Category Archives: Examiner

Views and Beliefs vs. Rights and Freedoms

I appreciate people’s views, opinions and concerns. I think those are what have driven America’s progress the most. Without those voices of the past, we would not have the freedoms to have our voices heard today.

However we share our voices, whether it be through writing, TV, radio or to those around us. The fact is, we have the desire within us to be heard and in this country, we have the right.

In many countries, that is not the case. Those rights did not come to us without fight and by others giving up their freedoms and their lives. How we use those rights and our freedoms should never be taken lightly.

I have always been one to see things through the eyes of many, not just myself. I believe that one’s freedom can not be enjoyed with another person enslaved. Justice is not won if an injustice is being done and ignored. I see that and I do not take that lightly. That is why I do what I do.

Choice is a freedom. Choice is the ability to make a decision. For someone to take that away is to take a freedom away and we have fought too long to earn those rights.

In today’s politics, it seems like there are sides. People are choosing or picking who will win this election. It is much more than sides or winners and losers. When people vote without knowing what they have to gain or lose, they have already lost. And, when people vote for a candidate knowing their win will mean freedoms are lost, what does that say about America’s freedoms? How easy is it for us to give up the freedoms of others when we feel it does not agree with our beliefs?

What if that were the way America started to work? No more separation of church and state? Church telling government how to make the laws and government telling churches to pay up taxes and what they can and cannot preach. Church and state getting into conflicts over schools. Haven’t we crossed that path?

It is called progress. It has enabled us to allow people to make choices, to find the way to move forward equally, allowing freedom of religions and freedom of speech in a nation that is more diverse than any other nation in the world.

Who would want to back up progress that has already been made? Who would want to repeat history when those times of turmoil have been fought and lives have been lost so that we can be where we are today?

We have chosen to move forward and live in a nation of progress that believes our diversity is a value and with freedom, we have more opportunity. Our country has shown how valuable freedom is and in turn, it cannot truly feel free until it is shared by everyone. Humanity is one.

 

Freedom – What is it worth?

Freedom
Photo by: Moe

More often it seems people are concerned about what is happening to their freedoms or one person’s freedom is standing in the way of another person’s freedom.

One person’s freedom of speech can become bullying or harassment to another which has been making headlines recently across the nation even inspiring the “It Gets Better” campaign.

Freedoms have been fought for throughout America’s history but when one person’s freedom has become a source of disrespect, intolerance, hate or the cause of a crime, this is no longer just someone exercising their freedoms but instead it is an act against someone else’s rights.

What exactly is a freedom and what is a right? Where should the line be drawn and who should draw the line?

A freedom is very difficult to just flat out define but it is being free willed, making one’s own choices, having liberty, not being physically bound or confined or not having one’s future pre-determined. Freedom is being able to have something that is yours and know you will be able to hold on to it.

A right is the freedom to do something or the justifiable claim or entitlement to something. Some may say a right is something you are born with and die with like the rights spelled out in the U.S. Constitution. However, this has been something that is argued that these are more a privilege because they can be taken away from you. For example, prisoners lose many of their rights. However, we are looking at this primarily as freedoms.

Can a person have too much freedom? Is it possible for freedom to be taken too far or to be misinterpreted?

If a person had 100% freedom to do absolutely anything he/she wanted this could and most likely would begin to infringe on those around them. Each person having their own freedoms would expect to have the same apply to them, 100% freedom for themselves. This couldn’t work.

It’s very easy to come up with a quick example that is not extreme but more or less a day to day example. Imagine a busy supermarket, long lines at the register and everyone is on their cell phones, talking loudly and in no hurry to get off. That includes the cashier, the person ahead of you and the person ahead of them. Everyone is just freely talking. It may seem rude but is it breaking the law?

Putting one’s freedoms aside to respect another person and/or their freedoms has made life not only tolerable but has made America a place where people feel safe enough to speak up, be religious or choose not to practice religion, pick and represent political parties, vote, chase their dreams or follow in the footsteps of previous generations.

But, is this America being pushed aside as more individuals are consumed by personal freedoms instead of overall respect, safety and equality?

Not too long ago, in the top of the news was the Islamic Center in NYC. The issue originally stated that people were concerned with it being so close to Ground Zero.

However, once the media became more involved, the issue became more against Islam and the NYC Islamic Center wasn’t the only one having issues with people not wanting to see it built.

Another proposed Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee ran into extreme debates even though they had been in the community for two decades. Their plans were for a larger center than their already existing one. However, opponents went to court to try to put a halt to their plans.

This past week, Chancellor Robert Corlew III denied the opponents of the Mosque an emergency injunction that would block construction so for now, it looks like plans can move forward.

What happened to freedom of religion? Who decides where the line of freedom is drawn? Then, is it really freedom?

Remember the Florida Pastor, Terry Jones? He was willing to go against top brass in the military, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell and General David Petraeus, as well as multiple religious and community leaders who urged him to reconsider his plans to burn the Holy Book of Islam, the Qu’ran, on September 11th of this year.

Why would he do such an act? Because he felt Islam was of the devil and he wanted to express how he felt.

Once his story reached the news and the news spread worldwide what he was planning to do, safety for American troops in the Middle East was a great concern as well as the safety for Americans abroad due to retaliation for what Terry Jones was planning to do. However, with these details, Terry Jones did not want to back down.

Was he breaking the law or was he just exercising his right to free speech and to share how he felt about Islam?

Terry Jones changed his mind at the last minute after all of the attention and after a great deal of fear had set in due to riots in the Middle East. This was going on at the same time as the issue over the Islamic Center in NYC and the one in Tennessee was going on. Tensions were already high. In the U.S., many people were debating different views and politicians had become involved as the 2010 mid-term elections were approaching.

When does one person’s freedom hinder another person’s freedom?

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas have gone to military funerals across the country but not to pay respects to the families or say goodbye to a friend or loved one. They are armed with signs that say, “God Hates You” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers”. They feel America’s war casualties are God’s wrath for tolerating homosexuality. Is this really the time or place for a protest or picketing? Again, are they breaking a law? Do they have the right to do this? Do these families have the right to peacefully say goodbye to their loved ones?

Freedom is something that has set the U.S. apart from many other countries around the world. Many countries do not allow near as many freedoms as the U.S. allows and although this sets us apart, this can also be a wedge that drives a great divide through the nation. The more one person’s freedom takes away from another person’s freedom, the nation loses its freedom and therefore what separates the U.S. from many countries around the world.

Freedoms lost today may not affect you, as it happens to one person or a group of people today it can happen to another tomorrow and then more people over time.

Americans must understand that every freedom we have today has come to us through someone’s great effort, fight and even death. Freedoms that have been gained over time can also be lost. They’re never to be taken lightly or for granted; not your own freedoms or someone else’s.

To be truly free requires the respect of the freedom of others and to know the limits of our freedoms. Then we, and those around us, can have a more meaningful and lasting freedom.

Vote for America

Simply put, people are frustrated. People across America; neighbors, teachers, doctors, lawmakers, labor workers, the unemployed, underemployed, college students and the younger generation is frustrated.

There are a number of reasons why this is happening and for each person, it affects them differently. Our nation has been under a constant strain economically, we’ve had multiple wars going on and it seems the United States has been in constant “campaign mode”.

It’s not campaigning for an election all the time. It’s been campaigning to get Americans on the side of certain decisions over bills and laws. Things drag out over long periods of time while nothing is getting done in Washington and this is becoming almost acceptable to let time go by while nothing gets done and then blame it on “party differences” and the inability to resolve things until the next elections when everything can get fixed if Americans just vote a certain way.

It’s not the fault of the difference in parties. It is the fault of the people in office who are supposed to be doing their job representing the people that elected them and in some way representing their party and what it stands for (the good part).

It should never be acceptable for a group of elected leaders that are representing their people and their parties to be able to blame anyone but themselves when something is stopping everything and bringing progress to a halt.

A true leader that is actually there to represent those who elected would be able to figure out a way to work with anyone to achieve some type of a positive outcome for those they are representing. It doesn’t mean all in one day but progress is progress.

A true leader is a peacemaker who can still get others to hear them out by also listening and working with others.

Every representative in Washington should be discussing how to benefit every American, not just certain Americans or some classes of Americans because that will further divide America and today, America needs to be united and Washington needs to be united.

If the right U.S. Representatives and Senators are elected to do a job in Washington, it shouldn’t be that they represent their party first. Each of those elected, as they do their jobs each day or cast any vote should be representing what is best for each and every American now and in the future.

As each American goes to cast their ballot, it should be done to support their community, fellow Americans and country before supporting a party.

It’s America that needs to move forward at this time, Americans that have been hurting and everyone can be a part of being involved in solutions and not excuses.

Help Americans with your vote in either an early vote or on November 2, 2010. Together, we can move America forward.

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U.S. and the rest of the world

Most people around the world have heard about the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped on August 5thwhen their mine suddenly collapsed.

At the moment, their rescue is being watched live around the world as each miner is being brought to the surface via a small tube just big enough to hold each miner, one by one from nearly half a mile underground. Each miner is wearing sunglasses as they haven’t been in sunlight for over 65 days. This has been a day of happiness for not only those waiting at the site but also many around the world watching live as these events unfold.

People have sent words of encouragement, hope, prayers and support from all over the world to the friends and family of the miners.

Often times, it is said that the U.S. needs to concentrate on its own issues and not worry about what is going on in the rest of the world. People ask why the U.S. offers aide and assistance to other countries when our country is so in debt or why our news networks have such continuous coverage of disasters or even these types of stories in other countries.

These same questions came up soon after the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year because people didn’t understand the continuous news coverage being done or why the U.S. was encouraging fund raising efforts for Haiti when people in the U.S. were facing such devastation of their own due to an economic crisis.

When Hurricane Katrina happened, the coverage was shared around the world and the same thing happened after the attacks of September 11th. Other countries shared in our pain and offered their words of condolences and backed us up with aide after Katrina and support for the War on Terror.

One thing that was pointed out from others when seeing the footage after the 9/11 attacks was how those abroad were seeing Americans at their best in the worst of times. Americans were united together to help each other out, pull each other up and bring strength back to a nation that had been shaken.

It didn’t make a difference what a person’s race was, or their religion, nationality, beliefs or whether they were gay or straight. Nobody was asking those questions. They just wanted to help someone who needed help and move America forward from a bad situation.

Over the past few years, America has been in a bad situation. This wasn’t a small part of America or something that could just be cleared up in a day with a quick fix or an easy plan. This was an enormous and devastating economic meltdown that happened over years. First, without many people knowing and then without being properly managed to bring it to a halt which allowed an even broader, long lasting, economic crash.

Due to the housing and mortgage collapse and the stock market collapse in 2008, it felt as though the rug was pulled out from under many Americans who before that time had a sense of security in their homes, jobs and savings or some type of stock or retirement plan.

Many people lost their jobs due to company closings or cut backs, their health benefits and their homes due to the inability to make payments and with so many unemployed trying to find a job would become an opportunity so many would be seeking and few would find, only making the current situation that much worse.

At the same time, our country was going through presidential elections. These elections were being watched all over the world. Why are so many people concerned about the outcome of the presidential elections in the U.S.?

During the campaign, John McCain was saying he had more experience in Washington than Barack Obama and therefore would be a better president and Obama was running on the fact he would be able to bring change to D.C. and could bring hope to America when America truly needed hope and change.

Part way through the campaign, due to a serious downturn in the economy, a $700 billion bailout package for the financial industry was drafted and passed by both the House and the Senate. The country was desperate to elect someone who would get the country moving forward and back on its feet but many didn’t realize how much damage had really gone on for years within the financial industry and how much corruption had taken place.

In November 2008, Barack Obama was elected into office and from the beginning had started making changes and has continuously worked alongside his team to make things happen, moving America forward.

To see some of President Obama’s achievements, click here.

There are many people that question why more hasn’t been done, why it isn’t more obvious that America is on the road to recovery. Of course it would be best if everyone who needed a job had a job. It would be best if everyone who lost their home was placed back in a home with a suitable mortgage.

Aside from curing all the devastating diseases, making sure that people are able to have insurance, not be turned away due to pre-existing conditions or have their insurance company say they’ve reached their yearly or lifetime maximum payout is something that should have been an easy agreement by both, the House and the Senate as well as the American people. Healthcare should not be made into a political argument or slogan like “Obamacare”. It should be a human right.

If those in Washington were more worried about the people they were working for instead of themselves being reelected, much more would get done.

I asked early on in this article why should Americans be worried about what goes on in the world or other countries? Why should we get involved? Why does the world watch what goes on in the U.S.? Should it matter to us what other countries think about us?

The U.S. is made up of immigrants from countries all over the world. This country has been added to by immigrants, although some have family here that has been here for many generations, and others for a few generations or maybe some have just come here recently, roots go back to other countries. Many still have families in those countries and are very concerned on a daily basis for their family and their country. Their family there is very concerned for them here. That is how America is. That is what makes America strong. It’s diversity. With each person and their background, their heritage and their culture, America has gained a great strength. The land of opportunity has always had an opportunity to learn as well from every person that has come here just as they have had the opportunity to learn by coming here.

When a natural disaster happens anywhere, we have people here that are very concerned about their families who live in their countries not knowing whether they are dead or alive, homeless or if their home is okay.

We have many American citizens living abroad. Our concern for them does not end at our borders.

Our government also maintains relationships with other countries for diplomacy reasons and compassion is an act of humanity.

These are just a few reasons to care about people all over the world, to offer aide when possible and to lend a helping hand when needed.

Of course the U.S. has to take care of its home front, its people and protect its borders but that doesn’t require throwing in the towel on humanity and forgetting what other countries truly mean to us and our own citizens.

It’s been said, “The only time you should look down on a person is when you are helping them up.”

America is more than a country Pt. 3

As elections are nearing for November 2nd, more and more campaigning is going on and it is everywhere a person goes. To get away from campaigning or news about campaigns or candidates, someone would have to “unplug” from society.

However, voting is one of the most valuable and important rights as an American and although it does seem one candidate is saying one thing and another turns and says the exact opposite, the process is an important part of the ultimate outcome, your vote.

As an American, of legal voting age there is a big responsibility of being involved in the decision being made in your district, state and the country. Many decisions will have a lasting effect for a vast amount of people for a very long time, often generations.

For instance, the ability to vote was not granted to women until 1920 and African Americans were not fully able to vote until 1965 after Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. 

Voting is not something that should ever be taken lightly because it has taken a great deal to have the freedom to vote.

People in many countries do not have the freedom to vote and often times in countries that allow voting, not all citizens are allowed to vote (most often women).

The United States holds Federal Elections every two years. Every member of our House of Representatives and nearly one-third of the senate is up for either re-election or replacement on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Our presidential election takes place every four years and is watched internationally.

In the U.S. we have numerous political parties and more continue to be organized.

In office at the moment is the Democratic Party. By visiting democrats.org a person can learn more about the Democratic Party. There is a quote from John F. Kennedy on their site.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” President John F. Kennedy

The Democratic Party has this statement on their website as well.

“For more than 200 years Democrats have represented the interest of working families, fighting for equal opportunities and justice for all Americans.”

When going to the RNC (Republican National Committee page), which leads to gop.com, there is an area called “who we are”. It is lengthy so the link is there to click on and read.

A few things I picked out most from reading the “who we are” section though is the mentions of past presidents that were republicans because times have changed, parties have changed. Although the republican party of today may honor a past president does not mean those presidents would stand behind how their “party” is running things today. Of course, one could say the same thing of past Democratic presidents but the GOP website and party takes pride in talking about its past presidents so I am mentioning this.

Also, a disturbing fact is that the Republican party itself (of yesterday) did have a great deal to do with freeing slaves thanks to Abraham Lincoln and those that helped push the laws through that led to voting rights. Due to continued discrimination in many areas, especially the south, Lyndon B. Johnson, in conjunction with the Civil Rights Movement, was able to convince congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and in 1965 passed the Voting Rights Act which outlawed discrimination in voting. This would finally allow many southern blacks to begin voting for the first time.

This may be something that was totally overlooked but even so, it is something that shouldn’t be overlooked by any party that is expected to be representing all of America. In their “A Pledge to America” agenda book, there are no minorities pictured. If there are, they are in some back corner somewhere and very hard to find. It seems to represent just a part of America. There are a good amount of pictures so there were plenty of chances to represent all of America and all the diversity America represents. Their pledge to America should be speaking to all voters unless they aren’t targeting their votes or not planning to work to assist the needs of minorities. Take a look.

With voting as not only a privilege but also a responsibility, a lot of emphasis is placed on elections. As years have gone on though, more and more emphasis is being placed on campaigns and less is being placed on the actual outcome of the process, the candidate that wins and how they will actually do in the office they are elected for. The fact is, during campaign time, the candidate will do just that, campaign. Promises will be made and each side will in some way or other attack the other side, often times saying lies or telling only part of the story which is purposely being done to mislead the voters. The excuse given is that, “this is just part of politics.” Does that make it right?

Too often, many people are listening to the candidate or those campaigning in their party and not checking the actual facts. Too often, the misleading campaign ads are taken literally. Too many people pass around false emails, edited and chopped off videos that when not seen in full become not only misleading but are used to spread lies. As a voter, a responsible voter, it is up to you to get the facts before casting your vote.

One good place to start is at factcheck.org which is a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. That is taken directly from their website. Their reports are updated regularly on all sides of politics and cover campaign ads, speeches, debates, etc.

The simple fact is there are many people who vote and many people that are qualified to vote that aren’t registered. The solution to having more people making a real difference is not simply getting more people registered but getting more people educated on the voting process, how to double check the candidates and the facts and the importance on being involved both at the time of campaigns and elections but also in between times.

People are always very concerned about what is going on in Washington but the concern for everyone should be what is going on around the nation, from coast to coast and with the people that live within these United States.

Who is helping keep our country safe? Who is looking worldwide to see how each nation is developing their safety, energy improvements, market stability and are we moving forward at the right pace to gain ground? Who has already made a difference in education and working to develop new ideas and more opportunities for our students and not only build a better tomorrow for them but also for our teachers to have access to a better curriculum, more advanced materials, more incentives, job security and better pay? Where do we stand with other countries in international relations and communications? Who is seeing that not only are they doing what is right for their own career but more importantly what is right for the American people? Who is making sure that the America of today will be a more advanced and healthy, educated with a strong military, financially more secure and internationally respected America of tomorrow?

Whether a candidate is running for Congress, Senate or the office of the President these questions should be asked. There should be an abundance of inquiries and one of the least important questions should be their political party. At the end of the day, it is clear to see how insignificant their party really is when it comes to getting things done. Getting things done has to do with working with others and the group of people that have ended up in Washington D.C. The problem right now is so much focus has been given to which party each candidate is on and which party has the majority in the House or Senate which is causing a total distraction from getting anything done in Washington and is not only hurting the country but also hurting individual Americans. Voters are also getting too caught up in casting their votes for a candidate not due to their qualifications but moreso for their party and/or being lead by false advertisements and campaigns.

A leader should be able to lead and work with anyone and put their political party aside because America is made up of people from all political parties and those with no political party. A voter should be able to put aside their political party for the same reason. Those in Washington are working for EVERYONE, not just those in their party. When party is standing in the way of progress, America is the one getting hurt. America is more than a country. America is families, children, students, sick individuals, people with hopes and dreams and people that will be leaders of tomorrow.

In Florida, October 4this the last day to register to vote for the November 2ndelections (some states differ). If you aren’t registered and want to take part in these elections, please register to vote. There is sure to be an abundance of campaign ads, debates and articles but remember, double check what you hear. Get the facts. Your vote represents you. The ballot you cast is private and the ability to vote is a privilege and a responsibility. Honor those that fought for that right.

Campaign ads aren’t meant to educate or be fair. They are meant to win votes.

For U.S. voter registration, please visit this link.

For Florida voter registration, please visit this link.

 

America is more than a country Pt. 2

Pt 2 of a series (see previous article)

As the GOP released their “Pledge to America”, many of its statements sounded good but go against what has been being said.

In Politico on August 18, 2010, Indiana’s Republican Rep. Mike Pence thought the Islamic Center in NYC was “not appropriate”, while John Boehner, Republican House Minority Leader called the decision to build the mosque and Obama’s support “deeply troubling,” and Cantor dubbed it “the height of insensitivity.”

Do they know there was a Muslim prayer room on the South Tower’s 17th floor of the World Trade Center? Do they realize there are over 600,000 Muslims living in NYC? Do they also realize there is a place for prayer at the Pentagon and services are held for Muslims multiple times each week? This has gone on without any issues. Why is that? This was also true after the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center which were carried out by the same type of extremist and took the lives of 6 people and injured 1,042 others. It doesn’t seem the politicians are trying to stop the building of any mosque or back up having it built for any reason other than to win voters. There are people that really do stand on one side or the other in sincerity but there are many others that are standing on the side of hate, discrimination or just standing without reason but doing so because the majority has taken a stand.

America comes first, before campaigning or popularity.

Going back to pledge.gop.gov

“America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny.”

The statement is true. In America, a person can be many things if that person is willing to work hard, study hard, has ideas and some ambition. America has been built on these ingredients. This is what attracts so many people to want to come here and start a business, develop an idea or bring their family.

The question is are people able to come here, live here, be free here to raise their children and have a business, become citizens, go to school, practice their religion and truly be free as America and the Constitution says or are those words changing due to politics and fear being driven by a few and voiced over and over to more and more people? Or is that freedom only promised or offered to certain people?

Going back to pledge.gop.gov

Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.”

In November 2008, the country voted to set out on a different course. Prior to that vote, things were completely off course. At that time, the housing market and economic downturn was already being said to have been the worst since the Great Depression. It was termed as the “Panic of 2008”.

In 2008 the majority of voters cast their ballot for change because they obviously wanted something, change.

Barack Obama was not only campaigning about bettering the economy, bringing healthcare to more of the uninsured, adding consumer credit protection, building a higher standard for our country’s declining educational system and its young people’s ability to pay to attend college. He was also campaigning for America and its ability to see within itself the need to achieve greater, expect more and to once again, move forward.

Barack Obama was running for the office of the President of the United States. In November 2008, he was elected into office and in January 2009, he took his position in the White House.

From the beginning of his presidency, he has set out to meet certain goals put forth during his campaign as well as help dig a country out of a turmoil it had sunk into over years of bad management, bad choices and now he was surrounded by onlookers daily wondering why he had no quick fixes. To say President Obama has not accomplished a great deal during his Presidency so far would be completely false. However, there is still a long way the country has to go.

In an interview via telephone from the Clinton Global Initiative this past week, Clinton urged the Democrats to start coming back at the GOP’s claims with facts. Give them statistics and show them exactly what the current administration has done to avert a more severe downturn.

Clinton said, “I think the Democrats ought to stand up and say… You gave them eight years to dig this hole and double the debt of this country and not to produce any jobs, and then to have a financial collapse and all of this calamity. At least give us four to dig out of it. If we’re wrong, throw us all out. But don’t bring back the people that dug the hole.”

America is more than a country Pt. 1

In reading over the GOP’s “A Pledge to America” agenda, although it seems so much is spelled out, there is really a lot left out or unsaid.

This is taken directly from the pledge.gop.gov website.

“America is an idea – an idea that free people can govern themselves, that government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America is the belief that any man or woman can – given economic, political, and religious liberty – advance themselves, their families, and the common good.”

Is that what America is today? Is that what outsiders see when they look at America? More importantly, do people living right here in America feel that is what America is about?

These aren’t new words the GOP just came up with. These words are taken from the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The Declaration of Independence was written primarily by Thomas Jefferson as a formal explanation of why congress voted on July 2nd to become independent of Great Britain.

The U.S. Constitution was put together by 12 delegates of the 13 states. It is the supreme law of the United States and it lays out the frame work for the organization of the federal government, including its legal authority, its relationship with the states, the citizens and everyone else in the country.

Today, an outsider might see America as the best opportunity to start their own business or realize their dreams for their family. Another person may seek out America for medical treatments to save their loved one’s life or to prolong it with quality care. Someone hoping to become an actor or actress may see Hollywood, California as their dream destination. For whatever reason, over many years, there have been plenty of people to seek out their hopes and dreams here in America just as those who wrote the Declaration of Independence back in 1776.

America is a land of many people from all over the world. It’s such a diverse nation and rich with every culture and civilization. Every language is represented with each religion. These are great attributes and strengths that can only be found here in America.

America is also home to the United States Military who has endured missions all over the world in times of war and in times of peace. Wars have been fought here on our own land and our troops have also been called on during invasions of other countries to defend and protect the freedoms of others because one man’s freedom is another man’s freedom. Our troops have been called on to assist during natural disasters when help was needed from all over the world. During peace time, war times, any time, our troops have always stepped up and done what America has asked of them. They have always made America proud.

