Category Archives: Politics

Let’s Stop Fixin’ Stuff and Create Some New Systems

It’s Bill Maher, so you know he’s going to be using some crude language. But this is worth watching in spite of it.

I really wish he wouldn’t use the kind of language he uses, because I like him very much otherwise. But we live in a free country. (Well, at least in theory.) So he can say whatever he wants to on his own show.

My problem is that I have to decide whether a particular video is important enough to post it on MY BLOG in spite of the language. Usually it’s not, but I think this one is.

Bill Maher is exactly right when commenting on the state of our country.

Help Bernie Sanders To Help You

Bernie starts off telling it exactly the way it was for my family and me 45 years ago. Then he tells it like it is now. Unfortunately, it’s about the same for many people now as it was then.

Four and a half decades ago, my wife — now my late wife — and I both worked full time; but we could not earn enough money to put nourishing food on the table for our children. We could not provide proper medical and dental care for our 5-yo daughter and our 4-yo son. We couldn’t keep our old car running.

Our children survived and now have grown offspring of their own, but I haven’t forgotten how my four-year-old son suffered with the crumbling teeth he had inherited from his father (Yes, me, of course!).

My son finally got a bionic mouth.

The “6 Million Dollar Man” was popular on TV. After we were eventually able to get my son some help from a charity group of dentists travelling through town in a bus, he joked that he had a “bionic mouth.” Nearly every tooth in his head had some metal in it.

I am well aware that many people were far worse off than we were. That didn’t make our problem any better! And the worst tragedy of all is that many people are still worse off now!

We have to help them. In the greatest country the world has ever known, it’s crazy that anybody should be willing and able to work forty hours a week, and still be poor.

Bernie is the ONLY candidate from either major party with a plan to stop half of every dollar earned in this country from going to the richest one half of one percent of us. That’s just crazy, and Bernie wants you and me to get our fair share of it for the first time in 85 years!

Bernie has a genuine plan to help the poor and the middle class, for a change. But he needs your vote in this election, and he’ll need your letters to Congressmen, Senators, newspaper editors, and others after his election.

Help me elect Bernie Sanders to be the next President of the United States. Only by standing together can we do it. If you qualify to vote in any state that hasn’t already had its primary, then vote for Bernie now. Stand behind him in this primary, again in the general election, and then for the next 4 or 8 years, as he fights for your rights and mine. While he struggles to keep ordinary people like nearly all of us from being constantly ripped off!

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t consider all rich people to be evil monsters. Neither does Bernie. We need rich people to create jobs for many of the rest of us. Besides that, some of the very richest have given away most of their wealth to help people less fortunate. I have nothing but respect for them.

On the other hand, it is ONLY banks and other exceedingly rich corporations (oil companies, automobile factories, financial institutions, etc.) and individuals usually made rich by them that have the power to pay their CEOs enough money every year to live on for the rest of his or her life and still funnel boatloads of money into offshore, tax-free accounts, while their employees and customers have nothing and cannot pay their bills or buy medicine when they need it. Rich people like those and rich companies like those are monsters gobbling up the economy and leaving far too little for the rest of us. It must stop, and Bernie is the ONLY candidate who will stand up to them.

Your vote won’t be enough. Bernie knows very well that he can’t fight the big banks and oil companies by himself. Not even as President. He’ll need your help and mine all through his term in office.

This is nothing less than  a revolution!

But it’s not a revolution against the United States. It’s a revolution against the big banks, oil companies, automobile factories, and corporations of all kinds that are “too big to fail.” The ones that pay their CEOs many millions of dollars a year, while their employees have to buy groceries with food stamps and do without whatever medicines they need. The corporations and the billionaires that have bought and paid for our legislators for the past 85 years.

We have to take power and money back from them, and Bernie Sanders is the only chance we have.

Feel the Bern!

Protecting Women’s Health in Texas

Warning: This is John Oliver, so most of you will know there are a going go be a few “naughty” words in the video. Sorry about that, but he tells it like it is. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Abortion Laws (HBO)

Published on Feb 21, 2016

Abortion is theoretically legal, but some states make it practically inaccessible. Texas is one of the worst offenders at making abortions almost unavailable in the name of “protecting women’s health.” It’s a lie, folks.

I’m very strongly in favor of protecting a 6 or 7 month old fetus against abortion in most cases, but a cluster of cells that has been developing in a womb for a few days is not a person. It’s exactly the equivalent of a mole or a wart.

Any pregnant woman who wishes she wasn’t shouldn’t have to be, and it ought to be legal for qualified doctors to remove a new fetus quickly, easily, cheaply, and without undue complications.

What the Texas legislature is doing to women, while claiming it is to protect them, is atrocious. Only you and I can correct the situation by making our voices heard now and voting for better legislators and governor when the time comes.

Protect the young women of our state. Tell the legislature you are against this nonsense, and tell Governor Abbott he should not ratify any more laws making it harder for women to get safe early abortions in our state. Unnecessary laws already on the books need to be repealed quickly.

Be wary of this man.

blame I think this may be the guy I wrote about yesterday. Remember? The one who said, “God is watching over us” while eleven people died? Be wary of this man.

I just found this guy’s picture on Facebook and thought I ought to post it here, because you probably know him. If not, you almost certainly know somebody like him.

He’s conservative; he probably votes Republican, though he’ll tell you he’s politically independent; and he thinks the United States is a Christian nation, even though our Constitution never mentions Christ. He loves sinners–well, except maybe faggots and godless, atheistic secular humanists–and wants to save them from themselves and the world from them. He honors the presidency of the United States, but despises our President; and he loves our country so much he wants to tear up the Constitution and establish a theocracy. By force, if necessary.

He’ll tell you climate change is “the biggest fraud ever perpetrated against the American people,” even as we complete the hottest year in the history of climate studies. He’ll lie to your face and claim it’s not true that 13 of the 14 hottest years on record have been since the turn of this century and the other one was 1998. He’ll laugh about the possibility that sea level could rise enough to notice, even while small island nations prepare to be swallowed up by the waves.

He’ll say that “if you tell your kids they came from animals, they’ll act like animals.” Then he’ll claim we were all made out of dirt.

This man is a Fundamentalist. What makes him dangerous is not just that he’s so wrong about so many things, but that he’s absolutely certain he is right about them. Ask him what could potentially shake his faith in his beliefs and he’ll probably answer truthfully, “Absolutely nothing.” He is so certain, in fact, that he wants you to live your life according to the dictates of his conscience.

Saudi Arabia is ruled by men just as certain of their wrong ideas. Iran is ruled by men just as certain of their wrong ideas. North Korea is ruled by a man just as certain of his wrong ideas. America needs leaders who get their ideas and ideals from science and reason and compassion, and who understand they might be wrong about anything they believe and willing to learn better.

Be wary of this man. Be very wary of this man



Gun Control in the Democratic Debate

The clip above is from the first Democratic presidential campaign debate last week. Gun control is one of the most divisive issues in the country; people are either for lots of it or against any of it. There seems to be very little in between.

The Constitution of the United States guarantees “the people” the right to bear arms, but it provides no guidance about what kinds of regulation might be permissible or proper.

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.

United States (2011-03-24). United States Bill of Rights (Kindle Location 8). . Kindle Edition.

Arms Are for Militias

It’s clear the Second Amendment (above) refers to militias, which no longer exist in the United States in the same form or for the same purposes as they did when the Constitution was written. They have been  replaced by a standing Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Border Patrol, National Guards, and other military institutions, some of which the framers of the Constitution could never have imagined.

Nevertheless, the writers wrote, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be abridged.” The Supreme Court has ruled this right is still protected, even though the stated need for it no longer applies.

Reasonable Gun Control Is not Forbidden

While “the people” are guaranteed the right to bear arms, this does not necessarily mean we have to let criminals or mentally ill people have guns. As Hilary said, “We are losing 90 people a day to gun violence” in this country. We have every right and responsibility, through our representatives, to try to prevent this.

We have the right to require background checks on people before selling them weapons, as we sometimes — but not always — do. There is a glaring loophole in this policy: background checks are only required if you want to buy a gun from a licensed dealer. You can go to a “gun show” nearly every weekend in any moderately large city and buy guns with no questions asked.

Bernie sounds good on gun control.

Bernie says this loophole must be closed. I agree.

He says felons and mentally ill people should not be allowed to own guns. I agree.

He says that if a dealer sells a gun legally and the buyer uses it to commit a crime, the dealer is not liable. However, if the dealer has intentionally or carelessly sold the gun illegally, then  the dealer is also responsible for the crime committed by the buyer. I agree completely!

One of the ways some dealers sell guns illegally is the so called “straw man” sale. This is when somebody buys a gun for somebody else, who might not pass a background check. It’s always illegal for the buyer to do it, and it’s illegal for the seller if he or she knows it’s happening. That is, a dealer cannot knowingly sell a gun to one person for somebody else.

For a variety of reasons, this is seldom enforced, though it happens a lot. Bernie says it must be enforced, and I agree.

Hilary says Bernie is soft on gun control, but he sounds pretty good to me. His opinions on this issue just make sense. They provide reasonable control without making gun ownership difficult or illegal for responsible citizens.

Bernie is unique in this election cycle. Nobody else is even in the ballpark. They have no clue about the things that matter to most of us.

As one hard-working but very poor young man said recently at a Sanders rally, “I want to see change. And I believe Bernie Sanders is the one to do it.” I agree. Bernie is the ONLY candidate with any grasp of our problems and a plan to fix them.

Can he succeed? I don’t know, but nobody else is even talking much about the real issues facing the country. Issues many of us face every day. Issues like creeping poverty. Like life-long, crushing debt for college graduates. Like crumbling overpasses and bridges on the highways we travel. Like reasonable, practical gun control. Like staying out of war, except as an absolute last resort. Like making enough money to live on if you work full-time at one job. Bernie Sanders is the ONLY candidate in either party to propose any rational solutions to these problems.

I was never a particular fan of Sanders until this campaign, but Bernie Sanders sounds better every time he opens his mouth.


The American people are tired of hearing about your damn emails!

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

In some ways, it was the highlight of the Democratic debate last night.

For eight months Hillary has been answering questions about the private email server she used when she was Secretary of State. It was not illegal, but she has admitted it was a mistake. Still she found herself answering again last night for the umpteen billionth time, and complaining that it was time to go on to something more substantive.

Bernie Sanders, standing next to her, turned her way. “I think the Secretary is right,” he said, “The American people are tired of hearing about your damn emails!”

I agree.

I want to hear how the candidates plan to make America great again. I want to know how they are going to create — or promote the creation of — millions of good, high-paying, secure jobs. How they are going to save and expand Social Security and Medicare and provide universal access to healthcare and education. I want to know what they plan to do to keep America and the world safe.

I’m tired of hearing about the damn emails.

“It looks like a bomb.”

Ahmed's clock

Nearly everybody seems to say “It looks like a bomb.” Of course, I’m talking again — hopefully for the last time — about Ahmed Mohammed’s clock (above) that caused all the commotion recently.

Ahmed didn’t “invent” a clock. That seems clear enough. What was different about this clock that made him think he had invented something is not clear. Nevertheless, he was proud enough of it that he wanted to show it off to his engineering teacher.

Unfortunately, the alarm went off during English class, and the English teacher and Principal went bonkers. You’ll remember, I’m sure, that nobody thought it was a bomb. The boy was arrested and taken away in handcuffs because they thought it was a “hoax bomb.” They said it looks like a bomb!

suitcase bomb

Here’s a real suitcase bomb on the left and another on the right. See the difference?

These bombs have actual explosives, which you can see in both of them. Ahmed’s “hoax bomb” doesn’t have anything to explode. It’s just a tangle of wires and electronic elements.

Hackett Suitcase Bomb

I wonder what an actual hoax bomb clock would look like? Here are a couple I found on Google.

The clock on the left definitely looks like a bomb to me. It was meant to.

clock hoax bomb

The “hoax dynamite” explosive is just wooden dowel pins covered with brown paper and bound with electrical tape, but it looks real to me. This definitely looks like a bomb.

The clock on the right (below) is designed to look like a C4 bomb.

clock hoax bomb

The fake C4 plastic explosive is nothing but gray modeling clay, but it looks like a bomb.

Ahmed Mohammed has a reputation as a tinkerer and likes to think of himself as an “inventor.” His friends pay him actual money for some of his gadgets. So nobody should have been alarmed (no pun intended) when it dinged. This “model student” who had never been in trouble before brought his current project to school to show it off to people he thought would appreciate it.

Who would have thought so many supposedly intelligent, educated, and trained people would have thought it looks like a bomb? Who would have thought such an exceptionally bright and well behaved student would have been (mis)treated like a terrorist by people he trusted? People he thought were on his side?