featured, Joe's Blog
The idea of freedom and liberty made our country the beacon of light it is in the eyes of most of the world.  It began as just that — a vision — a thought — an idea.  It wasn’t even close to perfect with the defeat of the British in the Revolutionary War.  The Constitution was a great start but our society took a long time to become fully inclusive.  It was as recently as 52 years ago with the adoption of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that many felt more included in the American Way than they had been before.  It was a government move that should not have been necessary had true freedom, liberty and equal opportunity been the way of life here.  Sadly, Southern Democrats lived and perpetuated a way of life that was discriminatory.  They regularly disallowed those not like them racially, ethnically, religiously, sexually et al to participate in commerce and public accommodation and it was wrong.  That was, for the most part, righted by the Act. That act wasn’t meant to change our thoughts, opinions or deny us our freedom of conscience.  The fight for equal access and opportunity was real and necessary and, in large parts, won through righteous, civil, peaceful disobedience and protest.  I fully believe all people in our country should enjoy equal access to those offering public accommodation.  You offer a service or product to the public, you should not be able to pick and choose who can pay you for the service or purchase your product.  I also truly believe any business offering restrooms or locker rooms to the public should make them available to anyone in the public who is partaking in that business, service or facility.  Certain natural, freedom and common sense-based rules do apply, however. Science tells us what makes human beings male or female.  It’s not open to interpretation.  If you think you or your child is the gender opposite to what science says, you’re celebrated.  If you rely on the science to denote gender, you’re shouted down as a hater and a something-a-phobe.  The media, pop culture and the mainstream in this country will do all it can to excommunicate you from the ranks of those who should be considered an American.  In reality, the claim of some to want freedom to choose which bathroom they use eliminates the freedom of the rest of us to rely on what science tells us AND our freedom to insure our children are not at risk by those CLAIMING to feel they’re something they’re not.  It’s common and even expected for singers to cancel concerts, performers to cancel performances, sports commissioners to proclaim they’ll do all they can to change laws in order to deny the rest of us the ability to be free to express what science tells us. If you’re in a car from which a drive-by shooting was perpetrated then you run from police while pointing a gun at them — or, if after committing a strong-armed robbery, you decide to fight with a police officer in his marked police vehicle, there’s a good chance you’ll be shot.  If you disagree with the police response and claim it’s racism, you’re celebrated.  If you use common sense and focus on the facts in the cases, you’re shouted down and labeled a racist and hater.  In fact, if you don’t agree with the chants of an anti-White, anti-Police racist organization’s chants of how lives of one race matter, you are attacked from all angles of the mainstream.  These racists are actually lifted on high by many in music, sports and politics.  Recently, they were actually invited to the White House to meet with the President of the United States. It’s bizarro world.  Those of us who believe the vast majority of police are good and that criminals are putting themselves in harm’s way with the decisions they make do NOT have the freedom to say so without the sledge hammer of the elites in our society clobbering us with claims of racism or ethnocentrism.  We do NOT have the equal opportunity to retort. I believe we are the top of the food chain.  I believe animals are on Earth for our sustenance, companionship, entertainment and transportation.  I have four dogs and love them all.  I also love a medium-rare juicy steak.  Animals should be treated in a humane fashion as we enjoy them.  I was watching Hawaii Five-O last night and was inundated by the message that circuses are bad and elephants should be freed.  In the story, a woman broke into the circus, stole an elephant and smuggled it out of the country with the help of many — INCLUDING public servants.  It was presented as if she was right and everyone in society agrees with this message.  They also alleged the animal was mistreated and she was told there were legal means to try to punish the circus but that was ignored as they committed crime after crime to “help” the animal.  For what it’s worth, they didn’t even use are real elephant on the program.  It was clearly CGed in.  But, the message was there.  In real life, recently Sea World gave in to pressure from radical groups like PETA ( a group that wrongly puts animals on an even keel as humans ) and announced it would discontinue its killer whale shows in the future.  These shows are the only way most of us will EVER experience whale.  That doesn’t matter.  We are NOT free to disagree.  If you feel the shows should continue, you’re shouted down and looked at in a worse light than a common criminal. As far as cakes and photography and catering — all people should be able to enjoy these services.  