I’m Running for President

I watched the Republican debates last night – three hours I’ll never get back. Only one of the debaters between both shows said anything I agreed with 100%. In the midst of all the men (and woman) who were yelling “boots on the ground”, Rand Paul at least recognized that what these idiots were calling for was more and more of our young men and women being harmed, maimed, and killed. I got angrier by the second. Build up our military? How are you going to sell that? Maybe if you set up a new draft, we will have young people marching and protesting again. I cannot think of any other way to build up our military. I hope our youth are not going to run to the recruiting offices knowing what Afghanistan and then Iraq have done to so many of their generation. And how many of these debaters calling for boots on the ground are going to send their own children and grandchildren into the massacres. At least Rand Paul suggested we train the Middle Eastern folks to fight their own battles. But they probably are not interested since they know the US will step in and take care of it. They better be sure they are ready for our invading and then staying in their countries.

So I’m going to run for president. My platform will be: free health care and free education for every person who is a citizen of this country. Equal rights for each and every citizen of this country. Jobs available for work on the infrastructure for every road, bridge, and dam in the US. All foreign military bases closed and every military member brought to fight against any aggression against the United States of America. Yes, even if we have to fight on this land – perhaps if we had the damage done here that has been done in every other country we have fought in, our warmongers might learn that war is not pretty if you have to look at it. National Guard immediately kept for damage control brought by disasters. A straight-across, with no exceptions or loopholes, 15% income tax rate for providing the money for all these things. These tax rates will also be charged on the real property of all religious institutions.

No official religion for the United States, no official language for the United States. The United States was established as a nation where everyone had equal freedoms, and the Statue of Liberty which stands so tall in New York Bay will go back to its “bring us your poor and your oppressed” motto. We have room. All jobs sent to other countries will be returned to the United States, and manufacturing will be brought back to this country. Everything will be made “in America by Americans”. Wages will be living wages for every person who is capable of working. Welfare will be for those who honestly need it, with proof that a person really is not capable of working. Everyone will pull their own weight who are able. I put 47 years in the workforce, and I did it while fighting clinical depression for at least half of those years.

Federal laws will supercede any states rights, and every state will pull together as a part of the United States of America. Any state who does not want to work together for a common cause will be allowed to leave the Union, understanding they cannot be allowed back in. They will also lose all Federal monies for infrastructure and disaster.

Any hidden monies by any corporate types will be, if found, confiscated. The rich are allowed to be rich, but not off the backs of the middle class. There will be no lower class of have-nots, unless they choose to be a have-not. But the US will not step in to “give” them freebies.

Marijuana will be made legal. It will be taxed at the going sales tax rates set forward by each state, and the monies left in the state(s) for use in its own infrastructure and wage rates

It is understood that not everyone will like these rules and pledges. Why not?

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Please note: I did not say anything about the environment and global climate change. That is because everyone needs to adopt common sense and start doing their best to stop pollution and trashing of your environment. It may already be too late to actually save our planet. So our space exploration mavens should already be getting ready for a general exodus from the planet Terra (Earth). There does not seem to be much hope for change unless everyone stops and thinks about it NOW, and starts trying to reverse the damage already done.

Posted in Economics, Equality, Finance, Friends, Gay Rights, Health, Homelessness, Medicine, personal thoughts, Politics, Religious, States Rights, Voting Rights, War, Women's Rights | 3 Comments

