Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Government by the People

A government run by the people actually means it is run by the people who vote, the wealthy (who control the media and sway public opinions), and large corporations.

Non-voters do not count for very much.

People receiving help from the government in the form of social programs (including Social Security) and those receiving other government cash, such as farmers being paid not to plant crops and farmers with government contracts to provide foreign aid are part of the largest block of voters.  Every person receiving government assistance with housing, food, clothing, and education are part of this group. The list of members seems endless. This group will control our nation.

Perhaps the fastest growing group of voters is the elderly. For over a decade we have been warned that retirees will outnumber workers and that it takes a minimum of four workers contributing to Social Security to cover each person currently receiving a Social Security check. We are now at a zero birth rate, meaning that the same number of new births is equal to the same number of deaths. (One study concluded that we actually have a negative birth rate). Medical science is constantly increasing our life span and constantly finding new ways to avoid giving birth. While an increased lifespan is welcome a decrease in new life is sad.

If most of this is news to you, turn off the TV and stop using social media. It is time to act like a grown-up.

Cutting government services may be what is needed to keep the government from crumbling, but voters will not tolerate needed cuts. The only other choices are steep increases in taxes or severe cuts to the military budget. I am betting we will see tax cuts.

There will be some feeble attempts to keep local entities from going bankrupt, but ultimately increased taxes will be their solution.

At the local and state level, the government will plead poverty to break contracts with retired employees, but that will only help their budgets for a short term. (It will happen because local mayors only care about the immediate short term and it is this very attitude (stick the next administration with the bills) that caused unfunded and underfunded pensions in the first place.

Whenever a new ‘benefit’ is given to the people, regardless of intent or worthiness, it is seldom funded. Also, the new benefits are never stopped; they often increase.

The government will try targetted tax cuts, such as taxing only increasing the taxes on the wealthy. However, even if we tax the super-rich at 90%, there would not be enough money to keep us afloat. How do I know? I remember, and history is the best predictor of the future and any new revenue will be quickly spent/ Also, I can add and subtract. It will not be enough money.

Most states sold us on the idea of state lotteries by explaining that the profits would be used to fund education. Have the pleas for more education funding decreased since we voted in favor of lotteries? Has anyone even bothered to explain where the added tax revenue from those huge lottery winnings was spent?
Are you aware that so much money initially was given to schools that at least one school district paid for individual taxis to transport children to and from schools? Do you know the amount spend on school swimming pools and the amount spent on school sports? Strangely, these investments did nothing to raise test scores. How odd?

What can the average person do? If you are one of the of 231,556,622 eligible voters that did not vote in the 2016 election it is time to change that behavior. It is also time to stay informed and examine views that are the exact opposite of yours.Stop allowing the media to control your thoughts and form your opinions.

Start writing Congress and the president in clear, professional words that express what changes you want in our government.

Go to school board meetings. The education of our citizenry is more than just the concern of parents. We all pay for our educational system and should all have a voice. Before opening your mouth, learn what is happening and what could be made better.

Who has the time? Turn off social media and avoid the time wasted on gossip. Limit your tube time. 

Somebody told me that I am dreaming if I think people today will do anything about this crisis. A friend said, "It is a damn good thing that most of the people living today were not here during either of our world wars. They are incapable of even turning off the TV, let alone making real sacrifices".

Dead Babies do not Matter - Cell Phones Matter

In Utah, a two-year-old died in a hot car at a family reunition. The father discovered the dead baby after several adults returned from a religious meeting.

Many people say that this was sad, but the father simply did not notice that the child was missing.

Yet, I believe that they would have quickly noticed if a cell phone was left in the van. They would have raced back to the van to get that phone! After all, a cell phone can be ruined if left in a hot van.

The same level of alertness and concern for a 2-year old? Not so much. Where in the hell are our priorities!

I know you are, but what am I? . . . heard at a preschool

Any leader of a Democratic Republic enters office with large numbers of detractors. Despite lofty statements by those not elected, about ‘all Americans will now come together’ people do not suddenly lose their passion for their beliefs and instantly love the elected president and his beliefs. This much is obvious. Elected officials must expect a vast number of people to be critical and nasty. He should be expected to be burned in effigy. He must expect his words to be taken out of context, twisted and laughed at because that has always been the case going all the way back to George Washington.

Decisions made by the elected leader will never please everyone. Some decisions will even anger his or her supporters. The best a leader can do is to sincerely explain his or her reasoning and try to win over people to his or her views.

Humans want to immediately respond to nasty remarks, especially those that are completely unjustified. Maybe it is part of our nature. Even 3-year olds lash out. Of course, responsible parents correct that behavior.

A leader must put aside those human desires to strike out. A leader must control emotions and respond in a dignified and measured manner that raises the office above our most base desires. Even the smallest of nations are noticed when a leader is petty and behaves poorly. Those nations lose respect.

It has been said that a capitalist democracy is bound to become gridlocked where laws cannot be enacted, where enacted laws are ignored, and where loyalty to a political party will replace loyalty to the Republic. Are we moving towards that prediction? If so, does that not require a firm leader who garners the support and respect of our people and all nations?

In my opinion, both major political parties chose petty, self-absorbed candidates that believe that they are above the law and cannot be held to the same standards as mere mortals.
Although both candidates had and continue to have rabid supporters, to millions of people, our presidential election became a matter of voting against someone and not voting for someone.

It would be Pollyannaish to expect millions of people to learn to respect opposing views and to rise above nasty and petty remarks. But is it too much to expect the elected leader to rise above nasty and petty remarks? 

When the President of the United States sneezes in public, the world takes notice and speculates about his or her health. Imagine the speculation when the president responds to the nastiest of critics with his own nasty and vile remarks. Wit and dismissal of the most outlandish remarks seem presidential. Nasty and vile responses seem like a childish temper-tantrum.

Imagine if a President made adult, presidential statements to the world through Twitter. Imagine if he told the world that 7-powerful entities control 90% of the U.S. media and he wants to be certain that everyone hears exactly what he says.  Imagine if he said that he uses direct social media because he respects the intelligence of the American people to form their own opinions without media influence.

We might still disagree with many of his opinions about taxes, jobs, health-care and world affairs, but at least we could respect the dignity of his office. Instead, we have nasty and unseemly remarks that demean the office that he holds.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Buy American? Under-Reporting by the Media Conceals the Facts

Buy American? Another example of the media control or our thoughts. Under-reporting the stories as we read about the soap opera aspects of politicians.

 When you want to sell something that you own, you sell to the highest bidder. This makes any desire to ‘buy American’ a bit challenging. Here are some of the things not owned by us or (in the case of some toll roads and bridges- owned by us, but leased to foreign owners).

  • Starwood Hotels (owner of New York’s Waldorf Astoria) Chinese,
  • Smithfield Foods - Chinese,
  • General Electric Appliance Business, Chinese,
  • Terex Corp. – (83-year-old Connecticut-based company makes machinery for construction, agricultural, and industrial purposes) -  Chinese,
  • Legendary Entertainment Group (co-financed Jurassic Park, Straight Outta Compton, Godzilla, Pacific Rim, etc.)- Chinese,
  • Motorola Mobility - Chinese,
  • AMC Entertainment Holdings, - Chinese,
  • Burger King-Brazil,
  • Budweiser: Anheuser-Busch - Belgium,
  • Ben & Jerry’s - England,
  • Breyers – England,
  • Lipton England,
  • Good Humor owned by a British-Dutch conglomerate.
  • French's Mustard." Except that it's now owned by Reckitt Benckiser, a British conglomerate.
  • Trader Joe’s - German billionaires
  • Holiday Inn – England
  • Dial Soap – Germany,
  • T-Mobile – Germany,
  • Firestone Bridgestone – Japan,
  • Sunglass Hut – Italy
  • Indiana Toll Road – 75-year lease by Australian-Spanish consortium,
  • Chicago Skyway, which was leased by the same Australian-Spanish consortium
  • Vaseline – England
  • Hellman’s – England
  • Purina – Nestle – Switzerland
  • Frigidaire – Sweden
  • 7-11 – Japan
  • Saudi Aramco, the kingdom's state-owned oil behemoth, took 100% control of the sprawling Port Arthur refinery in Texas,
  • Saks Fifth Avenue (now there's irony for you, weren't they Jewish at one time) Saudis and Kuwaitis,
  • Tiffany's – Saudis or Kuwaitis,
  • Carvel Ice Cream Saudis or Kuwaitis,
  • Gucci (controlling interest) Saudis or Kuwaitis,
  •  Color Tile Saudis or Kuwaitis,
  • AT&T Saudis or Kuwaitis,
  • Chrysler -  Italy,
  • Dow Chemicals - Saudis or Kuwaitis,
  • Atlantic Richfield- Saudis or Kuwaitis,
  • Santa Fe International - Saudis or Kuwaitis,
  • Arabs have investments are interesting. These are primarily Muslim countries.
  • A Saudi prince owns 10% of the stock of Citibank. Saudis also purchased half-interest in Texaco refineries, gas stations in 33 states. They bought United Press International (and we thought the media in this country was already biased against Israel), AOL, Chase Manhattan  Compaq, First Chicago Corp. JP Morgan, Transamerica 
  • There are now 25 Islamic Banks, many of them investment banks, operating in the United States.

Among other questions, an international question about the impact of American elections on foreign nations is interesting. Foreign-connected PACS, as reported by Forbes Magazine, is an open secret.

Recently, the United States signed a huge deal to purchase airplanes for the military from Airbus instead of a U.S. manufacturer. It seems that our own military cannot buy American. So, we should not feel guilty eating that hamburger, enjoying those movies, using that mayonnaise and mustard, or any of the other things that we do those help foreigners.  

Perhaps, we should question the wisdom of permitting the Saudis from buying 100 percent of the largest oil refinery in North America while we also insist on independence from Arab oil.

 While we pay lip service to buy American, foreign investors actually buy America!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Election Influence by Terrorists?

Theresa May’s election poll numbers were dropping before the terrorist attacks. Pundits said that the people are more worried about local issues than Brexit, which has been the focus of Ms. May’s campaign and the reason she called for an election.

Now, the terrorists have struck again. She is in a difficult place. No matter what she does there can be another terrorist attack before the election and this could spell disaster for Ms. May.

She could do something that has not been done before to combat terrorists, but whatever she does or does not do, another attack could still result in a defeat at the polls.

Smart politicians will keep quiet and not make specific proposals and not criticize her until another attack occurs. If she is smart, she will do what she can to get opponents on the record

How sad it is to think that terrorist can have such influence over an election.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Let's Get Real and Do Something to Protect America

Repetition often sells us on an idea. Once again, after a disturbing, horrific act of terrorism, we hear that if we should go about our normal routines because the terrorists want to change our fundamental beliefs in freedom and civil liberties.

Today, I ask, “Who says so?” 

What is the source of this often-repeated mantra that the goal of the terrorists is for us to restrict the wide range of freedom and civil liberties of Western societies? Is there a document recovered by intelligence forces or some intercept where terrorists made such a statement? Did a Gitmo prisoner crack under interrogation and say, “Our goal is to make you conduct more security checks. Our goal is for you to force Muslims out of your country. Our goal is to see you focusing on people from Muslim countries – what you would call racial profiling.”

It seems more likely to me that some well-intentioned person simply made up this ‘don’t change anything or the terrorists win’ nonsense. It sounds so Pollyannaish and politically correct that I’ve come to believe this is all simply a liberal chant that has no source in the world of terrorists.

What Do the Powerful People that Provoke Terrorism Want?

