Monday, September 30, 2013

Obamacare, The Debt Ceiling, And Shutting Down The Government

Last week the Republican House passed a continuing resolution that completely funded the government with the exception of the Affordable Care Act.  They sent it to the Senate where Harry Reid initially was going to let it die, then he added an amendment to fund the ACA and finagled the vote to get some idiot Republicans to vote for it.  It was then returned to the House where it was amended again to defund the ACA.

It now must return to the Senate.  Harry Reid has already said he will not allow it to pass if the ACA isn't funded and the President has said he will veto any bill that defunds or delays it - even though he himself has delayed several portions of it himself.  I guess if it's going to be delayed it can only be done by the President and no one else, regardless of how bad it is for the country and the people.

There are so many sad and pathetic things going on with this law right now I hardly know where to start. The Democrats and the President are talking about shutting down the government next week if the House doesn't pass the continuing resolution.  But they won't entertain the idea of defunding Obamacare even for the short time covered by the bill.  Instead they will shut down the government in an attempt to get their way. And they're blaming the Republicans.

President Obama has stated over and over that he wants to work with Republicans.  This is his chance to work out a major deal on something very important - and he refuses to negotiate.  He spent time negotiating with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani - the first American President to speak directly with an Iranian President in 34 years.  (Obama apparently didn't negotiate the release of Saeed Abedini, the Christian pastor being held in prison by the Iranian government.)  But he won't negotiate with Republicans about funding the government.  It's his way or nothing.  So much for wanting to "work with Republicans." 

The President also wants to raise the debt ceiling again.  In 2006, then Senator Barrack Obama said “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. ... I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

And during his campaign in 2008 he made this little remark about the debt: "We now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back. $30,000 for every man woman and child. That's irresponsible, that's unpatriotic."

Now guess who's asking to raise the debt ceiling for the second time during his Presidency?  Last Monday he urged lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling without conditions - which would give him the authority to spend whatever amount he wants.  He says raising the debt ceiling won't increase the debt.  That's like saying if you give a kid a bigger allowance he won't necessarily spend it.  Right.  I guess raising the debt and the debt ceiling is only irresponsible, unpatriotic and a failure of leadership when you're not President.  Apparently, when you become President it's the right thing to do...?

But silly me - the debt that has nearly doubled under Obama is the fault of the Republicans too.  Liberals said so.

Yesterday, NBC's Ed Schultz said the only reason Republicans are trying to defund Obamacare is because of "serious racism."  I'm not sure why anyone listens to Ed Schultz anyway but this racism rhetoric is getting old.  Some Democrats have realized this and they are now switching over to calling the Republicans "terrorists" instead.  Nothing worse than a racist terrorist, I guess.

The Obama Presidency is failing and it's not because of Republicans.  It's because his policies don't work and the liberal Democrats support them anyway. Democrats should have found a candidate with some leadership skills and experience.  They chose "hope and change" and that change isn't working out for the better.

And no - for anyone who may be thinking that I oppose Obama because he's black - that's not the reason.  I oppose Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid... and the list goes on.  It's not about race - it's about what's best for the country. And liberalism is just not what's best.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Squeegee And The Hand Of God

Interesting title, huh?  I'm sure you're wondering what the heck one has to do with the other.  It's been in my head for several days and I'm not sure I can adequately explain it.  But I'll try.

Last Sunday we had a guest pastor at our church.  One of the things he said was that he doesn't worry about doing anything that will bring God's hand down on him.  He worries about doing something that would cause God to take His hand away from him.

God always has His hand on believers.  It's on our shoulder in good times.  It's underneath us to support us in bad times. That hand of God keeps us strong and on the right course in life so we don't do something that damns us for eternity.  It doesn't prevent us from sinning but it keeps the stains of sin from marking us permanently.  We are forgiven.  When we believe in God and Jesus Christ that hand never leaves us.  It's on us constantly from the moment we believe until the we leave this Earth to be with Him.

Now here's what led me to finally put this in writing today.

We have a large, glass, walk-in shower in the master bathroom in our new home. When you finish the shower you have to clean the water off of the glass to prevent water spots that will eventually become permanent.  So I bought a squeegee. Arden watched me clean the glass with that squeegee and asked me how I learned to do it.  I relayed the following story:

When I was just out of high school I took a job at JC Penney auto center pumping gas.  We had a small glass shack in the center where the cash register was.  It had 1 chair for slow moments even though there were times when two or three of us were working.  It wasn't very big.

Once every three months or so Penney's would hire a professional window washer to come in and clean all the windows.  He used a wet rag to wash the windows then would use a squeegee to take the water off.  He was really good at it.  He would put the squeegee on the window on one side, go up, then over, then down the other side, turning at the bottom and going back up and over until all the water was gone.  He never lifted the squeegee from the glass.  From beginning to end the squeegee was in constant contact with the window.  I watched him every time he did it.  (OK - I'm sometimes fascinated by simple things.)  I learned from watching him, though.  I can do it pretty well myself.

Now maybe I'm a little weird but telling Arden this story reminded me of the pastor's words last week - that he never wanted to do anything that would cause him to be separated from the hand of God.  Like the squeegee on the glass, we need God to keep His hand on us every day, until our lives are complete.  Only with His help will we become clean and spot free.

Is God's hand on you today?  Is He helping to keep you spot free?  He will if you ask Him too.  Like the squeegee cleaning the window without ever losing contact with the glass - God will guide and support you from beginning to end, without fail, if only you let Him.

Friday, September 27, 2013

OK... Now I'm Angry!

The Senate took a vote today to decide if they would hold a cloture vote.  It passed 79 to 19.  Then they held another vote, eliminating the language that would defund Obamacare, and it passed 54 to 44.  Republican leadership in the Senate voted to fund Obamacare.  They have lied to their constituents and lied to the American people in general.  And they should resign.

Mitch McConnell was one of those.  Fearing a government shutdown BY THE DEMOCRATS, McConnell proved his loyalty to his job rather than his constituents and voted for funding Obamacare.  My guess is that John McCain, Lindsay Graham and John Conlyn were the others.  It is sad and frustrating that our Republican representatives in the Senate vote Democrat to save their own skins. For the first time in my life I'm ashamed of Kentucky...!

McConnell and the rest will try to convince people that it's more important that the government doesn't shut down than it is to defund Obamacare.  But that is their own ego talking.  The fact is - the House funded the entire government for the next three months with the only exception being Obamacare.  So the government would only shut down if the Democrats and the President did it intentionally. Rather than get that message out to the people, as Ted Cruz was trying to do, the Senate Republicans caved and gave Harry Reid what he wanted.  And giving Harry Reid what he wants is always a bad thing.

I am ashamed of Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsay Graham and John Conlyn, and all the other "Republicans" who voted Democrat today.  OK, maybe not Lisa Murkowski.  She's been a known RINO for a while.  Come to think of it - so have McCain and Graham.  OK - I'm ashamed of McConnell and Conlyn.  The others I'm simply ashamed that the call themselves Republicans.

So now the bill goes back to the House.  Hopefully John Boehner still has the cojones he seemed to find last week and removes the language that Reid put in. So the government shuts down at the insistence of the Democrats...  so what? Get the word out.  Stand your ground!  Regardless of whether or not you get re-elected - stand on a principle of what's best for the country, not what's best for you!  If you allow Obamacare to go through without fighting it do you really think your constituents will vote for you again?  Mitch McConnell, Graham and Conlyn think so.  But they might just be wrong.  (McCain is talking retirement so I can't imagine what made him side with the Democrats except senility.  He really needs to retire.)

I hope any Republican who voted for the Senate bill is replaced in 2014.  Ted Cruz is my Senator and I couldn't be more proud of him.  He took a stance, told the Republican establishment to "stick it where the sun don't shine" and did the job he was elected to do.  I'll vote for him for President in 2016 if he runs.  And if not, I'll have to consider my vote carefully.  Any RINO that runs for President won't be getting my vote - even if I have to do a write-in.  And don't even ask me about Hillary. If she is elected it will be because the country has completely lost its mind and integrity.

How Can Anyone Believe....

... that Obamacare is a good thing?

First of all - it was written exclusively by Democrats behind closed doors - even after we were promised transparency by the Obama administration.  Oh - and Nancy Pelosi said "The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical congress in history."  That was right before the doors closed so they could write the health care bill in secret.

Second, they had to buy votes to get it to pass.  They were successful.  Senator Ben Nelson (D-NB) wasn't going to vote for the bill.  He was promised $100 million in Medicaid subsidies to vote with the Democrats.  A $100 million item for construction of a university hospital was inserted in the Senate health care bill at the request of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn, who was trying hard to boost his chances of re-election. Ben Nelson and Carl Levin of Michigan pushed hard for a tax exemption which will exempt insurers in their states from Obamacare fees and penalties.  Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., scored a big victory, too, with the inclusion in the amendment package of $10 billion to expand community health centers across the country, including two in his state.  Pennsylvania, New York and Florida – all won protections for their Medicare Advantage beneficiaries at a time when the program is facing cuts nationwide.”

In the bill Harry Reid introduced in the Senate was a two page section which increased federal Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster.”  The section definines which “states” would qualify, saying, among other things, that it would be states that “during the preceding 7 fiscal years” have been declared a “major disaster area.”  It basically applied to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate Democrat Mary Landrieu, who was been playing hard to get on the health care bill.

These are just a few examples of the many concessions (bribes) made by Harry Reid to secure the cloture votes necessary to pass the legislation.  Of course - those who think Obamacare is a good thing believe these things are simply routine activities for the Senate.  And they may be correct - corruption and vote buying does seem to be common.

At the time the health care bill was up for a vote 72% of Americans opposed it. That meant that a majority of Democrat voters were opposed to the bill as well as Republicans.  Yet our elected officials passed it anyway, completely ignoring the will of the people.

Since the health care bill became the Affordable Care Act numerous waivers to the law have been granted by the Obama administration.  These waivers should have been the first clue that something was wrong.  Many employers and unions have been exempted from the law for various reasons.  This means the law applies to some people but does not apply equally to all Americans.  

Most recently postponed was the requirement that businesses provide insurance for full time employees or be fined.  Since the health care exchanges have not been opened yet, businesses were in danger of not being able to comply with the law.  So the President simply said "Well - we just won't enforce that part of the law right now."  Huh?  Since when does a President have that authority?  Oh wait - President Obama has done that before by not enforcing immigration laws and suing states who do it for him.

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), one of the authors of the Affordable Care Act, recently said that implementation of the law is a train wreck waiting to happen. That should tell people something.

The other recent development that should have the entire nation angry, Republican or Democrat, is the exemption given to Congress.  Earlier this year our elected representatives in the House began complaining that their staff couldn't afford the increases in health care costs (that were not supposed to happen) caused by the "Affordable" Care Act so they asked for and received a subsidy in the form of a monetary handout from the Office of Personnel Management (via President Obama).  Why is the nation not loudly protesting this collectively?!  Why is the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) not fighting to get subsidies for their health care costs?  The people who wrote the law just got an exemption from it while the rest of us poor peons must abide by it! 

Sadly, although there is a long standing rumor that Congress cannot pass a law that does not apply to them, that is not the truth.  They can and have.  And in this case they have done it again - not initially but since they got their exemption they no longer have to pay the costs of healthcare out of their own pockets.  

The other thing that should make Americans revolt against the Affordable Care Act is the fact that regardless of the waivers and exemptions given, the average American who does not get an exemption will be forced to abide by the law or be fined (or "taxed" as the Supreme Court erroneously decided - at least in my opinion.) People who do not, or cannot get health insurance will be forced to pay a fine to the government.

The American people, at least those who still believe in Obamacare, have been duped.  The Affordable Care Act was promoted as providing affordable health care insurance for all Americans at no additional cost to the taxpayers.  At last count the Congressional Budget Office has said nearly 30 million people will still remain unemployed (the same number as before the bill) and that contrary to the original estimates, will cost the taxpayers billions of dollars.  Many of us saw through it from the beginning.  Sadly, many still haven't seen the truth.  I don't know whether it's by choice or ignorance.  

What I've written here is factual.  The Affordable Care Act is a very expensive, very burdensome job killer.  Small businesses will be cutting hiring and large corporations will be cutting full time hours so they won't have to pay fines.  The AFL-CIO and the Teamsters are against the law.  They asked for waivers to keep their unions employed full time and were denied those waivers by the Obama administration.  I guess since President Obama doesn't need them to get re-elected they don't matter to him as much anymore.

I urge everyone to call your Senator and tell him/her to vote against funding the Affordable Care Act.  As Max Baucus said - it's a train wreck waiting to happen. And he should know - he wrote it.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I'm posting an additional article this morning not because I wrote something else but because the message in this post is important and pertinent.  It was written by my friend and gold-star mom, Tami, who lost her one and only child in Afghanistan on December 1, 2010.  I shared this on my Facebook page last week but wanted to put it here as well.  It's worth reading, trust me.

The link to Tami's blog follows at the end.

Not your ordinary blog

This will go in a completely different direction and actually I hope to address a completely different crown than normal (not that, that particular crowd reads my blog or any blog for that matter), but maybe, just maybe, a parent will read this blog and read it to their child/teen.

I had the utmost honor of seeing my son (my only biological child) honored on the Nancy Grace show last night and it made me so proud and sad at the same time.  I know that sounds crazy, but it's the only way to describe the feeling I had.

I was so fortunate.  There was rarely a day that I didn't hear from Chad either via phone call, text, or a quick email.  If there was a day that went by it was typically because he was working with the USMC or deployed.  That was pretty much the ONLY time I would not hear something from him daily.  I know there are parents out there that don't get that.  Maybe it was because he was an only child and felt the need to take care of his momma or because we were just used to talking in some fashion every day. It might be a quick phone call from Iraq or Afghanistan (when he could make a call) or when he was state side it might be a quick phone call on his way home from work or on a break.  I was the lucky mom that got that much communication from her son.  I feel blessed by that every day.

So here is the twist to this blog.  I find it actually odd/funny that our kids are actually more connected today then ever before.  They have text, Face Book, Twitter, Instagram, etc. that they can reach out to parents or anyone, yet I hear from more and more parents out there that go days without hearing from their kids and these are not kids that are deployed or in the field training with the military.

We got so excited tonight when Tebo's son called him and chatted for a good 15 to 20 minutes.  I know for teenage time that was forever.  For us, it was like heaven.  I say "for us", because I had the privilege of seeing Tebo's face when he saw his name pop up on his phone and watch his face as they chatted.  Ok, there weren't just a ton of words exchanged, but here is the kicker, there don't have to be a ton of words.

My best phone call (which turned out to be my last one) from Chad was when he called me from Afghanistan and because I can't stand to have a surprise for him and not tell him, I told him about his birthday present that I intended to give him when we went to CA for his homecoming.  It was an autographed picture of Peyton Manning.  His last words to me (in a very excited tone) was "that's crazy, that's just crazy"  "how did you do that" and then suddenly our call was dropped.  Now, as mom, my first thought was, I didn't get to tell him I loved him.  I bawled like a baby, because I didn't get to tell him I loved him before the call dropped.  I had even told Tebo and my daddy that the next time he calls me I am telling him I love him first just in case the call gets dropped before I get the chance.   Well, by now you know that not only did I not get another phone call from him, but the next time I knew anything about my baby boy was when Marines in full dress blue uniforms rang our doorbell to tell us he would not be coming home.  I was NOT going to get to tell him I loved him again (other than the MOTO mail I sent him literally on the day he lost his life).  My heart was broken.

