Monday, July 25, 2011

Underdogma: How America's Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power [Review]

Our innate sympathy for routing for the underdog is so ingrained in us that we easily miss when those opposed to us twist that regard to strip us of our power and standing in the world. Michael Prell expertly guides us step by step through how those jealous of US Power gently at first, then with more force did just that, twisted our senses to make America the terrorists instead of the radical extremists.

From early news releases shortly after September 11, 2001 to politicians’ claims in campaigns, Prell shows how Americans have been misled to believe that somehow, we are the oppressor instead of the target of terrorism.

Gay activists have remade themselves into an oppressed class crying victim to suppress our natural makeup and legitimize their lifestyle.

Liberals desiring to impose socialism on us and bring us under the authority of a “central command” (the United Nations) have ridiculed our wealth building ability, marginalized our might and twisted the meaning of the words of our constitution.

With ease and the use of several documented quotes, Michael Prell shows us how we have been made out to be the greedy gobblers of energy, ruining the earth’s atmosphere instead of the nation striving the most to curb pollution and purchase goods from other nations, supporting their economies in the process.

It is obvious that a lot of research was put into this book with its extensive quotations and footnotes. His quotes indicate how facts are displaced with spin, truth twisted to implant a false notion of the American spirit of supporting freedom and how our Superpower status has been not been used to conquer and expand, as our enemies would have us think.

Anybody who believes we do not also have an innate desire to do good for others, to rush to the aid of others and have fallen for the canard of the leftists who see America as the “Great Satan” of the world needs to read this book carefully. It is far from the wild eyed conspiratorial tales that others have written, but a well documented guide to how forces within and without have deftly worked for so long to bring about a fundamental change in America for the worse.

From the demonization of our Oil Companies and large corporations that contract throughout the world, to Barack Obama traveling the world to “apologize” for America, we are guided step by step how “Underdogma” is dismantling the very fiber of Americanism.

As a Vietnam Veteran, I have noticed for years how we were once wrongfully labeled as “murderers” and “monsters who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence” by a former presidential candidate, how Hollywood liberal celebrities falsely classified the communist aggression then as just a “civil war” that we were the oppressor and the invader and how we allowed a struggling ally to fall under the abusive, bloodthirsty grip of communism, all to soothe a misled populace.

I never understood what happened, how did we who served become the “bad guys” who merited public condemnation and vilification instead of the thanks of a nation we fought for. Thanks to “Underdogma,” it is clear now. I understand and see how we were early victims of the phenomena of “Underdogma.”

Far from examples of other books, Michael Prell does not just pen a “woe is us” book. He devotes a chapter to the antidote of “Underdogmas,” once again embracing American Exceptionalism. Far from past examples of Imperialist nations setting up satellite nations under their conquer, Prell explains how we have approached wars brought to us with “exit strategies,” giving foreign lands the chance at self determination.

The very Spirit of “life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness” set in play by our founding fathers is the antidote to “Underdogma.”

If you have any inclination of shame for being born in America, if you find yourself wondering why America is such a bad country or are just tired of “How America’s Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power,” this is a book for you.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mr. Obama, It’s Time to Oil the Economy and Get it Moving Again

Just about everybody understands the concept of lubricating something to free it up and get it moving. From squeaky door hinges to sliding parts, difficult to open windows to even removing a ring off of a swollen finger, putting a lubricant on it allows it to move freely and gets it moving again.

Although lubricants come in many forms, we commonly refer to them as “oil.” Of course, a good many lubricants are derivatives of oil, just some of the many uses of petroleum. Just a little dab of these lubricants, working the rusted part back and forth and soon, it is moving smoothly again just as it was designed to.

America’s economy can be likened to a machine that when lacking proper lubricant freezes up and stops working properly. Just a like a rusty wheel bearing doesn’t roll smoothly, the economy must be “oiled” from time to time to keep it rolling along smoothly. Restrictive legislation causes the economy to rust up and stop moving smoothly.

The “oil” to lubricate our economy comes in the form of relaxing such restrictive legislation, be it in reasonable taxes for all or removing barriers set in place by legislators who, perhaps well-meaning, overly restrict business from growing and ends up costing the American taxpayer their jobs.

Such an example would be the demonization and barriers set in place over the past many years on our oil companies, the very companies that are charged with the task of recovering and refining the very petroleum that not only supplies our energy needs, but is used in nearly all aspects of our day to day lives. From medical supplies, computer components, clothing and even our food, petroleum products “oil” our economy and keep it moving smoothly.

Currently, our economy is acting like that rusted wheel bearing. It is frozen and not moving smoothly. We see this daily in the high unemployment, high gasoline prices, decreasing home values, rising food costs and the inability of our citizens to find well paying jobs.

