Thursday, April 26, 2018

Our Diminishing Wild Places

From the time I was a young boy, I always felt at home exploring, canoeing, and hiking in the forests, mountains, and wilder places less traveled by other people throughout the Pacific Northwest.  There was always something about these untamed places that seemed to restore my sense of wonder and awe in the world.  There was always something about the sheer magnificence and unparalleled beauty of God’s creation that inevitably stirred my soul and indeed restored it. 

It is hard to imagine a more peaceful setting than the myriad times that I found myself lying back in my trail hammock at the edge of a verdant mountain meadow listening to the babbling of the nearby creek as the gentle wind made the tops of the tall pines sway and dance above me as I looked up at a trillion brilliant stars twinkling in the inky black blanket of the night sky.  I remember countless times watching the fire of brilliant reds, oranges, and pinks of the sunset as the sun slowly sank into the Pacific Ocean while I watched from the tree-lined Oregon coast as the powerful breakers continually crashed over the rocky crags below.  It makes one feel small in such lonely beautiful places, but intimately connected to God’s creation in the universe just the same.

As I grew, I joined the Boy Scouts and wandered even farther afield with them as we hiked nearly the entire Washington and Oregon sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, albeit not in one outing.  The memories of seeing the sun rise over Mt. Jefferson or the coming down off the trail to the little town of Stehekin on the northern tip of Lake Chelan as we passed a small orchard of apple trees nestled between the forest and the town where two black bear cubs were trying to get as many apples as they could reach are some of those most memorable moments that I still recall some four decades later.

In all of my adventures into the backwoods, mountains, and secluded river-ways, I was always struck by the friendliness of the few occasional travelers that we would happen to meet in those remote places.  They always seemed to share that same sense of reverence and belonging to the wild.  Because of this, we and all of our fellow outdoorsmen and women knew that it was incumbent upon us to care for these wild places.  We would always burn our trash in our campfire or carry out what could not be burned.  We were always very careful to leave no trace that we were ever there.  We certainly never were careless with our campfires.

Nowadays, as the coarseness and self-centeredness of our culture has only increased, I am seeing the signs of this being reflected in the neglect, abuse, and even desecration of our wild natural places, and it saddens and angers me greatly. 

Earlier this month I noted a story where a man named Ryan Anderson, with his wife and two children present, carved his and his wife’s initials into the beautiful sandstone Corona Arch near Moab, Utah.  He was caught though and consequently issued an apology as his business received the fallout from his thoughtless desecration of this magnificent arch.  What a poor example he set for his children in the stewardship of our natural treasures.

 I have seen other cases of vandalism and desecration too in recent years.  I saw idiots carve their initials and other such nonsense alongside the Native American petroglyphs that adorn the canyon walls throughout the stretch of Nine Mile Canyon in central Utah.  Many of these petroglyphs date back over a thousand years and now sit side by side with the handiwork of some contemporary of ours named “Kirk”.  Sadly, "Kirk" is only one of may such vandals that have desecrated these millenia old petroglyphs.



One of the incidents that truly upset me was when a group of Boy Scouts pulled up slabs of rock along a track way of 190 million year old dinosaur tracks in a Utah state park and threw them into the river below.  Three of the boys were charged with the crime in juvenile court for their short-sightedness.  This was especially egregious, as these boys should absolutely have been taught respect for their natural environment and known better, since they were scouts.

Sadly, this type of foolishness is not just limited to the inanimate objects of God’s creation, but also is sometimes seen in the treatment of wild animals by the ignorant, foolish, and selfish.  It has long been a problem in many of our national parks, particularly in Yellowstone and Glacier, where people feed the local bears.  This only causes the bears to associate people with food so instead of staying in the back country, the bears come into camps and populated areas of the parks looking for trash and unsecured backpacks or coolers for something to eat.  While the park service tries to capture these bears and return them to the back country, almost invariably they eventually return to the camps and in dangerous proximity to people.  Because of this, the rangers are sadly required to destroy these bears to protect stupid people.

I had the disturbing experience two years ago of seeing a black bear in Glacier National Park having to be shot by a ranger as it prowled through the parking lot near the Apgar visitor center along the southern shore of Lake McDonald.  According to the ranger, the bear was becoming aggressive towards people and had already been captured and relocated once before only to return to where people were, which the bear now associated with as a source of food.

Back in 2014, my wife and I while traveling through Yosemite National Park witnessed a very stupid young man in khaki slacks running up the hill with his girlfriend to get a better picture of a mother black bear and her two cubs.  We yelled for the idiot to get back down to his car as he approached within ten yards of the mama bear.  We immediately called the ranger and reported the jackwagon.  He was indignant at us and didn’t understand the danger he was putting himself and his girlfriend in with his foolish escapades to get a better picture for his Facebook page.  He is damned lucky that the bear did not turn on him and injure or kill him.  Of course, if the bear did defend a perceived threat to her cubs and attacked him, the bear would have had to been killed and thereby also jeopardizing the likelihood of her two cubs surviving.  All this for some arrogant and ignorant snot to get a “cool” picture.

The one that really amazes me though is the story from 2016 of some foreign tourists in Yellowstone that came across a baby buffalo and out of well-intentioned but foolish ignorance were worried about the calf being lost or cold.  They, therefore, decided to pick up the calf, load it into their SUV, and take it to the ranger station accordingly.  The rangers tried to reunite the calf with the herd, but to no avail and therefore had to destroy it.

As human populations grow and our towns and cities expand, we inevitably encroach even more into those few remaining wild places we have left.  We need to be aware that we are not the only inhabitants on this earth and govern ourselves accordingly.  God’s creation is meant for us to enjoy and to be great stewards thereof.  Instead in our selfish, foolish, and arrogant me-first culture, we are rapidly defacing, desecrating, and destroying some of our natural wonders and the wild creatures that live there.  This truly breaks my heart to see this, as my grandkids already will likely never see and experience some of the wild places I treasured as a boy and young man.

