Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Can We Talk - Honestly?

Mayor Bill de Blasio, President Obama, Eric Holder and others have suggested we have a conversation about race relations and the police in this country. Okay, let’s talk, but let’s do it openly and honestly.  This is no time for thin skin on either side.  We must also remember that an important component of true communicaton is listening, not just talking.

I admit that I’m usually willing to give police the benefit of the doubt.  They put their lives on the line every day when they put on that uniform and go out on the streets.  When faced with tense moments that are fraught with danger, they don’t have the luxury of taking time to mull their options; they must make split-second decisions.  Sometimes those decisions have fatal consequences.

The media have attempted to lump the Ferguson, MO case with the New York case and to me they’re different.  Both involve white cops and black men who died at the hands the police, but similarities end there.   In the Missouri case, black eyewitnesses, as well as forensics, supported the narrative that Michael Brown did not have his hands raised in surrender, was not obeying the policeman’s orders and was behaving in a threatening, bullying manner.  In the New York case, it appeared to me that the police were unnecessarily rough in the treatment of Eric Garner, although perhaps I didn’t see it all. Selling individual cigarettes may be a crime, but doesn’t NYPD have more important things with which to deal?

Racism exists – there’s no denying it.  It always has and, to be realistic, it always will to one degree or another.  It’s not something that happens only in this country; it’s a world-wide phenomenon.  I happen to believe that the majority of police in this country are not racist.  However, Barack Obama and Eric Holder have huge racial chips on their shoulders, even though they are two of the most powerful men in the world.  They have not worked to improve relations between the races; they have actually stoked the fires of anger and resentment that exist in black communities, and when they speak of problems between the police and blacks, they address only one side of the equation, i.e., bias on the part of the police.

If things are to improve, both sides must recognize and be willing to accept certain responsibilities.  As far as law enforcement goes, they have a responsibility to build ties within the communities they police.  I seriously doubt that law-abiding black people want the police to disappear from their streets.  They must treat people with respect and reasonable restraint. 

 Black people also have some responsibilities.  First and foremost should be honesty in facing and dealing with the social chaos that exists in so many predominantly black communities.  Too many young black men and women are growing up without a good male role model in their lives.  I’m old-fashioned – I happen to believe that fathers are important in their children’s lives.  It’s fathers who teach boys how to be good men.  Fathers are important to daughters too; he’s the first important man in her life and has the obligation to show his daughter how good and decent men should be.  A daughter’s relationship with her father will affect her relationships with men as an adult.

We must work to ensure that equal opportunity exists for Americans of all races, but we can never assure equal outcomes.  That will require taking personal responsibility for one’s own life and being willing to work hard to achieve goals.  I’ve read several of Dr. Ben Carson’s books and one thing in particular has stuck with me:  Dr. Carson’s mother refused to allow Ben and his brother to use racism as an excuse for failure. 

There are two options:  wallow in being a victim or work to become the most excellent person you can be.  The choice is yours to make.

Friday, July 18, 2014

What's Wrong with the President?

There's something very odd about President Obama and it's getting stranger by the minute.  It's becoming increasingly apparent that while he loves the benefits of his job, he doesn't like the job itself.  He seems to have checked out early. Could he be having some sort of mini breakdown?

I've long felt that there is no real feeling behind the words he reads from his teleprompters.  When he talks of the United States being a great country, I don't sense that he actually believes that.  He's an actor playing a role, that of president, but he doesn't do it very well.

There is something alien about Obama.  He seems to lack normal human emotions and because he lacks something so fundamental, his responses are often inappropriate and sometimes even bizarre.  He seems to have no idea of propriety or boundaries.  He either doesn't know or doesn't care about how he comes across to others.   

We saw this on full display yesterday with the news of the downed Malaysian airliner.  Obama said it was "possibly a tragedy".  News flash, Mr. President: when an airplane carrying almost 300 people crashes it IS a tragedy and would be so even if there were no Americans on board.  He devoted a whole 40 seconds to the announcement and then proceeded as if nothing were amiss. Heaven forbid that you should let anything interfere with your fundraising.

It's been obvious for a long time that Obama lacks leadership skills.  What's also apparent now is that he lacks people skills. He seems devoid of empathy, incapable of understanding how others might feel and therefore doesn't know how to respond to unusual situations.  He is thin-skinned and when questioned or challenged, becomes petulant and mean-spirited.  At times, he doesn't even seem to be in touch with reality and that's a possibility that's downright scary.  

All in all, we seem to have a president who is incapable of handling the job and who just might be falling apart psychologically.  God help us.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Democrats and American Women

What was the "women's movement" about?  Allegedly, it was to open up previously unavailable choices and options to women and to foster equality with men - socially, sexually and economically.  

Why, then, do so many women look to the government, Democrats specifically, to be their provider?  As you may or may not know, there is a "gender gap" when it comes to the support each political party enjoys.  By and large, men tend to support Republicans, while women tend to support Democrats.  When looking at single vs. married women, this gap narrows, with a larger percentage of married women supporting Republicans than single women.

Perhaps women have bought into the notion pushed by Democrats and reinforced by the compliant liberal media that Republicans have no compassion and are waging a "war on women".  Listening to the Democrats, one might come to the conclusion that Republicans and conservatives are trying to deny access to contraceptives, keep women down and - who knows - maybe even take away the right to vote!

As a woman, I'm embarrassed that so many of my fellow females have fallen for these falsehoods.  The assumption that women need the government to take care of them and provide their most basic needs is insulting and condescending. The policies endorsed and promulgated by Democrats do not arise from compassion.  They originate in the desire to gain and keep political power. After all, if you can keep people dependent on governmental goodies, they're likely to keep voting for the provider of those benefits.  

Conservatives, on the other hand, endorse a smaller governmental footprint in our lives, common-sense regulations and policies that foster economic growth that will benefit all levels of society, while keeping the safety net for those who truly need it. 

I'm appealing to American women:  don't fall for the Democrats' lies about the terrible tragedies that will befall you should Republicans be elected. You're smarter than that! Republicans are the ones who recognize that you are strong and capable of standing on your own two feet.  The policies of the Democrats are patronizing and condescending.  Ask yourself:  who's truly conducting a "war on women"?   

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Variable that Liberals Try to Ignore

President Obama's obsession with "income inequality" seems to be spreading around the globe.  This ideology leads proponents to enact policies that take money from those who earn it and redistribute it to those who are less fortunate and/or less industrious.  I can't help noticing, however, that these ideologues don't seem to redistribute their own wealth. They only want to use other people's money.

It would be wonderful to have everyone making good money and having a high standard of living, but this is not likely to ever happen.  People are equal in the eyes of their Creator and should certainly have equal opportunity to become successful.  People, however, differ in their levels of intelligence, ambition and personal discipline.  For these reasons, equal opportunity can never assure equal outcomes.

Why don't wealth redistribution and socialistic policies work?  These are things that might be good in theory, but in reality have unintended consequences.  Throughout human history, there has been one thing that has remained constant and unchanged.  It's also the variable that liberals try to ignore:  human nature.  The human race has a certain number of "slackers", those who don't pull their own weight.  I'm not referring to those who can't work, I'm referring to those who won't work.  If the government is taking money from those who produce wealth and giving it to those who won't work, it essentially is giving the slackers a reason not to work.  Why work for money if you can just have it handed to you?!

On the other hand, the drive to work hard and earn a good living is dampened by the knowledge that the government is just going to take a huge chunk of it.  Thus, both earners and takers end up losing the incentive to become productive and in the end, wealth and power become concentrated in the hands of a few, while the great mass of people are poor and miserable, albeit equal.  

Human nature is not going to change.  It's normal for people to want to keep what they earn and, unfortunately, it's also a human weakness to want things to be easy.  The goal should be to provide ample opportunity to everyone and educate people to the fact that dependence on government will never provide financial security or true freedom.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

An Open Letter to Tom Steyer

Dear Mr. Steyer (and other environmentalists and anti-fossil fuel folks), 

So, you're against the Keystone pipeline, believe the propaganda about climate change and are against fossil fuels. Fine, you're entitled to your opinion and from everything I've read, you and your wife seem like decent, well-meaning people.  

I just wanted to throw a few things out here for your consideration.  First, no matter how you feel about fossil fuels, the reality is that we need them now and in the foreseeable future. That is a reality. You can dream all you want about wind and solar power, but that doesn't address our present-day needs.  

Second, have you given any thought to how many people are employed in the energy business?  I'm not just talking about those who work for oil and gas companies, but all the peripheral businesses that support the petroleum industry: oilfield service companies, pipe companies, pipefitters, welders, etc. If you succeed in doing away with fossil fuels (which I personally don't believe will happen in my lifetime), hundreds of thousands of people will be put out of work. Do you care about those people?

Third, I suspect most people either don't know about or give little thought to the myriad products that are petroleum-based.  In your own kitchen, your coffee pot, drinking cups and cooking utensils are probably made from petroleum products.  Refrigerator shelves, sponges, trash bags and nonstick pans are all derived from petroleum.  

In your car, the dashboard, upholstery, windshield wipers, visors and even your brake fluid are all derived from oil and gas products.  In offices, computers, calculators, cell phones, printers and copiers, and even the floors and counters in the building are most likely from petroleum-based products.  

Numerous medical products are also derived from petroleum: artificial hearts, prosthetic limbs and hearing aids are all representative of life-enhancing and life-saving products that were developed from oil and gas.  Even some medications are petroleum-based:  anesthetics and drugs to treat arthritis and allergies to name a few.  

There are many recreational pursuits in which you come in contact with petroleum products:  golf balls, footballs, tennis rackets, diving boards, swim goggles and bicycle tires would not exist as we know them without oil and gas. Even the soles of your sneakers are made from gas and oil products.  

I could go on and on, as the list is long and the products too numerous to mention here. I think you get the point though. Are you willing to give up all these products in your quest to end the use of fossil fuels? Have you come up with alternative materials to make these everyday tools we take for granted? If not, may I suggest you direct your efforts toward that end? I for one am not willing to forego my modern conveniences and I suspect you aren't either.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sorry State of the Union

As many people know, tonight is the annual State of the Union address, in which the president lays out his agenda for the coming year.  Although this is a long-held tradition, it often is an exercise in frustration and futility.  

According to the Wall Street Journal, the country is "increasingly worried" about the president's abilities and are fearful about America's future.  A Washington Post poll revealed that fully 63% of Americans have little or no faith that Mr. Obama will make the right decisions.  At the same time, the public seems to support many of the president's themes and policy ideas.  There seems to be some kind of disconnection here.

Mr. Obama and other Democrats have certain phrases that they use over and over, knowing that they resonate with people:  "income inequality", "war on women", "minimum wage", etc.  When it comes to income inequality, for example, who could possibly be against helping the poor improve their lot in life?  No one whom I know.  But pay close attention; what has Obama actually done to address these problems? His "solution" is to take money that the wealthy have earned and redistribute it to those less fortunate. Would it not be better to empower people to rise out of poverty through their own efforts, rather than simply taking from the wealthy? Our economy remains anemic, millions of people have simply given up on looking for work and the median household income has decreased during Mr. Obama's presidency, due to his failed policies.  We could all possibly end up poor and miserable, but, boy, we'd all be equal!  

The United States, although weakened, is still a strong country, but we will likely not recover fully under this president.  Mr. Obama seems to confuse rhetoric with action, and there is a dichotomy between what he says and what he actually does.   We would do well to follow the example of Andrew Carnegie, who said "As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say.  I just watch what they do."