“We Don’t Need Your Stinking Help!”

“Symbolism over Substance” is a phrase you’ve heard and seen us use here numerous times. It best summarizes the hypocrisy we so often see from those on the Left, especially when it comes to immigration.

The primary policy for which Donald Trump was elected President was the one in which he guaranteed the closing of the southern border to illegal immigrants, sealing the border, and the prosecution of immigration law offenders. He’s done as much of the portions of that promise he was able to do on his own. The rest is totally dependent on the U.S. Congress. Who knows what they’ll do, but they haven’t done anything towards stopping illegal crossings.

The “poster child” of politicians from border states is the governor of New Mexico. And she’s stepped in it. Her doing so illustrates the hypocrisy of the elitist politicians that were emboldened by the former inhabitant of the White House who legitimized governing using political elitism and ignoring the rule of law.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham got busted: on her own!

The “Story”

While there’s little debate over the nature of President Donald Trump’s intense focus on border security and illegal immigration, what is up for question — at least among the Left — are the details of what, exactly, is going on along our nation’s southern border.

Some Democrats seem incapable of even agreeing that there is an ongoing crisis at the southern border.

And even if they do admit there is a state of crisis, it nevertheless remains up for debate whether that crisis is of the humanitarian or national security variety, much less how best to address it.

Democrat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham initially denied there was even a hint of a national security crisis at the border, though it appears she may have changed her tune. Now, she’s asking the federal government for help in dealing with illegal immigrants.

It’s a remarkable shift, especially given that in February, Lujan Grisham dismissed Trump’s repeated claims of a national security crisis at the border. She even went so far as to order National Guard troops from both her state and others to withdraw from the border region, suggesting their presence was an unnecessary “charade” and only the result of the president’s “fear-mongering” about the border.

“I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the Southern border,” she said at the time, according to NPR, characterizing the border region in her state as having “some of the safest communities in the country.”

Lujan Grisham proceeded to order the withdrawal of about 100 National Guard troops that had been deployed to the southern border in her state at Trump’s request to provide desperately needed logistical and other assistance to U.S. Border Patrol agents.

The few National Guard troops that remained in the border region were relegated to just lending a humanitarian hand to the hundreds, if not thousands, of illegal immigrants who had entered her state illegally and were residing in — and overrunning — New Mexico’s small towns in the area.

Fast-forward a little more than three months, and the governor was reported to have recently traveled to Washington, D.C., for an in-person meeting with Kevin McAleenan, acting director of the Department of Homeland Security.

A spokesperson from the governor’s office reported that Lujan Grisham’s visit with McAleenan, which followed weeks of back-and-forth phone calls, involved a discussion of the ongoing situation at New Mexico’s southern border.

The discussion included a request from Lujan Grisham for federal reimbursement for state money spent providing humanitarian assistance to illegal aliens. She also reportedly requested the deployment of additional resources and federal staffing in the region to help address the border situation.

“The governor wants to continue to urge the federal government to increase its personnel on the border as a means of improving the logistical and communications output,” the Lujan Grisham spokesperson, Tripp Stelnicki said.

Now it’s not exactly clear what specific sorts of personnel and resources Lujan Grisham is asking for, and her office did not respond to a request for comment.

That being said, her request for additional federal resources is somewhat ironic in light of her dismissal of Trump’s characterization of the crisis and her removal of National Guard troops just a few months ago.

Steve Pearce, chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, summed it up this way:

“She declares there’s no crisis. She removes the National Guard, and now she’s there asking for money,” he said.

“Everything in her actions indicate that she believes there’s a crisis, but yet she will not dedicate the resources or request to her colleagues in Congress to start passing the laws that will change the situation there,” he continued.

The biggest problem for the small New Mexican towns in the border region, if not across the whole state, is that residents and local officials in those towns have no idea how many illegal immigrants have entered their jurisdictions or who exactly those border-crossers are.

Nor is it clear how long they will stay, how much assistance they will require or how many more will soon join them.

This liberal governor trashed the president, dismissed the crisis at the border and further weakened the already weak border security situation via her withdrawal of National Guard troops. Now she wants federal taxpayers to reimburse her state, which is some rather delicious irony icing on her hypocrisy cake.

Summary

My father said this quite often: “Give them enough rope they’ll hang themselves.” I wasn’t certain at the time exactly who and what actions he was referring to. I learned later that it really didn’t matter. People — especially politicians — have become so accustomed to just “going with the flow” of the crowd that they often discover their doing so was a big mistake. Such is the case for Governor Grisham.

Don’t you know when all this happened she was glad to be New Mexico’s governor and not the governor of some big coastal state? There’s not much national press coverage of New Mexico that would have really embarrassed her. Getting busted and having to reach out to the Trump Administration for help is bad enough.

Yep, “Symbolism over Substance” was front and center in New Mexico. Governor Grisham just showed everyone how silly one looks when pontificating about facts that aren’t facts.

What did that great philosopher Forrest Gump have to say about this stuff? “Stupid is as Stupid Does.”

Sometimes others simply know more than we do. But that’s a hard pill to swallow — for Forrest and even for some governors.

Democrat’s Plan: Save the Planet!

I watched about 3 minutes of the first Democrat Party debate. It was either watch the entire thing or get a root canal. I chose the root canal. So I watched 3 minutes of the debate while on hold making my root canal appointment.

I know: this is an important time for the nation. And a bunch of Americans are Democrats. Therefore, debates between potential 2020 Democrat Party candidates for President are really important. After all, we know what they are NOT going to campaign to improve: the economy, unemployment, increases in American jobs, higher wages, lower taxes, and Mom’s apple pie — we already have all that. But what we don’t have is “free everything.” So each one of the 10 in Miami on stage in debate number 1 and those for debate number 2 and the rest of the Democrat debates all have to tell Americans what THEY can do for all of us that is not being done now and how they can make America better.

And I’ve figured it out: “Free Everything!”

“Medicare For All”

Let’s start here. Both Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders have put forth plans so that everyone in American has full-time, full-benefits, and fully paid-for healthcare. Wow!

But won’t that be expensive? “Don’t worry,” they tell us. “The government will foot the bill!”

Hmm… “The Bill.”

”THAT” really is expensive, and someone must pay the bill. Let’s quickly break that down:

$32.6 Trillion over 10 years. (From Vermont’s libertarian Policy Center)

That seems like a lot of money. But “experts” tell us (at least the “Socialist experts”) that when the government takes over the U.S. healthcare system, the cost of services will go down, the price-gouging by healthcare facilities and medical providers will go down, and the greedy insurance companies will be gone. So with those taken care of, the government can just use those cost savings to make up the difference. That sounds good, right?

According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia, doubling federal individual and corporate income tax receipts would not cover the full cost!

But Bernie has a plan to pay the tab for Medicare for All:

• Elimination of special tax breaks: $4.2 trillion over 10 years. The main target: company-provided health benefits for employees. They would no longer be needed. (That means 180 million Americans’ currently employer-provided health plans will be GONE!)

• Household premiums: $3.4 trillion over 10 years. Families would pay a 4% income-based fee, considerably less than what they pay now. Of course! Remember, under Obamacare, Obama’s promise was that “every household would see their insurance premiums go down $2500 a year!”)

• Higher taxes on the rich: $1.8 trillion over 10 years. Raise marginal rates to as high as 52% on the richest Americans. The current top rate is about 39.6%. Also, limit deductions and treat taxes on dividends and capital gains equally.

• A new net wealth tax: $1.3 trillion over 10 years. This new tax would apply to the wealthiest 0.1% or 160,000 households. A 1% annual tax would be applied to net worth exceeding $21 million.

• One-time tax on offshore profits: $767 billion over 10 years. Sanders wants to tax profits of American companies that are earned and held in other countries. These profits are not taxed until they are returned home under current U.S. law.

• Increased estate taxes: $249 billion over 10 years.

• Fee on large Wall Street banks: $117 billion over 10 years. The six largest U.S. financial institutions would get the bill.

I’m not going to go further into the details of all that. All I can do is “SMH” — which is “Shake My Head” in social media parlance.

The “Green New Deal”

Put forth first by freshman Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this deal tackles the Earth-ending spiral of the destruction of the environment led, of course, by the U.S.

So what will it do for the Nation? Basically, it is designed to clean up the environment. Never mind that the U.S. has drastically reduced its carbon emission levels in the last 20 years while virtually every other country on Earth has watched theirs’ spiral upward, we MUST make it better — according to AOC. I’ve posted a link below so that you can read the actual “Green New Deal” when you’re taking a long restroom break, but I’ll give you the skinny here: IT AIN’T CHEAP, BUT IT WILL TOTALLY DO AWAY WITH THOSE PESKY RAILROADS, AUTOMOBILES, AIRPLANES, JETS, AND EVEN SHIPS — unless they all run on air or wind or whatever.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/5731829/Ocasio-Cortez-Green-New-Deal-Resolution.pdf

More importantly, the plan will stop cows from farting! (Whew…I feel safer already)

And — as you might imagine — the “Green New Deal” ain’t cheap!

“The Green New Deal may tally between $51 trillion and $93 trillion over 10-years,” concludes American Action Forum, which is run by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who directed the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office from from 2003 to 2005.”

Abolish Student Debt and Give Free College Tuition

Once again, Senator Bernie Sanders comes to the rescue:

Cost:  $1.6 Trillion Dollars currently owed by 45 million Americans.

PLUS: Free College Tuition will cost $47 billion annually for Federal Government and $23 Billion/year for States.

How to pay for it?

