Log in

No account? Create an account

Year-end thoughts...

This blog has been inactive for almost six months but I now again feel the need to vent my thoughts as 2018 nears a close.

As I age, I find more time for thought and reflection, both from a personal and socio-political standpoint. Personally, I have led a most fortunate life and am grateful to God for blessing me with what I will call "overachievement". I feel humbled and lucky to be in good health and able to be mobile, a statement that many my age cannot make.

Now, to the world around us...I have been commenting about our culture for almost ten years via this blog. I say what I believe, and in some cases have been proven wrong. But it's an opinion blog and one can still speak freely in our country. So here goes...

We are no longer a unified people. Not since the Civil War have we been in such chaos. We are a great and noble people, but we have lost respect for each other as fellow-Americans. This has evolved over decades but now has reached a point of critical mass. We have now lost our way. Other countries are in similar distress but we are supposed to be exceptional. Not any longer.

Read more...Collapse )

Ancestry, how does it affect us?

Today's blog will be like no other I have written. Perhaps being in your 70's creates a reflective state as you look back on a life that, in essence, goes by in the blink of an eye. How do we become who we are? Each of us has a total different life story, unique only to us and surrounded by thousands of events, encounters, and challenges that have shaped us. 

But there is another component, and that is our ancestry. This is far more difficult to discern as an influence on your path in life, yet it exists for all of us. I think about my ancestors, those I knew, and those who were gone before I was even born.

I am a descendant of hard working people from two areas of Italy.  My maternal grandfather emigrated from Calabria (in southern Italy) in the 1890s and my paternal grandfather came from Sicily in the early 1900s. I only know that they made a living in the fishing industry in the old country.

Think about your own ancestry, and ask yourself: "Have I been a product of my ancestral history?" Try to describe your self-image. Ask yourself questions that you may have never considered in a self-examination process. Describe who you are in the most candid way you can. Here is my own attempt at doing that...

I am agreeable, yet I question, I am non-confrontational yet I argue, I am personable but I can be moody, I am a listener but I speak out of turn, I am compassionate but impatient, I am generous but cautious, I hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  I try to make my own way in life, but always know that we all need each other to survive, flourish, and co-exist. I have tried to pass on a legacy, but it pales in comparison to my ancestors who did such heavy lifting in the most challenging of times.  I cannot imagine coming to a strange land with a different language and culture, and starting a family from virtually nothing. They came with only hope and a dream to have a better life than the one they left, risking something so familiar for a life of uncertainty, but one offering an amazing opportunity. These were real heroes and people filled with courage and passion.  I cannot even approach this standard.

Do we inherit character traits from our ancestors or are we products entirely of our own environment?  How much of what we are is from our DNA?  Do we emulate those relatives we have known, even on a subconscious level?  Could we even begin to fill their shoes, those who knew the meaning of personal sacrifice, and walked that walk every day of their lives?  

My answer is we craft ourselves over the long haul, evolving along the way into our own person, combining mind, body and spirit. And yes, we can take what good we have noticed from anyone we have encountered and weave it into us, making ourselves a constant work in progress. We know who has inspired us in our lives and we try to act on this inspiration in our continuous development.  

Hopefully when the work is complete, we can be somewhat proud of the accomplishments and cast aside the multiple imperfections in our  characters. This is my hope and I work on it every day.

No Politics for You Today!

A close friend of mine commented that my blogs tend to be lengthy which may be leading readers to not take the time to read them. I think this is a valid point so this blog will be experimental to prove or disprove this theory. In addition, it will in no way, be about politics.

A few weeks ago, I had an accident in the kitchen that resulted in a cut to the tip of my right index finger. It bled quickly so I applied a tourniquet and my wife Joyce, scrambled to get the proper bandages. I applied great pressure to attempt to halt the blood flow and she used gauze and a butterfly bandage to pull the skin together. It worked well enough to avoid stitches, although it throbbed a bit that night.

My point is that I was fortunate not to be alone at the time. The difficulty in opening band-aid wrappers cannot be overstated, even for a person with two good hands. Had I been alone, I could not have successfully taken care of this injury myself.

The issue here is this...Why are many packages so difficult to open? Band-aids in particular, should be quick and easy to access. The wrapper is thin, difficult to grasp, and many times you are forced to rip it in the middle which can damage the strip itself. Memo to Johnson and Johnson: Find another way for easy access to your products which are usually needed quickly in an emergency! You produce health care products…Act like you care!

Read more...Collapse )
It has been over eighteen months since this blog has had a post, August 13, 2016 to be exact. It was entitled Marathon of Agony, in which I predicted a Hillary Clinton victory over Donald Trump. At least I wasn’t the only one blowing that one.

In that blog, I asserted my dislike for both candidates but HRC had more reprehensible baggage than Trump so in my view I had to vote for him. Apparently many other Americans did the same. So where have we come fifteen months after that election?

