As we say hello to Groundhog Day and so long, farewell, aufedersein, and goodbye to Christmas, Hanukkah, The Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa or any other collective expression of mankind’s concern for the life of our planet, a checklist if you will of thing that are still undone. Things that should give us all pause. Especially those who profess a faith in a benevolent deity.
Peace in the Middle East
Unwanted genital mutilation
Peace in Africa
Eradication of Malaria, Small Pox, Yellow Fever…(far to many curable diseases to mention)
Honest wages for honest work
Fear of compromise
…and on, and on.
Whether or not you subscribe to the Bible, or the Koran, the Old Testament or New, the Tanakh or the B’rit Hadashah. Or, perhaps nothing at all, one cannot argue that the greatest gift anyone can give, is the gift of love.
Loving your neighbor is the first step in curing the ills of our planet.
So let’s see, Mr. Wayne LaPierre would have an armed guard in all of our public schools. That’s a great idea. And it will be a bargain. Especially as we begin to drive the school bus over the fiscal cliff.
There are approximately 130,000 public schools in the U.S. Not including benefits, a sworn officer’s salary can be between $35,000 and $78,000. That is between $4.55 billion and $10.14 billion annually. Okay you say that’s only what it cost to fund the war in Iraq for a week (at the height of the conflict). And if you consider a DOD budget that percolates around $600 billion per year, $5 billion or even $10 billion is a bargain. So now the reality check.
Sequestration, Fiscal Cliff, No Tax increases for anyone. How do you pay for it Mr. LaPierre. And, suggesting that every other prophylaxis, except some gun control is just plain wrong.
The distribution of weapons and ammunition require better control mechanisms. To try and justify 100 round magazines, or unrestricted purchase of combat type ammunition or lack of licensing for gun owners is folly. Straw sales rule the day. Over 40% of all gun sales are transacted at gun shows which require NO background checking. Prove you are eighteen, have the money, and out the door you go with your own carbine that was solely designed to kill another person.
The AR-15 and many of it’s cousins are designed to rapid fire a bullet at over 3000 feet per second and are generally accurate at 500 plus yards. That’s not a weapon for self protection. It is a combat arm.
No matter how it becomes “sporterized“, or made to look like other long guns, it’s still a combat weapon with only one design purpose. To kill another human being.
In your home, with an AR-15 as a “self defense” weapon you stand as much of a chance shooting someone in the next room or even the next door neighbors house if you miss your intended target. A shotgun is a far better in home self protection weapon.
I don’t suggest that a class of weapon be banned however, limiting some types of ammunition, banning high capacity magazines for both long guns and hand guns and requiring licensing for ALL gun owners.
To own, carry, use, posses or have a gun of any type or any fashion should require having a license. We need to have a license for everything from piercing someone’s ears to driving a car. We have to have a license to cut someone else’s hair. Yet we do not have to prove any level of competency to purchase, own and use a gun. Many of which are designed for only the singular purpose of killing someone.
There are enough guns in this country for every man, woman and child yet only about 1 in 3 people own a gun. With all other things being equal, the more guns there are in the public domain, the more guns will fall in the hands of people who would commit crimes.
The more shameful truth is that we kill each other at an alarming rate. We kill our brothers and sisters, wives and husbands, neighbors and friends. And at a greater rate than any other method we kill ourselves with guns. We must stop the madness.
Opening up jobs for people who really need them is most important to stimulate and economy and promote fiscal health. Entry level to advanced, all positions are needed. The shame is many are filled by retirees that just want to keep busy and don’t need the cash.
Sure, no one want’s to just give up a lifetime of experience in the workplace, however the longer you stay there the longer it keeps a fresh face from entering the workforce. Surly one doesn’t suggest that if you cannot afford to completely retire that you just tuff it out. But, if you are only working just to keep busy then I say, quit working for pay. Move out so someone else can move up. And if you get tired of bowling, golf, fishing and basket weaving go down to your local USO, or Hospital or Garden Club and volunteer your time to keep busy.
It’s time to pull a Thelma and Louise with the fiscal cliff. Sometimes doing nothing is just the right thing to do. It has been hyped just as was Y2K. When the clock struck 12 on Dec 31, 1999 the world did not end. When the clock strikes 12 on Dec 31, 2012, guess what? Nothing will happen. The IRS is not going to knock on your door and ask for $2200, the military will not stop functioning, and none of the fundamental services which we use will cease to function. Keeping in mind that the billions and billions in cuts are projected over the next 10 years, beginning in 2013.
The ending of the Bush era tax cuts will just return us to positive cash flow. As Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs and Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics pointed out, the Bush tax cuts were one of the biggest fiscal mistakes in our history. If you just let it happen the Grover Norquists of this world become powerless. Tax pledge, down the toilet. Then Republicans and Democrats will be forced to … dare one say …COMPROMISE… Let it happen and everyone in Congress is free. Free from campaign promises, free from critique, free to actually work for the betterment of the Republic. Be sure they will in quick time, because everything that is trimmed or scaled or added or reduced is done from a “clean slate”…think of it…no one to point a bony finger at. Just honest work on trimming the budget and reasonable tax cuts and tax restructuring. It’s not “giving up” or “sacrificing” . Everyone needs to make their fare contribution, rich and poor alike.
Campaign contributions can be hard find if a candidate doesn’t fall in line. It seems that the banking industry is “paying back” President Obama for his non-pandering ways. That is, some large businesses and banking institutions are shifting their campaign contributions to the Romney camp or Republicans in general. I would say, small wonder.
The once “bailed out” have shifted their dollar vote to the buy-um and sell-um camp of venture capitalism. One can only guess it’s because Obama was able to squeeze in some legislation that big business and the banking industry feel is too restrictive. These being the same folks, that if it were not for bail outs would have bankrupted the nation. Remembering they were Too Big to Fail.
It’s not hard to see why many large institutions like Goldman Sachs have some overt perturbations about the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. They might just have to actually do some work instead of just “rolling the bones” on iffy investments or vague financial instruments. Is the fear that some oversight on Hedge Fund managers or the ether of the Derivatives Market might stifle growth, or just stop enriching money managers on the backs of working class Americans?
Also not hard to see is why AT&T has shifted the lion’s share of support to the conservative camp. Could it be that AT&T has gotten its collective panties in a wad because the Obama administration didn’t bend to the merger god’s by rejecting the proposed wedding of AT&T with T-Mobile? It’s a sure bet that neither of them are getting a Virgin.
All too often the nexus between business and government neglect to offer relief or protection for the greatest majority of consumers. Lenders including credit card issuers stack the deck against the borrower. Legal mumbo-jumbo on credit agreements baffle the card holder and require a team of attorneys to decipher. Mr. Romney and many in the private sector as well as the congress have vowed to repeal Dodd-Frank if elected. Keeping in mind, not only is Mr. Romney beholding to Bain Capital but to institutions like Goldman which financed many of Bain IPO’s as well as his personal finances. Dodd-Frank attempts to offer, albeit imperfect, protection for the consumer and the economy from a repeat of the banking industry implosion.
It was greed soaked brokers, and the banking industry itself that ushered the deepest economic collapse since the Great Depression.
As the Ol’ Bard might have said “Much ado about nothing”. Seems many are trying to pull a “reverse” on the old political cannon that “All politics are LOCAL politics” to; insignificant local politics should be elevated to the national level. Attempting to align national politicians with Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno blocking a building permit is just grabbing at straws. It only serves to stir the ever growing pot of vitriolic and useless banter.
As a nation we have far more important things to worry about than one fast food monger, Chicago politics, or gay marriage. Hell people, we’re STILL AT WAR.
The chick-no-gay folks seem to have lost their collective way when it comes to tolerance and forgiveness. Also, their freedom of speech fulcrum seems to ignore that freedom of expression is a two way street.