His proposal — which costs $2.2 trillion over 10 years — will be fully paid for by (you guessed it!) a tax on Wall Street speculation similar to what exists in dozens of countries around the world, so says Bernie. 

The “College for all Plan” outlined a “Robin Hood Tax” that would impose a 0.5% tax on stock trades, a 0.1% fee on bonds and a 0.005% fee on derivatives.

Summary

I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to go into that voting booth and pull the lever for whoever the Democrats make their party nominee! Don’t all of these “free” things just excite you about America’s future?

They, of course, are not through throwing new ideas and promises out there. They’re each and everyone for open borders. Even though several of them “say” they want border security and they all excoriate the Trump Administration for “caging those babies” and not providing everything those illegals caught entering the U.S. want, those of the candidates that are serving in government today REFUSE TO PROVIDE THE NECESSARY FUNDING TO DO JUST THAT RIGHT NOW!

They each want to cut the U.S. military once more. After all, they liked what they saw when Obama did just that. They liked the fact that those in the military couldn’t get raises for years, veterans waited for months to get services from the VA — and many of them died while waiting. They didn’t mind that almost 10% of America’s jet fighter fleet was grounded for the inability of the Pentagon to buy spare parts. And they didn’t mind at all during Obama’s 8 years seeing Russia and China zoom ahead of America’s historical military might. They needed all that money for social programs.

Regarding the U.S. economy, they all want one of two things: either allow Democrats in Congress to unilaterally implement programs to spend all the “extra” revenue coming in under this Administration’s policies, or they want to force termination of the Trump policies that have allowed taxpayers to keep more of their paychecks, more Americans to work than ever before, pay raises virtually across the board not seen at any time during the Obama 8 years. “THEY” know far better how to spend those extra dollars. After all: most of them are in the U.S. Congress!

I forgot to mention this: their open-border policies are costing American taxpayers an estimated $100 Billion a year already. By leaving the southern border virtually “open,” it is pretty certain those costs will get to $1 Trillion annually. And that’s not all: in the process of all those illegals taking up residence in the U.S., hundreds of thousands of American citizens will lose their jobs to illegals which have NO desire to pay the price for legal citizenship. Why do so? Democrats just want you to close your eyes to illegals and let them continue to come in unabated. Oh, don’t forget: “we need to let them all vote!”

So what’s the cost for all these exciting things Democrats want to push out from a Democrat-controlled White House and Congress?

Based on estimates from REAL non-partisan experts, over the next decade, Americans will need to pony up $100 Trillion on the low-side and all the way up to $130 Trillion on the high side! And when did any program implemented by the federal government ever come in under or equal to the cost estimates? That never happens!

Here’s what I pray: I pray that enough Americans are smart enough to reason through all this and get to the only conclusion that is reasonable: America cannot afford to go down this path straight to Socialism. And secondly, the nation made a turn in operating structure in 2016 that has made dramatic changes that few (including me) thought could ever happen, and certainly not in just a couple of years! LEAVE IT ALONE!

America is NOT broken like these Democrats are preaching. And we’re smart enough to know that, aren’t we?

When it comes right to it, I choose to believe enough Americans do get that and see the truth of the Democrat Party boondoggle they want to throw on the country to vote to KEEP the policies in place that initiated the process to get here for 4 more years.

And, by the way, I’m not watching any of the Democrat Party debates this election cycle. Circus clowns have always scared the heck out of me!

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Human Trafficking: the Victims

In Part I of this offering, we spoke globally about Human Trafficking and its various iterations. The 3 most common types of human trafficking are sex trafficking, forced labor, and debt bondage.

  • Forced labor, also known as involuntary servitude, is the biggest sector of trafficking in the world, according to the U.S. Department of State.
  • Debt bondage is another form of human trafficking in which an individual is forced to work in order to pay a debt.
  • Sex trafficking disproportionately affects women and children and involves forced participation in commercial sex acts. In the United States, any child under the age of 18 who has been involved in a commercial sex act is considered a trafficking victim. Women and girls make up 80% of the people trafficked transnationally. Yearly, traffickers exploit 1 million children in the commercial sex trade.

Perceptions of human trafficking often involve women forced into prostitution. This is just one aspect of human trafficking. Survivors of trafficking also include men and children, and these survivors are exploited by any number of means. Victims may be forced into any of the following types of labor, among others:

• domestic servitude
• agricultural work
• manufacturing
• janitorial services
• hotel services
• construction
• health and elder care
• hair and nail salons
• prostitution
• strip club dancing

Some survivors are “mail-order” brides who believe they are going to a new country for marriage, but instead, are enslaved.  All nationalities and ethnic groups are vulnerable to human trafficking. Any given country may be a source of forced labor, a place of transit, or a destination. 

It may seem odd to those who live in the U.S., but worldwide the type of human trafficking most widely found is that of Forced Labor. While it happens in the U.S., it is rare. In third-world and poor countries, Forced Labor is far more prevalent. But as we learn the Human Trafficking world, it is important for us all to understand all 3 types.

Far more egregious than labor and debt trafficking is that of sex trafficking — primarily because traffickers disproportionately target children. 

Here at Home

I live in a community of about 300,000 in Northwest Louisiana. It on the most part is a sleepy little community. Few people notice that human trafficking — especially sex trafficking — flourishes in Shreveport/Bossier Louisiana. Why is that?

Simple: “Location.”

Interstate 49 and Interstate 20 run right through the heart of these twin cities. Add to that the proximity to Dallas/Fort Worth and this location is critical to sex traffickers. Shreveport is just 180 miles from Dallas. It’s a natural spot for sex traffickers to set up shop, using Dallas/Fort Worth as the “starting point” for their operations and using Shreveport/Bossier as a crossroads to transporting their victims east, north, and south using the 2 interstates. Of course, they can “market” their commodities right here in town — and they do. Seldom does a month go by without there being a major local bust coordinated by the FBI, DEA, and state and local authorities. It is common for there to be dozens of such arrests made public quite often. It is also not surprising that when the identities of those arrested are made public, many of the traffickers are from North Texas and from south of the Texas border.

Northwest Louisiana and the entire state are really just one example of locations sex traffickers use in the U.S. Here’s part of a recent Shreveport story regarding Louisiana’s issues:

“The public will never know their real names. Take the case of “Julie” — a nine-year-old girl in Caddo Parish (Shreveport) who was sexually abused by her father and then prostituted by her mother out of her own home. Or the case of R.V., a 14-year-old girl who was taken from her home in Florida and trafficked to New Orleans, where she was arrested, at 15 in a 2010 sting operation for prostitution. Or the most recent cases of a minor who was advertised as a prostitute online by a Baton Rouge couple who pleaded guilty in Jan. 2016 to conspiring to commit sex trafficking of a minor, or the 14-year-old girl trafficked in from Dallas to a Shreveport motel.

There’s an underground movement in Louisiana — creeping along interstates, hiding in darkened hotel rooms and operating out of homes and neighborhoods. Child sex-trafficking — selling children for money, drugs, food, rent or greed — is a growing epidemic in the state with more than 100 child victims recovered by the FBI and law enforcement in just one quarter alone.”

No U.S. City is Exempt

(New York City, June of 2019) Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers sought Friday to toss out the sex trafficking claims of an actress the disgraced movie-making mogul maintains is trying to capitalize on the legal success of other women. The lawyers filed papers in Manhattan federal court to try to persuade a judge to reject Wedil David’s trafficking claims. David’s lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles in 2017 and moved to New York, said Weinstein raped her in late 2015 after using the promise of a role in a television series, “Marco Polo,” to lure her to a Beverly Hills hotel.
According to the lawsuit, David met Weinstein at a 2011 party, and he offered to assist her acting career. It said he invited her to awards show parties for several years afterward.

(Greater Los Angeles, June of 2019) “Given the recent reports in our own backyard, we need to become knowledgeable about the issue and change the way we think about sex trafficking. This problem resulted in a domestic and global large-scale trafficking system that was set up in Irvine. The 2017 and 2018 victim demographic report from the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force reveals 365 sex trafficking cases within our county. These women are minors and minorities, many ridden with poverty that keeps them entrapped with limited opportunities to leave and receive support. Almost 30% of the sex trafficking victims in Orange County were female minors. The majority of these young girls were already in the legal system. These are our community members. Many of these women face poverty and discrimination. When taking a look at racial disparities, about 32% of trafficking victims identified as black and 24% as Hispanic. These numbers demonstrate the corruption that is occurring in the sexual and reproductive health of our own community.

There is a juxtaposition of wealth, safety and opportunity with the hidden dangers that our youth encounter. Young girls walk down that area of Beach Boulevard you drive by faster. They wear long sleeves to cover their bruises and other signs of abuse. They aren’t old enough to consent; they didn’t choose this life. If you pay attention you, too, will see them, but we all know them. These victims are our minors; they are our friends; they are a part of our community.”

(Upstate New York from CBS News) “The former spiritual leader of a purported upstate New York self-improvement group that’s been called a cult and a pyramid scheme has been found guilty on seven counts including sex trafficking, racketeering, and conspiracy charges. Jurors began deliberating the case against Keith Raniere Wednesday morning and announced they had reached a verdict about four hours later. They were handed the case following a trial in Brooklyn federal court that has given a disturbing inside look inside the group, NXIVM. Since early May of 2019, jurors have been hearing testimony from what prosecutors say are former “sex slaves” who spoke about the torment of being branded with Raniere’s initials — their “supreme master” who was known as “Vanguard” and revered as “the smartest man in the world” among some followers. The women said they were duped into a joining a secretive NXIVM sub-sect known as DOS under the pretenses that it was a women’s empowerment group. But, they said they were forced by other women who were their “masters” to turn over “collateral,” including nude photographs, and groomed for sex with Raniere. “

(Denton, TX, June of 2019) A six-member panel of experts on sexual exploitation, including members of law enforcement and a trafficking survivor, addressed questions from the moderator and audience in the two-hour discussion aimed at educating the community about sexual exploitation. After an opening prayer, panelists addressed what they said are widespread misconceptions about trafficking being a strictly urban problem.

“I think the biggest challenge that we run into is that lack of public knowledge where people think ‘well, it doesn’t happen here,’” said John Kochan, a special agent in Homeland Security’s sex trafficking unit. Leslie Haight, a 22-year-old Denton resident, said she was surprised to learn that trafficking is a threat to the DFW community. “I didn’t know that it was in Denton [or] that sex trafficking was as common as it is,” Haight said. “I travel a lot so in China, that’s something that’s definitely in that area, but I didn’t think that locally, it was as big of a deal.”

Here’s what the professionals who face the task of destroying sex trafficking every day must do:

What Can We Do?

Under the Trump Administration, aggressive actions have been taken to rip apart groups and jail individuals who traffic all people, but especially our babies. The FBI aggressively leads the pack on finding, taking offenders off the streets, and rescuing those children among us who simply get trapped. Here’s how the FBI does it:

Summary

Last night, 4 of our grandchildren spent the night with us, ages 13 (twin girls and 1 boy) and the youngest is a boy age 10. I had just published Part 1 of this story and certainly was deep into the preparation of this Part II. From the perspective of spending days in research of Human Trafficking and seeing its horrors close up, I could not help but feel dread for these 4 kids that are part of MY family. I cannot fathom the travesty of losing any of them, especially to the world of Human Trafficking.

As I finalized this story, I could not help but think that certainly there are Nonni’s and Poppi’s all over the world that feel the same way as I about their own grandchildren. Probably reading and hearing Parts I and II of this story scares you. If so, you’re not alone. The scariest thing, though, is the knowledge that the criminals that perpetrate these crimes are not necessarily the shady old men who drive really slow through a neighborhood, see a young child on the sidewalk, and stop and say, “Hey, little boy, want a piece of candy?” Of course, that certainly happens. But most of these villans look just like you and me, live in middle-class neighborhoods, drive middle-class cars, and are just everyday people. Because of that, it’s tough to identify them before they strike.

What do we do? Be ever watchful; never take for granted when your children (no matter what their age) run to a public restroom or go inside a store by themselves while you wait in the car. These people are watching, and waiting, and watching…

A local mother told me the story a few weeks ago that right here in my city, she went with her young child to a chain discount store. As she and her little girl pushed a basket around the store, a really conspicuous couple calmly followed them for 20 minutes or so. When she finished shopping and she and her daughter were going to their car, the young man walked up behind her and asked, “Can I help you put your groceries in your car?” It scared her, thankfully. She immediately looked to see where her daughter was. She was horrified to see the young woman that was with the young man talking to her daughter on the other side of the car. The mom sidestepped around the man to hurriedly walk over to where her daughter was listening to the young woman. Without a word, she opened the car door — the passenger side — and slipped into the front seat holding her daughter. As she did, she firmly told the young man and woman to leave them alone. It startled the couple, and without a word, they quickly walked away.

Just think how quickly and how horribly that encounter could have been if that mother had not reacted the way she did. Unfortunately, every day there are hundreds if not thousands of such interactions happening at stores and restaurants and schools and sporting events, etc. which do NOT end so well for little girls and boys.

I challenge you to download this entire story and share it with friends. All American moms and dads and young men and women need to see and read it. We take our safety for granted never thinking something like this could happen to us. But it does. And when it does, it most often is final.

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Human Trafficking: Tragedy!

It is shocking to look into the details of the human trafficking that has been occurring for centuries, is still occurring, grows in number and severity every year, and is occurring in every country on Earth, including the United States.

A good friend of mine is in federal law enforcement. He shocked me several years ago with the details of a federal investigation that was attacking “Sex Tourism.” I had never heard of it. It involved U.S. tourists — primarily men — who make trips overseas that purportedly are for business but are not. In Costa Rica, El Salvador and other Central American countries and in Southeast Asia the Americans fly in to conduct “business.” Instead, they stay in specific hotels that have room service menus. Food is not on the menu, however, boys, girls, women and even men ARE on the menu. The American “orders” off the menu.

Because of new international laws, U.S. federal authorities can now track these American sex=fiends into those foreign countries, arrest them on the spot, and without extradition bring them straight back to the U.S. for prosecution.

Selling people has always been a hidden, dark enterprise that is perpetrated in and from every country in the World. It’s not exclusive to any one demographic. Sadly, there are sadistic people who are happy “purchasing” other humans without preferences for those of specific sexes, ages, and ethnicities.

Not all — in fact, less than half — of those caught-up in human trafficking had any idea of what was happening until it was too late. Like Rebecca Bender. Rebecca was from a good middle-class family, was a good student headed for a great university after high school graduation. And then it happened:

The Basics of Human Trafficking

We today and tomorrow will explore the human trafficking that is so rampant in the World but is blowing up in the United States. There is so much information out there for us to digest we cannot do it in one session. It is so deplorable, we cannot even get our minds around the fact that human trafficking even exists.

Worldwide human trafficking statistics for 2018

  1. 51% of all victims of human trafficking are women aged 18 or older. The proportion of men being trafficked has significantly increased over the last 10 years – from 13% to 21%.
  2. Around 85% of all the victims are trafficked for labor exploitation, nearly 7% for sexual exploitation and just 1% for organ removal. Women and girls are 72% more likely to be trafficked for sexual exploitation than men.
  3. 28% of all human trafficking victims are children (around 20% of girls and 8% of boys).
  4. 63% of all convicted of human trafficking are male, and 37% are female.
  5. Around 43% of all documented cases were domestic, meaning the victim was trafficked with the national borders.
  6. India, Libya, and Myanmar are considered the most dangerous countries especially for women in terms of human trafficking.

United States human trafficking statistics

  1. More than 10,000 people become victims of human trafficking in the US each year;
  2. Women are approximately seven times more likely to experience human trafficking than men;
  3. The average age of the victims is around 15-17 years for sexual exploitation and around 20 for labor exploitation;
  4. It was estimated that Hispanic and Asian people are more likely to become victims of human trafficking;
  5. A marriage proposal is by far the most common type of recruitment tactics for sex slavery, whereas for the labor exploitation, the perpetrators most often just promise a good job;
  6. During Super Bowls and some other large events, there is a spike in sex trafficking, which is around 5 to 20 percent;
  7. California, Texas, and Florida had the most cases of human trafficking registered in 2018;
  8. According to the national human trafficking statistics, Atlanta’s underground sex economy is the biggest with the yearly profit of around $250 million.

Child Trafficking

“When a child has been recruited, transported, harbored, or received and some commercial element is introduced in the production of child pornography, then that individual (by federal law) has also engaged in child trafficking. Whether they work in strip clubs or sweatshops, these boys and girls are victims of human trafficking.”

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as: “sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.”

“The economic reality is that human trafficking is driven by profits. If nobody paid for sex, sex trafficking would not exist.”

Where do trafficked children come from?

Child trafficking victims, whether for labor, sex or organ trafficking, come from all backgrounds, include both boys and girls. They span a wide age range from 1 to 18 years old. Sex trafficking victims up to roughly 25 years old most often started as young as 14. Children are trafficked out of, or into the United States from all regions of the world and represent a variety of different races, ethnic groups, and religions. They may be brought to the U.S. legally or smuggled in.

Trafficked children can be lured to the U.S. through the promise of school or work and promised the opportunity to send money back to their families. Children are also vulnerable to kidnappers, pimps, and professional brokers. Some children are even sold to traffickers by their families, who may or may not have an understanding of what will happen to the child. U.S. born children are also trafficked within the U.S., coming from any racial group, socio-economic background, and come from or trafficked within both city and rural areas.

The Numbers Internationally

The (UNODC) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports the percentage of child victims had risen in a 3-year span from 20 percent to 27 percent. Of every three child victims, two are girls and one is a boy.

Gender and age profile of victims detected globally: 59% Women – 14% Men – 17% Girls and 10% were Boys.

  • 600,000 to 800,000 women, children and men are bought and sold across international borders every year and exploited for forced labor or commercial sex (U.S. Government);
  • When internal trafficking victims are added to the estimates, the number of victims annually is in the range of 2 to 4 million
  • 50% of those victims are estimated to be children;
  • It is estimated that 76 % of transactions for sex with underage girls start on the Internet;
  • 2 million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade (UNICEF).

The impact

  • Human trafficking has surpassed the illegal sale of arms;
  • Trafficking will surpass the illegal sale of drugs in the next few years;
  • Drugs are used once and they are gone. Victims of child trafficking can be used and abused over and over;
  • A $32 billion-a-year industry, human trafficking is on the rise and is in all 50 states (U.S. Government);
  • 4.5 Million of trafficked persons are sexually exploited;
  • Up to 300,000 Americans under 18 are lured into the international commercial sex trade every year;
  • From 14,500 – 17,500 of those victims are trafficked into the United States each year.
  • The average life span of a victim is reported to be 7 years (found dead from attack, abuse, HIV and other STD’s, malnutrition, overdose or suicide)

In the United States, the largest group of at-risk children are runaway, thrown away, or homeless American children who use survival sex to acquire food, shelter, clothing, and other things needed to survive on America’s streets. According to the National Runaway Switchboard, 1.3 million runaway and homeless youth live on America’s streets every day. [5,000 die each year] It would not be surprising to learn that the number of children trafficked in the United States is actually much higher than 300,000.

Children are often targeted by traffickers as they are deemed easier to manipulate than adults. More money can be earned by younger girls and boys exploited in sexual exploitation, especially virgins. Pre-pubescent girls are reported to be injected with hormones to bring on puberty. Younger girls are expected to have a greater earning potential, and as such are in greater demand.

Physical and Mental Consequences of Trafficking for victims

  • Child victims of human trafficking face significant problems. Often physically and sexually abused, they have distinctive medical and psychological needs that must be addressed before advancing in the formative years of adulthood.
  • Child victims of exploitation can face a number of long-term health problems:
  • Sleeping and eating disorders;
  • Sexually transmitted diseases;
  • HIV/AIDS, pelvic pain, rectal trauma and urinary difficulties from working in the sex industry;
  • Drug addiction;
  • Chronic back, hearing, cardiovascular or respiratory problems from endless days toiling in dangerous agriculture, sweatshop or construction conditions;
  • Fear and anxiety;
  • Depression, mood changes;
  • Guilt and shame;
  • The cultural shock from finding themselves in a strange country;
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder;
  • Traumatic bonding with the trafficker.

Summary

We have barely scratched the surface in this story of just how big, far-reaching, and all-encompassing Human Trafficking is. Many saw the movie “Taken” starring Liam Neeson as a former CIA undercover agent whose daughter was kidnapped while on a trip to France with a friend. She was able to reach her father by phone just moments before the human traffickers abducted her. He made a trip to Paris, tracked down the traffickers, and was able to use his considerable CIA skills to get his daughter back just moments before she was to be spirited away into a Middle Eastern life as a slave that would have certainly ended in her death.

Real life seldom finds an ex-CIA dad able to save these children from human trafficking. And it doesn’t matter if these are young children, young adults, boys or girls, men or women, humans are being sold into slavery every day right under our noses. As you saw and heard in the story of Rebecca Bender above, there’s no “cookie-cutter” victim for traffickers. Just about anyone and everyone — especially young children, teens and young adults — are candidates.

Traffickers are professionals. They know their trade inside and out, know how to act swiftly, and know how to sway the minds of young people who most often see their worlds as only their world that exists right around them. Traffickers have learned how to influence their victims with anything at their disposal necessary to sway those trafficked into a life situation that changes them forever and that they never thought could happen to them.

Let me say this: the Trump Administration has taken demonstrative actions in President Trump’s first term — as he promised in campaigning — to take on human traffickers here in the U.S. and abroad working with foreign intelligence entities. Tens of thousands have been arrested and thousands of young people have been rescued. We’ll have more specifics including eye witness accounts in the next chapter of this drama that will play out tomorrow.

As horrifying and devastating as are these experiences, do you know what is more horrifying? The fact that you and I rarely if ever see or hear any national coverage about human trafficking. Ask yourself this question: Why is that? Is it because the victims are too young, too poor, or too unknown for the Media to spend the time and effort to give us their stories? Or is it because that same Media may have powerful people to protect by NOT telling these stories? In either case, our not seeing and hearing these heartbreaking testimonies sufficient to kick these rescues into high gear is in my opinion as big a tragedy as are those young people in the stories themselves.

Be back tomorrow and we drill deeper, uncover more facts and tell more stories, and challenge all to take a role in assisting all those in power in the U.S. and elsewhere who are taking up this cause to save our young people.

 

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Trafficking: It’s Devouring America

We have always thought of trafficking in its various types happening everywhere in the World — except the USA. Sadly, we are not exempt. Whether the trafficking we talk about is drug trafficking, sex trafficking, or just plain old human trafficking, it not only exists, it’s everywhere, including right here in America.

Before you decide to click out of this story or just laugh me off, why not spend a few moments just to make sure you’re not dismissing a reality. Here’s a word about it from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:

Those are startling numbers, aren’t they? “Why don’t we hear more about human trafficking?” you may ask. American newspapers rarely cover stories about it, so it can’t be THAT serious.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s EVERYWHERE. It destroys lives EVERYWHERE. The fact that we don’t hear or see much about it in the U.S. does NOT mean it is not present.

But if it’s here, why don’t we know about it?

Tomorrow we give you Part I of the two-part Human Trafficking report at TruthNewsNetwork. Some of what you will see and hear will shock you. You will be tempted to think we’ve made it up. You’ll find it difficult to believe who is and has been involved in it — from Washington, D.C. to L.A. and even in Omaha, Nebraska.

Both stories will include documented personal experiences from the perspective of law enforcement officials and also from some of those caught-up in it. Rest assured that your “shock-o-meter” will be going off continuously when you share them with us.

If you want to make sure you don’t forget checking-in for each of these stories and others, scroll to the bottom of the homepage website. On the right you’ll find a place to enroll your name and email address. We promise not to bother you. The only emails you will receive is one each time new stories and/or podcasts are posted. Each email will contain a link that will take you directly to each story: NO SALES OF ANYTHING, NO SPAM EMAILS, GUARANTEED.

We’ll get back together tomorrow!

 

“If I Fall, I Want to Fall Forward:” Denzel Washington

Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. (born December 28, 1954) is an American actor, director, and producer. He has received two Golden Globe awards, one Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for the historical war drama film Glory (1989) and Best Actor for his role as corrupt detective Alonzo Harris in the crime thriller Training Day (2001).

Washington has received much critical acclaim for his film work since the 1980s, including his portrayals of real-life figures, such as South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko in Cry Freedom (1987), Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X in Malcolm X (1992), boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in The Hurricane (1999), football coach Herman Boone in Remember the Titans (2000), poet and educator Melvin B. Tolson in The Great Debaters (2007), and drug kingpin Frank Lucas in American Gangster (2007). He has been a featured actor in films produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and has been a frequent collaborator of directors Spike Lee, Antoine Fuqua, and Tony Scott. In 2016, he received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards.

Denzel Washington is an amazing actor. More than that, Denzel is an amazing husband, father, Christian, and leader. Today, Denzel Washington will lead us all by telling us a story that he has told before. But today it is extremely important for what we are watching in our nation.

So here’s what we’ll do: we’ll shut up and step out of the way. Watch this video: “If I fall, I’ll fall forward.” It’s in Denzel Washington’s own words.

Summary

I owned the arena football team in New Orleans for some time. My Head Coach — Pat O’Hara — liked for me to say a word to the 35 football players that showed up for the first day of training camp each year. (That was the ONLY time Coach O’Hara wanted me in front of his team!) I did so, and it was the same every season:

I asked a player to stand and tell us who he was. Invariably, they would stand and say, “I’m so-and-so from Wherever and I’m a Running Back,” or “I’m a Defensive Lineman,” etc. I’d call on 2 or 3 more guys who invariably said the same things. When I had called on a few of those guys, I’d stop that segment and would tell them all this:

“Each of you told us that who you are is a Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, and so on. I didn’t ask what position you play — I asked you tell us who you are. Most people in the U.S. would have responded the exact same way.

We live in a society today that has taught us all that our identity lies in what our jobs are. We set values for ourselves and for others based on exactly that. And the problem in doing so is that when we lose our role as a football player, we have been conditioned to believe that we are no longer who we thought we were — we’ve been conditioned to fail.”

I finished that conversation by saying this to all those players and our coaches: “Don’t let where you are in your life today determine who you are. Today you’re playing football. There will be only 21 players here the last day of training camp. Those 21 will comprise our active player squad. What happens to the others? Some will find other teams, some will leave football and work in some other field. It is a certainty that every player in this room will someday NOT be a football player. When that happens, you better know who you are, not just what you did.”

“You’re a football player today, but that’s not who you are — it’s what you do. When you stop playing you’ll still be who you are. You’re a man!”

I left them all with a similar thought as did Denzel’s instructions to those University of Pennsylvania graduates. I told my guys this: (and it’s a good thought for you too)

Don’t let where you are in your life today determine who you are. Where you are today is only one stop on the path to where you’re going.

Denzel is right: we’re all gonna fall at some point. But when that happens, we’re still the same people — UNLESS we allow our chosen roles to determine our identity and when we fall, we fall forward.

“I’m Sick and Tired!”

There WAS food on the table last night for dinner. So I’m OK there. The house was clean, dogs were groomed, and I got to watch the last season episode of BILLIONS uninterrupted and the final round of the U.S. Open from Pebble Beach. Normally those would be the things that tick me off. Not this time.

I’m Sick and Tired of Washington D.C.! I’m sure that comes as no surprise to many of you. It makes NO difference if you’re liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, from a Red state or Blue state, you’ve got to be frustrated, too. So why don’t we together compile a list of all those things we’re Sick and Tired of?

“I’m Sick and Tired Of……”

Political Favors

There are PLENTY of examples we can point to that expose political favoritism in Washington. We all know about “the bridge to nowhere,” city libraries and highway exits and rezoning of a particular parcel of land. Though sad to admit, all those things are a part of life in the federal government. But sometimes, handing out favors turns into not tangible gifts, but gifts of political power. Let me explain…

Jerold Nadler (D-NY) is the head of one of the most powerful Congressional committees: the House Judiciary Committee. His committee rules on some of the most important legislative items that dramatically impact all Americans. Nadler late June 19, 2019, tweeted this:

My frustration is not with the tweet itself, but with the entire mindset behind it. Nadler represents the 10th Congressional District of New York. Here’s the “geography” of that district: includes parts of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, SoHo, Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, the Financial District, and Battery Park City. In Brooklyn, the 10th District includes parts of Borough Park, Kensington, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, and Gravesend.

If you know Manhattan, you know there are a lot of dollar signs behind the account numbers of thousands of the residents of Nadler’s district. That means there is a lot of might and power regarding all things political there. And all those with big bucks and power have great sway over Nadler.

Because of this, instead of simply reading the Congressman’s tweet and thinking, “He’s a good representative and cares much for the African American community and how slavery impacted them as long ago as 400 years and how they still struggle today,” I automatically think this instead: “I wonder which big givers to his campaign, Wall Street power brokers, and wealthy people of color in his district caved to political correctness and ‘suggested’ he make that statement in a tweet?”

It’s not just Nadler — it’s all over the Capitol, in members of both parties, and happens regarding every issue experienced in the lives of all Americans.

”I’m Sick and Tired of the Political Favors!”

Piling On

We’ve seen a large number of really good people get run out of D.C. for the most ridiculous reasons. Some call it “Piling On,” others call it “Scapegoating.

“Scapegoating” isn’t anything new. In Old Testament Israel, two identical male goats were selected: one was to be sacrificed to God, the other was taken by the High Priest who took the sins of the Jewish people and placed them on the second goat, which was then sent into the desert to where the goat would plunge to its death. One of the factors I’ve found fascinating about scapegoating is a theory that people who are scapegoated must behave in a way that those around them believe that they have “earned” the loathing of others. I couldn’t help thinking of Donald Trump and how he has become the scapegoat of the Left for nearly everything—even when he’s not connected to the situation. Unfortunately, the Left doesn’t realize that scapegoating not only wounds the victim but can be devastating to those who commit it.

Remember Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken? I liked Franken as a comedian in the SNL early days on Saturday nights. Serving in the U.S. Senate as a VERY liberal Minnesotan didn’t serve him well. Franken was literally run out of D.C. amid sexual “allegations” — not proven truths — several years ago for nothing more than allegations. He became a Democrat Party scapegoat to pacify the “Me Too” movement that has summarily attacked high-profile individuals for sexual improprieties. Though Franken’s allegations were shallow and unproven, he just “seemed” sleazy. That qualified Franken to become Dems’ scapegoat.

The obvious #1 Washington scapegoat is President Trump. History — when the history of the Trump presidency is completed — will detail just how “used” he has been by his opponents. Boy, could we chronicle a bunch of those attacks! But let it suffice to say that the Mueller Investigation that was instigated apparently with NO evidence, NO factual information in every other case necessary to initiate a counter-intelligence investigation is a perfect example of Washington finding someone to use as a scapegoat.

”I’m Sick and Tired of the Scapegoating!”

Random Law Enforcement

We just saw something akin to writing a wrong in U.S. criminal justice. The Clinton Crime Bill from the 1990s (that was pushed through in part by Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton) was a horrific example of “equal justice under the law.” African Americans were targeted by the terms of that law for decades: mass incarceration, laws enforced unequally against them compared to enforcement against Caucasians, horrifically expensive criminal litigation costs and sentences that were outrageously unfair, including “Three Strikes and You’re Out.” The new crime bill just signed into law repaired a huge portion of those criminal justice travesties. But the random enforcement of laws still exists and has simply become the elitists’ way of poking average Americans in their eyes with law enforcement wrongs.

Let’s look at a few.

Immigration Laws. Don’t get me started! Folks, I’m sorry. We have specific laws regarding every aspect of immigration in the U.S. — including illegal immigration. The U.S. legally allows 1 million immigrants into the U.S. with permanent status each year. That equals the total number of immigrants allowed into all other countries in the World each year! Yet, we do NOT enforce immigration laws.

How insane is it to know that each month this year, an average of 100,000 illegals have been apprehended at the southern border. That number does NOT include those that sneak across without detection. Yet Democrats will NOT agree to take any measures the professionals tell us are necessary to stop it. That’s insane!

We all know why Democrats won’t stop it: VOTES. A social media story has been circulating stating that “Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to allow illegals to vote in U.S. elections.” That’s NOT true. But….there WAS a bill that doing so was a part of.

“We are prepared to open up the political process and let all of the people come in,” Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and hero of the civil rights movement, told colleagues as he led opposition to the GOP measure.

The 228-197 vote came as part of a broader debate on Democrats’ major legislative priority this year, HR 1, the “For the People Act,” which includes historic expansions of voter registration and access, as well as a major rewrite of campaign finance laws.

The measure would have had no practical effect even if it had passed.  Illegal immigrants  — and indeed noncitizens as a whole — are not legally able to participate in federal elections, according to the U.S. Constitution. But Democrats made it clear they desire to change that!

Drug Laws. Talk about mass chaos. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have passed laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form.

The District of Columbia and 10 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington — have adopted the most expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Those states have done so knowing that possession of marijuana anywhere in the United States violates federal criminal laws!

Does that not bother you? Someone somewhere in the U.S. government made a decision at some point in time for the Department of Justice to allow federal drug laws to be violated at will without any enforcement of federal laws.

There’s no need to go into the why’s about this: we all know. But don’t you think it would be smart and LEGAL for Congress to simply repeal any of the old federal drug laws that make marijuana illegal rather than have police simply wink at marijuana drug users sending them on their way?

Random Enforcement. This one bugs me more than the others. Two guys who committed the same crime, both have the same criminal record, are charged the same, appear before the same judge, and receive totally different sentences though they both committed the same crime! It happens every day in courtrooms of local, state, AND federal courts. Why is that?

Guy #1 has a friend who serves as a Deputy Sheriff who’s sister in the aunt of Guy #1’s girlfriend. That sounds stupid, I know. But it often is that ridiculous. Guy #1 gets a reduced sentence while Guy #2 who knows no one gets the book thrown at him.

“I’m Sick and Tired of Random Law Enforcement Instead of ‘Equal Justice Under the Law!’”

Fact-Checking

I hate them all! Why do they even exist? Of course, it’s because Americans are too stupid, too lazy, and too incapable to do a little research on our own. We MUST rely on the “experts” to check all the facts that are distributed daily in the national news.

Did you know that almost all of the Fact-Checkers are tied to some news outlet or news organization? Of course, they will not tell you that! After all, being a part of a news organization like, The Washington Post, would color the “facts” that are given on any topic seen less truthful, and more biased!

Here are the 10 top Fact-Checking websites as listed by the “experts:”

Politifact– PolitiFact is a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics. PolitiFact is run by editors and reporters from the Tampa Bay Times, an independent newspaper in Florida.  Politifact won the Pulitzer Prize. I don’t know about you, but that in itself is NOT a real recommendation.

Fact Check– FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. They are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. They monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases.

Open Secrets– Open Secrets is a nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, run by the Center for Responsive Politics, which is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Open Secrets is a source for discovering how much and where candidates get their money. They also track lobbying groups and whom they are funding.

Snopes– Snopes has been the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation for a long time. Snopes is also usually the first to report some national or international happening as being factual or not.

The Sunlight Foundation– The Sunlight Foundation is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses the tools of civic tech, open data, policy analysis, and journalism purportedly “to make government and politics more accountable and transparent to all.” Sunlight primarily focuses on money’s role in politics.

Poynter Institute– The Poynter Institute is not a true fact-checking service. Here’s what the experts say about Poynter: “They are however a leader in distinguished journalism and produce nothing but credible and evidence-based content. If Poynter reports it, you can count on it being true.”

Flack Check– Headquartered at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, FlackCheck.org is the political literacy companion site to FactCheck.org. The site provides resources designed to help viewers recognize flaws in arguments in general and political ads in particular.

Truth or Fiction– Very similar to Snopes. They tend to focus more on political rumors and hoaxes.

Hoax-Slayer– Another service that debunks or validates internet rumors and hoaxes.

Fact Checker by the Washington PostThe Washington Post has a very clear left-center bias and this is reflected in their fact checks. Their fact checks are excellent and sourced; however, their bias is reflected in the fact that they fact-check right-wing claims more than left.  Otherwise, the Washington Post is a good resource.

Summary

Just to put it in simple terms: “I’m Sick and Tired of Washington D.C.!” The culture of the city is driven by politics, and because of that, Washington has always seemed “dirty” to me — not in the sense of needing a bath, but it seems to always reak of compromise, dirty deals, cronyism, back-alley negotiations, and trying to find new ways to get into the wallets of Americans.

In the 2016 Presidential Campaign, Donald Trump brought up the term “Drain the Swamp.” No name could possibly be more appropriate than that for Washington. Furthermore, as much as he has and is trying, Washington is so dirty and so evil, I doubt he’ll be able to totally drain the Swamp out of D.C. I don’t think any president can.

But, you know what: getting rid of the swamp creatures one at a time is a good way to start. He’s doing that. He’s turned the light on in the kitchen, and the roaches are scattering.

I’m sick and tired of his turning that light on only for one of the swamp critters to reach up and turn the light off! Those Swamp inhabitants sure like to keep it dark!

 

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“Perception” or “Reality?”

I watched about 10 minutes of President Trump’s rally in Orlando — enough to know he had a rabid crowd of fans that participated in his re-election campaign launch event. He was on script, seemed to stay on the teleprompter message (for the most part), and simply detailed facts, figures, and percentages. All in all, I must say he did a good job with the support of the ardent Trump fans in attendance.

Later overnight, I saw a tweet from Joe Biden and watched short interview videos with Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders as they commented on the President and his campaign rally:

“Let’s be clear: President Trump inherited a growing economy from the Obama-Biden administration,” a tweet from “Team Joe” read. “And now, he’s in the process of squandering it.” Former VP Joe Biden

“Donald Trump is looking back behind — in the past. We need to look ahead — forward through the windshield instead of what’s behind us.” Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)

“Listening to Trump made me feel very much that he is a man living in a parallel universe, a man way out of touch with the needs of ordinary people and a man who must be defeated,” Sanders said. “And I can understand that he attacks me or other Democratic candidates because poll after poll is showing the country that Trump is falling further behind in terms of his ability to get reelected.” Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT)

Of those comments, I do not see the evidence of any understanding of the current status of the U.S.! And we’re talking about 2 current U.S. Senators and the most recent past Vice President who was before that a U.S. Senator. One would think there would be much knowledge and understanding of the past AND present conditions of every segment of the United States, and that their understanding would include intelligent and coherent remarks about where the U.S. is today and where they each want to lead it going forward. All I heard (and all I hear from the other 2-dozen or so Democrat presidential candidates) is “Trump’s a bad guy who doesn’t understand what the average American needs!” Nothing could be further from the truth!

Misunderstanding

Someone at the top of America’s political leadership heap is either confused or ignorant. That “heap” (for the purpose of this conversation) is the pile of members of Congress and the members of the Executive Branch all rolled into one big pile. In the runup to the 2016 election there were 3 political perspectives being touted:

  1. Democrats wanted bigger government, open borders, smaller military, World citizenship to replace U.S. citizenship, and Single-payer Healthcare.
  2. Republicans who wanted smaller government, closed borders, a reinvigorated military, no illegal immigration, lower taxes, reduced across-the-board regulations, and re-affirmed Americanism.
  3. RINO Republicans who wanted everything to stay the same so as not to make any waves in government to prevent any changes of power going forward.

Today there are still 3 political perspectives being touted:

  1. Democrats who want Socialism, open borders, smaller military, World citizenship to replace U.S. citizenship, and Medicare-for-All.
  2. Republicans who still wanted smaller government, closed borders, a stronger military, no illegal immigration, lower taxes, reduced across-the-board regulations, and continued re-affirmed Americanism.
  3. RINO Republicans who pretty much are afraid to come out of the closet and say what they DO want. All they will say is what they DO NOT want: Donald Trump.

I’m Confused!

Sen. Bernie Sanders livestreamed a surly response to President Trump’s campaign rally, while other Democratic 2020 hopefuls tweeted about it. Besides what he said above, Sanders said this:

“It’s going to take me a little while to settle down because I just had the extremely unpleasant experience of watching Donald Trump in action for an hour and a half. Wow, and that was certainly something,” Sanders uttered to the camera in his low-budget rebuttal. “An hour-and-a-half speech of lies, distortions and total absolute nonsense.”

Sanders said he didn’t blame his supporters for being “discombobulated” after watching Trump – who used the Orlando, Florida, rally to revive some of his greatest hits, even asking the crowd what happened to his 2016 rival Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.

Follow a line of thought with me for a few moments. It’s a takeoff on what Sanders said: “Listening to Trump made me feel very much that he is a man living in a parallel universe, a man way out of touch with the needs of ordinary people…”

To understand what’s going on in the minds of those on the Left, one must understand like Sanders and his followers (and even many of the other Democratic candidates and their followers), their feeling that Trump lives in a parallel universe and is out of touch with understanding ordinary people, to them is the truth!

“Perception IS Reality”

That phrase is the most used phrase in teaching and training salespeople today and has been for decades. To break it down for a more basic understanding: “The truth of a matter is always the Perception that a person holds about that matter. Its REAL truth is immaterial.”

Its usage in a sales setting is to show a salesperson how to create a specific perception in the mind of the sales target of the product or service being sold that the salesperson wants the target to perceive — not what the product or service is actually. As far as that sales target is concerned, “their” reality as created by the salesperson is the ONLY reality that matters. Once created, “THEIR” perception “IS” reality.

Regardless of “Perception,” the truth IS the truth. There are truths from the first two years of the Trump presidency that I think those 3 Democrat Party candidates above and the other 20 or so are missing:

  • Unemployment in the U.S. at record lows;
  • Gross Domestic Product is significantly higher than at any time in the Obama/Biden Administration;
  • Black unemployment at all-time lows;
  • Women unemployment at record lows;
  • Women employed are at record highs;
  • More Americans are employed than ever before in history;
  • 5 million new jobs created in the Trump Administration;
  • Welfare and food stamp enrollment at record lows;
  • Federal revenue at the highest levels in history;
  • Wages are rising steadily;
  • Consumer confidence is soaring;
  • Despite the Biden claim of this economy belonging to he and Obama, statistics don’t show that. GDP in the last 6 months of Obama/Biden was 1%. GDP in the first 6 months of Trump was triple that of Obama/Biden: 3%.

Do you know what’s troubling? It’s not only those 23 Democrat presidential candidates that apparently have lost these truths. So have the members of the Mainstream Media.

Three key mainstream media outlets offered 90 percent negative coverage of President Donald Trump and his administration during their evening newscasts in 2018, according to a report by the Media Research Center (MRC). It’s no secret that mainstream media reporters and pundits haven’t been thrilled with the Trump administration — and the president often rails against the “fake news media” and their biased coverage. But MRC listened to and analyzed evening newscasts from purportedly unbiased networks — ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News — and found the coverage to be “incessantly hostile” midway through Trump’s first term in office.

“At the midpoint of Donald Trump’s first term, the establishment media’s obvious hostility shows no signs of relenting, but polls show this negative coverage has had no discernible impact on the public’s attitudes toward the president,” Rich Noyes, MRC research director, wrote in his report. Noyes noted that roughly 23 million people watched these newscasts each evening. Approximately 28 percent of all airtime was devoted to covering the Trump administration in 2018, for a total of 87 hours — down from 99 hours in 2017.

“The tone of coverage remains incessantly hostile: 90 percent negative, vs. just 10 percent positive (excluding neutral statements), matching the historically bad press we documented in 2017,” Noyes wrote. The evening newscasts’ negative coverage over the last two years ranged from 82 percent negative in April 2017 to 96 percent negative in February 2018.

Here’s a news story from just a few days ago. Read/Listen to this and tell me: what did Mainstream Media have to say about what the former Vice President had to say?

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden assailed President Trump’s supporters during a speech Saturday at the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner in Washington, lamenting that “virulent people” and the “dregs of society” still had a friend in the White House.

Mr. Biden told an enthusiastic crowd of LGBTQ rights advocates that social conservatives at home and abroad who used religion or culture as a “license to discriminate” were committing a “crime” of prejudice.

“Despite losing in the courts and in the court of public opinion, these forces of intolerance remain determined to undermine and roll back the progress you all have made,” he argued. “This time they — not you — have an ally in the White House.
“They’re a small percentage of the American people, virulent people,” he continued. “Some of them the dregs of society. And instead of using the full might of the executive branch to secure justice, dignity [and] safety for all, the president uses the White House as a literal, literal bully pulpit, callously exerting his power over those who have little or none.”

Tell me this: if Donald Trump (or any other Republican, for that matter) said about Democrats anything resembling what Biden said about Republican supporters, what would the Mainstream Media have said and done? The answer is obvious. They would fight first to BE first to present the story live on every talk show and newscast for 24-48 hours. And then the demands for a presidential resignation would be trumpeted from coast to coast — non-stop!

Today’s question: Why is that?

The Answer

What I am about to say is now no longer just conjecture or conservative blather — it’s the truth. Many on the Right have felt for years that the Mainstream Media have become something of an arm of the Democrat Party. It’s no longer conjecture. Mainstream Media pundits are now confirmed to be an arm of the Democrat Party.

In the early 1920s, newspapers were literally the arm of the political system. Whichever was in control set the tone of newspaper reporting. News outlets fought hard to gain their independence, respectability as being neutral, and actually gained that reputation by the time of World War II. But since the Nixon White House, what has become to be known as the “Mainstream Media” began to move slowly but steadily to the Left. That move became stronger and stronger. Even though reporters at those outlets publicly proclaimed their impartiality in politics, Americans began to notice biases.

Mark Levin in his recently released book “Unfreedom of the Press” calls on numerous examples that overwhelmingly confirm that traditional and mainstream news sources no longer even try to hide their bias. The likes of ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, The Washington Post, New York Times, and, in fact, almost every newspaper in America have gone all-in for the Democrat Party. There are many today who actually believe the Democrat National Committee passes out talking points “of the day and week” to the media army of so-called journalists. There are sadly only a handful of media news reporting entities that maintain any partiality at all. What’s the most concerning thing about this is that all of those publishers, writers, editors, broadcasters, and reporters have begun to wear their Liberal banners proudly and take no measure in their attacks against conservative causes, candidates, and even elected conservatives. They have now achieved what they feel in their minds is the right to no longer report the news. They now control what news is reported, what all news reports mean, and how the public should perceive ALL news stories.

It’s literally now a class of empowered media elites answering to and talking for a political class that feels they are in total control of what the American public think and know about the political system in the United States. AND ONLY THEY HAVE SOME DIVINE ANOINTING TO DO SO!

In summary, it is now common knowledge that going forward — not just in the 2020 elections, but in ALL federal elections for the foreseeable future — conservatives of all ilks will face the same obstacles. Previously, conservative candidates could simply campaign using all resources available for their presenting their proposed policies to the voting public. News sources carried the stories of their campaigns. Editorials would appear with pro and con support and non-support for candidates, but this process has (until the last few decades) been almost fair. But not now, and never again — at least in my lifetime.

Summary

There’s at least one really good thing that Donald Trump brought back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: integrity. Yes, he may be loud and may challenge all who nastily attack him. Yes, he brags about his accomplishments while in office. But what he is best known for and what American history will say about Donald Trump is that he like all candidates made numerous promises. What Trump has done that is historical is that he has in 2 years fulfilled EVERY PROMISE he possibly could from his campaign! He failed to produce promised results ONLY for those matters that he could not unilaterally under the Law do so. Congress has failed in every case in which Trump could not achieve promised results.

We’ll close with these 2 questions: What other President in your lifetime can claim to have in 2 years achieved the same or similar promise fulfillment as Donald Trump? Secondly, why would any voter sincerely desire to turn 180 degrees from the tangible positive and confirmed results listed above to embrace any one of those 23 Democrat candidates, knowing that in doing so, the immediate dismantling of the foundation built and used to achieve these amazing results for ALL Americans?

NO other President has accomplished anything close to Trump’s accomplishments in 2 years. And the ONLY reason any voter would vote to end the most amazing season of prosperity and its top-to-bottom massive benefits for all Americans is if they are wittingly incapable of reasoning to comprehend the cost of doing so.

These are the exact reasons why President Trump MUST continue to take his message to Americans the same way he did in 2016. And his message resonates far more effectively now than then. Why? BECAUSE HE HAS RESULTS TODAY WE NEVER SAW IN HIS PREDECESSOR’S 8 YEARS!

 

 

 

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Federal Abortion Funding

At TruthNewsNetwork, we have always felt obligated to address the major issues of the day throughout the United States. Illegal Immigration is the only issue that comes to mind that is possibly more important to Americans than the Pro Life-Pro-Choice discussion. Abortion is the most polarizing social and legal issue of the day. And it has been for decades.

Monday, June 17th, that conversation skyrocketed in the U.S. and around the World. Why? U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas surprisingly weighed-in about the Roe v. Wade case that made abortion legal in all 50 states. Most do not realize that what actually resulted in that ruling was the the legality of abortion was taken from the states and given to the United States. And that ruling by SCOTUS determined abortion is legal.

Monday, Justice Thomas in an opinion on an entirely unrelated case decision took a swipe at some of the reasoning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion. An otherwise obscure case decided this week, Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, suggests that a majority of the court would not uphold Roe v. Wade today.

 And to stick another sharp stick in liberals’ eyes, it could also overturn same-sex marriage on the same basis. We’ll later in the week break all this down for you, but not today. Today, we are talking about abortion funding in the abortion conversation.

More controversial than the subject of abortion itself is the funding of abortions. The number one single abortion provider in the U.S. has for some time been Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood by its own numbers shows more than 300,000 abortions are conducted annually in their facilities. A majority of Americans reject the funding of abortions in any way using federal tax dollars. Planned Parenthood summarily insists that its abortion operations are conducted solely through private donations and do NOT rely on or use federal funding. Planned Parenthood discussions and federal tax dollar usage by Planned Parenthood is a conversation for another day.

Beginning long ago but growing much louder in the controversy over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, talk of defunding Planned Parenthood–essentially ensuring that Medicaid funds cannot go to the health provider service–has become deafening. Defunding Planned Parenthood, advocates say, would ensure that taxpayer money is not used for abortions.

People who disagree with defunding Planned Parenthood have a consistent response to that proposal–that federal money cannot be used for abortion services because of something called “the Hyde Amendment.” Let’s learn what the Hyde Amendment is, its history, and what exactly it requires.

The History of the Hyde Amendment

In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. With a 7-2 decision, the court ruled that a woman’s right to an abortion is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. That decision legalized abortion in the United States, although states still have control over certain aspects–like at what point in a woman’s pregnancy abortion can be restricted.

The 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in the United States set up the debate between pro-choice and pro-life advocates that is still going on today. Between 1973 and 1976 various attempts to prevent Medicaid funding from being used for abortions were introduced and failed. But in 1976, the Hyde Amendment was introduced by Congressman Henry Hyde. It was not any sort of stand-alone law, but rather a rider attached to the 1977 fiscal year’s Labor, Health and Humans Services Appropriations Bill.

There was a lot of back-and-forth and disagreements between the House and the Senate, and the measure went through a number of revisions before it was successful. Language that made exceptions for abortions in the case that the mother could die without the procedure was inserted, removed, and inserted again.

But eventually, the provision is known as the “Hyde Amendment” was passed in 1977. In essence, it prohibited any use of Medicaid funds for abortion, unless the life of the mother was endangered. The passage of the Hyde Amendment was seen as a big win for the growing pro-life movement, but because it’s a rider attached to an appropriations bill, it needs to be re-passed every year.

Legal Challenges

After the Hyde Amendment was passed, its legality was almost immediately challenged. The Reproductive Freedom Project, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Planned Parenthood, representing health care providers and a pregnant Medicaid patient, obtained an injunction 40 minutes after the provision went into effect. Federal Judge John F. Dooling Jr. granted the injunction, setting off a legal battle that made its way to the Supreme Court. SCOTUS sent the case back to Dooling, who kept the injunction in place for that year.

While the Hyde Amendment worked its way through the legal system, it also underwent revisions in Congress. Because it needs to be passed again through an appropriations bill each year, there’s plenty of room to edit and refine the language. Eventually, language that allowed for exceptions in the case of rape or incest were added.

Harris v. McRae 

In 1980, the Supreme Court officially weighed in on the legality of the Hyde Amendment in the case of Harris v. McRae. Cora McRae was a pregnant Medicaid patient who challenged the legality of the provision. The court was asked to weigh whether the Hyde Amendment violated the right to privacy, the right to Due Process under the Fifth Amendment, or Freedom of Religion under the First Amendment. In a ruling neatly split by ideology, the court decided that the Hyde Amendment violated none of the above. According to Oyez:

The Court held that states participating in the Medicaid program were not obligated to fund medically necessary abortions under Title XIX. The Court found that a woman’s freedom of choice did not carry with it ‘a constitutional entitlement to the financial resources to avail herself of the full range of protected choices.’ The Court ruled that because the Equal Protection Clause was not a source of substantive rights and because poverty did not qualify as a ‘suspect classification,’ the Hyde Amendment did not violate the Fifth Amendment. Finally, the Court held that the coincidence of the funding restrictions of the statute with tenets of the Roman Catholic Church did not constitute an establishment of religion.

Although the text has evolved slightly over time, it’s similar to the original concept–federal funds through Medicaid should not be used for abortion services. The current text allows exceptions for if a mother’s life is at risk, or if a woman has become pregnant through rape or incest. Despite political majorities changing over time, and other legal cases brought against the provision, some version of the Hyde Amendment has passed every year since 1977.

Modern Day: H.R. 7

Recently, the Hyde Amendment has made it back into the news again, in the sense that there are moves being made to render it permanent. H.R. 7, also known as the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” would codify the already-existing provisions in the Hyde Amendment and make the restrictions on federal funding permanent. It would also prevent women who are on military insurance or work for the federal government from using their insurance for abortion services.

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 7 on January 24, 2017, with a 238-183 vote. It’s unlikely to pass the Senate (similar bills passed the House in recent years and were not passed by the Senate) but if it does, it seems likely that President Donald Trump would choose to sign it.

Arguments for and Against the Hyde Amendment

There are plenty of arguments for and against the Hyde Amendment, many of which are tied to the general debate over abortion. The following lists are by no means conclusive. But like abortion, the Hyde Amendment remains incredibly controversial.

Arguments for the Hyde Amendment 

Advocates of the Hyde Amendment argue that it saves lives. The 40th anniversary of the original passage of the Hyde Amendment was in September 2016, and it was celebrated as having “saved two million lives” since its passage. Advocates argue that cutting funding for abortion prevents women from having abortions. Although it’s obviously difficult to quantify how many women would have sought abortions had they been able to, pro-life advocates estimate that if the Hyde Amendment was repealed, abortion rates would increase by roughly 25 percent.

Another argument in favor of the Hyde Amendment is that it is supported by the American public. Polling on the issue has varied widely–in fact, both supporters and detractors of the Hyde Amendment regularly make this argument–but it’s true that certain polls have indicated Americans are not in favor of using Medicaid funds for abortions. A Politico poll conducted in October 2016 found that 58 percent of voters are not in support of using Medicaid funding for abortion.

Even some pro-choice individuals are in favor of the Hyde Amendment, arguing that regardless of their personal or political beliefs on abortion, taxpayer money should not be involved. For example during the 2016 election, Senator Tim Kaine, in contrast to his running mate Hillary Clinton, was supportive of the Hyde Amendment. Kaine “stood with” Clinton’s efforts to repeal it, but said he was personally in support of the measure.

Arguments Against the Hyde Amendment

Critics of the Hyde Amendment point out that it is specifically intended to target poor women and women of color who rely on Medicaid. Hyde’s own statements when he introduced the measure provide some fodder for that point of view. He stated: “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the (Medicaid) bill.” Advocates of repealing the Hyde Amendment point out that abortion is expensive to pay for out-of-pocket, so many women who rely on Medicaid don’t have that option.

Those who support repealing the Hyde Amendment also point out that restricting access to abortion doesn’t necessarily lead to fewer abortions, but it leads to more unsafe abortions. They also point out that women who want an abortion but aren’t able to obtain one are more likely to fall into poverty than a woman who is able to. And given that many women who seek abortions already have at least one other child, that can be dire for entire families. Of course, traditional pro-choice arguments come into play when discussing the Hyde Amendment–including that women’s healthcare shouldn’t be a political decision.

