Thursday, July 26, 2012

Assault Weapons Belong on the Battlefield

This past November, as recorded by countless news briefs, talk radio and internet forums, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act, (S.1867).  President Obama demanded a provision be included which would “permit the federal government to indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil, without charge or trial, at the discretion of the President”

In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”  

In other words Obama and the Senate have designated the land within our borders a battlefield and included American citizens as possible enemy combatants who have no constitutional rights; pretty slick, sounds like a third world dictator’s dream.  (If you’re keeping track all 57 states Obama visited while running for the presidency are affected by this new law.)  This is old “news” to anyone paying attention; let’s move the clock up to the present.

Real Clear Politics ran a story on their website this morning, Obama: AK-47s Belong In The Hands Of Soldiers, Not Citizens.  President Obama, speaking to the National Urban League convention in New Orleans, “I think we recognize the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation. That hunting and shooting are a cherished national heritage.”

Notice how progressives marginalize ownership and use of weapons as if rifles, shotguns and pistols were reserved for hunting or sporting purposes as part of “our national heritage”.  If you read between the lines “our national heritage” is the same as a government entitlement, not exactly what the founders said about the purpose for an individual’s God given right to own and bear arms.

“A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined; but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”  George Washington

Obama didn’t stop there as he continued to move his anti-gun agenda forward.

“But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals. That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities,” 

Obama thinks, and would have us believe, citizens who own AK-47’s, AR-15s or any number of military style weapons are criminals; in essence that’s what he said.  Obama then added, these assault type weapons belong on the battlefield of war. 

This past November Obama pushed to have the Democrat controlled Senate pass the National Defense Authorization Act and together they did just that.  Obama demanded the bill include a provision giving the president broad powers for dealing with citizens who stand up to authorities making them enemy combatants.  America has been declared a battleground which suggests having an AK-47 or AR type weapon is a good investment for defending personal liberties. 

Mr. President, you signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law proclaiming the streets in our cities battlegrounds open to your interpretation of which citizens might be enemy combatants so you could remove them from society without formal charges, without legal council, without a trial and keep them locked away indefinitely.   

You can’t have it both ways; either we are American citizens with a God given right to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government with battlefield grade weapons of equal or superior strength to those who would lord over us or we have already become subjects to a totalitarian régime.  The spirit of America lives within the rule of law and is protected by the Constitution; Mr. President, you are the enemy!

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, July 25, 2012

Michele “McCarthy” Bachmann?

I was in short pants when Senator Joseph McCarthy was looking for communist sympathizers.  Most of my opinions on the matter were formed after reading about it in history books.  Then it dawned on me, the history books were written by the very communist sympathizers McCarthy was trying to expose; the left runs the public schools and places of higher learning.  McCarthy was painted as some kind of lunatic out on a witch hunt; hence the term “McCarthyism” represents any lunatic fringe questioning of the way things are.

According to an article published on the Washington Post’s Political website, during the McCarthy hearings, “the Army’s lawyer Joseph Welch once asked of McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency?”’  A proper response to that question would have been, “Sir, when it comes to defending the United States from enemies, foreign or domestic, I leave no stone unturned.” 

As it turns out Joseph McCarthy was correct, at least in part, and our government had been infiltrated by communists, enough to make them a viable threat to our constitutional republic.  Henry Lamb, rest in peace, wrote a series of articles entitled, Global Governance , where he explained what was going on during the Cold War.

The dream of world dominance is not, nor has it ever been, the pursuit by an exclusive cadre of conspirators. The dream has been held by many different factions -- often simultaneously -- always in competition with one another. By 1950, at least three major forces -- all competing for world dominance -- were clearly identified. Each of the three major forces worked overtly and covertly to achieve their objectives. 

The Soviet Union had clearly defined its Marx/Lenin/Stalin version of Communism. Its systematic program of expansionism -- including an active organization in the United States -- fully intended to bring all the world under its control. So confident were the Soviets of their eventual success that, on his 1959 tour of the U.S., Nikita Kruschchev pounded his shoe on a podium before the television cameras and declared to America: “We will bury you!”

America would have no part of a world under Communist rule. Senator Joseph McCarthy led a crusade against Communists in America. His campaign tarnished many non-communists but was successful in rooting out Alger Hiss, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and Morton Sobell, all convicted of espionage-related crimes.” 

