The USA is no longer the greatest nation in the world
America may have started with a good idea - declare independence from a government that had become too restrictive and oppressive. But, not everything the Founding Fathers proposed made lots of sense (all created equal? Endowed with certain inalienable rights?) These men created a great political environment for themselves. They subjugated the native people already living on the land, Negroes from Africa and the Caribbean, and their own women. For white male landowners, it was a good country. But, over time, enough people questioned the arrogance and superiority of the white men and began to open the Republic up to others.

The idea of American Exceptionalism - that we're just better than anyone else - is no longer true. The USA doesn't earn a spot on any of these Top Ten lists:
Women's Equality (Global Gender Gap Index 2010) Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, Lesotho, Philippines, Switzerland
Male Longevity (Human Development Report 2009) Iceland: 80.2, Hong Kong: 79.3, Switzerland: 79.2, Australia: 79.1, Japan: 79.0, Sweden: 78.6, Israel: 78.5, Canada: 78.2, Norway: 78.2, Italy: 78.1
Happiest (Gallup World Poll, released by OECD) Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, Belgium
Peace (Global Peace Index) New Zealand, Iceland, Japan, Austria, Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden
Most Democratic (Democracy Index, Economist Intelligence Unit) Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands
Non-Religious Nations (Pitzer College survey) Sweden 85%, Vietnam 82%, Denmark 80%, Norway 72%, Japan 65%, Czech Republic 62%, Finland 60%, France 55%, South Korea 52%, Estonia 49%
Upward mobility The USA is ranked behind Australia, Canada, and most of Europe.
The Pew Global Attitudes Survey has tracked sentiments towards the US since 2002. This question was posed of 17,000 people in 16 countries in 2005 - 'Suppose a young person who wanted to leave this country asked you to recommend where to go to lead a good life - what country would you recommend?' Only people in India recommended the USA first. The Canadians, Germans, Chinese, Russians, Spaniards, English, French, Netherlands all recommended other countries ahead of the USA. Canada and Australia were recommended most often. Those countries may now be 'the greatest countries in the world'.
According to a 2014 global survey, the world as a whole voted the United States to be the No. 1 threat to world peace “by a large margin." Even some of our closest allies identified America as the most significant menace. Perhaps we are exceptional after all, but not in the ways we'd like to think. The world is scared of us. Why does the world fear the United States more than countries like North Korea and Iran? The answer is that, as critics of the US are quick to point out, many of the most significant conflicts of our age have been caused, or exacerbated, by our own foolish actions. The 2003 US-led preemptive invasion of Iraq, which resulted in at least 30,000 civilians deaths in the first two years, according to George W. Bush himself, seriously worsened the growing problem of Islamic terrorism by destabilizing the Middle East and convincing a whole generation of moderate Muslims to join the holy fight against the “Crusaders."
In 2014, the world confirmed that the USA is the greatest threat to world peace, and this appears to be substantiated by facts.

We are the greatest country at these things
Locking up our citizens - about 1 of every 100 adult Americans, 2.3 million people. Most of those are guilty of consensual crimes - those that do not harm other people (drug use, prostitution, etc.) In continued acts of hypocrisy, the US still condemns other nations - Russia, Burma, China - for imprisoning too many of their citizens.
Small arms exports
Per person health costs
Student loan debt
Oil consumption
Gun ownership
Breast augmentation
Death by violence
Anxiety disorders
Defense spending
- more than the next 20 largest military spenders combined

You probly know some people that still proclaim, America is the greatest country in the world! Research confirms that it is mainly the less intelligent that still believe this to be true. Less intelligent people are courted by conservative politicians as "Real Americans", the press interviews them and reports their opinions seriously without pointing out the stupidity of what they said, and the hucksters know that they can be made to believe anything, because, to the ignorant and the bigoted, repeated lies always sound better than truth.

Why it is harmful to believe that the USA is the Greatest Country
America is great in many ways: natural beauty, opportunities for success, a basic appreciation of human rights. We should celebrate that. We should work to better respect, honor, and celebrate US citizens; and be a better global citizen. If one believes this is the greatest, then there is not much motivation to grow and progress. To accept that we're the greatest is to discourage improvement. Progressive thinkers, who believe that America is great at the wrong things, work to make the USA better.

Is the USA becoming a Fascist nation?
Historian Lawrence Britt studied the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile) and found they had 14 elements in common - the identifying characteristics of fascism.
Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, and long incarcerations of prisoners.
Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists.
Supremacy of the Military
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
Rampant Sexism
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation.
Controlled Mass Media
Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation or by sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Government censorship and secrecy, especially in war time, are very common.
Obsession with National Security
Fear of hostile foreign powers is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
Religion and Government are Intertwined
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
Protection of Corporate Power Protected
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
Suppression of Labor Power
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forgo civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
Fraudulent Elections
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

How to make the USA better

Revise or restore USA foundations
• Preamble to the Declaration is based on falsehoods. Inalienable rights? Creator - which one?
• Acknowledge that All created equal is unrealistic and impossible.
• Restore unity with the original motto to replace the divisive one.
• Achieve more unity, efficiency, and fairness with a single primary official language
• Encourage people to handle insults, slurs, outrage within themselves. One cannot control what others say or do, one can only control how one deals with such actions or words.

All men are created equal.
The concept of "All men are created equal" is a fallacy and denies us the individual unique qualities that make us human. We now know enough about biology, physiology, anatomy, mental capacity, reasoning ability, etc. to accept that no two people are created equal. Tribal ethnic members are different: hair growth, hair shape, bone structure, facial features, skin color, musculature, mental functioning, artistic abilities, etc. We are each unique individuals. Now they may have meant that all men should have equal opportunities,but that is even an error. There are just too many exceptions - disabled people, mentally deficient people, athletic prowess, etc. So, the USA was founded (and many laws since) on a mistaken notion of equality. The framers of the US Constitution may have meant that they wanted their beliefs to be accepted (at that time women, disabled people, dark-skinned people, natives, and slaves were not considered equal). At the time the "United" States founding fathers wrote "all 'men' are created equal" into government documents, women were second class citizens and Negroes were not classified as citizens at all. There is almost nothing equal about us.

That may have been a needed notion in the 1600 and 1700s but there were unforeseen developments not considered in 1776. At the time our founding fathers wrote that into the government documents, women were second class citizens and Negroes were not classified as citizens at all. There is almost nothing equal about us - not bone structure, genetics, skin color, mental capacity, nurturing abilities, strength, and on and on. About the only thing that is equal about all Americans is that they belong to the same species of mammal.
The myth of Affirmative Action
AA plans rely on the assumption that all people are equally qualified for any job and should be represented in work forces in the same proportions as their self-identified special interest groups are to the total population. It is a quota system - proportionism. Jobs can be filled based on race, sex, or handicapped status. Bosses will be rated on how they meet the quotas. The effect over time is reduction of performance standards and morale, with increased turnover and recruitment costs. A better plan would be to employ strongly-validated, qualifications-based selection, training and promotion policies.
The notion that the makeup of a given body of people must match the ethnic makeup of the general population is harmful, discriminatory, and counterproductive to a united nation. The composition of a group should be based on individual merit, not ethnic quotas. As it is in athletic teams - there are tryouts to see who plays a particular position the best. Imagine if population percentages were required on the basketball court. A team would have about 3 and a half white folks, 1 Hispanic, less than 1 Negro, and less than one half Asian person. 2-3 of the starters would have to be women. Why doesn't our culture demand that? Because teams - and their fans - want to win.
Term Limits: A lifetime job was not the intent for serving as a senator or member of Congress. All members of Congress should be limited to 12 years - two terms for senators, and six terms for representatives. They would then be ineligible for 12 years. - Joshua from New Jersey
Burning the American flag - A constitutional amendment to prohibit burning the American flag will be the first amendment (with the exception of the prohibition of alcohol - which was later repealed) that gives Congress the power to restrict individual citizen's freedom. It also will be the first to restrict a material object. Some proponents say the flag deserves special protection because it is the most important symbol of America and the constitution. However, if the amendment does pass we may likely see an increase in flag burning as it will become an even clearer and stronger form of protest. Those who favor amending the constitution probably don't really care about someone burning a flag (we have flag underwear, frayed flags on government buildings, and all sorts of disrespectful flag displays) - they probably are using this as a political issue in these paranoid times when Americans are deeply divided. As another said, "It is a sign of a democracy's fragility to use a constitutional amendment as a test for patriotism". If our government sees fit to amend the constitution to protect a symbol of freedom, then it will mark the beginning of the end of our democracy, a major turning point in the continued eroding of the effectiveness of the US government. There will be no clearer symptom of the downfall of the USA than creating legal protection for a symbol. July 5 2006
Inalienable rights from our Creator
Rights? Maybe all men should have equal opportunities - that may be what the Founding Fathers and leaders had in mind. But, even that is a weak premise. Some Americans have mental deficiencies and physical limitations that prevent an across-the-board blanket rule of equal opportunity.
Rights from our Creator? What does that even mean?
Separation of Church and State
John F. Kennedy in a speech in Houston on September 12, 1960: I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote - where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference - and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
Kennedy's speech is remembered as the moment he defined what his Catholicism would mean for the US presidency. Kennedy took one more step for universal religious liberty that day:
I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end - where all men and all churches are treated as equal - where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice.
Kennedy publicly recognized the rights of the nonreligious under those same constitutional protections. A current candidate for president taking this stand before Election Day would be remarkable. That Kennedy uttered those brave words in 1960, makes them utterly astounding.
Restore the national motto to the original inclusive and unifying: E Pluribus Unum.
Remove the divisive Under God from the Pledge of Allegiance and In God We Trust from money.

The USA Founding Fathers declared our national motto to be E Pluribus Unum which translates from Latin as Out of many, one (alternatively translated as One out of many or One from many). A nice sentiment and appropriate for the new nation that was trying to unify states with differing values (slavery, state's rights). E Pluribus Unum embodies the true American spirit of inclusiveness. From a group of colonies uniting against all odds to throw off imperial tyranny, to millions of hopeful immigrants sailing into New York harbor, the United States has always consisted of differing viewpoints, beliefs, motivations, and dreams. Adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782, although never codified by law, E Pluribus Unum was considered the de facto motto of the United States.
But, during the Cold War, we were so scared of those mean Russians and their god-less values that, in 1956, the United States Congress passed an act, adopting In God We Trust as the official motto. Paper currency was first issued in 1861; In God We Trust was added in 1957. But, Americans worship many different gods, not just one - In God We Trust is a divisive phrase, unlike E Pluribus Unum.
The Pledge of Allegiance, written in 1892 by a Baptist Minister said, One nation, indivisible, and was changed in 1954 to include Under God.

Maybe putting our trust in God isn't working - now we are a nation with high rates of murder, abortion, teen pregnancy, hatred, violence, and global bullying and torture. Maybe our trust has been misplaced.
We should act as civilized reasonable people who can address our own problems rather than turning them over to an invisible being in the sky. Yet, to revert to the more beneficial original motto, the ignorant delusional forces would viciously attack and defend their inane, divisive, and useless phrase.

It's amazing what a difference a motto can make. If people keep getting reminded that this really is just a country of immigrants, and that there's value in accepting (not necessarily agreeing with or following, just accepting) other opinions and traditions, that could have a huge effect. The US was originally meant to be a commiunity where multiple differing cultures could get together as one, and "E Pluribus Unum" is a great phrase to remind us all of that.
If it's put on our money and in Government buildings and the like, people will see it all the time. The more they see it, the more of an effect it will have, and the more of a difference it can make. That's why In God We Trust on our money now is particularly insidious, and why the Theocrats are so intent on keeping it there.

The Taliban, Nazi Germany, and other totalitarian regimes required young people to recite creeds and follow certain policies. Some schools require young students to stand at attention, put their hand over their heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Pure brainwashing - pledging allegiance, not to family, friends, parents, but to a flag and to a country. 'One nation, under God', 'Justice for all' All?, not all Americans, not those who believe in any God other than the Judeo-Christian God or no God.

From a post online: I've lived in the US for 8 years, but the pledge has never become normal for me. I know it by heart and stand to say it every day, but there's always a thought in the back of my head. I always think that the pledge is half brain washing and half just tradition.
I see no reason for having kids say those words unless you're trying to just get them to become a swarm of little Patriots who see nothing wrong with their country. This is a toxic and harmful way to think because they won't be able to fix problems cuz they won't see any.
Tradition is a big part of many American families, but most people I know don't even give a second thought to it, so what's the point of saying it every day? Maybe if we say it just on special occasions it would be more meaningful.
All in all I think brainwashing is scary, and it's also stupid.

Images from a movement to replace the 1950s motto with the older, more inclusive one.

On November 2, 2011, the House passed a non-binding resolution reaffirming "In God We Trust" as the national motto. The measure sponsored by a Republican Rep, supports and encourages the motto's display in all public schools and government buildings. The resolution was needed because President Obama had once called "E pluribus unum" the national motto, and the Latin phrase meaning "from many one" was engraved in the new Capitol Visitors Center until Congress ordered that it be corrected. A Democrat Rep called the resolution a meaningless distraction from the nation's real problems. "Nobody is threatening the national motto."
"In God We Trust" officially became the national motto in 1956 and began appearing on paper currency the following year. So, we have publicly stated (defying what Jesus preached about not making a public show of faith) that the US puts its trust in God. Since we began this in 1956, we have lost hundreds of thousands of Americans to horrible deaths in war, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, traffic accidents,and terrorist attacks. The bankrupt US economy has hurt many people.
Observation: It clearly seems that trusting God hasn't been a good move for America.
Suggestion: The US should consider trusting a different God - this one is not working out too well.

Wisdom from an online post
The main reason “In God We Trust" should neither be a national motto nor put on money is that it is just not true. Even the most devout believers wear seatbelts, take out insurance, wear guns for protection; they even put lightning rods on churches. Why would you do any of that if you really trusted in God? It is funny when police or fire departments put decals with the motto on their cars. The mere existence of their jobs is proof that they don't really trust in God.

God bless America
Either we are acknowledging that America is blessed by God or we are making a demand that God now bless America. If the phrase means that we are acknowledging that God has truly blessed America - where does that show up? Hurricanes in Florida, floods in the south, crime, divisiveness, drug abuse, hunger, poverty, divorce, corporate and personal greed, gluttony - just how has God blessed America? If we are making a demand of God (I doubt that sits well with Him) - does that mean we think he hasn't yet or doesn't now bestow blessings on America? Otherwise, why would we feel the need to demand that God bless America? If we are demanding blessings - why have our prayers gone unanswered? If America is currently blessed, then maybe we should be requesting blessings from a different supernatural being.
Unify through single primary official language.
This does not apply to individual or group usage of other languages. But, to conduct business within the government, a single language is fairer, less expensive, and more efficient. If we embrace additional languages, which ones? How many? To what extent? How expensive?

Deal with it.
Encourage people to handle insults, slurs, outrage within themselves. One cannot control what others say or do, one can only control how one deals with such actions or words. Expressing outrage, rioting, and violence illustrate how some people are unwilling to embrace adversity from within. There should be a more equitable balance between feeling offended and the ability to deal with adversity.
Revise the Constitution.
"I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their iII effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson

This may be the most intelligent take on the appropriateness and validity of the US Constitution. It is a centuries-old document that should be a guideline, not a rule. It was written for a culture and mindset that was completely different from the one surrounding us today. Yet, some non-thinkers want this old Colonial-era document to dictate affairs today. The 2nd Amendment about a well-regulated militia and the right to bear arms was written in the context of single-loading muskets, concern over foreign intrusion, and slave uprisings; none of which apply today. If any government (including the USA) tries to overtake America, one's automatic rifle will be useless.

If You Could Amend the Constitution, The New York Times, July 2018
Because of controversies over judicial (and other) appointments, I would propose two amendments to the Constitution: 1. Each seat on the Supreme Court would be limited to a term of 18 years, with terms staggered to expire every two years. That would allow every president to appoint at least two justices. 2. Every presidential nominee would be considered to be confirmed if the Senate does not affirm or reject the nomination within 120 days. The recess appointments clause should also be changed so that appointments are effective only for the recess and 120 days after the Senate returns to session.
Daniel from Pennsylvania
The Equal Protection Clause has been interpreted to guarantee equal rights for a wide range of groups. Yet without explicit protections, these interpretations could easily shift - especially as the Supreme Court's composition evolves. The Constitution should specifically guarantee equal rights regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, religion, country of origin, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. Guarantees of equal rights that were uncommon over 200 years ago when our Constitution was adopted are now widespread internationally. A majority of constitutions explicitly protect equal rights or prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender (85 percent do so), race or ethnicity (76 percent), and religion (78 percent). A growing number cover disability, social position, migration status, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Aleta from Los Angeles, a senior legal analyst for the WORLD Policy Analysis Center, UCLA.
The Constitution has too many flaws to patch it up with a few amendments here and there. It is thoroughly unfit for a nation of 330 million, in 50 unequal states with 21st-century problems, values and ideals. Therefore, we should introduce one Final Amendment to terminate the Constitution and draw up a new and better Constitution, with an expiration date of 50 years. The new Constitution should be an academic endeavor by a body of 300 or so of the best minds in political science, law, history, sociology, economics and philosophy, and must exclude politicians. It should draw upon the history of democracy, not just in the United States but around the world. We must recognize that the existing 50 states are completely nonsensical on multiple levels and contribute to today's polarization.
Mark from Spain, an American citizen.
As an LGBTQ person, I'd like to see - permanently and finally - a constitutional amendment prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (real or perceived), in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and the military.
David from Los Angeles, a consultant for companies on LGBTQ and workplace issues.
The amendment proposed would have four clauses:
1. a declaration that the right to vote shall not be denied or impaired because of voters' race, religion, creed, national origin or political affiliation.
2. a requirement that state and federal legislative districts be compact, contiguous and as nearly equal in population as is practical.
3. a requirement that state and federal districts be drawn by commissions in which no party constitutes a majority.
4. a provision that the federal courts shall enforce the rights stated in the amendment. Fair elections are essential to democracy. The Constitution should protect them.
Jonathan from Massachusetts, a civil rights lawyer.

Streamline Government operations
• Insist that Congress adhere to all the regulations it places on citizens.
• Remove religion completely from government for more inclusiveness and fairness and logic in governing.
• Impose term limits, participate in Social Security, and participate in the same health care system as citizens.
• Legislate with reason, logic, purity, clarity; rather than emotion or feelings.
• Adopt English as the Official Language of government.

