Sunday, June 1, 2014

POW or Deserter? American President or Muslim Traitor?

It has long been the foreign policy of the United States that she never negotiate with terrorists.  Period.  The reasons are obvious.  Such negotiations would embolden further acts to kidnap Americans overseas and reward their abductors.  We can see just how well negotiating with criminals has worked with the Somali pirates.  They've actually turned piracy and the kidnapping of a Captain and crew into a viable business model.  Once you negotiate with an aggressor, once you have "set a price" on the lives of your citizens, there's no going back without a great deal of strife and bloodshed.  And, the price keeps going up until you are forced into saying "Enough!" and then the strife and bloodshed ensues, anyway.  In the long run, it's a lose-lose situation.

The country is all abuzz today about the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only prisoner of war taken by the Taliban during the Afghanistan war.  His release was obtained by the Obama administration's agreement to the release of 5 high-level Al-Qaida affiliated Taliban prisoners held at Gitmo.  These are not simple guerrilla fighters taken on the battle field.  These are some of the most dangerous enemy combatants held.  To release them back (to Qatar, of all places!) is to insure their return to the business of terrorism against the United States.  There have been several reports documenting the recidivism rate of release detainees.  With these five, it's not supposition but a guarantee.  Qatar promises to hold them for at least one year, after which, they'll be under "travel restriction".  Whatever that means.

Let's break this story down into it's parts.  What did we get? and what did we give up?

What we got was the return of a POW.  Let's examine the circumstances of his "capture".  There seem to have been several irregularities.  This report is from dated July 20th, 2009, shortly after the Sgt. was reported missing/captured:

"On July 2, two U.S. officials told the AP the soldier had “just walked off” his base with three Afghans after his shift. He had no body armor or weapon and they said they had no explanation for why he left. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
On July 6, the Taliban claimed on their Web site that five days earlier “a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison” and was captured by mujahadeen.
In the video, Pfc. Bergdahl said he was lagging behind a patrol when he was captured."

Hmmm. Three different versions of the same event.  Which to believe?  If the first version is true, he's a deserter, and the United States owes him nothing in the way of efforts to secure his release.
The second version is very hard to believe.  "a 'drunken American soldier'"?  Given the twin obstacles of military discipline at a front line installation, as well as the well documented American military's policy of no alcohol in Muslim countries, I find this very hard to believe.  If it is true, then it doesn't shine a very good light on the good Sgt. and his sense of discipline and duty.
The third version is perhaps the most difficult to believe.  In the words of retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (again quoting from the piece at,  "PETERS: On that video, he is collaborating with the enemy. Under duress or not, that’s really not relevant. He’s making accusations about the behavior of the military in Afghanistan that are unfounded, saying there are no rules. He’s lying about how he was captured, saying he lagged behind a patrol.
Julie, I’ll tell you, any 11 Bravo infantryman will tell you, that’s not how it works. In a war zone, any soldier is aware of where all his buddies are. If it’s a night patrol, you’re sure of where the guy in front of you and behind you is. So we know this private is a liar. We’re not sure if he’s a deserter. But the media needs to hit the pause button and NOT portray this guy as a hero…"
So which version is the truth?  Is it some combination?  Who were the three Afghans he reportedly walked off the base with?  As reported on,  Rolling Stone magazine quoted emails Bergdahl is said to have sent to his parents that suggest he was disillusioned with America's mission in Afghanistan, had lost faith in the U.S. Army's mission there and was considering desertion.
Bergdahl told his parents he was "ashamed to even be American." Bergdahl, who mailed home boxes containing his uniform and books, also wrote: "The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong."
One further disturbing fact has come to light just today.  Sgt. Bergdahl's father, Bob, had posted, then deleted, a rather provocative tweet:  View image on Twitter
Not exactly what you would expect from a patriotic American parent proud of their serviceman son.
Then there's this post on Twitter of a report from someone who was there:
Embedded image permalink
Beginning to seem more and more like an AWOL who stumbled into being a POW and thus a convenient propaganda tool.  Of course, given his father's apparent anti-American views, there's always the possibility that the Sgt. went into the war zone with the intent to desert to the other side.
As for what we gave up:  Five extremely dangerous high-level Taliban terrorists with strong Al-Qaida connections.  From an article on
Mohammad Fazl, the former Taliban defense minister during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, chief of staff of the Taliban army, and commander of its 22nd Division. According to [the] U.S. Department of Defense, Fazl is believed to be an associate of Supreme Taliban Commander Mullah Omar and was “wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites.”
Mullah Norullah Noori, a former Taliban military commander and Taliban governor of two Afghan provinces, who led Taliban forces against U.S. and coalition troops and was also “wanted by the United Nations (UN) for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims” 
Mohammed Nabi, another senior Taliban official with ties to al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, and other anti-U.S., Taliban-allied groups, according to his Defense Dept. file, Nabi was involved in attacks against U.S. and coalition forces and facilitated smuggling routes for the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Khairullah Khairkhwa, a direct associate of Osama bin Laden and a senior Taliban military commander who also served as the Taliban’s minister of Interior and the governor of Herat.  He represented the Taliban at meetings with Iranian officials seeking to support actions against U.S. and coalition forces after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Abdul Haq Wasiq, the Taliban’s former deputy minister of intelligence, had direct connections to Taliban leadership and was “central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups” to fight against U.S. and coalition forces.
Just how big a potential threat do these five men represent to America, her interests around the region, and her citizens?  Impossible to say.  One thing is certain, these five men are not going to ride off into the sunset and retire to contemplate the error of their ways.  The government would be wise (I know, I know) to hold Sgt. Bergdahl for a thorough debriefing on both the particulars of his capture, his possible desertion and the details of the last 5 years spent with his Taliban captors.  If it is determined that he did voluntarily walk away from his post, in direct violation of his duty, the minimum penalty should be dishonorable discharge and loss of pension.  If it is determined that he acted to aid and abet the enemy, he should face court martial as a traitor, as defined by 18 US Code (sub-section) 2381-Treason.
The actions taken by President Barack Obama are nearly as troubling as the circumstances surrounding the capture of Sgt. Bergdahl.  Aside from his break from traditional American policy concerning negotiating with terrorists, there's the not-so-little matter of the apparent violation of American law.  Last year, Congress passed, and Obama signed into law, a revision of the rules regarding the potential release of prisioners at Gitmo.  In short, the law requires the administration (any administration) to  notify the relevant Congressional committees at least 30 days prior to the release of any detainees and to detail steps taken to prevent their eventual return to combat against American forces.
The administration's spokespeople acknowledge their failure to follow the letter of the law, claiming exigency as their excuse and pointing to a "signing statement" of Obama's at the time of his signing of the law that he believed the law an unconstitutional restriction of the powers of the Executive Branch and reserving the right to act without such notification if it was deemed necessary.  In other words, he agreed to follow the law just as long is it didn't prove too inconvenient.
This is the same Barack Obama and his supporters who decried the use of signing statements by George W. Bush.  The same Barack Obama and supporters who claimed outrage over supposed "torture" and mistreatment of detainees at Gitmo, while US service members were routinely denied basic and life-saving medical care at the VA for years (they're now blaming Bush for that, as well).
This is a direct quote from 18 US Code:
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
People have claimed that Obama has committed "high crimes and misdemeanors" in the past over his usurpation of Congressional legislative power, his administration's acts in contravention of Constitutional provision and his administration's refusal to submit to proper Congressional oversight.  Many of these same people also claim that Mr. Obama's true allegiance is to the Islamic faith he was raised with and that he is more than sympathetic to the views of Muslims extremists. I wonder where on the scale of "aid and comfort to the enemy" the release of 5 high value, "extremely dangerous" Taliban, Islamist, Al-Qaida affiliated terrorists would fall?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Our Continuing National Dishonor

"The Congress Shall Have Power To....Declare War....Raise and Support Armies....Provide and Maintain a Navy....make Rules for the Government of land and naval provide for the calling for of the provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States of America..."

--United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8

Notice the recurring theme here?  Raise and Support; Provide for.  Congress has the sole power to send America's citizen soldiers into conflict.  In granting itself that authority, it also obligated itself to see to the needs of those soldiers in return for their service.  Largely, and repeatedly, it has failed it's obligations under the Constitution.  The American soldier is underpaid and unappreciated by many whose decisions obligate them to undertake life-threatening risks for sometimes vague and questionable objectives.

As I'm sure you've seen and heard, there is (another) scandal at the VA concerning the medical treatment of our wounded veterans.  At first dismissed as a problem with one local VA healthcare facility, the problem has grown to include dozens of facilities all across the country, with whistle blowers recounting stories of abuse, sub-par care, non-sterile facilities, and inordinately long wait times.  Unfortunately, and to our national disgrace, these stories aren't new.  Word of the poor treatment many of our bravest receive at their exclusive government-run healthcare program has been out there literally for decades.  What's new, and even more despicable (if possible), are the new claims that, in order to make themselves look good and win bonus pay veterans needing the most care and those with chronic illnesses were put on separate, secret waiting lists.  The purpose of such lists was to enable the facility in question promulgate the illusion that they were seeing service members in a timely manner.  To be specific, law requires that a veteran seeking care be seen within 14 days.  In reality, the wait times often extended to months, and in some cases, even more than a year!

To date, it has been claimed that more than 40 American soldiers, men wounded in combat fighting for their country, have DIED waiting for an appointment with a doctor or specialist.

Contrast this with how those on welfare and even convicted felons are treated.  Law requires that inmates be given medical attention within 24 hours of any injury or complaint.  Welfare recipients and those on medicaid can go to any emergency room and be seen 24/7/365.

Where is the justice in that?

President Barack Obama has declared that he is "madder than hell" at these revelations and has demanded that an investigation quickly be conducted to determine the truth of these allegations.  When pressed by news reporters to answer questions about how much the administration and it's department heads have been aware of the issue, he demurs, saying he only recently became aware of this situation.

Really?  He only just now has become aware of big problems at the VA?  Isn't it odd? As a Senator, Obama served on a committee dealing with veterans and their healthcare issues.  He also made the treatment of our veterans a major theme of his initial campaign for President back in 2008.  In many speeches, he declared that he would reform the institutions that serve our disabled and wounded veterans, increase funding, shorten wait times, and improve care for those who receive injury while serving their country.  How has he done?  Let's see:

In 2009, there were about 423,000 claims at the VA, with 150,000 pending for more than four months (the "official" wait time it takes a claim to be considered "backlogged").  By 2012, claims had exploded to more than 883,000--and 586,540 of those sat on the VA's backlog list.  This, despite a promise by the President to reduce wait times to a statutory goal of no longer than 14 days and an increase in the VA's budget from just under $100B in 2009 to $154B in 2012.  Don't forget, this doesn't--and can't--account for the discrepancy  between the "official" wait times reported by the VA and the actual wait times recorded on their second, secret set of books.  Problems with wait times at the VA were reported during the middle of the second Bush term and an attempt was made to address them at that time, with an IG's investigation and recommendation of policy changes to deal with the situation and prevent it from continuing or getting worse.  In spite of those efforts, nothing really improved for veterans seeking care.  In fact, the Bush administration informed the incoming Obama transition team of the problem, warning them that the reports of wait times coming from the VA weren't to be relied upon.

To be fair, while the problems at the VA have exploded under the ineptness of the current Obama administration, the problems with the VA, in fact, with America's treatment of it's veterans overall, go way back.

In 1999, the average wait time for claims processing for veterans (including claims for disability declarations) was 166 days.  By 2002, the middle of the first George W. Bush administration, it took the VA an average of 224 days to complete claims.  In 2013, it was up to 923 days, an increase of 37% from 2012!  Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that our veterans have to wait up to three years before being treated.  These wait times are an aggregate of all veteran's services, including disability claims and appeals.  It does, however, give a clear indication of which direction we're headed in.  In spite of the Obama-signed legislation directing the VA to see patients withing 14 days (the "official" wait time) waits of several weeks or months are routine and waits of more than a year not uncommon.

As I said earlier, such poor treatment of our veterans isn't anything new.  During World War II, many combat veterans returning with psychiatric disorders (now called PTSD) were lobotomized.  The U.S. government lobotomized at least 2000--like hundreds more--soldiers during and after WWII.  According to memos recently unearthed by the Wall Street Journal, the VA, besieged by psychologically damaged troops returning from the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific, performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics, and schizophrenics (and, occasionally, on people identified as homosexuals). 

During the Civil War, soldiers on the Union side were induced to sign up by the offering of "bounties".  Essentially, promises of grants of property (land) in return for agreeing to join the fight.  Once they signed up, they were paid a wage commensurate with their rank.  Soldiers were supposed to be paid every two months in the field, but were lucky to get their pay in four month intervals.  Authentic instances have been uncovered where they went as long as six and eight months.  Pay in the Confederate Army was even slower and less regular.

We can take this back even further, to the Revolutionary War itself.  In the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783.  George Washington's soldiers threatened to wipe out the entire Continental Congress over the issue of their not being paid for their service in winning the war with the British.  General (and eventual first President) Washington acted swiftly to prevent such an atrocity.  On June 17, 1783 members of the army sent a letter to Congress demanding they be paid for their services.  Congress ignored them.  On the morning of June 20th, the Continental Congress in Philadelphia found themselves surrounded by as many as 400 soldiers demanding payment, blocking the doors and refusing to allow delegates to leave.  Alexander Hamilton persuaded the soldiers to allow the delegates to leave, promising to meet later to address their concerns.  Instead of addressing those concerns, however, a secret group of delegates, headed by Hamilton himself, drafted a petition to the State of Pennsylvania demanding that they act to protect Congress from the soldiers, threatening that, if the state refused to act, they would move the capital elsewhere.

We can see by these examples that the government of the United States hasn't ever really held all that closely to it's obligation to Support and Provide for those whom it chooses to send into harms way.  This needs to change.  We treat convicted criminals better than we do our heroes!  We actually have families of active-duty soldiers serving in war zones subsisting on welfare and food stamps!  This is no way to repay these men and women for their great, and in many cases, ultimate sacrifices.  Perhaps, finally, on this Memorial Day we can all collectively wake up and begin to honestly respect and honor those who stand between our peaceful lives and the chaos and violence of the rest of the world.

If we don't, we have no right to cast blame on government and the VA alone.  It will (continue to) be our national disgrace.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What Are We Teaching Our Young?

Here's how a local paper begins it's article about Vermont's "Doodle for Google" winner:  "A creative and environmentally conscious fifth-grader from Winooski won a big honor....".  Right from the start, you see the coming slant.  "Environmentally conscious" has long been synonymous with belief in the liberal meme's of the various crises facing our planet, from the "crying Indian" of the 60's & 70's (newsflash, he wasn't Native American), to the "global cooling" and "imminent ice age" of the 70's & 80's, to the claims of the "destruction of the rain forests" in the late 80's, to the hysterical claims of the 90's & 2000's of "man-made global warming" which, thanks to the "mysterious" lack of warming over the last 20 years, has now become "global climate change".

I want to make one thing clear:  I am NOT denigrating the young lady's accomplishment.  Beating out the competition to earn the right to represent her state in such a nationally publicized PR event really is a big, big deal for a 5th grader.  Besides, her doodle is really quite good.  What had me and others pulling our hair out was a comment she made during her interview for our local CBS affiliate:  "The oxygen is running out on our planet, so it's good to have something to create that oxygen for us to breath." Penny Ly said.

Young Miss Ly has been taught that our planet is running out of oxygen and her solution is to create "artificial plants that could convert carbon dioxide into oxygen".  Pardon my cynicism, but didn't Mother Nature already take care of that for us?  And where in creation did she get the idea that the planet was "running out" of oxygen?

Liberal/Progressive environmental theology, that's where.

The theory of catastrophic oxygen depletion has it's origin with a leftist professor, Dr. Ralph Keeling, Associate Professor at University of California, San Diego and director of the CO2 Project at the Scripps Institute.  He has been studying oxygen levels in the atmosphere and within the oceans since 1989 and has illustrated his results with the "Keeler curve" (any jealousy of Art Laffer?).  He claims that his observations have not only confirmed his hypothesis, but also indicate that the oxygen depletion is accelerating at a dangerous pace.  As reported in an article with the alarming title:  Stunned Scientists Warn, World Could Run Out of Breathable Air,  "According to the data Keeling has meticulously collected since 1989 the world is running out of breathable air - and the rate that it's losing oxygen is now on the verge of accelerating."

Let me get this straight.  A "scientist" (I shouldn't use quotes, he has gotten his doctorate from established, ivy-league universities.  But still....) is basing a conclusion of such magnitude on a data set spanning less than 25 years?  I know that university professors survive on grant money and the best way to win grants is to come up with some world-threatening crisis, but come on.  This claim is obvious hyperbole.  Like everything else concerning the Earth's climate, levels of oxygen, nitrogen, helium and other gasses that make up our breathable air are constantly in flux.  To claim that a reduction over such a short span of time constitutes an emergency is ridiculous.  Of course, the good doctor is totally convinced that the trend is real and also that it is caused by man.  By the consumption (burning) of fossil fuels, creating CO2 that displaces Oxygen, eventually resulting in a planet uninhabitable by humans.  We need to ACT NOW!

Dr. Keeling isn't alone in his alarmist views.  As reported in a story published in the Weekly World News, a contemporary of the National Enquirer,  a Yale University-backed study puts it this way:  "Unless we find a way to rein in our carbon emissions very soon, a low-oxygen ocean may become an inescapable feature of our planet. A team of Danish researchers published a particularly sobering study last year. They wondered how long oxygen levels would drop if we could somehow reduce our carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2100. They determined that over the next few thousand years oxygen levels would continue to fall, until they declined by 30 percent. The oxygen would slowly return to the oceans, but even 100,000 years from now they will not have fully recovered. If they’re right, fish will be gasping and squid will be panting for a long time to come.

Wow.  Just, wow.  First, everyone knows that reducing CO2 levels to "zero" is impossible.  Even back in the horse & buggy days we had "carbon emissions".  They also admit that reducing carbon emissions will have no effect on the level of oxygenation, that it will take over a thousand centuries for the oceans to fully recover (how do they determine what level "fully recovered" is?), and end with the tagline, "fish will be gasping and squid will be panting for a long time to come" in a blatant attempt at tugging the heartstrings of the uninformed reader in order to elicit an emotional, rather than rational reaction.

I decided to do what the authors of these articles neglected to do:  research other educated opinions.  Surprise, surprise, I found evidence of profound disagreement with these alarmist views.  Physicist Frank Heile answers the concerns of reduced amounts of oxygen produced via photosynthesis this way: "....short term fluctuations in the rate of oxygen generation in photosynthesis compared to the short term rate of oxygen consumption in respiration does not matter. The huge buffer of oxygen in the atmosphere totally damps out these short term fluctuations - it is only the long term balance of generation and consumption of oxygen which will make any change significant to the total oxygen content of the atmosphere. By long term I mean millions to billions of years! Any short term change in the atmosphere oxygen percentage would be insignificant compared to the ecological disaster of photosynthesis significantly decreasing on earth.  The disaster would be in the food availability, not in oxygen availability."

OK, we've got one source saying that even totally eliminating CO2 emissions would have absolutely no effect on oxygenation levels in the atmosphere and another who points out that it would take eons before any significant change in atmospheric oxygen percentage would even occur.

The magazine Popular Science also tackled the question of human activity causing the Earth to run out of breathable oxygen.  In the article, Will We Run Out of Breathable Oxygen if We Produce Too Much Carbon Dioxide?  Pieter Tans of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is quoted as saying, "Even if we were to burn another 1,000 billion tons of fossil fuels, we would only decrease the oxygen in our atmosphere to 20.88 percent."

Now we've got some numbers we can work with.  According to the NOAA website about 9 billion tons of carbon was burned in 2010.  Popular Science says even burning another 1,000 billion tons of fossil fuels would only produce minor reductions in the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere.  That's more than a century.  I'm fairly sure, if left to their own devices, innovative American entrepreneurs would come up with alternative energy sources long before then.  Oh, and to show just how minor the drop in atmospheric oxygen would be, current measurements of the atmosphere are:  78.09% Nitrogen, 20.95% Oxygen, 0.93% Argon, 0.039% Carbon Dioxide, and small amounts of trace elements.  Water vapor accounts for another +/- 1%.

Utilizing the basic math skills I learned in graded school, I come up with the following equation: 20.95% minus 20.88% for a total reduction of...............(drum roll please)........... 0.07% over the course of 100 years! Based on a microscopically (in geologic terms) small data set, we are supposed to drastically reduce our standard of living and submit to the demands of enviro-extremists and -extortionists that countries (specifically the United States) pay literally trillions of dollars to combat the menace of Global Climate Change.

The real danger in all of this isn't just the prevarication of our supposedly objective scientists, it's the indoctrination of our youth in a groundless ideology.  The generations who will someday lead our nation are being led astray by ideologues with a socio-political agenda.  If we don't put a stop to it, America will no longer lead the world in innovation, poverty stricken people in the third world will lose a significant source of funds for clean water, agriculture and animal husbandry and the last flickering of the Enlightenment, the movement & philosophy that gave birth to the idea that man is sovereign in himself, is competent to rule himself and has an inviolate right to live his life as he chooses will dim, and die.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bundy vs BLM

Everyone's been excitedly reporting/pontificating on the situation in Nevada between rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management.  So, I may as well join the chatter.

The root of the conflict is the fact that Mr. Bundy ceased paying grazing fees to the BLM in 1993, after he "fired" them for not fulfilling what he says is their obligation to work with the ranchers to manage the range land and instead using the rancher's fees against them by changing the classification of the land to protected habitat for the desert tortoise and actively working against the interests of the ranchers.

The government has since gone to court and won two judgments in federal court ordering Mr. Bundy to remove his cattle from the disputed property.  He has consistently refused, saying he doesn't recognize federal authority over what he considers state land and his pre-emptive grazing rights, a legacy of his ancestors' settling of the new territory acquired as a part of the Louisiana Purchase.  He says that this is a matter for the state to settle and the feds should stay out of it.  He also claims that after he ceased paying his grazing fees to the federal government he tried to make the payments to the state but was refused.  Various state authorities have said they have no record of him making any attempt to pay the fees to them, adding that they wouldn't have been able to accept such payment because the land is owned by the federal government, not the state or county.

I want to make clear from the start that, from a philosophical perspective, I am 100% behind Mr. Bundy.  He, and the other ranchers, have spent 10's and 100's of thousands of dollars over the decades maintaining the land, building and maintaining roads & bridges, digging waterholes and keeping them clear and flowing, building fences and keeping them in proper condition, etc.  The BLM was created with the original intent of working with the ranchers to regulate the land usage so as to forestall overgrazing that would devastate the land, rendering it a barren desert.  It is clear that the BLM is no longer working with the ranchers, but against them, heeding instead the strident calls of environmentalists.

Unfortunately, none of that matters.  From a strictly legal perspective, Mr. Bundy hasn't got a (legal) leg to stand on.  Aside from his arguments being twice dismissed by the courts, there's the not-so-little matter of the Nevada state constitution expressly stating that deed to the property rests with the federal government.  It can be (and has been) argued that the Constitutional provision allowing for the government to acquire territory was intended solely as a means for the new country's government to create new states and expand it's reach.  Unfortunately, that wasn't made plain.  And, as has become the norm in legal wrangling, if it isn't specifically prohibited, it's allowed.  At least as far as the government goes (it used to be understood to be the other way around, with the government not allowed what wasn't expressly set forth as permitted while the people were given the rights to everything that wasn't expressly prohibited).  So, in this matter, in this narrow finding, I have to come down on the side of the government's right to evict Mr. Bundy and his cattle from the property for non-payment of fees owed.

Now, there are some interesting little tidbits on the sidelines cluttering up the playing field and bringing into question the motives behind the actions taken by the BLM.  The first is, since when does the government send over 200 heavily armed and armored men (including several snipers!) to descend on a single family over what is essentially a dispute over nonpayment of fees (the government claims that it is owed appx. $1.1M in grazing fees.  Contrast that with Mr. Al Sharpton, who reportedly owes more than $1.9M in unpaid taxes and, far from being targeted by sharp-shooters, headlines a fund raiser with President Barack Obama).  Also, I fail to see where the removal of his "trespass cattle" equates to defacto rustling and allows the government to take possession.  Unless it is claiming them in lieu of payment, a claim that hasn't been made.

In addition, there are the comments made by the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, the Honorable Harry Reid (D) of Nevada, who has labeled the Bundy's, as well as their (sometimes armed) supporters "domestic terrorists".  Senator Reid and his oldest son have connections with a Chinese solar energy concern who wishes to construct a multi-billion dollar solar farm on property just to the north of the Bundy ranch.  This land is also part of the protected tortoise habitat.  Far from sending armed men to dispute this project in the name of the threatened tortoise, the BLM has no problem with the project.  HOWEVER, regulations do require that they mitigate the impact on the tortoise by relocating them to alternate habitat.  Guess where the proposed relocation habitat site is?  Yep.  The Bundy ranch.  Another interesting facet to this is the fact that the head of the BLM is a former chief political aide to Mr. Reid.  Mr. Reid has a reputation for somewhat shady real estate deals in the past that have enabled him to create a multi-million dollar net worth on a relatively minor public servant's salary.

There has been a temporary reprieve for the Bundy's and their cattle.  The feds have withdrawn and have released the cattle back to the rancher, citing concerns over the escalation of the confrontation (several dozen people have rallied to the Bundy's cause. Many of them also "just happened" to bring along their firearms) and the potential for a misstep on either side to result in violence.  They will be pursuing further court action to resolve the situation.  Meanwhile, many of the supports that came to the Bundy's defense have decided to remain, against the possibility of future covert actions by the BLM against the family, with some even going so far as to claim that this whole extravagant exercise in power by the government has been a trial run to see what kind of a reaction they would receive from the common citizens to the government's overt use of force, saying that while they aren't advocating armed action against the government they all "stand ready" to react to any future unconstitutional aggression by the government.

For now, it appears that things stand this way:  Bundy 1, BLM 0.

But the game is far from over.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Anarchy, noun: "The absence or denial of governmental authority or established order"

That's what most of us think of when the term is mentioned.  Total chaos.  There is, however, an alternate definition that is also found in the dictionary:

"A Utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government".

This is the definition favored by the Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street types.  The problem is, it's false.  Not the dictionary definition, but the reality behind it.  I got sent on this train of thought after a couple of interactions on Twitter this past week (yes, I know, the Bundy Ranch is bigger news right now.  I'll write about that after I've had time to digest some of the facts involved.  It's still pretty murky right now.)  One young lady despaired that "you conservatives" can't leave people alone.  "Why can't you let people do what they want to?  Who cares what other's do?", while a young(?) man had posted a couple Tweets extolling the virtues of anarchy and those tweets had garnered some few retweets and favs, indicating at least some agreement with his ideals.  Disturbed by this, I decided to work on this post and cross-post it to Twitter.  Maybe someone will read this and actually look into the reality behind the Utopian illusion.

The very idea of a Utopia goes all the way back to Plato's Republic, although I doubt many have even heard of the philosophy, much less actually read the work.  Instead, they take to heart what they assume to be the ideals: equal rights for all (men, women, either or neither), everyone shares equally in the bounty produced by the society, everyone's needs are provided for and no one faces the insecurity of the future.  It makes a very pretty picture, indeed.

There is a very great shock waiting for most who actually read Plato's words and see just how "fair" and "just" his Utopian society really would be.

To dramatize the difference, I've crafted the following conversation between an advocate of anarchy and an advocate of a system of rule by law (For those of you who know the reference, it may help to imagine the dialog in the voices of Mr. Hand, and Jeff Spicoli, from Fast Times at Ridgemont High):

Come on, man!  All your rules and stuff are keeping us down.  Isn't this supposed to be a free country?  We can do what we want!

What is it that you find so appealing about anarchy, Mr. Spicoli?  Don't you think we need rules?  Don't we need society?

Oh, no way, man!  Society is just a way for the man to keep the little guys down.  Everyone is equal!  Nobody has the right to tell someone else what to do.

Well, what would happen if everyone just stopped doing what they were supposed to do and just did whatever they wanted?

That would be sooo cool!  Everyone would be free to do what they wanted and they'd be happy.  If they wanted to spend the day surfing and partying at night?  Hey, bud, let's party!

Where would you get the things for the party?  You know, the beer and munchies?  Someone has to make that stuff.

Aww, there's plenty of that stuff!  The stores are full of it.  You're just letting yourself stay boxed in to the old ways, man.  You've got to get out and live a little!

Well, wait a minute.  If you don't work at a job, how are you going to buy what you want?  You're not just going to take it, are you?

Why not?  Those rich guys made all their money from me in the first place!  They've got plenty of money.  They can afford to give that stuff away now.  I have the right to the same stuff they've got!  They're no better than anyone else.  If they're too selfish to share, I have a right to take what I need.

Don't they have the right to keep what they earn?

They have more than they need.  They're just greedy pigs trying to keep the rest of us from having a decent life.

How are you going to get them to give it to you?  You don't think you can just walk up to their front door and demand they give you their stuff, do you?  What will you do when they refuse?

Have you looked around, man?  There are a lot more of us than there are them.  We have the power to take whatever we want.

And how are you going to stop someone else from taking what they want away from you?  Wait a minute!  "We"?  I thought you were an anarchist?  Why do you now say that "we" can take whatever "we" want?

<whispering>The man has no idea what's waiting for them.  We are an army!  An invisible army just waiting to sweep aside the old and bring in the New Order.

An army, huh?  Congratulations!  You've just created society.  Isn't your "army" going to have a leader?  Isn't he going to be "telling you what to do"?

You don't understand, man.  You'll never get it.  That's just until all you rich guys that have been hogging all the good stuff get yours and we finally get our fair share!  After that, we'll all be free to live as equals.  Everyone will finally have the good life they deserve.  Maybe we'll make the rich guys work for us!  Yeah!  It's only fair that they find out what it's like to work for nothing.

And so it goes.  In the movie, Mr. Hand and Spicoli do end up coming to a meeting of the minds over, of all things, the words of the founding fathers.  There is no such meeting of the minds possible with the advocates of anarchy.  They refuse to see the reality that Utopian society not only doesn't exist, but is impossible as they claim to envision it.  For those who haven't read it, in a nutshell, Plato's Republic is a society in which every function is mandated and controlled by a small group of elites who have the power to segregate society as they see fit.  The people are placed in a class structure more absolute than anything coming out of the caste system in India or the system or aristocracy in old Europe.  ALL aspects of life are predetermined for you by these elites.  From where you will live, to what you will eat, to what your life's work will be......even the choice of who, and whether, you will marry and procreate with are solely at the discretion of your overlords.  Not sounding so much like the "society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government" now, is it?

The only one's who advocate for anarchy are the useful idiots who don't truly understand it and those who desire to become their future masters.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

What Would You Do?

A few weeks ago I posted The End of the World as I Knew It.  And it got me thinking about how my world, and my thoughts about it, have changed over the years.

A few years ago, shortly before I began this blog, I gained a renewed interest in self-education, especially in the realm of politics, individual rights and personal responsibilities due to my increasing awareness of just how much my country had changed (or been changed).

We used to have clearly defined (and more or less agreed upon) standards of public behavior.  We used to have clear ideas of the roles of the sexes in American family life that, with minor exceptions, worked well for all.  i.e. men were men and women were women (and the role of each was essential and valued).

The ultimate result of such near-universal societal understanding was a more or less stable, productive society.  Even where improper, immoral or illegal behavior was commonplace (the mob, for example) there was at least the acknowledgment that the behavior was wrong, even by the perpetrators.  Not so now.

Aberration used to be looked at askance, now it is celebrated as "diversity" and any criticism is deemed "judgemental".  The morals of the past have had their place usurped by the immorality of "situational ethics".  One example is the shift from the disparagement of those who refuse to work for their sustenance and instead rely on handouts to an attitude of false "compassion" and demands that those who choose productive work be saddled with ever-higher taxes and fees to compensate the freeloaders;  and the shift from admiration for the self-made man to disdain for honest work and downright hostility towards men (and women) of achievement.

People once made every effort to avoid going "on the dole", now people are actively looking for ways to get in line and sink their snouts in the public trough and are proud when they achieve their objective of gain without effort.

Government was created to safeguard the rights, privileges and immunities of the individual citizen.  Government is now the single greatest threat to those freedoms, often acting directly against it's chartered responsibilities in the name of  the "common good" and the "general welfare".

We used to be a society that encouraged productive work and discouraged sloth; a society that upheld a proper system of ethics, a code of proper public behavior that included respect for the rights of the individual; a society that scorned those who demanded the "right" to flout those ethics, intentionally act to disrupt the public peace for no other reason than their own amusement and demanded that their desires be met at the expense of the violation of another's rights; a society that provided it's young people with proper role models to help them develop their own identities as adult men and women, both the positive example of the successful businessman/-woman and the negative examples of the derelict and the bum in the gutter.  At least, until such was determined by Progressives to be unfair, unkind, even "unChristian" and called for greater tolerance of aberration  and deviancy.


We have spawned generations of young people, boys and girls, who have no firm foundation to base their identities on.  If a boy is "too macho" he is castigated for his supposed insensitivity.  If a girl is "too girly" she is warned that her behavior is detrimental to the cause of female liberation and contributing to the stereotype that a woman's place is in the home "barefoot & pregnant".  Boys and girls used to have periodic breaks in their school day to allow for physical activity.  Such helped to maintain physical and mental fitness.  Now, because children sometimes skin their knees, recess is largely banned (it's easier on the teachers not to have to stand outside supervising) in favor of structured activities and quiet "play time" within the classroom.  The girls easily adapted, the boys had to be (and were) drugged into compliance with the teachers' wishes for obedience and order.  Common sense had informed teachers for centuries that boys and girls were different; modern day intellectuals dispensed with that notion as old-fashioned and promoted (enforced) the idiom that gender differences were irrelevant.  Boys can no longer be boys, unless it's the quiet, easily controlled, effeminate type that teachers (mostly female) approve of and girls never learn to appreciate the differences between male/female and, as a result, both sexes are unable to cope with these differences when they come roaring out during puberty.  Both boys and girls are poorly served by such policies.  It's no wonder that so many of our young men seem unable to cope with their feelings, control their impulses, or truly understand what it means to be a "man", while our young girls don't understand their own importance as the primary educators and nurturers of the next generation and, by extension, their role as the "keepers of the keys" to the future.

We have, since the turn of the 20th century, enabled an ever growing and increasingly intrusive federal government to claim power & authority outside the scope of it's constitutional limits at the expense of our once-broad inalienable rights of life, liberty, property & the pursuit of our own individual happiness.  The once primary individual right to private property ownership and the disposition of such at our discretion has been severely circumscribed by the doctrine of "eminent domain", which gives all real rights of ownership to whichever government agency can convince a court that a certain use is contrary to the public good, or that confiscation serves some vague notion of municipal purpose.

I could go on (and on and on and on and.......) but this post is going to be epic enough as it stands.  So let's get to it.

What if I were "King"?

Firstly, there's no chance of getting back to a truly limited government within my remaining lifetime.  It's taken about 150 years of Progressive indoctrination to bring the freest country on the planet down to it's current state.  Given that reversing the tide will take at least as long (likely much longer, given the entrenched special interests and their power brokers), the following agenda will need to be taken up by successive generations of like-minded, freedom loving citizens.  But it's a start:

Article V Convention of the States

I'd advocate a much broader agenda than I've yet seen proposed.  Most only think of this approach to amending the constitution as an avenue to bringing about a balanced budget amendment, something I'm ambiguous about (after all, government needs the flexibility to borrow and spend on contingencies, just the same as a family sometimes needs the flexibility of a credit card to cope with unexpected car repairs, a leaky roof, etc.)  If I were in charge, I'd propose several amendments affirming and strengthening the Bill of Rights and specifically enshrining an individual's right to personal property, and the use thereof, as immune to government interference, save in cases of actual criminal activity.  I'd further propose an amendment requiring that ALL government officials be the first obligated by any new law, statute, regulation or policy that comes out of Congress or any government agency.  In short, no more "do as I say, not as I do".

Restructuring Government

That latter should be made much easier by the elimination of several extra-constitutional agencies now exerting authority over our lives.  EPA: Gone.  DOJ: limited to oversight of the federal & district court system and to settling disputes between the states.  SCOTUS: Tasked with applying questions of law to the Constitution as written and understood by the framers and the ratifying parties.  No more "interpreting" the Constitution in light of modern day "realities".  If the Constitution needs updating, the framers provided 2 avenues for doing such, neither of which is judicial fiat.  All justices will be required to affirm by oath their fidelity to the Constitution and to rely solely on the founding documents of this country in settling disputes.  Violation of this oath will be grounds for impeachment and dismissal from the bench.  Questions of American domestic jurisprudence are only subject to American criminal and civil statutes as written, uncontaminated by the laws of any other nation or ethnic tradition. NLRB: Out.  Reinstatement of the freedom of contract is essential to a free economy and the aforementioned right to property (a man has a property in himself and his marketable skills just as much as in any physical object).  Individuals still retain the right to form voluntary unions in order to get the best deal for their labor, but business owners are no longer required to bargain with the union if they determine it to be counter to the long term interests of the company.  Workers who are unhappy with such an arrangement have the freedom to assemble themselves into a consortium and start their own business in competition with their former employer, if they wish.  Elimination of federal regulations also means an elimination of the barriers to entry erected by government at the behest of and to the advantage of established concerns.  The so-called minimum wage will gradually be eliminated.  Mandatory increases in the costs of labor have only served to raise the cost of finished product (and, by extension, the overall costs of living) and to prevent some from ever getting on the first rung of the ladder of success.  Any unnecessary government body, as defined by their inclusion or omission in the Constitution will be eliminated.  This list includes, but is not limited to, FEMA, Dept of Education, DEA, FDA, Dept of the Interior (all government-owned property not expressly needed for the fulfillment of the proper functions of government will be sold to private citizens/organizations), the Fed, SS, FDIC, SEC, DOT, HHS.  All functions eliminated from federal jurisdiction will be relegated to the individual states, to be adopted as they and their citizens decide.

Eliminate Governmental Welfare

This includes all forms of transfer payments, corporate as well as private.  This is the one alteration that will take the longest to implement, as it must be preceded by a re-education of the public as to the proper functions of government and a re-instilling of the traditional American work ethic.  There will be no special treatment of different types of income.  As long as taxation is the government's means of funding it's proper obligations ALL income needs to be accounted the same.  For too long, the government has used manipulation of the tax code to control business activity and investment, as well as personal economic activity.  On the private side, I advocate for a complete repeal of the New Deal and Great Society programs.  The War on Poverty has been an abject failure, despite trillions of dollars in transfer payments over several decades.  All these programs have done is increase dependence and encourage the atrophy of marketable skills and ambition.  Prior to the New Deal, there were an abundance of privately financed charities in every city and community in the country (in the late 19th century it took 100 pages to list all of the charities operating in NYC), as well as neighborhood churches seeing to the needs of the truly needy and the indigent.  Such a system can once again provide for the temporary needs of Americans who fall on hard times and the permanent needs of those few truly  unable to provide for themselves.

Abolish the IRS

The IRS has become the most powerful and feared of all of the arms of government.  They are largely unaccountable and immune to censure.  They are a power unto themselves:  they write regulations that have the force of law, they prosecute violations of those regulations and sit in judgement of any disputes.  They have the right to violate the Bill of Rights with impunity.  They can (and do) confiscate assets, freeze bank accounts, shutter businesses, garnish an employee's wages and imprison business owners on simply their own allegation of wrong-doing.  They don't have to prove you guilty of a crime; you have to prove yourself innocent.  A complete reversal of the axiom of  "innocent until proven guilty".  The IRS would be replaced by a simple-to-implement flat tax.  Current estimates of the rate necessary to be "revenue neutral" range from 15% to 20%.  However, with the elimination of much of the federal government's over-reaching bureaucracy, I would anticipate that the federal income flat tax rate could be perhaps as low as 10%.  This tax would apply to all private income.  No exemptions, no deductions, no "refundable tax credits".  If you make $10,000 your tax is $1000 for the year.  If you make $10,000,000 you pay $1,000,000.  This would be an incentive for people to better themselves and work to gain a foothold in the middle class, since increased income would no longer be met with an ever-increasing (even punitive) rate of taxation.  If you earn more, you get to keep more.  If you get to keep more, you can afford a better standard of living for yourself and your family.  In recognition that corporations pass all costs of doing business along to the end consumer, the corporate tax rate will be zero.  The proper function of the IRS will be akin to that of a high school algebra teacher:  they'll check your math for errors and omissions.


With the elimination of federal control over education, state and local municipalities will bear responsibility for the proper education of their children in the skills and arts their parent's deem appropriate.  I would like to see a return to the establishment of trade schools, as an option for students who either show no aptitude for post-secondary studies or who do show a particular aptitude and interest for occupations in the physical sciences, such as plumbing, construction, electrical processes, animal husbandry, agriculture, etc.  The trade schools would ideally be funded and staffed by the trades themselves, without need for "certification" by some government body.  The proof of the expertise of the instructor will be evident in the results  of their students.  Think of it as a corporate "farm system" where businessmen could help develop future employees in the skills they need, not the skills some government bureaucrat thinks are going to be needed.  Primary and Secondary education would be funded as, and from such sources, as the community agrees proper, with private tutors providing more intensive instruction in specific subjects as needed.

Property Rights

People will be allowed the right to gain, hold and dispose of private property as they see fit, excepting only that the exercise of such rights do not run afoul of another's rights to the same.  i.e.  You would not be allowed to open a smelting operation next door to a family farm if it could be established that doing so would negatively impact that neighbor's rights to enjoyment of his property or to negatively impact his right to full use of his property, either through potential pollution of runoff or the noise of the operation.  In such a case, industrial use of the property would properly be excluded, or limited to a voluntary agreement between the parties on a plan of compensation.  In either event, the only role of the state would be to certify that such an agreement was made without duress and to ensure the provisions of the contract are upheld.  No one not directly involved or impacted by the decisions would have standing to interfere (no lawsuits brought by some activist group in California to prevent a development in Louisiana, for example).


It's obvious to all that the development of fiat currencies has played a large role in the increasing cost of living in the modern world and that most, if not all, countries engage in some type of currency manipulation to their benefit or another's disadvantage.  I would ban all fiat currency and order a return to sound money.  Specifically, precious metals.  Under the Constitution, the power to create currency (coinage) lies exclusively with Congress.  Let them reassume their duties and eliminate the Federal Reserve.  Going to pure coinage is impractical at this time.  With the inflation of the nominal currencies there simply isn't enough gold, silver or platinum in existence to be able to convert our entire economy to pure coinage.  What is possible, however, is for Congress to mandate a certain grade acceptable for the minting of legal tender.  Perhaps using 10k or 14k gold instead of 24k and silver coinage of 75% content.  Studies could determine the most efficient compromise and we could get back to a real system of sound money that would be largely immune to manipulation by the federal government.  This could also limit inflation to the levels commonly seen prior to the establishment of the Fed in the early 1900's.  Going to a sound money economy would also bolster American standing and economic power in the world, making us a much more desirable market and leading to a likely influx of foreign investment and a positive balance sheet on our international ledger.

Gay rights?  There ain't none.

One of the greatest affronts to common sense by Progressives has been the proliferation of the so-called "rights" of certain segments of society.  "Gay rights" doesn't make any more sense than "heterosexual rights".  Would anyone applaud the promotion of "white rights"?  Of course not.  Yet we see and hear politicians and activists proclaiming the need to "protect the 'rights' of minorities".  No single segment of society has any rights separable from, or superior to, another.  To quote from our founders: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...".  This was further codified in the Constitution by Amendment, proclaiming that all citizens are entitled to equal protection under the law.  Equal protection.  Not special privileges based on perceived disadvantages or the favoritism of the political winds of the day.  Equal.  All misnamed "anti-discrimination" laws will be nullified.  People have the inherent right of free association, any governmental interference with that right is a misuse of it's authority.

The 2nd Amendment

Being seen by the founders as 2nd in importance only to the freedom of speech & religious expression, the right of a peaceful citizenry to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  If you aren't a convicted felon or an individual with a documented history of violence against others, you are free to arm yourself as you deem necessary; you are allowed to possess whatever weapons you desire, for whatever purpose.  If you decide that you have a need for a handgun for personal protection, sport shooting, as a collector, or "just because", fine.  "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."  No one has the right to limit your Constitutional rights without cause and due process of law, thus, no state will be allowed to interfere with an individual's decision to exercise his/her 2nd Amendment rights.  The right to carry (open or concealed) will be national.  One important caveat:  since the 2nd Amendment's right to keep and bear arms is of American Constitutional provision, it will apply ONLY to legal citizens of the United States.  Foreign nationals and visitors to this country will not be allowed to carry weapons.


In brief, all of the above are examples of a society that takes as it's basic assumption the sovereignty of the individual.  In the founder's discussions of what form the new government should take there was much discussion of the "natural state of man" and of "natural law".  It was determined that man, left to his own devices, had the absolute right to all aspects of his life; he had the right to make his way as he decided, he had the right to determine whether he had been unjustly treated and to address such treatment as he chose.  While this was acknowledged to be true, the founders also acknowledged that such behavior by a large population was nothing more than anarchy.  Certainly, it was no way to run a free society in which the rights of every individual are protected from infringement.  Thus, they came to the following modification of Natural Law:  whenever any individual freely chooses to become part of a greater whole (society) they must agree to surrender some part of their rights under Natural Law to the governing body of that society.  That is the origin of the governmental monopoly on the initiation of the use of force.  If you join a society, you agree to surrender your right to "take the law into your own hands" to government in return for the protection of your rights by the society as a whole.  Meaning that all of the resources of the society (city, state, or nation) are brought to bear to protect the individual's rights, giving much greater security to his life than if he had to see to his own protection.  This also infers the corollary, that whenever one acts outside of that society, or refuses to join with them, he forgoes and has no claim to the protection of that society should he be threatened and that the very resources the society uses to protects it's citizens can and may be used to prosecute their claim against any action he may make against one of their own.

The individual IS sovereign.  As sovereigns, we have all agreed to limit ourselves to be subject to such laws as the society we have joined may deem necessary and have an obligation to adhere to such.  A proper government has the lightest touch on it's people while maintaining sufficient strength to fulfill it's primary obligation to protect them from outside aggression.  Anything else is properly left up to us, as sovereign individuals, free men and women.

That's the world I would build, "If I Were King".

What would you do?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I Haven't Forgotten

Just a quickie post to let you guys know I haven't abandoned or forgotten you.  I'm working on a new post sparked by my previous post on The End of the World as I Knew It.  I'll be expanding on that theme and answering the obvious question:  "What would you do if you were king?"

It should be ready by next weekend (two weeks at the latest, I promise!).

See you then!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

How Do You Like Him Now?

Remember this?

Well, apparently, not so much.  This was late this week in an interview with WebMD:



Yeah, well he made a lot of promises.

Like this one:

Well, on March 6th, in an interview with a Spanish-language station, Obama said this:

So, you see?  It's not that Obamacare is too expensive, it's simply that you don't have your priorities in the right order.  If it's a choice between having something you want, like cable entertainment or your cell phone and all it's apps, something that you choose and the Obamacare insurance that the President requires you to have, the choice should be obvious to all right-thinking people.  After all, the President (and his party) know what's best for you.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The End of the World as I Knew It

"The World as I Knew It" ended a couple decades ago, when conservative Republicans first began showing themselves as merely a different flavor of Progressive; when people started filing, and winning, frivolous lawsuits (hot coffee, anyone?); when a sitting President could engage in sexual misconduct in the Oval Office itself and have it excused as "irrelevant to the performance of his job"; when those who dare decry such behavior are themselves condemned as "judgemental"; when "justice" officials began promoting the canard that it's not the criminal's fault that he/she mugged someone, broke into your home, stole your car/identity (these poor souls need treatment and understanding, not punishment); when a court of law pronounced that it was constitutional for a municipality to confiscate someone's unblighted private property and give it to a private developer in the name of "the public good" (and tax receipts); when our elected representatives openly vote to exempt themselves from the lawful obligations they impose on regular citizens; when the concept of the rights of citizenship are "modified" for legal citizens and expanded to include illegal aliens who's first act upon entering the country is to break the law...........................

My early life could be characterized as a combination of Mayberry and the Walton's.  I spent a large portion of my formative years on a family farm, though I must admit I've now lost many of the routine farming skills I had as a child.  Even allowing for the effect of nostalgia coloring my memories, it was a better, simpler time.  It wasn't any easier, just simpler.  At least, in our little corner of the world.  My grandparents were survivors of the Great Depression and had managed to keep their small farm together through the worst of times while raising a family.  From my grandfather, I learned the dignity of working with  your hands and providing for yourself and your family; from my grandmother, I leaned some of what it took to keep the household upright financially (she seemingly was able to get a dime's worth out of every nickle she spent).

While life wasn't easy, it was understandable.  It made sense.  In those long ago days, the adage of "playing by the rules" to get ahead still held.

Times have changed.

Now, people try to get ahead by "playing the system" and there is an entire industry devoted to helping people find (or invent) ways to do just that.  Were you "hurt on the job" (even if it was your fault)?  There's a law firm waiting to help you punish your employer for not adequately allowing for your clumsiness/incompetence (in some cases, there are doctors waiting to help you create an injury diagnosis that's hard to disprove, in order to win the proper judgement); did you slip on the sidewalk?  Sue the shopkeeper (after all even though it's the middle of a snowstorm in winter, it's their responsibility to keep the sidewalk clear at all times, no need for you to watch your footing); were you so unwise as to get pregnant without a marriage, job, or a place to live?  There's an entire wing of federal and state government dedicated to rescuing you from the consequences of your poor judgement.  They'll simply confiscate the property (income) of others in order to provide for you and your kid(s), and censure them for their "greed" and lack of compassion if they dare to complain that it makes it harder for them to provide for their families.

In today's brave new world, it can actually be seen as mean spirited or even a crime to be too self-sufficient, too successful.  We can't have some succeed while others lag behind.  It's not fair.  In fact, it's established practice in some schools that excellence remain unremarked and uncelebrated in order to not hurt the self esteem of those who, either through lack of effort or lack of ability don't rise as high.

The ultimate result of this pandering to mediocrity, of holding back the achiever in favor of the slacker, is the inevitable decline of all aspects of society: civility, criminality, moral standards, the eventual elimination of excellence in all fields of production, the replacement of rule according to an impartial, objective set of laws in favor of a system of entitlements for certain "disadvantaged" special interest groups and, eventually, the complete disintegration of organized society into nihilism.
I've taken a few steps towards preparedness.  I've started paying more attention to what comes out of Washington, D.C. and from my own state and local government officials; I've begun to set aside "alternative assets" against the eventual collapse of fiat currencies (hey, where do you think the money's coming from for the Fed's stimulus and "quantitative easing"?) and I've begun making arrangements for my, and my family's, security; I've begun brushing up on those long-unused farming skills (mostly through reading), though with being gone several weeks at a stretch due to my job a garden isn't a realistic possibility right now I hope to keep the knowledge fresh so I at least have a chance of reviving them if ever SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan); my next object is to build up long-term food storage (the goal is at least 1 year's supply).    

For now, I'll keep on as I have for the last several years.  I'll continue to educate myself as to what my government's doing, and work to raise awareness of issues I consider to be  either dangerous or injurious to personal liberty and individual rights as codified in the Constitution.  I'll continue to study ways to promote and strengthen those rights and liberties.  I'll do my best to be as informed as I can be in order to fulfill my obligation as a citizen to be an "educated member of the electorate".

Other than that, all I can do is continue to incrementally add to my preparations and try to keep up with the madness our "representatives" keep churning out "for the greater good".  The world as I knew it is gone.  Perhaps forever.  But maybe, just maybe, I can hold on to a small island of sanity as the rest of the world sinks further into the madness of Progressivism.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kreskin Has Nothing on These Two

The "Amazing Kreskin" first came to fame in America in the 1970's as a modern day sage, seer and mentalist extraordinaire.  In fact, outlets like the Huffington Post and Fox News still occasionally have him as a guest.  He even supposedly predicted (for the 3rd straight time) the winner of the Super Bowl.  Hmmmm......I wonder where he was during the run-up to the elections of 2008 & 2012?

During the election cycle of 2008, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Vice-Presidential running mate to John McCain, issued the following warning concerning the potential international risks of an Obama Presidency:

“After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next,”

This comment, made in a speech to Foreign Policy [subscription required] in 2008, was widely criticized at the time.  It was paired along with her misquoted comment that she could "see Russia from my home" as an indication of her ridiculous incompetence.  Mysteriously, Foreign Policy's reporting of the current situation in the Ukraine omits any mention of their earlier derision of Governor Palin's comment.

In a flashback to the Presidential debates between Mitt Romney and President Obama in October of 2012, Brett Baier, on his show on Fox News played a clip from the foreign policy debate in which President Obama ridiculed Mitt Romney for classifying Russia as one of the "greatest geo-political threats facing America".  Said President Obama:

“You said Russia. Not Al Qaida. You said Russia....The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because…the cold war’s been over for 20 years.”

Maybe we should have heeded that call?  While the left was all in a panic over the foreign policy of President Ronald Reagan, claiming that his hard line against the Russians was a direct threat to peace and would lead to World War III, nothing of the sort happened.  In fact, the Reagan policy of "peace through strength" is widely credited with the downfall of the old Soviet regime and the freeing of many of the former satellite republics.  It's a certainty that none of the bad actors currently agitating the world would be conducting themselves in the same manner if there were a President the stature of Reagan currently in the White House.

Mitt Romney's response was unequivocal:

“Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe…and I said in the same paragraph I said and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin…”

Rose colored glasses?  I'd say it's more likely that Obama is wearing blinders.  He absolutely refuses to see what is obvious to many of the rest of us and will not admit his error even when presented with the results of his mistaken foreign policy decisions.

It goes beyond this.  During Benghazi, Obama was infamously absent and his whereabouts unaccounted for for a period of 7 hours.  As Commander-In-Chief, his place was in the Situation Room with his National Security team and military advisers.  During this most recent crisis in the Ukraine, with Russian troops invading the Crimea region, Russian warships converging on the Crimea peninsula, and this morning there are reports of Russian troops and equipment surrounding a Ukrainian military base and preventing Ukrainian military personnel from entering or leaving the compound.  What does Obama do?  He skips the meeting of his National Security Team!  Instead of attending a crucial meeting in person, where he could get information first hand and presumably ask clarifying questions and get immediate feedback, he sends Susan Rice instead.  You remember her?  She was the spokesperson the administration trotted out during the Benghazi crisis to label the attack as a "spontaneous response to a video" and not an organized terrorist action.

Taken from

There also was a high-level meeting at the White House Saturday after Russia’s parliament gave Putin the military go-ahead to protect Russian interests in neighboring Ukraine, the AP said.
Participants in the meeting included Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, CIA Director John Brennan, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the AP said.

No mention of the President attending this meeting.

So.  Sarah Palin warned of the potential of just such a crisis as far back as 2008, and Mitt Romney repeated the warning of an increasingly aggressive, even belligerent, Russian Federation and Vladimir Putin.  Each of these people were ridiculed and vilified in the national media as crackpots and dangerously uninformed, while the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were praised for the "reset" of U.S., Russian international relations and  for their enlightened foreign policy agenda of reaching out towards our former enemies (while our oldest allies seemingly got the back of our hand).

We are now faced with unarguable violations of international law by Russia and Putin.  It's clear that he seeks to reassemble the old USSR and return Russia to what he sees as it's rightful place of dominance in the eastern hemisphere.  What is our President and his administration doing about it?  They're working on plans to reduce and weaken our military below the levels prior to WWII.  We are/will be unable to respond militarily to aggressive actions taken by not only the Putin regime in the Ukraine; we will be unable to respond to China's aggressive actions in the South Pacific and towards Japan and Taiwan; we will be unable to respond to the belligerence of Iran and their provocation of sending "warships" towards our territorial waters.  Hell, we'll even be unable to respond to a pipsqueak like Kim Jong Un in North Korea.  Outside of any military response, Obama's weakness on foreign policy has seriously reduced the North American profile and presence on the world stage.  When America talks, few listen; fewer still take our pronouncements seriously.

Our enemies no longer fear or respect us, while our allies increasingly fear they can no longer trust us to honor our obligations to mutual defense and protection according to long standing treaties.

Both Governor Palin and Governor Romney warned of the consequences of electing someone as blatantly unqualified as Obama to lead the world's last remaining superpower and erstwhile beacon of freedom and liberty.

If only people had given them the credit they give to a stage act like Kreskin.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Concerned Yet?

I missed last week due to "technical issues".  After downloading what I was assured was clean software, I soon discovered that not to be the case.  My laptop started behaving most strangely, with the appearance of new programs on my desktop that I had no recollection of installing.

Apparently, the "safe" program was the carrier for a virus/malware/key logger bundle of joy.  Kind of like a stork from hell.  I'm still not quite set back to rights.  I've managed to cordon off the infected programs and (hopefully) protect my system from further encroachment and infection temporarily, until I am able to have my laptop seen to by a shop capable of thoroughly cleansing it.

<sigh>  I do wish people would find something better to do with their time than invent ways to try to take the property of someone else who has earned it.  "Pimps and ho's" notwithstanding, that is the real "world's oldest profession".

Well, then.  What to rant about today?  There's plenty of material to work with.  There's the controversy surrounding last week's figure skating results in the Olympic Games,  New Jersey Democrats are still attempting to use "Bridgegate" to exorcise Gov. Chris Christie and perhaps lessen his influence in the state and reduce the chances he could succeed in any future presidential run, the political class is all a-flutter pontificating about the infighting among Republicans and it's impact on the chances of their regaining control of the Senate and, of course, we've got the on-going examples of extra-constitutional activities by the Obama administration.

Let's take the simplist and easiest first.  Early on during the Games, there was an accusation that the U.S. and Russian ice skating judges were working together to "fix" the results.  This past week, the accusations gained new and greater voice with the surprise victory of the Russian skater over what was widely perceived to be a near-perfect performance by the South Korean skater.  Not being an expert in the intricacies of international figure skating judging criteria, I'll defer to the opinion of a former Olympic competitor who opined that the Russian skater and her coach followed a very deliberate strategy dictated by the rules changes that resulted from the judging controversy of a previous Olympics.  Their strategy focused on meeting the strict letter of the rules' requirements.  In skating, there are certain mandatory maneuvers and skills that have to be met precisely.  The Russian skater met these requirements with superlative skill, even though her performance wasn't perhaps as artistically polished as those of her competitors.  With the greater weight being given to the required elements (I assume in an effort to lessen the subjectivity of the judges impacting the outcome) this was a winning strategy.  In spite of the sour grapes, there is no "there" there.

Meanwhile, back in New Jersey........Democrat partisans are still worrying at Gov. Christie like a mongrel dog worries an old bone.  Claiming they haven't gotten the "whole story" from the Governor and his staff, they are busily holding endless hearings and demanding documents, emails, phone records, etc.  One has to wonder what we would have learned if this kind of energy had been expended on the follow-up to Fast & Furious, Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservative and religious groups, improper alterations of federal law given to politically favored entities concerning the implementation of and their obligations under Obamacare, etc.

The infighting among the Republicans?  It's a debate that is long overdue.  The Republican party needs to have this fight.  The party needs to decide once and for all what it's governing philosophy is going to be.  It needs to decide if it's going to return to it's roots and work to promote smaller government, greater individual freedom, greater self-reliance and less dependence; or if it's going to continue along the most recent path of trying to "out Democrat" the Democrats.  If they choose the former course, they stand a good chance of regaining not only political relevance but possibly coming to future dominance.  If they choose the latter, they will go the way of the Whigs and clear the way for a new political party to arise from the rubble of their failed appeasement policies.  Unfortunately, any new Constitutionally-based political party wouldn't take hold for a number of years, leaving us under the rule of an increasingly lawless Progressive regime.

And that brings us to the continuing actions of our President, Barack Hussein Obama.  You will recall that he promised during his State of the Union Address that he had decided to take unilateral Executive Action when- and wherever he decided he could to implement his agenda, should Congress balk at it's implementation.  In addition to his proclamation that the minimum wage for certain federal contract workers would rise incrementally to $10.10/hr, there are several more (perhaps as many as 15 or 20) Executive Orders planned for release in the near future.  Congress remains largely silent on the usurpation of it's authority to make and amend law.

As troubling those issues are, they pale in comparison to the latest proposition by elements of the Obama administration, specifically the FCC, to abrogate the constitutionally protected right to free speech and a free and independent press.

It was revealed this week that the FCC was contemplating a program whereby it would install "monitors" in the newsrooms of media outlets across the country to investigate their policies on what gets reported and how, with a view toward determining bias in the news, and recommending procedures to promote "balance".  This is incredible.  An arm of the federal government actually proposing that it assume oversight of the national news media.  This would be no different than the old Soviet propaganda operation of Pravda.  Can you imagine any way such a program would NOT end up as a State news agency?  I can't.  If such a program were ever implemented, you could say goodbye to the 1st Amendment as written.  Apologists for the administration say it would never come to the federal government exercising censorship.  Really?  This, from the people who told Americans "Obamacare will reduce premiums by $2500 per year" and "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period."?

What do they think the result would be of installing government-appointed "minders" to supervisory roles within news agencies?  Especially when the agency doing the monitoring holds the power to literally shut down any television or radio media outlet via the power of licensing?  How many news outlets are going to be willing to risk reporting any information that might reflect poorly on the current majority political party and/or Oval Office occupant?

Obama once famously said that he thinks the Constitution is flawed because of the way the Bill of Rights was written; as a Bill of "negative rights" saying what the government can't do, as opposed to a list of actions the government can and should do.  He's right.  The Bill of Rights is a charter of negative rights applied to the government.  Intentionally so.  The entire intent is to curtail government power over the people, entrusting to the citizen the rights and obligations of free men.  The 1st Amendment is perhaps the greatest freedom so codified in the principle document of our country.  The 2nd Amendment is intended largely to ensure the longevity of the 1st.  And together, they both serve to protect and preserve the rest of the Bill of Rights.  The hard-won liberties that are our birthright as American citizens.

Not surprisingly, the announcement of this proposed program has met with very little outcry outside of the more conservative outlets such as FoxNews and talk radio.  The reason is simple.  The mainstream media outlets and left-wing radio and newspaper don't think they're the targets of this program.  After all, they're in the same "club" as the Progressives who would end up running such a program.  They are all for it, believing it a way to finally rein in Fox and lessen the market dominance of conservative talk radio, something liberals and Progressives have been looking for since the elimination of the mis-named "Fairness Doctrine" that was rightly declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

For all those who favor the idea of Obama's government undertaking to monitor the way the news is presented and what stories are chosen to be reported, I ask this:  Would you be as vocal in your support if the President wasn't Barack Obama, but George W Bush?  How about Ronald Wilson Reagan?  If you were against any of the policies of George Bush, such as the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, Gitmo, etc. and you are silent in the face of the expansion of these self-same programs under the Obama administration, if you are silent on the potential use of drones to spy on citizens domestically, if you aren't marching on Washington protesting the wholesale data mining of your phone/email/internet search records, if you are either silent or in favor of the increase in Presidential usurpation of Congressional legislative authority,  you are either intellectually dishonest, corrupt, a useful idiot, or all three.

If you're not concerned with the drift of this country by now, you're just not paying attention.


This is from  [excerpt]  "As Accuracy in Media reported on February 7, this is but one of several threats to free speech in our nation, and could lead to the revival of a new version of the Fairness Doctrine. And we weren’t the only ones, or the first to attempt to call attention to this outrageous attempt by the Obama administration to try to intimidate newsrooms into compliance with their ideas of what should be reported and how. We already know which of their scandals they want to convince us are phony scandals—such as the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups and Benghazi—and which news sources they believe need re-education, or banning, which would include the Fox News Channel and most of talk radio. They appear to be tossing out a big net to attempt to regulate what those sources put out."

The CIN (Critical Information Needs) program survey was/is a partnership between the FCC and left-wing journalism schools to develop guidelines for deciding what constitutes "critical information" that Americans "need" for the purpose of conducting their everyday lives and how it should be reported to them.  It says nothing about reporting the news of the day as it actually occurred.  In short, the ultimate result would be that government will be the one to decide what you need to know and how it should be presented (spun).  An additional possible result is the use of such data gathered by the survey (ostensibly to gather data on "barriers to entry by minorities to ownership of media outlets") to create a basis for federal intervention mandating race-based ownership quotas when it comes to issuing broadcast licenses.  The FCC proposal also takes aim at print news outlets, something that is completely outside it's legal authority yet, like much else happening under this administration, not illegal unless Congress decides to formally take notice and prosecute.

Read the full story here: