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SUSPENSIONS

There are suspensions by organizations for bad behavior by their employees but not all suspensions are equal. Recently, a sideline reporter for a sport’s network was suspended when caught making nasty comments to a tow truck employee. This woman’s biggest mistake was lording it over the employee by citing her status as a supposed celebrity and even going so far as to criticize the employee’s personal appearance. Even though she apologized and may have been egged on by equally reprehensible language directed at her by the tow truck person, she was rightly suspended. But calls for her to be fired seem over the top. Contrast that with the grade school teacher that made her class write birthday cards to a convicted cop killer on death row. After her suspension she then attempted, when arguing she should be reinstated, to throw her students under the bus by arguing they wanted to send the cards. Yeah, right. It was the kiddies idea to send cards to a guy convicted of shooting a cop in the back and then making sure he was dead by putting one in his head. In fact, this “teacher” should have been fired, not just suspended. If people cannot see the difference between a rant by some sport’s reporter who was having a bad hair day and a supposed guardian of our impressionable children who uses her position to advocate for convicted killers, all of us are in big trouble.

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DISCRIMINATION IS NO ANSWER

There are important issues facing our nation including at best, a lack luster economy and the worse foreign policy since Jimmy Carter and yet the Elephants, who desperately want to address those problems by electing a prexy in 2016, continue to shoot themselves in the feet by adhering to ridiculous social policies that guarantee they will alienate not only Donkeys and independents but moderates within their own party, as well. In the latest gaffe, Indiana repubs passed a law supposedly guaranteeing religious freedom by allowing business owners to refuse to serve potential patrons on religious grounds. While I have written extensively about the current secular administration’s attack on religious freedom, you can’t have it both ways meaning you can’t object to discrimination against religion while at the same time defending discrimination on religious grounds. Putting aside strictly legal issues, if you decide to open a coffee shop, you should expect that if you are successful, you won’t always being serving people who agree with your politics, how you raise your children or which church, if any, you attend. Of course, the resultant public furor over this law is obviously seeing the law as a reason to discriminate against the LBGT community. And rightly so, although outside of West Hollywood, I have no idea how some red neck on the right will even be able to determine whether a person who walks in and orders a cup of coffee is gay. Just as no governmental entity should stop you from believing whatever you want religiously, likewise no governmental agency should deny you the liberty to be who you choose to be sexually. If the Elephants wish to be relevant in this day and age, they had better wake up and start concentrating on core issues that really matter to most Americans.

MIDEAST CRISIS Part Two

If radical Islam represents a threat to not only countries like Israel, Jordan and others, how do we deal with that threat? That is the question for the moment and for the future. Our future. If the middle east explodes in war, it is obvious that we will be drawn into any conflict that arises there.

The current administration has adopted a strategy of negotiating with Iran to prevent that nation from acquiring nuclear weapons. That strategy is based on several arguments.

First, Iran can be persuaded to join the league of “reasonable nations.” This argument is wishful thinking with no basis in reality. In fact, Iran has been correctly labeled as the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world. Second, we need Iran to stop ISIS. No, we need bombing with limited “boots on the ground” to defeat ISIS. Iran is going after ISIS simply to prevent ISIS from becoming the dominant terrorist organization, a designation Iran wishes to keep for itself. Third, if we don’t negotiate with Iran, the only alternative is an all out war. If we give Iran the bomb, that will do more to hasten the threat of war then doing a bad deal. It doesn’t take a professional expert on middle eastern affairs to realize that giving Iran the bomb will set off an arms race not seen since we took on the Soviet Union after WWII. Sanctions should be increased to destroy Iran’s economy. We defeated the commies by destroying their economy. It can certainly work again with a piss ant state like Iran. Finally, Israel, so the argument goes is “overreacting” to the threat posed by Iran having the bomb. As Netty said, we are concerned with our security, Israel is concerned with its survival.

The administration, according to public info, wants a deal with Iran that would maintain Iran’s nuclear apparatus and give them a green light to have the bomb in a decade. Thus, critics, including Israel, are correct when they label this as a bad deal. Iran, then, as we have seen with North Korea, will have the ability to use war heads to strike our own country with nuclear weapons.

Perhaps the final straw is the specious argument by liberals and libertarians that if Iran has the bomb, they won’t use it. This reminds me of the “head in the sand” approach taken with Hitler and the Japanese war lords.

In both cases, we sat falsely relying on two oceans to protect us with the thought that if Hitler could be appeased by giving him a few minor European countries (like giving Iran the bomb), he would stop his terrorism or that Japan would never have the gall to attack us. Let us not fall prey to letting history repeat itself. Hopefully, Congress will have more sense than the current administration when it comes to dealing with Iran and the threat of militant Islam.

DOES IT REALLY LEAD IF IT BLEEDS?

Having been the managing editor of my high school newspaper, I have always had a keen interest in journalism. Fortunately, for my sanity, I chose another profession although now that I think about it, maybe avoiding insanity can never be the product of what one does for a living since lawyers have one of the highest rates of substance abuse among professionals and don’t stack up very well in the suicide department either. In any event, our current excuse for a President in a recent interview dismissed the criticism of an aspect of his foreign policy by claiming the whole matter was overblown and the product of the above referenced cliche. Since stats show about 87% of journalists identify themselves as Donkeys as opposed to Elephants, it is not surprising that Mr. Obomba got a free ride from the press during much of his presidency. It is only now that his failings, particularly in the foreign policy arena, have become so obvious that he is finally getting his due, legitimate questions and criticism. With congress firmly in control of the Elephants whose motto might be, “I’ve never met a social issue I can’t shoot myself in the foot about” it now appears that we will have a more balanced series of pot shots from the press as we head into the next presidential election. One of our local newspapers, a bastion of liberal bias, has completely ignored the latest Clinton scandal, carrying no mention of Hillie’s thinly disguised campaign arm, her “foundation” accepting money from foreign governments, including surrogates of the Red Chinese and the destruction of emails while she boosted her resume as Secretary of State. So, Mr. O, it appears that if it bleeds, it doesn’t always lead after all.

MIDEAST CRISIS (Part One)

As some of you know who follow this column on a regular basis, I am not particularly religious in any formal sense and certainly not Jewish. But I have always had great sympathy for the Jewish people, having been exposed, unlike Mel Gibson, to the horrors of the holocaust in my study of history.

For that reason, I also admire Israel, the Jewish state. Since their beginnings, Israel has been what statesmen might call “a ray of hope” for democracy in the middle east.

Since my daughter had the good sense to marry a Jewish man whom I am honored to call “son” and even more honored when he calls me “dad,” and they have given me the loves of my life, three wonderful grandchildren, my exposure to the Jewish religion has of course grown as I have insisted, though without opposition from my children, that my grandchildren be exposed to all things Jewish as it will be part of their heritage, a heritage, like the heritage from their mother’s side of the family, they should always be proud of.

Recently, visiting the fam in La La land, I had the pleasure of going to my granddaughter’s pre-school to witness a special Jewish celebration in which she was singled out as the school celebrated her fourth birthday. As I stood watching the teachers dancing with their charges, I was reminded that the last time I had been in a church setting where people joyously sang and danced was when I attended a Black Southern Baptist church many years ago.  It brought home to me that while we worship in our own way, we have much in common in how we celebrate what we believe.

As we exited the celebration, returning to our cars, I was also reminded, however, at how religion also divides us as I saw the armed security guards patrolling the parking lot, looking around like secret service men for an antisemitic threat. It brought back my constant fear that my grandchildren being half Jewish will have to spend the rest of their lives recognizing that part of their heritage will also include even the threat to their lives simply because they are Jewish.

We live as human beings with a dark side, George Lucas had it right,  which infests so many with reasons to hate based on nothing more than tribal differences. I’m sure there is a sociological basis, a psychological basis for this but what is important is that it exists and no contestant in a beauty contest who wishes for “world peace” will change that dynamic.

Politicians and pundits talk today of “existential threats.” The overriding such threat is the threat posed by our own self destructiveness in the name of this religion or that religion.  It seems axiomatic that as humans, we have the unending ability to pervert even the most well intentioned ideas embodied in religions initiated with the best aims in mind.

And therein lies the problem we face today with radical Islam.

ISIS

A foreign policy exercised by a state which eschews other cultures and their religions and which seeks to dominate world affairs and is willing to use war to achieve that purpose. Fanatical, no other religions will be allowed to contradict the belief in the one true deity this state worships and the members of such religions will be killed or enslaved. If a member of this state dies in the ensuing struggle for domination, that is the mark of total allegiance to their God and they will be rewarded for their sacrifice in the after life.

Sound familiar? You may think I’m referring to ISIS but you would be wrong. As I have often said, history is worth studying if for no other reason it confirms the old cliche that “history repeats itself.”

In fact, I am referring to the Empire of Japan as it existed before and during World War II. The emperor of Japan was considered a God. The militarists who controlled the government sought to take over a wide swath of the Pacific, including China. They ruthlessly eliminated their opponents with beheadings and torture. If you surrendered in combat, you were a coward and committing hari kari (suicide) was preferable to surrender.

In December of 1941, the Japanese Empire attacked the United States. During the early months of the war, the Japanese ranged across the western Pacific taking territory and winning every battle. It took the U.S. nearly a year to get in the fight and the war was not won until 1945.

If there is any lesson to be learned from our experience in winning WWII, it revolves around two issues: why were we unprepared for war and what kind of commitment did it take to win the war?

If we look for the lessons that answer those questions, it may suggest the policies we will need to adopt to defeat ISIS.

Today, it is the Democrats who are reluctant to put “boots on the ground” in recognition that most Americans are war weary after over a decade of war in the middle east. Those on the far left, such as Michael Moore and other so-called Hollywood celebrities even go so far as to criticize our soldiers calling their sacrifices for their country cowardice and worse.

In 1941, however, it was the Republicans who largely opposed taking part in international affairs that might lead to open conflict and war. The

America First movement argued that WWI had accomplished nothing (a parallel to those now arguing nothing was gained in our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) and that with our isolation between two oceans, we shouldn’t be drawn into foreign conflicts.

Had the Japanese not attacked Pearl Harbor, it might have been a different outcome, since many in our country in 1941 were perfectly happy ignoring the spread of totalitarianism by Nazi Germany and Japan, hoping that diplomacy and a superior attitude about our own invulnerability would carry the day.

Pearl Harbor exploded that myth and a remarkable turnaround occurred unleashing the most powerful industrial machine on earth and giving our President unheard of powers to fight and defeat the enemy. Opposition to the war disappeared overnight and Americans went to war with a vengeance.

People on the west coast watched our ships being sunk by Japanese submarines as they waited for invasion. Our territories in the Pacific were under attack and falling like dominoes to the Japanese. It was a scary time but Americans pulled together.

There was no doubt in American’s minds that we would win the war. It was decided upon early in the war that we and our allies would wage total war until the enemy was defeated. There was no worry about civilian casualties, there was no reluctance to bomb our enemies out of existence. We would fight and die to preserve our nation, our way of life. And we did.

When it was estimated that we would lose between 500,000 and a million American lives to invade Japan, we wiped three of their cities off the map with atomic bombs to end the war.  We had guts, determination, know how and the will to win to save our country. We succeeded.  But what of today? Do we still have a will to win? Or will it take another 911 to wake us up once again to the realities of who we face in the enemy of ISIS?

Diplomacy does not deter nor win victories against fanatics. Just as it failed before WWII, it is failing now, despite this Administration’s claims to the contrary. ISIS continues to gain converts and territory. They have expanded their terror attacks to Europe and promise to slay our own President and his family.

There is only one way to defeat ISIS: kill them. In order to do that.  However, we will have to recognize their threat. We cannot do so, as many in our military argue, by refusing to call them what they are: Islamic Terrorists. We cannot do so by trying to maintain the false “politically correct” narrative that criticizing these terrorists is the same as condemning all of Islam. We cannot do so by telling them what we are not prepared to do to defeat them.

It took us a year to get in the fight in 1942 because we were wholly unprepared, militarily, to fight a war. It is interesting to note that under this Administration, we now have the lowest military force since 1940 and we all know what happened a year later.

We need to tell our enemies that we will continue to be a peaceful nation but that if we are attacked, our allies attacked or threatened, we will stand ready to defend ourselves and other nations with the same kind of commitment we had in winning WWII: a total commitment to wage the level of war necessary to win, period, by what ever means and with whatever force is required and that we have the military might to do so.

We must recognize that just being who we are, as Americans, we will have enemies, both nations and groups who will hate who we are to the point they are willing to kill us. It is an unpleasant fact of life. We all wish it were not so but that is not reality. Nor is it reality to pursue a foreign policy that fails to recognize that fundamental truth.

When congratulated by his minions on the successful attack on Pearl Harbor, its architect, Admiral Yamamoto, famously said, “I am afraid that all we have done is awake a sleeping giant.”

Lets wake up before we lose more American lives. This time.

MEMORIES

I guess I used to be a pretty tough guy. I rode around in a police cruiser with a .38 strapped on my hip, approached a car full of suspected bank robbers supposedly armed to the teeth, sent criminals to jail who threatened my life, sent my family out of town after receiving death threats. Raced through the streets past charred bodies helping to save lives after an explosion in the little town I lived in at the time. You know, the usual. As I approach another Christmas putting me closer to my seventh decade though, I find I’m becoming a real softie. Now that I’m mostly retired, my main focus is finally on my family. I sit and watch movies that used to fire me up with patriotic vigor and now I shed tears when I think about my own children if they had to endure what the protagonists in the films go through. I constantly worry about the direction our country is taking because of how it may affect my children and grandchildren. And I get nostalgic as I remember little incidents about the kids growing up. Like my son, the Breckster, being festooned like a Christmas tree with toy guns and knives during his Rambo stage, his fuzzy blond hair putting the best Afro to shame (he’s bald now) or the time I first went to pick up later two time Arizona state gymnastic’s champion Tiffany. As I stood in the door to the gym, I watched all these little girls running full tilt boogie down this long mat to vault. One after another, they launched themselves into the air and crashed into the pummel horse and left bruised, beaten and in tears. Oh my God, I thought as I waited in sudden fear for Tiff to take her turn. And then it happened. She ran like the wind. And…made a perfect vault. Or the time I was recording on the video cam our Xmas decorated home and the sly Melinda who was supposed to be in bed, dressed in her pjs, popping up around corners to get in the video. Tragically, Christmas time is also the time when the suicide rate is high. But for many, including myself, it is a joyous time because I get to share the holidays with my three wonderful children and now my grandchildren. If I die tomorrow, I’ll go knowing that I’ve fulfilled the best thing in life which is bringing three wonderful people into the world, getting them educated and now being able to watch them prosper. Merry Christmas.