Saturday, September 10, 2011

Busy Saturday

This will be a busy Saturday. I just went out to Eggberts to have breakfast with my brother-in-law. He is taking his youngest daughter...the one that goes to the nursing home to feed her mother every day...and her family to Bartlesville to eat out at the Mexican restaurant there. This is her birthday. The other daughter's birthday is the 14th...the same day as my son-in-law.

I stopped by Orchelon's and bought some cedar mulch before coming home. Later today I will start cleaning out and mulching my flowerbeds again.

On another note....

I was just reading Governor Perry's remarks in this interview about capital punishment in Texas.

They Messed With Texas

WILLIAMS: Governor Perry, a question about Texas. Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. Have you…


Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?

PERRY: No, sir. I’ve never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place of which — when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court of the United States, if that’s required.

But in the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you’re involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is, you will be executed.

WILLIAMS: What do you make of…


What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?

PERRY: I think Americans understand justice. I think Americans are clearly, in the vast majority of — of cases, supportive of capital punishment. When you have committed heinous crimes against our citizens — and it’s a state-by-state issue, but in the state of Texas, our citizens have made that decision, and they made it clear, and they don’t want you to commit those crimes against our citizens. And if you do, you will face the ultimate justice.

See the media responses to this "execution cheer." Note how much it's an "us and them" issue: "if you kill one of our ..."

I consider that a tragedy. In my opinion, restorative justice is a much better response to crime than killing another person.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Michael Scheuer, the CIA’s expert on the Middle East at the time of the 9/11 attacks, put his finger right on the real reasons for the 9/11 attack. It had nothing at all to do with their supposed hatred for our freedoms. That makes no sense at all. After all, the Arab world is working very hard to establish those same freedoms in that part of the world.

Scheuer says the real reasons for the hatred many radical Muslims have for America are reasons that make a lot more sense.

1. US support for Israel that keeps Palestinians in the thrall of Israel.
2. US and other Western troops on the Arabian Peninsula.
3. US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
4. US support for Russia, India and China against their Muslim militants.
5. US pressure on Arab energy producers to keep oil prices low.
6. US support for apostate, corrupt and tyrannical Muslim governments.

This reasoning helps us understand their point of view. Scheuer tried his very best to make these points with the nation’s leadership but they were not ready to listen to reason. They wanted revenge.

We could probably justify the attack on Afghanistan since it was a stronghold of al Qaeda terrorists. But the fiasco of invading Iraq to find “weapons of mass destruction” which never existed was indefensible. We should have got into Afghanistan and got out of this war before all support and sympathy for us in the Arab world eroded.

I have to ask myself, if another nation came to the US and attacked us and invaded us and occupied our country for ten years, would I be an insurgent? Probably many of us would.

Many of the youth of Islam, who were only children when the 9/11 attack occurred, are now becoming bitter with us. They have lost many of their family through drone attacks on citizens and the “collateral damage” inflicted by our soldiers.

There has to be a better response than war to the world’s problems. Neither Islam nor Christianity can justify violence as a just response. We have to work harder to work with one another to reach consensus to the problems of the world. War is not the answer.

Friday at Last

It has been a very busy week. And from now on it will b even busier. We lost an employee today. She was notified Tuesday that she was the new manager of a retail store opening in Independence..15 miles north of here. So today was her last day. And there is a hiring freeze now so I will be doing a lot more then filing. Yesterday they taught me how to scan the traffic tickets. Today Lynette taught me how to do the fines for the tickets. So I will be even busier from now on.

I came home this afternoon and have been reading. I am really tired.

The newspaper printed my letter to the editor about Top Secret America. It will be interesting to see if there is any fallout from that.

I made an appointment today to have blood work done on Monday morning. My doctor wanted me to have that done months ago but I have put it off. She is leaving her practice in December and I will be without a doctor so I decided to get it done. I have pretty much lived on homemade ice cream and sandwiches when I don't eat out...and also TV dinners from Schwan's. Lord only knows what my triglyceride levels are.

Well I'll know soon.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The President's Address and More

In his address to a joint session of Congress laying out his $400 billion economic plan, President Obama said that "every proposal I’ve laid out tonight is the kind that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past. Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight will be paid for. And every proposal is designed to meet the urgent needs of our people and our communities."

But he also pointed out positions that have separated the White House from congressional Republicans, such as rolling back consumer protection measures, his health care reform plan and collective bargaining rights for union members.

Obama drew a line with hard-liners who have demanded only spending cuts, rejecting "this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everyone’s money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own."

During the speech, CNN released an alert about two missing trucks that are supposedly intending to create another terrorist attack in either Washington or New York. More about that later.

Fact Checking the Debate

The GOP candidates took some liberties when discussing jobs, Social Security, immigration, health care and other issues during the presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Library:

*Perry exaggerated when he called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" that won't be there for "kids that are 25 or 30 years old today." Social Security's finances -- while troubled -- are an open book, not an investment scam, and the program could still support 74 percent of promised benefits in 2085.

*Romney misrepresented Perry's position on Social Security, suggesting the Texas governor advocated "abolishing" it in his book. Perry's book criticized Social Security without proposing any changes to it.

*Romney misleadingly claimed that the Massachusetts health care overhaul affected just 8 percent of the state's residents, while the federal law will affect "100 percent of the people." But both plans require nearly everyone to have insurance or pay a penalty.

*Perry claimed Obama was poorly informed or an "abject liar" on the subject of public safety along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Perry misrepresented what Obama actually said, which was accurate; overall, crime rates in border towns have in fact declined.

*Bachmann said gasoline was just $1.79 a gallon when Obama became president, suggesting he is to blame for the current high prices. But gasoline prices -- which are set by world markets -- were higher under Republican President George W. Bush just months before Obama took office.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Republican Debate

I think Rick Perry will find that the largest voting block in the nation are senior citizens and they will not appreciate having social security pictured as a big "ponzi scheme". All of us have paid into the Social Security program all our working lives and so did our employers. Congress used that money to pay for wars and everything else that came along and that's where the mythical social security trust fund went when it disappeared. Seniors vote. They may vote against him for that reason.

This debate helped Romney. He at least sounded intelligent which is something else Perry lacks. However, the south will be a big problem for him. The south (the Bible belt)does not like Mormons and that will cost him.

Perry had to call social security a "ponzi scheme" because he had that in his book. That book is going to kill him. Ponzi was a criminal who duped people. The reason social security isn't a ponzi scheme is because it would have been there for everyone if congress hadn't spent it over the past 50 years. Seniors vote. Most young people...especially Republican young people do not vote in a Republican primary. Seniors do.

I haven't seen anyone yet that I think could win the presidency.

More About Frontline on PBS

Some of you may not have been able to watch Frontline last night so I am putting my letter to the editor here for you to read.

Dear Editor,

If you've ever wondered what happened to that huge Clinton money surplus from the Clinton years, the PBS special Frontline can tell you where much of it went. Tonight (Tuesday evening) Frontline ran a special called "Top Secret America". Pulitzer prize winning journalist Dana Priest spent two years investigating the secret world of the CIA.

Following 9/11 the Bush government spared no cost in setting up a vast CIA sub city in Baltimore. Luxurious homes and schools ten times bigger and better then the surrounding area are marks of the affluent group of agents who moved to work and live there. New buildings with ten stories underground and many more above ground with only numbers on the outsides of the buildings but no other markings or signs to indicate exactly what goes on there hide the phone tapping operation that is just one of the major operations that occurs in those buildings. That operation covers the world including our own private conversations here in America. This is a very secret operation. And it goes much further than necessary because it doesn't work.

The government spent billions of dollars buying Afghan war lords to help us win the "war on terror". $200,000 here and $250,000 there. Then when the president wanted to move into Iraq, they wasted eight months of time and billions more in money trying to locate weapons of mass destruction that never existed... to justify going to war there. But the president was sure there were WMD there.

They hired very expensive "contractors" to fight much of the secret part of the war and even do the menial jobs of cooking and cleaning up after the soldiers. They even paid mess hall staff and table clearers $69,000. That administration knew how to spend money.

They then built intricate Black Site secret prison systems in many other countries so we could let those other governments "interrogate" our "renditioned" prisoners with "enhanced interrogation" techniques. We were no longer the nice guys. Long gone were the days when German prisoners surrendered in droves knowing Americans didn't torture.

Programs for the poor get scrapped but other "top secret" programs get all the money they want. Revenge costs lots of money even if the huge expanded CIA program didn't work very well. Several terrorists were caught getting prepared to attack America but the CIA or the NSA didn't catch them. Citizens did. The government found they could not possibly sort through all the information they collected. They spent billions of dollars paying these private contractors even more then government employees. How much was spent altogether is a state secret.

But the war in Iraq went badly and the one in Afghanistan not much better.

But there's much more.

I hope our citizens will log on to and watch the complete program so they will know for themselves how our secretly run government actually works.

Times have changed...and not altogether for the better.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to Routine

I was going to clean my daughter's house today but she had cleaned it yesterday for her party. So I am cleaning my own instead. I have to vacuum next. I got the bathrooms and kitchen cleaned.After I vacuum, I will dust.

Surprise! My son, Keith, who is in Iraq called a little while ago. It was sure good to hear his voice again. He's such a sweetheart.

I will try to get to Independence after while to have lunch with Leslie, my daughter.

Right now, I'd better get back to work before I lose the energy to do it.

More later...

Well, the house is nice and clean again. And I did have lunch with Leslie. We had a good visit. Now at 2:11, I am resting before beginning again to clean my bedroom, the only room I didn't get to.

I dropped by the church to see the reorganized storage closet and Leslie and Karan did a nice job of organizing it Sunday afternoon.

Tonight I will watch Frontline on PBS. There supposed to be a very important story on Top Security. I heard an interview with the author on NPR this afternoon. It sounded very interesting. Now that security is so easily penetrated by hackers, there really is very little that is secure in the government.

I also learned that the housing around all the new CIA officers in Baltimore is very rich, the schools are better then any others in the area. Those new CIA agents are being very well paid.

In fact, I learned yesterday that 21.5% of government employees make over $100,000 a year. Those CIA agents are even better paid then that. Hmmmm....

Then there's this job training job I have through the Department of Labor. I make minimum wage. Furthermore, the program was cut from 30 hours a week to 20 hours a week and then 15 hours a week and now 12 hours a week. So would you say low income seniors are paying their way? They cut the program for low income seniors but hired hundreds of high income CIA agents and built exceptional schools for their children. So I wonder how much government money they saved?

I hope you all watched "Top Secret America" on PBS on Frontline tonight. Scarey...very scarey! What have we wrought??? Now watch POV on PBS. It should be just as scarey. When will we take our country back?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Holiday Monday

It's 57 degrees outside this morning. What a welcome relief from all that heat this summer. I opened two windows and will air out the house. I hope the cool weather lasts. I fed Slinky out on the patio this morning and he loves it too. After it gets lighter I will put on a sweater and jeans and take him for a walk.

I did not want to make this holiday just another day. Bob and I always had a cookout and invited the kids when he was alive. Every holiday was special for him and an excuse to have the kids over for dinner. I have very little food in the house right now but the kids are having a party for Leslie's classmates anyhow. So I was going to be alone. I called Bob A. last night and asked him what his plans were. He was going to finish his mowing. I need to finish my weeding today since I am planning to clean Leslie's house tomorrow. But we decided to go over to Joplin and eat at the Crackerbarrel after we get our yards finished. He's alone too. His daughter and her family went to Clay Center to see his family. Of course, my sister, his wife, is in the Winston Unit at Windsor Place, the nursing home, with Alzheimer's Disease.

After we eat, we'll walk around the mall. I don't believe he's been over there since just after the tornado leveled a third of the city. We have to drive through the damaged area to get to the mall.

More later....

Got my flowerbed done. Bob A. will be by after he checks on my sister.

Well, Bob A. picked me up about 10:45 and we left for Joplin. There's some new building going on over there now..thank goodness. It still looks pretty barren though. We ate before going to the mall and had a very nice lunch at Cracker Barrel.

At the all he bought two pair of shoes. One pair are dress shoes and the other walking shoes. I didn't need a thing and so only paid for my lunch.

I enjoyed the trip and I think he did too. We have a common concern for my sister and have known one another for over sixty years. We are just friends though and at our age we can easily keep it at just friends.

Now I will either read or watch TV. It is 3:45.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Cooler Sunday

This has been a nice day. It was cool this morning and cool when we got out of church.
We ate together at Hong Kong Delight and I ordered Moo Goo. I like Moo Goo but they gave me about three times more then I needed. So I brought a bunch home with me. At least I won't have to worry about dinner tomorrow....or probably the next day.

I spent the afternoon doing my usual letters even though I know they won't actually go out until Tuesday.

This afternoon I will go out to Wal Mart and get dog food. I can't get Slinky's food at the Dollar General store. They don't carry Iams. While I'm out there, I may look over some TV dinners for emergencies when I can't think of anything else to eat.

This evening I will watch TV, I guess. Or I may read my new book. I downloaded it on my Kindle this morning.

It's 82 degrees out there now. I may wait until later and try to finish weeding that front flowerbed. I only got half finished yesterday.

More later....

I went to Orschelon's this evening and bought Science Diet for Slinky instead of Iams. It was quite expensive but is good for itching and skin allergies. We'll see. I'll try this bag and see if it helps him. Shar Peis have such bad skin problems. If it helps, I will bite the bullet and buy it for him again.

I watched TV and watched the documentary about 9/11 and the two security guys who died after helping many people get out.