Last night justice was served. The Grand Jury in Missouri demonstrated once again that a jury of randomly selected private citizens could to look objectively at the facts and reach an unbiased decision. Over the past few years we have had several high profile cases where the verdict was not what the public expected or even wanted. These cases do not show a broken justice system. They demonstrate that the system is working as intended. Juries should not be swayed by raw emotions and threats of violence. They should only judge a case by the facts presented. This is exactly what happened here. It is a comfort to know that an overarching media that now seeks to shape the truth, rather than it’s intended purpose of simply reporting the truth, does not have the power to influence a verdict after all.
Darren Wilson’s no bill verdict does not only exonerate him, but his profession as well. So ingrained in the black community is the perception that young black men are gunned down with impunity by the police, that nothing short of a public lynching of a police officer will convince them that our justice system works. Factual evidence is ignored, replaced by conclusions only proven by emotion. The attorneys for Michael Brown’s parents fell that the verdict was not in their favor because of the way the evidence was presented, that the tone of voice and verbal inflections were what persuaded the jury rather than the preponderance of the evidence. Because Grand Jury proceedings are held in secret we cannot know what verbal nuances were used. But we can know how carefully placed emphasis and verbal inflections in the way the mainstream media reported this story, influenced public opinion against Darren Wilson. Black parents worry about what will happen to their children when they have an encounter with the police. The solution is to teach them not to engage in behaviors were they will have such encounters.
We hear so much about making the system fair and holding officers accountable. But who is holding young black men accountable? Where are the black leaders who are working to strengthen black families, and encourage young black men to take responsibility for the children they father? Where the politicians who are working to bring jobs and educational opportunities to black neighborhoods? Where are the rap artists, athletes and celebrities that condemn, theft, rape, drug addiction, and assault instead of glorifying it? Who is teaching black children the self reliance, self respect and respect for authority necessary to succeed in civil society?
It is a tragic truth that young black men are in danger. But that danger is more from other black men than by the police. No parent should have to live with that kind of worry, but the solution must begin at home.
Homophobe, Islamaphobe, intolerant, racist, bigot, woman-hater, backward, ignorant, redneck, cracker. If you are a white, Christian, Conservative, you have probably been called at least one of those words, or something worse. Here’s a word for those who are quick to throw out the aforementioned terms, hypocrite.
I don’t know about you, but I am getting weary with being told what I think and how I feel from people who have no idea who I am or what I stand for. People who are content to be told by the entertainment industry what to think, not how to think. People who are too quick to believe what they are told, by a media more concerned with pushing a social agenda, than seeking the truth.
I watch everyday, on the news, on the web, and I am astonished that people blame racism, and bigotry in all its forms when they are faced with the consequences of their behaviors. Common sense and civility have been driven from the public square, and I shake my head and wonder, at what point did the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment, become so twisted and perverted that it is now the instrument by which I am stripped of the very rights it was meant to preserve?
Conservatism has always been about protecting the rights of the individual. Every individual, no matter what your personal philosophy. In spite of the picture painted of us, Conservatism is about compassion and compromise, within a framework of self-determination and personal responsibility. It is clear now however, that the Progressive movement, in spite of the narrative pushed for it, is not about compromise, it is about control.
Every generation has it’s defining moments. Those events where you can remember where you were and what you were doing at that time. I can remember three such events during my lifetime, the moon landing, the Challenger explosion,… 9/ 11. I know we all have our recollections of that day. Here are mine.
We were stationed at RAF Lakenheath, in England at the time. There were two other bases nearby and we were living in the housing units just outside of one of those bases. The circular street, called a close, had about twenty-five, neat brick houses surrounded by a fence. It was just outside of the main gate of RAF Feltwell, just outside of a village with the same name.
“G” was taking his nap and I turned on the TV to CNN. It was nearly two o’clock in the afternoon. I watched what I thought was a report about a terrible airline accident. Then, live on the TV I watched as a second airliner circled around and crashed into the South Tower. As I sat transfixed watching the events unfold, it still hadn’t sunk in that this was a deliberate attack. Then came the crash at the Pentagon. I know at some point during this time I must have prayed. Prayers for the people at the Pentagon, prayers for the safety of my family and my husband’s family even though they were thousands of miles from New York and DC. And prayers for the people trapped inside a house of horrors as I watched through the TV screen as the South Tower collapsed. I knew life on base was about to get very complicated. My mind turned to some mundane thoughts. “Did I have enough milk and bread? What about diapers? Heaven forbid I run out of diapers.
It was just after three pm, school had just gotten out and “A” came rushing through the kitchen door. “Mom, I left my back pack on the play ground and we have to go back and get it.” “We’ll have to hurry before they lock the gates” I told her. “Why would they lock the gates? “ She asked, unaware of what had just happened. “I’ll tell you later.” I knew that any minute the base would be going into Threatcon Delta and if the base was locked down we might be stuck there for hours. I grabbed “G” and buckled him into his stroller, grabbed my purse and a couple of diapers, just in case. We ran a block to the street that separated the houses from the main gate of the base. As I showed the guard my ID, I asked him how long we had before he would be locking down. He gave me a strange look and said he wasn’t closing the gate. Obviously he didn’t know yet. We ran to the playground, found the backpack, then ran the couple of blocks back to the gate. We crossed the street just as the guard pulled the big iron gates, that would block vehicles from coming on to the base, closed with a loud clang.
Why did we have to run? Why did they close the gates? How do you tell an eight-year-old child that we are at war and maybe in danger? I had to be straightforward. “A” would not accept a half-truth. We sat down and watched as the events continued to unfold on the TV. Some people thought that it was wrong to let a child see the coverage. But I have never lied to my children even when the news might be hard to bear. The phone rang. It was the hubs calling to say he would be home late. “I know,” I said. Then hung up the phone. I know at sometime during the evening I called my family. Even though I knew they were fine, I need to hear it from them, and “A” needed to know that they were OK.
The next morning, the gates to our housing unit were locked. In front of the pedestrian gate where the kids would meet the lollipop lady that helped them across the road, was a Humvee with a .50 caliber machine gun on top. For the next three days we were locked in. Only the active duty military members were allowed in or out on their way to and from work. No school, and very little information about what we were supposed to do. This was new territory for us military spouses. Some kept their blinds closed, others kept their lights off after dark. The BX was closed, the Commissary was closed. After a few days the walls began to close in. We decided it was safe to let our kids play outside. Under the watchful eyes of the guard, we walked by the gate. There on the other side of the street in front of the entrance to the base was a mound of flowers. Our English neighbors showed their support in so many ways. The Queen even ordered that “The Star Spangled Banner” be played at the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. The only time another country has been so honored.
Slowly we settled in to what was now the “new normal”. The Humvee was replaced with a portable guard shack. The gates were open, but were filled with iron obstacles that resembled giant jacks. The kids having to show ID’s to the gate guard, the vehicle searches and the dogs became routine. As we once again returned to the villages we were often greeted with, “we’re so glad to see you out and about”. It wasn’t the greeting of shop owners, glad for the returning business; it was the kind of greeting you would give a friend who was finally outside after recovering from a serious illness.
The whole experience was surreal. As I went about my normal routine, it seemed somehow inappropriate to do so. After so many had lost their life, it seemed wrong to go to the market, to go out to eat or to the pub, or go to London to do some Christmas shopping. But carry on we did, because to do otherwise, was to let the terrorists win.
My most poignant memory of that time did not happen on 9/11 or the days following. It came several months later. “A” was learning patriotic songs in music class. In her backpack I found a paper the music teacher had given them, and this was what she had doodled on the page.
The patriotism, the pride, the tribute of an eight-year-old girl. There is hope for this country after all.
It has been a year since I first published this post, and now we face the very real threat of another attack inside our own borders. Our enemies are emboldened by an American President whose entire political career has been immersed in Liberal Progressive ideology. An ideology grounded on the belief that there is no such thing as true evil. Therefore, there are no principles worth fighting or dieing for. In spite of a tough sounding speech, I have very little confidence that Obama will have the will or the means to “degrade and destroy ISIL“. His use of the term ISIL instead of ISIS shows that he is willing to afford this group a measure of respect. In his speech he mentioned, once again, his imagined authority to act without Congress. This should worry every American citizen, because Congress is supposed to function as the representative of the people. Whenever Obama says he will act without the approval or coöperation of Congress, what he is really saying is that he will act without the approval or coöperation of the people. His reluctant conclusion that something must be done about ISIS is not seated in his love for the United States or its citizens, but for political expedience only. I still believe there is hope for this country, but we face some uncertain times ahead.
We are truly living in an upside-down world. Faith, family, patriotism, and self-reliance, were once the moral bedrock of our society. Now, people who live by those precepts are seen as weak-minded, or eyed with suspicion. People of faith, and Christians in particular, are seen as anti-education and anti-science. Unable to think for themselves, they turn to an invented superstition to make up their minds for them. Women who choose to become single mothers* are heralded as trend setters. They are heroines who are breaking down the fettered bonds of matrimony. While women who choose to make the sacrifices necessary to have a loving marriage and a two parent household are seen as ignorant and dependent. Husbands and fathers are gleefully portrayed as abusive tyrants, or bungling buffoons. Those who love our country and the Constitution, those who are willing to fight and die for the freedoms we have left, are seen as dangerous revolutionaries. Backward crackpots who are worthy of suspicion and avoidance. Living by the consequence of your choices used to be a basic understanding, taught from childhood, but now millions of us are willing to trade our hard-won freedoms for a government controlled lifestyle. Free from worry or want, we neither know nor care how our lifestyle is funded and we are satisfied with mere subsistence.
We didn’t get this way overnight. There has been a slow eroding ever since the Communist Manifesto was published back in 1848. It kicked into high gear when the Baby Boomers came of age. It seemed for a brief period in the eighties that we had beaten back the hippies, but it didn’t last long. Now under the progressive control of the current administration, it looks like the Liberal Progressive movement might finally claim victory.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. This quote, popularized by Karl Marx, doesn’t seem so wrong at a first look. After all, don’t those who have plenty have a moral obligation to help those in need? This would have made perfect sense to those living in early industrial Europe. Working class people who because of their social status, had no political power and were never truly allowed to prosper from their labor. Ironically, the Communist philosophy that sought to equal the field by eliminating private property and distributing it equally among everyone, could only work if that property and the division of labor were placed under the control of a limited number of individuals. These people would then dictate the balance of the labor force between manufacturing and agriculture. They would distribute resources as they saw fit. The Communist Manifesto that promised that every laborer would earn his subsistence from his labor, delivered only that. Everyone could survive, but no one, except those in control of the labor force, could prosper. The Proletariat would go from being controlled by the industrialists to being controlled by the government. This system of government that promised economic freedom, instead took all freedoms away.
In spite of the historically documented failure of Communism in every country where it has been tried, the Liberal Progressive still insists that governmental control produces a better standard of living than personal control. This is not what our Founding Fathers believed. The Founders sought to create a society where individuals controlled property and the government. There were no royalty, no titled gentry. Without government interference, every man was free to succeed, but he was also free to fail. In a free society, it is the risk of failure that compels the individual to better himself. The harder you work and the better you educate yourself, the lower the risk of failure becomes. To the liberal progressive, any risk of failure is unacceptable. It is better that no one prosper if it means that anyone might fail. Complete equity in the whole of society is the Liberal Progressive goal.
The most dangerous way this goal manifests itself is by the Liberal Progressive’s belief in moral relativity. There is no good or bad, no right or wrong. No lifestyle, personal choice, or belief system is better or worse than any other. The man who sits under a shade tree all day deserves his daily bread just as much as the man who toiled in the field all day to produce it. An Al Qaeda terrorist is just as much a freedom fighter as a Minuteman who fought in the American Revolution. Stealing from others is acceptable if they have more than you. The only evil the Liberal Progressive recognizes, is the discernment of evil. This is how a terrorist attack on an American military base can be called an act of workplace violence. It’s how Israel can be criticized for the heavy-handed defense of their country, while the brutal acts of the Palestinians against the Israelis, and even their own people, are ignored. It’s how a police officer can be labeled a racist murder with no evidence proving that is the case, while a young man, who moments before his death was robbing a convenience store, is lauded as a hero. It’s how an unborn child can be regarded as a parasite in its mother’s womb, and how mankind at large can be regarded as a parasite on the earth. It is this defective moral compass, that compels the President, a man steeped in Liberal Progressive ideology, practically from birth, to travel the world apologizing for the country he is supposed to lead. So warped is his thinking, that he truly believes that Islāmic terrorists are not evil, just misunderstood.