Politics and Reel Life

I watched a very thought-provoking movie last night. It is at least a year old, and probably most of you have seen it. Ironically, it seems to have been made before its time, and is now so true it is downright scary. It is called White House Down. Now, it came out the same time as Olympus Has Fallen, and I think maybe Olympus stole some of its thunder. So now is the time that whoever chose one over the other to catch the other.
Olympus Has Fallen is good – it is about a Korean man who wants to take over all of Korea, and wants the US out of Korea completely. It stars Gerard Butler and Aaron (short memory loss, I can see his face, but can’t bring the name up), and is a very exciting movie, with lots of bangs and explosions. I enjoyed it, but it is pure fiction.
On the other hand, White House Down, which stars Channing Tatum, with Jamie Foxx as the president (and a very good actress who played daughter Emily) were present and there were lots of bangs and explosions and bells and whistles. More than Olympus.
But here is the thing – it is about a black president who works through diplomatic measures to bring peace to the Middle East – and shockingly, Iran is the country most involved. The president misses getting kidnapped at the beginning, and works with Channing’s character to try to stop the takeover (the character was just turned down for the Secret Service), which is done by Americans, led by the man who was the Speaker of the House who just retired. Through a lot of events, the president is presumed unable to serve, so Posse Comitatus makes the VP president. Then our American bad guys sent a missile to shoot down the new President, which leaves the man who took over as Speaker of the House President. I’ll call him John Boehner.
After all that, we find out that this new Speaker/new President …………well, I don’t want to give it away. Just watch it.
And if you already have, watch it again.
And then I’ll play it on the big television in our community room.

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A Cock-Eyed Optimist

When the sky is a bright canary yellow, I forget every cloud I’ve ever seen….

As I lay in my bed last night, unable to go to sleep (which happens quite often these days), I had so many things rolling around in my head. And one of them was that I am just a cock-eyed optimist.

When I got all gung-ho about a march on Washington to protest another possible war, and wanting to include a lot of young people who would be affected, along with a bunch who already were affected, that came out of my brain on another sleepless night. But truth is, I am not capable of doing such a thing.

I was reading last night before trying to go to sleep, and I read an article in my AARP Magazine about scams on both men and women for money. Some of them came from Nigeria and Malaya, but it seems those who are being attacked are those who have signed up on dating sites on the Internet. Men and women are being romanced only to have their money targeted.

Well, I won’t fall for such a thing, and I am not on any dating sites. But it made me think about the blog I just wrote about a march on Washington, in which I very unthinkingly said I would need financial help. Whoa, stop, look, and listen.

Truth is, I don’t have a clue as to how to go about setting up such an event (though I’ve done some things in my life on a much smaller basis).

I do not know how to

Get permission to do a march and have a place for the meetup;
Get the needed public address system together;
Put up a stage and find chairs;
Get acquainted with the politicians I would love to be there;
Advertise/publicize such a thing to reach the largest audience.

And when I said I needed financial assistance, I was thinking about myself and how I could get there and where I would stay and what concessions should be available and how to have water for everyone, or coffee, or anything else should it be cold or hot outside.

So I saying here, if anyone who can do all these things wants to run with this, then I would be glad to help in whatever way I could from Austin, TX, and then I would have to figure out how to get myself there.

Really, I’m just an older woman with lots of missing teeth and use a walker to get around. With delusions of grandeur, I guess. Though I was not in truth looking for glory for myself – just trying to get a point across.

I hear the human race, is falling on its face, and hasn’t very far to go
But every whippoorwill is selling me a bill, and telling me it just ain’t so.

A couple of years ago I was thinking very seriously about running for U. S. Senator from Texas in an attempt to get rid of John Cornyn. But once I got into the basics of how to do this, I was advised to check with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) about what was required, and ran into the same old wall I always do – you have to have money to ask for money. Plus you have to have everything in place before you even file the paperwork to run a campaign.

So money is everything, a thing which I keep trying to disbelieve, thinking that we should all have the same rights, and the same chances, to do anything to improve the state of the States. I don’t want that to be true. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting that, and then come out with another, what I think is, great idea. And I jump and try to run with it, and then something comes along and says “uh uh, you can’t do that”.

I do not know why I keep this optimistic attitude in the face of so many reasons to not have it. I know I won’t ever change, so I know I’ll always have to face up to it eventually.

Many years ago, along about 1963, I was in a very optimistic state. This in spite of escaping from an impossible home situation. Then somebody murdered my president, and a war in Vietnam was heating up, I had two children which I did not know what to do with, and most of us of my generation did not believe we would live until 30. I finally decided then that it was no use being good and trying to accomplish things – I might as well go to hell since everyone was telling me that was going to happen. But the hippie/drug generation started, and I went all out to have a good time. I gave up my girls, started drinking, and was all promiscuous. Then one day, I woke up and I was 30, and I decided I should try to do something with my life.

I managed to live abundantly, and mostly correctly, with a few sidesteps into darkness, and today, here I am, basically content, pretty happy, and still a cock-eyed optimist. I wouldn’t change who I am, but I sure get over-excited when I come up with a good idea.

So I’m bowing out unless someone else who can afford it, and who knows how to do it, comes along, and then I’ll do my best to help.

I can hear people rant and rave and bellow, that we’re done and we might as well be dead, but I stuck like a dope with a thing called hope, and I can’t get it out of my mind……….

Lyrics from Cock-Eyed Optimist from South Pacific, music and lyrics from Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

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The Real Cost of War

As I sit here listening to commentators and pundits talking about the presidential candidates, particularly those running on the Republican side, and listening once again to “oppose Barack Obama” no matter what, and the case of Iran, I am struck by what I believe no-one is paying attention to – the real cost of war. I’m not talking about the cost in machinery of war – I’m talking about those who have to get on the ground, with their guns and their RPGs, and their hot and heavy equipment. I’m talking about the ones who actually have to go into the war physically, the youth and the general grunts.

So, I want to start a movement – a ground swell – a meeting in Washington DC with all those who care about the human beings who have to go to war to please the money people who don’t have to put themselves in harm’s way. I would like to speak at that meeting, march, whatever you want to call it. I want a peaceful movement. I want younger people to go en masse who have not had to go to war physically, who might already be thinking about how it could affect him or her mentally and physically. I would also like to have those who have had to fight these wars and have physical or mental injuries be there. I want to put faces on war, that would be required to go and fight the wars, the men who don’t get wealthy on war because they don’t have to go and actually do the warring.

I’d like to do this in late October or early November – before it gets frightfully cold, but is not likely to be too hot to draw crowds.

I am a 74-yo woman, I’ll be 75 in December, and have been through WWII (although quite young, but with memories of uncles); Korea (an ex-husband, as well as family members); Vietnam (high school friends); Grenada; Desert Storm; Gulf Storm; Iraq. Now we’ve got politicians calling for war with Iran, but these are the ones who wouldn’t actually have to go into the fight itself.

I’m tired of our youth being destroyed by war. If you are tired of it as well, please think about this, think about maybe doing a meet with speech, and possibly a few politicians as well, but let’s make it the people, the ordinary everyday people, who are the most affected by war and destruction and death.

I have a page on Facebook. If this raises enough interest, I will work with those who can help me put this together. I have never done anything like this. And frankly, I will need a little financial assistance to be able to show up and talk and meet people who feel the same way I do. I would love to hear from others who want to do the same. I want a groundswell of those who have to pay the physical cost of war.

Anyway, this goes automatically to FB, and my page is public, and it is named Carol Stepp.

Who is with me?

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

Posted in Foreign Affairs, Friends, Health, Homelessness, Medicine, Mental health, Other media, personal thoughts, Politics, War | Leave a comment

A second commentary on Mobs/Mafia

I raised a big shit storm when I made a comment about how I thought there was a “Jewish” Mafia (which is an impossibility anyway since the word Mafia only to Sicilians) on a site about Bernie Sanders. I mentioned the Kochs, along with Sheldon Adelson and Paul Wolfowitz. I was called names, told I needed psychiatric care, and accused of having a lot of problems. And one person even told me I was looking at the past. I was informed that the Koch Brothers are Catholic. So, let me change my wording. Because I am not anti-Semitic just because I used the word Jewish – nor am I anti-Sicilian because I was trying to use the actions of the early New York mobs as an example of what seems to be going on with the buying of politicians and the daily killing of black people, and the number of people who are getting guns and going out an killing people.

So to clarify, though it probably won’t make any difference because there are those who will jump on a single word, to make a noise and totally ignore what I am trying to say.

So the Koch Brothers are Catholic: so were Lucky Luciano, Vito Genovese, Carlo Gambino, the Luchese Family, Al Capone. The neo-cons, though, are mostly Jewish. This has nothing to do with their religions – just who they are. As for looking at the past, I still believe that we learn by studying history, and trying to not to repeat. Actually, Lucky Luciano spent part of his time during WW II (beginning in 1943) helping out the Americans in their move from North Africa into Sicily on their way into Italy, their fight against the Italian Fascists. Through Luciano, and several of his henchmen, they got the Sicilian Mafia to pave the way for their march through Sicily, and those members of the Italian Mafia were enemies of Communism, fighting in group against Communism coming into Sicily, and trying to get it out of Italy completely. They were behind the downfall of Mussolini, who had persecuted the Mafia in particular. Because of Luciano’s work, his prison sentence was commuted by Thomas Dewey, the very man who put him into prison for his work with prostitution, though Luciano was deported to Italy. Where he lived out the rest of his life, putting up with a lot of harassment, until he died of a heart attack in 1962, at the age of 64.

I have an admiration of the early mob/Mafia. To them family, and Familia, was important, and they took care of them. Yes, it took a lot of murder, but they did what they intended to. They killed themselves, but left the ordinary Americans alone. Oddly enough, the Mafia in America came to it greatest power because of the government – prohibition brought bootlegging, and that is how the bulk of their wealth came from.

Todays mob-types, whether Jewish or Catholic or whatever are not like that. These folk are more interested in padding their own pockets, but not in helping out the ordinary Americans. It is ironic that the Italians, Russians, Jews pre-Israel, Irish, Bulgarians, Albanians, and all the rest who were considered mob/mafia from the beginning of the 20th century through about 1972, when they were considered to have been defeated by the American government. Unfortunately, those folks hated black people, and did everything they could to keep them out of the American dream.

When I speak of today’s mob/mafia-types, I am talking about those people who are using their money, and their power, and their nastiness to keep the ordinary Americans down, poor, unable to make their lives successful. But buying politicians and law enforcement and attacking blacks and giving guns to their choice of citizens is not working on the same level of Americanism as the early Mobs/Mafia did. You need to look back to learn what should not be done now and in future. As long as you refuse to do that, and just attack what I and others like me are saying tells me you choose to not see what is right in front of your eyes. Probably because you have chosen to be on the wrong side.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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Mob/Mafia, J. Edgar Hoover, Kennedy, and Politics

Heavy title – right? Well, it all fits together.

In 1963, my president was murdered (a simpler verb than assassinated). To this day, it has not been solved to my satisfaction. But, because I have always had an unhealthy admiration for the mob/Mafia (the difference is the Mafioso had to be directly connected to the Sicilian Mafioso, but since there were Irish and Jews, and later Russians, so connected to mob actions, I will call them the Mob), I have been watching the Monday night series of Mob movies, and The Making of the New York Mob, on TCM, narrated by Ray Liotta.

Because of the movies and the series, I have checked a couple of books out of the library, one a book about Lucky Luciano, and the other The Sinatra Club, written by Sal Polisi with Steve Dougherty. I decided to read The Sinatra Club first, waiting until the series is over (this coming Monday night) to read about Luciano. Besides, Sal Polisi, an ex-member of the Mob, is one of the people interviewed for this series, The Making of the Mob. It has been quite an eye-opener.

Let me say first of all, I have never considered myself naïve, except about sex), but I was most certainly raised in a church-cult family, and the mob was not part of my education. We who were raised in the 40s and 50s outside of mob-dominated areas were quite simply not given information about that kind of Life, and so we were ignorant of those things. Later, after I left home, even living six years in Las Vegas, I simply did not pay attention.

So my theory of why John Kennedy was killed is related to the Vietnam War, and I thought because Kennedy was going to stop our participation in that war, that is what caused him to be murdered – and I put the blame on those war-mongers who wanted the war to continue so they could keep making money on the war machine.

