Tuesday, July 30, 2013

President Obama is seeing the light!

Today President Obama will be traveling to Chattanooga, Tennessee to deliver a speech at the Amazon.com distribution center. The speech is reportedly going to include a "grand bargain" that President Obama feels will bring more jobs to America; specifically more middle-class jobs.

Senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer said (http://apnews.myway.com/article/20130730/DA7ROU7O1.html),"As part of his efforts to focus Washington on the middle class, today in Tennessee the president will call on Washington to work on a grand bargain focused on middle-class jobs by pairing reform of the business tax code with a significant investment in middle-class jobs." Finally the President understands that private business creates jobs not the government; yet the government can put forth hindrances that will delay or destroy job growth.

 President Obama can start reforming the tax code by removing the tax or fine that employers must pay for not providing health care to their employees. Next, President Obama can lower the tax rate on dollars earned by companies outside of the United States as they will be taxed in the countries they are doing business in too. Finally, President Obama can raise the tariffs on all imported goods - regardless of where the company is domiciled. If a company wants to avoid the tariff then they must build and sell those goods here in the United States while being subject to business tax code here.

These three elements will increase job growth and innovation inside of the United States. In a global economy that we are in now, we cannot compete directly on labor costs until other emerging markets establish a middle-class similar to ours. By raising the tariffs on goods produced outside of the United States it will force companies to weigh the options of producing and selling goods here. There is a reason why Ford, GM, Cat, and Deere have opened plants in India - among the multitude of reasons is the structure India has for taxing goods manufactured outside of the country and sold inside it.

I have renewed optimism in President Obama if he is serious about reforming the business tax code to make it conducive to a pro-business job growth environment. At the same time I am skeptical that the "grand bargain" will come at a hefty price tag that results in more deficit spending and increased debt load that we will be passing onto our grandchildren's children.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

President Obama - Phony Scandals and Jobs

Saturday morning President Obama spoke to the nation as he routinely does on a weekly basis (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/27/weekly-address-better-bargain-middle-class). President Obama opened his address highlighting a few of his accomplishments over the past four and half years - "We saved the auto industry, took on a broken health care system, invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil, and changed a tax code too skewed in favor of the wealthiest at the expense of working families."

President Obama is accurate that the auto industry is better than it was four years ago, but the Ford is leading the way and they didn't take bailout money. In regards to the "broken" health care system, why then is there a one year delay in the implementation for businesses but not individuals? Then we move onto American technologies - guess Solyndra bankruptcy is a forgotten aspect of that strategy, the Keystone Pipeline still isn't in place. Oh yeah, you go Buffet to agree with you on the "tax the rich" scheme in exchange for keeping the pipeline on the back burner so Buffet's railroad company can thrive.

It cracks me up that President Obama, and others, tout that 7.2 Million new jobs have been created over the past four and half years. President Obama, and others, how many people have left the job force over the past four and half years? Mr. President, when you took office only 81,023,000 not in the labor force while the latest data says 89,717,000 which is a difference of over 8 million people. So, let's be honest, that 7.2 million new job creation is a facade and an empty number.

President Obama is correct when discussing "trends that have been eroding middle-class security" in regards to technology making jobs obsolete, "global competition that makes others moveable, growing inequality and the policies that perpetuate it". As we demand cheaper products, higher wages and easier ways of doing things - skill sets will change and people will need to adapt. To this challenge, President Obama stated that "reversing these trends must be Washington's highest priority." Hmmm...that sounds like central planning to me and that is not something that a free society requires.

It is time for Washington to stop picking winners and losers. I am not saying to unregulate the market; rather regulate intelligently in a manner that doesn't pick winners and losers. North Dakota and areas in Texas are seeing job booms because of fracking of shale for oil and natural gas. That is using current technology to create high wage jobs for the eroding Middle-Class. Now, this will require many to re-tool their skill sets and that is something every American should constantly be doing without the guidance of Government. As a side not, the sand used in fracking is used also in producing solar panels.

President Obama is correct when he said, "Washington has taken its eye off the ball." but not for the reasons he states. "Phony scandals" are not phony Mr. President - violating our rights as citizens or sitting idly by as four Americans die in a foreign land are serious events. Unfortunately, far too many media outlets shutter at the thought of doing their job of investigating civil right violations by Washington. These scandals are not just President Obama; rather they are scandals for all in Washington.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Juror B29 States, Zimmerman "got away with murder"

This morning on Good Morning America, Juror B29 spoke with Robin Roberts. During the morning interview Juror B29 stated that Zimmerman "got away with murder" and expanded on that by saying, "You can't put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty. We had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence." Juror B29 this is how our justice system works. We don't get to add assumptions or bring our prejudices into the case; rather we are to focus on the facts presented.

Juror B29 rationalized here confusion and ultimate not guilty determination which pundits are seizing on by framing the jury instructions the fault for not coming back with a guilty verdict. Juror B29 said, "That's where I felt confused, where if a person kills someone, then you get charged for it, but as the law was read , if you have not proof that he killed him intentionally, you can't say he's guilty."

Here is a link to the jury instructions: http://www.flcourts18.org/PDF/Press_Releases/Zimmerman_Final_Jury_Instructions.pdf

After jury selection at the start of the trial a lot was made that all six women were white. Ironically now the narrative being pushed is that the only minority, Juror B29, on the jury originally thought Zimmerman guilty. Why do we need to invoke race when the race of the juror's had no factor in discussing the facts of the case and applying jury instructions? Remember, the excuse was laid out if Zimmerman was found not guilty it had to be because there was no minorities on the jury. Now, Juror B29 is found out to be a minority!

But I digress. Sybrina Fulton issued a written statement in response to Juror B29's comments(http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/25/justice/zimmerman-juror-b29-interview/index.html): "It is devastating for my family to hear the comments from juror B29, comments which we already knew in our hearts to be true. That George Zimmerman literally got away with murder. This new information challenges our nation once again to do everything we can to make sure that his never happens to another child."

While I agree that our Nation is challenged with preventing senseless death, but I don't agree that with the narrative of Martin being this innocent child. The challenge that really faces our Nation starts with media bias and the lack of investigative journalism. As I write this, KARE11 just had a story on a vigil that took place today in Minneapolis in a neighborhood that recently experience a killing of a child by unknown assailants.

When it comes to violence and senseless death of anyone, let alone a child, it starts in our neighborhoods. We need to assert ourselves and let it be known that criminal activity will not be tolerated and the senseless death knows no boundary. Regardless if you feel Zimmerman "got away with murder" or it was justifiable on August 6th get out and meet your neighbors. August 6th is National Night Out. If there is not one planned in our neighborhood then pony up and make it happen. The actions that lead to Martin's death could have been prevented by both Martin and Zimmerman.

Friday, July 19, 2013

President Obama hits and misses today

President Obama interrupted the daily White House Press Conference to say a few words about the fallout from the Zimmerman not guilty verdict. Below are the words spoken by President Obama along with some commentary by myself.
Well, I -- I wanted to come out here first of all to tell you that Jay is prepared for all your questions and is -- is very much looking forward to the session.
Second thing is I want to let you know that over the next couple of weeks there are going to obviously be a whole range of issues -- immigration, economics, et cetera -- we'll try to arrange a fuller press conference to address your questions.
The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week, the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling. I gave an -- a preliminary statement right after the ruling on Sunday, but watching the debate over the course of the last week I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.  
First of all, you know, I -- I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle's, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they've dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they're going through, and it's -- it's remarkable how they've handled it. Hey Mr. President - I know it is not politically opportunistic for you but what about Zimmerman's family? The question begs asking while belittles the tragedy none.
The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there are going to be a lot of arguments about the legal -- legal issues in the case. I'll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues.
The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a -- in a case such as this, reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury's spoken, that's how our system works. Amen Mr. President.
But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling. You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son.Actually you said that "if I had a son it would look like Trayvon Martin."  Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African- American community at least, there's a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it's important to recognize that the African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that -- that doesn't go away. Mr. President, I completely agree.
There are very few African-American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.
And there are very few African-American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often. While I recognize that the examples are reality they are also generalized and stereotypical.
And you know, I don't want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it's inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear. Mr. President, you mentioned context above - but now we lose context in Florida?
The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.
Now, this isn't to say that the African-American community is naive about the fact that African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It's not to make excuses for that fact, although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context. Now we are back to context but the issue in Florida lacks context. Mr. President, why are you not giving this speech or working into this speech the senseless bystander deaths in Chicago and Los Angeles as gangs shoot at each other?
We understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history. At what point does the next or even the current generation take accountability for themselves?
And so the fact that sometimes that's unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent -- using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain. Perhaps the reason why Black youth are believed to be violent is the role models the black community chooses to emulate. Hip Hop and Rap perpetuates the stereotypes of black youth and society. We all should emulate role models that stood for principle and held themselves more accountable to their actions than others as the standard bearer. Some examples of yore are John Adams, Fredrick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Abe Lincoln or MLK. Recent examples could include - Bill Gates, Oprah, Daymond John, John Tillman, or the late Steve Jobs.
I think the African-American community is also not naive in understanding that statistically somebody like Trayvon Martin was probably statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else. Agreed Mr. President but the media attention on this issue doesn't sell newspapers or get people elected - that is the real tragedy.
So -- so folks understand the challenges that exist for African- American boys, but they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there's no context for it or -- and that context is being denied. And -- and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different. By lacking context in ones life is not an excuse to lash out because of frustration. Mr. President, let's examine why the white male teen might have seen a different outcome. Yes, one possible reason in the case of Martin/Zimmerman is that Zimmerman may not have followed after learning the teen was white. Another possible reason why the outcome may have been different is the white male teen more than likely would have been less confrontational with Zimmerman - because us White Fathers tell our kids that if a person in authority asks a question, no matter how ridiculous it may be, to answer in a polite manner. Now, I am generalizing to be fair but so are you, Mr. President.
Now, the question for me at least, and I think, for a lot of folks is, where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? You know, I think it's understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family. Amen Mr. President!
But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do? I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it's important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government -- the criminal code. And law enforcement has traditionally done it at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels. The Jury spoke and verified what the local police originally thought - Zimmerman was justified. 
That doesn't mean, though, that as a nation, we can't do some things that I think would be productive. So let me just give a couple of specifics that I'm still bouncing around with my staff so we're not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where I think all of us could potentially focus. Fair enough.
Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it'd be productive for the Justice Department -- governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists. No one will deny that the police in many areas in the United States have an image problem. Once we start nationalizing this - where does it stop? Wasn't the notion of bringing diversity into the police force to help improve the mistrust? Then again, the juries not guilty verdict verifies the assessment of the officers on the scene the night Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.
You know, when I was in Illinois I passed racial profiling legislation. And it actually did just two simple things. One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped. But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing. Will need to check into this before passing judgement but from what I hear it sounds like a good program.
And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way, that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and in turn be more helpful in applying the law. And obviously law enforcement's got a very tough job. Yet, Mr. President - the black youth of Chicago continue to kill each other with no end in sight. 
So that's one area where I think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought bear if state and local governments are receptive. And I think a lot of them would be. And -- and let's figure out other ways for us to push out that kind of training. Code for another layer of public union employees and red tape.
Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it -- if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations. Mr. President, the Tampa Bay Sentinel already did that and found that if we took away Stand Your Ground laws it would have a disparate impact on blacks in Florida.
I know that there's been commentary about the fact that the stand your ground laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case.
On the other hand, if we're sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there's a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see? Mr. President, while Zimmerman didn't use the defense, when his head as hitting the concrete there wasn't a way to exit but death. Other cases that have invoked Stand Your Ground defense were very similar - see the Tampa Bay Sentinel article. 
And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these "stand your ground" laws, I just ask people to consider if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened? If Martin felt his life was in danger with threat of death; yes. Let's remember though, Martin was seen atop Zimmerman throwing punches toward the ground. 
And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.
Number three -- and this is a long-term project: We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys? And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them? Mr. President, America can reduce its bias in all manners of life. By doing that it will help all children not just black boys. The justice system, the police scrutiny, the guarded mentality of non-black society stems not solely from a racial bias but a bias reinforced by hip hop, rap and other modes of entertainment. I am not naive to the fact that we are all a tinge racist while others are a lot more than a tinge. Those feeling frustrated or with more than a tinge, I'd venture come from a home with a single mom, dad or are being raised by a single grandparent. We need to promote, in all communities, the importance of the family unit. Studies have shown that children in a family unit are better members of society; in general.
You know, I'm not naive about the prospects of some brand-new federal program. Thank God!
I'm not sure that that's what we're talking about here. But I do recognize that as president, I've got some convening power. Oopps, I spoke too soon.
And there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front. And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African-American men feel that they're a full part of this society and that -- and that they've got pathways and avenues to succeed -- you know, I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation. And we're going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that. How about we gather their parents first! 
And then finally, I think it's going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. You know, there have been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have. I agree - keep the politicians, the haters, the gin factory workers all away from the conversation of race. Let's start the conversation of race in our backyards around a fire pit. Let's get out and talk to our neighbors. 
On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there's a possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can; am I judging people, as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy. Amen, Mr. President. We do need to look at the content of our character. Let's get the ball rolling. Let's go through all the laws this land and strike out laws that call on race for justification of a law and insert character. We have made a protective class, we have made a second class, we have made lessor class of people through our legislation. A crime is a crime - murder is murder - torture is torture - it is no more egregious if it done between races, by the same race, sex, or sexual orientation.
And let me just leave you with -- with a final thought, that as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don't want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. I doesn't mean that we're in a postracial society. It doesn't mean that racism is eliminated. But you know, when I talk to Malia and Sasha and I listen to their friends and I see them interact, they're better than we are. They're better than we were on these issues. And that's true in every community that I've visited all across the country.
And so, you know, we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues, and those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. But we should also have confidence that kids these days I think have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did, and that along this long, difficult journey, you know, we're becoming a more perfect union -- not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.
All right? Thank you, guys. Amen, Mr. President.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Detroit files for Chapter 9!

