What is going on with the US and Iraq? The President recently announced the US is sending an additional 450 troops to Iraq to help combat ISIS, and apparently there’s the possibility that up to 1,000 more could be sent.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also talked about a possible “lily pad” strategy, setting up American military outposts near Iraqi bases close to the front line.
We withdrew, and now we’re slowly sending soldiers in small groups to act as advisers and trainers. Hmmm, sounds like another war we fought a couple decades ago. Is this turning into Vietnam all over again?
What is the U.S strategy here? It's always struck me as a real-life game of Whack-a-Mole. One terrorist group pops here, so we whack it down. Then another pops over there, so we whack that one down. Then another pops up. So on and so forth.
To try and get a handle on this, we spoke to our friend Michael Rubin, a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official.
How does this compare to Vietnam?
“There are huge differences; but, unfortunately…there are also similarities. One of the issues that we’re up against is that the politicians constantly want to tie the hands of the military when it comes to what it takes to get the job done.”
Great. Can the military ever really succeed if they’re being second-guessed and handcuffed by politicians back in Washington? Rubin also doesn’t give high marks to the President’s handling of the fight against Islamic State.
“Harry S. Truman said ‘The buck stops here.’ President Obama seems have on his desk “The buck stops with someone else who’s elected in a couple years.”
To listen to the rest of our conversation about our military entanglement in the Middle East, click the link below:
According to a new CBS/New York Times poll, a lot of Americans may not feel that way. 61% of people think only those at the very top have opportunities to succeed. Two-thirds of people think wealth should be more evenly distributed.
Really? I’ve always believed that if you really apply yourself and work hard, you can succeed; and you can make a better life for yourself. But you have to work at it.
To get a different perspective on this, from somehow who had to do just that, I spoke with Cyndi Nyugen, the Chairperson of the Asian Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana.
She came to the United States from Vietnam with her family: “I came over when I was 5 years old. My father told me that we had about two pairs of outfits for myself and my siblings, my mother was pregnant and did not speak English. We didn’t have any money... he came over with his two bare hands, and he started to work… we started with nothing; and he just started working and learning the English language and applying the skill he had finding work in America, and I believe we’re doing quite well as a family.”
So they came to the US with virtually nothing, but they worked hard. And she says they’re still coming to America because of the American Dream.
“The American dream is still very strong, our families are still coming over here, we’re still trying to bring our family over here because there’s opportunity in the United States… there’s still plenty of opportunity in America, and I believe that.”
It’s stories like these that make me believe the American Dream still is attainable and alive. She left us with some word I think everyone can take to heart.
“It’s about our resiliency and our determination to survive. And because of that survival, it has created me with a very healthy and happy family of my own that I am not depending on the federal government. We work really hard that we don’t depend on the federal government because we believe that we need to contribute to society and be able to take care of our family.”
If you want to check out the rest of my interview with Cyndi Nyugen (and I highly recommend you take the time to), click the link below.
A new survey from Pew Research shows that more Americans continue to move away from specific religions. People who identify as Christians still make up a vast majority of the population at 70%, but that’s down from 78%.
What’s going on? To try and make sense of the numbers I spoke with Mike Hout, a Professor of Sociology at NYU who’s been studying this very trend for over a decade.
“A lot of this increase over the last 20 years in Americans’ having no religion is not Americans having no religious views - rather, more and more Americans simply don’t have a preference one over another.”
So Americans are losing religion only in the sense that they’re shying away from any one religion. They still believe in God; they just may not be Catholic, or Baptist, or Methodist, or whatever.
“More and more people are inclined to do it themselves when it comes to God…there’s a question out there in the public about whether or not you need a church in order to find God or find a path to God.”
While the number of atheists ticked up a little bit, it looks most of these people still believe in God; they just don’t belong to a church or denomination. It’s the spiritual over religious debate. To me, this brings up the question: do you need organized religion to be close to God?
Personally? I say no, you don’t need it. I grew up Catholic, but I stopped going to church about a year ago. And since then, I have never been happier or felt closer to God. I still pray every day; I just have more of a personal relationship with God.
What about you?
Check out my whole conversation with Mike Hout, and my conversations with y’all:
The report on Deflate-gate is now out, and it says that Tom Brady was probably aware of what was going on. It feels like there’s always something with the Patriots. They got in trouble for Spygate back in 2007, but what will happen this time?
The report cleared head coach Bill Belichick…but is that fair? Saints fans are well aware of Roger Goodell’s comments that Sean Payton should have known what was going on during Bountygate. If the buck stops here, why shouldn’t Belichick get punished, like the NFL punished Payton?
I spoke with Gabe Feldman, a sports law expert at Tulane, about the report and what the Patriots could be facing.
“This is arguably much more integral to the integrity of the game. This is happening to the game itself…it would seem that if Roger Goodell wants to be consistent, that he would have to come down pretty hard…You can make an argument that the Patriots are now repeat offenders.”
How does this compare to Bountygate?
“There’s a couple differences that the commissioner is going to point to. One is that Bountygate, at least in theory, involved health and safety of players; and here with Deflate-gate, there was a competitive advantage…but no health and safety issue currently. I think the commissioner will also point to the fact that the Saints were told multiple times to correct their behavior, to stop engaging in this, again alleged, bounty scandal.”
However, Feldman does think the two are comparable.
“I think there are more similarities than the league is comfortable discussing, and I think the biggest one is the lack of cooperation by the Patriots organization during the investigation. I think you could say that the Saints were actually more cooperative.”
So the Pats are repeat offenders, and this scandal affects the integrity of the game. How much do you want to bet that their punishment is lighter than what the Saints received for the bounty scandal?
By now, most everyone has seen the video of a South Carolina police officer shooting a man in the back and killing him as he was fleeing. Now, I respect the heck out of police officers; and it’s a very tough job. However, I can’t see how shooting this man eight times was justified.
To find out what could have been going through the officer’s head and how cops are trained, we spoke with a friend of ours, Chuck Drago, a former police chief and a police practices expert. Drago agrees that the shooting does not appear to be justified.
“I see the man running away from the police officer. He doesn’t appear to be armed, he doesn’t appear to be threatening the officer in anyway. Then the officer fires his weapon at him, and I don’t really see where there was any threat to anyone.”
So what could the officer have done instead of using his firearm?
Drago says there were many options available. “He can call in for help to help set a perimeter, he can call a K-9. There’s a lot of things he can do, and those things are up to the officer… one thing he cannot do is use deadly force against an individual who does not pose a threat of deadly force or serious bodily injury to the officers or others.”
So why did he choose to shoot?
“There’s no way to explain what the officer did. This is such basic police training in terms of when you can shoot someone fleeing from you and when you can’t. To just stand there and fire at this individual, you just can’t explain it.”
Drago went even further, saying “The Mayor of the city said he made a poor decision - to me, that’s an insult to all good police officers in this country. That’s not a poor decision. A poor decision is when you take a second piece of pie and later on you’re sorry you ate too much pie… this is beyond a poor decision… it’s mind-boggling.”
Those are strong words from an expert on this topic. After seeing the video, what do you think?
To hear my interiew with Mr. Drago, click the link below.
More and more people are getting tattoos nowadays, so they’re becoming more and more acceptable in the workplace. As long as they’re appropriate, anyway. A New York man claims he was fired over his tattoo of his ex-girlfriend’s name… whose name is Isis. Yep.
Well, besides unfortunate ones like that, what about the average person with a tattoo? We turned to an expert who has studied tattoos in the workplace. Brian Elzweig is an Associate Professor of Business Law at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
So can you be fired for a tattoo?
“The general rule is that it’s employment at will, and you can be fired for any reason or no reason. So if an employer doesn’t like your tattoo, they can not hire you or fire you because of that.”
Does freedom of speech play any role?
“Freedom of speech would go primarily to a government entity acting on somebody. So there are probably more protections if you’re working for the government, but if you’re working for a private employer…there really are very little protections.”
With more people having tattoos, could businesses be missing out on qualified workers?
“There’s probably a lot of people who are not hiring people based on their having tattoos, and they’re losing a segment of people they could hire because they think there are social mores that tattoos aren’t acceptable.”
“Know your client base…because a lot of the time your customers may not care.”
Do you care? To listen to my full interview with Brian, click the link below.
It seems like we’re constantly seeing new stories of people from Western countries like the US, Canada, and the UK trying to make their way to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. The FBI sent out a warning on how effective some of Islamic State’s propaganda is. WHY? Why are some people so drawn to this?
To try and understand what’s going on, we brought in an expert, Arie Kruglanski, a Distinguished University Professor in Psychology and an expert on the psychological aspects of terrorism. What’s going on here? What’s their message?
“What ISIS offers is what a normal, humdrum, an everyday existence cannot offer. A sense of great significance, doing something that will put you in history, that will make you a hero.”
And they actually believe torturing and killing makes them a hero. Do the people trying to join up actually know what’s going on over there?
“They suppress the negative aspects and just portray the positives,” the Professor said. Yep. The young people trying to join ISIS don’t realize they’re not going to be living like kings and what they’ll actually have to do.
Should we worry about these deluded miscreants trying to form together here rather than only going over there?
“It’s a good chance, especially if they already have the experience with explosives and weapons…the kinds of attacks that we see in Paris, in Boston, in Brussels, and other places. These are people that have had some experience, they were instructed through the Internet how to proceed and in many cases they have connections to criminal networks. So the lone wolf problem of people who are local yet inspired and capable of carrying out atrocious attacks is very real. This is a new frontier we have to confront.”
Despite most of us realizing the absurdity of their propaganda, a few are buying into it; and that’s worrisome. Sure, they’re trying to head over there now; but Dr. Kruglanski notes that could quickly become a problem over here.
It’s scary. To hear the rest of the interview, click the link below.
If someone comes up to you and asks for money, do you give them any? It happened to me recently. I was using the ATM, and a man approached me as I was walking away.
He told me that he just needed $40 for gasoline. He seemed earnest and sincere; and he SWORE, over and over, on his kid’s lives, that he was telling the truth. So ya know what? I gave him the $40.
However, despite how sincere he seemed, something was nagging me. So I decided to follow him. And sure enough, he goes into a nearby drug store and grabs two bottles of whiskey. Un-freaking-believable.
Now, what would you do? Tommy being Tommy, I confronted him. I told him he oughta be ashamed of himself, swearing up and down that he was telling the true while he was just lying to my face.
We’ve all been in somewhat similar situations. Is this person asking for money really and truly needy? Or are they just trying to take advantage of the kindness of strangers and make an easy buck?
You never can tell. I was suckered and scammed by his act. It made me angry that somebody would do that. But, in the end, I think I did the right thing.
President Obama is asking Congress to authorize the use of force against ISIS… basically, to authorize an official war against them. It would limit the authorization to three years, with no restriction as to where U.S. forces could pursue the threat. The president's proposal bans "enduring offensive combat operations,” whatever that means.
But I’m confused. Are we striking them in Syria? In Iraq? Both? Elsewhere? Not even the experts are entirely sure.
Another thing I don’t quite get… how can we fully defeat ISIS? You normally don’t see “good ole days” and “war” in the same sentence, but that’s almost how I feel. We used to be able to easily identify who we were going after. They were countries that had known boundaries and had uniforms. Now it’s a lot less certain.
It’s almost like a game of whack-a-mole. If we strikes ISIS in Syria, they can pop back up in Iraq. If we hammer down on ISIS, extremists in al Qaeda can pop up in Afghanistan or Yemen or other places.
How far should we go with our soldiers risking life and limb so soon after previous wars ended? Join the conversation on Facebook below.
The Patriots are being investigated for possibly deflating balls during their playoff game against the Colts, which would allow them to grip the ball better (helpful on catches and carrying the football). So if true, this would be cheating, and it would directly impact on the field play. It’s also not the first time New England and Bill Belichick are possibly in trouble with the NFL. They were fined and penalized draft picks for Spygate back in 2007.
I’m just sayin’, this would be a 2nd offense. For Bountygate, the Saints lost draft picks AND Sean Payton for a year.
What’s worse: Bountygate or Deflategate? In my totally and completely unbiased opinion…I gotta go with this one. So if it’s true, shouldn’t Belichick get suspended too?