Spiritual Boot Camp

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I was listening to Jack Graham on Sirius XM the other morning when he used the phrase ” Spiritual Boot Camp “. To paraphrase, as I was driving and couldn’t write it down, he said when God called the Israelites out of Egypt He had to take them through a spiritual boot camp. That line stuck with me.

Boot Camp is a time when the military attempts to break off all individual thinking. They try to break off all civilian mindsets, thinking and actions. They then go through the process of attempting to build the person up into a Marine, soldier, sailor or airman. They teach the basics of what it means to be a Marine, soldier, etc. and the basics of how to think, act, respond and obey.

When a person is in boot camp and they fail to learn what is required at different stages they are then ” recycled ” to a training company that is not as far along as their current training company. There they must go through the process again in the hopes that they will learn it the second time around. The military will only ” recycle ” a person so many times before they are deemed a lost cause and discharged, never attaining the prize they set out for. The same thing happened to the Israelites. God only allowed them so many attempts at getting the basics right.

Spiritual boot camp would be a time when a person learns how to think, behave and obey as a follower of Christ. In Israel’s case they didn’t know of Jesus, but did follow the Father – Yahweh. The two most important and basic acts are faith and obedience. You can obey without faith and be in disobedience or you can have faith and disobey. Obeying with faith is the basic form of obedience that God is looking for. In order for these two behaviors to sink in our thick heads as first nature responses God has to take us through various basic tests, situations to grow our faith and willingness to obey.

The Israelites were shown what God could do while in Egypt. They were elated, full of joy and excited as they were leaving the county with their new-found freedom. The very first obstacle they encountered they reverted to their captivity mindset and had a complete loss of faith, which is disobedience. Every step of the way they showed no growth in this regard. They complained, doubted and disobeyed God at every turn. As a result God continued to ” recycle ” them until the only ones left alive to obtain the prize were the obedient and faithful few.

In the military a person advances from boot camp to the next level of training where they are given a bit more freedom and responsibility. Some call the graduation from boot camp as a promotion without an advancement in rank. The church , or body of Christ, is referred to as an army and the individual as soldiers in more than one instance in scripture. The same principle holds true, when you demonstrate a firm grasp on faith and obedience you are advanced, or promoted, to another level. The opposite is true in both the military and the body. Those who refuse to conform stay at the lowest rank with no recognition or advancement. Eventually the military will discharge the person due to ” failure to adapt ” under a ” good of service ” administrative discharge. The same principle is true when you read how we are to respond to a fellow believer when they are in unrepentant sin and when Jesus talks about abiding in the vine.

There is a point where an individual refuses to conform to the mere basics of the faith. At this point, not only does God’s Holy Spirit stop convicting and guiding you, but the enemy Satan also leaves you alone. You have demonstrated that you are no threat to him and no benefit to the Kingdom. The good news is there is always a second chance to come around. God will not abandon you, but He will leave you alone in the hopes that once you have worn every option out your way you will come back to the Father.

If you find yourself going through the same trials it may be because you have failed to learn the basic traits of faith and obedience and are being ” recycled ” through the same training evolution until you get it. You might say I have faith, but what does your mouth say while you are going through said trial? You might say I’m obedient, but do you obey the voice you hear when praying or does your obedience stop at love your neighbor and giving your tithes & offerings?

You might say that I know I’ve made it beyond the basics and I still have trials. You are going to. Jesus never said we wouldn’t, just the opposite is true. Just like the military when you promote to new ranks. There are new training evolution’s, new schools and new responsibilities with each promotion. With your promotions and advancements there are new responsibilities that bring new trials. Some have dubbed this as ” new levels – new devils “.

Don’t lose heart as we all go through the same training evolution’s as believers. We all have to learn the basics to move on. None of us do it perfectly and our advancements do not all look the same. God has different things for each of us, but no position is less than the other regardless of how people see it.

Andy

 

 

Tips for a happy life.

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Everybody wants to be happy. It’s a driving force behind many of our decisions. We buy things thinking we will be happy once we have it. We eat, drink and consume things with the hope it will make us happy for a time. We even make life long decisions like marrying someone with the thoughts that “if I can just be married I’ll be happy.” We do all manner of things in the pursuit of happiness. It’s so important to us that the pursuit is listed in the beginning paragraph of one of America’s founding documents.

In 1988 Bobby McFerrin released a song titled ” Don’t Worry, Be Happy “. It spent 26 weeks on the Billboard Chart with 2 weeks in the top spot. Besides it having a catchy tune it spoke to the desire in all of us. There have been numerous books, movies, blogs, articles and advertisements putting out the idea of happiness that we flock to. The root of advertising is to make you think you must have it, once you do you will be complete and happy. Whether it’s the perfect romance, the perfect spouse and family, the perfect car, phone, clothes, home or whatever, if we make and spend enough money we will find happiness. Sadly that feeling is fleeting and feeds a desire to do and get more to obtain that feeling again.

The truth is being happy is a state of mind more than anything else. When we allow ourselves to think we will be happy if we can only do the things fed us by corporate America and the media, then we find we aren’t. What I’m going to give you are  6 easy things you can do to bring happiness and contentment to your life that cost little to no money.

  1. Eat and drink with joy. In other words be thankful for what you have and that you are not starving. Eat and drink each meal as if it’s a banquet. There was a saying we had to yell in boot camp when asked  ” What is today! “. We would respond with ” TODAY IS ANOTHER GRAND AND GLORIOUS DAY IN THE MARINE CORPS WHERE EVERYDAY IS A HOLIDAY AND EVERY MEAL A BANQUET!” It seems absurd, but I’ll tell you that by the time we got to the chow hall we were thrilled with whatever they threw on our plates. It was a mindset of gratitude that we got food, much less hot food.
  2. Live happily with your spouse. The easiest way to achieve this is to start talking to each other and not at each other. Talk to each other and not through the kids. Stop complaining about your spouse to friends, family, co-workers and stop hanging around those that do. Stop comparing them to someone else and they can become your greatest blessing.
  3. Do everything with excellence. As discipline begets discipline so does excellence beget excellence. Once you are conditioned to do everything in that manner you will not settle for anything else. You will sleep better at night knowing you gave it your all, your best effort. This also helps make you a bit more tired at the end of the day as you spent more energy than someone trying to find the laziest way out. None of your skills and talents will go with you when you die. You might as well give people the benefit if having them now.
  4. Remember that the fastest, strongest and most skilled person does not always win or come out on top. Sometimes they don’t even get recognized. Sometimes luck, or chance, just wasn’t on their side. At times the slower, weaker and less intelligent gets pushed on top. They may have had a bit of wisdom that you didn’t or their character and work ethic was being recognized. Dwelling on it will distract you. Analyze why, learn from it and move on. Let it be an opportunity to grow and mature. Carry on, your time will come.
  5. You can not predict when tragedy or hard times will come. All you can do is prepare with the knowledge that those times will come. None of us can escape it. The mindset and preparation determine how we will come out the other side. Dwelling on the myriad of different things that can go wrong will only lead to anxiety, depression and a general hopelessness that robs you of all happiness.

These five things are actually wisdom passed on from a king in his older years of life. They are lessons learned as he reflected on life that he penned for us. The first sentence of all 5 are his, the how to are mine and his mingled together. You can find these in Ecclesiastes chapter 5. That’s a book in the Old Testament of the Bible right after Proverbs. I know! Who would have thought so much relevant wisdom would be found in the Bible? Don’t take my word for it, read it yourself.

The last component for true happiness comes from contentment in all things good or bad. This contentment comes from peace that generates a general happiness and is rooted in your spirit through following Jesus. Add that component to the previous 5 and you will have a joy that you don’t understand at all times. You stop following Him, or never start, that true happiness is never on solid ground. You will continue to try to “get” things to fill the void in your spirit, but never really fill it. You won’t be able to put your finger on what exactly is lacking. You will do the previous 5 and your stress level will come down and you will have a greater measure of happiness, but that void….. Ultimately true happiness is a condition of your mind and spirit.

Andy

Praying for Mikialah

Some of you who will read know of the medical problems our daughter is having. Those who are praying, we do appreciate the prayers.

Mikialah has been having severe, persistent headaches since November. She has also had nights of little sleep, nausea, random & severe chest pains resembling being shocked, random loss of breath, random eye twitching and a few other symptoms. The hospitals we’ve been to locally all have blown it off as “normal for a teenage girl”.

Wake Forest Baptist Hospital took it serious and got her in pretty quick after contacting them. The thought was it might be related to a disconnective tissue disorder. After a lot of examining they determined it wasn’t that, but something outside their wheelhouse was wrong.

We eventually got her into John’s Hopkins. The doc there diagnosed her with New Daily Persistent Headache. He studied all the results from all the hospitals and doctors we’ve seen beforehand. He didn’t see anything concerning and went with that diagnoses and gave a lot of good info. He also prescribed two medications. The pain med was slowly increased in dosage over a couple weeks.

Today Amber talked to the doc and told of Mikialah’s chest pains increasing in severity. He instructed to immediately take Mikialah off the meds. He is aware of the side effects of sudden withdrawal, but thinks that is much less of a concern than the side effects this drug has concerning the heart.

There’s no end to what to pray for. All this is it out if pocket expense as Obama Care wiped out our old plan and priced us out of coverage. Mikialah is looking at some painful days ahead unless Jesus intervenes. Amber is dealing with this basically alone as I’m gone weeks at a time. It’s draining on her mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Combined it effects her physically also.

Now to where I’ll offend some of you. If you are praying out of fear and anxiety, don’t. Pray out of boldness and faith only.

If you’re praying and telling God what to do, stop! You’re wasting your breath. Pray for His will and His glory first, then your request.

When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray He said “…your kingdom come, your will be done…” We overlook His will and jump to our demands then get discouraged when nothing we demanded happens.

The good news is Mikialah is the strongest person I know. She’s much stronger than Amber or myself. She plainly stated that she can’t just lie in bed, she had to learn to deal with it. Her faith is still good and has said that she knows this is preparation for something. She knows it’s to be a witness for someone and we know her strength and endurance is from the Holy Spirit.

So when you pray, pray for His will & His glory first. Then for whatever the Lord places on your heart or don’t pray until you can.

I’ll do another post later laying out the treatments to date in some detail.
Andy.

The problem with Children’s Ministry

Children’s ministries have a glaring fundamental flaw that is rarely spoke of publicly in the church. If the pastors or elders did speak from the pulpit on this flaw it would seriously offend some people and money would walk out the door. We all know that we have to be hyper sensitive to people in today’s day in age where we get easily offended by the simplest words.

The first problem is that we have a multi-billion dollar children’s church industry. I am not a fan of separating children from parents in church. It creates subcultures in the body that breed discention, a lack of community and a disconnect between generations. Once a child graduates children’s church they are moved to youth group where they are separated still. They then move up to young adults and college & career where they are still living in a subculture that is separate from the rest of the church. Kids don’t get to witness their parents worshiping, they don’t get to see other adults worshiping, they don’t get to witness adults learning and taking notes. The family often has no idea what went on in children’s church and the answers from their kids when asked is often ” it was OK ” or ” it was fun “. When asking what the children’s pastor taught they shrug and mutter something about fun or a character in the Bible. There is nothing for the kids and parents to discuss. Is it any wonder why each subsequent generations church attendance gets smaller and smaller? They no longer feel that they have anything in common with the older generation that they were separated from. The sad fact is we are stuck with it for the forseeable future.

We are in an age where everything has to cater to the individual. The individual needs to be entertained. We can’t take responsibility for our kids in church, we need them out of our hair so we can relax. They need to be someone else’s problem. We can’t take responsibility to discipline them during the rest of the week so we can’t make them mind during a two-hour church service. We have trained them through T.V and video games to switch topics ( gears if you will ) about every minute or two. Now the pastor is too boring because he isn’t fast paced and loud so we feel the need to farm them out to the children’s ministry and expect them to make a huge and lasting impact on their behavior.

Now that that’s out-of-the-way. The problem is not the Children’s pastor or the volunteers. My wife and I were children’s pastors, led Royal Rangers and Missionettes ( Impact Girls ) volunteered in inner city outreaches to kids and with our churches children’s ministry in other areas. There are some really good volunteers and children’s pastors who try, care, pray for and cry over the kids they see each week. The problem is they only see the kids a couple of hours a week. They might have them two hours on Sunday morning and that’s it for most of them. They get to see a few more back on Sunday night and even fewer on Wednesday night. All in all they might see your kids a total of 4 hours max out of 168 hours. That leaves 164 hours where the kid is being influenced elsewhere.

The remaining time is split with roughly 45 hours a week at school for around 180 days a year. That leaves as few as 119 hours a week where the primary influence on the child is at home. That is a huge and insurmountable difference between time under the influence of a children’s pastor and influence of the parent. Those 4 hours your overworked children’s pastor has can not overcome the learned behavior of the other 164 hours a week. Sure, the children’s pastor can influence your child. Sure they can help instill a love for Christ and the knowledge of good and evil, but they are not the primary influence in the child’s life. Mom and dad  – you are.

How can you as a parent honestly say the children’s ministry at your church is ineffective when your actions and behavior at home counter what they are being taught at church? In church the kids are taught the importance of reading their Bible, yet your kids never see you reading yours. They may not even know you own one! They are taught not to gossip about people but over dinner you gossip about that coworker living with his girlfriend who can’t chew gum with her mouth shut, or you gossip about sister so-and-so who wore that hideous dress that made her already large behind look even larger. They are taught not to lie, but they watch you lie to get a discount or get out of a speeding ticket. They are taught to pray, but the only time they see you pray is when the car breaks or something goes wrong and you mutter “Jesus Christ!” They are taught to be kind to the poor and watch you badmouth the homeless guy on the corner. See where this is going?

Parents, you are the most influential person in their life and they learn what is important from you. They learn if church is important by your commitment. When you pull them out of church at 8:30 PM because it’s a school night, but you don’t bat an eye when they stay on the ball field until 10:00 PM on a school night you are showing that sports is more important than church. The same is true when you blow off numerous services in the name of sports throughout the year or every weekend at the beach during the off school months. When you casually blow off church you are telling your kids church just isn’t that important.

In short you are spending the week undoing what the children’s pastor and volunteers are trying to teach. Then you get angry with the pastor and volunteers when your kid doesn’t know even the simplest Bible stories or is frequently needing discipline during service for acting up. The problem is not the children’s pastor, it’s not the volunteers, it’s not the curriculum, it’s you!

No one ever said parenting was going to be easy. No one ever promised you a rose garden once you became pregnant with your first child. The responsibility to raise them and instruct them in the ways of the Lord is your responsibility, not anyone else’s. Children are a tremendous blessing that come with an incredible burden. In truth all great blessings come with a great burden of responsibility that can not by delegated to someone else. None of us will parent perfectly, but you will be amazed at the grace your kids will show you when they know God is your first priority, your spouse is your second than them. That grace comes from security in their position with you and later from their own relationship with the Lord.

Andy

 

Is it Global Warming, Global Cooling or Climate Change?

According to the American Museum of Natural History the earth is 4.5 billion years old, give or take 50 million years. Biblical historians say the earth is 6,000 years old.

We have been keeping track of temperature since 1880 and later in some parts of the world. We’ll just say 1880 for the whole world in regards to temperature recording. That’s 138 years of recordings. Now that is being extremely generous as in the early 1950’s there was no temperature recording in North Korea. They guessed the temperature at the Chosin Reservoir by the effects on weapons lubricants, wound clotting, etc.

If the world is only 6,000 years old then we only have data for about .03% of the earth’s life. If the earth is 4.5 billion years old then we have data for less than .0001% of the earth’s life.

With that little data how can we honestly say the earth is warming or cooling at alarming rates? How do we know what the normal temps should be? No other area of science would this little amount of data be considered enough to even come close to drawing any kind of hypothesis. So why then are we taking the theory of global warming as gospel? Why did we change it from global cooling in the 70’s to warming and now climate change?

We can see an undisputed pattern of climate change since man started keeping records. In these records we see a lot of change that indicates a cyclic pattern of nature.

To have any accurate data set to make climate change, cooling or warming trends alarming we would need at least another billion years worth of data if you adhere to the “old earth” philosophy.

Stop and think about what you are being told and ask yourself, why are they pushing this with so little evidence?
Why are they so hostile to those who question it?
Why do they actively try and suppress science and reports from the scientific community that challenge their assertions?
Why have they buried the leaked data that shows the data being used was false?
Why are we putting man made computer models, with such a miniscule data set, in such high regard as to cost the world economies trillions of dollars and exasperate the hunger problems?

If only people would abandon “group think” and think on their own.

Andy

If Jesus were here today He would….

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Recently several articles have been circulating around social media about a certain televangelist who was asking his “followers” to pony up $54 million for another private jet. This after a video of the same televangelist with another laughing about why they need their own private jets. A comment in the most recent video was “I really believe that if the Lord Jesus Christ was physically on earth today, he wouldn’t be riding a donkey. He’d be in an airplane flying all over the world.” This brought to mind all the crazy claims people make saying “Jesus would” to justify it.

Lets start with the plane. I doubt Jesus would be flying all over the world in any plane, let alone a $54 million private plane. Why you ask? When Jesus walked the earth he used the most common mode of travel to the masses at the time. He walked, rode in a fishing boat and one notable occasion a donkey. He didn’t travel very far from his earthly home in Nazareth. He stayed within a close proximity of that area despite the “known world” by Roman standards being journeys of many month’s. The known world to God the Father would be years of walking, sailing and riding. Despite the knowledge of the whole world and the people in it He stayed in a relatively small area.

He would ask for money every time He ministered to carry on the ministry. There is not one recorded instance that I can find that even suggests that Jesus asked for money. We know He and the apostles had some or Judas would not have been the money handler. This suggests that people gave out of a holy conviction. There are those who travel to evangelize and never ask for any money or lodging accommodations. They foot the bill out of their own pockets and rely on God to provide through the people where they are ministering to. If the amount given does not cover expenses, all well.

Jesus would drive a Prius ( or insert your favorite eco-friendly car ). Jesus was a carpenter by trade. In his day carpenters not only worked with wood, but stone also. A Prius, Tesla, Civic Hybrid or whatever can not carry the tools and material. Jesus had a crew of 12 that went everywhere with Him. There is not one eco-friendly car on the market that can accommodate 13 men, food and clothes.

Jesus would never go into a bar. Really…..have you read the stories of the people He ministered to? They weren’t exactly presidents, congressmen and billionaires. They were the working class, the tax collectors, the prostitutes and such. The very people you would find in “that side of town”. He went to where they were and they in turn went to find Him.

Jesus would certainly be “this denomination”. That’s as deluded as it gets! Jesus taught of loving one another and being of one mind. The denominational structure of the church today is anything but loving one another and being of one accord. He never talked of wearing no makeup, covering all bare skin, not affiliating with people of the world, nor eating this or that, not drinking, not going to parties. He did all those things. His first known miracle was at a party and involved alcohol.

Jesus would certainly be King James only! Please……stop…..just stop. Jesus would have been about whatever translation gets the point across in a manner that is consistent with the word of God and is understandable and relatable to the masses. He spoke in the local languages of the day which would have been Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek ( Latin ). He related truths of Gods word in stories that the common man could understand and put into practice. If you really want to go down that rabbit hole, do you really think the man who taught on one wife, no divorce and sanctity of marriage would be thrilled with a bible commissioned by a man, for a new church, separate from the existing church so he could divorce one wife and marry another? Somehow I think Jesus might frown on that.

If Jesus were here he would live in a nice house. I doubt it. There is no record that He had a home of His own. He said the son of man has nowhere to lay His head. In the gospels He is traveling and staying in other people’s homes. If your justification for a big house is “Jesus would” you will probably find yourself a vagrant.

If Jesus were here He wouldn’t harp on sin. He wouldn’t want to make people feel bad about themself. Have you even read His teachings? He had no qualms about being challenging, in your face and brutally honest. He would call out sin in a minute and let the truth bring conviction. He also had an amazing amount of compassion at the same time which allowed people to sense His sincerity and love.

Jesus would never put people in charge of churches or ministries that didn’t have this degree or that degree. About that…..non of His followers, who all became early church leaders, had any formal doctrinal teaching. Most were not schooled at all. What they had was a firm and unshakable belief in His deity. They had the power of the Holy Spirit and an unquestioning desire to be totally obedient. They had dynamic prayer lives and were accountable to each other. When was the last time the church grew by 5,000 in a single day or the members voluntarily sold their stuff and pooled it all together to make sure everyone in the church was provided for?

If Jesus were here today He would be married. Not so fast, there is no record of him being married. Most likely He wasn’t given His knowledge of His future and the pain and hardships that would cause someone. It would also have been a distraction that He did not have time for. This is alluded to in Paul’s instructions on marriage in later years. Given Jesus’ schedule, travels and lodging a woman would have been a hinderance and a distraction He could not afford and still fulfill the Father’s plan.

If Jesus were here He wouldn’t have a problem watching this. I’m not convinced He would watch anything on any form of media today. When I look at His life I don’t see much spare time that He didn’t have devoted to His Father’s business. He was always traveling, preaching, teaching, healing, counseling, discipling, eating or sleeping. He was first and foremost about His Father’s business and didn’t seem to entertain anything that would be a distraction from that.

If Jesus were here He would find a way to get away and get work done. Not likely. The few times Jesus “got away” the crowds found Him and He had compassion on them. He then ministered to them, taught, cast out demons and healed people. He was never concerned about people bothering Him or there being to many “demons” around. Given this, He still found time to get alone and pray.

The next time you hear someone say “if Jesus”, stop and take a good look at the life Jesus lived while here on earth. I’m not saying that you doing any of the above is a sin. It’s not a sin unless it’s strictly forbidden in the Bible or His holy spirit brought conviction on you about it. Just because Jesus didn’t do it doesn’t mean you can’t. The problem is when we try to justify what we are doing by invoking WWJD.

Andy

The reasons behind the anger over the firing of Roseanne.

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Roseanne Barr goes to Twitter and tweets a comparison between Valerie Jarrett to an ape. The left went apoplectic and she was fired about five hours after her tweet. Many of her fans and many conservative leaning individuals first condemned the tweet then blasted ABC for firing her. In response to the outrage against ABC many left leaning individuals, the press and the entertainment industry are trying to call conservative minded people hypocrites over applauding the NFL’s new rule, but condemning ABC. This shows they really don’t see the problem or don’t care, they just want the talking point and the division. I believe they just want to keep us divided and the best way to do that is to ignore the truth and stoke the flames.

We are angry with ABC, the media and the entertainment industry in general because of their blatant hypocrisy. The cry about a war on women yet it took them 30 years to fire Harvey Weinstein and they all knew about his behavior. It took them 5 hours to fire Roseanne for her tweet and they all knew how unstable she is.

They claim they are for free speech, but applaud and cover up social media’s persistent censoring of conservative and Christian speech. They fire the only real conservative sitcom, Tim Allen & Last Man Standing despite it being the highest rated show on ABC.

Jimmy Kimmell mocks Melania Trump for her accent and calls her stupid. The left laughs and says no big deal, yet they fire Roseanne.

Bill Maher calls blacks n!g@*rs, makes fun of blacks and calls them house slaves. He gets called out on it and issues a very insincere apology and the left calls him a great comedian. He goes on to compare Donald Trump to an ape, the same thing Roseanne did to Valerie Jarrett yet he keeps his job.

Wanda Sykes, one of the most vile comedians on TV and movies gets to call President Trump all manner of obscene names and compared him to an ape. She keeps her job and gets applauded, yet Roseanne gets fired.

Joy Reid gets investigated by the FBI for homophobic blog posts and mocks gays & lesbians, lies to investigators and tries to blame hackers and the left holds her up as a great example of a strong woman.

The comedian for the White House Correspondents Dinner jokes about abortion and delivers one insulting joke after another about Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the left applauds her as funny and entertaining.

Keith Olberman tweets “F$ck Trump Nazi Nazi f*ck Nazi Nazi racist Nazi BIGOT go f@ck yourself f%cking Nazi f*ck” and page after page of similar tweets. What’s his punishment…a promotion and a show on another Disney – ABC station, ESPN.

Whoopie wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Donald Trump blowing his brains out with a handgun with the caption “Make America Great Again”. Not only is the shirt obscene, but it depicts gun violence that the left rails against!

Hillary Clinton called young black males a kind of super predator that are a danger to society and something needs done about them. She gets praised by the left and nominated on the Democratic ticket for president! Yet, Roseanne gets fired.

Joy Behar calls Mike Pence and all Christians who “talk” and “hear” from God insane with a mental disorder. She continuously vilifies and lies about Christians & conservatives on The View. She is praised and applauded while Roseanne gets fired.

The left applauds and licks the feet of George Soros, an admitted Nazi who has been kicked out of several countries. He stated on a live interview that he enjoyed being a Nazi. The greatest time of his life was turning in Jews to the Nazi government and confiscating their property. He went on to say he had no regrets.

Obama called conservative Christians bitter clingers. He repeated the line that gun owning, Christian conservative males were a domestic terror threat.

The left automatically jumped to the conclusion that Roseanne was insinuating that Valerie Jarrett was black, therefore her ape comparison was racist. What is racist is the automatic assumption that this was Roseanne’s intent. In Staford’s 1977 year book Valerie Jarrett wrote that she was Iranian and wanted to use Islam to destroy America. She went on to be Obama’s primary policy adviser and moved in with them. The Iranians, and Islam in general, say that Jews are descendants of pigs and apes. Where’s the outrage?

The left also demands that school children are descendants of apes, just we managed to evolve faster than they have. Now they get upset when someone compares one of them to an ape, but it’s OK for one of them to compare a conservative to an ape.

The media, when reporting on Roseanne’s firing, reports that Roseanne Barr and Trump friend, supporter ( or a variable of this ) was fired for racist tweet, yet when Harvey Weinstein was perp walked this weekend the media didn’t once mention his party affiliation, the Democrats he donated to and were friends with or the causes he stood with Democrats on. The media continues to only report party affiliation when it’s against Republicans, conservatives, Christians or whites. They bring division into everything. White officer, black victim. Black officer, white victim and so on.

The funny thing about the left painting Roseanne as a conservative is that she isn’t by any stretch of the imagination. She thinks Bush planned 9/11 and Obama planned and organised Benghazi. She thinks the guillotine should be brought back and bankers should be beheaded. She supported the socialist/ communist candidate from the Peace and Freedom party for president and the left has been A-OK with her antics until she spoke out in favor of Trump.

I can go on and on for pages writing about the hypocrisy of the left in how left leaning voices get a pass for anything because they are on the “right side” while conservative leaning voices get censored, lied about and punished for the exact same thing that the left applauds one of their own for. That ladies & gentlemen is why the outrage over ABC’s firing of Roseanne comes from. The conservative, independent, moderate voice in America is tired of being lectured, scolded and talked down to by people who do exactly what they castigate others for. This is just beginning to boil over in other arenas. We see it with CNN’s & MSNBC’s ratings in the toilet. We see it in Target, Dick’s and Yeti taking huge profit hits. It shows in the NFL losing billions in a single season. The “forgotten man” is beginning to be heard and the left doesn’t know what’s happening.

Andy

1st Lt. Clint Lorance and the gross miscarriage of justice.

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There are times when our justice system works exactly as it was intended, then there are times it doesn’t. The military justice system is no different. Sometimes the UCMJ and the court martial process works like it is supposed to. In other times it does not as 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and his family learned.

In 2012 1st Lt. Lorance was placed in command of a platoon after its previous platoon commander was killed in action by military aged men on motorcycles. Other soldiers in the platoon were also killed in the same set of circumstances. In July 2012 three military aged males were speeding towards his platoon, exactly like in previous attacks. He had a decision to make, fire on the men to save the lives of his soldiers or not fire until fired upon as the Obama era Rules of Engagement dictated. 1st Lt. Lorance chose to order his platoon to fire on the men resulting in two of the riders being killed.

Now if you were in command of a squad or platoon and were in the exact same situation you would fire on the approaching party to preserve life and limb. 1st Lt. Clint Lorance knew that military age males on motorcycles were not only observing and following US troops in Afghanistan, but also attacking them. He did what any good officer would do and protected his men.

Subsequently 1st Lt. Clint Lorance was placed under investigation for murder then court martialed. In August 2013 he was found guilty of two counts of second degree murder. His sentence, 19 years in the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, KS.

What we have learned since then is the Army withheld information from the defense that would have exonerated the lieutenant. As Rep. Duncan Hunter ( USMC vet and congressman from California’s 50th District ) stated the Army found that the men killed by Lt. Lorance’s platoon were at locations, and involved in, planting IED’s that killed US & coalition soldiers. What’s the punishment for those in the Army who with held info, nothing. As Rep. Hunter explains the Army justice system is like the civilian justice system in that wins count. Compounding the problem for Lt. Lorance is that the military never, ever, admits it is wrong. They will go through great lengths to cover up mistakes. We have more examples of this then is comfortable from Agent Orange to contaminated drinking water and so on.

There is a Free Clint Lorance movement that has been around since his sentencing in 2013. Many have signed the petition and people like Rep. Hunter have sent letters to the president seeking a pardon for him. As Rep. Hunter explained on the Sean Hannity show the president has officers from the Department of Defense’s legal system telling him that he can not overturn the military’s justice system. Now Rep. Hunter announced on the show that he received information a week ago that tied a third insurgent who was killed that had intel on him placing him with the two killed by Lt. Lorance’s platoon.  This was known by the Army and withheld.

Some say he should stay locked up for violating the Rules of Engagement ( ROE ). There are many who were & are in combat arms MOS’s that say the ROE’s are nothing more than rules designed to allow the enemy to kill US & coalition troops easier. The validity of this argument is seen in the number of killed and wounded under President Obama’s term in office. There were more killed and wounded under him than under President Bush.

Many of believe that Lt. Lorance should receive a full pardon, reinstatement with promotion to the rank he would have attained if he were still on active duty and back pay. As the military does not admit mistake or wrong doing that is doubtful to happen. At the very least the lieutenant should receive a full pardon and allowed to resume his life. We call on you President Trump to right what the swamp has wronged.

