Ken Ferries Column

In his Kokomo Tribune column on December 31st, Ken Ferries attempts to ridicule and insult the field of Republican candidates for the Presidency of the United States. It was not funny.  It is not time for “funny”. The country is in trouble with an incompetent Democrat President in office for another year and yes, a do-nothing Republican Congress.
In his last paragraph, Ferries states he is hopeful someone will emerge as an adult in this presidential race. He further states…. “maybe from the other side of the political fence”. That got me. Ferries does not take on the Democratic Party candidates for the Presidency of which there is really only one viable one, Ms. Hillary Clinton. He does not point out Ms. Clinton was an incompetent Secretary of State that did little except to fly all over the planet. Certainly her efforts, in concert with President Obama, in the Middle East produced nothing but continuing disaster including the murdering of our Ambassador at Benghazi. Then there are all sorts of questions emerging about the Clinton Foundation: how it is financed, who are the contributors, what might be expected by contributors, and on and on. And Ms. Clinton is still being investigated by the FBI for her actions with a private email server in her home over which she had complete control in violation of law regarding certain federal government communications. I hope Ferries does not believe Ms. Clinton qualifies as the “adult” from the other side of the political spectrum. Ms. Clinton has tons of dark baggage including who would become the “First Gentleman” if she became President.

"The Week" Commentary

Letter to the Editor, The Week Magazine…
Your Editor-in-Chief, William Falk, has his bias really showing. He really dislikes Donald Trump… and the sky, may, indeed really be falling. The world is a total mess thanks to Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and others. Then came Obama. The Democrats have landed on a liar, incompetent, and murderer (think Benghazi) for a candidate for President. The field of GOP is terrible with two less-than-one term Senators who (like Obama) have managed nothing, another Bush, a doctor who is a nice guy, a New Jersey governor who cozies up to Islam, a minister who is “fundamental”, and more. Then there is Trump. Yes, he is brash, boisterous, and uncouth. What you cannot deny is that he is successful. He knows the players and the skeletons and the dirty tricks. He employs thousands from all sorts of backgrounds. And he knows the direction of this country must change. We are, indeed, well on our way down the tube. The people in the heart of the country know this. Yes, they are afraid. Justifiably so. Trump is a risk, but one many of us believe must be taken if the USA is to survive.

Any doubt?

I just read two articles in “The Week” magazine I want to share, then you be the judge.
The first: dateline Abha, Saudi Arabia…
“Poet sentenced to death: Writers around the world are asking Saudi Arabia to release a poet and artist sentenced to death for his poetry. Ashraf Fayadh, 32, a Palestinian born and raised in Saudi Arabia, was condemned on charges of apostasy (an abandonment or breach of faith) for poems that prosecutors said insult the Prophet Mohammad and encouraged atheism, an apparent reference to the lines “Prophets have retired/ So do not wait for your to come to you.” The arrest stemmed from an argument that broke out with another man while they were watching a soccer match at a cafe; the man complained to Saudi Arabia’s religious police, accusing Fayadh of renouncing his Islamic faith.”
How would you like to be a Christian or Buddhist or of another religious tradition and live in Saudi Arabia???????
The second: Arab nations that ignore the refugees….
“As the US and Europe debate how many Syrian refugees they can absorb, little attention is being paid “to the region where the refugees could best start life anew,” said Douglas Feith (in the Wall Street Journal). That’s “the Arabian Peninsula and its Arabic-speaking, oil-rich countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.” About 4.3 million Syrians now await resettlement in the vast, squalid camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt. But right next door, the oil-rich nations of the Arabian Peninsula are simply ignoring this desperate mass of humanity, even though they are mostly fellow Sunnis. Now, there’s no doubt that some of the opposition in the US and Europe to accepting the refugees has been racist. “But it isn’t bigoted to question the wisdom of trying to incorporate hundreds of thousands — and perhaps several million — refugees in the West.” Adapting to new culture and language is very hard, and refugees often can’t practice professions they had at home because their degrees and licenses don’t transfer. They’d have a far easier adjustment if accepted by Arab nations with abundant wealth. It’s time for the West to “shame” these nations into sharing this responsibility.”
My conclusion is we are suckers. You be the judge.

It is about Islam!

It is all about Islam! Deny as you may, but the truth will not go away.
At the extreme end of Islam, we have ISIS who kidnaps, tortures, decapitates, and kills any who do not believe their view of the Koran. Followers even go to the ultimate in suicide attacks on “infidels”. No one in the Western world believes this religion as proclaimed by ISIS is anything but crude, barbaric, Medieval, and a throw back to the worst of humanity. ISIS wants to conquer the world to establish the Caliphate they claim is God’s will.
At the more “moderate” end of Islam dominated countries, we see societies where women are treated as chattel or worse. We see societies where sex slavery is common. We see societies where stoning to death for alleged religious offenses is carried out. We see societies where chopping off of hands is considered suitable punishment for some offenses. We see societies where women are to be totally covered and are not allowed out of the house without accompaniment by a male. We see societies were women are not allowed to drive a car or exercise independence in a variety of ways.  We see societies where Sharia law is the law of the land. And this, supposedly, is Islam at its most modern.
My conclusion is that most of Islam is not compatible with the United States Constitution even in its most moderate incarnation let alone that of the ISIS barbarians. Take a look at communities where Islam is practiced by the majority of residents; even in the United States.
We are at the point in the United States where radical Islamic terrorists want to kill as many innocent but “infidel” people as they can as often as they can. They will sneak in the front door, back door, side door and recruit home grown terrorists whenever possible. This is where the attention of national security institutions are focused. They will never be able to stop it all. More terrorism and death will happen. It cannot be completely stopped.
What is not recognized is culture creep. As the population of Islam believing people increases in the United States, so does the influence of the belief system they practice become entrenched. There are already many Muslims who prefer Sharia law in the United States over the Constitution. They openly say so. We see women treated as second class citizens in Muslim dominated communities in spite of US laws. What we don’t see is public outrage in the American Muslim community about the atrocities in the Middle East nor open, strong, and clear support of the United States Constitution.
For now, there should be a moratorium on immigration of any from Islam dominated countries until we have a national debate on what is happening and what direction we want the United States to take. If we let influence of fundamental Islam into our way of life, the road is backwards and dangerous. If you want to see this in action, just take a look at what has happened in Europe. They are in deep trouble. And do you wonder why about every picture we see of “refuges” is overwhelmingly dominated by military age males. Women and children are a small minority. And do you ever wonder why every picture of the inside of a mosque shows only men present. Where are women and children or is it only men who count.
We are in a religious war, like it or not. And we have a President who is a closet Muslim or at least a sympathizer. After all, he was brought up in earlier years as a Muslim, then spent years listening to the teachings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a twisted “Christian” minister who has little or no use for the United States or its Constitution.
We must wake up if the Unites States of America is to survive. We are a country of laws, the first and ultimate being the Constitution. Most of Islam is diametrically opposed to all the Constitution stands for.

McCain VS Trump

It is crystal clear there is no love lost between Senator John McCain and Donald Trump. That boiled over this past week.
I think Trump did go over the top with his attack on McCain. McCain is a Viet Nam war “hero” as are all who served in Viet Nam in a war the United States had no business being in. (Where have we heard that lately?) There are thousands who did not come home, hundreds who were prisoners in North Viet Nam, thousands who suffer the consequences of Agent Orange even today, and thousands who continue to battle PTSD. All are heros. They served the United States under political leadership that was worse than flawed. They, as did John McCain, paid the price.
I think the big bone between Trump and McCain is the Presidential campaign of 2008. Trump claims to have donated over one million dollars to the McCain effort. As it turned out, McCain was not up to the task. He was a weak candidate who further weakened his position with the pandering selection of  Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as the GOP Vice Presidential candidate. That did it for me. Palin turned out to be about as close to a dunce as one could imagine. Is it any wonder that Senator Barack Hussein Obama won the election by a landslide after first beating Hillary Clinton out for the candidacy?
So, you may not like Trump’s frankness and barbs, but he does speak his mind in ways there can be no misunderstanding. And, guess what, he leads the polls. That should be telling the establishment GOP types something. The public is fed up with Washington insiders and east coast talking heads. Who knows at this point if Trump will be the candidate of choice, but you can be sure he already has made an impact.

Smoking Something: Highways, Immigrants, and Students

Honest to goodness! There are times when I think our politicians are smoking something.
Two articles on the Opinion page of the July 17th issue of the Tribune caught my attention. The first was one in which Senator Toomey (R) from Pennsylvania and Senator Dan Coats (R) from Indiana proposed linking an encouragement of more immigration of “highly skilled” people to the United States with the need to find money to fund highway maintenance. What? They claim attracting foreign students and others “highly skilled” to remain in or come to the United States would produce more job creation and economic growth thereby providing more tax dollars for highway maintenance. They don’t, however, suggest a mechanism of how that would be tracked. Do they propose an eye in the sky to watch these immigrants or tag them somehow, maybe a tattoo or electronic chip, so that all the taxes they pay or taxes from jobs they create get directly into highway funds? So, no doubt, another government agency would be required to keep track of it all. Ridiculous! This proposal is a total flight of fantasy.
The cost of highway maintenance should be paid by the users of the highways. The current mechanism for funding is mostly gasoline and diesel tax on a per gallon basis. And, yes, users are choosing to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles and, thereby, use fewer gallons of fuel. This does not mean, however, they drive fewer miles on roads. The answer, simply, is to increase the tax per gallon up to the point needed to fund highway maintenance. Sure, there will be a lot of gnashing of teeth, but the problem needs to be addressed head on; not through some cockamamie scheme involving immigrants.
Now to the other article which, ironically, seems to tie right in. It was the editorial by the Tribune Board about education and graduation rates. The article pointed out the pathetic preparation of high school graduates for college level studies. The key sentence in the article said, “…. thousands of its (Indiana) high school students are graduating without the basic math, reading and writing skills needed to succeed in college”. This is no surprise and a problem existing for decades. The finger needs to be pointed at the high schools and nowhere else. Students wanting to prepare for college should not graduate from high school unless they demonstrate preparedness. The can should not be kicked down the road for universities to deal with as it now is. The current system is a recipe for the failure it is. And, guess what, if students were prepared, maybe graduation rates would go up and students would succeed in getting into the “highly skilled” category. No need for “highly skilled” immigrants. We would grow our own.

Ms. Clinton's Baggage

Indeed! Hillary Clinton has really done it now. If Benghazi was not enough, there is now the email. Seems Ms. Clinton believes she is a rule maker unto herself. She commands all within the US State Department to use official email addresses when conducting official government business, then she exempts herself and routes hers through only her personal server somewhere in the basement of her home. If known before, this should have been

More to Come
More to Come

grounds for dismissal! There simply is no excuse good enough to justify this behavior. It put the country at risk. The only ….. repeat, only…. reason for sending emails only through her personal server was to later be the only one able to edit, censor, and delete those one does not want to become part of the official record and possibly public. There is no other reason and this one is unacceptable. The Benghazi House Committee should pursue this as intensely and vigorously as legally possible. Hillary Clinton must not be allowed to skate on this as she attempted to do with her lack of proper decision making about the Benghazi consulate. Those got people killed.
And where, too, are the watchdogs? People in the State Department and the Whitehouse had to know where Clinton emails were coming from. That information shows in every email received. Even dummies know that. No one raised questions, it appears, at any point in the time Clinton was the Secretary of State. This is yet another example of complete incompetence and lack of courage on the part of those in the Obama administration.
Who knows what yet will be revealed. The problem is that no one will ever know completely what was on the Clinton personal servers. Even if the servers were confiscated immediately by the FBI or Justice Department, the “editing” could well have already been done.
The bottom line is that Ms. Hillary Clinton is unfit to be the President of the United States. Remember that.

Minimum Wage

The column in the Kokomo Tribune on December 26th, 2014, titled, “Minimum wage hikes deprive vulnerable … again”, by Philip Coelho and James McClure, both Ph.D. professors of economics at Ball State University, is the most convoluted, confusing article I have read in a long time. I think they tried to make a case for eliminating the minimum wage and allowing the open market to offer wages from zero up. They try to convince the reader that a minimum wage deprives the disadvantaged of work and, if too high, that others will not have the motivation to better themselves and move to higher paying employment. At least I think that is what they tried to say. If so, I completely disagree.
A job is defined by a set of skills, knowledge, and actions. Individuals possess a wide range of skills and knowledge and corresponding ability to carry out actions. I hold the strong belief that people will not be satisfied with employment that requires less skill and knowledge IF higher paying jobs are available to them. The “Elephant in the Room” problem in the United States is that we have been engaging in a race to the bottom. Better than minimum wage jobs have disappeared by the millions even as the population in the United States continues to increase. This began and continues today with the sending of jobs to other countries; first to Mexico and then to Asia, countries with bottom dollar wages. Pick up about anything and see “Made in China”. Both political parties and their corporate buddies are responsible for selling our work force down the river in the name of free trade and lower prices for goods. What are left are minimum wage jobs by the dozens. That is much of what is available for people who before would be working in factory manufacturing jobs. As a society, we have decided no one who wants to work should be paid less than a specified minimum wage; a legal wage that would not be necessary or needed IF higher paying jobs were available. They are not.
As to the disadvantaged, provision does need to be made in wage law to promote employment for people who possess limited skills, knowledge, or the ability to fully act to carry out what is required for a specific job. Limitations of individuals do mean less economic value to the employer, but gainful employment for the disadvantaged has value to individuals and society more than purely economic value.
Beyond that, given the political and economic attitudes and policies of those in government and corporate power, a minimum wage — and a living one at that — is not only desirable but is necessary. Too many families now only able to find minimum wage jobs are on food stamps or other societal support services; cost taxpayers and compassionate givers bear rather than corporations. This is a national disgrace. As a nation, we, the people, have given away too much. If you don’t think so, take a look at corporation profits, Wall Street, and top corporation executive compensation levels.

Indiana Attorney General & Immigration

Here is language straight from the Indiana Attorney General web site….
“The Office of the Indiana Attorney General helps protect the rights, freedoms and safety you enjoy as a citizen of the Hoosier state. Attorney General Greg Zoeller and his staff are dedicated to meeting the state’s legal needs, as well as the needs and interests of its citizens.”
I think the key word in the whole paragraph is “citizens“. What the language does not say is that Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is dedicated to protecting non-citizens or illegal immigrants. The citizens and tax payers of Indiana do not pay him to do that. Rather, they pay him to uphold Indiana laws; something he now thinks from which he can pick and choose.
Zoeller has refused to help Governor Mike Pence challenge the alleged illegal actions taken by President Obama as he granted immunity from deportation to about 5 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Rather the State of Indiana must hire  — at taxpayer expense — outside counsel to do the legal work Governor Pence, as the state chief executive, requested be done. The Attorney General should either abide by his oath of office or step aside. He cannot selectively make decisions about enforcement of law based upon his personal beliefs or feelings. It does not work that way in our system of government — or at least it should not.
I grant that serious changes are needed in immigration law, but it is not up to individuals in positions of enforcement authority to effectively make changes on a whim. Congress and the Indiana General Assembly are the only places law is made; not in the office of the Attorney General.
Clearly, it is not reasonable to expect the United States would deport over 11 million people who are in this country illegally. We let the matter go on much too long for that solution to work. On the other hand, there cannot be favors for violation of law. One solution suggested has been to impose fines, back taxes, and other requirements in order to become permanent residents and eventually citizens. This is crazy. Under no circumstances should those who came into and reside in the United States illegally become full-rights citizens who can vote and be given public services. This solution would be grossly unfair to those who followed law and are either now citizens or are in line awaiting legal action on the way to citizenship. If illegal immigrants want citizenship, they should be required to return to their country of origin, get in line, and wait for the legal steps as does everyone else who wants to come to the United States legally. Living in the USA illegally for any number of years should not grant special treatment.
The issue that must be resolved is that of what commonly is called “anchor babies”. This is when illegal immigrant parents birth a child in United States territory. Under current law, the child is automatically a legal resident and citizen of the United States. This law must be changed so that a child of illegal immigrant parents does not become a citizen any more than the parents are. Geography should not grant citizenship. On the other hand, the law is currently what it is. The only practical solution is to allow permanent residency to the parents of what is a citizen child, but permanent residency does not mean granting citizenship rights to those parents; rights the child has. As said earlier, if the parents want citizenship rights, they must get in line and follow immigration law.
So, like it or not, the Indiana Attorney General should uphold law, not decide for himself what he will enforce or not. I suspect the majority of Indiana citizens want immigration laws enforced. Zoeller is so worried about the illegal immigrants being taken advantage of and abused. The opportunity for mistreatment would not exist if those persons were not in Indiana illegally in the first place. I am thinking that Zoeller should be devoting himself to the protection of legal Indiana citizens. I am sure there is plenty of work to do in that regard and would take his total time and efforts. Again, if Attorney Zoeller cannot do that, he should step aside and allow someone to occupy the office of Indiana Attorney General who will.

Keep Americans in the Dark Bill 4432

Your right to know what is in the food you purchase will become “keep them in the dark; they are too stupid” to know what is good for them if House Bill 4432 passes Congress. This bill is scheduled for its first reading in the House of Representatives on December 10th.
The fight is over whether you have a right to know if food you purchase at the grocery and feed to your family contains genetically modified ingredients, commonly referred to as GMOs. Sixty four countries, but not the United States, require foods to be labeled as having genetically engineered parts. Labeling is not required in the United States because giant chemical/seed companies such as Monsanto, Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont and others that sell genetically modified seed and the poisons used to kill weeds and insects don’t want you to know. You might choose not to buy GMO containing foods.
And why should you care if you eat genetically modified foods? One reason is the pesticides (poisons) used on the crops that become food for us or for livestock follow the crop. These poisons are referred to as pesticide residues, but call them what you may, they are poisons. The government has set allowed amounts of these poisons to be in foods and then tells us they are safe for us to eat. There is one genetically engineered corn that makes its own pesticide (poison) in every cell of the plant including in every kernel of corn. Studies have shown that all of us already carry around in our bodies a load of harmful chemicals. Some are cancer causing. Some are harmful to our livers, kidneys, and other organs including our brains. Some are harmful to our hormone system that controls all sorts of bodily development and function. But what we take in from pesticide residue is safe, if you believe the government.
Genetically engineered crops were simply declared safe by government decree. The government said there was no significant difference between standard crops and those that had been genetically engineered. The 64 other countries that require labeling decided there is a difference. In the US, there have been no long term safety studies on genetically engineered crops. However, evidence continues to emerge that calls safety into serious question — safety for consumption and safety for the environment.
The big deal about HR4432 is that it would prohibit any state in the United States from passing and enforcing legislation requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods. It would place all authority for such a requirement in the hands of the very agency that has failed us in the first place, the FDA. HR4432 would literally erase bills already passed in Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine. It would block labeling efforts ongoing in many other states. When legislation requiring labeling is proposed in a state, big chemical/seed and the large food processing companies pour millions of dollars into opposition advertising. Now they are concentrating efforts into the passage of HR4432.
Indiana has nine representatives in Congress. Two of them, Todd Rokita (R-District 4) and Martin Stutzman (R-District 3) have joined Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas in sponsoring HR 4432. This bill is titled “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014”, when it should be titled “Deny Americans the Right to Know Act of 2014”. Reps Rokita and Stutzman along with big chemical/seed and food processing companies, have decided you should stay in the dark.