Tuesday, December 25, 2007

And a very Merry Christmas to all

No politics today. No tech. No Gadgets. Just prayers for everyone to have a wonderfull Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

If I were the king of the world

If I was the king of the world, I tell you what I'd do.

When in the course of message board events you reach a critical mass of things that need fixing, you must make a paradigm shift. Today's shift will be in fundamentally readjusting our nation back a notch or two. As the momentary king of the world, I will make these changes and then abdicate the throne with the understanding that it may all come back to the way it is today. But, for now, just doing a soft reset should suffice.

Big Change number one: The sixteenth amendment is hearby removed and relegated to the dust bins of history. The income tax is the single largest destroyer of personal liberty and abuse of power in this nation. Where else are your required to provide your full name, ssn, address and other contact information? You must also disclose what you earn, what you do, how you invest, what or how much you give to charity, who your mortgage is with and how much interest your paid. This information readily tells anyone how much your home is worth, and all of the above information is required on every member of your household as well. Additionally, the IRS is able to enforce this abomination using tactics not authorised anywhere else. This is not personal liberty, it is Big Brother, and only a step away from the Gestapo. I will place the Fairtax into operation for a period of four years so as to collect the data to prove or disprove its' value.

Big Change number two: The seventeenth amendment is gone, history, dust, archives, fuggetaboutit. Our founders intended the voices heard at the National level were to represent the states and the people. While there is no longer a possibility of open revolt or secession, that doesn't mean the state voices are redundant. Each state is a separate entity in and of itself and is able to provide a unique perspective to every issue. How the states select Senators is thier call. They may elect them via the citizenry, they may appoint them via the legislature or the Governor, they can make it a hereditary office for all I care. But without the seventeenth the states are no longer required to hold a vote of the citizenry unless that is the choice of the state. The House will speak for the people, and the Senate will speak for the States with the Govenors voice.

Big Change number three: From now on Congress will be in session all year long just like the US Military. Each Congressman will earn 2.5 days of paid vacation each month for a total of thirty days per year. Just like the .mil congress will work M-F taking weekends and holidays off when the workload permits. Additionally, Congress will draw no pension until the member in question has a minimum of twenty years service at which point they can draw fifty percent of thier base pay.

Big Change number four: All legislation generated by Congress must meet the following criteria: Every bill must clearly and openly reference the specific passage of the US Constitution that authorises the Federal Government to take this action. Additionally every amendment to the bill must also reference the Constitution and justify why it is not a separate bill in its' own right. For example. A bill to appropriate monies for national defense must explain the authorising article, and cannot have abortion or immigration provisions included therein.

Big Change number five: All legislation introduced must be voted on in the order it was introduced notwithstanding emergency bills which at the discretion of the Speaker or the President and will be voted on immediately. No more bills being passed over because the dominant party doesn't wish to discuss them.

Big Change number six: All presidential appointments requiring congressional advice and consent will receive an up or down vote within thirty days.

Big Change number seven: All agencies within the US Government will be screened for constitutional relevance and thier continued existence justified using that criteria. For example, if there is no provision for the Department of Education constitutionally speaking, then it will be drawn down over a period of time until it is gone.

Big Change number eight: The rules and codes of ethical conduct shall be removed from the control of congress and vested with the people. Immediately a national debate over what constitutes "ethics" within the body of the .gov will convene. The citizens will vote upon a "Code of Conduct" and it will be ratified by the states using the process in place for ratification of Constitutional Amendments. Further all cases of ethical questions will be decided by a panel of citizens drafted by lottery for that purpose. They will serve a four year term and hold exclusive authority to take action with respect to questions of ethics in regard to Congress.

Big Change number nine: No member of Congress shall depart from the United States, or its' territories without the advice and consent of the President of the United States.

Big Change number ten: Congress shall no longer be authorised to craft legislation which exempts itself as a body from being subject to the same.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

NCAA Playoffs.....

I love Football. IF you are reading from outside the USA I am talking about American Football of course. But, I hate the NCAA division I bubbas. I mean, when are these bozos going to figure out that they need a structured playoff leading to a national title? It's a joke, it's a farce. It's the one election in America that needs to be scrapped.

The pros have two seasons. The regular season where you vie for a playoff berth, and then the playoffs that lead to the Superbowl. Here in Texas, each High School team belongs to a district based on school size. Districts lead to Regions which go to Areas and then to a state championship. It is structured so that there isn't any ambiguity.

Today, my daughters HS (the undisputed district champion) faced another district champ for the regional title. We lost unfortunately. But, we don't have to wait till Monday to have a bloody election among the coaches and (of all things) sports writers to pick one.

I find it amazing that the NCAA still cannot get the picture and improve it's program. This year the ranked teams were upset at a rate of at least one a week. I am watching OU whip up on Mizzou right now. Mizzou is ranked number 1, yet OU is favored to win the Big12. But, a national title? The commentators are arguing now over who might get a BCS berth.

Just say no, to elections and software.

Demand a playoff system.

Your country needs you, right now.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tis The Season

Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas season is on us. It's amazing how in no time flat we went from zero to shopping. Stores opened on Black Friday as early as 0400 local time and my seventeen year old kid had to be at work at 0630. She personally made over 13K at the register of the little specialty store she works at. She personally saw the lines of people who literally camped out at WalMart (across the street) in freezing weather to catch the 0500 sale. And all the while, the background music was playing "Here comes Santa Clause". Oh what a world we live in.

I'm not complaining mind you. It's been that way longer than I have been alive. But, every year I react differently. This year I am leaning more toward trying to demonstrate that Christmas can be about peace, love, family, and celebration without going into debt.

I seriously would like for everyone who reads this to please contact your local Marine Corps Reserve Unit and ask how you can help with the Toy's for Tots program. In a nutshell, T4T is a program designed to help kids. It doesn't matter your views on poor folks/welfare/poverty or Republican/Democrat. It doesn't matter if you believe that folks make thier own situation or not. Not one kid I've ever met chose to be poor enough that Mom and Dad could not buy a toy for Christmas.

There are going to be some readers who will say that any charity program is a scam. I tend to agree in a lot of cases. But, during my career in the Marines, I personally worked on Toy drives a total of six times. As the Active Duty personnel assigned to keep the reserve center moving and grooving, it was one of our highlights. In this case the work was tough, but the reward came when we actually handed out the toys. So, even if the program has or had issues at the national level, I can personally vouch for it at the local level.

So, here is your mission...... Locate, Close With, and Acquire as many new, unwrapped, unopened toys as you can and get with the Marines in your area to help make Christmas a brighter time one kid at a time.

Semper Fi,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fifteen Minutes on Veterans Day

Andy Warhol I think is the one who said that everyone would be famous for about fifteen minutes. I think I am up to minute two.

Shameless Plug........... And I got a letter of commendation from a city council member for it as well. As today is Veterans Day I thought it would be appropriate.

Salutes to all. If you served then you get my thanks because you paved the way for my success. Life is sometimes hard and you physically took the brunt of it when I was a little kid.

IF you are the family member of one who served then you get my thanks for tolerating the unique stresses that accompany being in that position. I know that I could not have done what had to be done without my wife, parents, and kids being as strong as they were.

It is tough in these days to observe and no longer be a participant. Guess I need classes on aging gracefully.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Awesome Weekend

Last Weekend was awesome...... So awesome that I just haven't been able to blog it until now.

For starters, a two day weekend is a rarity for me. I had two whole days and so we drove six hours to the Texas State Fair in Dallas. I always like fairs for the food and the displays. I am not big on rides that get put up and taken down a lot. For rides I will hit DizzyLand or SixFlags etc.

I love checking out the vendors. You get to see the weirdest gadgets. The venerable super chamois is still selling on the fair. The Oklahoma State Fair (1983) is where I got the Ginzu knives still in use. This year we saw the incredible home sushi maker, the rubber broom, t-shirts galore, three different types of miracle car wax, and let's not forget there was also the wear-ever cook wear.

No fair is complete without exhibitions of every type. There is the midway exhibitions of the two headed croc, the seven foot tall amazon, the dwarf bearded female etc. Then of course there was livestock, art, music, etc.

We missed performances by the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps by one day. But, we saw the North Texas Caledonian Pipes & Drums. Awesome.

After a full day at the fair we needed a place to stay. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas. This is a great hotel. Even greater was we followed William Shatners advice and named our price. The deal was so sweet that I am afraid to tell it. Oh hell. We got the room for seventy bux and normally goes for between one and two hundred a night depending on specific days.

Capping it off was visiting with my wife's brother and seeing nieces and nephews that we haven't seen in years. We drank some beer, ate dinners at Mimis, and caught up on current events. The Jambalaya was awesome and the bread was in my daughters words "to die for".

Now I have to find something this weekend to top all that. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Politics Burnout

My problem with politics as a whole is that none of them live up to what I was taught a leader is. Most of y'all are older than I am by a minute or two and so you have more life experience. Me, I was a military brat and then in the service my entire adult life. Hell I've only been a civilian for a couple-three years now. So, I still judge the world by a really uncompromising set of standards.

To put a point to it, none of the likely candidates for President measure up. As usual, I am settling for the lesser of X number of unworthies.

Our system of government isn't perfect. And, the only office that could possibly elect a statesman vice a pol is the Presidency. If you elect a statesman to Congress he or she will be buried under the crapola and unable to be effective.

Take Ron Paul for example. He appears to be the exception that proves the above paragraph true. I haven't researched him in depth yet but from what I have noticed he seems to be a constitutional conservative He acts according to the Constitution. I mean, he actually says "There is nothing in the Constitution that allows (fill in the blank). Frankly I am surprised that he keeps getting reelected.

I think GWB would actually be less popular with Republicans if 911 had not occurred. His domestic policies are far too moderate to sit well with the conservative middle. But, in his defense, he never said he was a hard right conservative. He always said what he intended to do, and he did it. But, his forthright statements were lost in the war.

He never asserted that closing the borders was his idea of good action. He has always supported NAFTA on the grounds that it did the most good for all. He has ALWAYS tried to include the other side (except where the opposition was intractable, CIP
: Iraq) as a major part of the team. He ran on that platform if we take the time to remember clearly.

The fact is that the winner of the 00 election would have been reviled and hated no matter who was sworn in. Had Gore been selected, the republicans would have eviscerated him. And just like the liberal left and democrats in general, the republicans would have balked, stalled, lied, cheated, and otherwise been as obstructionist as possible. In the intervening years has anyone noticed that with all the hatred we never really reformed the election process to avoid a repeat?

I'm glad that folks are passionate about the politics of the USA. But frankly, I am getting bored since it isn't anything new, original, or unique. Same ol Same ol.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Race/Religious war perpetrated by the government

Ha, bet that headline got your attention didn't it? Well in a roundabout way it is true. Our government at the local, state, and federal level has legislated preferential treatment in such a way that Race and Religion schisms are not mended. Instead they are perpetuated.

I'm still sick of politics in general and so am looking at social issues that ought to be non-partisan. I know it aint as sexy as bashing the crooks and liars on either side that are vying for our attention in one regard and diverting it in others.

Anyway, back to the topic. I am talking primarily about hate crimes and the legislation of same. I understand that some folks think that attacks specifically against gays is somehow worse than a mugging in the park. I cannot agree.

Assault and Battery is A&B no matter who the victim is. A violent attack has always been illegal. And obviously the victim is just as battered. I see the elevation of certain assault crimes to the level of Hate Crimes or even Domestic Terrorism as just another intrusion of the government into society. HCL unfairly elevates certain people or groups above that of society in general. It sends a message that if you are going to beat on someone it better not be anyone who can self-identify with protected label. It's a far reach, theoretically speaking, a smart mugger could simply target young to middle age, heterosexual, nonfat, christian, white males to avoid the penalty enhancement of HCL.

It isn't simply skin color or sex, national origin or sexual identity, age or gender either. There is a religious double standard as well. If you paint a swastika on a synagogue it's very likely that you will be charged with a hate crime instead of simple property damage via malicious vandalism. Dump a Koran in the toilet and you are in the same boat. Race pigs next to a mosque and watch out.

But, amazingly enough when it comes to Christianity we tolerate a lot. Dump a cross into urine and it's art. A moment of silence? It's really church v. state. None of that is a hate crime, instead it is a constitutional issue. Yet, when we accommodate Muslims in our public schools, isn't that exclusion of other faiths and thus, in an admittedly broad interpretation, a hate crime?

How about burning the Flag? I personally feel victimised every time someone does that. I am a vet. Thus the crime is obviously anti-vet. Again, in an admittedly broad interpretation, a hate crime?

The above examples are part tongue in cheek and part "Hey! Double Standard Alert!". In truth I see hate crimes as the criminalization of your personal beliefs. If you hate gays, blacks, women, crippled old people, fat people, thin people, kids, vets, hippies, girlymen, Muslims, Jesus freaks, yadablahetc...... then you may be a twisted freak, but you are not a criminal. At least not today. Hate crimes mean that your personal beliefs are now subject to government regulation. It is a short cliff to fall over.

Just think, in twenty years, an anti-terrorist rally could no longer be free speech. Instead it will be illegal to even think such thoughts.

Prosecute the crime, not the thoughts of the criminal.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Social Graces: Race Relations and BOND.

A buddy of mine told me that I didn't post enough to this blog. Not counting the fact that I do have a life..... heh. Plus, most of what gets blogged here is political in nature and frankly, I am sick of politics for the nonce. Everyone on the left is a socialist to some degree or other. Everyone on the right is trying sooooo hard to be conservative lite that it is rather disgusting. There are no independent candidates that have a hope in hades either. So, what are reality based folks supposed to do if they are civic minded? I guess we look at social issues and see if there is any solutions that are possible within the constraints of today.

So, this post is about race relations in America today. What are the realities? The reality is that there are more blacks in prison on a per capita basis than any other ethnic group. In fact, only recently have whites overtaken blacks in jail actual population numbers. For other stats demonstrating that blacks are still over represented in the justice system check out the first link at the end.

Here is another reality. White criticism of blacks or Hispanics as a group is perceived as racist. Black criticism of blacks isn't tolerated much better. Black pride is "cultural". White pride is associated with the KKK or skinheads. Under these conditions no dialog about the state of race in the USA is possible.

On top of that there are those that exploit racial tension for all that it is worth. Look at Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton. Both are way too quick to point the finger and label everything as racist. Young Mr. West of course ensured we all knew that Bush abandoned the Blacks during hurricane Katrina.

There is one reasonably prominent Black Leader that seems to be pointing to the members of the black community and telling them to get thier act together. Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson isn't pulling any punches either. When discussing the conduct of Blacks during the hurricane, he openly attacked the media opportunists as well as the lawless who made it into the superdome.

Enter Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan. Jackson and Farrakhan laid blame on "racist" President Bush. Farrakhan actually proposed the idea that the government blew up a levee so as to kill blacks and save whites. The two demanded massive governmental spending to rebuild New Orleans, above and beyond the federal government's proposed $60 billion. Not only that, these two were positioning themselves as the gatekeepers to supervise the dispersion of funds. Perfect: Two of the most dishonest elite blacks in America, "overseeing" billions of dollars. I wonder where that money will end up. Source

His articles are life affirming and direct. He calls for moral stances, and leads you to believe that by demanding high standards you should expect high achievement. The second link at the end of this is his website. It is worth a look. Be sure to check out his previous writings.

My questions now are: How can we eliminate the stereotyping inherent in any negative discussion on race? How can we (or should we) get big government out of the race game? Is racism demonstratably alive and well or are we seeing the aftermath? Equal opportunity is guaranteed, equal achievement is not. How can we get that message out in a positive manner? Is there a way to address the issue without using guilt and history as a club?

Or is it all a waste of time and we need to simply await the "race war" that so many groups believe is coming?

I don't have the answers. But, the first step is asking the question.

DOJ Stats by race.
BOND Website

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Off to the Races

Looking at the current crop of candidates I am almost tempted to stage a run for the Presidency. Since I don’t believe I will be able to raise the Cash that the others have, the shadow approach might be best. Picture a combination of Jeff Foxworthy and a televangelist. It’d go something like this.

“Mah fellah ‘mericans”, A’hm Phil and Ah need y’all to write me in to be the President. Thass right, Ah said President. Big Chair, Ovuul Office an all that.”

“Fact is folks that Ah don owe nobody nothin. Ah gots no skeletens in th closet. An bein the honest guy that Ah am, Ah’ll tell ya how to vote.”

“IF YOU BELIEEEEVE: That Uncle Sugar is there to make sure you get a check to soothe your ego when you don’t have a job, Then folks, Don’t vote fer me.”

“IF YOU BELIEEEEVE: That international welfare is a god given right and we are obligated by some moral power to provide it to every nation in the world, Then folks, Don’t vote fer me.”

“IF YOU BELIEEEEVE: That banning assault rifles and handguns is ok, Then folks, Don’t vote fer me.”

“IF YOU BELIEEEEVE: That the income tax is fair and progressive, Then folks, Don’t vote fer me.”

“IF YOU BELIEEEEVE: That pages are for turning instead of talking dirty to, and that freezers are for ice cream and not cash, Then folks, Vote fer me.”

“IF YOU BELIEEEEVE: That killing terrorists is a dirty job that has to be done, Then folks, Vote fer me.”

“IF YOU BELIEEEEVE: That we should stick by our friends and leave everyone else the hell alone, Then folks, Vote fer me.”

“IF YOU BELIEEEEVE: That the constitution is somehow alive and open to interpretation (except when it suits ya), Then folks, Don’t vote fer me.”

“IF YOU BELIEEEEVE: That there is a wall of separation in the first amendment, Then folks, Don’t vote fer me.”

“IF YOU BELIEEEEVE: That the job of the press is to do anything but make money, Then folks you are reeeeeeeeally deluded, and yeah, Don’t vote fer me.”

Anyway y’all, I gots lots more of those, and jest as soon as I find that ol videeeo camera ah’ll be on youtube right along witcher favorite demercrats.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Maybe they do work for us after all...

How's it going folks? Hopefully everyone reading this is happy, healthy, and prospering. The title of this post indicates that maybe I was wrong in my earlier entry They Don't Work For Us. Only time will confirm it. But, I am going to hold out an (out of character) unrealistic hope.

An amazing thing happened recently. The people, yup the McUSA's , roared like lions instead of whimpering like kittens. And in that roar they crashed the Senate switchboards as they opposed the CIB . Suddenly the exalted ones in the Senate discovered there was intelligent life outside of thier chambers. And, more importantly, some realized that getting rehired might not be as rubber stamped as before.

Honestly, I cannot prove scientifically that the crooks and liars we elected actually heard the roar and obeyed. So, I would like to propose a test to see if we can induce failure again. This time we want it to occur on September the 11th at noon eastern time. Obviously the date is symbolic to those both for or against the war. It is also midway thru the last month of the fiscal year. It is after the summer and holiday recesses. And it isn't close enough to Christmas to ruin anyone's festive moods. Finally, I would propose that this time we crash both switchboards to see if it can be done.

My personal issue call will be to get the Fairtax moving instead of sitting on the shelf in the House Ways and Means Committee under Charlie Rangels thumb. It would be awesome to see the same type of roar again.

But, I don't personally have the resources to reach and sell it (a single issue) to the nation at large. If, on the 12th of September, the news tells me that the switchboard crashed simply because the people roared over a thousand different issues then I will still consider the experiment a success.

But, curiosity compels me to ask: What issue will you call for?

Monday, July 02, 2007

More Justice For All?

Bush commutes Libby prison sentence. Thus spake the Almighty Press. Well, y'all know this isn't going to set well with Democrats right? In fact according to the AP story
"As Independence Day nears, we are reminded that one of the principles our forefathers fought for was equal justice under the law. This commutation completely tramples on that principle," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said through a spokesman.

Somehow I think we all knew that he, and others, would weigh in. Bloomberg notes:
Bush's decision was denounced by Democrats. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who had demanded that Bush promise not to pardon Libby, called the commutation ``disgraceful'' and said, ``History will judge him harshly for using that power to benefit his own vice president's chief of staff.''

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of Illinois said Bush's action cements his legacy as one of ``cynicism and division'' that ``placed itself and its ideology above the law.''

I have to say that I support GWBush in general because he is the President. I also have to say that my support is in the form of loyal opposition more and more. Today added to that list.

I'm kind of in a conundrum. I despise criminals with the same intensity that the Orkin man feels for cockroaches. I break crime into three broad categories. Those that involve violence either as an act or as a result, those that don't, and those that involve national security. Of course the violent felons should be locked away forever. Of course any crime that results in death (even speeding or dui) should result in a death sentence. And of course, I recognise that the power to pardon or commuteis absolute and without question. So in this case I have to subordinate my opinion in favor of reality. At least this President isn't (so far) as prolific as some when it comes to exercising this privilege.

By commuting the sentence, he signals both parties that he is loyal to his people for better or worse. That in and of itself is honorable. So we have a case of someone doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. Sounds like politics as usual huh?

The reality is that the US Criminal Justice system, at the Federal level, needs a series of modifications to bring it into the twenty-first century. Since the Democrats are in power, it isn't realistic to propose the more "radical" of them. But, here are some steps along the way that would come closer to the phrase "and justice for all". If the democrats work toward these, thier ultimate reward might be the favor of the McUSA family come the next round of elections.

First: All guilty verdicts involving violence or national security must result in long incarcerations. Non-violent crimes should not result in incarceration. This partially feeds the "liberal" desire for rehabilitation as well as the "right wing" desire for retribution.

Second: No federal conviction receives parole in any form save pardon or commutation by the President.

Third: Eliminate any and all "Club Fed" institutions unless they are set aside for the mentally ill. Prisoners in thier right minds whether they were drug runners, congressional aides, staffers, cops, etc are all housed together.

Here is the most radical of the suggestions. Once the verdict is in, the presiding judge should draft a neutral executive summary. This summary should be given to a sentencing judge. Almost everyone agrees that "equal justice under the law" isn't a reality in todays United States. So, each case gets two judges. The presiding judge makes sure that the case proceeds according to law and procedure. He will ensure the jury is properly instructed. In short he will do as he always has except for sentencing.

The sentencing judge will receive a brief from the presiding judge which will be sanitized with regard to race, religion, gender, notoriety, national origin, age, etc etc. He will not know if he is sentencing a poor white female, an old black man, a rich Muslim sheik, or a crippled poor Mexican male. His sentence is based on the facts presented to him devoid of the prejudices we see so often. Think Paris Hilton, Sandy Berger, and Scooter Libby.

The bottom line is that in this country we have a standard of justice that isn't being met. It is more a matter of how much attorney you can afford, which old boy club you belong to, and who you know. I don't think justice will ever be truly blind, but maybe in the sentencing phase we can at least turn down the lights.

AP Story via Yahoo News


Monday, June 18, 2007

Busted Roadtrip

Monday Monday, LA LA, LA LA LA, Just sux to be me....... Oh that isn't really how the song goes. But today.... today it fits. Let's face it, unless you are working Tuesday thru Saturday, Monday Sux.

Start with a surprize road trip. That means that me and my Sirius get busy. In between the cool songs on Hair Nation I listen to all the talk radio channels. Big mistake. Nothing on but all immigration all the time. You'd think that was the only friggen thing worth talking about.

So, road trip Monday was a bust. If the shows were not bashing immigration, everyone was bashing the political figure of the day. Hillary, Obama, Santorum, Huckabee, and of course the most popular non-candidate is still Fred Thompson. Pathetic.

To say that I am not in love with any pol of any party is an understatement. But, I have to continue to beat the drum on one theme. You must support, communicate with, and work with the guys in power. If you are not supportive, then you are disloyal. If you didn't vote, then go away. If you didn't care to voice your opinion on election day, why should you bother today?

I know disloyal is a strong term. Maybe "loyal opposition" is better. The point is to realise that the Dems are in charge and Bush is still in the big chair. You and I must adjust our political tactics to work with that reality to get the results we want. For example, my biggest pet peeve is personal leadership, principled ethics, and taxes. It will do no good to push ethics reform on my Republican reps. They are the minority. Instead I need to push it to the folks in power and explain how they can use my ideas to get reelected.

In the service it is called the WIIFM principle. So, to review, work with your affiliates and within the structure of those in power. You don't have to give up your identity or get down on your knees. But, you must present it by answering the WIIFM question before you begin to rebuild the world in your image.

Supporting those you disagree with openly gives you another advantage. It puts them on the defensive. You basically concede all the petty partisan bullshit and then ask em bluntly "Now What?". Try it with Hillary Clinton or Obama on Taxes. Go ahead and concede that Bush gave cuts to the rich. Concede that there has been no fundamental reform in decades worth talking about. Let 'em tell you all about how wonderful they will be when elected. Then simply ask for specifics by stating your question in a clear forceful manner: "Now What?"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Open Letter to Senator Reid

When I heard this on the news today I almost blew a gasket. I try really hard to maintain an even temper, evaluate the news, question it, and work with the reality of it. But, just like the last posting, sometimes I simply revert to the McUSA norm.
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid once again found himself on the defensive after calling the outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace "incompetent" during a recent conference call interview with liberal bloggers. His comments were first reported by The Politico and confirmed by NBC News. Earlier this year Reid was criticized after saying "the war is lost." -- Source

After I got home I double and triple checked to make sure that I wasn't hallucinating and that more than one source carried the story.

Dear Mr. Reid,
I hope this finds you healthy and your family doing well. I read with absolute disgust your appalling comments against General Peter Pace. At first I didn't believe that a savvy politician could be so publically stupid. But sure enough, You called a Four-Star General of Marines incompetent.

I for one would like to know exactly which benchmarks you are using in your character assassination? Is it a direct comparison of your service versus his? How many years did you dedicate to placing yourself in harms way? I respect your stint as a Capitol Hill policeman. But that really doesn't compare to a Bronze Star with Combat V; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V"; and the Combat Action Ribbon now does it.

I have to respect General Pace for tolerating your nonsense. Since you are not in his chain of command, he is free to defend himself and his reputation. It's too bad that his time spent at the Naval Academy taught him to not lash out at public stupidity that cannot be substantiated.

Back to benchmarks; Could your ignorance be based on the perception that you are better than him educationally speaking? Does your AS and BS at two no-name Utah colleges compare favorably with his competitive appointment, attendance at, and graduation from the US Naval Academy? In all fairness I will call you two even on that score. So, it must be your JD from George Washington University that you think is the tiebreaker. I'd stack his Master's Business from George Washington University, and his time spent at Harvard University for the Senior Executives in National and International Security program. As if that isn't enough to drown out your slanderous lie, he also a graduated from the Infantry Officers' Advanced Course; the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College.

Maybe you based it on performance? He consistently advanced thru the toughest meritocracy in this country. Did you start at the bottom and through qualification and competence advance upwards to your position? Or, did you simply get reelected time after time? While I assume that the Capitol Police are a meritocracy it doesn't look like you stuck it out long enough to make something of yourself.

Could it have been his character that caused you to fault his competence? I suppose that since you are a real estate tycoon and ethics rules violator yourself, you likely shouldn't throw stones. General Pace "grew up" in an environment that isn't monastically perfect, but far less tolerant of lying in any form, cheating, and technical violations of regulation/law. I suppose it was his forthright non-nuanced answer about gays in the military that makes you think he is incompetent. You may be right, he likely wouldn't make a good politician since he won't bother to define "is".

I am at a loss to figure out why you would call him incompetent. In every measurable category I can think of he outstrips you. Since Officer promotions above major (if memory serves) require Senate confirmation, why didn't you halt him when you had a chance?

I hope your voters are intelligent enough to know they should be ashamed of you and take to sackcloth and ashes. You should simply resign and remove yourself to private life where you will not slander your betters and be taken seriously.

PE Gwinn
MSgt/USMC (ret)

Friday, June 08, 2007

News Rant

Normally I pride myself on being even tempered and rational. Ideologically speaking I am a realist. But, that doesn't mean I don't have an opinion, it's just usually suppressed in favor of "dealing with it". But every once in a while one must just let it out. This is a rant, there are many like it, but this one is mine. Consider this fair warning if you continue to read or comment....

The news industry pisses me off to no end. I don't give a damn what network or outlet you belong to there is one tenet... If it bleeds, it leads. Which explains why every day is a body count of US Service members killed without a corresponding enemy count. Or a count of public works being performed in Iraq or even a count of how many kids are back in school or have immunizations. Journalistic integrity is just another contradiction in terms like "jumbo shrimp". Fair and balanced my ass.

But every once in a while there is the non-bleeder but still a leader story that really isn't newsworthy unless your favorite activity is chanting "JER-RY, JER-RY, JER-RY," in the forlorn hope that Springer will invite you on his show so you can catfight because your second cousin left your twinky eating underage baby factory ass for yet another skank of the month. Whew. Still with me? Good, it only gets better from here.

First it was Anna Nichole Smiths death and the drama over who actually planted the seed in the already over exposed garden of .... and thus stood to control millions. One blurb, with an accompanying playboy before and after photo announcing her death would suffice as news... but nooooo, it became the all Anna all the time news rush.

Once that hole had run dry enough to pronounce it dessicated, we moved on to Paris and Britneys katzenjammer kinders antics. Yes, it was totally newsworthy that yet another whacked out entertainer was losing her marbles all over the public stage. And she was being guided by the darling of the amateur porn star slash heiress without a job queen. Following the dynamic duo was of course the Lindsay Lohan story proving that you don't have to be twenty-one to act stupid in public. But, the connoisseurs of Enquirer also watch tv news and so we have the threesome from dingbat lane dominating the "news".

But the over the top that finally got my blood simmering is the minute to minute coverage of Paris the Heiress and her go to jail saga. The magazines scream with headlines about how she will be subject to strip searches and lesbian gangs. And folks on the radio call in circut actually devote airtime to the Springermaniacs who call in to explain in detail that Paris is being abused.

Well call me old and stodgy since I really don't care. The only newsworthy item in all of this is the highlighting of how you get the best justice you can pay for. If you are the basic in the box citizen of the USA you get thrown in the slammer and you get to deal with bubba the bitchmaker, racially aligned gang violence, abusive guards, corruption, other criminals more violent than you, yadayadablahetc. This applies to anyone uless you are an out of the box celebrity. Then you get reduced or no sentence, special accomidations, and preferential treatment.

Please don't tell me that she was segregated for her own safety. All that proves is a systemic problem where the safety of the average and below average income inmates are ignored. If we truly cared about the safety of all those we jail, we would only jail violent felons and everyone else would be dealt with on an "outpatient" basis.

So between the news coverage of insipid stupidity on the part of celebrity fools, and the slanted coverage of the war, the only thing left is the continual coverage proving our elected officials are fools when it comes to immigration as well.

I think we are finally getting what we deserve. The news delivered via MTV to a nation of celebrity soundbyte addicts.

End of rant.

Cool Cartoon >>> here

Monday, June 04, 2007

Special Trust and Confidence Revisited

On three different occasions I have discussed ethical conduct in Congress. My whole point is that we should try to elect folks we'd be proud to claim as our own family. So, in order from eldest to newest, you might peruse here, here, and here to see what I think Congress should aspire to. And in todays news we have one of the poster children for why reform is needed.

I mean, check this out.

Rep. Jefferson Indicted on Fraud, Bribery Counts
Nine-term Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana was indicted Monday on 16 federal counts of bribery, racketeering, fraud and money laundering. The indictment
includes charges that he paid off a Nigerian official. Almost two years ago,
investigators found $90,000 in cash in Jefferson's freezer.

This guy needs to be immediately suspended from all congressional duties and an interim appointment made via Louisiana law. In fact, it should have happened long ago and been in effect until all allegations have been cleared via investigation or prosecution.

I realise that since I picked a democrat, someone is going to throw out a republican in a tit for tat showing. Well, to those folks...... Soooooo What? Just because someone else did something wrong doesn't mean you or I get a "turn". The adage of "two wrongs don't make a right" is so true in politics.

The Marines have a phrase in thier promotion warrants that reads, "Know ye that reposing Special trust and confidence in the fidelity and abilities of (name) I do appoint him (her) a (New Rank) in the United States Marine Corps."

Special trust and confidence means a lot of things to different people. I can only comment on what it meant to me and to the Marines around me. Basically it meant that we could implicitly trust that person to literally cover our backs in combat. It meant that when the charge was sounded, we didn't need to look, we knew without a doubt that he or she was right there with us.
Feel free to define it your way, my way, or in the way it was described in 1956 and again in 1984. This article was required reading when I made Corporal (the first of the NCO ranks) in 1984. I reread it again as a Staff Sergeant. As a Master Sergeant it was on the list of things I required my young Corporals and Sergeants to read.

The point for Marines was that leadership isn't only for Generals, Colonels, and other Commissioned Officers. The point for Politicians is that if they are to transcend mere political games and become Statesmen, they must earn and more importantly enforce Special Trust and Confidence.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The New Look

Special Thanks go out to Hoctro for his continuing great work in customising the user interface at blogger.com. I am slowly relearning language ala the internet and without folks who publish the knowlege and take the time to make tutorials and explain the process, I'd be lost. He isn't the only one by any means. But, his style compliments mine more than the others. Thanks again.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Saturday Ramblings and States Issues

I don't visit Myway.com message boards very often. It is so partisan that normal discussion is virtually impossible since flaming is a sport where the score is religiously kept. But, there is a noteworthy thread over there called Saturdays Soldiers regarding a US Veteran that finally gets the medals he earned... in Korea. The other posting is about US Soldier who was adopted by a school, and died in Iraq. It talks in a positive way that could be a basis for learning by "grownups".

Fred is rumored to be running for President. Whoopie. Don't mind me, I like Fred. I mean I like the character he plays on TV. RudyMcRomney isn't causing my blood to rush. And HillaryBama isn't making any cool points either. So, I hope a lot more get in the race and get publicised so I may have a shot at voting for someone instead of settling for the lesser of two evils.

So anyway back to the business of helping the sitting leaders of the free world do the right thing. I need to ask y'all something......... Where are you from? Odds are you will name a state unless you live in a nationally known city/community. Do you like your state? IF y'all didn't get it I am from Texas. I am proud of that. In fact, most folks from Texas aint conceited, we are convinced. And, I am ashamed to say that even mighty Texas is only a watered down version of it's former glory.

Whose fault is that? The federal government is at fault. Notice I didn't mention the crooks and liars in Congress? That's because the dilution of the greatness of the individual and the individual state began long before the eldest member of congress took his first bribe.

Instead, the states have all become crack whores. In this case the crack is the federal dollar. The whore is obviously the states that will bend over backwards to bark like a dog while yelling "Show me the MONEY!!" Every dollar comes with a string attached and all the strings add up to a noose that has been strangling the life out of the great states of confusion, intoxication, and not to mention Texas.

This problem has its roots in so many places that we cannot list or solve all of them here. But, realistically speaking here are some things that the McUSA family can do. Hopefully others will follow suit and in a few generations we can roll back the assault of the fed.

Remember what your Senate was created to do. Originally the Senators received guidance from the state legislatures since that was who appointed them. With the 17th Amendment the role of the legislature of the State of Kentucky within the framework of federalism ceased. Prior to that, if the State (government) of Vermont felt that Senators Binotz and Umptyfratz were not conveying the sense of the State to the Fed... they could be recalled. With one fell swoop, the 17th, the states were cut out. Now, the Senate supposedly works for the people (which is the role of the House BTW). So the check and balance is skewed. You can help by writing your state Legislatures and Governors and urging them to closely communicate the sense of the state with regard to federal issues. It'll take awhile, but it is doable if enough folks can unite behind it.

Urge your State Government to decline every federal dollar possible. Realists the world over are stifleing a big belly laugh at this. But it is the key element to removing unwarranted federal control from your lives. The best government is local. Everytime you read a paper saying that there is now a federal line item for education.... ask yourself and your Local/State officials what the strings are? As soon as they understand that a mere voter actually understands what fedbux mean.... the tune will change. I know that since my letters to my elected folks reference fedbux and conversations with state authorities I no longer always get the form letter response. So long as you can propose a realistic alternative a dialog can be started. Enough dialogs get started and the C&L might realise that thier reelection chances are being affected.

Challenge every Bill introduced in Congress that isn't obviously national in scope. If there is a bill on education, ask "Why is this required for all fifty states?". Ask your state reps to tell you why they feel that the state is inadequate (use that word BTW as it will garner responses) to the task and must seek fedbux. When challenging bills don't forget the amendments where non-related issues and appropriations get tucked in. When you mention as an example amendment numbered 1176 of Senate Bill 1348 and specifically ask why it is in there when it has no relevence to the bill, they understand that you are not your average uninformed voter. This sets the stage to challenge the amendment on the grounds that there is no compelling interest to all of the States and thus isn't warranted. If you and I can eventually train our members of Congress to write bills that are short, sweet, to the point, and in the interest of all fifty states..... We will have gone a long way towards reestablishing a smattering of our independence again.

That would be three ideas that your average voter can implement and hopefully spread. With enough people doing this there is a realistic chance of a bit of change. Anyone else got other ideas?

Monday, May 28, 2007

One last Memorial Day post

Today is Memorial Day. To a lot of folks it is just another day off of work or a really good shopping day. To some (notably recent HS graduates) it marks the beginning of "adult" life. To others it marks the beginning of the official summer time BBQ and Bikini season. Then, to a reletivily small group of Americans, it is a day mixed with sadness and pride or even anger.

To me it is the latter. I have lost friends over the course of my time in the Marine Corps. Some died in Beirut in 1983. They will be nineteen, forever.

Then there are friends who died on active duty in training accidents, car wrecks, cancer etc. Thier loss is no less tragic. I also know Marines killed in Iraq during this war. So today is for the memory of all of them.

We will drink to thier memory and visit a local cemetary. We will look at the flag and realize that it is different things to different people.

But most importantly, the thing we must all do is to carry on. We cannot waver in our resolve to be (stealing an Army line) "all you can be". This means that folks who normally oppose each other on issues will continue to do so. It means that, to quote Teddy Roosevelt, we must continue to be the "man in the arena" for whatever purpose that is.

Another appropriate quote comes to mind: It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. -- George S. Patton

To do any less is to dishonor the memories of all those who died for us.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mythbusting Truthout at TalkAmerica

There are days when something comes out in the world that requires you to check it out. Today is the day. According to Ann at Truthout.org we are poised to steal the Iraqi oil. Never mind that we already have the power to simply take it, or destroy it, according to her the first benchmark in the new law is "Privatizing Iraq's Oil for US Companies" To put a point on it:
On Thursday, May 24, the US Congress voted to continue the war in Iraq. The members called it "supporting the troops." I call it stealing Iraq's oil - the second largest reserves in the world. The "benchmark," or goal, the Bush administration has been working on furiously since the US invaded Iraq is privatization of Iraq's oil. Now they have Congress blackmailing the Iraqi Parliament and the Iraqi people: no privatization of Iraqi oil, no reconstruction funds.

There isn't anything in the article to back up Anns commentary. And, normally an editorial in a big name website like truthout wouldn't draw much from me in the way of investigation. But, this resonated and after reading the gang at TalkAmerica hit this story to find out if it was true.

Unless someone has other sources, the myth of privatization being a required benchmark is looking pretty busted.

What Congress Really Approved: Benchmark No. 1: Privatizing Iraq's Oil for US Companies

The Discussion at TalkAmerica.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Memorial Day

I was taught as a young man that there were three holidays to explicitly honor the US Military and it's contributions to freedom. I have no sources and no proof that this is correct. But, it makes sense to me and I hope it will to you as well. BTW, if I am factually wrong, feel free to point it out.

