The Useful Idiots?

I was recently shown the following newspaper article and I honestly have no idea when it was published. I have no idea who Garret Geer is but this whole text sounds like it was scripted for Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or some other talking head on Fox News.

What I dislike most about the article is the blatant failure to be accurate. The central goal is to paint both President Obama and Hillary Clinton as communists in the vein of Lenin and Stalin by linking them to Saul Alinsky.

For starters, Alinsky was a community organizer, not a communist. Lenin and Stalin never advocated labor unions or various ways to combat poverty. The author of the article also fails to note the works of Alinsky have been distributed to Tea Party organizers by Republican Congressmen just as often as by Democrats. The work most often cited is Rules for Radicals, and its list of rules does not include one single topic listed in the article below.

Image8

For the sake of comparison, the Rules for Radicals list is as follows…

  1. Power is not only what you have, but what your enemy thinks you have.
  2. Never go outside the expertise of your people.
  3. Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of your enemy.
  4. Make the enemy live up to its own set of rules.
  5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
  6. A good tactic is one your people enjoy.
  7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
  8. Keep the pressure on, never let up.
  9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
  10. The major tactic is the development of operations that will maintain pressure on the opposition.
  11. If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through to become a positive.
  12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
  13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it.

 

In an inverted attempt to smear both Hillary Clinton and President Obama, the author of the article either inadvertently or intentionally listed all the things Republicans already support that are serving the purpose of the list of goals, not by socialist means (that benefit many) but by private means (which maximizes profit and only benefits the wealthy)

  1. Healthcare –  The GOP have repeatedly made certain to turn more control of prescription drugs and medical procedures away from doctors and into the hands of insurance companies. The cost of rising premiums are constantly blamed on the poor and elderly rather than insane profit margins.
  2. Poverty – The present poverty level can easily be traced to the GOP de-regulating and allowing, if not encouraging through tax breaks for corporations to export jobs, cut jobs, cut benefits, plunder pensions, and generally drive the cost of living ever higher while keeping wages low. Most notably the minimum wage.
  3. Debt – Ever since Reagan began deficit spending the GOP hasn’t looked back. Under Bush they repeatedly vote to raise the debt ceiling while cutting taxes. Yet we still support the largest military budget in the world by a wide margin.($0.60 of every tax dollar) Bush borrowed funds from China to fund war efforts rather than eliminating tax breaks to corporations or closing loopholes that allow the wealthy to abuse the capital gains tax at only 15% while upper middle class families suffer under the alternative minimum tax and rates almost twice as high. Any efforts to reduce the debt are always targeted on Social Security and Medicare with complete disregard for the citizens who paid into these plans all their working lives. Funding that even Reagan pronounced as being completely separate from the national debt.
  4. Gun Control – Conservatives and other GOP supporters have no argument here since the Congressmen bought and paid for by the NRA dutifully strike down any measure to regulate or curtail gun sales. While the death rate continues to spiral, they see no problems with the lack of training, licensing, or registration, all while we stand alone as the only civilized, developed country in the world with such a problem of mass shootings and gun deaths.
  5. Welfare – While the welfare system is constantly singled out as the source of our debt and poverty problems, why hasn’t the GOP put forth one single piece of legislation to reform the system? Why hasn’t there been more focus on creating more jobs to provide a path out of welfare as opposed to attempting to repeal the ACA sixty different times? The single biggest cause of welfare is the same as its always been. The wealthy don’t want to pay people to work a job, and just like the plantation owners of the old South or the greed-mongers who knowingly employ illegals for pennies today, they would have slaves do their work if they could get away with it.
  6. Education – This is another area where the GOP fights to keep from paying teachers and forces both states and communities to fund their own programs with minimal help. Our schools should be the envy of the world and not 29th overall, and Republicans have fought much harder to keep any kind of courses from being taught that contradict Christian teaching, all in direct violation of the First Amendment. The wealthy want schools to be poor so that private schools for their children are the only ones producing better education. Heaven forbid we as a nation should produce solid, open education that would allow a more intelligent, informed child the freedom to choose for themselves.
  7. Religion – “One Nation Under God” was added to our Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, NOT 1776, as was “In God We Trust” on our money. Freedom of Religion is part of the Bill of Rights. In communist countries such as Russia, religion as a whole is virtually forbidden and no such laws against churches exist here. Religion is taught both by word and deed in the home, in your churches, and in your lives by example. No religion has the right to rule this country, and if you aren’t teaching your children then no amount of Pledge, prayer in school, or ritual on the floor of Congress will do it for you.
  8. Class Warfare – Nowhere has the GOP excelled any more than in the constant way it plays to the wealthy in exercising power over the poor and working class. The term “redistribution of wealth” is constantly tossed into the ring as some kind of unholy rite, yet none of them have spoken out against the redistribution of wages, jobs, benefits, premiums, and cost of living. All of which are driven by the so-called free marketplace and Wall Street constantly juggling everyone’s investment for the sake of trade commissions and personal profit. They cry foul over government regulation but have no problem expecting bailouts when they run the ship aground.

 

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals bears no resemblance to Lenin or Stalin in the guidelines for creating a communist state. That point of view is however a constant train of thought with Limbaugh, Beck, or others of their kind. On the other hand I’m not surprised given that Glenn Beck believes the artwork on Rockefeller Center is communist in nature. I get the feeling if John D. Rockefeller were still alive to debate the topic there might be disagreement.

I would also like to see this “list of nations” that has been destroyed by Alinsky and his “Useful Idiots.” Although the title to the article is cited as a term used by Stalin, I would think the break-up of the Soviet Union along with the destruction of the Berlin Wall might be old news that the influence of Stalin is not spreading.

One last thing to the author of this article, the final quote, “It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere,” was not made by Alinsky, Stalin, or Lenin. It was made by Voltaire, a French writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state.

I guess the idea of the “useful idiot” depends largely on your point of view, but the argument of Alinsky fostering communism in America is an idiotic one.

 

Advertisements

Divided We Fall

patrickhenry

Its one thing to be conquered by an enemy but quite another when defeat comes at your own hands. Sadly, that appears to be exactly the fate the USA will suffer, like a hungry wild animal eating her own young, except this isn’t about survival, it’s about greed and selfishness.

I read a news article yesterday that addressed the enormous political divide currently at work in our country. Oddly, BOTH Democrats and Republicans view the other as lazy, selfish, closed-minded and ill-informed. The percentage of those polled on both sides who felt this way was 30-40 percent, with that figure taking a sharp increase if they were engaged in the political process.

I so often hear how the root of all this problem is our “turning our back on God,” such as the singular line in the Pledge of Allegiance or the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer in our schools. Yet all of those things were begun during the 1950s post WWII, not from the roots of our nation.

Our ancestors wanted freedom of religion, and it was one of our primary reasons for departing what is now the United Kingdom. So much bloodshed has taken place in the name of religion, so in a place where freedom is held so dear, why is such a problem in our own backyard.

I fail to understand why the same people who claim to hold the laws of God so dear are so willing to rob the freedom of others who worship differently. How much clamor would there be if the Jewish community rose up and lobbied that more of their beliefs should become the laws of our nation? What if the Catholics or Buddhists demanded the same? Why are their beliefs of less value than those of various Christian faiths? The final point is not specific religion, it’s about people of good character, and they can come from any background and they all can be American.

I was told Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility, and I agree with that. The spending of government tax dollars should be held to the highest standards, and its use should be for the benefit of the people of the nation. Wasn’t that the whole purpose behind taxes, so that the nation we live in could function for the benefit of all? Isn’t that the concept of how we can accomplish more together than as individuals?

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands…”

Isn’t a republic where we vote to elect officials to represent the voice of the majority? Doesn’t that mean the voice of all citizens, no matter their faith, gender, or ethic history?

“One Nation, under God..”

If we value religious freedom enough to make it part of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, why can’t this hold the broader meaning of our heritage? Why can’t it represent whatever faith we pray for in this nation? Why can’t we be intelligent enough, understanding enough, and respectful enough to grant our neighbor the same freedom we hold so dear for ourselves?

“…Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!”

Aren’t these next few words filled with as much meaning and passion as those preceding? Have our ancestors, our loved ones, our friends and neighbors not shed blood or given their lives for these words as much as the others? Are these not the root concepts on which our nation was founded? Even if you invoke your religious faith to this question, are they not the words of fairness, decency, and universal love put forth by virtually every faith practiced in houses of worship?

If there is one common thread I have noted through both religion and that of people with heart, is the saying that “I learned what was most important when I was a child. The truest lesson of life was The Golden Rule…Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Treat each other as good as you would treat yourselves. Doesn’t that simple truth reach every decent thing we should be doing as a country? Yet we demonize each other on a daily basis, and nowhere is it more prevalent than in the realm of politics. This fact is both sad and distressing since this is supposed to be the body of people to hold this country together rather than tearing it apart.

Until we stand together as “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL,” we are doomed to destroy ourselves. We must realize we have differences, and that civilized compromise is the way we employ kindness, forgiveness, and understanding. Until we stand together and choose people to lead us not based on their wealth but their character, based on their goodness and not religious beliefs, based on their responsibility to the nation and not themselves, then we speak hollow words filled with ideals we aren’t living up to.

“Faith without works is dead…” We should have the best schools in the world for our children, the best care for our elderly, infirm, and veterans, as well as a place where no child should go hungry. When we proudly announce that America is the greatest country in the world, we should be able to point to all the examples of why it’s true, not the individual accomplishments of a scant few. This country wasn’t built on the concept of the professional athlete where few succeed and many fall by the wayside. We are the example of inclusion, and if you don’t believe that then ask where you would be today if your ancestors never came to these shores.

If we believe in the Pledge of Allegiance and the country we call home, then we should echo the words of the late and former President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country.”

Our government officials should not be viewed as contemptable tyrants, and if they are not worthy then we should elect someone who is better. We should not be choosing the lesser of evils but the more pure of heart. Our taxes should not be seen as a burden but our contribution to making a better America for all who live here. If we don’t believe in the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty then tear her down rather than promoting a lie.

Personally, I think we are better than that, but too many voices have been silent for too long. There are too many other countries that exemplify “we” as opposed to “me”…and we should be setting that example, not cutting each other’s throats. They are not countries ruled by communist tyrants nor do they lack freedom. They are not over-run by crime or ruled by warlords. The only real sadness is that they took our own American words of lofty values and goals and put them into action. What a shame that others are enjoying our ideals more than we do for our own people here at home.

Divided we fall.

Give vs. Take

Pic.GiveTake

Over the course of history, the wealthy have always demonized the poor, which is ironic because in most cases the greed of those who controlled the wealth created the poor.

The French Revolution stands out as a shining example of the poor being oppressed to the point of utter revolt. I once heard a literary scholar comment on Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, saying that when so much is taken from a nation of people, a point is reached where they feel there is nothing more to lose. In that moment, nothing becomes more volatile than a mass of people with no fear of death.

I’m sure the ghost of Marie Antoinette could testify to the result. Sadly, her famed words and subsequent attitude of “let them eat cake” is far too prominent among the top 10% of our population.

The divide between Democrat and Republican ideals in America has never been farther apart, and the gulf has reached a frightening level. In the past, the conservative goals of  Republicans made a measure of sense. They believed in fiscal responsibility and keeping the role of government small so that private business was allowed to grow. In the post-WWII era, those ideas had merit as those with wealth invested in expanding business, creating jobs which in turn grew the economy.

One doesn’t have to read deep into the history of those times to see those same wealthy barons of power needed laws for the sake of humanity. Things like child labor laws, limits on work hours and conditions, along with measures for worker safety. Despite these interventions by government, these investors still became quite wealthy and the taxes generated built an impressive infrastructure of roads and other programs that were of great benefit to the nation as a whole.

Ever since the Reagan era, it seems a shift took place that was aimed at turning Wall Street loose and painting government as a demon to be shackled, hated, and feared.

The questionable choice of de-regulating Wall Street still stands as a major debacle, given those safeguards were put in place to prevent another Great Depression. As we’ve already seen, Wall Street is far too willing to run the ship aground for the sake of short-term profit, after which they shamelessly expect the government they denounce to bail them out.

America is a democracy in that we elect those who hold public office, but we are a republic in that those elected officials make the laws that rule us. This concept is not flawed in its pure form where elected officials actually speak for those who sent them to Washington. But today, it’s all about who gets bought, and who can get enough contributors to their “war chest” to be re-elected.

The insane amount of money spent on a campaigns is staggering, and yet those very same contributors rant endlessly about high taxes and shiftless poor people mooching off the system. Their own budget aimed at throwing mud could feed and educate millions.

I saw a yard sign today that read, “Anything a government GIVES away is something it TAKES from someone else.”

 As usual, the conservative tilt is one driven by a selfish mentality. The kind where hating the “waste of the poor and sick” or as they like to say “entitlement programs” carries more weight than the health of a nation. I often wonder when they clamor over “One Nation, under God” how they manage to exclude those at or below the poverty line, or those who may not practice the same religious beliefs, despite our Constitution. But then freedom of religion has never been as important to the GOP as the wake of the Second Amendment.

I find it staggering how anyone in this country could think that educating children and keeping people healthier overall is a bad thing. Yet the GOP presses onward with crying foul over the high cost of such ideas, all the while saying nothing about the insane costs being rammed down our throats by way of insurance companies or benefits being robbed by employers.

No one likes high taxes, but no one wants to see public programs go down the toilet either. Personally, I think public schools should be like cathedrals and police and firefighters should be some of the best paying jobs around. The real irony is that taxes don’t need to be as high as they are, but for some reason the wealthy believe that the more they make, they less they should have to pay. They cry over “redistribution of wealth” yet they’ve had no qualms about “redistributing funds from our accounts to theirs.”

The medical industry should be non-profit, plain and simple. Anyone who thinks the sickness of health of people belongs in the realm of supply and demand for the sake of profit is a heartless excuse for a human being. I also find it strange that the very same conservatives who bemoan taxes and evil government don’t hesitate a second when it comes time to collect Social Security or Medicare. Yes, they paid into those programs all their lives (I’ll assume) but we all know the strength of the programs is in its numbers, not its personal accounts.

How have so many other free countries realized a strong, healthy, well educated population makes a better nation for everyone, and we still can’t get the message? Because no one is selling that message, and if anyone tries, the wealthy make sure to fund the hell out of the opponents in order to brand them as evil communists.

The truth is the wealthy don’t want an educated population, because they would quickly realize the idiotic mind games in play. Then elected officials might just rule against unlimited campaign finance, lobbyists, or passing laws they don’t have to live by.

And Oh My Heavens, they just might have to start paying their percentage just like everyone else. They just might have to pay employees as opposed to themselves and stockholders.

Every time I discuss such subject matter someone tells me if I don’t like it in this country I should leave. To that I respond- if the wealthy think their money belongs in the Cayman Islands or elsewhere, they should move there – permanently. But they won’t, because nowhere else in the world can they get away with what they do here.

I only hope I live long enough to see the day when, like the French Aristocracy, they will get to eat the cake of their own making. Then the “taking” and the “giving” will have a whole new meaning.

Cars vs. Guns

GunsVsCars

If there is one thing rancid about the political divide in this country, its when someone smarts off  with the comment, “You’ve forgotten,” or “You’re ignoring” or the most insulting, “If you were smart enough,” as though they were addressing a three-year-old child.

I’m going to refrain from name-calling at this point, but suffice to say being a liberal and socialist does not make me an idiot. Right-Wingers might consider me just that, but I don’t approve of their views either so I’ll press forward with my comparison and ask questions later.

I’ve made reference to the correlation of laws, or lack thereof, between cars and guns more than once, and in typical Right-Wing fashion the first response I hear is about registration and taxes, and how both have no bearing.

I’ll answer that point with the same. I agree, simple registration and taxes have little bearing here, but the fact remains I pay them on all my cars and gun owners pay nothing of the sort. More to the point, why are they afraid to do so? Because of the fear of “losing their guns?” In my opinion, the longer firearms keep getting into the hands of lunatics due to legitimate gun owners lack of action, that problem will get worse.

When I say compare guns to cars, I mean a blunt, blood orange-to-blood orange, level playing field, and then we can discuss meaningless taxes.

First, you don’t have to have a license to own or use a gun. In most states a background check is required in order to purchase a new firearm, but the used market is wide open and completely free of record-keeping of any kind. Yet the avid NRA supporter still says it’s up to individual responsibility, and people kill people, not guns.

Okay, to make things even, let’s abolish all requirements for driver training, and as long as you can pass a background check, you can buy any new car or truck your budget can afford. Training and skill are left up to the individual to complete.

Further, let’s abolish all state safety inspections and required registration of all used cars. No background checks required here since the government has no business knowing how many cars we own or sell. It’s our freedom to do so and our own responsibility.

The NRA and Right-Wingers advocate that an armed citizenry would be the best deterrent for crime and violence in our society, yet they want no laws or regulations to dictate the rules or usage thereof.

Back to our new equal car laws. Without training or regulation, and for that matter the absence of more communistic hogwash such as speed limits or rules of the highway (remember, its your responsibility) we could make sure every car on the road is equipped with rigid push bars or plow blades to deal with unruly or dangerous drivers. If you car isn’t big enough to inflict such damage, maybe you should consider a bigger one. But remember, amidst all this asphalt and gravel carnage, people kill people, not cars.

With firearms, unless you are already a convicted felon, you are free to purchase whatever weapon you see on the shelf, your questionable motives, actions or lack of knowledge notwithstanding. In the absence of any kind of vetting process or training, you can’t be prevented from committing an act that might indeed kill another person until you actually do so. Again, there is no need for laws or regulations here, just personal responsibility.

So no matter what blood-spattered mayhem we might see on the new roads, let’s not bother with driver training, safety, or regulations until you actually kill someone. The fact that an innocent young driver just starting out might be the victim is simply unfortunate.

Does all this sound ridiculous? As a matter fact, YES! The ugly truth is that it’s all wild story-telling for cars, but for guns it’s brutal reality.

Now, before some Right-Winger screams, “You’ve forgotten, driving is a privilege, but gun ownership is a RIGHT!” I promise you, I absolutely HAVE NOT forgotten. But I also remember the Second Amendment clearly states, “A well regulated militia,” which we have in the form of law enforcement, the military, and the National Guard. All of which have strict rules and regulations with regard to training, handling, and use of firearms. I have seen little to no evidence of well-regulated citizen militia across the nation, and if they do exist, they are doing a poor job exercising their Constitutional rights for the safety of the public. Isn’t that the job of a militia, or is that only for the purpose of overthrowing the government?

While cars did not exist at the time of writing the Bill of Rights (as I am so often reminded) but guns in fact did exist. If the Second Amendment is so vital in this argument why does it say “arms” as opposed to “rifles, muskets, pistols, or cannons?”

“Arms” could easily be interpreted as “swords, knives, slings, bow & arrow, or pitchforks.” So the language does not specify, nor does it say, “unlimited arms.”

It was also pointed out to me that more people die in auto accidents than do by guns each year. While that figure is true, consider that more people are on our road system EACH DAY than all gun owners combined. There are 300 million citizens in the country, 212 million are licensed drivers, and while gun owners number 80 million only about 24% of those belong to the NRA.

The number of car owners outweighs gun owners by a wide margin, so based on an even sample number the car figure is lower and gun figure is insanely high on deaths.

Let’s also consider how many highway deaths are avoided and prevented by the apprehension of speeders, reckless drivers, and drunk drivers before they are involved in an accident. How much higher would road deaths be without those measures? In that circumstance no law abiding citizen loses their right to drive or own a car. How many more road deaths would take place if there were NO laws to prosecute those same offenders?

It is our laws that make us a civilized society, not the absence of law. If nothing else, the completely unregulated, unchecked exchange of second-hand firearms across this country gives criminals and radicals greater access to legal guns than any other means, and yet gun owners and the NRA do NOTHING to prevent it from happening. They give law enforcement little means to stop the flow, all the while claiming we would be safer if everyone was armed, like some kind of wild west gunfighter mentality.

By the way, the private sale of firearms makes up 40% of all gun sales in the country, and if you don’t think that gives criminals ready access to legal guns, then ask yourself would you board a commercial airliner if 40% of the passengers were allowed to bypass security checks?

In my view, all of this smacks of the usual Right-Wing stance of “personal responsibility” or more accurately, “every man for himself.”

Personally, I find the Right-Wing’s complete lack of help for changing this ugly situation to be insulting to the humanity of this nation, and utterly callous to the families of those lost in such senseless violence.

I’m sorry, but your “thoughts and prayers” don’t fix one single thing, it only absolves you from taking any meaningful action. In addition, when the Right clamors over such things as “One Nation, Under God,” their prevailing actions make such points of contention laughable. Actually, its morbidly sad, and I have enormous faith that God Himself would not approve of your intentions to fight fire with fire.

I have to prove my capability to drive, and I must abide by the law to legally own and keep a motor vehicle. Why are gun owners so resistant and incapable of doing the same? The NRA and its supporters are the only ones crying out that our government is seeking to strip them of all their firearm possessions. I can only imagine the revolt that would take place if Washington DC tried to pass a law removing all personal motor vehicles from individual ownership.

If you’re rolling your eyes at how ludicrous that notion sounds, then my expression is the same over your fear of losing all legal gun ownership. Cars are made safer as are roads, and laws are made tougher to punish offenders, all in the effort to make roads safer for everyone. I personally believe more and better driver training would increase safety and reduce accidents, but those who bemoan taxes always make sure public efforts are hamstrung and operate on a thread.

So in the end, taxes do become relevant, and its one more way Right-Wingers refuse to make their communities or their country a better place…unless it benefits them directly.

I believe my right to “the pursuit of happiness” entitles me to just as much right to own and drive a car as your Second Amendment means to you. Mine is just as much law as yours, and as a law-abiding citizen, I have no problem keeping within those legal boundaries.

If gun owners have nothing to hide, I see no reason why they shouldn’t have to support their possession just as I have to. The Second Amendment makes you no more American than the rest of us.

 

 

A Few Questions…

goppigbuttonthumb

To all the Republican members of the Senate and House of Representatives,

How do any of you claim to have Christian values or serve the best interest of this country?

You vote against Social Security, yet you offer no alternative to help our elderly. You suggest privatizing so that Wall Street can have one more part of our lives to play with for their profit, and you condemn anyone who was a stay-home spouse to no support. You condemn the elderly of our society, who have worked all their lives to poverty for the sake of investment profit.

Is this the kind, charitable, and Christ-like way?

You vote against Medicare, so that the elderly and the disabled can afford even poorer health care than they already receive. You pay no regard to the insane price of prescription drugs, placing more upon the back of the sick and afflicted, all the while trying to cut the only other sources of support they depend upon.

Is this how we clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and care for the sick and afflicted? When did Christ preach to the masses or his followers, “In the Kingdom of God, it is every man for himself?”

You bellow that we should support our troops, and you rant against world injustice, yet you seem to care little for justice or humanity here at home. You cry out to send our troops across the globe to quell almost any uprising, yet when they come home broken and disabled, you vote against every measure to improve their care. Are they only worthy of our support when they can stand and hold a weapon? Are they suddenly of no worth when they have paid the price in flesh and bone? You go through great ceremony for those who come home in flag-draped coffins, but your vote speaks volumes about how you regard the ones who survived.

Is this how Christ commanded us to love our neighbors and our enemies? Is this one more example of your “thoughts and prayers” which cost you nothing? All the while you enjoy complete health care for you and your family.

Here is my thought; Faith without works is dead, which is exactly the slow death  you condemn these valiant souls to without remorse.

You vote against national health care, or any legislation that might force insurance companies to make coverage affordable. You condemn Medicare, and you allow the insurance companies to dictate to doctors what kind of care can be provided, as though they are more qualified than medical professionals, all in the name of profit rather than the well being of our nation. You slander the leaders of other nations for the service they provide to their citizens, as though it is impossible to be done here. Yet we stand alone as the only industrialized, modern country on the globe that requires its people to pay more and receive less than anywhere else. Is this how you perceive that you are serving the best interest of the people?…of the majority?…of the welfare of the nation?

Is this the kind of compassion and caring The Savior would have imparted?

Also, if you have such disdain for government-funded health care, why are you not setting an example of your conviction by having private care for yourselves and your families?

You vote against any measure that would attempt to give our law enforcement more avenues to track and prosecute criminals and radicals who can freely buy firearms. You cling to a vague amendment that cites “A well regulated militia,” while our streets, schools and neighborhoods are anything but. You would call for mass drug testing and all other manner of saying how the poor and impoverished should be worthy enough to receive aid, yet what manner of worthiness do you display for your actions against them?

Did Christ qualify each person he was charitable to? Did he question those he healed or fed? Yet I seem to recall Him chastising those who would cast stones.

You vote to abolish abortion in the name of saving lives and saying people should better plan their life choices. Yet even those who wish to have children are oppressed with insane medical bills, or mothers risk their lives in natural, in-home childbirth to avoid the expense. Is this the viable alternative you think is best, or do you think only the wealthy should be allowed to procreate? You even oppose services than assist the young and needy to better plan their lives, all the while making it harder and more expensive to raise a family. You vote against raising the minimum wage, and you vote for tax breaks to corporations who cut and export jobs rather than creating them here at home.

Is this the manner in which Christ commanded we treat one another?

Your claims to serve this country are hollow and your actions speak far louder than any speech you will ever give voice to at a podium. I find it astoundingly hypocritical how you claim the moral high ground and denounce any social program as the foothold to communism. Yet all the while you vote to give power to a tiny minority who would hold the rest of us as slaves if they had the chance, and you are giving to them by degrees each day. Your view of America is more and more like rule under the 1% dictatorship as your votes prove the masters you serve; the majority of wealthy contributors who mean far more than any other group of constituents.

I find it both sad and insulting that the elephant is the moniker of your party, an animal with a loyalty to the family unit and the caring for each other. A creature that is peaceful by nature as opposed to predatory.

To me, there is another animal far better suited to represent those who openly behave as your voting record denotes. An animal that wallows in the mire and consumes all it can with no regard for anything else. One that waxes fat from such consumption and can readily be bought by the pound.

In short, I believe the GOP mascot should be changed to a pig.

 

Are Taxes too High?

TaxesJobs

I think everyone would agree we’d like to pay less of our income toward taxes, but at the same time we want many other things for the land where we live. Things like a safe and solid infrastructure network, cities and communities with good schools and services, and a strong support and protection force in our times of need.

Post WWII, wealthy owners wanted lower taxes and concessions for the operation of their various companies. At the time those claims were justified as these powerful individuals helped forge the industrial age by building factories, mills, and other support businesses. All these ventures created jobs, and with the advent of labor unions, many of those jobs supported families with only one parent working. As a result, middle class America enjoyed its most prosperous time in the history of our modern age.

Today, the wealthy power barons of Wall Street and beyond have done all in their grasp to dismantle the middle class of this country. They seek to break unions, reduce workforce numbers, export jobs overseas, and strip away benefits and pensions. All of this is done in the name of improved stock numbers, but in reality those numbers only benefit the CEO and board members since they tend to be the major stock holders of said companies. They happily vote themselves raises even as they cut wages and benefits of their employees, all the while crying out over the tax rates levied on their income.

The Capital Gains Tax was created to allow those owners a low tax cash flow to re-invest into their business and keep them strong and growing, but the modern business magnate abuses this law by taking his investments as his income, leaving his designated salary to be taxed at regular rates. Add this dilemma to the insane number of deductions that have been created and the actual adjusted income to pay tax on becomes miniscule.

I presently pay about twenty four percent of our combined household gross income, and my only real itemized deduction is the interest paid on my home mortgage, yet Republican politicians continue to suggest that even that should be ripped away from homeowners.

I constantly read columns by conservatives who support the GOP ranting away about how we shouldn’t tax a wealthy business owner just because he prospers. Fair enough. Then why does he think I should have more expense and fewer deductions just because my income is lower?

I’ve got a better idea. Let’s cut taxes all the way across the board. Let’s make it a level playing field. Just for suggestion sake, let’s call it twenty percent or simply one-fifth of your gross income. But let’s also level the field by saying that’s what you pay; no deductions, no loop holes, no breaks, just flat and even. If this were the case, I can almost guarantee the wealthy would still be the first to cry foul.

I’ve heard the argument more than once about how the wealthy pay the majority of the taxes, or how one pays his share plus the share of twenty five others. I have one response for that…poppycock.

Yes, the higher income earner pays a higher dollar figure, but as long as the percentage is in line then its fair. If I pay 25% and you pay 25% but my income is ten times what you make then it’s still fair. My take home pay is still ten times what yours is and that is the reward for my hard work.

I grow insanely weary of reading how high income bracket earners complain they should be allowed to keep more of “their money” because they made better decisions. The reward for your decisions is the higher income you already receive, and it doesn’t matter if you have 100 or 10,000 employees, getting all the work done doesn’t happen single-handed.

All of those workers deserve to make a life for themselves too, and if they do the job they are asked to perform they should be rewarded and not belittled as expendable assets.

Its true that under our present system the tax rates climb as the income brackets go up, but the only reason that trend has continued is an attempt to compensate for all the ways the wealthy keep inventing more deductions and loopholes.

The truly sad part is men like the Koch brothers, who inherited a thriving business from their family and then litigated against each other for ownership, continue to expend millions to buy the Congressmen it takes to make their shortcuts legal. Our country and our government was intended to represent the will of the majority of its citizens, not the few with the greatest wealth.

This country should have the most robust middle class in the world. We should have a public school system second to none, a national health care system superior to any found in other countries across the globe, and a military that cares for its veterans, both physically and mentally, long after their tours of duty have ended.

Oliver Wendell Holmes famously stated, “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.” There will always be those who scoff at that statement, those who will call it socialist or communist or both, but without a government with the ability to act upon needed things on a national scale, we degenerate into a collection of bickering states or the “50 Angry Little Countries of America.” That was not what this nation was founded upon, and in my personal opinion, the desire for a country that thrives as a whole is patriotic.

I find it ironic that conservatives and Republicans oppose so many of these objectives, especially given how often they proclaim that God should be more prominent in our nation. The last I checked, The Kingdom of God is not a democracy, and all wealth belongs to Him. His Kingdom is also one where there is no poor among them, and all needs are provided for. The city of Enoch embodied all of these concepts and kept them with such faith that The Almighty gathered and lifted the entire city into Heaven as a reward for their living so close to perfection.

We are far removed from such a state in this country, and I see little correlation between the actions of the Republicans and the giving nature of The Lord. The well being of people should come before stockholders or campaign contributors. There have always been rich and poor among us, but the tyranny of wealth has always ended badly.

We should be better than that.

The Right to Bear Arms

Has there ever been a more hotly debated subject in the history of our nation? I don’t know, but this one has raged for far too long.

The text of the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights reads,

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The purists say loud and long that the above statement guarantees them the right to own any and all firearms they wish, and most believe it should be so without any regulation. However, the unregulated ownership of such weapons doesn’t seem to fall under the parameters of a “well regulated Militia.”

Given the fact this case has been before the Supreme Court on several occasions, I’ll assume some of the following views have already been debated, add infinitum.

Now let’s be clear, I’m a former gun owner, and a former NRA member, but I sold the guns for both financial and safety concerns when my children were young. I declined further membership in the NRA because I don’t agree with their wide open direction.

I’ve had the privilege of personally knowing several police officers in my lifetime, and the concerns they voiced I agreed with wholeheartedly. When we tie the hands of Law Enforcement to prevent violence and harm, we do ourselves and our community a great disservice. When an officer complains aloud that he is forced to stand idly by while a citizen sells second-hand firearms to other people that require no check or registration of any kind, knowing full well those guns are headed for the hands of black-market criminals, we have a serious problem. In my personal view, the NRA should be the spearhead in helping Law Enforcement keep firearms out of such questionable hands.

I don’t want to see a complete ban on firearms placed on the general public, and I wouldn’t rule out the option of someday owning another gun, but as a law-abiding citizen I don’t fear that Law Enforcement is my enemy in such matters. In the same way we expect police officers to be trained to do their jobs and use their firearms with both accuracy and prudence, why are so many gun owners opposed to doing the same themselves?

I’ve made the comparison before between guns and cars, generally being shouted down that driving and car ownership is a privilege and not a right. Yet the Second Amendment begins with the purpose of a “Well regulated Militia.” I believe the comparison to be quite valid. I have the right and freedom to buy a car if I so choose, but I do not have the right to use that vehicle with reckless abandon, endangering the lives of myself and others.

I was required to complete training to prove my competence, and obtain a license that I must keep current while retaining my fitness to those standards. I would not want to climb aboard an airliner knowing its pilot was untrained, substandard, or criminally negligent, nor would I want those same problems existing with police officers, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel. Why then are gun owners so exempt from any such standard?

To be even more nit-picky in the face of “it’s my right,” the text reads, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms.” No, cars didn’t exist in that time, but “arms” could just as easily be swords, knives, bow and arrows, slingshots, or pitchforks. The text doesn’t say, “firearms, rifles, muskets, pistols, or cannons,” all of which did exist at the time of said writing.

Why do gun owners fear the responsibility of law enforcement? Huge numbers of people die on our roads and highways each year but no legislation is underway to ban the ownership of motor vehicles. As a responsible driver, I have no objections to the laws that provide me the means to buy and sell an automobile with a measure of protection, and I am happy those laws provide police with viable ways to track and apprehend those who commit crimes.

If I chose to own another gun, and had to go through the very same process it takes for me to purchase a car, then I’m fine with that. If we are ever going to see a measure of safety for our children, grandchildren, and loved ones, then we need to give our law enforcement the tools and information they need to reach criminals before they have the chance to act. It will never be foolproof any more than saying there will never be another highway death, but we should be helping the problem instead of fighting against the very people who serve to protect us.

The concept of armed citizens has its valid points, and in many rural areas of the country, police response time is daunting due to the distance they must cover. In such cases, an armed citizen essentially assumes the role of the peace officer, which makes training and competent responsibility all the more vital.

I believe the vast majority of police officers would welcome such assistance, but the last thing we need in an “Old West”, frontier gunslinger mentality. Unfortunately, I hear that point of view touted far too often as a solution to such problems. They are usually the same people who believe that armed teachers should be in every classroom.

Seriously? I personally wouldn’t want any child of mine trying to get an education in an environment where they fear for their lives each day. Schools need security as opposed to weapons. We do it for the safety of public sporting events and concerts, so why not where our children go to learn and grow?

If we want a safe country, then we should be an extension of our valiant men and women who serve to protect our communities, not their opposition. We should provide them the help they need to effectively do their jobs, even if that means a little extra paperwork to put us in the ranks of those on the side of peace and justice.