Gun Control is Complicated

Depending on where you live and the gun culture you live in, gun control is more complicated than you may think.  The idea that we need to get guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them is one of  the most important issues we face as a country.

Banning assault rifles makes perfect sense for those who believe that there is no place for them in our society.  There is also those Americans that believe the opposite.

Where it gets complicated is determining who should be banned from acquiring and owning any gun or lethal weapon.

People that suffer certain mental issues and display behavior that could cause them to take another human’s life is very key to the gun violence in our communities. There are also those individuals who have fabricated their own reality to justify their actions, sometimes even just to garner attention by surrealistic means.  If you stop and think about it, killers including terrorists were not born killers or terrorists.  Some times these people are easily persuaded to be part of evil activities as a result of letting themselves be influenced by others.

Along with sensible gun control, we need to strengthen the policies, procedures and communication among those groups that can identify a high risk person before they can cause harm to others.  If it is a matter of resources at the local, state and federal levels, we need to provide it.  If it is a matter of oversite and accountability, we need to provide and enforce it.  There are tens of thousands of gun related incidents each year in our country and we need to stop learning from each of them and take whatever action that is necessary to stop them.

Politics has no place in the debate, partisan or not.  Civil, thoughtful and law-abiding citizens need to be heard, no matter what their position and beliefs are.  Personally, I don’t think that special interest groups such as the NRA should have any influence even if that sounds unrealistic and nieve.

For hundreds of years, the entire constitution has been the documented representation of our laws.  This includes the second amendment and all other articles, amendments and subsections of the amendments.  Our solid and enduring bill of rights and the constitution as a whole is what separates us from any other country in the world.

It is just plain and simply not true that the rights provided for in the second amendment are at risk.  The constitution is designed to allow for certain controls which are designed to protect all citizens, not just those who draw lines of opposition. These controls are prevalent throughout the constitution, not just the second amendment.   Regulations such as not allowing for automatic weapons, military weapons, shortened shotgun barrels and so on are in place to provide solid protections for everyone.

I recently watched a story on one of the news networks that reported on the views of Army Lieutenant General Hertling regarding the acquisition and possession of assault rifles by gun collectors and enthusiasts.  It makes some sense and it’s easy to support his position.  It is also worth noting that hunters don’t select an AR-15 out of their collection to take with them when they go hunting, not if they want to eat the game they catch.  The majority of assault rifle owners only fire them at gun ranges and in controlled shooting environments.

All that being said, assault rifles are the reason that we have mass shootings that result in record numbers of casualties.  When an innocent person is shot by an assault rifle, they have little chance for survival given the grotesque damage that it’s bullets cause.  As for me, I am of the belief that we need to stop the murderers from ever being able to buy one, even if that affects those who are not planning on killing.  Therefore there is a strong, fact supported argument that justifies the regulation of such rifles.

Gun control effecting those with mental disorders and criminals such as drug dealers, gangs, religious fanatics and so on is where it gets complicated.

The media speaks of banning the possession of guns by those individuals who have been adjudicated as suffering from a mental illness and deemed dangerous. The truth is that the vast majority of those who suffer from mental illness will never be discovered by a court or even a hospital.  Generally, this group will isolate and only contemplate harm to themselves.  This is however, the most dangerous group of people because there is no way of identifying them before they go off the reservation.

If you live in or near a medium or large city you will hear of deadly, gun related incidents every day, and I mean every day.  In most cases a conflict within these groups is what triggers the violence.  One of the problems we face is that a gang member is not going to walk into Cabella’s and legally purchase their weapon.  No…they can easily acquire their guns and weapons on the street illegally without any registration or background check.  incidentally, the structure of these groups is typically organized and more often than not, deadly.

In the not to distant past, the supreme court has made a provision in the constitution that allows for a person to use a gun to protect themselves and their families.  This to me is very important for those who know how to use a lethal weapon for protection.

I believe that arming teachers in our schools is not a good idea.  There is an unreasonable risk of something going wrong resulting in their death or the deaths of more people.  There is however the argument that members or former members of law enforcement or the military should be considered as an exception.  I think that could make sense.  I don’t think that these individuals are going to whip out their gun every time a fight breaks out among the students.  Overall, I still think it is a bad idea to equip teachers with guns and an expectation that they be the solution for the broader problem.

The efforts of young adult students who are hell-bent on forcing change needs to be taken seriously by all Americans.  Not only are they organized and credible, they have been able to keep their cause in the minds of all of us as a result of their persistence.  I seriously hope that they can endure over time.  As a group, they have also been able to influence those in government who would otherwise just plod along furthering their agenda without regard for the wishes of their constituents and the American people as a whole.  Because of social media, these groups have been able to further their agenda unlike any time in the past.  If you are old enough, remember the draft and peace protests of the sixties.  These opposition groups were made up of young Americans, just as we have now.

It seems to me that some of the baby boomers and the few WWII era citizens who are still alive, come across like these groups are made up of kids who just want to make noise.  Remember, that the next couple of generations are already becoming the ones who are the gatekeepers of the future of our country.  Our experience and wisdom is important, however we won’t be around for ever.

As for the millennials, they will only grow, mature and gain the experience that they will need to succeed in this world.  We can’t take them lightly.

At the end of the day, I personally have not met or associated with people who look at our country as the place in the world becoming full of doom and gloom.  For a majority of Americans, we live our lives without fear and with a sense of security unlike anywhere else.  We face our challenges and we help those who can’t help themselves. We are incredibly generous and supportive of others.

For me, today, my biggest challenge is figuring out what I want for dinner and when Street Outlaws is on Television.  This weekend, the weather is supposed to be nice so I will probably work on my truck then head to Costco to sample myself to a free lunch.  Many Americans will be out volunteering to help those who could use their help or they will participate in being involved in groups that are dear to them.  As for me, next week I will have to figure out how I am going to pay some bills…You get the idea.  It doesn’t change the fact that there are some very serious issues, sacrifices and tragedies that some of us have or will face at some point in our lives. Whether is seems cliché or not, we do live in the greatest country in the world, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This article purely reflects my personal opinions…There is a couple of hundred million other American’s whose views and beliefs are just as important as anything I can come up with.




Political Bias In Congress, In The Media, And Within The Administration. Is It Really What America Needs?

two fighters   The Nunes memo release sheds some light on very serious culture issues within our government and media.

The levels of bias between the two government parties is being raised to a potentially dangerous level given the constant us versus them behavior.  I say dangerous because each opposing party is constantly trying to discredit the other with their political point of view and applying it to some very important legislative issues.

There seems to be no middle ground.  There seems to be an attitude that one party is right on any given issue and that their counterparts are wrong.

How can 530 plus legislators all be wrong, according to their adversarial counterparts?  How can their constituents and the citizens they serve be so wrong in supporting and electing them?

I was taken back by one of the comments that Nunes made during an interview with FOX news surrounding his relationship with his counterparts on the Intel Committee.  He said that he has had to play whack a mole with them throughout the investigative process. To me those kinds of comments represent his level of maturity and a condescending attitude.  It makes me question his intentions and agenda.

His actions are just one example of party bias in both parties.  The democrat’s are not afraid to express their distane for any republican efforts.  The republican’s are not afraid to express their distane for any democratic efforts.  There is always gridlock present when it comes to furthering some very important legislative issues. When it comes to the President, it is a whole different world.  Below are some bullet points that I feel offer some insight into why our government is so dysfunctional.

  • We need to seriously take a look at what our congressional representatives are doing to further the agenda and important issues for their constituents.  If you reflect on what they promised to do and what actions they are taking towards that end, you can see that some of them purposely or involuntarily fall short. In other words,they can’t or won’t fulfil their promises.
  • Congress is a peculiar animal.  Just think about the phenomenon that happens as soon as they get into office.  They start working on the next election.  That I don’t get.  It is important however, to recognize that most legislators do the work of their constituents and thoughtfully accept responsibility for their actions relative to national issues.  It is to me, unfortunate that those who don’t, negatively reflect on the affirmative and positive activities of those that do.
  • The adversarial posture of some can at times appear to be juvenile.  Just like in high school, many of those who represent us act like their popularity within their peer group is more important than their basic responsibilities.  It is also sometimes obvious that we have law makers that have antiquated and obsolete points of view and principles. I think this contributes to why there is so much stealthy corruption, racism and good ol’ boy posturing.
  • Sooner or later (hopefully sooner), the dysfunction of our two-party branches of government will come around to reflect the culture and needs of Americans today.  I think that our government will also come around to respond to, and represent our commitments and mutual interests of our allies.  The solution is obvious, we need to inject a more current open-minded roster of ladies and gentleman into our government.  They will continue to need the mentorship of those who wield wisdom, knowledge and historical context in order to educate them an bring them into the fold.  By the way, I am referring to those that know the mechanics of government and maneuver them to the benefit of the country.
  • When we look at the media, there are several examples of inappropriate behavior. Watching some media coverage can be like a car accident.  You weren’t involved, but you can’t take your eyes off of those that were.
  • There is conservative media, liberal media, far right and far left media, conspiracy theory and propaganda media.  Think about it, they all have listeners, viewers and readers who subscribe to their viewpoints and representations.  That is the beauty of our country and the provisions of our constitution.
  • There is also some in media who behave irresponsibly or debate a  point of view just because they have a talent to manipulate their audience.  It is kind of like an attorney.  They are sworn to vigorously represent their client, no matter what the truth is.  This is a common practice among those in media who pander to their audiences with the goal of improving them or their company’s bottom line.  I personally believe that there is at least one member of the mainstream media who has abused his first amendment right and crossed the line to the point where he is meddling in our government processes.  Often I think his actions can be construed as criminal (you know who I am talking about).
  • With a couple of major exceptions, most media organizations succeed as a result of there responsible, research, knowledge and dissemination of information that is important to their audience.  Like I say, with the exception of a couple of dangerous media operations,  those that are effective are still in business, those that aren’t, are gone.
  • incidentally,  the “expert” contributors on some of these outlet’s panels are more amusing than expert.  This is not to say that most aren’t fascinating, knowledgeable and informative.  I am just saying that some are just plain out there.  Sebastian Gorka is an example of one of the many that are just plain strange.
  • What does “everyone knows this” mean when Trump speaks to a point during discussions with the media?  Why does he run his presidency on the advice of a couple of people in the media?   I can understand why he is critical of our institutions, he doesn’t know how they work.  Why does he always say that our country is a mess?  Isn’t he the maid?
  • By the way, many talking heads lately, try to compare the crap that is going on today to previous administrations, especially Obama.  At the rate Trump is going, he will be the benefactor of the worst number of scandals of all times by the end of his term.  Of course, he will say that he had the fewest and less serious ever and the scandals that he did face, he fixed them himself.

If you are interested, this link will take you to a Wikipedia page that lists scandals by Presidents and Congressional men and women.

Historical Scandals



Who is this Devin Nunes, And Why Is He So Sketchy?

Nunes    When it comes to the Republican party, it seems that there is always someone involved who marches to the beat of a different drum.  I cringe every time I hear Representative Nunes’s name in the media.  If you go to the Library of Congress site, or Wikepedia (make sure you verify the information on the site), you can see what his activities are in the House including his activities with respect to his home district.  His core positions in congress are identical to the President’s.

He dismisses global climate change.  He is for the deregulation of several laws related to environmental protections.  He is for major regulation repeal, including the provisions of the clean air act.  He supports wholesale deregulation, especially when it benefits groups such as the fossil fuel industry.    He supports in some fashion the Tax bill which overwhelmingley benefits the wealthy.  He supports Trump’s ban on muslim travel to the US.  He supported the Benghazi investigation and has maintained the position that their was a cover up by Secretary Clinton, even though all parties were eventually cleared of wrong doing.  He supports major changes to Medicare and Social Security including rasing the plan’s rates which negatively affects the growing elderly population.  He voted in favor of the 2013 government shut down which furlowed 800,000 federal workers.  In his district, he has not done a whole lot to represent central California.  With any substance, he has been active in introducing legislation related to water and irregation managemt in the San Joaquin valley.  He is also involved in highway infrastructure within the state including legislation to improve state highway 99.  It is worth pointing out that the Governor of California has played a more significant role.  Incidentaly, most of the legislation that he has been involed in may get the support of the House, but rarely does he and the committees he is associated with garner discussion or even a vote in the Senate.

Representative Nunes is an advocate of undoing any legislation or laws that President Obama passed.  He is very party biased and most of his federal efforts reflect support for the defiant GOP membership.

He has recently garnered attention because of his behavior in the house relative to the Russia investigation.  He is becoming well known for embracing and spreading conspiracy theories.  He has leaked classified information many times during his time in Congress.  He repeatedly runs to the White house to share any information he has garnered relative to the President’s involvement in the Russian meddling in our electoral process.  My sketchy label for him is because he is always very sneaky and continually leaves the democrats on the house Russia investigation out of the loop.  For a guy who says he has recused himself, he sure spends a lot of time being intimately involved.

One reason why I am sharing my thoughts about the Representative, is to point out that for the administration’s claim that they are draining the swamp, they sure support a serpent and revere him as a significant player in the GOP’s efforts to manipulate and hamper the investigation into the President’s involvement with regard to the Russian meddling.

Just look at him, he even presents himself as being shifty.  To me, it is disgusting that he and others have become lap dogs for the President.

Popular Political Talking Points. In My Opinion.

I think these talking points that are common in our daily lives deserve some of my onorthodox input and opinion.

Congress:  Currently, our government’s legislative branches are generally not working the way that they are supposed to.  The Republican party is advancing flawed legislation, repealing sensible regulations and obstructing and dismissing any Democratic party efforts to advance their agenda.  The Democratic side of government does not have a clear and productive agenda.  Instead, some Democratic law makers spend most of their time expressing their dissatisfaction and disdain for the Republicans.  In all fairness, there are members of both parties who take their roles seriously and work towards the best interests of their constituents as well as their role to work for citizens of this country as a whole.  For those that don’t, they need to step down or face a certain demand for their replacement.  This includes party leadership.  It is as simple as that.

The President:  The role of the President is to represent the best interest of all Americans.

Our president is expected to behave in a manner that reflects strong leadership, statesmanship, compassion and common sense.  While in office, the President is to focus all of his energy and efforts to this end.

The basic requirements for the job include a solid knowledge of the mechanics of government, the rules and processes of the legislative bodies and the necessary structure of the executive administration.  Another requirement is the ability to champion causes that improve American’s quality of life, safety and security.  He is required to represent our country abroad through solid relationships with our allies and on the flip side effectively manage relationships with our enemies.  As with all branches of government, the President is required to provide oversight and interaction with state and local governments including providing needed resources of the federal government.

If the President is unable to fulfil his responsibilities and job requirements, he should step down or be terminated and replaced by a qualified candidate.  As a business man, he should know this.  Again, it should be as simple as that.

The First Amendment:  This common and well publicized provision of our constitution affords all americans the right to speak freely without reprisal from our government or any group or individual that opposes us.  With this right comes responsibility.  The first amendment does not provide protection for individuals who purposely propagate malicious, defamatory or libelous statements against another,  This includes making accusations of wrong doing towards any person that are not supported by facts which could be recognized by a “reasonable” person.  The processes with in our system of justice would be the place to make such claims or statements.  Once again it seems pretty simple to me.

Free Press:  Put simply, our forefathers made provisions for the Free Press to have access to all branches of government in order to inform the public.  The first amendment, however, does not protect activities of any member of the press that includes any form of media to purposely report false information designed to damage or defame any individual in government through unsupported and non factual claims of wrong doing.  Ultimately, the free press establishes a form of checks and balances by playing a role to hold government accountable.

Russia:  Russia is an adversary of the United States, not a friend.  Any efforts by our government to recognize them differently, would not be in the best interest of the security and principles of the United States.  Any relationship, whether political or business related must be measured and reflective of the fundamental values of our country.  We need to remember that Russia does not value human life and global civility. This is contrary to the principles of the United States and our Friends.   As far as mutual agreements, Ronald Reagan used to say, extending any trust between the two countries must be verified.  It is ill advised to treat any relationships with Russia and other adversaries differently.

North Korea:  The North Korean government is an example of an authoritarian society that has little regard for the health and well-being of their population or actually, anyone else in the world.  Through propaganda, the government is able to garner allegiance even when their citizens suffer sometimes unbearable living conditions.  Kim Jong Un is one of the most dangerous and immature leaders of any country we are subjected to.  He couldn’t care less who he kills in order to establish himself and his country as a nuclear world power (or at least he thinks so).  Interestingly, Russia and China are a couple of his allies.

The Environment:  Sensible people of the United States expect our country leaders to do whatever they can to improve and preserve or environmental health.  Pollution in many forms needs to be addressed with appropriate consequences.  The only way this can be accomplished is through sensible regulations and enforcement with regard to the practices of our citizens and businesses.  The same priority is evident in the commitments of many other countries.  It is probably a stretch however, to believe that all countries will live up to their commitments.  The administrative office of the Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with enforcement as well as corrective actions and established activities administered by scientific and real world expertise.  If the Secretary can’t or doesn’t want to do his job…he should be replaced.  That is pretty simple to me.

Education; Energy; Urban Developement; Health and Human Services and Treasury:  In previous posts, I detailed my take on specific administrative departments and the functions of their leaders.  These departments are currently being run by people who have no clue of what their responsibilities are.  It is not worth trying to explain them.  If I were their boss, I would get rid of all of them.

The State Department:  The State Department is one of two of the most important departments in our government.  The other is our defense related departments.  With out the functions of this department,  we would be at war with many countries.  Our allies will be unable to understand any substantive activities, supportive positions and mutual expectations.  Appropriate diplomatic relationships relative to our enemies is almost non-existent.  We have a president who maintains that he can represent us better than anyone else in government.  Representing diplomacy through Twitter and interviews with hard right individuals in conservative media will most likely not end well.  It is imperative that he allows our Secretary of State to do his job and build an effective organization to accomplish our goals.

The Russian Election Meddling Investigations:  The Mueller investigation has a purpose and is happening as a result of the concerns of the American people surrounding the circumstances of Russia’s meddling in our free elections.  The investigation as it has evolved now includes the possibility that a group or individuals involved with Trump’s businesses or election campaign are complicit in the activities of the Russian government.  The Mueller investigation is the most comprehensive and effective of any of the legislative bodies and their specific investigations.  I strongly believe that it is in the bests interest of the American people to support the special counsel, accept their findings whether crimes were committed by Americans or not.

The President and Republican Efforts to criticize and undermine the counsel’s investigation by suggesting that there is political bias that is influencing the investigation of the FBI is self-serving and dangerous.  The principles and missions of the FBI is fundamentally and overwhelmingly bi-partisan.  Trying to get the country to turn on them really points out the possibility of  sinister motives by the accuser.  Ironically, Imagine a person who lives in a community that believes they can’t trust law enforcement.  (remember the fuzz and pigs of the late sixties).  The vast majority of them will still call 911 when a crime involving them is committed.  Who are a misinformed and misanthropic group of republican’s and some media going to call when they are subjected to a major crime.  It won’t be their cousin, it will be law enforcement including the FBI.  The services of law enforcement including medical assistance are not pre qualified based on an evaluation of party affiliation as some might suggest.  There is a very interesting component to particular groups insistence of a scandal.  It has been recently revealed by the media that a very small group of republican representatives have been meeting secretly to put together a plan to derail the Mueller investigation.  Is it just me or wouldn’t this group represent the most hideous example of political bias?

On this topic and as an aside, have you ever noticed that when one of your kids have done something wrong, you know it, even though they unleash a plan to cover it up.  The tells are obvious and usually include them attaching themselves to you and over and over denying any involvement even when you don’t ask them.  They also blame shift.  Is this happening in our government?

Personally, I think that our government needs to clean up their act.  Those who do effectively function in their positions need to expose and neutralize those who don’t.  I still have faith in our institutions.  It may just take a while for them to get grounded again.

Defense Spending Details. They are Important and The Media Needs to Bring it Up.

military imageThe government is trying to pass a budget that includes around seven hundred billion in defense spending.

The problem with the  amount that the government wants to spend on the military is that seven hundred billion is over the spending cap of five hundred twenty plus billion. The committees who are responsible for military spending and the federal budget are trying to find an additional source of money to cover the difference.  This isn’t a good sign and we need to be more informed.  Also, I wonder were they will find it?

I have linked a couple of sites that lay out the spending plan.  Personally, I think that there are some good programs upgrading military apparatus, technology and veteran’s social programs.  It appears that most of the plans are supported by both sides of congress.

Doesn’t it make sense that the cost of the new tax cut program (one point five trillion) will reduce the government’s ability to pay for many important projects including the legitimate needs of the military?  I am not so confident that the President knows the specific details (another benifit of media coverage).  I am, however confident that the Pentagon and the Secretary of Defense do.   In fact, recently,  General Mattis has shared his frustration with the movement on the related bills.  He has expressed that he thinks that we need to turn the appropriations into cash to get going on the various projects. Given the fact that he is not sure what will be in the budget,  he is being aggressive in his view that something no matter what it is, has to be available soon.

The tough part of giving the military the needed money is the impact that these expenditures will have on the American people.  Regardless of what the Republicans say, the impending monstrous deficit will cut back on some very important programs  with the most publicized coming to defense, Social Security and Medicare.

Social Security and Medicare programs by the way, are basically self funded (look at your paycheck stub). Past surpluses to these programs have been raided by the government for other expenditures.  As it stands today, both of these programs will reflect lower than needed revenues and rising costs because the baby boomers are coming up on retirement.  This country has always experienced cyclical changes between generations so we should have prepared for it.

Another military related expense that will continue to have an effect on the deficit is the amount of money we have spent on the war on terror.  We have spent two trillion on the war(s) in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Hopefully, These costs will be going down as we make more progress against these foes.

The deficit and tax bill is for another post.  I was just pointing out that the media is giving little air to this very important and expensive need.  The same goes for infrastructure. I just hope that MSNBC,CNN, the print media and yes, even FOX can find the time.

DOD Budet Proposal

Mattis on Defense Spending fact sheet military spending

Whoa Democrats; In My Opinion We Need Hold Our Horses.

On Tuesday, the voters of Alabama made it clear that they didn’t want to have Roy Moore represent them in their state.  If this is what it takes for a Democrat to cross the finish line, the Democratic party may be a little premature in thinking that the future is so bright for the party.

In Alabama, had there been any other Republican in the race, the Democrats would have lost.  The evidence is in the numbers of write-in candidates.  Remember that red states are made up of traditional republican values.  These principles are what make up the party.

Unfortunately, for both parties and all Americans in general, we have a Republican President who is at the very least, ideologically miles away from the principles of most Americans.  He also lacks many of the character traits such as wisdom; maturity; knowledge; sincere compassion; integrity and respect among others.  As an aside, why does everyone think that the promises he made during his campaign are good?

I don’t believe that having a leader that behaves more like Biff in Back to the Future rather than the leader of the free world can be a good recipe for either party’s success.

As it stands now, the Republican majority is doing everything they can to flex their muscles as evidenced by their actions.  If the President and both parties adhered to the principles and compromises that were important to the framing of our constitution (the bundle of compromise at the Constitutional convention in 1787), we would have a more effective government.  Just think about it, we apply these principles in business and even our own daily lives.  If we have two opposing views, working together towards a common end makes any relationship much stronger.  I guess this demonstrates we all know that the concept works.  Incidently, I believe this is one reason the President’s business practices don’t translate well to the job he has now is mostly because he employs the old school management style of “my way or the highway”.

As it goes for elections, the opposing principles can be a good thing, not a battle field. When a party takes over the majority, generally, most american’s would be more accepting when both parties have substantive and thoughtful debate.

As it stands now, the Republican party is doing everything they can to dismiss and oppose the contributions of the Democratic party.  The Democratic side is doing everything they can to oppose and dismiss the efforts of the Republicans.  How that is working for them?

It’s kind of like two neighbors feuding over whether or not to cut down a tree.  Whoever owns the tree can cut it down no matter what their neighbor wants to see happen.  If the tree was sick and leaving it standing would endanger both sides, there would be common ground to come together and at least listen to each others viewpoints.  At the end of the day the tree has to come down in order protect everyone.

The elections and the structure of the many demonstrations prove that party differences are really important to American voters.  A perfect example of this is healthcare.  A part of the bill that is in effect now and is doomed to be repealed is the mandate requiring everyone to have health insurance.  Fundamentally, the Republicans believe that the government shouldn’t be involved in a person’s decision to have health insurance or not. They also believe that as a country, we can’t afford to expand Medicaid and related entitlements.  On the other hand the Democrats want the mandate.  In order to accommodate everyone, Democrats also want the government to pay the healthcare bills of anyone who can’t afford it.  The truth is that without the mandate, the insurance companies can’t turn a profit if there isn’t a significant pool of insured that are healthy and statstically stand less of a chance of  getting sick.  If we want healthcare, it doesn’t really matter what the demands of either party are.

In this case a middle ground would benefit all Americans.  To me, a simple compromise that benefits the Republican ideology would be to support some sort of mandate in order to keep rates down and maintain coverage for the broader population.  On the other side, the compromise could be for the democrats to make a concession to reduce the swelling of a bureaucracy and accept reforms of entitlement programs that would ultimately lower costs while keeping an important program functional.  Think about it, this would make the whole issue palatable and beneficial for both sides.

The us versus them mentality has to stop.  Americans and the voters that represent them need to see their party look out for them, not just win the pissing contests.  Until then the make up of our government by party line can’t be effective.

The point is that the democratic party shouldn’t be so confident moving forward.  Just as the Democrats take one seat by defeating a bad candidate, the Republicans can do the same in 2018 and 2020.

Personally, until we elect a new President, fresh congressional leadership and as long as Washington State is represented by one of the strongest Senators in the country, my views will lean left.  I also strongly believe that compromise is the key to all Americans being effectivly represented by the strongest form of government in the entire world.

For me, our government as a whole needs to get their act together. Yes, that includes state and local governments.

Department of Energy in the Trump Era. The Destruction of an Institution

The department of Energy was created in 1977 by Jimmy Carter to consolidate the nuclear regulatory commission and the energy research and development commission.

According to the DOE website, the department’s current mission is or is supposed to be “to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.”

The last person to serve as Secretary was Ernest Moniz who was a nuclear physicist.  He is keenly expert in all things nuclear as well as all things related to renewable energy and their effects on our environment.  He served as Secretary from 2013-2017 until President Trump took over the Administration.  While he served, most American’s had no reason to believe that our country’s nuclear and energy programs were being overseen by someone who didn’t know what they were doing.

Up until this year, the DOE was very active in promoting and creating programs related to the development of renewable energy sources.  The government had also made a commitment to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy including oil and gas.

Today under Trump, we have a Secretary of Energy in Rick Perry who has absolutely no knowledge of how the department works.  His expertise with regard to science consists of a general knowledge of the relationship between the magnetic strip on his debit card and the card reader in the ATM.  During  a debate in the last campaign, he expressed his plan to dismantle the DOE.  Honestly, I don’t think he knew what he was talking about. I think he was just trying to say something dramatic.

Sarcasm aside, we are in big trouble when it comes to the management and development of our nuclear weapons programs.  We all know that The Trump administration has made defense a priority.  The plan is to update our defense arsenal including our nuclear weapons programs.  How would you like to represent the military and have to partner up with this new Department of Energy in order to accomodate the President’s vision?

My worry is that the President has appointed Perry less for what he can contribute, but more on how and where he was placed in order to serve as a loyal subject of Trump.  To me he was placed into the position so that our President can dictate policy to him and the department.  Incidentally, Rick Perry said in an interview with the hill in January, he thought he was being appointed to a position in where he would be a United States Ambassador representing gas and oil interests abroad.  So, this is the guy who is responsible for among other things, our nuclear arsenal.

Unfortunatley, I think that there is a good chance we are going to be faced with a catastrophic event and we won’t be able to execute a competent response.

When it comes to energy and its role in climate change, our government has recently denounced the very existence of negative climate change caused by humans.

Basically, we are supposed to believe that the President possesses some insight that the scientists don’t have.  He has even said that climate change is a scam propagated by the Chinese.  Like a lapdog, Perry buys into what Trump says then makes serious consequential changes to the department, excluding any program that is reflective of climate change or the effects of green house gasses.

As it stands now, the government has Censured the department and it’s staff in order to change the various basic terminology that refers to climate change.  Here is how they are supposed to talk about this very serious global issue:

USDA’s advice to staff on climate change language
Avoid → use instead
Climate change → weather extremes
Climate change adaptation → resilience to weather extremes/intense weather events: drought, heavy rain, spring ponding
Reduce greenhouse gases → build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency
Sequester carbon → build soil organic matter

One important and consequential responsibility of the department is to oversee and execute the proper cleanup of our country’s nuclear waste.

Where I live in Washington state there are two nuclear power plants.  One was never completed and the other is mostly decommissioned.

As a result of the discovery of a collapsed tunnel in 2017, the government proclaimed that the Hanford Nuclear site was the worst ongoing environmental disaster in the country.  Since then, Secretary Perry visited the site representing the interests of the people effected by the contamination.  He said very little and although he acknowledged the problem and promised a remedy, he has of now done nothing significant to address the problem.  I really don’t think he knows what to do.

At the end of the day, I believe that the leadership of our defense groups can partner and ensure that the nuclear weapons are properly managed.  The scary part is that we  still have one person in our country who has the ability, without consultation of congress to use our nuclear weapons anytime he sees fit

The one thing we need to do is to start reinvesting our country’s resources and expertise back into alternative energy.  We need to reestablish our commitment to produce energy that won’t destroy the very atmosphere that mankind will require to survive.

If we can’t, we should do what Perry wants and dismantle the department.  Maybe the President could replace the Department of Energy by signing the department of fossil fuel act.  In this case, If nothing else, we can prepare for the future.

The established structure of the Department of Energy includes responsible management and logical oversight of the country’s energy needs.  This would include the important relationships that the federal government has with the individual states and municipalities.  Today, effectively, all of this out the window.  Hopefuly common sense and the real needs of the public will prevail in the not to distant future.

As with other cabinet departments like the Department of Education,  these inequities will sooner or later effect our daily lives.  In some ways the Russian scandal is providing cover.  I just wish that the media that spends so much time on other, albeit important issues sets aside some time and exposes the shortcomings of other parts of our government.

The following is the organizational chart for the department.  See if you can fill in the nameless boxes with a person’s name.