The rather disturbing direction of the United States

Donald Trump gave a somewhat sobering assessment of the current state of the United States during his Republican nomination acceptance speech. He was totally upfront and honest about the many problems facing this country at the current time. That honesty did not sit well with many folks who viewed his speech as being too dark and negative. Trump was called out numerous times this week during the Democratic party love fest known as the DNC. Speaker after speaker talked about how great America is already and how much better it will be if Hillary Clinton takes office. When I heard a few of those guest speakers remarks, I nearly tipped over in my lazy boy chair in utter disbelief. Is the Democratic party really that much out of touch with reality about what is currently happening in the United States? What planet are they living on?

A recent poll finds that 70 percent of Americans feel the country is headed in the wrong direction and I am one of those 70 percent. There are several reasons why I feel this way. I could probably write several posts to cover all of the reasons, but here are a few. First of all, I am very concerned about the attitude of entitlement that many people, especially young people in this country seem to have. You see young people marching around demanding free college tuition, 15 dollar an hour minimum wage, free this, free that. Few of these individuals seem to understand that the free stuff actually comes from somebody else’s pocket. Nobody is entitled to a piece of someone else’s wealth and hard work. There is growing support for mass socialism like several European countries have and that is extremely disturbing. The day we become a socialist country will be the day this country dies. We have lost any sense of personal responsibility. Nobody wants to look in the mirror and blame themselves for their shortcomings. And by the way, our country was made great because of capitalism. I find it very disturbing that people want to find ways to ruin it.

I am very concerned about the moral decay of our culture as well. A society with many strong families is a strong society. Good people come out of those strong families. There are many broken families in our country today and the results show. Increased gang violence, poverty, lack of respect for authorities and poor performance in schools are just a few of the many unfortunate results that a broken family produces. Nobody seems to value the importance of having a strong family anymore. I didn’t hear too many convention speakers talk about that critical aspect to our country.

The recent escalating violence between cops and citizens have me extremely worried about our general safety as a nation. Will there be anymore cops in the next 5 years, and will we be just a wild west with the criminals running things because of extreme political correctness? That certainly applies to terrorism as well. My fear is that ISIS will expand in this country because we have too many political correct politicians who are afraid of offending certain groups of people.

Last but not least, our economy has me very worried on several fronts. People’s wages have largely remained flat during the last 10 years and that is just not acceptable. Why is there so much talk about raising the minimum wage? Why not start focusing on good paying long-term jobs? Is it the new normal to be talking about these low paying, low skilled jobs for American workers? I certainly hope not.

Has anyone recently been paying attention to the stagnant growth of our GDP as well as our growing debt? Our debt is growing totally out of control and future generations will be shouldered with an enormous burden. A very important topic that many people seem to ignore is the low-interest rates at the current time. Eventually those rates will have to go up sometime in the near future and that has me worried. How much of an impact to our economy will this have?

I don’t think we are totally in the toilet as a nation right now, but we can certainly do much better. If we ignore it like some people want to, it might be too late to fix things. We owe it to our kids and future generations of Americans.

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My divorce from the Democrat party

Ronald Reagan once said “I didn’t leave the Democratic party, the Democratic party left me”.  I think many people can relate to that great quote including myself. Once upon a time during my college years, I was a supporter of the Democratic party and what they stood for. I was under the impression that they were for the so-called “little guy”. On the other hand, the Republican party was not. They were just for the rich guys. I greatly admired JFK and was a huge supporter of Bill Clinton. Lately, things have really changed in my views of the Democrat party. I want absolutely nothing to do with them both in local and national elections. That party has lost my respect and from the sounds of it, many others.

Like many divorces that take place for married couples,  little things just started to accumulate in recent years that has forced me to split with the party. It really started when certain Democrats started to take a stance against my religious views in the name of political correctness. A few wanted to ban people from saying “Merry Christmas” during the Christmas season. Other Democrats led efforts to have symbols of Christianity or school prayer taken away. I began to question whether this party was becoming more and more secular. The same Democrats would probably bend over backwards to accommodate people of the Islam faith, but not for Christians. This issue seems like a seemingly small thing, but it started to rub me the wrong way with this party.

My dislike for the party really started to grow shortly after I got my first job after college. I moved into an apartment complex and befriended some folks who were on welfare and absolutely loved the Democratic party. I wonder why? The Democratic loves people who are dependent on government assistance. That seemed to be the final straw in my support for the party. Here I was a working stiff, trying hard to better myself and here I am supporting others with my taxes so they can sit at home and enjoy the nice easy life at my expense. Unfortunately, many Democrats do not seem to have an issue with the out of control spending that goes into these entitlement programs.

