Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Bowe Bergdahl and the Subsequent Silence From America

The ebb and flow of political discussions and the passionate disagreement on issues between good people with sincerely held and diametrically opposed beliefs on what is best for our nation is an intrinsic and vital part of our nation’s life blood.  That said, there are a few issues that should unite nearly all Americans in their support or scorn, as the situation warrants.  Such is my humble opinion. 

One of those “should-be” uniting issues is the disposition of military traitors. 

Last Friday, November 3rd, with little fanfare or even public acknowledgment, it was announced that military judge Colonel Jeffrey R. Nance decided that former Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl would be released from custody without having to serve any prison time at the conclusion of his court martial.  He would be stripped of his rank back to private (the lowest Army rank) and given a dishonorable discharge. 

Bowe Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after abandoning his outpost in Afghanistan in 2009; charges to which he pleaded guilty.  He then asked that his court martial be adjudicated by the judge alone rather than by a military jury.  I am sure this was done as a smart legal calculation by his lawyer, as a sitting jury comprised of his military comrades would probably be less inclined to provide a favorable outcome for Bergdahl.  Evidently this legal gambit worked.

Leading up to his court martial, military investigators found that Bergdahl willfully and with intention walked away from his unit. His actions were planned and premeditated. One soldier in his unit said that Bergdahl mailed his belongings back home to his parents before deserting. Further, Bergdahl sent an e-mail back to his parents saying that he was ashamed to be an American.

Bergdahl has said he abandoned his post because he wanted to travel to a larger base to report "a critical problem in my chain of command," though he did not specify what the problem was.  As a result of his deserting his unit, he was subsequently captured by the Taliban and remained in their custody for nearly five years.

Capt. John Billings was Bergdahl's platoon leader in Afghanistan and stated that the platoon initially searched for the then-private first class for 19 days, going nearly without food or water during the time of the search.  Retired Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer James Hatch testified that he and his dog came under fire while looking for Bergdahl. He was shot in the leg, and his K-9 partner, Remco, was shot in the face and killed.  "I thought I was dead," said Hatch, who now walks with a heavy limp after 18 surgeries. He said he was concerned because there was little time to plan the search for Bergdahl, and other soldiers knew he had willfully walked away.

Sadly there are some extreme leftists in America that have embraced Bergdahl’s weak explanation that he only meant to stroll through a dozen miles or so of hostile territory to the next military base in order that he could report on conditions in his own unit, which PFC Bergdahl found to be not to his liking.  Indeed there is even some evidence to suggest that Bergdahl intended to go over to the enemy, whom he had expected to welcome him.

Now Bergdahl was not some hapless kid whom was unwillingly drafted into the Army.  He volunteered, as do all of our current military members.  He took an oath and subsequently violated it in the worst possible way.  The crime of deserting your post in a tactical combat zone is the worst offense a soldier could commit, short of turning your own weapon against your comrades.  Even had no one been wounded or killed in the efforts to find and retrieve Bergdahl, he betrayed a most fundamental trust and thus endangered those who counted on him to do his part in their mutual defense.

Perhaps even more disturbingly, President Obama decided in May of 2014 to reportedly give up cash and to swap five terrorists in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay in exchange with the Taliban for Bowe Bergdahl.  This was not a POW exchange, as the military knew Bergdahl willingly walked away from his post, and therefore had classified him as a deserter and not as a prisoner of war accordingly. 
President Obama surely knew these circumstances when he arranged for the swap, and yet he decided to put further American lives at risk by trading these vile terrorists in exchange for the traitorous Bergdahl.  When asked about the wisdom of releasing these terrorists, Obama stated in a press conference, “Is there the possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely.  There’s a certain recidivism rate that takes place.” 

One has to wonder who showed the worse judgement in critical thinking: Bowe Bergdahl or President Obama.  The fact that Obama invited Bergdahl’s parents to the White House for a public ceremony celebrating Bergdahl’s release only served to further disrespect Americans and the military members that Bergdahl abandoned, endangered, and even got killed through his treacherous actions.

Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, died when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with a roadside bomb and a rocket-propelled grenade. Private First Class Matthew Martinek, 20, died a week later from wounds sustained in the same attack. The parents of both Andrews and Martinek told Reuters that they believe their sons died searching for Bergdahl, saying they were told this by other soldiers in the platoon.

Desertion in a combat theater during war time used to be grounds for the death penalty.  Indeed Bergdahl’s actions condemned far better men to injury and death as they searched for him.  The prosecution in Bergdahl’s court martial asked for 14 years imprisonment for the traitor instead, while he could have conceivably received a term of life in prison.  Instead, Colonel Nance inexplicably excused the actions of the traitorous Bergdahl with little more than a slap on the wrist.

Bergdahl “suffered enough” according to his lawyer.  "As everyone knows, he was a captive of the Taliban for nearly five years, and three more years have elapsed while the legal process unfolded. He has lost nearly a decade of his life" Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl's civilian attorney, said at a news conference after the proceedings.  And yet Chief Petty Officer Hatch will walk with a limp for the remainder of his life, while Second Lieutenant Andrews and PFC Martinek will never come home as a result of their search to find and secure Bowe Bergdahl.  One wonders if they and their families have suffered enough too.

The bottom line is that we must hold those that commit the most despicable acts accountable for their traitorous actions, especially in combat theaters.  “Chelsea” Manning and Bowe Bergdahl are now free to happily ever after live their pathetically dishonorable lives after committing such horrific acts of treason.  President Obama further exacerbated the situation by trading five Taliban commanders, who almost surely returned to the battle field against Americans, in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl. 

This should infuriate all Americans, as much as it angers and causes great disillusionment among those military men and women that have vowed to protect us and our nation; that have looked beyond themselves in their sacrifices of protecting something far greater.  When there is little consequence to those that commit such treason, it dishonors those that willingly put themselves in harm’s way.  It serves to only further undermine military morale and discipline.  It weakens our nation.  This is something that all Americans, regardless of our political ideologies, should agree upon.  It is something that should make all of us exceptionally angry.

Ironically, this travesty of injustice continues.

After last Friday’s announcement that Bergdahl would spend no prison time for his traitorous actions, for which he pleaded guilty, his lawyer stated that they now plan on appealing Bergdahl’s dishonorable discharge. 

Fury is too trifling a word to capture what all Americans should be feeling.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Simon Sinek on Millenials and Why They Don't Succeed

My wife and I have had many discussions lately regarding Millennials, especially considering that we have six kids between us that fall into that generation.

For the sake of clarity I want to define the Millennial group of which I speak as the generation of people largely being born between approximately 1982 and 1997, give or take.  You know who they are.  They are the often times impatient, entitled, and lazy generation that largely grew up this way through no real fault of their own.

As a disclaimer, of course not everyone born to this generation exhibits these same characteristics, including most of my kids, but on the whole this does seem to encompass a majority of them.  Further, even the Millennial generation themselves know and understand this.

My wife teaches at the local college here and recently asked what the perception of the Millennial generation was to her Millennial-filled class.  Their responses were very interesting and confirmed even by their own admissions the negative perceptions that most folks have of a generation that is unfocused, lazy, entitled, and demanding of instant gratification.

Simon Sinek is a motivational speaker and he spoke on the topic of Millennials in his presentation entitled, "This is why you don't SUCCEED!".  He brought some interesting insights as to the perceptions, causes, and possible solutions to help the Millennial generation overcome the negative stereotypical perceptions that many older generations have of them.  I found the video to be quite interesting accordingly.

Mr. Sinek in particular lists four main reasons why many Millennials behave as they do:

1. Their parents had bad parenting strategies in raising them.  This is very true of the "participation trophy" and build the artificial self esteem strategies of the Millenials' parents.  

2.  An overwhelming obsession with technology and social media.  This is true, as when one wanders out in public, seldom do you see a Millennial not walking with his or her eyes glued to their phone.  Their relationships are typically shallow and superficial as they look to see how many followers and "likes" they have as a means of determining their self worth and social value.

3. Impatience.  Most Millennials have been raised to believe that they can do anything and that they should expect it without hesitation accordingly.  They thus don't want to have to work hard and pay their dues over time to reach a given summit.  They live in a world where instant gratification is required, otherwise, they are likely to turn elsewhere for easier temporary fulfillment, even in personal relationships.

4. Environment.  I am not sure I buy this point of Mr. Sinek's as much, but even our corporate environments cause Millennials to be discouraged as they feel they are not making a difference in their jobs.

Now I know many Millennials that do not fall into the stereotypical generation's characteristics.  Indeed, most of the Millennials that do exhibit the typical characteristics for which their generation are often known, do so through no fault of their own, at leaset initially.  Perhaps though, we can help correct some of these negative characteristics as a society by helping the Millennials in our lives to reflect with some deeper introspection as to why they do as they do so that they might understand how to change things for the better, if they wish.  

It is something my wife and I do with our own grown Millennial kids now, and she does with her college students.  The Millennial generation has unbound talent and ideas to offer.  It is our job as parents and teachers to try and help them do so.  Mr. Sinek's presentation is a good way to start this conversation.

Friday, October 6, 2017

30 Days at Sea Timelapsed

I wished to finish this week off on a good note with something other than politics. 

That said, I ran across this video which I thought was rather fascinating.  It is a compilation of over 80,000 time-lapsed photos taken over the course of 30 days that shows a cargo ship's traveling from Sri Lanka to Singapore to Hong Kong and the oceans it crosses in between. 

I particularly enjoyed the scenes of the sky at night way out on the open ocean away from all land and lights that pollute the night sky.  There is nothing more spectacular than seeing the milky way out on a ship thousands of miles from anywhere.  It truly does make one feel like such an infinitesimally small part in God's amazingly beautiful tapestry of creation as you see the night sky with the myriad stars He breathed into being while feeling the ever-so-gentle rocking of the ship as it momentarily parts the ocean waves to allow one to traverse across its vastness.  It truly is an experience like no other. 

If you ever have the opportunity to travel on the open ocean on a ship, I would highly recommend that you take advantage of it at least one time in your life.  And DO sit out on the deck at night and look up at the sky.  You will be changed at least a little bit by having done so!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Michael Moore's Latest Idea on Repealing and Replacing the 2nd Amendment

Today I came across this sadly bemusing article regarding Leftist film maker Michael Moore's latest idea.  Of course he misses the entire purpose of why our founders insisted that citizens must have the right to keep and bear arms, and it has nothing to do with sport or hunting.  I suppose it would have been more astonishing if he had understood that fact.  

What is truly sad is that there will be quite a few people that will look at his misguided ideas and think this newly proposed constitutional amendment of his is a really good idea. 

Never mind that most of his ideas will do nothing to change the number of deaths by gun violence, but in many cases will actually exacerbate the problem.  Indeed, many of the cities with the worst gun violence in the nation also have the strictest gun control laws.  I give you Chicago as an excellent case in point, as it leads the nation in gun deaths yet again this year.

Evidently these good folks are still of the mind that evil can be controlled via legislation.  Many of these well-meaning folks are the same ones that insist that we should not judge all Muslims by the terrorist acts committed by a small percentage of those that they claim have perverted Islam.  As far as that argument goes, they are absolutely correct.  One would simply ask that this same courtesy be given to lawful gun owners to not be judged by the actions of the few psychopaths that use guns to commit evil acts.  I won't hold my breath on this.