Here is my message...  If you are a child/teen/adult that still have the privilege of having your parents on this earth make the effort to call them.  Call them when you have nothing to say at all, but I love you or just call to let them know what is going on with your life no matter how big or small.  We care.  It might not seem to you like we would, but it turns out we care about everything from how you slept the night before to how school was and how your job is going and how your relationships are.

We care more than you know and if your parents aren't calling or texting you enough, TELL THEM!  We want to know if you want to hear from us more.  There is a good chance parents aren't reaching out on a regular basis because they don't want to invade your privacy or push themselves into your life too much.

Well, Chad never had the chance to say that to me, because I pushed and I made myself ever so present in his day to day life.  Were there things he did that I didn't know about?  Of course there were, but it wasn't because I wasn't calling, returning text messages, or stalking him on Face Book.  I was doing all of that.  However, I was fortunate enough that I did hear from him if there was any physical way for him to reach out in any way.  If you are doing that with your parents...  GOOD FOR YOU!  I know there are more kids out there that do like Chad did with me and I'm so proud you do that and I know your parents are proud.

I know for me my parents probably wish I would give them a break.  Well, guess what?   Not going to happen in this life time.  :)  I check with my parents every week and sometimes daily.  If they are sick I wear their phones out.  Bug them, drive them crazy, and above all else, don't just call because you need something.  They want to hear from you even if it is silly things like, I had a good night's sleep and I have a crazy busy day today and how are you doing.  That's really all they need.  You don't have to talk long and if you are lucky enough to have techie savy parents (like our kids do) you can just text us and we will respond.  If we text you, you should respond.  As most parents, we are probably paying you cell phone bill.  :)  I would respond if I were you and you aren't.

I'm blessed to have 4 bonus kids thanks to my amazing husband and they are good kids. Could we hear from some of them more and could we make the effort to reach out to them more, yes, but they are good kids and we consider ourselves very lucky.

I know most kids say, I'm just so busy.  Really, because we (as parents) know that you have your phone in your reach 24/7 and usually even when you are in bed.  You probably don't miss much your friends have to tell you or that FB post or that Instagram, but somehow you didn't see your parent's text?  Really?

I have a challenge for all kids (all ages) if your parents are still on this earth.  I dare you to reach out to them on a regular basis even if it is just to say hey and I was thinking of you and wanted to make sure you were ok.  Are you up for the challenge?

Remember, we are never guaranteed tomorrow.  Don't take today or any day for granted. Love those that are still with you and make sure they know it.

To my bonus kids, Candi, Nathan, Tia, Trevor, and my bonus kids from Chad's friends from school and the USMC, and my nieces and nephews, and cousins, and sisters, and brothers, and all my parents, and aunts and uncles.  I love you.  I will do a better job of reaching out.

Terror Coming To Our Malls?

On Saturday, members of the Al Qaeda backed Somali terrorist group "Al Shabab," stormed into the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, and began killing people inside.  The mall, normally frequented by well-off Kenyans as well as international tourists, expatriates and foreign workers from around the world, would normally be considered safe.  Sixty-one shoppers and six security officers were killed before Kenyan troops were able to isolate the group and stop the random killing.  After four long days, five of the terrorists are known dead and at least eleven have been taken into custody.

The attack was launched on the "International Day of Peace," a UN sanctioned day when even the bloodiest combatants normally pause so humanitarian aid can be taken to innocent victims.  Survivors say the group specifically targeted non-Muslims.  They would put a gun to a hostage's head and ask him/her to recite a specific Muslim prayer.  If they were unable to recite the prayer they were shot.

The selection of that date and place for that attack, as well as their method of execution, show once again that we’re dealing with an enemy which has no regard for innocent life and holds nothing sacred except the advancement of their own twisted and perverted version of Islam.

Personally, I see this as just the beginning - a sort of test run to see how well it would work.  It was no 9/11 but they killed 67 people in the name of Allah and brought themselves worldwide attention.  I'd say it worked pretty well.

Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry signed the UN Small Arms Treaty against the wishes of the majority of Americans (but with full approval of President Obama.)  This treaty could very possibly give the UN control over whether or not Americans are allowed to own guns.  Do you think Al Qaeda and other radical Islamic groups weren't watching?  They must be fascinated by the stupidity of American politicians who will give away America's gun rights to the UN.  It will be so much easier for them to wage jihad against American citizens if those citizens are no longer armed.

President Obama once indicated that Chicago, the city with the most strict gun laws in the country, is the blueprint for national gun control.  How convenient it is that he can ignore the fact that Chicago is the nation's leader in gun violence. Sadly, there are American citizens who agree with the President instead of with the facts.  The facts are the if you take the guns away from law abiding Americans only the criminals will have them.  And whether one wants to believe it or not - criminals will use their guns and they prefer their victims to be unarmed. Just ask the residents of Chicago and Washington DC.

As I said - I see Saturday's attack as a test run.  It won't be long before the same type of attack is carried out somewhere in Europe and the in the U.S.  Many people have predicted that malls and sports arenas will be targeted in the near future.  I believe it has begun.  Mark my words.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Does Obama Live In The Same World....?

Yesterday, during a speech at the United Nations, President Obama told that body "The world is more stable than it was five years ago."  Really?

Perhaps President Obama didn't see the news about terrorists killing 70 plus people in Kenya, 78 Christians in Pakistan, 142 people in Somalia and about 100 in Iraq in the four days leading up to the speech.  Or perhaps, as with other topics, he expects people to believe him just because he said it. 

“Al Qaeda does not have the capacity to carry out another 9/11,” he explained. That may or may not be true, but it reflects the egotistical attitude of the Obama administration.  Of course – the administration calls a terrorist attack by a self-admitted terrorist “workplace violence” because that terrorist was an active duty member of the U.S. Army.  Nadal Hasan said he carried out the attack for the Taliban but the Obama administration refused to call it terrorism.  So why would they admit Al Qaeda is still a threat.  That would mean Obama was wrong…

Al Qaeda still is a “problem” for other governments, President Obama admitted.  And he did acknowledge there were problems in Kenya, Pakistan, Somalia and Iraq.  But in his mind these problems apparently don't add up to instability in the world.  Does he believe he is the stabilizing force?

It's easy to see that President Obama has forgotten (or wishes he could forget) the attack on our consulate in Benghazi a year ago this month.  He has tried so hard to make the death of four Americans a non-issue that I think he has convinced himself it's true. 

The President said there are two great issues that can be solved to make peace for the world: Iran’s nuclear aim and the “occupation," insinuating his support for an independent Palestinian state within Israel's borders.  He still believes he has the authority to cause this to happen at the expense of the Israeli people.  And Israel will never let it happen.  Nor should they.

The main stream media in the USA has become not only Obama's greatest cheerleaders but also his mouthpiece.  He doesn't really even have to say anything specific these days.  All he has to do is broach a subject and let the media do the rest.  The mainstream “news” anchors and liberal pundits push his agendas harder than he does yet they still call themselves news organizations.

Yeah – the world is more stable today than five years ago – if you’re President Obama or a member of his administration.  If you’re one of the rest of us and watch the news – you know better.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What Has Happened To The Republican Party?

Last week, after many days of confusing rhetoric, the Republican led House passed a temporary spending bill that will fund all of the government except for Obamacare.  House Speaker John Boehner had conservatives somewhat worried because initially, though he talked big about stopping Obamacare, it seemed he was going to vote against the defunding.  In the end the House did the right thing and voted to at least delay this "train wreck" until after the first of the year.  They sent the bill to the Senate.

None of us are surprised that Harry Reid doesn't want to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.  That's Harry's motus operendi.

"Right now in the Senate, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn are actively whipping Senators to shut down debate on the House continuing resolution so that Harry Reid can gut it with just 51 votes,” a senior congressional staffer with intimate knowledge of the situation said in an email to Breitbart News. “Unbelievably, they actually are leading the fight to fully fund Obamacare.”

Breitbart is reporting that McConnell and Cornyn are trying to help Reid win over Cruz.  

"First, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brings the House continuing resolution (CR) to the floor next week, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell needs to deliver 41 Republican votes to filibuster it until Senator Reid agrees not to try and restore funding for Obamacare. McConnell has the power to ensure that Reid cannot get an amendment onto the bill that strips the Obamacare defunding language with a simple majority vote. As Breitbart News laid out on Friday, McConnell has closed down one pathway that Reid could use: 

If [Reid] introduces an amendment before the Senate votes on cloture for the House CR[, t]hat would require a 60-vote threshold, and McConnell’s spokesman Don Stewart told Breitbart News that if Reid attempted that tactic, all Senate Republicans would stand together to block it."

Ted Cruz is doing exactly what he was elected by the people of Texas to do - fight against Obamacare. Like so many other Republicans, Cruz ran on a platform of stopping Obamacare.  The problem is that he, Mike Lee (R-UT), and Rand Paul (R-KY) seem to be the only ones who are still committed to their campaign promises.  If McConnell is serious about defunding Obamacare (as he says he is) then  he will deliver the 41 necessary votes to filibuster until Reid is forced to agree to a clean up-or-down Senate floor vote on the Obamacare defunding CR the House just passed.  If he lets Harry Reid take the vote to a straight up or down vote, where 51 votes passes the bill, then McConnell and Cornyn will vote no so they can pretend they were against the amendment, knowing the entire time that it will pass.  

“To be clear, nobody is fighting harder to make sure Obamacare is funded than Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn,” the senior staffer added.

The truly revolting thing about this is that they seem to be doing it to fight against Ted Cruz rather than against Obamacare.  Cruz has angered and embarrassed Republican leaders because he is outspoken and he is taking the action that all of them should be taking.  Rather than sit back and play ball with the Democrats, Ted Cruz is out there in the open, fighting for what he and his constituents believe in.  And the Republican establishment hates him for it.  So rather than vote against Obamacare, as they should be doing, they are rallying to vote against Ted Cruz.  Our Republican leadership has turned into a joke. 

I'm proud to have voted for Ted Cruz and to have him as my Senator!

I have not been a Republican for several years.  I am a conservative and a Constitutionalist who believes, like Ronald Reagan, that government is the problem.  I can narrow it down even more.  Left wing, socialist believing Democrats, and  Republicans who promise conservatism and then deliver progressivism are the problem.  Every Republican who ran on a platform of doing away with Obamacare and now won't vote to defund it should be recalled.  

I truly hope the people of Ohio and Kentucky are paying attention to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and that other, more conservative Republicans (or Libertarians) run against them next time they're up for re-election.  These RINOs need to go.  It's time to put more Ted Cruz's, Mike Lees and Rand Pauls in Washington.  Maybe, just maybe we can prevent America from becoming Europe.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Visiting Hours From Heaven...

Several times in the last year I've seen posts of Facebook that say "I wish there were visiting hours in heaven."  I'm here to tell you that even though there aren't visiting hours in heaven, there are visiting hours from heaven.  Let me explain.

I believe God sometimes allows people to come to us from heaven - sometimes because we need it and other times just to make us smile.

Since my son died in 2002 I have met numerous people who have told me their loved one has visited them, either in times of crisis or uncertainty.  I believe them. It happened to me.  And it still does.

When Christopher died I suffered not only grief but tremendous guilt.  Because his mother and I were divorced and did not get along at all, I stayed away from Oklahoma, where he lived.  He would visit me several times a year (depending on where I was) but I only went to see him a few times because of my relationship with his mom.  I could have moved to Oklahoma.  There was an institution near the airport and another about 20 miles West of Oklahoma City where I could have transferred if I so desired.  But I let my pride and my anger at Christopher's mom keep me from doing that.  And I paid the price emotionally for my decision after he was gone.

One night, about eleven months after he died, he came to me in a dream.  Some will say it was simply a dream but I know better.  Christopher's dog, Chelsea, had to be put down just weeks after Christopher died.  When he didn't come home she stopped eating and began chewing on her feet to the point of making them bloody.  She got worse and worse until it became necessary to relieve her pain. Even the vet agreed.

In my dream it was Chelsea who came to me first.  I was at my dad's home in Ohio, in the front yard, and Chelsea came bounding up to me, tail wagging and happy.  I knelt down to hug her and she covered my face with kisses.  Tears fell from my eyes as I hugged this dog who I knew was in another world.  Suddenly Christopher was there as well.  He was kneeling in front of me and just looking at me.  Of course, my heart broke when I saw him.  The pain was physical - even in my dream.  He reached out and touched my face and said "Dad - you're silly."  I knew what he meant - I could read his thoughts.  He knew I was suffering from guilt and he didn't want me to do that anymore.  He didn't want me to hurt.

I woke from that dream with real tears streaming down my face.  The pain in my chest was real.  I missed my son terribly and it broke my heart to see him.  But he brought me a message about which I thought long and hard.

A few weeks later his mom and I talked on the phone.  We had mended our differences following his death - something that should have happened long before but that couldn't be changed.  She was upset because Christopher had come to see me but not her.  Just a few days later she called me and said Christopher had visited her in a dream and said to her "Tell Dad it's OK. Everything is OK."  We both believed it was another way of him telling me that he had forgiven me for my shortcomings as a dad and that he knew I loved him very much.  Those words from his mother truly helped me deal with the guilt and move on.

It wasn't too long after that when Christopher came to visit again.  This time we just had a pleasant visit.  No tears, no pain.  We talked and laughed and it was genuinely good to see him.  He has continued to do that throughout the last 11 years.  In fact - he came by just last week for a little while and we had a short conversation.

Sometimes he comes as the 17 year old he was the last time I saw him.  Other times he is younger.  But he's always the same Christopher I knew.

Crazy?  Maybe.  But I believe he comes to see me.  As I said - I have known other people who have been visited by dead loved ones.  They believe it too.

Christopher was a believer in Christ so he is in heaven.  Of that I have no doubt. And that means his life goes on.  So who's to say he can't come and see me once in a while?

There are no visiting hours in heaven.  You only get to heaven one way - your physical body has to die and you must believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  The Bible is very specific about that.  But I believe there are visiting hour from heaven.  I could be wrong but I don't think so.  After all - I have all the proof I need...!

Defunding Obamacare.... Let The Democrat Lies Begin!

On Thursday the Republican led House of Representatives passed a bill that will fund the government temporarily while defunding Obamacare.  They didn't, in any way, vote to defund the government nor to shut down the government but that's exactly what the President and the Democrats are telling the American people.

Both King Obama and Queen Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the House GOP was "prepared to shut down the government," a straight up lie.  Anyone who pays attention knows that the bill funds the government.  The only thing it doesn't fund is Obamacare.  So the Democrats have to lie to the people to make them believe Republicans want to shut down the government when, in fact, it's Obama and the Democrats who are pursuing that path and blaming it on the Republicans. What's truly sad is that some people in this country believe whatever Obama says whether it's true or not.

Harry Reid has already made the statement that "any House bill that defunds Obamacare is dead" in the Senate.  You gotta love Harry.  When there's a bill he doesn't approve of he doesn't even have the courage to put it to a vote.  He just kills it upon arrival and prevents it from being decided by the members.  That's democracy, huh?

I'm really getting sick and tired of having a President who blatantly lies to the people without a second thought.  He makes statements that are recorded by the media then turns around later and denies making them - even with audio and video evidence.  What's worse is some people believe him anyway - even though they can see for themselves that he's lying.

The President has already stated that he will veto any bill that defunds Obamacare.  Of course he will. Obamacare is his baby and even though it's a complete failure so far, he can't sign something that defunds it lest he look pathetic.  Oh - and you people who support Obamacare but think your elected officials make too much money?  If Obamacare is not defunded your elected officials in the House will get their Obamacare subsidies.  That means they get insurance and you pay for it.  Still think it's a great idea?

If the government shuts down over Obamacare defunding it will be completely the fault of the Democrats and the President.  The Republican bill does what it needs to do - funds the government and guarantees our bills will be paid.  Even though the President is out there saying we'll have to default on our obligations he knows his words are not true.  I'm beginning to wonder if he is capable of telling the truth.

Obamacare is a train wreck waiting to happen.  So says Max Baucus - one of the authors of the law.  I must commend the Republicans and even John Boehner for taking a stand.  I didn't think they had it in them.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Democrats Exhibit Blatant Disrespect For Benghazi Victims

On Thursday, 15 Democrat members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Benghazi demonstrated their ultimate disdain and disrespect for the four victims of the Benghazi terrorist attack.  They got up and walked out of the meeting just before the committee heard testimony from the parents of Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods.  Seriously.

In an act that I can only describe as disgusting, all but two Democrat members walked out just prior to testimony by Patricia Smith, who is Sean Smith’s mother, and Charles Woods, Tyrone Woods' father. There was no stated reason for the walkout - at least I haven't seen any, but I can't imagine the coldness of one's heart to walk out of a hearing and refuse to hear testimony from the parents of dead American heroes.  Their contempt for committee procedures and common decency is obvious.  Their actions certainly support my belief that the Obama administration and Democrats in Washington don't really care one way or the other about the Benghazi victims and want the entire incident to just go away.

The list of lawmakers who walked out of the hearing is as follows:

Carolyn Maloney (NY)
Danny Davis (FL)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
Gerald E. Connolly (VA)
Jim Cooper (TN)
John Tierney (MA)
Mark Pocan (WI)
Matt Cartwright (PA)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM)
Peter Welch (VT)
Stephen Lynch (MA)
Steven Horsford (NV)
Tammy Duckworth (IL)
Tony Cardenas (CA)
William Lacy Clay (MO)
To their credit, Elijia Cummings, (MD) and Jackie Speier, (CA) remained in the hearing to hear the testimony of these grieving parents.  But after 15 of their colleagues walked out, as Hillary Clinton so famously said - "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Good-bye Starbucks....!

If you're a coffee drinker you know about Starbucks - the coffeehouse chain that started in Seattle and within years has spread literally around the world.  They have great coffee and were probably the first coffeehouse to make people believe it is OK to pay upward of $4 for a single cup of coffee.  On any given day, when you need it, it's that good.  (Even though some of their lattes contain more calories than an average meal.)

I like Starbucks.  I enjoy their dark roast coffees black with no sugar.  When I can't make my own at home I prefer theirs over places like McDonalds, etc. (Although Racetrack and Pilot gas stations have pretty good coffee selections.)  They make a good product even if it's a bit expensive.

Starbucks' marketing department consists of geniuses.  Or at least they did when they first went nationwide. As I said - they got people to pay over $4 for a cup of coffee, and we still do.  That's pure marketing genius.

Being based in Seattle the next bit of information about Starbucks doesn't necessarily surprise me but it's interesting.  It's also why I will not patronize Starbucks again.

Recently, Starbucks management has announced that people carrying firearms, whether open or concealed, will not be welcome in their stores.  They will be served but at the apparent disdain or disgust of the store.  It seems Starbucks believes that law abiding citizens in possession of legal firearms should be discriminated against by their company and told not to patronize their business.  I wonder - does that include police officers?  And what's going to happen once the word gets around that Starbucks is a gun-free zone?  It won't be too long before some armed bad guy realizes that he can rob everyone in the store without armed resistance.  

Who will Starbucks call if that happens?  Why, the armed police, of course.  But wait - if armed police are unwelcome in their store what then? 

It's OK if Starbucks doesn't think people should be allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights. They don't have to agree with that amendment but as long as it's the law they must abide by it.  Inviting people who exercise that right to get their coffee elsewhere is pretty lame if you ask me.  It's lame even if you don't ask me.  Honestly - how many incidents have their been in this country when a law-abiding citizen walked into Starbucks to get a cup of coffee, took out his gun and shot up the place?  Yeah - I didn't think so.

Since Starbucks has made it clear this is a wish for their customers and not a policy change they can avoid legal allegations of discrimination, I guess.  But that's what it is.  Starbucks is discriminating against gun owners for their own political reasons.  I have had my last grande dark roast from there.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In The Most Unexpected Ways....

Life is full of surprises and God is good all the time.  I've learned both of these lessons during my life and today received a reminder of both.

Last week, Arden and I found a great little second hand/consignment store from which we bought a sofa for our sun porch.  The two women who own it are very nice, helpful, open and friendly.  Within a few minutes of meeting them we were talking like old friends.

In the front of the store, adjacent to the cash register counter, I noticed a few paperback books.  They were all new and I correctly guessed they were written by local authors.  I didn't ask about them at the time because I didn't have any of my own books with me.  But today, since I was driving past their street anyway, I took a copy of my book with me and stopped in to see Dee and Holly.

After verifying that the books on display were by local authors, I asked Dee, who happened to be at the counter, if they might be interested in selling mine.  I handed Dee the book and she read the title.  "Oh, my God," she whispered.  She was quiet for a moment then said "I'm not even going to ask..."

"It was my son," I said.

"Let me talk to Holly," she said, and walked into their office.  I heard her tell Holly who I was and what I wanted and she came back out saying "Yes, definitely." Holly was behind her.  She said you never know about books like that selling but with Christmas coming up, people might see it as a gift they could give to someone who would understand.

I had to fill out some paperwork to sell books on consignment.  As I was doing that she asked "How old was your son?"

"Seventeen," I replied.

Quietly she said "Mine was 11."

I was taken back.  It wasn't the first time I had learned that someone I knew had also lost a child.  In fact, it's surprising how many people I've met in the last 11 years who have lost a child - some recently and some years ago.  It's not something you talk about when you meet.  But once we discover each other's burden we usually become instant friends.

"I'm so sorry, Holly. I didn't know that."

We stood there talking for about 10 minutes, sharing stories of our boys and talking about the book.  Holly said she didn't believe she would ever write a book to sell but that she wanted to write one for her family so her son would always live on for them.  I told her it was an excellent idea.

We settled on terms for the book and I asked them again if they would read it first so when someone asked about it they would be able to give them good information.  Both women agreed and said they would do that however - while we were talking, a customer who was standing by the register listening asked if she could buy the copy I had brought in!

"Do you have more?" asked Dee.

"I do at home.  I'll have to go get them."

"Well, Dominga wants to buy this one.  Here," said Dee.  "Sign this one for her and go get some more!"

With that, I sold my first book at the consignment store.  What an awesome feeling it was for someone to be just standing there listening to the conversation and then ask to buy the book!  I personalized it for her and thanked her several times.  Then I headed back home to get some more copies.

I returned a little while later with four more.  "You understand I'll be expecting these to sell just as quickly," I said to Dee when I entered the store.

She laughed and said "Well of course.  We'll do our best."

She told Holly I was back and Holly came out of the office.  She gave me a card and phone number of woman who leads a grief/recovery program at a local church.  She said they invite guest speakers in and break it down into divorce counselling, grief from deaths, etc.  She said she was sure they would be interested in hearing my story and allowing me to share with them.  I will be contacting her later today.

Holly also told me that in November they would be celebrating the first official anniversary of the opening of their store and she invited me to bring copies of my book and that she would set up a table for me for a book signing event right there in the store!  She will be inviting the other authors who sell out of her store as well.  What a great opportunity from such an unexpected source.  It's not Barnes and Noble but it's a start!

I thanked her, shook her hand and said "I have met a friend today."

"I believe God has had a hand in this store from the beginning.  The people we've met.  The great things that have happened.  I believe He brought you in here as well."

I turned to Dee and said "I consider you a friend as well."

"Thank you," she said.  "I consider you a friend too."

Holly and I talked a few more minutes, mostly about the funerals and how touching they were.  I relayed a story about Christopher's funeral but it was nothing compared to what she told me.  She said her 11 year old son was a very spiritual kid and a Christian - even though she hadn't raised him in a church.  She said during his funeral they read some things he had written and some people spoke about what an impression he had made in their lives.  She said she had no idea about it until the funeral.

In the weeks following the funeral Holly said 8 people approached her and told her they accepted Christ that very day because of the funeral service.  I have no idea what the service was like but I will ask her at another time.  The saying "Out of tragedy comes triumph" takes on an entirely new meaning in that case.

What an amazing tale she has to tell.  And I can't wait to hear it!

Aren't You Glad He Didn't Yell "Allahu Ackbar?"

President Obama has to be relieved that the Navy Yard shooter yesterday didn't scream out "Allahu Ackbar" before killing at least 12 people and wounding numerous others.  He doesn't have to worry about calling a terrorist act something else entirely in an effort to minimize it - as he did with the Fort Hood case.
“We are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened on a military installation in our nation’s capital.”
“It’s a shooting that targeted our military and civilian personnel,” he said. “These are men and women who were going to work, doing their job, protecting all of us. They’re patriots. And they know the dangers of serving abroad, but today they faced the unimaginable violence that they wouldn’t have expected here at home.”
Those were President Obama's words yesterday following the tragic shooting at the U.S. Navy shipyard where 13 people, the gunman among them, were left dead.  The apparently disturbed man allegedly used a shotgun to shoot the guard at the gate and took his sidearm(s).  From there he proceeded to a building and began firing at what appear to have been random targets.
The media, always eager to promote totalitarian gun control, began reporting that the shooter had an AR-15, a shotgun and a handgun.  However, that turned out to be propaganda as the police found only 2 handguns and a shotgun when the gunman was killed.  There were rumors and a massive manhunt for a second shooter that turned out to be non-existent.  
The President took a few minutes to make his remarks concerning the incident before switching to assault mode himself and remarking about how the selfish Republicans are trying to "sabotagage" Obamacare to get what they want.  His remarks were partisan lies at best.  
"The pending budget crisis this fall is a pointless battle between GOP extremists and reasonable people," Obama declared today from the White House.  “I can’t remember a time when one faction of one party promises chaos if it can’t get 100 percent of what it wants. … that’s what happening right now,” he insisted.
The GOP’s small-government legislators are “a crew” who wish to “sabotage” Obamacare and show “an unwillingness to compromise,” he announced.
“Are some of these folks so beholden to some extremists in their party that they’re willing to tank the entire economy … [and] to hurt people just to score political points?” he asked.
What the President either fails to recognize or simply refuses to admit to the public is that his Obamacare legislation is already failing and is being implemented illegally.  AFL/CIO boss Richard Trumka recently demanded premium subsidies for union workers, which the Obama administration denied.  I guess, since he's not too worried about re-election, it's OK to alienate the unions now.  It seems odd considering how many unions and corporations have already received exemptions.
Last week Trumka said that Obamacare would effectively destroy the 40 hour work week for Union employees.  Trumka has also vowed to assist in repealing the law if he doesn't get the waiver he wants.  I guess it's time to go into repeal mode, Richard.
There will be another assault on guns following this tragedy.  Of that there is no doubt.  Democrats are probably smiling and chomping at the bit as they watch the news coverage - in anticipation of drafting new and more restrictive gun control laws.  Obviously new laws are the answer.  After all - Washington DC has some of the most strict gun control laws in the country and look how well they work there!  Oh, wait...
One thing I haven't seen on the news yet is the racial breakdown of the victims yesterday.  Not that it should matter but somebody always wants to turn these things into a racial issue.  The shooter being black will keep the mainstream media from pushing that issue - even if all the victims were white and targeted for that reason.  (Which they were not.) It wouldn't fit their disgusting, divisive agenda.
Whatever the motive of the shooter - he did assist the Obama administration in their quest for gun control.  At least - he will give them more ammunition for it.  No pun intended.  They will use this incident - probably including the lies about the non-existent AR-15, to once again push their legislation.  Apparently they didn't learn anything from the voters in Colorado.  Oh, wait...  that was voter suppression.  How quickly I forget, sometimes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

California To Allow Non-physicians To Perform Legal Abortions

In an effort to prove he really is as lame as I've always thought he was and to demonstrate just how liberal and heathen the state of California is - California Governor Jerry Brown is poised to sign new legislation that will allow non-physicians to perform abortions in the state.  The legislation is highly backed by Planned Parenthood.  Imagine that.

The California Medical Association has endorsed AB 154 because of “provisions for training in the bill and the amendments that clarify physician supervision.” But the training is to be provided by the Board of Registered Nursing, not by physicians.  The protocols for defining “supervision” have not been specified and there is nothing in the legislation requiring a physician to be present or on-site during an abortion.

Planned Parenthood highly praises the legislation because it will allow their lay staff to perform abortions basically unsupervised and increase production.  If no physician is required to be present there will be less time restrictions and more people able to legally perform abortions.  A dream come true for the largest abortion for profit provider in the country.

The new law will permit licensed non-physicians to perform two kinds of abortions in the first trimester – the first by medication and the second by aspiration, a procedure which requires the insertion of medical instruments into the uterus. Many doctors agree that non-physicians could provide medications with few risks however, nearly all would draw the line at the invasive aspiration procedure being done without physician supervision.  Yet it's going to happen anyway.

Following the evidence and verdict in the recent Kermit Gosnell abortion case, it's amazing to me that a state (and governor, no matter how lame) could consider allowing medical lay people to perform unsupervised abortions.  What are they going to do if something goes wrong and there is no doctor anywhere near to take action?  Calling an ambulance is fine but if you're performing a risky procedure why would you not want a doctor present?  It makes absolutely no sense.

Killing unborn babies in this country has become a multi-million dollar, government sponsored industry.  I can't help but wonder if America is the only country where voluntarily killing your baby is legal but if you kill a pregnant woman with your car (or any other way) you get a second murder charge?  What's the difference?  After all - a blob of tissue is a blob of tissue, right...?

"What Is It Going To Take?" A Gold Star Mom's Thoughts...

I think I will have a blog of my own completed sometime later today but this morning I wanted to share one written by my good friend, Tami, who's son Chad has been mentioned in my blog numerous times.  They are both a part of my book "How Do You Say Good-bye?  A true story of overcoming the death of a child."

Corporal Chad Wade was killed in Afghanistan on December 1, 2010.  His mom made the painful transition from Blue Star Mom to Gold Star Mom.  In the nearly three years since Chad's death Tami has discovered there are many people in the United States who don't know what either of those stand for.  I'll let her explain it.  Please click on the link below to read the thoughts and feelings of this very special Gold Star Mom.

And when you see a blue star or gold star in the window of a home or on a license plate, please take a moment to remember what they mean and the sacrifices of not only those in harm's way but of the people who are displaying the stars.

Thank you.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

John Kerry Doesn't Like To Be Questioned...

On September 4th, in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, South Carolina Representative, Jeff Duncan (R) tied the four American deaths in Libya last year to Syria in an angry exchange with Secretary of State John Kerry because "the administration's credibility is not real high now because of the failure to bring somebody to justice on Benghazi."

"We don't have questions answered about Benghazi, and then we're going to turn around and put other men and women in harm's way and in something where there is no clear indication of an imminent threat to the United States," Duncan said.

"Kerry didn't want to answer, and I tried to make the connection between Benghazi and Syria by asking whether weapons were being funneled from the rebels that we supplied them to in Libya to the rebels in Syria," Duncan added. "He didn't answer that question."

Duncan began his exchange with Kerry by saying, "I cannot discuss the possibility of U.S. involvement in Syria's civil war without also talking about Benghazi."

He referenced Fast and Furious and noted how not only the President but Kerry himself had urged caution in other world conflicts.  He held up a picture of Tyrone Woods and asked "Is the power of the executive branch so intoxicating that you have abandoned past caution in favor of pulling the trigger on a military response so quickly?"

Kerry shot back angrily: "I volunteered to fight for my country, and that wasn't a cautious thing to do when I did it."

When Duncan interrupted, Kerry said, "I'm going to finish, Congressman," citing his past support as a senator for U.S. military action in Grenada, Panama, and elsewhere.

"I'm not going to sit here and be told by you that I don't have a sense of what the judgment is with respect to this," Kerry said. "We're talking about people being killed by gas — and you want to talk about Benghazi and Fast and Furious …"

"Absolutely want to talk about Benghazi. Four Americans lost their lives. I have sympathy for the people in Syria and I do think there should be a worldwide response, but we should act cautiously," Duncan responded just as angrily.

Kerry said President Obama was being wary on Syria because "he wanted to have sufficient evidence and he wanted to build the case properly …"

"It's been 15 days," Duncan responded. "That's not caution …"

Kerry finished the exchange by saying: "We don't deserve to drag this into yet another Benghazi discussion when the real issue here is whether or not the Congress is going to stand up for international norms with respect to dictators who have only been broken twice until Assad: [Adolf] Hitler and Saddam Hussein. And if we give license to somebody to continue that, shame on us … "

With that response, Congressman Duncan's time had expired and he couldn't as any more questions.

I'm sure some will say that Duncan was "being disrespectful to the Secretary of State."  Well, you know what?  Waaaaaaaah.  Someone in Washington has to ask the tough questions and get some answers.  It has long seemed to me that the deaths of four Americans in Libya, including our own ambassador, are insignificant to President Obama, former SOS Hillary Clinton and current SOS Kerry.  Not only was a military response prevented by someone in the Obama administration but there has been no action taken except for some basically worthless arrest warrants issued.

I watched an interview with two former Navy SEALs last night who said not only has the government identified many of those involved in the Benghazi attack but they know where they are.  They could easily take them out with a drone strike or a "snatch and grab" operation by the SEALs, according to one of those interviewed.  However, it seems the administration isn't interested in the safety and security of Americans so much as getting us involved in a very controversial international incident in which supporting neither side is a good idea and could possibly start a conflict in the Middle East that the President cannot or refuses to consider.  Even though he has already been warned, he apparently has no idea what the results could be of bombing Syria.

Benghazi needs to be discussed in these hearings.  The Obama administration has yet to give any credible answers for the debacle that took place there.  Maybe the President should look to our own interests before waiting a month to respond to something in Syria about which there are still questions. But the rest of the world thinks he's cowardly and weak.  He has to try to make himself look tough, don't you know.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bill O'Reilly vs Military Experts

Arden and I enjoy watching Bill O'Reilly in the evenings.  He's not really an idealog like some of the other talk show hosts (although I often think he plays both sides to keep his ratings up.)  And he's been the #1 show on cable for years running.

Sometimes, however, I just don't understand why he does certain things.  Last night he had retired Colonel David Hunt on the show to talk about Syria.  Hunt was invited as an expert yet, after giving his educated opinion on what should and should not happen in Syria, O'Reilly proceeded to tell him he was wrong and why. It was the second time this week he had done that.  Last time it was Colonel Hunt and retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters.  They both had very similar opinions about what should happen and O'Reilly told them they were wrong.

So what Bill is saying in his own way is "You guys are the military experts but based on my years as an English teacher and radio and TV talk show hosts, I know better than you."  It's quite sad, really.  O'Reilly wants to bomb Syria because he believes America will look weak if we don't do it.  I've got news for him - we already look weak because it's been nearly a month since chemical weapons were used in Syria and we not only don't know who did it but President Obama hemmed and hawed and didn't do anything for a couple of weeks after it happened.

I'm not an advocate of bombing Syria - at least not now.  If it was to happen the President should have called Congress back for an emergency session immediately, put it to them and acted on the decision within days.  It's difficult to justify bombing Syria for using chemical weapons after talking about it for a month.

Yesterday it was reported that chemical weapons had been used again just outside Damascus.  And although it's being reported that Assad did it, I don't believe it.  I don't believe Assad is that stupid and our military has affirmed that the rebel forces have or had chemical weapons.  It is also believed that Al Qaeda, who is assisting the rebels, is using the chemical weapons in order to gain assistance from the President.  Colonel Hunt said that helping the rebels, supplying them with weapons and explosive ordinance, would be a huge mistake because there is no guarantee that Al Qaeda wouldn't get their hands on the weapons.  O'Reilly, in his naive ignorance, said the Obama administration promised to vet the rebels they would give weapons to in order to prevent that. Uh...  Bill?  Seriously - do you really trust the rebels and Al Qaeda?  Really?

It was also reported yesterday that the CIA is already supplying weapons to the rebels.  Apparently Obama has made his decision to help the Al Qaeda backed rebels, once again going against the wishes of the people.  The majority of Americans, me included, believe we should stay out of Syria at this time, regardless of who is using chemical weapons.  We are not alone.  Only one other country has committed to oppose Assad and that's France.  And they won't supply anything but talk.

I must admit when O'Reilly tells the military experts they're wrong I talk to the TV. Being former military myself it irritates me when lifelong civilians try to tell the military their business.  I'm not saying military leaders don't make mistakes.  It happens.  But O'Reilly has no expertise to be telling military experts what they should or should not be doing.

We'll continue to watch his show.  As I said - I like him most of the time.  I've read three of his books, including Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy, and they were all great.  Bill's an intelligent man and knows a lot about a lot of things - including how to irritate me.  But he's entertaining.  And in the evenings that's what I'm looking for.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Saving Tax Money - California Cops Use Injured Animals For Target Practice

According to Merced, California's local CBS13 news, Merced police are "humanely" taking wounded/dying animals to the police shooting range to use them as targets in the name of putting them out of their misery. You read correctly.  When Merced police find an injured animal they believe cannot be saved and needs to be put down they take it to the shooting range to shoot it.

According to a California penal code, it’s an officer’s discretion, saying in part: “…any officer… may, with the approval of his or her immediate superior, humanely destroy any abandoned animal in the field in any case where the animal is too severely injured to move or where a veterinarian is not available and it would be more humane to dispose of the animal. “No one wants to see an animal lose its life, but if death is inevitable, and it’s just being prolonged,” said Sacramento County Sgt. Jason Ramos.

I guess it's OK to prolong the animal's life long enough to get him/her to the shooting range rather than put them down where they are.  And they have an out either way.  If the animal isn't injured badly enough to not be moved then they can say "Oh - the vet was too far away."  I wonder how many vet offices they pass on the way to the range?

In my humble opinion, "may humanely destroy an abandoned animal in the field" doesn't mean pick them up, put them in your patrol car and take them to the shooting range where the officers can take turns shooting at them.  It means put them down where they are so they don't suffer anymore.

I wonder if Merced PD has a canine unit?  I wonder if one of their dogs got shot by a bad guy if they would scoop him up and rush him to the shooting range to finish him off?  Can you imagine being injured in a car accident in Merced with your dog?  The ambulance comes to take you to the hospital and the police officer says "Don't worry about your dog.  He's hurt but we'll take care of him."  I can't help but wonder how many people leave their dogs at home now just in case...?

The saddest part of this story is...  it's true.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Work Ethic, Pride and the American Union

I was in the local Kroger store yesterday and saw a young lady cashier walking through the parking lot in her Kroger uniform. She had on a blue polo shirt and black pants, as required.  Except her pants were about halfway down her butt and her shirt was tucked in so nothing showed.  If her shirt hadn't been long enough her butt crack, or at least her underwear would have been showing.

I've seen this before in Kroger but usually it's the men who do it.  I've also seen men with hair down their backs and long beards.  The women are normally more tidy and neat but there are some...  And Kroger management puts up with it.

In 2008, a year after I retired from the Bureau of Prisons, I got a part-time job working at the Publix Supermarket in Crystal River, Florida.  Publix, the largest employee owned grocery store in the nation, has a strict dress code that employees must follow if they want to work there.  Men's hair has to be kept clean and cut to certain specifications.  They do not allow facial hair except for a mustache and that has to be kept within certain guidelines.  No excessive jewelry, earrings, piercings, etc., are allowed and tattoos must be covered by the uniform. Women must keep their hair clean and neat.  No excessive jewelry or makeup and no piercings or tattoos visible while in uniform.  And the uniforms must be kept clean and neat and meet company requirements.

So why the big difference between the two?  It's simple.  Kroger employees belong to The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.  Kroger has no choice but to allow things that the union negotiates.  Publix, on the other hand, has no union.  They pay fair wages and full time employees benefit from profit sharing and stock options.  And since the employees own the company through stock purchases, there's no real need for a union.  Personally, I'd rather work for and buy my groceries from Publix.  I wish they had stores in Texas.

Now before anyone gets all riled up about my opinion of unions, let me state my case.  I believe there certainly was a time and place for unions.  They helped organize workers for forced companies to pay employees fair wages and protected their jobs when they were being treated unfairly.  For the most part I don't think unions do this anymore.  And I think the majority of Americans agree with me since union participation is nearly at its lowest ever.

Over the years unions have gone from being a friend to the employees to being all about political power and money.  Why else would they be trying to force people to join even when they have no desire to do so? And they're attempting to force unions into companies where the employees don't necessarily want them.  It's not just the company owners/CEOs who don't want them but the majority of the employees as well.  That's why they're trying to pass "card check", a way to bypass secret ballots for unions and discover who it is who isn't playing ball with them.

Now I can't blame employees for wanting to join a union to help "protect them from management."  They make it sound impressive and necessary.  But in the 22 years I worked for the government I never once joined a union.  I never saw a need.  I screwed up a few times during my career.  I faced it head on, apologized for it and took my lumps - none of which were fatal.

However, I have seen people who were caught red-handed doing something wrong (and occasionally something criminal) whom the union tried to get absolved of responsibility and/or disciplinary action.  How do you maintain good order and discipline in any company if people won't take responsibility for their actions and the unions assist them with that task?

Remember when having a job meant keeping yourself neat and clean, always dressed properly and expecting to be paid for what you accomplish instead of expecting to be paid whether or not you actually do the work properly? Remember having pride not only in the job you did but for having a job and earning money? Having worked civil service for 22 years I encountered numerous staff who were making well over $50,000 a year for doing as little work as possible.

I'm not trying to implicate that all federal employees are lazy.  That's simply not true.  The majority of federal workers work hard every day and many are paid far less than some members of Congress and/or the general public might think.  Are there some high paid employees in the government?  Certainly.  But even CEOs aren't on a pay scale like the private sector CEOs are.  There are no civil service employees making millions of dollars a year in salaries and bonuses.

I'm not knocking the private sector salaries of their CEO's either.  In my humble opinion a successful company has the right to decide what they will pay their CEO.  A non-successful company has that right as well, of course, but if they're failing and still paying their CEO millions of dollars there is something definitely wrong.

I guess my whole point here is that many Americans seem to have lost the work ethic that my generation, my parents' generation and my grandparents' generation had.  And I believe unions had something to do with that, as well as ever increasing government entitlement programs.  Welfare to Work should still be the program of choice by the federal government.  Instead, for some welfare seems to have become a career.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning...?

My blog page has been inaccessible for a few days so I didn't get a chance to write the one on Syria that I wanted.  It appears that's OK because it seems the President has found an out for not bombing Syria - for now.  Although he still wants Congress to give him the authority to do it if he so chooses.  I'm not going to speculate on what may happen with that but I will say I have no faith in Syria turning over control of all WMDs to the U.N. nor do I have faith in Vladimir Putin brokering any lasting agreement that involves weapons.  To my knowledge Russia hasn't kept an agreement with us once in my lifetime.

So my topic today will be the 12th anniversary of September 11, 2001 - the day Islam brought war to us in a big way.  Like many other historic events - most of us will never forget where we were and what we were doing that morning.  I was in the morning meeting at work.  When I returned to my office my secretary told me about the first plane hitting the tower.  I wondered how such a tragedy could have happened in this day and age but never thought of terrorism.  I turned on the TV in my office to watch the coverage.

It wasn't but five or six minutes before the second plane hit the other tower.  It was extremely obvious to me at that point.  The only real question was "Who?" Islamic jihadists were my first choice because they seem to be the only ones who are willing to sacrifice themselves for their cause.  (I've often said that very few Americans would ever have the cojones to blow themselves up for their cause.  We just don't do that.)

2,996 people were killed by Muslim terrorists during those hijackings and the United States was attacked. Like him or not - then President George W. Bush immediately took actions to prevent it from happening again, creating and/or increasing counter intelligence agencies that do nothing but monitor terrorist activity and seek out those who would do us harm.  He created the Transportation Security Administration which could have been a useful agency had they not been allowed to run amok.  Instead of strip searching kids and grandmas they could be profiling people who are likely candidates for terrorist activities, as Israel does. When's the last time you remember a terrorist bomber getting on a plane from Tel Aviv?

Bush passed the Patriot Act - a controversial piece of legislation that gave the government the authority to monitor phone calls and wire transfers of money by or to suspected terrorists or sympathizers.  Again, like it or not, his strategies worked to foil numerous terrorist plots in the US over the next 8 years.  In fact, the next terrorist attack on US soil was when Nadal Hasan killed 13 soldiers at Fort Hood on November 5th, 2009, while screaming "Allahu Ackbar!"  But the Obama administration refused to allow it to be called terrorism so they called it a simple case of workplace violence.  (Hasan has recently made the Obama administration look ridiculous by telling the jury in court that he is a member of the Taliban and he killed the 13 soldiers for that cause.)  As President Obama once said...  "You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig."  He says classy things like that - sometimes about other people.

Americans commemorate 9/11 for the tragic loss of American life (as well as people from other countries) and for the fact that we were suddenly and viciously attacked.  To borrow from Franklin Roosevelt - it's "a day that will live in infamy." And now that day has been immortalized again by the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year that killed our Libyan ambassador and three other Americans.  The main difference in that attack and the one in 2001 is the shameful way it was handled and the lies and cover-ups that have gone on since then.

The Obama administration and the next Democrat presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, did everything wrong during and after the attack.  And we have yet to get answers as to what really happened.  The answers range from the ridiculous "It was over a video" to the BS "It was a terrorist attack but we didn't know it at the time" to the possibility that Ambassador Stevens was brokering a gun running operation for the Syrian rebels (probably the closest to the truth) and the Libyans got them.  Either way - the Obama administration and Mrs. Clinton dishonor those men with their lies.  And Mrs. Clinton's cold and disrespectful question during the Congressional hearing "What difference, at this point, does it make?" should be enough to keep her out of the White House permanently.  Sadly, many Americans will still vote for her thinking she really cares about them.

On this day of remembrance, if you're a believer in Holy God, say a prayer for the families of all 9/11 victims, including the four from last year, and for those heroic first responders who risked (and those who gave) their lives trying to save as many people as possible.  I have friends and family who were there helping out.  I know they'll never forget it.

God bless all of you and God bless the United States of America.