But Polisi, who was known as Sally Ubatz during his mob days, has written a very compelling chapter in this book showing that John Kennedy was murdered because the mob did not like that the mob was removed from Havana, Cuba, by Castro, and it was blamed on Kennedy. And that the murder of Kennedy was orchestrated by J. Edgar Hoover at the behest of the mob. Rather than try to write what has been written without permission of the writers, I suggest you go to your public library, look up the book (number 364.1092P768P) and open it to Chapter 11 on page 122 of the hardback edition published by Gallery Books in 2012, titled Crime of the Century, and read it. It is truly a compelling story. I have heard from numerous people that they thought it was a mob hit, which I have argued against, and which I am now thinking might be the truth. Also, according to this book, the mobsters involved end up regretting that it was not Bobby they killed. Well, he was later, and I never really knew why.

Leaders of the mob seem to have been in the pockets of a lot of politicians of those days, and I have believed that ever since I first had knowledge of the Mob/Mafia, though I never knew to what extent. That could be naivety, or it could simply be that I wasn’t paying attention. Obviously I reckoned they had to be covered by politicians and lawmen during the prohibition, but I simply did not know how deep it was in the 40s-70s. They were involved in the Black Market (probably they were the Black Market), during World War II, and this is where some of their millions of dollars came from, after prohibition. Also, although The Godfather tried to make me believe not all bosses were involved in the drug trade, I seem to have been misled, or just wrong.

I also learned that blacks were not accepted by members of the Mob/Mafia. During the early 60s, there was a group within the groups called SPONGE, which meant Society for the Prevention Of Negroes Getting Everything.

According to this book (which I am only half-way through), the Mob was “disbanded/wiped out” in the late 70s. But I am no longer naïve about such things. I find myself looking at what is happening in today’s politics being once again driven by mobsters. I am looking at people like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson as being mobsters, and officially heads of organized crime. Maybe I’m late to this party, but I just wasn’t looking at it that way before.

We know many politicians have/have had money-people in their pockets. For some reason I think I just thought it was individual greed, but I am coming to the conclusion that this is no longer correct. There are too many things going on in American government and politics that are repeats of things that occurred in the 20s through the later decades. Most of the things going on, stealing of money, non-payment of taxes, killings, stepping on the poor, cutting of benefits for the non-privileged – these things are being brought to resolution by legislative enablers.

Blacks are being systematically murdered by officers of the law. Treasonous acts are being committed by legislators, and not being punished for them. I wonder how many heads of alphabet companies, corporations, systems have resigned because they were not eager to join in. Why has the FBI never had a leader who lasted as long as J. Edgar Hoover did.

I cannot believe Obama is mixed up in any of this because of the intolerance against black people shown in the past. I wonder at the amount of security he has that I just considered racism before, but now think it might be because men bigger than simple racists might be involved. Yet now we are opening the doors to Havana again, which I have been applauding and still do, but am suspicious once again that the Mob might move in on Havana to bring their empires into the public eye again.

I truly hope this is not too muddled, but in the process of learning how the Mob/Mafia have operated in this country, has operated in the past, learning about another side of the Kennedy story, learning that J. Edgar Hoover was not pure as Eliot Ness, nor were a great deal of the FBI, watching white policemen openly murdering black people, and hearing some of the trash coming out of many politicians’ mouths (and wondering why marijuana hasn’t been legalized across the country), I begin to see a different story altogether.

Think about it.

PS: I have decided that although in the past I thought my admiration for the mob might have been because they believed in family (in my ignorance, I thought that simply meant wives and children – family, not Family), it could also be because I have wanted so many times to take vengeance against someone who ill-used me, but haven’t dared because I fear Karma, and I enjoyed watching them do revenge in movies. I begin to see my admiration has been mistakenly given.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

Double PS: The Sinatra Club was so-named because Frank Sinatra was a hero from Hoboken to the Italian members of the Mafia, but though I know Frankie was probably friendly with some of these bosses, I don’t believe he lived the life necessarily. Even though I remember John Kennedy was advised to stop associating with Frank Sinatra, and Peter Lawford was also warned about his involvement since he was married to a Kennedy sister, Patricia. And later divorced. Oh yeah, I have always adored Frank Sinatra, and loved the Rat Pack.

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Celtic Thunder Five Years Later

Last night, tired of TV and looking at DVDs to watch, I glommed onto my Celtic Thunder DVDs. I thought, it has been several years since I looked at any of these – maybe I would enjoy them again.
I first discovered Celtic Thunder back in 2009 – the first time I ever saw them on PBS. I enjoyed them very much. About a year later, I saw them a second time on PBS, and at that time, I vowed to give them a year of my life, publicizing them in numerous blogs, as a group and as individuals. I wrote my first blogs about them on MySpace, but within a few months, I got my Facebook page and then switched the blogs to WordPress. So I probably have some in a few places.
I stuck it out, I saw them live in November 2010 (when I was a bit disappointed because the seating was not very good in Houston), but I got to chat with Ryan, and got my photo taken with him.
But Sharon Browne got in the way, and the bloom fell off the roses, and then both Paul and Damian left the group. Ryan was having problems with crazy female fans, having to have security for himself, and a while later he left the group, for a while. I quit writing my blog in March 2011, exactly one year after I started writing it. I held to my plan, but I was a bit disillusioned with the things going on within the group.
I have all of their DVDs through the 1st edition of Voyager. I have the CD for Voyager, however, so I think I have all the music, even if not all on DVD. I quit listening to them, and quit watching the DVDs, from Voyager until yesterday.
They wear well. I very much enjoyed the three DVDs I watch last night. I watched It’s Entertainment, which is even more beautiful on the 32″ HD 1080psi TV I bought in January. I was so impressed by the colours on my old TV, but this is so much better. It was a joy to watch Paul, Damian, Keith, Ryan, and our beloved George, and I really loved seeing Sephira again. Of course, I have a couple of Sephira recordings, but it was nice seeing them. Watching Neil in his first appearance as a solo singer (I still think that while he can sing, I most of all love his guitar work). I had fun with Keith’s surfer medley (well, I’m a 60s sort of person, having spent those years in my 20s, and loving long-haired men), and Paul’s Doo Whacka Doo.
I also watched Heritage, which is probably, in terms of time passed, my fave of the bunch. So much to enjoy on Heritage: Paul and Damian in duet; Ryan and George in duet; George singing Skye Boat Song with Brendan on the long pipes; Home From the Sea (well, my fave job in 47 years was the mid-20s when I managed merchant seamen’s bar; as a Celt, the sea is in my blood); seeing Nicole get some solo time (though I certainly missed Sephira); Neil with Noirin; Paul singing Robbie Burns; and the best one of all, Keith and Neil on Whiskey in the Jar, a real treat, magnificent, just wonderful.
I finished up the evening with my edition of Voyage.  I missed musicians who had left the group in its big makeover – Phil, the original music director, of course Paul and Damian, Brendan.  But Nicole was still there, and our beloved George was still with us.  I liked Emmet a lot, excellent voice, and thought he was a good edition to Keith, George, and Ryan.  And the ladies were good, though I still missed Sephira.  There are some standouts on this DVD, like Emmet’s two solos, plus the fun Clancy Bros. Medley and The Galway Girl, Keith’s own All Day Long.  I particularly, though, am glad to have a copy of George with Red Rose Café, again partly because it reminds me of my old days with the merchant seamen’s bar I once managed.

Things have changed with the lads:  George has left us, Keith is engaged, Damian has a cute girlfriend, and is a beautiful man; Paul and his Dom got married, and I still get regular posts from him.  I also had the pleasure of seeing his first show on PBS, and have both the DVD and the CD from his solo effort.  He just last night sent out a notice to us about signing a new contract that we can look forward to.  And Damian is home in Ireland for a few weeks.

I am glad I have these recordings, and will probably pick them up to watch a bit more regularly.  I plan to watch the Christmas DVD tonight.

Thank you for the pleasure you still bring to me, Celtic Thunder.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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