The Trail

I was devastated and left the house to sit on the bench outside where the air is clear, and I can gaze at our beginnings as I ponder our near end of our democracy. It wasn’t the abortion question I was reacting to so much as the fact that Roe vs Wade was affirmed in one form or another by roughly ten other court decisions…ten. It was settled. Not to mention two Supreme Court nominees lied in their confirmations stating that the decision was settled and then voted to overturn it. This has never happened in the history of this country.

My alarm is real as my grandfather’s might have been in the 1920’s when big money ruled much of the economics and social behavior it is controlling now and opened the door to the Great Recession ruining countless lives. People will cheer this as they have been taught to, but it will be the undoing of this country entirely because it will not stop. As I write this they are going after a 1982 ruling that immigrants can get a public education…that is where our parents, grandparents and great grandparents got their start to provide all of us with what we had growing up. Taking that away will provide us with essentially slave labor for the dark money changers.

Justice Alito bastardized his courts affirmation that indeed corporations were people, and it has gone downhill from there. Politicians have been bought and sold, and if they don’t toe the mark for our last President, they are cast aside for there are others who will take the money. Alito wrote the opinion of the winning arguments for undaunted political expenditure and now with the fruits of that labor he is writing the probable opinion overturning a fifty-year-old decision that has seen Constitutional affirmation many times since 1973. He has been quoted other decisions were “deeply rooted” in precedence but having forms of Roe v Wade affirmed ten plus times doesn’t fit that? He is picking and choosing. So fine then, let’s revisit his Citizens United ruling that continues to put more money in the pockets of the candidates and the elected than any single thing in history.

The court has opened the door to monetary influence on Constitutional amendment rulings. Even public opinion shouldn’t necessarily matter to the court as its decisions are grounded in the Constitution; or were. The court is on a dangerous path when the trail is paved with green.

There are other pitfalls in this probable decision on abortion that quickly dwarfs the arguments and do not quickly lend themselves to discovery. Approximately the same number of babies will die in back-alley abortions or die of malnutrition or lack of education leading to all kinds of public issues. The mothers will bleed to death as they did in the years before R v W. So what lives are we saving? Who will take care of the children left behind as mothers don’t survive?

At the same time, people have to realize we just went through huge push back on wearing a piece of cloth on our faces, in the name of freedom only to have our personal freedoms violated in a very real way on a case that has been affirmed many times by the courts. I am not a feminist, but practicality leads to push back on the states that want to imprison women for abortions and don’t even ask who fathered the child. Nothing sexist there huh? Isn’t that the ruination of one for the pleasure of another?

There are solutions to all of this if people would stop pounding the table of right vs wrong and decide to collectively find better solutions. One easy solution is to triple the budgets of Planned Parenthood and other counseling organizations. Teach more kids about the pitfalls that will come to their lives if they don’t use contraceptives and or abstain. Counseling them on how to be more productive as citizens. Help them with education and job placement. It is an investment and would work, but many of our legislators want only investment in themselves and people have become so narrow minded they can see through a keyhole with both eyes.

It is not about society anymore; it is about self-gratification. One prime example of this that recently read…Lauren Boebert, in 1.5 years, is worth 41 million dollars and has done absolutely nothing for her district prior to the last-minute introduction of a possible bill to revamp Glenwood Canyon. That of course is true to form for the fix is to put the traffic burden on the smaller highways that are not built to take it. There is a pattern of the lesser taking the bulk of the load and it will get worse.

The money unleashed by the Citizen’s United ruling leads directly to this outcome and what we are witnessing now with the SCOTUS is the ultimate control of our government even though over 65% of Americans support a women’s right to choose. Turkey became authoritarian when a few with money began to control the courts. Refusing to allow for a Supreme Court Justice hearing and confirmation in 2015 was money talking to McConnell and in part his own; as the court goes, so goes the control and Alito has been happy to oblige one leading to another.

Money already finds no path to the poor. Sure, they get some welfare, which most really don’t want, but with kids and only part-time jobs available it is a matter of survival. So why is it we want to saddle them with MORE kids they can’t care for? It will equal more dropouts, more jobless, lack of skills and no one wins. It is easy to say women shouldn’t have that right, but will they make provisions for the working poor and medically challenged? Will we be able to keep up? Then, in this mix is the fact that the religious right wants to take away birth control, the only path other than abstinence women have to curb unwanted births. At what point will they realize they will continue to add to societies woes? Perhaps never as they are the controllers; wasn’t that what George Orwell called them?


The issues of abortion or not will never be over in the minds of many but this destruction of court precedence will continue and better get the attention of all of you. The dark money has likely swayed the court, there will soon be money thrown at the term limits of public officials and that well find it’s way to the Presidency of this once great country. This decision coupled with Citizens United will stretch so far that it will strangle us all. This is NOT simply a case about abortion. None of us should be cheering the demise of a case set in precedence and the probable use of money to overturn it.

