Brexit crowd had no plan for after victory, what about the GOP front runner?

June 30, 2016

So here’s a funny one. Seems folks over in England made a lot of noise about wanting to get out of the European Union and be free again. They had a vote and won. Maybe they were surprised they won. Apparently there was no plan for what to do if they won. And now they don’t know what to do and at least one British member of parliament who supported the so-called “Brexit” is blaming the current prime minister, who supported remaining in the EU, for not having a plan ready to go for the exit or Brexit.

Meanwhile, world markets have been put into turmoil and as I read it some Britons are realizing that although they were told too much of their money was going to the EU, as it turns out they will actually be losing money that would come back to Britain from the EU in the form of subsidies and trading privileges with the member nations.

I don’t pretend to fully understand the issue myself. It’s complex. But what I do kind of get is that people were dissatisfied with the status quo and decided they needed a change. But they never read the fine print. It was not available and probably the leaders of the Brexit movement never did either. Maybe they were not really serious and did not think they would win the vote for Brexit. Maybe they were just making noise to stir up the populace for their own political gains against what they saw as the establishment.

Over here in the good old USA we have a similar situation with a presumptive GOP presidential  nominee who makes a lot of noise and really says nothing of great substance. Some say he never expected to win the nomination (and he has not yet officially but apparently he will). He was just promoting his own brand. It’s just a big commercial for his commercial endeavors I guess.

But just like the Brexit movers, he has no real plan either.

p.s.

I have no real opinion on whether Great Britain should stay in the EU (their exit is not official at this time but it is presumed the government there will carry out the will of the majority of the voters). I would think, however, that it gets more good than bad out of its membership and if there are problems, such as concern over sovereignty and immigration, they could be worked out.

Oh, yes, I have read that a big part of the Brexit win was concern over the influx of foreigners somehow connected with EU membership. Many in the USA are concerned about the foreign menace and the slipping of white power (and I am a white guy writing this — I’m just describing things, not taking a stand on this issue here at this time).

 

 


Some way-out so-called Christian pastors preaching hate…

June 28, 2016

In the morning I heard a talk show host commenting on Pope Francis’ position that the Catholic Church should apologize for its anti-homosexual (or gay) positions of the past. Well that was uplifting I guess. I mean if we are all God’s children and all…

But in the afternoon I read that some way-out-of-the-mainstream fundamentalist so-called Christian pastors, including one in Sacramento, were lamenting that the Orlando massacre gunman didn’t go far enough in killing 49 and wounding 53 at a gay nightclub.

(Much of the fundamentalist crowd these days, however, seems to be accepting homosexuals in its own way, something about hate the sin but love the sinner. And I personally am not taking a position on what is sin.)

It seems someone always wants to hate someone. It is a pity that so much of the hate in this world is done in the name of religion or God.

I think we have had more wars and killing done in the name of religion than anything else through history.

Of course these nut case deviants who profess to be Christians are just as dangerous as the most dangerous of the terrorists who claim to act in the name of Islam.

We should treat these hate mongers like one super fundamental religious sect treats those who they think have erred:

We should shun them.

And although they have a right to free speech, it seems what some pastors are quoted as saying comes close to inciting violence, and I am not sure that should be covered in protected speech.

 

 

 

 

 


Hillary by all counts should win, but if not, it could be her elitism or poor choice of words…

June 26, 2016

Right now I think Hillary Clinton has the best chance to win in November. Donald Trump in many ways seems to be defeating himself. But then I could of course be wrong. The pro Remain (as opposed to Brexit) camp lost in Great Britain and it came as a shock, even though polls indicated a tight race.

But most people, even most thinking Republicans (and I don’t think that is an oxymoron), realize that Trump is not qualified to be leader of the free world (being a con man does not really get it). The GOP leadership is confused, though — on the one hand they want to win back the White House and are darn near willing to do it at all costs, but on the other hand, Trump scares them — as he should.

Anyone can see that Hillary Clinton is far more intelligent, far more well-rounded in world affairs, and much more open-minded, and therefore better able to deal with the multitude of differing viewpoints and demands from such a diverse populace — not to mention the world at large, which looks up to America as the beacon of freedom and hope (no matter what they sometimes say). And one does not have to like Hillary to see or admit this.

However, if Hillary were to lose, I think this quote I lifted out of an article on the Politico site might explain one of her problems. An unemployed coal miner put it like this:

“Trump says he’s for coal, and Hillary hates coal—and that’s a shame. Because, in my opinion, he’s a little nuts. She’s more qualified. But if she wants to take my job—then, no.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/06/coal-country-democrats-donald-trump-2016-213988#ixzz4CVfvyXqi

Hillary is part of the elite. And as well meaning and fair-minded as she might be, she may have lost the skill to walk in the shoes of the common folk, if she ever had it.

I mean her explanation that although she once was quoted as saying she wanted to put coal miners out of work, what she really meant was she wanted the nation to move away from dirty energy sources but at the same time ensure that workers could be retrained or transitioned into other jobs (or something like that) might not have overcome her original wording or might not seem sincere.

Easy for someone way up there to say. Ta, ta, we’ll just train you to do something else…

I provided the link to the article. The man quoted was in a Western Pennsylvania county that has a history of being solidly Democratic.

It seems that over the years the Democratic Party has seen some or much of its working class base switch to the GOP. That is not to say that the GOP is better for them, but remarks like Hillary’s or like President Obama saying  condescendingly that people in times of crisis cling to their guns and religion don’t win votes. He went on to win of course. That might be because the GOP candidate Mitt Romney alienated potential voters by implying a large segment of the population was simply looking for a government handout (I mean that might be true — but better not to say it. Every vote counts).

 


I say let’s trade goods but not trade our sovereignty…

June 24, 2016

Apparently a conservative form of populism is not just a U.S. phenomenon. Voters in the United Kingdom decided yesterday to leave the European Union (it won’t happen overnight; there is a transition period).

But at least one report I saw likened it to the backlash against elites in the U.S.

What effect this will have on the rest of the EU and the U.S. and the world I have no clue. But I thought it was curious when last night I was listening to radio and one commentator prior to the report of the results downplayed the significance of a possible “Brexit” (Britain exit), as it was called, here in the U.S. especially.

But once the vote was announced there were reports of slides in the various stock exchanges around the world and a dive of the value of the British pound sterling. As I understand it the financial markets don’t know quite what to make of it all.

The British Prime Minister announced he would resign because the nation needs new leadership as the result of the vote of the populace. Of course Great Britain has a parliamentary system, much different than our system in the U.S. But it is kind of refreshing to hear a politician say that the people are not buying his program and to see him step down voluntarily.

Anyway, I posted the following late yesterday afternoon before the votes were tallied:

 

By the time anyone reads this we will probably know the result of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and I would imagine the only people here in America who care are some business people along with news junkies like me. And I have to admit I am not as up on Brexit as I should be but I know the general story.

What I do know is that so-called free trade deals are tricky in that they provide advantages for some and not for others but are overall usually good for the economies of the participating countries.

I think the main bugaboo is sovereignty of individual nations.

To me it seems that no matter what a deal is if it does not protect the independence of nations then it is no good. I am not for so-called one-world government.

And I think that is the problem with the European Union. As I understand it, and my understanding on this is hazy, part of the goal of the EU is to go beyond lifting trade restrictions between the various nations and actually having one government, one federal government for the whole EU so it could be like the “United States of Europe”.

But unlike the United States of America, Europe is divided into many nation states representing distinct nationalities and customs.

And from my own selfish point of view, do we really want to lose the culture and color of those nations? I don’t think so and I would not think many of the people in those nations would want to either.

I do understand (from reading an article on the BBC site) that younger people tend to be more for the EU because they think it is the only way to provide employment these days in this global economy.

In the U.S. we face our own problems with the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals. Sometimes businesses find themselves answerable not to the authorities or bureaucracy of the their own nation but of some international entity. There is a price to be paid for membership in this global market.

I work as a truck driver and as I am writing this I am waiting to pick up produce, probably from Mexico. So I know the value of trade (and I sometimes haul stuff going the other way too).

Free trade or less restricted trade is good. We don’t need international trade wars with barriers thrown up. That happened int he 1920s and we got the Great Depression.

On the other hand, let’s keep these international agreements on the subject of trade. We should not trade our sovereignty. It’s too valuable to lose.

p.s.

I realize the EU has been in existence for a long time now and Britons are voting today on whether to stay in. I recall as a kid hearing about what was usually called the “common market”. When I was stationed in Germany in the army in the late 60s and early 70s they still had the mark as their currency but now use the euro like most of the EU. Britain has held on to its pound sterling.

 

 


I thought I was a goner with Waldenstrom’s; I survived, but I don’t take anything or anyone for granted…

June 21, 2016

Yikes! It appears that it has been a year since I posted anything about my Waldenstrom’s (at least I don’t recall any posts on it recently; my mind has been on other things).

When I was diagnosed with it in 2007 I actually thought it was my death sentence, and through my chemotherapy and maybe a year beyond I was almost expecting every day would be my last.

But here I am nine years later and I feel as healthy as I ever have. I’m 66 (67 in August) and still work full time as a truck driver (actually I supposedly retired but currently I am working pretty much full time). And when I say healthy as I ever have, I mean pretty darn good. I have had good health all my life, well up until I was diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia — let’s call it Waldenstrom’s or WM. It is a form of cancer.

My main symptom now is a higher-than-normal immunoglobulin M blood count (and that is usually referred to as IgM). I also have a continuing neuropathy in my feet (but it has not gotten any worse). An original symptom was uncontrolled bleeding from a sore on my tongue. That seemed to be cured by an infusion of blood factor 8 into my blood system.

I admit I never did do deep research into Waldenstrom’s, although I did read up on it some. At first I did not really want to know. I had a communication problem with my original oncologist. And he led me to believe I might have a much abbreviated life span. But I have to credit him maybe with saving my life. Had he not done the factor 8 thing, I am sure I would have bled to death. I went to the emergency room several times and no one could do anything. Well, one time an emergency room doctor stuck a needle in my tongue, injecting epinephrine. That seemed to stop the bleeding for a while. One time after a bout of bleeding and then a respite, my wife and I took a nice walk on a nice day down by the river. I was in a good mood. But later that day I was sitting at my computer and I sneezed. The bleeding started all over again.

Like I say, the bleeding would stop eventually, only to start up again. I had to stick out my tongue and use a thumb and finger to apply pressure to the wound for long periods of time until the bleeding would finally subside for a time. I swallowed one heck of a lot of blood in my sleep — and got blood all over my bedding and the bathroom sink, not to mention clothing.

However, much of my suffering, the bleeding notwithstanding, came from the effects of the treatment, chemotherapy. It made me weak and destroyed my immune system.

No one could seem to bring it back, that is until another oncologist on the advice of doctors at the University of San Francisco Hospital suggested she give me a high-dosage regimen of Prednisone. It worked. It jump started my immune system.

So nine to eight years ago or even less, I thought I was winding down my life.

So much has happened since then.

My wife, who I married when she was still 16 (a month shy of 17) died almost six years ago. Having never been to Europe except serving in Germany in the army, I have travelled to Spain twice in the last two years, and I have come some distance in learning Spanish — something I began years ago in college, but let slide. I have a better attitude at work because I appreciate being alive and well and being able to earn money, and just being able to live.

When I thought I was a goner, I would sometimes talk to my wife about things from my childhood, talking rapidly, as if I kept talking I would keep living. And once I had her drive my to a now abandoned cattle auction yard where I once sold a cow and calf. Long story but short version: when I was a teenager I had this idea I was going into the cattle business. I thought I would start with a white face heifer I bought from a rancher and go from there. She had a set of twins (thanks to the rancher’s bull), and then she had a second calf. But once I graduated from high school I was lost in life. I was not ready for college. I was not even ready for life. I got married. Sounds crazy, huh?

But we were together for almost 43 years. My wife died at 59.

And of course when you lose your spouse you can’t help but think, if only I had (yeah, you should tell your spouse how much you love her (or him, as the case may be) and do some things to demonstrate that.

And when you are healthy you take life for granted.

I sometimes think I am back to doing that now. But I know better. I lost my life partner and I thought I had lost or would shortly lose my own life.

If you have been just diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s all is not lost. Make the best of every day.

It ain’t over till it’s over.

And right now it almost seems as I might live out my expected life span after all. For the past several years I have been only going to my oncologist every six months, and my blood work always shows status quo. I still have the cancer but I am essentially in remission.

I’m not taking anything or anyone for granted. I’m trying to enjoy life every day.

p.s.

Symptoms for WM vary. Not everyone will have the same ones or all of the same ones. You usually find out you have it because you had a blood test for something else. Left unchecked, WM can weaken functions in your body, cause you to have a stroke or other problems — all possibly leading to your demise of course. There is no cure, except to keep on living and enjoy life while you can, as everyone should.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The U.S. needs to be cold and calculating in foreign interventions…

June 20, 2016

It occurs to me that the problem with U.S. military interventions is that we always try to couch them in terms of making the world safe for democracy or helping people escape some tyranny. But sometimes we just make things worse and we lose our own people and money in the process.

It’s about time we coldly assess things and do what is in our own best interests.

Let’s go back:

Just prior to our intervention in the already ongoing World War II there was a strong isolationist movement in this country. We had already gone “over there” in World War I to save the bacon of our allies in Europe, and what did those Europeans do? They began bickering all over again. There was a strong sentiment for staying out of other people’s quarrels. But of course Japan, who happened to be allied with Germany, pulled a surprise attack on us (did we kind of ask for it by putting an embargo on them? I’m just asking), and we were drawn into WWII.

But the general assessment is that it was a good thing we were because we needed to stop Hitler in Germany who darn near took over the world — Germany was actually close to developing a nuclear bomb, although we managed to prevent it from doing so (you know the story about the heavy water in Scandinavia and all?).

The United States and its allies won the war, vanquished the enemies, demanding unconditional surrender.

A baby boomer, I grew up watching WWII movies and playing army in the back yard and empty lots and even over at the high school across the street where they had some surplus WWII army trucks, complete with the big white American star on o.d. background.

When I was real little the Korean War was going on, but it was called a “police action” at the time, and then I used to watch a program on Saturday mornings, some kind of documentary show, where they spoke of the “Korean Conflict”. It seems it took history to give it war status.

I think Korea was the first different kind of war maybe. I mean we did not get total victory. We got a cease-fire and the North Koreans and their Chinese allies went back behind their lines. So, it was a victory of sorts, seeing as how the enemy had at one point pushed our side to the bottom of the Korean peninsula.

But while we fought in WWII to save the world from a madman (and the Japanese militarists too), we (the U.S. or the world) were not under direct attack in Korea. This was a geopolitical decision on our part. The U.S. had decided that it must fight the spread of communism. But even if the communist North Korea had taken over the whole peninsula, there would have been no direct threat to the U.S. They would not then be able to invade the West Coast or anything like that.

I’m using a shorthand here (I know there are many more details of history).

And the same held true for Vietnam. But we were so invested in the South Vietnamese government as our representative of democracy in Southeast Asia (even though it was not much of a democracy and had corrupt leadership) and we were so wedded to the domino theory that if one nation fell all the others would tumble like a row of dominoes, that we got mired in an unwinnable war there, which was a combination insurgency, civil war, and war of outside intervention by the old USSR and to some extent Communist China.

For public consumption or propaganda we went in to help the poor South Vietnamese people. But in reality it was a proxy war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union already locked in the “Cold War”. The two superpowers, armed with nuclear missiles were equally afraid of mutually assured self-destruction should they lob nuclear missiles at each other. So they decided to duke it out in Vietnam, sin nuclear weapons, although early on there was some speculation about using them in Vietnam and earlier in Korea. Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater did not discount the idea of using nuclear weapons but lost in a landslide, partly because of his position.

But in my mind there was no threat whatsoever presented to the United States from Vietnam. We lost the war. Vietnam is still communist, the independent South Vietnam having disappeared. And it is a fine commercial trading partner with us today.

All that worry about communism taking over, but the reality was that it defeated itself. The USSR evaporated and went back to being Russia. We have finally restored or are restoring relations with communist Cuba, which has struggled under the weight of its unworkable communist economy all these years.

Vietnam was especially cruel to my generation. American youth were expected to sacrifice their lives for what?

Today we let folks who have nothing else to do, or who need a job, or maybe who just are adventurous and brave and patriotic individuals, fight and get gravely wounded or die in foreign lands in conflicts that have nothing directly to do with us.

Yes, I know, fight them over there before they come over here.

Using the above rationale we will always be in war.

It makes no sense.

A recent memo among mostly mid-level State Department staffers urging the Obama administration to take tough action against Syrian president Assad over his continuing oppression and use of chemical weapons on his own people was in the news. President Obama has been criticized for threatening Assad with retaliation, drawing a line in the sand, and then backing down. But apparently Obama, after making the threat reconsidered and thought we should not risk getting involved in still another war. We should not do “stupid stuff” he said.

And while I think he should not have made the threat in the first place if he was not prepared to followup, I have to agree. Why should we get involved in another unwinnable war? What’s in it for us, except misery?

On the other hand, one could argue that the instability created by the tumult in Syria affects the whole world. Millions of refuges have flooded Europe, causing major problems, including social conflict and depletion of resources and security risks, because hidden within those hordes of refugees are Islamic terrorists.

Also, the civil war in Syria is enabling ISIS and other terrorists to create a base from which to spread their terror around the world, including the United States.

With all that in mind, the U.S. and other Western powers would have a clear case for going in and cleaning things up. But that seems problematic.

While the world has sympathy for the plight of civilians caught in the crossfire, we have to realize they live by different rules and culture than we do. They live in a religious and tribal social system that does not square with our modern Western norms.

I would say if they want to seek refuge in the West, then they must adapt to our norms.

And I would also say the U.S. should steer clear of nation building. It seems that it just makes things worse. We create resentment among people as we play the part of the conquerors or the well-meaning interlopers. And what is the justification of sending American soldiers into a foreign land to meddle in the affairs of others (other than for our own defense)?

But with all of this, we do face the existential threat of ISIS and like terror groups who thrive in these foreign lands among all the chaos. So if it is that justification we use to intercede than maybe so be it. But we then cannot take half steps (we always seem to want to not get our hands dirty, air power vs. ground power). We must have resolve.

But we dither and wring our hands and cannot make up our minds even while taking action. In the end, we do stupid stuff.

 

 


Going for the gun control compromise; no matter what, no one is ever out of danger…

June 17, 2016

Personally, I see no reason why ordinary citizens should be able to possess military style assault weapons, the only purpose of which is to spray bullets at rapid fire to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time possible (and I say people — not much good for deer hunting, that is if you want to eat your prey).

I mean maybe the only reason would be to be prepared for that one day that you joined the local militia to defy the government. Some people read that necessity into the Second Amendment. I think it is a little more complicated than that — has more to do with concerns of a far different time when the nation was not even sure it needed to have a standing army and if so who would it be composed of — the king’s men (or the president’s men) or just common everyday people.

But now I understand that even Democrats in congress pushing for stricter gun control in the wake of the Orlando massacre are not choosing to go the route of an all-out assault rifle ban, rather they want to push for a more politically palatable stricter control, such as making sure folks on watch lists and no-fly lists or those with known mental problems can’t get them.

It is reported that the attacker in Orlando was on the FBI watch list but inexplicably bought an assault rifle legally.

(It gets worse. A gun store salesman said he reported suspicions of the attacker to the FBI days before the shooting. Obviously nothing was done.)

The thinking of the Democrats, and even a parent of the Sandy Hook massacre of school children who is a gun control advocate, is that it is better to go for something that has a chance with the NRA and gun enthusiasts in general. This way something might actually get done, otherwise you just have a polarizing debate and get nowhere.

Even that crazy Republican presumptive nominee said he was going to speak to the NRA about exceptions. But then again, he says anything that comes to mind at the moment.

Of course gun control does not solve the problem, it just helps deal with it.

In Britain a 41-year-old woman who was a rising star in that nation’s parliament was stabbed and shot to death on the street after meeting with constituents in the last few days. It is not known what the motive of the assassin was — he was crazy for sure. The victim was a proponent of Britain staying in the European Union while the polls there show the so-called Brexit movement (getting out of the EU) with an advantage ahead of a vote of the public on the matter. Also the assassin had neo-Nazi ties.

Britain has strict gun controls.

There is always potential danger for lawmakers even in civilized and essentially peaceful democracies. Our own Gabby Giffords, from Arizona, was shot and seriously and permanently wounded a few years ago while meeting with her constituents.

Maybe the careful strategy on gun control, that is trying to win over the gun enthusiasts, is the best one.

But as far as I am concerned, I see no reason to allow the free flow of military weapons in society.

p.s.

I do understand the idea of keeping or carrying, say, a handgun, for personal protection, but that is problematic. I won’t go into all the ins and outs on that one, you can see them yourself.

Or maybe we all must have our own arsenal, including automatic hand guns and rifles, ready to engage in a firefight at a moment’s notice, whether in the home, on the street, in the library, at a back-to-school nights, or wherever. And if you do not see the absurdity in all that, then what is the use of me even writing anything? It would be like trying to talk sense to a Trump supporter.

 

 

 

 

 


The evil that led to the death of JFK is among us today…

June 14, 2016

Another world, another time. I ran across a clip of President Kennedy (JFK) talking about Social Security and the need for a national health care program. He was so easy to listen to, so eloquent without being stilted or dense in wordage. And he was a rich kid and maybe a bit like FDR, who some called a “traitor to his class”. He talked of looking out for “working people” who did not want a hand out, just some assistance. He gently mocked the men of business who said a minimum wage would wipe them out and destroy the self-reliance of working people.

I was only a freshman in high school when JFK was assassinated, but I remember him.

On this clip, listen to his reference about the men in straw hats and canes (how quaint).

Kennedy might be thought of as a liberal in today’s politics but I think he more accurately would be described as “progressive”.  At one time there were progressive Republicans, in fact, if memory serves me correctly, it was the Republicans who had the original progressives. Think of Teddy Roosevelt.

Whatever. JFK was not perfect, and he made major errors — the Bay of Pigs comes to mind (although it was set into motion by the previous Republican administration).

But he stood up to the Soviet Union in Cuba and he forced two Southern Governors to step aside when they tried to bodily prevent black students from entering publicly-funded universities.

He was cool under fire. He did not engage in bombast. And yet he could be forceful. He had the gift of charm that worked with women and men. Well, not completely: unfortunately, in his push for civil rights he faced a recalcitrant congress. Back in his day there were still segregationists in the Democratic Party (they would later move to the Republican Party when LBJ pushed through civil rights legislation. The party of Lincoln, who freed the slaves, became the modern party that tried to keep the descendants of slaves down).

Today’s Republican presumptive nominee for president is a rich man who claims to be beholding to no one. Whether that is true or not, he seems mainly to be concerned about himself, about his brand as a tough guy, who insults who he pleases, dispenses with manners, and encourages divisions in society and violence that can go with it. And he is not a bit eloquent and his message is always a bit unclear (except for the hate and violence part) or short on details and subject to change, literally from one minute to the next.

We just don’t have politicians like JFK today.

I’m not sure how he would fare in today’s atmosphere. In fact, today’s atmosphere is a lot like the hate-filled atmosphere in Dallas, Tex, where JFK met his end.

(That is not to say that there were not gracious and civil-minded people in Dallas — admirers and the curious crowded the streets to see him and were horrified when they either saw what happened or got the news, but the hate mongers had their effect then and seem to now.)

Oh, and one more thing. All those chicken hawks who talk tough militarily, who never served themselves, seem so small standing in the shadow of JFK who served as a skipper of a PT boat in the South Pacific in World War II, and rescued men of his own crew after enemy action.

 

 

 


We seem powerless in the face of evil all because of one ambiguous sentence…

June 13, 2016

I awoke Sunday morning and checked the news. I was surprised, only surprised, not shocked, to see that there had been another mass shooting, this time in Orlando, Florida. The first report I read was a breaking news story that put the death toll at 20. But I was shocked or stunned later when I read it had climbed to 50, with at least that many more injured, making it the worst mass shooting event in U.S. history.

(I’m reading both 49 and 50 as the immediate death toll; I guess the 50 would include the gunman who was killed after police stormed the site of the shooting.)

But I’m not writing this to report on the details, I want to ask the question: why do we keep reading that the FBI (and others maybe) have these mass murderers on their watch lists and yet they go ahead and do their dirty deeds? I realize the authorities can’t follow around every demented person and catch them just before the act, and they can’t simply jail someone because they think he (or she, but seems it’s always a he, so far) might do something bad. But in this case we are told that the gunman had made comments at work that he had connections with ISIS terrorists and had talked about committing some type of act (maybe vague references or direct, I don’t know). But, you know? you can be arrested for threatening the president. But maybe not people in general.

However, the real frustrating thing in here to me is the fact that of course this was carried out with an automatic assault rifle. After all of these mass shootings, we still have not stopped the free flow of these terrible weapons in this country, and all because we have something called the Second Amendment which a powerful political lobby interprets to mean anyone and everyone can have guns. I’m not at all sure a majority of the American public thinks that. But politicians respond to lobbies and their ability to fund political races and their ability to fund campaigns against those who defy them. Of course the Second Amendment still stands and cannot be altered simply by legislation because it is part of the Constitution and therefore would require the difficult amendment process.

In  reality, however, it would be possible to put much tighter controls on assault rifles without touching the Second Amendment. It has been done previously and then the regulations lapsed and were not re-instated due to pressure from the gun lobby (which of course really represents the commercial fire arms industry).

So the shooter in this case, even though he was on the FBI radar because of comments his co-workers had heard him give and because of connections to terrorists he was believed to have had, was able to legally purchase weapons, to include the assault rifle he used along with a handgun to kill 50 people in this mass shooting. Again, what is this FBI watch list for? (and I may not be using the term “watch list” accurately, but he was on their radar so to speak.)

At my last reading it had not been determined whether this gunman was actually connected to the terrorist group ISIS, which he claimed to be, or whether he was a lone wolf, which ISIS encourages.

And I have to note that reports indicate that the gunman had it out for homosexuals. The event occurred at a “gay” night spot. So we had a twofer for a motive: ISIS terror and hatred of homosexuals (and maybe those go together because of the demented religious or faux religious component of ISIS).

So while there is an international terrorism connection to all of this, the primary problem for all of our safety is the fact that we have a free flow of automatic assault weapons.

I have addressed the Second Amendment, the so-called right to keep and bear arms provision in the Constitution, before. As a general thing, I have always accepted the general notion that citizens have this right, but not without qualifications. And I have done some reading on the history of the amendment and have only gathered that it is ambiguous as to its clear meaning because it is only one sentence long and seems to have a dependent clause which ties the right to keep and bear arms to a citizen militia. And one has to realize this was enacted before we had a regular standing army and before the advent of assault rifles.

The text of the Second Amendment follows (and there is more than one version of it I think, something about commas, but I don’t have the original in front of me, so this is off the web):

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A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

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So you see the dependency of the militia thing there. And lord help me that we might have home-grown militias running around vigilante style. That would be terrorism too.

But I don’t want to get into a Second Amendment discussion here. I don’t care what it says or what it does not say. It is absurd that we let this situation continue.

In a previous incident a whole classroom of school children was mowed down. Nothing was done.

What does it take?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Anyone can say anything and get a wide audience, is that for the better?

June 12, 2016

Used to be when you wanted to comment about something in the news you wrote a letter to the editor. That took some effort, some thought. And I would imagine most people tried to make those letters grammatically correct and not show off their ignorance. And besides, ignorant people would most likely not take the effort or even think to write a letter to the editor. Most newspapers edited letters to the editor, although my father, who at one time edited a community newspaper, ran letters verbatim with no editing. I think that was to both not risk changing what the writer said or meant to convey and quite frankly to force the writer to show him or herself who she or he was and not hide behind editing help.

But then along came the internet and news on the websites. Now anyone can submit comments, which amount to instant, unedited letters to the editor, albeit ones with little thought put into them.

Now, anyone can rant on the web and make serious to totally bogus comments on issues of the day (I know, and anyone can have his own weblog).

Add to this, anyone can instantly post a YouTube video and if it is cute, silly, outlandish, repugnant, ignorant, entertaining, or whatever, it might go viral.

And now of course we have Twitter and other such sites, where people can instantly give the whole world their immediate thoughts (and we all have immediate thoughts in our brain but thankfully out of good taste and manners and judgment we keep them there or used to).

So now anyone can say anything and the whole world can be the audience.

And nowadays the rabble can be and is heard and has become a voice. They were always there, they just did not have a voice.

Politicians are responding.

Sounds like real democracy doesn’t it?

And is it not written in the Bible that the meek shall inherit the earth?

From what I have read and am seeing, I think maybe it might be (no offense to the Bible) the ignorant and intolerant and violent shall inherit the earth.

I don’t count myself in that category but maybe there are more of them than there are the rest of us.

It is a bit unsettling.