Republic Rules - The U.S.A. is a great representative republic.

An ongoing discussion of how it works… and why it works.

Not Democrat, not Republican - Constitutional Conservative

When ONE President Does Not Reflect MANY Citizens

Words can be construed in many ways, often to intentionally lead people to “hear” one thing while the speaker is actually “saying” something else. Whether intentionally misleading or poetic license, impressions are made. It is ALWAYS best to base those impressions on the truth.

IF you are an ACTIVE member of today’s online society, from smart phone to ipad and all the rest, it’s important to keep that in mind that NOT everything that crosses your desktop is true and good. Email is a part of our lives, it’s a great way to communicate, but I HATE “bad mail”. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten control of most of the JUNK aspect of the problem… which is a large volume indeed. But I still receive miscellaneous messages from friends and family, some of whom are less sophisticated “users” (coming from a tech perspective), and are urgently passing along the “latest warning message” about something when, in fact, it’s been well discussed on snopes.com for at least 4 years. Usually a hoax or lie.

    It’s just a waste of my time.

    (nod to Sonny Carolla)

I got one of these emails recently and, just before I deleted it, something caught my eye… I decided to take a closer look. My radar was right, there were errors… but, after stitching a few facts together based on that mass email… a political slam inspired at the time… the message is largely the same. Stronger, even. It makes you wonder why it wasn’t accurate to begin with. Maybe the original writer… it’s probably passed many hands… was just basing it off of having heard the speech just once, had the light come one, and put down his thoughts and feelings about America.

It IS an Obama quote, but it was inaccurate… yet still relevant. A couple of key facts seemed missing… so I added them. If you are a citizen of the United States, see what you think:


AMERICA’S STORY

- Pilgrim landing, Native American Indians
- First Thanksgiving, Native American Indians
- Constitution signed, no Muslims
- Declaration of Independence/Bill of Rights signed, no Muslims
- Declaration of Independence signed, no Muslims
- American Revolution, no Muslims fighting England for our freedom
- Morocco is first country to recognize the new American Republic, a Muslim country
- Civil War, no Muslims fighting to free the slaves
- Civil Rights Era, marching Christians (MLK)
- Women’s Rights, common Muslim/Sharia views inherently contradict with our American legal system
- World War II, most Muslim countries aligned with Adolf Hitler (supporting Nazi’s in killing Jews).
- September 11, 2001. Radical Muslims make an impression on the U.S.


Now, when the President said “I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story.”, what do you imagine his audience OF MUSLIMS heard? I have no clue. How was that actually TAKEN?

When you examine the history even briefly, you don’t actually see much Muslim involvement at all. Early on, there were the Barbary PIRATES… but that doesn’t help perceptions.

As an everyday American, I ask what you think, how you feel. Should our President… ANY PRESIDENT… propagate the notion that Muslims, radical or not, are a memorable part of our nation’s heritage? No… it is simply not the truth. I acknowledge that there is a Muslim component to the American fabric, most notably of late, but they have been largely below the radar. Again, this isn’t so much about religion and such, it is about projecting a picture that is either distorted or misleading. People need clarity. In particular, people of different cultures need clarity if they are to have any hope of living together peaceably.

So, WHY WOULD the President say that? I believe I know the explanation, but it still doesn’t make it right:

Barack Obama had an unusual upbringing compared to an “everyday American”. This has nothing to do with race or any political leanings of his family, it simply has to do with the life he lived as a kid, growing up, and as a student throughout his younger years.

  • Traveled internationally and actually lived in other countries… nothing wrong with it, but it is not typical. Probably more in common with some military brats doing tours abroad (no disrespect to the families).
  • Exposed to foreign languages and customs during earlier years… again, knowledge is good, but you cannot expect the local culture NOT to be absorbed by a formative human being. It MUST affect their perspective (which is neither good or bad, just DIFFERENT!).
  • You know, I’ve heard of various books and movies that probably describe some of this stuff better… the 2 items above should be enough to make my point. They ARE significant.

All this isn’t to say our current President’s upbringing and background are either good or bad, that’s a separate (very long) discussion. Nor does it question patriotism. Not the point.

Beliefs in the heart and mind are developed as we grow up, and that time period will affect the ideas and opinions we have. My point is that it is DIFFERENT. Not the same that MOST Americans “feel” since there are big differences. I probably has many shared aspects, but it inherently will have distinct differences. I suppose the question comes down to: does that difference MAKE A DIFFERENCE? Other than “flavor”, does it materially affect decisions made?

PARTING NOTES:

- Have you ever been to a Muslim hospital?
- Have you ever heard a Muslim orchestra?
- Have you ever seen a Muslim band march in a parade?
- Have you ever witnessed a Muslim charity?
- Have you ever shaken hands with a Muslim youngster raising funds for a good purpose?

If not, WHY not?

Differences.

Maybe we need to revisit the Treaty of Tripoli. The U.S. conflict with the Muslim world (not those within our society, those outside it) is a serious issue and must be resolved… or we just fence off that part of the world and let them destroy themselves. Add this to my case for the latter:

    To this very day, Muslims are still among the largest traffickers in human slavery in the world… and are openly racist towards others, including other Muslims (Arabic vs. black).

    It is NOT judgmental to say that this is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR in today’s world. AND, if Muslims sincerely do have a problem with the “western world” (good definition needed here), then I respectfully request that Muslims CLEAN UP THEIR OWN ACT before objecting to the lesser acts of others! Part of this means “good Muslim” groups… those who are not RADICAL, people we WANT to be friends with… are responsible for speaking out against their own when their brothers step out of line.

    And “clean up” includes taking care of your own people. You want to compare POVERTY in the U.S. to ANY predominantly-Muslim country? Or standard of living? Or healthcare system? Notice where your KINGS and MULLAHS go when they really need medical care and how well they advocate for the poor.

    A Muslim country was the first to recognize the U.S.A. in the world community. I didn’t know that. Look at the differences that part of the world has been through… and then compare it to what happened in America. BOTH cultures could have accomplished the same things as the other. America surged in greatness for a couple of centuries while the Middle East… what’s the right word? languished? shut out the rest of the world? just kept doing the same old things? was slow to adopt modern ways?

    Despite many notable achievements in their rich history, it seems that most of the Muslims living in the Middle East are in a very confused state/condition… a cultural frame of mind that has them dizzy with too much incongruity. That’s my theory… and US involvement in that area (as well as many other countries throughout history) hasn’t helped. Their traditions span many, many centuries and it is firmly ingrained in their every hour. They have become a juxtaposition of modern technology (smart phones and explosives) and ancient tribal rites (warring for territory, gold, and women). It has also become a culture where males outnumber females (!) and, considering certain years during a young man’s development, the multiplier effect could mean DANGER.

    Maybe more on this at another time.

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Giving Thanks

Despite the lack of perfection, which will NOT be attained by man, the United States of America is a great nation and We, the People, have much to be thankful for. And we SHOULD give thanks:

    Lord,

    Please watch over each of us and our country. Assist us to be true to our responsibilities, honest in our actions, and strong in our voice. Your guidance of our leaders is essential and we pray for your light to shine upon them. Help us find the way to peace among ourselves.

    We ask that you assist us all to better understand our role in your grand design.

    Amen.

For you atheists out there…

I trust you KNOW there was no offense intended in my prayer. I you are offended by it, that is your problem. I do respect your right to believe (or not) however you like. We are all children of this world and our beauty is in our differences. We are not clones of each other nor would we want it that way. Just because we don’t believe the same way ON THIS PARTICULAR TOPIC doesn’t mean we disagree on all else… it simple means we have one area of difference. If we are smart, we use this as a springboard to better understand each other. If we are not, we just fight about it.

So, I ask that you take my prayer above… feel free to pencil out the references to God, and re-read the heart of the message. Perhaps you will find a wish… a hope… a desire… for good things in this world that you CAN agree with.

Let’s use our many differences to learn to behave better, and to be better. We don’t have to be exactly alike to be friends.

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Party of the Rich?

Quick question: which party, Democrat or Republican, has greater support from “the rich”?

If you watched any of the recent wave of political commercials… and who could avoid them? … any person without hard data to refer to would answer the same to a high degree. And be wrong.

Eight out of the ten richest counties in the U.S. leaned toward President Obama.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/49726054

Is that what YOU thought? If your perception was not correct, what else do you “know” to be true… but is not?

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Division

The election results show:

Obama = 62,088,847
Romney = 58,783,137

In terms of individual votes cast, the swing was 1,652,855 out of a total of 120,871,984 votes, or 1.37%. On average, that amounts to around 33,000 voters per state… a shockingly low number defining the distinction between the two alternative paths. Each vote DOES make a difference.

Given the distinctions between the candidates and their positions, our country will continue on the path of BIGGER government versus smaller based on the decisions of a little more than 1% of the voters.

Here is a basic truth: THE BIGGER THE GOVERNMENT, the smaller the citizen.

Perhaps we have reached a tipping point. A little more than one-half of voters are OK with government controlling more of our economy and dictating more details of our everyday lives.

If I were convinced that the voting decisions of the voters were based on a true understanding of both the current situation as well as the implications of government actions, I could accept it without regret. But I don’t. I believe a very large portion of the voters either do not understand what their vote portends OR they simply have no clue and are blind followers. The smaller portion of the voters know EXACTLY what they are voting for and just aren’t willing to admit publicly that their believe system is socialistic and not based on our Constitution… and they have manipulated others to follow them, but their persuasion is based on lies… they are not honest in representing their objectives. I still believe most people do not really accept the core values of the underlying/driving left, failing to recognize them when they are packaged and presented the way they are.

We are now, culturally, two countries.

One deals with reality, tries to live within their means, leaves others to live peacefully as they like, savors freedom and equality of opportunity, and wants government to provide only the basic Constitutional protections and otherwise stay out of the way.

One expects the government to take care of them in more ways than before, to redistribute wealth and provide a “fair share” at the expense of others, support equality of outcome rather than equal opportunity, are increasingly willing to comply with imposed requirements and bureaucrats in order to receive those services, are not concerned about the future debt of our country, and are focused largely on themselves and not the long-term condition of the nation.

Which are you a member of?

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Election Drama

Every election cycle, it seems, we go through the same hand-wringing worries:

  1. Will the opposition win but only through voter fraud?
  2. Is the electoral college a fair way to determine the results?
  3. Are the public polls accurate or biased?
  4. Should I vote or not?

Here are some honest answers:

First, if you are legally registered to vote and are informed on the issues, then you should absolutely vote. Even if you don’t agree with me personally, I respect your right to vote and will accept any decision you make. In a word: vote!

Second, polls don’t matter. They are only a media fabrication to try to anticipate what WE are thinking and might do. We will vote as we decide and, despite any projection on what we MIGHT do, what we WILL do can only be determined AFTER-THE-FACT. So, polls may be interesting… like some prognosticator’s crystal ball… but really have no relevance in the here-and-now.

Third, voter fraud is a serious concern. No matter what side you are on in an election, the thought that the OTHER side can artificially manipulate the results is APPALLING! We cannot tolerate this. Any argument against controlling voter fraud that is not BASED IN TRUTH MUST BE REJECTED. Any reasonable effort to ensure voter integrity is to be applauded, not reprimanded.

Last, we are a nation of states… and, large or small, like each of us, must have a representative voice in the governance of our country. THAT is why the electoral college is important! Otherwise, small states… or states with small populations… will become inconsequential.

We are all, large or small, rich or poor, smart or not, connected or separated, equally as meaningful.

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Disgusting and Dangerous

Irresponsible musings of a self-important, self-proclaimed “intellectual”:

Not funny… even if supposedly a joke. And especially since there is spreading evidence that a violent reaction is actually being advocated.

Some not-so-subtle intimidation tactics? How about sending out some union thugs?

ACCEPT THIS:

My choice in this election will be based on the demonstrated performance of the current President, the actions he has taken and not just the words he has spoken, my assessment of the people he has chosen to surround himself with and the things they have said and done. Then, starting with MY idea of what the President, administration, and government should be doing… I’ll compare that to the other candidate. If I honestly believe in the current President, he will get my vote. If I believe the competitor would do a better job, my vote goes that way.

You’ll note that none of the above has anything to do with the color of anyone’s skin. And, if the outcome doesn’t go my way, I’ll abide by it and maybe try to find a better challenger for next time.

But I won’t riot. And I won’t seek retribution from those who voted counter to my thinking. Or even threaten to. I don’t think that way… reasonable people don’t.

I don’t understand when there are actual riots after a sports championships. I CERTAINLY don’t understand it after a national election.

Have some PRIDE, people!

Pride in your country… and in your own integrity.

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With a RIGHT Comes a RESPONSIBILITY

These days, it’s hard to go long without an outraged person declaring to the media that something is “their right”. Frequently, it turns out to be not so much a right as a demand. Rights are precious and not to be confused with wants, desires, wishes, and dreams.

Rights come with responsibilities.

In the USA, we have the right of free speech… but it is not unlimited. The classic example of falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater (and putting others in peril) comes to mind. We have the right to say things but must do so in a responsible way. We must use good judgement in exercising our rights or suffer the consequences.

In elections, we have the right to vote… but what are the responsibilities associated with voting?

The primary one is for us to ensure the election process is honest. If not, we’re playing a game and there is no actual right. Voter fraud cannot be tolerated. Making the process honest is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be difficult, either.

One critical step (and easy to accomplish) is to validate every voter and, in today’s society, it is completely reasonable to require a legitimate government-issued photo identification that assures us all that each voter is, in fact, who they say they are and can be easily referenced on a list of live citizens who are legally registered to vote.

Photo ID is required to carry on everyday activities in our society and is not difficult to obtain. If necessary, accommodations can be made to deliver it at NO cost to those very few who do not already have one.

ANY argument that certain classes of people will be disenfranchised is specious. At their base, most arguments against requiring photo ID’s for voting are racist (whether acknowledged or not… just think it through).

Here’s why validating voters is imperative:

When a person manipulates the system and votes twice or with a false identity, they cancel out MY vote. Who is disenfranchised in that case? Me, a citizen with a photo ID who has registered to vote and is participating in the election for all the right reasons. MY Constitutional right to vote has been negated.

When someone votes illegally, they are cancelling out YOUR vote. It has to stop.

And that just addresses the identification of voters. How about…

… felons voting? Or mentally disabled and institutionalized patients being “assisted” to vote?
http://www.carolinajournal.com/exclusives/display_exclusive.html?id=9635

… or soldiers wanting to vote but cannot?
http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/article/280780/8/ProtectYourVote-Servicemembers-removed-from-voting-rolls

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Disaster-made Jobs

They say there’s at least a sliver of truth in every bit of comedy.

Can disasters “create” jobs? No, of course not. Disasters, by definition, cost. Little ones cost little, big ones cost big. Simple.

Given the nature of a hurricane, the damage done to a large geographic area, the chaos of an across-the-board threat on many levels. Think about the vast array of resources rushed in to address the ACTUAL PROBLEM of handling all the after-effects of a serious hurricane. What DID happen was A LOT of resources got RE-ALLOCATED. Jobs (manhours) just got moved on the chessboard. Nothing was created and a lot was destroyed.

We can try to fool ourselves about one political thing or another, but you can’t fool Mother nature. Nor can you always avoid her. In today’s world, we individually navigate our way through life and can construct a DELICATE framework around ourselves as we do. Most of the time, to my utter amazement, all of this is built on a solid enough foundation that we collectively thrive. Some of us… ENOUGH of us… do the right things.

- I believe in being aware of natural events and responding in a timely, rational way.
- I always have some emergency supplies.
- I believe in being able to take care of myself, and my family, to a certain extent.
- I trust my information sources enough so that I listen to actual warnings and consider the details provided.
- I trust that my community will respond in kind when I pitch in to help.
- I hope the government has available resources if the problem is big. (But I don’t expect them to be fast. And I CERTAINLY am not going to bet my life on them!)

All too often, however, some of the things we long BELIEVED to be true turned out NOT to be true. Sad. And doubly sad when it becomes OBVIOUS that those lies we lived with for so long COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED.

- Within hours, lives changed. Power was out. Communications went dark. Water was everywhere.
- Within a day, many folks faced a situation where ALL previous plans were OFF. No food on store shelves.
- After a couple of days, cars were sidelined for lack of fuel.

Were they prepared? Should they have been?

Our lives can change through our own will or by the luck of the draw. While we have a modicum of control over the former, we reluctantly yield to the latter as that is “the way it is”. You have to face reality. If you don’t think so, just consider:

    Some people were actually surprised by the hard FACT that their smart phones and ipads were worthless when the batteries died, since their chargers could not find power.

It’s one thing to have bad fortune, to lose something. It’s another thing altogether when you realize it didn’t HAVE TO HAPPEN, that you could have controlled it.

What a waste.

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Lots of Little Lessons Learned

We need to do MORE of this:

Not only is a valuable principle imparted, it is delivered quickly and in a fun manner. Here’s another example of a “little lesson”:

It seems that many people today, both young and old, have lost the ability to reason. Maybe it’s too much TV, smartphone, email/chat, IM’ing, texting, FB/T/xxxx, whatever… but a modicum of logic based on sound principles needs to be retained or our species is doomed.

In a society that is ALL TOO CONNECTED, I see far more people on autopilot (FOLLOWERS) and who are blindly accepting what others are telling them about some very important facts of life and, through their actions, are doing things that are NOT in their own self-interests. Sad but true. And it can’t continue very long before reality sets in and SOMEBODY has to pay.

Now, if you are so enthralled with a particular music star that you will believe virtually anything about them, I don’t really care. Knock yourself out. It doesn’t affect me so I don’t care. Live and let live.

But, if you are convinced you can… for example… spend more money than you make for an extended period of time, that’s different. No matter what you think, I KNOW you will reach an end to that strategy and someone’s going to get hurt. Probably you… but probably others, too. By not living up to your obligations, you place a burden on others. Hopefully, it’s not ME… because I don’t like that. I can see the truth coming even if you cannot.

If someone honestly does not know about a problem coming from a distance… cannot see it or does not recognize it… there has to be a reason why. I believe most folks have been “conditioned” by current society and never really learned things that our forefathers… even common lay citizens of the day… all knew when they were young, had seen and experienced its various nuances, and would counsel one another to avoid the associated pitfalls.

Today, all too many walk lockstep like lemmings.

So, it must be the responsibility of the rest of us (SEERS) to take any and every opportunity to convey a “good message”. If we do this, the next generation will learn life lessons early and be better grounded in their decisions, no matter their walk of life. If we ALL do it, the unknowing will be virtually surrounded by lessons being taught… and, in time, it will be absorbed. Eventually, everyone will be better off.

It’s always good when an honest, smart person shares their knowledge with those untaught… and in a factual, non-condescending, and maybe even funny way.

Oh, so I was talking about help those who simply do not know or have not learned. There’s another reason SOME PEOPLE PERSUADE THE IGNORANT TO PURSUE BAD IDEAS. Dishonesty. In doing so, they are certainly not beneath manipulation, lying, cheating, and worse. These people should be ashamed. Their names should be identified and called out. Loudly. Often. The light of truth will stop the spread of their form of disease.

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Another Genius!

I am absolutely TIRED of a good action being contorted into a wrongful act or presented with an unhelpful bias.

It is OBVIOUS to all that it is the political season and virtually any activity might come with a political spin. We’re all adults (right?), and we know the game that is being played (including by you).

Wait… here’s ANOTHER one!

So let’s get real:

When our family or friends are in need, we try to come to their side in whatever way we can… with help that isn’t always delivered in the same way. THAT depends on the situation. It could come in the form of being by their side night and day, taking care of some youngsters for a while, running a few errands or cooking some meals, or… hopefully, last on the list… maybe just money.

To some extent, we behave that way in our wider COMMUNITY, too. That’s the responsibility we all SHOULD bear (but fewer do). It doesn’t matter if it’s just a surrounding few blocks in the neighborhood, the town where we live or the whole state! When SOMETHING happens to US… WE respond.

Us. We.

Not

Us. Them.

And we respond with whatever we have… or in whatever way WE think will be helpful.

For many, that personal decision…. how can I help? …. boils down to what is frequently referred to in religious institutions as “time or treasure”. Ahhh, the number of times “everyone” has been ask to contribute what they can (but not all do). And prayer, of course… those in need have mine, no need to even ask. But as to other kinds of help, time and treasure are what we offer.

Sometimes, TIME is ALL we CAN give. Interestingly, it is often the BEST thing that can be given. This is good.

Most often, and which will surprise a lot of people, it is treasure. THINGS we own or have control over that can be easily loaned or given.

And for others, that might be to donate money. THAT treasure. I’m OK with that IF it actually solves a problem… and there’s no question there are times when only money will do that (but not as often as most people think).

In the meantime,

If you are with the CHARITY:
–I like charities that can be efficient at what they do. What percent goes to ADMIN/OVERHEAD, what % is for MARKETING, and what is left over for your intended recipients?
–When someone donates some resource that has any value at all, TRY to find a use for it. The idea is to create a win/win and avoid “looking a gift horse in the mouth”.
–Please don’t make political stands that are not within your reason to exist.
–Remember, unless you give me a REAL REASON to use you as a conduit, I can always help others on my own.

If you are the PROMOTER/OBSERVER (for want of a better term):
–Be on the side of truth and mutual respect since it is a longer term strategy.
–Be careful who you align with on “both sides of the transaction”.
–Be reasonable and consistent. Don’t adopt positions that conflict with themselves.
–While they might put up with it for a while, nobody likes an attitude.
–Remember, even if you are bringing something to my attention, I don’t really need you. I can my own decisions and help in any manner I see fit.

And if you are the PAYER (like me):
–Make sure you are getting a good return on your investment. Once the dollar is gone, you have no control over it.
–Watch the charity to ensure they follow through on their mission. Even good organizations can become misguided.
–Avoid unintended consequences by giving at as local a level as possible so you can SEE results (or lack thereof).
–If a promoter/observer lies to you, break all ties and tell others.

OH! I almost forgot!! The point of this thing!!!

If you happen to be politicking in an area and a huge storm hits… and you now have a bus that isn’t going to be used for a couple of days… and that bus might be put to SOME GOOD USE that will help others… and it would be EASY to do… you should at least give it a try.

BEST CASE: The bus can be utilized for some purpose and others will benefit as a result (especially in a time of need). BONUS: This approach used available resources very well. Everybody wins.

WORST CASE: It won’t be helpful and the bus will just lie idle for a bit. I can afford it, of course, but hate to see things “gathering dust”.

Seems like a good bet. I’ll try that every time… or acknowledge the effort of the guy who does.

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