Inside our Public Schools

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There is a lot of talk about how to improve Public School Education these days. The Common Core, consolidation, raising test scores, and the lack of or the abundance of technology, just to name a few. However, the one thing I never hear addressed is how the atmosphere inside a school or the school environment itself has perhaps the most profound effect on learning.

This is true for the whole school; K-12. There will be those that read this and say you have to shift with the times, it’s the new culture, it doesn’t mean anything and has no effect on the school’s atmosphere, environment or culture.  This seems to be the attitude inside today’s public schools.

If as a parent, grandparent, public school taxpayer you have not visited a public school during the day then perhaps you should drop in. Walk the hallways in between classes while students are rushing  from one class to the next; pop in for a lunch hour and sit and listen to the conversations taking place. I suspect you will be appalled at what you hear. You may think you were on a navy ship in the middle of the ocean listening to sailors go about their day.

However as a former sailor I am often embarrassed by the language I hear coming out of the mouths of students in the public school today. They speak this way with no fear that their language will be called into question. Rather they will often look at the closest adult, almost challenging them to intervene. Only on a rare occasion will this happen. I have been told by many teachers that they just ignore it. Others have told me if we send them to the office nothing will be done anyway.

I have spoken to students who have casually dropped the F-bomb in front of me only to hear, “Speak to my parents, that’s how they talk at home.” This is not an occasional slip, this is now the common language used by students in our public schools. In one placement I had first graders telling me to F-off, first grade. They learned this language at home.

In the navy the F-word was used frequently at sea, yet in port around mixed company or people in public we knew it wasn’t appropriate and did not use it. There is a time and place for everything; the public school is not the place for this and it should not be tolerated. It poisons the atmosphere.

When this language is tolerated…and it is tolerated, it serves to exacerbate other poor behaviors. Students are smart. They realize if they are allowed to determine the language that is allowed in the school environment, then they also realize that they will be allowed to set the parameters for other behaviors that will be tolerated as well.

 There are many students in the school environment who do not want to listen to this language, do not like the atmosphere it creates and yet they have to reside in it every day.  These students realize if they speak out and ask their peers to stop; that they are offended by their language, they will be ostracized. They should not be put in this position, it is not their job, it’s  the job of the teachers and administrators in the building to stop it.

Teachers come to school every day knowing they will hear this language and knowing they will ignore it. It has an effect on their psyche, their desire to teach, their concentration. Not all students use this language but there are enough that it permeates throughout the school environment.

I had lunch duty one day in school and a male student sitting with female students was dropping the F-bomb repeatedly when I spoke to him. I heard him turn to his friends and say, “I didn’t even realize I was saying it.” Often the females are worse than their male peers.

As adults we can blame it on the music of the times and say children today begin hearing this in music by the time they are in fourth grade and probably before. As a result students will tell me the F-word means nothing.  I tell them; if it means nothing, why use it.

In the program I teach in I might hear that word once a month, and there are consequences for it. When I first started teaching there I was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t hear this foul language and I asked the teachers why I wasn’t hearing it, they replied, “We don’t allow it.” What a revelation…we don’t allow it…neither should any other schools.

I am not signaling out any one school. I have been in many schools in Vermont and I have talked to students from Carolina to California and they have told me that the same language, the same atmosphere exists in their schools.

Before we worry about what new policy works best to increase student learning, we must create an atmosphere inside our schools where students and teachers can feel safe and comfortable teaching and learning  in. At this moment in time, that atmosphere does not exist.

American people are victims of their own apathy

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There are so many things taking place in the United States that require the attention of its leaders. Leaders that are committed to getting America on the right path in creating jobs, in building the economy, in transforming the infrastructure, in transforming America’s foreign policy, and in transforming America’s political system.

If the leadership of this country became committed to these things then many of the other things that we see as problems might possibly take care of themselves. Things such as crime, education, and healthcare. But without a strong dedicated, invested leadership, none of this is going to happen.

The major problem in this country isn’t that hard to understand. It’s simple really; either raise wages or lower the costs of consumer goods. One of those two things have to change. Prices cannot continue to rise while wages remain stagnate. We are told that inflation in the United States is almost non-existent. This is at the very least misleading and at most a blatant lie. Inflation has been rising in the United States since the early 1990’s.

So where is the current leadership? Where are the men and women of Congress; those who are paid well by the American people to solve these problems?

They are not in Washington. They are out on the campaign trail, getting themselves reelected while the United States stumbles blindly into another war, while the income inequality widens ever further creating hardships for so many Americans struggling just to keep their heads above water. They are out on the campaign trail asking the people they are working for to reelect them to another term; they are fiddling while Rome burns.

The sad truth is most of them will be reelected. The American people are prisoners of a system that gives them just enough freedom to hang themselves with. That freedom is the belief that they are electing their own leaders. It would be better if the leaders of this country stripped Americans of their right to vote altogether. This may be the only thing that would make Americans pay attention enough to realize what is being done to them in the name of freedom and democracy.

However the current leadership of this country is far to smart to endanger their position of power by doing this. They understand that by allowing the people to believe they are in control of electing their leaders, effectively nullifies any power they might otherwise weld.

For left to our own devices, the American people have proven that we will reelect the same old tired leadership over and over again, and will do so unto their own destruction.

Choosing Suicide v Not Choosing Suicide

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If we are beyond the age of 18 and honest with ourselves, we have all probably thought of checking out at some point. By “checking out” of course, I mean suicide. Who has not stood on a high cliff and thought of stepping off?

How many people who have access to guns have not thought of putting a bullet into the chamber and sticking the barrel under their chin or putting it in their mouth or if it’s a handgun putting it to their head and checking out. So easy; no more responsibilities, no more emotional trauma, no more bad relationship, no more financial worries, and no more anything; peace, it’s over. Given all that it is a wonder more people don’t do it.

In Greenland 108 people per every 100,000, end their lives this way. In some towns there, it is the leading cause of death. The majority of those checking out in Greenland are between the ages of 15-24. In most countries, the suicide rate climbs, as people get older, in Greenland oddly enough it decreases with age.

In the United States the rate of suicide is around 12 for every 100,000, thousand people.

Alaska currently ranks number one in the number of suicides with 21.8 per 100,000. This is not a statistic that Alaska advertises in their tourism brochures.  Vermont’s tied with Utah for fifteenth place with a suicide rate of 14.3 deaths per 100,000 and Maine comes in a fourteenth with a rate of 14.5. If you are thinking the answer is the cold, you’re wrong, because Arizona and Nevada come in eight and fifth respectively with rates of 16 and 18.4 per 100,000.

I know prior to getting sober I thought of suicide on many an occasion. During my 20 plus years of drinking, I took some extremely crazy chances with my life and the lives of those who were with me. On the last night I ever drank the police had picked me up and were giving me a ride home. One police officer asked me what I was going to do when I got there. Without considering the consequences of my statement because I was drunk, I told him I had a .38 in my bottom drawer that I was going to take out stick it in my mouth and get this show over with.

Needless to say he did not take me home and I have not had another drink since that night twenty-five years ago. Would I have acted on what I had said, I will never know but I had been considering that option for a long time and knew exactly where I was going to do it and about where I would fall when I hit. I have to believe I would have more than likely followed through on what I had said.

My life has changed much since then. I have two wonderful children that would have never been born, I have run the Boston Marathon, gone scuba diving, skydiving and written a book. Many who would have grieved due to my selfishness did not have to do that.

There still have been times in my life since then when suicide has crossed my mind. In no way have I ever seriously considered acting on it. Nevertheless, the thoughts still occasionally invade my mind. I do not personally think that this is abnormal. I think if most people were honest with themselves, they would also say it has emerged as a thought in their minds. It is not possible to control every thought that crosses out minds; we can however control what we do with those thoughts.