Regardless, here is the article from The Blaze by Dave Urbanski:

Michael Moore proposes change to Constitution that ‘repeals the ancient and outdated 2nd Amendment’

In the wake of the deadly Las Vegas mass shooting Sunday night, Moore proposed a 28th amendment to the United States Constitution that “repeals the ancient and outdated 2nd Amendment.”
He began his lengthy Facebook post with the following preamble:
“A well regulated State National Guard, being helpful to the safety and security of a State in times of need, along with the strictly regulated right of the people to keep and bear a limited number of non-automatic Arms for sport and hunting, with respect to the primary right of all people to be free from gun violence, this shall not be infringed.”
Moore — noting the Second Amendment was “written before bullets and revolvers were even invented” — said his proposed amendment “guarantees States can have State militias (a.k.a. State National Guards which are made up of citizen-soldiers who are called upon in times of natural disasters or other State emergencies), allows individuals to use guns for sport and gathering food, and guarantees everyone the right to be free of, and protected from, gun violence (i.e., the public’s safety comes ahead of an individual’s right to own and fire a gun).” 
Continue reading...

 At the end of the day, we have a God given right, and I would argue a duty, to protect innocent lives from evil as best we are able.  By disarming law abiding Americans in contradiction to our Bill of Rights and indeed by natural law's right to self preservation, Michael Moore and those that support his wrong-headed idea are creating far more problems than they ever hoped to solve.

As I am already a "life member" of the NRA, I think I will head off to their web site and make a donation in honor of Michael Moore simply to try and curb what little I can of the damage his foolish notion does with regards to his influencing the uninformed and ignorant in our country.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Kaepernick Contagion: Fighting Racism the Wrong Way

Growing up in the great Pacific Northwest in what was then the rural country suburbs of Portland, Oregon, I found myself cheering for the Portland Trailblazers, including the amazing underdog team anchored by Maurice Lucas and Bill Walton that beat Dr. J and the Philadelphia 76’s in 1977 to win the NBA championship.

When the Seattle Seahawks first came into the NFL the previous year in 1976, I was excited that there was a team that was sort of “local” that I could finally cheer for besides the great Steelers teams of the 70’s.  And cheer I did, usually with little reward for the effort.  Nonetheless, Zorn, Largent, and a handful of other folks became players whom I admired over the years.

I spent a lot of years – hard and disappointing years – of desperate and sometimes pathetic seasons cheering for my Seahawks to even make the playoffs.  It got to the point that if the Seahawks beat the hated Raiders, then it was a successful season, regardless of what their win/loss record ended up being at season’s end.

Needless to say, 2013 ended up being a horrible year for me.  I lost my wife of 22 years that year and everything seemed dark and despairing for me.  And yet, a reprieve from the darkness started 2014 as my long-suffering Seahawks finally went to Super Bowl XLVIII to play the Denver Broncos.  I know it seems silly, but it was almost as if my wife had pulled Jesus aside in heaven and asked if He could help me out a bit as I needed something to smile about then.  Whether Jesus helped or not, my Seahawks trounced the hapless Broncos 43 to 8 that Sunday and smile from ear to ear I definitely did!

It is amazing what changes four years will bring.  This last Sunday, my Seahawks took the field in Nashville to play the Tennessee Titans, but they decided to take the field after the finish of the national anthem was played.  So did the Titans.  I am, needless to say, embarrassed to be a Seahawks fan today.

This nonsense all started last year when San Francisco 49'ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided he wanted to make a statement against racism and oppression by kneeling when our national anthem was played instead of standing as a sign of respect for our nation.

Now I absolutely agree that Mr. Kaepernick has every right to his free speech, just like we all do. Further, if his coach and employer in the NFL do not forbid his protest, he is even free to take a knee as The Star Spangled Banner plays as he gets ready to do his JOB.  That said, he and the hundreds of other NFL players and other professional sports athletes that now seem to be following suit, should not be mistaken in their protests.

The flag doesn’t represent a skin color.  It doesn’t represent liberals or conservatives.  It doesn’t represent men or women.  It doesn’t represent gay or straight people.  It doesn’t represent people of faith or atheists.  It represents all of us: We the People of the United States of America.

Many people of all colors, political ideologies, and beliefs have died so that Mr. Kaepernick and hundreds of other millionaire pampered athletes can take a knee in protest over the country that allows them this right to free speech in this “racist and oppressive nation.”

Do we have issues of racism and hate today in America?  Sadly yes.  But if this protest that was started by Mr. Kaepernick was simply meant as a means to start a discussion on racism and oppression, then he and his fellow athletic supporters, just missed the boat.

President Trump once again, while correct in principle, could not state his opinion in a statesman-like and dignified manner when he tweeted out obscenities at these athletes.  Instead of taking the high road, now that the media and world attention were clearly focused on this event, the Kaepernick clan chose instead to make this about President Trump instead of their professed cause.  President Trump punked them, it would seem.

There are plenty of ways for Mr. Kaepernick and for any famous athlete to make a national case for this important cause besides showing disrespect to the nation and those that died protecting it.  While that may engender some support from Leftist fringes, it will not serve their truly important cause well with the majority of Americans.  It will only serve to further divide an already turbulent nation.

I am fairly certain, that NFL game attendance and TV viewership will suffer as this trend continues. An overwhelming majority of Americans are good and decent people.  They are compassionate and abhor racism as greatly as I do, and would be otherwise sympathetic to Colin Kaepernick’s cause, if he had chosen to present it in a better way.  He might have persuaded them to rally behind him in this discussion.  By doing what he did though, he has disrespected the country and those millions of Americans past and present that have dedicated their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in protecting it.

I have a football with the Seahawks' logo on it that is signed by “#3 Russell Wilson, SB XLVIII Champs” sitting in a glass case on my desk in my office.  My brother had connections and asked if Wilson could sign that for me after their amazing win.  It is a possession that I have cherished since that historic Seahawks' win.

Today, I am thinking about putting it away and out of sight in my closet.

One wonders, if this continues, whether many Americans will do the same with the NFL.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Voter Fraud and It's Ramifications

Many folks among the fringe Left have long propagated the myth that there is virtually no voter fraud in this nation.  Further, there has long been a cry that there is an attempt to suppress "undesirable" people from voting by some Republican sources in an attempt to solve this "mythical voter fraud" issue.  

The claim is that there are many racist Republicans who are simply trying to prevent Hispanic and Black people from voting, especially since demographically they tend to vote more often for Democrats and progressive programs.

While I absolutely stand in solidarity with folks who insist polling places should be consistent in their placement, accessibility, and hours of operation for every polling station across the nation, I further think that requiring positive proof of eligibility to vote should also be mandatory.  In this day and age, this is certainly not the hardship for most people that some would lead us to believe.  After all, if we are concerned about foreign influence in our elections and keeping elections fair, shouldn't we ensure that ONLY U.S. citizens legally authorized to vote in a given state and jurisdiction are the ones that are actually voting?  

Despite the outcry from some folks that seemingly have a lot more to lose by ensuring fair elections occur without voter fraud, President Trump established a commission to look into this serious issue. And it is a very serious issue as the Pew Center for the States 2012 Study indicates.  It found that there were 24 MILLION voter registries that were inaccurate, duplicates, or out of date.  Further it found that 2.8 million people are registered to vote in two or more states.  It also confirms that there are 1.8 million deceased people which are still registered to vote.  

The Daily Signal's Hans von Spakovsky wrote an excellent article about the second resultant meeting on September 12 of President Trump' Advisory Commission on Election Integrity which occurred in New Hampshire.  Of course the Leftist mainstream media either ignored the findings of this commission or declared them a sham.  

I am not surprised; however, objective voters should indeed be very concerned with some of the findings.  Read Mr. von Spakovsky's article for more details.

As Evidence of Election Fraud Emerges, the Media Wants to Keep You in the Dark
If you have no idea what happened at the second meeting of President Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in New Hampshire on Sept. 12, I’m not surprised.
Though a horde of reporters attended the meeting, almost all of the media stories that emerged from it simply repeated the progressive left’s mantra that the commission is a “sham.”
Almost no one covered the substantive and very concerning testimony of 10 expert witnesses on the problems that exist in our voter registration and election system.
The witnesses included academics, election lawyers, state election officials, data analysts, software experts, and computer scientists.
The existing and potential problems they exposed would give any American with any common sense and any concern for our democratic process cause for alarm.
The first panel included Andrew Smith of the University of New Hampshire, Kimball Brace of Election Data Services Inc., and John Lott. They testified about historical election turnout statistics and the effects of election integrity issues on voter confidence.
Lott also testified that his statistical analyses show that contrary to the narrative myth pushed by some, voter ID does not depress voter turnout. In fact, there is some evidence that it may increase turnout because it increases public confidence in elections.
Read more here...

Specifically from the article, von Spakovsky reported that the Speaker of the House for New Hampshire  referenced a recent report stating,

"...over 6,500 individuals in 2016 used an out-of-state driver’s license to take advantage of New Hampshire’s same-day registration law to register and vote on Election Day.
Despite a law that requires an individual with an out-of-state license to obtain a New Hampshire license within 60 days of establishing residency in the state, only 15.5 percent have done so.
Many have tried to explain this away be saying those voters must all have been college students living in New Hampshire. Perhaps that is true.
But it may also be true that voters from Massachusetts and other surrounding states decided to take advantage of New Hampshire’s law to cross the border and vote in a presidential and Senate race, which were decided by only 3,000 and 1,000 voters, respectively."

So let me put this into perspective.  Republican Kelly Ayotte lost her U.S. Senate seat to Democrat Maggie Hassan by 1,017 votes, when there is an appearance that, in a worst case scenario, as many as 6,500 individuals may have fraudulently voted in the general election.   Even if only a sixth of those same-day registries were fraudulent, that still is more than enough to sway the outcome of the election.  Considering the neighboring state demographics, is it difficult to believe that a majority of those 6500 votes would have likely gone to Ms. Hassan?

In conclusion, with Ms. Hassan now in the Senate and voting "No" on the repeal of Obamacare, it is easy to see the ramifications of voter fraud affecting a controversial national "law", whose repeal would have otherwise been decided by Vice President Pence issuing a tie-breaking vote had this likely fraud not occurred.

This is just the latest example of the utmost importance of veracity in our elections, and why We The People should ensure that every person that votes is a U.S. Citizen that is legally allowed to cast a ballot.  There is simply way too much at stake to not do so.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Black Lives Matter group takes the stage at pro-Trump rally — what happens next is amazing

I came across this article today and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.  Perhaps there is hope when people of good will stop talking AT each other and start talking WITH each other.  Instead of looking for and assuming the worst of our political opponents, perhaps we can stop and look to see the common humanity in each of us.  In doing so, despite the naysayers who seemingly want it to be different, we can indeed find some common ground and start working on making this a better place for all of us... together!

From the Blaze's Sarah Taylor:

Black Lives Matter group takes the stage at pro-Trump rally — what happens next is amazing

Between competing pro-Trump and anti-Trump protests in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, a silver lining was found with a Black Lives Matter group who unexpectedly took the stage during a boisterous pro-Trump rally.
What happened?
A Black Lives Matter group marched near the rally and passed closely to the stage. As they walked and shouted chants of “Black lives matter,” the group received jeers and boos from many people attending the pro-Trump rally.
At first, the mic-wielding organizer of the Trump rally told pro-Trump congregants, “Don’t give them the spotlight,” and “They don’t exist.”
No one could have predicted what would happen next.