Tag Archives: baby boomers

Common Sense Applied to Campaign Promises. Are We On the Same Planet?

In the twentieth century, campaign slogans and campaign promises were much more simple than those of today.  In the 1900 presidential election, William McKinley used the slogan, ‘Four more years of the full dinner pail.’  How many millennials would even know what a dinner pail is?

In 1916, Woodrow Wilson’s big slogan was, ‘War in the east, peace in the west, thank God for Woodrow Wilson.’  Well, this slogan is interesting for two reasons: firstly, the US got involved with WWI one year later, and secondly, who today would include God in their campaign slogan?

The most famous campaign promise/slogan was used by Herbert Hoover in his 1928 election.  His famous slogan?  ‘A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.’  Now common sense would easily indicate that the Federal Government was not going to buy everyone a chicken and a car.  The gist of that slogan was that America would be so prosperous that everyone would be able to afford food and a car. It was still an era of self-sufficiency and independence in the US.   Well, like Wilson entering WWI, Hoover got thrown for a loop because of the stock market crash of 1929, less than a year after he took the oath of office.

Hoover lost the election to Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932.  FDR’s biggest campaign promise was to provide a ‘New Deal.’  FDR quickly turned on another one of his campaign promises….balancing the budget.   According to one historian, FDR issued in a government that created a ‘firm desire on the part of the American people to use the government as an agency of human welfare.’  FDR determined that balancing the federal budget was outweighed by what he termed, ‘government activism.’

Now we get to some of the more recent campaign issues and promises.

Have you seen the Hillary Clinton TV ad stating that she would tax corporations and wealthy individuals, as it is time for them to pay their fair share of taxes?  I have seen this ad too many times already.  But be that as it may, one thing has become evident, no one from her staff knows how to use a computer for research, … only for sending classified emails.  Here are the most current statistics, easily found by anyone who is familiar with using google.  The United States pays the highest federal corporate taxes of the 34 industrial nations of the world. The maximum federal corporate tax rate is 39%.  In the worldly picture, the US is tied with Puerto Rico, and only behind the United Arab Emirates (55%) and Chad (40%).  The US federal tax rate is 16 percentage points higher that the worldwide average of 22.8%.  (For my info junkies, the federal tax rate in Mexico is 30%)

But, just like the TV commercial, there is more.  There are also state corporate taxes.  Would you like to guess which state has the highest corporate tax rate?  New York?  California?  New Jersey?  All good guesses but the state with the highest corporate tax rate at 12% is……………..Iowa!  Yup, those Hawkeyes finally got to be #1 at something.  Four states levy a maximum state corporate tax rate higher than 9%.  Those states are Pennsylvania (9.99%), District of Columbia (9.4%), Minnesota (9.84%) and Alaska (9.4%)  Ohio, Texas and Washington forego state corporate taxes but instead impose gross receipt taxes on businesses.  Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming levy neither corporate income nor gross receipts taxes.  All the other states have a maximum corporate tax rate.

Here is an example of why US corporations are moving their headquarters and facilities out of the US.  Medtronic is located in Minnesota.  They make sophisticated medical devices.  Let us imagine that Medtronic makes $100 million profit in a year.  According to our present taxing structure, they would pay $39 million to the federal government and almost $10 to the state of Minnesota.  In round numbers, they pay $49 million in taxes and get to keep $51 million of their profit.  But wait….Medtronic is moving their entire operation to Ireland.  Why?  The new corporate tax rate is going to be 18%, with no state corporate taxes.  Under this scenario, they pay $18 million in taxes to Ireland and get to keep $82 million of their $100 million profit.

And Hillary Clinton wants to tax corporations more?

Let us take this one step further.  Do you know what percentage of federal tax receipts are attributable to corporations and what percentage are attributable to individual income taxes?  Here is a simplified breakdown of where the federal government gets its money:  Social insurance (payroll) taxes are 33.9%, excise taxes are 3.1%, Miscellaneous taxes account for 6.3%, corporate income taxes account for 10.6%, and individual income taxes account for a whooping 46.2% of federal tax revenue.   Would it be common sense to lower corporate tax rates to keep more companies within the United States, thereby creating more jobs?  If we would cut the corporate tax rate in half, would we not create more jobs?  Jobs that would provide more federal income to make up and exceed the difference in lost corporate taxes?

