Spoiled Children Become Spoiled Presidents

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I’m thinking Barack Obama must have gotten away with some pretty pathetic behavior when he was a kid.  Now, we know he had some issues, what with being raised by 60s “activists,” failing to show up at class in both high school and college (he has gleefully admitted that himself), being abandoned by his so-called dad at a very young age, etc., and I’m thinking that along the way he was both indulged and excused by those raising him when he failed to behave in a responsible manner.

Just look at what we’re dealing with today in the wake of the president’s oh-so-glorious pronouncement last night.  Almost two weeks ago he was a dealt a stunning blow to his delicate ego.  As leader of his party and god-like entity to his media lapdogs, he hit the campaign trail for democrats, proclaiming that though he was not on the ballot, his policies were there for all to laud.  Well, the voters did not care to laud him, his policies or his fellow dems, and all were crushed at the polls.  The result?  An infuriated president who would, like a villain in a superhero movie, exact his revenge on those who failed to honor and obey him.

Last night he took the first step in avenging his ego, throwing open the floodgates of our nation’s sovereign borders and welcoming those who have broken some of our most sacred laws to reap the bountiful gifts they “deserve” from law-abiding, tax-paying Americans who need to be brought down from their exalted positions.  Then, today, he ignored all those pesky arguments about national security and let loose more prisoners from Guantanamo, despite others so released, who have returned to their terrorist activities.  And this, my friends, is only the beginning of this punishment to which he will subject us, perhaps believing that just as no one — mom, grandma, whoever — stopped him before, no one will stop him now either.  We would all be so better off if only mom, grandma, whoever, had given him a time-out or two during his formative years — and even made him get a job flipping burgers as a teenager so he might gain an appreciation of what it means to work for a living.  Oh, well.  Too late for that, but let’s hope it’s not too late for us.

Coming Home to GrizzlyMom

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When I first started this site however many summers ago it was now, I never dreamed that I would be spending so much time, so much rage, so many words, writing about the man currently occupying the White House.  That was not the intent, but he, and those who have enabled him for all these years, left me choice.

Then, in November of 2012, my country — well, half my country — disappointed me as never before, when they again granted this man permission to crush our Constitution, our liberties, our families, our history, and our common sense.  I needed to take a break.

GrizzlyMom readers asked if I had quit.  No, never.  I still seethed, still composed, as did we all, as scandal after scandal, weakness after weakness, lie after lie, insanity after insanity continued to emerge, to the point where so many of us (more than half I’d venture to say now) don’t even recognize our great nation anymore.  And now, as we stand on this unrecognizable precipice,  I have decided it’s time to come home to GrizzlyMom.

I have no idea what awaits our nation in the next two years.  I expect the worst as we see a president, more distant and desperate than ever, using our military as his own private band of toy soldiers (or, as some in the military have said, his private taxi service); a Congress running amok, rabid to feed their own egos and coffers without thought of Constitutionally mandated checks and balances; politically correct divisive nonsense spinning around us like a hurricane; and terrorists waking suddently to a world of opportunity about which they could previously only dream.  Now back, I plan to keep my posts short and newsy, focused, as I originally intended on the need for Americans to reclaim their strength, their voices, and their liberties in the spirit of “protecting home, family, cubs and country.”  I hope you’ll join me.

Another Day of Loss for America

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Tonight Americans will hug their children and loved ones as they pray and weep for those other Americans, who tonight, in the wake of the violent fury of a sick and deranged soul in a small idyllic Connecticut town, no longer have their children, their loved ones, to hug.

I imagine tonight those families in Connecticut who this morning kissed and hugged their children, their loved ones, and wished them a good Friday at school.  And I imagine those families tonight, praying that somehow they will be able to heal, to find peace, to survive, as people they love will never come home again.

I will never forget the stories of heroism or the images that have emerged from this day.  And I will be haunted for the rest of my life by the story of a first-grade teacher at the school, who, upon hearing the first sounds of carnage from a neighboring class, herded her students into a bathroom, her young students crying that they didn’t want to die.  They just wanted it to be Christmas.  God bless them, as well as those who tonight are no longer with us.  God bless all who this tragedy has touched, and may they know that they are are tonight, and many nights to come, in the thoughts and prayers of America.



Will General Petraeus Honor the Parents of Those Who Serve, and Tell the Truth?

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Imagine you have a son or a daughter in the military.  Some reading this don’t have to imagine, but I want us all to place ourselves in the shoes of the parent whose child makes the ultimate sacrifice to defend the United States with his or her life if necessary.  This can be a difficult, though noble, prospect for mom and dad.  But you, as a parent, find comfort in our traditions and our heritage, trusting that the life of your child will be honored by those in command.

Then you learn that those in command are not quite as engaged as you had expected.  You learn of their distractions.  Four Americans are dead and stories begin to seep through the crevices of what is fed to us by the White House and its conspiratorial media cohorts.  Stories of cries for help that are denied.  Stories of courage and a defiance of orders to rescue those crying for help.  Stories of painted targets and backup that never comes.  And, worse yet, stories of political agendas.

And then come the stories of commanders — commanders of armed forces and intelligence agents — assigned the duty of protecting the lives of Americans in harm’s way and the treacherous missions they are assigned.  Commanders mandated to remain focused on the strategy, the chaos, the Plans B, and, yes, on those traditions that have provided the backbone of our armed forces since bands of colonial farmers wrested control of this land from skilled soldiers in red more than two centuries ago.  The stories continue to flow, now including in their casts of characters besotted FBI agents (with or without shirts); buxom, self-indulgent socialites; and so-called journalists with affinities for men in uniform (and, of course, so-called journalists equally smitten with a spindly commander-in-chief draped in Armani).

And you, the parent, you are left to wonder if this same sloppy lack of attention has extended, as well, to the battlefields that comprise our current-day theaters of war.  Those commanders entrusted with your child’s safety and proper cover, were they instead tweeting those buxom socialites, leaking the nation’s security secrets to journalists in exchange for affection, and engaging themselves in the personal lives of relatives of their extramarital crushes?  In this new and twisted America, I would say such suspicions would be justified as we see the institutions we once revered as so stable, so solid, so American, crumble before our very eyes.

I think of one such parent, Charles Woods, father of slain Navy Seal Tyrone Woods, who was lost this last September, the truth about his son’s death now clouded in a fog of lies swirling around the highest levels of the government.  While most of us can only imagine Mr. Woods’ pain, we must also wonder what must he be thinking now after very publicly shaming the president and his secretary-of-state for their treatment of his son and the coverup that followed his death.  Mr. Woods must now endure tales of disgraceful behavior on the part of leaders of a military to which his son dedicated his life.  He hears a president refusing to answer questions or even address the need for truth.  He witnesses that president continue to cling to the story that an internet video is to blame for the death of four Americans.  And he listens as that president berates with artificial outrage those who would question the logic of sending a UN ambassador to speak for an event that, according to the president himself, she “had nothing to do with.”

Yet tomorrow investigators are set to hear testimony from someone who, though distracted, was ostensibly on duty that night in Benghazi.  Tomorrow, behind closed doors, newly resigned CIA Director, General David Petraeus, will be testifying about the deaths of the four Americans we lost that night.

Seems encouraging, but we’ll see.  Given all that has occurred in this country over the last four years, I will not be surprised by whatever we learn from David Petraeus, a man who boasts 40 years of experience in the U.S. military, much of that as a commander of men and women, trusted by those men and women to do what’s right by them.  Will this man, a war hero, now potentially infected like so many others by a newly re-elected administration with transformation and destruction in its sites, will this man throw away his respected career, his reputation, his accomplishments, the very core of his being, for a lie?  Though I pray he offers up the truth we already know, living as we are in this new and twisted America, I will not be surprised if the lie and those who support it emerge victorious.

We Americans Are What We Eat — And What We Don’t

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I tried very hard to avoid this subject.  But after a recent conversation with a fellow dog-person friend of mine, and after hearing mention of Barack Obama’s book royalties, I can’t let it go.

You remember: A week ago, certain media outlets decided to inform those of us who have not devoured Barack Obama’s many autobiographies, that he, the current president of the United States, apparently dined on dog meat during his more formative years, an act he boasted about as part of his ongoing compulsion to write and speak about himself.  The story was met with the predictable outrage from both the opponents of Obama and the proponents of dogs, followed by the equally predictable insistance from Obama’s personal mainstream media team that this is “no big deal.”  It happened when Obama was a child, the media team squealed, when he resided in countries where dog is an acceptable menu item and at the behest of his stepfather or someone…you know, an adult authority figure.  So see, no big deal.

Comedians and comedy writers have embraced the story with joyful gratitude, but this isn’t really about the president’s taking a bite of man’s best friend.  Beyond the humor, beyond the outrage, beyond what is acceptable in other countries, other cultures, this is simply another example of Obama’s fatal disconnect with America and her people, just more evidence that this man does not understand this country —  never has, never could.  All I have to do is look to my kids and, frankly, to every other American kid I have ever known.  If any of these kids had ever been offered a bite of dog, even at the tender age of 4 (and certainly any age beyond that), even if offered by an authority figure, a role model, I can say without hesitation that you would have heard their resounding and horrified “No!” from sea to shining sea.

So go ahead and make all the excuses you want for your president, mainstream media team.  They fall on the deaf ears of those of us who do know America, those who are America.  Just ask the kids of America.  They’ll tell you.  Too bad the man currently occupying the White House will never know what they know.


A Wicked Masterpiece for Wicked Times

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I had the great privilege the other day of seeing the hit Broadway musical, Wicked. For years I had heard that this alternate take on The Wizard of Oz was must-see theater, but I had no idea what I was in for.

I purposely went in knowing only that this is the so-called “untold story” of a beloved American classic. And I understood that it involved serious themes, which, as I have said here before, lie at the heart of my own passion for theater.  I thus expected a story that would touch on prejudice and bigotry, and indeed I found that, but what I did not expect was such brilliant and unblinking attention paid to domestic violence, the abuse of children and animals, power and control, torture, tyranny, courage and redemption. Without revealing details, let me say as a dissident voice recently targeted for silencing, that what resonated most personally for me was the silencing of dissident voices by corrupt authority figures and fawning, feel-good minions. Sound familiar?

What I saw in the theater on that day was a retelling of a beloved American classic  that mirrors what at least one member of its audience (me) sees occurring beyond those theater doors in our own non-Ozian world. I both hope and expect that I am not alone in this, that this accounts for this show’s wild popularity, despite what the show’s creators might have intended originally. The moment art of any kind is released into the atmosphere, it becomes whatever an individual reader/viewer/audience member wishes it to be, a fact I first experienced personally years ago when a short story I had written for an undergraduate fiction seminar was suddenly being discussed as a retelling of the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. News to me.

I speak here then as an audience member who was never a rabid fan of the original Wizard, but who now includes the “untold” version of that tale, one filled with rich and desperate themes – including one of the most powerful scenes I have ever witnessed on the stage (hint: torn flesh, the stain of blood) – on my list of all-time favorites. I urge others to see it, as well, just as I urge us all to resist the silence and the goosesteps.

Japan’s Tragedy and Preparing for the Worst

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As a veteran of several large earthquakes during my formative years, I have watched with great sorrow the tragedies that have stricken Japan over the past couple of weeks.  While my own thoughts mirror those we have heard from all corners in the aftermath of the trauma, the events and the dignity we have witnessed of the victims dealing with those events have gotten me thinking, as they should, about what we can do when and if we find ourselves in the sites of such unexpected danger.

Believer that I am in preparedness, when I lived in earthquake country I was one of the most prepared individuals ever to populate the San Andreas Fault.  Outfitted with water, food (for dogs, too), light sources, camping gear, first-aid supplies, radios, tools and enough batteries to power an L.A. high rise for a week — from car to office to home — no earthquake was going to leave me and mine helpless. When I then moved from earthquake country to blizzard country some years back, I simply transferred that mindset to accommodate the new type of threat Mother Nature may decide to send my way.  

My long-suffering husband has through the years humored me in my compulsion, and like any decent mother bear, I have schooled my kids in the fine art of preparing for disaster, which has become second nature to them, as well. And indeed my clan has witnessed firsthand the value of my efforts, particularly when we have found ourselves in sub-zero temperatures without heat or light or running water.

I realize that such preparations may be useless in the face of tsunami or nuclear meltdown, and my heart goes out to the thousands of people dealing with such unspeakable tragedy today. But the hard fact of this life is that some catastrophes simply defy preparation or human intervention. Or blame.  Preparing for the worst, however, gives us power, and I have found that that with that power comes peace of mind. When you acknowledge that disaster can strike, and you  gather the supplies and learn what to do if it does, you become less a victim in both mind and body. So wherever you are, wherever you live, be ready ahead of time for whatever special brand of disaster might occur — earthquakes, hurricanes, brush fires, blizzards, tornadoes, the list goes on. By preparing for disaster, we make our own luck, and perhaps even our own survival, as well.

A Letter to Mrs. Obama from an American Parent

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Dear Mrs. Obama:

A friend was kind enough to send me a copy of a letter you wrote to America’s parents, written, it appears, when you were busy hosting visitors from China as your husband celebrated “China’s rise,” and in the aftermath of the terrible shootings in Tucson.  Your letter, as you may recall, was written to instruct us parents to be tolerant and to teach tolerance to our children, suggesting that if we had done this, we might have prevented the Tucson shooting.

I know the past few months have been very busy for you, what with entertaining foreign dignitaries, hosting the White House Super Bowl party, taking vacations, traveling across the country for the Tucson memorial/Obama-campaign-launch event, teaching parents to prevent mass murders with tolerance, and gaining access as part of a large group of politicians to the ICU to visit Tucson-shooting victim Congresswoman Giffords.  I’m still wondering how a large group of non-family-member politicians gained that access; most hospitals are pretty stringent about ICU patient visitations.  I also don’t remember you and your husband being quite so passionate and involved when more than 40 people were shot, 13 murdered, at Fort Hood by a radical religiously-motivated shooter back in November, 2009.  But I do remember talk of tolerance; guess we parents didn’t do our job to prevent the tragedy in Tucson.

You, however, do not rest.  In your tireless efforts to make us, as your husband described, “better,” you have now taken it upon yourself to help influence and control the portion sizes served by America’s restaurants.  I believe I speak for many other American parents, who, like me, eat quite frequently in America’s restaurants and love nothing more than receiving enormous portions of food and bringing enormous boxes of leftovers home afterwards to satisfy the enormous appetites of growing active kids.  With all due respect, you need not suggest that we offer them something more in keeping with your list of preferred foods, because what and how we feed our kids is our decision, not yours.

Also our decision, and one of the most personal as a parent, is the decision to breastfeed – another issue you have taken upon yourself to promote.  I know it has been years since you were faced with that decision, and I don’t care to know what you decided, but I would imagine you know of women, who, for whatever reason, either could not or would not engage in this activity.  What is never addressed in regard to this topic is that it can be far more difficult and far greater a commitment than many women realize.  In answer to your related claim that breastfeeding prevents obesity, while plenty of scientific evidence confirms the benefs of breastfeeding on brain development, I have seen nothing linking it to long-term obesity prevention (and I have a feeling you haven’t either). 

So with all due respect, Mrs. Obama, as one of the millions of American parents you are addressing en masse with your letters, your speeches and your alleged scientific conclusions, I have done just fine on my own feeding my kids; monitoring their portions of restaurant food; and, as is my right as an American (an American who has always been proud of my country), teaching them the core values of my choice.  Indeed I know I speak for myself and millions of other American parents, when I say that we were doing just fine in this mission, long before we ever even heard of you and your husband.

I thus think your time might be better spent, not lecturing American parents on what we must do to ensure our progeny and their beliefs meet your and your husband’s particular expectations, but to concentrate instead on your own daughters.  I know nothing about your children (apart from the private information you shared about their BMI scores), and that is how it should be.  Your children and their BMI scores are, and should be, no concern of mine, and you, a self-appointed representative of the government, need not bother yourself with concerns about my children, either.

Imagined Reflections on a Memorial in Tucson

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He kissed her good-bye that morning. Gave her a hug and told her to have fun. Then he began his Saturday work around the house.

The phone rang. He picked it up. Yes, speaking. What? No, he hadn’t heard. Terrible. No. What?

Oh, God.

The next days were fog, thick and blinding. The shock. The pain. The casseroles. He didn’t know where he was. He barely knew who he was. He heard familiar voices around him, he heard their pain, but he didn’t register faces. The only face he wanted was hers.

Wednesday. A memorial. You need to be there, they told him. It will help. Closure. You need closure, they said. It’s too soon, he told himself. But he needed to be there, they told him. So he would be. For her.

They arrived. Right on time. Just as they were told.  Along with all the others. Right on time. Here? he wondered. A smiling young blond ushered him, them, in to the arena. An arena? he wondered. Didn’t seem right.

Someone handed him a t-shirt. No, not right at all. “No,” he muttered, shaking his head, pushing the item away. “Okay,” the someone said. “If you’re sure…” He was. He walked to the next usher. The next handler. The next smiling young blond. Here. Sit here. The front row, she said. That’s right. Perfect. “So exciting,” he heard her whisper to another.

He closed his eyes. Took a breath. And he waited. As the place grew louder with voices. Distant giggles. Shouts. A rumbling din. What you hear while waiting for a basketball game. At an arena.

Time passed. He opened his eyes. Crowds still streamed in. Smiling faces. Tens of thousands. Not one known to him. He waited. Until the applause signaled him to attention. And the cheering. It had begun. This memorial.

Enter the parade. A medicine man. Some music. Faces from television, from the news, from the nation’s capitol. He didn’t know them. They didn’t know her. They spoke. And they would point at him, smile at him. And the tens of thousands would cheer. More words. A disjointed blur. A disjointed slur. Thanks for coming…a great university…the creator…a letter from Paul…be civil…such a tragedy…be civil…be better. And they would applaud. Those tens of thousands. Applauding. Cheering. Whistling. So exciting.

And deafening. Pounding in his head. Echoing, vibrating from the seats high above. So exciting. And now they were standing. He guessed he should too. Right? More words. More applause. More standing. More whistles and cheers. He heard her name. And they were clapping. And looking at him, smiling. And crushing his ribs.

They stood again. It was over. Done. This memorial. You need to be there, they had told him. It will help. He followed them out. Those tens of thousands. Back to the car. Back to his home.

He walked inside. He looked around. She would not be waiting there. Now, or ever again. He looked at the faces around him. Faces known to him. And to her. Voices familiar. How wrong they had been. “What was that?” he asked. They had no answers this time. All they could do was shrug and shake their heads.

Obama Delights a Raucous Audience with Tonight’s “Memorial” Speech in Tucson

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I tried so hard not to watch Obama’s speech in Arizona tonight, but, as usual, it found me, and I have no choice but to be watching it now. What I am seeing is a presidential campaign speech, a rock concert…anything but a memorial honoring Americans who were savagely murdered by a madman last Saturday.

I won’t call it a memorial address, because from the very moment Obama was introduced, it became a rowdy, raucous campaign event, complete with repeated standing ovations for the pres, Obama’s customary pauses following the perfectly choreographed “applause” and “laugh” lines that pepper his speech, and an audience’s abject disregard for the tragic events that led to this moment. While the audience’s embarrassing behavior is not Obama’s fault, a man of true compassion and emotion would have taken the stage in the midst of the applause and cat calls and whistles and hollers and shouted them down.  I envision such a man thrusting his arms into the air and shouting, “No! That’s not why we’re here! Show some respect! This isn’t about me!” But as we know, it’s always about him.

There is much evocation of “God,” heroism and civility in tonight’s speech, but those applause lines, so fast and furious, whisk us back to that ridiculous State of the Union Address, where the Congress punctuated Obama’s every sentence with this same applause, this same idolatrous slobbering. Obama is now offering synopses of each of the victims whose lives were destroyed last Saturday — apparently, as Obama’s lapdogs in the media and in the government would have us believe, because of those on the right who oppose this president and his policies.

In keeping with that theme, Obama speaks now about keeping the discourse civil. Missing from his current treatise on civility, however, is mention of his own past instructions to his followers: Bring a gun to a knife fight, “get in the faces” of those who oppose us, and “punish” our “enemies.” No, tonight we delight in an Obama speech, where a few touching moments are nestled within strings of generic inspirational phrases, capped by the repeated message that we must “be better” (translated as “agree with me and carry out all that I ask because I know what’s good for you”).

And now the speech, as well as the so-called “memorial,” comes to an end. Obama’s lapdogs will no doubt herald it as the most incredible speech ever given anywhere by anyone at any time in all of human history. He would have impressed me if he had, with details not platitudes, scolded those who have used this tragedy, this atrocity, for their own political purposes: a congressman who has already used the events to raise money for his 2012 reelection campaign, left-wing journalists and elected officials who instantly blamed the right for the deranged shooter’s actions, a sheriff who immediately blamed high-profile individuals on the right rather than acknowledge that he himself failed to take seriously the known threat presented by the alleged perpetrator, left-wing congresspeople who have used the attack to further their own political agendas that include gun control and the silencing of anyone who opposes the left…the list goes on and on. And on.

The pundits are now praising the president’s speech, obviously far more impressed by it than I was. Go ahead and chastise me for my lack of civility, but the time comes when you know too much about a person and the damage he or she has done to your country to trust anything that individual says, even in times of tragedy. My daughter just asked what I would have done if I had been in that audience tonight as a relative of one of the victims. I told her I would have done what I wish the president had done. I would have stood up and shouted down the idiotic applause and shoutouts and whistles and scolded an audience that apparently mistook a memorial for victims of a mass murderer for a Springsteen concert. The president should have taken control of that audience and straightened them out. He didn’t. I wish someone had.