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This weekend I was granted the opportunity to interview George Pataki, former governor of New York and 2016 GOP presidential contender.

It was the first time I had the chance to interview a presidential candidate, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

Here it is:

Me: Charleston, Chattanooga and now Lafayette. These are cities that have recently fallen victim to senseless violence. As president, how would you lead a nation that is experiencing moral and cultural bankruptcy?

Pataki: First let’s start at the top—with a leader that tries to bring us together an protect us from Islamic radicalism. In Charleston, it was a case of outright racism. We have to denounce it no matter who it is that says it.

Chattanooga was an act of Islamic jihad and we need an administration that will call it by its name. It’s not just Chattanogga, but it almost happened in Garland. 

Finally, Lafayette. Here is someone who was clearly mentally ill. It wasn’t the gun. It was the shooter. And we have to have provisions that allow us to protect us from those who are mentally ill and are a threat to not only others but to themselves. When I was governor of New York, we passed legislation allowing us to do that.

2. Me:  You mentioned New York. You’re very familiar with dark days. You’ve governed during one of the darkest eras—-Sept 11. 2001. If elected president, what skills would you bring to combat terrorism?

Pataki: You’re absolutely right. I saw the consequences of radical Islam firsthand. It was barbaric and evil and I’ll never forget the lessons of that day, which I fear many Americans have. That is quite simply that radical Islam, even if it appears to be on the other side of the world, poses a threat to our safety here in America and everywhere and we cannot allow ISIS to continue to grow to recruit Westerners, to hack into our computer systems, to use social media to encourage  radical jihad against our fellow Americans. But if we have to send in special operations to destroy their training camps, to destroy their operations centers, I would do that. Attack them there, kill them there before they have the opportunity to kill us here. Not to spend a decade creating a democracy where one hasn’t existed or nation building, but to protect our security. I think that is absolutely essential.

3.) Me: Critics of the Iran Deal says that it emboldens Iran and weakens our allies in the Middle East. Do you see this as a sign of weakness? Are we forgetting the lessons of 9/11?

Pataki: I think it’s the US either forgetting or ignoring the lessons of 9/11. Because what we have done is created a clear path where Iran, the number one state sponsor of terrorism, has a clear path to a nuclear weapon. In addition to that, will be allowed to build ballistic missiles that could impact the US and gets hundreds of millions of dollars in economic relief. It is immoral to me to give hundreds of millions of dollars to a country knowing a significant amount of it will be used to kill innocent civilians, such as Syria, where they are supporting Assad, who has used chemical weapons to kill his own citizens. And that is not just terrorism, but a crime against humanity. And this deal just helps Iran do more of that.

4.) Me: I’m going to move off of foreign policy. It’s no secret that the GOP needs to perform better when it comes to minority engagement. How would you help your party bridge the divide?

Pataki: What I did as Governor was reach out to minority communities, independent communities, conservatives democrats—-not by changing philosophy, but by pointing out how important conservative principles were for everybody, particularly minorities. It was the minorities who were victims, primarily by the fact that liberals had made New York state the most dangerous state in America. And when we were making people safe, it wasn’t effecting someone that lived on Saks Fifth Avenue or the ones taking a limo to work, it was helping the ones who lived in low-income neighborhoods and took the Subway home at night, who were often minorities. When you create choice in schools and prevent children form being trapped in schools where the teachers can’t teach, and by doing charter schools and giving parents a choice outside the monopoly choice, that impacts almost directly minority kids who are trapped too often in those failing schools. 

5.) Me: Jeb Bush is facing scrutiny among some conservative voters because of his stance on Common Core. Can Common Core be effective on a state level and can one support Common Core and school choice?

Pataki:  I find Common Core to be very troubling and I don’t believe we should be supporting it at any rate. Whether it’s Obamacare, which tries to impose one-size-fits-all healthcare on all Americans and should be repealed, or Common Core, which has Washington playing a major role in education across the country, I think the decision should be left to the state and local governments as much as possible. I don’t believe Common Core is a model for the federal government or the state government. I think we should leave education, as it’s always been, as close to the people as possible.

6. Me: Immigration is a hot-button issue today and there isn’t a concrete way to fix it. How would you promote legal immigration without coming across as someone willing to deport all the illegal immigrants in the US today?

