Monday, August 25, 2014

The Warfighter

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

As we know, the Presidents we elect need to wear many hats. I am sure that each President likes some of the hats better than others. One of the most important hats any President can wear is the hat of Commander in Chief. It is a very, very important job. Keeping the nation and it's citizens safe by the use of our military is not something to be taken lightly.

Already historians are putting together the bio on our current Commander in Chief. What some are saying is simply this - he wants nothing to do with war or being a warfighter. According to the President's base, he was "stuck" with two wars that this predecessor got us into. Our current President vowed that if elected and subsequently re-elected, he would have us totally out of Iraq and Afghanistan. After all, Osama was dead, and the War on Terror was over. 

That is the script. However, our current President hates to go off script. That is what happened in Egypt when during the Arab Spring the Muslim Brotherhood turned out to be radicals, and therefore unfit to govern. This is what happened in Libya when after we helped topple Gaddafi, we watched helplessly as the country devolved into chaos and Benghazi. This is what happened in Syria when after Assad gassed his people, we drew a red line in the sand, only to watch Assad's troops march right over it. This is what happened in Crimea when after we threatened Russia with sanctions, "reset" Putin marched right in and stole a country.

We are now going to witness how our President deals with the most serious threat of his Presidency. What kind of a warfighter will he be? Is he going to go against his generals (again) when they tell him that ISIS constitutes the most CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER to our country since 9/11? Is he going to go against his Secretary of Defense who was nervous about this growing cancer in Iraq and Syria, he almost wet himself on national TV? Is he going to stick with pin point bombing of a few terrorists and then write a nasty letter to their leadership?

History will judge him on he acts or reacts to the current threat level. If we returns from Martha's Vineyard and is focused exclusively on the Michael Brown funeral, we are in big trouble. However, that is where his instincts lie. As a former community organizer, today's funeral is a "red meat" issue for the President. The stuff going on in the Middle East - not so much.

Now as many know, I am not a big fan of this President. I will not go detail on why as that is just to re-plow old fields. However, he is still out President. Love him or hate him, he is our leader. We can't wait until 2016 to address the issue of ISIS. It needs to addressed now. Our President will need to do something he loathes - he must become a warfighter. Not only a mild warfighter like Clinton was - he must become a Ronald Reagan warfighter. His words must be immediately followed by actions. No rhetoric, no threats, just action.

Welcome back from vacation Mr. President. Now use your authority in what remains of the War Powers Act and show the bad guys they kicked sand in the wrong face. It is time to man up.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Are we going to be okay?


"When it comes to paying attention, there is a difference between Chicken Little and acting like an ostrich..."

Now I really try not to buy into a lot of conspiracy theories. Many have a modicum of truth mixed in with quite a bit of urban legend. That being said, I am perplexed with the clandestine use of Army Ranger copters buzzing around downtown Minneapolis at night. Because of our Posse Comitatus law, these military assets can simply not be training for a domestic disturbance. No, I suspect this is something bigger. Something our government is really trying to keep the lid on.

There are some additional disturbing facts that something might be going on behind the scenes. This past April, the United States Post Office put out a solicitation to buy some small arms ammo. Our letter carriers? Really? That however, was just the latest of U.S. Government solicitations for agency ammo. Some of the other eye openers are:
  • DHS - 450 million rounds
  • FBI - 100 million hollow point rounds
  • Agriculture - 320,000 rounds
  • NOAA - 46,000 rounds
  • SSA - 174,000 ".357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow point" rounds
One of the things I learned after working for more than two decades with NSA is this - many times our government is like a duck. Things may look calm on the surface, but under the water things are moving very quickly.

So what does all this mean? I have no superior knowledge on this. Heck, I could not even hazard an intelligent guess. However, my spider senses are starting to tingle a bit. With more and more experts believing that ISIS has already breached our borders, along with more and more  Boko Haram and ISIS terrorists holding or Euro US passports, are we preparing for an urban assault on our shores?

The witch's brew of bad things committed terrorists will do is daunting and growing.  They are bold and growing bolder. Their attacks can range anywhere from small incursions on soft targets to something much bigger and bolder than 9/11. Again, I am not trying to be a conspiracy theorist - however, I can also read tea leaves. Something is up. Something our government is not telling us. This might all be much to do about nothing - or, it could be "something" so scary, it could cause domestic panic.

I have said this dozens of times before, and I will say it again. As citizens, we can only really only do two things. The first is to PAY ATTENTION. There is so much going on right now, you really need to separate the wheat from the shaft. Filter though the maze and find what is relevant in the news. Number two is to bunker up. Think of worst possible scenarios and how you and your family would survive them. Make sure you are not as helpless as thousands in New Orleans were after Katrina hit.

Are we going to be okay? I sure hope so. We live in very turbulent times right now. Not to believe that is no different than living in the Matrix. And we know how that turned out.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

So - who is JV now?


"The British Press now refers to the ISIS problem in Syria as Obama's Golf War..."

It really pains me to say this. A few months ago, when our President referred the latest group of international thugs as "JV", I cringed. I cringed for a couple of reasons. First, for a President, who got into office with the thinnest of resumes, to call someone else "JV", took some stones. Second, we did not know much about ISIS at that time - however, I as a citizen, knew enough to take this group very seriously.

This group threatened to kill an American in the most grotesque way. And they did, by publically cutting off his head. They have also threatened to fly their black flag over the White House. One Senator said the other day they are planning a "9/11 attack" on one of our major cities. Everything this group claims they want to do, I take seriously. Why? All of my life I have only really feared one type of person. And this is a person who has nothing to lose. This group, like Al Qaeda did, looks at death as nothing more than martyrdom. As much as we cherish life, ISIS has no regard for it what so ever.

As we continue to cut our military, send pink slips to thousands of our middle grade officers, ISIS numbers keep growing. Seems like just yesterday we estimated their numbers to be 10,000. Now we estimate them to be 17,000. They have the ability to recruit from all over the world, including Western countries. We are sure the one who decapitated Foley was a Brit. We also know there are Americans in this group, possibly even some from Minnesota.

One terror expert said this group is so brazen, they might even try some attacks on a small scale. For example, a terrorist armed with an AK-47 and some explosives hitting the MOA or a sporting event. Or a church service, like they are doing in Iraq. The terrorist would not care if he was shot dead while doing this heinous act. Remember - martyrdom.

Mr. President, I know this is not your cup of tea, but get ready for war. This group of "JV" terrorists has suddenly grown up to be (as Chuck Hagel put it), "like nothing we have ever seen before." Put the Pentagon on war footing, come up with a battle plan, and fix this problem before it fixes us. Our fragile economy cannot take another hit like we took on 9/11. We don't want anymore innocent people to die. Get back to work, get your suit on, and act like the Commander in Chief.

Friday, August 22, 2014

My CTRCM Shipmate


"This is only one of thousands of tales of boys becoming men while in the service of their country..."

We were just a bunch of goofy 18 and 19 year old kids. We all went in the Navy for different reasons - some to escape the draft, some for the "Navy experience", and a few because they wanted to be Navy "spooks". It was just a Hodge Podge of boys, barely out of high school, who came together to serve in the Navy, and do what we thought was good.

After basic training was over, some of us received orders to Pensacola. We were stationed at a command located on a air base called Corry Field.  A few of us became fast friends. Myself, Terry, Jim, Scott and others would hang out after class was over. We worked hard and played hard. We all suffered through the rigors and testing of the first phase of crypto training. Somehow we all passed and went on to the advanced training. Once there, it only got harder. Some did not make it, and then were gone. Since Viet Nam was still going strong, there were many sea billets available for those looking for a home.

Upon graduation, I received orders to Okinawa. Other than knowing it had some WWII history, I really did not know much it. Terry, Jim and Scott all went to the Philippines (PI) for duty. As wild as Okinawa was before it became part of Japan, the PI was wilder. It some areas, it was almost like a war zone. The anti-Japanese terror group called the Hukbalahaps (Huks) were still on the islands. They had evolved and were now communist and anti-American. As a military man, to encounter Huks in the wrong place or the wrong time, could be deadly.

If you were stationed on the PI, there were plenty of opportunities. You could fill a shore billet, or put in for some TAD (temporary) sea duty off the coast of Viet Nam. Terry and Jim decided to go for the sea duty tours. Scott, on the other hand, wanted something even more exciting. He applied for and was accepted into "sea, air survival" school. While there, he earned his wings. He was going to be an crypto operator on a P3-C Orion platform. Most of the P3-C planes were used for anti-submarine warfare - some however, were used for "low and slow" crypto missions over Viet Nam. And that is exactly what Scott signed up for.

On one mission, Scott's P3-C was flying up by the DMZ. A Viet Cong Triple A position saw it coming and let loose a volley. Scott was sitting in the back of the plane with his typewriter between his knees and his headphones on. The rounds came up through the plane and fortunately, missed everyone. However, one went right through Scott's typewriter, missing him by only inches. Scott ended with shrapnel from what remained of his typewriter, and had to spend some time healing in the base hospital.

I regained contact with Jim and Terry at my next duty station up in Maine. It was great to be together as us "boys" had all become men. Nobody seemed to know much about Scott. Somebody heard he re-enlisted and as an incentive, was given orders to Scotland.

After receiving my honorable discharge from the Navy, I went back to college and earned a degree. I went back in Naval Reserve and earned a commission. Many years later, I was a Lieutenant on two a week reserve duty at a crypto station by Washington. One day, while coming back from lunch, a master chief was walking up the sidewalk towards me. As he was getting ready to salute, he paused and we looked at each other. It was Scott. He had made it all the way up the ladder to Master Chief - the highest you can go in the Navy as an enlisted man. It was like old times all over again. I don't now who was more surprised - me, seeing Scott as a Master Chief, or Scott, seeing me as a Lieutenant!

This is just one story I wanted to share about military life a few decades ago. The memories of the Viet Nam are starting to fade as more and more of the vets are now leaving us. Whether we are Viet Nam vets or Viet Nam era vets, we have been encouraged to share our stories. I really wanted to share this story about Scott, as his story really needed be told. To be, Scott's story is about determination, bravery and accomplishment. It is only one of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, that should be shared by those who served. 

The enemy of my enemy is still my enemy


"Having this guy on our side will be worse than supporting Saddam during the Iraq/Iran War..."

It has been said that politics makes strange bedfellows. What has not been said, but is probably still as true, is war and conflicts make even stranger bedfellows. After the Pentagon's news conference yesterday, it became clear that we are going to be doing SOMETHING in Syria as well as Iraq. All of a sudden the light has gone on and we realize that ISIS needs to be dealt with at their source. And that source right now is in Iraq and Syria.

It just seems like yesterday that our President was painting a bright red line in the sand for Assad not to cross. And yet he did, as chemical weapons were used on his own people. Not only were chemical weapons used, but Assad was throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the rebels. As fighting continued, the numbers of dead and wounded continued to rise. Now well over 100,000. As the United States stood by and did NOTHING, Syria was coming apart at the seams.

