Friday, August 24, 2012


No news. No political/economic rant.  I'm not even going to talk about Mr. Akin or the news about Lance Armstrong.  I've got something more important to talk about this week.

We've recently welcomed a new addition to our little family here in Vermont.  My brother Patrick and his beautiful Venezuelan lady Roraima were married in a small ceremony yesterday.  I'd like to take this opportunity to wish them every happiness in the years to come.

Roraima, welcome to the family!  I hope your and Patrick's love is enough to keep you warm in our Vermont winters.  Brrrrrrrr!  :)

Patrick, congratulations!  Ya done got yerself a good 'un.

Mr. & Mrs. Patrick Black
23 August, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's About Time

Last week, when Gov. Romney named Rep. Paul Ryan as his VP pick, the left predictably went nuts.  They immediately pulled out all the stops in an attempt to define Mr. Ryan as "radical" and an "extremist" who wanted to cut benefits to the sick and the old, while "giving tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires". 

Even President Obama piled on, after once saying that Mr. Ryan's proposals for taxes, budgets and restructuring Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security--while not something he would agree with--were serious suggestions worthy of debate.  Now, apparently, not so much.

With the choice of Ryan as his potential VP,  Mr. Romney has signaled just how serious he believes the upcoming election to be.  Some say he made a mistake in choosing someone who could outshine the top of the ticket.  True leaders, however, always surround themselves with the best personnel they can find.  As with the late Ronald Reagan, they don't care who gets the credit as long as the job gets done.

While I don't agree with every position and vote by Mr. Ryan--or Gov. Romney--I have to say that I think the agitators on the left are missing something.  Namely, that the choice of Ryan as a VP candidate could potentially bode well for them.  I happen to think that Gov. Romney did all of us--Republican/Conservative, Democrat/Liberal/Progressive, & Independent--a great favor.

The addition of Paul Ryan to the electoral equation almost immediately began to shift the debate away from the more ridiculous back and forth mud slinging between the parties to more substantive discussions about the fiscal mess we're in and specific plans to get us back on track as a nation. 

What are we going to do about the looming insolvency of our social safety nets?  Social Security will be insolvent by 2035 (or sooner), Medicare is projected by the administration's own actuaries to go bankrupt in 12 years.  These are structural issues that need to be addressed with specifics, not vague assurances that somehow it'll get handled.  Sometime.  By some estimates,  spending on social programs combined with the interest payments on the growing federal debt will total nearly 90% of current federal spending by 2040!  That won't leave a whole lot for the day to day operation of the country (roads, bridges, defense, education, etc.).

With  Obama/Biden v Romney/Ryan,  America finally has a clear choice between two distinctly different visions for the future of America.  We haven't seen such a clear contrast since Reagan v Carter in 1980.

Whichever side of the ideological fence you happen to be on, this is very good news.  With such clear differences between the two campaigns as to the best ways to address our current problems and move forward into a more prosperous future there should be absolutely no room for ambiguity.  It's not a choice between "A" and "A light".

The candidates have done the easy part.  It's up to the voting public to do the heavy lifting.  We've got about 10 weeks until election day.  The rhetoric will become even more heated, the charges and counter-charges even more outrageous.  Hyperbole won't be the least of it.  It's up to all of us to do our jobs and do our due diligence when deciding who to vote for. 

Don't simply take any politician's word at face value.  Fact check.  Follow up. 

Listen to--and remember--what they say.  Watch what they do.  We all know they can talk the talk, how good are they at "walking the walk"?  Are they giving a consistent message?  Or do they subtly change their positions depending on the audience and the situation?

Pay attention.  There will be a test in November.  We had the mid-terms in 2010, the final exam is upon us.

If this is too much to ask, if it's too much trouble to do a little research on the candidate's positions to compare the claims/charges with the realities, if you are going to base your vote on 30-second sound bites, if you are going to vote against either candidate as opposed to voting for one of them, please, PLEASE do the rest of us and the country a favor.........

Stay home.

If you're not willing to do the minimum necessary to become an informed part of the electorate, you're not competent to hold an opinion.  America's future is too important to be put into the hands of the uninformed, the lazy, and the willfully ignorant.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lies, Damn Lies & Politics

Are career politicians and their handlers congenitally insane?  Or is it simply the prospect of being voted out of their position(s) of power and privilege that makes some of them act this way?

A few weeks ago, one of the heads of the Obama re-election campaign suggested that Mitt Romney either filed falsified tax returns during the period immediately after he left Bain to run the Salt Lake City Olympics, or he misrepresented his relationship to Bain in his filings with the SEC.  Either one, she said, "would be a felony".  In spite of the lack of any evidence to support such a serious accusation, she wasn't censured by the President, or his spokes-people.  She later tried to cover herself by saying that she didn't actually accuse Mitt Romney of anything illegal, she simply said that "if he did it would be" a felony.  Pretty thin, ma'am.

Then we have the "honorable" Harry Reid, the majority leader of the Senate.  Last week he made the assertion (not an if/then, but offered as a statement of fact) that Mitt Romney "hasn't paid any taxes in 10 years".  When pressed on his lack of evidence, Mr. Reid made vague references to "someone who used to work at Bain told me" and admitted that he couldn't prove the truth of his accusation.  Instead, he turned the American system of justice on it's head saying, "it's up to Mr. Romney to prove he paid taxes by releasing 10 years of his tax returns."  Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty" Mr. Reid?

To escalate matters further, Mr. Reid followed his interview with the Huffington Post with a repeat performance of his outrageous allegations (still without a shred of evidence) in the well of the Senate.  Conveniently covered by an exemption provided legislators to exposure to charges of slander and libel for the content of speeches made in session.

I'll say this:  I hope Mr. Romney sticks to his guns and refuses to release more than the two years of tax returns he already has.  There's no legal obligation for him to do so, and it's none of anyone's business.  We the people don't have any need to know, nor do we have any right to the information.  Unless, of course, it's being alleged (with proof, this time) that he has engaged in improper or illegal activity.  Otherwise, the release of the documents would serve no useful purpose.  His tax returns are an order of magnitude more complex than anything a regular person could understand.  It's not like he's filing a 1040EZ.  His filings are massive & complicated.  The only reason to release the documents is to give the Obama administration, and it's allies, material that they can cherry-pick and distort in order to further their class warfare tactics.

Messrs. Reid, Obama, Axelrod, et al are doing the American people a great disservice by knowingly leveling these false accusations.  Particularly in such a blatant fashion.  If they have proof of financial wrong doing by Mr. Romney, if they can show evidence that he illegally evaded taxes, then by all means, show us what you got.  Don't make such a charge and then run and hide, saying it's the obligation of the accused to prove the allegations false.  Our justice system doesn't work that way.  The accuser has the burden of proof.

Put up, or shut up.

I say they are knowingly making false charges (as opposed to simply being wrong) based on the ever increasing virulence of the charges, and the corresponding lack of any indications of them being true.  Also, there are examples such as the latest ad by a pro-Obama Super Pac.  In this ad, a man makes the obscenely outrageous claim that his wife's death from cancer was directly attributable to the actions of Mitt Romney through Bain Capital.  Several problems with this ad have already been brought to light: such as, his job was lost when the company closed it's doors in 2001 (Romney left Bain in 1999); his wife didn't not have insurance through his job, but through her own; she became ill 5 years later and lost her insurance coverage when she had to leave her job, not because of anything Mr. Romney or Bain did; she put off going to the doctor until she had become extremely ill, which was when her cancer was diagnosed.  Her death, tragic as it was, had absolutely nothing to do with Mitt Romney or Bain Capital!

Remember when Obama declared that Mr. Romney should exert some influence on one of the pro-Romney Super Pacs because of some ad his team didn't like, and demanded that Mitt Romney's team dis-avow the activity?  The silence coming from the Oval Office on this ad is deafening.  Obama's spokeswoman (the same woman who made the original spurious accusation that Romney "could be" guilty of a felony) said that "of course, we don't have anything to do with the actions of this group.  We are barred by law from coordinating with them" and she went on to say that "I don't have any information about the specific details of his story" when confronted about the falsehoods in the ad. 

As it turns out (surprise) she had hosted a conference call where she asked this man to relate his story to the media, thanking him for telling his story at the end of the call.  Collusion?  I'll not make any unfounded accusations here, but it is interesting that this same man appeared in an Obama re-election ad a few weeks earlier, claiming that Mitt Romney and Bain were to blame for his troubles (interestingly, it appears that he is wearing the same shirt in both ads.  Could both ads have been shot the same day?........Nah, that's crazy talk).

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Farm Rage?

Well, we've done it again.  My little state has, once again, gotten some national notoriety.  One Roger Pion, from Newport, went on a rampage a couple days ago and crushed several sheriff's department cruisers in a fit of anger over his latest arrest (he's got 17 misdemeanor convictions, already).  Apparently, he believes that the police are "harassing" him.

Here's how it lays out based on what is publicly known so far:  Mr. Pion, by virtue of his previous run-ins with the law (he's referred to as a "frequent flyer", appearing frequently at the County Court-Criminal Division) had his driving privileges revoked.  Unfortunately, he also appears to be one of those people who "always gets caught", resulting in the conviction (pardon the pun) on his part that the police were picking on him.  (As an aside, I'd bet that he has friends who routinely get away with driving without a legal license without getting caught.  This doesn't mean that the police are "harassing" you, Mr. Pion, it means that you are getting caught breaking the law.)  Apparently, Mr. Pion believes that he should not be prosecuted when he breaks the law.

His previous arrest resulted in additional charges when he was found to be in possession of marijuana.  He also (surprise, surprise) physically resisted his arrest and received a bump to the head (he claims a concussion, although he has provided no proof of treatment for such). 

After brooding for awhile on his misfortune, he took a large dual-wheeled tractor from his father's farm, drove to the sheriff's department and destroyed the vehicles, then headed down the road with the intention of going to the Newport City Police Dept. and repeating his actions there.  The Sheriff's Dept, by the way, had nothing to do with his arrest.  He was arrested by the Newport City Police.  When one of the deputies chased him down in one of the cruisers that wasn't damaged in the attack and tried to stop him, he put the tractor into reverse and tried to run over the occupied cruiser (resulting in an additional charge of assault on a police officer), at which point the officers had no choice but to draw their weapons and arrest Pion.  He now faces multiple charges, some of them felonies.

One thing is clear, this guy's an idiot.  A 34 year old loser, he'd fit right in with some of the OWS crowd.

Here's the disturbing part:  as the police sectioned off the crime scene with tape and collected evidence, a crowd gathered.  Many in the crowd of onlookers heckled the police and even cheered Mr. Pion's actions, calling him a "hero".  Hero?  These people are obviously fellow partakers of the herb.  I've also seen far too many postings on social media cheering this idiot's actions, saying there needs to be more like it protesting the "police state".  I thought this knee-jerk rebellion against authority was something people grew out of once they became adults?  Maybe the key involves "growing up".  Mr. Pion obviously still has the childish belief that he should be exempt, if not from the requirement he follow the same rules and laws as the rest of us, at least from any consequence.  He, and his supporters, need to grow up and put on their big boy/girl panties.