Pataki: I think there is a solution. First, we have to close the borders. We have to make sure the borders are secure and people come here legally and that will open the door to legal immigration. Second, when there are illegal immigrants who have committed a crime in America, they should be arrested or deported in a way where we know they can’t come back or they need to be jail. Third, there should be no sanctuary cities in America. The federal law is not a law that applies in some parts. It is for the whole country. I would take away all funding from cities that call themselves “sanctuary cities” and refuse to follow federal law. But with the immigrants who are already here illegally, there are two false models: One is that we are going to put 11 million on buses and send them somewhere. That’s not going to work. The second is that they’re here and so, ok, we forgive you. We have to respect the rule of law. Our freedoms, our rights, or safety depends on people respecting the rule of law here in America. So what I would do is for those who have come here illegally and been here for 5 years—-would make them come forward, make sure they have not violated the law or been dependent on government, make sure they acknowledge having broken the law and if they do it again, they’ll be instantaneously deported,  and them commit to do 200 hours of community service. It would have to be approved—they’ll have to work in a park, firehouse, school, hospital…and at that point, they’ll be able to become legal residents, not citizens, but residents entitled to stay and work. It’s not amnesty, it’s not encouraging others to work. It upholds the rule of law. 

7. Me: After the revelation of the controversial video depicting Planned Parenthood executives discussing the selling of aborted fetuses, should they be denied federal funding?

Pataki: Yes, I do. I don’t see any proper purpose in the government funding Planned Parenthood. They’ve always made the argument about the safety of the woman, and clearly those videos show that that was not the case. I don’t see why taxpayer dollars should be used to fund this. I would oppose funding Planned Parenthood. 

8.) New York isn’t the Bible Beltway and it doesn’t consist of a huge demographic of social conservatives like Iowa or South Carolina. How can you make your message appeal to not only the GOP base, but to moderates, Independents and to Democrats?

Pataki: Well that’s exactly what I had to do in NY state. In NY state, there are 3 million more registered Democrats than Republicans. At the end, I was able to get a plurality of Latinos. I was able to attract more than a million Democrats to cross party lines to vote for me. This is what we have to do as a nation, not just to win an election, but also to govern successfully. We have to understand that we are all Americans, and that for whatever superficial difference might seem to divide us. We have a common future. We have a common destiny. If we could stop trying to gain political advantage by pitting one group against another and stand shoulder to shoulder to solve the problems facing this country, the 21st century will be the greatest century and we will be proud of America and optimistic of our future.

9.) Me: If you did not win the nomination for the GOP but had a chance to pick any Cabinet position, which one would you choose?

Pataki: I am not interested in a Cabinet position. When I was Governor, Pres Bush was kind enough to talk to me about that possibility. Having been executive of one of the largest states in America for 12 years and being in the hot seat making the decisions, I really hope I have the opportunity to do it again for my country. I know I cannot just win the election, but I can dramatically change the direction of Washington. It’s not simply managing Washington, it’s changing it. I did that with a very liberal government in the deepest blue state in the America. We are going to continue to fight the good fight and hopefully have the opportunity.

10.) Me: Yankees or Mets?

Pataki: (chuckles) I’m a Yankees and a Jets fan. Being a Jets fan is like being a Republican in New York…you get used to not winning, but fortunately I won every time.

pboy

There’s just something about skin. The epidermis can be a beautiful concept when we think of diversity and the artistic array of various ethnicities that make up our neighborhoods and communities today.

Skin can produce sensation, sensuality and sexuality. It’s the ultimate source of attraction. But it also can serve as a detrimental distraction. The Bible admonishes us about giving in to personal lusts. James 1:15: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

Ladies, I get it. It’s your body, your clothing and the progressive culture we live in today will tell you that it’s your choice. But  please hear me out when I tell you emphatically, “YOU’RE HURTING ME!” The bikini’s, mini skirts, short dresses, cleavage-revealing blouses and tops are hurting not only my eyesight, but my purity.

Now a quick defense mechanism that can inserted here is that I would need to look away and not put myself in a predicament to where I could be enticed or tempted. But a one-dimensional assertion like this simply avoids the simple fact that I am human.

My nature within itself draws me to the attractiveness of bare skin. And yes, I am a minister of the Gospel. I’ve been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Surely I should know better.

However, we must know that God’s anointing doesn’t circumvent us from temptation. David killed Goliath, but his flesh got the best of him when he saw a beautiful woman sunbathing on the top of the roof. Joseph fled Potipher’s wife when she attempted to seduce him, but I’m pretty confident she wasn’t wearing a turtleneck and a dress all the way down to her ankles during her sexual pursuit.

Sure, there may be a few who may think I simply battle with perverted thoughts every time I see a woman or that I should do a better job protecting my eyes and heart. There may or may not be validity to these perceptions, but it doesn’t eradicate the struggle that I and many other men face when they see a woman with minimal clothing on.

