(This essay first appeared in the Times Advocate Newspaper May 24, 2017)
It is unsettling when I hear the phrase, "The Costs of War".
And every year around Memorial Day, discussions inevitably turn to whether or not wars are worth the costs. What bothers me is the misuse of the language. We should never suggest that war has a cost; in America, war is the cost of freedom.
Yes, it is very expensive! Just ask the millions who have died for the cause, and the millions of survivors of those who died in the defense of freedom.
Americans are unique in the world because we don't settle our political differences with violence. We only use or partake in war when some other group tries to restrict our freedom, or the freedom of one of our allies. And we do pay a heavy price, which is something some younger citizens can easily overlook. Since the Revolutionary War, America has sacrificed just under three million Americans to secure the freedoms too many of us take for granted.
Think about that for a moment; three million men and women voluntarily suffered a brutal death so you and I could spend this weekend barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers. And that doesn't come close to accounting for the millions and millions of servicemen and women who have been seriously maimed, psychologically damaged, and their families fractured by the damages incurred by war.
And what about the children, maybe two or three times as many people, most of whom, were very young at the time, having the direction of their lives drastically changed by the loss or destruction of a parent.
So the 'Costs of War' is a terrible phrase, a misplaced and misleading characterization of something that is very noble. Talking about war in that manner is an insult to our friends, our fathers and grandfathers, our sons and daughters, and our moms and other family members who paid the ultimate price only because they believed so strongly that if there was anything in life worth sacrificing their life for, it was the concept that all men should be free.
They gave their lives for us, freely and with the conviction that we would continue to do whatever was necessary to protect that basic human right for ourselves and our children. And those who come behind us that also cherish the precious idea that all men are created equal by God, and deserve to live in freedom, to pursue happiness and health and to have their government, made up of like minded men and women, help them by answering to them, not the other way around.
The next time you hear someone use that horrible phrase, please, stop them in their tracks, and politely refresh their memory, correct their grammar, and set them right.
War is a horrible thing. It is disgusting, sickening and repugnant. But living in servitude is not living at all. The best way to prevent both unacceptable conditions is to fiercely protect freedom once you have it, because losing your freedom is cheap, and in most cases it cannot be bought back at any price.
God bless our lost and damaged brothers and sisters of freedom! We love you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We pledge to honor your sacrifice and service, not just this Memorial Day, but every single day of our lives.
He said, "You need to calm down."
He was lecturing me about my activism, my writing and speaking about the threat that I perceive to the American way of life and the world we are leaving to our children. He was suggesting I was putting my marriage, and even my life, at risk by articulating my concerns about the direction of our country and our culture.
I value input from friends and neighbors and people with opposing points of view. I try to listen to their position, and not over-react or dismiss them out of hand. I realize we all have different histories, upbringing, and experiences, so it would be foolish to think we should all think alike.
But, as I always have, when I look at the politics of the moment, I try to place the news of the day into a cul-de-sac microcosm. It makes world and national events a little less intimidating if we look at them as though they were occurring on our street, between our neighbors. So when he said, "Be very careful what you say," I was outraged!
Don't you get it? Isn't that sort of intimidation precisely what is wrong with our current state of affairs? The idea that as Americans, we have to be concerned about expressing ourselves politically is abhorrent to my sense of freedom. That is like my neighbor coming over and telling me I should take down my American flag because it annoys him.
That kind of fear and intimidation is not new to the American spirit. It is reminiscent of victims of the Cold War, the threat of Imperial Japan, of Nazi Supremacists, of Communism, of Fascism and it has no place in our culture.
What is new is the idea that we should capitulate to it.
And the fact that we are even having this conversation is why I am compelled to speak out, to try to raise awareness and maybe, change some minds. So excuse me if I choose to exercise my Americanism.
I am not the one smashing windows and destroying private property. I am not the one burning American flags, impugning military service members and attacking police officers. I am not giving away tax dollars to provide healthcare for illegal immigrants, while our veterans wait for months for the healthcare rights they risked their lives to earn.
We are all experiencing a continuous erosion of our liberty. We all have to submit to body searches when attending sporting events and concerts, or when traveling. We must supply our private health and economic data to authorities when applying for a job, or to acquire a passport. We all have to maintain an enormous wall of security around our digital footprint. We are driving on roads that have been neglected, partly because the funds for repairs have been diverted to pay for schools that are overcrowded by non American students who have to be given special treatment because they do not speak English.
Now, we all have to give serious consideration to the safety of vacationing in Mexico, or traveling to many foreign countries, to attending large public gatherings, or especially political rallies.
The existential threat of being kidnapped, beaten or killed in a terrorist event is not just a one-in-million chance. We are being intimidated and our liberty is being limited every single day. And the problem gets worse by the hour.
So I would say, "You need to calm up!"
We can choose to live out the life that we have enjoyed for six or seven decades. We have been living in the Golden Age of the World. Our generation has enjoyed extreme levels of peace and tranquility, relatively speaking, and we have enjoyed extreme financial expansion of wealth and comfort. It would be easy to just look the other way and say, "I am done. I don't have a dog in this fight."
Fine, but isn't that a little selfish? What about your children and your grandchildren? Are you OK with just tossing them under the bus of the World Wide Caliphate, the war on our lifestyle, the war that we are currently fighting with our eyes closed and both arms tied behind our back? The war that we are losing?
I am just trying to wake you up from your Golden Slumber. If I am at risk because of it, that is, in my view, a paltry price to pay when I look at the sacrifices that many of my American brothers and sisters have made and are making for the very same cause.
If you look around the globe and compare cultures, is there one you would choose to live under that is more generous, more equitable, more inclusive, more socially tolerant, more harmonious than our unique American way? Do you see than decay that our community spirit has suffered in our lifetime?
I am more concerned about Cultural Change than Climate Change.
Remember those people who jumped from 100 stories up just before the collapse of the World Trade Center towers?
Yeh, those people. If they could speak from their grave, do you think they would appreciate what I am doing, or would they tell me to 'calm down'?
"We have has a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year. We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed. While we should have a larger conversation in the near future about a broader strategy for reengaging the beat press that covers HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton], for this we think we can achieve our objective and do the most shaping by going to Maggie."
---Nick Merrill, Press Secretary for the Don Hillary organization.
This is the true story of corruption of our political process, violations of the trust of the American public, shaping of the Fake News, which is essentially propagandizing against the truth.
This is just the tip of the iceberg that will eventually lead directly to BHO.
Remember when Clinton and Sanders acted outraged when Trump said the election process was rigged, and he might not accept the outcome of the election, unless, of course, he won?
The Democrat talking point was that by even suggesting that the election outcome was illegitimate, Trump was undermining our uniquely free and democratic American election process.
They suggested, no they pronounced, that anyone who would not accept the outcome was not patriotic. Of course they were certain at that point that Hillary would win.
So here we are, six months after Trump won, and guess what? It is the Democratic Party, the Progressive Movement, and the Deep State that former President Obama put into place during his administration, that are acting unpatriotically and undermining our 275 year-old Democratic Republic!
They are doing what Democrats always do when they don't get their way at the voting booth: they use the legal system to bully their way into control. They find sympathetic Judges to place injunctions on legislation or to vacate rulings or initiatives that they don't agree with. They use illegal leaks and the 'Useful Idiot' news media to bombard the public with unsubstantiated charges and unspecified sources, which is essentially propaganda.
The appointment of a 'Special Council' to investigate charges that have no basis in fact, is a perfect example of 'Legal Bullying'. They know it is near impossible to disprove innuendo and impossible to prove something didn't happen. They know from experience, that it will tie the hands of the administration and effectively neuter any conservative progress.
They use legal intimidation, the threat of litigation, Orwellian redefinitions of legal directives, of legislation, and case histories, many of which are nebulous and broadly based, to shape the public perception of the issue or issues that they want to control.
In this case, they want to overturn the decision by the American people, to place Donald Trump in the White House. Just as they have on decisions about abortion, gay marriage, gay rights, global warming, workplace quotas, misogyny and the minimum wage, about health care rights, Islamophobia, and everything that is considered important by leftists.
What the public wants is not important, because in the words of Hillary Clinton, those who disagree with Progressive utopian initiatives are "deplorable."
Progressives unapologetically condition their political views on the premise that those that disagree are too dumb to be trusted to make decisions about public policy. If you argue with that assertion, in their mind, you are unpatriotic. George Orwell created Comrad Napoleon, to illustrate the nature of Progressivism in his prescient novel Animal Farm:
“No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?”
(This piece first appeared in the Times Advocate Newspaper 5/8/2017)
In the recent Presidential election, Hillary Clinton was upset by a man Democrats, and many establishment Republicans, labeled as a bigot, a xenophobe and a misogynist. She spent millions on television ads, and she toured the country, pointing out how Donald Trump 'abused women' and was supported by 'Nazi sympathizers.' She asked voters if they could trust such a 'woman hater' to lead the free world.
Hillary pointed to her experience as First Wife, New York Congresswoman and her term as Secretary of State as her 'unprecedented' resume for assuming the presidency. Her spouse, former President Bill Clinton, said she was perhaps "the most qualified person" to ever run for the office.
Recently, Hillary has complained that among other factors, misogyny played a major role in her loss.
In a way, I agree with her. I believe she did suffer from misogyny and bigotry. That she was disrespected and her views dismissed by many sexist men. Moreover, her incessant whining about the role of woman in politics and business, were all driving forces in her failure to connect with many men. About that, she is right!
But American men were not the misogynists.
The extremely sexist men I am referring to are the world leaders that she encountered while Secretary of State, most of whom are blatantly misogynist. They would never admit it, but they had no respect for Madame Secretary. As she traveled the world, she erroneously assumed world leaders were too sophisticated to practice misogyny, that only American men were so culturally depraved.
As they have done with so much of the Obama term, the fawning media has painted her foreign affairs efforts as a success. But the truth is Clinton's track record was dismal. I believe history will show, it was her total failure as Secretary of State that doomed her Presidential ambitions.
And despite the 'Group Speak' of the mainstream press that Madame Secretary was sensational, the facts speak for themselves and American voters were paying attention. By the end of Obama's term, the world was on fire! Civil wars were raging in the Middle East and across the African continent and our relations with China, Russia and most of our allies were in complete disarray.
She said her reset of relations with Putin helped control Iranian nuclear ambitions, then shamelessly turned around and blamed Putin for destroying her chance to be President. She bragged about the Iranian deal that she claimed "put a stop" to their march towards nuclear armament. Since then, Iran has shown no inclination to adhere to the terms of the agreement. Libya, slowly falling into chaos, now supports a rapidly growing number of ISIS fighters and is the second largest Islamic State outside of Iraq and Syria. Her characterization of the security of Israel was 180 degrees out of sync with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As Secretary of State, Hillary dealt everyday with male misogynist dictators and demagogues from every corner of the planet! She failed to connect with them on any level, and they simply worked around her. They feigned respect, while undermining every initiative she offered. They may have signed agreements or treaties, but by any standard, few if any of them have been fulfilled.
Progressives mistakenly attribute prejudices and cultural bigotry to Western values. They misplace their anger and frustration by ignoring the real world, instead they whine about how things ought to be, blaming our advanced Western culture for human weaknesses that have existed since the dawn of civilization. Her feminist angst didn't sit well with leaders in Eastern Europe, in the Middle and Far East, and the African continent. For them, it is hard to empathize with a women from the richest, most advanced country in the world, who takes for granted her privilege.
In the end, American voters weren't fooled by her Orwellian historical reconstructions. Putting Hillary in the office of Secretary of State was a political calculation by Obama, driven by an ideological desire to show how tolerant and progressive he was. In hindsight, the facts speak for themselves; World leaders felt disrespected by Obama's 'in your face' appointment.
