Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What Is China up To Now ?

Think About This

The next time you pick up that “Made in China” product when you know there is an American made product at a slightly higher price, Think about This!

On May 10, 2012, USA Today reported that the trade deficit with China is on pace to exceed $295,500,000,000, last year’s amount.  And they use questionable currency manipulation to make Chinese goods cheap in the United States and American products very expensive in China.

On October 4, 2010, The American Economic Report in that year, our trade deficit with China will displace between 512,000 and 566,000 American workers.  Since 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization, 5, 500,000 manufacturing jobs and 26,000 manufacturing facilities have been lost due to such a large trade deficit.

In 2011, according to the federal government, the labor force in the United States was 153,600,000 with 20% or 30,720,000 members typically engaged in manufacturing.  Just using very simple math one can see that we have, as of 2010, lost 18% of our manufacturing jobs due to the trade deficit.  The 2011 unemployment rate was 9% so if we just reduce our imports from China by 50%, we should reach full employment in the United States.

Just a note, our total imports in 2011 exceeded $1,700,000,000,000.  Why?

That unimaginable number is due to two things; first, the American people do not want to pay a little more for American made goods.  Second, American employers do not want to provide a wage and benefit package that is commensurate with the skill and educational level of the American worker.

Big corporations know that as the unemployment rate increases, so does the demand for ever and ever cheaper products.  So they import those products from countries, like China, that pay very little, have no benefit package to worry about, have no environmental protection or worker protection regulations.  Everything goes their way. The more we demand cheap products, the more domestic production they move overseas.  While they are rolling in the dough, the American wage and lifestyle, for so long the envy of the world, continues to decline.

Just one more point for today, but you will be hearing a lot more from me about China’s colonization of America. While the ultra-rich continue to bash the middle class of America into submission, they are moving their corporate headquarters “off shore” to avoid paying taxes in the country that has given them such great wealth.  To add insult to injury, many of the “ruling class” are renouncing their American citizenship to avoid paying income tax.  As Leona Helmsley once said, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”  People at her level actually believe that.

Think about those things the next time you put a “made in China” product into your cart.   More to come!


Monday, July 16, 2012

America's Death Knell ?

According to University of Wisconsin Professor Alfred W. McCoy, when empires enter their era of decline, they fall apart with “unholy speed.”   He points out that The Portuguese Empire dissolved in just one year.  Most of us remember that the death throes of the Soviet Union lasted for only two years.  For the French it took eight years, the Ottoman Empire fought off the pale horseman for eleven years, and the mighty British Empire lasted seventeen years before the final bell tolled.  Many believe that the year 2003 marked the beginning of the end of the American Empire and predict that the end for us will occur within the next twenty-two years.  I am writing this essay in the year 2012.  From the time I write and post this short work, nine of those years are gone and thirteen remain.  Given that there will likely be a series of events that lead to the end, we probably have eight to ten years of deluding ourselves that we are too big, too important, or too powerful to ever be replaced as the preeminent super power of the world.

What kinds of events could possibly trigger the end to the America we know?  One could involve the delicate financial corner the United States has painted herself into.  It’s not just the national debt but includes what has happened to the middle class and the spending power, and taxing power that comes with such a class.

When we ask why the middle class is shrinking, we need to look first at where the products we American Consumers buy are made and by whom.  In the year 2011 the United States imported $726,712,000,000 more than we exported.  Forty per-cent or $295,456, 500,000 of that trade difference was paid to China. We bought from China $3,000,000,000 worth of apparel and $2,400,000,000 of leather goods.  We bought $1,400,000,000 in chemicals and $1,300,000,000 worth of plastic products.  We bought $2,000,000,000 worth of machinery and $2,500,000,000 worth of appliances and components for assembling appliances, and we paid $11,000,000,000 for computers and electronic products.
Every item I just listed, and it is far from encompassing everything, could be and should be MADE IN THE USA.  Why are they made in China rather that the U. S.?  Because we, as consumers, want to pay the lowest possible price for everything we look at.  Businesses want the best bottom line they can achieve.  Consumers, as workers, want the highest wages they can wring from their employers and employers want to pay their employees as little as possible.  We all want a clean environment, but we don’t want to pay the price for achieving it.  China satisfies all of those wants, but the cost is that your neighbor, and now probably you, have no jobs to go to.  How many people can fast food places employ?  To see just how arrogant we American Citizens are.  Go into any fast food store and see who is working there.  My experience is that it looks like the Hispanics have pretty well sewn up the employee pool for fast food joints. Why? The reason is simple, they are willing to work, and they don’t expect factory level pay for what they do.  But we, mostly white Americans, see the kind of work and wages offered by the fast food companies beneath us.  But not everyone does. Someone will do the job and take the last few dollars of your last unemployment check as you pass by the drive through window of the local Burger King or McDonalds.

If we want to try to stop our race to mediocrity, some first steps include; spending a little more and buying American made products whenever possible and accepting any job we can find, no matter how much it pays.  If it takes three jobs to put food on the table, work three jobs.  Those jobs are out there. If you don’t want the money, someone else will take it.

Every generation in our country’s history has had hardships to endure.  There have been depressions, recessions, periods of outlandish inflation, periods of severe labor strife, crop failures, and the list goes on.  This is the first generation that has thrown their hands in the air and cried about the situation, expecting that by wringing their hands, some magic spell would fall upon the world and then every wrong becomes righted.  Other generations put their shoulder to the grind stone; helped each other; did whatever work was available; and most of all bought American products that were made in American factories, by American workers.  We did not allow ourselves to be pushed around in our own country; we just dove in and did whatever it took.  Now a new generation is facing the abyss. It appears that this generation is content to be pushed into it rather than put up a fight.  If that is the case, America is doomed and in a few years will be an “also ran” on the world stage.  There may still be time, but I see this generation too selfish and too self centered to be bothered.  So I suggest you learn the exchange rates on the Yuan and the Euro because soon one of them will be the world’s reserve currency!  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The End Of America As We Have Known It

Recently I have read several articles indicating the end of the American Empire is nearing an end.  Stories of the decline of America have abounded for years but the difference between the earlier and more recent articles is that reputable think tanks, The CIA, The State Department, and other experts in the field of international relations have now admitted that the America we have known for nearly a century is headed for a dramatic change as the global political picture changes.  Their new “missions” are not determining ways to stop the inevitable from happening but to determine how to make the coming changes less painful for the nation as a whole and for we as individuals.

History has taught us that empires, no matter how large or how powerful, eventually come to an end.  America is often compared to the Roman Empire.  I don’t think the two are comparable for the main years of their existence but the end games seem to have many parallels.

The Roman Empire fell because the people had become selfish.  The empire was bankrupt, both financially and morally.  By moral bankruptcy, I am not referring to religion.  I am referring to the greed of the people.  The more powerful the person, the more greedy he was.  There was a time during the heyday of the Roman Empire that even poor folks owned slaves.  It was a period of decadence and of thinking that the empire was indestructible.  For the last eighty years, The United States has been slipping deeper and deeper into the same situation as the Romans during their declining years.

In the United States, during the last twenty or thirty years, the motto of the individual seems to have become, “I got mine, screw you.”  The higher one rises in the hierarchy, the more ingrained and overt that attitude seems to become.  That upper echelon of America, the very rich and powerful, mirror the Roman Senatorial class very closely.  They are relentless in their efforts to take everything they can from both the government and the working class of people.  The distribution of wealth in this country is shameful.

The country’s financial wealth has been decimated by the outlandish amounts of taxpayer dollars that are paid to large corporations for relatively little in return.  Two very long wars, in one case completely unnecessary and in the other unnecessarily long have driven the country to the brink.  The graft, outright theft, and incompetence of the corporations with the cooperation and collusion of government officials throughout those two military actions should have resulted in prisons filled with those who plied this injustice on the American people, but instead they simply became richer and more powerful while the working class paid by sending their young men and women to die and by watching the infrastructure of the country fall into a state of decay that is financially impossible to repair before major collapses throw us into the same condition as a third world country.  The final insult is seeing the power class pit working class people against each other in order to accomplish their personal goals.

This has been a brief synopsis of what I see in America today.  It will serve as an introduction to a series of essays I will post, outlining the various possible scenarios that will spell the end of America, as we have known it.  I will state here, for the record, that one of the scenarios, or a variation of them, will occur within the next thirty years.  If you are a senior citizen, like me, the worry is not so great, but I weep for our children and our grandchildren for the turbulence and utter change they will experience as America falls from its place as the world’s most powerful nation  to “just another place on the map.”


Tuesday, March 6, 2012



The Constitution of The United States of America is basically a contract between the Federal Government and the several states, those states that constituted The United States of America, not the people as individuals.  The Constitution states, in the tenth amendment “ The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

In order that certain rights and freedoms were protected to the individual, several amendments were added to the constitution.  Those amendments, known commonly as the “Bill of Rights” contain a list of personal rights that are protected by Constitutional Law.

The second amendment to the constitution guarantees the right of the individual to own firearms. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The individual states, however, have the power to make laws concerning some things while other things are not subject to any interference.  That power stems from the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution that reserves to the states any power not otherwise given to the Federal Government.  For example, Indiana cannot pass a law that allows police to enter and search your home without probable cause and proper authorization from the courts.  Any such law would violate the letter and spirit of the fourth amendment.  That amendment is part of the contract that directly protects the individual.
*(Since the original version of this statement, The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that an individual may not interfere with the police who are attempting to enter their home, without a search warrant!  It will be interesting to see how the United States Supreme Court rules on this issue.)

On the other hand, while the federal government cannot prohibit private ownership of arms and ammunition, the various states may pass laws that regulate gun ownership.  Even though established precedents support the right of the individual states to regulate gun ownership, none have ever passed, or to my limited knowledge, attempted to pass a law regulating gun ownership.  To an extent the federal government does exert some control over weapon ownership.  Anyone can own a high power rifle, assuming there is no state law against such ownership, but none of us may own an atomic bomb.  At least I have not found a specific court ruling allowing a private citizen to own a weapon of mass destruction.

I support the second amendment and believe that private gun ownership is an issue between the individual states and that state’s citizens.  If the constitution was changed and ceded to the federal government the right to regulate private gun ownership, the guidelines that would be developed and imposed would be far too generic to be effective.  Consider the difference between the need and use of firearms in Montana and New Jersey.  If federal laws regulating gun ownership were ever enacted, the various states would need the authority, out of necessity and of common sense, to tailor those laws to conditions in each state. If a particular state decided to debate the issue, the question of a law making sense if it were applied consistently across the state comes to the surface the same as if it were a generic federal law.  Consider California; regulation considerations would be much different in Los Angeles then in the towns, villages, ranches, and mines that dot the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  So, once again, a sensible law that addressed the needs of all citizens and communities is virtually impossible.

A generic federal law concerning the ownership of firearms, again with the caveat that weapons of mass destruction, which can easily be described and enforced with a federal law, should not be in the hands of an individual, would not be enforceable.  If a law is unenforceable, it should and would not be passed.

There is a need, however, in the United States to find a way to control who has weapons and what kind of weapon they have.  First; there is the need to have citizen militias to protect against the central government becoming an oppressive monarchy or a totalitarian dictatorship, and lets face it, there are those who are working very hard to destroy our country and reshape it based on their own narrow visions.  If the constitutional government should ever be changed, it will not come from outside the government, it will take place through the election process, it will come from extremists finding their way into the government and toppling the legitimate government and imposing their narrow will on every American.  Freedom, for all but a select few, will vanish. Second; there is the practical need for firearms.  I spent several years living in Utah and California and spending untold days and nights in wilderness or desolate areas prospecting and mining small claims. I could not imagine that life style without protection in the form of a firearm.  Snakes, wild animals, strange creatures lay in wait for humans to show up and get their due for disturbing their private sanctuary.  Of course, for those who chose to live in the wilderness for an extended period of time, there is the need for food.  Fish are usually available year round but man, or woman, does not live by fish alone.  Wild game is plentiful in the wilderness areas and can provide meat, skins to take to a tanner, and useful products from the uneatable parts.  Game should be killed only when necessary for food or when one’s life is threatened, not just for sport.  There is also the need for protection of one’s home and family.  There is, however, a great need to make training go hand in hand with gun ownership.  It may sound intrusive but mandatory basic training would prevent a lot of mistakes with owners getting hurt because they did not know how to use and care for their weapon.

At some point, some type of regulation, which can and will be vigorously enforced, will need to be enacted either by the states or by local governments.  The volume and type of weapons ending up in the arsenals of the gangs of this country is appalling and is on the verge of putting the whole country at risk.  Soon, I fear, we will be like Mexico where the drug cartels and gangs have larger standing armies and are more well armed than the government.  If the power of the gangs grow to the point where law enforcement is unable to control them, every citizen will be in danger and will attain weapons with witch to protect themselves.  Open conflict will break out and the good guys will lose.  We need to provide law enforcement and legitimate militias with the tools to bring the gang situation back under control.  The courts need to step up and do their part to end the gang control of the streets so that citizens can once again feel safe in their homes and on the streets.       

Sometimes something sounds so absurd that it can confuse, and scare the pants off of, some of us “normal” citizens.

Recently I read about some city or state introducing a bill that would not restrict gun ownership but if you were to own a gun, you must have it disassembled and stored in a locked gun safe.  So, lets see.  Someone breaks into my home and means to do me harm.  They are on their way to my bedroom where my wife and I sleep.  I hear them coming.  I jump out of bed and holler, "Hold on a minute guys while I go unlock my gun safe and assemble my gun, then we can go from there."  How far do you think that bill will go?  Some of these things go beyond my ability to comprehend.

I will again remind everyone that I am a Liberal and the person who made the poster that Liberals want to take away guns is all wrong.  There are people on the right and left that would like to see gun legislation to outlaw gun ownership.  Most on the right and the left, like me, want only to make sure we can keep weapons out of the hands of those who mean to do us harm.

I, like most Liberals, will not give up my right to own guns easily.  Conservative and liberals will stand together on this issue.

Sometime I will write an essay questioning if there really is an issue.




According to the wall poster that my friend posted, a liberal “believes in free speech; unless it offends him or her.”

Once again, I will remind any reader that I am a liberal and have been hurt by the erroneous claims that are part of a gallery of wall posters that a friend of mine displayed on Facebook recently.

These words were written over two hundred years ago, and still make my heart pound when I think about what the words mean.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Those noble words are the First Amendment to The Constitution of The United States of America.

I wonder how many of us realize just how fragile those freedoms, granted to each of us via our constitution, are.

In 1798, The Congress of The United States, a congress in which many of the men who voted to ratify The First Amendment reconsidered and voted to enact The Alien and Sedition Acts.  The debate over these laws was along party lines, just as today’s debates, with the Federalists controlling the congress and the upstart Democratic-Republican Party fighting to be heard. These acts consisted of four laws, three of which dealt with the possibility of aliens in the United States stirring up trouble in the young nation but the forth was an attempt by the Federalists to eliminate any criticism of them or their office.

That forth law, the Sedition part of the act made it illegal to speak out against the government or its elected officials, to publish papers, or books that were opposed to the government.  There was, of course, a lot more but that is the basics.

The act expired in 1801 without ever having a case reach The Supreme Court.  In those few years numerous journalists, authors, members of congress, and private citizens were tried and convicted.  All were pardoned when Jefferson became President.

This very short history of the early war on free speech is just a reminder of how long we have all been fighting to preserve our precious freedom to speak our minds.

I am offended every day when I turn on the radio and hear some of the garbage that is going out over the airways.  The language is worse than I ever heard while serving in the military.  Sometimes I hear the “f” word several times in what I suspect was meant to be a sentence.  Now even the “f” word with the “m” modifier is acceptable speech in the world of radio.

I am offended daily when I go on the Internet and get and have my senses lambasted by the smut and filth that is there for all to see and hear.  Although we try to blame parents for what a child might view while on the Internet, I can tell you all that the only way to protect a kid from the kind of perversion that fills cyberspace is to move to a mountain hideaway where Internet, phone, television, and radio content cannot reach them.

I am offended every time I walk into a reputable bookstore and find adults only sections with teenagers rummaging through the books, or worse when those books, clearly meant for adult minds, are mixed in with all the other books on the shelves.

I am offended when I turn on the television and am exposed to “family” programming that in my youth would have been considered pornographic and would never be acceptable.

I am offended everyday when I hear statements that are clearly untrue proffered as truth.  I am not referring strictly to political statements here but those are included. 

I am offended by the magazines that serve to convince out daughters that in order to be beautiful they must possess a body that looks like an emaciated ghost or a body that looks like some celebrity that has the “perfect body and perfect life.”  I am equally offended by the magazines and videos that convince our sons that they must have the perfectly sculpted body to have a meaningful life, and by-the-way, if you need help, buy this HGH to give you an edge.  The obituaries of those that felt they could not achieve perfection and either took their own lives or were killed by the junk they put in their bodies trying to become lovable offend me.

I am offended when people deride me for my political positions, or when others are bashed for theirs.  The whole political conversation, if one can call it that, that demands that one is all right or all wrong offends me.

There are a lot of other things that fall under the blanket of free speech that offend me, as it does most Liberals and Conservatives I know.

BUT, the alternative to hearing and seeing it all is much worse.  There are laws on the books that limit some speech and most libel or slander cases are civil court issues.  Essentially we enjoy a level of free speech not found anywhere on earth or in the pages of history.

Although I may not agree with your point of view on some issue, I welcome the chance to debate, and to be permitted by law to hold that debate in a public forum.  In many nations, if I were caught writing this essay, I could be imprisoned or worse.

I cannot speak for every Liberal, and the person who made the poster I referred to cannot speak for all Conservatives, but I can say that I believe most all Liberals and Conservatives will fight side by side to protect this very fragile freedom, no matter how often or severely we may be offended.

So, in response to the poster that proclaims that Liberals only believe in free speech when it does not offend us.  That has to be one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard, or in this case read.  It deeply offends me, a person who has fought for the freedom of speech for all.  But, I will defend to the death your right to speak your mind, however uninformed it may be.  This Liberal believes in free speech all the time because the alternative is no free speech at any time.


Thursday, February 23, 2012



According to the poster I discussed in the introduction to this series of essays, liberals demand that we love and respect all cultures and religions, except Christianity.

The poster would've been correct if they would have not added the “except Christianity” statement at the end. We live in a very diverse world and the United States contains perhaps the most diverse population in the world representing nearly every ethnic heritage and every religion. I do believe that it's in our best interest, and my own understanding of what the Bible says, to embrace and respect our neighbors regardless of the color of their skin or what church they go to.

It seems to me that since the horrors of 9/11, many in this country think it is right and proper to discriminate against anyone who may be a Muslim. Of course that attitude is ridiculous, not very many Muslims follow the same kind of ideology as the people who planned and carried out the attacks on the United States on that day. To cast each and every Muslim into the same pot is unfair just as it would be unfair to throw every Christian into the same pot is the few Catholic priests who engaged in pedophilia. I think most of the arguments that liberals respect all cultures and religions except Christianity are based on the fact that liberals and others accept Muslims as also being decent human beings.

Within Christianity itself there is much dissension. The current Republican primary reflects one of those Chasms was very clearly as Mitt Romney is constantly debased because of his Mormon religion. If one were to study Mormonism he or she would find that Mormons are Christians, they adhere to the same demands as other Christian denominations. As recently as a couple of decades ago, Baptists considered Mormonism to be a cult.

During the many religious events that took place after the 9/11 tragedy, rifts between the various Christian denominations were highlighted and were the topic of many conversations. I remember in particular one Lutheran minister who was nearly defrocked because he prayed on the same platform with members of other religions, including other Christian denominations. The Catholic Church, which was the first organized Christian church, is considered non-Christian by many of the fundamental Christian denominations. It's interesting that recently, due to some government actions, the Catholics and the fundamentalists suddenly joined hands in their efforts to reverse those actions they disagreed with.

I wonder how many of us who claim to be Christians would identify with the group from Iowa that disrupts funerals of American servicemen and who display signs that are degrading to other Americans and vilify those whose beliefs are different from those of that small group, and do it in the name of all Christians. There are many more examples of the differences and the difficulties between the various Christians denominations.

Over the years, in fact over the centuries, the Jews have probably been the most persecuted culture in recorded history. Only the Romans persecution of Christianity during the early years of the church could be considered worse. The Roman persecution of Christians, however, took place over a relatively short period of time when compared to the persecution of the Jews who have suffered over many centuries. It seems the persecution of the Jews has existed almost as long as the Jewish people themselves have existed. I fear that a new era of persecution of the Jews is not too far down the road.

During the years leading up to the World War II, Hitler and others had convinced the German people, and many others that every problem that existed the European continent was the fault of the Jews. They claimed that the Jews controlled the banking system, all of the corporations, basically that they had control over all of the money and wealth of Europe.

In order for dictators to rise to power they must give their followers someone to hate and to unite the population in that hatred.  That hatred, created as a tool for a few to rise to power, led to the Holocaust.

The Jews have been the target of that same type action many times over the centuries. Even today you can read in newspapers and especially on the Internet that the problems in America are simply the fault of the Jews and if we would run all of the Jews out of America all of our problems would be solved.  I have even read that there is an evil cabal of Jews that control everything in the world.  Many people actually believe such rubbish without asking for proof or questioning the possibility that such a system could exist. It is interesting that after all that we have seen in recent decades and read about in books outlining the history of the human race, we still haven't begun to understand the Jewish culture.

It is somewhat unsafe to even begin to talk about Islam. We in America seem to believe that every follower of Islam is a mad bomber whose only purpose in life is to destroy America. Of course that isn't true. We seem to forget that all three of the mainstream religions Christianity, Judaism, and Islam share the same beginning. We are all the descendents of Abraham.  We are all brothers and sisters.

So I take exceptions when someone indicates that because I am a liberal I disrespect Christianity and love all other religions. First of all there is no basis in fact that could be presented to me to indicate that I hate Christianity. I guess the years that I spent in the Christian ministry are evidence of how much I hate Christianity. Do I hate Judaism and Islam? No I don't. I embrace each person in the world as a brother or sister until they individually prove to be something different. I do not consider the people that flew airplanes into the world trade center towers to be my brothers. I consider them to be some of the most evil people that have lived. I don't consider anyone, Christian, Jew, or Muslim who harbors hatred against another to be my brother or my sister. I think the world has begun to revolve around the question of “who do we hate today?” Instead of developing a dialogue that would be lead to peace and understanding, it seems we look for differences that we can exploit and use as an excuse for us to exercise our desire to hate.

I would like for the person who made this poster that said liberals do not love or respect Christianity to come and tell me to my face that that's what they think of me, or of any other liberal person they might know. It just isn't true. For people to pass those lies on through the Internet and in many cases anonymously is to bring upon themselves the disgrace that is due to deceivers.

To respect other cultures and other religions does not mean that one does not respect Christianity. It simply means that one is trying to live a life based on those principles that Christ laid down for us. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus said that the first was that we love God with all our hearts and with all our souls and that the second was like the first, that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. He didn't say that we love only our neighbors that think the same way that we do, he said to love our neighbors. Therefore as a Christian, and in my case a Christian and a liberal, I will continue to respect every man and woman of any culture or religion until and unless they do something to lose my respect. In this regard, I am trying to walk in the footsteps of Christ, are you?



Wednesday, February 22, 2012



Recently while scanning that most recent posts my friends had made to Facebook, I noticed a posting that looked to be made up of small pictures, like a pane of postage stamps.  When I enlarged it, I got a sudden and dramatic shock to my system.  I was nearly sick to my stomach.  No, the pictures were not child pornography, but was a poster titled “typical liberal” and the six smaller pictures each had captions indicating what originator thinks of the liberals in general. Since I have been painted, by whoever decides these things, into a box labels me a liberal.  I was quite offended by what I read. Actually offended is not the proper word; a better description would be to say that my feelings were really hurt.

The posting was made by a gentleman who I worked with had a very good working relationship with.  During the time we worked together we had many discussions about a lot of different issues and always respected each other’s opinions.  He is someone I would have introduced, and still would introduce, as a friend. As I looked at pictures and captions, I wondered what it was that I had done that would make this man, who I considered a friend, have such a low opinion of me. I took the insults very personally because I felt like they were meant to be personal.  I just closed Facebook and went on about my business and tried to forget about it because I did not know how to respond; or even if I should.  The words just kept repeating in my head and I knew I had to try to set the record straight.

The captions in the picture indicate that liberals are anti-Christian, are against free speech, except his or her own, believes that all corporations are evil, hates capitalism, hates wealthy people, and discriminates against conservative straight white people. I noticed that this particular picture was part of a set of perhaps one hundred more pictures with the same theme.  They were produced by an organization, I’m guessing, called the Republican Revolution. I don't personally have the time or the energy to make a response to each of those many bumper sticker type posters, but I can respond to these first six. Since I am sure my friend didn't post this to offend me personally, I will not use his name in my responses. As I said, I consider this man friend and will continue to do so.

My method for responding to these first six accusations against liberals will be through a series of essays.  I will post the new material every day or two and hope that I can change the perception that some people may have of liberals. I don't apologize for my political beliefs nor would I ask my friend to apologize for his.  I think by responding through a series of essays, my friend may better understand my positions and hopefully will try to help me gain an understanding of his.



