Ken Larsen's web site - my views on politics in the U.S.

  

I live in the United States and am an independent voter.  I will vote for political candidates based on how close they come to supporting what I regard as the important issues - not whether they are Republican or Democrat.

 

The important issues to me are:

 

 

Issue

Explanation

1 Money controls U.S. politics The biggest problem in the U.S. is that big money and lobbyists control policy.  We need to reduce their influence.  Politicians need to follow a moral compass and not a money compass.   A prime example is the National Rifle Association (NRA), but there are many other examples. 
2 Voter apathy The second biggest problem in the U.S. is that voter turnout is too low, and voters are too easily swayed by advertising.  Voters are too busy viewing cat pictures on Facebook to study the issues and make informed decisions.  In the 2014 Chapel Hill election, only 12% of the registered voters bothered to vote.  When the turnout is that low, special interests can more easily get their candidates elected.

3

Balanced budget

The U.S. national debt is out of control.  See the following "National Debt Clock":  http://www.usdebtclock.org/  It's very distressing. 

 

We need to spend more money on ourselves rather than on foreign countries.  

 

I'm against raising the current debt ceiling.  Rather than pay off our national debt, politicians keep raising the national debt ceiling.  That's like raising a person's credit card limit every time they overspend.  Cut the spending!  If we fail to cut spending and keep raising the debt ceiling, then we run the risk of hyperinflation - which is what happened to Germany in 1923 and to Yugoslavia/Serbia in 1993.   Here is a picture of Serbian currency in 1993.

 

What programs need to be cut?  Well, per the "National Debt Clock", the biggest contributors to the U.S. budget are Medicare, Social Security, and defense spending.   All need to be slashed.  With people living longer, social security ages need to be raised.  Raising the minimum age from 65 to 68 seems obvious to me. 

 

Will politicians make these necessary changes?  Probably not.  If they do, they likely won't get reelected.  That's one sad negative about a democracy.  The ones who promise tax cuts and higher spending get (re)elected; the ones who exhibit political courage get tossed.  It's sad.  Sometime in the future our children and grandchildren will pay for our neglect.

4

Stay out of foreign conflicts

Let's not have any more Vietnams, Iraqs, and Afghanistans.  We need to end our "global policeman" role. 

The real tragedy of Iraq and Afghanistan is that we went into those wars with noble goals, we got rid of Sadam Hussein, but then everything plummeted into a huge political vacuum, and ISIS emerged from the rubble.  Almost 8000 US troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan, around 1 million were wounded, the U.S. cost has reached close to $ 6 trillion, and lastly the terrorist group ISIS stole a lot of our military hardware to emerge as the dominant force.  What a tragic outcome!  Republicans adamantly believe that we left Iraq too early.  I regard that as horribly naive.  We can't invade countries, run their wars, and then run their countries for them.  That would be enormously expensive, and the natives don't want us in their countries in the first place.  We need to focus on the U.S.  We have enough infrastucture and immigation problems to keep us busy for decades. 

Because of ISIS, about one million Islamic people from that area have fled to Europe.  This is causing turmoil in European countries because of cultural and language barriers.  They're not assimilating well.  This is all the fault of the U.S.  We should not meddle in foreign affairs.

5

Protect the environment

The dinosaurs ruled the earth for over 160 million years and left it in pristine environmental condition - until an asteroid came along. 

 

On the other hand, Man's Industrial Revolution began a scant 200 years ago, but look at the environmental mess that the earth has become:  global warming, pollution, demise of animal species, over population of humans.  Politicians must take immediate action to turn this tide around.  Will we last as long as the dinosaurs?  Heck, without turning around our damage, I doubt modern man will last another thousand years.

 

April 20, 2010:  BP oil rig explosion/disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  Need any more proof?

