What Would You Do?

If I have heard, “These illegals have ruined our hospital system with free healthcare,” one time, I’ve heard it a thousand times. For the record, I am not one to be caught saying that, although I do understand where it comes from.

Also for the record, I have to say that it’s not like illegal immigrants use it like a doctor’s office. Most of the time it’s for emergency care, just like us good ‘ole taxpayers use it.

Photo courtesy of thehispanic.blogspot.com. Is this how you feel about illegal immigrants? You’re not alone.

But it isn’t just about healthcare. It’s about paying taxes, free education, free lunches, and taking our jobs.





Photo courtesy of twincities.com. A basic run-down of immigration statistics in America.

However, there’s a big caveat here, because the jobs they are taking are the ones that only they would work anyway. The rest of us wouldn’t work for less than the minimum wage even if our very lives depended on it, which is a problem for us, not them.

So, in case you haven’t figured this out by now, I have a lot of sympathy for illegal aliens of any race, although if we’re being honest, the most complaints we have are about those of Latino origin.

Usually I tell people that if I were a mother or father living in Mexico and I had the chance to cross a river to give my kids a better life, I’d swim it quicker than a wink. But they don’t seem to get it. I mean, they can understand it on some level, but they’re more concerned with their financial health than the safety of others. I know it’s not a race thing, because the people I know have friends and family members of differing races.

But it is easy to live our middle-class or upper-middle-class lives with decent jobs, affordable healthcare (meaning we can go to the doctor if we need it), and good food, along with great housing, and condemn others for wanting that chance. For wanting their children to get that chance. To me that is so wrong I don’t even know where to begin. By the way, it might help to remember that we were born into possibly the most privileged country in the WORLD. So many people out there struggling to survive were not.

And spare me, please, the song and dance about churches fulfilling the obligations of the poor and discarded, rather than the government. That is a TERRIFIC idea in theory. In fact, that is what Jesus would had have us do. I believe that with all my heart. But in reality many churchgoers don’t even tithe what they should, much less want to spend their money on giving to the poor!

So what is the solution? I don’t like mentioning a problem without proposing a solution. I don’t think the answer is to send troops or American dollars to Mexico and straighten them out. For crying out loud, we have got to learn to deal with the problems we have here, first, unless there is some extreme loss of life on hand, like genocide. That’s not what’s happening in Mexico, although you might think differently if you lived there with the drug cartels running everything.

Much as I am loathe to admit it, I think President Obama and his recent¬† immigration rules are spot-on, because let’s face it – we certainly don’t need to use the resources we have hauling all the immigrants across the border. A lot of them were children when they were brought here. They shouldn’t be punished for an illegal decision by their parents. This plan of Obama’s might actually work. The good news is, it keeps serious criminals out. I think it’s a win-win for everyone.

I know we should be concerned about our health care system. I know we should be concerned about jobs in America being overtaken by people who didn’t enter the country legally, although we’d never work those jobs ourselves. Frankly, I’m more concerned about terrorists flying in from all over the world than I am about migrant workers and the like crossing the Rio Grande.

Too Much Information: They Don’t Need to Take a Test – They Already Have the Answers!

Photo courtesy of cartoonstock.com.

Last night I was watching a semi-boring (but somewhat educational) show on the National Geographic channel. I watch them before bed in the hopes they put me to sleep, but also because I think that even if I’m kinda out of it, I’ll absorb information via osmosis.

Anyway, this particular program dealt with how dangerous nuclear war could be if attempted by terrorists and/or countries without the proper amount of nuclear materials and the know-how of creating a viable weapon. And I wondered, as I often do, why the press divulges so much information to potential threats.

For example, let’s say there are certain buildings in Washington, D.C. that aren’t properly built and could easily be destroyed by a bomb, and this fact is reported. Do the American people have a right to know? Well, yes, especially the people working in those buildings.

But do terrorists or enemies of the United States need to know that? Doesn’t that seem stupid to anyone but me? Why give an enemy a blueprint on how to attack this country?Is it possible that people assume that because foreign enemies of the state don’t speak English, that they can’t get their hands on information and translate it? Just curious.

Often, when police have a suspect in mind and don’t want to publicize how much evidence they have, they request that the information not be released and it isn’t. Or, they don’t even open their mouths about it in the first place.

This isn’t about hiding entitled news from the public. It’s about protecting the public.

As an aside, I also wondered if enough radiation escapes during nuclear testing to hurt people nearby. According to the World Nuclear Association (whatever that is?) sunlight causes radiation, as do certain rocks and from air and even space, meaning that radiation occurs naturally and we’ve all been exposed to it.

However, research from the American Cancer Society has found, through follow-up testing of Americans who participated in nuclear testing in the 1950s, that higher levels of leukemia were apparent.

Could Manufacturing Save the U.S. Economy?

This morning I read yet another article on the decline of manufacturing jobs, this time in Spain. I’ll admit that the idea of Spain having a problem with jobs of any sort boggles my mind a bit, mostly because I think of Spain more as a vacation destination than a world leader in the industrial sector.

There is a vast majority of U. S. citizens who believe that if we moved our industrial jobs back to this country, it would be a huge boost in the economy. Not overnight, mind you. I am so sick of reports of monthly woes, as if history is played out one month at a time. It isn’t. It’s over the course of years, hundreds of years, thousands of years. Yet we live in a consumerist society where instant gratification is the goal we seek. I know – you’ve heard all this before.

photo courtesy of zazzle.com

President Obama promised change, and yet his first order of business was to try to save the economy from complete destruction and a second depression in this country that, in my opinion, we could never have survived as a whole. Today’s society is not adept at sacrifice, at survival. Whining, complaining – yes. A country boy can survive, as my dear singer Hank Jr. once sang, but the United States is not the substantially rural country it was back then. There aren’t enough country boys or girls out there to keep it going.

I also think that Obama did a good thing in bailing out the banks. I’m not saying the banks deserved it; they did not. The American people, however, were just as guilty as the banks and other corporations who abused wealth and power; the American people signed their lives away on homes, cars, boats, vacations, credit cards – you name it. Therefore, since the average American could not survive a depression that already crippled this country, Obama did what he had to do to prevent that.

The question is, now what? How do we not only save the economy for the next ten years or so, but how do we build America into what it used to be, as far as industry is concerned?

We do exactly what no politician or businessman in his or her right mind would do – we take back the jobs we send to China and India, Taiwan and the Philippines – we hurt ourselves to save the country from collapse.

We complain about the power China has, both financially and militarily – and yet we gave it to them! Corporations knew the Chinese would work for next to nothing, so they sent jobs there and saved a boatload on their spreadsheets. And if China workers would do it, what about those Indians and small countries? Bring on the big bucks!

So, I decided to do a little research because I’m fully aware I’m not an expert. There’s the government’s take, which, well, you can take with a grain of salt as far as I’m concerned! Something interesting I found is that according to the U.S. Census Bureau it looks like our entire manufacturing exports are based on food and livestock! At least, almost entirely, because there were no other areas mentioned. Wowza.

The Wall Street Journal published a story three days ago about an “uptick” in U.S. manufacturing, but wasn’t pleased with this: “The celebrated revival of U.S. manufacturing employment has been accompanied by a less-lauded fact: Wages for many manufacturing workers aren’t keeping up with inflation.”

Um, duh! How many of you out there in whatever job you have feel that your salaries are keeping up with inflation? Hmmm….none of you? Here’s another tidbit from the article that would have made me chuckle if it wasn’t so ridiculous: “”The U.S. has held manufacturing wages in check while there has been strong wage growth in China and moderate wage growth in Mexico,” says economist Gordon Hanson of the University of California, San Diego, referring to two of the U.S.’s biggest lower-wage competitors.”

China and Mexico could increase their wages and it still wouldn’t compete with what workers were making in the United States just ten years ago. They had better benefits than many of us with a college education, and often higher pay as well. I know kids who worked in a mill near where I went to college because it paid better than any other job in town. They were a lot more well-off than I was, even when I was working two jobs and going to school full-time. So, I’m very sorry, Mr. Hanson, but your reasoning sounds really stupid to me.

Here’s a tip: why don’t we build up manufacturing jobs here in the U.S. and then, over time, as the economy improves, increase wages for workers?

When Russia & China Partner Up, Who Wins?

If any of you out there read Tom Clancy books, you know that he wrote of an alliance between Russia and China and India, and I’m not sure if any other countries were included. That’s a work of fiction, people, but the potentialities are frightening.

And now we see that in reality, Russia and China have partnered up on something – they are intent on sticking to the side of Syria in that they don’t support the U.N.’s determination to conclude Syria’s attacks on its own people and declare a cease-fire.

The questions are why, and who wins?

As for why, you could state what many globally consider the obvious – that they want and intend to have world domination.

But maybe there’s another reason. After all, there are even many Americans who think the United States should stay out of Middle Eastern conflict altogether; to keep our resources at home where they are needed at the moment. Maybe Russia and China see what these people consider the obvious: that there is nothing the United States or the United Nations can do to stop civil war in these countries and it’s best just to stay out of it rather than add them to your list of enemies.

So, if you’re of the ilk that Russia and China are in it for power, the question of who wins is easily answered – Russia and China. But if you’re of the opinion that Russia and China just want to stay out of it (Russia has admitted it wants to see peace in the region) then the question of who wins is also easily answered, but so hard to swallow – no one. Most of those 100 people recently killed were children. Dare I say that Syria might be trying to wipe out its own people, and dare I add that Russia and China might want to see that happen?

I have no idea if either of those statements are true. What I do know is true is that when innocent children die, even the most desensitised heart hurts. But we can’t even let ourselves think of it too much because the idea of this being possible brings to mind that one day that might be our children, killed for no reason other than a power struggle.

Saving & Spending: Households Have an Edge

When the economic crisis hit this country, many households nation-wide had to tighten their belts. For a consumerist society, this was difficult but it could be done and it was. But it wasn’t just about cutting out needless spending; it was sometimes about walking away from a home and taking a serious hit to a credit rating, for example.

Photo courtesy of mycreditcrisisblog.com.

Now Mitt Romney is trying to convince voters that he will be able to set this country’s twisted financial status aright. Maybe he will.

But it isn’t as easy for the United States government to reduce spending and tame the debt load it’s under. It’s infinitely harder. Because reducing spending means cuts, of course. Cuts to what? He’s unclear on that. Government programs would make the most sense, and if that happens, how will these programs survive?

Some of you say, to heck with ’em. Who cares about welfare and other programs for the poor? I’ve even heard some say that assistance should be a church matter, not a state or federal one. To those I’d like to say: how much do you tithe to these poor people? How much do you give? To you even tithe to your church? Most of them (that I’ve talked to) don’t even have a home church.

Sadly, government spending cuts are a necessary evil to reduce our debt and turn this country into a profitable nation so that we can help ourselves and others.¬† There will be those who need and would clearly benefit from government assistance who won’t get it, or won’t get enough. No one wants to bite the bullet on some of these programs because even the most capitalistic, hardest hearts know, deep down, that some innocent and challenged people will suffer. But they have to, in order for the greater good of the entire country.

Secrets: To Keep or Not To Keep?

Across the pond, the U.K. is dealing with similar issues that the United States has dealt with as well. That is, whether or not to hold “secret” hearings about detainees from Gitmo (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18240753).

The post-9/11 part of me says – bring on the secret court cases. Bring on whatever means necessary to get as much information on future and possible terrorist attacks, world-wide, that the U.S. can, or the U.K. for that matter. We live in a world that is now in almost constant fear. I’m not talking about people like me, whose thoughts too often stray into morbid territory – how to protect my children, family and friends from what we pretty much all assume is the inevitable. I’m talking about one nation fighting to protect millions of souls.

However, it’s the godly part of me that finds torture, torment and secretive sessions repulsive for that same reason. Last night I watched the season finale of Missing and in it, the mother was confronted with having to torture a woman for information on how to find her son. And I totally got that. But her dilemma was that in the past, she’d had an opportunity to turn over someone to a foreign country to be certainly tortured and killed and she could not go through with it. And yet, when it came to her child, she did it in tears. We will go to any length to protect those and that which we love.

Should we, though? I believe that God would say, “No! Let me fight for you. Trust and wait on Me.” In some respects it would be easier to do that. To lay down and let Him take it. But it’s mostly infinitely harder to sit back and wait for divine providence to bring into being that which we need.

In this case, that which we need is much more complicated than one woman fighting for her children; it’s a world fighting for peace. A world. And yet, we must let God fight for us. And we must follow His precepts. We must give even the worst human being the same right that we have – namely, a public court hearing about his or her guilt.

“Read My Lips” – Sort of…

Have you heard that the National Retail Federation wants to tax on-line stores that sell to folks out of state? Let’s consider this issue.

Do you want to pay an extra tax if you buy this on-line and live out-of-state from the retailer?Even if you haven’t, lets’ debate the issue.

The pros? Well, some sort of government will receive more tax revenue. Shoppers might be more likely to cancel an intended purchase once the sales tax is added, making them more likely to review all their purchases and tighten their belts a bit more, adding to their savings. On-line retailers might even lower their prices a bit, to make up for the addition of a sales tax. Wait…that’s not exactly a pro – it’s more of an even-Stephen.

The cons? Purchases from on-line stores will cost more. Less people might make on-line purchases.

Did you see a pro that local retailers will make more money because less people will buy on-line items? No, you’re not crazy. I don’t believe it’s actually going to happen if this law comes into effect.

But there is another side to this issue, and that is whether or not the federal government has the right to make a decision about this, like the U.S. Supreme Court already did (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/05/25/retailers-push-gop-on-online-sales-tax/?mod=WSJBlog).

I’m not a hater of the federal government. I’m not sure where I stand on the so-called “flat tax” – mostly because I haven’t heard enough from supporters to make up my mind. But most people in favor of the flat, or fair, tax, believe in less federal government and more states’ rights, and I definitely agree on a case-by-case basis. This is one of those cases. Either each state should decide to add sales tax to on-line sites so that when retailers sell out of state, that buyer is additionally taxed, or the voters of each individual state get to decide. What do you think?