Progressive's preoccupation with 'symbolism over substance' rarely achieves anything tangible. As the results turn sour, leftists simply redefine success and move on to the next politically correct strawman.
Currently, Hillary and her demoralized followers are whining about the 'misinformed' woman voters who abandoned her. The 'white male' misogynists, and the 'alt-right' racists who undermined her campaign.. She is pointing fingers at the Russian 'boogey man' who 'manipulated' the election. She conveniently forgets that it was her resume that couldn't convince voters that she was the best person for the job.
The poor woman had no chance.
As is so often the case, people on the left look at problems and issues from a negative and stilted point of view.
Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who sobbed about the challenges his family faced when his son was born with a congenital life threatening condition, used his TV forum to criticize the Republican healthcare law just passed by the House, and he let his emotions affect his thought process.
His question, “... why are the vast majority of Republican politicians against making sure Americans are truly covered when it comes to health care?” is a loaded question. It presumes that Republicans, simply because they disagree on the means to insure people, do not want to insure people at all. He focuses on the emotional aspect, instead of the real issue: How do we protect people from catastrophic health costs, in a fair and equitable way?
Interesting isn't it, that leftists who are so preoccupied with trashing conservatives about their strong convictions, their 'black and white' assumptions, and their principled prescriptions, are the ones who make such unsupported leaps in judgement when it comes to massive social programs and how they are administered and paid for.
In his mind, unless the government is involved in forcibly transferring wealth across all levels of society for the specific purpose of paying for 'healthcare' (so we can all rest assured that we will never have any concern about medical expenses), than we will all be without any coverage or hope. In his diatribe, he made it clear that universal health insurance will only work as a Post-Office-style bureaucracy, or it will not exist at all! Talk about 'black and white' preconceived notions!
He implies Republicans WANT to deny most of us coverage, because presumably they hate children, old people, immigrants, people of color, celebrities and of course, the poor. His angry monologue indicates no critical thinking about the possibility that his collectivist solutions might actually make things worse. That Obamacare designs to tax our way to making healthcare a government entitlement would eventually destroy the quality of the service, and any semblance of high quality protection. Apparently, it hasn't occurred to him that a socialist version of healthcare would lead to a Venezuelan-style total melt down once providers realize they are no longer in business but are actually government employees.
I like Jimmy, and I want his son and all of our children to have what they need to live a long and happy life. It's a crying shame that not everyone has access to the top end medical services you do. But we have to work together to get there, and impugning the intentions of those who disagree with you is not going to promote solutions that are sustainable and that we can all be proud of.
Jimmy, come down from your podium, join the discussion, and if you really want to form a consensus, please stop pointing fingers.
Last night President Trump gave a Lincolnesque speech at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum commemorating the seminole Battle of the Coral Sea in World War II that was a turning point. He told incredible stories of the bravery and determination of our Aussie allies to stop fascism from conquering the world. His speech was, in my mind, a metaphor for how Americans must stick together and make sacrifices to save our Nation to protect liberty for all of mankind.
Meanwhile, the pundits are all over television and the internet making ridiculous claims that Donald Trump is a militarist dictator and a racist. That he is going to get America into an unnecessary war while depriving citizens of their constitutional rights.
There are riots in the streets and college professors sending students out to join in protest movements across the country. All of it designed to destroy Trumps presidency and reclaim the Progressive movement Barack Obama was leading for the past eight years.
Clearly the leftists in our country are desperate and the Democrats are feeling abandoned because their anointed Queen was not only defeated but embarrassed during the campaign.
What is now becoming abundantly clear is that many establishment Republicans are also feeling threatened by the Trump populist movement, and they are quickly aligning themselves with the more moderate Democrats.
Conservatives, who at first thought they had another Reagan in the White House are starting to worry that many of their most cherished goals are fading into a legislative fog, and that Trump may be too eager to achieve victories to stick to his promises of draining the swamp, which would presumably include many of the Old Guard establishment RINOS like McConnell and McCain.
Perhaps the truth is Trump is simly bigger than all of the everyday story lines.
In case you have been living under a rock for the past half century, our country is slowly sliding into another Civil War. But this time it isn't being fought with muskets and swords. This time it is being fought with electronic media weapons of mass dissemination. The information age is experiencing growing pains and it has become difficult to distinguish truth from fiction, lies from deception and right from wrong.
I would argue that Donald Trump won the Presidency precisely because so many Americans are concerned that the nature of our Union is under assault. Voters were looking for a Lincoln figure to heal our wounds, even if he prescribes some painful medicine to do it. And in many ways Trump is the modern day Lincoln. Not a conventional politician, Lincoln came to politics to interject some sanity to the process. Trump has said that his motives are just as patriotic and pragmatic.
Let me point out how the issue of slavery is still with us today. In the early 1800's it was considered acceptable to use imported black people to do the hard labor whites didn't want to do. Today, politicians say illegal immigration is a necessary evil because they do the work our kids won't do.
Plantation owners varied in the way they treated their slaves, but in most cases, they protected them, gave them medicine and housing, and thou by today's standards, they were essentially imprisoned, the Master's thought of themselves as humane and generous.
Democratic leaders in cities like Detroit and Baltimore think of themselves as protectors of the poor and disenfranchised. They provide housing, healthcare and welfare for the poor minorities who cannot take care of themselves. And though Democrats have been in elected positions of power for decades, the abysmal conditions have changed little since, well, the civil war!
In the 1800's the trade off for human exploitation was money for plantation crops and trade. Today it is for votes, another form of compensation that can lead to great wealth and the preservation of power and influence, mostly for Democratic plantation owners and their appointed allies, the Mainstream Media.
And though the Republicans were the Party pushing to free the slaves in 1861, many were half-hearted about it. President Lincoln was confronted with conflicts amongst his own party and the entrenched slave owner culture of the Democrats. He stood tall in his unwavering principles and humane instincts, only to be killed before he was able to see the Southern States rejoin the Union.
It is frightening to consider the parallels in the rise of Trump and demise of our proud institutions of open debate and diversity of thought. All of us, on the left and on the right, as we watch street warfare, ask ourselves, "What is wrong with these people?" I can only imagine the elders of the Union and Confederate combatants asked the same question.
Trump has been steadfast in confronting political correctness, which is in it's own way a form of servitude. American's sensed this when they went to the polls for him, as he was the only candidate willing to tackle the massive cabal of group thinking media elitists. Political correctness has devolved our schools, our entertainment, our social discourse, our sense of security and the relations we have with each other. Less tangible issues than those of states sovereignty, but just as divisive.
Lincoln, fearing the destruction of the Union, reached out to the average worker, the small business man and to older citizens, appealing to their sense of righteousness about what made America unique in a world dominated by aristocracy and religious hierarchies. Trump did exactly the same thing with disenfranchised males who have lost their jobs, their careers, their self esteem, even to some degree their role as head of a family. He reached out to Christians and Jews who feel threatened, to disenfranchised Muslims who hate watching their belief system being hijacked by psychopaths, and even to many moderate blacks who are fed up with pandering politicians using misplaced accusations of racism, bigotry and anti-semitism and Republican selfishness to keep the slaves on the proverbial plantation.
Many women feel disparaged by Progressive efforts to marginalize men, housewives and the nuclear family. Former Democratic Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women" suggesting it would be heretical to vote Republican. Many homosexuals were insulted when Democrats claimed that you can't be a gay Republican.
Diversity is turning out to be a straight jacket.
The point is, our nuclear family, America's social glue was being turned into quicksand for political expediency. And political correctness was the vehicle that allowed it to happen, and only Donald Trump had the issues of media misinformation and political correctness in his crosshairs.
This all begs the question, will all-out civil war erupted in America? Will the forces of anarchy grow to a point where we will all have to choose sides? Will our beleaguered President live to see his efforts to heal the nation through?
Though the journey for President Lincoln ended in his tragic assassination, let's never forget, his patriotic efforts saved the Nation.