 

October 30, 2012:  Hurricane Sandy devastates the U.S. northeast coast.  This is strong evidence of rising sea levels.  I would prohibit anyone from building on coastline/barrier islands that are less than 10 feet above sea level.  Turn such area into bird sanctuaries.  See this web page for what the U.S. coastline would look like if the sea rose to various levels.  The U.S. needs to understand that Global Warming is real.  However, the downside of my recommendation is that many cities (e.g. Miami) are already less than 10 feet above sea level.  The future looks bleak.

Pollution is so bad in Beijing, China that domes have been built for child playgrounds [story].

Plastic in the ocean:  video

6

Population control In my opinion, the best way to protect the environment and conserve our national resources (e.g. oil and water) is to reduce the human population of the earth.  There currently are over 7 billion people in the world, and that figure is growing by almost 10,000 people per hour.  (See the very cool "World Meter" web site)  What is the optimal world population to ensure that the Earth can reabsorb the massive amounts of CO2 emissions and garbage continually emitted by our world population?  I don't know, but I would speculate that it is considerably less than our current 7 billion people.  How do we reduce our world population?  I advocate widespread birth control.  Towards that end I am impressed with China's "one child policy".  However, it has resulted in the unfortunate side effect of killing female babies as male babies are preferred.

The shocking fact about the world population is how fast it has been growing:

  • In 1804 there were only 1 billion people on the earth.
  • In 1927 there were 2 billion.
  • In 1960 there were 3 billion.
  • In 1999 there were 6 billion ... double that of just 39 years earlier!
  • In 2015 we'll pass 7.3 billion

See http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm

Here is a graph of world population growth over the last two thousand years.

Pictures of some devastation caused caused by human overpopulation  (the Guardian April 1, 2015)

7 Global warming One side effect of increased world population and urbanization is global warming.  Studies have shown that during the day urban areas are 2-5 degrees fahrenheit warmer than rural areas, and the difference becomes as much as 20 degrees at night.  The massive amount of concrete creates a high pressure "heat dome" over the urban area.  (details and details)

8

Less foreign aid for Israel

The most effective way to curtail the violence in the Mideast is for the United States to slash the amount of military and economic aid that it gives Israel ... which is currently $ 3 billon/year.  Prior to mid-2006 I would never have harbored such a thought, but since then:

 

         I have viewed the 79 minute video "Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land" (2004).

         I have viewed the 59 minute video "Life in Occupied Palestine" (2009).  Most notable is the four minutes beginning at 30:58.  Israel has been stealing land from the Palestinians for decades and that is the principal cause for the conflict.

         I have learned that one third of the U.S. foreign budget goes to Israel.  See:  http://www.washington-report.org/html/us_aid_to_israel.htm

         I have read former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's book "Palestine - Peace Not Apartheid" (2006)

         (2014-July-28) "Gaza and the loss of Civilization" - excellent editorial.

The net message from all of the above is that Israel stands in violation of U.N. Resolution 242 (1967) by not vacating settlements that it established in territories acquired during the 1967 war.  The settlements are connected by Israeli built roads and patrolled by Israeli troops.  Palestinians living in these territories are made to suffer extreme poverty and indignity.  The U.S. through its generous annual support of Israel effectively makes itself a partner in these crimes ... which is why both the U.S. and Israel are vilified in the Arab world and also why the U.S. has lost credibility as a peace broker.

I don't see any difference between what Israel is doing to Palestinians in the West Bank and the U.S.'s Indian Removal Act of 1830.  Both are/were rapacious attempts to gain land for Israel/U.S. by kicking out natives.   Here in the U.S. we're removing Andrew Jackson from the $ 20 bill over our belated guilt over what he did.  He was President in 1830 and was a principal driver of the Indian Removal Act.

AIPAC is a powerful pro-Israel NRA-like lobbying organization which does handstands to ensure that money keeps flowing from the U.S. government to Israel.  They have a solid grip on U.S. media to maintain Israel in a positive light.  Their lackies constantly monitor U.S. news and post pro-Israel comments on pieces about Israel.  They write scurrilous comments against any piece or comments which portray Israel negatively.  This became abundantly clear to me in May 2016 when I posted comments on these two pieces: "Ellie Kinnaird:  Suffering of Palestinian People must not be silenced" and "Stanley Robboy: Where the real blame for the Mideast discord lies".  If U.S. citizens want an unvarnished look at Israel, they should really look to the BBC.

