A Statesman in Waiting

You don't have to dig too deep to discover the lure that draws an individual into the world of politics.  Notoriety, power and greed, the promise of easy money has replaced the nobility of becoming an elected representative of the people.  You see it in the laws passed that favor “Them” over us.  Rules and laws that exempt them and protect them from laws designed to punish you and I.  They, as employees, decide when they should get a raise and trust me they see to it that they are paid and paid very well.  Right here in my home state in Texas, a commissioner in Montgomery County earns more than the actual governor of the entire state of Texas.

So, imagine my surprise when I see this ad for a candidate running for a seat on the Commissioners Court in Houston’s Montgomery County.  Gregory Parker while “On Air” declared that if elected, one of his first actions would be to cut his own pay.  Let that sink in, he wants to cut his own potential salary returning the savings back to the taxpayers, back to the community he hopes to serve.  Now Mr. Parkers platform is broad, it covers many issues and if you live in Montgomery County Precinct 2 I would encourage you to check out his platform.  He has common sense reforms for issues like Toll Roads, taxes, budgets, emergency management and response, eminent domain and many more critical issues to voters. However, for now I want to focus on this issue because it represents an attitude missing in public service today. 

From local elected representatives to those sitting in Federal office you can find examples of individuals who went into office with meager savings, businesses limping along or in some cases with no actual job before the election to the seat they now occupy.  Fast forward a few years and you see individuals flush with cash, personal cash.  Take a moment out of your day and look at some of the financial disclosures of those you elect.  What you will find will astound you.  People elected to serve the public are among some of the wealthiest among us.  Ex Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went into office with a few thousand dollars to his name and now has a net worth that exceeds $30 million.  Former House Speaker Denny Hastert, a former wrestling coach before becoming a congressman, just settled lawsuits and paid vast sums to victims of abuse.  Right here in Texas there are examples of this and it isn't a right and left, conservative or liberal phenomenon, it is an endemic reality in our current political structure. The question must be asked, how do individuals, earning a public service salary, grow their nest eggs at a rate that is unfathomable and unavailable to you and I?  It is because the era of statesman, the era of serving the public interest has given way to the era of personal gain at “We the peoples” expense.  Hucksters now proliferate the ballot gaming a system they created.  Good intentions of some are twisted into submission by lobbyists and easy money.  In the end, the price for admission is betraying the public trust. 

So, again, imagine my surprise as I sat and listened to Mr. Parker pledge to work on cutting his pay in favor of returning that money to his community.  It is a simple yet powerful statement that tells me this is someone who understands the role of a public servant, someone elected to office to represent those who voted for them.  Webster’s defines a Statesman as:

 “1: one versed in the principles or art of government; especially: one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government or in shaping its policies

2: a wise, skillful, and respected political leader “

When you picture those sitting in the seats of power at home or serving you federally, ask yourself, do you consider them Wise?  Do you believe they serve your interests?  Do you believe they use their skill to serve you or do you see what I see, individuals serving themselves?  Do the policies they pursue serve the public good? Do you respect them or, like me do you know at your core the system is broken and elected representatives have become distant and disconnected?  Election season is upon us.  Now is the time we look over the menu of candidates seeking to represent us. Those asking We the People to entrust them with not just our hard-earned money but our future as well.  I don't live in Houston’s Montgomery County, I live in Dallas but I can tell you that as I look at those asking for my vote I will refer back to the words and the pledge of Gregory Parker to his constituents as a litmus test of sorts.  I want to elect those who fit the definition of “Statesman” and I believe that if we demand better, if we expect more and if we find those with the values and promises of Mr. Parker, we can turn our collective wayward ships out of the current self-serving storm of personal gain into the calm waters of a new and prosperous future for We the people.  Of course, that is just my take. 

Taking a Knee

When I say, “Taking a knee” what comes to mind?  What image do you see?  I’m blind.  I wasn’t born blind, my blindness is both a curse and a blessing.  A curse because from the time I was around 8 I knew something was different about me.  My parents confirmed that feeling when I was 12.  It was a blessing because as a result of slowly losing my vision I was able to collect a vast library of images, a kind of archive for me to refer to now.  So, when I hear the phrase, taking a knee my mind always inserts the image of George Washington kneeling in the snow next to his horse at Valley Forge. That print hung in my father’s den for as long as I can remember, to this day I imagine. My wife knew that I loved that picture so as a gift one year she presented me with a beautifully framed and matted print that hung in my home for many years.  That print now hangs in the home on the wall of my first-born child, given as a gift to my son in law who as a veteran of the armed services who had admired it.  I hope one day it is passed on to his son, my grandson. 

