We Need a White President

Inaugurating a White President

 Four years ago we had a first by the election of a black President.The Tea Party and members of congress, especially those obama as witch doctorwith a Southern drawl were aghast when a skinny black man became president. His first term was a struggle with the opposition party’s determined to make sure he failed as their agenda.

 Now that he has been reelected he can govern as his white half. We must remember that his mother was a white woman and he was raised by his grandparents who were both white. He will no longer have to refer to his masters in congress who rebuked every proposal he made. If his proposals weren’t completely vetoed they were watered down by the opposite party. I don’t recall any white president have 100% of the minority party voting against any bill he proposed.

 Mitch McConnel and house leaders will have to change their tune in dealing with a President who is now white and not interested in being reelected. John McCain and Lindsey Graham will finally have to admit they lost their campaign against Obama.

 The coming four years could be interesting if congress could now relax and work with a president for the welfare of the nation.

 

 

 

A Life of Reruns

A Life of Reruns

A local Blogger claimed I didn’t have wisdom as one doesn’t necessarily become wise by getting older. I have to agree with him although experiencing The Depression, Prohibition; Presidents from Coolidge to Obama, many economic crises, and numerous wars, etc are still etched in my mind. Wisdom not only comes from experiences, but many other factors such as your economic class and philosophy of your parents who shape heir children’s philosophy for life.

I’m not sure if I’ve acquired wisdom yet but am about to experience my 90th birthday so have now reached the age where statistically I my not live long enough to complete this article. I haven’t reached this age from a certain style of living, but from genetics.  I. attribute my religion and political philosophies to my parents.

My wife and I are the two remaining volunteers that created the Telecare program in the Lutheran Church in Nevada City in the late 70s or early 80s. A nice woman, Dorothy, acquired a grant from the county to buy a station wagon and its maintenance. It would require another long article to describe the services we rendered for the elderly. Many of these services are still carried out by Telecare.

When reaching the age when not feeling confident in my driving kidney Dialysis to Sacramento I spent 8 years visiting nursing homes, Hospice and Alzheimer patients with my therapy dog Molly and visited the elderly in different stages of aging. Many were still curious and interested in life, but there were many I felt would be better off dying. I feel that modern medicine and relatives that keep these humans alive for some reasons are being inhumane.

My visits to most patients was appreciated and an enjoyment for Molly and me. This experience with the elderly was also educational as they came from different backgrounds and gave me knowledge from experiences I hadn’t had. I visited a 100 year old woman who had been a scientist and folded parachutes during WW1. Her goal was to live until the year 2000, which she did. She was blind so put a towel next to her and had Molly lay next to her so she could pet her.

At the age 80 my stamina had reached a point where walking the halls of the home became very exhausting and Molly was feeling her age too, so limited my visits to visiting Gil Masters a 94 year old man who loved Molly and was extremely interesting. He was a writer and we exchanged things we had written and he told me stories of WW1 and the depression I wasn’t aware of.

He died when we were on vacation and I felt lost without our visits. His daughter collected his writings and bound them in a book called Gullible Travels about his days riding the rails looking for work during the depression. I would like to share one bit of trivia from the war most people aren’t aware of. I asked him about things citizens contributed during the war and learned that children brought peach pits to school they dried out and removed the centers that were used in making gas masks.

This isn’t the subject I planned to write about, but got sidetracked and carried away so will write about the many reruns one encounters in a lifetime later. I started to write this with the eraser end of a pencil as will be 90 on May 1st and; in my fingers limits my typing.

I have found there’s an awful lot of knowledge people can get from asking the questions about the past from the elderly. I often wonder why history teachers don’t use people from the era when they are studying American history.

Civilization, in fact, grows more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. Wars are no longer waged by the will of superior men, capable of judging dispassionately and intelligently the causes behind them and the effects flowing out of them. The are now begun by first throwing a mob into a panic; they are ended only when it has spent its ferine fury.” 

― H.L. Mencken     

 

Congressional Secrets–

563346_10151931078710137_1427300161_nSubmitted by my daughter Vicki Sue Mc Kinnis

Here is a report you may enjoy. It reminds me of an article you wrote years ago. The fiscal-cliff compromise reached between Congress and President Barack Obama not only will avert immediate deep spending cuts in government programs and tax increases for the middle class, it will also provide plenty of goodies for corporate interests.

Thrown together at the last minute, with little time for a thorough review, the 153-page bill (pdf) was too easy to pass up for lawmakers looking for a year-end vehicle to help special interests.

Or as Representative Darrell Issa (R-California) told The Washington Post: “There’s lots and lots of pork in this bill.” In fact, many of the specific items are extensions of the exact ones that were slipped into the tax cut bill of December 2010.

The legislation reportedly contains $205 billion in tax breaks for corporations, including:

$43 million over two years for owners of motorsports entertainment complex properties (read: NASCAR racetracks) engaged in construction.

$165 million a year for railroads to maintain their tracks.

$150 million in deductions for Hollywood studios that film in low-income communities of just in the United States.

$9 billion a year to help banks and manufacturers “engage in certain lending practices and not pay taxes on income earned from it,” according to Naked Capitalism. Specifically, the bill allows the banks and multinationals to defer paying taxes on foreign income, thus encouraging the creation of jobs outside the United States.

An increase in the import tax on rum from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to benefit rum distillers in these U.S. dependencies.

Tax incentives for mining companies to buy safety equipment that they should be buying anyway.

$1 million a year in tax credits for coals companies that mine on land owned by Indian tribes.

Another little-noticed item in the bill changed the law that establishes conditions under which the president is allowed to reduce the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Rather than such action being contingent on certifying that Russia has first met its nuclear treaty obligations, the president now only has to know whether or not Russia has done so.

Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsk 

 

Born Again

Born Again

 In case any of my readers have noticed, I haven’t posted any blogs in the past few months which deserve an explanation. A short explanation would be that due to a health problem my thinking cap wasn’t working. 

My colon had become independent and had lost control of its function; which led to a number of problems. I was advised by family and others that at my age it was too risky to have major surgery, but had a Colostomy on Dec. 28 and am doing quite well. A Colostomy is relocating your rectum to another part of the body and attaching a   plastic bag. This isn’t an ideal option, but not as bad as one thinks

 I felt fortunate that I wasn’t one of those millions of poor souls that lined up for blocks just to see a doctor. I had a good health insurance policy at Kaiser Permanente plus Medicare. Without it I would have lost my life savings for hospital care and years of paying for aftercare and drugs.

This leads me to think if all those in the Bible Belt and other religious bastions have read and followed their leader in his instructions in the Sermon on the Mount or are too busy judging the life styles of gays, abortion and other trivial things.

 I no longer belong to any organized religion because of these reasons. I feel universal healthcare is more important that our over ballooned military budget and spreading democracy before we have it at home.    

 I feel born again on this subject and plan to pursue it in future Blogs. 

2nd Amendment–Everyone may Own a Musket

Founding Fathers gives everyone a right to own a Musket 

                                                     Angela picture small                                 By–A C

While the country reels over the grisliness of the December 14th shooting, debate concerning future prevention of mass murders has ensued. It seems relatively Angelaunanimous that the issue is multifaceted, and that one blanket solution will fail to address all of the problems that lead to such unfortunate events. But, ultimately, in every concrete issue, there is an underlying cultural problem.

 To begin, the weapon of choice in every mass murder is a gun. This may seem like an oversimplified statement, and it is, but organizations that are against gun regulations, like the NRA, need to acknowledge that fact. That being said, guns, in and of themselves, are not vessels that are completely neutral in regard to ethics. Regardless of how they are used, and who is using them, guns are designed to physically harm human beings. Some argue that homicide will still happen regardless of whether or not guns are readily available, and I agree, but in this case we’re talking about solving the issue of mass killings. A murderer with the intention of killing multiple people equipped with a knife or a blunt object is going to be far less effective and much more easily stopped than a murderer equipped with a gun.

 Many Americans contend that owning firearms is an inherent American right through the second amendment and that implementing regulations on gun ownership punishes law-abiding citizens who could use those guns to protect against mass shooters, and that mass shooters could buy guns illegally anyway. There are two significant flaws in this argument. According to study conducted by the magazine Mother Jones of 62 mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years, “in not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun.” The central purpose of law enforcement is to have trained professionals intervene in criminal situations for civilians, and, unsurprisingly, if the gunman hadn’t already committed suicide, it was law enforcement that stabilized the situation. Another flaw is that while it may be true that criminals could pursue illegal weapons, in 49 of the 62 instances of mass shootings in the study, the firearms used were purchased legally (including those used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting). And so, in the majority of the mass shootings over the last 30 years, gunmen were both able and took advantage of their capability to access their weaponry with ease. Even if guns weren’t outlawed altogether as some Americans fear, and just stricter regulations were set in place, it would provide obstacles for those who are ill-intentioned.

 This is where our first cultural problem comes into play. An independent research project based in Geneva called The Small Arms Survey found that of the 28 countries surveyed in 2011 ontots-with-guns civilian firearm possession, only two countries considered civilian ownership of a firearm a basic right – the U.S. and Yemen. And, accordingly, the United States is an outlier in terms of the high number of homicides of developed countries. The U.S. is also the only developed country that doesn’t always require gun licenses to purchase weapons and is one of the only countries that does not necessitate gun owners to register all of their firearms. Dr. Garen Wintemute of University of California, Davis, Medical Center, who practices emergency medicine and researches the prevention of gun violence says that aside from the United State’s homicide rate and gun violence rate, the U.S. is not a uniquely violent country and stated: “It’s not clear that guns cause violence, but it’s absolutely clear that they change the outcome.”

 Other developed countries with a lower homicide rate do not completely outlaw civilian possession of firearms, but they do have much stricter regulations. Japan, for example, requires that prospective gun owners must attend an all-day class and pass a written test, then take and pass a shooting range class, then go to a hospital and pass a mental test and drug test, and, finally, pass a background check for a criminal history or affiliation with extremist groups before being allowed access to any legal weapons. Americans may find this process an infringement on their individual liberty, but, if we are required to pass tests to drive a vehicle, why wouldn’t it also be obligatory to pass a test before owning a firearm designed to cause physical harm? In 2006, only two Japanese civilians in the entire country were killed by guns.

 But firearms are not the sole problem in the issue of mass shootings. There is another pattern we must recognize amongst the shooters – the prevailing presence of mental illness. More specifically, Mother Jones found instances of acute paranoia, delusions and depression. One of the shooters in this study in particular was diagnosed with schizophrenia and had lived in a secure federal facility for more than a year where he underwent psychiatric examinations and received medication. At least 36 of the shooters committed suicide on or near the scene and at least 38 of the shooters showed signs of mental health problems prior the killings.      

 According to James Knoll IV, MD, of Medscape, today’s mental health system birthed from deinstitutionalization in the 1960’s and 70’s – a time marked by the emptying of state mental hospitals. While intended with the hopes of improvement of the mental health care system, it rendered many mentally ill and former patients homeless and resulted in filling some of our correctional facilities with people who have serious mental illnesses. Knoll stated: “In Virginia, jails now house more persons with serious mental illness than do Virginia psychiatric hospitals” and “The Los Angeles correctional system has been referred to as America’s largest psychiatric facility… Correctional administrators readily concede that their facilities are being used as ‘dumping grounds for many individuals who could be better served through early intervention in noncustodial environments because other options are just not available.’” Clearly, how we are currently handling the mentally ill is not working.

 Later, Knoll describes the pattern of the profile of mass shooters as people have “extreme feelings of anger and revenge” and “feelings of social alienation” who “were also narcissistic and coped with personal problems by blaming others.” This leads us to another cultural problem – the media. As with the Sandy Hook shooting, the shooter’s name, picture, history, and overall plight in life got more airtime than any one of the victims. So, perhaps the shooter did not take his anger out on individuals he felt specific anger against, though he certainly may have with his mother, but his actions were immediately sensationalized and he was able to show the nation his personal rage and probe the public to think about how his individual story could have been solved – how the media’s given details of the quiet autistic boy, oddly carrying a briefcase to school was failed to be helped by our nation’s system. The media ought to be focusing on those affected by the tragedy and the efforts taken by the community to rebuild itself, rather than granting a killer the attention of a celebrity.