Back When America Was Great

With Donald Trump as President life has been a whirlwind of news, tweets and late night television. So much so, you almost can’t remember what happened this week. Not a whole lot of it of any substance as far as average Americans go, and not much for the folks who elected him, but a pretense of doing something. I have to give credit to him for enhancing the progressive economy he was handed, that unfortunately, has been overshadowed time and again by his destructive antics and self-indulgence.

I have been going to write so many times on the daily poor behavior of this administration, hoping to help others to really see what is going on, but frankly couldn’t keep up and now it appears we are going to get a replay of some of the more dubious actions as he morphs back into his real self. People have finally begun to focus on the President and what he does, not what he says he does. Perhaps too, they are writing Congressmen and Senators regarding his level of vitriol, deception and changing stories. Barr and McConnell are certainly not wanting to play the game of pin the blame on Obama, but they have sure covered for Trump in other ways. They are not willing to tackle Obama up front and I am betting even Bush, were he to somehow utter a word of disapproval. However, the President is free to continually bash Obama and others at will, albeit misplaced according to investigations already done.

A friend of mine, a woman I have great admiration for, asked me in 2015 why I felt Trump was so dangerous. I replied that my observations found him mouthing his intentions for stripping down democracy by the things he said at his campaign stops. Judges, law enforcement, laws themselves, and of course the media that keeps public figures honest were in the cross hairs. He declared he would do away with libel laws, which, of course affect him. In a sense he has followed through on that promise by pulling clean water restrictions and other industry related safeguards. An astute voter only had to hear what he was saying long before he was elected. Back when America really was great and people could think for themselves instead of letting Facebook do it for them, not much went by the public in that regard.

In Donald Trump’s rallies he spoke of knowing more than the generals, yet he dodged the draft with four bought and paid for doctors’ notes for bone spurs. He attempted to cut John McCain’s influence by going after his war time service in Vietnam where he was a POW for FIVE years. That pissed me off not only for the shear irony of the whole thing, but I really liked John McCain and lost friends myself in Vietnam while Trump hustled women, declaring his Vietnam was gonorrhea. Then the audacity of, at first, not allowing the flag to be flown at half-staff for McCain’s passing; a sitting Senator. Fortunately for him an aide or two explained to him that vindictiveness in that situation was at best childish. When America was great we honored our war heroes and our Senators were honorable. War crimes were punished by the military who tries to hold high the standards for combat behavior in and of itself, much less the Geneva Convention https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/geneva-convention  They were not over ridden by a sitting President, back when America was great.

The biggest tenets of our Republic and guaranteed by our Constitution is a free press, a fair judicial, law and separation of powers. Unbeknownst to all of us more trusting souls, our Democracy/Republic is held together with honor as much as anything. At this juncture it took someone with none, to show us how tenuous our forefathers idea turns out to be when trusting some elected officials. We have been through 44 Presidential terms prior to Trump’s, all of them had problems, questionable behavior and were queried by the press; that is job of journalism, left or right. Back when America was great we didn’t have but one President that whined regularly and that was Nixon, a brother in impeachment.

“Making America Great Again” as it is billed, on the made in China red caps is not possible, America has never been like this before, how could it go back to that “again”? It can’t unless he means slavery and witch burning. There isn’t one of our Presidents who willfully misled the American people every single day of his Presidency. Not one of them, nor legislators. There have been Presidents of similar behavior in certain areas, but never, ever to this degree of blanket immorality day in and day out. Trump isn’t, as some had hoped, “draining the swamp”, he is filling one. He has people in his cabinet from the China wealthy to vultures of Wall Street and everyone in between. He has some good folks left who unfortunately have been bent in fear of the bully pulpit or they are long gone.

Maybe I am confused, which of course is part of the game that he is playing, but do we really want to hate our family and friends? I do not. Do we really want a guy as President who goes off on conspiracy theories instead of facts? One who uses television talk shows for gathering talking points? Is it great to go from the leading country of the world to being hated by some countries, and not trusted by any. Are we great when we allow a President to violate many of the articles of the Constitution? Bush and Obama both pushed the envelope when it came to the Constitution, but were slapped down by the courts, America is not great when the gander runs free.

What is a huge concern to me is the confusion of truth and fiction. You can pick a day, any day in the 3.4 years, and record misinformation, half-truths or flat out lies. People will either throw up their hands in disgust or follow the pied piper over a cliff; both are not good for a people’s Democracy. Another worry is the next party in office will have a blanket license to do what they want; Trump has shown them how. Do folks want that? It only takes one court decision to set a precedence. Or small guidelines altered. Just today Trump has signed an executive order that takes liability protection away from social media. It will likely backfire on him, but so it seems to go for him. It does not make America Great to destroy competition or quell criticism.

