for construction have kept going up.

There is a current projected shortfall of about $8 Billion this year.  The Administration says that if nothing is done by August 1, an approximate 28% cut of all Federal Funding for these projects will have to be made.  If nothing is done by September 1, more and deeper cuts will have to be made.  At the end of September, if nothing is done, all money will stop because the government’s authority to spend money on transportation will expire.

As a result, up to 700,000 jobs are in the hands of Congress.  With the track record of the House of Representatives, that is a very frightening idea to me.

In fairness, there have been a number of proposals to help fix this problem.  The obvious one is to raise the gas tax at the pump.  That would ensure more money going into the fund.  But, in an election year, that hardly seems to be a likely solution.  Especially with the Republicans arguing against every possible rise in taxes of any kind.

The President has offered a solution that would close loopholes in the tax code, and use that money for the transportation fund.  The Republicans naturally rejected that idea.  I wonder if they had to throw up in the bathroom before taking to the mikes.  The Republican solution is, naturally, to cut spending in other programs, like the social safety net, to pay for the road construction.  As usual, they want the poor to pay for everything.

One plan even proposed to pay for the increases in transportation by shutting down the mail service on Saturdays.  Something Rep. Issa has wanted to do for a long time.  Actually he wants the Post Office to go away totally.  Republican Senators rejected this idea and it died quickly.  A real problem I see with this proposal is that the Post Office doesn’t get any money from the government.  It is run like a private company.

There was a plan to raise the tax on large trucks.  The thinking goes that large trucks cause a lot of the road damage, so they could pay a bit more.  However, because it used the word “tax”, Republicans killed it very quickly.

So, here we sit.  30 days away from the first necessary cuts to Federal Grants to States to make our roads and bridges safer, and Congress is in recess, again!  Some claim that this will get solved in time.  I am not so sure.  I don’t believe it will get solved because the Republicans are adamant against any form of tax increase.  They want to cut from social safety nets in order to pay for it.  Another reason I don’t think it will get done is because Republicans have proven time-and-again that they don’t care about the jobs of us “little people”.  They seem perfectly willing to let 700,000 people lose their jobs.  Jobs by the way, that are good paying middle-class jobs.

Both sides of the aisle have to work on this issue.  The Democrats have floated several solutions to the problem just to be shut down by the Republicans.  Republicans haven’t really offered anything except the shut down Saturday mail service plan.  From what I could find in my research on this, not one idea has come from the House Republicans.  All of the problem solving is taking place in the Senate.

But then, what is the harm in shutting down transportation construction?  It isn’t like we need those 700,000 jobs.  It isn’t like we need good roads to get our products to market.  It isn’t like we need safe bridges for our citizens to drive across.  The worse we allow our infrastructure to get, the more jobs we will lose.  Thereby allowing employers to offer $3.00 per hour for labor in order to “attract foreign investment”.  Or, as the mantra of the super rich goes, “screw the people, I got mine!”

So, when September and October rolls around and you are still driving on that stripped pavement on the highway, just drop a little thank you note to John Boehner and the Republicans.  You will probably have to send it to their district office address.  They will probably be on break again.

Read Full Post »

John Boehner keeps asking “where are the jobs”?  If he would look a little closer, he will find that they are overseas.  This is because his party has been raging about “free trade” for ever!  Because of this “free trade” frenzy on the right, we have lost over 3 million jobs since the start of NAFTA and followed up by other “free trade” agreements.  These jobs were middle-class paying factory jobs.

Now, we are looking at the real possibility of the American Steel Industry going the way of the Dodo bird.  Over 583,000 jobs are at stake in the steel industry.  But, that is just the tip of the iceberg.  If the steel industry fails, there will be millions of jobs lost in other industries that support the steel industry.  For example, the iron miners who provide the material needed to create steel will also lose their jobs.  In Boehner’s own state of Ohio, over 30,000 steel workers may lose their jobs.

Then of course, there are all the small business in these towns that are supported by steel workers and miners.  If we lose these jobs, how many thousands of small business will be lost as well?  Our economy will probably crash around our ears, again!  But, the fix isn’t in any government subsidies to the steel industry.  It is a simple fix to stop the illegal dumping of cheap steel into the country by South Korea and China.

See this is how it works.  China, who uses government money to produce cheap steel, then sells that cheap steel to South Korea at below market value.  South Korea then turns that raw steel into products like tubing, again using government subsidies to keep the costs down.  They then illegally dump that product into the United States again at below market value.  The result is the Steel Industry lost about 200,000 million dollars in 2012.  That loss jumped to over 1 Billion dollars in 2013.  Over 4000 steel jobs have been lost this year alone.

Even with the South Korea Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. has the right to impose tariffs on South Korean steel since it is unfairly dumping steel into the U.S.  China and South Korea actually make a little more than the entire world market requires.  Talk about artificially lowering the cost of something.  So, in plain language, they are cheating and our workers are paying the price for that cheating.

This of course goes even deeper.  Since the 1990s, the civil engineers in this country has given our infrastructure a “D” on their report card.  We have dams that are in serious danger of collapsing.  We have bridges that are unsafe, and people still drive across them.  We have sewers and water pipes that are antiquated and ready to collapse.  Our electric grid is antiquated and not able to keep up with demand everywhere.

These are all things that we can use U.S. steel to rebuild.  Would you prefer to drive across a bridge built with high quality U.S. steel, or one that was built using inferior quality South Korean/China steel?  That won’t be enough to move Mr. Boehner and his party.  Their inaction on rebuilding our infrastructure goes back decades.  They apparently don’t seem to care if you die in a bridge collapse.

So, then there is the military.  Do we really want to use foreign steel in making equipment for our military?  Are we going to trust Chinese steel to build our ships, tanks, bullets, bombs, etc. for our military?  I thought there was a law that required the military to “buy American”?  If that is true, how can they buy American steel if there is no steel industry?

57 Senators, yes a few were Republican, and 127 members of the House have sent a letter to the Commerce Department asking them to do something about this problem.  That is a very good first start.  However, when is Mr. Boehner going to do something on the floor of Congress to fix this problem?  He has said nothing about it.  So one can only assume that he does not intend to help the steel industry.  He seems to be willing to let the whole industry collapse.

What is the top priority for Mr. Boehner?  Is he looking to stop the collapse of our steel industry?  Is he planning to pass the Transportation and Infrastructure Bill?  No.  He plans to sue the President for using the same executive orders that every president in history have used.  He also forgets that since 1950, the two presidents who issued the most executive orders were none other than St. Reagan and George W. Bush!  He isn’t interested in doing something to save American Jobs, he is only interested in gaining political points with his fringe base!

So Mr. Boehner, “where are the jobs”?  You and your party have done a whole lot of things to help the South Korean, Chinese, Mexican, Vietnamese workers, but you have done absolutely nothing to help American Workers!  The time is now for you and your party to do something for the steel industry.  I will put our productivity and quality of work against anyone in the world.  Our workers are the best and produce the best products in the world.  So, why are so you intent on eliminating those jobs?

I will say this again.  If our steel industry goes under, the entire economy of our country will go with it.  Are you sure you want to take responsibility for another crash?  It was your party that caused the last one with your deregulation policies.  Now you are poised to cause another one in the name of “free trade”!  What, if anything, are you going to do about it?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 142 other followers