Doomsday Preppies: Foolish Or Wise

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by Dennis Townsend

Let’s say for a minute, the worst happens, and after all the talks and all the fail safes, a nuclear weapon is launched and explodes in the middle of the United States. Depending on the size of the bomb and the wind direction, as many as 25 states could be affected and possibly more. It’s a given that the water and food supply would be compromised and would be an ongoing challenge for those who were not incinerated by the initial blast. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, there were what was known as “designated fallout shelters” around the country which were basically rooms in the basement of heavy concrete buildings. There was water stored in large barrels and food packaged like military K-rations in ready to eat pouches. With the ongoing paranoia over North Korea acquiring nuclear weapons, it has some people preparing for the worst. They call themselves “doomsday preppies.”

They are making safe rooms in their homes, building basement strongholds, and some have even buried large steel container trailers in their backyards for underground housing. They say that once disaster strikes, the required necessities will have to be obtained by trading for what you don’t have with those that were also fortunate to survive. More than likely there will be no FEMA to come to the rescue so the job of staying alive will present many obstacles. The air will be poisoned for quite sometime so some have stockpiled oxygen tanks and some have even invested in experimental oxygen producing technologies similar to what’s on the International Space Station. Once a tragedy of this magnitude strikes, your money will be worthless. Your survival from that point will depend on what you have on hand at that moment. Preppies are stocking food pantries in their survival shelters, and there is even a company now that will sell you all the K-rations you can handle. The have a shelf life of “forever” and I hear that they taste pretty good. They had better taste good, since you could be eating them for a long, long time.

It’s funny how the same plant growing system that marijuana growers use to grow their plants indoors, could be the same type of set up you will have to use to grow your food. Grow lamps need power you might say, but the preppies have come up with ideas on that. Storage batteries. They have added additional spaces to their “bunkers” to house banks of batteries that they are charging from the wind and solar power that some have already operating on their property. They say that if and when the unthinkable happens, they should have enough electricity to power some creature comforts such as a radio, some sort of ventilation system, and of course, your grow lamps which will also provide some heat. Some people say the these doomsday preppies are overreacting to something that may never happen, but then again, if it happens are you prepared? The government tells us we should have a survival plan in place already for emergencies, so maybe we should stockpile a few more cans of food, a can opener, and some water just to be safe. Oh, might as well get some more batteries, a radio, some RTE’s, (ready to eat meals), and maybe a generator attached to a ventilation system. I wouldn’t really call it overreacting, but I guess it couldn’t hurt.



The Unrest In America Continues

Two more black men killed in the streets by white police officers and again the country is in an uproar. Protest across the country and the black community is in a state of constant fear. Now, when you as a black parent have the “talk” with your children it’s not about the birds and the bees but rather about how to survive a simple traffic stop by a white police officer. Five Dallas police officers shot to death while overseeing a peaceful demonstration by those seeking justice in the ongoing black lives matter battle cry has hung a dark cloud over the protest.To Micah Johnson marching in the streets was just not good enough. There’s an old saying that says “you can only punch a dog in the nose so many times before he stops wagging his tail”, and apparently he had seen enough. Who knows what was going on in the mind of Mr. Johnson but it was fair to say that he had seen one too many black men killed by white police officers. His mistake was to make himself judge, jury, and executioner and to make all white officers guilty by association which is usually the case when one takes up a vendetta. One thing now is perfectly clear though, Muslims don’t hold the patent on mass murder.

There is no doubt that the country is now more divided than ever and becoming more so every day that Donald Trump gets on the news channels saying hate Muslims, hate Mexicans, black lives don’t matter and we need to just “nuke” everybody. While 99% of all police officers do their jobs according to the book, there is certain to be some that hold different views on the rights of some nationalities. Trump is a true demigod who brings forth the dragon of hate and discontent, then promises to slay the dragon if you vote for him. And to some what he’s really saying is that it’s okay to hate a certain race for the sake of making his version of America great again. And if that’s not enough, the Republicans refuse to stop the sell of military style weapons that can kill 100 people in 82 seconds which puts us all in grave danger. I doubt very well if those who drafted the Constitution had that kind of weapon in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment, how could they, they were dealing with flint-loc one shot rifles.

What we are seeing in this election year is a party that will stop at nothing to obtain the White House to do more harm to this country. Regardless of Bill Clinton’s indiscretions he did leave this country with a surplus and no debt thanks to taxing the wealthy. That’s why he’s hated so much by the Republicans. If you are one who sees Donald Trump as some sort of savior you are sadly disillusioned.. If you think by building a wall or blocking immigrants from coming to America you will be safe in your bed at night, then you just might be the right pawns in the GOP’s terrible game of fear mongering. The Republicans are counting on the discriminating right to gain control of a country that they see as wrong in their plans of conquest. They can’t win the White House if the poor get too much to eat, or are healthy enough to make it to the polls so they slash social programs and blame it on a lack of money. The Republicans are out of options and desperate so they put their money on a unpopular reality television host with an ego as big as life itself. A businessman who has sacrificed nothing for this country. A man who filed for bankruptcy 4 times and each time came out with millions in his pocket while others in business with him lost everything. A true scoundrel.

Sleepers, those who don’t like certain things or a certain race, and are prohibited by law from doing something  about it are now getting more and more bold. And what’s even worst is the fact that all the major news channels know that every time Trump opens his mouth spewing hateful remarks, something bad happens in this country, but they broadcast it repeatedly anyway. Fanning the flames of an already out of control bonfire. Coincidence, maybe, but maybe not, and in the meantime, are the Republicans talking about producing jobs and saving the environment 2 months out from the elections, of course not. They are stuck in this feedback loop of repeal Obamacare, keep the NRA happy, and try to find a way to put Hillary Clinton in jail. Self serving motives, all of them. And we as taxpayers are funding their never-ending witch hunts. Imagine the jobs that could have been produced with the money they spent on Benghazi which cost 7 million dollars. Add to that the cost of the 60 failures to stop Obamacare, plus the stubbornness to not let go of Hillary’s e-mails, and the cost sky-rockets close to a $100 million dollars of your hard earned money. I can think of a million different things that that money could have been spent on like food and housing for the poor.

It was tragic what happened in Dallas, and now Baton Rouge has to bury three of their finest. Guilty by association and sentenced to death by another deranged black man who felt there is no justice for his race. And this comes at a time when we need to be speaking of unity. But the Republicans are not interested in doing that despite what they’re preaching. They are letting Donald Trump speak of killing terrorist, and punching people in the mouth and watching him verbally assault federal judges. Just letting him be a downright true to life bigot. It’s time for the real police officers of this country to weed out those on the force with let’s say “radical” views. Question an officers use of deadly force if you see no need for it. Don’t be so quick to shoot. They make the rest on the force guilty by association to some sick individuals with access to assault weapons equal to your own. We do not attack and kill the same people who risk their lives everyday, who do protect and serve and who, to a lot of us in small towns, are like family and the reason we sleep well in these times of stress. It is important that our police officers know that we do not condone the senseless killing of peace officers, But tracking down those individuals determined to follow their own sick agenda of revenge is very hard to do. One thing is certain, there will always be someone who sees justice in a different light and with the ability to purchase high powered weapons that are equal to law enforcements, is anyone really safe in this country?



Campaign 2016; Red, Blue, Or Green

To coin a phrase from the late great Joan Rivers, “can we talk here”? Unless you just got back from a trip to a galaxy far, far away, you are well aware of what’s going on in America where we are about to vote on who will lead this country into the next decade. While the Republican party was busy making Barack Obama look like some kind of power hungry, half Muslim with no leadership qualities, then blaming him for the cause of all the woes in the country, a pot of discontent was placed on a burner. There already were those who were brought up as racist, who already hated the idea that their president was a, dare I say it, “nigger”. Barack Obama, the man this country voted for to be president not once, but twice, set about doing what he had promised to do on the campaign trail. When he said that “we are the change we seek” and that “now is the time for change” he meant that the true train of freedom and democracy had arrived with his swearing in as president. He also knew very well that the Republicans were going to be a lynch mob ready to pounce on everything he was going to try to do for the people.

As Obama was doing all that he could do to make changes in this country, the Republican party lit a match under that pot of discontent. As the pot simmered, Obama kept up his effort for gun control which gave rise to the fable of “Obama’s coming to get our guns”. The water in the pot starts to warm. Conservative talk show host start broadcasting their poison which says Obama is weak and the worst president ever elected. and then nine African Americans are shot down while praying in church under the banner of the Confederate flag. The country comes together to outlaw the flag which infuriates half of the country, the racist half, those that have been fed the Republican rhetoric by the shovel load. The pot is simmering pretty good now and then, we legalize gay weddings and afford them legal rights. And now Obama is responsible for the lost morals in the country. The pot is boiling over and is at the right bubbling point that it needs a person to control the heat. Enter Donald Trump and his slogan “Make America Great Again.” He has effectively assembled all those who feel that the country is letting too many non Americans and minorities ruin this country with their demands for more pay and equal rights and immigrants yearning to be free. David Dukes, that infamous leader of the Ku-Klux-Klan tried to run for president once upon a time, but didn’t have the funding nor the support, but that seems to be a worry that Donald Trump doesn’t have to deal with today. With his win in Indiana, and Ted Cruz dropping out, it will be Trump versus Hillary for president.

You ask yourself, how can a forked tongued devil gather so much support from supposedly sensible people? Well if life has taught us one thing to date, there are a lot of people who are not “sensible”. How did the Rev. Jim Jones get everybody to drink poison Kool-Aid? How did Charles Manson get his followers to obey his commands? How do criminals get you to send money to them when they call and say you won the lottery? How did Hitler get started? There are numerous examples of a man with the gift of speech who can manipulate a group with the promise of a better life. Donald Trump talks of securing the border to Mexico by building a wall, and he says if we stop Muslims from coming into the country, we will be safe from terror attacks. But yet he advocates pulling America out of NATO who is just about to increase troops in the Baltic States and Syria, places that our old adversary, Vladimir Putin, is flexing his muscles and getting bolder, and increasing the troops in those areas will keep Putin in check. Did I mention that Trump considers Putin a great leader, and Putin has likewise jumped on Trump’s bandwagon. Sounds like a deal that could reactivate fears of the cold war for some. Either way, it’s a far stretch from what I would call feeling secure when I go to bed at night. Trump is a master of the spoken word even if those words are sometimes abrasive and insulting. With the numbers and types of supporters he has it’s plain to see that the nation we have called “united” for all these years is not so much.

This has been a presidential campaign that has had it all and then some. While Hillary Clinton is the odds on favorite to win the Democratic nomination, it won’t be without its twist and turns also.She is not popular with a lot of women because she forgave her husband, former president Bill Clinton, for his indiscretions with Monica Lewinsky. Some talk about her association with Wall Street, and then there’s the infamous Benghazi disaster. The younger generation is gravitating toward Bernie Sanders, the hip grandfather of human rights and equality. He’s been at his trade for a long time and you can even find old news clippings of him getting arrested at sit-ins in the 70’s. While his goals for the country is noble, it would never happen without bipartisan support which as of right now is only a pipe dream. If you would like another option when you go to vote, vote for the Green Party. It is understandable that not everyone has heard of the Green Party, but that’s because they are different from the standard two-party system. They don’t get the recognition because they don’t have the funds. They will not dirty themselves with corrupt money, and their vision for the country resembles the dreams of the “flower children”. Their contender for president will likely be Jill Stein. What their party needs is a squeaky clean “sugar daddy” so to speak, someone who could finance their position in this high stakes political poker game. They are certainly worth taking a look at if you want an alternative to the current two party system. That is their motto. This election will be the most important decision this country will ever make and the wrong decision could bring Chicken-little’s premonitions to life for the sky will truly be falling, and that’s the truth.

