Federal Workers vs Private Sector (Taxpayers Get the Shaft)

In my “Crazytown” column, I celebrated Trump’s most recent accomplishments.  These are things other presidents should have done, but most didn’t.  They just kept making the same old mistakes, hoping for different results.

One of the president’s recent moves was to cancel the scheduled pay raise for federal civilian employees.  When I pointed out that recent studies have shown that federal workers, on average, are paid 80 percent more that their counterparts in the private sector, some took exception.

President Obama also recognized this disparity and instituted a partial federal wage freeze between 2011 – 2013.

It has been said there are three kinds of lies:  lies, damn lies and statistics.   Continue reading “Federal Workers vs Private Sector (Taxpayers Get the Shaft)”

McCain’s Funeral Punchback

It is considered disrespectful to say anything bad about someone who is deceased.  However, when the deceased punches back at an enemy from the dead, all bets are off.

We know that Senator McCain spent months planning every detail of his extended farewell and funeral services.  These events were of the kind and duration normally reserved for heads-of-state.   However, I would hope that the decision that was made to disinvite President Trump and Sarah Palin came from his family and not the senator himself.

McCain professed to be a Christian.  Only the good Lord knows the truth of one’s conviction.  It is not for me to judge.  However, Jesus commanded us to forgive one another.  In fact, the prayer that He taught us to pray says, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are to “love our enemies.”   Any sincere Christain knows that is not only difficult, it is next to impossible without the Lord’ help.  It is something that I have struggled with, perhaps more than any other of His precepts.

With that in mind, I can only hope that if the senator really meant to strike out at his enemies from the grave, that desire passed before he went to his eternal resting place.   Continue reading “McCain’s Funeral Punchback”

Time to Forgive

“To Err is Human, to Forgive Devine” Alexander Pope 1688-1744

A cadre of former Trump haters was recently asked about the president’s past sins which include allegations of sexual improprieties, one night stands and/or affairs with women.  To this House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi replied,  (parentheses mine)

“I do not believe that it is my place to question the accounts put forth by the women but I do find myself asking that if we are examining (his) industry (building & entertainment) as it existed decades before through the lens of 2018 should we also discuss a path to learning, reconciliation, and forgiveness?”

Rep. Maxine Water’s chimed in,

To reach a point where we can accept some space between zero accountability and complete destruction, we must first grapple with the issue of equivalency. If we paint episodes of vulgar and deeply regrettable behavior from (a decade or more) ago with the same brush as serial criminal behavior, we will never move forward and, more importantly, we eschew the complicated nuances of context for the easier path of absolutes.”

The View’s Joy Behar summed things up:

“Outrage is a valuable commodity…but its usefulness can be diminished by overuse. And understanding and learning from the past is the only way towards a future that reflects real change.”

This call for civility, forgiveness and understanding for a man accused of sexual harassment over a decade ago, but who has been a champion of women, promoting them in a field that had previously barred them from holding positions of power and influence, unfortunately was not directed at Trump by these three women.

No! All of the above was in a statement from CBS Films president Terry Press in defense of CBS Corporation chairman and CEO, Les Moonves who was accused of sexual misconduct by six women.   It followed even more forceful statements of support by CBS executives, Ad Sales chief Jo Ann Ross and head of daytime Angelica McDaniel.

This was not unlike the statements of support from females in Congress and other positions of influence for Bill Clinton after he was impeached for charges related to his sexual involvement with an intern, no less, in the hallowed Oval Office.

Clinton was viewed by his supporters as just too valuable to the country, in general, and the women’s movement, in particular, to be hoisted by his own petard.

Isn’t it a shame that our current president, who has done so much to turn this country around, while taking no salary for his work as the nation’s chief executive, isn’t given the same consideration?  After all, the charges against him are at least a decade or more old and don’t involve the workplace.

Men like Moonves, post-Clinton, probably will not survive.  Some shouldn’t.  However,  to allow Moonves to be forgiven would, indeed, be viewed as a double standard for those who hate Trump so much that they now believe any past sexual sins should disqualify him from holding the highest office in the land.  They want Trump impeached so badly many seem willing to believe any charge against any man, no matter how spurious, how ludicrous or how old, just to justify their claim against the president’s legitimacy.

Trump, like Moonves, is from another era, where men often measured their manhood against their ability to seduce women.  Even if they had no intention of doing anything improper, they were often guilty of bragging about this ability to other men.  Some of these men actually viewed making suggestive remarks or flirting as a way to give a woman a compliment.  I’ve encountered my share.  Smart women either changed jobs, ignored these clumsy advances or found a way to let a man know this was not acceptable while letting him keep his dignity.

However, none of the women who claim Trump had affairs with them or one-night stands or gave them unwanted attention were his employees as was the case Moonves.  In fact, many sought his attention.

Trump is well-known for promoting women in his industry like Louise Sunshine who rose to executive vice-president of the Trump organization.  Sunshine worked for Trump for 15 years and has admitted that he often chided her about her appearance.  However, she wasn’t offended.  She said, “It was a reminder that I wasn’t perfect…It was just his way.”

They and the others who were promoted by Trump defend him to the hilt and forgave him for his imperfections.  Isn’t it time the rest of the country took a deep breath and did the same.

 

Is De Niro the New Jane Fonda?

For decades, the political class, as well as other influential people, have observed the maxim “politics stops at the water’s edge.” This simply means that when a president is dealing with a matter of national importance abroad, the criticism stops until the crisis is averted or, at the very least, he is back safety inside the confines of the United States.

With President Trump, that is no longer the case.  The political atmosphere in Washington is so toxic that Democrats, and some members of his own party, feel free to take pot shots at him even as he deals with issues that could avert nuclear war.

However, when Robert De Niro let his distaste of this president spill over at the Tony Awards Sunday night on the eve of his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, it not only broke the mold of civility but raised bad taste to a level unseen in prime time, even on an awards show.  While De Niro’s  “F – – – Trump” comment was deleted by an alert executive monitoring the program at CBS, the actor’s unscripted comment went viral prompting outrage from the right and the left.   Continue reading “Is De Niro the New Jane Fonda?”

The Joke’s on Us

There is an old joke about the Department of Agriculture:  One day a bureaucrat in that arcane agency notice a co-worker with a long face.  He inquired, “Why the long face?”  His coworker said, “My farmer died.”

It’s a bad joke, but the joke’s on us.

In the 1900’s more than half of the population of the U.S. was involved in farming.  Today it’s less than two percent.   Today there are more people working in technology related to the computer industry than farming.   Continue reading “The Joke’s on Us”

Blame the ACLU

President Trump has argued, correctly, that Nikolas Cruz should have been reported and that this information should have prevented him from buying a gun as expressed in this tweet.

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again.

Trump’s critics rightfully point out that he signed a law that repealed an Obama regulation that would have added an additional 75,000 people who suffer from mental illness to the national background data check.  No doubt Trump would like to take that back.

The rule that was repealed specifically required that the Social Security Administration add people who have been deemed incapable of managing their financial affairs to that list.  That would include many who receive disability payments due to mental illness.   This would not have prevented Nikolas Cruz from obtaining all his guns, but it would have been a small step in the right direction.

The measure was part of a larger group of Obama rules that were reasonably repealed by Congress shortly after Trump took office.  Yes, the repeal of the gun measure was supported by the NRA but another organization that has been largely left out of this discussion, the ACLU, was also to blame.

In a letter to Congress, the ACLU wrote:  “We oppose this rule because it advances and reinforces the harmful stereotype that people with mental disabilities, a vast and diverse group of citizens, are violent,” the letter says. “There is no data to support a connection between the need for a representative payee to manage one’s Social Security disability benefits and a propensity toward gun violence.”

Obviously, if you can’t manage your money you shouldn’t be expected to manage a gun.  Please!  More obvious is the fact that someone who is getting SSI disability payments due to a mental illness should not have access to guns.

Let us not forget that in the 70s and 80s the ACLU was at the forefront of patient’s rights legislation and court cases that emptied our mental institutions.  These cases raised the bar significantly for anyone to be committed.   The courts ultimately ruled that a finding of mental illness alone was not enough to justify a state’s locking a person up against his will and keeping him indefinitely in simple custodial confinement if such persons are dangerous to no one and can live safely in freedom.

What does living safely in freedom mean?  Today, for the most part, that means living on the streets.  Why?  Because most of the mentally ill don’t think they are mentally ill.   Once out they refuse their meds and don’t go for treatment.  When that happens many do become dangerous and their heartbroken families are simply afraid to keep them or take them in.  Research suggests that individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are responsible for approximately 10 percent of all homicides in the United States.  For mass killings, the percentage is approximately 33 percent. http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/evidence-and-research/learn-more-about/3627

Too often families are counseled to avoid having a child classified as mentally ill and schools try to keep these children in their system.  Then, once that child becomes an adult, the school and the family lose control unless the now mentally ill adult voluntarily gives a parent or another adult the responsibility for his or her custody.  We now know that Nikolas Cruz refused to let the school district continue providing him with the mental health services he had been receiving after he turned 18.  These cases go unreported.

It’s an urban legend that we have insane people living on the streets because Ronald Reagan closed the mental hospitals.  Most mental hospitals were closed simply because they no longer had any patients.  Sadly, liberal organizations like the ACLU that worked to get all these mental patients released, largely abandoned society’s most vulnerable.

Many of the mental health workers who worked toward this end have admitted their mistake.  Many also have admitted their over reliance on drugs.  Now these drugs are part of the larger problem of those who shoot up schools or a workplace.

If you are on psychotropic drugs you cannot join the military, pilot a plane and — in some cases — even drive a car.  It makes sense that people on these drugs should be ineligible to buy guns unless re-evaluated.

Politicians, the NRA and the ACLU need to accept this.   My guess is the first two will come around.  The ACLU is perhaps the bigger culprit and, so far, has escaped the consternation of the general public.

Dear Uncle Santa (My Christmas Wish List)

It’s that time of year when all good boys and girls write a letter to Santa and give him their wish lists so I thought I would do the same.

Okay, so I’m not a kid anymore but, let’s face it, so many citizens act like children when it comes to giving our elected representatives their respective wish lists, treating their Uncle Sam like Santa.  In the real world Santa doesn’t deliver the presents, mom and dad must buy them and place them under the tree.

When I was a kid, I asked for a pony.  Mom and dad had to explain that Santa knew that we lived in the city and there would be no place to keep this pony.  Furthermore, this miniature equine would end up costing more that our family could afford.  Therefore, Santa regretfully had to edit my wish list and cut it down to size.

Unfortunately, many citizens act like spoiled children when they make demands on Washington, with little thought as to who will pay the bill.   Unfortunately, many of our elected representatives act like the parents of Continue reading “Dear Uncle Santa (My Christmas Wish List)”