MY WISH LIST FOR THE NEW YEAR - 2016

Well, now that we have another 'Festivus' behind us, perhaps we can plan ahead and work on reducing the number of grievances that will come up in 2016. So here are issues I would like to see addressed in the coming year.

1) Old people start wars and young people fight them. How about we raise the age limit to who can soldier (putting life and limb in direct danger) to 45+. Realizing that would be the end of actual wars, we can take solace in the fact that there will always be plenty of new video war games for those die hard Chicken Hawks.

2) You can talk the talk but can you walk the walk? People against abortion can be put on the 'short list' for adoptions and foster care. That sort of takes care of two problems at once, making the busy bodies, ahh . . . busy bodies.

3) Volunteers at the ready? Climate change deniers can volunteer to man the pumps at coastal areas and on islands that are barely above sea level - and maybe buy up all the surplus heavy winter clothing left on the store racks so those businesses do not fail?!

4) This land is my land - this land is your land? All Americans have a stake in the natural resources of this country - so why not hit the rich corporations that exploit those resources with enough taxes to cover free education and health care for all of our citizens? The assets of the many should not be taken by the few. Of course that would bankrupt some of the polluters - talk about a win-win!

5) Defense contractors have never met a war they did not like. And they think "a mine is a terrible thing to waste". So along with Russia and China, we still manufacture and sell millions of land mines - even though 162 other countries have banned their production and use. Maybe we could mandate that the defense contractors focus more on producing festive fireworks and produce fewer death dealing firearms?

6) Maybe it is about time to go Portuguese? For 14 years in Portugal they have decriminalized the use of all drugs in that country and the result has been what we would like to see here in this country - a near zero rate of drug overdose, a huge drop in addiction, crime, HIV infection, etc. Which might still leave us with one serious drug issue involving authorities in this country - police 'roid-rage'. Not only have we been looking at the drug problem upside down, but we have neglected to hold accountable those who 'serve and protect' the public. There has been enough documentation of police officers involved in violent behavior due to their drug use (especially anabolic steroids: AKA 'roid-rage') to know we have just seen the tip of the iceberg on drug abuse by policemen. It is the police we should be testing for drug use!

7) If you are born anywhere in the Western Hemisphere you are an American - from Canada to Argentina. The less sophisticated and xenophobic see anyone that is not just like them as un-American (even in the USA!). This kind of thinking takes society backwards, so let us open up all the borders in this hemisphere - and as long as there are regulations supporting reciprocity in all countries, everyone in the Americas will have an opportunity to live and work where ever they want. Hey Americans - can you handle that much freedom of movement and choice?

8) Guns are now the leading cause of death and injury for children at the average rate of 48 shooting of a child every single day. Some may see this as an acceptable form of population control (NRA, anti-abortionists, politicians) - like capital punishment and wars. But consider this - we are the only advanced country in the world that licenses drivers and their vehicles - and demand that they be insured, but we let untrained idiots buy firearms without registration or insurance. The results of this lack of responsible and rational regulation is a level of carnage only seen in war torn countries - which sort of puts us in the same category as them? The only ones that benefit from this lack of regulations are those in the gun business, prison business, and politicians in the pockets of the first two. Hopefully in 2016 we will see some improvements in gun regulations that will slow down the distinct possibility of having gun violence as the #1 cause of violent death and injury for all ages in this country.