Sunday, December 4, 2016

I Don't Understand

Top Sail Beach, NC, Photo courtesy of Tom Sheppard, (C) 2016 Tom Sheppard
There is so much in this world that I do not understand.  From gravity and calculus to the workings of the human mind and heart. I have learned many things in my life, from how a flower on a tree becomes an apple to how energy is transformed into matter and back again into energy as the apple tree takes in the energy of the sun, turns some of it into apples which I eat and my body transforms back into energy to power me through the day. 

I do know that I am not alone in my ignorance.

I don't know how many apples are in an apple seed.  And neither does anyone else, be they scientist or theologian.  For every fact that science reveals there are countless more truths that still lay beyond the understanding or even the imaginations of people.

We know so little in the big scheme of things, how can anyone even imagine that we have enough information to judge the actions of God?  I know that God exists because he has revealed himself to enough witnesses to convince any jury of reasonable people.  And, I know he exists because I have experimented on his word and enjoyed the results he predicted.

God knows how many apples are in an apple seed.  He knows the feelings and thoughts that shape the minds and acts of people.  He understands gravity and calculus.  Because his words have always proven true when I applied them as he commanded, I have total faith that he is using his knowledge to help me in this life to learn and experience the triumphs and tragedies that will allow me to fulfill his purpose for me. And I know that his ultimate purpose is to give me all that he has.  The joy, the knowledge, the power, and even the heartaches that he has will all be mine to share one day.

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). 

 The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 

(c) Copyright 2016 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

 Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Bullies v the Silent Majority

As #TrumpTrauma continues to fascinate the nation, the following true story, posted today by a friend of mine shows what is wrong in the US today and why Trump won this election. It is a sad story.

The day after the election my oldest son, Baker, asked my wife if a friend of his, a Muslim girl, would have to be deported now that Trump was elected. Lauren explained to him that we should always stand up and protect others, especially those in the minority, and that she would not be deported.  
Yesterday at an after-school Student Council meeting, while discussing an upcoming social event in December. Baker referred to it as a “Christmas party”. This same girl took offense and asked him not to call it a Christmas party. He apologized. Moments later he slipped up and called it a Christmas party again. In anger, she jumped up and pulled his hair. In pain and embarrassed in front of his classmates, he left and he hid out the rest of the meeting in the bathroom. 
I was touched that Baker had such concern for his friend. Baker is one of the most caring and least bigoted kids I know, much more so than I was at his age.  
I was sad that he got attacked for what really was just an accident. He would never intentionally offend anyone. I was sad that this girl didn’t know that just two days before Baker was concerned that her family might have to leave the country.  
I am also really sad for this young girl. I wondered what she must have been feeling the past few days. Threatened? Afraid? Or what she may have experienced from other classmates that might have set her on edge to lash out.  
Two innocent kids that have been friends that have been set at odds due to the society and happenings all around them that they have nothing to do with. This makes me sad. I hope that we can heal as a Nation soon.

For quite some time now, Christians in the US have been being assaulted by the twin bullies of Islam and Atheism.  They have been fierce, abusive and even violent in their assertions that we should shut up and hide in the bathroom when our views differ from theirs.  They have been demanding that we relinquish our rights because they are offended.

I believe that Trump got elected because he appealed to the silent majority, who were tired of being silent anymore.  He gave them a voice that said, "stop walking on me."

I admire the good Christian values this boy demonstrated.  His parents have taught him well.  I hope they also teach him how to deal with bullies.

By the way, I don't mean punching the girl.  Violence in the face of bullying and oppression is the course of last resort.

First is an appeal to the offender.  Asking reasonably that they apologize for their violence and intolerance and that they demonstrate mutual respect, not just one-way respect.

If that fails, then an appeal to legitimate, formal authority for redress of the wrongs you have suffered.  If the authority fails to redress your wrongs, or joins in the abuse, then there is only one course left.

When the appeal to the better nature of the bully fails and the recognized authority either declines to intervene or joins with the bullies, that is when a violent response is justified.  Not right then, but the next time the bully tries to beat you down.  Then, you are justified to counterpunch and knock him or her down and tell them, "this far and no further." 