Recent events have only deepened my rift with this party. During a Democratic party debate, a few statements by the candidates have really turned me off. Senator Bernie Sanders was asked whether “Black lives matter or all live matter” Sanders response was this, “Black lives matter”. So my life as a white male in this country does not matter, Senator? What a foolish response! A president of the United States represents all lives, period!!!. Later on in the debate, the same guy pointed out that climate change is a bigger problem facing this country today than terrorism, really? And so many Democrats seem to agree with his outrageous views. How can you take a party that thinks like that seriously?! Furthermore, many of these same Democrats like to lecture us on gun control and our safety, but when it comes to the need to deal with sanctuary cities who harbor dangerous illegal aliens, they remain awfully quiet.

I strongly believe that a country operates better if more power goes to the states and we have a smaller Federal government. Today’s Democratic party wants just the opposite. The bigger the Federal government, the better. In fact many of today’s Democrats like Sanders are socialists. It has been proven time after time, not only in this country, but around the world that socialism and big government policies do not work, period! I challenge anyone to look at areas where those lovely socialistic and big government policies are implemented. Look at what has happened to Detroit with over 50 years of Democratic rule.

Until the Democratic party starts shifting more to the center and towards conservative values, I cannot support them in any way. The same goes for the Republicans as well. I simply cannot support a party that is extremely hung up on political correctness and big government. I hope this country eventually wakes up and votes for candidates who stand up against extreme liberalism. Today’s Democratic party likes to brag about how they help the less fortunate, but are they really doing so? Are their ideas of big government really sustainable for the future and for future generations of people. Of course not! We all start to change our way of thinking as we age and become more mature. A dramatic change in my life is how I view politics and today’s Democrat party. Splitting from that party was one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life. It took me awhile, but I finally woke up!

Make America great again by looking in the mirror.

Anyone watching the Republican Convention this week will probably notice a sign on a wall with the words “Make America Great Again”. That slogan has been the trademark of Donald Trump’s campaign. There is no question that we as a nation have slipped in the last 10 years of so. Household income has gone down, the labor participation rate is the lowest it has been in over 30 years, there has been an increase in the number of people needing food stamps, our standing in the world has greatly diminished and we are starting to see a very disturbing trend of violence towards police officers. People are downright frustrated and it is reaching a boiling point. Many politicians during these conventions have talked about various plans designed to make things better and boost the overall health of America. An often overlooked idea is a rather simple one. Each American living in this country has to look in the mirror and ask himself or herself, “What can I do as a citizen of this country to make America great again?” As JFK once said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

We like to blame other people or the system for our shortcomings. I hear many folks blaming the top 1 percent for hording all the wealth or some political party for the shortcomings of this country.  If you have a problem with the rich making too much money or bad policies of a political party, get involved in politics and make your voice be heard. It is amazing how apathetic many folks are about politics. Getting more people involved in politics and making lawmakers accountable for their performances in office is a huge step towards improving our country. I am fearless on this blog site for calling out politicians on both sides of the aisle. I welcome more people to do the same.

There is no question that a huge number of people in this country are struggling to make ends meet with low wages. You often hear people demanding that the minimum wage get raised so people can earn a so-called living wage. If I were making peanuts at my job, I would take a deep inventory on why this is so. Perhaps you might be working at a very low skilled job. Why not take the initiative to pick up more skills by going back to school? This is a new day and age folks. There are good paying high-tech jobs out there. A person in a low skilled job should be paid low wages. It is their responsibility to make a better living. The government cannot do it for them. More better educated and skilled workers are crucial in making this country better.

I find it rather troubling to hear the role of strong families in this conversation. I personally believe that it is one of the most critical things that our society can have. We need more stable households in this country. The increase in the number of single households has also led to an increase in the poverty rate. That fact cannot be ignored. A child who comes from a good stable family with a good loving and supportive mother and father will often be a success later on in life. Furthermore, those children will grow up and have more respect for authorities such as the police. That lack of respect is a huge issue right now.

Last but not least, our education system has to improve, especially in the K-12 range. As I mentioned earlier, there are some good high-tech jobs out there that require well-educated individuals. A certain political party likes to talk about free college education, but that will not mean anything if we continue to have kids struggling to maintain good grades in k-12. Our test scores compared to other nations in somewhat alarming. A kid who struggles in high school will never make it in college. In fact, many kids are simply not college material in this country. That has to change and we have to take a serious look at our education system.

There are many other ideas that I have to make America great again, but so many just centers around the often forgotten word PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY! If we all look at how we approach our lives and the lives of our family members, things would be so much better in this great country of ours.

Is Nice, France now the new normal?

A network news anchor finished his broadcast from Nice, France with a rather sobering question for all of us. “Is this latest horrific attack now the new normal?” was his question to millions of viewers watching the news broadcast. I paused for a second and thought to myself, well sadly it probably is. My follow-up thought was how long before stuff like this starts happening in the United States. It seems like a weekly occurrence for these types of tragedies to happen now in Europe. This is the second such major attack in France in just 9 months. When is this madness going to stop? Are we now at a point in our society were we can’t even feel safe going to a public event?

There are so many things that make this latest terrorist attack so alarming. First of all, the weapon of the terrorist, a common vehicle. When most people think of terrorist attacks, images of guns comes to mind. Not this one. What are we going to do now, have stricter background checks on those individuals who buy trucks? While watching video of the attacks, I could not help but think that this type of attack could have easily occurred here in the United States. We have so many public events during the summer months with massive crowds. A terrorist could have a field day if he or she really wanted to at these events. The use of a truck or car can do unimaginable harm to a large group of people in a short time. It is also a great place to store bombs which could cause further mayhem in a large group setting.

Another major concern that I have after seeing this attack is the fact that there are many lone wolf terrorists around the world. Some of these news commentators are exactly correct; the cancer of Islamic terrorism has spread around the world. It is no long just an issue for the Middle East. Europe is now struggling to stay safe, and it probably is only a matter of time before the United States will have to deal with some of these unfortunate and tragic events on a regular basis. You have to be extremely naive not to think that there are lone wolf terrorists in this country at the present time. To be honest with you, that scares the crap out of me! My neighbor could be some terrorist for all I know!

Terrorism and how to deal with ISIS is a very important campaign issue for the 2016 race to the White House. Unfortunately for everyone, this a new world that we live in. How sad is it that a bunch of happy innocent people had their lives cut short by some cowardly terrorist the other night? Perhaps this might serve as a wakeup call to the entire world on how serious this threat really is to all of humanity. The cancer has indeed spread and the entire world now needs treatment. Like many cancer treatments, the cure might be rather rough and offend people, but in the end, we as a peaceful society need it before our world is destroyed by these nut jobs. This new normal is not a normal that most rational people want. We must stop these evil people before it gets out of control. My thoughts and prayers go out to the country of France; no country deserves what they have gone through in the last year.

The uncalled for murders of the Dallas police officers

There is no question that tensions between members of the black community and the police have intensified this week with the incidents in St. Paul and Baton Rouge. The videos that have come out have really stoked the anger of many people in this nation towards the police and have only reinforced their beliefs that police brutality is running out of control. I have often thought that this anger would carry over to violence towards cops and my worst fears came true last Thursday when 5 innocent cops were gunned down in Dallas by some racist individual who wanted to kill as many white police officers as possible. So has it really come down to this? Are people now satisfied that 5 brave and courageous cops are dead? If so, this nation is in some serious deep trouble.

I can certainly understand why some people have deep hatred towards the cops. If I listened to the one-sided media all the time and only watched the videos without asking myself if there was an underlying reason why these incidents take place, I would have the same reaction that many people, who are protesting in the streets, seem to have. In their own narrow-minded view of things, the cop is guilty until proven innocent. Unfortunately for them, that is not how our justice system works. If the cops are proven without a doubt to have murdered an innocent person, then I am the first to say that they should have the book thrown at them. It is extremely unfortunate that so many people want to rush into judgement without knowing all the facts. That rush to judgement really fuels the anger towards cops and you can bet that more tragic incidents like the Dallas one will occur.

The cops who died in Dallas did not deserve their fate. They were out trying to protect the same people who were protesting against them. Imagine doing a job of helping out people of which many despise your job title? How would you feel? These officers died trying to protect the free speech of people who were their enemies.

Some of the comments that I hear people making about the Dallas tragedy is downright sickening! I see people posting or saying stuff that the cops got what they deserved. Really? How low and sick is that! Maybe these same morons can move somewhere free of cops and see how they like it.

The consequences of further violence against cops will be devastating for this nation. We simply cannot afford that. Pretty soon, the police officers around this country will just give up and not arrest anyone for fear of being heavily scrutinized. Then watch the crime rates really go up. Those who think that it is open season by the cops on young black men are extremely delusional. I would say that 99.5 percent of cops in this country do a great job in protecting safety of the public including those young black men. Many of those cops have probably helped save the lives of many black men as well. Just something to think about.

Nobody will win if we start killing police officers. We need to start having some serious discussions about these events and keep on asking why, why are these things happening before it is too late and our country is thrown into complete turmoil.