The President’s adopted party has deep rooted philosophy in letting business be and basically heal thyself were you to be wounded financially or otherwise. Survival of the fittest and buyer beware. They have never been about whining and likely won’t start now. The problem isn’t Twitter, it is it’s user who does not know when to stop. Many Republicans are asking him to stop. I have asked him to stop in a formal letter. It might impress some, but by and large it does not. There is nothing strong about being a bully, and indeed, bullies are always insecure beings. America is not great when a President has to buy or bully loyalty, rather than work to gain cooperation from those around him.

For me personally, instead of watching this President mock a crippled journalist, make up stories about JFK’s killers or disparage our allies, I want to take Donald on the Journey with the “ghost of Christmas Past” as happened with the charachter Scrooge in the 19th century book “A Christmas Carol”, by Charles Dickens. Show Donald how lucky he is and tell him it is okay to just be the boy that is trapped inside. I want to show him compassion, so that he might learn to seek it out as an alternative to contempt. I would choose to save his soul which many around him ought to be doing instead of selling theirs. Compassion, forthrightness and honesty; that is what makes America great.

I want to introduce Donald to ‘The Ghost of Christmas Past’ from the 19th century book by Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Story”. I would wish for the ghost to show Donald lucky he is and tell him it is okay to just be the boy that is trapped inside. I want to show him compassion, so that he might learn to seek it out as an alternative to contempt. I would choose to save his soul which many around him ought to be doing instead of selling theirs. Compassion, forthrightness and honesty; that is what makes America great.


For Sale

I was just reading an article/interview on Scaramucci the White House newest employee as the Communications Director. He was covering his tracks of the past few years where he was critical of Trump on all fronts because he was siding with someone else. His new-found loyalty to Trump is suspect on one hand an incredibly disgusting on the other. The idea that he would sell his loyalty to the highest bidder is incomprehensible in my book. Not only that, but if a person took everything Trump said during his candidacy as gospel, Scaramucci is about the seventh Wall Street guy in the White House close to the President and certainly among friends when it comes to billionaires there. Didn’t Trump run on excluding those guys?

This administration seems to attract a lot of this kind of behavior and of course watching from the outside looking in it is easy to see why; money and power are all that matters at the top so why would we expect anything else? The ethics have been thrown out the window as has personal and country loyalty. The current administration has disparaged all three branches of government as well as the military, intelligence folks, and of course the media. For most of that it does not take critical thinking to see why. Jeff Session’s, Trumps biggest supporter has been thrown under the bus for executing his job in a semi-ethical manner. Congressmen Nunes was put upon to somehow cover for Trump by messing with classified documents in the dead of night. Was he paid? A President who threatens a Utah legislator, one of his own party to the point of raising money to defeat him; simply for not supporting a bill? It is my understanding of government that those folks are elected to represent their home district and if a piece of legislation does not do that they certainly have the right to refuse participation in that legislation. Ah well, among other things politics is something Trump knows nothing about, nor does he care to. In fact, some pundits keep saying that ‘he would be damaged politically if’…or ‘it would not be politically practical…’ Trump does not care about politics, he cares about money and power. That is not to say that the little boy still evident in him does not want to be liked or praised for doing good, but caring about how the party does or the country, now that is dreaming.

In my research, which some of you will declare as “fake” I have found that Trump spent years dealing with Russia. Since 1984 to be exact he has traveled to Russia extensively, and willingly or not, over time became embroiled in “deals” with the Russian Mafia, which coincidentally saved his businesses time and again. Ronald Reagan’s administration investigated him for dealings with Russia and money laundering, as has every President since. Most recently Preet Bharara a career Federal Investigator had Trump under scrutiny, and at the time a Russian state-run Bank kept calling Trump Tower. None of this scrutiny was because they wanted to ruin his chances at the Presidency, but because he is not on the up and up. Even without us knowing the finer details of all of that, it is obvious he wants none of us educated on the issue, therefore discrediting the media is useful to him. Discrediting the intelligence community also benefits him because if the American people don’t believe them it makes it harder to come after him, at least in his off-kilter thinking. Firing Comey should have been the first clue for American’s, but some are buying Trump’s statements that somehow a well respected, career intelligence guy is sinister. Bull shit, he has much to hide from Comey and now Mueller who will also be fired right after Sessions replacement is confirmed I am guessing.

It is hard to tell if Russia is simply duping Trump or he owes them “bigly”, either way he seems bent on protecting them at the expense of all of us. The super-rich in Russia came to that end by stealing their country blind and much of the money ended up in this country to be laundered in real estate. Trump Tower and other Trump enterprises were the recipient of much of it and amazingly that money started to flow for him when he was nearly dead broke because he really isn’t much of a businessman. It works like this: the Russian mafia uses the money they get illicitly through Putin’ oil deals or Mafia drug sales to buy condo’s and homes from Trump businesses for extremely over inflated prices allowing them to get rid of the money and in turn he makes huge profits on his sales. It is hard to imagine he is unaware of where the money came from, but let’s say he is. Okay, then he is dumber than a wedge and not in charge as he claims he is. It really is that simple. This information is not speculation…it is a fact that can be looked up in the courthouses near the transactions…some 70 condos in Trump Tower alone were sold to Russians at inflated prices. There was a Trump owned house sold recently to a Russian group that brought double money…he only owned it for a few months. Did he know that was coming so he bought the property because he had knowledge there was money to be laundered? I certainly do not know, but I do know he brags that he is in charge and no one else. I am starting to wonder if this Mexican border closure has a bit to do with Russia as well…if they did not have direct sale drug competition from south America they would stand to make a whole lot more money.

Trump keeps bringing Russia into about any conversation he has. We all know from watching cops and robbers for years on television that often enough the criminal returns to the scene of their crime. As well, we never saw his tax returns and now he is threatening and fuming that the intelligence probe is considering them. It is my bet that his money transactions have been under scrutiny for a very long time and much of what they need for the investigation they already have,

As scary as this Presidency is, I am hopeful that it will make politicians down the road a little more wary of the deals they might become embroiled in. I am optimistic there will be enough souls caught in this dragnet that this government and the business world will run a little cleaner. Lastly, I hope there will be a message to all law makers that this is our government and our country and it is not for sale or trade to anyone.

Who Are We?

FlagSeems like everyone out there are defining who their neighbors, family and friends are based on what they are told on the television, in email forwards, through social media, during speeches and on talk radio. We are suddenly so malleable we can’t make up our minds who we are by ourselves? Old friends and family become enemies because of some talk show guy or a politician? Are we losing our minds? This is a democracy where differences are needed to round it all out. There is no path other than that for a democracy to succeed. There can be no ‘my way or the highway’ or democracy quickly disintegrates. Why is America listening to the bull shit tossed out there by some? Do we seriously want that? Do we really need to punch our neighbor in the face? Somehow I don’t think so and the Christian Bible tells us so. Remember?

My husband cannot believe Americans are so gullible to fall into place behind politicians who have so much to gain by fooling them, but it has been proved through history that if we hear anything enough, we will fall right into line. In fact a friend of mine stated when I asked her why she believed they were going to kill people for being old under the health care act, she had “heard it so much it must be true”. There were those who attacked John Kennedy when he ran for President over the fact that he was Catholic, which to us now seems mighty trivial, but back then it was a sin like questioning politicians who have different ideas now in this climate.

Overall the majority of all the issues that end up in cross table conversation and indeed creating hatred in some circumstances, are the result of super large corporations or individuals who control our politicians every move. As candidates there is so much need to curry favor with the big money folks that both houses of congress have seen a mass exodus in recent years of really good legislators and statesmen. Politicians coming into national government have no need for the skills required to work with each other, all they have to do is carry out the agenda of their money donors, then blame it on everyone else. Easy. They often don’t even write the legislation they bring to the floor! The parties still play a role in our politics for sure, but they are more and more less relevant compared to the big money donors that Citizens United has enabled.

The American people have every reason to be mad and distrustful of our government…they lost retirement money in the 2006-2009 to lousy investments and frankly gambling by the Wall Street punks who to this day have by and large walked away with zero punishment. Jobs are rebounding some, but not complete enough to allow people anywhere near a comfortable living. Many people are working two and three jobs to just make ends meet and particularly in the already poorer sectors. The pharmaceutical companies have America addicted to pain relief drugs to the point that many are buying heroin which achieves the same results, but is much cheaper. Every drug ad, every day on our televisions is coaxing someone into addiction, yet we are enabling their stranglehold on our politicians by turning a blind eye to what is going on.

Our frustration and anger are sorely misplaced these days and it is totally intentional that we do so because if we are divided, we will never band together under one flag to challenge the absolute control of our country by the money and greed. The US is not the only country that is going through a such a greedy period and more than likely we will all come out of it together, but not until we really understand where it is all coming from and it isn’t each other.

We have to resist the ridiculous idea that any of us are to blame in the first place for the state of this country. We have to realize that we all are hurting, not just individually, but the whole damn country is hurting. All of us are skimping and our neighbors are NOT to blame for our ills. It is the culmination of greed of the wealthiest among us. They do their best to steer us into believing that your friends, neighbors and others unlike you are to blame for all your state of affairs. It is a tactic used throughout history to divide and conquer and it is at the forefront as this Presidential campaign progresses into kicking boxing and pro wrestling.

Do you honestly think your neighbor, friend or co-worker really has anything to do with the war in the Middle East or the rules set by congress? Are we to believe that African Americans really want to be poor and dependent any more than we do, or that the Syrians desire to be bombed over and over again until they are forced to flee their country. Absolutely not! We are told that our veterans are somehow less so if they are living on the street and poor than if they are in a home with loving family and a medal on their chest, but the bad dreams are the same for all of them regardless of where they live or the color of their skin.

None of this is rocket science and most information that ends up in email forwards can be easily looked up and verified on the Internet, but we continue to believe in it all. Most information needed to make a decision without the loud talk of people who get paid to feed you misinformation is readily available as well.  Not being “Political Correct” has nothing to do with insults, racial slurs, attacks on women and misinformation, that is all common courtesy that all of us are entitled to. Calling people living in trailers losers is ridiculous.

Division is how power people win when they have no other tools to do so. When they run out of viable ideas or good answers to very real problems we all face. This is country is hurting, but in spite of it all we are rebounding compared to where we were just 9 years ago and it is due to the resilience of all of us and nothing to do with the politicians in front of us at this time. Almost none of these politicians are offering anything different when it comes to breaking free of their donors. We have a long way to go, and most of them either will not or cannot help. But, until we decide who we are and react together to the pushing and shoving of the last few years we will never win. We cannot win apart, we have to take on the whole of congress, not each other.




Fear-The Winners and Losers Part III

Christ Cleansing the Temple, by Carl Heinrich Bloch, 1875

Almost without exception greed is the root of all our evils world wide. I told my hubby that I could write many blogs under one title-“Greed” and simply number them 1-100 to differentiate between them. After the economy began it’s decline in 2005 a young friend of mine, an avid church going guy told me there were people in his church he would have, in the past entrusted with his first born. He announced to me those same people were stealing him blind. He was amazed at their not paying him and lying to him as if they were the only ones that had lost in the economic downturn. Welcome to the world of greed.

Right now as I write I know there are candidates for President of the United States out there making people in this country fearful. They are stopping at nothing to instill fear over ISIS “coming here” and for their own political gain. Never mind that the Boston attackers were born here. Marco Rubio, a second generation refugee and first generation American contends that “Paris could happen here.” Well no shit, we were the first in the west to be inflicted by not one, but two World Trade Center bombings. Then there was Ft. Hood and let’s not forget to mention Oklahoma City and Tim McVey, David Karesh, Jim Jones, Newtown, Aurora…this stuff has been going on for quite some time and not inflicted by Syrians or even ISIS. What is new here are candidates profiting from the fear.

The whole thing worries me too, the thought of blowing up in a plane or being shot in a department store gives one some pause for sure and as George Bush so famously said…”that is what they want”. They want us to fear, to disrupt our lives to slow commerce…I am talking about the extremists, ISIS that is. What the politicians want is for you to fear as well. Fear is big business for them. Some of them hope you fear so much that you will vote for them. They have mentioned time and again that any of “the other” politicians will not keep you safe as if this has never happened before in this country. Attacks on our homeland, embassies and installations abroad have happened under the watch of every modern President. So chalk that up to pure BS.

A leader does not go out of their way to upset their countrymen with fear, at least the way I see it anyway. Bush could have done that, he did not. He asked us to be vigilant and mindful because fear would cost us in economic paralysis. Fear after 9-11 and the damn banks run a muck nearly ruined all our lives, why would I want to repeat that? Why would I want a leader who manufactured fear? ISIS, Assad, Hitler and Stalin all ruled by fear and we condemn that. Why pray tell are we buying into the exact same thing from our politicians?

Trump crossed a line when it comes to decency long ago when he cat called a female moderator from Fox news saying he thought she was on the rag and somehow that has morphed into herding up Mexicans and locking up Muslims. Tracking them (as if we don’t already do that with radical suspects) and making them wear badges like the Jews of the Holocaust. People are really listening to this guy and others that spew fear? One senator wants to see us herd them into camps like we locked up the Japanese Americans during World War II even as many of their family members were fighting in it for the US!. So maybe we can put Guantanamo Bay to use after all.

This is warped political grandstanding. They are doing this kind of thing for greedy reasons. Not many politicians have your back and none of them would ever be able to follow through on anything that they are putting out there like the border fence for instance. The politicians who could handle the job of President are being pushed down to the kiddie table, by the bombastic and shrill noise of a few illegitimate knuckleheads.

The media should be held accountable for this fear mongering as well. They have talked only of ISIS and how dangerous they are for nights on end and have given free advertising not only to the idiot politicians like Trump and Carson, but also to ISIS. The media makes huge money on this kind of thing…all 6 of the media companies. By the way we do have much more to fear by the consolidation of large companies than any terrorist could bring, but that is another blog post.

What they need to be talking about is just the opposite if we are to combat future terrorist attacks…there is a real opportunity here to obtain intelligence and to demonstrate at least to some of the mid-eastern people that we really are the stewards of opportunity and really are OK. To show we aren’t the monsters ISIS says we are. Many Muslim leaders have said lately that they are going to make a bigger effort to help curb the radicalism, but those kids watch TV and hear these ridiculous comments. Many of the Republican leaders here are starting to speak out about the lost opportunities, but no where near enough of them. You know my husband’s family, being European were Catholic, and his great-grandfather called the priest to come give last rights to a family member who was dying. The priest refused because it was inconvenient for him to travel to the rural location…that family has only stepped in a church for burials or funerals since. The Church lost three generations of pious Catholics.

Jesus went after the money changers and threw their tables over, spilling coins in the temple. Why in a country of primarily Christians are we giving our attention to the blasphemous wannabes. Why are we giving our attention to the greedy if indeed we are following the word of Christ? Fear and greed go hand in hand and the winners are ISIS, the politicians and the media. We will be the losers because broadcasting all the hate and fear will indeed backfire.

Meantime, for better or worse I am going to get on a plane and hope for the best, and I will be both vigilant and courteous when it comes to my fellow passengers. I will be looking out the window at our great land of opportunity thinking about how we are the losers in putting our trust in the greedy. It has never worked out before.

Fear-The Winners and Losers Part II

Syrian fatherThe situation in Syria is nuts, to say the least. Assad is not in control of anything after years of civil war prompted by his brutal attacks on his fellow Syrians. He governed with fear just as ISIS is governing with fear, but because of the grass roots push by ISIS in their beginning, opposed to Assad’s position from a gold studded throne, ISIS moved faster and more decisively and now runs some of that country. Having a “caliphate” requires holding a homeland and in their case the burned out, bombed out lands of Syria and Iraq is attractive especially with all that oil money to support them.

The Syrian and Iraqi people have much to fear; the guns and chemicals of Assad and the bombs of the US, France, Russia and the brutal pressure from ISIS to repent their impure ways. ISIS in areas they hold, are taxing the Syrians for everything imaginable, from making them buy what equates to a “purity” license to repent their sins to the tune of $300.00 with a yearly renewal fee of $50.00, to rationing gas. Many have lost their jobs because of closed shops and shuddered professional services especially women owned businesses. They have food to buy, but only certain foods as the IS are exporting most of it to Iraq, the place they desire the most. They control the economy to the point that the only way to make any money is to join them as they conveniently pay very well and provide food, medical treatment and drugs. Much like Hitler, they attract through fear, money and a sense of belonging. None of that means they will turn into Jihad John, but the odds are not in their favor or ours. People will always do whatever it takes to survive and without an alternative they will often make poor choices.

The Islamic State are gaining ground on the monetary front by holding the oil refineries and wells in parts of Iraq and Syria. That is why we went after them so heavily in one Iraq area early on because the US and others knew once they had the oil the game would change. Iraq doesn’t want us there, yet they ran like bunnies when it came time to hold their ground. I have read that the oil is being transported by underground pipelines that often run for miles with dispensaries located helter skelter out in the desert.

ISIS has plenty of money which is why they are so hard to deal with and the money available to them also makes the idea that they would bother with a boat trip in rough seas to infiltrate the refugee program is probably pretty far fetched. On top of that the 18-24 months of investigation before being placed permanently in this country under current refugee protocol…the plane trip is far more easy. You can buy from some members of the corrupt Syrian government, a passport or visa, and if you can’t afford quite that amount there are plenty of counterfeiters to choose from. Why would anyone want to risk drowning on an over crowded boat instead of a nice plane ride if they had the means?

The IS has taken the Syrian economy over by closing shops, offices and groceries with their bully tactics and threats of death that make people fear them. Once you take the jobs that the young people have it does not bode well for them or us. Much like it is in the United States, without the jobs young people are pulled into a whirlwind of temptation with the promise of a few bucks and that is precisely why many, many Syrian’s have fled the country trying to enter not only Europe, but other mid-eastern countries as well; they are trying to get their kids out of there. In comparison, the smaller percentage of single males coming to Europe have often left because their schools were closed or they lost their jobs. Many of them had a dream to be doctors and such and that has vanished with the coming of ISIS and the civil war before that.

The people who are fleeing Syria and Iraq are doing so because they are the persecuted and are the non-conformists when it comes to the IS standards of existence. They have been ducking bullets and swords clear back to the time we were slaughtering the American Indians and for centuries before that. They are fleeing just like the Polish did, or the Jewish, Cuban’s and German’s. The winds of fear and persecution have always be strong across the globe and probably always will be because of money and power and a few places like the US have been there for many of the persecuted, but never without hesitation. We always seem to fear the fearful.




Fear-The Winners and Losers Part I

Twin Towers

After 9-11 I was resolute, determined and even thought about signing up to go to Afghanistan to chase the people who crafted such atrocities in my country. It took my breath away, the horror of it all and I kept my eye on the news and my surroundings as this country slowly sank into awareness that we were indeed vulnerable. I made sure I had staple food and the truck was full of gas, not that it would sustain us for a long period of time, but I was ready.

Everyone reacted together as one country. Sure there was congressional squabbling about the Patriot Act passed to shore up intelligence and of course huge push back from all of us when Qaeda took a bit of a back seat to going into Iraq chasing what we now know were imaginary weapons and very real oil. The case was presented that there was an absolute destructive force in Iraq and Tony Blair signed on to convince us and the UK that what they had for intelligence regarding Iraq was a serious threat. Recently, because of the continual digging for some sort of Hillary sinking ah-ha moment that might surface in her emails, we now know that Tony Blair was duped by the Bush administration into coming on board with them to present the case for war with Iraq.

The Jihads trap was set…Bin Laden had his cause more than enhanced from the first bomb dropped in Iraq. ISIS began it’s slow climb to power showing the region and the world that the “West” was out to destroy Islam. We had for years armed nearly every country in the region, and often as not we supported incredibly brutal regimes that took our money and our arms to torture, enslave and kill hundreds of thousands of their own people. At the same time we armed people who were pushing back on these regimes fueling civil war for nearly every country from Baltic s to Algeria, north south, east and west. If anyone reading this has a hard time understanding why the west is being attacked just think about that for a minute.

In 2005 the Bush administration acknowledged the Islamic State and they began to engage them. The original “surge” in Iraq in 2007 was aimed almost entirely at what we now call ISIS. However, with the corrupt government that we had helped to throw together in Iraq and the tribal infighting things got farther and farther out of control requiring yet another surge by the Obama administration and led us to where we are today…bombed out cities, corruption, hatred, civil war and nearly total chaos in not one, but several vacuums where structure once was. Now the business owners, doctors and the young of the region have nowhere to hide and nothing left to lose so they are leaving in droves.

I heard a former Ambassador to Iraq (12 years) speak a couple of years ago and he told the audience that Iraq was never under “control” after Saddam was toppled, and in fact his convoy would not even veer off the one street that was secure when he wanted to revisit his old embassy building a couple of years ago. Contrary to what we hear in the US, there was never much of a length of time that Iraq was secure much less back to normal. Perhaps part of it may have been, but time was not on our side to remain. The Bush administration had signed an agreement with the Iraqis that we would be gone in 2011 which the US honored, but managed to talk the new leader there into allowing at least some man power being allowed to stay to help hold it together as the glue was not very bonding.

After 9-11 we were all wary, suspicious and resolute in our love of country, but we were in it together. We survived awful banking policies and greed of the highest order even though many, many people lost hundreds of thousands of their retirement plans and investments. We were in that together and mad as hell. Both the Bush administration and the Obama administration tried to avenge the attacks on the US and both vowed to straighten things out, but for reasons beyond their control order in the Middle East was not to be had. In fact four US Presidents have tried to bring some order, any order to the Middle East and all have failed. What we have managed to do since the discovery of cheap oil there, is to piss off nearly every country in the region. If you want to know the truth it is similar to how the American Natives perceived us; I guess we will never learn.

So what are we doing about any of it? Not much frankly. Iraq doesn’t seem to want us on the ground there and have said as much. Many of those countries are at war  because of religion with deep seeded mistrust for each other and the west. Many others have tribal warring at play and still others have allies or enemies in the west that we do not want to end up at odds with, in particular Russia. Syria for one is a strong Russian ally; to just go in and bomb Syria/ISIS like our Jr. politicians are big talking about is asking for a war with a country that can match us bullet for bullet. It would have been folly, but then again doing nothing is a risk too. So where is the balance? I personally think getting clear out of there is our best move, but can we conscientiously feel right about leaving the mess we helped create?

The truth of the matter is, when it comes to the Middle East there is no one pat answer. There is no script for an enemy that hides behind civilians or attacks with unconventional means like IED’s and terrorism. ISIS is looking to secure a middle east “homeland” which has to happen in order to have their Caliphate or it all dissolves. It’s best hope is either Syria or Iraq for the native opposition is weak there. If all of the countries in the west could discard their alignments with some in the Middle East and the regions leaders would denounce the terrorism we might get somewhere. However, there is money to made in the region on both oil and war so we are tangled in this incredible web of who does whom, when and for what price. We can’t scratch the backs of this country or that because they have ties with another of our friends who are their enemies. Then there are the Sunni and Shiite who have fought since the seventh century and are both Arab and Muslim ethnically. And we think the west can “win”? Of course not, we have only been along for the ride up until now. The greed is of course at the root of it all from both the Middle East regimes and the west. We are now on a bucking bronc with nothing to hang on to, and blaming and finger pointing is nothing more than political ploy with the innocents caught in the middle.

Democracy Without Debate

The 2016 political election is already in gear and the positioning is in full swing even at this early stage. Everyone is weighing in, or not on a variety of social issues, but the real meat of anything of real importance is not being discussed. The right has gone to its’ corner and the left theirs when it comes to voicing their thoughts which frankly are as shallow as a stagnant pond. They are lined up alright, but at the doors of their donors and like minded media. Ben Franklin would be beside himself at the lack of imagination let alone the twisted role legislators have these days and the lack of serious debate.

The Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus asked: “How can I as chairman of the national party have the former employee of the Clintons, who’s running on the other side, be the person on the stage deposing our candidate?” Well, at face value that is a great question, but digging deeper, how can any candidate be given a fair shake by any network…they all give to candidates and often as not, millions of dollars, not 75,000.00 as is the case of Stephanopoulos.

The man in question Mr. Stephanopoulos, I know very little about so that situation directly is not prompting me to write. What I wonder about is how we have drifted from being a nation of challenging thoughts, ideas and bantering to a nation that wants only to hear what we already believe? “If you aren’t for us, you are against us.” What kind of nonsense is that? There are some who want to change the constitution so that it suits them instead of simply learning how to make things work within its’ guidelines. That I liken to driving on the wrong side of the road without the other half agreeing. Swimming upstream comes to mind too…

As for debate amongst friends instead of in front of all Americans; what are politicians afraid of? Are they afraid they will be asked why they did not punish the banks that nearly broke all of us or why they are taking money from industries they support on the floor in legislation? Are they afraid of being asked something besides where they stand on abortion or gay marriage? Why is it that we cannot have a debate with a myriad of unstructured questions? A debate about the issues like putting millions of people back to work.

The more important questions I have are why do we not want to know where they stand on the real issues that matter to all of us? This TPP Pacific trade deal will be really important to all of us and our children and for the most part it is being talked about pretty darn casually in social media, but what underwear Obama is wearing is front and center. Do you know what the TPP trade agreement is? Do you want to know the fine print in it? Your answer should be yes. It may be just as it is being represented, but let’s see it. Many of our candidates have not even weighed in on it afraid of pissing off their donors. I will have to say that it is the first truly news worthy thing that congress has engaged in 8 years. Congressmen are even on the news instead of ducking out the back door to avoid being asked crazy questions like when are we going to see the jobs and infrastructure spending.

It seems all our candidates are interested in is getting noticed or elected of both. They are banking, pun intended, on the most outlandish things getting them elected and we are naïve enough to follow them over that cliff. Their incredible waste of time is making us weaker and weaker in the face of some pretty serious threats like N. Korea and Russia not too mention our need for oil in the Middle East and now fighting ISIS. We cannot support this top heavy economy and wars so let’s have a debate about what we are going to do about getting people put to work and shoring up the bottom 9/10’s of this country. China is in some ways surging on while we wring our hands over abortion and deflate gate, while we buy everything we own from China driving our country right off a cliff. The Chinese are buying up San Francisco as I write because they are the only ones who can afford it!

Congress dithers and dithers wondering how we can fix our infrastructure without the money as bridge after bridge is condemmed. It is not rocket science that if we put people to work with better than hamburger wages they will start paying into the machine again and our revenue will grow without too much interjection. Our social service money spent will drop like a rock too as people find real work. Sure, we are going to have to help get it off the ground, but isn’t that worth a few pennies apiece? I want a debate about why we have the money to keep killing our kids in the Middle East, but we don’t have the money to support infrastructure? The way interest rates are, I think if we were to offer up 10-year bonds to Americans at a reasonable rate we could get the funding started for infrastructure maybe without going to the taxpayers.

This country was not founded on religion or idealism; folks running from all of that founded it. It was OK if you worshipped in whatever way you wanted as it still is, as long as it did not interfere with governance. They faced real problems and real issues and worked them out together. They pounded the table to get their point across in pure debate and in the end, everyone came away with at least something they could hold onto. Right now our debates look like a rehearsal dinner for a wedding. We cannot have a viable, healthy democracy without debate.

Do yourself a favor and ask your candidates or parties why they are afraid of answering real questions. Questions that have some meat to them from a real audience, of real Americans, with real problems. My guess is they won’t answer you because their real employers did not give them permission.