Today, emergency manager Kevyn Orr filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy as he was unable to obtain "secure agreements with enough bondholders, pension funds, and other credits to restructure the city's debt out of court"(http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2013/07/18/detroits-bankruptcy-40-of-street-lights-dont-work-66-of-ambulances-out-of-service/) Governor Richard Snyder wrote (http://l.yimg.com/dh/ap/default/130718/C4208687718.PDF) to Kevyn Orr and Andrew Dillon (State Treasurer in Michigan), "I have reached the conclusion that this step {filing Chapter 9} is necessary after a thorough review of all the available alternatives, and I authorize this necessary step as a last resort to return this great City to financial and civic health for its residents and taypayers. This decision comes in the wake of 60 years of decline for the City, a period in which reality was often ignored." Gov. Snyder concluded after reading Mr. Orr's Financial and Operating plan in conjunction with a report to creditors that filing Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection is:"

  1. Right now, the City cannot meet its basic obligations to its citizens.
  2. Right now, the City cannot meet its basic obligations to its creditors
  3. The failure of the City to meet its obligations to its citizens is the primary cause of its inability to meet its obligations to its creditors
  4. The only feasible path to ensuring the City will be able to meet obligations in the future is to have a successful restructuring via the bankruptcy process that  recognizes the fundamental importance of ensuring the City can meet its basic obligations to its citizens."
The city of Detroit is estimated to be $18.5 billion in debt. At first thought one may ponder the thought of why doesn't Detroit raise taxes to cover the obligations. Gov. Snyder stated in his letter, reference above, "a vital point in Mr. Orr's letter is that Detroit tax rates are at their current legal limits, and that even if the City was legally able to raise taxes, its residents cannot afford to pay additional taxes." 

Unfortunately, Detroit is just a microcosm of poor management by our government officials of taxpayer money and the bloated pension funds of public union workers. In the private sector if a company files Chapter 9 and a pension exists concession are made on behalf of the pension group. Public Unions feel entitled to their pension funds despite the fact that their underfunded pension is an obligation that the city, state or country cannot meet. In Detroit, two of the biggest bond holders agreed with Mr. Orr on a plan to get some money back for the money borrowed while the Public Union gives up nothing. 

If Americans don't wake up soon, Detroit will not be the last major city to file Chapter 9. Governments need to re-tool their budgets with everything on the table. No sacred cows exist. A bailout is not an option. I as a Minnesotan do not need to bailout Detroit for their bad decisions over the past 60 years nor does any other American need to.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Jury Acquits Zimmerman on the Facts, Society?

Late last night the jury in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin 2nd Degree murder trial announced that they found George Zimmerman not guilty based on the facts of the case. In listening to the morning shows, the narrative is not about the facts rather about the social aspect of this tragic event. While the Justice system worked, many are pushing for the Department of Justice to levy criminal charges against George Zimmerman on violating Trayvon Martin's Civil Rights.

The NAACP wrote to the Department of Justice(http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/13/naacp-calls-on-obama-admin-to-pursue-civil-rights-charges-against-zimmerman/), "The most fundamental of civil rights - the right to life - was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Maritn. We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation."

Rev. Al Sharpton said on NBC's "Meet the Press"(http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/07/breaking_news_sun_rises_in_the_east_and_al_sharpton_comments_on_zimmerman_trial.html)," The trial happened. The verdict came in. It does not exhaust the legal options of this family and the bigger community of civil rights. We now have a position on the books in the state of Florida where an unarmed teenager who committed no crime can be killed and the killer can say self defense." Rev. Sharpton is accurate that an unarmed teenager was killed in Florida but Rev. Sharpton ignores the fact that Martin was seen by an eye witness of Martin atop Zimmerman throwing punches prior to the fatal shot from Zimmerman's gun. No one is denying that Zimmerman shot and killed Martin. The jury took the facts presented and made a decision based on that while part of society is not.

If the Department of Justice moves forward with Civil Right violations in this case it will be a political solution and not one based on the facts of the case.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lunar Historical Site - WHAT?

Right now the unemployment rate hovers around 7.6 percent, the Fed is discussing on raising interest rates, medium incomes are falling, and student loan rates are doubled while no significant new jobs have been created as promised by Obama's stimulus plan. Still no budget has been passed by Congress under the Obama administration, but Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX) and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md) have proposed a bill, HR 2617 http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/page/national-historical-park-moon-19629079, called "Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act".

I cannot make this up. We cannot figure out how to maneuver money around so military bases can have fireworks for the 4th of July but two Democrat House of Representatives are pushing a bill that would preserve the landing sites of the Apollo missions on the moon. Yes, I said on the moon. Rep. Johnson and Edwards fear that with private space travel will lead to the destruction of the famous lunar landing sites.

Can you imagine our grandkids coming to the house asking for us all to buy candy bars in an attempt to raise money so their 8th grade class can go to the Apollo Lunar Landing site on the Moon! I understand that we have a lot of bigger issues going on - jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, oh did I mention jobs - to deal with but let's take up time to discuss and vote on the "Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act".

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July America

"It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonefires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to other from this Time forward forever more." - John Adams 

John Adams wrote the above quote in a letter to his wife, Abigail, discussing the importance of the Declaration of Independence and his vision of commemoration. While the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on July 2, 1776, it took the  Continental Congress two days to approve thus spawning July 4th as the birth of our nation. The United States of America will turn 237 years old today. Think about that for a second. 237 years old! 

The United States is but an infant when compared to the other 195, or so, countries. Egypt, which has its own issues right now, tops the charts as the oldest country in the world. King Menes founded Egypt in 3150 BC. That is over 5000 years ago! Other old countries include - India (3000 BC), Ethiopia (2500 BC), China (2100 BC), Iran (625 BC), San Marino (301 AD), France (486 AD), Bulgaria (632 AD), Japan (660 AD) and Turkey (900 AD). I know what you are thinking...Where is San Marino? I too.

So I Binged it and went to the CIA website to learn more: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sm.html. It exist in Europe. 

Despite our infancy, the United States has quickly become a Super Power. As with any nation, the United States is not without the sins of birth; yet it is among the freest nations in the world today. Our Founding Fathers, despite their faults, crafted a form of government to protect the liberties of its citizens by limiting the powers of government while ensuring the periodic change in leadership took place in a peaceful manner.

Over the past 237 years, the United States has endured growing pains. With many of America's early sins  addressed - slavery,suffrage, religious intolerance -  new sins have emerged as America transitions into adolescence. The adolescent America feels entitled, invincible and arrogant. To humble the adolescent America is not to destroy it or to pacify it; rather time is upon us to remind the adolescent America that with power comes responsibility and decorum. July 4th enables America to pause and take inventory of our responsibilities and decorum. Take time today to re-read the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Federalist Papers. Take your own inventory.

Earlier this week a poll mentioned the Supreme Court's approval rating hit an all-time low. Why I bring this up is it is important to the adolescent America taking an accurate count of inventory.

The Supreme Court's role, in our form of government, is to be a check on the actions of the Legislative and Executive Branch as it pertains to the Constitution. Unfortunately, over the past 50 or so years - perhaps longer - the Supreme Court has seen Chief Justices ego's and partisan politics override that duty of the office they hold. Justices of the Supreme Court ought check the ego and politics at the door prior to entry as they have an immeasurable responsibility to uphold the Constitution and nothing more. 

Chief Justice John Roberts, only 57 years old, last year handed down an opinion that many observers view as a defining moment of the Supreme Court under his reign. The issue at hand was the Affordable Care Act; commonly known as ObamaCare. The 5-4 decision paved the way for the United States government to mandate that every American purchase a product or face a tax for not doing so. Chief Justice Roberts in his opinion acknowledge that Congress doesn't have the power to mandate such a purchase still ruled ObamaCare Constitution based on Congress power to tax. The stretch by Chief Justice Roberts to interpret the power to tax by Congress illustrates the arrogance of the adolescent America we endure today.

As we embark on celebrating our Great nation birthday with parade's, BBQ's, parties, and fireworks - take time to reflect on our infancy and inventory the adolescence. Engage each other in conversation to the importance of handing the next generation a nation whose adolescence is in better shape then when we inherited it. Let's encourage every American to break the chains of entitlement and demand more of our society by instilling in the adolescent America the concept to prospect each other not by the nation we came from, the person we share our life with, or the exterior of our frame; rather to employ, treat and engage each other based on the merit, the word, and the fact we are all Americans.