Category Archives: Terrorism

USA-Communism

We Defeated the Communists, and Then We Became Them!

My oh my!  Recently, there has been no shortage of world-wide events that have distracted our government from taking care of domestic issues.  There was hurricane Harvey, hurricane Irma, and now, once again tearing through the Caribbean, hurricane Maria.  These were catastrophic to the United States, and they totally destroyed some small Caribbean countries.   Last week, there was a ‘bucket bomb’ that exploded in a London subway.  And, much like an infant with a broken rattle, we can always count on Kim Jong-un to fire another missile anytime he thinks he is not getting enough attention on the world stage.

Because of these major events, not much attention has been given to our domestic problems. Obama Care has not been repealed or replaced.  The tax codes have not been revised.  And, have you recently heard any news referring to the federal budget?  This got me to wondering.  How is the federal government currently spending our money?  It is our money, isn’t it?  More importantly, how has the government spent our money in the past?  So, as a matter of personal interest, I have decided to compare our 2016 federal budget to the 50 year earlier, 1966 federal budget.  This was not an accidental choice, as I graduated from high school as a wet-behind-the-ears, know-it-all eighteen year old in 1966.  And, yes, I can still muster up enough memory to remember the era.  Let me set the stage.

1966

1966 was just over 20 years after the completion of WWII.  There were no shortage of veterans from that war.  They were our parents.  We fought an on-going war in Korea.  Because of what was called the ‘domino theory’ we sent military advisors to a country called South Viet Nam.  Eisenhower began this program, Kennedy expanded it, and Lyndon Johnson turned Saigon into the  twenty-third largest American city.  Little did we know in 1966 that Viet Nam would ultimately cost us over 57,000 American lives.

Our WWII ally, Russia, was now our dreaded enemy.  They became the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), which was comprised of Russia and all the countries it decided to keep in its ‘sphere of influence’ after WWII.  The majority joined unwillingly by the use of Russian military force. We had NATO, and the USSR had the Warsaw Pact.  They built the Berlin wall and shot anyone that tried to cross it.  Winston Churchill dubbed this policy of isolation as the ‘Iron Curtain.’

In 1962, we had a little dust-up in the Caribbean called the Cuban Missile Crisis.  The USSR wanted to install nuclear warheads and missiles in Cuba.  US versus USSR.  Kennedy versus Khruschev. Good versus evil.  Eagle versus the bear.  Democracy versus communism.  According to all historical accounts, it was the closest the world has come to a nuclear holocaust.

In 1963, Kennedy was assassinated.  (I was hoping I would find out who was responsible before I died, but time is running out!)

On the domestic front, the ‘baby boomers’ were entering the workforce.  As a high school graduate, there were three life choices available:  go to college, get a job, or get drafted.  That was pretty much it.  The economy was booming because there was a war to fuel it.  Just about anyone that wanted a job had a job.  As eighteen year olds, we could not wait to move away from home and become independent.  We never moved back home.

With these events as a background, how did our government spend our money?  Our GDP in 1966 was $4.12T.  The total government receipts were $689B.  Our total outlays were $708B.  (Yes!  We dealt in billions and not trillions!)  Our deficit that year was $19.5B.  Ah yes, don’t you long for the good old days now?  42% of all revenues came from individual income taxes.  Payroll taxes accounted for 20% and corporate taxes accounted for 23% of revenues.

On the spending side, 43% of all funds were spent on national defense.  But here is the biggie….medicare and general health spending was only 2% of the budget that year.  Spending on social security, unemployment and labor in 1966 was about 23% of all outlays.

In raw numbers, the Dept. of Defense got $298B, Health and Human Services got $30.1B, Social Security Administration got $109B, Treasury got $61.9B and NASA got $31.2B.  The Treasury received their money largely to pay the interest on our $1.74T national debt.  Of course there are other departments, but these are the largest and pertinent to this blog.

2016

Now we fast forward 50 years to 2016, the last year of the Obama budget.  There were only two budgets put forth by the Obama admistration in his eight years as POTUS.  Harry Reed, the senate majority leader, promised not to bring a budget to the senate floor and the ‘gatekeeper from hell’ kept his word.  In 2016, the government took in $2.99T in tax revenues.  (Yes, we got to the trillions!) 49% of these revenues came from individual income taxes.  Payroll taxes accounted for 33% and corporate taxes accounted for 9% of total revenues.  The national debt now exceeds $16.7T!

