The Rockin Johnny B

Thursday, May 5, 2016



Obviously, Donald Trump fills a vacuum. His phenomenal rise to heights that even he didn't think he'd reach is an indication of just how deep the vacuum is in the GOP. Rarely have we seen someone with no experience cut through established Republican candidates like a hot knife through butter than we've seen this year with the advent of “The Donald.” Some are still shaking their heads and saying, “What the heck happened?” In fact, if you asked a passing stranger what the GOP stands for today, the stranger would say, “I really don't know,” and that about sums it up. The party of Lincoln is so disenfranchised it is almost impossible to tell when and why it happened.

Of course, I have a theory. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Liberal, but I still have a brain and I can still think clearly regarding the Trump phenomena. I'm also a patriotic person who believes the only way for the U.S.A. to be strong, it must have two [even three] strong parties who are able to work together to get things done through compromise and clear reasoning. That simply has not happened in the last 10 years. You cannot blame it on Obama [although the Right tries its best to do so], he wasn't president when this all started. However, you could call Obama a catalyst. It took a 'different' person in the White House to speed up the process. It could have even been a woman in office that got the ball of dissension rolling. The truth is that the ball was already moving when Barack Obama took office. It even began before George W took office. If I was to pin down the beginning of dissatisfaction with politics, I think Bill Clinton would be a good place to begin. Bill did some good things for the country, but his presidency was marred by bad behavior personally. The country, especially Mid-America, was incensed by his behavior and began sending more and more Republicans to the Senate and Congress until they became the majority and/or the Party of No. They didn't care whether Obama sent a good bill to the floor, or a bad bill to the floor, the answer was always NO. Thus began the decline of the Republican Party.

A survey was done. The U.S. Congress had a lower favorable rating than hemorrhoids. That, besides being funny, is a terrible statement of civic pride in our democratic process. Shame on us.

However, all is not lost. We still have the power of the vote. IF... if we choose to use it, that is. In order to change a system, the people within that system must decide that change is preferable to the status quo. Do we, the voting public, feel that way? The polls say yes. So our choice is The Donald or Hillary. Unless someone like Bernie decides to start a 3rd party – not likely.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Trimming The Budget

Finally, I'm back!  And, as you know, I am prone to ponderings.  So here is my latest ponder.

I've decided to create a pure capitalistic democracy.  Oh yes ladies and gentlemen, that is my goal today.  It shouldn't be too hard.  All I need to do is trim down that pesky Big Government to a workable size.  Get rid of all the 'socialism' programs that are bogging down this fine nation.  I know you are with me, because we all revel in abstract conservatism.  We want what The Donald, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and the rest of the Republican intelligentsia wants, small government run on capitalistic ideals.  First let's do the trimming...

All these just gotta go:

  8. A CIA
  11. DAMS
  15. AN EPA
  17. AN FBI
  18. AN FCC
  19. AN FDA
  20. A FEMA
  26. AN IRS
  34. NASA
  36. NPR
  38. PBS
  49. A UPS
To name just a few.  I guess we can live without these things, cause we wanna go back to the good ol' days of horse and buggy government...Right?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Baby Boomers [Born between 1946 and 1964] Are Destroying the American Economy.

Not so. While it is true our economy is in trouble, it wasn't or isn't caused by Baby Boomers. Tankersley censures boomers because, he says, “they opened up global trade and watched millions of manufacturing jobs vanish.” Yes, many U.S. workers — boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials — live with heightened personal economic insecurity thanks to intense global competition. The problem isn’t with boomers, however.

Let's look at this another way: Instead, recognize that conservative legislators and their economist allies have often worked together to block a number of policy initiatives aimed at substantially boosting job training and job creation programs for people laid off and displaced as a result of increased global trade and job losses here. There are many so-called Boomers who would like to work, are able to work, have tried to get jobs, but are turned down for many reasons, but the prime reason is their age. Employers are not supposed to age discriminate, but let's face, they do.

And here’s a question for Tankersley: If aging boomers have it so good, why do Social Security benefits comprise more than half of family budgets for 44 percent of leading-edge boomers, ages 65 to 69, who’ve filed for benefits?
Many of the younger boomers he rails against are among the 44 million+ Americans who care for their parents and relatives. As Sally Abrahms just wrote in her Washington Post piece about boomer myths, a 2013 AARP study found that about 1 in 5 workers age 45 to 74 had either taken a leave or quit a job to care for an adult family member in the previous five years.
The Rand Corporation estimated the value of unpaid caregiving at $522 billion annually, including the opportunity cost of not working, or working only part-time, which makes it that much harder to save for retirement.  The value of all this care exceeds the $502 billion in net federal outlays on Medicare in 2014. So much for the selfishness of The Me Generation.
I could go on, but I want to shift to the truly troublesome core of the blame-the-boomer commentary: The solutions that typically accompany this perspective threaten one of the great economic and social opportunities in history created by increased longevity.
The basic fear in this argument is that the economy will falter with too few young workers supporting too many retired boomers. Truth is, aging boomers are reimagining and rethinking the second half of life to include work and engagement well into the traditional retirement years (what I call unretirement).
Boomers aren’t a deadweight loss on the economy. Quite the opposite. What Tankersley and his ilk miss in their blanket condemnation of the boomer generation is that, today, aging has become an opportunity for the economy to seize.
“The possibility of productive work lasting an additional decade will do more than supplement the workforce and can lead us to rethink the values and meaning of work,” writes Mary Catherine Bateson, the well-known anthropologist and author of Composing a Further Life. “Freud famously said that what gives meaning to life is to love and to work — lieben und arbeiten —and these are the keys to understanding the restless searches of today’s older adults.”
The gloom about aging boomers fails to take into account economic productivity, which trumps demographics every time. What counts is innovation, technology, the organization of business, investments in human capital and the animal spirits of capitalism.

A half-century ago, America had five workers for every retiree. This figure has since declined to fewer than three workers to one retiree. Sounds ominous, right? Well, the truth is that the U.S. is a vastly wealthier nation than it was in 1965.
Look at it this way: Between 2012 and 2035, aging alone could reduce American living standards by 8.5 percent, calculates Dean Baker, co-director at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal think tank. That would be due to the projected drop in the ratio of workers to retirees from about three workers for every retiree in 2012 to approximately two for every retiree in 2035. Yet if productivity growth runs at a 2.5 percent average annual rate — the pace of the first three decades following the Second World War and a realistic expectation going forward — the cumulative gain to American living standards is almost 58 percent, Baker figures.
Even if productivity only matches the anemic pace of 1 percent from 1973 to 1995, living standards will still rise by 26 percent.
In other words, according to Baker, even with the gloomiest productivity growth outlook, the gains dwarf the projected decline in living standards from demographics.
Here’s the kicker: Baker says his impact-of-productivity projections are too pessimistic because he isn’t factoring in the likely prospect of workers staying on the job longer than in the past.
So, please stop the fear and loathing of boomers. The critical economic and social story of our era is really generational interdependence.
Instead of indulgent attacks on Americans in their 50s, 60s and early 70s, how about grappling with policies that encourage more women into the labor market, create robust job opportunities for inner-city residents and rural poor and keep aging workers employed?
While we’re at it, let’s devote more energy toward reforming Social Security and pensions in ways that reward earning an income and starting a business in the un-retirement years.
I want to end my rebuttal with another quote from Bateson:
“Each of the liberation movements of the 20th century has had to struggle against internalized prejudices and negative images of the self or of other members of the same group, which had to be overcome in order to embrace a different vision and believe it could be achieved.”
Un-retirement is a social movement that’s breaking down stereotypes and economic barriers, with boomers in the vanguard. The underlying vision is worth fighting for.
Paraphrased and sometimes copied from a piece by Chris Farrell is senior economics contributor for American Public Media’s Marketplace. An award-winning journalist, he is author
 of the new book, Unretirement: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and The Good Life.


A while back, I had an argument on Facebook with a fella named Gary.  He was dissing Muslims and their dangerous and radical book of fear called The Koran.  Here was my reply.  You don't have to agree.  That's not necessary.  The point I was making with Gary is that don't dis something you haven't read or seen or researched yourself.  I was shooting for 'Critical Thinking'.  I don't know if I achieved my aim.  After this response, Gary did not reply.

Really Gary? Have you read it? I've skimmed it. I took a "Religions of the World" course in college and we studied the highlights in the Koran or Qu'ran and I found it to be another biblical tail of Islam and a darn good belief system. Basically it encourages belief in good deeds, prayer and good deeds and prayer only. Then it goes on to encourage 'mutual contracts on conducts and behaviors':

Here's the Cliff Notes:

4:86) When a (courteous) greetings is offered to you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy.
(24:61) Do it even if you enter your own houses.
(24:27) Or you enter other houses.
(25:63) Or even if an ignorant man addresses you.
(4:94) Say not to anyone who offers you a salutation, "You are not a believer".
(49:9) If two parties among the believers fall into a quarrel, make peace between them; but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then you should fight against the party that transgresses until the other party complies with commands of Allah. But if the other party complies, make peace between them with justice, and be fair.
(49:10) All believers are brothers to each other.
(33:70) Always say what is directed to the Right (in a straightforward manner).
(22:30) Shun the word that is false.
(17:53) Say those things that are best.
(31:19) Speak fair to the people.
(31:19) Lower your voice and be moderate in your bearing.
(6:152) Whenever you give words, do justice even though it be against a kinsman.
(24:27) Enter not anyone's house without permission.
(2:42) Cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when you know what it is.
(31:18) Turn not thy cheek away from men in scorn, and walk not in the earth exultantly; Allah loves not any man proud and boastful.
(6:151) Come not near shameful deeds, whether open or secret.
(7:33) Avoid shameful deeds.
(23:3) Avoid vain talk and (28:55) Do not listen to vain talk.
(25:72) Witness no falsehood. If you have to pass by futility, pass by it with honorable avoidance.
(24:19) Do not spread scandal.
(17:37) Walk not on earth with insolence, for you cannot rend the earth asunder, nor reach the mountains in height. (25:63) Walk on earth in humility.
Back-biting, false accusation, jealousy, etc.
(4:148) Evil must not be noised abroad in public speech except where injustice has been done.
(49:11) Let not a folk deride a folk who may be better than they are. (9:79) No slandering and ridiculing.
(49:12) Avoid suspicion as far as possible and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs.
(49:11) Do not defame or be sarcastic to each other. Call not each other by offensive nicknames.
(24:4,23) Slander not chaste women.
(4:54) Envy not mankind for what Allah has given them of His bounty.
(24:12,15,16) Think of everybody as innocent till guilt is proved against him.
(49:6) If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth.
(4:112) If anyone earns a sin or a fault and throws it on to one who is innocent, he carries on himself both falsehood and a flagrant sin.
Health, cleanliness, eating and drinking
(2:247) Wisdom and health are better than abundant riches.
(16:69 & 26:80) If you fall ill, seek cure in Allah's laws
(9:108) Purity in body, mind and heart. (4:43 & 5:6) Cleanliness.
(2:173; 5:3; 6:145; 16:115) Certain things such as pork and dead meat prohibited.
(5:90, 91) Strong drinks and wine prohibited.
(2:168) Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good. (7:31) Eat and drink but waste not by excess.
Husband-wife, children, parents, relatives, friends and neighbors
(30:31) "He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts)".
(25:74) "Wives and offspring be the comfort of our eyes". (2:187) Husband and wife should be like garments of each other.
(6:151) Be good to your parents.
(2:83) Treat with kindness your parents and kindred. (17: 23, 24) Do not rebuke your parents in their old age.
(17:26) Give the kinsman his due, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and squander not (thy wealth) in wantonness.
(4:36) Do good to neighbors whether relatives or not.
(4:36) Do good to the companions by your side.
Orphan and needy
(93:9) Treat not the orphan with harshness.
(6:152) Come not nigh to the property of the orphan except to improve it until he attains the age of full strength.
(2:83) Treat with kindness those in need.
(2:273) (Charity) is for those in need, who in Allah's cause, are restricted and cannot move about in the land, seeking. The ignorant men think because of their modesty, that they are free from want. You shall know them by their mark: they do not beg of men with importunity.
(2:263-264) Kind words and the covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury. Cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury.

(2:275) Usury is forbidden.
(2:282) Put in writing transactions involving future obligations.
(2:280) If a debtor is in difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if you remit it by way of charity, that is the best for you.
(5:1; 62:5) Keep your promises and fulfill obligations.


