The Sierra Sage
HIGH IN THE SKY
HIGH IN THE SKY
Katherine A. Pauly
"I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up"
Katherine grew up in an upper middle-class Irish/German family near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She attended an all-girls Catholic high school and then went on to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where she obtained a BA degree in Communication and French. Her career as a flight attendant for American Airlines began in 1990 with plans of climbing the corporate ladder. She instead chose the flexibility of being a flight attendant with innumerable opportunities to pursue other interests.
After a brief stint in Chicago, she transferred to San Francisco and moved into a cabin in the redwoods outside of Santa Cruz, CA. For 10 years she continued to fly while latching on to the hippie lifestyle championing cause after cause, determined to change the world one recycled can at a time. In her 30s, she switched gears and took up the sport of body-building, becoming a certified personal trainer. Then in the aftermath of 9/11 and a 30% pay cut at American Airlines, she moved to Sparks, NV and opened a retail wine store/wine bar until the economy collapsed in 2005.
Volunteering for the Trump presidential campaign opened up an opportunity to co-host with four other brilliant minds on the Reno radio show "Conversations from the Capital," where she met Len Semas, publisher of Sierra Sage.
27 years later, she is still flying high in the sky. She has never married and has no children (except the furry kind). Her career puts her in contact with thousands of people weekly and she relishes the personalities she encounters while serving the traveling public. These experiences have given her a deeper understanding into human behavior.
Katherine's interactions and conversations with co-workers and passengers puts her finger on the pulse of the nation so if it's happening, not only does she know about it but she knows how people feel about it. And thanks to Len Semas and the Sierra Sage, she can now write about it.
"Transgenders in the Military"
A victory for Left is not a victory for America
Last week Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotely of the U.S. District Court of Columbia placed a partial block on President Trump's recent transgender military ban which was implemented in August of 2017. Originally Trump's directive sought to ban transgender people from entering the armed forces and to prohibit them from serving "in any capacity." After controversy ensued, Secretary of Defense General James Mattis said that under that order the Pentagon will develop a study to deploy the ban in a way that will focus “on what is best for the military's combat effectiveness leading to victory on the battlefield.” For those already in service, Mattis has the discretion to determine which transgenders could continue to serve while the ban is being reviewed.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly believes that the plaintiffs in this case, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) have a valid case for reversing this decision based on the assertion that the ban violates the their Fifth Amendment right to due process and that the circumstances surrounding the announcement along with the reasons given for the ban do not appear to be supported by any facts. Kollar-Kotelly also supports the plaintiff's claim that the decision to exclude transgender individuals was not "driven by genuine concerns regarding military efficacy."
Here we go again. Another liberal judge sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. I would like to preface my opinion in this by first saying that I personally do not care what heterosexual and homosexual adults do behind closed doors in the private sector. I have worked very closely with the gay community as a flight attendant for over 27 years and I think they are fine people. In terms of homosexuals in the military, I wish we could go back to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of days gone by. That approach was much simpler as it helped to avoid the unnecessary and complicated discourse that now affects the strength and order of our military. We have Barack Obama to thank for employing yet another tactic designed to weaken the Department of Defense by unnecessarily causing division where order has always been of utmost importance. Sexual contrariness has no business in military business.
The Department of Defense used to be called the Department of War. I wish they would go back to calling it that because it is more indicative of what the military represents. To quote former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, the purpose of the military is "to kill people and break things." Those on the Left would tell you that its purpose is "to serve and protect" but that is the police force, not the military. When a young soldier goes into basic training, he or she learns how to be a killing machine. Whether you like the sound of that or not, the military is about breaking down the civilian and building up the soldier whose purpose is to fight and wage war against our enemies. A strong effective military is essential to protecting our country and our way of life.
At any point during the recruitment or training of a young soldier, the military can except or reject any recruit for physical, psychological or emotional reasons. Asthma, back problems, diabetes, age, obesity, the need for orthodontic care, bipolar disorder, vision problems, schizophrenia, etc. are all reasons to send a candidate packing. Enter the issue of transgenders who since August of 2016 have been allowed to serve openly in the military. Although the exact number is unknown, studies estimate there could be as many as 15,000 transgenders currently serving in the reserves and active duty which begs the question, if a transgender soldier requires regular hormone shots to trick their bodies into believing they are of the opposite sex, is that not a serious physical restriction? Without this shot, the body will attempt to resort back to its biological identity causing all sorts of physical and emotional handicaps.
The LGBTQ community loves to say that a sex change operation is often critical in helping a transgender to have self acceptance. This is NOT the purpose of the military but even if it were, it takes an average of 267 days to recover from sex reassignment surgery. It is an elective surgery mind you and let's not fail to mention the astronomical cost to the military. So much for effectiveness and "combat readiness." If sex change surgery boosts confidence, what's next? Face lifts, breast enhancements and penis enlargements for everyone who's depressed and needs a little pick-me-up?
Here's the bottom line. The military is not a social experiment. It has no obligation to individuals with special needs or to make the population at large feel warm and fuzzy through the advancement of a trending social agenda. Those who serve our country gain confidence through achievement and service to our nation and do so through their dedication and commitment to the team as a whole. The success of the military and the security of our nation depends on the cohesiveness of this mindset. For transgender's who love America and value our freedoms, there are careers available in the areas of homeland security, defense contracts and cyber threat technology, to name a few. There is no gain to our nation's safety by forcing a centuries old institution into being politically correct. If an individual's needs are emotionally and physically complicated, then the military is clearly not for them.
"Contracts, Collusion, Colin and the Constitution"
There seems to be a general misunderstanding in this country of the role and function of government and what our rights are under the First Amendment. The Left is predictable in making huge mistakes and then backpedaling to cover up their foibles in the aftermath of a public relations nightmare. Luckily for us, we have cop-hating, Castro-loving Colin Kaepernick to thank for helping us better understand contracts, collusion and the Constitution.
After leading the San Francisco 49ers to consecutive NFC championship games and one Super Bowl, quarterback Colin Kaepernick was rewarded with a multi-million dollar contract in 2014. That contract had loopholes and after several injuries and a few lackluster seasons, Colin rolled the dice and ventured out as a free agent in March of 2017. During his tenure as a 49er, Kaepernick used his fame and position to make a political statement which turned the NFL upside down in controversy, has resulted in millions of dollars in lost revenue and created a public relations nightmare for his team. We witnessed him refusing to stand during the national anthem. We saw him wearing socks depicting pigs wearing police hats and shirts with photos of communist dictator Fidel Castro. He chose to be controversial in a thinly veiled attempt to "fight social injustice" and he did it at work. In doing so, he upset his employer, violated the rules of the NFL, insulted law enforcement and enraged a nation and our president by disrespecting our flag and the men and women who died fighting for our freedoms. Instead of taking responsibility for his past actions and the damage he caused, he is now suing the NFL claiming collusion among the head coaches. These spurious claims contend racial discrimination and violations of free speech.
What Mr. Kaepernick obviously fails to understand is that the Constitution limits what government can do, not what private businesses like the NFL can do. The NFL has its own collective bargaining agreement with its players. This agreement which went into effect in 2009 states that all NFL players will be present on the field and should stand for the national anthem. This is clearly a contractual issue not a constitutional issue. The NFL also has a code of conduct they expect players to adhere to and they can be fired if they act in conduct unbecoming. Recall Michael Vick, who was convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to 23 months in prison. He was suspended from the NFL without pay and lost all of his endorsements.
The Left in its attempt to denegrate our president, is trying to make the case that President Trump abused the executive branch of power by calling for the resignation of those who would disrespect our flag. Peter Shane, law professor at Ohio State University, states that "President Trump's remarks towards the kneeling players would only violate the First Amendment if he threatened to take government action against a private corporation to provoke the firing of employees based on their party affiliation." That is clearly not the case here. This is just one more example of how the Left prefers to live in a constant state of ignorance while they attack the Constitution.
