Military Veterans Having To Hide In The Country They Served

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TASK AND PURPOSE)

Unwanted: An Army Veteran Hiding In The Country He Served
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A disabled Army veteran and illegal immigrant living in hiding in the United States shares his story.

David is sore most days. It’s his back and his hands, mostly, but to be honest, it’s all the joints. He’s deaf in one ear, blind in one eye, and walks with a cane. He’s 67 and has arthritis most everywhere you can have it. But there’s some pain that age doesn’t inflict. Terrible thoughts, the stuff of bad dreams. For him they’re memories, and all too real.

David, who served stateside in the Army during the Vietnam War, is clean these days. He kicked his heroin habit and stopped boozing years ago. He stays away from painkillers too, for a different reason: They don’t play nice with his dialysis treatment. He goes to a Department of Veteran Affairs hospital every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday — three hours each time — and he can’t sleep when the needle is in him. It’s thick as a nail and sends shooting pain through his arm when he changes position. There’s a television in the room, but the volume is usually turned way down, so David just sits there in a recliner and tries not to move too much. It leaves him exhausted, sore, and hungry, and he doesn’t like to drive after he gets treatment. He rarely drives anyway.

David dialysis

“I’m scared to,” he says.

He could get pulled over, and then the cop might run a background check. David lives in Los Angeles, his home for half a century. He didn’t used to be afraid to go out on the road. Though he entered the country legally with his family in 1967, David — who asked not be identified by his real name — is now considered an illegal immigrant.

These days, he spends most of his time inside, watching television, keeping up with the news and cooking. Occasionally he cleans, but he has trouble getting around, so he doesn’t do it often. It’s not fear of prison keeping David cooped up indoors. He’s been behind bars, several times actually. But the possibility of getting deported back to Mexico terrifies him.

If it happened again, it’d be the fourth and final time, he says. A lot of things would have to go wrong for that to occur, but the stakes are high, and very real.

If he’s caught, he’ll serve time — 10 years, the cops told him. In fact, illegal re-entry into the United States by someone previously deported for a crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. After that, he’d be deported, again.

“I’ll die if I go back.”

How would he survive in Mexico? His whole family is here in the states. He doesn’t work anymore, he can’t, but he gets a check from the VA — every first of the month — and that’s where he goes for his kidney failure treatment. He’s covered, 100%, but there are no VA hospitals in Mexico and David is uninsured and afraid that his health will worsen if he’s deported.

“I know I’m breaking the law,” he says, “but what else can I do? I’ve been here for 50 years already.”

David is one of hundreds of military veterans who have been deported from the country they served. In 2015, as many as 65,000 residents with green cards — which allow them to live and work in the states legally — were serving in the armed forces. And while the military can be a fast-track to citizenship, it’s not guaranteed. Service members still need to apply for it, and not all of them do. David never got around to it.

“I know I’m breaking the law,” he says, “but what else can I do? I’ve been here for 50 years already.”

Immigrants legally living in the United States who are convicted of what are called aggravated felonies — which can include anything from a bar fight or drug possession to forgery or any theft resulting in a sentence of more than two years — may lose their status as legal residents. After their incarceration, they are deported back to their country of origin. For many, it’s a place they haven’t seen since they were children. Once that happens, it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever become a U.S. citizen.

For repeat offenders like David, it’s virtually impossible.

No one knows how many immigrant veterans have been deported in total — not even the Department of Homeland Security, the agency charged with handling and tracking these deportations. Deported Veterans Support House, an advocacy group based in Mexico, says it has helped 300 veterans who have been deported to 36 different countries. Other advocacy groups estimate that the number of veterans deported may be in the thousands.

David’s family left their home in Mexicali, Mexico, for the United States when he was 12. The states offered opportunity. It’s the whole reason people come here. “More work, more money, more everything,” he explains. “Everybody that came from another country, we came for the same thing. To better ourselves.”

David’s family lived in Calexico, California, for a time, then moved to San Diego, and finally to Los Angeles where they settled and put down roots.

“My mom and dad, they’re buried right here in L.A,” he says.

It was a family of 12 kids, five boys, seven girls. They’re all either legal residents or U.S. citizens like his four kids — two boys, two girls — and his three grandkids. David is the only one who isn’t a legal resident or citizen.

“I started using drugs, and that’s what fucked me up,” he explains. “Nobody used drugs in my family but me. I’m embarrassed. I’m the only one with a criminal record. The only one without papers.”

He’s also the only one who volunteered to serve during the Vietnam War.

He enlisted in 1974 when he was 19. Early on in his military service, David was sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier.

David doesn’t like to talk about it. It brings him pain. He enlisted because he wanted to go to Vietnam, and instead this happened. “What kind of shit is that?” he asks. The guy who did it was older than him, and was kicked out of the Air Force before finding his way into the Army. That’s where he found David.

The trauma lingers.

“I was like a new fish in the tank. I was a kid … I was sexually abused. Ever since that shit happened to me I haven’t been the same. I know that.”

David doesn’t know if the man ever hurt anyone else.

“I don’t know what happened to him. I don’t know, and I don’t want to know.”

The incident stayed with David for more than 40 years. Post-traumatic stress disorder, that’s what the VA diagnosed him with, along with other ailments relating to his sore joints and kidney failure.

David served during the tail-end of the war as a welder stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington state, and started using heroin shortly after being assaulted. He sought solace in getting high, because it felt good, and because it was available.

“The drugs were everywhere.”

By the time he left the military in 1976, David was hooked. For a while the money he made as a welder supported the habit. There was a lot of work — different jobs in a lot of different places — but after a while it didn’t pay well enough to keep pace with his drug use. Eventually, that led to run-ins with the police.

One night in 1983, David was with a girl he knew, robbing houses. She’d break in and grab the stuff; David would drive. This time, although they got away as usual, someone got a look at his plates. That was enough.

“Heroin, it takes away your freedom, your family, your money, your job, everything.”

He was arrested for breaking and entering, which earned him two years in a prison in Tehachapi, California. His conviction meant he lost his status as a legal resident, so after he served his time, David was picked up by Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents and deported.

After he was dropped off in Tijuana, Mexico, David turned around and came back the same day — he went right through the entry point into the United States.

“I crossed the border like nothing. Like an American citizen. They let me go right in.”

But by 1986, he was back in the same spot. This time it was for breaking into a car. David insists that he was just an unwitting participant. “I was hanging with the wrong people,” he says. “Every time that something happens to me, it’s someone else. It’s just the way it is with me.”

The second time bought him another two years at Tehachapi, but he was out in one. ICE agents dropped him off in Nogales. And just like before, he turned around and came right back across the border.

In between his visits to prison, David was in and out of the county jail — sometimes just for a few days, other times for weeks, occasionally months. One time, he went in for 90 days, got out and started drinking, and wound up with another 90-day hitch.

At some point after his second deportation, David did a six-month stint in the L.A. county jail. Finally, he decided he’d had enough.

“It was just too much, man,” he says. “I couldn’t even enjoy drugs anymore. So I stopped.”

By this time his first marriage was over and his daughter was a teenager. David went to a church in his neighborhood and told them he wanted to get clean, so the priest sent him to a Christian home for 15 months.

David arrest

“I got out and I was clean. I was working, I had my car, and everything. I didn’t have papers, though.”

From the late 1980s until the early 2000s, things were better. David didn’t use, didn’t drink. He found stable work in his trade, welding, and eventually became the foreman at a company in southern California. He worked there for 16 years. He remarried and had three more kids with his second wife.

Then one night in 2003, ICE agents showed up at his home. He doesn’t know how they found out he was undocumented, or that he had a record. He doesn’t remember much of what happened — just that it was late, and that they knocked first.

“I said I didn’t do nothing. They said, ‘You’re illegal,’ and I said ‘Okay.’”

David served another two years, this time for illegal re-entry, and was sent to a federal penitentiary in Arizona before being deported to Nogales. And once again, he came back, though the border crossing was more difficult and more costly than it had been in the 1980s.

David says he met a group of guys in Mexico who charged him $2,000 before taking him to an opening in the border fence. From there, he made it back to Los Angeles, but things were different this time. His work disappeared. He and his second wife divorced. And later that year, the health problems began.

These days, David lives alone.

He has a lot of time to think about the mistakes he’s made and there’s a lot of regret, especially about his drug use.

“That was my life” he says. “I messed up. What I was doing is heavy. Heroin, it takes away your freedom, your family, your money, your job, everything … It’s nasty man. I learned to stay away.”

“This is my country,” David says. “I know it’s illegal being here. I feel bad, but I don’t have a choice.”

An illegal immigrant in a country he once served, he considers himself an American, even if he’s not a citizen, or even a legal resident.

“This is my country,” David says. “I know it’s illegal being here. I feel bad, but I don’t have a choice.”

David doesn’t like to talk to his kids and grandkids about what might happen to him if he’s discovered, he says. It’s hard to explain to them that though he’s spent 50 years of his life in the states, he’s not supposed to be here.

“They don’t understand it. They know. They talk about Trump — that he’s gonna send me to Mexico, and they go, ‘Why? What’s he gonna send you there for?’ They know, but they don’t understand.”

So he stays at home, and he waits, anxiously wondering if he’ll hear another knock at the door, like last time. He even changed his information on his driver’s license recently. He used his eldest daughter’s home address — she’s a U.S. citizen. At least that way, ICE might show up at her place first, and he might have a head’s up that they’re coming for him.

“I’m mostly just waiting for ICE to knock on my door.”

His family lives about 15 to 20 minutes away in a nearby city. He visits with them when he can. But usually, if he leaves the house, it’s to go to the VA — Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It’s a short trip by car, and he’s very, very careful to stay within the speed limit.

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In Her Quest For Revenge And Pride: Ronda Rousey Lost Her Own Way

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ESPN SPORTS)

 

LAS VEGAS — The first time Ronda Rousey met UFC president Dana White, she asked for a few minutes of his time to make her pitch for creating a women’s division in the UFC.

She was passionate and charismatic. She had a vision for what the sport could do for women and how she could lead the way.

“Fifteen minutes into a 45-minute conversation, I was like, ‘Holy s—, I’m in. If we’re ever going to do it, this is the woman to do so,'” White recalled.

The last time he spoke to Rousey, late Friday night after a brutal first-round knockout loss to Amanda Nunes, White was the one doing all the talking. She barely said a word.

“I must have tears, blood and boogers all over my f—ing jacket. I went in there and hugged her for 45 minutes,” White said. “I told her, ‘I love you so much, and whatever you want to do next, I got your back. You built this. This doesn’t exist without you. You’re the best decision I ever made.'”

Less than five years separated these conversations, and yet everything was different — the world, the sport and, most of all, Ronda Rousey herself.

She wasn’t making the case to fight anymore; White was.

In many ways, Rousey had outgrown a fighter’s life years ago. She talked openly of wanting to get married, have children and start a new life for herself outside of the spotlight. She had movie roles waiting for her. She was signing on for executive producing positions in various other projects. She had made tens of millions of dollars from the UFC, endorsements and other projects. She’d written a bestselling autobiography. She’d become a feminist hero with her message of fierce strength and ambition.

By themselves, none of these things meant she couldn’t still be a champion fighter. But collectively, they meant she didn’t have to be one anymore.

She didn’t have to fight. And for the better part of a year, she’s been trying to find the right reasons to keep doing it.

Was she after revenge or respect?

Was she simply trying to right a wrong after she’d lost to Holly Holm in November 2015?

Maybe it was about legacy and pride. The baddest woman on the planet couldn’t just fold after one loss. She had to try to come back so she could leave with some dignity.

“I want to be able to walk away with my head held high,” Rousey said before the fight. “It’s like a painter looking at what he made and knowing it’s not done yet. You could get away with it. You could sell that painting and it would sell. But you’ll always know it was never as good as it could have been. I don’t want ‘good enough’ to be my legacy.”

Eventually she settled on a mix of pride and revenge. But even the fact that she needed to ask herself why she was fighting spoke volumes.

There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of opportunities. There’s nothing wrong with wanting more.

That desire to keep pushing and stretching and growing is at the core of her being. It’s part of what made her such a compelling figure to her fans in the first place.

Women are terrible about wanting more, expecting more or demanding more. Rousey went after it and refused to apologize for her ambitions.

She was able to talk that talk because she’d previously always backed it up.

After the loss to Holm though, it was as if she didn’t know how to be if she couldn’t be the invincible superwoman champion. How could she have swagger when she was still so embarrassed at how she’d performed? How could she talk about beating Nunes when she was still beating herself up for losing to Holm?

I walked out of the arena and people were crying, men and women. She has been an amazing role model and amazing partner, an amazing friend.
Dana White

So she mostly stayed silent before the fight, explaining that there was nothing she could say that would help win the fight in front of her. She would do a few interviews with Ellen DeGeneres and Conan O’Brien and ESPN The Magazine, but she would not participate in the traditional fight-week promotional and media activities.

She was doing things on her terms, not anyone else’s.

That did not sit well. A couple of weeks ago, as I finished a feature story on her comeback attempt, a male colleague said to me, “Boy, I hear she’s just getting worse and worse. She’s storming off the stage in New York. She’s refusing to help promote the fight.”

It was an arresting statement. “Worse and worse?”

In reality, she’d gotten better and better after the loss to Holm. Being out of the spotlight had helped her spirit and psyche.

“I’m just getting my life back,” she said.

But to many men, she was just another woman they didn’t want to be around after she’d fallen apart. There was too much emotion, too much intensity and unpredictability to deal with. So in the great tradition of giving women tranquilizers to help calm their nerves or of women running into the bathroom at work to avoid crying, it was easier to call her broken and bitter than try to understand her.

Rousey’s problem is that it wasn’t just men who had a hard time dealing with her in this state. It was just as uncomfortable for her.

She never truly accepted the loss to Holm. She just tried to compartmentalize it.

But whether it was stubborn competitiveness or residual embarrassment, when she fought Nunes it was as if she’d been frozen in amber from a year ago. She stood in front of her with very little head movement or defense. She got tagged in the face repeatedly with powerful right hands. After 48 seconds of punishment, it was abruptly over.

Rousey stood and leaned against the cage with a sad, defeated look on her face. Nunes came over, grabbed her by the shoulders and paid her respects by saying, “You did so much for this sport.”

The pro-Rousey crowd inside the T-Mobile Arena was stunned and saddened.

“I walked out of the arena and people were crying, men and women,” White said. “She has been an amazing role model and amazing partner, an amazing friend.

“For the millions of people who admire her, she is somebody who is actually worth the admiration. Believe me, there’s a lot of celebrities out there that are popular. I meet them all the time. They are not worth your admiration. They suck. But Ronda Rousey is all of that. She’s incredible.”

White spoke with resignation about Rousey’s future in the sport. This likely is her final fight, though both White and her camp said she’d need some time to make a final decision.

“It’s very rare that people go out on this glorious ride, on top,” he said. “It almost never happens. Either people stick around too long and they get too old or things happened like what happened with Ronda.”

What exactly happened to Ronda these past two fights?

Is she the proverbial goose who finally ran out of golden eggs? Or was this just the inevitable turnover of the fame cycle?

Did she lose confidence in herself once her invincibility was gone? Or did she train the wrong way?

Those are questions she must answer before she decides whether to fight again.

But if this was her last fight, if she has grown out of the fighter’s life, White wanted her to know her legacy was secure.

“None of this happens without Ronda Rousey,” White said. “She built this whole thing.”

Life Through A Windshield (The Life Of An American Truck Driver)

 

Life through a Windshield

In 81’ the story began, first with my brother and then with a friend

Seeing life through a windshield like a gypsy on eighteen wheels

But when you do this for a living it’s life you will soon omit

White line fever they call it in song

White lines on the concrete is to what you now belong

The back rows of the truck stops and the cab of a truck is your home

From Beantown to Shaky to big D then Windy you roam

Dispatch can get you a load to anywhere except the state you belong

Driving your shiny KW is not just a job now you see

Through the windshield is your life on this unending concrete sea

Aspirin, Doans’s Pills and Preparation H

Always part of your luggage because that hot load just can’t wait

Truck driving is a hobby for the homeless no roots do you need

Life through the windshield is now the life you can’t leave.

Frauds And Racist Hillary Supporters Riot Against President Elect Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

Protesters target Trump buildings in massive street rallies

Story highlights

  • At least 13 arrested in Los Angeles for blocking highway traffic in protest of Trump
  • Anti-Trump protests have occurred in more than 25 cities

(CNN) The morning after Election Day smacked Democrats with a combination of shock and sadness.

Donald Trump would be the next US President. For thousands, disappointment turned to protest as Hillary Clinton supporters channeled their disbelief into a single defiant message.
“Not my President,” they chanted. “Not today.”
In response to Trump’s victory, a shocking win fueled by the rural roar of a dismayed white America, tens of thousands in at least 25 US cities — including New York and Nashville, Chicago and Cleveland, San Francisco and Seattle — shouted anti-Trump slogans, started fires, and held candlelight vigils to mourn the result.

Donald Trump's victory met with mixed reaction

Donald Trump’s victory met with mixed reaction 02:33
Many of those demonstrations continued early Thursday morning and led to dozens of arrests.
“People are furious, not just at the results of the election, but the rhetoric of Donald Trump,” Ahmed Kanna, an organizer for Social Alternative Berkeley, told CNN’s Don Lemon.

Demonstrations outside Trump’s properties

In New York, authorities estimated that as many as 5,000 people protested the real estate mogul’s victory outside Trump Tower. They included pop star Lady Gaga, a staunch Clinton supporter.

Lady Gaga protests against President-elect Donald Trump outside Trump Tower in New York.

Their concerns ranged from policies, such as his proposed plan to build a wall along the US-Mexican border, to the polarizing tenor of his campaign that stoked xenophobic fears.
“I came out here to let go of a lot of fear that was sparked as soon as I saw the results,” protester Nick Powers said. He said he feared Trump will support stronger stop-and-frisk policies that would put many people in prison. He also was worried that Trump’s victory would embolden sexist views.
Fifteen Trump Tower protesters were arrested Wednesday night for disorderly conduct, an NYPD spokesman said.
Protester: I wonder how much sexism was at play 02:16
In Chicago, activists marched down Lake Shore Drive — an eight-lane expressway along Lake Michigan — toward the Windy City’s Trump Tower with signs such as one that said, “I still can’t believe I have to protest for civil rights.”
CNN’s Ryan Young, who saw a few thousand people there, said many chanted vulgarities toward the President-elect.
“As a nation we thought we had come so far, but it seems like we’re taking many steps back,” one woman said. “We want to come together to change that.”
Emotional Clinton supporter: Hillary, sue the US 01:36
Meanwhile, protesters in Washington chanted “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” as they marched downtown to the Trump International Hotel. Elsewhere in the nation’s capital, an illuminated sign proclaimed that the US is “better than bigotry.”
Their cries turned profane after a solemn gathering of thousands who attended a candlelight vigil outside the White House to mourn the election loss.
“Everything that has been built up has been destroyed,” protester Brian Barto told CNN affiliate WJLA-TV. “America has failed (minorities).”
Headed into Thursday, more than a thousand protesters in Los Angeles, including young Latino protesters, rallied outside City Hall, according to CNN’s Paul Vercammen.
They chanted “I will not live in fear,” “Fight back, stand up” and “¡Si se puede!” (Spanish for “It can be done”).
Protesters also set on fire a piñata depicting the head of President-elect.
Several protesters said they feared that family or friends might be deported once Trump takes office. Brooklyn White, an 18-year-old protester who voted for Clinton, held a sign that said, “hate won’t win.”
“We can’t let it stop us,” she said. “If he’s the president then fine, but if Donald Trump is going to be it, then he has to listen.”
Early on Thursday morning, the protesters marched onto the 101 Freeway and blocked traffic. Authorities arrested at least 13 protesters, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman said.

Donald Trump effigy burned by protesters.

Donald Trump effigy burned by protesters. 01:56
In Oakland, California, police said as many as 7,000 demonstrators took to the streets Wednesday night. By then, trash fires burned on a highway. Johnna Watson, public information officer with Oakland’s police department, said three officers were injured.
Thirty people were taken into custody and at least 11 citations were issued for vandalism, assaulting officers, unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and possession of a firearm. Police said some protesters threw Molotov cocktails, rocks, and fireworks at police officers.
A few miles away at Berkeley High School, about 1,500 students walked out of classes Wednesday morning. It was one of numerous high school walkouts that occurred nationwide following the election.

Supporters: Trump an ‘agent of change’

As anti-Trump protesters aired their grievances with the election’s outcome, supporters also came out in some places to express their enthusiasm for the President-elect.
In New York early Wednesday, groups of Trump supporters cheered his triumph outside Trump Tower. Others went to the White House late Tuesday and early Wednesday to show their support.
Nicholas Elliot, a Georgetown University student, said he was elated about Trump’s election as he compared it to the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union.
“I feel pretty good, a year and a half process has ended and it ended my way,” the Texan told CNN affiliate WJLA.
JD Vance, author of the book “Hillbilly Elegy,” told CNN that Trump supporters in middle America voted for the President-elect because so few people — including the Clinton or her supporters — had paid attention to their plight.
“They see Trump as is an agent of change and agent of protest against folks who they feel have really failed in government,” Vance said.
CNN’s Marc Preston said the “Band-Aid” has been ripped off over the past 24 hours. Now comes the hard part: finding middle ground.
“All that anger that has been contained outside of Washington, D.C. and New York that we don’t see in middle America necessarily although these are urban cities, everyone’s starting to see it,” Preston said. “There is a lot of healing that has got to happen.”

15 People Shot At Los Angeles Party

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

Three dead, dozen wounded in shooting at Los Angeles party

 Three people were killed and a dozen wounded when gunfire erupted at a Los Angeles party overnight, a police spokesman said on Saturday.

The wounded were transported to hospitals, and two or three were in critical condition, the spokesman at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Southwest Division said. One suspect may be in custody, he said.

A party was under way when “somebody came in there and started shooting a bunch of people,” the spokesman said. He could provide no further details.

The Los Angeles Times said the shooting took place in the city’s West Adams neighborhood.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Leslie Adler

What Is The Value Of The Dollar Inside The United States?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MICHAEL REAGAN REPORT)

Michael Reagan
Businesses Flee California

By Michael Reagan

It never occurred to me that one could do exchange rate calculations between U.S. states. I always thought exchange rates only applied to foreign countries.

For example: Does the 20-to-1 exchange rate for pesos and dollars make up for the risk of decapitation on a visit to Mexico? Or should I settle for the much lower 1.32-to-1 exchange rate for Canadian dollars to U.S. dollars and have a better chance of surviving my vacation?

The Tax Foundation has estimated the difference in purchasing power for a $100 bill in various states. The winner of the competition was Alabama where you get $115.34 in value for your Benjamin.

Right next door to my home state of California, my former home state (went to high school there) of Arizona nets you $103.73 for your hundred smackers.

While in California your $100 is worth $88.97. Only in New York, New Jersey and of course Washington, D.C. could you get less for your money.

Is it any wonder Spectrum Location Solutions found 9,000 businesses left California between 2008 and 2015 in search of pastures where their greenbacks had more impact.

Joseph Vranich, president of SLS, told the Dallas Business Journal “companies are leaving California to escape escalating costs and regulations can move to Texas or Nevada that have no income tax and high relative purchasing power. I even wonder if some kind of ‘business migration history’ has been made.”

In the same interview Varnish estimated that California escapees have enjoyed “astonishing” operating cost savings from 20 to 35 percent.

That’s what happens when nanny state government decides to put the golden goose on an Ex-Lax diet to pay for its “compassionate” big government.

Some states claim to be “open for business” while California has “opened up on business.”

The top ten states that have enjoyed to California’s government-induced business exodus are Texas at the top followed by Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Virginia.

The California counties that have suffered the largest loss of businesses are just the ones you would expect: Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Diego, Alameda, San Mateo, Ventura, Sacramento and Riverside.

Proving that after a while business realizes California may have good weather, but you can’t take a climate to the bank.

Breitbart observed, “The Tax Foundation established a direct inverse correlation between purchasing power and the percentage level of state tax rate. California, with a 13.3 percent top state tax bracket, leads the nation.”

A dubious distinction that costs the remaining residents in lost employment opportunities.

Michael Reagan is the son of former President Ronald Reagan and chairman of the League of American Voters. His blog appears on reaganreports.com

 

 


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Any Racist Salutes By Any Athlete During National Anthem Should Be Forbidden

 

This past Monday evening I was going to watch the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49’s NFL football game. I had caught the last few moments of the previous game between Pittsburgh and Washington so I decided to stay on channel  and watch some of the next game. I had forgotten about the fact that the backup quarterback for the 49’s would be a focus point during the Anthem, you know whom I am speaking of don’t you? The man who has chosen to stay seated during the Anthem as a protest about how non-whites are treated here in America. Even though I believe that he has the right to make this silent statement I personally do not believe that any American should disgrace our Country in such a manner. A person, especially a person whom makes millions of dollars per year playing a game in a country where only this Country would do that for them, really has much validity in their protest, especially in such a manner. For those of you who are unaware of this young quarterback he is a person whom is half black via his Dad and half white from his Mom and even his Mom spoke out against what he is doing earlier this week.

 

Today this article is not about what the SF quarterback did or did not do Monday night, it is about something totally different that I witnessed during the Anthem. I am a person who is against any and all hate and against any and all racism, as racism is hatred and they are both a sin that should not be encouraged in any way. This article is about some of the other SF players who were standing, and giving the “Black Power” salute. I watched the game up until SF took a seven to zero lead on Washington then I went to bed. During those few moments of broadcast time I did not hear the broadcasters say one word about the players who did this very racist display of hatred. To me a blatant racist salute should not ever be tolerated in any event ever. The cowardliness of the TV broadcasters not commenting on these players doing this is sickening. I have a total belief that if at an NFL game this weekend some of the white players pull out KKK hoods and put them on during the Anthem that all of the media would go crazy, it would be the number one news story, as it should be. Doing a black power salute during the National Anthem just like the wearing of KKK hoods should be grounds for being thrown out of that game at the very least. Black racism is a disgrace to the black race just like white racism is a disgrace to the white race. Racism is pure ignorance, no matter what a person’s color is and this ignorance and hatred has no place in any Country and darn sure not during any Country’s National Anthem.

Jordan Tourism Is A Star Of The Middle-East

(This article is courtesy of the Berlin Germany News Paper ‘The Local’)

Discover Jordan presented by Jordan Tourism Board

Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East

Photo: Jordan Tourism Board

Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East

Published: 01 Aug 2016 11:38 GMT+02:00

Geography, though, is in fact Jordan’s blessing… its location – nestled on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula and not far from the Mediterranean – has blessed it with an enviable collection of wonders – natural and manmade – that put the country in a class by itself.

If it weren’t for Jordan’s geography, it wouldn’t boast the awe-inspiring rock city of Petra; the spectacular canyons of Wadi Rum and Mujib; the ancient city of Jerash; or Mount Nebo, from where Moses saw The Promised Land; or the site of Jesus’ baptism at Bethany Beyond the Jordan.

Jordanians have a sense that they’ve been tasked to serve as guardians of something bigger than themselves,” says Khalid Itum.

Itum, a Jordanian national, travels frequently to Jordan from his current home in Los Angeles and once operated a travel company that arranged experiential travel to his native homeland.

He concurs that “Jordan really is different” than other countries in the region, due in part to its history and politics, but also because of its capacity to embrace and enmesh cultures that are often at odds with one another elsewhere.

Jordan doesn’t have oil so chose to invest in human resources to thrive. That spawned a more liberal society against a backdrop of security. It’s more open and tolerant and is sort of close to everybody by necessity,” he explains.

In Jordan there is no clash between east and west. They blend together nicely and naturally.”

Over the years, Itum has accompanied hundreds of visitors on their visits to Jordan, seeing first-hand how they react to the country when the also recognize just how different it is.

You can see it in their eyes,” he explains. “The amazing religious sites, castles from the crusades, the amazing landscape – there’s something for everyone which is often more than people were expecting.”

Another hallmark that sets Jordan apart is its openness, which is often expressed on a personal level the legendary hospitality of its people.

I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to visit Jordan without being invited in to someone’s home to share a meal together,” says Itum.

When asked to offer up experiences that best exemplify Jordan as the Different East, Itum is quick to mention Petra – the one-of-a-kind UNESCO world heritage site featured in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I’ve probably been there a couple of dozen times and every time my jaw just drops at how spectacular it is. There really is nothing like it anywhere,” he says.

But he adds that there is far, far more and has always insisted that his guests spend a minimum of a week there and even encourages people to stay for 10+ days.

Itum also mentions his own home city of Jerash – host to one of Jordan’s largest cultural festivals, which features an eclectic mix of Jordanian and international artists, with performances taking place in the open air among the city’s famed Roman ruins.

Sitting there, listening to the music in that atmosphere, you feel like you’ve stepped into a different time,” he says. “But just beyond the spectacular Roman colonnades you find a modern, thriving city much like any other. It’s that sort of juxtaposition that really sums up what makes Jordan different.”

Another special spot for Itum and many of the tour groups he led is Mount Nebo, the spot described in the Old Testament where Moses was able to see the Promised Land.

I’m not religious at all, but you can’t help but be gripped by the spirituality of the place,” he says. “And on a clear day you too can see the lights of Jerusalem.”

In some ways, Jordan’s distinctiveness comes from simply having been around for a long, long time. But more than that, it’s also how the country has preserved the legacy while at the same time embracing what lies ahead.

“Jordan really is one of the best places you’ll ever travel to on the face of this earth,” Itum says. “I can try to paint the picture, but you’ll have to experience it for yourself to truly understand.”

The sentiment was perhaps best expressed by the late King Hussein, who ruled Jordan for more than four decades until his death in 1999:

Jordan has a strange, haunting beauty and a sense of timelessness. Dotted with the ruins of empires once great, it is the last resort of yesterday in the world of tomorrow.”

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Jordan Tourism Board.

Marijuana Is Not A Gateway Drug Up: It Is A Step Down Drug Though

 

The first time that I ever tried smoking Marijuana (Pot) was in the High School parking lot the year I turned 17, that was 1973. As I learned through the years the Pot I tried was Norther Illinois Homegrown and was basically worthless as far as getting a buzz (high) from it. Back then you could buy a five-finger bag for $15 but I thought it to be a waste of 15 hard-earned dollars. I am now 60 years old so I have been around Marijuana for 43 years now so yes, I do have some opinions that I would like to share with you about what I think and believe about this God-given plant. The next time I tried Pot I was 23 years old and living in Houston Texas. I have never really been a drinker of alcohol nor a user of hard drugs and I have never once stuck or been stuck with a needle with street drugs in it, I have never had such a desire to do so. The far right (wrong) media has been talking trash about Pot at least since about 1988 saying it is a ‘gateway drug” that gets people to go into doing “hard” drugs like Crack, Pills and Heroine. Folks, my life’s experiences have shown me that Pot being a “gateway drug” is a bunch of lies (BS).

 

Folks, I have known people who have smoked Pot their whole adult lives who have never gone onto harder drugs and that includes alcohol. I have known people in several professions who liked to smoke Pot in the evenings when they got home from work to help relax from the stress of their day and who would smoke it on the weekends for the relaxation of it. These people I speak of are my age and older who are now retired from their jobs. These people were/are inner twined into the fabric of our economy. They bought and paid off homes, cars, boats, and raised families. None of these people who I know ever did anything to get into trouble with the law, they weren’t/aren’t robbers, murderers or violent people. Many millions of people believe that this is a God-given plant that is given to the people for many health benefits and believe that no man, no government has any right to refuse it to the people. This past week President Obama said that Marijuana will stay in the class one category of drugs because it has no medical value and this is what the DEA also spouts as truth. I know that these are educated people but if they believe this they would have to be both ignorant and stupid. The only reason that these people would say something so stupid is if big money is involved, and you know it is. So, is it stupidity, ignorance or just plain crooked. Personally I have to go with the big money, thus the crooked concept.

 

I am a service connected disabled Veteran from active duty Army service. I was only in for seven months because in the second month I was struck by lightning during a training exercise. The VA has in the past loaded me up with pain killers which do almost nothing for the nerve pain so I had them stop them about 14-15 months ago as I have no desire to walk around like a Zombie. The only thing that I have found that helps is if/when I can find some good quality Pot. The Pot does not cure the issues but then again, neither do the pills. The Pot works like a block on the nerve pain, the pain is still there but it does not let the pain signals go from (A to B) SO IT STOPS THE PAIN SIGNAL FROM GOING TO THE BRAIN. About two weeks ago the Senators and Congressmen who were on the committee over seeing the budget for the VA at the last-minute took the provision to okay medical Marijuana out of the VA funding bill. These disgusting people should all be fired this November!

 

In my life I have seen many cases where people who used to smoke Pot but had to quit because of laws about pre employment and random drug test at their employers, if I remember correctly this kicked into high gear in about 1988. If you are old enough to remember this is about when our Federal Government started their so call ‘war on drugs’. This ignorance, the way they have gone about things have cost many thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars that could have gone into the economy instead. For many people when they had to quit smoking Pot because it stays traceable in your system for about 30 days they then started drinking or just drinking more than they ever had. Also for many people who still wanted a ‘high’ when they had to quit smoking Pot turned to things like Cocaine, Crack, Heroine, and Pills because these things only stay in a person’s system about three days. So in essence, the Government has increased drug usage with their ‘war on drugs’. Check the stats, in states where Marijuana is now legal drug overdoses have gone down, Pill usage has gone down because people would rather have the mellow high that Pot gives and a fact is, no one has ever died from an overdose of Marijuana. If states would all legalize real Marijuana this new product called K-2 would disappear. It seems like every week we are hearing of people having to go to the hospital because of the chemical effects of this synthetic version of Pot. Just yesterday it was on the news that 10 people in Austin Texas were sent to the hospital because of it.

 

There is only one thing that comes to mind for the reason that Marijuana is not legalized and that is there is very big money flowing into D.C. politicians to keep it illegal. Remember what I said about the VA? If Marijuana became legal and the VA was able to dispense it the drug companies would lose billions of dollars each year because there would be no need or reason to take their chemicals. This would also save the VA and the tax payers billions of dollars each year, this is money that could be going into the economy instead of CEO’s pockets. The U.S. ‘war on drugs’ has in fact created drug traffickers and cartels. This ignorance has created revenue for street gangs here in the States. How many lives has been taken by these gangs from South America and Mexico to Los Angeles to Chicago to New York to small towns all over the U.S.? Marijuana being illegal has helped fuel other much more dangerous drugs and gang warfare on our city streets! How many police have lost their lives in this war? I don’t know that answer but even one Officer losing their life over the bought and paid for politicians and their hypocrisy is just plain evil. There is also the reality that many policing agencies go after the people with small amounts of Pot for the purpose of stealing people’s personal property like their homes, cars, land and bank accounts. It is safer and more profitable to go after these people who are much more mellow type of folks. The exception would be when the police are trying to arrest some of the Pot dealers, some times some of these folks will have guns or big dogs to worry about. There is also the concept of the Prison Industry which cost the public billions of dollars to arrest, convict and house/jail Pot smokers each year. Some States cry about over crowded prisons and want to have more jails and prisons built. The remedy to this problem is simple, free the people you have in the prisons who are there for simple possession of Pot. This would free up many cells in which to put the violent offenders! Also there is the problem of our Court system being so backed up with people charged with simple possession that it takes ridiculous amounts of time to adjudicate the cases of the violent criminals that our local jails are over-flowing. One last thought, the U.S. has more people in Prisons than any nation on Earth, more than Iran, Russia, China or even North Korea. The remedy to all these ill’s is simple, make Marijuana legal, every thing about this issue is a win win for our Country and our people.

China’s Women Win Volleyball Gold For Third Time In Rio

China wins third women’s volleyball gold

ZHU Ting propelled China to a 3-1 (18-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-23) victory over Serbia to claim the gold medal of the women’s volleyball tournament at Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Saturday.

Zhu, who was named the Most Valuable Player, finished as the top scorer of the competition with a total of 179 points including a tournament-high 33 in the semifinals against the Netherlands. She capped her participation with 25 points as the main Chinese weapon in the triumph.

China climbed to the top of the podium for the third time in the history of volleyball at the Olympic Games and first since Athens 2004. They also won the gold medal in Los Angeles 1984, a silver medal in Atlanta 1996 and bronze medals in Seoul 1988 and also at home in Beijing 2008.

China’s Lang Ping became the first to win a gold medal as a player in Los Angeles 1984 and repeat the feat now as a coach.

The silver medal for Serbia is their best finish in three Olympic appearances after concluding fifth and 11th in Beijing and London, respectively.

China’s Hui Ruoqi and Xu Yunli contributed 13 and 12 points in the victory, while Yuan Xinyue added 9, including three blocks.

Tijana Boskovic and Milena Rasic were the top scorers for Serbia with 23 and 16 points, respectively, and Tijana Malesevic and Brankica Mihajlovic finished with 11 apiece in the loss.

The fourth set was a close battle until Zhu scored twice for a 16-13 lead. With Mihajlovic and Boskovic both on the bench, Serbia closed in to 19-18 with consecutive spikes by Malesevic and Veljkovic. Serbia tied at 20-all via opponent error. Then at 23-all, Rasic served out of bounds and China won 25-23 with the spike by Hui.

“We faced a very tough opponent but we concentrated on each point, one by one,” said Hui.

 

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