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Sedition, Projection, Treason & Lies

| Opinion | June 20, 2019

One of the common themes from the MSM and political Obama holdovers has been a recurring cycle of hurling allegations at President Trump which have no evidence, are quickly debunked or turn out to be crimes actually committed by the accusers (Clinton, Powers, Brennan, Comey, McCabe).

And while the sheer volume of unfounded accusations are curious on their own, perhaps the more interesting aspect of the situation is that many of these accusations would be true had they been thrown at former Democrats.

If we look into our very recent past, we find that when Democrats – Presidents and senators alike – actually committed and were caught for these crimes, the media felt it was neither important to investigate nor report on them.

I’d like to name just a few of the accusations falsely hurled at President Trump, and will note where they actually occurred under a Democrat to show the hypocrisy in our media today.

Let’s start with the collusion narrative, the current favorite of the Democrats. Even after being disproved by The Mueller Report, there are still holdouts amongst the MSM and Democrats who are parroting this term (and losing a large amount of viewers & polling numbers for it).
While President Trump has been cleared of this claim, did you know that Senator Ted Kennedy colluded with the Russians (yes, the same ones) in an attempt to help them defeat Ronald Reagan’s presidential re-election?

Records have been unearthed in Russia that Senator Kennedy sent his law school pal to hand deliver a memo directly to the KGB offering his assistance in defeating Reagan’s re-election. Kennedy went so far as offering to fly to Russia to meet Andropov and to set up meetings in the U.S. between Russian leaders and Kennedy’s “friends in the media” like Barbara Walters and Walter Kronkite to influence American’s opinions of Russia.

Why do you think that the media, so intent on naming Russian Collusion as a treasonous offense, haven’t brought this up in their non-stop reporting? It would seem a pertinent point to make that the darling Democrat senator was actually guilty of colluding with the Russians in the height of the Cold War.

And what about Bill Clinton, for whom the Chinese state intelligence agency directed funds to help his re-election efforts? When investigators began looking into the matter, Clinton vigorously fought attempts to form a special counsel to investigate.

Again, this sounds like it would be a pretty timely point for the media to dig up, if they weren’t in fact beholden to the Democrat party – but apparently foreign influence in U.S. elections only matters if it helps a Republican.

Still in the Clinton crime family, what about John Solomon’s reporting that Alexandra Chalupa, Joe Biden and the DNC colluded directly with corrupt Ukrainian politicians to dig up (fake) dirt on then candidate Trump? Isn’t accepting political dirt from foreigners supposed to be a bad thing, as reported by George Stephanapolus and repeated ad nauseum by the MSM last week?

Another oft-stated false claim against President Trump is that he is attacking the freedom of the press by calling them the “enemy of the people.”

But what about the proven fact that Obama wiretapped 29 AP reporters, jailed several and there is still a court case with Sheryl Atkison regarding Obama’s FBI spying on her for her reporting on subjects the Obama administration didn’t like? I would say spying on journalists and jailing them would be considered much more of an attack on the freedom of the press than name-calling and tweets.

But what do I know?

The term “treason” has been thrown around a lot lately, but as AG Barr stated, treason has a very specific legal definition that doesn’t fit what we’ve been witnessing from the media and Democrats for the past two years.

But an enterprising American citizen who wanted to know what was in store for these corrupt “journalists” and politicians should look up the definition of “sedition,” and the context of why it was put into law in the United States.

You may be surprised to find that we’ve been here before as a nation, and have laws on the books specifically to fight the poor, childish and anti-American behavior we’ve been witnessing from the “enemy of the people.”

Robert Patrick Lewis is a Green Beret OIF/OEF combat veteran with 10th SFG(A), CMO of Heroes Media Group, entrepreneur, MBA and award-winning author of Love Me When I’m Gone: The True Story of Life, Love and Loss for A Green Beret In Post-9/11 War, The Pact and The Pact Book II: Battle Hymn of the Republic. Follow him @RobertPLewis on Twitter or on his RobertPatrickLewisAuthor Facebook page.

A Tale of Two Evils

| Opinion | June 20, 2019

The difference in the moral core of leftist progressives, such as California Governor Gavin Newsom, versus citizens who embrace the values of 5,000 years of Western Civilization, is profound. It is as basic as whether true evil exists and what its nature is. Recently, Fox News put up a quote from public school teacher and educational activist Rebecca Friedrichs, where she reminded us of the Governor’s May 31 “Proclamation on Reproductive Freedom, which celebrates the widespread availability of abortion in our state, and then welcomes women across America to travel to California to brutally end the lives of the precious babies in their wombs.”

Pairing the Governors Proclamation on Reproductive Freedom with his recent decision to block all future executions of convicted murderers in the State of California for ethical and moral reasons makes my head spin and leaves me in a state of revulsion. Our governor celebrates the ending of the lives of innocent beings in their mothers’ wombs and at the same time reviles capital punishment for brutal convicted killers. He scoffs at the unalienable right of life for the innocent unborn and honors the right to life for the evilest among us.

I suggest next time you see on the news a confrontation of “women’s right to choose” and “right to life” advocates, look carefully at the protesters. Listen to their words. Then judge which side is full of rage and anger and which is experiencing sadness and loss. Ask yourself which position is really being consumed by evil. I suggest that current popular culture has, if there is such a thing, put our national soul at risk. Unfortunately, I do not see Gavin Newsom repenting and asking forgiveness. I suggest that, when some time in the distant future he meets his maker, he will have some “s’plainin” to do. Apologies to Ricky Ricardo.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a man who has no understanding of how economies function and has always benefitted from the overburdened taxpayer, presented his vision for our future.

“That is why today, I am proposing a 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights. A Bill of Rights that establishes once and for all that every American, regardless of his or her income is entitled to:

The right to a decent job that pays a living wage. The right to quality health care. The right to a complete education. The right to affordable housing. The right to a clean environment. The right to a secure retirement.”

Bernie admittedly lifted his proposal from FDR’s “New Bill of Rights.” While calling his program “democratic socialism,” he ignores that FDR’s rejected Congress proposal was lifted from USSR’s Marxist constitution. Senator Sanders tried to identify President Trump and company to be like the totalitarians Mussolini and Hitler. He further said, “We rejected the ideology of Mussolini and Hitler – we instead embraced the bold and visionary leadership of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then the leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.” Mussolini and Hitler were socialists, just like Bernie. Achieving Bernie’s dream requires a totalitarian state to implement a type of government he claims to reject.

Under the American system, a “right” is something that the government may not do to the individual. Under democratic socialism/Marxism, treasure must be taken from the productive at the point of a gun in order to be given to the unproductive. The under-performing then lose incentive to be productive. Whenever attempted, these types of evil economic models always collapse.

There was a saying under the Soviets. “They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.”

Santa Clarita’s Sheriff Team, Our Community’s Six-Pointed Shining Star

| Opinion | June 20, 2019

The past week has been family fun time here at Ferdman Clan Headquarters. Saturday brought out a proud set of parents and grandparents to watch our eldest grandson Cole play in Hart’s Bronco Allstar Game. What a great way for him to end the regular season, being chosen as the starting pitcher, getting on base both times at bat to help put runs on the scoreboard, and assisting his team in the field for the win. Then it was on to the People’s Choice Rotary Car Show, and as a member of the Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Club, I got to hand out ballots to help decide the leaders in each category. I met a very nice Harley-riding highway patrolman, and smiled when a young little girl sitting on her father’s shoulders politely asked if she could keep the pencil I provided her to fill out the ballot. My heart melted, and I’m sure I would have given her the whole box of pencils if she would have asked for them. Finally, on Father’s Day Sunday morning, Pam and I went out for breakfast at the Elks, where we conversed with friends and spent the morning with Joe and Elizabeth.

With all the goings-on, I also felt extremely fortunate to have been invited to the Sheriff’s Foundation yearly get together. Plus, the event was held right at the Sheriff Station, allowing us to get a firsthand look into the station’s day-to-day operations.

Did you know there is a Memorial Garden honoring their fallen heroes right outside the station? It is located just beyond where the service vehicles are parked. From the street, all you can see is a wall, but on the other side, it tells a very different story. Within the garden was where we started the evening, with a buffet dinner provided by Salt Creek. It made it even better to know Mayor McLean was also present, and as luck would have it, we were seated at the same table. Then, with a full tummy, we were divided into groups of 10 to tour the station, where we would get to view and hear about six areas of operations.

For my group, our first trek was up to the roof for a look at the sheriff’s helicopter. Being a Sheriff’s Pilot did not sound like an easy job. With two 3-hour shifts per day in the air going after the bad guys, and if necessary, attempting to draw fire away from the good guys on the ground in a bird with no belly armor, it did not sound like a job for the faint of heart. Think about it.

Then it was back to the ground floor and out to the parking area for a view of the department’s lethal and non-lethal weapons. It was very meaningful to learn about the deputies’ concern for only using lethal force as a last resort, and the policies and procedures in place to protect the lives of perpetrators who intended to do them harm. I’m not sure I would be so concerned with the safety of an individual running at me with a knife in hand, but the deputies spoke of using bean bag shotgun rounds, as well as other non-lethal weaponry, and they planned to continue their use until such time as their own safety was placed in jeopardy. We were allowed to handle the un-loaded hardware and one of our groups got to fire a training round from the latest non-lethal weapon. Never let it be said we couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, because our marksman missed the target, but hit the building, and it wasn’t even painted red.

Next it was a short walk to the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) vehicle. It pretty much looked like the SWAT vehicles you see in the movies; heavily armored, with a rear area set up with two benches for transporting the team. But the real story should be about the men and women who ride the SWAT vehicle into harms way. The deputy described, and showed us, some of the tools they use, including several different types of body armor. I was surprised to learn that some of an individuals’ body armor is purchased by the deputies themselves. I’m wondering if this situation could be corrected.

Alongside the SWAT vehicle was the command post. As you might imagine, it is a large bus-like RV, with a pop-out in the conference area. As we entered, we could hear the police radios in operation. Looking around, I noticed radio communications, internet and TV access had been provided, along with a large screen in the conference area. Managing and coordinating between all the different agencies during an emergency must be a difficult task. Having the command center available to bring the law enforcement management team closer to the action has got to help make the management process more effective.

