An Act of Terror

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

No matter the motivation, the deadly attack in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Friday, November 27, 2015, was an act of terror.

The standoff, the slaying of three innocents and wounding of nine others result in terrorizing a community, the state and the nation.

Put the politics and ideology aside. Stop walking on egg shells.

This was terrorism.

Most acts of mass killings are acts of terror.

The mayhem and slaughter at a theater in Aurora, Colorado a few years ago resulted in terror for not only the victims, but also the city and nation. The deadly rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, was a terrorist act. The shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee was terrorist in nature. I could go on and on.

These type of lethal events are acts of terror.

The shooting of a nine-year-old boy in a Chicago alley was a terrorist act. Although it appears to have been a fatal result of an ongoing gang war, the result was spreading even more fear, terror and anger in the community.

Let us call things what they are. There is no reason to be sensitive in these cases. Throw political correctness out the window.

It is wrong for politicians, including President Barack Obama, to try and turn this into a political argument. It is wrong for presidential candidates to attempt to raise money and shoot arrows over this tragedy.

Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism.

If in fact this deranged individual who holed up in a Planned Parenthood facility unleashing his deadly derangement, the result is still the same. He not only murdered innocents, he terrorized the community.

From the Cornfield, there is no justification for such action. No matter the motivation, this was wrong. Let the full brunt of the law come down on his head.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, the community.

Wake Up Republican Base

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

As each day passes in the current race for the White House, I find myself shaking my head over and over again. Some of the statements from the wannabes border on the insane.

This is especially true when it comes to Donald Trump. Back in the summer I opined: The Trump Effect Or How to Lose an Election.

That article seems to be more relevant and more on target today than it did back on July 12th. But, I don’t blame Trump for being Trump. I blame the base of voters who determine who will be the GOP nominee for president. No matter how outrageous Trump’s statements, he stays at the top of the polls.

When are the Republican hardliners going to wake up and realize that while it may sound great to hear someone who is so politically incorrect, it will not result in a win on November 8, 2016.

If a candidate cannot win, why keep backing him?

The purpose of an election is to win – not be an also-ran. The strong talk, the ego, the never backing down, the never saying, “sorry”, will not play in Peoria.

It is sort of like a guilty pleasure, instant gratification or eating certain foods. For a moment it feels or tastes so good. Then a short time later, you are left with an empty feeling.

How are GOP primary and caucus voters going to feel if they continue down this ludicrous path of not holding Trump accountable when they wake on November 9 to find Hillary Clinton picking out drapes for the Oval Office?

From the Cornfield, I do not understand why people are throwing reason and logic out the window in a rebellion against political correctness run amok.

Whatever happened to plain old manners?

Yes, too many of our society in the US of A are overly sensitive and need to grow up. But the current path is a path to nowhere.

For This I Am Grateful

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Life – filled with its ups and downs, the level plains which lie between;

The rain without which there would be no flowers;

The valleys where strength and supplies are found to climb to the mountain tops;

Health – though fraught with issues and concerns with which I must daily battle;

Healthcare – which has resulted in finding the root cause of many of my more serious physical ailments along with a cure for the fatal infection that threatens to kill me;

Eye Care – which provides the expertise to restore my vision rather than allowing me to go blind;

Family – who bring joys and tears, but with whom I could not live without;

Sons – those offspring who carry on and outshine the man who was their sire;

Granddaughters – who are beautiful, bubbly, putting a smile on my face even in the darkest moments with a look;

Daughters-in-Law – who put up with the “Old Man” and don’t fuss too much when their husbands stay in touch;

Mom – who may not always agree with the choices, decisions I make, but is always there to support me as her son;

Dad – who often is on opposite sides from where I stand, but is still there when least expected;

Siblings – who bring the tussle and tumble at times and the closeness and connectivity that none else can know;

Ex-Wives – without whom I would never have known the joy and love of my two sons;

Chooey – who provides companionship, alerts me and loves his “Daddy” uncoditionally;

My Soon-to-Be Ex-Partner Iohn – who put up with me through good, bad, sickness and health for over a decade;

Real Life Acquaintances – who have shown up at my door when unexpected, but at the right moment;

Online Friends – some who have been angels in some of my direst moments over the past few years when I felt I could not carry on;

Our Nation – though battered and torn at times, though enmeshed in family feuds at times, yet still the most free and greatest light of liberty in the world today;

God – for sustaining me thus far and deciding it was not time for me to cross the divide and go home last year.

From the Cornfield, I send out my wish to one and all for a day of reflection, a time with family and friends, a day of peace, love and joy this Thanksgiving Day before the madness of shopping fever takes over, forgetting the reason for the season.

May you find no matter your situation, station in life, health or wealth, there is always something for which to be grateful.

WWIII – We Are Already There

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

This past week, Pope Francis stated that he was seeing pieces of World War III already taking place, following the Paris 6-prong attacks.

I wrote this op-ed back on June 27:

In social media, on blogs, in coffee shops and pubs, you can hear or read concern if current events may lead us into World War III.

I would submit we are already there.

Whether you believe or do not believe in prophecy – any prophecy – biblical, Islamic or any other, it is interesting that four of the nations currently emeshed in the war on terrorism are named prominently in end of time foretelling. All four are also supporters or providing aid and shelter to jihadists bent on the destruction of the Great Satan, the US of A, and western civilization.

Those four nations are: Libya, Persia or Iran, Syria and the ancient empire of Babylon – Iraq.

When you look at how many nations around the world are involved in this struggle of ideology, it is clear that the world is at war. When you look at how many continents are under attack, it is clear that the world is at war.

One of the stated goals of the Islamic State, the self-proclaimed caliphate, is the ushering in the final battle of Armageddon and the supremacy of Islam over all peoples of the world. From Jerusalem and Babylon, the caliphate will rule the world.

I further submit that World War III began on September 11, 2001. Up until that time there had been bombings and attacks, but each country, each nation dealt with the problem on their own.

With the airliner attacks in New York City and Washington D.C, the majority of the world rallied around the United States in seeking revenge and extracting retribution on Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and those who gave them aid and comfort – the Taliban.

Yet this war is not your war of nation against nation. This is a new kind of war of ideology versus ideology, civilization versus civilization. This war is not like any other.

The idea of bringing the world to submission and death to all who oppose has happened before. Most recently in the 1930s and 1940s, we saw the rise of Adolph Hitler and the National Socialist Party (Nazis) seeking the implementation of a 1,000-year Reich and the Aryan Empire. The world rallied against this monster and his henchman along with his allies – the empire of Japan and the fascist state of Benito Mussolini in Italy.

But that was a more traditional struggle. Nations aligned with nations against other nations. This time it is the nations aligning against a foe who does not play by any rules and without geographic boundaries.

If the West is defeated, be assured that the war will not stop. The attention will then turn on Eastern Civilization. China, Japan and Southeast Asia will become the target.

There can only be one outcome.

Either the West destroys or weakens the jihadist terrorists to the point of making them not more than a deadly irritant or the fanatical soldiers of terrorism win.

Will the world survive?

Will nations survive?

Who will win?

Will this war last for decades, centuries, a millennia?

From the Cornfield, are we on the edge of the battle to end all battles or are we allowing emotion and fear to mislead our reality?

The Day the World Stopped – 11/22/63

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

It was a mild, sunny Friday afternoon in the Cornfield. As usual on a school day, I was sitting in Mrs. Smith’s 4th grade class. Thoughts of the upcoming weekend filled my mind with revelry.

The daydream, as Mrs. Smith droned on about Indiana history, came to an abrupt halt when the principal’s trembling voice came out of the wooden box mounted in the top center of the wall behind the teacher’s desk.

The halting voice, filled with sorrow, announced that our beloved President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had been struck down by an assassin’s bullet and was dead. Mrs. Smith’s eyes began to tear. Shock was on her face.

The class seemed transfixed as if turned to stone by Medusa’s stare. One by one, starting with the girls in the class, weeping and crying took over.

The girl sitting next to me (I think her name was Sally) was bawling her eyes out. My 8-year-old brain couldn’t comprehend why Sally was crying. I began to laugh at her and make fun of her, not understanding what the principal’s words meant. Mrs. Smith came over to chide me and explain in terms my immature mind could comprehend what had happened.

As she spoke, my laughter turned to tears as well.

My mind went back in time to that dark night in the parsonage in Anderson, Indiana where my Dad was pastoring, watching the black-and-white television and listening as President Kennedy demanded the Russians to remove the missiles from Cuba or risk all out war. I recalled the Russian leader, Nikita Kruschev, taking his shoe off and pounding it on the table at the United Nations threatening to bury the United States in the ashes.

The man who had stood up to the red threat and made the Ruskies back down was dead. The King of Camelot was dead. His queen, Jackie, and the young princess and prince, Caroline and John-John, were left without a husband or father.

None of us rushed out of school, frolicking in the fall sunshine as we normally would with the weekend beckoning. With slow steps we made our way home.

Life was not the same. Childhood was not the same.

The world stopped at 12:30 (CT) that afternoon in Dallas, Texas.

Over the next few days, not only did Americans mourn, but the peoples of the Earth lamented the loss of the Leader of the Free World. Even our enemies, the Russians and Chinese, expressed condolences and disbelief that JFK was gone.

A few days later on live television, I watched in horror as Jack Ruby, gun drawn, walked up to Lee Harvey Oswald, the President’s assassin, and shot him dead. The police officers surrounding Oswald seemed to not see or did not care that the two-bit hoodlum Ruby had a gun out, pointed and walking quickly up to Oswald.

A half century later and another image that remains etched into my mind is that of a 4-year-old John-John in a short-pants suit standing smartly on Pennsylvania Avenue saluting as the horse-drawn wagon bearing his father’s casket came down the street, surrounded by a weeping throng. The young prince was the picture of strength in time of trouble and hope in an hour of despair.

The fabric of the World was torn that day. Life was changed for an entire generation. The end of an era had come to a sudden and deadly halt.

Conspiracy theories continue.

The question of “What if?” still dominates the conversation when anyone pauses to remember that fateful November day.

From the Cornfield, that day is as real today as it was a life time ago.

Presidential Wannabes on Islamic State

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

National Public Radio (NPR) has put out an excellent chart to help American voters to understand where the major parties’ candidates for president stand on dealing with the Islamic State.

Naturally what is in the chart could change depending on how the winds blow for a particular candidate at any time.

isisstandNotes
1. Bush and Paul both favor declaring war, while Clinton, Cruz, Graham and O’Malley favor or have favored passing a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which has in recent decades supplanted formal war declarations.
2. Christie was in favor of ground troops prior to the Paris attacks, saying they should be an option if arming U.S. allies doesn’t work.
3. On all answers marked “unclear,” unless linked/footnoted otherwise, NPR reached out to campaigns but either has not yet received answers or has received unclear answers.
4. Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler declined to answer questions on the “unclear” responses, writing in an email, “I think it too simplistic to reduce the ongoing ever-changing real-time dynamic situation in Syria in the wake of the Paris attack to yes or no answers.”
5. In September 2014, Cruz said he wanted a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force for fighting ISIS.
6. Fiorina told Fox Business that she doesn’t want to send in U.S. ground forces “yet.”
7. Statement from campaign
8. Huckabee told Breitbart News that a coalition of countries (one that includes the U.S.) should bomb ISIS, then send in troops.
9. Pataki was in favor of ground troops earlier this year, but he has not been clear on his strategy ideas since the Paris attacks.
10. Paul told CNN that he’s not in favor of more troops. However, he also added, “If we went to war and there was a declaration of war, I would put overwhelming force. I wouldn’t mess around.”
11. In an email to NPR, Paul’s campaign said, “If France asks to invoke NATO’s Article 5, President Obama should convene a NATO Summit but even if Article V is invoked, Congress must still authorize any military involvement.”
12. Rubio told ABC and O’Malley’s campaign told NPR that they are in favor of sending special operations troops. However, O’Malley and Rubio draw a distinction between those troops and larger waves of combat troops (Rubio did not respond directly to ABC as to whether he’d send in more combat troops). Similarly, Clinton said there should be more special ops troops, and that the U.S. should “support and equip” local forces.
13. A spokesman from the O’Malley campaign said that if France were to invoke NATO Article 5, then the U.S. would be bound by the treaty and would participate in accordance with NATO’s decision.
Source: Various
Credit: Danielle Kurtzleben/NPR, with research from Barbara Sprunt

From the Cornfield, in light of threat from terrorism becoming more and more reality and not just threat, it will be interesting to see the impact this may have on the 2016 Presidential Election.

For more information: http://www.npr.org/2015/11/20/456633512/what-the-2016-candidates-would-do-about-isis-in-one-chart

‘Ask Not…’

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

As the 52th anniversary of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s death at the hands of an assassin in Dallas, Texas on November 22 approaches, across the Cornfield and across the nation, many people are remembering the years of Camelot, when a young, charismatic politician stole the hearts of Americans.

At the time, though many throughout the nation still were at odds with the President on policy issues, he had managed to capture the people’s hearts as had his wife, Jackie, and children, Caroline and John-John. Speeches would denounce his politics and yes, even his religion, but would in the next breath extol what a determined, caring man and war hero JFK was.

A phrase which has become synonymous with the Kennedy years and the course of a nation was his appeal during his inaugural address on January 20, 1961: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.

Today that concept, that idea, seems to be alien to many Americans and especially lost on most of our national elected officials.

The concept and its origin is steeped in debate. Some arguing it goes back a thousand years or more to Plato or Juvenal. Others cite President Warren G. Harding who made a similar statement to the Republican National Convention decades before. Others cite JFK’s former school headmaster.

No matter the origin, the sentiment of the line is rooted in a belief shared since the foundation of this great nation – the idea of individual responsibility, individual fortitude, individual enterprise and individual ingenuity to build and sustain a nation unlike any other before it.

Ronald Reagan voiced a similar sentiment with his quip that government is the problem and not the answer. Kennedy recognized this. Kennedy knew government was only as effective as the people and what the people were willing to do for themselves and for country.

While JFK in his “New Frontier” speech to the 1960 Democratic National Convention made known his desire to expand on the more social platform instituted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he also was a pragmatist who understood the need for the individual doing his or her part and not relying solely on taking from or asking for government to provide the solutions and answers.

That concept, that sentiment, appears so lost in the political climate of today. It is lost not just with the Democratic Party of which JFK is a legacy, but also with Republicans who are far afield of either Abraham Lincoln or Reagan.

From the Cornfield, as we remember Kennedy, let us once more look inward and say with him, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

And let it begin in the halls of Congress and in the White House.

Refugee-Phobia: Lest We Forget

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

As refugee-phobia becomes pandemic across the US of A, a poll from 1938 is well worth paying heed. The poll was taken in America among college students.

In Germany on November 9, 1938 was the infamous Kristallnacht. That night across the German Reicht there was a coordinated attack on the Jewish citizens. A slight four years before was the equally infamous Night of the Long Knives, when Brownshirts with loyalty to the Nazi Party went on a killing spree of Adolph Hitler’s political enemies.

This from The Crimson from that 1938 poll of US college students:

Jewish refugees should not be admitted to the United States in great numbers, a large majority of college youths in this country believes, according to the first national poll of the Student Opinion Surveys of America.[The Crimson, 1938]

From the Cornfield, we should always study history, we have been taught, so we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Saturday Snore Fest – Dems Debate

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

No wonder CBS and the Democratic Central Committee scheduled the second Democratic presidential debate on a Saturday night where viewership would be low. The night was more a snore fest than the lively, unpredictable spectacle we have seen with Republican wannabes.

Now there were some snores that were loud enough to rouse one from slumber, but those were few and far between.

It is not that there was not substance during the face off between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, there was. But most of the time the hopefuls were in agreement or their arguments were made without much gusto.

I use the word argument loosely.

After opening with a moment of silence for the victims of the terror attacks in Paris, France, the first segment dealt with what the US response to the horror and with dealing with the Islamic State in general. All three believe the US should have a role, but the degree of role was slightly in dispute.

This set up one exchange which both Sanders and O’Malley took issue with Clinton. Clinton said the US had no role to which both rivals looked shocked and emphatically disagreed, saying the US must lead. However, the two contenders agreed with Clinton that others should be the ones most involved in the actual ground work.

In a move to distance herself from President Barack Obama, Clinton said that the caliphate could not be contained, but must be destroyed. The President on Friday, the same day as the Paris attacks, claimed that ISIS was contained. The White House later said the President was only talking about stunting territorial gains in Syria and Iraq.Not that the moderator,

John Dickinson, let her have a pass as the former Secretary of State for Obama. Dickinson questioned her judgment and that of the President when he said that ISIS was contained and referring back to, while she was still SoS, that the Islamic State was junior varsity.

Clinton deflected.

Clinton, however, did not cut the umbilical cord completely from the current Administration. She once more stressed as she did in the last debate that as Democrats, the Affordable Care Act, which is the President’s signature domestic legacy, must be embraced.

Sanders, however, said that the ACA should be repealed and replaced with a single-payer system nationwide by expanding Medicare to cover all Americans. In one exchange last night,

Clinton took umbrage saying Sanders had “impugned my integrity”. This came after Sanders insinuated that Clinton’s support from Wall Street was because of what the financial district expected to be able to get should Clinton become President.

In what came across as awkward, Clinton said her Wall Street support was because of her aid in helping Wall Street rebuild following 9/11 when she was a New York Senator.

Many were left scratching their heads about her reference to 9/11 including former architect of Obama’s successful race for the White House, David Axelrod.

Axelrod tweeted his disbelief on Twitter: “@HillaryClinton vehemently offers support for Wall Street as post-911 recovery effort. Does that fly?”

While O’Malley got the best and only laugh lines, the former Governor of Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore was out of his league. He did refer to Republican front runner Donald Trump as “that immigrant-bashing carnival-barker”.

Another line, which will probably not be remembered, is when O’Malley stated, “The symbol of America is the Statue of Liberty not a barbed-wire fence.”

There a few other skirmishes, but all in all, the candidates were pretty much in agreement on the issues. Clinton, however, was wanting greater control of guns than Sanders, but not by much.

As to who won the debate, I must agree with the pundits and talking heads.

Clinton won only because she did not have a major screw up.

Sanders and O’Malley both had a chance to lower the boom, but backed off when they could have won a point. It almost seemed, especially with Sanders, the secondary contenders were afraid that closing the deal might cost them the women’s vote – whether they were right and Clinton was wrong.

Sanders had Clinton on the ropes on campaign finance, but could not bring himself to throw the telling punch. This became more weird to watch as Clinton rejoined, to loud applause, that 60% of all her donations came from women.

What did we learn?

Hillary is on her way to being the Democratic nominee for President.

There is that small caveat that the FBI does not turn up something in her emails that could lead to an indictment.

Should that happen, what will the Democrats do?

From the Cornfield, rest easy there will not be another debate until December 15 on the Republican side and December 19 on the Democratic wannabes.

The GOP Family Feud

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Tempers flared.

Facial expressions were telling.

A punch here.

A jab there.

It was a family brawl.

At times one wondered when the police would show up to quell the domestic dispute.

It was a full on Family Feud as Republican presidential candidates went at it on a real discussion on differences on policy Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

Whether the topic was immigration, foreign policy, minimum wage, taxation, the wannabes showed they truly do not all think alike nor are on the same sheet of music, resulting in a dischord.

Some of the participants were more incensed than others.

