Archive for November, 2013

170 – “Messianic?”

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

By Hetty Gray

November 21, 2013

# 170


When we witnessed the federal elections of 2008, the “buzz word” seemed to be Messiah. An African-American candidate for the highest office in the land not only stood as history making, but also proved that American society was colorblind. For all the rancor and angst that peppered our past, most of our judge people on their actions and character, not their color or ethnicity.

Countless Americans stepped forward to cast a vote for the first black president, despite the fact that the vetting process was nearly absent from his background. Words bear meaning. The phrase “fundamentally transform America” uttered in campaign speeches meant something.

Today, we see the meaning clearly. A runaway bureaucracy that peers into our most private information…. An administration bent on taking over one-sixth of an economy envied by countries across the planet…. The IRS targeting groups asking questions like “What is the content of your prayer?”
Four murdered Americans and the top of the U.S. State Department mouthing, “What difference does it make?” to a question of how these men died….

America was fundamentally sound when this president took office. He is bound to adhere to it. It reads:

Section. 2.
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
Section. 3.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
Section. 4.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Note the bold text. The president does not have the power to change a law. He is bound to execute that law. Hmmmm….. Now that he finds that “his” health care law is seen for what it truly is — a power grab in the finest tradition of central planning — he takes it upon himself to adjust the law, delaying very painful portions of it until after the next mid-term elections.
The public will awaken, but not as fast as many of us would like. To have delayed the “employer mandate” only propels the disaster to a later time slot. Critics who have read the behemoth legislation tell us that it was designed so that private insurance would be found “defective” and “insufficient” in an insatiable push for “one payer.” That’s the ball game, folks.
They will control everyone’s health care. When the government controls our health care, it controls us. Someone other than our family members and our physicians will make the decisions on what care we receive or whether we receive it at all. Nice, huh?
If you want to control a people, you grab the most important aspect of their lives — their health. Is this becoming clear now? A federal government in charge of your life is not a fundamental America. It is so far from it that it should make any thinking person shudder.
What is most frightening is the percentage of our populace totally unprepared to be responsible civically.
This is central planning on steroids. Central planning has never worked —not anywhere on this planet.
A bigger United States government is destined to be both inefficient and nonresponsive. Spare me the supposed apology over the health care debacle in which our current chief executive laid the blame on the public that didn’t understand and the opposition party fighting tooth and nail to expose the Affordable Care Act for what it is — a fiasco. The president said we didn’t understand. Oh, please…. We understood. That’s the problem. In essence, it is his problem.
Messianic? That’s not what I would call his posture. To me, it’s “Messy Antics.” Think about it.

169 “The Eleventh Hour”

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

November 11, 2013

“The Eleventh Hour”

This morning, in fact moments ago, we mark the 95th Anniversary of the end of what was deemed to be “the war to end all wars” — World War II. Indeed, at 11AM on November 11, 1918, war-weary Europeans and Americans alike marked the signing of the Armistice that ended that horrendous conflict.

It was the eleventh hour of the twentieth century to that point. However, it was not the first instance of the phrase. That roots in the Bible, to the book of Matthew in the New Testament.

According to one linguist, “The Eleventh Hour” is an expression referring to the last moments before a deadline or the imminence of a decisive or “final” moment. Usage of this term may be traced back to the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard in the Gospel of Matthew as well as to the last moments of the First World War, which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th Month of the year 1918.

America mourned over nine million dead and 12 million wounded in World War I. Exact counts are difficult due to disease, primarily the Spanish Flu that claimed nearly one-third of the total deaths among all participating nations.
Sadly, the story does not end with military losses. Total numbers of military casualties coupled with civilian casualties number over 37 million. Let’s take a hard look at the American statistic. It was nearly 2% of the population that was, at that time, 92 million. Historians tell us that at least two million died from disease or were listing as “missing.”

Historian Michael Clodfelter maintains that “The generally accepted figure of noncombatant deaths is 6.5 million.” The figures listed below include about 6 million excess civilian deaths due to war related malnutrition and disease that are often omitted from other compilations of World War I casualties. The war brought about malnutrition and disease caused by a disruption of trade resulting in shortages of food; the mobilization for the war took away millions of men from the agricultural labor force cutting food production.
Today bears the revised title. The original commemoration, the one most familiar to those of us over sixty, is “Armistice Day.” Changed to Veterans’ Day in 1954. My 6th grade art teacher at Thomas A. Hendricks Elementary, had all students create Poppy Posters.

I lament the fact that I pitched my art folder about ten years ago. I wish I had kept it, but that’s another story. I am not sure if the teachers in the other schools gave a history lesson along with the assignment, but Mrs. Liles did. I still remember it, too.

She explained how terrible the war had been and why we children needed to remember the costs of war and why it was so important to respect the men who served in the military. I wonder. Do teachers impart that tone of patriotism today? When I was a little girl, the best Poppy Day poster in the city won a certificate. I am sure that Mr. Fort signed it. He was known for his calligraphy.

Yet, it is important to note that the tradition roots not with the United States, but with Canada. Colonel John McRae was present in one of the first German uses of chlorine gas, the Second Battle of Ypres. Less than a month later, after seeing how quickly poppies grew over the graves of the fallen, he penned “In Flanders Fields,” one of Canada’s most famous and beloved poems.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
There is nothing glamorous about war. Today, Syria is the latest nation known to use poison gas on its own people. Nearly a century later, soldiers face an old enemy. Mustard then, sarin today, both gases prove lethal.

Serious, life-altering injuries are far from pretty. Death lurks daily, often in the form of IEDs, improvised explosive devices — modern booby traps. Inhospitable climates and terrains challenge the most physically fit soldier.

Yet, no matter the generation, countless American men and women still step forward, risking their lives to defend the nation that President John F. Kennedy touted as the world’s “keystone of freedom”. Incidentally, Kennedy uttered those words in Ft. Worth, Texas, barely three hours before his death on November 22, 1963 — fifty years ago this month.

If America will not stand for freedom, who will? If brave, unwavering American servicemen and women will not put themselves between us and evil, who will? The current lack of cultural respect for military service shocks and appalls people my age. Oh, it shocks younger folks, too, but their education is not likely to have contributed as mightily as ours did.

And just who are our veterans? The following list cites deaths in the more famous of our wars, but it does not include every historical conflict on American soil.

The Revolutionary War 25,000
War of 1812 20,000
Mexican-American War 13,283
American Civil War 625,000
Phillippine-American War 4,196
World War I 116,516
World War II 405,399
Korean War 36,516
Vietnam 58,209
Persian Gulf War 258
Afghanistan 2,145 (ongoing)

We have not achieved a total victory since World War II. We have sacrificed blood and treasure to insure freedom for untold numbers of people around the world. In basic terms, there is no such thing as a partial victory. A military either achieves total victory or no victory at all.

Organizations such as “The Wounded Warrior Project” step forward to care for our wounded veterans at the same time that government continues to diminish funds to support them.

Ours is not an easy position and current foreign policy instills more and more unease in formerly strong allies. At this pivotal point in our history, in our “eleventh hour”, we cannot sag in our pressure against those who seek to destroy us. Tenacity is difficult. Half-hearted efforts are tempting.

Is this our eleventh hour? If so, we have back up — our military.

We must hold forth to the world our unwavering support for freedom and our example of its priceless value to people everywhere. If America is to see halcyon days once again — times of tranquility and happiness with a future reflecting more stable times — we must give our military personnel unwavering support. They serve as the only protection between we the citizenry and the evil that threatens every freedom we hold most dear. Freedom bears a cost, but its loss is unfathomable — and fatal.

Thank God for our veterans. Don’t neglect or forget them. Remember the phrase, “Lest we forget.” Our veterans, old and young, are our heroes, one and all.

167 “Heads”

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

# 167

October 29, 2013


Well, now…. It’s about time for tales of Ichabod Crane and such. Ghouls, goblins and scary faces will abound on our streets this coming Thursday night — weather permitting. It’s always sad to see a dreary, rainy Halloween night that finds parents slopping through water and carrying the little ones who so wanted to show off their costumes. Hope for good weather this year!

All that said, let’s treat ourselves to an upscale version of Halloween and take a look at some of the interesting characters afoot daily in Washington, D.C. these days. Hmmmm…. Read the following descriptions and guess who is behind the mask.

First of all, we have the power broker. Armed with his smirk and arrogant posture, he weighs heavily over those below him in rank and is no friend to the critic. Accustomed to living high, he would never think of toning down his lifestyle. Taking advice is not in his repertoire and assuming knowledge where there is none is an everyday occurrence. His toothy grin belies an inner smoldering. The last thing he wants is not to get his way.

Our second character is a squirrel. He chirps away softly as if that tone of voice could disguise his name-calling of peers and strange commentaries. In truth, if he hadn’t been one before, it seems that he has lived among nuts long enough that he has actually become one. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see him moving his eyes quickly and boxing with his front feet and sparring with the air to gain attention as a mainstream media darling. The other, larger animals that encounter him find him not only stubborn but also unapproachable. When challenged, he balks and surrounds himself with others that fear a loss of power in the forest. His accomplices have one goal — to be on the power broker’s list of favorites.

The third person is a buffoon and loves the sound of his own voice. When he blurts out what he deems a cogent thought, his statement comes across as so absurd and out of sync with the surrounding society that he is judged a fool. The power broker keeps him in the background as much as possible — no easy task because his very position demands attention.

The fourth character presumes to inflict personal preferences on others, whether they want to accept them or not. This all-knowing individual must have been a body builder at one time, because one almost never glimpses the person in sleeved garb. I suppose that throwing one’s weight around does put on muscle. Unfortunately, it does not garner a lot of friends. Rich food appeals to this person, as too does lavish leisure — all the time championing the downtrodden. Ah, the perks of position….

Our number five is slight of build, but makes up for physique in unmitigated gall. If brazen behavior won medals, this person would take the gold in any competition. Wealthy and powerful, this person expounds on empathy and introspection with “the poor”. A fervent supporter of union workers, this person is thought to employ nary a union worker in successful family businesses. Subterfuge is not in this person’s vocabulary. Armed with an unusual thought process, this person’s public statements defy reality and challenge logic and common sense.

Number six is an action figure claiming to defend justice, yet is thought to have undermined justice at every possible opportunity. Far from Superman and “the American way,” this person is eager to taint any situation with a racial brush. In the public per-view, this person’s motives are, to many, highly suspect. In any case, the costume is unimportant because actions take center stage and they speak volumes.

It’s a treat for these folks to trick us. Their box of goodies always has a string attached and it affixes to our wallets. Ah, the glory of power unrestrained and underreported by what was once a proud, free, unbiased fourth estate. Those colonists who risked death at their own printing presses are thrashing about in their graves over the current condition of American print and mainstream broadcast journalism.

Now, it’s up to you to pull back the masks and “I.D” this group. With them around, there’s no need to fear ghosts or goblins. If they have their way, the United States will be relegated to an economic and social cemetery in due course. Think about it.

166 “Benched”

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

# 166

October 24, 2013


Hmmmmm…… Let’s see how this shakes out, folks. The average middle-income American family pays through the nose for health care. Estimates for a family of four hover around $20K a year. Given that hit, they stay home and cannot afford to travel a lot or take advantage of earned vacation time. So, they are benched.

Is that true of the people who gave us this disaster? Will Reid, Pelosi and Obama be relegated to staying within the confines of their hometowns? I doubt it. Will private jets stay on the ground? Oh, sure…

The inequity of all this is nothing short of appalling. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving, but in this case the gift is taking your money under the guise of “fairness.”

It is no surprise that the individual mandate is about to bite the dust. It baffles one’s mind that a Canadian company did the website planning. Even if it did go to bids, why on earth wouldn’t an administration holding sway over a flailing economy assign the work in another country?

Oh, someone will say that it makes sense since Canada has government health care, but that is little solace given the current mess. I wish I had some words of wisdom but wisdom and the current administration are at odds with another. As my grandmother would have said, “a fine kettle of fish….”
This of fish here is not days old. It’s years’ old. It stinks.

Somehow, some way, we need to pick away at this monstrous plan that threatens our very lives. In the meantime, we find ourselves “benched.” A grass roots movement is afoot, but it needs all the help it can get. Don’t forget that only one in three among the colonists supported going against King George. Far more than thirty percent of us oppose that lovely Christmas gift from the Democrats. What an affront the law is to anyone who believes in the goodness of the holiday. The Affordable Care Act is far from giving. It is taking of the first order.

Pray for America. She needs it.

168 “The Itch”

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

By Hetty Gray

November 5, 2013

# 168

We’ve all experienced it — that itch we cannot seem to scratch to assuage the unsettling feeling. But there is another kind of itch — the one to discover the truth.

For our generation, the people who were in their late teens or early twenties on November 22, 1963, the itch is profound when it concerns what really happened that day to President John Kennedy in Dealey Plaza along Elm Street in Dallas, Texas.

We all know the result, but new facts emerge. All documents were ordered sealed for fifty years. I was 19 on that day. I sat, taking dictation from then Shelby County Prosecuting Attorney Phil Brown. The topic was a bad check from Louden’s Supermarket, today Mickey’s T-Mart. I even remember the amount, $41.15. That moment is welded in my memory. It is the same for countless Americans who sat, fixated by the news on that day….

The voice of Walter Cronkite announcing Kennedy’s death… The specter of Lee Harvey Oswald crumpling to the ground in the basement of the Dallas Police Station, killed by a Louisiana businessman named Jack Ruby. Oswald had killed 39-year-old Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tippit.

With Oswald dead, the government ordered an “investigation,” but after listening to many eyewitnesses on the television broadcasts, a legion of Americans judged the Warren Report as odd.

It has been fifty years this month. In truth, fifty years elapsed in a flash for people my age. With the records unsealed, professional ballistic experts who lobbied for a more thorough examination of the bullets and the old Russian army surplus rifle had the opportunity to start anew.

This week the Discovery Channel airs a series of programs on Kennedy’s assassination. Last night’s program airs again tonight at 7PM EST. The content is, to say the least, enlightening.

While conspiracy theorists have had a field day with the Kennedy shooting, the experts who delved into the documents found many never publicized facts.

Sealing documents to protect the family of a president is understandable, but the Kennedy assassination is thought to have changed the course of American history. Few can imagine what would have happened with the nation led by a pro-military Democrat who believed that people should do something for their country before they asked their country to do something for them.

Rumors flew and now we may, for the first time, learn how deep the mystery roots within the people who surrounded the president on that fateful day.

Why bring this up at this time? We are in the throes of another tragedy, this one claiming four lives. Ah, yes. Benghazi. When Ambassador Christopher Stevens, communications specialist Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty died, the current administration put forth a story worthy of a class B soap opera.

Anyone with a modicum of common sense questioned it. When Congressmen and women demanded details and asked to question the survivors, they were told that the government had all CIA personnel on site sign documents that they would not speak to members of Congress. In essence, they imposed a gag order of the people who knew precisely what happened.

I am old enough to remember Watergate. President Nixon was complicit in a break-in at Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate Complex. The price for Nixon? He resigned. Nobody died at Watergate. Four Americans died at Benghazi and witnesses are banned from talking to Congress. How does that smell?

Congress, the legislative branch exists, along with the judiciary, to balance the power of the executive. Here, we have an end run around the Congress.

Are these records sealed? Must Sean Smith’s mother and the families of Stevens, Woods, and Doherty wait for fifty years to learn what happened to their loved ones? Whose fingers belong to the bloody smears spread across the column in photos of the burned-out remains of the compound meant to protect the main diplomatic building? If you were a survivor of any of these

four murdered Americans, would you not ask that question?

A second assault came against the CIA annex early in the morning the next day. It has been more than a year — nearly twenty-six months, but some of the mainstream media are beginning to take notice. Clearly, some stories loom so large that they demand in-depth investigation.

I rarely ask my readers to contact their Congressional representatives and US Senators, but Benghazi is deadly serious. Four good men died and to this day the American people have no answers.

I wonder if Hillary Clinton would have quipped, “What difference does it make?” if her husband, brother, or child had died that day? I dare say not.

Press those whom you have elected to insist, yes demand, a Select Committee to investigate Benghazi. We dispatch US State Department personnel to the far corners of the earth. Would you be comfortable in one of these jobs knowing that your government would not come to your aid or explain, God forbid, what happened to you if you died in the line of service?

Resolve to make sure that witness testimony is released from the gag order. We need to hear from the people who were there.

And what does the Chief Executive know? Nothing. Just like “Fast and Furious,” the IRS harassing conservative groups, and everything else that comes down the pike that might be uncomfortable. Comfort? He needs comfort? That emotion comes slowly, if ever. The loss is permanent.

There is little comfort to the Kennedy family today — even if details emerging from sealed files solve the fifty-year-old mystery. Will we stand by and allow stonewalling in the case of the four murdered Americans in Libya? I pray not. America stands on truth and justice. Benghazi demands both.

Think about it.