Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easter Special - A Medical Version of the Crucifixion

I was in the U.S. Air Force for eight years, from June 1977 until September, 1985. My Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC), or job code, was 902 – medic. I became proficient at my duties and took extra training so I was able to function as a paramedic, working much of those eight years in the Emergency Room.

I tell these details of my life because of the article I’m going to post today. As Easter approaches I am reminded of an article I read during my Emergency Room days. I found it fascinating not only because of my medical training but also because, as a believing Christian, it gave me true insight into the actual suffering of Jesus Christ during the days just before, and up to, His crucifixion. Never had I heard such blatant, descriptive details nor the medical explanations for the things that happened to Him in those terrible (for Him) and wonderful (for us) days.

The following is a transcription of a lecture given by Dr. Keith Maxwell, an Orthopedic Surgeon in Asheville, N.C. There have been several studies and article offered by various medical experts around the world and this is but one. Mostly, of the ones I’ve read, they agree.

This article is approached from the perspective of how a physician would assess the injuries of Jesus if he were there to see the actual physical trauma He experienced. Dr. Maxwell speaks plainly, with as little medical jargon as possible. His development of this topic began to evolve one night when Dr. Maxwell, in the emergency room, thought to himself, "If they brought the Lord in here, exactly what would His physical injuries be like?"

Dr. Maxwell hopes through this article to reveal some things that will make us meditate on the actual suffering Jesus experienced in the last hours of his life. In the notes that follow are his conclusions concerning the death of Jesus based on his research, experience as a trauma physician and his understanding of scripture.

In “The Passion Of The Christ”, Mel Gibson did a tremendous job of illustrating, on film, the brutality that Jesus suffered at the hands of the Roman soldiers. However, I think you’ll agree after reading this that Gibson’s movie, as graphic as it was, didn’t come near to reality. I doubt they could do justice to the real thing.

**A warning – this article is very descriptive and graphic. It can be difficult to read if you have a weak stomach and/or a vivid imagination. It’s also a bit long but it’s well worth the read.**

You may or may not have thought of some of the things I'll point out to you tonight, but I hope I can share some things with you that will make the life and death of our Savior a little bit more precious.

By the time He was crucified, Jesus had been up about thirty-six hours without any sleep. We know from Biblical accounts that Jesus was an early riser. There are several places in the gospels where He arose early and went and prayed. We have no reason to believe He did anything other than that the day He had his last meal with his disciples. He likely arose early that morning, spent his day, and subsequently had dinner with the disciples that night - the last supper in the upper room. He was then taken prisoner in the garden of Gethsemane, was led all about the old city of Jerusalem and was tried at least twice. The next day at about daybreak He was actually hung on the cross, and hung there throughout that day. Between the time He arose and the time He actually died on the cross, a period of about thirty-six hours had passed, with no sleep or rest.

Something else you may not have thought of was how far Jesus actually walked about in the old city of Jerusalem. We know He was led about from the chief priest's house to Herod's to Pilate's during the time that He was being tried, and we know He was led all about the old city of Jerusalem. If you add it up, He walked about two and one half miles that last night. Also, as best we can ascertain from historical accounts, Jesus carried His cross about a third of a mile before He collapsed and wasn't able to carry it anymore. These are some physical exertions that added up, place stress on a person.

The next thing I want to talk about is a phenomenon called hemathidrosis. Hemathidrosis is a very rare medical phenomenon that's been reported about twelve to fourteen times in world medical literature and is only seen in people who are under tremendous stress and agony. In hemathidrosis, a person actually exudes blood from every sweat gland in their body. Each sweat gland has a small capillary that surrounds it, and in hemathidrosis, that small capillary ruptures. As it bursts, a person actually bleeds into their sweat glands. Instead of perspiring sweat, if you will, they actually perspire blood. The Bible gives an excellent description of this phenomenon, saying that the Lord's sweat became as great drops of blood. Indeed, every pore of Jesus' body oozed and drained blood.

Now, I believe that Christ was a man just as much as any one of us. But at the same time, I believe that Christ was God and knew the terrible fate that lay ahead of Him. He knew the job He had come to this earth to do, the mission He had to fulfill, and I believe the man part of Christ dreaded this agonizing death and torture that lay a few hours ahead of Him just as much as anyone of us would. We know He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, saying 'Father, if it be your will, let this cup pass from me.' But He submitted His will to his Father's. There in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was under about as much anxiety and physical stress from an emotional standpoint that a human could experience, knowing that in a few hours He would be delivered into one of the most agonizing and brutal deaths ever recorded in history.

Why didn't the Lord bleed to death if he bled out of every sweat gland in His body? If you've been to Israel, as I have, you know that this time of year you have warm days and cool nights. It was this cool night air that probably caused the Lord's damp skin, covered with sweat and blood, to chill, causing the capillaries to constrict and stop the bleeding. This same chilling in the cold night air has kept many a drunk and hoodlum who I've seen shot or stabbed and who's then lain in a ditch all night, from dying. It causes the blood vessels to constrict and causes the blood loss to be minimal. But by the time Jesus was taken by the soldiers from the garden of Gethsemane, He probably had a mixture of sweat and blood over His entire body surface. I can imagine this was some sight to behold.

Let's talk about the scourging. Scourging was such a horrible torture that Roman citizens were forbade to be scourged - only slaves and traders could be scourged. It was one of the worst punishments the Romans had to inflict on a human body. Typically, the victim was stripped completely naked and tied by his wrists to a post or wall with his back exposed. He was then whipped from the back of his arms, down his shoulders and back, across his bare buttocks, down the back of his legs and calves, all the way down to his heels by two Roman legionnaires, one on either side, alternating blows.

The historical accounts tell us that the traditional scourging consisted of thirty-nine lashes. If you can, imagine two large, strong, burly Roman legionnaires (someone that we would equate to say, a pro football player today) with a wooden handled whip about eighteen inches long that had nine leather thongs, something akin to what we would call a cat-o-nine tails. The nine leather thongs were about six to seven feet long, and at the end of each thong was some lead shot, like a sinker you'd use to go fishing. Attached to the lead shot were pieces of sheep and cattle bone. The idea of those small pieces of bone was that, as the Roman legionnaire would beat his victim, snapping his wrist would cause the weight of the metal shod to dig into the back, while the sheep/cattle bone cut the skin.

As the sheep/cattle bone lacerated the skin and actually dug in under the surface of the skin, the skilled and trained legionnaire could whip his wrist and literally lift small shards of skeletal muscle out through the skin, leaving small ribbons of muscle, about two inches long, hanging through the skin.

"When I was working on this, I looked in the cadaver lab and did some dissection, trying to figure out what one blow like this would mean to you and me. As best I could tell, and from some of the information I was able to gather from the Shroud of Turin exhibit, one lash with this whip - one thong - would make a cut about two inches long and about three quarters to an inch deep. To put that into medical terms, that's a cut that takes about twenty stitches to close. So with one lash, one swing of the whip, a total of nine lacerations could be inflicted on the victim, each laceration two inches long and three quarters to one inch deep.

With one blow, one Roman legionnaire could inflict enough wounds to take one hundred eighty stitches to close. If you multiply that times thirty-nine, those two Roman legionnaires inflicted enough lacerations to take about 2,000 stitches to close. I've seen people who've gone through the windshield of a car or wrecked a motorcycle into a barbed wire fence, and I've still never seen anyone that tattered up in any of my medical experience. This gives you an idea of the amount of the physical trauma that was inflicted upon Jesus just from the scourging.

Again you'd ask why Jesus didn't bleed to death. And again, you have to remember that this was done in the cold night air, the very thing that caused His blood vessels and capillaries to constrict and actually cause the blood loss from this beating to be minimal.

As mentioned, the idea of the lead weight was to lift the skeletal muscle out. Imagine having a cut on your skin with an inch of muscle pulled out through the cut, exposed to the night air. We see this sometimes in stab wounds or when people are stabbed with sharp objects like sticks and the muscles are pulled back through the skin. The purpose this served in the scourging was that as the victim hung on the cross in the heat of the day, birds could light on him and actually peck and pull at these pieces of muscle, just like a robin trying to pull a worm out of the ground.

Frequently, how long a person actually survived on the cross during the crucifixion was determined by how severely he was scourged. Sometimes they would beat a man nearly to death before they put him on the cross and he would only live a few hours. Most of the time, though, the scourging was intended for public humiliation and embarrassment, because it was such an inhumane method of torture.

Another thing you may not have considered.... TV has done a real injustice to trauma, depicting men in bar room fights who take blows to the face or head and jump up and beat up three or four men. I can tell you that it's really not that way in real life. If I took any one of the men here, tied his hands behind him and then let any other man of average size and build beat him in the face with his fists open and closed, I cannot begin to tell you the amount of trauma this would inflict on him.

We know that Jesus was beaten in the face and head as He was mocked. I can assure you with all confidence that by the time the Lord was crucified after His beatings, it's almost certain that both of His eyes were swollen shut and no doubt his nose was pouring blood. I can also tell you that when people are struck in the mouth with a fist, the first thing that happens is that the lower teeth come right through the lip. I've taken care of many people in the emergency room who've come in beaten up in fights with their teeth sticking through their lips, both upper and lower sides. If Jesus was tied and held and beaten in the face by these strong legionnaires, I don't think there's any doubt that His lips were tattered like paper and some of His teeth were knocked loose or maybe even knocked out. You might ask if his jaw bones were broken. Normally they would be, but not in Jesus' case; and I'll tell you why in a few minutes.

During Jesus' trials and humiliation we also know that a crown of thorns was plaited and placed on His head. In Christ's case this was done to mock Him as being King of the Jews. Some of you have been to Israel and have seen these thorns. They're about an inch and one half to two inches long, and they're as sharp as an ice pick. The custom was to take a small three or four foot long reed and slap the thorns on top of the head of the victim in order to drive the thorns into the skull. Those thorns laid upon someone's head and then tapped down with a reed were hard enough to penetrate the outer table or the outer bone of the skull. Imagine the bleeding from three or four hundred puncture wounds in the scalp and around the forehead from these thorns.

So, before Jesus' crucifixion ever begins, His face has been beaten to a pulp, no doubt His eyes were swollen shut, His nose is bloodied, and I remind you that every pore in His skin has wept and oozed blood. Every visible surface on the good Lord Jesus, I am confident, was covered and caked with dried blood. And His back and his arms and His buttocks and the back of His legs were literally torn to shreds from the scourging. This was the shape Jesus was in before they ever gave Him His cross to head out to Calvary.

Now, one of the things I take issue with from agnostics who I've heard debate this - I do not think the Lord died from shock secondary to blood loss. There is nothing that Jesus said on the cross and nothing in the description of the crucifixion in any of the gospels that gives us any idea that Jesus was in shock before He died. How do I know that? When someone is shot or hit by a car and comes to the emergency room, they're not sitting up talking to you. Their eyes are glassy, their color is pale, their blood pressure is about sixty over nothing and they're barely conscious, if conscious at all. Jesus never lost consciousness. There's nothing in the description of His trials, His scourging or His time on the cross that tells us He was incoherent mentally or lost consciousness.

Something else, physical stress - everything the Bible tells us about the life of Jesus is that He was a healthy, early thirties male who lived a rough life. He didn't have a home, He probably slept outside, and He walked everywhere He went. He was probably, as we would say, as tough as a pine knot. I think Jesus was a hardy young man, very strong and stout physically, and that there was nothing weak or puny about Him from a medical standpoint, prior to the crucifixion. As far as emotional stress, I don't think Jesus had any kind of nervous breakdown. He was certainly under stress in the garden of Gethsemane, but nothing that He said on the cross gave any indication whatsoever that He was decompensating mentally, even during His gravest hours on the cross.

I've also heard cardiac arrhythmia debated as a cause of Jesus' death. When people go into cardiac arrhythmia, if it's ventricular tachycardia or some of the other types of cardiac arrhythmia's, one of the first things that happens is that the heart, even though it beats fast or funny, doesn't function very well as a pump. When it doesn't function well as a pump, your blood pressure drops, and you lose consciousness. Again, nowhere in the gospels do we have an account where Jesus ever lost consciousness until he died.

Let's talk about the cross for just a minute. We know from Corinthian and Roman history that the crosses were usually in two parts. First, the cross bar, that from very good historical accounts can be estimated to have a weight of 125 to 150 pounds, and to be about the size of a cross tie.

Many of us have stacked or used cross ties at one time or another or have certainly seen what they look like on the railroad tracks. I want to remind you that this was a rough, unplanned, unfinished piece of wood with splinters and spikes and rough places in it, just like you would expect to see in a railroad cross tie. When the victim's final trial and condemnation had taken place, to maximize the shame and suffering, the custom was to tie the cross bar to the victim, and have him carry it through the city from his point of condemnation to his point of execution.

Part of the custom was that many times these people would be forced to stagger through the streets after being scourged and beaten, with the cross bar tied to their arms, and to add to the ultimate humiliation, the victim had to bear the cross naked. Imagine how humiliating that would be in this day and time, much less how humiliating and agonizing it must have been for Jesus.

The other part of the cross was an upright part, which is just like a post in the ground. Every major city at that time had an area outside their gates where they performed crucifixions. It was really not only a form of execution, but of entertainment as well. Many of the major cities had areas outside their walls where they would have three or four of these upright posts that were permanent fixtures. Someone condemned to crucifixion would bear the cross bar through the streets to the point of crucifixion, and once there, would be thrown onto the ground. Nails would then be driven through their hands into the cross bar. Then two forks, something similar to pitch forks, would be placed around each end of the cross bar, and they would be boosted up and the cross bar hung on top of the upright post. Once they were braced on the upright post, both feet would then be nailed to the foot piece.

The nail wounds.... The Romans practiced crucifixion for hundreds of years, and they perfected the art of pain and suffering. How could a man have spikes driven through his hands and feet and not bleed to death? The Romans figured out that if they drove the spike through a man's wrist right at the middle, they could avoid hitting any arteries or veins. If you go back and look at the Hebrew word for hand, it's inclusive from the fingertips to about where your wristwatch crosses your wrist. So the hand didn't necessarily mean the palm, and I can tell you, from having been a hand surgeon at one time and from dissecting cadavers to try to see if the muscle was strong enough to hold the body weight, it's not. You can not drive a spike through a man's palm and hang him by it without it pulling right out between his fingers. It is an accepted medical fact that the muscle in your palm is not strong enough to support your body weight.

In order to be able to drive spikes through the Lord's hands, they had to drive them through at the wrists. There, there's a very strong ligament, called the traverse carpal ligament, that's strong enough to support the body weight. The Romans figured out that if they came about where the crease in the wrist is and drove the spike through this area, they would miss the radial artery (the artery people cut when they try to kill themselves by cutting their wrist - right where the doctor takes your pulse), and they would also miss what we call the ulnar artery over on the little finger side. What they would do though, is drive the nail right through the biggest nerve in the hand, called the median nerve. If any of y'all have ever had carpal tunnel syndrome, you know how uncomfortable any inflammation or irritation to that median nerve can be.

When the median nerve is transected, it gives about the sensation of having an electric cattle prod stuck to your wrist and a constant electrical shock going through your hand, and causes the fingers to claw. In essence, the Romans devised a way they could drive a spike through a man's hand and not lose one drop of blood, while maximizing the amount of pain and suffering that man would endure.

The Romans did the same thing with the feet. They calculated where they could drive a spike through both a man's feet and not cause blood loss that would cause the victim to bleed to death. The spike would have been placed between the first and second metatarsal bones, missing the dorals pedis artery. There again, they drove the spike through the feet with no blood loss. The spike misses the artery, but does hit the plantar nerves, thereby causing that same horrible shock sensation.

Let's talk now about Jesus hanging on the cross. When hanging by their arms, as a crucifixion victim's body weight sags down, their diaphragm functions like a billows. As the diaphragm drops into the abdomen it pulls in air, so someone hanging on the cross had no difficulty whatsoever pulling air into their lungs. The tough part for people hanging on the cross was breathing out.

In order for a crucifixion victim to exhale, they would have to pull up against the spikes with their hands, and push up against the spikes with their feet. I want to remind you - here's Jesus hanging on the cross, probably naked in front of the whole city of Jerusalem. I've already described His back to you.

Every time He took a breath, that tattered, lacerated and riddled back was drug and scraped across the splinters and the rough knobs and spikes protruding from the cross. Each time He breathed out, each time He uttered a word, He would have to pull up with His arms and push up with His legs. That's why I want to remind you just how precious Jesus' words from the cross were. That's why He couldn't say more than three or four words at a time. Because when you talk, you only talk as you breathe out, not as you breathe in. Every word Jesus spoke on the cross was spoken as He was pulling up against the nails and dragging His back across the cross.

That's why what the Lord tells us - what He spoke from the cross - is very precious to me, because I know what it cost Him and how badly it hurt Him. Every time I give this talk it reminds me how He died for us and just how every word hurt and how He suffered just to give us every word. What did He say? He said, 'Behold your son." And then He said 'Behold your mother.' Jesus knew He had just about finished His job and done everything that He'd come into this world to fulfill and do. Finally, when He had done all of that He said, 'It is finished.' And when He said 'It is finished", that's the last time He pulled up with His hands and pushed up with His feet, dragging His back across the cross as He hung there naked before the city of Jerusalem in total shame and humiliation. Convicted and tortured and condemned for something of which He was not guilty.

If you go back and look at historical accounts, you find that people actually lived on the cross, crucified, for up to six days. If you can, imagine a man hanging on a cross outside the gates of a city with the birds pecking at his eyes and roosting on his head, as he hangs there naked as a spectacle for the whole city. That was the point of this. It was part of the shame and humiliation that a man hang there so people could come by for a day or two and stand and mock and jeer and shout accusations and railings and blasphemy at him. The idea was to make him suffer as much as possible. Crucifixion was never intended to kill anybody.

*Crucifixion was never intended to kill anybody.* It was only intended to make a human being suffer as much as could be inflicted upon him before killing him by breaking his legs. But I don't believe Jesus died from crucifracture or from exhaustion asphyxia either.

Crucifracture is what they would do when they simply grew tired of watching this agony and suffering or when they had something better to do and wanted to end a crucifixion. They would take a spear and swing it like a ball bat and hit the victim in the shins to break his shin bones. They'd break the tibula and the fibula bone. Many times they would have to beat the legs for five or ten minutes until they finally could break the shin bones - it takes a lot of force to break your shin bone. With the shin bone broken, the victim could no longer push up to breathe.

Why didn't they break Jesus' legs? If you go back to the Psalms - I believe the 34th chapter - it says "Not a bone of His body was broken." This is why Jesus' nose and jaws and cheekbones should have been broken but couldn't have been. The 34th chapter of Psalms wouldn't let that take place. And that's why the Roman centurion didn't break His legs, because the Bible says "Not a bone of his body was broken."

That was totally uncharacteristic of the crucifixion, because that's how crucifixion victims died. When they grew tired of you and got bored with the situation they'd break your legs and in about four to six minutes you'd smother to death, because you could no longer push up with your legs. You laid there sagging, unable to breathe out, and you were asphyxiated in about four to six minutes. That's how the two thieves died. But Jesus was dead already.

Let's go back to the 19th chapter of John. What happened? What did they do when they went to the first thief? The Roman centurion broke his legs. What did he do when he went to the second thief? He broke his legs. But when the centurion went to Jesus, the Bible says He was dead already.

Now why would a young, strapping, healthy man be dead after being on the cross for six hours? There's absolutely no medical explanation for it at all. Excuse my interpretation here, but the Lord had no business being dead. He should have been alive just like the other two. He wasn't beaten to the point of death, His blood loss was minimal and we know He wasn't in shock, because everything He told us from the cross made sense. He identified His mother standing at some distance from the foot of the cross. He was able to see enough to identify her and to identify one of the disciples. And everything He said was coherent. He was not out of His mind and He was not having a nervous breakdown, and He wasn't even in shock from blood loss. The Lord was perfectly coherent and sane up to the moment he died."

"The spear wound to the Lord's side was not the cause of his death either. When the centurion saw that Jesus was dead already, he thrust a spear into Jesus' side. The Bible says in Zachariah that they may look upon Him who they've pierced. The spear thrust was biblical prophecy fulfilled. That was one of the reasons why Jesus was already dead; God had a plan that we were to look upon the one they had pierced - Zachariah had to be fulfilled.

Roman centurions were trained killers. They were taught how to deliver death blows that would take a man's life in a matter of seconds. I've taken care of many gunshot victims to the chest. A person can take a .22 through the left side of the heart and likely come in sitting up talking to you. However, if you're stabbed or shot on the right side of the heart, where the inferior and superior vena cava are emptying into the right side of the heart, you're unconscious and pretty close to dead in about twenty to thirty seconds.

This blow to Jesus was no doubt delivered from the right side through the right lung into the heart and on into the spine. It would have penetrated somewhere between the seventh and eighth intercostal space probably on the right. But the Bible says that blood and water came out of Jesus' side after the spear was thrust in. Now if you take a unit of blood, drain it out of a human being's body, put it in a quart jar and set it on top of a desk, in about thirty minutes the red blood cells begin to settle out and the plasma rises to the top. The plasma separates from the red blood cells. When the soldier thrust the spear into the Lord's side, Jesus had already been dead for thirty or forty-five minutes. Maybe you've never thought about that. The spear wound did not take the life of the Lord Jesus; He was dead already when they thrust the spear into His side.

So let me conjecture a little about what I think. I think there's a very good description of the crucifixion in the Bible and there's very good medical evidence that can be pulled out of that description that tells us that the Lord did not die in the manner that most crucifixion victims die. When the Roman centurion went to him to break His legs, he was dead already. They couldn't break His legs because the Bible said in Psalms, "Not a bone of His body shall be broken." Why then would the soldier thrust a spear into His side? Because Zachariah told us hundreds of years before that we'd look upon Him that we'd pierced. And what came out? Blood and water - I think there's enough medical evidence there that the Lord was dead at least a half an hour.

So what took the Lord's life? No man did. No man, no Roman centurion, no cross took Jesus' life. He was able to do something I've never seen another human being do - He laid down his life. When it was finished and with a loud voice, He gave up the ghost. Jesus gave his life."

"The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." (NIV) John 10:17,18

I'm deeply blessed ... Our Lord conquers death and gives life... Amen!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman Case - part 2

I’ll most likely irritate some people with this but I think it needs saying. It’s time that our administration live up to some of the promises they’ve made.

Maybe I just haven’t heard it yet but I searched for it on Google this morning and found nothing. I’ve watched FOX, MSNBC, NBC, ABC and CBS and have seen nothing about it. I’ve looked at the local newspaper and checked all the internet sights I can think of but as yet haven’t found anything about it.

What is it, you ask? I’m looking for the article in which the President and Attorney General Eric Holder denounce the New Black Panther Party’s putting a bounty on the head of George Zimmerman. I’m waiting for their condemnation of NBP leader, Hashim Nzinga, for offering $10,000 for the “capture of George Zimmerman” and his being turned over to the NBP. Nzinga also stated publicly that Zimmerman “should be afraid for his life.”

Why am I waiting for the President to this? There are two very simple reasons. First – he likes to insert himself personally into things such as the Henry Louis Gates arrest, the Sandra Fluke incident involving Rush Limbaugh, and yes, even the Trayvon Martin killing. And he has called for an end to violent rhetoric and said he would “lead by example”. Yet when the New Black Panthers, the same group accused of voter intimidation during the 2008 election (charges later dropped by Eric Holder) puts a $10,000 bounty on George Zimmerman because they have already judged him guilty of murder, there is no comment from the White House. Why is that?

Jesse Jackson has denounced the New Black Panther Party and the bounty. Trayvon Martin’s family has denounced any and all violent protests, seeking only answers and justice. Al Sharpton, Eric Holder and President Obama have remained noticeably quiet about it. Some may say the President shouldn't get involved in things like that but if he inserts himself into the story then the least he can do is denounce this type of commentary by the NBP,

Some people believe George Zimmerman is a vigilante. I don’t know if he is or isn’t – we still don’t have all the facts. But even if he is, isn’t the act of putting a bounty on his head by a private group also vigilantism? Is one any better than the other?

I did agree with President Obama’s remarks the other day concerning the case. "I think [Trayvon's parents] are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened." Rather than take “the police acted stupidly” approach, the President was cautious not to voice any conclusions. Good for him. I’m sure he has an opinion, as most of us do, and our opinions might actually be very similar. But the New Black Panther Party thing is where we apparently part ways. As the President of the Unites States who has already made a public statement concerning this incident, Obama needs to step up and denounce the actions of the New Black Panthers. He needs to bring Eric Holder with him and together they need to let Americans know this type of violent rhetoric and action will not be tolerated.

The ball is in your court, Mr. President. Do the right thing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman Case - My Take

There is a lot of controversy these days concerning the Trayvon Martin shooting by George Zimmerman back in February. The more the case goes on the worse the hateful rhetoric gets. Originally the demands were for a thorough investigation of the incident by someone other than the Sanford, Florida, police so Zimmerman could be properly arrested and charged. Now it has escalated to celebrity involvement on the side of Martin, the FBI looking into the case and the New Black Panthers offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who captures Zimmerman and turns them over to the NBP. The head of the New Black Panthers has even stated that Zimmerman “should be afraid for his life.”

President Obama recently weighed in saying “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon. “I can only imagine what these parents are going through,” he said. “And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this; and that everybody pulls together — federal, state and local — to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”

This is one of the few times I agree with what the President said. I think it’s imperative that we investigate every aspect of this; that everybody pulls together to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened. A 17 year old kid is dead. It’s definitely a tragedy.

Since I have an opinion on the subject and this is my blog, I thought I’d write that opinion down. I’ve expressed part of it to some people already and have received a variety of responses. Martin supporters tell me I’m probably close to the truth except that Zimmerman killed Martin just because he was black. Zimmerman supporters tell me I’m being too judgmental of Zimmerman and that the kid was at fault because he assaulted Zimmerman. My theory lies somewhere in the middle. Based on the articles I’ve read and the things I’ve seen and heard in the media, here’s how I see it:

Here is what we know.

1. George Zimmerman, a 28 year old white Hispanic, was performing self-appointed neighborhood watch duties in his neighborhood. He was armed with a 9mm hand gun. He was not part of an officially sanctioned neighborhood watch program.
2. Zimmerman called 911 and reported a “suspicious guy” in his neighborhood and said he was going to check him out. Zimmerman got out of his car and followed Martin, a 17 year old black male.
3. Zimmerman was advised by the police dispatcher not to follow Martin but to let police handle the situation.
4. During the 911 call, there has been speculation that Zimmerman uttered the racial slur, under his breath, "f*king coons" after he tells the dispatcher that Martin was heading towards the back entrance of the complex. Zimmerman also allegedly says "these a**holes always get away."
5. Not long afterward, Martin was dead and Zimmerman was claiming he shot Martin in self defense.
6. The Sanford police accepted Zimmerman’s story and did not arrest Zimmerman citing the “Stand Your Ground” law in the State of Florida by which, no one has to retreat if threatened and deadly force is allowable.

Further investigation has revealed that at some point Zimmerman and Martin made face to face contact and a physical altercation occurred between them. Witnesses say they observed Martin on top of Zimmerman punching him and banging Zimmerman’s head on the ground. Zimmerman was apparently crying out for help. Soon afterward a gunshot rang out and Trayvon Martin was dead.
Martin’s girlfriend, who says she was on the phone with Martin at the time, says he told her someone was following him and that Martin, at some point, asked “Why are you following me?” The phone became disconnected a few seconds later but the girl says it sounded like there was a struggle.

In my humble opinion, the one question not answered yet (at least I haven’t seen it) is what, exactly, happened the moment Zimmerman and Martin came together face to face? Zimmerman says he lost sight of Martin and was headed back to his vehicle and that Martin approached him from behind and assaulted him by punching him in the nose. Zimmerman says he went down from the blow and that Martin got on top of him and started banging his head into the ground. Zimmerman says he felt Martin go for his gun and he (Zimmerman) got it first and, in fear for his own life, shot Martin.

I’m not a cop. I’ve never worked on the street as a police officer. I spent 22 years working in prisons with convicted felons. I have a good idea how the criminal mind works and I have a good idea how the ego can make people do things they otherwise would not do. So here’s my version of the events as I see them. I’m not convicting anyone – this is merely what I think. I’m more than happy to let a grand jury decide if there’s evidence enough to go to trial and I’m glad I’m not in the jury pool.

1. Zimmerman was on his self-appointed neighborhood watch, armed, and was feeling like the beat cop in the neighborhood.
2. Zimmerman sees Trayvon Martin walking through his neighborhood – a black teenager Zimmerman doesn’t recognize. Right away he’s suspicious and calls 911.
3. The 911 operator isn’t reacting to Zimmerman’s call quickly enough – the kid is getting away. Zimmerman decides to follow him to see where he’s going and what he’s up to. Feeling bolstered by the gun he’s carrying, Zimmerman is going to play cop. (Remember – this is my blog and my opinion.) He tells the operator he’s following on foot to which she responds “We don’t need you to do that.”
4. At some point while Zimmerman is following Martin they get close enough to exchange words. No one seems to know when, exactly, that was and what was said initially. Did Martin surprise Zimmerman by attacking him first or did Zimmerman approach Martin acting as if he had authority and Martin, instead of backing down in fear, became aggressive in return? No witness has yet to fill in that blank and Martin isn’t talking.
5. An altercation ensues with Martin getting the best of Zimmerman to the point where Zimmerman becomes afraid for his own safety.
6. Zimmerman pulls his gun and shoots Martin, killing him and ending the situation.
7. Zimmerman knows the only way he can possibly justify the shooting is to claim self defense under the “Stand Your Ground” law and says Martin attacked him without provocation.

I’ve had people disagree with me about the following points and I’m not sure why.

1. Participants in the neighborhood watch program are prohibited (by the program) from carrying firearms while performing their duties – even if they’re licensed to carry (as Zimmerman was.)
2. Participants in the neighborhood watch program are not supposed to engage anyone they feel is suspicious – merely call the police and report it. They are not supposed to get out of their vehicle and follow the “suspect” on foot.
3. Muttering alleged racial remarks and “They always get away” into the phone while following Martin on foot leads one to believe there was something personal in it for Zimmerman.
4. Zimmerman said Martin was headed for the back exit of the complex. If he’d have gone through that exit he’d have been out of the neighborhood and Zimmerman’s suspect would have no longer been a problem.
5. Pointing out things Zimmerman did that were in violation of the standard operating procedures for neighborhood watch is not finding him guilty. It’s merely pointing out the very obvious.
6. There have been incidents in the last decade in which members of the black community felt the Sanford police were not dealing fairly with the black community. From the Washington Post:

“Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. acknowledged the problems on Friday. “The issues that have been brought to my attention regarding the black community and the Sanford police department go back 10 years,” he said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done there.” Bonaparte noted Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. took over the department less than a year ago and said he had made improvements but added, “Certainly that has changed as of right now in terms of the relationship between the black community and the Sanford police department.” Turner Clayton Jr., president of the Seminole County’s NAACP, agreed. “There is no trust,” he said. “There is no confidence.”

So there it is – that’s what I think happened. Did Zimmerman shoot in self-defense because he was attacked or did he simply encounter someone who wasn’t afraid of him, begin losing a fight he instigated, and shoot Martin because he became afraid? I think the latter. If you start an incident with someone that turns into a fight and then you start losing the fight and pull a gun – is that self defense or manslaughter? Again, I think the latter.

There is at least one mental health professional who has weighed in on this and he seems to agree with me: “Dr. Laurence Miller, a Palm Beach County clinical psychologist who works with local police agencies, said he believes Zimmerman likely was acting out the “whole TV cop role in his head” when he confronted Trayvon. “A lot of people like the power and control that law enforcement officers have but with that comes a tremendous amount of responsibility,” Miller said, pointing out that a police officer is the only profession that can use “coercive physical force” or lethal force to subdue a suspected criminal. “People act like cowboys and like the power, but not the responsibility.”

Miller could be simply an attention seeking doctor but he seems to have the same theory as I – that Zimmerman was acting with a cop mentality without a cop’s authority.

Of course, we could all be wrong and the events could have happened exactly as George Zimmerman said. He could have started to follow Martin, lost sight of him, and then was brutally attacked by surprise when he was returning to his vehicle. But I don’t believe that. I don’t believe it was that simple and that one-sided. Martin wasn't a squeaky clean angel who never got into trouble. But then again, neither is Zimmerman. I don't think Martin deserved to die.

I don’t believe Zimmerman intended to kill Trayvon Martin when he got out of his vehicle after calling 911. I believe he pushed an issue too far and it came back to bite him. He got to a point where he thought he was going to get the bad end of a problem he caused and pulled a gun. Call me a skeptic or accuse me of judging Zimmerman but I go with my gut instinct. And it’s very often correct.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Just One, Small, Good Deed

Early Saturday afternoon, Arden and I were leaving the house to run a few errands. As we went out to the car I decided to check the mail in the box by the street. Walking that way with me, Arden noticed something lying in the street by the end of the driveway. It was tan color and flat, like a small notebook or tablet, covered with fabric. Basically it looked like an old style writing tablet inside a notebook. There was a large black tire mark on it where someone had run over it.

As she picked it up and turned it over she noticed it was actually an electronic device – an electronic reader. I don’t recall the brand name but it wasn’t something I’ve heard of before. (Of course, I don’t know much about those things anyway.)

Arden remarked “Someone’s not going to be happy they lost this.” She studied it a few seconds more and said “Gee – I guess if it didn’t have a name and address on it we could keep it… but it does. And it’s in our neighborhood.”

She was correct. The address was only a few blocks away. There was no question what we needed to do. Both of us try to be as honest as we can, and keeping it, if we knew who actually owned it, wasn’t even a possibility.

As we got into the car I turned it on to see if it even worked. Not that it mattered; we would return it anyway, but I was curious whether being run over had damage it. It worked fine.

As it turned out the address was two blocks up, two blocks over, then one block up. There were no vehicles in the driveway and the doors and windows were closed so I couldn’t tell if anyone was home. I wondered what I would do with it if no one answered and decided putting it inside the storm door would suffice. Wouldn’t the owner be surprised to come home and find it there!

I rang the bell and waited. Just when I thought no one would answer I heard movement in the house and saw someone approaching the door. When the door opened it was a tall, older gentleman, in his late 70s, with a look on his face that could only be described as cautious curiosity. I could tell he was wondering what I wanted – then he saw the reader in my hand. His expression changed to a surprised smile.

“Is this yours?” I asked as he opened the storm door.

“Yes, it is. Where did you find it?” he replied.

“It was at the end of our driveway, two blocks over. Someone ran over it but it still works and it doesn’t look damaged,” I said.

“I’ve looked everywhere for it,” the man said. “I looked in my car three times. I can’t imagine how it got in the street. I took it with me when I went out a little while ago and then couldn’t find it! You say you found it on your street?”

I handed the reader to him. “We did. Maybe you laid it on the roof of the car and forgot about it? That has happened to me before.”

The man put his palm to his forehead and said “I bet you’re right. I don’t remember doing it but I go down your street because the intersection at the end of mine is so busy and it’s difficult to see. I heard a noise on my car but didn’t associate it with the reader. Thank you so much. It’s easily replaced but I have some good stuff in here that I’d hate to lose.”

“You’re very welcome,” I said. “No need to replace it if you can get it back.”

“Please, let me give you something for returning it,” he said, reaching for his wallet.

Ah… the moment of truth. The big payoff for returning his lost electronic reader….

“Please, no. Thank you. I can’t accept anything for it. I would want someone to do the same for me sometime,” I said.

The man made a noise that was part laughter and part grunt. I looked at him and knew exactly what he meant. The sound and the look meant “Fat chance of that happening in this day and age.”

The old man shook my hand with a huge smile and said “Thank you so much. I truly appreciate you bringing it back to me. I’m so glad I put my address on it!”

“That was a good idea. We knew you were close by and that helped. I’m glad we could bring it back to you.”

The man walked with me toward the car and said hello to Arden, who was sitting in the passenger seat.

“Thank you very much,” he said to her.

“You’re very welcome,” Arden replied. “I’m glad it had your address on it.”

We all introduced ourselves (finally), said our goodbyes and Arden and I went on about our business. We had done our “good deed for the day” and both of us felt good about it.

I don’t write this for pats on the back or praise from anyone but rather, to acknowledge the fact that doing the right thing can make one feel better than getting something for free. We could have kept the reader and used it ourselves. The old man would never have known what happened and would have bought another one. But neither of us even considered it once we knew where it belonged.

Arden and I were both raised by parents who taught us to do the right thing, even if you could benefit from not doing the right thing. Being honest and trustworthy are qualities instilled in us by parents who had those same qualities.

And even though the gentleman was a bit skeptical, I would like to believe there are more people out there like us who would have, given the same situation, done exactly as we did. The smile on that man’s face and his handshake were more than enough reward for the return of his reader. On Saturday we made that man’s day. What could be better than that?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Will Liberals Ever See Reality?

Last year David Letterman said Sarah Palin dresses like a slut. Michelle Obama will appear on his show tomorrow night – a show that is on Monday through Friday, ever week, all year long.

Three weeks ago Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut and then apologized for it. Many on the left are demanding Rush be removed from the air for his remarks and President Obama called Fluke at home to offer condolences for Rush’s comments. President Obama has also said he would be the example of correct speech and rhetoric, yet there were not phone calls to Sarah Palin offering condolences for Letterman’s remarks. And obviously it’s not a problem large enough to keep the First Lady off his show.

In the last year Bill Mahar has called Michelle Bachman a slut and called Sarah Palin the “C” word. Not only have there been no phone calls from the President offering condolences for Mahar’s remarks but Mahar recently donated one million dollars to the President’s re-election campaign. That money has yet to be returned and the President has kept quiet about Mahar’s remarks so obviously it’s OK if liberals use degrading and vile speech against conservative women but it’s not OK if a conservative talk who host says anything bad about a liberal woman.

Of course, I realize some will say I’m only “playing gotcha” against President Obama and that since Palin and Bachman are public figures it’s different. Oh – and Bill Mahar is a comedian and that makes it different as well. No matter what, there is always a reason why such vile remarks from the left are acceptable and even welcome but the same type of remarks from the right are grounds to end a career. And if that’s “playing gotcha” I’ll play all day. Fair is fair and wrong is wrong and if it’s wrong for the right to say vile and/or insulting things about the left then it’s equally wrong for the left to do it with the right.

I’m so sick of liberal hypocrisy I can’t stand it. I’d respect any liberal who said “You know – you’re correct. Letterman and Mahar’s remarks were disgusting and if people want Limbaugh off the air for his remarks then those two should be gone as well. I’m not going to hold my breath for that. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t survive…

Friday, March 16, 2012

Where's The Outrage and Anger?

The Knoxville, Tennessee, man who threatened to kill Sheriff Joe Arpaio in January has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of harassment in a plea deal with Knox County prosecutors. Adam Eugene Cox, 33, posted on the internet that: “I plan to kill Arpaio first. He will be filled with about a thousand bullet holes before the year is out. I promise you this. He won’t f*** with Obama. He will be buried 10 feet under and his whole family will be murdered along with him.” Cox feared Arpaio might undermine Barack Obama by questioning the legitimacy of his birth
certificate — his eligibility to serve as president.

Where was the outrage from the liberal, main stream media when this happened? If Cox had been a Republican, a Palin supporter, perhaps, and threatened anyone on the left this story would have been on the main stream news outlets every day for weeks. Liberals all over the country would have blamed right-wing rhetoric and probably even Sarah Palin herself. It’s not difficult to remember 14 months ago when Jared Loughner shot Gabrielle Giffords and the others. The left was adamant that right-wing rhetoric and Sarah Palin’s “targeting political districts” were to blame for Loughner’s actions. The deeper the investigation went the more obvious that was NOT the case but the liberal media and many liberals in general held onto that sentiment for months. And probably still do today. (Let’s not forget “We don’t retreat. We reload!” That’s a call to arms against all liberals, to be certain!)

Where was/is the demand from the left for an end to liberal hate speech such as that of Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman? Certainly it was hate speech from the likes of those that caused Cox to go off. Where was the liberal outrage? After all – this man was a self-proclaimed Obama fanatic and wanted to kill a sheriff and his entire family over a birth certificate investigation. (Was Cox afraid Arpaio would actually uncover something that would destroy Obama’s Presidency? Or was he simply influenced by the things said by liberal pundits and talk show hosts? One has to wonder.)

Of course, there is another possibility here. Maybe the liberal, main stream media outlets are hoping that good ol’, conservative Sheriff Joe might actually get whacked. He is, after all, investigating their candidate for the 2012 Presidential election and he dares to enforce immigration laws in Maricopa County, Arizona. It wouldn’t be that difficult to believe the main stream media would be perfectly fine if Arpaio was to get killed by some nut. It would, after all, make a great story…

Or maybe Sheriff Arpaio is just too small a fish in the sea for the main stream media to worry about. After all, here's merely a county sheriff, not a real politician. He's expendable.

I’m sure liberals everywhere are saying “Cox was just a lone nut-case.” And you know what? I believe that’s absolutely true – just as I believed it about Jared Loughner. But that didn’t stop the left from accusing the right and from blaming Sarah Palin for Loughner’s actions. All I’m asking for is equal treatment. Let’s see the same hateful outrage from the main stream media about Adam Cox that they put out about Sarah Palin and the right. That’s all I want.
I won’t be holding my breath.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Republicans/Conservatives Hate Women!

Republicans and Conservatives (and anyone else who leans more to the right politically than to the left) hate women. It’s a fact. I know it’s true because Democrats and liberals of all political views have been saying so for the last few weeks, since the free birth control issue arose.

We (R&Cs) want to control women’s reproductive systems to the point where we (R&Cs) have the only say in how they care for their bodies, when they’ll have children and how many they’ll have, and whether or not they can even use birth control. It’s all up to the R&Cs. Oh – and we also want them all in the kitchen barefoot (and pregnant only when we decide it’s right.)

You may think I exaggerate but I had someone tell me this almost word for word last week. So it must be true. This all stems from the fact that R&Cs (for the most part) believe women should pay for their own birth control since having sex is a choice and we tend to believe in personal responsibility over more government entitlements. If women nationwide were forced to have sex on a regular basis and the law allowed it then we might be more inclined to agree with free contraceptives. But aside from violent criminal acts, this is not the case. Sex is a choice. Why should the general public or insurance companies be forced by the government to give them protection for something they choose to do? And let’s not talk about Sandra Fluke, the student at Georgetown University who claims she and her friends simply can’t afford birth control to cover their sexual escapades.

I was thinking about it yesterday and figured out that conservative/Republican women who are against free birth control must also hate women. Being an advocate for personal responsibility means you hate people, whether it’s birth control or any other government entitlement. Not wishing to provide women (and college students) free birth control obviously indicates that you simply hate women to the point that you don’t want them to have any fun. So R&C women hate women as well. In fact, they’d all join the “He-man Woman Haters Club” if they could but obviously they can’t… they’re women.

Oh, I understand the argument that birth control is medicinal and that some women need it for medical reasons. And those arguments are true for some women. (“Some” being the key word.) But let’s face facts – we’re not talking about medicinal reasons in the case of Sandra Fluke, are we? She made it pretty clear. Insurance covers birth control prescribed for medical reasons. Some even pay for birth control as part of their coverage. But now, since all R&Cs (even the women) hate women they’ll work with the insurance companies to stop that, you can bet.

Then there’s the argument that paying for birth control is less expensive than paying for unwanted babies. That may be a true statement but let’s face it – Democrats and Liberals (D&Ls) have no problem at all aborting babies. In fact – if we prevent all unwanted pregnancies what would happen to Planned Parenthood? Think of all the abortion providers and counselors who would be out of work. We can’t have that. How would the left ever explain it to all those unemployed people?

Bottom line is that medical contraceptives have been around since the early 60s and have been available and affordable in clinics for a few decades. Does it stop unwanted pregnancy? Only in some cases. So if the government mandates free birth control and women don’t use it and still get pregnant can we punish them in some way (in addition to them being “punished with a baby”? Let’s not forget that awesome Presidential quote.) Can we put them in jail for not using their government mandated birth control? Nah… we’ll simply increase their government entitlements and probably blame the insurance companies because, after all, they provided the ineffective birth control.

R&Cs don’t hate women. We simply believe that personal responsibility should take precedence over the government endorsing and/or financing reckless behavior. But then, controlling, and taking responsibility for, one’s actions seem to be conservative things rather than liberal. Therein lies a large part of the problem.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Texans - vote early; vote often!!

In yet another move sure to anger conservatives, the Obama administration today blocked a new law in Texas that would require valid identification be presented to be eligible to vote. A similar law in South Carolina was blocked by the administration just months ago under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which says certain states like Texas must seek approval from the Justice Department or the federal courts for changes made to state voting laws and boundaries for voting districts.

I realize I’m not one to speak out against the government, let alone the Obama administration, (a little blogger humor) but this just begs for dialogue and discussion. I want to be sure I have this straight. You need a valid form of identification to drive, to get on a plane, to rent a hotel room, to obtain a library card, to join the military, to buy a legal gun, to use a credit card in most stores, to buy alcohol and cigarettes if you look under age, to cash a check and to get food stamps or a welfare check (in most states, anyway.) Yet people who are going to elect the supreme leader and political representatives for our country need not have identification that proves they’re eligible to cast that vote? Something is drastically wrong with this picture!

The Justice Department says their reasoning for blocking the law is that it would hinder Hispanic voters, many of whom have no valid form of identification. Here’s another thing I need to understand. If someone is an American citizen they need identification for all of the things I mentioned above and if they drive a vehicle they are required to have an operator’s license. OK, so some of them drive without a license – it happens. But are there really large quantities of Hispanic Americans who don’t have any form of identification? Really? And where do these statistics come from?

We know the Justice Department isn’t talking about people who are in the country illegally. The Obama Administration would never allow illegal aliens to vote, right. After all, it certainly couldn’t be to President Obama’s advantage to allow illegal aliens and others without identification to vote for him, would it? Oh, wait…

Of course, there will be those who say “This has been going on for years. Did you complain about it during the 2008, 2004, or 2000 elections? Well, I can honestly say I didn’t. Number one – it wasn’t a big news story and there were no states fighting tooth and nail back then to gain control over illegal immigration. Number two – I didn’t have a blog back then to use as a forum and number three – I wasn’t a Facebook member so wasn’t getting involved in as many discussions of political topics. So no – the answer is no, I didn’t. But I would have if it had come up and if there was a discussion on it. George W. Bush pandered for the Hispanic vote. That’s one of the reasons he did nothing about illegal immigration during his two terms.

So I guess when election time rolls around I’ll be going to the polls, without any form of identification, and casting my vote for whoever I want simply because I can. It matters not if I’m registered or can legally vote, apparently, because the Obama Justice Department said so. So if you’re voting in Texas or South Carolina in November, leave your I.D. at home. Being able to prove citizenship is not necessary to elect your next President.

People of Puerto Rico – are you paying attention? You’re not currently allowed to vote for the President but that could be simply because you identify yourselves as Puerto Ricans. Leave your identification at home and you apparently can exercise that right you’ve been denied!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Limbaugh vs Bill Mahar... And Rush Should Apologize?

As most everyone who watches the news knows by now, last week Rush Limbaugh made some disparaging remarks about a 30 year old law student at Georgetown University, Sandra Fluke, in relation to her remarks before Congress concerning birth control. Because of her demand for free birth control to be provided at Georgetown, a Jesuit run university, Limbaugh target some remarks against Fluke, calling her a "slut" and at one point suggesting she and other recipients of subsidized contraception provide videos of their sexual encounters as a kind of payback.

I realize I won’t be popular with certain people for this opinion but anyone who listens to Limbaugh on a regular basis knew he was being outrageous but facetious in making his comments. He simply got carried away in the moment and went a little too far in calling Fluke a slut. (And anyone who believed he really thought she should submit videos is extremely na├»ve.) Granted, he went over the top and should have chosen his words more carefully. He’s paying for it now.

Rush is losing sponsors over the ordeal even though he apologized for his words. Some on the left have called for his resignation and/or termination from his program over it. He won’t resign, I doubt he can be fired and he’ll find other sponsors. Rush has the number 1 radio talk show in the country and has for years. He brings in millions in advertizing dollars despite his controversial remarks. After being on the air over 20 years I seriously doubt this is going to hurt him, much to the chagrin of those who hate him.

There is a point to all of this and here it is. Liberal television talk show host, Bill Mahar, has said numerous disgusting and vile things on his shows over the years and I have yet to hear people on the left demand his resignation, termination or even an apology. Mahar, a popular host with the left, has called Sarah Palin the “C” word, regularly says vile things about Christians and Jesus, and the left never challenges him or demands his resignation.

Apparently President Obama called Ms. Fluke on Friday to express his thanks to her for appearing before Congress. Obama also expressed his "disappointment" that Sandra Fluke has been subjected to "inappropriate personal attacks," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. The president found Limbaugh's comments "reprehensible" and "crude," Carney said.

So did President Obama call Sarah Palin when Bill Mahar called her the “C” word? Did he come out and make a statement to the press (or did Jay Carney) that this type of comment was reprehensible and crude? I could be wrong but I think most women I know would find the “C” word far more demeaning than being called a slut, not that either of them are acceptable. (Let me reiterate that I believe Rush was wrong in what he said.) I wonder if Bill Mahar gets a pass for all the vile things he says because he can be counted on to make large donations to President Obama’s re-election campaign via Obama’s PAC. That donation recently was $1,000,000.00.

So once again we have the double standard of the left. Last year it was the left demanding less violent rhetoric from the right even as they continued their own assault on the right and blamed Sarah Palin for the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. Now it’s Rush Limbaugh being attacked for a remark that pales in comparison to some of those their own Bill Mahar makes on a daily basis. When does the left actually practice what they preach when it comes to being civil? I have yet to see it.

Friday, March 2, 2012

No More Apologies!!

As all of you know by now, last week an incident occurred in Afghanistan in which some Qurans were burned and then were discovered by some local citizens. The citizens, reacting predictably as faithful Muslims, responded with anger and violence to the destruction of their holy book. In their anger they began killing American soldiers in retaliation for desecrating and destroying the Holy Quran. After watching scenes of violent incidents like this unfold in the Middle East for the last 10 or 12 years, this reaction didn’t come as a surprise. The surprise was our administration’s response.

The military commander on the ground in Afghanistan apologized to the Afghan people and President Karzai for the book burning saying it was an accident. However, information was also distributed that the Qurans were confiscated from Muslim war prisoners who were using the books to write covert messages to other prisoners. This is standard operating procedure in a prison setting. If a book is being used to hide contraband or to pass messages between inmates it is standard procedure to confiscate the book and destroy it, particularly if it has been altered and/or damaged. In the case of the Qurans – Islamic law forbids writing or desecrating the Holy Quran in any manner so the prisoners who were using them to pass messages by writing in them had already disrespected and desecrated the books. The Qurans were desecrated by the Muslim prisoners themselves and were confiscated for security purposes by the American military. They were sent out to be destroyed as per S.O.P. The only thing done wrong by the military, apparently, was that they didn’t destroy them completely. Some of the books were not completely burned and were found by local citizens.

Our President, reacting to the violence against American soldiers, apologized publicly to President Karzai. In a letter to Karzai, Obama expressed “regret and apologies over the incident in which religious materials were unintentionally mishandled. “

“The error was inadvertent,” Obama said in his letter. “I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.” It was reported that Karzai told lawmakers that a U.S. officer responsible for the burning “didn’t understand” what he was doing and that the United States had “accepted the mistake of its officer.”

When I first heard the story of Qurans being “inadvertently burned” and about the apologies I thought “OK, I don’t think the President needed to get involved but if Qurans were accidentally burned by our military then an apology from the base commander is certainly appropriate.” I could even have gone as far as the Secretary of Defense but that was pushing it. I saw no need for the President of the United States to apologize for this incident. Yet there was an incident in 2008 where a U.S. sniper shot a Quran in Iraq and President Bush apologized for that incident so I can give President Obama a pass. Although, in my opinion, we’re getting far too sensitive and politically correct when it comes to Islam the apology was in keeping with past practice. However, “holding accountable those responsible” for an accidental incident seems to echo a more recent practice by the Obama administration. The words “The police acted stupidly” are echoing around in my head for some reason and that’s not a pleasant thought.

Now that the entire story has come out here is my problem with the whole thing. There are mixed messages coming out of Washington and from the commander in Afghanistan. They said the Quran burning was “inadvertent” and/or “accidental.” Yet they say the Qurans had been confiscated because they were being used to pass messages between Muslim war prisoners. The prisoners themselves desecrated the Qurans by writing in them. Standard procedure would have dictated that the Qurans be destroyed as contraband. And we should never apologize for following our own procedures.

So which is it? Was it an accident or was it intentional and we’re telling them it was accidental in an effort to appease them? And what about the President’s statement “I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.” What, exactly, does that mean? Either someone will be held responsible for an accident or they’ll be held responsible for doing their job correctly. What kind of message does that send to our troops in the field?

Speaking to a reporter two days ago President Obama defended his apology and said it “calmed the situation down.” Yesterday two more U.S. soldiers were killed by rioters. Apparently the rioters didn’t get the President’s message. The Afghan government, through its "Media and Information Center," reported Saturday that NATO has promised to prosecute the U.S. soldiers involved in the Koran-burning incident that has sparked outrage in the Muslim world.

"NATO officials promised to meet Afghan nation’s demand of bringing to justice, through an open trial of those responsible for the incident and it was agreed that the perpetrators of the crime be brought to justice as soon as possible," the statement said.

So now we’ve gone from an “inadvertent” and “accidental” burning of Qurans to those who actually did it facing a trial in Afghanistan for criminal actions. So far six U.S. soldiers have been killed in retaliation by Afghan citizens yet we’re apologizing to them? Whether it was an accident or, more likely, an intentional destruction of contraband – it’s time for our President to put his foot down, stand up and defend the U.S. It’s time for President Obama to say “We did it. Here’s why we did it and if one more of our soldiers dies because of it we will fire on anyone who approaches our base and then we will pull our troops out of your God-forsaken country and leave you to your own destiny.” Of course, President Obama will never say that because it’s apparently more important to him that we appease Islam than protect our own troops.

I can tell you one thing for certain – if he (the President) allows “those responsible” to be tried for this he will alienate even more American citizens. More and more Americans are getting really tired of our President apologizing for America and supporting Islam over U.S. interests. President Obama either needs to be the leader of the United States and the Commander in Chief of our military or step aside and let someone else do it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

545 vs. 300,000,000

The following article was written by Charlie Reese, a former reporter with the Orlando Sentinel. Charlie has retired now but this article says so much that I couldn't help but reproduce it. It's not partisan - it's merely truth. Thank you, Charlie, for putting into words what many of us feel.

545 vs. 300,000,000 People
-By Charlie Reese (Now Retired from the Orlando Sentinel)

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House now? He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ...

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees...

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!