Archive for July, 2013

# 155 Trust

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

July 23, 2013

# 155

“Trust and Government – Today’s Chasm”

These past few years have seeded a very uncomfortable thought among many of us. We question if we can trust our government. The nagging thought is not relegated to a solitary event, either. Instead, this skepticism links to both events and legislation. What’s more, the source of our concerns appears endemic to the political arena within the Washington, D.C. beltway.

What happens in the halls of Congress today should make those who revere the U.S. Constitution cringe. The outline for proper government has taken a back seat to agenda-driven legislation and that should worry you.

Many keep a dictionary in the house. I do too, but I am partial to the Constitution as a good reference guide. Not only do I carry a copy of the Constitution in my vehicle but I also have another one within reach in the evenings, too. That particular, well-worn copy travels with me. I like to be able to pick it up whenever I like. The Constitution is not only our guide. Oh, not it is so much more. It is a discipline all its own.

I see history as a roadmap, not a dull recitation of names, dates, and events. When applied to this marvelous document, it is easy to lose track of the fine minds that created it.

How wise those men were… how concise… how aware… how distrustful of power….

Much to my chagrin, they foresaw just what we face today.
I watched a bit of a John Stossel special the other night. It focused on the striking parallel between ancient Rome thousands of years ago and the United States today. It was thrilling to hear a discussion of the two civilizations.

While I do not proscribe to agree with every libertarian “take” on all subjects, they do offer a meaty topic in this case.
Why? Because I’ve drawn a similar comparison in a number of columns over the past ten years — homing in on the growing near-obsession with leisure and sports. Oh, the workweek still exists –- for those fortunate enough to have full-time jobs — but the basic tenets of work before play blurs before our eyes and continues to wane. Applicants are more apt to ask about “time off” than overtime. Go figure….
Recently, a large group of libertarian-minded people gathered in Las Vegas at “Freedom Fest”. Over a thousand debated the question: “Are We Rome?” Read the following text from the FOX News Channel website.
“Matt Kibbe, Freedomworks CEO, says America is following in the footsteps of Rome. Carl Richard, University of Louisiana History Professor, cites America’s blatant disregard for the Constitution. Steve Forbes, Forbes Media Editor-in-Chief, believes that Americans are now more aware and involved, and things like the tea party movement may prevent us from collapsing like Rome.”
Many of the contributing thinkers reflected on an old theme — Bread and Circuses. Unlike the overused guns and butter comparison in beginning economics classes, this appraisal roots in the fact that Rome gave its people entertainment in lieu of leadership, frivolity and sport instead of ethical
Government. The Roman leaders distracted its people with inconsequential crises and allowed entertainment to trump incentive. Once it had the populace within its control without fanfare, it could rule without challenge.

There is an old story about feeding hogs. Begin with one section of fence placed near the trough. Little by little, add more sections until one side is complete. Day by day, the hogs still go to eat, all the while ignoring the growing enclosure. Over time, three sides are complete. The fourth goes slowly, and then — with that final section is in place — the hogs find themselves without a way out. That is precisely what will happen to us if we don’t pay attention to what is going on these days.

Soon the government will hold every piece of information about each and every one of us. The huge database within the Affordable Care Act will identify each of us from cradle to grave. What’s more, if a committee yet to be named deems us unworthy of care, it may be an earlier grave than we deserve. Grim? You bet it is.

Every time a citizen with genuine concern — and often armed with facts — challenges government, that citizen runs the risk of being labeled a “conspiracy theorist.” How convenient. Emotion again over facts… if they cannot refute facts, they call names and attack ad hominem.

Where will all this end? Will we find ourselves in a real mess and not know how we got there? We certainly are hogs at the trough right now, but at what stage is the fence?

Drones now fly over our nation. All phones and computer data are available to persons unknown. Data mining is likely far worse than we think. And, if that’s not enough to scare the pants off you, then the specter of what our president calls “a national police force” should.

The best government is small. The best government is closest to the people. A local law enforcement complement fulfills that description beautifully. When you begin to layer levels of enforcement, you end up in a bureaucratic spiral that never seems to end. Why on earth do we need a national police force, unless — of course — the architects of such a group wants to control everyone in the nation and not just the criminals?

We need to dedicate ourselves to the task and educate our children and grandchildren to recognize the tremendous value and resource of personal freedom. These young people take it for granted. They have never known anything else. Perhaps they need to heed those who have survived foreign despots and lived the dream of coming to the United States to achieve their long-sought freedom.

Ask anyone who lived in a divided Germany how it felt to be walled off from prosperity and opportunity, from family and friends.

You never miss something until you lose it. We cannot afford to lose our freedom. We cannot fail to see that it is under attack today.

Freedom stands as a compilation of many facets. Recently, the facets have been disappearing, leaving the brilliance of the country’s founders dulled. Instead of polishing a rough rock into a gorgeous diamond, we are witnessing the opposite. Today, there are those who, gleefully, aim to destroy a true gem one scrape at a time… one regulation at a time… one law at a time… one restriction at a time… one ban at a time. Sound familiar?

Speak out. Don’t believe for one moment that a groundswell of people cannot begin in your community. When you question decisions of your elected representatives, call them on the carpet. Demand explanations. Demand they follow the U. S. Constitution. Demand logical and sensible answers. Although, sadly, both logic and common sense are rare attributes among today’s leaders at the federal level.

We need to restore our nation. Adopt a new ancronym: T R U S T.

Time to
Restore the
To Greatness.

I am not at ease with the federal government. Old-fashioned trust is gone. I feel more and more threatened and worry about the youngest among us. If we do not move to set this straight, what will they inherit from us? Let’s steer another course. Set your sights on hard work and achievement. Set the ship of state back on the firm course of the past.

It is possible. It’s not a pipe dream. Time has not yet run out. But it will take all of us. The silent majority must rise up and do something.

It triumphs one person at a time. It takes courage. Will you help?

“Don’t you just love it?”

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

# 154

July 20, 2013

“Don’t you just love it?”

Don’t you just love it when people claim that the Bible is fantasy? Never mind that merely looking at a small insect or inspecting the myriad veins in a leaf all lead to the Creator.

Heaven forbid. Although, I must admit, that if these naysayers really believe that they evolved from slime, I concur with their assessment.
According to the British Newspaper, The Daily Mail, a group of archaeologists have discovered something truly amazing. The initial line of the piece dated July 19th is not only intriguing, but also begs a discussion. Read on, please.
King David’s palace ‘found’ in the city where he’s said to have battled Goliath. The discovery of what is thought to be King David’s palace, measuring 1,000 square meters, was made by Hebrew University and the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Over the past seven years the teams have also uncovered a huge storehouse containing pots and artifacts that they believe proves the existence of a ruler in Judah in the tenth century BCE.
Researchers believe they have discovered the palace of King David as well as a large storeroom of pots and ancient artifacts.
• Archeologists claim the ruins are the best example to date of the uncovered fortress city of Shaarayim in Israel.
• The artifacts found are described as evidence that David ruled the region during the tenth century BCE.
The experts claim that the ruins they have found are the two largest buildings known to have existed at the time of King David in Jerusalem. So, King David is in the news?

It’s too bad that good old-fashioned Biblical judgment isn’t in the news, too. Sometimes I feel as if I’m living in a bizarre updated version of George Orwell’s 1984. When you consider what we are greeted with in terms of entertainment, it’s a wonder that we haven’t been visited with some sort of sign.
Or have we?
In a mere two hundred plus years we have come from a group of pilgrims who prayed once their feet were on the shores of what would be the United States to a society largely ignorant of its own history.
Only two nations on this planet were founded upon faith — the United States July 4, 1776, and Israel May 14, 1948. We have more in common than the number four of the actual day. We have a foundation that, when applied to our daily lives, proves unshakable.
Getting back to King David…. The Western peoples have long admired and extolled the accomplishments of the ancient Egyptians. The Pyramids and the Sphinx awe visitors and intrigue those of us who glimpse them on film. With all the hype about the ruins that inspired cinematographers from “The Egyptian” to The Indian Jones genre of film, we cannot forget the Bible inspired works including “Ben Hur”, “The Robe”, and “The Ten Commandments”.
Because so little of it has been unearthed, Biblical archaeology tends to emerge in small discoveries here and there. Consequently, many judge it much less spectacular — at least, until now. If this discovery proves to be equal to its initial reports, we may greet a day with a discussion of how the Bible is not fiction but fact.
Sundays find many of us in a house of worship. Still others view a ministry on line or on television or study their Bibles or prayer books in their own homes. No matter the venue, public or private, religion and faith play a large role in the majority of our lives.
Estimates are that 9 in 10 of us believe in God. Not a bad percentage, is it? Why is it, then, that Americans are constantly bombarded with secular messages that range across the spectrum of entertainment and music?

There is an old adage that if you say something often enough, people internalize it to the point that they actually believe it. Take a critical look at the messages aimed at our youth. It is an amalgam of what some of us remember from the turbulent 1960s merged with the unbridled gall of a small, well-funded group that anchor the music and film industries.
Listen carefully to the seemingly innocent commercials aired on the mainstream networks. Then, if you can stomach them, watch the commercials for some of the shows on television.
A good example is “Pregnant and Dating”. Now, as The Church Lady would have said, “Now isn’t THAT special?” Good grief, what have we come to when we throw away the sanctity of marriage and laud pre-marital sex as if it were a handshake?
Let’s hope that we find more in the Middle East than a few relics. Let’s hope that we find our hearts there. Have the courage to stand for what you believe. Have the heart to life what you have been taught.
It isn’t an easy road. Encourage young families to go to church. There are plenty of choices out there. Given the scope of both the national and independent churches and synagogues, there is a seat out there for everyone.
The ruins in the Israeli countryside only underscore what we should see every time we look into the mirror. Life itself is a miracle and it comes from God. If David fought Goliath and won, then there’s hope for us as we fight against the forces that tempt us to aberrant lifestyles and sloth… that claim to know what is “best for our children”… that wish our moral compass to fail….
Facing the future is not bleak if we aren’t alone. And we aren’t. Don’t you just love it?

# 153 Too Late?

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

# 153

July 12, 2013

“Too late?”

Turning one’s head to danger doesn’t avoid danger — it supports it. As we lay our heads down on soft pillows or cuddle in sleeping bags, tens of thousands of our service men and women billet in inhospitable conditions on hot sand or rocky terrain devoid of the human comforts we take for granted.

They pledge to honor freedom in the hope that those needy people they defend from harm and despotic rule will one day live in the peace that we have and that they — for the first time in many cases — will have a voice in their own destiny.

Power is a cruel master. Demanding, unrelenting and tempting, it warps man into control freaks and thoroughly decimates common sense.

It makes no sense whatsoever to kill one’s own people, yet despots must do so in order to wield uncontested power over their populations. It makes no sense to teach bias and lies, yet societies do it. In doing so they systematically obliterate objectivity and replace it with pure hatred. Hateful people use no judgment. They simply follow leaders with one agenda: control everyone and everything.

It is a sad commentary on the human condition, this push to force upon others a viewpoint and belief system rooted in anger and — quite sadly — espoused in the name of God.

As I recall, God’s wrath fell on those who

• ignored God’s commandments
• turned away from Him (as a nation)
• killed their own children

If any of these actions sound familiar, you should shudder. We are at a critical juncture in our history, and yet most go about their daily activities as if nothing is wrong at all. They are more informed about current entertainment and sports than what is happening to the country.

Many of you join me in prayers for our blessed America. Every day the shadow of secularism falls further across our lives and darkens our hopes for the future. It blurs the senses. Its pretty trimmings and empty promises twist otherwise easy decisions. Its claim of ease belies its deeper motive — destroying the core upon which this country is built — the American spirit.

I wonder if we have gone much too far down that slippery slope. Too few of us are truly informed citizens and voters. Too many of our countrymen want someone else to carry the load and find government dependency their “easy street.”

When only one of a two-horse team pulls, the wagon goes in a circle and the ruts grow deeper, eventually miring it down to the point that it cannot move.

Are we still able to pull out of the ruts? I worry that the voices of the few will fall on the deaf ears of the many.

Urge your political representatives to take a stand for core American values that date back to the founding. Don’t be a passive constituent. Be active.

I pray that we still have the chance to turn things around and chart a safe course. All each of us can do is to make sure one voice is heard — yours! Don’t sit back and do nothing. Each American has the power to change all this. Part of that power belongs to you.

Think about it.

# 152 On and No

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

“On and No”

July 3, 2013

“The Fourth of July Column”

This is the celebration of our nation’s birth. I know that the men who laid the foundation for America would be appalled at the conditions we face today. Instead of looking ahead to expansion and progress, the American people see a weak economy only bolstered by indices that ignore the vast numbers of people who have given up hope and stopped looking for work.

Every day we see the faith of the founders cast aside and replaced by an unrelenting push for self-interest and prurient behavior. And what of the ten rules that held forth as the premier guidelines for mankind over millennia? They are labeled passé and unnecessary.

Delaware refuses to allow church services on public beaches and defends the decision by a ban to link church and state. I am reminded of the location of a beautiful Presbyterian Church in Champaign, Illinois. Where is it? It’s at the intersection of Church and State. Not so subtle, right?

How long will we put up with this? We should have firm defenders when it comes to the onslaught of government control and snooping.

The traditional vanguard of truth that finds its origins in little hand-run printing presses of the colonists in the 1770s that opposed King George. It evolved into a historically active public watchdog. Time was when the worst day of a politician’s life was when a reporter dug into his activities and exposed the ugly underbelly of supposedly acceptable behavior. The press informed us and protected us in the past. It was our “junk yard dog” but we may never have realized its true value.

Today, all but a handful of those attack dogs are neutered and toothless — in short, the majority of the national media are feckless.

Those who claim to know what is “best for America” clamor for “natural foods” but support and defend “unnatural lifestyles and behaviors”. In nature, one will not find males pursuing other males unless they mean to kill them. So much for using their use of the term “natural.”

We have dumbed down education for decades and now the bitter fruit is about to dump on us like a load of bricks. Oh, I am sorry for that reference. The activists pushing all this wouldn’t recognize phrases or names associated with hard work done with hands. Their idea of handwork is to see Americans asking for handouts — government freebies.

It is extremely hard to control people of independent means. Every time another person goes on the government dole, we chip away at the legs of independence upon which Americans not only built this great nation but also look to for its future. Once the majority income status is low, then elites can control the population without check. Forget balance.

You can see the whole situation as an extension of the old saying, “There is no free lunch.” What is the new saying? “You’re about to get your lunch!”

What will happen to young people who average about $800 seeing a hit of $5500 when Obamacare is fully implemented? We don’t get fewer uninsured. The CBO estimates that no fewer than 30 million will be uninsured even after all these Draconian changes drown what is left of our economy.

