Category Archives: Political Opinion

P + P = M The New Political Formula

During my formative years (now known as the young and dumb years!), I had an idealistic attitude toward our government and to the people that represented us in that government. I thought the job of these people was to do what is right for America. Now that I am old, somewhat mature, and somewhat knowledgeable (?), I am taking a rather dimmer view of the quality and motivation of the people representing us at the highest levels of government. It’s not my fault! 24/7 news channels, loaded up with ranting educated idiots have made me this way!

Did you know that at the time of the founding of our country, many men lost everything they had because they were representatives of the new federal government. Yup. They were patriots and they thought it was their duty, once selected, to represent their constituents in Congress. For some, this resulted in great financial loss. While they were in Congress, there wasn’t anyone representing their best interests with their businesses, their farms or at their plantations. Thus they suffered great financial and personal losses. My…how things have changed.

I have lived through thirteen different presidents. Without a doubt, I believe one of those thirteen was the most scrupulous of all. Want to take a guess? My choice would be Harry S. Truman. Why? Because once his second term in office was completed, Harry and his wife Bess moved back to Missouri and lived in the house that they had once shared with her mother. Once out of office, Truman quickly decided that he did not wish to be on any corporate payroll, believing that taking advantage of such financial opportunities would diminish the integrity of the nation’s highest office. He also turned down numerous offers for commercial endorsements. Since his earlier business ventures had proved unsuccessful, he had no personal savings. He faced financial challenges and only had an old army pension. Because of his financial condition, a pension was eventually granted to retiring presidents, and Harry was the first recipient. (Herbert Hoover also received it, as he was the only other surviving former president. Hoover was wealthy, but took it so as to not embarrass Truman!)

I think the ethical/patriotic component of being a politician, started by our founding fathers, may well have died with Harry Truman. I believe the new inspiration for most people seeking political office lies in my formula: P + P = M. Power + Prestige = Money. Yup. I think that too many of our politicians are running for office for the pursuit of the almighty dollar. I also think too many decisions made by our elected officials are being influenced by the almighty dollar. And…being the skeptic that I am…I am wondering from where this money is coming.

Campaign contributions

During the last presidential election, over $1.5 billion was raised by the two major party candidates, with Hillary Clinton raising about $1 billion herself. My question is, what happens to the unspent campaign contributions, especially for a losing candidate? Let me offer a theoretical situation. What if Hillary’s campaign spent only $750 million, what would happen to the other $250 million? Supposedly, there are strict rules governing this very situation. But, like all things coming out of Washington, D.C., there are loopholes and shady gray areas in the regulations. The candidates are forbidden from using those funds for personal use. (Yeah. Like I believe that!) And…the money is supposed to go to the political party or back to the contributors. (Really? Back to the contributors? Another fairy tale!) Once the political party has the money, they can do with it as they please. Does that mean they could give it back to the candidate? There are instances where candidates have purchased season athletic tickets, and paid extravagant salaries to friends and relatives. Yet….it has never been enforced. (Do you think all campaign contributions are reported?)

Could these campaign contributions be at least part of the reason we have almost fifteen people vying for the Democratic presidential nomination? Let’s be realistic. You and I both know that about a dozen of these people have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the nomination. But here they are…stumping and posturing for the first caucuses. How much money are we talking about? When Beto O’Rourke announced his candidacy, his campaign raised $6.5 million in 24 hours! And when all the losers drop out of the race, do you think all of the campaign contributions will be returned?

Net Worth

Will someone please explain to me how Barrack Obama can enter the White House with a net worth of less than $500 thousand, and now have a purported net worth of up to $140 million? If I am not mistaken, his annual salary as POTUS, was $400 thousand per year. That equates to a little over $3 million for his eight year term. He would net, after taxes, about $2 million. How do you take a leap of $138 million in such a short period of time? There is nothing the Obama’s have done; book deals, speeches, consulting that would earn this type of money. My skeptical nature tells me that money had to come from somewhere else. Campaign contributions? Executive decisions such as the Uranium One deal? Other executive decisions that resulted in donations or contributions? I am not accusing. I am just wondering out loud! Real loud!

How could I possibly bring up net worth without mentioning Bill and Hillary Clinton. According to Bill himself, the Clinton’s left the White House $16 million in debt. Much of this was because of attorney fees and settlements paid out for sexual harassment law suits. But yet, today the Clinton’s have a purported net worth of $240 million! Now that is what I call a miraculous financial turnaround! How did all of that occur? Well, there was that wonderful organization called the Clinton Foundation. This was a foundation located in Canada to protect the donor list, that was never certified as a charitable foundation because less than 3% of its donations were used for charitable causes. It sounds to me like it was more like a personal Clinton piggy bank. And some of its donations were huge. One $145 million donation came from the Russian investors involved in the Uranium One deal. This deal took place while Hillary was Secretary of State and Obama was POTUS. Coincidence? Do you find it coincidental that the Clinton foundation donations ceased as soon as Hillary lost the election, thereby forcing the closing of the foundation?