Just like in Libya, a new group of terrorists saw an opening and opportunity in Syria. All of a sudden, the true freedom fighters, who were in a struggle against the tyrant Assad, had real bad apples fighting right next to them. ISIS had sensed the fertile ground which was developing in Syria. They also believed this land was part of their heritage, part of the Levant from centuries ago. This upstart group, which few had head about only a couple years ago, now had credibility. They had money, power, and a message. They recruited internationally, their numbers began to swell, and they are an army of 17,000.

Back to today. POTUS might be on the golf course, but the brass from the Pentagon are not. This rapidly emerging new threat has worry beads out of deck drawers and into fidgeting hands. The rapid growth and daring of this group has caught our State Department flat footed. This is now a wake up call. It is the ice bucket dumped on the heads of war weary war planners. We might have to reinsert ourselves in the region with boots on the ground. By doing so, we might need to fight side by side with troops supporting the hated Assad.

As messy as our involvement was in Iraq during the Gulf War and then the Iraq War, this will be far messier. However, to do nothing could spell disaster for Israel, Europe and the United States. Just like some cancers are easy to treat if caught early, this group can be stopped now with the proper resolve. However, to keep golfing while the cancer spreads across the region, will make our prognosis much darker.

The enemy of my enemy is still my enemy. However, my enemy might have to be my temporary bedfellow. Move over Assad - we might be climbing into bed with you for a while.    

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Feeling BUFF


"BUFF is a term the Air Force gave these monsters. It stood for Big Ugly Fat F......"

Yes, the picture above is really a B-52, coming back from a mission. Yes, the B-52 is coming back from a bombing mission over Viet Nam. Yes, I took this picture - I really am that old.

I was stationed on Okinawa in 1970/1971. It was before the Ryukyuan Islands officially became a part of Japan in 1972. I was in a small Navy detachment quartered on an Army Base, located right next to a giant Air Force Base called Kadena. Kadena Air Force Base was a home base to a squadron of B-52s, F-4s and the now famous "Habus" (SR-71s).

Quite often in my time off, I would go down to the beach and watch B-52s take off for another bombing mission. They would leave in a group of three planes. They were simply awesome to watch take off. They were so loaded down with fuel and bombs, each wing had four engines and two extra wheels on the tips. When they finally were airborne after taking up almost 2 miles of runway, their wings were so heavy with fuel, they made the planes look like bats in flight. Once all three B-52s were airborne, a C-141 tanker would immediately take off to give these birds a drink. The planes used up so much fuel just getting to altitude, they needed a drink to ensure they could complete the mission.

What we would hear through "channels" was this. The enemy feared these planes more than anything else. They could not see the planes. However, they could hear the whine of the bombs dropping. And then it would be concussion explosion after concussion explosion. They could not stand it. It literally drove the enemy nuts.

The reason I bring this up is simple. We still have BUFFs (the latest version) as well as B-1s and B-2s. We could use these weapons from high altitude, far away from the range of shoulder fired SAMS. We could really ruin the day for ISIS. We could pulverize them and demoralize them with non-stop bombing. Even if we did not hit them directly, the concussion of the explosions would disorient them. It is a weapon we can use with minimum cost and maximum effect. And we could use it tomorrow if need be.

Now is the time to act. With the severed body of James Foley barely a few days old, now is the time employ our assets. If ISIS wants to live in millenniums past, fine. We will show them what our weapons from a few decades past will do. I am a believer in mercy - we should show the same mercy they showed to Mr. Foley. Mr. Foley who did NOTHING wrong.  

Should we just nuke em?


"Their fate is sealed. They are all dead men walking..."

You have to admit one thing. It is pretty bad when the Holy Father calls for your destruction. And when the President of the United States refers to your group as a "cancer". Yesterday's news of the beheading of the  American journalist James Foley did something to this country I have not seen since 9/11 - it unified us in anger and resolve. ISIS has gone from (as the President called them) "JV" status to # 1 on our most wanted list. Knowing it or not, they have sealed their fate, and have no hope of redemption.

I am no different than any other American. I seethed with anger when I saw what they had done. I thought my anger towards this group had already reached a fever pitch when I have seen how they brutalize innocent women and children. After yesterday, my anger went up one notch higher. My first impulse was like many others - nuke the bastards!

However, let us face reality. Nukes are messy. The fallout could affect people we do not want to harm. There are better, cleaner solutions. Solutions we have in our inventory.

During the Gulf War we were introduced to the MOAB - a weapon with literally means the Mother Of All Bombs. The MOAB is huge - so large it must be dropped by a C-130. It needs to be pushed out of the plane like a huge cargo drop. Only this is a cargo drop you don't want to be on the receiving end of.

The MOAB is a FAE bomb. FAE stands for Fuel Air Explosive. It spreads large quantities of misted high explosive fuel in the air and then ignites it. Done correctly, a MOAB will set off the largest explosion known outside of a nuclear blast. How much damage can it do? According to it can do the following within the detonation radius:
  • Up to 1,000 yards - obliterates everything
  • Up to 1 mile - knocks everything over except heavy buildings
  • Up to 1.7 miles - shock wave kills people, damages buildings and equipment
  • Up to 2 miles - causes deafness
  • Up to 30 miles - the 10,000 mushroom cloud is visible
I believe a nice combination of a few well placed MOABs, followed up by some saturation or carpet bombing with B-1s, B-2s and B-52s, mixed in with some smart bombing and cruise missiles, and then followed up with some close in visits from our A-10s Warthogs as well as one or two of our Puff the Magic Dragons (AC-47D "Spooky"), could fix this problem for once and for all. How long would it take? As long as it needs to.

