Monday, March 31, 2014

Let's Go To Church

I am not talking about that nice white building on the town square with a tall steeple. Going there or not going there is your choice. I admit that I have spent many pleasant hours in churches. I loved lifting my voice singing hymns learned in my child hood. 

But today I refer to another Church. Frank Church was a Democrat Senator from Idaho from 1957 to 1981. Church chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 1975. This committee was charged with investigating the activities of the CIA and the FBI.

It was suspected that the American spy community had overstepped the limits that were applied to them by law. Previous to this time humintel was the gold standard of spying, to learn the methods, means, and targets of the opposition. Basically, James Bond without the dinner jacket. It was about people on the ground, risking all to obtain information to advance our cause. 

Meetings in low places with money changing hands in trade for information, dead drops, mini cameras taking pictures of secret documents, basic spy stuff, was the heart of human intelligence. It is dirty and dangerous but it is remarkably effective. There are times, to get the job done, rules were stretched. Sometimes to the breaking point. 

There are two reasons that human intel was effective. Patriotism and money. Americans that worked the street were mostly patriots. But I suspect many that did that job would scoff at that description of it. But their strongest tool was, undoubtedly, money. They would find people with information access, that had a need or a character weakness, and buy them. Ugly, but it worked.

Senator Church hated the Viet Nam war. That was a popular opinion among many people of that era. It was a dirty corrupt war that was micro-managed by politicians. It was a failed effort from the beginning. Senator Church saw human intelligence as part and parcel of the corruption. He and his committee gutted the human side of intelligence in favor of the electronic side.

So while the human side of spying was trimmed back radically, the electronic capabilities were greatly expanded. The NSA got bigger. Money was spent on new technology. The National Reconnaissance Office put up more satellites with capabilities the were almost magical. Some of this electronic data went to the CIA and some went to the FBI.

But there was a major fly in the ointment. A young Deputy Attorney General by the name of Jamie Gorelick built a legal wall between the two agencies that did not allow them to share information. Since the responsibility of the CIA was foreign intelligence and the FBI's responsibility was domestic, this created a problem. If the CIA discovered something coming this way, they were not allowed to tell the FBI. I give you 9/11/2001.

The point is that intelligence gathering is a two sided coin. And at it's very heart it is astonishingly complex. But we need to get it right if we are to keep our nation safe. The meddling and grandstanding of tinker-toy politicians is intolerable. The Department of Homeland Security was formed to solve these problems, but that just increased the bureaucracy and provided jobs for more hack politicians.

Our government gets evermore bloated and slow. Someday I fear the price will be paid. Politicians take irresponsible actions without serious thought and planning. A business run like our government would not survive. We can do better and we must. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Taxation Without Representation

Back in 1773 in the little city of Boston in Massachusetts Colony the Tea Act was enacted by King George III. The citizens took umbrage at a tax they thought unfair saying that "taxation without representation is tyranny". Then came the Boston Tea Party, the Revolutionary War, and freedom for the thirteen colonies.

As is said, that was then, this is now. The tea tax was a mere ten percent on one product. Imported tea. That small tax got them, literally, up in arms for the injustice of it because they were unrepresented and had no say in the process.

I hope those circumstances sound familiar to everyone that reads this column. The only difference between then and now is one of scope. We are much more badly treated today than the colonists were back then.

If you are under the illusion that you are represented in Washington because you vote in an election, you simply do not read enough news or you get it from poor sources. You, the American people, are not represented. Special interests are represented. The Sierra Club, green energy, the global warming fanatics, unions, CAIR, and more, all have the ear of politicians because they have money to buy that attention. 

That is why most politicians hate and denigrate the modern Tea Party. It represents ordinary people organizing for political power. But it is the power of numbers not dollars. These are people that are fed up with the abuse and profligate spending that Washington so loves. We need to do more. This is not a country in the twenty-first century that is inclined to take up arms. Although, I know some would be willing. But we do not need to throw up our hands.

Continue to organize. Small groups or large groups. Join together in coalitions. Make your presence known to the politicians as a unified bloc with targets. Visit them. Form goals and policies. Publish a mission statement.  Issue press releases. Be professional. Be passionate, but keep it sane. Do not give the opposition fodder to minimize you. They will do that without your assistance. Do good by doing it well.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Three Hundred Thousand Criminals

To put an end to violent crime in Connecticut, the genius political class ignored those that actually perform heinous acts and instead turned three hundred thousand good honest citizens into criminals. They did this by criminalizing the ownership of something that was bought and possessed legally until that law was signed. 

As one might expect in a liberal state, they have decided to make AR15s illegal, referring to them as "assault rifles". Of course they are not assault rifles at all. A true assault rifle is capable of fully automatic operation. These civilian models are not so capable. One pull of the trigger gets you one shot just like every other civilian model rifle on the market. 

They are not a super powered military caliber capable of stopping a tank either. They shoot a common .223 caliber bullet that is often used by hunters for small game. I don't believe that that caliber is even legal to hunt deer in Connecticut. I know it is not in most states.

The politicians have two problems with the AR15. It looks scary to them because it is black and it has the same shape as the military version. Cosmetic appearance not withstanding, it is the same as any auto-loader with a nice pretty walnut stock that would seem to be OK with the powers that be.

The other problem is that magazines are available that hold ten or more rounds. Apparently politicians cannot fathom any reason for a person to need a weapon that can handle more than five shots. If questioned, the typical response is "if you can't hit a deer with five shots, you shouldn't be hunting". As pompous as that response is, I can't argue the logic. However, most weapons bought today are for home defense not hunting. If five people break into your house in a home invasion, I suspect that you would take great comfort in a thirty round magazine.