Jobs “fueled” by petroleum and allied industries are in the crosshairs —- not to mention the coal industry. China opens a new coal-fired plant every week and observes no emission controls. Tundra emits tons of carbon dioxide and man has absolutely nothing to do with that. What do our leaders do? They hobble the industry that spawned this great nation and allow nations around the globe to do as they wish. Coal, as few people mention, exports to other countries. Not only do the “greenies” seek to ban coal here, but they also want to ban exporting it to other countries. I remember when to be “green” was to know little or nothing. Hmmm…. That really hasn’t changed, has it?

Nuclear still holds forth as our best option. The French purchase our nuclear waste to reprocess for their electricity. Fusion may be just around the corner, yet there hasn’t been a nuclear plant built here for many years. It is still the safest form of energy production. What worries me is that our leaders continue to believe that Iran is using uranium for peaceful means. Oh, sure….

In this digital age, we have forgotten the old switch. You know it, the ON-OFF switch. What can we do? We reverse ON to NO. It’s a simple concept, but it will be very hard to do. It will take all of us.

• NO to accepting media and activist groups to market homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle option to our children.
• NO to children before marriage
• NO to vacuous education from K-college
• NO to low expectations
• NO to limits on free speech
• NO to name calling in lieu of factual argument
• NO to ad hominem attacks
• NO to greed over need

Instead, do this.

• ON to God and faith
• ON to honesty in business — small and large
• ON to ethics in government
• ON to truthful campaign promises
• ON to parents with firm but fair rules
• ON to ending regulations that hobble entrepreneurs
• ON to dreaming — dreams spawn invention — invention spawns progress

Take the on RAMP

• R Responsibility
• A Ambition
• M Mettle
• P Patience

We must push responsibility undergirded by reason and thought. Instill ambition in our youth. Everyone should believe he or she could achieve in life. Adopt the old fashioned work ethic. Metal is important, but mettle is critical. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. Patience is the byword for all of us. We need to be consistent but patient.

And what of the other switch position?

• Turn OFF political correctness. It is ridiculous and insulting.
• Turn OFF disincentive
• Turn OFF elitist doctrine that seek to diminish all others

In response to these offensive behaviors, use this version of the switch. Adopt OFF and

Switch to:


Embrace OFF. It’s our only hope.

# 151 From Tara to Terror

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

# 151

June 23, 2013

“From Tara to Terror…”

Shades of Margaret Mitchell, folks. It’s not Big Sam, but Uncle Sam.

It’s not Twelve Oaks’ neighboring plantation, but it does have a big white house — just not among cotton fields. Oh, no. This one sits among the most famous buildings in our nation. It sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tara is terror, from the standpoint of those of us who revere the U. S. Constitution and fear its consistent erosion and assault through courts that legislate from the bench.

I had a marvelous professor at Butler University. Her field was named, but not correctly. She deemed it African-American history. It is not. It is Black history in America.

Eight years ago, I wrote a column entitled “The Tragedy of a Hyphenated America.” We see it coming full circle today. Any dissention from the administration view is labeled racist, yet federal policies have affected the black community far more deeply than any other sector of our society.

No matter what ethnicity is plugged into the hyphenated form, it is wrong. An American is an American — period. No matter his or her country of origin. We value every person equally, despite what the social justice screamers claim.

By the way, if the Democratic Party has done so much for the blacks in this country, why have we spent trillions of dollars on the War on Poverty and never won a battle. More people live in poverty than ever before and the statistics show that the disparity among the races is not only stark but also very deadly.

Consider this. The unemployment rate among young blacks is 50%, and that may be low in some areas. Schools are in decay and there is little real effort to change that. Why? A subservient and dependent population is easy to control. Keep telling folks that they can’t do without you and keep handing them just enough to survive and the recipe is not gourmet — it is grimy.

Control is the name of the game, people. It is not simply core politics. It is abhorrent. To even talk about bringing in more than 30 million guest workers into a population awash in unemployment is insulting to anyone with common sense. To err is human. To forgive is divine. But to give in order to dehumanize is akin to insanity.

Tell me that none among the poorest of our kids will not thrive with discipline tempered with love… that they won’t feel better about themselves with a healthy dose of Scripture… that they can’t appreciate success if they are encouraged to expect it….

To not raise expectations is to destroy a generation. I’ve watched this slippery slope since I graduated from high school at age 16 in 1961. The turbulent, drug-laced 60s did nothing to instill pride in our young people. Artificial experience crushed the work ethic and morals dug into a pit that now seems bottomless.

The change is up to every one of us. We need to get out and talk with our fellow citizens and not leave all the talk up to elected officials. They seem to lose track of their moral compass once they find that their high ideals fall on deaf ears and the undergirding bureaucracy that considers all elected persons “part time help” continues its rigid hold on the movers and shakers at the federal level of government.