 

On the other side of the coin, my advice to Palestinians and other members of the Arab world is that they recognize Israel's right to exist and cease the suicide bombings and other attacks.  All they do is give Israel an excuse to launch counter attacks, build walls and otherwise continue to abuse the Palestinian people. 

2014-July-29:  I saw video of tunnels Hamas built to move troops and weapons from Gaza into Israel.  Hamas used Israel supplied concrete to build the tunnels.  Israel provided the concrete to build schools and hospitals.  Hamas also launches rockets from schools and hospitals ... using the Palestinians as human shields.  This despictable behavior only justifies Israel's attacks on Gaza.  Hamas and Palestine only have rubble and deaths to look forward to.  It is very sad.

Israel's population has been growing ... both Jews and non-Jews.  See this web page.  Eventually this will impose significant demand on natural resources.  See my previous comments on population control.

(2014-August-12) "The Israel Test" - compelling arguments in support of Israel and what they have done positively in that area of the world.

In retrospect, a severe blunder was made right after World War I.  Jewish people were given the land that eventually became Israel.  Jews are entitled to have their own nation, but they should have been given an island.  Ditto for many of the Islamic nations.  They each make for horrible neighbors.  Here in the U.S. we are extremely blessed to have docile neighbors to our north and south ... and fish for neighbors off our east and west coasts.  On a lighter note, here is a segment from The Big Bang Theory on relocating Jerusalem to a desert in Mexico.

(New York Times July 5, 2010) "Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank"

On balance, if I had to give control of Israel, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip to either Jews or Muslims and banish the other, I would definitely give it to Jews.  There are already 39 Islamic states and only one Jewish state ... which Islamic people won't recognize.  However, the optimal solution is for all residents of that area to get along and keep a lid on their population growth, but neither is making any effort on those two fronts.  The future is war, regrettably.

9

Allies must honor our values November 21, 2010:  "An Afghan Christian, detained for months for allegedly converting to Christianity from Islam, could face trial as early as next week - and could face a potential death penalty ... Under sharia law, converting from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death..."  -CNN news article.

The U.S. should not provide a single penny of aid to any government which supports such an outlandish law.

10

Gun Control Strong gun control is vitally needed.  On April 16, 2007 a student killed 32 people and injured 25 others at Virginia Tech ... all in a short time using two semi-automatic pistols ... one which he purchased 36 days earlier for $ 571.  He had no criminal record, so he was able to purchase the pistols with no impediment.  The United States needs to follow the lead of Europe which has tough gun laws, or better yet, copy China.  Private citizens are forbidden from owning guns in China.

Background checks for all sales sounds like a good idea, but it's better to ban all sales of certain guns ... like those which can fire a large number of rounds in a short amount of time.  A background check would not have prevented The Virginia Tech massacre nor the 2016 Orlando massacre. 

I would like to see the U.S. 2nd Amendment modified.  It reads:  "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."  This was passed in 1791 - a time when the U.S. military was weak and the most potent weapon was a musket that had slow muzzle velocity, limited range, and reload time was lengthy.  I can't imagine our forefathers passing the second amendment if 21st century machinegun-like weapons existed.  At a minimum no one other than the military and law enforcement officers should be able to own semi-automatic weapons.

There are people who believe that the 2nd amendment places no limits on arms.  If that were true, then private citizens should be permitted to own nuclear weapons!  Clearly limits must be placed.   Listen to this sound from the Las Vegas massacre of October 1, 2017.  The bullets were flying at 10 per second.  It was not from a 1791 musket.  The gunman killed 58 people and injured 500 others ... the largest massacre in U.S. history.  He did thus from a position which was 32 stories above his victims and 500 yards away.  You couldn't do that with a 1791 musket. [Here is a YouTube video of musket firing.]  It is insane to justify ownership of modern lethal weapons by the general public.  Regarding the shooter, he was a white 64 year old male who was wealthy and had no history of mental illness. He was a misanthrope who kept to himself and amassed a large arsensil of weapons and ammunition ... all legally ... "thanks" to the second amendment and those who support it.

Literally the 2nd Amendment requires membership in a militia in order to "keep and bear arms", so modification of the 2nd Amendment shouldn't be needed to restrict private ownership of guns.  A militia is "a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency".  The modern equivalent of a militia is the National Guard.  So, if you're not a member of the National Guard, you should not be allowed to own a gun according to the 2nd Amendment.

Another issue about the 2nd Amendment is that bullets are a lot more lethal in the 21st century than they were in 1791. 

Unfortunately there are slim hopes for serious gun control legislature to be passed in the United States.  The NRA (National Rifle Association) can take credit for that.  They do nonstop monitoring of legislature going on in all 50 states and actively lobby to stop gun control bills.  Their cutting edge design web site, http://nra.org/,  gives the nauseating details.

Reflections on the January 8, 2011 Tucson tragedy:  A 22 year old male used a 9 mm Glock 19 semi-automatic handgun with a high capacity magazine (31 bullets) to kill 6 people (including a federal judge and a 9 year old girl) and injured 13 others (including a congresswoman) in the span of just seconds.  These weapons and high capacity magazines need to be banned!  Also, our mental health system needs to fixed.  It's broke.  Mentally ill people used to be placed in state institutions.  Now they're given pills and released to the streets.  One question remains:  Why did the killer descend into madness?  I'm no expert, but I believe it will be found that this person's drug use altered his brain chemistry and caused his paranoid psychosis.

The NRA's response to the Tucson tragedy has been to resist gun control legislation ... insinuating that having more armed citizens might have stopped the tragedy.  This reminds me of this famous Archie Bunker excerpt:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLjNJI54GMM

Other issues that likely contribute to gun tragedies:  Widespread violence shown in movies and video games, unregulated sales at gun shows, and inflammatory political rhetoric on TV and the internet.  Regarding violent movies and video games:  We should all boycott such movies and cease buying violent video games.  If sales dropped, they might stop making such garbage.  Money talks.

It should be made illegal for a private citizen to sell, give, or loan a gun to another person without first doing a background check.  In October of 2012 a Wisconsin man shot and killed his estranged wife after buying a handgun from another individual.  A restraining order supposedly prevented him from owning a gun, but Wisconsin doesn't mandate background checks for private sales.

December 19, 2012:  Where an A is an F and an F is an A: http://gunowners.org/113srat.htm Cheers to all those congressmen who scored an F or lower! We need more of them!

November 16, 2014:  Nauseating story about the power of the NRA:  "Christensen:  the NRA and Kay Hagan"

The Ferguson factor:  As much as I'm adamantly against guns, they do serve a purpose.  Look at all the looting which followed the Michael Brown Grand Jury decision in 2014.  Many businesses [which had nothing to do with Michael Brown] were totally destroyed by the looters.  The police weren't able to stop it.  If the owners had assault rifles they could have defended their businesses.  Nothing less would have helped.   However, many lives would have been lost.

Smart guns:  I really like this idea.  They can dramatically reduce guns deaths.  Unfortunately the gun people have been fighting it.  Click here for a 2015 NY Times story.

As the above picture shows, the NRA is nothing more than an advertising arm of gun manufacturers.  In that capacity, they should have their non-profit status revoked.  They should not be allowed to meddle in politics.  Instead, they spend millions of dollars trying to defeat candidates who stand up against them. (details: $ 3M 2016 TV ad against Hillary Clinton)  The NRA is a 501(c)(4) "social welfare" organization.   Considering the number of gun murders in the U.S. (see below), I regard their contribution to social welfare as less than zero.  From the IRS website: The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity. However, any expenditure it makes for political activities may be subject to tax under section 527(f).

