On eagles wings, in Kosovo

Kosovo’s national symbol, like in America, is the eagle. Here the graduates strike a traditional “eagle’s wings” pose at the graduation ceremony.

I just wrote a local newspaper article about a special group of students who just graduated with their Masters in Law from Ohio Northern University. They are all from the country of Kosovo. What’s more, one man told me that when he was four-years-old, he was in a refugee camp during the Kosovo War. He said the only thing on his mind then was: “staying alive.” Now he’s got a lot more on his mind, like, for instance, going back to his country to help increase the “rule of law,” as Kosovo continues to stabilize after the war. He also told me he has tremendous empathy for the plight of refugees worldwide these days. Our campaign does too…

They all gave all…

At the Memorial Day Parade in Bluffton yesterday, I took this photo. Most of these guys are Vietnam Vets (there was just one WWII veteran at the event). These guys’ sacrifices can’t be quantified, but it can be honored. And that’s, exactly, what our position paper on the military calls for in the Veteran’s Affairs section (topic #11).

Religious liberty and peaceable assembly

During a village council meeting I was covering last night, the village administrator said he’d been contacted by this church about them holding an open-air morning service in the downtown park. Back and forth discussion ensued among the council members about the interface of “church and state” in regard to allowing this. Then the mayor, who took on sort of a wizard (in the Wizard of Oz) sage-like role, said the U.S. Constitution provides for “peaceable assembly” on public land. He surmised the worship service would, indeed, be ‘peaceable,’ and the park is ‘public land,’ so, huh… I once gave a talk at Greensboro College in North Carolina. I said that while I was for “separation of church and state” the way the founders intended, that didn’t mean, for instance, that you can’t have a politician who, say, pushes for legislation that matches his/her moral compass. In fact, I’d imagine in a sane society that you’d want that.

Joe foreign policy

I just wrote a newspaper article about Food For The Poor, Inc. The organization provides food, clean drinking water wells, agricultural help, adequate housing… for people in 17 Third World countries. This is for people who, say, live in mud huts, with meager daily rations of rice, flour… while many Americans live in palaces, by comparison, and either throw away, or let spoil, 33% of our food. Our foreign policy spins around, not as much about “American interests,” as, well, these peoples’ interests. Wouldn’t you think it would be the same with God? Just askin’.

When one butterfly flaps its wings…

For Earth Day, I wrote a newspaper article about Bluffton University’s Sustainability Club. The students got a campus restaurant to ban non-biodegradable plastic straws, they are lobbying for food composting at the cafeteria, they are proposing an “Energy Savings Challenge” between dormitories… I ended the article by posing: Can one small university in Northwest Ohio save the entire planet? A proverb: A lone butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can set in motion a chain of events that can, ultimately, cause hurricane force winds in another part of the planet. For more on our platform on the environment, see…

Treatment in lieu of incarceration

Ohio District 4 House of Representative’s

I attended a keynote speech at a Criminal Justice Education Conference at Ohio Northern University. Representative Robert Cupp said the House was working on a bill to make 4th and 5th degree felonies misdemeanors in some cases that involved drugs and alcohol. He said the prevailing thought is that ‘treatment in lieu of incarceration’ is often better for the criminal, and the community. The belief is that if the drug and/or alcohol problem isn’t dealt with, the recidivism rate will continue to be high for addicts/alcoholics. I would agree. For more on my take on addiction in society in general, see…

Is our country “full”?

Brittanica.com photo

Just this week I interviewed a woman who came to the U.S. from Jalisco, Mexico in 1999. At the time, she was a 23-year-old single mother of two young children, and her husband had left them. As with many place in Mexico, Jalisco had a lot of poverty and this woman was struggling to provide for her kids. Her sister had immigrated to the U.S. several years prior, and had started a Mexican restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. The young mother joined her sister, worked hard in the restaurant, learned the business, and eventually opened her own restaurant in a small town in Northwest, Ohio. It’s a great restaurant. Her business employs a number of local people. And she is active in her church and the community. In other words, she’s been a real gift to our country. Note: As I write this, Trump is saying our country is “full.” My take is, it isn’t. And, in fact, we could use a lot more people like this woman. For our position paper on Hispanic Immigration, see…

“Lest we forget…”

While the other campaigns were doing the $1,000 a plate fundraisers, and such, I was doing a $1.29 McDouble and passing out campaign literature in the Ottawa, Ohio, McDonald’s one Friday night recently. It was also here that I met Vietnam Veteran Bill Ranes. [He had just been featured in the high-gloss national magazine titled: Vietnam.] The story was about he and seven buddies going on a “suicide mission” to get the body of a fellow marine killed in a battle earlier that day. And against all odds, they were successful. These guys risked their lives for others, for us, and I believe we should do everything possible to make sure they are now taken care of. For more, see our position on the military (look for the subsection on: Veterans Affairs)

Saving old-growth forests

I was reading part of this book tonight for research. It noted that in the early 1980s, only 18,000 acres of old growth redwood forests in California were left — down from a high of 200,000 acres. (And the guess is it’s even a lot less now.) Besides a considerable amount of logging, the book noted that in the logging areas, thousands of footsteps (from the loggers, and such) have trampled vegetation and compacted the earth so that new trees can’t seed… On a west coast research trip, in Brookings, Oregon, we interviewed a “forestry technician” who opined that we leave the old growth forests (redwoods or otherwise) alone, log others, and what’s more, start providing governmental subsidies for more tree farms. He said, currently, forestry technicians like himself are busy trying to reverse some of the latter environmental damage, while yet others are continually monitoring endangered species in the old-growth forests where the logging is going on. He added that common sense would say that if you leave the old-growth forests alone, it would free up a lot of this manpower and, well, keep the old growth forests healthy and intact. For our position paper on the Environment, including a section that addresses this kind of ‘arbor issue,’ see…

…just back from the border

Joe talks with Mr. Fitzimmons in Bluffton’s Twisted Whisk Cafe

Brandon Fitzimmons was just back from the southern border when I met with him. Mr. Fizimmons works with a Jesuit non-profit that has set up a Soup Kitchen and shelters for immigrants stuck in Mexico, trying to get into America. He said the situation, in no way, was “black and white” on the border. While there may be some drug cartel people, and such, many of the people there are legitimately fleeing dire poverty and just as legitimate violence, Mr. Fitzimmons said. He also said it’s essential to “humanize” the situation and deal with it in all it’s complicated gray areas. Note: Mr. Fitzimmons said he wasn’t going to vote in Campaign 2016 because none of the presidential candidates matched up with his core beliefs across the board. I did. And when he found out about my campaign, he said: “I turned my no vote into a Joe vote.” I, of course, liked that. Note 2: I am currently vying for the nomination of the American Solidarity Party. The Party’s core values do, indeed, match up with mine across the board.