The first is Armed Forces Day. It is celebrated to thank the contributions of everyone who has ever served in the Military whether in peace or war. It doesn't matter if they served three years or thirty. Just the fact that they served is enough.

Next on the list was Veterans Day. This was to celebrate the sacrifices and accomplishments of our military men and women who served in time of war. Not much more to say there.

Finally there is Memorial Day. Here we pause, reflect, and give thanks to those who died in service to the nation.

As you and I hit the holiday sales and enjoy a day off from work, please pause, only for a moment if you will, and let a little gratitude come out. Dwell for a minute or two on the men and women who gave everything they had in this world to ensure that you and I could do pretty much as we please. And if you get the chance to console someone who lost a friend, or a loved one in the service, try to help them as well.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Semper Fi Mack

Dedicated to the memory of Master Sergeant Kenneth Mack USMC

Mack was a brand new SSgt when I was a reasonably salty Gunny. He was the hardest charging young Staff NCO that I was charged with training. Since he was, at that time, a Reservist we only saw each other on drill weekends unless someone was visiting the others town. But he often came around the reserve center to keep up on traffic and made sure his Marines were always locked on. Over the three years that I was on the Inspector-Instructor Staff, Ken matured into a fine example of what Marines require in thier Staff Noncommissioned Officers. He was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant just before I rotated back into the FMF. I was (and still am) definitely proud to have known him.

I got the word eight days ago that he was killed in action in An Anbar on 5/5/07. His funeral was the day after and there was no way I could get from here to there in time. I'd met his wife several times and his kids as well. I'm fairly ashamed to admit that I lost contact with them after we parted company.

I was really proud when my unit returned from Iraq in 03 with no casualties. Unfortunitly since then, several Marines who were either subordinates of mine, friends, or both have died in this war.

I lit another candle. And I drank one more time to his memory.

And then I sent this to as many members of Congress as I could and asked if they will please take off the gloves and let us win the damn war.

The initial paragraphs to this entry was originally posted at USMB and TalkAmerica, both have links on the home page of this blog.

I waited awhile before reposting this to let the initial shock of his death sink in. My civilian boss is a retired LtCol in the Army National Guard and he also is a good friend. He counseled me that God does work in mysterious ways and to take comfort that Ken's death wasn't in vain. I hope he's right.

The people in this country have done an admirable job of actually supporting the troops even if they don't support the mission. I've only met a couple of folks personally that say "oh well, they were volunteers, too bad for them" or words to that effect. Of course there is the "God hates fags" nutjobs, but they are easily dismissed at just that, nutjobs.

There is a guestbook where comments to the family can be left. I hope that as time passes the pain they are feeling will ebb slightly and the pride will remain.

As wars go, this one hasn't cost us much if you only look at numbers and the big picture. But, when you look at the individual cost, each death is a personal tragedy. It is a mission worth pursuing, but I am getting damn tired of political interference with simply getting it done and getting out.

As Memorial Day approaches next weekend, please remember to have a great time. Please remember to pause a moment and in your own way thank Mack and all the others. After all, one of the reasons they died is to make sure we all can simply enjoy Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Semper Fi Mack.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tuesday Trivia

I am sooooooo sick of politics. The election is well over a year away and it is all you hear about on the talk radio channels of any leaning. Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually my long driving days and so I get six to eight hours of Talk Radio ranging from the Bennets, Hughes, Gibson, Colmes, Samuels et al. Just check out Sirius dot com......... Today the big news was on the death of Jerry Falwell.

Y'know I didn't agree with nearly anything he said. He simply wasn't preaching the way I was taught Christians preach as a kid. But, like him or not, you had to respect a few of his points.

Unlike a lot of Televangelists I don't remember him publically flaunting a millionaire lifestyle. It always seemed phony to me that the "Preacher man talking on TV, puttin' down the rock and roll. Wants me to send a donation 'cause he's worried about my soul." The selfsame preachermen often sported suits I cannot even look at let alone buy. And, this was back when bling wasn't a word, they were decked out in jewels fit to ransom a couple of hostages from the middle east.

Unlike a lot of Televangelists I don't remember him being involved in marital scandals or sex with hooker either. For all I know, he may've had troubles like that. But if he did, it was well hidden.

Mr. Falwell, in my opinion, is/was guilty of being judgemental in the extreme. But it appears that his beliefs were sincere and he appeared to try to live up to them.

If you are gay, a woman, or other minority you may believe that his messages were hate filled. Fine with me. You can read into what he said and draw any conclusions you like.

But something I noticed today is that the tolerant left, the non-judgemental left, the left that tells us we should be more humane etc is excoriating the man upon his death. I hope that the folks who are gleefully cackling that he will burn in hell actually expressed those sentiments towards him in life in order to engage him. To wait until he is dead, and can no longer figuratively defend himself strikes me as a bit of cowardice.

A couple of examples. The first one at least is creative with a bit of humor in there.

Falwell blames gays, feminists, lesbians for death

Hope he’s wearing asbestos underwear

The gates of hell swing open and Satan welcomes his beloved son

I wonder if anyone on the right was as obviously glad when genuine evil died? Were there stories of this nature when Timmy McVeigh, Saddam Hussein, or Slobodan Milosevic died. Each of them were responsible for genuine mass murder. Guess I will Google it tomorrow just to see.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Size Matters

We've now had a debate with most of the current wannabes on stage and dutifully making vacuous sounds in time with a moderators questions. If I were a pol looking to become President in 08 I wouldn't want to be near these guys. I would also be looking to steal a play from the Republicans playbook since they are not using anymore. You see, like the title says Size does matter...

when you are talking about the size of the .gov that is. Republicans all talk about shrinking the government and its' influence in our lives. But in fact ever since the 1930's our government has grown progressively larger, more complicated, and more intrusive. So if you are an independent running for President, or a Democrat looking to beat the RNC at it's own game one of your tenets should be to reduce the .gov to the right size.

So, what is the right size? To me, the right size is just big enough to do its' job efficiently. IF it takes a million civil servants to effectively and efficiently service the nation then so be it. But, I'm imagining that it will take a lot less.

First, Modernize and Standardize: Every desktop computer, every application, every palm pilot, every cell phone, every desk, every etc etc should be the same. The DOJ and the DOT should be on the same email system, use the same web browsers, and the stats should be kept in the same database system. I will give credit where it is due that the .mil has made heroic attempts to standardize since the late 80's and the civil side is trying as well. But, the President is the day-to-day supervisor of the fed and should appoint Guido the arm breaker to actually enforce standardization.

Modernization means that the 1960's mainframe 3270 systems or thier many emulators need to go away after being uploaded to a modern network DBMS. Modernization means that paper should be banned except for those items required by law to be kept in a physical manner. I read a story in 1980 (Popular Science I think) about the coming paperless office...... It can be done. Right now we kill more trees with printers than we did with typewriters. Modernization means that we leverage technology do reduce the numbers of administrative (bureaucrats) workers to the minimum number needed to be efficient. It means that the number of supervisory levels needs to be pared back. In other words, it means some people are going to have to either retrain, or leave government service.

I don't wish to put anyone out of work. If clerk number one is no longer needed due to technical improvements, then retrain that person to work in another office. When she retires or quits, don't automatically hire a replacement. Within twenty years a continuing program of modernization can pay for itself in the number of workers not hired.

Second, Get rid of government agencies that are no longer needed. A good example is the Rural Electrification Administration. That job was done. But instead of eliminating the program, they renamed it the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). I would check to see if the RUS is still performing a service in the interest of the people.

Our wannabe independent President would want to initiate a cycle of justification. Every year various agencies would be scrutinized to see if they were still needed. Just as we elect the government in cycles (one third of the Congress every two years for example) we should review departments every 2-3 years to see if they are still needed. Does the people of the United States really, truly need the the Bureau of Indian Affairs for example? Are they still fulfilling a mission in the best interests of the nation at large? Every facet of the federal government should be required by the nation as a whole. Indian Affairs for example may be big in Oklahoma, but minimal in New Hampshire. If the need cannot be standardized to the fifty states then it should not be a federal program. Send it to the States to administer as they are closer to the issue.

