Sunday, February 26, 2017

Parenting Faux Pas

Image result for petulant child cartoonAs a responsible parent, I am prepared to do what it takes to make sure my children can do what it takes to raise their children.  And then I look at my grandchildren and wonder where I went wrong.  My kids are not parenting like I did, some are not even close, making me wonder what I did wrong.


My first realization came when I learned that my ability to parent is contingent on my experiences, my perceptions and my personality, all now under review by my kids who are parenting.  In other words, they will have to learn for themselves how to parent and how not to parent, just like I did.


There are some common grounds that should be considered, to be considered a good parent, keeping in mind that a good parent is one who... GOOD PARENTING – A DEFINITION. Good parenting happens when a person creates for a child a stable, nurturing home environment, is a positive role model, and plays a positive and active part in a child's life. Good parents provide moral and spiritual guidance, set limits, and provide consequences for a child's behavior.


Having had 10 children I am either a master at parenting or a complete and utter fool for attempting to raise 10 totally different personalities, I tend to lean toward the "fool" part but I have learned a few things along the way.


  1. We do too much for our kids.  They need to learn to be self-sufficient and as we can see in our society today most of us have failed miserably in this regard.  We get them up in the morning, we make their breakfast, we do their homework or make excuses for why it’s not done.  We coddle them, support them and tie them up in knots so securely that they never have any room to really grow and develop.
  2. Treating them like friends.  If you want to be friends with your kids then perhaps you need to get out more among those of your age.  We can be friendly but I fail to see the need to be friends with our kids.  Being friends implies forsaking the parenting role and replacing it with something less structured, less educational and less loving, but go ahead be friends with your kids.
  3. Not demanding that they adhere to specific behaviors while in our home.  We must remember who’s home it is.  It is not their home, it is our home, even if we are only paying rent.  Our kids are not simply visiting but they need to understand that if they want to live there they have rules to live by.  You determine the rules and the consequences, not the kids.  


There are many more specific areas that could be mentioned but the three above seem to encapsulate the generalities of where our generation has failed our kids.  The issue with failing is the lack of foundational learning that has in the past ensured, to some extent, the furthering of those basic, foundational skills needed to promote from one generation to the next.


My perspective as a teacher and a parent is that those skills have been forgotten or set aside resulting in children and adults (all our children) who do not currently possess the ability to look beyond their self-interests.  Our children (not mine, yours, mine are perfect by the way, just in case you were wondering) are selfish, disconnected, entitled, lazy and worst of all liberal in their ideals and outlook.


In several polls, the trend of our youth is decidedly conservative at least it is when those youth start to grow and develop.  The trend toward political acceptance is almost always more liberal until our children start to have to live on their own.  When I say on their own I don’t mean their rent is subsidized by mom or dad, they hold a job, pay their bills and in essence start to act like an adult or in other words “responsible”.


Look at the last election, those who voted for the democrats were between 18-39.  A dramatic shift occurs at age 40 and virtually every age group above 40 voted for Donald Trump and a more conservative model of government.  The issues, however, are not primarily about age and responsibility.  When you view the news and the disquiet of our country you soon realize that a preponderance of those who are demonstrating are also within the 18-39 age group.


It is also not just those who demonstrate but in how they demonstrate and tolerate that sheds light on the need for good parenting.  Unlike any time in this countries history, those who demonstrate are not doing so simply to advertise their dislike, they are actively demonstrating to quiet the opposition and stop their ability to govern.  They are acting like petulant children who have not been given that candy that they could not reach on their own and are now screaming and kicking in the store to get their way.


Prior “good” parenting could have resulted in a better outcome.  Establishing patterns are essential and that includes helping your kids (remember my kids are perfect) understand the consequences and the benefits of life, that means you need to impose those consequences and provide the benefits as far as you can that is.  