Gun issue fix:

Don't vote for any politician who does not support regulating guns and gun owners in the same way that cars and drivers are regulated!

I wonder how many U.S. gun proponents think other countries should adopt U.S. gun laws.  The proper solution is for the U.S. to adopt the gun laws of Japan and Iceland.

Key points about Iceland's gun laws:

  1. There is no guaranteed right to own a gun in Iceland.
  2. You may only own a gun with permission of the government.
  3. All sales of guns are registered and kept with an official registrar.
  4. You must demonstrate a valid purpose for owning a firearm. 

  5. "Self Defense" is specifically not a valid purpose for owning a firearm. 

  6. You may only own a firearm if you have done the required training, and you are 18 years old.
  7. A unique identifying mark is required by law on all guns.  [This would be the serial number stamped by the manufacturer.  In the U.S. serial numbers began being required by the Gun Control Act of 1968.]

(December 4, 2015) "How a Conservative-Led Australia Ended Mass Killings"

(July 8, 2016) A disgruntled citizen wearing a bulletproof vest kills 5 police officers in Dallas.  Their firepower couldn't penetrate his armour.  This renders guns useless if crooks wear such armour ... convincing me even further that guns are not the answer. 

(July 14, 2016) One of my neighbors gave me a compelling reason to own a gun and why "concealed carry" should be permitted:  The object of permitting gun ownership is a theory of equilibrium.  Most criminals Ö snatch and grab guys Ö are cowards.  If they think you are as equally armed as them, they are not going to do anything, because they may not live.  Thatís why I like the concealed carry law.  The criminal doesnít know who has a gun in their pocket and who doesnít.  Once you make it against the law to have concealed weapons, the criminals gain a huge advantage, because they donít obey the law.  They obtained their gun illegally anyway.  The point of the law is not to require everyone to have a gun.  Itís to put the criminal in a position where they donít know who has a gun and who doesnít.  The second amendment is all about making the criminal think.

The NRA asserts that guns are needed to keep people safe.  Well, I assert that cameras do a far better job, and they're not lethal.

(June 20, 2017) "The NRA is pushing to eliminate concealed carry permits in NC and across the country" - N&O

11 U.S. Race Relations Race relations in the United States have been set back over 50 years by events in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014.  A white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager six times.  That was followed by protests and looting by the predominantly black community.  Social media has been fanning hate from both sides ... contributing further to the demise of race relations.  Investigations are proceeding ... but at a torpid pace.  Martin Luther King Jr is surely rolling over in his grave.  It's all very sad.
12 Tort Reform The USA has become a very litigious society.  Lawsuits are sometimes filed for frivolous reasons and juries occasionally reward plaintiffs with monetary judgments that far exceed the merits of the case.   This causes doctor malpractice insurance costs to escalate and for doctors to order superfluous tests - just to be "safe".  Doctors and nurses now also spend an inordinate amount of time documenting the reasons behind their actions.  These extra tests and paperwork are all done to protect themselves in the event of a lawsuit.   However, all these extra tests and paperwork drive up health care costs.
13 Job Issues U.S. jobs have been and continue to be outsourced to foreign countries.  The reasons for this are:
  1. Foreign labor is much cheaper than labor in the U.S. 
  2. Foreign countries don't have to comply with all the environmental and other business-restrictive laws we have in the U.S.
  3. The currency exchange rates are distorted to favor foreign countries.

It's not a level playing field.

To fix these problems:

  1. The U.S. needs to return to the tariff system we had years ago.  Free trade is killing us. 
  2. The currency exchange rates need to be adjusted.  If the U.S. dollar were significantly devalued ... as it should be due to our overwhelming national debt ... then the jobs would come back to the U.S.
14 Health care reform Health care costs a lot more in the USA than in other countries.  This is one of the main reasons why workers in the USA are more expensive than foreign workers and why USA jobs are being lost to foreign workers. 

The best way to drive down health care costs is tort reform (see above). 

