Republican ElephantOn a recent interview with CBS News correspondent Nora O’Donnell, Cardinal Timothy Dolan made reference to how he admires Pope Francis and what he intends to achieve for the Catholic Church.  Although it is unlikely the Catholic Church would ever anoint an American as Pope, many people feel Dolan would be a logical choice and could do the job.  One of the highlights of the interview is he gave a quasi-endorsement to Jeb Bush, should Jeb choose to run.

I must give a disclaimer that I am not an expert in the finer nuances that separate Catholism from other sects of Christianity other than those that get the most attention such as their stand on divorce.  So on Easter Sunday 2014, I am posing a question that I will only attempt to answer and hope it will satisfy both supporters and critics.  The question is: Did the cardinal violate the principle of separation of church and state by his “endorsement” of Jeb Bush for President?

First of all, cardinals and other high clergy are human beings just like the rest of us.  They are not immune to temptation and even if they make it to Sainthood, will still fall short of complete glorification of God and still need their commitment to the Lord and Savior if they want to go to Heaven.   Dolan spoke of how Jesus says we must forgive even our worst enemies and although he does, he finds it hard with some people.  Forgiving Adolph Hitler or Osama bin Laden?  I can see his point.  And we have all been victims on the local level of somebody doing something unforgivable to us.  But scripture clearly says if we do not forgive our enemies for their sins against us, we have no right to forgive God to forgive us for our sins (against others and against HIM).  So if a cardinal of the Catholic Church has difficulty with this fundamental principle in the Book of Matthew, imagine how it is for the rest of us.

Second, Cardinal Dolan is also in American citizen.  He is within his rights to have opinions although he may be restricted on acting on some of them.  Answering questions on an interview is merely taking the talk; not walking the walk.  Nobody will actually see the ballot he casts as he will not see ours.  However, God is watching when we are in that privacy booth with our ballot and I would hope we would all cast a vote for Godly candidates if there are any on the ballot.  Dante said in The Inferno, The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in troubled times…  The give his eminence credit for wanting to show up at the polls on Election Day and cast a vote for the candidate he thinks is best suited for solving the problems.

Finally, as I have said on many communications in the past, few Americans really know the true definition of separation of church and state.  Many people think it means religion and government are never supposed to cross paths.  That is as far from the truth as you can get.  If that were the case, why does every session of Congress start with a non-denominational prayer?  For those of you who missed it, Separation of Church and State is by definition the prohibition of any local, state, or the federal government to establish any one religion as the local, state, or national religion, because The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.  It does not in any way state that government at any level must operate devoid of religion or religious beliefs.  It is bad enough government is filled with believers who sin and who instigate sinful policies; the last thing anyone wants is for our towns, cities, states, and this great nation to be run by atheists.  Therefore, Cardinal Dolan did nothing wrong in expressing his opinions and stating Jeb Bush is his first choice for the next person to lead the secular government of the greatest nation God allowed to inhabit Planet Earth.  Just remember, when you are all alone in the privacy booth at your polling place, God is still watching you.

Rush Limbaugh, talk show host and conservative advocate has the Rush Revere series to teach children how America was founded?  Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, a drugged-out rock and roller wrote Gus and Me about his first guitar.  Who would you rather have your children reading?

 

Republican ElephantThere are five items that impede the rebuilding of the American Economy and the American Dream.  In many ways, it is a conundrum or catch-22.  It is not going to be easy for America to spend money it doesn’t have but I’m not sure any other way.  For the time being, let us adjudicate on the five items.  One starts with D and the other four start with E.

Debt: Goes without saying.  $17 Trillion on the way to $20 T before the end of the decade—you have heard this on many past blogs and at this point, to use the bully pulpit, as it were to elaborate on the problematics of the national debt would be preaching to the choir.  The national debt is in the backdrop of the four Es that require the attention of all concerned citizens.  If congress and the president will not aggressively pursue spending cuts, even those I don’t support whole-heartedly, yet see as Hobson’s choices, I don’t know what else anyone can do.

Education: This is the biggest conundrum that has to be faced in the rebuilding of the American Dream.  In order to compete in a world economy, we need a world class educational system such as Japan and most of the European Union nations.  Our educational system has been on the decline since the early 1960s and needs to be revamped in every possible way.

I am not just talking about educating doctors, lawyers, and white collar professions that require a bachelorette education or higher, which starts in grade school.  In this high tech world, for the most fundamental component needed to repair the U.S. economy, bringing back manufacturing, a high level of education is now required.  Assume you can bring back manufacturing, there is no longer a direct proportion with respect to manufacturing to manufacturing jobs.  If you are going to use robotics, you do not need assembly line employees, you need highly educated computer programmers programming the computers that run the robots.  Even factories that do require human hands, such as a company in Nevada that makes bolts for airplane seats, requires a certain precision and a lot of higher mathematics is required of the workers, not just the engineers, because decisions have to be made on the fly with respect to the nature of the beast.  So we have a skills gap.  No matter how desperate they are to higher workers, they can never just hire anyone.

What this means is no matter how deep we are in debt, we cannot bring back manufacturing to a significant degree unless we invest in education.  And here lies the conundrum; you cannot invest money you don’t have.  It is like a stock broker confronting a family of four with the father laid off from work, living on unemployment compensation which runs out in 99 weeks, to give up his last dollars he needs to put food on the table for his family, to buy stock.  We would have to be willing to raise the debt ceiling to invest in education.  It would take three generations to pay it off and still may never be paid off.  I don’t have an answer at this time.

Entitlements: When it comes to responsible spending cuts and a balanced budget, here is where the rubber meets the road.  Before the New Deal, we were a nation of opportunity, not entitlements.  It should be a no-brainer to cut spending and phase out the entitlements build a model for the United States of America based on pre-New Deal rules.  Most welfare recipients would much rather have opportunities than make welfare a life sentence.  One thing you cannot due is eliminate all entitlements and leave people high and dry—even the preamble of the Constitution does not allow for that.  We are now dealing with the third generation of the welfare state and too many people were born into it and it created a comfort-zone squelching one’s dream or even one’s ability to dream.  Our Founding Fathers would spin in their graves to see a class system established in the great nation they built; they knew haves and have-nots was the price we would pay to have a free nation, but they wanted there to always be opportunity for the have-nots to overcome and join the haves.  The saving grace is there is a bridge between caring for those who cannot care for themselves and limited government—privatization.  The challenge is getting both sides of the aisle to agree on a privatization plan.

Economic Globalization: This is a metamorphosis George Washington, the man who preached isolationism for America, did not see coming.  The easiest way to force manufacturing and manufacturing jobs back to America is to go back to George Washington and isolate ourselves from the rest of the world.  If we cannot manufacture products that compete with on the global marketplace immediately, until a revamped education system can be implemented and the first kindergarteners are prodigies of the new system cradle to grave, as long as the products suit us, we are good to go.  But this is highly problematic.

Natural Resources: Not only have we depleted most of our natural resources, some of these resources, such as manganese used to harden steel, were never abundant in North American soil.  We have no choice but to have permanent working alliances with nations rich in such resources.  We cannot manufacture without raw materials, no matter how qualified our workers are.

Foreign Policy: Our alliance with the state of Israel, established as a sovereign nation in 1948 and the hostilities of the Arab Middle East surrounding the Hebrew state have put us on the spot. My father’s side of the family was raised in the Jewish faith and I have had the good fortune to be surrounded by great relatives.  Besides which, both the Jewish and Christian bibles make it clear God will always defend Israel.  One of the unfortunate consequences, i.e., the price we pay to be a free nation doing the right thing in life pertains to how we deal with the world hostile to America.  No matter how we develop our domestic energy sources, we will always have to buy some oil from OPEC, from Arab nations who oppose us and Israel.  As much as they hate America, they love American money.  The only reason they get any American money is because we purchase oil from them.  If we ever reach a nirvana where we no longer need a drop of Arab oil, how do we stop a global jihad?  The best we can do is develop domestic energy sources so Arab oil can be strictly supplemental.

Corporate Outsourcing: We need an economic policy known as America First.  Corporate America must make it a policy to always hire Americans before outsourcing labor to foreign countries.  I know it will cost more, but it will pay off in the long run as unemployment declines in America and more Americans have buying power to buy Americans.  But no one can hire Americans if there are no Americans qualified—back to the concept of skills gap.  This brings us back to the problem of investing in education with no money to invest.  And American-made goods are not truly made in America if they are made in a factory of non-American workers.  Also, Americans have to be willing to take such jobs.  Nobody builds an American Dream to work in a factory.

Ecclesiastic Degradation: Few Americans put God first in their lives anymore.  Politics and corporate greed notwithstanding, it is God that calls all the shots.  We have unscrupulous politicians and corporate business owners that are who they are because they are oblivious to God’s principles.  Though neither I nor any other mortal man can judge them, it is popular belief that if they don’t pay for their sins in this life, they will pay in the next.  Capitalism is not perfect, but it beats every other everything else the world has to offer.  John Locke made it clear that all power inevitably corrupts and even people who start out in the world honest and Godly can be corrupted once empowered with a lot of power and money.  It says in The Bible it is harder for a rich man to get into Heaven than for a camel to stick his head through the eye of a needle.  But with God, all things are possible.  It is the un-Godliness of that top 1%, not their wealth, that the 99% should be concerned with.  The humanistic philosophy of John Dewey in the 1920s is a major player in the secularization of the United States of America.

It is stated in Proverbs 14:20 that poverty is a curse and Deuteronomy 23:19 that those committing usury will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  These versus coming from the Old Testament before the birth of Christ.  This puts into perspective the real reason America cannot find its way back to fiscal responsibility and balance the budget.  There may very well be politicians and other players with real solutions and relatively honest and Godly—but God will not allow them to get elected because America may not be done paying for its sin of usury.  America may never be finished paying for that sin and we may be in the seven year tribulation period right now, in which case the saved people will benefit from a thousand years of peace and prosperity soon enough.  The point is America as a nation, the greatest nation God allowed on Earth and let freedom ring across it so people could freely surrender to God’s principles, must become more Godly and seek his blessings before any political or pseudo-scientific solution can be allowed to work.  Did it ever occur to you that every session of congress begins with a non-denominational prayer but your children cannot pray in a public school?  What happened to the Ten Commandments posted at school entrances?  Do people realize that separation of church and state does not in any way state the state must operate devoid of religion?

A D and four Es make up the fundamental principles needed to rebuild this great nation under God.  Time to make it happen.

As the evidence mounts that Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 ended up at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, as tragic as this, Malaysian Airlines could have been a little more tactful in notifying the families.  They notified the family members with a short and not so sweet text message.  How would you feel about receiving a text message that a loved one of yours is dead?  At least in the days of red letters, people gave more thought for what they inked on paper.

With all the other possible fatalities due to texting and answering text messages in situations like driving a car, driving a train, and operating heavy machinery, the last thing we want is to have to expect text messages to keep informed of both global news and news of right back home.  American society must find a better way to communicate.

My condolences to any families of those lost on MH 370.   

Forty-FiveSome of the best music of the 1950s came from young people harmonizing on the street corners and other places like hallways and train cars.  The British Invasion rock and roll of the 1960s evolved from their predecessors of street corner doo wop.  I grew up listening to Don K. Reed on The Doo Wop Shop Sunday nights on WCBS-FM in New York.  Today, the best place to pick it up is on Pandora on your computer.

It got me thinking.  Before the cell phone and such devices this generation clings to like a baby clings to a milk bottle or pacifier, there was no scorn for a person or persons to harmonize on the train on the way to or from work.  If they had good singing voices, [we] would simply listen and enjoy the music.  Today, there would be somebody on a cell phone somewhere on that rail car exclaiming, Shut Up, I’m on the phone!  The only car where cell phones are prohibited is the Quiet Car usually located at the rear of the train—but you can’t sing in the quiet car either.

I propose commuter railroads designate one car to be The Doo Wop Car where both those who want to harmonize and those who want to listen can congregate and be like the days gone by. No cell phones permitted, but harmonizing encouraged!   If this were allowed to happen, this generation would have a new appreciation for good music and maybe some new great songs would evolve.  Rap is not music—I really think they should put a C in front of it!  I am not suggesting bringing in drums, electric guitars, and amplifiers and rattling eardrums out of house and home—just simple street corner doo wop in the doo wop car.

If singing on the train is now scorned due to the ones that just have to be on their cell phones, alas, another casualty of technology.

 

Republican ElephantHas the crisis in Ukraine put us in Cold War II?  Is the Soviet Empire Putin’s phoenix rising from the ashes in the East?  If so, how is the United States, the world’s only other bonafide superpower going to handle it?  Will this have an adverse effect on the new American Dream?

I heard James A. Baker, Secretary of State under Bush-41, discuss Mr. Putin and the devastating impact even if Putin only succeeds in taking the eastern half of Ukraine.  With Ronald Reagan just out of office and George H.W. Bush taking over and appointing Mr. Baker to the post, we saw the denouement of Reagan’s legacy being completed under the new regime as the Berlin Wall came tumbling down.  There was more to come, but the fall of the wall marked the symbolic end to the Cold War [I].  What really wilted my aortic muscles was when Uncle Vlad decided to test launch a nuclear ICBM over Ukrainian air space last Tuesday, March 4.

I am neither promoting nor refuting what has been dubbed by the press as cowboy diplomacy, but I do want to throw out one caution flag: we did not hear a PEEP out of Putin when George W. Bush was president.  He did not rush to aid us in the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan in our quest of Osama Bin Laden, nor in war in Iraq, which made us very unpopular throughout the world.  But Putin understood the grave consequences if he messed around with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gates, Powell, and Rice.  The left-wing philosophy of Barrack Obama and the lack of fire in the belly of Sec’y John Kerry is the act of feeding the bear in the park.  If you feed the bear, the bear loses his fear of you and can attack.  An unfortunate side-effect of the lack of aggression of this Democrat regime is Putin (the bear) no longer fears the United States.

What effect could this have on the reconstruction of the American Dream?  Let us begin by going back to the George Washington administration.  Washington ran for president under no party affiliation but joined the Federalist Party while in his first term in office.  Of all the defunct political parties that contributed to the birth of the modern Republican Party in 1854 in Ripon, Wisconsin, the old Federalist Party, named for the ideals discussed in The Federalist Papers, is the party’s deepest roots.  As stated in the papers and spoken in the vernacular by President Washington, he preached isolationism and urged us never to form permanent world alliances.  Unfortunately, the depletion of natural resources and the need for NATO after World War II to contain Communism permanently changed America’s role in the world.  If we are in Cold War II we have to be very careful dealing with the hostile part of the world.  Therefore, we must be self-governing and self-sufficient.  Therefore, we must tap into resources in and on American soil.

At the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency when he met with then Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev was to trust, but verify.  Has Vladimir Putin betrayed the trust established by Ronald Reagan 25 years ago?  It would appear that way.  If we are really now in Cold War II, we must avoid a Hot War with the other superpower, still with significant nuclear capacity.  The twenty-first century equivalent of trust, but verify may sound like distrust, but verify.  It is important we never stop verifying whether we can trust them or not.  I pray the reconstruction of the American Dream does not have to be postponed over this.  We cannot be an isolationist nation anymore, but it is imperative we are self-sufficient enough that we could be.  Throughout the history of the world, the average life expectancy of a democracy is 200 years.  We have survived 238 years and it is important we continue with a fully-charged battery and not operating on borrowed time.  If we must live under Cold War II, let the state department and the military do their thing.  Whether we fight a hot war or not, and I pray we don’t have to, let’s lead the world by example in self-governing and self-sufficiency.  I believe if the American Dream is resurrected, and especially if we have a balanced budget, America will have a positive impact on the rest of the world without being active in every world controversy because the rest of the world can’t argue with success.

 

I wonder how much longer we can use the term Daylight Savings Time with credibility. During my childhood and the majority of my adult life, the year was split up the middle—6 months of Daylight Savings Time and 6 months of Standard Time. Daylight Savings Time would begin on the last Sunday in April at 2 AM and end on the last Sunday in October at 2 AM. On or about 1986, the start of Daylight Savings Time was moved up to the from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in April. In 2005, they extended it again; now the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. How does it convolute the terms Daylight Savings Time and Standard Time?

 If Daylight Savings Time is now more than 6 months a year, hasn’t Daylight Savings Time become the standard? Can you really call it Standard Time when it is only in effect about 4 ½ months a year? I think the time has come to refer to Daylight Savings Time, the majority of the year, as Standard Time and the old standard, the parts of the year Daylight Savings Time is not in effect, as, oh, say, Winter Time. 2:00 on a sunny April afternoon in Connecticut would be referred to as 2:00 PM EST, the new Eastern Standard Time, and 2:00 on a snowy, blustery afternoon in February would be referred to as 2:00 PM EWT (Eastern Winter Time).

 Kind of like buying your first used car when you get your license circa age 16 and it has a stick shift and a clutch. You say you know how to drive standard. Back in the days when General Motors was still perfecting the Hydromatic and only putting it on the expensive cars, you would be correct because new cars on the lot would be sold with this transmission and you had to order it special or buy a more expensive option package to get an automatic transmission. Truth be told, the standard transmission is the one that comes with car on the lot, which could be a 6-speed stick shift, a traditional automatic, or a Shiftronic; an automatic transmission that allows you to push the lever off to the side and change gears manually by tapping the lever towards either the plus or the minus. Whichever one comes with the base model of that particular car. Today, if you are 16, just got your license, and you buy a used car with gearshift lever and a clutch, you say you know how to drive manual.

 In the Internet and social media era, we have become pretty much a 24/7 society and some people advocate Daylight Savings Time 12 months a year—no more bi-annual changing the clocks. I admit I have mixed feelings about that; a major side effect is schoolchildren will be waiting for school buses when it is still pitch black. But if we went that route, we could simply eliminate the middle letter and just say 2:00 PM ET (Eastern Time unprototyped). Until then, the term Standard Time should refer to most of the time.

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