Monday, May 31, 2010

Honor Memorial Day

As we go about our busy lives today, take a moment to honor the memory of those who have fallen in our behalf in the struggle to protect the United States and keep us free.

Remember also the hundreds of thousands of our military men and women who are currently putting their lives and safety on the line in order to allow the rest of us to celebrate this Memorial Day in safety and security.

May God bless us all, and particularly bless our men and women in uniform.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bangladesh blocks Facebook - A lesson against government control

The Nation of Bangladesh's chief telecommunications regulator, Zia Ahmed, has ordered the social networking site Facebook blocked within his nation, because he says the site allows the publishing of caricatures of Islam's prophet Muhammad. Bangladesh is a Muslim majority nation.

Pakistan, also a predominantly Muslim nation, has previously blocked Facebook for the same reason.

In the United States, citizens have free access to the internet, with no central government control. If the public isn't vigilant, this may not always be the case. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced legislation last year that would give the President "emergency control" over the internet within the United States, with the ability to completely shut down the medium during a "declared emergency".

I'm not certain that a "declared emergency" would be the right time to shut down what has become an important source of information and communication in the United States, and I'm not certain any President should have that power.

Rockefeller's bill has recieved stiff opposition, and has been taken to back to the "drawing board" several times for re-write with the hopes that revised versions will be better accepted by congress. Still, the threat of government control of the internet remains.

As recently as this month (May, 2010), the Federal Communication Commision (FCC), which currently controls broadcast television and radio, and the nation's telephone system, made moves to assert control over the internet by declaring it a public utility. This clears the way for FCC control over the internet, which is a clear "end run" around both Congress and Federal Courts, which have taken a "hands off" approach to the internet.

Allowing government control of the internet sets a dangerous precedent. Imagine logging on and finding the President or some Federal agency has declared an emergency, and you are no longer able to access your email, work files, business records, pay bills, handle your bank accounts, etc. Shutting down sites like Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Veteran actor Dennis Hopper dies at 74.

Iconic veteran movie director and character actor Dennis Hopper, who's role in the 1969 film "Easy Rider" led to stardom for both Hopper, and another long time veteran actor, then unknown Jack Nicholson, has passed away from complications resulting from prostate cancer.

Dennis Hopper: May 17, 1936-May 29, 2010

Obama's losing his cred.

President Obama came into office with a massive amount of good will behind him. Young voters, liberal Democrats, conservative Democrats, a good percentage of Republicans, Communists, Socialists, welfare queens, financiers, the oil industry, the media, the Hollywood elite, every branch of the music biz except for perhaps Country Western, among others, all gave Obama every chance following his "all things to all people" campaign.

Somehow, Obama has managed to squander away a huge amount of his "mojo" over the last 18 months. I figured he'd fall eventually, no man could possibly live up to the incredibly high standards Obama set for himself. Superman is, after all, a cartoon character. However, even I didn't figure he'd fall this far, this fast. After hearing Obama speak "off the cuff" compared to reading his teleprompter, I knew he was no "Great Communicator" on par with Reagan, but I honestly thought Obama's handlers were a far better gang of political "whiz kids" than they've turned out to be. I thought they would keep their lead man out of trouble.

This administration hit the ground with both feet on pavement, and took off running. Unfortunately, somehow it seems they've been managing to run a zig-zag course which often brings them right back to where they started from. And each loop they've made around their wild and wacky track seems to have weakened them in the eyes of the American people. Folks want to see progress, not just a bunch of mad action with no apparent results.

The American people were also hungry for a leader who talked change, and would actually deliver. A Washington D.C. filled with partisan bickering, back room deals, and perceived indifference and mismanagement, was exactly what the majority voted against in November 2008.

But what we got was not quite what we voted for.

Joe Sestak's assertions that the Obama White House offered him a job in exchange for Sestak choosing not to run against Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democrat Senate primary is another in a series of disappointments from the current administration. Sestak himself can stand tall in that he made the right decision, and declined the offer. However, those who didn't vote for Obama still want an honest, open government of which to be proud. Not many Americans are happy with the status quo in Washington, D.C. Even an honest critic of Obama would be able to recognize integrity when they see it, and perhaps even give a little credit where credit is due.

But for all the pre-election hype surrounding Obama's "Hope and Change", what we've ended up with is merely another run of the mill politician, who led the American people to believe that "Change" meant an open, trustworthy Presidency which would make the people of the United States feel like they were part of the program.

I don't think anyone, myself included, thought the Obama administration, from nearly day one of their official ascention to power, would be so cynical as to do almost the exact opposite of what was promised in the campaign, and think they could get away with it.

I don't know how much more of this the American people are going to be asked to take, but I can say with relative certainty that with nearly each week bringing yet another reason for Obama's apologists to make the rounds to nationwide media outlets in an attempt to explain away the administrations unusual modus operandi, voters are becoming increasingly weary of example after example of the "same old politics", and then some. The people of the United States simply did not know they were voting for an extension of the Chicago political machine to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Indeed, I'm sure that was the farthest thing from their minds.

And for of all things, to have squandered the people's trust in support of Arlen Specter? The turncoat opportunist politician already looked upon with a skeptical eye by Democrats, and as a traitor by Republicans? What kind of lapse of judgement allows a decision like THAT to be made? Are we sure we want folks with so little common sense running the whole show?

I'm reminded of some lyrics sung by Johnny Cash on one of his last albums:

"Well, one time when things was looking bright,
I started to whittling on a stick one night.
Who said, "Hey, that's dynamite."

Offering Joe Sestak a job to stay out of the Pennsylvania Senate race was political dynamite, and very volotile dynamite indeed, considering Obama's promises of an open and honest government. A government which would not be marred by the influence peddling and back room deals utilized by the previous administrations, which played so much a part in Obama's campaign speeches.

Whomever of Obama's inner circle was standing about, and didn't hollar a warning, when someone brought up the "great idea" of offering folks jobs to keep them from running for office, must not have been paying much attention when Obama was giving his speeches during the campaign.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Actor Gary Coleman dies at the age of 42.

It is being reported that Actor Gary Coleman has died after suffering an "intra-cranial hemorrhage" (a type of stroke) and falling into a coma in a Utah hospital.

Coleman, 42, was most known for his portrayal of Arnold Jackson, on the 1980's T.V. series "Diff'rent Strokes".

Gary Coleman, February 8, 1968-May 28, 2010.

Condolences go out to his family.

Chicago: The vacation of choice for Presidents everywhere!

As the furor over Arizona's Immigration law continues, President Barack Obama once again showed his incredible lack of understanding of the American people by ordering 1200 members of the National Guard to "support positions" at the southern U.S. border, where they will not actually be involved in the physical duties of helping to stop drug trafficking or illegal immigration. Then he takes off to Chicago on vacation, at the same time promising to skip the traditional Veteran's Day Memorial Service at Arlington National Cemetary, and ducking out on any leadership responsibility involving the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

I mean, how many Presidential duties can this guy shirk at one time?

Or is there a bigger issue at hand? Consider: Is Barack Obama already so completely overwhelmed by his duties as President, that he's simply given up?

Perhaps being an obscure U.S. Senator from Illinois is looking pretty good to him right now. When know one knew who he was, no one was critical of him. He could could give speeches and get applause, he could travel from Illinois to Washington, D.C. and back, do nothing of real importance, and tell everyone what a fine job he was doing, and no one would question him. Because for the most part, the world didn't care.

Not any more. Now Barack Obama is playing on the world stage, as the leader of the most powerful nation on earth, and people are watching his every move. His ideologically hard left, big government stance on nearly every issue has proven to be stubbornly ineffective across a surprisingly wide range of situations. From unemployment, to the economy, to Afghanistan, to terrorism, to the border, to the oil spill in the gulf, Barack Obama just doesn't seem to know the right thing to do. Over and over again the Obama administration has taken wildly unpopular (if not downright reckless or unconstitutional) stances on issues from health care, to Guantanamo, to criminally trying foreign terrorists on U.S. soil, to bailouts and government takeovers of the auto industry, banking, and other private enterprises, to cap and trade legislation that's guaranteed to increase energy prices, to inaction on the border and in the Gulf of Mexico, to financial legislation, etc. etc.