The sources of revenue did not change substantially in 50 years.  But how the revenues have been spent have significantly changed.  Remember that the defense department accounted for 43% of the 1966 budget?  Well, even with all the shenanigans going on with terrorism and wars, the 2016 budget only spent 15% on the defense department.  Wow!  Where did that money go?  The 2% of monies spent on medicare and general health spending in 1966 now consumes 28% of the spending.  Spending on social security is now 37% of the budget as compared to 22% in the past.   Entitlement programs now consume 65% of our national budget!

The raw numbers are staggering.  The Dept. of Defense now spends $515B.  The Dept. of Health and Human Services goes from $30.1B to a staggering $995B!  The Dept. of Treasury goes from $61.9B to $484B!  Much of this is to pay the interest on our growing, inflated national debt.  Not to be outdone, the Social Security Administration received a nice bump, going from $109B to $866B!  NASA, on the other hand, had its 1966 budget of $31.2B reduced to $17.2B in 2016.

I need to provide a small history lesson at this point.  Do you know what the original responsibities were of the federal government?  Why the federal government was founded?  It was founded for two reasons; national defense and international trade.  End of list.  It is astounding how the federal government got to its present size.  Back to the blog.

There are some logical explainations for these large differences in these federal budgets.  In 1966, the huge ‘baby boomer’ generation entered the work force.  They worked.  They paid taxes.  They paid into the social security fund.  In 2016, guess what?  The ‘baby boomers’ aged.  They retired and they began collecting the social security in which they paid for after about 50+ working years.

In 1966, there wasn’t any government provided health care program.  We never expected a federal health care program.  But now look at what is happening.  Obamacare happened, and it has pretty much been a mess ever since.  Everyone agrees it needs to change, but we can’t get two people in a room of 100 senators to agree on how it should change.  Personally, I think the federal government should get out of the health care business altogether, but the proverbial cat has been let out of the bag.  Unlike the old days of 1966 where we did not believe in such a thing as a free lunch, we have people perfectly capable of working that expect a free lunch.  In 1966 we were raised under the mantra that, ‘you ate what you killed.’  Now our national conscious is that everyone should eat, even if they haven’t done one thing to feed themselves.

As amazing as it is to see the differences in our budgets after 50 years, it appears this is outdone by our expectations as to what the government owes us in entitlements.  Most of these entitlements did not exist 50 years ago, and yet we survived.  This is borne out by a Health and Human Services budget that is over 30 times larger than in 1966.  (Think ‘welfare’)

During the Cold War, we spent trillions of dollars to defeat those socialistic Communists.  Russia has turned from its socialistic/communistic society.  You remember socialism/communism.  That is the economic and political theory that advocates the means of production, distribution and exchange should be regulated by the community (government) as a whole.  Our electorate has seen fit in the last 50 years to elect officials that institute welfare programs that we can’t afford,  with money we don’t have, for people who should not receive them.   We have given up our independence.  Now, with our dependence on our federal government, we have taken the place of the former USSR.   Have we become the New Socialists/Communists?

It gives a whole new context to the motto, ‘Land of the free……..’

focus

Pole Vaulting Over Mouse Turds!

Donald Trump presidency…….D + 46

There were many times during my military and business careers when some individuals would become bogged down in minutia.  This was not necessarily a bad thing if there were no time constraints and the minutia being provided stayed focused on the end product or mission.  That was usually not the case, however.

Let me use the military as an example.  Whether the planning involved training or war plans, there were always time constraints.  Yet, some staff wienie would always want to use precious time to delve into the most insignificant of details that were only of concern to him, and not to the group or geared to the mission.  The same situations occur during business planning meetings.  It seems you always have one or two individuals that want to demonstrate their intelligence or elevate their importance by monopolizing time that just was not available.  When asked a question, oftentimes these individuals would provide an answer in an overabundance of detail that was just not necessary.  As a shortcut to brevity, I would chide these people with the phrase, “When I ask you what time it is, don’t tell me how to build a clock.”  This phrase would usually get the ‘minutia minded’ back on track.

Most people have heard the phrase, ‘making a mountain out of a mole hill.’  Cute.  I found that the phrase, ‘You are pole vaulting over mouse turds’ was much more effective in keeping a staff in line and focused based on our time constraints and mission.

So, with the ‘pole vaulting over mouse turd’ concept in mind; could it be applied to what is currently happening in Washington, D.C.?  Unfortunately, I believe it fits all too nicely.

