Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The tangible ...

Something to hold onto?  At the end of the day you have to be thankful for simply having a safe place to lay your head each night.  Anything else is just icing on the cake.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A beating heart, by itself is simply not enough .....

It always bothers me when I hear 'religious' people talk about the "sanctity of [human] life", as if a beating heart in and of itself makes all the rest of the stuff that comes with this life worthwhile.  It's not that I don't personally believe life is precious, in and of itself, rather it boggles my mind that people can talk about "a life" and its "beating heart" --as if these things alone make us whole-- while completely dismissing the consequences that occur in the aftermath of that same life.  Maybe it's just me and my personal life experiences, but to my way of thinking given the two choices --between experiencing an abortion (short term physical suffering followed by a return to our Creator) and a being born into this world unwanted and more often than not unloved, and then having to live [experience] a life of pain, suffering, neglect and abuse (long term physical, mental and emotional suffering)--returning to heaven surely has to be the easier and less painful of the paths one can travel.

I guess to my way of thinking, you are an irresponsible advocate "for life" unless you are personally willing to step-up to the plate in order to ensure that each and every life brought into this world has at least a shot at a purposeful life, filled with at least some small measure of love and respect, because a life without these things is simply unbearable.  So I suppose, I am sincerely wondering why we never hear "pro-life" advocates talking about this other side of the "life" equation?  And more importantly, what will these advocates do in support of the aftermath of each and every "saved" life.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Recent Nightmare ...

Had a  horrible nightmare last night.  Now granted, not all of my dreams (visions) actually come to pass and thankfully so.  This dream was of a bunch of people caught in a seemingly normal traffic jam and then suddenly all hell broke loose as armed men were shooting stranded motorists at random in their cars ... there were explosions too and the perpetrators were riding motorcycles.  Scared the living daylights out of me ... so vivid, such graphic, unrestrained violence ... so much needless loss of innocent life.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

U.S. Congress Set to Vote on "Iran Nuclear Treaty" ....

What would you say if I told you that they say the path we are about to set foot upon will change all our lives, our children's lives and their children's lives, irrevocably forever and not for the better.  The "Iran Nuclear Treaty" tentatively set to be voted upon by the United States Congress, on September 17 --in a "resolution of disapproval vote"-- does not just marry the ultimate in vanity to politics; this treaty starts us along a trajectory which will bring about our (the human race as a whole) ultimate demise on every level possible.  I'd advise those members of Congress who are currently planning to pat themselves on the back for signing on to lend their support for this “ “ground-breaking” “ international treaty to find their spine, to take a courageous detour outside of their party's regimented lock-step --pushing aside, momentarily, the widely pushed (and accepted??) narrative that it is “THIS deal or outright WAR” aside--  in order to clearly evaluate the written terms of the Iran Nuclear Treaty --including its numerous “side-agreements”-- down to the very minutest of details. Then having done the latter, I ask these same members of the U.S. Congress to ask themselves if they are willing to sell their soul for short-lived “infamy” in accepting the delusion "that what they (will have) have done in voting to support such a weak 'treaty' truly does anything to promote the greater good." To ask themselves if they can live with the notion that they alone will be responsible for sealing the fate of humanity as we know it today. I'd add that history has a way of stripping away the varnish of present day perception --so often clouded by the spin of “smoke & mirrors" and the inherent need of weak men to feel that they belong to something greater than themselves-- in the laying down of facts toward the end of chronicling nations' tales, but what would be the point?  Because in the end, there will be none left to whom the tale could be recounted.

"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." ~Oppenheimer

9/11/2015  A deal by any other name would be a "treaty" .....

Thursday, August 13, 2015

" "Climate Change" " Show-down?

Carly Fiorina unleashes some articulate perspective on "climate change" in an interview with Katie Couric: A must see!

2/15/2017   Speaking of 'wars':  Here's some tangible fuel to justify skepticism on the whole "global warming" issue.  January 2017, NOAA scientist, Dr. John Bates, blows whistle on skewed recent temperature data. Valid ocean buoy data was discarded in favor of "hot" (known to report hotter) ship data.  Then this "Version 4" dataset was delayed in its release so as to further lend credence to the "Pausebuster" paper [“Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus”, written by climate change scientists to explain away the apparent pause in global warming temps over the past decade, published in the journal "Science" .. just six months before the Paris conference], thereby delivering a maximum timely impact, in an effort to influence the outcome of the Paris Climate Accords this past 2016.

"The NOAA revelations are shades of the 2009 “Climategate” scandal, in which hacked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit indicated that its scientists were suppressing information contrary to their global-warming agenda. A similar batch of 5,000 emails released in 2011 showed likewise and, furthermore, reported Forbes, illustrated that the “scientists view global warming as a political ‘cause’ rather than a balanced scientific inquiry” and that “many of these scientists frankly admit to each other that much of the science is weak and dependent on deliberate manipulation of facts and data.” ~The Observer, By Selwyn Duke "NOAA Scientists Falsify Data to Dupe World Leaders on Climate Change"

Bottom line?  We are absolutely called upon to be good stewards of the precious resources on this rapidly spinning and beautiful Big Blue Planet: plants, animals, earth, water, sky and people as well. We are not, however, compelled to be mindless followers, blindly changing our lives,  in fundamental ways (i.e., preventing the realization of true "energy independence" --oil, natural gas and clean coal-- with an over-abundance of regulation, which also puts hardworking men and women out of a job in an already thin economy). Nor are we called to spend a larger than necessary chunck of our own precious personal financial resource so as to adhere to a bogus scientific bent.  A bent that incidentally financially benefits both the scientists --who pursue ongoing data manipulation, in support of "the cause"/"climate change"-- and those billionaires whose products are associated with the "salvation of the earth" (e.g., green cars, green energy, green light bulbs, etc.).  Wake up and follow the money, people!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Power to Transform Our World?

Yet another tragic shooting in the month since I've been away,  First the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina, and then the shooting of Kate Steinle, in San Francisco.  Now another movie-theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, last night.  And I almost forgot the lone-wolf shooting at the Army Recruitment center in Tennessee. Hard to find the right words for reason or consolation sometimes, isn't it?  Save to say those who would take the lives of defenseless others, innocents among them, are the polar opposite of those motivated to action by honor.  My heartfelt prayers go out to all involved in these senseless tragedies.  I am left in awe pondering the overwhelming forgiveness expressed by the families of the victims in the South Carolina church shootings.  I can't help but be inspired by these courageous individuals who so readily found their way to forgiveness in the immediate wake of such profound loss.  To my way of thinking, forgiveness has the greater power to shape --transform-- this world for the better.  What say you?  

The time has finally come to address the profound vulnerability of gun-free zones?  And we're way past the time where criminal illegal alien deportations should have been addressed and the laws on the books enforced.  Whenever I am in the state of Texas I always feel safer w.r.t. to the above scenarios playing out --military installations being the one sad, glaring exception-- because if someone pulled out a gun and began shooting at defenseless people I have little doubt that two or more "licensed-to-carry" gun-owners would not waste a second before drawing their weapons in order to take down the shooter, but maybe that's just me. The best defense is always a good offense.  From where I'm sitting forgiveness and the enactment of future offensive measures --in effort to prevent future shooting tragedies-- can go hand in hand, despite the narrative being pushed by the liberal left and the mainstream media.

9/11/2015  “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.”~ Alexandre Dumas, "Count of Monte Cristo"

[image source:  newyork.cbslocal.com ]

Kelly File interview

Three young Americans riding on a train, from Amsterdam to Paris, found themselves in the eye of a potentially powerful storm.  Within a matter of mere seconds, these brave men found it within themselves to act, without hesitation and with courage and honor.  By their immediate and selfless actions these three young men saved countless lives.  Truly inspirational!  May God Bless all involved.  And may the heroism of these brave men inspire others to find it within themselves to stare terrorists, hell-bent on destruction, square-in-the-eye and to find the courage within themselves to take action in defense of innocence against the ever-growing presence of evil in our world.

Friday, July 24, 2015

"The wounds of honour are self-inflicted"

"The wounds of honour are self-inflicted." ~Film Quote from "The Last Knights"

A poignant quote from the film (movie) I happened to watch late this evening with my daughters.  Thought provoking, these words, are they not? And drawn from a fictional movie script at that.  Personally, these particular words leave me wondering if we currently live in an age where the notion of honor has now been relegated to realm of fictional tales and legends of days long since gone by.  I suppose there is still some thinking to do on this subject.  What say you?  Has honor in our modern-day society now been replaced with the politics of identity and belonging to a 'greater whole'?

"All honor's wounds are self-inflicted." - Andrew Carnegie

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Donald Trump Enters the Presidential Race

A "primary" is a preliminary contest right?  It's not an outright war.  I'm just checking, now that the provocative Donald Trump has --finally-- officially entered a Presidential race.  The object of this preliminary primary contest is not to eviscerate your opponents, towards the end of being a lone victor hobbling across the bodies of the other 'slain' Republican contenders in order to cross the "primary finish-line" --hopefully, with the ability to still stand-- to face the Democratic candidate in the general election.

With the above image seared into your mind, might I offer another timely word of advice to the Republican field of primary candidates: Let us NOT do the work of the Democrat Party for them.  Think it would behove all of us looking for a viable alternative to the status-quo --of the past eight years-- to have our primary candidates conduct themselves, during the course of the primary, with a strong measure of decorum and respect for one another.  As I told my daughter the other day:  just because someone is LOUD and obnoxious, doesn't make them right.  Translation --in this instance-- those with the fabric necessary for true Presidential leadership will find their way to using words effectivly, in a constructive manner, towards the end of conveying the thoughts and ideas needed to alter the trajectory our nation has been set upon. 

One last thought: A true leader also possesses the ability to listen and to consider the input of others, otherwise we will find ourselves right back in the throws of Congressional grid-lock and Executive Order overreach.

7/20/2015  Why embrace real issues, with real solutions when you can embrace a media circus drenched with hyperbole?
7/24/2015  In keeping with the theme of "hyperbole" in my last comment:  I actually heard a meteorologist (on the weather channel) say the following in a weather forecast this morning, in reference to a tropical storm currently brewing in the Atlantic Ocean:  "This activity is a key signature of climate change.  When we have these types of weather extremes:  Severe drought (motions to California on the western coast of United States) with tropical storms simultaneously delivering large amounts rainfall in other parts of the country."  And this meteorologist made this statement rather mater-of-factly; he didn't even blink an eye.  Seems he's well-positioned on the "science is settled" bandwagon, happily purveying a political (profit-driven) agenda: non-manipulated/unbiased data, actual facts and the inherent chaos of Earth's dynamic weather system be damned (I, personally, have no issue with the notion that Earth's climate obviously changes; it's been doing this for hundreds of thousands of years and it will continue to do so for thousands more with or without the input of mankind (e.g., witness previous ice-ages and periods of global warming, long before man entered into the picture in any significant way).  To think that we, mere humans, can in some way control or influence nature is simply ludicrous.  To think that world-wide impending doom is charging towards us at the hands of nature, via  ""climate change"" -- previously referred to as "global warming"-- is simply profit-driven insanity.  The latter aside, are we called to be responsible stewards of the Earth with which we have been entrusted:  absolutely, but "gloom and doom" at the hands of nature is not imminent in anyway ... now man destroying himself or being subject to larger cosmic forces may be another story, but I digress).  I mention this meteorologists weather statement --issued as if it were a documented scientific fact and subsequent effect thereof of man-induced ""climate change""-- not only because his statement caught me entirely off-guard (the larger portion of the present CA drought happens to be man-induced due to the diversion of river waters natural flow in an effort to protect some species of "smelt" fish) but because I am sincerely wondering where "The Donald" happens to stand on the issue of ""climate change""?

Side Note:  Went home over the course of my travels these past several weeks, to visit with my family in Texas.  Upon my arrival, I was surprised to find that nature had once again, after several drought-ridden years, finally reversed her course a full 180+ degrees.  That is to say, where once ponds and lakes had dried up, or sorely receded, and the sombre brown-brush of parched dryness had swept over a sullen land:  a blanket of lush greenness, swaddled in an abundance of liquid gold now unfolded across the vast landscape.  For me, it was, despite the areas of significant flooding, a refreshing sight to behold.  Life was returning to a seemingly barren-struck land.  In talking with parents about the change in their own piece of the vast Texas landscape they had this to say [paraphrasing]:  "The drought took both of our stock ponds, killing the fish in them.  It also diminished our harvest and it was hard on the animals, but the upside is that the drought seems to have taken all of the plague of disease-ridden oak trees and the disease they carried right along with them ("Texas oak-wilt").  Also the swarms of west-Nile carrying mosquitoes seems to have died off as well.  We now have 1/20th of the mosquito population we had prior to the years of drought and thus far we have not heard of a single reported case of the west-Nile virus in the area.  And both of our stock tanks are filled to the top once again."  So with the latter insight from my parents, I am thinking, in some strange and mysterious way: Nature knew what she was doing all along.  Go figure?  Nature finds a way.

7/28/2015  The 'damage' due to "carbon-footprints" has absolutely nothing on the potential for damage due to nuclear weapons in our much more immediate future. (i.e., Iran nuclear deal). The time for a serious embracing reality-check is long, long overdue, people.  Let's blow away the smoke and shatter the mirrors already.

9/2015  "Like" him or "leave" him, Donald Trump has been a lightening rod for focusing attention onto the presidential primary races.  Perhaps Donald Trump's entering the race has served a useful end in drawing the attention of the usually uninformed, low-information voter into the media-fray surrounding this candidate --and by default drawing attention to the other candidates, Republican and Democratic alike.  I mean viewer-ship for the Republican Primary debates has clearly broken all sorts of records, evidence that people who normally don't tune-in to the politics surrounding elections are actually listening this time around.  Perhaps the mere exposure potential voters receive to thought, information and ideas exchanged in the ensuing media dialogue will open their hearts and minds to consider another perspective and in the process of doing so these voters might glean new insights about candidates and issues important to them.  Thanks to Donald Trump, 2016 could actually be the year of the informed voter.  How exciting is that?!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Interesting News: President Putin to meet with Pope Today

Most interesting piece of news today.  Putin has landed in Italy and will visit with Pope Benedict later today.  Putin last visited with the Pope in 2013.  Interestingly enough, this visit falls on the heels of the G-7 summit, from which President Putin was barred --for the second year in a row-- from attending. This because of Putin's annexation of Crimea and allegations of ongoing involvement in fighting in Ukraine.  Perhaps, the Pope hopes to gain a powerful ally to help protect Christians under attack in many Middle Eastern countries?

Later p.m.... Putin was over an hour late to his scheduled meeting with the Pope? Timing is everything ....

[Of note, the Russian Orthodox Church  is a member of the Eastern Orthodox group of churches which remain separate from the Vatican (in Rome) to this day.]

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Timely Word of Advice for Republican Party Candidates ...

Here's a word of advice for the field of candidates currently vying for the Republican Party's nomination:  What you say now, while speaking to a traditionally conservative and often Christian audience, can and WILL LIKELY be used against in the larger political arena (i.e., the mainstream media and Democratic candidates/politicians will find a way to spin your words such that they will, wherever possible, be used against you.)  Lest you forget:  "perception has become the new truth in our modern day politics," whether we like it or not.

With the above in mind, might I suggest to the current slate of candidates that each of you choose your words, and more importantly that you CHOOSE YOUR ISSUES WISELY!  Where, extreme caution must be exercised when discussing hot-button social issues (e.g., birth control and gay marriage).  Here's a wholly radical idea:  why not just keep your campaign narrative focused exclusively on the larger issues, namely the issues which have the greatest potential to heal, empower, protect and unite our great nation, because the bottom-line is:  You cannot and will not win an election, in the larger public arena, where "hot-button" social issues are concerned, but you sure as heck can lose on them!  Candidates failed (miserably!) to make this important connection in the previous 2012 election cycle.  This time around, it is my sincerest hope that the field of Republican candidates starts thinking about the general election TODAY (from day one).  To my way of thinking, if you aren't doing the latter, then you aren't truly serious about becoming a viable Republican candidate for President.

[Side thought:  When, and if, you find yourself pressed on hot-button social issues it would greatly behoove you to redirect the focus back toward the larger, more universal issues currently facing our nation.  If, however, you are unable to successfully redirect the conversation and find you must give some answer, simply state some version of the following:  "Everyone in our great nation --thanks to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers-- is entitled to hold his/her own personal moral convictions, based upon their unique spiritual or religious beliefs, but we must recognize the distinction between the holding a personal  moral conviction and the infliction of those convictions upon others in the public arena.  In instances where there is a clear need for legislation, in order to protect the latter rights of various individuals or groups of citizens, provisions have been made in our United States Constitution for our States to enact the laws they deem necessary to meet the needs of their respective populations."  The important point in the previous statement being that YOU, the candidate, understand the clear distinction between holding a personal moral conviction and the infliction of those convictions upon others in the larger public arena.]

Now, I'm not saying you should deny your Christian (or other religious) heritage or your faith, nor am I denying the fact there have been an increasing number of instances where "the faithful" have been targeted for ridicule --by the mainstream media, opportunistic political groups and politicians-- for choosing to bring their personal (religious) beliefs into the public arena. What I am saying is simply this:  PLEASE, don't step into the trap of entering into the field laden with land-mines of personal moral convictions during this new 2016 Presidential Election cycle!  If you have learned nothing else from 2012 election cycle, let it be the necessity of avoiding extensive discussion on personal moral convictions.  Let us also avoid the newly nuanced charge of "religious persecution" just levied by Senator Marco Rubio in his interview over the weekend.  We really don't need to go there right now!  In sum, let us (the Republican party and candidates) not risk risk destroying the field of Republican candidates by continuing to take the bait on hot-button social issues.  Let's keep the focus on the issues which matter most: those issues being the ones capable of uniting and fixing the country as a whole.  

By avoiding hot-button issues, Republican candidates will remain free and clear to focus their campaigns on issues which will truly benefit the nation as a whole (e.g., tax reform, balanced budget, job creation, national security and education). These important issues, which you will speak about in your campaigns, can then be used to energize and unite both the party and the country as a whole, because Lord knows there is a whole lot that needs fixing in this nation of ours, right now ... not least among this list of 'fix-its' being the ever-widening chasms of division presently plaguing our nation (e.g., black vs. white and other minorities, wall street high earners vs. middle class, religious vs. secular, etc.)

One final, parting thought: Why not try GETTING INTO OFFICE FIRST and then let your actions and words speak volumes, from a place of undeniable authority, to the need for our nation to revisit its founding history in support of religious tolerance?

Praying for Balance

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas who have recently been hit by severe storms, with large hail, dozens of tornados and most recently (ongoing) flash-flooding as the Brazos and Colorado rivers overflow taking cars, roads and homes with their fiercely flowing torrents.  From drought --in subsequent several years-- to now flooding? ... Hope nature finds its way back to balance, and cessation of pounding storms, again soon.  God Bless one and all!

5/30/2015 And of course my ongoing thoughts, prayers and donations are with the people of Nepal as they work recover from the two catastrophic earthquakes which recently struck their country, back to back.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Lying on our backs, looking UP Into the blanket of stars that gently gives cover to night ...

“We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.”

 Amazing Photo-capture By:  Andrew Whyte, Caters News. Image Source: Telegraph News on-line

Describe yourself using four music "album" covers or less.  (Likely only someone born before 1979, or earlier, can do this?)

You are to be given an all-expense paid trip, with top-of-the-line accommodations, to an as yet undisclosed location. Is there any one place in the world you would refuse to go, regardless of the latter?

Finish this sentence:  "My LIFE is worth ...." 

Flip a coin: Heads or Tails?  Other?

You are speaking with someone who does not appear to speak your native language well.  They manage to inform you that they are visiting with family currently living in your country.  What three pieces of information do you choose to try to convey to them?

What do view as the most pressing world issue in this day and age? 

Close your eyes before attempting to answer the following question:  Could you survive a week without your cell phone or other connection to the internet? 
Now before you open your eyes once again, name five meaningful observations about your present environment.

What would you give to save the world?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fanning the Flames of Civil Discord?

In absence of true leadership chaos, and often violence, will inevitably prevail.  I find it most interesting to note, however, that as civil discord burns brightly on the home-front (presently in Baltimore and previously in Ferguson and other cities throughout the nation) the national focus on global concerns (earthquake in Nepal, Iran military maneuvers around Strait of Hormuz, Nuclear Weapons Deal with Iran, ISIS and other terrorist activities around the globe, Implications of Clinton Foundation Donations w.r.t. foreign powers gaining undo influence and potentially compromising national security, etc.) is rather conveniently diminished.  Perhaps current 'leadership' chooses to fan the home flames of discord toward a greater, overarching, political end? [As opposed to speaking on the situation in any constructively meaningful way, so as to diminish the rhetoric of an ongoing national divide by addressing the underlying issues plaguing communities, such as the one in Baltimore Maryland, while emphasizing the fact that anytime an unarmed U.S. citizen winds up dying in police custody it is a tragedy which must be thoroughly investigated, prosecuted if necessary, and learned from so as to prevent future such incidents from occurring again.]

Also have to wonder, if media outlets would chose to minimize their ongoing, 24-hour, visual coverage of rioting and destruction if the allure towards violent protest and destruction might in some small way be diminished, because the perpetrators would no longer have a guaranteed national television audience. Everything in moderation: including media coverage of violent protests?

4/29  The city curfew seems to have been effective in curbing further violence in Baltimore.  Have to applaud community members, civic leaders, church officials, etc. who found the courage to stand in the streets of Baltimore last night in order to speak in favor of ordered protest, in compliance with the city-wide curfew, over violence and destruction.   It is my sincere hope that justice will prevail in getting to the bottom of the events which lead to the tragic death of U.S. citizen, Freddie Gray, while he was in police custody.

5/13 Thinking we need to focus some "nation-building" right here in America, in cities like Baltimore.  Where supportive communities would work to build strong family foundations and improved educational opportunities,  leading to meaningful and lasting employment and career opportunities.  Because a never-ending handout, alone, will never amount to true freedom and equality.  The illusion of  entitlement to "free stuff" being consistently pushed by liberal progressive policies (failed policies) is the real injustice, not this resurrected narrative of "ongoing racial inequality." The narrative of "racial inequality" offers no definitive solutions.  Instead we have only finger-pointing, victims and violence,  which amounts to a misconception of division towards the end rallying voters to the base for the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election. Would that we would, that we could all see ourselves first and foremost as Americans and then work toward meaningful solutions to real problems from there.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Looking for the Spark of Leadership ....

“Looking for the light-switch of leadership” ~Jeb Bush, speech 2/18/2015

Isn’t that the truth … A truth currently sweeping its way across the nation, according to numerous independent polls addressing the nation’s confidence –or rather a lack thereof—of President Obama’s handling of the global threat terrorism now poses to our nation.

I’ve heard the following line of thought from several prominent foreign policy and news analysts over the course of the last few weeks (and I happen to wholeheartedly agree): As long as we are having a discussion focused around semantics we don’t have to address the real problem, with respect to ISIS and other Islamist extremists, in any immediate or substantial matter. In that respect the Obama Administration's non-approach to tackling the real issues concerning the threat of terrorism, and the ISIS movement in particular, has proved to be a rather successful demonstration of spin-action? Perhaps this Administration –-with the aid of a blatantly biased liberal media—thinks "we can even spin this narrative of “naming conventions” and “tolerance” right up until the very end of our administration’s ‘reign’; then it will become someone else’s problem"?

“Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue." ~La Rouchefoucauld

I find it rather hypocritical that President Obama continually goes out of his way to speak of tolerance towards those who practice the faith of Islam, citing the fact that the majority of Muslims are peace- loving and not terrorists, claiming that “religions don’t kill, people do” when the President had no problem explicitly calling out the wrongs committed by a minority of Christians –albeit centuries ago-- in the name Christianity, during his address to the “National Prayer Breakfast.” While I happen to agree that the majority of those practicing the faith of Islam are non-violent, this acknowledgement fails to address the violent minority who are outright dangerous to all within their grasp who oppose the ISIS world-view, be it by their choice of faith or ethnic heritage. And interestingly enough, what do suppose brought about a final end to the misdeeds committed by rouge Christians during the Crusades? The original Crusade campaign came about in the late 11 century, when Christian forces were called on by Pope Urban II --at the behest of Emperor Alexius I, ruler to the Byzantium throne-- to protect Christians and Christian lands being attacked by Muslim (Turkish) forces in the Middle East. There were successive Crusade campaigns over the course of the next several hundred years, but of note is the fact that it was these same Crusaders, called to action at the request of their Pope, who stepped in to police their own in order to put an end to the injustices being carried out by a minority of misguided Crusaders. But it would seem as if these truths somehow eluded the President when he was skimming through history in order to assemble his ‘facts’ for writing his speech.

The problem with semantic games and the pushing of a repeated narrative of tolerance is that it prevents us from getting at the heart of any meaningful solution towards the very real problem that is the “Islamic State in Syria and the Levant, ISIS” (i.e., mass killings of minority faiths, beheadings, burning people alive, enslavement, rape, torture, harvesting of human organs from captives and the list of atrocities goes on and on). “Nuance it” any way you want: ISIS militants at their very core are driven by a warped interpretation of Islamic ideology. ISIS is a political ideology of oppression, with theological underpinnings based upon a fundamentalist interpretation of the Quran (Islamism), and sadly jobs and educational opportunities*, up front or by themselves, will not eliminate the very real threat these Islamist extremists pose, most immediately to those of different faiths or ethnic heritages presently living within the territories now controlled by ISIS militants, and in the larger picture/longer term to all citizens of western nations, most especially those stationed in or traveling abroad in the Middle East.  By refusing to name "the enemy" we allow uniformed people to make the false association that "we are at war with Islam itself", when we are not; we are at war with a radical faction of extremist Islamists.  When we name the enemy we also pave the way for a discussion to enlist the leading authorities of Islam to denounce this extremist faction and to ultimately accept the responsibility to police their own.

Diane Feinstein, a Democratic Congresswoman representing the state of California, and former head of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said it best “We fight them over there now; or we fight them here later.” The Congresswoman’s words speak to a black and white truth, illuminated by the light of true leadership and foresight … Leadership and foresight we could sorely use among our foreign policy makers in Washington D.C. right about now.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ~Benjamin Franklin

So semantics aside, what would potentially constitute "immediate and substantial action" in terms of addressing the very real threat posed by ISIS terrorists?
1) Right now: get much needed shipments of arms and weapons supplies over to the Kurds who currently fighting on the ground, in Iraq, against ISIS and who are currently willing and able to engage ISIS on the ground in an effort to hold onto strategic locations, while attempting to regain others.
2) Actually fulfill, in a timely manner, the recent specific enumerations of arms and weapons supplies requested by the King of Jordan --during his visit at the White House-- such that the Jordanian Army may continue to their fight against ISIS on both the ground as well as aerial campaign fronts.
3) Consider the authorization for use of Special Forces Operations on the ground, in Iraq, to assist in the ground campaign against ISIS.
4) Put the mechanisms into place necessary for the retrieval of downed fighter pilots engaged in the coalition’s bombing campaign against ISIS, such that coalition members (United Arab Emirates) who have withdrawn their aircraft from the coalition's ongoing bombing campaign would return to the fight.
5) Step-up the air campaign against ISIS, substantially, such that the number of daily bombing runs truly has the force of power to actually degrade ISIS (per Eric Bolling of "The Five") capabilities as opposed to being the half-hearted token gesture of "action" which this bombing campaign is playing out to be.
6)  Bomb the blazes out the oil fields ISIS currently controls, from which they are generating huge revenues that then go to fund further recruitment!
7) Welcome ALL world leaders to the coalition table (including Israel) who are willing to take a stand against ISIS.
8) Join the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in calling upon leading Islamic authorities (e.g., Saudi Arabia) to denounce the violent extremist actions being undertaken by ISIS (and other terrorist groups) based upon their ‘distorted’ interpretations of the religious teachings of Islam.
9) STOP broadcasting our military strategy to the world!  Let the world think all options are ON the table (just because it's on the table doesn't mean you have to use it, but at least you keep your options open). Stop using public timelines for military movements and don't needlessly eliminate the element of surprise (i.e., March plans to retake city Mosul, in Iraq).  Political expediency shouldn't be "standard operating procedure" for military maneuvers.

Finally, with regards to President Obama’s most recent plan –announced just today-- to combat ISIS by means of “de-legitimizing ISIS”: let me just say that the power to de-legitimize ISIS lies first and foremost with religious leaders of the true Islamic faith. In my humble opinion, based upon their own religious teachings, if the non-violent majority of those practicing the faith of Islam do not denounce the actions of the violent Islamist extremists and then further take action in effort toward “policing their own” then these non-violent Muslims are themselves complicit in the violence being perpetrated by ISIS and the like, in the name of Islam, by virtue of their inaction.

*[Also find it extremely ironic that this Administration, which was once so critical of its predecessor for “engaging in nation-building”is now --in the aftermath of their "violent extremist" summit, held this week in D.C.-- flirting with the “nuanced argument” that the United States should now consider the "root causes" behind the effectiveness of terrorist campaigns in recruiting young followers.]

Friday, February 06, 2015

Measles Outbreak: Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

Regarding the current outbreak of measles in pockets of the country:  I have to wonder, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

That is to say, that perhaps the rush to admonish parents for opting out of vaccinations for their children conveniently (purposefully?) overlooks a more meaningful truth, that truth being the source of origination for the latest "outbreak" of this disease.

Doesn't it strike you as odd that measles was largely under control if not 'eradicated' here within the continental borders of the USA and now suddenly we have a measles outbreak spanning several states?  So what has recently changed that would account for the outbreaks we are now seeing around the country?  Parents of both political persuasions in the United States have been opting out of vaccinations for their children since the "autism scares", in the late 90's, and we haven't seen any "outbreak" until just recently.  So what's changed?  Could it be this disease has newly introduced carriers in the form of a large scale influx of non-immunized illegal immigrants --many among these being children now attending public schools across the nation-- who have been haphazardly 'processed' into our system --but not vaccinated-- and then unleashed upon our communities?  And measles may just be the first of many diseases "outbreaks" to be unleashed upon the nation.  What about the mysterious rodent virus that was killing humans --in large numbers--south of the border, a few years back.  To the best of my knowledge there is no vaccination for that virus. Maybe that's why we have immigration laws and a process for legal immigration in the first place?

Granted the science surrounding vaccinations has been more thoroughly investigated over the past decade and most now agree vaccinations are safe to administer --though, as a parent, I would still choose to space out the vaccinations, over a matter of months, and not bombard tiny immune systems all at once with multiple diseases-- such that parents who have not had their children vaccinated should now seriously consider having their children vaccinated for the more serious diseases, especially in light of the myriad of issues surrounding lax enforcement of our nation's immigration policy under the current administration.