RJ's Corner

Perhaps They Never Will..


I have to put out a quick post here following Pope Francis’ speech before our congress. To me it was very inspiring but obviously there were those there that simply refused to listen to anything he said. Instead they sat stoically on their hands while those around them frequently stood and applauded.

This reminded me of the last words in the final verse of one of my favorite songs which is entitled “Vincent” by Don McClean. It goes like this…

They would not listen,

They are not listening still

Perhaps they never will

I just cannot believe that the current GOP leadership really represent all those who claim allegiance to that party.  Are all those millions who make up the GOP base so close minded that they will not even consider listening to anything that might threaten their current views?  I certain hope not.  The Bible calls that “hardened hearts”.  Perhaps its time to look elsewhere for your leaders?

Maternity Tourism…

“I was focusing on a specific targeted kind of case where people are organizing to bring pregnant women into the country, where they’re having children so their children can become citizens,” Bush said. “That’s fraud.”

Federal agents earlier this year described “maternity tourism” schemes in which wealthy foreign women, particularly from China, travel to the United States to give birth so their children will have U.S. citizenship.

SOURCE: Jeb Bush again defends use of ‘anchor babies’ term, says referred to Asians – Yahoo News.

QE BannerBirthright citizenship seems to be dimming in the political sphere. Everything is now focused on Donald Trump and is meteoric rise in the GOP.  It was not until this topic came front and center that I found that “maternity tourism” to be a thriving industry.  No matter how high there is not a wall big enough to prevent this from happening.  The only way to do that is to, like the rest of the world, eliminate birthright citizenship.

While I am generally for all kinds of immigration I just don’t see the usefulness of this seemingly archaic law. Except for the original inhabitants we are a nation of immigrants. Very few of our ancestors were around before the formation of the U.S.  I love the words on the Statue of Liberty.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 Our history in advocating these words have been on-again, off-again at best. It seems that when one ethnic group gets settled in the country they then go about trying to prevent others from accomplishing the same thing.

Given that we seem to be entrenched into a mode of fear and anti-everything now is probably not the time to look at changing our foundation documents but when will that time conveniently come?  One of the primary reasons that our country has survived as long as it has is that we treat our constitution as a living document and not set in stone.  It’s time to make some fundamental changes to allow us to thrive in the 21st century and beyond. The second amendment was never intended to make guns readily available to people with severe mental problems. Gun control is a necessary step in American progress.  The 14th amendment was truly necessary for the post civil war period but has long since outlived its usefulness.

Thomas Jefferson was a firm believer that constitutional conventions were going to be necessary on a regular basis to keep our nation moving forward.

Question everything….

Why Does China Back North Korea???

2015-09-11_09-46-38Even on its best days, the regime teeters on the brink of collapse, simply because most of its people are starving and unhappy. It would take only a tiny push for the straightjacket of terror that keeps the regime together to fall apart, for enough people to become more hungry than scared, and for enough regime thugs and mid-level officers to say, “No, not this time, we won’t pull the trigger.”

The regime’s attempt to black out all outside information has been showing cracks. Cell phones and DVDs (and probably Bibles) are streaming in from the Chinese border, where guards are easily bribed. This contraband is showing an increasing number of North Koreans that another way of life is possible. Various market-driven “reforms,” while improving the lot of a few ordinary North Koreans, also highlight the regime’s dons for what they are: corrupt kleptocrats, businessmen with guns.

Source: Why North Korea’s collapse is inevitable.

How North Korea has held on to power for so long is a mystery to me. Compared to the other Korea they are living in abject poverty barely surviving from day-to-day. The majority of their resources are directed toward their military and to support the lifestyle of their insane child leader.  I would hope that someday the above scenario finally comes to pass and the country is once again allowed to re-unify as Germany was a few decades ago.

One thing that seems to put off this inevitability is China’s support of the regime.  I really don’t understand why that support is even there?  I guess it is because they are one of the few countries in the world that like China still have a communist form of government.  But China has moved so far away from basic communist principles. Maybe it is because one dictator seems to always support another.

