Tag Archives: united-states

Honor A Local Veteran Today


These people are from Parsons Kansas, and are just a few veterans from my small town. I’m sure there are many more local veterans worth featuring. Parsons will always remember Cpl. Daniel Cox, killed in Afghanistan’s Wardak province in 2009.

Ron Phillips

Ron Phillips, 14th Air Force

My name is Ronald M. Phillips (Ron) and as I write this in Feb. 2012 I am within three months of turning 90. That means that I am a Veteran of WW-II, and I was drafted only a few months after the Pearl Harbor disaster at the age of 19. After my entry into the U.S. Military I managed to carefully observe the opportunities on the company bulletin board. By taking advantage of those opportunities I moved from Buck Private rank to that of “O” three, meaning–“Captain”, in the U.S. Air Corps. (which later became the U.S. Air Force.) After entering, and graduating, from the Airplane & Engine school in Glendale, CA, I entered the Aviation Cadet training center in San Antonio, TX and about a year later I graduated as a 2nd Lt. Fighter Pilot in Moore Field, McAllen TX. That put me into a ‘combat-ready’ status so I ended up being sent to China to join General Chennault’s 14th Air Force “Flying Tigers”. The “Tigers” by then, were known world-wide because of their record. In the nine months before Pearl Harbor they were known only as The A.V.G., or the “American Volunteer Group”. There were only one hundred of them to begin with. They were flying the previously used, beat-up old P-40 Warhawks, and had shot down 297 Japanese aircraft with a loss of only 12 of ours. I don’t believe that record was ever broken.

After Pearl Harbor the AVG became “The Fourteenth Air Force”, under the tutelage of Brig. Gen. Clair Lee Chennault, and that’s when I joined the Fourteenth Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group Flying Tigers. ~Ronald M. Phillips

Leon Crooks

Sgt. Leon Crooks (left) Rome, 1944

It took 66 years for Leon Crooks to be awarded a Bronze Star for his World War II service, including an act of heroism that saved the lives of around 30 soldiers.

Crooks served in Company B, Second Chemical Mortar Battalion, also known as the Red Dragon Battalion, which dates back to Aug. 17, 1917, in the first World War. It was the first chemical battalion in the U.S. ranks. Crooks had a total of 511 days in combat. This unit tied with one other unit for the number of days on the front line in the European theater of operations.

The Bronze Star award recognizes Crooks’ entire military service, from June 22, 1943, to Sept. 18, 1945, but focuses on an action on Feb. 12, 1944, after the end of the first Battle of Cassino in Italy against German and Italian forces.
The lull in fighting had provided the Allies and opportunity to relieve and replace war-weary troops, and First Sgt. Crooks and his driver, T/5 Herbert Aram were asked to move to the rear echelons to pick up replacements and bring back PFC Norman Gearhart and PFC James Egoff.

Leon Crooks receives the Bronze Star

The Germans opened up with 88mm guns, shelling members of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, whose gear had been loaded on a mule train.

“I was talking to my driver, and I said, ‘A lot of men are going to die out there today unless we do something’,” Crooks said. “The driver said, ‘If you get a truck, I’ll drive’.”

They got a 3/4 ton weapons carrier and, making three trips under German fire, transported the New Zealand soldiers to safety.

“We’d pull up, I’d get out and load the guys up, and when we got all we could handle, we’d drive back to the aid station, which was not too far behind us,” Crooks said. “Then we went back for our men.”

The driver was injured during the rescue. Crooks said that Aram didn’t even realize it at first.

“He said, ‘Sarge, I  think I’ve been hit,’ and a piece of shrapel had got him in the arm,” Crooks said. “I was pretty lucky, I never did get hit.”

David R. Larsen

Dave Larsen (Navy Cross) left
Charlie Vance (Bronze Star)

David Larsen is a Navy Cross Recipient, for extraordinary heroism on 2 August 1969.

