Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is America Exceptional? Let Me Count The Ways!

Before we start the count, look out in your own mind. Search the globe. Look at every country that you may have visited in reality or in fantasy. Can you to any degree of seriousness name another country that comes close to what we have between these blessed shores.

First, we have the Constitution of the United States of America. If you have studied the framers and the Constitution itself, you understand the pure genius of this document. Short and concise, it builds a framework for freedom that can, if nurtured and cared for, can last for centuries. We are blessed that the greatest minds of their era were here and made the opportunity to create what we enjoy today.

Second, we have the "Bill of Rights". Once the Constitution was made law, the framers realized that certain rights of the individual citizen must be stated and unequivocally granted, not by the state, but by our maker. If you have not read the Bill of Rights, you should. And understand these are the rights of the individual citizen. There is more. But all that follows is based on what precedes.

Third, we have the free enterprise system. The ability of any person to go, on their own, and create a business for themselves and succeed to the best of their abilities is precious beyond gems. I once knew a young man who didn't have a great deal to recommend him. He graduated from high school, bought a power mower and worked mowing laws. He bought a truck. Added more equipment. Got some of his friends to work for him. He created a business from practically nothing.

Fourth, there is the spirit of the American people. We believe in freedom and tolerance to a greater degree than any civilization in history. We not only insist on it for ourselves but also want it for others to the point we have sacrificed our own lives and wealth to that end. We recognize no obstacle that we can't get over, under, around , or push out of the way to achieve what we perceive as a good and noble gain for society.

Fifth, is the land we live in. The beauty and diversity of our fifty states and the bounty that they produce allows us a great standard of living. It doesn't come for free. We have to work and work hard for it, but Americans are willing to do that.

Sixth is the American military. We do not have the largest military in the world. What we do have is the best trained, best disciplined, most technologically advanced military in the world. Anyone that challenges them does so at their own risk.

Seventh, are those that keep the peace on our streets every day. In a country of our size not all things will be perfect. There are bad people everywhere. But, for the most part, Americans sleep well every night. Compare that to Europe and the middle east and even some parts of Asia.

Eighth, are the watchdogs. People that work for newspapers, think tanks, news television, public service legal organizations and many others that watch the passing scene and do all they can to make the public aware when their rights are being trod upon. My motto is " believe no individual source". There is a lot of misinformation out there. But there are also so many sources today that perseverance will get to the truth.

One last thought; They do not control us, we control them. Keep this true and all will be good.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Zero Tolerance = Zero Brains and a Note of Thanks

I heard on the news recently about a third grade boy that was suspended from school because he fought back against a bully. It seems that this bully has been harassing this boy for months. The parents talked to the school authorities to no avail. They could do nothing to protect this child that was under their protection. The parents, having done all that they could, told the boy to do what he had to do to defend himself. The next bullying episode turned into a fight. At that point the school authorities decide to intervene. Apparently bullying doesn't rise to the level that requires intervention but fighting does. Kick in the "zero tolerance" policy. It's automatic. No thought required. It's a no brainer. Suspend all parties involved. Problem over. As a great American once said, "stupid is as stupid does".

I can not understand what thought process would make a school administrator think to allow bullying to go on unchecked. Then when it leads to a fight not find out who is the culpable party and act accordingly. "Zero tolerance" policies, in my opinion, are just a means to shirk responsibility. In the day (you can tell I'm old) a person in a leadership position would look at a situation, make a judgement, and institute a solution and/or punishment. It took the ability to discern right from wrong or, at the very least, comparative degrees of wrongness. Then with a clarity of thought, one hoped, come to a decision. Not only come to a decision but to take responsibility for it. I hope those days may return. Covers-all decisions by committees do not seem to be working very well.

I want to thank those of you who are reading my little blog. My hits seem to be increasing. I have had readers from ten countries around the world. I think that is amazing. When I started doing this, just over a month ago, I was afraid that I couldn't find enough to say. Now I find I'm spending more time reading and writing than I expected. I enjoy doing it but the responsibility to say the right thing, the right way, and get facts straight is a little scary. Also, thank God for spell check. Keep reading. Tell your friends. Feel free to disagree. And, once again, thank you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If You Aren't Paranoid, Maybe You Just Don't Understand

The title is an attempt at humor. That is the last humor that will be included in this little essay.

