The Confederate Flag Flap

You can tell it’s presidential election season.

Once again, politicians and the mainstream media are being stupid and irresponsible.

They are wasting our time on minor issues that get both sides of the conservative-liberal divide riled up at each other, but prevent us from focusing on what really matters.

We have a mess of serious problems we have to fix or deal with at home and overseas.

And what have the media, the politicians, and the whole country been yapping and arguing about for two weeks?

The symbolism of a 150-year-old Confederate battle flag.

Jeb Bush — as predictably as Donald Trump and the others — said on Monday that the flag is “a racist symbol” from the past that divides people and causes disagreement today.

He said the Confederate flag should be removed from South Carolina’s statehouse grounds, just as he removed it from Florida’s capitol when he was governor.

I agree.

Though it was originally designed to prevent southern soldiers from killing each other in battle, the flag has been a symbol of both heritage and hate since the beginnings of the civil rights movement.

Sadly, it took a horrible tragedy in Charleston to make the country and our leading politicians realize that a state government has no business giving the Confederate flag a place of honor.

Like it or not, in 2015, the Confederate flag we all saw on the roof of those 1969 Dodge Chargers on the “Dukes of Hazard” is no longer so innocent.

Now, it symbolizes two totally different and incompatible things to whites and blacks.

Many Southern whites still see it as a symbol of the battlefield bravery of their ancestors, or as a romantic symbol of their Southern heritage and culture.

Meanwhile, for obvious reasons, the exact same flag is an insult to blacks. Many of their ancestors were slaves when the flag was first waved in battle.

And then, though freed, for the next 100 years, their grandparents and parents were treated as second-class Americans by racist state governments that incorporated the Confederate symbol in their official flags.

If you can’t understand why the black citizens of the South might consider the old Confederate battle flag an insult today, ask yourself how a German Jew would react to seeing a swastika fluttering proudly in front of the Reichstag in 2015.

The Confederate flag deserves no place of honor on government property in America. It never did.

But, as usual, some have gone overboard with political correctness.

Amazon and Wal-mart made fools of themselves when they announced that because of the Confederate flag flap, they were going to stop selling products that carry its image.

The TV Land channel was just as idiotic when it pulled episodes of “The Dukes of Hazard.” NASCAR hasn’t banned Confederate flags at its races, but it still might.

At least the Confederate flag hasn’t been outlawed. And the First Amendment hasn’t been repealed.

If Confederate flag worshippers want to fly their colors, they are still free to do so on their own property. Or they can make their own flags and put them on their T-shirts or pickup trucks or sell them at flea markets and gun shows.

Meanwhile, let’s try to get back to things that really matter in this election season.

Our economy is still a wreck. We have too few good full-time jobs and way too many people on unemployment, food stamps, and welfare.

We have to come up with sensible ways to reform immigration, health care, and Social Security/Medicare. High debt and heavy taxes are going to turn us into Greece.

We don’t know yet how our presidential wannabes plan to fix immigration or healthcare.

Or how they plan to defeat ISIS or get the economy back on track after eight years of Obama.

All we know for sure so far is what they think about the Confederate flag.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Whining Is For Duffers, Not Pros

Sometimes you just have to get away from politics, if even for half a weekend.

I did it last Sunday, and it felt great.

In the morning, I didn’t watch a second of George Stephanopoulos, Chris Wallace, or any of the other TV talking heads, pundits, politicians, or their professional mouthpieces.

I didn’t hear a word about removing the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina’s statehouse grounds — which I think they should do.

I didn’t hear the words “Charleston,” “Putin,” or “Obama” for the entire blessed day.

Thanks to a friend who gave me a ticket to the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open, I got to spend my Sunday walking around the Chambers Bay Golf Course on the beautiful Washington coast near Tacoma.

The only flags I thought about were the ones waving at me on a spectacular golf course that was so tough it turned some of the best golfers in the world into duffers like you and me.

Fellow golfers, don’t believe the criticism you heard about Chambers Bay’s unique layout and rugged terrain being unfriendly to spectators and unfair for the players.

Yes, walking the course as a spectator was a serious trek. And yes, it was not possible to follow your favorite golfer from hole No. 1 through hole No. 18.

But I and tens of thousands of others had no trouble getting an up-close look at one of the most exciting U.S. Open finishes in history.

When Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy hit their long drives off the No. 10 tee, I was 20 feet away.

When McIlroy chunked a pitching wedge, I was so close I could feel his pain. We duffers all have that shot in our bag. It was nice to see that a super golfer has it too.

When Dustin Johnston missed that short birdie putt on 18, which would have forced an 18-hole playoff with Spieth, I could hear the collective groan of thousands of shocked spectators.

