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Listen and learn

The world has to be going to hell!

I’ve been given fair warning – their words, not mine – by Publisher’s Clearing House that if I don’t shape up and begin answering their e-mails that I can be guaranteed that I will not win $5000 a week for life; not only that, but I won’t be allowed to name someone else to win $5000 a week for their life. In other words, I’m not only a dumb sumbitch, but I’m also cruel and uncaring about others. If that isn’t a blatant attempt to touch on all my emotions, I don’t know what the hell is. There was a time when I played their silly game. It reached the point where they told me that someone with my first and last names, living at my address, would be the winner. Of course that didn’t turn out to be true – damn, they must have a huge legal staff to cover their collective asses on this stuff – so I figured “Fool me once; shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” and I stopped answering their queries. I guess the next step will be some attempt at threat or perhaps we haven’t run the emotional gamut quite yet. If they really begin to lose all interest, I might just hop back in for a while to restore their faith in the stupidity of mankind.

Next, I want you to understand just how important a personage whose egocentric, esoteric, and asinine writings you are now perusing. Here’s how it goes: First, I received a letter from Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid of East Bumfuck or somewhere else. When he had the audacity to address me as “Dear Fellow Democrat, I became irritated, write back, and said, “Harry, you got the wrong guy, buddy; I’m Independent and always have been.” Harry didn’t reply. Then I went up the chair. Joe Biden wrote and used the same salutation. I figured Joe wasn’t going to answer my mail anyway, but his plea was the same as Harry’s; “Send money to save the Democratic Party and protect us from those terrible rich Republicans.” To be quite honest, I though Joe overdid it a bit; didn’t even sound like him; I’m betting that his wife wrote the copy. Now, the next letter…well, you’ll see just where the vice president ranks in the chain of command, because the next letter came from the President’s wife. That’s right; am I important or what? I actually received a letter from Michelle. Once again I was addressed as a “fellow Democrat,” but what the hell, she can’t be expected to know everyone in the country by name, so I let it go. She said that she, Sasha, Millea, and the dogs needed my money to hold off the attack from the far right against the all-American Democrats. It was a good letter, well written, and showed her collegiate education in the best of light.

Today, however, was the topper. You guessed it; right on target. I received the letter from the man himself. Yep, Barry wrote directly to me, his “fellow Democrat.” Wow, how could I help but be impressed to hear from old number 44 himself? He told me that “Congress is broken.” I wanted to say, “No shit, Dick Tracy,” but I wasn’t certain he would appreciate the sarcasm. Then I wanted to say, “If the United States Congress is so broken, what are you and the judicial branch of our government doing to go about fixing it?” I knew that would just piss him off because he has better things to do like going off on fund-raising junkets and talking on the telephone with the heads of state in Europe about ‘Vlad the Bad.”  Now I don’t know whether or not the President realizes it or not, but EU countries aren’t going to put too many sanctions on Russia since 70 of their oil and gas comes from Russia. It’s sort of like not killing the goose that’s killing the goose that lays the golden egg. While the Netherlands may be really upset that so many of its citizens were killed by a Russian rocket – c’mon, let’s not beat around the bush here – they also have to consider just how much of a debtor nation they are and that the debt is owed to Russia and how much they depend on Russian oil. Anyone who thinks Putin gives a damn about the rest of Europe and its criticism of him and his nation is living in la-la land…not until the 44th President of the United States.

However, I digress. We were discussing Barry’s letter telling me that “Congress is broken.” I guess it’s not all of Congress that is in the shitter because he then went on to tell me only about the House of Representatives – I’ve always claimed there were too many of those idiots in government anyway – and how ‘they’ “…shut down the government for 16 days and threatened to default on our debt.”  He told me that ‘they’ “…blocked equal pay for women and lower interest rates on student loans.” In addition, he said that ‘they’ “…said ‘no’ to fixing our broken immigration system and voted 50 times to repeal affordable health care for millions of Americans.”

The letter from the President was a four-page diatribe about how horrible “…a small, rigid faction of the Republican Party” is and how it blocks progress at every turn.

Okay, I admit that I did vote for you…both times. That doesn’t make me anything other than a voter who thought your vision for what we needed was better than the other guy’s. I addition, it scared the living daylights out of me to think that Sarah was a heartbeat away from the Presidency. But, I have to say that you’ve failed me. You’ve been rather stand offish with people from the other party except in times when you really needed their help. You appear to be a “my way or the highway” kinda guy, and I don’t care for that. Thankfully, the members of the Tea Party are starting to get recognized as the true naïve assholes that they are, but it’s too late.  You say that you want to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, “to preserve the benefits we’ve all paid for and earned.” That’s admirable, but if you’re anything like the Clinton’s, who left the White House “Dead broke” – I came damn near close to dying of laughter when I heard that one – you won’t have to be worrying about Social Security and Medicare as you age. You add that you want to “Make the minimum wage a living wage and create good-paying jobs, so that all citizens can attain their own American dreams.” Hey, doofus, aren’t you forgetting something? If you create a situation where wages are higher, don’t you think prices are going to be higher? Working people may be able to afford eggs and butter, but we retirees live on a fixed income and no matter what you do, you can’t increase Social Security benefits enough to make our lives more palatable.

There are all sorts of things you tell us we can do if we just get rid of the Republicans in Congress. Lord, I certainly hope not. If laws are going to be passed just because we have a one party system passing them, it scares hell out of me that they will be as poorly thought out and written as the Affordable Care Act. Then, they’ll get repealed by the next Congress and we’ll be back to square one. For God’s sake, Barry, you and Congress all need to get over yourselves. You’ll serve eight years; Congressmen and women may serve shorter periods of time. You have one single job over the next two years of your term and it isn’t to create some kind of lunatic legacy. Your job, the job of John Boehner; the job of Republicans and Democrats alike is to bring this country back together. Right now it is so fragmented as to be ridiculous. Instead of continuously opening your mouths, you have to shut up and open your ears – no comment because I’ll match you ear for ear…and I’ll win – and listen. I don’t mean you should listen to each other’s prejudiced bullshit. You need to listen to Mr. & Mrs. America. What are their priorities? What will help them to live better…or as you politicians like to put it, “achieve their American dream.” See, when I put it that way, it sounds just as stupid as it does when you politicians say it.

You’ve had your shot, Barry. I don’t want any more letters. I want you, Michelle, Joe, Harry, and your counterparts in the Republican Party to get out there with zipped lips; make no vague promises. Just listen and learn; if not for you, then for America.

Cherish the day

There is a great deal to be said about an early September day when it arrives in the latter part of July. Yesterday we were bombarded by rain and an F2 tornado that struck not too far from here, but today…today has brought with it sunshine, white puffy clouds, and air so dry you can create static electricity by walking across the grass in your bare feet. Not such a morning as this has struck and been cause for celebration in many a moon.

I arose early this morning. Although all of the windows were closed and the air conditioning was in a lull, there was something that had permeated the house, giving it a fresh feel that fairly screamed, “Wake up and celebrate this morning…get up dammit, get up!” Never one to disobey a ‘fresh feel,’ I dragged my weary bones – getting less weary by the second, I might add – and let Widget, our Cairn terrier out to perform her morning ablutions. Even opening the back door, I could feel the beckoning call of cool – not cold or warm – breezes telling me to get out of the house and enjoy…which I did.

Now, I must describe our backyard to you. As you step out onto the concrete patio, you are assaulted by the smell of flowers…roses of many kinds, poppies, petunias, hibiscus, and heaven only knows what else assault your senses with wonderful aromas. Flowers in window boxes; flowers in pots; flowers in beds; flowers just about everywhere; well everywhere that there aren’t tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Yes, our backyard is a multiplicity of gardens. Fear not, however, for there is a pathway to the lava rock patio surrounding an eighteen by thirty-six foot irregularly shaped swimming pool. I say that the patio is lava rock not because of its color, but because no matter how hot it gets, this patio never gets above 72o..

As Widget took off a) sniffing to see what wild animals had been in the yard last night; and b) at some point getting to the pee and poop part of her day, I headed for my favorite chair. This is no ordinary chair I want you to know; this is my ‘special’ chair! When I sit in this chair, I am magically transported; my entire focus on life changes. I sit and the chair begins to surround me; I lay back and the chair lays back with me until I see my toes – ugly little suckers – and I can stare at the sky. This morning, with the cool air and puffy clouds, it was my idea of perfection. The blue of the sky; the blue of the water, the cool breeze…everything combined to release every bit of tension from me. I was more relaxed and more at ease than any time since my “gym incident” of a couple of weeks ago.

This may all sound like a bunch of hooey to you – bullshit, if you want to get downright crass about it – but this morning was beyond beautiful. We happen, at times, on a flight approach to Logan International Airport in Boston. We can easily identify what airline is flying in and sometimes even those flying out. At the height at which we see them, they aren’t all that noisy and this morning, they merely looked like huge silver birds. In addition, a flock – or whatever one calls them – of Canada geese flew over silently. Have to tell you that I’m not all that crazy about those birds. They’re as bad as turkeys in terms of leaving deposits that let you know they’ve been around your area. Usually in flight, I hear the damn things honking to beat the band, but these were so silent and so low, you could hear the flapping of their wings…hot dam!

I lay there from shortly after six until darn near 7:30. Widget did her thing as I stared at the sky. At some point, I must have drifted off, only to be awakened by a harsh dog bark. Widget seems to take exception to joggers as they go by…either that or it’s her form of greeting…yeah, right.

It’s now 11:30 in the morning. The sun has risen above the pine trees and is now shedding light on the pool. The temperature has risen, although it’s only supposed to be in the seventies today. I do believe that this is too beautiful a day to waste. It seems to me that the wisest course of action to pursue is to take a hot shower, jump into a bathing suit, grab a quick lunch, take my Kindle in hand, and head back to my chair. Will I take a dip in the pool? Who knows, but on a day like this, anything is possible. Gotta love this day and cherish every one like it!

The war in America

There is a war going on in America. It is a war that is so silent and yet so deadly that most Americans don’t even know it exists. The only public evidence of this war took place nearly ten years ago. On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh, an anti-government radical militant detonated a truck bomb that destroyed the north wall of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The bomb killed 168 people. It wasn’t the opening salvo by right-wing militia groups but it was, by far, the most devastating to date.

We see on television the civil wars in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, and other places around the world, but we rarely think of our own country as being in a similar situation. No, there aren’t rebel groups with tanks and surface to air missiles…that we know of, but there are any number anti-government groups, generally organized around the issue of gun control, that might at any moment decide to make themselves known via the McVeigh phenomenon.

A little over a year ago, Donna Leinwand Leger, writing for USA Today, noted that according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “…the number of groups operating in the USA reached an all-time high in 2012.”  She added that, “The center tracked 1,360 radical militias and anti-government groups in 2012, an eightfold increase over 2008, when it recorded 149 such groups. The explosive growth began four years ago, sparked by the election of President Obama and anger about the poor economy, the center says. That growth is likely to continue as the groups recruit more members with a pro-gun message, the center’s senior fellow Mark Potok said.

As Congress continues its threat to impeach the President; as Secretary of State John Kerry returns home without any accord between the Palestinians and the Israelis; as we see the chasm widening between the one percent and the rest of the nation, it’s frightening to believe that we have over one thousand militias, any one of which could suddenly decided to attempt a takeover of a town or hold hostage a city by different forms of violence.