Friday, February 10, 2012

A Tribute To A Good Man

Recently, I had the honor and privilege to attend the celebration of a good man's life. The good man's name is Jack; he is my brother-in-law, my wife’s older brother. Jack had passed from this world into the next just a few days earlier. He joined his parents, his wife of forty-nine years, his two sisters, and two nephews. He left behind a sister, my wife Elizabeth, an older brother Bill, two absolutely wonderful daughters, Karen and Maura, and three grandchildren.

Jack was born in South Bend Indiana. As a young child he moved with his family to Chicago. He was a Southsider.  Jack’s family lived in what is known as South Shore and he attended Leo High School where he was a standout football player. After high school he attended the University of Illinois where he earned a degree in Civil Engineering.

Jack was a passionate civil engineer and during his career built dams, bridges, massive earthworks, and even part of the Big Dig in Boston. He worked for only three companies in his adult life and left a lasting impression on each of those companies and with all who were lucky enough to know him.

That's the basic story of my brother-in-law Jack’s life. But the basic story doesn't begin to tell the story of this good man.  I will make an attempt to enhance the basic short blurb that announces the death of someone after decades of contributions to his city, his country, and to his wonderful family.

Rather than a traditional memorial service, where people would be crying and sad, a celebration of his life and his many accomplishments was much more appropriate.  I would have expected a lot of people to stop by but I was not prepared for what occurred.  The two adjoining ballrooms used for the celebration were filled for several hours with people sharing stories with each other and with the family ranging from his years in grammar and high school through his long career as a civil engineer. In total I would guess there were at least 200 people that stopped by to join in. Each story brought a new and deeper understanding of just who Jack was.  The number of his former co-workers, who were not in contact with him for years, but showed up to join the celebration of his life, shocked me.

One of the things that most people did not know about Jack is that he was an artist. He had been an artist for most of his life. Some of his grammar school friends told us about the cartoons he used to draw, and in fact he was making entire comic books for his classmates. Even though he did some oil paintings his passion was watercolors. Over the course of his life he produced hundreds of works ranging from montages of peoples’ faces or shapes- he loved to work with angles-to abstractions of his work and of the world around him and most of all to the things he loved and cared about. Many people have paintings that Jack produced. What we found out is that Jack only gave away the paintings that he felt contained some kind of flaw; the ones that were not good enough to keep.  As a fly-fisherman, Jack tied flies for his use and to share with friends.

I was surprised at the age range of people that attended the celebration of Jack's life. They ranged from men and women in their seventies and eighties through men and women in their twenties and thirties. Each person had the opportunity to share stories about Jack with the entire group, and many did. We were somewhat surprised to hear, repeatedly, that the speaker was drawn into the engineering professions through their association with Jack. We were not so surprised that Jack served as a mentor for many young people entering the profession, but the sheer number surprised us. Many managers and company owners stated that they owed their careers to the mentoring activities of Jack.

All evening I listened to stories about Jack's life; Stories that covered his life from a young grammar school kid through his career as an outstanding engineer and teacher who finally retired just a month before his death, when his body could no longer manage the rigors of a job. I heard stories of how he demanded perfection from everyone, but mostly from himself. I heard stories about his tirelessness on the job. I heard stories about his willingness to share his knowledge with others. I heard stories about his devotion to his profession.

Later I thought about the number of people who stopped by to help celebrate Jack's life. During the evening I never heard a negative story from Jack's friends and coworkers. This alone convinced me that, most likely, Jack was a good man.

While Jack was ill, I began thinking about the contribution that he had made to the world. It occurred to me that each of us have the desire to leave something behind, to make a mark on the world, to do something so that future generations will know that we've been here. Sadly, most of us never have or don’t take advantage of that opportunity. But Jack did. For generations to come the dams and bridges and other massive construction jobs that Jack participated in designed, or built will stand as a testament to his life. Due to his mentoring, generations of engineers will carry his passion for excellence throughout the profession. The artwork that he leaves behind for many to enjoy will be admired for years, maybe even centuries.  When one considers all he did, one must admit that Jack didn't leave just a thumbprint or a palm print but a massive footprint on the earth. The world will know, and not soon forget, that Jack was here.

The most important things that Jack left behind are his two fantastic daughters Maura, who lives in Norway, and Karen, who lives in Seattle. They, and their children, will carry on the very best of what Jack was. To his old friends, he will always be a Chicago Southsider. To his coworkers, he will always be their mentor, their guide, and the engineer each hope to be. To his daughters, he will always be dad.

When one weaves all of the stories into a narrative of his life one is left with the impression that Jack was a good man who strived to be the best that he could be every day of his life.

Rest in peace John M. ”Jack”  Goodrick. You did good!

This is perhaps the most defining picture of Jack in existence.  I can’t decide if he is watching something intently and thinking or if he is preparing to kill someone, or if he is wishing the person with the camera would hurry up before he busts out laughing and spits that cigar across the room.

One last thing.  All of us being from good Irish stock, I was surprised that the evening did not end with a rendition of “Danny Boy.”  So Jack this is from me to you!


Friday, January 20, 2012


We Americans are some really strange people. We complain constantly about the loss of American jobs, and we know who to blame for those lost jobs. 1st of all we blame politicians because of the policies that they've put in place, policies that encourages employers to take jobs overseas and in fact rewards them for doing so. Then we blame the big businessmen themselves.  We blame businesspeople because want save money on labor costs and the cost of doing business and moving jobs overseas is one way to do that.  We hate that they are getting rich by stealing American jobs.  The truth is that they are getting richer and richer while the working men and women keep getting poorer. Then we add labor unions to the group of culprits. These big unions, with their demands for ever increasing wages, improvements in working conditions and workplace safety, and their desire for retirement plans and health care benefits have held a gun to the business owners heads and driven those businesses into the ground, leaving the owners no choice but to leave or go broke.

The one group we seem not to think of when were assigning blame is ourselves, we the American consumers. We want to buy things cheaply, the cheaper we can buy stuff, the more stuff we can buy. We love pulling up in front of some big giant store, walk half a mile to get to the door, enter into a massive warehouse that uses street signs and maps to help us from getting lost and marvel floor to ceiling shelves down countless aisles, filled with every imaginable item, including groceries, all at the lowest possible prices, and we don’t give a damn that 85% of those items have the words made in China somewhere on their packaging. We seem unable to make the connection that every time we pick up one of those packages, take it to the checkout, pay for it and take it home that we have helped to destroy another American job.  Once upon a time in America, jobs were plentiful, they paid well, and when we went to the store we bought products that our neighbors made. Those days are gone and may never come back. Unless, we bring them back!

Will we talk with each other we say that we would like to buy something that was once made in America but we just can't find it and have no choice but to buy foreign made goods.  The fact is we don't really look. Were quite content to walk into Wal-Mart or Kmart or Target and grab whatever is handy. And for the most part those handy are items were made in China or Taiwan or Bangladesh or Vietnam or Cambodia or, you get the picture. If we really wanted to buy American made goods, they are available; it just takes a little work to find them. Nearly every item that we buy in the discount stores, items that were made in China or other places other than the United States, we could find an American made substitute. I hate using the word substitute because the items that we buy in the discount stores I mentioned are substitutes for American made products. We have become so used to buying foreign-made items that we think something made in America is a novelty.

If we want to see American jobs come back to America. If we want to see American industry revived. If we want to see our neighbors going back to work, earning a decent wage, buying a home they can afford, raising a family, paying taxes so that our schools and our cities can function, then we must start buying American-made products. It sounds pretty simple, but it's a little complicated. Finding the products we want may take a few minutes while we do an online search. But, we can find the product, where that product is made, and where that product is sold. Its possible that you may find everything that you're looking for in a store just down the street from you, or you may have to buy it online and wait a couple of days for it to arrive at your door, and just so you know, it may cost just a little bit more.

Bringing back the America that many of us used to know, the America that many of us grew up in, the America where we were educated, and whose factories many of us worked in may cost a few extra dollars. I say, “It’s worth it, let's make the effort let's find those American-made products, and let's buy them. Let's show the rest of the world what America is, has always been, and always will be.  Lets become the Americans we used to be self-reliant, dependent on our own ingenuity, and who stood up shoulder to shoulder against the rest of the world.”


Each day in my blog, I will be providing a web address for a company or companies that make American products. Over time, I hope that, with your help, the database of American-made products gets so large, and that as our database grows, so does our desire to buy those products, those American made products!

It gives me joy and fills me with excitement to think that we, Americans setting in our own homes can join together and rebuild America.


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