The great naturalist John Muir once wrote that “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”  Indeed he is absolutely right, and I wonder what humanity will do when we have destroyed the last of the wild places on our earth.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Militant Left's Suppression of Our Free Speech Rights

A disturbing trend seems to be gaining momentum in America.  We are seeing fewer and fewer liberals engaging in our nation’s political discourse and a far greater number of militant leftists that are doing so.  Leftists, as was reiterated by a member of that group to me lately, are inherently anti-constitutionalists.  Therein lays the greatest difference between liberals and leftists.  Liberals still tend to be staunch supporters of the rule of just law and especially the laws enshrined in the constitution.  Leftists want to advance a progressive agenda and are less concerned with the trampling of a few laws or constitutional rights in doing so because to them the end justifies the means.  I would imagine my defining of these terms will further anger some folks, but words have meanings and I want to make sure that readers understand how I define these terms as used in my post so that there won’t be any confusion.

The latest expression of this leftism-run-amok is their penchant for wanting to dissuade, if not outright suppress, free speech.  We have seen this occur on college campuses, as the overwhelming majority of professors are leftists set on indoctrinating our bright but ignorant children.  We have seen this occur in the progressive ideology perpetrated in our left-leaning media.  We have seen this occur in the censoring of conservative content on Facebook and YouTube.  We have even seen attempts of shutting down debate in congress from leftists, particularly when it came time to discuss DACA.  Sadly, the problem is growing at a seemingly exponential rate.

Many of these leftists engage in what can aptly be characterized as “Stalinist” tactics as they seem to want nothing more than to issue a gag order on free speech.  This is particularly visible on most college campuses where “safe spaces” are established to provide leftist students a respite from the “racist, sexist, homophobic” conservatives.  These leftists talk about “white privilege” and “micro-aggressions” as a means to stifle debate and intimidate those whom disagree with their leftist agenda.  It is ironic in the extreme that for all of the left’s talk about inclusivity, they certainly don’t want diverse opinions to enter the public discussion.  Only leftist thought is celebrated and championed.  It is the only time where any form of homogeneity is required; homogeneity of thought.

Recently the “Student Power Network” at Penn State University has made demands to the university president that he denounce and defund right-wing “hate groups” that engage in anti-immigrant rhetoric.  Evidently anyone that speaks up for the rule of law in enforcing our borders is now a member of a “hate group” according to them.  Dissenting speech won’t be tolerated by most students there accordingly. 

There are many other numerous cases of conservative students having their first amendment free speech rights threatened on college campuses.  Last December a couple of young men wearing “make America great again” ball caps were accosted in a Fordham University coffee house that doubles as a “safe space” by a social justice warrior.  The young men were not even discussing politics but rather their preparations for finals when they were yelled at and asked to leave. “Get out! Five minutes,” the worker barked. “I’m protecting our customers … you are wearing hats that completely violate safe space policy. You have to go. ” She exploded when Michael Esposito, 19, asked her to explain. “Fascism, Nazis!” shouted the militant leftist. “You have three minutes.”  Evidently this is just one more example of leftists protecting their campus from any dissenting opinion.

This has long been the case too at many universities throughout the nation when conservative leaders are invited to speak on campus, especially at commencement ceremonies.  The Leftist students and faculty are not content to simply not attend the speech and ignore it if these so choose, but they must make sure nobody else can safely attend either.  This was ironically illustrated at Berkeley last year, the supposed birth place of campus free speech, when antifa thugs came out in force in violent response to conservative Milo Yiannopoulos coming to speak.  To these leftist thugs, merely taking issues with a progressive position is considered hate speech.

Sadly, this chilling effect on free speech is not simply limited to college campuses.  I have written this blog under a pseudonym and cancelled my Facebook account years ago when it became possible that I might be laid off and have to seek a new job.  This wasn’t because I supported the KKK or championed misogynistic views towards women.  It was simply because I am a pro-life, pro-traditional-marriage, constitutional conservative. It is because I espouse orthodox conservative views that many PC members of most large corporate human relations departments would nowadays possibly consider as “hate speech”, thereby making me an ineligible candidate for hiring despite my exemplary skills.

This has come to a head where YouTube and Facebook routinely censor conservative content while very seldom doing so for leftist content.  Indeed Senator Scott took issue recently when Facebook blocked two conservative ladies who go by the names of Diamond and Silk who are supporters of Donald Trump because they presented information that was “unsafe to the community.”  Senator Scott asked,

“What is it about two black women espousing their support of the president of the United States that makes them ‘unsafe’ for the community? They aren’t bullies. They aren’t violent. They aren’t inciting riots. I don’t always agree with their methodology or even some of their statements, but I don’t have to agree with them. That’s the beauty of the First Amendment, isn’t it?  Tell me, if they were two African-American liberals espousing their views about a liberal political figure, would they too be considered ‘unsafe’? I don’t think they would.”

It has gotten so scary that California lawmakers are now considering a bill over concerns over “fake news” that would tighten control over free speech on a whole host of online activities.  The fact that the government is looking to control what is “free speech” should frighten the hell out of all of us, even if this first step is only from the moon-bat state of California.

“Beating people up, organizing boycotts for perceived unforgivable offenses, or preventing speakers from being heard on a college campus, it’s all coming from the same place: a desperate desire to stop debate by branding your opponent unacceptable and driving him or her from the public square,” stated Laura Ingraham after having confronted gun-control activist David Hogg and thereby suffering a loss of a few cowardly advertisers due to Hogg requesting a boycott of her show. Ingraham continued, “Their objective is a total transformation of American society, not through rational discourse and open debate, but through personal demonization and silencing.”

Constitutionally-minded liberals and conservatives need to stand together in defending free speech in all places and in all guises.  The political pendulum can and will swing back to the other side, and we do not want either side circumventing or ignoring our first amendment rights for free speech.  Today, it is conservatives who are having their free speech shut down.  It could just as easily be liberals tomorrow.  We need to work together to ensure neither happens.

There is a reason our Founding Fathers specifically mentioned free speech in the very first amendment to the Bill of Rights.  It was to protect speech, especially political speech, that some might find uncomfortable, controversial, or even disgusting.  If all speech was agreeable and non-controversial, there would not ever be a need to protect it.  Now is the time for conservatives and liberals to work together to ensure this right is never subverted, for to allow it to become so would be the next major step in bringing down the liberties of our constitutional republic.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

To Fully Realize Martin Luther King's Dream


“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” 
~ Rev. Martin Luther King

As America sadly takes note of the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King at the hands of a vile assassin, I am reflecting on the events and the progresses we have made since the 1960’s and am contemplating if we have seen the fulfillment of Reverend King’s dream come to pass yet.  While the issues that our parents and grandparents had to contend with regarding race relations have improved dramatically, are we still so far away from seeing the fruition of that dream?

Indeed there are so many achievements that have occurred with race relations in America and wonderfully wild successes by people of color over the preceding fifty years.  From elected officials of color in state and local jurisdictions across the nation, to representation in the United States Congress and Senate, we have seen what was once thought of as not only unlikely, but unfathomable for black Americans.  Further, we have gone from having a segregated military to having Colin Powell serve as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and thus the highest ranking member of the uniformed military under President George H.W. Bush.  We have seen a continuation of representation on the Supreme Court of the United States from Thurgood Marshall’s day to the brilliant constitutional jurist of Clarence Thomas today.  In business and academics, there is not a field untouched by the contributions, innovations, or leadership by people of color.  Indeed, with the election of Barack Obama, even the presidency of the United States saw a man of color sitting in the oval office.

There have been truly remarkable and extraordinary advances in race relations and the continuing eradication of true racism and hatred over the preceding five decades since the good Reverend King’s untimely death, but sadly there is still plenty of work that must be done.  Even more sadly and even ironically, some of the biggest unintentional antagonists to racial parity sometimes come from folks that should be erstwhile allies of Dr. King and his dream.

It has long been my fervent wish, dating all the way back to my junior high school years when I first became politically aware, that we ALL could help the late Martin Luther King realize this dream for All Americans.  Sadly, after decades of incredible progress when it came to negating racism, fostering acceptance, and seeing each other as human beings first, we now as a nation seem to have slid backwards some in race relations once again.

And while there are some very small minority right wing groups that truly do hold vile and repugnant racist views of others simply based on the color of their skin pigmentation, they are typically easy to spot, disavow, and ignore for their evil and decidedly un-Christian attitudes towards their fellow human beings.  What is truly frustrating are the charges of racism by some folks simply because of political differences that have no bearing on race.  This is counter-productive towards eliminating real racism accordingly. While it is absolutely incumbent upon all good Americans of conscience to point out, fight against, and help to eradicate true racism when it raises its ugly head still today, I think that a vastly overwhelming majority of Americans do indeed enjoin the battle with each other in just this fight.

America has passed civil rights laws and largely wiped out the evil legacy of Jim Crow laws; however, the mere passing of laws will not change all attitudes, and sadly some people will cling to their hatreds and racism.  These people, thankfully, are small in number and even smaller in their influence. 

The compounding of this problem occurs though when misguided but perhaps well-meaning people see bigotry and point out racism where it does not exist.  Disagreeing with a person of color on any given issue does not immediately denote racism.  Wanting the lawful punishment of those that break the law, regardless of whether they are black or not, does not denote racism.  Wanting people hired for jobs or accepted into schools based on qualifications and merit instead of the color of skin pigmentation does not denote racism.  It does a huge disservice to discerning and eliminating true racism when we succumb to political correctness or political agendas by fabricating cases of racism where none exists.  Further, by doing so, we actually set our race relations back in time, as we seem to have done currently.  The breaking of a just law by any person, regardless of their color, is an indication of the content of their character, and I know by his own words, that Reverend King would agree in their just punishment accordingly.

On March 31st of 1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson told the nation that “There is a division in the American house.”  His statement of fact also was one of prophecy as less than a week later Dr. King was cut down by an assassin’s bullet.  Since that time, we have healed many of our nation’s wounds when it comes to race relations, whereby a majority of voting Americans saw fit to elect and then re-elect a black man to the presidency of the United States of America. 

King achieved greatness in the service of a great and noble cause—the cause of human liberty, helping to replace an unjust order with a new order of equal rights for all.  He didn’t want special rights for black Americans.  He simply wanted just enforcement of the constitution so that all Americans would have the same equal rights as promised in that inspired document. Dr. King was deeply grateful for America itself, for its original and enduring promise, and its intrinsic propensity for reform. He was grateful for “the best in the American dream”—for “those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”

Today, we can honor his memory and further seek equality and justice for all Americans not by “fundamentally transforming America” as our previous president stated, but rather by preserving and perfecting it.

Has Reverend King’s dream of judging not by the color of one’s skin but by the content of one’s character been fully realized yet today? 

No.

However, if we put aside our partisan politics and stand together in denouncing TRUE racism as brothers and sisters all created in the image of God, then perhaps one day soon we will be able to see that noble dream finally come to its full fruition.

Reverend King said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools”.

He was right.

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Heart of the Mass Shooting Phenomena

Nearly two weeks ago on Valentine’s Day, which ironically was also Ash Wednesday, the students and faculty of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida suffered an assault from a former student, whose name I will not mention, thereby adding to his infamy and notoriety.  The former student seemingly had a long history of mental health issues and 39 documented responses to his home from local authorities due directly to his actions.  Needless to say, this troubled boy should never have been able to legally acquire a firearm of any sort – EVER!

Of course, within hours of this perniciously evil act, where seventeen students and faculty were killed and sixteen more injured, the usual suspects on both sides of the gun control debate began with their typical meme’s, arguments, and finger pointing.  It was all of the exact same things we have all heard before every time this sadly common evil phenomena occurs again and again.  What we Americans seem to be overlooking is the cause of this, while everyone opines on how to merely correct the symptoms.

Why?

Why are our young men increasingly seeming to think that arming up and heading off to their school to kill their classmates is the best way to heal their pain?  Why do kids think this is the proper way to teach a bully a lesson, or to get even with a girlfriend that dumped them?  Is it simply to “make a statement” to the world that they will no longer be ignored?

I went to a very typical high school in the early 1980’s and lived in what was then a more remote and rural suburb of Portland, Oregon.  I lived quite a few miles from school and thus often had to take the bus, or if I was lucky, my friend who had his own pickup truck would swing by my house on the way to school and give me a ride.  My friend and I had already developed into knowledgeable outdoorsmen by that time in our lives.  He was a hunter and especially during the Fall months it was not uncommon for him to have his Browning rifle in his gun rack in the back window as we headed off to school.  It never occurred to us that anything was even remotely wrong with this and indeed there never was a problem.

Of course, if a kid were to drive to school with a rifle in his gun rack now, assuming a rack could even be found these days, the local S.W.A.T. team would be called out and the school locked down within minutes of his arrival.  In today’s culture, that would also be the right call to make, sadly.

Again, I ask, what has changed in the ensuing decades since I went to high school?

Spokane, Washington Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich aptly addressed the root of the problem to a bevy of reporters after a school shooting occurred there last September in 2017.

“When I was in high school, every one of those rigs in the high school parking lot had a gun in the gun rack. Why? We went hunting on the way home. None of those guns ever walked into a school, none of those guns ever shot anybody... Did the gun change or did you as a society change? I'll give you odds it was you as a society. Because you started glorifying cultures of violence. You glorified the gang culture, you glorified games that actually gave you points for raping and killing people. The gun didn't change, we changed.”

Yep.  I’d have to agree with the good sheriff on that one.

Our modern “enlightened” culture of moral relativism has glorified violence.  It has championed the killing of the unborn and called it “choice”.  It has embraced the killing of our elderly and terminally ill family members and named it “mercy” and “compassion”.  As St. Pope John Paul II said, we as a post-Christian society have fully embraced a “culture of death” and have called it good.

But it is also more than that.  It isn’t simply our glorification and desensitization to violence that is the genesis of this problem, although that has absolutely been a major component of this.  There is also another aspect that is a primary cause of this problem.

Today many harried parents seldom keep tabs on their teenagers these days, let alone actually talk with them, mentor them, guide them, and PARENT them.  Sadly, we as parents have abdicated our responsibility to raise our young men and women to be of good moral character – to know right from wrong.  We assume that the schools or society in general will raise our kids, because we are too busy trying to make a living and dealing with life’s daily grind.  And indeed schools and society now do.  Unfortunately, in a culture where right and wrong have become morally subjective, our children’s moral compasses may often lead them far astray now.

Add to this all of the typical issues with which a young person must deal these days and sometimes the stress becomes overwhelming.  When parents are too busy, or neglectful of the young person living under their roof to the point that those kids effectively become just a roommate, when they fail to guide, listen, and ultimately love their kids in a healthy manner, how can we not be surprised when some few kids decide to resort to the most horrific of decisions when dealing with their own problems? When a positive male role model is missing in a young man’s life to lead and guide him by example, what do we expect could happen?  Most kids will muddle through their high school years making mistakes and figuring things out on their own without ever resorting to violence against others.  Some, however, will not find a good means to communicate or alleviate their pain and thus resort to far more sinister ways of doing so.

Often times these troubled or mentally ill kids show signs that things are heading in a dangerous direction long before anything deadly occurs.  Most regrettably, in nearly all of the school shootings in recent years, these signs were either ignored by family, friends, classmates, and teachers, or perhaps even more sadly, these good people did inform authorities and little or nothing was done to get help for the troubled person.

Foolishly, or perhaps through ignorance, many folks blame guns for the problem.  They claim that something must be done about “gun violence”, as if it is the inanimate object of the gun that is at fault.  Never mind that more people are killed five times more often by knives every year than they are by guns, and yet we still don’t hear about “knife violence” in the legacy media.

If we want to actually solve the problem, getting rid of guns will not do it.  Instead, we will need to restore a sense of involved family that is rooted in actual parenting.  It will involve rejecting a culture where violence, abortion, and moral relativism are championed.  It will require us teaching a reverence for the gift and majesty of all life.  It will require that we parents actually raise our children, listen to them, and guide them when they have problems.  It will require returning to a moral society, based on Judeo-Christian moral underpinnings where right and wrong are clearly delineated, taught, and reinforced in our families and communities, and most importantly where these values are demonstrated by the examples of parents.  Indeed the best sermons are lived and not preached!

Ironically, in many of these past shootings, some victims have noted that it seemed like God was not there at all to protect the innocent when these shooters were engaged in their evil rampages in their classrooms.  Sadly, it is our society and our schools that have told God that he is no longer welcome there, and being the gentleman He is, He has obliged our wishes.

The bottom line is that we could arm and train willing teachers to better protect our kids in schools, and indeed this has proven to be very effective in Israel, or we could simply try to enact more gun laws in the hopes of preventing the means for these killings, but ultimately, if we do not raise our kids to respect life, and to try to live it by adhering to the golden rule, while denouncing the glorification of violence in our culture, we will continue to see some of our young people lashing out in violence towards others by gun, knife, bomb, or any other means possible.

Ultimately, the gun is only a tool.  It is the evil or good intent behind the person wielding it that determines the difference in how it is used.  It can be used to protect or to murder.  It is our individual moral compass that determines which it is.



Post Script:  For those that have bought into the false rhetoric that mass shootings are a uniquely American problem, let me set the record straight.  It is not.  This linked article showing the results of an academic study provides proof of this fact.  It is a cultural rot problem that has occurred throughout western civilization.  Indeed many European nations with far more restrictive gun control laws than America has have suffered even greater quantities of mass shootings.  Indeed, America is not even in the top ten in the world for this ghoulish phenomenon.  It is not a gun problem.  It is a heart problem.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Exercises in Irony






















And finally, perhaps the best example of irony -- or maybe that could better be classified as hypocrisy.




Tuesday, January 30, 2018

1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return for 2017 for Folks Who Insist Donald Trump is Not Their President


For all of those good folks that think President Obama's $40 payroll tax cut was wonderful, but President Trump's overhaul of the tax system to really increase deductions for the middle class are chump change and a give away to corporations, the new alternate 1040 federal tax form is now out for your usage.  The particularly relevant part is highlighted by the red arrow.  Cheers!


H/T: To friend T.T.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Professor Amy Wax: Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?

I ran across this article and thought it was excellent in articulating the growing problem of a lack of tolerance and critical thinking from many folks in academia, and indeed in society in general.  As we have seen on my own infinitesimally small corner of the universe here on Saving Common Sense, any orthodox, conservative, or politically incorrect opinion is often met by the wailing and gnashing of teeth by some folks on the far left.  

Instead of always addressing the merits of the arguments presented, more often than not, the responses from some people are typically nothing more than epithets of racism, fascism, authoritarianism, and so forth.  There no longer exists a platform for civil debate and indeed that is what the extremism of the far left seemingly hopes to achieve.  They don’t want an exchange of ideas and ideals.  They want the extermination of any opinion that runs contrary to their own.  This is done in an Alinsky-like manner through ridicule, demonization, and marginalization of those with whom they disagree.

Professor Amy Wax spoke at Hillsdale College on this very topic recently, and her speech was adapted into the following essay.  It perfectly encapsulates the problem at hand and shows the dangerous path this lack of tolerance for free speech from some of our brothers and sisters on the left has in its deleterious effect on our society.  Either we address this and overcome this knee-jerk intolerant reaction and begin to teach critical thinking in academia and in society again, or we will continue to sink even deeper into the divided cesspool this intolerance has created.  Enjoy.

“There is a lot of abstract talk these days on American college campuses about free speech and the values of free inquiry, with plenty of lip service being paid to expansive notions of free expression and the marketplace of ideas. What I’ve learned through my recent experience of writing a controversial op-ed is that most of this talk is not worth much. It is only when people are confronted with speech they don’t like that we see whether these abstractions are real to them. 
The op-ed, which I co-authored with Larry Alexander of the University Of San Diego Law School, appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 9 under the title, ‘Paying the Price for the Breakdown of the Country’s Bourgeois Culture.’ It began by listing some of the ills afflicting American society: 
‘Too few Americans are qualified for the jobs available. Male working-age labor-force participation is at Depression-era lows. Opioid abuse is widespread. Homicidal violence plagues inner cities. Almost half of all children are born out of wedlock, and even more are raised by single mothers. Many college students lack basic skills, and high school students rank below those from two dozen other countries.’
We then discussed the ‘cultural script’—a list of behavioral norms—that was almost universally endorsed between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s: 
‘Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.’ 
These norms defined a concept of adult responsibility that was, we wrote, ‘a major contributor to the productivity, educational gains, and social coherence of that period.’ The fact that the ‘bourgeois culture’ these norms embodied has broken down since the 1960s, we argued, largely explains today’s social pathologies—and re-embracing that culture would go a long way toward addressing those pathologies. 
In what became perhaps the most controversial passage, we pointed out that cultures are not equal in terms of preparing people to be productive citizens in a modern technological society, and we gave some examples of cultures less suited to achieve this: 
‘The culture of the Plains Indians was designed for nomadic hunters, but is not suited to a First World, 21st-century environment. Nor are the single-parent, antisocial habits prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-‘acting white’ rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants.'
The reactions to this piece raise the question of how unorthodox opinions should be dealt with in academia—and in American society at large.”

Continue reading…

Monday, January 22, 2018

Schumer Shutdown, DACA, and Roe v. Wade

Things have been hectic for me lately so my writing has unfortunately taken short shrift again accordingly.  That said, I wanted to share a few thoughts on important topics to me.  Each of these issues is deserving of a more thorough article, but instead, with the constraints on my time, I am forced to give you the Reader’s Digest versions.

First, the asinine and cynically corrupt fools that participated in the Schumer shutdown of the government should be held accountable with the loss of their seats of power, if there were indeed any justice left in this nation.  Why these folks would vote against a spending bill which funds all the pet projects that the Democrats adore and contains nothing of substance for which they loathe is beyond me.

They have chosen, under the “leadership” of Senate minority leader Schumer to place the desires of DACA people over that of all other Americans.  The truly ironic fact that displays the cynicism of these folks that care more for illegal aliens and expanding their own political power through the immigration of more future Democrats is that congressional work on DACA was proceeding well already.  There was no need to attach a non-related immigration rider onto this spending bill.

Perhaps President Trump is right.  The senate may need to use the nuclear option and return to a simple majority to end debate and pass spending bills.  Oh, and by the way, Senators of both parties, why don’t you ALL do your damned jobs and pass a yearly budget for once and stop running the government on these continuing resolutions and then we wouldn’t be faced with these impending shutdowns every so often.  I am disgusted beyond belief with the Senate, and particularly with those that would fail to fund our nation’s defenders by holding them hostage if we don’t allow more illegal immigrants into our nation.

Second, regarding DACA, this is an issue which absolutely needs to be addressed, and should be the next priority after the Schumer shutdown is put to rest.  I have just listened to this blowhard asshat Schumer on TV blame the president, the Republicans, and everyone but himself and his cynical power-hungry crew, for this unnecessary shutdown.

His predecessor, Harry Reid, was a liar of such magnitude that he would make Hillary blush.  He was completely without any sense of honor or decency.  I had hoped that Senator Schumer would restore some sense of honor to the leadership of the senate on the Democrat side.  This speech doesn’t bode well for that notion, but I digress.

It is my opinion, that people who were minors when brought to the United States by their illegal alien parents should not be forced to leave the United States.  A bill should be passed that allows them and their parents permanent legal status to work and enjoy all of the rights and responsibilities of the United States with the exception of not being allowed to vote -- EVER for the parents and at least for ten years for the DACA child in question.  No, it is not the fault of these dreamers that their parents brought them illegally to the U.S., but a price must still be paid for breaking our immigration laws.

Further, as these good folks are granted legal status, an end to extended chain migration MUST be a non-negotiable part of this new law.  No aunts, uncles, third cousins and so forth should be granted legal immigration status simply on the fact that a related minor child was illegally brought into this country.  Of course this will not ever pass congress, as the very reason the cynical Democrats want passage of this is not out of any altruistic caring for the people in question, but because of the largely supported assumption that these people will become reliable Democrat voters.  THAT is the truth of which they will never publicly admit.

Finally, today, January 22, 2018, marks the 45th anniversary of the egregious Roe. V. Wade decision by the Supreme Court of the United States of America.  Since this “right” to kill our unborn children was dubiously discovered within the United State Constitution by our Supreme Court, over 60 MILLION children have been “legally” killed by abortion.  Further, this pernicious evil has occurred in defiance of our founding document as a nation, the Declaration of Independence, which states that we are endowed by our Creator with the inalienable right to life.   
               
Our third President and author of our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, once stated, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”  And while the great Thomas Jefferson was referring to the evil institution of slavery, of which he paradoxically participated, the concept of God’s justice is still as valid today as it was those several hundred years ago.

When a nation destroys our innocent unborn, while God may not smite us all from the heavens above, He will allow us to suffer the consequences of our evil actions when it comes to our support of abortion.  And just like we had to suffer through our bloodiest war that nearly ripped our country asunder at the loss of over 600,000 American lives to finally end the evils of slavery, one wonders what the cost of justice will be for 60 million innocent unborn lives?

Oh, and on this horrific anniversary, ironically there is a blessed silver lining for me.  Happy birthday to my amazing daughter!

UPDATE:  It has now been reported as of mid-day today that Senator Schumer and his crew have duplicitously "ended the Schumer shutdown" by basically striking a deal with Republicans that mirrored the exact same deal offered on Friday night.  They basically shut things down to get a guarantee on a DACA vote that was not stalled and was moving forward.  This was nothing more than cynical political posturing.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Guest Post: Israel's Accomplishments and Contributions to the World

Contributed by Carrie

A bit of research points out that Israel is the best ally we have had since WWII! Whether you know it or not, many of the triumphs listed below have benefited you in one way or another.
Israel is driven to help others around the world. This tiny nation’s accomplishments have been shared world-wide to benefit humanity, no matter the politics. Just look at the sample list of highlights of this amazing nation’s achievements.

1. The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year.  Israeli date trees are now yielding 400 pounds per year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder.

2. Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following:
     a. The cell phone was developed in Israel by working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.
     b. Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft - Israel.
     c. The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel. Both the Pentium - 4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel. The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel.
     d.  Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.
     e.  Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.
     f.  The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.

3. Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S, Russia, and China). In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel's air force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16's. This is the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the United States.

4. Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.

5. Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.

6. According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry's most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look (finally) to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

7. Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

8. Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin - 109 per 10,000 people - as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

9. In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute numbers, Israel has the largest number of start-up companies compared to every other country in the world, except the U.S.! (3,500 companies mostly in high-tech).  With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has the highest concentration of high-tech companies in the world, apart from the Silicon Valley, U.S.

10. Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U.S.
Outside of the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies.

11. Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East.

12. On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups.

13. Twenty-four per cent of Israel's workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland.  Further, 12 percent hold advanced degrees.

14. Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

15. In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews (Operation Solomon and Moses) at Risk in Ethiopia to safety in Israel.

16. When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world's second elected female leader in modern times.

17. When the U. S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day and consequently saved three victims from the rubble.

18. Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship, and the highest rate among women and among people over 55, in the world.

19. Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity.  (Hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union)

20. Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."

21. Israel has the world's second highest per capita number of new books.

22. Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert!

23. Israel has more museums per capita than any other country in the world.

24. Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.

25. Regarding the medical field, an Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment.  Every year in U. S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes.

26. Israel’s Given Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. It is used to view the small intestine from the inside to spot cancer and digestive disorders.

27. Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure. The new device is synchronized with the camera and helps doctors diagnose a heart's mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors.

28. Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U. S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions, Israel places first in this category as well.

29. A new acne treatment developed in Israel, the Clear Light device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct, all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.

30. An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant in southern California's Mojave Desert.

31. Israel has proven itself as a world leader in desalination after decades of research and entrepreneurship. Despite the criticism that it is expensive, (Israel is working on this issue too) desalination is being used globally as a major solution to water shortages. As a world-leader in water technologies, Israel’s experts are helping communities around the globe to harvest water from the ocean.


All of the above have been accomplished while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other county on earth.

Thanks to Carrie for contributing this post!

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Destructiveness of Identity Politics

In 1998 a brilliant engineer friend of mine called me and enticed me to come to work for him in starting up a new wireless network engineering consulting firm based out of the San Francisco area.  I was intrigued, so I jumped into my pickup and left Dallas, and gladly sped out to this most paradoxically amazing city.  It was a beautiful place with many interesting people.  It was also a mess and its intrinsic progressivism was not helping to make it better.  That said, the company got off to a good start in spite of this as we had signed several big contracts with large national wireless carriers in the region for our engineering and tower construction services despite the local governmental red tape.

One particular day, my friend and I met with a perspective new client that had agreed in principle to retain our services.  We were sitting together at a business lunch as my friend provided the resumes and profiles of several of the engineers we were offering for the project.  First were the two brothers from South Korea who were smart and knew how to get things done.  Next was the gentleman who was born in Nigeria and educated in the United States.  Then there was the young girl who was a recent college graduate, and then a white gentleman who was originally from the upper mid-west.

The client looked at the profiles, which included pictures, and then commented that he was impressed by the diversity of our engineering staff we had offered and thought very highly of this.  My friend and I looked at each other with a slightly confounded look on each of our faces.  It never occurred to either of us that we were presenting Asians, African-Americans, women, and a token white guy as a matter of filling some diversity quota, but rather these were the people that interviewed with us whom were best qualified for the job.  While obviously being aware of identity politics, it was the first time that it really came clearly into my conscious focus; it was my first real first-hand experience demonstrating that many of our leftist brothers and sisters do indeed look at people first through the prism of race and gender.

Identity politics has continuously crept into American society and has indeed been an integral part of most college curriculums and cultures for decades now as the militant Left in academia have taken the reigns of control over most of our universities and colleges.

Author Bruce Bawer in The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Politics and the Closing of the Liberal Mind regarding this leftist infestation in our institutions of higher learning, wrote the following, 
“The point [became] simply to ‘prove’ – repetitively, endlessly – certain facile, reductive, and invariably left-wing points about the nature of power and oppression.  In this new version of the humanities, all of Western civilization is not analyzed through the use of reason or judged according to aesthetic standards that have been developed over the centuries; rather, it is viewed through prisms of race, class, and gender, and is hailed or condemned in accordance with certain political checklists.”  
But why?  What was the reason and supposed necessity for the Leftist ascendancy of identity politics?

Matthew Continetti, the editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon gave a speech last October that provides some insight as to why he thinks this came to be:
“The beginnings of identity politics can be traced to 1973, the year the first volume of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago – a book that demolished any pretense of communism’s moral authority – was published in the West.  The ideological challenge of socialism was fading, its fighting spirit dwindling.  This presented a challenge for the Left: how to carry on the fight against capitalism when its major ideological alternative was no longer viable?
The Left found its answer in an identity politics that grew out of anti-colonialism.  Marx’s class struggle was reformulated into an ethno-racial struggle – a ceaseless competition between colonizer and colonized, victimizer and victim, oppressor and oppressed.  Instead of presenting collectivism and central planning as the gateway to the realization of genuine freedom, the new multiculturalist Left turned to unmasking the supposed power relations that subordinated minorities and exploited third world nations.” 
And so the Left began indoctrinating our impressionable college students during the genesis of this nefarious ideology.  English classes became the study of texts to uncover power relations hidden within them.  History courses became “people’s history and their oppression”.  And of course we saw the rise and development at nearly every university of African-American Studies, Women’s studies, Chicano Studies, Queer Studies, and so forth, as we further tried to balkanize our national populace into disparate sub-groups of Americans. 

Of course anyone having the temerity to point this out was met with being labeled a racist, just as this practice of playing the race card has persisted among our sisters and brothers on the far Left today.

This pernicious ideology of dividing Americans through identity politics has become increasingly pervasive in our national culture.  Indeed on May 5, 2010, Live Oak High School south of San Jose in the Bay area banned “white students” from wearing shirts and clothing with the American flag on it as being provocative to Hispanic students on the Mexican national holiday of Cinco de Mayo.  Never mind that the Hispanic students roamed the campus with a Mexican Flag in celebrating a day that is not an official holiday of their current home nation.  Instead of the principal using this as a teaching moment between Americans of different ancestry, he simply forbid the wearing or displaying of the American flag by students on May 5th. 

While I do find fault with any students attempting to be intentionally provocative and belligerent to their fellow students of Hispanic ancestry, the principal basically curtailed their free speech as Americans.  The case went to court, and the hyper-leftist 9th Circuit of course upheld the principal’s actions.  The Supreme Court later refused to hear the case.

If we continue down this mine-laden path of identity politics and thus continue to divide our citizens into myriads of hyphenated-American subgroups, how can we expect to continue this great American experiment?  How can we keep this melting pot of many various and diverse citizens all coming together as Americans and not as a conglomeration of balkanized sub-groups whom are wary, suspicious, and antagonistic towards other sub-groups?

Last year, Columbia humanities professor Mark Lilla, who is himself a liberal, wrote,
“Identity politics on the left was at first about large classes of people… seeking to redress major historical wrongs by mobilizing and then working through our political institutions to secure their rights.  But by the 1980’s, it had given way to a pseudo-politics of self-regard and increasingly narrow, and exclusionary self-definition that is now cultivated in our colleges and universities.  The main result has been to turn people back onto themselves, rather than turning them outward towards the wider world they share with others.  It has left them unprepared to think about the common good in non-identity terms and what must be done practically to secure it – especially the hard and unglamorous task of persuading people very different from themselves to join a common effort.”
Of course Professor Lilla’s comments were condemned by others on the Left as racist.

The continuing ascendancy of identity politics on the Left has proceeded unabated, especially on the national stage.  In 2012 during the Democrat National Convention, the inclusion of God in their Democrat platform was booed, while issues such as transgender rights to use the restroom of their choice, forcing nuns to purchase health insurance that necessarily included abortifacients, and fining Christian Bakers who refused to use their artistic abilities to furnish a cake for a gay marriage all became pertinent and immediate issues to the Left.

When Hillary Clinton ran for the presidency in 2016, one could find on her campaign website any number of tabs for various ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities, but not a single one about a shared vision of American unity.

It was a far cry from then-Senator Obama’s 2004 DNC keynote speech at John Kerry’s official nomination for president, “There’s not a black America and a white America and a Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.”

It is ironic that such a grand and unifying theme was later abandoned during his own presidency as President Obama seemingly intentionally pitted black and white Americans against each other.  Rather than bringing us together as the United States of America, he proceeded to stoke the flames of race and turned us more into splintered and suspicious groups more akin to the former Yugoslavia.

The Left’s often dismissive, insulting, and self-righteous stance on the issue of identity politics will only continue to further fracture our increasingly-divided nation.  We must return to a love of our history and founding principles as expressed by our founding documents that we are ALL created equal.  We are united by freedom and equality and we should strive to ensure that all of our American brothers and sisters are treated as such, regardless of race, faith, gender, or whatever other potentially dividing characteristic that can be exploited. 

Unlike my client decades ago who reviewed the profiles of perspective engineers to work on his project and saw only their skin color and outward physical characteristics, we should strive to see each other as Americans first and foremost always - as fellow brothers and sisters created in the likeness of God.

Our motto as an American nation is “E pluribus unum” – or “Out of many, one”.  That is the ideal we should strive once again to achieve in this American melting pot, and throw away the divisive and destructive ideology of identity politics into the ash heap of history where it rightly belongs.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Israel's Capital, the Palestinian Authority's Rejection of it, and the Forthcoming Taylor Force Act

I mentioned in a previous post how President Trump recently acknowledged Israel’s capital of Jerusalem as such and stated that the United States would start working to move our embassy there accordingly. 

President Trump did not unilaterally make this decision, but actually responded to a law passed during the Clinton administration that has been delayed in its implementation on a semi-annual basis since the time it was passed.  President Trump finally stopped the proverbial kicking-of-the-can-down-the-road and decided to not defer action when the most recent six month review came up yet again.

Of course the response from most of the Muslim world and other hateful anti-Semitic nations was immediate and vociferous.  U. N. representatives of the 57 mostly Muslim-majority members slammed Trump's decision and called on all countries to respond by recognizing east Jerusalem as the “capital of the State of Palestine.”

The corrupt and anti-Israel United Nations drafted a resolution that, without explicitly naming the U.S. or President Trump, expressed "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem" and said such decisions "have no legal effect, are null and void, and must be rescinded."

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley's lone vote against the resolution scuttled the measure which gained support from all 14 other current Security Council members.  Ambassador Haley called the resolution an "insult" and said it "won't be forgotten."  Haley further characterized the failed resolution as "one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Haley then went on and pointed out the fact that the U.S. has given more than $5 billion in aid to the Palestinians since 1994, which is significantly more than the combined contributions from all other nations on the Security Council.  Despite this fact, the Palestinian Authority enriches itself while many of its people live in poverty, all the while they denounce Israel and America.

Regardless, the resolution came on the heels of an emergency summit of Muslim nations two weeks ago in Turkey. There, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared, "Jerusalem has been, and will remain forever, the capital of the State of Palestine."  He further proclaimed that this “ancient Palestinian capital” of Jerusalem was not of the Jews, as history and archaeology attest, but of the Palestinian people. "We have been there in this location for thousands of years," Abbas claimed, linking Palestinians, who are Arabs, to the ancient Canaanites.  That's a claim for which there is no evidence.

But Abbas was just getting started, as he further declared, 
"[Jerusalem] is a Palestinian Arab Muslim Christian city, the eternal capital of the state of Palestine. There can be no Palestinian state without the city of Jerusalem as its capital and there will be no peace in the region and in the world without it."
In a full vote of U.N. members of 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions (including Canada and Mexico) the U.N. passed a resolution that declared President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital "null and void" accordingly.  Of course this has no impact on Israel’s choice of its capital or the United States of America as recognizing it as such.  It is simply another meaningless resolution by an impotent and corrupt organization that desperately needs to be reformatted, if not totally scrapped.
President Trump and Ambassador Haley said they were taking note of which friends and allies voted against the U.S. with its declaration and intimated that future U.S. foreign aid might be impacted accordingly. 

As for the U.S. taxpayer funding of the Palestinian Authority, I have long been of the opinion that not a single dime should be spent to that end until they fully renounce and work to end terrorism against Israel.  Finally, the United States is one step closer to actually doing so, as on December 5, the House of Representatives finally passed the Taylor Force Act.  It is a bill that calls for defunding the Palestinian Authority until they end their “pay to slay” policy. 

The bill, which has also been passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, now awaits the full Senate to take up the bill for a vote.  The Taylor Force Act will compel the Palestinian Authority to face the consequences of its violence or end this abhorrent practice immediately. If the bill is enacted, they will have to revoke any law, decree, or document authorizing a compensation scheme for prisoners "that uses the sentence or period of incarceration to determine the level of compensation paid."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has steadfastly rejected all calls to stop funding terror,
"I don't intend to cease payment for families of prisoner martyrs, even if it costs me my seat," he vowed. "I will continue to pay them until my last day."
Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), the bill's sponsor, issued this statement following the previous vote out of the House committee:
"I am very encouraged that my bill, the Taylor Force Act, has passed with bipartisan support in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This is an important first step in stopping U.S. tax dollars from funding Palestinian Terrorism. The Palestinian Authority must be held accountable for glorifying terrorism by paying terrorists and naming streets in Ramallah after Palestinians who murder Jews.
The Palestinian Authority devotes almost half of its foreign ‘aid’ to rewarding acts of terror against Israelis and innocent bystanders, including American war hero Taylor Force. It is outrageous that our government would, for so long, turn a blind eye to actions that violate international law and fan the flames of hatred, terrorism, and murder.”
With the United States officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, we have been warned that this will incite further violence.  It is ironic that some Leftists and indeed Muslim factions in the Middle East have acknowledged that they will resort to violence as a tactic when they do not get their way on issues when it comes to the Israel/Palestinian debate.  “Do as we demand, or we will act with further terrorism” seems to be the standard operating procedure for the Palestinian Authority.

The fact that the Palestinian Authority does not truly want peace, but rather a full and complete capitulation and dismantling of the state of Israel suggests to me that there was no reason for the U.S. to not move forward in acknowledgement of the truth of Israel’s capital.  Further, as the PA has refused to negotiate in good faith towards peace, we should remove all further funding from them accordingly, and I suspect we will start to do so shortly with the upcoming passage of the Taylor Force Act.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the 95th anniversary of the League of Nations mandate, both of which established legal title of the land to the Jewish people.  Even more  importantly, the status of Jerusalem has been determined by God, and his decree is not subject to human opinion.