God expects us to follow the rules.  He also gives us the right to defend ourselves when those who are set in authority to enforce the rules are unable or unwilling to preserve our rights and keep us safe in our persons and possessions.

For the past several years, and with increasing frequency and furor during the Obama Presidency, the silent majority of Christian Americans (black, white, brown and red) have been being bullied by the Atheists and Muslims.  We are being told we must be silent in our beliefs, while only they are allowed to speak freely.  We are being told that we should not only not be heard, but we should not be seen.

If the Jews remember the rise of Hitler, they should be deeply afraid of this trend.  They were on the receiving end of the National Socialists (NAZIs) push to replace all religion with the worship of the state and its leader.  If the Christians are being actively persecuted and bullied by Muslims and Atheists in this country, can the Jews be far behind?  And what of the Hindus and Buddhists? 

Once the Christian bulwark of tolerance and civility is destroyed in this country, the many religions and races who have sheltered behind it will be swept away and only one religion will be tolerated - the worship of the state, and its leaders.

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is the second step of ordinary Americans, the silent majority, dealing with bullies.

First, we appealed to the better nature of these bullies.  As with most bullies, they assumed our peaceful response was a sign of weakness.  That just emboldened them to further outrages upon us.

When they failed to behave in a civil and tolerant manner, being as respectful of our rights as we have been of theirs, we looked for intervention by the legitimate authorities.  What we found at the highest levels of our government was a President and an administration that was hostile toward the rights and beliefs of the silent majority and unwilling to take appropriate measures to protect our rights as well as those of others.

Seeing the unwillingness of our leaders to stand for justice, the silent majority took the next step.  We sought out a candidate who appeared to give voice to our fears and frustrations.  The obvious danger from demagogues at this point should be clear to all students of history.  It remains to be seen if Trump will be a demagogue, or if he will stand in the breach of the wall of Christian tolerance which has been blasted by Atheists and Muslims, and mete out both liberty and justice for all, or not.  That is what the silent majority are hoping for, is liberty and justice for all, not just for the favorites, or the bullies.

But, be warned, the silent, tolerant majority have spoken in this election.  They have said clearly that what has gone on before will not be tolerated anymore.  If the bullies of Islam and Atheism don't behave as civilized people should and exhibit the respect they ask for, and government doesn't protect the rights of the majority as well as it does the minority, the next step, a fist to the nose of the bullies, is a place which has not been seen in this country since the American Revolution.  And it won't be pretty.

I never want to see that day.  It is my hope and prayer that the Atheist and Muslim bullies will be fearful enough of the results of this election that they will correct their behaviors and embrace the norms of civil society where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and where they don't expect their rights to be exercised at the expense of the rights of others.

The silent majority of Americans have spoken.  Will you hear it.  Will you heed it?  Or will you instead respond with violence in another attempt to get what you want by bullying others?  Beware of picking a fight you cannot ever win.  Just because the majority are usually silent and patient, does not mean they will always remain so.

"Beware the fury of a patient man."  
John Dryden






Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). 

 The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 

(c) Copyright 2016 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

 Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump Trauma


Are you one of those feeling Trump Trauma in the aftermath of the Presidential election of 2016?  If you are, then read on...

#TrumpTrauma has been sweeping the country in the aftermath of the 2016 election.  Many of those who backed Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, or one of the many other candidates whose aspirations were dashed in this election cycle, are taking to the streets to voice their discontent with their new president.

From their statements, "Not my President", they appear to believe that the world as they know it has somehow come to an end.  Other chants of "No KKK.  No fascist state," just reveal their own gullibility to media hype and their lack of understanding of what the word "fascist" actually means.

Many young people today equate the term fascist with the word oppressor.  Some bring in the notion of capitalism and believe the term fascist refers to a capitalist oppressor.  Unfortunately for them, fascist has a very specific meaning, one that is not changed by their opinion.

Fascism, as both a term and a reality, arose in Europe in the days before World War II.  It was attached to both the regime of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in Germany and Benito Mussolini with his Brown Shirts in Italy.  Both Hitler and Mussolini were one-time Communists.  They each broke with the Communist party over the issue of nationalism.

In contrast with the international struggle and triumph envisioned by both Marx, Lenin and Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini wanted to implement a flavor of communism which was focused on the supremacy of their own nation.  With Hitler it narrowed further to focus on the superiority of the Aryan race.

In order to implement their national socialist agendas, they needed to control the levers of power in their countries.  Business was and is a significant source of power in any nation where capitalism prevails.  This fact was not lost on Hitler and Mussolini.  They used the power of their governments to regulate business to the point where it became a tool of government, an arm of the government.

Hitler and Mussolini ruthlessly and relentlessly used all the powers at their command to attempt to subjugate the entire world to their Nationalist Socialist governments.

The transformation of big business into an arm of a socialist government gave birth to a new form of socialism called Fascism.  Among its many admirers in the US were the likes of Henry Ford and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

In more recent years, many of those in the US with Socialist leanings have conveniently forgotten the Socialist part of Fascism and instead of being truthful and accurate, use the term Fascist to attempt to paint all capitalists with the oppressive clothing of those socialist collaborators from World War II.

But enough with this history lesson.  I was wanting to address the phenomena I call #TrumpTrauma.

For those who today are despairing because Trump has been elected President, they need to remember a little more recent history.

When Barak Obama was elected President, Republicans and conservatives felt some of the same despair you feel today.  And here, eight years later, they are feeling elated.  The world did not end when Barak Obama was elected President.  It will not end because Donald Trump was elected President.

For those who disagree with the policy inclinations of Mr. Trump, they can do as many conservatives have done for the past eight years, pray for political gridlock in Washington.

As I am given to general pessimism about the value of federal government intervention, I am very much a fan of political gridlock in DC.  Gridlock means that the politicians are unable to screw things up any worse than it is today.

Don't despair those suffering #TrumpTrauma today, the sun will rise and in four to eight years, someone else will take office in the White House.

It is time to behave like mature adults.  Come in off the streets.  Realize the differences between fact and media hype and join the rest of the adults in the country.  There may come a day when your political aspirations of today will come to pass.  You can thank God and the wise men who penned the Constitution of the United States that your political disappointment won't inevitably lead you to a jail cell or to be stood against a wall and shot because the other side won.  Unfortunately, that is what happens today in many other countries around the world, but not in the USA.




Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). 

 The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 


(c) Copyright 2016 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

 Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Godvernment is Here

 Godvernment available now
Humanity in general and the people of the US and Western Europe in particular have been steadily replacing their faith in God with faith in Government.  This worship of government I call Godvernment.

I believe I first coined the phrase in a post about a year ago when I rolled out this blog.  Since then, several sites have sprung up under the heading of Godvernment.  Feel free to take a moment to fire up Google and check it out.  Or just use this link... HTTPS://www.Google.com/#q=Godvernment 

It only gets about 4,100 hits so far, but I expect that to grow over time.  There is even a YouTube channel and a Facebook page.  Neither of which are mine.

What is mine is a new book I have just published for you.  It is called Godvernment: Government as God.  It is available in both paperback and as an ebook through Kindle (by the way, you don't have to own a Kindle to read it.  You can download the app to nearly any computer and read Kindle books that way).

I wrote the book and I will warn you that it will probably offend almost everyone.  Why?  Because there is plenty of blame to go around for the situation we find ourselves in today.

Christians behaving in very unchristian ways helped move hearts and minds away from Christianity as a credible source for helping humanity to become better, as well as some Christians who have been seduced by the high-sounding moral arguments of socialism.

Socialists and communists, ever since Karl Marx penned The Communist Manifesto, have been trying to first marginalize and then exterminate religion.  Marx and his successors all recognize that religion and capitalism are the only real competition they face.  And, if they can push religion aside, then capitalism, bereft of the brakes imposed by a vibrant Christian ethic becomes the predatory form of capitalism most susceptible to the violent overthrow that Marx envisioned. 

Progressives (socialists with a different name) are seeking to save humanity from its worst excesses though a two-pronged approach: 1) destroy predatory capitalism with government regulations and control and 2) marshal the resources of government to try and engineer a better human being.

While they may succeed on the first point, they can never succeed in the second, because humanity, being fundamentally flawed, cannot create a perfect human being to succeed it.  And if they do manage to create a human that is fundamentally superior to Homo sapiens in any significant way, they will precipitate a war of survival and extinction between Homo sapiens and homo superioris.

I you want to find the real Godvernment site and the real story on Godvernment, go to www.Godvernment.US, or read my book, available in both paperback and ebook.



Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 


(c) Copyright 2016 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved. 


Friday, October 7, 2016

Divorced Devotion

Tim Kaine and Mike Pence both claim to be devout Christians.  

Both were brought up Catholic.

Tim Kaine says, “he wouldn’t allow his religious beliefs to interfere” when it comes to his politics. “I try to practice my religion in a very devout way and follow the teachings of my church in my own personal life. But…”  

Do you know what “but” means?  It means that everything that was said before the word “but” is negated by what comes after.

Mike Pence says, “…my Christian faith became real for me when I made a personal decision for Christ when I was a freshman in college. And I've tried to live that out however imperfectly every day of my life since. … for me, my faith informs my life.”

I didn’t make this up, I took them from a report of the debate in the LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-vp-debate-transcript-kaine-pence-20161004-snap-htmlstory.html).

I went to the dictionary (dictionary.com) to look up the word “devout.”  Here is what I found.
1. devoted to divine worship or service; pious; religious:
2. expressing devotion or piety:
3. earnest or sincere; hearty:

The question I have for you is how can a person claim to be devout, and then divorce your behaviors and politics from your religion?

I guess under definition #2 both men could qualify, since expressing devotion or piety meets the definition of being devout.  However, for most people simply expressing piety while actually behaving in an impious manner qualifies as hypocrisy.  So, let’s eliminate that as a workable definition here.

Earnest or sincere, definition #3 is a good working definition.  We all hope both men are earnest and sincere.  The alternative that one or both men are insincere is not something we want to consider in candidates for the second highest position in the most powerful country in the world.  But, the context for these quotes was their belief in god, not their sincerity.

That leaves us with both candidates describing themselves as devoted to divine worship, pious, or religious. In this case, since both are self-proclaimed Christians, that means they were both painting themselves as being devoted to Christ.

Mr. Pence on the one hand allows his faith to inform his life.  Implicitly this means all aspects of his life, including his politics.  On the other hand, Mr. Kaine keeps his devotion divorced from his politics.

I believe it is this divorced devotion that is at the heart of what is ailing our nation, and our politics.
The notion that you can be one person in private and another person in public is one of the biggest lies anyone has ever swallowed.  The Bible says that no one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will love the one and hate the other. Trying to live your life with two personas, each with their own distinct and widely divergent guiding principles is not only a recipe for multiple personality disorder, it is also the very foundation of the notion of being hypocritical.

In case you missed it, here is the definition of a hypocrite:
1.  a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
2.  a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

So, if Tim Kaine is privately devout and publicly debauched, he is a hypocrite.  If he privately values the sanctity of human life and publicly supports practices like partial birth abortion, then he is a hypocrite.  Which also means that he is not devout under any but one of the definitions above.  I give you a hint which one – he isn’t sincere or earnest and he isn’t devoted to Christ.  He merely expresses piety and devotion – it doesn’t inform his public life.

And this is the heart of the malaise in our country.  We have far too many people who profess piety, but when piety conflicts with their politics, their career, or their business practices, then they pretend that they can wear two faces, be two different people.  They claim, and perhaps even have convinced themselves, that they can privately honor Christ and publicly seek to run him and his values out of the public square on a rail.

Hilary Clinton and Tim Kaine will be the first to tell you that they are privately devout, “but…”


I don’t know about you, but I plan to vote for someone who lets his "faith inform [his] life.”  I think it is the truly Christian thing to do.  Don’t you?

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). 