GMG3 Larsen was serving as a gunner’s mater mate aboard PBR 775 which was part of a two-boat night waterborne guard post stationed on the upper Saigon River. Operating in conjunction with the patrol, a six-man ambush team, which was providing bank security for the guard post, engaged four enemy soldiers who were part of an estimated 35 to 50-man force that returned the contact with accurate rocker fire, killing or critically wounding all but one member of the six-man ambush team. One man from the team managed to call for the PBR crewmen’s help. Armed with a machine gun and several ammunition belts, Larsen hastened to the assistance of the ambush team. As he led his small force ashore, he saw three enemy soldiers about to overrun the friendly position. He immediately rushed toward them, firing his machine gun, and single-handedly tu rned back the enemy assault, killing at least one of the enemy. Larsen then maintained a one-man perimeter defensive position and, although under continuous enemy fire, succeeded in discouraging further enemy attacks until additional help arrived. Later, armed with three different weapons, Larsen was the first man to take his post on the perimeter established to provide security for the medical evacuation helicopter. By his extremely courageous one-man assault in the face of direct enemy fire, Larsen was responsible for saving the lives of three fellow servicemen, and for protecting his shipmates as they administered aid to the wounded. His valiant and inspiring efforts reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

Charlie Vance of Portland, Ore., was there that August night, and earned a Bronze Star.

“I brought out ammo and helped bring the wounded back,” said Vance, a former petty officer.

He said Larsen was an unlikely candidate for heroics, but he rose to the occasion.

“He was just a quiet old farm boy and he took in an M-60, and he was the first one off the boat,” Vance said of Larsen. “He actually saved lives.”

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Filed under AMERICANA, History, Labette County, Southeast Kansas, Tributes, WAR

How to Achieve Transparency for the Supercommittee


Every campaign contribution to members of this powerful panel should be reported every single day.

By Ellen Miller

Come December, the priorities and role of our government could be drastically and fundamentally altered. Are your views and concerns being heard?

The supercommittee created in the wake of the debt ceiling clash is comprised of 12 members of Congress tasked with cutting at least $1.2 trillion from the national debt by the end of the year. Whatever combination of savings and new taxes this panel devises will be fast-tracked to the floor of both chambers, without amendments, for an immediate vote. This is an unprecedented amount of power densely concentrated in the hands of a few.

The possibility of deep cuts across the federal budget sent a rallying cry to K Street, with one lobbyist forecasting a “Holy War” between the defense and health industries. It’s a battle amongst military contractors, health insurance companies, and other special interests buying lobbying time with the lawmakers and their senior staffers via campaign contributions. The special interests that have the supercommittee’s ears are very likely the same ones that contributed more than $28 million to the panel’s dozen members since 1989, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Most Americans, lacking this moneyed leverage, are left in the dark. We won’t get a chance to tell those lawmakers what to cut and what to keep.

We also can’t find out who does have that access. Current disclosure rules are a roadblock to letting us know.

You see, the supercommittee’s members report their campaign finance activities like all other lawmakers. They must report how much money they’ve taken from special interests on a quarterly basis, and they never have to report whom they’ve met with. But the panel’s work is proceeding so quickly that if they follow the old rules for reporting their fundraising, we won’t know which interests pushed their agenda until they’ve already succeeded.

The supercommittee’s unparalleled power demands that lackluster congressional transparency requirements be kicked into overdrive.

In today’s world of pay-to-play politics, expertly timed campaign contributions can open the right doors and provide access to a sympathetic ear. Campaign laws recognize the force of this cash, which is why contributions made within two weeks of an election are disclosed faster. Every member of Congress operates under these rules during an election year and knows that compliance is simple.

The supercommittee is in a similarly time-sensitive situation, where money can tip the balance of debate. While its members deliberate on crucial fiscal decisions, they should disclose campaign contributions in real time. Every contribution should be reported every single day.

Beyond the money are the meetings. Contacts between lobbyists and committee members or staff must all be disclosed online on a daily basis, including any written communications. The Obama administration already implemented these transparency requirements during the debate over the Recovery Act in 2009 and the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that passed last year. It’s not difficult and it’s been done before.

These decisions are too important to be left in the backrooms of Capitol Hill. Lawmakers should be required to post their meetings with lobbyists every single day. Ultimately, the nation’s lobbying laws should be changed to require lobbyists to do the same for the sake of our democracy.

Ellen Miller is the Sunlight Foundation‘s co-founder and executive director. http://www.sunlightfoundation.com

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Shouldn’t Americans repair America’s infrastructure?


by Jim Hightower

Listening at last to his inner-FDR, President Obama is going straight at the Know-nothing/Do-nothing Republican Congress.

At a recent rally on a bridge connecting Rep. John Boehner’s state of Ohio to Senator Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, Obama challenged the two GOP leaders to back his plan for repairing and improving our country’s deteriorating infrastructure. “Help us rebuild this bridge,” he shouted out to Boehner and McConnell. “Help us rebuild America. Help us put this country back to work.”

Yes, let’s do it!

However, in addition to the usual recalcitrance of reactionary Republican leaders, another impediment stands in the way of success: many of the infrastructure jobs that would be created could end up in China.

Holy Uncle Sam! How is this possible?

It’s due to a trap door that was built into the 1933 Buy American Act. This law gives preference to U.S. companies bidding on major infrastructure projects – except it allows the general contractor to opt out of this requirement if the difference in U.S. and foreign bids is significant. This is no theoretical concern, for it’s already happening. For example, the $7-billion reconstruction of the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland is in the hands of a state-subsidized Chinese company that made the lowest bid.

While there are Americans involved in this huge project, the design, engineering, pre-fab, supervision, and other work – as well as profits – are going to China. Consequently, California’s hard-hit people and depressed economy are deprived of the wages, taxes, and consumer spending they would’ve gotten from some 3,000 jobs that went overseas.

Yes, let’s approve Obama’s infrastructure proposal, but let’s improve it by nailing the opt-out trap door shut. For information, go towww.americanmanufacturing.org.

“Bringing America Back: Are Infrastructure Jobs Being Shipped to China?”www.abcnews.com, September 23, 2011.

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Filed under Human Rights, NEWS, Opinion, Politics

Stealing the General’s Jeep


Patch of the USAAF 14th Air Force (World War II)

Image via Wikipedia

I’m posting this because the guy who’s titled FLYING TIGERS – 14th AIR FORCE, is my Uncle Ron.

Ron is a native of southeast Kansas, Born in Oswego Kansas and lived in Parsons, KS for many years. Also, it’s a short WW2 story that’s never been told until this video was made!

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Ten Years In Afghanistan


The U.S.-led Afghanistan war is 10 years old today. As Americans protest on Wall Street and even Wichita, the longest war in our history passes quietly.

On Oct. 7, 2001, President George W. Bush told Americans that “their patience would be tested in the months ahead.”

Ten years on, there are more than 10 times as many U.S. troops there as when the war began. And a majority of Americans now say the war is not worth fighting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Almost half of the population of Afghans is younger than 15 and have little or no firsthand memories of the day. Older Afghans seem to feel the war, which ended Taliban rule, has moved beyond its original intent.”

Although President Obama plans to withdraw 10,000 troops this year, few people know the facts.  Numbers like these;- $1.28 trillion,- 1,801 U.S. troops killed, 11, 200 Afghan civilians killed. These numbers, even when seen and heard, have little effect on people today.

Are we so desensitized by ongoing war, political bickering, and the world’s poor economy that we forget? 

Didn’t we go there with intentions to make the world a better place and help those oppressed by the Taliban?

Of course, I do not have the answers, only doubts and questions. I do know one thing in my heart; might, power and money do not make anyone’s point of view more correct than another’s, but only serve to hide the truth…. and, history repeats itself.

PRAY FOR PEA CE

This is a poster that hangs in my bedroom. It’s the real thing, printed in 1969.

For those readers who are not old enough to remember, there was something you don’t see today; real, honest reporting directly from the war-front & great journalism by people like Walter Cronkite, always accompanied by the nightly “body count”.

vietnam

Printed at the bottom: All statistics from Department of Defense – March 1, 1969

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Filed under AMERICANA, Faith, History, Human Rights, Politics, Religion, WAR

An Average Bob Weighs In (on taxes, the economy & medical costs)


I received this via email about a week ago from a friend (average Joe) and thought it was well worth sharing. Just an honest opinion from a guy posting as Bob, on a working man’s discussion board. This is not an “expert” or paid opinion,  just some blue collar guy calling it as he sees things. I see a couple of odd ‘misstatements’ , but the bulk of it seems true enough. I have made only minor changes to make this more readable, and added any links and tags. The discussion began with a link to Warren Buffet’s comments on taxes, thus the main theme here is taxes, but he goes on to address a couple of other things that us ‘working poor’  see as part of the collective problems that go unaddressed by “our” government. Please weigh in and feel free to correct any incorrect statements or assumptions ~sekanblogger.