Congress must adhere to all regulations it places on citizens
By Charlie Reese, journalist and former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel, edited by Jim Watson
545 human beings, out of 300 million of us, are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
      You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.
      You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
      You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
      You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like 'the economy,' 'inflation,' or 'politics' that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
      If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
      If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.
      If the Marines are in Iraq, it's because they want them in Iraq.
      If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power. They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses, provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Members of Congress can retire with the same pay after only one term. They are exempt from many of the laws they have passed while ordinary citizens must live under those laws (members of Congress have exempted themselves from the Affordable Healthcare Act.) Somehow, that doesn't seem logical.
Some ways to improve Congress.
1. Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible options below.
     A. Two six-year Senate terms
     B. Six two-year House terms
     C. One six-year Senate term and three two-year House terms
2. No Tenure & No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system.
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
The Constitution is old and outdated. Update it. Full article.
Minimize government bureaucracy: streamline, coordinate, remove barriers.
Politicians no longer work for the citizens. The political system is increasingly ineffective - it has become a bureaucracy, no longer focused on solving problems or striving to make things better in America. 90% of taxes paid by Americans are spent on debt payments, the military, and litigation.
In 2004, Congress signed into law a 3,400 page, 16-inch high spending bill of $388 billion that few of them actually read. One Senator exclaimed, "Nobody knows what's in there."
Minimize government intrusion into personal private affairs.
Minimize government regulation - let capitalism work.
Get religion completely out of government
(politicians use religion, especially Christianity, to keep masses in line and quiet).
While some today think that our nation was founded as a theocracy - like Iran, Saudi Arabia, but for Christians only, it was actually just the opposite, the Founding Fathers wanted to insure the new nation would not become a theocracy. Government should embrace, not alienate, its citizens. Religion is an institution of personal belief systems that an individual has - totally separate from government. Jesus even said something like, Give Caesar (government) what is due him and give God what is due him. Not together, but separately. Government is about mediation, providing incentives for growth, and encouraging fairness and equality for citizens. A leader's personal belief system should be kept private and not become his defining character. If these people who voted based on moral values had their way, Christianity would likely become the USA State Religion, although I'm not sure which of the hundreds of distinct cults within Christianity would be most embraced or followed.
The Founding Fathers separated the new government from religion:
"The split with England was primarily over political rights. Major founding figures, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, were deists. They would not be considered traditional Christians. The founders wrote into the Constitution a separation between church and state." - Oklahoma State University history professor James Cooper
• "The founders distinguished between the state and the society. The government would be secular, meaning that there would be no official government church or religious tests to serve in office. But they believed society was, and should remain, religious." - Oklahoma City University law professor Andrew Spiropoulos
"Religion plays no role in the Constitution, which lays out the blueprint for the United States based on principles of separation of powers and federalism, not on articles of faith. The Bill of Rights does explicitly reference religion, but to keep government out of religion, rather than to endorse a government takeover of religion." - University of Oklahoma constitutional law professor Joseph Thai
"They set out for no religious test to hold office, and there is no mention of being a Christian nation. They spoke of a Creator but not in terms today's Christian ministry would use." - University of Tulsa law professor Gary Allison
A new country required people who were confident, were not afraid to take risks, and believed in themselves and their cause. They were true rebels - on the edge, defying the familiar, the safe, and the normal. Theirs was a grand experiment in a better government. The country faced tough times: expansion, the Great War, the depression, another world war. It wasn't until the country faced a threatening superpower, Communist Soviet Union, that we became truly afraid and were willing to change our government. The USA's fear led to the Red Scare, the McCarthy hearings on suspected Communist sympathizers, and the Cold War. We didn't understand the power of Communism. It frightened us. So, in the 1950s, we turned to religion to help us face these fears and overcome our insecurity. "God Bless America" appeared all over the landscape after 9/11. It was sung at every major event. What does it mean? Bless us? Like on the morning of 9/11? Bless us as we murder innocent Afghanistan citizens? Just what blessing are we asking for? Are we assuming that God hasn't been blessing us? If He has been blessing America; with its crime, poverty, oppression, hatred, divorce, violence, arrogance, and low value of life; then we need to stop asking God for blessings or find a more compassionate God.
Whenever the government rules to remove references to religion from tax-supported entities, Christians get all up in arms. Is their faith so weak that removing the 10 commandments, a nativity scene, or a cross from a flag - would threaten their religion? Doesn't that speak to how shallow, weak, and fragile their faith or their religion is?
How do we educate, silence, or temper the ignorati to leave their superstitious fairy tales out of government? Away from those who want to move forward, not return to Medieval bigotry.
Some in the Republican Party seem to have an agenda for the USA to become a Bible-based government (not the whole Bible, just the parts of the New Testament that they like). They claim to be Pro-Life, yet, they support a massive military and the death penalty (neither of which are pro-life.)
Adopt English as the official national language for the USA
We have room for but one language in this country, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house. - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1906

The USA should legislate English as the official language of government at the federal, state, and local levels - for the government to act officially, it must communicate in English. With the language of record as English, no one would have the right to demand government services in any other language.

I first considered supporting this movement in the late 1970s, when the City of Dallas printed materials - ballots, initiatives, instructions, etc. - in English and Spanish. I wondered - what will we do when the Vietnamese community demands voting ballots be printed in Vietnamese. And then another ethnic group. How could we say no to one group but yes to others? It could get to be very expensive and discourage immigrants from learning or practicing English which would be to their detriment as they tried to find work, seek promotions, and conduct daily business.
In 2022, about 40 years after I had those thoughts, came this newspaper story:

Dallas County will be required to offer election materials in Vietnamese - the first time a language other than English or Spanish has been offered. The move is required by federal law because at least 5% of Dallas County Vietnamese-speaking citizens who are of voting age have limited English proficiency. Dallas now joins Tarrant County, which began in 2018, and Harris County, which began in 2002, in offering Vietnamese-language services.

Reasons why declaring an official language would be a good move
Funding and economics
Official government documents (billions of pages of them) must be printed in 2 (or more) languages. This requires more paper, more document translators, more production, etc. All paid for by taxpayers. This also includes signs in government offices, training classes, and all other functions of government. Lots of money spent with not much benefit. As other languages are added to the list, the costs will go up and the benefits will decrease.
Safety and security
The United Nations determined that air traffic controllers must learn and use only the English language. So all could be communicating in one system. A brilliant idea, and one that now seems obvious - of course, all these people should be communicating in one language. What about emergency personnel - ambulance drivers, paramedics, fire fighters and police officers? They need to be able to communicate immediately to suspects, citizens, bystanders, injured, etc. How could they possibly learn enough languages to do that effectively if there was no official language.
Unity and assimilation
Learning to speak English empowers immigrants. By more than 2-1 immigrants themselves say the US should expect new immigrants to learn English and by a 9-1 margin Hispanic immigrants believe learning English is essential to succeed in the US. An official language does not inhibit individual cultural heritage. Any citizen can speak their ethnic language at home, in the community, and in stores and markets. According to James Crawford, language diversity has always been with us. As early as 1664, when the island of Manhattan was ceded from the Dutch to the British, 18 different tongues were spoken there, not counting the hundreds of Native American languages spoken in North America at the time. There are more languages spoken in the USA today; the 1990 census reported 323. Official English would reinforce America's historic message to new immigrants - that they are expected to learn English as the first step in their assimilation - and that all Americans share in the economic, social and political benefits of having a common language.
English only?
30 states have enacted laws making English their official language, often with vote margins as high as 9-1. None of these states prohibit government agencies from using another language when there is a compelling public interest for doing so. These include: protecting public health, promoting tourism, teaching foreign languages, providing for national defense, and many other legitimate, common sense needs. Official English doesn't mean 'English only'.
From The Oklahoman, March, 2009. Rep. Randy Terrill said more than 30 states have already approved official English laws. "As our common American language, English and the ‘melting pot' process it supports has made the United States the most successful multi-ethnic nation in history," said Terrill, R-Moore. "Unfortunately, the drive to linguistically Balkanize our nation makes it harder for legal immigrants to assimilate while wasting limited taxpayer dollars." Terrill said movements to promote multiculturalism and recent immigrants who have not learned the English language are destroying America's "linguistic unity." "The demand to accommodate other languages has gotten out of hand," the lawmaker said.
Under the provisions of the legislation, people in private conversations and businesses still will be allowed to use whatever language they choose. Only government activities would be affected. The bill also contains exemptions for the languages of Oklahoma's 39 federally recognized tribes and allows use of both Braille and sign language in government services. The legislation also contains a number of other specific, narrowly tailored exceptions for things such as public health and safety, as well as trade, commerce and tourism. Terrill said the bill would prevent the state from being compelled to provide taxpayer-funded services in any language other than English. The state has spent about $22,000 to print Spanish-language driver's license manuals and has paid nearly $7,000 for translation services, Terrill said. That could increase as more than 20 people last year requested tests in other languages, such as Arabic and Russian.

Raise funds more fairly
• Reform taxes - use a flat tax on income, a national sales tax, or some other more fair and more valuable system.
• Generate new income: tax church income & property, marijuana sales, and prostitution.
• Reduce foreign aid.
• Limit litigation rewards to slow down the lawsuit madness.
• Provide incentives for entrepreneurial growth
• Solutions come from inventors and creators, not bureaucracies. Reward the job creators.
• Keep jobs in the USA with tax breaks and other incentives.

Today's America is no longer a republic nor a democracy. it is now governed by the wealthy and large corporations. For that group civil rights are not important, immigration control is necessary, tax breaks for the wealthy are normal, and war is big business.
Reform taxes - use a flat tax on income or a national sales tax (either would be fairer, easier, and allow fewer loopholes)
Generate new income: tax church income & property, marijuana sales, prostitution
Limit litigation rewards to slow down lawsuit madness.
We are in debt and still overspending
Households, the trade gap, and the federal deficit that leaves the US susceptible to foreigners who buy the securities that keep the US government afloat and who could sink it with the decision to stop buying.
The USA debt - money we've borrowed to finance annual deficits - is trillions of dollars, a figure so large we are unable to comprehend it - so we ignore it.
When the USA withdrew from Afghanistan, the USA military destroyed $7 billion worth of equipment that is too expensive to ship home. Thousands of heavily armored vehicles and other equipment are being reduced to scrap, and sold to Afghans for pennies per pound. - The Washington Post
Provide incentives for growth
Solutions come from inventors and creators, not bureaucracies. Keep jobs in USA. Encourage innovation in the lab and in the marketplace.

The ratio of large corporation CEOs pay to the average worker's pay was 10 to 1 in 1980 (if a worker earned $100, the CEO got $1,000). In 2006, the ratio jumped to 430 to 1 (the worker earns $100, the CEO gets $43,000). That's a 4,200% increase from 1980 to 2006. The former chief executive of ExxonMobil was paid $686 million over 13 years. That is about $211,000 every single work day. The average annual salary in America is about $32,000. This guy received that much in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Again - he got more in an hour and 15 minutes than the average American got in 1 year. This disparity seems obscene and way out of balance. Remember, ExxonMobil made more corporate profit in 2005 than any other company ever in history. Excerpted from Playboy magazine and The New York Times

Left: CEO pay compared to the average worker pay. Corporations now run the country.
The ruling class is the wealthy class, the middle class has decreased, the lower class has increased as laborers and national political decisions will be made by the companies and people with money. The rich and their corporations are in control. Why we have such long expensive wars, unrest, discrimination?
How to solve America's financial woes, lessen the national debt, save lives, increase sales of cookies and chips, and possibly lower everyone's taxes:
1. Tax the business of religion.
2. Tax the business of marijuana sales.
3. Tax the business of prostitution.
The country and many individuals and families are in serious financial trouble. There are easy ways to generate income. People smoke marijuana. Churches, synagogues, and mosques are tax-exempt. People are paying for consensual sex. Lets tax and control these multi-billion dollar businesses.

Evolve to less of a bully culture
• Evolve to less of a military state (single offense/defense force)
• Stop pissing off other countries (feeds terrorism); stop policing the world
• Militaristic police
• Transition military forces and bases to community-centered service bases
• Decrease prevalence of violence in everyday culture
• Downplay America #1, competition, and superiority arrogance

Our economy, industry and business depend on war and new technology for investigating, arming, and killing people.
When the students shot their classmates at Columbine, the US Government was dropping more bombs on Kosovo than at any other time during that war. Tim McVeigh struck back at an oppressive government in the way that government had trained him - to 'kill your enemies'. Its no wonder there is so much violence in America - our culture encourages it. Our culture confirms that we citizens have a right to resolve our disputes through violence.

The US is the biggest purveyor of violence in the world. - Martin Luther King Jr.
We Americans promote a culture of violence: kids learn to kill to succeed and be somebody, tv cop shows, action movies, 24 hour news, laser tag. “Violence is part of America's DNA - America was born in the bloodshed of the Revolution, and its always had “fervent faith in the purifying value of guns, ropes, and bombs." Founded on the mass slaughter of Native Americans and the sweat of slaves dragged here in chains and whipped into subservience, we've endured a Civil War that cost more than 600,000 lives, and countless race riots, racial murders, and politically motivated bombings. Four of our presidents were assassinated, and many more survived thwarted attempts." Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune.

Stop the US and it's military from being such global bullies
Cut the military spending over 10 years. Close foreign bases and stop bullying the world; and stop pissing off other countries.
Develop one national armed force, defense, or Militia - combine all the military branches - reduce redundancies, streamline administration, save money, improve efficiency. Why do we need an Air Force and a Navy Air force?
"A single Trident submarine, a first-strike weapon, can launch 24 missiles simultaneously. Each of those missiles can contain as many as 17 independently targeted, maneuverable nuclear warheads. Each of those warheads can travel 7,000 nautical miles and supposedly hit within 300 feet of its predetermined target. If we fire them in opposite directions, we can span 14,000 nautical miles: halfway around the world at the equator. This means we can take out 408 centers of human population, hitting each with a nuclear warhead 10 times as powerful as the bomb that incinerated Nagasaki." The USA has 22 of these commissioned Trident submarines.
America bully treatment of the Indians breaking treaties. 
Police Bullies

Left: European police cars: designed to be spotted easily by citizens in need of assistance day and night, as law intends. Right: American police cars designed to be incognito so officers can stalk citizens, sneak up on them, and award excess taxation (masked as violations). US police used to be parts of their communities, serving the citizens. Now, they are adversaries to some communities.
Young men and women join the military and are trained that there's a concept of an enemy that must be subdued and they are taught to fear and to kill. They get out and many of them get jobs in police and security because they've already been trained for those roles. So, of course, some of them are going to overreact and threaten civilians. That's to be expected. Why are we so surprised when someone we have trained to be a bully acts like a bully?

There is now a serious police presence in downtown Manhattan - and not ordinary police, but these decked-out military style soldiers. There are also National Guard kids stationed throughout the city. Seeing these quasi-soldiers on street corners and in Grand Central reminds me of seeing soldiers in Egypt - a third-world, unstable government. This is the United States of America. What is going on? Is it paranoia? Security precautions? Overreaction? Have we finally acknowledged that terrorists have made a major impact on our culture and lifestyle?

Solve terrorism: find out what the problem is.
Terrorism has been a part of human culture since the first clan threatened another clan for food, land, or pelts. The USA presence in the holy sacred lands of Israel and the Middle East leads to violence and hatred. Are we there just because of oil profits? Is it worth it?
Why are we so concerned to place blame? Its more than just wanting to learn from 'mistakes'. So many inconveniences that we seem willing to put up with. A barrier or banned guns will not prevent terrorism. So then, why? Well, if a terrorist act did happen someone would most certainly file a lawsuit (as some 9/11 relatives did) against a building or owner. If that owner couldn't claim they did all that was humanly feasible, they might face a devastating lawsuit. So, they put up barriers, hire security guards, require ID checks, passcards, etc. Intelligent people don't really feel more secure - they know better. The less informed or more sheep-like people feel that our government is helping us feel more secure.

A massive, expensive, and inefficient military
"The purpose of the US military has little to do with "keeping America safe". The goal is to provide a stable political and economic environment to allow multinational corporations to maximize their profits in the areas of resource extraction and cheap labor." from Gilbert Pilz
In 2011, the US Army made an unusual request to Congress: Stop sending us tanks. But, legislators ignored that and approved a defense appropriations bill that included $255 million for 42 new M1 Abrams tanks. With 2,300 M1s already deployed around the world, and 3,000 more sitting idle at a base in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, the military said it simply didn't need any more. But Ohio politicians pushed for the extra M1s, so as to keep open an 800-worker plant in the state. "A lot of lawmakers stuff funding into defense bills that could benefit their district," said Steve Ellis, of Taxpayers for Common Sense. Republican Jim Jordan, whose district is home to the tank plant, insisted that he supported the program for reasons of national security. "I think it's in the best interests of the US to defend our country."
From The Week magazine, October 2012

Ignoring the advice of George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower, the US has been inching towards imperialism and militarism for many years. The US spends $400 billion annually to maintain standing military of hundreds of thousands of men and women, and at least 725 military bases overseas, in 38 countries. Many of those are no longer needed to contribute to war-fighting but are operated anyway as the headquarters for our proconsuls, visible manifestation of the US imperial reach. When the US assumed the role of permanent military domination of the world, it became feared and hated. If this trend continues (and signs are that it will not only continue, but escalate), the US will face:
     1. A state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism against Americans.
     2. Further erosion of democracy and constitutional rights.
     3. Truth will be replaced by propaganda, disinformation, and glorification of war and power.
     4. Bankruptcy as US taxpayers fund grandiose military projects.
     5. Slower progress in education, health, and safety of Americans as funds are put into military might.
The USA has an ocean on two borders and two friendly countries on the others, the idea we need a military the size of the next ten is absurd.

The Pentagon employs 3 million people, 800,000 more than Walmart. The Pentagon's 2012 budget was 47 percent bigger than Walmart's.
Serving almost 10 million people, the Pentagon and Veterans Administration together constitute the nation's largest healthcare provider.
70% of the value of the federal government's $1.8 trillion in property, land, and equipment belongs to the Pentagon.
The Army uses more than twice as much building space as all the offices in New York City.
The Pentagon holds more than 80 percent of the federal government's inventories, including $6.8 billion of excess, obsolete, or unserviceable stuff.
US Special Operations forces quietly deployed to 133 countries in 2014 - roughly 70 percent of the nations on the planet.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died and thousands of families have been destroyed primarily because War is a very profitable business. No country can truly be great if it spends such an inordinate amount of money on such a massive killing, torture, and life-destroying system. The inept Congress members still pass ridiculous military funding just to help the corporate industrial benefactors in their quest for profits and power. All helping create a culture of violence.

The founding fathers understood the dangers of a large standing army. Dwight Eisenhower understood the dangers of the military industrial complex quite well. The old adage "you reap what you sow" is applicable. When you invade others and inflect destruction and violence in the name of protecting freedom, don't be surprised if you get violence in return.

"Enemies are necessary for the wheels of the US Military machine to turn."
- John Stockwell, US Marine Corps Major, Chief of Station and National Security Council Coordinator for the CIA

Stop labeling every soldier as a hero.
Please don't thank me for my 'service'. I was in the military, not the 'service'. Service is doing something good. Service is what the person does who fixes your car. When the word 'service' is applied to the military, it helps to justify violence as a method for conflict resolution. Like 'defending our freedom' or 'bringing democracy', the word 'service' is used to lower the barriers of aggression.
The military solution to conflict is death and destruction. That's not 'service'. Call it what it is - the military.
If you have to hurt someone to solve a problem, you are the problem.
Arnold Stieber - Army infantry - Vietnam, 1970

The vast majority of Americans in the Military perform as trained, obey orders, and are in life-threatening situations as often as any non-military citizen. They're certainly not heroes. Military was their best option for a job, good pay, or education.
It's time we ended the automatic veneration of US service members as “American heroes," said William Astore. As a retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel, I am fully aware that military service, especially combat, can and often does give rise to true bravery and selfless sacrifice. But ever since 9/11, joining the service has been treated as “a magical shortcut to hero status." Simply donning a uniform does not make one a hero, and war is, by and large, not an ennobling enterprise. War is mostly about brutality, horror, and chaos, and it often so dehumanizes and deadens soldiers that they are capable of terrible things, including killing civilians.
Imagining our military as “a league of heroes," and casting the entire enterprise as unquestionably noble, I believe, leads to the glorification of war and a devaluation of everyday heroism. Take a look around: The world is full of people who selflessly put their lives on the line for their fellow human beings, and “most of them look nothing like John Wayne, John Rambo, or GI Joe (or Jane)."

An article in the The Wall Street Journal: People who enlist in the military, researchers found, are more likely to have a history of depression and impulsive anger, which makes them more likely to act on suicidal urges. Drawing on mental health data going back to 2004 - including drug test results and training records - as well as interviews with soldiers, researchers found that one third of soldiers who have attempted suicide had a mental disorder before enlisting and that even a quarter of active-duty soldiers who have never deployed to combat have some sort of psychiatric disorder.

Average military compensation
$70,168 in pay and $52,095 in benefits for a total compensation of $122,263 per person in 2009, up from $58,545 in 2000 (benefits include the value of housing, medical care, pensions, hazardous-duty incentives, enlistment bonuses and combat pay in war zones).  From USA TODAY
Percentage growth of compensation, 2000-2009:
       84 % Military
       37 % Federal workers
       19 % Private sector

Iraq: What was gained, what was lost
After 9 bloody years of war, some 4,500 US troops dead, more than 33,000 wounded and maimed, and nearly $1 trillion spent, many Americans question whether our achievements in Iraq were worth the staggering cost. This war may turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes in US history. It was "launched under false pretenses" by the Bush administration, which exploited the nation's post-9/11 fears and manufactured evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Between 150,000 and 400,000 Iraqis were killed in the war and the bungled occupation and civil war that followed, and another 1.3 million were displaced from their homes. And what did their losses - and ours - produce? A destabilized Middle East, a newly emboldened and empowered Iran, and "widespread hatred of the U.S." - From The Week, December 2011

As much as $60 billion in US tax dollars - $12 million a day - has been wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade from lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and corruption, according to the Commission on Wartime Contracting, established by Congress in 2008.
Overall, the commission said spending on contracts and grants to support US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is expected to exceed $206 billion. Based on its investigation, the commission said contracting waste in Afghanistan ranged from 10 percent to 20 percent of the total. Fraud during the same period ran between 5 percent and 9 percent of the total.
One Senator said, "It is disgusting to think that nearly a third of the billions and billions we spent on contracting was wasted or used for fraud."
The commission cited numerous examples of waste, including a $360 million US-financed agricultural development program in Afghanistan. The effort began as a $60 million project in 2009 to distribute vouchers for wheat seed and fertilizer in drought-stricken areas of northern Afghanistan. The program expanded into the south and east. Soon the US was spending a $1 million a day on the program, creating an environment ripe for waste and abuse.
US military authorities in Kabul believe a small percentage of the $360 million was garnered by the Taliban and insurgent groups. Most of the money was lost to profiteering, bribery and extortion by criminals and power brokers.

The War on Terror is just a PR campaign so we can feel better. We can't really fight terrorists, it's impossible - they're everywhere. All we can do is surrender our freedoms to the police state. - Seth

Quick, name the country

Its not Nazi Germany, nor some mideast battleground.

The Occupy movement, October 2011, the United States of America.

The outcome of our expensive bully military

Army Staff Sergeant Richard Berry was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan. Survived by his wife, he was 27 years old. Her dreams for their life together were also killed. I wonder how many children of those in Congress authorizing the war went to fight that war.

And please don't justify the above photos with nonsense about preserving our freedoms and keeping us safe. Our 'freedoms' face bigger threats from our own Congress than any foreign nation. Killing innocent people and bullying other nations most certainly increases their hatred of us and makes us less safe and less free.

Americans own nearly 300 million firearms. This translates to nearly nine guns for every 10 people, a per capita ownership rate nearly 50 percent higher than in any other country. -

The USA needs to have a thorough discussion on how to minimize unnecessary gun deaths. But, there are 2 things standing in the way of such a discussion
1. The NRA lobby has bribed politicians who, for the sake of money, choose not to be objective, and
2. We don't have enough information - after a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, Congress voted down money for the CDC to research gun violence - just to conduct research, to learn more, not legislate.

What we can and should do
Acknowledge that the 2nd Amendment was written in a much different time and place. Considering technology, terrorism, gun manufacturing, and other factors that didn't exist in the 1780s, it is an absurd stretch to use it to justify excessive guns today. File a lawsuit and get the Supreme Court to interpret and assess the Amendment and define well regulated, militia, and arms.
Do not vote for any sitting or potential Congressperson whose campaign has accepted any money from the NRA. We citizens can take the power away from that lobbying group.
Pressure Congress to lift the federal ban on gun violence research. Then, encourage and fund research into gun deaths, gun culture, and gun control. Encourage study - put good minds to work analyzing issues, and needs.
Support efforts - based on research, reason, and compassion - to minimize unnecessary gun deaths.

Time is of the essence. The next slaughter of school children is approaching.

The research-driven discussion should consider these issues:
It is relatively easy to get guns in America.
We Americans promote a culture of violence: kids learn to kill to succeed and be somebody, tv cop shows, action movies, 24 hour news, laser tag. “Violence is part of America's DNA - America was born in the bloodshed of the Revolution, and its always had “fervent faith in the purifying value of guns, ropes, and bombs." Founded on the mass slaughter of Native Americans and the sweat of slaves dragged here in chains and whipped into subservience, we've endured a Civil War that cost more than 600,000 lives, and countless race riots, racial murders, and politically motivated bombings. Four of our presidents were assassinated, and many more survived thwarted attempts." Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune.
A video game, JFK: Reloaded, allows players to assume the role of Lee Harvey Oswald and recreate the assassination. To win, players must kill Kennedy the same way Oswald did. How long before we have a video game in which kids get to pilot a plane of passengers into tall buildings?
New army video game: "Learn army values", "seek and kill terrorists" "Assassinate the President". Teaches young Americans to kill the 'enemy'. That the concept of enemy is valid. That killing them is the best option - well, at least its fun and satisfying. No wonder there's a lot of violence in America. We train young people for it.
The USA is a very religious country - religion teaches exclusivity - those who don't believe as you do are sinners and will suffer for all eternity in hell. Some religions teach bigotry against entire groups of people. Many of us use prayer instead of doing something (and we pray to the same god who chose not to intervene in shootings and just watches as his children are brutally murdered.) Orlando shooter's father told NBC News, "This has nothing to do with religion." He says his son became angry after seeing 2 men kissing a few months ago in Miami, and he speculates that could have triggered his decision to kill. And why would he become angry after seeing 2 men kissing? Religion.

The primary source of global conflict today?

Spiritual beliefs create an inherent "us vs. them" scenario, experts say.
"When societies divide, they generally divide along tribal lines. People are seeing themselves as irretrievably different from their neighbors," says Sam Harris, a neuroscientist and philosopher who has published books on Islam and the conflict between religion and science.
The divisions created by religion are deeper and potentially more harmful than those formed through other aspects of identity such as race, nationality or political affiliations because they confront individuals with differing opinions on the ultimate purpose of life, experts say. And more than 80% of those surveyed said that religious beliefs guide a person's behavior.
Religion often becomes the master variable," Harris says. "It provides a unique reward structure. If you believe that the thoughts you harbor in this life and the doctrines you adhere to spell the difference between an eternity spent in fire or one spent on the right hand of God, that raises the stakes beyond any other reward structure on earth." This is why so many atheists fight against religion - because religion is both wrong and powerful. It ruins lives. Because so many people take their religious beliefs so seriously, and because they can never be disproven, the only way to resolve certain conflicts is through violence, not reason.
And God is always on the side of the winners, no matter what they believe, which only makes the problem worse.
- The survey included responses from 21,000 people around the world. January 2018
The USA has an increasing large and vocal uneducated populace of non-thinkers. Easily manipulated through propaganda lies and repetition. FoxNews and religion use that to control. Many of these people have an attitude of superiority, arrogance, and exceptionalism (the USA is the greatest country in the world - it's certainly not but a lot of ignorant people believe that it is.)

Untitled (Think/flag), 1967, by William N. Copley (1919-1996). And a smaller sticker version.

The USA has the largest military of any country at any time in history. We taxpayers pay for the massive purchase of guns and firepower. We pay to train young men to kill. From a Vietnam vet: Please don't thank me for my "service". I was in the military, not the "service". Service is doing something good. Service is what the person does who fixes your car. When the word 'service" is applied to the military, it helps to justify violence as a method for conflict resolution. Like "defending our freedom" or "bringing democracy", the word "service" is used to lower the barriers of aggression. The military solution to conflict is death and destruction. That's not "service" Call it what it is - the military. If you have to hurt someone to solve a problem, you are the problem.
The USA is a culture of being the biggest bully in the history of the universe. Americans pay for military bases all over the world. The USA attacks countries unprovoked (in the name of security). The USA uses torture on it's political prisoners. We invaded and killed innocent citizens in other countries. Of course, they're pissed off at us. Yes, they'll try to retaliate and seek revenge. It is our fault. And we can change that. But, I doubt we will. Some wisdom from Ali Tatmaj in Siyasat-e Ruz, Iran:
America is reaping the consequences of the violence it has encouraged around the world. The country that has exported terrorism to so many Muslim nations, and supported terrorist groups in so many forms, has just experienced another deadly attack on its own soil, the worst since 9/11. The American man who opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people, had once been on an FBI terrorist watch list. Yet the shooter was still able to purchase weapons legally, because the US is dominated by a culture of guns that is entirely “aimed at meeting the interests of the weapons manufacturers." Americans buy and own more guns than anyone else on earth, and unsurprisingly, the US has a higher rate of firearm homicides than any other nation in the world.

Very few Americans are truly innocent of contributing to the gun and violence culture that is America. And there will be many more deaths and heartache - it's an integral part of our American culture.

One idea: Some guy posted this online to address gun massacres: I've got an actual good idea - liability insurance. All Americans understand is guns and money. If a gun owner had to pay liability insurance for every gun they owned maybe they wouldn't stockpile as many. Concept: make it prohibitively expensive to own lots of guns. If you own a car, you need insurance in case your car injures someone else, its the law. The same could apply to guns. If automatic rifles came with a mandatory insurance payment, maybe the Vegas shooter wouldn't have owned 51 of them, maybe no one would. Plus, there would at least be a fund for the  medical bills and funeral costs for those killed or injured by him - some compensation for victims and their families. There would be a system in place that is tracking all those guns. It would make a making a business out of gun control - a whole industry that revolves around making sure gun owners are competent and not making illegal modifications to their weapons.

Some random thoughts about the slaughter of schoolchildren
I am disappointed that the USA (you and I) spends so much money on defense and military to train young people to kill. Much more than any other nation, more than any other federal department or service; creating a culture of killing, violence, and arrogant bullying.
Disappointed and disgusted at how powerful the NRA has become. Disappointed that so many members of Congress accepted donations from the NRA and supported their agenda instead of addressing the regulation of automatic/non-hunting weapons.
Disgusted at how many Americans feel the need to own guns that rapidly fire multiple rounds.
Disappointed in people, political parties, and organizations that exploit fear to achieve their goals.
Disappointed that people still believe and preach that this is a free country. If it was truly free, too many selfish, ignorant, rude, or greedy people would exploit others for personal or corporate gain. As a result, we are all required to obey numerous laws and regulations. Some we may not like.
Disappointed that so many in the world think the USA is a psychotic ruthless bully, rather than the 'greatest country in the world'.
Sad to accept the reality that many Americans need religious beliefs to feel better about themselves and have hope in their lives.
Pleased that so many asked why God chose not to intervene. Did he hear the innocent children scream? Did he watch the blood splatter onto their horrified faces? Did he hear all the prayers from the rest of the school to intervene ("we locked the door, recited the Lord's Prayer, and prayed for the children")? Why did he choose to ignore his worshippers? And doesn't his refusal to help go against all that most people believe that he is: all-loving, all-seeing, all-powerful, all pure goodness?
Disappointed that so many others said it was because God was not allowed in school. Is God really weaker than a school or government? If people so choose, then God is in the schools. God is faith - that can't be removed, nor can prayer be legislated. The Supreme Court simply ruled that a public school can't favor one religion over another by leading a prayer or display of just one religion - they never "kicked God out of school". Students still pray to and worship God in their hearts in school. How sad that so many people, Mike Huckabee included, don't understand the nature of faith or prayer.
So disappointed that a pastor in Tennessee claimed that "humanism" in schools taught the Connecticut shooter "to be God" and that "he can just go blow away anybody he wants."
Disappointed in popular video games that require the player to kill in order to win. And earn more points for killing efficiently and quickly.
Disgusted that some people propose adding more guns, not less. That arming teachers and training them to become shooters will help. Imagine if there were armed people in the Aurora theater - if others had stood up in the darkness and started firing, who would know who was the gunman? There likely would have been even more deaths.
Very sad that so many families were torn apart. That their Christmas will be so hard. That such innocent children had to die such horrible deaths.
So pleased to see a former student, Clinton Fields, post on Facebook wearing this shirt from Feed Just One.

Believe there is good in the world. Be the good in the world.

It is impossible to pin this crime on a single factor (gun access, mental health care, mother-son relationships, divorce). There are numerous complex reasons that led to this action. Here's what I plan to do:
• Acknowledge that some of the blame is on our permissive and violent culture and accept responsibility for my participation.
• Stop promoting violence in movies, arcade games, and sports; stop admiring violent people as 'heroes'. I have stopped paying money for movies that glorify violence. Violence in media is okay (Forrest Gump was a good movie) but glorifying violence for the sake of a thrill or special effect is not okay. That I no longer support.
• Encourage and motivate people to think for themselves: question authority, stop taking rumors at face value, conduct research, and to think more deeply and thoroughly.
• Continue to boycott FoxNews and encourage others to do so.
• Get involved in government: vote, write letters, question actions, research candidates and issues, discuss issues with others.
• While maintaining support of the essence of the 2nd amendment, support legislation to minimize access to guns that quickly fire multiple rounds.
• Continue to educate people about the harmful delusional faith in the occult.
• Support efforts for peace, not war; for a kinder gentler culture; for more altruism, less selfishness.

Be a better global citizen
• Less attitude of exceptionalism We are better than everyone else and should be treated accordingly.
• Use the day date method of other developed nations.
• Stop invading other countries.
• Remove military bases from countries where they are not needed or desired.
• Adopt the Metric System and Celsius temperature system. All of the countries that do not use the Metric System are shown in red.

Other countries that have not officially adopted the metric system are Liberia in western Africa, and Burma/Myanmar in southeast Asia. What is preventing the USA from joining the rest of the world in adopting a consistent system of measurement. Exceptionalism (why don't they join us?), ignorance, insecurity, laziness? We should adopt the metric system - to join and respect the rest of the world.
Common globally, easier, less confusion 24 hour watch
All the same logic applies to adopting the Celsius system of temperature designation.

Take better care of citizens
More compassion, more earned Social services, more Civil personal rights, respect individual, less drug prohibition, open abortion, legalize drugs, marriage rights; Greed: the pursuit of riches, America caters to corporations and money rather than welfare of the people,
Less discrimination, fewer quotas
• Stricter gun control, stop pissing off other countries, people
• Legalize, regulate, tax prostitution
• Legalize, educate drug use
• Prison reform
• Affordable health care, discourage binge drinking, text distraction, increase cancer/heart research, stem cell research, abortion education
• Fund the arts: education, performance, parks,
• More affordable education
• Improved Infrastructure, transportation
• Environment, sustainability

More compassion, more earned Social services, more Civil personal rights, respect individual, less drug prohibition, open abortion, legalize drugs, marriage rights; Greed: the pursuit of riches, America caters to corporations and money rather than welfare of the people,
Less discrimination, less quota
Actually like people. Care for them. Student debt. Soldier death and mental health. Homeless. Immigration. Healthcare, respect. Put people before profits.
True personal freedoms, civil rights.
Let people live their lives. Don't hurt other people and don't harm other people's property. Civil rights should not be an issue.
Remove ethnic divisions, no hyphenated Americans, no gerrymandering districts. Just Americans. With representation - get over the silly notion that to be represented, the representative must be the same gender, skin color, and have the same value system of the citizen being represented. Ignore the unfair notion of 'underrepresented'.
Remove quotas - no special privileges (unless earned), no "match the proportions in the total population."
Civil rights: sexual identity, gender identity, acceptance. Equality is about giving everyone more of an equal chance, not about giving everyone an equal result.
Encourage citizens to toughen up, be less sensitive, and be less easily insulted. Offense is taken not given. If you're offended, that's your own problem. If you're allowing someone else's words to dictate your own emotions, you seriously need to grow up and start taking responsibility for yourself and your own emotions. There will a!ways be something that offends someone; so where does it end? When people stop choosing to be offended by things (and it is a choice) then 'offensive' words, phrases, opinions, etc will lose all power.
Right to die - Death with dignity
Easy and humane to puts pets down, to end their lives in a respectful dignified manner. Why can't we do that with humans?
I am able, and encouraged, to put my dog to sleep (to murder her) when she no longer has a decent quality of life and when the suffering overtakes the living. But, I cannot afford the same consideration to myself or any other human. If someone's doctor okays their patient's decision to end their life, who are you or I to butt into that private conversation, treatment, and decision and give our two cents. It has no affect on your life, unless you're a member of that person's family, and even then, while you may be sad and not like it, it's not your choice, it's not your life, and it's not your death.
Legalize, regulate, tax prostitution: What two consenting adults do in private is not the government's business. If there is abuse or harm, there are already laws prohibiting that behavior. legalization allows easier regulation and taxation. Currently, prostitutes get a police record, thereby limiting their employment opportunities (and it certainly isn't a deterrent).
Health care: discourage driving while distracted, increase cancer/heart research, stem cell research. Increase pay, incentives, and benefits for health care workers.
Revise laws concerning abortion. Stop the conflict and dissension. Abortion is a traumatic experience, but the government should strive to educate and minimize the number of abortions, but not limit the options for a pregnant woman. It's her choice, not that of the bureaucracy.
Reduce incentives for binge drinking - no more 'nickel beer night', 'bottomless cup', 'drown night', etc. The problem is not drinking, its overdrinking.
Legalize, educate, tax, and control distribution of marijuana. Less incarceration, more education and rehabilitation. Marijuana laws have cost taxpayers billions of dollars and have helped produce the largest incarcerated population in the world. Acknowledge that drugs are not the problem, people are - spend money on helping the people.
A Pew poll reveals that 52% of Americans believe marijuana should be legal, while only 45% oppose it. That's an 11-point upswing since 2010. According to a recent FBI report, US law enforcement officials make a marijuana-related arrest every 42 seconds. That's 750,000 people per year caught up in the Drug War net on marijuana alone. With millions of people facing prison time or legal quagmires and billions of dollars spent enforcing marijuana laws, Americans finally seem to be coming to a logical conclusion regarding their country's out-of-control Drug War.
"There will always be some people who are less evolved in their thinking about marijuana and want to hold on to the past," said Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project, "but [this poll shows that] most Americans are ready to move forward and adopt a more sensible, evidence-based approach. Marijuana prohibition is on its last legs. The degree to which it has failed is simply too obvious to ignore."

Here's why I am strongly opposed to the death penalty - it should be abolished nation-wide:
The fallibility of government: "Point to a single government program that works flawlessly. It is a human-run program - how many innocent people are you willing to execute?" Marc Hyden of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. website
Putting someone to death is more expensive than keeping them in prison with appeals and lawyers and trials.
There's strong data challenging whether the threat of execution is truly a deterrent for criminals.
Some research questions whether families of victims benefit in any measurable way from seeing a perpetrator put to death.
For the pro-life believer: Should a God-fearing society be empowering the government to execute its citizens?
Death ends the suffering for the perp, who goes to sleep peacefully. The victim's families suffer for the rest of their lives.

David P. Greenberg: Justice isn't supposed to be revenge. Life Without Parole is actually a more horrific conclusion - a more fitting punishment than an easy and painless death similar to the one we give our family pets when they become too old and sick. Seems to me, if you really wanted one to suffer for their crime, you'd want them to live a long time, so they could do just that. There is no suffering in death. Death is the ultimate reward. We should punish them, not kill them.
Larry Flynt, Hustler Magazine owner, survived an attack by a serial killer and was paralyzed from the waist down. He pleaded for his attacker to not be executed, saying, A government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself.

Fund the arts: place a greater priority on funding arts education, performance, exhibits, and facilities.
More money into education: lower tuition, lower student loan debt; invest in VoTech and community colleges. Prepare young people with required courses in critical thinking and creativity. Require PE - get everybody fit - lifetime sports nutrition and aerobic cardio work.
Improved Infrastructure, transportation: Highways, livability, bridges, power grids, sewer, water, Growth of livable cities (US cities rank low in desirability globally)
Environment, sustainability: Less reliance on imports of fuel. Less reliance on fossil fuels. Incentives to conserve electricity. Encourage the use of reusable shopping bags and non-plastic water bottles.
Underage drinking
The problem is not one of underage drinking. If we state that it is, then we will likely fail. Alcohol doesn't force itself on us - we make conscious decisions to drink it. People not of legal drinking age will chose to drink - its a part of the rite of passage in American culture, whether we like it or not. The problem is drinking too much - more than the body can safely metabolize, often brought on by binge drinking. If we recognize that, then we might be able to address the problem and make things better, with the goal to help develop drinkers who are willing and capable of making intelligent and responsible decisions. We have learned (hopefully) that prohibiting something is simply not effective. Prohibition seems to increase desire, as it did in the early 1930s. Prohibiting the American teenager (no matter the age) from drinking is not working, nor will it ever work.
Some recommendations to consider
Continue to educate young people through schools, churches (just declaring drinking alcohol a sin won't do it), and, especially, in the home. Provide materials and incentives for educators/parents to discuss the harmful effects of alcohol. We may then minimize ignorance - to help one make a more intelligent decision concerning their physical and mental health, the burden on society and the judicial system, the dangers of drunk driving, relationships, embarrassing behavior, and one's own dignity.
Remove inducements for binge drinking, such as Nickel beer night, Bottomless cup, Ladies drink free, Happy Hour drink specials, Half-price drinks, etc. These all encourage people to drink too much and/or to binge drink. Bar and restaurant owners should impose this on their own. If not, legislation may be necessary.

Increase citizen participation
• Create a Dept of Information, Embrace technology. Use citizen input to avoid bias of congress.
• Simplify voting procedures. No straight-ticket voting (discourage electing people because of their affiliation rather than their ideas). Make the electoral college more fair.
• Use PCDs - personal communication devices - to access emergency notices, connect, polling surveys, voting, notifications, disseminating info, submitting forms; education (merging onto freeway, zipper, litter, ) metric system, date day.
• Improve the election process.

Create a Federal Department of Information, Embrace technology. Use citizen input to avoid the bias of congress. Communicate to citizens through text, email. Ask for opinions, input.
Simplify voting procedures. No straight-ticket voting (discourage electing people because of their affiliation rather than their ideas). Amend electoral college to better reflect the popular vote in each state. Allow qualified citizens to vote directly. Minimize voting obstructions for citizens. Allow qualified ex-cons to vote. Restructure districts: more fairly, less gerrymandering.
Many Americans think their votes don't matter. They believe that government is more responsive to developers, lobbyists, unions, corporations, and other powerful interest groups that contribute to campaigns than it is to voters. Many voters complain that candidates make endless promises on the campaign trail, but never deliver. To many people, voting doesn't seem like an effective way to make things better.
Allow ex-cons to vote. Each adult citizen has the right to vote. When convicted of a crime against the state, that right and privilege must be relinquished. But, once one serves the sentence, pays the fine, and does whatever4 the state determined was fair restitution, some citizenship rights should be restored, including the right to vote.
Use personal communication devices - to access emergency notices, connect, polling surveys, voting, notifications, disseminating info, submitting forms; education (merging onto freeway, zipper, litter, ) metric system, date day, Use citizen input to avoid bias of congress. Strive to delete pork projects.
Reform Congress. Members of Congress can retire with the same pay after only one term. They are exempt from many of the laws they have passed while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest example is that members of Congress have exempted themselves from the Healthcare Reform legislation. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. Here is a good way to stop this divisive self-serving:
Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.
Stop celebrating stupidity

Maybe stupid people are entertaining. Maybe there are more of them than we realize. Maybe we enjoy watching stupid people bloop and blunder. Maybe we feel better about ourselves when we see there are people stupider than us. Maybe, we are the problem, not the stupid people we are making famous.

If I had a black marker with me, I could have blackened in the extra O. It wouldn't have made the bumper sticker printer, the distributor, the retailer, nor the purchaser any smarter; but, at least, the rest of us wouldn't have to be reminded of our current FoxNews culture of tolerating and encouraging stupidity. I notice that these types of errors are more common. Some reasons:
Ignorance or less education, lack of knowledge to know better.
Not caring. People notice the error but don't care enough to correct it.
Stupid, just not intelligent enough to spot errors.
There is an upscale coffee/tea house in Edmond, All About Cha, whose elaborate menu is full of spelling and grammatical errors. When I pointed it out to the owner, he acknowledged that he was aware of the errors (and he was willing for me to proofread the menu before the next printing). What I don't get - why didn't he have someone proofread the menu before the initial printing. He knows he doesn't have a good command of English, yet he didn't seek help. Is it a pride issue? Its such a simple solution.

Below: some examples from Facebook. Note: If you are not amazed at the level of stupidity in America, check out people's comments on Facebook.

Observation: Our culture displays an increasing number of symptoms of stupidity.
Tip: Have someone proofread your work. If you are too stupid to know when proofreading is needed, please do not work in a sign shop or printing firm, and certainly not as a designer.

The US of Dumerica
Last weekend, at the park down the street, a young father was teaching his son how to ride a bike. The son saw my two greyhounds and asked if he could pet them. I said, Sure. His dad joined us and commented to his son, "Them dogs is the fastest of all dogs."
I am getting so disgusted at how our culture has accepted and tolerated stupidity that I wanted to say, "Excuse me, correct grammar would be 'These dogs', not 'Them dogs' and since 'dogs' is plural, it would be 'dogs are some of', not 'dogs is'. What happened - did you just skip school or not pay attention?
Of course, park etiquette kept me from berating this ignorant man in front of his son. But, I get closer to the day when I will have had enough and I start to let people know that their stupidity will no longer be tolerated.
I realize, due to Fox News, Governor-Quit Palin, George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, and the like, that our culture is more tolerant of stupidity. I, too make mistakes. Often, I will get an email providing an alert and a better way to say something. I am appreciative of that. Why, in a community, can't we watch out for each other? Why do we assume that once one leaves school, they can no longer be corrected and educated? Maybe I will start to speak up and work at minimizing ignorance.