I saw Michael Moore's "Sicko" movie on July 6, 2007.  It does a marvelous job of throwing a light on the deficiencies of health care in the U.S. and holds up the health care systems of Canada, England, France, and Cuba as ones we should emulate.  Based on the evidence presented in the movie, Michael Moore is 100% correct.  All U.S. politicians, aspiring politicians, and concerned citizens should see "Sicko".  It's an eye opener!

(July 27, 2016) My insurance agent is very negative on Obamacare  ... says it will drive up health insurance for all of middle income people.  That's bad news.  The U.S. needs universal health insurance for all Americans ... not just the rich.  Obamacare may be a bad solution, but something has to be done to fix this problem.

15 Food Stamp program 45.7 million Americans are on food stamps.  That's an extremely high number and says that there is a huge disparity between the rich and poor.  In my view, the rich need to be taxed more, and the poor should be taxed less.  This is called a "progressive tax", and is the opposite of what Republicans want.  They want a "flat tax" where all people are taxed at exactly the same rate.  That will only make the rich richer and the poor poorer.  Crime would go up.  People will steal rather than starve.  Back when Eisenhower was president, the marginal tax rate was 90% for the highest income level.

16

Stem cell research

Countless numbers of disabled people worldwide could benefit from medical advances that could be made if the religious right would cease their objections over stem cell research.  Such medieval thinking is one of numerous reasons why I don't go to church.

17

Separation of church and state

Nothing irks me more than a politician who says "We will prevail in this war/conflict, because 'God is on our side'".

The founding fathers of the U.S. were correct when they introduced the concept of  "Separation of church and state."

 

I'd like to see the motto "In God We Trust" removed from our U.S. coins and paper currency. 

18

Exclude Creationism from school science texts

Creationism is religion, not science.  Religious views do not belong in a science text.

 

Creationists believe in creationism because "It's in the Bible."  Well, the Bible was written by man several thousand years ago and reflects what those ancestors of us thought about the real world.  This was well before the arrival of telescopes, microscopes, and other technological marvels.  The Bible should be revered as a diary/insight into the life of ancient man, but the accuracy of its understanding of the real physical world is minimal.

19

Illegal aliens Illegal aliens should be excluded from social security benefits and should additionally be deported.  To do otherwise would encourage aliens to cross our borders illegally.

20

Simplify tax code The large quantity and complexity of U.S. tax forms and publications is ridiculous.  Most should be removed and the remaining ones should be simplified. 
21 Gay rights I'm not gay.  Regarding homosexuality, I regard that as a biological variation that manifests itself in a certain percentage of the population.  They have the physical characteristics of one gender, but their brains are wired to prefer the same gender.  Given our exploding world population, it's probably a good thing that a certain percentage of the population is gay; otherwise, our world population would explode even more.

Gays should not be persecuted nor prosecuted for their life style.
22 Light Rail Click here for my views on Light Rail.

23

Miscellaneous legal issues
  • I'm for the death penalty. 
  • I don't like the endless appeals that people on death row can invoke.
  • I don't find value in the debate over the methods of execution ... the guillotine should be restored.
  • I don't believe that the insanity defense should be permitted.  Whether a person is sane or not should not be a factor in determining their guilt or innocence.

24

Miscellaneous local issues To curb local population growth and pay for increased local public services (water, land fills, etc.) impact fees should be increased substantially.  Many municipalities keep them artificially low due to heavy lobbying by real estate developers.
25 Flooding and traffic In my opinion, these are both caused by overdevelopment.  In 2016 Hurricane Matthew caused historical flooding in Eastern North Carolina.  River overflowed their banks to unprecedented levels causing massive destruction of homes and roads.  Overdevelopment along rivers and upstream (e.g. Raleigh) creates massive amounts of impervious surface.  Impervious surface causes rain water to flow more quickly to rivers ... resulting in downstream flooding. 

Traffic south of Washington DC is so bad that commuters spend most of rush hour just sitting in their car.  Ditto for roads leading to New York City. 

