Salim Jiwa and Gordon Pennington on America’s Image

A number of years ago I interviewed Salim Jiwa (Vancouver-based journalist and author. Currently editor of Vancouver’s online news source –

On the same show, I also interviewed Gordon Pennington. (Former director of marketing for Tommy Hilfiger, Gordon Pennington is an international consultant to corporations, governments and institutions. His clients have included J.P. Morgan, Chase, CBS, British Airways, Mercedes Benz and others. He currently serves with Burning Media Group in New York.)

The topic was the abuse of prisoners by members of the U.S. Military. It came after the news of the beheading of a U.S. journalist by terrorist. Salim has appeared on many talk shows throughout North America for his work in regards to terrorism. Gordon Pennington is an expert in regards to branding and in this case talking about how the United States is being perceived by the international community.

Can America be the policemen for the world? Is the United States doing enough to stem the violence and civil rights abuses in other countries? What should be the response of a superpower be to the great injustices that are happening in so many countries? Do you believe the United States has lost its credibility because of torture tactics and the way some in the military have conducted themselves?

Take a look at this interview. I will post part two tomorrow. I think you will agree there is a lot of food for thought. So What Do You Think?

Bono’s message to church leaders–2

This is part two of an interview with Bono of U2 fame. It is refreshing to hear someone who speaks his mind but does so with humility. The Church today is trying hard to relate to the world. They have cookie cutter services designed to not offend or make anyone uncomfortable. Well the message of Christianity is radical. It is a call to social justice and it challenges people to reach out in tangible ways to the homeless, the widow, the orphans, the hungry and the outcast of society. The bible says, love your enemies, forgive those who mistreat you.

So it is interesting that God has chosen to use a rock star to speak to the church leaders. Most of the leaders watching this video would not approve of Bono’s lifestyle but they do listen to his words. Bono does not pretend to be a super saint or a theologian. He address issues that need to be brought up. How do we face the challenge of the aides epidemic? How do we relate to the Gay community? Why are we comfortable just giving money and not our lives to help those who are in desperate need? Christianity is radical, it is radical love, radical forgiveness, radical acceptance, radical in each care for those who cannot care for themselves. Jesus said, I do not come to condemn the world I have come to save it, now that is radical.

So i present to you an older interview that has a message that needs to be heard over and over again until we get it. Here is Bono part two, his message to leaders. So what do you think?

Alex Jones you’re the image America does not need

There is a talk show host by the name of Alex Jones. Alex is adamant about the second amendment and it’s statement about the right to bear arms. Alex is a loud mouthed, over bearing American who cannot carry on a decent conversation. He is a bully commentator with little class. Alex would like to deport Pierce Morgan for his stand on Gun Control.

Hey Alex while you are busy defending the second amendment how about the right of free speech enjoyed by Americans under the same constitution (oh and yes, this right also applies to non-Americans, legally resident in the United States, like Pierce Morgan).

Are you saying that when you have a disagreement with another person your solution is to run them out of the country? If this is the answer, you should have been long gone years ago. You speak your mind and you have a huge platform to do it. How would you like your platform removed?

I am not a fan of Pierce Morgan but what I saw was a man trying to have a discussion with you. You spent most of your time screaming and acting exactly like the image that most people in other countries have of Americans. I happen to agree with Pierce Morgan, we need stricter gun controls, we need to curb the violence. No one is saying turn in your hunting rifles or hand guns. What we are saying is please have some decent control of the weapons so more children and innocent people are not killed. 30,000 deaths by guns a year in America is simply not acceptable.

So Alex instead of kicking people out you disagree with, why not try something new. Why not try to understand where they are coming from and when you have an opportunity to have a decent conversation try to show some respect. You are the school bully of talk radio. To call Pierce Morgan trash is unacceptable and if you had one ounce of decency you would apologize. Hey, you found a secret, shock radio works. The concept that people in America are followers of you and are of the same mindset is very unsettling.

You are cut from the same cloth Alex as the folks from the Westboro Baptist Church, you just have a different agenda. (These are the hate mongers who say that God hates America and Canada). To those who are upset with people who disagree with you about guns, you should be proud to live in a country that allows freedom of speech. It is a great gift, embrace it and you might just learn something.

I remember doing a show a few years ago where I interviewed Marc Emery a local pot activist. I was so stuck on my prejudiced view point that I did not hear a word of what that Marc was saying. Marc is in jail now and some would say rightfully so. All I know is I could have conducted a better interview and I may have learned a few things. I was rude and disrespectful to Marc and it did not accomplish anything.

What we need is constructive dialogue not one sided shouting matches.

If Alex Jones is the spokesperson for those of you who have guns I feel sorry for you. He does not represent you in good light, not even a dim light. He is the image of the brash bully, the overbearing American that I am sure most people do not want to associate with, but, perhaps I am wrong.

This is not about right wing or left wing this is about human decency and respect. Mr Jones these things are lacking in your talk format. I doubt that you will have a chance to read this but if you do I am sure your rant will be hard hitting, and I will be deemed trash.

A Culture Of Violence Verses A Culture of Success.

domestic-violence-400x258. America for the most part loves their guns. It is inbreed into their culture. It is the wild wild west mentality. I think I might bring something else to the table how about a culture of violence. Perhaps that is the root of the problem. The amount of road rage, domestic violence, bar fights, bullying are major problems. Guns may not be the problem, until someone loses control of themselves and has a gun available then serious problems arise more often than not.

I admit I do not have the answers. I have family and friends who own guns and are adamant about their rights to own a gun or guns. The second amendment is often quoted like scripture and I understand why they think the way they do. Personally, I do not like guns for many reasons that I have stated on various blogs. I would fall into the John McEnroe category. So the simple statement is we live in a society where you can carry a gun if you want or you can choose not to. The question I ask is simple, what can be done to stem the culture of violence that is so prevalent. In some of the major cities in North America it is like a war zone. Some of the problems arise from deep-rooted poverty, absentee fathers, divorce, a sense of hopelessness, a moral breakdown of epic proportions. These problems are not an easy fix.

My friend Bill Strickland has tackled some of these problems head on. He and his great team have developed a centre in Pittsburgh in the worst crime area that is getting tremendous results. They believe that if you create an atmosphere of greatness people will rise to that level. IF you put children in schools that look like prisons and are run down and under funded your chances of success are limited. IF you create an environment that gives a vision of what can be and you unlock the creative part of the brain the possibilities are endless. If we are going to spend money and believe me the government knows how to spend money then spend it on something that works. This is not rocket scientist stuff. It is all about priorities. The right to be educated and to be inspired in the process should be the right of every child. Google Bill Strickland and listen to what he has to say, it is world-changing stuff. He is developing in a group of people a culture of success.

I like that so much better than a culture of violence and guns. So what do you think?

Gun Management

So the second amendment says you have the right to bear arms. Now when that was written America was a new country. It needed to have the right to defend itself. When this was written automatic weapons and high-powered rifles and hand guns that fire rapidly were not even thought of. I am not sure that the forefathers had in mind that every citizen should have the right to an arsenal of weapons. How many guns does one need to defend a family?

So to be specific here is what some people are proposing for weapons management.

The Second Amendment — elevated to a state of holiness, its problematic comma debated for decades and “resolved,” for the moment, by the Supreme Court — is a relic. It made sense when it was written. It does not make sense now.
What would a new “right to bear arms” amendment look like? If I were writing it, it would contain provisions for:
• Registration of all firearms;
• Licensing of all gun owners, predicated on completion of a background check and a passing score in a reputable gun-safety course;
• Safe and secure storage and transport of all firearms;
• Criminal and civil penalties for owners whose guns have fallen negligently into the hands of violent felons, minors, the mentally ill;
• Ban on all assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, except for those possessed by the military and law enforcement;
• Ban on so-called “armor-piercing” handgun bullets;
• The elimination of the infamous gun-show loophole in the Brady bill.

Nina Grewal A Merry Christmas

Nina Grewal is a Sikh and she loves Christmas. She has no problem wishing people a Merry Christmas. Sometimes political correctness is anything but correct. What makes Canada a great country is that we can celebrate our various religious holidays. The bah humbug folks who are disturbed because of Nativity scenes on public property or the singing of traditional songs during Christmas are simply disturbed.

If there is one thing we can learn from each other is tolerance. Do you think someone is going to be damaged in some strange way because the story of Christmas is played out on our city streets or schools or public office buildings. YOu don’t have to be in agreement, but tolerant is not a bad idea. I know a lot of people who do not believe in the message of Christmas but they love the pageantry and they even attend church services and candle light services just because they enjoy the feelings and emotions that go along with the season.

So what do you think. Is it Merry Christmas or is it simple happy holidays. Personally I love Christmas it is the most wonderful time of the year. Gee sounds like a song.

Well I’ll be doggone!

Perhaps in the future we could teach them to drive cabs. They could upgrade to buses and perhaps we could train them to stop when the lights turn yellow, which seems to be a difficult thing for the human bus drivers to learn.

The only thing that bothers me is if my dog Biscuit starts wanting the keys. I love Biscuit but I am not sure lending her the keys is a good thing, she has a wild side. My children are convinced that the dogs in this video drive better than me. They may be right but I am comforted that that they drive better than 90% of the people in downtown Vancouver.

So its monday and I thought I would post this video. It just seems to fit a monday mood. so what do you think?

Message to Josh–Guns

My brothers son Joshua is a great guy. Actually my brother is a great guy. We have this ongoing discussion about guns. So I thought I should share my heart on the subject. I am sure I will not change Joshua’s mind but perhaps he will have an insight to why I have taken the stand I have.

Joshua, have you ever stood over a person who has shot themselves? I have and it changes you. A young man I was working with could not stand the fact that he had gone back to his drug addiction and he hated the thought of facing his parents again. He got his dad’s gun and ended his life. I was called to the scene by the father….I will never forget it.

Then there was the time I was called out of a meeting on a Sunday night by a distraught young person who said to me that her father had just shot her mom and then shot himself in the head. She asked me if I would go to the hospital with her. I still relive that day every time hear of a domestic shooting.

Then there is the time I was held hostage by a distraught young man who held a gun on me and threatened to kill me. I had been counseling his wife.
Joshua have you ever had someone hold a gun on you with the intent to kill you?

Then there was the time a young man who had been bullied because he was gay. He came to us for help but he felt so ashamed and his folks who were Christians had kicked him out of his home. He was in his late teens. Finally he could not take it anymore and he went home retrieved his dads gun and killed himself.

When I hear of the pro athlete from the Kansas City Chiefs who in a fit of rage killed his girlfriend in front of his child and then drove to the training facilities and shot himself in front of his coach , it brings back so many memories.

I guess one more story then I will stop. While working in the media in Kelowna I witnessed a hostage taking in front of a Video Store. The young man had a gun and was trapped in the parking lot by the police. I just happened to be in the parking lot at the same time and filed a live report on the radio station. Then I witnessed the police open the door and pull the young lady out of the car and the young distressed man opened fire on the police and one of the officers had to shoot him.

I looked at the face of the young police officer and it is still etched in my mind.

So as I said I am not out to change your mind on your stance on guns. I am just letting you know why your Uncle has seen what a gun can do to another human being. I hope it may give you some insight to why I take my stand.

What”s Right With Your World?

Over the past few weeks I have been involved in an ongoing conversation with friends on Facebook. So much of the conversation has been on what going on the world. I realized what a negative flow I was getting into. So today is the U.S. thanksgiving. So today this thought crossed my mind….what is right with the world? To be more specific what is right in my world?

The thought crossed my mind , what you seek is what you will find. Last night I was moved to tears watching the X factor. The theme was thanksgiving and some of the stories from the talent on the show was deeply moving.

So I am starting my what is right in my world thought. The one thing that stands out most in my life is my relationship with my best friend who happens to be my wife, Terry. We have been married for over 40 years and I think the reason it has lasted the test of time and trails is the deep-rooted friendship we have. There is no one I would rather spend time with then Terry.

As I am writing this I looked out my window and took in the view of the mountains , the ocean and downtown Vancouver and I thought to myself what a fortunate person I am to live in such a beautiful place.

So what is right in your world? I would love to hear your thoughts. Write them down in the comment section and I will put some together and share them in an upcoming video. So once again the simple question is , so what is right in your world?
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Can you be faithful? Sex outside of marriage!

Almost every week I hear of another family that has been devastated by a husband or wife who decided to have sex with someone other than the person they are married to. The result is children suffer, the partner suffers and society suffers.
It comes as no surprise we are bombarded with sexual imagery . It is so common place that we do not pay much attention to it until it affects someone we love.
It often seems like a good idea at the time, but ask Tiger Woods if it was worth it or Bill Clinton or the CIA director. I believe they would talk about the pain and the loss of respect that it brought to them. Thousands of books have been written about infidelity and the chapters just keep getting written. Lets face it we live in a world where certain things are glorified. Women for the most part in North America are treated like sex objects to be conquered by insecure men who make a sport out of seeing how many women they can have sex with.
SO what is the answer? Do we just give in to the thinking of modern society or is there some way of turn the tide back to a moral base?
The problem is so wide spread. It is a prevalent in the Church as it is on the street corners of our great cities.. I

Again I have more questions than answers but I would love to hear what you think.

The high cost of freedom….Thank You

I hate war. I respect and honour the man and women who fought for freedom and defended our country. The problem with war is that so many great men and women give their lives fighting in them. My father and my brother both served in the military. My father paid a dear price for his service. He had the worst job in the military. He was a chaplain and served on the front lines. He had to communicate with the families that they lost a loved one in battle. Dad never talked with me about the war but I do remember the nightmares he had. My father and brother both chose to serve. I missed the army by two feet, latterly, I have feet that kept me out of the military. I was highly opposed to the Viet Nam War but I was highly supportive of the young men and women who served our country.

I was working in Hawaii and I was a disc jockey. On friday nights I volunteered to do the dances for the soldiers who were on r and r from their duty in Viet Nam. I remember looking into the faces of these young men, most of them just out of high school. One of them shared about the hell he had been through. It was life changing and I will never forget his story. So today we remember, we remember the brave young men and women who served the United States and Canada. So many of them never made it home. The sacrifice was paid so that we could enjoy the freedom that we experience in the two countries.

The simple words thank you are not enough….but it is the only words that come to me in my limited vocabulary. May we never forget and may we remember the troops that are currently serving us. Hopefully we will never have another world war…but the odds are we will. How sad to think that so many talented and dedicated young people will give their lives to keep us free…It is very sobering to think about.