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The Republicans are gearing up for their convention next week.  The GOP platform is being finalized with no surprises in it.  They are against abortion, birth control, LGBT rights, and even colleges having a right to throw out students accused of raping someone on campus.

The Dictator-in-Waiting is gearing up to move from being the George Wallace of this campaign to the new Richard Nixon, declaring himself the “law-and-order” candidate.  I guess that is one way to justify your racist, bigoted views of the world.

But, yesterday there was a memorial service in Dallas for the 5 Police Officers killed last week.  The press is all agog about President Obama’s speech.  He was eloquent and honest.  He gave enough fodder for the pundits on both sides to criticize him because he did not staunchly defend either side.  He looked for a more uniform approach to the problems we face.

You can make up your own mind about his speech.  I personally loved it.  But there was another speaker that isn’t getting the coverage it desires.  And it was outstanding.  Some of you may think I am going insane, but George W. Bush gave a tremendous speech yesterday and no one even noticed.

W. had some real problems when he was President.  His biggest domestic mistake was his handling of the aftermath of Katrina.  That incident gave the impression that he didn’t care.  I never liked W. or his policies.  But, I never really considered him in the racist vain that I see Trump.  Yesterday, though not as eloquent and fluid as President Obama, W. gave an outstanding speech that hit at the problems we face.

The speech was short.  It was complete.  And, it attacked the current Republican candidate without naming him.  In case you missed it here is part of it:

Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates too quickly into dehumanization. Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”

And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose.

But Americans, I think, have a great advantage. To renew our unity, we only need to remember our values. We have never been held together by blood or background. We are bound by things of the spirit ― by shared commitments to common ideals.

At our best, we practice empathy, imagining ourselves in the lives and circumstances of others. This is the bridge across our nation’s deepest divisions. And it is not merely a matter of tolerance, but of learning from the struggles and stories of our fellow citizens, and finding our better selves in the process.

At our best, we honor the image of God we see in one another. We recognize that we are brothers and sisters, sharing the same brief moment on earth, and owing each other the loyalty of our shared humanity.

At our best, we know we have one country, one future, one destiny. We do not want the unity of grief.  Nor do we want the unity of fear. We want the unity of hope, affection, and high purpose.

As I said, there are a lot of things about W.’s presidency that I hate.  The lies he told to get us into war in Iraq.  His handling of Katrina.  But, this speech was outstanding.  In the seven minutes or so he actually spoke, he trampled on the current Republicans who want to drag this country into a non-democracy.

He trampled on the dreams of people like Donald Trump who want to make our country one of division, hatred, and even internment camps if that is what they decide is needed.  The best part of this speech is that it is not just about race.  It is about all of the injustices that many minority groups face everyday in this country.

It can be used to address many inequities.  It addresses race relations, immigration relations, religious relations, and yes, LGBT relations.  After all, that is what all of this is about.  Civil Rights is about all Americans  living free from discrimination of all kinds.

Several months ago I asked where all the Republicans have gone.  In order to “take back” our country from the ideologues, demagogues, haters and bigots, we need more Republicans to speak like W. did yesterday.

The problem for Republicans is that too many of them who think like this won’t be at the convention next week.  It is like they simply gave up.

I did not like George W. Bush as president.  I hated most of his policies.  I believe his economic policies directly led to the collapse in 2008.  But, I will give him his due.  His speech yesterday was eloquent in its own right.  It was appropriate.  And, it was quite clear about whom he was talking.

Great job W.  Let’s hope other Republicans listened, too!

 

Rudy Giuliani and Bill O’Reilly and other right-wing nuts are out to prove that we do not have a policing problem in this country.  According to them, we have a “no respect” for the law problem.  However, in all of their rants, they are proving there really is a “policing problem” in this country.

We also know from investigations that we have a “profiling” problem in this country.  Several areas have been found, by the courts, to be racially profiling who they pull over for traffic stops.  When you put the two together, you have a disturbing problem.

Let me be clear.  In my past lives I worked very closely with law enforcement agencies all across the country.  I fully know that the vast majority of law enforcement officers are good, honest, hard-working men and women.  They take their jobs very seriously and do the very best they can every single day.

I also know that there are way too many police officers who should never be allowed to wear the uniform.  They come into the job as racists and use their “power” to harass those they don’t like.  On one hand, it is unfortunate that the “good cops” are lumped together with the bad cops when things go wrong.  On the other hand, if they have remained silent about the “bad cops” they know by keeping the “code of silence”, they are partially to blame in all of this.  They need to speak up and get the “bad cops” off of the force.  I know how hard that is.  But the true definition of courage is doing what is right even if others won’t.

If you don’t believe we have a policing and profile problem, let me explain it this way.  A few years ago on my way to work I was pulled over in a county next to the one I live in.  I was doing 60 in a 55 zone.  The Sheriff’s deputy asked me for my driver’s license and registration which I handed over.  When he returned to my car, he informed me that my registration was “invalid” because I had not signed it.  He then offered me a pen and watched as I signed it.  He eventually let me off with a “warning”.

A few weeks later, a coworker was pulled over in the same county.  He was doing 47 in a 45 zone according to the ticket he received.  Additionally, when the deputy returned to his car he asked him to step out of the vehicle.  He then arrested the man for “driving without a valid registration”.  See, he also did not sign his registration card.

There were two things that differentiated me from him.  I was older and he was black.  Two people stopped for similar minor traffic offenses.  Two people who had forgotten to “sign” their registration cards.  One let go the other arrested.  The one let go an old white man.  The one arrested a young black man.

The situation in the Castile case is not that different.  This man had been pulled over numerous times in the same area.  He was cited at least 50 times for minor traffic violations from speeding to a broken tail light.  A huge majority of those violations were dismissed outright.

The right-wing has gone off about how “more white people” are killed by police officers than black people.  If you look at raw numbers they are right.  However, if you look at the “per capita” rates of white people getting killed versus black people, the numbers are staggering against black people.

But, even if you disregard that fact, as almost everyone on the right does, the fact remains that too many people are killed at the hands of the police.  Even if you take away all of the incidents of the victim first shooting at police, and thus bringing it upon themselves, the numbers are still way too high.

The lawyer for the officer in the Castile case claims his client was “reacting to the gun” not to the man’s race.  Which tells me we have a gun problem in this country as well.  Something the right is not about to talk about.  But, even if this statement were true, the officer still used improper judgement in shooting Castile.

When I was in the Coast Guard, I had to take courses on handling weapons in conjunction with civilians due to our “law enforcement’ work.  I had to take and pass a “shoot, don’t shoot” test.  I vividly remember the test and the instructions I was given about when to shoot and when to hold my fire.  In one scene, a suspect made a sudden move towards a gun in his waistband but instead raised his hands over his head without touching his gun.  Since he never touched the gun, you were not supposed to shoot.

We were instructed that if you see a suspect with a gun in his hand, you are more likely to be valid in a decision to shoot.  However, if the suspect did not attempt to draw his weapon, we were instructed not to shoot.

Which tells me that since Castile never pulled his weapon, the officer involved should not have fired his weapon.  The reason he fired his weapon only he knows for sure.  However, it goes closely with the shooting of Sterling in Baton Rouge.  In that incident, one of the officers reportedly saw a gun in the victims pocket and yelled “gun”!  At that point, the other officer opened fire and shot the victim six times in the chest.

The video clearly shows that the “gun” was never in the victim’s hand.  It clearly shows that the gun was in his pocket, and therefore, according to the training I received, the officer should not have fired his weapon.  Especially since the victim was being pinned to the ground by that officer.

As I have said before, I deplore violence.  I know that from time to time it is necessary to protect citizens from criminals and police from being killed.  But, we seem to have become a nation of “shoot first and ask questions later”.  I say that is the wrong approach to have in policing our citizens.  Especially when we know that some officers will use race as an excuse to shoot an innocent person.

One of the problems in all of this is that there are no real “standards” that police officers are trained to.  Too many times, cadets at police academies get generalized instruction on the law and are put out on our streets not really knowing what they should be doing.  Many communities don’t even have an academy for police officers, especially small sheriff’s departments.  They either rely on hiring someone with “experience” or “on-the-job” training.

Instead of complaining about the police not getting enough military surplus equipment, we should be complaining about the levels of training our officer’s get.  We should be complaining about hiring practices that allow too many “bad cops” to even get on the force.  We should be complaining that too many unarmed, innocent people are being killed.

We should be talking, as Hillary Clinton did, about having “standardized” instruction in training for police officers so we don’t go from one “good jurisdiction” to a “bad jurisdiction” just by crossing a city, county or state line.  Of course the right-wing immediately accused her of “wanting a nationalized police” to take away our rights.

I have great respect for all of the “good cops” in our country.  I have worked with them closely often.  I know what they go through.  I understand the dangers they face everyday.  However, that doesn’t mean I can sit quietly by and not call out “profiling” and “police brutality” when it happens.