Disturbing news
According to a recent Gallup poll: 46% of Americans believe in creationism - that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years.
This is disgusting and shameful. I wonder if there is a correlation between sheep who are afraid to think for themselves and the rising acceptance of stupidity in America. Reams of evidence that humans had their origin millions of years ago versus belief that states 10,000 years from an old book of folk lore. Almost half of Americans are willing to ignore scientific evidence, logic, and reason and believe the old book.
From The Week magazine, June 2012

American culture is making some progress
Civil rights
The "Gay Marriage" issue is all over. All that's left is for the national recognition to take effect and the scramble for churches to announce that they received a new revelation from God - treating people fairly and with love and compassion will soon be 'Divinely Ordained'. Just as the Mormon Church, which had received a message from infallible God that dark-skinned people were cursed and inferior, received a new divine revelation that was quite different - Negroes were okay, after all. Gay Americans will soon be officially considered 'okay'.

Marijuana laws
As other states see the tax revenue and the lowering of police and prison expenses, they will join the movement. National recognition won't be too far behind. It's about time. These antiquated, harmful, and totally ineffective laws have hurt too many Americans and their families; lives ruined due to unfair, unreasonable, and totally ineffective laws. More
Below: Percent of respondents saying marijuana should be legal or illegal. Survey conducted Febuary 2014 with previous data from Gallup. From the Pew Research Center.
Religion and superstition
Will continue to move off to the fringe sideline. Science explains 'miraculous' phenomena, more adults seek logic and intelligence, and studies continue to show that prayer has no influence (except for the feelings of the one praying). Religion has nothing of substance to stand on. It is just feelings and promises from stories in a book. The category of 'non-believers' is the fastest growing segment in America. Much of Europe and Australia has already surpassed the USA in percentages of those who don't rely on fairy tales and promises of eternal life.
There will likely always be a place for religion - some people will need comfort and familiarity with like-minded believers. But, in most developed nations, it will play a smaller role in government and politics. It will continue to provide rationale for hatred, discrimination, and violence - and storylines for movies, cartoons, bedtime stories.

Some thoughts on the illegal immigration issue
Why do Mexicans risk their health and lives to enter the USA illegally?
To give birth to an American child.
Federation for American Immigration Reform: automatic citizenship for children born in the US is one of the main magnets for illegal immigration. While many illegal immigrants are searching for jobs, many others come here to have a baby who is entitled to a wide array of government benefits and can eventually help the parents become citizens as well.
USA TODAY: The number of children in the USA born to illegal immigrants jumped to 4 million in 2009. Those are automatically granted US citizenship and represent 5.4% of all children under the age of 18 in the US. An estimated of 8% babies born in the US in 2008 came from illegal immigrant parents.
Solution: Change the law that allows any baby born in this country to be considered an American. Immediately.
To escape violence in Mexico due to the drug wars.
Solution: Legalize marijuana. Remove the black market. Step up enforcement in Mexico and US border towns. Work with Mexican police to minimize corruption.
To work and earn money.
We actually like and want illegal immigrants in the US. Their willingness to work for low wages keeps prices lower in these industries: restaurant and food service, construction, roofing, and landscape and yard work. Myth: "But, they don't pay taxes." They pay sales tax, gas tax, property tax (through their landlord), and others. The only tax not paid is the income tax (some wealthy Americans pay very little income tax).
Solution: Not sure - how can we balance keeping prices lower and still manage the influx of illegal residents. Work visas? New working class designation with lower wages than minimum wage but still pay income tax?
It does seem apparent that a huge wall along the border hasn't yet solved the problem. Remember how we cheered when the Berlin Wall came down and yet some stupid politicians want to building our own Wall.

This is so American that it is embarrassing and shameful

Advertising bullshit from the website: Carl's Jr. and Hardee's are serving up a delicious symbol of freedom with the arrival of the Most American Thickburger. The Most American Thickburger unites three popular American picnic foods together on one bun: a split hot dog and crunchy Lays Kettle Cooked Potato Chips atop a charbroiled Black Angus hamburger patty, along with a slice of American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup and mustard, served on a Fresh Baked Bun. “Nothing is more American than a summertime cook-out with grilled burgers and hot dogs served with potato chips; three classic American favorites that taste great on their own but taste great together, too. A hot dog, potato chips, and a beef patty is, unquestionably, our most American creation yet."
"A burger this epic required an equally epic ad campaign that salutes all things American." American as the military, sex, red white blue, blonde, liberty, boobs, cleavage. Who do ya think the target market is - probly the FuxNews non-thinker. Simple colors, sex, and blind patriotism appeal to them (as does fast food).

America the Bountiful

Some of these photos may elicit a chuckle, but they're meant to highlight a growing (!) concern in America. Often, obesity is a symptom of insecurity, low self-esteem, or a personality disorder. Maybe we should not idolize coaches (as leaders, mentors, and role models) if they're fat and excessively out of shape. Why do we tolerate such behavior? When will we say 'enough is enough'. Being tolerant of those different from us is, usually, a healthy trait and a positive way to see the world. But, sometimes, maybe we should just be disgusted. Obesity affects personal health, health care costs, and productivity. But, to address it, we should probly look at the underlying causes, rather than promoting yet one more miracle diet. Addressing causes might mean better education and more aggressive involvement by teachers, political leaders (other than Chris Christie), doctors, nurses, and clinics.

New chair sizes: American & Regular.

America's priorities

Side-by-side news stories from October 29, 2013: 29 billion for 3 new ships, 5 billion cuts in food stamps.
• Marking a new era for fighting war at sea, the Navy spent $29 billion (of our money) for just 3 ships, almost 10 billion per ship. Weapons (killing machines) on board include: two Advanced Gun Systems which fire rocket-powered computer-guided shells that can destroy targets 63 miles away; a new missile launching system capable of firing 80 missiles, including Tomahawk cruise missiles and Seasparrow surface to air missiles; and two Seahawk helicopters or four unmanned aerial vehicles.
• On November 1, a $5 billion cut in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program resulted in the loss of nearly 1.9 billion meals in the next year. The cuts will put a strain on millions of families struggling with food insecurity, hitting them right before the holiday season.
Lesson: A nation (in massive debt) that spends 29 billion dollars for 3 elaborate and sophisticated killing machines and cuts assistance to feed it's hungry citizens is making a clear public statement about that which is important.

WTF is wrong with Americans (from an internet post)

In the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, there is free universal access to higher education. They know that education is the ultimate investment in the future. In addition to not having any tuition fees, all students receive a monthly grant to help cover their living expenses.
Of course, that does result in higher taxes. But, free education reduces social inequality, and greatly benefits both individuals and society in the long run. An educated populationequals a strong, stable state, ready for the future. So, the investment is well worth it. It's really s simple as that - just WTF are we Americans thinking?
We make our own young people go into often crippling debt - just to become educated - and just as they're trying to get started in life. In 2013, Congress has voted to increase the interest rate which will increase the debt for young educated Americans.
We've unleashed hundreds of expensive for-profit 'schools' to prey upon our own citizens.

We spend more on our prisons than on our students.
And, among the top 15 countries by military expenditures, we're number 1, and spend as much as the other 14 countries combined!
Meanwhile, our politicians and corporations fool many of our citizens into fighting to keep it that way. It's all a recipe for a lost generation at best, and a nation hurtling toward decline and eventual unraveling.
So, when is enough going to be enough for America?

In the New York Times Editorial Cartoon Contest, more than 800 students submitted cartoons. President Trump dominated the submissions: over 40% of all submissions included an image of Trump or his tweets. Students were clearly excited to try their wit in making a commentary on the president and his actions.
Jim's Take - the cartoon by Ben Hewson portrays Trump so well - he has turned his back to us and to America and is doing something for himself, for his own enjoyment.

If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.
US Air Force Academy Preparatory School Superintendent Lt Gen Jay Silveria's advice to academy students.

It's not Trump, he is temporary.
It's a citizenry riddled with ignorance, hate, misdirected anger,
    and lack of critical thinking skills that is the problem.
And the consequences of that will last a lot longer than one presidency.

From Lance Sievert, January 2017

Yes, Donald J Trump is an absolutely horrible human being, with few of the attributes the country needs in a president. But, he's just a self-centered jerk - he's not the main problem - he's a symptom of the problem: the almost 30% of Americans who voted for and still support him. Donald Trump will be out of office in 4-8 years, the 30% will still be here. Those are the ones we need to address.
What might help:
Teach, encourage, and support critical thinking skills.
Help people become more secure and more confident; less fearful.
Remove religion from politics. Completely. That will enhance progress in abortion rights, discrimination, military funding, the death penalty, drug legalization, better science education, human rights, immigration reform, global tension, and more.
We all know people who are Trump supporters. But, we give many of them a free ride - they are friends, coworkers, and family. It's tough to tell these people that their insecurity, fear, and superstition is causing the downfall of the America we once knew. But, at some point, we may need to confront those closest to us if we want to save some of the good of America.

Signs seen around Lawrence Kansas in response to the Trump immigrant ban

Below: Shaking hands with Donald Trump at the OK State Fair, September 2015