Shockingly, no team in the NFL has yet to sign Colin Kaepernick as a quarterback and I'm not surprised. I think it would be safe to say that no owner, coach or sponsor would dare touch that mess in lieu of this controversy. Let this be a lesson to everyone in the public eye who chooses to be controversial and disruptive. You can yell all you want, you can scream and stomp your feet but don't be shocked if you are soon out of a job. Yes you have rights, but so does your employer, your fans and your sponsors.
MEMORIES OF 9/11
9/11 was the largest terrorist attack in our nation's history. For those of us in the airline industry, it changed everything about our profession and still affects our jobs to this day. Layoffs and huge pay cuts lasting over 10 years were minuscule compared to the fear and caution we developed transporting passengers of middle eastern descent. The terrorists are still on our flights, watching us, testing us, pushing the boundaries of our rules to see if they can cross them. Our young millennial co-workers remember very little of that day since many of them were toddlers. I however remember every detail as if it happened yesterday.
I was based in San Francisco at the time and I was scheduled to fly with my buddy bidder Donald. We were supposed to have 3 short legs and a long layover in San Diego. We had plans to go to Seaworld. We were ready to board when the gate agent gave us the news. Our captain was white as a ghost as he stood shaking on the jetbridge. When they evacuated the airport, passengers started walking slowly towards the exits then as one person began to run, the pace picked up until everyone was running frantically towards the exits. When I finally got home I turned on CNN and watched in utter disbelief the footage of victims jumping to their deaths, billowing black smoke and Katie Couric choking back the tears as the towers collapsed.
My boyfriend at the time was a former Navy Seal and a doctor who was on one of the FEMA rescue teams. He was deployed to "the pile" as he called it for 6 weeks. I said goodbye and watched as he packed guns and ammunition in his bag. He called often with updates and stories, like Oprah Winfrey getting angry with him because he refused her an interview, the heavy breathing equipment he had to wear 18 hours a day which left bruises on his face and sadly the shock and trauma many of the workers went through doing mass body recovery. And there was good too. He was very touched by the kindness and gratitude of the people of New York. The city even paid for a limo and an evening out for the team at a strip club! Today the press would undoubtedly label that as sexist and chastise the city.
Five days after 9/11 the airline industry was back in business. I was angry and upset that flights were starting up again so soon. I thought to myself, "Everyone else in this country gets to hide underneath a rock and I have to do this?!" I'll never forget the pre-flight briefings with the pilots........."Katherine you are the line of defense between the terrorists and the cockpit. Look around the galley. Where are your weapons? What would you do if you were attacked? Have coffee brewing all the time in case you need to throw it on somebody. Have your ice mallot handy. You can stab somebody with your pen. Katherine you may have to kill someone today. If you're being attacked we're gonna barrel roll this plane so hang on for your life. You probably won't live but.........". You get the idea.
Like everyone in the country, I wanted to feel safe again. My eyes were glued to the television the night of October 7th, the date of the first air strike. I cried hard not just for my fallen co-workers and the victims but for the pride that I had in our country. We were fighting back! It didn't take long before liberal America started to blame George Bush for 9/11claiming he had been given intelligence the attack was coming but allowed it to justify his war for oil. They claimed America deserved this attack because we were so intolerant and hated by the world community. Then Barack Obama got elected and conservatives watched in disbelief as he apologized to the world for our country's greatness, weakened our military and defended radical Islamic terrorism.
As the years go by, press coverage on the anniversary of 9/11 gets shorter and shorter. That's wrong. We need to be reminded of that tragic day so that we can stay vigilant and continue to fight terrorism. With a style similar to Ronald Reagan, we once again have a leader in President Trump who loves this country and defends our freedoms. We have a president who wouldn't think to apologize to our enemies for our greatness, one who empowers our police and military and shares my vision of a stronger and safer America. As I fly once again to San Diego on this September 11th, I can't think of a better president to keep us safe.