Undocumented or Illegal?

Many of us have noticed a switch in the language used to describe certain people in the United States. The certain people are immigrants who have not gone through the legal process to obtain permission to be here.

Undocumented or Illegal? 

There are multiple ways to legally enter the United States and the most common is with a passport.

There are also visa programs and numerous ways to live here on a temporary basis legally.  Sometimes these people overstay their legal length of visiting and we don’t have a very good way of ensuring that they comply with the law.

They came here legally and because they did that, we trust them to honor their word to reapply or leave.

But those that came here legally as I just described are not the ones that are making the headlines in this Presidential political season that Donald Trump has made a part of his platform.

He (and others) are talking about those who cross the border (mostly our southern/Mexico border) without any legal authority to do so.

It hasn’t been politically correct to all these people illegal immigrants for the last few years.  It sounds bad.  It sounds like they are criminals.

That’s why the switch to undocumented immigrants came about.  Not so harsh.  Not mean.

After all, we are a nation of immigrants unless you are a Native American Indian.

However here we are in 2015. Our government has had laws on the books since 1790 regarding this topic and yet we have been lax to enforce our laws, especially compared to other countries.

We, the American people have good hearts.  We want the best for everyone. The United States has been a land of opportunity for centuries, before the United States were formed, Europeans came here to start new lives.

Estimates say we have between 10 and 20 million “Undocumented” immigrants living in the United States right now and that to kick them out is not only heartless, but would disrupt our economy.

I do not know the answer to all of this.  But one thing I do know:

We need to return to the term Illegal Immigrant and stop the watered down Undocumented Immigrant language.

Then we can address the problem in a systematic fashion, one that reflects the compassionate hearts that Americans have while also recognizing the importance of law and order for our civilization.

Do the laws need to be changed? I say yes because our government is ignoring the current laws now due to public pressure. We change laws all the time as our country strives to make improvements.  But please, confront the problem head on instead of this downward path we have been on.  Then we can make positive progress.

The Children Are Missing

Abortion.

The medical procedure designed to end the life of an unborn child by removing it from the mother’s womb prematurely and forcefully.

While there are many abortion providers in the United States, the one that gets the most attention is Planned Parenthood.

The number of abortions in the United States is staggering.  You can Google the numbers and you’ll see:

  • In 2011, approximately 1.06 million abortions took place in the U.S http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/
  • Blacks comprise only 13% of the population of America but account for 37% of all abortions.• Black women are five times more likely to abort than white women.• 69% of pregnancies among Blacks are unintended, while that number is 54% among Hispanics and 40% of pregnancies among Whites.

    • Planned Parenthood, the largest seller of abortions in the United States, has located 80% of its abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods, disproportionally targeting minorities for abortion. http://www.operationrescue.org/about-abortion/abortions-in-america/

I heard recently and did research on what was mentioned above, that is the number of abortions that were being performed on black women.  The soundbite I heard mentioned New York City as an example and here’s what I found from the CDC:

You can take the time like I did and dig up these numbers, or look at the links I included.

The Black Lives Matter movement needs to look at this and show some outrage.  So does the Hispanic community.

Heck, everyone does.   Not just those who picketed Planned Parenthood this weekend.

A quote from the Yahoo News article linked above,

Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Eric Ferrero said in a statement that the rallies were meant “to intimidate and harass” the organization’s patients.

“Unlike these protesters, compassion is at the center of what we do, and we will continue to provide care, and a safe, welcoming environment for our patients, no matter what,” he said.

Locally this is what my friends reported as they were part of the protest and prayer in Fort Wayne,

Every ‪#‎ProtestPP‬ opponent either dropped the F bomb or gave us the finger. I think that’s them invoking the name of their god.

As a Dad and now grandfather, my heart grieves for the millions of missing children that never got a chance.

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Why Should I Vote For You?

While the 2016 Presidential Election cycle is in full swing, I have another election coming up to cast my vote in first.

Fort Wayne, Indiana has their city elections the year before the Presidential Elections and I urge folks to pay attention to local politics.  Your voice and vote matters in all elections but with smaller turn outs in local elections, your vote actually has more power.

But I am writing this today because of a couple of things that annoy me both locally and nationally.

I want to know, “Why Should I Vote For You?” but the candidates are not giving me the answers.

I signed up to receive updates from local and national candidates and have been getting emails asking me to join them for $1000 a plate dinners to hear them speak.  Wrong, wrong and stupid way to talk to me.

I will never give money to a political candidate or campaign.  I will support candidates who I believe are worthy of consideration.

I actively look at all sides of issues and don’t fit in a Republican or Democrat Box.  I even look for and research the political leanings of the media so I have a handle on the leanings of what I am reading or listening to.

I appreciate when local candidates knock on my door at home and want to engage in conversation.  A few years ago Karen Goldner came by and just the other day Mike Conley did the same.  I knew Karen before she visited and have known Mike for years too.

Both Karen and Mike were surprised to see me when they stopped by because they didn’t know where I lived, but I appreciate the efforts they made it their quest to represent me in City Council.  The year Karen stopped by and I later voted for her (again) was the year she lost and I plan on casting my vote for Mike this year. Hopefully my streak of voting for losing candidates (3/4 of those I voted for in the May primary lost), will end.

On the Presidential side, I signed up for info from Democrats and Republicans not so I could be solicited for funds the way Vistaprint nearly spams me with offers.  I want to know each candidates position on issues that matter to me.  I find it incredible that several candidates have not made this information public.  It raises a lot of questions about how prepared they are to do the job if they haven’t even laid out their plans or positions.  Instead they are all about raising money to campaign on _______ hot air?  What?  Sound Bites?

Stop treating me and others as a source of money to help you get in office and stay in office.  You are here to serve us not the other way around.

End of rant.  But please Mr/Ms Candidate, give me some substance before you ask for money that I’m not going to give you.

The Aftermath of the 1st GOP Debate(s)

Thursday was the day we looked forward to.

Not in a normal way we look forward to something fun and exciting.

For me it was more like the feeling when you are stuck in traffic because there is a bottleneck up ahead and you are not sure what is causing it.  It could be a horrendous accident with blood and guts all over the road or it could be the highway crew closing down a lane to fill in some old pot holes.

I was planning on catching the also rans at 5pm but I got home after 6 and only saw the last few minutes.

When the big boy debate ramped up I realized why I don’t watch Fox News.  This wasn’t a serious debate, it was a joke.

I almost sound like Trump as I type those words but I won’t be as rude.

In years past a debate was where there were topics and questions and everyone got their turn at answering the question from the moderator.

This was more like a vetting operation.  The 3 host/moderators took turns asking questions crafted to each persons flaws and weaknesses and asked them to defend themselves.

Substance? Nope.  Real Answers to Real Important Questions? You had to ask a Real Important Question and that never happened.

Okay, so they didn’t ask softball questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” but this was a waste of time.

Even with the lack of substance, I was able to narrow the field of 17 to my favorite 5 possibilities.  So here we go:

I say, Gilmore, Pataki and you say who?  Two old guys who used to be Governors that no one knows or cares about.  They had their shot at fame at 5pm Thursday.

Perry, Santorum, Huckabee and we both have flash backs to the last couple of Republican Presidential Campaigns.  Sorry Rick,  Rick and Mike but your lights are growing dim.  And it’s not because of the Donald.  You just don’t have it this time around to make it.

Also in that kiddy table debate at 5 a few others that need to rest up and find something else to do.  I’m sure they are good folks but this is not their year. I expect Jindall, and Graham to just stay put as they say in their current government jobs.

7 down, 10 to go…

Despite his Christian values and excellent back story, Ben Carson won’t make it.  If you are supporting him or any of those I already mentioned, please stop and look at those that have a chance to not just win the primaries, and the presidency but can also lead and represent the country for 4 or 8 years.

With that last statement, I have to remove a couple more names. Christie, Cruz.  Christie has lost his luster and Cruz was the outrageous one before Trump came along.

On to the Final 7 and I can narrow it down to 5 possibilities. I have to give props to Kasich the Ohio governor that we just started learning about.  He is one I will investigate further.  Same with Fiorina. She is also worth checking out.

Walker, Rubio and Paul.  They also make my top 5 but we will see.  Bush and Trump are not on my list but they are both dangerous.  Jeb needed to shine and his answer to an education question on Common Core was not inline with his public position.  But he has lots of money to hang around awhile.  Trump is an opportunist and can’t be trusted which was what the first question in the debate was all about when the candidates were asked to pledge loyalty to the party candidate when the primary season was over and the Donald refused to rule out an independent run.

In 11 months only one will be the Republican Presidential Candidate and I sincerely hope it is one from this list of five:

  • John Kasich
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Scott Walker
  • Marco Rubio
  • Rand Paul

And as a side note, on the Dem side of the fence,  I hope Bernie Sanders continues his climb as Mrs. Clinton falters and the others running continue to be obscure.

