Friday, September 29, 2017

Why The Flag Protests Are Offensive To Me

As a child I was taught to love and respect my country and my flag. And why not? America has always been one of the greatest, most generous and welcoming country in the world. Sure, we've had our problems. Every society in history has had problems. But we've worked through many of them and made things better.

Slavery and the past treatment of black people in this country is a sad part of our history. It took over 100 years to end the practice of slavery in the United States and it really only happened because Abraham Lincoln wanted to further degrade the South so they'd surrender. Lincoln, while a greataft President, wasn't initially going to end slavery. He only wanted to keep it from spreading to other states.

Fast forward to modern times. The protest by Colin Kaepernick is, according to his own words, about police brutality toward people of color and their “bodies in the street.” It would be a worthwhile cause.... if it was true. Statistics and court rulings don't support it as a wide spread problem. Sure – there have been a few wrongful shootings by police. And those police have, for the most part, been prosecuted.

I'd like to know which cases, which “bodies on the street” Kaepernick is talking about. Michael Brown, perhaps? No wrongdoing by the officer in that case. Eric Garner – who was “killed for selling cigarettes?” Actually, Garner died of a massive heart attack. Police didn't kill him. They only apprehended him.

Perhaps Philando Castile. He was shot in his car after being told not to reach for a weapon that he told the officer he had. Although the officer was indicted (the suspect's gun was in his pocket) he was acquitted of the charge of second degree murder because the jury believed he was in fear for his life. The office was Hispanic, not white.

In 2016, Roland G. Fryer, Jr., an African American professor at Harvard, did a study of police shootings. He concluded that not only were white suspects shot more often than black, but that white and black suspects were armed fairly equally when the shootings occurred.

“It is the most surprising result of my career,” Fryer said in an interview with the New York Times. He hadn’t expected to find such balance.

The point here is that Colin Kaepernick's protest isn't actually based on fact. And the subsequent protests by the other players and coaches are also based on faulty information. Those who are protesting against President Trump are somewhat ridiculous since, like them, Trump is entitled to his own opinion, regardless of how poorly he might express it.

The reason the protests irritate me, as much as I support the players' Constitutional right to do it, is because of my own history. I spent eight years in the United States Air Force. I joined voluntarily in 1977. One of the proudest moments of my life was the first time I stood on the parade field with about 500 other new airmen and saluted the flag as it was being lowered at the end of the work day. I had goose bumps watching that flag come down during the retreat ceremony, knowing I was doing something only a small percentage of Americans will ever do.

For the next eight years I stopped what I was doing and stood at attention any time I heard retreat being played somewhere on the base. It not only was required but it was about showing respect to the flag and our country. That's why most veterans are irritated about the protests during the national anthem. It's because we feel a certain pride when we see the flag and/or hear the national anthem. And that pride is bigger than petty social grievances.

Some people will disagree with me, including some veterans. That's OK. It's their right to disagree.

That flag and that anthem are symbols of the reason the NFL players have a right to protest. That's the ironic part – the idiots don't understand that.

Protesting against the flag or the national anthem is not going to solve the problem that Kaepernick believes is genuine. There are some who say “He's not protesting or disrespecting the flag or the anthem.” But he himself said he was. I have no reason to doubt him.

The NFL is in for some surprises now that they've demonstrated their lack of respect for their fans. I see viewership dropping greatly in the next few weeks. Since I don't watch anyway they haven't lost me. But I know many fans who have said they are done with the NFL – at least for now. Let's see how loss of revenue impacts Roger Goddell's position on this issue.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What Are They Really Protesting?

I find it interesting that some people are calling Donald Trump a racist for speaking out against the NFL protesters who are sitting or taking a knee (or in one case doing pre-game stretching exercises) during the playing of the national anthem.

Trump said those who protest the national anthem and our flag should be fired from the NFL. It's his personal opinion and it's shared by many Americans. But is it racist?

Today on the radio I heard someone say that because all of the protesters are black that Trump's demand that they be fired is racist. Really? So talking about a subject, such as the protest, in which all of the participants (or most of them) are black, in a negative manner is racist? If the makeup of the group is black that makes any criticism of it by a white person racist? Is there a certain amount of white people required to be in the group before it's not racist?

The whole racism thing is abused constantly. These days, if you're white, you can be labeled a racist simply for that reason – because you're white. It matters not who your friends are, who your family is, where you live. Some misguided people believe that simply having white (or pink) skin makes you inherently racist. How's that for stereotyping?

The San Francisco 49er who started this whole protest thing did it to protest police abuses of black people in this country. He made his reason(s) very clear:

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

All well and good – except he generalizes about what has happened and statistics don't necessarily back him up. Who, exactly, is being oppressed and how? It's certainly not Colin Kaepernick. Part of me cannot help but wonder if Kaepernick wanted out of a contract with the 49ers, thinking he might get a better offer from another team as a free agent. It didn't really work out that well, did it?

Now other players are doing it, they say, based on President Trump's statements about firing those who refuse to stand. I didn't like the way Trump said it. It was rude and vulgar. But he's not the only person in the country to have that sentiment. Personally, I feel it's up to the owners to tell the players to stand out of respect not only for the USA and the fans but for the owners themselves. Those players represent the owners. And if they still refuse to stand they should be considered for a termination of contract.

Kaepernick said when he first did this that he knew his job could be on the line. He said it was “bigger than football.” So why is he whining so much simply because other teams don't think it's bigger than football? They don't want the negative publicity that Kaepernick would bring to the teams. I can't blame them for that.

Just as Trump instantly was labeled a racist when he tossed his name into the ring as a Presidential candidate, the NFL suddenly became a racist organization when the various teams refused to hire Kaepernick. That's interesting considering 70% of the players are African-American. Yep – it's obvious the NFL is prejudiced against black players....

The curious thing about all of this is that according to several reputable news outlets, while the NFL Rule Book doesn't say anything about the national anthem and the players, the NFL Game Operations Manual does address the subject:

“The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.

“During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”

The NFL apparently is not going to enforce the one about all players being on the sideline for the anthem, since a couple of teams stayed in the locker room until the anthem was over. And the language in the rest of it is “should stand at attention” and “Failure to be on the field by the start of the national anthem “may” result in discipline. Should and may are the two key words here that give the players permission to do what they want and give the NFL a way out of taking action against them. It's that simple.

People in this country who disagree with the venue of these protests are not wrong. They are patriots who are offended by Americans who are disrespectful to the very symbols of our Republic. Our country is not perfect. Bad things happen all the time. But I can't help but wonder if Kaepernick's complaints about the “bodies in the street” and people “getting away with murder” include the hundreds of black men murdered in the streets of Chicago by other black men?

My guess is that he's not even thinking of them.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Some Thoughts On Disrespecting the National Anthem...

When you intentionally remain seated or take a knee during the playing of our national anthem you're not making a statement for your cause. You're telling patriotic Americans “I don't care about you.”

There will be some who disagree with me about this and that's OK. This is America and you have the right to disagree with me. You even have the right to kneel on the ground when the national anthem is played if that's what you wish to do. But if you do it – you're wrong. You're ignorantly protesting against the very flag, anthem and country that gives you the right to do it. And you're spitting in the faces of those who have sacrificed their very lives so that you maintain that right.

When I observe millionaire athletes kneeling on the ground during our national anthem to express their views of how America treats people of color I don't know whether to laugh, cry or simply shake my head at their ignorance. Think about it... people of color who are millionaires because of this great country lashing out at America for its “oppression of people of color.”

What, exactly, is that oppression? Is it police shootings of black people? If one looks at each individual case, very few cases involved innocent black men being shot for no reason. Sure, there were some. And guess what? The officers were prosecuted. If the prosecutors fail to prove their case whose fault is that? OJ was acquitted too. Does that mean he was innocent? Nope. It means the prosecutors failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Black Lives Matter movement adopted the “Hands Up – Don't Shoot” mantra as their slogan. That mantra was a complete falsehood. And yet its' still out there.

Colin Kaepernick started a movement that has all but taken over the NFL who, in turn, is losing fans and viewership in droves. Roger Gooddell is going to find out soon that when he allows high paid athletes to bring their political views to the field American patriots won't put up with it. Their viewership is dropping and they refuse to acknowledge the reason. The reason is simple patriotism.

What many Americans don't understand about the football players' kneeling during the national anthem is that the players are disrespecting their fans. They're basically saying "We can do whatever we want, right or wrong, because you're going to watch us anyway." And in many cases they are correct.

I spent 8 years in the United States Air Force and 22 years as a federal law enforcement officer. I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, twice. Neither of those oaths have an expiration date. I still support and defend our Constitution. And if you disrespect our country – the country that gave you the opportunity to be who you are today, then as far as I'm concerned you are a domestic enemy.

You don't have to worry about me coming after you. You have the Constitution protecting you from your stupidity. But I won't watch you. I won't spend a dime on professional football, basketball or baseball that puts money in your pockets. As far as I'm concerned you who decide to take a knee are enemy combatants. You are on the other side. And you don't deserve to have the careers you have. Or in Kaepernick's case.... the career you had.

Monday, September 18, 2017

An Open Letter To Celebrities Who Promised To Leave The Country....

Dear celebrities who said you'd leave the country if Donald Trump won the Presidency....

You know who you are. But just in case, let me name names:

Chelsea Handler, Neve Campbell, Barry Diller, Lena Dunham, Keegan Michael-Key, Chloe Sevigny, Eddie Griffin, Amber Rose, Samuel L. Jackson, George Lopez, Barbara Streisand, Raven Simone, Whoopie Goldberg, Omari Hardwick, Miley Cyrus, Rosie O'Donnell, Amy Schumer....

You all said you would leave the country if Donald Trump became President. Well... it's been 8 months since Mr. Trump was sworn in as President and you're all still here. So what happened? Why have you not left?

It seems to me that perhaps you just enjoy the wealth and notoriety that the United States has not only given you but continues to give you. Face it – you like the fame and fortune that you would have to give up in another country. Perhaps not the fortune but the fame.

Other celebrities have moved to other countries and seem to be doing OK. Johnny Depp lives in France most of the time but still makes movies. Your hero pervert, Roman Polanski, also lives in France but still makes movies. So it's still possible to live somewhere else but still make movies and stay wealthy. So what's your problem?

Can I assume (I know that's dangerous but geez...) that like your careers, the things you say in anger and/or frustration are just make believe? It's an easy assumption to make given the fact that you were so vocal about leaving but you didn't.

I'm sure some of you have this self-gratifying notion that you will “stay here and fight against Trump and make a difference.” But your voices really aren't heard by the majority of thinking people. We understand that you're nothing but hot air and make believe (just like Cher saying she is going to take in Dreamers to protect them.) What you say and what you do are two different things. And Americans know that.

Want to make an impression on people? Quit your jobs, sell your fancy homes and cars, fire your servants and move to another country. I know a lot of people who would be willing to help you pack and get ready.

As much as you might not believe it – we don't need you here. There are thousands of aspiring actors and actresses out there who would take your place in a minute. So do the country and them a big favor and live up to your promises. We'll all be better off. Maybe you will as well.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Lee And Freed Slave Statue Removed From Dallas Park

Yesterday in Dallas a statue was removed from public view by the Mayor and City Council. The statue, which depicts Robert E. Lee and, according to the artist, a freed slave riding horses "into a new and free United States of America," was dedicated in 1936 by none other than President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the Texas Centennial celebration.

The statue was removed under armed police escort. The City Council, in their infinite wisdom, voted to remove the statue. The Mayor initially delayed the removal until a study could be done to see if Dallas residents really wanted it gone. 

"It's easy to jump on the bandwagon and say 'tear it down' because it's frankly politically correct and in many ways it makes us all feel good. I feel that way," Mayor Mike Rawlings said. "But I hesitate because I realize the city of Dallas is better, is stronger when we are united and not divided. My goal as mayor, my job as mayor, is to continue to unite our city."

He changed his mind a little while later citing the violence in Charlottesville as the reason. Apparently he didn't think the city of Dallas is better after all.

Once the decision was made the removal was delayed a couple more times. A representative of the Sons of the Confederacy filed a lawsuit claiming First Amendment rights were being violated. A federal judge temporarily stayed the removal until the case could be heard. (The city also brought a crane to the site that was too small to adequately lift the statue.)

Once that case was heard (judgement for the city) a second, larger crane was commissioned. On its way to the site it was hit by an 18 wheeler that ran a red light. Delay number 3.

The statue was finally removed yesterday. At least the removal didn't take place under cover of darkness as has happened in other cities across the nation. The statue will be stored on some property owned by the city until a decision is made as to what exactly to do with it. One of Robert E. Lee's direct descendants has offered to purchase it but has yet to hear back from the city.

It's a shame that such a marvelous piece of art will no longer be seen by the public. The former slave headed toward freedom wasn't enough to keep the city from removing it. I wonder where he'll end up now?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

An Interesting Fact About Kneeling

For the last nine months or so, America has been watching the destruction of a somewhat successful football career slowly coming apart.

Colin Kaepernick, the moderately talented former quarterback for the San Francisco Forty-Niners, saw his career disintegrate when he chose to make a political statement before each game by kneeling on the ground or sitting down during the national anthem.

Kaepernick made his intent public. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he said. America took notice.

The Forty-Niners owner and the NFL decided to stay silent about Kaepernick's actions citing First Amendment rights. That didn't go over well with football fans. The NFL saw a large drop in viewership when nothing was done about it.

Players on other teams decided to do the same thing in support of Kaepernick. Black activists nationwide protested because Kaepernick didn't get signed by another team after losing his position with the Forty-Niners. They called it "racism" even though 70% of NFL players are black. The truth is that Kaepernick is toxic to any team that signs him because he disrespects all Americans, and especially our military veterans, by kneeling during our national anthem.

For some reason I was compelled to look up the actual definition of the word "kneel" this morning. I was surprised by what I learned.
Kneel (nēl/verb): be in or assume a position in which the body is supported by a knee or the knees, as when praying or showing submission.

"As when praying or showing submission." I found that interesting. Certainly Kaepernick meant his gesture to be disrespectful to the flag and the national anthem but I wonder if he knew that by kneeling he was actually showing submission, according to the definition of the word.

Somehow I doubt it.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma And The Power Of Prayer

There are those who say that prayer is a waste of time and energy. I personally know that not to be true but believers today have evidence of it from events over the weekend.

Hurricane Irma was the “strongest storm ever recorded” when it was a category 5 hurricane in the mid to Western Atlantic. Maximum sustained wind speeds were up to 185 miles per hour. That's the same as an EF-4 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale and is fully capable of wiping out entire communities. It was a full 10 miles per hour stronger than Andrew, and we know what Andrew did to South Florida.

Irma was initially predicted to go through the Straight of Florida, bypassing Cuba and Florida both, and head into the Gulf of Mexico, where it would have feasted and grown on the warm water. If that had happened it could have hit New Orleans or Houston, or both considering its size, and wreaked havoc in already suffering areas.

Then the track changed and it was supposed to hit Miami head on as at least a category 4 storm. According to the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale the damage from a category 4 hurricane can be can severe damage to well-built framed homes with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

After the scare in Miami and surrounding areas, Irma's track changed again and bypassed Puerto Rico and skirted the edge of Cuba just enough to slow it down. It came across the Straight of Florida and hit Marco Island as a category 3 storm, still powerful but with much less punch than if it had been a 4 or 5. Rather than stay mostly over the Gulf, as was originally predicted, it spun itself out over the mainland, minimizing further damage to mostly downed trees and flooding.

Why did I mention prayer? Our church prayed by the hundreds for God to turn the storm (we asked for it to go back to the mid Atlantic) and to spare the people in its path from harm. God didn't do exactly as we asked. He answers prayers in His own way. But the two worst case scenarios – Houston or a direct hit on Miami as a category 4 storm, failed to materialize. Did God have a hand in this? While we can never say for sure, those of us who believe in the power of prayer and who believe in the Almighty God certainly think so. So many lives could have been lost. So few were, considering what could have happened.

Irma had the potential to devastate entire cities. With the exception of a few Caribbean Islands, Irma didn't really do a lot of serious damage.

I, for one, thank God for sparing so many people from devastation. Could He have calmed the storm and spared everyone from harm, wind damage, flood damage, and the aftermath? Certainly He could have. But as I've said before, God rarely intervenes in the affairs of men. Sometimes, however, He intervenes in the ways of nature. After all... He controls the heavens and the Earth.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Removing History Before Our Eyes

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings (no relation to Stephanie "Give Them Room to Destroy" Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore) was reluctant to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Lee Park in uptown Dallas. He decided to form a task force to see what the people wanted and the impact that it would have.

But the City Council complained, telling Rawlings the statue needed to come down immediately. Rawlings conceded to the pressure and ordered it removed, citizen opinion irrelevant.

Today a crew went out to remove the statue. They did not measure it, apparently, because they arrived on site with a crane that was too small to do the job. In the meantime, the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed an injunction to delay the removal so they can present a case for leaving the statue in place, citing First Amendment rights. (Personally, I think that's a poor argument.) That injunction was granted. The statue must remain until a court hearing on the issue has convened.

The statue is now under police supervision until the hearing. Sadly, that's probably necessary.

The mayor defended the removal before the task force got to do what they needed to do. “Removing the statue was my first inclination after Charlottesville,” Rawlings said. “It wasn’t my first instinct before. My point of view changed.”

The mayor also said “This is the beginning of the dismantling of the white supremacy that has plagued this city for years.” That's an interesting statement considering there are no real problems with white supremacy in Dallas, unless you call a white majority supremacy. There have been no white protests about the statue and no Neo-Nazis marching in the streets. There was, however, a Black Lives Matter and Antifa rally a couple of weeks ago during which they threatened the police and said they would kill anyone who disagreed with them. But that was allowed by the Mayor.

And it was just over a year ago when Black Lives Matter held a march in Dallas and one of their members murdered five police officers. What did you think of that, Mayor Rawlings? Were you on the BLM side...?

The interesting part of all this is the statue itself. There are two riders on the statue - Robert E. Lee, the defeated Confederate General who rejoined the union army, and a freed slave (according to the artist himself) who is riding with General Lee into the new United States that is once again whole and in which slavery has been abolished.

Should not a statue like that remain? If they remove General Lee, one of the North and South's best generals, then the statue of the freed slave is riding into the new United States of America alone. Would it not have more impact if he was riding side by side with a defeated Confederate general? It's common sense to anyone who is not viewing this entire problem with emotion.

The statue of General Lee should remain in place. It makes sense. I have stated before that removal of these statues should be left up to the people in the communities where they are. Hold a special vote and allow the people to decide. If the majority says remove the statues I'm good with that. If the majority says the statues should stay then the minority should not overrule the majority. But at least give the people their voice in the matter. That's what our Constitutional Republic is about... the people.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Newest Problem: Less Visas Mean Better Pay For American Workers

The irony is deep.

According to, President Trump's strict cap on work visas forced American companies to hire American workers for seasonal jobs rather than foreign workers. This caused companies such as landscapers, the hospitality industry and seafood processing, among others, to pay higher wages than they would have paid foreign workers. That's a good thing, right? Democrats and the left in general have been screaming for an increased minimum wage.

This seems to be a win win situation. Except the left is upset that the visa cap is in place and there are less foreign workers employed by American companies. It doesn't seem to matter that Americans are making more money in this case. Their concern is for non-citizens.

Verifying what Republicans and conservatives have been saying all along about raising the minimum wage substantially, the businesses are complaining that paying higher wages is going to eventually cost jobs and reduce company profits. What a concept that is, huh?

And now the left is upset that businesses are having to make cuts and lose money. Can you say hypocrite?

The President has condemned some U.S. programs that allow foreign workers to take American jobs. “Widespread abuse in our immigration system is allowing American workers of all backgrounds to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries to fill the same job for sometimes less pay,” he has told American workers. He has not specifically targeted seasonal workers, the H-2B program. His own companies use H-2B workers, particularly at Mar a Lago. But his Executive Order signed in April let everyone know his intent to tighten restrictions on the number of foreign workers entering the country.

There were a total of 81,000 work visas granted this year. The number was at 66,000 initially but the Department of Homeland Security added 15,000 in July. Unfortunately for some businesses, the summer season was half over by then. Not all of those 15,000 have been used.

Some businesses recruited college students, both American and foreign, to work for them and set up part-time schedules to keep costs down. Others have had to lower production and/or cut hours to make ends meet.

What's the moral of the story? There will never be a time when everyone is happy. You can't demand higher wages for Americans then turn around and complain when someone is actually doing that but in a way you don't particularly like. Putting Americans to work should be the priority of all American companies. And it should be the priority of all American politicians.