Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving Vacation

We all have to get away from it all from time to time right? Well, this past week was it for the ol Gwinn family. It is likely the last time that me and the Mrs. will be able to plan, pay for, and implement a vacation involving us and all the kids.

WE took a cruise. Yep. Picture The Love Boat and you have it exactly. Seven days from Houston, Texas down to Mexico and Central America. If I could give it one word only to describe it, that word would be "AbsobloodylutelyAmazing".

Cruising isn't cheap. We did it like most anyone else though by going (mandatory bad pun alert ) deep into debit. But it was overwhelmingly worth it.

The ship was Norwegian Cruise Lines "Norwegian Dream". A small intimate ship whose crew doted on our every whim. Want to know how a big name politician or celebrity feels? Take a cruise.

First of all is the food. Twenty-three hours a day you eat all you wish. Now I have to convince my boss to lay out a breakfast buffet promptly at ten a.m. Not happening in this lifetime I would bet.

We stopped at Progresso, Cozumel, and Belize City. In the first two we shopped till we dropped and in the last we took a tour. Belize has a large rainforest like climate and we went up into the Forrest and zip lined through it. Then, on inner tubes we floated thru subterranean caves. It was awesome. The zipline at times was a nearly a hundred feet off the ground and moving at a stately pace of 25 MPH or so. Then the tubes leisurely took us thru the caves where we saw natural waterfalls and lots of sparkling rocks.

The service on the ship is impeccable. Twice a day maid service (my wife loves that) and entertainment that will make you think you are on Broadway. Add our modest donations to the ships charity (AKA the casino) and you are set for a night. I borrowed a book (Velocity) from the ships library and spent two sea days just vegetating on deck with all the other beautiful people. Every ten minutes like clockwork someone would ask if I needed anything. Towels, bar service, coffee service, etc were just there for the asking. I wonder if the boss will install deck chairs and hire a waiter? Nah, I doubt it.

Being a military man, I measured the crew and found them professional and deferential without being toady like. The waiters would have been at home in Delmonico's and the ships officers had a friendly demeanor while maintaining impeccable bearing and dignity.

It was a great time. I cannot describe the amount of fun we had as a family (playing cards in the sports bar and snacking all night) or as individuals. I am simply thankful that all of us were able to go. My two oldest are moving inexorably in their own direction and the youngest is eyeballing the horizon. So this was great. Once I get the camera downloaded and processed I will link to pics.

It's over now and reality has intruded. But this is one thing I will remember even when I am old and ridden with memory issues.

I would like to wish everyone a belated Happy Thanksgiving and hope all is well with you.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Law and Order Immigration Style

One of the biggest issues that the media has whipped up is the Immigration Issue. Now that the Democrats have the Congress they are on the hook to do something about it. So, how can they do something on Immigration to secure their position?
The first thing that has to happen is to recognize that Mr. and Mrs. Middle Class USA don’t really care about immigration. What they do care about is law and order. Most will connect the words illegal and immigrant and conclude that they are criminals. So, from a problem solving viewpoint, this is a law and order problem.The really big problem is that neither Republicans nor Democrats are in a hurry to honestly address the issue and the media won’t let it die. The question you should be asking your elected reps is: Why do we make laws we have no intention of enforcing? Why does the Federal Government allow subordinate legislatures (States and Local Municipalities) to openly declare that they will not follow or enforce the law? Mr. and Mrs. MCUSA don’t understand it either.The Democrat march to 08 needs to simply ensure that the existing law is enforced rigorously. Later, we can try to reform it so that it allows immigration without creating felons.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Creating a revolution

Here is an area where the Democrat party can literally seize the economy and have all of America whoopin and a hollerin in delight. Big business could flock to em. Small business would endorse em. They could steal the idea from the Republicans and make it thier own.

It puts them squarely on opposite sides with the President and so creates a controllable issue for Y2K+8. Did you get that? Controllable issues are what wins elections. Look at the debacle last Tuesday. Who did a better job of controlling which issues got press time? Dems. Who allowed themselves to be bent over and spanked? Republicans. Now, back to being in control.

The Presidents Tax Cuts make a perfect point to reform the entire tax system. It (Bush's Tax Cuts) is an easy way to unite the people. After all, everyone would love to stick it to the rich. Here's what Howard Dean said about them: "The president's tax cuts are much more than simply a giveaway to friends. They are part of a master strategy to starve the core programs that have shaped our country's safety net: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and countless other programs designed to ensure that our middle class stays strong and working families can make ends meet. "

Democrats have a reputation of never seeing a tax they couldn't raise. I would put it to you that if they steal HR25 from the Republicans they can raise revenue, eliminate business taxes (thus forming allies), eliminate taxes on the poor (yet more allies), and save uncounted millions in administrative and compliance costs. HR25 for the current events challenged is also known as the Fairtax. It is a nationwide sales tax that would revolutionize the way we look at .gov revenue.

All new goods and services would be taxed. So, if you are poor and wish to minimize the tax you pay, you only have to patronize the yard sales and resale shops. If you are rich, you can hide your income. That's important because who your are matters so we can assign a tax liability. But you cannot hide consumption because there are so many more observable points. You cannot hide consumption because no one cares who is consuming the fifty thousand dollars worth of Shar-Don-Ayyyyyy. At the point of sale the tax is paid by the purchaser or purchasers agent. And yet, we won't care who actually paid it. So your privacy is assured.

Most folks don't buy it. So for your edification we offer the Website. Don't be afraid to go there and you can also go here. Read it. Browse. Check the Faqs.

Investigate the Book. It is/was a bestseller and it's short and sweet. Better yet, you can get it at most public libraries. And of course don't forget to look at the bill itself.

The Legislation is also short and sweet. Al you need do is go to the Library of Congress and use Thomas to pull up HR25, AKA The FairTax Act of 2005.

Why would the democrats want to take this on if the legislation has been pending for so long? The first reason is that it would be a visible symbol that the rules of the game were about to change. Secondly, I cannot imagine an intelligent American that would not want the immediate increase in privacy and decrease in personal power (for pols) that this brings. And whoever brings it to the American People are likely to get hired in 08.

Monday, November 13, 2006

No Retreat and No Surrender

I think the biggest mistake that our boy GW made was in lumping the Iraqis in with the OBL's war on terror. The second biggest mistake was assigning multiple missions to the troops in Iraq. Finally, we tied our troops hands with restrictive rules of engagement.

In order for the Democrats to seize and hold the presidency in 08 they have to keep the nation safe. If there are no attacks on Americans anywhere in the world, then they win. But, realistically I hope no one is so foolish as to believe it. The bottom line is that if we exit Iraq immediately per some democrats, it doesn't mean the terrorists will quit.

Oh yeah. Iraq is legal. They invaded Kuwait. We expelled them and imposed a set of conditions. The first time they violated those conditions they forfeited the right to be autonomous. The political mistake was in all the WOT rhetoric. I would have simply laid the case and then laid waste. But, that is in the past and we need to fix the problem.

First solution is not to leave. Instead we continue to train the Iraqi forces and put them into action. As the front line Iraqis are trained up we begin to place them more and more into the front lines and assume a supporting role. All along the diplomats are working to get the factions to talk instead of kill each other.

Once our troops are out of (or severely reduced) in Iraq we need to remember that the war on terrorism will continue. You may wish to relabel it (War on weeley ticked off Jiahadinistas?) to make it palatable. But we will still have to fight it.

How? Well if I were the Congress and I wanted to influence the Executive, and win the Executive later down the road, I'd leave it alone. I'd tell the executive that it is his prerogative to apply foreign policy as he sees fit. But, every time something goes wrong... it would hit the headlines.

Wait, a lot of that is going on now isn't it? But it doesn't look like Congress will avoid meddling. So, they need to establish a rapid deployment force that can quickly move in and lay waste to terror bases. They need to create a network of assassins that can be placed in prominent locales to kill key personnel of the supporting establishment. Here's the thing. The war is against vermin. Don't feel pity for them or those who support them. Simply locate, close with, and destroy them. Put them down with the same efficiency as you would exterminate cockroaches.

IF you find a terror camp in Saudi Arabia. Target it with stealth bombers and cruise missiles. Have a Battalion of Marines on standby. Then call SA and give em 12 hours to excise the wound in thier own country. IF surveillance indicates that something was leaked, bomb it immediately. Then use the SA intel folks to deliver the leak.

Also Dems, don't try to criminalize terrorists. These are not gang bangers. While the average American isn't happy about being in Iraq, they really could care less about the terrorists. IF you focus on killing them (the terrorists) with as little fuss as possible you will garner more support from Mr. and Mrs. Middle Class USA. If you coddle them or set them free, you will lose support. It's as simple as that.

I personally think that an immediate pullout will embolden our enemies. Not the suicide bombers, but the ones who decide that there is a need to strap bombs on young men and kids. You know, the counterparts to what you call chickenhawks. Lets call 'em uh uh terrorist leaders. Well, I didn't get a good name, but y'all can do that. Or, if you really want substance over flash do us all a favor and just kill them. OK?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ethics in Government (Yahhhhh Right )

Hey there and Happy Sunday. We are off to the races today. Like I keep threatening to do, I am going to opine on what the Dems need to do to succeed. I really should post a disclaimer reminding folks that I am not really fond of Dems, but the reality is that if they screw up my country I will have to live in it.

My list is not the top ten, that's Lettermans gig and he is better at it than I am. But here is a top ten list that you can peruse if you have to have it that way.

I think the Dems need to attack the ethics issues in Congress and they need to do it quickly and publically. I don't think they are any more or less honest than the RNC but they are the ones who made an issue of it.

The very first thing they need to do is resolve that the House and Senate will have unified rules and a single Bicameral and Bipartisan Committee. Additionally the ethics super-committee should be a drafted appointment. You get drafted by lottery and serve on no other committees for one year. Realistically what you would get out of this is a very public, very open, and very influential appointment.

My view is that any member of the .gov who has an alleged ethics violation needs to be immediately suspended from all lawmaker duties. During his suspension the Ethics Super-committee will conduct an investigation. IF the allegations are substantiated, then he or she should be summarily fired and sent home in disgrace. IOW, do not allow them to simply resign when they get caught. That is the easy way out. Why would we want to allow our pols to take the easy way out?

Oh yeah, the contents of any ethics investigation should be turned over to the FBI for potential prosecution as well. Additionally, anyone named in the investigation should now be investigated.

Pretty harsh eh? Think about it for a minute, these guys are supposed to be "The Honorable Mrs. Pelosi" and above all the nonsense that causes us to gossip about the town slut and the evil business guy.

Here's what needs to happen. The Speaker and the Majority Leader need to co author a joint ethics bill that has the effect of doing the above. This needs to go above and beyond mere rules. By enacting a code of conduct and codifying it into law, the Dems will reinforce the promises they made and show that the "culture of corruption" is under attack.

The best part is that if the President vetoes it, they can use that against his party in 08 as well.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Some Premises

I wanted to talk about how the Democrats can succeed and realistically seize the Presidency in Y2K+8. I am not really impressed with them. I normally don't identify with them. And quite frankly I detest a bunch of them based on what I've read. But, the reality is that they will be the power to contend with in January. So, since they are Americans, I want them to succeed even if I don't like them today.

Take Nancy Pelosi ((Please) )) as an example. She is about as "liberal" as they come. But being an obstructionist has nothing to do with dealing with reality. So, I hope she does those things that move America forward and succeeds. I'll help here with advice. You'll help here by discussing the advice I hope.

The first premise that I subscribe to is that our .gov doesn't work for the people. When a pol says that he "works for the people" I begin to sweat. I sweat because I sense he's lying outright or he is suffering from a stupid attack.

Remember this, we are using an employment metaphor here IRT the pols. As an employer I can hire, evaluate, discipline, and fire if I need to. As a voter the best I get is one opinion on who we should hire. If enough people vote my way, we either hired, or rehired someone. So, he doesn't work for me since I personally cannot hire him except as a member of a vast hiring committee.

Now, once we hire them (btw losing an election isn't being fired. It's the other guy getting hired) we have no more say. We can observe but we cannot discipline a politician for breaking (read my lips) a campaign promise. We can not fine him for ethical misconduct. We cannot dock a Senators pay FOR NOT SHOWING UP TO WORK. If he/she works for me or us, why can't we discipline our wayward employee? I think that our only lawful option is to keep score and refuse to rehire them. What are the odds of that in a normal election cycle? Yup, that's what I thought. So, he doesn't work for me since I personally cannot discipline him for any transgressions.

The final test of an employer/employee relationship is whether we can fire them. Some employees have contracts to protect them, but there is a performance clause. Being a realist demands that we recognize that our vote is a no-take-back situation. Because if Senator Binotz of the State of Intoxication screws the pooch neither I as a person nor we as a group can fire him. But anyway, he doesn't work for me since I personally cannot fire him. This obviously only applies to Federal Elected Crooks. Please don't flame me if you can recall the dog catcher or the govenator or the school board president.
From a different message board there is an interesting post from SecondChance that isn't gloating. The examination begins tomorrow. Hope someone is here to read it.

Veterans Day Message + really cool video

Today is Veterans Day and Yesterday was my Marine Corps Birthday. OohRah and Thanks to all the vets. Vets are the folks who have earned the right to speak as they please. Other folks have just as much a right to speak, but they didn't earn it. It was bestowed on them by the Constitution. When others violently try to adjust the Constitution, the vets were the ones who saved it. So, the vets earned it while others merely enjoy it.

On the lighter side, Kathianne at US Message Board posted this and it is a hoot.

blog stuff - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

More later. Be Well.

Edited to add that I do post on a bunch of message boards and from time to time I will reference them here. The first one (where I stole Kathiannes vid) is mostly conservative with enough liberals to make it worth reading.

This one is mostly liberal with a sprinkling of cons. I really like the format though. You have to propose a question and folks vote on it. If it is no good, it gets darwined and dies. Apparently my opening post was offensive to some and so an apology was in order. Check it out.

Later today or maybe tomorrow we will get into how to keep the dems in power.