 The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 

(c) Copyright 2016 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Charlotte Shooting

http://heyjackass.com/2016-race-of-victim-assailant/ 
Having lived in the Charlotte area for more than 20 years, and with four of my five children still living there, and lots of friends there, I have watched the recent news broadcasts of violence there with trepidation for the safety of those I hold dear.

However, I have not let my concerns for my loved ones blind me to the bigger picture here.

I wanted to know, has anyone else noticed that the Black Lives Matter narrative has changed significantly from its start in Ferguson?

Back then, the drama was focused heavily on the fact that a white cop shot a black man.  For some time thereafter, the drumbeat was an attempt to say that white cops had it in for black men, of all ages.  I call this the "Bad White Cops" message.

Somewhere between then and now, the emphasis has changed.  Segue to Charlotte.

Here we have a black cop, working for a black chief of police, shooting a black man.  Now, the whole "bad white cop" message is out of sight.  Now it is all cops are bad.  I call this the "Bad Cops" song.

Advocates of the Black Lives Matter movement claim that "stop and frisk" practices and profiling are racist policing.  They have woven these threads into the banner of their movement as fundamental doctrines.

In Chicago, the adopted homeland of President Barak Obama and the city run by one of his top former advisors, Rahm Emanuel, the politicians joined in on the chorus of "Bad Cops."  They have given the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) the right to review every single police stop.

As a direct result of the Chicago Police being put at risk of a lawsuit and job loss with every stop they perform, they have understandably stopped making stops.  Now, they just cruise on past potential trouble like they just don't care.

A recent Wall Street Journal article noted that the consequence of the politicians slapping the PD is that now, black lives are being ended on the streets of Chicago at a record rate not seen in "two decades" according to Dean Angelo, President of the Chicago police union.

"By Sept. 8, nearly 3,000 people had been shot in Chicago in 2016, an average of one shooting victim every two hours. Five hundred and sixteen people had been murdered. Gun homicides and non-fatal shootings were up 47%..."
One shooting victim every two hours.  Can you imagine that happening in your home town?

And what does the article say is the root cause of this killing spree?
"Chicago officers have cut back drastically on proactive policing under the onslaught of criticism from the Black Lives Matter movement and its political and media enablers."
The accompanying chart shows who is killing who in Chicago this year.


http://heyjackass.com/2016-race-of-victim-assailant/


As the chart at the top of this article notes, 78.2% of murder victims in Chicago this year are blacks.

This begs the question, do black lives matter only when police kill them?

These numbers show definitively that the real fruit of the Black Lives Matter movement is a dramatic increase in the number of black lives ended by murder.

In his "Daily Rant" Mychal Massie on September 22 made the point that Black Lives Matter is not heading the right direction.  What will reduce the number of dead black men in our streets is for people to show respect for authority, both at home and in the streets.

Regarding the shooting in Charlotte, he says, "...Lamont was responsible for his own death."

From there, he goes on to note how members of the black community used the shooting as an excuse to descend like a Mongol horde following Ghengis Khan to loot a nearby Wal Mart and pillage and intimidate innocent people on a nearby freeway.

Speaking on the topic of this kind of lawless behavior, black commentator Star Parker says,
The basis of a civilized, decent and just society is law. But law, if it is going to be respected, must be rooted in core values and eternal truths. In the words of our second president, John Adams, we need "a government of laws, not of men."
In our zeal to purge our nation of Judeo-Christian values, driven by the false notion that religion hampers rather than enhances our freedom, we bear the consequences of this effort. We wind up with a government of men, not laws.
She goes on to link the lawlessness permitted in characters like Hilary Clinton and her handling of classified information as further affirmation that we are emerging as a government of men where power and wealth can buy immunity for wrong-doing.  This directly inspires the narrative promoted by Black Lives Matter that the only cure for injustice is through violence.

While I am certain that there are some bad cops out there, just as there are bad people in almost every line of work, I am equally certain that the majority of police officers, regardless of their color are good people.  The cops I have known joined the force out of a desire to help people in meaningful ways.

Respect for authority and the rule of law, not of capricious men, are bulwarks of civilization and foundations for both the US Constitution and this nation.

Black Lives Matter sympathizers need to redirect their energy to supporting law enforcement.  Their current efforts are clearly resulting in more black lives ended than was happening when the police were allowed to do their jobs and given the respect they deserve for putting their lives on the line every day.  The song needs to change from "Bad Cops" to "My Country 'Tis of Thee," and to "Politicians Accountability."

Hilary violated laws and regulations that were put in place to protect the people of the United States.  She should be prosecuted for that.  Just as should everyone who violates the laws of the land, regardless of their race or wealth.

Black Lives Matter is right to focus on accountability.  And they should focus on accountability of all parties involved.  The dead man is accountable for failing to put down his gun when ordered by the police.  The police involved are accountable for keeping everyone in the area safe from a man with a gun who is disregarding lawful police orders.

But where does that common sense approach leave the "protesters?"  Now, they have to take accountability for their own savagery, barbarity and lawlessness.

Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). 

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 

(c) Copyright 2015 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved. 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dems Sit-in to Bully for Gun Control

So today, the Wall Street Journal has a front page picture of Democrats staging a sit-in on the floor of Congress in order to force a vote on gun control legislation.

Ostensibly, their agenda is to pass legislation that will prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns.

While that sounds like a noble idea, as I pointed out the other day in my Pulse Frame Up article, the noble title of their effort is actually simply a way to frame a discussion that is, in reality, a very bad idea.

The Dems say, "don't let suspected terrorists buy guns."  That sounds pretty reasonable.  But, if they put their cause in practical, realistic terms, what they are really saying is, "deny constitutional rights to people who we suspect might someday commit a crime."

Of course, that doesn't make a good sound bite and it certainly doesn't wrap their unconstitutional desires in the flag and mom and apple pie.  Instead, it reveals it for what it truly is, another attempt to put power in the hands of federal bureaucrats and take issue of guilt and innocence out of the courts.

It is past time for people to look past the hot button headlines and think about the underlying meaning behind the laws that are being pushed by "progressives" of all political parties.  If we don't we will end up saluting the functional equivalent of the Nazi Swastika as jack-booted liberal fascist empowered bureaucrats walk all over our rights and our selves.

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). 

 The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 

 (c) Copyright 2015 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

 Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

Monday, June 20, 2016

After Shooting Up Pulse - The Real Frame Job

In the wake of the Orlando Pulse Club shooting, the hottest debate in Washington these days is about keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists.


Like so many of the moves by the anti-constitutional elements of the left, a bad idea is put inside a pretty inarguably "good" wrapper.  The left is consistently more adept at framing really bad ideas in good frames, and this is another example of just that.


After all, who wants to be labeled as someone who said it is ok to let suspected terrorists on US soil buy guns and ammo?  The whole thing is just chock full of potential sound bites the opposition can use to sink any politician who uses this frame to discuss the issue.


What is so bad about the idea of keeping guns and ammo out of the hands of suspected terrorists?


The wrongness of this idea begins to come clear when you examine the key phrase in this idea, "suspected terrorists."


First, let's talk about the word "suspected."


US criminal law is founded on the premise that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.  This means that simply because you are suspected of a crime, doesn't mean they can throw you in jail for it.  The justice system requires evidence, and the evidence has to meet certain standards to be sufficient to justify an arrest warrant.  And it needs to meet even higher standards to get a conviction in a court of law.


Most of the activities our clandestine services such as the CIA and NSA use to gather information on terrorists are not designed nor intended to be used as evidence in criminal prosecutions.  So, wire taps, spy cams, moles, bugs, etc., all or most of which require a judge to issue a warrant in the US can be used on foreign nationals regardless of whether or not the information on hand is substantial enough to withstand a judicial review.


Our clandestine services aren't cops, they are spies.  They aren't looking to arrest and convict the bad guys.  They are looking to keep them from doing bad things.  Yes, "keep them from doing bad things" often means to kill them.  That is real life in the world of spies.  To get found out can easily be a death sentence.


For US citizens, and on US soil, the intelligence community usually has to provide sufficient evidence to a judge to get a warrant for things like wire taps, bugs, and other forms of surveillance.


