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I have written several times about the rhetoric from the GOP candidates and how it feeds hate.  Unfortunately, Friday we saw another example that hate causing harm.  Since the attacks, the GOP candidates have spoken.  Well, they have kind of spoken.

The only one so far who has called this attack at Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs a “domestic terrorist” attack was, surprisingly Mike Huckabee.  The problem is that in his statement, he also tried to “justify” the attack when he mentioned that it took place at “Planned Parenthood where millions of babies die.”  The rest of them are “praying for the victims” or complaining about “left-wing media bias” against conservatives for causing the attack by their rhetoric.

The real cause of this attack is still uncertain.  Yes, it was reported that the shooter mentioned “no more body parts” in a police interview after the attack.  If that is true, it is a clear reference to the bogus videos a right-wing organization put out last summer.  If that is true, then those who produced those videos should be held accountable for this attack as well.

Ever since those bogus videos were released there has been a huge increase in arson and bombing attacks at Planned Parenthood clinics.  But somehow, the media isn’t covering those attacks very much.  Which means their silence may have also led to this attack.

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered about this particular attack.  Why did Dear attack the clinic?  What were his motives?  How was he able to get his gun?  These are all valid questions.  The fact that Fox News tried to divert the attack from what it was by suggesting it may have been “a bank robbery gone wrong” only adds to the questions.

Conservatives are saying the videos must not have had anything to do with the attack since Dear didn’t kill any of the clinic personnel.  They leave out the part that he tried to enter the clinic, but couldn’t get past a locked door.  No one knows how many more people would have been killed if he had entered the clinic fully.

There are some very disturbing things that are coming out.  I don’t know how accurate they are, but these details Dear are almost darkly poignant.  Dear has a long history of what are delicately called “brushes” with the law, including charges of animal cruelty, domestic violence, and an arrest after being accused of hiding in the bushes and peering at a neighbor. Which is why we must ask “how did he get his gun?”

The real problem we are facing is not just the rhetoric from GOP candidates.  It is also their stance on issues that rile up their “base”.  It is the hate they are injecting in the political process.  It is complaining about “criminals” and “mentally ill” people shooting others “yet refusing to include universal background checks in the purchase of guns.  Something that could actually help keep guns out of the hands of people like Dear.

When a Muslim kills someone, it is an obvious act of “terrorism.”  We cannot allow refugees into the country because they “may be terrorists.”  Yet, the GOP won’t close those loopholes that allow terrorists to purchase guns easily in this country without even having to go through a background check.

I guaranty that if Dear resembled anyone who might be a candidate for “profiling” at an airport security check point, their rhetoric would be all about “terrorism.”  But, since this attack took place at Planned Parenthood, Dear is just “deranged” or a “murder” but not a terrorist.

When candidates use “debunked” videos as fact, when candidates openly lie on a debate stage (Carly Fiorina) about the videos and what they contain, they are feeding the hate.  Hate makes people act and use what is being said as “justification” for their actions.  I would say the same thing if any Democrat said similar things.  Feeding hate in order to get votes is just wrong.

As I said, this is not an isolated case.  Workers at abortion clinics have been harassed and threatened for years by the “religious right.”  They have been victims of  “domestic terrorism” for years.  The people who post names and addresses of those who work at these clinics are trying to get them injured or killed.  There is no other reason for posting that information.  Who else would be interested in where a nurse lives?  Only those who wish them harm.

Yet, these same GOP candidates don’t have a problem with this practice.  Their words and actions approve of it.  They are just as guilty as those who post the information in hopes someone will act on it.  When they do, these same candidates “will offer prayers” for the victims.  The victims they caused!

As I said, there are still a lot we don’t know about this attack.  We don’t know what the reason for it was.  We don’t know exactly what led Dear to kill three people and shoot several more.  However, where he made his attack speaks volumes to his motives regardless of what everyone thinks.

I predicted that violence will increase as this election cycles moves along.  The attack at Planned Parenthood is not isolated in this uptick in violence.  There have been mass shooting in New Orleans and other cities.  Today the University of Chicago cancelled classes because of a threat of gun violence.

Yes, the violence is increasing and the GOP remains silent about it.  The violence is taking people’s lives, and the only thing the GOP can say is that we “pray for the victims.”  While they “pray” more people are becoming victims and the GOP blames the victims for their plight.

Until these candidates own up to their complicity in these tragic events, it will continue and it will get worse.  Whether you are spreading hate about abortion providers, gays, Muslims, African-Americans, atheists, liberals, or anyone else, you are promoting violence.

Sorry, but so far the real “un-Americans” in this election are on the GOP side of the aisle.  If they keep up their hate speech, the “shirts” will continue to march and we are all in danger of becoming a victim.

