Sunday, January 19, 2020

Faith & Politics - The Elections of 2020

February 2020 brings on the start of the Presidential primaries.  What is at stake this year and for our future? We have an incumbent President doing his best to lead us further along the path toward the eventual ending of life on this planet.  He at times appears to be an agent of Satan.  Even when he makes references to God, notice the mocking manner in which he does so.  The incumbent President is doing what he was destined to do.  That destiny is to take us along the path that will eventually result in the conditions referenced in Matthew 24:21. “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.”

Via television, I witnessed the last hour of the January 14th debate of candidates running for the Democratic Party nomination.  Six candidates.  I looked at them for who they are.  Human beings, all a descendant of the original man and woman created by God.  God created us to live in fellowship with him in a world he designed and prepared for us.  But our free will to do both evil and good took us off the fellowship path into our current state of chaos mixed with moments of fellowship with our Creator.  The six candidates?  Romans 3:23. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

Among these Democratic candidates is one who himself is a testimony to mankind following our sinful desires. Romans 1:27. “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.”  This candidate believes he can lead the government of the United States while willfully violating what God intended a man to be.  This candidate is a self-professed homosexual and proud to be one.  He displays a  “pride in ourselves” attitude we have developed as humans.  A pride that makes us believe that a person has the right to do and be whatever he or she wants to be, regardless of what God intended us to be.  This homosexual candidate is a second level escort leading us to human greatness and spiritual destruction.

I did not see the beginning of the debates.  Did any of the candidates in their opening statement make reference to asking God for guidance in responding to the questions?  Did any of the candidates mention how their faith in God would play a role in how they would manage the government of the United States and how we as a country interact with our neighbors on this planet?  I heard the closing statements of all the candidates.  God was not mentioned.  It was all “I”, “we”, “me, me, me.”

The candidates all debated how they would approach “solving” or handle the variety of issues we currently encounter as humans.  Health care, immigration policies, environmental issues, foreign policy.  From their mouths spewed information and opinions as if they really believe we as people can really solve our own problems without having God as part of the answer.  Sadly, they all seemed to believe that human answers will “solve” problems.  Absent a Godly foundation to a proposed “answer” they all are missing the point that there are no human answers to eliminating the sinful nature of people that has brought on all of our “issues”.  Mark 10:43-45. “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.  For even the son of man came not to be served, but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for money.”

What can politicians and we as people do?  At best politicians and we as people might be able to lessen the threshold of pain that an issue has on a distinct segment or number of people.  Maybe it is possible that some issues can be eliminated and solutions found?  But to be fully effective those “answers” and “solutions” must be reached through spiritual guidance. Do you really believe that a human answer can meet the needs of everyone?

As the Presidential candidates spewed forth their viewpoints and opinions, I didn’t hear any of them saying that after prayer and consulting with Jesus Christ they had reached their conclusion.  Minus that affirmation of faith and bringing the discussion of issues into fellowship with Christ, all the candidates are just a collection of talking bobble heads.

Voters.  Now is the time for you to require that the candidates address their faith and how their faith is part of how they make decisions.  It does not matter if they are Baptist, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Mormon, etc.  Have each candidate address the question of faith.  Then make your humanistic voting decision on who is the best person to lead the government of the United States of America.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Unable to Provide Prompt Service

As a former Federal worker, I understand the bureaucratic methods and outdated processes sometimes followed by workers in Federal agencies.  I am now into year 2 of an attempt to see what monetary benefits my mom qualifies for as the spouse of  deceased WW II veteran.  My mom suffers from Alzheimer's and dementia.  After the death of my father on Thanksgiving morning in 2015, my mom began the quick journey into Alzheimer's and dementia.  Seemingly the grief and heartbreak of losing her lifetime companion, over 60 years of marriage, helped expedite the journey to Alzheimer's.

In October 2018 I initiated a claim on my mom's behalf to the Veterans Administration (VA) for whatever benefits she may have had to assist in paying homecare costs to a newly hired homecare provider.  My mother had some $11,000 in savings from my dad's life insurance policy and her monthly annuity checks to use as a source of income to pay for homecare.  Seeing that the homecare was expensive and that she could benefit from more homecare, the claim was an attempt to see what she qualified for.

The VA sent an initial response in May 2019, but had not considered the costs of homecare in calculating what my mom qualified for.  So I resubmitted the claim with evidence of the costs of homecare being an income reducer that was not considered initially.  The clock began to tick and I soon noticed that 5 months had elapsed with no answer.  When I called for an update on the status of the claim I kept on getting a response that it was under final review and given an expected date of completion.  That date would pass by and I would call and given another anticipated completion date.

I tired of the continued delay and contacted my Congresswoman, Susan Brooks out of Indiana, for assistance.  Suddenly the case was finished and a response sent to my mom's house that she did not qualify for assistance since the VA  assumed that I was paying the cost of her homecare from my personal account not my mom's.  I then submitted documentation to the VA to show them that I was a co owner of my mom's account as her Alzheimer's prevented her from carrying out the simple task of overseeing her finances.  Yes, I paid the homecare bills via my mom's account.

Now, you would think the VA would take the info and then expedite a final decision.  No.  Instead I was told that the info is seen as being a new claim and goes to the back of the line for consideration.  That means my 89 year old, Alzheimer's impacted mother will likely have to wait another 5 months for a decision.  That is 5 months that may not be promised to her.

Why would the VA stick to a process such as this and not close out a case with the latest information?  Only because they can and because there has not been enough outrage expressed at this archaic system of processing cases.  The VA like all federal agencies needs to continuously review operating procedures to see how those procedures result in providing the best, timely customer services available.  Delaying a decision on an 89 year old customer's claim  is a disservice.  It makes the system a simple paper pushing agency with robotic processes driving the system.

If this is how the VA treats the spouse of a deceased veteran, maybe all the complaints about the VA providing our veterans poor services has some merit.  The VA Claims centers can do better.  I've expressed my views in a personal letter to the Jainesville Center in Wisconsin.  I am sure I will receive a form letter response, because that is how federal agencies respond.  With un emotional responses designed to just answer the mail.

We are in the year 2020 and many of our agencies probably have processes that have not kept up with the times and technology.  It's time for the federal government to mandate reviews of customer related processes.  Stop requiring cases to go to the end of the line when they are already in progress.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Proud of Our "Great Ideas"?

I saw an article in a local newspaper that seemed to be applauding the creation of a "baby box" at a fire station of a local community.  It was as if they were patting themselves on the back for establishing a box for an unwanted baby to be left in.  I thought to myself it's really sad when we as people think creating a box for an unwanted baby is the best we can do as humans.

Is creating a baby box at a fire station the best option?  Why not allow for dropping off a baby at a hospital?  Why not a police station?  Abandoning a baby itself is one of the worst things we can do as a human being.  Yes, it is better to place a baby in a designated box rather than a trash car or abandoned on the street somewhere?  But a box?  Yes, the box alerts those inside there is a human life awaiting someone to pull it out of the box.

It just seems that the article, though well meaning, really was pointing out our human lack of ability to get to the root of the problem.  Valuing human life itself, not the ability of man to create a flawed method, should be our focus.

A baby box points out the flaws in our human character and our methods to respond to those flaws.  So what is next?  Are we going to create "homeless boxes" built into walls of abandoned buildings that will serve as a sleeping quarters for the homeless during cold weather?  Are we going to place un used food in boxes on street corners as a way to feed the poor?

Sometimes we as people create some good ideas.  But boxes are not the solution to some problems.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

California Wildfires

Over the past year, the nightly news featured stories of massive fires destroying homes in California.  Wildfires some man originated others spread by high winds.  The fires spread out of control taking lives as it spread.

After awhile it seemed as if the location of the fires was centered in affluent areas.  The homes of the wealthy and well off were being destroyed.  Locations that may never have been meant for widespread habitation.  As I watched the television coverage I wondered why were these people suffering?  Why was the land driving them out?

Then I thought about the people who originally inhabited the land.  They too were driven off their land.  Their land taken away by people who may have looked like the people now being driven off by the wildfires.  It seemed ironic and almost biblical in nature.  Was nature dispensing early forms of justice in preparation for the massive events to come one day?  A fatal payback for crimes committed against the original settlers?  Or is it just the natural side effects of people populating land not meant to be populated?

Man often attempts to conquer nature and other men.  This time nature could not be controlled.  Death and destruction fueled by elements of nature conquered man.  This may just be an inkling of what awaits us in the future

Sunday, December 22, 2019

We Need a President Who Can Manage The Chaos - The God Factor

I have not listened to every speech by each remaining candidate for President of the United States.  Nor have I browsed through the websites of the candidates to read about their positions on the myriad of "issues".

Impeachment of the President is the current focus of our Congressional legislators.  Lost in the bickering, name calling, and finger pointing is one major point.  We need a President who can manage the chaos of the Federal bureaucracy.

We pay our taxes so that the government in return will efficiently and effectively manage our collective  resources.  We only want the funds used to provide us essential services.  Has any candidate committed themselves to ensuring our tax money is spent properly?  I don't think so.  We have been distracted by appeals to specific issues and causes.  Health Care, Gun Control, Immigration, Climate Control are among the major contenders for our interest.

Each issue requires a candidate develop an answer or position on how to "solve" the problem.  The only problem is, there are no man made solutions to man's problems.  Mankind has become so tuned in to thinking we can do anything, we really believe WE are the answers to problems we have created.

This stems from not acknowledging that there is a God who created us whom we are, or should be, responsible to.  So each day we set off on our human journeys thinking it's all about what we do.  But our time is already counting down to the end of our existence.

What should we do?  For our governmental institutions we need to put people "in control" who can  manage the chaotic institutions and practices we have created.

We need a President who starts from a foundation of believing in God.  From that center would come the ability to manage the chaos of our political institutions.  An effective President would know that only God can provide the true answers.  The answer does not mean that a human issue will be solved.

It's time to put the candidates on the record regarding their views of God.  If they do not acknowledge God, we don't need that candidate as  the leader of our government.  Even if they have a portfolio of "solutions" to man made problems.  Any solution that does not take into account God is a flawed solution.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

A Clear and Present Danger

A Clear and Present Danger. That is Donald Trump. For that reason alone he should be removed from the office of the President of the United States. His arrogance, the pattern of lies and deception are dangerous in a political institution. He is not bringing healing to this country. Instead he brings continued division. In 1974 I watched on television the proceedings that were leading to the impeachment of President Nixon. Thankfully, Nixon recognized he had done wrong and resigned from office. Trump accepts no responsibility for any of his actions. He defines himself as being perfect. A Clear and Present Danger. I recall the year 1968 when tensions in this country were so great that the President could not speak in public without a threat of violence. The divisiveness in this country is at that level. If the system does not work to bring accountability, frustrated individuals feeling dis enfranchised will take actions clearly outside the system. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Orlando Internationlal Outlet Mall Charges $10 to park??

On two recent trips to the Orlando, Florida area I saw first hand the greed that exists among some businesses.  In Orlando off I-4 the Simon Group has the Orlando International Outlet Mall which charges customers $10 to park in the nearest public lot near the mall stores.  Yes, that is $10 to park in spaces that previously were free to park in.  What do you get for your $10?  Absolutely nothing.  The Simon Group somehow has allowed the mall to reap in thousands of dollars per week by ripping off customers who want to park close to the mall area.  The parking spaces were never intended to be paid parking spots.  Most malls offer free parking because they understand that the customers are coming to the mall to spend money on items other than parking.

I was outraged to see the mall charging for parking.  We arrived early enough the first time to avoid the parking fee.  They had yet to block off all the parking lanes and put up the $10 fee notice.  The second time we shopped at the mall I avoided the area on purpose when I saw they already had the $10 fee signs posted.  There is nothing special about the parking spots other than that they are the closest ones to the shops.  Normally a first come, first park policy is in effect for most stores/malls.  But apparently the Simon Group believes that the first person with $10 to pay should have first right to the parking spots.  Yes, it's all about greed and making money any way you can.

I suggest people refuse to pay the fee and leave all the spots empty.  Then Simon will see how stupid it looks to charge people $10 to park in the parking lot nearest to the mall.  There is another lot right across from the "greedy lot" which is where we parked the second time.

Boycott the $10 lot and show Simon Group how stupid and greedy this practice should stop immediately.  #boycottOrlandointernationalmallparking