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As millions of Americans prepare to celebrate the holiday season, retail stores across America are gearing up for their traditional Black Friday sales extravaganza’s. Shoppers have already begun lining up for sales in some locations like Best Buy nearly two weeks ahead of the somewhat infamous day. Traditionally, Black Friday has been held the day after Thanksgiving, but in recent years it has been creeping farther and farther into the Thanksgiving holiday with some stores open nearly all day on Thanksgiving.
The retail stores claim that their decision to open on Thanksgiving is due in large part to consumer demand, but there is an obvious “behind the scenes” competition between the Big-Box retailer’s to attract the most customers and gain the most profit during the sales events. Still, many are concerned about the fact that retailer’s seem to show very little or no concern for their employee’s or their families. In fact, in many cases, employee’s who are scheduled to work on Thanksgiving are being told that if they refuse, they face disciplinary action and may even risk losing their jobs as a result.
Thanksgiving is a National holiday. It has traditionally been a day set aside for families and friends to gather and spend time with one another, being thankful for all of the good things that they were blessed with throughout the year, and is capped off with a feast of turkey and dressing. However, as greedy merchants continue to encroach further and further into the holiday, some wonder if it will continue to exist within a few short years. There is also a great deal of concern about the Christmas holiday falling victim to that same greed-filled encroachment.
Stores like Wal-mart, Macy’s and Target, who claim to care about their employees and think of them as family, certainly do not display that caring nature by forcing them to work on a day of the year that has been set aside for family. Many consumers have chosen to boycott those stores who are open on holidays that, in a large majority of opinions, should be closed. Radio Shack was one of the stores that decided this year to join the small group of Thursday sales stores, but after receiving much negative feedback from their employees they decided against their original plans and chose to open much later in the day, allowing their employees the opportunity to spend the morning and afternoon with their families. Although I applaud Radio Shack’s decision to give their employees that time with their families, I still believe that they should remain closed throughout the entire day.
Employees work throughout the year for the employers of these giant retailers, making them tons of money, and in return they are forced to give up even more time with their families. Because many workers are scheduled to either work on Thanksgiving, or the very next morning, travel to a relatives house is almost certainly out of the question if that relative lives any real distance away. No longer is is customary to venture off to grandma’s house for her fabulous stuffing, or to an auntie’s for the mouthwatering pumpkin pie. No, now it appears to be far more important to make certain that the equally greedy and unthoughtful consumers who fight tooth and nail to get the best deals first are served with a halfhearted smile on behalf of the retailers.
As for the employees who would rather be at home with their families, they are not given such a choice in most cases. Many of the stores use what could only be construed as black mail to force their employees into submission. If an employee does not work their scheduled holiday hours, regardless of the reason why, they lose their holiday pay. For many families who are already barely getting by on the wages these employers pay, that holiday pay could mean the difference between Christmas gifts or doing without. A day that was originally intended to promote a feeling of thankfulness and goodwill has been twisted by these money-hungry merchants into a realistic nightmare before Christmas.
A solution to this problem might be found in allowing employees to choose whether or not they want to work on Thanksgiving rather than forcing them into working. Many of the employees who may not have plans for the holiday, or do not consider the Thanksgiving holiday important to them personally, might not mind working and making some extra cash. Companies could even offer extra incentives to entice those who may be on the fence about working the Black Thursday events in their stores. The point is, give those who would rather be at home with their families on Thanksgiving the option. It’s the right thing to do.
As the United States continues to be enthralled in hugely domestic issues like Immigration Reform, the Keystone XL Pipeline, and Net Neutrality, there is an ever increasing threat growing behind the former Iron Curtain that many Americans may not be aware of. Russia, that age old foe of capitalism and democracy, is growing in strength and International power. Not since the days when President John F. Kennedy sat behind the desk in the Oval Office, has Russian military advancement been so proliferate, and all while America seemingly sleeps.
With ever increasing tension between Russia and the West over Ukraine, Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu announced earlier this year that the Russian military was negotiating with eight governments from around the world; Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Algeria, Cyprus, the Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore, for access to military facilities, to enable it to extend its long-range naval and strategic bomber capabilities.
Already, during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Cuba in July of this year, Putin and Cuban officials reportedly reached a provisional agreement to reopen the signals intelligence facility in Lourdes, Cuba, south of Havana. “A framework agreement has been agreed,” an unnamed Russian source told Reuters. The Lourdes base was first opened in 1964 and was used to intercept communications in the U.S. and throughout the Western Hemisphere. Some estimate that as much as 50 percent of the radio-intercepted intelligence that the Soviet Union collected on the U.S. during the Cold War came from Lourdes. According to The Guardian, “the Lourdes facility was the Soviet Union’s largest foreign base, a mere 155 miles from the U.S. coast. It employed up to 3,000 military and intelligence personnel to intercept a wide array of American telephone and radio communications.”