This is perhaps the biggest difference between those few who do check out verses the vast majority of us who do not. The difference between the thought and the action because no matter how dark our world seems, how hopeless a situation looks like…especially alone in the dark of night, it’s not as bad as we imagine it to be and that within a few days in all likelihood that problem we think is insurmountable will get better.

American Dictators since 1945

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Since 1945 the United States has backed many dictators in order to protect what it considered its National Interests. It did this without any regard for the citizens of those countries.

Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice said about the Middle East, “For 60 years my country has pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region…by trying to purchase stability at the price of liberty, we achieved neither and we saw the result of that on a fine September morning.”

It was a courageous statement and a step in the right direction. Unfortunately America’s National Interests are more important than America’s words and actions.

In 1953 Allen Dulles was a busy man. Even as he readied the CIA for a coup in Guatemala his agents were toppling the liberal left government of Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq and paving the way for the Shah of Iran.

With Dulles’ encouragement, the Shah made the Iranian people an offer they couldn’t refuse – join his party or go to jail. Thousands who refused to yield were imprisoned or murdered. During regional elections in 1954, the Shah’s agents raided a religious school and hurled hundreds of students to their deaths from the roof.

His regime received one hundred percent of the vote that year, in an election which registered more votes than there were voters. In 1979 the Shah was overthrown. The fallout from that still effects American foreign policy today.

In Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem oppressed his people so badly that many of them turned to the communists for protection from his ruthless rule. Even President Eisenhower admitted that “had elections been held, possibly eighty percent of the population would have voted for Ho Chi Minh [the communist leader].” Yet Diem, who had once lived in the U.S., had connections in Washington who liked his anti-communism.

Ultimately, he angered his own military officers because he promoted on the basis of loyalty – not merit. In an effort to keep Diem in power, the U.S. tried to persuade him to make political reforms. He refused, so they persuaded him to make “military reforms.”

But when Diem was finally overthrown and assassinated in 1963, none of his generals rose to defend him. Nor did the U.S., which, after 8 years, had finally realized that Diem wasn’t popular.

In the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos began his career with a bang: At age 21, convicted of gunning down Julio Nalundasan, his father’s victorious opponent in the Philippines’ first national elections, he went to prison. He was later released by a Supreme Court Justice who, like Marcos and his father, was a Nazi collaborator. Despite Marco’s record as murderer, fake WW II hero, and Nazi agent, he was elected Philippines President in 1965.
Under Marcos, the Philippines’ national debt grew from $2 billion to $30 billion (and his wife Imelda’s shoe collection grew along with it to over 1,000 pairs), but U.S. corporations in the Philippines prospered, perhaps explaining why the U.S. didn’t protest Marcos’ imposition of martial law in 1972.

The Carter Administration engineered an $88 million World Bank loan to Marcos, increased military aid to him by three hundred percent and called him a “soft dictator”. But a 1976 Amnesty International report identified eighty-eight government torturers and stated that alleged subversives had their heads slammed into walls, their genitals and pubic hair torched, and were beaten with clubs, fists, bottles and rifle butts.

The history of America’s relations with Saddam is one of the sorrier tales in American foreign policy. Time and again, America turned a blind eye to Saddam’s predations, saw him as the lesser evil. Donald Rumsfeld, the once and future Defense secretary, at the time a private citizen, was sent by President Ronald Reagan to Baghdad as a special envoy.

Like most foreign-policy insiders, Rumsfeld was aware that Saddam was a murderous thug who supported terrorists and was trying to build a nuclear weapon. But at the time, America’s big worry was Iran, not Iraq.

The Reagan administration feared that the Iranian revolutionaries who had overthrown the shah (and taken hostage American diplomats for 444 days in 1979-81) would overrun the Middle East and its vital oilfields. Top officials in the Reagan administration saw Saddam as a useful surrogate.

During the Reagan era, Manuel Noriega of Panama. collaborated with Oliver North on covert actions against Nicaragua, training contras and providing a trans-shipment point for CIA supported operations that flew weapons to the contras and cocaine into the U.S. In 1987, a Miami grand jury indicted him for drug-trafficking and the CIA tried to destabilize his regime.

