Monday, November 10, 2014

I Still Believe - Veterans Day Song 2014

The latest from the great kids at Tussing Elementary School


If you are on facebook, please like their page at Positive American Music

Many thanks to Michael & Angela Souders and of course, the wonderful third grade children in his school

Saturday, October 18, 2014

13th Annual Prayer Breakfast Keynote Speech by Lt. Gen. Boykin (Ret)

For those unable to attend, the full Keynote speech given by "controversial" Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (US Army ret.) at the 13th Annual Clark County Mayors and Civic Leaders Prayer Breakfast in Vancouver, Washington, Oct. 17, 2014 and boycotted by Mayor Tim 'the Liar' Leavitt and Vancouver City Council Members, Larry J. Smith (Col. US Army ret.) and Ann McEnerny Ogle.


The Prayer Breakfast faced a brief protest staged by a group of Liberal Democrats opposed to the War Hero speaking as the audience assembled, organized by a group calling themselves “Stand on the Side of Tolerance.”

Monday, September 22, 2014

POW/MIA Memorial

I was pleased to read of the dedication this past Saturday of the POW/MIA Memorial at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Fourth Plain. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend.

I was able to not only attend the POW/MIA recognition ceremonies in 2011, but to tape the speaker as well, former WWII POW Dale Bowlin, who also spoke this past Saturday, video below.


Sorry about background noise, but he was speaking very close to the freeway that day.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Military Surplus, Police and Ill-Informed Writers

“But to militarize them, give them military weapons, it creates a culture. You know, guns and tanks and gases that are illegal in war time are being used.” Ron Paul


Possibly one of the more idiotic and inaccurate comments ever made by the three time failed presidential candidate, Ron Paul uttered those words in an MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell, August 18, 2014 in regards to the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of the teenager, Michael Brown.

In true Ron Paul fashion, blame is placed on the Police for having surplus military equipment for the riots, just as he blamed American policy for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and even claiming a fence built along our Southern Border would not be to keep illegal aliens out, but would be to lock American Citizens in.

Yes, I know, Ron Paul is as nutty as a fruitcake and has but a small, although boisterous gaggle of followers, small enough that in spite of their overly loud, demanding calls, he never won a single state primary in three tries.

But his words also reflect a growing and troublesome attitude in America as more and more, we see people wanting to oppose and disarm our Police Forces, maximizing the rare instances of ‘bad cops’ while ignoring the good most do every single day.

Also included in the effort now are claims of “Militarizing the Police,” as if they are being turned into some sort of force designed to turn on and oppress citizens in the country. Just the choice of the word alone shows the effort to denigrate our Police to make them appear as if they are some rogue of armed mercenaries.

Too many seem to forget that our local Police and Sheriff Deputies are also our neighbors, maybe even live next door to you and also have families they love.

While it is true that Congress authorized turning surplus military equipment over to the Police in the country, cries like from Ron Paul above are more hogwash than anything.

US Army Abrams Tank
I am astonished that Ron Paul, after many years in Congress, doesn’t know the distinct difference between a tank and an armored vehicle. Even if an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), it is not a tank.

Tanks have large caliber, high velocity guns, and a cannon if you will, on a turret. Some might have rocket launchers. But they have high powered weaponry for use in battle.

CCSO Armored Vehicle on Public Display
Armored cars do not have such weaponry, even though in Military use, one might be equipped with a machine gun. I have yet to see any Police vehicle with a Military Machine Gun mounted on it.

And what are those “gases illegal in war time” Ron Paul mentions? Tear gas has been around for decades for Police use in riot control and crowd dispersal. It is nothing new nor is it the gases used in World War One prohibited in use today in war. It is also rarely lethal, ask any Veteran that walked through the gas chamber in Basic Training.

One rather ominous sounding claim I have heard is “Police Sniper,” and given surplus Military guns. Of course, using the word “sniper” leaves one envisioning a Police Officer stalking the city from atop a building seeking targets of opportunity and heavily camouflaged to blend in with the surroundings.

Sorry, also not something new, but not so much a “sniper” as what some have been called for several decades now, “Sharpshooters,” called in under really dire situations where a finely placed, highly accurate shot might be needed to save many people from a bad guy, likely holding them hostage.

These Sharpshooters do not traverse the city seeking targets, but are called on only when a situation might call for their expertise. They are highly trained and only pull the trigger as a last resort and when given the okay by someone in authority.

This transfer of surplus Military equipment to law enforcement is due to the Department of Defense 1033 program and has been active since 1997, such transfers first being authorized by Section 1208 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1990. As you can see, the transfer of such equipment itself is not something new, as some seem to try to convince.

A Wikipedia article states, “The legislation was passed in the context of a perceived drug crisis, and was intended to combat illegal drug activities using material not needed by the Department of Defense.”

It must also be noted that a large amount of the equipment transferred is not weaponry. Office items such as exercise equipment, office equipment, ice machines, medical backpacks, Binoculars and many more items that could make the difference in saving your life in a serious auto accident have also been declared surplus and transferred to local Police & Sheriff Departments.

Due to the rioting seen in Missouri and an outcry from the American Civil Liberties Union, the program is currently suspended and under review, the ACLU being among the loudest opponents to the program.

A retired Wisconsin Officer, Lt. Dan Marcou counters the ACLU allegation at 6 arguments against the ACLU’s flawed ‘police militarization’ report

Claims are being made of excessive use by Police in SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams deployed to execute search and arrest warrants. I witnessed one such operation in my neighborhood about four years ago that was executed with precision and no one was injured.

Some criminals have no hesitation to shoot Police or innocent bystanders, so I fully understand using SWAT more now than before.

And yes, it doesn’t always go off without a hitch, but bear in mind, Police are going in either blind of what is on the other side of that door or relying on intelligence given them. As well trained as these Officers are, and their training is critical, even more so than a regular Officer on patrol, they too want to go home afterwards to their families.

That doesn’t seem to be in consideration by Ron Paul and those that agree with him as they continue raising the din of such transfers of surplus equipment are creating a “warrior force” instead of a “peace force.”

Of that notion, Doug Deaton, an officer in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area says, “Many writers routinely lament that cops were once ‘peace officers’ instead of ‘law enforcement officers’ or ‘police officers.’ In truth, these titles all refer to the same role, and there never has been a functional difference between them.”

Officer Deaton also points out the fallacious arguments and incomplete data often used in condemning the so-called “militarization” of our Law Enforcement Officers.

Locally, Clark County has been included in receipt of surplus Military equipment. According to a database compiled by the Detroit Free Press, Clark County received four 7.62 mm rifles (M-14’s) that came into use in the late 1950’s and was replaced by the M-16 in the later part of the 1960’s for use in Vietnam.

Clark County also received an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robot and a Utility Truck, far from enough equipment to begin rounding up Paulbots or any other group to send to FEMA camps or interfere with their neutralizing those ominous “chemtrails.”

Clark County Sheriff Candidate Chuck Atkins addressed these “Militarization” claims recently and said,
“Many of the images we’re currently seeing on TV show images of large armored police vehicles. News reporters and anchors, who apparently don’t know the difference between a tank and an armored car, are mistakenly identifying these vehicles as the same military weaponry that our military used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The truth is that most of these vehicles are simply large vehicles specifically built for police agencies by private companies here in the United States. Some surplus military vehicles are in use by law enforcement agencies across the country, however they are not tanks but simply armored cars for transporting officers and equipment.”
“The primary purpose of these armored vehicles is to transport police officers and equipment to active crime scenes where armed suspects pose a high risk to responding officers. The armored vehicle provides ballistic protection to SWAT officers who necessarily have to place themselves directly in the line of fire from armed suspects. These vehicles are also the only way police officers can move in to rescue officers or victims who have been injured and need to be evacuated from a dangerous and active scene.”
“The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has never viewed these vehicles and equipment as something that ‘militarizes’ our law enforcement agency. In fact, as the commander of the SWAT team, I’ve made a point of making these vehicles and equipment accessible for citizens to view, touch, and climb around on. These vehicles are on display multiple times a year at our West Precinct open house, the 911 center open house, and many other community events. I bet many of you reading this now have pictures of your children or grandchildren in one of these armored vehicles or wearing a police officer’s vest and helmet.”
Also campaigning for Sheriff, Sgt. Shane Gardner of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department said prior to the primary,
“I will just say that I am very proud to be from Washington State where our Criminal Justice Training Academy has adopted the Blue Courage training philosophy. Much can be learned about it from the web, but it is a timely response to concerns held by many that many law enforcement agencies are hiring combat veterans who have a foundation of training in military tactics, which is not policing.”
“Our recent switch to outer carry vests is not about intimidation, it’s about comfort, and utility. For years we have had to carry all of our gear on our hips, and being a larger guy myself, squeezing into ever shrinking cars with more and more electronics and equipment. Now that we have the ability to carry equipment on our removable vests, we are more comfortable while writing reports at the precinct, and in the car.”
“We do not have the staffing to have double units. This means that each Deputy has to be prepared to handle anything that might be thrown at them. Yes it results in a lot of standard equipment from handcuffs, radios, tourniquet, taser, magazines, sidearm, knife, window punch, leatherman, etc. I will admit that it often looks like we are ready for the worst, but I will also say that anyone who knows me and has seen me in uniform knows a smile is disarming, and comforting. I would bet that there is no doubt in those same people’s minds that I would be ready for enforcement action at the drop of a hat.”
Several articles have been written and posted on the PoliceOne.com website that gives more accurate background and explains how such equipment has been used and the necessity of it all. A visit to their articles should help you cut through the chaff and loud noises being made by ill-informed journalists and those desiring to further hamper law enforcement as criminals are prepared to escalate crime where they can.

Our Police Forces are well trained and very disciplined, some having served in the Military and some not. Regardless, all are held to higher standards than everyday citizens and never forget, they are our friends and neighbors that took on an often thankless job, sworn to “Protect and Serve.”

And, in case of rioting for any reason or, God Forbid, a Terrorist attack in your community, they are our first line of defense.

Consider too, many citizens crying about this so-called “Militarization” also advocate that free citizens be allowed to purchase and own these same weapons under our Second Amendment rights. Yet, they do not want the Police to also have adequate weaponry to use against criminals and bad guys?

Our Military is amongst the finest, best equipped in the world. Contractors manufacture and supply them with the most up to date equipment government agrees to buy.

Our tax dollars pay for that equipment and replacements, even to more advanced equipment. That is our equipment, so to speak.

When replaced with more modernized equipment, much is still very useful under certain circumstances.

Consider for yourselves, where would you prefer that equipment to end up. Sold by the government for pennies on the dollar where it might find its way to the Black Market and in the hands of Gangs, Drug Lords, or even Terrorist groups like Al Qaeda or ISIS?

Or in the capable and trustworthy hands of our local Police Forces?

Stripping our Police of such necessary equipment can only end up once again with criminals and bad guys better armed than the very men and women sworn to “Protect and Serve.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 10 – Again

Thirteen years ago, all seemed well. The world was at relative peace, we thought. We went about our business that Monday, went to work, enjoyed our families, watched our favorite television shows, ate dinner and went to bed, looking forward to another week in our lives.

Tuesday morning changed all of that as we woke up the horrific scene of high jacked aircraft flown into buildings in New York and Washington D.C.

It didn’t take long to realize we were under attack and all air traffic was grounded out of fear of more high jacked aircraft being flown into other buildings in other cities.

The world hasn’t been the same since.

But throughout our fight against terrorists, a steady drone has been heard of how America “overreacted,” attacked the wrong country, the attacks were really a covert operation by dark elements of our own government to cause a war, no aircraft were high jacked, it was actually military missiles and more lunacy.

A Law Professor from the University of Colorado, Paul Campos told us that 9/11 was The most overblown event in U.S. history.

Largely ignored have been the calls of many that America Needs to Wake-up as politicians seized upon the attacks and subsequent fight against terror to score cheap political points.

The focus was placed on one man, Osama bin Laden as he was sought over two administrations with a false belief his death would end terrorism. It didn’t.

As these voices worked diligently to put America back to sleep with this ridiculous allegations, forgotten is that in the weeks leading up to that fateful day, many warnings were given of a potential terrorist attack, but expected overseas, not on our own soil.

Our sleepy attitudes never comprehended such a large scale attack on our own soil as happened.

No one anticipated high jacked aircraft would be flown into occupied buildings as all previous highjacking were hostage situations in foreign countries.

Our slumber has left us completely vulnerable yet again.

Thirteen years out from that fateful day and here we sit, once again on September 10 with more warnings of a potential attack as embassies are placed on alert and news reports mention aircraft once again missing from foreign airports over ran by terrorists.

Here we sit with an increased terrorist presence in the Middle East as one by one; the current administration supported the overthrow of harsh leaders that were keeping a lid on radical Jihadists there, to be replaced by even harsher radical extremists.

Iraq, once moving towards a peaceful country after several years of our presence there, has fallen back far worse that it was under Saddam Hussein as an even more brutal terrorist group, ISIS has moved in, claiming a large portion of it and Syria while our leaders cry they “have no strategy” in combating them.

Once again we see the warnings from ISIS they will soon be here on our soil, many thinking sleeper cells are already here.

Cries to secure our borders before even more come in illegally are ignored as once again, politicians allow illegal aliens free access to our country in hopes of gaining votes from them, even though they are not to be voting, not being citizens.

President Bush warned that this fight would not be a short one and Obama came into office promising to make it one by simply once again, turn around and walk away as we did in Vietnam.

Obama is scheduled to make a speech later this evening where he is expected to announce his plans for fighting the growing threat we once had more under control. I have no idea just yet what he will read from his teleprompter, but I can warn now that air strikes and drones alone will not drive ISIS and others like them back.

Sooner or later, it will require “boots on the ground” to enter and drive them back.

Yes, it is September 10 again and people are going about their lives as if the horrific attacks thirteen years ago didn’t happen. Too many have rolled over and gone back to sleep. Especially our own government that continues to downsize our Military as threats from abroad grows.

I cannot say that we will experience another attack tomorrow and even soon after.

But, all of the warnings that were ignored over several years prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks are once again present, even louder than before.

We now know there is no limit to their brutality as they seek to place the world under their oppressive religious ideology. Muslim, Christian and Jew are being slaughtered for not accepting their brutal ways.

Rolling over and going back to sleep is no longer an option, America.

It is well past time for you all to open your eyes, shake off the slumber and see what is happening. This is not “workplace violence,” it is a war brought to us over three decades of increasing terrorist attacks against our interests and way of life, both at home and abroad.

And for you that worry about “how are we going to pay for it,” ask yourselves, how much is your freedom and that of your children worth to you?

I’m ready to make the needed sacrifices on this September 10.

Are you?

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Angry!

Yes, I am angry. Angry to see another journalist killed by beheading.

But I am also reminded that those journalists traveled to that region of their own accord, unlike our Troops who have been sent there for many years now to fight terrorists.

We lost thousands of them and the very media those journalists represent barely raised an eyebrow, other than to use those deaths to weaken our resolve in fighting terror and undermine the fight we all saw as so necessary after over 20 years and some 15 terrorist attacks against our way of life, culminating in the devastating September 11, 2001 attacks.

We rallied around President Bush then as he announced to the nation and world on September 20, 2001,
“Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success.”
“We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest.”
“And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.”
How soon we saw that resolve being chipped away at with “the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

How soon we saw the media urging withdrawal and appeasement, joining the growing chorus of Democrats and followers of fringe nutcase Republican, Ron Paul as the fight became politicized and twisted into a campaign strategy call for impeachment, resignation and even ridicule of President Bush.

With Troops in harm’s way, leaders called for “Rules of Engagement” on our warriors that often left them as sitting ducks and called for more deployments than might have been necessary.

We’ll never know.

In 2008, Democrat Party control was completed with the election of Barack Obama as we saw more draw downs, more terrorists released to return to the fight from Guantanamo and more demonizing of Bush.

We saw the premature exit of our Troops from Iraq and shortly after, the Middle East began to boil.

Libya, Egypt, Syria and even Iraq saw terrorism return with a vengeance as our new leader seemed to side with the terrorists, now called “rebels” while he golfed his way through major engagements.

We saw brutality once again appear were before people were striving to get along.

We now see perhaps the most brutal of all terrorist groups running rampant and with little opposition as they establish the very “Caliphate” anti-war leftists claimed was a lie a few years ago.

We have seen reports of thousands of innocent men, women and children of the Christian and even Muslim Faith slaughtered, answered with the claim of “we have no strategy” from Obama.

We hear cries of “America, we’re coming from you next” from this group, ISIS and once again the left and the media marginalizing it.

Sadly, we see more outrage expressed over the death of one youth in Ferguson, Missouri, even though all of the facts are yet unknown, than we hear or see in regards to all of those innocent people slaughtered in the Middle East.

So yes, I am angry. I’m angry at those who felt marginalizing and minimizing decades of terror would score them political points.

I am angry that our media provided cover for those politicians that minimized and gave terrorists a stage to sound off from.

I am angry that the deaths and sacrifices of our Brave Troops receives token mention, if at all, deaths not worthy of national media while two journalists that decided to ignore all warnings from the region traveled there and are now headline news.

Are these two journalists more deserving than our Troops that stood between us and our enemies? Is their pursuit of a story more important than those that voluntarily defended our nation?

I am angry at those who refuse to recognize the true enemy to our way of life and who think they can “reason” with completely unreasonable terrorists, hell-bent on imposing their radical views on all.

I am angry at all of those that chipped away at our resolve as a nation to stand against such backwards and oppressive Neanderthals, falsely thinking leaving them alone will see them leave others alone.

As Sir Winston Churchill famously once said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last.”

We all should be angry again. Not just over the tragic beheadings of two journalists, but at those that decided to politicize terrorism and use it to propel themselves into office, without a clue on defeating such barbaric enemies.

Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, President Bush said,
“Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.”
It is time we got angry and turned our anger once again to resolve.

As was said before, terrorists are not just going to go away.

We have to defeat them, however we must.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sen. Patty Murray Must Resign

Patty Murray, Democrat Senator from Washington State has long touted herself as the “best friend” Veterans have. And she has successfully thrown some money towards veterans and enjoyed many a photo-op with Veterans and cutting ribbon ceremonies.

In light of the revelations of “waiting lists” for Veterans to receive much needed healthcare, some dying while waiting, she now demands “decisive actions” at hearing by the Senate Veterans Affair Committee she has sat on since 1995 and chaired between 2011 and 2013

Sadly, he calls sound little more than recorded rhetoric we heard from her in 2007 when it was discovered that one building at Walter Reed Hospital was in deplorable condition as she and other Democrats politicized it, demanding then President Bush’ head on a platter.

From articles I saved back then, she was quoted;
“However, having witnessed this Administration’s repeated failures to take care of our veterans when they return home, I plan to remain vigilant in my oversight of this process.”

“When it comes to caring for our troops and veterans, this Administration -- from the White House, to the Pentagon, to the Department of Veterans Affairs -- has consistently waited until conditions reached a critical stage before taking action to remedy them.”

“Our troops and veterans have faced massive budget shortfalls, horribly long waiting lines, and sickening hospital conditions, but this Administration continues to be reactive to the problems. It's time for this posture to end. Taking care of our troops and veterans must be a cost of this war, and I will continue my fight to force this Administration to take that cost into account at all times.” Feb 23, 2007

After the firing of Maj. Gen. George Weightman on March 1, 2007 over the deplorable conditions in the one building at Walter Reed Hospital, Sen. Patty Murray said, “Weightman’s dismissal is a welcome step, but it doesn’t change the fact that our injured troops are facing bureaucratic nightmares. We need more than empty rhetoric and administration fall guys — we need a plan to provide for our heroes.” March 2, 2007

“Calling Walter Reed ‘just the tip of the iceberg,’ Murray detailed fresh reports of poor treatment at a military hospital in Washington State. ‘Gen. Kiley, you're in charge of this system. I hold you accountable. I’m here today because I want answers’.” March 8, 2007

“I’ve been saying almost since the start of the war that there is a cost we cannot ignore, and that’s the care of men and women after they return home. Veterans being treated in military hospitals have become the forgotten stepchildren of the war.” March 8, 2007

“I’ve just about had it with administration officials who assure us everything is being taken care of. I know you work hard, but we are going to judge you by the results you get for our veterans, and we’re going to hold you accountable.” March 27, 2007

“There are amazing doctors and amazing surgery being done at Walter Reed. Where they get stuck is weeks after the surgery, where they get caught up in red tape and paperwork that is difficult for them and their families to follow.”

“They are very worried they are going to get lost again after all the publicity dies down. It’s a very vivid image for them to see us drive away.” March 29, 2007

“I would have liked to have heard the president say we have a crisis in military healthcare. I would have liked to have heard him give 60 days to fix not just the physical facilities but the bureaucratic delays that leave some returning servicemen and women sitting in those facilities for up to a year and a half waiting for treatment.” March 31, 2007

“It is troubling that that long ago there was a report somewhere that these issues were festering there.” April 13, 2007
Since then, Murray has chaired the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (2011 to 2013) and has sat on the committee since 1995, during the time Veterans were being placed on “waiting lists,” some dying while waiting for much needed care.

While she expresses outrage, where is her accountability in failing to oversee conditions across the country that has led to the deaths of our heroes?

Lest we forget, she became a member of the majority when Democrats swept back into power in the 2006 elections and took the White House under Barack Obama in 2008, holding full political power until the 2010 election when Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.

But, she remained in the majority in the Senate to this day and her party still holds the White House, winning the 2012 elections.

So what happened with all of her expressions above over Walter Reed? What changes did Democrats and she institute when they held full political power and Veterans began dying while waiting for the care they so richly deserved and earned defending our country?

“We have come to the point where we need more than good intentions. What we need from you now is decisive action to restore veterans’ confidence in VA, create a culture of transparency and accountability and change these system-wide, years long problems,” she said to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Just more empty rhetoric while she grandstands and Veterans continue dying and going without medical care they need?

And let us not forget her part in the proposed “sequester” that threatened to impose devastating cuts to Disabled Veterans that she simply acknowledged as a “mistake.”

The nation was angered in 2007 over the Walter Reed debacle, much more than we see today as no one is calling for heads to roll like they did then, least of all, Patty Murray.

Sen. Murray, we Veterans are not pawns so you can use us to look good and remain in your cushioned seat of authority. You have sat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee now for 19 years and apparently, treatment of Veterans has not improved and in fact, has worsened.

This is not a Democrat or a Republican matter, it is a disgrace in how America treats her Veterans, the men and women sworn to uphold and defend our constitution and way of life.

While she might not be the sole problem, Sen. Murray is a large part of the problem in not provided the proper oversight needed and only expressing outrage when it suits her political career.

Sen. Patty Murray, you are a disgrace and should, no must resign from the Senate Affairs Committee and the Senate itself.

Step aside, please, so we can find people that really will do the job and actually care more about the welfare of Veterans, not just using us as campaign props.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let’s Talk Minimum Wage

Yes, it’s been in the news a lot lately. From SeaTac, Washington imposing their $15 an hour minimum, to Seattle’s Socialist city council critter, Kshama Sawant, who also advocated workers seize Boeing’s factories, run it “and shut down Boeing’s profit-making machine,” the notion has been implanted in people’s heads, just in time for the mid-term election.

As usual, the entirely socialist idea is coming primarily from Socialist Democrats as the once again try to mislead voters to turn the country more to their control as we keep sliding closer and closer to a full-blown Communist Nation.

And what with the Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocking the latest effort to forcibly increase a wage minimum in America, we can expect Democrats to make the most of it they possibly can, portraying themselves as so benevolent and seeking to protect workers while they paint Republicans as demonic, evil and uncaring, as usual.

Nothing could be further from the truth, however. In fact, it is exactly opposite.

While admitting that like you, I am not a so-called “expert” on things, I do have the ability to read and reason. So, with that in mind, let’s look at the minimum wage.

It was first instituted in America in 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act, setting a minimum wage at 25¢ an hour. That doesn’t sound like much today, but it was acceptable in 1938 as the country, in fact the world was still mired in the Great Depression, all previous socialist efforts lauded as saving the world now known to have actually prolonged the suffering: FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate

But, the hallmark of socialism is that it plays on your emotions and not your ability to reason, to come to a logical conclusion. So we got the first minimum wage in 1938, not long after then President Roosevelt had said in his second inaugural address, “I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day....I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions. I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.”

Seventy-five years later, Barack Obama, in his 2013 State of the Union address stated, “Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead.”

Same tune as was said in 1937 in spite of increasing the minimum wage some 30 times since it was first instituted.

Of course, we are to believe that many families are still struggling, Democrats of course not accepting one scintilla of blame for the Great Recession they say was over in 2009, but apparently is not.

Left-leaning Politifact sheds some light as they rate the claim made by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio that only about 2% of the workers in America work for the minimum wage as Mostly True. They actually came up with a 2.6% figure and took exception to his saying “Americans” instead of “Workers.”

From the same Politifact article, we also see Sen. Portman reveal that about 50% of those working for minimum wage are between 16 and 24 years old, working part-time, likely students I would believe working their way through school.

So, where is this big need? Where is the danger of “It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead?” as Obama proclaimed?

Obviously, in spite of what Socialists are crying today, there really I no dire emergency, the overall vast majority of families earning a decent living and supporting their families. But Socialists hate that, any segment of society not being under the rule and caring for themselves, not dependent upon our growing Socialist rulers for everyday essentials.

And if you don’t believe it is linked to Socialism creeping further and further into our lives, look at history.

Shortly after overthrowing the Tsar of Russia in 1917, the Bolsheviks, as they worked towards becoming the Soviet Union, decreed a “minimum wage, limitations on workers’ hours, and the running of factories by elected workers’ committees.”

We saw the failure of that ‘Great Experiment” as the Berlin Wall came crumbling down followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991.

And, raising the minimum wage again does not make us a mirror of the Soviet Union…… yet! It is just one small step in our gradual march towards that goal, started as far back as 1919 in our country.

Now, I know Liberals are going to scoff, ridicule this as “unenlightened” and whatnot, they can’t help it, it is their nature and all they have to rely on, reasoning and logical thinking slipping away from them long ago. It is to be expected.

But stop and consider, in his June 25, 2013 testimony before Congress, James Sherk, Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics with The Heritage Foundation laid out, “Congress typically raises the minimum wage only during times of healthy economic growth and low unemployment. In 1990, Congress enacted a minimum wage hike that took effect on April 1 of that year, when unemployment stood at 5.4 percent. Congress voted to raise the minimum wage again in August 1996—when unemployment stood at 5.1 percent. The next vote to raise the minimum wage occurred in May 2007, when unemployment stood at 4.4 percent. Congress has not voted to raise the minimum wage when unemployment stood above 7.5 percent since the Great Depression ended.”

Why now when we know that real unemployment numbers, those underemployed or that have just given up looking, remains well into double digits?

Why now when we still see so many empty store fronts around the country, left over from many small businesses that failed during the past 5 years?

Why now when we see our sluggish economy stumbling along at a dismal 0.1 percent growth? That is one-tenth of one-percent, barely noticeable.

It is a fallacy to think that these business owners are not also struggling. Refer back to those empty store fronts I just mentioned.

And don’t forget, the majority of those working for the current minimum wage are young people, in school and unskilled.

And yes, there are others with little or no actual skills also working for minimum wage. Single parents divorced with a deadbeat spouse and working part-time trying to raise their children. But, left out of the cries for yet another increase, most of those people, as they gain skills and experience, leave minimum wage behind, gaining wage increases, especially if a very good worker.

On the other hand, forcing employers to increase wages across the board like this means their cost of doing business increases. In order to keep a reasonable profit margin, after all, they start a business to earn a profit, they will have to adjust, likely meaning laying off people they would like to keep.

It also means they can’t hire new people still seeking work.

Proponents of a minimum wage hike will point to “studies” showing this did not really happen in the past. Again, I refer you back to when those increases took place, during times of economic growth, not during a struggling economy.

The average voter won’t think about that, though, hearing only that they should receive more “profit” from their greedy employer, spoon-fed from today’s Socialist Democrat Party, seeking to place more dependence upon them as they confiscate monies from everybody, giving all a mere pittance of what they could be earning.

There is no free-ride and Robin Hood is a myth.

Pushing through an increase in minimum wage, even workers taking over factories like Kshama Sawant called for is not to lift anybody out of poverty.

It is to spread the poverty as we march more toward Socialism.

I’d rather be free to reap the rewards of my own labor and talents, not have some bureaucratic agency decide whether or not I am permitted to buy a loaf of bread or carton of milk today.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Peachtree Restaurant Concert & Vendor Fair 4 Vets

50th Anniversary Pin This May will see the 50th Anniversary of the Hazel Dell Parade of Bands as school bands, businesses and community groups converge to march through the middle of Hazel Dell, Washington.

This “Golden Jubilee” celebrates the founding of the Parade in 1964, a time of a troubled America ripped apart by a Presidential Assassination, Civil Rights struggle, the Cold War and in need of such a spirit-lifting event.

Nineteen sixty-four also saw a growing involvement 8,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in the small Asian country of Vietnam that would further divide the American public, with returning Troops met with scorn and derision by a misunderstanding population.

Through it all, people in Southwest Washington put aside different views and joined together briefly to enjoy the yearly parade.

The Vietnam War ended but, but the parade went on, every year over the past 50 years, come rain or shine. Many veterans began taking part in the parades, in part to help alleviate frustration and confusion that grew out of that war.

Veterans in the parade would call on others to come out of the shadows and march proudly alongside other veterans--to show pride in their service and sacrifices made. Some had withdrawn into themselves. A small few troubled by both their war experience and mistreatment upon their return distanced themselves from memories. Some turned to drugs and alcohol and eventually ran afoul of the law.

A lot has changed since 1964 as awareness of veterans has grown. The public has realized that the small number experiencing troubles are worthwhile; and that the public that helped create their problems should help them recover their lives.

But, parades alone cannot accomplish that. It takes the dedication of people like Clark County District Judge Darvin Zimmerman, following the example of Judge Robert Russell who created the “nation’s first veterans treatment court” where instead of jail time for minor infractions of the law, “the veterans [are] required to get mental health or addiction counseling, find jobs, stay clean and sober and get their lives back on track.”

Zimmerman, founding presiding Judge of the Clark County Veterans Court says,

“The Vets Court has had approximately 57 Veterans enter since its start in March of 2011. It has the highest graduation rate of any specialty court in Clark County. More than double most other courts as the Veterans really want to succeed. From a taxpayers viewpoint it is a great deal as the VA has the space and time to do all the treatment for the Vets and therefore the average of $6000.00 set aside for treatment costs in the other courts is not necessary. So one way of looking at it is we save the county $60,000 for every 10 Vets that we treat in Vets Court. Plus treating the Vets as opposed to incarcerating them at $82 a day is a savings too.”
When American University evaluated the success of the court they referred to it as being a model court for the nation. Another point of pride is that both Marion County and Multnomah County are modeling their newly started Courts after the Clark County Veterans Court.

Judge Z. was instrumental in obtaining a $350,000 federal grant to establish the Clark County Veterans Court and has worked tirelessly since then in keeping it funded by generous donations from the public and businesses through a series of highly entertaining events held throughout the County.

Through the continuous generosity of their major sponsors these events are kept to a very low price or free to the public. These major sponsors include US Digital, Ryonet Screen Printing Supplies, Waste Connections of Washington, Inc., East Vancouver Costco and DeWils Fine Cabinetry & Appliance.

Peachtree Logo TrimArmed Forces Day, Saturday May 17, another event will be held in conjunction with and immediately after the “Golden Jubilee” Hazel Dell Parade of Bands at the Peachtree Restaurant 6600 NE Hwy 99 Vancouver, WA 98665.

Once again Judge Zimmerman has lined up top-notch entertainment for the afternoon and evening as follows:

1 pm to 3 pm Karen Overton is a native of Portland, Oregon raised on story based songs and is well known throughout Southwest Washington and Portland for her solo performances at wineries, retirement communities, assisted living facilities and of course, Veterans Court events. She performs a variety of popular songs spanning the decades and creating an intimate musical experience based on the audience.

3 pm to 5 pm Tom Mann is a Nashville Performer & Songwriter that has opened for many musical greats such as Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers, LeAnn Rimes and the Oak Ridge Boys. One of his featured songs on his most recent Nashville recorded CD is the song Little Becky about her father going off to war. Tom proudly served in the United States Air Force in Germany and has delighted fans there and all over the United States.

5 pm to 6 pm The Young Old-Time Fiddlers is a family group featuring Heather, Jessica, Andrew and Grace Kobilan, an up-and-coming talent. An accomplished fiddler and musician who recently won the Highland Games Fiddling Contest at Mount Hood Community College, Grace started playing at age 8, recently finishing an extremely close second to a world champion. This 21 year-old sensation is also an accomplished pianist and guitar player. Her love of music and teaching fiddling and piano complements her major in music. Don’t be surprised to see her at the Grand Ole Opry very soon.