One seemed to be like the spouse who did not want to get involved while the other spouse and the children argued, garnering the least amount of speaking time with only nine minutes in the two-hour debate.

That contender, who is running either first or second in national polls, was Dr. Ben Carson. As the night wore on, Carson faded away like the wallflower at a school dance. Yet for supporters, that won’t matter.

For Rand Paul, who has been unable to build on his father’s (Dr. Ron Paul, 2012 presidential candidate) foundation of the Liberty Movement, had nothing to lose and everything to gain as he challenged the others on the stage time and time again.

Even when Marco Rubio threw down the gauntlet with the worst name he could call him – an “isolationist” – Paul took the blow and kept jabbing away. Paul challenged the conservative credentials of the junior Senator from Florida, who is third in the polls, as being “liberal on defense spending”.

Rubio landed blow after blow on the others on every subject presented. His youthfulness and nervousness showed time and again as well. I am sure at times, Rubio was wanting to reach for a bottle of water.

One telling scene, not played in live time, of the nature of the family feud was during a break when Rubio, like a sheepish son confronting his father, walked over to Jeb Bush to talk. Bush simply shook his head “no”. Rubio turned, walked away to talk with Donal Trump instead.

Trump for all his bluster about his success as a business man, showed he was not as adept on the nuances of foreign policy. When given the chance to come out with a strong economic blueprint or tax overhaul, did not take advantage of his full 90 seconds.

Other candidates piled on from John Kasich to Bush to Rubio and a Thor’s hammer slug from Carly Fiorina when Trump said he was happy to let Russian President Vladimir Putin do the heavy lifting in Syria.

Kasich, continuing to whine about his time to speak, when he did speak was indepth and in contrast with where most of the base of the GOP is at on issues such as immigration. Kasich chimed in with Bush to blast Trump for thinking he could simply deport 11 to 12 million illegal aliens. Both noted it was not feasible or realistic.

Kasich did present a succinct history of foreign relations, however, showing his prowess on the subject.

Trump brought up to the chagrin of many Americans, “Operation Wetback”, when President Dwight Eisenhower removed 1.5 million illegal aliens in the 1950s. While many in the base were cheering, those Republicans knowing the Latino vote is a make or break for the party in 2016 were losing their supper.

Ted Cruz showed why he was so successful so often when he representative the State of Texas before the Supreme Court. His delivery and arguments were forceful and pointed. He showed a command of the subject matter, whatever the question posed.

For Fiorina, her best moments came when she interjected herself into the conversation – whether her turn or not. She may have been the only woman on the stage, but she was the one with the biggest cojones in confronting Trump and Paul on America’s military might and use in places like Syria and the Mideast.

But what did we learn that we did not already know about the wannabes positions?

Really not much that we did not have at our finger tips.

We did see one size does not fit all when trying to lump all eight of those on stage together. There are similarities and there are real, not just minor, but major differences in positions.

On minimum wage, none are for raising it – at least not to the $15 hour demanded by Democratic candidates and fast food workers.

On immigration, all want to secure the border. Some want to find a way to provide legal status to those who are otherwise law-abiding in the country already. Some want to pack all 11 million and ship them too far away to come back.

On taxation, all the candidates want reform the tax code. Doing it, is another matter.

On foreign policy, there is a swing from no involvement unless attacked directly to being the leader in the hot spots.

So who won?

For me, both Rubio and Cruz were the clear winners of the night. It is a bit of a toss-up with the two.

Bush will live to see another day.

Carson made no gains, but will get no losses.

Trump is like a rolling stone.

Fiorina may only get her dream debate in her dreams at night. She still will be around come caucus day in Iowa.

Kasich is too “adult” and too “moderate” for the base, no matter his general election electability. Oh, and John, stop whining about not being able to speak when you get to speak – use it to say something that means something.

Rand Paul, though passionate, is not his father. He will not be going anywhere, but he is looking more like Don Quixote with every outing.

From the Cornfield, rest up. There is five weeks until the next time these wannabes are on one stage – at least those still around. That debate will be December 15, hosted once more by CNN.