Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Is this fair?

Letters from North America/ by Peary Perry

I just realized that it has been ten years since I stopped writing for the newspapers. If you recall I had a weekly column that was published in 100 weekly newspapers throughout the country. I did this week after week for over 25 years.
Ten years ago, I lost my humor and quit. I couldn’t find things to write about.
Now, I’m back.
So, here we go again.
This morning I read that one of the ladies involved in the California college cheating scandal was sentenced to a prison term of 14 days. She is one of many caught up in a large scale fraud investigation. One of the defenses being used is …”they didn’t actually hurt anyone.”
At the other end of the spectrum was a case involving a homeless mother who claimed her son actually lived in a school district where he could get a better education…the mother was convicted and sentenced to five years. Well, I suggest that this mother didn’t ‘actually hurt anyone’ either.
She was trying to help her son, the same as those involved in the California mess.
So if you look at the details on Snopes or other fact checking websites, you will see that they justify the differences by saying…two different courts…different judges…different states and jurisdictions.
While all of that is indeed true, doesn’t common sense work into these situations at some point?
The California defendants are mostly wealthy and white, the homeless lady is poor and black.
I don’t know about you, but this kind of stuff gets my blood pressure up because of the inequity of how similar in crime but different in outcomes based on the obvious, rich folks can afford to hire expensive attorneys and poor folks have to take whatever they can get.
The jails and prisons in this country are full of people who were encouraged to cop a plea so they could get out of jail or a prison sentence and then are forced to live with a felony conviction for the remainder of their lives. They find it hard to get an apartment, a job and all of the other necessary things in our society because they received bad advice or took the only option they thought they had.   
The police and the prosecutors want pleas, not trials since it is less expensive and saves time and government resources. They are not trying to fix the problem, they are involved in the problem.
It’s kind of like a huge whirlpool that spins so rapidly no one (cops, courts and defendants) can escape.
It is small wonder that many minorities in this country see unequal treatment and become resentful and mad over the current status quo.
I’m an old white guy, who used to be a cop years ago and this makes me mad as well.
For those who have never been in “The Life’ …their world is a bewildering place to visit, much less live in. The criminal justice system in this country is a huge industry. Many communities exist on prison employment and the support necessary for their existence.
Do not get me wrong, I am not making a case for freeing everyone from prison.
No, indeed there are some really bad people in these places who should be in there for the remainder of their lives.
What I am saying is, how do we correct the injustice of the example I cited earlier about the mothers trying to get their children a better education?
According to the Vera Institute, it costs anywhere from $31,000 to $60,000 a year to feed and house a prisoner. Would not we be better served if we spent tax dollars on education and housing than locking someone up for non-violent offenses?
If the schools won’t see that our citizens get an education, then when they get into trouble (as they most likely will) then why not take the opportunity to correct them and help them rather than warehousing them for years with no hope of improving their lifestyles when they are released?
Some of this stuff just seems like common sense to me, but it is time we start changing the situation in some way or another.
That’s my take on it this week.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Exactly…What is the Establishment?

Exactly…What is the Establishment?
Let’s consider for a moment that you are Joe or Jane Doaks….you live in a rural area of the country and your neighbors convince you that you are the person they would like to see most to represent them in the government.
You are flattered, you consider it and give in, find some supporters, make convincing speeches about all of the good you are planning on doing, manage to get elected and soon find your way to the hallowed halls of the congress of the state you live in or to the Congress of the United States.
Welcome to the club.
Because, that’s exactly what it is.
A club. An industry.
In case you haven’t realized it, politics is an industry.
Just like the medical, legal, banking or any other type of business.
Look at the US congress.
You think all of these members sit around each day and study and contemplate how they should be voting on the legislation that will affect you and me?
Think again.
Look up this web site for something I bet you never knew anything about.
The members of this industry are required to drive in money to support their respective parties.
If they want to stay in office and retain the support of their party.
Looking at this report, you will see a time schedule that wants these members to spend four (4) hours per day bringing in donations.
This compares to the two (2) hours per day suggested for meeting or discussion with the folks they represent.
It soon becomes obvious that regardless of the political party, the first responsibility of the congress person is to get re-elected, and not to respond to the wishes and whims of the people who sent them to political office.
Yes, friends, what we have here is an industry.
They work together, party together, vacation together and even stay together long after they leave office as lobbyists.
And you better believe they look out for each other.
Not for us.
Not for you and me.
The notion that they care about the average citizen is absurd. They don’t.
They care about themselves.
Why do you think the current president is having so much trouble with his own party right now?
Because he is not one of them.
He did not pay his dues and come into politics like the rest of them.
He is, (shudder!!!) a businessman.
Heaven forbid he should be in office.
He is a threat to all of them. Not just the opposition party, but also to his own party.
No one expected him to win the election last November.
All of you ‘deplorables’ need to just calm down and go back to the mines and let us (the media, the entertainment industry, the political establishment) run things because you are too simple minded to think for yourselves, much less run a big old country like the United States.
Sometimes I think the national motto should be changed to ‘Do as we say, not as we do.’
Are there some honest politicians out there working for us?
I am sure there are, but they are few and far between.
They also do not last long when they fail to toe the party line.
Nope, they have their perks…wonderful retirements, unbelievable health care. Dispensations of the rules we have to live under on a daily basis.
It’s a great industry, isn’t it?
Try getting anyone of them to discuss the value of term limits.
Never happen.
Try to get any congress person to discuss cutting the budget and actually doing it.
Never happen.
In 1984, under the presidency of Ronald Reagan, a business man named Peter Grace actually produced a report called, the Grace Commission.
Take a look at this and see for yourself.
Mr. Grace estimated that fully 1/3 of all government revenue (taxes) was wasted due to inefficiency and mismanagement.
His report was shelved and none of his recommendations were put into effect.
One can only guess as to how many oxen were gored by his recommendation.
The problem, as I see it, is one of an apathetic voter base who does little or nothing to force their elected representatives to make any serious changes in how the political ‘industry’ operates.
Shame on us.
We need to get off our couches, give up the nachos and do something.
We have this great tool, called the internet.
Lots of good information, some good, some bad, but lots of it.
It takes time and effort to sort through it to find the truth.
Then we need to talk to people, our kids, our church, our neighbors.
If they have a different opinion, fine. Take time to look at their point and see if they are valid or if you are actually correct.
This is not a sprint for the salvation of this country.
It is a marathon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Death to Traitors!!!!