Perhaps one of the signs that the right wing militia is becoming more active took place last month when a married couple, Jerad and Amanda Miller killed, without reason, two Las Vegas police officers and an innocent civilian. Alter Net wrote, “Police say they proclaimed “the beginning of the revolution,” and laid an American Revolutionary flag and a swastika symbol on the dead officers’ bodies before turning the guns on themselves.” Incidents of this nature appear to be on the rise in a number of states across the country.

It seems to me that most of us just chuckle when we learn that one of our neighbors is a member of the such-and-such militia, and we may remark that he, or in some cases she, always was a little on the strange side…”if ya know what I mean.”  Please don’t get me wrong; I am not trying to cause a panic among the few folks who read this blog. What I am trying to get across is that we stand damn near as good a chance of having more idiots like the Millers, McVeigh, Dennis Marx, who attacked a Georgia courthouse and was killed, and many others doing their best to take potshots that undermine our way of government and life and diverting assets that could well be used elsewhere.

Americans are so used to seeing terrorism in other parts of the world that we have become, somewhat justifiably, complacent as well as ignorant to the fact that it could happen here. Even after the episode with Timothy McVeigh, people appeared to believe that he was just a nut, and we really had nothing about which to be concerned. Few even considered the fact that McVeigh had spent time with the Michigan militia which advocates armed resistance to federal authority.

Have I gone completely around the bend on this topic? No, I don’t think so. There are protests daily near several federal buildings in Washington. Thank God that they, while noisy at times, are confined to carrying protest signs against this thing or that. For the most part, protests appear to center on two major topics: guns and birth. Groups are terrified that their guns will be taken away and that the federal government will then control them by armed force and they will have no way of defending themselves. The pro- and anti-birthers protests center on whether or not a woman should or should not be able to do with her body as she wishes.

On a purely personal note, I often wonder if Homeland Security is fully aware of the amount of dissension there is in our own country. This group doesn’t want to pay taxes because they believe all of their money is going overseas to help some country in Africa…and they hate black people; or going to make the rich richer in Washington because they see how many Congressmen are now millionaires; or feel that they aren’t receiving any benefit from the taxes they pay because they won’t or don’t want to take the time to see where the money actually goes. There are any numbers of reasons why some Americans hate America. The federal government is too big and interferes with the states; the states are taking too much and giving too little. It goes on and on and on ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Mr. Lincoln hit the nail squarely on the head when he told us, “You can please some of the people all of the time. You can please all of the people some of the time. But you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” The frightening thing is that some of the people who are not pleased any of the time appear to be growing in numbers. Until the government stops looking abroad for problems to solve and begins to look inward, USA could, in the near future, stand for the Ununited States of Anarchy, and that would be just too damned bad.

Okay, here’s a question for you…what brand of jeans do you wear? You do; why, why would you wear that particular brand of jeans? Sorry, both of those questions are unfair. However, will someone kindly tell me why in the name of God there are so many freaking brands of jeans on the market? C’mon, slap on a pair of Levi’s and get off your fat ass! Oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to infer that Levi’s make your ass look fat. Maybe you should try a pair of Bongo’s, Todd Oldham’s, Marithé + François Girbaud’s, Gitano Jeanswear, Chip & Pepper’s, B.U.M. Equipment, X-AM Jeans,’ or, well, you get the picture. The kicker is that I probably didn’t name one pair of blue jeans you’ve never heard of [I know; I ended a sentence with a preposition; bug off!]. Just think, I never mentioned True Religion, Diesel, Wrangler, Calvin Klein, Killer, Nostrum, Lee, Pepi Jeans, London, or Big Star, and those are supposed to be the big sellers.

What the hell is it with people? A pair of blue jeans is made from denim. Do you care that it has this tag or that rivet, or this embroidery. People are so fucking fussy about the type of jeans that they put on, probably over dirty underwear – not you lady; it’s all those other people who wear dirty underwear. It just boggles the mind…not the dirty underwear; it’s the number of brands of blue jeans that boggles the mind.

Years ago, Izod was the brand of polo shirt that one just had to have. It was the IN-style if you were to be anyone at all. I remember my late wife buying a couple of Izod shirts and when the kids wore them out, she would cut off the alligator that had become the brand symbol and sew it onto Marshall’s finest…which cost less than half what the Izod shirt’s did.

I remember finding a Pierre Cardin suit in a discount store. My family insisted that I purchase it despite the fact that the tailoring cost goddamn near as much as the suit itself. I don’t do that stuff anymore. I find that the clothing I enjoy wearing comes more from Ocean State Job Lots and while I do get my cross trainers from New Balance, it’s from their factory outlet store and they’re all seconds. I will admit to buying some T-shirts on line but those are the shirts with slightly risqué sayings on them. It’s fun to watch the expressions on the faces of people at the gym. I have yet to get my face slapped or have one torn from my bod, not that I’d give a damn anyway; I just do it to get attention…now there’s an admission you won’t hear every day.

I just don’t see the big deal with wearing designer clothing that is always overpriced and that, in many cases, turn people into walking billboards for Tommy Hilfiger, Old Navy, the Gap, Under Armor, or some other company.  Perhaps I’m just too old to understand the importance of wearing Alexander Wang, L.L. Bean, J. Crew, or Givenchy. Of course, if I ever reached the point of seeing an actual woman wearing anything by Victoria Secret, I’d either have to wake up or keel over.

Perhaps style is everything to some people. I remember when my oldest grandchild wore her first pair of Ugg boots everywhere except to bed. I don’t know that she didn’t wear them to bed. I was just too grandfatherly to check and too much of a gentleman to ask. There was a time when my late wife and I were informed that any clothing we were planning to buy for our teenage son could only be purchased at Banana Republic. This information was given to us by our teenage daughter because our son was too embarrassed to tell us himself. Damn, but I had a hard time not lording that over him in his later years. After he began his career as a swim coach, his tops generally consisted of T-shirts, polo shirts, or sweats that bore the name of the team he happened to be coaching at the time. It was particularly great when he joined USA Swimming because Dad picked up a great deal of USA Olympic gear. Now that he’s at the University of Michigan, I get to be the proud recipient of the maize and blue.

Perhaps men just aren’t as brand conscious as women are, but I will tell you that when I was working at a small, private, and rather prestigious institution of higher education – read as “a college mentioned by U.S. News & World Report – the young men were extremely fashionable in their choice of attire, right down to their top siders in the fall and spring, Bean boots and outerwear in the winter, and other proper accoutrements at the appropriate times.

Call me an old fart or old fashioned; it doesn’t matter to me, but I’ll be damned if I will ever pay ninety-nine dollars for a dress shirt just because it happens to have someone’s name on it; a person I will never meet and really don’t care about meeting. Neither will I pay $200 for a necktie that I would wear only once, and that would be at my wake, were I to even have one. Not too long ago, two of my high school classmates passed away within a couple of months of each other. At the first wake, my friend and fellow teammate was dressed in a pair of khaki’s an open-collared shirt and a nice sweater. That was exactly how I remembered him; that was him in every respect. The other classmate looked like a stiff in his black suit, dress shirt, and necktie that looked like it might have run around $150. He didn’t look all that happy, but what the hell, it probably wasn’t his choice anyway.

Just seems to me that rather than pay a lot more than you have to, you should get the best that looks good on you for the least price. However, if you’re determined to wear only the best, don’t forget to let the tags hang out so everyone can get a better look.

Beautiful things

Dr. Doolitlle sang to us that, “The world is full of beautiful things; butterfly wings, fairy tale kings. And each new day undoubtedly brings still more beautiful things.” That was then, my good Doctor; that is not now. The world today is not filled with beautiful things. It’s filled with the ugliness of street protests; of wars directed at terrorists, but which kill mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, babies not yet a year old. It’s filled with airplanes being shot down by people who call themselves patriots but who are no more than rebel rabble, encouraged by a 19th Century soulless lunatic who fancies himself a god and who won’t be happy until he controls the world.

The United States is no more immune to this ugliness than any other country. Shootings in schools, hospitals, on the street, and in churches dominate our headlines. “We take you now to so-and-so who is kneeling by the dying body of a citizen we have identified as John Jones.” Forget the fact that no one as yet has notified the family…

“…Tell me, Mr. Jones, how does it feel to be dying of gunshot wounds? What’s that, I can’t quite hear you? Would you please speak up for our viewers? Oops too late. Well, back to you in the studio.”

It’s damn near that bad. Meanwhile, Mrs. Jones, who happens to be watching the evening news, dies of a heart attack after seeing her husband killed on live television…but the news must go on.

What is wrong with our world? Children from Latin American countries coming streaming across the border into the United States because if they stay in their own countries they will be killed. That’s not right; it’s just not right. What makes these unaccompanied kids believe that they will not be sent back, that they might not be killed or worse here. America is filled with unscrupulous people who would love to get their hands on these kids for reasons so nefarious I won’t give anyone ideas.

Yes, the world used to be a beautiful place…but wait a minute; it wasn’t that the world was so beautiful; it was that we lived in ignorant bliss. It wasn’t beautiful during the Revolutionary or Civil War, World Wars I and II. It wasn’t so beautiful during the Crash of ’29. It wasn’t particularly pleasant during the period we look back on and call the Cold War, nor Korea, nor Vietnam. The world became less beautiful as we became more technologically proficient. Today, we can watch the missiles fly and the bombs explode. We can look at plane wreckage and pick out a leg here or an almost whole body there. Why? Because we can do it. Whether or not we should be doing it is not up for debate. And the majority of the American public laps this shit up like a thirsty dog at a water bowl.

The news must be reported. I have no quarrel with that. I watch the news and yes, I stay glued to the set when tragedy is the big story. Time was I wouldn’t watch news after six in the evening. Now I don’t watch it after seven. CBS has taken to ending their national news each evening with a “feel good” story, and I like that. The only problem is that the rest of the newscast is generally filled with blood, guts, and gore.

I also find that the news is filled with exaggeration and outright lies. Let me give you an example: This morning, a reporter attempted to speak with one of the parties in a supermarket feud that is happening in Massachusetts. The man absolutely refused to answer any of the reporter’s questions. He was polite and stated merely that he had to go to work and get ready for a board meeting. That was it. There was no interview per se. This afternoon, this same station led with, “Watch Byron Barnett’s exclusive interview with so-and-so.” That, my friends, is a bold faced lie. This morning, the station estimated the size of the crowd which was demonstrating as a part of this feud outside one of the markets. The talking head was trying to tell me that there were five to ten thousand people. Sorry, idiot, you’re speaking to someone who knows how to estimate crowds and there were less than a thousand people. This afternoon, when the camera went back, there might have been 2,500 but certainly no more. Stop; stop lying to me! Stop exaggerating.

Another line that is popular with those who read the news today – please don’t call them reporters – is “…a story you will see only on one station,” or “…a story you will see only on this station.” Fear not because other stations will have the same story; it will just be in a different format or from a different point of view.

Am I blaming technology for changing our world from a beautiful place to one of ugliness? No, we’ve done a fine enough job of doing that on our own. It’s just that we find out about tragedy and death and destruction as soon as it happens today. It’s almost as though ugly is the new beautiful. Blood and gore are the new June and Ward Cleaver, and the Beaver is the shooter…or is that Eddie Haskell?

Don’t worry, Dr. Doolittle; there are still many of us who believe that “The world abounds with many delights, magical sights, fanciful flights…and those who dream on beautiful nights…dream of beautiful things; beautiful people like you. Good is still the overwhelming force in our world. I hope and pray that it will remain that way forever.

 

According to Global Security.org there are currently nearly 50 wars taking place around the world.  The Washington Blog maintains that the United States is currently engaged in or helping to foment 74 wars worldwide. It sort of makes one wonder who is trying to jerk whose chain doesn’t it? The Washington Blog adds that we – the US of A that is – is also fighting many more covert wars without Congressional oversight and without public knowledge. Geez, I never thought we were such sneaky bastards. It’s no wonder we have a multi-trillion dollar deficit. It rather pisses me off then that I received only thirty-eight cents per week increase in my Social Security this year.

There is no question that the Internet is a great resource for examining or researching certain subjects; however, one must be extremely cautious in determining which research sources to use. I have a rule of thumb: Always check three data sources, but check the data sources first. We know that in we’re dealing with a right- or left-wing source, we cannot believe one bloody word. Therefore, if I check FOX or CNN, I know the views will be slanted. Finding the truth amidst the bias can often be sufficiently difficult that it seems easier just to ignore their reports and find something intelligent.

It really terrifies me that the United States is considered to be, both by itself and others, as the world’s policemen. One of the reasons it terrifies me is that I have seven male grandchildren. Knowing the two females as I do, they’d probably want to get into any scrap that’s going on also, but I worry about the possibility of reinstating the draft because we’re stretched too thin; and of my grandsons having to go to war, not to defend the US but because we’re trying to help some other country that can’t solve its own problems. I won’t be around to see it because they’re too young and I’m too old, but it bothers me that, not unlike Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and even Korea, my kids won’t understand why they are being shot at or wounded, or even killed. It’s rather strange because I don’t think of America is a warring nation…a warrior mentality perhaps, but not a country that seeks out wars just because we like to kill. It makes me wonder sometimes if war is God’s way of population control. Since I happen to believe in a New Testament God that it very unlikely that he is concerned about population in any way.

If you remember the movie, Miss Congeniality, with Sandra Bullock, all of the beauty queen contestants at some point said that they wished for world peace. It was a joke to most of the characters in this comedy, and I guess it’s probably a serious joke to those not living in the fantasy land of film. World peace is an impossibility; you know it; I know it. There will always be some large group of zealots, religious or otherwise, who are dissatisfied with the status quo and who want violent change.  One of the reasons our form of government appears to succeed is that we can make changes periodically without having to shed blood…at least not yet. Perhaps we consider ourselves too sophisticated to resort to such gauche behavior. It isn’t really a case of sophistication so much as it is a desire not to kill the golden geese known as lobbyists and major donors. Ah, but perhaps I speak too harshly of our friends who “govern” our country [bullshit!}.

America has chosen to be what it is. I’m not certain that our goal is to achieve world stability so much as it is to keep the fires tamped down to the extent that we can. This world has probably always known the spectrum of hate at one extreme and love at the other; of peace at one end of a spectrum and all-out warfare at the other. We can make scales of anything and put extremes, as unrealistic as they may be at either end, and because we are who we are, there will always be humans stretching all along the scale, and our nation wants to shift with the side that will keep that scale in balance. Words seem to fail me when I speak of such a delicate balance between peaceful co-existence and Armageddon. As the song says, “I am but a small voice,” and I really don’t know how to put an end to all of the human sacrifice that is brought about by war. The entire world seems to have lost its sense of just how precious life is; we seem willing to sacrifice it without thought. Over 1.6 million people die each year from violence. While that may seem like a drop in the bucket of world population, I’m quite certain you would feel differently if just one of those was someone you cared about or perhaps was a close friend.

What’s my point? I’m not even certain that I know. Wars will be fought; combatants and innocent alike will die. No one seems to be willing to talk; it’s “ready, fire, aim,” and damned be the peace. Just remember that one day – it may be in a year or a century – one day someone will decide to push the big button. At that point, there will be no more need to concern whoever is left…because there will be none.

My ignorance is vast. I know nothing about so many things that it boggles the mind. One thing that I do know, however, is that to compare the illegal child immigrants who are crossing our border in staggering numbers to the Jewish children of WWII or the victims of the Katrina hurricane is both asinine and stupid. I would more likely compare it to Castro opening the jail cells and sending his boatloads of criminals to Miami.

Immigrants built this country. The English were immigrants when they landed on our shores, although if one were to propose that to some of their descendants, one would catch one large ration of shit for even suggesting such a thing. The Irish, Italians, Chinese, and Slavs who came to America seeking a better life did so because they couldn’t achieve a damned thing in their own countries. We welcomed them and they repaid their adopted countries by making major contributions to the growth of our nation.

I cannot tell you the exact number of children 4 – 17 who have recently crossed our southern border from Mexico into the United States. I’ve heard anything from 50,000 on upward. I’m told they have braved the terrors of their own countries just to come to the US.  My reaction is, “So what?” Now we are talking about feeding them, giving them medical examinations and care, and sending them into our schools. I’m sorry but there are millions of kids in this country whom we are not feeding, not giving medical attention, and while they may be in school, they are not learning because of their own malnutrition and medical problems. No…no, no, no…we cannot afford, as a nation, to be taking in unaccompanied children from South American nations just because we are the supposed breadbasket of the world.

“It’s the humanitarian thing to do,” says the Governor of Massachusetts and the Cardinal of our Archdiocese. Well, gee, if that’s the case Governor, then you take twenty into your house, and Cardinal, you take another twenty into your house, and since your both so generous and have so many people working for you, why don’t you pick out your employees whom you wish to take twenty each into their houses. I’m not being a NIMBY on this because it probably won’t affect me directly; at least not until my property taxes go up because our town decides it needs to build more schools because some liberal asshole decides it would be a good thing if our community begins to house these “poor, unfortunate immigrant children.” Excuse me, dipstick but you left out one word…illegal. That means they aren’t here legally. What a wonderful word, “legal,” is. If I do something illegal, I get punished; if these illegal children come across the border they get fed, accommodated, medically treated, and sent to school. What about this makes no sense? “But they’re children.” Good, that means we can fit more of them on the planes that will take them back to their own countries. “But their own countries have horrible living conditions.” Well, isn’t that just too damned bad. Have you seen the way some Americans living here are being forced to live? “But their countries are rife with murderers and they will be in danger.” Good, let’s pack them all into some of the empty auto factories in Detroit. They’ll learn what danger is in no time flat.

Our country is still recovering from one of the worst recessions we had ever seen. We do not need any more illegal aliens in our nation. There are already 11 million undocumented men, women and children living here. That means they don’t pay taxes if they don’t care to; it means they can receive medical attention if they know how to play the system. It means their kids go to school basically free of charge. It means they are playing the system and getting away with it…not unlike the very wealthy one percent…but that’s a story for another time.

I have read that some of this invasion might be the work of drug cartels; that they are encouraging this influx in order to divert funds and attention from their own activities to bring drugs across the border. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Cartel leadership has grown in sophistication in the same way that the old “mustache Pete’s” of the Mafioso evolved into college-educated, highly sophisticated men and women who were just as vicious but far more well-mannered about it.

The President has asked for $3.7 billion to care for this onslaught of foreign invaders – hey, it’s another way of looking at it – and I say, “Forget it, Mr. President.” Sure, these are children coming from dangerous countries; so what? Will they be killed if they are returned to their own countries? Chances are pretty good that they will. Are their governments doing anything to protect them? Obviously not, but why not? We give aid to these countries, don’t we? What happens to all that money? In other words, are we merely pouring good money after bad and supporting people who don’t give a damn about their citizens?

Is immigration reform needed? It most assuredly is, but the type of reform that is needed right now is to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into this country by enforcing the existing laws. If the President wants money from Congress, let it be to stop the flow of illegal immigrants by beefing up our border patrols; by providing greater funding to those who are trying to stop the flood, both of drugs and people. Let us identify the 11 million who are living here illegally and give them a way to achieve legal status, but for God’s sake, let’s  stop making invidious comparisons between the children who are being sent to the US just to flood the borders and people who arrived on our shores for genuine humanitarian reasons.

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