(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
Saudi affair exposes Trumpism’s moral apathy
Washington (CNN) Donald Trump has dug a moral hole through the middle of America’s foreign policy — and he’s not sorry at all.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
Washington (CNN) Donald Trump has dug a moral hole through the middle of America’s foreign policy — and he’s not sorry at all.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE NATION.COM’)
House Speaker Paul Ryan does not hold traditional town-hall meetings. The Wisconsin Republican is so frightened by his constituents that he now opts for restricted events where the questioners and the questions are screened. But the frustration with Ryan has grown so great that the restrictions are no longer sufficient to shield this political careerist from scrutiny.
One line of questioning was particularly devastating—as it revealed Ryan’s startling ignorance regarding not just poverty but the antipoverty programs he seeks to diminish and dismantle.
It came from a local nun and retired educator and school principal, Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Erica Jordan:
Good evening, Mr. Speaker. I know that you’re Catholic, as am I, and it seems to me that most of the Republicans in the Congress are not willing to stand with the poor and working class as evidenced in the recent debates about health care and the anticipated tax reform. So I’d like to ask you how you see yourself upholding the church’s social teaching that has the idea that God is always on the side of the poor and dispossessed, as should we be.
Ryan answered with a spew of right-wing talking points about how historic antipoverty programs have supposedly failed.
The status quo isn’t working, Sister, and what I think we need to do is change our approach on fighting poverty instead of measuring success based on how much money we spend or how many programs we create or how many people are on those programs, you know, measuring on inputs. Let’s measure success in poverty on outcomes. Is it working? Are people getting out of poverty?
To bolster his claim, Ryan announced that “we’re in the 32nd year of the war on poverty. Trillions spent, and guess what? Our poverty rates are about the same as they were when we started this war on poverty 32 years ago.”
No one except Paul Ryan thinks the war on poverty started 32 years ago. 2017 minus 32 is 1985. That’s the middle of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
The war on poverty had its roots in the administration of President John Kennedy, when he and his aides took an interest in Michael Harrington’s groundbreaking 1962 book, The Other America. In that book, the prominent democratic socialist explained that it was practically and morally wrong for a nation as wealthy as the United States to look the other way while close to a quarter of its population lived in poverty. Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, used his January 8, 1964, State of the Union address to announce a war-on-poverty legislative agenda that proposed a variety of education, health-care and community-action programs to address economic inequality and injustice. “Our aim,” announced Johnson, “is not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.”
So Ryan got the most basic math wrong—more than two decades wrong. In so doing, he displayed startling ignorance of issues that he should know well. Ryan’s is a dangerous ignorance. The proof of that came in his repetition of the lie that says the antipoverty programs that were launched in the 1960s did not work. In fact, according to the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California-Davis,
Historically, the official poverty rate in the United States had ranged from a high of 22.4 percent when it was first estimated for 1959 to a low of 11.1 percent in 1973. Since its initial rapid decline after 1964 with the launch of major War on Poverty programs, the poverty rate has fluctuated between around 11 and 15 percent.
The official poverty rate is currently in the middle of that range, around 13.5 percent. So, in addition to getting the timeline wrong, Ryan got the measures of results wrong.
Poverty dropped dramatically when antipoverty programs were initiated in the mid-1960s and it has not returned to the levels that existed before the launch of the war on poverty. Should poverty rates be lower? Absolutely. But it is not war-on-poverty programs that keep the rates from dropping. It is the failure to maintain the commitment to “curing” and preventing poverty that LBJ and the Democratic congresses of the late 1960s evidenced.
Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to the Bushes dialed down the fight against poverty—and the Democratic presidents who followed LBJ were too cautious about dialing it up.
Paul Ryan, with his proposals to gut the Affordable Care Act, and with his long history of looking for ways to undermine Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and nutrition programs, has got the calculus exactly wrong. Despite the evidence that federal, state, and local action to address poverty works, he wants to weaken those programs.
Ryan missteps were noted by the crowd in Racine. They booed him frequently as he attempted to answer the sister’s questions with economic fantasies.
For her part, Sister Erica Jordan was unimpressed by the speaker.
“I think he is really naive,” she said. “Trickle-down economics has never worked. The budget is cutting programs in a way that hurts the poor. I wonder how often he talks to poor people. I don’t think he has much opportunity to really talk to people who are struggling.”
The nun was having none of Paul Ryan’s preachments.
“It’s unconscionable that our elected officials feel free to do what they’re doing right now taking away health care, threatening Social Security and Medicare,” the sister explained to Commonweal magazine in a thoughtful conversation with John Gehring, the author of The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).
It is just wrong. Speaker Ryan is a leader and he seems to be totally complicit in this way of thinking. I want him to really think about my question. I’ve been so distressed by this Congress and going through what we did during the health-care debate. There is such a disregard for the common good and the poor. It makes me angry. I do believe he is a man of faith, but I think he is misguided.
“Misguided” is a very polite word for Paul Ryan. But the sister can be polite. She won her debate with the Speaker of the House—on moral and factual grounds.
Is Black American ‘Culture’ Black Peoples Biggest Problem With Police?
I know that throughout the history of the human race that there have been issues with race that has spawned violence and hatred one toward another. Here in America some people tend to even hate people because of the accent they speak with even if they have the same skin color. Some folks here in their limited knowledge are still fighting the Civil war in their own minds. Today’s note to you is not centered on racism of black people toward everyone else nor other races toward black folks, it is about today’s black culture issues though.
To the layman at street level who has logged about five-million miles traveling over the lower 48 States and Canada I have been a witness to how people at ground level act toward issues and toward others all over the country during a span of over thirty years. I know that race issues cannot be completely taken out of how cultures feel they are or have been treated by other cultures, I guess it is a taught DNA, sort of. I am a conservative/moderate Christian white guy from the south-east United States who is a person who thinks that brown skin is actually the prettiest (why do white folks lay out in the sun for and go to tanning booths for, to turn the white skin brown). Really what it comes down to is that I really don’t care what your outside is. I do tend to judge from what comes out of the mouth and heart of a person though, human flaw I guess, any judging is, but I like you am only a human. I err often, but at least I try not to. I try to look at life from the spiritual view of Christian Scriptures yet I often fail at that. I am not trying to judge anyone with this note today, I am asking each of us to think about the issues I am bringing up here and to consider the thoughts, the suggestions, that all. This is a note just trying to get us to consider how we “can just all get long”.
I know that I have heard many times throughout the country black Americans, mostly males though talking ‘smack/ignorance’ about how the worst of behaviors like constant in your face vulgar language and walking around holding their version of manhood, or treating all women like whores and the unwillingness to work for a living as just part of their culture. Like the black lady Congressman from Watts CA who after the riots there after the Rodney King verdict referred to all of that rioting, violence, store break-ins as not really a crime being committed, just culture?
It is no secret in the Hispanic, Asian or White communities or in the Black communities that the uneducated act the most ignorant toward each other in general. The Black people as a race must push education for their own people. What is the dropout rate among black teenagers compared to the other races here in America? What is the unemployment rate among black youth and black males in general? What is the rate of black youth compared to other races having spent time in the penal system? What is the poverty rate differences? What is the rate of violence by black people, mainly males, toward other black folks, white folks, ect? It is no secret the ignorance of the ‘gangster’ in your face ignorance of the young people in this country causes constant conflicts. One evening at a business (in Albany Georgia) I frequented I came in on a different shift and there were two thirty-ish black women working behind the counter. They waited on the thirty-ish year old black man in line in front of me, after he left they made mention of the BMW that just left. I looked out the window and noticed that he got into a Ford and the girls seen that I had a bit of a question on my face so they explained that BMW that they were speaking of was ‘black man who works’. They explained a few things to me, they said that around there that almost all of the single black men either ran drugs or whores, very few would actually work for a living that they were always looking for some woman to lay in on. Education, morals, non-aggression, faith in a loving God, importance of families with the dads in the household, these are taught things, they are learned, just like good habits are taught and learned. The black communities in America as a whole is horribly failing their own people. Another one of these two black ladies jokes was “how do you starve a black man to death, answer, hide his food stamps under his work boots, ouch”!
These so-called black ministers who have made personal million’s by always going around preaching hate and discontent would instead preach and teach as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr did during his life time many more black people and other people would be alive today. When a person comes into contact with a group of people, a race of people, and that person time and time again when they come into this contact are having trouble with this particular race or culture of people, they are going to get fed up with it, this in your face mentality. A very good example of this can be shown in basic human nature. I as a former lifelong over the road truck driver knows that some police officer in general are crooked as a dogs hind leg that’s been broken a dozen times, but most are not that way. If you are a police officer and you see a certain trucking companies trucks several times a day and this companies drivers think they are all cowboys and don’t have to obey the laws like everyone else. Let’s say every time you pull over one of them that they are stoned or drunk then you as a human being may well stop these trucks at their slightest infraction when another truck traveling with it wasn’t pulled. What if every time you as a cop pull over a tractor-trailer unit that the driver of almost every truck gets out being mouthy with the cop and refusing to obey the cops’ directives, what kind of attitude do you think any human being would get toward all truck drivers and trucking in general? The same exact thing happens with a lot of police officers when they encounter belligerent people who time and time again are of one race, nationality, gender, age group etc.
What I am saying is that here in America the Black community has got to as a whole look inside their own actions, their own culture, to see if we by our own personal actions and those of our families, communities, churches are making problems worse with society as a whole and /or with the police in general. Every culture faces these same questions, what actions by people are okay in a civil society and which just cause conflict. There is no doubt that police departments around the globe have officers who are less than stable, less than decent, less than honest, less than mature, thugs, etc. This is a constant issue for every department everywhere and not just police departments, warehousing, offices, factories, etc. Race, morals, violence, these are all personal issues and until we decide to quit blaming others for things that they had nothing to do with, then our own personal experiences will be unpleasant at times, especially when we are having a face to face meeting with Police Officers. Everyone on the planet needs to understand that if you have any encounter with any Police Officer anywhere, that if that Officer happens to be dirty, he can mess up the rest of your life, or end it. So when we encounter an Officer during our day simply always be kind and decent to them and do obey their orders to limit the opportunity for a moron to show you how big a moron he can become. O, and always hope for dash cams and Officer Body Cameras, for everyone’s sake, to protect the civilian and to protect the Officer from lies being leveled against each other.
By no stretch of the imagination am I a person who is anti cop, to me that is a stupid view for anyone to have. I know very well that there are many very dirty cops in all the countries of the world, I know this simply because until we have android officers in those uniforms, they are all just humans and as humans we make bad choices sometimes. But I am a person who only cares about the truth in these issues. I have personally know several very dirty cops during my life and I have known several officers who are/were damn fine people. America has a history of political and law enforcement personnel who were/are far more criminal in their actions than those they are supposed to be arresting. It is part of being human to be tempted each day, tempted to do what is honest and decent or to be deceptive filled violent trash. Some cops fail in that duty daily just as some of the rest of us are tempted in our own ways and fail. Cops MUST be held to a higher standard of doing what is morally correct. For way to long D.A’s across the country have seen videos of police officers shooting unarmed people who are running away in the back and said these were justifiable executions. Until all department heads are cleared out who they themselves are the venom of the Departments with leaderships and laws and policies that force the good officers to stay quiet or lose their jobs or worse.
Now to my actual point of the above title which is the recent shooting death of a 41-year-old San Antonio man by two county deputies. In my early/mid twenties there was a space of about six years where I dabbled in the security/police field (military, Illinois State, Oil companies, bank security, nuclear power plant) so I was involved with many departments and learned many things. These things I learned is why I chose to not make this field a career. You learn many good things and many bad things about humor/lack of, maturity and morals which were a huge problem way back then with so many. Until the policing agencies honestly insist on good moral people being promoted instead of being blackballed how in the hell do they honestly think the people are ever going to be able to trust them? Police must police themselves and these crooked to the core D.A.’s must be themselves put into the prison cells for their willful crimes against the populace. Until these cesspools of evil are crushed from within the American people can never feel safe when they in their daily lives encounter any cop, D.A., or judge because we know that “if” they are dirty they can really screw up the rest of your life, or end it, and that in many cases they are allowed from within to cover up.
Now back to Mr Gilbert Flores in San Antonio Texas, the man who in my belief was murdered by these two deputies. There is a second video taken of this crime as it was being committed that was turned into station KSAT on Monday. Bexar county Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said today at a press conference that “we believe he (Mr Flores) had something in his hand, we believe it was a knife”.—She doesn’t know if a knife was recovered at the scene! My question is, just why in the hell don’t you know? Sheriff it is part of your job training/responsibly to know such a thing as this. Her office has this second video but refuses to release it to the public until after it has been investigated by other police agencies (F.B.I.,Texas Rangers, State Police). To the Sheriffs credit she did say that “there is no doubt that what was shown in that video is of grave concern to all of us, but we also want to get this right”. I just pray that she is honest, maybe we shall soon see the second video ourselves.
From CNN: The second video will be examined by the Texas Department of Safety crime lab (State Police) which will “try to enlarge and slow down the sequence so that investigators can get a better idea of exactly what he had in his hand,” the Sheriff said. Meanwhile the FBI has opened a federal civil rights investigation into the incident “to determine whether a civil rights violation took place as a result of a deputy willfully engaging in the use of excessive or unjustified force,” the agencies San Antonio office representative said today (9-02-2015).
Now, last paragraph I promise. My gripe to all of law enforcement and especially to Sheriff Pamerleau is a very simple one, why did the officers think it was okay to fire two kill shots on a man who was standing still with both hands/arms in the “I give up position” and these officers were close enough to have spit on the man, they could see very plainly what he had or did not have in his left hand. These two officers decided it was okay to shoot a person who was at that time posing no actual threat to either of them. I’m sorry but I know damn well from personal training and 60 years of life that if a person is holding a blade with it pointing toward the sky and you and your partner both have your weapons drawn and pointed at the person that there was NO REASON to have fired any kill shots even if he refused to put the knife down. The only reason I can come up with that a cop would have been justified in a kill shot was if the left hand had a bomb or bomb trigger in it. Not even if the man had a gun in his hand with it pointed toward the sky should he have been kill shot! Why could they not have simply (and I do mean simply being they were only about ten feet from him with a totally clear view of him) put a round in his left shoulder, arm, or hand? Even if this knife is a real fact Sheriff, your two men just committed murder, there is no excuse for those kill shots at that range. It is a very sad thing for everyone involved in this incident but the American people’s mood is one where we are damn tired of crooked policing agencies and crooked politicians. (Why do you think an ego maniac like Donald Trump gets so much attention, hint he is not a politician) If you are in one of these professions please clean your own houses up very soon or the people of this country are going to remove you, unfortunately very often the wheat gets thrown out with the briers.
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