Friday, February 24, 2012

It Doesn’t Matter Who Poisons You

There’s an old truism, “It doesn’t matter who poisons you, you’ll still be just as dead”.  The first time I heard that it had to do with permitting a friend steal your dream of success by letting them pour cold water on it.  So many of us punch the time clock when we arrive at our jobs, punch out at lunchtime, punch in for the second half and then punch out on the way home.  Doing anything different scares many folks away so living a different “dream” is frightening.  Marginal poverty is “safer” than risking failure on the unknown, going into business for yourself; but I’m ambling now.

This morning there was an article by David Wolman at explaining how the North Korean government was printing counterfeit $100 and $50 dollar currency in order to prop up the won.   

“These ultra-counterfeits are light years beyond the weak facsimiles produced by most forgers, who use desktop printers. As an anti-counterfeiting investigator with Europol once put it: “Superdollars are just U.S. dollars not made by the U.S. government.” With few exceptions, only Federal Reserve banks equipped with the fanciest detection gear can identify these fakes.”

You might say, jokingly, Korean printed paper money is about as worthless as the money printed by our own government. (I don’t hear anyone laughing, that was a joke, hummm…) The U.S. Treasury continues to add billions of dollars to the supply which in turn devalues currency which is already in the hands of the citizenry; some might call this theft on a grand scale, others might even consider it treasonous to intentionally destroy the foundations of society.   

“According to the House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, superdollars may be part of the regime’s effort to acquire materials for nuclear weapons.”

Just so you know, that line was supposed to be aimed at the North Korean attempt to destroy the U.S. Dollar; however it could easily have been directed at the Obama administration which has done more to destroy the value of the dollar than all previous administrations put together.  Remember, it doesn’t matter who poisons you, you’ll still be just as dead.

Wolman’s article takes off on a tangent a bit further down; equating folks who exchange cash for goods with criminals or whacko survivalists.  Apparently anyone who doesn’t go through the formality of banks, either with checking accounts or “plastic”, folks like that are a fringe element of society tending toward being unscrupulous.

“At the risk of infuriating cash-hoarding militia members, anonymity-obsessed ACLU’ers, the U.S. Treasury, Russian mob, Laundromat owners, and just about every person who has ever hid a purchase from a spouse or income from the government…”

There was another reference in the article, an important warning which might be overlooked by folks.  The people in North Korea woke up one morning only to find their ability to purchase everyday items was devastated.

“The won was devalued by 100 percent, which meant 1,000 won suddenly had the purchasing power of 10 won. (Imagine waking up to (a) learn that a slice of pizza costs $250.)”

This same thing happened in Zimbabwe in 2007.  It can happen anywhere governments print money that has nothing of real value to back it up.

“One US dollar now buys 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars on the official market, having previously earned 250 Zimbabwe dollars.”

Can you imagine going to the grocery store and having to take a suitcase to carry cash instead of a wallet?  It wouldn’t matter much, Zimbabwe grocery stores didn’t have anything to sell because the entire infrastructure had been destroyed; nothing was making it to the market place. 

Moving right along; the spot market on gold is an interesting way to determine the cost of inflation.  Several years ago the price for an ounce of gold hovered around $400; that same ounce of gold this morning will cost you $1848.  What has been the cost to U.S. citizens who’ve had to sit and watch their life savings destroyed because their own government has been attacking the market place and devaluing the Dollar in leaps and bounds? 

In case you missed the lesson today, it doesn’t matter who poisons you, you’ll still be just as dead.  We have a chance to slow down our rate of destruction, perhaps even reverse course come November.  Elections have consequences, throw these rascals out!

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, February 14, 2012

Stupid Tea Party Extremists

Now and then I read where folks deride the Tea Party movement as if it were some sort of blemish on the face of America.  Words or combinations of words complete the thought process, crazy, stupid extremists, zealots, insane; you get the picture.  My thoughts turned to another time not so long ago when a different group of folks were in the cross hairs; pardon the politically incorrect use of cross hairs, when a different group of folks were singled out for destruction because they’d pointed out how communism was a direct threat to our constitutional republic. 

The John Birch Society was a voice against the threat of communism at a time when China and Cuba had already been consumed by it.  The communist party in Russia held strategy sessions on how to neutralize the John Birch Society because the spot light on the socialization of America was a danger to their cause.  Anyone who aligned themselves with the John Birch Society was labeled a fool, crazy extremist who had to be insane and couldn’t be trusted to carry a loaf of bread home from the store; much less run for President like Barry Goldwater. 

How successful was the campaign to destroy the John Birch Society?  To this day many folks are afraid to mention the name in public.  Anyone who dares to carefully dig into muddied political waters can expect the same treatment; Birthers, Climate Warming Deniers and of course Tea Baggers.

Historically the same pattern has been used to destroy and discredit opponents of communism over the years.  Ezra Taft Benson, in his talk, Stand Up For Freedom given on February 11, 1966, pointed out that immediately after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated two things happened.

“First was the speed with which the Communist leaders spread the word that the slaying of the President must have been the work of American conservatives. Moscow has conducted a five year propaganda campaign to make American conservatives look like hysterical fanatics. It has called them “rightists,” “extremists,” and even “fascists.” Within an hour after the assassination and before Oswald was captured, Moscow was assuring the world that this crime was a product of the “rightist” movement on the United States.

The second thing which happened was the amazing rapidity with which American liberals took up the Moscow line. They too were quick to fix the blame even though there hadn’t been the slightest hint as to who had committed the crime. I wonder what would have happened if Oswald had not been captured and identified as an active Communist who was in direct contact with Party headquarters in New York City? Undoubtedly the liberal element would be blaming this tragedy on conservative Americans to this day.”

Does this sound familiar?  It should, this is exactly the way the drive by media handled their explanation of the shooting which nearly killed U.S. Rep. (D) Gabrielle Giffords outside a grocery store in Tucson Arizona a year ago.  The bullet casings were almost to the ground when the first accusations flew from the leftist press.  The shooter, who was already in custody, must be some extremist rightwing nut-job trying to make a political statement.  No facts had been established to justify such a line of thought; but that didn’t keep the press from repeating the absurdity for quite some time; destroy or diminish the ability of conservatives, in particular, destroy the Tea Party movement at any cost.

“Americans at the grass roots level have sensed that their way of life is being threatened. During the last several years there has been a rising tide of resistance to the prevailing political trend. Compromises with Communism abroad and flirtations with socialism at home have stirred up opposition in both political parties. If this has lead to disunity then by all means let us return to a program of sound Constitutional principles on which we can unite.”

In case you’re wondering, that last quote was also spoken by Ezra Taft Benson in the very same talk over 40 years ago.  Sound reasoning and a glimpse at our present day dilemma should make reading the rest of his advice worth while.  

When I hear folks speak in derogatory terms about the Tea Party, folks who hold the constitution dear, folks who see the dangers of following the road to socialism and destruction; I have to wonder.  Have they never read nor understood the invaluable lessons of history?   Instead of flinging insults at Tea Party supporters might I suggest a different strategy; join us.

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”.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Human Condition

Sometimes you can tell by a person’s voice that they’re going to be fun to meet; today was that kind of day.  A woman called wanting work done on her Ford Explorer; something about how when it came back from being worked on the ignition key no longer worked in the doors or the storage cover.  There was a familiar ring to her voice which I pegged right off as being similar to a character in the movie, Temple Grandin.

Temple Grandin was autistic and certain aspects of life were a major challenge, things you and I take for granted.  She was deathly afraid of automatic sliding doors, to the point of avoiding shopping at stores where she’d have to go past the guillotine-like devices.  On one such occasion Temple entered a grocery store and found herself trapped, unable to leave once she realized her only exit was through an automatic sliding glass door.

A sweet woman approached Temple, started a conversation and recognized an opportunity to assist the petrified young girl past the automatic doors.  Her voice was that of a long lost friend even though they’d never met; this was the voice I heard over the phone.  I mentioned this to the customer upon first meeting to work on her key issues.

Turned out all she needed was some spray lubricant in her locks, there was nothing wrong other than they’d become dry from the elements.  Most of the time she used the remote “clicker” to open or lock and so the key hardly ever was used.  She had a sense of humor and got a good laugh for not having tried something so simple herself.  I did make her a duplicate transponder key and programmed it so she’d have a back up key; not like it was a wasted call.

While lubricating the locks and testing her keys to make sure they worked I told her about a woman, many years ago, who’d called because, as she explained, she’d locked herself out of her car one very hot August day.  It was late on a Saturday and I was still an apprentice locksmith working for free; well, not quite free.  I got paid in knowledge and every now and then I was given a job at the end of the day, something not too difficult where I could keep the money; mostly jobs the boss didn’t want, too far in the wrong direction or not worth the effort.

It was a typical Houston summer afternoon, about 97 degrees with high humidity when the lady called about her Cadillac being locked with the keys inside.  Almost an hour’s drive and the lady was sitting on the trunk deck waiting when I drove up. 

She wore a professional three piece business suit; but her makeup had “slid” down and was dripping onto the jacket portion, that’s how hot it was.  I walked around the vehicle testing all the handles; it never hurts to try the simplest thing, the passenger side rear door opened.

“That’s not possible, I always lock the doors”, she blurted out as a smile crept onto my face.  I tried to hide it; but it was already out there.  The lady was perplexed and beside herself as my sense of humor rose to the occasion.

“I’m not going to charge you for the lock out; however, not telling anyone your name is worth the price of admission, wouldn’t you say?”  She paid in cash and was embarrassed to look me in the face.  That’s the human condition; some have it worse than others. Today’s customer only needed a little spray lubricant to get her locks working, nothing to feel too bad about.

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, February 03, 2012

Mandated Ignition Interlocks for DWI

The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act being considered in Washington would set aside “$25 million per year to states that require the devices to be installed in vehicles of anyone convicted of driving under the influence”; however the bill also has a provision which would mandate those installations in all 50 states according to an article by Joshua Rhett Miller on the Fox News website.  Not everyone favors this legislation, the American Beverage Institute leads the pack; does that surprise anyone?

Managing director Sarah Longwell had a reasonable point, “Interlocks should only be mandated for people who are 0.15 BAC or above on their first offense or who have multiple offenses at any level,” she said. “Below that 0.15 level, a judge should be involved in whether or not the offender gets an interlock.”

I agree, at least in part; “a judge should be involved in whether or not the offender gets an interlock”.  Mandates which use the shotgun approach tend to destroy liberty rather than protect the “innocent”.  Let the judge determine the need; under most circumstances it would be reasonable to require a convicted DWI violator to install an ignition interrupt device, either that or relinquish his/her driving privileges.

“In 2010, more than 10,000 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that alcohol detection devices could save nearly 8,000 lives annually.”

Another reason not to like this provision of The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act is the $25 million per year set aside, that’s $25 million tax payer dollars to install these interlock devices to prevent a convicted DWI violator from starting his/her vehicle without first testing their breath to make sure it is within legal levels.  Why should the taxpayers have to pay for this?  The convicted DWI violator should pay for all required equipment and installation, not the taxpayers.

“Michael Boldin, executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, said he disagreed with the “one-size-fits-all solution” behind the provision, particularly given that 42 states have already weighed in on whether to put ignition interlock laws on the books.”

“Every time we set that precedent that the federal government can mandate on the states certain rules or regulations, then the next time that something bigger comes up -- perhaps a health care mandate -- then there’s already the building blocks for this type of power that’s been allowed in the past,” he told” 

Somebody explain to me why The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act includes a provision mandating DWI violators install ignition interlock devices in their automobiles.  I get it, the bill has to do with disbursement of $260 billion, $493 million for federal highway safety grants.  This is nothing more than a carrot held at the end of a stick; you want the money, you have to march to the music.  The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act is another power grab by the federal government.

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”