Enough outdoor activities, so it was back into the heart of the station to hear from the “J-Team.” There were two deputies present to explain the workings of the team, along with a display of drug paraphernalia. With the J-Team heavily involved in the world of juvenile drug addiction, their heartfelt desire to get the kids off drugs rather than just throwing them in jail is extremely significant. They spoke about interacting with some of the offenders multiple times. It appears to take a great deal of time and effort before many kids are willing to try rehab to get clean, and sadly, many of them who don’t simply overdose and leave this world. It made me think about how frustrating it must be for the deputies to deal with the situation every day, and how they deserve a lot of credit for continuing to stay on a path of doing all they can to help our troubled youth.

Now I was anxious to see the K-9 team (those who know me know I love dogs). But as luck would have it, a big drug bust was now in progress, and they were called into action. A Sheriff’s Explorer had been our guide throughout our visit and the K-9 team being out of the facility gave us a chance to talk with him about what it was like to be a Sheriff’s Explorer in the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station.

This brings me to my personal observations. I spent most of my career as a project and department manager. As such, when given a tour of a facility, I tend to also look at the peripheral activities going on around me, and I was pleased with what I witnessed. I know we are getting a new, bigger and more modern sheriff’s station, but I am happy to report that even though the existing station may be crowded, it appeared well maintained, clean and free of clutter. All the deputies I saw interacted in a professional and polite manner, even when dealing with some unwilling visitors in chrome bracelets, their professional demeanor did not change.

An organization’s performance is driven by the leadership, and while Captain Lewis is consistently telling us, “it is the deputies who do the daily work who deserve our admiration,” he is the one who sets the station’s overall tone. Santa Clarita is fortunate to have Captain Lewis, and his entire sheriff’s station staff. They symbolize a professional law enforcement team, doing all they can to keep our community safe.

They are Santa Clarita’s six-pointed shining star.

Raging Moderate: Some Final Thoughts About Mueller

| Opinion | June 14, 2019

Breaking his two-year vow of silence, special counsel, professional Boy Scout and part time monk Robert S. Mueller III took time from his busy schedule of transitioning to the public sector and spoke to the country for almost ten whole minutes. And we were honored.

Part of the thrill was hearing what the man sounds like, as this was the first time he’s spoken to the press since his appointment. Too bad we can’t say the same thing about the major subject of his investigation.

It’s pretty obvious the hastily arranged press conference was designed to keep Democrats from calling Mueller to testify on Capital Hill about his investigation. And the fact that Attorney General William Barr was out of town probably didn’t hurt.

Mueller knows most of America would rather dive into a piranha tank wearing a raw meat bathing suit than slog through the 448 pages of his investigative gobbledy-gook, so he grasped this opportunity to give the world the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version, highlighting the sticky bits.

He maintains the report is his testimony and there is nothing else to add, at all, ever. In other words, he asks the questions pard’ner, he don’t answer them. Which is fine, because Bob Mueller is not the most colorful speaker in the world. The man is so dry, when he talks, little puffs of dust fly out of his mouth.

It was never a fair fight. Robert Mueller is the ultimate “by the book” guy who believes in playing by the rules. Whereas Donald Trump believes the rules are meant to be broken and has never read a book.

A particular phrase from the report was emphasized: “If we had confidence the president didn’t commit a crime we would have said so.” Boom. The essence of the whole thing condensed to a single line. Too complicated for you? He said if they thought the president was innocent, they would have said so. But they didn’t say so. Ergo…

He also said Donald Trump’s conduct warrants an investigation, which he wasn’t able to do, because of a justice department policy that prohibits charging a sitting president with a crime. If he could have, he would have, but he couldn’t, so he didn’t. There you go, Congress. No pressure.

They’re still deciding whether to subpoena Mueller to testify in front of Congress, but the former FBI Director’s desire to sit in front of a doubly hostile crowd of half angry Democrats and half angry Trumpsters appears to be between zero and you-got-to-be-freaking-kidding.

Mueller doesn’t want to testify. The attorney general refuses to co-operate. Nobody from the administration is turning over requested documents. The White House is expanding executive privilege to pizza delivery orders. Congressional Democrats must be developing a complex.

Responding to the sideshow, the president tweeted “I had nothing to do with the Russians helping me win the election.” Oops. Then he said that wasn’t what he meant and people are picking on his every word. Well, yeah. You’re the guy in charge. Every word matters.

Perhaps this is just one more reason why, traditionally, the presidency has not been an entry-level position.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

Drag Queen Story Hour Comes to the Library

| Opinion | June 14, 2019

A friend emailed me recently asking if I’d ever heard of “Drag Queen Story Hour.”

At first, I thought it was something like Oprah’s Book Club, only with better-dressed participants. But I did a little research, and realized that this was a “thing” that had been going on for a while across the country.

In fact, if you go to Dragqueenstoryhour.org, this is what you find under a photo of a drag queen, a smiling mother and a petrified looking toddler: “DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress-up is real.”

No child should be forced to confront radical ideas and controversial social movements before they are able to use the potty by themselves. We are talking about children who are settling in at the library to hear about Peppa Pig and Horton hearing a Who. This is a time when the little ones should be held in their mothers’ laps, sipping chocolate milk or juice from their sippy cups as they become mesmerized by the magic of carefully chosen words.

This is not a time when some man in spandex, tulle and glitter should be confusing them with the sight of a dude with an Adam’s Apple and well-developed biceps touching up his makeup and hitching up his brassiere.

There is a concerted effort afoot to normalize the whole idea of gender fluidity. Bryn Mawr College, my alma mater, has a guidebook containing approximately 70 different pronouns to be used when addressing strangers. Some school districts in Pennsylvania are allowing transgender students to use either the bathroom or locker room that accommodates their assumed “gender identity.” Sexual orientation and identity are the new buzzwords for “tolerance” and “equality,” and we are all supposed to fall in line and be as open-minded as Twitter will allow us to be.

All well and good, except when it comes to little children. No matter how evolved you want to be, no three-year-old should have to figure out why the person who sounds like daddy but looks and smells like mommy is reading them a story about rainbows and unicorns. We might think it would wash right over their heads and that they would just enjoy hearing the stories. But if that’s the case, why does the Drag Queen web page talk about teaching kids about people who “defy rigid gender restrictions?” Clearly, there is some indoctrination going on here.

Haverford Township Library, my hometown library, announced that in honor of Pride Month, it was going to host a “Drag Queen Story Hour” on Saturday, June 15th. Some residents of the township seem happy enough with the idea. Phil Goldsmith, an old friend and former colleague who is the president of the board of the library, told me we’re risking a very slippery slope if we start canceling events because of some opposition.

“Last year was the first time we had Drag Queen Storytime. More than 200 children and parents attended the event, one of our largest events of the year. We had virtually no complaints either prior to the event or afterwards. I attended and was blown away by the enthusiasm of the children and parents,” Goldsmith said. “I don’t expect everyone to agree with all of our choices – sometimes I don’t – but I would hope that we can all agree that it is up to parents to decide what is appropriate for their children, not others.”

Bill Lorraine, a physician and resident of Haverford Township, said he became very concerned when he first heard of Drag Queen Story Hour.

“Gender dysphoria is a serious psychological condition. It is not genetically determined, but rather is influenced by environmental factors,” Lorraine said. “Therefore exposing young children to something like drag queen story hour can predispose them to the development of gender dysphoria and the many negative consequences that go with it.”

Even though I sympathize with Bill, I also see Phil’s point about wanting to celebrate diversity and be an open and tolerant community. But the rules are different when you are dealing with children.

A few years ago, when the Boy Scouts got into trouble with the City of Philadelphia for not accepting openly gay scouts, I wrote a bunch of columns about how adults should not impose their wishes and will on children. By that I mean that while it is all well and good to talk about tolerance and diversity and inclusion, we have to look deep into ourselves to determine if what we are doing is intended to help our kids, or to validate our own sense of worth as adults.

Reading the web page of Drag Queen Story Hour, it is clear that this whole program is designed to normalize gender fluidity and make “drag queens” just one of many accepted expressions of our “identity.” To me, that is nothing more than adults trying to shove their agendas down the throats of little kids.

Now, about those overdue library fees…

Copyright 2019 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at cflowers1961@gmail.com.

Those Who Forget History

| Opinion | June 13, 2019

Once upon a time, the word “Nazi” was used to describe members of the National Socialist Worker’s German Party, the followers of Adolf Hitler who committed terrible atrocities, including attempted genocide and state-sponsored murder on a horrific scale.

But since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the term “Nazi” has morphed from a specific definition to a label from the left in its attempt to take down anyone whose views fall outside of the extreme left (which is where Hitler and his total government control, police-state leftist Democratic Socialists existed).

Anti-abortion? Nazi. Want secure borders? Nazi. Want to protect our elections by requiring ID to vote (as Mexico and many nations already do)? Nazi. Didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton? Nazi.

Because, of course, the actual Nazis and thought police don’t want critical thinking – they only want groupthink and directives handed down from the all-powerful state, with no need for the populace to think for themselves. That’s why every leftist dictator, from Stalin to Mao to Hitler to Pol Pot, starts with the same directives: disarm the populace so they can’t defend themselves, and then kill the intellectuals who don’t agree with the party.

A terrifying trend to watch, for those who understand history, has been the hypocrisy from the left. It comes from those who scream they want to “fight the fascists” and “punch Nazis in the face,” yet have been following the playbooks taken directly from the fascists & Nazis.

ANTIFA, the group comprised largely of children of white, well-to-do and entitled yet communist-leaning university professors and intellectuals claims to fight fascists. Yet every action of theirs, down to their flag, is taken from Hitler’s Nazi and Stalin’s totalitarian party.

Their tactics of burning, violence, lies and preventing people with opposing views from being able to express them? Those are as fascist as one can get, aside from mass murder.

Yet in the latest leftist boomerang destined to harm our society in the name of “fighting fascism & Nazis,” YouTube (due to complaints from Vox “journalist” Carlos Maza) enacted what quickly became known as “Voxpocalypse” last week in a purging of content.

Maza and Vox had an issue with Steven Crowder, so they did what the leftist mobs do: they made such a stink that YouTube demonetized Crowder’s YouTube channel. It should be worth noting that while Vox and Maza claimed this was due to homophobic slurs from Crowder, Vox has clips on its own YouTube channel with homophobic slurs.

In an effort that seems it was made to prove the law of unintended consequences, YouTube purged, along with Crowder, a plethora of independent content creators from both left and right, leading the left to cry and wail that they were being forced to live by the standards they force on others.
But there were a large amount of innocent casualties in the purge, many that may lead to our society forgetting what true atrocities are.

Among those were channels highlighting historical reels to show the horrors committed by actual Nazis, as well as the destruction of societies that has always been the result when they chose to institute socialism.

That should be repeated, just to make sure it hits home: in an effort to combat what the left is calling Nazis, YouTube has erased all historical evidence of actual Nazis.

And that should scare all of us, as a society.

Not only that a hypocritical “news” outlet and entitled “journalist” can have such a large effect, but also that if we erase and forget the actual horrors and atrocities that have been committed in our history, we are bound to miss the next winds brewing and drums begin beating for another megalomanic trying to implement total government control to cause great harm to our society and her people.

Robert Patrick Lewis is a Green Beret OIF/OEF combat veteran with 10th SFG(A), CMO of Heroes Media Group, entrepreneur, MBA and award-winning author of Love Me When I’m Gone: The True Story of Life, Love and Loss for A Green Beret In Post-9/11 War , The Pact and The Pact Book II: Battle Hymn of the Republic. Follow him @RobertPLewis on Twitter or on his RobertPatrickLewisAuthor Facebook page.

Baby Boomers’ One Nation Under God

| Opinion | June 13, 2019

by Gary Curtis

Earlier this week, I attended the Board of Directors meeting for our 55+ senior community. The meeting was called to order and hundreds of Baby Boomers stood with their hands over their hearts and recited the brief, 31-word Pledge of Allegiance, exactly as they had done since their childhood:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

June 14 is observed as “Flag Day,” in what radio commentator Michael Medvid calls “this greatest nation on God’s green earth.” Interestingly, it is also the birthday of our 45th president, Donald J. Trump.

This national banner, our “stars and stripes,” has not always had the institutionalized form of patriotic recognition, which this pledge provides. Over the more than two centuries of our nation’s existence, millions upon millions of members in our armed forces have pledged their support to defend with their lives the Constitution of the United States and our great democratic way of life. But, for well over a century, average citizens have shared their patriotic allegiance to this nation, with its values and dreams, by voluntarily reciting this public Pledge of Allegiance.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the pledge originated as part of a patriotic program for schoolchildren at the dedication of a prominent exhibition for the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New Word, in October 1892. Just a quarter-century after the end of our Civil War, this original pledge invoked allegiance to one indivisible nation:

“I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands — one Nation indivisible — with liberty and justice for all.”

This original version remained in public use until 1923, when the words “my flag” were changed to “the Flag of the United States.” The following year the Pledge was modified again with the addition “of America” after “Flag of the United States,” to help clarify to immigrants which country’s flag they were pledging their new allegiance. This version of the Pledge was then codified by Congress into Public Law in 1942, as patriotism swelled following the attack on Pearl Harbor and our entrance into wars on two fronts.

The Pledge remained unchanged until the realities of the “Cold War” swept across our nation in the early 1950s. Atheistic Communism was resisted in the West and religious leaders reminded Americans that our nation was founded by “religious people” (as noted in the Declaration of Independence) with monotheistic, Judeo-Christian principles and precepts:

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Ps. 33:12)

Soon, a new sense of a national conscience and patriotism prompted Congress to pass a bill adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954.

Shortly, legislation to add the motto “In God We Trust” to our currency (already existent on our coins) was passed in 1955; and in 1956 the unofficial national motto “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many, one) was changed when “In God We Trust” was officially adopted.

Collectively, these measures (less than eight decades ago) form a public testament to a shared religious ethos, backed by the First Amendment to our Constitution, which provided “free expression” of religious freedoms and practices. The Supreme Court has even acknowledged an American “civil religion,” which allows public expressions of non-sectarian religious faith in certain public, ceremonial events.

Jesus told His disciples to give to Caesar the recognition due him and to God the allegiance due Him. So, in settings where a “civil religion” might call for a patriotic allegiance, the national pledge seems appropriate and even desirable.

But, as “a religious person” and follower of Jesus Christ, I also want to teach my grandchildren a more personal expression of my devotion to God, with this heartfelt recitation:

I Pledge Allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe.

Their Last Full Measure of Devotion

| Opinion | June 13, 2019

I was 12 years old when the movie “The Longest Day” was released. It left me horrified, curious and fascinated. I was also profoundly impressed by the valor, honor and heroism of so many young men who were only a few years older than I was. June 6, 1944 is a day that is enshrined in the memories of all freedom-loving people. The greatest amphibious assault in human history is simply remembered by most as “D Day.”

After reading a few books in the school library on D Day, I had my reticent mother drive me to the “tombs” of Times Mirror Square so that I could read the newspaper accounts on the days following the great liberation. I later acquired the histories of World War II written by Winston Churchill. I have always preferred original source accounts over opinion-riddled books by reinterpreting writers steeped in modern context.

The exact number of Americans who were killed on June 6 and the days following are unclear. I have read the numbers to be as high as 20,000. Many say lower. From “history extra,” “Overall, however, the Normandy campaign was brutal and spectacularly violent. Including both sides as well as civilians – and some 15,000 French civilians were killed – the average daily casualty rate of each of the 77 days of the battle was 6,675: higher than the Somme, Passchendaele and Verdun in the First World War.”

About 10 years ago, I visited the American Cemetery in Normandy. I placed a flower on a grave of one of our fallen and thanked him. I close with one of the greatest speeches in American History.

The Gettysburg Address
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that our nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

-Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

God save our country.

Always Advocating Alan – How District Elections Would Help Keep You Safer

| Opinion | June 13, 2019

Like most of you, I read the paper every day, check the web for the latest news, and wonder why some of the things our community regularly talks about rarely seem to create any concrete results. This week was no exception. Reading Lee Barnathan’s Gazette article titled “Why no Canyon Country hospital?” provides a great example.

As a community, Canyon Country seems to regularly ask, why do certain things happen in some quadrants of the city and not others? Is (Canyon Country, Saugus, Valencia or Newhall) getting its fair share of city services? Come to think of it, wasn’t that the same thing we were saying about L.A. County some 30 years ago? Proponents of cityhood kept telling us, “We need to have more localized control.” Didn’t that message resonate with our community, culminating with the formation of the City of Santa Clarita? Why wouldn’t more local control be just as important today?

According to SCVHistory.com, “On Nov. 3, 1987… Measure U asked whether the area should become a city. An overwhelming majority said yes … Measure V asked whether city council members should serve at large or by district … A somewhat smaller majority said at-large (11,166 votes to 7,905).” Fast forward to the November 2016 city council election, and with over 58,000 voters casting a ballot to fill the council seats, perhaps Santa Clarita has grown large enough to revisit how our city council should be elected. The last time the question of “at large vs. elections by district” was addressed, it ended in a 2014 court decision which didn’t seem to satisfy anyone.

As it happened, the City of Santa Clarita became the defendant in a lawsuit that claimed the city’s at-large election process created a situation in violation of the “California Voter Rights Act,” where a protected minority class was unable to be represented by a candidate of their choice. In addition, the city was not the only governmental agency facing the same issue. Local school boards were named in similar lawsuits and chose to settle by agreeing to implement district voting at their next elections. Opponents of establishing district-based elections spoke about the racial overtone of having a protected minority class getting a larger voice in the election process, as well as their main concern, which was that electing council members by district would put them at odds, each trying to get the most resources applied within their district. In the end, the City of Santa Clarita and the plaintiff’s attorney settled, “The attorney’s fees for the plaintiffs will be paid by Santa Clarita, which is expected to range between $400-600,000,” according to The Signal on March 12, 2014. With that, the city council election would move to coincide with the November even-year election cycle. In my opinion, the city wasted an opportunity and just lost money. Plus, our communities were pushed further from having the ability to elect a candidate of their choice.

If you think about it, don’t you want someone dedicated to providing essential services for your neighborhood? Rob Skinner tells us, “Cities don’t build hospitals, companies do … Hospitals are private businesses … It comes down to money, just like everything else” (Gazette, June 7). Interesting, yet I suppose Mr. Skinner has never heard of a “Municipal Hospital,” which the dictionary defines as “a government hospital administered by city officials.” Not that I’m suggesting the City of Santa Clarita become a medical provider, but I will attest that city government has a major role in determining where businesses, including hospitals, will locate. Through the application of zoning requirements and development agreements, the city can make it easier (or more burdensome) for any business to locate within their jurisdiction. In November 2008, the City of Santa Clarita approved a resolution authorizing the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Development Agreement. While the agreement would benefit city residents by the addition of three medical office buildings and a new hospital tower, it also changed land zoning and parking requirements. One question raised at that time was, will the city provide the same zoning and requirements relief if a health care provider would come forth to build a second hospital on the east side of town? But no answer came forth from the dais. In this case, the city council decided on a strategy which could determine a serious outcome for you or your family sometime in the future.

In last week’s Gazette, Councilmember Kellar spoke about a friend with a broken rib, and how the ride to Henry Mayo “was the most excruciating trip.” But I vividly recall an evening in 2013 with my wife Pam, unconscious due to a respiratory arrest, taking an ambulance trip to Henry Mayo with lights and sirens blaring, Sheriff cars breaking traffic, and arriving with emergency staff waiting at the door for our arrival. Fortunately, God, the fire department paramedics, AMR ambulance attendants, sheriffs, and the Henry Mayo ER team were on our side that day, and it all turned out for the best. I cringe to think of what would have happened if the 107 Paramedic team was off on another call, or a direct route to Henry Mayo was not available due to some unforeseen natural or man-made event.

From my perspective, public safety is the most important responsibility of city government. Politics aside, the Santa Clarita Valley needs another Trauma Center on the east side of the valley. Think about the ‘94 earthquake, which isolated the Santa Clarita Valley from L.A. Should a similar situation occur again, and our single Trauma Center be damaged to the point of taking it offline, you will be on your own.

There are too few fire department paramedic teams in the SCV, and the teams are required to cover too large of an area. For example, the Fire Station 107 Paramedic Team, located on Soledad Canyon Road just east of Sierra Highway, are responsible for handling calls up the 14, as well as in Canyon Country. Should they be out on a call and unavailable, your emergency will be answered by a team from across town, increasing the response time. The issue of having additional paramedic services has been brought up several times, and the answer keeps coming back; firefighters who are also paramedic-certified, cannot perform activities as a paramedic when on the clock as a firefighter, per union rules and the lack of the appropriate drug kit. I have discussed the policy with firefighters personally, and have never found one who would not be willing to help an individual in need.

Above all else, for the well-being of our communities, I support the concept of district elections. It would bring our city council members closer to whom they represent and give them additional incentive to fight for what their constituents need. When it comes to life and death decisions, it better not be “all about money,” because it is not “just like everything else.” Life is something so precious, money alone cannot buy it. District elections would make it more likely for the residents of an area to elect a candidate of their choice and get rid of one who is not fighting for what their neighborhood needs. Could it be that the latter is what some elected officials are afraid of?

Alexa on My Mind: Talking Tech

| Opinion | June 6, 2019

by L. Rob Werner

Remember HAL, the sentient computer from the movie, “2001”? Since then, nerds have come a long way. Even they realize that women run the world. Today, most information and command-oriented computers depend on simulated female voices.

Our cars have GPS navigation devices. Men do most of the driving. Women are often back-seat drivers. It’s natural to have a woman’s voice give directions. Men have already been conditioned to take direction from women. If you’re like me, I follow my wife’s directions, even when she is wrong. It’s easier for me to forgive mistakes than to make them. Still it’s a good thing that there is limited interaction with these directional devices. When you make a wrong turn, you are told things like, “make a U-turn if you can.” After several such instructions, one might expect the lady to address the driver with some “choice words.” Guys should be thankful. Some women look forward to the device being enabled to make unrestricted commentary on driving performance.

Amazon named the voice in its communication devices, “Alexa.” She is everywhere. She’s in smart pads, readers and in little desktop discs. On some devices she is now on-screen and in picture mode.

Every week the company adds to the things she can do. She has become a voice-controlled dictionary and short-answer encyclopedia. She plays music, tells you the weather and what time your program is on television. She will even speak up to remind you of an event. Still there are things that could be improved.

If you could get her to say specific things at certain prearranged times or events, Alexa could become more of a party device. While she can give you a reminder, there are still limitations. Some ladies would like Alexa to remind their guy to take out the trash. Imagine getting a reminder to take out the trash every five minutes. Finally, you get so irritated you respond with some nasty comment. In return, Alexa says, “take out the trash and don’t talk back.” Alexa could be upgraded to sense your mood, based on your speech patterns. It could learn when to be irritated, naughty or nice.

Here are some thoughts for paranoid minds. Have you read the book “1984”? If not, maybe you should. You think you are in control of Alexa, but we may be on a path to where Alexa controls us. Alexa gives a response when we mention her name. What is she doing when we aren’t talking to her? Does she listen to our every word? Is she storing this information somewhere to evaluate us? Is she investigating our other smart devices and gathering information to sell us something or to control our mind? When we look at her screen, does she look back? When we forget about her presence and do something embarrassing, is she saving pictures for some future blackmail? In the future, will Alexa command us to appear before her? Will she require our responses to questions and monitor those responses? Will she be empowered to restrict our rights or discipline us?

Welcome to the wonderful world of our future.

Creativity Advocacy – Tribute to Father’s Day

| Opinion | June 6, 2019

I got married at 20 years old to a young man who just couldn’t wait to be a dad. I helped him fulfill his grandest dream four times over. Jimmy would have sired six children, but I copped out at four, feeling that was more than enough. He was a fun dad, indeed. He brought our kids up laughing. Who’s to say what planted this seed in us—to want to be parents? Times are different now—it seems buying houses, raising children and opening bank accounts have been outdone by traversing the globe, experiencing cultures, and cultivating a deep spirituality. Parenting young is an old trend. That’s fine. I get it. It feels confining. Uncreative. You’re locked into a lifestyle at 20 years old with fewer options than if you’d chosen to be a free spirit on the road to “finding yourself.”

It sure sounds more expansive to spend your twenties doing college, grad school, hitch-hiking across Ireland or backpacking through the Himalayas rather than “settling down.” Postponing parenting can’t hurt; some of the best parents I know waited years longer than we did to become pregnant. But if self-development and deep spirituality is one of wanderlusts’ goals, I’d say parenting accomplishes both, hands down. Parenting stretches a person beyond what they can imagine. Jimmy and I would tell anyone who asked how raising kids forced us to not only expand our Creativity, but to also travel outside of ourselves, our personal needs and wants.

I can think of very little that is more transformative than the act of raising children. The moment an infant takes her first breath, instantaneously, both father and mother are exponentially changed. Science tells us that in men, the primary adaptation while nurturing their young is the shift between left brain and right brain function. Our individual Creativity derives from the same right brain function, which means the act of parenting actually serves to foster Creativity! Interestingly, the changes that occur in parents seem to align with the great tenets of most religions. What Jimmy and I couldn’t know in our early twenties was that this act of parenting would become our path to enlightenment.

Take patience, for example. One can read about being patient from a book or one can practice patience with a screeching infant in the wee hours of the night. One can meditate upon becoming more compassionate or one can experience compassion while soothing a teenager’s broken heart. Eating the burnt toast is the epitome of selfless behavior, as is pretending to enjoy ten rounds of Candyland. Trusting in the cosmos if you’ve ever had a child is a completely separate form of trust and involves a faith that moves mountains. Suffering, too, as is found in Buddhist and Catholic teachings, can bring redemption, and most parents have had their share of suffering in ER rooms or maybe even in just one more game of catch with a 10-year-old after having put in an 80-hour work week. When the kids are finally grown and gone, there is the lesson of letting go, which may or may not feel like a reward for a job well done, depending on how the children manage to launch. Fathers (as well as mothers) go through as many changes as the developing child, and this season can feel like an 18-year-long church retreat—with ups and downs, lack of sleep and less than desirable culinary choices.

Parenting proves to be a way to grow, to change and to gain many of the qualities sought after by the great mystics, gurus, church fathers and mothers. As we lose ourselves in parenting, we find ourselves. Father’s Day is a time to reflect on the transformation within us, appreciating all of the Creative ways in which we’ve grown.

Always Advocating Alan – Carl Boyer: One of Santa Clarita’s Finest

| Opinion | June 6, 2019

Sadly, this week I start my column with a message about the passing of Carl Boyer, one of Santa Clarita’s first council members and mayors.

Carl leaves this life after playing a major role in founding the City of Santa Clarita, while also accomplishing a lifetime of helping children in need. To think, we almost missed out on knowing him. In his own words, from the forward in his book, he made us aware, “Had I not been fearful of losing a few hundred dollars that my wife Chris and I invested in buying our first home, I might never have become involved in community affairs and politics.” Fortunately for all our residents, the concern over losing a small amount of money brought out a man who would leave an indelible impression on how our city would be run.

He inherited a problem-solving mindset from this father, who was an electrical engineer, which not only caused him to analyze everything going on around him, but to document his thoughts as well. When it came to his book, simply titled “Santa Clarita,” the pages became his pallet to display his colorful views, and after publication, he distributed copies to concerned residents. Carl was not one to live in the past. He was always willing to have a conversation, sharing his opinion on what needed to be done today.

Carl Boyer was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He was a caring man of action who was a pleasure to be around, and I will miss his charm, foresight and wit every day.

Ever Read the Paper and Wonder, ‘How Did That Happen’?

This week, the City of Santa Clarita, in partnership with a local non-profit, Santa Clarita Archery, celebrated the opening of Santa Clarita’s first archery range. Reported in The Signal’s Sunday edition was a statement by Kieran Wong, chair of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission: “Ronnie and I spoke less than a year ago and we now have a fully operating archery range.” Ron Silos shared this thought by saying, “My vision is hosting the Olympic events in 2028. That’s my hope and dream … To say that Santa Clarita hosted an Olympic event would be a really wonderful impact.” Mayor McLean went on to announce that there will be “an officially sanctioned Olympic Day celebration right here (at the range),” and the public is invited to join.

The opening of an archery range in Santa Clarita represents a great addition to our city’s amenities, as it gives members of our community another recreational opportunity. Yet, I ponder, how did the archery range go from concept to reality in less than one year, in contrast to another group who has been championing and waiting for a Bicycle Motocross Track (BMX track) for over 10 years? It certainly has not been for a lack of land or funding from the Open Space and Parkland Preservation District or the Facilities fund. The BMX community has brought requests before the city council on numerous occasions. Leading the charge, Christian Gadbois has been a passionate advocate for building a BMX track here in Santa Clarita.

BMX competition is also an Olympic sport, and currently, Christian’s daughter Maya “was selected for TEAM USA to represent the U.S. (and Santa Clarita) at the BMX World Championships to be held in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium this July.” His Facebook page indicates, “like the U.S. Olympic Team, all funding for the athletes is based on private funding. Because of that, we are looking for corporate sponsorship for her trip.” Individual private donations are also greatly appreciated.

If there is a sudden interest in bringing world-class Olympic events to Santa Clarita, wouldn’t a world- class BMX track provide another genuine opportunity? So, what put the archery range on such a fast track, while the BMX facility sat in the shadows all this time? I heard a rumor that funding to create a BMX complex is being included in this year’s city budget. But budgeting the money and building the facility are two very different things. The community needs to stay on top of this issue. A paramount concern must be providing our youth with additional sports and skill-based activities in order to broaden their life lessons and raise their heads up from their cell-phone screens.

Relative to the discussion of the new archery range, Sunday’s Signal also indicated “The 1-acre (archery) range is tucked alongside the northernmost canyon in Haskell Canyon Open Space, just north of Copper Hill Drive and Haskell Canyon Road.” The article included a picture of Mayor McLean reviewing her marksmanship, after letting loose with her first three arrows. Marsha looks to be an archery “force to be reckoned with” as she recorded all three on target, with one arrow “in the center” yellow zone. I’ll have to remember to ask our mayor if her accuracy was due to good coaching, or pure natural skill. Good job, Marsha!

But looking at the picture, I started to think about range safety. For starters, what happens if an archer misses the target? What keeps the arrow in check? What keeps spectators out of harm’s way? Therefore, I took The Signal’s advice and brought up SCVarchery.com for more information. The action led me to the SCVArchery Facebook page, as seen in the picture below. As you can see, the Archery range appears to be a temporary activity, set up in the middle of an open field with no provision to contain arrows missing the target, or any barrier to prevent spectators from wandering into the line of fire. I just shook my head in disbelief. Knowing how risk-averse the City of Santa Clarita has been, it is hard to believe they approved the layout. Range safety must be the number one concern, no matter if this facility is a pistol, rifle, or archery range. Having a competent staff running the activity is only a part of maintaining a safe and fun atmosphere. The infrastructure needs to be there as well, and in this case, it appears to be severely lacking.

It seems I may have answered my own question. Is it possible that the reason the archery range went from concept to reality in less than one year is because the city allowed the range to be put in place without requiring any city financial investment? But since this activity sits on city-owned property, the city still bears the responsibility for public safety and will suffer the liability should something go wrong. While I’m still convinced that having an archery range in the City of Santa Clarita is of value to our community, I have my fingers crossed. City staff need to consult with experts in range safety and implement the necessary safeguards before one unfortunate accident puts an end to this great idea.

A High Schooler’s POV

| Opinion | June 6, 2019

by Analyn May

By the time you read this, I will have graduated from high school.

The problem is, I already talked about my thoughts on graduation back when I entered my senior year. Therefore, I put off writing this article until the last day possible because it seemed like I’d backed myself into a corner— what was I supposed to talk about if I’d already covered graduation? I couldn’t just discuss something trivial or unrelated for the final column of my very first series. (After all, I can’t continue to call this column “A High Schooler’s POV” when I’m not in high school anymore!) Worst of all, it wasn’t even the only project I had to complete. I’d also put off an important email blast that I’d be sending to all the contacts who have helped me with my screenwriting throughout the year.

Ironically enough, it was thinking about this other task which finally gave me the topic I needed. Thinking about how many people have supported me, not only in my screenwriting dreams, but throughout my whole life… there are a lot who don’t cross my mind very often. Extended family, old babysitters, parents’ friends, teachers and substitutes from every year of school… the list goes on and on. Obviously I owe a lot to my parents and the few people who have been most involved in my life, but there are also an awful lot of people who played smaller parts and still deserve my gratitude.

Now I want you to think about all the people that have touched your life, and how many of them you may not have ever expressed your thanks for. It’d be impossible to thank everyone who’s ever helped you, but maybe someone comes to mind who you could viably make an effort to appreciate. There are just so many people who touch our lives, so many people to be grateful for. And so many of those people go unthanked.

This is a bit shorter than what I normally put out, but I suppose that’s okay. I’ve been going through all my old articles via the Santa Clarita Gazette website, and it seems I prefer my own writing when it’s concise. Besides, I want just a little more space for some on-topic “thank-you”s.

To my mom and dad, who raised me and also happened to bring me into existence:

To the other adults in my life, who put up with my sometimes-difficult personality:

To my close friends, who helped me through the rough spots in my life:

To Mr. Sutton, who gave me a job in a day and age where jobs for teens are hard to find:

And to all of my readers, who give me a reason to write and more praise than I probably deserve:

From the bottom of my heart: for playing a part, big or small, in shaping me into the person I’ve become, thank you. And I hope you’ll continue to stick with me as I continue to grow. Now with all the sentimental stuff out of the way, I’ve got to go write an email blast.

For the last time, this has been… A High Schooler’s Point of View.

The Passion of Donald Trump

| Opinion | June 6, 2019

As I watched former Attorney General, Special Investigator and apparent member of the “Deep State” Robert Mueller make his public statement, my mind wandered to “The Passion according to St. Mathew” as told by Andrew Lloyd Webber in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” with Muller playing Caiaphas and Congressman Nadler in the role of Pilot. Very few words were changed.

TRIAL BEFORE PILATE

PILATE (Nadler)
And so, the PRESIDENT is once again my guest.
And why is this? Was Mueller unimpressed?

CAIAPHAS (Mueller)
We turn to Congress to charge the White House resident,
We have no facts to indict this President.
We need him impeached – it’s all you have to do.
We need him impeached – it’s all you have to do.

PILATE (Nadler)
Talk to me, Donald Trump, You have been brought here reviled and beaten by your own department of Justice – do you have the first idea why you deserve it?

Now a flashback: Note: all Priest roles are played by the deep state.

THE DONALD MUST DIE (In the halls of the deep state. Politically die.)

PRIEST 1
Good Caiaphas, the council waits for you.
The ruling elites are here for you.

MUELLER
Ah, gentlemen, you know why we are here, we’ve not much time and quite a problem here.

BOD (Basket of Deplorables per Hillary)
Donald Trump! Superstar!

ANNAS (deep state)
Listen to that howling mob of blockheads in the street!
A trick or two with the economy and the whole countries on its feet.

ALL
He is dangerous!

BOD
Donald Trump, Superstar!

ALL
He is dangerous!

PRIEST 2
That man is holding a rally to whip up some support.

PRIEST 3
A MAGA rousing mission that I think we must abort.

ALL
He is dangerous!

PRIEST 4
Look Caiaphas – they’re right outside our yard!

PRIEST 5
Quick, Caiaphas – go call Obama’s guard!

MUELLER
No wait – we need a more permanent solution to our problem…

DEEP STATE
What then to do about The Donald of Brooklyn?
Miracle wonderman – hero of fools?

PRIEST 6
No riots, no army, no fighting, just tweeting and slogans.

MUELLER
One thing I’ll say for him – The Donald is cool.

DEEP STATE
We dare not leave him to his own devices; his half-witted fans will get out of control.

PRIEST 3
But how can we stop him? His glamour increases by leaps every minute; he’s top of the poll.

MUELLER
I see bad things arising – the crowd votes him President, which our patrons would ban. I see us losing our power, our elimination because of one man. Losing our power because of one man.

ALL
Because, because, because of one man.

PRIEST 3
What then to do about this Trumpmania?

DEEP STATE
How do we deal with the developer king?

PRIEST 3
Where do we start with a man who is bigger? Than Obama was when Obama did his Hope and Change thing?

MUELLER
Fools! You have no perception! The stakes we are gambling are frighteningly high! We must crush him completely – so like Bork before him, this Donald must die. For the sake of the nation, this Donald must die. ALL must die, must die; this Donald must die!

In the original passion, Jesus is crucified. I suspect President Trump will be impeached, but it will die in the Senate. Webber controversially failed to include the gift of the Resurrection in his telling of the Passion story. The ending of the Donald Trump Passion will be decided by the voters in November 2020.

“Father, into your hands we commend our spirits.”

The Orange Avenger v. The Swamp Creatures

| Opinion | May 30, 2019

by Dale Paule

Remember when we were kids, our local movie theater played those 12-chapter, “Cliff Hanger” adventure serials, one per week, sandwiched in between two features, a travelogue, and a couple of cartoons; all for 50-cents plus a dime for popcorn and a nickel for a candy bar?

The theaters were smart, because each chapter would end leaving our hero hanging off the edge of a cliff, or locked in an airtight box – so we just had to come back with our 65 cents the following week to see if and how our hero got out of the predicament.

These serials featured many different heroes; some worked alone, while others had a partner. And the villains ranged from only one bad-guy, to an entire gang, but the scripts and the plots were identical. Hero good, villain bad, hero wins in the end, villain bites the dust. The American Dream in twelve easy lessons!

I really missed those old fun and exciting cliff hangers, until I realized that, in a way, they’re still here. The only difference is, instead of having to go to your local movie theater to watch them, you can watch them right from home on your television.

It’s called, “politics” now, but they still use the same old plots as those that thrilled us as kids. Each Monday, the hero still does battle with the villain, then by Friday, he will end up faced with certain doom at the hands of his nemesis, so we will once again have to wait for next week’s chapter to find out how and if he manages to escape his fate.

Only the names of the heroes and the villains have changed; instead of villains, like “The Hooded Terror” who we watched and booed as kids, now we have “The Swamp Creatures,” versus today’s hero, “The Orange Avenger!”

And instead of buying our hot buttered popcorn and candy at the theater, we’re now woo’d into buying whatever the commercials can sell us between each thrilling episode; and you can bet it ends up costing a lot more than sixty-five cents!

Our “political” hero, “The Orange Avenger,” has a partner called, “The Lethal Lip,” and just now, as we look in on this week’s chapter, we find the “Swamp Creatures” have “The Lip” cornered somewhere deep within their swamp, and are mercilessly badgering him into telling them anything about “The Orange Avenger’s” past which they hope could make him look as crooked as they are. So far however, “The Lip” just sits and sneers back at them!

Then suddenly, one of the foulest creatures of the Swamp called, “Pencil Neck” enters the scene and stares wild eyed into the camera, proclaiming he has seen, with his own eyes, evidence that will make the “Avenger” cringe, and slink away in shame!”

Well, “Orange Avenger” fans, could this finally spell the end for our hero?

Will “Pencil Neck” deliver on his vile threat to destroy the “Avenger’s” reputation?

Can the “Orange Avenger’s “ loyal side-kick, “The Lip,” somehow manage to escape the swamp and foil “Pencil Neck’s” plan to bring an end to our hero, and the “American Way?”

“To find out if the “Orange Avenger” will survive “Pencil Necks” dastardly deed, don’t miss the next thrilling chapter for the answer!”

“But until then, here’s a message from our sponsor.”

“Are you suffering from depression, or anxiety attacks?”

“If so, here’s some good news for you sufferers out there, blah, blah, blah !”

PS: I still miss that hot buttered popcorn though!

Meet the Conservative Republican Who’s Putting Country Over Party

| Opinion | May 30, 2019

by Dick Polman

Justin Amash, a rare Republican congressman who refuses to genuflect at Donald Trump’s feet, has been taking heat lately for daring to speak his mind. But bless his heart, he couldn’t care less.

On Sunday, Trump called him “a loser.” (The “loser” won re-election last year by 10 points, bucking the blue wave.) House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy derided Amash as an attention junkie who has “never supported the president.” (Amash, since January, has voted with Trump 92 percent of the time.) And Trump mouthpiece Lou Dobbs said that Amash should be thrown out of the GOP’s conservative House Freedom Caucus. (Amash, who was elected in the 2010 tea party wave, co-founded the House Freedom Caucus.)

All this, because Amash had the temerity to actually read the entire Mueller report and to publicly state the obvious, that it “reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold of impeachment.”

Granted, Amash is a Republican outlier; the odds are approximately zero that he will inspire his willfully deaf and dumb colleagues to put country over party. Nevertheless, the Michigan congressman is a potential nightmare for Trump in 2020, writing on Twitter over the weekend that Trump “has engaged in impeachable conduct.”

“When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the Rule of Law – the foundation of liberty – crumbles,” Amash wrote. “America’s institutions depend on officials to uphold both the rules and spirit of our constitutional system even when to do so is personally inconvenient or yields a politically unfavorable outcome. Our Constitution is brilliant and awesome; it deserves a government to match it.”

After Trump and his toadies hurled their abuse, Amash didn’t cower like a scalded puppy. Instead, he doubled down, noting that Mueller’s investigation revealed “many crimes” and that obstruction of justice doesn’t require an underlying crime.

“They imply that ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ requires charges of a statutory crime or misdemeanor,” Amash wrote of Trump’s defenders. “In fact, ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ is not defined in the Constitution and does not require corresponding statutory charges. The context implies conduct that violates the public trust – and that view is echoed by the Framers of the Constitution and early American scholars.”

McCarthy, the GOP House leader, told Fox News on Sunday that Amash should be ignored because “he’s not a criminal attorney.” Nevertheless, Amash’s take on the Mueller report mirrors the view of 916 federal criminal attorneys – from Republican and Democratic administrations – who have signed a bipartisan letter stating that Trump’s actions would “result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice” were he not president.

“The Mueller report describes several acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge: conduct that obstructed or attempted to obstruct the truth-finding process, as to which the evidence of corrupt intent and connection to pending proceedings is overwhelming,” the letter states.

But what’s arguably most noteworthy about Amash is his potential role as a spoiler in 2020. A committed small-government libertarian, he hasn’t ruled out challenging Trump by running for president on the Libertarian Party ticket. He could provide a home for conservatives who are sickened by Trump’s governmental corruption and protectionist nationalism. Their numbers may be small, but here’s what matters: Amash is based in Michigan, a state that tilted to Trump in 2016 by a mere 10,704 votes out of 4.5 million cast. His statewide approval rating has reportedly dropped 18 points since he took office, and he can ill afford to lose those 16 electoral votes. If the Democrats were to nominate someone capable of carrying normally blue Michigan (i.e., virtually anyone), then Amash, as a third-party draw for disaffected conservatives, could clinch that win.

All of which explains why House Republicans are hesitant to oust Amash from their ranks, despite his defiant stance on impeachment. As Trump’s protectors, they recognize the political peril of banishment. And as Lyndon B. Johnson used to say, it’s always better to have a dog inside the tent peeing out, than outside the tent peeing in.

Copyright 2019 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Dick Polman is the national political columnist at WHYY in Philadelphia and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email him at dickpolman7@gmail.com.

Dems Do Not Need Max Factor to Manufacture a Cover Up

| Opinion | May 30, 2019

Clearly Nancy Pelosi and her sycophant buddies do not need Max Factor to manufacture a news-dominating cover up.

The Democrats seem unable to stop engaging in what psychology identifies as “projection.”

From Wikipedia: “Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.”

I do not use the word sycophant lightly. From Google Definitions:

“Noun: sycophant; plural noun: sycophants.

A person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage.

Synonyms: toady, creep, crawler, fawner, flatterer, flunkey, truckler, groveller, doormat, lickspittle, kowtower, obsequious person, minion, hanger-on, leech, puppet, spaniel, Uriah Heep; (informal) bootlicker, yes-man, brown-nose; (informal) suck-up; (vulgar) slang arse-licker, arse-kisser; (vulgar) slang suckhole.”

Recently, every major news source and virtually all elected Democrats and talking heads, except for Fox News, referred to the disaster happening on our southern borders as a “Manufactured Crisis” by President Trump. Democrats who are failing to work with Trump to enact laws that will deal with the vile human and drug trafficking are more than complicit. The Democrats who are failing to fund resources to deal with the hundreds of thousands illegally crossing our borders are complicit. Democrats refusing to enact laws that better deal with immigrants fraudulently calling for asylum are complicit. These are all examples of the Democrats being the ones who have manufactured a crisis.

We are experiencing the march of the projecting sycophants’ lack of action, manufacturing one crisis after another. Now led by Nancy Pelosi, one projecting sycophant after another are accusing President Trump, without specificity, of covering up a crime that a two-year $35 million investigation proved his campaign did not commit. Their claim is loosely based on the president balking at their re-litigating Mueller’s investigation. They wish to call back those who, at great expense, have already given hundreds of hours of testimony and 1.5 million documents. It appears they wish to destroy their lives. The Democrats being unable to let go is almost reminiscent of demonic possession. Haven’t you noticed the change in demeanor and expression of Schiff, Pelosi and Nadler?

Why is it that those projecting sycophants who claim they are searching for truth balk at AD Barr examining how these disproven charges began?

Since his campaign began, Democrats have had knee-jerk opposition to any policy that Trump endorses. Nancy Pelosi has offered an extreme example when she suggested that Democrats are not impeaching the president because he wants to be impeached.

Expect the president to adapt by beginning a campaign promoting the tearing down of the southern walls, increasing taxes, more regulations and expanding Medicare for all. Mitch McConnell will have conservative bills supported by the Democrats on the president’s desk in days, which he will reluctantly sign.

Seeing his work not yet finished, President Trump will endorse Adam Schiff for President after which the Congressman will be forcibly expelled from the House. Not yet finished, Trump will call for the end of the Electoral College. The Democrats will respond by repealing the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.

Finally, President Trump will call for changing our education to one modeled on the Hitler Youth programs. Immediately the Democrats will call for School Choice, returning authority over our children’s education to their parents as advocated by the SchoolChoice2020.org initiative.

The former Socialist Democrats will be hailed as the most constitutional in history.

Job well done, President Trump; the Constitution’s good and faithful servant!

Local Student Receives Scholarship from Former Agents of the FBI Foundation

| Opinion | May 30, 2019

At their recent meeting, the Trustees of the Former Agents of the FBI Foundation awarded a scholarship for the 2019-20 academic year to Paige Brunson of Valencia. Brunson will attend UCLA in the fall and is the granddaughter of retired FBI Agent Harold Brunson.

The funding of the Foundation’s Scholarship Program is based in part on the contributions of current members of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, as well as contributions left through sizable bequests over the years. Scholarships are granted to outstanding students based on financial need, academic achievement, leadership and community involvement.

The Former Agents of the FBI Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, Inc. located in Dumfries, Va. For the 2019-20 academic year, the Foundation has awarded 108 scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Undergraduate students who are children and grandchildren of society members are eligible to apply. Additionally, children of members of the FBI National Academy Associates are eligible to apply for the George A. Zeiss Memorial Scholarship.

Information and applications for the Foundation’s 2020-21 Scholarship program will be available at www.socxfbi.org beginning in December 2019.

The War on Men

| Opinion | May 30, 2019

by L. Rob Werner

There is a constant advocacy to empower women and eliminate abuse and discrimination suffered by them from a male-dominated society. However, in the last 50 years, there has been a war against men. Like a political opponent, men are negatively portrayed. The goal: expand women’s rights and powers, diminish male dominance and feminize male behavior.

Men have lost every battle because they refuse to fight women. Married men will tell you, “happy wife – happy life.” On the occasion that they do fight, men always loose one way or another.

Guys’ book covers portraying scantily clad women are offensive. Gals’ books similarly portraying men are now okay.

Movies and television portray boys as dumb and women as superior. Women can beat up men. Men are potential rapists. The truth is that innately, men are protectors of women.

Traditionally, men walk on the street side of the sidewalk. When confronted with danger, the man steps in front of the woman. Without being taught, men may feel uncomfortable if not on the street side protecting a lady from splashes or vehicles. Think about your life, how do you behave?

Feminists appear schizophrenic in their advocacy. They want female police and soldiers, but want men to come to their rescue. They want independence, except when something goes wrong. They want equal rights and opportunities, except when they get more benefits from traditional roles. When a ship is sinking, the call is “Women and children first.”

Have you ever heard this protested, or someone advocating, “Men and old people first”?

Men’s clubs are no longer men’s clubs, but women’s clubs are women’s clubs. The Boy Scouts is now the Boys and Girl Scouts, while the Girl Scouts is still for girls.

Women are given positions over better qualified men to achieve an “equality” quota. But there are no “equality” quotas for men.

Men are physically better and more interested in sports. In the ‘70s, the government passed Title IX. The law reallocated school sports funding equally, cutting funds for male programs and athletes and shifting funding to women.

High school boys performed better at math, but girls had better verbal skills. So, a new math was developed based on verbal skills. Algebra transitioned from symbols and computations to verbal definitions. The result? Boys who had deficient verbal skills could no longer perform well on the subject. Today, girls outnumber boys in math A.P. classes and get better grades, but boys still perform better on the math college admissions tests.

Alleged discrimination against women attending college has resulted in women dominating colleges. Women receive two-thirds of master’s degrees, 75 percent of professional degrees and 80 percent of doctorate degrees. They receive four times as many scholarships. How many times have you heard people complaining about these facts?

Every day there is new advocacy that would result in harming men. Some advocates go so far as to claim that men’s natures need to be changed to be more like women. Maybe this movement will be successful. Do you think women will like men more when they act like women?

Things need to be done to help men survive. So, I leave you with this call:
TO ALL WOMEN WHO LOVE MEN AND ALL MOTHERS OF BOYS – ENLIST AND JOIN TOGETHER TO FIGHT THIS WAR AGAINST MEN. HELP! WE NEED YOU!

Always Advocating Alan – Veterans Run to the Wall, Because They are Riding for Those Who Can’t

| Opinion | May 30, 2019

Memorial Day is a holiday which brings joy and sadness all at the same time. While it is the start of the summer holiday season, it also serves to remind us of our military personnel around the globe who have given their all protecting freedom and our great republic. Unfortunately, this year brings additional despair with the 32nd, and possibly last “Rolling Thunder” ride in Washington D.C. On Memorial Day, riders from all over the country will file out of the Pentagon Parking lot, in a seemingly never-ending parade passing across the Memorial Bridge, down Constitution Avenue to the Capitol, and back to West Potomac Park along Independence Avenue. Possibly for the last time.

“Rolling Thunder” is a collaborative effort of Veterans organizations across the country. No matter where you live in the continental United States, you are close to a pre-planned ride to D.C., scheduled for the riders to arrive in time for Memorial Day. In the Los Angeles area of Southern California, the trip is organized as a 10-day event starting in Orange County by “Run for the Wall” (RFTW.org). Through the years, as I watched news stories about this event, I thought someday, I am going to ride with them. So, when I retired in 2006, with my wife Pam in my Harley’s Passenger Seat, along with George, a Korean War Veteran, and Gene, a Vietnam Veteran, we made our way to the start. I knew from the onset I would be asked where I served, and as I am not a military veteran, I was not going to stretch the truth. I was asked that question many times, and in each case, I was also sternly asked, “If you did not serve, why are you here?” To which I replied, “I am here to support you and thank you for your service to our country.” That is all it took for the tension to subside and a smile to appear on the veteran’s face, with a friendly hand extended.

As motorcycle events go, “Run for the Wall” is unique. No entry fees are charged, and you are invited to ride “all the way” or join the group along the route, and if necessary, drop off as needed. If this is your first time participating, you will be given an NFG badge, indicating you are a New F-G Guy, deserving of an extra hug at morning rider’s meetings. When we signed up in 2006, there was a special table with an author handing out Veterans Self-Help books. He autographed one and asked me to pass it on to a Vietnam Veteran when I returned home, which I did. The year 2006 had about 800 riders ready to get on their way. We were given a choice of taking the Central or Southern Route. With the two groups evenly divided, we chose the Central Route and ended up riding in six groups called “platoons,” which had a two-second interval between them. Within each platoon, we were required to ride side by side, one-wheel length apart. It was a little hectic, with the Road Guards wanting me to pull-up closer, and someone behind me pounding on my shoulder to back off.

Every day started off with an early morning rider’s meeting. It was a time to get information on the day’s events, and possibly to hug an NFG. But each rider’s meeting ends on a somber note, reminding us of a soldier who went missing in Vietnam on the anniversary of this day. A letter to the missing soldier was held up, and the group was asked, “Who will take this letter to the Wall?” Each time, a veteran would volunteer to complete this solemn task.

You might wonder; How do you gas up 400 motorcycles in a reasonable amount of time? Well, gas stops were preselected every hundred miles, with an RFTW Volunteer holding the pumps open. Riders were asked to keep a wad of one-dollar bills with them. You would pull up to the pump, fill your tank and pay an amount rounded up to the nearest dollar. The extra change goes toward fueling the chase trucks and trailers following the platoons. But, about half the time, the gas cost was covered by the gas station owner.

Since the trip is choreographed, participants know where they will be every day. Hotels are available at each “days end” location, or you can camp if you so choose. Along the way, the patriotism and generosity of Middle America shined brightly. Hotels lowered their fees for the event, meals were provided by many VFW, American Legion Posts and even some private restaurants. Town residents know when the RFTW procession will be arriving and are waiting for the group to pass through their town. Onlookers armed with American flags and patriotic banners greet Veterans in a way which makes them feel like the heroes they truly are. One of the more memorable states we passed through was New Mexico, with the Highway Patrol clearing the freeway for us, all while a New Mexico National Guard helicopter flew overhead as we rode through the state. On May 19, 2006, we stopped in Grants, New Mexico for the dedication of a Vietnam Memorial built by private citizens, with ongoing maintenance being taken over by the state. Governor Richardson was present for the dedication and his staff handed out patches to commemorate the day. Then on the Navaho Nation, we witnessed a grand ceremony honoring members of the tribe who served in the military, followed by lunch for all 400 of us. Navaho tribe members are rightfully honored, and are well-known for their efforts as “code talkers” in World War II’s Pacific Theater.

One special place visited by RFTW each year is Rainelle, West Virginia. When RFTW first started their journey to the Wall 32 years ago, Rainelle was one of the first places to openly embrace the veterans passing through their town. Stopping at the high school and taking a tour showed their schools still teach U.S. history, with areas dedicated to pictures representing WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Students competed to see who could get the most veteran’s autographs. But, while we were greeted by the residents of Rainelle with open arms, the morning riders meeting warned us that the law enforcement climate was about to change as we entered Virginia. How challenging it must be for the organizers to be facing hostility for such a patriotic event. We staged just outside of Washington D.C., waiting for the planned unification of central and southern Route Platoons for a ride to the Vietnam Memorial Wall, when our plans came to a sudden halt. You might remember the day before Memorial Day in 2006, a forklift backfired in the basement of a Washington D.C. building, causing the city to be locked down, which required us to remain where we were. When we finally got to our hotel, my small group of three motorcycles did visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Because of the lockdown, there weren’t many visitors present, but the reverent atmosphere remained in place. Nothing will keep your eyes from tearing up when the Wall is directly in front of you.

We arrived at the “Final Night Dinner” early to find round tables set for groups of 12. As our table had empty seats, a young gentleman asked if his party could join us. It turned out that his group included the book author we met the first day who intended to continue giving out his books during the evening. Soon, a long line of Vietnam Veterans formed behind us. They all wanted to speak with the author. Sitting next to him, I heard the same story repeated over and over. It told of soldiers coming home drug-addicted, hitting bottom, and not knowing what to do until they found his book. They wanted to thank him, because the information within turned their life around. It certainly left an impact on me, and the next day, I decided as a non-veteran it was inappropriate for me to participate further. The last phase, “Rolling Thunder,” is something which should be reserved exclusively for veterans.

This year, RFTW got bigger, with 651 participants on the Central Route, 374 on the Mid-Country Route, and 618 on the Southern Route – all still riding for those who can’t. Let’s hope and pray the problems are resolved and “Rolling Thunder” goes on to live again in 2020 and beyond.

Letters to the Editor

| Opinion | May 30, 2019

Columnist Gary Curtis quotes Mike (5P) Pence saying “Religious Freedom is under assault.” Typical Fundamentalist Christian nonsense and fear mongering! Usually, the Pilgrims are cited for their emigration seeking religious Freedom. In practice, it became obvious that their only interest was THEIR religious freedom. Once settled, they set out to repulse and repress any, and all, people who believed differently from them. The Catholics come to mind almost instantly. The Catholic Church tried to end all beliefs other than theirs when and wherever they got political control. The Spanish Inquisition is a prime example. Protestants and Jews were the targets there. Islam routinely quashes any other faith that they can in territory that they control.

Christianity and Islam share a history of “conversion by the sword.” As recently as last year, Ann Coulter suggested that we could solve the “Muslim Problem” by forcing all of them to convert to Christianity. Muslims have periodically murdered Christians living in the “Caliphate”. Strangely, Hindu’s and Buddhists don’t do that anymore, but in the right situation, I have no doubt that they would! Many will point to the Arab-Israeli issue as a religious conflict. In reality it is a “Real Estate” dispute, with religion acting as a way to tell the participants apart. As a non-Christian, I fear the day when folks like 5P gain control of our laws and the legal system. Their history has been to declare themselves to be right, and that any actions against their laws would be against (their) GOD! In the opening of most screeds of the type Gary Curtis wrote, there is usually a reference to the “Judeo-Christian” heritage of this Country. Our founders had ample opportunity to base the Constitution on religious grounds, and deliberately decided not to do that. It is unseemly, but typical, for that (Pious, Pulpit, Pounding, Pr_ck) Pence, to bemoan that some Americans do not believe, or act like him. His solution, as seen in Indiana, is to support laws that force the “infidels’, to comply. Besides, historically, the Christians have been trying to get rid of the “Judeo” portion of that heritage for centuries.

Gary Morrison
Valencia

Is the East side of Canyon Country still part of the city of Santa Clarita? I have, once again, noticed that the American flags along Soledad Canyon Road stop at Canyon Country park. We on the East side of the valley deserve to be equally served as the rest of the city. I’m surprised Bob Keller hasn’t addressed this lack of recognition as he lives on the East side of our community as well. We may have been annexed into the city after it was formed but we are part of the city anyway. How does the East side of our valley get the same benefits as the rest of our city?
Tom

We’re One Supreme Court Case Away From Outlawing Abortion

| Opinion | May 23, 2019

by Dick Polman

Anyone who still assumes that legal abortion is here to stay, and that Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land, should take a hard look at what’s happening right now in red America.

Indeed, to best understand Alabama’s passage of a bill outlawing virtually all abortions (even in cases of rape and incest), and Georgia’s passage last week of a bill outlawing virtually all abortions at six weeks (before most women even know they’re pregnant), and the recent passage of similar six-week bans in Ohio, Mississippi, and Kentucky (even though Roe says that most abortions are legal up to 24 weeks), we need only reference the words of the current president. The same guy who used to give money to Planned Parenthood. On the 2016 campaign trail, Trump morphed into an anti-abortion zealot. During a televised event in March of that year, when asked how he would ban abortion, Trump replied: “You’ll go back to a position like they had where people go to illegal places. But you have to ban it. There has to be some form of punishment (for doctors).”

A ban that would force women to “go back” to back-alley illegal abortions? No wonder the religious right got so excited. Trump promised that, if elected, he’d remake the Supreme Court and ensure that Roe was erased. During an autumn debate, he vowed that his conservative appointees would overturn the 1973 ruling that gives women the right to control their bodies. In his words, “it will happen, automatically.”

Duly inspired, the GOP’s evangelical base suppressed its qualms about Trump’s amoral character and forged a marriage of convenience. It delivered landslide support – favoring him over Hillary Clinton by 81 to 16 percent, the widest margin of any 2016 voting constituency. And today, duly encouraged by the ascent of Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, conservative allies in various red-state legislatures are concocting draconian anti-abortion laws that are blatantly unconstitutional and will likely be tied up in litigation limbo. But that’s precisely what they want, because they’re playing a long game. As one key Alabama sponsor says, “What I’m trying to do here is get this case in front of the Supreme Court so Roe v. Wade can be overturned … This is the way we get where we want to get eventually.”

The days of incrementally undermining Roe at the margins – with state laws that require waiting periods, anti-abortion “counseling,” various costly regulations that are impossible to meet – are decidedly over. Republicans now believe they finally have five high court votes to kill Roe entirely, thanks to Trump, and they’re hoping that their new frontal attacks on abortion will wend their way to the bench for an historic decision. Their strategy may not necessarily work. Linda Greenhouse, a Yale Law lecturer who covered the court for decades as a journalist, acknowledges that the anti-abortion extremism currently being unleashed in red states is “shockingly aggressive (and) purport to take us back to the pre-Roe regime where abortion was criminal.” But Greenhouse also thinks the new laws in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi and Kentucky are too extreme for John Roberts’ majority coterie, and believes the court will simply continue to whittle away at Roe.

“If Roe finally falls, it’ll fall with a little push of a pinkie, rather than a frontal assault,” Greenhouse said. Perhaps. But it’s clear that the anti-abortion forces, with Washington winds at their back, have all the momentum – and there’s a lesson in that for pro-Roe liberals and Democrats, a lesson that never seems to be learned. Republicans and their religious right allies don’t care what the polls say (according to the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of Americans want abortion to be legal in all or most cases, while only 37 percent say otherwise). Instead, they simply act on their convictions. They plan for the long haul and they execute that plan. They forged a transactional pact with Trump because they prioritized the importance of the Supreme Court.

Liberals and Democrats have never prioritized the Supreme Court. One might’ve assumed that the Democratic base would be ginned up about the court’s future composition – given the fact that Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell spent most of 2016 burying President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland – but nope. So Democrats – and the majority of women who typically vote for Democrats – are now suffering the consequences. The protections for women, enshrined in Roe 46 years ago, now hang in the balance. In Linda Greenhouse’s words, “It’s all about the dignity and agency of the female half of the population. And that’s what’s at stake.”

Copyright 2019 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Dick Polman is the national political columnist at WHYY in Philadelphia and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email him at dickpolman7@gmail.com.

Victimhood and Political Madness

| Opinion | May 23, 2019

by Terri Lovell

All human beings have passions. A person’s values are revealed in the things for which they show a great deal of passion. Today’s Democrats display a great deal of passion for victimhood. Whether it’s individual or collective, real or perceived, victimhood is the fuel that motivates liberal politicians.

Democrats see victims everywhere and in all circumstances. They play on the victimhood status of their supporters and have convinced them that unless Democrats are given the reins of power over their lives, victims will forever be victimized, and those who do not yet realize they are victims will inevitably become victims themselves.

But when Democrat policies are implemented, does the number of victims actually decrease? Or are one set of victims replaced by another? Democrat politicians would have us believe that their benevolent goal is to fulfill every physical, social, and emotional need of society and, therefore, create a society free of victims. But if there were no need to perpetuate victimhood, there would be no need to vote for Democrats.

Of all the rights afforded to women as American citizens, none are more precious to Democrats than a woman’s “right” to murder her unborn child. If deprived of that “right,” women are told they are victims of male patriarchy, keeping them from being whole, free and in control of their own bodies.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (2012), in the United States, the overall pregnancy-related mortality rate is .0151 percent (15.1 deaths per 100,000 live births). This statistic shows that the overwhelming majority of abortions are not performed in order to save the life of the mother. In the case of women who have had multiple abortions because a pregnancy is life-threatening, one would think they would take every precaution necessary to avoid becoming pregnant.

Liberals memorialize racist eugenicist extraordinaire, Margaret Sanger, who promoted abortion for the purpose of “weeding” out the black population. Since the legalization of abortion in 1973, 16 million black babies have been murdered, diminishing the black population by an estimated 36 percent. Abortion has taken the lives of 49.3 million babies. For Democrats, there is no need to acknowledge their victimhood because abortion is seen as a victimless crime. After all, unborn babies aren’t considered human, and they can’t vote.
House Democrats are patting themselves on the back for voting on the passage of H.R.5, The Equality Act. This bill, supported by Representative Katie Hill, is intended to add more anti-discrimination protection for the LGBTQ community. As do most Democrat policies, if signed into law, this bill would victimize more people than it is intended to help, especially women.

The Equality Act mandates that health professionals cannot deny treatment to a person based on their gender identity. In the case where a woman (who identifies as a man) demands that her OB-GYN perform a hysterectomy on her, even if her uterus is perfectly healthy, the doctor would be considered in violation of federal discrimination laws if he refused to do so.

What happens if the woman later decides she is not a man and wants to have children? Is she now a victim of an unwanted surgery that has altered her reproductive life forever? Will she then be allowed to sue the doctor for removing her perfectly healthy uterus? In this case, not only would the doctor have been forced by law to violate his Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, the doctor also becomes the victim of a lawsuit. More victims.

The Equality Act also mandates that physicians perform procedures like sterilizations and abortions, even if performing those procedures are morally or religiously objectionable to the physician.

Parental rights would be completely eliminated, as H.R.5 mandates that any action by anyone to interfere with access to “transgender procedures or reproductive health” is considered discrimination. Parents objecting to their children having life-altering transgender surgeries, or taking puberty blockers and sex hormones, would necessarily become victims of heavy-handed government policies that give control of their own children to the state. Again, more victims.

Under the mandates of H.R.5, federal law would dictate that men (who identify as women) could not be denied access to all women’s facilities, including restrooms, locker rooms, women’s shelters, etc., and could not be denied a place on a women’s sports team.

At the most basic cellular physiological level, men are bigger, faster, and stronger than women. Regardless of whether a man is taking hormones, a man on estrogen is still a man.

Dr. Michelle Critella, a pediatrician and executive director of the American College of Pediatricians stated that if signed into law, H.R.5 “literally guts religious rights, parental rights, it eliminates the female half of the human race in law. There won’t be any more girls’ sports; it’ll be men’s sports versus coed sports. There won’t be any women’s restrooms or women’s locker rooms, or even women’s shelters. It’s going to be coed everything… It completely undoes our entire way of life.”

And the Democrats proclaim themselves to be the champions of women’s rights? Please. By their own desire to be all things to all people through a parental behemoth nanny-state, their ridiculous solutions to complex issues create more problems than they solve, and create more unwitting victims along the way.

‘Freedom of Religion is Under Assault’

| Opinion | May 23, 2019

by Gary Curtis

Vice President Mike Pence recently warned about declining religious freedoms in our country, as the guest speaker for the 2019 commencement exercises at Virginia’s Liberty University. “Freedom of religion,” he said, is “under assault.”

The former congressman and governor of Indiana told of his own experiences of being mocked and criticized for his personal faith and practice. “We live in a time when it’s become acceptable and even fashionable to ridicule and even discriminate against people of faith,” he said.

Though the United States of America was built on Judeo-Christian traditions and practices, the Vice President explained that “things are different now. Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs. So, as you go about your daily life, be ready; because you’re going to be asked not just to tolerate things that violate your faith. You’re going to be asked to endorse them.”

He went on to explain that through most of American history, one would not have been shunned or ridiculed for defending the historic teachings of the Bible. But, now, “You need to be prepared to meet opposition.”

Apologist and social commentator Alex McFarland has amplified the trouble with the modern understanding and use of the word tolerance. Originally, he says, “it meant ‘putting up with something you disagree with or don’t like.’ But tolerance has now been redefined to convey the idea that all beliefs should be considered equal, and if it’s the belief du jour, it should be not only tolerated but promoted.”

Christian author and lecturer Ravi Zacharias explains the cultural context of this new tolerance when he says, “Christians are being asked by our culture to erase the lines and move fences, and if that were not bad enough, we are being asked to join in the celebration cry by those who have thrown off the restraints religion had imposed upon them.” Acceptance of others’ lifestyles is not enough. They now demand we affirm these aberrant beliefs and practices, too.

The Apostle Paul told the young pastor Timothy (and us) to boldly “endure afflictions” since a crown of righteousness is waiting to be awarded “to all who have loved His appearing” (v. 8).

Jesus told the disciples that when we approach the “end of the age” His followers will be handed over to those who will “persecute you and they will kill you and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake…but he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:3-14 MEV).

Endurance and perseverance in the face of adversity and tribulation is a part of the hardships of a “good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:3).

In these last days, we are to “flee youthful desires” and “avoid foolish and unlearned debates,” while not being quarrelsome. Rather, we must “pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace” and “be gentle toward all people, able to teach, patient, in gentleness instructing those in opposition” (2 Tim. 2:22-26).

As Vice President Pence told the Liberty University graduates about the faith and endurance of the three Hebrew graduates in Daniel 3, he said, “You’re going to be asked to bow down to the idols of the popular culture … But just know this: if like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego you end up in the fire, there’ll be another in the fire [with you].”

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