Russian President, Vladimir Putin seems to have an agenda that involves rebuilding the former Soviet-era influence throughout much of Europe and assuring the success of that venture by strategically “boxing-in” the United States with Russia’s military might, while at the same time U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration’s continuously failing foreign policy is sending America’s international influence on a downward spiral. Where American strength abroad at one time instilled a healthy fear in her would-be adversaries, weak policy and lack of “carry through” on the part of the U.S. President in regard to threats made to Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2012 for his use of chemical weapons, as well as cut-backs made to weaken U.S. military strength have in fact emboldened our enemies.
Russia has been testing the resolve of the United States for many years now, but in recent months has significantly increased its level disregard for both the U.S. and NATO. Russia has repeatedly flown military aircraft very near or into restricted U.S. airspace multiple times in the past few years, with the most recent taking place in September of 2014 when two U.S. F-22 fighter jets intercepted two Russian IL-78 refueling tankers, two Russian Mig-31 fighter jets and two Russian Bear long-range bombers (Russian Bear aircraft are capable of carrying AS-15 “Kent” long-range cruise missiles designed to be fitted with nuclear warheads). According to an official at NORAD, as many as 50 Russian aircraft have been intercepted near restricted airspace by U.S. jets over the past five years. What is more concerning is the fact that analysis of the long-range bombers flight patterns indicated the aircraft were conducting practice runs to a pre-determined “launch box” — or an optimum point for firing nuclear-armed cruise missiles at U.S. targets.
Considering everything that Russia seems to be doing around the globe to gain power and influence, the question as to why now may come to mind. Why, after so many years of global stability have we seen a shift in the way Russia is acting? I believe that it can be summed up in just a few words: “Lack of credibility.”
We have a very serious weakness in this nation right now; a weakness of leadership. Barrack Obama showed weakness in Syria when he threatened action if Assad used chemical weapons but never followed through. He showed that same level of weakness toward Russia as they provided weapons to Assad’s forces in Syria this year. There is also the lackluster effect that U.S. sanctions have had against Russia over their support of separatists in Ukraine. Russia has dismissed Barack Obama’s attempts to bring economic sanctions directed toward energy and finance sectors and against those close to Putin, through executive order, as paltry at best. Russia is now capitalizing on the weakness that our current leadership has displayed countless times. It is also emboldened by the fact that the abilities and current combat readiness of our Armed Forces has been undermined and weakened by the current administration’s failed policies.
“If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for war.” – George Washington
As the Obama administration has basically dismantled the U.S. missile defense posture through a series of budget and policy changes carried out over a four year period between 2009 and 2013 that has largely gone unnoticed by the American public, a defense that had been in place to help the U.S. negotiate for arms control and global stability, just last week a Russian Senior Defense Ministry official, Gen. Yuri Yakubov, was quoted as saying that Russia’s 2010 military doctrine should be revised to identify the United States and the NATO alliance as enemies, and clearly outline the conditions for a preemptive nuclear strike against them.
In the event that Russian forces actually teamed up with the Chinese in an attempt to gain more control throughout the world, where would that leave the United States? Certainly not in a good place. It would be unlike anything seen since World War II. The age old adage about those not learning from the past being condemned to repeat it comes to mind. The U.S. is still trying to regain economic traction after suffering a major recession, coming out of two separate wars, and possibly being on the verge of entering into another conflict with ISIL. One thing is certain, we cannot attain or retain peace within our borders by showing the world weakness. Our military strength is what assures us our safety, and to deny that would be a very foolish mistake.
As Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” He also said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries“. True . . . well, except for the “elite” and those connected to Government. The Castro’s and Stalin’s of the world, always lived quite well.
Here’s a quote from the less-than-brainiac, Michael ‘the communist lover’ Moore: “Capitalism is against the things that we say we believe in – democracy, freedom of choice, fairness. It’s not about any of those things now. It’s about protecting the wealthy and legalizing greed.” Moore, who by the way, while verbally bashing and mashing capitalism, made a huge, big ole fortune off of the capitalist system. You can decide who the hypocrite is . . and the greedy fool.
I’m not going…
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I’d never heard of Raven-Symoné before, but I might become a fan. She’s an “actress, singer, comedian, dancer, television producer and model”. She is also wise beyond her years, possibly do to good parental upbringing.
While appearing on OWN with “the Oprah”, she said she didn’t like labels and wouldn’t label herself. This went so far as declining to refer to herself as “African-American”. I became her fan. But poor ole Oprah was aghast, to say the least.
This false term, “African-American” was created by Liberalism to make and create a ‘label’ to make “black Americans” feel more acceptable — to themselves. My first question would be, why? Skin tone is only skin deep and none of us had a thing to do with achieving it. We do have a responsible to have a good mental attitude about who we are and the gifts we’re given, but skin tone?
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