Noriega warned Bush that he had information which could change the course of the 1988 U.S. elections and the CIA backed off, but when Noriega “annulled” Panama’s 1989 elections, citing CIA interference, Bush renewed attempts to unseat his one-time ally.

Critics called Bush’s failure to support an abortive 1989 coup “indecisive,” but his response to that criticism, the December 1989 invasion of Panama, led to world condemnation.

 Noriega eventually surrendered to face U.S. drug charges, but under the guise of apprehending one drug dealer, the invasion led to over 1,000 Panamanian deaths and installed a regime with similar close links to drugs, plus a willingness to alter Panama Canal treaties to suit U.S. interests.

In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak is now facing tens of thousands of angry citizens. These citizens are angry with the United States. They see Mubarak’s control over them as directly related to Washington’s support of Mubarak’s corrupt regime.

 Washington has a difficult choice to make. They have provided Mubarak’s government with billions of dollars in aid over the years. The Egyptian military has American fighter jets, Apache helicopters, and mechanized vehicles. If Mubarak’s government falls the one that replaces it is likely to resemble that of Iran.

Washington does not want a hardline Islamic regime in Egypt. Especially one that is anti-American, anti- Israel and well armed. If old patterns prevail Washington will wait until the last minute to see what way the wind blows before deciding to support or turn its back on Mubarak.

 In 1979 in Iran, The Shah was not willing to turn the military loose on his people and chose instead to flee the country. In Egypt today the world is waiting to see if Mubarak will flee or turn his military loose on his people. The Shah was sick and in failing health. Mubarak is grooming his son to continue his rule. He has more to lose. Soon the world will have Mubarak’s response.

If he chooses force over exile how will the United States respond? When it comes to dictators Washington always blows with the prevailing winds. The following dictatorships are still supported by the United States, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. These two countries will be closely watching events in Egypt.

If the unrest that began in Tunisia spreads to Saudi Arabia the price of oil will skyrocket and the American economy will face a crisis that it may be unable to recover from. Washington has yet to learn that in the long run backing corrupt regimes exacts a high price in both lives and how America is viewed in the world.

Colin Kaepernick and Paid Patriotism

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Paid Patriotism: The Dept of Defense paid this professional sports team with American tax dollars so that this Flag could be displayed over the field by members of the military.

In the United States today it has become almost a cliche to say to those who are serving or have served, “thank you for your service.”

I tell people I would prefer not to have that said to me. To me it’s just another way in which the government has taken something I did, not them and has used it as a recruitment tool to encourage others to join up and I feel that’s wrong. I wondered where this term came from or if I was the only one who felt this way about being thanked.  Prior to 911 I had never been thanked for my service and I was perfectly alright with that.

It turns out, I’m not the only one.  When I am thanked it feels phony and often self-serving from the thankers; it’s more like a reflex action. It also suggests that I did it for them, which of course couldn’t be farther from the truth. The reasons for serving are different for each of us who did. Most of us, certainly for me, the last reason I did it was for my country.

We see signs everywhere today that say we Support our Troops; what does that mean exactly?  Turns out the Iraq War that eighty-three percent of the American people supported on opening day was a bad idea and today most people including those who voted for it, say it was a bad idea.

However those who voted for it didn’t have to experience it firsthand. For them admitting it was a mistake cost them nothing; not even votes. But for those they sent, it cost them their lives, limbs, and for many their families.

Since Sept 11, 2001 the American people have shown a strong deification or hero worship of the military. Historically the deification of the military happens when a country has lost it moral bearing and is floundering in a sea of change where the people feel they have lost their identity.

The military becomes that identity and the people who belong to it are treated as heroes, with rock star status. Because of this San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has received a lot of negative press and it seems even death threats for exercising his First Amendment Right of free speech.

Every one of us who served in the military took the same oath and that oath said that we would support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It didn’t say what part of the Constitution we would defend or that we could pick and choose what part. Therefore according to the oath I took Mr. Kaepernick is exercising a right guaranteed to him and to all of us.

Those who chastise or threaten his life for what they feel is dishonoring the National Anthem, his country, or members of the military are the ones dishonoring the Anthem, their country, and those who have served their country in the military, those men and women who have sworn the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

It should also be noted that prior to 2009 professional football players stayed in the locker room until after the National Anthem was played. Since then the United States Government has paid the NFL to have players stand in public during the National Anthem; paid them with the tax dollars of the American worker.  The Department of Defense felt that this would be helpful for military recruitment purposes.

In fact it turns out that The Department of Defense paid out at least $6.8 million in taxpayer money to professional sports teams to honor the military at games and events over the past five years.

The New Jersey Army National Guard paid the New York Jets $115,000 to recognize soldiers at home games while the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens each received at least $500,000 for similar activities over that span.

I had always been uncomfortable watching pro sports and seeing them honor the military in this way. To me it just seemed like another recruitment tool while simultaneously hero worshipping the military.

However I until now at least assumed it was the owner’s of these teams showing their patriotism by spending some of their money to honor military families. I am ashamed to be an American having now realized these professional sports team where only honoring these people because the Department of Defense was paying them with the tax dollars of American workers. Workers who now had to purchase tickets to get in to the parks to watch entertainment they had unknowingly already paid for.

So instead of being upset with Colin Kaepernick exercising his Constitutional rights perhaps we should be asking ourselves if the owners of these teams will be returning the hard earned tax dollars of American workers. At best Americans should be outraged at this practice and demand from their representatives that it be shut down.

Professional sports get enough from the American worker with ticket prices and sales at their stadiums without this sad pretense at patriotism!

The Jerry Sandusky Trial is over: Penn State learned nothing

paterno Today September 17, 2016 Penn State will betray and dishonor all those victims by honoring a man who stood by Sandusky and allowed him to continue to prey on children.

The Jerry Sandusky trial is over. It ended the way I imagine most people expected and surely wanted it to. That is everyone but Jerry Sandusky. One headline reads, “Lawyer says Sandusky defiant.” Of course Jerry Sandusky is defiant, he’s a pedophile, in his mind he really doesn’t believe he did anything wrong. He believes that his behavior is normal. He believes that what he did had no negative effect on those he raped.

I worked with juvenile sex offenders for sixteen years. They were between the ages of 11-17.  Their treatment lasted anywhere from eighteen to thirty-six months. Many were convicted of sexual offenses shortly after leaving. They served or continue to serve time in prison. Many are on a states sex offender registry. Those are the ones who’ve been caught.

In those sixteen years I never heard one of them who sounded really sorry for their actions. They learned what they needed to say in order to successfully complete treatment; they learned to act contrite when it was necessary but they never believed it.

One particular chilling incident stands out. It was on an educational field trip to a local historical site. In public these youths were usually well behaved. They often received compliments in regards to this from staff at the sites we visited. This was how they wanted to be seen.

On this particular day I was having trouble with one fifteen year old client. He was moving away from our group and not responding to verbal commands.  I confronted him about his behavior after we returned to the treatment center. One of his victims had been his six year old sister.

I went over his day in the community and how his actions were inappropriate. I told him his behaviors had affected everyone in the group. He was defiant; taking no responsibility for any of it. He was sitting at his desk. I mentioned to him that this was the same case with his sister.

His head jerked towards me, his voice became almost guttural and he snapped these words at me, “She liked it. She wanted it more. She paid my brother to be quiet about it.” I was shocked by the force of his words but I knew after he said them that he was not sorry for what he’d done but only angry he was here and not there.

I filed a report of my conversation with him and gave it to his therapist. She told me his sister probably did like it. It probably felt good and she was too young to understand it was wrong. I was shocked as much by her comment as by his. The trouble in working with sex offenders is you become desensitized too much of what you hear and read. When you’re bombarded on a daily basis with horrendous stories of sexual assault and deviance your mind finds a way to protect itself.

