Friday, April 29, 2011

"Relax; Still 5 years away from 3rd World Status"

Well, it's official!  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced this week that China will surpass us in 2016.  So relax!' that's an eternity!  And don't worry a bit that world monetary rating agencies are preparing to downgrade our bond debt down to "BB"; that will only cost us a few extra trillion dollars as interest payments on our national debt.  Let's just tell Washington to go ahead and raise that $15 trillion dollar debt limit next month and party on!

Let's continue to allow businesses to hire illegals and pay in cash and allow, according to Western Union stats, $600 billion in our dollars to be repatriated to Mexico!  Let's continue to allow U.S. corporations to shelter their world-wide corporate profits by establishing corporate residency in the Bahamas!  Let's continue to pay out over $500 billion dollars per year to feed, medicate and educate 30 million illegal aliens.
Let's continue to dole out over $800 billion per year in social programs without ever conducting program audits to determine actual need and elgibility!  Let's continue to spend $450 billion dollars per year to fund war-fighting, military and economic support  in Iraq and Afghanistan.  After all, they are so very grateful and have come to love us dearly!

Let's continue to spend .43 cents of every tax dollar on interest payments on the national debt!  Hell, that's only $138,000 per taxpayer; we can do better than that!  According to the GAO, spending at these levels will bring our debt levels up to where just interest on the national debt will consume all the revenue taken in by the U.S. government by 2016! 

And, by all means, let's allow another 50 or 60 million more impoverished, uneducated and needy illegals to invade so that we can slide even further down the ranks of nation-states! 

Finally, let's make damn sure our kids are taking Chinese and Spanish language lessons because they are going to need it hold a job.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Charity Begins...Where?"

When I was a kid the need for charity was always right "in your face".  When a neighbor lost their job..or worse, a knew that family was going to need some help.  Perhaps that help was only a second pair of shoes that you could spare, or a meal carried next door, or an envelope containing a dollar or two discreetly slipped through the screen door.

A Welfare program existed but it was always tied to a bit of "shame".  Back then, a case worker came to a Welfare applicant's house, looked over the kids to see how they were dressed, checked their school attendance and had no qualms about peeking into kitchen cupboards and inspecting the cleanliness of the house.  If an applicant passed the "test", approval was granted for a welfare family to receive a small check and, upon visiting the welfare office once a month, could expect to take home a box of powdered milk, flour, government cheese, a few cans of vegetables and some canned meats, as available.

Accompanying the welfare home inspection was the central, all encompassing question "where's the man of the house?"  If the father was alive he was expected to contribute child support.  In almost all cases, when support from the father was not forthcoming the welfare office coordinated with local law enforcement issue an arrest warrant for the deadbeat dad.

Needless to say, back then, applying for Welfare was serious business that required alot of thought and serious consequences for the responsible parents. 

Contrast that with welfare today.  The program, and the number of recipients has grown to stratospheric levels compared to those who needed and sought assistance forty years ago.  The generosity of welfare programs have become so widely available that qualifying for several very generous programs is easy.  In our nation today people who wish to do so may acquire assistance from city, county, state and federal programs that will afford you a living standard higher than the average tax-payer is achievable....and done so with very little program auditing...and with little "shame" as government does not wish to make a welfare recipient "embarrassed".  To alleviate the shame of "taking", debit cards are issued and afford the recipient the ability to buy fast food at McDonald's or steak and lobster at Safeway!  Whee!

Further, if the welfare is insufficient the IRS will issue child tax credits in the thousands of dollars and, should you wish to work, just ask to be paid in cash, and no one needs to know that you're enriching yourself because no one is checking.

Should government largess not be sufficient to your needs, feel free to visit a Food Bank.  I often take citrus from my yard and canned food to my local food bank.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen a late model SUV pull into the lot, the family disembarks with IPOD earphones protruding from their ears, a new cell phone attached to their belt and go into the Food Bank for more goodies.  My more tender-hearted friends have recounted to me stories of delivering turkey dinners to homes at Thanksgiving and folks being perturbed at having to pause from watching football games on their big screen televisions long enough to open the door and grab the box of Turkey and trimmings.

So, folks, it's getting harder and harder for me to find "truly needy charities" since my tax dollars seemed to be doing the trick.  I see most everybody exceedingly well-fed, and many quite obese.  I now research the charities. I still give but I make sure that half of my donation is not eaten up by administrative fees, or whether the "charity" is already augmenting what I'm giving through my tax payments.

I give generously to St. Jude's Children's Cancer and Research hospital and the Humane Society.  I have yet to meet a dog that could swipe a food stamp debit card.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"I-Wreck" and "Af-Can't-i-stan"

In considering whether it's worth the lives of young Americans and $2 billion a week of our national treasure to be in Iraq and Afghanistan, please name for me a single nation in the Middle East, except Israel,  that is democratized.  You won't because you can't.

As someone who spent 22 years of my life in the military I believe I've earned the right to criticize our nation's foreign policy efforts.  Having lived and worked in the Middle East I also believe I have a better than average insight into our future prospects in trying to aid and assist in promoting a democracy anywhere in the region.

In my previous blog entries, "Foreign Entanglements" and "George Bush, the Dems Best Friend", I argue against our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan;  that the best we can hope for in Iraq and Afghanistan is an authoritarian theocracy that is more honest than the previous one.  I would also argue that our presence in the Middle East does absolutely nothing to assure our national security. 

The first thing the Western mind must grasp is that the Muslim culture is not conducive to a democracy.  The most prominent consideration in the Muslim mind is the religion itself; follow the teachings of Mohammad, pray five times a day, follow the Koran's guidelines on the treatment of women, fast for the month of Ramadan, etc. (the pillars of Islam).  The very idea that the "freedom of the individual" goes against the tenets of their religion! 

So how is it that, after a decade of fighting, after a decade of spending over a trillion dollars, after a decade of seeing the new emergent leaders of both Iraq and Afghanistan as corrupt as any we've seen, after a decade of the populace of both countries feeling no trust in their leaders, after a decade of seeing our troops coming home dead or maimed, are we still there?

If one wishes to argue the national security issue, I would say let's bring our troops home and deploy some of them to beef up security at our airports and harbors and put a several thousand of them at our southern border to stop the illegal invasion.  Sealing our borders would do more to augment our security posture than anything we can accomplish in the Middle East.  It would also do a great deal to reduce the costs of feeding, educating, medicating and incarcerating 30 million people who don't belong here.

Should we need to respond to another terrorist attack in the future, we have staging areas all over the region that is more than capable of responding to a domestic attack and doing great damage to any terrorist organization.  We don't need to keep 200,000 troops in the Middle East in a vain effort to "nation-build". 

Finally, we must recognize that the Muslim culture is diametrically opposed to our western values; we can never impose "peace" where no peace is possible.  This is well evidenced in our 60-year effort to bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. 

Enough is Enough.  Bring our boys home, concentrate on our own domestic security, allocate those hundreds of billions of dollars spent on Middle East war-fighting toward our own domestic needs.

God Bless America....and let the "rest of them" sort it all out!

Monday, April 25, 2011

"California School Teacher Reports On Illegal Students"

In my previous blogs I've documented the explosive costs associated with educating, medicating and incarcerating illegals.  I've exposed the fraudulent W7-INIT tax filings which provide illegals with whopping Earned Income Credits and Child Tax Credits and Food Stamps and WIC and all manner of state and federal handouts.  The following report was provided to me via a friend who's wife teaches in the L.A. school district.  I'll let her report speak for itself:

"As you listen to the news about the student protests over illegal immigration, there are some things that you should be aware of: I am in charge of the English-as-a-second-language department at a large southern California high school which is designated a Title 1 school, meaning that its students average lower socioeconomic and income levels
> Most of the schools you are hearing about, South Gate High, Bell Gardens, Huntington Park , etc.. where these students are protesting, are also Title 1 schools.
> Title 1 schools are on the free breakfast and free lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I'm not talking a glass of milk and roll -- but a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make a Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten.
> I estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight. About 75% or more DO have cell phones. The school also provides day care centers for the unwed teenage pregnant girls(some as young as 13) so they can attend class without the inconvenience of having to arrange for babysitters or having family watch their kids.
> I was ordered to spend $700,000 on my department or risk losing funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything; my budget was already substantial. I ended up buying new computers for the computer learning center, half of which, one month later, have been carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America ..
> I have had to intervene several times for young and substitute teachers whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students here in the country less than 3 months who raised so much hell with the female teachers, calling them "Putas" (whores ) and throwing things, that the teachers were in tears.
> Free medical, free education, free food, day care, etc, etc, etc. Is it any wonder they feel entitled not only to be in this country but to demand rights, privileges and entitlements?
> To those who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants contribute to our society because they LIKE their gardener and housekeeper and they like to pay less for tomatoes: spend some time in the real world of illegal immigration and see the TRUE costs.
> Higher insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more crime, lower standards of education in our schools, overcrowding, new diseases etc., etc, etc. For me, I'll pay more for tomatoes.
> Americans, We need to wake up. The guest worker program will be a disaster because we won't have the guts to enforce it. Does anyone in their right mind really think they will voluntarily leave and return?
> It does, however, have everything to do with culture: A third-world culture that does not value education, that accepts children getting pregnant and dropping out of school by 15 and that refuses to assimilate, and anAmerican culture that has become so weak and worried about"political correctness " that we don't have the will to do anything about it.
> If this makes your blood boil, as it did mine, forward this to everyone you know including your Congressmen and Senators.
> CHEAP LABOR? Isn't that what the whole immigration issue is about?
> Business doesn't want to pay a decent wage.
> Consumers don't want expensive produce.
> Government will tell you Americans don't want the jobs.
> But the bottom line is cheap labor. The phrase "cheap labor" is a myth , a farce, and a lie. There is no such thing as "cheap labor."
> Take, for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children. He takes a job for $5.00 or 6.00/hour. At that wage, with six dependents, he pays no income tax, yet at the end of the year, if he files an Income Tax Return, he gets an "earned income credit" of up to $3,200 free.
> He qualifies for Section 8 housing and subsidized rent.
> He qualifies for food stamps..
> He qualifies for free (no deductible), no co-pay) health care.
> His children get free breakfasts and lunches at school.
> He requires bilingual teachers and books.
> He qualifies for relief from high energy bills...
> If they are or become, aged, blind or disabled, they qualify for SSI. Once qualified for SSI they can qualify for Medicare. All of this is at
> (our) taxpayer's expense .
> He doesn't worry about car insurance, life insurance, or homeowners insurance.
> Taxpayers provide Spanish language signs, bulletins and printed material.
> He and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/hour in benefits.
> Working Americans are lucky to have $5.00 or $6.00/hour left after paying their bills AND his.
> The American taxpayers also pay for increased crime, graffiti and trash clean-up.



Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Glorious Easter"

Easter was always one of our family's most important holidays.  My mom, at Easter, always tried to make sure my brother and I had a new shirt for Easter church service and my sister a new dress.  When she could afford it, she too would don a new dress for Easter, often joining my aunts and grandmother in this tradition.  I have a family photo which shows my Aunt, My mother and my Grandmother all wearing identical Easter dresses.  I smile when I look at it and remember the very Easter dinner when the photo was taken.  Back then our extended family always got together for holiday celebrations and Easter was a "major".

We would normally gather at my Aunt Franny's house.  We would have an Easter egg hunt and enjoy a huge Easter dinner.  I miss those big raucous get togethers.

On Easter evening one of the TV networks would air "King of Kings".  I loved this movie; what kid would not love the majesty of Christ's rise to manhood and be witness to the miracles he performed.  We followed with awe Christ's testing in the desert, his multiplying the loaves and fishes, his dramatic rising of Lazarus back to life, his healing of the lepers and his divine forgiveness for those who have strayed. 

As Christ was persecuted my childhood eyes filled with tears and I longed to run up that cobbled walk to help him to bear the heavy cross.  As my childhood Jesus, agonized in pain on the cross, my heart ached with real pain.  As the skies darkened upon Christ's death, a cloud passed over my soul as well.  Finally, my childhood lord triumphed as he arose to alert the world that life is truly everlasting.

Ah, the glorious Easter of childhood!

I'm sorry to report that I no longer believe in the resurrection nor do I believe that Christ was the son of God.  While I do believe in a superior being which I'm comfortable calling God, I have no allegiance to any organized religion nor do I hold "my God" superior to those of any other true religion. 

There are many reasons for the distancing of myself from the "Jesus story".  As I grew older, and learned to study and think for myself, I learned how corrupt organized religion can become.  Long before the Jimmy Swaggerts and other modern day religious charlatans, the Catholic church exercised such power corruption that they allied with Kings for a thousand years to keep the common man manacled and under the iron control of despotism.  I hated them for that.  Years later, while living in the Middle East, I learned how easily it is for the ignorant to fall pray to the most outrageous exaggerations of amazing feats of our ancient religious icons.  In witnessing for myself how easily man is manipulated, I hold a keen skepticism of most all bible stories.  Finally, I see the vast wealth of the world-wide Catholic Church, their artwork holdings alone worth tens of billions of dollars, while people around the world are dying from poverty.  Yes, I know that the Catholic church does much good charity work and I praise them for it, but most of the charity comes from "followers", not from the wealth of the Vatican. 

Don't get me wrong!  I believe that Jesus was a great man and I believe that if man lived his life by following the teachings of Jesus, his life would be splendid indeed.  All that Jesus ever taught was to treat people as we ourselves wish to be treated; with understanding and kindness.  These teachings alone are sufficient reason to value His existence. 

Several years ago, when we lost our son at a young age, I turned to the church in an effort to find some comfort and some life meaning for this tragedy.  I wanted to "live within the church" desperately.  Sadly, I found the church service to be emptily ceremonial and ritualistic and the words of the sermon meaningless to my needs.

I envy those who attend church and believe the bible in complete faith and live their lives trying to adhere to their respective religious beliefs.  I believe they are probably the happiest people on earth.  I cannot.

I have written often of my strong belief in God.  My earlier blog "A Moon For the Misbegotten" recalls this belief and explains why I have faith that a superior being guides us in this world.  I still take great inspiration from those Jesus pronouncements "highlighted in red" in the bible.  As I said, his teachings alone offer great worth and provide inspiration toward living a more rewarding life.

Even for folks like me, Easter remains an important event, even if only to serve as parable for those who wish to "resurrect" their lives toward an upward path to a greater degree of morality and fulfillment.  Easter says to all who are lost that they need not be lost forever; that a personal salvation is always possible.  That alone shows that Easter is a glorious celebration of life.

Happy Easter to you all and bless most of all those whose faith is as pure as that of a child, who believe in the miracle without question, and live your life accordingly.

Friday, April 22, 2011

"The Great Trump Flameout"

Okay, here's the scenario.

You've got friends over for dinner.  You've finished dinner and are having coffee and dessert in the living room.  You and your friends are having a serious discussion about politics, property taxes and the sad state of affairs at the local elementary school.  Little Johnny, just before bed-time, comes running down the stairs in jammies, wearing a Pirate cap and hefting the toy sword.  He's so cute as he darts about the room slaying invisible foes, boasting of previous victories and the might of his sword.  The adults laugh and cheer him on but, as little Johnny doesn't know when to quit, his cute little performance becomes both an irritant and a distraction from the serious adult conversation ongoing before little Johnny came flitting down the stairs. 
Finally, mom tells little Johnny it's time for bed. 

This is what we need to tell "the Donald".  Serious conservatives need to remind the Donald of his previous scalding of Republicans as "a bunch of losers", of his stance on abortion before he began catering to conservatives, of his excess personal baggage and how this would keep him out of the White house, of his wild assertions of invading Libya and Iraq and seizing the oil fields, ala Hitler or post-war Russian aggression.  We must tell the Donald to put his pirate cap and sword away and go back to what he was doing before; feeding the Donald ego.

I am a bit disappointed that the Tea Party is encouraging Trump.  This sideshow is deflecting attention to where it needs to be focused; fighting against Obama's effort to turn this nation into a Socialist state.  It also harms the credibility of the Tea Party and feeds the liberals' charge that the TP is not a serious and relevant political force.

Instead, too many conservatives are "trumpeting the Trump".  They are ignoring his ego maniacal sputterings such as "I'm richer than Romney".  Huh?  What the hell does that have to do with anything? 

I'm also disappointed with all the news shows who are fueling this circus act.  Yes, I know it draws viewers but I gag every time one of those Trump interviews are aired.  Worse, you have Hannity and even Bill O'Reilly advocating Trump as a serious candidate.

It's time to put "little Johnny" to bed so we can get back to discussing serious issues with real adults.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"My Personal Take On The Republican Presidential Candidates"

I'm scared.  I'm very scared about the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election.  We have the smooth-talking Clintonesque Obama vs ???.  We have a left wing who will bitch and complain about Obama, but in the end, won't desert him.  We have a very large contingent of people who, in one way or another, rely on big government largess for their support; people who pay no taxes and care little about the deficit as long as the welfare, WIC, Obamacare, medicaid, a corrupt student loan give-away, food stamps, preferential racial quotas, "look the other way amnesty" for illegals and all manner of government bennies.  These folks are addicted to the government free ride.  Tens of millions of them, funded by big labor, will turn out to vote for Obama.

By contrast, we have only a small contingent of Tea Party Patriots and Selective Independents who actually care enough to join the national conversation about our problems and potential solutions.  The Republican candidates themselves are all over the ideological map; we have some of the same old tired Republican faces who, in my opinion, did not protest sufficiently against big government when they held the seats of power, and therefore do not enjoy the total trust of those who wish to return to a conservative nation.  We have some promising new faces who are probably still too green and unwilling to enter the Presidential fray.  Then we have a few earnest and courageous candidates who are, sorry to say, lacking in "hutspa".  Against the smooth, syrupy, 'feel good" aura of the Obama machine, we have some candidates who are about as sexy as Grandma in her parlour.  Finally, we have a few "wild-eyed" celebrity types who, hopefully, will flame out before the campaign begins to get serious.

Let's take the candidates one by one and see what they look like under an objective eye:

Donald Trump; numerous failed marriages, an ego larger than whole continents, a publicity hound, tends to make really wild statements as he did today on State of The Nation:  "put ground troops in Libya, overthrow Khadaffi and just take their oil from them."  He's said the same thing about Iraq.  There's enough dirt on Trump that Obama would win in a landslide.

Mitt Romney:  Son of a rich auto executive/Michigan governor.  Like George W. Bush, inherited wealth, given his first millions by the family and told "go out and make yourself rich".  When governor of Massachusetts, presided over the first state run health care plan, now plagued with huge cost over-runs and cost inefficiencies.  Handsome and charming but has never had to really work a day in his life and can't really identify with the problems of the everyday working stiff.   His health care and other accessions of liberals in Mass. prove he's a conservative only long enough to get elected.  Would fold like a cheap paper plate under the fire of liberal opposition in Congress. 

Sarah Palin:  I watched the rally the day McCain introduced her as his running mate.  As soon as I laid eyes on her I said "wow!", what a knockout.  Then I heard that high grating voice and was irritated to no end.  I have heard her during normal conversation and her voice is more pleasing; in speech mode she is as rasping to the ear as Jimmy Carter.  I admire her principles but wish she would have toned down the harsh rhetoric.  Main stream media was indeed unfair to her but the hacking tone of her come-backs were not in her best interest.   Although I don't blame her for "striking while the iron is hot" with the books and speaking fees, and getting rich, the resignation from the governors chair fuels the fire for liberals to attack.

Tim Pawlenty:  I really don't know enough about him..and that is the problem.  How did he do as Minnesota governor?  I'm keeping my mind open on him but, from what I've seen so far, his personality is not sufficient to get folks fired up enough to get them to the polls to defeat the Anointed One. 

Newt Gingrich:  The smartest political candidate in the field.  I've seen him give talks on C-Span and he has brilliant ideas for overhauling government into an efficient system.  Unfortunately, he does not display a personal charisma that attracts admiration and intense loyalty.  Also carries alot of personal baggage with personal affairs.  Would do extremely well as the head of any of the cabinet positions.

Mike Huckabee:  Very likable guy, quick of wit, great sense of humor.  However his apron strings are tied to the religious right so firmly that it would turn off many moderate Republicans and Independents.  Does not seem to have the fire in his belly to run this year.  Also, while I watch Fox News, and believe they really are largely fair and balanced (except Beck and sometimes Hannity), both Huckabee and Palin are overexposed on that network.  Also, Huckabee, when Arkansas governor bowed too often to the middle and is not as much of low tax militant as he says.  I do absolutely love his proposal during the last campaign to go to a flat tax and get rid of all the loopholes and tax cheaters.

Ron Paul:  Sorry, Ron.  Being right doesn't get you elected.  You've had too many runs but I know you'll be in there keeping the rest of the pretty boys honest.

Michelle Bachman:  Sorry, I know you're popular with the Tea Party but you've spoken more gaffes in two months than most candidates do in a year.  You were also too wishy-washy on the 2011 budget discussions and seemed to want to ride the fence.  Stand by for a cabinet position though; you are a true patriot and I'm pulling for you.

A Certain Winner If He Runs:  Mark Rubio...speaks elegantly, true to conservative principles, can get Hispanic votes, inspiring family immigrant story, great debater, handsome and charismatic.  In my mind at this moment, he's the only one that can beat Obama.

That's enough, for now.

Just want to say that, if I were "king" I would have Mark Rubio for President, Governor Christie for Vice-President, Paul Ryan as Budget Director, Newt Gingrich as Education Secretary (just to dismantle it and hand both control and funding back to the states), Ron Paul as Speaker of the House, Rand Paul as Senate Majority Leader. Sheriff Joe Apaio would be my Director of Homeland Security. I am...waiting patiently to see someone new (like Rubio) come out and make a run.  I'm not excited about anyone right now.  Obama is as smooth...and Bill Clinton...he just does it in a quieter and more urbane way.  Make no mistake; Obama is a mighty foe and he must be defeated!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"We Can Stop Illegal Immigration In One Week!"

Well, today President Obama called in a bunch of open borders liberals to discuss "immigration reform" (read amnesty).  Obama needs the hispanic vote and he's already blown his promise to give amnesty in his first year of office.  (those promises go along with hope and change, a more civil D.C., no tax cheats and lobbyists in his cabinet, closing Guantanamo, balancing the budget, working with Republicans, transparency, no backroom deals, etc.)

Now we have him getting geared up to grant amnesty.  I have a better idea:


A lot of our illegal immigration problem is spurred by American businessmen looking to exploit immigrants, pay them in cash, withhold benefits and expand their profit margins.  But much of our illegal immigration problem is spurred and encouraged by the Mexican government as well; it is a way to rid their nation of the poorest, least educated, the least likely to pay Mexican taxes, and allows them to reduce their prison population.  That's why the Mexican government publishes maps and pamphlets about how to best navigate a route which will get them across the border and to a major U.S. city.

The nature of the illegal Mexican immigrant is why we are experiencing explosive crime rates (Mexican criminal immigrants) as well as the sucking to death of our social services support by a poor, uneducated immigrant who contributes little to our national prosperity.


I just did some research on the costs to incarcerate all state and federal prisoners.  (I didn't even bother to look at the costs to cities).  According to the Federal Prison Bureau the annual costs to incarcerate federal prisoners is over $400 billion per year, not counting the costs of prison construction.  I also googled state costs; it varies by state (California spends over $10 billion per year on state prisoners) but overall state costs nationwide are at least $50 billion per year.

I propose we commandeer every available National Guard bus, every school bus in every city (give the kids a national holiday) and contract with commercial busing companies; we then empty out every state and federal prisoner (all are felons) and bus them to a remote area that borders Mexico.  Then let every single one of them infiltrate Mexico.  Yes, release all the murderers, the rapists, the child molesters, the armed robbers and the drug dealers (30 percent nationwide are Hispanic) Tell them to have a good time but don't come back!  We save $450 billion dollars per year and.....

I would be willing to bet that, inside of one week, President Calderon would have fifty thousand troops on the border to stop border crossings, from either side of the border!

Okay, next problem!  (Yeah, I know it can't happen....but..sure would be nice to see.

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Happy Birthday To Me"

Today is my birthday.  I now call them "bonus birthdays" because on July 4th, 2007 I was sure I would never live to see another birthday.   I had been feeling a little "punky" for a couple of weeks but awoke on the 4th of July feeling worse than usual.  I had a consistent cough and felt like I was coming down with a cold.  That July 4th afternoon I was standing over the sink,  washing up a dish and coughed violently into the sink.  A few drops of blood accompanied the cough so I knew it was something serious.

I showered and got dressed and went to the Emergency Room.  After a couple of hours of waiting I was seen by a doctor and reported my symptoms.   They ran some blood tests and ran me through a Cat Scan and several hours later I was called into an exam room by a young doctor.  He then gave me what I thought was my death sentence; he said I had lung cancer and showed me the tumor from the scan.  After coordinating with my Primary Care doctor for follow on tests and treatment the hospital released me to go home. 

I walked out of the hospital and stood outside for awhile looking at the late night sky, breathing in the fresh air and flushing out the chemical smells of hospital, grateful to be out of  there for the time being.  Until then, I had been relatively healthy and usually saw a doctor once a year or so.  I always hated going to doctors.  Now, as I stood outside, I contemplated what was ahead for me.  Five years earlier my mother had died from the same disease only ten days after diagnosis.   I believe I was as afraid of the treatment as much as I was the prospect of dying.

After a battery of tests, some painful, some not, I was initially diagnosed with stage I lung cancer; they had seen no evidence that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes.  In August I reported for surgery where my excellent surgeon removed the top half of my left lung.  During the operation she found some cancer in a few lymph nodes (Stage II)  and removed those as well.  I awoke from surgery in some sort of post surgical room; all I remember was that I was lying on a steel table, covered by a blanket and I was screaming louder than ever in my life, so great was the pain.  Someone responded and must have given me a pain killer because the next I remember I awoke in the Intensive Care Unit and was hooked up with breathing assist devices and tubes and drainage tanks and all manner of things that limited my mobility.  I won't bore you with the rest of my stay.  Suffice it to say it wasn't pleasant. 

After release from the hospital I went home to die.  I read all of the relevant lung cancer information, most specifically the statistic that only 15 percent of lung cancer patients are still alive within five years.  The doctors gave me six weeks to heal from surgery and I was then put on six months of preventative chemotherapy.  That too was "not pleasant" but I accepted it. 

For almost a year after the surgery and chemotherapy was over my body was still in a chaotic state; my blood tests were always showing some deficiency and hormones were out of whack but, despite these problems my follow up scans were showing "clear", no re-emergence of the cancer. 

At a time when I should have been grateful I was still depressed about my current health problems and was still waiting for the BIG C to come back and get me.  After all, I was smart; I could read the statistics and my odds weren't good.  I don't know how I would have gotten through those days had it not been for my youngest daughter who often served as a sounding board for my fear and frustrations. 

My evolution from "man waiting to die" to someone more hopeful and grateful is not clear.  I do know that the "clear" scan that came a year after my treatments gave me reason to hope.  I only know that eventually I started thanking God for all of these bonus days he had given me.  Those bonus days and weeks and months have now turned into years and today I celebrate my fourth bonus birthday since I was diagnosed.  I still have the fears...and sometimes when alien ache or pain persists, I am reminded of the fragility of life.

But I am mostly grateful.  I have now lived to see two more grandchildren born and two who are almost grown and have turned into pretty good people.  I have lived to see my family, to travel, to rejoice in Christmas reunions and family birthday celebrations....and just the joy of a morning sunrise and the fresh scent of citrus blossom in the morning air.

Four months ago I finally decided that I should probably begin to care again a little more about the world I live in...and the world my grandchildren will inherit.    On that day this blog was born.  I have written as honestly and sincerely as I can about things that inspire me, people I love, and things I am concerned about.  Sometimes I write of humorous things, sometimes poignant experiences and many times of very serious issues.  I have been called a "fag", a "racist", a "xenophobe", an "idiot", "a "rethuglican" (I'm an Independent) and several other things.  Through it all I have written every day of the week and will continue to do so, as long as I believe my words are doing what I wish them to do; compel you, the reader, to at least think about your responsibilities as a citizen, whether you agree with me or not.  I also learn from those who are thoughtful enough to leave comments and present their ideas on an issue.

So, Happy Birthday to Me!  I have no idea why my Higher Being has given me so much bonus time; I don't know what he plans for me but I'm enjoying this bonus ride.  Like that Cancer Hospital Commercial, I've tried hard  but I have yet to see an expiration date on the bottom of my feet!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Politicians or Celebrities; Who's The Biggest Hypocrite?

During the recent government shutdown threat I was somewhat amazed to hear that Congressman and Senators would continue to receive their pay and benefits while the military would have their pay stopped.  I can't imagine something that would provoke America's anger more from hearing that.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  After all, during the writing of Obamacare, Congress insured that they wrote in their exemption from the program.

Such hypocrisy.

Speaking of hyprocracy, I gave up listening to anything political that comes out of the mouth of a liberal celebrity.  Just imagine being ferried about in a chauffeur driven limousine and jetting off in private planes as they decry American's wasting precious energy resources and worshipping at the feet of Al Gore.  (Ironically, Al Gore himself was busted for building a huge home that consumes more energy in a month than the typical American uses in a year; Gore alleviates his guilt by buying "energy credits".)

Celebrities will browbeat "business" and corporate greed while demanding $20 million dollar per movie salaries.  And who was standing on the podium in support of Wisconsin Union protesters last month?  None other than Michael Moore, the fat clown who never met a liberal cause he didn't love.  Does it matter that he refuses to use union film crews when he films his documentaries?  That's when the rubber meets the road; he can't afford union labor rates!

How about those celebrities that come on those telethons for Haiti or Darfur and browbeat you into sending part of your unemployment or pension check while they're sitting on a hundred million dollar bank account?

Liberal celebrities love to bang on "heartless conservatives" who don't provide enough free public housing as they sit in their $40 million dollar mansions which is maintained by a crew of illegal aliens being paid minimum wage and no benefits.  Viva Open Border!

Oh, how celebrities love their pot and cocaine!  It's the "refreshment of choice!"...and they never once give a care that, for them to get their drugs, Mexican police and the military must be gunned down, innocent Mexican civilians must be killed and the drug cartels must "teach the local mayor a lesson" by beheading a whole pre-school full of little children.  Yet, I have not once seen a liberal celebrity admit that their drug use is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people!

Never mind all this:  celebrities are worshipped, their every move photographed and documented, so anything they do is just fine with their fans.

By contrast, politicians, equally hypocritical, are looked on with skepticism.  However, they continue in office because they can speak eloquently, deliver earmarks and special favors and count on the fact that most Americans pay little attention to what is really going on.

Who's the bigger hypocrite?  Liberal Celebrity or Politician;  let's call it a draw....and be just a little sad about it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"End the IRS; My Argument for a Valued Added (VAT) Tax"

End the Income Tax?  Yikes!  Impossible, you say?  Well, since we didn't have a regular federal income tax until 90 or so years ago, yeah, we can do away with it and do better!  We can establish a system which does away with you having to do your taxes every year and sending Uncle Sam a check.  And it's a system that eliminates all the cheating that's going on now. 

Do you ever look at folks at a high priced sports event and wonder how they could afford the tickets for it?  As you sit at home watching a baseball game on TV, because you can't afford the costs of a game, do you ever wonder how those folks in the prime seats can afford to sit there eating $5 dollar hot dogs and quaffing $6 dollar beers?  When you're at a red light and you see another driver stomping on the gas when the green appears and eating up a gallon of gasoline in 30 seconds, do you ever wonder why they're not conserving gas (and money) like you do?  For that matter, don't you wonder just a little how those hooligans out cruising the streets at 1:00 AM can afford to do that at 4 bucks a gallon?  How about when you see all those folks with I-Phones and I-Pads?  Don't you just wonder how so many can afford those?  And lastly, don't you question how so many folks can afford the latest clothing fashion, at high fashion costs?  And how are so damn many people able to afford going out to restaurants so often?

Well, the answer is, some of them are rich, many are living on credit card debt and then some of them are scamming and gaming the tax system; part of it is your federal government punishing honest wage earners and rewarding the lame and lazy and the "breeders", while another part of it is the "underground economy", folks.  Want to join them; here's how:

1) Work for an employer willing to pay you in cash. 
2) Since you're showing no income, go to the welfare office and apply for welfare benefits
3) While you're at the Welfare office apply for medicaid; the government will give you and your kids free medical and dental care and you don't have to pay a cent for them!
4) Go to the Social Security Office and rob all those old people by applying for Social Security SSI.
5) While you're at the Social Security Office, complain of back aches and apply for Social Security Disability
6) Have alot of kids; more than you can afford.  The government will give you WIC benefits and the IRS will send you an additional welfare check called the Child Tax Credit; it's worth thousands of dollars per kid!
7) Since you aren't reporting your real income, go to the local university and apply for free Pell grants for your kids!  Thousands of dollars... and those sucker taxpayers pay the bill for your kids!
8) Don't forget to sign up for state and federally funded free child care and all day kindergarten for your little ones!
9) Start a small business!  Write off a whole mess of business expenses and, most important, don't report half of your business income!
10) If you own a really big business (like General Electric) you can really cash in!  Just hire a lobbyist to buy off your senator and congressmen, have them create tax loopholes and write off $14 billion in income and pay no tax!  And don't forget to write off all those palatial hotel room costs and great meals and, what the hell, even spa treatments!
11) Be a drug dealer!  Absolutely tax free income!
12) Rob, pimp and burglarize!; also tax free!

Want to end much of the above (and thousands more) tax scams and dodging?

Abolish the income tax altogether!  With the exception of food and medicine, impose a 5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) tax on every product and service sold in the U.S.!  Since the IRS knows about 25% of Americans are cheating on their taxes by not reporting income..or underreporting income..the government will capture their revenue when anything is sold! 

Hey!  Those goons crusing the streets at midnight?  They're paying a VAT tax on gasoline!  Those getting paid under the table in cash?  Big deal! Let em!  They'll pay their fair share when they go to buy something!  Want to stop those folks breeding for those thousands in Child Tax Credits?  The VAT tax'll do it!  Want to do in that rich cat that buys a yacht and takes it off his taxes as "entertainment expense"?  The VAT tax will fix him!; he'll pay a big ole fat tax on that million dollar yacht!

So folks, as you wade through those income tax forms this year, consider the VAT tax and ne'er another tax form to file and you paying only your fair share, and you won't be footing the bills for alot of cheaters!

A bonus would be that the government could capture that estimated 25% of taxes due the government but are not reported or underreported through tax evasion.  Hell, we could probably wipe out our federal deficit in a few years!

Could it happen?  Hell yeah, you're a citizen!  You're a voter!  Write your senators and congressmen and tell them you're going to vote for someone who will stand up and promise to implement the VAT and kill the IRS forever!

Okay, you better get busy on that 1040!  The tax deadline is just days away!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Americans; You're Better Than This"

Poll after poll has said Americans across our nation are more pessimistic than they have ever been.  The polls report that only about a third of us believe that our children will have a better life than we had.  There's certainly reason for concern; runaway federal spending has sent the national debt into the stratosphere, jobs are being exported to countries with "dollar a day salaries" and "prison labor" manufacturers, the quality of education has declined to the point where half of our high school grads are functionally illiterate and our local, state and federal representatives appear to have the spine of a jelly fish and display the intelligence of a mayfly.

There's hope folks, as long as we believe there is...and as long as there are enough folks still willing to fight for the American dream.  History tells us that.  Of course there aren't enough people paying much attention to history these days so we continue to make some of our mistakes over and over.  But there is indeed hope if history is to be relied on.

The first step to recovery is to realize that we can never rest on past laurels and that our country is a work in progress.  And what a country it is!  A study of world history would remind you that America, and the American dream, is a great social experiment!  Yes, an experiment; not concrete reality, and not promised to endure!  In the 3,000 years since man first crawled out of the cave, there has never been a society and a form of government built around the idea that free people, making free choices, can govern themselves.  To paraphrase  Herman Wouk, "In the long history of human civilization, when the norm has been ruler oppression, America may be just a brief rainbow in the iron gray dawn of human struggle". 

Whether that "rainbow" continues to endure is entirely up to Americans themselves.  Will we continue to value the work ethic that built this great nation....or will we be content to wrap ourselves in the warm comfortable blanket of empty and transient government promises to "take care of us"?  Will we continue to hold dear to a morally upright set of human values...or will we succumb to a chaotic "laissez-faire" of everyone doing what ever feels good!  Do we have enough respect for the principles that worked in the past, and value those principles, to include protecting the integrity of our borders so that our national values are honored and protected? 

Folks, America has always been blessed with wondrous natural resources; rich farmland, precious metals, the most favorable weather conditions in the world, great expanses of timber and natural means to distribute our bounty throughout the land.  But our greatest resource (and perhaps the last real advantage we have left) is our people.  Our entrepreneurial spirit and the quirky sense of freedom to invent and refine has always been why we assumed and maintained leadership in the world, both in business and in the "freedom" business. 

I can still remember when the Japanese economy was roaring thirty years ago.  The Japanese were manufacturing cars that were far better than anything Detroit was putting out there.  Japan took our invention of the VCR and put tens of millions of them into American homes!  The national conversation in 1980 was that Japan is taking over the world!

Then, along came the 1990's.  American minds developed computer hardware and software that was the wonder of the world!  The 1990's were the most prosperous in our history!  Liberals may not like it but the groundwork was laid during the Reagan administration as he stripped the federal reins on restrictive business practices, freed up capital to spur small business innovation and along came Apple and Microsoft and Cisco and a thousand other businesses that led us to the promised land of low unemployment, reasonable tax rates and an environment that championed free thinking!

We are now into the second decade of  a new millennium and we are again struggling.  But, if we study even recent history we know we can pull out of this.  Now that the national conversation is about China being the next world leader will we fold our tent and accept that inevitability?...or will we roll our sleeves up, tell big government to get out of our way and let us get on with the business of "building rainbows". 

It's up to you America....I'm old enough to know you're better than this!

Monday, April 11, 2011

"You Know You're A Liberal If:- Part I "

You know you're a liberal if you believe that anyone with wealth got it through a conspiracy by Republicans to favor them.

You know you're a liberal if, when Nancy Pelosi used that big gavel to conclude the Obama care vote, you didn't notice that was her ultimate "phallic" symbol.

You know you're a liberal if you fail to acknowledge Harry Reid's secret Nevada real estate deal where he invested nothing and reaped millions in profits. 

You know you're a liberal if you champion those Wisconsin teachers who got a doctor to sign phony doctor's excuses so they could get paid while marching around the capitol and absent from the classroom.

You also know you're a liberal if you think it's okay for those 14 Wisconsin Democrats to avoid the democratic process by fleeing to Illinois but hate Republicans when they stood bravely in the halls of Congress and tried to stop Obama care.

You know you're a liberal if you think it's perfectly okay for 20 million illegal aliens to invade our homeland.

You also know you're a liberal if you give excuses for illegals to steal a citizens ID  in order to get a job under false pretenses.

You know you're a liberal if you believe we need no standing army to protect us from our enemies.

You know you're a liberal if you turn your eyes away from $500 billion in medicaid fraud and from food stamp recipients using their debit card to gamble in casinos and pump out more children to fatten the welfare check.

You know you're a liberal if you believe a government bureaucrat "with no skin in the game" cares about fraud, waste, and abuse in his/her department.

You know you're a liberal when you could care less about the $74 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities and a $14 trillion dollar budget deficit.

You know you're a liberal when you turn your head to IRS fraud of your banking chairman.

You know you're a liberal if you value political correctness so highly that you're scared to death to criticize the wrong-doing of a minority.

You know you're a liberal if you can pass an $800 billion dollar stimulus bill and include such things as a rat park preserve in San Francisco and a $4 million dollar renovation of a building in the state of Washington that was subsequently condemned.

You know you're a liberal when you authorize food stamp families to use their Food Stamp Debit card in fast food restaurants while taxpaying families are eating baloney sandwiches.

You know you're a liberal if you have no problem calling Bush a Nazi, hanging him in effigy, but have no problem with Bill Clinton receiving oral sex in the oval office from a White House intern and pardoning his tax criminal buddies on his last day in office.

(To be continued)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"The Great Depression and The Grapes of Wrath"

When I watch "The Grapes of Wrath" I see my own Okie family migrating to California and struggling to survive.  We followed in the footsteps of the Joad family.  As soon as we arrived in the great San Joaquin Valley we were assigned an old cabin and a cotton sack and we picked cotton in the summer heat.  We also picked grapes and peaches and strawberries and worked all up and down that valley. 

It took my parents years to find "inside work" and, hard though it was, it was far better than working the fields.  I never stopped working the fields until I graduated from high school and joined the military.  I worked in the fields all summer to pay for my school clothes and expenses.  We didn't have any fancy welfare programs to rely on but we had one advantage; self pride in earning our keep.

In both a society, and in a personal life, a delicate balance is required to achieve satisfaction and happiness.  When that balance is not achieved both a life and a society becomes sickened.  No where is this more evident today than in the realm of the distribution of prosperity.  The imbalances exist today as a result of the birth of a "victim" class of Americans who believe it is no longer necessary to work for a living.   The imbalance is further compounded by government having reached the limits of capability to support these new generations of "victims".  Working Americans are now feeling the very visible affects of the costs of supporting those who refuse to work and the "productive" are angered by the fraud, waste and abuse that social programs ferment.

The pendulum of social concern can swing both ways, as was the case during the Great Depression, when the monied class not only escaped the pain of financial depression, but were hostile toward the suffering class.  We see some of that today with the Wall Street Titans who have actually prospered during the current suffering but the arrogance of the few is overplayed by liberals today, as half of our entire national budget goes to social programs.

If I were living in the 1930's, when America had "real victims" I'm sure I would be a socialist.  There were "real victims" then where folks were begging to work and no work was available.   I recently watched a documentary on PBS about the dust bowl tragedy in Oklahoma.  FDR offered relief money to farmers and most wouldn't take it; they said they had too much pride to take what they didn't things have changed today as our millions in the "victim class" will take anything they can get...and demand even more.

Contrast the Okies migrating to California during the dust bowl years to find work with so many "takers" today..  Those Okies worked for .50 cents a day and earned just enough for one solid daily meal.  Today we have food banks, food stamps, welfare, IRS welfare through child tax credits and hefty personal exemptions, medicaid and all manner of social giveaways.  Millions of folks today have no pride and have become comfortable with taking all they can get. 
As the economy improved those Okies got jobs and clawed themselves up to the middle class, contributing to America's productivity and to our strength. Today we have three generations of folks who have been on welfare all of their lives and it doesn't bother them a bit.  So I'm just a bit skeptical about the cries and moans from  some folks on the dole these days.  They don't know what "poor" is.

It is so ironic that one of today's liberals most staunch historical icons said to an Indianopolis official in 1968, "I hate giving welfare checks to the poor, it is as if we are saying take a check, there's no place for you in our society".  That liberal icon was none other than Robert F. Kennedy.  How right he was;  anyone who made that kind of statement today would be called a Tea Partier.  Shows you how far along toward socialism we have come in the forty years since the most progressive leader of the time made that statement.

Let's reform these programs so that only the truly needy are given assistance and let's tell the generational sponges to get out and earn their keep.  It's good for them and damn sure good for all of us.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Beautiful Arizona"

I've written in previous blog entries about how I love everything about the American landscape.  I love the greenery of all the wonderful states east of the Mississippi, their vast tracts of thick forests and beautiful rivers and lakes as big as whole countries!  However, having been raised in the West I have to say it's my favorite.  I especially enjoy the wide open spaces of Arizona; the wide-open skies, eye-popping sunsets and colorful vistas that extends for a hundred miles or more. 

Most tourists who come here marvel at the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, then head north to Las Vegas or drive south to Tucson and Wickenburg and Tombstone to get a touch of the old West.  But there is so much more to see.

In a single day one can visit the old mining town of Jerome, now home to a budding artist colony.  Have yourself a capuccino and walk around and enjoy the paintings and sculpture work.  Drive not much further and visit the old Arizona capitol at Prescott and see a mix of both new and old west; get there on a weekend and you'll find hundreds of folks assembled about the city square for art exhibits, food tastings and camaraderie. 

Drive eastward again and access the 17 freeway, head north to Flagstaff and dip your heels into chilled lake waters while sitting under a canopy of Pine forests as rich and thick as any you'll see in Lake Tahoe.  Drive East from Flagstaff and marvel at the Painted Desert or ancient lava flows casting an eerie scene of an earth's violent and volcanic past. 

On another day, head south again to Phoenix where you'll find a Scottsdale trying to decide whether she wishes to be a world famous upscale resort or old west town.   Scottsdale, where you'll find a native Arizonan taking her horse on a Saturday morning ride while Mercedes convertables, driven by sunglass clad yuppies on their morning trek to Starbucks, zip by.

Now escape the urban sprawl of Phoenix by hooking up to U.S. 10 and drive southeast to Tucson.  But before you do, head out to the Apache Junction area to see old army forts and, if you have a hankering, pan for gold or head out with a group still searching for the Lost Dutchman's Mine!  If you find it you'll never have to work another day in your life! 

Notice how Phoenix and Tucson begin to narrow the distance between themselves as urban developments moving north and south begin to intertwine.  Now head south to Tombstone if you must and tell the folks at home that you saw the Earps and Doc take care of the Clanton gang. 

On that same day you can head southeast and travel down to Bisbee, a renown copper mining center but also home to artists and free-thinkers and plush bed and breakfasts that will sooth the soul.

If you're heading East to go home, go back up to the North and Highway 40.  Detour a little and follow the old Route 66!  You'll find several towns up that way that still survive and will serve you a Root Beer float and 50's style hamburger while Elvis croons on the Juke Box!

If you're heading home to the West, then you're a Californian!  Got just the place for you too:  There's some mineral baths about 40 miles west of Phoenix, just off Fwy 10, where you shed your clothes, walk around in your birthday suit and soak in a hot tub with other nature lovers!

You'd be smart to soak in that hot tub at sunset, look to the west, and watch mother nature putting on a spectacular light show as sunset ebbs, the sky turns violet and a million stars emerge.  Reach out a hand and grab a handful of stars and marvel at beautiful Arizona.


Friday, April 8, 2011

"God and Trees...and Me"

The two trees in the photo are growing just off my back patio; the tree on the left was planted by me.  It is a Chinese Elm.  I planted it about four years ago.  It has been slow to grow, needs constant trimming, must be staked to survive Arizona's monsoon winds, its leaves fall bare for the winter and needs constant care.  The tree on the right is my "mystery tree"  Two years ago, it began to sprout from the ground and produced beautiful red, shiny stems and branches and arrow-shaped leaves that are glossy and lovely.  It needs no staking support, has grown very quickly to surpass the tree I planted, holds all its leaf finery throughout the winter when the other trees are but skeletal protrusions awaiting the comfort and promise of spring. My mystery tree stands strong and proud, it's trunk wide and straight and is quickly surging past the other tree in half the time.

My mystery tree came as nature's gift and required no effort from me, except to water it and admire it.  The tree I planted and wanted to grow has been disappointing.

One recent spring morning I sat on my patio drinking coffee and thinking that the story of these two trees is so much like our lives.  In my life  I've planted a thousand seeds that I expected to grow and flourish as I anticipated; the career I expected, the wife I would choose, the children I would have, the city where I would live and the home I would have and the talents I would pursue and those I would not.  I was often frustrated that the seed that I planted did not produce what I had wished for.   Many times I got so much more than I wished for.
 One of the first "crop failures" was my desire to finish college, be accepted for Air Force Officers Training School (OTS)and become a commissioned officer.  As an enlisted non-commissioned officer, I worked so hard to achieve that dream.  I attended several colleges, taking classes during my off duty hours and completing my studies late at night and during lunch hours and whenever I could grab a few minutes to do so.  After four years of really hard work I finally had a chance to pursue a program that would allow me to graduate and become accepted to OTS.  Just as I was being accepted the program was cancelled.  I was so shattered that a door had been closed to me that I vowed to abandon my dream forever.

 But I remember one night, laying in bed with my wife and lamenting my bad luck.  My wife said something that I will never forget.  Somewhere from her Asian background, and drawing from some Asian philosophy, she said, and I parphrase  "many times we humans want something to happen our way.  But we are like kites, soaring in the sky, when in fact, we are tethered to the arms of God; he gives us room to soar but it is He that controls our flight.  Although this idea did not alleviate my disappointment, even then I thought what a beautiful way to think about the relationship we have with our higher being.

Three years later, on His schedule, I graduated from college was accepted to Officers Training School and was commissioned an officer in the Air Force.

Our lives are always like that.   We must always have dreams...and it is good to work to make those dreams come true....but in the end,  there's someone up there tethered to your kite strings, ready to move you to where He wishes you to be.

When I look on those two trees they form almost a parable in my mind...left to human effort alone, that weak and sickly tree on the left is what we plant...the grand and lovely tree, strong and majestic, glossy with promise is what God plants.  I've come to believe He's the better gardener.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Why Business Loves Illegals- Boycott Them!"

Our President, our Congress and every state and county government in our nation are lobbied daily by business to ease up on enforcement of our immigration laws.  That is to be expected; financial interest rules in a capitalist society.  Financial interest overrules any other consideration, to include whether or not illegal immigration is in our best interest. 

Witness the Arizona Chamber of Congress letter to the Arizona statehouse which delayed, if not killed, the latest illegal immigration bills that were under state senate consideration.  Just this past week a former CEO of Intel condemned Arizona's harsh treatment of illegals.  Witness the lobbying by business to attempt to kill anti-illegal immigration bills in Georgia and Tennessee this week!

Businesses do not want to use the federal  E-Verify system, claiming it's 7 percent inaccuracy rate.  That means they don't like a system that is 93 percent accurate in identifying those here illegally!  I'll take any government program that has that degree of accuracy!  Must be some kind of government program record!

So folks, we have to ask ourselves, why would business be so hell-bent on crippling our immigration laws?  Could it be that businesses enjoy hiring cheap labor and damned the cost to society?  Could it be that businesses can refuse to offer retirement and health care and cheap wages and damn the harm it does to an American citizen trying to make a living wage? 

Well, I have to believe that those billions of dollars going into lobbying against enforcing our immigration laws must mean something, huh? 

Now, let's look at this thing realistically.  As citizens we are never going to convince business to consider anything that betters the larger society; businesses, especially corporate businesses, have one goal in mind:  profits!  A corporation owns no heart and no conscience.  How many thousands of businesses have left the U.S. to secure cheap labor over the last thirty years?  Yeah, folks, those businesses who find a better deal will leave you in a heartbeat; that is the nature of business.

Even those businesses who continue to operate primarily from U.S. shores do so with profit in mind.  Look at Walmart!  As U.S. manufacturing was abandoned to Japan, then Thailand, then South Korea, then China, Walmart filled their stores with foreign made products.  Okay, I understand the profit motive; I'm a capitalist!  But the day will come when the last job leaves the U.S. and no one will be able to afford to shop at Walmart, much less anywhere else.  Do you think Walmart will stick around when profits plummet?  Nope, they'll go where the money is.

Oh sure, a business will publicize their "community programs" that donate 1/10 of one percent of their revenue to community makes them look good!  But if you're waiting for businesses to develop a heart you'll wait forever.

Let's also consider Walmart's employee business model: Pay low wages, offer minimal health care and rely on their employees using state provided health care programs for their medical needs.  So, why wouldn't Walmart...and every other business favor having a ballooning low-cost labor force that insures they can tell an American employee "if you don't like it, leave!"  Hell, tens of thousands of American businesses don't even bother with that!  They just hire an illegal work force to begin with, pay in cash and don't have to provide any health or retiree benefits at all!

Like I said, we're never going to convince business to change their tune;  by nature, business possesses neither heart or conscience.  No, if you want to insure our immigration laws are enforced you're going to have to scream loud and clear to the politicians that you want it...and that you are aware of those businesses lobbying for what is best for "their interest", not "yours".

So folks, if you're concerned about the invasion I encourage you to do two things:  1) Write your congressmen and senators and governors and tell them to stand up and enforce our illegal immigration laws and 2) boycott any business that you see hiring illegal workers!  Nothing gets a business's attention like a  consumer boycott!

If you wish to participate in a boycott of those who hire illegals, you can go to this site and search by location, for those businesses currently hiring illegals.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Breeding Republicans"

There seems to be about three breeds of Republicans in Congress these days.  One group of the "good ole boys" who have been in Congress for decades seems to think that the Tea Party conservative movement will eventually pass and they can go back to their "Scotch and Water" Tete a Tetes in the back rooms.  They reckon that when the Tea Party is over they can go back to cutting deals with liberals and damn the spending concerns!  "Say Nancy, if you'll support my earmark I'll support yours".  To which Nancy and Harry respond "Sounds good!  And how about you co-sponsor another amnesty bill!"....and let's get that Dream Act going, huh?"

The second breed of Republicans are a little more concerned; they want to go back to a more agreeable environment in Congress where deal-making was done but they're just a bit worried that maybe the taxpayer has had enough of a two-decade spending orgy, out of control deficits and want to see some fiscal responsibility.  Speaker of the House John Boehner, having been around for a couple of decades, is probably the leader of this group.  "Damned",  he says "if I could only rope those new Tea Party congressmen and herd em back in line!". 

The third group are indeed those new Tea Party congressmen who, having hung out with the American people last summer, are bound and determined to keep their promises to break the stranglehold government has on us.  They are still too new to be corrupted and want to see the changes the American people voted them in to achieve.  Although there are only 82 of them but they are raising some hell with the other 350 liberals and moderates that make up the House. 

Witness the groups as they went about trying to come up with a 2011 budget, work that the Democratic controlled Congress was supposed to have completed last October (but didn't want the voter to see the size of deficit spending for this coming year!).  They all knew that the current Obama/Reid/Pelosi budget was $3.75 trillion dollars, with $1.75 trillion borrowed from China!  Well, the first breed of Repubs said "let's roll up our sleeves, cut a deal with the Dems and cut $8 billion."  (The Dems said no way, it'll gut our programs)
The second breed of Repubs said "well, I don't know, maybe we could cut $30 billion and really show our good intentions!"  However the TP congressmen said "wait a minute!..."are you people serious?...we've got a $3.75 trillion dollar budget and you want to cut less than 1 percent?"  "Can't you at least cut $60 billion?"

The first and second breeds of Repubs said "wow!, that's pretty drastic!".  The Dems cried "the sky is falling if you cut the budget by a whole 2 percent!"

So now folks:  while you out there who have had to cut back on everything in your life, you who have lost your jobs and your home and your car and have told little Johnny that he's got to pay for his own college education, Congress opts for a government shutdown!    "Cut 2 percent they say?..."why I'd rather shut down the government!". 

So what we have is a conundrum; who are the real conservatives?  Frankly, at this time we don't know.  Will the first two breeds finally get it that we are serious about taming the spending or will we back off the pressure on them and the fraud and waste and corruption resumes and they get back to business as usual?

What can we conclude from all of this?  Well we know that most Dems have never met a government program they didn't like.  That leaves us with the bigger question of "who's watching our backs" on the other side?  We just don't know.

Personally, I would like to see America breed a whole new bunch of conservatives who abhor those "scotch and water" parlays in the back rooms of Congress.  Perhaps a nice "Tea" party is more in order.

Monday, April 4, 2011

"I Vote Yes On A Government Shutdown!"

Okay, this is an old joke:  Wife tells hubby her credit card was stolen.  Three months later he has still not reported the credit card theft.  Ask why, the man replies "because the guy who stole it is charging less than my wife was". 

I feel the same way about the government shutdown.  Shut her down!  Maybe National Public Radio will get that $5 million from that anti-semitic muslim that they were lunching with last month, instead of that fat check from Uncle Sam.  Maybe those federal bureaucrats will get out in the public and see how the average American is hurting these days.  Maybe those liberal elite university professors will stop delegating their class work to an aide and actually have to start teaching as he is paid to do.  Maybe Obama and Reid and Pelosi and Schumer can then have time to come down and visit the Arizona and Texas borders and see what's happening down there.   Maybe Senators and Congressmen can come home and hold some town hall meetings and learn what concerns their electorate.

Let's face it; the most severe cuts proposed are the Tea Party legislators who are proposing $61 billion in cuts from a $3.75 Trillion dollar budget!  Read that again!:  $3.75 trillion!  And these yahoos can't figure out how to cut 1 percent of the budget?  Ask the average housewife how she cut 20% from her budget when one of the family members lost their job!  Ask seniors who've had no cost of living increase on their social security in two years how they are doing with 20 percent increase in their electric bill and a 15% increase in their meager food bill!  Ask the family who is living in a homeless shelter how to cut 100% of their budget since they have none!  Ask the guy at the gas pump how he's coping with $4 dollar gas! 

The Dems have never met a social program they didn't love and they've been on a spending orgy for over two years!  Now the bill is coming due and the government is trying to print money and borrow from China to pay for all the goodies the Dems bought over the last couple of years. 

Let's help the Dems out:  Because we are in a recession we have tens of millions of people unemployed.  (Remember that $870 billion dollar stimulus program?  It didnt' work!  You were told it wouldn't work and you rammed it down our throats!)  Dems:  Those who don't have jobs can't pay income taxes!  They don't have income!  So, Dems, you have $2 Trillion in revenue and you have a $3.75 Trillion dollar budget!  That's $1.75 trillion over what you're taking in!  Dems, you're short a couple of trillion!  Cut back on your spending! If you don't know how, recruit a few housewives who have had to do it and know how!  By the way, you might cut $1.8 billion right off the top by stop giving illegal families free money through the W7 INIT Child Tax Credit program.  (

And folks, if you don't believe how dire our budget situation is, read this, it'll scare the p*** out of you:

So, if you can't grasp that concept...shut her down!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"A Belated Look At America"

Like most, I have a deep and abiding love for America but, on so many occasions, it has been a long distance romance.   During my military career I served for over five years away.  Following that, I lived and worked overseas for a decade.  Each time I returned it was like falling in love all over again.  Those who have spent any time at all in a foreign country will know the feeling that you get when you return to American soil.  The air of freedom is tangible!   After residing in another country you come back and breathe deeply of this freedom and you finally realize that you had been choking a little from the "foreign-ness" of elsewhere, whether it be petty officialdom, societal and government dictates, authoritarian confines...or even the unfairness of the class system in some of the nations of Europe or Asia.

Until ten years ago, other than locales where I was stationed with the military, I had never had the chance to see this land I love so much.  My last overseas address was in the Middle East where I had worked and lived for ten years.  Frustrated at the increasingly dangerous conditions I came home for good during the summer of 2001, two months before 9/11. 

Shortly after returning I bought a small RV and was determined to see much more of my country.  My wife and I took several short trips, acquainting ourselves with the mechanics of RV travel.  Then, in 2004 I took my first cross-country trip, from California to Florida to meet our children for Christmas.  My wife's work schedule required her to fly there so I was on my own; just the road and me. 

During this travel I was fascinated by the hugeness of Texas!  Going west to east across Texas was a two-day excursion.  When I got into Louisiana it was like being in another country, low hanging cypress swamps and very happy and friendly citizens.  The same was true throughout the south; I was called "honey" and "darlin" by more waitresses than I would have ever expected...and I loved it!  The south truly is noted for "southern charm". 

After the holidays with the family in Florida my wife flew back home and I headed north and rejoiced in the loveliness of the Carolinas and the lushness of the Shenandoah Valley.  I also used the time to tour civil war sites throughout Virginia and enjoyed it immensely.  Each night, after supper in the RV, I pulled out my Civil War history books and reviewed the battles at a particular site, then rose early the next day to walk the battlefields.  It proved to be the best way to experience history!

In the years that followed I set off on several more RV journeys; perhaps I'll write more of them on another day.  It's been good to get to know my beautiful country so that I may never take her for granted.

Hope you won't either.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Here's My Take On A Real Estate Comeback"

In the early 1990's we bought a town home in a nice gated neighborhood in North San Diego County, California.  We paid $125,000 for it; two years later the same town homes were selling for $65,000 as the housing market tanked.  Only two years after that the market recovered and by 2005 those same town homes were selling for $350,000 dollars.

Will we soon see a similar rebound in home prices?  Well, that is problematic.  Contrast the early 90's with the situation we have now.  Back then, the government allowed the free market to determine home prices; no government entity stepped forward to interrupt the natural cycle of the free market.  No government entity, in an effort to curry voter favor, beat up on the realtors, the mortgage brokers, the banks or the homeowner paying his mortgage payments on time.  We had no Congressional banking committee hammering banks to reduce the principle and interest rates to homeowners in an effort to keep them from walking away from their mortgage.  Most important, we still had the Glass-Steagull Act which mandated that commercial and investment banks be kept as separate entities.  The Clinton Administration's cancellation of Glass-Steagull set off an orgy of heavily speculated trades in mortgage-backed security futures.  Finally, we had no House Banking Committee forcing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer home loans to minorities regardless of their financial qualifications.

What this massive government interference has done is delay and disrupt the natural cycle of a market-driven housing market.  As a result, while the housing market should have recovered within a couple of years, we are now in a fractured real estate market five years after the correction began.  The feds are now saying at least two million more short sales and foreclosures are forecasted for the coming year.  It could be even worse since the number of homeowners delinquent on their mortgage payments for 3 months or more is increasing.  The latest rates of sales of new and existing homes are dismal as well, indicating further declines in home prices.

Further compounding the problem is the horrible unemployment rates.  Folks can't make their mortgage payments if they don't have a job.  Secondly, the fear of job security has hammered the "mobility factor"; many homeowners are so under water on their mortgages they cannot sell their house and move to another location where job prospects may be more favorable.

Has there ever been a better argument against government interference?  Had the government left Glass-Steagull alone we wouldn't have had these casino type mortgage futures trading, with the accompanying financial collapse.  If following that catastrophe, government had punished the guilty and left the rest of the housing market alone we would have been well on our way to a housing recovery.  A housing recovery would raise consumer confidence and boost economic activity and a couple of million Americans would be back to building housing!

As long as the government keeps poking their nose into the free market we'll continue to suffer and the housing recovery will continue to be long and painful.  If you don't believe that I have some swampland in Florida you may want to take a look at.