Summary

Let’s face it: abortion is one of the most controversial topics of the day. And it has been for more than half a century. And it will still be half a century from today!

The typical argument if one reconciles abortion itself is the funding of abortions. The annual federal funding of Planned Parenthood has been a hot topic every year that I can remember. Most Americans cannot see any realistic explanation for any federal tax dollars at all to PP. Last year, the Government Accounting Office reported Planned Parenthood received approximately $500 million in federal funding for use in their services.

Planned Parenthood claims that of that roughly 1/2 Billion received from the government, not a single dollar goes to pay for abortion. They claim those funds are used in total for PP’s “other” healthcare operations. So what are those “other” PP services? Here’s their list:

  • Zika Education and Prevention
  • Transgender and LGBT Healthcare Services
  • HIV Prevention
  • Clinical Research
  • Online and Video Counseling
  • Mobile apps to support medical regimens
  • Planned Parenthood Generation Action college campus chapters
  • Men’s Health Programs

General Health Services:

  • Anemia Testing
  • Checkups for Sexual Health Problems
  • Cholesterol Screening
  • Colon Cancer Screening
  • Diabetes Screening
  • Employment and Sports Physicals
  • Flu Vaccination
  • High Blood Pressure Screening
  • Rape Crisis Counseling Referrals
  • Routine Physical Exams
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Tetanus Vaccination
  • Thyroid Screening
  • UTI Testing and Treatment

Pregnancy Testing and Services:

  • Pregnancy Testing
  • Adoption Services
  • Adoption Referrals
  • Fertility Awareness Education
  • Pregnancy Planning Services
  • Prenatal Services
  • Childbirth Classes
  • Postpartum Exams
  • Trained Staff to Discuss Options If You Are Pregnant
  • Trained Staff to Talk with You About Miscarriage

Birth Control:

  • Birth Control Implant
  • Birth Control Patch
  • Birth Control Pill
  • Birth Control Shot
  • Birth Control Sponge
  • Birth Control Vaginal Ring
  • Cervical Cap
  • Diaphragm
  • Condom
  • FC2 Female Condom
  • Fertility Awareness Method (FAMs)
  • IUD (hormonal, copper)
  • Spermicide
  • Men’s Sterilization (Vasectomy)
  • Sterilization (Essure, Tubal Ligation)

Emergency Contraception:

  • Birth Control Pills as Emergency Contraception
  • Morning-after Pill (Plan B and Similar Brands)
  • Morning-after Pill (Ella)
  • IUD (Copper)

Wow! That’s a lot of healthcare services.

But are these services not available already at other healthcare centers? Remember: Planned Parenthood self-claims to be the champion of women’s healthcare rights for low-income Americans. Are there not already other federally funded centers that provide these same services?

At last count, there are three kinds of health centers nationwide at which low-income Americans can receive all of the above health services through federally funded programs: more than 9,100 Federally Qualified Health Center Service Sites, approximately 300 FQHC Look-Alikes, and approximately 4,100 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), or 13,500 clinics. None of these clinics provide abortion services.

Where do women receive abortions? Planned Parenthood has approximately 700 centers in total, of which they state “very few” provide abortion services. They do NOT release the actual number of centers that do perform abortions.

Let’s do the math:

  • the U.S. funds 13,500 public clinics nationwide at which Americans receive all types of health services, identical to those listed above offered by Planned Parenthood;
  • Planned Parenthood in total operates 700 centers, yet performs over 300,000 abortions per year. They report “a small number” of those 700 centers do abortions. If every PP center DID provide abortions, that would total an average of 14,000 per clinic per year.

Yet U.S. citizens provide $714,285 per year per each of those 700 Planned Parenthood centers — “just a few” of which perform abortions: “Planned Parenthood SAYS.”

“If it quacks and waddles, it’s almost always a duck. And the Planned Parenthood duck seems to be quacking — loudly!”

 

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“I’m Sorry, Dad…”

I’m sorry, Dad, that you missed most all of my Little League baseball games. You didn’t see me hit my first home run. You didn’t see me throw out a runner trying to steal second base. You didn’t see the walk-off double I hit that plated the run to cinch our City Championship.

I’m sorry you were late getting to our final District basketball game and didn’t see me score 12 points in the first quarter — the most I ever scored in a quarter in high school. You did get there, but by that time in the 4th quarter we had put the other team away and our junior varsity and freshmen were on the floor getting game time.

I didn’t get to play much high school football. My sophomore year it was discovered I had only 1 kidney and doctors kept me out of the game. I’m sorry that you never saw me play my favorite sport in either my freshman or sophomore year.

I’m sorry you didn’t think much of my musical talent. From age 7 to age 14, I had a piano recital once each year. They said I was pretty good playing, but you never heard me play with other students so you could compare.

I’m sorry you were too busy to see me graduate from high school or to even know I graduated 13th of the 630 graduates in my senior class.

I’m sorry that in the 7 years in which I traveled playing in a ministry group that you never came to see or hear us in those several hundred services.

I’m sorry that you walked away from relationships with my children — who were your ONLY grandchildren — and never saw any of them graduate from high school, get married, and never even laid eyes on your only 7 great-grandchildren.

I’m sorry that you weren’t available to be with your granddaughter during her fight with breast cancer, her double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and the night in which at dinner, every guy in the family shaved their heads to show her support in her recovery battle.

I’m sorry, Dad, that you weren’t at the funeral of her firstborn baby girl that died. Today, Emerson — that baby girl — would have been fifteen years old. I’m sorry that I’m pretty sure you never even knew her name. I’m sorry that you didn’t know a children’s center at our church is named “The Emerson Center” in her honor — you missed the building dedication.

I’m sorry you missed every birthday, every school program, every t-ball game, soccer game, football game, baseball game and every graduation of each of your only biological grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I’m sorry you never met any of your great-grandchildren and that I’m fairly certain you didn’t know their names or how gorgeous they are.

I’m sorry you were absent from the Christmas family celebrations we had each year for the last 44 years. I guess you just kept right on missing family Christmases like you did with Mom, my brother and me.

I’m sorry when we lived in South Louisiana and I fell in love with hunting and fishing, bought my own boat, and fished every weekend, you never wanted to go fishing or, during the winter, duck hunting either. I spent many weekend nights camped out on Six Mile Lake and wondered what you were doing when I cooked freshly caught bass on the fire.

But, Dad, I’m NOT sorry about some things, too:

  • I’m NOT sorry I learned to not treat my wife (of 44 years) the way you treated Mother;
  • I’m NOT sorry I learned to pour my life into everything that went along with spending time with my wife and children — dance, basketball, baseball, football, plays, church, camp, and eating together;
  • I’m NOT sorry I missed a bunch of games with “the guys,” golf instead of a baseball game or a dance recital, or staying late at a friend’s house instead of watching Mr. Rogers with our youngest;
  • I’m NOT sorry I never missed a fish fry at my in-laws where all my wife’s sisters and their families were there. We created special memories grabbing a bass filet right out the hot grease, at fresh homemade hush puppies and fried pies and told stories until all the kids fell asleep;
  • I’m NOT sorry that we started a beach tradition that was an annual weeklong pilgrimage with our kids, cousins, and always some stragglers at Destin, Florida. I’m NOT sorry we vacationed together as a family every summer. I remember only a single family vacation with you — one on which you fought with Mom about everything WHEN you were with us at all;
  • I’m NOT sorry that I learned money and work are not everything and that enjoying doing EVERYTHING possible with my own family was and is far more important than working 15 hours a day, always coming home cranky and griping about dinner being cold.

Dad, you DID do something really good for me. And I’m thankful for that one thing if nothing else. You’ve been gone for two years this month and I never had the chance to thank for this, probably the MOST important thing I learned in my life.

You taught how to live a happy life, have a good life and a good family, to love being with them as often and as much as possible. How did you do that?

By living every part of my life exactly opposite of the way you lived yours.

Summary

Some of you reading this will think that I’m cold, unthankful for my upbringing, and just an angry 65-year-old guy who has “Daddy issues.” Before you draw that opinion of me, you need to know a few things:

I dealt with much hurt and anger that I allowed to darken a large part of my life. For a time, that hurt and anger clouded my other relationships. Thankfully, a pastor gave a sermon many years ago that I felt was directed right at me on forgiveness. I’ll share the simple sentence in his sermon that changed my life. This “sentence” actually is one verse of the Lord’s Prayer, which I’m certain you’ve quoted as have I hundreds of times: “Forgive me MY sins and I forgive those who sin against me.”

It shocked me to realize, when I prayed that I was actually asking God to forgive me ONLY “as” — which is defined as “at the same time, to the same degree, while, or only if/when” — I forgive all those who have sinned against me.

To that end, years ago I called my Dad and asked him to forgive me for all the anger and malice I had held against him for decades. He wouldn’t forgive me, because he said I had not ever hurt him. He didn’t understand that Lord’s Prayer importance. But that didn’t matter: I did.

I went to his funeral. The pastor who spoke asked me before if I wanted to say something. I thought about it, but I declined. Why? There weren’t many good things I could have honestly said about my Dad. And the one critically important and life-changing principle I COULD have shared with those there wouldn’t have been understood by most if not all of those who attended.

I owe everything the credit anything and everything that might have ever been good in me, every good thing I’ve ever done, every success I’ve ever had, and 100% of all good relationship in my life to the fact that I consciously made a determination and stuck with it:

“I looked at everything Dad did in his life as it pertained to me and all others in our family AND DID EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE IN MY LIFE!” 

I never got to thank you, Dad, for living a pattern that in some crazy way made my life wonderful!

Thanks, Dad.