Even a cursory knowledge of the motivation of today’s terrorists reveals that they want us to stop engaging in military actions in the Muslim world. They want us to stop aiding Israel. They want us to stop selling arms. They want us to stop exploiting their resources. To this end, they have used religion to draw in ‘converts’ to their cause. Identifying the United States as ‘the Great Satan’ is part of that effort. In truth, I doubt that terrorists care about our promiscuity or lifestyle. They simply use it to bring in more ‘converts’ to their cause. I doubt that many of the terrorist leaders believe in the Muslim faith of the Koran. These are simply tools to them. I also doubt that the goal of their acts of terror is to force the Western world to beef up security and to force us to stop immigrants from certain Muslim countries where terrorists flourish. They want us out of their part of the world. They want us to stop supporting Israel and to stop selling arms.

What Can We Do?

The term, ‘for the greater good’ comes to mind as I watch the latest act of terrorism. Shed the political correctness and for the greater good, stop fretting too much about civil liberties and focus on the greater good.

Although President Abraham Lincoln did not explain in great detail why he suspended the writ of habeas corpus and locked up suspected disloyal Americans during our Civil War, I can imagine him thinking that should we lose the war with the South, the temporary loss of a few personal freedoms will be the least of our worries.

Regardless of what or why President Lincoln did, in today’s world of terror it is time to ignore all of the politically correct concerns and to return to common sense.

In most instances, we know what Middle Eastern terrorists look like. Profiling is not a dirty word. There was a time in law enforcement where police officers were trained in profiling methods to identify criminals. I am not talking about ‘driving when Black’, but criminal profiling. At our airports, focus on every person who fits a profile of a terrorist. (Are some terrorists White? Could a 97-year old wheelchair bound woman be a terrorist? Of course. Although profiling is not foolproof, it is certainly the most likely way to catch terrorists.

Inevitably, there will be lawsuits and court injunctions. The Executive Branch can request an emergency hearing in front of the Supreme Court and speedily get relief from any lower court order.
What if the Supreme Court rules against the President in such a case? Let’s not ‘what if’ and let us take firm and reasonable actions.

The President must set the tone of how we ignore political correctness and to what degree we temporarily surrender our civil liberties. Law enforcement must act responsibly and quickly and severely punish all law enforcement officers that ‘cross the line’.

In today’s technological world, we must invest in the best scanning and detection equipment available at our borders, our airports and at every seaport. (Our seaports are so vulnerable that foreign armies and weapons can be delivered by the boxcar).

A national identification card should be required to receive any federal or state assistance or service. This all in one card can serve as our Social Security Card, Voter Registration Card, and Social Services Card. Fingerprints and DNA samples and computer chips ensure the integrity of these cards. Bring technology to bear and create these cards. I have nothing to hide and do not care what my government knows about me.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Climate Changes - Fact - no need for more debate

Asking anyone if they believe in climate change is akin to asking if they believe in mountains. The climate has changed since the earth was formed and constantly changes. In fact, climatologists agree that we are at the end of a mini-ice age. Yes, the climate changes.

Another thing about climate change that is agreed upon by climatologists is that moisture is the number one cause of climate change. (This is seldom included in the reports that blame humans for climate change).

The impact of humanity on climate change is constantly argued, along with anything humans might do to stop climate change.

We are, as usual, having the wrong discussion. Prepare and adapt to the never-ending changes in our climate. This is not to say we should not minimize pollution (we all want clean air and clean water). But as far as the changing climate, prepare and adapt to it. Building seawalls and eliminating new construction near the sea makes sense. Plotting new sea lanes through areas that have been impassible due to ice is not only good sense, it will make many forward thinking people wealthy. 

What about the polar bears? In the words of my daughter, I don't care. I really do not care. If they die off, as Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. Should this be stopped? Maybe we would be better off if dinosaurs roamed the earth. It is all part of nature. 

By the way, we are a part of nature. Our actions effect the rest of nature, but like any other species, we should do what is in our own interests. 

As I eat a fish tonight I will not worry about costing that fish its life. I will complain if it is not prepared properly, but I will not even observe a moment of silence for the poor little dead fish.