Peachtree Collage w Kobilans


6 pm to 7 pm Art Miller plays Ragtime & Barrelhouse Honky Tonk on the piano. A well known attorney in Southwest Washington, Art has been delighting crowds for over 40 years with his Ragtime and Honky-tonk style of piano. For years he was a regular performer at Digger O'Dell's and other major clubs in Portland. Now he obtains great satisfaction in donating his time and talents to the Veterans Court fundraising events.

7 pm to 9 pm Jesse Wade Holyk has been singing at the Harvest Days celebration in Battle Ground, Washington since he was 10 years-old. He has participated in the Seattle X-Factor, auditioned for the first Making the Band show and for several years sang the National Anthem for headliners at the Clark County Fair. Jesse says, “Music is a translation of love and that’s a big gift to give people.”

Special appearances will be made by Miss Clark County, Moriah Smith and Miss Clark County’s Outstanding Teen, Bhanu Kaur. I am also told there will be a “Mystery Guest” from the Miss Clark County Scholarship Organization making an appearance.

In addition to entertainers, vendors will be on hand and you are encouraged to try out the Peachtree Menu, especially their delicious, freshly-made pies.

And of course, your generous donations to the Clark County Veterans Court are greatly appreciated.

Last year’s prize winning float
Last year’s prize winning float

This year, entertainers performing on the float will include fiddler champion Grace Kobilan and Jesse Wade Holyk.

Mark your calendars for Saturday May 17, 2014. The parade is scheduled to begin at 10:30 am. Come early; make a day of it viewing the 50th “Golden Jubilee” of the Hazel Dell Parade of bands and stick around to help Veterans afterwards by attending the Peachtree Restaurant Concert and Vendor Fair 4 Vets.

Sponsor - Branch Banner

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Might Today’s City Council and Progressives Caused World War Two to be Lost?

Listening to the rhetoric coming from the far leftists demanding the proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver to be scrapped, the ominous feeling came over me that if these people, including the four and possibly more current Vancouver City Council Members who have said they oppose it, were around in the 1940’s, World War Two might have been lost.

It is not as much of a stretch as it may sound. Much of their expressed opposition centers around the assumption of a pristine river and river front, fears of pollution to the river and the soil, assumed dangers of the product to workers and those living near the port and more.

In my estimation, fears raised and blown out of proportion to promote their BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything thanks John Laird) attitude to force the world to conform to their views.

For those that might not remember due to youth or not learning history, Vancouver played an instrumental role in winning World War Two as it became a major shipyard, turning out liberty ships, tank-landing ships, escort aircraft carriers, attack transports, troop ships, cargo vessels and even two 14,000-ton dry docks.

Can you imagine today, the city council and Progressives demanding no shipyard along the Columbia River and how the war effort could have faltered? Not to mention how such a major undertaking ballooned the Vancouver, Clark County economy as the modest population 18,000 at the beginning of the war blossomed to over 100,000, people working either in the shipyard or supporting it outside in some manner.

I know, you’re likely thinking that was a different time with different circumstances, but is it really all that much different, other than attitudes from that small group with a loud voice?

Yes, the war on Terror is winding down as we abandon the efforts worldwide, but terrorism remains, even admitted to as one commenter mentioned an oil terminal would make Vancouver a major target for terrorists at the March 24, 2014 City Council meeting.

But, we are in a crisis in that we have an unacceptable long term unemployment rate, a faltering economy and that state faces a severe shortage of revenue due to that.

Democrats and Progressives seem to feel the perpetual extension of unemployment benefits is the answer, but that only increases the burden on those fortunate enough to still be working as well as employers struggling to remain in business.

The shot in the arm needed is a growth in good, family wage jobs for the middle class. The very sort of jobs that would be created with the oil terminal, not the concrete jungle development of high end condominiums and retail Democrats & Progressives prefer to be constructed on the river front that would bring only minimum wage jobs for the middle class.

Unwittingly, Matt Landon, a very vocal activist for Vancouver Action Network, a group that in my opinion borders on eco-terrorism, admitted to such in a comment left under an op-ed on March 23, 2014 Local View: Job-creation aspect lost in oil terminal debate.

In part Landon said,
“Barry Cain’s downtown development is slated to employ over 5,000 people and house 5,000 residents and create buildings that will exist for the foreseeable future.”

“The Tesoro-Savage oil terminal is proposed to employ 250 temporary construction workers and then employ 120 people for the 10 year lease or until the Bakken is pumped dry, whichever comes first?”

“Can anyone else do the math? If not here are the numbers.”

“Downtown development employees”

“$7.25 an hour equals $15,080 a year times 5,000 employees equals $75,400,000 per year combined income.”

“Railroad employees”

“$50,000 a year times 120 employees equals $6,000,000 per year combined income.”

First off, the waterfront project creating 5,000 jobs is not just wishful thinking, it is delusional. But even if it did, how much public assistance would those 5,000 require? And, what revenues could they be paying to counter how much they would be depending on?

The oil terminal, on the other hand, would see an increase in rail employees and workers, likely union workers to maintain and work the port in transferring the oil all earning union wages, as well as an increase outside the port of businesses cropping up locally to feed those workers, give them more shopping for themselves and their families as well as creating or purchasing the clothes and tools they would need.

Landon is clever in inserting “until the Bakken is pumped dry,” trying to give the impression that it is a short term process soon ending. In fact, several have cried just the same for years now in their effort to end the use of fossil fuels.

But, the American Enterprise Institute conducted their own analysis, resulting in Bakken oil boom in North Dakota might last for 100 years.

As advancements are made in drilling techniques, might it go on even longer?

We are also being warned by these people of the dangers inherent in such an oil terminal, even the possibility of a train derailment. While the likelihood is slim, given the slow speeds trains travel here and the level grade, there is always a degree of danger in just about everything we humans do.

Just crossing the street can result in being run over, but we still cross them. We have a major airport across the river with aircraft flying over our city in approach every day. We even saw a major airplane crash once across the river and in a neighborhood.

Do these ne'er–do–wells demand the airport be closed or aircraft diverted to not fly over the city? No.

Many were advocates of forcing light rail on the community, ignoring that many have died as a result of being hit by light rail.

But what really strikes me with these people and their cries of dangers, other than how are they able to leave their homes at any time, none have ever raised any concerned with the grain elevator at the port, even though several have caught fire and exploded across the world, grain dust being highly volatile.

If they are really concerned with an oil fire, why do they not also worry about a grain dust fire?

Had these same people, with dire warnings of a 10.0 earthquake causing major pollution with an oil terminal, ignoring such a strong earthquake would likely leave little standing or living in the region, been around in the 1940’s, might they have blocked the very effort seen that contributed to defeated a barbaric enemy and freeing millions of people?

Bottom line is, we need jobs, good paying jobs and get the middle class back to work, not force them onto perpetual government dependence.

An oil terminal at our port would contribute much in achieving that goal.

The hyperbole and fearmongering being used, along with threats “to shut down the entire oil by rail industry and cost the oil and rail companies billions of dollars” means fewer jobs, less revenue and a greatly decreased living standard for all.

It is time for people of all political stripes to push back on these fringe activists. Tell them “ENOUGH!”

You need jobs, you need to work and earn a decent living and it is they standing in your way.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"I Have A Dream" by Tussing Elementary School

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Train Derailment and Knee-Jerk Responses

In spite of the cries over extended unemployment benefits being ended in Clark County, indicating the job situation might not be near as rosy as we are led to believe, there are those who would still hype the recent train derailment in North Dakota to use against job creation at the Port.

Let there be no mistake, I do not make light of the accident and in spite of the dangers such a derailment and fire posed for the small town of Casselton, seeing the towns people evacuated and subsequently returning in a short period, the lack of injury is noticeable.

As we saw in Canada, it could have been much worse.

But, it also must be put in perspective as those actively opposed to an oil terminal at our Port and the jobs such an endeavor will bring latched onto the accident immediately for their purposes, “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Much like major airline crashes, such derailments as seen recently make headlines for biased media since they are relatively infrequent. An article from the Grand Forks Herald states, “While derailments aren’t rare, releases of hazardous materials from derailed train cars happen infrequently in North Dakota, statistics show.”

They also cite, “From January 2000 to October 2013, the Federal Railroad Administration recorded 71 derailments involving hazardous materials in North Dakota” and add, “Only three of the 71 derailments involved releases of hazardous materials…”

By contrast, Amtrak passenger train derailments, like was seen in Florida in 2002 and in Louisiana in 1993 make big news because of the loss of life, but I don’t recall activists suggesting or protesting against Amtrak.

But, freight trains hauling oil that produces fire, large fireballs and a lot of dense smoke, are perfect visuals for activists to hype and use to further their anti-oil agenda, ignoring all human need for jobs.

While the focus and blame is placed on the train and the load, the actual cause is normally ignored as is only about 10 cars out of over 100 cars actually burned.

We see some issuing their usual “this is a wake-up call” broadcast over the accident, left out is reports of the ‘why’ of the accident.

In this particular case, a video camera is reported to have been installed at the head of the oil train and it recorded “the crash as it slammed into a car of a derailed grain train.”

It is reported, “When the oil train arrived, the other train transporting grain and soy bean had already derailed, and one of its cars was lying in the oil train's path. The oil train slammed into it and burst into flames.”

Do we hear anybody opposing shipping grain by rail? No and here we see that this accident is a result of a train carrying grain derailing in the path of the train carrying oil.

Nowhere yet have I read the exact cause of the explosion and fire, but it is widely known that grain dust is highly volatile, many grain silos across the country experiencing fires and explosions throughout the years. I can’t help but wonder if a spark was created when the trains collided that set off the overturned grain car first and subsequently, the oil cars derailed after the impact.

OSHA warns: “Grain dust explosions are often severe, involving loss of life and substantial property damage. Over the last 35 years, there have been over 500 explosions in grain handling facilities across the United States, which have killed more than 180 people and injured more than 675.”


Storing and handling grain is also very dangerous and even though the Port of Vancouver already has a grain terminal and has for several years, we see no groups flocking before City Council or the County Commission demanding they end their operation due to the dangers involved.

No, but we do see the usual malcontents hyping the planned construction of an oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver due to the perceived dangers of oil when the Lazy C copied and pasted the AP report.

In a facebook discussion, one such malcontent exclaimed, “There WILL be an incident here if this is built just a matter of when. Wake up” with another saying, “Tick, tick, tick. The countdown to another rail accident is already on.”

No one worries about the grain storage facilities at the port, though or the trains coming into or through town hauling grain with its explosive grain dust.

We all eat bread, so we need the grain. But, we all also drive cars, motorcycles or use many items derived from petroleum, so we need the oil as well and will continue needing it in the future since oil is responsible in many ways for the lifestyle we have come to enjoy in America.

As happens in other accidents, this one will be investigated and recommendations made to hopefully prevent a repeat. Tracks will be fortified if need be, maintenance of trains will be scrutinized and improvements made. After all, with all of the cries of “corporate greed,” it seems missed that such accidents hamper profits and cause losses.

I expect activists will return to City Council and the County Commission, blasting oil shipments coming through town, opposing the oil terminal and using this accident for “proof” of what will happen.

But not one will call for closing down the grain terminal even though it is equally as hazardous.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Weekend America Stopped

SBHS 1It was a typically warm Friday afternoon in Hollywood, Florida as the students of South Broward High School filed into the bleachers in the football field around 1:30 in the afternoon for a pep rally.

We were released from class early for the pep rally as there was an important Basketball game scheduled that evening with our across town rivals from MacArthur High School and the principal wanted us to be charged up for a win.

South Broward was a pretty large school, even back in 1963, making me, a 15-year old sophomore one of just under 3,000 students’ enrolled sitting in the bleachers.

All of us were excited, classes were let out early for the Pep Rally, we had a weekend of fun facing us since we lived so close to the beach, just over one mile away.

To us, the world was at peace. Castro’s Revolution in Cuba, a little over 200 miles south of us had been over, the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 were behind us. Civil Rights demonstrations were popping up on TV occasionally, but they were far north of us and even though we too were segregated then, racial unrest seemed to be for others in the south, not us.

Few people had heard of Vietnam and the Berlin Wall, even though fairly new, was thousands of miles away.

As typical teenagers, we didn’t have a care in the world and were just expecting another weekend of sun and fun in South Florida as we all joked and poked each other in the bleachers as we wondered why the Pep Rally was delayed.

Then Mr. Phares, the Principal came out and instead of leading off the Pep Rally, solemnly informed us all to report immediately to our Home Rooms, not giving us a clue why. So, we emptied the bleachers and headed off to our home rooms.

JFK 2As we entered our Home Rooms, I couldn’t help but notice that Mrs. Pauline Watkins, my Home Room teacher as well as my World History teacher had been crying. This was her last year teaching as she was retiring at the end of the school year, and even though in her 60’s at the time, she had never seemed emotional to me, so seeing her red, puffy eyes puzzled me, especially given the unexpected announcement of no Pep Rally against our arch rivals.

Mrs. Watkins didn’t say anything other than for us to take our seats. Once seated, she informed us that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas just minutes before an asked for all of us to lower our heads and pray for him.

It couldn’t have been a couple minutes later that Mr. Phares announced over the PA system that President Kennedy had died of his wounds and the Basketball game that evening was cancelled.

DSC00451Mrs. Watkins tears flowed freely and I believe all of us sat there with lumps in our throats at the news as it was just days prior that he had visited Miami, Florida, just 20 miles south.

We learned of assassinations in history, but to have one happen now really threw us all.

Who did it? Our peace was shattered, was it by Castro? The Soviet Union’s Nikita Khrushchev? Were we to end up at war? Were we going to be invaded or see the dreaded nuclear holocaust we grew up in fear of?

Lee OswaldNo one knew and our young imaginations ran rampant until we got home and our parents were glued to the television sets, all programming on all three networks broadcasting them reporting news on the assassination.

That is all that was on and it didn’t take long for reports of the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald to be reported, as he was quickly linked to the killing and reports out of both Cuba and the Soviet Union were quick to deny any involvement in the assassination.

The conspiracy theories had not yet surfaced, it was all too fresh and the country was numb, reeling from the shock of it all. There hadn’t been an assassination in 62 years when William McKinley was killed in 1901, when our grandparents were but babies.

Being teenagers, it didn’t take long before we became bored with the repetitive news reports on all stations, all other programming cancelled. Even our favorite AM radio stations were more focused on news of the assassination than playing the top 40 of the time.

The Basketball game was cancelled, but this was South Florida where there seemed to always be something for kids to do, even if just hanging out.

It was long before my two closest buddies of the time, Dennis and Corky, stopped by, also bored and wanting to get out of the house. We walked around town looking for others, but it was almost eerie, businesses closed, lights turned off all up and down the main street.

Unlike other Friday nights, there were few cars out and about.

We headed to the Arnold Palmer Putter Golf course and it was closed, lights off. Same with the trampoline court next door, lights off and gate locked.

We walked to the Ice Cream Parlor kids often hung out at and it was also closed.

Even the hamburger driven-in, usually hopping on Friday nights, was closed.

We walked around for a couple more hours and finding nothing open, bid each other goodnight and headed off to our individual homes as curfew was coming soon.

While largely taken for granted today, television for 24 hours was very odd to us back then. And even though television broadcast all night through the weekend, all that was on was news of the assassination and Kennedy’s life.

LBJ Swearing InCamelot was being born as his short administration became a mythical time that it really never was.

We saw as Air Force One off-loaded his casket into a hearse. We witnessed Lyndon Johnson being sworn in as President, Jackie Kennedy standing next to him with her husband’s blood still on her jacket, dress and gloves. We watched as Oswald and his rifle was paraded and scenes of the “sniper’s nest” were broadcast. On Sunday, we saw him also be shot by Jack Ruby, dying shortly after.

By Monday, schools across the country were closed as the hastily assembled funeral was also broadcast, the country laying President Kennedy to rest in Arlington Cemetery and the eternal flame lit, even before it was fully constructed.

Looking back 50 years ago, November 22, 1963, we seemed to have lost our innocence, or at least the perception we had of innocence.

The decade was to become the most turbulent one in history, racked with race riots, more assassinations as Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother were also to be gunned down before the decade ended.

Racial unrest exploded across the south and even up north in Chicago and Boston, also in Los Angeles as the Watts riots exploded in 1965.

Vietnam quickly escalated as did the anti-war faction that began opposing not just the war, but those of us sent off to fight it.

College campuses saw a great deal of student unrest that I can’t recall ever hearing of before.

We will never know if it would have been different had Kennedy lived or even if he would have had a second term in office.

We will never know if he would have been able to quell much of the violence we all witnessed or if he would have pulled us out of Vietnam before it became the quagmire it did. All of that will remain idle speculation, each individual imagining for themselves how it would have been.

Did the assassination of Kennedy have anything to do with the way the decade of the 1960’s turned out?

Is there any merit in any of the multitude of conspiracy theories still being debated today, 50 years later?

All of that too will likely never be known, at least not in our lifetimes.

But all I do know, that one weekend, everything seemed to stop in America. We were ripe for invasion if any enemy had a mind to. Luckily, none did.

But something happened then and life as we knew it seemed to be forever changed.

And, I can’t say for the better.

Monday, November 18, 2013

When the Shoe Is On the Other Foot

It never ceases to amaze me seeing the blatant double standard practiced by Democrats today.

I received a notice by email from Politico stating, "Senate Republicans have blocked the nomination of Robert Wilkins to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the third such rejection to the court in three weeks. Wilkins failed to garner 60 votes to break the GOP filibuster, 38-53."

"The fight over judges could spill over into another confrontation over changing Senate rules by a majority vote, in which Senate Democrats seek to curtail the GOP's filibuster use by invoking the so-called 'nuclear option'."

For refutation of their threat of the so-called "nuclear option," let's look at some words spoken by the former sweetheart of the Democrat party, now deceased, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, from back in 2005 when the Democrats were blocking judicial nominations left & right.

The nation’s founders understood that those in power might believe rules don’t apply to them. That’s why they put in place a democracy that preserves our rights and freedoms through checks and balances. These checks and balances protect mainstream values by preventing one party from arrogantly imposing its extreme views on the nation.

The Constitution grants the President a check on Congress by allowing him to veto any measure that he believes crosses the line.
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Throughout our history, the Senate, has structured its processes to reflect its unique powers. For such irreversible steps as conferring lifetime judicial authority, it has given its minority the ability to protect our republic from the combined tyranny of a willful Executive Branch and an equally willful and like-minded small majority of Senators. Thus we allow the minority to speak as long as necessary to stimulate debate and compromise, and to prevent actions that threaten the balance of powers, or seriously offend a substantial minority of Senators.
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In these circumstances, we Senators have not only the right, but the obligation, to use every power at our disposal, within the Senate’s rules and traditions, to focus the attention of the Senate and the nation, and ultimately the President, on the overreaching abuse of power by the White House and the Republican majority. That’s what our Senate powers and our Senate rules are meant to do. That’s what checks and balances are all about. That’s why the filibuster exists.-----
In short, neither the Constitution, nor Senate Rules, nor Senate precedents, nor American history, provide any justification for selectively nullifying the use of the filibuster. Equally important, neither the Constitution nor the Rules nor the precedents nor history provide any permissible means for a bare majority of the Senate to take that radical step without breaking or ignoring clear provisions of applicable Senate Rules and unquestioned precedents.
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Fortunately, the vast majority of Americans’ share our commitment to basic fairness. They agree that there must be fair rules, that we should not unilaterally abandon or break those rules in the middle of the game, and that we should protect the minority’s rights in the Senate.
You can read or copy the 11-page speech in full here

If it was wrong for Republicans, isn't it also wrong for Democrats?

But, it shows that Democrats want to live by their standards and impose their standards on others with no regard of people have differing values.

Where they were accusing George W. Bush of stacking the courts with conservatives, they now seek to stack those same courts with liberals that care more about a liberal agenda interpretation of laws, some even seeking decisions of foreign courts over our own laws, all to justify whatever the agenda du jour is.

In short, Democrats seek to have their cake and eat it too, continuing their push towards an oligarchy with their party alone ruling, a party that has repeatedly shown a desire to recreate the failed Soviet Union.