Free Clint Lorance.

Andy

Trucking’s $89.6 Million Dollar Wake – Up Call.

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Recently a jury awarded $89.6 million dollars to the plaintiff in a civil case over an accident in which two people suffered brain injuries, one child a quadriplegic and one dead. The troopers at the accident declined to ticket the truck driver as they felt he was not at fault. The driver of the pick up truck lost control, crossed the median and was then struck by the Werner Enterprises truck going the opposite direction. Later a law suit was filed against Werner for unsafe practices. The lawyer representing the plaintiff argued that Werner demonstrated “systematic disregard for safety and training policies”.  So how did the jury come to the decision to levy such a judgement against Werner if the troopers on scene did not find the driver at fault?

To begin you have to understand the merits of the case were not argued solely on the incident cited. The law firm in question argued that Werner not only neglected safety in this instance, but had a culture of neglecting safety. The argument was that due to black ice conditions the Werner driver should not have been on the road at all according to the drivers manual in over 40 states. These states instruct drivers to slow down and find a safe place to park and wait for road conditions to improve. They showed the driver was traveling over 60 MPH in these conditions and was traveling over 50 MPH at the time of the incident. To make matters worse other Werner employees testified that the driver was not allowed to use a C.B radio or external temperature gauge. When the National Weather Service issued an update on the winter storm informing of freezing rain the company never relayed the message to the truck.

To make matters worse this was a student driver who had a trainer with him. Due to this being an expedited, just-in-time load the driver trainer was not in the front seat with the student driver, leaving him unsupervised. As any driver trainer can tell you many companies utilize the truck as a team truck forcing one to sleep while the other drives. The argument went on to claim if the student driver had parked the truck like the states drivers manuals instruct, or had slowed down significantly he would have not been where he was when the pick up lost control and crossed the median.

Now, this is not the first settlement Werner has had to pay out ( to be fair this one isn’t paid and likely will not be until the case is appealed. ). Other companies that hire and train a lot of student drivers are dubbed “driver mills” by many in the industry because they go through so many students. Not to mention the amount of property damage they cause, injury and death to others. These companies include names like Swift, PAM, CRST, CR England and many others. Everyone in the industry knows the student drivers they put on the road are severely under trained and a safety hazard to us all.

The FMCSA assembled a group to address training standards and what they came up with was an absolute joke and maintained the same level of unsafe behavior by these companies as before. It was so bad that some experienced drivers left the panel once they realized how absurd it had become. What the general public doesn’t realize is the FMCSA does very little to improve safety, despite safety being their primary oversight responsibility and these driver mill companies turn drivers loose with only three weeks training behind the wheel. Most of that time they were unsupervised as their trainer had to sleep due to the truck being utilized as a team truck.

These practices are grossly unsafe to everybody, but they persist favoring profit over safety to the motoring public. Other companies have had their share of multi-million dollar settlements over unsafe behavior. Celadon told their drivers to use cruise control as much as possible regardless of weather conditions to save on fuel. A driver lost control in a snow storm, hit a passenger vehicle causing death and permanent injury. The driver admitted to law enforcement that he was using cruise per company directive. That settlement was what it took for Celadon to change their practices. Prior to that they didn’t care about the dangers involved, only the few gallons of fuel they might save.

All through the industry companies and drivers struggle with image. Hollywood and the media have portrayed truckers as irresponsible and reckless unproffesionals. The more this image persists the harder it becomes to find people willing to get into trucking. Drivers want treated as a proffesional by the trucking companies, yet many try to avoid being proffesional. To change the image the industry has and to get the all around treatment a proffessional rates things must change in both camps. Drivers have to take responsiblity for the truck and make judgment calls on what is safe and not safe, refusing what is not. There are more jobs than drivers, if you are fired for refusing to be unsafe you will have a job by the end of the week.

The companies need to invest more in training. They need to be much more selective of who they elevate to driver trainer status and then train them to be trainers. Selecting someone who has 4 months experience trucking without wrecking is not a suitable candidate to be a trainer. The training standards for student drivers needs to be longer than three weeks and much more stringent than it is now.

Due to the FMCSA, Congress and these training companies failing to do what is prudent and responsible it is now sadly the courts influence that is needed to bring about change. Some say this award against Werner Enterprises is extreme and without merit. I say just the opposite. These companies know what they are doing and will not stop these unsafe practices until the monetary punishment is so severe that they have no choice but to change their behavior. Regardless of how the appeals process plays out we can only hope that these big box driver training companies are swayed into reforming their practices to avoid similar law suits.

Andy

Is the truck driver shortage a myth or reality?

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There’s much noise coming from some in the transportation industry about a driver shortage. There’s another camp that claims there is not a shortage, just a very unhealthy driver churn that’s called turn over. There is die hard adherents to both claims, but the truth is in the middle as it always is.

The claim of a driver shortage is perpetuated by the American Trucking Association          ( ATA ), its member companies, industry media outlets that survive on advertising from said companies and other trade groups representing the “mega carriers”. One thing we have to keep in mind is nothing is as the ATA claims it is. They are a lobby group for their member companies that are front and center in a lot of the problems plaguing the industry. As a result they use their wealth to lobby congress & the FMCSA to get regulations and rule making that favors them.

In an article in USA Today, titled “Truck Driver Shortage is raising prices, delaying deliveries” , the ATA claims that in 2018 we are short 51,000 truck drivers. They go onto claim that in four years, 2022, we will be short 106,245 truck drivers. The ATA has also stated they draw these numbers from statistics from their member companies and the Bureau Of Labor Statistics. The solutions the ATA is looking to include federal minimum age hiring standards for interstate drivers be lowered from 21 to 18. They claim that we allow 18 year old’s to operate heavy vehicles in the military so they should be able to do so on our highways. They are also eyeing autonomous trucks.

Lowering the age with the current guidelines the ATA is suggesting is a disaster waiting to happen. 18 year old’s in the military do not operate heavy vehicles in the military without supervision from older, more mature and higher ranked individuals. They are not tossed a set of keys with 3 weeks training and sent on their way. It’s much more controlled and supervised. Most 18 year old’s are not mature enough to handle the responsibility of handling a tractor-trailer. Just a month ago they were eating Tide pods and two months ago doing the cinnamon challenge. I don’t know about you, but given the current cultural dynamics I don’t want people who can’t use good judgement to discern that eating laundry soap is a bad idea operating a 70 foot long, 13’6 high, 8.5 feet wide and up to 80,000 LBS vehicle down the interstate.

Autonomous trucks are a more viable solution, but the public doesn’t seem to keen on them. Insurance companies are scarred to death due to no one has determined who’s going to be liable for claims. Will it be the company that manufactured the components that failed? Will it be the truck manufacturer who assembled the whole thing? Will it be the driver who was supposed to be monitoring the vehicle? Will it be the network provider who oversees and maintains the wireless network the truck is utilizing? With the number of deaths and accidents involving autonomous vehicles I don’t think we’ll be seeing widespread use of them soon.

The mega companies see a huge turnover that other industries find totally unacceptable, but trucking finds normal. Take Werner Enterprises for example. They employ nearly 8,000 people and hired 10,000 people last year. That’s over a 100% turn over rate. All the mega carriers experience the same thing. The smaller companies see a much lower turn over rates with the largest growth in the under 15 power unit companies. They have seen around 60% growth for a few years.

The other camp is led by OOIDA and claims there is not a driver shortage, but a driver churn problem. They say that with an industry average 100% turn over rate it’s a churn and training problem. This camp also states that with states issuing around 400,000 CDL’s a month there is not a shortage.

There’s a couple of problems with both lines of reasoning. In the strictest sense if the industry has a 100 % turn over that means every driver left one company for another over the course of the year. If a company has 250 trucks and 210 drivers and 100 % of the drivers change jobs, they still only have 210 drivers and 40 empty trucks. Yes, the churn is bad, but the mega companies have created the problem that they seemingly are unwilling to fix.

The claim that there is not a shortage because states issue 400,000 CDL’s is problematic too. Out of 400,000 CDL’s how many are renewals? How many are Class B CDL’s for dump truck drivers or cement truck drivers? How many are truly new Class A issues for people driving OTR and regional? How many are mechanics obtaining or renewing a CDL for the sole purpose of test driving and relocating equipment? How many are for people driving a school bus, activity bus or church bus? How many work for the state or a city fire department that requires their engineers to have a Class B? The questions can be endless.

What we do know is there are many people with CDL’s that have no intention of driving truck in a manner that will have them away from home over night. We also know that there are drivers who show up for orientation that have 20 jobs on their 10 year work history. We also know people obtain their CDL and drive truck as a last resort until their previous job has spots open back up. In a surging economy you will see people who were in construction, mining, etc. leave trucking in favor of their former jobs.

To claim there is not a shortage is shooting yourself in the foot. On one hand the shortage is causing rates to increase. To run around insisting there is not shortage gives the industry the excuse to lower rates again using your own argument against you.

I fall in the middle of both arguments. There is a shortage, but it is not as severe as the ATA and company claim. When you look at the number of loads being offered vs. the number of trucks and drivers on the road it’s obvious there is a shortage of drivers. The truth is the shortage needs to stay. There are commodities that do not have to ship right now. They can wait awhile before being shipped. If the industry makes a mad scramble to fill all the spots needed to not have a shortage, when all the shippers and receivers are caught up with demand and the economy cycles down again ( it always happens ) there will be too many trucks and drivers. Then rates go back down, miles fall off and drivers and companies make less money. We’ve seen companies offer all kinds of gimmicks to get trucks full only to encounter a seasonal slump and loose drivers because they can’t get the miles to make a paycheck that is worth being on the road.

The other claim by OOIDA and it’s adherents is training is lacking and contributing to the churn. In that they are absolutely correct, but that is another topic for another blog. In conclusion I believe we are in a good place for drivers and companies. We are finally seeing rates increasing like they have needed to for over 20 years. We are seeing trucking companies forced into making changes to better the quality of life for drivers. Warehousing is being forced to become more efficient and driver friendly to continue to attract trucks to move their freight. All in all this is a good thing.

Andy