Category Archives: Today’s Issues

Thoughts on issues in the world today

GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM? REALLY

GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM

African-Americans have long heard those words of hatred spewed in their direction by racist and bigoted individuals but they are not alone

Italian American immigrants heard it

Irish American immigrants heard it

Polish American immigrants heard it

German American immigrants heard it

Japanese American immigrants heard it

Mexican American immigrants heard it

Immigrants from various Caribbean Islands heard it

Catholics heard it

Jews heard it

Muslims heard it

And many others have heard it

Ellis Island officially opened this week in 1892, and would subsequently process more than 20 million immigrants from around the world, all seeking a better life in America.  Just as our Founding Fathers intended.  Millions of immigrants would travel to America, leaving the only home they ever knew behind. Many times leaving family and loved ones and in some cases risking their lives to experience this new nation and idea. To be a part of a society birthed in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all citizens are created equal, theoretically if not literally. For the Founders, immigration was a mutually beneficial process.  The goal of which was to create a “melting pot,” in which immigrants successfully assimilate and become representative of our national identity, while also proudly retaining key aspects of their ethnic past.  We are all Americans, but in this country we are free to honor the many traditions and customs unique to our ancestral homelands.  It is without question what has made America great. 

This Sunday a President who ran on the slogan of make America great again, but seems to believe that means dividing Americans more than any President ever has and turning his back on diversity, tweeted that a group of four minority congresswomen feuding with Speaker Nancy Pelosi should “go back” to the countries they came from rather than “loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States” how to run the government. Predictably his base ate it up.  Commenting that President Trump is the greatest ever because he’s not afraid to tell it like it is. This group of Trump supporters, the lowest common denominator, haven’t a clue as to what makes this country unique and special among the countries of the rest of the world. America’s greatness has always been rooted in its embrace, sometimes kicking and screaming, of diversity.  As Speaker Pelosi bluntly said recently Ms. Pelosi may have offered the bluntest take on Mr. Trump’s comments when she said his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” “has always been about making America white again.”

The silence of so many Republicans on Trump’s blatant racism, sexism and bigotry dating back to the 1970’s when his real estate company was sued by the Department of Justice for racial discrimination to his administration’s systematic attempt to dismantle much of the gains made as a result of the civil rights and women’s movement is unacceptable at best and morally corrupt at worst. Their silence reminds me of a scene from the movie Star Trek Nemesis, it’s true if you look for it Star Trek always has the answers, when a Romulan commander says: Are you truly prepared to have your hands drenched in blood? He’s not planning to defeat Earth. He’s planning its annihilation. …And his sins will mark us and our children for generations. Trump is not planning to defeat the dreams of our founding fathers as it relates to immigration he’s planning its annihilation. And his sins will mark the Republican Party for generations. 

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It’s not injustice until it happens to me

Wow can’t believe some people still don’t get the kneeling during the National Anthem protest. That they still allow themselves to be bamboozled by those who have hi-jacked the real reason for the protest and turned it into a protest against America. Hi-jacked it because it is uncomfortable to address the social and racial inequalities this country still has. Their desire for us to remain quiet on the issue is misplaced as E.A. Bucchianeri states 

“It’s not unpatriotic to denounce an injustice committed on our behalf, perhaps it’s the most patriotic thing we can do.”

For us to do nothing may make their life simpler and more comfortable. Harkening back to a time when “America was Great” and minorities and females knew their place. But trust me we love America as well, maybe more so than they do because after everything America has thrust upon us we are still here fighting to make it a better place.  Doing nothing will most certainly net us nothing. Doing nothing will not force this country to take on the issues that prevent it from being the idea on which it was founded. The idea that all men are created equal and is what is more patriotic than that. As James Baldwin said: Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

For many that have twisted and contorted the real idea behind the flag protests I can only assume the only time they think about injustice is when it happens to them or to paraphrase N.K. Jemisin they never had to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question.  It easy to wrap yourself in the red, white and blue and scream to the world you are a patriot. It is however difficult to fight for what is true idea of America. 

So while they will continue to scream USA USA at those individuals brave enough to stand up in public to inequality and call them unpatriotic. Remember they are likely doing this as they stand on line for their hot dog and a beer during the National Anthem. 

An Interview with Trump – July 3, 1801

July 3, 1801 an Interview with Donald Trump

Reporter: Good Afternoon Donald glad you could sit down with us today on the eve of this country’s 50th anniversary

Trump: I’m sure you, are after all with all the fake news your tanking in circulation paper puts out an interview with Donald Trump should be a giant boost for you and a breath of fresh air for your readers.

Reporter: Uh ok. So you’re planning on giving a big speech tomorrow, What do you say to your critics who argue that the day shouldn’t be about you but the country and that you really are the right person to give a speech considering you didn’t fight in the Revolutionary War because of if I’m reading this right bone spurs. This despite the fact that before you were diagnosed the Army had physically examined you and found you in perfect health.

Trump: Well I had a doctor that gave me a letter — a very strong letter on the heels. I can’t recall the doctor’s name despite having the best memory in the world but the letter was strong.

Reporter: How would you compare that to say war hero General Nathanael Green who served with Washington in the north and later assumed control the Southern Army but who as a Quaker was renounced by his church and family for joining the war effort and had little to go back to after the war only to die a few years after the war ended in 1786.

Trump: Well he’s looked at with such regard because his family and church renounced him. I mean if your own family and church renounce you you’re kind of a loser wouldn’t you say. I like winners! That’s all I do win.

Reporter: Ok moving on. You have been very out spoken about immigration your belief is that we should allow only the exceptional, and many people have questioned just what you mean by exceptional, in and close the borders to everyone else. None other than President Washington said “I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.

Trump: Look first George Washington approved the Jay Treaty, attempting to normalize the still-volatile relations with Great Britain. It gave the British favored-nation trade status. Favored over France! You know many people may not know this but France fought with us in the Revolutionary war. But here was George giving in to the British, it was a very bad deal it was damn near treason. There are other things, but suffice to say I was never a fan of George Washington and I never will be.”

Reporter: You do realize that the Jay Treaty was a major success for early American diplomacy

Trump: Major success? That’s fake news. I could have achieved the things that the Jay Treaty is said to have achieved through tariffs.

Reporter: All righty let’s just move on. So you just mentioned fake news and you have called the press the biggest enemy of the people. How does that mesh with the thoughts of our founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson who said “Our liberty depends on freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being lost.

Trump: Look Jefferson may be President now but let’s be clear he’s not the brightest bulb in the pack and a little more than naïve. For example he was a farmer and was so obsessed with new crops, soil conditions, garden designs, and scientific agricultural techniques. That he neglected to cash in on his main cash crop tobacco, keeping its price low and as a result he was rarely profitable he was always living beyond his means. Now part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich.

Reporter: I don’t really see how that answers the question but Ok. Let’s talk about another issue you brought up, tariffs. It is well established that our Founding Fathers wanted free trade with the world and it was The King of England who differed favoring high tariffs, and that we should restrict or forbid the colonies from trading with rival nations. Benjamin Franklin called for Britain to “allow us a free commerce with all the rest of the world.” Thomas Jefferson called on the British imperial government not “to exclude us from going to other markets.”

Trump: Again with the fake news. The founders definitely wanted America’s role to be as a dominant producer. When a country is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!

Reporter: You’re right that the Founders encouraged manufacturing. But they did so by simultaneously supporting government subsidies for new American manufactures and by advocating free trade agreements, like the Model Treaty adopted by Congress in 1776 that sought to establish bilateral free trade.

Trump: No disrespect to you but I think I’m pretty smart, a lot smarter than you, so you should let me be the one to talk about trade.

Reporter: Well on that note we’re out of time (cough) thanks for the time.

Trump: Did you just cough? You just can’t, you just can’t cough. If you’re going to cough, please leave the room.

The Poor People’s Campaign – A 50 year old idea whose time has come

In December 1967, Rev. Dr. King announced the plan to bring together poor people from across the country for a new march on Washington. This march was to demand better jobs, better homes, better education—better lives than the ones they were living. Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy explained that the intention of the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 was to “dramatize the plight of America’s poor of all races and make very clear that they are sick and tired of waiting for a better life.”

In April 2019 we are still dealing with many of the same issues that Dr. King addressed with his Poor People’s Campaign. If anything the gap between the haves and the have nots has widened not shrunk. Income disparities have become so pronounced that America’s top 10 percent now average more than nine times as much income as the bottom 90 percent. Americans in the top 1 percent tower stunningly higher. They average over 39 times more income than the bottom 90 percent. But that gap pales in comparison to the divide between the nation’s top 0.1 percent and everyone else. Americans at this lofty level are taking in over 188 times the income of the bottom 90 percent.

Between 1979 and 2007, paycheck income for those in the richest 1 percent and 0.1 percent exploded. The wage and salary income for these elite groups dipped after the 2008 financial crisis but have nearly regained their pre-crisis value. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent of earners have seen little change in their average income, with just a 22 percent increase from 1979 to 2017

Medical bills were the biggest cause of U.S. bankruptcies. A new study from academic researchers found that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies were tied to medical issues —either because of high costs for care or time out of work. An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills, the research found.

Fifty years ago President Lyndon Johnson articulated that: 

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

Today our President uses devise speech to tap into fears and subconscious racism embedded in each of us to keep the “every-person” divided rather than united. 

A popular saying for many in the Trump base is that we’re losing our America.  But the truth is it was never, for the vast majority of them anyway, “their” America. The America they claim they are losing was and has always the America of the rich white man.  Access to the best schools and quality health care. The ability to “legally” manipulate the tax system to shelter money from the ever increasing taxes you and I pay. Consistently looking to increase their bottom lines at the expense of the average American. 

Now let’s be clear here and not misunderstand what I am saying.  I’m not saying that every wealthy white man acts this way or that they are inherently evil or solely responsible for many of the ills that the average working American, regardless of color or gender, faces on an everyday basis. What I am saying however is that there is a select few who have always had the money and the power to control the narrative. To keep the masses at each other throats, pointing accusatory fingers at each other and fighting for the scraps thrown their way. 

It is amazing how often the poorest of the poor will vote against their self interest because they have been led to believe it is in their best interest to ensure the well being of the wealthy. Ensure their well being because after all one day they will drink from that same prosperous cup. That is as long as (insert race, gender or religious identity) doesn’t take what is rightfully theirs.  The concept that they are more like that person they have been conditioned to believe is threatening them then they will ever be to the wealthy who promote the narrative is seemingly foreign to them. 

But the truth is Dr. King had it right in 1967 and  if he would have lived to see his campaign through he would have been seen as more of a threat to the “establishment’s” way of life than anything he accomplished during the civil rights movement.  Simply put there is power in numbers, there is power in unity and if the majority of Americans put aside their hatred of each other, embraced their similarities and united in the fight against inequality there is no telling what this country could accomplish. Imagine a country with affordable and quality health care and education for all. Wage equality and a tax system that treated the 99% the same as the 1% and maybe as a byproduct of coming together to fight the inequalities we all face we’ll gain better understanding of each other. Now that’s a dream worth fighting for. 

It’s not your shame

Ok let’s get this straight Jesse Smollett is one individual his actions do not represent the African-American or the LGBT communities. There is no reason for anyone other than Jessie Smollett to apologize or feel shame for his actions.  There is no reason to fear that his actions will cause individuals to assume the next reported hate crime is a farce, though sadly some will do just that. You don’t see white america apologizing when it is found out that the story of that woman being attacked by 3 African American men turned out to be a lie.  You don’t see white america stressed out that no one will take future reports of a woman being attacked by a person of color seriously. We are all connected by our human DNA. For some of us that DNA determines our skin color and as a result we are grouped as a race.  For others we are born attracted to the same sex so we are placed into yet another group. No matter what group we may be labeled at our core we are all individual human beings responsible for our own actions.  So do not allow others to force you or take it upon yourself to carry Mr. Smollett’s missteps as your burden because you and he share a group designation.  

Not so Stupid

It’s no secret where I stand politically on many of today’s issues or how I feel about about the current POTUS. But despite my feelings on the man I recognize he’s not stupid. He may not have gone to Oxford like Clinton or was editor of the Harvard Law Review like Obama but you don’t become President being stupid and he surely knows how to connect to his base. With that said I wonder if I’m the only one who finds it puzzling that moments after announcing he was declaring a national emergency he said there really is no emergency. It’s almost as if he was giving the courts the ammunition to overrule him. Why? Well once he gets the funding that’s it. The issue kind of fades into the background. But if he’s overturned he gets to hit the 2020 campaign trail riling up his base – see I tried to protect you I did everything I could but those Democrats and liberal justices they stopped me. They left the floodgates open for illegal immigrants to come to this country and rape our women, murder our children, take our jobs. But the fight is not over vote for me in 2020 and I’ll find a way to overcome these crazy liberals and protect you. Cue the Make America Great chants. If I didn’t despise the way he has divided this country I’d almost call this strategy genius.

Time to get real about Climate Change

In the 1978 Superman movie Lex Luthor brilliantly played with both comic and villainous treachery by Gene Hackman hatches a plan to detonate a nuclear bomb along the San Andreas fault line causing everything west of the fault line to sink into the Pacific Ocean and increasing the value of the hundreds of acres of currently worthless desert land he owns as it becomes the new West Coast. Today some investor is buying that same worthless desert land as they patiently wait for California, along with a host of other coastal cities become new multi-million dollar water reefs as a result of climate change.

Freshman Congressperson from New York Alexandria Ocasio Cortez introduced the ambitious Green New Deal last week a four part program for moving America quickly out of crisis into a secure, sustainable future. Focusing on the plan’s Green Transition Program it calls for the elimination of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and construction by emphasizes massive public investment in wind and solar production, zero-emission vehicles and high-speed rail, energy-efficient buildings, and smart power grids, as well as “working collaboratively” with farmers and ranchers to move towards sustainable agriculture techniques.

Is the plan viable?

Is it cost effective?

Will it achieve the ambitious goals it sets?

These are all questions open for debate. What is not open for debate is that the Earth is warming. The last several years has seen an increasing number of droughts, intense storms, and floods.  Scientists point to climate change as “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.”  Yet despite these dire signs from the Earth herself and warnings from the scientific community do the highest branches of our government seek to debate the Green New Deal? No, rather they look to spread misinformation about, their taking away your car, taking away your airplane flights, you’re not going to be allowed to own cows anymore.  It has become the way of politics today to paraphrase Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd in the American President. We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them and whatever your particular problem is, I promise you the majority of politicians are not the least bit interested in solving it. They are interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time and you bring a snowball to the Senate floor and state that we hear the perpetual headline that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, but now the script has flipped, because it’s very very cold outside.

Whether you agree with the Green New Deal or not it should be a rallying call to get serious about climate change. To reject the climate change deniers, who are more interested with ensuring the profits keep rolling into the gas and oil industries, and to look for ways to slow, reverse or halt climate changes altogether before It is too late