Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Democrats' Hypocrisy on Russia


Some of President Trump's statements at the Helsinki Summit with Vladimir Putin were definitely foolish and cringe-worthy.  He did not help his own created image of being the tough, no-nonsense leader that he would like to portray to the rest of us.  That said, Trump's actions against Russia, particularly as compared to that of President Obama's and his corrupt Secretary of State Clinton's, is orders of magnitude tougher than that of previous Democrats.  Of course, that doesn't fit the leftist narrative and will be summarily dismissed by them accordingly.

I find it ironic that the Left's posturing against Russia is so tough these days now that they are "out of power".  I remember when Russia was still Communist and many on the left adored them and thought their own country, particularly under Ronald Reagan, was the real threat to world peace and prosperity.  I guess their group hallucination regarding the mis-perceived transgression that Russia cost their own corrupt Hillary the presidency has really ruffled their feathers.  I guess to many Leftists slights against their party are more damnable than slights against their country.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Trump: He Meant What He Said


When I was a junior in high school, decades ago, I signed up for Mr. Mueller’s class on oceanography as one of my science class requirements.  Most of my fellow students signed up thinking it would be an easy class.  I signed up for it because the topic of oceanography sounded very interesting to me. 

Mr. Mueller was a very plain spoken, gruff, and politically incorrect teacher.  He was not opposed to ridiculing any student that acted out of line in his class, usually to the class' amusement and to the student's chagrin.  There was always order and discipline in his class.

He would have been a tenured instructor that the teachers’ union would have somehow found a way to fire if he were to teach nowadays. I could see him being the one that refused to join the union or at least made union meetings very contentious, to say the least.  I imagine him pointing out their nonsense and the political over-reach of some folks instead of them focusing on how to be better teachers and demand that they be compensated appropriately for so being. 

I recall his initial “welcome speech” on the first day of class all of these years later because it was terse, to the point, and was obviously lacking in “feel-good” platitudes that many of the other teachers would bloviate upon.  He stated at the beginning of the semester that if you were late for class, his door would be locked and he would not let you in the room, so you had better show up on time.  Respect was a big deal for him.  He said he would be going over geological, biological, and chemistry related aspects of oceanography and as such that there was a tremendous amount of information he would cover and we would be expected to know for the exams.  He further explained that he would do reviews before each exam and that if we took good notes during the reviews and had done our work during the preceding section, we would likely all get “A’s”.  If not, we would likely fail.  

I found that I liked Mr. Mueller because he told you just where you stood, what was expected, and what he was going to do.  There weren’t any surprises.

I was amazed when seemingly half of the class passed with “A’s” while the remaining half failed just exactly as Mr. Mueller had foretold.  I received an A+.  

I find the situation somewhat analogous to President Trump today.  I personally do not care for Trump’s often un-statesmanlike demeanor, his petulant retaliation and conducting of national affairs by tweets, and his over-the-top rudeness at times.  I did not like what I saw as serious character issues with Mr. Trump during his campaign, and hence decided to vote for Darrell Castle with the Constitution Party accordingly.

In spite of his character flaws, many of President Trump’s issues that he campaigned upon seemed to be good ideas and particularly necessary in my opinion.  Some took the form of campaign promises similar to those made by Republican candidates for generations.  As such, not many people, including the Democrats, took them too seriously as actually being addressed in his administration other than just as window-dressing. 

After the better part of two years into President Trump’s administration, I think many people are surprised, or vexed depending on political ideologies, to learn that Trump wasn’t the typical politician just making half-hearted promises in order to get elected.  He actually intended to work to get his agenda enacted.

And this angers the left… to extraordinary degrees.

President Trump promised to nominate constitutionally-minded candidates to the federal courts and Supreme Court instead of appointing judicial activists whom look to every place besides the United States Constitution for informing their opinions on cases.  Justice Gorsuch and Judge Kavanaugh are excellent jurists in that very mold of textualists accordingly, thus the meltdown from the leftists.  Trump provided a list of twenty-five SCOTUS candidates that he would likely pick from for the Supreme Court.  There certainly was no surprises here.  

Trump promised to work with other nations to revise or establish mutually beneficial trade deals, and if the other nations refused to work with us accordingly, he would seek to right such trade imbalances via the instigation of tariffs on their goods.  China has long stolen intellectual property and maintained a dangerous trade imbalance in their favor with us, particularly regarding steel and aluminum.  Trump attempted to right that wrong; China refused to cooperate, and hence punitive tariffs have been enacted in order to prompt China to change its ways...  JUST   AS   PROMISED.

Like previous presidents, Trump also promised to end illegal immigration.  Unlike previous presidents from both parties, Trump actually instructed that the letter of the law be followed with regards to illegal immigrants.  This enrages the left as they see future Democrat voters being denied entry into the U.S.  They further blame Trump for actually following the law written long prior to his administration that separates children of illegal aliens from their parents.  (If I were to break the law in Mexico, I don’t think that the Mexican authorities would throw my children into jail with me.  I know we don’t hold minors in jail here for the legal transgressions of their parents.)  The fact that Trump has asked that this law actually be enforced as a deterrent to illegal immigrants has caused heads to explode on the left.  When he mitigated this law by executive order, the left still screamed and took offense.  Evidently for some of our brothers and sisters on the left, we are to have open borders or they will fight and resist!

President Trump promised significant tax reform to spur the economy to life once again from the sub-2% anemic growth experienced under his predecessor’s eight years.  By doing so he has created business and personal growth not seen in this country for decades by allowing people to keep more of their own hard-earned tax dollars.  Further, this has caused businesses to expand and hire more employees thus bringing unemployment numbers down to remarkably low levels.  Again, Trump did what he said he would do.

Trump has removed myriad economy-killing regulations that were often times unnecessary or useful only to certain special interest groups.  He promised to remove two regulations for every one that was enacted.  He has far surpassed this by a margin of 12 removed to 1 enacted according to some reports.  This cutting of bureaucracy has made government less bloated and more efficient and responsive in many areas… just as promised yet again.

Trump, like previous presidents, has rightfully complained about NATO allies not living up to their commitments to spend 2% of their GDP’s in their defense thus leaving America to heft a greater share of the burden of Europe’s defense.  Unlike his predecessors, President Trump has publicly and spectacularly called out our offending allies for this intentional transgression and has openly pondered the usefulness of NATO if they do not contribute according to their promised obligations. 

These issues and perhaps dozens more where Trump was proven not to just be making meaningless speeches, but was actually telling us what he planned to do has proven refreshing to many of us on the right of center.  He made many promises during his presidential campaign, just like all other politicians before him.  The difference is that President Trump intended to follow through on every one of them despite a very hostile opposition from the Left and denouncement at nearly all corners from the mainstream leftist media.

The fact that much of his enacted agenda has proven to be very effective and quite popular really enrages our leftist brothers and sisters.  They are incensed that Trump actually meant what he said and followed through on his words, just like Mr. Mueller did in my high school class decades ago.  Those folks that didn’t take them seriously are upset that America is being made great again (by most Americans’ definition) or that they got “F’s”.  I guess they didn’t realize that both President Trump and Mr. Mueller truly meant what they said.

In that regard, I have do have respect for the otherwise arrogant and often obnoxious President Trump,  just like I did for the brusque Mr. Mueller decades earlier.  They meant what they said, and that is indeed not only quite refreshing in this day and age, but sorely needed as well.





PS: As a FYI, September 11, 2018 will be the ninth anniversary of Saving Common Sense.  It will also be the last active day of this blog.  I have yet to decide whether I will remove the blog entirely or simply leave it up and no longer administer to it.   Regardless, I have decided to start a new "kinder and gentler" project in the coming months that will be less political and not dealing with malcontents and haters.  More to come on this soon!  Cheers!


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Irish


"Have we ever seen a nation so overjoyed at the prospect of killing their own children?"

I found this single-line thought posted at Collecting My Thoughts and nearly wept at the profundity it expressed.

The ignorance and callousness of people that should know better regarding such an evil is truly disheartening.  How does a nation that considers itself to be Catholic reconcile the legalization of this barbaric atrocity known to them as "choice" with some of God's most solemn commandments to love one another and to not kill the innocent?

Surely our Lord must weep at this travesty.  I guess in that regard, I am still in good company.




Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Politics, Humor, and the Intersection of Both

Figured we could all use a laugh right about now.  Of course, some folks may not find a few of these as funny as the rest of us will.  Enjoy!











































Wednesday, May 9, 2018

"Understanding" the Party of Militant Snowflakes (PMS)

We've seen it pop up over the news repeatedly and unceasingly. The media is often duped and is complicit, if not actually members of the far left whiners complaining about the rest of us "not understanding" leftist supporters.

Oh, but we do.

When angry leftist snowflakes accuse me of being racist and opposing the Constitution, when they lie like calling me a White Nationalist, when they accuse and blame conservatives, resort to the race card and every race-baiting technique ever devised, and NEVER bring up the double standards and duplicity of their actions going on today, when they attack pro-life organizations as "racist hate groups", when they claim that only innocent victims and not some numbers of violent protesters marched with BLM, when they are angered by the Congressional Freedom Caucus for even existing, when they constantly deflect and claim that we are blaming the former Black President, when they refuse to look at President Trump and realize that he is doing his constitutional job as commander in chief by trying to prevent potential Muslim terrorists from dangerous and unstable countries from entering America with his temporary ban until they are vetted and thus claiming he is a racist xenophobe because of this,  all the while excusing the anti-colonialist, would-be-Marxist, Islamic-enemy strengthening idiot that preceded Trump into the White House, Etc. ad nauseum.... well, we do get it.

Yeah, if that doesn’t fit anti-constitutionalism and hate America first leftists, then it doesn’t exist.
I will not compromise with hate and lies. (Some on the left have become the very essence of hate and lies.)  I will call haters and liars out for what they are going forward. There can be no common ground with this leftist extremism. It will never disappear, and it must be defeated by every generation. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” so said the greatest president in my lifetime, Ronald Wilson Reagan, whom the militant left hates for restoring America’s prosperity, standing, and respect among the nations of the world.

I suggest they just follow their fascist Anti-fa hate group’s advice to, "resist, destroy, and burn down the rightwing institutions.  Never allow them to speak or share their ideas.  They must be silenced.”  This will only show the rest of the nation who these misguided and wrong-headed fools truly are.
Inspiring, is it not? Kinda makes me want to polish my Lenin statue and raise my clenched fist as I don my Che Guevara beret.

I know I can be a smart ass at times. It is who I am. But seriously, I am saddened by the disinformation, anger and hate we see from the far Left. I am ashamed of such a large faction of Americans who have become fanatic enough to trust Hillary, Schumer, Pelosi, leftist-propaganda journalists, self-serving-faux scientists, and progressive-agenda-driven educators. And I am horrified they not only trust these adversaries of liberty, but actively share in their hate for a truly free un-biased press and educational institutions that are not merely sources of leftist indoctrination, and their demonizing and defaming of anyone that is right of center. These hypocrites have historically undermined the very rule of law to further their own purposes and then whine when others don’t follow the law when it is perceived to negatively impact them.

They also viciously attack anyone who calls out the lies and hate from the Party of Militant
Snowflakes (PMS).

This is who they are folks.

And they HATE anyone who sees them the way they actually present themselves.

We’ll stop telling the truth about them when they stop lying about us.

But that won’t happen, for they will never see the truth in what I just said. They are unable to comprehend anything outside their bubble cult because they are indoctrinated to hate and loathe dissent from their ideology. (After all, it was communist dictators in the 20th century that actually killed or exiled those that raised their voices in dissent to freedom.)  Thus deflection, distraction, denial, dishonesty and distortion are their only tools.  This is why conservatives are not allowed to speak on college campuses or any media sources that are not left-wing are denounced as “fake news” by these ideologues.

There can be no common ground with deflection, distraction, denial, dishonesty and distortion. They whine that we “demonize” them. This is not true. We know what they are about. THEY don’t want to understand us. They choose to see us and our traditional American values as the “enemy of the people”.

I stand ready to share the common ground of reality and basic human decency. The Party of Militant Snowflakes (PMS) and their enablers obviously want none of that.

They want to rule. They want to impeach and remove a duly elected president without charges (to date) thereby ignoring the rule of law and will of the people.  They claim to be for the poor and working class but only put forth new policies and entitlements that further ensnare them in even greater government dependency and thus consolidate a leftist voting bloc. They want to attack our republic, dismantle our institutions, subvert our rule of law to their will, and crush dissent and our constitutional liberties under the first, second, and various other constitutional amendments.

And I shall resist that ignorance, tyranny, anger, and hate until my dying breath.

Friday, May 4, 2018

GoD and DoG by Wendy J. Francisco



In a serendipitous moment nearly nine years ago, I came across this delightful song that was written and animated by Wendy J. Francisco.  While doing some clean-up on my soon-to-be-retired blog today I noticed that someone had clicked on that old posting of this.  I thought, in light of all of the garbage, hate, and malevolence out there in our society right now, this tender and sweet song warranted me posting it yet again.  Enjoy!



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Twilight Zone Moments



Ain't that the truth!  I'd add to that the following as well:

British Prime Minister defends hospital that ended Alfie Evans’ life, says “Clinicians should decide”, not parents.  (aka "death panels" like the one that also ended Charlie Gard's life.)

A few left-wing MSM individuals were actually unhappy with Michelle Wolf's vulgar mean-girl routine.

Israel found Iran cheating on the nuclear deal.  Surprise!

Building a wall will deny the constitutional rights of myriads of ILLEGAL immigrants.








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.