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I must be going blind. This is not a literal statement, but in a figurative sense, there is no question that my vision has taken a bad turn somewhere. I cannot see why anyone in their right mind or with corrected vision would ever consider Donald J. Trump to be Presidential. Custodial perhaps, but Presidential? It’s not difficult to see why many Americans believe Trump to be a Messiah of some ilk. He boasts; he brags; he puts forth plans that, on the surface, appeal to those with little or no knowledge of how the plans would actually work. He’s a showman; a carnie man, a television personality, a failed businessman who bends the truth to meet his personal requirements.

Trump states that he inherited one million dollars from his family. History shows and Forbes Magazine confirms that the amount was closer to $40 million. With that money, he has amassed an enormous net worth of, according to him, $10 billion. Again, going back to Forbes, that net worth is closer to $4.7 billion. It’s still a lot of money but how it’s been garnered is open to question. In the 1980s, when Trump Plaza was being constructed, a sub-contract when to S&A Concrete, a company partially owned by the mafia. “Trump World Tower, supported by the Quadrozzi Concrete Company, is also tangentially related to La Cosa Nostra. The head of the company, John Quadrozzi Sr., was tied to the Lucchese crime family and indicted for making illegal payoffs to the mob in 1992.”1 The list goes on and on about Trump’s nefarious dealings with the mob. If one of the qualities of a President is assumed to be “A person of strong character,” Trump fails to meet the standard.

Let’s take a moment to look at some of Trump’s business failures: The Eastern Airlines Shuttle from Boston to New York and Washington ran for 27 years. Many was the time that I would hop a 6:30 am shuttle to head to either destination. It was a great convenience (plus free parking). In 1988, Trump purchased the service for a reported $365 million. He improved the look of the service by adding maple-wood veneer to the floors, chrome-plated seat belt clasps and gold bathroom fixtures. It didn’t work and the Trump Shuttle never turned a profit. The high debt accrued forced Trump to default on his loans, and the shuttle ceased to exist in 1992. In 2006, Trump introduced Trump Vodka, designed to compete with Grey Goose. If you happen to own a bottle of Trump’s vodka, hold onto it because it’s highly doubtful you’ll find it on liquor store shelves today…but you will find Grey Goose.

Claire Sudduth of Time Magazine noted in an article about Trump’s bankruptcies, “”I don’t like the B word,” Donald Trump said in 2010 while testifying in a New Jersey bankruptcy courtroom about his gambling company, Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., which had filed for bankruptcy for the third time. Given the number of times Trump has flirted with bankruptcy, you’d think he’d be used to that word by now.

“In 1990, the banking institutions that backed his real estate investments had to bail him out with a $65 million “rescue package” that contained new loans and credit. But it wasn’t enough, and nine months later the famous developer was nearly $4 billion in debt. He didn’t declare personal bankruptcy, although his famous Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, N.J., did have to file for it  Trump’s economic troubles continued through the early ’90s, while he was personally leveraged to nearly $1 billion. In 2004, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts also filed for bankruptcy. The company was only a small portion of Trump’s real estate empire, but he did still have to personally cough up $72 million to keep it afloat. In 2009, the same company filed for bankruptcy again. Yet during all of this, no one ever told Trump, “You’re fired!” Probably because no one could.2 In case you weren’t counting, Trump has gone bankrupt four times. He later claimed that those were not his failures as a businessman but strategic decisions to help him make more money. In other words, he manipulated the system for personal gain. Gee, isn’t Bernie Madoff doing time for that, along with several other sleazebags?

Much more could be said about Mr. Trump and his potential candidacy for President of the United States. In truth, he’s a bully, a bigot, a racist, a sexist, a liar, and perhaps the worst individual ever to be considered for the highest office in the land. I never cared much for Mitt Romney when he was Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but you can bet your boots that should he run as a third party candidate, I will be checking his name off in the voting booth.

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  1. Politifact…a division of the Tampa Bay Times
  2. Claire Sudduth, Time Magazine, April 29, 2011

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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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When are Americans going to become sufficiently pissed off that they are going to demand action be taken to bring together the Executive and the Legislative Branches of the Federal Government  to begin to cooperate?

The Speaker of the House of “Representatives” [who do they represent other than themselves] won’t bring a Senate-passed immigration bill to the floor. Then he blames the President for not doing anything about immigration reform. In California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, illegal immigrants are pouring across the border; yet, one recent poll shows that only 38 percent of Americans are concerned. If I tried to haul my butt over the border to Mexico, I’d be tossed back in the Rio Grande like an unwanted fish. Mexico’s immigration laws are far stricter than those of the United States…and they enforce them. Yes, we have border control, but it’s a bitch to patrol almost 1,896 miles of river when you’re also attempting to cover desert crossings, along with the various entry points along the four-state border. In addition, the number one priority for the customs and immigration folks now is blocking drugs from coming into the United States and blocking money from going back into Mexico to support the cartels. Many have said that we have already lost the war on drugs. Are we also giving up on the war against illegal immigrants? If the United States House of Representatives has anything to say about it, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” However, 62 percent of Americans don’t really give a damn!

According to a story in the Washington Post, the House is active in another area. It seems that Congressmen no longer will be “…required to list any of their domestic or foreign travel that was paid for by an outside group.” While they still must file such information with the House Ethics Committee, it no longer appears on the financial disclosure form which Congress members must submit annually. If anyone – other than a member of Congress because they find it so simple to lie with a straight face – can look me in the eye and tell me that this isn’t an ideal way to buy votes, I’ll eat whichever hat that person chooses from my collection. How many Americans are mad over this? Are you, or you, or you?

Earlier this week, a main commuter road and the bridge which spans it were shut down because of accidents. The road narrows at the bridge to barely two lanes. The bridge clearance is only ten feet, six inches. The first accident involved a tractor trailer and ripped off nearly his entire top. First, the trailer and truck had to be removed; not a simple task when your roof is damn near completely destroyed. This also meant that the bridge had to be inspected for potential structural damage. The following day – not 24 hours later – a truck carrying 700 pounds of live lobsters smashed into the same bridge with a similar result. Sorry, I couldn’t get there fast enough to grab any lobsters. Here’s the point of this story: That bridge has been on the government funding list for as far back as I can remember. Now, I understand that Congress is refusing to act on President Obama’s highway funding bill that will replenish the trust fund that would help to make repairs on not only the bridge noted above but on roads and bridges all over the country. Anyone in his or her right mind who votes to allow his or her Congress person, particularly in the House of “Representatives” to stay in office is a fool. It’s time for a house cleaning. In addition, it’s time we put term limits on both Senators and Congressmen for the sake of our country.

In all probability, most Americans were probably more disappointed with the outcome of the USA/Belgium soccer match than they are with the manner in which our country is now being governed. If you ask the man on the street about our government, he might say, “Yeah, nothing’s getting done but I’ve got a job; a family to support; a mortgage to pay, and besides I’m only one person and one person can’t make a difference.” He’s right; the President of the United States receives hundreds of thousands of letters each day. They are gone through by staffers who decide which ten – that’s right, ten – the President will get to read. In other words, the President isn’t listening to what we say or what we want him to hear. Our relative importance to the nation is being judged by a bunch of staffers. I know that the President can’t read all those letters, but who are the people who are looking at them? Are these staffers any more qualified to say which letters are sufficiently important for the President to read? I’m certain that the same thing is true of members of Congress. They are so important that they must have their letter-reading staffers also, and those staffers determine whether or not our Congressman or Senator gets to see what we’ve written. Government service is supposed to be honorable and representative of how you and I vote. It certainly has lost a great deal of its luster to this voter.

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This is the time of year for inaugurations, state of the states, state of the union, town meetings, and, of course, the Grammy Awards. It’s that period where we take stock of what we have or haven’t, how we’ve done during the past year, and what bullshit we will perpetuate or inaugurate on the unsuspecting public during the next year. Therefore, in keeping with this time-honored and non-sensible performance, I shall present my own state of the mind for the upcoming year and for time in perpetuity, a.k.a. Bishop’s banal diatribe….

…My fellow Americans, illegal immigrants, alien terrorists on US soil, and children of all ages…to put things mildly, the Union is not in very good shape. There is too much violence in our own nation, whether on our college and university campuses, our local schools, our shopping malls throughout the land, the streets of our inner cities and – more and more – in neighborhoods where violence has not existed before. This is both unacceptable and intolerable.

After months of discussions with the FBI, CIA, NSA, DOD, PTA, DARPA, CASE, CUPA, NRA, BSA, GSA, 4-H, ICOP, and several private contracting firms, we have reached agreement that, beginning, immediately…that means tomorrow for those of you nodding off…American soldiers and sailors, in pairs will begin patrolling every avenue, street, road, and drive in every city and town with a population of more than 500 people. Schools, from kindergarten to high school will have a pair of armed military in each and every classroom. Writ of habeas corpus is immediately suspended for the foreseeable future, and the penalty for any crime which inflicts any kind of harm on any American citizen will be punishable by immediate death. I have been reading, watching, and being told of too many crimes and I’m sick to death of it. We have ‘deevolutionated’ – okay, I made it up – back to cave man tactics as a society and, therefore, those who wish to act like Neanderthals shall be treated as they were back in the Neanderthal period. When the nation evolves back into a 21st Century society, with the mores expected of 21st Century men, women, and children, we will…slowly at first…begin to eliminate our police state.

Our plan calls for the withdrawal of all American armed forces from all bases throughout the world. I am sick to death of watching planes land at Andrews Air Force base to unload the coffins of young Americans who have died on foreign soil for no particular reason other than to make a small group of fat cats in our own nation get fatter. Just as we never see John Boehner smoking or drinking, so now, we will never see military caskets being brought home from foreign lands. In addition, we will not tolerate any attempt by any nation or combination of nations to invade – overtly or covertly – our land. We are open to free trade between our nation and others. However, the days of the US as world cop are over. If nations wish to make war among themselves or with other nations, have fun. If any nation should consider the use of nuclear weapons as acceptable, then and only then, will the United States turn the offending nation to glass. Granted, this will end the world as we know it, but what the hell, you started it, and we are fully prepared to end it.

Our native form of speech is American. While it was English for a while, it has been bastardized by various groups who now use such words as “whatevah,” “selfies,” “hinky,” and other bullshit words which have no place in a civilized society. Students using any slang in the classroom may be immediately bitch-slapped by a teacher or either of the two military peace keepers in the classroom…or all three. We will return to speaking a combination of correct English and American beginning tomorrow. Before immigrating to this country, those from other nations must demonstrate a proficiency in the English/American language that is free from native accent.

Beginning tomorrow, all citizens with assets of over five billion dollars will be required to establish foundations to benefit the less fortunate. The initial investment will consist of one billion dollars. I have requested and received consent from Messrs. Warren Buffet, William and Melissa Gates, Harry Reid, and Eric Cantor to select a board of no more than fifteen people of their choosing to administer this fund.

Beginning tomorrow, welfare families will be required to perform twenty hours of community service to be eligible for benefits. Babysitting services for children under the age of six will be provided by the National Board of Children’s Services. All adults over the age of 18 who are not attending school or college and who are unemployed will be required to participate in this Civilian Community Service Program. Those who refuse will be shot.

I could go on, but if you believe this sounds dictatorial and impossible, you’re right. That’s not the way America operates. Would we like to see our children and grandchildren more protected in our schools than they have been over the past half century? Of course we would. Does that mean patrolling the corridors of our classrooms with armed members of the military? No, not in this country…not yet… not anymore than we consider having our military patrol our streets.

Can we demand that people speak English? No, we can’t demand this. In American schools, English is the language of choice. Those unable to grasp this concept should either learn our language or return to where they won’t be burdened with having to learn it. I have always been embarrassed when I’m in Canada, not to be able to speak French, and I generally apologize for my inability to do so.

Can we demand that our billionaires use their monies to help others who haven’t been as fortunate? Of course we can’t. People like Mr. Buffet and Mr. and Mrs. Gates, just to name a few, are already doing more than their fair share to help others. As far as Harry Reid and Eric Cantor are concerned, well, you take your pick as to which one is the greater idiot.

No, I can’t give a state of the union address. We have checks and balances in this nation that protects the general public from the manner in which I sometimes express myself. But…we have many problems in this country that do need to be addressed. We seem to pay lip service and crocodile tears when a shooting occurs at an elementary or high school, a college or university, a theater or a mall, or on the streets of Boston, Chicago, or Detroit. In reality, we haven’t done a damned thing to prevent similar tragedies. We put thousands of troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, but I don’t see the same effort being put into eliminating the cartels in Central and South America, and they are killing probably more Americans daily than are being killed on the sands in the Middle East. Our problems are myriad and many, and rather than face them head-on, we quibble; we squabble; we have elected officials who are more interested in loyalty to party than they are in loyalty to America. These are our real terrorists because they refuse to let the nation move forward. As the late Thomas P. O’Neill, former speaker of the House of Representatives, said, “Country first; state second; party third. Or, if you prefer, how about Rodney King’s, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Take your pick…either one works for me.

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Let’s talk about slavery. I’m not talking about slavery in America pre-1800s. I’m speaking of world slavery; of slavery that’s been around since the beginning of civilization; since man first rose up on two legs, found a weaker individual and turned him or her into their own personal property. Think about it; slavery has been with us for so long that most of us can’t even comprehend a time when there wasn’t a question of slaves, slave ownership, slave rebellion, slave emancipation and then, slavery again in some different form and by some different name.

Isn’t it strange to say that something so uncivilized has been around since the dawn of civilization, and yet if we are to believe the Bible, murder has been around just as long. According to Discovery Education, “…In ancient civilizations, slaves were usually war captives. The victors in battle might enslave the losers rather than killing them. Over time, people have found other reasons to justify slavery. Slaves were usually considered somehow different than their owners. They might belong to a different race, religion, nationality, or ethnic background. By focusing on such differences, slave owners felt they could deny basic human rights to their slaves.” In the Bible we read in Leviticus, “…you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.” Therefore, we may assume that civilization has been built by strong backs controlled by stronger wills and minds.

Officially, slavery began in the America in 1619. A Dutch slave ship stopped in Virginia and traded 23 African slaves for food and drink. Many historians prefer to talk about indentured servitude where a craftsman or other person paid their passage to the New World by serving for a certain number of years until their debt had been paid. According to one of my late relatives, George Soule, one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact and a relative, came to this country as an indentured servant. Ironically, William Bradford, the first governor of the Plymouth Colony is also part of the family. How the hell that happened is anyone’s guess, but that’s history for ya.

As an institution, slavery still exists. Although it is underground, few will deny the slave trade that exists in the kidnapping of women to be used as sex slaves. We have to look no further than Cleveland and Ariel Castro to see slavery in the U.S. and don’t bet the farm that there aren’t other people out there who aren’t doing the same thing…they just have yet to be caught.

It’s difficult to believe but slavery existed elsewhere in the world until 1981 when Mauritania became the last country to formally abolish it. However, even in this African country, it did not become a crime until 2007. It may be illegal in Mauritania, but the dictator controlled country still tops the slave list with nearly four percent of its people living in slavery. Despite the fact that slavery is now considered illegal the world over, The Global Slavery Index, published by Australia’s Walk Free Foundation, lists India as still having nearly 14 million people enslaved. They are followed by China with 2.9 million and Pakistan with 2.1 million. Globally, the Index says that 30 million people around the world are live as slaves.

