Border Wall, at Heaven?

Just read a couple NY Times pieces on immigration, the “approaching caravan,” et. Al.  One article noted that Mexico is struggling to assimilate the surge of migrants fleeing poverty and violence in Latin America.  Although Mexico hardly “…meets the definition of a safe country.  Last year was its deadliest in two decades,” the article noted.  Now, our campaign travels took us to Juarez, Mexico, several years ago where we toured the slums there.  Some 200,000 people living in cobbled together shacks with no electricity, no running water, and little food.  Of course Mexico would be “…struggling to assimilate the surge of [new] migrants.”  I told a newspaper reporter in Hobbs, New Mexico, during one of our “Border Tours,” that many Americans are missing a tremendous spiritual opportunity to help these people.  What’s more, and again on the spiritual front, what kind of wall (read: “chasm”) are many quite well-off Americans (by Latin American socio-economic standards) going to meet at the border of Heaven?  For more on our take on all this, see our position paper on Hispanic Immigration.

American Solidarity Party talks

Catching up more on the last month…  I gave a keynote talk on Running for President as an Independent Candidate at the American Solidarity Party’s Regional Conference in Walnut Creek, Ohio, a couple weeks back. I also gave brief talks on National Security and Civil Rights issues.  [*I was actually endorsed by the ASP, formerly the Christian Democratic Party, in Campaign 2012.]  The ASP’s platform is pretty much totally in line with my platform..  The platform is against: abortion, against poverty, against pollution… It is for: small business, traditional marriage, civil rights…  In other words, where the Republicans and/or Democrats get it wrong, the ASP gets it right — across the board.  It’s, in essence, a “What Would Jesus Do?” type of  Party.  Note:  More on the talks in a future post(s).

nuclear weapons build-up, again?

Last Saturday President Trump said he was pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia.  His administration’s contention is that Russia is breaking the treaty by building and testing a new class of weapons.  The treaty bans ground launched ballistic and cruise missiles that have a range from 300 to 3,400 miles.  According to the book the Nuclear Age Reader, Russian “strategic [nuclear] force expansion” has forced the U.S. to abandon its commitment to strategic superiority, and it has further driven the U.S. to settle for detente as the best framework for bilateral super-power relations.  Trump’s move, in tandem with his expressed intentions to ramp up our nuclear weapons development, could well start another Cold War Arms Race.  Our administration, on the other hand, would look to parity with Russia in a bilateral — or even unilateral (taking the lead) — nuclear arms reduction.  With, eventually (and sooner than later), this going all the way to: zero.  Why?  See the section in our military paper on: “nuclear weapons.”

 

 

Robert Kennedy, the marginalized, my presidency

Catching up on the last month…  I’ve been reading some of the book Robert Kennedy and His Times by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.  Last night I was reading a section that included that Kennedy wrote in 1967:  “…we are two worlds.”  The world of the white middle class was reasonably pleasant. “But if we try to look through he eyes of the young slum-dweller — the Negro, and the Puerto Rican, and the Mexican-American — the world is a dark and hopeless place.”  Schlesinger noted that Kennedy could bridge divides and connect deeply with those on the margins.  “He could see things,” said Cesar Chavez, “through he eyes of the poor… It was like he was ours.”  This section also chronicled the bloody “ghetto rioting” during this time, and Kennedy fervently trying to come up with answers, not only to quell the violence, but to impact the dead-end poverty that was pushing people to the edge.  Note:  We saw this dead-end poverty, first hand, during a five-year stay near the inner city of Cleveland to work with a group of Catholic Workers.  During this time, my empathy for those trapped down there increased exponentially.  As president, I’d wage war on poverty and social injustice in these cities and this position paper details these strategies, at length…

Space Force. Not!

With Trump’s new proposed Space Force, we stand at the brink of yet another Cold War arena. The book Beyond the Cold War notes that the U.S.’s military pre-eminence in the world is unmatched (the U.S. currently spends more on the military than the next 17 countries — combined)!  However, the book also notes that countries with a lot of nuclear weapons (read: Russia, for one), trumps — pun intended — military superiority in the other areas.  What’s more, the book notes that western allies with the U.S. know this, so they are not as dependent on America for security, as they were before.  Our administration would nix the Space Force idea, not only because it would inevitably start yet another unnecessary Cold War race; but it would also take a significant amount of money away from programs to help the poor, to help the environment, and so on.  So… “Beam me up Scotty…”  If you’re under 30, Google that phrase. Note: During a campaign swing through Texas, I told a reporter I would be opposed to any type of militarization of space.  For more on our stance on the military in general, see…

increasing media subjectivity

Okay, Bob Woodward’s damning book (of the Trump Administration) is now public as of yesterday.  In tandem, a senior Trump Administration official has just written a just as damning NY Times “anonymous” op-ed piece about the dysfunctional Trump White House.  Meanwhile, Trump (and many conservatives in general) has been firing back with the mantra about “fake news” and “…the press is the enemy of the people.”  The ‘truth’ lies, I believe, somewhere in the middle.  (Read: objectivity.)  I have a degree in journalism, and thus a somewhat informed perspective.  And, frankly, for the past few decades, reporting has become more and more biased, whether from a liberal bent, or a conservative bent.  It’s accelerating of late toward polar extremes.  Although never totally objective (you learn that in Journalism 101), the press used to be a lot more objective.  The book Our Own Worst Enemy,  points out that when Walter Cronkite “the embodiment of the news tradition of objectivity” visited Vietnam in 1968 (five years before the war ended), he came back — and in the face of predominately slanted patriotic reporting of the war here — Cronkite reported that America wasn’t succeeding in Vietnam:  “It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam will end in a stalemate…,” he reported.  Note:  And the fault, when it comes to the press, doesn’t just lie with the press.  The majority viewing audience have, just as progressively in the past few decades, liked watching the bias, the conflict, the sensationalism — or they wouldn’t be watching.  The advertisers, in turn, note the viewership data and continue to underwrite these news shows with their advertising.  It’s a multi-dimensional loop most seem stuck in these days.

U.S. / Canada NAFTA 2 cont…

An NPR piece today noted that Canada is our biggest trading partner.  There is, for instance, a tremendously significant export/import dynamic around automotive vehicles and parts. Trump is threatening tariffs on imports of these (and other products), to play hard ball in getting a NAFTA 2 deal made with Canada.  However there’s push back from Canada, which, the NPR piece noted, is creating some friction between two countries that have had a strong alliance, across the board, for years.  I was just reading in the book Canadian Society (A Macro-Analysis) that there are, really, only subtle differences between the two societies.  And things like free trade “…contribute to better integration of the two societies.”  Our administration policies would reflect a paradigm that spins around increasing yet more of the camaraderie between the two countries.  Note:  While our administration’s economic policy would focus more on “Buy American,” conversely we would promote more joint cultural exchanges, joint environmental projects, joint tourism initiatives, Peace Corps outreach… to increase camaraderie with Canada.

Shoes for the Third World… from Bluffton, Ohio

My son Jonathan and I are collaborating on a funds2Orgs project at the high school here.  We are setting up a box for used shoes.  The organization then takes the shoes, weighs them, and donates so much per: pound to the non-profit Rec Center here.  What’s more, the shoes are then shipped overseas where they are used to help people in the Third World set up small shoe cottage industries.  In addition, these businesses also sometimes hire people to refurbish the shoes.  And, finally, consumers there often get quality shoes at an affordable price.  Everyone wins.  Note:  Several years ago, our Sarah took a missions trip to Nicaragua.  One night in Managua, her team came across a group of young kids in threadbare clothes and shoes, playing soccer on a small patch of dirt in the city.  Sarah said the kids were “joyful,” were making do, but at the same time, America could help these kids so much more than we do.  These refurbished shoes (including, hopefully, a lot of soccer shoes), will be a step in this direction.

NAFTA 2… a new perspective

As I write this, Trump’s “NAFTA 2” is in motion.  Mexico is at the table and Canada is lining up for talks as well.  There’s multi-dimensions to all this.  And they need to be well understood before the parties ‘…sign on the dotted line.’  In entering into trade talks with Canada, for example, its advisable to understand how Canadian society ticks in regard to the ideological underpinnings of their economic system.  In the book Canadian Society (A Macro-Analysis), it notes: “The dominant ideology in Canadian society has been the liberal model which accepts a stratified society because of its belief in individualism, yet modifies the excesses of the capitalist system by making some provisions for the most disadvantaged.  Marchak fears that with the increasing concentration of global capital (as multi-national corporations support the shift from competitive capitalism to monopoly capitalism), inequality will become an even more critical problem.”  After “NAFTA 1,” so to speak, our family toured Juarez, Mexico, where some of these multi-national corporation factories had gone up on the border. Because provisions in the first NAFTA were favorable for this, it created a situation where plant workers were making $3 a shift, not an hour, but a shift, in these plants, while living in extreme abject poverty in the slums of Juarez.  The hierarchy in the multi-nationals were making a lot of money, the, say, American consumers were saving a lot of money on these factory items; but on the lower end of the inequality side, these workers, and their families, were suffering tremendously.  As Marchak notes: “…as these multi-nationals move toward monopoly capitalism, inequality will become a more critical problem.”  And it has for these Mexican multi-national plant workers.  This could also happen in Canada this time around, at least to a degree. And our administration would not only be looking out for American interests in NAFTA 2, but we would also be looking out for the interests of the general populace in both Canada and Mexico.  While this is, indeed, sound spiritual principle, these trade agreements are seldom looked at through this type of paradigm.

Greyhound dogs; playing local hoops

Catching up on the last month…  I did a number of house painting jobs in Bluffton, while continuing to hone my “populist image.”  One of the homes had two greyhound dogs.  The fastest dogs, I learned, on the planet!  (They can get up to 43 mph.) During an interview for the local newspaper, their owner, Debra Hankish, told me that many of these dogs are kept in cages for 23 hours a day, and just let out to race.  What’s more, once their racing career ends, in, say, Arizona, some of the greyhounds are taken out to the desert and shot.  Ms. Hankish joined a “Greyhound Rescue Group” and adopted the two dogs that are now in Bluffton.  They are, in many ways, “gentle giants,” said Ms. Hankish.  So much so, she is having one trained to be a “therapy dog” that will go into the local nursing homes, and such.  Note:  During the summer at noon on M/W/F, I played hoops at the local Rec. Center with a number of guys/gals from a nearby factory.  One of the women (who I chose not to guard, ever) had been the starting point guard at the University of Toledo not too long ago.  Boy, is she good!