Here are some brief observations:
-Democrats have renounced the Electoral College as an unfair form of election because HRC won the popular vote. Several years ago I questioned a good friend of mine who was an esteemed political scientist (and a liberal), and he informed me the Electoral College was the fairest way to compensate for large cities swinging a vote in a specific direction. It better represents rural low population areas.

-The Democratic National Committee rigged the nomination for Hillary while jerking the nomination from Bernie Sanders. They wanted the first woman president to be a Democrat much like having Barack Obama as the first black president. That action alienated the millennium component who would not flip the switch from Bernie to Hillary. Ergo, more Green Party votes or stay at home and bitch. Bad strategy, Debbie Wassermann Schultz! She got sacked for that.

-President Donald Trump has become his own lightning rod, engaging every media opportunity to debate and foment controversy and self-promotion. His cabinet and administration has become a revolving door, and the press has seized on the fragility and vulnerability that his self-indulgent language engenders. This has resulted in a presidency that has become a daily media target for demonization (some of it deserved, some not).

-Our country is no less divided than it was under Barack Obama’s tenure, and no one should be surprised by this. Trump appealed to those who felt dismissed and disaffected by the culture shift from a Judeo-Christian credo to a secular, politically correct, ‘inclusive’, and anti- second amendment sentiment popularized by the Democrat party. Lines have been drawn and the discord has intensified, fueled by Trump’s affection for tweeting, which he uses to stoke the flames of controversy.

Exactly what has been accomplished by the Trump administration beyond being the lead story each day and night on the news cycle? I’ll summarize my own opinion:

The nuclear situation in North Korea has finally been addressed by an American president. A true line in the sand was drawn, and that regime has been advised they would be annihilated if they don’t stop proliferating nuclear warfare.

The illegal immigration issue, long ignored by former presidents, is up for debate and finding a fair solution is now a goal of both parties are working on.

Then there’s the issue of sanctuary cities protecting illegal immigrants with felony records, who had been deported numerous times and able to re-enter over the border again and again.  These cities will be denied federal funding they had been receiving for decades.  Most immigrants are harmless, but these repeat offenders must be removed, just as American criminals are imprisoned. Citizens must be protected from violent acts.

I believe Trump will find a solution for the ‘Dreamers’. Despite all his faults, he is in essence a problem solver, a pragmatist rather than an ideologue. His ego is large enough to want to be the one who is able to negotiate this truce between parties.

The tax cuts have reenergized the economy in a relatively short time. Large corporations are giving bonuses to lower level employees, and small businesses are expanding and hiring. Unemployment is at a statistical low.
Despite the volatility of the last month, the stock market has soared since Election Day of 2016. Americans’ retirement accounts have more than recouped all of the losses incurred during the recession of 2008. Consumer and investor confidence in the economy has been restored.

Having said all this, the Trump presidency is far from perfect. The NRA wields a powerful influence over both the Executive and Legislative branches of the government. To allow assault weapons to be purchased by regular citizens is a result of their lobbying both the president and Congress, and Trump is not an innocent bystander here. He should unconditionally support limiting the sale of these weapons ONLY to law enforcement departments and the military. He has not taken that step and until he does I am assuming he is also in the pockets of the NRA. That’s a major disappointment for a candidate who campaigned as one beholden to no special interest groups!

Finally, a few words about protecting children from being killed in school shootings (a subject none of us could imagine discussing twenty years ago). Teachers should not be armed. They have enough challenges in today’s classroom and educational system. My wife Joyce was a teacher for over twenty years and I spent many hours in her classroom. In my retirement, I also tutored reading and writing for a fifth grade classroom teacher for six years. Teachers have a full platter of responsibilities. They should not have the additional responsibility for engaging in a gunfight with a sociopath... What then?

School Districts should have trained, armed security guard(s) in every building, and all doors locked and secured with the latest technology linked to local police stations for instantaneous reaction if there is a breach. Metal detectors are a necessity as they are at airports. Schools can no longer be soft targets for domestic terrorists.

This is a protectionist solution. When you have a free society as we do, you can never legislate morality. Children for the past twenty years have been allowed to immerse themselves in a fantasy world of violent video games. Add bullying, isolation and disappearance of the family unit, and you have a cocktail for catastrophic behavior. You can talk about gun control and mental health reform, but in the end, we have to protect children in what used to be a safe place...school.

Parents who believe it’s the school’s or teacher’s responsibility to instill morals and values in their children’s behavior need child-rearing counseling. Parents are the first line of defense to combat classroom atrocities, by raising kids who would NEVER commit them — and would never have the resources or privacy to hide their intentions inside their homes

Lastly, parental combativeness when it comes to a teacher calling out their child’s misdeeds, is DEFINITELY an issue. Many parents adapt a “not my child” response to any form of correction or criticism for unacceptable school behavior. Teachers who are trying to be proactive are branded as overreaching disciplinarians and risk defamation on social media by students and even parents themselves.

If you stayed with me long enough to read this entire blog, please provide a comment or an opinion on any subject covered. Let me know your thoughts, and this blog may again become a more regular activity. Thank you for your readership.

Straight Ahead,

Marathon of Agony

Why bother writing a blog? I often ask myself that question. Does what I say and think really matter?  And does anyone really believe what I opine about can actually change hearts and minds on any topic. The answer is a clear “NO”.

Regarding current politics in specific, there is surely an overabundance of opinions available to the point of nausea, so please indulge me as I will add to it! We all know politicians have lied and deceived voters since the early days of the Republic. However, there is one point I believe all readers can agree on. This upcoming presidential election offers American citizens the worst two choices in our lifetime!

It’s a disgrace, but whose fault is it that we have this dilemma at such a critical time in American history?  The answer is not a singular one. I will give you my thoughts.

Blame can be first assigned to the low regard that voters have for Congress. Donald Trump played into this sentiment by playing the outsider role, and it resonated with people who despise politicians even more than billionaires. Making deliberately controversial statements endeared him to the anti-political correctness crew, which has become a large segment of the electorate. 

The selection of Trump as the GOP candidate has been characterized as a mandate from the people who yearn for a “populist” form of candidate. Maybe so. But in the process, the Republican Party has been broken, wounded and left for dead. I am unequivocally stating that Donald Trump will never defeat Hillary Clinton in this election. He has self-destructed. This is an easy call to make, but I make it with much regret and sadness.  As a result, the GOP Primary voters are also responsible (now for three consecutive cycles) for selecting an unwinnable candidate.

To underscore the tragic nature of this election, I submit it could have been a slam dunk for the GOP.  Hillary Clinton is clearly the most flawed Democrat choice ever to grace the top of their ticket. She is essentially an un-convicted criminal. The breaches to national security she allowed, and the conflicts of interest created by the Clinton Foundation (which is in effect a revenue stream [allegedly] for the Clinton family) would be sufficient to indict anyone not named Clinton. At the very least it should disqualify her as a candidate for president!

But no, the Clinton’s are not held to a standard of conduct average Americans or even other politicians are held to. They are political elitists who have been enjoying freedom from accountability in both state and federal government positions since the 1970’s. Much of it has been covert, but lately they have been almost blatantly flaunting the bullet-proof nature of their questionable activities, almost daring anyone to challenge them. To be clear, they don’t totally escape the scrutiny of their behavior - the proverbial smoking guns are everywhere, but nothing ever sticks to them. They are resourceful, relentless, and unrepentant. Political survivors doesn’t begin to describe their persona.

Yet with all this nefarious baggage attaching to her, HRC continues to attract legions of supporters, victims of the ravages of corporate America, and she is their self-appointed champion. She will free them from the bondage of a flawed capitalist system that has rendered them defenseless. The irony is unbearable that a woman who hasn’t driven her own car for twenty years can even remotely relate to the problems of middle class Americans. (Yes I am aware Donald Trump also has a chauffeur. But Trump brags about his wealth while Hillary bobs and weaves around her privileged life).

The final piece of blame belongs to the Obama administration.  He and his Department of Justice has chosen to protect and insulate Clinton from any danger of a potential loss. Her scandals are merely right wing conspiracies designed to discontinue Obama’s vision of the new America he has created in the last eight years.

In summary, here’s my theory on what transpired in June, 2008, when HRC bowed out of the Primary and pledged support for BHO. Likely it went something like this…

“Hillary, you back off, endorse and support me for President. In return I’ll appoint you Secretary of State (where you can build your foreign policy experience and enhance your resume). I’ll arrange for your huge campaign debt be taken care of, and guarantee you the nomination in 2016. It will happen. Then I’ll campaign for you to ensure your victory by teaching you all the strategies I used to defeat you. This begins with exploiting the historical component of being the first woman president. I’ll coach you on being a champion of the grievance industry, pandering to all minorities, sub-cultures, illegal immigrants, LGBT’s, environmentalists, and of course the most aggrieved group…women, who will identify and relate to all the hardships you have endured for decades as a woman in America. This is your chance for redemption, and you will break through the thickest of glass ceilings!”

Excuse me for a moment, I am now welling up with emotion as I write this litany of conspiracy! Barack Obama’s administration has been a ‘marathon of agony’ for me and millions of other Americans. We are more divided, angrier, less secure, less competitive, more reliant on big government, and weaker in the eyes of our enemies. And that’s the abridged version. I could but I won’t go on for hours on his failures and inadequacies as a leader.

As I said at the start of this blog, what I have written is merely my own opinion, not likely to convince anyone who hadn’t already agreed with it. And that’s the problem, lines have been drawn and unlikely to change unless a catastrophic ‘October surprise’ occurs…And that’s wishful thinking.

Meanwhile, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst!

Straight Ahead,


It is the late 1960’s in Southeast Asia. A conflict known as the “Viet Nam War” has America mired in an unwinnable war against the North Vietnamese Communist Viet Cong, who are determined to conquer the people of South Viet Nam and add to their area of Communist control.

