Suppressing The Vote…

I see where the federal courts have struck down some State’s voting laws as unconstitutional in that they were really about suppressing the vote. To me that is a good thing. But in my mind our entire election process needs to be changed to allow everyone to vote when it is convenient for them.  Why are we stuck to one work day to cast our choices of who will do the people’s business?

One of the basic problems with America’s democracy is that we vote at a much lower level than almost any democracy in the world.  Too many of us, for whatever reason, just don’t bother to show up to do our duty at the polls.  I kind of like Australia’s solution to their similar problem.  They made it against the law not to vote!  Well not quite but they did impose a fine on those who don’t vote. There solution caused participation to leap to almost 100%.  Amazing… but that is probably not a viable solution for us. We are too ornery to use such a simple answer.

Politics-2.jpgAnother possible solution is to make it very easy for everyone to vote. Don’t just open the polls during working days or especially working hours. Give people more options. One of those current options that I recently took advantage of is early voting. That is going to my local courthouse and casting my ballot when it is convenient for me. But according to the graphic at the right only about half the States provide this option and it seems abundantly clear which States are denying the choice to their citizens.

It is widely recognized that southern States have a history of  doing everything possible to prevent minorities for voting. In the past they did with with poll taxes and tests. Now they do it by other means. In my opinion the federal government should regulate voting processes and take it out of the hands of States with their racial and gender biases.  Voting should be as easy as going to the grocery store for milk.

A Bad President Can Do An Enormous Amount Of Damage…

I’m sure I am not the only one to see this presidential election as the strangest of all the fourteen I have voted in. And I’m also sure that I am not the only one who is planning to vote for the least of two evils. The source article below proves that fact:

2016-09-04_15-14-49.pngI’m far more frightened about a Trump presidency than I am enthusiastic about a Clinton presidency. And why shouldn’t I be? The prospect of Donald Trump being the most powerful human being on Planet Earth is genuinely terrifying…. Among other things, Trump is impulsive, ignorant, vain, petty, bigoted, insecure, and possessed of an almost pathological narcissism. Every president faces crises during which the lives of large numbers of people, both in America and around the world, depend on that one individual’s judgment and calm. It’s little exaggeration to say that in the wrong circumstances, Trump’s copious personality defects could result in absolute cataclysm.

So when 80 percent of Trump supporters and 62 percent of Clinton supporters tell pollsters they’d be “scared” if the other candidate won, but only 29 percent of Trump supporters and 27 percent of Clinton supporters say they’d feel “excited” if their candidate won, we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, even a great president won’t turn America into Shangri-La in four or eight years, but a bad president can do an enormous amount of damage in the same time. And that’s more than a good enough basis on which to decide your vote.

Source: Why voting out of disgust is as American as apple pie

I have pretty much read about all the presidents in my life time. LBJ was pretty much a bully who liked to intimate those around him.  He got off on yielding power. He was one one of my least favorite presidents but he did get a lot of important things done. There was the Great Society, Civil Rights Acts, and Medicare. He was not a great person but he accomplished great things. And then there was the Vietnam war…

Even though Nixon was a very paranoid person he also accomplished quite a bit in office. That is until Watergate brought him down.  Reagan was a dichotomy of sorts. He ran on a balanced budget but in reality spent like a drunk sailor.  His extreme spending on military things is what caused the Soviet Union to collapse and that was temporarily a good thing.  George W. Bush ran as a compassionate conservative and on a business platform but the stock market was actually considerable lower and in much worse shape when he left office than when he started and he proved to be anything but compassionate.  I can’t really say that he accomplished anything that I thought worthwhile during his time. And then there were the two wars and resulting “off the book” spending that drove deficits ever higher.

Obama was the one that I pinned my hopes on to turn things around. He seemed like a compassionate guy but in reality he has been merciless in his deporting immigrants and seemingly indiscriminate killing with drones. And then there are the two continuous wars that seems impossible for him to get us out of…

What I have learned from my fourteen times voting for president is that you don’t have to like the person you are voting for but you do need to at least tolerate  what they stand for.  I can say there is not a single thing about Trump that makes me want to vote for him.

So here I am voting for the least of two evils again…. 63 days and counting until this madness ends…. Thank God….

 

It’s Hard To Be A Law Abiding Citizen..

I will say again but this time add a kicker, It’s Hard To Be A Law Abiding Citizen…When So Many Aren’t. It just seems human nature, the dark side that is, to not want to do what you are told. This is characteristic of our teenage years but goes way beyond that for too many of us.   We know there are concepts of the common good and the rule of law but somehow they don’t apply to us.

What brought this thought up was my recent uRV trip to southern Illinois. As usual I traveled almost exclusively state and county roads and quickly discovered that enforcement of traffic laws in that part of the country seems to be ZERO.  I never saw a police car during my total seven hundred miles of travel.

I want to make a blanket statement and that is at least 90% of the adult population in the U.S. break the law weekly if not daily. No, they might not rob banks or kill anyone (although with all the guns and taverns around I wonder why) but what they do is totally ignore our country’s traffic laws.  They run red lights on a regular basis and most often exceed the clearly posted maximum speeds by at least 10 to 20 mph. There are also the tailgaters, I seem to get the most upset about them!

I make it a rule while traveling the country in my tiny RV to never go faster than the posted limit but that is very difficult to do without a lot of stress. Here I am going 55 mph and many are passing me going 70 or more. Some dangerously so… They pass on curves with double yellow lines!   Even 18 wheelers were ripping by me and within a minute or two were gone from site they were going so fast..

2016-07-11_12-42-37.pngThe “rule of law” as far as traffic laws are concerned is just totally ignored in many parts of the country.  It seems law enforcement agencies have raised a white flag and handed over our streets to speeders and reckless drivers.

Just for the heck of it I looked up the statistics of the worst drivers by State.   It surprised me that Illinois is about in the middle of the pack.  Montana is the worst but as usual Texas isn’t far behind in any “worst” category.

2016-07-11_12-20-58.pngDon’t even get me started on the “distracted drivers” out there. It seems every other car had a driver with a phone welded to his ear and was more involved in conversation than with driving! I do like my road trip around the USA but I just wish people would drive more sensibly, at least while I am around.  :)

Sadly I know there are too many people that have so little control over their lives that they think they have to constantly risk it on the road in order to get someplace a few seconds earlier. They just don’t think they have the time to obey traffic laws. The absence of law enforcement means lawlessness, especially on our roads.

Bill Clinton takes on protesters in coal country

I know it is quite chic to be a Hillary and Bill basher right now. Especially with the Basher-in-chief, read that as Trump, tweeting almost hourly  lies and conspiracy theories about them.  But I must admit that I do miss Bill Clinton sometimes.  My 401k especially misses him!

He might not have been able to keep his zipper up but he was the master of logic in his thinking. The rally in West Virginia shows that he hasn’t lost it. He says things that I would have said in the same circumstances.  He just has a way of putting things in very simple and real terms. Let’s look at some of his most recent quotes:

2016-07-07_09-30-45.png“I’m not like a lot of people. It doesn’t bother me to have protesters at rallies,” the former president began.

“I’m glad they come, because I think one of the biggest problems in America today is we seem to be less prejudiced about a lot of things, except we don’t want to be around anybody who disagrees with us. You notice that?”…

Hillary Clinton seemed to confirm that perception in March, at a town hall in Ohio, when she said that a transition to clean energy would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” She later said she had made “a misstatement,” but the comment contributed to her loss Tuesday in West Virginia, a state whose Democratic primary she had won by a landslide in 2008.

“I think ‘Make America Great Again’ means that we’ll make it like it was in the 1960s, even if [we] have to put another wall up,” he said. “Well, if you think you can do it, have at it, but no place else in the world that mines coal has been able to do it.”

“Don’t tell me we can’t bring different kinds of jobs,” he admonished. “Don’t tell me you’re not smart enough to do it, and don’t tell me nobody over a certain age can learn this stuff.”

SOURCE:  Bill Clinton takes on protesters in coal country – The Washington Post

Bill Clinton is a debater. He loves facing off with those who might not think as he does. Now that he will no longer be seeking a political office  he doesn’t parse as many words as most politicians.  He is free to say what he thinks and often does just that to the embarrassment of his wife.

This post is  very much aligned with the one from yesterday about being replaced by robots. Let’s face it coal is quickly becoming yesterday’s energy resource and therefore needs to be replaced by other commodities. It is as simple as that. But the problem is that there are just too many in certain areas of the country who depend solely on coal as a means of income. There is little else available to bring income into the family.

We can’t go forwards by going backwards, it is that simple. Now I admit that it will be decades, if it even happens that rural Pennsylvania and especially much of West Virginia can replace coal jobs. The short term solution will probably be to simply move someplace else. But that is emotionally hard for some to do…