A girl in a fancy blue dress competes at the fair as younger girls watch in awe. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium
I know a girl who loves horses. It’s fair season and she’s not competing in any of the events. That’s because toxic people have stolen her joy.
This girl, we’ll call her Emily, loves to ride her Arabian horse, Joker! Over the years since she was a little girl, they’ve created a special bond. Until recently, Emily enjoyed showing in the different events at the Olmsted County Fair, and at other events. Her favorite was her participation in a show team, where a bunch of girls performed as a group, doing special moves in synchronization. Think of it as a dance squad for horse and rider. She worked hard and earned a leadership position, she was given the lead, and a whistle, to signal to the other riders the next move to be performed. She was at the top of her game, and her happiness!
But other people couldn’t leave things alone. It wasn’t other girls and their jealous ambitions that unseated her. It was the parents of the other girls, a few parents in particular. You see, certain parents couldn’t stand the fact that their child wasn’t the lead, wasn’t the star. And through toxic jealousy and bullying, they drove Emily out of her slot and out of the club altogether. Stunned into submission, the young girl I know left the club and her friends and now sits at home in a blue funk of depression. Her tears are hidden, even swallowed. Her joy is stolen.
This kind of thing happens more than you realize. Bullying by another child is bad enough. But bullying by an adult towards a child is unacceptable. It should be stomped out and burned with fire, like a spider in a house. It is vile and toxic and should have no place in any sport.
Performing in front of a crowd with your horse can be pure joy, but there is a dark side to the fair! -photo by Jeremy Griffith
Children have dreams, and nothing inspires dreams for a girl than an older girl performing with her horse in front of a crowd. The applause arises from the stands and the adulation is infectious. It’s pure joy. I went to the Olmsted County Fair today and took a few shots of the competitors. Along the railing, young people gathered and watched in awe as the older girls performed. It was magic. As much as I enjoyed that moment, all I could think of is that girl I know sitting at home, disappointed that the sport she loved no longer brings her joy.
I have a message for toxic parents. It’s not about you and your child. You don’t have to kill the dreams of other kids to elevate your own. You are worse than a thief. You are a murderer. You kill dreams.
If you are a parent who participates in the fair, whatever the event, be on the lookout for toxic people and stand up to them. Protect the dreams of all the kids. There is enough happiness and pride for all. Toxic people suck the air out of the room. They should be rooted out and asked to step aside. They don’t belong.
I took a few shots of exhibitors today at the fair. I was impressed by their performances. Whoever wins, I hope they all had a good time, ignorant of any toxicity that may lurk at the fair. The older ones inspire the younger ones, who hope to grow up like them someday. Remember parents and competitors. There is nothing wrong with a white ribbon. The white shows that you participated, and hopefully learned something. The red ribbon says you did better this time and you are learning, but still have room to grow. The blue means you are getting really good and your hard work is paying off. The violet and the purple of Reserve Grand Champion and Grand Champion means that you are at the top of your game. Congratulations. Use your status to teach and inspire other competitors and share your love of the game.
And parents, remember, you can’t buy your child’s happiness by trying to destroy the happiness of others. There is no place for that kind of vile toxicity at the fair!
A competitive show person can inspire the dreams of the young, but the actions of toxic people can kill those dreams just as fast! -photo by Jeremy Griffith
We know the leftist media is biased, but are they blind? That is a question I asked myself again when I attended a play this weekend on my 47th Birthday this past Sunday. My parents took my wife and me to see a Chanhassen production of Newsies.
My parents Len and Kathy treat my wife and me to dinner and a show at Chanhassen. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
Chanhassen Dinner theater is a nice little venue in the City of Chanhassen in the Twin Cities. We’ve gone there many times. My mom Kathy loves the theater and even prodded my brother and I to take part in local theater productions when we were kids. More about the Disney play Newsies in a moment.
But I want to talk about what happened before the play. I was reading a playbill for another theater company in the Twin Cities, the Guthrie, putting on a production called Enemy of the People. We arrived at the play early and as we waited to be seated for dinner, my mom asked me to grab a pile of the pamphlets to see what else was playing. I grabbed a handful of them and handed half of them to mom while I read the others. I came upon the Guthrie playbill containing the ad for Enemy of the People. Curious, I Googled the play on my smartphone, and I was shocked at what I found.
Newsies Stop the World! Goofing off at Chanhassen Dinner Theater.
A New York Times article no less popped up on my phone and hailed the return of the production of the classic play Enemy of the People by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. I was stunned by the media bias as I read the article. It turns out that the play was revived recently by a theater company in Chicago right after the election of Donald Trump because the artistic director of Goodman Theater, Robert Falls, is no fan of the president.
NYT quotes Falls as saying, “I needed to do something about our sudden/current/soon-to-be ongoing horrific life under Trump and majority Republican rule,” he said in an email.
Already the art director may have shot himself in the foot by taking on Donald J. Trump, a fact the NYT makes note of in the very next paragraph.
The NYT writes, “Little did he know that Trump would stamp the phrase “enemy of the people” in the American consciousness when he used it to pillory the news media in a tweet last February.
That’s a fantastic tweet by the president by the way, and so true. My curiosity peaked, I went ahead and researched i.e. Googled the contents of the play that was brought back for the sole purpose of pillorying the president. When I found out what the play was about, I laughed out loud!
“I needed to do something about our sudden/current/soon-to-be ongoing horrific life under Trump and majority Republican rule! -Robert Falls, Artistic Director of Goodman Theaters in Chicago.
President Trump is supposed to be the modern “enemy of the people” but the original play written by Ibsen in 1882 is reminiscent of more recent events in Flint, Michigan. In fact, it’s downright prophetic! The story centers on the main protagonist named Dr. Thomas Stockmann, a geologist who discovers that the water in his little resort town has become contaminated. He endeavors to use the local newspaper to tell the people about the contamination, but the newspaper, which is originally on board with the article, balks under pressure from the City Mayor Peter Stockmann, Dr. Stockmann’s own brother.
The good doctor tries to go around the government and media obstacles in his path and takes his message straight to the people in a public meeting, but he presents himself in such a derisive elitist way that he ends of alienating his audience who brands him as the enemy of the people. His home is damaged, and he is practically run out of town. It’s a real downer, but the message is clear, the hero cannot win on his own.
How this play would end up harming the president, I have no idea. It’s like the theater people picked up a gun with a bad scope and ended up shooting themselves in the foot instead. Weird.
If you remember from recent news events and from my own blog, the real-life situation in Flint Michigan exactly mirrors the situation put forth in the play. Except that the contamination of the Flint water supply is not a natural disaster, but a man-made one brought on by the bad decision making of the city’s leadership, lifelong democrats who attempted to hide the fact that their actions had dire consequences on their city. Indeed, the recent events there has inspired an adaptation of the play, called Public Enemy: Flint. I doubt the play mentions that Democrats were to blame for the crisis and not our Republican president.
The Goodman Theater production has inspired theaters across the country to bring back productions of the play, including the Guthrie in the Twin Cities. Tickets became available in April and the play goes until early June. It would be interesting to see the play and gauge the reaction.
It’s funny how artistic expression like live theater has an effect on matters in the real world. Art imitates life, imitating art. That brings me back to the play I saw that night. Newsies was based on a movie in 1992 that covered events in 1899when young newspaper distributors, some as young as 9, organized a strike to protest unfair business practices of their employers, The New York World. Newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, as well as other, publishes jacked up the price that the Newsies had to pay for a batch of 100 papers. Originally the Newsies paid $0.50 per hundred, but Pulitzer jacked up the price to $0.60 per hundred. The Newsies were pissed and organized a city-wide strike. Apparently, the Spanish-American war had just ended and the buzz for the war had increased distribution of the paper, as well as revenue. With the war ending, the news cycle calmed down and circulation slacked off. The business leaders of the paper decided to recoup their losses by jacking up the prices on the little guy. It had the opposite effect.
Interestingly, when reports of what the Newsies were doing cropped up in newspapers, including the World, Pulitzer acted to suppress the stories in an effort to prevent the stories from damaging the paper’s reputation. Interesting since Pulitzer was the very guy who founded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Journalism. A surprising nugget of information I did not learn in J-school!
In addition to suppressing the stories and blacklisting reporters who covered it, Pulitzer sends thugs with bats to break up the rallies organized by the Newsies. He sent men with bats to beat up children, let that fact sink in.
At the time of this strike, The World had been covering a railway strike that had been going on for months. What was good for the goose was not in this case good for the gander, at least where Joseph Pulitzer was concerned. I wonder if any recent Pulitzer Prize winners are aware of what a heal their hero was?
Interestingly enough the play casts Pulitzer as the villain he is but fails to mention that he was a lifelong Democrat from the South who fought in the Civil War. So, I guess somethings don’t change. The media, whether it is theater or the press or TV news, are great at focusing on content they want to cover, in order to vilify people they dislike but are less willing to shine that light of truth onto themselves. It’s interesting, isn’t it? But thanks to Google and Bing and the power of the Internet, the knowledge of the world is available at the touch of the fingers or even the sound of your own voice. It is important that in this modern media age that we don’t get so focused on our own reality that we don’t see what is happening outside our own little bubble.
Company towns and business leaders regardless of political stripe often take advantage of their workers in order to make a profit. It was true in 1800s New York and it’s true for 2018 Rochester Minnesota. Leaders often cover up their mistakes while in an effort to make themselves look good while viciously assaulting their political rivals. The EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency under Barack Obama, caused a major contamination spill to ruin a river in Colorado and has yet to make amends. Democrat leaders caused the Flint water crises. Has anyone heard about any of them going to jail? I could go on and on.
Plays like the one at Chanhassen and the Guthrie are fun nights of entertainment, and I’m not one to argue for the boycott of such plays. I suggest that the reader beware of any bias on behalf of the playwright and art directors when you attend. Sometimes you learn the truth in the enemy camp.
As for the actors and director of the Newsies produced at the Chanhassen, you are a talented crew and I thank you for an entertaining night out. We loved the pay and will come back again in the future. The serving staff was very helpful and gracious. The food was great and not too expensive.
If you book a seat for yourself and your crew, one word of advice. Get a table and avoid the booths in the far back. They suck.
Over a week ago the democrats and republicans of the first district of Minnesota endorsed their respective candidates to run for the open House of Representatives seat vacated by Tim Walz. Jim Hagedorn was endorsed by the Republicans, and Dan Feehan, a war veteran, received the nod from the Dems.
Now, I find the endorsement of Feehan to be a bit perplexing. Liberals in the state, as in any state, hate war, they hate the military, they hate the constitution. Why pick a war veteran like Feehan?! The only conclusion I can come up with is that in this district at least we are purple moderates and the war veteran with the flag is thrown at us to confuse us as voters. Dan is nothing more or less than a democratic Tim Walz clone, only sharper and more attractive.
Dan grew up in the Red Wing, went to school and got a teaching degree. Good for him. After 9-11 he joined the military and became an Army officer and airborne ranger, serving in the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq. Also good. He won a bronze star there for his role as a combat engineer. After returning from serving in the military, he went into teaching, first in Chicago, then in Indiana, teaching some of the poorer students.
Later he got a job as an acting assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness in the Pentagon and he’s been living in the east ever since. Suddenly, the Democratic congressman from the First District is forced into retirement and Feehan feels the urge to return “home” to his roots. It’s like Tim was walking through the vaunted halls of Washington one day when he bumps into Feehan. He unceremoniously hands Feehan the keys to the office and a copy of the talking points on his way out the door.
It’s clear to me that this Walz clone was recruited by the left as yet another foot soldier who will follow orders from Democratic leadership in Congress and who will appeal to local voters at home the way that Tim Walz did for a time. And with very little exception, the issues championed by Feehan differ very little from the positions taken by Walz.
As an Army Ranger, Feehan is familiar with military operations in a dangerous theater. Let’s map out his road to war, shall we? Let’s imagine that the First District is his battle space and his road to war is the I-90 corridor that traverses the district from west to east. The road is full of pitfalls and IEDs, (improvised explosive devices) that are the political issues facing the candidate. Ironically enough, these danger areas were placed by the candidate’s own party. The ACA or Affordable Care Act is the first of the IED’s that Feehan will run into and it’s the first on his “to do” list.
Remember when the Democrats passed ACA without a single Republican vote? It was a disaster from the beginning and has been getting steadily worse ever since. Acclaimed as a precursor to single-payer, it is the leftist socialists’ idealized dream. Free healthcare for everyone. Except it always has the opposite effect where ever and whenever it is tried. Socialized medicine in Minnesota and the rest of the country predictably did not result in better care and lower costs as the Democrats predicted, but health care costs doubled and tripled, and the quality went down just as voices on the right predicted they would. Tim Walz’s undying support for ACA and single-payer is one of the reasons his seat is vacant today. He saw the writing on the wall after this colossal failure and went running for the hills to seek his political fortunes elsewhere, leaving poor Feehan to pick up the pieces. Remember that even in the beginning the website the sultans of smart promised would be the gateway to everyone getting insurance didn’t even work. This is the prime example of why one should never trust the elites and their unrealistic expectations.
So the up-armored Humvee of Tim Walz goes up in a blinding flame and in comes Feehan and his clean up crew to rescue the day. What is his first action?! On his website he promises to expand upon ACA by extending Medicare benefits for people as young as 55. Of course, you and I and our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be paying for that, but don’t worry about it, because Feehan thinks it’s a great idea. I think someone should have taken an economics class in their graduate degree course.
It’s amazing to me that the Democrats have the audacity to call themselves the Democrat-Farm-Labor party. They always do things and enact regulation that his always harmful to farmers and small businesses. It’s the biggest fraud out there. But I digress. Farmers and small business owners hate ACA because it increases the cost of doing business exponentially as they struggle with paying for their own care as well as that of any employees. As Jim Hagedorn eloquently put it, if you’re a farmer or small business owner dealing with ACA, you can quit now or you can quit later. A thriving business under ACA is not possible and people in the first district are beginning to find that out.
If you ever want to look at what Universal Health Care does to an economy, you don’t have to look at the socialist or communist debacles of the distant past. You can look at your local newspaper or flip on the TV and watch it live and real. The VA is a single-payer system meant to help our veterans after catastrophic illness and injury associated with our service. Less than one percent of all Americans have served in any branch of the military. The VA is a demonstrable failure as veterans have had their appointments deleted and have died waiting for care as VA officials waste money on artwork and salary bonuses and special trips. Donald Trump has sought to change all of that, but the deep state is digging in their heals and resisting his every effort at reform. The government can’t manage the health care of the few who are the bravest among us. How can it promise to provide care for the rest of us, over 300 million Americans strong?! It can’t. But, that doesn’t prevent people like Feehan from being true believers.
If you want a close and personal look at what socialized medicine today, you don’t have to look very far. Look at little boy who just died in the UK, little Alfie Evans. He was denied the right to go to another country because the arrogant leftists in charge of health care in Britain refused to let him go and take his chances. Now his faithful parents are mourning his loss. If you want a detached panel of bureaucrats determining if your loved one lives or dies, then by all means vote democrat. Suddenly Sarah Palin’s stark warnings of death panels have become shockingly too real!
National Defense is the second IED that Feehan will encounter on our MSR (Main Supply Route) I-90. He’s got some chops here that he wants to show off. He’s a combat engineer with street cred: Bronze Star for Service, Army Commendation with V for valor, Iraqi Campaign Medal, two tours of duty in Iraq. Wow. Then three and a half years at the Pentagon under the Obama administration. Very nice. Hard to beat right. He touts on his website that he will control pentagon costs while continuing to fund the military. He’s going to cut waste and fun soldiers. Good luck with that one. The military is a dynamo that people have been trying to get their hands around for years. Everyone knows there is waste, but getting to the bottom of it is a monumental task. Let’s remember that Feehan was an appointee of the Obama administration, not really an ally of the military. I’m a veteran myself, and I have to tell you, it takes more than a veteran with a medal and a flag to impress me. Walz had those in spades, and he failed to impress. Walz clone Dan Feehan has big shoes to fill.
Napoleon famously said a man will fight harder for a bit of tin and ribbon, but that is not what the American veteran is all about. We fight for things far more intangible and more highly valued than ribbons, we fight for freedom. How is a big state democrat going to fight for the freedom of the average American when all of his efforts go to creating more power for a political class in Washington?
Democrats and Republicans alike voted for the huge omnibus bill that funds the military with 800 billion with a b dollars. While I have plenty of criticism of this bill, how would Feehan handle it any different? Aircrews and their maintenance teams have struggled in the last few years to keep our aviators flying in jets safe to conduct their missions. Half the fleet has been grounded while funding for repairs awaits. In Minnesota, the Air National Guard has two great air wings that benefit from added funding, the 933 Air Lift Wing, flying the antiquated but highly robust C-130s, (you can see the big green airplanes flying around Rochester airport doing touch and gos), and Duluth’s 148th Fighter Wing, still flying the old F-16 fighter. These aircraft require a lot of repair and maintenance. Both units have served in the Global War on Terror with distinction. Many comment that they look and act with as much or more professionalism as their active duty counterparts. I’m sure Feehan has looked at the patch charts and budgets of these units in his role in the Pentagon. I would like to see him drill down to the brass tacks on what he would cut and what he would fund, rather than just making blanket statements. I have a feeling he doesn’t know and that at the end of the day he would just cut everything like his bosses in the House and Senate order him to.
The third IED is the Second Amendment. This weekend I attended a #2A Rally in St. Paul. There were a lot of patriots out there to show support for the Bill of Rights and specifically for the Second Amendment. It’s amazing to hear how Democrats in the Minnesota Legislature planned to curtail our second amendment rights in the last legislative session. Heroes like Rep. Marion O’Neill were barely able to ward off this attack on our constitutional rights. As she pointed out in her remarks on the Capitol steps, we mourn the loss of people killed through violence. But we will not give up our rights to self-defense. You can watch a portion of the rally on my YouTube channel at this link.
Candidate Feehan breaks significantly with his predecessor in that he supports what he calls, “common sense gun control legislation”. This is a big one as I don’t think Feehan knows how people feel about this issue in the first district. Jim Hagedorn does, “This is not a gun control district, this is a conceal and carry district!”
People in Minnesota, as well as the rest of the country, were shocked and appalled at the latest violence in our schools. But, we are cognizant that the problem is not with inanimate objects like guns, which are tools, the problem lies in the hearts of the offenders. People in this district are aware that the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Period. Feehan’s departure from the Walz script could be very costly for him. Dan, you took an oath to defend the constitution of the United States, as I did. What part of “shall not infringe” do you not understand?
The final IED we will cover in this column is Feehan’s stance on agriculture. Every politician in the rural areas always touts their support for agriculture, the breadbasket of the world which lies in part right here in the first district. Dan has lofty goals of supporting a farm bill that will help farmers in our district. But in his speeches, he says he supports climate change legislation. Really, Dan!? Nothing kills a farmer like the ACA, unless you’re talking about out of control environmentalism, also quite deadly to the farmer. Subsidies for farmers are nice, but that won’t help them find new and better markets for their goods. If you support, on the other hand, piles of regulations telling farmers how to run their own land, then it won’t matter, the farmer will be dead. Donald Trump as stood up to foreign interests like China to get a better deal for American commodities. He’s actually making headway. A vote for Feehan would be a vote to impeach Trump and end his efforts and reverse his progress. Good luck in your next career, former farmer. The farmers in this district, when they are not dealing with the endless paperwork and expense of the ACA, have to fight the EPA who are constantly telling them they can’t use their own productive land because there is a crick running through it.
Deregulation and free-market health care are the answers to farmers, not more pie in the sky regulations from a distant government in St. Paul and Washington.
Energy usage in Minnesota plays a big part in the overhead cost for farmers, here as elsewhere. For decades Minnesota has flirted with alternative forms of energy, from ethanol to wind and solar. Of those, only ethanol has made a positive impact and even that is debatable. As a video from Prager University points out, wind and solar make for unnecessary and costly duplication of effort. On days with no wind and days with no sun, a robust coal and natural gas industry must take up the slack. Oddly enough, those times tend to fall on peak days when the wind and solar are not working.
These costs stack up for the farmer who is getting less and less per bushel for the commodities he is attempting to bring to market. Subsidies are the only way these sources of energy seem to have to survive. If they can’t survive in the free market, they should be allowed to die, and the state should be left alone to use its clean coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy, proven energy sources that work. I doubt Feehan gets this. His convoy is about to blow up in his face.
Now, Dan seems to be a likable guy. He’s got a nice family. I don’t hold anything against him, other than his misguided liberal principles. It isn’t about Dan. A vote for Dan is a vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House and Maxine Waters as a chairperson of important committees, a fact pointed out by Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer. Let’s face it. Maxine is ugly on the outside and the inside, and dumb as a box of rocks. Both of these women would vote to reverse the voters will on election day and end the Trump administration. Dan would no doubt be a crucial pawn in this fight. We need someone in Minnesota who has Minnesota values, not someone taking orders from California.
State Senator Carla Nelson, left, is a close personal friend who attended my wife’s naturalization ceremony in Minneapolis. Sen. Nelson would be a great representative of MN’s First District. – photo by Jeremy Griffith
Now Minnesota has two excellent candidates for CD1. They are in a tough primary fight and either one would be a great representative of our district. I would be remiss in failing to mention either one. Carla Nelson is my State Senator and a close personal friend. She has been a great representative of our state and has a proven track record. Full disclosure, she attended my wife’s naturalization ceremony in Minneapolis when my Rose became an American Citizen. She attended my retirement from the Army Reserve and wowed my commander and my fellow soldiers with her support for the armed forces. She would be a great representative for our state and the liberals should be very concerned if she emerges to face them after the primary.
GOP Endorsed Candidate Jim Hagedorn, at a pro-gun rally in St. Paul over the weekend. Jim’s never-surrender attitude is the reason Tim Walz’s seat is empty. – photo by Jeremy Griffith
Jim Hagedorn is also a good friend and is the endorsed candidate for the GOP in this district. Let’s be frank, Jim is the reason Tim’s seat is empty. Jim won 49.6 percent of the vote last time with no support from the national GOP party. This time he has got it and the seat is vacant, do the math. Jim has worn out the shoe leather on several pairs of shoes walking across the district in his campaigning and his quit-is-not-an-option attitude is Lincolnesqe. He supports the Second Amendment, unlike Feehan who seems to want to curtail our rights with “common sense” legislation that would eventually lead to confiscation. If you want to hear a portion of what Jim has to say about this issue, listen to my YouTube video of the #2A rally in St. Paul this weekend. Jim would be a very good representative for our district and our state. Dan and his crew should be very nervous.
As a ranger, Dan probably doesn’t know what it’s like to lose. He’s about to find out, in November.
