Saturday, August 28, 2010

Got my gun, got my fishing pole!

Got my hunting license last week, and today I got my fishing license. I'm now ready to grunt like a man, fight the elements and swat voracious entomological beasties, all for the purpose of putting grub on the table. Okay, that's a little melodramatic, but at least I'll feel manly about it.

Not sure about my prospects for success. I went fishing today with a friend so that he could teach me a thing or two. I had a great time but only caught a glimpse of a fish when a bald eagle flew a few lazy circles near us, then with the greatest of ease dove into the lake and retrieved dinner for four. We, however, were consigned to starvation.

I did indeed glean important angling instruction today, and now I'm eager to test my abilities. Stay tuned; pray for Maine's fish population because I'm taking no prisoners!

Friday, August 27, 2010

See With Clearer Eyes

Despite the media's attempt to blur the lines between the issues, the NYC mosque is about only one thing: One group is asking another group to change its mind about where it builds its mosque. Simple.

As often happens, a difficult and contentious issue is twisted by the press and made into something it really is not. As explained above, the mosque issue is about only one thing. But the press, as well as certain politicians, have taken two distinctly different issues regarding the mosque and have tried to make us believe they are one and the same.

Those who wish to build the mosque near Ground Zero absolutely have the right to do so. The U.S. Constitution guarantees it. As it currently stands, no reasonable people, either left or right wing, are disagreeing with this assertion. So, the "rights" issue has been resolved, agreed upon, settled. This is a non-partisan agreement. No compromise between left and right, no appeasement or sacrifice, just simple agreement. We haven't seen the two major political parties so easily agree in a long time.

The second issue, however, is completely different. Is it appropriate to build the mosque that close to Ground Zero? They have the right, but is it wise? We cannot seem to solve this problem as easily as we have the other. Part of the problem is that they have been melded into one issue. This is neither correct nor helpful.

This blending of two separate issues is irresponsible regardless of who initiates it, and the mosque situation is not the first time we've seen it. For instance, illegal immigration is vastly different than the need, or not, for immigration reform. By combining these two issues, those who stand against the unlawful practice of sneaking into our country can be painted by others as racist. This is inappropriate at best and perhaps altogether sinister.

In the case of illegal immigration vs. immigration reform, one is a matter of law-breaking and the other is a matter of rethinking standards. They overlap to some degree, but each is specific enough to warrant exclusivity to each.

We as Americans need to be sharper listeners, viewers, observers. We would rather formulate good comebacks than listen to another's point of view, consider ideas and then respond respectfully. If we cannot pay attention long enough to see the basic structure of the issues, how can we expect our words to be heard? Further, if we don't hold our leaders accountable for muddying the waters of these issues instead of providing clarity, we will get exactly what we ask for.

We can be vociferous defenders of our ideas and stances, but if we refuse to listen to others, and demand forthright communication from our leaders, we prove to be nothing but clamorous fools.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Israel vs. Iran, part 2

Have you noticed the gradual isolation happening to two different countries? Our government has systematically distanced itself from Israel, while throwing bones to Islamic countries. President Obama snubbed Israel's leader; he's done nothing to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons; Iran is only days away from being nuclear capable and our president is busy campaigning somewhere.

How can President Obama embark on the campaign trail while Iran puts finishing touches on nuclear capability? Iran has many times threatened Israel's extinction, and they are about to obtain the ability to make good on that threat.

An Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities could spark World War III; likewise, an Iranian attack against Israel could do the same.

As President Obama builds relationships with Islamic countries, and continues to apologize for America's behavior, those same countries are becoming ever more bold in their aggression. And Israel is increasingly isolated.

Meanwhile, President Obama, and to be fair former President Bush also, has not addressed the increasingly brazen presence of Hezbollah and Hamas in South America. He's ignored overwhelming evidence that the American people want the border sealed. To believe that no Islamic terrorists have smuggled across our southern border is akin to believing the Earth is flat. We have terrorists in our country, and by ignoring the illegal immigration problem we have made it easy for these people to kill American citizens. When this happens, there will be blood on the hands of every president, and his administration, extending at least as far as Reagan.

President Obama has allowed the isolation of Israel. Should Israel be attacked, I'm no longer confident that we will come to her aid. Additionally, Obama is allowing America to be isolated also. We are being closed in by people who hate us. Despite the every increasing danger both America and Israel face, President Obama apparently thinks campaigning is more important.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Israel vs. Iran

Israel has just a few days in which to knock out Iran's ability to create nuclear weapons. Will they do it? Don't think so.

Where do we stand on this? Our president has done essentially nothing at all to keep Iran, the very seedbed of terrorism, from acquiring nukes. He's proven that he's weak and incapable of protecting us. Iran knows he's incompetent, so does Russia. Now, either Israel stands alone in defending the world against the single most tyrannical regime, or we get used to living in a world where terrorists own nuclear weapons.

President Obama seems comfortable with a nuclear-armed Iran, are you?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Father knows best

True story:

Like many teenage boys, I got my first speeding ticket about six months after earning my license at age 16. I had attended one of my high school's football games and was returning home, but not before first depositing Walter Seagal at his own home. You see, Walter was stinkin' drunk that night and obviously in no shape to drive. Now, had you attended my high school, Herbert Hoover High School in Fresno, California, you would have some sympathy for Walter. Our football team was so bad for so long, it could drive even a teetotaller to pound a few barley pops.

In taking Walter home I was serving the Fresno community. Doing my part to keep the city's streets free from drunk drivers. I was speeding, however, and therefore deserved the citation.

I was doing fifty in a forty zone; not a huge infraction, but definitely speeding. Additionally, when I got pulled over, Walter felt an urgent need to exit the vehicle and defend me to the cop. Despite his noble intent, there's nothing like spewing bear breath into a policeman's face to pretty well insure a citation. But the cop knew I hadn't been drinking at all, so he wrote me the ticket, added the requisite and stern, "slow down" command, and sent me on my way.

I delivered Walter to his home then returned to my own home. When I walked in the door, I immediately told my parents that I had suffered my first summons. You can imagine how angry my dad was, just like everyone else's dad when faced with his son's first ticket. But no, my dad wasn't angry at all. Instead of reading the riot act, he gave me a wry smile and a hug. He said, "Yeah, I remember when I got my first ticket too." That's it. That's the punishment.

Dad knew how to navigate the delicate tight-wire between judgment and mercy. The cop did nothing wrong in writing me a ticket, but he lost a chance to reinforce responsible behavior in a young man. Dad, on the other hand, didn't need to punish me, the ticket itself accomplished punishment. Instead, he saw an opportunity to apply mercy. It worked. Big respect for dad!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Let The Japanese Mourn Their Own

For the first time ever the U.S. government has sent an ambassador to take part in a memorial in Hiroshima, Japan. This ceremony exists to honor the Japanese killed in WWII when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. There's a reason we've never participated in this ceremony before. We have nothing to apologize for!

Although the 140,000 death toll is tragic and awful, many experts agree that casualties would have been much higher had we continued fighting conventionally. One of the reasons for this was Japan's stubborn refusal to surrender when they had obviously lost the war. The Japanese government itself can be blamed for untold Japanese deaths. Conventional fighting would have resulted in many more American deaths, also.

I don't know if any Japanese envoys/ambassadors have ever taken part in Pearl Harbor memorials, but if not they had better step up now. Our fight against Japan began as a result of a cowardly sneak attack from Japan. It has been well-established that the Japanese military fought savagely and brutally, regularly mistreating its prisoners and even commanding its own people to commit suicide.

America has no place at a Hiroshima memorial ceremony. It is, of course, appropriate to remember the dead, and even strive for a nuclear-free world. But the ceremony itself held the air of Japanese victimhood and American immorality and brutishness. Lots of talk about never using nukes again, but nothing about pre-emptive sneak attacks. No acceptance of responsibility. Nothing about declaring war before attacking, not after. The gist is that America is evil for using nukes on poor Japan. That attitude is the last thing we should put up with and the very reason no American ambassador should be there.

Additionally, I don't agree that nuclear weapons should be eliminated. Why did we have to drop the second bomb? Because killing 140,000 Japanese in the first explosion still wasn't enough to convince Japanese leadership to surrender. They would have gladly endured a protracted war until the last Japanese citizen died for his country. Stupid! Arrogant! Irresponsible!

Once again, President Obama has shown his contempt for America in sending an envoy to Japan. How inappropriate; how insensitive, not only to those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, but for all those who fought a lengthy and brutal war with Japan. The Japanese need to take a sober look in the mirror. Don't hold your breath waiting, however, you're likely to hear an official apology from Obama before hearing the Japanese admit they were at fault.

Thursday, August 5, 2010's bush's fault?

President Obama's penchant for blaming former president George W. Bush for everything negative in America has long ago grown old. And really, George Bush has been out of office for quite some time. President Obama is happy to take credit for anything he deems positive; apparently Mr. Bush has done nothing positive at all, however. Well, let's take a look at just a few items:

1) Unemployment - The average unemployment rate during the Bush administration was 5.3% compared to Obama's approximate 8.8%.

2) Terrorism - During Bush's term, no terrorist acts occurred on U.S. soil. During Obama's term there have been several.

3) Jobs - Obama has so far lost more jobs than any president since Hoover. Bush's first term had marginal job loss, then in his second term he added jobs.

4) Illegal Immigration - Neither president sports a good record here, but President Obama has gone so far as to shut down one state's (Arizona) effort to protect itself from illegal immigration . This despite the fact that Arizona's new illegal immigration law goes no further than federal law itself. President Obama has, by fighting Arizona's ability to protect itself, confirmed he intends to do nothing to protect the U.S. from a huge influx of illegal immigrants.

5) Taxes - President Bush cut taxes. President Obama intends to overturn the "Bush tax cuts," which have been law for nearly ten years.

6) Liberty - Bush allowed federal phone tapping to ferret out potential terrorists. President Obama is forcing all Americans to buy insurance or face financial penalty; he is proposing to force every American to report his/her Body Mass Index (BMI); despite promises to the contrary, President Obama is forcing every tax payer to help pay for abortions; he has admitted to being a proponent of wealth distribution, and in some ways has already implemented this ideology.

7) Patriotism - President Bush immediately reacted to 9/11 by bringing U.S. military might to bear on those who intend us harm. President Obama has attended a ceremony in Japan marking the dropping of the atomic bomb by the U.S. in WWII. He has failed to stand up to Iran, and has publicly disrespected the leader of one of our staunchest allies, Israel. President Obama continues to apologize for America's behavior around the globe, while refusing to recognize the tyranny associated with Islamic countries and organizations. He vacationed instead of attending a Memorial Day service at Arlington Cemetery and he went on "The View" instead of honoring the 100 year anniversary of the Boy Scouts.

President Bush has never uttered a word of blame toward President Obama, while Mr. Obama has spent his entire term blaming Bush for everything from the economy to rough toilet paper in the White House.

The Obama administration is incompetent at best, and possibly evil. The president has no regard for the U.S. Constitution, no economic skill or knowledge. He's flailing in a job that is way over his head. His arrogance is monumental and bordering on narcissism. He's the biggest spender this country has ever seen, and while the country buckles under this irresponsible and immoral frittering, he and his wife have been taking lavish vacations at the expense of suffering constituents.

Recently he spoke to the Ford Motor Company, ostensibly to congratulate them on turning a profit during this recession. He recognized Ford's accomplishment, which they managed without taking any bailout money. Then, he tried to take credit for Ford's success by claiming that, "without the bailout of GM and Chrysler, Ford would not have succeeded." He said that if GM and Chrysler had gone under, they would have forced many of Ford's suppliers to fail, which would have then caused Ford to fail.

Essentially, President Obama said that if Ford's competitors had gone out of business Ford would have followed. Think about that one for a moment: If your largest competitors go out of business, what do you think would happen to your own business? It would boom, that's what would happen! That would be every business person's dream. Somehow, our president isn't smart enough to figure this out.

If you're a person who still believes in this president, I don't know what to say. His policies are horrible and he's ruining this country. If you don't see this then you must be either blind, or blinded by your own pride.