The only way to combat overdevelopment is steep impact fees.  We should also look to other countries to see if any of them have a better solution.
26 Care for the homeless It's disconcerting to me that a person who is convicted of a crime goes to prison and gets three meals a day and a warm place to stay, but homeless people are more-or-less left to fend for themselves.  Our system almost motivates homeless people to commit crimes.

Some communities make better efforts to provide food and shelter for the homeless than others.  One negative side effect of this is that the homeless migrate to communities which provide the best service ... making residents less inclined to support homeless shelters.   Landfills and homeless shelters are things people don't want in their backyard (NIMBY), but each community needs to have them.  Property taxes need to be adjusted to support such equity.  If you're a NIMBY, your taxes should be significantly higher than communities which are more accommodating.

Click here for a year 2010 Chapel Hill homeless shelter issue.

27 ISIS  ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organizations are bad news for world peace.   They're a cancer that is spreading across the globe.  They must be fought.  However, Islamic people must lead the fight.  Islamic people must recognize that the vile abhorrent acts of the extremists is bringing extreme shame to the allegedly peaceful Islam religion.  That's giving their religion a bad name, and inviting condemnation of their followers. 

I claim that the ISIS-like organizations are doing more to encourage the growth of atheism than anything an atheist organization could ever do.  They've giving religion a horribly bad reputation and driving people away.  How can there be a loving God if entities such as ISIS are permitted to exist?

My main complaint against Islam is that their practitioners migrate to foreign countries (like my ancestral home of Norway), breed like rabbits, and then after a few generations they can attain a voting majority - suitable to impose some of their extreme beliefs (like Sharia Law).  This is bad news for world population (see item 4, "World Population") and local tranquility.

(February 11, 2015)  Horrid news:  Yesterday a 46 year old Chapel Hill atheist named Craig Stephen Hicks (who I don't know) murdered 3 Islamic college students just 3 miles from my house ... over a parking dispute ... but possibly fueled by anti-Islamic beliefs.  (see WRAL story and WTVD story) This is the kind of crap that I feared would spread across the globe.  It's sick.  My heart goes out to the friends and families of yesterday's victims. 

(November 16, 2015) I aked an Iranian-born friend of mine what her opinion was regarding ISIS.  Her response was that the terrorists were children of immigrants who became misfits in their new country.  They didn't fit in because of their skin color and conservative habits and became bullied.  For some, their frustrations lead to terrorism.  The immigrants became immigrants in the first place due to the U.S. invading Iraq - which was done to give Dick Chaney and Halliburton access to Iraq's oil fields.
28 Syrian refugees I have negative feelings about allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S.  My main qualm is that they won't integrate well.  From what I understand, Muslims don't value education for women, they don't tolerate LGBT issues, they don't tolerate atheism, they don't tolerate Muslims giving up their religion, they abhor alcohol, they resent western dress for women, and they don't like our materialistic/hedonistic lifestyle.  All of these views will likely increase the liklhood that their children will be bullied and problems will result.  Before any Muslim refugees migrate to the U.S., I recommend that they be counciled on the cultural differences.  They may elect to stay away ... to protect their children.  For more on what Muslims think of Western society, see http://www.missionislam.com/family/culture.htm
29 Electoral College This needs to be dumped in favor of the popular vote.  The electoral college skews elections unfairly.  In 2000 and 2016 Democrats won the popular vote but lost the electoral college vote.  Too much emphasis is placed on "swing states".

 

Suggestion to resolve the current impasses over the fiscal cliff, gun control, and state pension shortfalls:  Our legislators have been continually locking horns over these and other issues.  They need to cultivate negotiating skills such as "Kepner-Tregoe Decision Analysis" and "Ready, Fire, Aim". 

Here are examples of how "Ready, Fire, Aim" could be employed to address a couple of problems:

On a state level, in 2013 North Carolina Republicans have brought shame to North Carolina.

What is a Republican? - my view

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