Retrospective, Damn

Well it has been another year, we have all gotten through it despite the idiocy of the nation and constant upheaval to our peace. I wanted to wait before I said anything, before I looked backwards or forwards, you know dip my toes in the waters of 2016 before washing away 2015. So now I have waited, based on the first two weeks of the new year, well it doesn’t seem it will get better. Here is my quick look and thoughts on what was and what will be.

Politics, Damn

It does not seem that we are in for a civil debate leading up to the election of a new POTUS to bring our nation together. Indeed not, instead no matter who the two leading parties nominate I think we can look forward to a nasty year of sniping, pettiness and below the belt ugliness. Never mind, the world and the nation are burning like Rome and our political discourse has descended into the outhouse. An interesting view of all the current candidates was provided by the New York Times.

The GOP has brought to the table their ‘Best and Brightest’, if this is the truth we are in terrible trouble. This is what left swimming in their pool, it is a terrible thing the American people have done raising up the Id of the GOP to become the nominee for their party. I foresee a split in the ‘Grand Old Party’ coming soon. Truly, the sane ones (yes, there are still a few) remaining within the GOP are beginning to speak out, against the insanity that is Trump and Cruz, never mind the rest who are simply sideshows at this point.

The ratings are from the Conservative Review

The ratings are from the Conservative Review

The Democrats are not offering much better though, don’t hate. Where is the young blood we need for new ideas? What do we have leading the charge, a woman with questionable ethics who considers herself having the ‘right’ to be POTUS, that she is ‘inevitable’. A man who has some great ideas that are not sustainable and who frankly is 74 years old, yes I know ageism on my part but I think we need to consider the consequences of the office of President when we vote, the health and age of our nominee’s is an issue. I couldn’t find a similar map and rating for the two viable Democrats, but go here to Inside Gov, you can play beat the contender to your hearts content.

Democrats

Violence, Guns and Damn

We can’t look back without considering the violence, our addiction to it as a nation. Start with police violence, last year there were twelve hundred and two (1,202) American citizens killed by police. Do any of us wonder what is wrong with this? I certainly do. When do we start to demand a change in the behavior of those who are hired and paid by us to protect and serve us? At what point do we start to question the legitimacy of ‘internal’ investigations into police involved shootings? When do we demand all police involved shootings, especially those that end in the death of a citizen be reported to the FBI, just like all other murders; today the only way we know is private organizations such as Killed by Police who do painstaking data collection.

We had some terrible and tragic examples of what wholesale availability of guns, combined with ideological hate can do. Despite our blood soaked streets and churches, we continue the battle with little success to close the loopholes. We are a nation that loves our guns, loves our ‘right’ to own them, shoot them, carry them openly (unless you aren’t Caucasian). We are a nation that will make excuses for every Son-of-a-Bitch that shoots up a neighborhood, a theater, a church taking innocent lives in the process; well that is so long as the shooter is Caucasian. The Gun Violence Archives provide the clearest view of just how bad it is out there.

The President took action, too little too late in my humble opinion. The problem with Executive Actions? The next POTUS can, with the flourish of a pen undo each and every one.

Weather, Damn

We took it hard last year, or should I say Gaia put it to us. Between Earthquakes, Volcanos, Tornados and just plain old weather to kill we got hit hard across the world. Yet still there are those who would deny there is something wrong, something changing that perhaps we should be listening to what the earth and Climate Scientist are telling us.

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Refugee Migration, Damn

The politicians would have us believe there is one answer, most of us with even a single brain cell know there is more to it. We are a polyglot nation, it has always been our strength yet it has also been a source of struggle as new immigrant communities attempt to integrate. Now we have refugees from nations we broke, who are not like us and who we have painted as the enemy. The thousand year old war between Christianity and Islam continues, this shit isn’t new we just have better and more destructive weapons.

Can we deny we disrupted the peace? Can we deny we created much of the problem with our ‘Nation Building’, our ‘Manifest Destiny’ attitudes and our belief we have the ‘right’ to stomp into any nation and do as we wish. Now, we have created a problem for the world. On the other hand, shouldn’t we be asking the question; ‘Why are so many young men coming, without women and children?’ I think about this one, let the women, the children, the aged come let’s get them out of harm’s way but let their men fight for their independence and their safety. Is this harsh? Maybe it is, but in all honesty I don’t want our young men and women fighting for a nation or a people that will not fight for themselves.

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Some Things That Didn’t Suck

The Stars and Bars came down over the State House of South Carolina, finally. This was a hard fought battle but it happened and it was in my opinion epic.

Marriage was made legal nationally, the Supreme Court ruled that all people could legally marry and have their marriages recognized. It was another hard fought battle, it was an epic win and many of my friends rushed to make their long standing partnerships ‘legal’.

This year saw the proliferation of transparency, technology in the hands of everyday citizens is adding to our discourse. We are using the tools we have for more than selfies and pictures of breakfast, instead stopping to film what might be critical to stopping racism, police violence and other acts that have always been part of society, but never part of our dialog.

Closing, Damn

There are other notable things, good and bad. I simply picked a few. I could go on and on and on. Do I think 2016 will be significantly better? Truthfully? No, I think we are scraping the bottom of the barrel right now, I think Presidential politics will see us with the tragic and terrible before November. I think the inbred idiots in Oregon with their guns and chest beating are the tip of the iceberg. I think those who hate government but desire to be part of it are the problem and we, the people get the government we deserve.

 

Vote for Me, Education

Vote for MeWho honestly would want to be a politician? Who honestly would want to run for office and participate in the cesspool that is the legislative process today, whether at a Federal or State level. I ask this in all seriousness, who would wish this on their enemy, let alone their family, friend or self. What level of masochist do you have to be? Or is it something else, something far more sinister and ugly. Sure, there are a few good ones. A few that start out wanting to do the right thing, wanting to change the world or at least their small slice of the world. Some of these wonders amaze me, their bright and shiny faces all agog with zeal, with the need to do good; they rush out of university with their freshly inked sheepskin, searching for that dragon to slay. They hunt down their Senator or Congressperson, begging for the opportunity to prove their value, for free no less, just to get their foot in the door. If they are not disillusioned within the first ninety days, they are either corrupted or entirely in the dark.

Who would want this job? Who would want to serve this nation under these circumstances, who but the thoroughly corrupt, ego driven diehards, they fight tooth and nail for the job. Hell I suspect there is another reason for their pursuit of high office, beyond ego, certainly beyond the desire to do good. These pompous, blowhards, these cretins of horror, they want the opportunity to line their pockets while violently masturbating in their exuberant rampages across the world. Leaving behind nothing but death and destruction in their wake.

But let me stop. I did not intend to rip into those who are showing their asses in this run for the prize. Indeed no, instead I would like to talk about what all of us should be considering, those things that would indeed make a difference to this nation, to the next generation and ultimately perhaps to the world. Possible policies and programs that could not only be implemented but could be paid for without a significant pounding of those already struggling to keep body and soul together between paychecks. Isn’t it time we start considering realistic policies and changes to the ‘Wars’ we have been fighting for decades that have proven both fruitless and socially damaging. We are truthfully a nation with PSTD, we are a nation of the walking dead. Isn’t it time we change direction and start dragging ourselves out of the grave?

This is the beginning of a new series, Vote for Me. I intend to look at policies from both sides of the aisle and try to find reasonable options we can all live with. Policies that make sense. Policies that are fit for human beings, which are humane, compassionate and fit for a society that intends to continue. I am not going to call out the ugliness or stupidity of those who take a different stance than I intend to take, I am only going to take the stance I believe make sense and in some cases draw comparisons to where we are today or where the current crop of politicians are leading us.


Free education through University? Let’s be realistic, not every person is in need of a University education, not every person will thrive within a University atmosphere. Not every person wants to toxic_applebe a Lawyer, Doctor, Accountant, Scientist or Business Person. Honestly, we also still need Plumbers, Mechanics, Construction Workers, Crane Operators and a whole host of others to Labor. What we need is to start changing our views of who these people are, the value they bring to our society and our lives, the skills they need to do their jobs. Let us set out to change our education system, change how we teach and how we approach skills. Whatever happened to Shop in middle and High School? What happened to the idea that young people learned how to change a tire, how to change oil, hell how to rebuild an engine in a car if they were so inclined. The thought that we only value those who are able to sit on their asses all day versus those who make our day to day lives easier, well there is simply something wrong with our values. Do not misunderstand me, I went to college, loved it and value the opportunities I received by doing so. What I don’t understand is why there is now a drive to give every young person a college education for ‘free’. The following is my proposal.

  1. Early education starting at pre-K, cost should be needs based and must be available to every single child. This must include daycare to make certain every parent can work and has a safe place for their children. I would be happy to offer employers a tax break if they established daycare with pre-K education on their campus.
  2. Let’s wipe out teach to the test system and get back to real education solutions, shall we? Our students are failing on a worldwide scale, many must take remedial courses once they reach universities. It is shameful. No child left behind my happy ass, damned near every child is left behind these days. We have dumbed down entire generations. It is simple ya’ll, Reading, Writing, Science, Arithmetic; start there and once we have those down let’s move on History, Philosophy, Literature, Earth Sciences, Advanced Mathematics, Arts and host of other interesting subjects that fill young and curious minds with wonder. Let us not forget Life Skills!
  3. By the Ninth Grade let us test our students for Aptitude and start focusing them on where both their skills and interest might be best suited. Is it computers? The Arts? The Sciences? Is it yoUtensil-weidingerworking with their Hands? With all things Mechanical? Whatever it is, let’s not shame them but instead let’s work with them and the community to find opportunities for them to learn.
  4. By High School we should have partners in the community who work with our schools to help teach trades, who are ready with summer apprentice programs. I don’t know about you but I think our young people have lost their minds, so many of them think they are entitled to so much, it often amazes me.
  5. At graduation, no one goes straight to University or Trade School. No one, not rich or poor, don’t care if your family name is Bush or Logar, you are not heading off to the luxury of more school on someone else’s dime. Certainly not on societies dime. Every single person on reaching their majority will give to society two (2) years of their time before entering their next years of schooling. Whether this service is military, working in state sponsored homeless shelter, or something else as yet undetermined it doesn’t matter. Every person will give two years to social volunteerism before they get their education.

No more entitlement, no more free anything. We have to start somewhere, let’s start here. Want an advanced degree? Give more, offer more or partner with a company who sees your potential and is willing to invest in you for a commitment of several years of your future. Other countries do this very successfully, why shouldn’t we? We have to stop giving away our future. Yes, student debt is terrible, I don’t disagree. I will likely die before mine is paid off. I don’t regret my education, I surely do regret the cost though. There are two sides, I don’t disagree there are two sides. We must fix what is broken. We must find ways to educate our young, from pre-K on. We must fix our entire system. We must invest in education for every child, whether in Mississippi or New York, whether in suburbia or the inner city. We must take responsibility for outcomes and demand all our children be treated respectfully, given the opportunity to shine and become the best they can be. But at the same time, we must stop the silliness of entitlement and begin to teach accountability, responsibility along with compassion and empathy.

One example of industry, community and education partnering successfully. I love this school!

Juxtaposition Shots Fired

OpEdThe State of Texas informed me a few days ago one of my shooters was re-entering the Parole system, no he hasn’t been granted parole he is simply being considered. I don’t know how I feel about this, I am processing my reaction. I know how people think I should feel, hell I know how I think I should feel, but I have changed, my heart is heavy as I consider my response.

Then, a few days ago, I read this, by Jeff Winbush who I greatly admire. I realized while reading this piece about the mistrial of Randall Kerrick, just how truly great the chasm sometimes is.

When I was carjacked, shot three times and left in the street for dead I was scared. There is no other way to describe my feelings, I was afraid. I did not know how I was going to survive what could have been fatal wounds. I did the best I could; I staggered to the nearest home late at night and pounded on their front door. The couple was older, they didn’t open the door, they told me to go away. There was nowhere for me to go, I couldn’t go further, I slid down their wall and in tears begged them to call 911. Nothing more, just call 911. Once again, they told me to go away; they didn’t want to be involved. At that point, I was so afraid but I was angry too how could anyone turn his or her backs on another human being in need? I didn’t understand, my only response too what seemed a terrible cruelty, ‘I am not going anywhere, you will have to explain a dead woman on your front porch tomorrow if you don’t call 911 now.’

I sat, waiting to die. I didn’t know if they were going to call. Holding the tourniquet, I had made and wrapped around my neck, feeling my warm blood as it dripped through my fingers, I talked to the universe. The one thing I was not afraid of was the police, I knew if they appeared I was not in danger, I knew if they were called and saw me sitting on the porch of these strangers home their instinct would be to help me, they would not see me as a threat.  I knew, if they rolled up on me they would not do so with guns drawn, screaming for me to get on the ground. I knew if the police were called they would help me, it would be foremost on their mind, to save my life.images (8)

My unwilling hosts must have weighted their options, they made the call. I heard the sirens in the distance and shortly thereafter, the blue lights of police and rescue cars rolled up the street. I was surrounded by men in blue whose first concern was my life and well-being. Could I talk, could I tell them what happened came after. How I got to that house, that porch came as I was laying on the gurney. I told them only part of the truth, not that I had to ask more than once for them to be called, only that I had been shot elsewhere and how far I thought I had walked. I didn’t understand until weeks later why they didn’t want to be involved, why they wanted me to ‘go away’. Even with my intellectual understanding, it would be years before I let go of my fury at their disregard for my life.

This brings me to the juxtaposition of my experience and the mis-trial of Randall Kerrick. If you don’t know who Randall Kerrick is, or why he is on trial I would suggest reading Jeff’s piece that I linked above, or this piece also by Jeff, but in short.

Jonathan Ferrell_zps6diudjvmOn September 14, 2013 Johnathan Ferrell, 24, had a car accident in the middle of the night. He crawled out of his car and made his way to a home where he tried to ask for help. The homeowner, after seeing a disheveled and bloody young black man on her porch immediately calls 911 and asks for assistance. When the police arrive things go from bad to worse, there doesn’t seem to be a point in time where the police attempt to discern if Johnathan is a threat, instead there is simply an assumption he is. First, as he runs toward them, likely because he is injured and needs help there is an attempt to Taser him when the Taser fails to discharge, Randall Kerrick fires his weapon, not once, not twice but ten times. Excessive? Absolutely.

Does anyone but me see the difference in response? I don’t believe it is getting worse, I believe it has always been this way, the difference is we are seeing it more now, hearing about it more now. We are becoming more aware and having to face just how truly unequal our entire system is. The push back on the demand for equality is both fascinating and heartbreaking. The fear that if we acknowledge indeed Black Lives Matter, we somehow are saying other lives do not yet for centuries we have said through our actions Black Lives Matter Less. How can we now demand inclusion in a movement of recognition?

The other day I saw this and thought it a perfect explanation of what is happening to the conversation, yet was saddened it had to be said.

BlackLivesMatter2

The last question is important, why are we having these misunderstandings? Why aren’t we able to reach common ground, accept there is a problem and begin to work toward solutions together? What is it about our national psyche that forces us to demand there be winners and losers, rather than all of us working toward common good. Why do we continue to hate ‘other’?

I do not ask these questions rhetorically; rather I ask them because they deserve answers. I look at the very real difference I as a white woman am treated by the police and the way in which Sandra Bland, a black woman was recently treated by the police leading to her death in custody, these questions demand answers. I consider the ‘arrest’ and death of Walter Scott in South Carolina in comparison to the extraordinary protections taken in the arrest of Dylann Roof, these questions demand answers. I watch the press and many others with voices smooth over the actions of Dylann Roof, calling him a troubled youth, but jumping on the horrific actions of Vester Flanagan as a Racist Hate Crime, I wonder why do we allow these definitions to stand.11951145_476709872503362_4356076426194746518_n

When do we all start to truly question the systems that keep us apart, keep us from building the necessary bridges toward true freedom and real power. When will we realize it is time for us to find common cause, common ground.

I stare at the letter from the State of Texas, I have the right to respond. I have the right to speak to the Parole Board, through a letter, on the phone or in person. I have done so every time one of my shooters has been up for parole. Three years ago, both of them made parole and both of them were back inside within 120 days. My heart has changed a great deal in twenty-three years, my understanding of the world changed too. I don’t know how I feel anymore, I don’t know if I want to demand more of my pound of flesh in retribution for my pain. I don’t know anymore if I am being vengeful or if my heart simply won’t let go.

I do know my experience is a very different one than that of Sandra Bland, Johnathan Ferrell, Walter Scott and the thousands of others. I also know there is something inherently wrong that needs to be corrected.

Heretic in the House

joanstilkestake

Remember, Val, that only 60 years ago, that same argument would have been used to shut YOU up? Because what you believe now is mainstream, but would have been heresy to the mainstream back then.

The above is a quoted from a comment I received recently on another post I wrote. I had to sit back and consider the context, the person and the content of my post. I will grant the commenter is very much on the other side of the political aisle from me on nearly all subjects. I had to wonder though, did they listen to the video or simply take for granted there was nothing fundamentally wrong only that I disagreed with it and thus it was fine except it represented ideals I disagreed with.

So then I thought about my political positions, my social positions and wondered am I really that radical are my positions which are more accepted today than 60 years ago, would they have been heresy 60 years ago as my commenter suggests. I wondered about this the entire day, thought I would take some of my more ‘radical’ positions, compare them to 60 years ago, and see.


tumblr_mj4iy9ckaL1rpj3m6o1_500Civil Rightsyes, I believe strongly every single citizen of the United States of America should enjoy the same exact rights. This includes access to jobs, education, voting, housing and all the other ‘rights’ and ‘privileges’ of being a citizen. I believe strongly there should be no impediments to these rights. I include in these rights the freedom to marry, which I believe is a civil right and requires only recognition by the state and federal government, the issue of Church is not relevant and is independent of Civil Rights.

I suppose there might be some legitimacy to the argument of my heresy. Certainly, I do not support the suppression of any person or group of people and sixty years ago, it was the norm to do so.  Hell, today it is the norm to continue to do so. Pile on the kindling and get the stake ready, there might be a bonfire in my future.

Women’s Rights – this is likely part of the Civil Rights issue, but yes, I am a supporter of Women and their rights. I am a feminist, I believe women should be able to work and be paid equally to men. I believe women should be able to choose Suffragette Float, New York 1913 Courtesy Wikipediawhether to marry, where and how to work and even more importantly that we should be equally represented. Today, we are not it is my hope someday we are since we are slightly more than 50% of the population.

Well there is another one where I am a heretic and would have been 60 years ago too. In fact, I have been a feminist since my early teen years.

Pro-Choice – I am and don’t equivocate about it. No woman should ever be forced, as I was to have an abortion. No woman should ever be forced to carry a pregnancy to term. I am not Pro-Abortion; I think most women approach this choice as a last resort and with heartbreak. Nevertheless, it is no other persons business. It is the pregnant woman and her medical provider, sometimes it is also her partner but most of the time it is her and her alone that images (3)must make this choice. You, me, the state and certainly the church going throng of ijits attempting to shove their ‘beliefs’ down her throat and up her uterus; they have no place in her decision. Beyond the issue of abortion is the very real issue of women and their ability to access preventive care, this is also necessary and constantly at risk. I am a proponent of birth control, a proponent of women and men receiving education and the means to prevent pregnancy and I am perfectly willing to have my tax dollars pay for it.

Alrighty then, another heretical soapbox I stand on. I stand firmly on this one too. Boy oh boy, that kindling is getting piled higher the bonfire is going to burn bright soon.

Freedom of and from Religion – big one here but my belief that I should be free from religion within my government is supported by the US Constitution. The very first amendment of the US Constitution, the very first sentence: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; could it be any clearer than this. We are not now nor have we ever been a theocracy. We are not now, nor have we ever been a Christian Nation. What we are now and have always been a nation with a population of primarily Christians of different denomination who are unable to agree even among themselves. The founding fathers of this nation understood the problems of nations ruled by the Church, whether it be the Catholic Church or the Church of England, they built into our Constitution protections to prevent this from happening here. This nation was intended to be a Democratic Republic, without Church interference; one that allowed representation of all people whether Christian or other. It was not until the 1950’s that God was inserted into our Pledge and onto our currency, previous to this God was not there we stayed true to our founding principles.

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In truth, my views are not so different from others of 60 years ago and even further back. They saw this coming; they saw the problems of allowing the Christian crazies get hold of the government. So no I don’t think I will get any additional kindling for my views on this one. Get your church out of the government. The churches already receive tax exemptions, I already pay for your views to be heard I should not also have live with your views through legislation in my bedroom and elsewhere in my life.

Guns and Violenceobviously I am not mainstream on this one and never will be. I believe strongly I and my children, my grandchildren and all the generations to come should be safe from violence in the streets. I believe guns do not make us safe but instead create a society where we are more prone to violence not less so. The Constitution does not promote individual ownership of arsenals; it promotes a well-regulated militia, which has only recently been interpreted to mean children-guns-nraindividual ownership. Historically, it was much different. That this nation turns its back on the death and mayhem created by guns and gun ownership simply saddens me.

Interestingly through the first part of the 20th century, most of the legislation passed regarding guns and gun control fell firmly in what I would consider my camp. In fact, all of it, at both the federal and state level placed restrictions on the types of guns that could be sold, who could sell and transport them and who could own them and for what purpose. It wasn’t until the rise of the Right-Wing Anti-Government lunatic fringe and the true shift of the NRA in the mid 1990’s things changed dramatically. Ruby Ridge and Waco are the two defining moments that brought the fringe to the front. Since the mid 90’s the swing to the Right on the issue of guns has been dramatic and with horrifying results.

Call me a heretic, call my views heresy I am good with that. When any of you lay in the street with three bullets in you and wonder if you will survive, talk to me about how good guns are. When any of you bury a child due to violence, please give me a call and let’s discuss the need for more guns on the street I will be happy to debate this with you. Pile up the kindling boys and girls I am ready for the fire. On this one though, I was aligned with those in positions of authority, hell me and the NRA agreed 60 years ago now that is damned frightening.

Linda1I just picked a few of the key issue; I could likely do this for many other key issues of the day. Tell you what though, ask me anything and let’s see if I am truly a heretic. I am guessing I am only a heretic if you compare me to the other side of the aisle, not necessarily to 60 years ago. I will do my best to answer in context of both today and the 60-year mark though.

Ravening Wolves

Gray-Wolf.-Courtesy-U.S.-Fish-Wildlife-Service27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.28 Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.

Ezekiel 22-27:29 


There is nothing to say about passion that hasn’t been said before, except this, it festers under the skin, like a wound that never quite heals. We search for that salve we can rub across the wound and for a brief moment, it works, then we realize the salve was full of grit and all we have done is taken the top layer off and opened it up to the air.

Damn that hurt, again.

I have become cynical. I weep at the history, I weep in pain some days as well. But I have become cynical. As I look down the barrel of another surgical intervention, I have become furious at the lack of compassion and empathy this nation has for the weak, the aged, the young, the disenfranchised, those different from ourselves. We celebrate the ignorant among us, whether this celebration is through their election to high office or their constant media attention, it is nonetheless a celebration. Meanwhile, we ignore sometimes even vilify those who do good works, those who deserve our attention through their contributions to society, our communities and our lives.

I weep when I consider the consequences of our apathy. I am appalled when I realized we are more concerned with the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass than we are with just how diminished the office of the President is by the disrespect shown to kim-kardashian-ass-memes-funny-6this President by every member of the GOP in elected office today. Really people, is this what we have become? I am disgusted that every single Sunday I hear the same tired conspiracy nut jobs (IRS, Benghazi, Sharia Law and Muslims, Guns Guns and More Guns, oh and let’s not forget there is no Global Warming and Make War not Peace).

I shudder when I listen to the first off the Clown Bus to enter the fray officially tell me to ‘Imagine’ a world he envisions,  one based on Christians values and morals. I cannot begin to imagine a world where all bets are off and corporations and people in his tax bracket will have all the rights and breaks while the rest of us suffer the consequences of his worldview. This though is the world of no empathy and no compassion Mr. Cruz wants us to imagine.

Of course, Phil Robertson falls right in line with Ted and his ideas. At a prayer meeting yesterday this is what Phil, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family had to say about those who didn’t profess a Christian view. This is what we would have to look forward to if Ted became president of the United States of America.

The worst part is, some of this is already happening across this land. Laws to strip those who are not Christian, White, Heterosexual are already being passed. Laws to enable businesses to discriminate against others based on their ‘Christian’ beliefs are passing state legislatures across the land. These new discrimination laws are enabled by people like Ted Cruz and encouraged by the fact that Phil Robertson and his network still exist on without any of us saying no, you are not allowed to say these things and stand on the First Amendment as your protection. You are not allowed to pretend it is just a joke ‘fantasy’ to threaten rape of young girls, decapitation of women, neutering of men simply because they are not of the same faith as you. What the hell is wrong with people they think this is ‘okay’.

Which leads me to the next problem, as a victim of violence I look at this nation and think to myself always when will it end? When is enough ever going to be enough, when will we say as a nation, not another child, another man, another woman will lie in our streets. When will we say not another parent will bury their child, not another child will pick up a gun in play and end up killing their sibling. When will we say enough? When will we say the police are not sanctioned to murder our citizens? When will we say enough? Surely, there comes a point in time when the lives of our citizens are of greater value than the profits of the corporations manufacturing the guns that are killing us. Certainly, at some point enough of us will stop and think, the laws in place today are not protecting anyone but those who are profiting most by our deaths, by the deaths of our children.

Then I saw this and I was brought to my knees. I realized it was us, Elyse over at Fifty Four and a Half simply put it out there and I found it stunningly simple and in your face.

Which leads me here to this, another great example the debate, of what is wrong with us as a nation and a people,. Is this ‘Free Speech’, the First Amendment at its finest? Or is it something worse, something so deeply disturbed I cannot even find the words. You tell me, with no lead in other than to say I had to watch it twice before finally realizing it is parody but also defines the the terrible ease with which anyone could do exactly what this video lays out, step by step.

Well that is my rant for the day my friends. Passion, if we don’t get it and soon we lose everything we stand for as a people, everything we once stood for as a nation. We have been slowly eroded; we have stripped down bare and shown the very worst of ourselves for the past six years. We have shown our dark and ugly side and those of us who should have stood up and spoken up, we did little and said little. We should be ashamed for allowing it to go so far. For those of us with the means to do something, we should be ashamed for not doing enough, for staying home when we should have been in the streets even where we might not have been fully embraced. It is time, it is past time that we push the boundaries and demand the change we need to make this a nation worth living in and fighting for, not just for some people but all people. We cannot afford to do otherwise.

Want to tell A & E what you think about Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty: aefeedback@aenetworks.com

What I think, Where We Go

OpEd

This is a long one, I will apologize up front. Sorry

If one listens to the talking heads, whether Right, Left or somewhere in the Center it is easy to get lost in Ideology, rhetoric and frankly nonsense. There are times we can get sucked into believing the problems of this country are so large, so complex, so far above the intellect of the average person we shouldn’t even try to think about them let alone demand simple and straight-forward solutions, plans for resolution.

I am a Progressive Independent.

The following is my personal political stand or:

“How I Would Fix What is Wrong Without Regard to Liars, Thieves, Scoundrels or Other Politicians”

The Economy:

  1. Balanced budgets at State and Federal levels must be the law not just a campaign platforms. New Constitutional Amendments to be written and passed. Given some of the comments thus far I am compelled to add this caveat, a Balanced Budget does not mean states and the fed cannot take on debt, cannot examine need and determine what and how much debt is appropriate. What a Balanced Budget means is they cannot take on more debt than they are able to service through current revenue streams (tax, tariff, etc)
  2. Transparency in campaign spending must be the law at all levels and there must be limits on contributions of both private citizens and corporations. Citizens United must be overturned. No, corporations are not people, they do not have a similar voice or similar rights; they must not be treated as such.
  3. Regulatory laws must be in place to protect the consumer, yes there is such thing as predators and yes our government should protect consumers from them.
  4. Banking regulations must be in place including oversight on lenders, credit cards and market speculators. There was a reason why they were there after the first Great Depression, we shouldn’t have forgotten. There is no such thing as “To Big To Fail”.
  5. Reinstate Tariffs’, balance trade with our “partners” and do it within 12 months. No more weak ploys and pansy assed negotiations. Either there is fair and balanced trade with partners who
    Bill Clinton signing NAFTA, the first disaster He's no Huckleberry

    Bill Clinton signing NAFTA, the first disaster
    He’s no Huckleberry

    buy and sell in markets that are open both ways or there isn’t, it cannot be a one-way relationship. This will very rapidly begin to bring jobs back to the US. No more NAFTA!

  6. Jobs, we must repair our economy and bring jobs back to this country. Correcting the imbalance with our trade partners is just the start. While part of the sucking sound was manufacturing and the cost difference in fact this is not the entire story; millions of high-tech white and pink collar jobs have gone overseas since 1999, add to this the millions of H1B jobs that are on-shored displacing US workers. This must end! We must stop rewarding those US corporations sending jobs overseas. Stop all H1B’s for jobs that can performed by American workers. Stop all government contracts employing foreign workers until audited for cause. Stop all corporations (e.g. Microsoft, HP, IBM) from continuing to import technology and clerical workers until audited for cause.

Taxes:

  1. Tax laws must be simplified, no more loopholes. Apply the KISS method; tax all income on individuals and businesses. This includes both passive and active income. Taxes don’t have to be egregious they only have to be fair. To my mind the right strategy is to level the field by modification of the current system of graduated brackets. Eliminate all subsidies and credits available only to the very wealthy and corporations; reduce the number of deductions but increase the overall family deduction to a more reasonable amount. Incorporate cost of living into the annual calculation for marginal income (0% Tax rate on Net Income). Finally create 4 distinct brackets:

* 15% > poverty level to $90K

* 25% $90K – $250K

* 30% >$250K – $500K

* 35%>$500>

*Corporate Tax Rate flat 10% up to first $1B and 15% thereafter

  1. Stop Corporate Subsidies to the wealthiest corporations in the world. This should not be taken the wrong way, the government has a role to play in scientific advancement and we should encourage organizations to invest in partnership with government where appropriate; however it should not be with taxpayer dollars year after year where we will also being paying for the ultimate outcome as they sell us the products at inflated rates.

Government:

  1. Term Limits for all elected officials, especially at the Federal level. Three Terms and you are out of there.
  2. Stop all earmarks, as a matter of Law. Keep Bills straight-forward and simple don’t hide new spending for Arrow Fletchers or Ice Blowers in the bottom half where no one will see it. Don’t hide the fact that those shovel ready jobs in Michigan won’t require E-Identify to confirm citizenship or competitive bids simply to provide the biggest campaign contributor the ditch digging job.
  3. Stop all attempts to pass laws that are focused on personal decisions, choices or health matters where government is attempting to undermine what has already been decided (e.g. legality of Abortion). Stop using language in Bills that attempt to diminish the experience of more than half the population, redefinition of the word Rape is inappropriate, immoral and unethical.
  4. My father overlooking the Grand Canyon 1993

    My father overlooking the Grand Canyon 1993

    There are many reasons we pay taxes one of them is infrastructure! Ours are quickly eroding and we need to invest, our roads, levees and bridges are failing. We should also remind ourselves we pay taxes to preserve our heritage; our national parks, museums, arts and access to other facilities are maintained by the taxes each of us pay. I am happy to contribute my fair share each year to insure the wealth of this nations heritage is preserved and maintained for future generations, all members whether rich or poor. I want all of the generations that come after me to be able to read the words of Lincoln, to be able to walk the Vietnam War Memorial, to view and enjoy the Washington Mall, to see the California Redwoods in their glorious and natural splendor, to see the beauty of the Painted Desert or awesome desolation of the Salt Flats. All of these are maintained by our tax dollars, all of these are on the chopping block today if we don’t stand up, pay attention and crawl out of our apathy.

  5. End illegal wars and the massive spending on the war machine that is the beltway bandits aka The Defense Contractors. End all non-compete contracts. End the palm greasing within the Pentagon that cost the US Taxpayer billions every year.
  6. Cap Federal Reserve ability to print money. Yes, I said it there must be a check and balance and the government must be held accountable. We have never defaulted on our loans; however we must maintain our rating in Capital Markets. We must stop spending and begin paying down our outstanding debt, stop printing money to service the debt.
  7. Close foreign military bases immediately or charge the host nation to maintain them! With the exception of South Korea there is no legitimate reason for the United States to maintain a military presence in any foreign nation.

Humanities:

  1. Education, we are the only free nation in the world that doesn’t invest in our youth! We must give our young people the tools to be competitive in the market of tomorrow. We cannot continue on the path we are on, this isn’t about feel good methods rather it is about changing the manner in which we approach education and funding. We must give every child a fair start in life, the same access. We have to extend the same opportunities and make available the same tools. Public education should not ever be reliant upon the wealth of one’s parents! This isn’t about passing a child through where they don’t show aptitude but rather about giving every child the opportunity to advance based upon intellectual stimulation, capabilities and desire. Education should be consistently provided no matter the wealth of the neighborhood, teacher pay should be consistent no matter the wealth of the neighborhood, schools should be safe, children should not be hungry. Children should not be the scapegoat or the victims of society. Our system must change to meet the demands of the future.
  2. Stop the militarization of our police. Stop allowing them to murder. Stop defending their actions by creating an entire devaluation of men and women who don’t look like you, that is don’t look like you if you are Caucasian. This has to end, twelve year-old children responsible for their own murders because a White cop mistook him for a ‘scary’ adult.

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  3. Stop attempting to define this nation as a Christian nation in direct conflict with the United States Constitution! It is not, it is a Democratic Republic and a Secular Nation as it was intended to be by the Founding Fathers and as it has been clarified by case law several times by several different US Supreme Courts.
  4. Stop limiting Civil Rights based on religious views, Nationalistic views or other narrow views that have nothing whatsoever to do with actual Civil Rights of individuals born or naturalized as citizens of this nation. Civil and Human rights apply to all members of society no matter their Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Gender; if they don’t apply to all members equally they apply to no members.
  5. Stop the war on Drugs! It was ineffective and truly focused primarily on the inner city with imbalanced sentencing (e.g. powder vs. crack cocaine). The War on Drugs created the highest prison population in the free world with no real end in sight.
  6. Stop the war on the Middle Class! Focus instead on how to repair the most vital part of our nation’s economy. It isn’t Teachers, Fire Fighters or the Police causing States to bankrupt. It isn’t Unions causing the problems. It isn’t those earning $50K per year that is the problem today; they are paying their fair share in taxes across the board. Yet all eyes are on them as they struggle to pay their mortgage, worry whether they will keep their jobs, struggle to pay health care bills and keep gas in their 10-year old cars.
  7. Hold this nation to the same standard we hold others. I said it. We have to hold ourselves to the same high standard; it isn’t a matter of feel good but a matter of Law. Our law-makers must begin to respect the laws of the land; that means all of them starting with the Constitution. We must hold Trials for those held in Gitmo, we must hold accountable those Bankers and Speculators who broke the financial back of this nation, we must bring to trial war criminals no matter who they are. We cannot afford as a nation to continue to ignore the liars, thieves, war-mongers, torturers among us as if they either didn’t exist or worse, are above the law.
  8. Invest in science and our future. Stop the madness of religious holy wars against progress. Invest in clean energy sources, stem cell research, technology, high speed rail and anything else images (2)that will move this nation ahead of the competition!
  9. Get out of my bedroom, my medical decisions, my marriage choices and all my other personal decisions as a matter of law and morality. It isn’t your business and frankly shouldn’t be all that interesting to you. As a matter of Law, afford me the same rights as anyone else. As a matter of morality keep your opinion off the law books as it doesn’t belong there.

I am a progressive and proud of it. I believe in the ingenuity of people and most of the time the greatness of the human spirit.

I am a capitalist in that I believe a free market is the best market for entrepreneurs, perhaps the difference is that I believe all markets must exist with trade regulations and restraints to work properly in a global market.

I am an American first but I am a citizen of the World, perhaps more so than most Americans having lived and worked abroad on and off most of my life.

I am I believe a moral and ethical person though I profess no religion. I am a social Liberal and believe strongly in the rights of all members of society to be free and respected for who they are and their ability to contributed no matter their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.

I believe our nation is failing; we have set ourselves up for failure. We are creating a society that will exclude most members from ever achieving anything beyond the minimum while those in the upper tier stand on their shoulders demanding greater effort, more of their labor for less. What boggles my mind is the number of people who believe they will somehow make it into that stratosphere someday, make it out of the muck and the mire and so vote against their best interest and the best interest of their children.

I am a progressive not because I want a welfare state, not because I want the country to pay for my care or the care of my children from cradle to grave; no I am a progressive because I want future generations to have the same opportunities that my parents had.

Sadistic Nation Revealed

OpEdEmpathy, a wonderful leveling of the field when we actually feel the pain of another being and thus act with some care or compassion towards them, setting aside our personal interest in favor of helping another person. Yes, in their best interest, or at least with kindness and care towards them. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, doesn’t have to take you out of your head, your comfort zone; just has to be something small, something simple, a touch or a cup of coffee on a cold morning. How many of us think we can make a difference in the life of another? How many of us try?

I am more than certain there are those of us, that is members of humanity, who are not completely selfish and self-serving. The problem is, for the life of me I can’t find them in great abundance. My breath is knocked out of me right now, on every single level of my being, I look around and I think this nation has sunk to a new level of assholery and we are without a single overarching redeeming quality. Our failures, as a nation and a people pile higher than Mt. Everest, our disregard for our impact on the world a phenomenon I continue to be stunned to my soul by.

With each revelation of just how badly entire bodies of government are behaving, Ferguson or the 47, I am moved further toward a belief we are a nation in its final death throes. We are choking on our hate, on our fear and on the absolute ugliness brought out of the closet by the election of Barack Obama. Let’s not pretend otherwise, let’s not insult each other’s intelligence. The election of10801513_10153167396029255_486623207564289575_n this president, not once but twice threw a wrench in everything, brought all the animus boiling up to the surface and caused usually reasonable people to show their true colors; they couldn’t help themselves. Compassion and empathy flew out the window in favor of hate and destruction at any cost.

Since 1976 one side of the house has had it in its mind they would control the economy and thus the nation at all costs, they have run a game on us all. The very wealthy have controlled the direction of our nation through control of one party with little concern for a vast majority of its citizens. With the dogma of smaller government translated into cuts to services and paid for by constant cuts in taxes for those at the top of the earnings bracket our nation has become cruel, sadistic even. Until recently, until the election of this president these changes were small, incremental and went nearly unnoticed. Now though, now they are out there for all to see, no longer incremental but instead entire programs focused on those who can least afford to lose even ten dollars a month, let alone a hundred or more. Worse still, that same party has become adverse to science, adverse to facts and given to fear mongering, leading us into wars throughout the world.

Empathy and compassion cannot even be found from the pulpits of our churches, today. Instead, many of those who lay claim to the mantle of Christianity, instead preach against those in the most need, preach against compassion, preach against this president, preach against all that Jesus stood for. Many in the government who run on a platform of Christian morals, family values they also fail to evaluate what this means, fail at compassion, fail at empathy and of course fail at the greatest lesson of all, this is a nation of diverse people, diverse beliefs and a Constitution that guarantees us the right to live our lives without interference of Church in our homes, bedrooms or state run institutions.

We are destroying our greatest asset, our people; by making education out of reach for all but the wealthiest, we are undermining our future. By cutting funding to public education at every level, we are destroying our future for generations. By shipping our manufacturing off-shore and bringing in from elsewhere those who have the education to fill our white collar jobs, whether it is high-tech, science or medicine we have cut huge swaths across the American opportunity prospective, now and in the future. Soon we will not have a problem with immigration from Mexico or elsewhere to fill the jobs ‘no one else wants’, these will be the only jobs Americans are qualified for. Soon, we will be a nation of serfs in our own country; unqualified for anything but picking fruit and vegetables, cleaning toilets and begging for scrapes.

As a nation, we are without mercy, without compassion for our own. We have no sense of justice, no sense of right and wrong. It fascinates me, always; how we can point to Iran, call them a terrible Theocracy, or ISIS, and call them Terrorists when we have no space in either our distant or current history from which to hide. We who marched into sovereign nations and murdered, tortured with complete disregard for their right to self-governance. We who within our own borders have entirely ignored the rule of law, treating our own citizens to injustice, torture and even murder to enrich a criminal justice for profit system that has broken families and communities. No, we have no right to cry foul at injustice abroad when we only gloss over the offenses in our own backyard.

One where the police are free to murder twelve-year-olds in parks and blame them for their deaths, is this the nation we want? One where schools are crumbling and children cannot learn and the likelihood is if you are poor you will not graduate from high school, is this the nation we want? One where if you are a Black Man you have a one in three chance and a Latino Man a one in six chance of being imprisoned during your lifetime, compared to a White Man who has only a one in 17 chance; this says nothing about the crimes committed only how sentencing is handed down, how justice is served. Is this the nation we want?

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We as a nation are in descent. Falling rapidly into a fiery pit from which there is no way out unless someone steps in, someone with enough will to offend and enough backbone to stand up to all the old white men and women who have stayed on their happy asses in Washington and elsewhere in seats of power for far too long. Someone needs to start calling this out; someone needs to start saying no more, enough is enough. All of us need to start asking ourselves, is this truly the nation we want to pass on to our children?

I can honestly say it is not the nation I want, this nation disturbs me frightens me even.

Our Apathy Pays Dividends

OpEdMy great and dear light at the end of the tunnel, Deborah over at Monster in Your Closet, reminded me today there are many ways to look at a problem, many angles to hold a prism to the light. When she wrote about panic attacks in the air here I burst out laughing, I remember well feeling exactly the same panic at wheels up. What I was really thinking about while reading her piece though is why I have not touched my fingers to my keyboard, why I haven’t wanted to write for weeks. I considered why what I have been thinking hasn’t been making its way from my brain to my blog. My normal righteous indignation has hidden under a tree, whimpered and cringed from the light of day like a beaten dog.

Here is the thing; this nation is descending into a morass of ignorance and no ignorance is not bliss, not by any stretch of any imagination or any measurement, we are growing stupider and we seem to like it that way. I am finally at a loss for words; I finally after all these long years am without the language necessary to say what is needed. I must admit to not understanding the people of this nation any longer. There was a time I understood, I even believed there was a necessity for both sides of the aisle to exist, it kept us all honest. Elyse over at FiftyFourandaHalf just today reminded me of that not so distant past in her piece on the suicide of Thomas Schweich, a contender for the office of governor in the not so great state of Missouri. I was reminded, once upon a time more than half my family were staunch members of the GOP, yet they were not Racist, or against public education, or against public assistance, or against Social Security, or against immigration; nor were they ignorant of the Constitution and what it really said about Guns or Religion.

I am without words, truly. I remember arguing with my father over the dinner table about real issues of the day he was a staunch Republican by the way nearly his entire life, he bled the party line of fiscal conservativism, he could not understand how he could produce such a hippie, such a ‘blasted Liberal, dammit’. The one thing about my father was he saw clearly and he hated across the DAD&Meboard; he hated LBJ, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Bush Jr with equal intensity and all for different reasons. He voted for Barack Obama and was very proud of that vote.

Today, those members of my family who retain their GOP card do so without any real understanding of what the party truly stands for. When called to the table to defend the latest horror story, the latest idiocy, the latest dumbass thing to come out of the mouths of those who would rule, they cannot do so only relying upon the sound bites, they picked along the way to defend their position in Right Wing LaLa land. When presented with facts they sniff and rock back, scramble for purchase on the quicksand of their position.

We get what we deserve, whether it is the government we deserve or otherwise. This time we truly did get what we deserve, those of us who wanted more and better we stayed home in droves. What did we think; others would pick up the slack of our apathy? We listened to those who said we wouldn’t go to the polls and thought to ourselves, well it is a lost cause so why bother; we stayed home. That is exactly what they were hoping for and they won.

635539926878367331-boehnermcconnell

Ignorant really; GOP majority in the House and the Senate, the ability to make the next two years sheer hell for this nation and this President and we sat on our asses and handed it to them through our apathy. The absolute genius of it is astounding and we fell for it, not for the first time even we know the game and we fall for it every single time. This time though, we are going to pay and pay big, it is our fault and we should be ashamed of ourselves. We handed the keys to the nation to a bunch of low intellect know-nothing, bought and paid for members of the extremist coalition who are intent on destroying the nation and handing the remains to those who would rule without the will of the people.

fox-gop-2016-field-120114

Congratulations citizens of America, you have finally succeeded in showing your true nature and intent. What you really want is to be second class citizens of the world, ruled by those who don’t give a damn if you live or die, if your children are ignorant so long as you have them for their wars, if you live in poverty so long as you labor for their benefit you will be given enough to drag your azz to their crumbling factories for another day and when you are too old to do that, better hope someone loves you enough to take you in, cause there won’t be a safety net left to catch you ass.

All I can think is, rise up before it is too late. Do not allow this once great dream of a free nation to crumble at the feet of your apathy. Look around; do not allow what little progress we made toward unity be destroyed by the hate and fear of a shrinking minority. Rise up and look around, stand up and take back the power we own as citizens. Stand up and demand accountability of those in public office, whether they are elected officials, bureaucrats or the Police.

Honestly, look around and ask yourself is this the country you want? If the answer is no, what are you willing to do to change it?

Godless Liberal

The other day I was called a “Godless Liberal”, not for the first time, during a political debate; I pondered this for a few minutes before I responded. I understood my opponent was angry with me, furious if truth were told. If we had been speaking face-to-face, I suspect the ‘Godless Liberal’ would have been accompanied with finger pointing and looked something like this:Anger

GODLESS LIBERAL

Before I go on, by the way my response was “Yes, but you will never understand the nuance.”

Perhaps the words I used were too big, maybe he didn’t understand them. Whatever the case was, the discussion went downhill from there, the content of his argument went from senseless fiction regarding the state of police violence to comments regarding my gender and my relationship to canines (Fucking Bitch was one of the least offensive but most frequently used).

The entire exchange got me thinking about the state of our national conversation, not from a political standpoint, not from what we see in media but, from how we speak to one another. It got me thinking; outside the usually polite boundaries we maintain in professional settings, we have none anywhere else. We are perfectly comfortable with name-calling, crossing any previously established boundary to disparage our opponent and we have not the least amount of shame in our behavior. What made this complete faceless stranger feel comfortable denigrating me in the most sexist terms?

Just to keep this all in perspective, he continued to pound me and everyone else with his moral superiority based on his Christianity, which apparently also magically infused him with intellectual superiority as well. I was frankly astounded.

Right-wing-Christian-hall-of-shame

Of course we only have this group of truly wonderful examples to compare him with.

 

That said and his point made, he viewed me as ‘outside’ and unworthy of anything approaching civil discourse. I did not surmise this, he told me he was under no obligation to treat me with respect as I was a ‘non-believer’ and bound for Hell.

Morals, Ethics, Principles, Values, Scruples, Integrity

Do these words have real meanings anymore? Can we say with certainty all societies have something akin to moral structures members willingly agree with and abide by? When my little friend called me a Godless Liberal, what did he really mean? Did he fully understand or was he just parroting mindlessly what he heard from others. Was this his only answer when he was no longer able to debate the issue at hand?

The question of Godliness and Godlessness, religious affiliation, worship both what and how, whether we recognize them or not, have been taking center stage in our public life for decades now. Though we are enjoined from doing so by our laws, even by our Constitution and by implication by our Bill of Rights, we judge each other by a set of Principles. Whether we subscribe to a ‘religion’ or not, we nonetheless subscribe to a common set of Principles, though some may be more porous, more flexible within the context of our day-to-day lives.

I have been thinking about this all week. This is what I have ultimately come up with, tell me what you think, am I right or wrong?

Morals: Primarily derived from religious thinking, all societies have basic frameworks that seem to be consistent though some are more deranged than others in their application of the rules.

  • Don’t be dishonest (Lie, Cheat, Steal)
  • Don’t be promiscuous and be faithful in your marriage (don’t covet either)
  • Don’t murder (killing might be okay though for the right reason)
  • Be compassionate to those weaker than yourself (feed the hungry, care for the sick and aged)

Ethics: Primarily defined for businesses to operate in the marketplace, organizations establish these to clarify the rules and ensure everyone knows them. Personally, I think in many cases Business Ethics are the organizations smoke screen but that is just me. I have seen these few from past employers they have rarely been adhered to.