Obama just stubbornly and blindly continues to blunder forth, despite the fact that it should be obvious to him by now that his perceived "mandate for change" wasn't nearly what he thought it was. It's easy, during a political campaign, to promise everyone that you are Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy all rolled into one. It's infinitely tougher to actually deliver a working governing strategy when you are, in fact, in no way like either of them. It's all gotta wear on a guy. Heck, when James Carville starts yelling at you like you're George W. Bush, it must be quite a blow to the ego!

And those falling approval ratings must be tough to digest for someone who's never, in his life, had to suffer the pains of harsh criticism.

So when the going gets tough, the tough.....go on vacation!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just put it on my tab....

That U.S. National Debt has moved beyond $13 trillion when you factor in the $42 billion dollars in "chump change" the Fed auctioned off the other day.

That adds up to about $45,000 per man, woman, and child in the United States.

We're talking about the Federal government spending $1.72 million per minute!!!

I suppose I could "pony up" my share..but I'd have to spread it out over a few credit cards. (Hey, I got my lessons in economics from a government school!)  If we'd all quit being so stingy and just chip in, our nation could be out of debt today!!  (Of course, my kids are on their own for their share.)

Unfortunately, if we did manage to pay off the debt today, we'd be another 4 billion in the hole by this time tomorrow.

Sarah Palin's new neighbor...

Seems the media will spare no expense to get their hatchet-men into the right places.  Joe McGinniss, an author who has already written at least one article critical of Sarah Palin, and an entire book critical of Alaska's citizens, has moved into the house right next door to the Palin's Alaska home while he's jumping on the "Palin Bandwagon" and writing a book about the former Alaska governor.  No, McGinniss apparently hasn't purchased the house, he's merely renting it for the next five months or so while he's writing his tome.

McGinniss can now sit on the deck of his rented home, and look out over the Palin family's garden and swimming hole.  Sounds like exciting fare for rabid leftists everywhere.  Can't wait for the movie...

Monday, May 24, 2010

The continuation of smear: Rand Paul

Now several internet sources are reporting that Rand Paul must be a racist, because his campaign received funds from an organization called "Stormfront", which has a white supremacist website.  These funds were provided through what are called "moneybombs", internet money raising schemes which press folks with a perceived time limit in which to give, thus pressuring folks to give, and give now.  There is nothing wrong with this practice, in theory.  Barack Obama effectively used the internet to raise funds, becoming the number one money raising internet force of all time.

A politician cannot control the people or organizations which supports him or her.  Individuals, or groups of individuals, still have the right to support whomever they choose to support.  This is no reflection upon the candidate.  Any nut can choose to support, either vocally, or with their cash, any person running for office.  Making the case that a primarily powerless white supremacist organization that supports Rand Paul constitutes some sort of scandal is quite a reach.

Perhaps the media ought not go there, given the fact that the Communist Party, USA, supported Barack Obama as a candidate for President of the United States.  One wouldn't want to confuse President Obama with a Communist.

But perhaps the $71,000 cash which was donated by oil company BP (currently involved with the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico) to Barack Obama's presidential campaign makes Obama himself an oilman?

Or maybe the over $994,000 dollars donated by Goldman-Sachs to the Obama campaign makes Obama am international banker?

Who here has even heard of Stormfront?  What power do they have on the world stage?  Do some internet research, and you will see that the answer is "not much".

However, I think we can all agree that the worldwide financial and political power wielded by corporations like British Petroleum and Goldman Sachs really means something, and having a President in their pocket can mean a lot, especially when BP is involved in an oil spill, and Goldman Sachs is involved in a worldwide financial meltdown.

Should Rand Paul return money donated by Stormfront?  Perhaps, given the present political climate, where the left is attempting to label anyone who doesn't support their socialist agenda as a racist, but that's given the money can even be accurately traced, due to the rather anonymous nature of the internet.  To be honest, I'm comfortable in my belief that Rand Paul is the farthest thing from a racist a person can possibly be, so as far as I'm concerned, he can keep the money.  For every dollar Rand Paul gets from Stormfront is one less dollar Stormfront can use to buy white sheets, Nazi uniforms, or Swastika bumpersickers.

But if the media, and others on the left, are so adamant that Rand Paul should return the money, shouldn't they be just as adamant about Barack Obama returning money given to his campaign by BP and Goldman-Sachs?  Or are the media and the radical left really just the hypocrites I've believed them to be?

Joe Sestak and Chicago politics on a National scale.

Arlen Specter, the party-switching long term Pennsylvania Senator who's been on the national stage ever since he was a young attorney involved with the Warren Commission investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, was soundly beaten politically by newcomer Joe Sestak in the Pennsylvania Senate Primary last week, and word quickly began to spread concerning the Obama administration's handling of the Specter campaign.

There was no doubt that Obama had been supporting, to a point, Specter's candidacy after Senator Specter switched from Republican to Democrat last year and provided several key votes on Obama's legislative agenda, including socialized health care.  However, when Specter looked to be hopelessly losing his first campaign as a Democrat, President Obama was suddenly nowhere to be found.

Joe Sestak, who ran on an anti-incumbent platform, and rightly pointed out Arlen Specter's attempted opportunism, is now coming under the media spotlight himself since he candidly admitted that the Obama administration offered him a job, perhaps in an attempt to induce (read: bribe) Sestak to abandon his bid for a seat in Washington, D.C., representing Pennsylvania.

Now Joe Sestak has clammed up, and isn't offering any details concerning the job offer.  The White House is perhaps wisely not denying Sestak's claim, but will offer no other details either.

Like all of Obama's previous political malfeasance, from reportedly beginning his political career in the company of domestic terrorist William Ayers, to sitting in anti-American Pastor Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 years, to his connections to land deals with felon Tony Rezco, to the bruhaha with ousted Governor of Illiniois Rod Blagojevich and the filling of the senate seat left open by Barack Obama when he became President, apparently, Obama and his handlers are sticking to the tried and true method they always used in the past:  Ignore, and a willing media will eventually drop the subject, and we can all forget about it.

It's going to be up to us, the people, to keep the pressure on to get to the bottom of the matter.  If the Obama administration truly offered Sestak a job to keep him from running for Senate, a Federal felony may have been committed, based on bribery alone.  Already, Obama's apologists are making the rounds on national T.V., asserting that this situation is simply another in a series of "no big deals" surrounding President Obama and the people around him.  Perhaps on the grand scale of things, this particular incident could be considered "no big deal", but how many laws are to be broken before anyone is called to account for them?  How many unresolved questions will surround Barack Obama before he pays a price for his past actions?  Several U.S. Congressmen, of both parties, are calling for a Federal investigation into the matter.

I'm old enough to remember President Ronald Reagan being considered the "Teflon president", because of all of the media-driven scandals that surrounded him, nothing could be stuck on Reagan himself.  President Obama is truly outdoing Reagan by miles, and deserves to have the mantle of "Teflon president" handed over to him.

Perhaps the people of the United States are willing to accept Chicago-Style politics on a national level, just as many folks appear to accept Obama's big-government socialist agenda.  If we wish to ignore Federal law, then we can only blame ourselves if we become a truly lawless nation, and our politicians continue to play "fast and loose" with our trust.

I'm betting, that with the national mood being what it is, the people are quite close to rejecting Obama's style of "machine politics", where power, for power's sake, appears to be the current National Motto.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Is freedom really that controversial?

After Rand Paul, the son of Libertarian stalwart Texas Congressman Ron Paul, overwhelmingly won the Kentucky Republican Senatorial nomination, becoming a force to reckon with in the upcoming Senate race, critics eager to brand both Paul and the TEA Party movement as racist went to work picking apart every word Rand Paul has ever said in an attempt to marginalize both Paul and TEA Party activists.

Anyone who knows about Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, or about the Libertarian political philosophy, knows that according to the tenets of Libertarian thought, government's role in the lives of the people it's charged with governing is to be minimal.  Basically, depending upon the source, Libertarian thought states that for the most part, people should be free to act as they please, as long as those actions to no physical harm to others.  The government that "governs least, governs best".

For instance, Libertarians believe that there should be no laws regarding the use of drugs by individuals.  What someone chooses to put into his or her own body should not be government's concern, even if it is harmful to the person.  But as soon as that person, say, takes to the road in a motor vehicle, putting others at risk, then the use of the police force and court system to take that person off the road is fine and dandy.

In a nutshell, the right of a person to swing his fists around him or herself stops at the point those fists contact another person's face.  Take any political decision and apply this litmus test, and you can easily judge what the Libertarian thought will be on the matter.

Libertarians are also "free marketers" to what might be called an "extreme".  Government should have no place in the regulation of the marketplace or workplace.  Everything involved with the production and selling of goods and services should be pretty much left up to the folks involved.  If a product is shoddy, eventually no one will buy it, and the company making it will either improve the product or go out of business.  If an employer runs an unsafe workplace, word gets around, and people will neither want to work for that employer, nor purchase it's products, thus, either the employer will change, or again, go out of business.

One noted Libertarian radio talk show host, Niel Boortz, has even gone so far as to say there should be no government regulation, nor licensing, of those who practice medicine.

 As someone who also believes that a mostly unregulated free market is the best and most stable way to run an economy, I myself question the use to government force to modify natural balances which occur in the production of goods and services.  Our agricultural system has been operating under strict, government imposed price and production controls for the better part of a century, for instance, and all it's done is run the family farmer out of business, consolidate the production of foodstuffs into the hands of large, multi-national corporations, and the market prices of agricultural products still suffer from wild swings due to worldwide supply and demand.  The only difference is that farmers and ranchers are forbidden to do much about it here in the United States, while other nations can quickly adapt to market conditions.  U.S. farmers and ranchers are thus put at an unfair disadvantage.  In other words, all of the government controls upon agriculture have simply not worked.

It should come as neither surprising, nor should it be controversial, that Rand Paul has made statements concerning the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which indicate that he wouldn't support such a measure if it were to come before Congress today.  Pretty much any Libertarian of whom I'm aware feels the same way, and there are writings of Libertarian thinkers going back to the very beginning of Libertarianism which document that belief.  There is nothing new here.  Libertarians believe that government has no business using it's force to determine the hiring practices of private business.  It's the right of the employer to hire or fire anyone the employer wants to, for whatever reason the employer chooses.

Is racism abhorrent?  It certainly is.  Does racism exist?  It certainly does.  Is everyone who doesn't support government intervention in issues involving race a racist?  Absolutely not.  Can government regulate what is in man's heart?  No.  If a person is going to hold racist personal beliefs, the best the government can do is to regulate the outward appearance of that person, by regulating his or her actions.  Government has had very little success in changing the inner workings of man.

Just as Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" of the 1960's engaged the Federal government in an "all-out war" against poverty, and poverty rates have remained for the most part unchanged for 40 years, there is really no evidence that the actions of government have had any effect on what man truly believes about his or her fellow man based on race.

Just because someone doesn't believe the government should have the right to forcefully determine the hiring practices of private business, doesn't make him or her racist.  To date, not a single shred of evidence has come to light to indicate Rand Paul has racist bone in his body, nor that he's ever made a personal decision in his life that took race into account..  The current controversy involving Rand Paul's statements is merely political fodder being used by the left in it's continuing attempts to brand the TEA Party movement as a racist movement.  Apparently, we're supposed to just ignore all the blacks, Hispanics, Asians, middle-easterners, Jews, and young people in TEA Party crowds, not to mention all the blacks, Hispanics, Asians, middle-easterners, Jews, and young people who speak at TEA Party events.

Don't fall for the distraction.  The TEA Party movement is about getting government OUT of the hands of career politicians and bureaucrats who have become fat, lazy, and uncaring about our personal freedoms, and about getting government back INTO the hands of people who will quickly respond to the will of the public at large, who will take our personal freedoms into account.  It's about returning government to it's constitutionally limited "roots", and getting government out of our pocketbooks.

Leftists are desperate, and running scared.  As practitioners of "situation ethics" they will use any tactic, no matter how vile, in order to attempt to hold onto their power over us.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Is it any wonder most people don't trust our government?

Polls consistently indicate that the people's trust in government is at the lowest levels ever, and still falling.  Admittedly, our level of trust in the vast bureaucracy, which we, the taxpayers, finance, can't fall much further before there will have to be finer standard of measurement invented than what currently exists on our planet.

However, when the government can't seem to get even the simple stuff correct, and no one appears to answer for it, is it any wonder people don't trust?

In January of this year, our family took over the adoption of a wild mustang horse from the previous adopters who could no longer care for the animal, for whatever reason.  Adoption of wild horses in the United States is managed by a couple of agencies of our government, the Bureau of Land Management is by far the largest manager of the United State's wild horse herds.  There are also wild horses on U.S. Forest Service lands, and they are managed through a much smaller program which to a large degree emulates the BLM program.

I happen to be one who believes that our public lands are for the most part "over managed" by what amounts to be a huge group of pencil-pushing bureaucrats who are most interested in perpetuating their own sense of self-importance.  If you've ever visited any of the large regional offices of the Federal agencies who oversee our lands, you've no doubt noticed there are plenty of folks hanging out in air conditioned comfort of their offices and cubicles, busily pushing papers around their desks, or starting at computer screens.  In the meantime, there might be one or two people actually out in the field, spending time on the lands they are the caretakers of.  Just like any other government agency, our public land managers are far and away more involved with managing the bureaucracy of managing our public lands, than in actually managing the lands themselves.

Fine.  If the government is going to pay a bunch of people government salaries to handle the paperwork involved with managing our lands, so be it.  But shouldn't the government demand that the people they pay salaries and pensions to actually know what they are doing?

Well, I'm sure at this point you know that I'm asking way too much of our government employees.  You've all dealt with enough government agencies, from your local department of motor vehicles, to social security offices, welfare offices, licensing agencies, etc. etc. to know that for me to expect any straight, truthful, and efficient service from our government is unreasonable on my part, to say the least.

Which brings me back to why I've gotten yet another lesson in not trusting government to handle even the simple things.  In the case of adopting this wild horse, we were told at the time, this past January, that we would merely be taking over the unexpired adoption term of the previous adopters of this horse.  That since there are too many horses that nobody wants, they (being the Forest Service in this case) were more than happy to have someone take over the remaining adoption period, and that ownership would be transferred to us upon completion of the original adoption term, and that if I just signed on the dotted line, all would be "hunky-dory".  After all, they do this horse adoption stuff for a living, and they've handled cases like this in the past.  It was "not a problem".

So here it is, the end of May, 2010, and only now do we find, once again, we were misled, albeit in a small way, by government representatives who either did not know what they were talking about, or were purposefully being deceitful so they could make their jobs easier.  We dealt personally with the previous adopters of the horse, they checked out our location, stables, equipment, etc. so that they were sure the horse was going to a good home.  We handled the transport of the horse from their location to ours, with absolutely no oversight by the government.  Indeed, no one from any government agency was involved in any way with the actual, physical horse....only with the paperwork involved, which everyone from the government knows is the "real important" part.

So now, months later, when we are supposed to take over legal ownership of the horse, we are told that, "whoops!" with their apologies, the transfer of  ownership of said horse (which is still considered "government" property, on loan to us) cannot take place until January of 2011, one year after the paperwork was transferred to us.  The time the horse spent with the previous adopter doesn't matter as we were originally told.  The original circumstances of the situation are null and void, and we will continue to be bound by all the rules and regulations involved with adopting "government" horses for another 8 months.

O.K., not a big deal really.  We love the horse.  The horse is a good horse, who loves being around people.  When I was building it's shelter, it was so unafraid of all sounds of hammers, saws, drills, and other tools, that the horse would actually come over and pick up whatever I wasn't using at the moment with it's teeth, and walk off with it.  I would have to go hunt for my hammer, cordless drill, or tape measure, as the horse would leave them scattered all over the corral. Also, we get a huge kick out of watching the horse eat an orange (which she loves), or stick it's head into a sack of something it thinks must be feed (and isn't) and then look at us and lift it's upper lip so far it looks like it's curling back into a huge smile, as if to let us know: "The joke's on her".  She notifies us if one of her two big plastic water troughs is empty by picking it up with her teeth and tossing it around until someone goes and fills it up again.  If animals have "personalities", this horse definitely has one.  We have no intention of ever giving the horse back to the government, or selling it, or giving it away.  Our horses are part of the family, and this one became an important part of the family real quick.

But getting back to the government and the trust issue..sure, people make mistakes.  Even government employees.  But when nearly every level of government appears to be plagued by mistakes, mis-statements, mis-speaking, misinformation, mishandling, mis-"this" or mis-"that" it any wonder the public at large cannot maintain trust in government, even when it comes to the little stuff?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pitbull cancels show, protests Arizona immigration law

The mainstream media is reporting that "Cuban-American" rapper "Pitbull" is canceling his May 31st show in Phoenix, Arizona in protest of Arizona's new immigration law, which incidentally doesn't even go into effect until August.

First off, how about just describing him as an "American" rapper?  If one must know his ethnic origin, then perhaps a description something like:  "American rapper who is of Cuban descent" would suffice?  Personally, I'm sick and tired of hyphenated descriptions of everyone's ethnic lineage which put other nationalities ahead of the United States.  To me, it's like putting a foreign nation's flag above "Old Glory".  If you are a citizen of the U.S., your are an American, period.  It's time people start thinking as if we are a cohesive nation with some acceptable differing ideologies and beliefs, rather than as a divided nation with no hope of ever being the great "melting pot" we once were.  "Pitbull", who's birth name is Armando Christian PĂ©rez, was born in Miami, Florida, for pete's sake.

Secondly, I don't much care for rap "music", so what can I do to get "Pitbull" to cancel any shows he might have planned for my home state of New Mexico?

Pitbull cancels show, protests Arizona immigration law

Friday, May 14, 2010

Illegal Insanity

Despite the nationwide uproar over Arizona's decision to mirror Federal law in it's own state statutes concerning illegal immigration, President Obama and the Federal Government appear to remain content with merely criticizing U.S. citizens, rather than actually doing anything about controlling our borders or the influx of illegals who continue to flood not the southwest U.S.  Consider this:  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been criticizing the Arizona immigration law for several days already, and has indicated that he's considering a Federal lawsuit against the State of Arizona in an attempt to block the enactment of said law.  Yet it's recently been reported that Mr. Holder had not even read it yet!  It would seem our leaders in Washington have developed quite a habit of making bold statements and predictions concerning legislation they have not read.

Phoenix, Arizona has the second highest kidnapping rate in the world, only behind Mexico City.  Officials acknowledge that the kidnappings are driven primarily by the Mexican drug cartels which operate along our borders and extend their influence into the United States.  Shootings, murders, rapes, burglaries, and other crimes continue to be committed by illegals, who are often only charged with their various U.S. crimes, go to court (if they just don't just change their names and disappear), serve their sentences (if there is one), and then are turned loose back into U.S. society to commit more crimes with no regard for the fact that these people do not belong here in the first place.

Case in point:  In Albuquerque, New Mexico, 20 year old Juan Gonzales, who is a known illegal, has been living in what has until recently been a declared "sanctuary city".  In other words, during the course of whatever legal action took place concerning crimes he might commit against the citizens of Albuquerque and the State of New Mexico, Gonzales' citizenship status could not be made an issue.

And Gonzales has had plenty of contact with the New Mexico's criminal justice system.  In 2005, when Gonzales was 15, he was arrested as a minor for molesting two young girls at a birthday party.  Charges against Gonzales were dropped when authorities determined he was "incompetent" to stand trial, and he was released into the custody of his parents.

Again in 2008, there was another molestation case against Gonzales, but Bernallilo County, New Mexico, failed to file charges, and the case was dropped.  Both times, the question of his citizenship status was not brought up.

So here we are in 2010, and once again Juan Gonzales is in jail for raping a child, after raping a 6 year old girl at the gymnasium where his mother worked.  When arrested, Gonzales admitted he "liked to touch children".  He is currently sitting jail, on a $200,000 dollar cash-only bond.

Who knows how many instances of predatory sexual behavior Juan Gonzalez committed in New Mexico that have gone unreported.  It's a well known fact that crimes such as this are often never brought to light, due to the children being scared to tell anyone.

All U.S. citizens who care about our nation should outraged by the attitude some have shown towards this matter.  In an attempt to take the spotlight off of Gonzales' citizenship status, some have gone so far as to declare "This could have been done by a white man", or that the gym should have had better security!  Fact is, in this particular case, the crime WAS committed by an illegal alien with a lengthy history of committing these types of crimes, and there should be a reasonable expectation that our children should be safe in the play area of a physical fitness center.  Furthermore, if the authorities in New Mexico had been allowed to do their job, rather than be bound by a ridiculous "Sanctuary City" declaration by a former mayor of Albuquerque, Juan Gonzales would have been deported and would not have been in the position to commit all of these hideous acts against children here in the U.S.

This attention to this case by the mainstream media in the U.S., and in New Mexico, has been pretty low-key.  In recent articles in local New Mexico newspapers, and in some television news stories, Gonzales history of committing similar crimes around the Albuquerque area has not been mentioned at all.  Apparently, the media is too busy with reporting stories critical of Arizona's attempt to curtail cases such as this in their state to really dig in and report the repeated nature of Gonzales' crimes, or perhaps they are doing their best to simply downplay the story, because if the public was able to put "two and two" together and see that these crimes against our children needn't have happened if current Federal immigration law were enforced, the citizens of New Mexico might rise up and demand that their State Legislature pass a law similar to that in Arizona.

The United States has enough on it's plate dealing with the crimes committed by citizens.  Being forced to deal with the criminals and mental defectives of other nations, who have no business being in the U.S. preying upon our citizens, especially or children, is a travesty.  The Federal Government, the State of New Mexico, the officials in the Albuquerque area who allowed Gonzales to get away with his past crimes, and Juan Gonzales' parents, who knew their son was here illegally and had committed similar crimes against children in the past, are all accomplices to the recent rape of a 6 year old girl by a man who was taught by his parents to have no regard for U.S. law from the time he was a young boy.

Has anyone checked the citizenship status of Juan Gonzales' parents?

Fully 60 percent of U.S. citizens, nationwide, support Arizona's right to control it's illegal alien problem.  This is roughly the same percentage of citizens who were AGAINST the Federal Government takeover of health care which was passed earlier this year.  It would appear that our so-called "leadership" in Washington, namely President Obama and the current leadership in Congress, wish to remain aloof to the demands of the citizens of the United States.  The people need to continue to put the pressure on their representatives at every level, and get laws changed at the state and local level, in order to protect us from the predatory practices of people who should not be in the United States in the first place.  It's been more than apparent for over 20 years that the Federal government has been completely incompetent in the handling of the matter.

If our representatives refuse to act, we should throw them out of office at the earliest possibility, and elect leaders who will stand up for the right of U.S. citizens to be safe from the predatory actions of people who show no regard for U.S. law to begin with.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Russia: The Pirates Have All Died

After news reports that Russia had released 10 captured Somali pirates who had attempted to take over an oil tanker caused skepticism among those in the media, especially considering Russia's explanation that the release was due to "imperfections in international law", it would appear the just hand of fate has once again struck a blow...

Uh huh...

Russia: 'The Pirates Have All Died' | The FOX Nation

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Veteran's Memorial Theft: An explanation?

Coming from the Desert Dispatch of Barstow, California is a report of this letter being delivered to them by a person who supposedly had nothing to do with the actual theft of the Veteran's Memorial from the Mojave National Preserve, but claimed to know who did steal it.  It sounds like it was written by the typical left-wing nut job who practices "situation ethics" and has no regard for Veterans, the rule of law, or the United States of America.  To me, if the person who wrote this turns out to be the person who stole the memorial, he or she is still simply a common thief.

This letter, so far, has not been authenticated, but I will present it in it's entirety:

"1. The cross in question was not vandalized. It was simply moved. This was done lovingly and with great care.

2. The cross has been carefully preserved. It has not been destroyed as many have assumed.

3. I am a Veteran.

4. A small non-sectarian monument was brought to place at the site but technical difficulties prevented this from happening at the time the cross was moved to its new location.

5. The cross was erected illegally on public land in 1998 by a private individual named Henry Sandoz. Since then the government has actively worked to promote the continued existence of the cross, even as it excluded other monuments from differing religions. This favoritism and exclusion clearly violates the establishment clause of the US Constitution.

6. Anthony Kennedy desecrated and marginalized the memory and sacrifice of all those non-Christians that died in WWI when he wrote: 'Here one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles — battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten.' The irony and tragedy of that statement is unique.

7. Justice Kennedy’s words in particular and others like them from the other Justices caused me to act.

8. At the time of its removal there was nothing to identify the cross as a memorial of any kind, and the simple fact of the matter is that the only thing it represented was an oddly placed tribute to Christ. This cross evoked nothing of the sort that Justice Kennedy writes of, it was in the end simply a cross in the desert.

9. Discrimination in any form is intolerable, as is hatred.

10. Discrimination or hatred based upon religion should be despised by all Americans, and offering that this event was caused by hatred or malice is simply ignorance of the actual intent.

11. Despite what many people are saying, this act was definitively not anti-Christian. It was instead anti-discrimination. If this act was anti-Christian, the cross would not have been cared for so reverently. An anti-Christian response would have been to simply destroy the cross and leave the pieces in the desert.

12. We as a nation need to change the dialogue and stop pretending that this is about a war memorial. If it is a memorial, then we need to stop arguing about the cross and instead place a proper memorial on that site, one that respects Christians and non-Christians alike, and one that is actually recognizable as a war memorial.

13. If an appropriate and permanent non-sectarian memorial is placed at the site the cross will be immediately returned to Mr. Sandoz.

14. Alternatively, if a place can be found that memorializes the Christian Veterans of WWI that is not on public land the Cross will promptly be forwarded with care and reverence for installation at the private site.

15. In short this has happened because as Abraham Lincoln said: 'To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men.' Perhaps this was an inappropriate form of protest if so I humbly request your forgiveness and understanding for the actions that I have taken here."

O.K. This bailout stuff is getting ridiculous.

As if bailing out banks, car companies, the construction industry, and socialist nations isn't enough, now our leaders in Washington D.C., with President Barack Obama leading the way, are bailing out the entire European Union.

The United States is broke.  We are on track to shortly top a 13 trillion dollar accumulated deficit.  According to some, through government book-keeping strategies, this number itself is only a fraction of the true debt.  Remember way back when in 2008, when the left was screaming about President George W. Bush's completely irresponsible $460 billion yearly deficit?  (For the record, many on the right were screaming about it, too, but they didn't have a political ax to grind.)

Well, now that the "wunderkind" of the left, Barack Obama, has been our President for nearly a year and a half, our Federal Government was gone on a wild spending spree, jacking up our annual deficits to nearly three times what George W. Bush left us with..and nary a peep from the left about it.  In fact, in a gross example of denial, the left is willing to justify Obama's fiscal irresponsibility by continuing to blame the entire budget fiasco on George W. Bush.  While George W. Bush was in reality no fiscal conservative at all, compared to President Obama, Bush was a penny-pinching tightwad.

Yup, the same folks who continually portrayed Bush with as a marginally ignorant country bumpkin, deserving of "dunce" status, will turn on a dime and even claim he was such a grand schemer that he practically single-handedly engineered the economic fall of the European Union, when that argument suits their political agenda.

Socialism fails.  That's what it does.  It simply cannot work, ever.  The fall of the Soviet Union, brought about primarily because Ronald Reagan wisely called Moscow's bluff and was able to outspend them on military projects at precisely the time Moscow could least afford it, while simultaneously using political pressure, was a masterstroke in the continued cause of freedom.  One would think the United States would have long ago learned our lesson that socialism, on it's own, cannot stand.  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said it best when she stated:  "The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

Socialistic actions of members of the European Union: the entitlements, the make-work projects, the early retirement ages, universal health care, the cradle-to-grave security mandated by government, have broken the financial backs of several EU nations.  They've spent their way into economic oblivion.  The remaining taxpayers in those nations simply cannot sustain the financial security promised by their governments.  Because of this, we see the violence in Greece, who's citizens have rioted at the mere thought of cutbacks in their promised entitlements, and the possibility of increased national sales taxes.  When people are promised the world by their government, they fully expect that government to deliver the world.

So now, in reward for their fiscal malfeasance, you, the taxpayer, is going on the hook for a good portion of nearly a trillion dollars in a massive worldwide bailout to save the socialist nations of Europe.  The Federal Reserve is busy printing more money to send to Europe in order to help them stave off their collapse.  As a nation, we are already well beyond broke. Yet Obama and our wiser-than-thou leaders in DeeCee are fully prepared to send you further into debt.  $42,000 per, woman, and child, apparently isn't enough.

When Obama was elected to office, I stated that perhaps Americans, as a whole, were ready for socialism.  By the time Obama was elected President, it was more than apparent that Obama had a tendency toward socialistic, big-government solutions to nearly every problem facing mankind.  Is that really the change a majority of our citizens voted for?  Do we really believe that big government solutions are the cure for our ills, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary?  Just take a look at what's going on in Europe, for a preview of what will happen in the United States if our current spending spree goes unchecked.  The American taxpayer is already teetering on the brink.  Unemployment remains a stubbornly high 10 percent.  Spending continues to out pace revenues by a wide margin.  Our current government is increasing that level of spending at every opportunity.  You, as a citizen, have access to every shred of evidence that socialism cannot work, yet our leaders continue to plunge us headlong toward financial ruin at seemingly every possible opportunity.

Propping up governmental systems that are proven to not work, is folly.  Trying to stabilize Europe's failing economies with your money is irresponsible.  Trying to save a system that has been repeatedly proven to fail is absolutely ridiculous.  A bailout will only prolong the agony.  Europe should be allowed to fail, and should be allowed the ability to learn it's own lesson about what works, and what does not.  From that failure, they can rebuild an economy that is truly self-sustaining, based on allowing their citizens the freedom to succeed, or fail, entirely by their own devices.

How long will you, the citizen, continue to stand for our our government's bailouts of failed economic models.  From banks that make unwise investment decisions, to auto makers which spend more on entitlements than they do on building cars, to nations that give their citizens money regardless of whether those citizens earned it or not, there must come an end to U.S. bailouts.  The U.S. taxpayer should never be held responsible for another's stupidity or laziness, whether it be an individual, an industry, or a nation.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Memorial to WWI Vets stolen.

A memorial to WWI vets, which has been standing on what was once public land since 1934 and has long been the subject of contention by anti-Christian activists because it is in the shape of a cross, was stolen last weekend.  This just two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the memorial could stay.  It disappeared the night of May 9th, shortly after a wooden box covering the memorial had been removed.

The memorial had been covered with the wooden box for years, after ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) activists filed a lawsuit in an attempt have the memorial removed.  It is located inside what is now the Mojave National Preserve, but when erected, the land was administered by the General Land Office.  The land the memorial is on had recently been sold and transferred to private owners in order to lessen continued controversy.   It was originally erected by volunteers from the Veteran's of Foreign War as a tribute to veterans of World War One, but has come to memorialize all U.S. Veterans.  The memorial was constructed of concrete filled welded pipe, and was bolted to a concrete foundation.  People who cared for the memorial have said it was unlikely that one person would have been able to remove the memorial in the time available to do so.

It's sad that people should go to such great lengths to remove not only a memorial to our servicemen and women, but what is also legally considered an "artifact" under Federal law regarding items on public lands, not to mention what has recently been deemed private property. Apparently, some common thieves must have decided that not only is the military unsuitable for tribute, but that the Supreme Court ruling and private property laws mean nothing as well.  Such anti-American sentiment, unfortunately, is rampant in today's United States.

Looks like fodder for a future episode of "Liberals Gone Wild".

The National Park Service has a tip hotline for anyone with info about the theft: (760) 252-6120.  The Liberty Institute is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Obama: "Information is a distraction."

President Obama has declared that the use of modern technology to spread information has become a "distraction" and a "diversion", and apparenlty, Ipods and Ipads are the worst of the offenders.

Obama has a penchant for singling out his targets by precise name.  It was Obama who has twice singled out an American city, Las Vegas, Nevada, as the symbol of all that is wrong with business travel, so it should come as no surprise that he would also single out products made by an American company, Apple.

Worst of all, he decries information itself.  Apparently U.S. citizens are simply too well informed to be governed properly.  Ignorant people are easier to manage.  After all, it was Obama and his cohorts in congress who told us that we should simply trust them, and support a health care bill nobody read, and now that it's passed, and HAS been read, congress is quietly attempting to pass further health care legislation to fix the stuff they screwed up.

Yes, our President wants us to be less informed, less active, less involved, and more pliant.  We should merely listen to, and quietly accept, what the talking heads in the mainstream media tell us. Then we should simply mind our own business and allow our leaders to do whatever they want.

Sorry, but I disagree.

Now we're bailing out Greece?

Greece is "Too Big to Fail".  That's right.  A third-rate socialist nation like Greece, which has spent it's way into the poor house, is "too big to fail".  And so, the United States, through the International Monetary Fund, is going to kick in about $8 billion to bailout Greece.

Heck.   You, the taxpayer, already own a couple of auto companies, a few banks and other financial institutions, and some would say we own Iraq at this point, so what's wrong with owning a few shares in a failed socialist country as well?  President Obama has already decided that bailing out Greece is a good idea, and has told the Greek Prime Minister so.  Apparently it's a done deal.  Yes, the U.S. is going to help bail out a socialist nation, with our tax dollars, using money we have borrowed from the Chinese, and which we will pay interest on, with more of our tax dollars.

That's just the way you run your household's financial affairs, right?

California county bans fun..

It seems that our governments are in high gear, looking for more ways to legally regulate our lives.  I was standing in line at a fast-food taco joint just a little while ago, and noticed that they were still free to offer toys with their kids meals.  I thought to myself that I was glad our busybody politicians have bigger fish to fry, so to speak.  Of course, I don't live in California, even though I was born there.  Most of my family has fled the state over the years, mostly due to increased taxation, regulation, and just general nonsense from California state and local governments.  I think I remember my dad saying many times that California started going downhill sometime after Ronald Reagan left the governor's mansion in Sacramento.

Between my father, my uncle, and my grandfather, three seperate successful small business's left California between the 1970's and the 1990's.

Here it is, 2010, and with California already broke, in debt, and facing insolvency and possible bankruptcy, it appears that some knuckleheaded politicians still havn't figured it out:  Increased government regulation forces business away!  It really is as simple as that.

The county commission of Santa Clara County, California has voted to ban toys in kid's meals.  That's right, some politicians who believe that once again they know best whats good for the people they "represent", have decided that the parents of Santa Clara County are either too ignorant, too stupid, or are just plain bad parents, since they have been allowing their kids to eat too many fast-food burgers so the kids can get some cheap Chinese toys.

Never mind that it's the parents decision what their kids eat...for now.  So if they don't go out to Mickey D's and get a burger or some nuggets, along with some apple slices and some juice, they might just as well stay home and have a big ole' bowl of 35 cent a box macaroni and cheese.  Now there's health food!

I was once told by a school teacher that one particular fast food chain, founded by Ray Kroc, and familiar for it's golden arches, has become the largest toy distributor in the world.

Perhaps in Santa Clara County California, they will merely have to take the next step in toy retailing, and simply sell the toys outright for around $3.50.  Perhaps they'll even throw in a burger or some nuggets, some apple slices, and some juice for free!

Getting ready for what may come.

It seems our nation has turned upside down over the last few years.  Our unemployment rate is the highest it's been in decades.  Property values have fallen dramatically in some parts of the country.  Food prices are on the rise.  The cost of fuel for our vehicles is again around $3.00 per gallon, and in some part of the U.S., it's already well over that.

One wonders where this is all leading.  Will the United States ever see the kind of prosperity with did through the last half of the last century?  Or is the U.S. really just a fading giant who's prime has passed?

Well, I personally still believe in American Exceptionalism.  The idea that the United States is the greatest and most powerful nation the world has ever known, and that it occupies a special place in history as a beacon for other nations and peoples to look toward as a way of improving their own fortunes or lot in life.  The freedom this nation has offered created the greatest single engine of economic development in the history of mankind.

Among some, particularly those on the left, this idea is often considered ludicrous, if not even abhorrent.  Some would have us believe that the United States is no different than any other nation, and that our fortunes here in the United States were primarily won off the backs of peoples the U.S. has "oppressed" around the world.

Such discussion is suitable for a whole topic, or series of topics.  But not today.

Today, the bottom line topic is more along the lines of :  "What are YOU going to do?"

Economic instability in Greece, touched off by their economic woes and so vividly seen recently on our television screens, SHOULD have us here in the United States wondering:  What if that happens here?  Already, there have been warnings that Europe's economic woes could spread.  Portugal, Spain, Italy are teetering.  There's talk that Great Britain could follow.  Ireland is having problems.  There are even reports that the economic mess over the pond is affecting Canada, and Canada is closely tied to the United States.

Hopefully, the powers that be, whomever they are, will find a solution soon.  The average American has very little influence over those at high levels of government who seem to be doing whatever they want to do, regardless of what the public wants, or demands.  Like it or not, we've elected a government that overall appears to have completely forgotten that elections still do matter to people, and hopefully we will be able to demonstrate that fact this coming November.  But what do we do in the meantime to prepare ourselves in case Europe's financial crisis does spread?  Are YOU ready, in even the least way, if there is a run on the banks, you lose your job, your unemployment runs out, you lose your house or cannot afford your rental anymore?  What if you went to the store, and there was no food on the shelves?  What then?

Thinking about this stuff is unpleasant.  No one likes to think there might be economic upheaval of that magnitude here in the United States.  And indeed, we AREN'T Europe.  This ISN'T Greece.  It might NOT happen here.  I can pretty comfortably state that it probably won't happen here.  After all, barring aberrations evidenced from an extremely small minority of nutjobs, the United States is a pretty civil nation.  We don't generally riot in the streets, burning vehicles and busting shop windows, without some pretty serious provocation.  Whether that "civility" is truly an intrinsic value, or merely the result of the general population being lulled into indifference by television and video games, is debatable.  Again, fodder for another subject!

But what if it does?  What if your personal situation becomes dire?  Are you in the least bit prepared?

All of my life, I've had the mindset that I often cannot control my income, however, I can definitely control my "outgo".  While others in my age group have leaped ahead of me in the external appearance of lifestyle, often this is at the expense of a massive debt load that simply cannot be supported if times get tough.  A lot of folks in my age group have become slaves to their possessions.  Their nice homes and vehicles, along with myriads of toys from RVs to boats to ATVs, are all well and good when the money is rolling in.  But often high incomes are stretched to the limit, and if influx of monthly cash is the least bit reduces, the "house of cards" comes crashing down.  I'll even admit that I've been jealous of some of my peers.  I had a single friend who purchased a home a few years ago, and when I saw the place, I'll admit to being envious.  His house, which he bought for himself alone, was nearly twice the size of my "fixer-upper" which has housed as many as two adults and five kid over the years.

However, my envy disappeared completely when I learned what his house payment was over three times what mine is, and was for twice as long a period of time.  Both of us being in the same business, I knew that he was going to have to work his butt off in order to support that debt load.  It could be done, but could he count on the his business being so consistent for the next thirty years?

Turned out, he couldn't.  With the economic downturn, and some personal issues, he ended up having to rent out his extra bedrooms, and often didn't have good luck choosing his boarders well.  The stories of what some of those folks did to his house, or how they upset his personal life with their varied lifestyles, was enough to fully reverse whatever shred of remaining envy I might have felt.  I'll take fixing a leaky pipe in my old dump over having to deal with the nonsense he had to put up with any day.

In the end, that wasn't even enough.  He ended up going into foreclosure, which he had no hope of recovering from.  He lost his house, and in the interim, moved most of his stuff into storage, hauled a travel trailer into the woods and parked it on some rural property I own, and lived there for several months while he was trying to figure out what to do.  Eventually, he towed his trailer back east and moved in with family where hopefully he will be able to eventually rebuild his life.

Me?  I'm still in my little "fixer-upper", I'm more than halfway through a 15 year note, and my payments are still lower than the average rent in my town.  But I still have some stability, even though my personal income has dropped as well, by perhaps 25 percent, with the economic downturn.

So, all of that leads me to the main subject at hand.  Where will the average person go if things DO go bad, for whatever reason?  Do you have a back up plan?  You need one.  Are you mentally prepared to live with less if need be?  You should be.  One old slogan I have used often is "As long as a man has an old RV, he's never homeless."  Preparedness can start simply with nothing more than an old travel trailer.  In an emergency, it can provide a roof over your head, even if you don't know right now where you will park it.  RV parks, campgrounds, even free camping on public lands can be a short term solution which can take the imminent pressure off and give you the time to think of what to do next.

Then, there's food.  How long can you and your family survive on what's in your cupboard?  A week?  A couple days?  Don't count on what's in the fridge.  If the power goes off, that stuff will need to be eaten immediately, or it will be useless.  Fresh foods and vegetables are best, but they are perishable and don't always travel well.

This leaves dried and canned foods.  Dried, boxed dinners may not always be the best as far as palatability is concerned, but it's better than nothing if your hungry.  Canned foods are shelf stable, and the cans themselves can take a beating and food inside stays good.  Plus, most canned foods are already cooked, and you can cut the can open with a knife and eat it cold, rather than go hungry.  Prices on canned goods have risen dramatically over the last few years.  Ever stop to wonder why?  If you figure a couple meals a day in an emergency, per person, this can add up to quite a lot of food.  You have to think about where you are going to put it, and that isn't always easy.  What if you DO have to travel?

What about water?  Do you have a source scoped out to use if you no longer have your own tap?  Lakes, rivers, streams, the proverbial "muddy hoof print" of western novels, can all be sources of water.  But once again, you have to be mentally prepared to drink the stuff.  Filters are available for campers and backpackers that will remove most, if not all, of the stuff floating around in there.  Most notably, you need one that will remove Giardia, which causes an infection in the lower intestine which is not at all pleasant.  I've never had it, to my knowledge, and I've drank unfiltered lake and stream water often (which is not advisable, but hey, I was thirsty).  But I'm told Giardia infection is pretty rough.  If you don't want it, get a filter.  I do have one, and I have used it.  What's more, it's there if I do actually NEED it.

Shelter, food, and water.  Those are the bare basics.  I've covered them slightly, but not necessarily in order of importance.  Only thinking of those three things, and finding solutions for their possible absence in an emergency, is a tall enough order for the average American who's used to having a roof over his or her head, a sink with running water, and abundant stocks of foodstuffs at every grocery store in town.  In lots a parts of the world, people are right now doing without these things, even in relatively good times.  Their possible absence here in the United States will mean absolutely nothing to them.  But think of what it WOULD mean to you.

I've been thinking about what could happen if the United States suffered a national emergency of epic proportions for decades now.  Call me alarmist if you will.  Maybe I am.  But over the last few years, I have finally been in a position to take my thinking and DO something with it.  I've been able to set up a backcountry place with basic heat, light, water, food, and some luxuries too.  We primarily use if for a recreational getaway right now, but the whole place was put together with the idea in mind that it can serve as a safer haven from national, or even persona,l catastrophe if need be. It's certainly not perfect, and it's certainly not yet complete.  Maybe a place like that is NEVER complete.  But it is, right now, sitting there ready for us if something happens.  It's paid for, and stocked with food and water.  I don't think I have my months worth yet, but that's still my goal.  It is good to at least have a solid start.

By now, both yours, and my, brain is probably fried.  Me from typing, and you from reading.  You may think I'm a nut and won't come back to read more.  Hopefully, for some this will get them to thinking.  I'm going to get into this stuff in greater detail in future posts, based on what my experiences have been.  A bit of preparedness can go a long way in dealing with whatever crisis hits you.

Maybe some of you are have thought this subject through even more than I have, and if so, I hope you'll join in the conversation and give us the benefit of your experiences.

More to come.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Why I'm interested in politics. Part 1

I've always had a keen interest in politics.  Not because I think of it as some "sport" where there are winners and losers, or because politics has any real "intrinsic" value.  Quite the opposite, I'm often disgusted by politics, and in how ideals are often trampled under the feet of expediency.

I believe in core values.  Whatever those values may be, I can respect someone who stands for his values above all else.  I'm a conservative with definite libertarian streak.  Or maybe I'm a libertarian with a definate conservative streak.  Either way,  I try to put those core values above everything else.  And I can respect anyone who has core values as well, even if those values are opposed to my own.

For instance, I have very little problem with a communist who comes right out and says he or she is a communist.  Or a socialist who comes right out and says he's a socialist.  Even if that person is running for political office.  I, or the majority of the nation, don't have to agree with communism or socialism.  In fact, we can be vehemently opposed to either ideology, but the person is still just a person, and if he or she is honestly and openly working towards their goals, they'll get no harm from me.  I might fight them "tooth and nail" in the war of ideas, but we could still possibly go and have a beer together afterwards.

When it became apparent the Barack Obama was likely to win the Presidency, for instance, I came to accept the fact that perhaps my nation was ready for some form of socialism.  By the time the 2008 election rolled around, I was pretty convinced that Obama was, indeed, to some degree a socialist, and that there was enough evidence, right out there in public, for anyone who was paying attention to come to the same conclusion.

I don't like it, I don't want it, but if the majority of the people want it, and outvoted me, then so be it.  (I still have the satisfaction of knowing that Barack Obama did not win in my county, even though he did win in my state.)

What I can't stand, on the other hand, is when a person claims to represent "American Ideals", when I know good and well that the "ideals" that person represent are so far from the ideals this nation was founded upon as to be likely entirely foreign to the founders of the United States.

This nation was founded on the ideals of limited government power, and maximum freedom for the individual.  I happen to be one of those who believe that this nation was created by divine inspiration.  In other words, our founders came together under divine guidance, for the very purpose of creating the United States of America, and the United States of American was created for the very purpose of being a beacon of hope and inspiration to the world.

The United States was also created by a nation of rugged, self-sufficient people who for the most part knew how to take care of themselves.  Even the folks who were "city dwellers" could go out in the country and shoot and deer or a turkey, and put meat on the table, if need be.  They knew how to do that.  Even the "city dwellers" made things: silversmiths, furniture makers, woodworkers, builders, iron workers, gunsmiths, seamstresses, butchers, bakers, candle-stick makers, etc.  Pretty much everyone who was anyone could make something that was a salable product with his or her hands.  As a result, the United States was created with the idea of self-sufficiency in mind.  It was believed that there would always be people who prided themselves in being able to take care of themselves.  Thus, the United States was designed for people who could take care of themselves.  Government was supposed to pretty much stay out of the way and let people do what they wanted, barring "doing what they want" was an infringement upon their neighbors freedoms.

I suppose it's in this belief that the "libertarian" streak shows through in me.  I'm for the legalization of marijuana, for instance, because I don't believe someone smoking a joint in the privacy of his or her own home is an infringement upon my rights.  I'm also open to the idea of legalization of other drugs, for the very same reason.

Today, I see our nation perilously close to tipping into an area fully unknown, and undesirable to, the founders of this nation.  Now that close to half of this nation receives subsidy, in one form or another, form the other half of the nation, I see serious danger ahead.  What's going on in Greece today should be a "wake-up call" to all Americans, but it would seem we're still too busy watching television, or listening to music, to notice that the very conditions that have caused the unrest in Greece are what the United States seems to be joyfully rushing headlong toward.

What really gets me, is when someone, like our current President, can stand up and with a straight face declare that his ideals are our nation's ideals, simply because he got the vote of a little more than half of the nation's people.  He wraps up his big-government, wealth-redistribution, and quest for more government control in the U.S. flag and sells it to us like snake oil that will cure all our ills, when we, as a people, KNOW that what he's selling is not what built this nation, nor what made this nation great.  And when he can get over half of 50 Senators, and over half of 435 Representatives, to buy in to his "Hope" for increased expansion of government into our lives, to the point that congress will blindly vote for a bill based solely upon President Obama's promise of what's in that bill, it gives me great cause for concern.

So, I will continue in future writings to expand upon this subject.  Maybe not in the next article, maybe not in the one after that.  Who knows what might pop into my head tomorrow, or what nation might riot next, or what Hollywood celebrity comes out of the closet as a conservative who supports limited government.  Maybe next time I'll talk about horses.

Stay tuned, and don't forget, you can join in and make this a conversation just by pointing your little computer arrow at the word "comments" just below and to the right of these words, and pressing the button on your mouse or touchpad...then type in how YOU feel on the subject.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ms. Rivers, you're my hero!

Comedian and television personality Joan Rivers was recently asked by Kerry (good name!) Picket of the Washington Times about several current issues facing our nation.  Her responses were quite interesting.  It's hard to find someone in show business who expresses such candor, unless they're either drunk, lambasting former President George W. Bush, or punching some paparazzi in the face.
When asked about the apparent drift towards a "redistribution of wealth" philosophy here in the United States, her reply was fairly plain spoken:
PICKET: "In terms of government today, we're seeing this share the wealth philosophy ... this redistribution of wealth ..."
RIVERS: "Yeah ... really thrilled about that. Go f*** yourself. Could I be any clearer? I worked all my life...all my life, and no one has given me a penny. I have paid every tax. The whole thing, and I pay my way. I don't want to give my money to a third-generation welfare family ... sorry. Go out and go to work."
(In the context of the interview, it does appear that Rivers' invective is directed towards the idea of wealth redistribution, and not towards the interviewer!)
More of the interview can be found by clicking here.

The United States Flag is the U.S.A.?

May 5th, most folks know from their grade school social studies class, is "Cinco de Mayo" in Mexico, a holiday which commemorates Mexico's military victory over French forces in 1862. A modern Google search of "Cinco de Mayo" brings up numerous references to the idea that the holiday is primarily celebrated in the United States, and is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico itself. This wasn't the way it was taught to me all those decades ago. Perhaps the modern explanation has to do with some revisionist history, but discussion of that is for another day.

On May 5th of this year, some high school students at Live Oak High School, in Morgan Hill, California, thought it would be a bright idea to wear some some bandannas and t-shirts with various incarnations of the United States flag printed on them. They didn't have anything made especially for the event, but merely wore off-the-rack stuff available for purchase at most any national department or discount store.

These five high-schoolers were summarily asked to either change shirts, turn them inside out, or go home for the day, after Assistant Principle Miguel Rodriquez informed them that the display of the American flag on that day was insensitive to the Hispanic students at the school.
They were told that on any other day, the wearing of the shirts would be appropriate, but not on May 5th, here in the United States.

Students sent home for wearing Red, White, and Blue.
As reported by several sources, hundreds of students at Live Oak High School wore the colors of Mexico on May 5th, including some who drew Mexican flags on their arms or faces.
This is the United States of America, not Mexico. That we here in the United States celebrate the holidays of foreign lands at all is a credit to our heritage as the great "melting pot" of the world, where folks from all nations who dreamed of freedom and opportunity could come and become Americans. Becoming American doesn't mean you forget your heritage, but it does come with the responsibility of learning, honoring, and celebrating a new heritage, that of the United States. If people with ties to other lands wish to still honor the traditions of those lands, no problem. When those traditions take the place of established American tradition, big problem!

The fact that some adult administrators at Live Oak High School took the position that the American flag was somehow incendiary is an indication of just how warped our nation's system of education has become.  Perhaps administrators were only taking heed of the violence erupting in cities across the United States by those who are opposed to Arizona's new illegal immigration law, but the open celebration of allegiance to the United States should never be banned out of some misguided effort to "keep the peace".  If a student chose to pick a fight with someone because they were celebrating their heritage in a peaceful way, then that student should have been summarily dealt with, up to and including arrest and criminal charges. 

To the credit of the Morgan Hill Unified School District, they have issued a statement disavowing the actions of Live Oak High.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Al, The Magic Amphibian.

Former Vice-President, Academy Award winner, and Nobel Prize Laureate Albert Gore Jr. must really have money burning a hole in his pocket these days.  After finding his niche as a Tennessee huckster in what has become perhaps the biggest shell game of all time, the Climate Change Industry, he's apparently given up all pretense, and simply just doesn't care if anyone believes him anymore.

He's recently purchased yet another multi-million dollar mansion. This time, on the coast of California, directly overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Perhaps I should cut Gore some slack, and merely accept the fact that he's only human, and probably suffers the same short attention span and limited memory capacity of the average U.S. voter.

Maybe one of us should give him a call and gently remind him that he himself stated, in his award-winning movie "An Inconvenient Truth", that the coasts of the United States, indeed the world, are in imminent danger of being flooded by a 20 foot wall of water, as the polar ice caps melt away over the next few years from what by now, according to ole' Al himself, is an irreversible, man-made catastrophe.

Think he can still get flood insurance?

My sentiments exactly...

"I'm 63, and I'm tired."  By Robert A. Hall

   I'm 63. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I've worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven't called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there's no retirement in sight, and I'm tired. Very tired. 

        I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

        I'm tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to "keep people in their homes."  Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I'm willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money. 

        I'm tired of being told how bad America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe, the freedom of the press of China, the crime and violence of Mexico, the tolerance for Christian people of Iran, and the freedom of speech of Venezuela.

        I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to. 

        I'm tired of being told that "race doesn't matter" in the post-racial world of Obama, when it's all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of U.S. Senators from Illinois

        I think it's very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.

        I'm tired of a news media that thinks Bush's fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama's, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush's military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn't vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004. 

        I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America, while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance. 

        I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore's, and if you're greener than Gore, you're green enough.

        I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? And I'm tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana. 

         I'm tired of illegal aliens being called "undocumented workers," especially the ones who aren't working, but are living on welfare or crime. What's next?  Calling drug dealers, "Undocumented Pharmacists"?  And, no, I'm not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic, and it's been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I'm willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person, who can speak English, doesn't have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military. Those are the citizens we need. 

        I'm tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave?  Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are? Not even close.  So here's the deal. I'll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims, who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we'll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear. 

        I'm tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I'm tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship. I live in Illinois, where the "Illinois Combine" of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years. Not to mention the tax cheats in Obama's cabinet. 

        I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor. 

        Speaking of poor, I'm tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn't have that in 1970, but we didn't know we were "poor." The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.

        I'm real tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

        Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my granddaughter. 


Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate

There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on! 

This is your chance to make a difference.