But, when there becomes a struggle between a free person’s religious beliefs, consideration should be made.  One’s sexual preference is not and should not be important when he’s buying some cake or hiring a photographer.  If you want to go around telling people what gender you are attractive to or like to sleep with, that’s up to you.  I’m guessing most shop owners don’t care.  But, when you insist on that shop owner PARTICIPATING in your ceremony, you are now insisting they agree with it.  Yes, cake-makers, caterers and photographers hired to do a wedding are being asked to participate.  They, as free people, should have the freedom to decline as it goes against their beliefs.  This is common sense and it’s true constitutionally.  Because I have this belief, I’ll be called all sorts of names.  People will make assumptions about my heart, soul and level of compassion for my fellow man.  I don’t truly have the freedom to feel this way. I’m completely cool with people disagreeing with me.  I’m also completely satisfied that my feelings on these topics are rooted in fact, common sense and reality.  Totalitarian societies were and are based on disallowing people the simple freedom of speech, worship, thought and conscience.  That’s exactly what we’re looking more and more like every day.  Is that really who we want to be as a culture and as the last great hope for freedom and liberty for all people?   Pags  

Joe's Blog, Life Lessons
As I told you on my show last week.  We had a personal tragedy in my family.  My niece and God-daughter, Jamie Nicole Rogers — Nikki — passed away.  She was only 31 years old.  It was sudden and tragic and shocking and has shaken us all. Many of you already know I was off of my weekend show, “The Weekend w/Joe Pags,” yesterday so I could tend to family business.  I was up at 6am, on the road a little after 7 and got to the service in Louisiana at 2pm.  I walked in to see my sister and her two surviving children gathered around the open casket broken and weeping.  I stood there for a moment taking in the sounds of sobbing from my mother who lost her first-born grandchild, and my other sisters — and, from people I had not yet met on the other side.  I saw Nikki’s father there who had long been out of my life yet was rekindling his relationship with his daughter in recent years. Nikki’s path was not an easy one.  She was diabetic and struggled to control the disease.  Beyond that, as much as we all unconditionally loved her, she still battled accepting that love and truly believing in it.  She fell in with a bad crowd which showed her attention and took her on a detour from which she would never recover.  There were always bright spots through the darkness, though.  Just six months ago, she reached out to us all on Facebook.  She was so excited.  She’d turned to God and found a brighter, smoother direction.  She wrote me, “Hey Uncle Joey.  I’m feeling much better and just wanted you to know life is good and I love you.”  I smiled and responded, “I love you too, Nik!  I’m really happy for you and want you to reach out anytime!” Sadly, the draw and power of negativity can sometimes overwhelm the positive factors afforded us all and the bumpy road was too tempting and inviting and it took our baby girl.  We all loved her so deeply that we would have done anything to have her healthy and happy and still with us.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t make all of her decisions for her. As a Christian, I do believe Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior has a plan — one we mere mortals will never fully understand.  For some reason, we only had Nikki for this short amount of time.  I don’t purport to know God’s plan but, I wouldn’t doubt it includes a lesson and wake-up call for those of us who survive.  If you have a loved one who might be having a rough go of it — someone you avoid because you want them to get right on their own — don’t.  Step in.  Offer help.  Tell them how much you love them and see if they’re open to hearing it.  If not, don’t get frustrated.  Accept it and walk away.  But, make sure to circle back and try again. The circle of life is wonderful and confusing, distressing and enlightening.  It is unnatural for parents to bury their children, for uncles and aunts to bury their niece, for a grandmother to bury her granddaughter.  Do yourself a favor and don’t turn a blind eye nor a deaf ear to someone you love who’s in distress.  Many times, things will not fix themselves.  If you do nothing else, have a conversation with your kids like I just did with mine.  Look them right in the eyes and tell them how much you love them and remind them that if you ever suspect there’s something awry, you will not hesitate to get involved, ask questions and take action.  My sister was always there for Nikki but our girl was stubborn like her uncle and wouldn’t always be accepting of her mother’s guidance. After many tears, memories and saying goodbye to this beautiful young lady for the last time, I got back in my car and headed back to San Antonio.  I arrived after 2am — more than 20 hours after my day started.  I was exhausted, sad, introspective and angry about the reason for the gathering.  But, it was the very least I could do to show my support to my big sister and to bid farewell to the newest angel looking over my family. We are all better people for having known you and for having been blessed by you in our lives, Nikki.  Rest easy, baby.  Uncle Joey loves you so much.

