Category Archives: politics

Drain the Swamp

The phrase “drain the swamp” can be traced back as far as 1830 but has frequently been used since the 1980s by American politicians [1].

Since the 2016 presidential election the old phrase “drain the swamp” has taken on a whole new meaning and brought to light that perhaps there are two swamps in Washington. As an aside, the phrase in question does not mean a literal swamp, which are actually environmentally valuable ecological wetlands, but refers to the skullduggery that goes on in our nation’s capital.

The two swamps in question are: the White House (WH) centric one and the one most of us are familiar with in reference to the shady dealings among our elected representatives especially when it comes to lobbyists. Continue reading

The Immigration Dilemma

We often hear people say that “we are a nation of immigrants” or that “this nation was built by immigrants” as if that somehow justifies the liberal attitude many people hold regarding immigration. These comments seem to have their origin in the great migration from the late 1800s to early 1900s when many people emigrated from Europe. Some of the immigrants who arrived no doubt had criminal intents but most, like my great grandfather, who immigrated to America legally in 1882 came mostly in search of greater economic opportunity and to fully assimilate into the American culture. This was 66 years before the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 which authorized for a limited period of time the admission into the United States of 200,000 certain European displaced persons for permanent residence.

I, like many others, was born and raised in a city with several large immigrant populations. Among them were the Germans, Polish, Italians and Irish many of whom who came to the city to work in the steel mills or came with skills to start their own businesses as my great grandfather did. While some members of these populations tended to concentrate in their own ethnic neighborhoods they also brought an enjoyable diversity of culture and foods to the city as a whole; a process that has repeated itself in many major urban areas of our country. Perhaps this is why today’s immigration problems are so heart wrenching and difficult to discuss.

The intent of this blog post is to present some history on the complex problem of immigration in light of some issues that have come up in recent years and to finally offer some suggestions for change on both sides of the immigration equation. Continue reading

Murder in the Middle East

The murder of our diplomats in Libya and the constant killing of our troops, 51 so far this year in green on blue attacks, in Afghanistan should prompt further investigation into why we are there.

It has recently been reported that the surge troops have been withdrawn because the Taliban has been successfully routed. This is good. The less troops we have in the region the better. Yet we hear that our troops are being murdered by the Taliban who have infiltrated the security forces they have been training. So what is it? Are the Taliban gone or not? Continue reading

Occupy Wall Street: The Crux of the Issue

The “Occupy” protests across the country have been criticized by the media and mostly ignored by our elected representatives. Much of this criticism stems from the desire by both the media and the politicians for a single sound bite or demand while the focus of the issue is as plain as the nose on their faces, to separate money from politics.

The single issue is the fact that we have become a Corporatocracy where the 99%, expressed as the rallying cry of the OWS movement, are marginalized and ignored Continue reading

End All Foreign Aid Now

End all foreign aid, especially to dictators.

Diplomatic relations, always. Free and fair trade, yes. Humanitarian aid directly to the people, yes. Military protection for NATO allies, yes. Financial and military aid, no.

The recent events in Egypt highlight yet again how poor the U.S. is at picking foreign powers to support. Think how well American support went with the Shaw of Iran, Saddam, Augusto Pinochet, Ferdinand Marcos, Manuel Noriega and the list goes on.

And yet we continue this failed policy with the support of Pakistan where it is well-known that aid dollars are being funneled to the Taliban through corruption and now we are supporting Yemen to the tune of $250 million a year, up five times from previous years. Continue reading

Lawbreakers May Be Getting A Free Pass

In a  7/30/2010 AP news story it was reported that the Obama administration has been looking for ways to skirt congress to solve the immigration problem. The article discusses an April 11-page internal memo by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that outlines ways that the government could provide “relief” to illegal immigrants including delaying deportation perhaps indefinitely.

This sounds a bit like amnesty and we all know how well that went back in 1986. Rewarding illegal behavior results in more of the same. In 1986 there were about 1 million illegals, now we have an estimated 12 million. Continue reading

Our Information Democracy and the Influence of Lobbies

Americans have been voracious collectors of data as far back as 1790 when the first census was conducted. Examples abound from the many polls that are conducted to measuring traffic flow to tracking what we buy and even personal demographics. All this data then becomes massaged, analyzed, filtered, sorted and condensed to become information.

With the advent of the publicly available internet this era has become known as the information age. Some individuals are so caught up in the torrent of information that they become information junkies.

But information is good. Right? Continue reading

Mr. President, I Want My Country Back!

The phrase “I want my country back” has either been articulated or at least thought by many in an attempt to make sense of events over the past decade or so. Our beloved country is rapidly becoming unrecognisable and will continue to change in ways that depart from who we are as Americans and as a country unless we take corrective action.

Each of us has probably contemplated a list of issues that if acted upon would restore things to some semblance of normality and order. Obviously, normality and order, like beauty, differs from person to person but such a list of common, hot button issues can be developed. Continue reading

Wall Street Reform: Part 2

Many, including this blogger, have become upset and outraged as the investigations into the financial debacle continue to come to light through ongoing congressional testimony, books and in the media. Not only have we seen a complete failure of our regulatory system, failures at the rating agencies but we are seeing what can only be considered fraud perpetrated by the investment banking community. What is most troubling is that none of those responsible for regulation have been fired nor has anyone at the rating agencies or investment banks been prosecuted. Perhaps this will come when the final congressional reports are in later this year.

Let’s drill down briefly though each one of these failures. Continue reading

Collective Forgetfulness

We learn nothing because we remember nothing. – Gore Vidal, 1925-2012

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach. – Aldous Huxley

If you found this while looking for a blog about nursing homes full of Alzheimer’s patients you may be disappointed:-) But please read on.

We have all heard, especially when it comes to politics, that we have short memories. This explanation is used to justify in some way why we find ourselves repeating mistakes of the past. For some reason it is always the mistakes that we repeat or at least it is the mistakes that get the attention rather than the successes. And we are all familiar with the truth of the aphorism “those who forget the past are bound to repeat it.” It is curious that we all remember the aphorism but forget the specific issues that we are bound to repeat.

Generally, most of histories disastrous mistakes are caused by people of influence who should have known better but were caught up in a misguided ideology, driven by an unrestrained ego, influenced by selfish interests, and surrounded by people who for the sake of their own careers failed to offer an informed dissenting opinion and let’s not forget the quest for power and ignorance in high places. Continue reading