Fear, Torture, And Neighborhood Patrols

Well we are all aware at what just happened in Brussels, and we all have heard who took credit for the two bombings, and again the world unites with a country under attack. ISIS has become desperate with the ongoing attacks on them by coalition forces and their recruitment campaigns are not as robust as they once were. They promise more dark days ahead in an attempt to deter countries from taking part in the U.S. led coalition that is determined to end their reign of terror. And as if right on cue, the presidential candidates are weighing in on the bombings with Donald Trump calling for bringing back torture to get information, and Ted Cruz is calling for patrols in Muslim neighborhoods. Have we become so afraid that we are willing to alienate the immigrants who have come to America for a chance at freedom just because of fear. What happened to the “home of the brave”? What happened to, “all that we have to fear is fear itself”?

There are a lot of countries who do not have the resources we have to keep themselves safe from terrorism, yet they continue to live without the fears that we have . Or maybe it should be called mass paranoia perpetrated by a hateful, racist, egotistical con-man, who came to be known as a reality show television star, and who thinks that that is enough to qualify him to be the leader of the current un-United States. Donald Trump wants to bring back the torture of water-boarding, a practice that has caused plenty of concern to world human rights groups, and something no leader should ever consider. Not to mention the fact that if we start torturing people, we might as well be prepared for any of our troops who are captured to be done likewise. Of course Trump doesn’t like soldiers who are “captured” so to him it makes no difference. And he has said that he agrees with Ted Cruz on policing Muslim neighborhoods. Does not this sound a lot like racial profiling, something African Americans have been putting up with for quite some time, and it has been the subject of countless legal battles. We love to talk about human rights violations around the world and now we are about to have to take a long look in the mirror.

Republicans like to take Barack Obama to task because he won’t identify ISIS as radical extremist group and won’t commit to an all out war against the Islamic State meaning bringing in thousands of ground troops to compliment the air assaults currently being carried out by coalition forces. Isn’t that how we got ourselves in this mess in the first place, trying to imprint our will on other countries? And when talking doesn’t go our way, we resort to violence. Republicans are always eager to go to war to make a point no matter what the cost. They are clearly the party without honor and one wrong move could bring on world war three which will no doubt be a nuclear war and the end of all things. The upcoming elections could very well tell us if we will go on as the United States, or do we become a country of some sort of martial law where if you come from a country that has terrorist, you will have to live in a confined, heavily patrolled neighborhood. Didn’t we just have a big brew-ha-ha about the NSA collecting data on people according to leaks by Eric Snowden, that unsung hero that has yet to return to the United States to be prosecuted. Funny how times have changed because we are now condoning collecting data on Muslims Americans and any other possible threats. If Mr. Snowden returns and Donald Trump is in the White House, he may well be executed as a traitor.

These are dangerous times around the world and while ISIS may be dangerous, how we respond to terrorism could be just as dangerous. The current approach to handling ISIS seems to be working even though it’s not working fast enough for some politicians. The proof is in the desperate moves ISIS is taking such as the bombings in France and Brussels. The world came together to defeat the likes of Hitler and his formidable military and they were better equipped, and with the right strategy and planning, ISIS can also be defeated.

John Kasich; The Republican Longshot

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Ohio, “the heart of it all”, as the saying goes and to hear governor John Kasich talk, he invented the state and sliced bread all at the same time. So much so that he thought the rest of the country, if not the world, should be benefactors of his wise wisdom and so he threw his Musketeer hat into the ring of those wishing to be president. John Kasich , that governor that talks fast and says nothing is about the biggest storyteller in the country. His town hall meetings are quiet affairs where he sits and tells stories of his saving the state of Ohio from the big, bad, economic wolf. He talks about the 400,000 jobs he brought back to the state but forgets to mention that there are a million still out of work. He believes he can catch more votes with honey than the toxic vinegar the other Republican candidates are pouring down the country’s throat so he floats around like Peter Pan and speaks softly. Since I live in Ohio, I am well aware of the plus and minuses on the governors’ scorecard.

As with the rest of the country, Ohio is being held hostage by the whims and wishes of a Republican run Senate which is at Mr.Kasich’s command. President Barack Obama’s clean energy initiative which supports clean energy and limits coal burning emissions was scoffed at by the governor, which means incentives for exploring clean energy has been put on hold in the state of Ohio because Mr. Kasich says it needs more study. In the meantime the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has just been solicited by First Energy, the dominate electrical power company in the state, to approve a $3 billion dollar handout, paid for by the consumer with $3 dollars being added to their already hefty bills, as just in case money, money they say they need to keep jobs and “explore” clean energy. They fail to mention that they want to use some of that money to maintain 3 coal burning generators that the good governor claims must stay running to keep electricity cost low throughout the state which brings in new business prospects and jobs. Excuse me but I think I smell something burning.

Mr. Kasich just signed a bill in Ohio to de-fund Planed Parenthood eliminating roughly $1.7 million dollars for needed health screenings that Planned Parenthood provides for  low income families. The Republican’s war on that imaginary boogey-man that’s using Planned Parenthood funding for abortions is more important than women’s cancer screenings, family planning, and other beneficial healthful programs for families. They say that logic is the beginning of wisdom and it seems to me that the good governor is guilty of illogical thinking all the way across the board. Ohio’s natural gas producers spit out more than 13,000 metric tons of industrial methane and toxic chemicals into the air every year, and that has the same climate impact as 70,000 automobiles. These non-stop leaks are invisible to the naked eye but they cause millions of dollars in healthcare cost to those suffering respiratory ailments. The Obama Administration has proposed the first ever standard to cut pollutants by the oil and gas industries, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been formally notified by Ohioans that they support such a standard. But no doubt the Republican Senate and Mr. Kasich will find a way to delay any such actions since I saw no open arms for Obama’s clean coal initiative.
One thing John Kasich did that didn’t sit well with his Republican brothers was to expand Medicaid in Ohio, a key part of the federal health care law that the conservatives hate. Yet Mr. Kasich was able to push it right through the Republican-controlled legislature, an act that rubbed a lot of people in his party the wrong way which makes his statements recently about winning Ohio in the presidential primaries on March 15 a 50/50 bet. He likes to get on his soapbox and say that he is a “uniter” , a word that Donald Trump has been using lately, but then he takes out his trusty pen and starts signing bills that hurt workers, minorities, and women, such as his signing the bill recently to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Does Kasich have what it takes to be president, well, according to a woman in Massachusetts, “he is such a nice man“, she wondered how he could stand up to world leaders like Putin. He should have dropped his bid for the White House with his poor showing on super Tuesday but he insist that he still can win Ohio and propel his campaign to the next level. In my opinion, he won’t make it that far.

Discrimination Isn’t Always Black And White

The Webster dictionary defines discrimination as “the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually.” That means that if you dislike one nationality of people you dislike them as a group based on your prejudices, no exceptions, including gays and lesbians. Some believe that since they are the dominate privileged species, they therefore are superior, and everyone else is considered a minority and of little value to humanity. In history there has always been discrimination and it always seems like the dominate species, the one that claims superiority, has always been the “white” species or as Hitler would say, the “Arian” race. The Hebrew people were made slaves of the wealthy Egyptians because they were considered a lesser people simply because they chose to worship and put faith in a God with no name, whom they could not see, instead of Egypt’s golden objects. They were poor, simple, obedient people who were viewed as unintelligent. And since wealth determined your status in a culture that worshipped gold and material Gods, they were easy prey for the jackals. The Native Indian people held out their hands in friendship to the first settlers of what we now call America. They welcomed so many settlers that soon, they became the minority, and as such were labeled savages and it was decided that they were undeserving and were not allowed to keep all the land they had lived on for a millennia as money and greed took hold. The land that provided them food and a decent life was now being taken from them. Indian tribes across this country fought back but were swiftly defeated by a government that by this time was well on it’s way to building a formidable military presence. Over 100,000 were killed trying to keep what was their’s already. You read and hear about treaties being signed but land was still being taken from them by homesteaders who basically stole the land without compensation. The treaties were often not worth the paper they were written on and was repeatedly broken by “white” men who decided that as the superior civilized species, they were “entitled” to the land no matter what the government said. History tells of the bloody Indian wars and the numerous settlers who also lost their lives trying to settle on land that belonged rightfully to Indian tribes. The Indians lost their land and had to also watch as the buffalo was hunted into near extinction for sport by the rich white hunters eliminating their vital food source. Then they were hunted down and  put on reservations and we convinced ourselves that it was best for them.