Perhaps the only truthful words uttered by this man, were his campaign promise to “Fundamentally change America”. It’s frightening how much he, and the Liberal Progressives have succeeded.
*This passage is not meant to include women who were abandoned, widowed, or escaping abusive situations.
School has started once again and now comes the pile of forms to be signed. Every year, my child brings home something called the “student, teacher, administrator, parent compact”. This pointless exercise in political correctness has a section where the administrator, the teacher and the student basically pledge to make the school a safe, respectful learning environment. These are not bad objectives, but it is silly to have students, parents, and teachers sign a nonbinding agreement. Here is this asinine waste of paper for your viewing pleasure.
There is a section of this compact where there is a list of things that I, as a parent of a student, pledge to do. I do not disagree with what the compact contains, but I do find it particularly insulting that the school board feels it has to remind me what my duties as a parent are.
Signing this paper is supposedly voluntary, but in the past, my child was denied a locker until he brought back the form. When I pointed out to the teacher that it stated on the form that it was voluntary, she said that she did not have the authority to make an exception and would take it up with the guidance councilor. Apparently the guidance councilor didn’t have the authority to apply what was written on the form either, and it took about two weeks before the principle called me and agreed that my child could have a locker. By then, all the lockers had been assigned.
If the school district is going to require us to sign a paper like this, it should be to explain what the school promises to do for the students and parents, rather than the emphasis being the other way around. Here’s what I would like to see this compact contain:
That the administrators promise to:
• Weigh the input of parents highly when making policy decisions, and choosing curriculum
• Recognize the parent as the final authority in decisions about what is best for a student.
• Understand that the school exists to meet the needs of the families it serves, not the other way around.
• To support teachers in their efforts to educate students by giving them the resources necessary to do the job, and by not burdening them with needless programs and procedures that may seem novel and innovative, but reduce the amount of time the teacher has to actually teach.
That the teachers promise to:
• Communicate regularly with the parents.
• Make themselves available in the classroom to answer questions.
• Suggest helpful resources for struggling students.
• Make sure that all students, who put forth the effort, understand the subject matter before moving on to the next thing.
The parents promise to:
• Communicate regularly with the student’s teachers.
• Pay attention to the educational materials and curriculum provided to the student.
• Be an advocate for their student to insure that the school system meets the individual needs of the student.
• Encourage the student to take advantage of tutoring, and other help offered by the school.
The students promise to:
• Respect the persons and property of other students.
• Respect the authority of the teachers and school officials.
• Ask questions when they don’t understand.
• Be prepared with the proper supplies.
• Discuss disagreements with school rules with their parents, then together approach school officials about it rather than simply breaking the rule in protest.
This Memorial Day amid all the boat filled lakes, bikini filled beaches and back yard barbecues, many of us will take the time to stop and reflect on what this day is really about. We’ll pause and remember the courage and sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price to preserve the rights and liberty this country enjoys. Rights it seems, that many in this country are willing to just throw away.
We like to plaster bumper stickers on our cars, and sport t-shirts proclaiming, “Support our Troops”. But are we making a real effort to support them? The VA hospital scandal, and the whittling away of our Veterans benefits are truly appalling. However, there is another way that many Americans have dishonored our Vets that maybe we have never considered.
When men and women join the military they take an oath. Not an oath to protect our government, an oath to protect and defend The Constitution of the United States of America. When we treat The Constitution as a “living” document, to be interpreted at whim, we reject the spirit of that oath. When we elect to office, people of questionable integrity, people who care more about their own power and glory than serving their constituents, we tell our Warriors that we do not care about the document they are sworn to defend. When, either through ignorance or indifference we elect government officials whose goal it is to turn our Capitalist, Republic into a Socialist Commune, we tell our military members that their sacrifices were in vain.
As citizens of this country, we all have an obligation to learn about our history, our Founders, and our Founding Documents. We have a responsibly to make wise and informed choices when we vote. And we have a sacred duty to only put into office those individuals who will truly “uphold and defend” The Constitution of the United States of America. To do less is to make the deaths of our bravest, and brightest meaningless.
“We stand for freedom, for our rights, for social independence, for democracy, for freedom of speech, for everything, for a normal life,” she told The Associated Press from her hospital bed in Kiev. Excerpt from interview with Olesya Zhukovska
The words of this young woman, an ordinary Ukrainian citizen, a paramedic, should strike a chord with every American. They should give us pause, to stop and think about how precious these rights are. Right now in the Ukraine everyday people, most of them young, and middle class, are willing to die for them. I’ve listened to and read the interviews of these courageous people. I am amazed, and shamed by them. Amazed at their bravery and tenacity, shamed that they are willing to die for what we take for granted.
Sadly, we don’t just take these rights, rights protected by the Constitution, for granted, we are actually begging for them to be taken away. We ask the federal government to take away our sovereign right to bear arms. We look the other way when the FCC wants to monitor our newsrooms. We allow the IRS, a bureaucracy created to impose taxes on us, to dictate our health care. Is there any logic to that? We are happy to trade our personal freedom for a life free from worry or want. Let the government take care of us, just so long as we do not have to assume responsibility for our own lives. We willingly elect to office men and women more interested in increasing their own power and pocketbooks than meeting the needs of their constituencies. If we go to the polls at all, we choose candidates whose names we recognize, who are the best looking, the person our mother told us to vote for, or someone promising more free stuff. We are gullible and believe pretty speeches. We don’t expect our press to thoroughly vet our candidates and we don’t demand excellence from our leaders. We settle for men and women of lesser integrity lest we have to look too deeply at ourselves.
Meanwhile, half a world away there are those who are prepared to die for what we are happily throwing away. The very rights that generations of our own young men (and women, too) have fought and died to preserve. The rights that our Founders painstakingly preserved in our Constitution, that we might be a shining example of what a nation can become when its people are free. The kind of nation that the Ukrainian protesters are trying to create for themselves.
Yes, we should be ashamed
The recent trials of Curtis Reeves and Michael Dunn are sure to add fuel to the arguments for the increased need for more gun regulations. Reeves is on trial for the murder of Chad Oulson. Reeves had repeatedly asked Oulson to quit texting during the previews for the movie, Lone Survivor. He even went so far as to report the texting to the theater manager. Oulson, tired of being harassed by Reeves, picked up Reeves popcorn and threw it at him. Reeves then lost his cool, or panicked, or both, then took out his gun and shot Oulson.
Michael Dunn, is on trial for killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn was at a gas station in Jacksonville, FL and asked a group of teens in an SUV to turn down their music. After the teens castigated Dunn with a barrage of threats and profanities, Dunn claims he saw a weapon in the SUV (no evidence of which was ever found) so he fired several rounds at the vehicle, presumably in self-defense.
It is easy to blame these murders on an angry racist subset of society, with too easy access to firearms. But that only gives us an excuse not to look deeper. The uncomfortable truth, one that most of us are guilty of, is that as a society, we have lost our sense of civility. We have forgotten that good manners are not something that we demand to be bestowed upon us, but rather something we bestow upon other people. It used to be an automatic attitude, drilled into us as children, that in order to live peaceably with others we sometimes had to endure some inconvenience and discomfort. We took our unruly children outside the restaurant or theater; we made our calls and answered our beepers outside or in the lobby. Even though we might be tired, we offered our seats to the elderly and handicapped. We didn’t push to the front of lines, or cuss out store clerks. As children we were taught to respect our elders and those in authority. We said please, thank you and excuse me, because it was how people with a good upbringing behaved. Not because they were “magic” words we could use to get our way. We recognized that driving was a privilege not a right. We didn’t tailgate, cut people off, run red lights, or poach parking spaces on purpose.
We were also taught how to control our temper. We learned early that a tantrum would not get us toys or candy, but it might get us a spanking. Punching walls throwing things or otherwise destroying property wasn’t tolerated either. We were taught to try to find polite solutions to the people or activities that irritated us and if no polite solution was found, to remove ourselves from them.
Our homes, our schools, our churches and even the TV shows we watched, all taught us that everyone had rights. No one’s rights were more important than anyone else’s and those rights were to be respected. Sadly, not anymore.
Today’s gadget driven society feeds our egocentricity. We can be out in public without actually interacting with anyone. We have superficial conversations with friends, family, and even complete strangers, while ignoring the people right in front of us. We can hide in the apparent anonymity of a Face Book post or Twitter feed, and never have to really see the results of our words. We can blame guns, we can blame racism, we can buy into the ideal that we need more laws and stronger laws to protect us from each other. What we really need to do is some soul-searching, both individually and as a society. We need to ask ourselves how many more people have to die a senseless death before we recognize that our society is morally sick. It’s the kind of sickness that happens when people ignore the needs of their souls. It’s a sickness that no law, no government program can fix. It’s something we must recognize and heal ourselves.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 880 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 15 trips to carry that many people.
Today, as I was on my way to drop off the old “Silver Toilet” for an oil change, I turned on the radio and was subjected to this little gem here.
So this is not about spending. And this isn’t about fiscal responsibility. This whole thing is about one thing: the Republican obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act and denying affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. (Applause.) That’s all this has become about. That seems to be the only thing that unites the Republican Party these days.
Through this whole fight, they’ve said the American people don’t want Obamacare, so we should shut down the government to repeal it or delay it. But here’s the problem: The government is now shut down, but the Affordable Care Act is still open for business. (Applause.) So they’re not even accomplishing what they say they want to accomplish. And, by the way, in the first two days since the new marketplaces — basically big group plans that we’ve set up — the first two days that they opened, websites where you can compare and purchase new affordable insurance plans and maybe get tax credits to reduce your costs, millions of Americans have made it clear they do want health insurance. (Applause.)
More than 6 million people visited the website HealthCare.gov the day it opened. Nearly 200,000 people picked up the phone and called the call center. In Kentucky alone — this is a state where — I didn’t win Kentucky. (Laughter.) So I know they weren’t doing it for me. In Kentucky, nearly 11,000 people applied for new insurance plans in the first two days — just in one state, Kentucky. And many Americans are finding out when they go on the website that they’ll save a lot of money or get health insurance for the first time.
So I would think that if, in fact, this was going to be such a disaster that the Republicans say it’s going to be, that it was going to be so unpopular, they wouldn’t have to shut down the government. They could wait, nobody would show any interest, there would be, like, two people on the website — (laughter) — and everybody would then vote for candidates who want to repeal it.
Remarks by the President on the Government Shutdown
M. Luis Construction Company, Rockville, Maryland
The arrogance was just too much to take. I shouted out loud “of course the website was flooded!” “We have no choice, it’s the law!” Surely Obama isn’t so narcissistic that he actually believes that people are flocking to the website in droves because they love him and his policies; not because he has forced them to comply by fining them with a tax penalty of they don’t. No, wait, he is. Like Sally Field accepting her Oscar, Obama gushes every time he looks in the mirror, ” you love me, you really love me.” I had to turn the radio off, I couldn’t stomach any more. Every day we are subjected to the propaganda, the soft ball interviews and outright lies of this administration, and no one, steps up to call them on it. It is beyond frustrating, and more and more it seems like we are powerless to stop it.
I keep asking myself, where are the Republicans?, Where are the people I hired by my vote to represent me? Why is there not a televised rebuttal every time Obama opens his mouth? The Republican party has taken the common sense of the American people for granted. They just assume that the masses are smart enough to see through all the lies and deception. Well, apparently they are not, after all they reelected the most miserable excuse for a leader this country has ever known, to a second term. The GOP needs to start striking back, they should have started months ago. Every speech Obama gives needs to be followed by a Republican press conference, pointing out each lie and fallacy one by one. Since we can no longer count on the mainstream media to educate the masses, the Republicans need to fill the airwaves with short PSA type commercials. Short spots of airtime, such as PJ Media‘s Afterburner, that extol the benefits of conservatism on society and highlight the perils of Obama’s Socialism.
The GOP needs to embrace its new blood, the Ted Cruzes and Rand Pauls and other’s of their ilk need to be endorsed and encouraged, not stabbed in the back by their own. The American people are hungry for representatives who will challenge the status quo, and speak for us, not speak down to us. 2014 is closing in. The Republican party does not have the luxury of time. This is indeed our most desperate hour.