Death to Traitors!!!!

Many of you may be aware that I am a history buff (or nut, depending upon your viewpoint) and am finishing up my Masters in history at Sam Houston State. The other day I posted a long blog on how I felt about many of the current conditions taking place in this country. I received a number of very positive responses, so I thought I would press my luck and delve a little deeper into one issue which is on a lot of our minds.
In 1775, all the colonists (not slaves) of this country were British citizens. Subject to the authority of King George III.
If you went against his authority or against the British government, you could very well be deemed a ‘traitor’.
Do you know what the punishment was for being a traitor to the English Crown was at that time?
But not just an easy type of death. No, you were first hung by the neck until you were almost dead. Then you were laid on a bench or table (in public, I might add) and you were ‘drawn and quartered’. Your stomach was opened and your intestines ripped out and sometimes set on fire while you are still alive. Then to top it off, your arms and legs were tied to 4 horses and then the horses were whipped, which effectively tore your arms and legs off your body.
By this time, you would, of course, be dead.
Women were only burned at the stake for treason. Bags of gunpowder were often tied around their necks so that they would explode and kill the person instantly rather than suffer the flames.
So, isn’t this information uplifting?
Well, in July of 1776, 56 men signed what we call the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, which was the equivalent of affixing their signatures to their own death warrants.
These were not soldiers, Army Rangers, Navy Seals or paid mercenaries.
These were lawyers, shop keepers, merchants, printers and ordinary people, who had had enough of King George and his oppressive policies.
England was the greatest country in the world at this time, with the largest navy and armed forces.
They had colonies scattered throughout the world. Hence the saying of ‘The sun never sets upon the British Empire’.
England needed colonies to sustain itself. It is an island with few natural resources and they needed the colonies for timber, tobacco and other profitable exports. They also considered that if the colonies were allowed to rebel against them then others would follow.  
In the hot building known as ‘Independence Hall’ that July, the windows were kept closed to prevent British spies from overhearing of the forth coming plans for independence.
All of these men could have been arrested and executed for their signatures on that one piece of paper.
Well, we all know the story and the outcome of the war, don’t we?
Against all odds, George Washington was able to defeat the mighty British army and its navy and gain our independence.
I suggest you read the kind of obstacles which had to be overcome in order for this to occur.
All of this leads me to the point I am trying to make.
We have learned a lot since 1776, and we still have a lot more to learn, don’t we?
But, we must learn as a nation…..not as a divided entity fighting for different objectives.
We will never solve any of our major problems, unless we agree to work together as Americans, not as individuals. As one of those 56 men so aptly said… ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’
We owe allegiance to our country, and to our flag and to our national anthem.
If it had not been for the courage of those 56 men in Independence Hall in 1776, we would not have a national flag or a national anthem.
If it had not been for the many thousands of men and women who have given their lives and their health (even today) in the belief that America is worth fighting and yes, dying for….then that flag and that anthem would not be there.
You want to protest? I don’t blame you. So do I. But where and when is where you and I may disagree. A sporting event is a form of entertainment that I pay for, it is not the place for you to demonstrate your political viewpoints and spit in the face of all of those I have described above.
For those taking a knee in our football games, look at the back of your helmets.
There is an American flag stuck back there.
If you are so upset with our flag, my flag…then let me suggest this to you.
Rip that sucker off and in place of it, stick the flag of any nation in the world, any nation in the entire world that will pay you the kind of money your receive for a GAME, and let you voice your opinions freely and openly as you are allowed to do in this county.
All because of the guts, courage and fortitude of 56 men in a hot building 241 years ago.
Can’t think of any country whose flag you could stick back there in place of our American flag?
Funny, neither can I.