The Surreal Presidency

Obama_plays_golfYou can’t make this stuff up, right?  The President is totally disengaged from reality as the bad guys leave  a trail of bodies in their wake and gain more and more land throughout the Middle East.  Now they not only knock on Europe’s door, but actual attacks on the European soil are on the rise.

Journalists, artists, and law enforcement officers are slaughtered in Paris. Jews are targeted in Copenhagen. Coptic Egyptian Christians are beheaded in Libya.  A Jordanian pilot is burned alive.  British, Japanese, and American aid workers and reporters are murdered.  Australian and Canadian citizens are terrorized.  The list goes on. (Let’s not forget our own US-based incident deemed by the administration to be a “workplace violence” event.  Those of us who haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid refer to it as the Fort Hood Massacre.)

All these brutal murders have been committed by Radical Islamic extremists (affiliated with ISIS, ISIL, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, Daesh, or Levant- seriously, who cares-they are all bad guys, hereinafter simply called ISIS.)  Without exception the murders have been perpetrated in the name of Allah.

Yet not once has the Obama administration even acknowledged the root cause of these attacks.  Radical Islam is a murderous philosophy where the end (global Islamic supremacy with its attendant Sharia law) justifies the most horrific of means. There, I said what the President refuses to say.

Last week the President attended the National Prayer breakfast and actually chastised Christians, telling them:

“We have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith…..and lest we get on our high horse and think this is (pause) unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow, all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
 (See text of speech here)

This speech was nothing short of gobsmacking.  There is no other way to say it. The President of the United States not only will not call out the Islamic extremists for their atrocities, but he goes on to equate the crusades and our own post civil war reconstruction to be equally as horrific.  In other words, we are all evil, so we should stop being so judgmental about what is happening overseas. What? Seriously?

The President stands steadfastly by his position that the enemy is on the run.  Virtually everyone, including Leon Panetta, his erstwhile Defense Secretary and a former CIA chief, thinks the President has lost his way.  (See Leon Panetta interview here )  President Obama is so absorbed by his vision of a disengaged United States that he is actually still talking of an ISIS in retreat.  An irrelevant ISIS is compatible with his non-interventionist hands-off America.  Facts are pesky and reality is something to be ignored.

Folks, this is stuff of cloud-cuckoo land.  The President talks and talks and does nothing.  Well, that is not entirely fair.  He did find time last week to film a selfie for Buzz-Feed in a shameless self-promotion of his disastrous health care plan.  The world waits for his leadership.  But it is clear this President will not take the steps necessary to stop ISIS.  Nothing. (Surely he doesn’t actually believe their capabilities and plans can be degraded solely from the bombing bays of F-22’s?)

Maybe he is convinced that if he prevaricates and procrastinates long enough, Russia, Syria, Iran and the Radical Islamists will all go “poof” and disappear in an upwards spiral of smoke.  Maybe we do not giving him enough credit.  His may be the first official foreign policy equivalent of “rope-a-dope”.  We can only hope Mohammad Ali patented the phrase.  It may come in handy again.

One can only imagine the conversations in the West Wing.  Valerie Jarrett is most likely sitting in the President’s chair, talking only to him, as he calls in from his golf cart. Ms. Jarrett counsels the President to stay the course, and not let the rabble-rousers veer him off his pre-determined path.  The President, bolstered by Ms. Jarrett’s pep talk, hangs up, smug smirk restored, and returns to his golf game.  He is more than content because the call was brief enough to allow him to finish his round and get to his Hollywood fundraiser on time.

By the way, where are his (kitchen cabinet) advisors?  Do you know of any ex Obama White House aid who does not acknowledge that other than Valerie Jarrett, the President has none?  This is the President who without the slightest sense of irony will tell you that he is smarter than the other people in the room.  Here is a little factoid for those who care; our best leaders have always been ones who are smart (and confident) enough to surround themselves with (and listen to) even smarter people.  President Obama has never see fit to do so.

It is unfathomable to think the President can possibly continue to deny the reality that surrounds him.  But folks, this is not a sublime Presidency.  We are in the twilight zone, and the President seems wholly comfortable operating from within his own surreal world. Woe is we.


Old Things Are Best

Dad - Opine Needles
And so it came to pass in end of the fifth year of the reign of the man known as Obama. There remained much to debate as to what exactly had come to pass. Forsooth, the people were much disillusioned. So many had heralded his arrival as “that” arrival millions believed was imminent. Alas, the citizens were in disarray, for it had ensued that the savior had yet to pick the time for his return, and the man known as Obama was no longer confused with HIS only begotten son.

On matters more earthly, the elderly amongst the people used the time of year to give thanks for the things that matter; their families, their faith, and their good fortune. The frivolity of their youths were held in check by the reality of their latter day experiences; their senses of responsibility, morality, and decency had been honed through the fog of the twists and turns on their respective roads of life.

There was one who was mystified by all that made his present world turn. Lost seemed to be the things that really matter. He reflected on those things he could not control, and settled on seeking contentment on matters that had been or still were in his realm.

So as Christmas drew nigh, he thought of his departed father, who once wrote words for a magazine; words that are timeless, and special, and powerful. Those words were:

Old things are better than new things. They may not perform better, but they are nicer to own; they are friends. My Randall knife, while not my oldest, is a prized possession, not for any monetary value that it might have-but because we’ve done a lot of fun things together in the past 30 years.

My oldest knife was “requisitioned” from the arms chest of the Tacloban Shore Patrol during WWII. Six months ago, I gave it a new handle of leather rings. It, too, provides memories.

I have two pairs of old leather bird boots, which date back to when they cost $18.00 to $20.00; big money then. Believe it or not, I still have fond memories of my first pair which were bought before the war, and carried me into the fifties. They were prime examples of what a cobbler could do if he really cared about old and good boots. They were from L.L. Bean, as is one of my current pairs.

Old wool deer pants are better than new ones only because you can look at the various repairs and bring back memories.

Old deer hunting friends are better than new ones. They took the test of time and passed. Old deer hunters are better than young ones. They know more and their hearts and legs make them move more slowly.

Old rifles are better than new ones, and, in the area, I must personalize the statement, for I have only had my current “old” rifle for one season. It’s a custom-stocked .308 built on a Sako action. The bluing has worn off due to it having been in and out of countless scabbards.

It previously belonged to Warren Page marksman, hunter, and Field & Stream writer. I’d like to think that it was one of his favorites because of its worn condition. It weights under seven pounds, with sling and scope. I can’t tell you all the places it has been, or the stalks or excitement it has witnessed.

However, I can tell you that on my back it has gone to four different states and accounted for three whitetail bucks. In time it will earn a place alongside my Randall as a source of retrospective good memories.

Old hats are better than new hats and everybody knows that. I brought mine home from the Pacific. Its previous owner, an Australian, gave it to me after punching me in the nose. I had, in company with an MP, walked into a bar and immediately found myself on the floor-for no particular reason other than being an American with a Shore Patrol band on my arm.

My old Aussie hat bears the inscription “Denham & Horgrove Ltd. Atherstone, 1943″ on the band. The felt is about 1/4” thick, and the brim keeps the rain off my glasses and the snow from going down my neck. Other than being practical and irreplaceable, it’s a best hat because it is old.

I have lot’s of good old things; old compasses, shirts, and two mended pairs of my father’s long red underwear. All these things give me warmth and comfort.

Someday you will get older and you, too, will be a best thing.

And he felt better just for reading the words again, and even better by taking the time to type them into his next blog. For he knew at that moment that no matter how absurd were the events in and of his world, no one could take away the words he had revisited, and more importantly, the hat he now wore.

Jim Pierce - Dad's Hat - Old Things Are Best - Opine Needles