The adjacent countries of Laos and Cambodia are similarly threatened by the Viet Cong. Within the country of Laos, there exists a tribe of people called Hmong.  They live in the mountains and farm the land. They are proud, peaceful and hard-working people, but their land is also being targeted, and their way of life threatened by the Viet Cong.

The U.S, forces have enlisted the help of the Hmong in fighting this guerilla war in a place that is unfamiliar and dangerous. A teenage boy from a large Hmong family enlists in the South Vietnamese Army, and fights alongside American troops.

Years of futility ensue as Viet Nam becomes a political firestorm. Over 50,000 American troops are killed along with countless South Vietnamese, and other Southeast Asians at the hands of the ruthless Viet Cong forces.
This soldier fought many battles, and now a young man, has somehow survived this conflict while many of his tribe were killed at ten times the rate of American casualties. His homeland, Laos had fallen under the vicious Communist regime. He is among many Hmong soldiers and their families who were relocated from Laos across the Mekong River to refugee camps in Thailand.

He and his wife and family chose to emigrate to America in the mid-1970s along with many other Hmong people. They initially lived in Pennsylvania, learning English and working long hours at jobs not requiring a formal education. They saved their money and began to start a family, then deciding to move to Wisconsin where many Hmong had settled.

This couple became American citizens and learned enough English to be gainfully employed for decades. They own a home in a typical American suburb. They raised seven children, all of whom have college degrees and some even have post-graduate degrees. These parents insisted all their children be educated and prepared to obtain well-paying jobs. And they are now all productive citizens who are proud to be Americans and equally proud of their parents’ struggle and their own ethnicity. This couple is now in their 60’s and still working in the manufacturing sector!

This family is my son Jeff’s in-laws. I will not mention their names because they would not want to be singled out for praise or publicity. They are humble people who simply want to be hard-working Americans and are grateful for their freedom.

This is the 'real’ story of America! Not the BS we hear from politicians who pander for votes, claiming they are fighting for the working class. This family is an example of real freedom and the right to pursue liberty and happiness, and actually succeed at it. We are a welcoming country. You can come here and prosper but you must do it the right way. We are a land of immigrants and if you enter legally and abide by the laws of the land, anything is possible for you. This story is a testament to that premise.

To learn more about the Hmong journey to America, read the story below. You will surely be surprised at what you will learn.

Happy Independence Day to all Americans, birthday #240!

Straight Ahead,

The Vietnam War
For thousands of years, the Hmong have maintained a distinctive culture, including dress, oral literature and religion, valuing their autonomy and close-knit community above all. In pre-war Laos, the ethnic identity of the Hmong remained intact, because they lived high in the mountains and had little contact with other people. They farmed in the highlands and harvested enough crops for their own needs. Opium was their only cash crop.

In the late 1960s, when the Vietnam War spread into Laos, the United States recruited the Hmong to fight against communism. Wanting to hold on to their land and the independence they had maintained for thousands of years, the Hmong saw communism as a threat to their autonomy. Hmong soldiers, totaling over 30,000 men, fought the ground war, flew combat missions, directed air strikes, rescued downed American flyers, fought behind enemy lines, gathered intelligence on the movements of North Vietnamese troops and more. They suffered heavy casualties for their brave involvement in the war: Hmong soldiers died at a rate ten times as high as that of American soldiers in Vietnam

Before the war, between 300,000 and 400,000 Hmong lived in Laos. Although there is disagreement over how many died during the war, estimates range from one tenth to half of the Hmong population was killed. Some were soldiers, but most of the dead were civilians felled by mortar fire, land mines, grenades, postwar massacres, hunger and disease. One hundred and fifty thousand Hmong have fled Laos since their country fell to communist forces in 1975.

After the War

Displaced from their villages, which were either bombed out or burned by the North Vietnamese and the new Lao communist regime, many Hmong became refugees in their own country. U.S.-sponsored food drops - fifty tons of rice a day - fed more than 100,000 Hmong, whose land and livestock had been destroyed by the war.

In February 1973, the Vientiane Agreement was signed, calling for a cease-fire in Laos, a coalition government and the end of U.S. air support. American relief programs ceased, and the Lao's People Party declared the Hmong enemies of the state. Between 1,000 and 3,000 Hmong, mostly high ranking army officers and their families, were airlifted to Thailand, while thousands more who had fought for the CIA or remained neutral in the war were left behind. In a ravaged country strictly controlled by the North Vietnamese, many Hmong were forcibly relocated to lowland areas and assigned to state-owned collective farms. More than 10,000 Lao intellectuals, civil servants, teachers, police officers and other suspected royalist sympathizers were interned in "seminar camps" for forced labor and political indoctrination. Fearing retribution and famine, most chose to migrate to Thailand on foot, journeys on which many Hmong died from disease, starvation, exposure and drowning while crossing the Mekong River which borders Laos and Thailand.

Refugee Camps
Once in Thailand, most Hmong were placed in Ban Vinai camp on the Thai/Lao border in the northeast part of the country near the Mekong. The camp had no electricity, running water or sewage disposal, and was severely overcrowded. At its peak in 1986, Ban Vinai had 42,858 residents, 90 percent of whom were Hmong. The Thai government closed Ban Vinai in 1992.

Immigration to the United States

Because of their American military ties, many Hmong who left the refugee camps chose to come to the United States. The best educated Hmong and Lao were allowed entry into America first. The U.S. government gradually allowed more refugees as years passed. Around 200,000 Hmong currently live in the United States, most of whom reside in Minnesota, central California and Wisconsin.
Thousands of events occur in the world in a time period of seventy-five years. Today’s blog will briefly highlight four of them, and then elaborate on a fifth, which is about to happen.

What makes a singular occurrence so important that you immediately recall exactly what you were doing, where you were, and who you were with when you heard this news?

December 7th, 1941, most of you readers including me, were not born yet. But we’ve seen the grainy film footage, maybe even visited Pearl Harbor. We can be outraged and saddened by this deadly ambush by the Japanese which pulled the trigger for the U.S. to declare war. A true World War that was fought in the Pacific, Europe, and North Africa. President Roosevelt refused to back down from the Nazis and President Truman had no choice but to eventually bomb Japan to ensure their surrender. So much death, destruction and carnage, but necessary at that point in history.

November 22, 1963, a large wound was inflicted on America when JFK was assassinated. This truly changed the course of our history. I am convinced we would never continued our presence in Viet Nam had the Kennedy brothers remained in office for eight years. LBJ was both a weak and reluctant leader, and Nixon was a paranoid egomaniac. Two flawed presidencies that paved the way for a division of America on so many levels.

September 11, 2001, all of you readers were witnesses to this, the first attack on American soil, targeting innocent people in a horrific fashion that, at the time was unfathomable. Tragic is too mild a word to describe these acts of cowardice. ‘Atrocities’ would come closer, but these were not only enemies of the Western World, they were terrorists with no value for theirs or anyone else’s life. They were not a nation with a government, but rather fanatical ideologists with a calling to kill anyone not a Muslim, and even some honorable Muslims in the process.

This led to an unwinnable war in the Middle East, already a hotbed of geopolitical madness since 1948 when Israel established the only democracy in the region. President George W. Bush did a good job of unifying the country and healing our nation, but relying on advice of Chaney and Rumsfeld, he began a war with no exit strategy. Not all countries can be democracies and it was naïve to believe a country deeply divided by religious zealotry could ever unite under a democratic style of government.  Arab countries simply cannot embrace the freedoms that we in America enjoy. Most are ruled by dictators who are tyrannical and culturally unable to even tolerate civilians having rights and liberties. Bush may have been well-intentioned but deeply flawed in his idea of nation-building. Too much American blood and treasure was sacrificed.

The fourth landmark event occurred on November 4, 2008, the election of Barrack Hussein Obama. A historical landmark indeed in that he was our first African-American president! Many Americans voted for him for just that reason…It was long overdue, they reasoned. Many Republicans crossed the aisle and pulled the lever for Obama, thinking maybe, just maybe, this would finally unify the country and racial unrest would improve with a Black president.

Barack Obama pledged to transform America, and he did not break that promise. But we are now a weaker nation, no longer leading other nations who looked up to America. He has spent seven years apologizing for centuries of American imperialism and denying our exceptionalism as a noble nation. He has divided us by citing income inequality, social injustices, gender bias, sexual orientation discrimination, racial animus, and above all a refusal to acknowledge Islamic Terrorism as the most dangerous problem we face. Instead he opts for Climate Change, while fanatical Muslim extremists infiltrate our neighborhoods and assimilate into the culture while scheming and succeeding to kill innocent Americans.

Barack Obama is a disciple of social activist Saul Alinsky, a community organizer and an advocate of radicalism and author of “The Rules for Radicals”. Obama was influenced by the writings and philosophies of Saul Alinsky, and later by Frank Marshall Davis, with similar philosophies. Barack Obama followed the teachings of these 'role models' throughout his days as a Community Organizer for ACORN, using tactics that appeared to some as 'shaking down' businesses in exchange for not branding them 'hate groups.' And many Americans believe Obama is still following those radical rules today.

It is also true that Hillary Clinton did her college thesis on Alinsky’s writings and Barack Hussein Obama has written about him in his own books. To be clear, Alinsky was not a Communist, but some of his basic tenets align with creating a Communist Society.

It is believed there are eight levels of control that must be obtained before you are able to create a Communist society.

The first is the most important.

1) Healthcare — Control healthcare and you control the people
2) Poverty — Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.
3) Debt — Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.
4) Gun Control — Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.
5) Welfare — Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income).
6) Education — Take control of what people read and listen to — take control of what children learn in school.
7) Religion — Remove the belief in the God from the Government and schools.
8) Class Warfare — Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) from the wealthy with the support of the poor.

I submit to you…Does any of this sound like what is happening to the United States today? I am not labelling either President Obama or Hillary Clinton ‘Communists’. They and their families have certainly benefitted from a capitalistic system of government. But…Their policies bear some resemblance to the aforementioned criteria, and the Obama administration has drifted toward a ‘social democracy’. Both are huge advocates of a huge Federal Government apparatus.

You can make that judgment yourself on Election Day, 2016. If you want more of the Obama legacy, you will punch Hillary Clinton’s ticket. To those of you believing electing Donald Trump is problematic, I say I am also hesitant to vote for him. However, if this is the choice we are faced with, here is my viewpoint: THERE IS NO WAY I COULD EVER, EVER VOTE FOR THIS WOMAN!

I wish, after all the time and money spent during both presidential primaries, we could have a better choice available. But the divisiveness of a nation has created rancor and hatred resulting in two very flawed candidates. I will not waste my right to vote, and since “Never Hillary” has been my mantra longer than I can remember, I will reluctantly vote for Donald Trump.  I will not donate to his campaign, attend his rallies, or support his candidacy.

To summarize, the election of Hillary Clinton has the potential to be the 5th disastrous event in our last 75 years. At the very least it would be the worst political presidential outcome in our history. I actually believe a woman is exactly what we need in the Oval Office. Just never this one!

If you have read all of this blog, I admire you for your stamina. Trust me, it takes even more endurance to write it than read it! But don’t stop now…Respond, even if you fervently disagree with all these premises. Say something that indicates you have a pulse and you give a damn about your country, whatever position you take.

As always, guide yourself accordingly.

Straight Ahead,

Are You a Victim?

Today’s blog will begin with a disclaimer. I have said this in prior blogs that I am tired and bored with the American political two-party system. However, a legitimate third party remains a fantasy and this alternative has never and will not be viable anytime soon…Certainly not in my lifetime.

Meanwhile, both parties spend (waste) hundreds of millions of dollars on political campaigns, using both private donations and devious super-pac funding. All of this backroom money-laundering by both parties contribute to the disillusionment of the American people regarding politics in general, and this upcoming presidential election in specific.

There is actually a solution here. Create a ceiling or limit that each candidate can spend in advertising, force them to raise their own funding, and impose a ‘do not exceed’ campaign budget that is equal for all. No candidate should have an unfair monetary advantage. This would ensure each campaign would have to strategize with the same amount of capital to truly earn each vote.

Now let’s address the subject of this blog.   Are you a victim? The Democrat candidates thrive on the concept of victimization.  This party has spent decades creating a ‘grievance industry’ targeted at selected groups and suggesting they need extraordinary political attention to assure they are treated fairly. There is a word for this…”pandering”. Depicting certain Americans as victims is insulting as it portrays them as weak and powerless. Only the powerful, paternalistic politician who empathizes with their plight can help them achieve parity with successful Americans, whose wish it is to keep them in subservient social and economic positions. This treatment encourages a culture of dependency, (not to mention divisiveness) which has been elevated to even greater heights in the last seven years of the current administration.

Hillary Clinton possesses the exact skill set required to promote victimization, and she entices voters to believe she is the one who will enact the social justice that has eluded these poor souls. She’s painting with a broad brush, claiming ‘Wall Street one-percenters’, and the Republican Party have been responsible for all social ills inflicted on these mistreated Americans.

Selected segments of the electorate when viewed collectively, now comprise enough of a majority to affect the outcome of the general election. Ethnic minorities such as African Americans, Hispanics, Asian and Native-Americans, and undocumented immigrants have been courted by both Bill and Hillary Clinton. This is an old, tired form of racial politics that serves to divide rather than unite Americans designed to instill fear in the hearts and minds of these groups.

Beyond the component of race, the Clintons play the women’s card trying to guilt woman voters into partaking in another historical milestone, the election of the first woman president.  In addition, she attempts to woo sub-groups such as union workers, the LGBT community, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood supporters, Occupy Wall Street, Pro-Choice proponents, sanctuary city advocates… the list of 'oppressed’ Americans simply never ends in the Democrat political narrative.

I am clearly not a Donald Trump fan. In my judgment, he is the Republican whom I would rank last among the remaining five candidates at this point in time.  However, if he becomes the nominee, I would absolutely vote for him to keep the Clintons out of power.

This blog began in 2008 prior to Obama’s victory. It wasn’t at all difficult to predict the path our country would take with Barack Obama’s promise to transform America. He delivered on that promise. We have had seven years of a hijacked America, which includes a foreign policy that has made America weaker and more vulnerable to terrorists’ attacks, both homegrown and from abroad. This by itself should concern all Americans.

Electing Hillary Clinton will be an extension of the Obama administration, and another mandate for an approval of his failed policies. If you are a Democrat or an Independent who is leaning toward, but on the fence about trusting Clinton, and also despise Donald Trump, then I am pleading with you to stay away from your polling place on Election Day. I have never advocated that, but this blog’s mission is to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming president. If you thought the Obama monarchy was despicable, her regime will be even more unstoppable!

Imagine our country governed by both Clintons? It’s corrupt enough now without entrusting it to the pair who created The Clinton Foundation, an ostensible charity which has allegedly become a money-laundering stream of personal income. What story do you believe?

I’ll close with this observation. At least Bernie Sanders is honest and has been from day one. An admitted socialist adored by millennials, he will be marginalized by the Clinton machine as the primaries enter the southern states where black voters have been hypnotized by the Clinton con for decades. Millennials can see through the Clinton smokescreen. Who will they vote for when Bernie is dismissed? This will become a key component of the election…Many could simply opt out of voting in disillusionment with what they view as a failed system. It will all unfold soon.

And finally, to any of you Clinton-haters who believe a federal indictment is coming at her, get over your fantasy. The Obama DOJ has her back or it would have occurred by now. The irony is BHO and HRC despise each other. Go figure, politics makes strange bedfellows.

That’s a wrap for today. Keep hope alive for a better America!

Straight Ahead,


The Wall Street Cartel

As most readers of this blog know, most of my posts are opinion pieces that are usually supported by documentation that validates my arguments. The subject of today’s blog will involve speculation on my part, but if you follow my thought process, it will be apparent there’s more than a conspiracy theory at play here.

On July 26, 2009 I wrote a blog entitled “The Mutual Funds Con” where I professed a massive distrust for the movers and shakers on Wall Street. Recent developments in the stock market have done nothing to reverse my position, but rather have fueled my mistrust to yet another level.

Since 2016 began (actually it started on December 28th), the markets collectively have lost over 10% of its value. It’s not unusual for a 10% decline to occur over a period of months but this has happened in just sixteen trading days. This is the worst calendar year start in our history! The financial talking heads primarily blame this aberration on the extreme decline in the price of crude oil, which went from a high of over $110 in 2012 to under $30 per barrel as of today.

It’s understandable to me that companies in the energy and oil sectors would suffer losses and their share prices would nosedive to reflect these losses. You don’t have to be an economist to conclude that.

However, I submit that a vast majority of companies would actually derive a financial benefit from these falling prices of fuels. The airline industry in 2008 immediately increased ticket prices and began charging for checked baggage to offset the higher cost of jet fuel. Ticket prices have not declined and the surcharge for baggage has continued to be a profit center for them, despite the lower cost of operation today. At the same point in time, the auto industry scrambled to rush hybrid vehicles to market as dealer inventories were exploding resulting from a bad economy and high prices at the pump. However 2015 was the best sales year ever so automakers are again awash in profits. Why have their stock values also plummeted?

Sectors such as pharmaceuticals, health care, retail, municipal, commercial, and residential construction, transportation, technology, electronics, software, and many other businesses should be either unaffected or positively affected by lower gas prices. The low price of crude oil should be financially damaging to a select few industries and therefore NOT negatively influence share price of most other stocks.

But that has not been the case. There is no single company that has been immune to this bloodbath on Wall Street. Apple, Google, Amazon, facebook, and many other blue chip stocks that consistently pay dividends have been victims of this historically quick devaluation. Americans’ IRAs, 401k’s, 403B’s and entire portfolios have now lost over $2 trillion dollars…All this in sixteen days! Do you smell a foul odor somewhere here, folks. Maybe the smell of collusion and corruption?

My financial advisor, who I trust implicitly, has told me that the markets are influenced by two basic emotions, greed and fear. These factors often override companies’ forecasts, sales, and even profits.

I will now reveal what I believe (albeit I can’t prove it) is Wall Street’s dirty little secret. There exists a band of traders, insiders, Hedge Fund managers, and high level executives who conspire and deliberately manipulate the markets. I believe they collectively decide and advise key clients with large stock holdings when to simultaneously sell, (always at a high point in values) thereby creating massive drops in stock prices. The average investor reacts to this selloff by selling at a loss, from the fear of losing everything. When these ‘experts’ agree we have hit the bottom, they induce their clients to buy back what they sold at a fraction of what they sold it for, creating a ‘recovery’ from what they term a ‘market correction’. I have been told a market correction results from an artificially high value of the price of shares of common stock, and we should expect these ‘natural’ corrections to occur periodically to essentially adjust to the real value. Really??? Do you actually buy this BS?  The average investor’s portfolio is hammered in a short time and it generally takes years to get back to even!

More often than not I tend to be cynical and suspicious when people tell me I should be more trusting and agreeable. Maybe so, but it’s hard to ignore the elephant in this room full of smelly crap!

Oh yes, lest I forget the myriad of answers we hear from financial analysts on a daily basis to the question of why the markets react so sporadically and unpredictably. Lately it’s been the quick decline in China’s economy. This resulted in the DOW losing a 1,000 points in a week. The following day it rose over 200 points. China’s chaos did not change overnight so why the one-day spike? We are fed all kinds of speculative theories. The struggling European social democracies that beg for bailouts, the monthly jobs reports, the maniac in North Korea flexing his flab, the Iranians detaining and incarcerating ten American sailors, and the constant struggle to contain Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons (which has been an abysmal failure). And the beat goes on…All of these and hundreds more ‘explanations’ for this ever-present roller coaster ride we are on!

