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A Next Step

Like many others I was hoping, but not expecting, the Electoral College to act in an unprecedented but authorized way to negate the Trump presidency. Had that happened, however, it would have opened other doors of unknown outcome, so maybe this is the best way.

This way, we can hold the incoming President to his Constitutional duties and responsibilities. We do have guidelines for that and will know when he inappropriately strays.  I expect he will stray, as his prior comments indicate he is not clear on much of what is ahead of him.

Meanwhile, enough angst. Each of us either feels distress now or will soon. Each one of us. The efforts of a Republican Congress backed up by this President will mean we have big changes ahead.  It is the anticipation of some of those changes that have people already upset. However, the rest will join the fray when program cuts begin to affect them. When campaign promises go by the wayside. When life does not get better for the many many people who expect the Federal government to fix things for them.

So, onward.

I have said often on my Facebook feed that I will stay vigilant and be as active as I can to help retain the rights won by all of us to give equal access and protection of the law to all our citizens. I will stay vigilant and be as active as I can to make sure the least of us continue to be helped regardless of any political stance.  I will stay vigilant and be as active as I can to make a positive difference.

Back in 1970 when Earth Day was initiated I heard a slogan that resonated. “Think globally but act locally.” We know the earth has overwhelming issues, not only environmental but in every aspect of life.

Image result for think globally act locally

We have a choice, each one of us.

  • We can ignore and carry on, dong what we do that may help or hinder any situation, self-centered and choosing to stay apart from the community of the world.
  • We can get stirred by all the need in the world and affected so deeply we can’t deal with it, so we freeze, stuck in despair.
  • We can opt to get involved in one or two issues that deeply resonate. We may send money or sign petitions or write letters or emails or even show up at our state capitol to join a protest.
  • We can chose to get active in our own communities, making our voice and action count where it will show a difference.

I’ve done each of these. Earlier in my life I was focused on my own young adulthood and all that involved including building a career and raising a family. I had a nodding relationship with a few issues but not much money and not much time, so not much involvement.

I’ve been on listservs that overwhelm me with need. It seems that I receive more than 20 a day with hands outstretched asking for $1, $5, $25 or more. It was with extreme pleasure that I unsubscribed from almost all recently.

I sign petitions and sometimes post them on Facebook urging others to take the minute to add their  support. It seems to be the LEAST anyone can do.

Mostly, I am active here in my town. I have chosen three main areas and participate as much as I can. I do what I can, offer my skills to forward the mission of the group. I self impose a limit on what I feel I can do and ask for the group to respect that. (If the group doesn’t, as some have in the past, I moved my energy elsewhere.)

I hope by this example you can see how you might work through the coming years when so many of us feel what we have known about the United States of America will be changing. I plan to keep on keeping on. Joining with other like minded people empowers all of us. emplowerment

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When the Blue Line is Not Acting in the Public Interest

I believe we need police. There are people whose ethics are so debased that they do what they do whenever they want to do it and so, take advantage of people, destroy property, assault people and more. We need police to help protect us from them. To identify them and to hold them apart from society in order to protect society.

In the past year the police themselves have been targeted because of anger over unequal treatment by police of minorities. However, it is right and proper to condemn the attackers and support the people in blue who serve us. To mourn their killings and support their families in their loss.

But….sometimes, it becomes clear that law enforcement is serving private interests, not the law.  We saw it during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and now, we are seeing it again against the Indigenous People who are protecting the Missouri River.  Because the pipeline is being constructed by a corporation with profit forever as the primary motive, those people care more about their pockets than their future ability to obtain clean water, we are seeing the subversion of police to serve private needs over the public good.

Many of you know about the stand-off at the Dakota Access Pipeline. Many of you do not because it generally is not covered by the major media. Here is a New York Times article from the end of August which will present the issues at that time.map-standing-rock

The protesters initially were from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, located just south of the planned Missouri River crossing. They are protesting not only the destruction of some ancient heritage sites, but the very real possibility of an oil leak polluting the water so many people depend on for drinking.  Now, called Protectors, the people there include not only Indigenous People from all around the country but many allies of all races, cultures and religions that arrived even with cold weather to stand with them against the wrongness of police standing to protect private interests.

