There’s a lot involved, and it shouldn’t be handled as political extortion

I truly don’t think most people understand what the connection is between the Treasury, issuing Bonds and T Bills for sale as IOU’s (with interest to be paid at a later date) – AND – how that is connected to the US debt ceiling, the federal deficit, the global economy, and your own financial situation. 

Yes, it is a complicated equation, but all of these things are connected. 
When the government spends more than they take in from taxes, and other revenue – the left over amount is the deficit. Year after year the deficit has accumulated to be a really big amount. That is called the debt ceiling. 
The United States, and just one other country in the world, have a debt ceiling in place to control the balance between what the government spends and what the government takes in – on an accumulated (year after year) basis.
Luckily for us, the US Federal government allows their Treasury department to issue paper (that investors will purchase), and over many years, this has become the safest investment in the entire world that can be bought. (it has always been paid back with interest)
This paper in the form of bonds and bills, is like getting a loan to pay for that deficit spending. But, can only be issued up to the agreed upon debt ceiling. Once that is reached, No more borrowing by issuing paper. No more spending – because there is not enough revenue to support it.
The spending can be separated into 3 groups – Mandatory that is spending created by passing laws or acts. Discretionary group spending is to pay for things not dictated by law, but more driven by philosophy. The 3rd group of spending is the Interest on those loans that they agreed to pay back.
The chart above, shows what kinds of things are included in the 3 groups. 
When politicians argue about spending, it is supposed to occur during the budget process – not during the debt ceiling discussion. That’s like arguing about closing the barn door after the animals had all escaped. 
When politicians argue about cutting the deficit by reducing spending – some focus on the group of things included in Mandatory – while some focus on the things in the Discretionary group. 
The deficit can also be reduced by raising revenue (taxes), but neither party would ever agree to increasing taxes on their electors or benefactors. Republicans won’t tax the rich, but have no problem taxing the rest. Democrats only want to tax the wealthy and corporations. 
Regardless of where they think the increased revenue comes from, equation doesn’t change. 
The best and most amazing part of this situation is that until now, and since WW2 – the US dollar is the strongest currency in the entire world.  The US treasury has had no problems ever selling that paper which they issue to cover that deficit.
So, even though $31.4 trillion (current debt ceiling)  is a amazing amount, so is the trillions in Bonds and T Bills people around the world have purchased (as the safest investment) and almost guaranteed to be paid back (with interest). 

The damage associated with defaulting on the promise of paying that back, would be enormous. The impact to future borrowing might be even more troublesome. People around the world would be cheated and the future reputation of the US dollar as a safe investment would forever be gone.

Politicians for the most part do not understand the financial world, economics, or much about money – other than what they can get as pork barrel spending or campaign donations. 
The average American is not informed, nor do they care to find out about this stuff. 
Few try to compare how an individual would operate, or how a company operates, or even how a state can budget operations. Most don’t understand that none of those is the same as how the Federal government is allowed to do things.  
The federal government is the only one of those entities that can generate/issue money (backed by their Treasury Department). 
Since the current debt limit includes spending already voted on and passed into law, those promises should be kept as they were agreed to.  
Discretionary spending could be given a deep dive to determine which programs that are negotiated for and against mainly by political philosophy might be able to be reduced. But, do that during the budget process, not now. 
It’s like agreeing over which groceries you want to return to the store because you suddenly don’t think you can afford them. You say bring back the kids cereal, she says bring back the steak and lobster. Nobody wins, and why did you buy that stuff if you couldn’t afford it in the first place?
That is also called compromise. Something too many in Congress don’t seem to know what it means.  Too many have a “my way or the highway, all or nothing” attitude about everything (including things they have no idea about).
If change is wanted, politicians should consider this idea. 
Any law written that is included in either Mandatory or Discretionary spending group, must include “where the revenue is to come from to pay for it”, BEFOREHAND (and as part of – the law being voted on).
The same goes for any spending requests coming from the Executive branch and driven through Congress by the supporting political party. 
Doing it at the time it is voted on, eliminates the kind of political non-sense currently happening. 
Deal with the projected deficit at the time the excess spending is being voted on. 
Don’t pass acts or laws with open ended funding. If the law drives the deficit past the ceiling, perhaps it shouldn’t be enacted. 
If pushing tax cuts through (regardless of for whom) ends up increasing the deficit – don’t allow that, unless it includes enacting where revenue will be generated from of an equal amount – as revenue replacement. 
Spending must consider the debt limit WHEN it is being budgeted, NOT afterwards while dealing with increasing the debt ceiling.  That is simply irresponsible behavior by Congress. 
In the mean time, approve a debt ceiling increase. Fix the deficit spending problem separately, and do not default on the agreements made to those that believed and trusted in our leadership.  

The price for freedom

A war rages on, in a land far away. A neighboring country, once part of the same Republic, long since separate, has invaded Ukraine. Perhaps, I should clarify – the Russian military under Putin’s orders has invaded.

The Russian people are subject to the methods of control that the communists utilize to control them. To control what they see, what they hear, what they are allowed to say and do.

See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil

The Russian government utilizes this method of control to make sure “the masses” do not revolt against them. They forced the shut down of any media coverage that opposed the message that they will allow the people to hear and see. They “detain” anyone that protests. They fine anyone that shares “fake” news.

It is such a stark reminder of the differences between true democracy, the freedoms that we in America enjoy, and communism.

Thankfully, we have the freedom guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. The freedom of the press. The freedom to gather and protest. The freedom to speak the truth. These rights assure us that we have choices. We won’t be forced to believe whatever the government or any specific leader try’s to define as “Evil”.

We won’t be forced to be blinded, gagged, or deafened – unless we choose to be.

Today, Putin gets to define “Evil” and therefore what is allowed to be seen, heard, and spoken. The vast majority of Russian people do not know otherwise.

The people don’t know the truth. They aren’t allowed to know. They aren’t free to speak about the truth, free to read about the truth, free to hear the truth. That freedom doesn’t exist – and many of the people don’t even know it.

If you ever find yourself wondering what the price of freedom actually is, think back on this time and what is happening today in Russia.

Imagine that happening in this day and age of mass communication and media reach is utterly amazing. Technology has the far reaching ability to connect like it never could before. Yet, it too can be manipulated to produce the worst results imaginable. A whole nation of people being misled and lied to in order to control their behavior.

The only way this can be defeated is by continuously sharing the truth.

As someone once said “the truth will set you free”. The only hope the rest of the world has, is if the truth can be seen, heard, and spoken in Russia.

The world needs to find a way to do that. I hope the tech sauvy hacksters can figure out a way to get the “truth” to the Russian people. If that can occur, I pray the people will see through the lies they are being fed to them from their leaders.

I fear that is the only way that the true “Evil”, will be stopped.

The long, drawn out, battle ends

A 12+ year battle with the government ended Tuesday, when the Supreme Court decided not to hear the Delphi Salaried Retire Association appeal against the PBGC.  The court didn’t even give a reason for not hearing the case.

If you don’t know what this is about, let me tell you the story.

When the economic disaster of 2009 occurred, and GM declared bankruptcy, the government stepped in and created a Task force to figure out how to keep GM afloat. The Auto task force was given power over decisions that would dictate what had to happen in order for the government to “loan” massive amounts of money to them. The companies involved did what they were told, or they would no longer exist.

Delphi was a company that was created by spinning off all of the automotive parts and component divisions years before.  With the creation of the new company called Delphi, an agreement was made to transfer the money that was currently set aside for the employees pensions, (both the salaried and union represented workers).

A side agreement was negotiated with the UAW and it was included in the deal that assured the UAW that if the new company failed, GM would make up any differences or shortfalls the retired workers might get hit with as a result.

Not too many years after Delphi was created, they filed for Chapter 11 reorganization.

Years went by with lots of attempts to reorganize the company, selling off parts of it, and getting loans for companies that invest in failing companies. Throughout the years the employees were told that their pensions were funded, safe, and not to worry.

And then, the GM bankruptcy and Auto task force happened.

In order for GM to pull off their Chapter 11 fast track bankruptcy, the Auto task force required Delphi to also finalize their Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But, because Delphi had assets tied up that would have impeded GM fast track bankruptcy, the Auto Task force told the PBGC that they had to declare that the employees pensions were now under funded. The PBGC would move in and take them over.

The PBGC was a government creation to insure that Private company pensions could be secured, in case of company failure, by issuing insurances against those companies that continued to contribute to it.

GM and Delphi were insured by the PBGC.

6 months prior to the Auto Task force requiring the PBGC to make that announcement, the president of the PBGC had reviewed the Delphi pensions and stated that they were funded at an acceptable level.  

The PBGC monitors funding levels to determine if, and when, they need to act.  

And just like that, the PBGC swooped in and took the pensions over stating that they were significantly under funded.  

So, in the end – many of the Salaried Retirees that had been getting payments from the pensions they were promised by GM, and subsequently Delphi, had the amounts slashed because the PBGC sets strict payout amounts based on a different formula then what was previously being used by Delphi. Some retirees lost over 30% of what they were being paid out each month. But, not everyone was impacted the same way because the formula was different for the people that had not yet retired from those that had previously retired. The worst off were the previous employees that were given an opportunity to retire using a special window retirement – their pensions calculations included a bump up as incentive to get them to retire early. The PBGC does not recognize those special incentives that were promised and provided by Delphi.

Independent Actuary Science accountants disagreed with that assessment, but the Bankruptcy judge allowed the Auto Task force to use the PBGC to do it anyways.

There are ERISA laws in place to make sure everyone is treated fairly in cases like this. They were ignored.

20,000+ salaried employees had been duped into believing that the Pensions they were promised were safe from anyone screwing with them. But, they weren’t.

This all happened in the 11th hour of the GM fast track bankruptcy negotiations being led by the Auto Task force and the subsequent Delphi bankruptcy by people that didn’t care what the repercussions were on the salaried employees.

The UAW represented employees were not impacted, as GM had previously agreed to, during contract negotiations to “bump up” their pensions to the level that they were entitled to.

The salaried employees never had that promise, nor did they feel the need to get one, from GM, upon being spun off.  Salaried employees don’t have a union negotiating for them.

The 11th hour decisions, and subsequent lack of any opportunity to appeal or be represented in any of the bankruptcy court proceedings, left the salaried retirees pensions on the outside without the rights that they should have had protected by federal law and the constitution.

Apparently, Bankruptcy court judges, nor the PBGC, and certainly the Auto Task force did not have to obey the laws of our country.

The judges involved sided with the PBGC and the DSRA continued the long drawn out appeal process – all the way up until they were allowed to petition the Supreme Court.

During the long drawn out process that cost millions of dollars, agreements were made to “seal” evidence from anyone except the lawyers and the judges to see. The cost for continued litigation became too much, and the DSRA gave in to the sealed evidence demand by the government. With that, any chance of the truth being shared with a jury of their peers, or the media, or the salaried retirees themselves was lost forever.

The salaried employees were the only group of people impacted that were totally disenfranchised of the rights and protections in order to allow GM to be saved, via their fast track Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and specifically by the decisions of the Auto Task force.

The DSRA members continued their fight for fairness for over 12 years, at a cost to them in the millions of dollars.

The behavior of the government agency involved (the Treasury Department and the PBGC) was primarily based on obstruction of justice.  They appealed every court decision and dragged their feet for years and years during the discovery phase of the lawsuit. Particularly when there might be evidence discovered that worked against them.

That is one reason it has taken 12 years to get to the highest court in the land to decide if they would hear the DSRA’s final appeal.

A government oversight committee also reviewed the actions by the Task force, and in a written report they indicated that the way things were not was done appropriate or right. The rationale used by the PBGC actuary was shown to be contrived and incorrect. Based on the opinion of independent actuaries, the pensions were sufficiently funded – at the time they were taken over.

Senate and House Representatives from around the country have also fought for years in support of the PBGC arguments of being treated unfairly.

Recently, State Attorney Generals from across the country, urged the SCOTUS to hear the DRSA appeal, to no avail.

Now, with no opportunity to fight the lawsuit any further, because the appeal process was denied at the SCOTUS – the effort by the DSRA needs to change direction.

The new focus needs to be on having the legislative branch of government, change the laws to clearly make what was done to the DSRA  illegal.

What happened to the Delphi Salaried Retirees can NEVER happen again.  

Regardless of the situation, Bankruptcy or not, Task force or not, Too big to fail or not – What happened the Delphi Salaried Retirees – cannot happen ever again.

Change, or create New, whatever laws that are needed to assure it won’t happen ever again.

Change bankruptcy laws, and put more stringent safe guards in place to truly protect any existing pensions of the companies restructuring. Make the employees, the first in line for protection, and not a bargaining chip.

Do it now!


The Legal Battle Ended – BUT – The Legislative Battle Continues

Probably the LAST real chance to fix the wrong that occurred 12 years ago!

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have co-sponsored Bills written and soon to be voted on that would restore the Delphi Salaried Pensions to what was promised by GM and Delphi before the PBGC took them

The text of the House and Senate Bills is available.

We are still on track to eblast sometime on Monday all the information and instructions of how push for support to process these bills through Congress.  Meanwhile, here are links to the bills, their progress, and the text of each:

House BillH.R.6969 trackingH.R.6929 text optionsH.R.6929 PDF
Senate billS.3766 trackingS.3766 text optionsS.3766 PDF

Please be aware – for you and your friends, family, and other contacts to help us, no one needs to run to their computer or laptop — everyone will be able to access the information and send their messages from their phone or tablet if they prefer, wherever you are and whatever device you have handy and can read your email on should work for this to be effective!

We, the people? Really??

I am very confused by our present day politicians and political parties. They seem to focus on the needs of the people, only when it benefits themselves or the party they belong to.

Doesn’t the U.S. Constitution start off with “We, the people”? At what point was it modified to “We, the political party” or “Me, the politician”?

The media reports the country is “more divided than ever”, and I see that it is getting worse by the day.


Because instead of politicians and political parties putting themselves behind the people that they are supposed to be representing, they are putting themselves ahead of them.

What do I mean by that?

They strive for individual or group power, more than they strive for unity and justice for all.

They want you to believe that they have your best interest in mind when its election time, but when it isn’t. It is really all about what their individual or party affiliation gains. It’s not really about what they are doing for you, or us, or anyone but themselves.

So, that is why the goal for many politicians is to drive a wedge between those that agree with their political views, and those that don’t agree with them. Those that don’t agree with them are the enemy, they cannot ever have a point or be on the right side of things. Every politician today is always on the right side, and ANYONE that opposes them with a differing viewpoint are simply WRONG. Two political parties drive only 2 choices – one is right and one wrong.

It used to be, once upon a time, that folks could actually hold more than just 2 opinions and everyone would accept that more than 2, was okay.

Compromise occurred.

But, not anymore.

I am certain that what we have become, is NOT what the framers of the Constitution had in mind. They were smart enough to know that as time goes by, everything may change with it. Without a crystal ball, they equipped the governing process, and the methods outlined in the Constitution, to be modified and altered “as needed” and “as agreed to”, by “We, the people”.

We, the people – must be better at governing ourselves, by choosing politicians to represent us all, that pledge to put liberty and justice for all above political party.

We are at a critical stage in our history.

We all need to do better, because time is running out and soon it might be too late to save our democracy.

It’s just another year like no other

As I sit here on the eve of the beginning of another year coping with Covid, I can’t help myself from thinking how disappointed I am.

At a time when I normally feel happy, from thinking back at all the wonderful things that occurred throughout the year, I am struggling this year.

I’m normally a glass half full kind of guy, but it is a real struggle to see much good from the past 12 months.

I’ve gotten a lot accomplished personally, but none of that brightens my outlook today. I wish it could, because I feel like so much is beginning to slip away, that I cherish so much.

Family, Sisters and Brothers, Nieces and Nephews, Friends and Relatives – whom you see taking different sides in both very unimportant and also extremely important issues. Politics, Religion, Health, Safety, Rights …

One side of me says, “Let it go, They have a right to believe in whatever they choose to”, but then the other side says “Why? What kind of person would let a loved one walk down a path that you know will harm them”… Is it really some kind of “tough love” to let a child burn their fingers, in order to learn that a flame of fire is hot and WILL hurt you?

Someone this year told me that since we held opposing viewpoints regarding Covid and vaccinations, “We should just agree, to disagree”.

The intention on their part was a ploy to avoid confrontation, and to end all conversation regarding the subject – Since, neither of us would be able to persuade the other that they were wrong.

I told the person, “No, I would not agree to disagree.” I believed at that moment, the person was simply hoping that I would agree that both opinions were correct, and no was either right or wrong.

Look, I know that everyone and everything cannot be balanced between black or white, right or wrong, right or left – and there is sometimes a “gray” area in-between that should at least be acknowledged. The “gray” area is not a place to settle at. It’s a temporary rest stop, until you learn the truth via education, training, and experience. Truth is a lesson taught by living life, seeing things, reading, learning, and trusting in what you have seen and heard. When you learn the truth, and believe in the truth, then you must get out of the “gray area” and plant your flag.

In my heart, I believe I have gathered enough truth, to trust science.

And, that is why I couldn’t Agree to Disagree.

The Covid virus lives on – we are now dealing with the Omicron version. It appears that the scientists and medical professionals believe this version to infect faster, and burn out quicker. Lets hope so, because maybe then – we will get it more under control. The pandemic that started in 2019, has now become an Endemic – never to really “go away”. Now, everyone will need to learn how to live with it. Thank goodness we now have better medicines and treatments to fight it with.

My patience has grown thin, and I know it. I went from “trying” to “not caring as much”, and that makes me sad.

I hope 2022 brings more laughter, love, kindness, and caring, with far less confrontation.

And, I am hopeful that the next year will bring some kind of normalcy back.

Its been a tough year for Robotics

It has been a bit over a year now, since we were impacted by the 1st pandemic in over 100 years.

The FIRST robotics season started off with the normal excitement and after the Saturday kickoff, we off and running – trying to figure out what and how to build a competitive machine.

During the months leading up to January, we met with the students on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school for a few hours. We used that time to help teach fundamentals of various science, technology, math, and robotics subjects. We also used this time to recruit students for our FIRST Robotics team.

The methodology and approach we used, was to include a new topic each day, with a presentation that included a video or demonstration supporting that topic. We were able to discuss, teach, instruct, and have fun too.

The last month culminated in an event similar to a FIRST Robotics event. 2020 involved using a small programmable robot called mBot, which is made and sold by MakeBlock. The code was similar to “Scratch”, using drag and drop icons to define the logic needed to make the little robot function.

2020 Game

We invented a simple game that could be played using the mBot, and we built an 8’ by 8’ playing field that the mBots were to be driven on during the matches.

The students were divided into 3 teams and were each required to drive, during the competition. We had a multi-match tournament and kept score after each round. The students needed to work with an assigned mentor that would assist them in brainstorming, modifications, and also in building the mBOT.

We had a lot of fun and I’m happy to say that it was a hit.

After our Christmas break, we met with great anticipation first the FIRST Kickoff. The game reveal and starting the chassis build soon followed. We would meet after school a few days each week and also a full day on Saturday. Brainstorming and design alternatives were discussed and developed – the build was moving along nicely. Our first in-person event was quickly approaching and we still had a bunch of work to do.


Then, everything came to a screeching halt.

One of our newest mentors, Jeff Johnson – got really sick. We didn’t get a chance to attend our events.

Our robot never got completely programmed or totally finished being built, and de-bugged.
FIRST cancelledIMG_3456 all subsequent events, and our FIRST robotics season was done.

Then, to make things even worse, Jeff passed away.

Over the summer, the team leaders (Tom Reisner, Regina Himmelspach, Lewis Cole, and myself) kept in contact and monitored the FIRST notifications, to see what plans were in the works for 2021.

The students were being taught classes virtually online, when they returned to school in the Fall. Meeting in-person was not an option, as the school district, state, and local governments wouldn’t allow it. (Which was fine with most of the mentors, as we were still all a bit shaken up by what happened with Jeff).

Previous to the FIRST announcement for how the 2021 FIRST Robotics season would be offered to teams that registered, the mentors had determined that we did want to try and continue mentoring our team at Osborn High School. We didn’t want to see the program simply disappear, or have to try and re-start it again from scratch, in the future.
I proposed that we do a virtual learning and competition event prior to the FIRST kickoff, similar to the year before – but, instead of after school in the classroom, it would be completed virtually “at home”.

Our lead teacher (Tom Reisner) successfully recruited the students from the previous year that were currently in school doing virtual learning. He created a Teams website for our students and mentors to collaborate, communicate, share ideas, and meet.

team page

We completed the development of the curriculum, the training/teaching presentations, the “kit of parts”, the cost impact of the materials needed, ordered the materials, packaged the kits, and finished “The Final Challenge” Game competition. Each lesson had a theme which included famous scientists with a STEM based topic.

cirricullum (2)

We had a plan to maintain a FIRST Robotics team, regardless if there were any events this year or not.
Tom Reisner was contacted by numerous sponsors, requesting information of our status – and if we would be registering a team this year. We indicated that we were certainly hoping to be able to compete this year.

We did register with First in Michigan, and were informed that we would be eligible for sponsorship funds. We encouraged and assisted getting the students to register on-line on the FIRST Inspires website.
When the FIRST Kickoff occurred this past January, we collectively agreed that we wanted to participate in the “at home skills challenges” – if, we were able to get access to the robot, the controls, the team programming laptop, and an approved safe location to meet, build, test, practice, setup, and compete at.
I also suggested that we attempt to do the “Game Design” challenge. I would lead them through the process, as I have had a pretty extensive history in developing robotic games. I previously designed games that were utilized in the Chief Delphi Invitational, when I was a co-lead mentor on Team 47. And, I designed previous Fall Robotics club competitions for my current team, 6099.
So, that was the plan that we reviewed at our virtual team meeting and with our students and mentors.

team page 2
We have met every Saturday from 10am to noon, since Kickoff in January.
We attempted the Game Design Challenge, but were unsuccessful in meeting the deadline for submitting our design. That was mainly due to a lack of student participation and not having enough students volunteer to take on the additional work needed to develop and complete a submission of the game design.
Unfortunately, like many other schools, we have not had access to the various things previously mentioned, that would be needed to complete the “at home skills challenge”.
We have reviewed the scheduled curriculum topics for our virtual learning, and the students and mentors have completed the weekly build projects – which were included in the provided kits. We wanted to begin teaching the students programming, and felt the “drag and drop” logic used by MakeBlock would be the best 1st step. Here are a few examples of that type of coding.

makeblock coding (2)

We plan on teaching Python next, or using the ROMI robot kit provided by FIM and Magna to each robotics team in Michigan, to teach the students National Instruments Labview software.

That’s the software language our FIRST Robot uses.

I created a youtube video and revealed the “The Final Challenge” to the team this week. I notified everyone via our Microsoft Teams page and this Saturday, I will entertain any and all questions the students and mentors might have relative to rules or clarifications.
The Final Challenge video instructions.

The Final Challenge video instructions


The “kit of materials” delivered to each student’s home this past December included a full size replica of the playing field, and everything else needed to complete the projects associated with the learning topic each week.


The “Final Challenge”, requires the use of all the projects created over the past 9 weeks, plus additional necessary modifications.

Each student will be able to practice as much as they want to, before submitting their “best timed results”. We hope to be able to meet outside (in the parking lot at the school) or potentially in the gymnasium for an in-person competition and awards ceremony.

