Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Be Responsible Citizens

The dysfunction in Washington has driven people to vote for Trump as the anti-establishment candidate who claims he will fix what is wrong with this country. We haven’t held our representatives accountable so we have nobody to blame but ourselves. Moreover, we as a society are turning our backs on our Judeo-Christian tradition, so what do you expect?

We’ve also forgotten that Democracy provides freedom, but requires responsibility as well. If we don’t vote responsibly, politicians are no longer accountable and government becomes corrupt, human rights suffer, and services to the most vulnerable in society are threatened. Particularly for those in authority and power, their decisions can have a significant impact on society.

There’s a Republican (sort of) in the White House and Republican majorities in both houses. If they can’t get things done then they should disband the party. If they can put an end to their dysfunction and put the people’s needs first for a change, then there’s hope.

Of course our real hope is in the Lord, not in politicians or government:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
(Psalms 20:7, NIV)

We as a country would be wise to remember these words from God:

“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bias Against Christians

The mainstream media doesn’t report on it, mainly because they are part of the problem. What I’m talking about is bias against Christians. You may ask, how can the majority be discriminated against? Christians may be in the majority, but the media and academia are powerful forces in this country. They can influence people’s thinking with their ridicule of Christianity and by other means. In addition, the courts have been using an erroneous interpretation of the First Amendment to limit religious activity by Christians.

Amazingly, those same people who are biased against Christianity are upset because President Trump appears to be discriminating against Muslims with his travel ban. Doesn’t it occur to these people that some Muslims present a threat to our security so that immigration must be controlled? It was Muslims who flew into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and who continue with terrorist attacks in the US, Europe, and even against their fellow Muslims. Of course these terrorists represent only a small number of Muslims, but even a small number can do tremendous damage, so we need to identify them and weed them out.

Those who are so upset because they feel Muslims are being unfairly targeted should remember that it was Muslims who conduct acts of terrorism, not Christians. They should also understand that our battle isn’t with Islam as a religion as much as it is against an Islamic culture that wants to take over the world. These fanatics use Islam the religion (and certain verses from the Qur’an) as their justification for their evil deeds.

Getting back to discrimination against Christians, let’s stop using the First Amendment in an attempt to marginalize Christians. The Muslim terrorists call on their god – shouldn’t we be looking to our God to help and protection?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Is There a Right to Immigrate?

I can’t stand it when people on TV proclaim that controlling immigration is “unconstitutional.” If we don’t take certain refugees in, we are somehow going against the Constitution.

I don’t see anything in the Constitution that mandates that we have to allow in the country anybody who wants to settle here. Moreover, the Constitution only applies to people living in the US, not to people who would like to live here.

As a practical matter we can’t absorb the large number of people who want to live here, whether from Mexico, Guatemala, Syria, or any other country. Our economy isn’t generating enough jobs, so many of these immigrants would have to go on welfare, straining an already overloaded system.

Is it wrong to turn away refugees? I don’t think so, because we simply can’t take people from every country having problems. Syria is the worst one right now, but Central America, Somalia, and other parts of Africa are not safe places, particularly if you are a minority tribe or a Christian or the “wrong” kind of Muslim.

While we feel terrible for people suffering in these countries, we are forced to limit the number of refugees we allow into the country. A better solution would be for the United Nations to do something for a change. I’m not sure what the UN could do against the human rights violators in those troubled countries, but the UN should be doing something to mitigate these people’s suffering. Then they wouldn’t have to be uprooted from their homelands and migrate to other countries.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Explaining the Election II

The Message of Trump’s Victory

How could somebody like Donald Trump become President? He managed to insult just about every group, yet he was elected. He’s been called xenophobic, misogynist, and every other thing you can think of, but still the people voted him in.

I believe Trump won the election for two reasons:

(1) First, the people are beginning to realize the liberal agenda (see last couple of posts) isn’t addressing the issues that affect them the most. The liberal agenda is all about LGBT, abortion, and inclusion. Other issues, such as the disappearing middle class, are mentioned but no action is taken by the liberals to remedy the situation. Who’s fighting for the “average Joe?” Certainly not the democrats.

(2) Second, Trump won because the people are sick of politicians working for the party and not for them They are also fed up with a do-nothing Congress that has failed time and time again to address critical issues, but instead pays political games.

In the next two elections, one of two things is going to happen:

(1) With majorities in the House and Senate, the Republicans have a golden opportunity to get important things done. If the Republicans and Trump effectively address the critical issues facing this nation (see earlier post), they might get even larger majorities because they have shown themselves willing to govern. They will be able to buck the trend of the party in power losing seats in the mid-term election.

If this happens, either the Democrats face the prospect of irrelevancy or they shape up and work with Republications to solve the problems still facing us.

(2) If the Republicans fail to work with Trump and don’t effectively address the critical issues, they will be voted out of power. The will lose their majorities and face the prospect of irrelevancy. Trump will be a one-term president and the democrats will be in power.

Rather than spending so much time fund-raising so they can get reelected, politicians should seek reelection based on being effective in solving the problems we face.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Explaining the Election I

In an earlier post I alluded to the fact that the liberal agenda and priorities don’t line up with mainstream America’s. I listed many of the liberals’ priorities to prove my point. But, you may ask, why did the Democrats’ candidate, the liberal Hillary Clinton, receive roughly half the popular vote. Doesn’t that demonstrate that the liberal agenda does resonate with at least half the American public?

That’s possible, but I think there are better explanations for Clinton receiving the votes she got.

(1) First, there are those who have voted democratic all their lives and couldn’t conceive of themselves voting republican.

(2) Second, there are those who still believe that the Democratic Party is the party of the working man, the average Joe, pro-union. They aren’t very familiar with the issues and don’t realize that the Democratic Party is no longer the party of the working man but of the LGBT community and special interests.

(3) More people would have voted for Trump if he had acted more presidential during the campaign. While not thrilled with Hillary, these voters were even more turned off by Trump’s ridiculous statements and insults to Latinos and women.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Liberal Agenda Items

One of many problems I have with the liberals is that they don’t give serious issues (see my last post for list of serious issues) the attention they need, but instead focus on less critical areas (such transgender bathrooms), which I’ve listed below. By “liberal” I mean those at the far left of the political spectrum such as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Most of academia, the entertainment industry and the mainstream media (NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC) fall into this category.

The other things that bother me about liberals are these:
The rights of a few often take precedence over the rights of the many.
Political correctness rules – it is another form of oppression. They want to force their views on everybody.
They have their own definitions for such things as tolerance (they only “tolerate” those who agree with them) and inclusiveness (they include only those who agree with them or those groups who are politically correct).
They keep fighting battles they’ve already won, such as LGBT rights and abortion.
They are unwilling to compromise (although those on the far right also seem unwilling to compromise as well). It’s all or nothing with them.
They have their own very strict orthodoxy: even within their own ranks that don’t allow for much variation in opinions. This reminds me of the novels “1984” and “Brave New World” with the “Thought Police” controlling your thinking.
They are vicious and nasty when they lose or somebody disagrees with them. Just look at their behavior when Trump won the presidency.
They are elitist, looking down on those who disagree with them as unworthy yokels. They refer to the center part of the US as “flyover country,” conjuring up the image of a wasteland inhabited by ignorant and uneducated know-nothings. The people on the east and west coasts are the enlightened ones, whom we should all follow if we want to be considered “progressive.”
They are na├»ve. They seem to have this child-like belief in the innate goodness of humanity despite a world history of cruel dictators, wars, oppression, and deceit. They seem to think that if we just sat down and had a dialog with our enemies, we could work things out and everybody will be happy. Appeasement will break down resistance and we can all get along. Talk to Neville Chamberlain about the value of appeasement.

Below are the major issues that liberals feel are critical (as I understand it) with my comments on each one.

Diversity and Inclusion: these are notable goals but often discrimination results from actions taken in the name of inclusiveness and diversity. It should be understood that all people will benefit from solving some of the big problems mentioned in my last post.

LGBT and transgender rights (for example the bathroom issue): for liberals everything is viewed through the lens of LGBT.

Climate change: even though progress has been made regarding the environment, we still have more work to do. One problem in the liberals’ approach to climate change and the environment is that the US is asked to make significant changes while China and India continue to build fossil fuel electric generating plants, thus continuing to pollute the air. Rules and restrictions should be the same for everybody.

Protecting the right to an abortion: no right is absolute, so states should be allowed to place reasonable limitations on abortions.

Illegal immigrants’ rights: immigrants should go through the proper process, and should not be rewarded for breaking our laws by entering illegally. Nevertheless, there should be a path to legal residency for those already in the US.

Refugees: there’s nothing in the constitution that gives non-citizens free access to the US. We can not absorb hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Wealth inequality: Bernie Sanders had one answer to every question: tax the rich. Loopholes should be closed and very highly paid executives, sports figures, and entertainers should be taxed heavily, but not so much that it stifles the entrepreneurial spirit.
Racism: see “racial tensions” in my last post.

Police brutality: see “the police” in my last post.

Gun Control: keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, children, domestic terrorists, and criminals should be the goal. Closing loopholes in our current gun control system is a good first step. Unfortunately some people who legally have guns don’t store them securely, so the wrong people may have easy access to weapons. New and stricter laws won’t change this, only, perhaps, better gun security education.

Palestinian demands at Israel’s expense: liberals favor Palestine and expect Israel to give up more land. Liberals don’t seem to understand that the Arabs want to eliminate Israel as a nation. They won’t be satisfied until they have all the land and Israel ceases to exist.

The Environment: (pipelines, nuclear plants, etc.): protecting the environment is important, but progress should not be hindered because of some relatively small risks. Regarding pipelines, fracking, and nuclear power plants, they should be engineered and built properly, with safety and the environment in mind. Workers should be well-trained and there should be regular inspections for the appropriate governmental agency.

Gender equality: liberals tend to try to raise up women by putting down men. See “equal pay for equal work” in my last post.

Enforcing political correctness: this is not a stated goal of the liberals but is behind much of what they do. Political Correctness tells people how they are to speak, what their priorities should be, which pronouns are acceptable when referring to God, what words are unacceptable when referring to women, and what your position should be regarding a host of social issues – no other opinions allowed! PC is a harsh taskmaster, unrelenting and unforgiving.

There is certainly some overlap between the major problems facing this country and the liberal agenda. Unfortunately that overlap is not as big as it used to be and should be. The liberals are wasting precious time, resources, and effort on problems that diminish in importance when you consider all the major issues of national security, the country’s debt, the economy, crime, violence, terrorism, etc.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Issues the President and Congress Should Be Dealing With

The United States, and indeed the whole world, are facing serious problems. Many of these haven’t received the attention they deserve from Congress and the President. What I’d like to do in this post is review the major problems facing this country today. I hope to heighten your awareness of these issues, and help you to understand gravity of the situation this country is in. I hope this will encourage you to write your Senators and Representative if you believe these aren’t being addressed with the urgency they deserve.

President Trump has many of these issues on his to-do list, but he’ll need the cooperation of Congress to get anything done. Encourage your Senators and Representative to put aside partisan politics and work for the common good.

Below is a list of the most serious problems and an explanation as to why I believe they must be addressed sooner rather than later. These are not “conservative” issues or “liberal” issues – they are simply issues that affect just about everyone no matter what your politics are. I don’t think anybody would deny these issues are serious and should have been dealt with years ago.

National security and safety issues

ISIS: there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that ISIS is a threat to the security of the United States, as well as other countries. We need to build up our military to the point where it can be effective against all enemies and potential enemies.

Terrorism: unfortunately terrorism is an ongoing threat, so I believe we could be doing more to defeat ISIS. More cooperation with Islamic countries will help to uncover terrorists and their plots. Unfortunately government may have to become more intrusive as it tries to identify people who appear to be at risk of committing terrorist acts.

Cyber Defense: we are vulnerable to cyber warfare and must invest in efforts to protect ourselves. A cyber attack could cripple our economy, shut down our power grid, and seriously impact communications and transportation.

Military: we must build up the military intelligently. By that I mean don’t invest in weapons that would fight yesterday’s wars, but focus on state-of-the-art weapons for 21st century warfare (see “Cyber Defense” above).

Crime (especially murders): I consider the crime level in our cities to be a form of terrorism, Chicago being a good example. Law-abiding citizens get hit by stray bullets and are afraid to leave their houses or apartments. They live in constant fear. We need to give our police the tools to effectively deal with crime. This means working with the community so that you have law-abiding citizens helping the police to keep down the level of crime.

Gangs: much of the crime is caused by gangs. Sadly, innocent bystanders get caught in the crossfire and are shot by gang members battling each other. Our country has to be committed to eliminating gangs so that they are no longer a threat to a peaceful society.

Drugs: drugs are another cause of crime. You have addicts robbing people to pay for their drug habit. You also have rival drug dealers fighting each other. Again, we as a society have to be committed to stopping the drug trade. This involves working with foreign countries from which these drugs come to stop them at their source. Lives are being ruined and even lost by addicts – stopping the flow of drugs into this country and shutting down the local manufacture of harmful drugs must be aggressively pursued.

The Police: it is unacceptable that police are being targeted for execution by criminals. Again, police should work with the local communities so that the police will be viewed as their friends and protectors, not as the enemy. Police should be specially trained in community relations. Cops with a history of abuse should be reassigned to positions where there is little interaction with civilians. The police must police themselves better.

Career criminals in revolving door justice system: It makes me angry when I hear in the news that somebody committed a murder and the reporter states that “he had a long rap sheet.” If he had a long rap sheet he shouldn’t be running around loose. He should be imprisoned for a long time. Somebody like that starts off with petty crimes and works his way up to the bigger ones. Before he can get to the bigger ones he should be locked up. Some version of “three strikes and you’re out” should be implemented to keep these career criminals off the streets.

Immigration: Porous borders allow all kinds of people to enter the US illegally, not to mention drugs and other contraband. This is a threat to national security, and tightening the border should reduce illegal immigration and drug smuggling. The issue is illegal immigration. Solutions must be found concerning illegals already here, and split families (some family members legal while others are illegal).

Economic issues

Loss of jobs to other countries: for a number of years now we have been losing jobs to other countries. This happens because the cost of labor in many of these countries is much lower than in the US, cost of benefits is lower, and there are fewer regulations. These lower costs result in much more profit for the company selling the goods. What the President and Congress need to do is to develop incentives to keep jobs in the US. One that might help is to reduce the number of onerous regulations that are often overkill. The regulations at all levels, local, state, and federal, should be addressed and simplified.
Another incentive to keep jobs in the U.S. is to tax goods developed here in the US but manufactured elsewhere. The tax would equalize costs so that the company receives little or no benefit from manufacturing overseas.

Job creation: One of the ways job creation takes place is innovation. However, the U.S. has sent most of its innovations abroad to be manufactured in Japan, China, and Korea. Anything we develop should be manufactured in the U.S. and not overseas. This can be enforced by penalties levied on goods developed here but manufactured elsewhere.

Balance of trade deficit: we import more than we export. This is because so much of what we buy comes from overseas, namely, China. We must get to a point where our exports equal, or come close to, the value of our imports. Having the current imbalance is not sustainable over the long run.

Huge national debt: the government spends more than it takes in through taxes and fees. It makes up the difference by incurring debt (such as bonds). We have trillions of dollars of debt, much of it with China. A large part of the federal budget goes to paying the interest on this debt. We must have a plan to work down this debt and to ultimately have a balanced budget.

Huge debt with China: as I mentioned above, much of our national debt is held by China. This, as I see it, is a dangerous situation in which China has a certain level of control over us.
Huge consumer debt: right now our consumer debt is in the trillions of dollars. Should this debt become uncollectible, it would have to be written off by the banks and others that hold this debt, reducing their value considerably and probably precipitating an economic crisis. I believe much of this debt is in jeopardy because $1.4 trillion of it consists of student loans (which I think is particularly at risk).

Updating our infrastructure: with our aging infrastructure we are getting to be more and more like a Third World country. Our infrastructure must be updated and modernized if we are to compete in the world market. By infrastructure I mean our bridges, our power grid, our roads and highways, railroads, airports, the air traffic control system, dams, and our communications systems. This updating would provide jobs and make our country safer.

Energy policy: we should have developed an energy policy in the 1970s when we had the Arab oil embargoes. They were a message to us that we are vulnerable. We must develop an energy policy that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels. We should also develop a policy concerning nuclear generating plants for electricity. If the French can successfully have a large percentage of their electricity generated by nuclear plants without incident, we should be able to do so as well. All we need is the will to get it done.

Regarding nuclear power plants, they should be the cornerstone of any energy policy. Those who want to shut down existing nuclear plants and prevent new ones from being built should then be willing to shut off their air conditioners, TVs, microwave ovens, and computers.
Regarding transportation, vehicles should be made more efficient and public transportation should be upgraded to be more appealing.

High local, state and federal taxes: high taxes are a problem at all levels of government. Moreover, there is double taxation of corporate dividends: the corporation pays taxes on its profit and stockholders pay taxes on the dividends they receive. The tax on dividends should be either eliminated or reduced to something like 15%.

Too Many Regulations: intrusive government has gotten into every aspect of life. While that may be a slight exaggeration, the truth is that we are getting to be over-regulated. Paperwork and bureaucracy make for inefficient businesses and hinders the entrepreneurial spirit. Government at all levels should review its regulations and make changes where appropriate. Having said that, most organizations (businesses, governments, professions and even the church) have demonstrated time and time again that they are incapable of policing themselves. Therefore some level of regulation is needed, particularly in the financial industry.

Social issues

Wealth inequality and the decline of the middle class: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This used to happen in other countries but now it’s happening here. One of the solutions to this problem is to bring back well-paying jobs. Another solution is redistribution of income from ridiculously highly-paid executives and sports figures to the lower classes. This help to the lower classes could be in the form of subsidies and other kinds of financial help for such things as education and job training. The money would come from closing loopholes enjoyed by the rich.

Racial tensions: sadly, we still have racial tensions. I don’t know how to solve this problem, but it needs to be resolved in some way or another. The one thing I do know is that it will require a change of heart for both white people and black.

Affordable quality health care for everybody: affordable healthcare is necessary, and so government should keep trying to come up with a good solution. The better parts of Obamacare should be kept, the bad parts discarded, and additional adjustments should be made so that it works as it was intended.

Equal pay for equal work: I believe most large companies have narrowed the gender gap, but there’s still more work to be done.
Veterans Affairs: Much work still needs to be done in this area, especially regarding the treatment of Gulf War Syndrome by the VA
Education: we lag behind most industrialized nations in this area. We have failed inner city schools that do a disservice to their students.

International Issues

Emergence of aggressive Russia (Crimea, Ukraine, Syria): the president needs to work with the Russians so that we are on the same page. We have to let them know there will be penalties to be paid for doing things they shouldn’t. If they behave themselves, there could be many benefits coming their way such as improved trade relations. Complicating this is the fact that just about all of Europe’s natural gas and much of its oil come from Russia. This puts Europe under the control of Russia.

Emergence of aggressive China : China is getting more and more aggressive in pursuing relationships with various countries and using its economic power to bully other countries. The Chinese defense budget has grown by double digits for I don’t know how many years now. We need to meet strength with strength.

Catastrophe in Syria: the United Nations should be the organization working to solve the Syrian problem. Unfortunately, the UN has shown itself to be useless in resolving international problems in the past 30 or 40 years. Under Obama the US has shown very little leadership as well. Given the power vacuum in the Middle East I believe we need to show leadership by getting our allies and hopefully Russia to work together to put an end to this terrible crisis in Syria.

International terrorism: terrorism is not just local but is a worldwide global issue. Countries need to work together and with Muslim countries to destroy the terrorist networks. Sadly, there may be collateral damage as a result of military actions that we take. Our country’s main job is to protect its citizens, and we can’t lose our focus on that goal.

North Korea possible aggression: again, we need to meet strength with strength and let North Korea know that they will pay a heavy price she’s a do something against the United States or South Korea.

Iran possible aggression and nuclear program: the same thing as North Korea: we meet strength with strength and work with our allies in the Middle East and Europe to contain Iran.

Support for Israel: support for Israel is nonnegotiable. As our only true ally in the region, it is our duty to support Israel diplomatically and militarily. We have to realize that the main goal of Hamas and other similar organizations is to totally wipe Israel off the map. This is been stated publicly that yet people don’t seem to understand it. Israel has not been the aggressor but has been the victim of rocket attacks and terrorist activities.

Human Sex Trafficking: this isn’t discussed much but is a terrible problem. This isn’t just something that happens in other countries but right here in the USA. There should be a concerted effort by as many countries as possible to coordinate their efforts to stop this criminal activity.

Climate change: climate change has been debated, with some people arguing that it is not an issue. However, if we cut through all the rhetoric, there are two main points that we should understand. First, there is some sort of global warming or climate change occurring based on all the statistics that have been gathered. We don’t know whether this is a short-term blip or long term trend, but we should do everything in our power to reduce carbon emissions and slow down any changes in climate. Second, the atmosphere is polluted and nobody was to breathe in that kind of air. So reducing carbon emissions and other poisons in the atmosphere is good for our health.

I don’t think anybody could argue that these items aren’t critically important, and must be addressed before some calamity happens, such a collapse of the economy.

More on critical problems in a future post.