But wait, what are we going to do with all those high income tax payers that are not paying their fair share of taxes?  Well, here again, all those computers at Hillary’s campaign headquarters must be on the blink.  Did you know that the top 1% of the top wage earners in the United States, those people having an adjusted gross income (AGI) higher than $428,713, contribute 37.8% of the personal income taxes paid to the federal government.  The top 5%, those with an AGI greater than $179,760, pay 58.55% of the personal income taxes paid to the federal government.  The top 50% of the US wage earners, with an AGI greater than $36,841 contribute 97.22% of all federal personal income taxes.  Those 50% that are below $36,841 contribute 2.78% to federal personal income taxes. That’s right, 50% of the US population only pays 2.78% of the total federal income tax revenues.  So who pays their fair share of taxes????  There may be tax loopholes that need to be addressed, but if Hillary wants the higher wage earners to contribute more is she advocating a flat tax for everyone?  I doubt that.  That would be too much common sense for today’s political climate. (Remember Mitt Romney being castigated by mentioning that 47% of the population does not pay taxes?  All true.)

How about that campaign promise of free college for everyone.  OK all you college bound students, who will ultimately pay for your education?  That would be all of us, even though there are other ways to pay for school.  I know this is out of vogue, but you could begin working part-time jobs and start saving money.  I had one year of college paid for before I started.  There are scholarships and grants.  There are, heaven forbid, jobs to do while in college.  I did that as well and graduated without a college debt.  You could go into the military and gain use of the GI bill.  Viet Nam prompted my generation to make early life decisions, but until you know what you exactly want to do, why waste your money and flounder in college.  A little maturity goes a long way when it comes to life decisions.

In 2013, the average cost of tuition and fees in private colleges was $32,405.  In state resident public schools, tuition and fees averaged $9,410.  For out of state residents attending a public college, the tuition and fees averaged $23,893.  None of these costs include living expenses.  This year, there will be 21 million students attending college.  If the government were to pick up the tab at an average of $20,000 per student, that would cost, if my math is correct, $420 billion a year.  That would be almost 15% of our $3 trillion annual budget.  It would match our defense budget.   Oh, don’t forget, our federal deficit is almost $20 trillion and we are expecting a $600 billion shortfall for the 2016 budget.  So, do you members of the ‘give me a trophy for participating’ generation and the ‘I can’t work, I’m going on spring break’ generation really think the government should pay for your school?

We will build a wall.  How many times have we heard that recently?  I am neither a proponent or an opponent of this particular campaign promise.  But, having said that I would like to ask a question, “Would you get on an airplane without seeing everyone going through security?”   Not in today’s environment.  The same procedures apply if you want to board a cruise ship.  Your bags are taken and examined as well as your carry-on baggage.  So if we would not board a plane or a ship without going through stringent security, why would we oppose stopping illegal aliens and drugs from entering this country.  I have no problem with work permits or temporary visas, but everyone needs to be vetted.  I would hope some smart people could come up with a quick efficient way of granting work permits and temporary visas.

There are many more campaign promises and slogans circulating during this election year.  I just selected some of the juicier ones for review in this blog.  The next time a candidate comes up with something that smells a little fishy, all in the hopes of buying votes, do a little research.  I am sure your computers work just fine.

It’s Political Hunting Season and All Candidates are Fair Game!

I believe the English language is being destroyed by superlative adjectives.  When I was young, pretty much everything you wore or ate could be described as small, medium or large.  With the popularity of fast food restaurants (thank you very much?) we now have extra large, 2X and 3X in our clothing sizes.   But those restaurants have even taken this to a higher level…we now can order SUPER-SIZED!  Extra large just doesn’t cut it anymore, its got to be super-sized.  How about that Big Gulp?

Another item I have noticed about the destruction of the English language is how we differentiate our celebrities.  During my youth, we had movie stars and television stars.  That’s what they were called and that’s what they were.  But now, if someone is being referred to as just a movie star, they are being denigrated.  You have to be a SUPER STAR or you ain’t diddly by the standards of today. Other terms I have heard to describe celebrity performers are A Lister or Uber Star.  A Lister? When I was attending school, I usually had a B+ average.  Most people would think that was pretty good but do you think any celebrity would be referred  to as B+ lister?  Uber?  Isn’t that German?  It’s not even Spanish.  What’s with that?  Isn’t there a cab company called Uber?  Are all the drivers German?

