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True Colors Coming Through
Thursday, March 06, 2014
To a large degree, World War II actually began in 1937 with Germany’s Chancellor and Leader Adolf Hitler’s call for the unification of Europe’s German-speaking people.

In the months that followed Czechoslovakia, Austria, and the Polish Corridor fell to the annexation and expansion efforts of Nazi Germany, while to a large degree the rest of the world merely wrung its hands, or in the case of the United Kingdom accepted the “peace in our times” policies of Neville Chamberlain.

Now, with the peoples of these United States disgusted with years of turmoil and destruction in the Middle East, and ready for their service men and women to return home, a new situation… a new international travesty has begun — the Russian occupation of Eastern Ukraine.

In actions dramatically similar to those of Nazi Germany, Russian President Valdimir Putin has moved initially clandestine troops into the Crimean Peninsula under the guise of “protecting” the area’s Russian-speaking people.

Since that initial invasion, Putin has suggested that other areas of eastern Ukraine are deserving of similar protection.

Should we be surprised by his actions?>/p>Should we be surprised that the Russian president has turned a cold ear to our President Barack Obama’s warning?

Should we expect anything different?

During the recent Winter Olympics, our President slapped Putin in the face of Russia’s anti-homosexual laws by appointing ambassadors to the international games who were outspoken advocates of that lifestyle in the United States.

Granted, Putin has shown increasing unwillingness to work towards world peace for several years — even with the President’s urging restraint on Putin’s part until after Obama was safely enthroned for a second term.

If you recall, on March 28, 2012, Obama — in an inadvertant “open mike” discussion, asked Putin to “give him some space” regarding our nation’s national defenses.<./p>Now, the Russian president — a former member of the Russian KGB, has shown his true colors to the world, and similar to that of the leader of the Third Reich, shows a willingness to renew the communist expansion practices of the former USSR.

Hopefully, the world’s leaders won’t resort to the milk-toast appeasement efforts that preceded the Second War to End all Wars to resolve this new problem. History has shown that such actions don’t work… even against another super power.

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The Few, The Proud… The West Texans
Thursday, March 06, 2014
It goes to show you… there’s always a few.

One of the most ridiculous things to hit the online news of late is the petition for the United States to give Alaska back to Russia based upon the partially noted history of the territory that became a state in 1959.

As if that’s going to happen for one thing, while claimed by Russia as far back as 1739, the region was purchased by the United States in March 1867 for $7.2 million — a relatively minor amount compared to the billions of dollars this nation has realized out of the state since that time, and the billions more that will undoubtedly be realized in the future.

While I can think of several reasons why I don’t like being associated with the administration and bureaucracy centered around the Potomac River, the most ludicrous reason I can think of is to affiliate oneself with the government of Vladimir Putin instead.

And, if the environmental groups who have expressed concerns about drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge are among the signers of the petition submitted to the White House demanding such action, they apparently haven’t given any thought to the fact that Russia would suck the area dry as fast as a full-figured fellow’s water bottle on a hot summer afternoon… not even caring about the environmental damage.

And why should they care? It’s not even on their continent.

President Obama’s reactions regarding the current situation in Crimea may be a little “milk toast,” possibly in part to their personal agreement to give each other a little space a couple of years ago, but one can only hope there would be more than saber rattling if similar actions of occupation occurred on American soil.

In the past few years, there seems to have been more secessionist ideas being bandied about than crossed the minds of men prior to the 1860s War for Southern Independence.

In actuality, there’s a greater chance of separation by revolution here in the United States, than through secession.

In fact, as I’ve addressed in a previous column, while the annexation agreement between the United States and the former Republic of Texas may include such a provision, according to the US Supreme Court, Texas — including West Texas and the Panhandle, does not have such a right.

I think the same judicial ruling probably covers the northern-most state also.

On the other hand, maybe an additional state — that of West Texas, wouldn’t be a bad idea.

When the State of Virginia raised its head among the Confederacy, the Unionists in the 50 northwestern counties of that state broke off to form the State of West Virginia in 1863.

While the group advocating the return of Alaska to Russia doesn’t have a chance, maybe the US Supreme Court and the boys and girls inhabiting what use to be the “smoke-filled rooms” of Washington, DC, wouldn’t frown so heavily over West Texas pulling away from the liberals that seem to congregate so heavily around the capital of the Lone Star State. After all, it was the political atmosphere of the 1860s that allowed the Appalachian state’s division.

I would hazard a guess that there’s nearly as much of a political separation here and now as there was 151 years go.

Contrary to what northern historians would like to recall, the slavery issue — while serious, was only one of the issues that sparked the southern rebellion.

The boys and girls over in Austin may have experience “chewing the fat,” but how much experience do they have chewing West Texas dust.

They may have experience fighting the traffic in and around Austin and Houston, but how much experience do they have dodging a West Texas tumbleweed stampede?

Yes, there’s always a few, but this time maybe this end of the state should re-write the Marine Corp’s slogan… The few, the proud, the West Texans.

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Ten Rules For A Good Clean Fight
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Mark it down: All couples sometimes fight.

If you’d prefer, I could spin that a tad: “All couples sometimes have serious and somewhat warm discussions.”

That is nothing but normal, and may even be healthy — far better than the immature, toxic, and utterly unfair “I’m clamming up,” passive aggressive, silent approach no adult (or child) should be allowed to get away with.

I got this outline years ago from friend and colleague Lyndon Latham.

I’m not sure where he got it, but there’s a boatload of wisdom in “Ten Rules for a Good Clean Fight.”

1) Before we begin, we must both agree that the time is right (Jeremiah 6:14; Psalm 141:3). Early in the morning or late at night are probably bad times. And why mess up a good meal?

2) We will remember that our only aim is deeper understanding (James 1:19-20). Remember that you love one another.

Take turns speaking but mostly, listen!

Your mate may just need to blow off some steam.

But if you know you’re wrong, just admit it.

If you’re always right, you’re “wrongest” of all. And one wise man smilingly told his son who’d ticked off his girlfriend: “You can be right or you can be happy. Not both.”

3) We will check our weapons often to be sure they are not deadly (Matthew 5:21-22a; James 3:6).

Phasers should be set to “stun” and not “kill.”

You know your mate, weaknesses included, better than anyone else. You can hurt your mate more than anyone else if you so choose. Don’t!

4) We will stick to the issue (Proverbs 10:19).

No exhaustive lists of each other’s faults. And never in a fight use the words “always” or “never.”

They are always unfair and never true.

Use “I feel” statements rather than “You” statements.

5) We will lower our voices one notch instead of raising them two (Proverbs 15:1).

A shouter deserves to lose.

6) We will never discuss or reveal private matters in public (Proverbs 10:8). Duh!

7) We will never involve the children in the battle (Proverbs 10:12). “Never” fight in front of the kids or enlist their aid.

8) We will never resort to violence (Proverbs 29:11).

Anger properly vented is not bad, but violence is absolutely off-limits.

9) We will discuss an armistice whenever either partner calls “halt.” (Ephesians 4:26). Listen! When your mate signals, “Time out,” stop.

Some discussions will take longer than one session.

One couple’s signal is: “Let’s refer this to the committee.”

10) When we have come to terms, we will put the issue away until we both agree that it needs more discussion (Matthew 5:9).

Some things you can agree on quickly. Some things you will never agree on.

Don’t back your mate into a corner and force agreement where there is none.

If you’re the more forceful spouse, this means you especially need to avoid the former temptation and take care of, rather than manipulate, your mate.

Let the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) and the Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13) be your constant guides.

Risk management disclaimers: No. 1 — If you think I’m writing this because of any discussion my wife and I are presently having, get real.

I’m not that much of an idiot, and my life is not that boring. No. 2 — If you think I’m writing this because of any fuss any couple I presently know is presently having, nope, and I direct you to the previous sentence.

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