Blog

FOUR ICONIC FIGURES FOREVER

Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.”—Martin Luther King Jr.

Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country. FDR

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. M.K. Gandhi

For what shall it suffer a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his soul?—Jesus Christ, in Matthew 16:26

 

These four iconic figures in world history have gone above and beyond anything any of us could have or conceivably will ever accomplish but we can use them as our models. I cannot place my name anywhere among them but I can speak of them as my friends, as their words ring out the truth to this day and far beyond. I can only dream as Martin Luther King Jr did; I can only take hope from FDR, who, literally, stood on steel legs while giving confidence to men who, under his leadership, saved our country from becoming a dictatorship;  I can only take heart from Mohandas Gandhi, who gives us hope to this day, through his actions of non-violent protest that Martin Luther King Jr., took heart from and used as a template for his later civil rights marches and protests; and, of course Jesus Christ, whether you believe He was (is) just a man or God incarnate, I can take heart from what He has done for myself personally, as well as leaving us, mankind, the holy spirit to comfort us until He returns, something that could conceivably happen quite soon. Peace be upon us all.

CLOSE ALL GUN SHOWS IN FLORIDA

My name is Keith G. Laufenberg and I am running for a seat, as a Democrat, in the 2020 election for the seat of State Representative in District 35, in Hernando County. The current holder of that seat is Blaise Ingoglia, who is a Republican. I have many complaints as to the legislation Ingoglia, as well as the Republican Party, as a whole, is suggesting and passing in Tallahassee and I am going to replace him, with your help.
One of my first initiatives in Tallahassee will be to submit legislation that will get rid of gun shows in the State of Florida and, with them, what is known as the gun show loophole. This term refers to the sale of firearms by private sellers, including those at gun shows, if they don’t meet federal requirements for background checks. Federal law requires that background checks be done for any commercial sales but not for private-party sales, and, therein, creates a loop-hole: because at private-party sales any person can sell any firearm to any unlicensed resident of the same state as long as they don’t have a reasonable doubt that the purchaser should be prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. In other words, a gun salesman selling these killing machines for profit, at a gun-show, is “given” no reason to believe he will actually have to run a background check on “anyone” and so, he doesn’t.” I am not going after the 2
nd Amendment here; if you have a pistol and a permit to keep it in your house, fine, I just don’t want anyone to be able to buy an AK-47 legally.

Under federal law, gun salesmen, selling their private-party wares at a gun show are NOT REQUIRED to perform background checks, record the sale, or even ask for any identification at any of the innumerable gun shows in the State of Florida. This law is contrasted sharply by gun stores and other sales by FFL (Federal Firearms License) holders: to whom it is mandatory for them to perform background checks, as well as recording any gun sales, whether in a store or at a gun show. Access to the NICS, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, is limited to FFL holders. It is a system whereby the FFL holder can determine if their prospective buyers’ name and birth date match any person not eligible to purchase a weapon. The NICS was mandated by the Brady Law aka the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act of 1993 and was launched by the FBI, in 1998, to honor James Brady who was shot and wounded by John Hinckley Jr. during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981. After a prospective buyer completes the appropriate form, the holder of the FFL initiates the background check on a computer. Most checks are determined within minutes, however if, for any reason a determination is not obtained within three business days then the transfer may legally be completed.

Many gun control advocates have campaigned vigorously for universal background checks but to no avail. A bill must be written that will provide a uniform set of rules for commercial gun sellers, whether at gun shows or private residences. After the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, gun shows and background checks became a focus of national debate in the United States. Weeks after the Columbine shooting, Senator Frank Laufenberg, New Jersey, introduced a proposal to close the gun show loophole in federal law. It was passed in the Senate, but did not pass in the House.

Between 2001 and 2013 seven gun show “loophole” bills have been introduced in the U.S. House and four in the Senate and not one of them passed.
In the U.S House of Representatives there is a House representative, Carolyn Maloney, who is the representative for New York’s 12
th congressional district, for the past seven years and previously for 10 years, in the 14th district, when it was redistricted. Since 2015, when she introduced H.R. 2380, aka the Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2015, which was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations. In March of 2017, Representative Maloney introduced H.R. 1612, aka the Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2017 and, then in January of this year (2019) she introduced H.R. 820 aka the Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2019. None of these bills has yet to become law but, as your representative for District 35 I will introduce similar bills and do everything I can to see that they get passed and, along with you, the voters, WE SHALL OVERCOME!

They tied the knot; then they were gone

There’s not much I can add to this piece I read in the Tampa Bay Times yesterday. If you’re not religious; maybe this can convert you or, the opposite can also happen. Read this story warily, knowing that it is a truth that happened before people’s eyes who cannot, now or then, make any “worldly” sense out of it. May the Lord’s peace be upon you.

Family watched Friday as high school sweethearts got married – then, minutes later, as they died.

Harley and Rhiannon Morgan hit a trailer-towing pickup truck as they turned onto the highway from a driveway at the Orange, Texas, courtroom where they tied the knot, city police told local news station KFDM. The groom’s mother and sister looked on in horror from behind.

What they saw was haunting, Harley’s mother, Lashawna Morgan, told the news outlet. The Chevy Cavalier flipped before crashing into a ditch off Texas 87, according to the Beaumont Enterprise.

“I had to sit there and watch my two babies die,” Morgan said. “That is an image I will have for the rest of my life. I still have his blood on my hands from trying to pull him and her out of there.”

Harley was just 19 years old; Rhiannon was 20. The couple from Vidor, Texas, died on the scene near the chambers of Justice of the Peace Joy Dubose-Simonton, who had the grim duty of declaring dead the couple she’d just married, the Beaumont Enterprise reported.

Harley and Rhiannon got in the car to file their marriage license at the county courthouse, change Rhiannon’s legal name and snap more pictures, the paper reported. Five loved ones were along for the festivities. There were plans for cake and a bigger ceremony later this year, family said.

After the crash, about a dozen people came together in Vidor at the Dunkin’ and Baskin Robbins where Harley was a baker. They remembered the couple with the cake they never got to eat.

Police, who did not respond to an inquiry, are investigating the collision. They said the man driving the truck was uninjured, KFDM reported.

The Morgans’ family, meanwhile, is devastated.“Please go home and hug your loved ones tonight,” Lashawna Morgan said, standing by the highway as officials carried over remnants of the upended lives: a bloody bouquet, the envelope with the marriage license. “Do not go to bed angry.”

Who or what killed Josh Wilkerson?

This is a story that has already happened and will happen again and again and the reason it will happen again and again is because the Capitalist System has failed us, we citizens, especially we poor citizens, we working-class citizens and all simply because of one thing: a system that, in the end, considering all things, failed because they (the Capitalists) “respect, honor & obey” only one thing: MONEY!

His name was Josh Wilkerson and he died because he had no health insurance and not enough cash to buy his insulin. Josh Wilkerson had been born with a congenital form of Type 1 diabetes. He was 27-years old and was engaged to be married to Rose Walters, also 27, who, also, happened to have been born with the same disease, Type 1 diabetes.

As the story goes along here, I believe you, the reader, will see, as I have, that this is a very uncomplicated story. It is, in fact, what you would call a cut and dried, simplistic, story that you could explain to any child, who would then understand it immediately, even as so many politicians, insurance conglomerates, physicians and pharmaceutical companies, apparently, do not understand it. They are all cohorts in a Capitalistic conspiracy to continue the fictional story that America is the only “Democracy” in the world and that’s why everybody wants to immigrate here and live here.

This may stem from what is known as the Preamble to the Constitution, which states: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. The framers, at that time, in 1787, wrote it even as Capitalism was creeping its way into our “democracy” and all things, then, had a for-sale sign hung on it (and them). After all, America was built on the backs of slaves, on land stolen from the natives already living here, also referred to as “Indians” and later as “Native Americans.”

So, back to Josh Wilkerson’s untimely death. What happened is this: Josh had been insured under his step-father’s health insurance plan but only until he turned 26, and so, no longer covered he soon realized that his insulin had risen to nearly $1200 a month: an impossible figure for someone who was being paid $16.50 an hour working for a dog kennel in Northern Virginia, to afford.

And so, he and his fiancee found a cheaper source: Walmart, a store that was rated extremely high on all Capitalistic score-sheets. Birds flew over their store regularly chirping Walmart’s motto of: “cheep-cheep-cheep.” Yes, they sold things cheap and the insulin, called “ReliOn,” which they had been selling for almost two decades, predated the genetically altered “analog” insulin that Josh Wilkerson had been taking under his doctor’s prescription but, now, could no longer afford. Too many of the Capitalistic Big Pharmaceutical companies had tripled their prices, leaving many Type 1 diabetics to make very hard choices, like going without their insulin or buying a much cheaper brand, which they did, when they switched from Josh’s doctor’s prescribed meds, that he no longer “qualified” to get, to the ReliOn Walmart brand. Both he and his fiancee appeared to tolerate it and Josh Wilkerson had fared well enough since first purchasing it in late 2018.

Josh and Rose were due to get married in October and he was at work this past June, when he entered his sleeping quarters above the dog kennel he worked at, having promised the owner, who was on vacation, that he would because it was a way to make some “extra money.”

Wilkerson was “face-timing” with his fiancee when he mentioned he was having stomach problems, promised her he would take his insulin and disconnected from Face-Time, which he did.
The next day Rose called him and when he didn’t answer she drove to the kennel where she found him unconscious, on the floor of the kennel.

In the hospital, doctors determined he had had multiple strokes and when he fell into a vegetative state, a week or so later, he was removed from the hospital ventilator that had been keeping him ‘alive.”
Apparently, it has been known and reported, just not to those buying the Reli-On that this product is also known as “human insulin,” can take as many as 4 hours before having any effect, while the “analog” insulin, like Josh had been taking, takes as little as 20 minutes to regulate blood-sugar levels.

How many diabetics have to die? How many citizens have to make the choices that Josh Wilkerson had to make?

What? A dead body hanging from a tree?

Okay, this is a believe it or not moment. Anybody that knows me, knows I am an ex-amateur and professional boxer with over 50 fights, so they could (can) see that this is, in fact, a heavy bag, hanging from a large tree branch in my front yard. This morning, around noon a Sheriff’s van drives up and stops at the front of my 3-story house. The cop stands in my driveway and I use the inside stairs to go down into the basement. He is standing by my old pick-up truck, staring at my heavy bag, which he has just come from touching and glancing under the canvas. The canvas is only there, tied with a piece of plastic line from my lawn-edger because it’s been raining lately. I asked him what’s up even as my wife is standing on the outside stirs smiling and when I walk over to where the cop is she says: “someone called the police: they think it’s a dead body hanging from our tree.” I couldn’t (even now) stop laughing at just, even the thought that some human being could see (to me) an obvious heavy bag and imagine it’s a corpse? I’ve been punching on it for several months so the complainant must not have lived in Hernando Beach or is reading too many Stephen King novels. The cop looked as if he was rather embarrassed and shrugged, then opened his mouth to speak when I said: “Don’t you got any real police work to do man? Heh-heh you can examine the body if you want to?”  He smiled and tried to leave with a pleasant smile on his face and a look of neutrality saying: I got the call, that’s all.
     So, take a look at my “dead body,” hanging for the last 6-months in my front yard, where I have punched on it, along with a speed bag inside my basementIMG_3624.JPG 4-car garage for several years.
Well, what the hell, we all need a good laugh once in awhile, huh? 10-4?
“10-4, Roger that, a false alarm. What’s that sir? Oh yessir, it was a heavy-bag, sir, a, ah-er-um-ah a punching bag. Yes sir, he had a canvas over it because of the rain.” Ah, er um ah hah-hah …. ” The cop gets in the van and drives off. Oh what a day …  

2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

A big problem today, in our elections is that most (eligible) voters do not cast a ballot. Why? Because nobody runs for political office, most notably for POTUS, without first doing their homework: their homework being raising money, airing radio and television commercials to show why their candidate should be the POTUS. And so, we (voters) refuse to even vote. Why?

Because, I think, we see those running as being nothing but more politicians … politicians with an agenda: they’re for or against something they (think) know will get them elected: like being for or against abortion, for or against medical insurance for all, for or against voting rights for felons and so on, but these politicians know that, today, due mostly to Donald Trump, the truth is not what it really is but what others, such as Trump’s obsessed followers, can be convinced of. Most of Trump’s followers seem to get pleasure out of Trump’s ideas, such as building a wall, but not because they think it’s true; they think it’s true because they get pleasure out of it because what they are ‘defending’ as the truth is, in actuality, their self-esteem.

A big problem in these recent elections is that they seem to have now become, it appears to me, to be less about democracy and more about American celebrity and who generates the most applause or cheers and screaming.
It also appears that television
news ratings and Web traffic spike in presidential years and fall off in off-years and midterm elections, partiallt because presidential turnout rates are far higher in presidential years than in midterms nowadays and, on average since 1980, the United States has been said to have seen a 29 percent drop from presidential elections to midterm elections, and it’s been on the rise but, even so, be that as it may, we are far behind most other world democracies in voter participation — even including presidential years.

Now then, to the point of today’s harangue: who, besides a billionaire businessman or a man or woman who has “connections” to a(nother) source of revenue can even run for the presidency of the United States?

Well, of course, the answer is no one. Or is it?

Well, on the FEC FORM 2, which is a statement that all (potential) candidates must fill out if they are (legally) considering running for POTUS.

For candidates who raise their own funds, federal law dictates how and from whom candidates for president may seek contributions. It also limits how much any individual contributor can give. The law ensures that the press and citizens know who is contributing to a given candidate. A candidate for president must establish a campaign organization, called a political committee, and register it with the Federal Election Commission. Once registered, political committees may seek contributions but must report all funds raised to the commission, which makes the information available to the public. Recent major-party presidential candidates have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on their campaigns but those who raise their own funds must find thousands of contributors.

Can any man actually run for the the presidency in America without being a (b)millionaire himself and/or connected to them in one form or another and with no party affiliation?

Now, as far as health insurance goes we’ve always had a crisis and it’s, simply because we’ve never had any presidents who weren’t (aren’t) wealthy and attached to many billionaire “businessmen” who fund their campaigns in order for the politicians to fund their requested demands: such as tax cuts for the super-rich and no raise(s) in the minimum wage. We need Universal Health Care, a single-payer plan exactly like Canada has. I should know, I lived in Vancouver, B.C for seven years and lived under it. I had two children there and paid nothing for either delivery and hospital stay. All doctors take your card and you pay nothing, zero. In fact the government sent (myself and my wife) a monthly check to help pay for the child’s care.

I came back to the U.S.A., Sacramento, California and the to Florida where I had two children and not only paid over $5,000, to the hospital I was slapped with a lien on my homesteaded house in North Lauderdale.

America is long overdue for a change but, again, the question is can a man (or woman) actually even run for POTUS, with little or no money and no party affiliation? I’d do it myself just to prove we do not live in a Democratic form of government and never have if I thought I could?

How can you consider America to be a democratic form of government when it was, originally, formed by the wealthy to serve the wealthy; while disdaining the working man and every worker who toils needlessly for money that these billionaires, literally, print for themselves. They constantly cry about the national debt, the deficit, when, in reality, the national debt, as with all countries’ debts is nothing more than a fiction and a fight between these countries, all of who, like two battling car salesmen claim that their car (food, oil or whatever they have more of than other countries) is “worth” more than the others’. In other words their money is worth more than America’s or China’s and they, therefore have a surplus while the other country has a debt, a deficit, to pay that country before trade can be continued?

And so the people in these countries, usually an autocratic dictatorship masquerading as a Socialist government, starve slowly while their dictator(s) use ‘their’ army to keep them from “protesting.”

What can we do now, without a human being in the White House?