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Now

It’s a Shake and Bake Society, Baby!

During my lifetime, I have experienced, and seen, technological revolutions that can only be described as miraculous.  These technological advancements have made life easier and faster.

Let me provide a few examples of some great technological advancements, both big and small.

Do you know when the first TV dinner was created?  Do you remember who created it and what that dinner contained?  The first TV dinner was created in 1953 by the Swanson Company, thus the Swanson TV dinner which is still available today.  That first dinner was designed for a Thanksgiving meal.  It contained turkey, cornbread dressing, frozen peas and sweet potatoes.  It was packaged in the aluminum tray that was used by airline companies to serve food on their airplanes.   The cooking directions called for 25 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees.  That first meal cost 98 cents, and they sold a whopping 5000 dinners that first year!

What an advancement!  Up until that time, in our house, either Mom or Grandma had to make everything from scratch.  Because we lived on a Midwestern farm, we had animals and a huge garden.  Our Thanksgiving turkey took 7-8 hours to cook.  Oftentimes the bird was stuffed the night before Thanksgiving, placed in the refrigerator, and then someone had to get out of bed by 5:00 AM to place it in the oven in time for dinner.  All rolls and bread were baked from scratch as were the pies. Grandma’s pies were to die for!  All the crusts were made from scratch as was the filling.  No pumpkin pie filling, cherry filling or blueberry filling came from a can.  The pumpkin pie filling came from pumpkins grown in our garden.  The cherries were purchased and pitted.  The blueberries were picked in the summer and frozen until used.  I know all about blueberry picking as my grandmother made me go with her.  For the uninitiated, blueberries grow in low-lying areas and ripen about the same time as the bumper mosquito crop matures.  We had to wear nets over our heads and wear long sleeve shirts even in the summer, so as not to get bitten hundreds of times.  Unfortunately, because of the small size of the blueberries, we could not wear gloves.  Our hands became the ultimate mosquito target and we would spend almost 2 hours picking and swatting, picking and swatting to get enough berries for 3-4 pies.  It was not uncommon for a Thanksgiving feast to take three days of preparation.  Whew! What a difference from 25 minutes at 425 degrees!  (Honestly, our meals were bigger and much better.)

But the food industry was not done.  In 1969, the first TV breakfast meal was made available.  That was followed in 1973 by the Hungry Man Meal.  Do you remember who the first spokesman was for the Hungry Man Meal?  It was Pittsburgh Steeler footballer, Mean Joe Green.

But wait….there’s more!  In 1986, the first microwavable TV dinner was made available because 25% of the American homes had microwave ovens.  Microwave ovens were the next great technological leap for food preparation.  My parents bought me a microwave oven as a Christmas gift in the early 1980s.  It cost almost $500, and it took two men and a boy to lift it from the trunk of a car to my counter top.  After its usefulness as a microwave, it could have been easily converted to a boat anchor!   A BIG boat anchor!

Do you know how many years it was between the first airplane flight and landing the first person on the moon?  The first flight by the Wright brothers was in 1903.  The moon landing?  1969.  Sixty six years between airplane invention and an almost unbelievable space travel accomplishment!

During my lifetime, communication in our house went from having no phone to having a party line phone.  Yes, you could actually pick up the phone and hear your neighbors conversation.  And yes, they could hear your conversations.  Next came the invention of mobile phones.  Those first mobile phones were the size of a brick and weighed about the same as a brick.  Then we went to light-weight small pocket sized phones and now you can have a phone on your wrist!  A wrist phone just like the one Dick Tracy used in the 1930s comic books!  (Okay.  Dick Tracy had a wrist radio.)

When I was in high school and college, we were never allowed to use calculators.  That is because the first pocket calculators cost $250, and not everyone could afford them.  Remember….the minimum wage was $1.00 an hour!  While in high school, we could use slide rules.  Right now, no one under the age of 50 has the slightest idea of what I am talking about.  A slide rule was one step up from an ancient abacus, but multiplication and division could be done on a slide rule.  To show the real advancement of technology, my first pocket calculator cost $250.  When it finally broke, the exact replacement cost $59.99.  When that pocket calculator broke, the exact replacement cost $19.95.

The first computer that I bought in 1991 was a butt-kicking 40 megabytes!  I say it was a butt-kicking computer because all my competitors had 25 megabyte computers.  I was king of the hill.  That computer, monitor and daisy-wheel printer cost me $2200.  I now write this blog on an 8 gigabyte computer that cost me $600 six years ago.  The monitor and printer were extra.  My printer not only prints, but it is capable of scanning, copying, and faxing….if I knew how to set it all up.  The printer cost me less than $150.  In the late 1980s, my old boss bought a fax machine for $2500.  He was bragging about what a great deal he got because he got a free case of fax paper with the machine. Do they even sell fax only machines today?

