Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Presidential Politics on Parade

         Last week I listed several areas where I believe Mitt Romney, the GOP presumptive candidate for the presidency, will be attacked within the Mainstream Media (MSM).

It is routinely touted that a candidate’s family, particularly their children, are off limits for personal attack in order to score political points. This memo obviously did not get to the MSM. They have been relentless in their attack on Ann Romney, Mitt’s wife of forty-three years. The first of two stories most recently splashed across the headline news in a clear attempt to sensationalize, is the horrifying truth that Ann Romney is a (gasp!) homemaker. You read that right. What prompted this critique of Mrs. Romney? CNN contributor Hilary Rosen declared that Ann Romney was “unqualified” to serve as her husband’s chief adviser on women’s issues because she had “never worked a day in her life.” The liberal interpretation is that Mrs. Romney has wasted her life by not working outside the home. Never mind that she and Mitt have raised five sons, and she was the First Lady of Massachusetts during her husband’s term as governor in that most liberal of states. She also earned her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. In establishing priorities in life, she and Mitt believed it was more important to establish a solid home life, to which I say, Bravo!

The second bit of news hysteria and the attempt at character assassination regarding Ann Romney is that she is an elitist. This is laughable. That she comes from wealth is no secret. Recently she was asked to write an article for USA Today, “The Three Seasons of Motherhood,” espousing the merits and glories of being a mother. It was the final lines of her article that has some in the liberal press in such a lather. Cherish your mothers. The ones who wiped your tears, who were at every ball game or ballet recital. The ones who believed in you, even when nobody else did, even when maybe you didn't believe in yourself. Women wear many hats in their lives. Daughter, sister, student, breadwinner. But no matter where we are or what we're doing, one hat that moms never take off is the crown of motherhood. There is no crown more glorious.” Michelle Goldberg, an author and senior contributing writer for the Daily Beast, a news website, said she found Ann Romney’s comments about Motherhood, as 'creepy' because she had talked about the 'crown of motherhood'. On a weekend talk show, Ms Goldberg, who has written a book on female reproduction and is regularly featured as a political commentator, told viewers that the phrase (crown of motherhood) used by Mrs. Romney reminded her of Hitler and Stalin's regimes. Ms Goldberg said: 'It's authoritarian societies that give out like a Cross of Motherhood. They give out awards for big families... You know, Stalin did it, Hitler did it.'” Amazing! I would remind Ms Goldberg what God has to say about this in the Book of Proverbs, chapter 17, verse, 6, “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.”

You don’t have to like a person’s political, philosophical, or theological points of view, but to feel the need to denigrate them as being evil is way out of bounds. If you only like those who agree with your position and views, then your life will be shallow to the degree that you will have missed out on the richness that resides in diversity. There are many acquaintances of mine who are Mormon, Catholic, Jewish and so forth that I have serious differences with over theological doctrines, yet we can sit and enjoy one another’s company. Yes, we are friends. Sadly, it would appear that our society seems to have devolved into the absurd thinking that if you and I don’t agree then you are my enemy. I categorically reject this foolishness!

Another matter that Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, will no doubt face is the former Mormon position regarding blacks. It was taught for nearly a century and a half that those of the black race were basically inferior. The whole business of blacks and the LDS teachings, starting with founder Joseph Smith up until the LDS Church’s revised position on black’s in 1978, is confusing at best. But it could easily become a hot button in this election since Mitt and his dad, George, have each held significant positions of responsibility within the Mormon Church. Romney to date has wisely chosen not to go after President Obama concerning his own questionable religious beliefs.

Another topic that may find its way into the debate over the presidency is that of Mitt’s family history. His father, George, was born in one of the twelve settlements in northern Mexico where Mormon’s migrated in the 1880s. The United States government was ardently opposed to polygamy, a practice engaged in by most Mormons at the time. Many of these transplanted Mormons returned to the United States about 1915 to avoid the dangers of a growing Mexican rebellion and the marauding bands with a decidedly anti-American sentiment roaming through northern Mexico. The question will no doubt be raised whether Romney holds to the LDS Church’s former practice of marrying more than one wife and thereby producing lots of children.

This presidential campaign season should prove to be quite entertaining!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Season for Politics

               Now that the presumptive presidential candidate for the Republican Party, Willard Mitt Romney, has been all but crowned, I thought I might weigh in on some of the more obvious issues that you will be hearing squawked about in the remaining five months or so before the election.

 An obvious fact evident to anyone willing to be unbiased is that the Mainstream Media (MSM) did not properly vet then presidential hopeful Barack Hussein Obama. It’s amazing that questions still linger out there concerning President Obama’s birth record/citizenship, passports used claiming citizenship other than U.S., school records sealed, close associations with people of dubious backgrounds, whether he’s a Christian or a Muslim, etc.

Vetting is a long-standing tradition maintained by the media. They scour a candidate’s background looking for any little thing that can be used to challenge the legitimacy of the person running for elected office. It has already begun with Romney.

Anyone desiring to run for office is fair game, as detestable a process as vetting may be. But I would be quick to add that a level of fairness should be administered for both sides in the contest. Do I expect to see this fairness employed in the Obama-Romney race? No. The MSM is severely flawed and in need of first being scrapped and then possibly resurrected much as the phoenix arose from its ashes. The MSM is clearly in the tank for the Obama administration.

So what do I imagine will be on the table for targeting Mitt Romney? First, that he is a fat-cat Wall Street type. Second, that he is a Mormon and as such may be controlled by the president of the Latter Day Saints (LDS, or Mormon) church. Third, Romney will be castigated as a war-monger. There’s much more, but for the sake of space and time, this will have to suffice.

Let’s consider the fat-cat Wall Street label. Romney comes from a hard-working family. His father, George W. Romney, made a lot of money on his own, eventually serving as the governor of Michigan from 1963-69, and then the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He was also the president of the American Motors Corporation during its formative years, 1954-62. It was his idea to develop the Rambler, a fuel-efficient car for its time. He referred to the cars made by the Big-3 Detroit automakers as “gas-guzzling dinosaurs.” George also ran for president of the United States in 1968. One of the accusations leveled against Mitt today is that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, implying he came from the privileged class. The same was true of Senator John F. Kennedy. But being born to privilege will only carry you so far, and then you must launch out on your own. Mitt did this and was by all estimations, highly successful. His business acumen caused the Olympic Games of 2002 (clearly a disaster in the making before Romney was asked to take over), to totally turn around, ending up with a surplus of $53 million which he designated for use in future Olympics.

Are Romney’s religious beliefs as a practicing Mormon an issue? For most folks I would say this is not a problem. I fully expect, however, that his political opponents will come after him for his conservative views, views that have a solid biblical base, such as the recent brouhaha over same sex marriage. In addition, as with our first Catholic president in John F. Kennedy, some of his opponents were using a fear-mongering tactic suggesting that the pope in Rome would be dictating policy to Kennedy if he were elected. I expect to hear someone postulate that the president of the Mormon Church will be secretly running the country should Romney become president. Will Evangelical Christians vote for Romney? Yes, in large numbers. Why? Because where Romney stands on the issues facing our nation is where Evangelicals stand. The stumbling block Evangelicals and most Christian churches have with Romney and his Mormon faith is centered on the person and the work of Jesus Christ. This is inviolable and is a barrier that will not be overcome. But that should not prevent Christians from voting for Mitt.

The last topic for attack against Romney will be the label that he is a war-monger. This is a pejorative term which will be used much the way Senator Barry Goldwater was vilified in his presidential bid in 1964. President Lyndon Johnson and his campaign painted Goldwater as a danger to world peace, claiming that Goldwater was willing to take a hard line on the halting the spread of communism in Southeast Asia which would get us into a war. The attack worked, and Johnson was elected. Ironically, Johnson immediately began calling for a troop buildup for deployment into South Vietnam. So who was the real war-monger? Mormons strongly support the defense of the United States. It is the Mormon belief that the United States is their promised land. It is no surprise then that there is a significant presence of Mormons serving in our military. You can be sure that Mitt Romney will be strong in national defense and the building up of our military, just as President Ronald Reagan did following the disaster of the Carter administration.

We’ll address this further next week.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Medical Update

I realized recently that it has been a while since I have written about my ongoing medical challenges. A number of you have been asking me of late how things are going, primarily with my prostate cancer. So here goes with an update.

Over the past year since I was diagnosed with this disease, I have been having a PSA test about every three months or so. The numbers have fluctuated some from a high of 7.5 which prompted the initial biopsy in February of 2011, down as low as 4.2 last December. When I had another biopsy the first of April this year it was at 4.6 and prompted my urologist to call me in for further consultation.

To better understand this process, I need to go back to a year ago March. It was then I was informed by the doctor that the biopsy revealed I had cancer in 2/3’s of my prostate. The doctor sat with Isaura and me and explained the medical options. He gave them in this order: surgery to remove the prostate; chemotherapy; and/or radiation. I liked none of those options, so after a time of prayer, and some intense research, my wife and I decided to look into alternative approaches that are designed to help the body heal itself, and which do not do further damage which all the reports, books, workshops and programs we scoured clearly indicated was the serious downside of the medical options. That being said, I began a holistic treatment plan which also includes eating organic foods ( Besides dropping fifty pounds in six months, the overall sense of well-being has been worth it.

One of the questions I’m often asked is how do I manage to eat organic food when I am traveling or simply having a meal with family and friends at a local diner? Good question. I go for salads (greens and either no dressing or a light vinaigrette). The vegetables are most likely not grown under organic conditions, but I at least avoid the stuff cancer really likes, such as red meat, dairy and processed sugar. It’s not always convenient, but it is all very doable.

Now, when we met with the urologist last month he strongly advised that I have another biopsy. I have chosen not to go through with this procedure based upon a vast amount of research that warns against it due to the increased possibility of the cancer being unwittingly placed into the blood stream due to the invasiveness of the biopsy. You bleed for a day or more from the rectum after a biopsy. I asked the doctor if there was another way of determining the status of the cancer. He said a PET scan could be performed, but it would have to be authorized by my insurance company, which is TRICARE West. A PET scan is an acronym for Positron Emission Tomography which “is a nuclear medicine imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image or picture of functional processes in the body.” Initially the request was denied, but the doctor has resubmitted the request, so we’re on hold at this point.

In the last several weeks my wife’s brother, Tony, told us about a book we should read, entitled, “Outsmart Your Cancer: Alternative Non-Toxic Treatments That Work,” by Tanya Harter Pierce, M.A., MFCC. I’m just getting into this so I have little in the way of information to report. However, I have listened to the CD that accompanies the book. There are numerous testimonies from folks who have had success with various alternative approaches to going after their cancer. One product in particular seems to work wonders. It’s called Protocel. Isaura ordered this for me which I will begin this week, so when you read this, you will know I’m in the first few days of trying this concoction.

The author of “Outsmart Your Cancer” has written four chapters in the book about Protocel. On page 119 she writes, “I was stunned by the effectiveness of a brown liquid formula called Protocel. Protocel is a unique single-product approach that does not rely on herbs or vitamins or minerals for their anti-cancer activity and does not rely on boosting the immune system. It was designed to specifically target cancer cells in a way that makes them eventually fall apart and die, leaving normal healthy cells unharmed. And it does this by targeting the anaerobic aspect of cancer cells.” Anaerobic literally means “without oxygen.” So Protocel attacks the cancer cells by denying these deadly cells the oxygen they need to survive in the body.

So I’m off on another venture in my fight against cancer. I so appreciate the many prayers and expressions of concern that many of you have shared with me. It always surprises me, I guess, but please know that I am deeply grateful for your concern.

I will say this in conclusion: My faith is in Jesus, the one who died and rose again, defeating sin and death. I am committed to him. So when he says it’s time to break the bonds of earth, then I’m out of here!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Brooklyne Paige

Last year in March I wrote an article about our granddaughter, Alyssa Grace, entitled, “Priceless” in which I recounted the many humorous things she had said during her then 3½ years of life. I admit that I am one of those shameless grandparents who takes great delight in every little thing these precious ones say or do.

Since that time I have also wanted to write about some of the more comical moments produced by our other granddaughter, Brooklyne Paige. However, we do not have as much access to her because Brookie and her parents live 30 miles away in Turlock. So I asked our youngest daughter, Jenny, to write down some of the things that Brookie has come up with during her first four years. Last Sunday Jenny handed me several pages of Brookie’s classic moments. So here goes . . .

Gender: Jenny and Josh had their second child this past January, Colson Charles Sousa. Jenny had made it clear that she did not want to know the gender of this next addition to the family. Brookie was excitedly anticipating the arrival of this sibling. But she also let it be known that she wanted a baby sister. However, during an ultrasound, the technician forgot and blurted out that they were having a boy. Upon hearing this Brookie yelled out, “But I wanted a girl!”

Rejection: Brooklyne was not happy about the arrival of a little brother. So just before little Colson was born she made it clear that she had no interest in sharing her parents’ affections with a boy. She staunchly stated, “You need to give him back to God!”

Age: Jenny and Brookie were having a mother-daughter talk one day when Brookie began to explain who she thought was old and who wasn’t. Curious to know what her daughter’s opinions were of who is old, Jenny asked, “Am I old?” Brookie said no. “Is grandma old?” (that’s Jenny’s mother-in-law). No again. “Is Meema old?” (Meema is my wife – Brookie’s other grandmother). Again Brookie says no. “Is Dandaddy old?” (That’s me). She says no. “How about Papa?” (Her other grandfather). Again no. “Well how about great grams?” “YESSSS!” was Brookie’s exuberant reply. Great grams is my mother who will be 97 next month.

Vitamins: Jenny gives Brookie a vitamin tablet every morning with the encouraging words that she wants Brookie to grow up big and strong. On this day however, Brookie says, “Mommy, I don’t want to grow up to be big and strong. I want to stay little and be your baby!” This was when she was only two!

Princess: Brooklyne informed her mother one day that princesses are lazy, because the men do all the work! More insights from Brookie at two.

Gastroenterology: During dinner one evening Brookie bursts out with a question to her parents. “Do you know that food turns into poop?” Josh and Jenny assured their little darling that they indeed were aware that food turns into poop, at which point they dissolved into gales of laughter.

Astronomy: Driving in the car with Brookie seated in her car seat in the back, Jenny points out that the moon looks like a slice of cheese. Brooklyne decides her mother needs some correcting, so she says, “No, mommy, it doesn’t (look like a slice of cheese). Do you know what shape it is, mommy?” Amused, Jenny says, “Please tell me what shape is the moon?” Jenny was convinced that there was no way Brookie would know the answer. To her surprise Brookie says, “It’s a crescent!”

Weight: Jenny has been on Weight Watchers in an attempt to lose those extra pounds acquired during her recent pregnancy with Colson. On this day Jenny was very excited because she had just weighed herself and was pleasantly surprised to see that she had lost two pounds. While standing there in her all-together, she tells Brookie the good news. With a critical eye, Brookie stares at her mother, giving her the once-over, and then states, “You don’t look like you lost any weight. You need to keep trying, and don’t give up!”

Jenny tells me that Brookie’s first word was “book,” clearly taking after Dandaddy! All right, I admit it. I’m a bibliophile!

I’m pleased to report that Brookie loves her little brother, Colson. In fact, Brookie and Alyssa can’t stop kissing and squeezing him. I asked Brookie recently if she still wanted to send Colson back to God. She said, “Noooo! I love him!”

          Point of fact – Colson has so captivated Brookie (and everyone else in the family) that she has come up with her own special term of endearment for him: “Little Mashuna.” I had no idea where this name came from but Isaura informed me that it was probably a Portuguese term (mechelona, which literally means, “little touchy one”) used by the lady who looks after Brookie and Colson while Jenny and Josh are at work. 

I can’t wait to write the memorable things that Colson will do, but that will have to be on hold for a couple or three years. In the meantime, I’ll just continue to write about Alyssa and Brookie. They’re entertainment enough!