Monthly Archives: May 2015

Heros

Choose Your Heroes Wisely!

As I am getting older, my hearing loss is beginning to worsen.  In my youth, I could hear a pin drop anywhere in the house.  Now that I am older, I would have difficulty hearing a bowling pin drop on my foot!  In addition, I realize that my sight is beginning to worsen.  It really sucks to go to the Dollar Store to buy those $1 ‘cheaters’ just to read the newspaper.

My next concern about getting older is that my mind and thought processes may begin to degrade in the same manner of my hearing and sight.  I find that I am continually doing ‘self-check’ exercises to find out if that is occurring.  Because Grandma P is on Facebook, I often look to see if there are any new postings relating to the grandkiddies, the nephews and nieces, and all of their children.    While looking for those pictures, one cannot miss all the self-evaluation tests available.  What state should you live in?  What classic painting would you be?  What percentage of evil are you?  These are all self-evaluation tests available on Facebook.  I must admit I have taken those tests.  What state do you live in? (Confusion!  Ok, I am lying.  It really said I should live in Louisiana, but I will never admit that to the Bayou Mauler!)  What classic painting would you be?  (Edvard Munch’s, The Scream)  And, my absolute favorite.  What percentage of evil are you? (80% – Which is disappointing as I was hoping for a perfect score!)

All in all, I think my mind is still good for a few more miles.  Do a service check, rotate the tires and change the oil every 5000 miles, and I should be good to go!

The one issue that is befuddling to me, however, is this……………who are today’s heroes?

As I was growing up, we had many heroes.  More importantly, it was not difficult to separate the heroes from the villains.  My favorite hero was Roy Rogers.  How could you not like Roy Rogers!  He had a beautiful palomino named Trigger.  He had a German Shepherd named Bullet.  And he had a girlfriend (in real life, his wife), Dale Evans.  He only shot to wound, if he had to shoot at all.  He always brought the bad men to justice.  He and Dale never kissed on air, and I don’t believe they ever had a show where they acted as if they were married.  Nowadays, they would have had to do an R-rated sex scene just to get on television!  But, I digress.  This was geared towards kids and it was done well.  He was my favorite onscreen hero.

There were plenty of other heroes.  Hopalong Cassidy was dressed in black.  Sergeant Preston was a Canadian Mountie.  Gene Autry was the singing cowboy.  In real life, he made more money singing ‘Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and owning the California Angels than he did as a cowboy.  I always loved Superman, played by George Reeves.  If I could have been any of my heroes, I would have wanted to be Superman.  He was bulletproof, and he could fly.  Two qualities that would be very useful in today’s society.  More importantly, he was for….”Truth, Justice, and the American Way.”

We were brought up to respect the military and the people who served in the military.  This was not difficult, as we were baby boomers and were born right after the end of WWII.  In my hometown, you could not sling a cat without hitting a dozen veterans or a VFW.  I had five uncles, all of whom served in the military as did my father and grandfather.

Being from a small Midwestern town that was located in a small, rural county, we knew all the police.  That included our town cops, the county sheriff and his deputies, and the highway patrolmen.  They were all great guys, and they were our neighbors.  I personally witnessed a drunk stagger out of a local bar and the highway patrolman give him a ride home because he was too drunk to drive.  My…how things have changed!

Our local fire department was solely staffed by volunteers.  There were no full-time fire fighters.  When the very loud siren went off, these dedicated men would drop whatever they were doing and rush to the fire hall.  My father worked at a car dealership.  Two of the mechanics rushed out to the fire station when that siren sounded.  Many of the volunteers were local businessmen.  I recall seeing the owner of the local hardware store dashing out of the door while serving a customer when the siren sounded.  All of the fire equipment was serviced ‘after hours’ by the volunteers.   I did not appreciate until I was older, all the time these men spent training, maintaining equipment and fighting fires to help their neighbors.  It was not uncommon to have three fires in a day during a dry summer.  Grass fires would begin, threatening a house.  Those volunteers were always there.  This was quite a sacrifice on their part, considering there were less than 1,000 people in our town, but the fire department covered an area of about 300 square miles.

Now we fast-forward to today and this is where I begin having difficulty separating the heroes from the villains.  Is it today’s society or is it my mind riding off into the sunset?  So help me out.

Who are today’s heroes?  If I were to believe the media, I would think the current heroes are Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Sam.

Why would I think that?  Because the first four on the list, as a result of their untimely deaths, have provoked either rioting and looting or retribution on the police.  In some instances, their deaths have resulted in both.

Freddie Gray and Eric Garner both had impressive arrest records.  Without going into specifics, it has been determined that they each had over 30 arrests.  Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin did not have as impressive an arrest record as the other two, perhaps because they were both younger.  Make no mistake, they both had difficulties with the law, but much of their records were minimized because they were minors at the time.

These four individuals have been portrayed in the media, and by the highest levels of our government, as being victims.  The media implication has been that by resisting authorities and by being victims, they are heroes.  I can somewhat dismiss the media’s role in this ruse because of their desire to ‘sell the news.’  What I cannot dismiss is that the President of the United States, or his Attorney General, have either indirectly or directly gotten involved with each of these incidences – thereby lending credence to the notion that these four individuals were victims (and ultimately, heroes!)  (Remember…”If I had a son, he would be like Trayvon Martin.”)  More importantly, it has been implied by the media and the POTUS that the police are at fault for these deaths.

The police?  The police have come under fire (LITERALLY!) since these events have occurred.   The same people that feel justified to riot and loot now have been unofficially sanctioned by the media and by our government to declare war on the police.  Officers were shot at and killed immediately following the Eric Garner arrest in New York City.  Numerous officers were injured, some seriously, whilst trying to quell the riots and looting that were taking place in Ferguson and Baltimore.  Two officers were killed recently during a routine traffic stop in Mississippi.  The mayor of Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawling-Blake, gave the order for the police to stand down…”Let them loot, it’s only property.”  What?  Are you kidding me?  The one detail she conveniently forgot to mention was her home address.  If those looters were coming down her street, do you think she might have changed her mind?

My confusion about who are villains and who are heroes gets amplified when it comes to Michael Sam.  Michael Sam was a former college football player that admitted he was gay just prior to the beginning of the NFL draft.  No big deal, right?  Well, it was such a big deal that, once more, the POTUS got involved by calling Michael personally to tell him how ‘brave’ he was to admit he was gay.  (Taya Kyle, Chris Kyle’s wife, did not receive a phone call after her husband’s untimely death.)

Brave?  When I was growing up, brave was running into a burning building to save a child.  Brave was serving your country and fighting in a war to defend that country, your family and God.  Brave was running into a burning car crash to pull unconscious victims from a fiery fate.  Bravery is a policeman trying to quell a riot while having rocks or Molotov cocktails thrown at him.  Bravery is a fireman trying to save property and lives under threat of incineration.   Compared to those deeds, I would say that Michael Sam coming out of the closet would post a negative number on the bravery scale!

As I have mentioned, I can give the media a partial pass because of their willingness to sell advertising.  I cannot give the POTUS a pass, however, because his actions are geared for only one thing…to garner more votes!  Specifically, black votes.  Either he is confused or I am confused about who the villains and heroes really are.

It amazes me that people willingly want to be military, law enforcement and firefighters, especially when they are vilified for trying to do their jobs.  Treat them well.   Honor them.  Thank them for their service.  After all………..if you dial 911 and no one answers, what would you do?  Choose your heroes wisely, for your life may depend on it!

P.S.  Last year, I declared the first week of June to be Corporation Appreciation Week.  American corporations are still paying the highest corporate tax rate in the world.  Be nice to them.  Contrary to what Hillary Clinton has said, they do create jobs.  Thank them for giving you a job, or paying their corporate taxes so the government can hire you.

Hillary-Clinton

Some Baggage Is Just Too Heavy

Grandma P and I have recently returned from an extended cruise around South America.  Truly a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip.  It was marvelous, and I would recommend that cruise as a ‘bucket list’ event.

Getting ‘geared up’ to write this blog after this hiatus has been very difficult.  As I have said many times, “Retiring is tiring!”  Consequently, I have needed additional time to reignite my creative juices.  There were plenty of events taking place during the cruise that were worthy of a blog, so material was certainly not the issue.

It is always fascinating to meet so many interesting people on a cruise, especially a long cruise.  Not only are there the Americans, but the ship had many Canuckians, Brits and Aussies.  Having an opportunity to hear their opinions about the United States really did pique my interest about their perception of our country.  Answering their questions about the United States, especially about our politics,  kept me on my toes!   I digress, but I will discuss this further in a later blog.

The one thing that has been constant in all our travels is Grandma P’s ability to limit the amount of baggage that we take on vacation.  All of our luggage for the 49-day cruise consisted of two large bags that had to be checked, and two carry-on bags.  All of this fitted nicely in the back of a rented Ford Escape on the way to the departure port, and in the hold of United Airlines after leaving the ship.  But just like the television infomercials, “But wait!  There’s more!”  Grandma P is so adept at packing, that we made it home in good order with all the trinkets and souvenirs that we purchased in our concerted effort to stimulate the economy of South America!  Yes, she did an amazing job of limiting our baggage.

There is one person that I am familiar with that has way, way more baggage than Grandma P, and that would be Hillary R. Clinton.  You know Hillary.  She has announced her candidacy for President of the United States for 2016.

Here is just some of the baggage with which Hillary has to contend.

The Clinton Foundation

According to one source, “The Clinton Foundation’s finances are so messy that the nation’s most influential charity watchdog put it on its ‘watch list’ of problematic nonprofits last month.  The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid.”

Wow!  Double wow!!  $140 million?  According to their 2013 tax forms the charity spent $30 million on payroll and employee benefits; $8.7 million in rent and office expenses; $9.2 million on conferences, conventions, and meetings; $8 million on fundraising, and nearly $8.5 million on travel.  They must travel first class on the space shuttle!  Now here is the amazing fact.  None of the Clintons are on the payroll.  This includes Hillary, Bill, Chelsea and whoever………..  But, they all enjoy first class flights paid for by the foundation.

Some of the tens of millions of administrative costs finance more than 2,000 employees, including aid workers and health professionals around the world.    But that is still far below the 75 percent rate of spending that nonprofit experts say a good charity should spend on its mission.  Charity Navigator, an organization that rates charities, refuses to rate the Clinton Foundation, as it does not meet their criteria.   Hmmmmm.  There are allegations that the Foundation has a ‘Clinton Family Slush Fund’ at its core.  (Are we surprised?)

Another large ‘red flag’ concerning this foundation is, “Who are its contributors?”  It appears that political favors granted when Hillary was Secretary of State have manifested as donations to this foundation.  While in that position, Hillary signed off on a deal that allowed a Russian government enterprise to control one-fifth of all uranium-producing capacity in the United States.  Rosatom, the Russian company, acquired a Canadian firm controlled by Frank Giustra, a friend of Bill Clinton’s and member of the foundation board.  Giustra has pledged over $130 million to the Clinton family charity.  Ronald Reagan has got to be turning over in his grave!  Russians?  Our uranium?

Recently, there have been other inquiries about other foreign contributions during the time of Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State.

That foundation alone provides enough proverbial baggage to fill the overhead compartments of a few large passenger planes.

Deleted Emails

I could not possibly say anything about the deleted emails as well as what was said by the National Post, a leading Canadian news source.   In that regard, I am going to share with you three paragraphs of their lengthy report on Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary, during her tenure as Dowager Empress at State, decided, all on her imperious own, that normal practice for record keeping, as required by law and precedent, did not apply to her.  (How could it?  She’s Hillary.) For her entire tenure – so she tells the world – she stayed off the State department’s own encrypted and secure system, and instead set up her own computer, on her own server, in her own house.

On that private and secret system, she conducted both personal and State Department business.  Then about two years after stepping down, under force of exterior revelation, she held a press conference to announce she had her staff review them all, extract what she said were official emails, and sent those self-selected emails back to State.  The rest, 30,000 according to her, were personal, and they  – along with the server! – were then destroyed.  There is now a memory hole in the history of U.S. foreign affairs.  The record of the second-most powerful office in the world, where it is not a perfect void, is questionable, selective and, inarguably, imperfect.

These emails are not text messages from a high school dance organizer.  The Secretary of State is not a teenager.  The record of diplomacy, the electronic conversations with staff, with foreign leaders, with her President, are not for her to dispose.  She has blotted out part of her own country’s diplomatic history.  This one practice alone should bar her from seeking the presidency.  It was the most monumental piece of official arrogance since the ancient Chinese Emperor declared the beginning of his reign was Year One.”

Wow!  Those Canuckians are brilliant!  That really sums up that piece of baggage quite well.  I can move on.

Benghazi

Here is a Hillary situation that will not go away.  Benghazi involved the slaying of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.  There is a House Select Committee that will again meet in the coming months concerning this event.  If I am reading the ‘tea leaves’ correctly, the original focus of the investigating committee was to determine if the deaths were caused by mismanagement by Hillary Clinton while Secretary of State.  And then, and then……..they discovered that most documents surrounding this event were emails destroyed in the 30,000-email massacre!  This has provided more fuel for an already burning fire.

But wait.  Rumor has it that as the House is now controlled by Republicans, they are going to take a silk glove approach to this matter.  Why?  Because they do not want to appear to be bullying Hillary before the 2016 election.  They are afraid they will look bad and create a sympathetic vote for Hillary.  (If she were President, do you think Vladimir Putin would use the silk glove approach?)

While being questioned by yet another committee, this one concerning Benghazi, it was asked if the State Department thought this was a terrorist act, or if these people were out for a stroll and decided to kill some Americans.  Her reply, “What difference does it make?”  It makes a huge difference, because it was obviously a well-planned terrorist attack and our government decided to give it a pass.  What I want to know is if the rumors are true that a military relief force was on the way from Italy, and our government directed the military to cancel the mission.  These rumors indicate that Obama made the decision based upon State Department input, meaning Hillary.  So much for saving the Ambassador and those Americans defending him.  Another big piece of baggage.

Bill Clinton 

I believe Bill Clinton brings more baggage to this campaign.  “I did not have relations with that woman.”  “It all depends on what the definition of is, is.”  Remember all of that?  How long are the Clintons going to continue this sham of a marriage?  If they are living within 200 miles of each other, I would be surprised.

I would like to think that people seeking political office are doing it to improve the ‘greater good’ of the electorate.  They need a plan to outline their goals and a plan for achieving those goals.  Have you heard any of what those goals are from Hillary? (Hope and Change worked for Obama.  Why have a goal or plan?  Rainbows and unicorns seem to be enough promise for voters.)   I know I am being overly optimistic about my expectations for politicians, but I do believe the only reason the Clintons are together is because of their quest for power.  Power brings money.  Power brings prestige.  Bill has been to the top and Hillary wants it, too.  She experienced it as a U.S. Senator representing a state she never lived in, and as the Secretary of State.  Both of the Clintons are automatons when it comes to the quest for power.

So there you have it.  Even with Grandma P assisting, I do not believe Hillary could manage all her baggage.  There is much more luggage in her closet than what was discussed in this piece. (Travel gate, Whitewater, Vince Foster…)  We managed our baggage with a Ford Escape, Hillary would need an aircraft carrier.

My biggest hope, is that the electorate of the United States will wise up and see through the facades of many of these presidential candidates.  Let us do something different this time and elect someone who has a goal for the country, a plan for obtaining those goals, one which protects Americans and America and places God and country first.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  Feeling HOPEful for real CHANGE!!!