Donald Trump has been POTUS for 46 days.  Here are some of the items that the liberal biased media and the Democratic party have brought to the forefront since the Trump inauguration.  One of the initial biggies was that some female members of the Democratic party called for a boycott of the Ivanka Trump clothing line.  You would think with all these ‘women’s marches,’ like the one occurring today as I am writing this, that these women would be ecstatic that a member of the fair sex is successful in business.  Not the case!  So, in defense, Kellyanne Conway mentioned on a Sunday morning news show that people should buy clothing from the Ivanka Trump collection.  The response?  The shouting began!  “Kellyanne Conway needs to be replaced!”  “Kellyanne Conway needs to be severely disciplined.”  “Kellyanne needs to be prosecuted.”  (As an aside, the Ivanka collection is having unprecedented high sales after the Democrat women called for boycott!)

Poor Kellyanne could not catch a break after someone posted a picture of her sitting on her feet on a sofa in the oval office.  Again, the shouting began from the left.  Disrespectful!  (Followed by the three comments in bold in the previous paragraph.)  Apparently, the liberals have forgotten about the picture of Obama with his feet up on the historical Resolute desk in the oval office.  This desk was a gift from Queen Victoria of England.  Or, about Bill Clinton having an intern under the desk.

Combined

Any disrespect there?

Other media consuming biggies is that Donald Trump uses ketchup on his steak.  Earth shattering!  And, recently, Ben Carson referred to slaves as immigrants.  Again, earth shattering.  Would you say the four mentioned situations are all important, or would you classify them as ‘pole vaulting over mouse turds.’  I am a believer that we could use toothpicks to vault over those turds.

Here are some items that I believe the media and our politicians from both parties should be focusing upon.

Earlier this week, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles in the direction of Japan.  We have 50,000 service people stationed in Japan.  Today, the North Koreans have said that they were trying to hit Japan, even though the missiles fell short by 150 miles.  After the firing, we sent additional anti-missile defense weapons to South Korea.  Now the Chinese are claiming we are being aggressive and spoiling for a war.  I would say this is a biggie.  Especially in light of the fact that the Chinese are constructing artificial islands in the South China Sea and fortifying them as naval bases.  And…they are claiming the surrounding oceans as Chinese territorial waters.

China’s banks are financing much of the aggression that is being shown by not only the North Koreans, but by the Iranians.  They are lending money for the purchase of all types of weapons to whoever wants to borrow and purchase, including nations that sponsor terrorism.  Its nice that we continue to purchase Chinese made items so that their banking system can afford to finance the terrorists of the world.

Have you noticed how many times our ships have been buzzed by Iranian patrol boats in the Persian Gulf?  It seems to be happening more and more as the Iranians become more belligerent.  In the very near future, either they will fire on us or we will fire on them.  Then what?

Not to be outdone, those pesky Russians are buzzing our ships with their airplanes.   Much of this is to test the resolve of our new president.  Nothing happened to any of these nations over the last eight years and they are attempting to determine if they can continue their aggression unfettered.  After all, what decisive action did we take against Putin during his invasion of the Ukraine?

On the national front……………….

Have you seen anything of late about the national debt?  Apparently, our politicians and media are not concerned about a $20 trillion debt.  Maybe this debt sounds smaller if it is expressed as 20,000 billion dollars.  The ‘b’ sound is apparently less menacing than the ‘t’ sound.

Did you realize that after 46 days in office, President Trump is still missing four key individuals from his cabinet?  He is missing the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretaries of Labor and Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative.  It appears that with the Liberals fighting every step of the way, it will take longer for him to get his cabinet.  In comparison, Obama had 7 cabinet members confirmed on his inauguration day.  Then there is the Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.  Have you seen this guy’s credentials?  If he and Jesus had a contest to see who would get the least wet while walking across water….I think it would be close to a tie!  His confirmation should be a slam dunk, but will no doubt be contested.

Of course the biggest item in Washington today is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  The Republican roll out is now available for scrutiny and there is no shortage of scrutiny.  At least it is one-tenth the length of the original act at 200+ pages versus 2,000+ pages.  With that in mind, it will be read before being passed into law.  Also, it is open to correction and amendment.  This was something not available for the original bill when the it was rammed down the throats of the American public.  I want to point out that health care is an entitlement and not a right.  Entitlements can be taken away.  This particular entitlement comes with a very expensive price tag.

So readers, I want you to scrutinize as to what is important and what is political and media grandstanding.  What is important for the country versus what is important to a politician to get reelected.  Those interests are not the same.  Be discriminating about national and world events. What is more important?  The way Kellyanne Conway sits on a couch or the fact that the North Koreans have fired four missiles at Japan?  Don’t fall into the shenanigans of the media and some politicians by ‘pole vaulting over mouse turds.’

donald-trump

An Open Letter to President-Elect Trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

Congratulations on your recent victory as the President-Elect of the United States of America.  I was one of your supporters from the minute you announced your candidacy.  Admittedly, I thought the winning ticket would be a Donald Trump/ Marco Rubio ticket.  I can see why, as a result of a very tumultuous and nasty debating season, you did not take Senator Rubio as your running mate.  I was not familiar with Mike Pence, but he is indeed the perfect person for the Vice President. Grounded, experienced, loyal and intelligent, he is everything a person could want as the Vice President.

I was your supporter from the beginning because I believe a businessman who could establish a successful financial empire is more qualified (and needed in this country!) than a slew of career politicians who seem hell-bent on destroying a perfectly good country and government.

You have had an excellent start on making America Great Again.  I agree with many of the efforts you have initiated and would like to add my two cents in hopes of making these positive changes for the good of our country.

Voter ID.  Could we please pass a law making it a requirement to present a valid photo ID to vote in a federal election?  In Canada, to be able to vote you must have: (1) A driver’s license, or, (2) A provincial or territorial ID card, or, (3)  Any other government card with your photo, name and current address.  But like the those shopping channels on television…..wait, there’s more!   To be able to vote in a federal election in Mexico, you must have:  (1) A government issued photo ID card with a thumbprint and an embossed hologram, and, (2)   All citizens are required to personally enroll and show proof of birth or citizenship, and, (3)  Applicants are required to personally return to collect their voting credentials.

Why do our neighbors have more practical, stringent and sensible federal voting requirements than our country, and yet at the suggestion of such requirements it is considered racist?  To not have ID requirements simply wholesales the value of our citizenship in comparison.  All those wars fought, all those battles won, and all those lives lost….all to protect our country, and yet, we allow people who do not share our values, who will never contribute to the well-being of this country, who are here to be takers and never contributors….to vote and sway our national elections.  A travesty by any measure.  Shame on us and our political leaders for allowing our democratic principles to be compromised and abused and degraded by the use of voter fraud.

Job Creation.  Keeping businesses in America, bringing new foreign businesses to America, and bringing off-shore American businesses back to America would create jobs for Americans.  Two things could be done to make this happen and to stimulate the economy.

First, cut the existing federal corporate tax rate in half.  The U.S. already has the highest corporate tax rate of the industrialized nations, and corporate taxes account for only 11% of all federal government tax receipts.  Individual income taxes are responsible for 47% of all federal government tax receipts, while payroll taxes contributed by employers and employees account for another 34%. Corporations are in the business of making money.  By allowing them to keep a larger share of their profits, they will purchase more raw materials, expand facilities and hire more employees….thereby increasing the amount of federal tax revenues from individual income tax payers because there will be more people working.  

I am sure you know that there are 112 million people working in the United States and 106 million receiving some form of government assistance?  Admittedly, some of the 106 million are social security recipients that have paid into, and are now collecting their benefits.  But, there are 90 million people capable of working that are not working, or at least they are not paying taxes.  That needs to change. Jobs need to be created, and the welfare system needs to be revamped.  You have made strides in that direction and I fully support those efforts.

Secondly, abolish the (Un)affordable Health Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.  Before the true expense of this program was known, employers were estimating that the cost would be 20%-25% of their total payroll expenses.  What did the employers do?  They quit hiring, began firing, or reduced working hours for their employees to 32 hours or less to avoid the burden of the program. This was necessary for businesses to remain competitive in the international marketplace, or go out of business.  This program, more than any other, has inhibited job and wage growth for Americans.

This program needs to be replaced with something that is affordable and practical for both the insureds and the insuring.  The federal government needs to get out of the health care business and let the bulk of this program rest on the shoulders of a competitive, free-market economy of insurance companies and health care providers.

Welfare Reform.  The largest single item in the U.S. budget is welfare.  The federal budget provides 75% of the funding for welfare programs.  The states provide 25% of the funding but are tasked to supervise the welfare programs in their respective states.  Unfortunately, even though there were laws passed during the Clinton administration limiting welfare to a five year term, most states conveniently ignore this law.  Why?  Because with the federal government footing the bulk of the cost, the states view this as another form of income for their state.  I would propose that the federal government reduce the amount of welfare payments to the states to an equal amount, cutting their 75% contribution by 2/3.  This would assist our federal budget and cause the states to be more prudent in their dispersal of welfare. (See Welfare Cost – The Big Gorilla in the National Budget, published 2/21/2013)

It is appalling that so many people included in the 106 million receiving federal government assistance have lowered their lifestyles to live solely on government assistance.

Term Limits.  The life expectancy during the times of our founding fathers in the 18th century was 35 years old!  To be 50 years old was considered to be a very old man.  Many of the original members of Congress served out of duty and patriotism, while at the same time making huge personal sacrifices.  Many of these people lost their businesses and homes because they were away tending to the needs of a new nation.  Needless to say, they did not ever foresee the eventuality of career politicians.

We all are aware of the disadvantages of having long-term career politicians.  Too much influence, too much money, too much campaigning, and too many lobbyists and personal interests.   Their primary concern is to get reelected and not necessarily what is ‘right for America.’  (Thus, one reason for your stunning victory, Mr. Trump.)

May I suggest that in the future, say 2028, all members of Congress are limited to 12 years of service.  Senators get two, 6 year terms and representatives get six, 2 year terms.  I would also like to propose that the Supreme Court justices be retired at age 70 or 72.  Here again, our founding fathers could not have known that we would let people ‘fossilize’ in place while serving on the Supreme Court.

Mr. Trump, if you can get legislation passed imposing future term limits, I would believe you could walk across Lake Okeechobee without getting your feet wet or without getting eaten by an alligator. Good luck with that.

The Wall.  I would like to point out that in 2014, over 47,000 Americans died of drug overdoses and over 35,000 were killed in traffic accidents.  Who would have thought that there would be more drug overdose deaths than those of autos?  Some of these drug deaths were because of the improper and illegal use of prescription drugs (opiates) and some from illegal drugs.  Whatever the reason, the bulk of the flow of illegal drugs in this country is coming from our southern border.  If it takes a wall to stop that flow, then that wall should be built.

Of course, we need to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into our country.  If they are here with the best of intentions, then an application procedure needs to be established.  Because Mexicans require a photo ID with a thumbprint to vote, doing a background check should not be impossible.  It would not be surprising to learn that other Central/South American countries have similar ID’s. Unfortunately, many of the ‘border crossers,’ are here for nefarious reasons, or are unaccompanied minors.  Illegal immigrants involved with crime need to be sent back to their respective countries. If caught again, they need to be imprisoned.

Safety and Security.   Mr. Trump, the three classes of people that I hate the most are terrorists, murderers, and pedophiles.  I am personally not interested in ‘reforming or rehabilitating’ anyone accused of terrorism or murder.  I believe that capital punishment should come into play for these two crimes and the sentences should be carried out within a two year period.

I believe that anyone charged with killing a policeman, fireman, or medical rescuer should be given the death sentence.  I believe that any terrorist that kills an American should be given the death sentence.  I cannot think of a punishment cruel enough for a pedophile, but I suppose we would have to settle for incarceration.  After all, what kind of society have we become if we cannot protect our children.

The military needs to be expanded and updated to meet the challenges of our potential enemies. Whether we want to recognize the threat or not, both Russia and China have greatly expanded their military presence and have used them for expansionist purposes.  The goal of Russia is to put together the old USSR as much as possible beginning with the invasion of the Ukraine.  The Chinese are saber rattling and expanding by making strategic artificial islands in the South China sea.

Does anyone know for sure the real ambitions of Iran or North Korea?  Both have threatened with the use of missiles and nukes.

These are just a few of the problems to be faced with your upcoming administration.   There are many more.  So far, you have done an amazing job of cabinet selection.  Surrounding yourself with the best and the brightest should make your job easier and make for a better America.  I apologize for not writing sooner, but it took me a month to sober up from your victory party!

God Bless America.

Respectfully,

Grandpa T

 

 

 

Republican-Convention

Republican National Convention. Cleveland Rocks!

The Republican National Convention was recently completed.  It ran from 18 – 21 July and took place in Cleveland, Ohio; formerly known as the ‘mistake by the lake.’  There were many interesting facets to this convention.  Some good.  Some not so good.  One of my big concerns is that Grandma P has become a political junkie.  She watched more speeches during this convention than she has watched totally in the first almost 30 years of our marriage.    She maybe missed 90 minutes of the convention.  Should I be concerned?

Anyway, it is always more interesting to talk about the negative facets first, so here we go!

NEGATIVES

Do you realize how much money a convention brings into the hosting city?  It is in the tens of millions of dollars and the competition to be the host city is only exceeded by a city wanting to host the Olympics or a Super Bowl.  So, with the convention being in Ohio, where was the governor of Ohio, John Kasich?  Oh, I remember, he was one of the many participants in the Republican debates that swore they would support the eventual Republican candidate.  So much for your word, Mr. Boob.  You did not even have the decency to appear and welcome the delegates to your state.  You are only the first of many people that went contrary to ‘your  pledge of support.’

Ted Cruz.  What more can be said about a sore loser whose ego is barely eclipsed by the size of the state he represents.  That would be Texas.  Rather than show anything that approached denoting party unity, the wienie took his opportunity to extol his virtues, without endorsing Trump.  He was rightfully booed off the stage.  The next morning, he was speaking to the Texas delegation and was asked very pointed questions as to why he did not endorse Trump, the Republican candidate, as he had pledged.    Again, it was back to his principles and he was a master at ‘politcal speak’ in that his answers chewed all around the cookie without having to take a bite.  It was obvious it was all about him.  Never mind what is good for the country or what the electorate wants.   My respect for wienie Cruz has declined into negative numbers. (Is his ego so large as to run as a third party candidate just to defeat Trump and hand the victory to Clinton?)  Ted is lucky he has two more years to his term as senator, or he probably would have lost an election this fall.

Jeb Bush.  Another of those people that pledged support to the Republican candidate that just could not find the time or effort to attend the convention or even make a statement about party unity.  Quite honestly, he was not missed.  Jeb always seemed to be out of touch with what was important to the electorate, anyway.

The two people I am rather disappointed with are George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.  As the two former Republican presidents, they could have at least made some statements via video to support the party principles and bury the hatchet about the divided party by at least wishing Trump well in his upcoming campaign.  I like and respect both of those gentlemen, and it would have been my hope that they would have risen above the butt kicking their brother/son took during the primaries and shown some interest in the political party that got them both elected.  I do not remember any former presidents shunning the following party conventions such as the Bush’s have done.

After Trump’s speech on Thursday evening, Texas billionaire Mark Cuban went into warp drive tweeting his dislike for Donald Trump, referring to him as stupid and lazy.  What is it with these Texans?  Ted Cruz, the Bush’s, and now Mark Cuban?  Just because you lost the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, doesn’t mean you should carry a grudge for almost 200 years!  Just because Trump is not from Texas, doesn’t mean he can’t be president.  So here are my words for all four of you…..“GET OVER IT!”  Do any of you four believe the country and world would be better off with President Hillary?  Mark Cuban supported Trump until a few months ago.  What happened?

POSITIVES

I was very impressed by the quality of the majority of speeches given during this convention.  Yes, there are always a couple of marginal speeches, and some were clunkers, but the vast majority were very, very good.  Did you notice how many of the speeches were given by minorities and women?

Newt Gingrich.  Some of the speeches were beyond excellent.  Newt Gingrich gave an excellent speech.  I wish my college professors were as good as Newt.  I may have gotten better grades if they were.  He laid out the difficulties our country and the world will be facing because of Islamic Muslim extremists.

The Trump Children.  I would not know how to pick the best speaker from the four Trump children that gave speeches.  Not only were the speeches outstanding in content, they were delivered to near perfection.  Donald, Jr., Eric, Ivanka and Tiffany all did an absolutely wonderful job.  If the children are truly a reflection of the parents, then I would say that Donald Trump has done an excellent job of parenting.

Melania Trump.  Another great speech by another Trump.  But almost as soon as it was completed, the Democrats started yelling ‘plagiarism,’ as 58 out of the 1400 words were similar to a speech Michelle Obama gave in 2008.  With all of the things that have happened recently, this is the what the Democrats focus on?  I would say that criticizing this speech as a part of what all is taking place in this country and the world is a clear indication of ‘pole vaulting over mouse turds’ by the Democrats.

Make America Safe Again.  Make America One Again.  Make America Great Again.  I don’t know what adviser came up with these slogans, but they pretty much framed the content of all the speeches given during the convention.  I believe all of these issues are important to the electorate. With the latest ambush of the police, with the latest terrorist attack, and with the largest racial divide occurring in this country during my lifetime, how could the electorate not be concerned about these issues?

Donald Trump.  I will give Trump an A for the content of his speech, but only a B+ for delivery.  As Grandma P pointed out, there were times when it appeared he was screaming.  (I noticed it, also.)  But Donald is a very passionate man, and it is obvious he believes the United States is heading in the wrong direction because of the policies of the present administration.  I agree with him.  He is not a professional, lifetime politician who makes large group speeches for a living and for contributions.  I find that to be an asset rather than a liability.  If he is elected, he can scream all he wants if he can correct those passionate issues.

The Party Plank.   I thought the Republican National Committee did an excellent job of framing the issues and direction of the party.  By tying the slogans with the content of the speeches, a viewer would definitely see the direction that the Republican party is taking.  Background checks for immigrants.  Check.  Second Amendment rights.  Check.  Border Security.  Check.  Reducing the national debt.  Check.  Creating jobs.  Check.  Placing citizens before immigrants.  Check.  Assuring citizen safety.  Check.  Support the police.  Check.  Rebuild the military.  Check.  Did I miss anything?  Probably.

Democratic Critique.  Now that the convention is over, Hillary and her media machine have framed the convention as nothing but ‘doom and gloom.’  Just like Chicken Little, the Republicans have been accused of promoting ‘the sky is falling, the sky is falling!’  Even though I find this somewhat amusing, I believe the issues brought forth at the convention were brutally honest about situations and conditions that need to be addressed and corrected.  Democrats apparently do not want to face these issues and continue to portray the world and our country as if everything is just hunky-dory. This is disturbing as it would be my hope that the two parties would come together to resolve some of these various, serious issues.

So there you have it, readers.  My assessment of the Republican National Convention was that I was seldom bored and it was done very professionally.  The speeches were, if not perfect, very informative.  There have been accusations that Donald Trump is not a conservative.  I cannot even fathom how that could be proposed after watching this convention.  One political pundit said it was one of the most conservative conventions he has ever witnessed.  I agree.

If Donald Trump gets elected and is able to do half of what was proposed at this convention,  the country will indeed be heading in the right direction.

I-Want-You-ISIS

ISIS Wants You!

Throughout the United States history, many posters and slogans have been used to recruit people to join the US military.

Who could forget that poster of Uncle Sam pointing his finger with the slogan, ‘I Want You for the US Army.’  That poster and slogan were designed by an artist from New York by the name of James Montgomery Flagg.  Flagg designed this poster for the Army after our entry in World War I in 1917. Four million of these four-color posters were printed and plastered all over the United States from coast to coast.  The pointing Uncle Sam finger was not a new idea.  He actually copied the idea from a British recruiting poster featuring Lord Kitchener.  Kitchener was also pointing his finger accompanied by the slogan, ‘Your Country Needs You.’  Amazingly, these posters were so successful that both Russia and Germany followed with similar posters.

My little hometown was a little backward and sometimes out of date, so I can remember some of those posters with the slogan, ‘Uncle Sam Wants You’ actually posted in the Legion Club and the Post Office in the 50s. .  That poster was reinvented for recruitment during WWII.

There have been some really good recruiting slogans that the US military has used over the years.  I have a degree of familiarity with the Army, so I will start with them.  From the 50s to 1971, the Army slogan was, ‘Look Sharp, Be Sharp, Go Army.’  Doesn’t that slogan just stir your hormones and make you want to enlist?  That was the slogan that was in vogue during the Viet Nam War.  The draft was still in effect during this war.  In retrospect, a more appropriate slogan should have been, ‘Two Extremities, Two Eyes, a Pulse?  Uncle Sam Will Draft You!

From 1971 to 1980, the US Army slogan was, ‘Today’s Army Wants to Join You.’  Say what?  What in hell does that mean?  Doesn’t that slogan send shivers up your spine accompanied by patriotic fervor?  It is amazing that slogan recruited anyone.

Thankfully, my personal favorite Army slogan came into use in 1980.  It was so popular and successful that it was used until 2001.  Do you remember it?  ‘Be All You Can Be.’  This was accompanied by an amped-up catchy versed song and proved to be wildly successful.  Other than ‘Uncle Sam Wants You,’ it is the most recognizable Army slogan of all time.

But all good things must come to an end and the ‘Be All You Can Be’  was replaced in 2001 with the stupidest slogan ever, ‘Army of One.”   I think that was the worse slogan ever.  What happened to teamwork?  What happened to camaraderie?  How far does an Army of One get on any battlefield?  I have a confession.  I did not know what this slogan meant until I researched this post.  The word ‘One’ was suppose to represent an acronym meaning, Officers, Non-Commissioned, and Enlisted.  Even with this discovery and revelation, I still think it is the stupidest slogan …..EVER!

In 2006, the slogan,  ‘Army Strong’ was introduced.  That is the current Army slogan.  Lame.  But a vast improvement over ‘Army of One.’

Some of our other service branches have had memorable recruiting slogans.  The Marine Corps has used, ‘The Few, the Proud,’ and the sexist slogan, ‘We’re Looking for a few Good Men.’  The Air Force has used, ‘Aim High, and ‘Cross Into the Blue.’  The Navy has used. ‘Accelerate your Life,’ and ‘It’s Not Just a Job, It’s an Adventure.’  ‘Be Part of the Action,’ is the motto of the Coast Guard.  Combining these slogans with songs and slick videos has served all of these branches well since the inception of the volunteer Army.

Do you know who else is very successful in recruiting?  ISIS, or ISIL or Daish.  Pick a name, it’s all the same organization. They have been wildly successful in recruiting from other terrorist organizations, from sympathizers from Arab countries, and from sympathizers from Western countries.  How do they do this?

According to the Syria Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors activity in the Syrian civil war, some of the new recruits in Syria include former militants of the al-Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria and opponent of the Islamic State.  ISIS ability to convert members of rival terror organizations, in addition to the thousands of citizens worldwide- many who are Westerners and not natural-born Muslims – reflects the extend of its recruitment power.   ISIS recruits approximately 20 new members a day, and most of the foreign fighters are between 15-20 years old, according to a spokesperson for the Islam Army.  The Syria Observatory estimates that the group has more than 50,000 militants in Syria alone.

ISIS has a professional production company designing its videos.  Unlike the old Al Qaeda group that had a bearded fighter talking in front of a single camera for 45 minutes, these videos are all high production quality, sometimes employing multiple cameras.  Like any army recruitment video, ISIS videos promise the reward of having a purpose and playing an important role in something larger than yourself – smartly edited with slow-motion action shots.  They also aim to address any concern a potential recruit may have.

ISIS has even opened a marriage center in Syria where women can register to become the wife of a jihadist.  The terror group even gifts couples honeymoons after getting married, but they can only vacation within the caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

In addition to the well-made videos, the media arm also produces an online English language magazine called Dabiq that publishes propagandist articles and reports aimed to glorify the Islamic State.  But the most powerful media tool ISIS has mastered is social media.  It has a  presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Middle Eastern networks.  They have aps and hashtags and use both to spread their propaganda.

According to Michael Steinbach, FBI’s assistant director of counter-terrorism, “They have mastered the use of it (social media)…as a propaganda tool, as a recruitment tool and as a targeting tool.”   He goes on to say, “ISIL has used social media better than any terrorist group before or currently.” Steinbach says the message from ISIS or ISIL is clear: “come join the caliphate, and if you can’t join the caliphate, conduct an attack in the U.S.”

I have thought for quite some time that our government has attempted to gloss over the severity of Westerners joining an Islamic terrorist group.    As of October 2015, law enforcement authorities know of 250 Americans who had traveled or tried to travel to Syria or Iraq to join ISIS fighters.  There are about 900 active investigations against ISIS sympathizers in all 50 states.  Why do I think these numbers are low?  Germany has stated that 900 of its citizens have left the country to fight for an Islamic terrorist organization.  France is claiming  between 200-300 of its citizens.  Admittedly, these are only the people they are aware that have left their countries.  America  at 250?  Firstly, look at our population compared to France and Germany combined.  Secondly, about five years ago, authorities in Minnesota admitted that over 200 Somali teens were missing.  Missing?

These Somali teens, both boys and girls are not missing.  They are either with ISIS or with an off-shoot organization of Al Qaeda in Somalia.  They are targeted.  They are wanted because they speak English, are computer savvy and educated, and they are vulnerable.  I have seen an ISIS recruiting video on the internet.  It makes ISIS look like their caliphate is the Muslim version of Club Med.  Do you know what is really scary about this situation in Minnesota?  All of these teens were born in the US!  They have attended Minnesota schools all of their life.  And yet – with all of the opportunity available to these teens, they still select to go fight for an enemy of their birth country.

Here is a wake-up call for all of my Minnesota friends………………26% of Muslims who leave the US to fight for ISIS and Al Qaeda are from Minnesota!  Only New York provides more terrorist recruits.

The point of this blog?  Contrary to what the POTUS said when he said ISIS is the Al Qaeda junior varsity team, this organization is technologically savvy, pathologically dedicated to their religion and  well funded.  Their recruitment techniques are just as professional as those used by our service branches.  My fear is that their recruiting techniques may be more successful than ours.