But now that the political campaigning season is underway, the media is tripping all over itself to describe the speeches and confrontations of the candidates by manipulating public opinion with their use of superlative adjectives.  For all practical purposes and with the media intent, the candidates could all be blaze orange-colored deer prancing through the woods during the start of the hunting season with bulls eye targets conveniently painted over their vital areas.  As can be imagined, that scenario would draw lots of fire.  (See the October 2015 blog on Do You Trust the Media? for further information}

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump appeared for a campaign speech in Pensacola, Florida.  The microphone did not work properly, so here are the headlines that the media chose to describe this occurance:

“Trump attacks his ‘stupid’ microphone in epic rant”, and

“Donald Trump freaks out over his microphone”

Admittedly, I did not watch this speech.  I did, however, see these headlines from two different news sources on the internet the next morning.  I was appalled.  Did Trump really have a meltdown?  Then my local newspaper arrived.  The event was close enough geographically to the newspaper offices for them to send reporters.  Can you guess what was reported about the ‘epic rant’ and the ‘freak out’ by journalists that were actually in attendance?  Not much.  They reported about the issues that Trump talked about and the audience response to the issues.  It was positive.  What the reporters did relate was that there was a microphone issue and that Trump was bantering about “firing the person responsible” and “not paying the company that was responsible”  You will be glad to learn that no one was fired and the responsible company did get paid.  It was classic Trump and part of his mantra of not tolerating substandard employee performance, especially government employees if he were elected POTUS.  (Remember his TV show, The Apprentice?  Same reaction,  You’re Fired!,  different format.}  Out of curiosity, I found the parts of this speech concerning the microphone on Utube.  There were three short snips of his comments about the microphone in a speech that was almost two hours long.  I particularly watched the audience reaction to determine if he was indeed having a meltdown.  He wasn’t and the audience was eating it up.  It was quite amusing and certainly did not warrant the above mentioned headlines.  The media made a deliberate effort to bury the issues of his speech and to exaggerate his delivery and demeanor.

Here are three more story headlines that appeared on the internet:

“Trump’s Staggering Remark about Iran”     “Cruz slams Trump after Explosive Assault on Twitter”  “Donald Trump goes Ballistic on Cruz, Invokes 9/11”

Here is the amazing thing about these headlines.  They all appeared on the same popular news site on the same day!  Look at the descriptive words being used to affect public opinion: ‘staggering remark,’  ‘slams,’ ‘explosive assault,’  ‘goes ballistic.’  This is not the way journalism reported when I was growing up.  This is a political campaign, but if you look at just the descriptive words you would think we have begun World War III!

I know most of this piece has been about Donald Trump and for good reason.  He appears to be the Republican front runner at the present time.  As a result, he is being attacked by his fellow Republican candidates that want to destroy his lead in the polls.  He is being attacked by the Democratic candidates.  And….most importantly, he is being attacked by the liberal media.

So, in the interest of fairness and impartiality, here are two headlines that appeared on January 19:

“Cruz slings insult directly at Trump for the first time”   “Republican Party Dumps NBC for CNN for Super Tuesday Debate”

I guess it just wouldn’t be the same if the first headline read, “Cruz responds directly to Trump for the first time.”  How about, “Republican Party Selects CNN for Super Tuesday Debate.”  Did I convey the same message with a greatly toned-down rhetoric?

How about this headline, “Bush spars with Trump supporter over foreign policy.”  Spars?  Isn’t sparring a boxing practice used to get ready for a big match?  Was Bush actually boxing with a Trump supporter?  Of course he wasn’t, but apparently  when it comes to politics, the media is all about aggression and aggressive descriptions.

This type of reporting is not an exclusivity of the Republican party.  The media likes to give their licks to the Democrats as described with these two headlines:

“White House fires back at Palin after Obama Attack.”   Did they shoot her?  Did she conduct a military operation or use ninjas to attack Obama?   Could this not have read, “White House responds to Palin’s comments about Obama.”  Just saying, this is the way it would have been reported 50 years ago.

Here is another one: “Clinton delivers brutal criticism of Sanders’ abilities.”  Take out the word brutal and the headline still delivers the same message.

I apologize for not having more Democratic examples, but they only have two viable candidates versus a platoon of Republican candidates.

Here is one of my biggest pet peeves.  It has been a pet peeve of mine for about 30 years.  It is the political candidate that says, “If you elect me…..I will fight for you”  Fight for me?  Doesn’t that statement imply we have enemies even though we are all Americans?  Is this the reason we don’t get diddly-squat done in Washington?  I want my representatives to communicate, debate, identify and compromise on what is for the good of our country.   Leave the fighting to the Department of Defense.

So here is the Grandpa T common sense opinion of what we can expect in the immediate future:

Firstly, it is only January and we have too many months to go before the election.  We will hear more and more of this type of rhetoric until we finally become numb to it, as most of the population has done already.  Additionally, it has become commonplace to use all these exaggerated superlatives by the younger generations.  If my grandkids ask me how I am feeling, and I reply ‘good,’ they are concerned I am dying because I didn’t reply that I was ‘great.’  Trust me when I say that the baby boomers were brought up in a more civilized era of reporting with far less super-sized adjectives.

Secondly, Trump has become the principle blaze orange deer prancing through the woods because he is the perceived front runner, much to the chagrin of too many people.  He will remain the biggest and brightest target until he either wins the election or gets dethroned as the perceived Republican leader.  I am convinced that if Abraham Lincoln was the conservative front runner in this fall’s election, he would be treated the same.  That is the way politics has evolved in America.

Thirdly, the media is not going to change or let up on their form of rhetoric and opinionated, false reporting.  They will continue it to sell advertising and to express their opinions in the most dynamic rhetoric possible.  What has changed is their beliefs and efforts to tell the truth.  As the saying goes, ‘don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.’  And they haven’t as witnessed by my example of Donald Trump’s Pensacola speech.  Relating the truth played a very small part of what was reported.

So here it is readers.  Most media sources think that the average American is too ignorant to separate the chaff from the buckwheat when it comes to political issues and political candidates. Prove them wrong!  Do not let the rhetoric get in the way of the truth.  Don’t make your political decisions because of the way you ‘feel’. That is what the media is hoping for as a way to destroy your objectivity.  That is how they bias your opinion with the use of superlative adjectives.  Do research.  Get facts.  Make sound decisions and ask pertinent questions before voting.  The future of our country depends on it.

Ode to the Class of ’66

This past Monday provided me with a clash of emotions.  I went to the mail box and received a letter from Rick, the senior class president for the class of ’66.  I knew that our 50 year class reunion was looming on the horizon.  Yippee!  Skippee!

Then I opened the letter and read the front page.  Time. Check.  Date.  Check.  Location.  Check. There it was, another outstanding job by Rick and his wife Debbie in once again getting our small class together.  61 graduates of a small school in the farming heartland of the Midwest meeting once again.  What could be more exciting than to see your old classmates!

Then, I turned the letter over to read the backside.  Seven of our classmates have died since our 40 year class reunion.  Seven!  Since Grandma P and I moved to the southeast almost 8 years ago, seven classmates died.  I was not aware of five of these seven passing.  Combined with the classmates that died earlier, 20% of our class of 61 graduates will not be attending the reunion.

I am still in shock….not only from the number that died, but also by the people that died.

As mentioned, our school was located in a small farming community in the Midwest.  The town was small, one square mile and at the time it had a population of less than a thousand people.  Everyone knew everyone.  The school district was geographically large.  From the school, it extended over 15 miles from north to south, and over 20 miles east to west.  This required the majority of students to be bused in every morning and taken home every night.  Many of these bus routes were almost an hour long for the students.  We did not have a ‘middle school.’  You were either in grade school, grades 1-6, junior high school, grades 7-8, or in high school which was grades 9-12.  All ages of these students rode the same bus.  First graders were riding with seniors and everyone in between.  You couldn’t wait to become a freshman, because you finally got a name rather than a number.  You were a ‘freshman!’

Now here is something that happened in our small town that would be very rare today.  Over half of the class of ’66 spent all twelve years of school together.  Yup.  In retrospect, I spent more time with my classmates in school than I spent with my sister and parents at home.  Once we reached high school, classes promptly began at 8:17 AM.  Lunch was from 12:17 PM to 12:47 PM.  You learned how to eat quickly and efficiently.  The end of the school day was 3:41 PM.  Well……it wasn’t the end for most of the students.  That is when the extra curricular activities began, or, if you were one of the farm kids, it is when you got home to assist with those farm chores.  There were members of our class that never participated in those extra curricular activities because they were needed on the farm.

I need to point out that because of spending all twelve years of school together, the boys and girls in our class really did become our brothers and sisters.  A confession.  I only kissed one girl in our class.  She and I were juniors.  She was attractive and intelligent and desirable…..but, it was really like kissing your sister.   (What did you expect?  A Kardashian moment?)   I never dated a girl in my class again.

Because of the small size of school, we were able to participate in many of those extra curricular activities.  Band, chorus, class plays, operettas, sports, school newspaper, class yearbook; a whole myriad of activities.  And….like the old joke……..’our town was so small that we had to take turns being the town drunk’, we needed participation from grades 9-12 to have a chorus, a band, and to produce an operetta.  If nothing else, our class was well-rounded because the majority of us were doing three or more extra curricular activities.  Sometimes this expanded to 6 or 7 extra curricular activities throughout the school year.

The class of ’65 had the greatest singers and actors.  The class of ’66 had the athletes.  We had five very talented athletes in our class.  Rick, Steve, Dave, Don, and Bob S. were all multi-sport talented athletes.  When we were juniors, our football team was undefeated and won the conference championship.  That team had only four seniors on the team with two of them being starters.  The next year, as seniors, we again went undefeated and won the district championship.  We were rated as high as 13th in our state in football.  This was done before the time of 5 or 6 school athletic divisions, with a tournament to determine the champion in each division.  Not bad for a small school with over 600 high schools in our state.  The five guys mentioned above were the leaders of that team.  The rest of us provided a pretty darn good supporting cast.

(Ironically,even though our home town has become a 4th tier suburb to a large metropolitan area, they have never won a conference championship in football since the class of ’66.  This is sad considering the graduating classes are over 4 times the size of the class of ’66!)

Our high school won the state golf championship three years in a row!  Not bad for a bunch of small town kids taking on the metropolitan large schools.

We had other successes in wrestling, basketball, baseball, cross country and track and field.  Those were our sports in addition to football.

Like all graduating 18 year old students, we had ambition.  We had aspirations.  We all had hopes, dreams and optimism about our futures.   Some of these hopes and dreams may have been unrealistic…but give us a break, we were 18 years old and high school graduates!

Sadly, some of our classmates could not cope with reality.  Where they were once vaunted high school athletes, they were now, unceremoniously, demoted to regular guys.  They couldn’t cope. Don the athlete, the stupidly funny guy in our class, committed suicide.  He did this after getting out of the military.  Bob S. was determined to have died recently.  Even his surviving brother does not know how he died as he separated himself from his family.  All his brother knew was that he died in Florida.    Both of these guys were the closest thing we had to Viking ‘berserkers’.  When they were playing football, they suffered no pain and were only going to cause carnage for the other teams. Their attitude was catchy for the rest of the team.  But both, good friends to each other, never quite got their train on the tracks of life.  Sad.

Roberta was the class salutatorian.  She got a masters degree in nursing.  At the 40th class reunion, she and I shared stories of where we had traveled.  We determined that of all the classmates, she and I had traveled the most.  At the bar, she and I were joined by Jim M. and his wife Patty.  The four of us chatted.  I am the only survivor of those four.  I did not know of Roberta’s passing.

The classmate whose passing caused me the most emotional anxiety was Judy.  This was not because I knew her better than anyone else, or liked her better than any of the others; it was because she would have been the last person I would have thought to have died.  She was fit, trim and athletic.  She was the most attractive girl in our class.  She was our classes version of Annette Funicello.  (C’mon.  Some of you have to remember the original Mickey Mouse Club.)  That was Judy.  Her death caught me by surprise, as I would have voted her ‘most likely to live the longest.’

So, this is my Ode to the Class of ’66, and its gone, but not forgotten members:  Judy, John, Rich J., Bob L,, Jim, Don, Roberta, Loren, Bob S., Kathy, Dan, Rich R. and Ruth.  I will never remember you as the grandmothers and grandfathers many of you had become, but as the fresh-faced eighteen year old graduates filled with hope, ambition and aspirations.

Rest in peace, my brothers and sisters.

Gun Control or People Control -Which is it?

The hunter was moving slowly, picking each step carefully.  A misplaced step would scare the prey.  The crackle of a leaf or the snap of an obscured twig would prove to be the difference between hunting success or hunting failure.  He continues to move.  The prey would be much more difficult to find if it were not for his trusty dog, Goldie.  Goldie, that ever faithful dog of a Labrador mix combined with an unknown breed that produced the best hunting dog the hunter had ever owned.  Even though the dog was jet black, the medium sized dog was named Goldie when the hunter got him as a pup.  The young hunter had made up his mind about the dog’s name before his father brought it home.

They move further, eyes straining to get the slightest glimpse of the elusive prey.  Goldie’s sensitive nose was in the air.  The dog was using all of its amplified, hunting senses to locate the prey.  And then finally, a slight movement.  Both dog and man perceived it at the same time.  There it was!  Both dog and man froze.  No time for rash movements or noises.  The hunter inched slowly to the nearest tree, never taking his eyes off the elusive animal. The prey, now sensing danger, did not know if it should run or attack.   Once the hunter got to the tree, he took a steady position by leaning against it.  He slowly raised his rifle.  He took aim.  The hunter focused on the front sight, then the prey, then back to the front sight and then the rear sight.  He had the perfect sight picture.    The dog was becoming restless, but like the hunter, Goldie was patient and did not make a move or sound.  The hunter exhaled until practically all the breath was out of his lungs.  Then,  with the experience of a hundred hunts, the hunter delicately squeezed the trigger.  A trigger squeeze,  that if done to rapidly or with a tug would throw off the aim.  The shot rang out and echoed through the forest.  And then………………..

And that, dear readers, is gun control.  Steady position, aim, perfect sight picture, breath and trigger squeeze.  But unfortunately for us, that is not what is meant when the media is talking gun control

The media, bleeding heart liberals and even the POTUS is blaming all of the current unfortunate shootings on the lack of gun control.  This is a fancy way of saying that they want to remove all guns from all Americans…..that is their idea of gun control.

I have another take on this issue.  We don’t need gun control the way it has been put forth, what we need is people control.  Let me explain my idea for people control.

1.  I would pass a federal law stating that any person committing a crime with a gun is automatically given a ten year sentence to be served in a federal penitentiary.  No appeal, no parole, no pardon.  That person would have to serve the entire sentence.    Do you think that would make someone think twice about robbing a 7-11, a bank, or even holding a family at gunpoint during a break-in?  Then, this person would have a trial to determine how much additional prison time they get for the particular crime they actually committed.  If they did rob a bank or a 7-11, they might get an additional 15-20 years tacked onto the initial 10 years.  Do you think this would be a deterrent for anyone committing gun violence?

2.  If someone commits murder with either a gun or a bomb, they get the death penalty.  That’s right.  Grandpa T is advocating a federal law stating that if a murder is committed with either a gun or a bomb, the guilty party receives the death penalty.  Period.  If this law was enacted, do you think that it would be a deterrent?

3.  Anyone caught carrying a concealed weapon without the proper permit, has all of their weapons confiscated, is heavily fined, and serves  a specified amount of time in jail.  If you feel the need to carry a concealed weapon, a permit would have to be applied for through appropriate channels.  I propose a rigorous background check before granting these permits.

I can’t make it any simpler.  I think that all three of the proposed measures would certainly be a deterrent to crimes involving guns.  It is a get-tough policy, but the law abiding citizens need not worry. They need to be protected.  I don’t care if we have to build 100 new prisons, or put a fence around Rhode Island to hold all the prisoners.  If you want to have ‘gun control,’ you need to start with people control.

It gores my bull that the convicted Colorado theater shooter, James Holmes, did not receive the death penalty for the 12 people he killed during his shooting spree.  It really gets  my undies in a bunch that the death sentences for the Fort Hood shooter, Major Nidal Hasan and the Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has not been carried out.  Amazingly, the appeals process afforded these last two people before their sentences are carried out, could be 10 years or more!  Is there any question that these men committed the crimes?

At this point, I am writing an open letter to the politicians of the United States:  We, the majority of the people of the United States, are not interested in ‘rehabilitating’ mass murderers.  We, the majority of the people of the United States, are not interested in supplementing the existence of mass murderers at taxpayers’ expense in any of our penal institutions.  Therefore, we would like to see the aforementioned three laws passed, and the appeal process for murderers restricted to 6 months or less before their execution is carried out.

That is the way that Grandpa T would enact gun control.  It would be done with people control.  But what brand of gun control is being bantered by liberals, the media, by celebrities and by politicians?

Somehow, in the amazing world of Wonderland where they live, these gun control advocates think they can disregard the Second Amendment, wave a magic wand, and make all guns disappear.  I have bad news for these people.  You have been sniffing too much of your fairy dust because you will never, ever make over 300 millions guns disappear in America.  And, if you could theoretically convince the public to turn in their weapons, only the law-abiding people would do it.  Do you think the criminals will do it?  The end result would be a country where the law-abiding citizens are unarmed and the criminals are armed.  What kind of pandemonium would that situation bring?

Unfortunately, as good as my laws are and as well intended as they are to protect the public, there is one large flaw in my people control policy.  The media skirts the issue, the celebrities skirt the issue and the POTUS has skirted the issue all the while they are pounding on their podiums about gun control.  They have skirted the issue of psychopaths.  Yes, those people that would go to any lengths to kill innocent people to achieve their 15 minutes of fame, even if it means the loss of their own life.  Recently, we had the Oregon shooting by Christopher Harper-Mercer.  Christoper killed nine people and wounded nine others at a rural community college before committing suicide.  The Sandy Hook elementary school shooter, Adam Lanza killed 20 children and 6 adults before taking his own life.  I know of no logical way that either of these events could have been stopped with any of the present gun legislation or any other gun control measures.  The fact is, they would have gotten their weapons somewhere to conduct these heinous killings, regardless of the laws.  They were crazy, and how exactly do you control crazy?

The American public has difficulties coming to grips with people that will wantonly murder and then take their own lives.  We have trouble coming to grips with suicide bombers.  Our problem is, we appreciate life too much and cherish it dearly.

I want to put forth a premise that is designed to be thought provoking:  Do you think any of these murderers would have done their killing if they knew the victims were armed?  The Colorado shooter passed two other theaters to get to the theater that had a sign posted stating that ‘no guns are allowed.’  Would he have been as brave in his mission if some of those theater goers were returning fire?  Would the Sandy Hook shooter or the Oregon shooter been as likely to have done their dastardly deeds if they knew the teachers or students were armed?  This is compelling because, if they were stopped immediately they would not have finished their mission, and thus, not received their 15 minutes of fame.  This is not advocacy for arming everyone old enough to pull a trigger, but a way of further defining the problem.

Oh……about the little hunting story?  It was me and my dog, and yes the dog’s name was Goldie.  The prey?  Why, it was those vicious tree climbing rats with bushy tails. Or as most people call them, squirrels.  We ate them.  Goldie was a fantastic dog.  We hunted together for pheasants, partridge, ducks and geese.  Goldie was always waiting to recover any game that I bagged.  If I missed the shot, Goldie gave me a condescending look as if to say, “What am I doing out here, if you keep missing?”  It was similar to the look that Grandma P gives me for watching football all day Saturday and all day Sunday.  (Really.  Would you have read this piece if you knew it was about squirrel hunting?)

“The Age of Innocence” – Lost Forever

Like most grandparents today, I would do anything for my grandkids.  Grandma P and I are very fortunate to have a group of intelligent, thoughtful and personable grandkids.  They deserve the best and for the most part, they are receiving it.

Our two oldest will be teenagers next year, reaching that milestone age of 13.  So far, we are not the ‘dorky’  grandparents as we do feel welcomed every time we see them.  That ‘dorky and unhip’ mantra will become more prevalent as they get deeper into those teenage years….you know….those years when their friends know everything, and their parents and grandparents are dumb as a box of rocks.  Grandma P and I  are hoping we never get to that, but we are preparing for it, none the less.

But try as I may, I will never, ever be able to give my grandkids one thing……

Did you hear about Ahmed Mohamed?  You will certainly recognize him if I tell you he is the 14 year old that constructed a ‘clock’ and brought it to school in Dallas, Texas.  Under the pretense of wanting to show this ‘clock’ to his teacher, he brought it into the school.  Another teacher saw this science project, thought it suspicious, and notified authorities.  Ahmed was arrested and led away from the school in handcuffs.

Did you see a picture of the device that was a clock?  It looked very sinister and did not look like anything that  would appear on my nightstand next to my bed.  Because it was in a briefcase, it looked all the more menacing.  So, little 14 year old Ahmed was led off to the police station in handcuffs, and the media blitz began with all the fury of a category 5 hurricane.

“Racial discrimination!”  “Religious discrimination!  (Did I mention Ahmed was a Muslim?)”   “He is only a young boy!”  On and on and on.  The liberal media, the liberal press, liberal celebrities and the liberal POTUS could not attach and interject themselves into this event quickly enough.

I read three news sources on the internet every morning.  I follow that up by reading my local newspaper every morning.  After I am done with this daily ritual, I always feel as if I am up on the events of the day.  On that particular morning, there was no mention of Ahmed.  The first I heard of it in the afternoon,  was because the President of the United States was inviting some 14 year old from Dallas, Texas, to the White House for a visit for being castigated and arrested for building a clock!  What?  MIT had invited him to visit their campus.  Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and billionaire of Facebook had invited him to visit his corporate headquarters.  He has had over $15,000 donated to his scholarship fund.  Overreaction?

Let’s look at this a little closer.  What would have happened if that device was a bomb and the school did nothing?  If something would have happened, the public would have cried for the heads of the teachers and administrators for allowing such an occurrence.  If the death of Cecil the Lion  created such an outcry as to want to execute the hunter, what would the school bombing create in terms of outrage?  I am sure those teachers and administrators remember well the events of Columbine and the Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Where I live, the schools still have deputy sheriffs assigned to them.

Religious discrimination?  It appears to me that everyone is so afraid of broaching the subject of religious discrimination that they fall over themselves to prove they are not discriminating.  But let’s be honest here,  in my post, Boo Hoo, I’m a Victim, I outlined 27 terroristic world events that were all done by Muslims.  Not Lutherans.  Not Baptists.  Not any other religion.  Muslims.  How can you not be a little more leery about Muslims with their track record of terrorism and killing.  This was not a Lutheran kid bringing a bag of lutefisk to school, this was a briefcase full of wires.

Someone brought up the idea that this was handled terribly because he was just a ‘kid.’  I will admit that maybe, just maybe, the police did not have to handcuff him.  I was not a witness and neither was anyone except the five police that were involved.  They probably wanted to be overly cautious rather than under-prepared until all the facts were known.  Hurray for them!    The comment about being only a ‘kid’?  Well, let me tell you that there are many of our veterans from Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq that will whole-heartedly  disagree with that statement.  Unfortunately for those veterans, they often fought and often killed fighters that were much younger than 14.  (According to Sharia law, a girl can marry as young as 9 years old!)  If you read the book or saw the movie, American Sniper, one of Chris Kyle’s first incidences involved a young boy, 8 or 9, that was going to fire a rocket propelled grenade at an approaching Marine force.  So, as far a Ahmed being a kid, if he were a terrorist he would already be a veteran by age 14.

Like all good liberals, there are often reactions before all the facts are known.  Did you know that Ahmed’s older sister was suspended from school for a bomb scare three years earlier?  Did you know that Ahmed’s dad once ran for president of Sudan and is a defense attorney?  Do you think any of that may be an influence on this whole event?  Could it have been staged?

Ahmed, by bringing this menacing looking ‘clock’ to school, broke a boat load of laws, both state and federal that have been enacted since 9/11.  I hope he takes his clock to the White House.  I hope MIT gives him admission.  But if I were them, I would review my admission standards for someone that blatantly has broken the law.

The one thing I cannot give my grandchildren?  My grandchildren will never be able to experience the “Age of Innocence” that Grandma P and I were a part of.

When we were growing up in the 50s and early 60s, life was much simpler and safer.  Our parents never had to lock their home.  Never.  Unlike today, no one ever thought of having a home alarm system.  It would have been thought to be ridiculous and unnecessary.  Today, many homes have an alarm system, including ours.  Without air conditioning, the windows were often open all night.  On a really hot night, the doors were open because the screen doors allowed the entry of any cooling breeze.

No need to worry about losing your car keys.  They were always in the ignition.  No one locked their car doors in my home town.

We never had to worry about illegal drugs.  There weren’t any.  Our idea of being ‘illegal’ was smoking a pack of Marlboros.  There wasn’t any market or usage of marijuana.  Being in a farming community, marijuana, or Indian hemp as we called it, grew wild in the ditches and around our fields.  It was a nuisance weed, so it was destroyed.  Who knew?  (That possibly explains why so many county workers volunteered to destroy it by burning.)  On occasion, as if we wanted to audition for membership to the Hell’s Angels, someone would steal a beer or two from their parents.  Six guys would share two beers.  You can tell that we were really greasing the skids straight to hell!

There was never any sex, swearing or violence on TV or in our movies.  We did not need PG whatever or PG18 whatever for ratings for our movies.  Every movie was pretty much appropriate for any age group.  I still love watching some of these old movies.  They were not only classics, but they were classy.  This was entertaining without being raucous.  Today’s movies and television are loaded with explicit sex scenes, swearing and overdone in very detailed explicit violence.  Your kids and grandkids are watching this!  From that and from violence enhanced video games, what are they learning?

In my youth, differences were settled with your fists.  Today….an assault rifle.  It takes a real man to punch someone in the face as opposed to shooting them in a drive by shooting.  If you punch someone, you are close enough to receive retaliation.  The cowards of today resort to lethal violence, from a distance.

In the 50s and 60s, we did not live in a world that was instantaneous.  We did not have social media or computers for that matter.  We had TV and radio news, magazines and newspapers.  We believed what our newscasters told us.  Today, less than 40% of the public trusts the media.   If ignorance is truly bliss, then we were damn happy.

We knew who our friends and allies were and who are enemies were.  It was pretty much cut and dried between the NATO members and the Warsaw Pact nations.  Our country said the Pledge of Allegiance; I did it every school morning for 12 years.  Our country was one made up of extremely proud, independent and patriotic citizens.

Every generation is marked by an event  or events that change their lives forever.  For the Greatest Generation, those who lived and fought during WWII, it was the Great Depression and the attack on Pearl Harbor.  For the Millennia’s and earlier, it was 9/11.  For the baby boomers of my generation, it was the assassination of President Kennedy.  If I had to throw a dart at a calendar to mark the day that my Age of Innocence ended, it would be November 22, 1963.  The 60s were marked by turmoil on a worldly stage.  Viet Nam was a protracted war that took over 57,000 American lives.  Both Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated in the later 60s.  Lyndon Johnson decides not to run for reelection.  It seemed that almost overnight, our country went from being stable and peaceful to being one of turmoil and dissention.

My grandkids will never experience an ‘Age of Innocence.’

What would have happened with Ahmed if he were living in the US in the 50s?  He would have had his ‘clock’ taken away, reprimanded for bringing it to school, and then made to copy a page out of the dictionary with Miss McCarty during lunch recess for punishment.  My, how things have changed  He’s going to the White House and MIT.