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In Other Words

"Justice in the life and conduct of the state is possible only if first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens."
Plato, 427 BC - 347 BC

"This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today."
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1882 - 1945

"The highest office in the land is that of citizen."
Harry Truman, 1884 - 1972

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does."
Margaret Mead, 1901 - 1978

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. You will be changed, events will change you, but you have to decide not to be reduced."
Maya Angelou, 1928 - present

"If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organizations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time."
Noam Chomsky, 1928 - present

Welcome! From throughout our country, these engaging blogs are authored by ordinary citizens with things to say about social, economic, environmental, human, or political conditions in our nation or world. We hope you will sign in and add your comments, too.

May 15, 2016

Two Awards For My Editorial Cartoons

Posted by Angelo Lopez on May 15, 2016

Over the past few weeks, I discovered that my editorial cartoons won two awards: the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism for Newspaper Under a Circulation of 100,000 and the Robert F. Kennedy Book and Journalism Award. I'm honored and thrilled to receive both awards. When I create my editorial cartoons, I never know what effect they will have to the readers. I do a lot of research and talk to a lot of Filipino American activists to try to learn more about issues affecting the Filipino American community. I try to highlight issues that affect the poorest and most marginalized members of the community, those that are often voiceless and overlooked.

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April 30, 2016

Old Timer's Ramblings

Posted by Ken Poland on April 30, 2016

It’s been awhile since I contributed to KFP or Citizens United. I’m submitting this to both venues.

Yep, I’m still a registered Democrat and identify with Christianity as my religious affiliation. I am actively interested and involved in both of those areas. Thus, I’m zealous. That doesn’t mean I’m a zealot. I try not to be belligerent, warlike or intolerant. I enjoy lively debate on the pros and cons of issues. I tune in on all the debates and town hall meetings, I have time for. I have studied many religions and try to understand their origin and basis. I research denominational variants of Christianity, and, believe me, there are many. I devote personal and group time to study the accepted Christian Bible and how it relates to our present times and issues.

We, in the United States. live in a diverse society that includes numerous religious groups and variants of all those groups. We have political and economic opinions that cover the spectrum from every conceivable extreme.

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April 24, 2016

Bible Cartoons

Posted by Angelo Lopez on April 24, 2016

When I attended an Episcopal Church in the late 2000s, I produced a weekly cartoon for the church bulletin to illustrate one of the weekly readings. Bible Cartoons is a collection of these cartoons, which are collected from the years 2009 to 2012. I would read the lectionary of the Episcopal Church on Monday and figure out which passage gave me an idea for a cartoon. Sometimes an idea would come from a book that I just read from the church library. At other times, I would free associate and come up with something that is a bit more humorous.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Christianity right now. I've had some wonderful experiences in church and I've had some terrible experiences in church. But overall I think there are more good things about Christianity than bad. In spite of some bad experiences, I still find myself attracted to church and have persisted in trying to find the right church for me. I'm not really a great Christian. I don't love my enemy, or forgive easily anymore. But I do think those are good qualities to have. I like what Pope Francis said about church. The pope said that church is not just a sanctuary for saints, it's also a hospital for sinners. I do not take the Bible literally, but I do find value in the Bible and think it has important things to say about the Jewish and Christian experience with God.

There is a website called Createspace where anybody can self-publish their own book and sell it on Amazon. Just create a PDF file of your book and make sure it is under 400 MB and submit it to the website.

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April 16, 2016

Supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016

Posted by Angelo Lopez on April 16, 2016

These past few months many of my friends have contacted me to try to persuade me to support Bernie Sanders. It doesn't bother me. I'm a Hillary supporter, but I like Bernie. I have nothing bad to say about him. Bernie's more progressive in many issues than Hillary. I think Bernie should stay in the race and pressure Hillary to move to the left on more issues. If I thought the Democrats could have majorities in both houses of Congress, I'd support Bernie. But because of gerrymandering, the Republicans will probably retain their majorities in the House. I remember how the House Republicans have obstructed Obama these past 6 years, even though Obama is only moderately to the Left. Both a President Hillary or a President Bernie will have problems with an obstructionist House. I want a Democratic President who is a tough political strategist who can fight the Republican House. I think Hillary possesses that quality.