How were these large net worth amounts attainable? P + P = M!

Influence Peddling

Who made this statement?

“People who enter the United States without our permission are illegal aliens, and illegal aliens should not be treated the same as people who entered the U.S. legally.”

Donald Trump? Mike Pence? Sarah Sanders? Mitch McConnell? Well, in 2009, that statement was said by none other than Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority leader. My…how things have changed. But I digress.

Is the real reason that the Democrats are fighting the wall is to stop Trump from keeping a campaign promise, or is it something else. Something else…like money. I brought up in my last blog that it was not coincidental that the marijuana legal states are controlled by Democrats. Correspondingly, most of these states are fighting immigration reform and border security. As well as the influx of illegal aliens, there has been an influx of illegal drugs. How much money is generated between legalized marijuana and illegal drugs in those states? I don’t think anyone really knows because there have not been any drug lords in America that have religiously filed personal and corporate tax returns. I am willing to speculate that amount of money is enormous ( or gi-normous in modern vernacular) and would probably astound the average person if known. So…is that money finding its way into the campaign coffers of politicians from those states? Because once money is in campaign coffers, that money seems to find its way to parts unknown.

I know that one reason for resisting the wall is that the Democrats are speculating that illegal aliens will increase their political base. That is so they can maintain POWER+ PRESTIGE. If my formula is correct, the MONEY will follow.

The Mueller Investigation

The Mueller Investigation results were released this past weekend. With eighteen full time attorneys and forty full time FBI investigators, at an expense of over $25 million over two years, the Democrats are doubling down on their efforts to discredit the report. I predicted that the Democrats would rather investigate than legislate and it appears my crystal ball is still finely tuned.

Here’s another quote. Who said this:

” Carry the battle to them. Don’t let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don’t apologize for anything.”

Chuck Schumer? Nancy Pelosi? Cory Booker? Hillary Clinton? Nope. This quote was made by Harry S. Truman. I believe he was referring to World War II, but does it sound like the battleground being fought today by the Democrats. Does that quote pretty much describe the political climate in Washington? I am convinced that the Democrats, even though losing the last presidential election, even though not getting the desired ‘goodies’ from the Mueller report to impeach Trump, will do anything to gain/retain POWER + PRESTIGE. After all, with it comes the MONEY.

One more prediction? I think that Trump is going to rip the scab and expose all the puss surrounding this whole affair. Watch for the cockroaches scurrying for the darkness.

I WANT THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION TO CONTINUE!

Do you ever have those moments when you just don’t want a good thing to end? A birthday party? A graduation? A marriage? Well, I feel the same way about the Mueller investigation. After all, if it ended today, what would we do with all those unemployed liberal lawyers on the Mueller investigation team? They would just go out and, like teenagers without anything to do, just get into trouble elsewhere. And, let’s face it. They are effective. What other band of merry men could send 26 agents with 17 vehicles and with guns drawn, to arrest Roger Stone in a pre-dawn raid? Luckily, a CNN camera crew happened to be cruising Stone’s neighborhood at just that same time and captured the elderly, apparently dangerous Roger Stone arrested on camera. What a stroke of luck! Now that is what I call efficiency!

Now I must make an assumption. I will assume that in the near future, the Mueller investigation team will be wrapping up its investigation into how the Russians influenced our 2016 presidential election. Surely, as efficient as they are, they must have found some stuffed ballot boxes with borscht stained ballots. Of course, these ballots would all be for Trump. Thereby, we must investigate anything and anyone that has ever been in contact with Donald Trump. Trump attorneys, Trump accountants, Trump bathroom attendants, and now it appears Donald Trump, Junior, will now all be subpoenaed by the Mueller investigation team. Now that is what I call progress! And…it has only cost the American taxpayer about $40 million for this team to accomplish all it has done in the last 19 months.

But alas. All of this will soon come to an end, and then what will we be able to watch on the 24/7 news channels? Maybe another supreme court justice nominee roast? Possibly another Corey Booker ‘Spartacus moment?’ Do we have a new Attorney General? Boo hoo. What will we do?

Never fear dear readers, for I, Grandpa T, have a proposal for two new items that the Mueller investigation team can investigate. I am confident that they will investigate these items with the efficiency and alacrity for which they have shown the Russian collusion investigation. And…to make it more interesting, these two items also relate to the 2016 presidential election. Robert and the boys will need a new copier to print up all the subpoenas they will need for my two proposals. (I am on a personal mission to assure that the 24/7 news channels do not run out of material. Or, like Mueller’s liberal attorneys, those reporters will be out raising hell elsewhere!)

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I attended a midwestern university and was a member of ROTC. There were about 320 cadets in the four ROTC classes. The school graduated about 80 future Army officers each year. I graduated in 1971. That year was the year that the Vietnam Conflict began winding down. But in my old age, my thoughts always return to the Army ROTC graduating class of 1968 at our university. I knew many of these guys well. They were young. They were patriotic. They all volunteered to do what they thought was right for America. They persevered to graduate from college and become Army officers. And, because of the luck of drawing a short straw, they were all commissioned at the time of the most intense fighting in Vietnam. About one-fourth of that graduating class was killed in Vietnam. Some of the best people I have ever known were struck down before experiencing marriage, children, grandchildren….all of those things that make life worth living. Gone. These guys were brave. These guys were patriotic. These guys sacrificed their lives for what they believed was right for America.

So here is my challenge to Robert Mueller and his investigators. In light of what I have just related, I need to add that at the most, these fine soldiers got to determine their fates by being able to vote only once; in the 1968 presidential election, before being killed in the defense of America. And, in light of the fact that the Robert Mueller investigation is purportedly about Russian collusion, I want the Robert Mueller investigation team to investigate the number of non-American citizens that voted in the 2016 presidential election. I want to know how many. I want to know how they were allowed to vote. I want to see subpoenas and punishment for those officials that allowed non-citizens to influence and participate in our election. Because, in my eyes, anyone that allows a non-American to vote in our elections has ‘stolen the valor’ from those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend this country. This valor has been stolen not only for my Vietnam compatriots, but also from those that have served in all of our wars and conflicts. In effect, American citizenship has been cheapened and sold wholesale. I am positive that there will be millions of votes found that are fraudulent and in numbers that the Russians could ever imagine to influence. Go get’um Robert!

Here is my second proposal for the Robert Mueller investigation team. In my last blog, I presented statistics indicating that there are ten states with legalized recreational marijuana in the United States. Of those ten states, seven of them consider themselves ‘sanctuary states, sanctuary counties or sanctuary cities.’ The sanctuary counties and cities are the largest in each state, if the state, as a whole is not considered a sanctuary. Coincidentally, these sanctuary areas are controlled by liberal politicians. So let me be clearer: we have seven sanctuary areas, controlled by liberal politicians, that have legalized marijuana. Coupled with the fact that these liberal politicians are diligently fighting against a southern border wall with Mexico, I want to know the following: How much illegal drug money and marijuana money is being poured into our elections and who is getting it?

Let me give the Mueller investigation team some guidelines. What we need to know is how are the drug cartels benefiting from our current situation. Do they benefit with no wall? Yes. Are they able to move money, drugs, and their compatriots across our border easier without the wall? Yes. Do they use civilians illegally crossing the border as their ‘drug mules?’ Yes. Are some of the people illegally crossing the border going to become customers for the drug cartel? Probably.

But I save the biggie for last. Are drug money profits being used to influence our politicians? Before answering this, I need to point out that recently, one of ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s lieutenants said that the former president of Mexico, received a $100 million bribe to allow El Chapo to run his drug business unmolested in Mexico. Supposedly, this was the amount settled on after the former president requested $250 million! That revelation came and went from the media faster than a speeding bullet. Why? Because if true, it would indicate that politicians could be influenced by drug money. Who knew? But if you think that bribe is fictitious, then we need to discuss the non-fictitious Clinton Foundation.

The Clinton Foundation was never sanctioned as a charitable organization, as less than 3% of their ‘contributions’ were used for charitable purposes. With the Foundation being located in Canada to protect its ‘contributor’ identities, the entire foundation was a money machine for Clinton wealth attainment and for financing Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign. One contribution of $147 million was made after the completion of the Uranium One deal while Hillary was Secretary of State. How convenient. More amazingly, that contribution came from Russia!

So with the Clinton Foundation and the purported pay-off to the former president of Mexico, now do you think it possible for illegal drug money to be influencing our elections? I certainly do. I believe our politicians may be accepting illegal drug money contributions either knowingly or unknowingly. After all, the drug cartels are not stupid. They would be making contributions through nobly named organizations, such as, ‘Progressive Hispanic Voters of America,’ or some such names.

Does this whole thing make more ‘common sense’ when you wrap up illegal drug monies, with sanctuary areas, with liberal politicians fighting border security with marijuana legalization? Then to complicate this, throw in the votes cast by non-citizens in the last presidential election from these same ‘sanctuary’ areas. Does any of this make for a better America?

So here you go, Mr. Mueller. Rather than you and your investigating team blowing smoke out your asses about Russian collusion in our last election, you need to get busy investigating real voter fraud and nefarious campaign contributions prevalent in our last election. I guarantee you will get better results and much more interesting findings than your current investigation. (If you find that boring, you could always investigate the Clinton Foundation!)

Go! Robert! Go!

Stop Playing ‘Patty Cake’ Politics. Build the Wall!

As I am writing this blog, the year 2018 is coming to an end. And in true ‘political fashion’, our government is experiencing a partial government shut-down. What the hell is a ‘partial’ government shut-down? When I go to my local Publix to get an apple fritter, they are either open for business or closed. Now I have to admit that I am not entirely negative about a government shutdown. Federal employees are temporarily laid off, but generally receive back pay for not working once called back to work. This may be a temporary inconvenience for them, but because of the holidays, what a great time to be awarded what will eventually become a paid vacation. (Paid for not working during the holidays. What a win for taxpayers!) Visitors to Washington, D.C., may be inconvenienced because many of the popular attractions are closed.

Amazingly, I find after all my years, that I am actually a socialist! My late mother, a lifelong Democrat concerned about my conservative leanings, would be proud! Why? Because I agree with the newly elected socialist representative from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has stated that when the country experiences a federal shut down, legislators should not be paid!  Three cheers for the commie! How many hard working American taxpayers disagree with that? My guess? Not many.

The cause for this shut down is because of another game of ‘political patty cake.’ The POTUS says he wants $5 billion to continue work on the wall. The democratic members of congress do not want to give Trump a win on one of his campaign promises. Never mind what is good for America. Never mind that $5 billion is a drop in the bucket of a very large federal budget. Never mind that this is what the majority of Americans want! (Admittedly, I am perturbed that the Republicans could not address this issue when they had control of both houses of Congress. But when you hate Trump personally, you do everything possible to make him look bad, regardless of political party.)

In my two previous blogs, I mentioned our visit to the Great Wall of China. The Chinese built their wall for four reasons. Firstly, they wanted to protect their country from foreign invasion. Check. They wanted to control immigration and emigration. Check. Check. They wanted to tax commerce taking place because of the silk road. Check. I would like to add one more reason for the wall; inhibiting the entrance of illegal drugs.

Admittedly, I find all kinds of ironies as to why the U.S. has not built the wall. Do you know what the first thing the government does to the popular attractions in Washington, D.C. during a government shut-down? They put barricades and high fences around the attraction! Yup. They build walls.

Is the United States a safe place to live? 50 years ago, we never locked our houses. For convenience, we left our keys in our unlocked cars. Would you do that today? How many of our legislators, the legislators that do not want the wall, live in gated communities or live in homes with walls or fences? How many have security systems? I actually attempted to research this, but it appears most legislators do not want us to know where they live. Imagine that.

We keep hearing the argument that our country is a ‘nation of immigrants.’ I cannot argue with that, but the previous immigrants were much different than the immigrants trying to enter our country illegally. Firstly, they came legally. They did not jump fences. Most came through Ellis Island. Secondly, most had a trade. Many were miners, lumberjacks and farmers and immediately began contributing to the economy of the United States. Thirdly, they did not cost the country an estimated $116 billion a year like the illegals in our country today. Earlier immigrants got jobs and began paying taxes. They wanted to be Americans and they wanted to assimilate. Many of those first generation immigrants ended up fighting in our world wars. There wasn’t any press 2 for German or press 3 for Norwegian. If they became voting citizens, all of the ballots were printed in English. I remember Polish being spoken at my grandparent’s home, but only English was spoken in public. Let me sum up how immigrants from Europe are different from immigrants from Central America: they were better educated, and they were largely self-sufficient. They brought lefse, corned beef with cabbage and bratwursts. They did not bring illegal drugs. There were no children entering the country without parents. Many of the new immigrants are here to milk the cow of American benevolence and to take advantage of our ‘political correctness.’ Other than possibly Canada, no other country allows this! This needs to be addressed by our politicians.

I know that most of us have driven on crowded freeways or congested city traffic. I know that oftentimes, I am shocked that more people are not killed in vehicular traffic accidents. Well, in 2016, 37,000 people were killed in vehicular accidents. That number is shocking. Do you know how many people died in 2017 from drug overdose? That number is a shocking 72,000! Yes, almost twice as many as killed in vehicular accidents. Do you think we should get more serious about eradicating the entrance of illegal drugs across our borders? Do you think the border wall would help?

I did some research which you will find interesting. Do you know that 10 states now have legalized recreational marijuana? Those states are: California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Michigan, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Alaska. Now follow my reasoning in this, do you know how many of these states are sanctuary states or have the majority of their populated counties as sanctuary counties? All but three. Those states are Maine, Alaska and Michigan. Seven of the ten states with legalized recreational marijuana are in full or in part; sanctuary states. Now I took my research one step further. Of the ten states, how many of the total of 20 possible U.S. senators are Democrat? Let me preface this by saying that in the ten states, two states have elected two senators that claim to be independent. One is Bernie (the socialist) Sanders from Vermont and the other is Angus King from Maine. If these two senators are considered liberal enough to be Democrats, then a total of 16 of the possible 20 U.S. senators from these 10 states are Democrat!

Let me sum this up. Those ten states represent 20% of the states in the United States. The senators representing these ten states represent 34% of all the Democrats in the U.S. senate! Ten states with legal recreational marijuana of which seven are all or part sanctuary states, all with a preponderance of Democrat U.S. senators that are against funding the wall, thus causing the shut-down. (The state of New York is considering legalizing marijuana. That would be two more Democrat senators.)

I need to ask the question. With all the deaths from drug overdose, would it not be advantageous for the benefit of their electorate that these states and their politicians would want to stem the flow of illegal drugs? Is it coincidental that the majority of legal marijuana states are also the largest sanctuary states?

I know many would want to believe that marijuana is not a ‘gateway drug.’ I beg to differ. It has been proven that over 50% of Colorado residents that were once ‘occasional’ users before legalization, are now daily users. Holy smoke! Holy marijuana smoke! Common sense tells me that once a high becomes blah, a higher high will be attempted. That higher high may be a product coming illegally across our border.

I am tired of ‘patty cake’ politics being played at the expense of the average American. It is time for the government to do its job and begin doing what is right for America. Build the damn wall! Stem the flow of illegal, uneducated, untrained immigrants and unaccompanied minors. Come up with a plan for the ‘dreamers.’ Author a citizenship procedure built on merit. Stop the flow of illegal drugs into this country! Whether you egotists want to believe it or not…your inaction is killing people in this country! THAT is what we cannot afford.

Asian versus Western Culture. What can we learn?

As I mentioned in the previous blog, Grandma P and I enjoyed a bucket list, 60 day cruise around the Pacific rim.  After visiting Alaska, we sailed across the northern Pacific (in a typhoon!) and made ports in Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam,  the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii and then back to Los Angeles. 

We saw many wonderful sites and learned much about the Asian culture.  Here are just a few items to compare the similarities and differences between the Asian culture and our western culture.

Building The Wall

Is there anyone with a heartbeat that has not heard about the political turmoil surrounding the proposed border wall between the US and Mexico?  Well, let me tell you that if you want to build a border wall, talk to the Chinese!

Yup, those Chinese knew a bad situation when they saw one, so they began work on a border wall, now known in the Western world as the Great Wall of China.  To the Chinese, it is known as the ‘Long Wall.’  By either name, it is still gosh-darn impressive.  Work began on the wall in the 7th century B.C.  The wall, mostly oriented from east to west, was constructed to prevent invasion by land-grabbing nomadic tribes in what is now Mongolia.  That early wall was only a partial wall, so Qin Shi Huang, the first Chinese emperor, got serious and much more wall was built from 202-206 A.D.  But the real wall builders, building the majority of the wall were the members of the Ming Dynasty.  This construction was from 1368-1644.  Almost 300 years in the making!  (Now that is job security!)

But I have to admit, the Great Wall is very impressive.  Grandma P and I were impressed by seeing the pyramids at Giza, but to me, this is much more impressive.  Why?  Firstly, that wall, made of stone and brick, is 16′ to 26′ high, depending on the surrounding topography.  It is also from 16′ to 19′ wide.  Not impressed yet?  Maybe you will be more impressed when you learn that the stone portion of the wall is part of a much larger defense system and that the wall portion is 3,889 miles long!  The defense system also includes 223 miles of trenches and incorporates 1377 miles of natural terrain barriers, i.e., mountains, rivers and lakes.  Not impressed yet?  Well, the information I have given is only what the Ming Dynasty built.  Combined with what was built by other Chinese rulers, the total defensive system is 13,171 miles long! 

Other than from invasion, the wall was built to control immigration and emigration, and to tax goods traveling down the Silk road.  Now picture this, that 13,171 mile structure would be long enough to build a wall between the US and Mexico, with enough left over for a Canadian wall!  And…for good measure, there probably would be enough left over to separate the US from California!  Now that would be a novel idea.  Seriously, if you do not see it in person, it is difficult to imagine how much time, effort and labor went into this architectural wonder.  It is by far the most impressive structure I have seen, and I have been fortunate to see many impressive structures.

Immigration

If you want to learn about immigration, one needs to learn about Japan’s policy.  What is their policy?  Pretty much it is like this….NO IMMIGRATION!  The Japanese are not interested in either diluting their culture or their race.  They have been protected by a water border for millenniums and they are not in favor of changing now.  Their religion is Shinto, there are some Buddhist temples, but Shinto is by far the dominant religion.

We, by accident, were in Tokyo/Yokohama during a three day holiday celebration.  I need to preface this by saying I was in Japan for 3 weeks during the 90’s, and I was always impressed by the fact that I never saw garbage, graffiti, or homeless people.  It was the same on this trip except we blundered into this holiday.  The Japanese people were dressed immaculately.  Everyone, including children, were either dressed in formal attire or traditional attire.  As a population they looked terrific….all two million of them that we rubbed shoulders with personally.  (It was crowded!  Picture ants on a sugar pile times five!)  Now we have a ship full of westerners, mostly Americans and Canadians.  And how do Americans and Canadians dress while touring?  Well, you never saw a more vibrant collection of cheesy baseball hats, panama hats, T-shirts with stupid wording and/or pictures, and shorts.  You get the picture.  We provided the ‘street people’ for their celebration.  I am sure we left a huge impression on the Japanese.  

Protecting Asian History

Let’s be honest.  The history of our country extends for about 400 years.  Compared to the Asian countries we visited, the US is a babe in the woods.  What are some of the oldest structures in the US?  We do have some pueblos in New Mexico that date back to 1000 A.D. built by native Americans.  But the earliest buildings of European influence are a  church and government building built by the Spanish in the early 1600’s in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We visited sites that had buildings in Asia that date back 3000 years!

While in Taipei, Taiwan; we visited the Martyr’s Shrine and the Chiang Kai- Shek Memorial Hall.  The reason I mention this is because at both locations, members of the Taiwanese military performed a ‘changing of the guard’ ceremony.  It was both stunning and impressive.  Each of these soldiers were over 6′ tall.  They carried M-1 Girand rifles with the metal parts being  chromed.  Their bayonets and helmets were also chromed.  Their changing ceremony at the Shrine took 25 minutes.  If there is a UTube video of this, please find it and watch.  Well worth the view.

Everywhere we went, we visited shrines and temples that were meticulously preserved and protected.  Why do I mention this?  Their methods of protecting their very lengthy history are directly opposed to how we, in the US protect our limited history.  I find it shameful that we remove Civil War statues, biblical scenes from churches, the ten commandments from court houses and that we have to rename our holidays, all under the guise of being ‘politically correct.’  It is our history!  Our country was founded by Christians!  The Asians have no such compunction to change any of their history.  Unlike us, they revel in their history, protect their history and honor their history.  

Life Goals

If you like crowds, smog and scooters, then Asia is the place for you.  There is plenty of each.

When we are rearing young children, what do we want for them?  I have been watching our grandkids being raised and I know that their parents are very much concerned about the cost of sending them to college.  The grandkids are all very good in school, so I would suspect they will all want to go to college.

Our tour guide in Vietnam was a family man with a three year old daughter.  During his presentation as we were enjoying the  bus ride to the ancient city of Hue, he mentioned he had three motor scooters.  After we reached our destination, I asked him why he had three scooters.  He said he had one scooter, his wife had one scooter and he had one for his three year old daughter.  “Surely your three year old is not driving a scooter?”  He explained that the cost of scooters was rising, and he wanted to be assured that when she was sixteen, she would have a scooter.  Not a car.  Not a college education.  But…a scooter.  Wow.  It was humbling to think that was a major priority in raising a child in Vietnam.

Coincidentally, our guide was also a mechanical engineer.  He was hoping that he would one day be able to emigrate to Japan to get a job in his field.  Good luck with that….as long as you are a practicing Shinto.

Environmental Concerns

Our entire three hour ride to the Great Wall, on a Sunday, was in smog.  That smog was even at the Great Wall.  On any particular day, one-fifth of all the cars in China are required to stay off the road.  The days are determined by the first number of your license plate and the days are on a rotating basis.  

On this trip to the wall, we also saw at least 5 million planted trees along the roadway.  All of this is done to assist in alleviating the smog from the heavily industrial area of northern China, particularly near Bejing.  Even with all of these trees, the smog was winning.  We have seen smog in Los Angeles.  We have seen smog in Denver.  But no one has observed smog that has taken up about one-third of a country.  That is what is happening in China.  China is a signatory to the Kyoto accord, which concerns climate change.  I am here to tell you that if anything has been done to alleviate the air pollution in China, it is not much and not working.

Conclusion

While touring, we were always on newer buses, oftentimes with more leg room than an American airplane.  The concept of shock-absorbers and flat roads is an unknown concept in some Asian countries.  China and Vietnam come to mind.

Not all Asian countries have western commodes.  The ladies were particularly appalled at the number of ‘squat holes’ that served as bathroom fixtures.  The cleanliness of the bathroom was dependent upon the accuracy of the previous users aim.  (There were many female complaints about bad marksmanship in this regard.) Men lucked out with urinals.  (The Japanese were the clear bathroom kings!  Their western style commodes had up to 8 buttons for self-cleaning, heated seats, and flushing and mystery functions!  Nothing was in English, so experimentation proved interesting.)

Our trip was fantastic, informative, and fun.  I could write extensively about other details of our journey, but I will cut it off.  I promise I will begin the new year with more diatribes centered on politics.  Oh, goody!

So, in the spirit of being politically incorrect:  Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and have a healthy and prosperous New Year.  

To Investigate or to Legislate. What Will Congress Do?

Grandma P and I just got home ten days ago from a 60 day cruise that went around the Pacific Rim.  It was a marvelous, bucket-list cruise that included Alaska, Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea (North Korea was not conducting excursions that day, or any day!), Viet Nam, the Philippines, Guam and Hawaii.  Whew!  There were to be 22 ports of call, but two were cancelled as we were dodging a typhoon on our way from Alaska to Japan.  There are nothing like 40 foot waves to get your attention on a ship!

Meanwhile, back in the good ole’ US of A, all kinds a ‘goings on’ were occurring.  There were deadly fires taking place in California.  Hurricane Michael, a very late in season hurricane, came ashore just east of Panama City, Florida.  Were we concerned?  Being the eye of that category 5 hurricane came ashore just 59 miles from our house, you could surmise that we were very concerned.  We would have been more concerned if we were not dodging a typhoon at the same time creating the 40′ waves.

The ship did not really have to be concerned about entertaining us for 60 days.  Why?  Because we had the Brett Kavanaugh hearings on three different news channels.  We could watch it on MSNBC, Fox, or the BBC.  As you are aware, the coverage was relentless; almost as relentless as the accusations against Kavanaugh were ridiculous and repulsive.  I am sure that in her mind, Christine Blasey Ford believed something did happen to her.  Without the corroboration of any of her ‘best friends’, the accusations were weak at best.  The whole affair turned beyond ridiculous when the accusation was made that he was the ‘leader of a gang of rapists!’   After 6 FBI background investigations without a blemish?  I don’t think so.   Trust me when I say that I do not enjoy writing about those senatorial proceedings any more than I, and many others, enjoyed watching them.  But the one takeaway from those proceedings that sends a shiver down my spine is the thought that those proceedings, with senators mugging for TV time, with senators posturing to be a presidential nominee, with senators acting as if they are the clowns in a whole new circus firing off ridiculous accusations, that all of this becomes …….the new ‘political reality TV.’  

Oh.  There was one more event that took place during our cruise.  We had the midterm elections.  Was there any drama surrounding that event?  We were not sure who the governor or US senator from Florida would be until almost two weeks after election night.  We got off the ship on November 18, and I believe Ron Desantis and Rick Scott were declared the winners the day before.  (If those damn Russians would quit meddling in our elections, we would have had the results sooner!)  Anyway, after a run-off in Mississippi for senator, and a bucket load of close elections around the country, the end result is that the Republicans picked up two seats in the Senate, and lost about 30 seats in the House of Representatives, giving the Democrats the majority.

So now, dear readers, I have finally gotten to the meat of this blog.  Will our new Congress legislate, or investigate?

I have some suggestions for our Congress if they feel like performing their jobs and decide to  legislate.  Firstly, that caravan of immigrants, that caravan that the media tried to convince us was imaginary, has now appeared at our borders.  Recently, things turned ugly when bottles and rocks were thrown at our border security people.  Not only that, it is confirmed that there are more caravans on the way.  We have all heard different stories as to the composition of these caravans.  The most reliable information for me comes from the Mexican government.  I am skeptical of our media coverage, so the Mexican government has no reason to sugarcoat the caravan composition.  They are reporting that 75% are working age males.  The remaining 25% is divided between women and children.  Less than 5% of these people have a tinge of a case for political asylum.   The Mexican government has offered jobs.  But yet, they decline and keep coming.  The Mexican government has offered ‘political asylum.’  But yet, they decline and keep coming.  The Mexican government in conjunction with our border security people cite that a full 10% of these people have criminal records.  Do you want these people as your neighbors?  If these people are really trying to escape bad countries in the hope of entering our country, why are they carrying the flags of the country they left and not the flag of our country.  To me, this indicates they do not really want to assimilate and contribute to our society as Americans, but abuse our benevolence as immigrants.

So Congress, if you want to listen to the electorate and legislate:  build the wall, establish border security and pass legislation for allowing people to apply for and establish rules for becoming US citizens.  This should apply to new immigrants, and to the ‘dreamers.’

If that sounds like a boring prospect, how about addressing the problem of Russian aggression in the Ukraine and the military build-ups by both Russia and China.  Still boring?  Well, then throw in North Korea and Iran to boot.  That should keep Congress busy for a while.  Our past politicians have failed to address these issues for years and now this has festered into a bigger, global problem.

Here is a thought.  How about establishing voting requirements for elections.  You know.  Simple stuff like being a US citizen to vote in our election.  How about a photo ID to vote?  I know this would inconvenience the average US citizen about 10 minutes to prove they are actually a US citizen, but I believe that the inconvenience is well worth it.  It gores my bull when I think that my vote could be cancelled by someone not remotely eligible to vote in this country.  And with that in mind, Robert Mueller is still, after two years, trying to determine how the Russians influenced the 2016 election.  Let me help you with that Robert.  They didn’t.  After $40 million, you still cannot pinpoint Russian influence on that election.  Yet, I am sure that many non-citizens voted in our election.  The Russians could only dream of affecting our elections as much as states allowing illegals to vote.

Have you heard one item that the Democrats plan for legislation after they control the House of Representatives?  One item?  Anyone?  Naw….me neither.  What I have heard is that they plan to ‘investigate.’  What do they plan to investigate?  Well, they are foaming at the mouth about being able to investigate Donald Trump’s tax returns for the period when his father passed the corporation from himself to Donald.  Considering Fred Trump died in 1999 at the age of 93, and retired from business in the 70’s, that would be one helluva IRS investigation.  How many corporations or individuals keep records for almost 50 years!  But wait!  This investigation would make great ‘political reality TV,’ and maybe, just maybe we could create enough skepticism to get Trump impeached!

Believe it or not, I am OK with the IRS doing an audit on Donald Trump.  Because America is the land of opportunity and fairness, I would want an IRS audit done on each and every member of Congress!  I would want to know how a person gets elected to Congress as a pauper and walks away as a ‘gabillionaire.’  Wouldn’t you want to know?  How is it that Barack Obama is elected POTUS with a net worth less than mine and now has a net worth of $135 million. (Yes. That net worth is more than mine.  But I wrote this blog and what did he do?)  Don’t you want to know?

And, to make this really fair and equitable, as long as the Trump Organization is being audited, I would want the Clinton Foundation audited.  I would want the Uranium One deal investigated.  (I would actually like to see ‘all things Clinton’ investigated!)

I have this nagging feeling that far too many people in this country like and enjoy ‘political realty TV.’  I think that because of some of the candidates that won in the last midterm election.  For example, New York elected a socialist.  Furthermore, a senator from Arizona says it is OK to fight for the enemies of the US such as ISIS.  Are these people really qualified candidates?  Were they the best candidates available?  Or, were they elected to create more dissension and confusion within Congress, thereby creating more opportunities for more ‘political reality TV?’

After watching the Kavanaugh hearings (And the new Murphy Brown show!  But, more on that later.), I hope that ‘political reality TV’ is not the new norm.  If it is, heaven needs to help us through the next two years.

A lesson learned from all of this?  Grandma P and I cannot leave the country for extended periods of time.  It goes to hell in our absence and political programming like Murphy Brown appears on TV, attempting to pass itself off as a comedy.  You failed, and you have been canceled.  Thankfully, good judgement prevailed in that decision.

I am beginning to think that I, too, may be a ‘dreamer.’  I dream that maybe one day, our Congress will legislate, and eventually do what is right for America.  Legislate, not investigate.  GET TO WORK!