Ladies, your skin should be reserved for your husband, and if you’re not married, your body should be shielded away. Our culture tells us that individuality should be embraced and that we should respect other people’s lifestyles. Life is hard enough already and the road to heaven isn’t a walk in the park. Please do not add unnecessary hurdles with unmerited access to your skin.

I’ll do more on my part by being more consecrated to the things of the kingdom of God and not investing in the fashions of this world. But I need help. The male species needs help. Many men are struggling in their marriages and the mere sight of too much skin could cause them to make a costly mistake. Many single men are trying to save their purity for marriage, but too much skin can endanger that.

Yes, we all have to be responsible and take accountability for our actions. But ladies, wearing clothing (or no clothing) that you purposely know will entice a man is spiritual and moral irresponsible. So I ask you kindly, but urgently. For the sake of my soul and others……please put more clothing on.

pboy

There’s just something about skin. The epidermis can be a beautiful concept when we think of diversity and the artistic array of various ethnicities that make up our neighborhoods and communities today. Skin can produce sensation, sensuality and sexuality. It’s the ultimate source of attraction. But it also can serve as a detrimental distraction. The Bible admonishes us about giving in to personal lusts. James 1:15: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Ladies, I get it. It’s your body, your clothing and the progressive culture we live in today will tell you that it’s your choice. But hear me out when I tell you emphatically, “YOU’RE HURTING ME!” The bikini’s, mini skirts, short dresses, cleavage-revealing blouses and tops are hurting me. Now a quick defense mechanism that can inserted here is that I would need to look away and not put myself in a predicament to where I could be enticed or tempted. But a one-dimensional assertion like that simply avoids the simple fact that I am human. My nature within itself draws me to the attractiveness of bare skin. And yes, I am a minister of the Gospel. I’ve been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Surely I should know better. God’s anointing doesn’t circumvent us from temptation. David killed Goliath, but his flesh got the best of him when he saw a beautiful woman sunbathing on the top of the roof. Joseph fled Potipher’s wife when she attempted to seduce him, but I’m pretty confident she wasn’t wearing a turtleneck and a dress all the way down to her ankles during her sexual pursuit. Sure, there may be a few who may think I simply battle with perverted thoughts every time I see a woman or that I should do a better job protecting my eyes and heart. There may or may not be validity to these perceptions, but it doesn’t eradicate the struggle that I and many other men face when they see a woman with minimal clothing on. Ladies, your skin should be reserved fro your husband, and if you’re not married, your body should be shielded away. Our culture tells us that individuality should be embraced and that we should respect other people’s lifestyles. Life is hard enough already and the road to heaven isn’t a walk in the park. Please do not add unnecessary hurdles with unmerited access to your skin. I’ll do more on my part by being more consecrated to things of the kingdom of God and not investing in the fashions of this world. But I need help. The male species needs help. Many men are struggling in their marriages and the mere sight of too much skin could cause them to make a costly mistake. Many single men are trying to save their purity for marriage, but too much skin can endanger that. Yes, we all have to be responsible and take accountability for our actions. But ladies, wearing clothing (or no clothing) that you purposely know will entice a man is spiritual and moral irresponsible. So I ask you kindly, but urgently. For the sake of my soul and others……please put more clothing on.

Planned Parenthood has resurfaced as front and center of the abortion debate when a video surfaced of Planned Parenthood executives discussing selling aborted fetuses.

Cecile Richards, president of the organization, said that all practices are within the law and ethical, but admitted the video revealed a lack of compassion:

“Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide. In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements.”

Planned Parenthood should be defunded of federal funding for the simple fact that taxpayers should not see their money funded to the largest abortion provider.

In 2009 alone, affiliates performed 332,278 abortions and had only 977 adoption referrals. That means that over 97% of the services provided ended up being an abortion.

In 2012, Planned Parenthood made records, but the numbers are cringe worthy. They performed almost 334,000 abortions and saw revenues exceed $87 million.

Planned Parenthood has an extensive negative impact on the back community. While blacks make up for almost 12-15% of the U.S. population, Planned Parenthood clinic are located in 78% of minority communities.

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, wanted to hide behind religion to cover up her bigotry and racism towards blacks:

“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

If government is reconsidering the Confederate flag because of its oppression towards a certain segment of people, surely the funding of Planned Parenthood should be reevaluated in wake of its stance against humanity.

jayz

Many of us have become acquainted with something or someone that deals with race relations.

We celebrate Abraham Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation that declared freedom for slaves

We recall the moment Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the Lincoln Memorial and shared his ‘Dream’ for an united America.

We acknowledge Rosa Parks’ courage to defy racial hatred and demand equal rights for all.

But racial relations have seen progress take a back seat in light of events such as Ferguson and Eric Garner.

But according to one particular person, if there is improvements in race relations, it can be accredited to music.

Jay-Z, the billionaire hip-hop mogul, salutes hip-hop music as serving to bridge the racial divide:

“Before, people partied in separate clubs. There were hip-hop clubs and there were techno clubs. Now people party together, and once you have people partying, dancing, and singing along to the same music, then conversations naturally happen after that.”

The rapper went on to explain that musical artists have a way of making others forget about cultural differences.

It’s very difficult to teach racism when your kid looks up to Snoop Doggy Dogg.”

Jay-Z argues that with the exception of MLK and President Obama, hip-hop has contributed more to racial harmony than most cultural icons.

While one can understand the perception that dancing and enjoying a club-like atmosphere can be appealing to many ethnic groups, it behooves us to give this a thorough evaluation.

It’s doubtful that President Lyndon Baines Johnson was persuaded by hip-hop when he tapped Thurgood Marshall to be the first black Supreme Court justice.

It’s highly unlikely President George W. Bush relied on the influence of hip-hop when he appointed Gen. Colin Powell as the first black Secretary of State.

In terms of immigration and what it means for the Latino community, can one really turn to hip-hop to determine if one can gain access to the United States?

In general, hip-hop is a conduit to entertainment and lifestyles, but it will take more than a beat and lyrics to make historic gains and meeting the challenges to today’s complex racial issues.

sdash

Stacey Dash, the “Clueless” actress, made national news with her endorsement of presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.

Due to her conservative beliefs, the actress has expressed that she has faced backlash from her own family members.

From The Daily Caller:

“My cousin Damon and my brother Darien were role models to me because they were great capitalists. Now we’re not really talking because they were the ones who told me to keep my mouth shut.”

The 47-year old went on to say that even though many assume that she is inclined to think a certain way simply because of the color of her skin, many have voiced their support for her courage.

“Certain friends don’t speak to me any more either. But you know what? In the street I get approached by so many people of every color saying: ‘Thank you so much for standing up and being so brave.’’

Dash, who is also a Fox News Contributor, was named as one of Google’s Top-Trending Black Actresses in 2014. EBONY magazine downplayed the acknowledgement with a vicious swipe.

“Her conservative, clueless political slant sparked controversy time after time this year, making Dash notoriously trendy for all the wrong reasons.”

It is still very unfortunate that black conservatives are still being ostracized for their beliefs. I wonder if Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton will feel compelled to run to Stacey’s defense.

Don’t count on it.

ferguson

The recent events that have occurred in Ferguson, MO, have caused the moral compass in our country to go in reverse. Various arrests, demonstrations, clashes with law enforcement and a grieving community have captured the headline news and inserted itself as the dominating story in our news cycles.

“Moral Monday”, which was on Oct 13th,  consisted of religious leaders calling for unity. But in the midst of their rallying cry was a strong assertion of a particular divide: racism.

ferguson2

Bishop Wayne Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri articulated his thoughts about the racially-tensed event surrounding the killing of Michael Brown, a black teenager. “My faith compels me to be here,” he said outside Ferguson police headquarters. “I want to show solidarity, and call attention to the structural racism of St. Louis.”

Faith has indeed been an acclaimed component of the demonstrations in Ferguson. While the cities has hosted the visits of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, it has caused many to think that selfish ambitions, not faith, are the main reasons for their visit.  This claim is validated by the annoyance displayed by a protester in Ferguson.

From The Blaze

“We ain’t seen you!” the first protester said. “When you going to stop selling us out, Jesse? We don’t want you here in St. Louis! When you gonna stop selling us out, Jesse?”

This is an obvious call for the activation of faith-based ideals and not just sound rhetoric or a chance for a photo opportunity.

In these dark times, faith should be used as an asset, not a liability.  The local community should be able to rely on the local church to serve as a beacon of hope and common sense. A good example of this is how faith played an integral part in wake of the Boston bombings in April 2013. The president, along with other political and religious leaders, were able to put politics aside and invoke faith as means of a concept of healing and unity.

For example, a local Methodist church in Ferguson served as an host center for protesters to showcase civil disobedience and to learn how to get arrested.

While emotions and tensions are definitely high, would it be more useful if the church called for obedience of the laws and the respect of law enforcement?

Social and cultural issues lie at the doorstep of the church, but it still requires civility.

The forgotten reality is that a life was lost. Whether it’s a white man or black man that is the recipient of death’s visit, it’s a sober reminder that faith can comfort and heal.

The community of Ferguson is looking for real faith—faith that collaborates with a desire to bring healing to a chaotic and disturbed society. That can only come with those who are willing to follow the principles of faith—love and kindness—and not just merely talk about it.