(6:141; 17:26,27,29 & 25:67) Tie not your hand (like a niggard's) to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach.
(42:38) Dispose of your affairs by mutual consultation.
(5:2) Help one another in acts of righteousness and piety, but not in sin and rancor.
(6:70) Leave alone those who take their Deen to be mere play and amusement and are deceived by the life of this world.
(4:140) When you hear the Signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, you are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme.
(2:136,285; 3:84; 4:150,152) Make no distinctions between the prophets.
(18:29 & 2:256) No compulsion in your Deen (code of life).
(16:125) Invite all to the way of your Sustainer with wisdom and beautiful preaching: and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.
(2:44) Do not enjoin right conduct on the people and forget to practice it yourself.
(3:167) Never be hypocritical, saying with lips what is not in the heart.
(5:100) Not equal are things that are bad and things that are good, even though the abundance of the bad may dazzle you.
(31:20, 45:12,13) Conquests of the universe for the welfare of mankind.
6.2 Human rights2
(33:35) Equality of sexes. (Also many other verses where men and women are both mentioned)
(46: 13, 19) Honor and respect is due only to that individual whose "deeds" qualify him for the distinction.
(3:79) No one can enslave another human being in any form of slavery.
(39:70) No one's fruits of labor will be denied or usurped or misappropriated. To every soul will be paid, in full, the earning of his "deeds"
(16:90) Justice must be done to everyone. (4:58, 5:8) Judge between mankind justly.
(6:152) And if ye give your word, do justice thereunto, even though it be (against) a kinsman.
(6:152) Each individual (rather every living being) has a right to claim essential necessities of life from the social order. (16:90) Equity is not enough. It must be supplemented by charitable kindness also.
(7:85; 17:35 & 6:152) Give full measure and weight, in justice.
(2:286) The burden of one cannot be placed upon the shoulders of another. Also, no burden can be placed upon a soul greater than it can bear.
(6:152 & 17:31) Each individual (rather, every living being) has a right to claim essential necessities of life from the social order.
(2:188; 5:32; 6:152) Protection of life and property. (2:85) No one can be banished from his home.
(24:2,4 & 33:59) Protection of chastity.
(7:32) Appreciation of beauty. Aesthetic taste.
(2: 256; 9:6; 10:99; 16:106, 125 & 18:29) Religious Freedom.
(4:148) The right of complaint for the oppressed to seek redress of his grievances.
(4:148) Protection against malevolent scandal and libel.
(24:12) The accused to be considered innocent unless proved guilty.
(6:165) Personal responsibility. (17:34) Fulfillment of all promises, engagement and obligations.
(2: 205) Protection of crops and progeny.
(2:217, 3:99) No one can be obstructed from the path of Allah.
(17:20) Allah's free bounties must not be withheld or closed to anyone.
(30:22) Differences in colors and languages are signs of Allah. They must not be exploited for the disunity of mankind.



Brookings Institute wondered too...
First of all, who is this Brookings Institute and why should anyone pay attention to what they have to say?

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public. The conclusions and recommendations of any Brookings publication are solely those of its author(s), and do not reflect the views of the Institution, its management, or its other scholars.

The key definitions are: 1. Non-profit and 2. independent research. Brookings has no ties to any political party or institution. Their work is fact finding and exploration of social issues.

If you are not a professional graph reader, let me try to show you the breakdown of the
different social entity's views regarding discrimination.

But perceptions of discrimination vary strikingly by party identification. Democrats (80 percent), for example, are significantly more likely than Republicans (46 percent) and Tea Party members (44 percent) to say blacks face a lot of discrimination in the United States today. Democrats (68 percent) are also much more likely than Republicans (42 percent) and Tea Party members (41 percent) to say Hispanics currently face a great deal of discrimination. But when it comes to discrimination against whites, the pattern is completely reversed—Republicans (36 percent) and Tea Party members (45 percent) are more than twice as likely as Democrats (16 percent) to say there is a lot of discrimination against whites in the America today.
Attitudes on the amount of discrimination faced by another prominent minority group in America—gay and lesbian people—are also, unsurprisingly, divided along party lines. More than eight in ten (82 percent) Democrats believe that there is a great deal of discrimination against gay and lesbian people in America today. Only about half of Republicans (55 percent) and Tea Party members (49 percent) say the same.

  1. All Americans: 12% believe there is no discrimination. 20% believe there's some. 26% believe a few groups face discrimination. 41% believe most groups face discrimination.
  2. Democrats: 5% no discrimination. 12% some. 26% a few. 55% most.
  3. Independent: 14% no. 24% some. 25% a few. 37% most.
  4. Republican: 20% no. 27% some. 28% a few. 25% most.
  5. Tea Party: 21% no. 29% some. 24% a few. 25% most.

The partisan contrast on this scale is significant: only five percent of Democrats believe that none of these groups face a lot of discrimination in the United States today. In contrast, Republicans (20 percent) and Tea Party members (21 percent) are four times as likely to express the same view. At the other end of the scale, a majority (55 percent) of Democrats perceive that most of these groups face a considerable amount of discrimination. In contrast, only one-quarter of Republicans (25 percent) and Tea Party members (25 percent) agree that this many underrepresented groups are facing a lot of discrimination.

In the final equation, Democrats see much more discrimination than do Republicans or Tea Party folks.

Charts & Stuff: understandable statistics

For those of us who hated statistics in high school. Remember that icky stuff in those geometry and algebra books and especially in that dreaded American History book? Remember how we used to skip over the little statistics on the footnotes of A.H. Book? How boring they were. Well here are some more of those boring graphs that you and I skipped over, but this time they are used to point out some cogent facts regarding today's history lessons.

President Barack Hussein Obama [yes I used his middle name to satisfy any latent Birthers out there] has gotten a bad rap. Facts don't prove out what the Right has been saying about the present president.

  1. Spending has been way lower under Obama than it was under Bush and the Budget Deficit has actually decreased under Obama when shown next to Bush.
  2. The Stimulus actually worked, however, it was just not enough.
  3. Social Security is a “Ponzi Scheme,” and is going broke is also blatantly false no matter what the Right has been saying. S.S. is NOT going broke. In fact experts believe even if nothing was done to tweak the system, S.S. would still be up and running 30 years from now paying out exactly what it's paying out now. And, no Ponzi Scheme would still be in existence after 80 years. Ponzi schemes collapse usually within 1-5 years. [Longest ever: Deepal Wannakuwatte's scheme lasted for a decade.]
  4. TAX CUTS GROW THE ECONOMY, GOVERNMENT SPENDING: Actually, the opposite is true. Tax cuts stifle the economy and government spending helps to grow the economy. It's relatively easy to prove that point. If you cut taxes, certain government entities have to cut spending and that means laying off personnel which sends them to the unemployment line, etc., etc., you get the point. Government spending on the other hand, means more jobs and more spending and an enhanced economy. You can never stimulate an economy by cutting taxes.


What do 'they' think of America?

Donald Trump’s bewildering popularity in the presidential race has been exceedingly hard to bear for many Americans, particularly those who belong to one or more of the communities that he openly disparages, like African-Americans and Muslim Americans.
Yet if even some citizens wrestle to make sense of Trump’s rise to power, how do non-Americans view the strange state of politics in the world’s most powerful nation?
While on a recent visit to Dubai, United Arab Emirates—where I was born and raised and where my parents still live—Trump’s name cropped up as a topic of conversation within the first few minutes of nearly every interaction I had, so I decided to gather a group of my friends together to answer that question.
Dubai is home to myriad immigrant communities, and while the city of more than 2.4 million struggles with its own unique social problems, the United States remains hugely influential there when it comes to both pop culture and politics.
Carlo, an Italian friend, told me that he finds Trump’s popularity troubling. “It doesn’t look good,” he said, shaking his head as he uttered the vague words, perhaps worried that he might insult the American in me if he said more.
To my Dubai friends, the Trump phenomenon is tremendously fascinating, but they are not surprised by his meteoric ascension to the status of a viable presidential candidate. After all, the White House was occupied in recent memory by another bumbling, bigoted fool who loved to pander to religious extremists and wax bombastic. His name was George W. Bush, and he gave us the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and birthed the Department of Homeland Security while also becoming an unending source of macabre hilarity. Trump promises all of the above and much more.
Bush was sandwiched between two presidents of a far more civilized ilk—Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. But even under both of them, state violence—both domestic and international—have continued to thrive. Big banks have benefited at the expense of ordinary Americans; immigrants have faced a massive deportation campaign; African-Americans have seen lip service but no justice; and so on. The list is long.
However, Carlo said he liked Obama immensely. The United States’ first African-American president, he said, is relatable and even amid incessant attacks from right-wing opponents appears to rise above their petty politics.
I was surprised to learn that my international friends watch Fox News and that they clearly understand its ability to foment ignorance and hatred among Americans. But they also watch a wide variety of other media, including the BBC, Sky News, Al-Jazeera and RT, and they are well aware of how widespread racist discourse and violence remain.
Fatima, an Indian Muslim friend, said she wants to visit the U.S. but that her husband, Tarek, a Syrian, refuses. Why? “Islamophobia,” Tarek said simply. The single word said it all.
Middle-class liberal-minded immigrants in the UAE like my friends are not the only non-Americans who are disgusted by Trump. The Emirati billionaire Khalaf Al Habtoor, who had initially supported the American businessman, now says he regrets having done so. Al Habtoor has accused Trump of “creating a hatred between Muslims and the United States of America.”
In addition, billboards featuring Trump’s image advertising a golf-course development in Dubai were recently removed, leading some to conclude that “the Trump brand has become toxic.”
Preeti, also an Indian, confessed that she and Carlo, her husband, had planned a family vacation in the United States. The couple, who have two lovely olive-skinned sons, canceled their vacation because they were worried about racism. “I feared they would see her as ‘black’ and attack her,” Carlo said, pointing to his wife.
The couple and their sons speak English with accents and have skin tones of various shades, and they simply did not want to risk traveling to a nation that they now feel would not welcome them. Preeti even quoted another friend in Dubai who refers to the U.S. as “the devil’s own country.”
Obviously racism in the United States is an age-old phenomenon, but because there is increased awareness via social media, non-Americans may be getting a more accurate picture of contemporary U.S. society. And they don’t like what they see.
The group I gathered saw police brutality in the U.S. as equally appalling. As The Guardian newspaper has pointed out, “US police kill more in days than other countries do in years.” 
A 2015 list compiled by a private consulting firm ranked the U.S. 22nd among the world’s most reputable countries. Canada occupied the top spot, and nations like Sweden, Australia, Finland and Thailand all ranked higher than the U.S., which came in just ahead of Poland and the Czech Republic.
In addition to the rampant racism, the widespread gun violence that plagues nearly every corner of the nation confounds my non-American associates. “There’s simply no gun control,” Preeti remarked. “It makes no sense!”
My friends spoke of the freedom with which Americans wield deadly weapons. They see it as bizarre and are unable to fathom how it can be acceptable in a modern society that is supposed to be civilized.
The remarks reminded me of an interaction that I had recently with an old high school friend who now lives and works in Paris with her family. She described feeling so shaken by the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks in her city—which claimed 130 lives—that she remained unable to visit her usual haunts. I responded by saying that living in the U.S. has inured me to random violence, that gun violence is so rampant across the nation that we now have to simply accept that there is a nonnegotiable risk of being shot every time we step outside our homes.
Fatima’s oldest daughter started university in the United Kingdom a few months ago. She told me that there was absolutely no way that she would have sent her daughter to the U.S. for higher education.
Decades ago, several of us at the gathering—including me—first entered the U.S. on student visas, eager to earn a degree from an American educational institution. But today, Fatima said she would send her daughter “anywhere but the U.S.”
There was a time when the United States enjoyed a reputation (however undeserved) for being the keeper of the world’s conscience, the standard-bearer of human rights and democracy. But now, it appears that that veneer is fading fast and that reality is seeping through to the outside world.

“You Americans have no Idea.”

You Americans Have No Idea Just How Good You Have It With Obama Many of us Canadians are confused by the U.S. midterm elections. Consider, right now in America, corporate profits are at record highs, the country's adding 200,000 jobs per month, unemployment is below 6%, U.S. gross national product growth is the best of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The dollar is at its strongest levels in years, the stock market is near record highs, gasoline prices are falling, there's no inflation, interest rates are the lowest in 30 years, U.S. oil imports are declining, U.S. oil production is rapidly increasing, the deficit is rapidly declining, and the wealthy are still making astonishing amounts of money. America is leading the world once again and respected internationally — in sharp contrast to the Bush years. Obama brought soldiers home from Iraq and killed Osama bin Laden. So, Americans vote for the party that got you into the mess that Obama just dug you out of? This defies reason. When you are done with Obama, could you send him our way? Richard Brunt Victoria, British Columbia.

It's like pouring salt into a wound. There is a bright side to Brunt's letter. We, at least, know other countries are paying attention to President Obama's accomplishments, even if the majority of Americans don't feel they're worth defending at the polls. It's a shame. The Conservative bullhorn was so loud, it drove out the desire for many people to vote. And Democrats didn't help. While pointing our fingers at the GOP (predominately our middle fingers) we forgot to blow our own horns. We forgot to build up our own President. We forgot to remind each other about what our own country looked like before Obama. I have to believe the public really didn't understand the GOP gerrymandering that took place the last four years. They didn't see the many important and beneficial bills shot down by Republicans, one after another, out of spite. People wanted to see results, and the results were there. But half of America was blinded by the half-truths FOX 'News' and Conservative talking heads fed them, because you know, if you tell just enough truth mixed in with a bucket of lies, it causes confusion. And that can lead to a bad case of the FuckIts. Netflix marathons are way more fun. Blunt's letter reminds me of one of my favorite Robin Williams quotes/memes:


Here are the facts:
  1. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mainly aims to secure universal health insurance coverage – but lack of coverage is only a part of the issue. Spiraling costs are the bigger issue. Aside from creating an Independent Payment Advisory Board for Medicare (which is only empowered to make recommendations to Congress) and a
    Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation which has a mandate to conduct certain demonstrations for new payment and service delivery models (but would require Congress to act on the results), the act does very little to address the rising costs of doctors, nurses, and hospitals.
  2. It adds additional layers to an already highly dysfunctional market. We already have insurance companies AND in most cases employers standing between the relationship patients and doctors. The rising cost of health care costs has increasingly forced insurance companies to become more like health subscription providers. I am a big fan of the exchange concept, but that's not the only thing that the law does; Obamacare sets coverage requirements on plans – which adds yet another layer to a business relationship that should ideally be direct pay as much as possible.
  3. Throwing subsidies and payment middlemen into the mix is a really foolish way to address cost increases. Those things historically tend to lead to MORE cost increases – which is the opposite of what we want. We want greater insurance coverage and participation – but less need for people to actually have to use their insurance coverage to pay for services.
  4. A lot of supporters like to point to the "success" of the 2006 Massachusetts Health Care Reform. While it has been successful at expanding insurance coverage, what it has NOT done is reduce the cost of care. From NPR: Health Care In Massachusetts: 'Abject Failure' Or Work In Progress?; From ABC News: Evaluating Romney care In Massachusetts; From the Boston Globe: ‘Romney Care’ — a revolution that basically worked
  5. Up until now, the basic reality of employer-sponsored healthcare in the U.S. has been driven by a massive carrot in the form of the employer healthcare tax deduction. Under the PPACA, employer-sponsored healthcare becomes mandatory at the Federal level (once you have more than 50 employees, and assuming that you don't qualify for any one of countless exceptions). Despite Municipalities and States already having their own local mandates, this is a pretty significant imposition on businesses at the highest level. On that note, the number of exceptions and waivers is aggravating since that alone indicates that the law is not equitably designed. (Everyone must do this! Except.... you...and you...and you and you and you...)
  6. The Medicaid expansion is a significant expectation placed on States with tight budgets as it is. Medicare is entirely Federal; Medicaid is State-run with Federal support. States and their citizens tend not to like it when the Federal Government orders them to spend money.
  7. That brings us to the question of the individual mandate. Those of us who live in population-dense urban environments are much more accustomed to having to deal with Government regulations and requirements in our daily lives; the underlying concept of the Individual mandate may not feel like a big deal. Government is frequently a good thing since it provides formal mechanisms for all of these people living on top of one another to not trample on one another. For those who live in more population-sparse rural settings, there is a lot less need for Government activity and intervention since there's simply less people – and more space for people to do their own thing. For them the individual mandate, requiring people to engage in a private commercial activity, is a pretty big change in the relationship between the individual and the government – and conservatives are wary of such changes. To be conservative on a given issue, you're generally invested in conserving the status quo. (Realistically, the individual mandate + penalty was a contrived series of rhetorical backflips in order to not have a "Federal Health Insurance Tax" and then allow people with insurance to waive the tax. The Democrats didn't want the word tax being hurled at them in the 2010 U.S. Elections. The gymnastics didn't help them much.)
I'd personally rather step forward into something new rather than stick with an approach to providing care that is definitely broken and has been for nearly fifty years – but I can understand why some would strenuously object to changing from something broken to something else that's still broken.
With regard to other ways forward.
I'll borrow from a comment on Health Care Policy: What does the private health insurance industry contribute to the health care of Americans? and add a few more. What I offer here is directional – not comprehensive.
  1. Many more Retail Health Clinics/Convenient Care Clinics. Convenient care clinic,Will CVS, Walgreen's retail clinics replace physicians?, Popularity of 'Walk-In' Retail Health Clinics Growing: Poll, Analysis: Obama Care will bring flood of retail health clinics - The Hill's Healthwatch  This also requires continued expansion of who can serve as primary care providers. We need to make sure that state-level licensure for Nurse practitioners and Physician assistants allows for them to do work that they are perfectly qualified to do. Pharmacies ought to be hiring Registered Nurses to take vitals, conduct a basic check-up, and draw blood for send out to labs Unfortunately, the AMVVA and other groups that advocate for doctors are rather protective of their turf and reserved authorities. Anyhow, let's get Walmart (company), Target, Costco, Walgreen's, CVS, Publix, Safeway, Albertsons, Kroger, Sears/Kmart, whomever wants to deal with Westfield, and so forth all competing in this area. People should be able to walk in, get a routine check-up, pay $25 - $75, and that's it. Not a $25 - $75 co-pay; $25 - $75 total. A lot of these chains are already providing vision exams, so it's not a huge stretch.
  2. An end to our system of employer-sponsored insurance coverage. The "system" is an outgrowth of the wage controls that were imposed during World War II as corporations competed for labor, but weren't allowed to raise wages. Health insurance in the United States, Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance and Health Reform As a consequence, the individual market is inflated and non-functional. As I've said elsewhere, I have solid hopes for the health care exchanges on this. The chance to unwind employer sponsored care is probably the biggest reason that I ultimately support the PPACA. (That is correct; I support the Act not just for what it seeks to fix, but because of what it might break and provide a better path forward on.)
  3. Public disclosure of negotiated rates between hospitals and insurers. There's now disclosure of the "charge-master" rates, which is a step, but it's not an accurate reflection of the market. Procedure pricing should be as transparent as publicly traded stock prices. See One hospital charges $8,000 — another, $38,000. Also, here's a timely column from our very own Dan Munro: Healthcare Pricing Transparency Gains Momentum
  4. Standardized & portable electronic medical records that can either be self-maintained or used with a secure (and certified as such) data management service. These could be modeled after stock brokerage houses, who maintain sensitive information – but can transfer that information between one another when a client wants to change. I could also potentially see private insurance companies offering this service.
  5. Medicare reform. There are a lot of critiques out there, but ending the fee-for-service reimbursement model is the big one and everyone already knows it. However, there's a lot of entrenched resistance to actually doing anything about this. (See #1 on my first list.)
  6. We need a mechanism to directly account for the requirements of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, rather than forcing hospitals who take Medicare patients to absorb and distribute those costs. There is a really whacked out economic incentive here that is leading some hospitals to close their Emergency Rooms as they try to trim costs. States who that are looking to trim budgets – most notably Texas (state) – are also limiting Medicaid reimbursements for "non-Emergency" Emergency Room visits. (Emergency Room Closures Hit Minorities, Poor Hardest; Factors Associated With Closures of Emergency Departments in the United States.) This is one where getting universal insurance coverage for actual emergency/catastrophic situations is important – but, to echo my point about retail health care & convenience care – we need way better, more actually affordable options for primary care.
  7. Finally, there is a big hairy social/economic issue that we need to deal with: Death and Dying. We've gotten stunningly good as a society at prolonging people's lives over the past 50 years. As a social imperative, it is moral and correct to try to preserve and prolong life...right??? (Imperative enough that the PPACA bans lifetime caps on insurance payouts.) Unfortunately, the moral imperative is very very very expensive. The most expensive care that people typically receive is in the final three months of their lives. Perhaps only people who can afford it should have every possible measure taken to extend their life... which is unlikely to strike any sane person as remotely just or the kind of society we collectively want to be. Science and medicine have gotten ahead of our ability to tackle this question as a society; we need to collectively catch up and reset our expectations. Maybe it's something like requiring certified EMR providers (see #4 in this list) to collect Advance Health Care Directives??? That at least gets people to have the conversation. This is tough Gordian Knot, and I'm currently short on brilliant ideas on how we go about slicing it. (I will note that when Republican politicians and pundits worked people into a foolish frenzy over "Death panels," it was a sad setback for this public conversation.) Humanity has had a philosophically tough relationship with mortality since the beginning; now we're at a point where it's economically tough.
Bottom line: universal insurance coverage is a noble goal, but we ought to focus a lot more on the core care costs so that insurance pools can be called on less frequently to pay out for things. In principle and design, people should be buying insurance to mainly deal with serious risks – not to handle everything that ought to be routine.


Okay, okay, I finally get it, i.e., THE Donald. I get why he's leading in the polls. I get why he's saying outrageous things and getting away with saying them. And finally, I get why some people like him.

First off, he says things others wish they could say and he gets away with it. He says things racists and bigots like to hear and homophobes simply climax when he says horrible things about Mexicans and immigrants of all kinds and stripes. There are a noisy bunch of folks out there who are terrified of anyone who is not a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Anyone who is Muslim is a terrorist, including the President of the United States [who, by the way, should be impeached].

Donald Trump finally has found that special segment of our society who have quietly been fuming about Political Correctness for decades. If Donald says something ugly and demeaning, they raise a glass and salute him in the local peanut-shell-strewn beer pub. Crazed pulpit pounders who have been preaching doom and destruction for years can point to Donald and say, “See, here's a man who knows the truth and ain't afraid to stand up and say so. And if he tells a few tall tales, so what?”

It doesn't matter if, in fact, The Donald is telling the truth. “.... “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey were “cheering,” Said Donald, at the time of the 9/11 disaster. [Blatantly false] Trump boasted that he “predicted Osama bin Laden.” [Nope] Trump “heard” that Obama is “thinking about signing an executive order where he wants to take your guns away.” [Huh Uh] Trump said he “heard” the Obama administration plans to accept 200,000 Syrian refugees — even upping that wildly inaccurate number to 250,000 in another speech. [Absolutely wrong both times] Trump said he got to know Putin “very well” while the two were on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” [Interviews thousands of miles apart] Trump told the story of a 2-year old who got autism a week after the child got a vaccine. [Dangerously wrong] Trump said Mexico doesn’t have a birthright citizenship policy. [Oh, yes it does] Trump claimed credit for getting Ford Motor Co. to move a plant from Mexico to Ohio. [Ford says The D. doesn't know what he's talking about] Trump denied that he ever called female adversaries some of these things: “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” [Yep, he said 'em all] Trump said in June “there are no jobs” to be had, when official statistics were showing 5.4 million job openings — the most in 15 years. [Oops] Trump claimed economic growth in the U.S. has “never” been below zero — until the third quarter of 2015. “Who ever heard of this?” he asked. [Except it’s not unheard of. Economic growth has been below zero 42 times since 1946.]

But...still...I get it. There's a segment of society who thinks Barack Obama lies all the time too. And, ol' Barack has told a few in his day. If you would like to check it out, go to and you'll find 50 lies he's told over his 8 years in office.

1.) Selma Got Me Born - LIAR, your parents felt safe enough to have you in 1961 - Selma had no effect on your birth, as Selma was in 1965.
2.) Father Was A Goat Herder - LIAR, he was a privileged, well educated youth, who went on to work with the Kenyan Government.
3.) Father Was A Proud Freedom Fighter - L IAR, he was part of one of the most corrupt and violent governments Kenya has ever had.
4.) My Family Has Strong Ties To African Freedom - LIAR, your cousin Raila Odinga has created mass violence in attempting to overturn a legitimate election in 2007, in Kenya. It is the first widespread violence in decades.
5.) My Grandmother Has Always Been A Christian - LIAR, she does her daily Salat prayers at 5am according to her own interviews. According to the New York Times: "I am a strong believer of the Islamic faith," Ms. Obama, 85, said in a recent interview in Kenya.' Not to mention, Christianity wouldn't allow her to have been one of 14 wives to 1 man.
6.) My Name is African Swahili - LIAR, your name is Arabic and 'Baraka' (from which Barack came) means 'blessed' in that language. Hussein is also Arabic and so is Obama.
7.) I Never Practiced Islam - LIAR, you practiced it daily at school, where you were registered as a Muslim and kept that faith for 31 years,until your wife made you change, so you could run for office.
8.) My School In Indonesia Was Christian - LIAR, you were registered as Muslim there and not in trouble in Koranic Studies for making faces (check your own book).
9.) I Was Fluent In Indonesian - LIAR, not one teacher says you could speak the language.
10.) Because I Lived In Indonesia, I Have More Foreign Experience - LIAR, you were there from the ages of 6 to 10, and couldn't even spea k the language. What did you learn, how to study the Koran and watch cartoons.
11.) I Am Stronger On Foreign Affairs - LIAR, except for Africa (surprise) and the Middle East (bigger surprise), you have never been anywhere else on the planet and thus have NO experience with our closest allies. You seek to disarm America while our avowed enemy, Iran, will not subject itself to a nuclear ban. Top Hamas politica l adviser Ahmed Yousef said the Hamas terrorist group 'supports Obama's foreign policy vision'.
12.) I Blame My Early Drug Use On Ethnic Confusion - LIAR, you were quite content in high school to be Barry Obama, no mention of Kenya and no mention of struggle to identify - your classmates said you were just fine.
13.) An Ebony Article Moved Me To Run For Office - LIAR, Ebony has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn't, and never did, exist.
14.) A Life Magazine Article Changed My Outlook On Life - LIAR, Life has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn't, and never did, exist.
15.) I Won't Run On A National Ticket In '08 - LIAR, here you are, despite saying, live on TV, that you would not have enough experience by then, and you are all about having experience first.
16.) Present Votes Are Common In Illinois - LIAR, they are common for YOU, but not many others have 130 NO VOTES.
17.) Oops, I Misvoted - LIAR, only when caught by church groups and Democrats, did you beg to change your misvote.
18.) I Was A Professor Of Law - LIAR, you were a senior lecturer ON LEAVE.
19.) I Was A Constitutional Lawyer - LIAR, you were a senior lecturer ON LEAVE.
20.) Without Me, There Would Be No Ethics Bill - LIAR, you didn't write it,introduce it, change it, or create it.
21.) The Ethics Bill Was Hard To Pass - LIAR, it took just 14 days from start to finish.
22.) I Wrote

A Tough Nuclear Bill - LIAR, your bill was rejected by your own party for its pandering and lack of all regulation - mainly because of your Nuclear Donor, Exelon, from which David Axelrod came.
23.) I Have Released My State Records - LIAR, as of March, 2008, state bills you sponsored or voted for have yet to be released, exposing all the special interests pork hidden within.
24.) I Took On The Asbestos Altgeld Gardens Mess - LIAR, you were part of a large group of people who remedied Altgeld Gardens. You failed to mention anyone else but yourself, in your books.
25.) My Economics Bill Will Help America - LIAR, your 111 economic policies were just combined into a proposal which lost 99-0, and even YOU voted against your own bill.
26.) I Have Been A Bold Leader In Illinois - LIAR, even your own supporters claim to have not seen BOLD action on your part.
27.) I Passed 26 Of My Own Bills In One Year - LIAR, they were not YOUR bills, but rather handed to you, after their creation by a fellow Senator, to assist you in a future bid for higher office.
28.) No One Contacted Canada About NAFTA - LIAR, the Candian Government issued the names and a memo of the conversation your campaign had with them.
29.) I Am Tough On Terrorism - LIAR, you missed the Iran Resolution vote on terrorism and your good friend Ali Abunimah supports the destruction of Israel. You state you will open friendly communication with the Leader of Iran who is attempting to develop nuclear weapons to destroy us, but refuse to speak to FOX news. You are against provisions of the Patriot act which would all wiretapping of the phones of suspected terrorists in the USA.
30.) I Am Not Acting As President Yet - LIAR, after the NAFTA Memo, a dead terrorist in the FARC, in Colombia, was found with a letter stating how you and he were working together on getting FARC recognized officially.
31.) I Didn't Run Ads In Florida - LIAR, you allowed national ads to run 8-12 times per day for two weeks - and you still lost.
32.) I Won Michigan - LIAR, no you didn't.
33.) I won Nevada - LIAR, no you did not.
34.) I Want All Votes To Count - LIAR, you said let the delegates decide.
35.) I Want Americans To Decide - LIAR, you prefer caucuses that limit the vote, confuse the voters, force a public vote, and only operate during small windows of time.
36.) I passed 900 Bills in the State Senate - LIAR, you passed 26, most of which you didn't write yourself.
37.) My Campaign Was Extorted By A Friend - LIAR, that friend is threatening to sue if you do not stop saying this. Obama has stopped saying this.
38.) I Believe In Fairness, Not Tactics - LIAR, you used tactics to eliminate Alice Palmer from running against you.
39.) I Don't Take PAC Money - LIAR, you take loads of it.
40.) I don't Have Lobbysists - LIAR, you have over 47 lobbyists, and counting.
41.) My Campaign Had Nothing To Do With The 1984 Ad - LIAR, your own campaign worker made the ad on his Apple in one afternoon.
42.) My Campaign Never Took Over MySpace - LIAR, Tom, who started MySpace issued a warning about this advertising to MySpace clients.
43.) I Inspire People With My Words - LIAR, you inspire people with other people's words.
44.) I Have Passed Bills In The U.S. Senate - LIAR, you have passed A BILL in the U.S. Senate - for Africa, which shows YOUR priorities.
45.) I Have Always Been Against Iraq - LIAR, you weren't in office to vote against it AND you have voted to fund it every single time, unlike Kucinich, who seems to be out gutting you Obama. You also seem to be stepping back from your departure date - AGAIN.
46.) I Have Always Supported Universal Health Care - LIAR, your plan leaves us all to pay the 15,000,000 who don't have to buy it.
47.) I Only Found Out About My Investment Conflicts Via Mail - LIAR, both companies you site as having sent you letters about this conflict have no record of any such letter ever being created or sent.
48.) I Am As Patriotic As Anyone - LIAR, you won't wear a flag pin and you don't put your hand over your heart during the Anthem. There is a Cuban Flag with Che Guevara Displayed at Barack Obama Campaign Office which you allow to be displayed. You voted against making english the official language of the United States. You voted to give illegal aliens social security benefits, which would bankrupt the social security system for Americans legally paying into it.
49.) My Wife Didn't Mean What She Said About Pride In Country - LIAR, your wife's words follow lock-step in the vain of Rev. Wright and Louis Farrahkan, in relation to their contempt and hatred of America.
50.) Wal-Mart Is A Company I Wouldn't Support - LIAR, your wife has received nearly a quarter of a million dollars through Treehouse, which is connected to Wal-Mart.



    1. They're coming for your guns. Fact-check: With as many as 310 million privately owned guns in America, it's clear there's no practical way to round them all up (never mind that no one in Washington is proposing this). Yet if you fantasize about rifle-toting citizens facing down the government, you'll rest easy knowing that America's roughly 70 to 80 million gun owners already have the feds and cops outgunned by a factor of around 79 to 1.
    2. Guns don't kill people—people kill people. Fact-check: People with access to more guns tend to kill more people—with guns. States with higher gun ownership rates have higher gun murder rates—as much as 114 percent higher than states with lower gun ownership rates.
      • A recent study looking at 30 years of homicide data found that for every one percent increase in a state's gun ownership rate, there is a nearly one percent increase in its firearm homicide rate.
      • Gun death rates are generally lower in states with restrictions such as safe-storage requirements or assault-weapons bans.
    3. An armed society is a polite society. Fact-check: Various studies suggest that being armed increases your chances of getting into a confrontation.
      • Nine percent of Americans report signs of "impulsive angry behavior" (such as breaking things and getting into fights)—and say they own a gun.
      • Drivers who carry guns are 44 percent more likely than unarmed drivers to make obscene gestures at other motorists, and 77 percent more likely to follow them aggressively.
      • Among Texans convicted of serious crimes, those with concealed-handgun licenses were sentenced for threatening someone with a firearm 4.8 times more than those without.
      • In states with Stand Your Ground and other laws making it easier to shoot in self-defense, those policies have been linked to a 7 to 10 percent increase in homicides.
    4. More good guys with guns can stop rampaging bad guys. Fact-check: Mass shootings stopped by armed civilians in the past 33 years: 0
      • Chances that a shooting in a hospital emergency department involves guns taken from guards: 1 in 5
    5. Keeping a gun at home makes you safer. Fact-check: Owning a gun has been linked to higher risks of homicide, suicide, and accidental death by gun.
      • For every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts, and 4 accidents involving guns in or around a home.
      • 43 percent of homes with guns and kids have at least one unlocked firearm.
      • In one experiment, one third of 8-to-12-year-old boys who found a handgun pulled the trigger.
    6. Carrying a gun for self-defense makes you safer. Fact-check: In 2014, according to FBI data, nearly eight times more people were shot and killed in arguments than by civilians trying to stop a crime.
      • In one survey, nearly 1 percent of Americans reported using guns to defend themselves or their property. However, a closer look at these claims found that more than half involved using guns in an aggressive manner, such as escalating an argument.
      • A study in Philadelphia found that the odds of an assault victim being shot were 4.5 times greater if he carried a gun. His odds of being killed were 4.2 times greater.
    7. Guns make women safer. Fact-check: In 2013, more than 5 times more women were shot by husbands, boyfriends, and ex-partners than murdered by male strangers.
      • A woman's chances of being killed by her abuser increase more than 5 times if he has access to a gun.
      • One study found that women in states with higher gun ownership rates were 4.9 times more likely to be murdered by a gun than women in states with lower gun ownership rates.
    8. "Vicious, violent video games" deserve more blame than guns. Fact-check: So said NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre after the Newtown massacre. So what's up with Japan? They spend more on violent video games than American kids do and the figures tell the story: America = 11,000 homicides last year related to guns; Japan = 6.
    9. More and more Americans are becoming gun owners. Fact-check: More guns are being sold, but they're owned by a shrinking portion of the population.
      • About half of Americans said they had a gun in their homes in 1973. Today, about 37 percent say they do. Overall, about a third of Americans own a gun.
      • Around 75 percent of gun owners are men. On average they own 7.9 guns each.
    10. We don't need more gun laws—we just need to enforce the ones we have. Fact-check: Weak laws and loopholes backed by the gun lobby have made it easier for people to get guns illegally. And existing gun laws aren't preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands: More than 75 percent of the weapons used in mass shootings between 1982 and 2012 were obtained legally.
      • As much as 40 percent of all gun sales involve private sellers and don't require background checks. In a survey, 40 percent of prison inmates who used guns in their crimes said they'd gotten them this way. More than 80 percent of gun owners support closing this loophole.
      • An investigation found that 62 percent of online gun sellers were willing to sell to buyers who said they couldn't pass a background check.
      • When researchers posed as illegal "straw" buyers, 20 percent of licensed California gun dealers agreed to sell handguns to them.
      • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives did not have a permanent director for seven years, due to an NRA-backed requirement that the Senate approve nominees.

So there you have it. Myths debunked by facts again.


11 Habits of Happy People

  1. They Smile. Happy people smile, even when they don't have much to smile about. It's part of a state of mind, but more so, habitual behavior. The important part about smiling is that the change in physiology actually triggers a change in psychology.
  2. They build and nurture relationships. Happy people believe in relationships, and not just the kind that are one-sided and only benefit them. They believe in mutually-beneficial relationships, and work hard to ensure that they build and nurture not only existing relationships, but also new ones as well.
  3. The create value. Happy people are focused on the long term. They work to create value in whatever it is that they're doing in life. Instead of cutting corners, they go above and beyond the call of duty, so to speak. They always strive to provide more value in their work than what others have paid for it.
  4. They eat healthy. We've all heard the saying, "You are what you eat." No words could be truer. When we put things into our bodies that help make us feel sluggish and tired, there's absolutely no way we can approach the day with zeal and absolute energy.
  5. They live in the moment. It's hard to be happy when you spend most of your day worrying about the past or living in fear of the future. Happy people live in the moment. They're present in the here and now. It doesn't mean that they've entirely forgotten about the past or don't care for the future, they just know that being present is far more important to their well-being.
  6. They set goals. While happy people tend to live in the moment, they also set goals for the future. The goals give them an intended direction of travel. They're steeped in their hopes and aspirations of whatever they're trying to achieve in life. It pushes them forward and keeps them focused on whatever it is that they're trying to accomplish.
  7. They're accountable. Happy people are accountable. They own up to their actions. For that reason, they work to do the right thing. They're not looking to get the upper-hand in a transaction or to sneak a win in some unscrupulous way; they're willing to put in the work and let people know if they screwed up or not and what the reason was behind it.
  8. They Laugh. Laughter is food for the soul. While happy people might be accountable for their actions, they also don't take themselves too seriously all the time. They know that good things eventually happen, even if they're going through a difficult time in life.
  9. They're adventurous. Happy people seek adventure. They know that life's best experiences happen when they take themselves out of their comfort zone. This isn't just about traveling, but also about meeting new people, experiencing life through the eyes of different cultures, and exploring and discovering new things.
  10. They think positive. The mind gets whatever it is that it focuses on. It's very much like a camera's lens in that aspect. So, when we focus on problems, we tend to see more problems. They become bigger and brighter, and take more a forefront in our minds.
  11. They embrace change. While some people shy away from change, unable or unwilling to alter something they've become accustomed to in life, happy people embrace it for all its worth. Not only are they okay with certainty, but they're also okay with uncertainty as well. And, a potential for major change in their lives won't scare them off.