“I copied this from a website I frequent that deals with machine shop issues. I thought he told it like it is and thought I should share it.” ~ An average Joe.

I’m not quite sure what a “conservative” is. Is it the guy that wants to eliminate the EPA so that we can destroy any wildlife left in the country or is it the NRA guy that wants to conserve the wildlife, so he can shoot it? At least I know a liberal wants to conserve the wildlife and then not let us shoot it.

I still say the 35% tax on business PROFITS serves a purpose… spend it, or we’ll take it. I also say that the purpose of a small business is to essentially make no profit. The money should go to the employees, the owners, or to pumping up the business. If you own a business, why would you let profit fester in the business, and pay taxes on it, when you can just simply pay yourself.

On the “rich”. The Capital Gains thing is BS. Money you get for free is taxed at a lower rate than money you work for. On top of that, money you work for is up for SS and medicare/medicaid crap. 15.xx something percent. 2% less this year.

So, if you make all your money on Capital gains (the conscientious CEO’s taking $1 in salary). They are taxed at 15% MAX. The poor schmuck who doesn’t make enough to pay “income tax” and doesn’t have kids (no earned income BS), he’s paying a higher percent of his income out.

He’ll get it back, if he doesn’t die, but that is now an “entitlement”, as if you never paid into it in the first place. So he’s just paying a higher tax rate.

Whoever suggested a consumption tax, that’s about as regressive as you can get. 2 completely responsible people with decent jobs, raking in maybe 80-100k a year, have a kid to keep the grandparents off their back and possibly make a contribution to the world. Pretty close to 100% of their money is going to go towards consumption. Their tax rate is going to go up with a consumption tax.

The couple making a few million, who buy all their clothes in Paris and are able to “invest” 1/2 the money they bring in, their effective tax rate will be less than half than that of the normal middle class family.

Now a family that is just flat out poor, they are going to be purely crippled with a consumption tax.

Could a consumption tax be part of a well thought out (and paid for by lobbyists) tax plan? Possibly.

Europe is looking at passing a .01% tax on financial transactions, lots of exemptions, such as an initial IPO (you know when you are ACTUALLY investing in a company), bonds and some other crap. They are afraid it might push all the traders/gamblers out. Sounds perfect to me. They can all go to China, live in a concrete shack, and China can pick up their losses.

Greece is going to hell, and what do you hear about? There are no worries about Greece itself, or the Greek people, it’s all about the banks, and their exposure to Greek debt. Do we loan Greece the money so the banks don’t hurt, or do we let Greece and their people die and give the money directly to the banks?

Last year when I was in Vegas and was concentrating more on the the dancing girls than the table, nobody covered my losses. Bernanke and ‘Turbo Tax Timmy’ didn’t care that I lost money gambling.

Who gives a crap about the big banks, let them fail. This is not what banks used to do. They loaned money to local people and businesses, they took in deposits from local people and businesses, and gave you some interest on it.

Now they take in deposits and charge you a fee, so they make profit, then they borrow money from the Fed for damn near free, maybe loan you a bit of it, make a profit on that, bundle and leverage it and sell it to Fannie Mae. Then they take the rest and gamble on oil, gold, credit default swaps, stocks, bonds, whatever the hell they can get their hands on, leveraged to absolute hilt of course.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but they are leveraging 40:1 (try that with your house), then buying oil futures, about $5k to control 1000 barrels of oil. So… you owe Bank of America 100k on a mortgage for your crappy little ranch in the suburbs (that they borrowed at .01% interest), they are leveraging that at 40:1. so your mortgage is now backing 4 million dollars worth of gambling. They pile that all into oil (they will never take delivery). So now your 100k mortgage is controlling 800,000 barrels of oil. 5% or so of what the US is using in a single day.

So leveraged and then on the margin, you are paying them 5% on your little mortgage (decent profit right there), which allows them to control 800,000 barrels of oil. That’s worth…. $64 million dollars. And we wonder why we are in trouble.

Take away the margin or the leverage, still an insane butt load of money that your mortgage is covering/gambling. Lots of free money to play with, money you will never see, money you will never get to play with, money that will never in the slightest ever benefit you at all (screws you at the gas pump though). But apparently the money that could never possibly see the average person is what “they” are worried about.

Why invest in producing something or adding value to something, just invest/gamble in funny money, less work, and you pay a lower tax rate.

We are so screwed.

(…and he had this to say about health care costs…..Joe)

Is it possible we could lower health care costs by cutting out the 3rd party “speculators”. The ‘for profit’ above all else insurance companies?

You know, the ones that don’t have a damn thing to do with me and my health, and don’t have a damn thing to do with the people that provide the health care, but just skim off the top, for profit, above all else. The ones that raise health care cost because of all the BS paperwork required and the policy of refusing everything the first time through.

It takes a minute for a Doc to grab my sack and make me cough. It takes the secretary 4 hours of paperwork to get paid for me coughing.

When a service is rendered, somebody needs to make some money, that’s just the way it has to work. When it is a basic service, a necessary service to some people’s survival, there shouldn’t be somebody in the middle skimming off money for just shuffling money, driving up costs for everybody.

Medical costs could drop drastically and still not stick it to the doctors. He (the doctor) wouldn’t need as many secretaries to deal with paperwork, but that would free up money other places in the economy, so “in theory” there should be new job openings in other sectors.   - Bob

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Filed under BLOGS, Crime, Human Rights, Opinion, Politics

Columbus Day Questions


On this Columbus Day, let’s consider the discrepancy between how newcomers are celebrated in our history but ostracized in our society.

By Sara Joseph

Many of us will never forget that famous elementary school rhyme: “In fourteen hundred ninety-two / Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” At the time, it’s not likely that we would have sensed any looming controversy behind those grade school lessons. With Columbus Day just around the corner, however, it’s worth asking whether affection for the holiday is really a serious case of misguided nostalgia.

Columbus Day celebrates the “discovery” of the Americas. But it’s clear that the continent had already been inhabited by well-established indigenous communities.

The people who already lived in the region welcomed the first European immigrants with curiosity and open hearts and minds. But it soon became clear that the explorers sent by European royalty had come to dominate, defeat, and destroy.

On October 12, 1492, Columbus wrote of the native people he encountered: “They should be good servants…they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them.”

Columbus is credited with forging the first links between American and European civilizations. But whether the manner in which these cultures collided merits commemoration as a federal holiday is doubtful at best.

Throughout most of the Americas, schoolchildren don’t remember Columbus Day with cutesy images of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. In fact, it’s often called by an entirely different name: Dia de la Raza (Latin American Heritage Day). This is a way to recognize indigenous roots in the Americas. It also serves as a tribute to the lives and civilizations lost in the name of slavery and European expansion — beginning with Columbus’ arrival in 1492.

Today, Latin American and Caribbean schoolchildren that migrate to the United States are unlikely to receive a hero’s welcome. In fact, they are often forced to live in the shadows as their parents struggle to survive. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann recently went so far as to mock Rick Perry’s statement that anyone with a “heart” would want to protect the rights of immigrant children to an education — even if they were brought to the United States “through no fault of their own.”

Migration across what’s now the U.S.-Mexican border has existed for centuries. The reality is that this history was marked by periodic shared interest in promoting immigration. But as economic and anti-narcotic policies initiated by Washington have increased pressure on Latin American people to migrate, immigration has become a hot-button issue for people across the political spectrum.

To many, the flow of immigration seems daunting. Bachmann recently proposed a solution: “Build a barrier, a fence, a wall…every mile, every yard, every foot, every inch will be covered on that southern border.”

But spending billions on border militarization hasn’t stopped undocumented migration. In fact, one of the only notable outcomes of beefing up the border has been more death, danger, and lives lost in the desert.

Ideally, every October we would celebrate the coming together of the cultures of the Americas. Sadly, the legacy of cultural domination and separation continues with border militarization as a tenet of our foreign policy.

According to President Barack Obama, it is Columbus’ “intrepid character and spirit of possibility that has come to define America, and is the reason countless families still journey to our shores.”

To whom is Obama referring if not the immigrants who come to the United States for a chance to support their families? On this Columbus Day, let’s consider the discrepancy between how newcomers are celebrated in our history but ostracized in our society — and what we can learn from a modern analysis of Columbus’ story.

For a quick read about the people native to my own part of this country, go HERE.

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Filed under Crime, History, Human Rights, Native American, Opinion, Politics

Got An Idea to Save the Middle-Class?


Trickle-up” is an accurate description of the present condition.

I want to mention “Reaganomics, trickle-down, and public safety, all in the same short post, so let’s talk about a “tipping point” in American history.

That point would be when Reagan ‘busted’ the Air Traffic Controller’s union. That single action began the long decline that American workers, of all varieties have been on ever since. It also marked a sharp increase in industrialists gaining more and more power over politics and government.

Reagan didn’t invent this stuff, it has always been a corporate tactic to bust unions and buy politicians, but Ronnie put such a spin on it, that it made people feel that it was okay and even damned patriotic.

Good, reliable data, charted and graphed, shows that time as the starting point of the decades long rise of corporate profits. At the same time that profits rose and the wealthy thrived, blue collar worker’s ‘real’ wages stagnated.

This entire scenario puts all in our society in an increasingly dangerous class-warfare that effects public safety. Our workers and therefor our society face a new phenomena: the “flat world”.

Thomas Friedman article here: 

http://reginaphelps.com/pdfs/FlatWorld.pdf

In conclusion; The corporate buyout of American government has been complete for may years. Fox News conservatives would have you believe that regulation (protecting the public) is the big problem causing poor job growth, but that’s just not the case.

It is just this simple; we may pay $10 per hour, foreign companies may pay $10 a day. Our wages stay at the same level or decline while theirs slowly creep up. We are on our way to being the same waged employees as China and Mexico, or we will have no jobs at all.

Our middle class is disappearing into poverty while our corporate, financial and government masters get pushed up even farther into wealth and power.

Solutions? Hmmmm….

List a few common sense ideas to save our middle/lower economic classes, and I’ll bet I can find the Fox News footage demonizing those same ideas as unpatriotic, nanny-state government that is just seeking to hinder business from growing and employing here.

Middle/lower classes of white people are flocking to conservatism, drinking their kool-aid, and sealing their fate in serfdom for generations to come.

Stupid is, as stupid does.

The proliferation of talking heads and lobbyists leading the stupid into their own demise on the many new forms of media, almost guarantees the continuing gridlock in government, and class warfare from the top on the bottom.

Any progressive or populist solutions to the nation’s problems are always crushed by ‘Captain Obvious”, that is, by the overwhelming amount of money being spent on propaganda (talk radio, Fox News, PAC’s, etc.) that plays to the average person’s most base emotions while ensuring nothing sensible and logical is ever presented to them.

Got an idea to save the middle-class?

Good luck. It’ll happen when Hell freezes over!

You unpatriotic, communist, socialistic dullard.

You’re just another “Meathead”, you hippy-type character from the ‘All In the Family’ sitcom.

Stifle it. Dingbat!….Where’s my supper?

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How To “Fix” Congress (in 8 easy steps)


This was sent to me as one of those “chain” emails. You know, if you pass this on to 20 friends we can change the world. Sorry, I just don’t do the forwarding thing. I did find this interesting enough to share here though. If you enjoy this, reblog it, stumble it, recommend it, or whatever you do to show your approval.    Thanks ~ sekanblogger

1.    Term Limits -  12 years max, some possible options are below.

        A.    Two Six-year Senate terms

        B.    Six Two-year House terms

        C.    One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2.    No Tenure / No Pension 

        Members of Congress receive a salary while in office, that salary ends when they leave office.

3.    Congress members (past, present & future) are to participate in Social Security.

        All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately.

        All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with all Americans.

4.    Congress can purchase their own retirement plan,  just as all Americans do.

5.    Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.

           Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6.    Congress loses their current health care system….

           and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7.    Members of Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8.    All contracts with past and present members of Congress are void effective 1/1/12.  

  The American people did not make the contracts members of Congress enjoy, in fact, Congress made all these contracts for themselves.   

       Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.   

       The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,  Congressmen should serve their term(s), then go  home and back to work like the rest of us. NOT AS LOBBYISTS.

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The Myth of War (via The Christian Left)


Picture

 Here on The Christian Left we have shown that the Spirit is often made manifest through human action. We are proving that there is such a thing as consciousness, and it is expanding, opening the possibility of a future based on love and compassion. We have done so and will continue to do so not only through our faith, but by deconstructing the myths that perpetuate injustice.

Through the global dialog and participation of thousands now, and millions in the future, we are reconstructing the core principles of our faith, those based on the gospel of Jesus, one founded on hope, love, and charity, healing, and building community.

Having initiated the process of deconstructing the idea in many people’s minds of Christians as wild-eyed Crusaders, we as liberals are also confronted with secular myths, in particular the myths of war. Even ardent, good, honest, hard-working liberals carry myths to justify war. The most common myth of war is that it is inevitable. Christians have many historical examples of love conquering the mightiest foes. Christ himself advocated peace, and even healed the ear of the Roman that was hewn. Ghandi drove out the British without firing a shot. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired a nation to confront the evil of racism. The lone Chinese man stopped a tank in Tianamen square holding nothing but a briefcase.

Our task, as those inspired by a bold vision of peace, is to provide a viable path to end war forever. This path must adhere to non-violent, Christian means, otherwise the end will be for naught. As we have deconstructed the good and the bad in the past of Christianity and constructed a new future advocating for the ill, the hungry, the war weary, the aged, and the children, we will deconstruct the past myths of war and create a future of peace.

A Practical Plan for Peace – Global Incremental Mutually Verifiable Arms Reduction (GIMVAR)
-Global

Ending war will entail assiduous and sustained effort from people in all areas of society. Without question, peace is predicated on a widespread, grassroots movement from all parts of the globe in all areas of political, economic, and civil society. On the surface, a global citizens movement demanding peace seems untenable. After all, so many conflicts rage across the globe. We have violence in every continent. The Saudi government sends troops invade Bahrain to suppress the people’s call for justice. The Americans are in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. Turkey is bombing the Kurds. We see war in Chechnya, and Somalia. We see the threat of war in Ossetia and Iran.

Nevertheless, wherever conflicts erupt the civilians want peace. One of the missions of this essay is to inspire Christians large and small, of all denominations, and of all nations to act upon that sentiment and take bold action to stop the wars in which their governments fight.

Global arms reduction has several components the most important of which is reducing the dollar amount of weapons exported and reducing the total volume of weapons produced. Massive, sustained citizen input will be required for these demands to even be heard by most governments. It is our job as Christians to make sure that they do.

-Incremental

To be successful, the transition away from a war economy will need to be incremental. Obviously, a huge shift in military power will create power vacuums that may cause some to see an advantage in another’s weakness. Moving in a methodical, incremental fashion prevents a sudden shift in power and allows nations to make adjustments.

Secondly, those involved in the armaments industry will need to be incentivized to change their manufacturing and production to new industries such as green technologies, labor intensive industries such as organic farming, renovating homes to be energy efficient, the construction of green transportation and communications infrastructure. Providing a transition path for industry will reduce, but not eliminate, institutional resistance.

-Mutually Verifiable

Verifying that those you fear are also playing by the rules is the critical component to the long-term success of this program for peace. As Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” Taking incremental steps, agreed upon by all parties, helps to improve the process of verification. Governments and inspectors can verify that all parties have met their obligations before proceeding to the next step.

Both incentives and punitive measures will need to be invoked to ensure that countries participating in the process toward peace satisfy the agreements they have made. Incentives could include interest free loans, or simply grants for building food security, or developing industry, or water conservation and soil preservation. Punitive measures could include economic sanctions, freezing of assets, or the denial of participation in athletic competitions.

Any punitive measures must be non-violent, for peace cannot be attained by violent means.

-Arms Reduction

Arms reduction will need to first focus on heavy armaments such as jet fighters, bombers, tanks, personnel carriers, artillery, warships, submarines, and other heavy weaponry. These types of armaments can be most readily identified as having one and only one purpose: killing human beings.

Small arms will also have to be included. While one may argue that small arms are necessary to protect one’s family, or to protect the people against the overreaching power of the state, reducing the number of small arms exported and imported is a critical component to attaining peace.

As Christians, we can choose to accept the myth that ‘war is inevitable’, or we can start taking concrete steps toward embracing our neighbors, loving our enemies, and eliminating the scourge of humankind – war.

God Bless!
Mark

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