It boils down to a President and Congress deciding to openly get out of the public's lives and allow the States and Localities to actually do thier jobs.

This reduction in government isn't a one or two term thing. It isn't a Presidential thing entirely either. Instead it needs to be a tenet of government as a whole.

Realistically, we have the tools needed to do this. But, do we have the will? I'm not sure.

Government Growth
Rural Utilities Service
Election Cycle Data
Bureau of Indian Affairs

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Ugly American

There is a sad fact about the USA.

We are the most arrogant nation on the planet. We have a pretty good reason to be since we alone profess and actually possess a level of freedom considered ridiculous by many.

WE have another great reason. Two world wars. And while we were not the overarching victors of WWI that we were in WWII we damn sure made the difference.

More reasons. Korea and Vietnam come to mind. We died by the truckload to preserve, protect, and defend the freedom concept. If there were political realities involved, or proxies to fight, so what. In the long view the cause was just.

Even more reasons. We either invented, or made practical applications of damn near every thing. Automobiles, Aircraft, Cameras, Computers, etc. If we didn't invent it outright we damn sure built it better and made it work in a reality based world.

We were so accustomed to doing great things (if we can put a man on the moon [five times]) on a regular schedule that we took it for granted.

As the great deeeds began to fade, we still knew we were great. Since we knew we were the savior of the world we expected the world to show due deference. We expect the world to speak English and put up signs for us as well. When was the last interstate highway sign printed in Japanese or even Spanish?

As the old soldiers began to fade away we asked if fighting and dying were worth it. After all, we are Americans, who is going to challenge us? So we cut back and taught our children that schoolyard fights required therapy. We decided that every swat was abuse. We decided competition in schools wasn't the right thing to do. Besides, there was time to learn all that in college right?

As our educational system became less competative, we told ourselves that hard functional education wasn't needed. Just throw money at it. Japan and Singapore now routinely embarrass us in the field of Academics.

And yet, most Americans still honestly believe that we are the greatest nation on the earth. If we do it, it must be right. And we still expect the world to change to our way of thinking.

We have the very best and most honorable men and women in uniform taking orders from the least honorable among us. And as the wars and rumors of wars continue (likely long after the current President is gone) I hope that we will find our national character again so that we can live up to the example being shown today on the front lines. I hope that our citizens begin to realise that greatness, like fitness, takes work. Otherwize you go to seed. I'm afraid that our national character is so fragmented that we are going to seed.

It's time for more than just the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines get into the gym and get fit. It is time return to greatness without simply bashing about the world like a bull in a china shop. It can be done, but the question really is: Do we as a nation have the will to do it?

Friday, April 20, 2007

On Being Armed

I was listening to the radio today when they announced the funeral of Professor Liviu Librescu (a holocaust survivor) killed at Virgina Tech was taking place in Israel. According to the announcer, the widow of the professor blamed the easy access to guns in Virginia for his death. And yet I cannot find a google anywhere to back that up.

Surprisingly, our congress hasn't jumped on the blame the gun laws bandwagon as much as I expected. There is a bit here and there from various media outlets, but they are treading a slim line overall.

A reading of the second amendment ......

by me, average layman, tells me that we should not ban, restrict, or regulate guns at all. Instead, in my opinion, the second amendment actually uses polite language to direct (as in senior to subordinate) the states to maintain a militia and in so doing to keep its' citizens armed.

Robert Heinlein wrote that "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." I would add that "an armed society ensures a polite government" as well. For those who think GWBush is the second coming of Hitler, arm yourselves. For those who think we are being invaded by criminals intent on doing as they will at your expense, arm yourselves. If your spouse is abusive....

Laws by their nature tend toward biblical directness. They virtually all could be condensed to "Thou shalt not" and then add what is forbidden. Those laws and regulations are useless in my view. The old cliche reads that "When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns".

There is no advantage to society by banning or criminalizing weapons. The only folks penalized are the law abiding citizens who must submit to fingerprinting, background checks, waiting periods and other official scrutiny in order to remain in compliance to the law. Yet, Billy the Banger can simply pick up an assault rifle or cut down shotgun on the dark side of the street. Who has the advantage now?

I honestly think that if everyone were free to be armed in public that crime would decrease over the long term. But, it won't happen. We are too entrenched in the mentality that regulation and bans are either good or a nessessary evil. Until the citizenry shout "enough", loud enough to drown out the anti-gun advocates nothing will change. We cannot allow the specter of Va Tech or NASA to take away the right to bear arms out of fear.

I also recommend this Commentary by Robert Pratt of Pratt on Texas. Look beyond the labels and concentrate on the facts and the advocation of your right (and obligation) to protect yourself, your family, your friends and neighbors, your property, and if needed..... your way of life.

Professor Liviu Librescu at Virginia Tech died heroically, holding the door closed so students could escape via the window. He likely knew that he would die. That kind of heroism must be honored no less than any exploits by our servicemen and women in the field. Imagine if he or his students had been armed. It's possible that we could applaud his heroism without offering condolences to his widow.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

After the long break

Wow what a week. My daughter and her husband came to visit and are still here. Both are also Marines and my son-in-law just returned from Iraq safely. As to news and scandals, there really isn't that much to tell.

Imus was canned because while rappers can say "nigger", "nappy", and "ho", white radio jocks cannot. And the rappers make more money. I guess that the last is why Sharpton and Company don't take on the gangsta gurus.

What I am really curious about is why Rosie hasn't been fired. I mean, while O'Reilly isn't my favorite talking head, he has a valid point. Rosies words are far more inflammatory and potentially harmful than Imus. Must be the sponsors.

Speaking of talking heads; Has anyone listened to Lynn Samuels? The woman is a shrieking shrew who fits the flaming liberal stereotype to a (capital) "T". She makes Rush and Hannity et al seem tame in comparison.

Personally I could care less about the comments and whether they keep or lose thier jobs. After all, it just makes fodder for the media to focus on instead of substance. The Jerry Springer crowd loves it I'm sure.

But with all the scandal surrounding them, the AG firings still won't go away. The summons will be issued soon. And to think it all could have gone away if no one had lied. Instead a simple "Because I can" from the President would have relegated it to the footnote category.

Tax day is here. Have you bowed before the IRS and paid homage? Or did you over-homage thru the year and now will be blessed with a refund of your own money without interest? I love taxes (not) and how the double standard is applied. My question about all this is fairly simple. If it is wrong to discriminate based on age, gender, religion, skin color, etc...... Why is income discrimination OK?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Talking Heads Friday

It's been a fairly dull week if you are big on the blood sport of politics. So, the best thing I can think of to do is compare the talking heads and see if anything worthy of your average American is in there.

All week Sean Hannity seemed to be big on the "biggest tax increase in history". He told us it was double the big raise in the Clinton years. The Heritage foundation seems to confirm it. But, all spinning aside, the Democrats didn't raise taxes. They simply failed to renew a series of tax breaks. Here's the reality check: The McUSA's can expect to pay an additional $3000.00 (give or take about 500.00 depending on which media outlet you believe) this year. Call it whatever you want, but it looks like I get to put off buying the state of the art table saw for another year. And it still doesn't look like the Fairtax will get a fair shot this year either.

While Andrew Wilkow took Al Gore to task without calling him out by name. He kept saying that "Liberals" would tell you basically to do as they say but not as they do. Edwards huge estate and Al Gores jet setting came to mind. The only reality here is that Wilkow had an off week and was mostly ranting. I like his show since he just recently hit the national airwaves via Sirius. He's usually more level headed and rational. Guess it was an off week as he anticipated the Easter Bunnies arrival.

Spenser Hughs had an interesting rant wherein he took John Edwards to task for latching onto his wife's cancer for political gain. Basically he said that if you went to Edwards site, you were invited to send a note of support to his wife. Then, with your email address in hand, you get a note asking for donations to the campaign for President. I couldn't believe anyone (even a combination lawyer/politician) would be that low. So I went there. And sure enough there is a place to send a message to them. There is a form for your name, city, state, email, etc. There is also a checkbox to opt in for more campaign related emails. I left a note of support for her fight and did not check the box.

Rush did alot on Global Warming. Honestly I am not a climatologist. So, I am not qualified to judge the "evidence" each side purports to have that will prove thier case. Instead I would prefer to assume it is happening until it is proven otherwise. That means that we should take care of the mudball all the McUSA's live on. IF we are in the throes of GW then perhaps we can slow or stop it. If not, then what have we lost?

Next time we will look at the "left wing" talking heads and see how they spin. As of the end of this entry, I didn't get a request for funds from our friend Edwards.

Edited on Saturday the 7th to include: Well I got the email from the John Edwards Campaign.

Here it is:

Dear Phillip,

Thank you very much for sending a note to Elizabeth. I can't tell you how much the outpouring of kind sentiments means to her.

She's working on responding to all the correspondence but, in the mean time, she wanted you to know that she just had a great few days on the road in Iowa and New Hampshire with John, Cate, Jack, and Emma Claire.

If you would like to continue to receive e-mails from the John Edwards campaign with other opportunities to get involved, please click the link below to sign up for our general campaign mailing list.


Thanks again for your kind words and support.


Jonathan Prince
Deputy Campaign Manager
John Edwards For President

How You Can Take Action

(in this space is the buttons labeled Join the campaign, make a donation, spread the word)

I find this to be a violation of good taste. My note to Mrs. Edwards was simply that she and others were in our prayers. Nothing was said about Mr. Edwards political aspirations. Technically Mr. Hughes was correct, but it was slightly inflated.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Week In Review (Sorta)

It's been about a week since I had time to post anything. Long hours at work (job security is great), and long hours at home fixing up the hacienda (home ownership is awesome)and little time to peruse the news. So this commentary is going to be a bit of week in review. We need to discuss taxation, corruption, and confrontation.

First up is taxation. According to a huge number of Internet news sites the Congress is raising taxes to an all time high. Truthfully the reality is that the so-called Bush tax cuts are expiring. But, pols of all stripes will spin it the best they know how. The bottom line is that a lot of folks are going to be paying more in taxes than they do now. Or, they will be paying tax professionals more to keep the tax bill lower.

In my opinion, taxation is worse on the McUSA family than the Patriot Act Link. Why is that? Simple, the IRS has a far longer history than the PAct of abusing people. The tax code is convoluted to the extreme. Every year it gets more byzantine. It is time to change taxes to simple system that is fair. So, using the Texas model, we should be on a national sales tax and a national property tax. Currently in legislation is the national sales tax. Hat tip to Sanity Clause at Polyrap for suggesting the NPT many times over the course of lots of threads dealing with taxation. The bottom line is that every single person in the USA needs to support the USA financially in a (pardon the pun) fair and balanced manner.

I wish that we had a truth machine to detect corruption by our elected officials. It doesn't matter whether it is left/right, lib/con, RNC/DNC, or Dick/Jane. I believe every pol is corrupt. It may be the nature of the job, but that should change. The members of Congress have a way to get it right in time for 08. It will mean purging the system of obviously corrupt folks. The latest one I've heard about is that Diane Feinstein has been involved in various deals that might not survive an unbiased scrutiny going back several years. We managed to get rid of Foley and Delay. Now we need to remove Jefferson and look at the Feinstein/Pelosi angle where the husbands of each use thier wives influence to make money.

I include the British Sailors and Marines in my thoughts and prayers. Iran is playing a dangerous game of chicken by seizing them. Lucky for all concerned I have no influence in the solution. I'd have already initiated punitive strikes against Iranian military bases and infrastructure. The message would be biblical in nature, "Let my people go". IF that didn't work the next series of strikes would be on the Iranian infrastructure (road nets, airports, power generation sites etc) in general. I have to commend the Brits for the restraint shown, but must caution them on waiting too long. The longer they wait, the weaker they look. Just ask Jimmy Carter.

Other confrontations include the Congress and the President in the ongoing partisan infighting. I started this blog intending to support the Democrats since they were the power. Since I am independent I don't feel a need to support anyone at all. So, I can be a Bush supporter because he is the President, and a Congress supporter all at once. But all I am seeing is the same ol same ol. The current bill to fund the troops includes pork and a time line for withdrawal. Essentially the Congress is trying to become the Commanders in Chief. I for one would respect them more if there were three separate bills. Straightforward opposition can be honorable. But, this bill is disingenuous and an obvious political ploy that helps no one who actually needs it.

Finally, in a reality based world Bush should outright fire the AG for incompetence and tell Congress to get to work and quit trying to run the oval office.

The President’s Weekly Radio Address 3/31/07
In Congress, Spring Break Is Tagged as 'Spring Broke'
An obviously partisan article with linkage about Feinstein.
An older article about DF and China. Pre-2000

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Scandals and Money

The artificial scandal continues. Subpoenas are ready to fly, but will it work? Will the President cave in to Congressional demands? NPR has a fairly good story discussing what is going on and more importantly what should be going on.

The really amazing thing about this scandal is that President Bush could have simply said that they were fired, "Because I can". A couple of days of hysterical opeds and it would be over. Instead we have Washington declaring war between two of the three branches of the .gov. They really expect Rove and Miers to testify, under oath, and in public. I can't help but laugh.

All along I have said that I want the new Congress to succeed. But, instead of succeeding, they are falling into the same trap that all the others did. The focus of effort is still an us (congress) v. them (the administration) contest.

IRT the war, Congress should simply defund it or shut up and let the Administration execute the war. In either case they can realistically make hay. IF they defund it, then they get to campaign in 08 about how they brought home the troops. If they fund it without all the extra cash ($21,000,000,000) thrown in for good measure they can still be "antiwar" and "pro-troops".

But, in reality land they have made a supplemental appropriations bill that isn't subject to caps etc. And they added twenty-one billion dollars in non-war related funding. I see a need for multiple bills. One for the war, one for the farmers, one for the victim of the week, one for etc etc etc.

Here is an idea that would tell the people of McUSA that they are serious about thier role as so-called statesmen.

First, make each bill a single topic. No additional riders, amendments on other topics etc. They get thier own bills.

Second, precisely declare how the bill is to be funded and for how long.

Third, cite the chapter and verse of the US Constitution that grants them the authority to make that law at all.

Because this Congress is so young, they have a golden opportunity to restore a bit of the lost faith. The question isn't what they will do with the opportunity. The question is when will they start.

NPR: Gonzales: A Timely Distraction for All Sides?
Bush aide ordered to testify over sackings
Funding more than war
House Spending Bill Short of Votes

Monday, March 19, 2007

Cowardice and Red Tape

Hat tip to Stephanie at Debate Policy. She found the LGF article that depicts masked protesters burning both an American Flag and a Soldier in effigy. I have to admit that the sight of the Flag being burned turns my stomach. I also have to admit that I understand the rights of assembly and protest. But, since I am human I also reserve the right to have an opinion IRT thier actions. In a word, Cowards.

Me and my family are animal lovers. I think I may've mentioned that before. All over the news today is the story of the pet food recall. The thing I noticed is that the affected food is the big bux brand. The amazing thing is that while we have dead pets, and dead lab animals, no one can figure out why. I hope the days of the elderly eating pet food are over.

For me the most important amendment in the bill of rights is the second. That amendment ensures that if over time the other nine are abrogated, I will be able to defend myself. I don't understand the anti-gun folks at all. You would think that everyone would be overjoyed to have the right (unless you are in NYC or SF) to defend yourself with deadly force. Not everyone agrees however as you will see if you click the link below. The mayor of NYC is on his own personal crusade (or jihad) against guns and is crossing state lines to do it.

What in your opinion is the single most important amendment in the bill of rights?

Virginia Gun Dealers Hold Contest to Protest New York Mayor Bloomberg's Gun Policy
Pet Food Deaths Remain a Mystery
Leftists Supporting the Troops