Here is what Wiki defines as a dictatorship:

Dictatorship is a form of government where political authority is monopolized by a person or political entity, and exercised through various mechanisms to ensure the entity’s power remains strong.

A dictatorship is a type of authoritarianism, in which politicians regulate nearly every aspect of the public and private behavior of normal people. Dictatorships and totalitarianism generally employ political propaganda to decrease the influence of proponents of alternative governing systems, as is the nature of nationalism of any governing system.

Dictatorships by their very nature are eventually doomed. The dictatorship falls for one of two reasons. Either the regime eventually morphs into something else through evolution or they are overthrown by revolution.  China’s dictatorship is an example of the first condition. Korea will probably go the way of the second.

Now that China controls a big hunk of the world’s manufacturing processes we can only pray that their change continues to be evolutionary instead of revolutionary.

Putting a Face On It….


It is heartwarming to see that the tragic picture above has spurred so many of the European nations into further action. Many, especially Germany, have opened their borders to thousands fleeing war and famine in Syria and neighboring places. One image seems to have ignited a fire of response. Thank the Lord.

As I have learned “Putting a face on a problem” is the first step in spurring action to solve it. I have long been an advocate for the homeless and financially challenged but until I spent 11 years volunteering in a local soup kitchen/ homeless shelter it was not brought home to me the seriousness and tragedy of those who are homeless or financially challenged. Putting a face on it by serving all those who came for daily meals made it very real to me.  I am glad to see the picture above ignited support for those like this dead infant just trying to find some safe place to live.

It seems that our news media have loosened their standards significantly in the last couple of decades. It used to be that they “reported” the news instead of making it as they do today.  Until Fox News came along they very conscientiously tried to remain neutral in how they reported events. But one principle that still remains is that they don’t show graphic pictures of tragic events especially those involving children.

I wonder if we saw the aftermath of the Newton tragedy in graphic pictures if that would have spurred us into actions to keep guns out of the hands of unstable people. Unfortunately there are way too many troubled people even, or maybe especially, among the gun advocates themselves.  I think we are tragically the only nation on earth that has more guns than citizens. Would seeing all those bloody bullet ridden bodies of the kids at Newton Elementary have changed our attitudes towards guns?  I realize that there will always be a certain percentage of our citizens who will fight for their guns no matter the consequences .  It doesn’t matter to them; they must have total and easy access to any weapons they choose.  But how about the rest of us, the vast majority who are ready to attack this problem, when will we finally be spurred into action?  We need to see more pictures like the one above to make that happen.  Until you put a face on a problem it just doesn’t seem real to many of us.  Lets show some of the graphic consequences of this love affair with weapons of destruction.

Question Everything…

A Doctor/Lawyer Coalition??

We physicians have relatively little understanding of the legal process. And we will say — we say things like, ‘You ought to be out of that house. You ought to be in someplace clean.’ And then I sort of wash my hands of it and don’t realize the downstream implications. Somebody’s got to help them get the resources….

DR. KERRY RODABAUGH, Nebraska Medicine: I ran a medical-legal partnership, and came to find that I could not practice medicine without that. We are learning that we really are impacting health. So, if we can get somebody reinstated with their insurance plan, then they’re going to be able to afford to take their anti-hypertension medication and their blood pressure’s going to be improved. And who would’ve thought of that — that an attorney’s going to fix somebody’s blood pressure?

Omaha is part of a growing movement modeled on a partnership founded in 1993. Doctors at Boston Medical Center linked cases of childhood asthma to mold in homes and brought in lawyers to take on negligent landlords. The idea took years to catch on. But national leaders say there are medical-legal partnerships now in almost 300 hospitals and health centers, and that dozens more are being planned.

Source: Why doctors are prescribing legal aid for patients in need

Doctors and lawyers seem like oil and water in that they just don’t mix together, but in reality they form a very needed coalition. In retrospect it does make a lot of sense. I don’t know how many of you remember the time where it was unacceptable for a lawyer to advertise. The ABA said it would diminish the status of the legal profession and of course for most part it did just that.  I get very tired of all the “ambulance chasing” lawyers on TV.

And then there are the police/lawyer shows who portray lawyers as guys who, for the money, will do everything to get their guilty clients off of serious charges.  The OJ Simpson case confirmed that for many of us. Then there is the fact that the vast majority of our representatives in Washington DC are lawyers.  Let’s face it, lawyers just don’t get much respect from many of us.

Changing gears here, I don’t know about your part of the country, but where I live there is a very rapid integration of the healthcare field. Almost all of the local doctors and hospitals in my area now belong to one business entity. Doing so allows them to self-fund malpractice coverage among other things.   It also allows them to have more of a personal life in that someone else in the firm can cover for them when they need time off.

I’m sure most of these new integrated doctor/hospital firms have their own legal teams to handle things that they know little about but greatly affect the healthcare of their patients.  All of this is a good thing as long as we also develop regulatory agencies to monitor possible malfeasance.

Doctor/Lawyer teams??? Go figure….

As Obamacare Takes Hold, Unpaid Hospital Bills Vanish – Forbes

2015-08-31_18-42-33As hospital operators begin to report second period earnings — the sixth consecutive quarter of new revenue from once uninsured patients — the number and size of unpaid medical bills continues to fall thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

SOURCE: As Obamacare Takes Hold, Unpaid Hospital Bills Vanish – Forbes.

If all those idiots in congress who are so adamant in taking away healthcare to those who couldn’t afford it without ACA were to concentrate on making the law better instead of trying to abolish it significant improvements could be made.   There has probably been billions of dollars spent on dissing the law and little to improve it.  How sad is that?

It was clear that what was passed five years ago did little to ameliorate the every increasing costs of U.S. healthcare. That part of the problem was left to another day. But that day has never come due to the complete stubbornness of those who hate it.  All they can do is shout “SOCIALIZED MEDICINE” as if that were some deadly curse that will insure the downfall of mankind.  But the facts are that almost half of Americans have had for some time socialized medicine and most of the rest of the world has had it for much longer.  That is why we are about the only country still struggling to get hold of ever increasing healthcare costs.

When will we be able to start improving the law? Probably not until those who have put a permanent stake in the ground against it on our national congress are driven from office.  The rest of the world learned their lessons on controlling costs a long time ago and are wondering why we haven’t?   Makes no sense to them or to me…

Question everything….

Should citizenship be a birthright?

The wording of the 14th Amendment is key. “All persons,” it reads, “born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

That includes children whose parents are here illegally. Trump and others argue that goes too far and encourages people to give birth here as a way of allowing entire families to stay. In some circles, those children have come to be called Anchor babies….

2015-08-21_10-31-50And this first sentence ( of the constitutional amendment), the primary purpose of that sentence was to reverse the 1857 case of Dred Scott, which had held that blacks could not be citizens. So this made everybody who was born here, black or white, a citizen of the United States.
And it was assumed, actually from much earlier than that, from the first founding in the 1780s, it was assumed that citizenship went with birth. That was what common law was at the time. And nobody even challenged it until 1850, when a New York State court found that someone who was born here was a citizen….

 “Professor Sherry, is this a uniquely American, that, if you’re born here, you’re a citizen here?”

“It’s almost uniquely American. The only other developed country that has birthright citizenship is Canada.”

SOURCE:  Should citizenship be a birthright? Why some GOP candidates say no.

QE Banner

I’m going to put on my conservative hat and agree with Donald Trump. Well, sort of…

With the limited understanding I have of the issue it appears that “anchor babies” are a big business in immigration issues. The logic goes that if I can just get into the USA and have a baby  I can also become a citizen as there are those won’t allow “the breakup of a family” by telling me I can’t stay here when my child is a citizen.  There is a thriving business teaching how to game the system it this regard.

But aside from all that to me it is a matter of allowing the constitution to change according to the times.  I certainly understand given the Dred Scott Decision the reason for the amendment. Without it the southern States would likely have tried everything possible to prevent their previous slaves from citizen status. But the amendment has become something it was not intended. It is time for it to change.

Now it is time to switch hats and say the same thing applies to the second amendment. We need to understand that the first part of that amendment is the justification for the last part.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. 

Since we no longer depend on a militia to secure our freedom this amendment is well beyond it usefulness and is doing much more harm to our general welfare than the birthright amendment.

I will support the conservative change to the 14th amendment if the 2nd one is changed at the same time.

Question everything…

Fear # 4 – Social Security Will Disappear

2015-08-15_07-53-36Only 20 percent of Americans believe there will be enough money left when it’s time for them to retire. To fix the problem, some people believe Social Security should allow means testing, where benefits are based on a person’s income. Others think the tax should be raised, the retirement age should be raised or the benefits should be cut down.

Though there’s disagreement over how, Social Security is a program that almost everyone agrees needs to be fixed before the well starts to run dry. So as Social Security turns 80, when it comes to the future of the biggest and oldest benefits program in the United States, at least after watching this video you can say, “Now I get it.”

Source: Social Security explained.

QE BannerI frequently accuse the Republican party of being the party of “fear”. They seem to depend on it for their existence.

  • be afraid they will take away your guns
  • be afraid of those people coming across our borders
  • be afraid of those trying to take our morals away from us
  • be afraid of this, be afraid of that

But in reality the Democrats do their share of fear mongering. Maybe the biggest fear, at least for those seeing their elder years on the horizon is that Social Security will not be there for them!

The Republican answer to this problem is similar to many other problems.  “Lets get rid of it… you can save for yourself…” Yeah, right!!  That tactic seemed to work pretty well for defined pension plans. They are no longer around today. We are supposed to take care of ourselves instead of having the government do it for us.  The problem is most of us don’t really know how to do that and have done a terrible job of it in the past. Many are predicting a near catastrophic condition in about ten years where those who “managed their own accounts” find out what a miserable job they have done.

Social Security is, and will continue to be the safety net of retirement income. It is the baseline to keep our seniors out of poverty. Even if nothing is done, and I’m sure something will be done, they say it can continue to pay out 75% or more into the distant future. Don’t let the fear mongers lead you to believe otherwise. Until we deem it acceptable to allow people to die in the gutters, and I certainly hope that day never comes, there will be a safety net keeping all of us out of dire poverty.  We claim to be a Christian nation and I hope we continue in at least a minimal way to act like one…


The New GOP…


QE BannerFor those of you who haven’t visited here much I will state up front that while I am very much a social progressive but I am also a fiscal conservative. I too think as indicated in this editorial cartoon by Jack Ohman “where did the Republican party go?” They once were the party of small government and keeping expenses under control.  During those days I voted Republican about as often as I voted Democrat. But those days now seem to be a distant memory.

  • The new GOP seems to be made up of screamers who want infinite military budgets so that can go after the “bad guys” wherever they can find them.
  • They ignore thousands of needless deaths in order to justify their unlimited quest for the next gun.
  • They say they are pro-life but don’t want to provide easy access to contraceptives to prevent unwanted births.
  • Instead of providing mental health facilities and other social services they also seem to want to imprison everyone who might frighten them.
  • They have mountainous fear and very little empathy or trust.

It saddens me to see the party taken over by what was once its radical fringe. I pray that those who are on the drum beat to another war give peace chance with the Iran situation.

Question everything….

What do mass shootings and police killings have in common? America’s sick gun culture.

2015-08-03_07-24-58If we want to see police killings drop, no matter the victim, if we want to see an end to mass shootings (and Australia has proven that it’s possible to actually end them), we have no choice but to dismantle not only the laws but also the norms that make the protection of gun ownership a greater priority than the protection of human lives. A society that continues to flatly refuse to do so will continue to mourn tens of thousands of preventable deaths, every year. We will continue to carry the weight of tens of thousands of shattered families. We will continue to perpetuate an atmosphere in which police are trained to fear the people they’re meant to serve, and civilians know that fear is the best defense they have against the people they pay for protection.

SOURCE: What do mass shootings and police killings have in common? America’s sick gun culture..

QE BannerI just never seem to be able to wrap my mind around my country’s love of guns. Yes, I was a hunter in my early years but it was more of a necessity than a desire to use a weapon to kill.  It totally astounds me that there are more guns in this country than people. How did we get into this state?  How did we let the NRA wield so much power over our representatives in government both Republican and Democrat?



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