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The question mark is on purpose.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  Traditionally, that is a day we gather with family and friends and give thanks for our liberties.  It is a day of fun, eating, drinking, and for a lot of people watching football.

But, this is also the beginning of an election cycle.  We have several members of the Senate up for re-election, the entire House is up for re-election, and there is also a Presidential Election.  The rhetoric that has come from the right-wing is anything but, thanksgiving worthy.  No, the rhetoric is the worst we have heard in over 100 years.

There are presidential candidates who want to eliminate people’s right to choose their religion.  Namely closing Mosques.  They are against equal pay for equal work.  They are against abortion.  They are against same-sex marriages.  They are against raising the minimum wage.  They are against stopping climate change.  They are against voting rights.  They are against immigration.  They are against women’s rights.

So, what are they for?  They are for beating up protesters at their rallies.  They are for a registration process and special ID program for Muslims.  They are for gun rights to the point they won’t close a loophole that makes it easier for terrorists to purchase guns without a background check.  They are for the death penalty for homosexuals.  They are for forced deportation of undocumented immigrants.  They are for killing abortion doctors.  They are for jailing women who suffer a miscarriage.

This year has been quite horrific.  The number of police violence has increased.  We have another police shooting in Chicago that cannot be called anything but an execution by a police officer.  He shot the victim 14 times after he was on the ground!  The number of police officers being shot is down, and has been down for several years.  Yet these presidential candidates want you to believe there is a “war on the police” not a “police war on citizens.”

The other day, Ted Cruz, that wonderful” Christian” candidate sent out a press release praising an endorsement he just received.  That endorsement comes from anti-choice advocate Troy Newman.  In case you don’t know who Troy is, he is the guy who says that abortion doctors should be killed!

We are living in a time when hate, violence, and even murder are endorsed by presidential candidates.  We are living in a time when candidates play to the fears of the fringe elements of their party.  We live in a time when only Muslims are terrorists, yet more Christian Terrorists have killed more U.S. citizens since 9/11.

The horrible thing about this is that our media is allowing it to happen by not calling out the candidates for their hate and endorsement of violence.  These nut jobs are getting a free pass from the institution that usually protects us from such wackos.  How is it that the “Fourth Estate” is so mum on these outrageous announcements?

Yes, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  We are supposed to be happy for our freedom, liberties, and way of life.  Yet, as we sit down to our tables, what are we celebrating?  Will we celebrate a time when civil rights were a given, or will we celebrate the hate and violence of our time?

I hope that everyone uses tomorrow to reflect on our history, what we have been, what we are becoming, and what kind of country we want to be.  I also hope that we reject this hate and violence endorsed by Republican candidates and resoundingly beat them at the polls next year.  If not, we may not have Thanksgiving Day for long.

So, once again – Happy Thanksgiving?

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The Republican Party wants you to believe that they are a Christian Party.  They want you to believe that they are the “National defense” Party.  They want you to believe that they are the “protectors” of our way of life.  However, they are really the Party of Chicken Little’s.

They don’t want to understand what is really happening, they simply want to place blame and make headlines.  As a result, the Republican Party really is the Fear Party, the Hate Party, the Chicken Hawk Party and the anti-Christian Party.  I am really sick and tired of their hawkish language every time something like the terrorist attacks in Paris happen.  They don’t have a clue of what they are talking about , they just run their mouths with the most vile and hate-filled lingo you could imagine.

They pretend to “talk tough” when in fact they are running away from the situation like 5-year-old little kids.  They say we should have a “war” or a “clash of civilizations” yet run and hide in the dark whenever they are asked just how they would “conduct such a war or clash.”

They talk about how they are great Christians yet refuse to take in refugees.  Their cover, one might, just might be a terrorist.  So damn them all to hell.  Chris Christie thinks a three year-old orphan is some kind of terrorist.  He said so by saying he would not let a singe Syrian refugee into his state, “even a three year-old orphan.”  Cruz and Bush think the best answer is to only allow in “Christian” refugees.

Republicans are saying we should “declare war on ISIS”.  Okay, but just exactly “which” ISIS are we declaring war on?  Are we declaring war on the ones in Syria?  Or maybe the ones in Iraq?  What if we find them in other countries?

Which are the true ISIS members and which ones are copy cats?  Does it matter?  What about the thousands or actually millions of Muslims who are targets of ISIS.  Should we include them as targets in the war?  Remember anyone who doesn’t “follow Islam” like ISIS says are infidels and must be killed.  The refugees are running away from them as much as anyone else.

ISIS wants war.  They want to kill as many people as possible.  But, in order to wage war, you need people and volunteers.  Every time a Republican talks about refusing refugees or declaring war on ISIS, they are playing right into ISIS hands.  They are giving ISIS exactly what they need.  Recruiting ammunition.

I said earlier that Republicans are chicken hawks.  They talk real tough about waging war.  But then it is always easy when you are talking about sending “others” to do your fighting for you.  No, the Republicans really want something different, and they are willing to use terrorist attacks like the one in Paris and an excuse.

First off, I am certain that a Republican is going to wake up one day and realize that there are a bunch of Muslims actually serving in our military!  Horrors of horrors!  American Citizens might actually be following that “other” nasty religion.  What should we do?

According to what Republicans are saying about refugees, we are going to have to “purge” our military of these Muslims.  That would be the only “wise” thing to do.  We should round-up any refugee and any Muslim military member and put them into those same types of camps that we put the Japanese in during WWII!  That way we will know where all the Islamic terrorists are.  They aren’t “concentration camps” they are “resettlement camps.

While we are at it, we can put all those Latinos in the same kind of camps.  Since all of them came illegally, they must be some kind of terrorist too.  And, you never know, Syrian Refugees could have snuck in with them.  Then of course we will have to finish that damned wall between us and Mexico.  At least we will have camps set up in case we “catch” anyone else sneaking across.  And, in order for these people to prove they are not terrorists, we can use them to build the wall for room and board.  If they refuse to help build the wall, they must be terrorists.

Of course, we have to look at those nasty, filthy LGBT wackos too.   They must be trying to join the other side in this “class of civilizations.”  Guess we will have to round them up too.  After all, they started this “war on Christianity” anyway!  Looks like we will need more camps.  But, that’s okay, we have lots of desert space available.

Then we will put at least 250,000 troops on the ground in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and well anywhere we want in the middle east.  Hell, we will be welcomed as “liberators” just like the last time in Iraq.  Once we have the troops on the ground, we will simply sweep through each country like “shit through a goose.”  We don’t even care how long it takes.  We will keep troops there until every single terrorist is killed.

Here at home, we will make sure that every god-fearing, Jesus loving, white Christian is armed with semi-automatic weapons with license to shoot anyone who even looks like a Radical Islamic Terrorist. If anyone even looks like they are about to blow themselves up, our well armed citizens will simply “blow him away” first.  We will show the rest of the world just how to kill people we don’t like.

There are countless ways to respond to terrorism.  One way is to be afraid.  One way is to fight back.  Another way is to plan your response carefully.  No one has ever accused our Republican Party of carefully planning a response to anything.  They would rather run around screaming the sky is falling and we must go to war to stop it from crashing down on our heads.

Chicken Little in running around again, just like after 9/11.  Problem is he hasn’t learned a damn thing.  Neither have the Republicans.  The only question remains is do they want a “clash of civilizations” or are they really after “genocide against the people of a religion?”  Then again, maybe the two are one in the same.

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The terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday proved that terrorism is not dead.  The attacks were horrendous and simply put, evil.  There is no justification for killing innocent civilians for political gain.  Yes, I said political gain not religious gain.  You can use the term “radical Islamic terrorism” all you want, but this is more about politics than religion.

Any sane person knows that religion is used as a “cover” for terrorism.  It is much easier in the fantasy world of religious fanatics to use religion than politics for their evil.  It doesn’t matter which religion you belong to, the results are the same.  You simply hijack a religion and use it for justification for your evil.

We have seen it used by Muslims.  We have seen it used by Christians.  We have seen it used by Jews.  We have seen it used by atheists.  It doesn’t matter what religious background you claim, it can be used for such terrorist attacks.  In this country, most of the terrorist attacks have come from “domestic terrorists” who claim Christianity as their justification.

But, we are losing our way when we accuse every terrorist attack as a religious attack.  Terrorism is intended to scare people into submission.  It is used for political gain.  It is used for control.  It is impossible to control a population unless you scare them to death.  If you cannot make them fear for their lives, you will never gain total control.

This tactic has been used since man learned to kill each other.  It goes all the way back to the beginning of civilization.  Power, greed, avarice, and control has caused people to use terrorism against others to force them into submission.  It is when people stand up to this fear that terrorism can be defeated.  If people do not stand up to terrorism, it will never be eradicated.

The biggest problem with the Paris attacks is that way too many people are starting to use it as an excuse to discriminate against people.  Republicans are already calling for Syrian refugees to be refused admission simply because they come from Syria, which is a Muslim country.  Ted Cruz even says we should only allow “Christian” Syrians into the country and refuse Muslims asylum.

He says that is the only way to keep “those radical Islamic terrorists” from gaining entry into the U.S.  He says “Christians won’t come here as terrorists.”  That is an absurd statement.  First of all, how do we know that if a Syrian says he is Christian that he really is.  Isn’t it possible to train Muslims to say the right things to sound Christian?  So, how do we know that Syrian Christians are really Christians.

The other problem is that the hate mongers will be wagging their tongues in earnest.  We have already seen it begin.  Ben Carson is already on the books as saying Mosques should be shut down in America.  He also believes Muslims should not be allowed to be President.  Donald Trump is now saying the exact same things.

There is also the finger-pointing.  Republicans say President Obama is responsible for the rise of ISIS.  They say he should have wiped them out sooner.  They don’t say how, just that he should have.  Some are calling for up to 50,000 troops on the ground in the Middle East to ensure we wipe out ISIS.

Everyone purposefully forgets that it was the Iraq War that caused the rise of ISIS.  It was the destabilizing aspect of that war that allowed fringe groups to gain ground in that part of the world.  Republicans will also tell you that ISIS is only interested in killing Christians.  That is false.  They target anyone who does not want to follow their philosophy.  They are especially eager to kill Muslims.

Why do you think that most of the Muslim world, including Iran are willing to fight against ISIS as well?  ISIS is a much bigger threat to them politically than they are to us.  They will use anti-American and anti-west language to rally their troops.  But, their bigger goal is to control the Muslim world first.  Terrorist attacks against the west are used as recruiting tools, nothing more.

We face some very serious problems both at home and abroad.  We see a part of the world in turmoil.  That turmoil is the fault of the west.  This whole problem might have been avoided after World War I.  It was at that time that countries like Iraq were formed.  It was at that time that the “west” divided up the region into their own spheres.  Promises to the Arabs were broken in favor of control of the oil in the middle east.  We are still living under the consequences of those decisions.

If we accept Syrian refugees into this country, they do need to be vetted.  We should make sure that we are stopping terrorists from coming here under the cover of “refugee.”  That was what we did after Castro took control of Cuba.  We accepted Cubans.  But, they were vetted, too.

This is not a time for politicization of terrorism.  Terrorism affects everyone.  It hurts innocent people in the name of control and political gains.  It is something that needs to be fought.  But, you do not fight terrorism by equating it with a particular people or religion.  If you do, you condemn millions of innocent people to death.

Unfortunately, we live in a time in this country when we do not have discussions about whether or not we agree with a position or not.  If we don’t agree with someone, it is much easier to vilify that person than discuss the alternatives to their ideas.  That is what is happening with this terrorist movement as well.

We don’t look for the reason for it, nor do we have a serious discussion about what to do about it.  We simply call all Muslims terrorists, scream at the top of our lungs to wipe them out militarily, and spread hate.  That is not the “American way.”  Serious discussion.  Serious planning.  Serious solutions.  Those are the actions we need to follow.  Not hate, barbarism, and fear.

ISIS is a barbaric political organization bent on control of the entire Middle East.  Nothing more and nothing less.  The question isn’t whether or not we need to fight them and defeat them.  It is how we fight them and what determines what defeating them really is.

The real problem with terrorism is that once you eliminate one group of terrorists, another one will take its place.  Once you “wipe out” one group, another group will attack, usually more viciously than the first.  Besides “defeating” ISIS, we need to find a way to keep another group from rising.

If there was ever a time for the nations of the world to join together to defeat a common enemy it is now.  But, politics will once again get in the way.  Yes, Russia and Iran hate ISIS just as much as we do.  But, they have ultimate goals that go beyond ISIS alone.  Just like the west in the past, they look to “control” that part of the world.

When that happens, we will have another terrorist group rise up to fight that “control” and the beat will continue.  These are all things that need to be considered in how we respond to ISIS and its threats.  We must also keep an eye on what the consequences will be once ISIS is beaten back.

Hate and fear mongering is what is most hampering us today.  Hell, even yesterday Aaron Rodgers made a statement at a press conference about Islamaphobic comments he heard during a “moment of silence for the Paris victims” before a football game.  Apparently, some stupid person tried to use this moment of silence to spew hate, again.

Intelligent thinking is needed right now.  We don’t need any more hate and fear mongering.  It is hate and fear mongering that got us where we are today.  It failed in the past, and it will fail today and in the future.  Cooler heads must prevail.  Otherwise, mankind will continue to see terrorism for the next 2,000 years.

We will hear Republicans spew their hate and fear mongering going forward in the upcoming elections.  We will not hear any sound solutions to the problems that are causing the terrorism in the first place.  But then, we are used to not hearing any solutions from them.  I hope I am wrong about that.  But, the words that have come forth so far don’t offer any promise of serious discussion and planning.

World War I was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.”  Only, because of political greed, we are still living under the horrible consequences of that war and its aftermath.  When will we become smarter than that?  When will we actually find solutions to these problems?  If we refuse to talk to people, we will never find real peace.

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I am a technical person.  I use the Internet often.  I write for this blog.  I spent 20 years in the communications field and worked on the cutting edge of all of this technology we have today.  But, there are some downsides to all of this technology and social media.

Often times I believe we are too connected.  I see too many people walking around the streets, sitting around public areas even at sports events, or sitting in their cars with their noses stuck into their cell phone.  It is almost like an addiction for a lot of people.  How many times have you left your house at 6 AM and passed a lot of people already talking on their phones?  Who could you possibly be talking to at 6 AM?  Can it really be that important?

Social media has invaded our space as well.  With the advent of sites like Facebook, it seems like you can see everything from pictures of people having a good time to cats dancing.  Is that the kind of society we have become?  Can we not go even 2 hours without our noses stuck in some technological device?

The worst part of social media is that it is threatening our free speech.  When someone says something that a group of people think is stupid, it goes viral.  That person is placed under attack.  Some even receive death threats.  Yet, everyone wants to protect our free speech.  Problem is that most people today only want to protect “their” free speech.

This problem has permeated our entire society.  We have lost what the true meaning of free speech really is.  Instead of pointing out differences about comments, we try to vilify the speaker simply because we disagree.  Many people are calling this “political correctness.”  Ben Carson is running a presidential campaign based on his distaste for political correctness.

I fully understand why political correctness may be necessary in certain areas.  It mostly started out as showing respect for groups of people different from us.  Unfortunately, it has morphed into something more tragic than it should be.  Whenever someone comments differently from our beliefs, the opposite side is in an uproar.  This has even gone into comedy.

Sorry, but comedy is often times rude and crude.  It will often offend someone.  To me, it is only offensive when that rudeness and crudeness is targeted only at certain groups.  If it is targeted at all groups, then I don’t really see a problem with it.  But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

We are seeing protests on some of our college campuses again.  I don’t have a problem with that.  But, when protesting, I do feel it is wrong to refuse the other side to cover the story.  It is wrong to refuse to let them speak freely as well.  Nothing is settled unless both sides are heard, and a common ground can be found to fix the problem.

In other words, regardless of which side of the story you are on, it is the other person’s right to be an asshole if that is what they choose to be.  For example, I believe the “Open Carry” nuts are assholes.  I firmly believe they believe I am one as well.  That is fine with me.  Just because I strongly disagree with them, doesn’t mean I have a right to try to shut them up.  I do have a responsibility to prove they are assholes and are wrong on their issue.

I have gotten into a lot of “trouble” so to speak because I believe a person’s right to free speech includes either walking on or burning the American Flag.  Yes, I served under that flag.  I respect what it’s supposed to stand for.  But, that doesn’t mean that someone who uses it as a protest item is wrong.  They have that right under free speech protections.

I also detest groups like the American Nazi Party, the KKK, The Aryan Nation, etc.  But, that doesn’t mean I have a right to stop them from speaking.  They have the right to spew their hatred and bigotry.  I cannot stop that.  I can argue against them, but I cannot stop their speech.

We constantly hear people like Bill O’Reilly talk about free speech.  Yet, he constantly shouts down or ridicules those who speak from a different perspective.  Only his right of free speech is protected in his warped view of the Constitution.

The same can be said for some liberal media celebrities as well.  Though, the conservative movement seems to have the most experts in this art form.  And, that is the problem.  We cannot claim to want free speech when we constantly shout down or try to censor the other side.

Conservatives love to cry that Freedom Isn’t Free.  They are right.  We have a few million men and women who serve this country in our armed forces.  We have several more million men and women who serve our government in other ways.  These people can literally put their lives on the line for our freedom.  But, that freedom is a two-way street.

You cannot claim freedom for yourself and deny it to others on personal opinions or beliefs.  You cannot claim marriage for yourself and deny it to others because they are different.  You cannot claim to be religious and deny others their religious beliefs because you don’t like those beliefs.

Freedom comes with a price.  That price often includes tolerance of people who are different from you.  That price includes allowing people to follow their own paths to happiness.  That price includes allowing people to be different.  Being different is what this country is all about.  You cannot achieve the so-called “American Dream” by being part of the pack.  You need to be different to achieve your own dreams.

When you think about it, it is intolerance towards different people that has caused the real political divide in this country.  We have seen too many instances when someone has figuratively stood up in a crowded theater and shouted “fire” just to watch people panic.

