There’s a comical TV and radio commercial that recently started playing for a bank that’s meant to appeal to the current crop of new college graduates now entering the “real world’. It has a commencement speaker giving the new grads his words of encouragement for their futures. But even as he tells them what bright futures they have, he slams them with the cold hard truth. He tells them they face a future “where student debt crushes your dreams and you’re forced to clean your neighbors’ gutters for gas money…where you move back home and share a bathroom with your younger sister…and the only lasting impression you make is on the cushions of your couch.” Unfortunately, that’s too often true, but that speaker sounds like a graduate of the Barack and Michelle Obama School of Commencement Speaking.
Traditionally, graduation speeches are meant to uplift, encourage and challenge the young people as they begin a new chapter of their lives. It’s supposed to be about them, and the parents and families that helped them make it to their big day. But never underestimate the ability of an Obama to turn a commencement speech into a political rally, saying more about themselves and their pet projects than about the graduates.
Last week, Michelle ranted about race and how unfair her life has been in America when she spoke to graduates at Tuskegee University: “The road ahead is not going to be easy,” said Michelle, “It never is, especially for folks like you and me.” Apparently forgetting she’s married to the most powerful man in the world, she went on to “inspire” the Class of 2015 by listing off all the “slights” she’s had to deal with in her life: “…the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores. The people at formal events who assumed we were the help.” Michelle wants to party like it’s 1964.
Not to be out-done by the missus, BHO spoke to the graduates of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy about an “immediate national security threat.” Did he enlighten them about the horror stories of ISIS beheadings and how that group now has a training camp just 8 miles south of the Texas border? Did he talk about China or Iran and the Middle East? No…in the world according to Obama, the biggest threat that will come to us is from climate change. He goes through the all the old, tired reasons climate alarmists give such as the breaking up of Antarctic sea ice and last year being the warmest ever…blah, blah, blah. Another wasted opportunity.
In contrast, two other famous African Americans were much more uplifting and less self-centered when called upon to address the Class of 2015:
Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice spoke to the graduates at the College of William and Mary in Virginia last weekend. She said as educated people, they have a responsibility to pursue their passions and to be optimistic, telling them, “I know that cynicism sometimes comes with education, but we have reached a level of prosperity and freedom never seen before and although there are still problems, educated people should be hopeful of solving them.”
…And at Dillard University in New Orleans, actor Denzel Washington took an unabashed spiritual approach by telling the graduates to “put God first in everything you do.” He said, “True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you sent beforehand that it’s already yours. … When you get it, reach back, pull someone else up…Don’t just aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference.”
Now those are words you can build a life upon.
Unfortunately, the Obamas have squandered every opportunity they’ve ever been given to really inspire and bring people of all backgrounds together. They could have told their stories from the point of view that less than 50 years ago, it wouldn’t have been possible for a half white/ half black man to be president, but look how far we’ve come. They could have encouraged the students by letting them know that when they put their minds to it, they can achieve great things in America.
The only consolation is that few, if anyone, ever remembers what a commencement speaker says on Graduation Day…when the Obamas speak, that’s probably for the best.
***NOTE: The following letter to President Obama was written by Billy and Karen Vaughn, parents of Aaron Carson Vaughn of SEAL Team VI who was killed in action in Afghanistan on 8/6/11. It was originally published on WorldTribune.com 2 weeks ago and is re-printed here with the Vaughns’ permission. Learn more about their story at www.forourson.us.
After finally choosing to view the barbaric, on-camera beheading by ISIS of freelance war correspondent James Foley, I have been left with a level of rage known only to those of us who have sacrificed unspeakable offerings on the altar of world peace.
My offering was my only son — Aaron Carson Vaughn. Aaron was a member of SEAL Team VI. He was killed in action when a CH47D Chinook, carrying thirty Americans and eight Afghans was shot down in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.
Many times over the past three years, I have been asked what drove my son to choose his particular career. What made him want to be a Navy SEAL? My answer is simple.
Aaron Vaughn was a man who possessed the courage to acknowledge evil. And evil, once truly acknowledged, demands response. Perhaps this is why so few are willing to look it in the eye. It is much simpler — much safer — to look the other way.
That is, unless you are the leader of the Free World.
As Commander-in-Chief, your actions — or lack thereof — Mr. President, cost lives. As you bumble about in your golf cart, slapping on a happy face and fist-pounding your buddies, your cowardly lack of leadership has left a gaping hole — not only in America’s security — but the security of the entire globe. Your message has come across loud and clear, sir: You are not up to this job. You know it. We know it. The world knows it.
Please vacate the people’s house and allow a man or woman of courage and substance to seize the reigns of this out-of-control thug-fest and regain the balance we, America, have provided throughout our great history.
Thanks to your “leadership” from whatever multi-million dollar vacation you happen to be on at any given moment, the world is in chaos. What’s been gained, you’ve lost. What’s been lost, you’ve decimated. You’ve demolished our ability to hold the trust of allies. You’ve made a mockery of the title “President.” And you’ve betrayed the nation for which my son and over 1.3 million others have sacrificed their very lives.
But this should come as no surprise, since your wife uttered a vile statement on Feb. 18, 2008, during the primary campaign — one that speaks volumes of your true convictions. “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country,” she said.
I am sure my deceased son thanks you for that, Mrs. Obama. Oh, and you’re welcome.
Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such despair and such growing fear that the world’s last best hope, America, has finally been dismantled. Perhaps the better word is transformed — fundamentally transformed. Come to think of it, it’s become difficult — if not impossible — to believe things haven’t gone exactly as you planned, Mr. President.
Amazingly, in five short years, your administration has lurched from one disaster to another. You spearheaded the ambitious rush to end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan — with no plan on how to do so effectively. Also, the release of “the Taliban five” in exchange for one American — without consulting Congress — is on your shoulders.
You have been at the helm during unprecedented national security leaks — including, but not limited to the outing of SEAL Team VI on the Bin laden raid, the outing of the Pakistani doctor who provided the intelligence for that raid, the outing of Afghanistan’s CIA station chief, and the outing of your personal “kill list” to make you look tough. In addition, 75 percent of American deaths in Afghanistan and 83 percent of Americans-wounded-in-action have occurred on your watch, according to icasualties.org.
And now, we have this recent, heinous event: the beheading of an American citizen by a barbaric organization you foolishly referred to as “the JV team” in your statements to the New Yorker magazine in January.
You, sir, are the JV team. It’s time for you to step down and allow a true leader to restore our honor and protect our sons and daughters.
America has always been exceptional. And she will be again. You, Mr. President, are a bump in our road.
We hear a lot about the so-called War on Women these days. Usually, it’s in the context of some Democrat accusing some Republican of waging that war by allegedly denying women access to abortion or birth control—as if those were the only things women should care about. The truth is there really is a War on Women going on today, but the most vocal opponents of this war always seem to be looking in the wrong places for it.
On Thursday, a Sudanese Christian woman, who is 8 months pregnant, was sentenced to death for refusing to deny her faith. Twenty-six-year-old Meriam Ibrahim was raised as a Christian by her mother after her Muslim father left them when she was a small child. Her father’s family claims she was born a Muslim and turned away from Islam when she married a Christian man, Daniel Wani, who is from southern Sudan and is also an American citizen. He fled Sudan as a child during the civil war and then returned.
In Sudan, it’s unlawful under shariah law for a woman to marry outside the Muslim faith, and unlawful for anyone to turn away from Islam (apostasy). However, Meriam contends Christianity is all she’s ever known: “I was never a Muslim. I was raised a Christian from the start.”
Along with the death sentence, the court in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum also said she should be given 100 lashes for having “illegitimate” sexual relations with her husband (because he’s a Christian), whom she officially married in 2011. The couple also has an 18-month-old son who has been in jail with Meriam. Her lawyer is planning to appeal this conviction saying that the judge was “thinking more of Islamic Shariah laws than of the country’s laws and its constitution” when he claimed Meriam’s marriage was void due to marrying a Christian.
In recent years, many Sudanese have been convicted of apostasy, but escaped execution when they recanted their faith. Short of a miracle, Meriam Ibrahim will face death by hanging for her faith in Jesus Christ. Amnesty International has come out in support of Meriam calling the conviction “abhorrent”. No word yet on whether President Obama will pick up the phone to lend his support to her as he did to Sandra Fluke in her demands for taxpayer-funded contraception. There have also not been any new Tweets from a sober-faced Michelle Obama bearing a sheet of paper with #SetMeriamFree written on it.
Why should Americans care what happens to some woman living halfway around the world? The same reason we should care what happens to the Nigerian schoolgirls who are still in the hands of Boko Haram, a bunch of shariah-loving terrorists.
An opinion piece last week in The Wall Street Journal gives an excellent wake-up call to the West regarding radical political Islam and shariah law. It was written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born American woman who advocates for the rights of women around the world and is critical of Islam and its practice of female genital mutilation. As a 5-year-old girl she was forced to undergo the procedure, so she is well aware of the pain and oppression women suffer under shariah law.
In the article, Ali, who is an atheist, says it’s time liberals in the West start to pay attention: “If they choose to regard Boko Haram as an aberration, they do so at their peril. The kidnapping of these schoolgirls is not an isolated tragedy; their fate reflects a new wave of jihadism that extends far beyond Nigeria and poses a mortal threat to the rights of women and girls. If my pointing this out offends some people more than the odious acts of Boko Haram, then so be it.”
Ali was to have been given an honorary degree this year from Brandeis University, but due to her outspokenness on Islam and the Brandeis administration’s kowtowing to Islamic support groups like CAIR, the honor has been withdrawn.
No supportive phone calls or Tweets for her either…only the lonely sound of crickets chirping as the war rages on.
“One year like any old other year
In a week like any week
Monday lying down
People doing what people do
Loving, working and getting through
No portraits on the walls
Of Seventh Avenue”
-lyrics to “Tuesday” by Five for Fighting
In a couple of days, we’ll mark another anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people. It’s also the first anniversary of the attack on our embassy in Benghazi that left our ambassador there dead, along with three brave Americans. That second incident could never have happened, I’m afraid, without some amount of forgetting about the first one by some people in very high places. It appears now we may be on the eve of yet another war…this time, though, our brave soldiers will be sent to Syria to fight on the side of the people who took down those two massive towers—and left the lives of thousands changed forever.
Sure, we’re being told that this isn’t going to war, necessarily- just some very precise strikes at certain locations. Does anyone really believe this? Given the record of this president and his cohorts, how can we ever trust what they say? These are the same people who blamed the Benghazi attack on a poorly-made You Tube movie by some guy no one ever heard of (who only recently got out of jail on supposedly “unrelated charges”).
They’re the same people who, to this day, refer to the deadly shootings at Fort Hood in 2009, as an incident of “workplace violence” instead of calling it what it really was. Just for future reference, Mr. President and Mr. Eric Holder: when someone shouts “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is greater”) while shooting American soldiers—or while flying planes full of people into buildings full of people—he or she is in full jihadi mode. It’s called a terrorist attack.
They also ignored warnings from Russian intelligence about the two brothers who executed a successful attack at the Boston Marathon earlier this year where 3 people died and hundreds more sustained life-altering injuries. At least that one they did see fit to call an act of terrorism, even though they had proclaimed last year that the War on Terror was officially over. In fact, when Obama became president, he didn’t even want the phrase to be a part of the government’s lexicon, preferring to call the War on Terror an “overseas contingency operation”. Political correctness gone wild.
Since then, he’s tried to fight multiple wars the PC way, by letting the enemy know in advance when we’ll be leaving the area, not even calling those who want to kill us “enemies” (or acknowledging that there are people who want to kill us), and neither defining nor desiring victory. Only a horse’s behind could concoct such a motto as “Lead from behind.”
The words from the song noted above were written by John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting. He captures very well the mindset of Monday, September 10, 2001. I wouldn’t say we were a nation of innocence and naiveté back then, but compared to what happened on Tuesday and in the years since, it pretty much was an innocent time.
Maybe we’ve forgotten that there was once a time when people who took you to the airport or picked you up could actually go right up to the gate. Or that getting on a plane didn’t involve removing any articles of clothing or being touched by a total stranger. The Constitution of the United States has taken a brutal beating over the past twelve years (even before Obama) to the point that the Founding Fathers wouldn’t recognize it or the nation that still claims to be governed by it.
It’s easy and maybe even convenient for those of us who didn’t lose a loved one, either on 9/11/01 or 9/11/12 to allow our memories of these days to fade, only to look back once a year when we’re sure to see some retrospective on a cable news channel.
But for those who lost someone, they live with the results of terrorism every day. They’d probably give anything for it to be Monday, September 10th again, just to have one last chance to see, talk to or hug the one they lost. Many of us haven’t forgotten them, but I’m not so sure about our “leaders”. It took less than a dozen years to go from Never Forget…to Try to Remember.
“The thing about memories
They’re sure and bound to fade
Except for the stolen souls
Left upon her blade
Is Monday coming back?
That’s what Mondays do”
***NOTE: You can listen to “Tuesday” by Five for Fighting HERE. And watch my video tribute to the victims of 9/11/01 by clicking the “Remembering 9/11/01” photo that is always linked from this page.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe “The Gaffer” Biden continued to pound the pavement this week to push for more gun control legislation. On Monday, BHO spoke in Connecticut where some family members of the children slain in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre were in attendance. Never above using children, even deceased ones, to score political points, he bullied Congress to see things his way: “What’s more important — our children or an ‘A’ grade from the gun lobby?”
Not to be outdone, VP Joe spoke on Tuesday. This time he blamed the National Rifle Association for scaring people into thinking that our Second Amendment rights will be infringed upon if lawmakers approve universal background checks for every gun purchase. Among thinking people who know history, this isn’t as ridiculous an idea that Joe seems to think it is, but nevertheless, he mocked leery gun-owners who believe that a national gun registry could be in the future by referring to them as “the black helicopter crowd”. Biden said, “There’s no way that Uncle Sam can go find out whether you own a gun because we’re about to really take away all your rights and you’re not going to be able to defend yourself and we’re going to swoop down with Special Forces folks and gather up every gun in America.” As he often does, he also channeled his inner hippie when he said, “It’s kinda scary, man…” Yeah man, the government would never use all that information they collect to take away your rights at some point, would they?
Hold the phone, Joe. On Wednesday came this news out of the least free state in the union, my home state of New York: a 35-year-old college librarian had his guns taken away this week when it was found that he was taking a medication for anxiety. According to the SAFE Act, which was quickly passed and signed by their governor without any input from the public, anyone taking a medication for any mental illness must turn in their guns to their local police. The SAFE Act’s broad definition of who is mentally ill became a problem for David Lewis, a man with no criminal record, when he received a letter from the Erie County Clerk’s office letting him know they were suspending his pistol license immediately. The county clerk says it was the state police who gave them and the judge assigned to the case Lewis’ medical information. However, the state police department isn’t accepting any of the blame, issuing a statement on Wednesday saying, “No guns are being taken because an individual is on anti-anxiety medication”. When asked by WGRZ-TV for more information, they refused to comment.
The SAFE Act, passed in the wave of emotion following Sandy Hook, permits guns to be seized from any individual taking such commonly-used drugs as Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil and Wellbutrin. Millions of law-abiding Americans who are not mentally ill take these medications for a variety of reasons. Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs attributed the whole incident to a bad law. He told WGRZ: “I think that first and foremost, it stems from a flawed law that was passed so quickly without forethought on how something would be implemented. Certainly, I am disappointed on the fact that we were given information from State Police that this was an individual that we needed to act immediately on.”
Not only were Lewis’ Second Amendment rights violated, but his rights as a patient under the HIPPA (health care confidentiality) laws were also violated. If that’s not enough, he still has to appear in court in order to get his guns back.
It can’t be said enough that the Second Amendment is the one that guarantees all the others. This is the only nation on earth where we’ve had a Constitutional right to defend ourselves since before we were even established as a nation. Most of the people who have ever lived on earth have only known oppression, so this one right makes us unique. Manuel Martinez, an immigrant from Cuba who lived under Communism, testified this week in Portland, Oregon against gun control, “You people don’t know what freedom is because you never lost it.”
I took the title of this post from a book written by Milton Mayer in the 1950’s in which he interviewed German citizens who had lived through the years before and during World War II. Nearly seven decades later, it’s easy for us to judge them and ask how they could fall for the leaders that they did, or how could they not see what was happening right under their noses. This quote from one interviewee gives some insight into how it was [emphasis is mine]: “Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and ‘crises’ …that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?”
Love him or hate him, you don’t know him…The movie’s promotional tagline gives an ominous hint to what you’ll see if you go to the theater this weekend to check out the film “2016: Obama’s America”. This documentary is the work of Academy Award-winning producer Gerald R. Molen (“Shindler’s List”) and New York Times best-selling author Dinesh D’Souza (The Roots of Obama’s Rage). In fact, this film is sort of a continuation of the ideas presented in the Rage book, which I wrote about last year in my post, “The Book Everyone Should Read Before 2012”
If you’ve read Rage, you know that it presents the premise that the reason why Obama has made decisions that seem contrary to the good of the nation to many of us, were made by him based on his being raised to believe that the West, and America in particular, needs to be brought down in order to “get even” for what he sees as the evil of our colonialism and exploitation of the Third World. Why else would he shut down domestic oil drilling, but promote it in places like Brazil? As the film explains in shocking detail, it’s all about re-distributing wealth—not just from one American to another, but from America to the Third World. In other words, in Obama’s global vision, YOU, America, are the evil One Percent.
The film attempts to understand Obama’s mindset by travelling to the places that affected him as a child. It goes to Indonesia, where he spent a good portion of his childhood and to Kenya, where his father (a man he hardly knew) came from and where he developed his anti-colonial/ anti-West views. While in Kenya, D’Souza sits down to talk with a man we’ve all heard of but have rarely seen: Barack Obama’s half-brother, George Obama. This was one of the most interesting parts of the film. Although living in extreme poverty in a tiny hut in Nairobi, George Obama holds no expectation that his wealthy and powerful older sibling should do anything for him. Nor does this member of the Obama family hold the same anti-colonialist views as his father and half-brother in the White House. In fact, he discusses the differences between other nations such as Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa that were once on a par economically with Kenya. He says now those nations are practically developed, while Kenya still continues to struggle—so it was not, he believes, colonialism that has held Kenya back.
An odd twist to the George Obama story was an incident that happened outside the film, but it reveals quite a bit about the president. According to an article written this week by Dinesh D’Souza, George called him asking him for $1,000 to pay a medical bill because his son was in the hospital. After speaking with a nurse, D’Souza agreed to wire the money to George for his son, but not before he asked him, “Why are you coming to me?” D’Souza writes in his account of the incident: “He said, ‘I have no one else to ask.’ Then he said something that astounded me, ‘Dinesh, you are like a brother to me.’’
As you would assume in a film called “2016”, predictions are made for the future, based on what has already been. It’s pretty frightening too. The film reminds us of the candid conversation between President Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, when Obama (caught on an open microphone), told him he needed “space” and “After my election I have more flexibility” to deal with things like missile defense. The film tells us the sad truth: when Obama entered office, we had 5,000 nuclear warheads. Now we have 1500- his goal is to take it down to 300! All the while, the other nations of the world (China and Russia) are kicking theirs into high gear- and Obama has done nothing to stop Iran from getting nuclear power.
Providing for the common defense is one of only a handful of things the Constitution says the federal government is supposed to do, yet in 2016, if Obama has his way, America will be a much weaker, more mediocre nation- just another nation among the nations of the earth. But the film doesn’t leave us without some hope. D’Souza leaves us with the knowledge that what happens in 2016 is not up to Barack Obama- it’s up to We the People. Are you registered to vote?