Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On Toil, Life at 40-Something, Good Women (any left?) and Simple Joys...

by, Mark Baker

Hmmm, for whatever reason, it seems that lots of us Baby Boomers (1946--1964), especially those towards the tail-end of the boom (1958-1964) married BADLY! Perhaps we were naively imprinted by the idealic environment a vast majority of us experienced in our formative early years: Our Mother's were at home, 'Pong' hadn't even been invented yet, so we spent hours on-end 'OUTSIDE' with our friends playing sandlot games, riding our bikes, shooting BB-Guns, 'Lawn Darts,' 'Whiffle-Ball, shooting hoops, etc.

We reluctantly 'came in' only after our mothers hollered at us for dinner (or we’d taken a Lawn Dart in the thigh, lol), and then we had to scrub-off the top layer of grime before we helped Mom set the table and go fetch Dad from the watching Walter Cronkite, or fiddling in the garage. After dinner we (if we were the oldest kid, which I was damn-it) cleared the table and washed the dishes and then joined the rest of the family for TV (if our ‘homework’ was completed).

Together we watched the likes of 'Gunsmoke,' 'My three Son's,' 'Manix, 'The Courtship of Eddie's Father,' 'Hawaii Five-O' (remember Jack Lords HUGE hair, lol) and 'The Wonderful World of Disney. I couldn't wait to watch 'Mutual of Omaha's WILD KINGDOM. Remember how Marlin always had poor "Jim" do all the hard work for him, then he'd 'step-into' the shot to look victorious. I now feel that this was a subliminal warning to us, that in our futures, we would be subjected to 'older boomers' (the ones born before 1958) who being UNIMAGINATIVE, UNETHICAL PRICKS, would think nothing of taking credit for our ideeas and accomplishments.

This grand incubator primed a lot of us to expect a safe, idealic world and life ahead of us. We were mistaken. Not all of us shared this naive worldview, because they were the ones we married, "For Better & Worse" (Bata vs. VHS), "Through Sickness & Health", "Forsaking all Others..." (this is where the mates of us who married very badly, would later 'DIVIATE' from the game-plan on us (who'd of ever pictured Mike or Carol Brady 'Shaking-up' on the side?').

So, then, with that realization, like a few others (who'll know what I'm saying here), I dedicated myself to being the best parent I could be, and hopefully not screw my kids up too bad as a single-parent of three little boys from a 'broken home' (a term the PC world has banished).

Now, with my youngest on the cusp of leaving the nest, I find myself at a place where I can consider the possibility of finding HER, that one great woman, possessing the right mix of what ... "je ne sais quoi," I'll know it when I 'feel' it.

She, wherever she is (and I am old-fashioned enough to still believe that a good man and women can find each other). What I will not do however is continue to be so naive to allow myself to be hemmed-in by conventional wisdom that states that she necessarily be from my home state (Michigan), or even necessarily the United States itself. And while physical beauty is something I'll admit DOES play a role, I wisely no longer necessarily equate it as a primary factor of attraction. Rather, a woman who possesses integrity, wisdom, autonomy, passion, discretion and a good degree of HUMOR is a rare woman indeed. She may be white, black, asian, european, whatever. She could be next door, across town, state, country, or ocean. But regardless of any of that, the women I'm seeking fits the following:

She wakes with a smile and considers what she has before giving thought to what's missing in her life.She is comfortable with who she is, and the hand that she's been given to deal with.If she has them, she puts her children’s needs ahead of her own and NEVER resents having been blessed with them. She isn't caught-up in the neon-glow of the world we find ourselves in, but instead carries herself with dignity and grace driven by an in-dwelling desire to please the Lord. She thus possesses the inherent intelligence (or has learned through grand revelation) that 'the world does not rotate around her (or any person for that matter), and that we are all at our best when we pause to consider the needs of those around us. She is physically active and enjoys activities outside the home; a hike through a forest or along a secluded beach is far preferable to her to hanging out at the local 'meat-rack,' but on the other hand, neither is she a prude, and isn't afraid to belt-out some bad karaoke.

She is an 'Observer' of people, their actions and motivations and has developed a strong sense of discernment as to who's sincere and those who may not be.She has a strong sense of autonomy and self-respect, and although she'd prefer to have a man in her life, she isn't willing to "settle" for just anyone who pays attention to her, but instead has been holding out for the man she wants. She is PASSIONATE in love and with her affections toward the man she loves. She has a strong desire to travel and see so many places that she's yet to visit, but ultimately would love to do that with a man she loves and who loves and adores her. She is loyal and can think for herself; she laughs easily and frequently and her smile reveils her spirit.

Regarding 'Simple Joys:' I like my Honda HRR Series Mower, I REALLY like it! Like a good dog who immediately quits sniffing poop and comes to you when you call, or a ratty old pair of Adidas that feel great. When I reach down and pull that cord, I'm rewarded with a START, everytime! Yup, I know that sounds pathetic, but mowing with my Honda ranks right up there with folding hot clothes fresh out of the dryer.

It would be nice to find 'HER' someday, but if not, I've always got my Honda.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Peace & Joy On This Day!

To everyone out here, family, friends and acquentences; on this day that we pause to remember Our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for all of us, may you & yours be safe in your travels and be richely blessed by His Love.. Although we are all struggling in these difficult times, through Him we can perservere. Merry Christmas! Romans 5: 1-5


Thursday, December 24, 2009

GOP at Fork-in-the-road: Return to Roots or Become Irrelevant

The "MeToo" Party dies a little:

For years now, I’ve been warning Republicans that conditions are ripe for a principled and activist third party to form on the right – where the Republicans have held a claim for the last 40 years and realistically been the sole occupant since Johnson vs. Goldwater. I’ve never suggested this with the notion that there should be a Conservative Party battling both the Democrats and the Republicans – I’m no fan of third parties, and believe strongly in the two-party system. But those commentators who complain that third parties just don’t work in American politics forget that the Republican Party itself began its existence as a third party. Its founders – the Black Republicans, as we here like to remind everyone they were called back then – understood that the second party of their day had made itself irrelevant by caving in to the Democrats on the most controversial issue in American history.

The leadership of the Whig Party, including Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, took advantage of the death of President Zachary Taylor to push through the Compromise of 1850. While generally popular, many people understood the compromise to be a capitulation by the Whigs to many demands of southern Democrats, including a strengthening of the Fugitive Slave Law. Northern abolitionists felt betrayed, causing their waning support for the Whigs to build into a rout for the them in the election of 1852. Emboldened by their victory, the Democrats passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, breaking decades worth of compromise on the slavery issue. Abolitionists and other defectors from the Whigs could not stand it anymore, and fled to form the Republican Party. Once the collapse of the Whigs became final, the United States still had a two-party system, but the name, strength, and ideology of one of the parties had been completely supplanted by another.

For the past few years, the incoherent message coming from the Republican establishment has made an all-too-familiar sound of “Me Too”. Big-government heath care may be associated with the Democrats today, but its greatest victory so far was a huge prescription drug benefit passed by a Republican president who wanted to be known as “a compassionate conservative”. Campaign finance reform that put a stranglehold on private speech and promoted funding limits was once just a Democratic dream, but it came true once it was championed by a Republican senator who identifies with progressivism. And just days ago, a pro-abortion, pro-group-rights Republican candidate pulled out of a race only to endorse her Democrat opponent over a conservative challenger.

That Democrat may have won his race against the upstart from the New York Conservative Party, but with the light of dawn that may well be the cap of the bad news for Democrats, and the beginning of the end for the “Me Too” Republican Party. Conservative Republicans won races for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, and after the revolt in NY23 (funded and supported by conservatives across the country) the national party has been put on notice that conservatives are done supporting liberals just for the sake of party unity. The loss of NY23 may be a disappointment for some, but a victory for the Conservative Party there might have sent the wrong message to conservatives – encouraging them to defect from a Republican Party far stronger than the Whigs were when the Republicans began their move to assume second-party status.

The Republican Party can still be the conservative party for America, but time is running out. The Republican establishment has to understand that the party itself needs a center to rally around, and the tendency of our recent leadership to bend to the left isn’t going to expand the Big Tent, it’s going to bring it crashing down.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Confronting the 'Spin' on the Fort Hood Massacre

Confronting the Spin on the Fort Hood Massacre
Written by Frank Salvato
Friday, 13 November 2009 00:00

It is sad and disturbing commentary on the state of American culture when the facts surrounding an event, such as the slaughter that took place at Fort Hood, can not only be manipulated to facilitate a political ideology but blatantly ignored in the pursuit of a political agenda. In the face of the most potent enemy the United States and the free world has ever know – aggressive and violent radical Islam – our leaders and members of the mainstream media are doing just that; manipulating the truth to facilitate an agenda, and we are all in danger because of it.

By now, everyone in the world knows the details surrounding the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas. US Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, in committing not only an act of terrorism but an act of treason, perpetrated the most deadly terrorist act on American soil since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Actions and statements made by Hasan prior to his murderous spree indicate beyond doubt that he was not only opposed to US military action in the Iraqi and Afghan theaters and that he felt it was appropriate for Muslims in those countries to kill US and NATO soldiers in response to “the infidel occupiers,” but that he made a purposeful and premeditated choice to execute his jihad. Yet, President Obama, his spokespeople and members of the mainstream media are hyping the “backlash against Muslims” sentiment while completely ignoring – and in some cases arguing against – the mountain of evidence that points to the fact that Hasan was a radical Islamist and a jihadist.

Four Qualifications for TerrorismAlan Colmes erroneously cited a definition for the word “terrorism” as used by Webster’s Dictionary during a recent stint on The O’Reilly Factor. While Webster’s is a wonderful resource for everyday use in divining the meaning of words, where terrorism is concerned it falls short.Terrorism is, effectively, a classification of a type of violent act. The National Counterterrorism Center uses the definition provided in Title 22 US Code § 2656f (d) (2):“...the term ‘terrorism’ means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents;...”The NCTC specifically states in its 2008 Report of Terrorism that this definition includes:“...military personnel and assets outside war zones and war-like settings.”In addition, and from a clinical perspective, terrorism is distinguished from other acts of violence, and from war, by always having these four characteristics:▪ Terrorists violate the rules of modern warfare, as established in the Geneva Conventions and Hague Conventions; they can also be “sub-state groups” who can't declare war legitimately.▪ The goal of those who employ terrorism is almost always, without exception, to achieve political change.▪ The targets of those who employ terrorism are symbolic of the political issue in question. ▪ That acts of terror are designed specifically to be sensational, to get attention from the public and especially the mediaWhen examining the actions taken by Hasan, both on the day of the shootings and before, each of the criteria in the officially recognized definition for terrorism has been satisfied:▪ It was premeditated: Hasan acquired non-government issued firearms to use for the attack and he began, days earlier, to give away all of his personal belongings.▪ It was politically motivated: Hasan was acting in defense of his political beliefs – as well as his religious beliefs – where Muslims and Muslim nations were concerned as is evidenced in many of his statements provided in a medical lecture at Walter Reed Hospital.▪ It was an act of violence against non-combatants: While the location of the attack was indeed a military base the victims were unarmed and Hasan knew they would be.▪ It violated the Geneva and Hague Conventions: Hasan fired on unarmed people and non-military personnel.▪ His targets were symbolic: Hasan targeted US military personnel at a military base that is one of the primary embarkation points for troop deployment, thus the symbolism of an attack against US military might and ability.▪ His attacks were sensational.With all of these facts – all obvious and overt – presented to the American people, law enforcement, our elected officials and the mainstream media, it is an act of dishonesty to pretend that the actions taken by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan on November 5, 2009, were anything but an act of terrorism.Hasan Is Obviously ‘Pro-Choice’The argument over whether Hasan’s mental state played a significant part in his terrorist act against his colleagues and fellow soldiers has been championed by the mainstream media and some in the Obama Administration.

Some are advancing the laughable theory that Hasan was suffering from “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” even though Hasan had never been deployed to any active theater. Further, Hasan was schooled as a psychiatrist who specialized in treating soldiers with serious personal injuries and PTSD.It is more likely and, in fact, probable, in light of Hasan’s own words, that he made a purposeful choice to follow his Islamic faith in that way of a fundamentalist. His statement that he is “a Muslim before I am an American,” lends credence to this notion, as do several of his other statements:“It's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims...”“If Muslim groups can convince Muslims that they are fighting for God against injustices of the 'infidels'; ie: enemies of Islam, then Muslims can become a potent adversary ie: suicide bombing, etc...” [sic]“Fighting to establish an Islamic State to please God, even by force, is condoned by the Islam...”“Muslim Soldiers should not serve in any capacity that renders them at risk to hurting/killing believers unjustly...”And one slide in his visual presentation to colleagues at Walter Reed Hospital presented: "We love death more then [sic] you love life!"Disturbingly, and unreported in the mainstream media, Osama bin Laden is quoted as having said:“We love death. The US loves life. That is the big difference between us."The chances of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan not being of sound mind during the events of November 5, 2009, are distantly remote given the statements he made over the years.

The shootings at Fort Hood weren’t a case of PTSD or a person who “just snapped,” they weren’t even the actions of a coward who was refusing to go to war. They were the actions of someone who made a clear and decided choice to champion his religion – fundamentally – over his nationality. Hasan chose to be a jihadist and to kill US military personnel in the name of Islam; in the name of Allah; ergo, his use of “Allahu Akbar,” the takbir. Texas Counts the ‘Fetus’Another of the fallacies being foisted on the American people is that Hasan’s shooting victims number thirteen (13).One of Hasan’s victims, Francheska Velez, 21, who had just returned for her overseas deployment, was six months pregnant at the time of her murder. This is significant for more than the obvious reason.In the State of Texas, if a pregnant woman is murdered and her child dies as well, the assailant is charged with both the murder of the Mother and the murder of the child.

In 2007, a Texas state appeals court upheld a state law that protects pregnant mothers and their unborn children from acts of violence. It is because of this law that Hasan should be charged with fourteen (14) counts of premeditated murder, not thirteen (13).So, why won’t the mainstream media and the Obama Administration use the correct number – fourteen (14) – when referring to the victims of this massacre? Because they would then have to admit that an unborn baby, pursuant to Texas law, is a human being worthy of the right to life as established “unalienable” by our US Constitution. Should either the mainstream media or the Obama Administration establish the precedent – nationally, due to the fact that this happened on federal land in the form of a US military base – that the unborn have a right to life, constitutionally, and the entire pro-choice movement is set back to zero.By the authority of Texas law, the accurate number of murders that took place at the hand of Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan is fourteen (14). It is cowardly and pathetically ideological for the mainstream media, the President and his administration to ignore this truth, this fact, this moral accuracy.Political Correctness KillsSo, why did this all have to happen? Why could all of the “red flags” exist without any definitive action having been taken by the FBI or the US Army? The truth of the matter is that none of this had to happen. Fourteen (14) people would still be alive today if it wasn’t for the ideological cancer that is political correctness.Because of political correctness federal authorities failed to categorize Hasan as a potential threat to national security.

Further, in another stunning bit of denial, the wheel chalks weren’t even under the tires of the government plane that brought FBI investigators to Fort Hood before they issued a statement saying “terrorism was not involved in this shooting.” The obvious question begging to be asked is this: Based on what? Before the FBI had even gathered the first shred of evidence it discounted terrorism. Why, because classifying a violent act perpetrated by a fundamentalist Muslim as “terrorism” isn’t politically correct.And because of political correctness, the US Army refused to act on the concerns of several of Hasan’s colleagues that brought to light his penchant for radical Islam. Several of Hasan’s colleagues stated that he was vehement in his defense of Islam to the point of taking the side of jihadists engaged in combat against American soldiers. This information was provided to superior officers but because Islam has been erroneously declared the “religion of peace” it isn’t politically correct to accuse a fundamentalist Muslim of committing a terrorist act when he shoots people as he screams “Allahu Akbar.”Islam is the only religion existing today with religious tenets that validate killing to advance the religion.

All one has to do is to take the time to read the Quran and Hadith to understand that Islam is a religion of conquest that condones violence in its version of proselytization. In using violence – and sometimes deadly violence – against non-believers or “sinners” within the religion (which can range from a woman talking to an unrelated man to drawing a picture of Muhammad), how can anyone justify calling Islam the religion of peace? The only justification comes by way political correctness.Political correctness has kept the federal government, law enforcement and the mainstream media from being honest about several terrorist plots against military installations right here in the United States.▪ Jihadists targeted Fort Dix.▪ A jihadist shot a military recruiter in Arkansas.▪ Two jihadists targeted a US Navy base which docks nuclear submarines in South Carolina.▪ And now Fort Hood.In light of the Fort Hood massacre we can now say with absolute certainty that because of political correctness, fourteen (14) people are dead. Political correctness kills.And In the End...Perhaps we are naïve. Maybe the falsely elevated self-esteem fostered in a generation of me-first, gimme-mine, golly-I’m-great, narcissistic ideologues has left us unable to recognize true evil when it stares us in the eye; has left us unable to recognize an enemy attack – or a number of enemy attacks (whether plotted, attempted or completed) – even as it occurs. In light of the denial of the facts by our mainstream media, law enforcement and federal leadership the argument for naiveté can be successfully advanced.Or maybe we have foolishly allowed disingenuous and dangerous people to establish a shadow set of cultural norms – antithetical to constitutionally legislated public law – in political correctness. And perhaps these people don’t really have the best interests of the country at heart.

Maybe, just as Nidal Malik Hasan put his religion above his country, the politically correct have put their ideology above their country, above national security and above you and me.No matter how you assemble the pieces, our nation has suffered the first terrorist attack since September 11, 2001, in the massacre at Fort Hood. It was perpetrated by a radical Islamist executing jihad and it happened on Pres. Obama’s watch. Fourteen (14) people are dead and no amount of politically correct spin can bring them back.

About Frank SalvatoFrank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show airing on AM1220 WSRQ and on the Internet catering to the US Armed Forces around the world and on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the USA Radio Network. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements.