Are You Better Off Today Than You Were 8 Years Ago?

First posted at Wow! Magazine

I think it’s worth remembering something Ronald Reagan said at the last debate against the incumbent Jimmy Carter a week before the 1980 election.
Here’s what then candidate Reagan said:

Next Tuesday is Election Day. Next Tuesday all of you will go to the polls, will stand there in the polling place and make a decision. I think when you make that decision, it might be well if you would ask yourself, are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? Do you feel that our security is as safe, that we’re as strong as we were four years ago? And if you answer all of those questions yes, why then, I think your choice is very obvious as to whom you will vote for. If you don’t agree, if you don’t think that this course that we’ve been on for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the next four, then I could suggest another choice that you have.

We’ve lived under 8 years of Obama and are considering his acolyte to add at least 4 more.

Are you better off than you were 8 years ago?

  • Inflation is tamed but the result of that has been consecutive bubbles in the stock market that benefit the rich at the expense of the middle class or those living on a fixed income.

  • The unemployment statistics have been rigged. If we captured unemployment statistics using the same methodology in place in 1980 the unemployment rate would be double the current rate of 4.9%, with over a third of the country outside of the labor force.

  • Medical costs continue to soar, as does the cost of insurance. While Obamacare promised to boost access, it hasn’t delivered with an increasing number of insurers leaving the exchange market, leaving consumers with often no insurance choice at all.

Is America respected throughout the world as it was?

  • Ask the Chinese who are busy turning the western Pacific into their swimming pool.

  • Or the Russians who shot down an airliner full of civilians, annexed a chunk of a neighbor, and support a regime that made a joke of Obama’s red lines.

  • Or ISIS who formed in the power vacuum left in Iraq after Obama refused to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government.

  • Or the Taliban who is gradually reestablishing the safe haven that it once had that provided the launching pad for the greatest mass murder in American history.

  • Or North Korea which continues to refine its nuclear and missile capabilities without censure.

  • Or the Jihadis who have struck dozens of times in Europe, killing hundreds all over the continent and making Americans who travel there think twice, the way we once did when we traveled to the Middle East in the 1970s.

Do you feel that our security is as safe, that we’re as strong as we were eight years ago?

  • The Boston Marathon bombing.

  • The Pulse Nightclub attack in Orlando.

  • The San Bernardino massacre.

  • The Fort Hood shooting.

  • The Recruiting Center shooting in Chattanooga.

  • The 2016 Attack on the Dallas Police.

And how about the relations between the races after 8 years of America’s first black president?

  • The 2009 BART riots after the police shooting of Oscar Grant.

  • The 2010 BART Verdict riots. Another one occurred weeks later.

  • The 2010 Westlake district riots after police gun down a Guatemalan immigrant.

  • The 2012 Anaheim riots after multiple police shootings in which Manuel Diaz was killed.

  • The 2013 Flatbush riots after NYPD shoot and kill Kimani Gray.

  • The 2014 Ferguson riots after Michael Brown was shot and killed by Fergusson police.

  • The 2014 riots in NYC, Berkeley, and other cities after a grand jury refuses to indict Eric Garner.

  • The 2015 Baltimore riots after the death of Freddy Gray.

  • The 2016 riots in New York, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Chicago and other cities after the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

  • The 2016 riots in Milwaukee.

  • The 2016 riots in Charlotte after the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by police.

  • And the year isn’t over.

As Reagan said, “And if you answer all of those questions yes, why then, I think your choice is very obvious as to whom you will vote for.” That choice today would be Hillary Clinton. And if you don’t, then your choice is clear. Donald Trump may not be Ronald Reagan, but having lived through the nightmare of the 1970s not once but TWICE thanks to Hillary and Obama, he is the only sensible choice.

A Father’s Prayer for Direction in His Son’s Life

Dear Lord

As You know I’m not a praying man, and I haven’t talked to You much in my life. But I’m sure You’ve noticed that the frequency of my prayers has increased ever since I became a father. First it was that time when the Wife’s contractions suddenly started and the Boy had several months left to go. After the minutes stretched like hours they eventually quieted. Next it was for the birth of a healthy boy and the safety of his mother, and You delivered on both.  In the months that followed I worried about the silence between each of his breaths while he was asleep. Would another breath follow? They inevitably did. I’m not sure if I ever thanked You for all of that. I hope I did but honestly it wouldn’t surprise me if in my know-everything self-centeredness that pervaded my life at the age of 30 I didn’t.

Over the years things kind of dried up as the infant grew into a toddler who then grew into a little boy. I kind of took You for granted at that point, and it wasn’t until the boy turned into a Kid and started driving that the stream of prayers began again.

I know I thanked You the time the Kid was an hour late coming home and wasn’t answering my increasingly frantic calls and texts. “Sorry, I needed to help a friend and my phone died,” he said in the eventual call came. I was too relieved to be angry. Now every time he leaves You hear me asking for you to return him safely home, and every time he does You get a note of thanks. I guess at the half-century mark I realize I don’t know everything after all, and I’m willing to give You a shot if it helps protect the health and safety of my son.

I regret that things have kind of been one way on my part. I’m not sure it counts but I do try to make Your world a better place. I try to treat people with kindness even at the times its hard, and I try to live an honorable life. I’m not perfect as You know, but I hope that as I grow older and more humble I will do You proud.

In the meantime, I need to ask a special favor from You. I hope You don’t mind.

My son is 19, and as You know he thinks he knows everything, everything that is except what he wants to do with his life. This is my fault. I’ve told him that he can do whatever he wants in this Life, but in his mind he has rebelled against my belief with one of his own, the exact opposite. He’s 19 and thinks he can’t do anything.

Part of this is his being overwhelmed by choice. He’s lived in a prosperity that the vast majority of people could only dream of, and I spoiled him instead of allowing him to experience scarcity and poverty that drove me to find a better job and better myself and my family. Another part is laziness. Anything worth doing takes effort but I have failed in teaching him a work ethic even though both of his parents have one. Finally both of his parents are brooders, and it appears we’ve passed this trait onto our son. We’ve both been in the place our son find himself in, but our influence has been waning in his life for a very long time.

Could You give him a direction? Could you help him find the spark that will ignite his passion and launch him into adulthood? I don’t care what that passion is as long as its honorable and makes him happy in the end.

I’ll admit I’m selfish. I want him to be better than me in all ways. I want him to be taller, more handsome, richer, and yes happier. But at this time he’s tormented, putting up barriers to his own success in a way that I just don’t know how to destroy or get him to stop doing. He crafts these barriers out of his own ignorance and fears, bases them on his innate laziness. Talking to him is the conversational equivalent of a dog chasing his tail. Every possibility has a down-side, every plus a minus that nets either a zero or negative. It’s painful to watch and exhausting to listen to.

I’ve told him everything I can think of, that the choices he needs to make where to go in life won’t be permanent and likely won’t even lead him where he expects. I’ve begged  him to see that he’s no fortuneteller. He can’t know what his life will be like 3 or 4 months down the line let alone 3 or 4 years. But he needs to move, that a man is like a shark, always needing to be exploring, learning and providing or he will die.

Lord, I need You to help motivate my child. Help me get him doing something, anything that will stop the brooding that he’s been doing. I’m tired of hearing  “I don’t want,” or “I don’t like,” but what hurts me and worries me the most is when he says, “I cant.” You’ve given me a healthy son with all his faculties, yet he’s wasting what You’ve given him, what his mother and I have worked so hard to give him.

I don’t expect You to do everything for me. In his teens I gave him driving tips when I was driving him the car, and was a good driver by example. I taught him the basics then sent him to driver’s ed and a special program that helps teens become better drivers. Then I gave him a better, safer car than either one of his parents owned, buying with money features such as electronic stability control and side airbags that we substitute our driving experience for. If there’s a quid for Your quo pro, I’m all ears.

But I can’t give him a direction. I can’t buy him passion. I need Your help with that.

So what do You say? Can You give a fellow Father a helping hand here?

What the Weasel Watchers are up to at WOW! Magazine

Black Americans Ignoring Hard Truths

I’m a white man so to some it doesn’t matter what I say or do by my very nature I’m racist. I find it ironic that the people who believe that consider themselves “open minded” or “progressive,” but honestly it doesn’t matter to me because they could be on fire and I wouldn’t waste my spit on them.

And speaking of fires, a very large city in my neck of the woods is burning at night. Charlotte North Carolina, a purple city in a sea of red, is now under siege after a black cop supposedly gunned down for no apparent reason an avid bibliophile who happened to be a black man. To protest this shooting rioters looted the Charlotte Hornet’s team store, because evidently nothing advances the cause of social change faster than free basketball jerseys. They’ve also dropped bricks from highway overpasses onto cars passing below because, well let’s be honest.

They’re savages.

America needs to face some hard truths if it is to survive. Ignoring them as it has done over the past few years just makes it more likely that our country as we know it is in its death throes.

Black culture has failed black Americans. Look at the “values” portrayed by hip hop. Would Martin Luther King jr be proud knowing he had given his life for the misogyny, racism, separatism, homophobia and materialism held up for emulation by young blacks? These values even infect college students as shown by the demand by black students at Claremont college for race-based student housing. Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.

Liberals have failed black Americans. Chicago has had what, 80 years, of Democratic rule, which is why it is a progressive utopia. Ditto most eastern cities including Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Washington and Boston.

Then there’s 8 years of President Obama. President Obama may have the same skin color as black Americans, but he’s not a black American. He was born to a white intellectual and raised by his white grandmother in Hawaii as well as by his Indonesian stepfather. Obama did not grow up in black American culture and has less connection to black culture than many white Americans who grew up with hip hop and rap do. Stop for a moment and consider: Are race relations better today than they were 8 years ago when President Bush sat in the Oval Office? How many race riots happened on his watch?

Liberals have been quick to demonize marriage  for everyone except the LGBTQ+ community, yet poverty and single-parenting go together. There is no faster way to improving your economic lot than through marriage, yet the Left mocks this institution except for gays. The liberal obsession with victimization encourages blacks to blame others for their plight instead of taking action to alleviate it.

Black Americans have failed Black Americans. For decades black Americans have watched one ethnic group after another arrive here, start with nothing often living among them, then in a generation accumulating wealth and moving out of poverty. Even immigrants from Africa have done this, as have a number of black Americans making up the black middle class. But instead of trying to lift themselves out of poverty they look for scapegoats, encouraged by the race-baiters of the Left who literally profit from their misery. Black children who do well in school are bullied for “being too white“. Blacks who rise up from poverty into the middle and upper classes feel little responsibility to help those who share the same skin color but different values, and who can blame them? I come from the white underclass and care little about those who tormented me as a child for studying and now remain there as adults.

Rioting Encourages Racism. White Supremacists have been warning of race wars for decades, and the voices for tolerance and moderation become drowned out by those calling for the imposition of Order, often dispensed at the tip of a rubber bullet. Liberal whites will have a harder time justifying their support for Black Lives Matter when videos of innocent white people being beaten up by gangs of blacks make the rounds of Twitter, and the vast moderate non-racist majority will see this and pay more attention to extremist voices.

Rioting Makes Ghettos Worse. The rioters care nothing about the future, but their actions will make life harder for everyone, especially black Americans who they live among. Watts, East LA and other areas scarred by riots decades ago are economic deserts. Looted stores won’t reopen, forcing locals to travel further for groceries and essentials. Whatever burns won’t be rebuilt.

Black Americans Pay the Price for the War On Drugs. It’s estimated that one out of three black men will spend time behind bars during his lifetime. Many of these crimes are non-violent drug offenses, but a conviction is a conviction making it all but impossible for black men to get a job once they’ve done time. There is no doubt that drug addiction blights lives, but turning it from a criminal problem into a medical one would make it easier for black men to become contributing members to society.

Will black Americans recognize these truths and rise to the challenge to create the color-blind society they were promised by Civil Rights leaders generations ago? Will they ignore the siren call of the wealthy white liberal elite which stokes their grievances without offering a brighter future? Will black Americans take back their streets from the thugs who claim them? I’m just a white guy so I don’t have a clue, but the tiny bit of hope I have left wishes it so.

Hillary Tells The Truth (For Once)

Hillary Clinton has tried to assure her 2nd Amendment supporters (who could likely all fit in one of those new Target gender neutral bathrooms) that she is not going to take away their right to self-defense.

Technically this is true, and this graphic explains why.


Cross-posted at Vladimir Putin’s favorite hangout, Wow! Magazine.

Idiots Give Money to Hillary, Get Scammed

Joshuapundit reports on some small donors to the Clinton campaign getting scammed with multiple charges appearing on their credit card bills. This is what happens when you sign up for the new Goldman Sachs Hillary Clinton Visa card.

Bottom line: If you’re stupid enough to give money to the Clintons after all we know about them, then you deserve what happens to you.

What else do these people do? Give scissors to running children? Car keys to drunks? Gasoline to pyromaniacs?

Trending Now On Wow! Magazine

Confessions of a Gun Nut and ex-Hoplophobe

I grew up fearing guns. When I was a kid my mother refused to buy a toy gun for me that shot plastic pellets 5 yards or so, fearing that the gun would turn me into a sadistic killer. I picked up on her fear of weapons at an early age and carried it through most of adulthood. Guns were tools of evil, and as such had no place in the hands of anyone except for those charged by Society to protect us: police and military.

In 1991 I lived in Hillcrest, a predominantly gay San Diego neighborhood. About a block away a 17 year old boy was stabbed to death in a wilding attack on the sidewalk where I regularly walked to my favorite coffee shop. I attended the protest march days later. Like me the kid wasn’t gay, but it didn’t matter to his attackers, and suddenly I realized that I was vulnerable. It was the first time in my life that I questioned my innate fear of guns, but instead of buying a gun I left the country and began a journey that would take me around the world and bring me back with a wife, kid and 3 Japanese cats.

I’ve never killed anything with a gun. I’ve never hunted but have no problem with people who hunt responsibly. This means people who eat what they shoot and respect wildlife. This does not include weekend drunks with guns who come to my county at midnight, spotlight deer then blast them, leaving garbage on my property and their rotting carcass for my dogs to find them and come home with body parts in their mouths. But I have trained to kill with a gun. Not only physically, but legally. As a responsible gun owner I recognize that knowing the laws in my county and state are just as important as knowing the action of my rifle.

I have been robbed at gunpoint. In an event detailed here I was once robbed at the video store I worked at it college. I’ve never forgotten what it was like to have a career criminal decide whether I lived or died. Would gun control have stopped the “Goody-Two-Shoes bandit”? Nope. He’d have gotten VHS copies of Playboy Sexy Lingerie and Career Opportunities, along with $500 in cash, with a knife, baseball bat, or even a well-timed punch. And given the success of prohibitions on heroin, crystal meth, and prostitution gun control wouldn’t have stopped him – a felon who couldn’t legally own a gun to begin with.

I rescue things. Animals mostly, dogs and cats even chickens and fish, but I have rescued a human being and guns played a role in keeping him and my family safe while we waited for authorities to arrive. Even with animals guns play a role since my chihuahua is a meal to a pack of coyotes, and although I would hope the loud noise of a “boomstick” would scare any predator away, I am prepared to shoot any animal attacking one of my dogs. Most of the time a volley of birdshot into the trees in the woods is enough to scare away the coyotes. The chickens are another case. Everything loves chicken so I will never injure an animal taking one of those. Ask the red tail hawks in the area. My coop was their diner for a while.

I support the LGTBQ+ community and am a member of Pink Pistols. As a writer, photographer and free-thinker I ended up spending a lot of time around people whose sexual preferences were different than my own. While hanging out with gays didn’t make me gay, it did make me a much better dresser (just kidding: I’m more Bill Belichick than Bill Blass). By associating with the LGTBQ+ community I have been exposed to and learned to appreciate fine food, abstract art (never thought that would happen), classic literature, all different types of music, and film and theater. Seeing the world through their eyes has been a joyous experience, and it is one that I would have completely missed had I not let go of my innate homophobia and opened myself up to them. This community is now under threat, and guns have a role to play in protecting it – if the community itself realizes it. Too bad that even after a terror attack in one of their own clubs Gays refuse to protect themselves.

I believe the AK-47 is a better rifle than the AR-15. Now I did it: Let flow the hate-mail! I’m sorry. For years I resisted owning the gun that had put so many Americans into early graves in places like Vietnam. But when that event that I hinted at in the “rescue” section above, I realized that I needed a gun that could put up a curtain of lead between the baddies in the darkness and my family in the light. And that gun turned out to be a semi-automatic Saiga 12 – the shotgun version of the AK-47. Once I made that baby-step it was only a matter of time in seeing the guns for what they were: tools without any metaphysical attachments. They were hunks of stamped metal (in the case of the AK), nothing more or less. And while I respect both platforms, I have found the AK-47 to be the best go-to gun. It’s not fussy with ammo the way the AR-15 is. It will eat anything including crap surplus ammo from the former Warsaw Pact. It’s tough and although I don’t torture it the way Rob Ski does at the Ak Operators Union Local 47-74, I don’t have to worry about its hygiene.

I believe self-defense is a human right.  I have learned through experience that the purpose of police is not the motto we’ve seen on cop shows, “to serve and protect,” at least at the individual level. A cop’s priority doesn’t include taking a bullet for me. His first priority is to survive himself, and his next priority is to reestablish order. These two priorities leave my family and me on our own, making me ultimately responsible for our defense. I find it interesting that the famous people who call for me to be disarmed are surrounded by men carrying guns. It’s not only politicians like President Obama and Hillary Clinton but even Salman Rushdie has called for the disarming of the American public while he is protected by armed bodyguards. They are blind to their hypocrisy and the anti-gun media refuses to call them on it.

If I can’t defend myself, I have no freedom, no rights. Anything can be taken from me by anyone. All my natural rights flow from my ability to protect myself and my loved ones from harm. And if that makes me a gun nut in the eyes of people like Hillary Clinton or Anderson Cooper, than so be it.

Trending Now on Wow! Magazine

Sept 11, 2016

I have a lot to say about Sept 11, 2001. But today is not the day for it. Instead I’ll say it with an image from Sept 11, 2003.

WoW! Magazine Now Online

I’ve been a member of the Watcher’s Council for something like 9 years now. I’ve seen it evolve over time, but one thing that has been constant is the commitment of its members to providing well thought, well written articles about the events of the day.

But while the council evolved, its layout and its rules didn’t. So after much discussion, all secret and conducted wearing hooded cloaks with the smell of burnt offerings in the air, the Council decided to forgo the weekly contest and switch formats.

I am pleased to announce Wow! Magazine.

Note that at Wow! Magazine you will receive the same level of quality content you have come to expect from the Watcher’s Council, just on a daily instead of a weekly basis. Also with pictures – lots of pictures, at least until we get sued. So check it out and let us know what you think.

Because Black Lives Matter

H/T: Bob Owens

Without Mom: At One Year

My mother passed away a year ago today. Unlike many deaths hers wasn’t tragic, and it wasn’t unexpected at the age of 94. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss her or that I haven’t shed a tear or two over the past year. Here are some thoughts.

  1. When my son rescued a puppy last September my first thought was to call mom. She taught me how to love and care for animals, especially those who needed the help the most: strays. I’ve passed that love onto my son. I think she would be proud.

  2. Over the years I’ve called myself an agnostic and an atheist. The truth is I really don’t know what I am. All I know is that I don’t know what happens after death, so why not assume the best? Why not assume my mother is still around in some form, freed from the years of pain but able to affect things in this world?

  3. For most of her life she gave everything for her children, and they to a great extent took advantage of her love and never gave back. I criticized her for it, said she needed to stop doing so much for this one or that (even me once or twice!) but she couldn’t help herself. I now understand how she felt as I watch my teenage son become a man and my role and influence diminish almost to nothing. A parent can’t turn off the love like it’s a spigot or something.

  4. As we get older we find ourselves fitting into roles from our childhoods. I see my role to be a combination of my mother and my father-in-law. I see my wife’s as being a combination of my father and my mother-in-law. It’s not perfect, but the recognition of these roles is useful at times.

  5. When I was in Ireland in May I attended Evensong at Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin. The singing and pipe organ reminded me of when my mother took me to church and I cried every time the organ played. At first she thought the sound scared me, but she quickly realized that I found the music wondrous to the point of being overwhelming. I sat in the Cathedral with my wife and could almost feel mom with me as the music took me away and the tears ran down my cheeks.

  6. I’m glad she missed this election. Mom was a old-time Democrat and didn’t feel comfortable with the direction her party had taken to the Left over the past few elections. She would have voted for Hillary though. I don’t think it was possible for her to vote for a Republican even if she liked him.

  7. My mother believed the most important thing an adult needed was a job. Everything else followed being employed. It was the first step towards a better life and a sound mind. Work was her cure for every ailment, physical or mental. The older I get the more I understand this fact.

  8. My mother lived an honorable, humble life without lies or secrets. She left the world a better place by raising children who make a difference in the world even though they treated her poorly. I realize that it is my turn to do the same, to live an honorable life and make a difference in the world no matter how small it might seem.

I love my mother and miss her terribly, but in my heart I know she’s freed from that decrepit elderly body and with her friends and neighbors she talked about growing up with. In my mind’s eye I see her spinning as she dances, so distant yet in a way so comfortably near.

Council Submissions: August 10, 2016

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Most Wreckless National Security Officials Label Trump Wreckless

A group of 50 national security officials who served on Republican presidents from Nixon on to Bush 2 have signed a letter saying Trump “would be the most wreckless president in American history.”

I’m not delving into the names here, but I’d like to know the answers to the following questions.

  1. How many of these officials supported leaving the South Vietnamese to their own devices in the last two years of the Vietnam conflict?

  2. How many of these officials thought it was a great idea to put hundreds of marines into a indefensible location in Beirut where they could easily be wiped out by a single truck bomb as happened in 1983?

  3. How many of these officials actually thought it was a great idea to get involved with the evacuation of the PLO in the first place?

  4. How many of them supported the arms for hostages swap with the Iranians under Reagan?

  5. How many of them convinced George Bush to support Saddam in the Iran-Iraq war?

  6. How many of them turned on Saddam after the invasion of Kuwait?

  7. How many of them thought it was a great idea to not remove him from power the first time and stop the advance into Iraq outside of Baghdad?

  8. How many of them supported the sanctions regimes and no-fly zones which Saddam used to great propaganda effect during the 1990s?

  9. How many were absolutely certain that Saddam was pursuing a viable nuclear program and had bomb-making material?

  10. How many of them supported the North Korea agreement brokered by Jimmy Carter in 1994 that froze the NK nuclear program?

  11. How many were surprised when North Korea detonated a nuclear device in 2006?

  12. How many supported the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001?

  13. How many supported thought taking out Saddam once and for all was a great idea in 2003?

  14. How many of them consider the Saudis our allies – and aren’t on their payroll?

You see, I’m no expert, but when I look at American Foreign Policy over the past 40 years, years during which I’ve been alive and sentient of such things, I don’t see much that any “national security official” should be proud of.

In fact it’s quite the opposite. It is clear that we are today in the worst possible worlds, one where rogue states like North Korea and Iran have or soon will have the Bomb, where indigenous strong men we took out (Khaddafi, Saddam) once kept a lid on religious zealots that are now slashing women to death in the streets of London and gunning down gays in Miami. In fact, if I was an American national security official, I might be so embarrassed to call myself such, especially since I likely contributed to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq for what turns out was no purpose at all.

I supported the war and I feel duped. I feel like a patsy, but more importantly, I feel angry towards the very people who now have the audacity to crawl from their little hide-holes and spout their so-called “wisdom” once again.

If they want to sign a letter and print it in the Washington Post, they should print an apology to the families of those who died putting their ideas and strategies into place.