2017: A Political Issues Odyssey

The political landscape is changing so fast that what is perceived one day as agreeable might be perceived as disagreeable or otherwise quite differently after such changes by the next day, and ongoing. Even so, giving President Trump’s famous Address to Congress 28 February 2017 another read, I’ll comment on some of the top issues.

Editorial Article by Jim Lantern in Norman Oklahoma

LANTERN TIMEGLASS JOURNAL
Sunday 12 March 2017

President Trumps words in quotes. My remarks follow in italics.

“Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart, and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.”

Hopefully more of that will continue and others will follow their example.

“The stock market has gained almost three trillion dollars in value since the election on November 8th, a record.”

Impressive, especially if it benefits the country, not just those directly involved with the stock market. 

“We have placed a hiring freeze on non-military and non-essential Federal workers.”

They also need to terminate non-essentials, especially Obama leftovers who could be a threat to progress.

“We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a 5 year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials — and a lifetime ban on becoming lobbyists for a foreign government.”

The art of misdirection could undermine all of that. Such lobbyists could go into stealth mode.

“We have undertaken a historic effort to massively reduce job‑crushing regulations, creating a deregulation task force inside of every Government agency; imposing a new rule which mandates that for every 1 new regulation, 2 old regulations must be eliminated; and stopping a regulation that threatens the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners.”

Excellent. That plan being done and should result in amazing progress sooner than later. 

“We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines — thereby creating tens of thousands of jobs — and I’ve issued a new directive that new American pipelines be made with American steel.”

This is one of the issues that has been in flux, especially regarding American steel. As President Trump becomes better informed, he might make different decisions regarding this and related issues.

“We have withdrawn the United States from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

I agree with that course of action.

“To protect our citizens, I have directed the Department of Justice to form a Task Force on Reducing Violent Crime.”

Good idea, but I doubt it will be effective. More direct action is needed, less talk – except for better understanding the causes of violent crimes – in turn possible solutions.

“I have further ordered the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, along with the Department of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to coordinate an aggressive strategy to dismantle the criminal cartels that have spread across our Nation. We will stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth — and we will expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted.”

 

I believe the real reason why the so-called war on illegal drugs has failed is mainly because of corruption within law enforcement – those who should be helping to stop the problem are themselves part of the problem. I don’t see that coming to an end anytime soon – not in the next 4 years of Trump’s first term.

“At the same time, my Administration has answered the pleas of the American people for immigration enforcement and border security. By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone. We want all Americans to succeed — but that can’t happen in an environment of lawless chaos. We must restore integrity and the rule of law to our borders. For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime. As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak tonight and as I have promised. To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you this question: what would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or a loved one, because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?”

 

This of course is one of the most controversial issues, for which I believe there will be no end in the foreseeable future. Trump will not be able to completely solve this problem – even within two terms if reelected.

“Our obligation is to serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the United States. We are also taking strong measures to protect our Nation from Radical Islamic Terrorism. According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country. We have seen the attacks at home — from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and yes, even the World Trade Center. We have seen the attacks in France, in Belgium, in Germany and all over the world. It is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur. Those given the high honor of admission to the United States should support this country and love its people and its values. We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America — we cannot allow our Nation to become a sanctuary for extremists. That is why my Administration has been working on improved vetting procedures, and we will shortly take new steps to keep our Nation safe — and to keep out those who would do us harm. As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS — a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs. We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.”

 

We need to strengthen our military, and then unleash its full strength on ISIS to obliterate it. Unconventional nonmilitary methods might also be needed to achieve that goal – especially for terminating all terrorism…

Dracula Untold

  • Dracula Untold is a 2014 American dark fantasy action horror film directed by Gary Shore in his feature film debut and written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Rather than focusing on Irish novelist Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, the film creates an origin story for its title character, Count Dracula, by re-imagining the story of Vlad the Impaler. Luke Evans portrays the title character, and Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, and Charles Dance appear in supporting roles.
  • The mythical story of Vlad the Impaler’s transformation into Dracula is revealed. As the Turkish invade Romania, Vlad decides to sell his soul and become a creature of the night in order to protect his homeland.
  • On October 2, 2014, executive producer Alissa Phillips revealed at the UK premiere of the film that there might be a sequel to the film. On November 3, 2014, Box Office Mojo speculated that, based on domestic and foreign earnings to date, the film “is likely on the edge of earning enough to start a modest franchise.” On September 27, 2016, Evans told LRM Online that there have been talks and conversations about including his character in the larger shared universe.

Master Vampire: [holds Vlad by the throat] Why spill blood if not for the pleasure of it?

Vlad: Because men do not fear swords. They fear monsters. They run from them. By putting one village to the stake, I spared ten more. Sometimes the world no longer needs a hero. Sometimes what it needs… is a monster.

Master Vampire: [tightening his grip a little] And you believe you know what it means to be a monster? Hmm?… You have no idea… but I’m going to show you.

Some people believe Trump is a monster. Our enemies need to believe that.

The amazing true history story about the real Vlad the Impaler – a Christian hero, who did battle with an earlier version of ISIS about 569 years ago, is as follows…

“I have also imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals who support Iran’s ballistic missile program, and reaffirmed our unbreakable alliance with the State of Israel.”

I agree this is a step in the right direction.

“But to accomplish our goals at home and abroad, we must restart the engine of the American economy — making it easier for companies to do business in the United States, and much harder for companies to leave. Right now, American companies are taxed at one of the highest rates anywhere in the world. My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone. At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class. We must create a level playing field for American companies and workers. Currently, when we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes — but when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them almost nothing.”

 

Excellent!

“Nations around the world, like Canada, Australia and many others — have a merit-based immigration system. It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon. According to the National Academy of Sciences, our current immigration system costs America’s taxpayers many billions of dollars a year. Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, will have many benefits: it will save countless dollars, raise workers’ wages, and help struggling families — including immigrant families — enter the middle class. I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws.”

 

Interesting idea.

“Another Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, initiated the last truly great national infrastructure program — the building of the interstate highway system. The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding. America has spent approximately six trillion dollars in the Middle East, all this while our infrastructure at home is crumbling. With this six trillion dollars we could have rebuilt our country — twice. And maybe even three times if we had people who had the ability to negotiate. To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States — financed through both public and private capital — creating millions of new jobs. This effort will be guided by two core principles: Buy American, and Hire American.”

 

Desperately needed immediately.

“Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare…”

Battles in progress. Time will tell. I miss how affordable easy health care access was back in 1986 when I got my first bleeding stomach ulcer at age 30.

“Here are the principles that should guide the Congress as we move to create a better healthcare system for all Americans: First, we should ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the healthcare exchanges. Secondly, we should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts — but it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by the Government. Thirdly, we should give our great State Governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out. Fourthly, we should implement legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance — and work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs and bring them down immediately. Finally, the time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across State lines — creating a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring cost way down and provide far better care.”

 

I agree.

“Education is the civil rights issue of our time. I am calling upon Members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.”

 

I agree. Further, I have some of my own ideas. I believe education needs to be streamlined – eliminating all of the frivolous courses to focus on those need to obtain and maintain employment – and the higher goal of creating new businesses to in turn create more jobs. The transition from high school to college should be seamless, and with apprenticeship options as paying jobs to help pay for related classes. I believe in a 4-day school week, with employers having a 4-day work week for employees who have children in school – so those families can enjoy a 3-day weekend.

“But to break the cycle of poverty, we must also break the cycle of violence. The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century. In Chicago, more than 4,000 people were shot last year alone — and the murder rate so far this year has been even higher. This is not acceptable in our society. Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community, to attend a great school, and to have access to a high-paying job. But to create this future, we must work with — not against — the men and women of law enforcement. We must build bridges of cooperation and trust — not drive the wedge of disunity and division. Police and sheriffs are members of our community. They are friends and neighbors, they are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters — and they leave behind loved ones every day who worry whether or not they’ll come home safe and sound. We must support the incredible men and women of law enforcement. And we must support the victims of crime. I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American Victims. The office is called VOICE — Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.”

 

I agree.

“Finally, to keep America Safe we must provide the men and women of the United States military with the tools they need to prevent war and — if they must — to fight and to win. I am sending the Congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates the Defense sequester, and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history. My budget will also increase funding for our veterans. Our veterans have delivered for this Nation — and now we must deliver for them.”

 

I agree.

“Our foreign policy calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world. It is American leadership based on vital security interests that we share with our allies across the globe. We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism. But our partners must meet their financial obligations. And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that. We expect our partners, whether in NATO, in the Middle East, or the Pacific — to take a direct and meaningful role in both strategic and military operations, and pay their fair share of the cost. We will respect historic institutions, but we will also respect the sovereign rights of nations. Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people — and America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path. My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America. But we know that America is better off, when there is less conflict — not more. We must learn from the mistakes of the past — we have seen the war and destruction that have raged across our world. The only long-term solution for these humanitarian disasters is to create the conditions where displaced persons can safely return home and begin the long process of rebuilding. America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where shared interests align. We want harmony and stability, not war and conflict. We want peace, wherever peace can be found. America is friends today with former enemies. Some of our closest allies, decades ago, fought on the opposite side of these World Wars. This history should give us all faith in the possibilities for a better world.”

 

I agree.

“Imagine the wonders our country could know in America’s 250th year. Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people. Cures to illnesses that have always plagued us are not too much to hope.American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream.”

 

Yes. Let the voyage begin…

“Millions lifted from welfare to work is not too much to expect.
And streets where mothers are safe from fear — schools where children learn in peace — and jobs where Americans prosper and grow — are not too much to ask.
When we have all of this, we will have made America greater than ever before. For all Americans.
This is our vision. This is our mission.
But we can only get there together.
We are one people, with one destiny.
We all bleed the same blood.
We all salute the same flag.
And we are all made by the same God.
And when we fulfill this vision; when we celebrate our 250 years of glorious freedom, we will look back on tonight as when this new chapter of American Greatness began.
The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us.
We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts.
The bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls.
And the confidence to turn those hopes and dreams to action.
From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears —
inspired by the future, not bound by the failures of the past —
and guided by our vision, not blinded by our doubts.
I am asking all citizens to embrace this Renewal of the American Spirit. I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country. And I am asking everyone watching tonight to seize this moment and —
Believe in yourselves.
Believe in your future.
And believe, once more, in America.
Thank you, God bless you, and God Bless these United States.”

 

AMEN!

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