How far do we go when investigating folks in our government, those in positions of critical trust, individuals who are privy to sensitive information and hold sway over decision making policy?  Do we require a valid birth certificate, proper background checks to validate claimed job histories or advanced education?  Is it a legitimate roll of the vetting process to investigate an individual’s family, neighbors and close associates since these people might have a direct influence on the person considered for a security clearance?  (I bet a few thought I was referring to Obama; if the shoe fits…)

Michele Bachmann recently pointed out a possible security breach, that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin has ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.  “Have you no sense of decency?”, wasn’t that the demeaning question the Army’s lawyer Joseph Welch’s directed at Joseph McCarthy?

“These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit. And they need to stop now,” (Senator John) McCain said on the Senate floor as he attacked Bachmann for having brought up such a clearly unsubstantiated personal attack on a trusted member of our community.   

It would be inexcusable to question the loyalty of a good Muslim member of society; that is unless you understand that it’s perfectly okay to deceive your enemies in order to advance Islam.  Don Boys, Ph.D, wrote an article several years ago, Islam Permits Lying to DeceiveUnbelievers and Bring World Domination!   Certainly those in the Senate would have at least heard of the principle of infiltrating positions of trust in order to defeat your enemy.

“It is impossible to understand Islam and Muslims by listening to their protestations against terror and their proclamations of patriotism for America. Usually, it is wise and fair to give people the benefit of the doubt but when it comes to national safety and the future of America, we had better look twice, even thrice at Muslim patriotism. Why? Because Islam permits lying! It is called “Al-taqiyya.” One Muslim said that Al-taqiyya means dissimulation then he expanded it to diplomacy but he should have gone further to deception. Now some Muslims who do not follow the Koran are as faithful Americans as any of us, but the problem is, we cannot know.

It seems our President and his advisors are clueless as to the desires, doctrines, and distinctives of Islam. While I feel a little audacious in giving advice to national leaders, it is necessary since no one else is doing it. Muslims lie not because they are liars by nature but by choice. Systematic lying as a religious policy is deadly, and if our politicians do not understand this, thousands could die.

Muslims lie when it is in their interest to do so and “Allah” will not hold them accountable for lying when it is beneficial to the cause of Islam. They can lie without any guilt or fear of accountability or retribution. A lie in the defense of Islam is approved even applauded in their “holy” books.” 

Getting back to the criticism directed at Michele Bachmann in the Washington Post article, a few issues were brought up; but the one I found most interesting had to do with radical Islam. 

“Since Obama was elected in 2008, she has sounded an alarm about the nonexistent threat of sharia law in the United States and supported the birther movement.” 

Isn’t that rich, some folks are concerned about a “nonexistent threat of sharia law in the United States”?  Pay no attention to the man wearing the rag on his head behind the curtain, “I am Oz, the great and powerful”.  

“Police in the heavily Arab Detroit suburb of Dearborn say they arrested four Christian missionaries for disorderly conduct at an Arab cultural festival.  Police Chief Ron Haddad says his department made the arrests Friday. The four are free on bond.”

{ …} 

“The “disorderly conduct” consisted of handing out copies of the Gospel of John outside the festival.”

We should be grateful folks like Michele Bachmann are not afraid to ask difficult questions or to find out who has infiltrated positions of trust and put our nation in harms way.  If you happen to get lumped in with Joseph McCarthy; well that’s not such a bad thing if you consider the fact that old Joe was right.

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, July 24, 2012

Private Property in Socialist America

If Rip Van Winkle woke up in America today he’d wonder what happened to private property rights.  Imagine finding out other folks can dictate what you can use your property for; this must be some kind of bad dream, go back to sleep and maybe the next time you open your eyes things will return to how it should be.

Take for example the Pebble Partnership which invested over “107 million monitoring the soil, water and air in order to assure the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) it can mine without causing ecological damage” prior to mining precious metals.  They can’t turn a shovel without getting permission from every environmental whack job in the State of Alaska because it might change the way things have looked since before time was measured.

According to an article by Joshua Rhett Miller on the Fox News website environmental groups along with the EPA have halted the development of the Pebble Mine, perhaps indefinitely because there might be damage done to the fishing industry if anything goes wrong.

“If you read the watershed assessment, the conclusion that the EPA came to is that even without a catastrophic dam failure, there would be cumulative effects over time that would have an adverse effect on fish and other animals in the region,” said Lindsey Bloom, an organizer with Trout Unlimited and operator of a commercial fishing boat. “For us, if you look at the Exxon Valdez oil spill or the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf, consumers just balk at the idea of potential pollution in their seafood.”

Pebble Partnership bought the land, not Lindsey Bloom, not Trout Unlimited and certainly not the EPA who supposedly represent the interests of the American people.   They’ve invested considerable money towards developing a profitable venture to extract what could potentially come to billions of dollars in gold, copper and other valuable metals; why should they consider the demands of anyone not invested in that particular private property?  

“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

The argument proposed by Trout Unlimited isn’t much different than saying it’s too dangerous to fly because airplanes fall out of the sky every now and then.  We can’t have any new dams because now and again they break; property and lives are lost.  We might get hit with a huge honking meteor and entire species of animals are gone in a flash.  It’s too dangerous to let anyone mine in Alaska or coal in Tennessee and you can forget about drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico; go back to bed.

“The mine has backing from some state officials. In June, state Attorney General Michael Geraghty wrote the EPA to complain of what he called an “unnecessary rush to judgment.” He sought to have the deadline for public comment extended to Nov. 20. Geraghty believes that if the EPA invokes the federal Clean Water Act in addressing the mining proposal, it could potentially “extinguish” the state’s mineral rights.”

The EPA has become so powerful it works outside constraints placed on government by our constitutional framework and has for quite some time.  Our nation has progressively moved towards socialism, ignoring property rights of individuals and corporations with impunity.  The courts have been used by self appointed social watchdog groups to impede lawful rights of property owners to such an extent that many corporations have abandoned the United States in favor of doing business in other countries where they are welcomed with open arms.

“So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property, that it will not authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community.”  William Blackstone

Property rights in America are evaporating like distilled dew which for a moment rests upon the morning grass and is gone.  Individuals and corporations no longer determine the use of their own property without first having to please everyone around them.  I’m afraid it old Rip Van Winkle were to fall asleep again, as many in America have failed in protecting their rights, there won’t be anything left to recognize; much as Washington Irving’s children’s story ended. 

Then, worn and weary, at last laid down,
For his locks were white and his limbs were sore--
And RIP VAN WINKLE will wake no more.

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, July 20, 2012

Who Stands in Need of Comforting?

By now most everyone has been made aware of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado where apparently a lone individual entered a movie house, opened fire on innocent folks, killing twelve at last count and injuring many more.  The heartache and misery caused by such reckless conduct is beyond description and yet we somehow attempt to do just that by immersing ourselves in news accounts of the ordeal or reading first hand accounts printed on social media places like Facebook or Twitter.

News media outlets score ratings points by showing pictures of blood soaked body blankets and crowds of grieving survivors sobbing in disbelief as loved ones or friends are whisked away on stretchers.  We may never know why so much evil was unleashed in the theater the other night.  Some will blame it on easy access to firearms calling for stricter gun control as a knee jerk reaction while others will blame it on political divisions within the country. 

There’s a movement afoot to destroy our individual God given right to own and bear arms, our means of defending from those who would deprive us of property or life.  Our founders were very specific; the most important reason to own and bear arms is to keep a tyrannical government from being able to take all the other intangible God given rights provided in the Bill of Rights.  

There would be no freedom of speech, no right to assemble peaceably with grievances against the government without the right to own and bear arms. 

When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.”  (Attributed to Thomas Jefferson; but according to some historians this line was first offered by John Basil Barnhill during a debate regarding socialism in 1914.  Credit for the uttering the line first is irrelevant; it is true regardless of the source.)

Rahm Emanual enlightened the public as to how our current progressive government moves agenda items forward during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “Never let a crisis go to waste…(and if there isn't one, then create it).”

That last part of that thought process bothers me, having watched Fast & Furious and the implication that our government attempted to create a crisis for the sole purpose of destroying the 2nd Amendment.  They would have gotten away with it had it not been for some whistle blower.

Is it possible anyone would create a situation so horrific as to set in motion a national demand to reduce or dissolve our 2nd Amendment right to own and bear arms by putting automatic weapons in the hands of murdering thugs?  I ask only because Eric Holder refused to furnish key evidence to Congress, information which seems to back up such suspicions.

Is it too big a leap in reason to contemplate that agents of that same government might find some easily manipulated stooge capable of murdering a dozen people all in the name of creating a “crisis”?  There have already been demands to get rid of the guns, those evil guns, by powerful leaders of government within hours of this event.

It’s too terrible to consider; but Rahm Emanual did say, “Never let a crisis go to waste…(and if there isn't one, then create it).”  Is there anyone that evil among us?

A couple of weeks ago I was in a preparation meeting prior to working my Thursday evening shift at the Houston Temple.  The meeting started off with a scriptural thought presented by Brother Croft, a fellow ordinance worker.  The only reason for mentioning this was because Brother Croft was Bishop of the Columbine Ward when they had a similar tragedy several years ago. 

He spoke clearly and with great effort, memories rushing through his mind as he read the same scripture he’d shared with his congregation when they were in need of comforting.  Those who lost family members or knew them were many; all looking for something to cling to as they wore their grief openly.

The passage he wanted to share was 3 Nephi 17:24, when the Savior visited the people on this continent after his suffering in Gethsemane, crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension into heaven.  He took time with the children as he ministered and comforted them. 

“And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.”

Let’s not rush with undue haste to alter the constitutional framework provided to protect individual liberties; for liberties lost are not easily restored.  May we instead find the peace and comfort our Savior provides in these dark moments as we are reminded of His love for each of 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”.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Warrantless Searches and the 4th Amendment

Your home is your castle, a place you and your family are safe from the evils of the world as well as government intrusion, unwarranted searches and seizures of property.  Unwarranted searches were listed as grievances against the King of England when we declared our independence.  It was important enough to be included in the Bill of Rights to prevent our own government from ever violating this sacred trust.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Department of Homeland Security has never received their copy of the 4th Amendment or have chosen to disregard it as they go about violating the scope and intent of this clearly stated principle of liberty.  Reminding TSA goons of this American principle can get you arrested and detained if you happen to be at an airport.

More recently, in a case of mistaken identity it got a Florida resident killed simply because the police apparently stormed the wrong house while looking for a felon suspect according to an story.  The news story made a big deal out of reports that police never identified themselves when they knocked on the door; but was that really the issue?  At 1:30 am if someone knocks on my door they’d be looking down the barrel of my pistol; during the daytime hours that same gun would be hidden in the small of my back for easy access should the need arise.

“When we knocked on the door, the door opened and the occupant of that apartment was pointing a gun at deputies and that's when we opened fire and killed him,” Lt. John Herrell said.”  

How come police didn’t obtain a warrant prior to knocking on the door or, for that matter, approaching the residence?   There were sufficient officers at the scene to insure the felony suspect wasn’t going anywhere.  From what was reported, they had probable cause to believe the suspect was hiding inside that residence; certainly enough to obtain a warrant signed by a judge regardless of the hour.

Nothing will bring the dead man back to life, this was a tragic event.  Please don’t read anything into this appraisal of a situation which I was not witness to or take this as pre-judging the police without sufficient evidence; their statement validates what I’ve printed and any criminal or civil litigation which follows would require the same standard of proof as any other case. 

My purpose for writing is a bit more involved; police and other government representatives, are required to obtain a warrant prior to stopping and/or detaining an individual unless circumstances make it impossible.  The same requirements hold true for entering the property of an individual; government officers are specifically prohibited from violating the God given right to be safe within the confines of his/her house without a warrant obtained with specific probable cause before a judge.

There are many in positions of authority among us, elected or appointed, who don’t agree with this part of our contract with government.  They see themselves as protectors of society with the attitude of, “What ever it takes to keep folks safe…that’s good enough”. 

President Obama, frustrated by his inability to implement progressive changes to our way of life has run into road blocks initiated by our founders, a means of slowing down government to prevent radical changes.  Change requires agreement between a divided Congress, a divided Senate and the executive branch of government.  In this way individual liberties are safe guarded from irrational torch bearers.   It should alarm most citizens when they hear Obama’s inflammatory slogan,  issued October 24, 2011 and posted to the official White House web site, “We Can’t Wait”.

“Without a doubt, the most urgent challenge that we face right now is getting our economy to grow faster and to create more jobs…. we can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.”  

In plain English, “To hell with the Constitutional, We don’t need no stinkin’ Congress; I know what needs to be done!”  Every Executive Order Obama signs validates this concern.

The Obama administration also feels the same way about the 2nd Amendment protecting an individual’s God given right to own and bear arms.  Hillary Clinton is Obama’s “point man” working with the U.N. to get the Small Arms Treaty ratified.  The Senate is scheduled to vote on this important issue July 27th.  The purpose of the treaty is to strip the guts out of the 2nd Amendment by turning sovereign powers to the United Nations.  The treaty will restrict gun ownership as well as the ability to purchase and maintain ammunition for those weapons; but other than that there’s no conflict with the intent our founding fathers had in mind when these issues were penned.

What’s going to happen when government goons, be they local, state or federal police; or worse, United Nations peace keeping forces come knocking at your door to confiscate your pistols, rifles, shotguns and all the ammunition or reloading equipment in your house?   Will Senate ratification of the U.N. Small Arms Treaty destroy the Castle Doctrine, your safe haven from unwarranted search and seizure?   How many Americans will have the tenacity required to stand tall and deny armed goons from storming in and doing as they please?  Those who do will either be arrested for obstructing justice, disorderly conduct, assaulting an officer or simply shot for presenting a danger to those officers. 

Let our eyes be opened; may we be awakened from the mind numbing sleep which has permitted evil men to be elected, to represent our interests and protect our God given inalienable rights.  We are moving, propelled if you will, “Forward” towards Obama’s vision of “Hope and Change”, his skirting constitutional restraints on the executive branch as he shouts, “We Can’t Wait!” all the while issuing executive orders one after the other.   

Wouldn’t We The People be better off restoring individual Constitutional protections damaged through intentional casuistry, as my friend Al would put it ?  When our government resorts to deceit and chicanery it’s time to flush them out and put in new guards; November is fast approaching, choose well.

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, July 12, 2012

Locksmith Apprentices in Socialized America

The Associated Locksmiths of America sends an email out on Thursdays with links to various articles related to the Security Industry as a whole with an occasional article on locksmith work.  This afternoon there was an interesting post, Framework For Locksmithing Apprenticeship, offering a standardized national model program which was approved by Dr Steffan George, Development Director of the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) and leading employers.

“The launch of the apprenticeship framework is a very positive moment for the MLA and the industry as a whole. This is the culmination of years of research and collaborative effort. The framework is an important step after the development of a nationally recognized locksmithing qualification, which we hope will have a significant impact on the regulation of the industry as well as providing locksmith companies with the pathway and funding to take on and develop new talent.”

In keeping with the solemnity of this move, Church Lady from the old Saturday Night Live show will offer my opinion, “Well isn’t that special.”  I’d include a wav.file but we’re on a tight budget so you’ll have to remember Dana Carvey’s sarcasm filled voice when uttering that remark.

An apprenticeship requires a one on one relationship between the locksmith and a person who desires to learn the skills required of a locksmith through hands on training.  The lessons taught and learned are based on observed moments by the senior locksmith, moments which can be expanded upon; but only in that moment and certainly not by some crafted national agenda to crank out sustainable locksmiths according to standards set up by a bunch of well meaning overseers.

Texas licensed locksmiths have their hands tied behind their backs because of over regulation by the state.  Taking on an apprentice has added expenses, other than miss cut keys that end up in the recycling bucket; apprentices have to be licensed at not small cost.  The days when you could take a young person under your wing, train them in the shop in various tasks related to locksmith work, let them practice on customer’s property; all that went by the wayside when the state decided it knew what was best for society’s safety. 

The same folks who screwed up the locksmith industry by encouraging/demanding states license the locksmith industry; you got it, the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) and their willing accomplices at the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) with folks like Dr Steffan George at the front of the procession. 

I love seeing folks with letters in the locksmith business, RL, CML and Dr by a person’s name; gives me goose bumps.  I have letters by my name as well, GSP.  Folks take for granted it means something to other locksmiths, it doesn’t.

T.F. Stern, GSP

I started my apprenticeship while still a full time police officer in Houston, Texas.  The owner’s daughter, Patti, an accomplished locksmith in her own right, used to kid me when I got the easy jobs.  She tended to lean a bit left in her political ideology, so I was tagged as a Gravy Sucking Pig (GSP); now you know.

I’m surprised someone hasn’t suggested locksmiths have their state license numbers tattooed on part of their anatomy.  (Gosh, but I wanted to say which part of the anatomy and held back since some of my readers might not have appreciated the visual impact)  When the public called you out to unlock their car in the middle of August with temperatures that let you fry an egg on the hood of a car they would see your state issued tattoo clearly and know they had a professional.  Where’s that tattoo supposed to be applied?

Some folks want everything regulated, like having all the traffic lights green before they leave home for work; sorry, that’s just not the way it was meant to be.  Living in a free society requires an acknowledgement of certain risks.   Even worse, these self appointed watch dogs are willing to sacrifice everyone else’s liberties in order to “guarantee” society will be safe from fly by night operators and folks who lack essential skills in the locksmith industry.

“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)

We have a constitutional republic here in America; I know that really annoys some of you elitists who are so much smarter than the rest of us yokels.  If you want to impress me with your abilities to guarantee society will have no problems then get on an airplane and go to some country where your skills will be better appreciated; but get the heck out of my business and stop telling me what’s best for me.

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, July 11, 2012

Locksmith Legislative Input Opportunity

An Open Letter to Anyone in the Locksmith Industry

Wesley Hottot, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, sent an email a while ago requesting I participate in shaping future legislation as pertain to the locksmith industry.  He suggested sending recommended changes in policies which regulate locksmith licensing in the State of Texas to The Texas Red Tape Challenge, a project arm of House Government Efficiency & Reform Committee, which will accept suggestions from all members of the locksmith industry until July 31, 012. 

There are no provisions which exempt journeymen locksmiths from having to take mandatory continuing education classes.  The Texas Private Security Board has taken the stance that a beginner locksmith is no different than a journeyman locksmith whose been applying his/her skills for an entire career and requires everyone to take the same continuing education courses. 

My first recommendation would be to eliminate mandatory continuing education requirement for any locksmith who has 20 years or more in the business.  Such a change in regulations would not bar veteran locksmiths from obtaining additional skills or education should they have an interest; instead it gives them credit for having acquired the necessary skills, by virtue of longevity in the area of locksmith work, to continue applying those very same skills without having to spend time and money taking a course he/she could probably teach.

Presently locksmith licenses must be renewed every two years; locksmith licenses should have a six year duration, similar to a driver’s license and be issued on something more durable than a piece of scratch pad paper as is now done.  Simplify the bureaucratic red tape and let folks get on with the business of doing business.

Locksmith licenses cost roughly $500; nothing less than a tax on an individual’s ability to earn money in his/her chosen field.  This tax/fee goes far beyond covering any secretarial costs to manage the issuance of the license.  There is no reason why a locksmith license should cost any more than a driver’s license, somewhere between $50 -$60 dollars.  The elevated expense serves only to limit individuals entering the locksmith industry as competition to existing locksmiths as well as preventing individuals who wish to participate in a part time enterprise.  It is not the purpose of government to restrict qualified locksmiths from entering the work place.

Thank you for enlisting input from individuals who have invested their lives in the locksmith industry.  Rules and regulations which govern our ability to earn a living may more properly be addressed by our combined efforts.

T.F. Stern
Texas Locksmith License B12254

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, July 10, 2012

No Bananas in Scranton Pa.

Years ago Harry Chapin came out with a cult classic, 30,000 lbs of Bananas, about a young truck driver on his way down the hill that leads into Scranton, Pennsylvania.  “He missed a sign that he should have seen saying switch to low gear; a fifty dollar fine my friend...”  In the end the driver had a very nasty accident leaving the town of Scranton, Pennsylvania without any bananas.

Harry, rest in peace, would have fun with live audiences as he offered for their approval alternative endings to,  30,000 lbs. of Bananas.  One possible ending was “borrowed” from another familiar tune. 

“Yes, we have no bananas,
We have no bananas today…
Yes, we have no bananas…
Bananas in Scranton, P.A…” 

Eventually Harry got around to explaining, “You know the man who told me about it on the bus said it went off the hill out of Scranton, Pennsylvania…” Harry had a way with creating tunes from stories which actually happened, a gift of gab in musical form; but that’s not what I’m driving at today. 

According to a Fox News story by Perry Chiaramonte it would seem Scranton, Pennsylvania doesn’t have enough money to pay its bills either; never mind that pasty fruit folks like to slice up and add to breakfast cereal.

“Employees of a Pennsylvania city, who have all seen their salaries cut to minimum wage as the mayor grapples with budget problems, are hoping a judge restores their paychecks in full.”

“Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty cut everyone’s pay -- including his own -- on Friday, saying the state’s sixth-largest city is broke because the City Council blocked his proposed tax increase.”

You have to admire such a gutsy move, not necessarily the smartest move as he’s not only ignored a judges ruling; but he’s angered a bunch of civil servants who’ve become used to feeding off the public teat.  These folks have a binding contract with the City of Scranton which pretty much makes it impossible to cut their salaries.  Short of declaring bankruptcy it would appear there is nothing to do except pay them.

That said, shouldn’t these civil servants have offered to ease their demands during hard economic times?  Many of their neighbors are either under employed or out of work; after all, Scranton is a coal dependent city and one of the primary targets of the Obama administration’s efforts to kill off that industry.  It would be better for these civil servants to take a modest cut in pay, only temporarily, until the economy rights itself; say twenty percent off the top?

Would a voluntary across the board cut in pay help balance the budget?  Not having had a look at the books; …you could bet the mortgage on it.   In fact most of America is waiting with baited breath on such a turn around. 

If pubic servants would step back from their positions of guaranteed superior wages and recognize that the current economy will not support contracts which were entered into under a prosperous economy, toss in a bit of reason and flexibility just for fun; budgetary short falls could be avoided in many cases.  It beats the prospect of laying off workers with the least amount of seniority which only adds to the unemployment line.

Did I fall asleep dreaming; perhaps I was off in Fantasy Land waiting for gum drops to fall from the Gum Drop Tree.  I can see little cartoon outline figures doubled over in laughter at my suggestion; public employees taking a voluntary pay cut, “Whooo hooo hooo, Haaahaaahaaaa!”

I should probably hire somebody to start my car from now on; some union folks have ties to organized crime and can make folks disappear if you get my meaning.  These goons won’t take kindly to my suggestion since they’d have fewer dollars to skim off the top from members. 

If Harry were around today, how would he include Scranton’s budgetary woes in his tune?  He might point out an unsustainable payroll or perhaps union contracts which are legally binding; but any way you slice that banana the ending could be summed up to fit the previously mentioned quip.

“Yes, we have no more money…
No money in Scranton P.A…”

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, July 06, 2012

Locksmiths Make Keys

A friend sent a collection of old photographs, a turn of the century history lesson of how folks of a different era managed to muddle through life.  There were pictures of horse drawn carriages with the driver being pelted by a hard rain sitting atop his perch while his customers were protected inside the cab, folks huddled under a tarp fashioned into a makeshift home on the side of the road indicating hard times and vendors hawking their wares in the public square.

One photograph caught my interest, a locksmith in London from 1890 crafting a key in the public square; imagine that, locksmiths made keys back then.  In a few years that might be an odd thought, locksmiths make keys.  

Today’s locks are getting more and more sophisticated as they rely on electronic measures to accomplish what mechanical keys have done for hundreds of years.   You can purchase a deadbolt for your house that is keyless; it depends on your proximity to the device with a special activator that sends an electronic beacon to unlock your door, no key is necessary.  The same goes for your automobile, with a properly encoded device the doors unlock when you get within a few feet and there’s no need to turn an ignition switch to start the car; just push the button and you’re on your way.

One of the first magic tricks I observed at a locksmith shop was a fellow who crafted a padlock key out of a nail.  He hammered the narrow piece of steel flat on his vice until it would slide effortlessly through the padlock’s keyhole.  He then studied the edge of the flat steel looking for marks which were filed a little at a time until the crudely fashioned key turned inside the mechanism and the shackle popped open.  I knew I’d met a second cousin of Harry Houdini; Wow!

Thirty five years later that memory of creating a key out of “nothing” remains important as it stirred within my imagination a desire to know how he accomplished the magic trick.  If it hadn’t been awe inspiring I might never have spent my Saturdays at the locksmith shop learning how to work on various locks and cutting keys to fit them. 

It’s sad that in the not too distant future some young man will watch a modern day locksmith aim his electronic synthesizer at a door, flip a toggle switch or adjust a modulator knob until a green light flashes from an LED and the door pop’s open.   Wow, can you teach me how to make a key like that?  Flash Gordon, Security Specialist, won’t need a file to create and sculpt a piece of metal into a working key just an electronic doo-dad and some very expensive computer programs; I still like the photograph of an old timer applying his skills to a raw piece of metal in the public square.

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, July 04, 2012

Independence Day 2012

As we celebrate our Independence Day, a thought process which is slightly different than calling it the Fourth of July, I’ll start by sharing an excerpt, …a fabricated 1776 journal entry from a person who lived on Long Island, New York.  Consider how you might have felt were you to have been subjected to the same environment.

“Thomas Paine has written a new pamphlet, Common Sense, in the which he has defined quite clearly the need for us to act as a unified body, aware of the usurpations which have heretofore been imposed on a once loyal colony of Englishmen; but now have been estranged and are left with few options, nay, but one option if we are to hold our heads high before our families, our neighbors and before our God. We must abandon hope of ever being addressed as anything but unworthy subjects of the King, of ever achieving equal status as Englishmen with rights shared by anyone other than those living here in these back water townships.

It has been established that gatherings to discuss our plight are now outlawed, those attending face grave consequence; loss of property, confinement and even death for uttering seditious words against the Crown. Is it seditious to desire equality of rights from a government which treats some citizens better than others? I ask only for those rights granted to other common men, no more, no less. If this is treason then I am a traitor.”

What followed is part of history; our Declaration of Independence outlined some very specific complaints against the King of England along with a basic acknowledgement that certain aspects of mortality can only be attributed to God.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I should mention something I found interesting regarding an early draft of the Declaration as pertains to unalienable Rights.  For a brief time the words “inherent and” appeared along side unalienable Rights; but it was considered redundant and removed.  In today’s anti-religious climate what that line might have done to drive home the point that we are literally children of our Father in Heaven.  We are heirs to all His blessings; oh that this line had been left in tact.

Several years ago a few low life members of the community visited our meeting house during the night time hours prior to the Independence Day celebration at our church building. They left our beautiful building covered with graffiti which had to be sand blasted off.  Surely these independent thinkers were only trying to express a distorted interpretation of their right of free speech when they kicked in the bottom glass panel on one of the entry doors making it inoperable; another item which required time and effort to repair.

We had our pancake breakfast anyway, young children paraded about with traditional patriotic banners on decorated bicycles and we listened to talks by military veterans. The choir sang
America the Beautiful and tears ran down my cheeks as the words sank deep into my soul. The Spirit of America lives within us and so we celebrate; in spite of those who would destroy that which we hold sacred.  We rejoice in each others inalienable rights and express gratitude to God, the Author of our Liberty.

Let us acknowledge our dependence on divine intervention, for surely the back woods marksmen who took on the Red Coats must have employed many prayers to overcome such incredible odds as our nation won the day so many years ago. Take a few moments to recognize the fragile balance between freedom and subjugation and act responsibly that we might hold onto freedom for another season.

The things I celebrate do not come in a box of fireworks, a parade with flags waving or in a well planed meal with friends and family.  I hold in my thoughts the celebration of individual awareness, a burning need to establish for ourselves, a place in which these inalienable rights; Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as granted to us from our Creator, even God Himself, that these are sufficient cause for celebration.  These are worth fighting for and if need be, to take life… or sacrifice our own in defending them.   

May God continue to protect and bless us with the necessary wisdom and courage to provide these precious intangibles for the next generation is my hope and my prayer. In the sacred name of our Savior, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Did You Lose Your Key?

The phone rang a while ago and I answered, “T. F. Stern & Company, Locksmith, Good Morning”.  The woman on the other end could have cared less what had just been shared as she began introducing her company as some kind of media outlet intent on finding out what kind of toilet paper we use, what kind of breakfast cereal we purchase or some other waste of my time. 

Before she could get started I asked, “Did you lose your key?”

“Huh?”  You could tell she wasn’t prepared to answer my question.

“I asked, did you lose your key?  Most folks who call a locksmith need a key made; so, did you lose your key?”  There were a few moments of silence followed by the funny sound our phone makes when the caller abruptly ends a conversation, a little digital gurgling noise like a musical note drowning in a pool of water.

I used to get annoyed and say ugly things into the phone when unsolicited callers would interrupt my solitude; but that showed a lack of character on my part.  I learned from listening to others how to deal with “spam callers”; waste their time asking them questions, it seems to work.

The best one I heard was a recording made by a fellow who’d become quite adept at “jerking the chain” of unsolicited callers.  He’d spent hours upon hours developing various replies that would stop unwanted callers in their tracks and put the intruding caller on the defense.

He’d waited for the introduction to be completed and then announce that he was Detective Soandso from the police department investigating a homicide.  He then went straight for the jugular, “How well did you know the deceased?”  

There would be silence on the other end of the phone, a clearing of the throat as the pollster attempted to extricate himself from the conversation.

“Please don’t hang up, the call has already been traced and it would further implicate your involvement in the crime.”  This line of attack would go on for several minutes, “We’ve learned that the victim was a homosexual; were you his lover or just someone he picked up at the local gay bar?” 

I’m going Google search this to see if there’s a copy of that somewhere.  In the mean time, if you’re planning to call my locksmith business phone, try to remember, I cut keys; I don’t like to waste my time doing interviews about what brand of soap my family uses.

This will also appear as a feature article on Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America’s  website.