The bottom line is, we have to decide what kind of adults we want to have when we’re done raising our children.  We can see the results of what we’ve done, so we all know that doesn’t work.  We may have committed our society to a downward spiral of social suicide with our only hope being that age will have the effect it has always had in creating positive and responsible adults.  But with the mistakes of liberalism and the associated idea of moral relativism, our children may never grow up.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Presidents Day

Image result for presidents day cartoonsToday, this morning and this afternoon, and into the evening, is Presidents Day, or formally Washington’s Birthday.  The day was changed officially in 1971 by Richard Nixon and became Presidents Day in an attempt to create more three-day weekends corresponding with federal holidays.

I have mixed emotions about those changes.  In 1971 I was a sophomore in high school, not a particularly great student, I loved to ditch and go to the beach or mountains with friends.  The beach in Southern California during the winter months generally meant less crowds, more beach, choppy surf and most important it was a time to, just get away.  

The problem with the set holiday on the third Monday of February was that everyone else also had the same ideas of getting away as I did, and now had an extra day to do just that, get away.  The beaches were more crowded, the local ski resorts were packed and the amusement parks were inundated with families and friends just “getting away”.  


The other issues was in how this particular holiday seemed to minimize the previous holidays of President Washington and Lincoln.  Lincoln's Birthday used to be celebrated on his birthday, February 12th. Washington is officially recognized by the holiday we refer to as Presidents day, but there is no official Presidents day within in the United States.  February 20th is officially called “Washington’s Birthday”, It’s just not celebrated on his actual birthday February 22nd.  Lincoln's birthday has never really been an official Federal Holiday and was only celebrated at the state level with 1940 being the highest year for observance with over 20 states recognizing Lincoln's birthday.   

I love my three day weekends and as I teacher I am ecstatic about the prospect of not going into school during those Uniform Monday Holiday Act days, but it does bother me that we change the past by rewriting the present.  We change our important days into days we might enjoy but it looses its meaning.  

Especially in schools, where we have become very adept at speaking in a politically correct manner.  We changed Christmas to Winter Break.  Easter is now Spring Break with some schools changing the dates to accommodate some other criteria rather than the Christian holiday it used to represent.  

We never had a Lincoln's birthday federally, we did in California but now even that is gone.  We really don’t have a president’s day, that’s only it’s unofficial name.  Washington’s Birthday is still observed but only rarely does it correspond with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.  The effects of these changes have been negative, for the most part, and especially in relation to our memories of why we celebrate and to who we are celebrating.  

Youtube interviews show happy students having fun but totally unaware of what they were celebrating.  Is it because of the changes in status of these holidays or some other reason but the bottom line is, if we don’t remember why we celebrate, then there really is no reason to celebrate.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Logger Blogger

Image result for logging cartoonBlogging, like other forms of communication, not related to face to face exchanges, has a tendency to wither your sense of perspective.  The blogger, and in this case me, could be swayed by the very dribble I pronounce, not that, that would ever happen, but it is a possibility.  Blogging like logging requires a singleness in motivation.  


Loggers see trees.   They see big trees and little trees, diseased and healthy trees. They see trees of all kinds.  But primarily they see trees that are on their list to be cut and hewn down, processed and shipped to homeowners like me, a simple blogger.  


If I were a logger and not a blogger, I would enjoy the outdoors, the smell of the great pines and various hardwoods that are grown to be cut down.  I would enjoy driving and bouncing on the rudimentary logging roads that snake through the backwoods and rural areas of America.  My life would be fairly simple in that my goal each day would be to check my saw, make sure it was filled with oil, check my chain to make sure it was up to the task and start cutting.  I’m sure there is more to it than that but I am not a logger, I’m a blogger.


As a blogger, I also enjoy the outdoors but while I’m blogging I am mostly indoors, wishing I could roam the great outdoors and smell the pines and various hardwoods, but alas, there are only a few trees in my neck of the woods, actually no woods at all really only urban sprawl.  I also enjoy snaking through the back roads of Wine country (yes we have a place called Wine country) but we have no logging roads only rabbit trails and their much too small to safely drive my Mercedes.