The 2015 U.S. Open — where Tiger Woods shot an opening round of 80 — could not have been more exciting if it had been scripted.

The last nine holes were full of suspense and drama. And the trophy was literally won and lost on the last putt of the tournament.

The 2015 Open was one of the greatest sporting events I’ve ever attended. I’m glad I didn’t have to watch it on Fox TV, whose rookie broadcast team repeatedly shanked its coverage.

The only thing that ruined the full enjoyment of the Open for me was the whining done by the golf pros before, during, and after the tournament.

They whined that Chambers Bay was too long, too dry, too hilly, and weirdly contoured. And they whined that the brown-green greens were too slow, bumpy, and just plain bad.

Ian Poulter, the Brit who finished 11 over par for the tournament, said the USGA should have apologized to the players for the poor condition of the greens.

For a while there, I thought some of the best golfers in the world were going to petition the United Nations for relief.

Come on, guys. Man up.

Chambers Bay was supposed to be different. It was purposely designed and conditioned to make it as tough as possible, not as perfect as possible.

It was not supposed to be another Buick Open, where every green looks and runs like a pool table and every fairway is as flat as an airport runway.

I applaud the USGA for trying something different. The golf bosses made the 2015 Open as difficult as they did because they didn’t want the winner to come in at 18 under par.

Their plan worked. Spieth finished at just 5 under. Instead of whining about the course like a duffer, he kept his head down, sunk the putts he needed to sink, and won $1.8 million.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Exposed: Donald Trump’s Circus Act

Poor Jeb.

He’s Donald Trump’s first Republican victim, but he won’t be his last.

On Monday, Bush officially declared he was a Republican candidate for president, something everyone knew was coming.

Jeb gave a serious, by-the-book announcement speech, explaining his many qualifications, making his claim that he’s a true conservative and promising to make America great again.

It was boringly Bush, and maybe a little too moderate for hardline conservatives. But it was mature and dignified. Presidential even.

The mainstream media gave Jeb token coverage for about a day. Some were especially impressed by his fluency in Spanish.

But then on Tuesday, the one-man, one-ring, Donald Trump circus rolled into Republican town.

The Donald wasted no time proving to everyone why he should not be president. He also proved why he’s going to spell trouble for the GOP primary process.

Winging it without a written speech or a Teleprompter, Trump mangled lots of facts about the economy, attacked Republicans Jeb and Marco Rubio, offended the Mexican nation, and admitted proudly that he was absurdly rich and ready to spend millions electing himself.

Entertaining and scary at the same time, Trump was a speeding political train wreck before he got a chance to leave the station.

He said horrible and untrue things about illegal Mexican immigrants, saying they were mostly criminals and murderers while admitting only “some of them may be good people.”

Yet Trump surely hit some nerves when he said we’ve become a country of losers because our leaders are a bunch of losers who can’t get it right in Iraq, Iran, Washington, or anywhere else.

And who’s going to argue with the Donald when he says the Chinese are winning every trade deal we make with them? Or that we’re stuck with crumbling Third World airports like LAX and LaGuardia.

It was Trump in all his self-powered glory.

The media began bashing and mocking him immediately, mainly by merely repeating some of the dumb or outlandish things he blurted.

Trump is not the Ross Perot of 2016. Perot was a serious businessman who wanted to fix the economy and balance the federal budget.

Trump is a vanity candidate. He’s also the wild-and-crazy GOP guy the liberal media have been praying for.

Jon Stewart — whose progressive shtick on the “Daily Show” usually reflects the worst ideas and values of the Democrat faithful — thanked the heavens for Trump’s decision to run.

The Donald is a gift that will keep Hollywood’s comedy sector supplied with a steady stream of material guaranteed to get laughs and always reflect poorly on Republicans.

Another thing. When Trump’s on the stage, he becomes the center of attention and sucks the air out of the room with his wild and crazy personality.

Trump might actually possess some right answers for dealing with the legacy of problems the Obama gang will leave behind.

But he will not be able to get anything done because to fix things in government, you have to know how to work with other people.

Trump doesn’t. He’s a solo act, an ego in chief, an order-giving business exec. He isn’t used to negotiating or working with others.

Everyone knows Trump can’t win. He knows it too. He’s a dangerous distraction and a stain on the GOP brand, but conservatives stuck with him.

For him, the 2016 GOP primary is just another TV reality show. But this time, it’s a show with real consequences, domestically and internationally.

He’ll create lots of late-night laughs. He might even force substantive candidates to address important subjects they’d prefer to dodge, like immigration reform.

But as long as Trump’s in the race, he can only hurt the Republican cause, whether it’s by making the party’s primary process look like a clown convention or bumping someone smart and fiery like Carly Fiorina off the TV debate stage.

The Donald and his multi-billions have crashed the GOP’s exclusive 2016 party for now. But in the long run, he’ll be the joker who’ll be trumped.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Obama: Clueless And Planless

We’ve known for a long time that Barack Obama is clueless when it comes to dealing with what’s left of Iraq.

Now we also know he’s still planless.

Our president was in Europe earlier this week at a “Group of Seven” conference, where he met with leaders of the world’s seven most industrialized economies.

During his concluding remarks, he made news when he said his top security advisers were still working on a plan for how to train Iraq defense forces to fight ISIS.

“We don’t yet have a complete strategy because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis,” the president said.

He said the current problem had something to do with the central government of Iraq having trouble recruiting soldiers.

That confession reminded Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner what the president said 10 bloody months ago — that he was still trying to figure out how to fight ISIS. “We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said.

When it comes to foreign policy, the president and his hapless crew of advisers have had a chronic “strategerie” problem since 2008.

But the deep-down problem Obama has is that he simply doesn’t know how to be the leader of the United States.

He still thinks it’s all about announcing plans and asking the United Nations for permission to act like an American president.

Do you remember Ronald Reagan announcing plans for our warplanes to bomb Kaddafi’s house in Tripoli?

Or announcing we were going to go into Grenada? Or asking the United Nations if it was OK for the United States to do it?

You don’t remember, because my father knew what we needed to do regarding Kaddafi and Grenada and he did it. He made his decision and then acted.

Checking with the U.N. — or even Congress — to see if it was OK with them was the last thing on his mind.

It’s called leadership. It’s called being the president of the United States and knowing when to act like one.

No American president should ever wait for the U.N. to give him its OK on anything.

(And don’t worry about those threats that if we give the U.N. the disrespect it deserves it will move its headquarters out of New York City.

(It’ll never happen, which is too bad, because the U.N.’s corrupt bureaucrats are too attached to New York. It’s where all their hookers live.)

So come on, Mr. President. You were elected president. Wake up and smell the White House coffee.

You have a lot of leading to do, if it’s not too late.

Because you and Hillary have been so bad at your jobs, the Middle East has gone back in time a thousand years and collapsed into chaos and war.

Iraq has been broken into pieces. Syria and Libya too. Afghanistan will probably be next, as soon you have us leave.

The rise of ISIS is already a major disaster and will only get worse. A report recently said it has recruited 25,000 followers from 100 countries.

The last thing you should do, Mr. President, is hold a press conference and tell us you still don’t have a plan to fight ISIS.

When you tell us that, you’re basically admitting to the whole world that you are incompetent.

The world, sadly, already knows that. So do half of the American people. But why have a press conference and put it on the record?

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Here’s What You Need To Know About Child Molesters

In the past few weeks, we’ve learned that Josh Duggar was a child molester, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was a child molester, and the Methodist Church in the UK has apologized for 2,000 cases of abuse dating back to 1950.

Child molesters can be found in the highest reaches of politics. Molesters can be television celebrities. And molesters can ply their abuse under the cover of the church. With abusers that pervasive, it makes sense to learn more about the perpetrators.

Thanks to an excellent article in The Jewish Woman, we can. The really bad news in the report titled “Things You Need to Know About Child Molesters” is that child abuse is an infinite chain. “The vast majority of child molesters are male, and most sexual abusers were sexually abused as children.”

And although in retrospect we consider them monsters, child molesters are successful because they “usually try to be very charming and friendly.” They are also patient. After gaining the trust and approval of parents and organizations dealing with youth, they are often given positions of authority that the molester abuses along with the children.

One of the danger signals for parents is someone who shows an excessive interest in children, showering them with “attention, affection, and gifts.”

Probably the most insidious byproduct of child molestation is the victim feels guilty and that somehow the abuse was their fault.

The article has solid, sensible advice for parents:

– Teach your children about personal safety and boundaries from age three on, making sure you do so in a way that’s appropriate for the child’s age.

– Pay attention if your child is uncomfortable around a popular adult or teen. Calmly attempt to discover the cause through a patient discussion.

– Be wary of adults or teens that lavish gifts or special favors on your child.

– Be very suspicious if any adult or teacher wants to meet with your child behind closed doors for any reason. Ask your child about the incident, again in a calm reassuring fashion, and inform the adult it won’t be happening again.

– If your child says he’s been abused, NEVER blame the child for what they did and how long it took to tell you. Victims need support, not criticism.

– If any child reports abuse, call 911; don’t rely on anyone else to take action.

– Don’t take the word of an abuser at face value; they are expert liars. Let the experts do the investigation.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth