Where Has America Gone?

That headline might be somewhat puzzling to most of you.  But, I believe it must be asked.  We often hear about “American Exceptionalism” and the “Land of the Free.”  It is time to consider just what those terms actually mean.  Next week is Thanksgiving.  It is a time for us to reflect on our good fortune for living in such a good country.  And, yes, America is a good country.

The problem is that somewhere we seem to have lost our way.  Somewhere we have lost our vision.  Somewhere we seem to have lost our identity.  This is shown by the rhetoric that has permeated our politics for the last 7 years or so.  We have gone from a country where everyone can live their dream to one that claims only certain people can live the dream.

American Exceptionalism is not what the Republican candidates are saying it is.  To me, American Exceptionalism is the fact that Americans have a big heart.  It is the idea that we are all descended from immigrants.  That we understand that our country offers freedom and a chance for a better life to all people of the world.  It does not mean that we can start wars whenever we want because we don’t like others.  It is not denying civil rights to any group of people simply because they are different.  It is not closing our borders to those seeking safety.

Our laws say you have the right to believe in whatever god you choose.  You can worship however you want in peace.  It doesn’t matter what religion you choose, you have the right to believe in that religion.  Or, for that matter, you can choose to not believe in any religion.

Civil rights are supposed to be for everyone.  It doesn’t matter where you come from.  It doesn’t matter what you believe.  It doesn’t matter if you are different.  The Bill of Rights were designed to protect the minorities from being persecuted by the majority.

You are allowed to follow your dreams.  You are allowed to dream big or dream small.  You are allowed to exercise your right to say what you wish.  That is what freedom really means.  It means that regardless of who you are, where you come from, or what you believe, you have a right to live in peace with the same civil rights as everyone else.

American Exceptionalism is the very idea that when other people are in trouble, Americans open their hearts and even pocket books to help them.  It is idea that we open our doors to the oppressed and the frightened.  It is the idea that we as Americans believe that everyone has the right to live and live without fear.

I spent 20 years sitting in little rooms crammed with radios listening for people in trouble.  Once that call came in, I never asked what nationality they were, or what religion they were, or what race they were.  They were in trouble and it was my responsibility to get the machinery moving to get them help.  That is what America is really about.

Yet, today we hear things like all Muslims are terrorists. Refugees from a war-torn area of the world are being compared to “rabid dogs. We hear that homosexuals should face the death penalty for being homosexual. We are hearing that we should close our doors to refugees.

These words are not coming from private citizens.  They are coming from men and women who want to be our next President.  They are coming from people who claim to love our country and our constitution.  These are people who want to lead our future.

If they believe in these words, what kind of future will America have?  If they believe in these words, what kind of country will we have?  At what point is the American People going to say stop?  At what point is the American People going to say enough of the trash talk?  When are the American People going to say we are exceptional because we love our neighbors and are willing to help those who need help?  When are we going to become America again?

We are a country of immigrants.  We are a country of refugees.  We are a country that is supposed to be all-inclusive.  We are also a country of brave people who do not hide from shadows.  We face our fears and prove to the world that we are better than that.

This whole mess we are in has nothing to do with religion.  It has nothing to do with jobs.  It has nothing to do with “religious liberty.”  It has to do with whether or not we will be a people of love for others or a people full of hate and rage.  It has to do with whether or not we respect each other, or hate each other.

There is a large faction right now politicking in the idea that we should hate each other.  They are politicking that we should hate others.  They are politicking on the principle that only a few should enjoy the freedoms and liberties our constitution offers everyone.

That is not America.  That is not American Exceptionalism.  That is not what our country is about. As you look forward to our Thanksgiving Holiday next week, think about what America has always been. Maybe you too will ask, “Where has America Gone?”

There are a lot of things to say about the terrorist attacks in Paris.  The one thing that cannot be overlooked is what those attacks have done right here in America.  Ever since Friday, we have heard an uptick in Dictatorship speak from politicians in this country.  I don’t say that lightly either.  But, the fact remains that the far-right wing is up in arms and don’t care that you know they want a dictatorship in America.

There is talk about “internment” camps for Syrian refugees.  We have had a real stupid man call all Muslims terrorists at a town hall meeting about building a Mosque.  We have Ben Carson doubling down on his no Muslim should be President.  We have Ted Cruz and Donald Trump wanting to place religious tests on refugees.  We have Donald Trump calling for closing Mosques and “spying” on them.

Jeb Bush wants a whole lot of “boots on the ground” in Syria and Iraq to “stamp out ISIS.”  It seems like everyone on the right is talking this way.  The House wants to pass a law that would make them the final say-so as to which refugees are allowed into the country.  Republican Governors are saying they “won’t accept any refugees.”

When you take everything into consideration, the wall, the deportations, the kill the gays, and now the refugee stuff, we are hearing all about why our country should be a dictatorship, from the very people who want to be President.  Fox News has reraised the “birther” bullshit.  They seem to forget that Cruz was not born in the U.S. though.

To show you just how ridiculous this has become, let us take that wonderful Ted Cruz from Texas, or Canada.  Yesterday he apparently was mad about the President calling him out for being stupid with his religious test for Syrian Refugees.  He wants only Christian Syrian refugees allowed to come here.

In his statement about those Christian Syrian refugees he said that “Christians would not be prone to be terrorists.”  Well, that is something that needs to be called out.  It was Christians that bombed and killed or wounded people at abortion clinics.  It was Christians that killed a doctor inside his own church because he performed abortions.  It was a Christian that blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City killing over 150 people including children.  It was a Christian the killed several Jewish Children at a day care center in Los Angeles.  It was a Christian who killed nine black people inside of their Christian church.

It was a Christian who was arrested for planning to go to a New York State city that is mostly Muslim with the intention of killing as many Muslims as possible.  It was a Christian who killed several people at a Temple in Wisconsin.  It was Christians who lynched countless of black men in the south since the Civil War.

May I also remind Mr. Cruz that he sat passively while a Christian Pastor spoke about how homosexuals should face the death penalty just because they are homosexuals?  I shouldn’t have to, Teddy spoke at that same conference.  And the list goes on, and on, and on, and on.

Now, maybe Ted Cruz has a different definition of “terrorism” than the rest of the world, because all of these acts are considered as “terrorism.”  So, it is a lie to say that “Christians are not prone to acts of terrorism.”  Just last year, Ted Cruz said we “should accept Syrian Refugees and it will be safe to do so.”  My how things change when you want to spread fear and hate.

If you look to Fox News birther shit again, it makes you wonder just what Ted Cruz is up to.  You all know that I am not one of those who believes in “conspiracy theories.”  But, just once let me ask you if just maybe Ted Cruz is the “Havana Candidate?”

We all remember the movie the Manchurian Candidate.  A former POW comes home and eventually runs for President.  But, just in the nick of time he is exposed as being brainwashed and is ready to set up a communist country here in America.

So, let’s look at the possibility that Ted Cruz is the Havana Candidate.  I don’t have all of the information on Teddy’s daddy, but from what I have been able to find in my research makes me wonder.  For example, Cruz admits that he fought on the side of Castro.  He also claims, according to Teddy’s book that he was some master planner.  His comrades at the time say he was a scared boy spray painting walls, but let’s assume he is telling the truth.

He was imprisoned by the Batiste Regime for his role in the “revolution.”  From what I can find, he left Cuba before Castro took control.  As a matter of fact, it has been reported that he bribed a government official in order to get his visa to this country.

In conservative speak, that would make him a communist!  So, what if Castro ordered him to come to America, have a child, groom that child to become a politician, and then eventually run of President in the hopes he would win and set up a Castro styled dictatorship in America?

But, as I said, I do not believe in conspiracy theories.  And, from what I have heard and read from Cruz, Sr. he isn’t smart enough to have been able to pull it off.  And, every time Teddy opens his mouth, he proves he isn’t smart enough to pull it off either.

But the real threat is that our Constitution allows people like him, Trump, Carson, Bush, Jindal, Huckabee, et. al. to spew forth their vile and filth.  We must endure their evil and desire to establish a dictatorship in our country.  If any of these ignoramus’ get to the White House, internment camps won’t be that far behind.

Those camps won’t be just for Muslims either.  They will be for liberals, Latinos, African-Americans, and anyone else who disagrees with them.  That is what this election is about.  Do we keep our democracy or do we move into dictatorship.  Only the voters have the answer.

Let me take you back a few years.  At the time, George W. Bush was President of the United States.  He really wanted to go to war with Iraq.  He sent Colin Powell to the U.N. with what turned out to be faulty, if not false, information to prove Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  This was his excuse to attack that nation.

Congress, in their zeal to stop WMDs from spreading, approved his war.  He tried to build a consensus of nations to support and supply additional troops for this war.  One country stood out saying they “would not” participate in this war.  That country was France.

The right-wing media went nuts!  Remember them calling things like “French fries” as “freedom fries” or “French toast” as “freedom toast?”  The hate towards France from the war mongers in this country was ferocious.  I can’t count the number of times France was blasted for their decision.  I even remember Fox News calling them “cowards” for not supporting their hero’s war in Iraq.

Now, several years later, these same clowns who tried to make France out to be evil doers for failing to support their unjust war, are loving France.  These same people are doing things like changing their Facebook page so it has the French Flag over their faces.  Suddenly, France is the symbol of fighting terrorism.  Suddenly, France is the right wing’s heroes.

However, before you applaud these conservatives for a “change of heart” don’t bother.  They are not experiencing a “change of heart.”  They don’t really “love” France today.  What they are doing is taking a tragic incident where over 100 innocent people were killed by terrorists, and trying desperately to make it a political point for their own purpose.

There purpose is to gain power here, and install a Christian Theocracy.  Meaning, democracy will go by the boards.  This point was made very clear when John Kasich said he would create a new government agency.  He would create an agency whose purpose would be to spread Judeo-Christian values.  More importantly, it would only advocate Judeo-Christian Western values.  I guess Eastern Christian values aren’t good enough for him.

The First Amendment says that the government shall declare no official religion.  Yet, a Presidential candidate wants to not only declare an official religion, he wants a radio broadcast around the world that tells everyone about it.  He says that this agency will talk about the “values of human rights, the values of democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association.”

There is a real problem here.  According to his fellow Republican candidates, Freedom of Speech only counts if you are a Christian.  If you are a Muslim and say anything that could remotely be considered as anti-Christian, you should be deported or put in jail.  Yet, Christians can say anything they want about Islam and are only exercising their Freedom of Speech.

By the way, may I recommend to John Kasich that he look at something called “the Voice of America.”  This has been around for decades and is intended to talk to oppressed people with what democracy and freedom are about.  They are not about Judeo-Christian values.  Judeo-Christian values deny democracy and want to control the people just as much as any dictatorship.

All of the ranting about denying Syrian refugees access to our country is just that.  It is hate speech intended to prove to all “true Americans” that they are defending us by sentencing those “others” to death at the hands of terrorists.  That is the true American way for these nut jobs.

This hate speech from these  irresponsible candidates are triggering “terrorist” attacks against Mosques in America.  The number of attacks against Mosques have risen dramatically, especially since the Paris attack.  It is so bad, Republicans want you to be terrified of 3-year old orphans.  Really?

The GOP has totally lost it!  They have no clue about anything, except hate and bigotry.  They are stoking the flames of fear and hate in order to get the nomination from their wacko wing of the party.  They are playing up to the bigots.  They are playing up to the racists.  That is their idea of Democracy.

I guaranty that if you look at your Facebook page and see all of those “updated photos” to show support to France, you will remember the hate many of those same people hurled at France for not going to war in Iraq with us.  The conservatives who changed their photo are not doing so to show “support” for France, it is to show “support” for killing off Muslims.

I find it sickening that so many people are “proud” of being hateful.  If that is their definition of Christianity, I am even more glad I don’t share their warped view of the world.  Just remember, France announced today that they will accept another 30,000 Syrian Refugees into their country!  The cowards in the Republican party don’t want us to take any.

I guess Republicans don’t want us known as the “home of the brave” anymore.


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.

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.

The one piece of legislation that gets a lot of attention in the House is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Republicans have said for years now that the ACA is a job killer.  There isn’t any statistic that proves their point, but that is their biggest argument.  As a matter of fact, even with the ACA, and raises in the minimum wage in several states, the economy continues to improve.  We still have a long way to go, but it is getting better.

