Memorial Day a la Trump…

As I reflect on Memorial day and our President, I saw a person who held our military and our country in the highest esteem.  He even was moved to sing part of the Star Spangled Banner as the camera conveyed his image around the world.  For this, the press took him to task since that just wasn’t the way any other president had acted.  I, on the other hand, found that a warm and fuzzy thing since I was mouthing along at the time, as well.

As he interacted with the Gold Star families and shared the grief of their losses of a child in the military, I saw a real human being who felt their pain and who knows the magnitude of his powers and responsibilities while sitting in that Oval Office.  Some seem to believe that he is dangerous with his finger on the nuclear trigger, but I believe he showed just how wrong that belief is with his tender loving approach to those who lost loved ones.   This is a man who will not abuse his power but who, at the same time, will not shrink from its use, either.

I saw a man who has genuine love for his fellow countrymen and women.  I saw a man who is able to fulfill his role quite ably in spite of an opposition that approaches the rage of a rabid animal.  I saw a man for whom I’d be happy to again don a military uniform but I don’t know what the military would do with me, so I’ll just sit at home dreaming up blog topics.

I saw more emotion, more love for others, more concern for others in that one period of a few hours than I saw in the sum total of eight years from his predecessor.  I reflected on the Democrats in Congress who spew forth their condescending condemnation of this man on a daily basis and wonder where their heads are at (although I could offer an opinion that might get me in trouble).

I doubt that the Dems and the press will ever be able to bring themselves to offer a compliment to this President, or to utter a very quiet “well, he did okay”.  I think about the vitriol that has surrounded this Presidency and feel bad for an opposition that simply can’t bring itself to any level of civility.  That has to well up inside one and that cannot be healthy for body or mind.

Back to President Trump: I saw flickers of the two Presidents Bush and the great President Ronaldus Magnus (Ronald Reagan, if you hadn’t heard the other nickname before).  I’d love to see President Trump become a bit mellower, without losing that fighting instinct and edge.  Even if that occurs, the Dems and the press will have a tough time in even making complimentary comments acknowledging that fact.

The cartoonists continue to use the hair swept up in longer strands and the color orange for that ‘do’.  President Trump is made to look the buffoon in any cartoon drawn and printed.  There is simply no decency on the part of the opposition.  There is a steady stream of not-very-well-camouflaged disdain, anger, and contempt for our President.

This is a good man.  He will be so much better for the country than would’ve been another Clinton.  He has a lot to turn around, but he is capable of making that happen.  He seems able to make things happen.  He shows he is not going to be shy about what he expects from other nations in this world; we saw some of the pouty faces in Europe as this fact became understood.

That having been said, I expect that the opposition will continue to run around looking for microphones and TV cameras with their hair on fire.  The press will continue to deal in faint praise if any praise is to be given.  In short, President Trump will be going this alone, with even a handful of Republications likely happy over the bad press he receives.

I am anxious for more U.S. Supreme Court Justices to retire opening up other positions to be filled…with solid conservatives.  I recognize that I likely won’t see a press that plays straight down the middle.  I recognize that the Dems will continue their firestorm.  I loved Trump’s Isreali visit and his European visits.  I think he has handled the child-leader of North Korea as well as anyone could…and I am thrilled we knocked an ICBM down with another missile in the past twenty-four hours.  If NK Premier Porky wants to have it handed to him, I suspect we’ll be able to accommodate him.

I’ll put the pom pons down and change out of my conservative cheerleader outfit for the rest of the day.

News? Or Propaganda?

Propaganda is defined as:

derogatory information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

News is defined as:
a broadcast or published report of news.  (Interesting that news is defined as news.  Not a lot of substance there.)
We bristle at the thought that we might be subjected to propaganda that is designed to shape our thinking on particular matters.  We think of news as factual information on the happenings of the day.  While ‘propaganda’ is an anathema to most of us on its face, we subscribe to various sources of news reports/writings without bothering to question the bias with which that ‘news’ is delivered.
It is very nearly impossible, in my opinion, for a person to present news without that presentation having been affected by his or her biases.  If that were so simple, why is it that editors see everything before it is disseminated to us in one form or another.  But, can an editor also be biased?  How would it be possible for an editor to magically lift self above all others and cause non-biased information to be the only thing we see in publications we take for granted?
If you were to sample a variety of newspapers on a particular subject that would be deemed newsworthy by any and all media outlets, you would likely see several versions of the particular story.  There would be a simple fact: the two vehicles hit each other at a high rate of speed.  And more likely than not, the news would be colored such as the vehicle coming from the left ran a red light.  Still, this seems potentially factual.  Then the additional sentence “the driver of the vehicle coming from the left appeared to be slumped over as if he had passed out”.
The news that you and I are expected to take as pure unadulterated fact seldom is not always pure unadulterated fact.  There is usually a slant if not an outright creation from whole cloth sometimes not even remotely based on the facts that exist.  Those who are charged with making the news available to us sometimes feel an obligation to help us better understand the news and to apply the proper value to that news…since we are obviously simple-minded if we are turning to that source for news.  Or, their personal bias simply makes them take a slant on the story.  It is that additional service offered without our knowledge or expectation which can quickly push a news article into the realm of propaganda.
I am biased to the conservative side of issues.  I openly admit that and you can easily discern that is true by reading a blog.  There also are liberals who proudly wear that brand and write accordingly.  It is those people and those institutions that would have us believe they bring no biases to the various stories whom and of which we need be very aware and very questioning of all conclusions drawn.  These might be likened to the proverbial ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’.
The latter writings strike me as more nearly propaganda than the simple distribution of news.  And that is a perversion that is dangerous since a lot of folks simply are not very discerning in their intake of information; they do not think in the terms of propaganda or news.  It appears in print, therefore it must be news that can be taken as Gospel; that is what amounts to discernment in their worlds.
And each of us citizens has a vote that weighs the same in the polling booth.  Now, which party’s approach to presenting their rationale hoping to gain votes is more likely to see votes coming from the nondiscerning group?  Right; the Democrats own those votes.  That is why we see the people who’d be booed off the stage at any conservative affair holding sway in that party.  “We’ll give you this and that” vs. “you will have the opportunity to achieve this or that” from the conservative side of the docket.
Media outlets also tend to favor one side or the other; admittedly conservatives seem not to own any of those outlets but we do see more fairness in one or two than in the others.  That likely describes the rapid rise of Fox News at the expense of the other network brands.  It represented one place where conservatives could get fairly unbiased news; we still have to be discerning but it is likely the best choice we have today.
My local newspaper was already liberal enough when it put itself up for sale and was purchased by the USA Today organization.  Needless to say, it has become an empty husk that leans even more decidedly to the left.  I never thought I’d give up the tactile sensation of a newspaper in my hands but I’m down to only the Sunday print edition now and that has scant little news value, but still a lot of advertisement sections.  I did subscribe to the weekly electronic version and even that is falling into danger given the tiny little bit of unbiased information I can find.
It isn’t easy being a conservative since we do our own heavy lifting, but we weren’t looking for ‘easy’.  Whatever extra effort it requires is more than made up for by the feelings of freedom.  We decide what and whom to believe and what and whom to pooh-pooh.  I have the feeling that there are more and more of us with each passing week and month.
As Fox’ Waters would say, “Welcome to my world”.

Memorial Day – 2017

We have marked Memorial Day for many, many years as a day on which we remember those who have given their lives for us in military conflicts.  That was set as May 30th but, in the interests of having another ‘three-day weekend’, Congress passed a bill in 1971 making Memorial Day the last Monday in May.

We also, since 1961 have held a Memorial Day on May 15th to recognize fallen police officers.  How many remember that day?  Certainly, those who serve us remember and those whose families lost a member serving in law enforcement remember, but how many of us thought about this Memorial Day some two weeks ago?

There were also Decoration Days when the graves of those long since passed defending our freedom were decorated.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow put pen to paper to bring those days back to us lest we forget…

Decoration Day

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest, On this Field of Grounded Arms, Where foes no more molest, nor sentry’s shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before, And started to your feet at the cannon’s sudden roar, Or the drums redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death, No sound your slumber breaks; Here is no fevered breath, No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace, Untrampled lies the sod: The shouts of battle cease, It is the truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!  The thoughts of men shall be as sentinels to keep your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green, We deck with fragrant flowers, Yours has the suffering been, The memory shall be ours.

With each passing generation, we seem to lose more and more of these thoughts, these memories.  They dull and then finally disappear lest some among us persevere to keep them alive and replete with meaning.  In the rush to ‘get up north’ or to get ‘to the lake’ or just to ‘veg-out’ for the day, we forget those who died for us that we could be able to be so forgetful.

That should be worth at least a head bowed with a sincere prayer of thanks going into the heavens.  That should help us conjure up the image of long ago lost relatives and friends who laid down their lives for us and for our freedom that we might simply be forgetful and relax on another day of rest.

There will, unfortunately, be more of those lives given for us as we watch the world in such a state of turmoil and evil.  It seems that each generation has its number, its quota, of lives to be given up to forces of evil for the good of others.  As we remember those who went before us, might it be possible for us to also find the steel for our backbones that we take the steps necessary to continue our freedoms before we have dallied and let those slip away to the forces of evil?

I pray that we will take that lesson to heart soon enough, for those forces are coming as surely as there will be nightfall.  We must overcome those forces of evil and bequeath a peaceful, God-fearing nation to our children and their children while there is still time.

She’s Back…They’re Back

Hillary Clinton has apparently had sufficient time to pout and lick her wounds since she delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College yesterday.  As we might’ve expected, if we even thought about Hil during her all-too-brief absence, she has a big problem with our President.  And a seemingly bigger problem with her loss.

 

You will be happy to know, though, that she seems her old self once again.  She is still angry and shrill.  She has solutions for all the problems we face and is even able to identify problems most of us don’t think we have.  She, without naming names, said: “When people in authority invent their own facts and attack those who question them, it can mark the beginning of the end of a free society.”  Take that!  Without her at the helm, we are apparently doomed.

Some things never change, and the Clinton family is emblematic of that.  They have amassed tens of millions of dollars having done nothing but work for taxpayers in Arkansas and the U.S. and creating their own “charitable” foundation.  They have produced no products for people.  They have produced only political talk and filled positions funded totally by taxpayers and/or donors.

We probably all expected that the Clintons would not be too fond of our President.  He is, after all, to blame for Hillary not currently occupying the Oval Office.  Certainly, she deserved that office, but he somehow managed to wrest it out of her hands.  We all know, or certainly should know, that he knows nothing about governing and that she and Bill and their daughter know everything about almost everything.  Imagine what that Oval Office would’ve looked like.

This is much like a sore that simply refuses to heal.  It is all pus-like and discolored and ugly and simply refuses to be covered up for any length of time.  You think it finally is about healed…and there it is again in all its ugliness.

I wonder if the Obamas and the Clintons have ever thought of a ‘small p’ partnership?  Probably not since there is only so much oxygen in confined spaces and so much glory and self-worshiping that can occur in a lifetime.  It seems a cinch, however, that neither of these families will retire gracefully from the spotlight they work diligently to stand beneath.

It also seems a cinch that the media, cherishing both families as they apparently do, will make every effort to keep that spotlight bright and focused.  There’ll never be any thought given to looking into ‘foundations’ or questioning old lies that covered up this and that.  That kind of journalism seems to only have a place when it is aimed at other than Democrats and other than liberals.  No need to pick at old scabs, as it were.

How long will it take for the ‘tell all’ books to be written, sold for tons and published?  Maybe Hollywood will conjure up a movie that can depict Hil in all her glory as sort of recompense for all she has been forced to endure at the hands of others.  Of course, these kinds of endeavors will undoubtedly put even more millions into those pockets.

There are families formerly in public life that we look back upon with love or at least genuine affection, and there are other families formerly or still in public life.  The Reagans are among those we look back at with love and appreciation for all they did for us as well as for our country.  They helped us appreciate what we have and they showed us they were genuine and credible and had not a bad bone in their collective bodies.

I guess some who are likely not going to be occupiers of the Oval Office need more time to come to grips with that reality.  That has to be a tremendous feeling of lost opportunity, and yet there are all sorts of other opportunities if one simply remains alert and acts the part of a graceful former politician, and gets over the sting of a loss.  Even some who were in the Oval office for a couple of terms sometimes seem to have difficulty in accepting the fact they are no longer there.

There is a time for everything, and when it passes it is gone.  It doesn’t help to pretend that it is still that time.  Deal with it all gracefully as the Bushes have.

 

 

Politics & Ethics?

Seems almost an oxymoron.  That is quite a statement when you step back and give it some thought.  I am involved in local politics and I think that ethics and basic good old honesty are critically important at this level.  There are only a handful of us and we interact weekly or so.  It seems very important at the state level, as well.  I like to think that ethics is important to those for whom I cast a ballot for the U.S. House or Senate or the Presidency.

There are those times when I have to question what I see happening, and that leads to the whole question of political ethics.  I know that it is, from my perspective, an individual thing at both the state and the national level.  The phrase ‘go along to get along’ rings a bell, and that, in my mind’s eye, suggests that one might be called upon to vote against a personal belief to get along in some future situation where that ‘favor’ is returned.

The phrase “art of the deal” seems to be the operative phrase.  I associate that with our current President since he is seen as among the consummate deal-makers.  Naivete’ is another word that is said to mean “innocence or unsophistication”.  Ethics is defined to mean “moral principles” and that might be the area where the art of the deal is directly involved.

The bottom line seems to be this:  I am politically naive, maybe too innocent and certainly not nearly sophisticated enough to dip a toe into waters deeper than those locally.

BUT, that having been said, I don’t see every politician at the state or national level to be willing to sacrifice personal ethics.  In fact, I see relatively few who seem ready and willing to engage that way.  I confess that my personal politics let me see this more often in members of the opposition party, but I digress.  When I bring to mind the Democrat leaders of the U.S. House and the Senate, I see people who are willing to do essentially whatever it takes to cut a deal.  I see people who actually appear to take pride whenever they ‘snooker’ the other side.  I see people who consider politics to be ‘blood sport’.

Might the title of this blog ought to have been”Politics or Ethics”?  That seems more appropriate as I picture members of the two parties.  Maybe, too, if they saw their constituents daily, they would see more of what I see than they appear to see in the state or national capitals.  It probably stands to reason that the further removed a politician is from his or her constituents, the easier it would become to make deals that might not have even been considered in a small town or even at the state level.  It also, to me at least, seems to be reasonable that the fewer our constituents the easier it is to serve them.

So, the size of one’s constituency and the distance from that constituency might be drivers in this question of deal-making and of the importance of personal ethics.  I fear that politicians at the level of the U.S. Congress and even the Presidency are susceptible to forces that can seem quite compelling on any number of fronts.  For those reasons, we who cast the ballots for those people have the obligation to be as certain as we can be that this person will be capable if he or she should win.

In the end, we can do nothing better than choosing based on how we would feel if that person were to be handling our personal affairs which, in a sense, is what we elect them to do.  Would you or I feel comfortable spending a half-hour with that person over a cup of coffee?  Do we feel they have our best interest at heart or are they out for self more than others?  What has been their history?  Have they been in positions before that would prepare them for the position they’re seeking?

Those we choose to send to our nation’s capitol have a tremendous responsibility and we need to be sure, for their sake and for ours, that they are up to the job.  In order to do that, we are challenged to cut through a lot of claims and suggestions and innuendoes heaped on each by his or her opponent.

And, most importantly, we have to decide if that person, no matter their party affiliation, is the person each of us feels best about among our choices.  Finally, we have to be willing to fire them if necessary if we think their opponent is the better of the choices.

Information From A Firehose…

We have moved from a nice, easy pace of information gathering to a time when we are deluged by *news* as if we’re standing…or trying to stand…in front of a firehose.  *News* is set off with asterisks since I’m not at all sure we have an accurate non-shifting definition anymore for just what constitutes *news*.

This is not new, but it seems to be exacerbated every month.  We live in a twenty-four-hour news cycle and that news comes at us from 360 degrees.  It is now virtually impossible to find anywhere that provides a bit of solace from the onslaught.  We have decided that we must be tied into the world’s happenings every waking hour no matter where we are or what we happen to be engaged in at the time.

Try to think back just a decade to recall what your life was like then.  Were you feeling the same way then that you feel now?  Were you as tied to current events, really current like ‘happenings anywhere and everywhere within the past ten minutes‘ current.

It is our own fault.  We asked for this electronic wonderland and we’ve had that delivered in spades.  Seeing someone with head buried in their hand-held multi-option battery-driven communications device is now more common than seeing someone not ‘heads down with thumbs aquiver’.  This is a fairly recent phenomenon but the use of this technological breakthrough is almost akin to having had a lobotomy with appropriate implants to facilitate the speeding of the process of being ‘connected’.

We ignore people with whom we might’ve stopped to visit since we simply cannot afford to have someone else know more about current happenings than we know.

Another issue that this brings with it is the fact that not all *news* is factual; some is intentionally delivered as factual simply to sell the new meme of the moment.  By the time that reaches me, it has been thoroughly discussed and/or debunked and replaced by one or more new memes.  Imagine how tough it is to catch up when you not only have to catch-up but also sort out what to pay attention to and what to ignore.  Unfortunately, once we’ve seen or heard something, whether or not it proves to be true, that has left an image in our mind’s eye that we’ll not soon be rid of.

We now face the possibility, regularly, of being targeted by fake news some of that innocent but much of it intentional.  Fake news is defined in my mind as completely false or mostly false with elements of truth to make it believable.  This has always been somewhat an issue stemming, I guess, from the days of the carny huckster who sold us on what we’ve dearly ‘needed’ but never thought possible to find.

Some of us believe anything and everything we read in a news publication or see/hear in a newscast no matter the media employed; some of us believe most of it; some of us believe some of it, and a few of us refuse to believe any of it.  Not only are we deluged as if standing in front of that firehose, but we become at least partial believers simply given the repetitiveness of the message.

With that as a backdrop, is there any question as to why we have become political junkies and/or skeptics.  This new breed of politician, the Trump breed, is likely here to stay.  The old breed may well almost totally disappear in another decade or two.  And, our skepticism may well have so corrupted us to things newsworthy and/or political that we’ll have become a nation of intentional ignorers.  You likely see them every day.  They are usually those of a generation or two or three behind us, and they are glued to their communications device.

That new generation/those new generations may well have lost that faith in people that we carry with us or at least used to carry with us.  Those who would’ve been heroes in another era become those damned by faint praise today.  Imagine the degradation of trust that will have evolved over two or three generations from now…if we continue on this downhill path to which we’ve become accustomed.

I submit that we are already witnessing this phenomenon and that we see it on display when we look at the 5-25 age group today.  Those are people who did not have the advantage that many of us bring to the table today.  We grew up in an entirely different time.  We know what truth is and isn’t for the most part.  If it is ‘too good to be true’ it most likely isn’t true, or at least not completely true.  At the rate we’re going, that ability to discern degrees of truth on-the-fly will have been lost completely.

Solutions?  I have none other than to keep my skepticism handy and to be as discerning as I can possibly be for those ‘human nature’ clues that are so helpful in determining veracity or lack thereof.

Is Our Homeland Secure?

As we witnessed with the attack in Manchester, England, there are terrorists lurking, likely in virtually every country in the world that permits visa entries, and maybe some that don’t.  And that is most of the countries…including our own United States of America.  To deny this is pure folly and an invitation to a disaster, yet we seem not to pay much attention to this potential threat.

Our borders remain porous, especially the Northern border where one could walk across any number of places remaining unseen with no need to hide.  The Minneapolis area seems ideally situated and close enough to the Canadian border for problems to occur, especially given the large Muslim population already in that area.

We’ve had some of our own experiences with such attacks so we can empathize with those in the rest of the world.  Might we find ourselves in the shoes of England?  Absolutely yes.  It only takes one person who has failed to be assimilated into our society.  That can occur with or without visible signs, but assimilation is an individual thing, not a group thing.

When we think, let alone write, in these terms, we risk being accused of Islamophobia.  Phobia is defined as a persistent irrational fear.  I would agree with the persistent portion but I disagree significantly with the ‘irrational’ portion of that definition.  Here is a list of facts, thanks to KB, that seem to decry the irrational part of the definition:

The Manchester, England bombing was by Muslims.  The shoe bomber was a Muslim.  The Beltway snipers were Muslims.  The Fort Hood shooter was a Muslim.  The USS Cole bombers were Muslim.  The “Underwear Bomber” was Muslim.  The Madrid train bombers were Muslims.  The Times Square bomber was a Muslim.  The Bali nightclub bombers were Muslims.  The London subway bombers were Muslims.  The Moscow theater attackers were Muslims.  The PULSE nightclub shooter was Muslim.  The Boston Marathon bombers were Muslims.  The Iran embassy takeover was by Muslims.  The Pan-Am #103 bombers were Muslims.  The San Bernardino shooters were Muslims.  The Air France Entebbe hijackers were Muslims.  The Beirut embassy bombers were Muslims.  The Libyan embassy attack was by a Muslim.  The Buenos Aires suicide bombers were Muslims.  The Kenyan embassy bombers were Muslims.  The Isreali Olympic Team attackers were Muslims.  The Saudi Khobar Towers bombers were Muslim.  The Beslan Russian school attackers were Muslims.  The Achille Lauro cruise ship attackers were Muslims.  The 1993 World Trade Center bombers were muslims. The Bombay and Mumbai India attackers were Muslims.  The September 11th airplane hijackers were Muslims.

There would seem little if anything pointing to our concerns as being irrational.  Maybe, had we been concerned sooner, some of these occurrences could’ve been avoided.  Beyond that…

ISIS is an Islamic terrorist organization.  Al-Qaeda is an Islamic terror organization.  The Taliban is an Islamic terror organization.  Hamas is an Islamic terror organization.  Hezbollah is an Islamic terror organization.  Boko Haram is an Islamist terror organization.  Al-Nusra is an Islamist terror organization.  Abu Sayyef is an Islamic terrorist organization.  Al-Badr is an Islamist terror organization.  The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamist terror organization.  Lashkar-e-Taiba is an Islamist terror organization.  The Palestine Liberation Front is an Islamist terror organization.  Ansaru is an Islamic terrorist organization.  Jemaah Islamiyah is an Islamic terror organization.  The Abdullah Azzam Brigades is an Islamic terrorist organization.

Continuing to be politically correct by sticking our heads in the sand gains us nothing but the greater potential for more such strikes going forward.  We are not immune to these attacks as is pointed out by remembering the towers toppling to the ground In New York City.

Our border security is tremendously important as is our continuing awareness of the threats we face.  We can do that “Ostrich” thing, but that will only result in us getting hit with something we didn’t see coming because we were frightened to think such a thing could occur.

We live in the real world, not some imaginary utopia.  We need to remember that fact and deal with others accordingly even if we wish that weren’t necessary.  There are “Good Guys”, “Not-so-good Guys”, and “Bad Guys.”  Losing sight of that in the name of political correctness is folly of the highest order.