The big take away from the 9/11 Report was this - our naivety led to the 9/11 disaster. Since we were not at war with them, we ignored them. We thought of Al Qaeda as a law enforcement problem. However, they were at war with us. ISIS also believes they are at war with us. It is time to take the gloves off and show this murderous group of thugs what the sleeping giant can do. When we need to, we can kick and punch hard - very, very hard.

So get ready boys. You wanted to see if we were awake, and trust me, we are. After 9/11, we learned a thing or two. Now it is your turn to learn a thing or two. You will learn a lesson  we will gladly teach you. You won't remember it long however, since you will all be dead.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Life and Death in America


"We kill each other by the thousands. Why? What is to be gained?"

Our current casualty list for the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars currently numbers about 5,200 brave American fighting troops. A high and tragic number for sure. However, during the same time period, the number of murders in one city alone - Chicago, are about the same. Think about that for a moment - one American city has the same casualty numbers as two countries in war zones.

And as much time and energy as we are using to focus on the unfortunate event which happened in Ferguson, the number of casualties in 2013 for the top ten cities (for murders) in this country numbered around 2,500. Chicago of course, came in first again amongst all the cities listed.

Yesterday an innocent American citizen, a journalist, was beheaded by the terror group ISIS. What was his crime? Reporting on the plight of the Iraqi people. He was not a soldier - he was just an innocent civilian. It will be interesting to see how much press and attention this case gets as compared to what is happening in Ferguson.

I continue to be amazed at two things in our country. The first being the extraordinary number of young people, mostly male and of color, that die violently every year. The second is the acceptance we seem to show for these tragic losses. No Jessie, no Al, no Eric, no POTUS, no marching - no nothing. The numbers keep adding up and that is all they are to us - they are just numbers. Then every once in a while a situation comes up like Travon Martin or this young man in Ferguson, and all hell breaks loose.

Well here are the facts. We need to pull it together as a nation and we need to do it soon. WE NEED TO STOP KILLING EACH OTHER! This group, the one that beheaded an American, needs to be taken very, very seriously. They will kill us, and they will do it without hesitation, remorse or mercy. They a have large number of members (and growing), a ton of stolen money (more oil money to come), and sophisticated stolen weaponry (ours). They have every ingredient needed to take their war global. In other words, they can bring it over here. They hate us, they want to kills us, and they want to kill our families. We know how they kill people - we have seen it live and in color on the internet. Now they have killed an American in the most barbaric way.

We need to stop our focus on Ferguson immediately. We need to secure our southern border immediately. We need to have TSA do more profiling immediately (sorry, the Israelis do it and it has worked for them). We need to carpet bomb ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria. Shock and awe, 24 X 7 bombing. We need to do it until nothing left is left moving on the ground. After the bombing, we need to send in our special forces to ensure the job is finished. As far as I am concerned, when this group revealed themselves to be remorseless and brutal, they signed their own death warrant.

The only story we should be focusing on right now is ISIS. Period. Congress needs to called back to Washington, POTUS needs to return to the White House, and we need to take action NOW. To do nothing while this clear and present danger continues to grow and metastasize in the Middle East borders on treason. We need to stop killing ourselves and focus on this very serious threat which could come here to kill us all.  


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The scorpions of Gaza...

"You can't negotiate with someone who is still firing at you..."

There is an old story which has been translated into English. It is one many of us have heard in our youth. It goes as follows:

A turtle was happily swimming along a river when a scorpion hailed it from the shore.
A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, asked a turtle to carry him on his back across a river. "Are you mad?" exclaimed the turtle. "You'll sting me while I'm swimming and I'll drown."
"My dear turtle," laughed the scorpion, "if I were to sting you, you would drown and I would go down with you, and drown as well. Now where is the logic in that?"
The turtle thought this over, and saw the logic of the scorpion's statement. "You're right!" cried the turtle. "Hop on!" The scorpion climbed aboard and halfway across the river the scorpion gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle resignedly said:
"Do you mind if I ask you something? You said there'd be no logic in your stinging me. Why did you do it?"
"It has nothing to do with logic," the drowning scorpion sadly replied. "It's just my nature."

I have thought of this story many times as it relates to what is going on in Gaza. Hamas, who has control of the government, will not stop firing rockets into Israel. Even though all Hamas has are crude rockets and Israel has state of the art jet fighters, they still fire rockets. The result is bloodshed, heavily favored on the side of Israel.

Today, the most recent peace talks broke down again. Why? Rockets were being fired into Israel. As the negotiators were at the table in Egypt, rockets started to fly into Israel again. I dare say if a leader of Hamas was caught and questioned why he did it, why he would dash any chance of peace with Israel, knowing that Gaza would take the worst of it, his response would be simple - it is in our nature. Just like the scorpion had no control over his actions, neither does Hamas.  

Cities who have eyes wide shut....


"Many of cities have become like a Necropolis - literally cities of the dead..."

This morning on the news, one pundit said, "Boy, it seems like every year now we have a problem in in one of our major cities." The other pundits agreed with him. And it usually involves race. However, as I addressed yesterday, race is the only the numerator to the problem - poverty is the denominator.

I have addressed the issue of Detroit before. This city should be the poster child of what can happen to a large and successful American city when benign neglect sets it. It becomes a disaster. Detroit, like some other larger cities in America, have become "hollowed out". However, Detroit is not alone. Camden, New Jersey and Youngstown, Ohio are two more examples of failed cites. When the "money" leaves, so does the middle class. Some have called this "white flight" to the burbs. What is left are all the ingredients of poverty. However, the strongest ingredient for growing poverty is neglect, the benign neglect of the local, state and national government.

Some cities which have not failed have become bifurcated - become two cities in one. A great example is Chicago. A city which still has lots of money and opportunities. However, it is also a city which has a huge drug and gang problem. A problem which results in the untimely deaths of hundreds of young black men every year. This past weekend alone, which was a typical weekend, 28 were shot with 7 being fatal. It is like that year after year. However, the city leaders always put on a happy face. Touting what is good about the city. The opportunities. All of this while the cancer of poverty and despair grows in the "other" parts of Chicagoland.

Last year at this time, nationwide unemployment for black teenagers was almost 42%. In some schools in Minneapolis, the graduation rate for blacks is about 50%. Rents for what little affordable housing is available keep going up, while opportunities stay static or decline. In many cities, all the ingredients are there for one spark to set off a firestorm. And that is exactly what has happened in Ferguson.

To answer the pundit's question this morning - there is no way to keep our cities from erupting on a yearly basis. That is, until we fix what is wrong with them. We have persistent problems which will not fix themselves. We need vision to see them, to find them, and then to fix them. Benign neglect only allows us to look at them with our eyes wide shut.

Socialists have said some of our cities have become a Necropolis - an ancient Greek word meaning "city of the dead." We are better than that. We can fix this. We have to.


Monday, August 18, 2014

The misery in Missouri


"Will this end? Will this EVER end???"

Just when you think things could not get worse in our racial divide, they do. What is happening in Ferguson is a mess of a historic magnitude. This morning, Donald Trump was on one of the news shows. His take on what is happening was interesting. He had just returned from a business trip to India. The number one news story in India was the mess in Ferguson. In every city in India he visited, it was the number one news story. You know - the persistent race problem that America has.

No offense, but if appears that Governor Nixon (yes, that is really his name) is clueless on what to do. First this disturbance were handled by the local police (armed to the teeth with excess Pentagon equipment). When that did not work, the State Patrol was called in, headed up by a man who actually lives in Ferguson. It has now become bigger than the State Patrol, so now the National Guard has been called out. To make matters even worse, a decision was made by someone locally to release the security tape from the store which was robbed. Both Eric Holder and Governor Nixon now have their undies in a bundle over the release.

So what really happened that day? What caused that young unarmed black man to die? Truthfully, we may never know. Since the Ferguson Police do not wear body cameras, it might be a classic case of Travon Martin all over again. Even with the best forensic science possible, the one final piece to the puzzle may never be known. We do know that based on the autopsy, this young man was shot six times - four in the arm and two in the head. We also know all were in the front - not shot in the back as was rumored a few days ago.

Now we know that Eric Holder is going to order the Feds to conduct yet another autopsy. What they hope to find is beyond me. To me, the most important thing to ascertain right now is criminal neglect. In absence of that, this entire incident will go down as a very unfortunate series of events which cost a young man his life. Nobody is happy with that. Not the family, not the cop who shot him, not the city, nobody.

The best thing for Governor Nixon to do right now is take control, to really take control. Tell the people the truth. Tell them this has been looked at six ways to Sunday, and still the final piece of the puzzle is missing. PROMISE the people the state will immediately find the funds to supply each peace office in Missouri a body camera. That will put the chances for a repeat of something like this close to zero. The Governor also needs to tell the people that the riots stop tonight. The curfew will remain in effect until calm in the city returns. The National Guard will remain on site. Violators to the curfew or rioting will be arrested and dealt with. Period.

This was a problem that did not have to happen. However, the real problem goes much deeper in many of our larger cities. They have become a trap for young people of color. Chronically high unemployment, gangs, crime, violence, and poverty - all leading to hopelessness. Until we face the fact many of our cities have major problems which NEED to be addressed NOW, civil unrest will remain in our future. We simply can't keep writing off tens of thousands of young people as "lost". We are better than this - America is better than this.

So will this end? Will this ever end? Is has to - and soon. With REAL leadership, and without racial arsons, we can attack and solve these problems. It just might give our young people the hope they deserve.   


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Are we approaching the end game?


"Is this it? Is the end in sight?"

Talking to someone the other day, he confessed he did not believe in Jesus. I am curious when someone says that. History is ripe with documentation that Jesus lived. The number one best seller of all time, the Holy Bible, has four Gospels chronicling the live and death of Jesus. The Quran talks of Jesus, but not as the Son of God. He is mentioned in other historical texts. I am amazed when atheists or even agnostics doubt that Jesus ever existed. It is to doubt history itself.

Many wonder if we are in what the Holy Bible refers to as the "end times". Actually, we have been in the end times for 2,000 years now. Christians believe that Jesus could come back at any time. And when He does come back, He will come as the Lion of Judah. It will be to set the world right and to fulfill prophecy. For those who believe in and follow Him, it will be a glorious day. For those who have shunned Him, not so much. It will be the start of an eternity separated from God.

There are some parts of Islam who also believe we are in the end times. The arrival of the 12th Imam. The great caliphate. This is a subject I know little about, so I will not address it. I do know this however - some radical sects of Islam look upon Christians and Jews as the enemy and worthy of life only if they convert to Islam. It is religious ethnic cleansing on a global scale.

Some in ISIS have proclaimed they will bring the caliphate to America. I take them at their word. Even if it does not reach our shores, it is bound to grow past Syria and Iraq. If you are a Christian, there is a target on your back. The same for Jewish people, the non-believers (no, that will not save you from radical Islam), homosexuals and the infirmed. If you are female, good luck. You are about to find out what the real war on women is all about.

What to do. First and most important, get right with God. Many of us have been in a spiritual wilderness for some time. It is time to come home. There is nothing so bad you have done that God will not forgive you. He has never stopped loving you. If you had a bad church experience, there are plenty of Bible teaching, relevant churches to attend these days.  

Next, take what is happening right now in the Middle East as serious as a heart attack. It is not a passing fad, it is not something that will go away. The battle is as old as Isaac and Ishmael. It will not stop, and it will come here. When it does come here, we all need to be prepared, both spiritually, and militarily. These people will kill thousands of innocents by flying planes into buildings. They will behead and torture children. They will bury women alive. As dark of an evil as can be imagined, they will do with great abandon.

One final thought. The enemy of evil is God. The enemy of darkness is light. We know which side wins in the end, as the Holy Bible is clear on this. The battle is coming. The spiritual battle is already here. If you read nothing else in the Holy Bible, read Ephesians 6. It will tell you how to wear the Armor of God. We will all of us, need it. Believe it - we will.        

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Why we STILL HATE each other!


"What did you say? I can't hear you when I am yelling at you!"

We hate each other. We don't get along, we fight, and we agree on practically nothing. No, I am not talking about my relationship with my wife. This is much more insidious. I am talking about how we act as a country.

A former Governor of Minnesota used to refer to the Republicans and Democrats as "Crips and the Bloods". In other words, they were fighting like rival gangs demonstrating a visceral hatred for each other. In short, today rather than having one party in power and the other being the "loyal opposition", we now practice the politics of personal destruction as winning at all costs has trumped everything else. Even the President has referred to the opposition as the "enemy".
This is not good for our country now (as we are embroiled in the war with terror) or during times of peace. We have problems - daunting problems which need to be addressed immediately. As the constituencies of each party have become so radically different from each other, finding common ground is the first victim of the skirmish. With the country divided ideologically almost totally in half, any solution which does not involve finding common ground often results in hard feelings and bitterness. The smell of blood in the water is so strong that we have minimized external threats in favor domestically attacking and damaging our national fabric. We have become the cancer and the host, both living in the same body.
To me, what is really interesting is the root of the problem. We have danced around it, used synonyms, dog whistles and code speak to describe it. Simply put, the real issue is money. Who will pay and how much. Currently, nearly 50% of the people in this country pay no Federal income tax. As the financial requirements of what we need to have done or want to have done increases, the solution seems straight forward. We can either raise taxes on the 50% who already pay taxes, or continue to borrow money and print money.
The camps have become polarized into the "haves and the "have-nots", the makers and the takers or the crips and the bloods. We call each other every name we can think of, except fellow Americans.
Many of the 50% of the Americans who are paying most of the freight say they have had enough. They don't mind paying their fair share, but there is a limit to how deep the well is. On the other hand, many of those who do not pay taxes believe that this is a fairness issue, a human dignity issue, and the ability to pay needs to be addressed in greater detail. In short, who is going to pay the tab is the core issue.
In absence of common ground, this issue has become just as polarizing as abortion. We have lost all decorum on how to resolve or even discuss rudimentary solutions to this problem. In the not too distant past, then President Ronald Reagan would argue with Tip O'Neill (Speaker of the House) during the day and at night play cribbage while sharing a glass of Scotch in the White House. They had policy disagreements, but they liked each other personally. Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi coming over to have some social time when George Bush was president after hours in the White House? It never happened because the political fight went on 24/7.
Many years ago, then President Kennedy was told by the Soviet Union that they would "bury us" without having to fire a shot. The prophetic statement may come true sooner rather than later. If we can't learn to talk to each other rather than at each other, we will fail as a society. An old adage states "United we stand, divided we fall". I think it is time to revisit the wisdom of that pearl and look for common ground in our deliberations before we too, become a tragic learning point in world history.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow....


"Why is it bad pennies always keep showing up..."

I never really got into the show "Dynasty". And that is a good thing. By the same token, I don't like dynasties in politics. I don't want another Bush, I don't want another Clinton, and I sure the heck don't want another Obama! The scariest part of what I said is this - it not shared by many. In straw polls that have been conducted as of late, Hillary beats just about everyone. And why is that? You tell me.

Yesterday. What exactly is Hillary's experience that makes her so alluring? Well, she was the First Lady for 8 years. Before that, she was First Lady of Arkansas. While doing that daunting job, she was employed by Roses Law Firm. While there, she managed to get her legal fingers stuck in the muck of the Whitewater Scandal.

While First Lady in Washington, she survived numerous dalliances by her roaming hubby. She did mastermind Hillary Care, which led to the historic 1994 Republican revolution. Plus, she did coin the now famous yet unfounded phrase, "right wing conspiracy".

She spent some time as a carpet bagger senator from New York. It is pretty hard for a left leaning liberal to become a senator in that state (jkjkjk)! She was a senator for 8 years, covering most of the 2000's. Some say the entire time was spent setting the table for a White House run. I suppose that is possible as that is exactly what Obama did. It did however (as compared to being First Lady), give her some real time government experience.

After the 2008 election BHO gave her the SOS job. While at SOS, all I will say is this - when you look at the world right now, what do you see? Well, SecDef Hagel recently said, "the world is a mess right now." As SOS, Hillary piled on the miles, but had little to show for it. Our reset button with Russia broke, the Middle East is on fire, and let us never forget Benghazi.

Today. Not much to report except book tours and guest shots on television. Some well known (and NOT right wing) pundit reported that EVERYTHING Hillary and Bill do has political underpinnings. Therefore, his belief was the table for a White House run is almost completely set. She has made one huge blunder however - the "poor me" comment. She and Bill have used his fame, celebrity, and the Clinton Global Initiative to become fabulously wealthy. It will be hard for a top tier 1% person to preach "income equality" on the campaign trail while flying around in Bill's Gulfstream.

Tomorrow. Hillary's best chance of winning the White House is a large turnout of low information or no information voters. You know - "yellow dogs". (For those who don't know the term, it is people who will vote for a yellow dog if that yellow dog is a Democrat.) Our only hope is the truth will come out about Benghazi before the election. Unfortunately, our country has been dumbed down so much as of late, Hillary just might pull it off. After 8 years of BHO, God save the republic if she can.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Shot with our own gun...


"This time I was the citizen, and they were pointing their guns at me..."

Readjustment Blues
John Denver

When you take gun safety classes, it is stressed how important proper the safeguarding and usage of your weapon is. In particular, it is important that you don't get shot with your own gun. Today, on a much larger scale, that is exactly what is happening with some of our weapons of war. Many of these weapons are not "old junk" - some is fairly new and in good condition. Some of it is now aimed at the citizens of this country.

Two news stories this week will help make my point:
  • Domestic - Many have posted pictures on the internet of light and heavy armored vehicles being shipped to police forces or DHS around the country. When I first saw them, I thought the pics went through some kind of photo shop process. It was too incredible to be true. Then the Ferguson riots happened this week. The local police showed up looking like the First Cavalry ready for battle.
  • The purpose of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 was to limit the use of the Federal Government, in particular the military, to enforce state laws. In my humble opinion, when you have local police using military type weaponry, ranging from tanks to snipers, it comes close to being a violation of that law.
  • Foreign - People should either lose their jobs or face jail time on this one. When we pulled out of Iraq, we left so much stuff, so many heavy as well as light arms, it could outfit an army. And that is exactly what it is doing. ISIS, whose numbers now exceed 10,000, have so much of our stuff, they are advertising on the internet for mechanics to help maintain it. This is a travesty. These thugs are using our weapons to kill innocent people. Besides the extraordinary cost of this equipment (thank you taxpayers and debt), many of these weapons are the most lethal on the market.
We need to first get out military supplies back from the local police departments and either transfer them to the National Guard or put them in surplus. That is, unless there is something else the government knows which we do not. In that event, a strong case needs to be made why our local police need to be better armed than many countries are.

Next, we need to either recapture or destroy all weapons left in Iraq. We simply cannot allow this to happen. If we are not careful, the same thing will happen in Afghanistan when we pull out. We either need iron clad safeguards, or we take everything with us. Being shot is one thing - being shot with your own gun is even worse. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How do we become post racial?


"When Rodney King asked why can't we can't all get along, I thought it was a very good question..."

I have often said I am only concerned with one race - and that is the human race. Why the Lord created people of different colors in this world is a mystery known only to Him. But I am fine with it. Not to sound too "PC", but I like something other than a homogeneous society. I like our diversity.

That being said, when our current President was elected, he was going to catapult us into "post racial America". Some even thought we were going to revisit the MLK days of judging others by the "content of their character, rather than the color of their skin." Sign me up for that one - I have been a believer in that since the 1960's.

So what happened? Why are we still so divided? We have a black President, black Attorney General, we have had a black Secretary of State (twice), and a black female talk show host is one of the richest people in Hollywood. I beleive we have made significant progress with the exception of one key ingredient - poverty.

Poverty is the cancer that eats away at many of our large cities. It traps people - people with no hope for the future. This is why all it takes is a spark, and you end up with a huge problem in St. Louis. When we hollow out cities, when we leave people there who are stuck with low wages and high unemployment, this is a result. Many of the problems which are race related will be fixed if we can fix persistent poverty.

In this morning's paper, there was an article about our chronic "achievement gap" in the Minneapolis schools. The powers that be have a plan to eliminate this gap by 2020. This subject drives me crazy. I have no idea why this gap is so vexing to so many. I have served with, worked with, and worked for many people of color. There is not a wit of difference between their intelligence than any other race. Some say kids of color learn differently than white kids. That may be true, or it may not. Dr. Shockley's theory of an IQ difference between blacks and whites has been proven false over and over again.

My solution for the inner cities is simple - fix poverty and you will fix the achievement gap. It will start to stem the violence with drugs and gangs. What is the first step? According to many leaders inside and outside of the inner cities - stop having kids out of wedlock. That is not the solution, but a solution.

Fix the schools. Private and charter schools all over the country are showing they can teach all children - black, white or whatever. Our current schools in many cities are a mess. Chronic low graduation rates year after year - many kids just give up and drop out. The current recipe does not work. Change the recipe and get better results. We owe our kids much better than this.

We can fix this. It is within our power. It is not just a matter of throwing more money at programs which don't work. We need to be strong as a nation. The world is changing. The world is becoming more dangerous. We need leaders who can lead, who can inspire. The time is long overdue to be a post racial America.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Onward and upward!


"The endorsements have now been confirmed. Our journey forward is onward and upward!"

All I can say is this - thank goodness this primary is over! Not a fan of it since the get-go, I thought it was a huge waste of time and money. However, it did one thing - it reconfirmed the endorsing process. Unlike what happened in the DFL four years ago, our primary proved the legitimacy of our endorsements. I was proud to have been a delegate. I did my homework and vetted as many candidates as I could. I thought we picked the best of the best to represent us. Now that the primary is over, I have no hard feelings for anyone who ran. Onward and upward!

What were some lessons learned, if any from this August 12th exercise?
  • Money - Money did not buy votes this year. In 2010, the Dayton camp used a significant amount of wealth to win the DFL primary. This year, Matt Entinza used some of his wife's wealth to unseat Rebecca Otto - it did not work. Scott Honour bought huge amounts of air time for commercials - he came in fourth.
  • 11th Commandment -  For the most part, the Republicans followed Reagan's all important 11th commandment. It was a clean race with good ideas brought forward and discussed. I was pleased that powder was kept dry, and for the most part, sights were set on the Democrats.
  • Hurtful Words - Something we all learned as kids is words can hurt. Don't say things that you will regret later. Words can heal and well as hurt. One of my former managers would often say, "Large minds discuss ideas, small minds discuss people". Even when engaging the Democrats, we need to remember they are fellow citizens with different ideas. It is the ideas we need to engage.
Today, I celebrate with the victors and console those who fell short. I have met some very fine and capable people this year involved in various campaigns. Our bench strength is strong, and that spells hope for our future. Our eyes remain on the prize - and that prize is a better Minnesota and a safer and stronger America. All are welcomed to join in this quest. All are needed to prevail. Onward and upward folks. The journey ahead will be daunting, but will be worth it. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Are we Revere or Chamberlain?


"Turning a blind eye or a deaf ear has never worked well in dealing with ruthless people..."

Whatever else Neville Chamberlain did in his career, he will forever be remembered as the leader of the United Kingdom who turned a blind eye towards the growing menace of Nazis in Europe. He thought a policy of appeasement would protect the UK from any truculent threat the emerging Nazis movement might make. He was dead wrong. Once the Nazis invaded Poland, the UK realized the real goal of the Nazis. England joined the battle and was very late to the party.

The rest is history. In the 1940s, the world came within a whisker of losing itself into the cauldron of totalitarianism. Genocide was being committed in Europe, and many in the world knew about it. After the hangover many had from World War I, most of the world had no interest in more war. Some saw what was coming - they were the Paul Reveres of the 40s. However, many like Chamberlain, thought if we just ignored it, this new Nazi threat might just go away.

What we need to understand is very simple - evil will take on different forms, in different lands, in different people. The Nazis were just one form, in one land, and one time. Pure evil knows no boundaries. To ignore evil has never worked well in the past, will not in the future, and certainly will not work today.

One of the advantages we have today is total connectivity of media. We do not have to rely on antidotal or second hand evidence to witness evil. We can see it up front and personal. There is hardly a day which goes by that another barbaric act is not posted on the internet. And yet even with that, some people would rather talk about something else - ignore this evil. You know, happy talk. This stuff happening in Iraq and Syria, well - that is their problem, not ours. Many of the Left still blame George W. Bush. If we had not meddled in Iraq by getting rid of that nice guy Saddam Hussein, these problems would not be happening. And so the debate goes on, while evil grows like germs in a petri dish.

The news flash is not good folks. This is not the fault of any one person or any one country. This evil has been growing for years, and it now has visible form. This is the caliphate - some in Islam even believe it is arrival of the Twelfth Inman. Yesterday I addressed this new breed of terrorists, ISIS, are coming for you. They are. They are coming for everyone who believes differently than them. To use a Chamberlain type of appeasement will not save us. To ignore them will be deadly.

So the Paul Revere in me will say this: I know we are war weary. I know Afghanistan has gone on much too long. I also know the reason both Iraq and Afghanistan went on too long was our generals were not allowed to fight those wars to win. As General Powell would say, "We don't like fair fights. We like to use overwhelming force to win."

This is a war we must fight to win. We must take the battle to them, right where they are. No more pin prick bombing with 500 pound bombs dropped from F-18 jets. It is time to unleash total hell on ISIS, and do it now. To save millions of lives, we must once again take some lives. If we don't, we will be fighting these ruthless murderers on our own soil. And it will be sooner rather than later. 


Monday, August 11, 2014

They are coming for you...


"They are coming to take us away..."

Yesterday, on the Lord's day, I saw yet another video on the internet which turned my stomach. Some young children were lined up in a ditch and executed. By ISIS. No remorse, no sadness, just a bullet to the brain for each of them. And what was their crime? Being born on the wrong side of the street. Not being "pure" enough for the religion of peace. I wanted to puke.

A much as our President would like us to believe this group is "JV" or just a blip on the radar, others have quite a different take. In a column published over the weekend, Maureen Dowd nails it in Trouble, no matter how you spell it:

We never know what we're getting into over there, and this time we can't even agree what to call the enemy. All we know is that a barbaric force is pillaging so swiftly and brutally across the Middle East that it seems like some mutated virus from a sci-fi film.
In addition, this group which started out so radical, so extreme, Al Qaeda wanted nothing to do with them. No longer. This group has grown so big, so fast, it is now reported that many Al Qaeda fighters have been absorbed into it. And unlike the Taliban who are regional fighters, this new group of killers has their gaze set on Europe and the United States. Over the weekend, one pundit opined that this group is even more dangerous, more of a threat to the world than the Nazis were. Once again, that is quite a statement to say about a group our Commander in Chief referred to as "JV".
At first I was repulsed that people posted smuggled in videos of heinous acts committed by ISIS. Now I feel quite differently. We need to see what is coming for us. We need to understand the unbounded evil which exists today in Syria and Iraq. We need to take this new war over there as serious as a heart attack. We need to treat them (as Dowd said) like a "mutated virus from a sci-fi film".
If Russia was smart, they would also join us in getting rid of this group. Russia has its own problems with radical Islam. Russia is not immune from this type of violence. It is time to unite and take a stand. Christians are being exterminated. Sunnis are being exterminated. Kurds are being exterminated. This is ethnic cleansing live and in color, taking place right before our eyes. And we can't just turn the channel on the TV - it is coming here. And according to some experts, it might be here already.
Sorry to start the week out on such a dour note. But this really is serious. So serious, I would expect our leaders to get off of vacation and come back to work. The enemy is not on vacation - they are training and preparing. If we are not prepared for them, they will come for us - they will come for us and take us away, dead and dismembered.