Thursday, February 6, 2014

Immigration?

I realized that I have been lagging posting here on my blog. After reading two different blogs/web pages on the subject, I felt I must weigh in on it. I left a comment on Speaker Boehner's website but didn't really say all that I wanted to say. My first consideration in the immigration debate is that our borders are porous and we have no idea who really is coming here. Yes, I am sure there are those (families and adults) who want to work and make a better life and/or send money to poor relatives. That is not the point. If these same people's homes were invaded in Mexico (or wherever), it would be illegal, right? They'd take what measures they could to protect their loved ones and things of value.

Why is it so difficult for these same people to understand that coming here "under the cover of darkness" is no different? We are supposed to feel sorry for them because they "live in the shadows". They make that choice once they cross our borders to live like that. I know they are hard workers. I live in northern California where there is a large population of illegals that work in landscaping, gardening, labor, farming, etc. I see they work hard and the sad thing is that they work "under the table" and are taken advantage of. They are paid low wages that are way below minimum wage The reasoning (I say excuse) is "to keep the price of food down" - that is one of them anyway. Or they pay low wages because  THEY CAN. Who are the illegals going to go to? Again, though, they make this choice to live and work like this.

I keep hearing "comprehensive immigration reform" and I agree with Thomas Sowell that it is really a huge plan for amnesty. I also agree with Senator Rand Paul that Congress should take all these types of issues and break them down into manageable parts. In the case of immigration, the first thing we should do is truly secure our borders. Build a real fence (there are parts of the southwest that have already built them). The fence should have no "break" in them. In other words, 300 yards down from the edge of the beautiful, high-tech fence is nothing. So what good does fencing do if it is not consistent? Yes, of course, there will be "border towns" and border checkpoints. There would have to be - we can't just shut down Tijuana or Nogales and such.  Let's take some of those returning from Afghanistan and Iraq to guard the fences. Heck, I bet there some unemployed folks who could do the job as well!

The point is before we do anything else, we must secure our borders and no half-measures either. Then move on to step two: reform ICE and DHS. Why do we need several alphabet agencies doing the same things. Think of the money we'd save if we did that! Completely re-write the immigration laws so that it doesn't take a law degree to fill out the necessary paperwork. We need to keep track of those who are here on temporary visas. Let's take a look at the types of skills we need here. In case no one has noticed, we have an unemployment problem here  What point is there to let U. S. unemployed workers compete with those that are wanting to work here too? I realize common sense is in short supply these days but we better start finding some.

Lastly, the thing I want to touch on (there is far more to this problem than the above) is what do we do with those who are here already illegally? What do we do with their children who came with their parents not intentionally breaking the law? To be brutally honest, they need to take responsibility for their illegal acts. It is not our problem they made the choice to break our laws. I read in a comment tonight that there are a lot of children whose parents are in jail or prison right now, today. I am not talking about children of the illegal immigrants either. I am referring to those children of felons, some of which have committed heinous crimes. Is it our duty to take them into our homes and take care of them? NO! So why do we have this guilt thing about those children whose parents broke the law in coming here? Do you see the logic in what I am saying?

Let us come up with some rational solutions with no accusations of bigotry or racism. We can't solve a problem by calling each other names when we disagree, can we? Just some thoughts.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Teachers, what is your union doing?

I know the vast majority of teachers in not only Brentwood but in the U.S. are dedicated to their jobs and to the children they teach. My warning to them is to scrutinize just what their unions are doing with their union dues.  Recently, there have been attempts by Federal and State governments to require that anyone working in the school system, from principal to janitor and in between be subject to a background check.  Please read this post .

I know that Union Watch is biased so I don't "buy" everything that they say but this article IS true and, if I were in your shoes and paying dues, I'd be highly incensed that letters written on YOUR behalf state your objection to common-sense laws to protect our kids. This is not a partisan issue at all. This is also not a racist issue as one letter suggested. Whatever happened to common sense? Ah, well, that is another issue. What concerns me is that union officials are not looking out for the students OR the teachers they purport to represent in this case. The only way this is going to change is if you, the teacher, start making demands on those who represent you to ask you what you want.

Please read the link and start taking control of your union officials. Our children need protection. Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Just the Truth Please

Over the last few months, well, years actually, I have been conned into believing anything and everything that right-wing bloggers put out there. Yes, I know. I am a right-wing blogger too but with the last few debacles (O'care and the government shutdown), I had an epiphany.  Our nation has become so divided that in order to "make people see the truth", we have participated in the division and we ourselves have not told the entire truth.
The last few days I have listened to Obama and the guy is a great salesman. I'll give him that. And, just as any great salesman, he has certain tools he uses, phrases and manner of speaking about a given subject that just sound just so right, so clear and so truthful. Except, it isn't completely. Had he told all of us back in 2010 when he went around the country trying to "sell" his health care plan just what the goal of that legislation was and that because of that goal, we were going to see some insurance companies fold up their tents and go away OR that other insurance companies would increase their premiums.
Insurance is a risk, right? The whole gamble from the insurer's point of view is to not spend any money on you or me. Our goal is that if we get sick, the insurer will spend money on us as contracted in our plan. Sadly and wrongly, a lot of what was not covered or caps, etc. were in very tiny print and individuals, particularly, were buying a plan that didn't cover much. An example I heard over the weekend is that a single mother of 2 children paid $50 a month for health care through her employer. But get this: this company had an annual cap of $2000!! Have you ever gone to an emergency room for even the slightest thing and the cost been less than $2000? No, I didn't think so. Now, this is flat-out wrong. So I get that the goal of insurance reform was to make all insurers cover certain key things.  (The mandate that coverage for dependents must extend to the age of 26 is something I don't understand at all, however.) From what I have read and heard, maternity care, mental health, preexisting conditions and other things must be offered in whatever plan sold by any insurance company. Also, there can be no cap, either annually or life-time. As I said above, insurers do business to make money. All these things mandated by the Act will make more money come out of their pockets. Since profit is the goal for the companies and their shareholders, they, of course, are going to raise their rates. Just plain business sense. This insurance company with the $2000 cap just shut its doors. They saw no other option and/or didn't want to really offer a viable product.
I may have some of this wrong because I don't totally have the complete picture. I will admit that up front. If Obama had spelled out that fairness was the goal of health care reform and true coverage not just promises from an insurer, just maybe he could have sold it better. But here's the thing: it seems that due to the division in our nation from any kind of dialog, we didn't get a clear picture from anybody! Because Obama is such a good salesman, he knows (or at least he thinks he does) just what to say and how to say it. He speaks to low-informed voters mostly and/or assumes those who listen just aren't smart enough to understand it. One of his biggest downfalls is that he IS condescending.
Also, if anyone asks for clarification, that person is vilified. Name-calling like hater or racist starts rather than let's figure this out. What does that mean? What does that cover? Everything we have heard since October 1 has been what this and that doesn't cover, how high the premiums are etc.  Please note: these are all about individual plans and somehow that doesn't quite get clarified. It is doom and gloom. Now, I have some serious issues about certain mandates, fees, fines, etc. It is  not that I am sold on the bill at all. I feel that the creators of the Act were rushed first of all and secondly, there is nothing about tort reform and that is critical. Part of the reason health care has become so expensive is due to litigation-happy attorneys out there. Yes, I understand that some lawsuits are legitimate and the patients (or loved ones left behind) need compensation for negligence, fraud, etc. But some of them are frivolous and the jury awards outrageous and over-compensate the plaintiffs. The more money awarded, the more the attorney gets. No, I am not against attorneys either and I'd say the vast amount of them are not ambulance-chasers but a few have made it hellish for the most.
Not only were the creators of the Act rushed but the companies tasked to put this huge website together rushed.  The portal wasn't not alpha or beta tested and just not ready for prime time. Putting together what is essentially a major database (several, actually) is a huge job and much can go wrong. Each piece must work with all the other pieces to get the product up and running. Using a no-bid contract, old software and then rushing the coding were just recipes for disaster. But because the Republicans were screaming for repealing, then defunding the bill altogether, the Democrats dug their heels in and went online anyway. This is what happens when there is such vile division among people and parties. All constructive dialog never happens.
Folks, we need dial all this rhetoric down - a lot! We will never get completely honest answers about anything if our first reaction is to attack. What happened to polite conversation? Forget polite, just plain conversation instead of automatically calling others names. Let's inform each other rather than assume the other person is just plain wrong. How is that for an idea?
I have seen sites where Chicken Little would have been comfortable. Do you know what I mean by that? The topic, whatever it is, calls for screaming that the sky is falling. The extremes are spouted rather than any kind of real information. I can't tell you how many times I have seen this happen about bills that have passed here in California. None of the doom and gloom prophesied by the religious right has happened. Yes, it still might but some of these bills were passed a decade ago.
Just like the government shutdown - that was totally unnecessary but the Republicans didn't shut the government down. Every time I hear it said, I see red. What happened is that BOTH parties were responsible! Again, due to the extreme rhetoric on both sides simply shut any type of conversation down. I understand what each side wanted but to get to the edge (fiscal cliff - whatever) puts political pressure on both sides of the aisle and no one wants calm down. I was very disappointed in the actions taken by Obama in the shutdown. Most of what he did was childish. I guess we all need to grow up so these types of things don't keep happening.
My message is don't lie at ALL; tell us the whole truth; don't wait until the last minute to get things done and take rational actions. Mostly talk to each other so we can get things done.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Real War Against Women

There is so much going on today that it would require I do nothing but post on my blog to keep up with it all. Geesh!  But, I can't let another day go by without expressing my outrage at the "REAL" war against women. Of course, I am talking about abortion and the lack of oversight of the abortion industry.
First, let me tell you that I never met my maternal grandmother. The reason? She died from a "back-alley" abortion. So abortion is personal to me and the last thing I wanted, and still want, is for women to die from botched or, in my opinion, "back-alley" abortions.
When Roe v Wade was decided, it opened the gate for abortion clinics. My understanding is that in order for a clinic like Planned Parenthood to open its doors, it must register and have a licensed physician (or maybe in California, a licensed nurse practitioner) and that said clinic must adhere to certain medical standards. Standards like sterilization of all instruments and equipment, etc. This is for the protection of everyone: the staff and the patients.  After all, it is an invasive procedure for the patient and there is loss of blood and fluids. Yet, I read and hear about another death or serious medical complication as a result of a "routine" abortion at least once a day if not more.
I realize that those who are tasked to oversee clinics like this are probably under-funded, under-staffed and just not enough hours in the day to do a proper job. I am sure that at least one person is going to raise her/his hand with this comment. That is not the point: don't these people who run these clinics give a damn about their patients and/or staff? I like to assume that the doctors, nurses and other medical staff have had training regarding sanitation and such. Maybe not.  And, who are these doctors who seem to come out of nowhere and can't do a proper job?  Women have had to be rushed to emergency rooms just to have their lives saved (and that doesn't always happen), or due to a botched job, they are left sterile and if they had any hope of having a child, that isn't going to happen or the staff is exposed to God knows what (as well as the patient).
I thought this was NOT going to happen!! Having legal abortion was the answer: no more deaths in the back alley or on the kitchen table, whatever. Honestly, it seems LESS safe now than when abortion was hush-hush and illegal.
The other thing that really troubles me is that these clinics are so often in impoverished neighborhoods where the patients and their families don't speak or understand English. These women, in my opinion, are really taken advantage of.  Not everyone speaks English or Spanish! How do they communicate with the staff? How do they tell the patient what serious signs of complications are? They don't! Further, it really breaks my heart that so many black women abort their babies. Sadly, I understand. Caught in the poverty and gang-run neighborhoods, I would imagine it is very difficult to see anything better for the child and the woman must ask herself: do I want to bring another baby into this lifestyle?
Yes, I do believe "it" is a baby.  I believe life begins at conception. I also believe that abortion is murder but I  am not naive to think that what I think and believe matters at all to a woman making the choice to abort. She'd tell me to mind my own business.  And, rightly so.  It just hurts me to think of all the babies who have not been born.  Still, if I had become pregnant before I was married, I honestly don't know what I would have done.  I would like to believe that I would have taken the high road and went through the pregnancy and given the baby up for adoption.
Liberals, both women and men, scream at the top of their lungs that conservatives and/or Republicans are waging war against women.  I don't think so.  Because they (liberals) felt they won a victory with Roe v Wade and subsequent legal decisions and statutes, they refuse to shine the light on the clinics, their staff, and the reports of women either dying or becoming sterile. Any light might just be a "slippery slope" to making abortion illegal, am I right? Of course, all of this really came to my thoughts due to the Gosnell trial. Haven't heard about it? No surprise there.  The liberal media would rather talk about Lindsay Lohan and her drug rehab that tell the public what is happening not just by Dr. Gosnell (I hate to even give him the appellation of "doctor") but other clinics, other emergencies, other horrors.  It is happening everywhere and way too often but the liberals are silent and accomplices to the atrocities.
It is time for the truth to be reported. I honestly don't believe it will force abortion back into the "back-alley" but I do think it will make those clinics and their staff accountable and, hopefully, much safer for the woman that chooses to abort. I abhor the partial-birth abortion or the late-term abortions. I can't even bring myself to talk about the horrible atrocities to the babies born. I can hardly read about it much less write about it. Yet, liberals believe that making any laws about these procedures would be that "slippery slope". We must do better for these women.  The media must step up and report not just the good but the bad about their "pet" projects.
We who are Christians need to get on our knees every single day and ask God for forgiveness for our nation; ask Him for wisdom on how we can be loving to our neighbors and speak the truth so that they will hear it.  We cannot change the law.  If abortion is made illegal again, it won't change the minds of those who feel that abortion is their only option. What we can do is write to our lawmakers and demand that real oversight of abortion clinics starts happening.  This war on women must stop.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Supreme Court's Job

Well, I finally thought I'd put my two cents worth here about the issue before the Supreme Court. Actually, as I understand it, there are two cases before the Court but the bottom line, according to the media and everyone else (Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, email, etc.), the court is tasked with defining marriage. I really thought I had my opinions and beliefs nailed down, but some interesting thoughts and other views have presented themselves to me.  Things I really hadn't thought about.
First of all, I am a born-again Christian and would describe my political views as that of a libertarian conservative.  I used to call my political views "liberal conservative", but that doesn't even make sense, does it? See, the thing is that I try to see things from both sides and hear views that may be contrary to what I think I believe. To me, same-sex marriage doesn't even make verbal sense but beyond that verbal nonsense (to me) is that there are people who want their relationships validated in some way. I have read everything to "they are going to burn in hell" to "let their love be known to all". The other side of me really does hate hating. I don't want to call anyone names just because they don't think like I do BUT I don't want to be called names for my beliefs either.
Here is my fear: the hating hate I see already, the name-calling, the vile anger and language between people who disagree will only get worse no matter what the court decides. Isn't that true? I just can't get over how polarized people are now. It isn't just about homosexuality either - it is also the color of one's skin as well. I recently was in Walmart and heading to the back of the store for something. I accidentally bumped into a young (around 14 I'd guess) black (oh, excuse me, African American) boy. I immediately said "Oh, I am sorry!  I didn't see you!" Honestly, it chilled me the way he looked at me. If looks could kill, I'd be dead. I personally have never experienced that before. Remember I lived in the deep South in the 60's and even then I didn't see it! What the heck is that?
There is a lot of talk about bullying and that is what I see not only in the schools but among adults. This bullying is such a degree today that you can't miss it any more. I had no idea that in elementary school the kids call each other "gay" or "faggot" in arguments OR in jest! That kind of name-calling would mean a trip to the principals' office when I was in grade school. Why is it allowed? Why is it even used, for heaven's sakes? So there is one issue that concerns me: more bullying no matter what the court decides. More hate. More name-calling. More friendships ending. More families split apart. And WHY?
Secondly, I happened upon a video yesterday that presented some issues that I never thought about or was aware of. Suze Orman was on Piers Morgan's show debating with Ryan Anderson from the Heritage Foundation.  Ms. Orman has been in a lesbian relationship for many years with K.T. (I apologize for not remembering her name) so what she stated as fact I took as fact. I hadn't thought about that truly committed relationships get no recognition when it comes to tax matters and other government policies. She mentioned that even though they have been together for years, if one of them dies, the other doesn't get her Social Security widow's benefit. Never even occurred to me! The same is true of any family members who lives together but not married however.  Two sisters or two brothers who just didn't find the "right" one or whatever the reason for not marrying and living together would be left with nothing. Of course, there are also those heterosexual couples who live together and never marry as well. Yes, I know about joint tenancy and also about domestic partnerships but not all states have such laws and there is virtually nothing on a federal level, i.e. Social Security, Internal Revenue, etc.
To me, that is unfair and honestly, it just didn't occur to me until I saw this video. I don't like Piers Morgan; I want to state that up front. I don't like how he treated the young man from the Heritage Foundation and I really took exception to the way Ms. Orman treated him too. Having said that, she did give me some facts to consider there.  It is not only unfair to those in a same-sex relationship but siblings and others. I agree with Mr. Anderson that much of the economic unfairness at the federal level could be reduced by a complete overhaul of the burdensome tax code. I could envision changes in the Social Security laws too that could be fair to everyone. If we had a flat tax, for example, and no deductions or credits for spouses, children, dependent adults, etc., that we would all pay our "fair share", right? I guess I am naive to think that would ever happen, but a flat tax seems so much easier and fairer. The federal government's budget would be much better off, and I suspect it would help our deficit in a short period of time. I don't know all the numbers, but it seems that if Bill Gates and Warren Buffet paid 10% (for example) of their gross income every year, that has to help our government spending issues. :)  Of course, Social Security and Medicare is rife with fraud and Obamacare is going to cost way more than originally sold to us. There are no easy answers. I know that. I am not saying there are. It just seems to me that the economic issues presented by Suze Orman could be dealt with in a manner that doesn't include marriage.
Yes, here is the other point she made: we as Christians have done a horrible job at marriage, haven't we? What examples have we set on committed relationships? Not good ones - that is for sure. Some of that high divorce rate (among believers and non-believers), I blame on the "no-fault divorce" revolution. There are too many couples who enter into marriage with the idea that "if it doesn't work out, we can always get a divorce". I was taught that marriage is a promise, made before friends, family and God, between a man and a woman to stay together through thick and thin. I still believe that way in spite of the fact that I went through not one, but two divorces! I was blessed by the Lord with the husband I have now but I cannot begin to describe the guilt I carried (and to a certain extent, still carry) that I have had two divorces in my past.
Can we expect same-sex couples to be a better example though? Just because heterosexual marriage relationships haven't been a shining example, does that give us an excuse or a license to throw that out? I have even read where the "secret" desire of homosexuals to get rid of marriage altogether. That doesn't even make sense to me. Why the big push for recognition of their relationships as marriages?
Please, no matter what happens at the Supreme Court, can we have a dialog that is rational, kind and loving? Can we try to fix the things that are wrong with tax laws, etc.? Can we agree to disagree? I don't know the answers to the problems these couples face but I have enough faith in the human race that we should be able to figure this out. I also think we need to stop pushing an agenda either way. We are criticizing and silencing those in school who have different opinions. That is not right either. I don't want to argue with anyone about this. I just wanted to write all the things that have been spinning in my head. You don't have to agree with me. All I ask is that if you want to educate me or give me a different point of view, that you do so in a kind and respectful manner. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Open Letter to my Senator

I am appalled at what my U. S. Senator has been trying to pull with gun legislation. Just what are they trying to do to our Constitution? I wrote the following letter to Senator Feinstein, who, unfortunately, is my U. S. Senator along with Barbara Boxer.  Senator Feinstein got quite angry and upset with Senator Cruz when he pointed out certain provisions in the U. S. Consitution saying he "lectured" her. Well, she obviously needed to be and she still does!  Here is what I wrote to her:

"Dear Senator, I am quite familiar with your opinions about guns. I am one of your constituents and I am appalled that you fail to see that removing guns from the hands of citizens is constitutional. Yes, I know you don't like lectures on the constitution but I suggest you read it, Senator! Please take a moment and consider the statistics of cities and other nations who have taken guns out of the hands of its citizens. The murder, rape and robbery statistics have skyrocketed and are still doing so. Consider the city of Oakland! Oakland has banned guns yet there are murders just about every day. Why? Because criminals could care less about the law; that is what makes them criminals! Taking guns out of your citizens will not, I repeat NOT, take them out of the hands of the criminals. And, what next? What other protections of the Constitution will you take from us? Remember, you work for the voter not the other way around. I know you will answer that you don't agree with me but I would be remiss in not letting you know how I feel about your gun grab. It is wrong and it is, as you WELL KNOW, unconstitutional."

My family live here and it would break my heart if I would have to leave the state. But I may have no choice if I am going to live peaceably with no further attacks on my liberties. California is a socialist state as is the state of New York. Both states have draconian laws already and among the most expensive states to live in. Raising the minimum wage to $22 an hour, as stated by Pelosi won't make the state any more affordable either. How can a supposedly educated person even think that would work? All that would do is make everything so expensive NO ONE can live - we'd all be street people eating out of trash cans. What a lame idea. It is an embarrassment that she speaks for California.

California and New York both are not family friendly or business-friendly. I don't blame businesses and families from leaving our state and moving to Texas. Right now, it seems like a very good idea.  Listen people, we MUST start making a lot of noise now or we will find ourselves unarmed and living in a communist nation.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hating Hate

Have you noticed that the word "hate" is bandied about more and more these days? Usually, hate is an accusation when one person disagrees with another. Instead of having a reasonable, sensible, well-thought-out points to one's beliefs, the reaction is "well, you are just a hater and haters gotta hate".
This is the most ridiculous logic I have seen in my entire life!  We are all entitled to our own opinions. You don't have to believe as I do and the reverse is true as well. That doesn't make us haters, bigots, racists, homophobes, etc. (you get the picture, I am sure).  How is my opinion hate? If I have expressed it, and not called you names or disrespected your viewpoint because you believe differently, why can we not have a discussion stating the points we believe support our opinion? Or, if all else fails, why can not just agree to disagree?
It is not logical to believe that everyone is going to feel the same way about different issues. We come to the table with our own life experiences, our own core beliefs on how we want to live - right? Based on that, there are definitely going to be differences in how we see things and what we believe. I don't hate someone who believes differently - not at all.  
What I DO hate is the name-calling, the use of vile language directed at me, the raising of the voice with the name-calling and language. I feel battered and abused and I know that any further rational discussion isn't going to happen.  How can we learn from each other if we are so rigid in our belief systems that we refuse to hear anything slightly different?
I have seen tweets on Twitter that are perfectly innocent...say a statistic on crime. No mention of race, age, sexual orientation - none. Within a few tweets that person who came up with the statistic will be accused of being a racist and in the instance I remember, the tweeter was Native American and accused the original tweeter of being a racist. It is mind-boggling. I couldn't believe my eyes....how in the heck did a statistic with no percentages of who does what become a slur against Native Americans? How did the tweeter become a hater by reporting the statistics? See what I mean?  Logic is just lost here and I see it all the time across the internet:  Facebook, Twitter, blog comments, TV and radio talk shows.
Why do we all have this huge chip on our shoulder and LOOK for a reason to be offended? Can we remove the chip please?