The surprising Kevin Durant decision

One of the topics that has the sports world buzzing these days is the somewhat surprising announcement by NBA superstar Kevin Durant that he is leaving Oklahoma City and signing on with the Golden State Warriors. I was personally stunned when heard his decision on the 4th of July, but in the grand scheme of things, should anyone be surprised by what goes in that league these days?

The team that he left, Oklahoma City, took Golden State to 7 games and was probably playing as well as anyone at the end of the season. They had a good young coach, great fans and one of the best duos in the NBA, Durant and Russell Westbrook. Had Durant stayed, they could have easily been contenders for next year’s championship. I don’t know about anyone else, but that exciting 7 game series would have created even more of a desire in my heart to stay and beat Golden State. Instead, Durant decides to go join the enemy? It makes no sense!

If you listen to many of the sports experts, Golden State should already be crowned champions for next year’s NBA season. Why even have a season next year? Just award the trophy to the Warriors. I mean, who is going to beat them? They set the NBA regular season record without him. Heck, they might even go undefeated next season!

Well not so fast, Warrior fans. Obviously their lineup looks very imposing to say the least, but it is not perfect. Are there enough basketballs to go around with 4 high-profile scorers in the starting lineup? Sometimes, team chemistry often gets overlooked in assembling a team. I think a much overlooked change on their team is the loss of Andrew Bogut. He was not the greatest scorer in the world, but he provided a lot of good interior defense for the club. I think his injury in the finals really hurt the Warriors more than people realize. Do they have someone who can step in and replace him? A big physical team could give them fits this coming season.

It should be really fun to watch the Warriors play this season now that Durant is playing for them. Is it good for the NBA for teams to stack their roster full of superstar players? That is very debatable. I personally think no. As a fan, there is just something exciting about watching a team stacked with great players. I just think that there is absolutely no guarantee that Golden State will win the title next year.

Some people have ripped Durant for his decision, however, I am certainly not one of the them. He is free to play for any team he desires. I am free to work for any company I want so why can’t he play for any team he wants? This is a free country for crying out loud! If teams have a problem with Golden State being too stacked with good players, then do something about it! Perhaps this decision might inspire other teams to be wiser in their selection of players so they can also be winners that players want to play for. I wish KD the best of luck. He is one of the good guys in the league and certainly deserves to win a championship.

Those insane NBA contracts

There are many very talented young talented multi-sport athletes who are currently trying to decide which sport to go on and pursue at the college or professional level. For instance, a high school kid might be a standout football, basketball and baseball player. He has the potential to play professional at any of the three. After seeing what has happened in the last few weeks with NBA contracts, how could you not blame the kid for wanting to pursue an NBA career? Even marginal players are now making roughly 10 million a year. A player who warmed the bench for a playoff team just recently signed a 4 year contract for roughly 16 million a year. What other sports even come close to paying marginal players that kind of dough?

The NBA is growing rapidly in popularity not only here in the United States, but around the world. The recent record television deal with the league reflects the growing popularity of the league. Now teams have approximately 25 million more dollars per year to spend on coveted free agents. It seemed like just yesterday that a salary of a million a year was the norm. Now that figure will probably rise to around 8 or 9 million. The payroll ceiling for each team is now around 97 million and teams must have a total payroll of at least 90 percent of the 97 million. It does not take much of a math major to figure that even the low-end players will get a healthy chunk of change.

You really have to wonder how this record deal and the outrageous salaries will affect other sports. I know the NFL has to be looking at this with a great deal of interest given their immense popularity. How will this affect their next television contract negotiations? Is this a new trend for sports? Will we be now seeing some backup quarterback in the NFL make 10 million a year or some MLB guy make 15 million a year for hitting just .197?

One of the things that really troubles me about this whole salary bonanza in the NBA is the fact that many players are being paid far more than their worth to the league. To me, that is just not right. Why should a backup player make more than one of the top stars in the league? Steph Curry might be one of the top 5 most marketable players in the NBA and he is vastly underpaid compared to a guy like Timofey Mozgov. Is that fair? Absolutely not! I also wonder what kind of effect this will have on teams keeping key players who might just want to search for greener pastures. Will this have a negative impact on teams trying to hold onto players? It could very well have. If I were a top-notch NBA player, I would feel insulted if a number of players, who are not even close to my worth to the league, got paid more than I did.

These record salaries just shows that television really controls sports. I can’t really complain about some backup center making 15 million a year. I turn on the television and watch the games thus contributing to the madness. If only I was a little younger! Maybe some team can pay this old white guy 5 million a year to sit on the end of the bench. Hey, I can still hit the jump shot! The NBA is definitely now a dream league for any young aspiring athlete.