These are just some of the marvelous technological improvements I have observed during my lifetime.  Just think of all the improvements in the medical field.  Look at the new devices that are a standard feature on an automobile that were unheard of during the 1950s.  GPS?  Back-up cameras?  Alarms?  Many of the new advancements have been for safety, but many of our advancements are popular because they either save time, eliminate work, or provide instantaneous information or instantaneous gratification.  (Who researches using encyclopedias when google and Wikipedia are available.)

But the one thing I have noticed over my lifetime is that people and society have become less patient and tolerant.  People today want instantaneous results.  They want things to happen fast.  They want things to happen faster than getting their food in a short line at a ‘fast food’ restaurant. (What a great belt-busting invention fast food has become!)  I am convinced that some people believe that Rome was built in a day.  The mantra seems to have become, ‘I want it and I want it now.’

Unfortunately, the attitude and mantra of ‘wanting it and wanting it now’ has permeated our expectations as to how our federal government should operate.  I am glad that the ‘First 100 days of the Trump presidency’ have finally passed.  How many times did you hear this:  “Donald Trump’s presidency will be considered a failure if he doesn’t (fill in the blank) within his first 100 days.”   Here were the most popular ‘fill in the blank’ items:  1.  Replace the Affordable Care Act,  2, Have a budget,  3.  Build the wall, and, 4. Provide a tax reform system.  I heard each one of these items, attached to a 100 day timeline, being touted as signifying a failed presidency if not accomplished.  Of course, these notions were mostly advanced by liberal politicians on liberal-leaning media sources. There were more ‘fill in the blank’ items, but these were the biggies.

So here is my advice…..”GET A GRIP AMERICA!”  Rome was not built in a day.  Do you really believe that these major issues, some of them decades old, could be reasonably alleviated in 100 days?  I am glad that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act was defeated early in the Trump presidency. Why?  Because, unlike the original ACA passage that was shoved down the throats of all Americans by the Democratic party without Republican input, this repeal will have the input of both parties.  I would much rather have a ‘good’ bill than a ‘fast’ bill.  But if you want to believe the media hogwash, we wanted a fast bill.

It amazes me that any Democrat would have the cajoles to fault this administration for not having a budget (it was passed recently) when Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader for 6 years, promised to not have a budget reach the Senate floor as long as he was Senate Majority leader.  The ‘gatekeeper from hell’ kept his word.  Our government ran for 6 years without passing a budget.  (The next time you see a street corner hot dog stand, remember, he probably has a budget!  Our federal government did not.)

I am sure that with a little time, there will be tax reform for both corporations and individuals.  No one seems as concerned about building the big, beautiful wall now that illegal aliens attempting to enter this country has been reduced by over 70%.

But here is where the rubber meets the road; our society seems to have a disconnect between reality and expectation.  Because of our faster than lightning technological advancements and our fast paced society, we begin to believe that all things should be fast.  That may be true in some instances, but certainly not all.  When it comes to governing, I would much prefer ‘slower and better’ than ‘faster and crappy.’

After all, it took my grandmother over 3 hours to make one of her delicious pies from scratch.  She enjoyed making them and we really enjoyed eating them.  Sara Lee would have been easier, but my grandmother would not let us have any of that.  You were the perfect example of ‘slower and better.’   I love you grandma!  You always took care of us.

Happy Mother’s Day.

donald-trump

An Open Letter to President-Elect Trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

Congratulations on your recent victory as the President-Elect of the United States of America.  I was one of your supporters from the minute you announced your candidacy.  Admittedly, I thought the winning ticket would be a Donald Trump/ Marco Rubio ticket.  I can see why, as a result of a very tumultuous and nasty debating season, you did not take Senator Rubio as your running mate.  I was not familiar with Mike Pence, but he is indeed the perfect person for the Vice President. Grounded, experienced, loyal and intelligent, he is everything a person could want as the Vice President.

I was your supporter from the beginning because I believe a businessman who could establish a successful financial empire is more qualified (and needed in this country!) than a slew of career politicians who seem hell-bent on destroying a perfectly good country and government.

You have had an excellent start on making America Great Again.  I agree with many of the efforts you have initiated and would like to add my two cents in hopes of making these positive changes for the good of our country.

