Rules for Republican and Democratic Presidential Candidates

Walter L. Bell, Ph.D.

The current cast of Presidential hopefuls constantly complain about the “Gotcha questions” posed to them by the reporters who are chosen to conduct the debates. The problem is their complete lack of knowledge regarding the Constitution, the branches of government, and the specific functions of each branch. They were not taught in school that whining to their teachers and parents will not work especially if they have not read their textbooks on the subject assigned to them. I used to tell my students that the only excuse for lack of effort was to be hit by a beer truck on the way to school.

Here is a partial solution to overcoming the complete ignorance for a person running for a political office. Every candidate running for political office would be required to attend a class and pass that class before being allowed to place their name on a ballot in any state whether running for a local, state, or national office. Passing such a course with or without local help or attendance for formal instruction would be required. Party affiliation would not matter since governing in our form of government should be color blind, blind to religious affiliation and blind to political affiliation. Supreme court justices for both state and local offices would not be exempt because we need to have well educated political official officers at all levels. As an example, our local city council has ignored our state’s open meeting laws whereby it is required that the public attendees be allowed to ask questions during regular scheduled public meetings.
We have not been well served by this self centered group.

The present Supreme Court of the United States also has not served our nation well by allowing rich benefactors to buy their influence through the passage of the Citizens United ruling which essentially allows money to set aside
political ethics and endorse corruption as a way of life in our great nation.

Does the United States Have Feudalism?

By Walter L. Bell, Ph.D.

Of all the questions posed upon this website, this is one of the most important because given our current Supreme Court which has no checks and balances, unlike the Presidency, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, we are well on our way to becoming a feudalistic society where our wealthy citizens control this nation in the way that nations operated before the French Revolution.

During the era of feudalism, the noblemen controlled vast areas of land all over the world.  The serfs lived on the vast areas of land and performed all the labor to keep the nobleman’s land profitable.  They had no personal rights and were at the mercy of nobleman’s sense of right and wrong concerning their welfare.  A woman was expected to submit to the sexual desires of the nobleman.  She had no choice and could only resist at her own peril.  Men also had little choice except in the skills as carpenters, farmers, and whatever other skills were needed to keep the lands profitable.  In short, the only free peoples were the nobility, which at present, in the United States, include only the very wealthy.  When the Supreme Court, in the Citizens United ruling declared that there were no limits on the amount of money an individual could spend upon the election of Senator or Representative, the buying of a lackey who would vote as the wealthy patron just to get elected, has turned this nation into politicians who are willing to be bribed in order to get elected. The only solution to this decision is to try to appoint liberal judges to the Supreme Court, but in order to do this we have to have a majority of democrats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, plus have a Democratic President.  Also, we have to have a Republican Justice of the Supreme Court resign during the time we have a Democratic majority in all three branches of government.  We did very well during the first part of President Obama’s term in office when we had a majority in the House of Representative when we were able to pass the Affordable Care Act.  But in off term elections the Democrats go to sleep and do not turn out to vote.  This voting pattern has allowed  the Republican Party to load the Supreme Court with their own conservative candidates when a Republican President is in Power.  The Bush Presidents are responsible for most to the Conservative Justices on the Supreme Court.  Clarence Thomas is a glaring example of a black candidate who was not liked by the Black Voters.  The loss of Justice Thurgood Marshal, the civil rights hero who became the first African American Supreme Court Justice, to be replaced by Justice Clarence Thomas, during the first Bush Presidency, along with Justice Scalia, Justice Alito, Justice Kennedy, and Chief Justice John Roberts have ensured that our Democracy is in Peril.  The rich now rule the United States much as the Robber Barons did during the 1800’s and the early 1900’s, so we now have a choice either get out and vote for candidates who will not be purchased by the wealthy, or accept the present stupidity of the current Supreme Court of the United States who do not believe in voting rights or fair elections.  We are now entering the New Age of feudalism in the United States.

Operation Stupidity in the State of Tennessee

Walter  L. Bell, Ph.D.

You would think that Senator Corker and  Governor Haslam of Tennessee would take pride in a well trained workforce in their state, but they chose to threaten workers if they chose to form a union at the new Volkswagen Plant in their state.  The German meaning of Volkswagen is peoples wagon  or folks wagon.  It was designed to be cheap enough to be available to the average worker in Germany.  Although the design was basically approved prior to World War II, it did not come into production until 1946 after the war.  The Germans have always valued engineering with highly qualified workers.  In fact a now deceased German friend, who worked on the German missile program during World War II,  told me that the German War machines were so highly engineered that if one broke down on the battlefield that they could not be fixed by the average German soldier.  By contrast, the war machines built by the Allied Forces in World War II were considered sloppy by German Standards, but the US, Russian and other European Allies could repair them in the field and  use parts from other machines that had been damaged but could be placed back in service by the American soldiers, who in civilian life had been rebuilding old cars using parts from junked cars.  When the Humvee was introduced to replace the Jeep, it did not have any armor plating for the IED introduced by Iraq’s insurgent troops, so the US troops without authorization from the US Army did it themselves until the Defense Department finally got around to requiring manufacturers to include armor plate these vehicles.

If Senator Corker and Governor Haslam of  Tennessee had the workers interests, instead of their own political interests in mind, they would not have tried to intimidate the workers at the new Volkswagen plant.  A well trained workforce, who the management of the plant is willing include in the running of the plant, should be a desired outcome by management in any company.  However, the Southern States have pursued discriminatory policies in both voting and worker rights since President Lyndon Johnson signed  into law his Great Society Legislation, in 1964 and 1968, which included laws for civil rights for all citizens regardless of race.  It is no secret that workers at the Volkswagen plant would include racial diversity with bargaining rights and employee representation.  The German government has pursued these rights and has encouraged technical training because they understand that a well trained workforce can compete with any workforce in the world, and are also the most loyal workers in the world because they are not discriminated  against because of  race or ethnic origins.

My origins and sympathies are with the South, but when it comes to racial and ethnic discrimination, labor unions, voting restrictions, and other rights of the citizens of the United States in any region, I have no patience with any part of the United States which denies equal rights of its citizens to work, to organize, and to prosper.  This is the reason the United States has become a magnet for other citizens of foreign countries who discriminate against the rights of their own citizens.  The United States entered into a new era when the Supreme Court of the United States signed the Citizens United law which made a corporation a person. I would not be surprised if ALEC is behind this with its billionaire backers, such as the Koch Brothers.  ALEC has been against labor unions, voting rights, and many other measures which guarantee equal rights of all our citizens.

If the State of  Tennessee and the rest of the Southern States would still like to join the Union, known as the United States of America, we would welcome them as long as all their citizens are granted the freedom and dignity enjoyed by the more enlightened states.  The Supreme Court Justices who claim that voting rights are not mentioned in the Constitution should read it again because neither are atomic bombs, nuclear accelerators, and many other scientific  and technical devices such as modern operating rooms, computers  in classrooms and homes, and also televisions.  So for a state such as Tennessee and many other states north and south, east and west, to prevent and threaten their citizens from voting or participating and bargaining for salary, working conditions, and pay is backward and discriminatory.

 

 

WELCOME TO THE SOUTH

Walter L. Bell, Ph.D.

I decided to add a preface this post after reviewing what I had written. It has to do with the onset of World War II and the incarceration of Japanese American citizens into Concentration Camps. There were those in the War Office who considered them a threat to the war effort against the Axis powers of Japan, Italy, and Germany. Two lifelong friends, one Japanese and one Caucasian, are part of this post because prejudice is not confined to any part of this country or to any particular race or group of immigrants. The Japanese sent to the concentration camps were loyal Americans who were sent without proof that they were disloyal. They came to live and go to school with us because the father of my lifelong Caucasian friend suggested releasing the Japanese to farm. We needed farmers to replace all the young men who went off to fight in World War. Once the Japanese were released from the Camp in Idaho, they came to work as farmers. Farming was new to most of the Japanese so the crops they chose to plant and raise were row crops such as lettuce, potatoes, sugar beets, and onions. Their first task was to take out the fence rows and farm adjacent to the roads. They did not raise any livestock or any crops such as corn, alfalfa, or grain. The children of the Japanese became our classmates and entered into learning with greater effort and diligence than their Caucasian classmates. They entered into the sports programs such as boxing, football, track, and baseball. There was prejudice at first, but as we got to know each other better the prejudice diminished and we became friends. The first Japanese and Caucasian marriage caused an incident by both families. The couple married and divorced because of their families, but they remarried each other after the brief divorce. There were many more intermarriages. The Japanese decided to build a cultural center to commemorate their arrival and development as citizens of Malheur County in Eastern Oregon and also Western Idaho, but decided to dedicate it to all the citizens of the region because they realized we were all immigrants. My lifelong Japanese friend still lives in Eastern Oregon and is married to a Caucasian woman, and my other friend lives in Southern Oregon.

On October 1956, after graduating in June from what is now Eastern Oregon State University, I was drafted by the U.S. Army. I had three school choices, cook’s school, military police, or aircraft maintenance school. I chose the latter and set off for basic training at Camp Carson in Colorado. The elevation at Camp Carson is about 6000 feet, but because I had been building a telephone line from La Grande, Oregon to Baker, Oregon, where the elevation was about 4500 feet, I was not bothered by the difference in elevation. For those who were overweight or in poor physical condition, it was so difficult that some would pass out and have placed in the medical truck which followed us on our marches. After about five to six weeks, those who were out of shape at the beginning of basic training were able to keep up with the rest of the company. My work during the summer had prepared me very well, because I had been finishing up digging the holes for telephone poles using an eight foot metal bar that was pointed on one end and flat on the other end. I also had and eight to ten foot spoon to scoop out the loose rock. I did this work for about twelve weeks or more in temperatures that were often 110 degrees. I always got a severe headache because dynamite contains liquid nitro-glycerine which is placed in diatomaceous earth or sawdust to form a means of holding the liquid. The nitro-glycerine fumes cause the headaches. When I went into the Army, we had to take physical training tests(PT Tests) to determine our degree of fitness, plus we all had to pass a medical exam and take shots of all kinds. So with my fitness at a very high level, I did better at the PT tests at the beginning of basic training than at the end. As soon as I finished basic training, I was sent to Camp Rucker, Alabama, now Fort Rucker, to train as a helicopter mechanic. It was an interesting assignment and an interesting place. I was sent there in December from Camp Carson wearing my winter uniform which was a heavy wool uniform. When I got off the train at Montgomery, Alabama the temperature was in the 80′s and the humidity was very high so we were very uncomfortable. As I looked around the train station, I saw that the water fountains and restrooms had signs “Whites Only” and “Colored Only”. My mother was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas and had told me about the South, but I was puzzled by the signs. It was my first introduction to the South in the late 1950′s. I should have known better because my mother told of traveling from Jonesboro to Memphis, which was about 60 miles, and seeing a black man hanging from a telephone pole. His crime could have been as minor as looking at a white woman ore even worse flirting with her. The other information of interest was that we were told that the blacks had refused to give up their seats to whites on the buses and were boycotting the bus company, so that the busses were not running at a full schedule. There had also been a black Minister, who had been traveling around the South, demanding the same Civil Rights enjoyed by the white citizens. I had never heard of this Minister who turned out to be the Reverend Martin Luther King, or the woman, Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man. Rosa Parks had been arrested sometime either in late 1955 or in 1956 for this crime. She had also been arrested about ten years prior to the latest event, when she refused to pay her toll and then get off the bus. walk to the back of the bus and enter the bus through the back door so the white passengers did not have to look at the blacks as they went down the aisle. This earlier crime had taken place on the same bus with the same driver before the one in 1955 or 1956. The Army had sent us to Montgomery, but had not provided us with transportation or with money to travel to Camp Rucker, so we had to stay overnight in the YMCA for a night which cost us 50 cents plus a little more for food. Some of my companions went out looking for women and reported back that the women they had met were very light skinned but the palms of their hands were even lighter. They thought they might be mulattos, a term seldom used anymore, to label a person of mixed race primarily black and white. After spending the night in Montgomery and contacting the Army in Fort Rucker, we took the bus to Fort Rucker. As usual, I walked to the back of the bus and got peculiar glances by the blacks sitting in the last ten rows of seats. I sat down next to a young black boy and talked to him as we rode along. I later learned that the State of Alabama could have arrested me for riding in the back of the bus. I liked riding in the back of the bus because it was usually empty or not crowded. In my case, ignorance was bliss because I was neither arrested nor did I have any problem because I rode in the back of the bus.

In the rest of my service, I had little contact with blacks except for a Warrant Officer who was one of the 34 helicopter pilots in our company. The only segregation I observed was that we started to get NCO’s in our company from the Infantry because the military was going through a downsizing and had to put the senior NCO’s somewhere. These NCO’s did not want anything to do with the Specialist class of soldiers who had been through helicopter maintenance school and tried to impose spit and polish techniques on the rest of us. One thing they tried was to insist that both pairs of boots had to be polished to a high shine, but once any hydraulic fluid was spilled on the boots, they would no longer shine. With the help of the First Sergeant and the Commanding Officer, this life threatening problem was solved by leaving one pair of boots polished for inspection. These same infantry sergeants did not want to share the mess hall with such low-lives, which the specialist class of soldiers represented. We also had army officers who had been victims of reduction in force, but they had a choice of retiring with less than twenty years of service or staying in the service as a Master Sergeant to finish their years toward retirement. The moral of this story is that different branches of the US Army operate without the need for strict rules of hierarchy because the pilots need to trust and respect the enlisted personnel who take care of the aircraft they are flying. Before the infantry sergeants, we did not have this class distinction in our company. I guess another moral of this story is that rigid class distinctions can arise anywhere at anytime.