On the other hand, the Republicans in the Senate are having second thoughts about repealing the ACA.  It isn’t because they are concerned that the repeal may be wrong.  Nor is it because they changed their minds and actually like the plan that was originally theirs.  No, they are worried about voter backlash if they should win and repeal the ACA.

Since the inception of the ACA, more than 16 million people who did not have health insurance now have it.  Some of these people fall under the incentive area, some fall under the expanded Medicaid area, and some fall under the previous illness area.  It really doesn’t matter where they fall, if the ACA were to be repealed, over 16 million people would suddenly find themselves without health insurance, again.

That number is beginning to scare some Republican Senators.  They are looking at numbers that could cost them their seat in the chamber.  And, they are beginning to sound rather passive about repealing the ACA.  Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), said as reported by the Hill’s Alexander Bolton:

“I am very concerned about the 160,000 people who had Medicaid expansion in my state. I have difficulty with that being included.”

Montana’s freshman Republican senator (who succeeded Democrat Max Baucus, the chief author of the health law) said:

“I respect the decision of our Legislature and our governor on Medicaid expansion,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R) of Montana, which has a Democratic governor. “I’m one who respects their rights and voices.”

Then, a mystery senator summed up the problem for the GOP leadership, The Hill reported:

Another Senate Republican, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed concern that states that expanded Medicaid would be penalized by billions of dollars if Congress repealed the federal assistance.

“Repealing the Medicaid expansion is not going to be in there because it’s too problematic for many Republicans,” said the lawmaker, adding, “I don’t want to stick the state with the bill.”

When it comes to Medicaid expansion, 20 Senators represent 15 states that have expanded it.  That means a lot of their constituents are on the program.  How do they tell these constituents that they can no longer be on Medicaid and thus lose their insurance?

One area to watch to see just how much Republicans hate the ACA and will repeal all of this is Kentucky.  Matt Bevins just won a landslide election to become governor.  He really hates the ACA.  As a matter of fact, he hates it so much he tried to oust McConnell from his Senate seat because according to Bevins, McConnell doesn’t hate it enough.

His campaign pledged to get rid of Kynect and expanded Medicaid.  He wants Kentucky to drop its exchange and force its people to use the Federal exchange instead.  But, he is also sounding a little less enthusiastic about repealing the expanded Medicaid part.

Almost 418,000 Kentuckians were enrolled in Medicaid under the expansion as of March.  It will be interesting to watch how Bevins gets out of this tricky spot.  Does he keep his promise and repeal the Medicaid expansion and throw 418,000 Kentuckians off of it?  Or, does he find a way to keep it and still silence his most conservative backers?

This problem isn’t contained just to Kentucky.  Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson each succeeded chief executives who had expanded Medicaid, although neither Republican made campaigns out of vows to roll back the program.  They both enjoy GOP majorities in their legislatures.  Although both men have talked about reforming the expansions they haven’t gotten around to repealing it.

That may be that in Arizona, 64,359 people signed up via the Medicaid expansion, and 239,936 did in Arkansas, according to the federal report from March.  Is it possible that these men are finally getting a conscience about what would happen to all those people if they took away medical insurance from them?  Neither have given any explanation about how they would “reform” the programs either.

So where does that leave Republicans with elections coming up?  Will these Senators really vote to repeal the ACA and tell their constituents that they don’t deserve health coverage, or will they surrender to the numbers and keep the plan?  Only time will tell.

Should a Republican win the White House in next year’s election, the ACA will probably be on its death-bed.  Republicans will surely come up with some “terrific” plan that either mirrors the ACA or tries to keep most of it.  The the “replacement” plans being offered by Republican candidates are extremely poor.  More people would be without health care than before under these “plans”.

In the meantime, Republicans are faced with a strange reality.  According to their talking points they really hate the ACA.  They give lots of reasons for its repeal.  But, on the other hand, they look at 16 million potential voters and wonder if putting their name on a bill that would wipe out health coverage for these 16 million people is worth the risk.

Of course they could act like Carly Fiorina in the last debate and just pretend these people really don’t exist.  But real politicians know that can’t last for long.  It may get them a nomination, but it sure won’t help with the general election.  This dilemma is of their own making.  One can only hope they choke on it.

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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