Mateen, although his parents were foreign born, was a US Citizen.  That means he was not a foreign national on US soil, like the 9/11 bombers were.  As a US Citizen, he is accorded all the rights of any other US Citizen.  So, until there was sufficient evidence for an arrest warrant, and a conviction, it is a dangerous thing for all of us to breach his constitutional rights.  It is in fact, a very slippery slope.


What does it mean if a US Citizen is "suspected" of being a terrorist?


At its lowest common denominator it means that some faceless government apparatchik decided to add your name to a list of "suspected terrorists."  The process this apparatchik goes through to add you to this list could be rigorous, or it could just be because his/her boss said so.  Either way, we won't know what the process is, because it is done in secret.


And, because it is done in secret, there is no way to know what level of evidence was used, if any, to decide that your name should be on the list.


It could be because you once served in the US Military and the apparatchik (or her bosses - all the way up to the POTUS), decides that former members of the US military are dangerous to our government and our people.  Presto! Your status as a veteran has landed you on the suspected terrorist list and you can no longer buy guns and ammo.


It might be because some apparatchik, or the POTUS, decides that "all paramilitary organizations" in the US are threats and all members of those organizations are suspected terrorists.  Presto, all The Boy Scouts and their leaders are now "suspected terrorists" and they cannot buy guns or ammo.  Yes, The Boy Scouts of America are categorized, at least by the former USSR, as a paramilitary organization.


But, don't just take my word for it.  Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:


"Organizations that have been described as paramilitary are as diverse as the Minutemen, youth groups (from scouting to the Pioneer movement), and even military-themed boarding schools."


It could be you wrote a blog post that seriously angered the apparatchik.  And so s/he slipped your name on the list of suspected terrorists in order to intimidate you into silence.


Or, perhaps you made it onto the same list that the Administration of Barak Obama gave to the IRS as charitable organizations that should be investigated for denial of their legal status.  That list included Tea Parties of various flavors, along with their members, and a list of sundry other groups that were vocal critics of the Obama Administration.


In any of these scenarios, the key elements supporting the denial of a citizen of their constitutional rights are:
  1. Lack of transparency on the process
  2. Lack of legal due process
  3. Opportunity for abuse through administrative diktat
And, once your constitutional rights have been denied in secret, without your knowledge or your ability to face your accusers in court, what recourse do you have?


You can, after you discover why you cannot buy any guns or ammo, or cannot buy a plane ticket, you can petition some faceless government committee to have them reinstate your constitutional rights at their whim, because you believe it is a mistake that you were labeled a "suspected terrorist."


And no, they won't tell you who decided to put you on the list or why. So, your ability to refute the assertion is limited and you have no way to seek recourse against some apparatchik who may be using the power of the bureaucracy to further a personal grudge against you.


Why stop at denying guns and ammo?
And while we are at it, denying constitutional rights to US citizens who are "suspected terrorists", why stop at the 2nd amendment?


Since this is such an important issue, how about let's toss out their "Miranda" rights and their rights against self incrimination (the 5th amendment).  We can waterboard, beat, and otherwise torture these US citizens all day long until they admit that they are actual terrorists, not just "suspected terrorists."


The simple fact is that if the government can deny a US Citizen of one constitutional right because of their being a "suspect", there is no reason stopping the government from denying a US Citizen of ALL their constitutional rights.


This is why Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governer, 11 November 1755, Benjamin Franklin, http://franklinpapers.org/franklin/framedVolumes.jsp?vol=6&page=238a


When you trade you liberty for security, you get neither, because you turn yourself into a subject of the government, keeping only the rights the government bureaucrats and potentates decide that you merit or need.


I call on our elected representatives and all citizens to think this through clearly and calmly and not allow themselves to be stampeded into bad legislation simply because it is well framed by those whose objective is to rule over us, whether we want them to or not.


Our freedoms were purchased with the blood of both patriots and tyrants.  To lose those freedoms out of fear and lazy thinking is an insult to those who risked their all to win it for us.  I pray that we are not put into a situation where we have to buy it all back again at the cost and risk which our Founding Fathers bore in the first place.


Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM).


The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.


(c) Copyright 2015 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Prosperity Gospel Trap

The first time I ever heard the term "Prosperity Gospel" was from former supermodel and business successful woman Kathy Ireland.  She was telling us about how she had managed to leverage her successful modeling career into establishing several thriving businesses.  She expressed her thanks to God for these blessings, and then threw out a word of caution.

She stated that she does not believe in the Prosperity Gospel.  And then she referenced books like "The Secret" and "The Present" as some of the guiding books of this movement.

I confess, being a believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, my curiosity was piqued by her reference to this Prosperity Gospel.  I hadn't heard of it before, so I did some research into it.

I found that it is called variously the Prosperity Gospel and Prosperity Theology, and it seems to be founded primarily on the notion that God manifests his pleasure with individuals through their material wealth or lack thereof.

In others words, Rich = Righteous and Poor = Evil.

Wikipedia (yes, I know it isn't the most authoritative source) points to its origins in the US in the 19th century and links it to televangelism and mega churches.

Like any screwed up approach to God's teachings, Prosperity Theology starts from some truths and quickly descends into the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture - which is always a sure-fire formula for ending up far away from what Jesus Christ taught.

The basic premise of Prosperity Theology is that physical and spiritual realities are inseparable.  At this point they are on solid ground since God said,
"...verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created."

So, where does this crowd wander off from sound doctrine and into the marshland of human philosophies?  I think it is the same place Job's friends did.

You may recall the story of Job.  It shows, among other things, that this notion of material wealth and health as a sign of God's favor or its absence as a sign of His displeasure is a lot older than 19th century America.

Job was a prosperous man and Lucifer claimed that if Job lost his prosperity, he would curse God. God let Lucifer take away all of Job's material wealth.  Still, Job did not curse God.

Lucifer claimed that if Job lost his good health, he would curse God.  God let Lucifer afflict Job with painful boils all over his body.  Still, Job remained faithful.

Job's friends and even his wife came to him and said, in effect, "If you hadn't committed some sin, God would not have allowed this disaster to come upon you."  They urged him to confess his sins so that he could be restored to good health and fortune.  Job maintained that he had done all that God commanded him and had to hidden sin to repent of.

His wife urged him to curse God and die.

Job remained faithful and of his losses he said, "God giveth and God taketh away.  Blessed be the name of God."

Job realized, and taught, that God gives us prosperity, or takes it away from us, for His own wise purposes.  In any case it is never our own.  It is always lent to us.  God, after all, owns the Earth and all that is in it.  It is his "footstool."  So, any wealth that comes to us in this life is a loan from God and a test from Him to see if we will worship the wealth, or the God who made the wealth.

In the end of the story of Job, Lucifer is frustrated because Job doesn't measure God's favor or disfavor by his own wealth and health.  Rather, he knows that God does everything for the sole purpose of helping us to come joyfully back into His presence, having endured the vicissitudes of this life without giving our hearts and minds to the things of this world.

Some critics of the Prosperity Gospel say that it is nothing more or less than idolatry.  In case you aren't clear on what idolatry is, this particular sin is about putting anything ahead of God, be it money, health, pride, self, or.... well, I think you get it.

It is easy to see how it is a very small step from believing that your wealth and health are indicators of God's favor and worshiping that wealth instead of the God who gave it.  To put it another way, it is worshiping the creation instead of the Creator.  And, adherents to the Prosperity Gospel aren't alone in their idolatry.

A few years ago, while I was trying to grow my business I read the books that were part of the foundation of Napoleon Hill's book "Think and Grow Rich."  One of the principles Mr. Hill talks about is envisioning your objective, seeing the money in your hands.  Unfortunately, this may have put me in conflict with the need to keep God at the center of my life.  I have realized that there is a balancing act that we need to maintain regarding goals and God.

I believe the solution to conflict between goals and God lies in putting God at the center and then making sure that our goals are guided by God and aligned with His will for us as individuals.



Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). 

 The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 

 (c) Copyright 2015 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.