Voter ID.  Could we please pass a law making it a requirement to present a valid photo ID to vote in a federal election?  In Canada, to be able to vote you must have: (1) A driver’s license, or, (2) A provincial or territorial ID card, or, (3)  Any other government card with your photo, name and current address.  But like the those shopping channels on television…..wait, there’s more!   To be able to vote in a federal election in Mexico, you must have:  (1) A government issued photo ID card with a thumbprint and an embossed hologram, and, (2)   All citizens are required to personally enroll and show proof of birth or citizenship, and, (3)  Applicants are required to personally return to collect their voting credentials.

Why do our neighbors have more practical, stringent and sensible federal voting requirements than our country, and yet at the suggestion of such requirements it is considered racist?  To not have ID requirements simply wholesales the value of our citizenship in comparison.  All those wars fought, all those battles won, and all those lives lost….all to protect our country, and yet, we allow people who do not share our values, who will never contribute to the well-being of this country, who are here to be takers and never contributors….to vote and sway our national elections.  A travesty by any measure.  Shame on us and our political leaders for allowing our democratic principles to be compromised and abused and degraded by the use of voter fraud.

Job Creation.  Keeping businesses in America, bringing new foreign businesses to America, and bringing off-shore American businesses back to America would create jobs for Americans.  Two things could be done to make this happen and to stimulate the economy.

First, cut the existing federal corporate tax rate in half.  The U.S. already has the highest corporate tax rate of the industrialized nations, and corporate taxes account for only 11% of all federal government tax receipts.  Individual income taxes are responsible for 47% of all federal government tax receipts, while payroll taxes contributed by employers and employees account for another 34%. Corporations are in the business of making money.  By allowing them to keep a larger share of their profits, they will purchase more raw materials, expand facilities and hire more employees….thereby increasing the amount of federal tax revenues from individual income tax payers because there will be more people working.  

I am sure you know that there are 112 million people working in the United States and 106 million receiving some form of government assistance?  Admittedly, some of the 106 million are social security recipients that have paid into, and are now collecting their benefits.  But, there are 90 million people capable of working that are not working, or at least they are not paying taxes.  That needs to change. Jobs need to be created, and the welfare system needs to be revamped.  You have made strides in that direction and I fully support those efforts.

Secondly, abolish the (Un)affordable Health Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.  Before the true expense of this program was known, employers were estimating that the cost would be 20%-25% of their total payroll expenses.  What did the employers do?  They quit hiring, began firing, or reduced working hours for their employees to 32 hours or less to avoid the burden of the program. This was necessary for businesses to remain competitive in the international marketplace, or go out of business.  This program, more than any other, has inhibited job and wage growth for Americans.

This program needs to be replaced with something that is affordable and practical for both the insureds and the insuring.  The federal government needs to get out of the health care business and let the bulk of this program rest on the shoulders of a competitive, free-market economy of insurance companies and health care providers.

Welfare Reform.  The largest single item in the U.S. budget is welfare.  The federal budget provides 75% of the funding for welfare programs.  The states provide 25% of the funding but are tasked to supervise the welfare programs in their respective states.  Unfortunately, even though there were laws passed during the Clinton administration limiting welfare to a five year term, most states conveniently ignore this law.  Why?  Because with the federal government footing the bulk of the cost, the states view this as another form of income for their state.  I would propose that the federal government reduce the amount of welfare payments to the states to an equal amount, cutting their 75% contribution by 2/3.  This would assist our federal budget and cause the states to be more prudent in their dispersal of welfare. (See Welfare Cost – The Big Gorilla in the National Budget, published 2/21/2013)

It is appalling that so many people included in the 106 million receiving federal government assistance have lowered their lifestyles to live solely on government assistance.

Term Limits.  The life expectancy during the times of our founding fathers in the 18th century was 35 years old!  To be 50 years old was considered to be a very old man.  Many of the original members of Congress served out of duty and patriotism, while at the same time making huge personal sacrifices.  Many of these people lost their businesses and homes because they were away tending to the needs of a new nation.  Needless to say, they did not ever foresee the eventuality of career politicians.

We all are aware of the disadvantages of having long-term career politicians.  Too much influence, too much money, too much campaigning, and too many lobbyists and personal interests.   Their primary concern is to get reelected and not necessarily what is ‘right for America.’  (Thus, one reason for your stunning victory, Mr. Trump.)

May I suggest that in the future, say 2028, all members of Congress are limited to 12 years of service.  Senators get two, 6 year terms and representatives get six, 2 year terms.  I would also like to propose that the Supreme Court justices be retired at age 70 or 72.  Here again, our founding fathers could not have known that we would let people ‘fossilize’ in place while serving on the Supreme Court.

Mr. Trump, if you can get legislation passed imposing future term limits, I would believe you could walk across Lake Okeechobee without getting your feet wet or without getting eaten by an alligator. Good luck with that.

The Wall.  I would like to point out that in 2014, over 47,000 Americans died of drug overdoses and over 35,000 were killed in traffic accidents.  Who would have thought that there would be more drug overdose deaths than those of autos?  Some of these drug deaths were because of the improper and illegal use of prescription drugs (opiates) and some from illegal drugs.  Whatever the reason, the bulk of the flow of illegal drugs in this country is coming from our southern border.  If it takes a wall to stop that flow, then that wall should be built.

Of course, we need to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into our country.  If they are here with the best of intentions, then an application procedure needs to be established.  Because Mexicans require a photo ID with a thumbprint to vote, doing a background check should not be impossible.  It would not be surprising to learn that other Central/South American countries have similar ID’s. Unfortunately, many of the ‘border crossers,’ are here for nefarious reasons, or are unaccompanied minors.  Illegal immigrants involved with crime need to be sent back to their respective countries. If caught again, they need to be imprisoned.

Safety and Security.   Mr. Trump, the three classes of people that I hate the most are terrorists, murderers, and pedophiles.  I am personally not interested in ‘reforming or rehabilitating’ anyone accused of terrorism or murder.  I believe that capital punishment should come into play for these two crimes and the sentences should be carried out within a two year period.

I believe that anyone charged with killing a policeman, fireman, or medical rescuer should be given the death sentence.  I believe that any terrorist that kills an American should be given the death sentence.  I cannot think of a punishment cruel enough for a pedophile, but I suppose we would have to settle for incarceration.  After all, what kind of society have we become if we cannot protect our children.

The military needs to be expanded and updated to meet the challenges of our potential enemies. Whether we want to recognize the threat or not, both Russia and China have greatly expanded their military presence and have used them for expansionist purposes.  The goal of Russia is to put together the old USSR as much as possible beginning with the invasion of the Ukraine.  The Chinese are saber rattling and expanding by making strategic artificial islands in the South China sea.

Does anyone know for sure the real ambitions of Iran or North Korea?  Both have threatened with the use of missiles and nukes.

These are just a few of the problems to be faced with your upcoming administration.   There are many more.  So far, you have done an amazing job of cabinet selection.  Surrounding yourself with the best and the brightest should make your job easier and make for a better America.  I apologize for not writing sooner, but it took me a month to sober up from your victory party!

God Bless America.

Respectfully,

Grandpa T

 

 

 

baby-boomer-parenting

How the Heck Did We Get Here: Blame it on the Baby Boomers??

I am sitting in my office scratching my head about the upcoming election.  How did we get to this place where neither candidate is trusted or believed, and a large number of citizens are considering a third party candidate just to avoid voting for the two primary party candidates.  Our country has become a country of entitlements, political correctness, and media manipulation.  I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but I think my generation contributed to this mess.

I am a baby boomer.  Most of the time, I am proud of being a ‘seasoned senior citizen.’  We baby boomers were born between the years of 1946 and 1964.  That would make the oldest of us 70 years old, and the youngest would be 52 years old.  In some respects, the younger generations would consider us ‘overly seasoned’ or perhaps, ‘fossilized.’

Our generation was the first that had a name.  We were those people born immediately after WWII. Take a bunch of war veterans and mix them with a bunch of women that haven’t had a real date in years, and BOOM, the world experienced an explosion of births.  Our parents were a tough bunch. They all lived through the Great Depression.  Then, as teenagers and 20 somethings, they fought and won WWII.   Tom Brokaw later referred to them as the ‘Greatest Generation.’  They knew of, and sometimes experienced the atrocities of WWII.  Immediately after WWII, we were back in Asia fighting a war in Korea.  It became apparent that not all countries wanted world-wide peace.  At the same time, numerous countries were conducting nuclear bomb tests.  That warm relationship between the US and Russia during WWII was not all that warm.  The possibility of a nuclear war hung over us for most of our childhood years.

This made our parents a rather tough bunch.  We were taught the difference between winning and losing.  We did not receive any ‘participation’ trophies.  We were instructed in ‘bomb drills,’ in the event of a nuclear attack.  Our teachers were always right and were always respected.  Any deviation from good behavior resulted in punishment.  In my case, I got spankings by my mom and five ‘beltings’ by big Daddy G.  I deserved every one of them.  This was not considered child abuse, it was considered parenting.  There was no pretense that our parents were going to be your ‘best friends.’  They were going to be disciplinarians, and they filled that role marvelously.  (My dad was not my friend until I was in my 30s.)  We were taught to be independent and to work hard.  Being blue collar was not a stigma.  It was instilled in us that if we wanted something bad enough, we could obtain it through hard work and diligence.  Anything was possible!

Every school day was started with the Pledge of Allegiance.  We sang our national anthem with fervor. Then, as we got older, we were called upon to represent our country in another war….the Viet Nam conflict.  Many volunteered or were drafted and performed their duty to fight in a war without a genuine purpose.  To this day, the best explanation for fighting this war was the ‘domino theory.’  That theory was the belief that if one country fell to Communism, then others will fall to Communism.  But Lyndon Johnson took this to the extreme by committing over 500K troops to Viet Nam.  He made Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) the 23rd largest American populated city in the world.  Over 57,000 Americans were killed in this war, with hundreds of thousands more suffering psychologically from what they had experienced and from the way they were treated once they returned home.  Americans believing they had served their country were now being spit upon and called ‘baby killers.’  Many lives were lost, and many more minds were destroyed because of this war.

So there you have it.  A very brief description of what formed and what affected the lives of the baby boomer generation.  What was my purpose for relating this information?  Well, because of the way we were reared, we, as a generation, decided not to be as strict and structured as our parents on our children and our grandchildren.  We became adherents of the ‘live and let live’ theory.  We became more concerned about ourselves and our families to the point of missing the gradual changes to our society.  And now, as I look back at the way our country has evolved since my childhood, I want to publicly apologize to Generation X, Generation Y (Millennials), and Generation Z as to how the Baby Boomers have failed you.

We Boomers need to apologize for the level of entertainment on our televisions and our movies. In our youth, all movies and TV programs were appropriate for all ages.  We did not need a rating system designating P, PG, R or anything else.  I am not a wilting flower, but it is difficult for me to believe the amount of profanity, sexual innuendo, sex, violence and gore that has permeated our entertainment.  Parents of today need to realize that your children are seeing this garbage and they are being affected by it.  How could they not see it?  It is on at prime time on numerous channels. Instead of having three good TV channels like when I was young, we now have hundreds of bad channels.  Look at how few good comedies we have today.  We had many while growing up.  Reality shows and cop shows seem to be the general format of TV today.   Garbage entertainment really began in the late 60s and early 70s.  TV was still somewhat regulated, but the movie industry had taken a definite turn for the worse.

Our Boomer generation invented the computer.  This led to the popularity of PC’s and laptops in every home. Technology is marvelous for all it can do.  But as one pundant has surmised, home computers have become a ‘pipeline for pornography.’  Do you think people are being affected by that?  Coupled up with violent video games, do you think our children are being affected by it?  I am not quite sure how we could have stopped this garbage, but I will apologize anyway.

I apologize that we appointed a Supreme Court that overturned term limits on federally elected officials.  Yes.  Legislation was actually passed during the Clinton administration limiting term limits, only to be overturned by the only organization without them…the Supreme Court.   Now we have career politicians and all the graft, corruption and personal enrichment that are a result of it. Decisions are being made every day by our elected officials for personal gain without regard for what is best for the country.

Our newspapers, magazines and TV news at least attempted to appear impartial during elections held in the past.  This year?  The gloves have come off with such notable organizations like the New York Times and the Washington Post not even attempting to hide their support of Hillary Clinton.  In previous elections, news organizations would show their support for a particular candidate in an editorial.  Not now.  They show their support by smearing their candidate’s opponent.  The latest is the release by the New York Times of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns which show a loss of over $900 million being carried into following years to reduce any future tax burden.  The crime here is not Trump’s taxes and carry-over as that is perfectly legal and by IRS statute allowed.  The real crime is the publishing of his taxes by the New York Times.  They claim that they received them in the mail. Yeah. Right.  Any CPA doing such a thing would lose their license to operate.  I believe the IRS themselves did it.  This is the same group that targeted conservative groups prior to the 2010 mid term election.  In particular, the Tea Party movement.  Who would investigate this matter?  Well, the FBI.  That same group that let Hillary off the hook for emails even though the FBI director’s brother provides legal services to the Clinton Foundation.  Sound fishy?

Isn’t it a shame that most of our printed media has reduced itself to the level of the National Enquirer?  In some instances, the National Enquirer is more believable.