It was during the 1800’s that the great transcontinental railroad and the “iron horse” arrived on the scene to unite the east and the west. Tracks had to be built and it just so happened that a lot of Chinese immigrants were coming to this new land to make a fresh start leaving a country in turmoil. Laborers were needed for the railroad to lay tracks for trains that would catapult the country into the future. But the work was hard and the hours were long and the pay was minimal. The conditions were so brutal that there were not enough domestic laborers willing to do the job so the Chinese immigrants took on the back-breaking work. After working all day they found the towns near where they were laying the tracks unfriendly to them when they attempted to purchase needed goods. Some towns people would even turn them away when they tried to enter the local general store. Again it was the dominate race doing the discriminating. The same group who decided that they needed slaves to work all the land they acquired in America and so went to countries like Africa and captured human beings to work plantations, taking them away from their families because again, minorities are savages and didn’t deserve families or respect and who’s only worth was measured in the amount of work they could do as slaves. Adolph Hitler took discrimination to a whole new level with his version of ethnic cleansing by murdering 6 million Jewish people along with thousands who were handicapped because they didn’t qualify for the “superior race.” African slaves were brought to America to serve plantation owners and no one gave a second thought that one day they would be set free. “Not possible” they thought. “That couldn’t possibly happen could it?” Yes it did, but only after a war that took an untold number of lives and divided this country with the morals of right and wrong and human dignity hanging in the balance.

December 7, 1941, that day that still lives in infamy, Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and almost immediately Japanese Americans are rounded up and placed in camps for fear of terrorism and betrayal. After being held without evidence and having their human right trampled on, it was determined later that the country panicked for nothing. There was no conspiracy to infiltrated the country with Japanese super spies and we now have put a lot of families in danger of domestic violence from local mobs by claiming they were probable terrorist. The fear was partly perpetrated when American troops who were captured told horror stories of ruthless Japanese commanders who were once educated at Harvard and other prestigious American colleges’ prior to the war. Once the war was underway they went back to Japan and declared their allegiance to the homeland making their knowledge of America priceless. It was during this time in our history that African-Americans were still trying to gain equal rights in a country that some were fighting and dying for. They were formed into their own units in the military because white soldiers refused to fight along side with them because as minorities, they were considered unintelligent and a danger to the white solider. A poor tradition that dates back to the old “Buffalo Soldiers” of the Union Army. All black units of war have a long history of being successful in battle and only some of their exploits are recorded in history. Some heroics can’t be hid from history such as the brave deeds done by squadrons of all black fighter pilots made up of Tuskegee graduates. Patriotism is the only reason I can think of when I think of people fighting for a country that treats them as second class citizens. This kind of patriotism is not the generic brand that flows effortlessly from the lips of those who claim to be patriots, but from a new patriot, those who have sacrificed and tolerated harsh times at the hands of unforgiving taskmasters but were willing to put their feelings of hate and vengeance aside for the better good. Too often discrimination leads to hate which in turn escalates to violence. We are a civilized nation alright, but unfortunately it’s plain to see that discrimination has become a part of being civilized. We’ve come so far but still have a very long way to go before all will truly believe we are equal.