Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Slices of life in America, 2015: The Good; The Bad, and The Ugly

Commentary by James Shott

The Good: Jordan Speith, 21 year-old Masters golf tournament champion - In this day of giant egos among athletes, entertainers and politicians, we hardly ever expect to see someone behave with dignity and humility when they have a big success.

But following his magnificent win at the Masters on April 12, where he shot a 2-under-par 70 in the final round to finish with an 18-under 270, four shots ahead of three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson and 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose.

This was his fourth win worldwide in four months, placing him No. 2 in the world. But no self-congratulatory, boastful behavior comes from this young man. “It's the most incredible week of my life," he said. "This is as great as it gets in our sport. … This isn't an honor that's carried lightly.”

He is as even when things don’t go so well. A bad tee shot on the 16th hole in Sunday’s final round elicited a disgusted "dang it!"

"He's just a classy guy," Phil Mickelson said of him on Saturday. "He just represents the game very well and at a very young age, and he's just got a lot of game. So if he were to come out on top, it would be wonderful for the tournament, wonderful for the game."

The Bad: Silly enforcement of a San Antonio ordinance - It’s another case of government run amok, sometimes seeing the good things people do as bad, and following sometimes-silly rules that interfere with religious freedom and the good works people do.

San Antonio lawyer and author Joan Cheever owns The Chow Train, a licensed non-profit food truck that she uses to provide hot, healthy meals to the homeless each week. She has been doing this since 2005, feeding between 25 and 75 homeless people each time. But four of San Antonio’s Finest took exception to this voluntary effort to help those less fortunate, and issued Ms. Cheever a $2,000 ticket.

When she told one of the officers she was merely following the tenets of her religion, he responded, “Ma’am, if you want to pray, go to church.” The officer apparently is not familiar with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which clearly allows one to freely practice their religion whether in church or not, something that is of a higher authority than city ordinances.

Charitable works have been under attack for decades by a growing attitude among big government advocates that holds, despite dramatic evidence to the contrary, that government can do it better. And now in San Antonio government directly halts a private sector effort to help people in need, people that the city government is not feeding once a week, as does Ms. Cheever.

She will appear in court on June 23 to defend herself, and plans to argue that this expression of her religious convictions is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Let us hope the court will see the value of her works, and allow her to follow her charitable impulses to help the less fortunate unimpeded.

The Ugly: Two examples - “Ugly” is a term with a variety of meanings, and applications: very unattractive, disagreeable, unpleasant, objectionable, morally revolting, threatening or dangerous, mean, and is applied to things that are really dumb and defy common sense.

With that in mind, two ugly items:

* A New York Police Department officer who drove his replica of the General Lee car from “The Dukes of Hazard” TV show to work has been told by his superiors not to drive it to work anymore. Why? Because the General Lee has a Confederate flag painted on its top, and some might consider that offensive. According to a local TV news report, a police spokesman said, “due to the fact that its presence at the NYPD facility may be considered offensive and/or inappropriate, the registered owner is being instructed that the car should not be parked on NYPD property.” Maybe the officer should be forced to sell the car as a provision of continued employment, so he can’t offend anyone, even when he’s off duty. No one must be offended. Ever.

* A Virginia college girl and two friends were set upon in her car in a store parking lot after making a purchase by seven plainclothes officers of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency. The girls did not realize the un-uniformed people were law enforcement agents, and got scared when the agents aggressively approached their car. They tried to escape, prompting one officer to pull a gun and another to try to break out a window with a flashlight. In the effort to escape, the driver brushed two of the officers. She was later charged with three felonies and spent the night in jail. What had these girls done? The officers “thought” they “might” have bought beer and “might” have been under age. They had bought bottled water, not beer. Eventually, the charges against the girl were dropped. Who thinks hiding in store parking lots waiting to catch under-age customers buying beer is efficient use of ABC resources and taxpayer money?

Cross-posted from Observations

Monday, April 20, 2015

Where is America's Heart and Soul?

Sunday evening the headline read;

The White House issued a statement condemning the beheadings (of an apparently unknown number) of Christians.

Well that was touching.

NOT !

Americans should Stand Down until America stands back up. 



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Countdown to Hillary


Countdown to Hillary

 

Bad news travels fast. Hillary Clinton, the immortal, has entered the fray for the 2016 Democrat presidential nomination. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/hillary-clinton-2016-election-presidential-launch-116888.html The dust from Hillary’s last attempt has not fully settled into the shadows, yet her second run is fully underway. On this go around her focus is to connect with the common man. The latter is so comical one must partition reality from the factual insanity from which it is derived. Hillary has stepped away from the rarified domain in which she lives to give the appearance she cares about the “little people.” Her announcement came in the form of a website release not in a gathering of prospective voters. Her last news conference was a disaster. No one can blame her for staying miles away from the nearest journalist. Hillary will take her campaign on the road to small venues with pre-selected audiences. Her admirers will flood the media with positive attributions but those at a distance will question the very basis of her candidacy. With few competitors on the Democrat side vying for the nomination Mrs. Clinton appears to have a clear path to her goal. Yet the drum beats for more balance in her party and we may soon see others of note enter the political cauldron.

 

Hillary Clinton craves power, prestige and most of all money. During her tenure as Secretary of State many suspect she padded her own pockets via the Clinton Foundation. While representing American interests in the Middle East her Foundation took in large sums from countries less than friendly to the United States. Some believe a quid pro quo was involved. She had defended the work of the Foundation yet the stench of duplicity surrounds her and the private foundation that bears her name.

 

Equally as bad was Hillary’s management of emails during her reign as Secretary of State. Hillary, similar to Obama, believes she is above regulations and laws which govern the rest of us. When the Benghazi Committee requested her emails none were forthcoming. Why? She utilized a private computer server instead of one issued to her as Secretary of State. These recent revelations were made worse when it was discovered that her private server emails were erased. Hillary has refused to turn over this server. This controversy will not abate as the 2016 campaign moves forward. What is Hillary trying to hide?

 

With Hillary’s current attempts to galvanize support for a very iffy presidential campaign the public’s introspective eye will follow her everywhere. http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-hillary-clinton-campaign-iowa-2016-20150414-story.html The Clintons represent a time that has passed. Each of them is saddled with burdens decades old which haunts every appearance they make. Though Hillary has no real competition from potential Democrat rivals Martin O’Malley and Joseph Biden inspirational voices on the Republican side may drown hers out. The shock of Mrs. Clinton attempting to relate to the “common man” defines exactly who she is. She is a dispirited individual who will malign the system in any manner which brings her closer to the Oval Office. I believe she is misreading the political tea leaves. Her candidacy is doomed from the start because its foundations are layered with paper not cement. For an extremely intelligent woman she appears to move through life with blinders on. When the going gets tough she will abandon her presidential ambitions and return to presenting half-hearted speeches at $450,000 each. Until then her universe of one may end sooner than later for a presidential run that was never meant to be.

 

Mark Davis MD, President of Davis Writing Services. Author of Demons of Democracy, Obamacare: Dead on Arrival, A Prescription for Disaster and the forthcoming book: Sexual Predilections of the Political Mind.

www.daviswritingservices.com platomd@gmail.com

State Board acts to allow the light of day into public schools

Commentary by James Shott

An email last week from the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and a story in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph the following morning noted that the West Virginia Board of Education voted to open up state teaching standards so that students would be able to consider both sides of a contemporary debate.

Say, what? The state Board of Education had to have a special vote to allow more than one side of a critical issue to be studied in West Virginia’s public schools? Well, yes, more or less, since the Next Generation Science Standards that the BOE was considering for adoption were worded such that global warming is settled science, and therefore not a proper topic for debate.

During the deliberations on the standards last December, the Charleston Gazette reported that BOE member Wade Linger requested several changes be made to the standards prior to their being offered for public comment, like this one: “There was a question in there that said: ‘Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century,” Mr. Linger was quoted as saying. “... If you have that as a standard, then that presupposes that global temperatures have risen over the past century, and, of course, there’s debate about that.” He suggested adding the words “and fall” after “rise” to the sixth-grade science standard, and that change some others were adopted.

Then the Gazette reported on January 14 that following a period of public comment the BOE yielded to criticism from “teachers, professors and others,” and withdrew the changes, and again opened a period of public comment.

One wonders exactly what “teachers, professors and others” fear from opening debate on this topic, or any topic?

CFACT reports that Executive Director Craig Rucker, and climate news and information service editor Marc Morano, along with students from West Virginia University and Marshall University who belong to CFACT Collegian chapters at the schools, all testified before the Board.

On April 8 the Board voted to open up teaching standards to permit students to consider both sides in the climate debate by a 6-2 vote. CFACT reported that, “Supporters of the changes, including board members Wade Linger and Tom Campbell, argued that ‘science is never settled’ and that debate will lead students into a deeper understanding of the issue.”

Let’s congratulate the state BOE for finally getting it right, and award special kudos to Mr. Linger and Mr. Campbell for their leadership in blowing away the dark clouds of censorship, and opening the way for contrary ideas to be voiced and discussed. And let’s also acknowledge the efforts of CFACT and WVU and MU students for taking a stand for openness in public education.

Some issues are considered beyond debate, like that the Earth orbits the Sun and the Moon orbits the Earth, that day follows night and night follows day, and that the Earth is not flat. But that does not mean that there can’t be any discussion or that some can’t reject those ideas if they so choose.

In the early 1600s it was “settled science” that the Earth was the center of the universe, a view held by virtually all scientists of the time and by the Catholic Church, supported by Biblical references. Then came Galileo, a scientist who professed heliocentrism – a sun-centered system in which Earth and other heavenly bodies all orbited the Sun – a theory he had developed through observations.

His heretical ideas, like those of today’s climate realists who disagree that man’s activities are contributing to any meaningful degree in the Earth’s temperature, were out of step with the current dogma, but were correct that Earth was not the center of the universe. For daring to express contrary ideas, Galileo faced the Inquisition, and in 1616 was ordered “... to abandon completely... the opinion that the sun stands still at the center of the world and the earth moves, and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing.”

Galileo was correct that Earth was not the center of the universe, and his theory displaced the previously held “settled science” of geocentrism. Only later would Galileo’s heliocentric idea be found to also not be completely accurate. Settled science once again fell to objective investigation.

One gets the idea that climate alarmists’ positions are so weak that they have to prevent contrary views from being aired for their ideas to win the day.

However, limiting discussion of controversial topics is precisely the wrong thing to do. Why would any reasonable and objective person object to discussing opposing views of important issues such as global warming/climate change, abortion, gun control, vaccinations, the “right” and “wrong” kinds of foods and drinks to consume? As BOE members Linger and Campbell pointed out, such openness will lead only to a deeper understanding of the issues.

There is certainly nothing wrong with the concept of standards of learning, but school boards at every level must be careful to assure that by adopting a set of standards they are not actually imposing ideological perspectives on young, impressionable minds.

Cross-posted from Observations

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Crossroads to Armageddon


Crossroads to Armageddon

 

Nightmares never leave us. Attached to our psyches they wait for the signal to remerge. As a child coming of age in the 1960s the fear of nuclear annihilation was ever present in the media. This fear was represented by nuclear mushroom clouds expanding across placid skies. Reality clashed with this hypothetical when Russian missile placements were observed on the island of Cuba. President Kennedy, fearing the worst, took immediate action to diffuse this communist nation’s encroachment into the Western Hemisphere. Without this strong President’s leadership the beginnings of World War Three would have been a few steps away. Fifty years later this country is once again battling for its future.

 

Scattered across the Iranian landscape are dozens of facilities established for one end purpose, enrichment of Uranium for bombs. http://www.jpost.com/International/Die-Welt-Iran-building-rocket-bases-in-Venezuela Utilizing nearly 20,000 centrifuges Iranian workers are closing in on their ultimate goal. America, not fully cognizant of Iran’s weapons status, is blindly negotiating a treaty to curtail a program that may have already come to fruition. John Kerry, the present Secretary of State, back stabbed his fellow Vietnam Vets during his formative years by testifying against them before Congress. Trust is not one of Kerry’s strong points. Forty years later he is the lead negotiator for a treaty with Iran. With a lack of transparency Kerry and Obama have released little on the framework of this proposed treaty. Speculation is Obama desperately wants this treaty no matter who he throws under the literal bus. In the event this is a legacy moment for the Commander-in-Chief he has failed. Instead Obama is writing an epitaph for the America he hates and the Israel he loathes.

 

Reports of Iranian missile placements in Venezuela have been carried by foreign news sources. http://www.jpost.com/International/Die-Welt-Iran-building-rocket-bases-in-Venezuela American media has been quiescent on this subject. Once operational these missiles could reach continental United States in a matter of minutes. With Iran’s rapid development of fissionable material these missiles could be tipped with warheads which can decimate American cities on a whim. Essentially the Cuban Missile crisis has come to the 21st century. Obama, oblivious to the Constitution, does not have the courage to invoke the Monroe Doctrine. Striking are the differences in leadership between John Kennedy and Barack Obama. Kennedy led us away from a nuclear holocaust. Obama is leading us towards one. Perhaps that was the plan from day one. When Obama took the oath of office in 2009 he swore to uphold the Constitution and defend America. From this small perch Obama’s real motives were to dismantle American institutions, traditions and its industrial base. He is on his way to succeeding with these goals. My recommendation is build a Civil Defense shelter because Iran and others are coming our way.

 

Mark Davis MD, President of Davis Writing Services. www.daviswritingservices.com and platomd@gmail.com
Author of Obamacare: Dead on Arrival, A Prescription for Disaster

Notice: You are breaking one or more federal laws and/or regulations

Commentary by James Shott

Most of us probably think of ourselves as law-abiding, up-standing American citizens. We pay our taxes on time. We keep our drivers licenses and inspections up to date. We don’t shoplift, or take illegal drugs. We don’t murder, rob, rape or assault others. That’s the way law-abiding citizens think and act.

And yet, I am willing to bet some money that every one of us has breeched or is on the wrong side of some federal decree.

I say that with a high degree of confidence because there are so many of these edicts from on high that nobody – not you, not law enforcement, not even the judges at whose mercy we will find ourselves if charged for breaking one – knows them all.

You see, here in the Land of the Free there are between 3,600 and 4,500 federal statutes that impose criminal sanctions, according to Michael Cottone, writing in the Tennessee Law Review.

As bad as that is, the ridiculously high number of federal laws pales in comparison to the number of regulations created by administrative agencies that carry criminal penalties, maybe as many as 300,000 of them.

With that knowledge, the old maxim “ignorance of the law is no excuse” is now a mere absurdity.

Of course, if we actually were to follow the dictates of the U.S. Constitution – a quaint idea, these days – at least some of those 300,000 regulations aren’t valid, since the only authorized law-making entity at the federal level is the Congress, and the Constitution does not authorize the Congress to abdicate that duty, and pass it along to the excessive number of unelected bureaucrats in the too-many Executive Branch agencies, departments, administrations, commissions and offices.

The Constitution sets forth the following: Article I, Section I: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” That’s about as plain as it can be. Notice it does not say, “except where Congress decides to cede that authority to the Executive Branch.”

Some laws are downright stupid, or sometimes are applied stupidly:
* A child saved a woodpecker from her family’s cat and was fined $535 under the migratory bird law.
* A 66-year-old retiree went to prison because he didn't have proper paperwork for orchids.

Some are irrational; others are conveniently broad and through twisted reasoning are used to punish American individuals and businesses. Consider the case of Gibson Guitars: On August 24, 2011, agents of the federal government executed four search warrants on Gibson manufacturing plants in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, where they seized pallets of wood, electronic files and finished guitars. Other than making excellent musical instruments, what had Gibson done?

Public servants in the Department of Justice determined that using wood from India that was not finished by workers in India is illegal, not by U.S. law, but because of the way the DOJ interpreted Indian law. The feds argued that Gibson violated the Lacey Act of 1900, which outlaws the use of plants and wildlife that have been taken or traded in violation of foreign law.

Apparently, Gibson is supposed to have known that Indian companies broke Indian law and sold wood illegally, thereby making Gibson subject to prosecution in the U.S. Seriously.

CEO Henry Juszkiewicz said Gibson competitors also use this same wood, and wondered why his company had been singled out. Fair question. Regardless, Gibson paid $300,000 to avoid criminal charges, was forced to make a "community service payment" of $50,000 to the U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to promote conservation and development of tree species used in making musical instruments, as well as withdraw claims to $262,000 worth of exotic woods seized by federal authorities.

It is unfair and oppressive to hold taxpaying citizens to the impossible standard of knowing and obeying every one of the hundreds of thousands of laws and regulations that might affect them, but in addition to that, perpetuating circumstances that allow prosecutors to haul people into court and potentially fine or imprison them on the flimsy basis that they should actually know all these decrees is outrageous, although Mussolini, Pol Pot, and Stalin would approve.

"The criminal code today is so vast and complex that judges and lawyers have a lot of trouble discerning what's legal and what's illegal," John Malcom, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told the House Judiciary Committee. "What hope do ordinary citizens have?" The government should be required to identify every federal crime, he said, and make that list easily accessible and free to the public.

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers president Steven Benjamin testified that when the average citizen cannot figure out what is illegal, "that is unfairness in its most basic form. We have become addicted to the use of criminal law as a blunt instrument to control social and economic behavior."

George Terwilliger, former deputy attorney general in George W. Bush’s administration, thinks Congress should pass one overriding law that requires proof of intent for any federal crime.

Contact your representative and senators and tell them to implement the Malcom and Terwilliger recommendations.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Talking about the problem does nothing to solve the problem!

Take A Stand - Shout It Out 




 An alternative for today 

Great minds discuss STRATEGIES 
Average minds dwell on problems 
Small minds discuss people

                                    Eleanor Roosevelt (w/revisions)                      
                               



America needs freedom troopers not blow- hards whining about the situation.

Here is the rub: 

Conservatives, as I have observed, spend lots of time bloviating - railing about America's problems and talking about the people causing them - what is worse they primarily do so to others of like minds. Not the opposition or the young people that need to know how much America has declined. 

They are often times more interested in showing how smart they are to each other but they shy away from entering the fray.  Too many I meet are weak in their convictions, scared of being criticized by the leftists. 

Patriots Stand Up 
Be Proud 
Shout it Loud

Jesus Died for Us
Make him Proud

Stand up against
Christian and Jewish Oppression

Twitter is a POWERFUL tool 
Use IT!