Saturday, December 15, 2012

Great and Terrible Day

Yesterday was a miniature version of the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord mentioned in the scriptures.  Often times I’ve read the coupling of words, great and terrible, and contemplated their curious juxtaposition; yesterday I was given another bit of information as to how these words are supposed to work.

And it came to pass that on the morrow they did go again to battle, and great and terrible was that day; nevertheless, they conquered not, and when the night came again they did rend the air with their cries, and their howlings, and their mournings, for the loss of the slain of their people. 
Ether 15:17

The scripture referenced had to do with an ongoing war, combatants on the field of battle, a war which seemed to never end.  Losses on both sides mounted to a degree and scope hard for the mind and heart to comprehend and yet the sun would rise each day and only those warriors with a resolve to come out on top would survive the next round. 

Isn’t that a fairly good definition of life in general, having enough resolve to come out on top and survive the next round?

We attended my daughter’s graduation from Texas A&M University yesterday.  Earning her degree with honors in Mechanical Engineering marked an important step in achieving her goals.  Proud parents sitting in attendance, we listened as the governing body of professors and administrators shared thoughts on the moment.

One in particular began with an odd comment, “Let us have a moment of silence for this morning’s tragedy”.   He said nothing else and everyone bowed in reverence to his suggestion, many to include myself, had no idea what had been referenced.

I quietly joked, “So Obama woke up this morning”.  The lady in front of me muffled her laugh before too many could hear it.  Clearly something had happened; but we were attending a graduation ceremony and what ever had happened would wait.

We later learned of a mass murder which included 20 kindergarten children, a senseless act of violence carried out by a sad excuse of a human being.  I won’t go into details, suffice to say it was horrific; the pain and suffering will last long after the headlines have changed to a different topic.

Following these all too frequent acts of random violence there are always two discussions to hit the public square.  If you think about it, they fall into the same areas we’ve been counseled to avoid, politics and religion; interesting how many dinner tables must remain silent, just an observation.

Progressives (those who hate the Constitution) among us use the opportunity to call for limiting the availability of guns of any type to individuals.  They start by calling for a ban on all semi-automatic pistols and assault weapons.  They won’t be happy until all weapons are confiscated and we live in a perfect Utopian state of peace; never mind that such a state of being is reserved for mankind only after this phase we call mortality.

The other discussions involve the basic question, “How can God permit such evil?”  If God really cared He wouldn’t let crazy people go about killing and hurting innocent folks; but to murder little children is more than we can fathom.  A few come to the conclusion that God is either dead, no longer cares since mankind has gone to hell in a hand basket or He never was to begin with; none of which are true, if you’re looking for an answer.

For what it’s worth; God didn’t permit or cause any of these acts of violence and the world is going to continue being a dangerous place.  Those who disregard eternal laws (*) will continue to disregard these laws, laws created before the world was made,

“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”  Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21

(*Substitute punishment for blessing to fit any scenario; the results are the same.)

When you consider mortality as a temporary state which permits individuals to learn about God’s laws, desires and His relationship with His children, then the hardships and heart aches caused by random acts of violence are a little more bearable.  Family members will consider how fragile life is, how important the bonds we form with one another are, and if we are paying attention, how unimportant our petty differences are in the grand scheme of things.  In other words, let’s all learn how to appreciate each other as we go about our daily lives.  

We can’t, by outlawing evil, eliminate those who choose to do evil.  We can; however, discipline our minds and hearts in such a way as to be better individuals.  We’ll still get our hearts broken and at times our dreams will lie smashed upon the rocks just short of our goals; but we can and must get up, continue moving in the direction our Father in Heaven intended, toward that eternal being He wants us to become.  

Maybe now you’ll have a better grasp how great and terrible work in unison.  May we resolve to be better individuals and do things the Lord’s way is my prayer; in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Bums Living Fat Off Their Neighbor’s Efforts

Oh my, someone has forgotten to use politically correct language; their not bums, they’re less fortunate.  There’s a headline article on Fox, Republicans Caught in Austerity Trap, trying to explain how it won’t matter how the GOP leadership approaches the Fiscal Cliff, any way they move they lose.

To a certain extent that’s true because the track record of the GOP serves only to remind folks that they are the Party of Stupid for permitting the opposition to define them.  Speaking of defining things; how about that word, Austerity? 

At one time it conjured up folks doing without necessities; but here in America it means folks might only be able to have one free cell phone for each person living in their taxpayer paid for Section 8 housing while driving to the unemployment line to pick up their check all the while sitting in a two year old piece of junk Lexus.  Austerity?  You’ve got to be kidding!

Austerity:  1.  Extreme plainness and simplicity of style or appearance.

2.      Sternness or severity of manner or attitude.

3.      A state of reduced spending and increased frugality in the financial sector.

Tyler Cowan asked the question What is austerity not too long ago as he tried to understand the rational that not increasing entitlements while raising taxes didn’t seem to meet the criteria, concluding:

In any case, austerity is a misleading and often misunderstood word.  It is better if we describe policies more concretely, and in fact that is not hard to do.  Furthermore, insisting on a clearer accounting should not be equated with “austerity denial.”’

The Republican Party has permitted progressives to once again set the table in their own favor by letting them define the meaning of words we once understood as meaning one thing; changing them to mean what ever suits their needs. 

Austerity now means that rich folks should feel bad for being successful, they should be ashamed for not paying enough in taxes so that every lazy good for nothing bum can’t live in a single family residence worth at least two hundred thousand dollars while driving an executive styled luxury sedan even though these bums are unwilling to put in the necessary effort.  If at any time these bums might have to settle for a cheaper version of a free cell phone, live in a less than palatial residence or settle for mass transit to pick up their unemployment check; well that’s the new meaning of austerity.

Here in my own house austerity is a way of life; we don’t buy it if we can’t pay for it.  We do without until we can pay for things like a new car, high definition television, granite counter tops in the kitchen, replacement flooring where the vinyl has chipped or worn thin in the kitchen, carpet for the upstairs that’s been shredded by one or more of our Hobo Kitties over the years, a modern more efficient air conditioning system and other items on our wants and desires list. 

We look in our wallet before going out to eat on date night; hamburgers and French Fries will cost half of a sit down meal at a reasonably priced Mexican food place and that’s half again as expensive as a nice steak dinner.  Things like that are what I call austerity in action; spending only what you can afford to spend; but we’re old fashioned and live within our means to begin with.

So don’t tell me the folks in Washington are considering halting our trip towards the Fiscal Cliff from which there is no return other than as slaves to those who have purchased our unfathomable debt.  Both parties are equally to blame for spending us into debt; more these past four years than all previous administrations combined since our nation won its independence. 

If we dropped back to a spending level equal to that of 2008, as opposed to what is currently up for grabs, even that wouldn’t be considered austere; not by any stretch of Noah Webster’s definition of the word.  The bums who were sucking off the taxpayer’s teat then were living high off the hog; they’ve found they can demand more and get it so they keep demanding more. 

Maybe when the entire economy comes crashing down, maybe then folks will learn the real meaning of austerity.  Until then these bums will continue living fat off their neighbor’s efforts, all the while complaining they don’t have enough.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Presumption of Guilt

It used to be that you were presumed innocent until proven guilty; at least that’s the way it was for most of my life.  Apparently that is no longer true, at least not in Texas. 

There’s an article by David Moye at the Huffington Post which explains that a locksmith in Kerrville, Texas had his locksmith license suspended; but he hasn’t even been to court or had a hearing in front of a judge regarding a bizarre set of circumstances.

Elvis Hernandez, a licensed locksmith, rescued a small dog with no collar or identifying tags that was in the middle of a busy roadway.  Hernandez left his contact information with the customer he’d serviced regarding where to find him but was not contacted by its owner that day.  He eventually gave the dog away because it didn’t get along with his own dogs. 

When the dog’s owner eventually came around to retrieve their pet it was too late since Hernandez didn’t even know who had the animal at the time.  

“The owner filed a police report, a warrant was issued and Hernandez was arrested and charged with theft of property.

While the case is pending, he’s legally unable to work as a locksmith.” 

Instead of thanking Hernandez for rescuing their pet from the possibility of getting run over, these folks got him arrested as if he’d stolen their dog, a dog which was running loose without a collar and without proper tags.  (Does a person who is stealing a dog leave his name and number; just thinking out loud)

Beyond that, Hernandez apparently had his locksmith license suspended by the State of Texas making it impossible for him to apply his skills to support his family.  The State of Texas didn’t wait for Hernandez’ case to go to trial; instead they acted quickly to safeguard the public from a person of dubious character, a person who shouldn’t be trusted because he….saved a puppy from getting run over?

I got a letter several years ago advising me my locksmith license had been suspended.  According to the letter I was to cease working immediately because the State of Texas had not received proof that I’d renewed my mandatory insurance policy. 

Interestingly, I had renewed my insurance policy as mandated by the State of Texas, had mailed them a copy of that renewal and had a signed United States Post Office form indicating the Department of Public Safety had received it prior to the deadline date.  It didn’t matter how inefficient the folks at the DPS were; no, I was found guilty of violating a mandate and my license was immediately suspended.  There was no hearing; you’re out of business until the State of Texas says otherwise.

It was almost rich hearing the folks stammer and stutter when confronted with the fact that I had a signed US Postal form showing they had received the required renewal of insurance.  They never apologized for suspending my locksmith license; instead they simply said to “disregard the letter of suspension” and said, “It happens some times”.

Do these…, I had to stop and change a word; both started with the letter B; do these Bureaucrats, that’s much better; do these Bureaucrats understand they hold a person’s livelihood in their hands and yet, “It happens some times”, is their way of saying it’s no big deal.

I’m here to tell you, it is a big deal!  When the State of Texas can presume you’re guilty of not following some arbitrary regulation and suspend your license without a hearing or a court’s adjudication; at that time the foundations of our society, foundations based on individual liberties and the rule of law have all been thrown away. 

This is a big deal and I’m hoping others feel the veins swelling in their necks and turn that frustration into action.  Guilty until proven innocent is not acceptable!

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Gun Rights come from Veterans Administration

All this time we were under the delusion that individual rights were Naturally occurring or gifts from God; but apparently rights come from the Veterans Administration, at least the right to own and bear arms.  During a heated discussion over the defense budget bill some folks stated they believe veterans are not protected by the Constitution; why else would these individuals be held to a different standard than the rest of the citizenry?  The question recorded in an AP article:

“Should veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their own financial affairs be prevented from buying a gun?”

I’m not sure that’s a good question to ask; after all, if we’re to use mental incompetence in handling financial affairs as our litmus test, wouldn’t that exempt Congress and the Executive Branch as well?  

In my best Arlo Guthrie tone of voice, “I mean…I meeeeaaaannnnn…”, as we’re headed for a financial cliff running full steam ahead toward national bankruptcy these folks have the audacity to use financial incompetence as a measuring stick for mental stability?

“Currently, the VA appoints fiduciaries, often family members, to manage the pensions and disability benefits of veterans who are declared incompetent. When that happens, the department automatically enters the veteran’s name in the Criminal Background Check System.”

I should point out that it is a VA doctor or management team who declares these veterans incompetent rather than a judge in a court of law to determine mental competency.   This is all done to protect the individual and society from dangers associated with firearms; so they are automatically denied the right to purchase any firearms since their name would appear on a background check even though these folks are not criminals.  Doesn’t that strike anyone else as warped?

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. has been trying to protect veteran’s gun ownership rights through an amendment to the defense budget bill; however, VA administrators see it differently.

“VA officials have told lawmakers they believe veterans deemed incompetent already have adequate protections.

For example, they said, veterans can appeal the finding of incompetency based on new evidence. And even if the VA maintains a veteran is incompetent, he can petition the agency to have his firearm rights restored on the basis of not posing a threat to public safety.”

Don’t blink or you’ll miss it, that part where a veteran who has lost his right to own and bear arms, having lost that right because a doctor or management team at the VA deemed him/her mentally incompetent to manage his/her financial affairs, not a judge in a court of law; that individual can petition the VA, an agency of government, to restore that right.

Rights don’t come from government; they existed prior to the formation of government, entitlements come from government.  If you don’t understand this then you don’t deserve to call yourself an American.

“Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another… It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.”  Thomas Paine

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?”  Thomas Jefferson

The foundation of America is set in our Republican Constitutional form of government which at its base uses reasoning acquired over the history of mankind; but summed up by John Locke,

“For nobody can transfer to another more power than he has in himself, and nobody has an absolute arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or take away the life or property of another.”

Individual rights cannot be arbitrarily removed from any individual; by executive fiat, by legislation intended to make society a safer place, by a doctor treating a patient or management team intent on providing a safer environment for family members.  

Only a judge sitting in a proper court of law can limit an individual’s use of rights. 

In August a former Marine was arrested, “after authorities deemed his Facebook posts threatening”.  According to the original article printed in the Washington Times”

“Without a warrant or recitation of his Miranda rights, (Brandon) Raub was handcuffed and taken into custody. After a quick hearing, government officials confirmed that Raub’s Facebook posts necessitated his detention, refusing to acknowledge legal objections that the words were wrongly interpreted. The former Marine will undergo 30 days of evaluation at Salem VA Medical Center.”

Raub was held against his will; but considerable attention and pressure was brought to bear after news of this incident got around the internet.

“After a special hearing today (August 23, 2012), Circuit Judge W. Allan Sharret declared the commitment order granted to federal authorities for Brandon Raub’s arrest and detainment was invalid.”

It wouldn’t be so bad if this were an isolated incident; but I’m hearing from many who are currently serving in the military that upon leaving the service they are being advised to be very careful in answering questions which relate to firearms ownership because the VA medical personnel are flagging folks who “raise any red flags or concerns” and that these individuals names are automatically added to the
Criminal Background Check System effectively preventing them from gun ownership.

If all of Congress decided to limit the rights of individuals to own and bear arms through legislation, to include the UN Treaty currently being considered, that legislation would not meet the requirements of our Constitution under our form of government because rights of individuals existed and continue to exist with or without government’s approval, with or without your neighbor’s approval or even your own family’s approval. 

That’s the beauty of Constitutional protections; they don’t limit individuals, they limit government.  No, veterans don’t have to ask the VA for the right to own and bear arms, not now, not ever; it’s a Right, not an entitlement.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

It’s Bush’s Fault; I mean, Nixon

When it comes to smoke and mirrors the Obama administration takes the word Transparent to levels never dreamed of.  Take for instance the most recent disclosure as found in Stephen Braun’s AP article; “US government releases once-secret Watergate files”.

“The government released more than 850 pages from the Watergate political scandal, providing new insights on privileged legal conversations and prison evaluations of several of the burglars in the case. A federal judge had decided earlier this month to unseal some material, but other records still remain off limits.”

Richard Nixon became the poster boy for American’s hatred for dishonesty in government, “I am not a crook”; but that poster has also served as a shield for those who’ve followed, as long as they were Democrats.  Politics isn’t fair, now is it!

Nixon left the presidency; not because he had folks break into the offices at the Watergate hotel; but because he lied about his knowledge of the incident.  The presidency is about a man’s character; but only if you have the (R) as your political affiliation, or so it seems.

Bill Clinton wasn’t a liar when he said he didn’t have sex with that woman; he needed to define the word “is”, a simple matter of defining a sexual act rather than lying to the public.  Clinton wasn’t forced out of office because the media was willing to give Clinton a free pass.

Barrack Obama, on the other hand, has more baggage handlers than Delta Airlines; stuffing things like Fast and Furious into one corner only to be followed closely with the Benghazi mess.  The Obama administration refuses to cooperate with Congress or the American public on releasing pertinent information, information which would likely prove involvement in these activities went all the way to the Oval Office; but the press is willing to give Obama a free pass.

Getting back to the recent release of Watergate papers, why bother to bring up an unsavory incident which happened forty years ago? 

“The files do not appear to provide any significant new revelations in the 40-year-old case that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and criminal prosecutions of many of his top White House and political aides. But the files provide useful context for historians, revealing behind-the-scenes deliberations by Sirica, the U.S. District Court judge in charge of the case, along with prosecutors and defense lawyers.”  

Releasing information about former President Nixon takes the American public’s attention away from Obamas lies involving his knowledge of Fast and Furious which are directly or indirectly linked to the deaths of at least 2 Americans and perhaps as many as 200 Mexican nationals. 

Releasing information on Nixon lets Obama slide for lying about his knowledge on what really happened in Benghazi; the fact that he probably watched a live video feed of 4 Americans being slaughtered at the hands of Islamic terrorists and did nothing.  Obama’s lack of character isn’t being questioned by the news media because he’s been given yet another free pass.

Obama has been blaming former President Bush for all the problems with today’s economy and getting away with it, at least among the ignorant useful idiots who put him back in the Oval Office.  Isn’t it just as convenient to let the public re-examine their loathing for Nixon instead of finding out what a liar and a crook Obama is?

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To all the Mr. Tanners, Thank You

We have a radio station that plays nothing but Christmas music from Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas Day non-stop.  One of my favorites is O Holy Night (Oh Holy Night for folks who have to spell the “h”); but then again, that’s a favorite for many.

I recently learned the tune was originally not accepted, at least not in French churches, because it was written, in part, by a fellow who happened to be Jewish; go figure.  Eventually it was translated from French into English where it was well received.

Many artists have taken the challenge to perform O Holy Night; Celine Dion, Josh Groban and Nat King Cole just to name a few; but what about the folks who are not as well known, what about the “Mr. Tanners”?

You don’t know a Mr. Tanner?  I’d venture to say there’s a Mr. Tanner in just about every congregation across the globe; a person who, given an opportunity to sing, will rise to the occasion and let his/her heart fill in where his/her vocal chords fail. 

We had a Mr. Tanner in our Ward not too many years ago.  He went under the alias of Brother Oldham; but I knew right away he was a Mr. Tanner the moment I heard him sing O Holy Night. 

It’s time to say Thank You to all the Mr. Tanners for sharing of yourselves the gift you were given.  Thanks also to Harry Chapin for his thoughtful tune, Mr. Tanner, which reminds everyone; singing comes from the heart and from the soul.

Mister Tanner was a cleaner from a town in the Midwest.
And of all the cleaning shops around he’d made his the best.
But he also was a baritone who sang while hanging clothes.
He practiced scales while pressing tails and sang at local shows.
His friends and neighbors praised the voice that poured out from his throat.
They said that he should use his gift instead of cleaning coats.

But music was his life, it was not his livelihood,

And it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good.
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul.
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole.

His friends kept working on him to try music out full time.

A big debut and rave reviews, a great career to climb.
Finally they got to him, he would take the fling.
A concert agent in New York agreed to have him sing.
And there were plane tickets, phone calls, money spent to rent the hall.
It took most of his savings but he gladly used them all.
But music was his life, it was not his livelihood,
And it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good.
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul.
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole.

The evening came, he took the stage, his face set in a smile.

And in the half filled hall the critics sat watching on the aisle.
But the concert was a blur to him, spatters of applause.
He did not know how well he sang, he only heard the flaws.
But the critics were concise, it only took four lines.
But no one could accuse them of being over kind.

(spoken) Mr. Martin Tanner, Baritone, of
Dayton, Ohio made his
Town Hall debut last night. He came well prepared, but unfortunately
His presentation was not up to contemporary professional standards.
His voice lacks the range of tonal color necessary to make it
Consistently interesting.
(sung) Full time consideration of another endeavor might be in order.

He came home to
Dayton and was questioned by his friends.
Then he smiled and just said nothing and he never sang again,
Excepting very late at night when the shop was dark and closed.
He sang softly to himself as he sorted through the clothes.
Music was his life, it was not his livelihood,
And it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good.
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul.
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole.

(Lyrics courtesy of Lyrics Mode)

Since I tend to include a political jab in many of my articles, the “O” in O Holy Night is not, I repeat, is NOT a reference to Obama.  Please pass this along to Jaime Fox; don’t think he quite gets it.

In case you missed it, mixed in with the printed “refrain” is a secondary tune, O Holy Night, sung by a back-up singer in the band. 

For those who open their hearts and receive Him, the Christ Child will pour out his gift of salvation; a simple thought to send you on your way this day.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It’s Not Yours Until Government Says So

Our nation was founded on sound principles; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  The pursuit of happiness was a flowery alternative for property, or so it was at one time. Today it might mean something else since life and liberty no longer mean much either.

There’s a fairly important property case taking shape which many would just as soon go away.  It involves the government’s “taking” of raisins of all things; that’s right, shriveled up grapes are at the center of a major court battle. 

An article by Jonathan Stempel quickly pointed out that “Farmers object to setting aside crops without payment”; imagine that, objecting to the government confiscating your crops and not getting paid.  These folks must think we live in America.

Lower court rulings, to include the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have all ruled against the plaintiffs citing a Depression Era ruling which “requires raisin “handlers”, who include farmers and packers, to set aside part of their crops, in an effort to prevent supply gluts and price volatility”.  

There was a line in Stempel’s article which jumped off the page and struck me on the cheek.

“The U.S. government had urged the Supreme Court not to accept the appeal.”

The translation of that line, “If the Supreme Court hears this case it will open a whole can of worms and expose most legislation and government regulations regarding property rights as pertain to individuals as being unconstitutional”.  Any arguments which come before the court will challenge the validity of government’s interference in the free market system.  That having been said, wouldn’t We The People want to have a clearly defined court ruling on property rights; We The People being the government?  (Silly me, I forgot what year this was)

Sounds like sour grapes to me.

Some of you may remember the free market system which, over these many years has been corrupted and dismantled “one brick at a time”; to the point where it is nearly gone.  That system regarded private property as the basis for a civilized society.

If you look at the formative thoughts upon which American “doctrine” was founded, a variety of concepts were borrowed and then polished.

“Every man has a property in his own person.  This nobody has a right to, but himself.” ~John Locke

Followed closely by:

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws.  On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”  ~Frederic Bastiat

…and in our own day:

“Just as man can’t exist without his body, so no rights can exist without the right to translate one’s rights into reality, to think, to work and keep the results, which means: the right of property.”  ~Ayn Rand

So where does anyone in our government get away with appropriating the goods or services of an individual or group of individuals without just compensation?  This doesn’t even include the idea that an individual must first agree to relinquish his/her property to begin with.  The Kelo decision marked a turn toward the dark side if ever there was one.

I’ll throw in one more property rights quote; but this from an avid socialist:

“Property is organized robbery.”  ~George Bernard Shaw

The rate of speed with which America is being transformed from a free market system into a third world socialist backwater system has escalated incredibly over my life time; yet nothing compares with the Obama administration’s agenda.  Some of you might recall Robert McChesney, good buddy to Van Jones the ousted communist Green Jobs Czar under Obama.  McChesney declared that capitalism has to be dismantled “brick by brick”.

Well at least McChesney was honest about his feelings and purpose.  He expressed what many progressives want; not exactly an American concept; but what would you expect when we have a Marxist Communist living in the White House?

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Ushers in the Christmas Season

My folks, bless their twisted taste buds, had a Thanksgiving Eve tradition, and still do; they’d serve oyster stew for dinner.  I’m not sure how anyone can look at that stuff much less eat it; but they let us off by serving tomato soup instead, not my favorite either, but at least I could look at it. 

After dinner on Thanksgiving Eve we were instructed to write out our Christmas wish lists so Santa could look at them on his way through town prior to being in the parade the next day.  You think that sounds hokey; wait ‘till you hear the rest of what we bought into, getting ahead of myself.

Imagine a young boy sitting at the table with the power to ask for the desires of his heart from Santa, any toy that had been advertized was at my finger tips and all that was required was my writing it down so the letters were legible; no small feat if you’ve seen my hand writing. 

With a little help and coaching my list was completed, a huge smile as visions of …wait a moment, that part was reserved for Christmas Eve.  We’d place our lists on a plate in the middle of the dining room table so Santa could read them and have a better idea how to pack his bag in a few weeks.  

Coca-Cola made a fortune showing Santa holding a bottle of Coke; but truth be known, we always used a glass of milk and some home made gingerbread cookies to bribe the jolly old man.   Off to bed we scurried knowing that the quicker we were off to sleep the more time Santa would have to read our wish lists.

In the morning we could hardly contain our excitement as we went to the dining room table to see if Santa had come.  The evidence was there, enough to prove in any court of law; the cookies and milk had been enjoyed.  More importantly, there on the plate where we’d left our wish lists; all that remained were ashes where Santa’s magic green mittens had incinerated them, a small scorch mark left in the center of the plate.

Thanksgiving was more than just a time to enjoy a great meal with my family; it marked the first day of the Christmas Season.  We’d watch the Macy’s parade on television and anxiously waited until the very end when Santa waved from his sleigh; that was the best part of the parade. 

We had to be on our best behavior for a whole month; there had to be a catch in there, a whole month of staying out of trouble. 

I talked with mom this morning and she told me they were going to have their traditional oyster stew; but they would have it on Thanksgiving night.  I reminder her in a respectful manner how she’d gotten it off by one day; oyster stew was for Thanksgiving Eve.  I guess with us kids all grown up and on our own they can save the tomato soup for some other evening. 

With everyone concerned about being politically correct, zero tolerance and all that nonsense; telling your children about the mysteries of Santa Claus might get you in trouble.  I can see Children’s Protective Service workers knocking on the door, collecting up the ashes as evidence proving the environment for raising children was dangerous. 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

A Thanksgiving Memory on 3 Wheels

Being a retired police officer makes for some interesting memories; take for instance a thought which ran through my mind this morning, “I won’t have to get up early to work the Thanksgiving’s Day Parade tomorrow”.  Mind you, I’ve been retired from the Houston Police Department a little over twenty years, and beyond that; the last Thanksgiving’s Day Parade I actually worked was thirty years ago. 

In the early to late 70s I was assigned to Point Control Division, the folks who stood in the intersections during rush hour traffic to mess things up for drivers on their way to or from work.  At one time we rode Harley Davidson 3 wheeled motorcycles because they could maneuver through downtown traffic easier than a regular patrol car; on sidewalks if need be.

I won’t go into a lot of detail about the 3 wheeled motorcycle other than to explain it incorporated the worst aspects of a regular 2 wheeled motorcycle with the worst of 4 wheeled vehicle.  Our job was to figure out how to make it work and stay alive.

My old partner, R.C. Kersten, talked me into transferring from evening shift Patrol over to Point Control; a decision based on the idea it would be easier to learn how to operate a 3 wheeled monster than to find a good partner.

“Sign me up”; never ridden a motorcycle of any kind in my life; but “Sign me up”. 

I learned that leaning toward the desired direction did absolutely nothing on a 3 wheeler; you had to pull left or right on the handlebars, much as if it were a steering wheel.  A week or so of training on the back parking lot of the police station and one partially wrecked 3 wheeler later (gotta’ remember, leaning does no good at all) they turned me loose on the public. 

Other than directing traffic at rush hour, something I took to like a duck to water; Point Control was used for a variety of traffic related tasks, parades were on that list.  The Thanksgiving Parade was the jewel in the crown, a chance for the “city’s finest” to shine. 

On Thanksgiving Day there was an unwritten rule, if you called in sick you’d better be wearing a toe tag. 

Point Control officers would be stationed at every location which had anything remotely associated with the parade and we had to be in the roll call room promptly at 5am (it might have been 6am; but that was a long time ago) for a parade which would start at 10am.  Why so early; it made little sense other than it gave supervisors time to call and chew out any officers who might have slept in late.

My partner and I left roll call to go have breakfast at my folk’s house since they lived very close to town.  We enjoyed a meal prepared by my mom and killed a couple of hours visiting before heading back into town.

The streets on the edge of downtown were empty for the most part; the only activity being on or along the parade route.  Kersten and I drove our 3 wheelers north on Louisiana Street, passing under the Pierce Elevated with the morning sky brightened by the sun peaking in between buildings.  

Off on the left was the old YMCA building with a lone pedestrian casually walking on the sidewalk, a boom box planted on his shoulder next to his ear.  My partner and I had the same thought, “Let’s have some fun”. 

I should mention that 3 wheelers were not equipped with a siren; they had a cheesy little red light perched on a pole, but no siren.   It had a feeble sounding horn; yea, like folks are going to hear that…

My partner and I learned that if you locked up the front disc brake, keeping the throttle open full at the same time, then pull hard on the handlebars as if to turn; the leading edge of the front tire would grind along the pavement and make a horrendous sound, much like what you’d hear moments prior to a major traffic accident.  That became our “siren”. 

Back to the unsuspecting pedestrian strolling down the street oblivious to anything but James Brown blasting out of his boom box.  Without saying a word we both “turned on our sirens”. 

The fellow panicked, his knees buckling while he attempted to get out of harms way.  The YMCA had a shallow concrete retaining wall next to the sidewalk which made his first attempt fail.  He found his second wind half a moment later and was able to clear the sidewalk; not sure what became of the boom box to be honest.

Partner and I let loose of the brakes and continued toward our assignment.  Santa Claus was on his way so we’d be escorting his sleigh at the end of the parade with our 3 wheelers.  Naturally our names would be on the Good Little Boy’s List as we protected and served the public. 

A note in passing, the officer in that old photograph, the skinny guy standing next to the 3 wheeler; that’s me back in the day.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Auditors Afraid of Licensed Locksmiths

You want to hear something interesting, the Department of Public Safety/Private Security Bureau (DPS/PSB) auditors are afraid of licensed locksmiths; not making this up folks.  My copy of Locked-In, a monthly publication of the Greater Houston Locksmith Association, had its monthly report regarding the last DPS/PSB meeting.

“Because of some licensees working from their homes, and not from a storefront, some of the inspectors are concerned for their safety when auditing.  It was recommended that a phone call be placed to schedule a meeting outside the home between the auditor and the licensee or for the auditor to take a state trooper with them to the home.”

Let’s set the background for these auditors going about the task of insuring the safety of the general public’s interaction with the locksmith industry. 

Anyone who desires to work as a locksmith in the State of Texas is required to apply for, receive and maintain a license issued by the DPS/PSB.  Requirements for the license include a thorough FBI investigation, fingerprints, substantial proof of the individual’s character which precludes anyone with a felony conviction and many misdemeanor offenses to include DWI.  In short, those individuals who eventually obtain a locksmith license have shown they are above reproach.

On top of that locksmiths are required to invest a considerable sum, up front and before they make a single dime, for the license and the included requirement to have a bare minimum insurance policy to cover $1 million in damages (or is it $2 million; my policy is for $2 million) in case of a simple mistake or criminal wrong doing.  Together this adds up to over a thousand dollars out of pocket expense for each locksmith every year and does not include the cost associated with mandatory continuing education in order to keep the license once it’s been issued. 

Why would a representative of the DPS/PSB feel uncomfortable visiting a licensed locksmith, be it at a storefront or his/her home?   Could it be the auditor understands his/her presence represents our transformation from a free market society where individuals at one time could depend on their God given rights as protected by the Constitution into a totalitarian repressive socialist state which grants permission for the basic right to work?   (I love a run on sentence almost as much as I do my liberty)

My wife thinks these folks are scared because they receive letters, letters which they apparently view as threats from locksmiths who resent the State’s imposition into affairs which are none of their business.  Isn’t that one of the beautiful parts of our constitutional republic, the ability to voice our disdain when government steps over the line and usurps authorities never intended?

Ezra Taft Benson explained in his talk, The Proper Role of Government:

“…let us first consider the origin of those freedoms we have come to know are human rights. There are only two possible sources. Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, tradition and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. I, for one, shall never accept that premise. As the French political economist, Frederick Bastiat, phrased it so succinctly, "Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." (The Law, p.6)”

It has become painfully clear the folks running the DPS/PSB believe in the latter, that human rights are granted by government and can be denied by government. With each passing year it isn’t hard to notice the usurpation of powers by government; powers which rightfully belong to individuals have been taken over by bureaucratic fiat under the direction of a well meaning legislature intent on safeguarding the public. 

 “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither”.   Ben Franklin

“Those who sacrifice the liberties of others believing they know what’s best for society are called Socialists.”  (my own modification, hope you like it)

If America were a democracy then it would be understandable for the majority to establish laws which inflict injury to some individual’s personal rights; however, America is a constitutional republic where personal rights can never be impugned regardless of the wishes of the majority.  Individual rights are beyond legislation and the reach of well meaning bureaucratic policy makers and include the right to work in any otherwise lawful endeavor. 

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficient... The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”   Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Protestations by individuals in order to secure and maintain God given rights should not be taken as threats.  Individuals of integrity and character seek a higher plain of reasoned conversation and use confrontation only as a last resort.

It is unfortunate to hear unwarranted fears from DPS/PSB inspectors voicing concerns for their well being to such an extent they feel it necessary to have an armed guard present in order for them to continue to enforce arbitrarily conceived rules and regulations on individuals licensed to perform locksmith work. 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.