At least since the presidency of George H. W. Bush. the politicians of this country have been profligate with your money. They are and have been completely out of control. Most of those that haven't been part of the spending have been enablers. They have put the country in serious danger. I sometimes think no one is paying attention. Certainly not the press. The government famously produces figures that are published in the news showing that things are improving. We are in a recovery, albeit a slow recovery. Do not believe it. They are cooking the books.

There is an old saying that "figures don't lie, but liars can figure". That, you can and must believe. That is what is happening now. They constantly change the basis of how various guidelines are figured. For example; if you want to figure the "cost of living" and the price of fuel has doubled, you just leave that out of your calculations as it is an obvious aberration it need not be included. However, that "aberration" comes out of your weekly budget. The number of people applying for unemployment goes down and every one is overjoyed. They can't get the news out fast enough. However, the number of people that have run out their unemployment and are not now seeking employment is increasing. They are dropped out of the unemployment calculation. We actually have fewer people employed than we did four years ago. Many of those that are employed are under employed. That is seldom mentioned.

The politicians think that it is their money and that they, being a privileged elite group, may spend it as they see fit. The GSA funds big parties for their employees on our dime. The Secretary of Defense jets back and forth to the west coast on a government jet for weekends because he chooses not to live in Washington. The first family are all over the world on vacations that most of us will never see the like of even once in our life time. Green companies are given government guaranteed loans just in time for their bankruptcy hearings. Waste, waste, waste.

For the most part, politicians love Keynesian economics. The idea that Keynes put forth that they love is that governments must go into deficit spending because that is how economies grow. This gives them license to tax and spend to their hearts content. A corollary for your personal economy would be to go deeper in debt every month and your family will do well financially. Brilliant idea is it not? If you are not familiar with John Maynard Keynes please do some research. You will find it most interesting. He had a premise that the educated elite (he was one of course) should make all public policy decision without input from the uneducated rabble. These decisions were to be made on pure logic without any interference from moral influence. Right or wrong did not exist in his purely logical world. He refered to his group of thinkers as the "Immoralists". Throughout his life he adhered to this doctrine without question.

We, the people, must take hold of our country. We must vote to change the direction that the country is heading. We are at the edge of an abyss. I do not exaggerate. Send home the politicians and elect some statesmen. Just remember when good people run for national office the politicians will try to destroy them. Don't believe everything that you see and hear in a campaign. Do your own research. Use multiple news sources. Find the good people and support them. Please.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I Luv Ya Man!!! ...but...

A number of years ago I was going through the dial listening to the radio. I heard a voice making a speech about America, it's greatness and it's place in the world. Being a political junky I stopped to listen. I sat transfixed for over a half an hour until the speech was done. It wasn't until then that I realized that the speaker was Newt Gingrich. He was absolutely inspiring.

Newt Gingrich is a big man with big ideas and big hopes. He also has big appetites and big needs but seems to lack that inner adult to tell him "Newt, that's enough, stop". Newt has been a great conservative. His "contract for America" was genius. He had an opportunity to go all the way. But along came reality. He, metaphorically, tripped over his own feet and blew the chance.

Since then he has done very well personally. He has built a very successful business. He has managed to stay in the news. He, in fact, earned another shot. It is not working. It is hugely not working. It is time to go back behind the scenes. Newt, you're a mover and a shaker. In spite of some missteps you still garner a great deal of respect among true conservatives. It's time to rally up behind Mitt Romney. Don't let the search for great ruin good.

We desperately need a change of administrations. Our present administration is dragging the country into a financial quagmire. All that recognize the need for change must be singing off of the same song sheet. It's time, Newt. Line up. Stand tall.

I Luv Ya Man!! ... but STOP....

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Government As A Religious Experience

This paragraph is not part of my original blog. That starts with the next paragraph. But the news is the news. Have to deal with it. I read a news article recently that referred to Ted Nugent as "an old rocker well past his sell date". A little harsh, perhaps. But, well.... I've never been a fan. Actually never paid much attention. Could that be the problem? Not enough attention. Lately in his new career as a political activist he seems perfectly willing to quench every fire with gasoline. Ted, SHUT UP! Conservatives have a shot at the White House. Not a perfect shot, but a good shot. The childish and asinine rhetoric that Mr. Nugent just blathered is not helpful. Please, if anyone wants to speak in a conservative manner regarding political issues let it be in a thoughtful and intelligent way. We can do it team. Let's win one for the gipper!!!!