Guns are an easy target. Dealing with crazies and gang bangers is way more difficult. Most politicians don't like to do difficult. So turn your citizens into criminals with an ex post facto and probably unconstitutional law. Force them to rid themselves of expensive weapons that they have owned legally, leaving them less able to defend their families. I'm sure the public will thank you for it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Modest Suggestion

In all humility, I have a modest suggestion to the Congress of the United States. Go home! Send all your aides over to K St. to find work with the lobbyists. Lock your offices and go home. You are useless. Individually and collectively bloody useless. Even Truman's do-nothing Congress was better than the entirely unesteemed 113th Congress.

The insane rantings of the Democrat leadership, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid, are becoming a bit frightening. I hope someone is keeping sharp objects away from them. I'm sure a vacation, maybe two or three years would be very helpful,

All I hear from the Republican leadership, Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell, is the sound of silence. Their brains appear to be stuck in the Reagan era and in a love affair with the status quo. It is time for the old guard to find someplace else to guard.

All of you of both parties should be ashamed. You have an out of control President that is stealing the rights, power, and privilege of Congress and the lot of you stand by and let it happen. That is not exactly protecting and defending the Constitution as you all have sworn to do. Could not you senior Democrats have had a quiet conversation with Mr. Obama early on, when this started. If he was intractable you could have reached across the aisle for some help. That may have prevented the series of messes that we look back on with great derision.

Even though, five years ago, the obvious problems were jobs and the economy, you wouldn't focus. Like kindergartners in the sandbox, you had to play with every toy there. Well we still need jobs. The economy is still scraping bottom. The health care system is a mess. We are spending ourselves into oblivion. So what is the cure? Harry Reid standing at a podium, blaming everything on the Republicans. While Nancy Pelosi feels that the most important issue is that we call it "the Affordable Health Care Act" rather than Obamacare. Grab the deck chairs the Titanic is sinking.

Meanwhile on foreign shores, our well traveled first family are very busy saying inconsequential things the will cause neutral parties to laugh, our friends to slap their forehead, and our enemies to scoff as we become less and less important by the day.

You in Congress created the monster. You turned it loose. You can't restrain it. You don't earn your pay, so why should we pay you. Resign, go home, play golf or grow roses. Do something that amuses you. But stop screwing up my country.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I'm Sorry

I'm sorry. Yes, here I go again. I said in my last blog that I am tired of writing about the Obamas. But the news forces my hand. I was lacking in ambition today. My bio-rhythms are down or something. But I started reading some of the afternoon news and........

It is bad enough, that the President is giving away the internet. It's worse that he spent more time studying college basketball than the international situation. Did he really think it was cute or funny that he's filling out March Madness brackets on TV while Putin is taking the Crimea? Now  ithas been announced that he is terminating the Tomahawk and Hellfire missile programs. These are two of the military's strongest tools for protecting our country.

The President swears to"preserve, protect, and defend" the Constitution. He and his able assistants in the Congress have done more to shred the Constitution then preserve it. The protect and defend seem to be a lost cause too. I know the man is a globalist, but he is still President of the United States, not president of the world. I am sure he would prefer that title. But I am here to say, that it will never happen. It appears that Putin is up for that job.

The Vatican is coming down on our misguided President. The Vatican's Chief Justice, Cardinal Raymond Burke, feels that Mr. Obama is hostile to Christian civilization. He has often gone against the celebration of Judeo-Christian traditions in this country and abroad while he is much more supportive of the Muslim faith, to the point where he welcomes representatives of the CAIR into the White House to offer him council. 

Even Jimmy Carter is coming down on Barrack. He is bemoaning the fact that Barack never calls him for advice. Truth be told, I wouldn't either. But Obama seeks advice from no one. Remember, this is the President the feels no strong need for daily security briefings. He probably uses that time to plan his daily instructive lecture to the American people.

Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan is backing President Putin in his venture into the Ukraine. This is a real slap to President Obama. The United States has given Karzai billions of dollars and way too many American lives keeping him afloat. But he turns around and supports the Russia that spent ten years blowing his country to pieces. Why? Because in that part of the world, strength is everything. You don't partner with a paper tiger.

The future is coming and we need to change our outlook on the management of our country. We can no longer afford an ideological or a feel good President. If you wouldn't want the candidate running your business, they should never be given a chance to run your country.

Monday, March 24, 2014

King Obama XVI and Michelle Antoinette

We humble peasants must grovel in the grandeur of our Emperor and his Lady.  Royalty has privilege and we are but to serve. If you do not believe me ask those that reside and have title to property on Martha's Vineyard.  They may have title to this property but real ownership resides with the Royal Family.

If a person has ownership they would be allowed free access to their land and the surrounding rights of way. On the Vineyard in August, all such rights revert to the Royal Family, practically shutting down the island for those two weeks when they arrive in summer.

I, honestly, get tired of writing about the Obamas. I comb the news to find other items of interest that I can opine upon. But it seems every time I watch the news on TV or read a newspaper on-line, something involving one of the Obamas catches my attention. And not in a good way.

Presidents deserve vacations. It is tough being penned up in the White House with all those amenities like butlers, aides, and chefs and a swimming pool besides. Michelle once likened it to being in prison. Wow, what a prison. But there is a hint of Louis XVI their means, methods, and attitude. 

Michelle's grand tour to China with mom and the girls at taxpayer expense is a little over the top. Did she list her daughters as senior advisers again, so that we covered their costs also. Stating that she seldom gets a chance to travel outside the United States made me think, poor little rich girl. Remember that big deal trip to Spain a short time ago. I'm just so sad for her.

Previous Presidents went on vacation. FDR had a family compound at Campo Bello, off the coast of Maine. Ike had Newport. JFK had the Cape and Newport. Reagan and W both had ranches. The point being, that a presidential vacation spot has to have extensive security and communications upgrades. Other Presidents returned for vacations to the same place with the expense occurring one time. Bush's ranch was often used as a quiet place to meet with other heads of state. 

The Obamas seem to enjoy luxury and variety too much to restrain themselves. The huge soirees at the White House are loaded with as many of the glitterati as they can squeeze in. While they are preaching to us to eat our vegetables, they are serving meals richer than all but the finest five star restaurants, along with wines that you will not find in your corner package store. 

Fewer Americans are employed than in the past four decades. Not years, decades! More Americans are receiving welfare than ever. More Americans are on food stamps than ever. Middle class salaries are decreasing. And our, would be, royal family shows no sign of tasteful restraint. "They can't afford bread? Let them eat cake". A phrase re-echoing through the halls of history.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The un-President

Barack Obama has become the un-President. He won the Presidency with people chanting, "Yes we can". Now people just mumble, "no he can't". In fact, the only thing he seems to be able to do is to restrict the freedom of the American people in glorification of his liberal ideals.

Obamacare was passed through a unilateral power grab and a series of lies. I can think of no statement that was made in the initial stages of building Obamacare that was true. I do not even think that Obamacare was the ultimate end to this ugly lesson in the economics of health care. Obamacare was made to fail. The ultimate target was single payer. The whole country on medicaid.

Why? Why would the Democrats go through all this to get single payer? While they will tell you it is because they think health care is a right and it is the duty of the government to supply it, that is not the answer. Just think of the amount of money that goes into the healthcare system each year. Now think of that money in the hands of politicians. They will think they hit the glory hole.

The money will be spent. But where? Green projects. Crony capitalism. Picking favorites on the road to success. But spending on medical care will go down. Payments to doctors and hospitals will go down. The quality of health care will go down. How un-Presidential.

When Benghazi was being attacked the President raced out of town on Air Force One, heading for a fund raiser on the west coast. It was a problem, but, hey, he has staff for that. First things first you know. While Putin is taking over the Crimea our President is doing his NCAA March Madness brackets. Priorities, priorities. How un-Presidential

Obama's first promise, even before he was elected, was that he would raise esteem for the United States around the world. And how has he attempted to do that? After he was elected he made the rounds of world leaders and bowed as deep as he could before them. Then he began irritating our strongest allies. He reneged on the anti-missile system agreement with Poland and the Czech Republic looking for a reset, whatever that might be with Russia. Remember how well that went! He lectured Germany. He insulted Great Britain. He explained to Israel how they should run their country. He kept moving the line in the sand for Iran. He did nothing about Syria. He handed Egypt over to the Muslim Brotherhood. And he stood back and watched Lybia with little interest. Quite a record. How un-Presidential.

His claimed transparency is a wall thicker than the old Iron curtain. He uses the IRS as a political weapon. He has written Presidential orders that are frightening. He will unilaterally use drones to kill. Just how bloody un-Presidential.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

White House On The DL

Using DL as a phrase is something new to me. Apparently, it means "on the down low". That apparently means to keep something quiet. Don't spread it around. Today I'm letting it mean something else entirely. Today it means to bring something from a high status to a lower status. Such as the White House.

I have lived through more Presidents than most people, back to the days of FDR. Presidents then presented themselves with the dignity due the stature of the office. They commanded respect, acted with restraint, and treated the White House with the honor it's history demands.

Richard Milhouse Nixon acted in this manner. He was never seen publicly without a suit and tie. Then , one sorry night, he appeared on a TV show called "Laugh In" and said "sock it to me". Mr. Nixon was a humorless man. Someone must have suggested he needed a more common and friendly face. This was the beginning of a long downhill slide.

Jimmy Carter tried to show the common touch by carrying his own suitcase. When the camera was off he would just hand it back to the nearest Secret Service agent who he treated as servants. But Mr. Carters DL moment was during a canoe trip. A rabbit was swimming toward his canoe. Truthfully, I didn't even know that rabbits could swim. Mr. Carter, fearing he was under attack by said rabbit, beat it to death with a paddle. So much for Presidential dignity.

Fast forward to Bill Clinton. He loved the late night shows and schmoozing with people. He would play the saxophone and discuss boxers or briefs with college students. He could carry it off because he always came across as a regular guy. Whether you liked his politics or not, you always felt that if you ran into him at the neighborhood pub, he would be fun to down a brew or two with. Then came that unfortunate Lewinsky thing in the Oval Office and the strained explanations on TV. Game over for dignity.

But now we have hit the rocky bottom. We have a President who, while trying to appear elitist, publicly claims he looks good in mom jeans and appears on "the View" fielding softballs from Barbara Walters and Joy Behar.  He eschews news conferences in favor of being on with David Letterman. He puts more interest into "March Madness" brackets than the taking of Crimea. He blurts out opinions on non-presidential matters and is often wrong. He would be well advised to keep his own council.

A President is not a man of the people. A President is something special. A President should think that way, speak that way, and behave that way. Anything less is an insult to the White House and the American people.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Weakness Breeds Contempt

Leadership is more art than science. I have been in business meetings where the attendees had not previously met. In a very short time one person will show a higher level of leadership than the rest. With no vote. With no discussion. Usually, with no dissent, that person is in charge. 

Some people are just natural leaders. They don the mantle without thought or intent. They can think on their feet and come to decisions quickly. They do not bully, they persuade. They reason things out and are able to explain their reasoning. They reach for a consensus and do it with good humor.

We, unfortunately, have a President that is a bully at home and Casper Milquetoast abroad. On Obamacare, he did not seek a consensus with the Republicans. He, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid shut the Republicans out of the process entirely. In a State of the Union speech, he publicly insulted the Supreme Court because he was angry and he had the "Bully Pulpit" The justices could not respond.

He has unconstitutionally told the Congress that they must do his bidding or he will go around them. His administration has illegally used the IRS to stifle dissenting voices. His Department of Justice refuses to see terrorism where it exists and has stopped a criminal investigation into Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for corruption. I say, guilty of domestic bullying in the first degree.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the world he is seen as weak and indecisive. Starting his term in office with a world apology tour, bowing before foreign heads of state was not an auspicious beginning. Constant drawing and redrawing lines in the sand, fearful that they may be crossed, did not show intestinal fortitude. His courageous stand of leading from behind did not raise him up in the estimation of a harsh world.

He is a condescending globalist in a world of intense nationalists. World leaders of every stripe want the world to see their countries as great, strong, and wonderful. I fear that our President wants to dim the lights on "the shining city on the hill", and turn us into just one among many.

The world is in more turmoil today than it has been in decades. This is largely because leaders in aggressive governments see us as weak and unable or unwilling to respond. That has never been the American Way. It is now. I hope this is a temporary aberration. The world needs a strong, fair, involved America. We are still a young country. We have been damaged but we can recover if we get back on the right path. Soon, I hope.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Let's Play Hide The Plane

While my title may be a little frivolous, make no mistake, the taking of the Malaysia Air Boeing 777 is deadly serious for any number of reasons. It is amazing that so little real evidence has shown up in, what must be, the largest civilian search in my lifetime. Much of the news is speculation. Given that, I'll speculate.

I don't believe it was an accident. If it were, I think something would have shown up in all this time. I think this was a carefully planned and exercised fundamentalist Jihadi operation. Look at what is known of the flight path. The plane was flown on a zig-zag course with varying altitudes, ending up below radar level. This alone belies an accident. Meanwhile, along this strange route, communications of all kinds were shut down. Not all at once, but in sequence.

Let us assume that the pilot and co-pilot are part of this operation. Let us also assume that the two that got aboard with false passports are also in on it. That gives us four people.If they were armed four would be sufficient to take over the plane. As this seems to be well planned there may be more.

Next we have the question of arms. It is my understanding that security in Malaysia is not up to western standards. I think it is reasonable to believe that crew members could smuggle guns on board. Beyond that five passengers checked in for the flight. Their baggage was loaded on the plane. When these five did not show up to board, their baggage was unloaded. I think it is possible that weapons could have been in that baggage, then removed and hidden on the plane before take off.

So we are left, in our speculation, with where did the plane go. The experts seem pretty much in agreement that the plane turned back to the west and headed out over the Indian Ocean. Some have posed the idea that the plane ended up in Pakistan. That is a long flight and the plane would have ended up in the control of the ISI. That just doesn't seem practical to me, although many knowledgeable people believe this and there may be some evidence being kept secret.

Now, if the plane had gone below radar level when over the Indian Ocean and turned back to the southeast they would be heading for Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world. Now if they found an isolated airport in Indonesia where they could land and hide this plane for future use, the flight would be short and the solution would be practical.

Are there any such airports? It took me less than five minutes to find one in Northern Sumatra, outside a town named Sibolga. The town is isolated and the runway seems very long. I'm sure this would fit the bill. Something along these lines would be my best guess.

This, of course, is just a mental exercise. I started from the point of believing that some form of terrorism is at the heart of this whole thing and this seems to be where most thinking is leading. From there I just extrapolated what little we know with what I would do if I were charged with planning something of this scale. If it is extremists, we know this is within their capacity. While speculation is interesting, only time will supply the truth. But if terrorists have taken this plane in tact, they will use it. And for no good.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Another Jimmy Carter Moment

Once again our illustrious and all knowing President has quietly morphed into Jimmy Carter. On his own hook and with remarkably little publicity he is giving away another piece of American creativeness and what has become almost a part of the American psyche. He is foolishly giving away the Internet.

The internet was originally a military construct. It was expanded to the scientific community. And finally civilians brought it to where it is today. While it has always been American, we opened it up to the world. Because Americans believe in freedom the Internet has been kept free. Any censorship has been restricted to individual countries, such as China and Iran, within their own boarders.

Mr. Obama is putting the freedom of the Internet in dire peril with his liberal globalist outlook. When Jimmy Carter gave away the Panama Canal in 1977 China stepped in to build massive ports at both ends of the Canal giving them control over the flow of traffic. 

We are looking at another exhibition of liberal ideology trumping the good of the American people. There has been no Congressional debate. There is no bill to vote on. After all, we have an imperial President with a pen and a phone.

So, what is the future of the Internet? No one knows for sure. I will say this, placed in international hands, sometime in the future something bad will happen and we will lose the internet as we know it today. 

This administration and liberals in general are far too willing to sign international treaties that sacrifice our rights, our freedoms, our laws, and even our Constitution. By the time these actions prove truly harmful the malefactors that signed a chunk of America away, are out of office and free from retribution. And Americans trudge on cursing their name.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Joy Of Intellectualism

Thank God we have the intellectual elite to guide us. Politicians, actors, singers, people who talk on TV as experts. People who know they are smart. It is obvious to the casual observer that we of the common rabble that work at real jobs are incapable of making life decisions with the freedom enjoyed by our forefathers. While they were giants that wrote the Constitution, freed the slaves, and twice saved Europe from itself, we are humble critters of little greatness. 

Well, at least that is how we are seen by those that consider themselves our betters and those that would be our masters. Among many other things, they wish to control the words we use. Brilliant women, who I have never heard of, have decided that the word "bossy" is no longer appropriate to use. I find this particularly troubling because now I will have to rename my cow. (Just kidding. I don't own a cow.) I can understand banishing cruel ethnic words that are hurtful, out of common decency. But English is a powerful language. The descriptors in English serve a useful purpose and have nothing to do with common decency. This is just silly.

The elite despise guns and believe only criminals and the police should have them. Well, that is not exactly true. The elite's bodyguards should also have guns. After all the elite must be protected. Not the honest taxpaying rabble however, even though our right to own firearms is protected in the Constitution. To the elite, the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights is just a suggestion. After all, you wouldn't want one of the rabble harming some thug while protecting his or her family. Here's an interesting fact. Women are the largest group of first time handgun purchasers today.

The elite are taking a much needed stand against those silly magnet schools. I mean, how good can they really be? After all they are not controlled by teachers unions, who, as you all know, are all about the children. So the kids that go to the magnet schools score higher in tests and many more get into college. What does that prove? In many urban areas the population of magnet schools is primarily poor minorities. This is just wrong. Those schools are just depriving these children of the variety of life experiences enjoyed by their homies, like drugs and muggings and a chance to be part of a social group like the Bloods or the Crips.

You know, I like salt. I consider it a food group all by itself. My kids used to call me the "cookie monster", and I love a good 32 oz. drink of cola. That sugar and caffeine really gets you going. In more ways than one. Until the elites explained, I never truly appreciated the magnitude of my errors. Thank you, (please pick the deity of your choice) for the elite food police. Now I can deprive myself of all the tasty things that I enjoy, be politically correct, and extend my life for an extra three months or so and be miserable doing it.

Those great philosophers, the Rolling Stones, said it best, and I use their words as I say to those much un-admired, self-appointed, smug guardians of the universe, "Hey You, Get Off Of My Cloud". 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

You Can't Fix Dumb

Most kids are not stupid. But most kids are dumb. They don't plan ahead. Everything is in the moment. There brains are, basically, unformed mush. Even adults do stupid things. Like forgetting to take your 45 Colt pistol out of your suitcase when you are heading to the airport. Just look at the pictures that are occasionally published showing the piles of stuff that the TSA confiscates.

So a two year old girl in Canada gets kicked out of preschool for three days because she stuck a sealed plastic bag containing a grilled cheese sandwich in her pocket and brought it to school. In Maryland, an eight year old boy was suspended for biting a pop-tart into the shape of a gun.

In Ohio an eighteen year old who was training to be an EMT is spending thirteen days in jail because his car was searched and they found a pocket knife in his EMT vest. A knife would be standard equipment for an EMT. This stint in jail may ruin his whole future.

Two young lads had their picture taken. They happen to be black and the were holding up three fingers. Both of their football jersey numbers are three. The principal of their school with out even asking deemed them to be flashing gang signs and threw them out of school.

There are more. Oh so many more. And new ones each week. All in the name of the stupidest rule in history, "Zero Tolerance". I am not an extremely tolerant person when bad people do bad things but let the punishment fit the crime, if, indeed, there is a crime. Zero Tolerance is simply a means to take responsibility from school administrators.

It was said in the news that the two boys that held up three fingers were good students and had no gang affiliation. I doubt that their school principal really knew what their situation was. But instead of calling in the parents and treating this rationally, the principal took the extreme position immediately.

I know times have changed. But they haven't changed as much as some would believe. A criminal has more rights than a school child. Under zero tolerance a child is guilty with no consideration of innocence or scale. The pointing of a finger has become the same as pointing a loaded gun. A Pop Tart is as threatening as a switchblade.

Proper discipline is a difficult task. Sometimes it takes restraint and wisdom. Sometimes it requires ruthlessness. When the system abrogates the restraint and wisdom they often harm those that can ill afford more harm than they already receive outside the school. Zero tolerance makes zero sense.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Punting To Putin

I understand that Barack Obama is not much of a football player. Rumor has it that he can't even throw a spiral pass. But from casual observation, I can firmly state that he is a great punter. As a matter of fact, he has been punting frequently since his election to the Presidency.

Most lately, our President has punted world leadership to Vladimir Putin. Not that Mr. Putin is the person that most of the world wants in a position of leadership. Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Give up the power that your countrymen have bled for and your citizens have paid for, and the biggest baddest alpha dog will snarl and the rest will go belly up. They may growl a little but, ultimately they will expose their soft undersides in obeisance. 

How could this happen, you ask? I ask, how could it not happen? Putin and Obama are both educated men. While Obama was at Harvard getting an education in liberalism and law while strolling with the Choom Gang, Putin was at St. Petersburg State University getting a degree in jurisprudence. Rumor has it that his education at St. Petersburg State was actually basic training for the KGB. We can all see how ones world view would differ with those experiences. So while Obama was organizing minorities in Chicago, Putin was organizing spies to steal western technology.

No one could deny that both men are major narcissists. While Obama likes to see himself in front of adoring audiences with his nose held high or playing at basketball, Putin likes to see himself doing manly things, like hunting and SCUBA diving. Putin has himself photographed sans shirt in personal moments. Obama prefers his collar unbuttoned.

Both are patient men. Faced with the need to make a decision, President Obama will study and restudy. He will get opinion papers and convene study groups. He will discuss ad infinitum. President Putin will spot an opportunity put pieces into place and wait for his opportunity. Then his people rush in, grab the target, and he goes back to the middle of his web to wait for the next opportunity.

Putin is a hard man and a thug. I do not believe he has a moral center. He dreams of the glory days of the USSR. His goal is to return Russia that glory. He sees himself holding all the trump cards today. He sees a weakened opposition that is in turmoil. He took South Ostia from Georgia during the Bush administration and is presently taking the Crimea away from the Ukraine. Whether there will be further incursions in the immediate future is anyone's guess. I hope not but we can be relatively sure the Crimea is gone.

Since the days of Ronald Reagan, the world has become less safe. Now it seems to be getting less safe at an increasing rate. China, Korea, Iran, and Russia are all rattling their sabers. Meanwhile we cut back on our military. We really need to stop wasting money on "pie-in-the-sky" projects and get back on a firm strong foundation. There may be some that are content to see America sink into oblivion. Do not count me as one of them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I Miss Bill

Just to make it clear, I never voted for Bill Clinton. I'm an unabashed conservative and always have been. OK, there was that one mental lapse when I voted for JFK. All I can say is that I was young, newly married, and confused. Since then I have been more consistent.

I didn't agree with much of what was being done in Washington during the Clinton years. Frankly, it scared the hell out of me when good old Bill announced that we had elected co-Presidents. That he intended to share the top office with Hillary. It became the Bill and Hill show. I remember their cute little trick to bolster support for their programs. Everything was "for the children". I guess that was the teaspoon of sugar that was supposed to help us swallow the bitter pill of reality.

Hillary and her friend Ira went off and invented "Hillarycare". Which was like Obamacare but without the salesmanship. But for the most part those days were good times. Bill liked to take to the podium and speechify. But he didn't have a daily elitist lecture from someplace out at the end of an Air Force One trip. Bill had that good old country boy image down pat and he worked at it.

After the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center Clinton bemoaned the fact that there was never a crisis during his administration that made him look like a strong leader. That strikes me as a strange thing to place on your wish list. But, the fact is, that he had the original World Trade Center bombing and the bombing of the USS Cole to deal with. Both incidents were given a rather tepid response. So he actually did have his chance.

For entertainment purposes, we had the ongoing White House soap opera. It was not exactly what we had come to expect from Presidential behavior, but a hound is a hound. So, all in all, a pretty good eight years. And I wish we had them back.

After six years of daily lectures, scandal, rancor, out of control government agencies, and a  D minus foreign policy, the American people are at the nadir of trust and faith in government. And with good reason. Leadership in both the country and the world has been abandoned. The Ship of State is rudderless, with torn sails, and a captain who has given up and never learned how to read a compass, anyway.

President Obama works on the theory that, if what your doing doesn't work, keep doing more of the same until it does work. We are all seeing how that is working out. The actual answer is so simple. Just take the big foot of oppressive government from the throat of American business, and things will blossom. Unfortunately that is so antithetical to Obama's basic beliefs that it will never happen as long as he is President.

I didn't think Bill Clinton was a particularly good President, but in comparison? Yeah, I'd take him back any day.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Honor Lost

I ran across this thought in a book that I am reading. "How can the search for truth be dishonorable?" I felt it should be paired up with another concept. How can attempting to quell the search for truth be honorable. 

House hearings on the IRS scandal and the Benghazi debacle have not gone well. Chairman Issa is trying to find the truth about the IRS and that is honorable. Unfortunately, there is a concerted effort to cover up this assault on political freedom by a powerful government agency. And that is, most certainly, dishonorable.

The hearings on Benghazi have been a litany of lies. Even after all this time every statement given in testimony must be parsed and examined in detail. In both cases there has been testimony in classified hearings that is hidden from the public. 

There is nothing now operational regarding Benghazi. The only damage coming from full and honest testimony would be political damage to those who mismanaged the situation and lied about it. Political damage that would be well earned. The same is true about the IRS scandal. The only reason to keep silent is to prevent public knowledge of the malfeasance of the politicians who would be our masters.

To cover up the truth, those that have a vested interest in silence have denigrated and insulted the Republicans that are doing the heavy work. Even to the extent that, when Representative Clyburn, in a fit of pique, went outside the House rules screaming in a public hearing, and Chairman Issa shut him off, Mr. Clyburn called him a racist. That is a soaring insult that comes too easily from the tongues of liberals. Cannot two people have a dispute on principle without skin color being brought into the argument. But the liberals have always been good at the politics of personal destruction. When the facts are against you and you have nothing to offer, call your opposition racist. It stops them in their tracks. The dishonor of such tactics does not seem to bother liberal establishment.

Something like sixty-eight percent of Americans would be happy to clear out Congress and start over with a new cast of characters. I can't say that I blame them. We have too many career politicians that feel that they are the entitled elite. It is time for term limits. Then, maybe, we can get some honor back.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Gift And A Smirk

I confess, I like to cook. At my age I like things to be simple, so I try to simplify dishes that tend to be complicated but still get full flavor. I love pulled pork. If you see them make it on those BBQ shows, it's complicated. So I came up with this. Here's your gift.

                                            Cranky's Pulled Pork

Use only Boston Butt. No other cut works as well. Don't even think about fresh shoulder.
Five lbs, will give you enough for eight people of normal girth.

Place the butt in a cast Dutch oven or a slow cooker. (Yeh, I was tempted to make that, your butt. I resisted.) Add 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup rye or bourbon whiskey, and 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke. I suggest hickory or mesquite, and a tablespoon of garlic powder.

With a slow cooker, start it on high. When it comes to a boil, switch to low. Simmer four hours. 
With a Dutch oven, bring to boil on top of the stove. At boil, place in a 300 degree oven for four hours.

Remove meat to the largest bowl available. Cool for thirty minutes, then shred meat with two forks removing bones.

In the last hour of cooking, empty a 16 ounce bottle of catsup into a sauce pan. Pour 1/3 cup of cider vinegar into the catsup bottle and dissolve the remaining catsup. Add that to the sauce pan along with three round tablespoons of light brown sugar, one tablespoon of finely ground fresh black pepper, one tablespoon of yellow mustard, and one tablespoon of hot sauce. Adjust the last two items to personal taste. Slow simmer for 30 minutes.

Add to the pork and mix well. Rather than serve it with bread, I like to take a plastic package, no canned, of sauerkraut, rinse well, add a dollop of dry sherry, heat, and serve.

OK, now to the smirk part. I'll make this short because these people do not deserve much ink. (Yes, I know it's not really ink.) I like Fox News, not only because they support the conservative position, but also because they give liberals a shot to rebut. There are liberals worth hearing, like Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen. These men are serious and thoughtful. I dislike the leering smirking faces of Lanny Davis, Bob Beckell, and Alan Colmes. They try to shout down and talk over any opposition and have never known a conservative to do good nor a liberal to do bad. Ideologues all with no sense of values.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Grouch That Stole the Senate

With apologies to Doctor Seuss, we have a serious problem. Pure evil walks afoot in Washington D.C.  And it's name is Harry Reid.

I do not like Mr. Reid. I do not like his attitude. I abhor the way he conducts the Senate's business in the name of the American people. He serves only Barack Obama and his own lust for power. And power he has. He wields it like a club.

The Democrats keep referring to the Republicans as the "party of no". If you are not paying attention, that is believable. Pay attention and truth may be revealed. It is the Constitutional job of Congress to counterbalance and control Presidential power. The trick is that both houses must cooperate to do this. Good old Harry blocks any attempt at this. And frankly, for some reason, the Democrats are content to have an imperial presidency usurping Congressional power, as long as it is their man in office.

In other words, any piece of legislation that has even one Republican fingerprint on it, is killed by Harry Reid before it sees the light of day. So ultimately, Harry is the person of no. So the loyal opposition is vilified by the Democrats and in the press because the only tool that the have left to show disagreement with administration policy is to block it.

There was a time when the United States Senate was considered to be the greatest deliberative body in the world. Those days are gone. I hope not forever. The process of moving things through the Senate was designed to be slow. The six year staggered term for Senators was to provide a majority of experienced lawmakers and a group that would overlap Presidential terms. It was the intent to allow debate until a solid consensus was formed.

Harry Reid has altered the rules of the Senate and acted as a ramrod rather than a leader. Both sides have been so alienated the the traditional collegiality has disappeared. Disparagement and vilification have been substituted for debate. These actions harm both the Senate and the country. The clock should be turned back to a better day when the good of the country came first. That will not happen with the grouch that stole the Senate

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Riddle And The Enigma

Winston Churchill is quoted as saying that "Russia is a riddle wrapped inside an enigma". With the experience of World War Two, who better to believe than Churchill? With that in mind, I opine that Vladimir Putin is the perfect embodiment of Russian politik. 

That is not to say that I like or admire him. He is an egotistical thug. But then Russia isn't Disneyland. I can think of no Russian leader in my lifetime who was a kind and gentle man. It takes an iron fist and a will of steel to control a country like Russia. And it would seem that Putin has forced himself into that mold.

Putin is an educated man. He has a doctorate in Jurisprudence from Leningrad State University. I feel that his personality was more molded by his training and experience in his sixteen years as a KGB officer than by his education. I have no doubt that Putin considers himself, and is considered by other Russians, to be a patriot. He embodies Russia.

Where he becomes part of the enigma is that he is a very closed personality. No outsiders, and, I suspect, few insiders are privy to his thoughts. I do not know if Vladimir Putin is a card player. If he is, I would think that his game would be poker, and that he would be very good at it. Poker players look for "tells" from other players to help them figure out what an opposing player might have. If one got a tell from Mr. Putin, I expect it would only be the tell he wanted you to get to throw you off your game.

Mr. Putin is very much a private man. He gives away little of what he is thinking and nothing of what he is planning. He doesn't make a lot of speeches. He does not share grand plans with the world. He speaks quietly. He is patient. He waits for an opportunity and acts. When he acts it is from a position of power. Right now the EU is extremely dependent on Russia for natural gas. Putin controls the gas valve. The needs of the EU members constrains them from strong action with regard to the Ukraine.

Our President makes speeches but he has closed most doors of opportunity, such as the missile defense that was promised to Poland and the Czech Republic, behind him. A refusal to go to the G8 conference and ousting Russia from the G8 will only go so far. Putin values the Crimea more than the G8. Mr. Obama speaks harshly about the effect of Russia moving into the Ukraine will have on Russia's place in the modern world and the harm that will be done to Putin's personal reputation. I doubt that Putin could care less,

In President Putin's mind, his country's glory days were the days of the USSR. He wants those days back. He is willing to risk much to get what he wants. But no one will know what he has risked until he lays down the cards and rakes in the pot. This poker game is far from over.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

From Uni-polar to Uni-polar

Until the last five years, if we really lived in a uni-polar world, it revolved around the United States of America. We were the premier world power. For the most part, the power was used for the benefit of the world in general. Despots like Stalin, Khrushchev, and Mao were held in check. There were times when we were ineffective. The Kims still control North Korea and the Castros still control Cuba. On occasion, we were wrong. As in Viet Nam and Iraq. 

The power of the United States has not been used, in recent history, to possess foreign lands. When the United States went into Kuwait to oust Saddam Hussein, we could have taken possession the country and owned their oil. No one could have denied us. But we did not. We spent American dollars and blood to win back freedom for the Kuwaiti people. Over the years, that is the way the United States has operated.

For the past five years, the foreign policy that the United States has operated under has been a naive dream. A dream where there is no greed or anger in the world. No leader is moved by a lust for power. Where, if one powerful leader holds out his hand in peace there will be a worldwide Kumbaya moment and "the lions shall lay down with the lamb. And a little child shall lead them."

That is not happening, and I, for one, have had enough of that little child thing. There are big bad people out there who never attended liberal colleges and joined peace movements. They will not only eat your lunch, they will stuff the garbage in a bag and throw it at you.

Obviously, Vladimir Putin is such a man. He does not see friendship. He sees weakness. And he is not wrong. There is an old phrase, "Peace Through Strength". Or even"walk softly and carry a big stick". We are slowly but surely whittling away at our big stick. We now have a small stick heading toward a toothpick as the President shrinks our military even more. This will not serve us well. Obama has ceded world leadership to Putin.

Putin did everything possible to polish his image at the Olympic Games in Sochi. But then he saw an opportunity in the Ukraine. Power trumps image to men like Putin so he made his move. While Putin is playing international chess, Obama is considering setting up the checker board.

A wise man would see the error of his ways and reverse his course. An ideologue would not be able to see past his preconceived notions of his place in history. Ideology protects him from the lightning bolt strike of reality. But that does not change that reality.

Are there no adults in the Democrat party that value their country above their agenda? We are being destroyed from within. I hope, not intentionally. But the damage is still there. Statesmen please stand up and come to the front of the room and take control. Now is the time because there could be no later. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cool Fails Again

I hope the American people have learned a lesson. It has been, and continues to be, a costly lesson. It has cost us both in terms of dollars and the American image around the world. The lesson, that I hope has been learned, is that cool doesn't cut it. It just doesn't get the job done.

A slim and trim candidate with a friendly smile and soaring rhetoric, and even with a little, smoked some dope, bad boy twist, is not what is needed to actually run a country. Solid experience and maturity always go much farther.

Are you, and your family, and your friends, better off today than you were five years ago? Few people can answer yes to that question. Five years ago we needed jobs. That was to be the first priority for the new administration. In spite of the way that the government number crunchers make it seem, we actually have fewer jobs available today. Five wasted years and we are still waiting for a "jobs recovery".

Are you confident in your health care? Some will get through this health care debacle just fine. The very lucky, the very rich, the chosen few, mostly politicians and union members will not suffer. The rest of us will inherit big problems not of our own making. American people going public with their problems are not liars, as the monstrous Harry Reid would have you believe. They are heroes that are making their private lives public to help stop a government over reach based on incompetence and agenda. 

And how is America looking on the international scene lately? Vladimir Putin, an ex KGB thug, has just run right over our President like an ant on the roadway. President Obama gets no respect because he hasn't earned any. The Ukraine had come so far. Their progress was astonishing. But President Putin sees them only as a target to be dragged back into the renewed USSR of his dreams. What countries would be next, should he succeed? Poland, Lithuania?

We have a new Presidential election coming up in 2016. It may seem like that is a long time. But we must start thinking now about where we want this country to go. As an independent, I have no real ax to grind. But I will make a few observations. Liberalism has failed. Abjectly. Once again Keynesian economics has failed as it always does. Cool has failed. There was never any real reason to think it would succeed. 

I would like to see a sitting Governor with a record of solid success as the Republican candidate. And the I would like to see every Republican obey the eleventh commandment and line up behind the candidate. Just take a page or six from the Democrat playbook. They know how to do hardball politics.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Listen To The Mocking Birds

Mr. Obama, it is all over. You have failed. You have failed, and continue to fail, because so many of your programs were just wrong headed. There are other reasons, of course. The fact that you preferred to operate as a dictator rather than negotiate with the opposition party as all Presidents before you have done contributed heavily to your failure.

Trying to operate as an idea man with a grand plan, then walk away and leave the grunt work to others brought you no good will. But your crowning masterpiece was to try through subterfuge to take over the health care of the American people. Did you think we were so stupid that we would not catch you in your lies.

All of this, along with your penchant to mimic the lifestyle of Louis XVI of France, has made you less than endearing to most Americans. In fact, it has gotten so bad, that the mocking birds have come out. You are being mocked and laughed at. Most certainly, not to your face. After all you are still a powerful man and we have seen how you treat those that you see as enemies.

I didn't realize how low your reputation has fallen until last week when I saw a bunch of Minnesota Democrats, at a town meeting, laughing in public when Obamacare problems were discussed. You set your own self up for the fall. When you campaigned you promised things far beyond your abilities. 

You promised to change world opinion. Actually, that you have accomplished. We used to be respected by our friends and feared by our enemies. Now no one either fears or respects us. What is far worse, those that were our friends no longer trust us. Now to make matters worse, you have that pathetic excuse of a Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, gutting the army. This could bite America right square in the butt, but you have him set up to take the fall. As usual, the buck stops no where even close to you.

But carry on with your "let them eat cake" attitude. You don't hear them. You don't see them. But those of us that live out here in reality land can listen to the mocking birds. Their volume gets louder every day.