We see efforts underway to deny the oil companies drilling rights to the Gulf of Mexico and several other known reserves of petroleum within our borders, increasing our dependence upon foreign oil sources, whose citizens have jobs and contribute to their economies.

I and many other bloggers have long touted how relaxing prohibitive legislation on the oil companies could spark the economy and get it rolling smoothly again. Study after study has been released showing how there are thousands of jobs directly related to petroleum are being wasted while those in control of our government prefer to hedge their bets on so-called “alternative” sources, which remain uneconomical, inefficient and unreliable.

In just the last few days, yet another study was released indicating the oil companies are the lubricant needed to get the economy rolling smoothly again.

This study by IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates and IHS Global Insight focuses on how, in just a little over a year, by the end of 2012, we could see results of 230,000 American jobs, more than $44 billion in US gross domestic product, nearly $12 billion in tax and royalty revenues for state and federal treasuries and a $15 million reduction in the amount the US sends to foreign governments if oil companies were permitted to operate at their capacity.

A piece of “lubricating” legislation pending currently is the “North American-Made Energy Security Act,” H. R. 1938 that would “direct the President to expedite the consideration and approval of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline” from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf.

A Press Release from The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power upon their approval of this piece of legislation states in part,
“Completion of the [Keystone XL] pipeline expansion will bring nearly 1.3 million barrels per day of safe and secure oil into U.S. markets. In addition to bringing more oil online, the pipeline expansion project is estimated to directly create 20,000 jobs for its construction and many thousands more related to the effort.”

An email received from the Friends of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urging support of this legislative “oil can” states,
“America continues to import an increasing amount of oil from foreign partners, some of whom don't share our best economic or national security interests. In fact, in 2010 the United States spent $72 billion more on imported oil than we did in 2009.”

Our much needed economic lubrication is there, just waiting to be applied.

Showing us how the Obama Administration remains reluctant to reach out and grab the “oil can” to lubricate the economy, the American Petroleum Institute’s Mark Green, on API’s Energy Tomorrow blogsite supplies some corrective information to answers given by Barack Obama to questions posed to him in a Kansas City KMBC News interview.

From documenting how we in America are not “producing more oil than we ever have,” to the oil companies investing almost $60 Billion in “alternative energy research,” and the oil companies seeking more “environmentally sound ways” to recover our own resources, Green expertly shines a light in on the many canards promoted that keep the wheel bearings of our economy rusted and not moving.

Referring back to the newly released study above, we can see that just in the Gulf of Mexico alone,
“pending exploration plans are up by nearly 90%, approvals are down by 85%, and the approval process has slowed from an average of 36 to 131 days.”

The bearings supporting our economy and that it rolls on smoothly are rusted and preventing it from moving. Both figuratively and literally, our economy is in bad need of being “lubricated” with oil.

It’s time for Barack Obama and any others who have been reluctant to give our economy the lubrication it needs, to reach out and grab hold of that much needed oil can and let’s get it moving again.

No More Money To C-Tran

It seems every time we turn around, some government related entity is demanding we in the struggling middle class cough up more of what few dollars we have and give it to them. We are being asked to approve more tax to C-Tran, so they can maintain services we are told, pay a 5% entertainment tax so a marginal Class A baseball team will move to Vancouver and a have a shiny new stadium 70% paid for by taxpayers.

Soon we will be asked for yet another tax increase to fund Loot Rail maintenance and operation once they shove that down our throats, face tolls to cross the I-5 bridge, even before construction begins if they get their way and if Leavitt’s cartel gets their way, pay an additional $20 to register our cars to also fund Columbia River Crossing cronies.

Even though we have been mired in deep recession with double digit unemployment for over 2 years now, it seems there is no stopping of the picking our pockets by the elected ruling class. Feeding our families or keeping our homes is our problem, not theirs, apparently.

But, that sales tax increase to fund C-Tran is one I have long called for to be rejected, mostly to send a message to the ruling class over being lied to and denied the vote we were promised on funding Loot Rail maintenance and operation. While I maintain that notion, seeing the July 12, 2011 C-Tran Financial Update, I question why they need another penny.

View the report here.

While they claim to be under budget on sales tax revenues by some $257,000, they also claim to be over budget on fares by $294,000 and seem to have received a state operating grant of $348,000.

Their “Cash at May 31, 2011” is listed as $45,000,000. After budgeting expenses, including a “Special Needs Grant” of $952,000, they project “Remaining Cash Not Committed at end 2012” as $4,657,000.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a struggling entity to me. They seem to be well in the black and nowhere near an austerity budget like you and I are struggling with.

As I have said before and even invited city council members to spend the day outside my home to verify for themselves, I live right on a bus route, a bus stop right outside my kitchen window. All day long I see empty or near empty buses rolling passed my house, occasionally stopping to let off one of the 2 or 3 passengers that might be inside a full-sized bus.

Why are we subsidizing running full sized buses all day long and into the night with little or no passenger use?

Granted, buses on other routes are not running as empty as those on this route are, but still, why do we need to give C-Tran more of our tax dollars to run any empty buses while we wonder where our kids’ next meal might be coming from?

The report also shows it cost an average of a little over $100 to operate the buses. How much higher is the actual cost to run full-size buses with few if any passengers paying fares?

I once jokingly said to Battle Ground city council member and C-Tran board member Bill Ganley that they could sell off many buses, lease a fleet of used Prius’ and still not fill those up on the route running by my house.

Given many of the questions raised recently about CRC and C-Tran, deeply embroiled with CRC, I cannot see any reason we should cough up another dime to this bus venture at this time.

If they need to trim service or employee benefits, or better yet reorganize to be a more efficient transportation entity, then let them do that before asking for another dime.

From Tim Leavitt’s cartel council to Steve Stuart and Marc Boldt on the county commission, it’s time they actually do the job they were elected to do.

It’s easy to be a leader during good times when money flows easily.

But, during lean times as we remain locked into, it take real leaders to stand up and do what is really needed, instead of further picking the pockets of the struggling middle class taxpayer.

I'm voting NO on C-Tran's sales tax increase.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why Aren’t The Unions Fighting For Energy Sector Jobs?

Labor Unions in the U.S. lay claim to a long and successful history of bettering the working conditions, promoting higher wages and gaining benefits for America’s working people. They claim standing up for the “little guy” against oppressive corporations and government efforts that may be perceived to hurt the working class. They claim they fight for jobs for Americans.

So why are they so absent in fighting for jobs available and waiting in the energy industry?

We read how the Longshoremen are fighting an effort at non-union jobs in the Port of Longview in shipping grain. But, where are they in the ongoing effort to block jobs at the Port of Cowlitz in shipping coal to China?

Does the powerful Longshoremen’s Union, that claims support for other Labor Unions not realize that there is a United Mine Workers Union in Wyoming that will lose their jobs if there is no shipping of the coal mined?

More importantly, what of the oil and natural gas jobs just waiting for government approval to fill and putting American workers back to work?

You didn’t realize that even oil rig workers and others in the industry have union representation? Neither did I, until I checked. How could we be expected to know of them, what with the years of silence on the Unions part as government regulations continually dried up those well-paying jobs and kept workers from gainful employment recovering our own energy sources?

Since the Oil Embargo of 1973 and subsequent energy crisis of 1979, America has become more and more dependent upon foreign sources for our energy needs, ignoring much of what lies beneath the ground inside and offshore of our own borders. At times it was cheaper and at other times it has been regulations, moratoriums and excess government mandates preventing exploration and recovery of our own sources.

As the price of oil has skyrocketed, making what was formerly too expensive to recover more attractive, we are still facing those regulations, moratoriums and excess government mandates, many brought on by environmentalists who falsely believe the answer lies in unproven, overly expensive and unreliable alternative energy sources.

During this time, starting in 2007, our economy has plummeted as have jobs, unemployment exceeding 10% at one point and hovering at 9.2% now. We also have seen the price of our gasoline skyrocket twice during this period, bumping $4 gallon and exceeding that in some areas.

Nothing could be worse than high unemployment, a deep unending recession and escalating prices. That’s why it is so important to get the American worker back to work in good paying jobs to grow ourselves out of this economic morass we remain mired in.

A recent study commissioned and released by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) showed some startling results pertaining to the Gulf of Mexico, hit hard by Hurricane Katrina, the moratorium imposed because of the BP deepwater drilling accident and the ‘Great Recession’ we can’t seem to get out of.

Among the key findings,
“This report has documented the decline in capital expenditures and operational spending of the GoM offshore oil and natural gas industry that occurred over the2008 to 2010 period. The principal reasons for this decline include the economic recession in 2008-09 and the establishment of a moratorium on deepwater drilling and subsequent slowdown of permit issuance in both GoM deep and shallow waters in 2010and into 2011. We estimate that tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in response to the decline in capital expenditures and operational spending of the offshore GoM oil and natural gas industry over this period.”

I don’t know just how many, if any at all, of those “tens of thousands of jobs lost” were Union. But, I do know that oil rig workers have a Union that once fell under the “Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union” that, through subsequent mergers, now comes under the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied-Industrial and Service Workers International Union (still mostly referred to as the United Steelworkers).

Right after the BP Deepwater accident, we saw the leader of the Central Mississippi Building and Construction Trade Council AFL-CIO saying that “offshore oil workers should unite and have the ability to voice safety concerns on rigs” in concern of the 11 workers killed in that accident.

Apparently, that particular rig chose not to be Union for whatever reason. Does he not realize that oil rig workers that choose to are represented under the United Steel Workers?

Another key finding in the study above says,
“We also demonstrate the near term potential of the offshore GoM oil and natural gas industry to create jobs, boost GDP and generate tax revenues at all levels of government – if the government pursues a balanced regulatory approach that allows for the timely development of the backlog of GoM projects in an environmentally responsible manner. Under such government policy, we estimate total spending by the GoM offshore oil and natural gas industry to increase by over 70 percent by 2013from 2010 levels, and capital expenditures to increase by over 140percent. If potential spending levels are reached, total employment supported by the Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas industry in 2013 could exceed 430,000 jobs or a 77 percent increase from 2010.”

Bear in mind, that is just in the Gulf of Mexico and does not include supportive jobs from other regions, such as the recently completed $200 Million oil rig right here in Vancouver, Washington by Sheet Metal Workers local 16 working at Thompson Metal Fab Inc.

Although this particular oil rig is scheduled to be shipped to the North Shore of Alaska, where those same restrictions are in place and not every supportive job is Union of course, a more “balanced regulatory approach” from the government would get those 430,000 jobs going in the Gulf and elsewhere.

An API news release quotes API CEO and President Jack Gerard,
“The study shows what could be accomplished on jobs if project approvals and permits could get back to a normal pace. We’ve done the necessary work raising the bar on safety. We cannot continue to delay developing energy and hiring people in the Gulf. The disappointing unemployment numbers from the government last week make this more important than ever.”

We also see government foot dragging on approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed pipeline extending from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf. Unlike the silence we have seen from Unions representing oil rig workers, hundreds of members of the Laborers International Union of North America #1140 and reps for the AFL-CIO turned out earlier this year to show support for the construction project in Lincoln, Nebraska.

There it is claimed,
“the proposed $7 billion pipeline will dramatically improve U.S. energy security” and “the pipeline will generate $150 million in state and local tax revenue and will create hundreds of jobs in Nebraska.”

And, that is just through Nebraska. Imagine what other states stand to reap as both Union and non-Union workers will once again be producing and earning a livable wage to support their families, purchase clothes, cars, electronics, appliances, homes and much more.

Like casting a stone into water, there is a ripple effect as workers in one industry return to work; they create a demand in other industries that puts even more people back to work.

Referring back to the Central Mississippi Building and Construction Trade Council leader above, while he rightfully called concerns over safety, where is his call for a more balanced regulatory approach in our energy security and recovering our own resources?

As Union membership in America continues its decline, wouldn’t you think Unions would pool their considerable pull with government, especially the Democratic Party and follow the example of the Nebraska Union members and urge Congress and Barack Obama to adopt a more balanced regulatory approach and put the American worker back on the job?

Wouldn’t you think they could show fleeing members that they truly do have the best interest of the worker in their hearts and turn around their declining membership?

Maybe sitting back and allowing so many jobs to disappear or languish, while they pursue other political interests is why their numbers continue to decline.

The oil and natural gas companies are ready to supply hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The American worker is eager to get back to work.

What about the Unions?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cry Me a River Hanoi Jane. Still Blaming Vietnam Veterans?

Not exactly how I like to begin a Sunday morning, but in reading today’s emails I ran across Jane Fonda: QVC axed my appearance over politics wherein the dried up old prune, Jane Fonda, aka Hanoi Jane for her anti-war activities and stabbing Vietnam Veterans in back is upset over QVC cancelling her appearance to hawk her book, Prime Time.

The fiery supporter of communism years ago, who has made several Millions of Dollars through the capitalist system she condemned now claims, “this has gone on far too long, this spreading of lies about me! None of it is true. NONE OF IT!” on her personal blogsite.

She further claims, “I love my country. I have never done anything to hurt my country or the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for us” and “Most people don’t buy into the far right lies.”

Really, Jane? Far right? It’s been Vietnam Veterans, the very ones you now say you never did anything against that have been holding you accountable all of these decades. We are nothing more than far right liars in your book?

Well, screw you, you dried up old lying bitch! We remember well what you did, when you did it and how it affected us. We recall your activities in enticing soldiers to desert. We recall your ill fated and major flop of a movie, FTA.

We’re well aware of the email circulated years ago peppered with lies in order to discredit the truths about your treasonous activities.

We’re well aware of the 19 radio broadcasts made from communist North Vietnam denigrating us and our mission to keep South Vietnam free.

We’re well aware of your gleefully boasting to UC Berkeley students of 34 American B-52s being shot down with complete disregard for the fate of the crewmembers of each.

Even the more liberal leaning once admitted, since edited out,
“But she didn’t go to North Vietnam to try to bring about peace, or to reconcile the two warring sides, or to stop American boys from being killed — she went there as an active show of support for the North Vietnamese cause. She lauded the North Vietnamese military, she denounced American soldiers as ‘war criminals’ and urged them to stop fighting, she lobbied to cut off all American economic aid to the South Vietnamese government (even after the Paris Peace Accords had ended U.S. military involvement in Vietnam), she publicly thanked the Soviets for providing assistance to the North Vietnamese, and she branded tortured American POWs as liars possessed of overactive imaginations.”

And now, Hanoi Jane has the unmitigated gall to cry, “I do not understand what the far right stands to gain by continuing with these myths?”

The dried up old prune may receive the assistance of Jerry Lembcke in trying to recreate her treasonous activities as a “myth,” but he is a distinct minority.

Fonda, who famously said to students at the University of Michigan in 1970, “If you understood what Communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that one day we would become Communist” is crying the blues now because she perceives not adding to her own net worth as QVC cancelled her appearance to hawk a new book.

She once claimed, “To be a revolutionary you have to be a human being. You have to care about people who have no power.” But, where is her caring for so many Vietnam Veterans and others who served back then that she has hurt and continues to do so by labeling us liars?

Her two half-hearted “apologies” were about as insincere as can be. First off, they were not apologies, but regret expressed over the famous photo of her happily occupying the seat on an anti-aircraft gun that had most likely been used to shoot down American aircraft and coincided with the release of films the public appeared to be shying away from due to outrage expressed by Vietnam Veterans.

Further absolving herself, the old hag Fonda said to Paula Zahn in a 2004 interview,
“There's a lot of people who – who – it's a cottage industry to hate me. And if they – if they stop, that might mean that they'd have to look at some things that would question their own identity.”

Little wonder the fiery communist revolutionary, who once claimed, “I, a Socialist, think we should strive toward a Socialist society, all the way to Communism” now boasts of “I could have pointed out that threats of boycotts are nothing new for me and have never prevented me from having best selling books and exercise DVDs, films, and a Broadway play.”

And, what of the 2.8 Million she stabbed in the back so many years ago? What about the over 58,000 names on the Wall in Washington D.C. that her treasonous activities helped place there by prolonging that war years beyond what it might have?

To her we are all nothing more than “some well funded and organized political extremist groups.”

No, you old bitch, we are aging Veterans, mostly men who served honorably to try to keep some people free from the grips of the very system you advocated and apparently abandoned for yourself to grow your own wealth.

We are the recipients of the decades of denigration in Hollywood movies, TV shows of the era and the real myths said about us by the likes of you and scum like Senator John F’in Kerry. We have endured the hate spewed at us while you run around the globe adding to your many Millions of Dollars. We are the men who society has looked down upon, treated as hapless drug addicted victims when we are anything but.

So cry me a river, you dried up old hag.

Instead of crying over QVC rightfully throwing your sorry ass out, you should go off somewhere and finish out your years in the shame you deserve.

You may be grateful for the support received from both of your Vietnam Veteran friends, don’t expect anything from the rest of us.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walkers Budget Reforms Are Working

When union members lose the greed and contribute a small portion toward their health care premiums and pensions, jobs are saved for everyone. In the case of teachers unions, the children win.

Who Really Got bin Laden?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And The Rockets’ Red Glare, The Bombs Bursting In Air

Photo by Steve Shepard
With the Fourth of July celebration behind us, here comes the annual onslaught of those who persist in banning fireworks in our community. It never fails, before the celebration is even over, just barely begun, the Columbian’s Letter to the Editor fills up with those accusing people who enjoy setting off fireworks of illegal activities, exploding bombs, terrorizing neighborhoods, children, pets and anything else they can conjure up.

For the record, as a Vietnam Veteran who went through a sapper attack in An Khe where 17 helicopters were blown up one evening, one being less than half of a football field length away from me, who witnessed an ammunition bunker going up in flames and secondary explosions and underwent other sorts of mortar and rocket attacks on occasion, I don’t care much for fireworks. In fact, some of them really make my skin crawl.

Still, why should the community have to cater to my whims? I fully understand people enjoy the fireworks and most are responsible with them.

Yes, they make noise and if handled improperly cause damage. But, as was published in the Columbian article on July 5, 2011, Fourth of July fallout fairly minimal, the celebration went off without much a hitch, other than a record number of 911 calls complaining about the noise.

Yes, some fools did act inappropriately and cause some damage, but by and large, hospitals saw no increase in injuries. But, fools exist everywhere and foolish acts happen every day in several areas. It is simply impossible to regulate fools, although they can be fined and dealt with individually.

Why should the entire community suffer because of a handful of fools?

If some fool cuts his hand off with a power saw, do we clamor for rules banning power saws? If your neighbor loses control of his lawnmower and chops up your prized roses, do you clamor for banning of lawnmowers? No, you work out a deal with the neighbor to repay you in some manner for his mis-actions.

Yet every year, we hear and read of those people within the community demanding a total ban on all fireworks because Tabby or Rover might be bothered.

Amazingly, many of these same people heavily oppose infractions on second amendment rights or gun ownership in spite of fools misusing a gun on occasion too.

What I question the most is reading that based upon agreeable comments from neighbors and Letters to the Editor, the “majority in the community want fireworks banned.”

Is that why fireworks stands do so well in the short time they have to sell them each year and why so many within the community are setting them off all day and into the evening of the 4th of July?

It sounds to me that if the complaint is that so many are being set off up to the legal time limit of midnight, the majority just might not agree with banning them. After all, if the majority wants them banned, how is it so many are sold and set off every year?

Whiners have successfully gained a scheduled city council review of fireworks ordinances even though they have been tightened up 3 times in recent years.

From the sounds of it, Pat Campbell and Jeanne Harris favor banning them while Larry Smith is favoring a review of ordinances only at this time. I have to agree with Mayor Leavitt on this one, though as he says,
“It’s prudent for the council to have reasonable laws, limits and restrictions on fireworks. You cannot create and enforce laws that eliminate all stupidity in their usage. You can’t legislate intelligence.”

I submit that our community already has “reasonable laws, limits and restrictions on fireworks.”

With county commissioners indicating no desire to join in with any further restrictions on fireworks, do these people who yearly demand fireworks be banned in the city not realize that those who enjoy them will just go out into the county and buy them and still set them off?

If Police aren’t there to witness it, what can they do?

You want to tape your neighbor once a year to satisfy your viewpoint? That too will keep you from going to bed early, will it not?

And, if these people succeed in forcing a ban on other people’s choice of celebrating the holiday of our Independence from Britain through the Revolutionary War, how soon before they are marching on the county commission?

The last half of the first stanza of our National Anthem goes,
“And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

I wake up every morning on the 5th of July proud to be an American who is free to decide for myself whether or not I choose to enjoy fireworks and all of our other freedoms we have left.

No, I personally don’t care for fireworks all that much, but I do care about nanny state infringements on our freedoms and liberties.

For all of you who get so worked up over this every year, may I suggest you go down to the Dollar Store and buy yourself a set of earplugs.

Enjoy that you and those neighbors distressing you one or two evenings a year are free to do so.

Who knows, you might end up needing their support when one of your freedoms is being threatened by the ever encroaching nanny state.

Monday, July 11, 2011

You Commoners Just Don't Understand

You common folk out there, don't worry your pretty little heads about it all. Obama's "Professional Politicians" know better than you do any day.

Is there no end to this man's arrogance?

But, he is right, people are worrying about their jobs and families, especially with him monkeying around with the economy as he is and desiring only to drive us ever deeper in debt, just to mention one area of concern with him in charge.

Obama: 'Professional Politicians' Understand Debt Crisis Better Than 'The Public'

OMG 2012

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Progressivism: Not Your Grandpappy’s Movement. Or Is It?

I find myself admiring a person like Carolyn Crain. A woman who has the guts to stand up before city council and county commissioners and give them a piece of her mind. And, she has no problem poking a stick into the hornets’ nest of leftists in Clark County by expressing her mind and calling them out.

She has at least twice now drawn the attention of the Columbian’s acerbic editorial page editor John Laird understudy, Stephanie Rice HERE and HERE. But, she really stirred the hornets’ nest with a letter to the editor, Disappointed with representation wherein she concluded, “Last time I checked the progressive movement was a warm and fuzzy word used by the Communist Party here in the USA.”

Her letter drew a few negative comments from those who disagreed with her view and spawned a rebuttal letter, Progressives move nation forward that really lit off a couple leftist hornets’ taking exception to other comments on today’s Progressive movement and quotations from former president Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican who is credited with launching the Progressive movement.

Much like the anti-war left did a few years ago when they embraced former Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower and one sentence he spoke in a farewell address as President, Roosevelt has been thrown at conservatives several times also by leftist due to his Progressive policies over a century ago.

Leftist claiming to also be Progressive are real quick to deny they adhere to either Socialist or Communist policies, pointing to the dictionary definition of both and ignoring the blending of political views together.

It also leaves us conservatives a bit confused as we find Socialists and Communists claiming to be Progressives. A quick web search turns up the Progressive Labor Party entreating us to “Join the Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party.”

Several today do not recall the days when the Communist Movement was known for highjacking the term Democratic and using it in many titles for front organizations. Even nations under communism often identified themselves as “Democratic” or “of the People.” People’s Republic of China,

We saw the German Democratic Republic (GDR) or in German, the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) that was solidly under the thumb of the Communist Soviet Union until it collapsed.

If we look at the dictionary definition of communism, though, just like when Progressives and Socialists do we see that the Soviet style of Communism isn’t what was practiced either. But, what of Progressives and Socialists? Do they blend into?

Bringing out that Teddy Roosevelt spoke against Socialism in an 1897 article seemed to give one commenter a bit of angst who claims Progressivism isn’t Socialism and quoting Roosevelt’s words against Socialism is quoting him out of context.

Again, what is a conservative to think?

A recent article appearing in the Harvard Political Review on the recent stand-off in Madison, Wisconsin. Explaining that the unions and Socialist involved didn’t do enough, the author tells us at one point, “despite the lack of an American socialist movement, socialists continue to work within the existing political system and still shape the progressive movement.”

After explaining how “Since socialists retain very little political representation, activists seek other ways to organize for workers’ rights,” the author also says, “socialists advance their cause by bringing their worldviews into other progressive campaigns.”

As I was told when quoting Teddy Roosevelt, that is only one person. So, what about others?

The American Socialist Party, in their article A History of Socialism claims, “The rapid spread of socialism was known as the Progressive Era, which is commonly considered to be a time from the late 1890s through World War I. Socialism during the Progressive Era was rapidly embraced by countless people.”

Moving on to a more conservative article, tells us about another side of the early Progressive Movement in “Progressive History 101 (Minus All that Uncomfortable Racism, Sexism, and Support for Eugenics)

Today’s Progressives say they stand for “Fair wages, fair markets, health security, retirement security, equal justice…for all.” Sounds reasonable and what we should all be for, right? But, as is always the case, the devil is in the details. The stand is eerily similar to what history has confirmed at the Growth of the Bolshevik Party in the Russian Revolution.

Another look shows us how Vladimir Lenin and The Bolsheviks grew out of the Social Democrats of the time and spread the message of “Peace, bread and land” to convince workers to join and follow them in forming the Soviet Union.

History tells us how poorly the average worker faired under that regime.

Conservatives want a fair playing field, everyone having the opportunity to fail or succeed. That is the only way to succeed; taking the risk to fail and many do fail. But often out of failure comes success.

Progressives want a fair outcome, removing failure as an option. If no risk of failure, where is the incentive to succeed? Large corporations that they wish to dismantle and redistribute their wealth were often started as a garage idea, an idea formulated in someone basement. They had the dream, the desire to build, the plan and risked everything they had to manufacture, sell and promote the idea. Look at Microsoft for an example.

After years of struggling to build a company, why would an employee who came along years later, invested nothing in the way of risk or sweat to get the company off the ground, now be entitled to an equal share? A fair wage is reasonable, but who defines what is fair? The left? Unions, who want more money themselves?

Is it fair that an employer be forced to pay a higher wage to someone who wasted the free education our property taxes pay for and who partied instead of studying, dropped out and never exerted themselves to learn a viable skill?

And, retirement security? Isn’t that what Teddy Roosevelt’s nephew Franklin started when he was President during the Great Depression with Social Security? What happened to it? We’ve paid into it all of our lives and now hear it will be broke soon. Was it not the spendthrift government that dipped into those funds repeatedly for other purposes and to pay out to many who paid nothing in to it?

And what about health security? Are we not seeing more and more of that as government restriction are passed on our foods? Is it security for bureaucrats to determine whether or not we eat certain foods, smoke a cigar, ride a bicycle or motorcycle without a helmet, drive the car of our choice or even drive period? Do you really want elites who claim they know better than you determining what you may or may not do? Is that fair?

Along with Progressives cry of redistribution of other people’s wealth and making health care affordable, why is it you never hear of confiscating the wealth of doctors as we do in regards to CEO’s? Could it be because there would be no reliable doctors as who would want to invest the years of schooling it takes and the expense of Medical School and then not be allowed to earn more than some bureaucratic panel determines you can?

I am reminded of a Psychologist I knew several years ago who expressed fairness as, “life itself isn’t fair. If it were, we humans could poop on pigeons.”

Is it fair to want that small percentage of citizens who pay over half of all receipts to the treasury, while others pay nothing to pay even more, over half of what they make? Do they not realize those wealthy individuals also fund charitable organizations such as St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Target House, Ronald McDonald House and such where low-income children are treated for major disease free? For this effort, they are told they don’t “pay their fair share.”

Progressives idea of “moving forward” would cause such charitable causes as these to close, placing people on government health care, which would mean long waits, reduced care and likely the death of a small child suffering from cancer. Low-income people would have nowhere to turn.

That is not my idea of moving forward. It sounds more backwards to me.

I don’t know that any of this actually makes Sharon Wylie a Communist as Carolyn claimed. Perhaps Ms. Wylie is just another one who was blindly sucked into the movement by the glib sounding expressions, refusing to see the harm that similar movements brought to people throughout history when tried.

I do know she advocates policies tried by Communist nations that have failed repeatedly.

However, don’t blame conservatives for seeing Progressives/Socialists/Communists in the same light when you all blend together in what you advocate an apparently, can’t seem to decide amongst yourselves just what you are.

Just as those who long suffered under the brutal thumb of Soviet Communism discovered, sooner or later all of those feel good emotions must be replaced by reality.

For me, that is rejection of leftist policies that promote fairness by making things unfair.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Patty Murray's Odd Request for Campaign Funds, From Koch Industries!

In spite of all of the vile jabs Democrats have spewed towards Republicans and GOP donors, they apparently like their money too. Senator Patty Murray, in her role as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recently sent out such a request to one of the most hated GOP donors, Koch Industries.

Seattle Times

Koch executive Phillip Ellender replied to Sen. Murray wondering if "DSCC politics have become so cynical that you actually expect people whom you routinely denounce to give DSCC money."

Part of the request for funds indicated that if the donation was large enough they could receive "an invitation to join you and other Democratic leaders at a retreat in Kiawah Island this September."

No shame, Patty?

The question now is, will this rise to the scorn of the Columbian as did Raymond and Louise Denny receiving a campaign survey/donation request from the GOP back in 2009?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Raising The Debt Ceiling is a Sign of "Leadership Failure"

Once again, the 75th time since 1962, we have hit the limit on how much government is permitted to borrow. The argument is we must raise it again to prevent default and so government can pay the bills. What will happen if we do raise it yet again?

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies."

"Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

Senator Barack Obama, March 16, 2006

OMG 2012

Friday, July 01, 2011

Should We Outsource the Columbia River Crossing Project to China?

I can hear what you’re thinking already. Lew are going out of your mind? Have you gone completely off your rocker?

No, I haven’t nor do I actually think we should outsource anything more to China than we already do. But, I do ask the question for a reason.

China as we know is rapidly becoming the world’s preeminent manufacturer, manufacturing sections for the Bay Bridge in California and contracting infrastructure projects in some other larger American cities. We in America are bellyaching about our jobs going overseas to countries like China, but they continue to operate at a much lower expense we cannot match. We cannot even come close to matching their low costs.

Few infrastructure projects point out that fact more than does the Bay Bridge project I mentioned and our own Columbia River Crossing.

The Bay Bridge Eastern Span being replaced is some 1400 feet in length and is costing around $7.2 Billion to construct.

The CRC, including a new bridge, light rail and freeway improvements on both sides of the river is about 3 to 4 miles in length and last I heard, conservatively estimated to cost us $4.6 Billion, with cost overruns very likely.

So how is it that China recently built and just opened 26.4 mile Qingdao Haiwan Bridge between the port of Qingdao and the industrial suburb of Huangdao at a cost of $1.5 to $2 Billion?

The length of this bridge in China is slightly wider than the English Channel! A marathon could be run on it by just crossing it. You can’t even see the other end if you stood at either end of it.

It is said they built it in 4 years with 10,000 workers and was completed for less than $2 Billion!

Granted, Chinese workers are paid far, far less than American workers, especially union workers, but they are working and undermining manufacturing all over the world.

The American worker led the Industrial Revolution and built this country from sparse prairies to major cities. We established a living standard higher than the world has ever seen and the envy of many.

But it appears to be slipping away from us as we pack on bureaucratic and environmental regulations that all too often have more to do with “feel good” than actually protecting anything.

We have union bosses that convince workers they deserve more and more, miring them in a vicious circle of ever rising prices and taxes to pay for increased wages and benefits.

China currently has a 4.1% unemployment rate while in America we have a 9.1% unemployment rate.

China touts the world’s largest labor union, although controlled by their Communist Government and is currently seeing mounting labor unrest as their workers are beginning to demand more as did America’s labor unions years ago.

Still, the built the world’s longest sea bridge in just 4 years.

How many years does the CRC estimate it will take for our bridge replacement?

I don’t advocate paying our workers as little as the Chinese workers receive, as low as $200 a month, working six or seven days a week currently, but slightly increasing.

But America, we better come up with a plan to be competitive again, to stop borrowing money from China and to stop outsourcing our manufacturing to them.

If we don’t soon, we may end up being poorly paid Chinese workers ourselves in the future.