To me, taking a knee has and always will represent reverence.  It represents a man yearning to be free.  It represents a man willing to lead a nation.  It represented a man Humble enough to believe in something greater than himself, to ask God for strength in battle.  To ask of his Creator safety for his men and for victory over their oppressor, a King who felt they should be subjects rather than a free people. That simple picture of a uniformed man with his head bowed on one knee represents the beginning of our struggle to be here today.  This was a struggle that has left on the field of battle the broken, bloodied and dead of generations willing to pave the way to where we all are right here, right now.  This nation is not perfect.  We carry our imperfections, we learn from our darker moments the lessons many around the world are still subject to. We have come a long way, we still have a good piece of the road ahead before we can rest but right here, right now, we are doing pretty good.  Because of men like George Washington we are a country, because of men like Jefferson, Madison, Franklin and others we have a document that to this day is the basis of our Republic.  A document with the wisdom to stand the test of time because as those before us have lived they have Amended the imperfections to refine the document, the Constitution.  Are we perfect? No.  But do we live in a land where improving our current conflicts can be worked out? Yes.

So, I will ask you the question again, what comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “Taking a knee?”  Maybe if you could see what I see you would find the hope and the promise of a better way.  Maybe you will take the time to really learn about our history, about how we got here and see where it is possible for us to go.  We have had our differences over the years, fought a few wars over those differences but in the end, we lived, and we live in the greatest nation on earth.  We may sit on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to this kneeling thing, but we are all Americans, we all benefit from that one single word, American.  It should be enough to unite us, compel us to resolve the issues that divide us.  I refuse to harbor ill will or harsh feelings over this NFL vs. America argument.  Instead, when I hear the phrase “Taking a knee” I see the picture below and my heart swells with pride, it is filled with love and I believe in the words of the brilliant writer Charles Dickens who in 1841 penned these words in his novel, Barnaby Rudge.

“The thoughts of worldly men are forever regulated by a moral law of gravitation, which, like the physical one, holds them down to earth. The bright glory of day, and the silent wonders of a starlit night, appeal to their minds in vain. There are no signs in the sun, or in the moon, or in the stars, for their reading. They are like some wise men, who, learning to know each planet by its Latin name, have quite forgotten such small heavenly constellations as Charity, Forbearance, Universal Love, and Mercy, although they shine by night and day so brightly that the blind may see them; and who, looking upward at the spangled sky, see nothing there but the reflection of their own great wisdom and book-learning…

It is curious to imagine these people of the world, busy in thought, turning their eyes towards the countless spheres that shine above us, and making them reflect the only images their minds contain…So do the shadows of our own desires stand between us and our better angels, and thus their brightness is eclipsed.”

Please, read that quote more than once and then look at my vision of taking a knee.  We are all Americans, please don't let the darkness and shadows stand between us and our better Angels.  Of course, that is just my take


Existential Threat

We have all heard the term “Existential Threat.”  If you watch the talking heads that propagate digital screens large and small like mosquitos after a hearty summer rain in the south or if you listen with any regularity to the pontificating politicians as they spend more time bloviating rather than actually solving problems you’ve heard it.  It is a phrase uttered casually with the aim of inducing maximum fear.  North Korea and the regime of Kim Jung -un, ISIS, Al Qaeda. Iran, Russian meddling into our elections even our President have all been labeled with this life ending apocalyptic end of humanity phrase.  But here is the thing, existential threats are real, they exist but when you cheapen the phrase by calling everything you don't like as the end to everything we know and love then nothing is a threat. 

So, why am I even writing this?  I am writing this because the real existential threat, the one that threatens you, me, our kids and the future generations is not those mentioned above, it isn't some shady group halfway around the world or some rogue regime or some bad actor nations.  The real existential threat are the politicians who like the great Wizard of Oz, sit behind a curtain pulling levers, blasting smoke and noise as a means of distraction rather than action.  They do little to advance our society and everything to divide it.  They Gerrymander safe districts, enrich their own lives while claiming to serve the public.  They play to their individual bases ignoring those who don't serve their thirst for yet more and more of your money as they collaborate to steal more and more of your liberty.  Example, they talk about reducing the deficit, a clever way of convincing you that spending less year to year is somehow not tied inextricably to our national debt.  Most people don't even know nor could they explain the difference between the deficit and our debt. Rather than focusing like a laser on those things that truly threaten us, they utilize a clever three card monte style of distraction to shift your attention away from what matters.   The sad truth is that most Americans suffer from what I call “Battered Citizen Syndrome.”  We have all been beaten so badly that we have retreated to our own safe spaces, a place where we huddle with those who like us, have been beaten into submission.  We feel like the poor soul next to us, we sympathize with one another and speak quietly of our abuse.  We don't invite others in, we protect each other, validate each other and draw some kind of broken weird strength from our fellow survivors, those sitting in our camp.  We huddle around the little fires careful not to let it burn to brightly for fear that we will be discovered by the other camps of abused citizens locked in their version of this collective nightmare.

This is the cleverness of the Wizards of our Oz, they distract and divide and steal from us our freedom, our voice and we let them. We have forgotten that these Wizards were elected to serve us, they are our employees.  The existential threat we should fear has coopted the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of our government.  We have allowed 545 Wizards of our Oz, 435 in congress, 100 in the senate, 9 on the supreme court and one in the white house to subjugate us, 325, 145,963 million Americans. As I write this, polling shows that collectively both Houses of Congress have an approval rating that averages approximately 20%, the President’s approval rating 40% and the Supreme Court’s approval rating is 49%.  The collective Wizards of our Oz share an average approval rating of 36.333%.  Let that sink in for a minute.  We, the people, all 325 million plus have been bamboozled into thinking that somehow this is what our version of democracy looks like.  We accept that our representative republic is just fine humming along with an approval rating of 36%.  So, here is the bottom line, the question that begs for an answer, Who or what is our greatest “Existential Threat?”  Is it some obscure terror group, some third world Tin Pot Dictator?  Does our greatest threat exist outside our borders or is it right here at home where no amount of regulations or some wall can protect us?  Or is our greatest existential threat those we elect to represent us?

Every good story has a hook and then a swerve.  The hook in this story is to present you with a boogeyman, the villain, our collective victimizer and in this case, it was the 545.  Now for the swerve. I have looked deeply into the abyss that is my government and shouted loudly at it and the reflection I saw, the voice that I heard echoing back was mine.  It was said by greater and smarter men than I that “we get the government we deserve” and that “the greatest threat to democracy is an ill informed and ignorant electorate.”  I fear that our greatest existential threat is us.  We are responsible, we are not victims, we are willing participants foolishly handing our power to those we approve of 36% of the time. Where else in life do we accept such low expectations?  Where else would you follow someone who you only approved of 36% of the time?  In the end, the problem is staring back at us when we look in the mirror.  It exists when we surround ourselves in the echo chambers and individualized bubbles of self-reflection.  We buy their version of snake oil in the form of distrusting those who don't look like us, feel like us, believe as we believe.  We sign our duties and responsibilities over because apathy is King, we are either too busy or too bored with managing what we mistakenly view as the minor details of our existence.  The divide will continue to grow, our liberty will continue to shrink and until our expectations are raised to exceed the aspirations of those diligently working to subjugate us we can expect no better than approving a mere 36% of the time.  Of course, that is just my take.





The Interview


What does it mean to elect a President?  In the end it is a job, the candidate is the interviewee and “We the People” conduct the interview.  So s you read this I want you to put on your “Business Owner” cap, put yourself across the table from a prospective employee, someone you are hiring to fill a position in your company. If you have a job to fill then you already know the criteria necessary to fill that job, the qualifications you are looking for.  You have a set of questions ready, questions that will enable you to evaluate whether or not the person you are interviewing has the chops to get the job done.  No think back over your life and over every interview you ever had, remember the bad ones, the great ones, the ones you nailed and the ones you failed.  Close your eyes and picture it and now picture Donald Trump sitting across from you interviewing for a job.  You would begin the interview by asking a very simple open ended question, something like this:

Donald: tell me a little about you.

Donald:  Well, I am awesome, people love me.  I am very smart, very smart.  I’m also rich, very rich.  People love me, especially women, I cherish women and I am very popular with women.  If you hire me I will make great deals for your company. Lets face it, you’re company is run by stupid people getting ripped off by much smarter people

Why do I know this? Because I’m very smart, smart and rich and people like me, obviously you like me because I am here and the person you had sitting here doing this job is a stupid person, I think that this company is being run by very stupid people but I am a winner who can make this company great again.

You:  Donald, what are your qualifications?

Donald: I am very smart, I went to a very prestigious school and in case you didn’t hear me I am very smart. I don't need this job really, seriously I don't but I can tell you this, I believe that I can make this company great again.  Some very stupid people have been running this place and the other guys you are interviewing are low energy not smart people.  And did you see the face on that one lady out there?  Seriously, do you see that face running this company?  And that little crippled guy out there, what is his story, he was captured and held as a prisoner of war, really?  That guy is a loser, I like people who weren’t captured by the enemy.  I was never captured by the enemy I can promise you that.  The bottom line is this, I want to make this company great again, I can do that and I think you should hire me.  And I know what you are thinking and the answer to the question you are going to ask is YES, yes this is actually my real hair, go ahead, touch it, its real, its real and its my hair. 

You:  Donald, let me give you a scenario, we have had a lot of break-ins lately and it is causing an impact to our bottom line.  What would you do to address this problem?

Donald:  I would build a wall around the building, it would be the best wall ever built.  I’m a great builder of things, built many buildings and hired many people.  Did I mention that I am both smart and very rich?  And the wall wouldn’t cost us a penny, not one cent because I would get the criminals to build it and they would pay for it.  The criminals are smart, smarter than you guys, I respect them but guess what, they respect me and I could get a great deal and they would like my deal I can promise you that.