More to come in the months ahead.

 

 

Not The Donald

I’ve been having an ongoing conversation with my wife about Donald Trump since he started making noise about running for President in 2016.

Actually my wife and I have had ongoing political conversations since we met 15 years ago. Despite our seemingly opposite viewpoints on several issues, we married and have survived some pretty heated debates.

I started this blog as a way to collect my thoughts and share with her and other family members, but I have my doubts if any of them read it.

Anyway, Donald Trump.

The wanna be president?  A blow-hard with some weird hair style?  The guy who led the “birther” movement which claimed that President Obama was not born in the United States?  The leading Republican Candidate in the polls?

According to the website Real Clear Politics that has a listing of the latest polls, Trump is polling better than any of the other Republican candidates.  His biggest lead was a week ago when he scored a 24.  #2 was Scott Walker with 13 and Jeb Bush had a 12 for 3rd place.

Let’s do some math. 13 from Walker plus 12 from Bush = 25.

Add in the poll numbers from the other candidates and you end up with Trump 24, everyone else 68.

(These numbers are from the ABC/Washington Post 7/16-19 poll).

The talking heads on radio and TV are misinterpreting the meaning of the poll.

They say Trump is the Republican Favorite.

No, he is not.  He leads the polls and that’s it.

Turn it upside down.

68% of the people polled picked someone other than Donald Trump.

The Donald only got 24%.  8% said none of them.

Trump is getting all the media coverage.  He was a known name before this election cycle.  The other candidates are simply not known yet.  I don’t know the differences between each of the candidates, at least not all of them and I am not going to start paying a whole lot of attention, now change that…

I am not going to do a lot of research until a few months from now.

I hear the talking heads tell us why we should or should not like: Bush, Walker, Rubio, Paul, Christie, and all the others, but it’s all fluid, not solid.  No one stands out as a clear leader yet.

Once we get the first debate out of the way and maybe the second debate, I’ll do my research on the real candidates that are still running and see who matches my list of what I want.  No one will.  I know that, but somewhere down the line I’ll pick someone by the time we have our Indiana primary in May. Or vote for Bernie?

But no, Not The Donald.  If you listen closely to what he says he will do, he is making claims that he would do stuff that the President of the United States does not have authority to do. That alone disqualifies him in my book, (along with plenty of other reasons.)

 

My Political Views Contradict My Political Views

The labels that we assign people politically are limiting and completely screwed up.

Last month I was one of about 30 people who showed up to an invitation only gathering to see and hear a presentation about a local environmental group.  Even that previous statement has some misleading stuff in it.  I said it was by invitation only which was true.  But how do you get an invitation?  From anyone else who got an invite.

The words we use and/or the news media uses shapes our perceptions and views if we let them.  As we prepare for the “running of the bulls.” (bulls is short for another word. Just add “hit”). Sorry I got distracted.  Running of the bulls, also known as the Race for the President of the United States, is in full swing and it’s time to be perfectly clear about stuff that is impossible to be clear about.

Thus the title to this piece, My Political Views Contradict My Political Views.

I’ve been labeled a conservative but I have liberal leanings.

I often vote for Republican candidates, but more and more vote for Democrats and 3rd party folks too.

I believe that our governments has overstepped their authority and we should flush it away and start over.

Except, I fear the process that we have to do that will create a system worse than what we have now.

Very few people know the powers that are assigned to the Federal government versus the State and local governments.  And only a fraction understand the system of checks and balances that were set up a couple hundred years ago that gave certain powers to different branches of our Federal government and restricted their powers at the same time.

The Constitution of the United States and our current Federal government is actually the 2nd system that the original 13 colonies tried to live under after declaring our Independence 239 years ago.  Look it up if you are unaware of this.

The Constitution with the original 10 amendments known as the Bill of Rights, along with the additional amendments that have been added since are the rules and laws that we as a United States of America are under no matter which of the 50 states we are in.   I live in Indiana.  If I travel east 20 minutes or less, I can be in Ohio.  While I am in Ohio, I am subject to their laws and the Constitutional laws of the United States.

We as Americans have demonstrated that we have a heart.  We want equalness and fairness for all.  But we have allowed our Federal government to overstep and to step on the individual states authority to make their own laws.

Do you know how 55 became the legal standard for a speed limit for most states for decades?  From Wikipedia: The Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act was a bill in the U.S. Congress that enacted the National Maximum Speed Law. States had to agree to the limit if they desired to receive federal funding for highway repair. The uniform speed limit was signed into law by President Nixon on January 2, 1974, and became effective 60 days later, by requiring the limit as a condition of each state receiving highway funds, a use of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

Federal Funds. That is how many of the laws of the land get their power.  States must comply with Federal Laws to get their share of money from the Federal Government.

Where does the Federal Government get that money?  Some say they print it which is partially true, but in reality it is money that we as taxpayers pay that is then redistributed according to the the Federal Government.

Who decides how our Federal Government spends our money?  It was supposed to be Congress.  There is a budget process that hasn’t been followed for years and so we have renegade bills that are passed by Congress to spend money without having to make sure they have the income from our taxes to pay for the things they decide to buy.

So far I have written over 600 words and haven’t laid out those political views that contradict each other, so here we go:

Socialism and Capitalism.

The idea of sharing to prevent the less fortunate from suffering due to a lack of money is the good side of the concept of socialism.  It’s even biblical.  But we are to do this on our own, or via organizations that we choose.  Not because the government tells us to.  And the government is usually a poor steward of this redistribution.   So you can say I am against the idea of socialism by our Federal government.  But this is not entirely true.

We have created millions of dependents on Social Security as their means of getting by financially at retirement time.   We cannot stop.  As I get older and see friends and family who depend on Social Security as a primary source of income, I see that it has to continue.

Yes, there are opportunities for people to retire and live off their investments but less than 50% of retires have the ability to do that despite working for decades.  Some simply didn’t save.  Some lost their savings and investments. Social Security is a form of Socialism that I believe needs to stay and be supported.

The idea of having the freedom to own your own stuff and build and make a profit and hire others and pay them… this is the good side of the concept of capitalism.  But it can also create the opportunity for tremendous inequalities.  We have seen the stories of C.E.O.’s earning not just 10 times the pay of average employees in their companies, but 100’s times more.

This is ridiculous but to create more laws I think is overreaching.  I don’t have an easy answer for this.  I know plenty of company owners who are not like those that get all the bad press and the number of business owners who are fair and just outnumber those that are taking advantage of the system.

Which brings up the question about the “system”.  The “system” is our tax code.  On all levels, Federal, State and Local, it is jacked up to favor those know how to work the system, which is a minority.  We need to toss out the tax codes and implement a flat tax.  A flat tax that eliminates all the other taxes and only charges a consumption tax.

Here’s how that works:

When I go to the Firefly Coffee Shop in Fort Wayne, I pay a sales tax of 7%.  That sales tax is paid to the state of Indiana.   Under the Fair Tax System, every purchase is taxed at the same rate on a Federal level. States can set their own sales taxes like they do now and so can local governments according to their state laws.

In this Fair Tax scenario, let’s say the Federal tax is 10%, my Indiana tax is 7%, Allen County tax is 3% and Fort Wayne Tax is 2%.   My Total Tax is now 22% on my 5 dollar coffee and bagel. The owners at the Firefly buy all their supplies locally so they are subject to a 22% tax too on their wholesale costs.  Prices will rise accordingly but you know what?  Prices are already rising and we adjust accordingly.

Each of us earning our money from a “paycheck” will actually have more income to start with since we are not having income taxes withheld from each check.  And those big shot C.E.O’s who pay lower income taxes because of the structure of their compensation package includes stock options and investment income…  It would all be for naught since no one has their income taxed anymore, only what they buy.  And it is all at the same Federal rate without the loopholes that help the rich get richer while keeping those in poverty, in poverty.

Property taxes would be outlawed too and what I (and others) see as bribery or blackmail at the state and local level in the form of tax abatements for businesses would disappear too.

Another subject: Health Care.  Just read what I wrote here.

Immigration, another hot topic.

The compassionate side of me wants everyone to be a citizen and have the same rights I do as a white guy born in this country.

The conservative side of me wants the border secure. Canada and Mexico, both land borders need a fool proof way of keeping the bad people out.  This is more possible than our politicians say and we need to stop the mismanagement that has been going on for decades.  This is not a Republican or Democrat stance, it is a security issue and now more than ever, we need this as the treats against us continue to multiply.

What about those that are here already?  If they are here illegally, they are more than undocumented, they are illegal and some form of punishment needs to be applied.  If I drive 70 in 40 mile per hour speed zone and am caught, I pay the price.  If  I am caught doing a more serious crime, I pay the price.

I don’t know the price for illegal immigrants. I don’t live on a border state and so I don’t see first hand the way this has changed where I live or visit.  In my city I know we have illegal immigrants who live and work here and they are not being paid fairly or will ever be given the same opportunities that I have as a citizen.

Donald Trump created a stir when he claimed that illegals from Mexico are bad people doing bad things.  Being the “Donald”, he has a right to say that.  Illegals who are in this country protesting his comments do not have a right to protest in this country because they are here illegally.  That sounds so unfair, but it is also accurate.

Donald Trump is brash and will stir up support for his agenda but his campaign rhetoric and promises won’t fly under the constitutional limits we have for the President.  However, like I said earlier, we have too many people in this country who don’t understand the separation of powers, and that allows him to gain support.

Somehow we need to:

  1. Stop the flow of illegals coming into this country.
  2. Offer a pathway to citizenship to those who are willing to be “law abiding and productive” citizens.
  3. Deport the rest.

And this needs to be done in that order too.

 

Foreign Relations is a subject that ranks lower on the list of priorities for voters, but we need to identify and support our allies, get our troops out of old war zones and stop sending aid to countries that want to harm us.   Easier said than done, I know.

National Minimum Wage.  Sure, raise it, but don’t expect it to raise people out of poverty.

Gun Control, Race Relations, and Religious Freedoms.  These are all spelled out in the Constitution and yet the media focuses on the worst when tragedies occur.  We get over-reaction, a lot of talk and then next to nothing.   We don’t always need more laws, we need changes in behavior, in attitudes and in our hearts.

Other issues that we should care about include abortion, voter apathy and what we can do as individuals to have an impact.

You are unlikely to have an impact on the presidential race except for the opportunity to cast your one vote.

You can however have an impact on the things you care about in your community if you get involved.  Start by becoming informed.  Like I did last month at that meeting of people who were invited to hear about the local environment.

 

If We Could Start Over Again… Health Care

I was listening to the reaction from both sides of the political debate on the Affordable Care Act a few minutes ago as I was driving from one end of Fort Wayne to the other.

The topic was the Supreme Court ruling announced today that the current practice of allowing people who are enrolled in an insurance plan that was purchased through the Federal government to receive subsidies from the government that lowers the out of pocket cost of their health insurance premiums.

Quite frankly, I am tired of it all.

If we could start over again, I would want to find the time in history that health insurance was not the vehicle that we used to pay for our health care.  There was a time when you visited your doctor and paid him or her for the services they provided.  It was an honest transaction without the jacked-up prices and game playing that we have now where a hospital charges.  Here’s a bill from 40 years ago for having a baby:

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Two years ago CNN published this story saying the cost is now between $18,000 and $27,000.  After insurance the family is still left with $3400 to pay.

If health care expenses only rose at the pace of inflation, I’m betting that the bill would be $3400 or less, not the $18,000+ figure.

However, an industry was created that has gone overboard, the health insurance industry.  They, along with the medical industry have created this, well,  I’ll call it a con game.  They have conned us into believing that health insurance and health care are both necessary and our right to have.  All the while they play this price game of inflated prices and fat cat profits for the insurance executives and the medical community executives.  The consumers who pay the premiums, co-pays and deductibles are powerless.  The individual health care providers, like the doctors and nurses are also powerless to a degree due to the “system” which is corrupt.

The free market system is what kept things competitive. The Affordable Care Act sales pitch that was presented was supposed to clean this up but instead it only has taken us further down the toilet.

While there are some good things in the law such as no lifetime caps on health insurance benefits and the requirement to offer a plan to everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions, it has not fulfilled it’s purpose as described in the name, Affordable Care.

It is too late to go back to what we had before this law.  This law is filled with compromises and special perks for some and not others… it is a mess.  The system we had before was messed up too, but not like this.

I was actually in favor of a revision of the health care and health insurance systems to a much simpler plan, a universal health insurance and health care system that is similar to other countries who have such a plan.

We are required to contribute a portion of our earnings into the Social Security fund.  In return we are able to get benefits when we are eligible due to our age or condition.  Instead of health insurance companies, we pay a health services tax in the same manner we pay into Social Security.

That’s where the money comes from to pay for our health care.  On the other end is the health care providers. These are the people (doctors and the like) along with the hospitals and institutions.  They are paid according to a set fee schedule that is determined by the government.

On one hand, this is scary as we’ve seen how the government is terrible at saving money or time or any number of things.  The V.A. scandal is still not fixed. But other countries seem to be able to figure this out and make it work.   Can we?