World_Trade_Center,_New_York_City_-_aerial_view_(March_2001) It’s hard to fathom it’s been 14 years now.  Millions of Americans were getting out of bed, getting the kids ready, making breakfast, on the way to work, walking into school, arriving at work et al.  There was nothing remarkable about that morning — and then the world changed forever.  As we watched the images unfold from Lower Manhattan, we were no longer from our towns.  We were no longer democrats or republicans.  We were no longer Black, White, American Indian, Hispanic nor Asian.  We were Americans and our way of life was under attack. 19 terrorists, 15 of them Saudi Arabian, had boarded planes and started killing people.  But, that wasn’t the plan in the end.  The plan was to completely  take over the controls of the planes and ram them into buildings in order to kill as many innocent Americans as possible.  The Clinton Administration failed.  The Bush Administration failed.  Bad guys who wanted to harm us went unchecked in our country and did the unthinkable. The result among us was predictable.  When pushed against the wall, Americans have always united and become stronger and more resolved.  We all became New Yorkers that day.  I would never suggest that we were better as a country because of the attacks.  No way.  If there were a way to go back in time and stop the attacks from happening, we would all do it in a heartbeat.  But, for a moment in time, we were one people.  And then, something changed. We went from absolute support of our first responders because their bravery was on display on that fateful day, to people targeting the police like they’re the bad guys.  We went from looking forward to a flight to far away land to being nervous and skeptical as we board the planes.  We went from going to the airport for an adventure to being forced to take off our jackets and shoes and belts — being felt up by a stranger or scanned in a machine after throwing away our water to prove we didn’t want to blow up the plane. We went from flying American flags from our cars and trucks to people actually taking pride in and posting pictures of themselves wiping their backsides with Old Glory or stomping on the symbol of our freedom. We were attacked on that day because the terrorists hate our freedom and liberty and value system.  They hate that we don’t believe what they want us to believe or that we support Israel.  We rose up against that extremist ideology and become a galvanized force for good.  Today, many more in this country are trying to bring us down from within because they also don’t like our value system, way of life and/or love of freedom and liberty.  This is what the terrorists wanted on that day.  Yes, we lost 3000 souls that day and I would never attempt to lessen that loss.  But, the end goal is coming to fruition as well.  Bring down the American system.  Bring down American greatness.  Bring down American pride and exceptionalism and make Americans question their own way of life. The best response is to come together again as a people.  Love our way of life and our friends and neighbors.  We need to once again be one American community that thrives because we do, in fact, live in the best land on this planet.  Our way of life will only survive if we stop allowing the hatred and division to permeate our resolve.   jp

635764140350261810-Darren-Goforth   In the picture is Deputy Darren Goforth.  He is no longer with us. His family will never talk with him nor hug him again.  His friends will never enjoy his company.  His coworkers will never greet him at work nor breathe a sigh of relief as they all head home after a grueling shift thanking God they made it through safely.  He was assassinated Friday night.  His crime?  He wore the uniform. At least that’s the suggestion by Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman. Police say 30-year old Shannon Miles, a Black man, walked up behind Deputy Goforth as the lawman was putting gas in his cruiser and shot him multiple times.  Investigators say after the deputy fell to the ground, the coward walked up and shot him several more times.  Deputy Goforth died at the scene. In making the announcement of the arrest to the media, Sheriff Hickman said there was no obvious motive for the murder.  There was no apparent history between the two men.  They were on two different sides of the law.  Goforth enforcing it — Miles breaking it.  The suspect has an extensive criminal history and now faces murder charges.  The Sheriff then made a bold connection between the national rhetoric against police, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the loss of a 10-year veteran of the Sheriff’s department.  He said: “When rhetoric ramps up to the point where cold-blooded assassination has happened, this rhetoric has gotten out of control.” He continued, “We heard ‘black lives matter.’ All lives matter. Well, cops’ lives matter too, so why don’t we drop the qualifier and say ‘lives matter’ and take that to the bank.” Of course, he’s absolutely, unequivocally right.  This continued drive to separate us by skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and/or political persuasion is a concerted effort by those in power so they can keep that power.  This not about righting wrongs.  It is merely an attempt to control by keeping us at each other’s throats.  Sadly, it’s been working.  I say ENOUGH! What needs to happen now?  The good people of Harris County and well beyond need to join forces now and come together in understanding.  We are all brothers and sisters in this incredible human experience.  I promise to love and respect you until or unless you give me a reason not to.  Will you do the same?  All people are good until or unless they show they’re not.  All police officers are there to protect and serve, until they show they aren’t.  It’s ridiculous to prejudge someone by their color, ancestry, religion, uniform or background.  Judge them for their actions.  Why is that so hard? What won’t happen now?  There won’t be riots in Houston over this 47-year old deputy’s cold-blooded murder.  There won’t be cars overturned.  There won’t be Molotov cocktails thrown through the window of the Autozone nor CVS.  Sporting events won’t be canceled for fear of violence coming to those who dare attend.  Entire highways won’t be stopped by people holding signs containing the hashtag of the day.   ENOUGH! Rest in Peace Deputy.  Thank you for your service.  My thoughts and prayers are with your family… and with our nation as I dream of us unifying and stopping this madness. jp      

chicago           It’s not funny and it’s not a game.  It’s not something widely reported nor is it EVER mentioned by this administration.  The fact is, we continue to see the daily slaughter of innocents in places where it’s way too hard for the good people to be able to defend themselves. Pick any weekend in Chicago — a city which unconstitutionally restricts the rights of the good folks of the Windy City to get their hands on firearms.  What’s the result?  The bad guys shoot up parts of the town every single day.  This last weekend, the Fourth of July weekend, 62 people were shot — 10 of them fatally including a seven-year-old boy. These are real people.  Most of them Black Americans.  Why don’t their lives matter?  Why aren’t there weekly protests in these sections of Chicago?  Why isn’t the DOJ suing the city over the restrictive gun laws there?  Simple answer is, it won’t get the race-baiters what they want.  This is predominantly Black on Black crime and when that’s the case, the Sharptons, Jacksons, Obamas, Reids, Emmanuals and Pelosis of the world simply don’t care.  They cannot make political hay from helping those folks out and they don’t see a way to benefit the central government by caring about them. All lives matter!  Time and time again we see stories where innocents are killed because some nutjob went on a shooting spree.  The victims had no chance because where they were was either a city or town with gun laws so restrictive they couldn’t exercise their right to keep and bear or they were in a “gun free zone.”  Zones of that designation only stop the good guys from having guns.  Do you really think the bad guy who’s set on killing people is going to stop and reanalyze because of such designation? For the full story on yet another bloody weekend in Chicago, click the picture above.   Pags

American_flag-9 She’s a bit tired and has been attacked from all sides especially lately, but the good ol’ US of A is looking pretty darn good for 239 years old. It’s easy to take potshots at a country so strong after so long.  It’s easy to claim it was all ill-begotten and horrible.  It’s easy to pretend it’s not the best, brightest star in a galaxy of hundreds of nations — most of which envy our way of life. We have a society that was built on the idea that the Creator intended for all men to be free and liberated.  It was an experiment that put into action the idea that through drive, desire, ambition and entrepreneurship we all could truly have a chance at success.  It was imperfect for sure — but, we’ve shed a ton of blood and tears making this a more perfect nation.  It must be working because those who don’t live here and weren’t privileged enough to be born here, can’t wait to get here. This is a country where you’re not only allowed to be exceptional, it’s actually recommended and supported.  Another sign this experiment is a successful one?  The big government, high tax, I’m-smarter-than-you crowd is doing all it can to promote apathy, hate and division. Here’s hoping you enjoyed family, friends, great eats and drinks today.  And, here’s also hoping you feel the love down deep in your heart and soul for this nation as my family and I do.  We are truly blessed and we owe it to the sacrifices made by so many who came before us and, equally, to those who still fight for out life, liberty and pursuit of happiness every day.  I’ll leave you with the words of a man so steeped in his love of country that today, 26 years after he left office, is still heralded as one of the best presidents in our history: Address to the Nation on Independence Day July 4, 1986 President Ronald ReaganMy fellow Americans: In a few moments the celebration will begin here in New York Harbor. It’s going to be quite a show. I was just looking over the preparations and thinking about a saying that we had back in Hollywood about never doing a scene with kids or animals because they’d steal the scene every time. So, you can rest assured I wouldn’t even think about trying to compete with a fireworks display, especially on the Fourth of July. My remarks tonight will be brief, but it’s worth remembering that all the celebration of this day is rooted in history. It’s recorded that shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia celebrations took place throughout the land, and many of the former Colonists — they were just starting to call themselves Americans — set off cannons and marched in fife and drum parades. What a contrast with the sober scene that had taken place a short time earlier in Independence Hall. Fifty-six men came forward to sign the parchment. It was noted at the time that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. And that was more than rhetoric; each of those men knew the penalty for high treason to the Crown. “We must all hang together,” Benjamin Franklin said, “or, assuredly, we will all hang separately.” And John Hancock, it is said, wrote his signature in large script so King George could see it without his spectacles. They were brave. They stayed brave through all the bloodshed of the coming years. Their courage created a nation built on a universal claim to human dignity, on the proposition that every man, woman, and child had a right to a future of freedom. For just a moment, let us listen to the words again: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Last night when we rededicated Miss Liberty and relit her torch, we reflected on all the millions who came here in search of the dream of freedom inaugurated in Independence Hall. We reflected, too, on their courage in coming great distances and settling in a foreign land and then passing on to their children and their children’s children the hope symbolized in this statue here just behind us: the hope that is America. It is a hope that someday every people and every nation of the world will know the blessings of liberty.”   Happy Independence Day! Pags

  Pastel Reagan It’s an interesting complaint from the, so-called, “moderate” Republicans.  It’s why I’m not a Republican, rather a Conservative.  “Democrat” and “Republican” are parties.  Liberal and Conservative are ways of life.  I’m often faced with the notion that the GOP should be more accepting – more open – more middle-of-the-road.  It’s perplexing to me really. This quote from Ronald Reagan is direct and clear.  Pick a side.  Stand firm.  Don’t waiver — but, do it with a smile and a welcoming nature.  Here’s a classic example of what I mean. I don’t generally do the topic of abortion on my shows unless the news of the day dictates it.  I think it’s a cop-out topic utilized by lazy hosts.  “Abortion, for or against?  Call 1-800-Blah Blah.”  What I learned is, for the most part, I’m never going to change your mind and you’re not gonna change mine.  I am vehemently against abortion as a form of birth control.  The only time I’m okay with the idea of aborting a child is when the mother’s life is truly at risk.  I think if someone told me I had the choice between living or dying or my child living or dying — I would choose to let my child live.  But, when there’s a risk of me dying — I should get to make the choice.  Otherwise, no abortion.  When this topic needs to be broached, I’ll always get a call from someone who says something to the effect of, “Pags, you and I agree on 99 percent of the issues, BUT — I am completely against abortion but FOR the woman having the right to choose.”  Huh?  Say what?  That’s actually not possible.   Think about it, as a conservative guy, I’m firm in my beliefs.  I’m completely against gay marriage, period.  I’m completely for the death penalty, period.  I’m completely for lower taxes, period.  I’m completely against large, over-controlling-over-powering government — and I’m against abortion.  Those are bold, solid, bright positions.  There’s no “but, ifs” there.  To say you’re against abortion but, for the right for a woman to choose — you’re saying you’re for abortion.  That usually leads to an exclamation, “No way!  Not true! Don’t put words in my mouth!”  Think about it.  What are the choices involved in the right to choose?  You can choose to NOT abort or to ABORT.  For you to say you think a woman should have that right, you’re saying you support those who choose to kill the baby.  That’s a bold statement — but, at least you know where I stand.  You cannot have it both ways. Similarly, if you say, “I’m completely against higher taxes, unless it goes to pay for more food for the hungry.”  Umm, what?  That means you’re not completely against higher taxes.  I am completely against higher taxes.  As I write this, I’m actively railing against a nearly half-billion dollar bond issue in my local school district.  I’m a firm believer that if there’s a need, a community will rise up and find a way to fulfill it.  I don’t trust nor want government to administer to all of our needs.  I think it takes our incentive away to go out and get it ourselves.  If there’s a shortfall in how much food is available for the hungry, donate to the food bank.  If there aren’t enough beds for the homeless, donate money or a bed to the local shelter.  If there isn’t enough money at the local school to house the children, ask the parents to step up and foot the bill for a portable or two.  This is how it used to be.  Today, we sit back and watch the government siphon more and more of our money in the form of taxes and watch them build palaces to education and give every child a laptop or iPad.  I’m against that.  And, am not afraid to say it.  Even in the face of the chants, “it’s for the children.”   Case and point: recently Senator Ted Cruz of Texas spoke for nearly 22 hours on the Senate floor to raise awareness of the problems with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  It was a way for him to fulfill a promise he’d made to the voters of Texas should he win the election.  He did, and followed through.  He took a stand.  Whether you agree with him or not – that’s what he did.  He boldly stood there in the face of the majority in that house who called him “radical, extreme, extremist,” and more.  But, he didn’t waiver.  Some did, however. It was expected that those from the opposing party and even the media would excoriate Cruz for this brash act.  How dare he?  He’s grandstanding!  He’s doing it for attention.  He let that all roll off of his back.  But, what may have not been expected is how his colleagues — fellow Republicans would flock to the other side with the opposing view.  Long-seated Arizona Senator John McCain even went as far as to call what Cruz did “insulting.”  He took Cruz out of context and let him have it.  What McCain and others did in not only NOT supporting Cruz but, coming out against him, is set the party — and the values we thought it held —  back generations.  We need a return to real beliefs, real backbone, and less compromise. Before you walk away from this thinking I’m intolerant or insensitive, I’m not.  I don’t want people to be persecuted nor prosecuted for having a different value system than I.  I just don’t want them setting policy.  The Conservative sensibility is the most like our value system.  And, it’s incredibly welcoming, tolerant, accepting and firm.  If you don’t get how all of that can coexist — then you need to reexamine why you’re so wishy washy on your own beliefs. Thoughts?   Pags