You:  Ok Donald, our biggest competitor is killing us out there, their top guy John Smith has been meeting with Steve Johnson of XYZ Corp and they are working together.  How can you help us get a handle on maintaining our market share.

Donald:  What’s with the gotcha questions, you’re a third rate interviewer. First I know John Smith, he is a friend of mine, he loves me, did I mention I am rich and I know how to make great deals.  Speaking of great deals did you know I wrote a book called “The Art of the Deal?”  Great book, very great book.  I would do exactly what I did when I wrote that book, be awesome.  Then I would call John and this Steve guy whoever he is into my office, did I mention that I had a TV show called “The Apprentice” best show ever on TV, it was really great.  So, I would get these guys into my office and we would do a deal, the best deal ever.  Tis deal would be so amazing, just wait and see, it will be a great deal and this company will be great again, I can promise you that,

You:  What about dealing with our debt to income ratio, how would you resolve lowering our debt and restructuring our company more efficiently?

Donald:  The first day in office I would call everyone in, everyone and then I would say, Your Fired, like I did on my hit TV show “The Apprentice.”  I would fire everyone and then I would hire some amazing people to do amazing things and we will make this country Great again I can promise you that.  I would build such an amazing team that no other company would mess with us.  We would be so strong and so amazing that babies not even born yet will be afraid to start a business that might compete against us.  This company will be so great, so strong so amazing, I can promise you that.

You:  So how would you pay for this?

Donald: I would go after our top customers, these guys are ripping us off and I would charge them more and they would like it, I would make such a great deal with them that they will want to fund anything and everything I propose because I am smart, they are stupid but I respect them and they respect me because I know how to do deals.  I wrote the book on how to do deals. Smart people, me, doing great deals will make this company great again and everyone will prosper I can promise you that.


I could go on and on but here is my point.  At the end of the day we are electing not just a president but also a leader of the free world.  These are serious times, our nation is in crisis, debt has ballooned; wages are stagnate at best declining in reality.  The Middle East has fallen apart, it has become a black hole of despair and the lack of anything that resembles leadership has resulted in an explosion of anti-Americanism.  Relationships once tenuous at best have turned hostile, Russia, China, North Korea to name a few.  Here at home we are more divided today than at any point in recent history.  Divided along ideological, racial, economic and cultural lines with no one or nothing on the horizon delivering a uniting message.  Hope is disappearing as battle lines are being drawn between progressives, liberals, conservatives, black, white and brown, gay, straight legal, illegal and every other designation you can dream of.  So what is my point?  Why the interview parody?  To wake up those people who are falling in line with a candidate who says a lot but offers nothing in the way of tangible practical policy, real solutions for very real problems.  Donald Trump has offered nothing in the way of reality for me, this is my country, I love this country and I take very seriously the weight of my vote and the value of that vote.  If Mr. Trump hopes to earn my vote then he needs to offer more than hyperbolic rhetoric and canned phrases.  He needs more substance and less ego. I will be watching the debate tonight to see if the Titanic Trump mans the helm and begins to steer his ship out of the turbulent waters of self centered grandiosity and into the calm waters of real solutions for very real problems.  Of course that is just my take.


Wake up People

While You Were Sleeping

All that is occurring today is the coopting of the “Occupy” model by people with a vested interest in distracting us from what is real.  The occupy movement is the single creation of the progressive movement that they “perceived” to have worked.  Rally the radicals to shift blame from those who are truly responsible for their own life.   If you are poor, blame the banks.  If you’re uneducated, blame republicans.  If your wallet isn’t flush then blame the fat cats on Wall Street.  Shifting focus from what is actually wrong to what you want to be wrong in order to advance an agenda and an ideology, that is the game being played and Americans are the pawns. 

The Zimmerman / Trayvon fiasco is a creation of those hoping to shift your focus.  It is nothing more than the real life version of the Wizard or Oz, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain pulling the levers.  Under this administration and their model for and vision of America we have been fed false story after false story to cover up their unmitigated failures.  The fury being whipped up over tis case is just the latest attempt to distract us from where we find ourselves today.  We have accepted $3.50 a gallon gas as normal.  We have accepted higher taxes and we have accepted the new name change for higher taxes. “Fines.”  We have accepted the never-ending printing of money to sustain a failed economic plan.  We have accepted unemployment rates of over 7%.  We have accepted deficit spending as a very real form of budget control.  We have accepted the idea that creating more energy options in this country is bad.  We have accepted the idea that you can actually “Lead from behind” (I still don’t get that one.)  We have accepted the idea that America and the America dream needs to be fundamentally transformed.  We have accepted entitlements and welfare over hard work and responsibility.  We have accepted bloated government over original intent.  

The list could go on and on, the point I am making is simple.  Rather than talk about what the real cancers are, the cancers killing the America that took generations to build, rather than having an honest discussion we are busy focusing on the latest faux outrage perpetuated by the mainstream media and the political elite.   Wake up America, you are being manipulated to fight a decades old war by a desperate and disingenuous crowd.  They don’t want you asking why unemployment remains unnecessarily high and why unemployment is at never before seen levels for minorities.  They don’t want you asking questions about why we cant fuel our own country with fuel FROM OUR OWN COUNTRY.  They don’t want you to ask why electricity would have to necessarily skyrocket (President Obama’ exact words).  They don’t want you asking why the Arab Spring has put us in more danger today than at any other time.  They don’t want you asking why the NSA needs to store all the meta data for every single phone call made or collect and store your digital footprint just in case they ever “Need” to rule you out as a suspect in case a terrorist accidentally calls or emails you.  They don’t want you asking why the IRS does anything, just that you trust that they have your interest at heart.  They don’t want you asking why our economy hasn’t improved.  They don’t want you asking why healthcare needs to be turned over to the IRS.  They don’t want you asking why the Fed needs to print money to prop up an economy if their plan to spend more and tax more is working.  

They don’t want you asking “Why” to anything other than the pre-packaged predetermined questions that they have baked up to serve to you as the latest distraction from their failures.  This administration has clamped down hard on the philosophy of never letting a good crisis go to waste.  Who cares if the crisis could rip a country in half?  They don’t, they just care that they own the conversation of the day because when they win YOU lose.  Asking why begs an answer, an answer they don’t want to give.  It is not because they don’t have an answer, it is because the answer they have isn’t one that “We The People” would swallow easily or willingly.  Do not be a fool, do not be fooled, this is the latest diversionary tactic co-opted by this administration to distract you from asking WHY.  Of course, that is just my take.

That Guy

On Friday I had one of the most painful experiences one could ever have.  My pain paled in comparison to some of those around me in my life.  There is a mother, sister, brother and an uncle a grandfather and a grandmother and a wife who said goodbye to their American Hero.  Many tears were shed, hearts were heavy with the realization that for the next year and a half that young man would leave the protection of a family that loved him, cherished him. They had to release him into the cold hands of an awesome military machine to help bring freedom to a people who don’t have it and defend the freedom of a people who have become indolent to what being free really means.  

Friday I comforted a young wife who has been married for only a sliver of time but whose emotions and love span the eternities.  She kept saying that there just wasn’t enough time.  My advice seemed hollow, what is a dad supposed to say to his baby girl?  What comfort can a father really give to a daughter whose world has been turned upside down, twisted and then tossed around?  The best thing that any of us can do is to listen, to be compassionate, to be 100% supportive not only of those fine young men and women that we send off to defend this great nation but to those who are left behind to privately mourn time lost and an insecurity of what the future will bring them.  No matter what you think of this war or any war for that matter, the one thing that is universal is that someone has to be “That Guy,” the guy who straps on 80 pounds of gear and leaves everything behind to defend everything you have.  He is the guy who sacrifices everything in his life so that you can enjoy everything in your life.  The guy who will get paid squat to put himself in the middle of some of the most horrible places on earth so that you can live in the comfort of some of the nicest places on earth.  He is the guy who leaves a father and mother, brothers and sisters, grandparents, children and a wife behind while you spend time with yours.  The guy who will sleep wherever he can find a spot to lay down in, eat whatever he has to survive, shower only when and if he finds a place to, watch the sunrise and the sunset through the fog of war while you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock.  

The other side of this coin is those left behind.  They struggle to make their way through the life they had, they wonder how they will survive without someone who meant the world to them, they worry about where their brave soldier is sleeping, what they are eating, if they are safe and ultimately they worry every single second of every single day if they will ever see their loved one again.  That is a heavy burden and a burden that we should all share whenever we can.  So while we are all going on with our banal platitudes about supporting the troops, about how grateful we all are of the sacrifice that they are making, please let us not forget about those left behind who ache every single moment for those we so vociferously claim to support.  The reason that I am so cynical here is that supporting the troops has become more of a bumper sticker slogan to most that an actual reality.  We see it, hear it and mimic it but I am not sure that we fully comprehend or understand how to put it in actions rather than just words.  When we get to the point where we pay the proper respect to our troops through supporting not only them but their mission and their families then we can begin to understand the immense burden that both carry on a day to day basis.  Their burden is one that I am only now coming to fully realize while at the same time recognizing that I can’t know what it truly means or how it really feels.  God bless the brave men and women of our armed services and God bless the families of these fine souls for lending them to us so that we may see in living color what true sacrifice is and what true love of country means.  Of course that is just my take.


Amid the cries of injustice and obstinate behavior towards the police these days exists a reality not popular among the high brows of academia, the Political Elite, Race Hustlers, Info-tainers and Celeb-utants, being a cop these days isn’t easy or even appreciated.  Long gone are the days when we celebrated the heroes who were first on the scene, first through the door, first to give their life so that you could live yours.  Instead we turn on the TV and under the guise of News and Journalism we are manipulated and twisted to believe those sworn to protect us, sworn to serve us are nothing more than boot jacked thugs hell bent on racially motivated acts of aggression with the goal of creating a police state.  

So what is the truth? Who is telling the truth?  For me it’s never as easy as turning on the TV and listening to the groomed, coifed idiots that read words from a teleprompter or listening to the agenda driven narcisists that pollute the airways.  I see a problem and I dig in, I try to understand mindsets and motivations.  There is no shortage of coverage or platforms for those protesting the “Police” however there is a massive blackout when it comes to understanding the challenges faced by those who put on the badge.  That is where I decided to focus my attention and here is just a taste of what I found.  It is a dose of perspective and the lens through which an officer approaches their days with.

 1 police officer dies in the line of duty every 58 hours.    According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Funds recently released numbers for the period of 8-1-2013 to 6-1-3024 fatalities for officers rose an astonishing 14%.  Looking back at available statistics show that since 2004 there have been 58,261 assaults resulting in 15,658 serious injuries. Records show that more than 20,000 U.S. Law Enforcement Officers have made the ultimate sacrifice.  The sad truth is that this number is since the first “Recorded” in the line of duty death.  There are more statistics, stats on life expectancy, number of encounters with situations none of us could comprehend or even want to carry with us as a memory but I will be lucky if most people have read even this far.  

I would encourage you however, if you have made it this far, to not just stop here, open a browser and read for yourself, learn about this topic and the impact it has for both the civilian and law enforcement communities.  Don't limit yourself to thinking or believing that you know everything leaving yourself to stand in a stagnate pond of ignorance.  Be part of the solution, work to elect people that will address the real root causes that are sewing the seeds of discontent.  

For me I believe it is important to put a human face on those who have died in the line of duty. There are two sides to every story, and two realities for us to consider as we move to better our society and way of life.  In the end there can only be one solution and that solution can only be realized when we come together, when we are unified in purpose and when we display empathy to the struggles and challenges that we all face.  The day of picking sides and becoming willfully blind must come to an end because if we allow the Race Hustlers, Info-tainers, Celeb-utants or highbrow academics to convince us that the police are our problem, we lose and our representative republic moves away from a democracy and ever closer to an Idiocracy. Of course that is just my take

Fake Wars and Liberal Whores

As I listened to the exchange between Bill Maher and Ben Affleck on Maher’s HBO show Real-Time”, I was not surprised by what I heard out of the mouth of self-aggrandizing liberals assembled. I was more shocked by what I did not hear. I did not hear the LGBT’s drumbeat of equality of marriage, or NOW’s war on women and women’s right. Instead I heard fear by casting blame of others for even questioning Islam. So based on the inane back and forth I have come to the realization that liberals are scared and fearful.  They are fearful of a real fight. Standing and marching in the US screaming “equality of marriage” is ok when the worse that can happen is a court case where you are sure to find and activist judge that will rule in your favor.  Yet, when faced with the hard choice of truly fighting for your so-called enlightened values you run and blame others. 

Example: Al Gore and the Global warming alarmist; when faced with the so called collapse of man-kind due to human CO2 pollution; the best you can do is sue, recycle and blame the the republicans believing that government overreach and freedom killing regulations are the answer. Yet you yourself cannot make the hard choice to stop flying, stop driving, or to give up living in your big mansions. It’s way too tough. 

Now faced with the threat of a homicidal cult that is Islam (yes I said it, and CAIR, do not expect an apology it’s not going to happen!) who at its core epitomizes the very values you claim to despise, you sit silent.  What is your solution?  You run for the hills hiding behind the cloak of racism hoping to fins Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility so that you don't have to see the face of a real threat. Liberals, like it or not, Islam is now in the US front and center and there is a choice to be made, you can wage your fake war on conservatives or you can get real and join the actual war that exists on women, on equality and fairness.  My challenge, C’mon and finish what you started, put you money where your mouth has been for so long.  Stand up and fight for your values. Hell you’re finally on the RIGHT side.  Of course, that is just my take.

Dis-Honoring our Military

If I had a nickel for every time I have heard a politician say that “I support the troops” and another nickel for the times I have heard that same politician talk about “Honoring Them” I would be lunching with Warren Buffet and vacationing with Sir Richard Branson.  The truth, the sad truth is that on the heels of Veteran’s Day America has failed those who serve the cause of liberty.  The greatest nation on Gods green earth has turned a blind eye towards the men and women who took an oath to give everything including their life to protect us so we could live ours.  The greatest military the world has ever known gets nothing but second-class treatment reserved for third world paupers.  Politicians feign love as they ooze patriotism for our warriors.  The Commander and Chief panders to the masses with nothing more than words and ceremony, the lack of action illustrates the level of contempt he holds for those he pretends to praise.  President Obama and the politicians existing beneath his robes ensure their compensation and their benefits but use those they honor as fodder for the petty wars of partisan politics they wage.   Then there is the average American, the phenomenon of this century, those LIV(s) or “Low Information Voters.”  You know, the ones who have elected the new ruling class that has replaced the public servants envisioned and instituted by our founding fathers.  They tune in and listen to the talking heads that permeate the airwaves, the chattering class whose reporting skills and methodology resemble your 6th grade newsletter and the announcements from the principle’s office.  

Do you think I am being a bit harsh? Here are some facts about just how much our anointed leaders, the ruling class care about the men and women who have served us.  At the VA we have seen as many as 751,000 veterans in line to receive the services they paid for with limbs and traumatic brain injuries.  These claims have sat on desks for in some cases over 2 years.  Recently the Obama administration reduced that number to around 457,000 with the goal of wait times of 125 days or fewer.  They are patting themselves on the back because of the progress they have made.  Still almost a half a million veterans, most with less than nothing wait.  Is this honoring their service?  Do your elected representatives really support the troops?

How about this fact, Military members were surveyed in January of this year; these are soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, about their employment situation.  Of the service men and women surveyed more than 16% said that they were unemployed.   Of that 16%, 33.8% are still unemployed.  Are we honoring their sacrifice?  Some of the most disciplined employees available to employers, proven dedicated individuals have an unemployment rate at twice the level of the civilian population.

Lets talk about poverty.  The American service men and women are the single elite fighting force the world has ever known.  These are highly trained and highly motivated and educated people.  So educated in fact that the average level of post high school education exceeds any other group.  Despite their training, education level and dedication to their jobs we learned from the latest census data that almost a million (968,000) veterans between the age of 18 and 64 have experienced poverty.  But lets focus on the here and now, since of course we are officially in the era of publicly thanking our troops for their service every time a microphone is forced in the face of a member of the ruling class.  According to a report issued by Congress, the JEC or Joint Economic Committee and I quote: “…poverty rates among post-9/11 veterans is nearly double the rates following other wars, with over 12 percent of recent veterans now living in poverty. Hardest hit are the youngest vets. Poverty strikes 21 percent of service men and women between the ages of 18 and 24 (who are over 80 percent of post-9/11 vets).”  How is it that the richest country cares so little when it comes to those who defend those riches with their lives?  Is this how were support the troops, honor their sacrifice?

Living in poverty means that you are more than likely homeless.  How is this for a sobering reality, 1 out of 7 homeless adults are veterans and 1.5 million veterans are standing at the edge of a cliff staring into the abyss of homelessness right now due to their dire poverty.   Our service men and women fought, bled, left it all on the field of battle, many paid the ultimate price and we can’t get our collective shit together to make sure they had a roof over their head once the battle was over?  Is this honoring their service, is this how we support the troops?

Finally, there is this sad statistic.  A soldier / Veteran commits suicide approximately every 22 minutes.  The records from 48 states we analyzed and they revealed that among the civilian population there were 14 suicides per 100,000 people.  Among veterans that statistic is more than doubles at 30 per 100,000.  Statistics also show that the rate of suicide has doubled in the year’s 2005 to 2011 according to the most recent data.  Another sobering fact is that more soldiers committed suicide in the last 10 years than were killed during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  

Our veterans are not show ponies and grand oratory followed by placing a medal on their chest does not repay the debt owed to them.  Honoring our veterans is more than a single day event it is a lifelong commitment.  It is unacceptable to research this and find contained in bits of data the sad news that we have left behind a class of people who have committed to never leave a man behind.    

As you put your flag out on your porch, proudly wear your flag pin and go out into the world believing that you have done everything to support our troops, honor their sacrifice and their memory we have to ask ourselves if that is true?  Or, is that what we say to assuage our guilt, hide our apathy or disdain?  Isn’t it time we really took to heart the sacrifice our men and women suffered for us and hold those accountable few who roam the halls of power.  Hold them accountable for their mistreatment of our greatest treasure.  The President and this congress should be held in contempt.  There is no partisan divide here, no blaming one side over the other, there is only the reality that has been spoken by this President and this congress, the reality that our military members are nothing more than pawns in their petty fight for ultimate control.  I will no longer stand as one who utters the words “Support and Honor.” I will stand in defense of those who have defended me.  I will no longer simply “Trust” the hollow words uttered by our faux leaders and their collective mouthpieces.  Until those who have served the cause of liberty and defended this country are made a priority, the single priority I refuse to accept the “Ruse” of the day.  I could care less who is the next “Real” conservative, the savior of 2016.  I could care less about immigration rights or gay rights or whether pot should be legal.  I want to see action over words when it comes to supporting our troops.  Honor their service by firing the political hacks that have dishonored their service and their memory.  Don’t just read the statistics I have provided and say to yourself, “How sad,” get pissed, get fired up and fight for our veterans as they have fought for you.


Who wields the power in this country?  I ask this question because the answer to it rests in the midterm elections.  Traditionally the average Jane and Joe look at midterm elections and yawn.  They live in a world where those yielding the power, the true power, never really declare it.  Instead they along with a compliant media work diligently to convince us that the power resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  The person sitting behind that desk in the Oval Office is the warmonger, the big spender and the person responsible for everything that both plagues and blesses us. No, it isn't the President who has all the power.

You see the President does not set a budget, he submits a recommendation for one.  The President does not have a checkbook, he just signs the checks handed to him. He does not have reams of fancy parchment that he writes legislation on only to turn around and sign it.  The President does not have constitutional authority to set appropriations. He can’t unilaterally level a new tax or change tax policy.  The President doesn’t have control over our monetary system. The President until recently didn’t have the authority to enter us into a war.  So, who does posses all these powers, all the keys that drive this country?  If you were to ask most people to assign a number to who is the most powerful person they would say 1, I say the number is more like 535.  So who are these 535 people you might ask and why is voting in midterm elections so important?

Well, 100 of them are United States Senators, 435 are the men and women of the United States Congress.  These are the individuals who wield the power.  These are the people with the checkbook.  These are the people who design and ultimately write legislation, craft regulatory authority and tax policies.  These are the people who give a President authority to wage war and who recently acquiesced that power to the President.  If you don't like lobbyists peddling dark money don't blame the corporation or special interest groups blame the people who take the money and then write the laws.  These 535 people create problems and then they have the temerity to campaign against the very problems they create.  To a person these 535 people will tell you that they are against poverty, yet we still have poverty.  They will tell you that they are against running the government at a deficit, yet we have an annual debt that that feeds a national debt is exponentially exploding.  It is inconceivable to me that there are individuals sitting in both houses s reelected year after year always promising to fix Washington yet Washington is more broken than ever.  

Here is the truth, if you don't like Obama-care, blame the 535.  If you don't like budget deficits and an exploding national debt, blame the 535.  If you don't like the government being the single largest employer in the United States, blame the535.  If you don't like the direction this country his going in terms of unemployment, spending, immigration, taxes, war, social issues etc. then it is time you understood exactly who has the power to effect change.  Currently there are 535 people who are running this country into the ground.  Those who profess to be conservatives are attempting to convince those of you who will vote that this is a referendum election against the President.  Those who are liberal are spending their time pointing the finger of blame at their counterparts while simultaneously running away from the President.  Why, because if they succeed at diverting attention away from their failed time as our elected representatives they perpetuate their power through our collective inaction and ignorance.

 The solution is to elect 535 people that reflect our country and their constituents.  535 people who will defend the constitution and not try and outsmart it and dumb it down.  535 people who can come together in a loud voice with a resolute purpose to hand the President legislation to sign that makes this country better.  It is time for the 535 to serve the people rather than hiding in the shadows serving their own interests.  Midterm elections are not a yawning affair, they are a very important piece of our electoral politics and sitting on the sidelines is not acceptable.  Please go and vote Tuesday November 4th.  Of course that is just my take.

How do you know if you are a Tea Party Patriot?

In the vein of the comedian Jeff Foxworthy I give you E.L. Burton’s version “You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if….”

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if you know that shrinking the size of government can’t be left up to government because that is like letting a monkey babysit your kids, giving it a loaded handgun and a lit cigarette and telling it to call you if there are any problems.  

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if when you talk about the National Debt you don’t try and make the same old male argument that size matters and bigger is better.

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if credit is something you establish not something you live off of.

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if you actually know what Agenda 21 is and don’t think it is the next great band your kids are listening to

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if you hold a rally and then clean up after you’re done.

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if your definition of “occupy” means exactly that, to occupy, it isn’t defined as storming businesses, lighting fires, raping, stealing pooping on police cars and planning the takeover of America in favor of socialism and communism.  

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if you don’t have to set up a “Rape Free” zone at your next gathering.

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if your definition of FAIR is where you go and pay to have a fun time eating food you shouldn’t and riding rides that make you regret your food choices.  

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if spending money on defense isn’t the same thing as tearing down “Da-Fence” to allow anybody into this country illegally

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if the word Union is actually a four-letter word in a country run on capitalism and a free market economy.

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if college, a house, a car, etc. are things that you work hard for and EARN not things the government owes you.

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if your understanding of the Bill of Rights means that we are free to “Pursue” our destiny rather than having government hand it to you with strings attached.

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if you like Chinese food and Chinese checkers but not Chinese dictators on your T-Shirts. 

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if the American flag is something you display with pride not as kindling for your latest protest. 

You know you are a Tea Party Patriot if Patriotism means you have pride in your country, teach your children of her virtue and would defend her with your life not stand at the Brandenburg Gate or in front of Egyptians and apologize for her arrogance.   

Be proud to be counted among those who believe that the government isn’t our babysitter, it isn’t our mother, and it doesn’t owe us anything except a place to be free to pursue unconstrained our life, our liberty and our happiness.

E.L. Burton, a Proud Texas Tea Party Patriot