Staying quiet does not fix the problems.  Staying quiet does not help our officers get better.  Staying quiet does not get them the training resources they need to properly do their jobs.  Way too many unarmed people are being killed by police officers.  It is time to stop the hysterical speech about “hating police” and start talking about how to make them better.  Both sides need to sit down and rationally discuss the problems and come up with ways to fix them.

It really doesn’t matter what side of this issue you are on.  If you really take time to listen and analyze what the right-wing is saying in all of this, you too will come to the conclusion that there is a police brutality and gun problem in this country.  We can find solutions. We can fix the problem.  But, we need to tell the bloviaters to shut the hell up so we can come together and solve our problems.

 

 

 

All across America, Americans are taking to the streets being active on such matters as Police Brutality and Police Shooting incidents.  We had more killings last week.  2 civilians were killed by Police, and 5 Police Officers were murdered in Dallas while protecting protesters.  There have been more demonstrations over the weekend.

It doesn’t matter which side of this you are on, it does matter that such activism is taking place all the while our Congress is still caught up in their partisan fights and bickering.  As a result, mostly because of what is commonly known as “poison pill riders” being attached to necessary bills, nothing is being done again.

There needs to be 12 appropriations bills passed so each agency of the government can function properly.  So far, our Congress has passed 3!  And, at the end of this week, Congress is set to take its annual nearly 2 month summer recess.  Is it any wonder that nothing gets done?

The House will continue its fight over gun control legislation, namely the “don’t fly don’t buy” bill.  The only real holdup on this piece of legislation is that conservatives claim the bill would bypass “due process” for citizens who are “falsely” on the no fly list from purchasing a gun.  They have never once argued that “being falsely on the no fly list bypasses your right to fly”.  Only that you should still be able to purchase any gun you want.  I know the rationalization is quite befuddling, but you know our conservatives.

Other than this, about the only thing we can be sure of is that Ryan and his conservative buddies will continue to find something to “investigate” Hillary Clinton about.  They are like tired old dogs who keep chasing cars down the street, even they know that if they catch the car they don’t know how to drive it!

The real mess is over on the Senate’s side.  There, Mitch McConnell is going through the same motions he always go through.  Doing nothing!  His idea of “legislating” is to bring up bills that have already failed again and again and again.  He won’t change anything, or take out the “poison pill riders” attached to them, he just brings them up again and when they go down again, he says “well I tried”.

Take the Zika research funding bill.  In order to get Republicans to even vote for the Zika research that is so desperately needed, McConnell let poison pill riders get attached to it.  This funding bill is attached to funding for defense construction and veteran programs.  But, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO CONSERVATIVES to have a rider on it that allows the flying of the Confederate Flag at veteran cemeteries.

Think about that for a moment.  I am a veteran.  These conservative politicians actually want a “foreign flag” to fly over cemeteries of veterans who fought and died for the American Flag.  Why don’t we put up the Russian Flag?  There were plenty of Russian heritage vets who fought.  Why not any other country?  This measure is a slap in the face to every veteran who wore the uniform, yet they are willing to allow veteran programs, defense construction, and Zika Virus research to go unfunded over this issue.  Everyone supporting this “rider” should be impeached from office!

Other funding measures are being held up because of other “poison pill” riders that have nothing to do with the funding measure at all.  But, Senators have discovered that they get their “pet projects” funded, or not funded by these riders.  Democrats who want to pass the necessary funding bills asked McConnell to stop allowing these types of riders to be attached.  He has flatly refused.  Mostly because he favors them too.

As Americans take to the streets in the name of activism, Congress continues down its path of non-Activism.  The Republican Controlled Congress has done nothing to help Americans.  They simply get dressed up in their $2,000 suits, go to the Capital building and pretend to be legislatures.

After they sit around and bring up “riders” to necessary funding bills they know will kill any chance of it being passed, they go on a 2 month recess.  Then they run to the microphones and tell us how they support the veterans..  They point fingers and take no blame for themselves.

In the meantime they get the propaganda machine at Fox News to concentrate on things like Black Lives Matter, or Blue Lives Matter, or Walking Dead Lives Matter.  Anything that takes away the spotlight from their inaction.  If you ask why, you need to figure out that they are not interested in you, except for your vote to stay in power.  Where else can you get paid real money and sit on your ass and do nothing all day?

There is a place in society for conservatives, liberals, and middle-of-road people.  There is a place in society for real dialogue, for real compromise, and real expression of ideas.  There is a place in our society for citizen activism.  But, I have come to the conclusion that there is no place for obstructionist, fascist, demagogues like the current crop of “conservative” Republicans now strangling our democracy.

The Republican convention starts next week.  The Democrats will follow closely behind.  It will be very interesting if the Republicans actually offer us a plan, or if the bloviator will simply revel in his victory and continue to spew forth is filthy diatribe of hate and separatism.  It will be interesting to see just how far “left” the Democrats will go in order to appease Bernie Sanders and his followers.

But, one thing will be sure, when this Republican Controlled Congress breaks for the summer at the end of the week, they still will not have passed all of the appropriations bills needed to run the government.  As a result, we will be looking at another “stop-gap” measure before September 30.  Unless, of course, this crop of lunatics actually wants to shut down the government right before an election.  Anything is possible with them.

As the Wicked Witch of the West said while she was melting – “What a world”!

 

Yesterday, the right-wing went nuts, again.  This time, they were all falling over themselves to place the blame for the murder of the Dallas Police Officer directly at the feet of the President and Hillary Clinton.  I know, so what else is new?

As some examples, Rep Steve King of IA tweeted a connection between the killing of police officers and the President’s remarks about Officer Crowley when he arrested Harvard professor Harvey Louis Gates, Jr. while the professor was trying to enter his own house.  King tweeted:

#DallasPoliceShooting has roots in first of anti-white/cop events illuminated by Obama…Officer Crowley. There were others

I am sure you remember King’s kind comments about undocumented immigrants when he said they have thighs the size of cantaloupes because they are hauling 40 pounds of marijuana into the country taped to their legs.  He is also one of the first to endorse Trump and his Berlin Styled Wall on the border.

Then there is that scholarly lady from Alaska, Sarah Palin.  “Shame on our culture’s influencers who would stir contention and division that could lead to evil such as that in Dallas. Shame on politicians and pundits giving credence to thugs rioting against police officers and the rule of law in the name of ‘peaceful protests’.  It is a farce. #BlackLivesMatter is a farce.”

The most awful tweet came from former Rep. Joe Walsh.  The tweet was deleted, but in essence he said that President Obama and Black Lives Matter should “watch out” because “real America” was coming to get them.  But, of course, he later said he didn’t mean to start any violence.

You may remember Rep. Joe Walsh.  He was the Tea Party favorite who was elected to Congress while he was over $100,000 in the rears in child support payments.  How’s it that for being a “real American?

All of these politicians and pundits in the right-wing conservative movement have been wailing about how “whites” in America are under attack.  Taking the language used by white supremacists as the battle cry for their “conservative cause”.  These snippets are just more of the same stupidity.

Those are just a snippet of the gripes from the very people who have hurled racist comments against Blacks, Latinos, Muslims and just about every group other than white male Christians.  Their hate speech has hurled Donald Trump to the Republican nomination for President.

Fox News was falling all over itself as well.  The major theme, at least when I could stomach a few minutes of watching it, was all about the meme that “this is not about guns”.  I am going to say something here that will probably surprise my liberal friends.  This is not about guns.

This is about who the fuck we allow to buy guns!  Under current laws, anyone, and I mean anyone, can walk into a “gun show” and purchase any weapon they want.  They are not subject to any background check, they usually don’t even have to show an ID.

I know this to be true, because I live in a state that has dozens of “gun shows” every year.  Just to see what goes on there I actually went to one.  I was astonished to see one man purchase six AR15 rifles.  The seller did not question why so many and did not even ask to see his ID before ringing up the sale.  He did say he made his money for the month.

ISIS and al Qaeda have instructions on their sites telling terrorists how easy it is to purchase guns in America.  They are suggesting that they should arm up and attack civilians wherever they can.  And, THAT people is what this is about.  That and all of the hate speech.

Mayor Mike Rawlings yesterday at a vigil for the slain police officers said:  “This is on my generation of leaders.  We have led the next generation down a path of rhetoric that has pitted one another against each other.”

He ended his speech saying “The cancer of separatism is killing this body”.  Think about those words for a moment.  I have never heard a politician state so clearly what is wrong with our country.

Today’s leaders, mostly white conservative Republicans have used this “rhetoric of separatism” for years.  Today, we have mistrust between our police and the communities they serve.  We have mistrust between our politicians and the electorate.  We have mistrust between ourselves.

Mayor Rawlings is correct.  “The cancer of separatism is killing this body.”  This “body” is our country.  This “body” is our society.  This “body” is us.  But, it is not too late.  We can find the cure for this cancer of separatism.

We won’t find it by screaming at each other.  We won’t find it by hating each other.  We won’t find it by blaming each other.  We will only find the cure by talking with each other, by loving each other and by finding solutions to real problems.

Even in the aftermath of Dallas, conservatives still don’t get it!  They still cling to their separatist hate speech.  Say NO to them.  Say NO to hate.  Say NO to separatism.  Then we can kill the cancer that is killing us!

 

LIBERALS ARE THE FUTURE

This was sent to me by James A. Haught.  He is editor emeritus of West Virginia’s largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail. This is an essay that is drawn from his latest book, Hurrah for Liberals.  I thought you might find it interesting.

In the chaotic presidential campaign, the remarkable popularity of Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders spotlights a large, not-always-recognized vein of liberal political sympathy in America.

Suddenly, the L-word is popular again — not an embarrassment to be avoided. That’s great, I think, because progressives have been the driving force behind most social improvements in western civilization.

Look at the historical record: In the three centuries since The Enlightenment, democracy, human rights, personal liberties and family wellbeing have blossomed. Life gradually became more decent and humane. Virtually all the advances were won by reform-minded liberals who defeated conservatives defending former hierarchies, privileges and inequalities.

Conservatives tried to retain slavery, but they lost.

They tried to block voting by women, but lost.

They tried to prevent couples from using birth control, but lost.

They tried to obstruct Social Security pensions for oldsters and the disabled, but lost.

They tried to outlaw labor unions, but lost.

They tried to prevent unemployment compensation for the jobless, but lost.

They tried to block workers compensation for on-the-job injuries, but lost.

They tried to keep stores closed on the Sabbath, but lost.

They tried to sustain Prohibition of alcohol, but lost.

They opposed policing of stock market abuses, but lost.

They opposed food stamps for the poor, but lost.

They defended racial segregation, but lost.

They supported government-led prayer in school, but lost.

They tried to continue throwing gays in prison, but lost.

They tried to defeat Medicare and Medicaid, but lost.

They tried to halt the sexual revolution, but lost.

They tried to banish evolution from public school biology classes and teach “creationism” instead, but lost.

They fought against racial equality and tried to outlaw interracial marriage, but lost.

They tried to censor sexy magazines, books and movies, but lost.

They sought to jail girls and doctors who end pregnancies, but lost.

They tried to block liquor clubs and lotteries, but lost.

They denouced sex education as a plot to draw the young into sin, but lost

They tried to prevent expansion of health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, but lost.

They tried to halt same-sex marriage, but lost.

One of my history-minded friends has a long-range political view summed up in three words: Liberals always win. Battles may be ferocious and seem endless, he says, but they finally bring progressive victories. Once a human-rights breakthrough is accomplished, it locks into the roster of democratic freedoms, almost never to be revoked.

The struggle to end slavery was an epic battle. Generations of abolitionist clamor and the horrible Civil War were required, but they finally moved America to a higher level of decency.

Similarly, suffragettes strove almost a century before they enabled American women to vote.

And it took a half-century for American couples to win the right to practice birth control. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was jailed eight times for the crime of mentioning sex — but she eventually transformed society. A Supreme Court victory in 1965 struck down contraceptive bans for married couples, and a follow-up victory in 1972 erased them for unwed couples. Liberals won, conservatives lost.

The nonviolent civil rights movement that wiped out Jim Crow segregation and made Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. an American icon was a classic liberal victory.

When I first became a news reporter in the 1950s, conservative Bible Belt morality was enforced by laws. It was a crime for stores to open on the Sabbath. It was a crime to look at the equivalent of a Playboy magazine, or to read a sexy book. (Our mayor once sent police to raid bookstores selling Peyton Place.)

Back then, it was a felony to be gay, and those who were caught were sent to prison under old sodomy laws. Back then, it was a felony for a desperate girl to end a pregnancy. It was illegal for an unmarried couple to share a bedroom. Divorce or unwed pregnancy was unmentionable. Jews weren’t allowed into Christian-only country clubs. Public schools had mandatory teacher-led prayer. It was a crime to buy a cocktail or a lottery ticket.

African Americans were confined to poor ghettos, forbidden to enter white schools, white restaurants, white hotels, white theaters, white swimming pools, white neighborhoods — or white employment. Society had a cruel apartheid system.

That world disappeared, decade after decade. The culture slowly evolved. Sunday “blue laws” were undone. Teacher-led prayers were banned. Gay sex became legal. Liquor clubs were approved. Abortion became legal. State governments became lottery operators. Censorship ended. The historic civil rights movement wiped out segregation. Other conservative taboos and barriers gradually disappeared.

Within my lifetime, morality and customs flip-flopped. Conservative thou-shalt-nots lost their grip on society. Liberals won — yet it happened so gradually that few noticed.

A strong indicator of politics is church membership. White evangelicals overwhelmingly vote Republican — even though the GOP tries to undercut the humane public safety net that mirrors help-the-poor values of Jesus. However, churchgoing has faded greatly, while the young generation ignores religion. Sociologists think the secular trend is unstoppable. People who say their faith is “none” already comprise one-fourth of the adult population — 56 million Americans — and they seem destined someday to be the largest segment. They’re the largest group in the Democratic Party base. The social tide is flowing away from conservative fundamentalism and its Puritanical agenda, toward liberal tolerance.

All these factors support the liberals-always-win maxim. The progressive worldview is called humanism — trying to make life better for all people — and it’s a powerful current. In 1960, John F. Kennedy said in a famed speech:

“If by a ‘liberal’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reaction, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties …then I’m proud to say that I’m a liberal.”

Now that progressives have won the battle for same-sex marriage and locked the Affordable Care Act into law, the never-ending struggle undoubtedly will shift to new fronts. Maybe legalization of marijuana or registration of pistols or free college will be the next big showdown. Whatever comes, I’m ready to predict the eventual winner.

Nobel Peace Prize-winner Martin Luther King Jr. said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

The transformation that began with The Enlightenment is a fact. Amid all the chaos and confusion of daily life, through a thousand contradictory barrages, the struggle for a safer, fairer, more secure, more humane world never ceases — and the gradual tide of success seems unstoppable.

Last night there were protests across the country.  These protests were over the killing of two black men by police officers.  There were protests in New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, and other cities.  All of the protests were peaceful.  All of the protests ended peacefully, except one.

At the end of the protest in Dallas, terrorists opened fire on Dallas Police Officers.  They were spread out among parking garages at higher levels and they intended to kill as many police officers as they possibly could.  In the end, 5 police officers were killed.  Several more were injured including civilians who were marching in peaceful protest.

During the protest, everything was going very smoothly.  The Dallas Police, to their honor, were simply watching the protest.  Several officers posed for pictures with some of the protesters.  Some tweeted during the protest and nothing in any of the tweets indicated any problems.  It was simply a peaceful protest to bring attention to the increasing number of people killed by police in several areas of the country.

The night was shattered with gun violence.  There is no other word to describe this incident other than TERRORISM!  Three suspects have been taken into custody.  A fourth suspect was eventually killed when he refused to surrender and promised there would be more killings.

There are a lot of things that can be spoken about last night’s terrorist attacks.  We can talk about a whole host of things.  But, one thing that needs to be spoken about is the professionalism that the Dallas Police Department exhibited during the protest.  They did not “taunt” the protesters.  They actually seemed to be in sympathy with them.  The tweets ranged from solidarity comments to very nice things about them.  The Dallas Police Department did exactly what police should do with peaceful protesters.  Let them protest.

Then the unthinkable happened.  However, not all of the Dallas Police immediately ran for cover or towards the shooting.  Several of them are seen in videos leading protesters to safety.  They took time to get the civilians off of the street and giving them instructions on where to go to remain safe.

This morning in an interview the Mayor of Dallas said they could not rule out the possibility that this was a terrorist attack.  Sorry Mr. Mayor, but this can be nothing but a terrorist attack.  The attacks were intended to cause fear and panic.  They were aimed at the very people who are there to protect us from such maniacs.  It was pure and simply a terrorist attack!

However, some of our laws are partially to blame as well.  During the evening the Dallas Police Department showed a picture of a man carrying a rifle during the protest.  They deemed this person as a “person of interest”.  The man, once he knew of the picture turned himself into police and was cleared of any wrongdoing.  He was simply carrying his rifle because Texas is an “open carry” state.

That means that people can walk around town anytime they want carrying a weapon in the open.  It means that we do not know who is a “bad guy” with a gun and who is a “good guy” with a gun.  This man was worrisome to police because he was carrying a rifle, and most likely because he was a “black man carrying a gun”.  This man said he has received several death threats even though he has been cleared and had nothing to do with the shooting.

Then of course, we need to ask how the shooters got their guns.  It has not been said yet what type of guns were used, but from the videos and my experience with such weapons, I would dare to say they were semi-automatic rifles like the AR15.  I am also willing to bet that they were purchased “legally” at either a gun show or gun shop.

Yesterday President Obama gave a speech about the two killings at the hands of police.  He did not demean police officers, rather he praised them for their dedication to our safety.  He did say that these incidents were not a “black” issue they were an “American” issue.  Last night’s terrorist attack proved he is correct.

There is no reason for anyone to deliberately shoot and kill anyone.  There is no reason that people are killed by police officers over a traffic stop.  There is no reason for anyone to “target” police officers.  There is no reason that can be offered to justify any of these killings.  Killing is killing.  The problem is too many people in our country seem to like killing others.

There will be those on the left who will claim these shootings were the result of police killing innocent people.  There will be those on the right who will claim these shootings were deliberate attacks and that the protest leaders “should have known” this would happen if they continued with protests.  Most Americans will simply offer their “prayers” to the victims and their families.

Politicians will take sides with those on the left and those on the right.  Other politicians will “hold a moment of silence” for the victims and their families.  Then they will go forward and do nothing about the violence that is flooding our nation.  They will offer no new ideas to stem the tide of this violence.  They will offer nothing in the way of common sense gun control, because that would be “politicizing” the tragedy.

In other words, they will listen to their masters at the NRA and do nothing about banning assault rifles, magazine sizes, and reasonable Universal Background checks.  They will claim that it “probably wouldn’t have stopped this tragedy” so why bother to do anything.  Within a few days, politicians will move on and forget this ever happened.

In the meantime, more terrorists will have easy access to guns.  More police officers who should not be police officers will continue to kill people they stop for a broken tail light.  More hate will be spread from podiums by politicians.  More divisiveness will be hurled as each side “points the finger” for what is wrong with America.  More name calling will be hurled at opponents.  And we as a nation will slowly continue our decline into madness.

Everything that has occurred do have solutions.  There doesn’t need to be so many people killed by police.  There doesn’t need to be so many “terrorist” attacks in our country.  We can overcome these problems.  But, we can only overcome these problems if we are willing to TALK TO EACH OTHER and not shout blame at each other.

This country has been given many “wake-up” calls.  We have suffered through too many of these senseless attacks on our way of life.  Yet, our politicians and “leaders” refuse to hear the alarm bells.  They refuse to even consider that maybe, just maybe, they are part of the problem and are standing in the way of a solution.

We have suffered through a race issue since our country was founded.  Even then, our founding fathers refused to address the issue of slavery because, well, “it was what it was”.  Because of that failure of our founding fathers, we are still haunted by the same race issue.  We have seen hate fill our soul as a nation.  We have seen that hatred exploited by politicians who are only interested in power.

It is time for it to come to an end.  It is time for our politicians to stand up to the NRA and protect us from terrorism.  I am tired of hearing about such incidents.  I am tired of hearing about another “mass shooting” of the innocent.  I am tired of dictator wannabes babble on about those “others” who are hurting our country.

At one point in time, we were all part of those “others”.  We are all descendent from immigrants.  Even Native Americans descended from immigrants.  At one point this continent had no people.  We are a nation of immigrants.  In reality, there are no “others” in our society.  We are all from the same stock.

We need to stand up as a people and demand more from our politicians and our so-called leaders.  We need to vote out anyone who is willing to point fingers and offer no solutions.  We need to believe that we are the greatest nation on the planet and begin to act like it.  This election is probably the most important election in my lifetime.  If we blow it this time, things will only get worse not better.

The police officers killed last night in Dallas are more proof that we need to stop the hate.  Their lives, and the lives of every American killed over the years cannot be in vain.  We must act now to come together.  To put aside our bigotry.  To put aside our hatred.

We need to adhere once again to our own constitution that opens with:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Today, “We the People” must stand up to insure domestic tranquility, establish justice, and promote the general welfare.  We cannot do that without ending the hate.  We cannot do that by voting for those who wish to continue to divide us.  We need politicians, we need leaders and we need ourselves to adhere to these principles.

If we continue down the path we have followed.  We can no longer continue the malaise that has gripped our country by ignoring our problems.  we can no longer continue to listen to 20 second sound bites and not dig into the meanings.  We can no longer continue to look for someone to “blame” instead of meeting our problems head on.  If we do, what kind of Posterity will we leave our succeeding generations.

We are at a fork in the road.  Yogi Berra once said “when you come to a fork in the road pick it up.”  Maybe that wasn’t as absurd as it first sounded.  Maybe it is time we “pick up” that fork in the road and remove it from our path.  Yesterday I wrote that I will vote for love not hate.  I still say I will vote for love not hate.

If you don’t believe that hate has permeated our society, just look at the headlines on any given day.  If you still don’t see the hate, take off your blinders.  We have not totally left the days when FDR said “all we have to fear is fear itself”.  Today that fear is fed by hate.  Today that fear is fed by intolerance.  Today that fear is fed by ignorance.  To conquer the fear we must conquer the hate, the intolerance, and the ignorance.  That combination of hate, intolerance and ignorance culminated in a terrorist attack in Dallas last night.

The senseless, vicious, brutal attack on the Dallas Police last night was sickening.  It was more than just an attack on the Dallas Police.  It was an attack on all of us.  We the people need to put an end to it by putting an end to hate.

 

 

 

When I was a child, I looked to the 21st Century with wide-eyed anticipation.  This was the century when we would have flying cars.  We would have robots doing all of the cleaning and cooking for us so we would have lots of time for our family and friends.

This was the century where all our dreams would begin to come true.  We might even have a colony on Mars!  Man would begin probing the universe outside our solar system.  Maybe “warp speed” wouldn’t be a thing of science fiction.

There was a make-believe universe where man learned to live together without hate or fear.  It was the Star Trek generation.  It was a time in our future where we didn’t hate each other simply because of the color of our skin or any other reason other than behavior and character.

Today is July 7, 2016.  We don’t have flying cars.  We don’t have robots cleaning and cooking for us, but we do have them doing our jobs instead of us.  We don’t have a colony on Mars, and man has not left the planet for another one since the last trip to the moon in the 1970s.  We don’t believe that “warp speed” is possible anymore.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that still has not adopted that Star Trek generation.  We still cling to our fears.  We still cling to our hate.  We still cling to our bigotry.  We still cling to ideas that “we are better than you”.

We have headlines screaming about another man being shot by police officers.  We have headlines claiming there is a “war on police”.  We have stories about sexual assaults on women.  We have laws being passed to deny people their civil rights.  We have politicians who are not politicians, but strategists for “war” against anyone who is not 100 percent behind their ideas.

We have more guns in this country per capita than anyone else in the world.  Yet the NRA wants you to believe that we need more guns not less.  We have terrorist attacks happening.  But, only if those attacks are carried out by Muslims are we calling them “terrorist” attacks.

There is a rush to usurp any “movement” that is making ground.  When “Black Lives Matter” arose from the number of black men being shot by police, the counter side came up with “All Lives Matter”.  Only, the “all lives” they consider as mattering are not black.  If they really believed “All Lives Matter” they would join with the BLM movement and stop opposing them.

Ever since 1968 when Richard Nixon ran for President, battle lines have been drawn.  Ever since that year, the code speech began in earnest, and we have fallen for the ticks of “Tricky Dicky”.  With each succeeding year getting worse.

Until today, politicians are no longer using “code words”.  They are coming right out and letting everyone know the bigotry that roils in their blood.  The hatred and contempt they have for everyone not like them.  The frustration that they must live in a world with “those” people.

As a result, we see groups like the KKK and Aryan Nation and other White Supremacist groups begin to crawl out from their disease ridden, shadow covered gutters.  Their hero has been found and they are coming to “defend” that great “White Leader”.  All the while, others cheer and applaud the hate that has brought these disgusting animals from their caves out into the open again.

We shout to the highest mountain tops that we all love and want “law and order”.  We will abide by whatever the evidence tells us.  Until it tells us we are wrong or it tells us something we don’t want to hear.  Then the evidence has been tampered with.  And, we must “investigate” the “investigation” because it came to he “wrong conclusion”.

We are a country that has homeless people being murdered and set on fire in San Diego.  We have “Christian Terrorists” being arrested for trying to blow up government buildings in Utah.  We have mass shootings in just about every state in the country.   We have terrorists being able to purchase weapons right here in America without even having to show an ID.

With all of these problems, what does our Congress think is way more important?  They need to cut funding to Title X so fewer people will get help with obtaining safe birth control.  They need to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood because some of the clinics allow abortions.  So, make sure that cancer screening, pre-natal care, and other vital women’s health issues are cut off, too.

You may not need a photo ID to buy a gun at a gun show, but by god you will certainly need one to vote in November!  That will keep those “terrorists” from messing with our political process!

It seems we have lost our way.  It seems that somewhere along the trail, we stumbled into an encampment of unknown origins.  We became inattentive to what is going on around us.  We grew numb to the violence that takes place right next door.  We put blinders on so our vision is straight ahead.  We lost our ability to dream!  We began to listen to our own demons.

All of the horrible things going on around us are not “preordained” happenings.  All of the hate, terrorism, murder, brutality and bigotry are not foretold in the stars or in the bible.  They are of our own making.  When good people sit back quietly and allow bad things to happen, then we are all in trouble.

It is time to look in the mirror America.  It is time to recognize what we may become.  The outcome in November will say what we think of ourselves, our country, and our people.  To me, it is a very simple choice.  We will choose hate.  Or, we will choose love.

The future of our country and even the world awaits our choice.  I will choose love over hate.  Will you?

 

 

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