Robert A. Teegarden's Blog

December 27, 2012

“Isn’t it rich. Isn’t it queer.”

Late Night Musings while Listening to Beethoven’s 9th:

  • Barry/Barrack Hussein Sorterro/Obama is the first (half-)black American President.  This is the best we could do?  Martin Luther King, Jr., would have to rewrite his dream to where kids are known only for the color of their skin and not for the content of their character. But he is the king of hyphens.
  •  That kids in Michigan cannot buy fake, bubble gum cigarettes but they can purchase real ones anywhere.  I guess the Internet sale of bubble gum will soon be banned in Michigan.
  • That folks in the state of Washington have banned smoking in public.  But the use of Marijuana is okay.  There must be something in the water up there and it better than Olympia beer.
  • The good folks in the government/union schools of Philadelphia installed condom dispensers in several of their high schools.  This was done in the dead of night, during Christmas vacation.  It was quietly announced on a Friday night. Hmmm.  They say that parents are to be blamed if the kids take these condoms without mom and dad’s permission.  And while the dispensers are in the nurse’s office or school office, they won’t be monitored.  Students will be on the honor system apparently.  This is worse than giving a loaded gun to a six-year-old.  Here’s a real weapon of mass destruction.  These folks are destroying the moral integrity of their own children.  But they say, “It’s for the kids.”

A German pastor announced that he believes that Jesus would have a Facebook account were He here today.  “Mein Gott in Himmel.  Ich denke nicht!”  (I don’t think so.)  Jesus didn’t send a message, he sent himself.  He didn’t wire ahead to Jerusalem, he road into town on the back of an ass.  He didn’t send gifts to the wedding at Cana; he came in person.   Presence is much more important than presents.  Our problems stem from our hiding behind technology–it’s hidden, it’s impersonal, it’s empty.  When the batteries drain, when the power fails, when the lights go out–all we have is each other.

Remember:  a network is NOT a community.

The vast majority of these were written by college graduates.  That should tell you something about the state of education in the USA.

  • You can get arrested for expired tags on your car but not for being in the country illegally.
  • Your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more of our money.
  • A seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for calling his teacher “cute” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable.
  • The Supreme Court of the United States can rule that lower courts cannot display the 10 Commandments in their courtroom, while sitting in front of a display of the 10 Commandments.
  • Hard work and success are rewarded with higher taxes and government intrusion, while some slothful behavior is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, subsidized housing, and free cell phones.
  • The government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide 99 weeks of unemployment checks (to not work).
  • Being self-sufficient is considered a threat to the government.
  • Politicians think that stripping away the amendments to the constitution is really protecting the rights of the people.
  • The rights of the Government come before the rights of the individual.
  • You pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big screen TV while your neighbor defaults on his mortgage (while buying iPhones, TV’s and new cars) and the government forgives his debt and reduces his mortgage (with your tax dollars).
  • Being stripped of the ability to defend yourself somehow makes you “safe”.
  • You have to have your parent’s signature to go on a school field trip or take an aspirin at school but not to get an abortion.
  • An 80 year old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a Muslim woman in a burka is only subject to having her neck and head searched.
  • You need a license to drive a car, or ID to cash a check, or take out a loan.  But not to VOTE.  Somehow that’s unfair.

It was reported that one large city in America was handing out cell phones with 250 prepaid minutes to the homeless.  They justified this campaign because the recipients were literally “homeless.”

Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to give the homeless a roll of quarters?  It would be a lot cheaper.  And if they need more quarters for phone calls to potential employers, all they have to do is document how they used the previous roll: whom they called, when, to whom did they speak and what was the job they were seeking.

Another solution might be to give them a personal 800 code number they can use to make “free” calls to potential employers.  If they want to phone, they’ll find a phone.

These technological give-aways (cellphones or shoes) don’t address the issue–they only exacerbate them.  If you give a man a fish, you feed him for today.  If you teach her how to fish you feed her for a life time.

It’s time to fish or cut bait.

Cory Booker, mayor of a large New Jersey city, declared that welfare checks and cell phone programs are NOT government give-aways, but a safety net.  I once knew and worked briefly with Cory Booker and had respect for his attempts to help people.  But this video cracks that support; he seems to be selling his soul piece by piece to the latest Mephistopheles.  If he cannot distinguish honestly between a safety net and a hand-out, then he is doomed to the nether world of the Democrats.

My gosh, Cory.  When I was in the circus and fell from the high-wire act, I thanked God for the safety net beneath.  My fall was stopped.  But here’s the difference: a safety net has an exit. You eventually get off.  It catches you on the way down so you can bounce up.  What exists are there from the food stamp program?  None.  What incentives are there to get better, to exit the program, to bounce back, to rejoin the human race?  None. There used to be.  But your lord and dictator removed all of those avenues of respect and recuperation.

Let’s see… from whence does the food stamp program come?  The government.  What is the source of the revenues to pay for his program?  The government.  Where does the government get its money?  From taxes.  Whom does it tax?  You and me.  There is no program that collects funds voluntarily or by mandate specifically for food stamps.  There’s no box to check on one’s income tax that says “contribution for food stamps, check here.”  If there are no expectations, no encouragements, no end in site, it cannot be a safety net.  If each citizen doesn’t decide, then the government has stepped in.  Therefore… IT’S A HANDOUT.

What would happen if there was a box on your income tax form that said: “Check here if you would like to pay an additional $28 in taxes to fund the Food Stamp Program.”  Do you honestly think there would be more than $56 in the fund?

Truth is universal, regardless of the participants.  To enslave any people is wrong whether it’s done with chains, education/indoctrination or cell phones.

Business solution for the 21st Century.  Post a sign on your front door: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.  Just because you come in doesn’t mean we have to sell it to you.”

Three Benghazi questions that haven’t been asked:

  • Who wanted Ambassador Stevens killed?
  • Who benefits from his death?
  • Who has the power to cover it up?