We are very, very grateful to our sponsors, FIM, and FIRST Robotics for the continued support – and the opportunity to try to influence & make a difference in the lives of our students.
Thank you,
Mike Aubry, on behalf of our Mentors and Students on Team 6099 Osborn Knight Riders

Why do they act that way?

Sometimes, I just don’t get it.  Why do people act the way that they do?

I guess it must have to partially be because of the way they were raised, or the environment they lived in, or maybe it’s just because that is the way they are made.

I always believed that people are born basically good, and not evil. That the way they end up, is the byproduct of what they are taught by others. A collection of morals and beliefs that have been accepted as the truth. Truth, being what we believe to be the ultimate truth.

I also believed that some very unfortunate people are born without the ability to learn, understand, and process abstract ideas – love, caring, truth, respect, ect.

Or, perhaps they just aren’t capable of understanding, that they cannot always get the amount (or type) of attention that they think they deserve.  After all, when you boil it all down to the basics, humans desire attention more than just about anything else.

When a person is born, they know nothing other than that they desire attention, in order to remain alive. The brain handles the life giving organs, so the baby’s lungs and heart, and internal organs work. But, in order to continue living, they must have food and nourishment – so they cry, to tell others to pay attention to me – I need something.

They don’t plot what their next move is, or hate, or try to hurt anyone.  They simply and selfishly – want sustenance in order to remain alive.

It isn’t until later, that these little humans brains develop beyond “just surviving”. During the process of developing, I think that they learn – and connect to the people that provide caring, love, and affection.

By the time the child is a certain age, I would think they have been taught certain things, more repetitive task oriented type things – but, I don’t think they have been “taught” the evil and hateful things that later in life become who they are, and what they are like.

Somewhere along the path, those hateful things have somehow been ingrained in their being.  I’m sure there are a thousand psychological opinions and reasonings for this. And, the rationalization is that there are probably just as many causes that may never be truly understood.

Try as we might, I don’t think we will ever understand evil and hateful behavior.

When bad behavior is not mitigated, it is allowed to become normalized and accepted. When encouraged, bad behavior flourishes.

We live in a world where norms, rules, and laws help define what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Sometimes, when not explicit enough people will try to work the shadow land between acceptable and unacceptable. When it isn’t exactly spelled out as to being unacceptable, the behavior might therefore be okay. Even when it most likely isn’t.

Seems to me, the gray area shouldn’t be reason to justify bad behavior. But, unfortunately – that is how the thinking of those perpetuating bad behavior, do indeed justify it.

It’s time to move on

This is a Republic governed by Rules of Law. 3 separate branches of government created to separate power, with each given specific responsibilities associated with the creation, execution, and interpretation of those laws, as defined by the Constitution.

The Constitution includes rights given to individuals, and to both the state and federal levels of governments. The Constitution provides everyone equal opportunities and protections, with peaceful processes in place to interpret the disputes that may arise. Disputes are settled by the judiciary branch, not by force or threat.

The people selected to represent the electorate, each swear to uphold and support that Constitution. To fail to uphold the oath taken, is a shameful and hopeless act of terrible political behavior.  An oath is a sacred vow, and should not be simply ignored or set aside when one feels the need to object to something. Promises and oaths must not have the same meaning to those folks that simply ignore or break them.

Those that encourage bad behavior are as guilty as those that perpetuate it.

This election is over, and the disputes settled in the court of law.

It is time to move on.

There is as much work needed to heal us from each other, as there is to heal us from the current pandemic.

A house divided

It is very disheartening to witness the ongoing attempts to over turn the Presidential election results. Normally, the election comes and people go to the polls to vote and then later that evening or the next day, the winners are announced and the political cycle starts over again for the next term.

This year distrust and conspiracy theories have drug the process out beyond any thing the founding fathers would ever imagine. People have lost all common sense and decency while refusing to accept the certified results of the election.

Losing isn’t new – it happens in every election. Sometimes the margin of victory is large and sometimes its small, but there is always just one winner. When the margin is very very close, there are means by which the voting results are recounted to assure the votes were counted correctly. Eventually, the results are certified and folks that I trust do a great job, regardless of their political affiliation. I trust the process and believe the results. We have been at this long enough and learned how to hold elections that are fundamentally fair and run with appropriate amount of oversight protections. Heck, we are so good at running elections that we often assist other countries when called upon to do so, to assure that their elections are run fair and square.

The Constitution clearly defines that rights for electing the president. And although those rights, rules, and guidelines have been modified a little over the years – they continue to support that each STATE will be responsible for assigning the electors that will eventually vote for the president of the United States of America.

Each state has the responsibility to hold the election and determine the outcome. I do not believe they gave other states the right to question those results. Each state has the right and responsibility to question their OWN state results all they want, but not other states. The electors in other states are NOT disenfranchised if people in a neighboring state vote and certify their results, the way they do it. It is ridiculous to even imagine how anyone would think that they have that right.

Abraham Lincoln paraphrased the following passage from the Bible, Matthew 12:25, when he spoke of a house divided:

And Jesus knew their [the Pharisees’] thoughts, and said unto them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”

We are at a crossroads where we must revisit this thought, to determine which way it will be.

Do we stand by and allow the house to fall, or do we unite in support of this great social experiment called democracy?

If we continue down the current path of mistrust and actions driven by unsubstantiated notions and lies, we will have failed as a nation. If we continue down the current path of uncompromising, selfish, rigid, stubborn, partison politics – we will have failed as a nation.

I am hopeful that the SCOTUS will return a very short and terse statement to the suit filed by the losing political party today. I am hopeful that they will indicate not only is there NO legal basis for the suit, but that actions like this are frivolous and do unmeasurable harm to the republic which we are all part of. I trust that the reason those people have been placed in such high authority to interpret the laws of this country is because they will put any and all political affiliations aside and do what the constitution indicates is the law.

I am hopeful that the Supreme Court judges that all took the oath to uphold the Constitution to heart and act accordingly, Unlike so many of the people that have supported the conspiracy theory notion being put before them.

Trust is the foundation of our democracy. Trust is included in the very oath taken by so many that seem to have forgotten (or never truly believed in) that oath.

I have to wonder what is really going on here?

News isn’t the only thing that has been Fake

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why so many people are doing things to protest the election results and blindly following along with the crazy unfounded rhetoric being spewed by the president and his cronies.

Their bad behavior illustrates their desire to dislike anything that isn’t what they believe or have told to believe. This in itself is concerning because one thing that they say is at their core beliefs is based on their religious beliefs. They are what I have determined to be Fake Christians.

What’s a Fake Christian?

Well…I think there are and always have been people that claim to be believers in Christ that ONLY believe the parts of the religions that they want to. Similar to sects of other religious groups that only belief in parts of their religion. There are Radical Muslim believers, Radical Hindu believers, radical Jewish, Radical Mormons, Radical, Seeks, Radical Protestants, Radical (fill in the Religion here) and there are Radical Christian believers.

Being radical, in and of itself, isn’t a terrible thing – but when that radical behavior disenfranchises and threatens other people, one MUST ask themselves – Is that behavior indicative of what their religion preaches?

I don’t need to state the obvious, that which is in our written word of God – the Bible. Anyone that truly believes, and is a real Christian knows what Jesus said about treating others.

Looking around at what is going on these days only leads me to believe that the people involved in so many of the events where people are being threatened and bullied, cannot possibly be real, honest, true believers in Christ. They simply cannot do and say and act like they are doing and fall back on their religious beliefs as the rationale for it. That is being hypocritical to the true and real values stated in the Christian religion.

Therefore, my conclusion is that those folks must simply be Fake Christians. Sad, pathetic people that have twisted things up in their minds, so much so, that they have lost sight of what the true and real values of the Christian faith are about.

The reality of the situation is that you CANNOT simply take bits and pieces of the entire belief and use only those to support what you are doing. That is wrong and should not be supported by anyone that says they are a true believer. Supporting these radical and unmitigated types of behavior, in the name of what they believe in, is NOT what we have been taught.

I hope folks stop and think about this. I pray they stop providing support.

I hope they call them what they really are – Fake Christians.