It was in 1991 before I returned to the South where I lived for three years on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. The State of Mississippi had changed greatly due to the Civil Rights movement. The black kids and white kids who were poor attended public schools, while the affluent black kids and affluent white kids attended the once all white academies which were set up by the whites as the result of the desegregation. This meant that the Southern States spent more on education than the Northern States on a per capita basis, a statistic seldom discussed in Educational Circles. The other result of the resegregation of schools on the basis of affluence and not race, is that it robs the public schools of the leadership qualities which the affluent kids enjoy because of their enriched life experiences. The Northern States have a similar segregation due to affluent parents sending their kids to private schools, such as charter schools and other private schools that were set up before the United States were formed as a Union. Now the Public Schools are under assault by the large companies which make up ALEC, because they do not want to support public education through taxation. We are entering a new era of segregation with the super wealthy citizens refusing to pay their fair share of taxes in order to provide financial support for public services. In politics, we see new voting laws which try to keep underprivileged citizens from voting. These wealthy corporations and citizens have no sense of patriotism. Segregation as once practiced in the South now finds new areas in which to flourish, from the avoidance of taxes to prejudice against less affluent citizens in the Hispanic, Muslim, Black and White communities. We have states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania trying to void municipal laws, elected officials, labor unions. and so forth.

In contrast while living in Mississippi, we had Black police officers, mixed church congregations, mixed schools and many other examples communities working together for the good of their communities. In contrast, on the eve of Inauguration of President Obama we had Rep.Eric Kantor, Rep. Paul Ryan, the Ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, probably Minority Leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and many others attending a secret meeting and agreeing to do everything in their power to thwart the Obama Presidency because he was of both Black and White heritage. We had Senator McConnell of Kentucky declaring that he would do everything possible to ensure that Obama would not be elected for a second term.

To summarize this post, I have a favorable view of Southern Politics and my Southern Relatives. I grew up in Oregon, but my mother taught me the Southern tradition of manners, and my Southern Wife from Mississippi has continued the lessons, although she is sometimes in despair over my progress. Southeners are not perfect. Neither are the Northeners or Westeners because in many of the Western States such as Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and Idaho, there are some of the most conservative political leaders anywhere in the United States. We have some of the Oklahoma delegates who do not believe in global warming and would not even if that state formed rain forests and jungles. My deceased brother-in-law had many black friends in Mississippi, including a Deputy Sheriff who met in each others homes. He once asked me what I would think of his asking his friend. Deputy Sheriff Bubba, over for drinks. I replied that if he were my friend I would not care what others would think if I invited him over for drinks. I am certain he and Bubba had shared many drinks in each others homes, but he wanted my approval. In true Southern tradition white and black women would often assist each other during child birth or if there was an illness in each others family. During the early 1920″s, my father bid on a construction project while he and my mother were living in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He was criticized for hiring black carpenters to help him on the project. He told the white relatives and friends that he did not care what color their skin was as long as they could do the job. I cannot state my true disdain for any political leaders who would meet in private and pledge to oppose the first White and Black President of the United States in everything he proposed. I promised myself not to use profanity in my posts.

The Vulture

Since our home backs onto a wildlife refuge, we have all kinds of wild animals including hawks, vultures, blue herons, geese, ducks, ravens, crows, mountain jays, fox, coyotes, deer, eagles, five different snakes, rabbits, feral cats, humming birds, and frogs. The one animal I will tell you about is the turkey buzzard because the buzzard or vulture doesn’t kill anything it only eats dead animals.

I once had a poster of two buzzards sitting upon a road sign out in the desert with two signs pointing in two directions. At the bottom of the sign was a sun bleached skeleton of an animal which had been picked clean. Since I grew up in the high desert of Eastern Oregon, it takes less than 30 days for a dead cow or horse to be nothing but a skeleton with only a few pieces of hide and sinew left on the bones. After a year of two the sun will have bleached out the skeleton so that the bones are completely white. My poster, in which my wife saw no humor, had two buzzards sitting on the sign post looking down at the bleached out skeleton. One buzzard turned to the other and said, “Patience hell, let’s kill something.”

We have been hearing on the news about Venture Capitalists buying a company, selling off all its assets, laying off all its employees, confiscating its pension funds and leaving the company with a mountain of debt, so that it has to file for bankruptcy,and keeping all the profits for themselves. This is the kind of business Mitt Romney was involved in when he started Bain Capital. Venture Capitalists, now referred to as Vulture Capitalists do not create anything but only leave a skeleton of a company that is bankrupt and lies bleaching it the sun as a dead company. Romney will try to explain that he merged companies or reorganized them into viable companies, but what he doesn’t tell you that his investors or partners never lost money. Instead, they stripped all the assets out of the company and kept the money for themselves. In order to keep from paying taxes on their money they established off shore accounts which were not taxed. This is how he set up a hundred million dollar offshore account for his sons. It is also the reason he is reluctant to present his income tax records for the public until the very last moment before the next election.

Romney also wants to defund public sector unions, including teachers unions, and use that money for other schemes he and his cronies in ALEC have set up. One only has to look at Romney’s record as Govenor of the State of Massachusets, which he left with a huge debt, to get an idea on how he would try to run the Federal Government. It would be a government of the Rich, for the Rich, and by the Rich. He wants to cut taxes on the rich and has probably already signed the “Vulture Document”, authored by Grover Norquist, never to raise taxes.

We need to spend money to get us out of this depression. We will have to do deficit financing on a scale similar to the Great Depression of the 1930’s and after World War II in order to get us out of this quagmire the Republicans have got us into with their refusal to fund any public works projects such as building roads, and bridges, and schools. You do not see the employees of banks and other financial institutions working in buildings which are falling apart. Go to any small town or big city and you will find that banks waste more space than any other institution. By contrast, public schools in large and small communities are overcrowded, have high levels of molds that make students ill. Many were built either in the 1930’s or after World War II. The high school where I taught was literally falling apart. It got so bad it was finally torn down and a new building was built. My students were always asking me why we did not have air conditioning, to which I always replied, “We do, it is air conditioned hot and hotter.”

Senator Mitch McConnell, from Kentucky refused to allow his Republican colleagues in the Senate to provide money to rebuild a bridge in his own state, that is unsafe and causes traffic delays which ultimately costs more than the cost of rebuilding the bridges. This is sheer stupidity and makes one wonder why the citizens of Kentucky keep electing people like he and Rand Paul. The bridges and freeways were built after World War II when President Eisenhower, a liberal and well respected Republican, signed the highway bill to bring our roads up to the standards he saw in Germany during World War II. Our level of national debt was higher in proportion than at the present time. So the solution is to use deficit financing until we have rebuilt our factories, employed our own workers, and have a fully functioning private and governmental work force which is able to buy our own products. You will hear the argument that our goods and services will cost more because of labor unions, but at least our citizens will be employed and have more money to spend. This plan worked well until the past two Bush Presidencies out sourced our jobs, failed to finance two wars, gave tax breaks to companies and wealthy individuals to set up companies overseas.

An update on current events has Bain Capital moving a company to China because it can make more money and escape paying taxes in the United States. The final irony, is that current employees of this company are required to train their Chinese counterparts in the job they are doing. I have always wondered why an employee would do agree to train someone else for their job unless they were getting a large severance package to do this work.

FINDING MONEY FOR A COLLEGE EDUCATION

Getting a college education is becoming more and more expensive to the extent that it is becoming extremely difficult for a person of modest means to go to college. Trying to work while one goes to college can be frustrating because the amount of money one can earn at a part or full time job is rarely enough to pay for housing, plus tuition, books and other fees. There are many resources either on line or available at a local college or university. At the university I attended, there was an extensive library devoted to scholarships, grants, writing proposals and so on. I discovered this library when I went there not as a student but as a professional writing a proposal for a research grant. Here are some of the categories I found:

1. Scholarships and grants for students whose parents lived in a particular community and worked for a specific company or had a specific occupation are available. The category of scholarships and grants is particularly useful because, unlike loans, they do not have to be paid back. Many students have no idea that these kind of scholarships and grants exist.
2. Work Study is often offered by Community Colleges, Four Year Colleges, and Universities can be combined with grants, loans, and scholarships to provided the student with some extra spending money. Some colleges and universities have learning centers where students can go to get help in study skills, writing skills and topics in mathematics, science, and other technical areas where they need help. Let us say for example that you have good writing skills. If you have the time and patience to work with other students, you can get paid to help other students. There is another advantage of working in a learning center and that is that in teaching others you will enhance your own learning because students will ask you questions that you never thought of because the particular subject was easy for you to learn.
3. Loans are another way to get through college which is an advantage, but loans do have to be paid back and usually have to be guaranteed by your parents unless you are independent and self employed.
4. What ever choice is open to you, you need to get started early and start before you graduate from high school if you are still in high school. The internet is a good place to start, but you do not have to pay someone to apply for a grant, scholarship, or loan. You will need to to have financial information from your parents or from your own income statement.
5. Make absolutely certain that you check your spelling and sentence structure when you apply for admission to a college or university. There is nothing worse than to project yourself as lacking in skills. Remember you are trying to sell yourself to a committee who does not know you. Have someone else check your work and chose someone who you know has good writing skills.
6. Finally, you have to choose a specific set of schools that fit you as a person. For the first two years, a community college is a good choice because not everyone has to go to an Ivy League College or University such as Harvard or Princeton. Luckily for myself, I chose to go to a small four year college which had a good faculty and a small student body whose back ground fit my own. I went to this college with the attitude that I was going there to learn and not to party. Learning should be approached as a job

The Arab Spring

New reports regarding the Arab Spring do not focus very much upon the heroics of the Muslim Women who are very much at the forefront of the Movements for freedom from repressive governments. It is no surprise that Muslim women are not given credit in the press for their heroics. For some reason women have not been recognized in the USA. If you want an example of this you need only to watch the Congressional hearings led by Republican Rep.Darrell Issa from California on women’s reproductive rights. The only woman at these hearings was Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who objected to a hearing of all men making decisions regarding women’s rights without any women available to testify because none were invited.

In the Egyptian uprisings, both men and women were represented in great numbers. I have great admiration for the courage shown by Muslim women all across Northern Africa with special recognition for the courage of the Libyan woman who was raped by the Gaddafi”s guards, and went on television to report it. In Syria, the Syrian Army is targeting men, women and children who have no protection, no medical care, and lately very little food. It is hard to tell anything regarding the outcome of women’s rights in this region once the governments are changed to allow the citizens more participation in their own government. In the early stages of the development of the Muslim religion, the women had more rights than at present times.

The current paranoia by many of the citizens of the United States regarding Muslims, a nation which was supposedly founded upon the freedom to pursue any religion of ones choice, is a stain upon our national character. To denigrate the religion of the Muslims in this nation and around the world is a retreat to the Crusades which were carried out to get rid of the so-called infidel Muslim religion. I do not know where this quote came from, but someone in the news stated that a Muslim said that he wished he had met Jesus Christ before he met Christians. In our own new search for a new President, we have new voter suppression laws being passed by many states that mirror the poll taxes laws in the Southern States prior to the Civil Rights Movement. These states are trying to ensure that the minorities in the United States do not re-elect a President who is not white.

I have recently watched a television movie made in 1997, Mandela and De Klerk, where Sidney Poitier played the role of Nelson Mandela. In this movie Poitier was brilliant in his role as Mandela in his quest to bring equality to the Black Citizens of South Africa. The movie was a great reminder of the struggle the human race has to provide freedom and equality for all our earthly citizens regardless of their race, gender or religion. Much of our current political discourse reverts back to the racial origins of President Barack Obama. By the voter suppression measures being instituted in many of our states we certainly do not appear to have learned much about equal rights for our citizens. I am hoping that we emulate the courage shown by the men and women in the Arab Spring movement.

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REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

After watching Mitt Romney attempt to communicate over the years, I watched his jerky movements, his speech patterns, his argumentative manner, and his general inability to connect with the many different kinds of people who come to his political gatherings. I then remembered back to my years in high school and in teaching at all levels from elementary through high school and college. I am certain that at one time he went to school with the top button of his shirt buttoned, his pants buckled above his waste line, and if he got the chance he sat in the front row, got his work done on time and volunteered the answer to every question, often with off of the subject answers, and tended to be a little on the prissy side. There are also female versions of this type of person, but as a male, I have a little harder time describing them. Although after watching the Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, she fits in the female nerd category, without the prissy traits of Mitt. She has trouble telling the truth, first claiming that her meeting at the White House, with President Obama was very gracious, until she met him on the tarmac as he got of the plane, shook her finger in his face and claimed she felt threatened by him. She was definitely not gracious nor prissy, but would be better suited for a roller derby. My son fit into the male nerd mold, and my ex-wife was a female nerd who could always come up with an off the wall comment. She, like Mitt, could not tell a joke without it falling flat. I am certain after watching Mitt, that he fits the stereotype of a male nerd.

Rick Santorum is a religious fanatic, although my father, who loved a play on words, would have described him as a “religious frantic”. He is very intelligent and can give a very good speech, but I am not certain he can tell a joke or appreciate one. His intensity regarding his religious beliefs make one wonder if he can focus on tasks unrelated to his religious beliefs. Santorum appears to have been the victim of religious brain washing to the extent that he appears to be unable to think for himself.

Newt Gingrich has a long history as a member of the House of Representatives until he was forced to resign amid scandal. One former Republican House member stated that Gingrich wanted to tell other members how to vote and how to think. This particular attitude has been a problem with Republicans for a long time. If one of their members thinks out-of-the-box, they tend to get shunned and relegated to the less prestigious committees until their thinking is reformed. The Republican pledge not to vote for a tax increase by signing the document by Grover Norquist is a prime example of the pressure exerted by the Republican Party to follow the Republican “Group Think”. Newt may have been picked upon as a child and grew up as a bully.

Ron Paul does not fit the Republican Mold. He is better suited for the Libertarian Party than the Republican Party. He wants less government interference, less regulation, more states rights, no foreign wars, unless we are attacked first, no government snooping or interference with private citizens, and so on. Some of his ideas are easy to agree with, but the world is much more complex and our national boundaries and interdependence is much more complex due to our communications, trade, and international affairs.

Reincarnation–Fact or Myth

I have found this a very interesting topic over many years. It is not one that is treated as a serious issue particularly in the scientific community which views life as a biochemical state made up of atoms and different compounds, but with no spirit or concept of an afterlife. Since I started out as a liberal arts major and ended up with a background in physics and mathematics, I tend to bridge both worlds in my thinking. I have many books on the subject of reincarnation and have read many accounts of near death experiences in which people have been declared clinically dead and yet survived. Many of those who survived recount experiences in which they viewed their operations from the ceiling and heard themselves declared to be clinically dead. Others recount experiences of going through a tunnel toward a light in which they were greeted by friends, relatives and counselors who told them their mission in life was not yet finished.

Many of the major religions accept reincarnation as part of the cycle of life where one works out problems they have before they are accepted into a permanent state where it is no longer necessary to reincarnate. Most Christian religions accept the idea of Jesus of Nazareth as a soul worthy of resurrection without the need to reincarnate. Buddhists, depending upon the particular version of Buddhism, view the quest for enlightenment as a means to attain a state of permanent reincarnation. Buddhism is based upon the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who sought enlightenment, rather than to follow his father as the ruler of a state or region in eastern India. I have no intention of going into the various versions of either Christianity, Buddhism, or the Islamic religion. The topic is too vast for my purposes which is to discuss briefly the concept of reincarnation which is permanent state of existence where birth and death as we know it is no longer necessary. Wikipedia has an excellent overview of Buddhism which you can read if you are interested. My interest and reading has been primarily devoted to Zen Buddhism and to the Tibetan version of Buddhism.

One of my favorite books is a compilation of Zen thought, ZEN FLESH ZEN BONES, A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings(1957 and 1985) compiled by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki. It consists of a series of Koans which are thoughts designed to help the unenlightened to become enlightened. Here is an example of having attained enlightenment: MUDDY ROAD

TANZAN AND EKIDO were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.

Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

“Come on, girl” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous, Why did you do that?”

“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”

Another book I found of great interest was written by a Irish Priest who left Ireland and spent ten or more years studying with a Zen Master in Japan. The book is entitled: CHRISTIAN ZEN: A WAY OF MEDITATION, by William Johnston. He was amazed that he could ask any question without fear of reproach by the Zen Master, who would usually answer much like Tanzan did in his answer to his fellow monk. William Johnston was amazed at the manner used by the Zen Master to enable the Priest to answer his own question for himself. He stated that if he had stayed in Ireland as a Catholic Priest he would never have thought through the answers to his questions in such depth.

Another author I have read extensively, was Ruth Montgomery who wrote many books on the subject of reincarnation, including one entitled Strangers Among Us(1979), and one entitled Aliens Among Us(1985). In the book Strangers Among Us, she discusses people who she calls Walk-ins, as enlightened beings who are permitted to take over the body of an adult being who wishes to depart and has given permission to an enlightened being, who has undergone many reincarnations, to come back and work on a specific task without going through rebirth, childhood, and adulthood. Ruth Montgomery started out as a journalist and turned to writing books on many topics related to reincarnation. Among her associates were Edgar Casey a medium who worked with a medical doctor to help develop cures or treatments for diseases of his time. Casey had many books written by others based upon various topic he discussed over many years one entitled Edgar Cayce on Atlantis, compiled by Edgar Evans Cayce(1968) his son and who was the Director for the Association of Research and Enlightenment.

There are so many authors who have written upon this subject that I will not attempt to name them all, but I must at least list some of the books in my personal library which relate to the topic of life and other lives.

Gina Cerminara, Many Lives, Many Loves(1963), Lobsang Rampa, The Third Eye(1956), Carlos Castaneda, The Fire From Within(1985), George Gamow, One,Two,Three Infinity,…Facts and Speculations on Science(1988), Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics(1976), The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward Fizgerald(1962), Kahlil Gibran, The Profhet(1923), and R.G.H. Siu, The Tao Of Science, An Essay on Western Knowledge and Eastern Wisdom(1957). My list is short because it is up to the reader to explore this topic and come to their own conclusions. If you choose to explore it, you will come across many more authors, skeptics, who deny any afterlife. It is up to you. I hope you enjoy your journey.

Politicians, Supreme Court Justices, and Other Public Officials for Sale or Already Sold

Walter L. Bell, Ph.D.

It is amazing that with all the attention paid by various media outlets that more attention is not paid to investigating politicians who are obviously for sale or have already been sold by large corporations who funnel money to them. We have not yet heard anything new regarding Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who failed to file proper income tax returns on money earned by his wife. His excuse that he did not understand the tax laws is inexcusable. I personally do not understand all the tax laws, so I do the next best thing and hire a trustworthy Certified Public Accountant to do my income tax. We have also not heard anything about censoring Supreme Court Justices Thomas, Scalia, and Alito for their attendance at the secret meetings held by the Koch Brothers to plot ways to secure control of state, local, and the federal government by buying politicians such as Governors Scot Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasik of Ohio.

To give you a concrete example of the great Governor of Ohio, Cooper Tire Company negotiated a contract at one plant in Ohio and convinced the union employees to give up about $30,000 each, in wages and benefits over a three year period of time, to help make this particular plant profitable. The union did so and the plant became one of the most profitable in the Cooper Tire Company. After getting the union to give up wages and benefits, the management used much of the money to vote themselves huge bonuses. Now after three years of profits, the management of this particular Cooper Tire installation is trying to coerce the union to renegotiate their contract to again give up more wages and benefits so that they can again give themselves huge bonuses.

It is time for the workers to vote out any politician, like Walker and Kasik, who were bought and paid for by the corporations belonging to ALEC, and to get a Democratic majority in the House and Senate, with Obama as President and recall the Supreme Court Members who voted for Citizens United. Only the House of Representatives can recall a Supreme Court Member, so we need a solid majority of Democrats who have not been bought and paid for by the Corporations who belong to ALEC. You can easily tell who those politicians and corporations are by looking up www.ALEC.com. You can easily find your own state representatives and senators as well as the corporations, such as WalMart, who are providing the money to buy the politicians.

If you remember, former WalMart women employees tried to get the Supreme Court to force WalMart to compensate them for wages and promotions given to male employees while ignoring equally qualified women employees. It was reported that Supreme Court Justice Kennedy was rude and made disparaging remarks to and about the women in the this class action suit. We as citizens should not tolerate actions by the Supreme Court which are derisive to 99% of the citizens of the United States. I am in favor of the so-called Tea Party and the 99ers who have been out peacefully protesting politicians of all flavors who flaunt the will of the people. I do not always agree with the solutions proposed by these two groups, but I applaud their dedication to our nation.

We also have two of the Right Wing Supreme Court members who were invited to a meeting and lavish dinner by the big pharmaceutical firms, and who want the Supreme Court to rule on the Obama Health Care provisions and return the laws to the same firms who disallowed Health Care for preexisting conditions and for the provision that would require everyone to pay for at least a minimal amount of health care. This provision would allow the costs of emergency medical care to be added to those members who already pay for their health care. It appears that the Supreme Court is going to hear the case that the pharmaceutical firms want them to hear, so it certainly appears that the Right Wing members have already made up their minds to vote against the new health care laws just as they did on the Citizens United Case. Again, we have not only our Congressional politicians being bought and sold, but the Right Wing Supreme members are apparently on the “Take” as well.