Each of us is vitally concerned with his own safety. Each of us also want a family and extended communities to live free of fear from threat to life and limb. National security is the most important function of government. For our own safety and security we want strong police and military forces to protect and defend us.
But, for a well-governed nation, the size of the military should be based on a realistic prudent assessment of need and the elimination of of waste, abuse and redundancy. And, for the well-being of its citizens, there should be a thorough consideration of alternative uses of funds for civilian needs.
The need for an offensive arsenal should be re-assessed to preclude or minimize its use for the following purposes:
-war not specifically authorized by Congress
-to force the spread of capitalism or democracy
-taking sides in foreign civil wars
-“War on Drugs” in foreign countries
-“War on Terror” in foreign countries
-targeted killings using drones
-to conduct multiple major wars simultaneously
– wars for gain of territory or natural resources
– support of proxy wars
A calculated re-assessment of offensive needs would certainly result in a significant downsizing of the military. Furthermore, military budgets should not include items nor should allocated funds be spent for unnecessary products or programs if justified simply to enhance corporate profits or to create or maintain jobs.
Categorizing objects is much easier than categorizing people. The less we know about people makes it almost impossible to put them into categories. If we know only a few things about them, we might put them into categories before having a more complete picture.
We can more clearly get a picture of a well-known person who has a well documented history, but labeling or categorizing groups of people by the history of some members of the group is not only unfair, to say the least, but intellectually dishonest.
SeniorsCAN call upon the President and Congress to stop the “WAR ON DRUGS” as currently being waged because it is an ineffective program, a virtual failure in stemming drug use or criminal activity, and it is extremely costly. Our judicial system leading to incarceration for drug use is not fair or just and is family and socially disruptive.
Fight the drug problem economically by taking the black-market profit out of sales and by aggressively prosecuting tax evasion and money-laundering.
Stop trying to curb the supply side of the problem by ending our incursion in other nations; stop the funding and all military aid or actions.
Address the demand side of the problem by education of the public with a national campaign enlisting media to draw attention to the harmful affects of drug use.
Treat drug addiction and drug abuse medically and psychologically; give support to social services directed to handling and reducing its use. Also, support research and development on addiction causes and cures and on overdose therapies.
De-criminalize the production, distribution, sale, use or possession of all drugs. End the designation of marijuana as a Schedule One controlled substance. Obviously, continue police actions necessary to curtail illegal gang activity and specific crimes related to the sale of drugs.
Economics has been called the dismal science by some. But since economics is one of the cores of our civilization should we have a better understanding of it? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the American free-enterprise system and are there reforms and policies changes that could make it even better?
One change that might be beneficial is to index some programs to keeps pace with inflation such as gasoline taxes. Our gasoline taxes are not now sufficient to fund the repairs of our highway system including bridges.
The minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, and if it had been indexed starting around 1968, it would be around 11 dollars an hour and not be such a political football.
What are your thoughts? Click on reply at the top and leave your comments at the bottom.
What is fascinating about Donald Trump is that he is blowing up the Republican Party by offering a totally new hybrid politics. In that regard he is a pioneer — socially liberal in some ways, isolationist in others. He is almost Democratic in his approach to Social Security, yet he is anti-immigrant, bigoted and fearmongering in other ways. And he is positively irresponsible in his budget proposals. His hybrid is an incoherent mess, designed more to appeal to the G.O.P. base than to govern. But if Trump uses it to explode this Republican Party and to open the way for a new, mature, hybrid center-right version, he will have done the Lord’s work.
But please, Lord, keep him away from the White House.
Many politicians start their political careers as school board members, city council members, activists, etc. I would characterize them as amateur politicians for the most part. They do not have the breadth of study to understand the scope and complexities of government.
It’s often said that what our leaders need is common sense, not fancy theories. But common-sense ideas that work in individuals’ everyday lives are often useless for dealing with complex problems of society as a whole. For example, it’s common sense that government payments to the unemployed will lead to more jobs because those receiving the payments will spend the money, thereby increasing demand, which will lead businesses to hire more workers. But it’s also common sense that if people are paid for not working, they will have less incentive to work, which will increase unemployment. The trick is to find the amount of unemployment benefits that will strike the most effective balance between stimulating demand and discouraging employment.
Click on “reply” above to leave your thoughts. Thanks, Greg
When you don’t listen to what people are saying you are condemned to failure. Back when Mitt Romney lost the election to Barak Obama the RNC lead by Mr. Reince Priebus announced they would perform an autopsy on the party. Four years have passed and the Republicans have mounted their comeback. However, now the Republican Party is faced with avery difficult choice. Do you support the odds on favorite for the nomination, Donald Trump, who has mounted an all but successful hostile takeover of the the party, or keep with the failed strategy to nominate someone else who can maintain the so called tenants of the party?
When you perform an autopsy you find out hat the cause of death was, or at least that’s what you would think would happen. The real decline of the Republicans as we know them happened when John McCain chose Sara Palin as his running mate. The party lost to Barak Obama because some Republicans (me) felt like it was a joke and how could we take the party seriously. I’m not saying there was anything wrong with Sara, she is a smart woman. It was not her time. Now fast forward to Mitt Romney who should have won in a cake walk. The RNC allowed the message of the party to be skewed by a philosophy that did not take into consideration, the folks who are on the edge, and they ultimately voted for Obama. Mitt’s 47% comment did not help. It was the most honest thing a politician has ever said, but still should not have been said, a big goof. If the parties are split 47% to 47% which they still are, there is that 4% that you need to sway over to your party. That’s just the way it works.
Now the 2016 election is upon us. The Republicans start out with 17 possible candidates. Shows you how divided the party is. Time took its toll on most of them and now we are left basically with 4 viable choices. Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich. I include John Kasich because as of this date, Feb 28, 2016, the Ohio primary has not been settled and if you believe the media, no President has been elected without Ohio, so John is still in it.