Both sides are guilty of this.  Both sides need to get back to basics and realize there are good people (those who agree with us) and assholes (those who disagree with us).  Social media has made us stupid.  It has caused us to stop to listen to others by allowing us to live in our own cocoon.  We have become less tolerable since social media invaded our lives, not less intolerable.

I would suggest that America take their collective noses out of their cell phones and start to “smell the roses” again.  Look around you.  This is a magnificent planet and wonderful world.  All you have to do is look to see it and appreciate it.  Then return to our true American culture.  One of tolerance, love of others, and freedom.

Isn’t that what America is really all about?

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Last night was the fourth of the Republican debates.  As in the last three, nothing of any substance came out.  Actually, I saw more “softballs” being tossed around than I had seen in actual softball games.  But, I didn’t expect anything else from Fox Business.  It is part of Fox News, after all.

But, this isn’t about the debate last night.  I don’t believe there was anything new to talk about there.  No, this is about Veterans Day.  As everyone knows Veterans Day is today.  If you really think about it, Veterans Day is a very somber day.  Yes, we thank those who served, but we also remember those who gave the ultimate gift.  They gave their lives to this country.

I have written before that there are better ways to recognize our veterans than simply saying “thank you.”  Yes, it is nice to hear, but what does it really mean?  The other phrase that is bandied about too much is “support our troops.”  Quite frankly, I really don’t know what that means.  Maybe someone can explain it to me one day.

I do know that those two things are thrown my way too much.  We also hear about veterans being “heroes.”  I am very uncomfortable with that phrase too.  Heroes are the ones who didn’t come back, or did something extremely beyond the call of duty.  There a plenty of heroes, but everyone who wore the uniform isn’t one of them.

We really see this stuff all over “social media.”  I can’t count the times I saw “share” if you agree postings about “supporting our troops.”  As I said, it is nice, but what does it mean?  If “supporting our troops” means you hit the “share” button, please stop.

In last night’s debate, there was a lot of talk about defense spending.  The only one who appeared to be against more defense spending was Rand Paul.  No surprise there.  But, one thing that never seems to be mentioned is helping our veterans.

Did you know that there are approximately over 1 million veterans who are homeless?  Did you know that number grows by an estimated 62,000 per year?  Did you know that veterans make up 11 percent of the American population but make up about 26 percent of the homeless population?

About a year ago there was big to-do about the VA.  Veterans had to endure long waits just to see a doctor at a VA Clinic.  There was a lot of hand wringing and finger-pointing.  A year later, veterans are still waiting a long time just to see a doctor.  Nothing has really changed.  Why?  Because the VA doesn’t have the number of clinics or the large number of medical staff to handle the overflow caused by two long-lasting wars.  And, the solutions for these problems were never addressed in the “political” brawl and finger-pointing mess last year.

We need the VA to actually pay the doctors, nurses, medical assistants, physical therapists, and the rest of the medical field proper salaries to encourage them to join the VA Hospitals and clinics.  Why would these people work at the VA if they can make much more money somewhere else?  If you want good qualified people, you have to pay for them.  We need to stop putting a price tag on the suffering of veterans.

There are charitable organizations who are doing tremendous work to help our veterans.  But, as I have written before, why do these organizations even need to exist?  Why isn’t the government doing what it is supposed to do and help our veterans with proper medical and psychological treatment?  That is an easy question to answer.  We cost money!

I hate to say this, but if you want to know where the problem our veterans face comes from, take a look in the mirror.  Sorry if that hurts, but it is the truth.  By continuously voting for people who have every intention of going to war and then throwing our veterans on the trash heap when it is over, you help cause the problem.

Whenever you hit that “share” button and say “I support our troops” then pat yourself on the back for doing so, you help cause the problem.  Stop and think for a minute.  How many times have you said something, even in jest, about “double dipping” to a retired veteran who also collects Social Security?  How is that “thanking a vet?”  That pension was “earned” and that vet paid Social Security taxes just like you did.

It is time for the American People to stand up and really support our troops.  It is time you all really thank a veteran.  To fix the problems veterans face, it costs money.  We need more VA clinics and hospitals, not fewer.  We need more medical and psychological staff, not less.

The families of veterans need help too.  If you ask most vets, they will tell you that their spouse and family made their service possible.  I could never have served twenty years without their help and support.  The long absences and worry about ever seeing me again took their toll on them.  Yet, if a vet dies, they are left with virtually nothing.  Their “service” doesn’t count.

For example, if my wife out lives me, she will lose my pension once I die.  Shouldn’t she get that pension until her death?  That would take a lot of worry off of me knowing she would still have the finances to support herself.  Wouldn’t  that be “thanking a vet?”  Isn’t that something that she earned?  According to our politicians, no!  If a serving member is killed in action, his wife has 30 days to vacate government housing.   She is basically left to her own devices.  How is that “supporting our troops?”

As you can see, I am not much for hearing lip service about “supporting our troops” or “thanking a vet.”  I would rather see action than hear words.  Maybe I am different.  Maybe I am just asking too much.  But, wouldn’t these actions say “thank you” a whole lot louder?

I hope all of my brothers and sisters who now wear or have ever worn the uniform have a very happy Veterans Day.  I know that I will spend a lot of time remembering my shipmates who died in the service of their country.  I also have fond memories of the good times we had together.

That is what Veterans Day is all about.  It is about remembering.  Remembering those who fell and remembering those who survived.  We served because we chose to serve.  We served because we felt it was the right thing to do.  We served because it was who we are.

All any veteran who ever served expected in return was respect.  We expected to be treated for our wounds.  We expected not to be thrown on the trash heap and forgotten.  We expected that our government would provide the services we needed and not just say we “cost too much.”

Regardless of your political convictions, stop listening to the term of “defense spending” to determine you candidate’s choice.  Start listening to how that politician plans to really “support our troops” with meaningful plans to help the veterans who no longer serve.  Then you will be saying “thank you” to our veterans in a meaningful way.

Lastly, I will speak for my brothers and sisters and say “you are welcome” for our service.  Please, do not turn your backs on our plights.  We are not asking for a “hand out.”  We are only asking for the help and respect we have earned.

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We have had three Republican Debates so far.  After each debate, someone on the stage has wailed about the moderators, the media in general, and/or even the RNC.  I have written what some call scathing reports about the debates and their lack of substance, as well as their lack of truth.  I have been told that I am anti-Conservative.  Well, that isn’t entirely true.

I am more liberal than most people I know.  However, conservatism in and of itself is not evil.  I believe that conservatism and liberalism are both necessary to help us keep our feet planted on the ground.  We have had conservatism since the founding of our nation.  We have even had some conservative legislators who understood that conservatism can be just as bad, their words, as liberalism.  My father was a conservative.  But, he would not agree with what is going on in the party today.

No, what I am against is this crop of so-called conservatives.  This batch of Republicans who claim the “conservative” mantra are anything but conservative.  If you look at the history of conservatism, you will find some very distressing differences between todays crop and what conservatism was about.

For one example, conservatives always championed education.  They believed that a good education was the primary necessity for attaining the “American Dream.”  They understood that in order to move the country, and the economy forward, education was the lynch pin.  Without educated workers, there would be no progress.

Conservatives also were in favor of scientific research.  They were all in favor of the “space program” for example.  They knew that science was the key to new breakthroughs in medicine and everyday life.  They understood the necessity of protecting our air and water quality.  It was Richard Nixon that created the EPA.

But today’s so-called conservatives are against education.  They are against science.  The only thing they are concerned with is money.  Specifically, their money and the money of their donors.  Education budgets across the country have been slashed.  So-called “Charter Schools” have popped up in many states.  These are “for-profit” schools that are raping the public education funding and returning less than stellar education in return.  They also have a very nasty tendency to discriminate who can get into their “Charter Schools.”  Minorities are underrepresented and disabled children have very little chance to get in.  Yet, the companies running these schools are making millions off the taxpayer’s dime.

Today’s so-called conservatives absolutely hate science.  They are willing to break the law in order to replace scientific teachings about evolution and instead use “creationism” as the “true” science.  They hate the idea that corporations should be held responsible for polluting our air and water.  They refuse to acknowledge that our climate is changing for the worse and that if something isn’t done, most of our coastal cities will be underwater by the end of this century, if not sooner.

Conservatives in the past lived in reality.  Even President Eisenhower warned about the growing threat of the “Defense Industrial Complex.”  Today’s so-called conservatives love the Defense Industrial Complex.  Conservatives warned about getting into more “wars to end all wars.”  Today’s so-called conservatives love getting into wars and using America’s Power to remake the world into their view.

John Adams’ worst fear was that the rich would use their social power to deny other’s rights.  Today’s so-called conservatives are his worst nightmare.  They demean the First Amendment through their support of bogus religious liberties that suppress actual ones (the Christian florist, for example, does not commit a sin for having had gay clients any more than he has committed adultery for having had adulterous ones; any more than a Jewish waiter breaks kosher laws for having served non-kosher foods).