What’s the cost of maintaining an Army?  It’s the same as the first rule in Economics: Supply and Demand.  The cost of maintaining an army is to maintain an enemy.  If there is no enemy… you get the picture.

Which is more harmful to your health?  A plane full of cell phone talkers or a plane full of smokers? You be the judge

Only in America.

  •  Could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000 a plate campaign fund-raising event.
  • Could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is black while only 12% of the population is black.
  • Could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (head of our Treasury Dept) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes for American citizens.
  • Can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have our media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.
  • Would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege while we discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just ‘magically’ become American citizens.
  • Could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country’s Constitution be thought of as “extremists.”
  • Could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).
  • Could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a trillion dollars more than it has per year for total spending of $7 million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn’t have nearly enough money.
  • Could the “rich” people who pay 86% of all income taxes be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any income taxes at all.

Dear Teachers:

I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness. Gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates.

So I am suspicious of education. My request is: help your students become more human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, or educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.    –Haim G. Ginott

 

**”Send in the Clowns” is a song by Stephen Sondheim from the 1973 musical A Little Night Music.

Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air..
Where are the clowns?

Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can’t move…
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.

Just when I’d stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours.
Making my entrance again with my usual flair
Sure of my lines…
No one is there.

Don’t you love farce?
My fault, I fear.
I thought that you’d want what I want…
Sorry, my dear!
And where are the clowns
Send in the clowns
Don’t bother, they’re here.

Isn’t it rich?
Isn’t it queer?
Losing my timing this late in my career.
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns…
Well, maybe next year.

 

 

November 14, 2012

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – Saturday Musings

Filed under: American,Civics,Elections,Government,Obama — by Robert @ 8:32 am
Tags: , , , ,

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – Saturday Musings

A house divided cannot stand.  I was reminded of this piece of scripture during the recent election cycle.  All the signs suggest that we are no longer the “united” states of America.  We are the divided states of America.  It reminds me of the folklore about the indian father teaching his son about choice.  He teaches his son that every person has a battle going on inside, one to do the good, one to do evil.  One is hard because it requires one to be brave and often stand alone.  The other is easy because it simply means following the crowd.  But one leads to freedom and the other to slavery.  He explains that one is like the deer and the other is like the wolf.  The young brave asks his father, “Which one wins?”  The father responds, “The one that you feed.”

For me there are three pillars to America: The Constitution, “E Pluribus Unum,” and “In God We Trust.”  These are like the three legs on a milking stool.  When all three are present you cannot fall.  But if one of the legs is missing, you can balance things for a while, but once you tire you fall.  Likewise, with two legs missing, it’s only a matter of time before you collapse to the ground.

The Constitution clearly delineates the three branches of our government (administrative, legislative, and judiciary) and their respective roles and limits.  Those limits have been usurped or ignored. We have an executive making law and enforcing little, a judiciary seeking to rewrite history, and a legislature that fails to represent the people and exercise appropriate authority (such as impeachment).

We have allowed splinter and subversive organizations to dictate to the American people just what “God” means and where and when His name may or may not be proclaimed.  It’s time to buy back that sacred honor and it may require the spilt blood of tyrants and heroes.

Finally, “E Pluribus Unum,” a lowly and simple phrase embossed on the back of every red cent in America, stands for a marvelous worldview: from the many is made one.  In the recent electioneering cycle we all saw both sides to e pluribus unum.  One side said to vote for the “one”—vote for America.  That’s what we all have in common.  Americans don’t have or need hyphenated names.  Honor your roots and heritage, of course, but you are an American now.  That’s what we have in common.  That’s the good we seek.  The other side said “vote for the pluribus”—for the many—vote for the you.  Groups were identified and splintered: Jews and Catholics, men and women, religious and not, southern and northern, old and young, rich and poor, black and white and all shades in between.

One side pushed to help us see the magnificent contribution that each of us makes to the good of the whole.  One side distributed gifts to mark distinctions, separate people and ultimately make slaves—at least of their decisions, if not in fact.

Sandy Aftermath – I wrote earlier about the abominable and absurd actions by union officials in New Jersey turning away volunteered help to assist them in cleanup operations in their state.  Why?  Because they were non-union.  As I noted then, that’s like watching your house burn down and refusing to use your neighbor’s hose because it wasn’t union made.  Like so much of our government, union works have outlived their usefulness and are now toxic to life in America.

Then there’s the case of the volunteers from Tennessee who came to the shores of New Jersey to offer solace, care, food and shelter where they could.  They were turned away.  They were told that there was no place for them to set up. One of those backhoes could have cleared a spot in ten minutes—and people would have been fed.  Was it that these good Samaritans were from a religious organization?   That’s a union with which they’ll eventually have to contend.

Now New York is going to ask the military to help with electrical restoration.  But they’re not union as well.

Louisiana citizens appeal to Secede – That’s right.  The day after the election some citizens from Louisiana got together and started a petition drive to secede from the union—they want to form a government in keeping with the Constitution, obviously not the one they now experience.  They’re not alone.  Texas has tried that—twice… but for different reasons and in different times.  I think we experienced a civil war over this issue once before.  Maybe the south has right reason on their side this time.

In its narcissistic largesse, the Whitehouse (aka: Barry Soetero) added a website to “address” just such movements.  And the Whitehouse defines the rules: there’s a deadline date and there’s a minimum number of signatures necessary.  The clincher is that a signature is not valid without an e-mail address.  And you know what that means with this administration.

Imagine that!  A website where you can address your government on issues of concern.  Wow!

  • What about press conferences that spew out lies, don’t allow non-payola pundits and reporters, or simply don’t allow questions at all?
  • What about all the stone-walling over Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the real reasons why Petraeus was fired, the secret deals with the UN and Iran?

But we have a website now.  Wow!