Now on the competition side, the Hillary and Bernie. That’s a hard one. The DNC, however, does listen to the people. We as a society have moved to the left. It had to happen because the “Right” has not listened to what the true political landscape of America has become. The DNC who allowed an independent to run with the Democrats knows that a self avowed Socialist cannot win the general election. We are not that far left yet, but believe me it’s not that far off. While the Republicans are tripping over each other, Hillary is on her way to locking up the nomination and all the Republicans are doing is giving her the ammunition to destroy anyone who opposes her. Not so fast.
Let’s get back to the Republicans. If they do not it out soon, they lose. The Tea Party and the Koch brothers have spent millions to further their their conservative cause. Look what has happened int the last mid-term election. They have both houses of the congress. What have they done? How have they advanced their philosophy? They have not. There is little doubt as to why so many Evangelicals are supporting the Donald and not Ted Cruz. The Tea Party Republicans have not delivered. When a smart developer sees a distressed property of business that is in decline they know to make a hostile takeover. The Donald has hit a nerve that has turned the Republican Party upside down. You see, he listens and knows when he can buy a property at a low cost and turn it over for a large profit. If you don’t believe me, read his book, “The Art of the Deal”. It’s all in there and spelled out. He may be a con man or a huckster but he knows what it takes to win. It is hard for me to say if I could really vote for the Donald, but if the Republicans do not rally behind his message, Hillary will win. Rubio is right. It is what happens when you don’t get it and I don’t think the Republicans get it.
You have to win only 4% of the electorate. However, that is what is so tough. If you do not pay attention to what people are saying, you cannot win. There is a whole new segment of voters who are likely to vote for the first time in their lives. Again the 47% is going to vote as they always do. You are not going to win those folks over. If the Republican Party wants to grow it has to allow new ways of looking at what conservatism is.
The problem is the establishment. Those folks who are either lobbyists or have some motive to elect the people who will extend their agenda. Big business has always run the country. It makes no difference what Party. They all do their bidding to increase their own greed. That’s how capitalism is and I love it, but there should be limits to how far they are allowed to control congress and what gets passed or not. I’m not sure an outsider will be successful but the establishment is scared to death.
The RNC has promised to support whoever the nominee is. Well they gambled and did not believe Trump would go as far as he has. It is early in the game, but playing dirty and throwing mud only gets you muddy. The saying “if you fight with a pig, you make the pig happy and yourself dirty”. We have to have a more accurate assessment of where the party really has to go. If Trump keeps winning the Republican Party has some real tough decisions to make. This could be the death of the Republican Party as we know it.
People think that other people think the way they do. When other cultures try to assimilate into American society they are influenced by by the written history that is simple, “Washington chopped down the cherry tree”. They take these things literally and cannot process the nuance and idiomatic slang of our language. Their view off the American way is skewed by what their cultures think and cannot understand the differences. We do not help because we do not understand why they don’t understand us. Anyway that’s a topic of another day.
Walt Petrovsky – An unhappy Republican
Prohibition of alcohol didn’t work. The DRUG WAR has failed. It’s time to learn from the past and decriminalize all drugs.
SeniorsCAN call upon the President and Congress to take the following actions needed for beneficial change:
Declassify marijuana as a schedule 1 controlled substance.
End incarceration for drug abuse.
Increase medical and mental health treatments for addiction.
Support research in addiction causes and alternatives.
Promote education of the harmful affects of drug use.
Government has a basic, wholly acknowledged role in providing for the safety and security of its citizens – freedom from fear. Likewise, under our constitution, all citizens are granted freedom of religion. In addition, people desire freedom from basic wants (food, clean water, sanitation, health care, shelter, etc.). Government plays a role in providing these needs.
Government also plays a significant role in human rights and voter rights issues to assure equality and justice for all – freedom from discrimination and unwarranted incarceration, and choice of spouse.
On the other hand, as an enlightened nation, government should not impinge on the freedom of individuals to engage in such matters as drug use or sexual behavior except as may be necessary for the protection of minors.
Amnesty International has drafted a proposal for complete global decriminalization of sex for both buyers and sellers. Sex trade has been with us historically, and will continue forever. Natural forces are inherent, and cannot be legislated away. Current laws and practices have not curbed this activity, but have generated a large underground economy and associated criminal behavior.
Prostitution is an issue of human rights, health and incarceration. Morality and religious considerations fuel debate; nevertheless, we agree with Amnesty International in its recommendation to decriminalize the sex industry. Legalizing prostitution could prevent much of the exploitation of people who work in the sex trade against their will. It would enable all sex workers to seek protection from abuse and give them better access to health and social services. Sexual activity should not be a crime. For-profit businesses should be regulated for public health and safety, and should be taxed appropriately.
Intercourse between consenting adults, whether it is for “love”, physical need, financial transaction or for any other reason, should be treated the same-but not criminalized. Battery, rape or other acts of coercion should continue to be illegal and should be prosecuted accordingly.
Child prostitution is particularly shameful, but the children should not be stigmatized as prostitutes. The children are not criminals-they are victims and those who profit from this practice and should be severely punished. Any intercourse with underage persons is statutory rape. First-time offenders should be heavily fined, say 50% of the person’s net worth. Repeat offenders deemed a threat to society should be jailed.
Incidentally, prostitution and drug use are similar in one respect-they are both criminalized. It is futile to criminalize sex or drugs when people act or use them to fulfill basic needs, resulting in a lucrative supply and demand situation. Drug use and prostitution mainly affect individuals or consenting adults, and are not damaging to society as a whole. On the other hand, police actions and incarcerations trying to quell human behavior have resulted in massive family and community tragedies.