When departments are rewarded for poor or non-performance, when nobody worries about how much money they spend (It’s not their money, however!), and when the younger generation disregards all this misbehavior and goes its merry way playing with cell phones and video games or watching sporting events. How sad, how incredibly sad…

Now the feds want an end to Catholic or Jewish schools. Why? They are a threat to the agenda. They put God first. Secularists fear those who follow God. God trumps all. No sports hero, no comedian, no singer, no moviemaker can compete with the Ten Rules that will save mankind.

Where is Tara? It’s become Terror. Not the Islamic terror that the main stream press roundly ignores, but the terror of central control that is creeping into our lives more and more every day.

The new plantation is not a pretty place. If we don’t put a stop to it now, I fear what our grandchildren must face. It has spread across the nation like the plague and yet the populace stands aside and watches without great complaint. The future is in our children, yet even their lives are at risk. The laws allow a woman to kill an unborn baby and call the death “choice.” Whose choice? Not the child’s — that is for sure.

Failing schools are commonplace. They should be the exception rather than the rule. What on earth do we need with a Department of Education? When I grew up, that was the home. The fact that 80% of black children grew up in two-parent homes in the 1960s and that 70% of today’s black children grow up in a home without a father should tell us a lot.

It takes two parents to make a baby and it takes two parents to rear that baby. Granted, some parents die early and lose the chance to see their children grow up, but others are alive and yet completely detached from their progeny. So many of those children do not even know the identity of their fathers. Also, some divorced couples make concerted efforts to see that their children grow and mature with good guidance from a mother and a father. But, for those who grow up in poor conditions, the schools have the opportunity to guide them on the right path.

That path does not end at the welfare office. That path ends with goals set, education under the belt and a work ethic that is not easily dissuaded by setback. The old-fashioned term “sticktoitiveness” applies perfectly.

We are the observers of an artificial division. We are artificially divided by gender, race, and — of all things — sexual preferences. Divide and conquer? Well, we are divided. We cannot allow ourselves to be conquered.

Parents and students should pour into the streets and demand school choice. Options encourage competition. Competition fosters excellence. Excellence builds self-esteem. The human condition is fragile. The human soul is the strength of this nation.

The soul thrives on faith. Faith supports even the most downtrodden or mistreated person. Faith gives rules that point people toward a better life. Everything I see today more than hints that a movement is afoot to dismantle religious institutions and marginalize the faithful.

There are groups that need to be dismantled and the biggest is big government. Strike fear into the masters at the new plantation. So is this current version of Tara promoting terror? It is if you worry about losing your freedoms.

Please don’t let this country go to waste. Don’t sit back and do nothing. Make sure your voice is heard. Think about it.

# 150 Ringer

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

#151 “Ringer”

June 18, 2013

Once, it was common to listen to the telephone ring carefully. One ring could have been your ring or someone else sharing that number. Alas, private lines were unusual for private homes. Businesses, on the other hand, had private lines to insure good rapport with customers and vendors alike.

To pick up the phone and hear “Number, please?” was an everyday experience for Americans as telephone service was in its infancy. When more widespread exchanges ranged across the nation, private lines became the rule rather than the exception.

Never did we think that the village practice of listening in on someone else’s phone calls morph into a program targeting millions of citizens and run by the National Security Agency.

I realize that the events of 9/11 precipitated many changes in our federal government. In the explosions that topped the World Trade Center, ravaged a section of the Pentagon and spun a jet into a Pennsylvania farm field, we found ourselves more at risk than any time in our history.

The War of 1812, Nazi U-boats spotted along the eastern seaboard and the threat of Japanese ground forces coming ashore from California to Washington State dissolved as ancient history as we realized that just 19 Islamic terrorists men took down three commercial airliners and wreaked havoc on the US economy in the name of their “holy war.”

Looking down the road, we don’t know what to expect. Thanks to a high school dropout who managed to land a job at the NSA, our enemies now have insight into methods designed to thwart planned attacks.

Should we be afraid? I am not sure on that one. Officials tell us that unless we have been in touch with a foreign terrorist or have frequent contacts with known terrorist sympathizers by phone, we have nothing to fear. That sounds reasonable, but the fact that the government had private cell phone companies comply with an order to release information is worrisome in itself.

In an age where technology reigns and hackers are able to dismantle security at banks, government agencies or private companies, we have reason to worry. It has been said that every legitimate business practice or valuable law enforcement tactic presents a tantalizing opportunity for some ne’er do well to go at it and figure a way around it.

So where are we in this new world disorder? That’s the big question. It would be better if we had leadership at the helm. It seems, instead, that we have what I term “weedership” — deep-rooted ideologies that inspire plans that quite often go against the grain of not only the people affected but also the U.S. Constitution that affords basic freedoms to all.

It will be a dicey proposition to see how all this sorts itself out. Despite what I might think of the program, it probably had — at its core — the belief that intercepting terror plots trumps a total scope of privacy for the average citizen. It is sad that we have come to this place.

Would that we faced identifiable enemies as we have in the past. However, with the porous borders and lax U.S Visa enforcement today, the government finds itself is in a tough spot.

We tread on shaky ground when we feel that our government continues its grasp of our lives and expands intrusion to a level never envisioned by The Founders. I wish I had an answer; but, in essence, there is no good answer to all this.

I leave you with one more question, “Could this NSA program be termed the 2013 version of The Party Line?” I hope not, but I’m not at all sure. All I can do at this point is ask you to think about it.

In Between

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

# 149

June 3, 2013

“In Between…”

Do you feel the squeeze? No, I don’t mean that affectionate hug from your spouse, significant other, parent, child, grandchild, or friend. What I mean is the subtle squeezing of freedoms that, like slow erosion by water, portends to make a Grand Canyon of a once level playing field.

Unequal treatment under the law…. Now that’s a novel idea. Where is it NOT these days? It is certainly among the targeted groups audited and harassed by the IRS. It isn’t only dangerous when sponsored by one particular party, but it fuels massive distrust of a federal government seen as impeding normal business and daily life for any American signals. Recent events showcase a new low in the administration’s arrogance.

While a new low in terms of ethics, it is also a new high in the unbalanced tug of war between the “average Joe” and “Uncle Sam.” What clout does the average citizen have against a bureaucracy with virtually unlimited power through the DOJ and the IRS?

Moving into the next news cycle may bring yet more trouble. Seldom does such a stretch of power end with two or three things. Hidden agendas or limited successes rarely defuse the push to do more.

A push for a special prosecutor to look into the IRS debacle should make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. These investigations take months — or years. Do the upcoming mid-term elections come to mind? How convenient to not reveal damning information until after those elections.

It is not just a matter of egg on one’s face among the US House and US Senate membership. It is a matter of respect for the law. Right now, if a law stands in the way, people skirt it. As the Church Lady would say, “Now isn’t THAT special?”

If it weren’t so frightening, it would be funny. But funny it is not, folks. It is deadly serious and affects not only you but also your children and grandchildren.

I am reminded of a comment classic to this president. “If the Congress will not do it, I will do it by Executive Order.” The precedent of such actions runs deep and has been used for a variety of actions and often result in harsh criticism of the chief executive doing them from not only the opposition party but also his own.

I do not wish any man or woman ill, but I do expect those in high office to do those offices proud and see America as far more important than self. If underlings mess things up, ask them to step aside. If they will not, fire them. We all see the disparity between job security in the private sector and that in government. This should not be. We pay these people, yet I wonder if they feel any responsibility to us at all.

Sometimes, I feel as if we need to ally with Star Trek crew. Scotty needs to beam us up, because there is no intelligent life down here!

Deeper analysis is futile at this point. Sometimes, brevity is the soul of wisdom. Readers, we find ourselves in a very uncomfortable and tenuous position — literally between Barack and a Hard Place. Think about it.

Memorial Day

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

# 148

May 27, 2013

“Memorial Day”

May 27, 2013. Dawn creeps across the horizon on the east coast of America. Shadows fall, shading the lawns of uncounted cemeteries large and small, urban and rural, well kept or sadly overgrown. Those markers not only cast a shadow in terms of light, but also of conscience.

For every time we rise to check on a child or grandchild, to go to work, to breakfast with a mate in retirement years, to leave our homes to visit with the sick or serve our churches our freedom to do so rests in the hallowed ground of each and every one of our veterans’ graves.

For some, rest came after many years. Among the World War II generation, many clamber onto planes for an “Honor Flight” to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Yet, we lose more and more of them daily. Their numbers shrink and one day we will find that only a few remain. Few talk about their experiences and must be encouraged to make videotapes so that generations yet unborn will know a bit about them.

I believe that these men and women stay silent for basic reasons. They believe that they simply did their jobs. They do not see themselves as special people. They also do not want to relive the events that took lives of comrades within feet of them. They must have asked why they survived and so many others died. The bitter fruit of total victory is not total acceptance. How does one accept finality of that sort? I do not think it is possible.

Returning from the Pacific Theater and the European Theater of Operations, the injured and the physically unscathed walked into the arms of loving families. Those without families basked in the respect of friends and neighbors of their parents. Don’t forget how many young men lied about their age and enlisted below the age of 18. A number of Pearl Harbor survivors were only 17. They were just boys.

Boys in terms of bodies, but men in terms of patriotism and determination. My parents lost uncles and fathers in World War I. It was not, as termed, “the war to end all wars.” Oh, if it only had been.

Years passed and my parents lost their peers in World War II. One of my father’s friends was a pilot and went down on D-Day over the beaches of France during the largest invasion the world had ever seen.

More of my parents’ friends died in Korea. Our troops are still there, forming the only barrier to the insanity awash in the north where, incidentally, a night satellite photo shows only scattered lights. Their people live in the darkness of tyranny accompanying a lack of electricity.

More years passed. Then, my parents watched in anguish as folks their age lost children (my peers) in Vietnam. Mike DeBusk was just such a loss. He was a big guy and I’m sure a credit to the U.S. Marine Corps.

Wars morphed into hideous conflicts with no clear victory, only enforced peace at peril 24/7.

More years… Iraq invaded Kuwait and the United States, with the help of NATO, came to the aid of the small Middle Eastern oil kingdom. That said to be over, our military settled into an uneasy quasi-peace. Some saw the threat that would spread if Saddam Hussein were to remain in power, but troops cut short the march to Baghdad.

The twisted beliefs of Muslim radicals spread throughout the planet like weeds in a garden. Years passed.

September 11, 2001. Our world collapsed with the Twin Towers as Americans and foreigners alike lost family and friends in the first attack on our homeland since a small force landed on an Alaskan island during World War II.

For the first time since Pearl Harbor, a heinous, unprovoked attack on the United States prompted young men and older men alike to enlist in the military to defend their beloved country.

Once again, war robbed wives of husbands, husbands of wives, children of parents, parents of children, churches of worshippers, National Guard units of dedicated members.

Young men lost in war spark such emotion in those left behind, whether family or perfect strangers. Such deaths are such a waste. Who will ever know what those lives would have brought forth?

Yet, for so many others, death came with a bullet, a bomb, an ambush, in a foxhole, in a plane crash, a ship sinking, a submarine imploding deep beneath the sea, in forests, in deserts, and some in lands so inhospitable as to defy description to those who did not experience it. Still others met death in captivity, more often than not victims of horrendous torture and mental anguish. It is to these, both men and women, that we owe our allegiance, our respect and unending gratitude.

Unending? Yes. Unending. Their sacrifice has no end, for the end does not come with death. For those who had no chance to live out a long and happy life, we pledge that they will never be forgotten.

The Gold Star Mothers participate in projects that aid those who do come home, but injured badly. They lost their sons, but they will not abandon those soldiers who need their support. They honor their sons by their loving kindness to the wounded.

Wounded Warriors Project comes to the aid of the injured service member and helps family caregivers with incredible challenges. If you can, help them. While the press sets aside time on Memorial Day to mention the military men and women who died in the service of their country, I vow not to allow myself to think of them on only one day of the year.

To many of us, Memorial Day is a perpetual celebration of unimaginable sacrifice. We cannot bury the sacrifice with the dead. We must raise it as a mission that will not end.

As those shadows fall across our landscape in military or civilian cemeteries dating from the Revolutionary War to current conflicts and whether those shadows fall from stones marked with a Cross, a Star of David, or devoid of any faith designation, they are not a pall, they are a reminder that we all cast a shadow with our lives. Theirs is a shadow of conscience. Where is ours?

May our sense of conscience come out of the shadows and vow to make this a finer nation. We need more than lip service one day a year. We need steely resolve. Perpetual vigilance yields perpetual freedom — but freedom that comes at a high cost. Think about it.

Baron Down

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

# 147

May 21, 2013

“Baron Down”

It hasn’t been that many years ago that there was no way for anyone to convince me that the age of robber barons was history. The difference is that the identity has changed from one of private persons to that of government officials.

If there is one entity that strikes fear in any American, despite income level, it is the IRS. There is no better time to demand a fair tax and the dissolution of the IRS than now when we find that the agency systematically targeted groups opposed to the agenda of a first-term president seeking reelection.

It cannot be a coincidence that a 27-month push to deny tax-exempt status and 501C4 status for people moving against a growing and overreaching government preceded the 2012 presidential election.

If, as it seems, records attest to the fact that people involved in the targeted groups were also audited during that time, the die is cast that this was no ordinary work of “rogue agents” in Cincinnati.

If you know anything about government service, you realize that no underling can do anything without an order. My question — and that of all of you – is just who gave the order to weed out groups with “patriot”, “tea party”, “freedom”, or similar words in their titles in the application process.

Add to this the regularity of “I don’t know” as a standard answer from those testifying before Congress and you are left agape at the incredulity of the whole situation. If, in fact, the high officials brought to testify before key committees in Washington do know “nothing,” then we are brought to only one conclusion — and it’s not pretty.

Nobody knows anything about “Fast and Furious”. Nobody knows anything about Benghazi. Nobody knows anything about IRS targeting conservative groups over more than two years. The Attorney General doesn’t know anything about the DOJ going after a reporter and naming him “criminal co-conspirator”. Nobody can produce any letter of recusal or statement of it by the AG.

The robber barons have new identities. They rob us of more than money. They wield power over our very lives — our national security, our privacy, our finances, — and if Lois Lerner doesn’t lose her job and we don’t abolish the IRS –– our most private medical information and “yea or nay” to what care we can access from our doctors.

We cannot stand back and allow this to happen without complaint and outrage. Push your representatives in Washington to demand change and pass a fair tax. One less agency equates to one less threat. It’s time we removed the IRS. It’s time for us to put down the tyrannical robber baron.
Our cry? “Baron Down!”

The label of “do nothing” affixed to our Congress by the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is akin to the kettle calling the pot black. Why?
He leads a “know nothing” administration. The combination of head of state that gets his information from the newspapers flies in the face of common sense. If this is true, he can save us money and fire his entire staff. They sure aren’t doing their jobs! If parents refuse to take “I don’t know” from children, how can we accept that answer from those who lead us?

One other seminal question begs an answer. How can powerful government agencies run well if those heading those agencies know nothing? Well, the answer affirms what we see today. They run, but they run amok.

Think about it.

The Bigger, The Badder

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

By Hetty Gray


“Dangers of Complacency”

It has been a difficult week for all Americans as they watched Boston deal with an unimaginable terrorist attack. Suddenly, today’s history shouted not “The British are coming,” but “The terrorists are here!”

Awakening on a Sunday, it is unfathomable to us that any religion can espouse killing innocent people to further belief. It begs a question and underscores the fact that the very freedoms we cherish put us at risk in a dangerous world.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser’s is a voice that many Americans never hear. A valued contributor on FOX News Channel, he is appalled that there is no outcry from Muslims across the nation. The silence is deafening. He appealed to peaceful followers of Islam to step forward and demand an end to the violence.

The constant coverage of the Boston Bombing should prod each of us to take the threat seriously. Moreover, there is a terrible reality to our lives in this country. The very freedoms that we cherish put us at risk in a very dangerous world.

Envy and greed are prime motivators. When mixed with extremist religious beliefs, the result is mayhem. I recall a column written shortly after 9/11. I felt then, as I do now, that a nationwide series of timed attacks in ordinary places of business and sports venues would wreak havoc.

If we are lucky — and that is a question in itself — the Boston Marathon Bombing is not the precursor to more attacks. Urging one another to be vigilant is but a first step. Internalizing the threat without a degree of panic looms as a serious way of life now.

Israel knows the game. We hear lawyers scream “profiling” as if it were a curse word. Israelis profile everybody. Not only do they search belongings, they interview El Al passengers and consider body language and all manner of behaviors that telegraph danger.

The fact that someone had a bomb in his shoe initiated shoe removal at all airports, body searches for hidden explosives, and cost millions of man-hours of productivity for business people and wasted vacation time for travelers as all of them endured the delays.

Don’t tolerate commentators describing the Boston Bombers as “boys.” They weren’t “boys,” folks. They were men hell bent on killing innocent people to further a mindset that Islam should rule the world. Trained by a cadre of people who use women and children as shields, they shine as prime examples of evil.

Our troops protect women and children. Theirs sacrifice them without a second thought. Remember that these men came as youngsters with their families and we gave them political asylum. With that designation comes monetary help. We funded this family and were repaid with an attack of unprecedented horror.

So long as we allow the government to soft pedal the profiling, we ask for more Bostons. Take a lesson from Israel. Take the offense. Don’t sit back and wait for another attack. Terror is a form of power play that fuels importance in small-minded people. It attracts advocates among us. What better way to get at the American psyche than to recruit from among our citizens.

To believe that all Muslims are terrorists is false, yet many are Muslim. That fact alone should bring pressure to bear on the religion as a whole and its leadership.

Hate crimes are more than bent thought processes. They are a calling to those who wish to end the American way of life. Control is at the core of such movements. To allow them to gain even a small amount of control is to cede to their tactics. Fear is their friend. We must counter that fear with resolve.

Think about what the two of them did on Monday. They sauntered down the sidewalk attired casually — all the while intending to murder innocents. The younger bomber placed a bomb behind eight-year-old Martin Richard then calmly walked away. Martin died. His little sister Jane lost a leg. His mother Denise was severely injured. Dad Bill and older brother Henry were not hurt. Pray for that family and the families of Krystle Campbell and Lü Lingzi. No family deserved this. Don’t forget Sean Collier’s family. He died in the line of duty, and I’m sure that MIT never expected one of their own to die at the hands of terrorists. Such is the atmosphere in America today.

We listen to those in Washington bantering about “separation of church and state,” and yet the terrorists’ mosque received $225,000 in tax subsidy. What’s behind that? I wonder if Massachusetts will answer that question in the coming days? Any idea that a Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish house of worship had the same chance at government money?

Sorry to be cynical, but my comment would be “Fat chance!”

Wake up and smell the coffee folks. Monday is one day away. We will go about our business as usual, but it should be anything but usual. We cannot dive back into a life of complacency.

Sadly, our society is at great risk. We must push ahead to insure our safety and that of our fellow citizens. It is time that we begin to live with a different view. We are at risk and we need to be vigilant.

I always encourage readers to thank members of the armed services when encountered on the street. I now, with a great deal of apology, add our men in blue — policemen, firemen, and members of the FBI, CIA and other agencies that put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Thanks to all of you! Take a moment to thank them. They deserve it.

Again, the question surfaces. We give incoming immigrants every avenue for success. We do not discriminate against their belief systems and welcome their houses of worship. Shouldn’t they harbor some responsibility for the actions of a few? Why aren’t their leaders speaking out against this? Given their freedom in this country, where is the Muslim community in America? Think about it.