General Petraeus is fired – You could see this coming a block away, and especially AFTER the election.He’s fired supposedly because of an illicit affair. Imagine that.  General Eisenhower had an affair and he went on to become President of the United States.  J. Edgar Hoover (of FBI fame) practiced a cross-dressing predatory homosexual lifestyle and used his office to mask his secret life, former President Clinton had a calendar of affairs in the White House even as he cried to the American people, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”  He continued in office.  And now we have the Petraeus affair.

Is Obama getting rid of Petraeus the way he got rid of Stevens?  Only this firing cannot be masked by a video or spontaneous demonstration.

Eric Holder fails to disclose his Wife’s abortion clinic – “Fails to disclose” is political double-talk for “he lied.” If this is true, I cannot wait to see what the IRS does about it.  But Eric Holder is the Attorney General.  And his family deals in death.  His wife doesn’t just work there, she’s part owner.  The wife of the attorney general is part-owner in a death factory.  They are dealers in death.  Fast and Furious, then, must not have been a far reach for this Attorney General.  Five will get you ten that there will be more fall out from the IRS than justice.

September 11, 2012

It’s time that students and their parents strike!

Teachers can strike.  Cafeteria workers can strike.  Janitors can strike.  Support personnel in schools can strike.  Why not the students?  What happens when students don’t show up?  Who really gets hurt in a strike?

These are the worst of times, to quote the bard.  There is no best.  Because no matter what, no matter if there is a settlement, no matter when, students are hurt irreparably.  The effects cannot be undone; it’s like a lifetime scar.  You see most kids are in second grade only once (save for a few).  And when asked about it in the future, some of these strike victims will have to say, “Second grade was the toughest two years of my life.”

The energy and momentum of a new school year cannot be regained.  It’s unconscionable for these adults to pull this kind of a stunt in September.  It’s effective as a political tool, I’ll grant you that.  But it’s immoral.  It violates every ethic of their profession.  If I were the mayor I’d immediately set up a hot line to seek other teachers willing to work for the $75,000 pay.   I think he could fill those spots in a second.  Since the union broke its own contract, I’d leave them on the street.  Time for a new cast of characters really dedicated to kids.

I think it’s about time students go on strike for better teaching, better learning opportunities, more challenges, less fluff in the curriculum, competent administrators, and guarantees in their educational outcomes like those promised by the teachers’ union to their minions.  Do students have clout?  You betcha.  Schools are paid on what is called ADA, Average Daily Attendance.  If your child is not in school, schools don’t get paid.  If schools don’t get paid, teachers and staff don’t get paid.  And the longer you’re out of school the more it begins to hurt.  So let’s organize and get going, because nothing is going to improve because of this strike.

I have to note an interesting article I found over the weekend where police types were concerned about the possibility of rival gang members being placed in the same school.  They were doing all that they could to make sure this didn’t happen.  Imagine that, criminals get choices in education that law-abiding kids can’t.  Go figure.  Break the law and get school choice.

One of the major stumbling blocks, according to the union representatives, is job security.  Keeping your job is a function of your competence and nothing else.  If you can do the job and do it well—you keep it.  If you don’t, find another job.  That’s like saying to a kid, no matter what you do in four years, no matter your grades, just for being there you get to graduate.  Wait, I’m sorry, that’s what a diploma measures today.

Out of the mouths of babes: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said, “We must do things differently in this city if we are to provide our students with the education they so rightfully deserve.”  She’s right.  But the “differently” doesn’t include the union.

I’ve often wondered about teacher picket lines in front of schools.  Whom are they picketing? Students? Parents? Other teachers who disagree with the strike? Administrators?  While they make an impression on them, it can’t be the students.  They’re just the little widgets on the assembly line that they manipulate from 8:00 to 2:30 p.m.  about four days a week for nine and half months a year.  It might be the parents because a strike is a political act.  Maybe they’re trying to influence these parents to support them no matter what.  It might be the administrators, but then, they might have to work with these same folks at the conclusion of the strike.  But, heck, that didn’t mean anything before the strike and it shouldn’t be different after; you see, the union steps in between the administration doing their duty and the teachers doing theirs.  And when things don’t go right, whom do they blame? Administrators, that’s right.  They should fire the union instead.  It must be the other teachers who don’t agree with the strike.  All that energy expended to disallow First Amendment freedoms.  That’s shear thuggery.  Oh, I forgot, this strike is in Chicago.

Even wonder why “some schools stay open” during a strike?  Cash flow.  Remember that ADA figure above?

The second stumbling block, according to the union, was teacher evaluations—it was tied to student performance. Let’s see, Johnny starts this year at 3.1 as a third grader.  At the end of the year he’s grown to a 4.1.  He’s gained 10 months of growth for 10 months of work.  Some would say that’s par for the course.  But if a teacher has 20 students and their average only 3.2 months of growth for 10 months work, what do you think the school should do?  And the union is fighting over student progress…

The Machine—on unions.  Here’s a short piece that explains the unholy, immoral and un-American status of teachers’ unions.

By the way, did you know that 39% of the Chicago teachers have their own kids in private schools.  When they say, “It’s for the kids,” maybe they’re confusing their own for the ones in front of them.  In order to clear up this confusion, I think there out to be a law that says that if you work for the government, especially as a teacher, that your own kids have to go to government schools only.  That should clear up the confusion about loyalties.

Well, what’s a student to do?  Strike.

September 9, 2012

City Employees Exempt from Fines for Running Red Lights

Filed under: American,Civics,Good Administration,Government — by Robert @ 1:03 pm
Tags:

 A recent article in the Rochester, NY, Democrat and Chronicle noted that Rochester city employees seem to have a serious tendency to run red lights. But when cited, the city argues that the individuals “may be disciplined” but are exempt from paying fines.  The article is of note for it outlines the beginnings of a slippery slope that will evolve into chaos on the streets and further distance “government employees” from the citizens they are sworn to represent.

Wrong.  Bad policy.  Back the red-light truck up.  Don’t do it. Let the consequences fall. 

The offenders included folks working in public works, solid waste or refuse, building services, cemetery, library vehicles, animal services, police vehicles, including the police chief himself.

I might consider some variance for police officers in the performance of their duties, but public works, solid waste, building services, cemetery, library and animal services—definitely not.

I used to admire our state highway patrol officers.  They were the “barons of the boulevard.”  They were highly trained, honest, moral citizens with a badge.  They didn’t flaunt that badge in your face.  They served the public (citizenry) well.  On one rainy night in Oakland, California, while I waited in traffic for a serious accident ahead of me, I watched one of these “barons” pull off a miracle.  Six lanes of traffic were to be merged into one and this officer had to place flares on the rain-slick overpass.  Rather than step out of the protection of his cruiser, he dropped the lighted flares from his window as he crossed three lanes.  Once he got to the end, he proceeded in reverse and, using his mirrors, he gently “popped” each flare with the right rear tire to scoot it across the concrete to exactly the right spot to merge the upcoming traffic.  I was impressed.

But I’ve noticed since then how sloppy our government employees drive.  I’m told that police are allowed a five mile-per-hour speed over the posted limit without the use of their red lights.  In other words, they can break the law up to a point.  But this “grace” doesn’t include red lights.  Weaving in and out of traffic with no red lights. No signals.  Speeding in excess of five mph over the legal limit, again with no lights.  Tail-gating.  I won’t even get into a comparison with the want-to-be, pretend, Napolitano-nympho TSA agents

The law of the land in New York is if one runs a red light, one pays a fine.  Period.  And that’s the way it should be; Richard Nixon taught us all that NO ONE is above the law.

Did you know one can perform a citizen’s arrest on a police officer who breaks the law?  I wouldn’t recommend it because of the retaliatory potential of an armed group of individuals, but it is possible.  But this is my point.

The one thing we all have in common when we’re on the highways is that we’re all citizens.  We’re all doing what citizens do—supposedly obeying the laws.  There are private citizens and pubic citizens commissioned to protect and serve.  If a citizen breaks the law there are consequences and those consequences must fall; otherwise, we start sliding toward tyranny and then anarchy.  After all, if a government employee doesn’t have to pay a fine for breaking the law, what should anyone else?

The Rochester article does give a couple of clues as to the real problem.  Here are just a couple of tidbits to consider:

“But Sheppard said most do involve emergency responses, and typically are rolling stops on right turns.”

If they are an emergency response, then red lights should be on.  How do we know this isn’t just a mad dash to the donut shop?  These “rolling stops on right turns,” sometimes referred to as a “Hollywood stop,” are still a violation of the red light ordinance.  Sheppard is making excuses for a lack of discipline. “Most involve emergency responses?”  How does he know when he cannot remember what he was doing when he was cited.  No, this is kind of like saying it’s a matter of national security—which is another way of saying “butt out.”

“There also was a stretch in April when city employees recorded 24 violations in 27 days.”

Common Sense tells you why. They got away with it. If there’s no consequence, the behavior continues.

“Two vehicles – one in animal services and the other in solid waste – were ticketed four times. The data doesn’t show whether the same employees were driving each time.”

I know ignorance is bliss, but I’m sure they have a check-out system that tells them exactly who was driving the vehicles in question.  If not, they’d better design one real quickly.

“He said some employees already have faced discipline, which can escalate from a note in their file to suspension to termination. The disciplinary process varies by bargaining unit, Redon said. Those terms allow for assessment of damages up to $100 but do not address monetary fines, said Mike Mazzeo, president of the police union, who suspects any discipline will need to be negotiated.”

This is the most troubling part of the report.  This says that the law of the land can be trumped by a union contract, kind of like how the teacher’s union operates.  The disciplinary process is the prerogative of the employer.  But the consequences of the law still stand.  Run a red light and you pay a fine.  Do it enough and you loose your license/privilege to drive in addition to whatever your employer demands.

The union already is upset that public safety aides, not police officers, review violations to determine whether tickets should be issued. And Mazzeo questioned the value of cameras, as intersections with cameras have yet to show a noticeable decline in violations.

This is a classic case of demonizing the messenger when we don’t like the truth in the message.  Citizens should be making these reviews, not police officers.  These citizens are just as capable to determine if someone breaks the law.  Likewise, the union officials can’t see the value of these cameras in the first place because, according to them, they don’t show a decline in violations.  Of course they don’t, especially when the greatest offenders get off scot-free.  But they sure catch a picture of the violators!

Union officials are NOT arbitrators of the law.   Run a red light and you pay a fine.  The only exception is if your red lights are flashing and you are on an emergency.

August 22, 2012

California’s Proposition 32—The Common Sense Proposition

Filed under: American,Civics,Elections,Government — by Robert @ 8:52 am
Tags: , , ,

Voting in America, in California, is the fundamental franchise for all citizens.  Being able to vote in an election is that one privilege that crosses all boundaries, all social-economic and age groups.  Whether you are a female, male, young or old, rich or poor, regardless of your background, occupation or nationality, as long as you are a legal citizen you can vote.  You should vote.

Voting allows the individual citizen the opportunity to have their voice heard.  No other government seeks to hear the voice of the citizen in a like manner.  Vote.  This the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  Notice it doesn’t say government of the business, by the union and for the corporation.  People are the heart and soul of government in America. Period.

The California Constitution says the following about voting:

ARTICLE 2  VOTING, INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM, AND RECAL

SECTION 1.  All political power is inherent in the people.  Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.

SEC. 2.  A United States citizen 18 years of age and resident in this State may vote.

SEC. 2.5.  A voter who casts a vote in an election in accordance with the laws of this State shall have that vote counted.

It’s so very simple.   Who votes?  People.  Whose voice is heard in elections? The people’s.  Whose voice is counted in an election?  The people’s.  Notice that the Constitution says nothing about organizations, unions, or groups being able to vote.  Only individual citizens have the right to vote.  It’s their voice that is to be heard and no one else’s.

Unfortunately we’ve allowed groups to influence that process over time.  While they don’t directly vote, these organizations and groups have undue influence in the voting process.   Proposition 32 wants to return the process to normalcy.  Proposition 32 wants to return the franchise of voting to the people, not outside influences.  This only makes simple sense.  If people are the ones doing the voting, then it is only the people whom should be heard.

Proposition 32 simplifies the process:

▪       Proposition 32 bans corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates.  Only bona fide citizens can make those contributions.  It’s their voice that will be heard from the voting booth.

▪       Proposition 32 bans contributions by government contractors to the politicians who control contracts awarded to them.  This is patently common sense.  The way it stands now, businesses that win contracts from politicians for whatever reason are able to give back contributions to those very same politicians.  That’s absurd.  That’s taking government money (your money) and giving it back to the politician through an intermediary (the contractor). That’s hidden graft.

▪       Proposition 32 bans automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics.  If an individual citizen which to contribute to a campaign or a candidate, let them do so.  Don’t force it.  Don’t force the taking of one’s salary in exchange for the privilege of working there.  That’s a form of bribery.  Allow citizens to choose their causes and choose their candidates. After all, it’s the citizen who is going to vote and no one else.

Here’s some interesting facts about the current status of the Proposition 32 campaign: d

Those in favor of Proposition 32 (who contributed at least $50,000).

Donor Amount
Thomas M. Siebel $500,000
Charles Munger, Jr. $357,169
Edward Bloomfield, Jr. $300,000
Larry T. Smith $260,000
Jerry Perenchio $250,000
Citizen Power Campaign $225,000
William Oberndorf $150,000
Protect Prop 13 (HJTA) $125,000
Lincoln Club of Orange County $110,000
Frank E. Baxter $100,000
Timothy C. Draper $100,000
William L. Edwards $100,000
B. Wayne Hughes $100,000
Howard F. Ahmanson $50,000
Charles B. Johnson $50,000
Franklin P. Johnson, Jr. $50,000
Nicoletta Holdings Company $50,000
Robert J. Oster $50,000
Richard J. Riordan $50,000

Those against Proposition 32 (who contributed at least $50,000).

Donor Amount
California Teachers Association $8,185,700
California Professional Firefighters $2,100,000
California State Council of Service Employees $2,037,500
AFL-CIO/Working Families $1,300,000
Peace Officers Research Association of California PAC $965,000
California School Employees Association $550,000
SEIU $502,762
California Faculty Association $500,000
Thomas Steyer $500,000
AFSCME $450,000
California Federation of Teachers $300,000
Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Public Safety First PAC $250,000
United State Pipe Trades Council $250,000
International Association of Firefighters $200,000
Professional Engineers in California Government $125,000
California Statewide Law Enforcement Association $100,000
San Bernardino County Safety Employees’ Benefit Association $100,000
John Perez Ballot Measure Committee $100,000
State Building and Construction Trades Council of California $100,000
United Domestic Workers of America $100,000
California State Legislative Board $50,000
United Food & Commercial Workers $50,000

Notice the difference?

Those favoring Proposition (and who contributed more than $50,000)—those favoring giving citizens back their franchise–were people, were citizens.  Four of the 19 were fraternal organizations.

19 of the 21 against the proposition are unions or their PACs.  Get the picture?

So, it’s pretty much a common sense proposition.  Do you want to vote for corporate, and union graft and influence in your government?  Or do you want a government that speaks for the people?  Guess what… you get to choose… at least for now.

July 20, 2012

Time for Impeachment

Filed under: American,Civics,Elections,Government — by Robert @ 3:14 pm
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Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. (Declaration of Independence)

The US Constitution limits impeachment to “The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States” who may be impeached and removed only for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”.

Then President Richard M. Nixon resigned from office with only the threat of impeachment. His crime: lying to the American people about a cover-up that included all the branches of the US intelligence and justice departments.

Now we have a POTUS who has gone way beyond a cover-up, though that offense will be in the bill of particulars or in discovery.

John Adams, the second president of the United States, once stated, “Facts are stubborn things.” Well, the following facts are stubborn things. They’re stubborn because they cannot be denied.

(The italicized portions are from the Declaration of Independence.)

Treason       

  1. He asked permission of the United Nations in order for us to go to war, a war not authorized by Congress.
  2. He has made efforts (through Secretary Clinton) to subsume the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution to a UN Treaty.
  3. He was the UN Security Council Chair in 2009, while he acted as president.
  4. His administration gave British Trident missile codes to Russia.

Bribery

  1. He forced British Petroleum to pay $20 billion to a slush fund to compensate Gulf Coast businesses and residents affected by the BP oil spill. There is no Congressional oversight.
  2. Votes for ObamaCare were purchased with the “Cornhusker Kickback”, “Louisiana Purchase” and the Department of the Interior increasing water allocations to California’s San Joaquin and Central Valleys.
  3. He gave taxpayer funds to Solyndra (along with a few others).

High crimes and Misdemeanors

  1. He accepted millions in illegal campaign contributions from foreign credit cards.  The screening process to preclude foreign money was (somehow) turned off.
  2. Domestic donors to his campaign were able to contribute over the legal limit.
  3. He produced a fraudulent birth certificate to disclaim questions about his birth.
  4. He does not meet the Constitutional requirement of being a natural-born citizen.
    1. A candidate for the office of president (and presumptive office holders) must be natural-born citizens: at the time of birth, both parents must be citizens of the United States.

i.      By his own admission (POTUS) his father was native to and a citizen of a foreign country.  He is not eligible for the position.

ii.      Continued willful obfuscation of the facts surrounding his birth and the documents that could prove otherwise is a cover-up far and away great than that of former President Nixon.

  1. He is using a false Social Security Number.
  2. His Draft Registration number is false.
  3. He violated the bankruptcy laws by awarding the United Auto Workers with a share of GM and Chrysler during their bankruptcy proceedings.
  4. He summarily fired the Chief Executive Office of General Motors, a violation of the Constitution.
  5. He lied to American citizens about being able to keep their healthcare coverage if they went with ObamaCare.
  6.  He told the EPA to set carbon emission standards without the direction and/or oversight of Congress.
  7. He instituted the “Brown Shirts Mentality” when he instituted a website that asked Americans to report on other Americans about ObamaCare, using taxpayer money.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

  1. The appointment of “czars” (over 30) is questionable at the very least. It bypasses the Senate and the representative nature of this Constitutional Republic.
  2. He violated contractual law when he cancelled 77 oil field development contracts previously approved by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
  3. He has used tax payer funds and government offices for political gain. One such example is the use of the DHS to determine the political affiliation of Americans making FOIA requests about his administration, with subsequent DHS refusals and delays.
  4. He conducted a war against Libya without Congressional authorization, a violation of the War Powers Act of 1973.
  5. He lied again to the American people when he said there were no US troops in Libya. His later admission was that they were just “logistical troops.” (Sound familiar: “There are no US troops in Laos.)
  6. His cover-up and use of “Executive Privilege” to shield his administration about his knowledge of and direct involvement with the Fast and Furious gun-running operation.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

  1. On New Years Eve 2011, he signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act which includes provisions that permit the abduction and military detention without trial of U.S. citizens.

For imposing taxes on us without our consent

  1. His role in the economic looting of America since he took office is unprecedented. Specifically, Obama violated the Constitution’s Takings and Due Process Clauses when he bullied the secured creditors of automaker Chrysler into accepting 30 cents on the dollar while politically connected labor unions and preferential others received better deals.
  2. He authored and urged the passage of what is known as ObamaCare, telling the citizens that it was not a “tax” but a penalty for non-participation.
  3. His use of signing statements shows his desire to rule by executive fiat. This is a direct violation of Article II of the Constitution.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

  1. He has failed to defend US soil in Arizona as Mexican troops bring illegals and drugs into the USA, crossing the border doing so. This is a direct violation of Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution.
  2. He has allowed US Attorney General, Eric Holder, to ignore his violation of US immigration laws by the creation of immigration sanctuary cities.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither

  1. He has directed his Attorney General to sue any state which seeks to secure its borders.
  2. He enacted law without Congress by providing amnesty to illegal immigrants by allowing ICE Director John Morton to prohibit ICE officers from enforcing US immigration laws.
  3. He and Secretary of State Clinton misappropriated $23 million in US taxpayer funds to help his homeland of Kenya move to a communist nation where the freedom of speech, private property rights, and other rights are subservient to “social justice”.
  4. He acted in April 2009, at the G20 meeting, to expand the Special Drawing Rights that now gives the IMF more control over the US economy, more authority than the duly-elected representatives of the citizens.
  5. He allowed the FCC to assume authority over the internet, in direct violation of a federal appeals court that DENIED the commission that authority. In December, the FCC voted and passed the first federal regulations on internet traffic.

He has obstructed the administration of justice…

  1. He allowed the DOJ in 2009 to stop enforcing federal drug laws in regards to marijuana.
  2. He allowed the DOJ to refuse to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, a law of the land at the time.
  3. He issued an Executive Order on July 12, 2011, attempting to restrict the Second Amendment rights of US citizens in Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona
  4. When Eric Holder refused to prosecute two New Black Panther Party members for brandishing weapons in front of a voting location in Philadelphia, He did nothing. This is a voter Civil Rights violation.
  5. There is new evidence that he obstructed justice by giving preferential treatment to his uncle, Omar Onyango, found guilty of overstaying his visa since 1989 and having received a DUI during this time; the uncle received a deportation stay from the Obama administration and, despite a court ruling to the contrary, received an “emergency” driver’s license.

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments…

  1. He attempted to bypass Congress and raise the Debt Ceiling by “reinterpreting” the 14th Amendment.
  2. He bypassed the Senate by appointing Richard Cordray to a new unconstitutional agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  3. He bypassed the Senate in order to appoint three people to the National Labor Relations Board.
  4. He allowed Education Secretary Arne Duncan to grant waivers to No Child Left Behind however, this is a law enacted by Congress and neither Obama nor Duncan have the authority to authorize that.
  5. He violated the policy of the Senate when he appointed Donald Berwick as CEO of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  6. Obama allowed the bailouts to grant money without the authority to do so. “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7U.S.Constitution
  7. Obama allowed Operation Castaway to occur, which allowed firearms laws to be broken through coercion of legal gun dealers.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

  1. He allowed his Secretary of Defense to place US troops within the jurisdiction of the United Nations.
  2. He and his Secretary of State have maneuvered to subordinate the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution to a United Nations treaty on arms control.
  3. He allowed Interpol to operate in the US without the proper oversight by Congress, the FBI, our US courts or even local law enforcement.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us…

  1. He interfered with a high profile murder case in Florida by taking sides.
  2. He allows the DHS/TSA to routinely violate the 4th/5th Amendment rights of Americans at airports, train stations, and VIPER checkpoints.
  3. His administration changed a welfare program into a government handout to not citizens by promoting Food Stamp Assistance in alien newspapers.
  4. His Attorney General has failed to address the voting rights of American citizens on the island of Guam, an American territory.
  5. During his tenure the American Olympic committee was allowed to outsource the manufacture of team uniforms to China.
  6. He failed to rein in his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, falsified her statement, given before the entire “international community,” claiming “200 men, women, and children” were deliberately massacred, when in reality it was the Syrian military restoring order in the face of armed terrorists.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends

We, therefore… do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people… solemnly publish and declare… that they are absolved from all allegiance… and that all political connection between them …ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

The Moral Dilemma and Obama

Filed under: American,Civics,Elections,Government,Language — by Robert @ 2:59 pm
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One of the telling problems of politics is the disconnect between what a politician says and does from one moment to the next.  We hear a speech that inspires and enervates.  We then hear an off-the-cuff remark that bewilders and is contrary to the speech.  The dilemma for the citizen in 21st century America is getting to know a candidate and/or politician from the words and actions revealed.  Why they reach the conclusion they reach is as important as the conclusion itself because it reveals how the person thinks and what they value.  Why does Soetoro-Obama do this or say that?  What does he really mean?  What does he really value? Part of the problem is modern technology.

When a political leader speaks formally today, s/he often uses a teleprompter or, at least, prepared notes.  It’s very seldom that an informal give-and-take takes place.  Why?  In the formal setting the politician is working from a well-prepared script.  The problem is that this script was probably written by someone else. In the informal tête-à-tête the politician is naked before the world. These latter words reveal the real person behind the words.  You really don’t know what a person is thinking from a prepared speech. One measure of a politician’s strength would be to see how often s/he works from a script or speaks extemporaneously.  How often does this person speak directly to the people? How does Mr. Obama stack up when he working from a script versus when he’s not?  Notice a difference?  It’s obvious that the level of moral reasoning by the scriptwriter is radically different from that of Mr. Soetoro-Obama.

One such scale used to measure cognitive moral reasoning was authored by Piaget.  Piaget studied and wrote of many aspects of moral reasoning and judgment.  But all of his research narrowed down to a two-state theory.  Moral dilemmas are handled by under-10 and 11-year-olds far differently than those older. In other words, there are two stages of development: 10 & 11-years-old (and under) and all people older. Children 11 and under regard the laws and rules of order to be fixed and absolute.  These rules are handed down by God and/or adults and they cannot be altered.  The older group sees that rules are not necessarily sacred and/or absolute, but they are tools that human beings use to form social groups and get along.

The younger group measures rules by what might happen if; what would happen if I break that rule or follow that rule.  They see the world in terms of consequences.  The older folks tend to see the world of choices in terms of intentions.  For some of them, one’s intentions can trump the severity of breaking a rule/law. That’s why intentions are a major part of most capital crime investigations. What was their intention? Was there an intention to deceive?

A second author on moral choice was Lawrence Kohlberg.  Kohlberg took the extensive research of Piaget and analyzed it even further. In his famous doctoral research, he observed the responses (moral reasoning) of 72 boys from Chicago all dealing with the same dilemma.  From those interviews and subsequent research and writings, Kohlberg developed his Six Stages for Moral Reasoning.  “Moral” here doesn’t mean a bag of virtues.  It’s the intellectual value one places on why one chooses to do or not do a particular act.

Here’s a chart of those stages:

Pre-moral or Pre-Conventional Level

Stage 1: Love of Pleasure, Fear of Pain or Punishment-Avoidance   and Obedience

Decisions are made strictly on the   basis of self-interest.  Rules are   disobeyed as long as one doesn’t get caught.

Stage 2:    Egotistic-Reciprocity or The Exchange of Favors

Others may have needs, but   everything is subordinate to the satisfaction of my needs first and foremost.  

Conventional   Level

Stage 3: The “Good boy” or “Good Girl” stage

Chooses to do or not do things in   order to please others.  Very concerned   about maintaining interpersonal relationships.

Stage 4: Law and Order

I choose not to do this or choose   to do that because it’s the law of the land.

Post-Conventional or Principled Level

Stage 5:  The Social   Contract

Rules/Laws are part of social   agreements. While these laws should be followed by all, they can be changed   from time to time.

Stage 6: Universal Moral/Ethic Principle

There are transcendent principles   that are higher than or more encompassing than particular laws in time and   space.  There is a deep inner   conscience.

Subsequent stages are “better” than the previous.  “Better” here doesn’t mean “gooder” in the sense of a good/bad thing. It means more-encompassing, more intellectually honest.  A person who reasons as level 3 includes levels 2 and 1 into a higher order of reasoning.  Likewise, a person thinking at level 5, the Social Contract, necessarily includes the preceding levels 1-4.  Each stage of cognitive moral reasoning is a more encompassing level; the very “motion” of the chart itself goes from the narrowness or solitude of the “I” to the much broader idea of the “they”, the one to the many.

People don’t necessarily move to “higher” stages of moral growth simply because of age, nor can they skip a stage.  A famous 60-some-year old politician once said, “I don’t know how they can do this to me after all I did to them” the night he left office.  Clearly, that’s a level 2 kind of thinking.  But a person grows from one stage to another by intellectually dealing with moral dilemmas, that is, grappling with the moral content of an issue. If folks don’t engage moral dilemmas, they remain morally stagnant.  Most children outgrow level 2 by the time they are in second grade. This was once called the “age of reason.”  Most American adults reach level four thinking, acting at level three.  Some reach post-conventional thinking. Kohlberg noted that Socrates, Plato, Ghandi, Jesus, and some of the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., were all examples of level six thinking. They were all killed by level four type folks.  There is a price to pay for having an individual moral compass.

There are averages for the cognitive moral development of most folks, but there are exceptions.  Kohlberg found that “normal” folks usually think one level above where they tend to act. In other words, while folks might be talking about Law and Order, their actions demonstrate clearly that they’re really thinking of how they can please another. An interesting sidelight study was that Kohlberg found that criminals tend to act one level above their reasoning; that is they did a “law and order” kind of deed, but when questioned they noted their prison record and time off for good behavior. Criminal “types” think and act the opposite of law-abiding citizens.

Let’s give Mr. Soetoro-Obama a dilemma and see by his actions at what level he’s probably operating.  The dilemma is this:  He wants to run for a higher political office.  The office has a strict criteria for candidates: both of his parents must be natural born citizens at the time of his birth in order to qualify.  He knows he doesn’t qualify but he really wants this office. He’s been offered the possibility by several of the richest and most influential men in the world. If he reveals his birth certificate, he’s ineligible. Should he reveal this fact or not?

Mr. Soetoro-Obama decides to move ahead and keep that information from his constituents.  In fact he spends close to $11 million to hide that fact and avoid discovery.  He wants the job opportunity.

So the question is this: At what level of moral reasoning is this decision?

Stage 6: Universal Moral/Ethic Principle?      No.  In order to be transcendent, all actions and thoughts have to be transparent. It’s all out there for folks to see.  There’s nothing to hide.  The very act of hiding eliminates this level. His actions to secret information reveal the lack of moral reasoning at this level.

Stage 5:  The Social Contract?                       No.  An example of this Social Contract would be the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States; they reach for higher values, higher principles.  But the Constitution is the very document that outlines the expectation for this office.  If he chooses to hide the facts of his birth and upbringing, then he is not rising to this higher level of post-conventional thinking.  His actions are contrary to the expectations of this stage.

Stage 4: Law and Order?                                No.  The law of the land outlines the expectations for his office.  He submits a false document to suggest compliance with the law. He’s able to think about the expectations at this level, but his actions are not consistent with what society offers as was is legal and what is a sense of order. His choice to violate the law is not for some higher good.

Stage 3: “Good boy” or “Good Girl” stage?  No.  One might argue that he chose to do hide his eligibility in order to please his backers.  But is he very concerned about maintaining interpersonal relationships with the people this office serves?  No.  There is evidence that he’s at least toying with his level of moral development.  He did alter and amend the official histories of his predecessors in order to attempt admiration for his own supposed accomplishments to date.  He’s starting to think about this level but his actions aren’t there yet.

Stage 2:  Egotistic-Reciprocity or The Exchange of Favors Stage    Possibly. Others may have needs, but everything is subordinate to the satisfaction of my needs first and foremost.  His control of media events directs all attention to him; he continually takes credit for others’ work and achievement. He accepts awards where he has done nothing to earn them.  When others challenge the facts of his eligibility, he attacks the author with ad hominem remarks. Clearly he works at this level because of the many favors he grants to only those who have supported him.  

Stage 1: Love of Pleasure, Fear of Pain or Punishment-Avoidance and Obedience Stage?   For sure.  The very reason he spends so much money, time and energy on hiding his credentials is that he might get caught.  Then what?  Decisions are made strictly on the basis of self-interest.  And like Piaget’s early stage thinker, his decisions are based on consequences, not intentions. The egotistic love of pleasure in holding the position is more important than the honest revelation that he simply is not eligible for the same.

Kohlberg hoped that people would advance to the highest possible stage of moral thought. The best possible society would contain individuals who not only understand the need for social order (stage 4) but can entertain visions of universal principles, such as justice and liberty (stage 6). But neither of these can be obtained if, as an adult, one has the stagnated moral development at the level of a six-to-11-year-old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hyphenated-America

Americans see hyphens every day.  The most common use of the hyphen is in the art of orthology or correct spelling, especially when a word breaks at the end of a sentence. Hyphens can either separate or unify.  Hyphens can be used to divide or connect syllables, names or word elements; they can also be used to link jobs or function such as singer-dancers, actor-models, mendacious-politician (Oops, I’m sorry. That’s redundant).  But hyphens are especially needed for clarity. While one might be contained in the other, there is a difference between re-creation and recreation.  And as a parent, I surely would like to distinguish for my children the difference between a dirty-movie theater and a dirty movie-theater.  So, hyphens can help; but they can also hurt.  It all depends on how their used.

Take the term Irish-American or Black-American. To be clear at the outset, it really should be Afro-American, for the modifier is not color but source. Color, like height or weight, is not substantive. Imagine folks being referred to as short-Americans or sinister-Americans (those who write with their left hand).  I suppose, though, one could call herself/himself anything they wish.  But in common parlance and public exchange, things can get confusing. What if your mother were white, your father was from Kenya?  Would you be a white-Afro-American? Or an Afro-White –American?  We seek clarity.

If one is Irish-American it denotes that one has immigrated recently from Ireland and you still have a leg in both countries and cultures. For those who were born here of that particular pedigree, the term is often used to connote origins, not the present reality.  If “Irish-American” denotes a recent arrival, then all others are “Americans of Irish decent”.  After all, the common denominator for us all is “American,” not “Irish.”

Likewise for the Afro-American. A recent immigrant from Monrovia, Liberia, to Azusa, California, could be considered an Afro-American for a while. But with time, naturalization, and assimilation in the new culture, she/he would be known as an American, who happens to be from Africa.  Again, what we all have in common is in being an American.

How we use the language says a lot about us.  Maintaining a hyphenation maintains a duality.  If asked for your nationality ten years after moving into the USA and you said, “Irish American,” that would indicate to me that you’re not here yet.  You’re living in two worlds.  Don’t get me wrong. One’s origins, nationality and culture are fundamental. They are important and need to be nurtured.  I would be proud to be Irish.  But when you move to a different land, you necessarily need to absorb the principles and mores of that land; otherwise, you live a life divided upon itself.  What happens is your own culture fails to develop and your new allegiances cease to grow.  You’re kind of in a Twilight Zone.  I’ve often wondered about hyphenated-married names.  That burden is placed on the bride in the American parlance.  But what a gift to give? Does having a hyphenated name after marriage mean that you have a foot in each camp, one single and the other married? I wonder.  What does that same about commitment?

Who are we really?  We’re Americans who came from Africa. We’re Americans who came from Ireland.  We’re Americans who came from Colombia.  Rich with a cultural heritage and even language, we can be proud to be an American…. first.

But hyphens that hurt can also heal.  Usually the last thing they do to you is hyphenate your life. You know:  1925 2008.  That little hyphen (actually it’s more like a dash) captures time (in this case, about 83 years), history, experience, family, off-spring, roots and love.  All that can make up a person’s life is captured by that little hyphen-now-dash.  Between these two days lived this person. Between these two marks in time, we hyphenate eternity and honor a life.

So be careful out there in the military-industrial complex. Be careful not to fall prey to political-correctness and instead judge for yourself based on facts and truth.  Avoid cancer-causing substances and conditions.  Try to choose the most cost-effective means of living in these difficult times. Avoid separating yourself off from others. If you’re here legally, you’re an American first and foremost.  Welcome. Best wishes.  If not, sign up.

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