Conservative Christians and other right wingers seem to forget too that not offering the “Peace of Jesus” to everyone without requite, is an act of denying the single most important tenant of Christianity.
Love the Lord above all others and to extend that love to everyone without requite and without measure. You know…just like IT says. Bring into your house the alien, feed him, give him your cloak, expect nothing in return and then invite him back.
One more item than seems to escape the language of the day is Forgiveness. The Lord himself tells us that we must be as He is. All forgiving. We are all challenged to look beyond the weakness of others.
In any event, for all those who eat at Chick-Fil-A, enjoy your meal and pray that the extra revenue generated by all the “eat in’s” might trickle down to the worker bee’s punchin’ the clock. I’m sure it sent Dan Cathy crying all the way to his broker. Likewise, gay couples will most likely not alter their lifestyle, nor will a “kiss-in” change anyone’s economic future.
As an old friend used to say “hell, eat more opossum”.
And, if Jesus were here today would he chastise gay men and women or would he chastise those who do not follow the tenant which He himself gave to us. Perhaps He would just ask us to recline, and share the loaves and fishes in the Peace of His Word.
“Give to Cesar the things that are Cesar’s…”
You know the rest…
So the New Majority Agenda (aka Crossroads GPS), the U.S. Chamber and American Crossroads, all tell us that President Obama bares sole responsibility for the slumping Global Economy. Fanning the flames of economic armageddon and playing the “blame game” seem to be the only ammunition they have, that doesn’t fit in a 9mm Semi-auto or a AR-15, that is. Admittedly, they do present some interesting facts about the economy, unemployment, economic stimuli, the military and that pesky federal deficit. They may have gotten a few of their facts just a little bit lopsided or perhaps just incomplete.
A truth, President Obama has presided over the longest and deepest recession in U.S. history. However, T.V. and internet ads neglect to point out that the “Great Recession” began two years before Obama took the Oath of Office. And yes, The President did see unemployment peak at historic levels, but avoid the fact that it began the historic rise in 2007 due to a failing export market, the U.S. banking debacle and let’s not forget an imploding housing market. Now, about that horrid economic stimulus. Every credible economist agrees that if it were not for economic intervention our economy may have receded to depression depths and unemployment would still be in double digits. Keeping in mind too that TARP was a product of the Bush Administration. And about that damn auto bail-out: There are about 14 million people in the automobile and automobile related industries that might argue that it was a good idea. The auto industry makes up roughly 10% of the total U.S. economy.
Perhaps the most “taxing” element facing Obama is taking a country at war to peace. Most importantly getting our men and women out of Iraq and concluding a war that didn’t need to be. And now, transitioning responsibility for Afghan security from and international force (albeit mostly U.S.) to the Afghan Army and police forces. The real work lays in helping our military members to return to peacekeeping instead of war fighting and healing their wounds.
Note: During the height of our involvement in Iraq we spend nearly a Billion Dollars a day for operations. Today we spend a little over $300 Million a day for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hard to keep positive numbers in the general coffers when those who benefit most from a strong central government, and a military with global reach fail to pay their fair share.
Which brings up the big “D”. First of all according to our Constitution the only body of government that has control of the nation’s purse strings is the House of Representatives. So if anyone is to blame for crushing federal deficits it’s the U.S. House. For over ten years we have seen the supposed blessings of the Bush era tax cuts. Not a cent has “trickled down” to the middle class whilst corporate bank accounts are bulging. Not the mention the adds that suggest that China hold’s most of our Federal Debt. That is just plain false. Today the Federal Reserve of The United States holds paper on approximately 80% of the Federal Debt. It also holds debt of nations in Europe and Asia. Like any global industry the banking industry is not halted by borders.
The greater deficit that neither party has the nerve to discuss is the ever growing trade deficit. In the global marketplace if you buy more than you sell then you as a nation make no profit. Profit is how you fill empty job positions, expand business and yes, even support government programs. Part of decreasing the trade deficit has already begun by many U.S. manufacturing companies returning to America. Another step is long term investment by both the private and public sectors in infrastructure, transportation, energy and education.
We need also to encourage a culture that puts worth in vocations and degrees in science and engineering. One can still see Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill , we just have to knock the dust of off the glass. Shalom/wpn
Since the end of combat operations in Iraq, the proposed cuts to active duty end-strengths, and some recent developments in the Defense Department we should carefully examine where and how the military budget is cut so as not to repeat the mistakes of a post-Vietnam military.
Post-Vietnam there was not a lot to be happy about. Morale was at an all-time low. Deployments were more tedious due to lack of funding and un-filled personnel billets. Logistic support was poor if non-existent . Those of us serving at the time were still dedicated to our service and our oath so we pressed on.
During that period we depleted the military of hard to develop skill-sets, outsourcing to defense contractors, and eventually chose the option of investing more heavily in technology instead of people and contractors vs active duty. Paraphrasing President Eisenhower, who needs soldiers if you have B-52’s and the A-bomb.
Since the first Gulf War we have developed the most mobile and diverse active duty and reserve ground force on the planet. Yes it seem we are doing it again. We have been stretched thin, dealt double and triple duty, been repeatedly asked to sacrifice, and in many cases just told to “do without,” all the while maintaining superior performance, and dedication to duty.
Naval forces also stretched thin continue to excel providing littoral, ground, sea and air support for ground forces but are already loosing skill sets in; at sea interdiction, anti-submarine warfare, surface to surface warfare, at sea logistic support and technical self-sufficiency. Programs like Enlisted Retention Boards (ERB) and Perform to Serve (PTS) have sent many young productive sailors to the door. In many cases to the astonishment of peers and superiors alike. They worked hard, served well and were qualified but may not have fit the “cookie-cutter” computer model for retention.
We ask our military to serve in times of conflict under arduous conditions and they answer the call. Long and repeated deployments in harm’s way, and they answer. Family separation, both temporary and permanent, and they answer. All praised by the civilians they leave behind, and the politicians that usher them off to war, waving flags and vowing never to forget their service.
“We are proud of you”; “thank you for your service”; “I’m sorry for your loss”, all become epithets when we incline our military to cut personnel, training, and operational resources. Then, we tell qualified, squared-away military members that they are no longer allowed to re-enlist.
Since 1791 we as a nation have been on a roller-coaster of mobilization and de-mobilization. Post conflict we assume that technology, or diplomacy, or the bitter taste of armed conflict would preclude the necessity to conscript in the future.
We cut our military forces post conflict until the next expeditionary force is required to “win the peace” and then must pay dearly to fill the ranks with qualified and dedicated men and women. It’s a poke in the eye of a solider, sailor, marine or airman when we ask them to serve in the most dangerous of times but as soon as the dust begins to settle we usher them to the door without much of a prospectus for the future. Emulating the corporate worlds bum shuffle type buyouts to save money, or as in most cases, just point them to the door without any severance.
The future for those remaining on active duty also become somewhat tenuous in that morale, esprit de corps, and the desire to do one’s best all are put in jeopardy.
There is no peace dividend in force end strength reduction unless there is a subsequent re-modeling of both Selective and National Service to maintain readiness, training, and military bearing. The old paradigm of mobilization and de-mobilization must be broken if we as a nation are to maintain a strong mobile active duty military. All the technology on the planet will not serve our country without Military men and women on active duty to operate, deploy and maintain force material assets.
Some would outsource military responsibility to contractors or other agencies within DOD or the confines of K Street, but when tactical operations need to be accomplished spur of the moment, one cannot and must not be bound by a civilian contract to act. Mercenary forces no matter what their given name are still mercenaries. If military action is required it should and must be conducted by Active Duty Military and not a contractor.