Do you trust the government?  During the 60s, when the unemployment rate was reported, it actually meant the number of people who were without jobs that wanted them.  Today’s unemployment rate has been reported at less than 5%.  I assure you, this is for purely political purposes in an attempt to show how wonderful our economy is faring before this election.   In fact, the real unemployment rate is just under 10%.  Why?  Because so many people have quit attempting to find work.  But wait….there’s more.  Do you know how many households in America do not have anyone working?  Over 22%!  Yes.  Over 22% of the households do not have a breadwinner.  How are they surviving?  Working for cash?  Welfare?  How wonderful does our economic picture appear now?

Do you like our current policy of allowing anyone to use any bathroom depending on what sex they feel like on that particular day?

So, as I look back on my life, the goal I have always had is that I leave the world a better place than when I entered it.  My generation of Boomers has failed.  We have made mistakes.  We allowed the country to become so liberal, so politically correct, so dependent on the government and so militarily weak that it is not the same country of our youth.  We have taken free speech to such an extreme that we now have public disrespect for our flag and our national anthem being considered heroic. Yet, only 1% of our citizenry has served in the military to protect our country and our freedoms.  We now have groups of people attacking and killing our police because they think they are ‘entitled’ to do so. We have had deadly Islamic terrorist attacks on our people.  We allow people of unknown origin to enter this country every day without having any idea of their true purpose in coming here.  Many times, it is not to assimilate like previous immigrants.

I want to make a plea.  I know many people who are not enamored by either candidate.  For their personal beliefs, they are going to vote for a third party candidate.  That has been tried before with disastrous results.  Rather than giving George H.W. Bush a second term, Ross Perot siphoned off  enough conservative votes to give Bill Clinton the presidency without having received a plurality.  Do you want to vote for the Libertarian candidate who did not know what an ‘Aleppo’ is, or could not name his favorite foreign leader?  If you like the policies instituted by the present administration, by all means you should vote for Hillary Clinton.  If you truly believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction, then do not waste your vote on a third party candidate, hold your nose and vote for Donald Trump.

I am considerably older than those members of Gen X, Y, and Z and here I am apologizing for the direction our country has taken in the last 60 years.  My fervent hope is that in 30 or 40 years, you will not be writing a blog apologizing for the bad decisions your generation has made and suffering from the consequences of bad decisions.

Homeland-Security

Is Homeland Security an Oxymoron?

Everyone who has taken high school physics is familiar with Newton’s three laws of physics.  The third law states, ‘ for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.’  We have all heard it, and we pretty much know what it denotes.

Here is the action.  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said that he would stop Syrian refugees and Muslim immigrants from entering the United States.  The reason?  Well, the obvious reasons would be the recent shootings in Paris and in San Bernardino, which were both carried out by Muslim extremists.   The not quite as obvious reason is that “The Donald” does not believe that Syrian refugees, or any other Muslim refugee can be properly vetted by the United States government with all of its intelligence sources.  Does he have a point?

Here is one reaction to Trump’s comments.  This Wednesday, December 16, the St. Paul, Minnesota city council is going to vote on a resolution proposed by Ward 1 Councilmember Dai Thao that states that Donald Trump is not welcome in the City of St. Paul.   The intent of the resolution is to condemn Trump’s recent  remarks about Muslims and immigrants.

The St. Paul City Council has no authority over who can or cannot enter the city limits.  Trump has  not announced any plans to visit Minnesota. ( But two other presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz, are planning visits in Minnesota next week.)

Thank God (can I say that in the spirit of political correctness) the city council does not have the authority to dictate who visits the city.  After all, if Trump were to plan a visit, would he be arrested?  Who would be the arresting agency, the St. Paul City  police department or the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood?  I can just see it now…….”Mr. Trump, I arrest you for being…..well, for being yourself!”

Gosh darn it!  I have been writing this blog for almost three years and I have attempted to make it entertaining, informative and thought provoking.  I have attempted to keep it simple.  My Grandpa T definition for common sense has been, ‘ the ability to know the difference between, right, wrong and stupid.’  Which of these tenants to common sense does the city council, in particular councilmember Dai Thao break?

Let me try to simplify this.  Donald Trump, who has been scrutinized with a fine tooth comb is not welcome in St. Paul, but Syrian and Muslim refugees that cannot be vetted are welcome?  What part of common sense is that?  Does Trump have a point to his remarks?

But, just like the TV commercials…..there’s more!

Have you heard of Kelli Burriesci?  Ms. Burriesci is a high ranking person within the Homeland Security Agency.  Specifically, her title is Deputy Assistant Secretary Screening Coordination Office of Policy Department of Homeland Security.  (How do you get all of that on a name card?)

The thirty-something Ms. Burriesci  appeared before a fact-finding congressional committee that was to discuss visa procedures within the United States.  She was sent by her superior as the authority on the visa procedures within the US.    Admittedly, there are many u-tube videos circulating with the 5 minute portion of her appearance before the committee. Here is a recap of her appearance:

“What is the number of Americans who have travelled to Syria?”  “I don’t have that information with me; I don’t know.”

“What is the number of Americans who have travelled to Syria and may have returned to the US?”  “I don’t know.”

“How many Syrian refugees entered the US last year?”  “I don’t know.”   (Are you beginning to see a pattern developing here?)

“How many visa waiver overstays may have gone to Syria and returned?”  “I don’t know.”

” What is the number of Americans on the no-fly list?”  “I don’t know.”

I have watched the u-tube video of this meeting and after the pit left my stomach, my first thought was: ‘ the inmates are finally in charge of the insane asylum!’.

This is a supposedly high ranking official from HOMELAND SECURITY.  Aren’t all of our security agencies suppose to be working together for the protection of the citizenry of the United States?  Off the top of my head we have the CIA, the FBI, NSA, Border Patrol, Sheriff’s Departments, Highway Patrols, Police Departments and some other organizations with three letter acronym names that I have forgotten.

The congressmen sitting on this committee showed clear signs of frustration.  I can understand completely.  We are paying billions of dollars for this agency and yet they cannot provide information to congress which is at the very core of their existence!  Do you find this frightening?

With all the controversy surrounding this Syrian refugee issue which has resulted in name calling, demonstrations and confrontational behavior, our responsible agency does not even have a guess as to how many Syrian refugees entered the country in the last year?  They do not have an estimate of the number of Americans who have gone to Syria?  Exactly, what did our government think these people going to Syria were going to do there?  Site seeing?  Peace Corps?  Delivering Christmas presents?  (Oops!  Politically incorrect once again.)  I don’t think so.

As you probably know, our President wants to allow a whole bunch more Syrian refugees into this country.  The administration inference is that these refugees can be properly vetted before entering this country.  After watching that video of Ms. Burriesci, I am positive that there is no possible way that proper screening can be done on these potential immigrants.

ISIS is on the roll in Syria.  It has been reported that they control over half the country.  In addition, they have overrun government facilities and buildings that were responsible for granting and printing Syrian passports.  They are now printing and counterfeiting passports because they have the paper and equipment to do it.  How do you distinguish between a legitimate passport and a counterfeited passport when they look exactly the same?

With all of this in mind, does Trump have a legitimate point?  Are his comments inappropriate?  The core of his message makes total sense, but it is not sugar-coated like we are used to hearing.  I would agree that his delivery is about as subtle as a sledge hammer.  Contrary to what the POTUS is trying to shove down our throats, the vast majority of Americans agree with Trump’s statement of not allowing Syrian refuges and Muslim immigrants into the country until there are effective vetting procedures in place.  Admittedly, I was sitting on the fence concerning Trump’s comments until watching the Homeland Security guru.  Her comments, or should I say her inability to comment, made me realize how vulnerable we are by the ineffective workings of our protective agencies.  I was of the opinion that regardless of the drivel that has been pandered by this administration, our security agencies were strong and vigilant.   I was wrong.

The City of St. Paul?  Well, they will have to come to grips with their beliefs tomorrow night.  I am sure Mr. Trump will not lose any sleep about not being welcome in St. Paul, Minnesota.

God Bless America!  Merry Christmas.

Electorate

Why Hillary Will Win in 2016

I have published 52 posts.  One of those posts was written by Dr. Walter Williams.  Every once in a while, someone authors an article that is excellent.  Here is another one of those articles.  It is written by a rabbi; Rabbi Steven Pruzanshky.  Rabbi Pruzanshky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, New Jersey.  He writes his own blog.  He does possess some notoriety.  As I googled Rabbi Steven…. his name came up without adding his last name.  Gee….if that would only happen with Grandpa T!

But I digress.  It has always amazed me that the majority of people of the Jewish faith vote for Democratic candidates.  This puzzles me in that Israel could not have had better allies than our former Presidents Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Bush.  The jury is out on our current POTUS and his support for Israel.

Anyway, I am not of the Jewish faith, but this article crosses all religious boundaries and is applicable to all faiths and all Americans.  Here it is:

“The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo – for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress.  They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility.  And fewer people voted.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes.  Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle.

Romney lost because he didn’t get enough votes to win.

That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons.  Romney lost because the conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate.

The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff.

Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader’ or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool.  Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentives looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote.  The lure of free stuff is irresistible.

The defining moment of the whole campaign was the revelation of the secretly-recorded video in which Romney acknowledged the difficulty of winning an election in which “47% of the people” start off against him because they pay no taxes and just receive money – “free stuff” – from the government.

Almost half of the population has no skin in the game – they don’t care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese.

They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else’s expense.  In the end, that  47% leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future.

It is impossible to imagine a conservative candidate winning against such overwhelming odds.  People do vote their pocketbooks.  In essence, the people vote for a Congress who will not raise their taxes, and for a President who will give them free stuff, never mind who has to pay for it.

That engenders the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that the electorate is ignorant and uniformed.  Indeed, it does not pay to be an informed voter, because most other voters – the clear majority – are unintelligent and easily swayed by emotion and raw populism.  That is the indelicate way of saying that too many people vote with their hearts and not their heads.  That is why Obama did not have to produce a second term agenda, or even defend his first-term record.  He needed only to portray Mitt Romney as a rapacious capitalist who throws elderly women over a cliff, when he is not just snatching away their cancer medication, while starving the poor and cutting taxes for the rich.

During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: “Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!”  Stevenson called back: “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!”  Truer words were never spoken.

Obama could get away with saying that “Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules” – without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the “rich should pay their fair share” – without ever defining what a  “fair share” is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to  ‘fend for themselves” – without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending.

Similarly, Obama (or his surrogates) could hint to blacks that a Romney victory would lead them back into chains and proclaim to women that their abortions and birth control would be taken away.  He could appeal to Hispanics that Romney would have them all arrested and shipped to Mexico and unabashedly state that he will not enforce the current immigration laws.  He could espouse the furtherance of the incestuous relationship between governments and unions – in which politicians ply the unions with public money, in exchange for which the unions provide the politicians with votes, in exchange for which the politicians provide more money and the unions provide more votes, etc., even though the money is gone.

Obama also knows that the electorate has changed – that whites will soon be a minority in America (they’re already a minority in California) and that the new immigrants to the US are primarily from the Third World and do not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries.  It is a different world, and a different America.  Obama is part of that different America, knows it, and knows how to tap into it.  That is why he won.

Obama also proved again that negative advertising works, invective sells, and harsh personal attacks succeed.  That Romney never engaged in such diatribes points to his essential goodness as a person; his “negative ads” were simple facts, never personal abuse – facts about high unemployment, lower take-home pay, a loss of American power and prestige abroad, a lack of leadership, etc.  As a politician, though, Romney failed because he did not embrace the devil’s bargain of making unsustainable promises.

It turned out that it was not possible for Romney and Ryan – people of substance, depth and ideas – to compete with the shallow populism and platitudes of their opponents.  Obama mastered the politics of envy – of class warfare – never reaching out to Americans as such but to individual groups, and cobbling together a winning majority from these minority groups.  If an Obama could not be defeated – with his record and his vision of America, in which free stuff seduces voters – it is hard to envision any change in the future. The road to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and to a European-socialist economy – those very economies that are collapsing today in Europe – is paved.

For Jews, mostly assimilated anyway and staunch Democrats, the results demonstrate again that liberalism is their Torah.  Almost 70% voted for a president widely perceived by Israelis and most committed Jews as hostile to Israel.  They voted to secure Obama’s future at America’s expense and at Israel’s expense – in effect, preferring Obama to Netanyahu by a wide margin.

A dangerous time is ahead.  Under present circumstances, it is inconceivable that the US will take any aggressive action against Iran and will more likely thwart any Israeli initiative.  The US will preach the importance of negotiations up until the production of the first Iranian nuclear weapon – and then state that the world must learn to live with this new reality.

But this election should be a wake-up call to Jews.  There is no permanent empire, nor is there an enduring haven for Jews anywhere in the exile.  The American empire began to decline in 2007, and the deterioration has been exacerbated in the last five years.  This election only hastens that decline.

Society is permeated with sloth, greed, envy and materialistic excess.  It has lost its moorings and its moral foundations.  The takers outnumber the givers, and that will only increase in years to come.  The “Occupy” riots across this country in the last two years were mere dress rehearsals for what lies ahead – years of unrest sparked by the increasing discontent of the unsuccessful who want to seize the fruits and the bounty of the successful, and do not appreciate the slow pace of redistribution.

If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone.  And, sad for the world, it is not coming back.”

The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.

There you have it!  Would it surprise you that the good Rabbi Steven Pruzansky has been described as a radical?  Personally, I think the good rabbi has hit the nail on the head….about many things affecting this country.  He refers to the current happenings as being a ‘wake-up” call to Jews, I think it should be a wake-up call to America.  Thankfully, we still have educated and informed people such as the rabbi that will state the truth.