The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category

FEAR

It was 1960 and time to watch one of what, was to me, one of the most interesting shows on television, The Twilight Zone.  That night’s was the twenty-second episode of the show’s first season, an installment entitled, “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.”  Perhaps you remember this story.  Critics have called it one of the show’s ten best and it is always included in the “marathons” that run every New Year’s Day.  But for those of you who may have missed it, here’s my synopsis of the plot.

On Maple Street, a street in a typical middle class suburb somewhere in America, strange things start to happen.  Suddenly the electricity goes out.  The neighbors come out to see if anyone else is experiencing the same problem or if it is merely a power failure in their home.  But the outage extends throughout the entire block.  They begin discussing their options – whether they should call the power company – but they find their phones are out as well.  They also discover that they can’t start their cars.  Of course, they begin speculating about what could be the cause of all of this.

One teenager says that what is happening to them is just like what he read in a book – about how monsters from outer space came to Earth and disrupted our power – just before they launched an invasion of the planet.  And the scariest part of their invasion plan is that they had disguised themselves to look human and for a long period had planted spies among us.

Suddenly, one if the neighbors who had been working on his car is startled when it suddenly starts by itself.  The others begin probing him as to why his and only his car is now working.  They become suspicious of him, now that they have been seeded with the teen’s story about enemy infiltrators.  And they not only bring him under scrutiny but begin questionning why others of them do what they do, like going out late at night and staring up at the sky.

Rational people are quickly turned into a lynch mob and one of the neighbors who had walked over to the next block to see if their power was out as well returns and in the darkness of night is shot dead by one of his friends.  Their fear of the unknown and the imponderable has overwhelmed their felings of friendship.  Unexpectedly,the lights come back on and they are left with a murder and the realization that their comity is not as deep as they might have believed it to be before it was put to this test.

In the final scene, we learn that there are indeed aliens on the planet and that they were responsible for the power failure.  Their plan to conquer the planet is to allow us to destroy ourselves and then they can mop up the residue that remains.  One of the aliens speaks the last line of the episode, “It’s always the same  – every time, everywhere.”

In 1939 the S. S. St. Louis, a luxury cruise liner, departed Hamburg, Germany.  Aboard were 900 Jews who were fleeing Hitler.  They were bound for Cuba with the ultimate intention of coming to the United States.  But when they reached Cuba, the authorities refused them permission to dock or for any of the passengers to debark.

The captain tried negotiating with the authorities over several days but they were emphatic in their refusal.  So the captin turned the ship northwest toward Miami.  The ship was intercepted before it reached that port and they were again refused permission to dock – this time by the government of the United States.

Direct appeals were made to then President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but the ship did not receive permission to land and ultimately the captain had no choice but to turn the ship back around for a return voyage to Europe.  Out of fear and desperation, one of the passengers on board had slit his wrists and thrown himself into the ocean.  Of the remaining passengers, two hundred fifty-four were killed in the death camps.

One might argue that the reason that Hitler’s agression was allowed to grow exponentially as it did was because the other European powers chose to hope that they were dealing with a person who could be pacified by giving away the Sudetenland – a geographic area which was removed from their personal neighborhood and in which people lived to whom they were unrelated by blood.

One might argue that the reason that we have a Syrian refugee crisis today is that as the de facto leader of the free world, Obama has abdicated his and our country’s position of leadership and tolerated the intolerable – a dictator in Syria who regularly gasses his own people and has slaughtered more than 250,000 of them.

When the U. S. turned the S. S. St. Louis away it was four months before Hitler invaded Poland and started WWII.  There was no reason to fear that these refugees were coming here to act as a fifth column.  No open hostilities had yet occurred.  The sole reason for refusing them entry was that Roosevelt was not a fan of Jews in general.  He did consider allowing some of them admittance but wanted to keep them in small numbers and spread them throughout the country so that, “They wouldn’t disrupt our culture.”  This was discrimination and racism in its purest form.

The Syrian situation is very different.  For one thing, while it is apparent that ISIS has declared war against the U. S. and the West, they are not an enemy in the traditional sense.  Their borders are amorphous albeit growing.  The other nations of the world do not recognize them diplomatically.  But they are beginning to look more like a traditional country as western leaders, notably Obama, dawdle in their efforts to defeat them.

They do occupy territory, now the size of the UK.  They have an income stream from black market oil sales, and they have initiated laws which they impose on those who live within their occupied geography.  They have also developed a currency.  All these are characteristics of legitimate governments and countries.  And, to state the all too obvious, they have weapons and are not hesitant to use them.

Two thirds of Americans do not want us to admit any of the Syrian refugees.  But is their opinion formed by the attack in Paris, the Brussels lockdown or is this merely an overreaction owing to the “Maple Street Effect.”  For me, I think the most alarming reason for leaning this way is Obama’s statement that, “We really have nothing to worry about in the U. S.”  The man hasn’t made a truthful statement on any issue of substance during his seven years in office.

At the very least, we ought to take a pause before admitting anyone who might potentially be a terrorist.  That is what the House bill does.  It is sad that partisan politics rather than national security in the guise of Harry Reid may delay or abrogate discussion of this matter in the Senate.  But it is government’s responsibility to keep the country and its citizens as safe as it can within their capabilities.  However this plays out, this is merely a short term deferral of the real problem.

And that real problem is ISIS, its sister organizations and terrorism in general.  And the real solution is for America to get on the Reality Train that Europe is now boarding, make and take real steps to decimate it militarily so that the refugees can return to their homes and start the process of rebuilding their country.

THE WAKING DREAD

Several days ago I mentioned the impact that 9/11/01 had on me psychologically.

It was inconceivable to me that a person could be so unfeeling to take an airliner filled with innocent people and crash it into a building filled with thousands of other innocent people.  And that sense of overwhelming despair only increased as we found out that it wasn’t one person but many.  And the death count mounted, as those whom they left behind hoped against hope that perhaps somehow, by some incredible miracle, their loved ones had escaped the devastation and the rubble.  But for most of them, their hopes would not come to fruition and they had to face the reality that they were gone forever.

The ennui that I felt I’m sure was shared by many Americans.  And if there were one thing that helped me through it that came in the person of two individuals.

The first was President George W. Bush, (not one of my favorite people).  But giving credit where it is due, when Bush went to New York, donned a first responder’s jacket and rallied the people of the city to press on, I believe that was one of the defining moments of his presidency and was a statement of his love for this country.

The second was Mayor Rudy Guilliani (one of my all time favorites).  The Mayor not only had the Herculean task of dealing with all the turmoil, the heartbreak and the aftermath of the destruction of two of New York’s landmarks but he did so without giving any indication of feeling the strain from this undertaking and, most importantly got the job done.

Both of these men fulfilled their duty and went above and beyond the call of rallying us out of our shell-shocked state and proved examples of how the American people can rise above tragedy and regroup and rebuild.  They were an inspiration – at least that’s how I viewed them.

One of the more popular current television programs is The Walking Dead.  I inadvertently ran across it as I was surfing channels in a desperate attempt to find something that would be entertaining and stimulating.  I had the show up for probably ten seconds when I saw a lineup of men, apparently kneeling and then systematically having their throats cut over a trough into which their blood ran.  I happened to catch this episode not too long after the iconic picture of some Syrian Christians wearing orange jump suits were similarly slaughtered by ISIS.

I quickly changed the channel.

Now movies about zombies are nothing new.  They’ve been around since I was a kid – although the preferred method of “zombie-ification” was normally caused by a spell or potion which the Haitian voodoo doctor had concocted.  Today, we have managed to advance beyond herbs and arcane rituals and have been able to harness the power of chemicals, germs and viruses with the intent of weaponizing them.  (Normally, the research is done under the much more noble guise of trying to figure out how to weaponize them so that if one of the “bad guys” weaponized them we would be prepared with an antidote – if you believe that story).

But what if, just what if, there were some virulent poison released on the general population which either decimated the population or transformed us into those flesh-eating zombies?  Would those of us who might be lucky enough to survive such an attack be able to rely on the resources and people who head up government – or would we have to go it alone?

Or what if a far more realistic possibility occurred and those JV terrorists knocked out the electric grid?  We’ve known that is a serious vulnerability and have known that for at least a decade.  What is more disturbing is that we also have a way to fix the problem so that it wouldn’t cascade into a national power outage but have failed even to take steps to begin to implement that protection.  And with all that knowledge, with all the money that Washington finds for pet projects, not one dime has been allocated to protect this vital resource which, if it were crippled, might result in the death of as much as ninety percent of the population.

The way in which the Obama administration has addressed every assignment thrown at it or which it has initiated does not inspire me with confidence.  The mantra of Hope and Change suckered enough of us to hear a chord of promise which turned into a cacophony of pretense.  And as I wake each morning with a sense of dread deep set in the recesses of my mind, I now cling to that campaign theme and hope that we make it through the next fourteen months and find a leader who will help us change back into a united country, strong in resolve and optimistically leading the world toward a new and brighter dawn.

REFUGEES – PART TWO

The UN Human Rights Commission agreement considered the best outcome for those who were displaced by war to be their repatriation to their homeland once hostilities had ceased.  Those who were able to escape in the course of the war become the legal responsibility of that country to which they first made their way.  In the case of the Syrian refugees, that burden has heavily fallen on Jordan.  But in the latest waves our NATO ally Turkey has become a migratory route.  For whatever reason it has acted less as a new host country than it has as a funnel for these refugees to reach western Europe.

Since it’s explicitly clear that neither western Europe nor the United States has a legal obligation to accept any of the Syrian refugees, the question of whether we should accept refugees comes down to a question of morality.  Should we as caring people accept these people and welcome their to our country?  Sadly, that question is not as clear cut as those who are advocates for bringing the Syrian refugees into America would have us believe.

Obama and the left offer a case intended to make any opposition to accepting Syrian refugees appear to emanate from people who have no hearts and no compassion.  But a truly compassionate and insightful president would have been aghast at the more than one quarter million Syrian civilians who have been killed by President Assad during the last three years and would have, once he had drawn his “red line,” actually taken action against that tyrant.  But he didn’t.  And in large measure, the current Syrian refugee crisis is a direct result of his lackluster “policy” which seems to be founded on the theory that if you don’t pay attention to a problem or give credence to it, it will ultimately go away – hopefully before your term of office expires – but, if not, it will be your successor’s problem.

But setting aside the root cause for the massive influx of immigrants from Syria, why should we believe that offering them safe heaven in the United States will actually benefit them?   According to HUD, there are nearly two million Americans who are homeless.  These people are citizens of the United States.  It is estimated that of this number more than fifty thousand are veterans of our military.  So if we are unable to care for our own people, why would we add additional people who in many cases do not have language skills that will enable them to fit into society and whose customs and culture is so different from our own?

The serious and real objection to the acceptance of Syrian refugees does not stem from hard-heartedness but a genuine fear that ISIS will implant some of its operatives in their number.  Obama pooh poohed this as an irrational fear, challenging Republicans as “cowards” for their fear of “widows and orphans”.  If the president’s passion were as great for destroying ISIS as it is for denigrating any who challenge his opinions this crisis might not have existed.  But even some staunchly partisan Democrats, notably Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) have advocated taking a pause before admitting any further Syrian refugees.

Of course, the president and his administration have claimed that there is a thorough vetting process to ensure that no terrorists will be admitted among those to whom we might give refuge.  Several days ago, the National Security Council’s advisor, Ben Rhodes, who holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing – which makes him an ideal spokesperson for the administration but might call into question his qualifications for making recommendations about national security – again put forth this notion that the vetting process would be both thorough and certain.  That is in direct contradiction to what the heads of both the FBI and the CIA who will share in the responsibility of vetting these prospective refugees have stated.  So who are we to believe?

Most of us who were raised within the Judaeo-Christian tradition believe that lying is always wrong.  The same cannot be said of Islam in even its most benign varieties.  Both the Quran and the hadiths permit a devout Muslim to lie to the infidel if his intentions are good and his goal is to spread the “true faith” which is their mission.  Muhammad signed a ten year truce with the Qurayash residents of Mecca and a year later, after he had built up his military, broke the truce and slaughtered them.  Yassir Arafat, apparently inspired by the prophet, signed the 1993 Oslo Accord, by his own words, strictly for the purpose of deception.

If we review the mis-statements and outright lies that Obama has spewed during these last gruesome seven years, perhaps his statement that, “There is no more beautiful sound than that of the Muslim call to prayer” may be the most, if not the only, truthful statement that he has made during his term in office.

REFUGEES – PART ONE

There is a reason that I love and admire dogs which is summed up in the statement, “Dogs never bite the hand that feeds them.”  That is a minimalist statement about the quality which dogs generally exhibit but suggests that they’re at the least smart enough not to kill the golden goose.  I would say that dogs are the most loyal and dedicated creatures with whom I have spent my time.  In fact, in terms of honesty they far exceed most of the people I’ve encountered over a lifetime.

Now our friends the French are happily notorious in their love of their canine companions.  It’s unusual to be at a cafe in Paris and not see dogs of several breeds enjoying a bite to eat together with their companion people.  And I can’t help but wonder if this is one of the reasons that ISIS carried out its destructive mission on Friday the 13th.  You see, dogs are considered “unclean” animals in Islam (not radical Islam – just your plain, ordinary vanilla variety).  A devout Muslim is required to wash his clothes three times should a dog lick them or himself if the same tragic fate befell his hand or face.

We currently see that, owing to the civil war in Syria, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees, most of whom are Muslim as one would expect, who have been displaced from their homes.  That is tragic.  And Europe and the western world is being called to step up to the plate and provide them refuge.  Americans have demonstrated their generosity throughout our history and, on the surface, it would seem reasonable to expect us to accommodate some of these.  In fact, President Obama has committed to at least ten thousand of them with talk of that number increasing to a quarter of a million.

As of this writing, there are thirty governors who have said flat out that they will not accept any of these refugees in their states.  Why are these fiends so hard hearted?  Or are they merely fulfilling the duties of their office for which they were elected by attempting to protect the citizens of their states?

It is clear that, despite the objections of these governors, that they have no supportable legal basis for their positions.  The fact that federal law trumps laws that states pass is a long established principle.  Certainly the governors must know that.  But perhaps they’re relying on the fact that this administration has chosen to ignore this Constitutional principle more than three hundred times by declining to intervene and enforce the law when it comes to the subject of “sanctuary cities” which have been established in clear violation of the laws passed by Congress and signed by the president.

It is perhaps telling that when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they first turned their attention to the responsibilities and duties of the legislative branch in Article 1.   Only after they had delineated what they considered to be the most important function of government did they turn their attention to the executive branch in Article 2.  And there are few duties that are enumerated in that Article but one of the most important is that, the president  must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

It is clear what the rationale of the Founders was in the way in which they wrote the Constitution.  They had just participated in a revolution which overthrew a king who could impose law at will.  As a matter of personal and national self-interest, the Founders wanted the law to be made by people who represented the people and wanted to preclude any president from assuming the role that the king had previously held in dictating their affairs.  That seems to be a lesson that our current president either never learned, has forgotten or has purposely chosen to ignore.

While Obama clearly has the authority to bring in an unlimited number of refugees under a 2005 law, if there is anything that will preclude him from doing so will not be the law but his analysis of the political implications of what is a tide of rising public sentiment and even some opposition in his own party.  Those dissident voices come not from a hardness of heart or a lack of concern for the fate of these people but from what might be a well-founded concern that among those are affiliates of ISIS whose stated goal is to do harm to as many of us as possible.

If we have an obligation to accept refugees as we have in the past, it comes from a national sense of charity but there is no legality for us to do so.  Below is a link which is the statement of the UN Human Rights Commission which delineates the responsibilities of its signatory members.

http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet20en.pdf

The document is lengthy but well worth reading as it contains some useful historical information as to the reasons it was written as it is.

But there is more to be said on this subject.  And tomorrow is another day in which we shall continue coverage on this important topic.

SANCTUARY AND THE RUST BELT

In his attempt to find something as a “legacy,” President Obama is, through his minion Secretary of State Kerry, attempting to forge a deal of some sort with Iran.  Sadly, the president has not come to the realization that this deal, good or ill, will not be his legacy.  He has already established that.

The obvious and lasting legacy of this administration will be its consistent refusal to enforce the laws of the land – or, more exactly – to enforce those laws which it chooses and from which it sees a sense of political advantage and to ignore those which do not fit its agenda or which might benefit its opponents and all the rest of “We The People.”  The legacy of Obama will be that a nation whose foundation was built on equality under the law will have moved to a state of lawlessness on its way to nihilism and possible anarchy.

The unfortunate, tragic and avoidable death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco at the hands of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez is a direct result of the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce the laws regarding illegal aliens which are on the books.  But they are not alone in responsibility, the Sheriff of San Francisco, the members of that city’s Board of Supervisors and its mayor also share some part of the blame.  But if there were one specific cause for this tragedy to which we may point as being the culprit, it is San Francisco’s self-adoption of its “sanctuary city” policy – and the Federal government’s tacitly condoning it.  Translated, that means that San Francisco has chosen to ignore Federal law and do what it wants.

By now everyone knows that the alleged (and now admitted) murderer had entered the country illegally and been deported five times; that he was guilty of seven felony convictions; and had chosen to reside in San Francisco largely because he knew that he would find a safe harbor there and not be turned over to ICE authorities for yet another deportation.  So, in addition to the loss of a perfectly innocent young woman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, we will now go through the expense of a trial and most likely spend good taxpayer money incarcerating a man for life who shouldn’t have been here in the first place.

You might have thought that with the brouhaha that Donald Trump made with his statement about illegal aliens that we would have heard something from BoPeepObama.  But the highest level of commentary came from California’s two senators, Feinstein and Boxer.  The two of them, who have been in the Senate since shortly after the great flood, took time to put down their hairspray and rinse just long enough to issue two separate but equally insipid statements in which they expressed an appropriate amount of tut-tutting and said that we really should do something about this whole thing with (using the PC term) undocumented aliens.  If there is a silently imposed invisible glass ceiling which keeps women from the same opportunities that men enjoy, these two and their colleague representing San Francisco in the House, Nancy Pelosi might well be the reason.  This troika might well be named the “Three Ditzketeers.”

Washington state and Colorado’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana are another example of how local government has decided to thumb their noses at Washington and do what they will.  They have received a non-response from Washington just as have the two hundred “sanctuary cities” that have self-declared themselves as such.

So as long as we are cool with local governments adopting policies which are in variance to what the Federal government mandates, this provides an opportunity to extend the logic of local self-determination to a higher level.  And this concept may go far to help revivify some of our rust belt cities which have fallen into a state of near collapse – places such as Detroit and Baltimore.  Those and similar declining municipalities should declare themselves a Federal Income Tax-free sanctuary zone – exempting their residents from the necessity of paying any Federal income taxes in the future.

There is very little reason for a person to want to move to a Detroit or a Baltimore.  Hundreds of properties in both are either abandoned or extremely run down.  The crime rate is so high that living there is a bit like taking a vacation in ISIS controlled Iraq but with no exit visa.   Unless there is some substantial incentive, soon they and similar cities will turn into a vast wasteland.  So the city governments should turn over those properties to pioneers who would like to take a shot (no pun intended) at rehabbing them.  Returning them to the tax rolls would provide the local governments some much needed revenue – if they could entice enough adventurous people to take part in this experiment.

Would the Feds go along with this income tax exemption?  After all, they’ve overlooked states that violate Federal narcotics laws – and municipalities that ignore Federal immigration laws.  But then when it comes to money, that may be where the buck stops.  After all, the reality is that collecting money from the American people is the lifeblood which continues to finance pompous politicians and bloated bureaucracies.  And in the end, maintaining their own privileged lifestyles may prove to be of sufficient importance that they would actually take action and put their feet down.  Money is probably more important than the citizens of this country to them.  Just ask the family of the late Kate Steinle.

READING, WRITING AND TAX FRAUD

There has been a lot of negative feedback directed at the White House for its omission in not sending a higher level individual to the rally that took place last Sunday in Paris.  Surely, we could have spared Vice President Biden or Secretary of State Kerry to attend.  If, God forbid, something had happened, they could easily have been replaced by someone equally incompetent.

While White House spokesman Josh Earnest, acknowledged that this was a small faux pas on the part of the administration, he preceded that with a variety of other explanations which bore all the validity of the explanation that “The attack on our facility in Benghazi occurred as a result of a spontaneous attack, caused by an offensive video.”

Let’s see,  “The President only found out about the rally as a result of hearing about it in the media and there wasn’t a sufficient amount of time to ensure that the proper security measures would be in place to guarantee his safety.”  So let’s think back to the funeral of Nelson Mandela which the president did attend.  There were several more days which intervened between his death and burial – and there was probably previous planning about security which would have been tethered together since he was an elderly man and his death, at some point, was expected.  So, despite what must have been greater security, do you remember the mentally ill man who, while Obama gave his eulogy, was gesticulating a translation in a pseudo-sign language style of his own invention?  Was the entirety of the Secret Service detail off in the red light district during the ceremony?

“The president was not invited to attend.”  If that is true it might speak volumes about the real state of Franco-American relationships – though it is surprising considering the fact that Presidents Hollande and Obama are both socialists.  Perhaps the French simply didn’t want the nation to be snubbed in the same way that the British were by Obama’s failure to attend Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.

While it seems unreasonable to expect this or any other president to expose himself to unnecessary personal risk, that didn’t seem to deter Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the latter being a much more likely target, from having the gumption to show up and march in the front line, arm in arm.  One could argue that with or without any American security, Obama might well be viewed by the Islamic radical terrorists as an ally rather than an opponent and would have been the safest of all world leaders present at the rally.  After all, he’s been busily freeing Guantanamo detainees and sending them back to the homeland where they can rejoin the fight to eradicate Western Civilization from the face of the map.  Well, at least we taxpayers are saving money since we spend three times more per year on one of the enemy combatants in Gitmo than we do on your basic murderer or rapist in one of our federal penitentiaries.

Now that several days have gone by since the Paris demonstration of solidarity, I think I may have hit on the real reason that Obama couldn’t bother to make it to France – other than the obvious that he was watching the playoff  games.  It is that he was fleshing out his latest idea that we should offer everyone the opportunity to attend community college, maintain an “average” average and have the taxpayers fund their education.  This may surprise some long time readers but I have to say that this might be the brightest idea that has sprung from Obama in the last six years – or perhaps ever.  Which is not to say that I am in complete agreement with it.  But let’s set aside partisanship and review this proposal on an objective basis.

I’m going to begin with an assumption that while an associate’s degree might not carry with it the potential earnings benefit of a four year bachelor’s degree, it should at the least offer its recipient at least half the potential of the more advanced parchment.  We’ll set aside the fact that about thirty percent of those holding newly conferred bachelor’s degrees are unable to find any work and more than sixty percent are holding positions for which they are overqualified for lack of suitable opportunities which would require their newly acquired expertise.  Those are mere anomalies.  There are at least a few examples of how acquiring a four year degree – or at least working toward that goal – can bring with it financial rewards.

The feds recently apprehended seven student athletes who attended the University of South Dakota who were involved in a tax fraud scheme which reportedly diverted $1.1 Million in fraudulent tax refund claims and which netted the group $400,000 which they withdrew from ATM’s before they were arrested.  Of these, six were members of the USD football team and one was a member of the university’s track and field team.  (He was probably the runner for the group).  So to those of you who criticize the quality of education that our kids get in college, I can only say, “Pshaw.”

As I write this, it occurs to me that perhaps the explanation that Obama was watching the football playoffs is indeed the real reason for his notable absence at the Parisian rally.  He might have been scouting for promising football players to add to the administration’s staff who could come up with innovative ways to pay for his community college proposal.  After all, most of those guys have four year degrees – and a fairly large percentage have felony convictions to round out their resumes.

THE REFRESHING HONESTY OF ISLAMIC RADICALISM

It was a rainy and cold fall day so after school athletics had ben cancelled and I returned home from school early.  I finished most of my homework, leaving the assignment to translate the second chapter of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s  classic story, “Le Petit Prince” for later as I had three days to complete that.  As I closed my math book, Grandma asked me to set the table for dinner and I was in the process of doing that when the door opened and my father came home.  I went over to give him a hug and could tell that something was bothering him.  He wasn’t his usual jovial self.

At dinner the conversation turned to the fact that he had let go Andy Willis, his salesman who covered the New England states for his company.  He also told us that since he didn’t have a salesman representing the territory, he would have to go to Boston to man the Gift Show which was being held a few weeks later and would probably spend a week calling on his clients in the region.  It was a bit reminiscent of the days gone by when Dad was on the road forty or more weeks a year before he started his own company.

Mom asked why he had let Andy go.  This was not an every day occurrence by any means as most of my father’s employees had been with him for ten or more years.  And I knew, given my father’s disposition, that he would have tried everything in his power to help his now former employee become successful as he tried to help everyone he met and knew.  That was one of his most impressive virtues.  He simply said, “Well, to call a spade a spade, Andy simply wasn’t meeting the goals that we had mutually agreed were reasonable – and I saw no reason to believe that was going to change.”

I believe that it was the first time I heard that expression, “Calling a spade a spade.”  It was very characteristic of my father’s approach to life.  He called things the way he saw them – no pussyfooting around.  That is not to say that he was crude or rude because he was one of the most gentle people I have ever known.  But if you tried to put one over on him, he would call you on it – albeit in the most polite manner.  I know because on more than one occasion I tried.  I lost every one of those attempts at deception.  And finally, perhaps because I learned that telling the truth was a heck of a lot easier than trying to fabricate and maintain a lie, I adopted my father’s philosophy and came to believe that, “Honesty is the best policy.”

The events this week in Paris would have infuriated my father – not for their mere depravity but because of the dissembling response by most world leaders, including our president, about the cause of these events.  And the effete news publications which have “covered” the slaughters would be right behind in deserving his derision.  What it all comes down to is the fact that none of them is willing to “Call a spade a spade.”  Instead, they all pussyfoot around the central and unifying issue which caused the deaths of more than a dozen people in France and which several days ago took the lives of more than two thousand in Nigeria.  And the name of that cancer is “Islamic Radicalism.”

Whether or not President Obama or the media wish to admit or acknowledge it, there is a war going on between terrorists who are Muslims and whose goal is the overthrow of Western Judeo-Christian civilization and its replacement with their interpretation of the Quran and Sharia law.  That’s the facts plain and simple.  And no amount of politically motivated vocabulary ethnic cleansing is going to eradicate the truth nor ameliorate the outcome.  In fact, by denying the truth these “leaders” are more likely to ensure that a worse outcome will ensue since they are failing to address the root cause of the problem and call it out for what it is.

I have to say I appreciate the honesty if not the execution of it in actual terms of the terrorist radicals.  They make no bones about their goals and they make no apologies for their methods.  They are focused with an absolute if misguided faith in what they want to achieve.  The complete domination of the world and the replacement of Western Civilization with their own perverted version of Islam.

Meanwhile, back in the capitals of Europe and the U. S. we listen to idiots like our potential new president, Hillary Clinton speak about how, “We should listen to our enemies and try to see the world through their eyes and from their perspective.”  What a load of crap – pardon my Urdu.   And this woman wants to be president.  It’s hard enough to believe she’s sufficiently competent to schedule her next appointment for a cellulite removal treatment.

And then we have our beloved media.  “The New York Times” springs to mind as the standard bearer for what passes now for modern journalism.  The Times had well over thirty articles describing the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church, a hate organization masquerading as a Christian church with a membership of less than thirty people who are focused on a single subject – deriding and ridiculing gays and lesbians.

To my knowledge, as repugnant and un-Christian as this organization’s tactics are, I don’t believe they have ever been accused of either stoning to death a gay male or lesbian woman or beheading one – in sharp contrast to Radical Islam (or one might argue Islam as a religion) which holds that is the appropriate punishment for a person engaged in gay sex – among quite a few other offenses – including extramarital sexual relations of any kind.  It’s hardly surprising that the left wing media choose to ignore that fact because if Sharia law were implemented, three quarters of Hollywood would disappear overnight.  One might argue that wouldn’t be so bad.

So as those in positions of political authority dither along, the enemy, firm in its convictions and determined in its will, are undoubtedly planning the next event, to which when it occurs our “leaders” will come out and make platitudinous general statements, descrying the most recent “outrage.”  But it will be an outrage which has been decades in the making – since the invention and implementation of “Political Correctness” (a/k/a “B*ll Sh*t”) – and will most likely continue and intensify unless and until they get a grip, put down the rose-colored glasses and take up the AK47’s.

We’ll requisition a supply of clothes pins that they can attach to their noses, to dampen their distaste at pulling the trigger, before those who are sworn enemies of our way of life pull theirs and put them out of our mutual misery.

DOUBLE DOWN OBAMA

Although it is unlikely that this post contains enough controversial information to make its way through the dark halls of the NSA and to the White House, it would be of value to the president should he have the opportunity to read it.  It would require him to put on his “Big Boy” pants and evaluate a view that is radical – in its divergence from the one which forms his ideology.  That, in itself, is probably too much to ask.

In life we all make choices.  Some of those we make have good consequences – others not so much.  It is only the stubborn and arrogant who, having made a poor choice, continue to insist that theirs was the correct one, the evidence notwithstanding.  Sadly, Obama has, to this point, followed that path – not only to the detriment of his approval rating but, far more importantly, to the detriment of the country.

Let’s take a lesson from the real world of stock trading – a galaxy away from the not so real world of Washington, D. C.

There are a number of rules of trading which have become rules because those  who are engaged in the activity realize that they are correct and work far more often than they fail.  Successful traders observe those rules because they realize that doing so helps them achieve their goal – which is to earn a living.  Failure to observe these rules has its consequences – usually involving finding a new line of endeavor.

The first rule of trading is quite simple.  “Never add to a losing trade.”   Here’s a simple example.

A trader buys XYZ stock at $50 a share.  Within minutes the stock declines to $49.50.  At this point that trader has only three options.  He may do nothing and maintain the position hoping the stock will recover; he may sell it and accept the loss; or he may add to the position and double down on his position.  Although most non-professionals would adopt either options one or three, the professional would most likely take the second option, accept the loss and move on, looking for a better trade.  Here’s the rationale behind all three choices.

Doing nothing is essentially a denial of having entered into a bad trade.  Clearly, when the trader bought XYZ stock at $50 he did so for one reason.  He thought the stock price would increase from his purchase price – otherwise there would be no reason to initiate the trade.  Doing nothing is simply ignoring the reality that he was wrong in his assessment.

Selling the stock at a loss, while painful, is the correct choice because it recognizes some very basic facts.  The trader bought the stock with the expectation of a rise in its price – but he was wrong.  Admitting that you’re wrong – and limiting the amount of that mistake is the correct response.  We all make mistakes.  It is acknowledging that we have made a mistake and learning from that so we don’t repeat it, that makes the trader successful.

The third option, purchasing additional stock is the worst of the three because it not only ignores the reality that the trader was wrong in his initial decision but that pure hubris causes him to deny that fact.  Unfortunately, ego has caused the demise of more traders than bad decisions.

Now this simple example from the real world will undoubtedly be lost on the president for the simple reason that he has never held a job in the real world.  Despite the repudiation of Obama’s policies which was a message by those of us who took the trouble to voice our opinion on November 4th delivered, the president prefers to focus on those non-voters who didn’t bother to show up as a “silent” endorsement of his six years in office.  That’s like saying that because no one mentions anything to the person with a dreadful case of bad breath because they don’t want to offend him, that halitosis is a condition to which we all should aspire.

This president has seldom shown an interest in how the American people feel about any issue.  Obamacare has never enjoyed a majority positive view and is now at its lowest level of support since the law was passed; Americans in a vast majority view the country as moving in the wrong direction;  the president’s own approval rating hovers at the lowest levels of his presidency.  To these fact the president, like the six year old who is determined to have his own way despite his parents’ admonishment, turns a deaf ear to these facts.  Hubris reigns supreme in the White House.

If it were simply a small man’s refusal to see the light it would be one thing.  Sadly, this president, by virtue of his office, is the most powerful man on earth.  And while he doubles down on his own failed policies and refusal to find common ground with those whose responsibility is to provide an alternate view, it is not only those in America but people and nations around the world who will be his victims.

I guess if I really wanted the president to read this I should just print it out, pack my bags and plan a trip to Washington to deliver it in person.  I understand that getting into the White House isn’t all that difficult.

THE FLOOD

In the small town of Crawfton the city fathers gathered together.  The alert that they were to be in the path of a torrential downpour during the next several days had come in from the National Weather Service and they were deciding the most appropriate action the town’s residents should take.  Finally, they decided the safest thing would be to ask all residents to evacuate to the high school which was on the town’s highest ground and they took steps to set up a shelter with food and bedding in the school’s gymnasium to accommodate them.  They, the town’s one policeman and the members of the volunteer fire department went door to door to warn the residents and help them move to their new temporary shelter.

It happened that the mayor knocked on the door of Elder Burt Timmons, one of the community’s most well respected residents.  Elder Timmons came to the door and invited the mayor in.  But the mayor, aware of the urgency of the situation declined and explained the situation at Timmons’ doorstep.

“Please gather what you will need for several days for you and your family and come over to the high school.  We would appreciate it if you would assist in volunteering to help organize the rescue effort when you’re there.   Perhaps your wife, Marcie could help the other women in the cafeteria and your kids could help supervise some of the younger children.”

“Well, Mayor,” Elder Timmons replied.  “Marcie and the children are visiting Marcie’s mother.  And I have faith in the Lord that he will spare me from any danger.  In fact, moving to the high school would, in my view, be a denial of that faith.  So I’m going to stay here and wait it out.”

Despite the mayor’s insistent pleas to reconsider, Elder Timmons remained adamant and the Mayor finally went on to his next call.

As predicted, two days later the skies darkened and the rain began falling.  The intensity of the storm increased and the volume of the downpour gained strength.  All of the town’s residents but for Elder Timmons were warm and safe in the school.  And as the water pooled up and grew higher, it began seeping into the Timmons home.

Undeterred by the rising water which ran freely on the first floor, Elder Timmons held to his faith and prayed for deliverance when Jimmy Anderson, a high school senior came by the house in his row boat.  He could see Timmons through the front window and yelled at him, “Elder Timmons.  Get in the boat.  I’ll row you over to the high school.”

But Timmons shouted back, “No need to worry Jimmy.  I have faith in the Lord and he will save me from any harm.  Thanks for stopping by.”  And Timmons returned to his prayers as Jimmy rowed away.

The following day the water had risen to the point that Elder Timmons had to abandon the first floor of his house, taking refuge on the second floor.  Jimmy’s father came by in the row boat and again offered to row him to the school.  But just as he had done the previous day, he declined the offer, citing his faith in God’s goodness and provision.

The water continued yet the next day and the second floor of the Timmons home was completely inundated from the deluge, forcing Elder Timmons to seek refuge on the roof of his home.  Although he was clad with a slicker, the torrential rain and the wind made its way into his clothing and he was feeling cold and wet, but his faith was unperturbed.  So when the FEMA helicopter flew over and threw down a ladder for him to climb, he refused their assistance.  Several hours later, the water engulfed his roof and Timmons was swept away.  He had never learned to swim and as a result drowned.

But Elder Timmons’ faith had not gone without its reward.  At his passing, Timmons’ soul was immediately taken to the pearly gates where St. Peter himself greeted him and then quickly ushered him in to see God himself.  One would have thought that with the promise of eternal happiness fulfilled, Timmons would have been overjoyed.  Yet he seemed downcast and troubled.  God saw that and asked him the source of this sullenness.

“Lord, You know that I’ve always been faithful to You since my baptism.  I’ve never broken one of your commandments or missed a Sunday service and tithed with joy.  Yet, in my most trying moment as I prayed to You to save me from the flood, You abandoned me.  I don’t understand how I might have done any more to keep to my faith and be deserving of Your compassion.”

“My son, you are mistaken,” God replied.  I sent you two row boats and a helicopter to rescue you.  What more did you expect of me?”

This old story reminds me a great deal of the 2014 election.  Sadly, the GOP has decided to take on the role of Elder Timmons.  At this point, we should not be wondering whether the Republicans are going to take control of the Senate but how much of a majority they will hold.  That is not the case and those of us who hope for positive change find ourselves with a nail biter that may not be resolved until January.

Potentate Obama handed the GOP the absolutely most convincing argument that he could (he was off teleprompter) when he said, “This election is about the Obama administration’s policies.”  Amen.  If you liked what you have seen over the past six years, and most Americans do not, then it is clear that you should go out and vote for the Democrat hack who is running for office.  If not, you should be calling your neighbors who feel as you do and urge them to get out and make a real change – a change for the better and one that is long overdue.

Elections are not won other than at the ballot box (and subsequently the counting of those votes in the canvass).  That fact is not lost on the Democrats.  That is the real reason for their opposing voter ID laws.  That is the reason for their supporting an open immigration policy.  That is something that is still not apparently clear enough to Reince Priebus and the Republican Party.  Otherwise, there would be a nationwide ad campaign that asked the following:

“Are you tired of hearing about a new scandal and example of incompetence every week?  Fast and Furious; Benghazi; the IRS; the NSA; the Veterans Administration; ISIS; and now the Ebola outbreak?  If so, we welcome you as a new or returning Republican voter.  It is time for a change – a change to get America back on track – a change for the better.  Vote Republican – and vote proudly.”

I wonder if there’s a job waiting for me at RNC headquarters?  I think I’ll wait to apply until after the flood waters have abated.

CALLING A SPADE A SPADE

 

There are those who claim that poker is a game of skill.  Usually, those are people who have just taken down a big pot or won a tournament.  There are those who claim that poker is a game of luck.  Usually, those are people who have just taken what is affectionately known in the poker world as a “bad beat.”  My personal view is that poker is a game of luck combined with an element of skill.  I base that on the fact that if poker were simply a game of skill, each of the sixty-five events at the World Series of Poker would see the same faces at the final table.  That is simply not the case.  Even the greatest marksman is not going to be able to show his stuff if he does not have a supply of bullets.

Back in the days when I played a great deal of live poker I noticed that there were certain days that I could do nothing wrong.  It was as though I were a magnet for the winning hand.  Sadly, those days were few and far between.  More often the rules of random mathematical probability held sway (whether poker is a game of luck, skill or a combination of the two, there is no question that it is a game based on math), and I would receive my share of good, bad and indifferent starting hands.  Then there were the times that I would sit at the table for hours without having a hand that had any high probability of being the best when then final card was dealt.  For some reason, those slumps seemed to last for an inordinately long period of time – once for over a month of daily play.

As I was in my “slump” period, I began wondering why I subjected myself to this sort of abuse.  Anyone who has experienced the phenomenon of consistently bad cards has probably asked the same question.  I was about four hours into the session and nothing had changed when I picked up my cards and saw the six of spades.  I slid the bottom card to the right, keeping my cards sequestered from the player to my left who had a habit of staring over to see if he could make out what I had been dealt when I saw the corner of the top card, a black ace, the ace of spades.  If you don’t play poker you might think this was a good hand – but it isn’t.  In fact, A – 6 is the worst holding with an ace that you can have.  The fact that it was suited only slightly improves the hand.  But as my stack of chips had dwindled through four hours of antes, I decided to play it anyway.  There were four callers so that gave my hand some improvement through what is known as “pot odds.”

The dealer removed the first card from the deck, placing it on the discard pile and turned over the first three cards of the hand, otherwise known as the “flop.”  Much to my delight, three spades came up, the queen, eight and deuce.  I had, at that moment, what is known as “the nuts,” in other words, the best hand that could be held at that particular stage of play.  I kept my poker face and showed no reaction to the cards on the table.  One of the players to my right made a moderate bet and three of us called.  I presumed he held a queen and was betting top pair.

The next card, the “turn” was dealt.  It was the seven of hearts.  Unless you were holding a seven or two of them, this didn’t improve anyone’s hand.  The original bettor made a more aggressive bet, which another player raised.  I figured the raiser either was holding a pair of sevens or a seven and another card that had already appeared on the board.  At that point, I called with all my remaining chips and the original bettor called.  Then the final card, the “river” was dealt.  It was the three of diamonds.  I had survived and my “nut flush” had finally broken my long run of terrible cards.

The first bettor turned over his cards, A – Q for a pair; the second player turned his cards up and, as expected had three sevens; and with glee I turned up my cards, only to discover that what I had taken for the ace of spades was in fact the ace of clubs.  I had mis-read my cards and had nothing.  So I picked myself up from my seat, went home and took a month long sabbatical from playing poker.  That improved my attitude – a great deal – if you’ll pardon the expression.

Was it wish fulfillment that I saw a spade where a club existed?  Was I simply tired and misread the card?  Perhaps it was some combination of the two.  But this episode reminded me of the turmoil in which we in the United States now find ourselves – primarily because we are being fed a line that says that a club is a spade – if it’s more opportune to call it that.  While some call that “political correctness” my name for this form of communication is deceit.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve used the term “senior moment” from time to time to explain why I lost my train of thought or forgot the reason that I went into the cupboard.  Fortunately, those moments are relatively rare and only affect me.  But there is a more pernicious lapse afoot that I have named “an Obama moment.”  Should you wonder what that is, here’s my definition:  Diddling around while a solvable problem festers into a crisis and then, finally, making the wrong decision on how to handle it.

During the past month or so I’ve begun many posts.  But almost as soon as I began, a new issue has arisen which distracted me from my original writing.  This is, clearly, a fast paced world and we no longer have to wait for the evening paper to find out what has been happening here and abroad.  While many hope for their five minutes of fame, that fame has now been reduced to the length of a nanosecond.  It’s almost as though there is a concerted conspiratorial effort to so overwhelm us with “news” that we are being distracted from what is really happening and what events are truly important.  As I am not a fan of “conspiracy theories” I dismiss that – with a modicum of reservation.  So what are the real “crises” that President Obama has allowed to reach their present state?  They are immigration; ISIS and Ebola – although I can’t blame him for inventing Ebola.  More importantly, might these three be potentially interconnected?

The vast majority of Americans support legal immigration and a path to citizenship for those who want to come here.  They also support our having borders that are secure.  While charges of “racism” are lobbed because the vast majority of illegals (or “undocumented people” per Ninny Pepperoni, a/k/a Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi), are of Mexican or Central American origin, there are documented cases of people from Iraq, Iran, Syria and other middle eastern countries where ISIS has grown exponentially, who have also made it across our southern border and were apprehended.  At least some of them were apprehended.

Virtually everyone who has seen the acts of terrorism which ISIS regularly employs would agree that it is an organization based on consummate evil – and something that the rest of us in the world who do not subscribe to its tenets – would be better off without.  Certainly those who have been victims would, if they were still with us, agree with that statement.

Yet while ISIS grows in size and controls a greater amount of territory almost on a daily basis, this administration and its supporters engage us in a debate about whether using the term “Islamic” is a term of racism.  It hardly seems like a worthwhile argument since ISIS or IS (or in the administration’s preferred variant ISIL) uses Islamic as the first word in its acronym.  While we engage in that meaningless discussion, we see the focus of the liberal left applauding the speech that high school dropout Leonardo DiCaprio gave as he waxed eloquently before the UN about the evils of climate change.  Unfortunately, Mr. DiCaprio and his cohorts in Hollywood would have little to fear from climate change as, if ISIS were to prevail in its objective of theocratic domination, they would be among the first to face the executioner’s sword.

Then, of course, we have the West African Ebola outbreak.  We should all feel reassured that the president went on record that no cases would be spawned here – other than the fact that we now hear there may be several people who are  currently under observation for the disease.  Politicians, and the rest of us for that matter, should refrain from using the words none or all, since one exception makes our statements incorrect.  But to the average Joe or Juwanna, making sweeping statements is very reassuring – until the exception manifests itself.

Now what do all three of these issues have in common?

We know that ISIS’ members are so fanatical that they are willing to sacrifice themselves for an assured place with Allah in the afterlife.  I applaud their devotion and wish them all a speedy trip.  One of the ways to make that dream a reality is dying while killing the infidel – namely any or all of the six plus billion people or so who do not subscribe to Islam – and, for that matter, many of their Islamic brethren who do not adhere to their exact interpretation of that faith.

Given the porosity of our borders, the ease of international air travel, what is to prevent these zealots from sending a contingent of their fellow jihadists to West Africa, purposely infecting themselves with Ebola and then travelling to the United States and dispersing among many of our cities?  Purportedly, we have five medical centers nationwide which are equipped to treat patients who are affected by the Ebola virus.  How would we handle hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of such cases?  The answer is that we couldn’t.  And, sadly, that’s true no matter how much Obama, his cronies and supporters claim otherwise.

The nation has endured nearly six years of an administration that is either ineffectual, indifferent or incompetent.  It’s hard to imagine suffering through another two more years of the same.  Should President Obama decide that the greatest contribution he could make to the country is taking an early retirement and heading for the golf course, I’d be willing to chip in to help pay his greens fees.  And while gaffe stricken VP Biden doesn’t seem much of an improvement, at least he would provide us with a little comic relief.  And just about now, based on the pessimistic view most Americans hold of the future, we could all use a good laugh.

And that’s calling a spade a spade.

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