US Political Theater 2016 …

I’ve tried to stay quiet on the unfolding political drama in the US over this year’s presidential election.  However, there are some observations that I have made which I have not seen being discussed in the main-stream press, so sharing them here is the only way to be sure that others can think with them.  FYI: I get most of my news from the BBC.

First off – back when Donald Trump first announced his candidacy for the Republican Nomination, the party leadership required all such candidates to publicly take an oath to support whomever the eventual nominee would be.  Donald would have saved himself a lot of headache – and done the voters a massive favor – if he’d taken that pledge to a TV station and asked the party leadership if they would likewise swear to support him if HE was the eventual nominee.  It would have shown the leadership for what was really important to them – control, not loyalty.

Second – some party leadership are now publicly stating that they will support the DEMOCRATIC candidate rather than support Donald Trump.  To me, this indicates fear.  They fear Donald because he’s independently financed, true.  They also fear something that his front-runner status indicates – the power of the will of the voters.  After all, Donald Trump is only the front-runner because voters have supported him.  If he wins the party nomination outright before the convention, it will be voters who handed it to him.  Once again, this is ultimately about control – the party leadership want the power to tell voters what is best for them.  What the party leaders fear above all else is something reminding the voters that they have the power to FORCE change.

Third – this is a historic election, no matter how you toss it around.  First, you have Republican party leadership threatening to specifically back CLINTON if Trump becomes the party nominee.  Second, you have Democrats who are refusing to support Clinton because she isn’t a true liberal (on the grounds that she’s never taken a politically risky position in her career). Finally (on the historic election front) with the presumptive candidates now being Clinton, Sanders, or Trump, we’ve already achieved the point where the November ballot will be a showdown between two New Yorkers.

Fourth – the immigration issue is being used by Republican Leadership as one of the reasons NOT to support Donald Trump.  It is a smoke screen.  If they can keep you focused on this, they can keep you from realizing that immigration reform is all about one thing – giving YOUR jobs to people from another country.  We already have an employment problem in the US.  More than 20% of all people with no education above high school are unemployed – and that is more than 30% of such people who are black, more than 45% of such people who are Hispanic. Among people who did not complete high school, the average unemployment rate is over 50%, and black unemployment is over 90%.  Donald Trump has it right, before we can afford to be generous to people of other countries, we need to put our own people back to work.  We can’t import 1 Million new workers per year while the economy is only creating 200k new jobs.

Seriously people, if you are sick of the political theater being offered for public consumption from Washington, DC, there is only one thing I can advise you to do.  Take a long, hard look at who the leadership of your preferred party DOES NOT WANT TO WIN, and support them completely.  Change doesn’t happen in Washington, it happens at the ballot box.

Freedom?

First, let me share a paragraph that was in the email I got yesterday from US Senator Jerry Moran (KS).

“This week, an activist group from out of state pressured the local post office in Pittsburg to remove a patriotic banner – a sign raised by veterans and post office employees in response to the attacks of 9/11. The banner has been proudly displayed since Sept. 11, 2001. I commend the Pittsburg community for rejecting this decision and I stand with them. The Constitution guarantees a right to freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. This banner is an expression of faith and of love for country. Expressions of patriotism, faith, and community should be welcome in our society and I have contacted USPS officials to express my concerns about their decision and to request reconsideration. Since the local post office branch is unable to display the banner, I am proudly to displaying it at my own office in Pittsburg.”

Now, let me focus on one phrase in that paragraph – “The Constitution guarantees a right to freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”  There is just one small problem with that point of view – it has been used to totally invalidate “atheist” as a religious choice.  If it was the official position of the government, it could be used to state that everyone MUST choose some acceptable religion, which then throws open the doors to government deciding what religions are valid and which are not.  Of course, this would all be subject to the efforts of special interest groups and lobbyist organizations, and upstarts or independent churches would loose all claims.

THIS is why I have long advocated that a person’s individual religious beliefs should remain private, and should NEVER be given consideration when determining laws that oversee the fates of nations.  A nation like the United States of America needs to embrace ALL of its citizens, including those who do not accept any religion as valid, or it cannot function as anything less than an emerging police state.

Progress notes . . .

Back when I was in high school, our PE (physical education) teacher had a saying – it was pretty popular back in the 1970’s.  “No pain, no gain.”

Perhaps that is true with physical fitness, but I’m doubting it’s truth to the broader scope of life.  Mind you, this is not a declaration of my completing the journey to enlightenment, but I have some recent observations to share.

First – I’ve entered a strange phase in my growth cycle.  It would be easy to say that I’ve completed the journey, because I feel so stable.  It isn’t that life has no challenges, but even the challenges are welcome.  I’m calm, level headed, and unflustered about almost everything.  The almost is the key to my recalcitrance at declaring a total victory.  There are still times when I “lose it”.

Back to the pain/gain cycle.  My wife was recently selected as one of a few test subjects on the campus at the college she works at – field testing something called a “flexi-desk”.  The basic idea is that it is adjustable, you can use it sitting or standing.  So far, she loves it, but reports to me that she can’t stand for more than about 5-10 minutes at a time.  She’s noticed her calves firming up, for certain.

That got me to thinking about how much time I spend sitting the last 5 years, and I decided to start spending some of my gaming time standing (thank goodness for wireless controllers).  I’m noticing the same things – calves firming, time limit of just a few minutes – and the insides of my thigh muscles are sore.

But, like I said before, even the challenges are welcome.  Though I pick my battles, I haven’t had any of that soreness stop me from doing other things around the house.  I’m also still not getting 8 hours of sleep in a row but I am finding that I think clearly enough to get most things done, and done right.  I’m also becoming “forgetful” – but in a good way.

That is going to take some explanation.  Our society has become so focused on warning signs for Alzheimer’s Disease that sometimes we forget that it is good to forget some things.  For instance – forgetting to worry about politics; forgetting to obsess over past mistakes; letting the future take care of itself.  These are good things – indications that we’ve started to “live in the eternal NOW” as Eckhart Tolle would say.  I’m finding that to be an easier state of mind to live in.  I’m not ecstatic, blissful, or overjoyed; but I’m also not worried, depressed, or obsessed.  Life simply IS, and that is in itself pretty neat.

I’m interested in where it goes from here.

Economics by *MAXINE* . . .

Although this is funny – it’s as true today as it was when it was originally published a few years ago.

http://www.economicnoise.com/2012/11/06/economics-by-maxine/

 

Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel, “Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land.”

Nearly 75 years ago, (when Welfare was introduced) Roosevelt said, “Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land.”

Today, Congress has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of Camels and mortgaged the Promised Land!

I was so depressed last night thinking about Health Care Plans, the economy, the wars, lost jobs, savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc …. I called a Suicide Hotline.

I had to press 1 for English.

I was connected to a call center in Pakistan . I told them I was suicidal.

They got excited and asked if I could drive a truck……

Folks, we’re screwed.

 

Considering vampirism…

There has been a huge amount of embellishment on the notion of vampirism over the last 10 years.  I don’t think this is a bad thing – in many ways our folk lore and mythologies define humanity, and these embellishments reflect a softening – more openly embracing of contradiction – of our attitudes towards each other.

One of the most long standing elements of vampire mythology has been the notion that the vampire is immune to all disease.  Another is that most forms of injury very rapidly heal to total recovery, as if the injury had never occurred.

Newer elements are that those cursed (or blessed?) with vampirism are not totally banished to the darkness.  Both in the Twilight movies and in the TV series The Vampire Diaries we see full vampires walking about in daylight.  In both stories we see that vampires – while still needing blood to survive – find survival possible on the blood of lower animals.

Honestly – I don’t believe that vampires walk among us.  But, if the above observations were all true, I would be completely willing to become one.  Killing bambi is already something I’d willingly do for food – drinking blood wouldn’t diminish that, and would be a small price to pay to not need to deal with the pain of arthritis ever again.

Concealed weapons work….

The following is from an email I received from the National Association for Gun Rights ….

__________________________________________________

Imagine you’re standing in line at the sporting goods store when multiple armed burglars storm in demanding guns and money.

You have only seconds to act.

You draw your gun and stop the crime, defending your life and the lives of the other customers.

But when the police arrive, instead of being touted as a hero, you’re arrested for not having a concealed carry permit.

This exact scenario took place in Topeka, Kansas recently, but luckily, just days before it happened, Constitutional Carry became law in Kansas.

So when Joey Tapley — who didn’t have a Concealed Carry Permit -– found himself confronted with three armed thugs stealing rifles and cash from a sporting goods store, he drew his gun without fear of legal repercussion.

Tapley’s quick thinking stopped the burglars and saved lives. And all of the suspects were apprehended without a single shot being fired.

But if this incident happened just two weeks earlier — or in any one of the forty-four states without Constitutional Carry — this law-abiding hero would be behind bars, facing criminal charges!

At the National Association for Gun Rights, we firmly believe the Second Amendment is the only permit law-abiding citizens should ever need. Period.

The good news is that Constitutional Carry is starting to take off in states all across the nation!

Two states — Maine and Kansas — removed the shackles of fingerprint databases, statist licensing schemes, and hefty permit fees this year.

These new constitutional carry laws allow law-abiding citizens who are legally eligible to purchase a firearm, to carry their gun, concealed, for self-defense without government “permission.”

And scenarios like the one in Kansas prove it’s working.

After the incident Tapley stated, “That’s why Kansas made the law. So citizens can carry and protect themselves and others.”

The fact is, gun owners have come a long way since the 1980s when your right-to-carry was denied in nearly every state, and the crime rate was through the roof.

As restrictive “maybe-issue“ carry laws gave way to “shall issue“ carry laws the media’s anti-gun narrative fell apart.

As gun restrictions have been deleted, the unmistakable conclusion is that when the government-mandated barriers to your Second Amendment rights are removed, crime goes down and rights are restored.

Vermont, the only state never to restrict the carrying of firearms in the first place has always been ranked at the top of the safest states.

Ten years ago, the idea of “Vermont carry” was seen by establishment politicians in both parties as an outrageous and unrealistic goal. Even the establishment gun lobby opposed the idea.

Because of the activism of National Association for Gun Rights members and supporters like you, all that has changed.

*** In 2003 Alaska became the second Constitutional Carry state.

*** In 2010 NAGR-backed efforts to pass Constitutional Carry in Arizona and Wyoming were successful.

*** In 2013 Arkansas passed a promising, yet disputed, Constitutional Carry law.

*** This year, after intense lobby efforts by NAGR members and supporters, Kansas and Maine both passed Constitutional Carry, and Mississippi lawmakers were forced to adopt a “bag” carry variant.

That’s not all.

Lawmakers in New Hampshire, West Virginia, South Dakota and Utah are finding it harder and harder to ignore NAGR supporters. Each has come very close to passing Constitutional Carry in recent years.

Even Montana and Idaho, which allow Constitutional Carry outside city limits, are under increased pressure to expand it statewide.

Finally, Constitutional Carry has been introduced and backed by NAGR in Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada. . . and may be coming soon to your state.

In some states politicians are actually competing with each other to sponsor Constitutional Carry and are eager to work with NAGR to usher in this next step for gun owners.

______________

So, where is the one (type of) place in Kansas where a law-abiding citizen still can’t carry a weapon – whether openly or concealed?  Federal Property, like the VA Hospitals where most of our best-trained weapons handlers can be found.  Military veterans.