In the summer I would supervise groups doing volunteer service in the community. The idea was to give back by doing community service. Before going out into the community one day an offender told me he trusted himself around kids but animals aroused him. He talked to me about this like two guys would talk about fishing or hunting. He didn’t expect me to react with disgust, judgment or in any other manner and I didn’t.

But I knew too that this was a person who was going to continue to sexually assault people when he was released back into the community. He wasn’t even embarrassed that he was attracted to animals; around his peers he carried it almost as a badge of honor, as if it made him stand out.

There are so many other cases that I remember. I wish I couldn’t. I left there almost four years ago. I realize now how sick and unhealthy the environment I worked in was. How traumatized I was from the experience and how long it has taken to recover from it.

I occasionally meet former colleagues who have left there too. To a person we have concluded the same thing. Our work environment was terribly unhealthy and the success rate was impossible to ever know but at best, it was very low.

There will be those who might believe that Sandusky is innocent, that he couldn’t have possibly done all those things. The truth is he probably did much more and worse. I believe the courts will do what is right and send him away for life. He will die believing he did nothing wrong.  There are many more just like him.

We have college students who think getting girls drunk and having sex with them after they pass out makes them somehow better than Sandusky, not rapists, just boys being boys; the truth is, there’s no difference.

The Jerry Sandusky trial is over but have we as a society learned anything from it?

The Unanimous Declaration of the Eighty Percent of the United States of America,

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When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the economic bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpation’s, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of the eighty percent and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Economic System. The history of the present twenty percent is a history of repeated economic deprivations’ all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute poverty over the eighty percent. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

The twenty percent have refused the eighty percents calls for a livable wage, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

They have forbidden Congress to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till their Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, they have utterly neglected to attend to them.

They have refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. They have done this by purchasing said Congress with bribes and donations of large sums of money for their campaigns.

They have has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of the eighty percent, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

The twenty percent have repeatedly purchased the Congress and Senate for their own design none of which is to better the situation of the eighty percent, nor for their country.

They have refused for a long time, after such dissolution’s, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, remain in their hands instead of the people their Congress was sworn by the Constitution to serve.

 They have endeavored to flood the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the rights and wages of Americans refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of lower wages, and fewer economic opportunities.

The twenty percent have erected a multitude of new Trade Deals and sent their businesses overseas depriving the eighty percent of their former jobs in order to demoralize them and eat out their substance.

The twenty percent have sent among us new institutions to spy on us in our homes, to gather information from us on social media and to create among us a distrust of each other.

They have affected to render the Military independent of Civil Power and combined with others to subject us to a new set of laws which are in direct violation of our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving their Assent to Congressional Acts of pretended Legislation.

They have infiltrated our Congress and Senate with large bodies of lobbyists to circumvent the will of the eighty percent. In example refusing to enact Term Limits on this Congress that has long been sought by the eighty percent.

For protecting them, from punishment by a mock Trial or no trial for any illegal acts against the Constitution or for the embezzlement or laundering of large sums of money. So that loss in effect is now shouldered by the eighty percent.

For in affect using Child Labor in other parts of the world in order to maximize profits while causing the destitution of the Eighty Percent here in their own country.

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For creating new laws: Specifically NDAA 1021-22 and Bill H.R.347 that allow for us to be transported beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offenses or tortured without due process. Thus depriving us of our rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution of the United States.

For taking away our ability to elect our own Representatives, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For purchasing our own Legislatures and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

The twenty percent have abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of their Protection and waging Economic War against us.

They have plundered our paychecks, ravaged our jobs, left barren our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

The twenty percent are at this time transporting large numbers of businesses abroad, creating tax havens and off-shore accounts in which to hide their monetary gain in order to shift more of the tax burden upon those eighty percent who no longer have a Representative body that will act in the best interest of the eighty percent. These actions are unworthy of a civilized nation.