The price of fuel has doubled. It matters not. Food is up at least ten percent. It matters not. The value of the dollar is down. It matters not. As a country we owe more than our Gross Domestic Product. It matters not. Government agencies are spending and regulating out of control. It matters not. Congress has not produced a budget in three years. Obama-care is slated to take over one sixth of the economy. None of this matters a whit.
It doesn't matter because we are a better country. We, as a country, have had a profound religious transformation. We have been led "out of the darkness and into the light". How do I know this? The First Lady of the United States has told me so. And what great religious leader has single-handedly produced this transformation. Why the President of the United States, of course. Who else would be able to raise this country that was so mired in the muck to a greater level of joy and enlightenment.
Some may think that I'm being cynical and sarcastic here. Well, OK, maybe you're right.But,  I see a country that has serious problems. One of those problems is that there don't seem to be any serious people in the upper levels of government that are willing to join hands and get us back on track. This administration has pitted poor against rich, old against young, black against white. We may be on the road to perdition but we don't need a would be demi-god in the White House to turn us around. We need a bunch of experienced, serious, adults that are willing to put the country first. This group must be led by a spokesperson with a vision of America that is our vision of America. To be brief, big changes are needed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Think I Might Get Mad

The Secret Service has been, probably, the most iconic law enforcement agency in the world. People that hated local law enforcement and made fun of the FBI at least respected the Secret Service. They were the quiet heroes that would sacrifice their own lives for the life of the one they were assigned to protect. They were giants. I'm sure some still are.
Now, unfortunately, they appear to be normal men that make mistakes. Sometimes huge mistakes. Mistakes that cannot be tolerated in that organization. Perfection is the standard and the norm. As it should be. The American people deserve nothing less as they give these people the privilege of protecting their president. The Secret Service has free access to the White House, Air Force One, Camp David, and any other place the first family may go.
In the face of this fall from glory our president announces, publicly, the he will be mad if these allegations are proven true. You mean that he's not raging angry right from the get-go. I know that I would be. I would have the head of the Secret Service braced in front of my desk immediately. Cut him a new one. And, finally give, him thirty days to get a complete list of those agents involved, transfer them out of the service, and put his house in order. If it isn't done in thirty days he would be replaced on the thirty-first day.

I would not fire the agents involved. The taxpayers have too much invested in their training. I am sure that another agency such as the DEA or the Border Patrol could use their skills in some setting where no agent wants to go. I'm thinking the northern Minnesota border. I'm sure that their bad behavior will ruin some marriages, even ruin some lives. They have lost the right, forever, to serve as the best of the best.

It is great to go around acting like "Joe Cool". But when the people that are entrusted with the lives of the president, the first lady, and the first daughters screw up this brazenly it speaks of a systemic problem. The most powerful man in the world should not have to make a time to plan to be angry, maybe. He should be man enough  to go straight to over the top pissed.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

College vs. Education

A short time back the Obama administration came out strongly against "for profit colleges".  They seem to feel that there are no limits to their need and ability to involve themselves in controlling  the free market. The implication was that every child must attend college and that higher education may only be provided by traditional, non-profit, colleges providing traditional degrees. The assumption being that degrees in ethnic studies, gender studies, and sociology prepare one for a future career as  well as engineering, architecture, and medicine along with many subjects that traditional colleges do not treat.

Of course, a lot of  students are not equipped for college and quite a few have interests that are not covered by the traditional schools. It was not that long ago when only the very bright or the well-to-do went to college. Since the country had a strong manufacturing economy, those that could not, or chose not to, go to college had opportunities to take entry level jobs in prosperous companies. These companies would train their young people or put them in apprentice programs as an investment in the future. Due to government interference or mismanagement, we have lost a great deal of that manufacturing base that made this country so strong.
The country still has a confluence of those that do not wish a traditional college education and a need for people to do the "hands on" work that traditional colleges do not address. After the end of WWII "for profit" colleges appeared. Some were there to do a minimum education and extract the GI Bill money that was available to vets so they could improve the future for their families. Some did a much better job right from the beginning. Now, sixty plus years later, those that have survived seem to do a pretty fair job of educating young people in a number of different technologies. From medical to electronic and even into such areas as automotive body work and repair training is available. The training of the huge number of people needed by the food service industry has been largely left to "for profits". That is a shining example of where they have succeeded.
There is a price to be paid, certainly. But, today, all education is expensive. Anyone going into a "for profit" college should do due diligence. Check out the facility. Talk to graduates. Talk to potential employers. This is the free economy. The good survive. The great prosper. The also-rans disappear. The market place rules. It is not a task assigned to the federal government by the Constitution to pick winners and losers. They want this power. No, they crave this power. But they work for us. Never let them forget that. We have no princes in America.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Keep and Bear Arms

As a cranky conservative I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't spend some time on the second amendment to the Constitution. In my humble opinion the Bill of Rights is as sacred as the body of the Constitution itself. This is because the first thing that the Bill of Rights does is to state and affirm the rights of the individual that the government cannot intrude on, alter, or take away. The first nine of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights protect the rights of the individual citizen. It is not until the tenth amendment that protection for a state is guaranteed against the power of the federal government. The right to"keep and bear arms" falls to the individual not to a state military as some would have us believe.
I also believe that the framers put the Bill of Rights in order of importance. The first, of course, is freedom of speech, religion, and assembly. The second is the "right to keep and bear arms". I feel that the framers realized that there is always the potential for a government to turn totalitarian and subjugate it's citizens. This has happened so many times in history. They felt that an armed populace was a free populace.

To be up front here, I have been a shooter most of my life. I first shot a gun when I was ten years old, and up to last Fall, have been shooting regularly ever since. I took most pleasure in shooting handguns at targets. I have enjoyed the companionship of other shooters at various gun clubs and in the field. I have been honored to shoot beside some of the finest shots in the country. I have never been among a more modest, unassuming, friendly group of people in my life. I never saw one iota of arrogance or anger to another person when I have been in their company.

People  have firearms, primarily, for three reasons; for sport, for competition, or for protection. People who want or need to carry a gun for protection are required to get a concealed carry permit in almost every area of the country. The process varies from state to state and some cities have their own rules. But for the most part it requires a records check by a police agency, a safety test, and a proficiency test. The owner of a CCP can lose it with any infraction of local gun laws. Those that have them, value them and don't want to lose them. Their weapons stay holstered except under extreme circumstances. Someone said to me, "I don't want everybody to be walking around with a gun. That would create anarchy". I don't think so. In the first place not everyone wants to carry a gun. Secondly, a lot of folks could not make it through the process. If you take the trouble to examine the statistics, it is illegal guns and those that are used illegally that create most of the problems. There are a few that slip through the process but those are very few. An area where no one is armed is a free fire area for someone determined to do harm.
The cities of New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. have laws so onerous that most people can't even own a gun to keep in their home. Surprisingly enough, those cities have a very high incidence of firearms crime. The bumper sticker slogan, "When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws  Will Have Guns" is true. The bad people always find a way to get them. By the way, in areas where gun laws are liberal to the honest citizen crime goes down. I recommend the book "More Guns Less Crime" by John Lott. This is a scholarly study of shooting incidents. The statistics will amaze anyone the takes an honest look at them. It appears to me, that those that are most opposed and loudest to proclaim being against civilian ownership of guns are limousine liberals that live in gated communities and are well protected by personal security.
A lot of people fear guns at a gut level. They don't like them and never will. They don't understand them. They fear their power. But at its basic level a gun is just a tool. In the hands of someone who is trained and capable it can be a very useful tool. An automobile is more powerful, more dangerous, and capable of doing far more damage. But cars are familiar. Our first memories of cars is riding with mommy and daddy. They are comfortable to us so we don't fear them. Britain took the step of eliminating firearms ownership for the average citizen and crimes of violence actually went up.
I am not attempting to convert anyone here. I just ask that we forgo knee jerk reactions regarding guns and the second amendment. Do everything possible to stem the sales of illegal weapons but without onerous demands of those of us that are legal. It is illegal guns in the hands of thugs that cause the danger. It's a dangerous world and people have to be responsible for their own safety. The police cannot be everyplace. One must look to their own resources for whatever level of protection that they feel is necessary.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wonderful Wonderful

There is one thing that liberals and conservatives have in common. They both love wonderful or great or any other superlative that you would like to throw into the mix. The difference is what they wish to describe with these superlatives. Liberals like feelings and intentions. They want world peace and universal health care. They hate poverty and crime. They know in their hearts that every criminal can be lead away from that life of crime and that every despot can be shown the error of their ways. Just keep trying to explain that error of their ways and they will eventually get it and go through a Paulian conversion and become good citizens. Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, perhaps there is hope for Assad.

I remember back in the Clinton era, (the good old days) every social program was "for the children". It seems like once a week, that was announced as the reason for a big new spending bill. It was kind of funny in a pathetic way. If you can't justify a program with logic tug at the heart strings. The problem is all of the good feelings and good intentions do not get the job done. Expensive and expansive programs don't necessarily get it done either. It usually takes time, good planning, and hard work to accomplish good works. Lots of money accompanied by incompetence never gets the difficult tasks done. Those were the days when, if an American ship was attacked, all you had to do was launch a Tomahawk missile and blow up an aspirin factory. Job done. Nothing more to see here.

It seems that there are no simple problems anymore. But in spite of that conservatives care more about results. Results are harder to come by and more complicated to achieve. You can't just form an agency, hire an out of work political hack to run it, give it a ton of funding and expect results. Take a long look at the TSA or Homeland Security. I feel that that is the reason George W. Bush  had so many problems. He had too many old political retreads reliving their glory years. Certainly, the last three years haven't shown much of an improvement in the results department. We have more people not working than there were three years ago. There are fewer new business start ups. Housing is a wreck. We seem to be starting into an inflationary spiral without growth. This is not good.

We are in a hole and we have a government that continues to dig. If we keep doubling down on failure it cannot breed success. There are people out there with experience and good ideas but the leaders are deaf to all but their own voices while they all mill around slapping each other on the back and admiring what a great job they have done. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel really is a freight train heading your way.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mind Boggling Power

There are two things that politicians love. They love money and they love power. But if a politician had to choose between them, I have no doubt that the choice would be power. If you have power, money follows. If you are the President of The United States, you have, from the get-go, just about as much power as a person should ever want or need.

Think about it. You live in a fine mansion for free. Everything is done for you without your even asking. Even your shoes are always perfectly polished. Your favorite foods are always at hand. You and your family travel in the finest plane in the world to the finest destinations in the world and everyone is constantly protected by the finest, most highly trained group of professionals in the world. The mind boggles. At least mine does. Maybe I just boggle easily.

Many past presidents did push the envelope, taking a little bit more power than was immediately granted at their swearing in. They would occasionally appoint "tsars" to handle special areas that the president felt needed special consideration. Presidents are supposed to place high level appointments before the Senate for them to examine and give "advice and consent" for these appointments. Tsars circumvent this process as they are direct appointments. But in many cases they have more power and access than cabinet members.

Another really handy tool for presidents is the "Presidential Finding". The president can sign an order for something to be done and it will be done. The finding can even be granted a special classification of "Presidential Secret" which would give no one but the president or his appointee clearance to see what is contained in that particular finding. The president controls who has clearance for a finding and it applies only for that particular finding. These findings can do things which would normally have to go through Congress for passage.

All presidents in recent years have indulged themselves to some extent in expanding their power. None has even came close to the present administration. We will never know about the findings that have been issued, but certainly the appointment of tsars has been excessive. The tsars do by regulation what the Congress should be doing through law. Our elected Congress has been taken out of the loop and made superfluous. The worst part is that they continue to allow the president to usurp their authority. Could they stop it? Absolutely. Congress could defund anything that they did not approve. For all his power, the president still doesn't have the power of the checkbook. Do they take this action? No. They do not have the intestinal fortitude and patriotism to stand up and be counted.

Now the president is taking on the Supreme Court of the United States of America. That august body that has always been treated with respect and reverence by the body politic as a whole is now described as "a bunch of unelected people" and "judicial activists". I am sure that the president, as an undergraduate, took at least one course on political science. And I am also sure that as a law student he took "Constitutional Law". He knows, very well, the position and power of the Supreme Court.Thankfully the courts are fighting back. I doubt that even the presidents closest friends on the supreme court will succumb to his derogatory remarks.

If the high court should not protect their domain, we have lost a government of three equal branches. We will no longer have a president we will have a king. If we end up with a king, what is the point of having an election. Maybe that is the point. Think about it. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Ener-Sponge Strikes

There is a monster attacking America today and it is not from outer space. It was created here. It is nurtured here. It is fed and grows strong here. It is a monster that may not destroy us but hampers our growth and success and slows any chance of an economic recovery to a standstill.

When you pull into the filling station to gas up the old basic transportation, you probably don't fill the tank as frequently anymore. Lets face it, like me, you're driving less so you don't need as much fuel. That way you're not taking away from your food budget or some other part of your home economy. It's in your face. About once a week or so, you are standing there at the pump watching that total rise faster every week. I'm fortunate. I'm retired so I do not have to drive. I can sit home and blog. Others are not so blessed.

OK. But didn't Mr. Chu, the Secretary of Energy, just place further restrictions on coal fired generation of electricity. By golly, yes he did. The administration has sworn to shut down coal fired systems even though they are cleaner now than they have ever been and technology keeps improving. Also there is an enormous quantity of coal in this country to help alleviate the pressure on other fuel sources. So watch your electric bills. They're going up too. A little more out of the household economy. Of course, those people that are directly employed because of coal won't have a household economy any more.

And, of course, by next winter heating fuel prices will rise again. Who knows how far. We can't drill here in spite of the wealth of available oil, coal, and natural gas even though it could be done cleanly and safely. We have more energy available underground than any country in the world. But, of course, we must continue to send huge sums of our money to parts of the world where we are not particularly loved so they can live a life that we can only dream of. Well, at least I don't have to worry about where to dock my 200 foot yacht.

But the problem goes beyond our households. The increase in fuel prices sucks money out of the economy that would normally be spent for other purchases so business suffers. People don't save as much, so banks have less money to use for home loans. Tradesmen suffer for lack of construction work. Small businesses suffer from lack of customers with money to spend.

The economy is recovering at a snails pace. Possibly the slowest recovery in the history of the country. When the present administration was elected they claimed to have all the answers. It seems now that they didn't even understand the questions. Given another term they want to double down on the mistaken policies of the past three years. I'm not sure we can afford the pain.

The Pols Are Winning, We Are Losing

I do not know when, in the history of this great country, the citizenry gave up the power that the Constitution gave to them and decided that they wish to be ruled by a bunch of power hungry partisans. Maybe it wasn't a point in time. Maybe it was a gradual transition. Happenings like this so frequently are. Like the proverbial camel that stuck its nose into the tent. Then suddenly you find that the camel owns the tent and your on the outside.

As some of you know, I have been around a while. I was in school during WW II. So I can compare my memories of the "good old days" with life today. I will tell you this. We were freer then than we are today. Government on every level is more intrusive than it has ever been. They have stacked the deck against us and we are hard put to fight back as individuals. If the city wants the property that you own, they will take it by eminent domain and they will interpret that law however they see fit. If you fight they will bankrupt you with lawyers fees and fines. If the EPA decides that little puddle that occurs on your land during spring thaw makes it a "wetland", you will be forbidden to use it with no recompense. If you raise your voice in a airport, some low level employee will tase you, put you in irons, and strip search you. Even if you are an eighty year old grandma in a wheelchair.

I saw a news article this morning that points out the wrong headedness of politicians. It is virtually illegal for an honest citizen of Chicago to own a firearm and keep it in their home. The article stated that there have been more Americans killed, so far this year, by gunfire in Chicago than in Afghanistan. The criminals and gangsters don't care about the law so they have guns. If you are an honest citizen you cannot even defend your own home. By the way, the politicians exempt themselves from these laws.

Those are not exaggerations. I have read news stories that exemplify all of those and more. To a great extent this is the fault of the electorate. We continue to keep the same politicians in power election after election. In many cases the same party has held power in a city or a state for generations. We create our own monsters. I have noticed that the "Tea Party" rallies that I see on the TV are largely made up of more mature (it's politically incorrect to say old) folks. Maybe this is because they, as I, can remember the freedoms of the past and want their grand kids to have the same freedoms. There is an old saying that the best government is the least government. If your wish is to keep your country, you'd best start sending out that message. Right now, we are losing. We are losing badly.