Chuck Norris: The 24 Principles of Every Healthy Leader

Photo courtesy of JD Lasica

Photo courtesy of JD Lasica

The other day, I was thinking about leaders, in everything from the White House to my own house to countries such as Syria to companies such as Apple.

I was reflecting upon revolutionaries, from Nelson Mandela to Rosa Parks to the single parent of three who inspires her or his children with hard work and tough love.

I was contemplating the power of influence and influencers who make a difference by their command and control to others who demand respect with their silence and servitude.

From Jesus to James Dean and prosperity to prowess, leaders and what attracts others to them may vary, but one constant remains the same: Everything rises and falls on leadership, as Dr. John Maxwell has put it.

Leadership has built the biggest empires. It has collapsed the greatest corporations. It can unify diversity or divide unity. It can cast visions, catalyze movements, coalesce people and revolutionize industries and culture. Or it can run an organization and country into the ground by hardly trying or making a few wrong moves.

And you get what you pay for in leadership, not just in monetary terms but in quality of leader replication and organizational development. There is a direct correlation between the health and potential of an organization’s leaders and how far their subordinates and the organization can soar. Fudge on leadership and a company will falter, plain and simple. Morality, magnanimity and mistakes all metastasize under the levels of leaders. For an enterprise cannot grow greater, wider or deeper than the person at the top.

No leader is perfect, and everyone has his or her flaws. But those who have gained my respect are those who have proved themselves through the test of time and results.

One of those is Gen. Colin Powell.

You may not agree with his politics. You may not like all his moral stances. You may assail him for his entanglements in the Middle East. Or you may say Washington’s marginalizing Powell was a big mistake.

But you can’t deny his stellar career as a leader par excellence. After his four decades of military service — beginning at age 17 as a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadet — this retired four-star general in the U.S. Army also served in four presidential administrations, including being the first African-American to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as secretary of state.

And whether you believe that Powell had a tryst with a female Romanian diplomat or not, you can’t deny the power of his 50-year marriage to his beloved Alma or his fatherhood to their three successful adult children — Michael, the current president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Linda, a professional actress, and Annemarie, a television producer.

One of the things I love about Colin Powell is that he won’t be controlled or pigeonholed in life or leadership. His service spans from his service to his country to speaking this past year through TED about how “kids need structure”; his talk is a must-watch 17-minute video that would serve any patriot, parent or leader of children.

In Powell’s most recent book, “It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership,” Chapter 21, titled “What I Tell My New Aides,” has some excellent leadership tenets any boss or leader would want subordinates to know about himself or herself. It also conveys principles and qualities every follower would want in a healthy leader.

Here are 11 of Powell’s principles for cohesive leadership and staff relations:

—”Don’t ever hesitate to ask me what to do if uncertain.

—”I’m a people/phone junkie. I like to remain enormously accessible.

—”Avoid “The General Wants” syndrome — unless I really do

—”Don’t ever sign my name, or for me.

—”Provide feedback, but be tactful to those who ask — talks between you and me are private and confidential.

—”Never keep anyone waiting on the phone — call back.

—”I like meetings generally uninterrupted. I ask a lot of questions. I like questions and debates.

—”Be punctual; don’t waste my time.

—”I prefer written information to oral. Writing encourages discipline.

—”Make sure correspondence is excellence. No split infinitives.

—”Never, never permit illegal or stupid actions. Any questions?”

And also worth their leadership weight in gold are Powell’s general Thirteen Rules, which he elaborates on in the first section of his book:

—”It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.

—”Get mad, then get over it.

—”Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

—”It can be done!

—”Be careful what you choose. You may get it.

—”Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.

—”You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.

—”Check small things.

—”Share credit.

—”Remain calm. Be kind.

—”Have a vision. Be demanding.

—”Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.

—”Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

Your role models may not include Powell, but it’s critical for all of us to have them — mentors we look up to for the variety of roles and responsibilities we assume in this life.

They are those who inspire us, as well as take us to task and challenge our most dogged dogma. They may be those we know or those we never have met — those who are living or dead. But they are always those who shape and influence our lives. They are our leaders, though they even may be our subordinates, too. The proof is in the pudding: We are whom we are around.

Don’t ever forget this: Everything rises and falls on leadership. As the leaders go, there goes the household, company or nation.

As Colin Powell once put it, “leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

More Posts - Website

Chuck Norris: Embrace a Thankful and Giving Heart

Photo courtesy of Cindi Albright

This holiday season, while we enjoy delicious food and visiting family and friends, let’s take a moment to give thanks for our many blessings.

It’s easy to get lost in all the bad news today — whether it be unfavorable election results, financial troubles, a struggling economy, an overreaching federal government, crisis in the Middle East or personal struggles. Our growing list of problems often seems overwhelming and endless.

It’s easy to give thanks when everything is going our way. But what about the difficult times?

The Bible, in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, commands us, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

I noticed a poll this week indicating a full 45 percent of Americans would rather skip Christmas because they say it’s stressful and a strain on their finances.

But this season is not about braving crowded store aisles, crabby shoppers and maddening traffic jams so we can spend money on stuff our friends and family don’t actually need.

Before you rush to empty your pocketbook and cram the hottest toys under the tree, let’s examine our hearts this season and count our blessings.

Thankfulness brings joy and contentment; it changes your outlook and attitude.

There’s real power in a thankful heart.

Even when we are tapped out financially and emotionally, we should consider the truly meaningful blessings in our lives. My wife, Gena, and I thank God for our families, friends and neighbors, and for the joy of this season that we celebrate in His name.

In all the world’s darkness, we can be thankful for God’s great love and that He sent his Son so that all of us may have eternal life. That wonderful gift is available to everyone — regardless of our hardships and individual circumstances.

As President Ronald Reagan declared in his 1981 Thanksgiving proclamation, “Let us recommit ourselves to that devotion to God and family that has played such an important role in making this a great Nation, and which will be needed as a source of strength if we are to remain a great people.”

We thank God we are fortunate enough to have been born in the greatest country on Earth, in a land of abundance, prosperity and hope. We are grateful for our nation’s foundation on freedom, justice, democracy and the rule of law. We also pray that America’s leaders will look to God for guidance.

We’re thankful for the First Amendment, which guarantees our rights to express ourselves, petition our government and worship God freely. (I might add, we’re also thankful for our Second Amendment rights.)

We are grateful for all the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans and courageous men and women serving in the U.S. military, who continue to secure our liberty and keep our nation safe.

We thank God we live in a land of opportunity, where each of us is free to develop our individual talents and embrace our entrepreneurial spirit.

We’re grateful for our good health, our jobs, warm clothing, protective shelter and nourishing food. We’re thankful that we’re fortunate enough to have these things, so we’re able to show compassion and care for those among us who don’t.

We thank God for helping us practice humility, patience, kindness and forgiveness.

Most importantly — especially in these troubling times — we’re thankful that God is always in control.

Let’s not get caught up in the material trappings of the holidays and forget to give thanks just because Thanksgiving Day is behind us. This Christmas season, I challenge you to greet every day with a thankful and giving heart.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

More Posts - Website

The Horrors of FEMA Disaster ‘Relief’; the Glory Private Efforts

Photo of FEMA truck courtesy of Amanda M / Flockr

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.'” — President Ronald Reagan

Those wise and yet haunting words spoken by one of our nation’s greatest presidents couldn’t ring more true — especially today, as winter sets in on an estimated 130,000 of our fellow Americans who are still struggling without power. Many live without heat, hot water or inhabitable homes and question the government’s efforts to alleviate their condition.

Amid the election frenzy, several mainstream media outlets instantly praised the Obama administration’s response to the Hurricane Sandy devastation in the Northeast. But let’s look beneath the congratulatory headlines to see the real and horrifying picture of what’s happening.

Right now, homeless Americans are literally freezing, wrapped in blankets and trash bags as they struggle to survive in FEMA tent cities such as New Jersey’s “Camp Freedom,” which reportedly “resembles a prison camp.”

“Sitting there last night, you could see your breath,” displaced resident Brian Sotelo told the Asbury Park Press. “At (Pine Belt), the Red Cross made an announcement that they were sending us to permanent structures up here that had just been redone, that had washing machines and hot showers and steady electric, and they sent us to tent city. We got (expletive).”

Sotelo said Blackhawk helicopters patrol the skies “all day and night,” and a black car with tinted windows surveys the camp while the government moves heavy equipment past the tents at night. According to the story, reporters aren’t even allowed in the fenced complex, where lines of displaced residents form outside portable toilets. Security guards are posted at every door, and residents can’t even use the toilet or shower without first presenting ID.

“They treat us like we’re prisoners,” Ashley Sabol told Reuters. “It’s bad to say, but we honestly feel like we’re in a concentration camp.”

Snow and icy slush seep into living areas through the bottoms of the government tents.

Meanwhile, officials are said to be banning residents from taking pictures and even cutting off Wi-Fi and power access.

“After everyone started complaining, and they found out we were contacting the press, they brought people in,” Sotelo said. “Every time we plugged in an iPhone or something, the cops would come and unplug them.”

He added: “Everybody is angry over here. It’s like being in prison.”

In New York, residents of Gerritsen Beach have banded together to survive.

“With all due respect to the federal issue, we’re used to taking care of ourselves,” Doreen Garson, the acting volunteer fire chief, told The Washington Post as area residents received hot meals outside a trailer. “I don’t know what FEMA is really doing for anyone.”

Some citizens say FEMA has distributed checks to fix their homes, but bureaucratic hurdles mean relief amounts are determined inconsistently and may be insufficient to cover damage. In some cases, the rebuilding funds are distributed even when reconstruction doesn’t make sense because the destroyed homes are located in high-risk areas.

FEMA’s bureaucratic tape is such a mess that states have had to hire consulting firms just to navigate the paperwork, with consultants earning as much as $180 an hour — all of which is billed to American taxpayers.

Meanwhile, FEMA — which previously provided trailers to victims of Hurricane Katrina that made residents sick from toxic levels of formaldehyde — will now bring more temporary homes to New York and New Jersey. The government assures us that this time the homes have been approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, FEMA failed to have bottled water and other supplies ready for storm victims — a week after the storm hit — and was forced to seek help from private vendors to meet residents’ needs.

While generous citizens fill trucks with donations and goods for hurricane survivors, FEMA is reportedly demanding they stop — because the federal agency has “strict rules on what can and can’t be accepted.”

To make matters worse, FEMA now expects Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to appear before Congress and request a taxpayer bailout for FEMA flood-insurance operations while it burns through $200 to $300 million a day.

Where did we go wrong? The moment we began looking to government to fill the role of caretaker, provider and savior.

What happened to the days when communities and churches were the places Americans turned to for help? We need to get back to basics, where Americans care for our brothers and sisters and help them in times such as these.

In one brilliant example of communities banding together, Staten Island residents organized their own citizen-led team of volunteers and started a donation drive, bringing massive trucks of aid into their community from Virginia. They’ve worked with local churches, VFW posts and businesses to bring in needed supplies and help with cleanup efforts.

In yet another stunning example of private efforts, veterans of both the Israeli army and U.S. military descended on New York to help with rescue operations and relief assistance when the government was said to be absent.

Churches and businesses are reaching out to people who’ve been displaced, packing U-Haul trucks and 18-wheelers with food, diapers, blankets, toiletries and other needed goods.

“We decided that it wasn’t enough for us to simply declare the gospel; we’ve got to demonstrate it,” pastor Jerry Young said from New Hope Baptist Church in Mississippi. “What we’re trying to do now is demonstrate the gospel.”

Just as these grassroots volunteers have been sacrificing so much to help displaced citizens and clean up storm-ravaged areas in the Northeast, I urge America’s citizen volunteers, churches and businesses to follow their examples.

Let’s stop making the mistake of expecting government to be our savior in times like these.

We are told eight times in the Bible to love our neighbor. This Thanksgiving week, America has an extraordinary opportunity to do just that. Let’s band together and show our fellow citizens that we care and we won’t leave them to the “mercy” of the government in their time of need.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

More Posts - Website

Chuck Norris: Thanks Veterans for Safeguarding America’s Freedoms

On the heels of a pivotal national election, I’d like to remind Americans that it is our troops’ service and sacrifice that safeguards our precious right to cast those ballots and savor the freedoms that we hold dear. They represent the best of America.

Today, we honor all U.S. veterans and troops currently serving for their unwavering courage, their dedication to keeping our nation strong and protecting the liberties we continue to enjoy. We also pay tribute to the wounded, missing, fallen and their families.

My father, Ray, fought and was wounded in World War II in the Battle of the Bulge. I served in the U.S. Air Force in Korea, and I’m also an honorary Marine.

This year, the Defense Department is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War. At the height of the war, both of my brothers, Wieland and Aaron, enlisted in the U.S. Army. As a veteran, I understood their desire to serve, and I concurred with their decision to enlist. Wieland paid the ultimate price on June 3, 1970, and his name is etched among the 58,000 fallen service men and women on the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington, D.C.

We must never forget that freedom comes at a cost. As we go about our daily lives, our military men and woman make incredibly valiant sacrifices every day. In fact, more than 1,500 Americans have lost a leg or arm in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the Defense Department, 50,159 have been wounded and 5,225 have made the ultimate sacrifice while in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, 60,000 U.S. troops are still at war. Many of our brave men and women face multiple overseas deployments, traumatic combat experiences and years away from their families. They endure unimaginable hardships so you and I may relish our freedoms here at home.

In 2010, my wife, Gena, and I visited West Point, where thousands of young cadets blew us away with how ready and eager they were to serve their country. Since then, we have also visited the wounded at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center along with Brooke Army Medical Center and its Center for the Intrepid.

During our visits to the medical centers, we were greatly moved by the care our veterans and military service members have been receiving. We were able to hear several stories as the wounded were eager to share their personal journeys with us. Those experiences were life changing, and we encourage everyone to go and visit our brothers and sisters at military hospitals across the nation. They need and welcome the company, and they must be reminded that we care about them and they haven’t been forgotten.

That’s why we are so grateful for wonderful organizations such as Sons of the Flag, a nonprofit group that provides critical support to military service members, first responders and civilians who have survived burn injuries.

In what is certain to be a breathtaking show, Sons of the Flag has assembled a team of U.S. veterans from every war — going back to World War II until now — that will complete a tandem skydive jump in front of the Dallas Cowboys football stadium on Nov. 18, 2012, as the Cowboys take on the Cleveland Browns in Arlington, Texas. Once the veterans exit the plane, they will circle an American flag in flight. (That flag will be auctioned off, with the full proceeds going to Sons of the Flag.) The event will be broadcast live on the Cowboys’ Jumbotron, approximately 30 minutes before kickoff. Once the team has landed, the veterans will deliver the game coin.

Another incredible organization is TAPS, or Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which helps families who have lost loved ones in combat. Both Sons of the Flag and TAPS are unique in what they offer and take that extra step to help our veterans and families.

Gena and I also applaud Give 2 the Troops, a fantastic nonprofit organization that has supported approximately one million deployed U.S. troops with loving care packages and letters from all over the nation since December 2002.

We know there are many great and noble organizations out there doing wonderful work, and we commend them all for their efforts.

Today, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there are more than 21 million living veterans who served our nation in times of peace and war.

Please take a moment to thank them for their sacrifice.

And if you’ve served this great nation in our armed forces, may God bless you and your family. We are deeply grateful for your selfless commitment to ensuring the spirit of freedom is as strong as ever.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

More Posts - Website

Chuck Norris: Time To Unleash the American Spirit

With the troubling devastation of Hurricane Sandy on our nation’s doorstep — and so many people in need of food, shelter and emergency services after the storm — I encourage Americans to reach out to our neighbors and help them through this challenging time.

Sometimes it feels as if America is living through an Armageddon movie. We struggle with a destabilized economy, soaring national debt, an overburdened entitlement system, looming tax hikes, widespread unemployment, class warfare, ongoing wars, the threats of global terror and a nuclear Iran, and internal division and scandals, from “Fast and Furious” to the massacre in Benghazi, Libya. The list goes on and on.

Meanwhile, during this pivotal election season, politicians and lawmakers launch fiery attacks at one another, and several Twitter users threaten to riot if their candidate doesn’t win the election this week.

Americans are struggling to find jobs, deeply concerned about the economy, troubled by the soaring federal deficit and frustrated with leaders who don’t represent their interests in a nation torn apart by divisive politics. Many believe that our country is headed in the wrong direction and worry that their children’s lives won’t be so good as their own.

Is this what America stands for?

America is a country born of hardship, struggle and protest. It’s a nation of people who share powerful ideas and a place where each of us is blessed with the opportunity to succeed on our merits, ambition, ingenuity and hard work.

We can express our opinions and ideas without facing persecution by our government, play a powerful role in policymaking and embrace our entrepreneurial spirit in pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

We have come to a national crossroads. We can choose to embrace immorality, apathy, unmitigated greed, corruption, idleness, entitlement, incessant spending and divisive rhetoric. Or we can put our unique freedoms to good use, elect authentic leaders who serve our great nation, unite to emerge from our hardships, help our neighbors through adversity and treat one another with civility.

In less than 200 years, America grew from a cluster of colonies to the greatest nation on earth. Our hardships have been etched into our national soul — the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, Sept. 11 and many others. We’ve survived our great struggles and emerged a stronger nation. We always have conquered adversity, even against insurmountable odds. This time is no different.

It’s time to unleash the American spirit.

In the midst of this national turmoil, let’s take a moment to reflect on who we are and what we stand for.

In Matthew 12:25, Jesus told us, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”

One of America’s great strengths is its ability to unite under a common goal and emerge from adversity together through hard work, determination and a spirit of brotherhood.

In the midst of all our troubles, America is suffering from a leadership crisis. We need our leaders to believe in American exceptionalism, to establish a core set of values and to stand by them.

We need leaders who understand that government is built by the people and for the people. America doesn’t need leaders who are corrupt and seek office for personal gain.

Let’s choose leaders who uphold the Constitution and who have the honesty and moral character to make decisions with full consideration for the greater good of the people and the future of America — and let’s unite behind them.

I encourage our next president — whoever he may be — as well as members of Congress and other leaders, to look inside themselves and ask: What can I do to serve this great nation and make it a better place by the time I leave office?

With strength of character, moral courage and the spirit of unity, we can emerge from this turbulent time and work to solve the complex problems our nation is facing.

It’s time to put this turmoil behind us and resolve to rebuild our great nation.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

More Posts - Website

Chuck Norris: Barack Obama, Spin Master

Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson

The definition of spin is to apply a slant or particular emphasis to information, as to persuade or deceive.

President Barack Obama really has been pounding the pulpit the past few days, with the election right around the corner, with the help of his speechwriters. He sounds a lot like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. About the only thing Obama hasn’t said is “God damn America,” as Wright did.

Obama has to pound his chest and beat the drum to rev up the Democratic base. Thank goodness that the only thing Mitt Romney has to do to rev up the Republican base — and, I hope, independents and undecided voters — is to talk common sense.

Obama can spin a fact, and even though it’s wrong or untrue, we almost believe it. Then he sends his minions out to spin the same fact, hoping that if we hear it enough times, we finally will believe it. The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is a prime example. Even though Obama knew — from the moment of the assault — that it was a terrorist attack, he didn’t let the American people know. We recently learned a drone was recording the attack in real time, and our president was watching from the Situation Room. It is clear that he chose to deceive the American people deliberately, saying it was a mob protest and blaming it on a video that nobody had seen.

My wife, Gena — who is a lot tougher than I am — and I are fighting mad with all the lies and distortions coming out of the White House. When I film a movie, I can kick the bad guy’s butt. But here, all I can do is hope, pray and vote. So that is what we have to do! We have to get everyone out to vote for the only man who can get us out of this mess, Mitt Romney.

Unfortunately, Obama didn’t have the experience to fix the economy, which he promised the American people he’d do. However, there were two things that would have been easy for him to accomplish. He promised to televise on C-SPAN all new bills presented to Congress, including Obamacare. However, Obama conveniently forgot that promise when his administration cut backroom deals with drug industry lobbyists, medical groups, union bosses, insurance industry representatives and lawmakers during Obamacare negotiations.

In a second broken promise, Obama assured us he wouldn’t allow special interest groups and lobbyists to influence his policies. However, he regularly has granted exclusive White House access to his biggest donors, who bring their lobbyists with them. In fact, Democratic National Committee officials urged lobbyists to solicit personal checks from corporate executives and rewarded them with premium credentials and hotel rooms at the Democratic National Convention. So much for integrity and honesty!

Folks, we are at a crossroads this election. We could elect a president who would keep us on a losing streak, Obama, or we could elect a president who has the expertise to get us on a winning streak, Romney. Boy, is that a no-brainer!

I am a martial artist first and an actor second. I am definitely not a politician. I’ll leave that to experienced people like Romney.

So I am going to evaluate this election as a martial artist. I am a 10th-degree grandmaster and have studied the martial arts for more than 50 years — 15 of those years as a fighter and instructor, teaching thousands of students before going into the film business.

I was also able to achieve great success as a martial arts fighter and, through years of dedication and hard work, became a world champion. Why am I telling you all of this? Because Mitt Romney is that same kind of fighter. With his business acumen, he would be successful in turning our country around for a brighter future.

Romney is an incredibly successful businessman, which means he would focus on job growth and get small business up and running again. In a bipartisan fashion, Romney was very successful as the governor of Massachusetts. And he turned a failing Olympics around and made it one of the most successful Olympics in years. Most importantly, he and his wife, Ann, donate about 30 percent of their income to charity — more than Obama and Vice President Joe Biden combined.

So if I were going to promote Romney to a belt rank based on all of his qualifications, it would be a black belt.

Now let’s look at Obama’s record. I already have mentioned a couple of his failures. Obama’s failures are even more apparent when we look at his extremely limited background in the private sector and his complete lack of experience in running a business. That lack of experience means he doesn’t fully appreciate the following:

1) Accountability to American consumers, employees and investors.

2) Balancing budgets, maximizing revenue and closely monitoring spending (at the risk of sinking your company if you fail).

3) Long hours, hard work and great personal investment with merely keeping a business afloat.

4) Intense competition with other businesses in the private market.

5) High personal risk and no taxpayer-funded safety net or bailout if your business flops.

6) A devastating impact from soaring tax hikes and government regulations on your ability to stay in business.

7) A solid understanding of free market principles and job creation strategies.

So, after evaluating all of Obama’s qualifications, I would promote him to white belt, as I would all beginners. And I’m sure that if, God forbid, he were to get re-elected, at the end of four years he still would be a white belt.

Folks, Obama is the chief executive of our great nation. Without a firm understanding of these principles, how could he lead America back from the brink of economic collapse and even more widespread unemployment?

I will admit that Obama is a gifted speaker and very charismatic, but he is just not a leader, and our economy would only get worse in the next four years if he were to be re-elected. I’m not going to bring up all the things he has lied about. All I’m going to say is that a president who is dishonest with the American people does not deserve a second term.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

More Posts - Website

Obama’s Class Warfare: Don’t Get Fooled Again

Photo courtesy of Thomas Miller

Have you noticed how the Obama campaign has stepped up its class warfare rhetoric as we draw closer to Election Day?

President Barack Obama constantly resorts to this tactic because he’s simply unable to defend his own record in office, as 23 million Americans are out of work or underemployed and the economy remains in distress.

Class warfare is all he has left.

But voters aren’t buying Obama’s polarizing rhetoric. In a Gallup survey about the 12 most important priorities this election year, the issue of “increasing taxes on wealthy Americans” came in dead last among voters. Understandably, Americans are far more concerned with issues such as “creating good jobs,” “reducing corruption in the federal government” and “reducing the federal budget deficit,” among other important priorities.

Nonetheless, Obama relentlessly attacks Mitt Romney‘s prosperity, as if being a successful businessman — who takes financial risks and creates jobs — were an automatic disqualifier for anyone running for the nation’s highest office.

During the second presidential debate last week, Obama hammered Romney for his financial success and played the class warfare card:

—”I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours, so it doesn’t take as long.” (In fact, Obama has a larger pension than Romney.)

—Obama attacked Romney’s “$20-million-a-year” income. (Romney actually made $13.7 million in 2011 and gave nearly 30 percent of his income to charity.)

—He also accused Romney of shielding the wealthy from paying “a little bit more” in taxes.

—He stated: “I believe in self-reliance and individual initiative and risk takers being rewarded. But I also believe that everybody should have a fair shot and everybody should do their fair share and everybody should play by the same rules, because that’s how our economy’s grown.”

Obama claims to support free enterprise, self-reliance and individual initiative, but his actions say otherwise. He has forced on America a federal takeover of health care, increased oppressive regulation of private business and sustained massive government spending, and he has expanded our nation’s welfare rolls by 32 percent. He even attacks corporations while accepting campaign funds from the same ventures he condemns. (Ironically, Obama has accepted nearly $120,000 from Bain Capital executives, is the top recipient of funds from BP, has investments in Chinese companies and through a Cayman Islands trust, and staffed his own Cabinet with wealthy CEOs.)

In 2008, Obama famously told Joe the Plumber of his plans to confiscate money from small businesses: “It’s not that I want to punish your success; I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you — that they’ve got a chance at success, too. … I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

In 2010, he arrogantly remarked, “I do think at a certain point, you’ve made enough money.”

In July, Obama attacked business again, saying, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” (As I explained in an earlier column, that “somebody” to whom Obama referred was in fact the federal government.)

In other acts of class warfare, the president embraced the anarchist Occupy movement, pitted labor unions that heavily fund his campaign against the private sector and blatantly condemned capitalism.

Meanwhile, Obama likes to say his tax increases would affect only “millionaires” and “billionaires,” but the actual hikes would hit couples with incomes of $250,000 or higher.

The president claims to want to raise taxes on the rich, but he’d be raising taxes on many of our nation’s job producers. He’s using his class warfare rhetoric to fool voters.

What do business-savvy employers do when burdened by crushing tax hikes? They look for options to reduce their taxable income.

Facing the increased cost burden of Obamacare, businesses are looking for ways to avoid dealing with the soaring costs associated with the president’s health care takeover — including potential layoffs and slashing employee hours.

Obamacare is the very definition of a class warfare ploy because it drains the lifeblood from America’s producers to subsidize the uninsured. Though “free” insurance may sound like a good idea in theory, increasing the burden on companies will force them to cut employees and their benefits to stay in business.

When businesses shed employees, revenue collected by federal and state governments as payroll taxes declines, as well. That’s a lose-lose situation for our nation. The best way to get Americans back to work is to grow our economy and reduce tax burdens on our nation’s job creators.

When it comes to raising taxes and increasing regulations, there’s no limit to what Washington will impose. Where does it end?

What exactly does Obama consider “fair”?

Obama wants you to believe that big government is good, that profit is evil and that “spreading the wealth” improves the lives of all Americans.

He wants you to believe he would help the middle class by promoting job creation and boosting the economy — but he has failed to do so in the past four years. And now he’s desperate.

Americans are tired of being pitted against one another by this administration. What they really want are jobs, a robust economy and a true leader who won’t resort to class warfare in an effort to distract voters and divide our great nation.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

More Posts - Website

Chuck Norris: True Patriots

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emmanuel Leutze, 1851. NYC Metrolpolitan Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz.

The third definition of “patriot” in the Oxford English Dictionary is “A person actively opposing enemy forces occupying his or her country; a member of a resistance movement, a freedom fighter. Originally used of those who opposed and fought the British in the American War of Independence.”

The term first was used in the U.S. by Benjamin Franklin in a 1773 letter. It referred to people who stood in opposition of those pledged to the British Crown — the Tories aka loyalists.

On Oct. 7, 1780, American patriots prevailed against loyalists in the Carolinas and won their first Southern battle. The Battle of Kings Mountain is a victory not often highlighted today but was a critical win nonetheless. It shows the importance of patriots everywhere persevering in every battle against adversarial forces — even against those born on American soil.

The cable network History documented how a loyalist militia under Maj. Patrick Ferguson, largely made up of South Carolina frontiersmen, was defeated by a patriot militia under Col. William Campbell at the Battle of Kings Mountain in North Carolina near the South Carolina border.

Ferguson warned the patriots to lay down their arms or watch the loyalists “lay waste” to their country “with fire and sword.” But 1,000 patriot militiamen, including Davy Crockett’s father, John, courageously confronted Ferguson’s loyalists, who were positioned on the rocky ridge of Kings Mountain.

Losing the upper hand to what he called the “band of banditti,” Ferguson tried to intimidate the patriots by sending a wall of loyalists blitzing down the mountain, but they were cut down in a hail of patriot bullets.

Ferguson soon followed a similar fate.

As History explained, “the patriot success was the first against the British in the South and convinced Gen. (Charles) Cornwallis to stop his march through the territory.”

The toll on the loyalist militia at Kings Mountain was 157 killed, 163 wounded and 698 captured, while the patriot militia only suffered 28 killed and 60 wounded. Of the 2,000 total militiamen in battle for both sides, 1,900 were born on American soil. Only Ferguson and 100 of his redcoats, whom he had trained personally, were Britons.

Feels a lot like how we patriots are often outnumbered in modern cultural and political wars and elections, doesn’t it? Surrounded by bands of adversaries born on American soil?

Nevertheless, like the patriots who fought at Kings Mountain in that distant October, more than 230 years ago, we must not shrink back by the intimidation of others.

Gone are the days when patriots such as Isaac Shelby, Charles McDowell and Elijah Clark led attacks against loyalist posts during the Revolutionary War. But present today are many other great patriots, aside from the one in the presidential race — such as Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Rep. Allen West, R-Fla.; Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, R-Texas; Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo.; Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, “Joe the Plumber,” R-Ohio; and Judge Roy Moore, R-Ala. — who are fighting worthy battles in state election arenas at this very moment.

What’s critical for victory in each of these political rings is that every one of us patriots gets out of the bleachers and onto the battlefield, too.

My wife, Gena, and I might not be running for public office, but we always give our patriotic best to fight for God and country, locally and nationally. That is why we produced our recent political video, titled “God & Country,” which has gone viral and become one of the top political videos in this presidential race. In the public service announcement, we remind people of faith everywhere that Barack Obama won his first election in 2008 by 10 million votes when 30 million evangelicals stayed home on Election Day.

We patriots, Christian and otherwise, must not allow that to happen Nov. 6, 2012! As the adage goes, “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

It’s time for patriots everywhere to rally together again and take back America. As patriots did in the battle on Kings Mountain, we must take a stand in local and national elections and wage war again for our republic. And as our adversaries charge us descending down the hill, we will barrage them with a hail of votes.

As Thomas Jefferson declared, “should things go wrong at any time, the people will set them to rights by the peaceable exercise of their elective rights.”

This is our solemn duty and the sacred path to America’s reformation and restoration.

Alexander Hamilton explained it this way: “A share in the sovereignty of the state, which is exercised by the citizens at large, in voting at elections is one of the most important rights of the subject, and in a republic ought to stand foremost in the estimation of the law.”

So as you cast your ballot this November, remember the words of Samuel Adams: “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

More Posts - Website

Chuck Norris: Together We Can Make a Difference on Election Day

It’s time to take stock of where we stand as a nation. The election of 2012 offers us a stark contrast, between candidates who are looking to protect our Second Amendment rights and those who seek to restrict those same freedoms. Over the past month, I’ve been alerting you to some dangers on the horizon. As we consider the path we are about to embark upon, it’s good to recall what’s at stake.

We need to prevent the next president from appointing a Supreme Court that would reverse the two landmark Second Amendment cases — Heller and McDonald. In those decisions, the Supreme Court ruled that all American citizens, no matter where they live, have the right to legally possess a firearm as a means of self-defense. These decisions were a tremendous accomplishment, and they finally ratified what our Founding Fathers envisioned when they drafted the Second Amendment.

As much as I wish this issue were solved once and for all, it is not. The Heller and McDonald cases were decided by the razor-thin majority of 5-4 in the Supreme Court. Those who want to overturn these decisions are betting on at least one of the five Supreme Court justices who voted for these laws to retire or otherwise leave service during the next four years. It’s possible that the next president will have three vacancies to fill on the high court.

Every plan needs a backup, and this one is no different. We also need to make sure we have a U.S. Senate that is supportive of our fundamental freedoms, because the Senate votes to confirm new judges and justices alike. Several of the key 2012 Senate races are in highly competitive “battleground” states, which may tip the balance of power in this country. If you live in one of these states, it’s important for you to make your voice heard.

Having the right president and Senate is also essential when we are dealing with the United Nations. This past summer, the U.N. debated a global arms trade treaty, and we came dangerously close to the treaty’s actually passing. This would be disastrous for gun owners in the USA. The focus of the treaty would demand that governments regulate the sale and possession of firearms worldwide — all of them, including yours and mine.

The goal was to disgorge a treaty in time for the Obama administration to sign it before Election Day. The draft treaty would have required the United States to “maintain records of all imports and shipments of arms,” register the identities of the “end users” of those firearms and then report the users’ information to a U.N.-based gun registry. In several drafts, the treaty would have mandated that every round of ammunition be tracked globally. The treaty may have stalled this summer, but the negotiations are ongoing. We must ensure it never gets ratified by the Senate or signed by the president.

On Election Day, we must ensure that we have confidence in our leaders and their objectives. One issue that has troubled me for nearly two years now is Operation Fast and Furious. The Department of Justice’s inspector general released a report last month about the bungled “gunwalking” operation, and most of the media accepted the findings without questions. For me, there are still lots of critical questions unanswered. Who on earth decided that facilitating the smuggling of guns to drug cartels was an appropriate law enforcement mission to begin with? Thousands of guns walked into Mexico are still on the loose. Where are they, and how many are out there? Does the U.S. government have a plan to recapture them, or will we simply spend years wondering how many more victims they are being used to kill? And who will make sure that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives admits it if and when these guns surface at crime scenes here in the U.S.? It is my dual hope that these questions will be answered soon and that we will elect a government that has the foresight never to let this happen again.

I have stood up for justice my entire life. This election is too important for you to sit home and not vote. I urge you to register to vote in this election, because you truly can make a difference. The deadline to register is fast approaching in most states. Visit http://www.TriggerTheVote.org today; all the information you need to register is there. Together we can build a brighter, safer future in which we know our fundamental constitutional rights are preserved by our national leaders — not threatened and undermined.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

More Posts - Website

Fast and Furious Whitewash by Justice Department

Sometimes, as the saying goes, the truth really is stranger than fiction. There may have been some wild plotlines on “Walker, Texas Ranger,” but there was nothing that compares to the scandal surrounding “Fast and Furious” — the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation that resulted in the loss of a distinguished Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry.

The congressional investigation into “Fast and Furious” has been going on for more than a year, but it was stonewalled by Attorney General Eric Holder, who instead opened an internal investigation by the Department of Justice’s inspector general. Tens of thousands of internal Justice Department documents supplied to the inspector general were withheld from Congress, despite having been requested in a lawful subpoena issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. This act of stubborn defiance resulted in Holder’s becoming the first attorney general to be voted in contempt of Congress. Now Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report finally has been released, but it leaves some critical questions unanswered. Before delving into specifics, let me thank Townhall’s Katie Pavlich for her help deciphering the report, as well as her groundbreaking reporting on this issue from day one.

Media accounts surrounding the release of the report had a routine flavor, which was otherworldly in light of the report’s contents. The Associated Press reported that “the Justice Department’s internal watchdog … faulted the agency for misguided strategies, errors in judgment and management failures during a bungled gun-trafficking probe in Arizona that resulted in hundreds of weapons turning up at crime scenes in the U.S. and Mexico.” Oh, is that all?

“Fast and Furious” involved the “walking” of guns into Mexico — an artful term for gun smuggling that was clearly illegal but nonetheless encouraged. Most of these guns turned up in the hands of drug dealers and known criminals. The ostensible goal of the ATF was to catch these cartel members red-handed with the smuggled guns during crimes in Mexico. Two of the guns that were “walked” into Mexico were found at the crime scene of the killing of Agent Terry, who died in a firefight with drug cartel henchmen.

Thousands of guns walked into Mexico are still on the loose. Where are they, and how many are out there? Does the U.S. government have a plan to recapture them, or will we simply spend years wondering how many more victims they are being used to kill? And who will make sure that Congress and the public are made aware if and when these guns surface at more crime scenes here in the U.S.?

The report outlines the basics of “who knew what when” and recommends potential sanctions for no fewer than 14 government employees. Note that 14 is also the precise number of criminals who have pleaded guilty under this operation, according to the AP. But the report doesn’t delve into potential motivations. There may be deeper motives for allowing these guns to walk into Mexico that remain unaccounted for. Is it possible that allowing an infusion of firearms to go into Mexico was intended to provoke an explosion of gun violence, thus prompting domestic politicians to call for sweeping new restrictions on our rights? The report is silent on this count.

Terry is the most prominent victim of this horribly botched operation, and his family members are the unsung heroes here. They have been waiting patiently for answers for almost two years now. Brian Terry only wanted to do his job and get home for the holidays. Dubbed “Superman” by colleagues and friends, he is the face of “Fast and Furious.” Justice must be properly served, or else his valiant service and ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty will be dishonored.

Even with its omissions, the inspector general’s report is a chilling indictment of a collapse in leadership at the highest levels of federal law enforcement. There may be 14 staffers who take the fall, but it’s clear that their politically appointed superiors were either asleep at the switch or willing to jeopardize public safety to push an agenda that remains undisclosed. Can anyone possibly need any more reasons to register to vote?

The bottom line is that the American people deserve answers that go well beyond the inspector general’s report. Congress needs to proceed with a comprehensive investigation, and it must have the unfettered cooperation and access that the Department of Justice thus far has withheld. And Justice is clearly in need of new leadership. Let’s give it to them.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

More Posts - Website