 Hopefully this tragedy will prompt the nation to make serious changes as to how we handle gun control, the mentally ill, the media and the cultural attitudes that fuel the continuation of this serious national issue. If the fatal shooting of twenty children and six adult staff members at an elementary school isn’t enough to get the nation’s attention that there is a problem that requires immediate action towards both finding and establishing a workable solution within this country, I don’t know what will. Do You 

Editors Note: I must thank Angela for taking time to write for my blog while I’m physically incapacitated. Angela is the youngest of of my nine grandchildren and I’ve always admired her writing skills since she was in Jr. Hi. and am proud of her writing now. She is a JR, at Columbia University and write when she has a break from schoolwork.

As usual I am in agreement with her opinions. The constitution like many other writings are prone to interpretation. The 2nd Amendment was written when we had fewer people and Muskets were the guns of choice. One can wonder if they would have written the 2nd Amendment so loosely if the had the guns we have today?   

man with musket

Pouting Mc Cain and Graham

 

Angela picture small

                                     

The Republican’s Disconnection with  Minorities and Women–By A C

Republicans do recognize that there is a reason that they didn’t glean the results they had hoped for in the 2012 election. But they cannot seem to identify what exactly that problem is. Some claim it was the failure of the individual candidates, as Red State’s Erik Erickson wrote: “If Republicans are honest, they’ll have to concede that the Romney campaign ran a bad campaign and only almost won because the President had a bad debate.” Others cite the honest fact that the demographics of the country have gradually changed and that the party has not appealed to minority voters. Their means of fixing that problem, however, appears to be a headstrong approach – to continue to hold true to all of the party’s ideas, and just attempt to have a more direct method to communicating the party’s philosophy to minority voters. As Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee stated on Fox News, “I think RepubliMc Cain Cartooncans have done a pathetic job of reaching out to people of color, something we’ve gotta work on.” What Republicans don’t realize, though, is that regardless of the apparent speaker and whether the dialogue the speaker uses appears to be directed at minority votersor not, the party is always conveying a message to all of thecountry’s voters. 

 On November 14, Republican Senator John McCain went to the press with his opinion of the potential replacement for the Secretary of State position in President Obama’s administration. The two potential nominees, at that time, were UN Ambassador, and African American woman, Susan Rice and Democratic Senator John Kerry. McCain stated that because UN Ambassador Susan Rice went to the press with the intelligence she received about the Benghazi attack, and the information she was given had not specified the precise organization behind the attack, Rice was “not qualified” and that she was guilty of “not being very bright.” Surprisingly, amidst his apparent concern over the issue, on November 15, McCain held a press conference about Rice during a classified hearing he could have attended on the Benghazi attack.

On November 16, David Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency,  met with lawmakers to go over the talking points given to Rice and explained his rational for omitting that the perpetrators of the attack were Al Qaeda affiliates to avoid tipping off these terrorist groups. In a word-for-word comparison, the talking points were very close to what Rice said. On November 20, McCain began criticizing the Director of National Intelligence for removing references to terrorist groups in Rice’s talking points. Five days later McCain states: “I think she deserves the ability and the opportunity to explain her position.”

At a December 3rd press conference, McCain referred to John Kerry as “Mr. Secretary.” On December 10, it was announced that McCain would join the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is in charge of vetting Obama’s Secretary of State Nominee. Only three days later, Rice released a letter to Obama withdrawing her name from consideration, stating, “The position of Secretary of State should never be politicized.”

Even if Senator McCain’s intention for his attacks against UN Ambassador Susan Rice wasn’t born of racism and sexism (although it certainly may be), but rather in hopes of gaining a Republican senate seat to take Kerry’s place, this and the fact the other members of McCain’s party made no attempts to quiet McCain’s unfounded qualm still sends a clear message to minority voters. In a nation where 93% of African Americans, 71% of the Hispanics, 73% of the Asians, 58% of unspecified nonwhite voters, and 55% of women voted for Obama in 2012, McCain, and fellow Republicans who stood on the sidelines as he proceeded, were not helping their party’s cause by attacking an African American woman with extraordinary credentials with false accusations and inconsistent levels of concern for the issue at hand.

Perhaps the issue the party is facing is not a matter of who is speaking or what audience they plan to primarily target, but a fundamental lack of empathy and understanding for both the experience and the point-of-view of American minorities and women. The party does not seem to understand that when they attack members of groups who have historically and presently had limited opportunities in this country, it is extremely insulting to continue to actively pursue limitations, especially for the few who have managed to succeed. 

Editors coment:  giving the finger

American Exceptionalism

        American  Exceptionalism?

 Before entering High School my father enrolled me in a class taught by two University seniors. The class was entitled History you won’t learn in school. Since, I’ve had a different view of American history. Many historians, the likes of Howard Zinn have filled in all that has been omitted in our text books.

 Lies My Teacher told me is one of the latest books on this subject. “James Loewen spent two years at the Smithsonian Institute surveying twelve leading high school textbooks of American History; what he found was an embarrassing amalgam of bland optimism, blind patriotism, and misinformation pure and simple, weighing in at an average of four-and-a-half pounds and 888 pages.”

 The following won’t be found in a text book or in the media. Michael Kinsley, a frequent guest of the late William Buckley on his program Firing Line makes the following statement; “The notion that this country is divinely sanctioned with a special mission in the world has become a litmus test for patriotism. The theory that Americans are better than everybody else is endorsed by an over whelming majority of U.S voters.”

 Waving a flag is fine but remember it’s only a symbol and we must be aware that a country doesn’t progress unless recognizing that they may not have the happiest people in the world. Compared to Third World countries we are superior, but the past is deteriorating while many other countries are passing us economically, in energy, infrastructure and other areas.

 None of this is simple incompetence. For decades we have seen social services-education-policing-public healthy-environmental protection-and infrastructure steadily declining from tax cuts for the wealthy, corporate greed and military spending. For half a century free market purists have denigrated the essential role that government performs as some terrible liberal plot. Politicians have duped lower and middle classed whites into believing their economic pains are a result of too much government while corporate profits and CEO salaries soared.

 Part of Real America came back into view during Katrina, but has now faded into the sunset. Watching the haplessness of a permanent underclass of Americans living in New Orleans’s ghettos is shameful. Even before the hurricane they lived in rotting housing complexes, attend ill equipped schools, and lacked adequate police protection. This section of American life is duplicated in most large cities today. Politicians and the voters disregard the underbelly of society. The rest of the population is creeping into this same category.

 Help for the indigent is vilified by using the word Socialism. The Americans receiving socialism are the top 2% with their subsidies, lobbyists and tax loopholes while the rest are like employees of Wal-Mart enjoying, the free enterprise system. Waiting for Obama’s administration to save these potential victims, while playing games with the child like congress, is synonymous to looking for pie in the sky.

 If Americans want to flaunt their flags they must provide something besides food kitchens, food banks and homeless shelters to aggrandize our country. I commend those volunteers that provide these essentials for the needy to which I donate. This doesn’t provide the dignity that humans need for a healthy esteem of ones self and others.

 I was too young during the 30s depression to be humiliated by soup lines and charity, but am aware of what this does to those in this situation. Those of us still living without charity and a roof over our heads can be oblivious to those other humans, but something in our political system must be changed if we want to glorify our country and please don’t use the words freedom or liberty as an excuse. History proves that change comes from the bottom up.  In the 30s and 40s the Labor movement challenged corporate power; giving us pensions, the minimum wage, the 8 hour day, unemployment insurance, workplace safety laws, and a living wage.

 Before you shout socialists it must be noted my family and I were leaders in the movement to create the middle class. I have learned from these experiences to recognize the rights of other, My concerns don’t meet the litmus test of a patriot, but one’s views are a product of  one who wants to go back to the real America.

 Fredrick Douglas said; without struggle there is no progress.  

 Note from Don: I think I’m feeling well enough to write again. I want to thank my granddaughter Angela for filling in when she had time as she i9s an excellent writer.