  • Don’t pay bribes (Influence peddling)
  • Respect for individuals (Civil and Human Rights)
  • Respect for local culture
  • Respect for environment
  • Deliver profit to shareholders

Principles, Values, Scruples & Integrity: I have combined these because they are all personal in my mind. We develop personal and interpersonal relationships within society and with individuals, how we interact is based on our own evolution. Despite what some would have us believe we are not born Principled or with Integrity. When we come into the world, we are nothing more than empty vessels waiting to be filled.

I essentially filtered the 10 Commandments down to three (similar to George Carlin) and then added one of my own. Most religions agree with these as foundational notwithstanding the simpler language I used. I find myself in a quandary as I consider the issue of Morals, Ethics, Principles, Values, Scruples and Integrity –

OpEdStarting at the reading of my four Commandments, I walk the walk every day. Thus, I have Morals.

If I read my Ethics, as a businessperson who has worked in a variety of roles for Fortune 100 companies and as an Independent Business Owner, I walk the walk and talk the talk. In fact, I have been in trouble for doing so in the past. With this answer in mind, I am also a person of Ethics.

Continuing with my reading through the last group of definitions, I know my answers and believe I am a person of Integrity, a Principled person.

Godless, perhaps if I apply the definition as society does it this is true; I am not religious only spiritual. I do not subscribe to any religion created by man to control society, engineer preferred outcomes or oppress entire segments of society by gender, class or in some cases race. In fact I don’t just not subscribe, I reject.

Liberal, indeed I have been an agitator, a protestor and at times an ‘in your face’ type of Godless Liberal. I am now and have been since I was old enough to understand the difference a Progressive Left of Center Liberal.

Being a Godless Liberal wasn’t an illegal or immoral political stance last I heard, in fact some of the greatest men and women of history were staunch Liberals, including our own Founding Fathers. It seems we have lost our way. Stoning, burning at the stake, dunking have all been outlawed in the US of A for many years now; with Godless Liberal and public Slut Walking making a comeback, I have to wonder what is next?

Call it Rain

statue-peeingThe House is such a lovely group of ne’er-do- wells’ it is difficult to believe this is the braintrust leading our nation. Lest I be too focused on those dunderheads in The House, The Senate will apparently follow them down the path of running grandma over with the Bentley. The President has already signaled he too wants to get the hell out of Washington, so he will get his signature pen ready versus his Veto pen and guess what, they will all be happy.

Don’t piss down my leg and call it rain.

Here are some of the highlights of what the Congressional House Republicans and Democrats voted on last night round about 11pm when most of the rest of us were fast asleep and paying no never mind to their high handedness.

Dodd-Frank, yes sir they gutted it. Don’t know what this is, shaking your head and saying so what are you? Well remember when the banks nearly failed in 2008 and we the people, the taxpayers, all of us that is had to bail them out. Do you remember that? I surely do, people lost their savings, their homes, their jobs and some of those people are still jobless and homeless. Remember that time, prior to this administration being sworn into office 9 January 2009.

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Campaign Finance, can’t ever say these greedy SOB’s aren’t looking out for number one, no indeed not. Never say never, can you say Citizens United on steroids; if not learn to and post haste. They have taken out their best carving knives and shredded the McCain-Feingold legislation of 2002 that limited individual donors to $32,400 to either party this year would be able to up the ante, not by a few measly thousand dollars but by a whopping ten times (10X) the current limit to $324,000. How is that for feathering your own nest.

Egypt gets a $1.3 billion in aid, subject to Democracy and Human Rights conditions. Well my question is, who the hell in this country is fit to measure either.

The EPA gets another $60 Million cut from their budget, down in total 21% since 2010. According the Budget Office and gleeful GOP aides they will have to cut staffing, taking them to the lowest levels since 1989.

Cuyahoga River burns due to chemicals and pollution

Cuyahoga River burns due to chemicals and pollution

Once again, the Budget bans the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to any current facility in the US and bans the spending of any federal funds to build a facility to house them.

Again, the US continues to spend billions to fund Israel, to the tune of $3.1 Billion in random aid in addition to $619 Million in defense aid. Not to be gauche here, however Israel has their own economy and it is fairly healthy, if they would stop trying to steal what small bit of land and peace remains to the Palestinian people it would likely be healthier still. There is no one starving in Israel, there is no need for us to continue to give them billions of our tax dollars every year, especially when those dollars could go to things we need here in this country for our own people.

I love this one, simply because there are so many of those Tea Partiers and Libertarians running about screaming, “Small Government” and “Self-Determination” and “States Rights”, I guess they marijuana-weed-1200-drugsdidn’t really mean it. This lovely bars Washington, District of Columbia from legalizing marijuana. Now keep in mind there was a vote, the people of the District approved the initiative and like Colorado and Washington, citizens of the District should be able to smoke a blunt on their porch. But nooooo, the members of the United States House of Representatives forgot, they are only guests in Washington, D.C. not residents.

The list goes on and on, there is more. The cut funding on key education initiatives, they continue their ridiculous Abortion oversight moving it to the ACA to require all policies offered on the Federal Marketplace have a declaration whether they cover Abortions so people can decide for themselves not to buy that policy. They cut additional funds to the ACA, for the ‘Death Panels’.

There are some good things, expansion of sexual assault services for the military and expansion of Veterans Benefits. There is also the funds targeted to fight Ebola and funds targeted for the National Institutes of Health, some of which will go to brain and Alzheimer’s research.

Overall, though, this Omnibus bill is simply Congress working for a C- grade. They are hoping we don’t notice what they are doing and won’t complain. They are supposed to work on these things for the entire 24 months they are in session, dealing with each of the individual budgets and government agencies as independent entities rather than creating these huge Omnibus Bills in the Lame Duck session, two weeks prior to Christmas.

urine-dog-pee-upside-downDon’t piss down my leg and call it rain.

Talk about a boondoggle Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) apparently got in bed with Rio Tinto to grab native lands. Rather than doing it up front and with full transparency, he shoved in to the NDAA before congress. This little land grab of his was hidden on page 1,105 and both the Democrats and Republicans hid it from everyone until they could hide it no more. Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton would simple walk right in and start the casual destruction of 2,400 of the Tonto National Forest, which includes Apache Leap, burial grounds and other sacred lands to the Apache people.

These lands are supposed to be protected, but never mind.

Just let me say this, I am disappointed our President made a deal with the Speaker of the House on the Budget. Why in the hell did he do that? Doesn’t he know, doesn’t he understand these people hate him. They will never do a damned thing that he wants, not one damned thing. Mitch McConnell, the incoming Majority Leader of the Senate has already said, his first order of business will be a vote to overturn the ACA. Doesn’t he get it? What doesn’t he understand? Isn’t it time for him to say to these old, nasty men and women on both sides of the aisle, ‘if you send me this shit I will veto it without a second thought’.

What the hell is he waiting for? An invitation to their table? Hasn’t he figured it out yet, it is never going to happen.

The best synopsis of the Omnibus Bill: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/12/09/whats-in-the-spending-bill-we-skim-it-so-you-dont-have-to/

The best synopsis of the NDAA and Land Grabbing: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/03/ndaa-land-deals_n_6264362.html

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