Many countries have ongoing human rights violations and their civilians endure endless fear, torture, rapes, killings and being on the run just to survive another day. Fleeing from one day to the next is brutal but necessary in Eastern Congo.

In Vietnam, police brutality is being looked at as people are dying while in police custody according to the Human Rights Watch. The HRW has documented 19 cases. According to Phil Robertson, their deputy Asia director, “Police brutality is being reported at an alarming rate in every region of Vietnam, raising serious concerns that these abuses are both systemic and widespread.”

In Thailand, five months after clashes between a group of anti-government protestors and security forces, the Human Rights Watch states the Thai government still uses the state of emergency that was declared on April 7, 2010.

This is allowing the security forces to hold detainees without charges up to 30 days, using unofficial detention facilities which does not give the detainees protection from abuse while being held but does give the guards immunity from prosecution for most acts they could commit.

Many have heard about Darfur in North Africa but may not realize this tragic situation is still ongoing. Millions of innocent people have been affected by this, over 200,000 have died and the numbers are continuing to add up.

What do these situations abroad have to do with America or individuals in America, our local community?

One of the biggest crimes against humanity is discrimination. By seeing another person as being less than one’s self due to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, economic status, disability or for a variety of reasons is discrimination.

Along with discrimination comes disrespect. If a person truly had respect for another, they could not discriminate against them. Therefore to have respect for humanity, other cultures, religions, to be understanding of different races, showing respect for those that are different in any way, would be the first step to eradicate discrimination. Discrimination is most often an act of fear and/or a lack of knowledge and can grow into hate.

Although, America went through the Civil Rights movement in hopes to end discrimination, it still continues. Discrimination is not something controlled by government or laws, it is controlled by each individual and laws are merely in place to uphold the rights of people.

Please see parts 2 & 3 of this article.

 


Poverty in America

According to the Census Bureau, 43.6 million Americans live in poverty. This is the highest it has been since the 1960’s. The recent recession has put millions of Americans out of work, starting a cycle that has led to a series of climbing poverty rates.

As many have lost their jobs, they have lost their employer-provided health care benefits as well which leads to mounting medical bills and prescription costs. After a long battle, congress passed a health overhaul bill which has already made some improvements for seniors, students and those with pre-existing conditions but many of the main provisions of the bill will not go into effect until 2014.

Often times, when money is not coming in and bills need to be paid, people will turn to their credit cards. Medical bills, utility payments and even mortgage payments were being paid on credit cards as a short term solution to a long term problem.

However, the credit card companies themselves had been a nightmare for many consumers and there seemed to be no solution to a problem that was driving many Americans further in debt at a very critical time.

Now, to back up a bit, there’s a bigger picture here to look at before the recession and before the economy started showing signs of falling apart. The picture is this. Many households had taken on more credit, more payments and more cost than in reality was needed or realistically could be paid had anything come up or gone wrong. The rule of thumb to follow is this,“If something can go wrong, it will.” Another is, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”

 

Of course everyone dreams big and wants more for their children than they had. Most people want the “American Dream.”   Maybe it’s time to adjust the dream.

 

Right now though, sights need to be set on the 43.6 million people living in poverty. What is really being done to help the situation for those people? That number grew from 39.8 million people in 2008.

Are the companies who received bailouts hiring employees? Loaning money to small businesses? Are bailed out companies still giving multi-million dollar bonuses to people receiving multi-million dollar salaries?

 

Are companies hiring those in need of jobs and are people in need of jobs still pursuing businesses in their communities?
The Credit CARD Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Obama on May 22, 2009 to help protect consumers and force credit card companies to be more fair and transparent.
As Americans have been forced to look at their credit responsibilities, many have seen just how wrongly credit card companies had been treating them but also realized there was little they could do aside from cancelling their account.
With this new Credit CARD Act of 2009, the Health Care Overhaul, Americans taking a long hard look at what is being spent compared to what they are making and a more vast amount of Americans wanting to hold their state and national leaders more responsible, will this make a difference for the 43.6 million individuals that need to see change NOW?

 

Programs that have been signed into law and are going into effect will make some differences. Health care costs cause many families to lose everything or claim bankruptcy. Health care will now start seeing improvements for many. Job losses could have been much worse had the stimulus or tax incentives not gone out. The idea is to focus on what is working and keep growing on new ideas and make sure they get passed and not stalled in the House or Congress.
Poverty is not picky. It can choose anybody at anytime. It does not only affect third world countries or people of a certain educational level or certain backgrounds. It is here in America and it can be affecting someone you know and you can’t tell. There are 43.6 million people in the U.S. living in poverty. 

 

That number doesn’t need to increase.

 

 

Looking back and moving forward on 9/11

It’s a beautiful day, clear skies, sun shining and people walking around just like any other day.

A woman goes into Starbucks and picks up a tall, skinny latte and then heads back out making a quick call back home to remind someone she’ll be home early today because they have guest coming to dinner. “Don’t be late”, she says.

Moments later, she heads into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

At Boston’s Logan International Airport, a man waves bye to the friend dropping him off. In such a rush, he nearly leaves his ticket in the car for American Airlines’ flight #11. It’s a rush to the gate, but he makes his flight.

As a few co-workers are getting some last minute paperwork printed up and start heading out the door to a meeting, one man reminds his assistant, “Bring both of the files off the desk.” They turn around to open the door and…

On September 11, 2001 lives changed. Where were you?

8:46 A.M. American Airlines Flight #11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center

8:48 A.M. The first television report is broadcast locally on New York’s WNYW station

8:49 A.M. CNN breaks into a Ditech commercial with live footage and the screen subtitle says,“World Trade Center Disaster”

9:03 A.M. United Flight #175 crashes into the South Tower of the World Trade Center

9:15 A.M. NBC’s Today Program makes unconfirmed statements from employees at United Airlines that an American Airlines aircraft had been hijacked previous to its destruction

9:17 A.M. All NYC area airports closed down

9:18 A.M. CNN makes reference for the first time saying foul play may be involved. FBI is investigating foul play

9:23 A.M. Text message sent to United Flight #93 warning “Beware of cockpit intrusion-Two a/c {aircraft} hit World Trade Center”

9:24 A.M. FAA notifies the Northeast Air Defense Sector about the possible hijacking of American Airlines Flight #77

9:28 A.M. Hijackers storm into cockpit of Flight #93 and take over flight. Takeover is overheard by flight controllers in Cleveland

9:29 A.M. President Bush makes first Public Statement about attacks from Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, FL where he had been visiting with students at the time of the attacks

9:37 A.M. Flight #77 crashes into the western side of the Pentagon

Immediately the Nation becomes aware that these are possibly calculated terrorist and more can continue to happen

9:43 A.M. the White House and Capital are evacuated and closed

9:45 A.M. United States airspace is shutdown. No civilian aircraft can take off and all aircraft flying are told to land immediately at nearest airport. All international flights are directed to land in Canada. Transport Canada, Canada’s transportation also shuts down its airspace

9:57 A.M. Passenger revolt begins against hijackers aboard Flight #93

9:59 A.M. The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses

10:03 A.M. Flight #93 is crashed in a field in Somerset, Pennsylvania due to hijackers and passengers fighting. Reports indicated passengers had learned of the World Trade Center attacks and planned revolt to resist the hijackers

10:10 A.M. Part of the west side of the Pentagon collapses

10:28 A.M. The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses

10:50 A.M. Five stories of the Pentagon building collapse

4:00 P.M. National news outlets report that high officials in the federal intelligence community are stating that Osama Bin Laden is suspect number one.

Due to the attacks on September 11, 2001, 2,977 innocent people lost their lives. Their families and their friends lost loved ones. What these people could have brought to the future of the world will never be known but each of them has a name and should always be remembered for who they were and the lives they touched.
September 11, 2001 was caused by the hate of a group of extremist, an Islamist Militant Group and Osama Bin Laden. These attacks were not caused by the countries these individuals are from or the religion they claimed to be fighting for.

This day was a day that would forever change our Country but it shouldn’t tear down our Nation. Our Nation shouldn’t be formed by our history. We should learn from our history and focus on our growth and our future.

To be held back by that horrible day and the events that took place is not honoring those that were lost but it is awarding and remembering those 19 individuals that attacked and is also showing Osama Bin Laden that America can again be broken due to its division.

For America to be strong, its people must be United, showing each other respect, understanding and overall, having the desire to see America move forward.

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Updated add on:  See article “America is a land of heroes and honor” with a tribute to 9/11 “America Stand Strong”