The real differences between a blogger and a logger are,  they have the ability to thin the forest by actually cutting down those trees that need to be cut.  As a blogger I can only hope that my words cut deep into the souls of men, helping them see the errors of their ways.  Loggers are able to see the results of their work at the end of each day.  Bloggers have to judge their effectiveness by the number of comments and readers generated, with no real discernable gauge of success.


One of the past issues with logging was their willingness to clear an entire mountainside, leaving nothing behind but forgotten stumps where the trees used to be.  This process of clear cutting has been mostly replaced with select cutting, where the loggers chose select trees to cut leaving about a third of the crop (yes it is a crop) alone to continue growing.  This process takes longer, is more costly and requires more time, raising the cost of lumber but environmentally it is preferable.  It also required more thought and more planning, with less waste and better wood supposedly.  But the last time I was was at large Box store all I noticed was marginal quality for a high price.


It’s too bad we cannot select cut our politicians.  Even better perhaps would be an ability to select cut the thousands upon thousands of bureaucrats that have been in place since the Clinton years.  These career politicians are not elected but because of their ideology, they create difficulties for the politicians, who are elected and accountable.  


Some would quantify these bureaucratic employees as working within a shadow government, still keenly devoted to past leaders, with no real intent to follow the admonitions of the new leader.   “President Donald Trump dismissed acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday night after she ordered government lawyers not to defend his executive order on refugees.” http://www.infowars.com/

An order that I wish to mention was 100% constitutional and legal.


Whether you agree or not, is not a consideration.  Yates was Trumps acting Attorney General and had the obligation to perform her duties or to quit, not to countermand the orders given by the President.  You may say that what she did was right and courageous but that was not a choice she should have made.  Her only choice was to quit or obey.  After quitting she could have held a press conference or done a number of things to show her displeasure but she was obligated, by virtue of her role in the government to do as she was instructed.  


It would be like a logger choosing not to cut down the selected trees because he or she (don't want to offend those that are easily offended by sexual innuendo) had recently decided to become an environmentalist and activist.  Sure he/she could easily not do as he/she was told but he/she would be fired, as Yates was because she had told her employees not to follow the rules set by her boss, the President, that is anarchy.


Merriam-Webster defines Anarchy as a:  absence of government b:  a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority c:  a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government. (good luck on that last one)


What kind of government would we have if all our shadow leaders did as Yates did?  The impending chaos would literally destroy the rule of law.  Good or bad laws are designed for our benefit.  I am the first to admit that many of our laws are counterproductive with some that are downright destructive to economic growth, health, and free enterprise, I will also admit that there needs to be a balance between the many voices that proclaim whatever they want to proclaim.


In the old days, there used to be individual loggers, there were no bloggers, except for the tavern storytellers, spinning a yarn or two for a free drink or food.  These loggers were on their own, quietly moving into the forest and cutting a tree or two to build a house or a fence.  Logging was, mostly an individual endeavor.  As society grew so did the demand for wood and wood products and so did the need for laws for those loggers.


We need laws, not all of them, however.  We need rules and we need people who define those rules.  We need government, not all of it, however.  We need people who define that government and who can be trusted to do as they are told to do.

Whether you're a logger or a blogger, we all live together and togetherness demands that we accept and live by certain laws.  If you don’t like the rules, you're welcome to change them but only within the rules that have been outlined to do so.   

Follow and Share Please, you don't even have to be a blogger or a logger to do so...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Politics of War

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Politics is really nothing more than war with words.  Carl von Clausewitz wrote a book, On War, where he said, War is the continuation of politics by other means.“  I would recommend this book but be prepared to read over 700 pages.  I have yet to finish the book, and often misplace it, on purpose.  That may be a subconscious choice to assist in my true measure of avoidance.  The topic, however, is of great interest to me, having read The Book of the Five Rings, by Miyamoto Musashi and the before mentioned The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, as well as the Prince by Machiavelli.

The topic of war and it's less violent cousin, politics, has always intrigued me.  War to some can be summed up as individual duals, all taking place at the same time.  Those thoughts were from Clausewitz, helping all of us to understand the progression toward war and hopefully giving us the means to scale back our political battles, that left unchecked would result in all out war.

I remember a fight I had with my older brother.  It’s hard now to remember what the fight was over but I do recall it had something to do with a Frisbee.  Either I was inept at my attempts to throw the toy or my brother was totally impatient with having to move to retrieve my errant throws.  Regardless of the reasons for the war, we were fully engaged in hand to hand combat.  

It started with words, politics, and soon exploded into war, me the younger and more agile and my brother, stronger and the more experienced fighter.  I somehow encircled his neck with my arm and put him in a vise-like headlock.  The vise-like comment is my attempt to make me look good.  But that’s how it ended, with me squeezing his neck, not choking, I understood the difference from a few years in Judo and really did not want to “choke him out”, I wanted to subdue him and take away his desire for war.

Just like politics, we started with words and those words turned to violence.  Our mutual goals were to subdue the other and I just happened to be able to prevent him from subduing me, a very good thing for me.  

Politics is not always an individual endeavor and its consequences are often just as disruptive as war, but without the physical destruction.   War, in like measure is not always a battle among armies and does not have to be destructive.  The great, ancient Captain Sun Tzu said,  The Supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”.  This is all well and good but the objective of war is “The ultimate military purpose of war is the destruction of the enemy's ability to fight and will to fight”  As quoted from the United States objective on war.

When combined with other objectives, and I must point out that no one  agrees on what those objectives of war should be, but on reflection of why we go to war and why we send our men and women to die, that objective should be to minimize our enemies efforts to wage war against us and remove their ability to make war and sustain a war, not simply be subject to another's desire for power and control

As a country, you either protect your citizens or you do not.   Many countries sidestep this decision through the treaty process, relying upon larger, more influential countries to shoulder the burden of defense.  The United States is a perfect example of providing those services to smaller, less able countries like Japan, or South Korea and many others who are dependent on the resources of the US and its military might.  

What would happen in the world if the US decided to not offer protection?  What would those countries enemies be able to do without the United States standing by their side?  The smaller, more vulnerable countries would be swallowed up and lost to the stronger and less scrupulous nations.  Remember the USSR? There is some controversy in how and who we protect and support and in the past poor decisions have resulted in disastrous results but the premise of protecting those who cannot is still a good one, despite those past issues.

There are those who maintain a view that all war is bad and all war should be avoided at all cost, never really considering the alternatives to being attacked or the need for someone to fill the role of protector for those who cannot protect themselves.  Often asked, “If not us, then who?”  Should we allow Russia or China to take its turn as the world's police, and If we were so naive, what results would be forthcoming?

Then there are those who espouse a life of lawlessness, the anarchist who seem to despise all laws, only willing to live by self-imposed rules.  They fail to understand the basic principle that freedom is a result of obeying specific laws.  The absence of law and order does not equate to freedom only a society devoid of laws, subjecting all to its tyranny and subjugation, with exception of those very few who through power, intimidation and terror control all the others….NO freedom, NO choices and NO justice.

Society should be balanced to support the rights and privileges of all, not just those who scream the loudest or cause the most damage.  When laws are devoid of equal justice they are without justice entirely, leaving those who are not deemed equal without the protection of those laws.

From politics to war and from injustice to anarchy, we, our society, is at the mercy of our unwillingness to establish societal standards that demand compliance.  Not unlike managing a classroom, when a teacher fails to demand respect the class becomes unmanageable and unruly.  Lessons prepared are ineffective, students are disruptive and the consequences of poor behavior are not enforced, further supporting that poor behavior.  Learning is lost.  

School districts are more concerned about how everyone feels, forsaking the needed role of educators and the need to teach proper behaviors and respect to the rule of law.  Students are allowed to rule the roost, destroying the academic opportunities within many of this country's schools.  School classes are at war with their teachers and teachers are at war with the districts.

As another example, President Trump has been forced to rethink his immigration ban, not because it was unconstitutional but because of the petulant outcry against that executive order, an order that was done in the past by multiple presidents to balance and protect this country.  Those demonstrators, those voices are nothing more than ill-mannered children looking to force their way, regardless of the rule of law, and in spite of the needs of the many.  For too long, like the example of the classroom, the government has failed to manage its affairs equitably and the result is inequitable behavior by large sections of our society.  

Who’s to blame?  Government to some degree.  Parents are also to blame,  But mostly the blame falls on the permissive society where everything is considered valid.  There are no truths, no standards, and no winners or losers.  War may be the result if politics continues to fail and the words of our politicians, most of them, continue to be nothing but self-serving, air filled fluff.  

Remember to share and follow.  






Thursday, February 9, 2017

Run with the Devil

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Seeing my youngest daughter atop a horse brought back many memories of my own pre-teen years.  I was not even close to being as beautiful or as graceful, but I loved to ride.  My horses of the past were mostly, mangy, middle-class stock, Quarter horses mostly.  They were raised for the brush and rock of middle Mexico but when I was riding my life took on an ethereal feel of peace and completeness.  I was a prince of some forgotten kingdom and I was riding the prized stallions of the realm.  Don't laugh I was 10, I think.

My Grandfather was a cattle rancher, deep in the interior of Mexico.  Durango in the 60’s was a rough and unforgiving place with many men carrying pistols and brandishing rifles.  Unlike my daughter's riding lessons, I was unceremoniously lifted on a horse named Diablo and told to hang on.  I wanted off this flea bitten, crazy-eyed monster but all I heard was “Estaras Bien hombrecito”  “you’ll be fine little man”.  

My daughter has the grace and lines of a true Dressage aficionado.  Her long legs, her straight back, and slender build only accentuate the beauty and functionality of the perfect lines of her steed below.  I was a slouch, a servant of ill repute in comparison.  But I rode and I rode well.  

Diablo was well named.  When they plopped me on his back and into an ill-fitting saddle they never told me he didn’t like the rain.  After a few nervous minutes waiting to be thrown the horse settled down and I was actually able to ride.  My stirrups were too short for my lengthy frame, the padding on the split, Mexican style, wood saddle was non-existent.  This particular saddle was mostly made of wood and sat high on the horse's back.  The blankets that protected the horse were course, smelly and tattered but apparently, the horse didn’t care, unless his mood was a result of the saddle and not his innate disposition.

The smiling Mexicans with their silver-lined teeth slapped the nag hard on its rump and laughed as he bolted away with me barely holding on, my hands gripping the overly large saddle horn for dear life.  The galloping was easy, and I soon fell into the natural rhythm of the horse's gate.  It was when Diablo started to trot that I became worried.

They taught my daughter to post, stepping into the stirrups, using her legs to minimize the ups and downs and save her butt and tailbone in the process.  I learned the hard way and that never included knowing how to mitigate those jarring motions atop the back of a slowly moving horse. I learned enough to understand that standing a little reduced the teeth chattering effects.  To this day I ride like a cowboy, loose and free, using my legs and ankles to absorb the shock generated by the horse's trot.  Each horse is different but the pattern is much the same.

Learning to post is great but what happens when you’re stuck on your horse all day?  Posting is tiring and impossible to maintain for long periods of time.  Cowboys stayed in their saddles from sun up to sun down and needed to ride with their horse not simply on it.  

Western riders have to accommodate the individual horse they are on and in essence become one with the horse.  English style demands that you negotiate your horse's gate by developing a gate of your own while attempting to look good.  

When the rain started it was just a sprinkle but to Diablo, any rain was too much rain.  Just when I thought I was getting a hang of the “riding” process a few drops hit his face and the whole world ended.  As quickly as we started, with the cowhands slapping his rump, Diablo stopped and for a split second, I was still, no movement.  

His first jump was only a small shudder but I didn’t understand so thought nothing of what was about to happen.  Within two seconds he was in full on buck, and I was literally holding on for my life.  He was vaulting and twisting, swaying his head violently and kicking his legs, arching his back and it seemed to me doing all at once.  I still had no idea why this was happening but there I was sitting atop this mad, possessed horse, desperately trying not to die.

I had been so enthralled with the galloping that I had no idea of the other riders presence, but I could hear their whooping and hollering as I managed to stay on.  With each swivel or twist, I could feel my body being pushed by the centrifugal force willing me to fly off.  Truth be told, I have no idea how I stayed on.

The rain never really came and it ended a few seconds after it started,  I never got wet and no I didn’t pee my pants.  Here I was maybe 10 or 12 sitting atop a crazed, possessed animal and all I can think about was not peeing my pants.  

Diablo quickly stopped bucking and returned to normal, standing quietly as if nothing had happened.  For me the entire world was on fire, my butt was killing me, my legs were raw from holding on and my brain hurt from being jarred and slammed against my skull.  I immediately jumped off the horse and did so in such a fantastic way that the other riders began whooping and hollering again.  For me I was infused with adrenalin, and the fight or flight reaction to stress caused me to run or in this case jump and I did, lifting my right leg over the front of the saddle and kind of falling off but when I was done I was still standing, making the others think I had done it on purpose.  

I did get back on Diablo, but only after the vaqueros grabbed their little Gringo, Me, and gave me a round of slaps on my back and somehow there I was again, sitting back on top of the insane horse.

My Grandfather did find out what had happened and asked me directly if I wanted those riders who obviously played a joke on the poor little white kid, fired or reprimanded, I didn’t know what reprimanded meant so I said no and that was that.  But every time I walked down to the slaughter house I was greeted with respect and kindness, again I didn’t really understand but I was happy and I had made friends who asked me to ride often in the days that followed, but never on Diablo who was by the way penned near a dog that was most assuredly rabid from rabies or was just as insane as the horse.

What has all this to do with Politics?  Nothing really, except that real life must go on, despite the issues that seem to overtake us and consume our every thought.  There is more to life than what the media would suggest, don’t you think?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Be True

Image result for be yourself cartoonI think it’s my age that makes me feel the way I do.  I’m not talking hormonally changed, but a deep and disturbing realization of what we are becoming and the helplessness that sits deep within my gut, telling me to be prepared.  It’s a feeling like the hand of death, as it brushes by leaving a scar of remembrance so profound and ugly that you are disfigured for life;  still alive, but burdened with a never ending memory of what is to come.

For just a few minutes this morning, I watched the opening scenes of the 1993 movie, Class of 61.  It is not the best movie on the civil war but it did have an impact on me as it outlined the terrible division that separated this country for what seemed like a purely selfish endeavor.  But after deeper consideration and an attempt at empathy, on my part, I realized that the struggles of the South were just as real, just as important and just as emotional as those of the North.  

This is not a judgment of what was right or what was wrong.  At the time and for those involved there was only right and each side, both the North and the South knew without a doubt that they were right.  You can argue, you can disagree but the Southerners who seceded did so because they believed in their cause.  Belief is perhaps the most powerful emotion, it drives men and women to live beyond their senses, it motivates armies to fight and die, it drives humanity toward lives of purity and selflessness and the opposite as well, it drove the Southern states to war.

There is no fact, no supposed truth, nor argument to sway those who truly believe in a particular cause, even if that cause is to disrupt the beliefs of others, there is, however, a belief in action and that belief is their conscious choice.  It motivates, it drives, it inspires and it controls the very soul and persona into action and into the Hell or Heaven of each individual mindset, leaving logic and truth eating the dust of its advances or retreat.  

No one really knows if we’re heading into a new civil war or what the impetus will be for that conflict, nor the severity if any such conflict materializes but we can be assured that if we do nothing to stem the tide of this growing discontent than we will be subject to the consequences of our inaction.  The North of Lincoln’s day tried and failed, but they tried and finagled, legislated, negotiated and finally determined that war was inevitable.  When the shots at Fort Sumter rang out the options for diplomacy was in the past.  The first major Battle of Bull Run was the beginning and on July 21, 1861, our nation was at war with itself.

The forces of today are different but their beliefs, although different than the past, still constitutes a serious threat to our national union.  This may be a war simply over rhetoric and semantics, resolving without the serious loss of life but the consequences to one side over the other will still demand a sacrifice of those beliefs.

I am not trying to marginalize my beliefs, my standards, nor the constitutional framework that has served us so well.  I am trying to help us all to understand that these differences are similar to the differences fought during our Civil War, with the associated risks, damage and loss of life.  When we view our beliefs, our standards and our presumptions we must also accept the reality of the other side doing the same.   

I may believe I am right, with the desire to fight for those beliefs but it has also been shown that the other side, whoever that is and whatever their beliefs are, they have shown a willingness to do the same.  Like all war, the perception of evil against the enemy is absolute with very little common ground.  They view us the same as we view them.

This does not mean we forsake our beliefs, nor acquiesce to their demands but like Sun Tzu preached  we need to understand that Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.”

Our enemies understand this principle and attack our resolve every day, knowing that breaking that resolve is nothing more than inundating us with their words, their ideas and their threats, with a constant, never ending barrage of violence, protests, and accusations.  They understand that most of us will fall and will succumb to those negative actions, also knowing that when we fall we need not join them.  All they need from us is our unwillingness to fight, to stand our strong and simply go home.  

Sun Tzu also said, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”.  Have we decided what we believe?  Do we know what we believe?  What are we fighting for and for whom are we fighting?  Another great leader, Captain Moroni, did the following:  ...he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole...And he called it the Title of Liberty.”

“This above all: to thine own self-be true
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man/Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Ride of a Lifetime

Image result for bike ride through life cartoonWe are at a crossroads.  We are at a serious divide in our Humanity.  We are at the precipice between goodness and hatred.  This separation is real and is not simply my imagination.  The entire world is splitting apart, with very little variation in between the fractured separation.  Light and dark, up or down, cold or hot, rich or poor, the good vs the evil.  


We have the anarchist, the progressives, the liberals, we have the conservatives, the law abiding and the constitutionalist all vying for power, and all vying for control, neither it seems able to reach the other sides with any sustainable progress or understanding. Based on current world demonstrations and similar events in the US one would think that the entire world has gone insane.


There is hope as I have recently discovered.  Yesterday morning I went with my family to the beach in Oceanside California.  It was a beautiful clear day.  The temperature hovered around a perfect 71 degrees with a slight breeze coming from the ocean.  


We rented four bikes to ride over the San Luis Rey Trail, for me and my age, it was a perfect outing.  As we slowly rode our beach cruisers over this picturesque trail we passed many others doing exactly the same.  I didn’t take the opportunity to talk to many, and most were more concerned with their individual fitness goals to even look our way but in the process of riding we passed others that were riding, never concerning ourselves with the politics of the day.  


I have no idea who was a Trump supporter or who was not, who among them were Democrats or Republicans.  There were many with high end, expensive bikes and many with marginal rides, like the ones we rented.  There were those who were obviously struggling financially, using the bike trail and their own bikes as their sole means of transportation, leading me to believe (without evidence) that our commonality was based on our desire to use that pathway.


Along the path we passed a small airport that was shuttling jumpers that were descended in horrifying speed to a final stalled and spectacular landing.  We road passed the flowing San Luis Rey River with it’s protected green area filled with trees and birds of all kinds.   But it wasn’t the beauty of the area, it was the people, we were all engaged, preoccupied and moving toward a destination.  Our goals were different, our purposes different and our outcomes were different but in the process we all agreed.


We may not have known that we agreed or even considered there was an issue but as we rode  our little bikes and enjoyed the area we were actually one; leading me to the conclusion that their is a way to work together, evan under the most extreme conditions.  


There were no riots, no altercations, even when there was cause.  My daughter had an accident while riding, she crossed the line into the path of oncoming bike traffic and collided with another rider.  I stopped, the other father stopped, I apologized, my daughter held back her tears, the young man she collided with was mostly unhurt and we all went our way.  NO riot, NO name calling, NO blame, just understanding and a bit of compassion over the incident.


I know this is a simplistic look at what life could be, but it is what life could be if we all realize our commonality and our desire for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Even though those words are ensconced in our Constitution's Preamble they are a universal promise to all and a guide to all that when we work together we can truly accomplish great things.  


I also know that there are times when people must rise up to rebalance the imbalance imposed by governments and leaders but in that process, We the People should never forget, We Are the People and it is We who should work together by finding our commonality and strength.  It is ours to mold and either strengthen or destroy.  

Outside forces, manipulate our life’s journey and disrupt our ability to enjoy our ride, with our families. We the People should never be saddled with a pre-ponderous levels of external manipulation, nor an over abundance of internal emotions, like hate, or anger that disrupt our ability to see and think clearly.  We are the People, let’s act like it and regain our lives, our freedoms and our liberties.  

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Migraine Migration...

Image result for immigration cartoonThere is a statistic that is undeniable:  As reported from the Migrations policy institute the percent of immigrants now residing in the US has stayed consistent.  Even though the numbers of immigrants have risen sharply in recent years the percent of the immigrant population in the US has remained around 12%.


Regardless of your personal opinion regarding immigration the United States has been able to sustain a fairly consistent balance of those immigrating and those naturally born.  From a high in 1890 of 14.8% to the low in 1970 of 4.7 the range of immigrants allowed overall has never exceeded 15%.   Even today with all the demonstrations and all the arguments, the controversy over a “ban” or “pause” the total numbers of immigrants still fall within the National norm of past performance.  


The politics surrounding these demonstrations and the rhetoric of abuse is simply untrue and uncalled for.  Past Presidents have done similar and more extensive and exclusive bans brought on by past political pressures, societal concerns and economic needs:


  • May 6th, 1882, Chester A Arthur banned the Chinese to protect American workers.


  • WWII, 1939, Franklin Roosevelt bans Jewish immigration from Germany and reduces the total immigration of German Jews to 26,000 a year.  This ban resulted in approximately 200 Jews being put to death as a result of their forced return.
  • March 3, 1903, The Anarchist Exclusion Act banned anarchists and others deemed to be political extremists from entering the US.  This act was set into motion by the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901.
  • August 23, 1950, The communist ban.
  • April 7, 1980, President Jimmy Carter bans all Iranians from immigrating to the US.
  • 1987, Ronald Reagan, through the Senator Jesse Helms amendment, ban’s AIDS victims from immigrating to the US.

There are more examples of immigration bans instituted by virtually every president including Obama, both Bushes, and Clinton but for some reason when Trump does what others did he is a racist, a bigot and the worst human rights violator since Mao Zedong who killed more people than Hitler and Stalin combined.  


I can understand the need for hyperbole when trying to make a salient point but when there is no basis in fact then that hyperbole is simply a biased exaggeration and a complete lie in all regards.  What troubles me the most is the lengths the left will go to demean and discredit without regard to the obvious facts in evidence.  


The recent arguments regarding “fake news”  have to some been an eye-opening revelation about the nature of our “free and open press”, helping millions find their voice in the muddy river of lies and untruths.  These forgotten voters rose up and voted, giving Trump the nod of acceptance.  But now that same press that vilifies and marginalizes instead of simple reporting is fighting back, attempting to regain their position as the singular purveyors of this information age.


Similar in some regards to the quote by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto regarding the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Those forgotten Americans have risen to the challenge of their own Pearl Harbor and cannot be silenced, diverted nor marginalized by those who refuse to listen to reason, accept the truth and forsake their attempts to reshape America into something un-American.

Since when is it alright to resort to hateful demonstrations to further a cause of peace?  The answer is never if peace is the goal.  Those that hate will utilize hate and anger in their actions, their speech, and their writings, they’re easy to spot.  Gandhi proved that peaceful demonstrations could cripple an empire.  Demonstrate peacefully, keep your rhetoric civil, stop rioting and maybe someone will start to listen.