18 Years Later

Some of you may have seen this video from last year but it’s well worth another watch.  It’s actual live audio from events of the day transcribed over video clips.  It’s painful to view, sad and heart wrenching but it’s a good reminder of how awful 9/11 was and why we must truly never forget.

I feel in many ways we have are living as if it never happened.  The unity this country experienced on 9/12 is completely shattered, worse than before and our view of the dangers of this world have again grown complacent and naive.  I fear for the future.

Never forget and teach your kids the same.

 

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

California Dreamin’

Homeless Guy Bench

California’s three largest cities; San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego are all struggling with an enormous homelessness problem and the after effect is wreaking havoc among residents.

De facto tent cities, sidewalks crowded with human feces and hypodermic needles, garbage piled high in the streets, open drug use and aggressive pan handling have transformed large swaths of these formerly great cities in to mini 3rd world countries.

Whoops, almost forgot about the typhus epidemic due to excessive garbage pile ups and an accompanying rat population explosion.  Nothing says being a forward thinking, progressive city like a reoccurrence of mid-evil disease!

I would say the inmates are running the asylum except the word inmate is outlawed in California. Kinda joking but kinda not.  According to this Los Angeles Times article, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently submitted a proposal to scrap words like “felon” in favor of “returning resident” or “formerly incarcerated person.”

I kid you not.  The board’s reasoning is to sanitize language in the criminal justice system by using:

“…..people-first language — phrases that strip any objectification or pejorative descriptions for more neutral and positive descriptors. 

A parolee could be described as a person under supervision. Convict could be referred to as a “currently incarcerated person, while a juvenile offender or delinquent would be described as a young person impacted by the justice system.”

 I’m sorry, what?  A new city Poop Patrol department had to be created because your sidewalks are so overloaded with crap and you’re worried certain words may be offensive to convicts?  Just how did we get to this point?

In my opinion, California’s decision makers at all levels of state and local government have failed so miserably at fixing problems they themselves helped to create that their only way to save face was to legislate such problems out of existence.

Dealing with complex issues surrounding homelessness?  Well then, just provide free housing with no requirement to stop using drugs/alcohol, allow makeshift campsites to take over neighborhood parks and turn a blind eye to public defecation. Poof, homeless problem solved!

Overcrowded prison problem?  Enact a rule that turns what were once felonies in to misdemeanors.  Sure open drug use, car thefts, shoplifting and “smash and grab” crimes will spike, but the prison population will surely shrink.

And how to go about reducing the number of kids getting expelled from schools?  Why just swoop that magic legislative wand and enact Senate Bill 419 that prohibits expulsions in K-12 schools.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly those expulsion rates drop!

See how easy it is to solve tough, entrenched problems? How will California handle all this winning?  

So what is really going on here? Are California lawmakers following a purposeful directive that encourages people to escape accountability for their own bad behavior and increases chaos for the rest of us?

Or are they just incredibly myopic and stupid? My money is on the latter but it really doesn’t matter.  The sad, hard truth is that lives are being and will continue to be destroyed by nonsense like this.

If someone is repeatedly making poor life choices, whether it’s acting up in class, doing drugs, going to the bathroom in the streets, or shoplifting, you’re not doing them any favors by eliminating consequences for the bad behavior. You’re just providing a bigger shovel for them to make the hole they’re stuck in deeper and setting them up for failure down the road.

And it’s not just California either, this type of magical thinking occurs in legislative offices all over the country.  The stunning cowardice of politicians and their inability to tell people things that might upset them, has contributed greatly to the cultural divide (it’s their fault, not yours and if you elect me I will punish them) and further entrenched the victimhood mentality our aggrieved culture is saturated with.

The devastating consequences of all this cannot be over stated.  But hey, the idiots in charge get to crow about being problem solvers and virtue signal how compassionate they are.  No surprise there.

The really mystery, as I asked in California’s War On The Poor, is why do we citizens continually reelect these opportunistic morons?

 

 

Posted in identity politics, income inequality, Political, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

The Freedom to be a Moron

One of the many beautiful things about living in America is the right to your opinion. Yes, I know political correctness abounds and there are those who wish to squelch other’s free speech, but for today anyway, we still enjoy an immense ability to think, say and write what we want.

With that in mind, I can’t really get too angry about Colin Kapernick’s being offended by the Betsy Ross Flag , nor Nike’s epic fail of actually taking his words to heart and pulling their new shoe which has her flag stitched on the heel.

I do wonder though if Kapernick spoke out during Barack Obama’s first inauguration during which Betsy Ross flags were on prominent display.  I somehow doubt it.  Perhaps he was not “woke” enough back then.

BR Flag Inauguration

Barack Obama Inauguration-Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betsy_Ross_flag

 

This is America folks where people have the freedom to act like morons and we get the pleasure of ignoring them and buying shoes/attire elsewhere.  That’s how it works and I wouldn’t have it any other way-God bless the good ole USA!

Happy Independence Day!

For some interesting history on the Betsy Ross flag go here.

Posted in Free speech, Funny, Political, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

Men of War

97 Year Old WWII Veteran Tom Rice Reenacting His D-Day Jump From 75 Years Ago

 

“One time we were outnumbered 4-to-1,” he said. “By God, we held on. We did a good job.”~Joseph Reilly, Private, 101st Airborne Division

75 years ago today a little over 13,000 American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions jumped out of their airplanes and right in to history over the wind swept beaches and hills of Normandy.  This was the opening act for Operation Overlord, the invasion of German occupied Western France by Allied forces.

I imagine them floating listlessly in the dark morning air, German bullets whizzing by their heads.  What thoughts must have of come to mind? Will I die today? Will I kill someone? When did I last tell my wife I loved her?  Will I live to see our new baby girl?

Or perhaps none at all, just a grim determination to do the job assigned, which was to capture the town of Cherbourg and provide the Allies a port of supply, block enemy approaches to the U.S. amphibious landings at Utah Beach, capture causeway exits and establish river crossings.

It took 3 days of brutal fighting to successfully barrier up Utah Beach and by weeks end all the German strongpoints, although tenaciously defended, were defeated.

D-Day casualties for the 101st consisted of 182 killed, 557 wounded, and 501 missing. For the 82nd, it was 156 killed, 347 wounded, and 756 missing.  That was just for one day.

These men went way beyond just doing their job.  Courageous and strong, they relentlessly pushed forth under the most hellacious of circumstances until their mission was complete.  Without them the Allied Forces would never have won the Battle of Normandy and Hitler would not have been defeated.  Who knows where we would be now.

What motivates men like this? Love of country, the moral duty of defeating evil, the camaraderie of brotherhood among Soldiers? Probably all of these things, but the driving force was they were called to do a job and they did it.  Sounds simplistic but it’s not.  It speaks to a type of character that runs deep inside a person’s soul, one I fear perhaps we may be in short supply of today.

Over and over I’ve heard the same familiar quote from men that have fought in wars,  “We’re not the heroes, those guys there buried under the white crosses are.”

That’s what they say because that’s the type of men they are, humble of their own accomplishments and respectful to the fallen.  They are all heroes in my opinion, alive or dead.

colorcrossflag

For some context of what these men went through that fateful day along with brilliant pictures, check out Julie’s fabulous post on the subject.

Posted in Political, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Uncertain Certainty

img_2335

Cross Between The Trees-Living Stones Church, Kona, HI

“But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.”

~ C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

The pastor at church this past Sunday touched on the above passage, which resonated with me.  God had been instructing me lately to be continually on the lookout for Him so this message to Remember the signs and believe the signs really struck a chord.

These past couple of weeks have been loaded with uncertainty and, honestly, some uncomfortable doubt about whether all things really do work together for the good of those that love Him.  A childhood friend’s cancer diagnosis and my own journey with a pending health scare has put life’s impermanent nature at the forefront and left me on unsteady ground.  Turning 50 recently hasn’t helped.

Needless to say it’s been a reflective time.  I feel more in tune with the present moment and empathetic towards people and their daily struggles.  I can see clearly the things that matter and the many things that don’t.  I grow closer to God even as I struggle against what He’s laid before me.    How frustrated He must be that I turn to Him during bad times as quickly as I turn away during good ones.

It’s easy to get upside down in situations like this and let hot emotions lead the way so I grasp on to promises whispered through the thick, heavy air.

Nothing will ever separate me from the love of God~Romans 8:38

He will never leave nor forsake me~Deuteronomy 31:8

His promise of peace will never be removed~Isaah 54:17

He will answer earnest prayers~John 15:7

Yes, remember the signs and believe the signs.  Nothing else matters.

Could I ask a small favor that you say a prayer for a good outcome for me as I go through some medical testing this Thursday morning?

Things should be ok, my doctor is just taking some extra precautions, but good wishes and prayers would be welcome.

***Quick update to let everyone know that my doctor called me personally to let me know the tests results were great and I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.  Also the rare form of cancer my friend was diagnosed with has not spread and things are looking good.  Thank you all for your prayers and kind words.  And thank you especially to God, you are always so good!******

Posted in Spiritual, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

When Kindness Kills

Black Widow

Female black widows attract prey by showing off their shiny, red hourglass markings. This lures their unfortunate victim directly in to her clutches, where it will soon be wrapped in mounds of silk before being injected with digestive enzymes that turn their insides to mush.  The spider then sucks the liquid out (gleefully, I like to imagine), leaving only a dead, hollowed out shell of what was once a living creation behind.

A person stamped with a victimhood mentality eventually becomes an empty shell too.  Except in this case it’s not the spider draining the life out of them, but Western society’s pathological need to be seen as compassionate and caring when tough love and common sense are required.  This in turn can cause them learned helplessness and  a continual reliance on other people and things in place of basic life skills.

The homeless crisis faced by many cities around the country is surely at the top of a long list of cultural issues effected by this dysfunction. This was brought to mind recently when I read this blog post by Chris Megison, President and CEO of Solutions For Change, a wonderful organization dedicated to ending family homelessness who I’ve blogged about before.

Chris uses the term symptom relief when discussing the Band-Aid approach federal and state governments have taken towards trying to solve homelessness.  In fact he doesn’t believe “solving” it is even part of the equation.  His words:

It is very important to understand that the increase in homelessness and property crimes is happening by design, due to State of California’s legislative overreach that is handcuffing local cities.”

Chris is referring to something called Housing First, which fixates on providing housing for the homeless with no requirements that they stop drinking and/or doing drugs. This philosophy is poisonous according to Chris and because it’s permeated throughout the public sector some really bad policies and incentives have come about as he explains here:

“California’s homeless response system has done something that we believe is enormously dangerous. The state has systematized and operationalized codependency through a new design that provides taxpayer funded no-strings-attached drug housing for the homeless addict. The intervention they are using is a housing intervention with the misguided logic that the addict will decide, at some point, to get sober. The addict can now continue to use drugs in “free” government housing, commit property crimes to support their habit and have a place for other addicts to congregate

Sadly, the same public sector architects of this design have also decriminalized possession of drugs, even hard drugs like heroin and meth.  A person caught with 3 grams of heroin (30 uses) is considered to have “personal use” and let go.  Police officers are going on record all over California, saying that we are in full blown crisis caused by the confluence of multiple government policies that focus on the wrong thing; they focus almost entirely on symptoms.”

 Is it compassionate to provide free housing with no expectations that tenants behave like responsible human beings?  To release people caught with hard drugs because hey, they’re only harming themselves and who are we to judge anyway?  Or is it really just another way for politicians to look like they’re doing somethingwhen in fact they’re just making things worse?

And what about the homeless themselves, doesn’t this convey the message that they are incapable of overcoming their addictions and becoming productive members of society? That they are “victims” of forces beyond their control so let’s just give them housing and let them alone about their drugs so we can get back to our paper shuffling and say “see, problem solved!”?

The lure of being seen as compassionate is powerful and not in itself a bad thing.  When it becomes politicized and purely symbolic though it leads to greater evils than the initial problems being confronted.  In this case the devaluing of human beings and treating them as animals with no ability to help themselves.

This only propagates whatever dysfunction an already damaged population is dealing with, leaving a broken trail of carcasses ravaged by poverty, drug addiction and spiritual emptiness in its wake.

We need to rethink what we are doing to the most vulnerable among us.

For more information about the good work Solutions for Change is doing to empower people up and out of being homeless go here.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 33 Comments

Intersectionality and Radical Grace

There was a  fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal recently written by Robert L. Woodson Sr.  The title, Even the Fiercest Social-Justice Warrior Should Learn Mercy, sums up well the goal of the author, which is to get today’s racial grievance mongers to stop focusing so much on righting wrongs from the past and instead employ the radical grace championed by Mr. Woodson and others during civil rights era struggles against real entrenched societal oppression and horrific acts of racial violence.

He writes:

As a veteran of the civil-rights movement, I remember how our most effective weapon against bigotry, hatred and oppression was radical grace. If social activists want to mimic us, let them follow in this direction rather than demand the elevation of their particular tribal interests above all others. Activists’ focus on group identity and past wrongs fuels anger and resentment, deepening divisions instead of erasing them. The only antidote to the growing conflict is for black America to take back its historical victories against injustice from those repurposing them as ammunition for an anti-American agenda.”

At this point you might be asking what does a what does a middle aged white girl from the burbs know about black racism?  Nothing of course.  I would never pretend to understand what it’s like as a black person to be discriminated against, nor am I denying that racism exists today.

What I do know a lot about unfortunately is what Mr. Woodson alludes to in that last sentence about people perverting once noble causes and “repurposing them as ammunition for an anti-American agenda.”  Anyone paying attention to today’s culture wars can clearly see that is the norm for social justice groups claiming to be fighting for the oppressed, but who are in reality pushing political agendas that have nothing to do with helping anyone but the people in power that run these groups.

The Women’s March is a fine example of this.  It promotes itself as a champion of women’s interests and empowerment, yet it’s really about getting progressive candidates in to office to enact a far left agenda that I believe is harmful to women and squelches empowerment.  At their core, the Women’s March and other grievance movements run counter to our Founding Fathers insistence that all men area created equal and that individual rights take precedence over those of the collective.

How so?  By their adherence to intersectionality-the belief that societal oppression intersects among various tribes whose powerlessness is based on the the number of victim points they have.   A transgender, black woman under this system garners more sympathy than a white gay man who only has 1 grievance box checked to her 3. There’s no accounting for a person’s unique background and character traits and no individuality, just balkanized groups assigned different spots on the hierarchy ladder of oppression .

Intersectionality has become a religion to its followers.  It’s a cancer that encourages people to make assumptions about others based on race, sexual orientation and gender. It’s identity politics on steroids, which I’ve written about before here, here and here and it’s turning the progress we’ve made on racial discrimination and women’s empowerment on its head.

It’s a growing threat too because what was once contained to quirky liberal arts colleges, has spread like wildfire to the broader culture, as indoctrinated students graduated and moved on to positions of power in corporations and government. It’s a big reason why we live in a state of constant outrage, where people feel traumatized over the slightest of things and receive cultural validation for it if they belong to the “correct” tribe.

There is little grace in this and no mercy at all for the accused; no room for discussion, and absolutely no forgiveness for an honest mistake made.  Societal chaos and divisiveness continue to grow and individual freedom shrinks as the power of the state gets called upon to “right” so many “wrongs.”

This does nothing for the truly oppressed, the poor and those that have been dealt  crappy life cards.  Chaining them them to a victimhood mentality of course only makes things worse, but no matter because it increases the constituency of the modern day grievance industry.  The collateral damage of ruined, stunted lives is less important then the increased power and status gained by the movement.

It’s unclear where this will all lead.  I’m hoping the asininity of intersectionality becomes the achilles heal that eventually kills it.  As more and more groups claim victimhood status and the grievances become pettier and more absurd,  a chain reaction  of “eating their own” seems to be kicking in.  The favored group of today becomes the micro aggressor of tomorrow and gets booted from the club.  We can only hope the collapse comes soon.

In the meantime we could do worse than to study Robert Woodson’s ideas on forgiveness and self reflection as a path to empowerment and changed lives. As he says:

“This is a model for anyone seriously interested in erasing injustice and promoting equality. Nobody grows when activists are intolerant of others’ flaws or demand the end of careers because of past wrongs. Emphasizing past evil—let alone manufacturing racial attacks to satiate the media’s appetite—inflames anger on both sides. Let us wisely choose grace instead.”

Posted in entitlememt mentality, fear mongering, identity politics, Political, Uncategorized, Women's Empowerment | Tagged , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Priceless

That moment when you realize you’ve just been made a complete fool of on national TV.

Grumpy Bernie

Here in the US we are alarmed by the new calls to adopt Socialism in our country.  America was founded on liberty and independence and not government coercion, domination and control.  We are born free and we will stay free.  Tonight we renew our resolve that America will never be a Socialist country.”

~Donald Trump-State of the Union Speech 2019

Well played Mr. President, well played.

 

 

Posted in Funny, Political, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

The Buzz on Howard Schultz

Coffee Cup

Howard Schultz grew up in the Brooklyn housing projects, was the first in his family to go to college, excelled in post grad jobs at Xerox and Swedish drip coffee maker Hammarplast, joined a fledgling, little known company called Starbucks and turned it in to one of the largest retail coffee shop empires in the world.

That ladies and gentlemen is a true American success story; poor boy from Brooklyn makes good by spinning coffee in to gold, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and a personal net worth estimated at $3.1 billion.  Naturally then, Democrats want to boil him alive in cooking oil while pulling his fingernails out.  His crime?  Threatening to disrupt the 2020 presidential election and their dreams of a Progressive, Trump free utopia

The traditional line of thought here is that an Independent run by Schultz scares the bejesus out of Democrats because they think he will peel voters away from the D nominee and propel Trump to victory. This just cannot happen and so watch for Schultz or anyone else who gets in the way of the anointing of Queen Kamala Harris or King Booker to get Kavanuaghed.  Soon stories about drunken teenage parties and bad behavior will emerge amidst whispers of white privilege and “the patriarchy”.

I believe much of this to be true, but it’s not the whole story.  Liberal Democrats are freaking out over Howard Schultz because he brings sanity back to the table.  He thinks wealth taxes are absurd, is not on board with single payer health care and believes in free market capitalism. There is also not a hint of identity politics in his words and he is refreshingly unapologetic about being a white, male, 1%er.

If Howard Schultz were actually to throw his hat in to the ring, it would force Democrats to reconcile the far left drift of their party, its cheerleading for Socialism, its class envy and the savagery of identity politics they rely so much upon.  Right now all the energy is with this group of D’s, but a Schultz run would require them to defend these practices and give normal Democrats a chance to take their party back from the crazies.  That is the crux of the matter and in my view is why the vitriol and hysteria surrounding him are so amplified.

Lest Republicans get tempted to grab popcorn and enjoy the show, they should understand that Schultz is appealing to Conservative voters too.  People like myself who, while appreciating many of Trump’s polices, have moved beyond being annoyed with his temperament to worried about the damage its doing and could do in the future. While not nearly enough is known about Howard Schultz for me to say I’d vote for him, his potential candidacy is intriguing.

At the very least it offers a chance for sanity to be injected back in to the election process. How refreshing it would be to have Trump or whoever the Republican nominee is debate a real person of substance on policy issues instead of having to answer to the screeching quasi Socialist banshees going on about eliminating rich people, wealth confiscation and the evils of capitalism.

It would be good for both the Democratic and Republican parties to have someone like Howard Schultz enter the race, not to mention the electorate.  I say bring it on!

 

Posted in capitalism, identity politics, income inequality, Political, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 45 Comments

A Few Quick Things….

Hello WordPress World, so sorry I’ve been gone so long. My poor time management skills combined with a wicked ability to procrastinate has unfortunately left me little availability for writing, or even just reading posts from my fellow bloggers who I’ve missed dearly.  To be honest, even just thinking straight at times has been a challenge.

A recent seven hour car ride  though turned out to be just the thing to clear my head a bit and allow some semi cohesive thoughts to form.  I’ll leave it to you whether or not they make sense.

  • Coffee makes any road trip much better.
  • Fake news is here to stay and collective outrage over this or that issue will continue to grow bigger and nastier, as we fight over things that never actually happened.  Since the media has dropped any sense of objectivity (and self respect), they now freely indulge in outright lying as long as the story fits a narrative they know their audience wants desperately to believe.  Thus Buzzfeed’s  false tale about Trump directing Cohen to lie to Congress.  And those MAGA hat wearing Christian boys harassing a Native American? Turns out it was the other way around!
  • Low caffeine makes me really itchy.  Whoops, better add a letter b to that.
  • Gillette execs virtue signaling their wokeness with its”toxic masculinity” ad was the most poorly thought out campaign since the New Coke fiasco of 1985.  Why they felt it was more important to cater to people that don’t use their products by insulting those that do is beyond baffling.  The best result was this rebuttal ad  from the Edgar Watch company.
  • People who clean their car wind shields knowing full well  the wiper fluid will get blasted on the one behind them are just mean.  Or careless, or clueless, or take your pick.  Not that I’m holding a grudge or anything…..
  • Social media is turning us in to dumb, petty animals.   Politicians and the media play a big role in this of course, but it’s up to us to demonstrate that God didn’t make a mistake putting us at the top of the food chain.  He gave us wisdom, compassion and logic for a reason, let’s use them all abundantly.
  • We really do need to be on guard against being manipulated by those who think nothing of pitting us against one another.   The best way to combat this is to stop thinking the worst of other people. Give them space to be human instead of putting them in pre-labeled boxes based on who they voted for or what their race/sex/religion is.  Give yourself permission to be wrong about things too.
  • If you you play island music while driving through farm country in California’s central coast while wishing real hard you were in Hawaii, it’s just like you were there.  Especially so if you’re also drinking good coffee and eating macadamia nuts.  Yup, just like Hawaii!

Posted in fear mongering, Funny, identity politics, Political, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments