I hear many arguments proclaiming the ‘evils’ of big government, and it always seems to come back to the same arguments made by the Federalists and the Anti-federalists during the days of our founders, concerning the differences between a strong central government and a weak central government.
It is taken as gospel that our government should be small, and they say it was always meant to be. From what has been said about the dangers of our large government, it appears that some are advocating for a return of the Articles of Confederation, with its weak central powers, instead of the federal government that we have.
The Second Continental College adopted the Articles of Confederation on November 15th, 1777, and it was in place until 1789, but it was replaced by the Constitution, which advocated for a stronger central government. Why was it replaced?
The Articles of Confederation maintained the principle that the national government would not hold more power than the states, which they saw as sovereign. This satisfied the fears that many of the States had regarding a strong central power, as Britain was before the Declaration of Independence.
In fact, there was no Executive Branch, because they feared giving one man that much power, and it was decided that the Congress would handle all the nation’s affairs.
There were many inherent weaknesses with the Articles of Confederation:
The national government did not have the power to tax.
Congress did not have the power to force states to obey its laws.
Congress could not enforce laws.
Each state could issue its own paper money.
Any state could put tariffs on trade between other states or countries.
There was no system of national courts.
Congress could declare war and raise an army, but it could not force the states of give men or money.
After the Revolutionary War, the country went into a deep post-war depression. The States were threatening war with each other, and there were armed uprisings and riots across the land. Things eventually got so bad, that the country was on the verge of a civil war. [MORE]
During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt had a lot to say about those that were suffering from the lack of jobs, food, and a future. It was a time when everyone was worried what tomorrow would bring for them, but thankfully, they had an advocate to protect the masses. He stood against those that wanted to ignore the suffering.
Today, there are many that believe that FDR’s legacy is overstated, and believe he opened the flood gates to massive government spending. Throughout his presidency, there were many back then that felt the same way as well, but he kept up the pressure to relieve the struggles that many American’s were going through. [MORE]
We all want a civil society, but what does civility actually mean when describing today’s bombastic rhetoric to each other.
No matter which side, liberal versus conservative, one can easily find comments on the internet that show no desire to find common ground, and remaining cordial is a useless exercise to some.
We have all seen it.
There is so much anger today, and finding ways to extinguish that fire can seem to be a daunting task for anyone that believes that we will have to find ways to work together, to move forward.
Unfortunately, it appears there are some that believe the fight is worth fighting, and being civil is needless and unwanted. Their efforts extend to trying to eradicate the opposing political parties views.
We are in a new kind of civil war that is dividing family and friends. This has become more prevalent since so many have turned to Facebook to air their differences.
The new norm is an us versus them mentality, if you will. Winning this fight has gotten everyone so worked up, that I wish everyone would take a collective deep breath to see how we are talking to each other, and to find ways to heal the wounds that have been inflicted. [MORE]
I have seen many romantic movies where a couple meets, falls in love, and then get married. These are time honored stories that have captivated people in movies and books, and the one thing that I never expected was that it would happen to me. This is my own love story.My wife and I have such a great story about how we met and got married that I decided to write the story.
We have heard a lot lately about the gun control versus gun rights debates, and also about well organized militias versus arming the citizenry. Some gun control advocates have argued that tanks, artillery and nuclear weapons are not being debated as arms, but this has not been very effective with changing the minds of the extreme Second Amendment supporters concerning semi-automatic firearms, or as some have called it, the assault weapon.
But what about the machine gun? We have all seen the movies and documentaries about how the Tommy Gun was used during the prohibition days of Al Capone and the Untouchables, but we do not hear an uproar today to own fully automatic firearms as well. Why is this and was there an outcry when they were banned? Were there protests against the government for trying to take away everyone’s guns at that time as we have seen today?
It would seem that the machine gun or fully automatic firearm is just one step above semi-automatic firearms in their capability, so if their was not a major outcry with the banning of fully automatic firearms, one could easily be confused with the outrage shown by the gun rights advocates and their thinking the government is coming to take ‘all’ of their guns, even though only semi-automatic weapons are being discussed.
To add to the confusion, the term ‘Assault Weapon’ has been a cause of many disagreements between the two opposing groups. Unfortunately, the definition for an assault weapon changes depending on which group is defining it.
Second Amendment gun rights advocates believe the term should be used only to arms that are capable of full automatic fire, such as those used by the military and law enforcement. The terms ‘tactical rifle’ and ‘modern sporting rifle’ are preferred when describing semi-automatic civilian firearms.
Gun control advocates believe semi-automatic firearms, like the civilian AR-15, should also be designated as assault weapons that could be used on the battlefield, because of their ability to rapidly kill as many enemy soldiers as possible. [MORE]
Such a loss could never have been imagined by anyone until that moment occurred, and the anguish of their loss that followed can never be forgotten.
After the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut of twenty small children and seven adults, the debate has begun again whether there should be gun controls implemented to help stop this senseless violence and death.
Knowing that my liberal thoughts on gun control would probably be different from the majority in my community that strongly supports the second amendment, and that many believe that President Obama has a secret plan to take everyone’s guns, I decided to review the comments, that I knew would be posted, from my local television station Facebook page.
I wanted to read what was written supporting or refuting the need for gun control, and to gauge the demeanor of my community.
I was expecting the conversation would be one sided in support of the gun-rights advocates, but I was surprised to see many advocating for gun control. We are a community of hunters and the very idea or threat of having the guns confiscated usually causes visceral reactions.
Needless to say, gun-rights advocates had many different responses to the tragedy. While some asked why cars were not highlighted like guns for killing people, others declared that the ‘gun-grabbers’ could never let a crisis go to waste without trying to politicize it to take their guns.
Many believe that incidents like this are more likely in places where guns are not allowed, such as schools, churches or places of employment, and support more concealed weapon laws that would allow more people with guns to fight back against mass shootings. I cannot see many teachers that would be qualified enough to be able to fend off a crazed shooter, like some intellectual Rambo. [MORE]
I am very proud of my country but not just because a Democrat won, but because the people stood up to the money being thrown in elections, while also standing up against those that want to buy legislation that doesn't help the people but those that believe they can do it alone without the rest of the country.
They stood up to attempts to affect the vote with the legislation for voter suppression and also voter intimidation, but most of all, they stood up against those that would attempt to only obstruct and control the agenda for their own purposes without attempting to balance them with what the people of the United States would want.
The far right agenda has removed all of the moderate voices and this lack of inclusion has hurt them and will continue until they decide that it is more beneficial to reach out to others with different ideas. They will have to accept that the demographics have changed in the nation and they will have to listen to the minorities from now on. They will have to be more moderate with their ideas if they ever want to accomplish anything in the future, and for that, I am most thankful to each and everyone that decided enough was enough.
This election has been a very divisive time for America, and if the country is to heal, we will have to join together, even if we have different beliefs, because the country and its people are what are important. Not Red versus Blue.
We can aspire to be kinder to each other and more inclusive in this country. From the beginning, America's immigrants have always had a hard time being accepted by the previous immigrants that were already here. Starting with the Scotch-Irish, Germans, French, Jewish, Italian, and so many more that have infused our country with energy and their vibrancy of spirit. We must realize that this is what has always made America great and to never fear this change.
To those that may reject this election decision and choose to continue the fight, I appeal to you to come to a truce so that the country can move forward again and heal. Compromise is still so very important at this time for the country to come together. After this hard fought election, the fatigue is great and there is a desire for everyone to remember what is most important; we are all Americans even though we may have many different cultures, traditions and values.
At the close of the Civil War, President Lincoln, while also trying to heal the nation, reminded America during his second inaugural address, "Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes."
He concluded the speech by asking everyone to try to come together, "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan -- to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."
Let this be a time to achieve a lasting peace among ourselves.
The electorate is split. Our nation sees two directions for the country to follow and this election has been nothing but an ugly, disparaging campaign. For the Democrat and Republican bases, the decision is an easy one but that is not enough for one candidate to tip the scales for victory. The choice will come down to those that are moderate in their beliefs and they have been inundated with calls from both sides telling them what the best decision should be for them.
Who to believe? Let us take a look at what the Republicans have been telling everyone. We have been told by the Republicans that if Governor Romney wins, he would be able to work with the Democrats because they are more likely to compromise whereas the Republicans would continue obstructing anything that President Obama would want to do.
Think about this argument. Republicans are admitting that the Democrats would work with them and also admitting that the Republicans would continue to fight anything that President Obama would do. Does this make sense to you? Believing that the country would be better off by defeating the President so that Republicans would do what's right sounds a lot like extortion. You better vote for us so that we won't tear the country apart for the next four years.
If this strategy were to work, what would keep the Democrats from continuing the same sort of obstructionism that has been commonplace for the last two years since the Republicans won the House of Representatives. If it worked so well for the Republicans, why would the Democrats not employ this strategy.
Another strategy that has been used by the Republicans this election has been that facts do not matter when it comes to being elected. They are counting on the fact that you will overlook this little tidbit because it is all about deceiving those that have not been paying attention to the election, so if they told everyone one thing last week and then changed to a totally different position on an issue this week, it will not affect their chances of winning. Elections have become so terrible that truth no longer matters but winning is. Is this the new American way?
Remember the debate about the debt ceiling last year when the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives told everyone that they would not compromise and the only way they would work with the Democrats was if they got everything that they wanted. They didn't control the Senate or the Presidency, but that didn't matter because they did well in the Midterm Elections and for that reason, the Democrats would have to follow their direction without compromise.
The Republican minority in the Senate have used the filibuster more than it has ever been used in our history and if they get away with it, then the Democrats will also use it if they become the minority. There would be no reason for them not to do this because it did not hurt the Republicans in the election.
Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky told everyone that his goal was to make sure that President Obama would only serve one term. Imagine if the Democrats lost, Senator Harry Reid would have an easy decision to do the same thing to Governor Romney because his strategy worked so well.
Elections do have consequences and by allowing these tactics to succeed would be to condemn the United States to more of the same that has been occurring for the last two years. Both parties pay attention to what is allowed and what works, so only you have the ability to end this and now is the time to nip it in the bud by not allowing this to become the new norm.
Tell the country with your vote that extortion and no compromise is not an acceptable way to run the nation.
Thomas Peterffy, a billionaire Hungarian immigrant that came to the United States in 1965, has created a campaign ad for everyone to vote Republican. He states that he lived in a socialist country and warns Americans to refuse socialism.
Curiously, after World War II, the United States was known as a beacon of Democracy to the rest of the world. The argument can be made that if we were not considered a socialist country at that time, especially after Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, then how can we be considered one now? Did President Obama create those programs?
During the Cold War, Hungary was part of the communist Eastern Bloc of the Soviet Union and controlled by a Soviet installed puppet government. In 1956, Hungarians revolted against the communist leadership and the Soviet occupation, but the Soviet Union ruthlessly crushed the rebellion.
Here is an eyewitness account to the massacre by a Hungarian journalist, George Paloczi-Horvath, from this report with the London Daily Herald:
"The situation was the same everywhere. Soviet tanks rolled in and started to shoot at every centre of resistance which had defied them during our first battle for freedom.
This time, the Russians shot the buildings to smithereens. Freedom fighters were trapped in the various barracks, public buildings and blocks of flats. The Russians were going to kill them off to the last man. And they knew it. They fought on till death claimed them.
This senseless Russian massacre provoked the second phase of armed resistance. The installation of Kadar's puppet government was only oil on the fire. After our fighting days, after our brief span of liberty and democracy, Kadar's hideous slogans and stupid lies, couched in the hated Stalinite terminology, made everyone's blood boil. Although ten million witnesses knew the contrary, the puppet government brought forward the ludicrous lie that our war of liberty was a counter-revolutionary uprising inspired by a handful of Fascists.
The answer was bitter fighting and a general strike throughout the country. In the old revolutionary centers - the industrial suburbs of Csepel, Ujpest and the rest - the workers struck and fought desperately against the Russian tanks. . .
Armed resistance stopped first. The Russians bombarded to rubble every house from which a single shot was fired. The fighting groups realized that further battles would mean the annihilation of the capital. So they stopped fighting."
Mr. Peterffy was born in 1944 and would have been twelve in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution. This ad says he lived under socialism but Hungary was actually controlled by the communists. Can anyone compare this communist Cold War history from this eyewitness living during that Soviet brutality to the United States of today? Not likely.
This ad's argument is clearly misleading and a perfect example of creating fear by using images of that time period to get votes, without stating what the history was really like. It is curious how Mr. Peterffy could have forgotten this oppressive Soviet occupation, and to compare it to the policies of the Democrats and President Obama, is ludicrous.
The President has been called a Socialist too many times during this campaign and rational minds need to stand up and say that enough is enough with the blatant untruths. Mr. Peterffy states that it seems people don't learn from the past. Which past would that be?
In a time where facts have become fiction and fiction has become fact, the last Presidential debate did not disappoint. Governor Romney once again has changed on another position. With dizzying effect, this constant switching of positions, during the debates, shows a total disregard to the recent history of his own statements.
Concerning the auto bailout change in Governor Romney's statements saying that he would have supported government help to cover the loans to the companies, this appears to be in conflict with what he had been saying, especially in the Governor's Op-ed in the New York Times called Let Detroit go bankrupt.
One of the most interesting statements is the beginning of the article:
"IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed."
History has shown this was incorrect since the American automotive industry is thriving today. Governor Romney also states in the article:
"But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost.
The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.
In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check."
While it mentions that the government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk, the question remains how the government could have provided guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing if there wasn't anyone able to loan money to them in the first place. Everyone, in the private sector marketplace, was holding onto their money because of the uncertainty caused by the 'Great Recession', and credit was not available, so the only way possible was for the government to provide the loans, to be paid back, to the auto companies.
As Governor Romney stated in the beginning of his article that a bailout should not be given to the American automotive industry, his assertions today that he would have supported giving government loans does not make sense. Would these loans be considered a bailout as well?
Also, permitting the companies to shed excess labor would have lost a large number of jobs, and the shedding of pensions would have hurt millions of workers by taking their retirement funds. All of these were saved by the President's actions.
In the earlier debates, Governor Romney has been steadily moving to the middle on his positions regarding abortion, contraception, women's equality, medicare vouchers, Obamacare, along with taxes and the budget.
What do Governor Romney's supporters think when they hear him state completely different policy positions in the debates to the ones they have been hearing on the campaign trail, and by all the Republicans backing his candidacy?
His supporters have been talking among friends, family and around the water cooler at work about the positions of the Governor and the Republicans, and now, they will have to change to a different position altogether, again.
Do they recognize these changes? These are such conspicuous and blatant changes that many Democrats have been asking how none of his supporters have noticed, or if they are intentionally remaining quiet about them. The changes began with the first debate, and it was considered in the media to be political strategy to shift back to the middle for Governor Romney and his campaign, but this many changes makes it look as a desperate switch to appeal to more voters. It is very easy to question how this move was not politically motivated.
The question remains if the electorate will have a hard time backing a candidate that has switched positions so quickly and right before the election, because their credibility could be questioned for showing a complete lack of integrity by not sticking by their beliefs.
Can it be that this campaign tactic is working and will become the new norm? Can a candidate be trusted if no one is sure of what they believe in the first place? In all future campaigns, each base will have to just ignore everything being said by their candidates, and just vote the party line, because everything being said will not be worth listening to because it is obviously untrue.
It doesn't have to be this way though. Sometimes, credibility and integrity do matter.
The 2012 Election has reached a new low and moneyed interests are pulling all of the strings. A narrative has been created that resembles nothing near to the truth. A narrative that has expatriated a President, mischaracterized long held liberal beliefs as a foreign invader and told half the country to forget everything they have learned and believed because they were wrong. A narrative that has been rewriting history for ulterior motives.
For what? To win an election or to change long standing law? Total control of the government institutions or better yet, dismantling them and leaving only a shell where our government stood?
Politicians and their operatives are showing a blatant disregard of the truth and it has become common during this election. Their talking points are not spin anymore, and when confronted with indisputable evidence from a video or a direct quote displayed before them from an earlier time, they continue to tell the lie with that knowing, mischievous smirk. Just win at all costs is all that matters..
There are two groups in our country. One highlighting the hopes and goals of everyday people that need nothing more than a days work and spending time with their families, with no aspirations for becoming rich. A living wage is one of their main requests, because they are already rich with what they were given.
With the poor and the middle class, there is a real fear of being one sickness or accident away, even with insurance, from losing everything and going bankrupt. This causes a lack of security and keeps them from taking risks for a better life, especially when their insurance is tied to their work, because it is too expensive to buy insurance outside of the workplace.
The other side includes those who believe to be truly American, one should be able to strive to rise as high as they can in society and wealth without government interference. It is their highest ideal. Business works best when there are no hindrances from regulations, and banks work best when they are allowed to gamble, without restrictions, the pensions and investments of the masses for the sole purpose of becoming larger and larger to be able to buy out all of their competitors. The too big to fail controversy was unfortunate, but they promise, it will not happen again. It was just a few bad apples.
Unfortunately, many of the far right have begun to take a new path, and fact checking and history are no longer required. Their blatant disregard of the facts and the fact checkers boggle the mind with how this has become possible, but there it is, occurring every day. It is curious that there has not been a bigger push back from the news services to counter this tactic of refusing the truth.
So what you get is a large group of the electorate that is continually getting misinformation and propaganda, but the worst part of all of this is they tell their friends, and they, in turn, tell their friends. You get the picture.
Politicians have grown unconcerned when their facts do not agree with history. When they are not held accountable for the facts, what reason would they have to worry. Also, partisan rewriting of history has become the new fad, but hopefully one that will be squashed as ineffective for winning elections, but for this to happen, the citizenry has to be notified to what is happening.
One would hope that historians across the nation would stand up together to expose this practice, but unfortunately, they have not united with one voice against this misrepresentation of history. Some are influenced with their own political motivations and can be affected by politics as well, causing them to turn a blind eye if it helps the candidate they support. They are human, after all. However, you can become your own historian and find out the truth for yourself.
First of all, pull yourself away from the 24 hour news cycle mindset and look at everything with a bigger lens. By looking at the big picture instead of single occurrences over a time-frame, the picture becomes more clear. Be concerned with the sources you are reading, even though you agree with the viewpoints expressed, because there are many biased news articles on many news sites today, so one point to remember is that with news articles, it is much easier to dig for the truth when you only need tweezers instead of a shovel.
Historians are all taught that being objective is the most important goal while doing research. You have probably heard the expression that history is written by the victors, and you will see there are times when the winner of an election will declare a mandate and rewrite history by overlooking their negative campaigning and only highlighting their accomplishments or inflating their numbers.
When reading an article, listening to the radio, or watching the news on television, verify if the information is from primary sources. For example, someone that was a witness or a participant of an event would fall into this category. Someone that heard about an event from a friend or family member would be a secondary source and not as reliable as evidence, but second or third hand accounts or those just giving opinions can be used for anecdotal thoughts, reactions or comparisons.
If a news article shows no attempt to hide their partiality, this does not always mean nothing interesting can be found. This is a great way to research how both sides are coming to their conclusions, and this can be important to understand their rational. Compare the similarities and the differences of opinion from both sides and try to determine if they are trying to mislead the public or if what they are saying is only half true.
When you are done researching the topic, review all of the different viewpoints and try to do this as an outsider looking in, making a conscious effort to remain as neutral as possible. Determine what the evidence is telling you and build your own narrative of the facts.
It is very similar to what an investigative reporter would have to do while interviewing and researching a story. Objectivity can be seen when a story shows, accurately, both sides of the story so that the reader can make their own interpretations. It gives the story credence and allows the reader to follow up and review the sources to verify the writer's facts.
Historians are mostly like detectives though. They have to build timelines, look at the context of what is being said and done that could affect the narrative, and most of all, the witnesses and sources must be credible.
A lot is being said and done today against the public interest and the culprits have been stealing our history for their own political or nefarious reasons. Can you solve the case?
The muck was kicked up and it got on everything that the big leaders of industry of the day were trying to do to make more profit. The muckrakers had arrived.
It was a time, in the early twentieth century, when anything could be done to make a profit, at the expense of the workers and the consumers. Among some of the practices were farmers being charged unfair rates by the railroad industry to move their produce, packing industries that didn’t concern themselves with health and safety issues, and deplorable working conditions were being placed upon the workers at many factories, including the children that were also working as laborers.
At the same time, there were many local, state and federal elected leaders that were profiting by allying themselves with these industries, at the expense of the public.
It was writers, photographers and journalists that exposed these practices, and a form of the term muckraker was first used by Theodore Roosevelt, when he delivered his ‘The Man with the Muck-Rake‘ speech on April 15, 1906, in Washington, D.C.:
"In Pilgrim’s Progress the Man with the Muck Rake is set forth as the example of him whose vision is fixed on carnal instead of spiritual things. Yet he also typifies the man who in this life consistently refuses to see aught that is lofty, and fixes his eyes with solemn intentness only on that which is vile and debasing.
Now, it is very necessary that we should not flinch from seeing what is vile and debasing. There is filth on the floor, and it must be scraped up with the muck rake; and there are times and places where this service is the most needed of all the services that can be performed."
While the original meaning of ‘muckrake’ was someone that raked for dung, it has become known today as someone that searches out and publicly exposes real or apparent misconduct of a prominent individual or business, but this kind of reporting has been playing second fiddle to the sensational 24/7 style of reporting being employed by the cable networks today. [MORE]
I have always preferred progressive policies, and I disagree with nearly all of the views of the far right conservatives, but where I differ with some is how to proceed.
I see the division and partisanship as a destructive force that will only do further harm to our nation, and the only way forward is if some common ground can be found between the left and the right. It is true that there are some people that cannot be reached, but if some can be, I would consider it a win. At least it would be a starting point, and it would be a beginning for future dialog. [MORE]
Growing up, it was a lot cheaper buying things. You may have heard it from your grandparents how they used to pay just a smidgen of what we do today. I know I did. “I used to buy that candy bar for a nickel,” they would say, “and new cars were only five hundred dollars in my day.” This was our past, but what about the future?
Think about this. The dollar doesn’t buy anywhere near to what it did in the past, but our wages have been staying the same or going steadily down for some.
Let’s say nothing is done for the next twenty years, and our wages remain stagnant during that time, and then think about how much you are getting paid now and imagine what you will be able to afford in the future, knowing that you will not be able to buy half of what you can now. It’s just not sustainable.
To become rich is the American dream but to lord that money over everyone else without giving them the chance to do the same is not. There are some that act as if they have become the new ‘Aristocracy of America’ and feel entitled to their station in life over others, but it was because of this that many people immigrated to the United States. They wanted to get away from the ‘Old Aristocracy’ in Europe so they would have a fair chance to succeed.
This reminds me of something that Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to Henry Lee on August 10th,1824:
"Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, liberals and serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, whigs and tories, republicans and federalists, aristocrats and democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last appellation of aristocrats and democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all."
It doesn’t matter what time period, there will always be those that want the return of the old ways, but everyone else should have the ability to disagree, and demand that everyone has the chance to be included.
A living wage is as important to every American as it is for our defense, and it is not an entitlement to ask for one; it is a right. Is this not something that most of us have in common no matter our political differences? We all want to get paid our worth. [MORE]
Astronauts return to earth with a message that makes everything down on earth seem small.
They want to tell us about a new way of thinking. The 'Overview Effect' is what they call it, and when one understands, they will have a new perspective for everything that happens down on earth. With this new way of seeing things, all of the divisive discourse and hyper-partisanship means little when it is seen that we are all in this together.
My friend, Annabel Park, an activist and documentary film maker, tried to begin a dialog on the gun control debate after the mass shootings in Connecticut, but found that the divisions were so deep on this issue, that her faith in dialogue and storytelling was tested.
With her experience with interviewing people for her documentaries, Annabel has been on the front line of the hyper-partisan debates in America. She is now working a documentary called, ‘Story of America: A Nation Divided‘.
Annabel believes in the transformative power of dialog and storytelling, as I do, because just spouting opinions at those that disagree with you will not achieve good results. It requires listening.
If you listen to the other side’s stories while relating some of your own, the conversation has more of a chance to become civil and dialog may occur. There are some that will never be reached though. Their stance on this issue is so culturally ingrained in their world outlook that advocating for any changes will always be a non-starter.
However, not everyone believes as strongly as they do, and are not as fixed in their views on the second amendment that listening to the stories of other people can be attempted. Many people really do live in different cultural worlds, but within each of those worlds, there are people like me that agree with Annabel’s thoughts on common sense gun measures, even though they believe everyone has the right to own a gun for protection and hunting.
I have been seeking others that believe in the 2nd Amendment but also believe changes need to be made for gun control, because they are the key in helping to diffuse the hostility of the debate. They are fluent in the cultural and religious traditions and can better verbalize the concerns and trepidation of the gun control advocates, as well as those of the gun rights advocates.
If the call becomes large enough for change, real progress may occur, if that call is heard from within each of the gun rights advocate’s own communities. [MORE]
This is a story about my 5th great grandfather David Cashon and how he served under General Marquis de Lafayette in the Revolutionary War. David was 18 years old when he enlisted to serve as a minuteman serving out of Chesterfield Country, Virginia in 1775, and how, at the end of the war, had the fortune of serving under General Marquis de Lafayette.
Petitions for secession from the United States of America have been submitted to the WhiteHouse.gov site from 22 States including my grand state of Kentucky. As a historian, I am having a case of deja vu. I keep thinking I have seen this before. Oh yeah, the Civil War. I almost forgot.
To those that are so quick to call for secession, I have a question for you. Concerning our soldiers fighting overseas, who are they fighting and dying for? A red state? A Blue? Let's say they are from Kentucky but their mother's family is from New York. This brings up too many difficult questions to answer. I find it not very realistic when there are bombastic, ignorant calls to break over two hundreds years of history and tradition, all for some deluded illusion of a world without government in their lives.
Imagine what would happen if small local municipalities decided they did not want the State Government intruding on their lives with a tax collector, and decided to secede from the State. Unquestionably, the states would have to tax more because there would be no central government backup.
Imagine if a catastrophe occurs that is beyond the scope of that state government to cope from the damage. Calls for help could go unheeded. Maybe alliances with other states could be drawn up for these contingencies or better yet, another confederacy. My how history has come full circle.
I wanted to get a sampling of some the thoughts from those advocating secession so I went to my local television station website and found the national story about the secession petitions, and they asked the question of where the people stood on the issue.
I found a wealth of material. There were many that were advocating for secession but I would like to highlight, first and foremost, the fact that there were plenty of people that had common sense and most importantly, factual comments. I loved it. There are other dissidents in these Republican lands where I reside.
For privacy, I am going to paraphrase the most ludicrous ideas expressed to the community and I noticed that they fell into the following categories: Race, Religion, Ignorance and Ideology.
Regarding race, with the comments that began right away by declaring they are sick of people telling them they are racist just because they think the President is a Kenyan born Muslim that wants to take away their guns, methinks they doth protest too much.
As for religion, many of the comments mentioned that President Obama was 'Godless' or better yet, the 'Antichrist'. This did not surprise me because I had already heard this many times from people that I know.
I am from the Bible Belt where it is a very important part of many people's lives and I see no problem with this at all, but this seems to be taking things too far. Historically, there was definitely a separation of church and state in the days of the founding of our country, and this has been forgotten, either conveniently or truthfully.
Let's use the motto 'In God We Trust'. There has been a lot of confusion saying that our country was founded by using this motto, but it became the national motto in 1956 and was printed on paper money in 1957 at the height of the Cold War. The communists of the Soviet Union promoted Atheism and the United States wanted to highlight our differences by showing that our culture was a Christian nation that believed in capitalism. This was the time of McCarthyism after all.
Originally, money was printed with the motto 'E Pluribus Unum' which means, "One from many." Some translate the phrase as, "Out of many, one." This referred to the forming of a single federal state from all of the colonies that later became the states, and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson created the first design for the Great Seal of the United States that contained this motto. This design was rejected by the Congress in 1776, but the motto was used in the design that was accepted in 1782 and printed on some of the federal coins in 1795.
Ignorance was the theme of many others. These included references to terribly high taxes that do not exist or the liberal lies about global warming, even when all evidence to its existence is wailing from the storm sirens over their heads screaming, "it's real!"
Many had a far right ideology and they are angry because there are so many of the liberal takers that voted for President Obama. They are also angry that there are people that live off of welfare and food stamps while not having any intention to looking for a job, and the money to pay for all of this is coming out of taxes taken straight from their paychecks. Also, I can't leave out the fact that President Obama is flaunting his disregard of the Constitution of the United States with his socialist program 'Obamacare'.
In conclusion to my musing on secession, I find it very interesting that when one leaves comments, sometimes there is nothing hindering their compulsion to spew hate and derision. There is no little voice is in their head saying, "be nice", or maybe there is. I don't know.
I believe the same may be the case when people so easily advocate secession. They have no understanding of the ramifications of what they calling for. But then again, maybe they do.
In 2010, I had first begun to hear about the requirements for the need of a photo ID, but I didn't realize then how much of a problem it would become. When I went to vote, I was asked for my driver's license to which I asked if it was necessary, and I was told that it was indeed needed to vote, so I gave them what they asked for. I went home and checked and found out that it was not required. I knew then that this would probably be a problem in the future.
Kentucky does not require a driver's license and they will accept, besides a DL, a Social Security card, a credit card, another form of ID containing both picture and signature, and no ID is required if you are a personal acquaintance of precinct officer. With the way things have been going in the country, I am leery that legislation will be introduced in Kentucky on the subject of photo ID requirements to vote, but I am sure that if it was brought up in the state legislature, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear would veto it, so we are protected at this point in time.
I was ready today. I came with a copy of the Kentucky Voting requirements and also the actual Kentucky Statues about voting from the main Kentucky.gov website ready in my pocket if the need arose. I also had brought some voting hotline numbers and the number for the FBI in case I did have trouble.
Walking in, I was greeted by very friendly ladies that were ready and waiting for people to vote. I had been hoping that all would go well, so I just walked up and handed them my Social Security card since it was a great test to see what they have been told to do if no driver's license was given. One of them took it and the other asked over her shoulder why they were told to enforce asking for the driver's license if all someone had to do was give them a Social Security card or a credit card. My ears perked up at hearing this.
I looked at the supervisor behind her and she just quietly told her that what I gave is fine and she did not elaborate. I thought it was a great question. Why were they pushing it so hard for the driver's license if other ID's could be used? Unfortunately, the supervisor stuck to her guns and said that what I gave her was fine. That was fine with me though because I was really hoping that I would have no problems and I did not.
One thing to remember is that Kentucky is not a swing state and all of the polls have said that Governor Romney would easily win Kentucky, and especially in my city of Paducah in Western Kentucky where the vote has been favoring the Republicans since former President Bill Clinton. I can only imagine what the people in the swing states are experiencing with long lines and the possible voter intimidation that True the Vote says that they will not do, but I will definitely be paying attention today and in the future to be able to keep up with any possible trouble across the nation. I hope everyone does.
If you believe that your right to vote has been violated, please contact any of the following:
Precinct Election Officers County Clerk/Board of Elections State Board of Elections (502) 573-7100 Attorney General’s Election Fraud Hotline (800) 328-8683
If you feel you are being intimidated, please contact the FBI:
FBI Voter Intimidation Hotline: (202) 514-1888
Do I have to produce Identification to vote?
All voters must produce identification or be known by a precinct officer prior to voting. KRS117.227 and 31 KAR 4:010 provide the types of ID that can be used by the voter such as: Personal acquaintance of precinct officer, Driver’s license, Social Security card, credit card, or another form of ID containing both picture and signature.
117.227 Confirmation of voter's identity. Election officers shall confirm the identity of each voter by personal acquaintance or by a document, such as a motor vehicle operator's license, Social Security card, or credit card. The election officer confirming the identity shall sign the precinct voter roster and list the method of identification.
Effective: July 15, 2002 History: Amended 2002 Ky. Acts ch. 10, sec. 1, effective July 15, 2002. -- Created 1988 Ky. Acts ch. 341, sec. 9, effective July 15, 1988.
31 KAR 4:010. Voter identification cards.
RELATES TO: KRS 117.227 STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 117.015 NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: To define the forms of identification that are acceptable in confirming the identity of voters on election day, and to provide uniformity of identification standards throughout the state. This administrative regulation is required to establish a procedure for documenting the confirmation of identity on precinct voter rosters.
Section 1. In addition to the forms of identification specifically provided for by KRS 117.227, any identification card that bears both the picture and signature of the voter, or any identification card that has been issued by the county, and which has been approved in writing by the State Board of Elections, shall be acceptable for confirmation of the voter's identity.
Section 2. The method of identification used shall be recorded on the precinct voter roster by use of the following codes: (1) Personal acquaintance - "PA" (2) Motor vehicle operator's license - "DL" (3) Social Security card - "SS" (4) Credit card - "CC" (5) Identification card with picture and signature (other identification) - "OI"
Section 3. The election officer confirming the identity shall enter his initials on the precinct voter roster in lieu of a signature. (17 Ky.R. 1229; eff. 12-7-90.)
There are 'Makers and Takers' according to many in the Republican Party. Governor Romney believes 47 percent of the population believe they are entitled to the government giving them healthcare, food and housing. Representative Ryan says that 30 percent want the welfare state.
These long held beliefs, by the far right, have continued to simmer all these many years since the days of the enactment of the Social Security Act. It was believed the Great Depression helped enable these great changes to how the government functions for the people, and they have resented it, year after year, because it became so successful.
Another great recession has occurred and the strategy being employed today is to use the economic downturn to return things back to the good ole days before Franklin Roosevelt messed with the rightful duty of the government; staying out of everything and letting businesses and the states to do as they please. Just let them run the show and everyone will see they are correct.
With the Tea Party successes in 2010 and 2012, there has been an fevered anticipation by the Republicans that the 2012 Election will be their time to make those changes while the populous is divided. They believe the time is now, and they are not pulling any punches.
The Republican narrative has been that President Obama didn't understand the economy and that his measures to fix it have been disastrous. Democrats have been saying that austerity measures would only hurt the economy and would make things worse. So, who is correct?
Nicholas Kristof, from The New York Times, wrote in his article, Romney's Economic Model about this far right methodology:
"The International Monetary Fund this month downgraded its estimates for global economic growth, with only one major bright spot in the West. That would be the United States, expected to grow a bit more than 2 percent this year and next.
In the last few years, Germany and Britain, in particular, have implemented precisely the policies that Romney favors, and they have been richly praised by Republicans here as a result. Yet these days those economies seem, to use a German technical term, kaput."
So, apparently President Obama's approach to helping the country during the Recession by using a stimulus was more successful than the methods used in Europe. According to the rhetoric about socialist Europe, this would not be surprising that they are not doing well, but this time, they followed the Republican principles of 'Austerity' to solve their economic problems.
Kristof asks the reader, "Is Europe a fair comparison? Well, Republicans seem to think so, because they came up with it. In the last few years, they've repeatedly cited Republican-style austerity in places like Germany and Britain as a model for America."
With the United States using a Keynesian economic theory by using a stimulus instead of austerity measures during an economic downturn, it has been proved that Europe fared much worse than the United States has, even though we have had a slow ride out of this recession.
Although it has been a rough few years, it could have been much worse. Kristof states that President Obama could argue, "If you want to see how Romney’s economic policies would work out, take a look at Europe. And weep."
The second Presidential Debate was to be Presidential Obama's chance to dig himself out of the hole he created for himself during the first debate. Watching the debate, it seemed the President had regained his confidence, rebuffing Governor Romney's attempts to rattle him by his hurling question after question directly to the President. I saw this constant barrage of questions by Governor Romney as disingenuous, because it appeared that he really did not want the President to answer but instead was only asking, and interrupting, for dramatic effect only. During this debate, with Governor Romney continuing the same lines from the first debate, he encountered much more resistance from President Obama this time, which led to entertaining back and forth moments, especially concerning women's rights for better pay, immigration reform and their tax plans. When it was pointed out that Governor Romney was incorrect about the President not mentioning an act of terror the day after the attack in Libya by the moderator, Candy Crowley, he had no answer. Governor Romney was acting as if he had a great gotcha moment until it boomeranged on him, and after this point, he appeared to be on the defensive. When the last question about Governor Romney's biggest misperception that the American people have about him as a man and a candidate was asked, I believe Governor Romney set himself up for the President to counter with the 47% remark, which he made during a private fundraiser, when he said he would back 100% percent of the population. Although, it is just as likely that the President would have brought it up anyway considering that he did not mention it during the first debate. During the first debate, I felt that Governor Romney did have the better body language, but his changing his positions from what he had been saying on the campaign trail had me questioning his integrity. Does he think that I haven't heard him say the opposite many, many times on the news? If it was not meant for me but for the people that haven't been keeping up with what has been said on the stump, I find that just as deceitful and also disturbing. I have never seen or read anything about a candidate changing his positions so much at such a late date before the election, but Governor Romney's aides did say they would have an etch-a-sketch moment during the campaign. However, I did not think it would be so blatant.
All things considered though, I am not sure how much this debate will affect the election, but President Obama's base will certainly be pleased by his performance, and Governor Romney's base will also back their candidate just as furiously. While the media has been twisting itself in knots from one week to the next after each of the debates, the small percentage of undecided voters will continue to be asked their opinions. Does it matter to them that both candidates have vastly different opinions for the direction the country needs to follow? For those that have already decided, some question how anyone could not know, one way or the other.