Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Was Rev. Jeremiah Wright Right?

As I listen to this sermon I can't help but think how America is treating those seeking immigration having their families torn apart. Change up his thoughts on blacks and transpose them for how America is now treating Latinos from South America. American policy has now shifted towards establishing policies and laws that once discriminated against African Americans now redirecting our ugliness towards these Latinos seeking refuge.

Today's policies towards families are even more harsh then those in our past. During the war we created Japanese internment camps. To this day many denounce our actions. What we didn't do was separate families.

Rev. Wright's sermon made it clear although countries and their laws come and go our creator never changes. If our country wants to enjoy God's continued blessing we ought not to be slapping God in the face by picking and choosing which among all the people he created our laws deem worthy. Some may postulate if God didn't want a certain segment around he could easily wipe them off the face of the earth. Some say he did just that often in the past. If it's true-- we better tread lightly. We could be playing with fire.

Then There's This
Since this immigration thing ignited I've come to realize a few things about human nature. There's two sides in varying degrees. In one camp you have people with open minds. The other with closed. Forget about liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats or anything else which seems to divide. There exist only the closed minded and open minded both equally divided. Putting it more plainly. One group consist of acceptance. The other non-acceptance.

There's no amount of intellectual reasoning, emotional appealing or argument over facts that can influence the closed minded. A truly open minded person avoids engaging with such people realizing the futility. Instead focusing on expanding their further understandings. Possibly changing their positions upon gaining further knowledge.

If the human race is to progress it depends on those with open minds. Far too many times throughout the ages people were persecuted if they dare question the status quo. This caused mankind to stagnate sometimes for centuries. Some blame church doctrines or governmental laws at the time. The REAL FAULT lies within the people with closed minds who supported these institutions. Some feared change. Others had selfish reasons. Still others were steeped in ignorance. Whatever their reasoning's human progress became stymied. Most resulted in unnecessary human suffering through imprisonments and wars.

Unfortunately I'm very doubtful any of us has the ability to influence the number of open minded or closed minded individuals living on earth at any given time. Perhaps this lies in the hands of unknown powers far greater then we as to how many will be hard wired one way or the other.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Congress Not Likely To Head Off Trump's Trade War

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) introduced S.3013 which would require congressional approval before a president can go through with an import adjustment in the name of national security. However this bill is already dead on arrival for three reasons.

(1) Trump won't sign it because he not only doesn't like Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) but...
(2) Trump hates giving up his power even more.
(3) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) left his intentions be known if it manages to get out of the 'Senate Finance Committee' he will block it from coming up for a vote.
And Corker knows it too (June 12, 2018)

So What Have We Learned Kids?
This (like many other things this president has taken to do on his own) won't be challenged by this congress. Thus encouraging this president to take even greater control over measures once traditionally held by congress. In so doing congress is ceding it's powers as well as their responsibilities to the executive branch. The reason they fail to act I believe is so they can avoid blame if/when things go down the toilet.

In my opinion this not only make many congressional members enablers but cowards as well. Legislative members whose only goal seems to be getting reelected unscathed. So too a damn shame how congress now turns over it's responsibilities to provide for this nation's check and balance to the judicial branch. Then they even have the gall to bitch and moan when judges are forced to make the hard decisions for them.

Right now all the big decisions being made are by government agencies (by the 1,000's), Trump himself and the judicial branch. If/when all this heads south no doubt there will be lots of members of congress pointing their fingers playing the blame game. The thing to keep in mind just because congress didn't do something doesn't mean they shouldn't be held accountable for their inaction for not doing so

It's almost come to the point we no longer need congress.
They've done nothing towards addressing unelected officials' directives in federal agencies whose regulations number in the 10,000's affecting us far more directly then any other sector in the federal government. The only major legislation congress passed since Trump was elected was defunding the federal revenues through their tax cuts. Meanwhile did nothing on campaign finance reform, immigration, medicare, social security, healthcare, controlling drug prices, environment, education, energy, balancing the budget and just about everything else I can think of importance to the American people. Instead spent nearly all their time investigating their opponents when they're not spouting off on TV. What a worthless lot they've become.

What I'd like to see change (A wish list).
Each and everyone of these seat warmers be required to come up with at least one original significant clean bill of their own each year. Receive a grade on the number of their bills which passed. Anything less then a 10% would disqualify them from running for reelection. Anything more would allow them to run as often as they desired. I'd also like to see open primaries where voters could choose any candidate of their liking irregardless of party affiliation. A 10 years residency requirement (or something similar) living fulltime in the state they wish to represent. Both the senate and house should be 4 year terms. In the house 2 years is too short. They're perpetually campaigning. Limit campaign fundraisers to 4 events a year. They should busy themselves doing the work of the people. Those are a few for now. I'm sure I could come up with more if I thought more about this.

The only thing I could add is I'd like us to become more of a democracy then the republic composed of representatives we have now. Meaning-- I'd like to see a lot more none binding ballot questions asked when we vote. Maybe a dozen or more at least. Voters would always have the option to skip them, but I think it could prove useful to the candidates being elected into office. It also would encourage greater participation knowing it was a way to have their voices heard above others when it comes to governmental decisions,

Friday, June 15, 2018

Why I Never Waste My Time Debating Trumpsters

Since Donald's come on the scene I feel very much like what Alice might have experienced in the novel 'THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS'.

It seems to me whatever Donald says or does exist on the opposite side of the mirror. They say crazy people don't know they're nuts. It could be I'm on the wrong side of the mirror. Even if it be so I wouldn't want to cross over to the side Donald's on. I'd much prefer living in a world where people respect each other. One which is filled with empathy and understanding. A world based on actual facts and where there isn't always this constant bickering. In other words-- living anywhere but in Donald's dimension.

Some scientists claim there are parallel universes. Did I somehow fall asleep one night and wake up in one of them?

Yeah.. OK.. So that might explain it.

These day's there's lots of hatred throughout world directed towards refugees. What shallow minds fail to comprehend is it's not about the faux borders redrawn from one era to the next as government leaders come and go. It's how we treat those oppressed and victimized forcing them to risk everything in becoming refuges from their own land. A measure of a country's greatness is measured by how we treat others as we would our own. That's the way things are on my side of the mirror. If you don't agree please stay on Donald's in whom his and your reflection of him will be more comfortable.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wages Are Way Out Of Whack

Huffington Post
Bleak New Figures Show Just How Unaffordable Rent Is In Every U.S. State
"The hourly wage needed to make a modest two-bedroom apartment affordable is $22.10 – more than three times the minimum wage. Given that the average hourly wage of renters in the U.S. currently stands at $16.88, it’s clear the gap between wages and affordability is stark. "

If you click on the article you will find a map indicating the required hourly wage to afford the average two bedroom apartment in each state.

Looking over the statistics I can honestly say I'd be SOL if I was starting out today right after high school. Even if I went to college I would have those extra expenses to deal with I didn't back in 1966. Fortunately I had the good sense to pay off our mortgage early years ago otherwise I'd be in a world of hurt.

If we decided to sell our home and rent it would be a disaster. After deducting the expenses of selling our home in the West End of Allentown even with Social Security income we would be out of money in 10 years at today's rents (not accounting for increases). The only way I could stretch that out is if water, cable and electric were included. We gave up my 28 year old van, eliminated all gift giving and our health insurance. Most definitely things I wouldn't be willing to do.

Currently I budget for taxes, water and homeowners insurance on this home $532 a month. For sure there's no way we could find a apartment for that price. Not to mention we have 2,200 SqFt of living space. Some may say what about repairs? Well for damn sure in no way does it cost us $1,000 a month for those.

While I consider myself lucky to lived in the era I did I can't help but empathize for these younger workers coming up behind me. Several things have changed mostly the fault of government. It allowed corporation after corporation to merge enabling them to gain advantage over workers by leaving fewer choices in the job market. At the same time government legislation failed to pass sensible minimum wage standards and reduced workers rights in a number of ways. Government failed to pass laws preventing companies from hiring "at-will" employees without restriction. Passed several laws in states crippling unions by allowing so-called "open shops". So too allowing companies to tie workers hands by forcing their complaints be settled by company appointed arbitrators.

I know there's a lot out there who are dead set against government regulations. But if you think government regulations suck wait till you see what these companies will do once totally free to do whatever they want with their workers. Disgruntled workers won't stand a chance against these huge corporations and their lawyers. Government is the only force big enough to stand in their way.

If younger workers wish to find themselves fortunate as myself they need to do what many of us did. (1) Stick together. Some of our parents in the 40's died and fought for many of the workers' rights I benefited from.

(2) Don't just yell and complain to leaders once they're elected. Get out and force candidates to commit themselves to workers. THEN GO OUT AND VOTE FOR THEM!

(3) Develop an understanding no employer is hiring someone as a favor. They need workers as much as workers need them. Somehow people have forgotten this.

(4) Add value to yourself by choosing an education which is in demand. It doesn't matter whether it's blue collar or white. Employers need another degree in journalism, art, accounting or business like a hole in the head. In today's market there's no room for those running with the herd

(5) If you're fortunate to land a well paying job plan wisely. You don't need a $1 million home when a lesser one will do. Pay it off early. Unless you own a restaurant you don't need to be in one nearly every day. Chances are your home came equipped with a kitchen. Use it. Don't need a $40,000 car either. A $15,000 one will move your ass around just as well.

(6) Most importantly don't think for a minute government or businesses have your best interests at heart. Act accordingly.

Published on Jun 12, 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

My Take On The Trump Kim Jong-Un Summit

I've always been in favor the United States talks with other leaders no matter the circumstance. My thoughts are far different from those being bantered about. Here's what concerns me.

Assuming Kim Jong-Un Is Sincere Can He Deliver?
For 60 years the people of North Korea have been brainwashed by every means possible to trust only what they've been told since birth. This includes most of it's military leaders who were born after the war. Under both Kim and his father each were to be treated as almost religious Gods. Now all in a sudden their God like leader claims he will instruct his people to forget everything they've been told.

To my way of thinking it's like telling his people Satan (the United States) isn't such a bad guy after all. North Koreans should now accept Satan because Kim has made peace with the face of evil. I wonder how many will buy what he's selling There sure are a hellva' lot of people in this country who have their doubts about Kim's change of heart. Imagine how his people will react being expected to do a 180 from everything they've ever known!

The way I see it a few things could happen. (1) Kim could find himself overthrown by his own leaders. Possibly executed. (2) Kim feeling threatened by such could either walk back his agreements or exercise his dictatorial powers over those who threaten him. (3) The best possible scenario is most of the North Koreans (like many Russians once behind the 'Iron Curtain') are not as brainwashed as we are led to believe and will welcome the change. Here's to hoping it's the latter,

As you can see I'm not concerned with the appearances, politics or who said what. My greatest concern is how the North Korean people themselves react. Success or failure lies almost entirely in their hands. If Kim's going to sell this to his people it's going to take all the skill he can muster

However no one should rule out the possibly this could have been one great big shit show Time will tell. It's still too early to know for sure. The best indicator will be what North Korean TV airs in the coming days ahead. That and whether third parties are allowed in to verify what was agreed to.

Although Republican President Nixon was execrated he was credited for what people at the time thought was a good deal. Developing relations with China. This eventually led to trade agreements with China. Thus ending a 21 year embargo. This eventually killed off our manufacturing industry. In other words China would never be where it is today if it were not for him.

We should be concerned with more and more of our allies' trade agreements with China and Russia going on without us. Several are approving trade no longer based entirely on the U.S. dollar to avoid our ever growing lists of sanctions.

This is no time to pissing off our partners. Trump Wants Russia back in G7 but Russia says no thanks. The Telegraph (UK) reported Putin said "the combined purchasing power of the Russia and China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) , a meeting of which he was attending in China, outstripped the G7."

Looks like we're not the only game in town.