I challenge any Feehan surrogates to debate me and prove me wrong. Let’s chat about the issues. I’m Jeremy Griffith, writer, blogger, and retired soldier. Defend the issues in a friendly debate. I dare you. The gauntlet has been thrown.
Jeremy Griffith is an Army veteran and retired captain who served in the Army National Guard and Reserve. He is the author of the novel, LSA Adder and the creator of The American Millennium Online blog.
Both houses of Congress, consisting of both parties, have passed a $1.3 Trillion omnibus spending bill that will increase the national debt, highlighting the need for a Convention of States. The president of United States, Donald Trump, has caved on his promise of building a wall and let the swamp steamroll him. He’s given up, but we must not.
Chuck Schumer, the smug democratic senator, has gleefully remarked that his party is achieving more as the minority party than when they were in power. And the Republicans we elected, including President Trump, have gone against our desires to drain the swamp and return to fiscal sanity, have caved to the Democrats and the bureaucrats and given them everything they’ve wanted.
It’s time we acted to preserve our country and Article V of the Constitution is the vehicle of that change. In Article V it sets up the possibility that a convention of states called for by the state legislatures to amend the constitution. Each state can send as many delegates to this convention as possible but each state only gets one vote and the voting delegate is bound by the will of the state that sent him or her. The convention meets to make amendments to the constitution that must then be ratified by 3/4ths of the state legislatures to take effect.There is a beautiful video explaining the process above.
One of the items on the agenda is to bring term limits to every federal legislator limiting them to 12 years in office. Any legislator who has served longer than that is returned to civilian life and a new election is held to choose a replacement. This would be a great way to drain the Swamp of Washington D.C. where many of our congressmen and women have served their own interests for decades without any thought for the people they serve.
There has been a concern for a so-called runaway constitutional convention. People say that the floor would be open to utterly trashing the constitution and putting something else in its place. Nothing could be further from the truth as Mark Levin points out in the video below.
Anyone who is interested in the Convention of States should visit this website and learn more. It’s time to tell Washington enough is enough. The debt and out of control government is not sustainable, and our lawmakers should be made aware of our feelings and given their walking papers. The time is now.
Officer Bridget Balasko drives her squad car up to the curb and parks. The sharp, crisp air of a Michigan winter greets her as she disembarks. She adjusts her gun belt and pulls her jacket collar about her neck to ward off the cold. She proceeds to walk to the door of the urban Flint home that was the source of the call. She is responding to a 911 call, 24-hours late.
It’s a scene of the new docu-series on Netflix entitled Flint Town, and it is a winner. Abandoning the mundane techniques of storytelling so common with other reality shows touching law enforcement, this series tells a broader story of a dying metropolitan city through the lens of police perspective. Beautifully shot and directed, the candor of the police officers who participate is gripping and sad. A town caught up in poverty after a major car company left decades before, complicated by a water contamination crisis and a city government cover-up, there is tension in the air as events unfold. This is binge watch TV at it’s finest.
A new mayor comes into power, promising change and a solution to the water crisis caused by the previous administration. Dr. Karen Weaver makes changes right away, firing the old police chief and hiring a new one. Together with the incoming chief of police, Timothy Johnson, the pair attempt to put their ailing city back together.
With only 98 officers covering an urban population of 100,000, Chief Johnson struggles to provide crime prevention coverage in a city where the average 911 call can garner a response in anywhere from 2-24 hours. Meanwhile the city council squabbles about how best to operate the city, making critical decisions about the budgets of the fire department and police department that are seriously undermanned and underfunded.
Filmmakers embedded with the police department for a year to provide 8 episodes, each less than an hour long and often not much more than 30 minutes long. It is easy to get caught up in the series and binge watch all 8 episodes in one day. This series is gritty and sad and I found watching that I was getting caught up with the stories of individual characters. I hope that the producers of this show produce a second series of 8 more episodes, longer this time, to let us know what happens to these courageous people in a story that is not well covered by the mainstream media. With the reaction of the police chief and the mayor on official channels, I find it unlikely, however, which is unfortunate. This is a true life story that needs to be told, and people need to watch.
The call that officer Balasko goes on does not go well. The African-American homeowner is not pleased that the police have been so tardy in responding to his burglary call. He blasts the young officer, who has been on the force only 3 years, and she listens with patience, taking in the details of the incident and a description of the men who robbed the homeowner. “I’m sorry it took so long to respond to your call,” the officer says. “We’ve had a high volume of priority calls.” Balasko apologizes again as she leaves the residence. She has 20 calls waiting on her overnight shift, and she has reports to write. She longs to be promoted to the detective bureau but because of changes in the department and budgetary shortfalls, her dream of becoming a detective has been put on hold. In the meantime, she struggles with the volume of work in an undermanned department where she often goes in alone to intimidating and dangerous situations. Balasko is only one of several dynamic real-world characters that if you watch you will want to get to know.
Whether or not there will be a follow-on series where we find those answers is up in the air.
The popular video sharing platform YouTube, which is owned by Google, is discontinuing much of their online content on the gun building, use, and instruction. What will be the result? I predict that YouTube has shot themselves in the foot and will miss out on revenue as millions of people shift their pro-second amendment videos to other platforms or create new ones.
There is an interesting article in Bloomberg News this week that touches on this issue, explaining the reasoning. I won’t rehash the whole thing, but you can read it for yourself here. It makes some interesting points, mentioning that many gun advocates have already shifted their videos to platforms that are more friendly to their cause. Like Dick’s Sporting Goods, which made the unfortunate decision to no longer offer popular semi-automatic rifles for sale, and have lost revenue because of it, I predict that YouTube will suffer a similar fate. The free market of ideas will eventually win and a new more constitution friendly platform will emerge, as it should. When you dis your customers, you lose them. That’s how capitalism and free markets work.
Incidentally, the video accompanying the Bloomberg article is almost completely false in its analysis of what is going on with the second amendment debate. The narrator makes the extraordinary claim that Republicans in Congress weekend measures to prevent mentally ill people from getting guns. Individual states have individual laws regarding who gets a gun and who doesn’t. State rights and powers are defined in the constitution specifically in the 9th and 10th amendments and any law by the federal government to usurp the states would be in danger of a constitutional challenge, which is why Republicans rejected it. The Bloomberg video also states, amazingly, that many states allow guns in schools, churches and public buildings. It makes this statement even though it is provably false. I don’t know any state that allows you to enter a government building with a privately owned gun, let alone a school.
It also never makes the analysis that all school shootings happen in schools that are posted as gun free zones. It never mentions the massive government failures to protect students from mass shootings, including failures of local police, sheriff’s departments or the FBI.
Articles like this that have such shoddy reporting is why many in the US don’t trust the mainstream media. Studies show time after time that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens reduce crime considerably. The idea that you can have gun free zones and feel safe from gun crime is arguably false, time and time again, and yet the left-leaning media keeps repeating the same lie over and over again. Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City and a gun rights opponent, owns Bloomberg news and continues to find anti-second amendment rallies, paying millions of dollars to fund them. It would make sense that a report on his website would contain so many falsehoods.
It’s too bad that YouTube has made this nonsensical decision, punishing millions of its users who are law abiding citizens. Fortunately, we have a free internet and can go to other channels to upload our content, without the First Amendment hating leftists attempting to shut down our conservative free speech.
Here is one of my favorite channels that offered gun instruction video on YouTube that might eventually go away because of the ban.
Who needs the AR-15? That seems to be the question of heated debate today following the horrible shooting of a Florida school at the hands of a deranged gunman. Overlooked is the fact that there were many systemic failures of law enforcement that allowed this tragedy to happen, people are instead choosing to blame the gun for the massacre, an inanimate object with no will of its own.
Over the past few days, students have marched out of their classrooms an have hit the streets in protest, some even going to the Washington DC capitol lawn itself, demanding that the government take away rights of its citizen and ban a certain type of rifle used to commit the horrible deed. School systems, who normally hate to give students a day off, are actually endorsing this activity and raising money for it in order to bus their students to the nation’s capital to participate in this political foray.
So why wouldn’t a person want to ban this horrible weapon of war? Don’t we care about our children’s safety enough to take out of production this one weapon? Shouldn’t we do it?
Never mind that it is a horrible blow against the rights of individual citizens, many law-abiding gun owners who were in no way involved in the shooting. It’s time to act and act now.
But, is it? Will the banning of this frightening black gun accomplish anything?
Who needs the black rifle? It turns out I do, and many Americans do as well. The AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles are an essential part of the American life. Indeed, the AR itself is America’s rifle, if there is such a thing. In the North American continent, ordinary people used semi-automatic rifles and handguns for self-defense on a daily basis. In Mexico, for example, where the government police and army are notoriously corrupt, avocado farmers have become the victims of the evil drug cartels. These farmers make millions of dollars from their products they produce on their farms and the cartels have taken notice and have tried to take control. The police won’t defend the farmers from the cartels, so the farmers have taken the law into their own hands.
The avocado farmers now hire men to defend their lands against the drug lords, arming security with the infamous black rifle. Now, nobody messes with them and the people can have their guacamole.
In Los Angeles in 1992, riots broke out in the city when a jury inexplicably acquitted two white police officers after they horribly beat and nearly killed a black man, Rodney King. The protestors rallied in the streets, looting and burning buildings and stores, and beating up residents. More than 50 people were killed in the riots, innocent people who had nothing to do with the outcome of the court trial.
In one LA neighborhood, where residents were predominantly Asian Americans, the majority of which were Korean, they were equally targeted and held helpless by the mob. The police were overwhelmed and often just kept to protecting the downtown areas and government property, leaving the residents to fend for themselves. The Koreans did so, arming themselves with shotguns, and pistols and a few had the AR-15. The AR is credited with being the rifle of choice so intimidating to the blacks that would rob and loot, that they bypassed those stores and neighborhoods so armed and moved on to easier prey. The Asian stores were saved, by the AR-15!
There have been several times where local citizens defended others and themselves with the AR-15. In Texas, a deranged gunman went into a church armed with this weapon and started killing people who worshipped inside. A neighbor heard the commotion and went to investigate, armed with his own AR-15. The two men met in the yard and there was a confrontation, bullets flying in both directions. But, the neighbor was an NRA firearms instructor and he was able to would the gunman who dropped his weapon and fled. In this scenario, the NRA guy was actually the hero, not the object of the people’s derision and loathing.
In the west, armed ranchers defended themselves against a tyrannical government law enforcement agency that came to illegally move the ranchers off public land and seize their cattle. The ranchers held firm and the bureau officers were forced to retreat in sight of men armed with the AR-15.
I can go on and on, but you get the point. Students and their parents, indeed the Hollywood funnymen and celebrities all cry out together “do you love your guns more than you love our children?!” An interesting mantra given the fact that the same people are overwhelmingly for the destruction of unborn babies in the womb, but I digress. No, it’s not a zero-sum game, people. We love our liberty as much as we love our children and we understand that it is our responsibility to defend both.
In the old west, America’s rifle used to be the lever action carbine as represented by the Henry rifle. It was used countless times by ranchers to defend themselves from marauding Indians. It was also used to great effect by Native American tribes to defend their lives and the lives of their children and families against government forces that had come to wipe them out at The Little Bighorn. Instead, the government forces, lead by the extremely arrogant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, were the ones to be wiped out. Later, in South Dakota, the worst American mass murder was committed by government forces when they tried to forcibly remove firearms from defeated tribes at Wounded Knee. The Natives had every right to defend themselves, but the government took their rights, indeed their very lives, away.
We don’t have to look very far back in history to see what happens when an over-reaching government takes guns and rights away from people. World War II is a great example, but it’s ancient history for the millennial and easily overlooked by their history teachers. No, you can just look at the headlines today. Venezuela a rich communist country rich with oil is taking away guns from their starving citizens and arming those loyal to their repressive government. The black South African government has vowed to steal land from white ranchers and give the lands over to their fellow blacks. In Iraq and the greater Middle East, ISIS forces were killing Christians and Yazidis who had no means of defending themselves until the United States finally decided they’d let that continue long enough and put a stop to it. I can go on, and on, but you would just get bored.
The point is, there are a lot of people who want to join the debate and try to figure out a way to keep dangerous people from getting guns and going on these mass shootings, but they are being drowned out by zealots who only want to take guns and rights away. We want to talk about safer schools and ending bullying and properly forcing the gun laws that already exist, but that is not enough for the gun grabbers in our society. I have to look in shock and awe at the useful idiots marching to Washington as they scream their message and snuff out any opinion that differs from their own. There is video of a school administrator stealing a student’s sigh and removing them from campus. The message on the sign: guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Apparently, at that school, Freedom of speech is not protected if you represent an opposing viewpoint?!
Florida has already caved to this lobby and stolen the rights of young people to defend themselves with guns. The NRA has happily sued to protect those rights, but in the new normal, who knows if they will be successful. Now a young girl worried about being raped on campus won’t be able to defend herself with a gun because she is only 18 and by law is prevented from purchasing a gun. I guess she’ll just have to take self-defense classes, arm herself with pepper spray and hope for the best. Meanwhile, our young men can join the military and die for their country, but they can’t buy a gun and they can’t buy a beer. Not mature enough, they say. What?!
Honestly, I’d like to see more steps taken to protect our schools. I would like to see locking mechanisms put in place to make classrooms impenetrable during an attack. What happens when the someone tries to burn the school down and the students can’t get out.
I’d like to see police officers armed in the schools to protect their students. What if the cops lose their nerve as was the case in this latest shooting spree?
I’d like to see door locks on schools that require an employee to buzz people in and leave suspicious people out. What if a gunman takes a hostage and bypasses the system? One of a thousand things could go wrong, but the simpletons think they can control evil with a law.
I think we need a more erudite debate, not letting emotions get the best of us. We can have safer schools, we can protect our children, and our rights. We don’t have to choose one over the other.
Got a different opinion. Change my mind. Leave comments below.
Me, the author, representing my ward and precinct at the Olmsted County GOP convention.
by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
Olmsted County Republicans met at the Byron Middle School Saturday where the Grand Old Party decided on what resolutions to adopt as part of their platform, what delegates to send to the CD1 (congressional district one of Minnesota) and State conventions respectively in Mankato and Duluth, and for two of the districts to endorse candidates for office at the state level. The GOP attained a quorum, but there were a lot of open seats in the auditorium.
I alone was there to represent my district as a delegate, Ward 1 Precinct 1. It was easy to count votes. I had a row to myself.
Empty seats. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
We elected delegates to the CD1 and State conventions, but I’m not aware of who those people are. The results were not in by the time we adjourned. Presumably, the party leadership will tell us before the next convention. I’m looking forward to voting at the endorsing convention in Mankato next month.
Several political candidates gave speeches at the events, including Jim Hagedorn, who is running again for Tim Walz’s vacated seat, and his GOP rival, State Senator Carla Nelson, each vying for the party endorsement. Both are great candidates and did their best to differentiate themselves from one another. Hagedorn demonstrated how close he was last time, giving himself credit for Walz bowing out of a future campaign and instead running for governor. Nelson touted her amazing record as a conservative leader who gets things done in the Minnesota legislature. It will be hard for me to choose between them next month.
Carla Nelson appeals to the convention. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
State Senator Carla Nelson with Olmsted County GOP Co-chair Aaron Miller. Nelson spoke at the Olmsted County GOP as part of her campaign to fill Tim Walz’s vacated seat in the US Congress. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
Jim Hagedorn states his case to the delegates at the Olmsted County GOP convention. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
GOP State Chairperson Jennifer Carnahan gave a report of the party explaining her accomplishments so far. The party funding shortfall is slowly shrinking as the party gains more and more momentum in raising revenue. I received an infographic earlier last month detailing Carnahan’s plan to once again turn the state red. It was very impressive.
MN State GOP Chairperson Jennifer Carnahan gives a speech at the convention. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
Several candidates who are vying for Mark Dayton’s old seat in the Governor’s mansion spoke to the quorum, including former GOP state chair Keith Downey, Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens, and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson.
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson is running for Governor. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
State Rep. Duane Quam answers questions from a reporter. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
Nels Pierson was endorsed for another run as State Rep in his district. And another endorsing campaign with two African American candidates vying for the same seat ran against one another. I left before that mini-convention as I was not a representative of that district. I will let you know the result when I get it.
Nels Pierson once again received the endorsement of his constituents to run as their representative in the state legislature. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
Several recommended additions to the party platform were voted on. I am not aware of the result. I personally spoke against a ban on pornography and cigarettes. Both might be harmful, but the GOP is not the party of the nanny state, I argued. I don’t want a bunch of church ladies from the party raiding Minnesota museums taking paintings off the wall and statues out of the gallery because of their vague view of what “pornography” is. With cigarettes, we know they are harmful, the information is available to everyone. But Republicans is not the nanny-state party. We don’t put a ban of free will. That’s the Democrats. “What’s next for us then?” I wondered aloud. “Are we going to ban Kinky Vodka because we don’t like the pink and blue colors, or the taste? Is that something we should put on the party’s stated principle values?!”
“You either love the First Amendment or you don’t!” I said. “When we’re the party out of power, we love the First Amendment protection so we can still advance our political ideals. When we are in power, we shouldn’t be the party that bans unpleasant speech, burns books and magazines, raids museums, or slaps the hands of every individual who picks up a cigarette, cigar, pipe or vape!” I didn’t see anyone talk in favor of the amendment, and I’m not sure who authored it, nor do I understand their motivation.
Someone authored an amendment declaring it a right for all Minnesotans to clean air and water. Another delegate argued, “who is against those things? Really!? Do we need that in the party platform? It’s a given, is it not?” Good point.
Excuse me?! I have a question about the resolution?!
Someone offered a resolution in support of merit-based immigration and there was a lot of debate. What immigrants have merit and who decides? My mother-in-law is a resident alien living with her daughter and son-in-law in Texas. She came here legally and has a green card. She will never have a job and earn an income, never pay taxes. So what value is she to the state where she lives.? Well, I can tell you that the very pleasant 70-plus-year-old repaired a BB-8 plush toy after her grandson ripped his head off by accident. I’m sure 10-year old Nathan thought that had value. She cooks for her family and cleans house, taking care of adults as well as grandchildren. Is that the value that proponents of the measure were talking about, or what?! It wasn’t made clear.
My mother in law with my wife at the Minnesota State Capitol. What immigrants have merit and which ones don’t. Nobody explained. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
That’s pretty much my summary. Lunch was pretty lame. Not sure I will buy one at the next convention. If I’m paying $10, I should at least have a soda of my choice, not just water. There, I’m done. See you next month in Mankato, Republicans!
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Normally, I’m a very pro-law enforcement guy, which makes this column all the more painful to write. It has been reported that in addition to the school resource officer failing to go into the Florida school to stop the horrible massacre, his buddies, three of them, also failed to do their jobs and enter the school.
Now, from a tactical point of view, I can see why sheriff’s deputies did this. Rushing headlong into a potential ambush is not a fun time. But when you are charged with protecting your community and your neighborhoods, especially young people, that is your job! You are the sheepdog protecting the sheep. You have to go, and if you can’t go, you shouldn’t be in that line of work.
It appears that the school resource officer, Scot Peterson, who was on campus at the Florida school when the gunfire was sounding throughout his campus, took a position of safety and let four precious minutes tick by while people were dying inside. Likewise, his compatriots also took position outside and occupied a wait-and-see attitude while students, teachers and staff were being slaughtered.
What is particularly brutal about the whole thing is, that the Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel attended a CNN sponsored townhall the other day and used that platform to blast the NRA and it’s millions of Law-Abiding members, when he knew, HE KNEW, that his department failed to act in defense of children! Wow.
I think there should be an outside investigation into all the failures of this department, what I will now call the Broward Cowards, and that Scott Israel should resign his post as sheriff. Get someone in that position who really shows initiative in protecting the citizens he is charged with defending, not someone just interested in a big fat paycheck.
Some people decry the militarization of the police force. I am not one of them. Buy them the MRAP armored vehicle. Put Kevlar helmets and body armor in every vehicle, right next to the defibrillator and first aid kit, put an AR-15 or M4 rifle in every squad car, right next to the shotgun. And for the love of our children, train these officers to run towards the danger and not away from it.
Nobody wants to see a police officer shot in the line of duty. Our hearts break when we hear that has happened. Our hearts are broken now, for all those kids and teachers, and their respective families. If this horrible shooting has shown us anything is that the government with its huge budget and all its assets is still not sufficient to protect us. Ultimately we are responsible for protecting ourselves. Go get some training, jiu-jitsu, tae kwon do, judo; get a gun and become proficient at shooting; join the NRA and get some professional training. I am a member, and I am proud of it. At the end of the day, I love cops, I support them, but I realize that I am solely responsible for the defense of myself and my family. I have to be the sheepdog because I can’t depend on anyone else to do it. That’s why I have an AR-15, and other guns. If someone tries to harm me or my family, the cops can clean up the mess when they get there, because it’s going to be over very quickly.
I fully agree with some of what has been said about mental health in this country and how it has been neglected. Institutions should be brought back to attempt to help the mentally ill and treat those who have long-term problems. They should be heavily regulated and monitored so the rights of those receiving treatments are being protected and these institutions do not denigrate into the cesspools they once were. There should be outpatient programs so that people battling this disease can graduate to a level of normalcy within their communities, under the supervision of trained mental health staff. And, for the violently insane, there should be a legal process to strip them of their rights to own a gun and a way for their names to be added to the no-buy list.
All of these safeguards, we know, can fail. Every one of the safeguards put in place in Florida failed. Banning guns, even certain kinds of guns, will not help. Famed Texas sniper Charles Whitman used a deer rifle with a three-round box magazine to commit his crimes. Evil will find a way. But the law-abiding should not be blamed for the actions of a few insane villains.
The author with an F4 Phantom II fighter jet, at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.
by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
This might be the unpopular opinion of the week, but I’m going to put it out there anyway, and then I’m going to justify it. I think Trump’s idea to have a military parade in Washington D.C. on Independence Day is a great idea and should proceed!
A lot of people, including that guy who was a Navy SEAL who allegedly shot Osama in the head, think it’s a bad idea and makes us look like a third world dictatorship. First of all, there are some problems with the analogy. Russia has a military parade every year, they are a first world superpower and allegedly a democracy. China has military parades every year. The left and right of the political spectrum both love China for different reasons. North Korea, the worst example in this list, has a parade. The leftist elites and journalists absolutely love North Korea. Look how much they are fawning over that dictator’s little sister Kim Yo Jong. They adore the little communist and her fat little brother so much you have to be careful of all the drool on the floor.
France has a military parade and they are not third world. That’s where the Trumpster got the idea in the first place. We don’t have a military parade every year, but we’ve been fighting a global war on terror for 17 straight years without let up. It’s time we honor those who have served, who were wounded, and those who died in that war, with a massive parade. It will also remind the world that we are still the most powerful nation in the world and will remind them not to mess with us, because we mean business. Get the message North Korea?!
It will also serve as a reminder to the American people that we have been in a war all this time and that war from our standpoint has had more success than failure. I think that a lot of civilians in this country don’t know anyone who has served in that war, do not pay attention and couldn’t care less. For those of you who have had relatives serving in the war, none of you who I have spoken to can name the place where they have served, you don’t know what their job specialty is, and you don’t know the name of the unit they are serving with.
For example, I can ask a veteran where he served. He will tell me, if he isn’t a valor thief, what unit he came from, his commander’s name, maybe the name of his Sergeant Major, First Sergeant or squad leader, they’ll tell you the name of the unit, to include battalion, company, platoon and squad, they’ll tell you what base they were operating out of which country and the time frame of their deployment. If they moved bases, they will tell you the approximate timeframe of the move. For example, we may have started out in Tallil, Iraq in March of 2004, but about three months later we moved to Al Taggadem, where we stayed for the rest of our tour.
Here is an example from my perspective. I was a transportation officer with HHC 1-34 BCT, that is, headquarters and headquarters company of the First Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division. We were stationed in Tallil Iraq, also known as LSA Adder. (LSA stands for Logistical Supply Area). My immediate supervisor was Major Brian Studer who was the Brigade S4 Logistics officer. I also worked with Major Phillip Moran, the Brigade Transportation officer. I was there from 2006-2007. We were deployed for 15 months in theater because we were extended for The Surge. We were supposed to be replaced by elements of 10th Mountain Division, but they were moved up north. We were eventually replaced by elements of the 82nd Airborne Division, etc., etc.
A valor thief will not be able to tell you that. A family member won’t either, but what is embarrassing is, they probably won’t be able to name the base, the unit, or their soldier’s primary job.
For example, I should be able to ask you where your son, daughter, cousin, nephew is and you should be able to tell me, “oh, he’s a Marine stationed at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan. I think he’s infantry.”
That should suffice, but all I ever get is, “Oh, I don’t know. I think he’s a Marine. He’s somewhere over there!”
How discouraging. You ask anyone else about what they know about the war and they are totally uninformed and uninterested.
Less than one percent of the nation ever serves in the military in any capacity. Less than that, about one percent of that number, have served in combat. That is an amazing number. And while the reception to returning troops from this war has been much better than the Vietnam Vets, it still could be better. I mean, if we really gave a crap about our vets, then the VA would not be broken and the suicide rate would not be so high.
So, I think a parade celebrating American might in the war on terror is appropriate, especially on a holiday. It will show pride in the participants and will be of interest to the public. As a one-off, it would be a good thing. I don’t think we should have it every year. Given the amazing progress we’ve made against ISIS in Iraq under President Trump, it is about time our troops took a victory lap. That is why I think the parade should go on, with respect to those who think it shouldn’t.
We have some wonderful titles out in print that we are happy to offer, my own book about Iraq called, “LSA Adder” is in print at Amazon.com. You can find it at the link here.
Also, “The House on Spirit Lake” is out in print. It is a paranormal mystery I wrote and is also available from Amazon. Both books are available in soft cover and as an ebook.
The movie “Thank You For Your Service” was more than a movie for me, it was a deeply moving experience that everyone should watch, especially if you have a loved one who served in the Global War on Terror.
I was in Iraq, for 15 months. I often feel like I was a well-armed, well-trained, well-paid tourist. My logistics job didn’t allow me to go out on patrols every day, though I would very much have wanted to. My brigade was in Iraq for so long because we were extended for the surge. We had more consecutive days in combat than any other unit, so I get it. I watched them load flag-draped coffins of ice with human remains on to aircraft, more than once. Having said that, I never saw anyone die, and I never fired a shot; my job did not require it.
When I heard about this movie, of course, I wanted to see it. I hoped that it was not some cheesy make a buck off the war movie that got everything wrong. I hoped there would be action. It was not that kind of a film. Instead, the story centered on one squad of soldiers and their squad leader on one or two days fighting in Iraq. Staff Sergeant Adam Schumann is on patrol in his convoy in a bustling city somewhere in central Iraq. This is about 2007-time frame, the same time I was there. The patrol goes terribly wrong, and there are casualties.
The movie fast-forwards to the soldiers’ arrival at their home base of Fort Riley, Kansas. From the combat patches worn by the soldiers, it can be guessed that they belong to the Big Red One, 1st Infantry Division. The soldiers are greeted by loved ones as they get off the plane, and then they attempt to re-integrate back into their regular lives. This story is poignant and sad as the soldiers fight their own battles at home, often alone without support. It is extremely aggravating to watch. Bring tissues, or just do what I did and wipe your nose on your spouse’s sleeve. What is especially maddening is that when the soldiers find that they do need help, they are often offered only roadblocks in the form of uncaring leadership, administrative buffoons, pride, laziness, greed, etc. One side note. I worked with many people who work for the VA, who care deeply about soldiers and want to help. So what I am about to say is not for them. Close your ears. If you are working for the VA and you don’t give a fuck about soldiers, only your big fat salary and bennies then you can go fuck off somewhere else. Heroes need to help heroes. You don’t have to have been a soldier, but you do have to give a fuck. Go find some other government cubicle to hide in, you worthless fucks.
Offended? Don’t care. Moving on.
This movie dramatically shows for the viewer the kind of internal struggle many of our soldiers go through, and when I say soldier, I mean everyone who has served, Airmen, Marines, Sailors, Coasties, everybody. Suicide, mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, paranoia, grief and survivor’s guilt, it all hits you in the gut with this movie. I won’t ruin the plot further, just go see it, and be prepared to cry.
But it isn’t enough to just go to a movie and have a good cry. This movie is a call to action. Based on the book of the same name by Pulitzer Prize winner David Finkel, it is the directing debut of Jason Hall. Brilliant acting by lead actors Miles Teller as Schumann and Haley Bennett as his loving wife Saskia. Comedian Amy Schumer has a dramatic supporting role as a grieving widow. Good job to all. Their storytelling is more than just entertainment, they do great service for soldiers who have seen action and are now struggling.
As I said before, it isn’t enough to watch a movie and cathartic cry, this show is a call to action. The VA failures are not just the failures of big government bureaucracy; it is the failure of us all because we don’t care enough to fix it. When is the last time you’ve called up the VA and asked them for a report on how they are serving the soldier? When have you called your local representative? If the answer is no, I have to ask why not? What is stopping you? Do it tomorrow, won’t you? See this movie tomorrow and then go call someone and get them to see it.
Traumatic stress disorder is no joke. We’ve been at this global war for 16 years, and there is no sigh of let up. We lost four special operators in Niger last week. I wonder if mainstream America will ever come to realize that the problem of global terrorism is not going away and that the problem with the VA and with soldier mental and physical health is not going away. Would you want your children to suffer?
I can’t say enough about this movie, but I have to wrap up. Rotten Tomatoes gives this movie a giant golden tomato, which is good for them. We agree for once. I guess a blind monkey can find a banana in the jungle, because they are often wrong. Good for them for getting it right for once.
Seth McFarlane and the cast of Fox comedy Star Trek Spoof, The Orville
By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
Seth McFarlane is a funny man, and his new comedy Star Trek spoof, The Orville, is off to a great start. In episode three they tackle the very serious topic of same-sex relationships while plowing into the controversy of child sex reassignment. Funny! Are they going to address the controversial topic of sexual assault on an employee by a boss or supervisor next? Are they going to be able to make that funny?
I’m a fan of Star Trek, and I actually liked the first episodes of The Orville, but episode three “About A Girl” has left me scratching my head. This is in light of the new allegations of sexual assault and harassment by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who is a strong ally of the Clintons and Obamas.
In the episode, same-sex partners have a child, they laid an egg apparently, and it came out a girl. Not a problem under normal circumstances, but the species these two lovebirds belong to is predominantly only male. Females are frowned upon, only appearing once every 75 years or so, and are marginalized in their society. Babies born female are taken immediately to the doctor’s office and have their gender reassigned to the male. There is only one problem. The Orville is a Union ship and the doctor won’t perform the surgery for ethical reasons.
A ship is dispatched at the parents’ request from the homeworld and the baby girl is to go to that ship to have the surgery. Only Captain Ed, McFarlane’s character, is none too happy to release the child. He is duty-bound to “protect” the child, even though the culture of this child dictates that this surgery must be done. The Union officers intervein and there is a trial to determine whether or not the surgery should go forth. One of the parents, the second officer of the ship, actually has a change of heart and is willing to accept the child and not go through with the change.
All of this is terribly funny and sad at the same time. It makes one wonder about the priorities of Hollywood. They are willing to advance the topic of child transgender surgery, but are they willing to also go boldly into the realm of condemning sexual harassment of an employee by a boss? We doubt it.
We love Star Trek, we love this new series, but we wonder at the ever-changing morals of Hollywood and its writers. McFarlane himself is said to have written the script for this episode, and Brannon Braga, a Star Trek favorite who has directed many episodes, directed this one. Star Trek has always tackled tricky topics within the premise of their shows. Will they be reflexive enough to look at themselves in the mirror and talk about the topics within their own industry?
Apparently, the sexual deviance of Harvey Weinstein has been an inside secret in Hollywood for a long time. McFarlane jokes about it in a Hollywood award ceremony three years ago. You have to do more than make jokes, Seth, you have to take action. Your new wants to empower women. Great. How about talking about the real issue of sexual violence and harassment in the workplace! Try to make that funny! Just try!
In the real world, child transgender reassignment is not a laughing matter. Many of us are not opposed to same-sex unions as long as couples keep their relations to themselves. We libertarians don’t want to interfere with what happens in your bedroom. But what happens when same-sex parents try to change the gender of their adopted child? Is that abuse? We think it is. We doubt Hollywood agrees with us.
Will they agree that it is wrong for a rich, famous producer to sexually abuse women who want to work in the TV and film, using his power as a gatekeeper in the industry to get his way? Gauging the response of Hollywood to date, we doubt that the actors, filmmakers, producers, and writers will have much to say about how villains like Weinstein who take advantage of the young female stars they claim they want to empower.
Abu Tahseen, stalking ISIS in the Iraqi desert with a homemade weapon that looks like a Star Wars prop. The Silver Sniper, 63, was killed in Northern Iraq this week fighting terrorists.
A 63-year old veteran sniper has died in the service of his country, drawing interesting parallels between another sniper who in a single act of incomprehensible rage killed 59 of his fellow countrymen at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. This is a tale of two snipers.
His name was Abu Tahseen, and he’s not a household name here in the United States, but he should be. He was known by his various nicknames: The Silver Sniper, the Sheik of Snipers, and Hawkeye. A veteran of five wars over many decades, the man was feared by his enemies, and his enemies, the latest ones, were the dreaded fighters of ISIS who ran rampages across Iraq and the Middle East causing fear and suffering wherever they went. Tahseen was not afraid of them and indeed, is credited with killing 341 of the vile terrorist, blasting them into oblivion with his bolt-action .50-caliber BMB sniper rifle. Tahseen is on record in video bragging that when his bullets struck their mark, the victim would be blasted backwards a meter or more by the sheer force of the impacting round.
Now ISIS has made a mess of the Middle East, has threatened everyone who doesn’t adhere to their extreme ideology, but The Silver Sniper, a devout Muslim, was not intimidated and was dedicated to destroying them, one at a time. On average, he is said to have sent four of those vile murders to their maker every day, and no one was safe within a mile of his rifle.
Sadly this hero has passed away, martyred in one last battle to free his country in the battle for the northern Iraqi city of Hawija. Terrorists have claimed credit for taking Tahseen down, but a blind monkey sometimes finds a banana in the jungle on occasion. Hopefully, others will rise to the occasion and fill the gap that Tahseen has left.
Songs should be sung of this hero. A blockbuster movie needs to be made, with a novelized tie-in. I look forward to that. In the meantime, read Taryn Tarrant-Cornish’s great article in Express here, and find out more about this remarkable man who stalked the desert with a homemade weapon that looked like it was a prop for the latest Star Wars movie.
Here in the United States the 24/7 news cycle knows nearly nothing about this great man, but is preoccupied with another gunman, I hesitate to call him a sniper, Stephan Paddock, 64. Paddock as you may have heard, occupied a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel in Las Vegas and using several weapons modified to shoot near-fully automatic, rained deadly bullets onto unsuspecting concertgoers below. No motive has been found on why this wealthy gambler who made his money in real estate would do this horrible thing. He is not brave, or noble. He was a coward and died a coward’s death. When rough men armed with guns came to stop his horrible onslaught, he turned his gun on himself rather than be captured or killed by men braver than himself.
What is interesting about these two men, as different as night is from day, is their shared similarities. Both are senior citizens, both are known for what they did with a gun. But there the similarities end. Tahseen was a hero. At 63, when he should have been enjoying retirement, he went to the aid of his country, like Cincinnatus of Rome, he served when his country called and died the hero.
Paddock meanwhile had the kind of life many in this country only dream. He worked as a postal worker, an accountant, he worked for the IRS at one point, and he made his money in real estate. His father was a famous bank robber who at one point was on the FBI’s most wanted list, which might explain this man’s mental disconnect. He was a fixture at the hotels and casinos, spending large sums of cash at the tables. Then, inexplicably, this crazy decided he had had enough of the good life and without any other obvious motive, destroyed the lives of 59 innocent people and wounded over 500 more. Political and media pundits blame the guns and lax gun laws for this man’s actions, but we ask that we look at the man, not the tool.
Let’s compare and contrast these two men for a moment. Tahseen, a veteran with decades of experience, was a skilled rifleman. With his bolt-action .50 BMG he killed 341 people, animals really, in defense of his nation. Paddock tried to do as much, only his victims didn’t deserve it, had no idea it was coming, and were like fish in a barrel in his senseless onslaught, unable to shoot back or defend themselves in any way. We can see that in the hands of two very different men, a gun, a tool, can have very different results.
We recommend that Muslims, indeed anyone who admires skill and bravery, carve the name of Abu Tahseen on concrete and stonewalls in memorial of his bravery and achievements to liberate his countryman. For Paddock, list him on an historical footnote, and then immediately forget him, but don’t you dare forget his innocent victims!
Watch a recent interview with Tahseen below.
Here is a video showing the Silver Sniper’s accomplishments.
The issue of gun control has been an on-going situation over the years, but has gained increased attention due to recent events. Over the past few weeks there has been much attention given to tougher laws, increased mental health screenings and increased security. I want to take time to address the complicated issue of gun control from one social worker’s perspective and take the discussion on this issue in perhaps a different direction than where it has been going so far.
I want to point out a myth that this debate has brought out. A myth that has come out is that mass murders are committed by seriously mentally ill people. In an article by Michael B. Friedman that appeared in the January 17, 2013 edition of the Huffington Post, Friedman points out that people with mental illness are not likely to be violent and that acts of mass murder are carried out by some who are mentally ill, but these types of acts are also likely to be carried out by those who are not mentally ill. This is an important point to make because there have been calls for increased attention to those with mental illness. Does this mean that people who have identified themselves as having issues with mental health have limited rights? I am not talking about the right for a person with mental health issues to own a gun, but rather are persons with mental health issues going to be labeled violent and have their access limited to the community at large? This is a question that remains to be addressed in the debate.
Aside from the issue of mental health and gun use, I want to bring out a deeper discussion of why people may choose to use violence to deal with some situations. I have pondered this for some time and have wondered how much the role of shame has played in a person’s choice to use violence over other options. First, I need to define a key difference between shame and guilt. The word shame is defined per the Social Work Dictionary 5th edition (Baker 2003) as:
A painful feeling of having disgraced or dishonored oneself or those one cares about because of an intentional act, involuntary behavior or circumstance.
Guilt is defined per the Social Work Dictionary 5th edition (Baker 2003) as: An emotional reaction to the perceptions of having done something wrong, having failed to do something or violating important social norms.
When you look at these two definitions there is an important difference between the two states. Guilt is an emotional reaction to violating social norms and to put it simply says “I did something bad.” Shame on the other hand is a much deeper feeling in which a person internalizes feelings of negative self worth. Basically, shame says “I am a bad person.”
When I look at the incidents of mass violence and violence in general, I have wondered if the person or persons committing the violence have experienced shame in some way. My point is that if shame is left unattended and not dealt with, that a person may choose to use violence to deal with the feeling of being wronged or slighted by others. This choice may not be used for a few incidents, but over time if a person experiences many incidents of being wronged either by others, systems or even by themselves they may feel the only way around these intense feelings is to hurt others to feel vindicated. The other issue that is related to shame is power or the lack of it. When a person lacks the power to make changes to deal with the shame they have experienced they may choose violence as a way to achieve power.
For me the issue of gun control is more than banning guns or not, it is more about looking at why people choose to use violence in the first place. I believe that when the underlying issues of violence are addressed, you may see a reduction in all violence in general. I also believe that when a person is given the chance to be heard and they are able to get their story out, it goes a long way to reducing the feelings of shame and guilt that if left unchecked can lead to violence .
Brené Brown, Ph.D. has done some excellent work on vulnerability and work on shame. I have included a link to her work on shame. She addresses the issue of how shame impacts our lives. She has focused her work on listening to people’s stories and learning about what pain they have been through as well as what people have done to deal with these intense feelings. http://www.brenebrown.com/videos
When you get to the site, please click on the “listening to shame” video.
I have stated this in a previous post on new path notes that I believe it is very important for people of all ages to have a safe place and a safe person in which to share their hurts. I believe if a person is truly heard the feelings of shame and hurt can be reduced. I am speaking of all violence types not just those involving guns. When people start to deal with the feelings that are behind the violence, violence can be reduced. When people are given the chance to be heard they begin to heal. Please remember that there are people out there willing to listen to what is going on in your life. All you need to is start asking people to listen. I wish the best to you all!!
Mike Arieta is an Independent Clinical Social Worker (M.S.W., LICSW, LCSW), Mike holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Mike has also completed the PACC certificate for Permanency and Adoption Competency through the University of Minnesota. Mike is the creator of New Path Counseling.
The Author trains at First Army Trainer-Mentor Academy at Camp Shelby, MS.
By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
I was watching the horrible coverage this week of the Las Vegas shooting and I have a few thoughts on it. First, watch this video of the aftermath of the shooting as a concert-goer attempts to do medical aid to his fellows who have been injured. Fair warning: it is very graphic!
As you can see, it’s pretty horrific. I’m not sure this kid, bless his heart, has had any medical training, but he tries to help anyway. It occurs to me that he has two choices; he can film the aftermath so that journalists and law enforcement, along with the rest of us, can see the what happened, or he can render aid to his neighbors. This kid attempts to do both and it doesn’t appear to be going too well.
Notice how the kid attempts to take a pulse using his full hand, including his thumb, on both sides of a victim’s neck. I don’t recommend that. I think that illustrates the need for civilians to do more training in CPR and basic first aid from here on in. It seems that society now is plagued with these incidents of terrorism, natural disasters and crime, that going forward it would seem prudent and necessary to undergo training. The Red Cross would be a sure bet to have classes available for CPR and first aid. I’ve also included a link to the Army’s combat lifesaver’s training manual for your review. It has a lot of good tips on triage and first aid in traumatic situations. Remember, when bullets are flying it is not time to render aid, it is time to take cover. Render aid when it is safe to do so.
Below is a video further illustrating my thoughts on this issue. It seems that in the new normal, it is time for more people to transform from sheep into sheepdogs, because there are way too many wolves out there. If you don’t understand the reference, read “On Killing” by Dave Grossman.
Here is an article from LTC Grossman explaining the differences between sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves. A coworker was asking me the other day, “why are you so interested in guns? I have the utmost respect for you, but I don’t understand it. Especially after all that is happened.” The reasoning is simple: I am a sheepdog, and you are a sheep. Read:
I would add that doctors, nurses, and medical workers of all kinds who would normally be categorized as sheep are transformed into sheepdogs when they are on the job. They don’t carry guns into battle. They have other tools at their disposal and run into the action when others would run the other way. Rita, to answer your question, I am a sheepdog, and occasionally, so are you.
So here are my recommendations: if you have the capacity, train with guns and get a carry conceal license if it is in your wheelhouse to do so. If not, get some basic medical training so that, God forbid, if a crisis happens you can provide aid and comfort to people around you when they are suffering, Then you too can be a sheepdog.
A bump fire stock like the one used in the Las Vegas shooting.
By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium
The City of Las Vegas and the whole United States is reeling today three days after the horrible shooting in which 58 people died and over 500 were injured. As investigators try to piece together why this happened politicians are quick to jump to the default conclusion to blame the gun and not the idiot with the gun.
Hours after the shooting was reported, former presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted her support for increased gun control legislation. The evening comedians likewise jumped on the band wagon to call for something, anything to be done and vilifying anyone who would oppose it.
But really, what, if anything, can more gun laws do to prevent something like this from happening in the future? As has been pointed out previously, terrorists who want to cause destruction have wreaked havoc without using a gun. Timothy LaVeigh comes to mind, who used a box truck and fertilizer to kill hundreds.
Early reports say that the shooter used two bump fire stocks on his gun that convert semi-auto weapons into firing full auto. There is speculation that that device will now be under scrutiny for banning in the future due to the damage it caused. Reason Magazine published a great article yesterday describing what a bump fire stock looks like and how it functions. You can look at the full article here, including a video demonstration.
Jacob Sullum of Reason explains that the bump stock seems to sacrifice accuracy for speed, vastly increasing the number of bullets sprayed from the gun. It makes the gun hard to control and is considered a novelty used by gun enthusiasts rather than really increasing the lethality of the firearm.
Sullum writes, “Assuming that (Stephan) Paddock (the shooter) used the bump stocks police found, did they make the number of deaths higher than it otherwise would have been? Not necessarily, since bump stocks sacrifice accuracy for speed; the jostling required by the technique makes the rifle harder to aim, especially at long distances. According to the Wikipedia entry on bump stocks, they “greatly degrade the accuracy of the firearm, due to the necessary jerking of the weapon, which makes viable aiming impossible,” and “the inaccuracy renders the practice uncommon.”
Sullum eloquently points out that other shootings that did not use this feature have proven extremely deadly as well, while not as deadly as the Las Vegas shooting. But in Vegas, the lethality was most likely aided by the shooters tactical position on the 32nd floor rather than any accessory he may have used.
At the end of the day, this tragedy was caused by a madman with an axe to grind. An evil heart made this happen, not an inanimate object. Those guns didn’t jump off the shelves into this man’s hands. He methodically planned this atrocity, collecting guns and ammo over a long period of time. He reconned his target and chose his firing position with care. This coward was perfectly fine with killing innocent people who were unable to fight back, but when a fire team of officers came knocking on his door, he decided to check out rather than face them.
So instead of blaming the gun, we should blame the idiot. And then we should forget him. We should all be ready to help the victims and their families as they deal with the tragedy. It will be a long time before they get back to a sense of normalcy, indeed, they may never fully be the same. Americans should not be punished by a reduction of their rights because of the evil acts of one idiot.
Star Trek Discovery successfully launches on CBS All Access
By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium
Star Trek Discovery for what it is worth has had an OK start in its two first episodes of the first season. Time will tell if the series is worth paying $6 for monthly streaming access.
Set in an era 50 years before the era of James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, Bones McCoy, Chief Scott and all the rest, it is a turbulent era where the rules of the United Federation of Planets is not quite set in stone. Being the latest of the Star Trek endeavors, the technology, and feel of the series looks to the future rather than the past. That is because there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Times have changed, and technology has changed with it. Do you really want to go back to those trite early scripts and laughable sets of the 1960s?
The new series introduces us to a number of great characters, gets us to like and identify with them a little, then starts messing with our heads. For me it was like reading We Were Soldiers Once and Young for the first time, when the author introduces us to likable characters and then kills them off. Too obscure a reference, Game of Thrones then. A likable captain Philippa Georgiou is killed off in episode two, oh, spoiler alert, and her first officer Michael Burnham is sentenced to life in prison.
Oh, but magically she gets whisked off to the USS Discovery where she is employed by the controversial Captain Gabriel Lorca, where presumably the series kicks off into high gear. I love Jason Isaacs as an actor and he is evidentially going to play Lorca. I’m totally stoked for this fact. I have great hope for this series, I’ve been a big fan of Star Trek all my life and I want to go on watching the series and am emotionally invested in it.
Having said that, the cast has not shied away from controversy on the political spectrum and it’s necessary to talk about in this blog. Amidst the controversy of American sports professionals taking a knee at games while the National Anthem is played, the Discovery crew decided to take a photo of them taking a knee as well. It makes sense from a certain perspective. Star Trek has always been about diversity, and actors who sign up for series like this are well aware of the complexities of race relations in this country, which are very very bad. All of us who grew up watching the series know the political history of the show. Actress Nichelle Nichols, an African American, had a prominent role in the first series and was thinking of leaving, but stayed on because noted Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. asked her to stay on as a role model for others. Since then, the cast and crew have always shown us that diversity is an important factor in a great and adventurous future.
That being said, I’m ok for now that the cast took a knee. To me, they are protesting the horrible treatment of African Americans in this country, which continues to be bad. But in my mind, it is different than when sports heroes do it in the midst of the National Anthem. The National Anthem and our flag represent all that is good about America and what we aspire to be, not unlike the dream of the Federation, it represents the hope that a diverse people can be great in achieving common goals. By kneeling during the Anthem, to me it is like we are burning our national symbol and with it our hopes for shared achievement and diversity. I can’t see the flag disrespected any more than I could the principles of a United Federation.
I’ll give the crew of Discovery the benefit of the doubt for now. But the real issue seems to be not just solidarity with oppressed peoples, but with a firm hatred for Donald Trump and what he represents. This I’m sort of baffled by as well, but you can see it in the national media and in the way many people in Hollywood treat our president. Ten years ago you wouldn’t know that Trump was a racist. He helped minorities out and he got recognition from current civil rights leaders for what he achieved for African-Americans. Immediately after putting an R behind his name and running for president, trouncing a horribly lackluster candidate, Hillary Clinton, suddenly The Donald is Adolf Hitler. That is a hugely unfair characterization in my estimation. So far there is no genocide of brown people, there is no destruction of the US economy, the economy is doing better if anyone bothers to look at the numbers, and the status quo seems to be maintained such as it is.
Some might feel that Trump is unnecessarily jingoistic in his responses to Iran and North Korea, but it is previous administrations that have put us in this situation, not The Donald. It was Barack Obama who gave billions of our tax dollars in cash to a rogue state that wants nothing less than the annihilation of the Israeli state, followed by the destruction of the big Satan, America. It was previous democrat administrations that gave a green light to North Korea to develop nuclear strength, and it is the reason the mighty midget is now threatening his neighbors and us with nuclear destruction. The Donald is not trying to start a war, he is trying to deal with Kim Jung Un and the mullahs of Iran in the only language that they understand, force!
I have an analogy that the crew of Discovery and Star Trek fans will be sure to appreciate. In the first two episodes of Discovery, Michael Burnham and her captain are faced with an incredibly violent and war-like adversary, the Klingons. The Klingons only understand one thing, war. It is their code and creed. Captain Georgiou, like all Star Fleet captains, wants to be an explorer, not a warrior. They see the risk, but instead of preparing a defense, they try a stance of appeasement. Of course, as predicted, that goes horribly wrong, it sends the wrong message to the enemy and it launches Star Fleet in a horribly destructive war that will cost many lives. If they had listened to Burnham, and given the Klingons the “Vulcan Hello”, things would have worked out quite a bit differently.
Now it is up to Lorca, a captain who doesn’t quite follow the rules, to deal with the Klingons, ultimately defeat them or fight them to a draw, so that the Federation can eventually get back their original goal and mission, peaceful exploration of space and interaction to the wonderful and strange new worlds and people therein.
Now here is where the analogy meets reality, and I doubt that liberals in Hollywood will like it, but they ought to hear it from a fan. Donald Trump is Captain Gabriel Lorca and Michael Burnham is his Secretary of Defense, Gen. Mathis. Ouch. Really? Yes really. The appeasers playing Captain Georgiou, bless her heart, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, take your pick of the weak spine democrat in office. They created a horrible mess with an enemy that cannot be reasoned with and now the Donald, aka Lorca has to roll up his sleeves and get down to business before the Klingons, aka North Korea and Iran nuke us all to death.
It’s kind of like when Jean-Luc Picard went up against the Borg. We thought everyone was going to die, but one guy with the guts to stick his neck out was able to win the day, at very great cost. Picard is Trump. Someone should remind Whoopie Goldberg of The View of her Star Trek roots. Her character Guinan was a popular character on The Next Generation series and was an able advisor to Picard. I would love to hear her take on this blog. She hates Trump.
Sucks but there it is. You are welcome, Hollywood.
As I have said, I love the Star Trek series, and I have high hopes that this series will carry on the noble tradition. I’m sure they have some great stories to tell. We will see if they deliver on their promises.
For Further reading, check out what Jason Isaac has to say about his new role, his castmates and “taking a knee” here.
Rep. Tim Walz-D MN at a political town hall in Rochester. -photo by Jeremy Griffith
Rep. Tim Walz, who is retiring from his post in the House of Representatives, is receiving one of the Minnesota Army National Guard’s highest honors Wednesday, the Harry S. Truman award. The award for a man who has done little for veterans and veterans affairs is the worst kind of valueless political theater imaginable.
The award ceremony is to happen at the National Guard Training and Community Center at Mankato. Leadership is awarding this honor to Walz for his contribution to the National Guard and Veterans affairs. The question is, to what accomplishments for the sake of veterans is the leadership of the Minnesota Guard pointing too? Has the suicide rate amongst veterans been reduced in Minnesota? Has it become easier for veterans to obtain college education benefits, home loans, career counseling, emotional and psychological support, or housing for those who remain homeless?
While Minnesota is better than other states, there is little evidence that that is a result of anything that Walz has done. Indeed, he talks a good game, but his votes in the House of Representatives demonstrates otherwise. This award may be less an acknowledgement of work or accomplishment on behalf of the representative, but more a way to maintain a friendly relationship with Walz. After all, Walz is retiring his post in the House, and instead attempting to advance his political career to include the post as Governor of Minnesota. A well rewarded former representative may in turn reward friends who first acknowledged him. The outgoing Adjutant General for example might appreciate a posting in new Walz administration. How does the job as chief of the Minnesota VA sound? Keep a clear eye and watch what happens. If anyone wants to see what a self-licking ice cream cone looks like, here is your chance!
Minnesotans in the first district are slowly coming to their senses about the many broken promises of Tim Walz. In the last election, the representative barely squeaked by to defeat challenger Jim Hagedorn by the narrowest of margins. Jim was taking a third and final shot at the representative this election cycle and it is likely that Walz saw the writing on the wall. It might be easier to run for governor, and more rewarding, than challenging his nemesis for a third time and potentially suffering an embarrassing defeat. Walz may be able to shore up more support amongst more liberal enclaves like the Iron Range, Native American reservations and the Twin Cities than he would in his own home district. Indeed, he may well become the front runner once polling becomes available. A prestigious award from the National Guard might bolster Walz’s political image on metropolitan voters who may be on the fence.
We at The American Millennium think that it is high time to stop handing out trophies and medals and finally rolling up our sleeves to do something instrumental for veterans of our state. We feel that Jim Hagedorn is the best person to do that. He will face a primary challenge in the next election as State Senator Carla Nelson. Nelson has a strong conservative record in the state legislator and is a respected leader. Whoever received the endorsement of the state party and emerges from the primary will get the endorsement of this publication. Either one would be much better than any of the liberal democrat challengers, and a much better choice to represent and protect the values of the southern Minnesota voter and especially the veterans who have served our state with honor.
The American Millennium is pleased to announce the publication of our first novel, entitled: Adder: The Logisticians, available for digital download from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Biblioteca. While it is not yet available in printed copies, we hope that this new novel will generate enough buzz for us to accomplish that down the road. If you ever wondered what it was like to go on patrol in the dangerous main supply routes of Iraq, this is your chance. This piece of historical fiction puts you in the driver’s seat next to composite characters representative of the men and women who bravely fought in the Global War on Terror. Check out our author’s page here, and download your copy today. If you like the novel, tell your friends and keep the buzz going. Be on the lookout for other titles from yours truly, starting with “The House on Spirit Lake” a paranormal fiction novel, available soon from Pronoun Publishing very soon.
I would like to take this moment to express my outrage and horror at what has happened in Virginia over the weekend. Two state patrol officers dead, and a young woman murdered after being run down by a white supremist. I thought we had gotten past all of this, but apparently not. Tragic.
Let’s clear something up from the get go. Those police officers didn’t die fighting violence and hatred as the headlines seem to imply. Their helicopter crashed, possibly from mechanical failure. Tragic, but not the fault of any one party or group. Our hearts go out to their families. They were only doing their jobs.
Second, and this is the most important: the American Millennium blog totally denounces racism and hatred in all its forms. It doesn’t matter if its white supremists or blm or Antifa; you all suck. God Almighty created us all in His image, and what He did was good. He did not create us to hate one another for our glorious differences. Stop trying to be something you are not and love your enemy, do good to those who want to harm you. That is what the carpenter from Nazareth tried to teach us. Be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect! Not this! This is horror. This is evil.
As we watch the stupidity that took place in Charlottesville over the weekend, we wonder how anyone has that much time on their hands. We wonder too why the Governor of Virginia, Terry McAulliffe did not call out the National Guard. Possibly he did not know for which side they would fight? I will tell you which side they would fight, the side of law and order, which they always do, which is why McAulliffe didn’t want them there. He wanted the chaos, the violence. He wanted the talking points. He did not want peace, because that did not serve his purpose. He should be impeached. He’s always been a crony of Hillary Clinton and as such no one should believe a single word he says. It’s all political calculation with him.
There has been criticism that President Donald Trump has not come out to condemn the violence on behalf of white supremist groups. I heard his comments this weekend and I have no trouble with what he said. He said we must all respect each other. You can view his comments here.
I don’t know if you can get a stronger condemnation than that. The president is right. This kind of thing has been going on for a long time in this country and it has to stop. We are going backwards.
OpsLens contributor T.B. Lefevor, an active law enforcement officer in the Atlanta Georgia area, had a great column today commenting on the violence going on in Virginia over the weekend. You can read the whole thing here, it is a very good read.
Lefever states very eloquently: Ignorance owned the day and it’s just the latest event to have the rest of us questioning if we as a people are going forwards or backwards in this country.
Lefever is right. We are going backwards. We as Americans defeated the very ideologies that are now clashing. They have raised their ugly heads again, Nazism, Fascism, racism both from whites and blacks. It’s disgusting. But we should not be surprised that they are fighting each other again. We have to crush their heads, not with our fists, but with our logical arguments of anti-hate. We must ridicule them in our blogs, and express our horror in the public spaces.
Lefever writes in his column: “…good people can disagree on this matter without having to beat the hell out of each other in Charlottesville.”
I know a lot of democrats, a lot of republicans, independents and libertarians. Most are good people who just want to make the world a better place. You can express your opinions, you have that right, but keep your hands to yourself. It’s the golden rule, do onto others as you would have done to you. Nothing more needs to be said.
Don Damond, the fiance of Justine, embraces Valerie Castile, mother of Philando who was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop last year. -photo by AP
Officer Brett exited his squad car and stepped onto the curb. His partner, Mike, put the car in park and exited from the driver’s side. They both approached the target house, a two-level residence with teal green siding and a three-season porch, with their guns drawn at the low-ready, pointed at the ground for safety. Minutes before they had been operating a speed trap on the other side of town. It had been a quiet day in this sleepy, middle Minnesota lake town. In a flash, it became much more exciting and dangerous. The two young officers approached the residence with caution, responding to a dispatcher’s emergency call. A young woman was being held against her will by her boyfriend inside, and the man had a gun!
Mike and Brett had talked about strategy as they drove to the call. Brett would take the front of the house, Mike would go around the rear. Brett would take a position of cover at the front and call out to the occupants inside. He would try to calm the young man inside and start to negotiate until the Quick Response Team got there. Mike would cover the back, in case the suspect attempted to flee that way. Neither would enter the building; their instructions were to wait for QRF! Once on the ground, however, the plan fell apart as the situation drastically changed.
The woman being held, a girl of 15 or 16, saw the police officers drive up through the big pane glass in the front living room. Her boyfriend, a man of 20 years, saw them too. Risking it all, the girl bolted out of the front door and onto the porch. Her boyfriend tried to stop her, but she was too fast. She skipped a step and ran towards the officers in the front lawn, passing smoothly between them. “He’s got a gun!” she said. Brett was in front of Mike and as the girl passed by him, he positioned his body in front of hers, shielding her from her boyfriend, an angry young man who was recently discharged from the Army National Guard of Wisconsin for unsoldierly conduct. The man emerged from the house half a second later and pointed his gun.
It’s not clear if he was trying to engage the officers, or if he was trying to murder his girlfriend in an alcohol-fueled rage. What is known is that he fired, and struck Brett in the face. Brett had allowed himself to check over his shoulder, glancing at his partner and seeing that the girl was safely protected, then he turned towards the house, where he saw the man with the raised gun. He began to shout commands, but he was too late. He fell to the ground mortally wounded. Mike screamed in terror and rage, he raised his gun, but he didn’t fire. The girl and the body of his partner were in his line of fire. He let the girl pass by and watched helplessly as his partner fell to the ground in front of him. Then he started to engage the target, who quickly retreated into the protection of the house. Without firing, Mike lowered his gun again and rushed towards his partner’s side. Brett was lying face up, on his back, looking up at the sky with vacant eyes. Blood was gushing from a wound in his forehead. Mike put down his firearm and grabbed Brett’s hand. He kept calling his name, trying to keep his partner awake, comforting him.
Brett looked up, and uttered his last word, the name of his wife: Wendy!
The vignette you just read is a fictionalized account of an event that happened a few years ago in Lake City, Minnesota. No one really knows what happened, except for the people involved. Two of them are dead. The suspect killed himself during the standoff that followed. I’ve changed the names, because I don’t want to cause the families of the officers involved any more pain than they’ve already suffered. The officer who was wounded lingered for weeks in a hospital in Rochester, dying shortly before Christmas. The officer who lived, lives with the painful memory of what it was like to lose a partner and a good friend. A wife remembers her loving husband as she tries to raise three girls all on her own. This event clearly illustrates how quickly things can change in the day in the life of our law enforcement officers. In Army terms, we logisticians like to say that the plan is only good until the first shot is fired. It can be like that for our police officers, who have to balance their duty to protect and serve our citizens, catch the bad guys, and in the worst-case scenarios, defend their lives. At the end of the day, we want all our officers who protect us to go home safe to their families when their work shift is done.
The relationship we have with our officers has come into question again in Minneapolis following the death of an Australian woman Justine Damond, who was killed by a Somali police officer earlier in the week. The killing has caused a firestorm of controversy and has led to the resignation of the Minneapolis Police Chief, Janee Harteau. All the controversy is further fueled with the prosecution and acquittal of Minneapolis officer Jeronimo Yanez who shot and killed an African-American motorist last year. The relationship between residents and the police is strained, and has been for some time. Here is what we know about last week’s incident so far.
Damond called police the evening of July 16 to report what she thought might be a sexual assault happening in the alley behind her house. She also called her fiancé, who encouraged her to talk to police. Officer Matthew Harrity was driving down the alley with his partner Mohamed Noor in the passenger side. The lights were off, as were the body and dash cameras, as the officers slowly patrolled through the neighborhood, looking for potential suspects. There was a loud sound, according to testimony from Officer Harrity, after which Damond emerged from her house and approached the driver. Both men were startled by the sound, Harrity told investigators with the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), but Noor drew his gun. Firing across his partner, Noor fatally wounded Damond in the abdomen.
The officers rendered aid, it is said, but to no avail. While Officer Harrity gave testimony to what happened to the investigators of the BCA, Noor has lawyered up, offering no explanation as to why he fired. Police experts say it’s not implausible that the officers feared an ambush following similar incidents in New York City, but is it fair to assume that the way to respond is to shoot first and ask questions later?
Harrity and Noor are under paid administrative leave as per protocol in the incident, but all the focus is on Noor. Both men reacted drastically different to the same stimuli, Noor fatally. According to the reports from the Star Tribune, some police experts wonder if the fast-track training of the rookie officer was to blame. Noor didn’t graduate with traditional law enforcement degree. He has a business degree. The 21-month rookie took an eight-month fast track course aimed at recruiting officers from different backgrounds into a force that is grossly undermanned. Experts who talked to the Star Tribune say the course focuses largely on tactics, but not strategy, neglecting crucial areas of a police officer’s education. But, is that fair? The instructors at the fast-track academy may not have advanced degrees, but presumably they are trained law enforcement officials with years of patrol experience and anecdotal tales to use as vignettes to train up new recruits. With all that experience, one would assume that eight months is enough to train up an officer. The service branches take similar time to train their private soldiers. It takes about 18-months to train an officer at many of the state and federal commissioning sources. For me, Infantry Officer’s Basic was four months long. I spent a two-years in ROTC before that. Many graduates go to Airborne School, (3 weeks) and Ranger School (9 weeks) after that. Soldiers once trained and deployed are restricted by vigorous rules of engagement. Police officers should be as well.
I really feel that piling on to the instructors at the academy is unfair, and a cheap shot by the Star Tribune. Without knowing what is in the curriculum, The Star Tribune paints the instructors with a very broad brush. I would encourage the instructors to invite bloggers and journalists in the state to come and audit some of their blocks of instruction so that the public can get an idea about how their new police candidates are being trained. Without that background, criticism of the program is just sloppy journalism.
Indeed, members of the press should ask law enforcement agencies for permission to do ride alongs, to get a feel for what it’s really like to patrol the streets. Our law enforcement leaders should bridge the gap of understanding by holding open meeting to discuss policy and training with the public. Here in Rochester, the Olmsted County Sheriff and Rochester Police Chief are doing that, scheduling a demonstration on body cameras later this week. All law enforcement agencies should do that.
With the recent shootings of dogs in Minneapolis, that agency should review its policy on how to deal with animals found in the course of normal patrol and service calls. Tactics on less lethal means of engagement should be resourced and trained. They are not always feasible for every situation, but they are a tool in the tool kit that may be being overlooked.
We don’t want our patrolmen and women whipping out their guns every time there is an incident. We also don’t want our officers to be jeopardized every time they respond to a call.
Training? Or Worldview?
Was it training, or was it vetting of potential candidates that is the problem? In a report from the Daily Telegraph, a neighbor of the Noor family paints a picture of Noor that shows that perhaps he wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around.
Chris Miller is a 49-year old African-American who drives a fork lift for a living. He lives next door to a complex where Noor’s parents and younger siblings live, and he has seen Noor there. Miller explains that Noor seems to have very little respect for kids, women and blacks he comes in contact with.
““He is extremely nervous … he is a little jumpy … he doesn’t really respect women, the least thing you say to him can set him off,” Miller said.
““He is extremely nervous … he is a little jumpy … he doesn’t really respect women, the least thing you say to him can set him off!” -Chris Miller, describing neighbor Mohamed Noor
“When they say a policeman shot an Australian lady I thought uh, oh but then when they said who it was I was like, ‘OK.’” Said Miller.
“He has little respect for women he has little respect for blacks and kids,” said Miller.
“He has an air like you just couldn’t really be around him.”
We wonder if the Somali worldview and strict adherence of the Islamic world view are the right fit for someone we want patrolling our streets and dealing with our citizens. From testimony from Miller, we find a Noor who is not a good neighbor, intolerant of kids, disrespectful of women, and not pleasant to be around.
From his record as an officer, we find that in the 21-months since he’s been hired, Noor has racked up three complaints, two of which remain open. The last one is a case where a woman complains that she was dragged off to a hospital for an involuntary mental commitment. She was released several hours later after the woman complained she had no need to be there and the officer roughed her up and put her in an arm bar.
The City of Minneapolis invested a lot of time, money and effort in hiring Noor, who had no law enforcement training previous to being hired. He was praised as a diversity hero when he was first hired. Now Minneapolis residents label him the villain. It may take even more time, effort and money to remove him from the force and make things right with the Damond family. Already it has caused a serious change in leadership in Minneapolis. The police chief has resigned and things look a little rocky for the mayor. If a charge is brought against Noor, and the case laid in front of a jury of his peers, the verdict may well be in the hands of at least a few citizens of Minneapolis who have a similar worldview as the defendant. What would an acquittal look like? Or a conviction? Either way, I foresee a lot more pain in the Cities, future as this case is being decided.
In the meantime, LE agencies should take a closer look at their policies and reach out to their communities. LE training facilities and schools should take another look at their curriculum to see if changes or a refocusing is needed. And citizens should march and talk, but not burn or destroy. At the end of the day, we are all in this together.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the Damond family and the neighborhood. No amount of analysis or discussion can lessen your grief. We are very sorry for your loss.