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April 6, 2016

Two Books Collections with my Editorial Cartoons

Posted by Angelo Lopez on April 6, 2016

Hi everyone. I just finished putting my editorial cartoons into 2 books that I am selling on Amazon. Amazon has a section called Createspace where anyone can publish their own books, so I thought I'd try it out. I was originally going to collect my editorial cartoons in one book, not two, but Createspace has a 400 MB limit for book submissions, and I didn't like how my cartoons looked. I am not the most technically proficient person on the computer, so I spent a month trying to figure out how to fix my mistakes on Adobe Illustrator.

I decided to create a third book collecting my Bible cartoons where I used InDesign instead of Adobe Illustrator and it was easier to create a PDF file that the Createspace website would accept. When I finish this I'll post this on my blog. In the meanwhile here are my two books of my editorial cartoons.

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March 7, 2016

Donald Trump and the White Working Class

Posted by Angelo Lopez on March 7, 2016

In the past few months, I've been reading with increasing dismay about the success of Donald Trump's influence on the Republican primaries and the American political debate. I deeply disagree with his remarks on immigrants, Muslims, women and refugees. A large part of Trump's current political support comes from a group that used to vote for the Democratic Party but since the 1990s has voted consistently with the Republican Party: the white working class. For the past several decades, white working class people with a high school degree or less have struggled economically as globalization has taken the jobs that used to be their access to a secure middle class way of life. Trump has capitalized on their fears by offering them scapegoats that have nothing to do with their economic plight. Eugene Robinson wrote in an article for the Washington Post:

Trump’s entire platform, such as it is, can be reduced to “us vs. them.” The overwhelmingly white, largely blue-collar crowds that fill his gargantuan rallies are buffeted by harsh economic realities and have good reason to be anxious about the future. Trump doesn’t give them solutions, he gives them scapegoats.

Recall that he kicked off his campaign for president last year with an outrageous libel against undocumented migrants from Mexico: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

In truth, immigrants are significantly less likely to commit crimes of any kind — including rape — than native-born Americans. But facts don’t matter when Trump chooses to point a finger of blame.

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February 26, 2016

James Madison and the Tenth Amendment

Posted by Angelo Lopez on February 26, 2016

The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was known for his advocacy of the judicial philosophy of Originalism. Scalia would define "Originalism" in this way:

The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead, or as I prefer to call it, enduring. It means today not what current society, much less the court, thinks it ought to mean, but what it meant when it was adopted.

Many propopents of the Originalist philosophy have tried to use this philosophy to roll back many of the progressive court precedents of the past century that have strengthened the power of the federal government to try to redress various social problems. These same conservatives have championed the Tenth Amendment as an argument in favor of more state and local power and as a way to weaken the power of the federal government. A look, though, at the original debates of the Constitution at the 1787 Constitutional Convention shows that the convention attendees were looking for a means to create a stronger federal government than the weak federal government that had then existed under the Articles of Confederation. James Madison had a vigorous debate with South Carolina representative Thomas Tudor Tucker over the wording of the Tenth Amendment that would have far reaching implications on the power of the American federal government.

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February 18, 2016

Justice Scalia's Friendship with Liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan

Posted by Angelo Lopez on February 18, 2016

Last Saturday I was very surprised to hear about Justice Antonin Scalia's death. I'm not a fan of Scalia's political philosophy and have abhorred many of the opinions that he was written in the Supreme Court. In spite of my political difference with him, though, I was very sad to hear about his passing. Though Scalia was a passionate conservative judge, he was also a warm person who respected people of different points of view. One sign of this was the fact that Scalia's two closest friendships in the Supreme Court were with the two most liberal Justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.

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February 15, 2016

Politics ! ! !

Posted by Ken Poland on February 15, 2016

Yes, I'm still kicking. Just not very high or hard. But, I do keep abreast of the political scene.

It is deplorable that the Republicans can't put a better line up on the stage. They're like a bunch of teenage boys bandying over a girl. Bragadocio and bluster is their style. Calling each other names and liars is powerful content for their resumes. I guess I'd rather risk Kasick or Carson for president than any of the others, but they don't present any plausible solutions to the economy or social dilemma we are in.

I like much of Sanders idea on economics and regulation of the economy. He's quite right on the fact that taxes has accelerated the inequity of wealth going to the upper (extreme) echelon. His 'Democratic Socialism' is in no ways close to the USSR or China's communism. And, it certainly isn't fascist. Unlimited or unregulated capitalism will ultimately lead to a feudalistic society, and finally revolution. Dictatorship by virtue of wealth will never consistently guarantee equity for all in terms of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

The truth is that our nation has leaned toward his 'socialistic' philosophy from the very beginning. Government funding is socialistic, from the most local levels on up to the natiional level.

From local law enforcement, State Highway Patrol, State National Guard, right on up through our Federal Military systems are all 'socialistic' in funding and service. The limits of jurisdiction have always been subject to debate.

The transportation infrastructcher from local township, county, state, and national are all based on social control and funding. I live in a sparsely populated county with township and county road systems. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that individuals do not have to try maintaining private roads beyond their own premises. We have county maintained roads that stretch through areas that have little benefit to some local residents in a particular township, but they facilitate transportation from other locales. Local townships have problems coordinating systems determining level of maintenance needed. When you take this on up through State and Federal Systems you can see the same advantages or disadvantages, but the benefit to society in general is quite evident. Can you imagine the problems for todays mobile society and freight transportation systems with out the Federal highway systems? Could all states or local communities afford or justify the cost on the basis of their own little economic situation?

We hear so much about regulation by government, either local, state, or national. Some regulations maybe are overreaching, but do you want to go back to no regulations on health care? No licensing requirements for practitioners, drugs and other pharmaceuticals? No regulations on building codes, appliances, etc.? No regulations on environmental practices? No regulation on food handling or preparation?

With no organized regulatory system you would be open to dangers in nearly all areas of your life. I can't give proper credit to who said it, but someone said, 'No man is an island unto himself'. That is more true today than ever before. No nation can exist in isolation from the rest of the world. Technoligy in communication and transportation has made someone on the other side of the world more accesable to me, today, than someone on the other side of the county, when I was a kid. That means they have access to me and my property, too.

I grew up with seven siblings with a mom and dad. No single one of us could exercise absolute control over everyone else, not even mom or dad. How do some politicians think the United States can dictate to the rest of the world. I grew up a minority of nine. The United States is a minority of some three hundred million people in a world of seven or eight billion. Oh yes, the United States is the most powerful and richest nation in the world. Dad was the most powerful and held complete control of the spendable resources in our family, but that by itself did not enable him to have absolute control of the rest of the family. Our parents were able to maintain a stable family because every member of the family knew that at times they gave up individual wants or pleasures of their own or single members for the benefit of the whole family. Can the United States give up any of its own wants and pleasures for the benefit of the world?

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February 14, 2016

Hillary, Bernie and Past Progressive Campaigns for the Presidency

Posted by Angelo Lopez on February 14, 2016

I'm a Hillary supporter but I do like Bernie too. Bernie inspires the idealism of the young and has an agenda that would challenge powerful financial and political interests. But does Bernie have the political and tactical skills to maneuver through the Republican majorities in Congress and fight the same conservative opposition that Obama has faced these past 8 years? Hillary's shown herself to be a capable legislator in her time in the Senate and she is a tough political fighter with years of experience fighting conservative attacks. But her proposals are much more modest than Sanders, more in line with Obama's policies. Does she have the imagination to articulate a vision that can inspire people the way Sanders is capable of? When I look at the great progressive politicians of the past, like FDR, Bella Abzug, Paul Wellstone, Ted Kennedy, among others, they inspired people with their ideas and they had the political toughness and savy to convert those ideas to meaningful legislation.

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January 4, 2016

Favorite Movies of 2015

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 4, 2016

The last year was a fun year for movies for me. In the beginning of the year, Lisa and I got to spend time watching the Oscar nominated movies with two close friends whom we hadn't seen in quite a while. I checked out a lot of movies from the library and watched a lot of great movies on Netflix. Blockbuster movies, indie films, documentaries... I love movies of all sorts.

I didn't get a chance to watch a lot of the great movies that came out at the end of the year. I had wanted to watch Spotlight, Carol, The Revenant and The Danish Girl, but the holidays got too busy and there were too many friends to visit.

Here are my favorite movies of 2015.

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December 31, 2015

Reverend Willie T. Barrow, Civil Rights Hero

Posted by Angelo Lopez on December 31, 2015

As I've been reading about the recent protests of the Black Lives Matter Movement, I began thinking of the older civil rights leaders who fought for African American rights in decades past. Last March 2015, one of the great civil rights leaders died. The Reverand Wille T. Barrow was a leader involved in the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement and the consumer rights movement. In an obituary in the New York Times, Sam Roberts wrote about Reverand Barrow:

The Rev. Willie T. Barrow, who championed civil rights for minorities, women, gay people and consumers; opposed the war in Vietnam and apartheid; and mentored generations of community organizers, including a young Chicagoan named Barack Obama, died on Thursday at her home in Chicago. She was 90.

...Ms. Barrow organized her first civil rights demonstration when she was 12, protesting the fact that she and her fellow black students had to walk to school in her hometown in Texas while whites could ride the school bus. She went on to conduct sit-ins and boycotts with luminaries of the movement, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, and joined in the 1963 March on Washington and the protests two years later in Selma, Ala. More recently she voiced concern over gun violence and dilution of the Voting Rights Act.

...While Ms. Barrow mentored men and women alike, she was an unabashed feminist.

She learned by opening her home “to all of the powerful women in the movement — Coretta Scott King, Dorothy Height, Addie Wyatt,” she told The Chicago Sun-Times in 2012. “We have to teach this generation, train more Corettas, more Addies, more Dorothys."

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December 16, 2015

Will D. Campbell, Bootleg Preacher

Posted by Angelo Lopez on December 16, 2015

During the past few months, political figures like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have been saying divisive language that has been scapegoating groups like immigrants, Muslims, LGBT individuals, and African Americans. They are exploiting the fears of many of the most partisan voters in the Republican primaries to gain votes. In the mid 20th century, there was an itinerant white southern Baptist preacher named Will D. Campbell who tried instead to reconcile the differences between the white and black communities and to reach out to the poor, the dispossessed, and the marginalized in southern society.

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December 13, 2015

Donald Trump, Archie Bunker and the Great American Divide

Posted by Angelo Lopez on December 13, 2015

I've been reading a lot about the growing partisan divide, and I've been as exasperated as many of my fellow liberals at Donald Trump's latest rantings. It got me thinking of two great television shows: "All in the Family" and "Family Ties". Both shows are premised on the idea that we can deeply care about friends and family members whose political opinions we deeply oppose. I've found this true in my own life. I'm a lifelong liberal Democrat, but in the course of my life I've had many close conservative friends and family members whom I deeply cared about. It hasn't stopped me from expressing my liberal views and it hasn't stopped them from expressing their conservative views, and we've gotten into many arguments. But for those friends and family members, the friendship is far more important than our political differences.

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December 8, 2015

The 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate and the Catholic Defense of Islam

Posted by Angelo Lopez on December 8, 2015

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate, which dealt with the relation of the church to non-Christian religions that transformed church doctrine about Jews and other faiths. Nostra Aetate originated from the realization of church reformers that the Roman Catholic Church's anti-semitic teachings may have indirectly aided in the Holocaust. After a decades long effort to change these anti-semitic Church teachings, Nostra Aetate succeeded in changing the Church's relationships with Jews as well as with Muslims, Buddhists and other religions. Now, with an increase in hostility towards Muslims, the spirit of Nostra Aetate has led the Roman Catholic Church to speak out against the growing Islamophobia in the United States and Europe.

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November 29, 2015

Considering Who To Vote For President

Posted by Angelo Lopez on November 29, 2015

Recently a few friends asked me if I would support Bernie Sanders in his run for the Presidency. I replied to them that my support for the Presidency would depend on how I think the 2016 Congressional elections would go.

From what I read, most experts expect Republicans to retain their majority in the House of Representatives after the 2016 elections due to gerrymandering. A major consideration that I have is which candidate would best be able to handle the Republican opposition when he or she becomes President. Would a President Sanders be able to pass progressive legislation through a House with a conservative Republican majority and a Senate that is vulnerable to a Republican filibuster?

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November 21, 2015

More Catholics, Mormons, and Evangelicals Supporting LGBT Rights

Posted by Angelo Lopez on November 21, 2015

Recently, there has been a controversy where a Christian public official named Kim Davis went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples who wanted to get married. For weeks I would open up my Facebook page and found many of my gay and lesbian friends offering their opinions of Kim Davis and the homophobia in many conservative Christian churches. This Kim Davis episode reminds me a lot of the 1950s and 1960s, when segregationist Southerners resisted the Supreme Court ruling Brown versus the Board of Education, which ruled that the segregation of schools was unconstitutional.

Kim Davis and her supporters give the impression that all Christians are against marriage equality. In reality, a growing number of Christians in all denominations are supporting LGBT rights and marriage equality. As more Christians know an LGBT friend, coworker, or family member, they are much more likely to support LGBT rights.

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Illegal Immigrants and Lower Crime

Posted by Angelo Lopez on November 21, 2015

These past few months Donald Trump has been capturing the headlines with his comments about most illegal immigrants coming from Mexico being violent criminals. While it is true that violent criminals have crossed the border to cause trouble, various studies have shown that illegal immigrants are less likely to commit violent crimes or be behind bars than the native-born American population. I fully sympathize with those families who have suffered from violent crime. I think violent criminals should be imprisoned. But the vast majority of illegal immigrants are not violent criminals and should not be punished for stereotypes that Donald Trump is perpetuating.

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November 19, 2015

"Black Lives Matter" and the Reconciliation of the Police and the Black Community

Posted by Angelo Lopez on November 19, 2015

In the past few years, the tragic deaths of African Americans at the hands of police officers have led the grassroots movement, Black Lives Matter. This movement has highlighted many of the economic and societal problems that still exist as hurdles for many African Americans to gain true equality in this country. One of the big issues that the Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted is the tense relationship between police and minority communities in many areas in this country. There are areas, however, where police and local communities are working together to try to improve police/minority relationships.

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The National Women's Equality Day Rally in San Jose, California

Posted by Angelo Lopez on November 19, 2015

On Saturday, August 30, 2015, I went to the first Women's Equality Day rally in San Jose, California. It was a fun time. I walked around and took photos and talked to various people about why they were there and how they hope women continue their fight for equal rights in all spheres of society. Many of them talk about how women's rights are intertwined with economic inequality issues, immigrant rights, African American rights and LGBT rights. A few emphasized that the fight for women's equality is liberating for men as well as women: men don't have to be trapped in traditional gender roles, and can be much more empathetic husbands and fathers.

There was an inspirational and informative talk by various women speakers in the early morning. Then at around 10 a.m. the group marched around downtown San Jose chanting and holding signs. When they passed by the Cathedral, the rally organizers asked the marchers to stay silent to respect the mass that was taking place that moment. Several cars honked their horns in support of women's rights. I was very inspired during the march.

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