I will say, as with any industry, the majority of investment counselors are probably ethical. I actually believe they know what they are told in their morning conference call. Then they parrot it back to us because as clients, we need guidance and explanations. The guidance usually sounds like this: “Hang in there, this too shall pass. The market always comes back and over the long haul it’s your best investment choice…Keep the faith”. The explanation is simply the excuse du jour, take your pick from the aforementioned.

I’ll close now. If you read all this, you are a person of endurance and loyalty to this blog. Thank you for that. One last note…The election of any President will have no effect on any of this. So no, I am not endorsing, nor would I ever vote for Bernie Sanders. Although I will give Bernie props for honesty, as opposed to the other Democrat front-runner.

I'm hoping for reader feedback on this one folks (I worked double time since I inadvertently permanently deleted the original and had to start from scratch all over again - not fun for me!)

Straight Ahead, (and more than ever, guide yourself accordingly!)


This blog will be devoted to a variety of topics involving the ever-evolving cultural shifts occurring not only in America but on a worldwide basis. They are not necessarily inherent harmful, but worth noting and deserving of reader feedback.

Let's begin with the most recent recurring phenomonem, the Powerball lottery. The winning ticket will be worth approximately $900 million and people are queueing up in long lines just for the opportunity to buy tickets. As is customarily the case when huge amounts build up in lottery drawings, the media devotes considerable airtime to the event, which in turn induces more ticket buyers.

Personally, I don't get caught up in this form of mania. However I do see the benefits for the 'greater good' in terms of the massive revenue streams that flow to governments and municipalities from these purchases. (Let's hope these funds are allocated properly and not squandered). I suppose it is part of the human condition to desire instant wealth, and to believe you could actually be the beneficiary of this type of windfall. In reality, the odds of winning are less than infinitesimal.  But if you want to engage is a hopeless gambling then have at it. But if you must get your gamble on, consider your lottery ticket purchase a donation to the government. Go to a casino or join a friendly poker game if you want a possible chance for a return on your investment.

Next topic is somewhat related in that it involves consumers waiting in long lines to spend money.  Apple Corporation has done a masterful job of creating high-end tech products and seducing a target market with the 'next big thing'. The millenial generation cannot contain themselves whenever Apple announces the launch date for any new product. Normally, consumers are keenly aware if you wait for the mayhem to dissipate on any new product, you will pay a lot less for it. Millenials are unconcerned with price, their priority is simply wanting it when it first hits the market, regardless of cost.

The same can be said for Starbucks. Spending $4 to $5 for a specialty cup of coffee has become habit-forming for this group of consumers, usually between 18 and 40 years of age. Starbucks and Apple are prime examples of companies who have created and maintained brand loyalty, where price is never an issue. Even in a recession, their customers will pay up for the 'brand experience'.

Next is a product that has recently soared in popularity. I am referring to the Hover board, a product whose appeal has overlapped both the teenage and millenial markets. Clearly a toy for thrill-seekers, it is this millenium's version of a skateboard except it is motorized. I recently discussed the Hover board with a group of 10 year-olds, asking them about how they use it. One kid said he rides it from the family room to the kitchen refigerator! I am not kidding. It is noteworthy to mention that some of these boards have had dangerous malfunctions resulting in fires and injuries. And I almost forgot to mention, the retail price 'hovers' above $400. I think I'll continue walking to the refrigerator.

Changing gears to a far more important topic, the safety and security of the American homeland. First, the lesser of the two risks, and I say that without minimizing its danger...What is happening with the preoccupation and obsession with recreational drones in our country? Will it require a major airline crash to spur lawmakers to regulate this endeavor? More specifically, why do you need this form of entertainment? Are you a wanna-be airline pilot or air traffic contoller acting out?  What you are is a menace to society! Your 'device' can easily mal-function and crash into power lines, vehicles, pedestrians, and even commercial and private aircraft! Why do we need these annoyances buzzing around our skies. Another case of the 'me culture' at work choosing self-promotion and gratification over the right to safety of other Americans. Leave drones to the military where they are useful in the war on terror.

And finally, why does our president feel the need to release terroists from Guantanimo Bay prison? It is well documented those who have been released have returned to the Middle East to resume terrorist activities. The prisoner swap involving Sergeant Beau Bergdahl for five high level Muslim terrorists was the most poorly negotiated and ill-conceived agreement in our lifetime. What is the president's vision for America? Combine that with the Iran nuclear agreement and I have to believe that he is not acting in our nation's best interest. In fact, you can make an argument that he is either living in a dream world where he believes being soft on terrorist countries will magically transform them into humanitarians...Or, he is simply the most incompetent, misguided leader we have ever elected, Either choice you make here is not a good outcome for the USA!

That's a wrap for today. I welcome feedback from readers - am I overreacting to all of the above? If so, tell me why...As always, I could be wrong!

Guide yourself accordingly.

Straight Ahead,



Latest Month

December 2018



RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by chasethestars