The historically outrageous claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation finds even John McCain succumbing.  These so-called conservatives embrace the imposition of biblical law as constitutional even while they claim that the First Amendment protects communities against the building of a mosque (Cain); and while simultaneously arguing that Muslims shouldn’t be president (Carson).

Past conservatives warned against remaking society based on some ideological utopian thought.  They realized the messy fallout of such blueprints.  Yet, today’s so-called conservatives “merit-based society” is founded on just that kind of fantasy.  After more than a generation of supply-side economics that did not deliver, they cannot see concrete reality and are instead blinded by devotion to irrational models.

Religious conservatives might call this idolatry.  We’ve witness two capitalist experiments, for example – the more free-market American one and the social democratic one.  The latter has produced better results.  It has been piecemeal, pragmatic, and made concessions to reality (no nationalization of the means of production), as a good conservative would advise.  The economy has actually done better under Democratic Presidents than under Republican Presidents, including Saint Reagan.

Today’s so-called conservatives have added a moral overlay onto their economic models that betrays conservative wisdom.  Free markets, for example, were originally promoted for their productivity, not as a reward for the virtuous and a punishment for the vice-ridden.  Rather than speak of entrepreneurs as “self-made” (whom the resentful want to punish for their success) and as “jobs creators” (the taxation of whom is sometimes considered akin to theft), Adam Smith held them in contempt (well, he held us all in contempt on this score) and spoke of them with disdain.  It wasn’t their virtue that free markets tap, but rather their vice – their selfishness and vanity.  The “baubles and trinkets” that we pursue don’t make us happy, he surmised.  We seek them because we want to be admired.

Today’s so-called conservatives have added a religious tone to their arguments.  They claim to be adherents to Christianity, yet they are more in line with Puritanical theories.  Although they ignore the Puritan parts about usury and the allurements of wealth.  They are more inline with the Ayn Rand glorification of the powerful elites and selfish behavior.  That is why you hear so much about the “job creators” and in Trump’s case the winners and losers.

These so-called conservatives are very interested in putting the “blame” on anyone not like them.  What would Abraham Lincoln have to say about the immigration mess we face.  During his time, the Know Nothing Party wailed against Iris and Polish immigration in the east and against Chinese immigration in the west.  I wonder what Lincoln would have to say about the talk against Mexican immigration today.

Trump wants to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.  Carson wants to electrify it.  Presumably to electrocute anyone trying to get over it.  If you are thinking a wall would work, remember, the DEA has founds hundreds of tunnels under the border used to transport illegal drugs into the country.  What makes you think that “wall” wouldn’t be tunneled under too?

So-called conservatives want you to believe that if you are rich or poor it is “God’s Will” that you fall into those categories.  If you are poor, it must be because you are either lazy, or have done something against God’s will.  In other words, heaven is only for the rich since they have received God’s blessings on earth.

That is my interpretation of today’s so-called conservative movement.  The three debates we have suffered through have proven this theory.  They have proven that these so-called conservatives are really anti-conservative.   The problem is that the real conservatives seem to standing on the sidelines.  They don’t seem to be fighting back.  Are they giving up?

During a pre-debate rally in Ohio, John Kasich asked:  “Do you know how crazy this election is?  What has happened to our party?  What has happened to the conservative movement?”  He tried similar attacks during the debate.  I think the answer to his questions is that in favor of getting more power, the true conservatives have allowed the anti-conservatives to usurp their credentials and take over the party.

The mess that has become the Republican Party lies at the feet of true conservatives.  When any group, whether they be conservatives or liberal, allow a fringe group to usurp their credentials in the name of power, a mess will always happen.  It happened to the Democrats in the 70s and it is happening to the Republicans today.

I recommend that instead of the conservative cry of “taking back the country” from that mythical evil, they should be working to “take back their party from the real evil.”  That “real evil” are these anti-conservatives who call themselves conservatives just to get the vote.

I had this conversation with a friend who is conservative the other day.  He agrees with me on this one.  But, until he and the rest of conservatives fight back for real, we will continue to see this circus called the Republican Presidential Debates.  And, the country will continue to struggle as a whole.

For my liberal friends, conservatism isn’t the problem.  The problem is these anti-conservatives.  Unfortunately, liberals cannot stop this craze, but rather it is up to the true conservatives to stop it.  That must begin with new leadership at the RNC.  The current leadership is just as anti-conservative as these candidates are.

These people are not just anti-conservative.  They are anti-American and they are anti-Christian.  They only use the labels for their own personal enrichment and power.  Well, true conservatives, the American People are waiting for you to “take your party back.”  Do you have the courage to stand up to the crazies, or will we see more of the same?

If you really want to “take our country back for the people” you need to first take back your party from the anti-conservatives.

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