Saturday, September 28, 2013

Think About This Country's Financial Obligations [[An Open Letter to Congress]]

I originally published this on Facebook on July 12, 2011 at 12:35pm. However, it pathetic that our "talk-lots/do-nothing" Congress has put us back in this position again so I'm republishing this short essay again.

Have you bothered to read the Constitution?

Do you know what the 14th Amendment means?

Third World countries default on their debts, but countries like America never should.

The debt ceiling needs to be raised, millionaires need to pay more taxes, tax loopholes need to be closed, the minimum age for Social Security benefits needs to be raised, and the government should not start wars it has no plan to pay for.

You should all be ashamed of your obstructionism, but, of course, you are not.

It is ironic these days that the "traditional enemies" of the US do not seem to be Iran or Russia anymore - it's the many obstructionist Republican members of the House (including the representative for our district, Timothy Murphy and one senator, Pat Toomey).
The only thing I'd change in this essay is "the minimum age for Social Security benefits needs to be raised." What I should have said was "the salary ceiling for Social Security should be increased to the first $500,000 of income."

Monday, September 16, 2013

In Praise of Police When They Protect and Serve and Not When They Murder the Public

I've been extremely troubled by a rash of police pre-emptively shooting people, generally black men. Isn't the slogan for police "To Protect and Serve"? How is the murder of men like Jonathan Ferrell protecting or serving anyone?

I blame poor education, bad training and entrenched racism for most of these shootings. Cops everywhere do not behave so stupidly. When cops are properly hired and trained, they can solve problems.

We had an incident at our house a couple of years ago when a drunk teenager, apparently looking for his girlfriend, chose our doorbell to ring at 4am. We went and talked to the kid, but he refused to go away (frankly, he was too drunk). We said if you don't leave we're calling the cops. He didn't leave, so we called the cops. A single female cop showed up within ten minutes and talked to the kid. She diffused the situation in a way we could not, not by shooting, tasing or arresting the kid, but by firmly talking to him. She figured out where he lived and brought him home. She protected and served, which is what cops ought to be doing. We declined to press any charges because she solved the situation.

I wish all Americans could rely on the police as we did. Jonathan Ferrell, apparently upset by having been in a car accident, did not have that opportunity.

2013.09.17 - In news reports about the North Carolina shooting, the cop pumped 10 bullets into Jonathan Ferrell. Sometimes, cops do accidentally kill innocent people, but shooting 12 times, at least 10 of those shots hitting their intended target? That was no accident.