The twenty percent have constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive in the Halls of Congress to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited terrorists among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of other nations through a succession of wars and conflicts in order to increase their enormous wealth with the blood of the eighty percent who make up our military forces.

In every stage of these Oppression’s the eighty percent have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. No longer a Government, but an Oligarchy whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the Eighty Percent in General Agreement, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these United States, solemnly publish and declare, That the Eighty Percent now United are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent. That they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Oligarchy that is the twenty percent and that all political connection between them and the Oligarchy that has usurped the Power of the United States Government is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Future and our sacred Honor.

 

Congress is the key to change not the Oval Office

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Every two years, Americans get to vote in a national election. In one, they re-elect a Congress they despise; a Congress with approval ratings in the single digits. In the other, they vote for a candidate the media has selected for them. The American electorate is their own worst enemy.

Regardless of who wins the current Presidential Election the American people will surely be the losers once again. Neither Clinton or Trump has the power to fix the economy. The Economy is controlled by the Oligarchy and they own Congress; they don’t answer to Presidents.

If Congress were not so narcissistic, the 2014 midterm elections might have been a turning point in American history. However, listening to all the rhetoric since then by both the pundits and those in Congress itself, it’s clear this turning point will be missed.

If only Congress and their mouthpiece pundits realized that the election was not a victory for the Republican Party, nor a loss for the Democratic Party, but a repudiation of both branches of government, a repudiation of everything in Washington.

But, they haven’t and as a result, there are once again no winners, only losers. Two-thirds of the American electorate decided not to cast their ballots. Not all, but I suspect the majority, did so because they are fed up, they are disgusted with Washington and those who propose to be America’s leaders.

The message was loud and clear. The problem is the media pundits and Congress have blinders on and ear plugs in. They did not hear the American people screaming, “Shut up, listen to yourselves, you have missed the big picture,” and surely Congress and the media have missed it.

Many Americans I talk with are thinking the same thing, where is Congress? What are they doing? Congress has been marginalized and they no longer play a role in the governing of the United States. They are manipulated, like puppets on a string, by the oligarchy they serve, not unlike Saruman serving the Dark Lord, in the “Lord of the Rings.”

Like Saruman, they no longer speak their own truth but rather the lies of those they serve. Those lies are destroying the very fabric of this country and the only people who can save it are the American people. In order to do so, they must deafen themselves to the lies of both parties, band together and fight — with votes and massive protests.

Washington is lost, they are deaf to the people and the only way they will shut up long enough for reason to return is for people to mobilize in numbers so large that those in Washington can no longer ignore them.

Bush and Cheney must answer for their crimes

livi-and-me

How do men like President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney just get to walk away from the terrible destruction they wrought. Hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, the loss of 5,000 American lives, over 40,000 maimed and wounded American service men and women and billions of dollars spent and unaccounted for. How do we as a nation just allow them to walk away from that?

These two men systematically lied to the American people. They allowed disinformation to become fact. They were the leaders. They had access to all kinds of high level intelligence. There were many people in many different agencies who questioned the evidence these men prepared their invasion of Iraq on.

Most governments as well as United Nations Arms inspectors felt that an invasion of Iraq was unwarranted based on the intelligence these men laid out for the world. Millions of people around the world protested this invasion.

In the end they were proved right. The end result is an extremely unstable Iraq and hundreds of thousands dead and wounded. Hundreds of thousands of family members of American servicemen and women continue to deal with the horrible effects that invasion has brought to their families.

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney still have the audacity to speak in public. Vice-President Cheney is perhaps the worst of these two men as he shows absolutely no remorse for his actions, claiming he still believes he did the right thing. It’s likely Hitler would do the same.

This from a man who when given the chance to serve decided it was beneath him to wear the Uniform of the United States Military. This same man who found military service beneath him had no problem sending young military men and women to their death…or worse, while he profited financially from their death.

For the sake of all those lives lost and for all those maimed on both sides, these two men must be made to answer for their crimes.