The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘common sense’

THE WAKING DREAD

Several days ago I mentioned the impact that 9/11/01 had on me psychologically.

It was inconceivable to me that a person could be so unfeeling to take an airliner filled with innocent people and crash it into a building filled with thousands of other innocent people.  And that sense of overwhelming despair only increased as we found out that it wasn’t one person but many.  And the death count mounted, as those whom they left behind hoped against hope that perhaps somehow, by some incredible miracle, their loved ones had escaped the devastation and the rubble.  But for most of them, their hopes would not come to fruition and they had to face the reality that they were gone forever.

The ennui that I felt I’m sure was shared by many Americans.  And if there were one thing that helped me through it that came in the person of two individuals.

The first was President George W. Bush, (not one of my favorite people).  But giving credit where it is due, when Bush went to New York, donned a first responder’s jacket and rallied the people of the city to press on, I believe that was one of the defining moments of his presidency and was a statement of his love for this country.

The second was Mayor Rudy Guilliani (one of my all time favorites).  The Mayor not only had the Herculean task of dealing with all the turmoil, the heartbreak and the aftermath of the destruction of two of New York’s landmarks but he did so without giving any indication of feeling the strain from this undertaking and, most importantly got the job done.

Both of these men fulfilled their duty and went above and beyond the call of rallying us out of our shell-shocked state and proved examples of how the American people can rise above tragedy and regroup and rebuild.  They were an inspiration – at least that’s how I viewed them.

One of the more popular current television programs is The Walking Dead.  I inadvertently ran across it as I was surfing channels in a desperate attempt to find something that would be entertaining and stimulating.  I had the show up for probably ten seconds when I saw a lineup of men, apparently kneeling and then systematically having their throats cut over a trough into which their blood ran.  I happened to catch this episode not too long after the iconic picture of some Syrian Christians wearing orange jump suits were similarly slaughtered by ISIS.

I quickly changed the channel.

Now movies about zombies are nothing new.  They’ve been around since I was a kid – although the preferred method of “zombie-ification” was normally caused by a spell or potion which the Haitian voodoo doctor had concocted.  Today, we have managed to advance beyond herbs and arcane rituals and have been able to harness the power of chemicals, germs and viruses with the intent of weaponizing them.  (Normally, the research is done under the much more noble guise of trying to figure out how to weaponize them so that if one of the “bad guys” weaponized them we would be prepared with an antidote – if you believe that story).

But what if, just what if, there were some virulent poison released on the general population which either decimated the population or transformed us into those flesh-eating zombies?  Would those of us who might be lucky enough to survive such an attack be able to rely on the resources and people who head up government – or would we have to go it alone?

Or what if a far more realistic possibility occurred and those JV terrorists knocked out the electric grid?  We’ve known that is a serious vulnerability and have known that for at least a decade.  What is more disturbing is that we also have a way to fix the problem so that it wouldn’t cascade into a national power outage but have failed even to take steps to begin to implement that protection.  And with all that knowledge, with all the money that Washington finds for pet projects, not one dime has been allocated to protect this vital resource which, if it were crippled, might result in the death of as much as ninety percent of the population.

The way in which the Obama administration has addressed every assignment thrown at it or which it has initiated does not inspire me with confidence.  The mantra of Hope and Change suckered enough of us to hear a chord of promise which turned into a cacophony of pretense.  And as I wake each morning with a sense of dread deep set in the recesses of my mind, I now cling to that campaign theme and hope that we make it through the next fourteen months and find a leader who will help us change back into a united country, strong in resolve and optimistically leading the world toward a new and brighter dawn.

REFUGEES – PART TWO

The UN Human Rights Commission agreement considered the best outcome for those who were displaced by war to be their repatriation to their homeland once hostilities had ceased.  Those who were able to escape in the course of the war become the legal responsibility of that country to which they first made their way.  In the case of the Syrian refugees, that burden has heavily fallen on Jordan.  But in the latest waves our NATO ally Turkey has become a migratory route.  For whatever reason it has acted less as a new host country than it has as a funnel for these refugees to reach western Europe.

Since it’s explicitly clear that neither western Europe nor the United States has a legal obligation to accept any of the Syrian refugees, the question of whether we should accept refugees comes down to a question of morality.  Should we as caring people accept these people and welcome their to our country?  Sadly, that question is not as clear cut as those who are advocates for bringing the Syrian refugees into America would have us believe.

Obama and the left offer a case intended to make any opposition to accepting Syrian refugees appear to emanate from people who have no hearts and no compassion.  But a truly compassionate and insightful president would have been aghast at the more than one quarter million Syrian civilians who have been killed by President Assad during the last three years and would have, once he had drawn his “red line,” actually taken action against that tyrant.  But he didn’t.  And in large measure, the current Syrian refugee crisis is a direct result of his lackluster “policy” which seems to be founded on the theory that if you don’t pay attention to a problem or give credence to it, it will ultimately go away – hopefully before your term of office expires – but, if not, it will be your successor’s problem.

But setting aside the root cause for the massive influx of immigrants from Syria, why should we believe that offering them safe heaven in the United States will actually benefit them?   According to HUD, there are nearly two million Americans who are homeless.  These people are citizens of the United States.  It is estimated that of this number more than fifty thousand are veterans of our military.  So if we are unable to care for our own people, why would we add additional people who in many cases do not have language skills that will enable them to fit into society and whose customs and culture is so different from our own?

The serious and real objection to the acceptance of Syrian refugees does not stem from hard-heartedness but a genuine fear that ISIS will implant some of its operatives in their number.  Obama pooh poohed this as an irrational fear, challenging Republicans as “cowards” for their fear of “widows and orphans”.  If the president’s passion were as great for destroying ISIS as it is for denigrating any who challenge his opinions this crisis might not have existed.  But even some staunchly partisan Democrats, notably Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) have advocated taking a pause before admitting any further Syrian refugees.

Of course, the president and his administration have claimed that there is a thorough vetting process to ensure that no terrorists will be admitted among those to whom we might give refuge.  Several days ago, the National Security Council’s advisor, Ben Rhodes, who holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing – which makes him an ideal spokesperson for the administration but might call into question his qualifications for making recommendations about national security – again put forth this notion that the vetting process would be both thorough and certain.  That is in direct contradiction to what the heads of both the FBI and the CIA who will share in the responsibility of vetting these prospective refugees have stated.  So who are we to believe?

Most of us who were raised within the Judaeo-Christian tradition believe that lying is always wrong.  The same cannot be said of Islam in even its most benign varieties.  Both the Quran and the hadiths permit a devout Muslim to lie to the infidel if his intentions are good and his goal is to spread the “true faith” which is their mission.  Muhammad signed a ten year truce with the Qurayash residents of Mecca and a year later, after he had built up his military, broke the truce and slaughtered them.  Yassir Arafat, apparently inspired by the prophet, signed the 1993 Oslo Accord, by his own words, strictly for the purpose of deception.

If we review the mis-statements and outright lies that Obama has spewed during these last gruesome seven years, perhaps his statement that, “There is no more beautiful sound than that of the Muslim call to prayer” may be the most, if not the only, truthful statement that he has made during his term in office.

LIVING IN A LAW-LESS AMERICA

As a kid, one of the daily cartoons that I read was a strip called, There Ought To Be A Law.  It was unique in that readers would submit ideas and if their ideas were accepted, cartoonists Warren Whipple and Frank Borin would draw it and credit the contributor for his or her original idea.  The cartoon was extremely popular and emphasized that life presented itself with many situations which could have been dealt with by applying simple common sense – but instead we found convoluted ways to try to resolve simple issues.

That’s not unlike the way in which we craft legislation.

There was a time when the country was filled with what we call “blue laws”.  Many of those related to the observance of Sunday as a special day and imposed restrictions on the sale of alcohol – or as it was known in the old days among those with a puritanical bent, “Demon Rum”. But in an effort to make America a better place, enthusiastic lawmakers have concocted some rather amazing laws which it is hard for some of us to comprehend.  Allow me a few examples.

In Alabama you may not drive a car while barefooted, nor are you allowed to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket.

In Connecticut it is unlawful to walk backwards after sunset nor are you allowed to cross a street while walking on your hands.

In Illinois it is unlawful to pee in your neighbor’s mouth and eating in a place that is on fire is a punishable offense.

In Massachusetts no man may wear a goatee in public unless he has obtained a special license for the privilege and it is unlawful for a taxi driver to make love in the front seat of his cab while he is on duty.

A brief reading of these laws (which are still on the books) suggests that not only are the inmates running the asylum, apparently they are or in the past have been elected to statewide public office.  Who would create such laws?  What purpose do they now (or did they ever) serve?

There are thousands of such ludicrous laws on the books in all fifty states.  And while I have never had an urge to fondle a pig’s genitalia in public (Iowa) – I guess privately it’s okay – it’s easy to see how this proliferation of inane and perhaps even insane laws could easily entrap and cause any of us to be in violation of something that was concocted by a lawmaker and his cohorts at some time in the distant past.

At least theoretically we as voters do have some control over those who concoct this mishmash that passes as legislation.  They do have to face us every so often to retain their positions.  But the sad reality is that ninety percent of all incumbents easily win re-election, time after time after time ad nauseam, ad infinitum.  Well, there is still that ten percent glimmer of hope.  No such control exists for the bureaucrats who are unelected “public servants” who find ways to extend their power by writing new and extensive “regulations” which are purportedly based on the laws written by legislators.  Obamacare is an excellent example of that where 2,700 pages of legislation has turned into more than 33,000 pages of regulations – and that number is still growing.

Common Sense author Thomas Paine must be turning in his grave – because clearly there is nothing common sensical in any of this.  And barring a constitutional amendment establishing term limits for those in Congress it is unlikely that things will change in the future.  The simplicity of a flat tax must be daunting to legislators because it is something that is far removed from their convoluted thinking.  And why does that thinking exist?

It is for their own protection.  Because if you write a law that is so complicated that no one can possibly understand it you provide job security so that they can “tweak” the inconsistencies which were written in the original law.  To me that’s like going back to your car mechanic five or six times to correct a problem with your vehicle because they didn’t do it correctly the first time you brought your buggy into their shop.

I would enthusiastically support any candidate who wants to pump the bilge laws out of our system and streamline our legislative process so that anyone with a high school diploma could understand the laws they pass.  That is probably a high expectation and one that will most likely not happen in my lifetime.  Sometimes being honest has depressing consequences.

But there may be hope.  Remember those blue laws?  Well New Mexico has one that I actually think is brilliant.  In that state it is illegal for an idiot to cast a ballot in a general election.  Now that’s an idea that has potential.

THE TRUTH ABOUT “INCOME INEQUALITY”

Once upon a time my father received a notice that his tax return was being audited.  At the time he was a salesman and travelled the country extensively being on the road for forty or more weeks per year.  All of this was done by automobile – and one of the deductions which he correctly took was for expenses related to these trips.  Fortunately, my father was also a meticulous record keeper as well as being scrupulously honest.

Notwithstanding that he felt that unless he had made a mathematical error, which he thought was unlikely, he was confident that his return would survive anyone’s scrutiny, he was still nervous when he arrived at the IRS”s office for his audit.  But several hours later the auditor agreed that my father’s return had been honestly and accurately prepared and issued a “no change” determination.

But the next year he got another such audit demand and one the following year.  As was the case with his first experience these two audits resulted in the auditors’ accepting the original returns as filed.  But other than experiencing a nervous stomach and perhaps a little heart burn, my father learned and taught me a valuable lesson which Chief Justice John Marshall stated in writing a majority opinion in a tax case, “The power to tax is the power to destroy”.

There are several threats to achieving financial independence and even wealth.  They are inflation; lack of financial knowledge; bad management; and most importantly, taxes.  With the exception of taxes, the other three can be handled.  There are assets that increase in value even if inflation becomes rampant; a person can educate himself on how to invest his savings; if a manager who has been hired by an investor is not meeting expectations he or she can be replaced.  But no individual can control the amount of taxes that government extracts from his earnings.  That is a matter of policy and law, enacted by the Congress and signed by the President.

The left’s theory – or at least their major talking points – are that income inequality makes it impossible for people to compete on a level playing field and that in particular, women and minorities are disenfranchised from the same level of opportunity that, for example, white males, (and whites in general) enjoy.  Hence they push for a higher minimum Federal hourly wage – as though a person who has no financial knowledge will somehow break into the middle class and realize the American dream by earning a couple of extra dollars an hour.  People do not get wealthy or break the shackles of poverty by making ten, twelve or even fifteen dollars an hour.  People get wealthy because they have a unique talent or because they start their own business which grows and prospers – or, for the lucky few – because they inherited their money.

But one of the lessons that my father taught me is that, “It isn’t what you make – it’s what you keep” that determines a person’s financial situation.  No matter how much you make if you spend more than that amount, the conclusion will be financial disaster.  Just look at the Federal government’s balance sheet if you doubt that.  Or look at Curtis James Jackson III (better known as 50 Cent) who made several hundred million dollars and just declared bankruptcy.

But the left persists in making these arguments that we need to level the playing field so that everyone has equal opportunity to succeed and if they really believed in the hogwash with which they bombard us, it seems only logical that rather than a fifteen dollar per hour minimum wage we should simply decree it to be one hundred or one thousand dollars per hour.  Now that would have an impact.

So why stop at fifteen bucks when a higher number would be better?  The answer is that everyone realizes that having the skill set to be a burger flipper is simply not worth that amount of money in a free and open job marketplace.  And the reason that being a burger flipper makes the current minimum wage is that there are a lot of potential burger flippers out there who will take that job and do it in an equally competent manner as the present employee should he or she decide that his employer is engaged in “oppressing him”.

My first summer job was working for a company that wholesaled shirts.  I earned two dollars fifty cents per hour and worked a forty hour week.  Of my gross income I had to commit one dollar fifty cents for carfare to get to the job and get home.  And even then, Social Security and Federal and New York state taxes were deducted from my check.  (The City of New York had not yet implemented their own additional income tax on its residents).

Since I took my lunches to work with me, (provided courtesy of my parents) I was able to save most of my check for my college tuition.  And when I realized that it was only a three mile walk one way, I started getting up extra early to walk to my job rather than spend the fifteen cents on the subway.  Once a week on Wednesday I would, rather than bring lunch, treat myself to a slice of cheese pizza at the cost of fifty cents (sixty if I really splurged and ordered pepperoni on it).  I admit to feeling a little bit of guilt about indulging in the luxury of that hot and bubbly slice of pie – but, darn it was good.

The theory that those on the left (and those like Ms. Clinton who appear to be on the left to attract primary voters to her cause) espouse is that we can have the money to institute their social programs by merely getting it from those who have either a special talent or ability, have started a small business which might have grown and prospered or those who were fortunate enough to inherit their substantial wealth.

If we lived in a country in which the government, not the citizen, runs programs and determines who should have so much but not more than that, even confiscating all the accumulated wealth of those who have it in their possession currently and redistributing it to those who would like to have it, would “even the playing field” for a second – and then the same inequities would once again start reappearing.

Whether we like it or not, some people are more motivated, more talented, more intelligent and more creative than others.  And like the classic cream rising to the top, those whose wealth had been appropriated by the government would start over and within a short time would again become wealthy whereas those who had been the recipients of their former wealth would again sink back into poverty.

Well, that’s the scenario with a one time confiscation of the assets of the wealthy.  But even proposing that would take more brass than the left has in their admitted operational playbook.  So the reasonable way for them to proceed is to raise taxes on the rich – as a matter of “equity”.  After all, were it not for the government and the tears and sweat of the miserable masses, these people could never have achieved their success.  We all remember Obama’s famous, “You didn’t build that speech”.

According to the economic theories of the left, trickle down economics doesn’t work nor does it improve anyone’s life except for those doing the trickling.  And more importantly, their firm belief is that just because the wealthy worked hard, been creative and took responsibility for their financial future, they have an obligation to those in society who sat back, got fired from a multitude of jobs for performance and who believe the way to wealth is sitting home collecting unemployment while watching the soaps and eating potato chips, taking only a break from this in order to get out with fellow economic failures and picket outside the business du jour demanding a higher minimum wage.

Now it’s an interesting phenomenon that while conservatives believe that lowering taxes increases the number of businesses that are created and because of this may actually result in higher amounts of taxes collected because of higher GDP, they have an interesting ally in the State of New York – headed by Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) who comes from the left’s own tradition.

There is an ad being run by the state of New York which begins, “New York is changing the way we’re doing business by lowering corporate and individual tax rates.”:  The ad goes on to say that manufacturers who relocate to the state will receive a ten year exemption from paying any income taxes.  If I didn’t know better this sounds remarkably like a plan that could have been authored by President Reagan’s economic adviser, Arthur Laffer.

But if the conservatives in this country need further validation of their economic policies, perhaps the strongest example may come from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico which is asking that Congress pass a law granting them the same ability to file bankruptcy as Detroit, another Democrat controlled stronghold.  Otherwise they warn us that there will most certainly be default on the debt obligations the commonwealth has issued.  But while waiting for Congress to act on this desperate request, the Governor has, among other proposals, found an interesting way to combat Puerto Rico’s insolvency.  He has proposed lowering the minimum wage for hourly workers on the island.

Talk about mixed (and confusing) messages.  No wonder we’ll be at $20 Trillion in “official” debt by the time Obama leaves office.  Well, he promised “Hope and Change” in his drive that landed him in the White House.  And by the time he leaves office, we may all hope that he’ll leave us with some change – even if it’s small change.

ISLAM AND IMMIGRATION

Long before there was an organization known as ISIS, I read about the way that people who are adjudicated criminals in the majority of Muslim countries are handled within the Sharia code of justice.  Application of this law to offenders of whatever description seems to our Western minds to be harsh.  And it certainly is swift.

Caught for stealing … have your hand cut off.

Caught in adultery … get stoned to death.

Caught questioning the religious authority … get 1000 lashes – if you survive for the full term of the punishment.

Caught in a same sex relationship … get thrown from a building, stoned to death or beheaded.  (I’m not sure if the soon-to-be-deceased gets to pick which way to make his exit).

I remember thinking to myself, you know, I don’t think I would even consider jaywalking in Riyadh – or most of the rest of the Muslim world.  By the way, jaywalking is also a punishable offence – and it is punished through the imposition of fines.  Presumably that is an effort to make the streets safer both for drivers and pedestrians.  And please, no snarky comments about “women drivers” since Saudi Arabia does not allow women the privilege of being able to obtain a driver’s license.

Beginning this year, King Abdullah has allowed women the right both to vote and to run for minor public office.  But if one of the requirements to be able to vote is proving identity by presenting a driver’s license, well the ladies of Saudi Arabia may be back in the same second class status that they’ve had bestowed on them for over a millennium.

Singapore has an even higher rate of executions than Saudi Arabia – most of which were effected through hanging – and the majority of those for what the authorities define as drug trafficking.  (The typical person who patronizes his neighborhood Colorado pot shop would be able to buy a sufficient quantity of marijuana to qualify them as traffickers under Singapore’s definition).  But there are also lesser offenses which we would consider trivial – such as failure to flush a toilet (who would do that) and chewing gum subjects the chewer to a fine of five hundred dollars.  Sorry about that Mr. Wrigley.

I realize that laws, by whomever and wherever they are made, are designed to be punitive. That is, to my mind a fundamental flaw – offering only the meting out of punishment rather than a reward for good behavior.  As an example that I’ve proposed in the past, rather than simply fining the driver who breaks the law by giving him a ticket, how about providing an incentive to the good driver who does not weigh on the local police’s time and never gets a ticket by reducing the cost of annually registering his vehicle.  That might, I can’t say with certainty as it’s never been tried and is unlikely ever to be tried, encourage and incentivize each of us who drives to follow the rules.  Over many years of running my own business, I always found that the carrot rather than the stick approach did more to motivate my employees.

But returning to Saudi Arabia and the punishments which that government feels merits the death penalty is one with which we are becoming all too familiar.  And that crime is called “terrorism.”  Although Bo(Peep)Bama has officially referred to ISIS (ISIL by the administration’s terminology) as a terrorist organization, he and his mouthpieces still refuse to label it for what it is – Islamic terrorism.  But if we play along with BoBama’s definition, anyone who engages in terroristic activity which is the “use of force to achieve political or social ends” is therefore a terrorist.  Whether they are an avowed ISIS member or not.  And clearly it would be in the interest of all the residents of the United States to be certain that before a person gains entry into the country we make sure that person has come here with no ill intention.

The oath of allegiance which is required to be sworn to by naturalized citizens is as follows (my bolding):

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Liberal pundits like Geraldo Rivera and Juan Williams have tried to make the argument that illegals in the United States actually commit crime at a lower rate than American citizens.  That argument is, of course, poppycock since by the very act of being here illegally in the first place, each and every one of them has already broken the law.  That is, by my math, a rate of one hundred percent who are lawbreakers.

Certainly there are extreme cases where people are fearful of threats to their lives in their countries of origin – and we ought to treat those exceptional cases with both expediency and compassion and waive our rules.  Strangely, I have not heard of calls from either side of the aisle offering the Yazidis of Iraq who were driven from their home’s by ISIS a sanctuary in the United States.

It would be hard for anyone to argue that of the estimated twelve million illegal aliens in the United States the majority of  these were people who would qualify for a compassionate exception to our present immigration policy.  That doesn’t mean that they are bad people.  Perhaps they didn’t understand the process – or perhaps the process, mired as it is in bureaucratic red tape – was just too onerous for them to feel the need to wait.  And without a doubt, many of these people and their children would be excellent additions to the populace and citizenry of the United States.  Personally, I would support a long term path to citizenship for these people.  After all, by one means or another, most of us are the children of people who either immigrated here of their own free will – or were imported in the slave trade.

But it is equally clear, the shooting death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco last week by an illegal who had been five times deported is not an isolated incident.  There is an element of our illegal population that is criminal and has a background in illicit behavior not only in their home countries but here as well.  And there are a significant number of these criminals who have been deported multiple times and have found a way to return.  In my view, by placing economic duress on our economy, diverting our law enforcement people to devote resources to dealing with them and in many cases incarcerating them, they are engaging in economic terrorism as well as violent crime.

Do we have the right to protect the nation, by any means possible, from those who would attack us in acts of terror?  No.  We have that as a responsibility.  So here’s a rather draconian but potentially effective way of dealing with this issue.

If we apprehend a person who enters the country illegally and deport that person, we should give him or her a warning that if that person returns to the country, other than through legal means, that person will, if apprehended a second time, be summarily executed as a foreign combatant and terrorist.  No trials.  No appeals.  No exceptions.

One of my former employees came from Polish immigrant stock.  She was a no nonsense kind of person who worked hard and expected to be paid for her efforts – and she was.  And when she opened her own office for me she had no compunction about dismissing an employee who did not perform to the standards which we and she had set and to which they had agreed before being hired.  As she put it, “When you play – you pay.”

Maybe it’s time we applied that same standard to illegal immigration.

GET A ROOM

With the announcement today that Governor Scott Walker (R – WI) will join the ever growing number of Republican presidential candidates, I am reminded of the story that Samuel Clemens, better known to us as Mark Twain, the brilliant atheist author known for his caustic wit, used to tell.

I had always heard that there were some animals which were natural enemies.  So I decided to put this to the test.  I rented a room in a local hotel and brought together a lion and a lamb, a cat and a dog an eagle and a trout.  I closed the door and left them alone to see what would happen.  When I returned an hour later I discovered, much to my surprise, that these animals were all getting along just fine.  So I decided to try this with humans.

I got together a Roman Catholic and a Southern Baptist, a Jew and a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Hindu.  I left them alone and when I returned to the room an hour later I found all of them were dead.  Apparently, they had a difference of opinion and had taken their argument to a higher court.

Several months ago a friend asked me what I thought the “over/under” was on the number of GOP candidates would ultimately be when everyone had finally stated their intentions.  I put the number at sixteen – and with Walker’s and, as I expect, Governor John Kasich’s (R – OH) entry this or next month, I might be right on the money with my estimate.  And while I applaud the GOP for having so many people, most of whom have ideas which might well improve the climate both socially and economically in this country, this field, the size of the entrants in the Kentucky Derby, is far too large to accomplish the greater goal – winning the White House in 2016.

I have no doubt that each of the candidates has strengths (and weaknesses) and there is no perfect candidate.  Whoever emerges from this large, talented field, will no doubt be preferable to his or her likely opponent in the winter of ‘16 – and a decided improvement over what we have had for the past six and one half years.  But the GOP needs to focus on the goal more than the process.  That’s what the Democrats will be doing – and have done with success over the past two elections.

So I would suggest to each of the candidates in the GOP race, put aside your personal ambitions, rent a hotel room, sit down and discuss among yourselves who has the most realistic chance of winning not just the nomination but the general election.  And be a true patriot, putting all your support behind one candidate who can get the job done.

That would be a great legacy and an act of true selflessness which all of us could admire.

EAT SH*T AND DINE

Every so often I need to take a break from the “news,” as we euphemistically term it, and turn my attention elsewhere.  This was one such week.  I’m not sure if the breaking point was that the final, final, final, deadline for caving into Iraq in the nuclear “negotiations” had come and gone.  Or was it Hillary’s hilarious declaration that “She had never received a subpoena from the House’s Benghazi committee regarding her submitting her emails,”  a copy of which Congressman Trey Gowdy held up before the camera for all to see and to which Ms. Clinton’s lawyers had filed a response.

If Ms. Clinton were an ordinary American business, had developed an advertising campaign and introduced her product in print and on the air with the same amount of truthfulness in which she expresses her past activities, there would be a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of all those who had purchased her product, relying on her statements about how her product works.  But sadly, far too many of us simply do not pay attention and are willing to believe and buy anything that our politicians, Ms. Clinton being the poster child for this example, sets forth and accept it, if they hear it at all, as Gospel truth – or whatever passes for absolute verity in  today’s society.  Regarding Clintonionism, this quote comes to mind:

“The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling that I have always cultivated.”

– Oscar Wilde

It really is an amazing phenomenon that the masses hear constant homilies from the over-privileged and under-qualified, those who are at the top of the political and pop culture food chain about how they are under-privileged, victims of an unfair system gamed by those in power to keep them in total and permanent subjection and not realize that it is those who are speaking who are, in fact, the very ones who are doing all within their power to make sure that theses poor slobs remain in their lowly estate.  And in this effort, there is no more staunch or sycophantic co-conspirator than the media.

“By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”

– Oscar Wilde

I believe that quoting Mr. Wilde is permitted under the current rules.  As we now know, he was a bisexual which is a state of being that is very much in vogue but to his discredit he was white, male and far too witty for most of his audience to truly understand his “bon mots”.  Well, the wonderful thing about freelance blogging is that I needn’t worry about the imposition of censorship by an editor or the opinion of the masses – at least for the moment.

But where is this all leading – and why the title for this post?

Perhaps you’ve heard about the ongoing taxpayer funded studies in which the government paid for professorial investigations into the causes of why it is that people die.  That would seem to be an admirable inquiry.  So they gave grants to a group of esteemed scientists to research this important issue.

These brilliant minds looked at the mystery of life and death.  First they noted that many of their parents and almost all of their grandparents had passed from this veil of tears.  And not one of them had a single great grandparent alive – and they further discovered there was no one living who had been born in the eighteenth century or earlier.  No, not a single one.

This, of course, caused a great deal of discussion over many bottles of Merlot as these intellectual titans tried to find a common thread which would account for all of this being born and then being dead.  And, in fact, they reached a conclusion.  What they discovered was that during the course of their lives, all of these people ate stuff, without exception.  And, without exception, all of them were dead.  Obviously, eating – or at least eating the things that we have for centuries – ultimately leads to death.

Well, even with as obvious a connection as this, only 97% of these scientists concurred that eating was the cause of these ultimate deaths, the other three percent apparently being so traumatized at this revelation that they were consigned to a lifetime regimen of lithium and sequestered away to one of our finer loony bins where they will ultimately not be cured of their delusions nor ever returned to society to mingle among the rest of us.  Nor will they be allowed to express an opinion which challenges the newly established orthodoxy on this subject.

This is far-fetched you food deniers might say.  But think about it.  It’s only been three years since Mickey D’s stopped using “pink slime” in the preparation of their hamburgers and, not meaning to take away anything from the controversy that Donald Trump has stirred up with his comments, why is it that virtually all Mexican  food has an appearance of something that has been pre-masticated, partially digested and then regurgitated to be consumed later by someone else?  Can eating that really be good for you?

But to believe that the main stream medium will report on this important topic is far from likely.  So, other than those who read this blog and spread the word, will the truth of the cause of man’s mortality ever be revealed?  Fortunately, I think it will – and the source will be one which is most unexpected.  It will come from some flash in the pan member of our pop culture – or so I predict.  Perhaps the vehicle for this revelation will be the twenty-two year old Ariana Grande who has already demonstrated an ability to put her tongue where it ought not to be.  And if not her, there is an ample supply of such people who might get the job done.

Perhaps there is someone even now in Hollywood who has had a Shirley Maclaine experience and to whom the truth has been revealed.  (Or perhaps they simply have taken some sort of hallucinogenic drug, got the munchies and in the process of crawling around their 23,000 square foot pied à terre happened upon their cat’s litter box).  And there, clumped in a bit of kitty litter, is the solution to mankind’s mortality and their craving for a quick snack – cat poop – and by extension dog poop.

Now think about it.  There are an estimated 160 million dogs and cats in the United States who regularly provide us with poop, which we have viewed, until now, as something that is destined for a landfill.  What a tragic waste of the perfect food substance – already pre-digested by another animal so we don’t have to put stress on our own bodies by attempting to extract all those elusive nutrients.  And in the case of cat poop, there’s also the added advantage of being able to ingest a bit of litter which provides our bodies with a bit of roughage.

This could spark an entire new industry, job growth and an end to poverty in the country.  And not only would this mean jobs and an end to hunger in America and ultimately the entire world, we could export our excess animal poop to Mexico, thus restoring the balance of trade in favor of the U. S.  But the best part of this is that our friends to the south might not even notice a difference in the appearance of the food they set forth on the family table.  No advertising campaign necessary.

America – Eat Sh*t And Dine!

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