Despite the Civil War, War Between the States, or War for Southern Independence – however you wish to label it – and all of the legislation that has followed to end slavery and allow everyone to have equal rights, slavery still exists in America in 2013. If you don’t believe me, ask the local prostitute whose master we call a pimp. Ask the migrant worker who picks peaches or harvests lettuce or whatever. They all know what slavery is and how bad it can be. They know because it’s better here than where they come from and that’s not saying a hell of a lot. Ask the victim of domestic violence who is terrified of leaving but remains as a slave because she doesn’t know how to get out of an abusive relationship. Ask the Division I college athlete who is a hell of an athlete but whose parents could never afford to send him or her to college. What, you don’t call that slavery? What the hell else would you call it? I recall one scholarship athlete at Penn State whose coach used to wave her scholarship papers in the air before this kid’s swimming event; in other words, “Win or else!” If the “or else” happened; if that kid’s scholarship had been pulled, no way could the family have afforded to keep her in school. Ask the immigrant who is working for less than minimum wage in a drudge job that “Americans” wouldn’t do for love or money. No, slavery is not dead. It lives on throughout the world, even in the land of the free and the home of the brave, as tragic as it is.

We’ve probably all heard someone say, “Oh, he’s a slave to his job,” or something similar. There are jobs where that’s not so far off. One definition of “slave” is “a person entirely under the domination of some influence or person.” In addition, we’ve all known or had bosses like Simon Legree from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, those who manage by fear and intimidation. We call them bullies, but if they control whether or not we hold a job, receive a salary, continue to be able to feed our family and have a roof over our head, are they really less evil than the old slave masters?

Since time immemorial slavery has existed. Biblical references abound in both the Old and New Testaments. As unfortunate as it may seem, it there is not one country in this world that deserves to call itself ‘civilized’ as long as slavery exists in any form. How far we have come in so many ways; what a pity we’ve advanced in so many other areas of life.

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America is petrified of home grown terrorists, correct?

We appear to believe that these home grown terrorists will attempt to set off bombs in Times Square in New York or use something like Sarin gas in our subways, correct?

American’s believe that these home grown terrorists will poison our water supply, the feed for our animals, and commit openly heinous crimes that will cause great death in human terms and destroy our infrastructure, right?

Allow me to postulate another scenario: What if these home grown terrorists had been planted in the United States decades ago? What if their parents were the original sleepers and raised their children to infiltrate various groups in the United States? What if they eventually infiltrated a single political party that already had a somewhat dubious reputation and whose sole goal appeared to be repression of those not in positions of power and to abet the rich and shameless who, other than knowing how to make money off the backs of others were unequivocally stupid in the ways of the real world?

Let’s give these home grown terrorists a group name, shall we? Let’s call them the Tea Party. That’s right; I’m openly calling the members of the Tea Party home grown terrorists. The founders of the Tea Party state, “Our mission is to bring awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty, or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation.” To that extent, what have they actually done? The answer is that they have attempted to fulfill this so-called mission by disruptive, demoralizing, and devastating the two-party system of government in the United States which has, over two and a quarter centuries, brought this nation to a leadership position in the world more rapidly than has ever been achieved by any civilized nation in the world.

Think about what has happened since the cowardly attack on the United States since 2001. Although they waited until three years later, when perhaps 20 percent of the shock had worn off, the Tea Party moved in to fill a void and to appeal to the less intelligent about their goals and objectives. Let’s take a few of their core beliefs and examine them. I freely admit that I do not have the capability to examine them to the depth that perhaps they should be, so let me give simplistic explanations.

The first of the Tea Party “Non-negotiable core beliefs” is that “Illegal aliens are here illegally.” Well, duh, that makes a whole hell of a lot of sense, except it doesn’t say anything about what should be done. Illegal aliens are here illegally because the jobs they are willing to take are jobs that the average American citizen won’t touch because they are hard, back-breaking labor, without which, you and I would probably (a) not have vegetables on our tables or (b) the cost of our vegetables would be so high that we couldn’t afford to put them on our table. Americans are funny; they want a good day’s pay for a good day’s work. Illegals just want ‘some’ money that they can send back to wherever it was they came from, ie, countries that are not fully developed or that inhibit that development in order that the government can keep them under said government’s thumb. While the Tea Party’s non-negotiable core belief is that illegal aliens are here illegally, I don’t see or read how they would remedy this situation.

“Pro-domestic employment is indispensable.” I can really think of a single way in which we could make this happen in some fields. That would be to repeal all of the Civil Rights legislation that has ever been enacted and to bring slavery back to the United States. That would certainly ensure domestic tranquility. Can you say, “Uncivil War,” or “Race War,” or any one of a hundred wars occurring in every city, town, village, and hamlet in all 50 states? This sounds to me like a guarantee of work for every American citizen, whether naturalized or born here, but what kind of job will this be? Tell me how you’re going to do it and don’t just toss out these blanket statements.

“A strong military is essential.” We have a strong military; we have a strong volunteer military. We have a military that, in terms of its equipment and training, is probably ten times stronger than any other military in the world. Some have even argued that our military is almost too strong and that because of its strength, it is called on to be the world’s policeman. Is that what America really wants, to be known as the world’s policeman? Isn’t that something like empire-building, because whenever we step in to help somewhere, it seems that we always have to leave troops behind? I’m not talking about the men and women we bury on foreign soil, and God knows there have been too many of them. I’m talking about the ones along the DMZ in Korea, the troops in Vietnam, Germany, Iraq, and other spots around the world. I’m also talking about how sick and tired America’s moms and dads are of changing that blue star flag in the window to a gold star.

“Special interests must be eliminated.” This is a gutsy core belief. I congratulate the Tea Party for putting it on their list…when I can finally stop laughing. The sophistication of special interest groups to influence every member of every party, both in power and out, is so great as to be a government unto it or themselves. I have no idea which egomaniacal son-of-a-bitch thought this one up, but if we haven’t been able to do it over the past two centuries, it’s not going to happen when the new kids on the block tell the special interest groups they’re no longer welcome. Telling the farm lobby, pharmaceutical lobbyists, bankers, tobacconists, and automakers to get out of Dodge is just likely to get you unelected really quickly.

“Gun ownership is sacred.” No, it’s not sacred. The Second Amendment of the Constitution provides “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.” It says nothing about owning a gun being sacred. As a matter of fact, it could be interpreted as saying that anyone who owns a gun is, de facto, a member of the Militia, ie, military, and is subject to being called to active duty at any time so long as he or she owns that or a gun. “Because you are a registered gun owner, we’re going to put you through eight weeks of basic training and then we’re sending you into the hills of Afghanistan. You will receive shit for pay and eat MRE’s every day. You will sleep on some of the coldest friggin’ ground upon which you have ever slept. You will get fired upon on a regular basis and if you aren’t alert, you will be killed. How’d ya like them apples?”

We will examine several more of the Tea Party “non-negotiable core beliefs in future essays. When all is said and done, however, I believe you will begin to question whether or not our own home grown terrorists are merely masquerading as members of a third political party.

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Wynton Marsalis made an excellent point recently. He was talking about the civil rights march on Washington 50 years ago. It wasn’t billed as such; it was supposed to be a jobs march. Marsalis noted that while as many as 25 of the speakers were White, the march is remembered mainly for Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech. He said that while that is the quotation that most remembered, he remembered how King tied the races together when he said “…they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”

His comment made me realize that in at least one way, America is little different from some of the countries in the Middle East. I have spoken on more than one occasion how we might as well leave Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq alone because they will merely return to tribal warfare when we leave. That may be true enough, but doesn’t that also hold true for Americans. We talk about the “haves” and the “have not’s;” We talk about the Black gangs, the Latino gangs, the Russian and Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Haitian, Dominican, and God only knows how many other “gangs” in the United States. Aren’t they behaving in the same kind of tribal warfare that takes place in parts of the world that we would like to call “uncivilized?” Yet, there are the same trades and professions in those Middle Eastern countries that we have in the United States. Lawyers practice law; doctors see patients; there are nurses and sales clerks, and all sorts of other skills. Perhaps we should stop interfering with what is one of their national problems and begin concentrating on ridding our nation of some of those same idiots who prevent our economy from growing; who kill cities like Detroit, East St. Louis, and so many others. Maybe we shouldn’t be closing our doors to immigrants. Instead we should open a door that leads only one way…out! Let’s use our Homeland Security, FBI, NSA, and all of the other acronymic agencies at our disposal to identify and ship back the assholes that create so many problems. Pareto’s principle, a.k.a., the 80/20 rule, apples beautifully in this situation…it is twenty percent of our population that creates eighty percent of our problems. Let’s determine where that twenty percent came from and ship them back. Oh, wait a minute, you say they were born right here in America? No, no, no, not the people I’m talking about. These are the people who parade their nationalities as badges of honor in their gangs. These are the people we should hunt down and dispatch…oops, I mean export to their native lands. If they brand themselves as African-American, that is unacceptable. African-Americans are Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Sidney Poitier, Rahm Emmanuel, Berry Gordon, Leo Kennedy, Jimmy Proctor, Pat Blackman, Amos Andrews, and millions of others. You don’t know all those names? Well, the last four are people I know and there are plenty more where they came from…good people who want just what you and I want – to be recognized for our skills; to be able to get a good job; to pursue with all of our heart the American Dream, however each one dream.

I don’t know about you, but I never dreamed of becoming a multi-millionaire.  I just wanted to make a comfortable living, get married, have kids who I could send to college – if that was what they wanted – a house that I could pay off some day, a new car every few years, and maybe, just maybe, a place at the beach in my later years, possibly one where I could retire. Pretty high aspirations, eh? Isn’t that basically what all of us are or were seeking? Did you want more? Did you want to be the richest man or woman in the world? Good for you; hope you make it; I sure as hell am not going to get in your way…at least, not until you begin to infringe on my rights. You see, your rights end where mine begin, just as mine end where yours begin. What it means is that you achieve your goals with due regard to everyone else. Berry Gordy, founder of Motown, told an audience at Babson College, “Remember, you meet the same people going down the ladder that you stepped on to reach the top.” Is this Pollyanna speaking? Of course not: Life is simple if you let it be. There are struggles of all kinds. How would you like to be Black and face the potential for sickle cell anemia? How would you like to come from a family where every male has died of a heart attack before the age of 50? How would you like to be a woman whose mother and sisters died of breast cancer? Sure as hell makes you feel pretty lucky to have your own life, doesn’t it?

We have come a long way since 1963. Whites and Blacks, Latinos and Asians, Europeans and Middle Easterners who have come to this country to pursue their dreams have, for the vast majority, been able to pursue and sometimes even achieve their dreams. I’m not quoting anyone in particular but I agree with those who say we have a long way to go, and it’s not just the races; we have a long way to go to meet equality among the sexes. Will we ever find or create a Utopian society? No, we won’t. There will always be those who are dissatisfied with their own lot or who want what the other guy has. There will always be jealousy among nations or countries that wish to expand their borders. That’s life on this little blue marble.

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The Tsarnaev brothers remind me a great deal of the suicide bombers in the Middle East. Well, maybe that’s not quite true; after all, they didn’t strap symtex or dynamite to their chests, run out and cross the finish line and then blow themselves up. On the other hand, they were vicious, malicious, arrogant, impetuous and ignorant. I’m willing to bet that it was their impetuousness that began an entire series of jihadist efforts to terrorize America. The problem is that they didn’t see the big picture and started too soon.

The big picture consisted of a series of events that would culminate in the July 4th bombing at the Hatch Shell concert on the esplanade in Boston. The first part of the plan, as I see it, called for the railroad accident between Boston and New York. I have no idea how many commuters ride that train each day but you have to admit that it certainly did screw up commuter systems and with that, a certain amount of slowdown in what was going to be accomplished from an economics standpoint.

After closing rail service for a month – which one didn’t work out too well either, did it folks – the next step would be to destroy rail lines between Baltimore and the rest of the southern part of the East Coast. We’re going to have to wait to determine the effectiveness of that bit of sabotage.

Do I sound like a conspiracy theorist? The answer to that is an absolute, one hundred percent…yes! There are just too many of these ‘accidents’ taking place where and when they should not. The explosions aboard the barges in Alabama, a convenient bridge collapse on the Interstate 5 Bridge in Washington State, and who knows what other little plans are in the works. Granted, the bridge collapse can be explained by its age but who really knows. Did the truck hit it by accident or did something happen to the steering mechanism. Perhaps that one is too easy to explain, but at the rate things are happening in the US of A, I’m not going to discount anything.

“Next thing you know, you’ll be blaming the tornadoes!” Sadly, these things happen. Towns that happen to be in ‘tornado alley’ or along that route face danger during the changeover from winter to spring and on into summer. Hell, I doubt if the jihadists want to be anywhere near that region.

Every so often, the FBI or Homeland Security will release a report concerning how many plots were foiled during a given time. As a former low-level intelligence analyst, it always makes me wonder just how much isn’t being released; how much Americans are being kept – albeit for their own peace of mind – unaware of the entire number of plots that have been foiled. Transparency, what transparency? There is no such thing as transparency when it comes to the release of intelligence. It can give too much of an edge to those who would see America brought to its knees.

One of these days, someone will have to explain to me what makes America such a horrible nation that it must be destroyed. Is it the fact that we are rich in resources and share those resources with the rest of the world? Is it the fact that for some strange reason we are able to breed the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, or Dean Kamen? Perhaps it’s the television shows we export that show such a distorted view of America where everyone lives “the dream.” Maybe those who would destroy us don’t see or don’t wish to see that we have our own share of poverty and homelessness. Perhaps they are blind to our crumbling infrastructure and a government that is in such a state of disrepair, that we are the laughing stock of the rest of the civilized world. That word is emboldened and italicized because it is the uncivilized who want to take us down. If we should fail as a nation, what do we become? Will we ever reach the depths of the Tsarnaevs of Chechnya, or the sand fleas training in Saudi Arabia and other countries? These are the countries that masquerade as our friends and allies while providing training grounds for those who for some blind reason wish to see America a dead country.

Tiny terrorist attacks will continue long after I’m nothing but gone. Will there ever be another terrorist attack the magnitude of September 11, 2001? Certainly there will be an attempt at one. Whether or not it will succeed will depend entirely on how good our domestic intelligence does its job and how well we are able to analyze the actual threat. We didn’t believe the intelligence the last time; one can only hope that we are wiser when the next shot is fired across our bow.

I’ve heard some people say, “Let’s close our borders to people from ‘those’ Middle Eastern countries.” That’s not a solution; it’s not even a quick fix. It’s exactly the type of aberrant behavior that our enemies would exploit to their advantage. What we don’t want are radical immigrants who wish to subjugate their rules for those that already exist in this country. Whether it’s attempting to institute Sharia law in Minnesota or establishing their own small ‘countries’ in Tennessee and Virginia, these things cannot be allowed. We may be “the land of the free,” but your ‘free’ stops right where mine begins, and if you don’t like that, go home; I was here first and I’m not going anywhere.

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Do you believe that the bulk of the American population really cares? North Korea is making these threats and insisting that a state of war exists between it and those in the South. Drugs are pouring across our southern border like water from a spigot but, in all probability, you and I don’t see the effects of their death and devastation. There’s a three week or one month hue and cry about greater gun control, but nothing has happened on the national level. Connecticut has passed some pretty strict laws, including no magazine under ten rounds…but they have no plans to haul in those who already possess them. If you’re an immigrant and you’re already here, you probably have a pretty good chance of staying and gaining citizenship. What does that tell others who want to get into the country illegally? Go for it! If you lay low for a long enough period, you’ll probably be okay. Nobody cares except the people in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, California, and not all of them really give a damn….probably fewer than you might think.

It appears that we are becoming the Ununited States of NIMBY. Everything is fine as long as you don’t try to do it in my back yard. I pay my taxes – or not – and I do my thing, whatever that happens to be. I’m blind to the fact that there are people right here in my community who would do anything for a “fix” if that’s what they’re calling it these days because, so far anyway, they haven’t broken into my house [where they wouldn’t find much anyway] and they haven’t stuck a gun in my back for money. I have little concern about illegal immigration because I’m not certain how it affects me except to realize that some crops have to be harvested by hand and that we don’t want to use prisoners or truck in homeless to do it. Therefore, since it appears to be beneath much of the rest of the population, migrant workers, many of them illegals get the job done. It may seem a piss poor job to many people but it’s a hell of a lot for someone who has nothing and not very many prospects.

Most of us just want to live and let live. Unless it affects us directly, we aren’t popping off e-mails to our Congressman or woman and our Senator. Most of us don’t understand (a) how our debt reached 16 plus trillion dollars, and we probably have trouble looking at so many numbers following that sixteen. We may look around and see some of our neighbors adding on to their house or we drive through neighborhoods and see the MacMansions that have been constructed and we might even get a bit envious. While we may want to “keep up with the Jones’s,” we should remember the second part of that saying…”the Jones’s are in debt.”

Certainly my children are concerned about school safety. Our three kids have children that range in age from kindergarten to senior in college and everything in between. Does the safety of their children concern me? Of course it does, but I don’t lose sleep over it because I know that somewhere in this country sometime soon there will be another crazy who will get his or her hands on some guns and will do the same damn thing that’s been done in so many places. How many will die? I haven’t a clue, but as long as there are guns, and there will always be guns, there will be people who will try to surpass the record set by this one or that one. Hell, it’s the American way; no, it isn’t really, but it certainly seems that way.

I don’t know the concerns of the people who live in Minnesota or Nebraska or Iowa or Indiana. I’m certain they are many. They don’t affect me, so I’m really not too concerned. It some group in one of those states wants to do something that will impact me negatively, and then I become concerned. If someone from one of those states sends me an e-mail and outlines what their issues happen to be, I’ll probably mouth off about it…one way or the other.

Perhaps all of this makes me – on some level – a state’s rights proponent. I’d like to be able to see gay and lesbian couples marry; I’d like to see a woman have a choice about how she uses her body…seems to me we’re mature enough to let that happen. Those I consider being issues of national concern and therefore should be settled at the national level. We should also be intelligent enough to understand that our approach to gun control, background checks, the size of gun magazines, and any other issues relating to weapons that fire bullets is never going to be solved by 535 people in Washington, D.C. There are just too many divergent views. This is a state issue. You tell people who use their weapons to put food on the table that they cannot use a particular type of weapon and you are taking that food away from them. Oh, and good luck trying to find the straw purchasers; we’ve got bigger fish to fry than to be too concerned about that issue.

Here’s the way I see it. (1) Let the states identify their real problems and tax whatever to get the revenue to pay for seventy-five percent of the cost. The federal government, through income tax revenue, should be able to come up with the extra twenty-five percent. If it was a fifty-fifty deal, the states would never get the money and the federal government would demand to come in and screw it up so that nothing would be done. (2) Let the federal government devise ways in which to keep our borders safe and prevent terrorism from taking place inside those borders. Where border states are concerned, those with problems, eg, the four states mentioned in paragraph one of this essay, the federal government should play an extremely minor role in telling the states what they can and cannot do. (3) Any time that any group of people feel their personal rights are being infringed upon by the state, they will have the opportunity to bring before a “supreme court” in their state to hear their grievances. If that doesn’t work, the Supreme Court of the United States will make a decision to hear from the group or not. Yes, the Supreme Court docket is loaded; the question is what kind of cases they are hearing? Do they involve big business and big dollars or do they involve the citizens of the United States. Other than these, let the states handle their own problems.

We are still the richest nation in the world, but we really don’t know how to use that wealth. We spend so much money trying to cure the ills of the rest of the world that we seem to have forgotten that we have ills of our own. We are so careful to be politically correct in our own country that we’ve forgotten our founding principles. Remember, “You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time; but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.” It’s about time we stopped trying to please all of the people by allowing the federal government to dictate to us what to do in situations where the states could handle whatever it is perfectly well.

It really appears to me that we’ve lost perspective about our country. We’ve become more concerned about what’s happening with other countries and not enough concerned about what’s going on right here at home. While Thomas Wolfe may have written “You Can’t Go Home Again,” he also wrote “Look Homeward Angel.” Perhaps it’s time we begin to forget the first and think much, much harder about the second.

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Isn’t it strange how we condemn other nations for the abuses that they wreak upon their citizens while we ignore our homeless and our very poor? Where the hell do we get off playing such ‘goody-two-shoes’ and about how moral we are when we allow travesties such as this to be an ingrained part of our society? We have more people in prison than any other nation; more violence than any other nation, and we go around touting how great we are? Okay, so we have the third largest population in the world, but I will not accept that as an argument for how we allow our own share of abuse in the United States.

Without taking into account nuclear capability, the United States is still considered to be number one in global firepower. We complain that the sequester will take one of our aircraft carriers out of operation, yet we still more carriers than the next ten nations combined. We have more fighter aircraft than the next seven countries combined. The list goes on and on. Because we are, supposedly, the richest nation in the world, we have more of the big boy toys than other nations. Are you beginning to hear the word, “paranoia,” in the back of your minds?

Unfortunately, we don’t really appear to understand that it’s not the one with the most who is going to ‘win,’ whatever the hell that word is supposed to mean in today’s complex world society. As a nation, we appear to be of the opinion that if we have the bestest and the mostest, that will cause others to stand down and be afraid of us. On September 11, 2001, we learned that is not the case. Those who hate us will find a way to hurt us, not by open and declared warfare, but by occasional punches to the gut that hurt twice as much because they are so unexpected.  Bertrand Russell’s wrote, “War does not determine who is right—only who is left.” It is so perfect. And yet, we continue to conduct our wars in the same manner that they have been conducted for centuries, throwing our young men and women into the fray as cannon fodder, to be ambushed and assaulted at a time and choosing of our opponents. How stupid can we be? Perhaps it’s time we just let these idiots kill each other and instead of building bigger and better toys to go after the ‘baaad guys,’ we should be concentrating on how we protect our borders and our cities and towns within our own country. If we spent the cost of a single aircraft carrier, somewhere around $11 billion, on protecting our border with Mexico, we might just be able to slow the drug traffic that is being so successfully conducted. Take the cost of a couple of carriers – holy shit; that’s 22 billion dollars – we could probably do one hell of a lot more. We’d still be ahead of six or seven other nations in our fleet capacity.  Just think of how much of our nation’s infrastructure could be rebuilt and modernized if we merely took an intelligent look at how we are currently spending our dollars and cents.

Please don’t misunderstand my intentions. I am all for being prepared to defend our country “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” but I’m also sufficiently practical to recognize that we cannot continue to use 20th Century thinking when we are living in the 21st Century when one nuclear weapon can wipe out the best of our good intentions in seconds. Our thinking should not be how we can scare the crap out of potential nation enemies outside our borders, which we don’t really do anyhow, and direct our thinking inward. What are we doing to protect our own citizens from attack from within? We are, in all probability, doing a hell of a lot more than you or I will ever know. Here’s another question: How are we ensuring that our men and women who have served in our all-volunteer armed services receive proper training and sufficient funds to be integrated back into a civilian lifestyle, one which is so radically different from military life that most who have never served can’t begin to comprehend.

As a people, Americans are very private. We abhor ‘big brother’ watching over our shoulder. We tend to look down our collective noses at the police and fire, until we are in grave need of them and then we bitch and moan because they didn’t get to us fast enough. We are selfish, greedy children who don’t wish to take responsibility for our own wellbeing and who most assuredly don’t want to be call to account for our actions when they affect others negatively. Since 2003, citizens living on a peninsula called Plum Island in Massachusetts have been told that their houses were in danger of being washed away by New England’s crazy winter weather. The Army Corps of Engineers has told them; environmental groups have told them, and, in their defense, they did reinforce the foundations of some of the homes that were on the water. However, ten years of being told didn’t help when several homes were washed away or declared uninhabitable this year. Residents appeared shocked that something like this could happen; now they are looking for outside help to take care of them. You had ten years of warnings; you were told this was going to happen; you watched as the erosion took place; and now you want help from outside? You did not take responsibility. You forgot one basic premise: Don’t mess with Mother Nature; she will always, always win!

If Americans ever knew the extent to which they are surveiled in public on a daily basis, they would be shocked and horrified…yet it is not enough.  In Boston recently, a bus driver was assaulted by a gang of youths. Now the manhunt is on to determine who the little gangbangers were. Had there been a couple of cameras on the bus, the police would, in all probability, have the mob in custody by now. When cameras are eventually installed in every bus and subway, there will be many who will take offense. They will view the cameras as an invasion of privacy and not as a form of protection.

We have a great many problems in the United States of America. We can’t solve each and every one of them overnight. Protecting our homeland and our way of life may be the top priority but the manner in which we do it deserves to be reevaluated on a regular basis. Building fiefdoms is not how we do things, particularly in our military, and we compare our might to that of other nations, we appear to be vastly overcompensating. It’s time we addressed some of the other problems facing our nation. Our roads and bridges are falling apart. We are accepting into our law enforcement ranks people who are not only not qualified, but in some cases more dangerous than the criminals they are supposed to be pursuing. It’s possible that a living wage might attract more people into our protective agencies as well as into our teaching corps. Homelessness and poverty in our “rich” country are an increasing problem and one that we appear to be ignoring. Those are just a few of our issues.

My time is limited. I can only hope that there are a few young curmudgeons out there who will pick up the banner and scream loudly enough that our nation’s leaders will be forced to listen. “Common sense isn’t all that common,” said Voltaire. Today’s politicians are living proof of that. Let’s hope that tomorrow’s leaders will take note.

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