So now we have nonviolent protesters who have set up their camp in the way of the proposed pipeline.  We have nonviolent protesters who stand at make-shift barricades blocking the pathway.

standing-rock-police-pepper-spray-water-protectors-crossing-river-to-land-owned-by-pipeline-co-110216-by-reutersFacing them we have police from law enforcement agencies that are not only local but from across the country, suited up in riot gear.  They have used water cannons (similar to what was used to knock down peaceful protesters in the 1960s) in sub-freezing temperatures, causing many people to require hospitalization because of hypothermia.

 

They have used rubber bullets to shoot at people, causing injuries. The most heinous occurred two days ago when a young woman was hit in the arm which may need to be amputated. sierra-rubber-bullet-wb

 

The way this protest is being handled is in stark contrast to that of the Bundy group who invaded and took over a federally owned wildlife refuge. Not only did law enforcement officials give them a lot of room to move on and off the property, but it ended shortly after the police shot and killed one of the protesters.  The trial exonerated all the protesters, leaving us Oregonians scratching our heads, wondering why we tax payers need to cover all the damage they caused to the site itself.

The law enforcement presence in North Dakota is not being as strongly aggressive as they could be, thank goodness. If the bullets become standard and people start dying I believe this protest will not end. It will become even larger.

A line of police move towards a roadblock and encampment of Native American and environmental protesters near an oil pipeline construction site, near the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Rob Wilson

A line of police move towards a roadblock and encampment of Native American and environmental protesters near an oil pipeline construction site, near the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Rob Wilson

Now we hear that the Corps of Engineers will require the camp to be moved to a location south of the river to “protect” civilians from being hurt. Is that a veiled threat to say “you stay, you will pay”.  They were told they must vacate by December 5th.

My son-in-law is on his way there now. He has learned there are over 15,000 people with the Protectors. This is not some small protest. This is water versus gold. last-tree


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Each One Counts

I grew up and voted for the first time in New Jersey. My parents had taken me into the voting booth with them every year while I was young. It was the kind with a curtain. You would move the handle, the curtain would close (did anyone else besides me think of the Wizard of Oz?) and the levers would be there for the pushing. It was possible to push down a party lever and all the votes would be moved, but my parents said it was important to always check out each candidate, no matter the party, and vote for the best person to represent you.  They voted line by line. All levers moved, the handle would be moved back and the votes counted as the curtain opened.1960s-voting_booth

I moved to Tennessee and then on to Connecticut and then back to Tennessee and then to West Virginia before moving to Oregon.  I voted on similar machines and then, as computerization was implemented, a variety of electronic machines.  When we moved to Oregon we didn’t have enough friends to explain the fine points of the vote by mail system. We ended up not getting our ballots mailed on time.  Since then I try to help newbies.or-vote-envelope

The vote by mail system is really very easy for people to use. There is no issue about taking time off from work or waiting on lines at the polls. We get our ballots about 3 weeks before election day and can mail them in up to 5 days before. At any time during those 3 weeks, we can drop the ballot into a ballot box, similar to a mail box but painted white and sporting a lot of signs that say BALLOTS ONLY!!!!  At least one ballor box is located in each town and many more in cities. (Here in McMinnville we have three. ) The box is open until 8pm on election day when a team (at least one each from the major parties-volunteers needed) pick up all deposited ballots and lock the box slots.or-vote-drop-box

The ballots are taken to the County Clerk’s office.  Still sealed, they are set facing the same way and then a team of people scans each exterior envelope’s bar code. Yes, the envelope has a bar code, right near the signature line, that identifies the voter. The scan enters the name into the database for the next step, verification of the signature.  A photo of the signature at time of registration is on screen and the worker verifies the signature on the envelope with the signature at registration. If the signature matches, the data base is updated with the information that that person has voted.  Any envelope that has no signature (a requirement) or a signature that is different from the original are put aside for further work.oregon-sign-here

(The people whose  signatures were missing or that didn’t match receive a letter asking them to come into their county clerk’s office for further verification. Sometimes the person is elderly or ill and the signature is a bit spidery or illegible in comparison to the original. Typically, people respond and go verify if the election is close or they want to make sure their vote, if different than the election results, is counted.)

Once an envelope is confirmed to be from a legitimate voter it moves to a different work station where all envelopes are opened but contents are kept intact. The next station is where contents and envelope are separated. The contents are still folded and most often in the privacy slip provided.  This station works as a team, 100 ballots at a time. One worker is a registered Democrat, the other a Republican. A lot of repetitive work…envelope to one side, folded ballot to the other. Then a count is made to confirm they have the 100 they started with, and then move to another work station.or-vote-workers

This station is where the ballots are unfolded and visually scanned by another Republican-Democratic team to verify any write-ins or markings that cover any area of the ballot.  Again a count is made to confirm, 100 in to that station, 100 out to the next.

Folded once more, the ballots are sorted by precinct….that number is printed on the ballot that was originally mailed to the voter.  The precinct information is obtained to provide basic voter turnout data.

From there, boxes of 100 ballots are then sent to the next area where the next check is to see if there is only one selection marked for each race. If a ballot marks two candidates in the same race that required selection of one, the ballot is set aside for voter confirmation.

Only then, at the next step, are the actual votes tabulated.

There is no way to match any given ballot at the last step to any specific voter.  Privacy is ensured.

This vote-by-mail system is, as you read, pretty labor intensive. A computerized machine can give results almost instantaneously.  So yes, it takes longer. So there has to be a benefit, right?

Actually several, but there are two main ones:

With the system in place in Oregon, there is no concern for manipulation of computerized hardware or software. With most areas having pairs of workers, each with a different party affiliation, with all the counting before and after to verify no ballot was moved away, there is a security in knowing how you vote is how it is counted.

The largest benefit is voter participation. Election after election Oregon has one of the highest voting percentages in the nation.  This time, it was interesting to note that we had a higher turnout than ever. Last year we the people approved a referendum to start motor-voter. That means that for any DMV transaction the person will be registered if not already on the rolls. (Lots of verification for citizenship and other aspects that restrict voting done before a new person is considered legal to vote.) So Oregon’s turnout for this election was 2 million voters.

But the percentage of participating voters was down a bit.  It was 78.9 %.  However, nationally it was 56.9%, significantly lower.

Why do people chose not to exercise their right to vote?  They could be unable to actually get to the pools, either because of transportation issues or a work schedule that won’t permit it. They could be sick, unable to go to the polls.  All these people forgot they could vote with an absentee ballot. Others, could think it is not important. They could believe that their one individual vote won’t make a difference. They could be so disgusted at the whole thing..the selection process…the advertising…..the rudeness….that they just step back. And more.

At least here in Oregon it is easier for us people. And the protections leave me confident that the results are an accurate portrayal of each participants vote.

every_vote_countsInformation is from experience. Not only am I a voter but I am also a volunteer. For the past three elections, Graham and I have been ballot box closets. This past Tuesday we also observed the process for a couple of hours.  Anyone can sign up to do that.


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You Too?

Trump has a really well put together video out for his last ad spot. One part patriotic, flags waving, smiling faces one and all. Part hateful and bigoted.

No getting around that.

At this point we have 2 days until the polls close. I suppose no one’s mind is going to be changed. That’s not even the point of this effort.

If you know me, if you have read my blogs for a while, you know I have spoken often about the way I think Trump’s hateful speech to people about others different from them has encouraged a lot of emoted passionate hatred. Not quiet and contained by social mores; the disdain for being politically correct was never appreciated or desired. The crudeness gutter talk is entertainment…and titillating. How fun to be naughty…and then if everyone is naughty, is it normal?

NO.  Not in any sense of the word. Psychologically. Politically. Culturally. Socially. Religiously.

Except for bigots. Extreme right wing skin heads, Aryan nation, KKK types. It’s their normal.

The rest of the people who seem to be enamored with Trump are, probably, okay people. I know some and love some. But I sure am confused.

Okay, you don’t like Mexicans. You believe they have stolen good American jobs. Here in Oregon many are professionals: lawyers, doctors, accountants, heads of companies. Others are in commerce with stores and restaurants. Others are in service industries, like landscaping, hairdressing, house cleaning. And the others….legal and illegal, they work in the fields, in the kitchens, on construction sites.  If you feel one has a job that you want, please be realistic about your own experience and expertise.  Don’t generalize about a group without facts that are verified or your own experience.

Okay, you don’t like Muslims. You believe they are all radical terrorists. You have been lead to believe they are perhaps sleeper agents.  Do you personally know any, I mean work with and interact with daily in a responsible work environment or have invited one to your home for a meal?  Does the concept of the white supremacist groups concern you? It should. There is more risk of a terrorist event in the USA by a homegrown group of white people than anyone from the Middle East or Pakistan.

Okay, you’re uncomfortable around handicapped people who are not young and cute. Even if they work and contribute to society. You can’t help it, their physical or mental situation irritates you?  Sounds like time to find out why? Why irritation instead of a sense of compassion or even, more self-centered, a sense of appreciation for your own health?

Okay, you think women really should not be working in jobs like men.  Even if a woman, you might not like carrying the kind of responsibility some of our sisters have gladly grown into and others have been forced to assume.  Are we going to encourage a society that sounds totalitarian to me…one where someone’s future job is determined by their birth-the location of their birth, the income status of the family of birth, the visible genitalia at birth.  When you restrict the learning capabilities of girls, when you limit the income earnings of women, you are  as culpable as the most narrow minded third World male elder making a child marry a man two or three decades older.

Okay, you think newspaper reporters are crooked and the news is twisted. But you believe what you read in headlines and don’t bother to read the article. You don’t search the web for articles about the same subject from across the spectrum to pull out the truth. Yes, we are fed what “they” want us to know. But because of social media with an open internet, we have access to much more. If you agree the journalists need to be constrained, please realize that this Internet permitting you to read this is also protected by the First Amendment. All your arguments about “slippery slope” apply equality to all parts of the Constitution.

Finally, the Jews. You really don’t like them and you have good reason. They are all rich. Not. They are all smart. Not.  They all are…what? You have read this because you like my writing and either enjoy it and agree or at times are aggravated because I bring up topics that nag at you. Like me or hate me but if you say it is because I am Jewish, you are a bigot.

Trump has appealed to the baseness in that he has called to the bottom and they have responded. And then, some of you generally above that have responded too. You’re not in good company, but you are known by your associates.

A warning to you. You’re next on the list. first-they-came

And despite the fact that no one will come to take your guns (another way you have been played), your arsenal will not keep them out when they want in.

So much better for us to nip this in the bud, recognize we have healing to do, and start talking to each other.

One way people who consider themselves a friend of mine is to explain how you can join in the Antisemitism. I am taking that one personally.

And if you do happened to have any Latino, handicapped, female,  LGBTQ or Jewish friends, they also are wondering how you REALLY feel.cropped-tolerance.jpg


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The Road Ahead

We have a choice, as we do every time we elect a President. We can uphold the United States as a wonderful example of a democratic republic that can change heads of state calmly and smoothly,Image result for smooth transition of leadership or we can have tantrums wanting our own way and fall down into a despotic third world nation experience where the people who perceive a loss of power fight anyone who they believe thinks differently from them.

In the last few weeks there has been an escalation of threats of a “revolution” if Trump loses the election. Organizations and individuals who have publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton have received death threats. A gun shop in Las Vegas is advertising a sale on guns before Hillary is elected. There just is a lot of anger and threats.

Republcian Congressional leadership who have publicly indicated their dismay with their candidate are now promising to block Clinton is she wins the Presidency.  They are promising to freeze, not to work through the things that need work, but to do nothing. That is not leadership in a sane direction.

It could happen. We did it once before. Civil war. This time, though, there is nothing organized or goal for the people who are losing their emotional stability. And yes, if you decide my words and actions are worthy of killing me, you have lost your mind. Is this kind of activity like in Aleppo what will make us great? Image result for aleppo

This nation was established to better the situation in the Old World, where power was held by very few. For hundreds of years people in this country could achieve much, change their lifestyle, improve upon what their parents had. Only recently has this reversed and there are clear signs why.

The people who have made these changes include, among many others, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. His claim he has never held public office does not mean he had no influence. He is one of the players of power and has been for years. So, right now, regardless of who wins the Presidency, not much is really going to improve for many of us and for some of us, things will get a lot worse. The only winners, the same ones as the last few decades, the very top.

Now, I remember my parents complaining about how things were going downhill back in the 1970s. They did not like the attitudes of the “hippies” and protesters against the war in Vietnam. My parents longed for much of what they knew in their younger days. But they also were active in the civil rights movement, clearly recognizing not only that the treatment of African-Americans had long been bad, but actually doing something about it.

So, now, I am carrying the mantle of service. I call out unethical and unequal treatment when I see it. I remind my friends on Facebook that if something appeals to their sense of greed (free something fantastical that is too good to be true) or anger (Hillary did this or that or Donald said this now) that they really should verify before jumping on a bandwagon that will later prove to have flat tires. Image result for first they came for the socialists

And I don’t just sit here bitching and moaning. I am involved. I volunteer in a number of community activities including helping a local candidate in his run for the state legislature.  If we want a better world we each need to be involved. Think globally. Act locally.Image result for doing instead of talking

And, I suppose, I have said enough to irritate the most unstable of people who might be making a list of who they need to take down. A friend told me to back down and stop being so vocal. Nope, I’m sorry. If we don’t speak out early and often, the snowball grows. I will not be quiet.  Another friend told me to arm myself. And I wonder, how much bigger a weapon can I get and use before someone else uses theirs. If that is to be, it will be. I will not live my life in fear.

I will continue to try to appeal to your brain, your intellect, your heart, your conscience. I will try to get into conversation with you to understand your viewpoint and share mine. Image result for buy guns now

I just don’t see many people willing to do the same. That is sad, and yes, a bit frightening.

 


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He Said She Said

Even people who love each other have problems. Maybe it’s a Venus/Mars thing but I don’t think it can be explained that simply. Basically, many people just do not know how to communicate.  They know what they want to say but they forget to make time for the feedback loop…they forget to listen. They forget to check that they were heard correctly. And also, it seems, they forgot to stay patient.

Oh, we all say lots of words. No question there. I am a good example of the blah blah blah. But there is a difference between talking and communicating.

This past week was the county fair and I helped out for a few hours at the booth operated by the county Democratic party. It is set up with information about candidates running for ALL the races from President on down to dog catcher. Only kidding about the dog catcher, but down to the local level.county fair

It was pretty funny watching people as they walked by the booth. For some, we were obviously invisible, as if they had blinders on the side of their face closest to us.  For others, we must have been emitting some kind of sensory beam as they walked as far away as the sidewalk allowed. Cooties, I guess….just as well they stayed away.

Other more passive aggressive types hollered “Vote for Trump!” as they cleared our frontal zone.  I managed to suppress my “in your dreams!” or a more colorful response in the interest of community  fellowship.

The funniest part was when I walked down about five booths to the county Republican booth. It appeared to be a father and son who were there. The older one was in his 50s; the younger one maybe 20.

There was a banner “Make America Great Again” festooning the back of the booth so I asked, “So, how will we all make America Greater Now?” The answer, they proudly sang in tandem,  “Vote for Trump!”

Great, I said. Many will. And then what will happen?

Silence

“Oh”, I helped them along, “what has he suggested will make it better than it is now?”

“Get rid of all the illegals!” Dad shouted.

“How?”……pause….and then with more strength he opined, “round them up.”

When I suggested it might be hard to know where they are, they got stymied.Needle-in-a-haystack

When I told them that most illegals came in legally on visitor visas and overstayed their  permitted time limit, they did not know that.  But they rallied and said all foreign visitors would need to check in with the authorities as they moved around the country. I told them when I was working in Germany in 1981, before the fall of the USSR, I had to turn over my US passport at the place we stayed so they could report our presence to the police. I asked them if that was what they wanted here. They said only the foreigners would have to do it. Really? And how can you tell someone is a foreigner?  No answer.

When I asked how the illegals would be rounded up, they didn’t know, but it would be done because Trump said it would be.

I then dared to ask how getting rid of illegal farm workers would make Oregon great. They had no idea the role illegal workers play in this state, let alone the country.

Dad was very annoyed by that time and stomped off. I hollered after him that one way to make America great was not be a quitter and learn to communicate…give and take…listen and talk….then we could discover our commonalities and work together.communication-is-key

Son looked at me sheepishly. I guess the herd mentally was getting to him too.sheep Icelanda

 


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Paul Ryan and me

Maybe EACH of us SHOULD do this.  Maybe each of us should listen to a speech and then get the transcript and talk back.  And maybe we need to talk to each other also.

So, driving home from a bunch of work-related errands this evening, I heard Speaker of the House Paul Ryan rah-rah at the Republican Convention. I felt the need to retort….so here goes:

Speech by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), Chair of the Republican National Convention:

Thank you all very much.

Delegates, friends, and fellow citizens: I appreciate the privilege of addressing this forty-first convention of the Party of Lincoln.

Oh, I really think the way they claim Lincoln to prove they are “good” is funny. I notice they do not claim more recent Republicans, which speaks a lot louder.

As part of my co-chairman duties, let me thank all the people of this beautiful city for looking after us this week. And above all I want to thank the men and women here from law enforcement for your service.

You know, standing up here again, it all has a familiar feel. Students of trivia will recall that last time around I was your nominee for vice president. It was a great honor, even if things didn’t work out quite according to plan.

But hey, I’m a positive guy. I’ve found other things to keep me busy. And I like to look at it this way. Next time there’s a State of the Union address, I don’t know where Joe Biden and Barack Obama will be. But you’ll find me right there on the rostrum with Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump.

“Postive guy”?????? Is that why the only word we’ve been hearing is “no”. No, we won’t meet to talk about the nominee for the Supreme Court.

Democracy is a series of choices. We Republicans have made ours.

Have we had our arguments this year? Sure we have – and you know what I call those? Signs of life. Signs of a party that’s not just going through the motions. Not just mouthing new words for the same old stuff.

Hmmm, wait a minute here, Paul. Your co-chair shut down the protest within the Republican delegates pretty quickly. Guess muzzling people is a Republican choice, too?

Meanwhile, what choice has the other party made, in this incredible year filled with so many surprises?

Seems like voting fraud is not just a Republican issue. People in power do not like to lose it. Yes, that was a jab at Hillary also.

Here we are, at a time when men and women in both parties so clearly, so undeniably, want a big change in direction for America, a clean break from a failed system. And what does the Democratic Party establishment offer? What is their idea of a clean break?

They are offering a third Obama term, brought to you by another Clinton. And we’re supposed to be excited about that?

Personally, I think getting a “third Obama term”, while there are problems and I don’t like everything he has done, would be preferable to spending billions to build walls, splitting up families, and registration of members of one religion. Not to mention the probability of a new war, possibly one we will not survive.

For a country so ready for change, it feels like we had been cleared for takeoff, and then somebody announced we’re all going back to the gate.

  For a nation that wants change, let’s look at who is wanting what kind of change. Let;s also notice who refuses to change in teh manner of equal access to the law. 

It’s like we’ve been on hold forever, waiting and waiting to finally talk to a real person, and somehow we’ve been sent back to the main menu.

  It’s as if you’ve been having to share equal access to rights and the law with all kinds of people and that just is not comfortable.

Watch the Democratic Party convention next week – that four-day infomercial of politically correct moralizing. And let it be a reminder of all that is at stake in this election. You can get through four days of it, with a little help from the mute button. But four more years of it?

   I’m sure you can manage the same way you managed the last bit…doing nothing.

Not … a … chance. The Obama years are almost over. The Clinton years are way over.

Two-thousand sixteen is the year America moves on.

  Hopefully, with a gun or two in many hands, the movement will not be bloody.

From now to November, we will hear how many different ways progressive elitists can find to talk down to the rest of America … to tell voters that the Obama years have been good for you … that you should be grateful, and now, well, it’s Hillary’s turn.

  Oh, I LOVED this one! Hillary aims her speeches at a 7th grade level. Trump at a 4th grade level. Sorry if Hillary is talking down to you. Why didn’t you learn to read and understand when you went to school like we did?

But the problem is very simple. There is a reason people in our country are disappointed and restless.

The solution is so hard that no Republican has come up with one. 

If opportunity seems like it’s been slipping away, that’s because it has. And liberal progressive ideas have done exactly nothing to help. Wages never seem to go up.

   Yes, opportunity has slipped away as fast as the middle class has lost ground. The wages that never seem to go up….well, who has been fighting raising the minimum wage? Hell, who has been hiring people at minimum wage while CEOs are taking humongous bonuses and profits have shit out the roof along with the rise in the stock market?

The whole economy feels stuck. And for millions of Americans, middle-class security is now just a memory.

Yes, the middle class and the poor feel a loss of security. But the rich are happy…..well, maybe not.  They always want more.

Progressives like our president talk forever about poverty in America. And if high-sounding talk did any good, we’d have overcome these deep problems long ago.

  It sure must be annoying to hear that there are poor people everywhere.  And you are very right. Talk does no good. And apparently you and the Congress decide that work is not your shtick, so talk is all there is.

This explains why, under the most liberal president we’ve had so far, poverty in America is worse – especially for our fellow citizens who were promised better and need it most.

No, YOUR lack of positive responsiveness to help creative jobs, improve the infrastructure, and build educational opportunities to retrain people who have lost their manufacturing jobs because there are incentives in place for corporations to go elsewhere for cheaper labor, often with children.

The result is a record of discarded promises … empty gestures … phony strawman arguments … reforms put off forever … shady power plays, like the one that gave us Obamacare … constitutional limits brushed off as nothing … and, all the while, dangers in the world downplayed, even as the threats grow bolder and come closer.

Discarded promises like yours and your fellow Republicans to serve? Like the Judiciary Committee who refuses to even meet with the nominee for the Supreme Court?  You brought it up: shady power plays? Are YOU throwing stones? And you are blaming the fact that Congress voted to approve the ACA because you and so many never read the thing?  Hey! That‘s why you have assistants! Are you telling us you don’t read OTHER bills? Is that why there is nothing being done by Congress?

It’s the latest chapter of an old story: progressives deliver everything except progress.

Ahhh, blocked by the Congress, not much could get done. But wait a minutes, complain about Presidential order again now.

Yet we know better than to think that Republicans can win only on the failures of Democrats. It still comes down to the contest of ideas. Which is really good news, ladies and gentlemen, because when it’s about ideas, the advantage goes to us.

   Yes, appealing to fear and hate is always a reachable emotion. Much better than idealism like building community and helping the least of us…oops, forgive me, I’ve been going to church too much.

Against the dreary backdrop of arrogant bureaucracies … pointless mandates … reckless borrowing … willful retreat in the world … and all that progressives still have in store for us, the Republican Party stands as the great, enduring alternative.

   Enduring? You think a Trump Presidency will result in a viable nation? We WILL endure if we don’t get rounded up for being subversive.

We believe in making government, as Ronald Reagan said, not the distributor of gifts and privilege, but once again the protector of our liberties.

  Ah yes, the Constitution. Thank goodness it says ALL  people. EQUAL access. We Democrats remember that part. 

it says Let the other party go on making its case for more government control over every aspect of our lives – more taxes to pay … more debt to carry … more rules to follow … more judges who just make it up as they go along.

Excuse me, no Democratic government wants control of my vagina. No Democratic government wants to say love is not love unless it is between a man and a woman no matter how they cheated on their spouses and no matter how many times they betrayed those wedding vows. And o, by the way, those judges follow that Cosntitution.  Sorry, like the Bible, it’s very apparent you Republicans seem to like some parts better than others. 

We, in this party, are committed to a federal government that acts again as a servant accountable to the people, following the Constitution, and venturing not one inch beyond the consent of the governed.

   If the Congress passes bills that over 80% of the nation’s population does not want, are you acting as a servant to the people? Seems like someone else is pulling the strings.

We, in this party, offer a better way for our country, based on fundamentals that go back to the Founding generation. We believe in a free society where aspiration and effort can make the difference in every life … where your starting point is not your destiny … and where your first chance is not your only chance.

    The Republican Party did NOT exist at the foundation of this nation. But that’s okay, raise the flag, say some words that sound pretty but the Republican party as governed by many governors, does NOT offer better chances to people who want out of their starting point. In fact, some states with Republican governors are really hurting now.

We offer a better way for America, with ideas that actually work. A reformed tax code that rewards free enterprise, instead of just enterprising lobbyists.

  Free enterprise sounds great and most of your 4th grade followers have little concept of the rules that the government has for those who want to start a business. And Paul, don’t try to BS us about the enterprising lobbyists will be thrown out of the Temple I mean the Congress.

A reformed health care system that operates by free choice, instead of by force, and doesn’t leave you answering to cold, clueless bureaucrats.

A health care system that is accessible to those that can’t afford it? That means something like 60% of the current population will be out in the cold, clueless of how to manage their choices of food or medicine. But I guess when you decide Social Security Disability is spending too much money you might begin to understand a population with managed health is better.

A renewed commitment to building a 21st-Century military – and to giving our veterans the care they were promised, the care that they have earned.

Let’s talk about waste here also. Let’s admit we have the largest armed forces in the world. Let’s hear you admit you perceive we need more because we will soon be actively at war.

And we offer a better way of dealing with persistent poverty in this country: A way that shows poor Americans the world beyond liberal warehousing and checkwriting … into the life everyone can find, with opportunity and independence … the happiness of using your gifts, and the dignity of having a job.

   Has the Republican Party EVER come up with a way to help people out of poverty? I must have missed that.

And you know what? None of this will happen under Hillary Clinton.

   And you know what? None of this will happen under Donald Trump.

Only with Donald Trump and Mike Pence do we have a chance at a better way.

  A better way for you…..not most, including the poor suckers who believe you.

And, last, let the other party go on and on with its constant dividing up of people … always playing one group against the other, as if group identity were everything.

Ahhhh, blinder and memory loss apparently. WHO has been saying all Mexicans are rapists? WHO has been saying all Muslims are terrorists? WHO has been saying all Democrats want is more money?

In America, aren’t we all supposed to see beyond class, or ethnicity, or all those other lines drawn to set us apart and lock us in groups?

   Do you, Paul, ever sit down and spend a day (not an hour) helping in an inner city school?  How about harvesting crops?  How about mining coal?  Let’s talk about how YOU intermingle every day with the poor, the people of color, the disabled, the homeless.  Then we can have a real conversation about the groups in this nation that have to be considered.

Real social progress is always a widening of the circle of concern and protection. It’s respect and empathy overtaking blindness and indifference. It’s understanding that by the true measure we are all neighbors and countrymen – called, each one of us, to know what is right and kind and just, and to go and do likewise.

Your neighbors are not mine. There is a class difference and you know it. You have gates on the streets that enter your neighborhoods and the only people of color who enter are for cleaning your houses, mowing your lawns, keeping your pool waters sparkling.  The true  measure is that made by those people who enter your pristine neighborhood, happy for the work, but ashamed and sickened by your attitude.

Everyone is equal … everyone has a place … no one is written off, because there is worth and goodness in every life.

Everyone has a place is a line that tells it all.

Straight from the Declaration of Independence, that is the Republican ideal – and if we won’t defend it, who will?

   Once again, history lesson. Republicans were NOT there at the drafting or signing of the Declaration of Independence. The people most like you were Tories, sticking to the ways of the King. The upstarts, the rebels, were young and breaking the rules. But again, the 4th grade education level of your constituents  pays off as they didn’t really pay attention in US History class.

So much that you and I care about, so many things we stand for, are in the balance in the coming election. Whatever we lack going into this campaign, we should not lack for motivation. In the plainest terms I know, it is all on the line.

       Hey! I agree with this! It IS on the line…for all of us.

So let’s act that way. Let’s use the edge we have, because it is still what earns trust and votes. This year of surprises and dramatic turns can end in the finest possible way – when America elects a conservative governing majority.

  You had a conservative ruling majority in Congress and we saw very clearly what you did….nothing for the PEOPLE. Nothing for the veterans, nothing for the teachers, nothing for the people who want to know what country their food comes from, nothing for the people. Plenty for the powerful. We see how the conservatives are.

We can do this, we can earn that mandate, if we don’t hold anything back, if we never lose sight of the stakes. Our candidates will be giving their all, their utmost, and every one of us has got to do the same.

  Yes, you can earn the mandate. And next week we will hear something similar and I probably will be annoyed enough to do this again. The candidates of both parties start out pretty excited to help their constituents…and then along come deep pockets with how many trillions of dollars to help dish out more empty words and lies, yes lies.

So what do you say we unite this party, at this crucial moment when unity is everything?

There are still some sane people in the Republican party who recognize what a mistake Trump is. Good luck to all of you uniting.

Let’s take the fight to our opponents with better ideas – let’s get on the offensive and let’s stay there.

    Oh, you’re plenty offensive enough.

Let’s compete in every part of America, and turn out at the polls like every last vote matters, because it will.

Except where you need voter ID that is new and different from the one you’ve been using for years. Then your vote doesn’t matter.

Fellow Republicans, what we have begun here, let’s see it through … let’s win this thing … let’s show America our best and nothing less.

      I’m still waiting to see your BEST for all people. 

Thank you, and God bless.

And now, we will see. Get ready for next week’s version and then three and a half months of …… empty promises and probable lies. Equal opportunity no matter the party affiliation, I’m afraid.