Bold Colors Please Mr. President

Ronald Reagan once gave a famous speech urging his fellow Republicans to differentiate themselves from Democrats using “bold colors, not pale pastels”.  President Trump would be wise to follow the same strategy as pertains to the alt-right movement and the mess of a March in Charlottesville.

Citizen Tom has a good post up about the march and the predictable violence it led to.  Titled BIGOTS FIGHTING BIGOTS, the article explains well how foolish it is that “some of our fellow Americans are killing people over statues” and the dishonesty, as always, of the media in fairly reporting on it.

I believe as Tom does, that the fighting is done over dumb things and that bigots on both sides prefer us hating each other over actually resolving things.  The far left, as usual, will also use this as an opportunity to frame President Trump, his supporters and everyone on the right as racist nationalists.  More moderate thinking types will follow that narrative because it confirms the false stereotypes they’ve been indoctrinated with about conservative Republicans.

The President’s statement on the matter missed a good opportunity to thoroughly refute this by calling out the white supremacist and anti-Semite march leaders (Richard Spencer and David Duke) and stating in harsh simple terms that they and their followers have no home in the Republican party he leads.  Instead we get this:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,  It has been going on for a long time in our country — not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”

There’s nothing disagreeable with what Trump said, although by referencing “many sides” he needlessly opens the door to a moral equivalency debate.  It’s just a vague and milk toasty statement and makes it appear he is too concerned with offending his alt-right supporters.  It’s something many of us on the right would have pilloried Barack Obama for by the way if the circumstances were reversed.

The alt-right is a fringe group that the media and the left (I know, one and the same) are trying desperately to inflate as something much larger than it really is and as symbolic of the Republican party as a whole.  I’m sick of my political world views being associated with them as I’m sure Donald Trump is too.  All the more reason to isolate this cancerous movement and cut it right out.

UPDATE: August 14, 2017-Donal Trump provides another statement, which specifically calls out racism and white supremacists.  Much better and more thought out in my view.  Here is the video where he starts about 1 minute in.

 

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Ghosts of the Past

Bunkers

Surfers Catching Waves Beside WWII Nazi Bunkers-Capbreton, France 2017

Tucked away in the Southwest corner of France at the mouth of the Bay of Biscay, sits the little town of Capbreton which my mom’s side of the family has been connected with since the 1800’s.

The town, once known as the City of 100 Captains, has a lively history; a Viking invasion, King Henry IV riding his horse through the doors of its ancient church and bumping his head on the portal, Napoleon III building a wooden jetty to protect the port that still stands today and a German occupation during World War II by  that left defense bunkers on the little town’s beautiful beaches.  

It’s these bunkers that fascinate me the most.  Built for Hitler’s infamous Atlantic Wall defense against an impending Allied attack; they were part of a massive complex of over 10,000 fortified structures stretching  2,000 miles, from Northern Norway down through France’s Atlantic coast right up to its border with Spain.

Atlantic Wall

Photo Credit: bbc.co.uk

 

At the time, these fortresses were considered an impressive engineering feat, which many thought impregnable. Even after the Normandy landing proved this sentiment spectacularly wrong, the Nazis were still a fierce and terrifying force in occupied France, frequently executing or deporting to concentration camps anyone suspected of working against them and impoverishing the local communities they commandeered, leading to starvation and desperation.

Now, more than 70 years later, these once powerful symbols of German resilience and terror lay covered in graffiti amongst French surfers and beach goers living happy and free lives.

Painted Bunkers

Graffiti Covered WWII Nazi Bunkers-Capbreton, France-2017

As these relics of a past darkness fade in to irrelevancy, we are again reminded by the events of the world that evil never fully goes away.  Times and circumstances may change, but men’s hearts do not and we must always stand guard against tyranny and injustice and for freedom.

 

Posted in Political, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Doggy Daze

My neighborhood is filled with dogs, which is a good thing in my book.  While most owners are excellent about cleaning up after them, there are always the bad apples that ruin things for everyone.   For whatever reasons, these types find it perfectly acceptable to allow their pets to decorate other people’s lawns with fresh from the source and overly pungent “treats”.

This in turn has sprung up a little cottage industry of homeowner’s outdoing each other with “curb your dog signs”.  I find the dynamics behind this fascinating, so naturally I took pictures.  Yes, I know this makes me more than a bit strange. Continue reading

Posted in Humour, Pets, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments

How Blessed We Are

Flag With Text

It’s always good to remember the liberty our country was founded on and the sacrifices so many made for us to live in such freedom and comfort today.  Happy 241st Independence Day America!

Posted in Random Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

Parental Rights

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the name Charlie Gard.  He is the infant child of parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates who have been fighting a desperate battle with the British State to prevent their son from being put to death against their will. Continue reading

Posted in Political, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 67 Comments

Perspective Matters

TP Joke.jpg

All together now, “I love my job”, “I love my job”, I love my job”…..!

Posted in Funny, Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Real Change For Real People

“It’s gonna be a journey where we’re gonna pour in to you, but you’re also going to pour in to your kids and you’re going to change the course of your life forever”Chris Megison, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Solutions For Change

Please take 4 minutes to watch the video below before continuing. I promise it will be worth the added context and understanding you’ll get from it.

Homelessness is a complex problem and I certainly don’t pretend to have all the answers. There are some things though that can be said with confidence, because they speak to underlying objective truths about how the world works.

The first would be that making poor choices plays a large role behind many people living on the streets. Yes, I know there are exceptions, such as a woman fleeing an abusive spouse with her kids, or the family breadwinner being suddenly struck down with illness, but I’m talking about chronic homelessness here, not temporary, emergency situations.

The second would be that addiction, mental illness, abuse, generational poverty and familial dysfunction all affect decision-making capabilities, so it’s not just a function of telling someone to stop doing self destructive things. A mind rotted by substance abuse, or struggling with PTSD, or that’s been beaten down by years of emotional manipulation (or suffering from all of the above) will not generally make rational lifestyle choices.

Wouldn’t it make sense then to target the decision-making influencers so people can begin to see their situations clearly and make better choices for themselves? To go after the root cause of why people end up homeless in the first place?

A non-profit organization called Solutions for Change  (SFC) thinks so and they operate off the radical idea that being homeless is merely a symptom of much deeper and more complex issues that need to and can be addressed.

Cue its Co-Founder and Executive Director Chris Megison,

“We’ve become a nation of symptom relievers thereby unintentionally escalating the very problems that we claim we care about. Most of the people who lose it all and wind up homeless have very serious problems yet for decades we’ve responded to those problems with soup bowls, shelter beds and even hugs. Those responses might make the person giving the food, shelter or compassion feel good but they do very little to solve the underlying source of the grief and loss that the person is experiencing.”

The Solutions For Change answer is to not just give someone shelter and food, but to also change their thinking process by requiring accountability in return. To live in housing provided by SFC, a person must remain sober and enroll in mandatory job training and life skills classes via their Solutions University program.

From the SFC website:

“Solutions University is focused on transforming lives permanently. From counseling services, to parenting classes, employment training and work experience, the programs at Solutions University create solid foundations that support meaningful futures for families in our program.”

Lots of common sense there, yes? Well no, not according to our government, whose Housing First policy prohibits federal funds for homeless prevention organizations that require abstaining from booze/drugs and participation in job and life skills training.  The thinking behind this, if you can call it that, is to stabilize a person’s living situation first and then work on the other stuff.

Are there cases where providing housing without sobriety mandates makes sense? Probably, but this population is limited, or it should be if the goal is to lead people away from the enslavement of addiction. Shouldn’t it be?  Plus it discounts the strong negatives that come with allowing addicts to maintain destructive behavior while living in close proximity to others struggling to remain sober. Add kids in to the equation and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Regardless, the local entities combatting homelessness in their communities should be the ones to decide what they think will work best, not the pointy-headed bureaucrats in Washington. This type of “help” from the federal government too often results in doubling down on processes that do little to move the dial towards self sufficiency and too much towards dependency on government.

SFC views this dependency as just as big a problem  as the other underlying issues that contribute to being homeless. It fosters a learned helplessness for those stuck in the cycle of poverty and addiction, where mental barriers to freedom become more daunting than physical ones

Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 3.03.17 PM

Taken from the Solutions For Change website- a visual of the churn cycle that occurs when the root causes  of homelessness are not addressed.

The way SFC graduate Amber puts it on her blog post about her trip to Washington to lobby for change,

“The system keeps the poor, poor and no one’s life is better by getting things for free. We need to lift the poor and homeless up by investing in people and that just getting by is no longer acceptable.”

Exactly.  The homeless problem in this country is a national disgrace.  Living on the streets is now just another “lifestyle choice” and compassion means either letting people remain that way or providing housing with no expectations of behavioral change. That’s a societal fail in my view and a complete let down for the people that need accountability and a strong sense of moral direction in their lives the most.

Organizations like Solutions For Change are on the right track and we should be doing all we can to encourage them and similar entities to thrive.  The quotes below from survivors who have gone through their program speak to this.

“I’m workin’ on my self esteem, I’m workin’ on not feeling worthy”– Louise

“This is why I view the world like this and made the choices that I made.” –Amber

“Just being a productive member of society feels really good.” –Shannon

“I’m slowly gaining some purpose for my life.” – Lenny

“You do it (remain sober) because you have to, then you do it because you ought to, then you do it because you want to.” – Jared

“You can change, you can be better and you can do things different and it’s completely up to you to say that this is not how the story is gonna end.” – Jennifer

These are the words of victory, of minds chartered on a new course of empowerment and change. Want more? Go here and watch a few of their videos. I challenge you not to smile and cry while doing so.

Solutions For Change is a pioneer in combatting homelessness and healing families from the brokenness of street life and addiction. A nice side benefit has been a reduction in welfare rolls as participants transition from dependent wards of the state to healthy, functional and productive members of society.

In return, the federal government has shut off funding grants due to their program requirements on sobriety and job training, forcing the closure of its intake and access center shelter, which directly affected 14 homeless families and 24 children.

Aside from this, they are still fully operational and dedicated as ever in solving chronic homelessness and leading people to empowerment over their own lives.  They need money though, so if your heart has been touched by any of this, please go here to make a donation

To a view a letter from Solutions For Change founders Chris and Tammy Megison go here.

 

Posted in Political, Spiritual, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Anti-Anti-Huh?

The news  is just dumb. Every day it seems some unimaginably bizarre event pops up that reminds me why I’ve reformed my former media junkie ways and have all but tuned out.  It’s like background noise to me now, it all sounds the same and just makes me sleepy.  Stupefied maybe is a better word.

The head of the FBI willingly leaked intelligence? You don’t say.  College students rioting over scary opinions?  Yawn.  Mass hysteria over withdrawing from a poorly designed and pointless climate accord?  Yeah, whatever.  My immune system response to the ridiculous just doesn’t allow me to get worked up over these things any more.  I still care mind you, but not enough to devour the 24/7 news cycle for the latest piece of information. Continue reading

Posted in Free speech, Political, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments

A Deserved Remembrance

Normandy Crosses

There is a military base I frequent often in California’s gorgeous central coast area where you can drive for miles after entering its main gate without seeing another soul.  The scenery is always nice and the mood peaceful, yet every few hundred yards or so, a roadside sign with just one or two words will appear that demands attention.

Loyalty.  Duty.  Respect.  Selfless Service.  Honor.  Integrity.  Personal Courage. Continue reading

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Blowin’ in the Wind

ColorStorm has a great post up called Random Goodness about the domino effect doing kind things can have on others who witness them. The video he has is just awesome too; really take 5 minutes to check it out.

This concept of how we can influence others happens to blend nicely with things I’ve been pondering lately now that it’s been a year since I lost my father. He taught me a lot throughout my life of course, but what’s been interesting to discover is how much I am still learning from him after his death. Continue reading

Posted in Random Thoughts, Spiritual, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments