Tuesday Night Open Mic for December 22, 2009

Another Tuesday night, or as it has come to be, Wednesday morning, and that means that it is the night for our Open Mic conversations. There has been a ton of interesting news out there that is not health care. So I am glad that we will be discussing it. Additionally, there were some really interesting conversations that were happening throughout the day on Tuesday. Specifically the conversations about the change in tone here by SUFA commenters and the discussion about compromise being a necessary thing in a pluralistic society. So I have commented on them below as well. My hope is that we find time to continue those conversations. Other open mic topics for the evening (morning) are the new Rock the Vote campaign, another Senator making an ignorant statement, and Obama’s claim that we are now being more fiscally intelligent. There is also a topic from Cyndi that involves the “Evolve” group. I hope everyone enjoys….

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Comments

  1. USWeapon Topic #1

    Rock the Vote Asks Supporters to Withhold Sex to Pass Health Care Reform

    Just when every tactic in the book had been seemingly exhausted in the health care debate, Rock the Vote comes along with a new one: if you want health care reform, don’t sleep with anyone who opposes it until his or her mind is changed.

    The youth advocacy group is pushing the campaign in a Web video and pledge on its Web site, which asks supporters to “hold out” for health care.

    The subtlety of the online pledge, though, is completely undone by the video, which employs zero rhetorical devices, except for a couple of bleeps, to get its message bluntly across.

    “We pledge ourselves to the health and liberty of young Americans and to government for the people … and to never f—ing you if you are against us,” the team of actors in the video says.

    “We will vote against you, work against you, and once again, just in case you forgot, never ever, never ever, never ever, never ever f— you.”

    Read the rest of the article at Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/21/rock-vote-asks-supporters-withhold-sex-pass-health-care-reform/

    I read this article in disbelief. First of all, how disgusting that a group that mainly represents young adults and teens is advocating the use of sex as a weapon to force people to either adopt a particular political position or, as they put it, “we won’t F*** you.” The idea of using sex as a weapon is far below my moral standards. First, the group should be advocating that sex should be between two people who care about each other. And then for them to say, if the person you care about is not on board with you politically, use sex as a weapon to punish them until the change their mind.

    Second, that this is accepted on a national level is downright appalling. That this is being directed at teens makes it even more so. This is wrong on so many levels I cannot even get my brain to completely wrap around it. I am disgusted by the Rock the Vote folks and will actively work to marginalize that group in the future. To use sex as a weapon and, further, to brainwash teenagers into believing that government control is not only necessary, but desirable, is abhorrent.

    It simply sickens me to think that this type of thing is accepted in this country.

    • This is a teenagers brain – 0000000000000000000
      This is a teenagers brain on drugs – 000000000000000000000000
      This is a teenagers brain on politics – 00000000000000000000000000

      This is a teenagers brain – 0000000000000000000
      This is a teenagers brain on drugs – 000000000000000000000000
      This is a teenagers brain on politics – 00000000000000000000000000

      This is a teenagers brain – 0000000000000000000
      This is a teenagers brain on drugs – 000000000000000000000000
      This is a teenagers brain on politics – 00000000000000000000000000

      So…who would want to sleep with someone that addle brained to start with?

    • Bottom Line says:

      USW – ” This is wrong on so many levels I cannot even get my brain to completely wrap around it. ”

      I very much agree. I wish I had more time today, as I can think of a few things to say ’bout this.

      My first inclination is to offer a thought from outside the box.

      BF’s “do nothing” approach applies here.

      Let the teen-sheeple adopt such a ridiculous idea and abstain themselves into extinction, while the intellectual alphas continue to procreate, thus leaving an endowed and enlightened only society within a relatively short period of time.

      In other words…let them breed/abstain stupid out of our society.

      It’s Social Darwinism in it’s finest form.

    • Its just young sheeple, don’t think for yourself, question or learn.

    • Another form of bribery-I wonder if they realize that the other side of this coin is sex for profit. Commonly known as prostitution. So lets get on national TV and tell people to sell themselves for their vote, it works for our politicians.

      • Or, if you want to spin them up a bit, tell them that less fornication will lead America back to its Christian morals. Anything that does that is welomed by Patriotic Christian Americans.

        That should get those knickers dropping like a rock.. 👿

  2. USWeapon Topic #2

    Coburn Did Not Wish ‘Misfortune’ on Colleagues With Prayer Remark, Aide Says

    Republican Sen. Tom Coburn did not wish “misfortune” on anyone when he asked people to pray that lawmakers miss a key vote on health care reform, a spokesman said Monday, rejecting suggestions from Democrats that the Oklahoma doctor was wishing ill on his colleagues.

    Rather, Coburn was hoping — praying, even — that sleep-deprived Democrats would hit the snooze button one too many times and miss the vote scheduled for 1 a.m. ET Monday morning.

    “If senators are napping before the vote he would not be disappointed if alarm clocks don’t go off,” spokesman John Hart said in an e-mail.

    The call to prayer didn’t work. The vote to end health care debate and move to final passage was successful. But the Coburn comment touched off the latest war of words between Republicans and Democrats over health care.

    “What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight,” Coburn said Sunday ahead of the vote. “That’s what they ought to pray, so that we can actually get … the middle of America and the middle of the Senate a bill that can run through this country and actually do what we say we all want to do.

    Read the rest of the article: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/21/coburn-did-wish-misfortune-colleagues-prayer-remark-aide-says/

    I saw this as a very bad comment made in poor taste. In a Senate that includes a member from West Virginia (Byrd) who had to be wheeled in for the vote, the Senator from Oklahoma should have either more carefully chosen his words or clarified them right on the spot rather than through an aide after the shit had already hit the fan. What exactly did Coburn think he would accomplish with such a childish statement? Did he think they wouldn’t have to vote again the next morning? It was an asshole comment.

    This points to more of what I was discussing on Monday morning, that the level of idiocy and rancor in the US Senate is eraching critical mass. That these fruitballs in the Senate cannot have civil discourse sends a message to the rest of America that this type of behavior is acceptable. Watching the debate the other night, I was thinking that it looked a lot like the Saturday Night Live skit where the comedian playing Joe Biden said the following:

    “I love John McCain like a brother. When he enters a room, my face just lights up!. But he is delusional and bad for the country. Remember, I love John McCain. I would take a bullet for that man. But he is deranged and has no concept of reality…”

    And that is what the US Senate sounded like the other night with vicious attacks against “my dear friends on the other side of the aisle.” It was some of the more uncivil civility (or civil uncivility) that I have seen. But it was worth watching simply to see John McCain so angry that he stumbled over his words again and again. I was waiting for the “to my dear friends on the other side of the aisle… F*** YOU! I HATE YOU ALL. YOU DID THIS TO ME. YOU DID THIS TO MEEEEEEEEEE!”

    • USW…..I can actually see this two ways. (Bear in mind that I have not had a Dr Pepper yet). The statement may have been childish and borders on Romper Room….and between Obama and the Senate and House, it shows the world how really juvenile our elected officials are…but this is no different than the Pelosi statements about it is un-american to oppose health care or Reid’s statement that a vote agains Obama makes you a racist, etc. etc. It shows that our politicians are not the elite class of our Nation. The elite class of our nation are the ones actually working for a living and not dodging taxes. There are a lot of differing opinions on your blog, but the ones on your blog are the elite class and not the bird droppings of society that run our country. Perhaps his comment was two fold? One, the futility of it and, two, the folly of it?

      I am not a religious man and I do not believe in the power of prayer…..but too bad it did not work…. I could have been a convert.

      • D13,

        I agree the statement is not worse than Pelosi or Reid or anyone else’s comments. It is merely another example of the dunderheads that are passing themselves off as enlightened lawmakers.

        USW

  3. USWeapon Topic #3

    As Government Grows, Obama Touts Reduction in Contractor Payments

    President Obama on Monday touted the federal government’s efforts to become more efficient, highlighting a new report that shows billions of dollars in savings on contract costs.

    The report by the Office of Management and Budget shows that agencies have identified more than $19 billion in contract savings for fiscal year 2010, which began Oct. 1. Obama said that puts the government on track to meet its goal of saving $40 billion annually by fiscal year 2011.

    The administration has said the savings will come from terminating unnecessary contracts, ending an over-reliance on contractors and reducing the use of high-risk contracts. Federal spending on contracts has doubled since 2002, reaching $540 billion last year.

    “After years of irresponsibility, we are once again taking responsibility for every dollar we spend the same way families do,” Obama said at the White House. “These changes will save the American people billions of dollars and they’ll help to put in place a government that’s more efficient and effective.”

    Read the rest of the article: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/21/government-grows-obama-touts-reduction-contractor-payments/

    The thing that was highlighted for me was the fact that the President was talking about the government becoming more efficient and better with American tax dollars. What I realized as I was reading this was the fundamental reason that I dislike hearing him speak. I hadn’t put it together the way that I did when reading this particular speech. Now I have.

    The problem is that he makes his speeches and they sound so good. I can always understand why people follow him after hearing him speak. But what I have realized is that when he gives a speech, he talks about a Washington DC that we can believe in and a government that is improving over the last 8 years of George W Bush. But the problem is that the DC he speaks of doesn’t exist. The improvements he touts didn’t really happen. The President is speaking about a fantasy that he has. He is completely oblivious to reality.

    “We are once again taking responsibility for every dollar we spend the way families do”? Are you effing kidding me? The federal deficit was three times, THREE TIMES, higher than any other year under any other President. EVER! That’s responsibility? The TARP money has been pissed away. Every day it seems I read another story of how “Stimulus” money has been mis-spent, wasted, or given to some Democratic agenda cause. This is responsibility? The President is taking 24k date nights in New York City and holding lavish state dinners that make the Bush state dinners look like a backyard Bar-B-Q. Meanwhile, regular families are losing their homes, eating Ramen noodles, and struggling to pay their bills. That is “taking responsibility for every dollar we spend the same way families do”? What families? The Rockefellers, Kennedys, and Vanderbilts?

    And in this way the things that the President is saying in his speeches are complete bullshit. 100% living in fantasyland. He speaks of no longer ruling with fear while telling us Medicare will be bankrupt without this farce of a health care bill and that millions will lose their homes without a stimulus bill that did little besides fund Democratic pet projects. He talks of an America who seeks peace while threatening Iran and sending more troops to Afghanistan. He talks of an America that is “not a christian nation.” He talks of a post-racial America while his media lap dogs scream racism at every objection. He talks of a return to being a nation of principle while growing government and stripping freedom by leaps and bounds. Don’t get me wrong, Bush lived in the same fantasy land, but he wasn’t eloquent enough to pull it off.

    In short, the President’s speeches sound so great because he is making up reality as he goes. Of course they sound great. We would all love to believe the things that he is saying in his eloquent speeches. The problem is that his actions are completely opposite of the things he is saying in his speeches. And he is so good at it, half of America simply smiles and says, “Man, this guy is saving the country.”

    • USW:

      You have stated my views very eloquently. Everything he says is a lie. However, I don’t believe he is living in a fantasy land. I think everything he does is deliberate. Tell a lie over and over again and people will begin to believe it. Tell everyone that the stimulus is working and things would be worse off if it wasn’t passed. Tell everyone that the nation will go bankrupt if health care is not passed. With the MSM in favor of liberalism and socialism they dutifully report what he says. The mass of people that only get their news from the MSM sources buy this hook, line and sinker. We are living in the world of George Orwell’s 1984 where the liberal fascists have mastered the art of propaganda.

      Having said that, there are many people waking up because they know that what he says isn’t happening and is untrue. The Tea Parties are a good example. Yet those people are completely ignored and called radical racists and other bad terms. I forget who said this but if you tell a lie and the MSM does not report it, did you really tell a lie? The whole radical left agenda is out there for everyone to see yet it gets no attention through the MSM.

    • I wish I could add something to your post, USW….but you are spot on. Range, calibration all affirmative. Fire for effect.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Not sure I read the speech exactly the same way. While it is good to see reductions in waste and improved efficiency – that doesn’t mean you take the savings and immediately reapply or re-spend. You’re just moving dirt from one pile to another a la Gomer Pyle. A reach around doesn’t change to fact you’re getting screwed.

      • Well said, sir. How are you today, my friend? Temp here will reach 72 today and then tomorrow 23….Texas weather. Shorts one day…Parkas the next….thunderstorm and tornado warnings in effect now.

        • Displaced Okie says:

          Colonol, why must you depress me? 72 today! Why do my in-laws have to live in NY? Why did I have to visit them for Christmas? Dr. Pepper is hard to find, a foot of cold white stuff on the ground, and a temp below freezing….man, I miss Tarrant county….

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Hey D13 – things are so-so up in this neck of the woods. Had to put one of my dogs down this a.m. – a chow chow we had for 16 years – absolutely gut wrenching to do. Has left me pretty moody and not feeling in much of holiday spirits. This shall pass I hope.

          • It will pass, my friend..it will pass and I understand completely. Condolences to you. It is always tough to do that and most of us have been that boat and do not wish to again.

            we will be dodging some ‘nados today….mostly east of us we think. Rain will be here around 3 pm….but 70 degrees as I sit here waiting for my next client to come in for her anti-aging procedure. (This has not been taxed as yet). Glad I do not own tanning beds. Want to be outside but have to pay bills. Anyways, here is a toast to you, friend, and may the winds be at your back.

            D13

    • How many contractors are just being switched to government employee’s?

      http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/dec/15/recessions-a-bad-time-for-federal-wages-to-rise/

      Previous editorials have examined the payroll impact on local and state budgets, but what about the federal government? It’s even worse. But because the feds don’t have to produce annual balanced budgets, the problem is easier to disguise. Mayors and governors have to face the issue head-on.

      Presidents and members of Congress do not, because they can lift the debt ceiling and put employees’ raises on the national credit card.

      USA Today recently examined federal pay and benefits against the backdrop of the recession and general economic decline. While 7.3 million jobs were lost in the private sector from December 2007 to June 2009, federal pay raises and hiring have increased. Some findings:

      The number of federal workers making $100,000 or more (before overtime and bonuses) jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent.

      Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more a year increased from 1,868 to 10,100.

      The Transportation Department went from one employee earning more than $170,000 to 1,690 people making that much.

      President George W. Bush and Congress approved an across-the-board 3 percent raise in January 2008 and a 3.9 percent boost the following January. President Barack Obama is calling for 2 percent raises for 2010. All of this is on top of the “step” increases of 1.5 percent for most workers.

      This salary transformation occurred as the country dealt with the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. But when looking at federal pay and hiring, it’s as if it never happened.

      The average federal worker makes $71,206 annually. In the private sector, it’s $40,033. It’s true that minimum-wage jobs can deflate the private sector average, but it’s also true that millionaires and billionaires can inflate it.

      Federal workers have health care packages that only the richest corporations can deliver. According to the Los Angeles Times, federal workers have a wide array of choices, including dental and vision coverage, and there is no lifetime cap on spending.

      Federal workers can make the same argument as state and local workers: It took many years to reach a nice salary, and increased compensation brings in better talent. In short, they’ve earned it. But are they prepared to say that private-sector workers who have been laid off or had their pay slashed and benefits diluted deserved their fates?

      The bottom line is that the nation cannot afford to continue inoculating federal workers from budgetary crises and general economic malaise. Money saved on salaries and benefits could be sent to states to rescue programs for the most vulnerable citizens or to address the budget deficit. Those are just two examples, and both would be sounder decisions than pretending compensation is a budgetary freebie.

      If the feds had to balance the budget, this would be clear.

  4. USWeapon Topic #4

    For my final topic I wanted to address something that was brought up yesterday in the comments. Mathius noted that he felt that there has been a noticeable change in the tone on this site over the last couple of weeks. I have to admit that I hadn’t noticed such, but upon reading his comment, I was compelled to sit back and think about it a bit. I take a comment like that to heart. The last thing I want is for people to feel like this isn’t the same safe place to discuss our differences. Todd chalked it up to “mob Mentality”. I think that is an easy dig, and an incorrect one. Because first and foremost, I don’t write my blog to be affirmed. If anything, I am challenged more than anyone else on this site. Every comment I make is picked at by those on the left and the right. I don’t get affirmation by doing this. I often get skewered and I take the opportunity to learn from it, as I think most folks who come here do.

    In thinking back I do see a bit of a change in tone over the last couple of weeks. Group think doesn’t cover it as that is a claim that Todd has been making for well over 6 months. Being outnumbered has a tendency to make one feel that way. While I do think there are sometimes a fall into group think, I don’t think that this is the change that Mathius or Buck are referring to, or at least it isn’t the change in tone I see.

    I see two changes in tone that I can recognize. First, I see more people that feel threatened in some way by the actions of government. Over the last year, government has grown exponentially. There is no questioning that. And on top of the actual growth of government, there has been the sensationalism that has gone along with it. This is thanks to the Sean Hannity’s and Rush Limbaughs of the world. Real government expansion is bad. Rush and company make it worse in the minds of those opposed. As a result, people are feeling more fearful, more threatened, more controlled, and more hopeless. And that is showing up in the comments in the form of desperation. That feeling of dread and hopelessness is a horrible feeling. We fear that the economy will be made worse. We fear that the health care system will be made worse. We feel that the wars will be made worse. And we fear that our civil society will be made worse. And it feels like we are at the end of our rope, that the guillotine blade is picking up steam.

    That desperation turns into anger. And I think that is where the majority of the change in tone comes from. It will either increase as things get worse, or it will decrease as things get better.

    Second, there has been a major shift in the tone of those figures of authority who set the tone for the rest of America. The politicians in Washington DC have never been as vitriolic or divisive as they are right now. There was always bitter partisanship, but the level of ignorance in the statements from both sides is at an all time high. The media has never been as vitriolic and divisive as it is right now. They always had opinions, but now there are the Olbermanns, Becks, and even Stewarts out there who have no concern for being civil in their discourse. And they have gone on the attack. When the main anchor for a major network like MSNBC rails daily that opponents of the left are racists, bigots, stupid, uninformed, liars, and radicals, it sets the tone for all conversation that follows. The vitriol that is spewed by those who inform America has set a tone of nastiness that is spilling over into every corner of conversation.

    SUFA has, unfortunately, been no less affected. The majority of those here fall to the right on the political spectrum as it is generally defined in American politics. And they are under some fairly nasty attacks. Anyone who is not a racists knows how angry it makes them to be called one. Anyone who is not stupid knows how angry it makes them to be called so. The way that I have been characterized (in general, not singled out) by the media angers me. I have, in fact, been characterized that way even by some loyal readers on this site. I have been called racist, a liar, and accused on intentionally attempting to lead people astray. It hurts, and it angers, and the result is far from shocking, it is quite predictable. I sometimes fight back. It sounds nasty, but it is defense. I think that happens a lot here.

    Finally, I know that folks talk about revolution. To the best of my knowledge, I have not heard anyone actually advocating armed revolt. I would highly advise against it, and have dedicated entire articles to the subject of quieting any talk of violent revolution. But revolution is sometimes necessary. We may find ourselves there before we know it. I am talking about a revolution of ideals. I don’t think that is a change in the tone here. It is an ebb and flow thing. It comes up when folks are most frustrated with what they are seeing out there. The talk is tough, and while I have no doubt I could be a rock star in armed revolt, I have zero intention of taking that route. But I will take any leadership position necessary to free people’s minds of the dogmas that have put us in our current situation. A reliance on government and an acceptance of sacrifice of principles is not warranted, and I will fight it with whatever writing talent I have (or don’t have, depends on who you ask).

    There are my thoughts on the tone here lately and any shift I have noticed. If I am way off base, I welcome being corrected. If by a change in tone you were specifically talking about me and my articles, I will certainly take the critical feedback and apply it as best as I am able.

    • USW:

      People feel that they are backed into a corner with what is happening over this health care bill. When you are backed into a corner, there is a tendency to fight back. When the government refuses to listen to the will of the people, the people get angry. If the tone has shifted here, I would say it shifted for that reason. That doesn’t make it right and I will be aware of what I say and any potential tone that can be read into my writings.

    • I think there’s a sense of frustrations here that makes it feel like I’m an honored guest in an hostile enemy camp – like at any moment, the denizens will turn on me and take up pitchforks and march on New York and California.

      The change in tone – and I’ve thought about this a little bit – is becoming more and more militant. It is as though some here have resigned themselves to the collapse of the United States (or perhaps simply the American Way of Life) and are awaiting it with glee, perhaps even ready to lend a hand in speeding it up.

      The discourse is no less civil, and I have always been immensely attracted to the prospect of arguing civilly with those I would have labeled wingnuts at first glance but have since come to consider friends and valuable sources of insight. It’s just sad to see that it feels like many here feel our country is dead or dying.

      And, on a side note, I have changed desks at work. Before nobody really could see my monitor, but now my back is to the room. This means I will probably have to cut down severely on the amount of time I spend here. I am not pleased with this development.

      • See Matt?…there are Raptors everywhere….even your office.

        • It’s been 12 days since I emailed Orrin Hatch with my concerns. I am beginning to worry that he does not intend to answer me. Maybe SUFA has a few readers from Utah who could press him on the issue? He can’t ignore his own constituents. If so, I’ll be happy to repost my open letter.

    • Here is an article from American Thinker that also explains the anger:

      December 23, 2009
      Why the ‘Angry Mob’ Is Angry
      By Wendi Lynn G

      I, like many, have had those heart-pounding dreams where I’m battling evil. When trying to cry out, I cannot utter a sound. I try to get away, but my legs won’t move. At the height of fear, I wake up, relieved that it was only a dream. I wake up every day realizing that the America in which I am currently living is this nightmare, and I wish it were only a bad dream. Instead, the real-life heart-pounding is leading me to post-traumatic stress syndrome. I pray to get to the “post” part already because my heart cannot endure the present part of living in ObamAmerica much longer. I’m not alone, as a recent Rasmussen poll revealed that 71% of Americans are angry with our government and 61% oppose ObamaCare.

      Yes, yes, call us names like “astroturfer,” “teabagger,” and “angry mob.” Such is the motif of our accusers in government who seem to think that we’re angry because “our party” isn’t in power, all the while neglecting the log within their own eyes that blocks their view of the truth. This hypocrisy and ignorance exemplify the reality behind why we’re angry. Using the Saul Alinksy tactic of badgering serves only to pour gasoline upon the very fires of anger that they ignited. And this fire has only begun to burn. The Santa Ana winds are not far off over the mountains.

      Our anger comes not simply because we are poor sports. We are not racists who abhor the idea of “a black man in the White House,” because in truth, we have wanted to see that bridge crossed for years. We are not “just angry people” — quite the contrary, which underscores the point. Conservatives are not usually angry, nor are we protesters. That we show up to a protest at all is a huge statement itself and expressive enough of our anger. When we do protest, we don’t vandalize local merchants, topple cars and set them on fire, or require the police to control us or cart us off to jail. We’re not violent people — but we are human, and we do get angry. We’re just regular folks who prefer to not protest or make a stink about anything. We just want to live our lives in peace. What lights our fire is any threat to that peace and the freedom that provides it.

      In September 2008, before the financial crisis came to the fore, I fought on two fronts: I didn’t want then-Senator Obama to win the election, and I didn’t want the TARP bill to pass. For the first time in my life, I called my local elected officials and the McCain Campaign Headquarters. I begged, through tears of frustration, for Senator McCain not to support the TARP legislation. If ever I needed the “Maverick” to show up, it was then, for both the bill and the election. I was hugely disappointed on both counts. My frustration escalated to shouting matches at my TV set every time I heard the lies, spin, and audacious deception that, for the first time in our history, elected someone radically far left into the White House. On election night, I grieved from knowing, knowing what was to come: something utterly unlike the America in which I grew up with such hope and patriotic pride. I wasn’t alone in this, but at the time, I didn’t know it.

      From day one of Obama’s presidency, the dismantling commenced. We have continued to call and write to our elected officials. “We don’t want the bailouts, spending, cap-and-trade, ObamaCare,” etc. On April 15, 2009, I joined thousands across the country in attending our first protest. We wanted to be heard by our representatives. We believed that in addition to reading letters and fielding calls — if they even did that — perhaps our visibility would finally capture their attention. Then, at a town hall, the president un-presidentially and mockingly dismissed us, saying we were “waving tea bags around” like we’re just a joke! As our disapproval and disagreement with the Obama agenda has grown ever louder, we have essentially asked, “can you hear us now?!” And the answer has been further dismissal, lack of acknowledgment, and blatant media attacks utilizing the aforementioned Saul Alinksy skill set.

      We’re trying in every way legally and officially possible to make clear that we don’t want the radical meal we’re being forced to eat. We fervently do not want to “fundamentally transform” America. But there is such a huge disconnect from our world to our representatives’. It’s as if we are ghosts whom they can’t see or hear! When someone refuses to listen, going so far as to ignore you, don’t you shout louder? Doesn’t it anger you? When you’re attacked and belittled because you have to shout to be heard and you’re still ignored, doesn’t that infuriate you? These people miss that we passionately don’t want what they want. The more they refuse to hear us, the more we try to make them. We are not going away.

      We’re justly and increasingly angry because our reps not only refuse to hear us, but they also chastise us for wanting to be heard. How else would they expect us to react when we feel so helpless and hopeless? No matter what we want, say, or do, our government is going to force us to eat a meal we never ordered. In addition, we keep saying, “no, we don’t want this,” but they keep putting affirmations in our mouths and proceeding with their radical agenda anyway. We are not enjoying the governmental rape of our country. We said “no,” and “no” means “no” in every language. Why doesn’t this matter? Every poll reflects the president’s rapidly declining approval rating — for good reason. And still, Robert Gibbs flippantly dismisses it. How are “we the people” supposed to feel? Certainly we do not feel happy, or even just mildly upset, about being disregarded. Far-left ideologues who supposedly espouse “compassionate” causes have no compassion for how we feel, nor do they have a clue that we are an angry mob of their own creation.

      We take comfort in knowing (if only for ourselves, because clearly, they have forgotten) that “we the people” hold the power of our votes. Our elected officials will hear us in 2010 and 2012. Even so, if we do not stop this train wreck now; we may never be able to undo the damage being forced upon us.

      Yes, my heart is pounding, and I feel like I’m living the nightmare in fighting to be heard. I want more than anything to finally wake up and say, “Oh, thank God…it was only a dream.” I want to return to a life where I’m not concerned about the uncertainty of a future where I can still pursue dreams. Once at the “post” part of PTSS, I can return to being part of the regular folk, peacefully living life. But as long as I live in this nightmare, this “angry mobstress” will continue to fight against the radical “remaking” of America so that we can remain America, with liberty and justice for all. As one of the “regular folks,” I really wish I had another choice.

    • I see people in general more upset that people have decided to use their position to gain power to support themselves not the country as a whole.
      I have became upset that I see that people from either party have made the decision to line their pockets and use the taxpayers as pawns. Which anyway you slice it, just wrong.

      I dont want a revolution by any means. I just want citizens to stop accepting whatever politicans are shoveling. I want them to ask the hard questions to people who are being elected. Not to be drawn away by stupid stories about Tiger Woods etc.

      I have always believed that as a group we are capable of making country great.

      Hope everyone is doing well.

      • I agree Ellen, except I see our Country being divided in a way that I don’t remember-we seem to be losing the “United We Stand” attitude and it worries me a lot. I always felt that whatever divided us, we were underneath it all Americans-I am now questioning my definition of an American and beginning to wonder if our way of life can withstand the new attitudes or maybe their not new, maybe their proponents are just getting stronger. Either way, I think people on both sides are just starting to understand that this current divide is not just a political disagreement, that it is something much bigger and much more serious.

        • This is being done on purpose in my view. Between the media and DC they are trying to force people into one box or another. It is easier to get things by people when they are too busy yelling at others around them.

    • The change in tone signifies SOMETHING. Folks that are posting in public forums like this one, aren’t the ones who will resort to violence. We’re still talking, and from the looks of things, we’ll keep on talking. Its the ones who have gone quiet that will cause the violence. What’s the expression? Its the quiet ones you have to be careful of. Once the quiet ones get busy, things will get really interesting. The SOMETHING I refer to is what the non Marxists are feeling and thinking.

    • USWeapon,
      My comments were not directed at you specially, but at the tone of the conversations here in general. But it also extends to other conservative media.

      Over the last year, government has grown exponentially. There is no questioning that.

      I’ll question that. Can you explain further or provide some details?

      Actually, don’t waste your time! Anyone can come up with numbers that support there position, depending on when you stop and start, what’s included/excluded! But even a statement like this adds to the mentality.

      Your next statement pretty much makes my point:

      And on top of the actual growth of government, there has been the sensationalism that has gone along with it. This is thanks to the Sean Hannity’s and Rush Limbaughs of the world. Real government expansion is bad. Rush and company make it worse in the minds of those opposed.

      When Hannity makes sensational statements, Limbaugh has to top him, and then Beck has to top them both, and then Olbermann has to attack all three, and the spiral downward continues…whoever shouts the loudest and most outrageous wins…

      This is the “definition” of Mob Mentality (I didn’t really look it up…).

      One person brings an “Obama=Hitler” sign to a Tea Party. No one objects and that person gets a lot of attention, and at the next Tea party the signs get worse…

      That feeling of dread and hopelessness is a horrible feeling. We fear that the economy will be made worse. We fear that the health care system will be made worse. We feel that the wars will be made worse. And we fear that our civil society will be made worse. And it feels like we are at the end of our rope, that the guillotine blade is picking up steam.

      And you don’t see the feedback loop here? Socialism! Death Panels! Hitler! Socialism! Death Panels! Hitler!

      Geez, and now you add a guillotine…yikes, I hadn’t had that image before…

      That desperation turns into anger. And I think that is where the majority of the change in tone comes from. It will either increase as things get worse, or it will decrease as things get better.

      Mob mentality…do you think the “Talking Heads” are going to let it “get better”? They make more money when it’s worse…

      I know a lot of you disagree with Obama, but when this is the strategy, the end will not be pretty. The best-case-scenario is eventually Republicans will take control of the White House and/or Congress, and then the Democrats will act like the Republicans are now, and NOTHING (good or bad) will get accomplished in this country for a long time.

      I won’t speculate on the worse-case-scenario…

      And to be absolutely clear, this applies to the Left just as much. Anti-war protestors, Move-On, etc, they all feed on positive reinforcement.

      Sorry, this is incomplete, but I have to prepare for a meeting…

  5. USWeapon Topic #5

    One more thought from the comments yesterday. Buck, I believe, asked about compromise and whether it was necessary in today’s world. I believe that it is necessary. I don’t remember who, I think it was Peter, gave the two examples of different types of compromise. They were a good way of putting it.

    I think, for the record, that compromise is how things get done. If something is worth doing, and it doesn’t violate my core principles, I am willing to compromise on it in order to make it better than it is now. This is why, despite my feeling that we have the best health care system on earth, I am willing to compromise on making reforms that may improve it. However, I think the distinction must be that compromise is not possible it something is in violation of my core principles.

    Core principles are a funny thing. Once you actually seek them out and refine them in your mind, you eventually really accept them as a core, and then work to ensure that you don’t violate them. Because you must never violate them. EVER. To do so puts you in conflict with yourself, and dooms you to bad decisions and a life that ends up out of balance. A simple compromise on core principles can grow out of control until you are so far away from your core that you will never find your way back.

    There are going to be times that your core values and my core values will be in conflict, and as such there is no room for compromise there. And that is OK. At that point, we attempt to each find people who believe our core is right, whomever gets the most wins. That is the current state of Congress. At least hypothetically. The Dems have more people who believe in their core values, so they will get laws passed. In reality I don’t believe they have the same percentage who agree as what their body represents (60%).

    But the bottom line is that you cannot ask someone to violate their core principle. A compromise on such would be just that: a violation. I could support the Senate more if I thought that the 60 dems and 40 Reps were actually acting according to core principles. They are not. But I cannot support something that violates my core. If I do I will be a walking contradiction. And contradiction is something I am working very hard to eliminate from my decision making.

    This does mean that far less legislation will get passed. But that is OK. Because anything that really does violate the core principles of a significant group of people in America should be under heavy scrutiny. Health care could be done without violating my core principles. Because of this I will not compromise and accept something that doesn’t measure up. I may be outvoted or outgunned, but I will not be a contradiction. I will have done my best to stick to my core beliefs. History will judge me sane or insane. But the only judgement I am worried about is my own.

    I hope this bit of explanation helps us to continue the conversation today. I was disappointed that I was unable to participate at all yesterday, as it was a good discussion. So let’s continue it.

    • Core principles are a funny thing. Once you actually seek them out and refine them in your mind, you eventually really accept them as a core, and then work to ensure that you don’t violate them. Because you must never violate them. EVER. To do so puts you in conflict with yourself, and dooms you to bad decisions and a life that ends up out of balance. A simple compromise on core principles can grow out of control until you are so far away from your core that you will never find your way back.

      My task is now completed with you.

      • That is fine and dandy for those who would abide by their core values…but; what about those whos’ core values do not meet the same standards as someone with outstanding social ethics? Hmmm?

  6. CyndiP Topic

    Cyndi posted this topic the other day and I promised to add it to the open mic night:

    At this time of rapid change in human society and global ecology there is a need for the connecting, coordinating, and integrating of individual and organizational initiatives working on behalf of balanced, ethical, and life-enhancing evolution for humanity and Earth.

    This is the mission of EVOLVE: a Global Community Center for Conscious Evolution—to serve as a central resource hub for individuals and communities worldwide that are choosing to embrace and apply the emerging principles, tools and templates of cocreative self and social conscious evolution.

    EVOLVE is being catalyzed by and is a program of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution (FCE). It is the specific intent and interest of FCE that EVOLVE ultimately is developed in collaborative partnership with numerous colleagues and organizations as a joint initiative. We feel it is not possible for one organization or group to comprehensively acquire the resources, knowledge, skills, etc. needed to guide humanity during this period of evolutionary transition. Indeed, it is our belief that those people and organizations that can best cooperate, fulfilling the self-interest of each unique contributor while fulfilling the collective-interest of the whole, will most readily and appreciably succeed in the coming years. In this spirit, we invite collaborative partnerships to be explored by those who feel a calling towards this shared vision.

    Visit the Group’s Website at: http://www.evolve.org/pub/doc/evolve_about.html

    I will try to find time to comment on Cyndi’s topic as the day goes on.

    • Okay, Cyndi give me a hint why you wanted this posted-on a quick read it sounds like -one world gobballygoop(sp), sounds great as rhetoric, doesn’t work in practice.

      • I thought it was a bunch of crap too. I like to think it won’t fly either but I wanted to see what others thought. I have a feeling that this crap is going to pick up steam now that the AGW is going down in flames. The Global Community folks aren’t going to give up. I wonder if this is the route they will take or will they find something else? It seems harmless enough NOW, just like the AGW did 15 years ago, but look at the damage the AGW crowd has done. I see these Evolve people being a problem. The woman talks about evolving. Okay…. what happens to those not deemed fit to pass on their useful traits?

        I don’t think she’s coming from a good place at all. I read the terms of website site usage and got a very different tone than those from the rest of the pages. I can’t put my finger on it right now, but there’s something else below the surface of this organization that sends up my red flag. I want to know if anyone else gets that too.

        • “Conscious Evolution is a new worldview that is now emerging rapidly and garnering worldwide interest and support. It acknowledges that humankind has attained unprecedented powers to affect, control and change the evolution of life on Earth.”

          Well just there beginning definition brings thoughts of global warming rhetoric to mind, not to mention there insistence on talking in the button pushing emotional word form that they are using-put that with the religio reference and yea, my red flag goes off.

          • Thanks V. Its nice to know it ain’t just me!

            • v. Holland says:

              Your welcome and you make a good point-my tendency to just dismiss these people has sadly become dangerous in our current situation.

              • Its understandable, V. Up until recently we’ve all had the luxury of dismissing this kind of thing. I’m guilty of it too. I used to let myself be bullied about by people who thought I was a huge jerk for pointing things out. So I just ignored what my intuition was telling. Unfortunately, things have become so worrisome, I couldn’t ignore my gut feeling if even I wanted to.

    • Humans throughout history have been dazzled by their own apparent power over nature.

      Whether it is a Shaman, Mystic, Magician, Zealot, Priest, Witch, Environmentalist, AGW adherent, etc….

      …in all times of the history of mankind, some group has declared domination and control over the power of Nature.

      And every time, Nature has laughed and taught mankind how stupid they are to believe such drivel.

      • Agreed. Unfortunately those stupid humans can do a lot of damaging tricks to other stupid, and not so stupid, humans. That’s what worries me……

    • This is nothing more than pretty colored paint covering a vicious revival of Eugenics.

      The Eugenics movement caught fire in the early part of the 20th Century and was broadly supported by key politicians and thinkers throughout Britain and USA.

      The consequence was the legitimizing of forced serializations of people throughout North America and Europe.

      Eugenics philosophy culminated in Nazi Germany as the rationalization of genocide of Jews, Mentally Ill, Slavs, and anyone else who hadn’t achieved Aryan purity. Nazi’s even gathered fair maidens to be mass impregnated by Aryan “super-men” so to start the new evolution.

      Of course, once the horrors of the logical extension of Eugenics was exposed in the Death Camps, Eugenics disappeared from public view.

      But it never disappeared.

      It is a component of Maurice Strong (father of IPCC and Environmentalist movement in the UN) philosophy and he has repeated many attempts and tactics – from using Environmentalism to outright “licensing” of human beings to push his Eugenic beliefs..

      This group is simply another attempt to revitalize the movement devastated by the revelations of Nazism.

      But make no mistake, those that wish to control the evolution of mankind by design are creating tyranny.

      Mankind, like the free market, is an expression of the individual’s own free choice. We are who we are, not by some super-designer, but by the aggregate of free choices of individuals throughout history.

      If we believe mankind can design better what is impossible to design, we become our own destroyers.

    • Bottom Line says:

      These “EVOLVE” people are out of their minds. Sounds like they’ve been a bit overindulgent with Lysergic acid diethylamide.

      Where’s the substance? What the hell are they talking about? And who the hell is Barbara “Marx” Hubbard?

      Any time I hear something that is put into completely generalized and vague language, I am suspicious.

      Either they have no clue, or they are full of sh*t.

      EVOLVE – “Foundation for Conscious Evolution Vision and Mission

      The initiatives of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution offer a context and container for connecting and empowering the vast global movement arising for positive change, making the efforts of this movement visible to engender greater awareness, coherence and synergy.

      Small Islands of coherence in a sea of social chaos can jump the system
      as a whole to a higher degree of harmony and order.

      The Foundation for Conscious Evolution is helping to build a new path—a “golden bridge”—to the next stage of human evolution. By connecting and communicating what’s working, positive and innovative, we will move beyond our current confusion and see that the purpose of our crisis is to activate our newly emerging capacities, and that the meaning of our unprecedented power is to fulfill the deepest aspirations of the human heart—to restore the Earth, to free ourselves from illness, hunger, and war, and cocreate a future equal to our vast potential.

      Our Vision
      The ultimate goal of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution is the
      awakening of the spiritual, social, and scientific potential of humanity,
      in harmony with nature for the highest good of all life.

      Our Mission
      • To educate people in the worldview of Conscious Evolution and how to
      apply it in their lives, personally and socially.

      • To provide a vital new social system through which the vast movement
      for positive change can align, connect and further cooperate toward
      the common goal of a compassionate, sustainable future
      that recognizes and supports the inter-connectedness of all life.

      The creation of EVOLVE with the Synergy Center, Living School and its premier educational program Gateway to Conscious Evolution, Communities and Evolving Media represent the first steps toward the fulfillment of our mission.

      Although catalyzed by the Foundation, our intention is that EVOLVE be cocreated and used by individuals and organizations who believe in the power of cooperation and synergy. None of us can do this great work alone.

      If you feel your vision and mission is aligned with ours and you would like to explore how we can collaborate in some way for the greater good, please contact fce@evolve.org. Please include contact information, weblink or any other documents that will assist us in learning about your work.”

      BL – Oh really? I know what all those words mean and how they relate to each other. I understand the grammatical order and context, etc… I’m perfectly capable of analyzing and interpreting many things, such as the English language…

      …And I still have no %$#&ing clue what EVOLVE actually does.

      I.E.:

      EVOLVE – “Our Mission
      • To educate people in the worldview of Conscious Evolution and how to
      apply it in their lives, personally and socially.”

      BL – What exactly IS “the worldview of Conscious Evolution”

      EVOLVE – What is Conscious Evolution?

      Conscious Evolution is a new worldview that is now emerging rapidly and garnering worldwide interest and support. It acknowledges that humankind has attained unprecedented powers to affect, control and change the evolution of life on Earth.

      In simple terms, Conscious Evolution means that we must improve our ability to use our powers ethically and effectively (consciously) to achieve a positive future (evolve).

      BL – Sounds like you’re trying to say that a bunch of arrogant jackasses woke up one day and decided to get together and play GOD.

      And you still don’t explain what exactly this “Conscious Evolution” entails.

      Get to the meat of the matter and say what you mean lady. Lay off the blotter and start making sense instead of handing me this vague undescriptive horse shit.

      How EXACTLY do you think we should “use our powers ethically and effectively”?

      And what EXACTLY do you consider a “positive future”?

      Ms. Marx reminds me of those catalogues that talk all about how great their product is but are completely devoid of a price description. They want you to be impressed and curious enough to contact them so their sales people can try some bullshit sales tactic on you.

      These people are so full of sh*t.

      • You crack me up BL! 😉

        I agree with you. This bunch is out there. Sadly, many people will think this is the best thing since sliced bread and go happily along….

  7. Buck The Wala says:

    Great articles today USW! It looks like a busy day at work but I’d like to make some very brief comments on a few things; thought it would be easier just to consolidate my post down here. I’ll be reading along for most of today and hopefully will have a chance to write a bit more later on.

    1) Change in tone — I think you largely nailed it. There has been a change in tone in general across the country. It is not confined to this forum in the least, but as this is the site I most often visit and the only site that I am an active participant in, part of me is going to notice it here more than elsewhere. Todd is correct in that ‘mob mentality’ can and does serve to drive a change in tone; I don’t think this is all that’s going on here, but I think it important to keep it in mind.

    2) Compromise — I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue and the more I think of it, the more uncertain I am. I believe strongly in the need to compromise to keep the country moving. The only way to pass sensible legislation is to listen to opposing views and forge compromise. That being said, you cannot ask someone to compromise their core principles. Many of you have made that point to me (I immediately think of Peter’s comments yesterday). One comment I noticed last night though was the comparison to the Holocaust — let me just say: very bad taste. Actually, it was a decent analogy given the core principal of murder and genocide and did make me really think. But the underlying issue we have all been discussing is health care. I understand many of you believe government health care is immoral and violates your core beliefs and I believe you are all sincere on this point; but to compare it even remotely to the Holocaust is bad taste.

    3) Lastly, I wanted to briefly get back to the issue of constitutional interpretation. JAC, I always enjoy going back and forth with you on this issue. I’m a bit familiar with the scholar you cited too and, unlike other liberals perhaps, I will not just blow him off. I’ll try to read up more on his research later on. But just because you have a respected scholar on your side, does not mean I don’t have respected scholars on mine. I still have to disagree with you on your approach. But, if I suddenly agreed with you, where would the fun be in that!?

    Hope you all have a great day. Unfortunately for me, uncertainty in 2010 tax law breeds lots of last minute decisions in 2009. Gonna be a busy last week of the year!

    –Buck

    PS: Mathius – Happy Festivus!!!

    • Happy Festivus to one and all!

    • Buck,

      Yesterday Flag said on healthcare, the economic aspects need to be the primary consideration. I agree. My perspective, would the people of the country choose to have a job or healthcare? But that choice is being taken away from them. Sen. Blanch Lincoln said 60,000 children in Arkansas are without health insurance. But that 40,000 of them qualify for ARKids First, and have not signed up. The CEO of a hospital told me that many who use the ER qualify for Medicaid, but will not sign up, even with the hospital doing the paperwork. It seems like the government is trying to force people to do what is good for them. Like dragging a horse to water. I have not seen much that I wold call compromise.

      http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,580915,00.html

      CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: That CBO estimate is completely wrong, and when Obama cites it, he is being completely cynical.

      Number one, the only reason it ends up with a surplus is because it strips out — well, it assumes that there will be cuts in reimbursements for doctors of 21 percent next year with no increase over a decade. They’re 100 percent certain that is not going to happen, but it’s in the bill because it will be a separate provision that will strip it out. So once you calculate that in, you’re already in the red.

      Secondly, and this is the most important, it supposedly costs $850 billion over ten years. But 98 percent of the costs of the bill are in the last six years. So it’s a trick. If you actually look at real charges, you start in 2014 when the benefits kick in and you go out ten years, then the cost is not slightly under $1 trillion. It is $1.8 trillion or $2.5 trillion, which means it will blow an enormous hole in the deficit

    • Buck:

      I fear you have mininterpreted my intent on posting the story about Mr. Natelson. It was not an attempt at playing a trump card but to show everyone his methodology and how it is different from even other constructionists. And to try and explain that many of my stated views on the document are based on a similar approach. I do not read or speak Latin, however, and I have no formal training in law.

      I also saw a chance to introduce everyone to the man I have often quoted in the past, perhaps before you came to the site. Those who are truly interested in the topic will now have another source to research on their own.

      And, as I said when making the link, I don’t always agree with his conclusions either. The last debate we had was his view based on his language research versus what I thought was plain meaning based on direct comments made by one of the founders.

      I don’t know if you have noticed but our discussions have two parts from my perspective. It appears to me that you are always using the current status as the constitution. This would be a solid legal view. You may not recognize it but I have in fact acknowledged that such is the legal view. We are stuck with the interpretation we have.

      What I try to show everyone is how the use of the belief that our founders had an “intent” to “interpret” rather than “amend” has been used to actually change the true meaning of the document. The expansion of powers under the commerce clause is a classic example. There is no way in hell the framers would support the current interpretation as anything close to their “intent”.

      When most laymen yell unconstitutional it is because they can read the relatively plain language and it creates a generally accepted opinion based on the common use of our language. I view it a little like institutional memory. We still hold some of it, despite the massive changes in our language since 1787.
      Most folks get very angry when they find out that some group of judges later changed the intent by applying their interpretation.

      If you disagree with my approach then are you accepting the “living document” theory? Up until now I thought you were proposing something in between. The “modern” concept of a “living document” is the key theory to which I am opposed. And that is because such things as Constitutions need to be very rigid and not subject to new “interpretations”. Otherwise the document can not serve its intended purpose. This does not preclude new “applications” but it does preclude expanding powers through new “interpretation of meaning”.

      While I oppose this view, I recognize that has been the prevailing opinion for around 70 years. But it was not always the accepted approach. The need to interpret meaning and application was used with great caution up until those with an agenda realized they could use the courts to impose that agenda without public debate or vote. On an aside point, I think this will always be the eventual outcome where the “elite” gain control of the system. The “elite” do not always agree in their goals but they generaly use the same approach. That is to impose their “more enlightened” understanding on the masses. It seems to have been pretty much the pattern throughout history. A solid and relatively inflexible Constitution is our only protection against this. Now back to the main topic.

      Think about this. Try to come up with a list of powers our Federal Government DOES NOT have given the modernist view of the document. Make sure you assume the current arguments supporting health care are valid and then expand that legal concept to other issues, before you make the list.

      Then ask yourself what purpose the document serves except to codify the basic structure of our govt, that is the three branches. Oh, which has expanded into four branches, if you count the Fed, without an amendment.

      I realize you have respected scholars who share your view. They are probably the majority in the legal scholar world. However, it does not mean their view is correct or represents the actual truth. In fact, I find very little evidence in history that supports their basic premise that it was the framers intent that the document be a “living document” in the sense that they claim it is. Namely through changes in interpretation to fit future society’s needs.

      That view is in fact in direct conflict with the reality of the purpose of a Constitution written by men who were well versed in law and who had just suffered a great war based on the primacy of protecting the individual freedom and liberty of the new nation’s citizens. That is why they included provisions for amendment.

      In the spirit of the Holidays let me offer some area of agreement between us. There is no doubt that there is a need to evaluate and consider what powers would be applicable today, with respect to any given provision. Again, commerce is a good example. But I would not use “interpretation” as a word to describe the process. What is needed is a determination as to what powers are allowed as it applies to modern commerce. This does require some assessment as to what the purpose of the provision was at the time it was written. To infer that this is to “interpret” supports, by use of the term itself, the belief that it is appropriate to change the meaning of the words or intent, rather than just identify the underlying purpose of the provision. I think perhaps it is the word itself I often react to as I take your use of it as “a change in meaning” rather than a simple “determination of authority”.

      The best to you and your family.
      JAC

      • Buck The Wala says:

        JAC, I appreciate youre posting to Natelson — he is one of probably just a handful of historical legal scholars. I respect his research and I respect his conclusions. I’ve tried to read up a bit more this morning, but haven’t had the opportunity to devote much time to it.

        My point is just that he is one scholar. His research his commendable and offers important insight into the ‘correct’ constitutional interpretation. But there are other prominent scholars who have looked at similar evidence and reached different conclusions.

        But I will try to step back a bit more and not just take the ‘current status’ approach. Will try to say more later; sorry for not being able to devote more time to this – very interesting and useful discussion!

        • Buck:

          I understood your point about other scholars. Mine is that while their study and opinion is good, they have no monopoly on the subject.

          And, if a constitution is to be trully meaningful, and if we really do want the citizen to be the primary guardian, then the document should be viewed in plain and understandable terms. That, and it should be changed by the people, not by congress or a group of men called judges.

          I am not so sure we are that far off in our views of where we are. And perhaps the what they meant is irrelevant. Except it provides a great lesson in how something that seems so straightforward can become distorted with time. That is a good lesson to have as we try to resolve the major issues before us.

          I too was busy today so no worries. Another birthday to put on today, baking, packing for trip to inlaws for Christmas.

          Hope you had a great day.
          JAC

      • JAC,

        Nice post, well thought out. I recall the word “regulate”, back in the founders time meant “to make regular”, or the same for all parties. An example, apparently a “rick” or cord of firewood is not the same amount in each state. The federal government has the authority to establish what a rick or cord of wood is, and make that regular between the states. So their intent was that the federal government would have the authority to bring a consensus to the states on their different laws and wording. It was not meant to grant the federal government the power to dictate to the states.

        • LOI

          Their intent in the commerce clause is quite clear given that it was a problem with interstate commerce that caused the constitutional convention to be convened.

          The problem? States were imposing different rules (taxes, tarrifs, etc) and thus creating trade wars between the states that could have an adverse affect on trade of the nation.

          The answer? Federal rules to assure uniform constraints in order to allow free flow of goods and services, in other words TRADE. Note that the goals was to improve the free flow, not constrain or control the flow.

          Seemed pretty simple and straightforward at the time, huh?

          What is that phrase? Oh yeah, hell is paved with the best of intentions.

          Best to You this day LOI.
          JAC

    • Buck
      Actually, it was a decent analogy given the core principal of murder and genocide and did make me really think. But the underlying issue we have all been discussing is health care. I understand many of you believe government health care is immoral and violates your core beliefs and I believe you are all sincere on this point; but to compare it even remotely to the Holocaust is bad taste.

      I, myself, do not think it is bad taste.

      First, it highlights what happens with people abandon their core principles as a practical or pragmatic way to avoid other consequences.

      Secondly, the large body of work describing and understanding the way such an event happened, the thinking behind the perpetrators and the thinking behind the non-acting observers is huge. These are solid lessons that apply to current situations and the ease that such tyranny moves through society.

      Third, the conclusion of such tyrannical effort is vividly on display in history. It eliminates and makes futile any denying of ‘slippery slope’ arguments in this regard.

      • Buck The Wala says:

        Sorry BF, but I call BS.

        Slippery slope arguments are always futile. Just because A leads to B, does not necessarily mean that C will result.

        As for it being in bad taste, comparing government health care to the Holocaust is most definitely bad taste. Using the Holocaust as a case in point to highlight compromise on the issue of murder or genocide is valid…using it to highlight compromise on health care is not.

        • I wholly disagree.

          Slippery-slope declarations are almost always misapplied.

          Those that flag an argument as “slippery slope” are most often those that cannot argue against the reasoning and the conclusion that reasoning describes.

          Being disarmed by reason, their only attack is to flag the conclusion as a “Slippery Slope” – in attempt not to address any of the reasoning but an attempt to discredit the inevitable, but wholly reasoned, conclusion.

          In other words, because they do not like the conclusion, they declare the entire argument is wrong.

          But reality is.

          They can ignore the reasoned conclusion and pretend it will not happen.

          Then they get the Holocaust.

          The entire Constitution is just over 4200 words.

          There are more pages in the Health Care bill then worlds in the Constitution.

          The impact of such intrusion of government was documented a 100 years. “Slippery Slope” was the cry!

          When this bill passes, it will continue the steps along a path to total police state and tyranny.

          I expect to hear “Slippery Slope” any time soon, again.

          • Buck The Wala says:

            Slippery slope arguments by definition are a fallacy, unless you are able to prove each and every step along the way.

            I hate to cite to Wikipedia, but I will do so here for lack of time:

            The heart of the slippery slope fallacy lies in abusing the intuitively appreciable transitivity of implication, claiming that A lead to B, B leads to C, C leads to D and so on, until one finally claims that A leads to Z. While this is formally valid when the premises are taken as a given, each of those contingencies needs to be factually established before the relevant conclusion can be drawn. Slippery slope fallacies occur when this is not done — an argument that supports the relevant premises is not fallacious and thus isn’t a slippery slope fallacy.

            • I am not arguing the definition of “Slippery Slope”, Buck.

              I am explaining its misuse.

              As I said, it is more than often used when the arguer finds the reasoned conclusion disagreeable.

              He finds he cannot debate any of the reasoned links to said conclusion.

              He then declares “Slippery Slope” as a tactic to try to discredit the conclusion that he hates.

    • Buck,

      You have my sincere apologies if I gave offense with my analogy. I was merely trying to point out that not everything can or should be compromised.

      As a 63 year old, I see things coming down the pike now I never would have envisioned in my youth. Most folks miss them because they are incremental. A little bit, then a little bit more and then some more and finally it’s gone. Maybe you have to be 63 and politically aware for most of that time to notice.

      I grew up in Washington Heights in Manhattan. Every second resident was Jewish, every second Jew seemed to have a number tatooed on their forearm. the Holocaust is something I never take lightly. The greatest lesson of the Holocaust to me was how it was allowed to happen by compromising with evil.

      Would the analogy be less painful if I used Turks and Armenians or Bolsheviks and Kulaks?

      • Buck The Wala says:

        No need to apologize. In recent weeks/months I have seen many many incidents of people attempting to make an analogy between the Holocaust and health care. The two are completely incomparable. Just last week on Fox, Ingraham used the famous Holocaust poem (“First they came for the Communists and I said nothing because I was not a Communist…”) to describe what is happening in this country with government health care! Maybe I looked into your comment too deeply and found something that wasn’t there; if so, I apologize.

        Your analogy was actually very on point to the specific discussion of compromise and made me really think about my own statements and views on the topic. But what struck me, and what gave me pause to comment on your statement, was that the general discussion was not on murder, but on health care.

  8. http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/12/23/sarah-palin-responds-winning-lie-year

    Sarah Palin Responds to Winning ‘Lie of the Year’

    By Noel Sheppard
    December 23, 2009 – 10:40 ET

    Sarah Palin has responded to claims that her “death panel” comment concerning healthcare reform legislation is the “Lie of the Year.”

    As NewsBusters previously reported, the Palin-hating press have been having a field day since she won this dubious honor from the website PolitiFact last week.

    On Tuesday, the former Alaska Governor responded at her Facebook page, and did so with skill and aplomb (emphasis hers):
    Story Continues Below Ad ↓

    Last weekend while you were preparing for the holidays with your family, Harry Reid’s Senate was making shady backroom deals to ram through the Democrat health care take-over. The Senate ended debate on this bill without even reading it. That and midnight weekend votes seem to be standard operating procedures in D.C. No one is certain of what’s in the bill, but Senator Jim DeMint spotted one shocking revelation regarding the section in the bill describing the Independent Medicare Advisory Board (now called the Independent Payment Advisory Board), which is a panel of bureaucrats charged with cutting health care costs on the backs of patients – also known as rationing. Apparently Reid and friends have changed the rules of the Senate so that the section of the bill dealing with this board can’t be repealed or amended without a 2/3 supermajority vote. Senator DeMint said:

    “This is a rule change. It’s a pretty big deal. We will be passing a new law and at the same time creating a senate rule that makes it out of order to amend or even repeal the law. I’m not even sure that it’s constitutional, but if it is, it most certainly is a senate rule. I don’t see why the majority party wouldn’t put this in every bill. If you like your law, you most certainly would want it to have force for future senates. I mean, we want to bind future congresses. This goes to the fundamental purpose of senate rules: to prevent a tyrannical majority from trampling the rights of the minority or of future congresses.”

    In other words, Democrats are protecting this rationing “death panel” from future change with a procedural hurdle. You have to ask why they’re so concerned about protecting this particular provision. Could it be because bureaucratic rationing is one important way Democrats want to “bend the cost curve” and keep health care spending down?

    The Congressional Budget Office seems to think that such rationing has something to do with cost. In a letter to Harry Reid last week, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf noted (with a number of caveats) that the bill’s calculations call for a reduction in Medicare’s spending rate by about 2 percent in the next two decades, but then he writes the kicker:

    “It is unclear whether such a reduction in the growth rate could be achieved, and if so, whether it would be accomplished through greater efficiencies in the delivery of health care or would reduce access to care or diminish the quality of care.”

    Though Nancy Pelosi and friends have tried to call “death panels” the “lie of the year,” this type of rationing – what the CBO calls “reduc[ed] access to care” and “diminish[ed] quality of care” – is precisely what I meant when I used that metaphor.

    The clock is now ticking as we await the inevitably dishonest fact-checking of Palin’s response.

    Isn’t the tension delicious?

  9. New CA Gun Law Requires Fingerprints For Ammunition
    Next month, to buy ammo in California, you will be fingerprinted before being allowed to purchase. This is the start of gun registration.

    http://logisticsmonster.com/2009/11/29/new-ca-gun-law-requires-fingerprints-for-ammunition/

    November 29th, 2009 | Author: Diamond Tiger

    The powers that be keep saying that all these guns laws are about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. How ridiculous is that considering criminals are criminals BECAUSE they don’t follow the rules. This law requires face to face transactions only, (no online purchases), and all purchasers of ammunition to be thumbprinted, IDed, exact types and amounts of ammunition recorded, and carries jail time and fines for selling to known criminals. How stupid is that considering a road trip to a nearby state would only take a few hours, giving the ammo away isn’t illegal, and then of course, “representatives” of law enforcement agencies are exempt from this law.

  10. Displaced Okie says:

    I know this is out left field, but is there anybody here who can explain to me how social security is different than a ponzi scheme? I have read that since it is not voluntary and since it is considered insurance that it is different, I call BS on that. I have also talked to a few AUSA’s (federal prosecuters) and they don’t know what the difference is. So if anyone can explain it I would appreciate it.

    Displaced Okie

  11. Birdman, Bottom Line, G-Man and Peter,

    Thanks for prodding me to post on American Thinker.

    I thought it would be futile, but as it turned out, it seemed to have provoked some thoughtful responses and understanding.

    I was doubly surprised – first by those that appeared to actually try to learn some basic economics, and secondly, the depth of resistance by those that are immune to such learning.

    It was interesting – so thanks for the motivation!

    • A great economic article Cyndi sent me. Was glad you played nice with them at Thinker.

      http://www.amerigold.com/the_seer/index.php?mod=cnt&act=cnt&id=41

      • His analysis is correct regarding the debt-addicted.

        His answer is flawed.

        Gold will not save us if the money is still controlled by government or a monopolistic cartel like a Central Bank or FED.

        Gold-backed money did not stop UK from inflating its money to pay for WW1. Because of this, UK lost their empire by 1919.

        Gold-backed money did not stop Rome from inflating its money to pay its Legions. Though they issued money, the tax collectors refused to accept their government’s money in payment for taxes. They insisted in raw gold. We know the consequences of their failure of money, too.

        All gold does it prevent rampant manipulation of money by government. You can’t print gold.

        But it cannot stop manipulation of money by government.

        The only thing that prevents manipulation of money by government is not to let government control money.

        Let the free market find and use whatever money the free market decides. Only then will money stability and sustainability exist.

    • Bottom Line says:

      Learning is Fun.

      Teaching is a Reward.

      Knowledge is Power.

      Watching our SUFA tutor/personal economics professor also school others in economic theory is quite rewarding, as it is being witness to their empowerment.

      Not to mention, I was also getting another lesson.

      Thank you too Mr. Flag.

      Torpedoes aweigh!

      If I had your knowledge and intellect I would be schooling the world. Hell, If I had your knowledge and intellect, I would have already TAKEN OVER the world. lol.

      BTW, FYI, You’ve got me curious about Hayek. I was at the book store the other day buying a gift card. I decided to look for “The Road to Serfdom”. They didn’t have it in stock.
      During my inquiry, I learned that someone is writing a revised version to come out sometime in the spring. Might be a good read.

      Just thought you might like to know, In case you didn’t already.

      • Bottom Line,

        In the past, I seriously self-debated if I should ‘take over the world’ – enter the political game – and exercise the very ruthless side of my personality and become dictator.

        I suppressed such desire for the good of mankind.

        But perhaps something might happen in the future and that debate may occur again – perhaps with a different answer.

        • Bottom Line says:

          ROFL

          We’re starting to sound like “Pinky and The Brain”

          An anarchist dictator.

          Imagine that.

  12. My Red Flag just went off. Anyone else?

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/12/you_have_to_watch_these_guys_e.html

    December 23, 2009
    You have to watch these guys every minute
    Rick Moran

    I’m not sure if this is a big deal or not. The way Andy McCarthy writes it up, it sounds ominous. But I’d like to know if there is precedent for this kind of exemption that Obama has granted INTERPOL, and what the rest of it means as far as storing government files at the Justice Department that can’t be accessed.

    Reagan issued an executive order back in 1983 that granted INTERPOL some of the immunities that other diplomats get but specifically allowed for search and seizure by our law enforcement authorities on American soil while not exempting them from American law regarding surveillance and other privacy concerns.

    McCarthy writing at NRO:

    On Wednesday, however, for no apparent reason, President Obama issued an executive order removing the Reagan limitations. That is, Interpol’s property and assets are no longer subject to search and confiscation, and its archives are now considered inviolable. This international police force (whose U.S. headquarters is in the Justice Department in Washington) will be unrestrained by the U.S. Constitution and American law while it operates in the United States and affects both Americans and American interests outside the United States.
    Interpol works closely with international tribunals (such as the International Criminal Court – which the United States has refused to join because of its sovereignty surrendering provisions, though top Obama officials want us in it). It also works closely with foreign courts and law-enforcement authorities (such as those in Europe that are investigating former Bush administration officials for purported war crimes – i.e., for actions taken in America’s defense).

    Why would we elevate an international police force above American law? Why would we immunize an international police force from the limitations that constrain the FBI and other American law-enforcement agencies? Why is it suddenly necessary to have, within the Justice Department, a repository for stashing government files which, therefore, will be beyond the ability of Congress, American law-enforcement, the media, and the American people to scrutinize?

    I would speculate that McCarthy has hit upon the reason; the president may solve the problem of “torture trials” by turning the whole thing over to the International Criminal Court. There are several hands in the Obama foreign policy shop who would support this move, while he would definitely get back in the good graces of his far left base.

    But that’s just speculation. Perhaps it’s terrorism related. Maybe he’s just trying to please his European friends.

    I’d like to see some others – like Eugene Volohk or Richard Posner – weigh in on this before hitting the panic button.

  13. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hey all, a friend just sent me this and I thought woould share with all of you.

    Hope you are having a great day.

    Judy

    To All My Democrat Friends:

    Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

    To My Republican Friends:

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  14. http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4232

    Governments vs The People: Replacing The Population By Another One
    From the desk of Paul Belien on Mon, 2009-12-21 18:24
    There are conspiracy theories that hold that Europe’s political establishment is deliberately attempting to replace the continent’s population by an entirely different one. Though conspiracy theories are rarely true, Europe’s political establishment is making it extremely hard for the sceptics to refute them. Take, for instance, the recent Belgian amnesty for illegal aliens.

    Last July, the government of Belgium announced a collective amnesty for illegal aliens. It is Belgium’s second general amnesty in barely a decade. When the previous one was approved by the Belgian Parliament in 1999, the government promised Parliament that it would be the final one and that henceforward people who entered the country illegally would be sent back. Nevertheless, there has been no crack-down on illegal immigration in the past ten years and hardly any illegal aliens have been sent back.

    Last July, immediately after the parliamentary recess had begun, the government of Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy decided there should be a new amnesty to “regularize” illegal aliens who can demonstrate that they have “integrated sufficiently” into the country, e.g. by having children at school. The government took the decision unilaterally, without approval from the Parliament. This is against the law; the Belgian government cannot unilaterally grant a collective amnesty. Only Parliament has the power to do so.

    • Avatar – the Latest Anti-Western Movie From Hollywood
      From the desk of Fjordman on Fri, 2009-12-18 11:02
      Since I am a certified sci-fi geek and most science fiction movies are quite bad this habit unfortunately forces me to watch a large number of bad movies. It’s one of my little perversions. I have just watched the most expensive B-movie ever made, the US$ 237 million Avatar by director James Cameron, famous for having produced films such as The Terminator, Terminator 2, Aliens and Titanic. Briefly summed up I would say that while it is visually spectacular, as is everything Mr. Cameron makes, Avatar has to be one of the most anti-Western and especially anti-white Hollywood movies I have seen in a long time.

      http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4225

    • 2 + 3 = 5.03820

      meccainia-atlantis-logo_7.jpg
      There was a time, before every car had a bumper sticker that read, “Even my llama voted for Obama,” when Americans preferred to affirm in this manner some essential and incontrovertible truth, like “S**t happens.” Swayed by their ruling elites and boob tube to take out reverse mortgage loans to buy swamp vacations condos and 3-ton SUVs with all the desert options for driving to MacDonald’s, they lost their mind. Their political and opinion-making leaders, all graduates of elite universities, all counseled by PhD’s from even more elite universities — they too had forgotten the simple truths one used to learn in kindergarten.

      But the Chinese have not forgotten, and they are quoting Benjamin Franklin to the American fools. “He who goes borrowing, goes sorrowing,” admonishes Cheng Siwei, ex-vice-chairman of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party. Beijing University students laugh at U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner when he reassures them with the transparent fib that his government believes in a “strong dollar.” And Americans swindled by their own government unto the nth generation, take solace in lampooning their Loon in Chief — here being told by “Hu Jintao”, ”I am noticing that each of your plans to save money involves spending even more money.”

      http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4226

      • China appears to be lecturing the USA – but China is no better.

        Their government is wholly Keynesian too. They are printing yuan as fast as the eat rice. Their inflation rate is approaching 23% per year.

        It appears their philosophy is:

        “See how stupid Americans are in what they are doing and laugh, but we are doing what the Americans are doing, but believe we are not stupid”

        • China’s economy is continuing to grow despite the global recession, helped by a massive government stimulus package of $585bn.

          But doubts remain whether such strong growth can be sustained by public spending alone.

          Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan reports from Inner Mongolia, where a whole town built with government money is standing empty.

          This is going to end in an enormous economic crash or else mass inflation followed by a crash.

          Then we will see if China’s Communist government can maintain social order.

          I do not think it will.

          In the endless conflict between the dragon and the snakes, the snakes will win.

          The Great Decentralization will come there, too.

  15. Beep.

  16. 3. SANTA CLAUS, NOT OF CHRISTIAN ORIGIN
    =======================================

    Today in America, Santa Claus is a mythical old man who
    brings gifts to children at Christmas time. Today’s version of
    Santa originally developed from a real person, Saint Nicholas,
    who lived 1700 years ago. He was bishop of Myra, an ancient town
    of Lycia, now in Turkey. According to legend, he was only a boy
    when he became a bishop. He was extremely kind and often went out
    at night, taking presents to the needy. His generosity was not
    bound by any particular time of the year. He was much loved by
    his community for his kindness and selflessness. After his death
    on the 6th day of December, school boys all over Europe
    celebrated a feast day every year on the anniversary of his
    death. Children were so fond of Saint Nicholas and his habit of
    bringing gifts that the custom of celebrating his feast day on
    the 6th day of December was maintained for hundreds of years.
    In England, Saint Nicholas Day festivities were banned when
    Henry VIII founded the church of England. They were later resumed
    when Queen Victoria married German Prince Albert, but Saint
    Nicholas in his return was changed to Father Christmas and
    appeared on Christmas eve, the 24th day of December, not the
    originally celebrated date of December 6. The American tradition
    of Santa Claus was taken from the altered English version.
    Santa Claus (a German translation of St. Nicholas) was
    modeled after a man of kindness, generosity and compassion. It
    was only in the last few hundred years that Santa Claus was
    associated with the Christian holiday of Christmas that
    celebrates the birthday of Prophet Jesus.

    http://www.jannah.org/articles/xmas.html

    For those who look at the source link, I relish being a “typical red neck, right wing extremists, etc”.

    • Can I call you a typical red neck right wing extremist anyway? You can call me a tree-hugging lily-livered commie big-government liberal. 🙂

  17. v. Holland says:

    What say you people who like to argue about what to do with found money? I say the one who finds it-keeps it-when it is on a sunken ship and 2 others parties claim it.

    $500 Million in Sunken Treasure Returning to Spain

    Reuters

    A U.S. district judge has ruled that U.S. treasure-hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration should return to Spain a fortune in old coins recovered from the wreck of a 19th-century Spanish warship.

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    Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.

    Gold coins and a gold box lie in situ on the “Black Swan” site. Hundreds of gold coins and more than 500,000 silver coins were discovered on the site.

    MIAMI — A U.S. district judge has ruled that U.S. treasure-hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration should return to Spain a fortune in old coins recovered from the wreck of a 19th-century Spanish warship.

    In an order filed in Tampa, Florida Tuesday, Judge Steven Merryday nevertheless directed that the return of the treasure to Spain be stayed until an appeals process in the case was concluded. It was the latest twist in a complex dispute over the treasure involving Spain, Odyssey and Peru.

    Merryday’s order backed a recommendation by a U.S. magistrate judge in June that Odyssey should hand over to the Spanish government nearly 600,000 silver and gold coins valued at some $500 million that it recovered from the wreck of the 19th-century Spanish warship Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes.

    Spain said the Spanish naval frigate was carrying treasure back from Peru when it was sunk by British gunboats in 1804.

    SLIDESHOW: Salvaging Treasure from the Wreck of the ‘Black Swan’

    Odyssey Marine, which has disputed the treasure came from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, discovered wreckage and the 17-ton haul of artifacts in March 2007 in international waters about 100 miles west of the Straits of Gibraltar, which separate Spain from North Africa.

    “The ineffable truth of this case is that the Mercedes is a naval vessel of Spain and that the wreck of this naval vessel, the vessel’s cargo, and any human remains are the natural and legal patrimony of Spain,” Merryday said in his order.

    Odyssey, which specializes in the recovery of sunken treasure and had codenamed this particular project “Black Swan,” says the coin haul legally belongs to the company.

    Odyssey said in a statement Wednesday that Merryday’s ruling would for the time being keep the coins in Odyssey’s custody pending an appeals ruling by the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

    “Judge Merryday’s ruling serves to move this case to the appellate court faster, where we feel confident that the legal issues are clearly in our favor,” Odyssey CEO Greg Stemm said.

    “We will file our notice of appeal with the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals within the required time and look forward to presenting our case in that forum,” said Melinda MacConnel, Odyssey vice president and general counsel.

    The Mercedes sank in the first few minutes of the Battle of Cape St. Mary’s as an explosion ripped it apart, killing more than 200 sailors. The attack led Spain to declare war on Britain and enter the Napoleonic Wars on the side of France.

    Peru, which was ruled by Spain at the time the Mercedes was sunk, entered the legal fray in August when it filed a claim for information with the Tampa court. The filing said the coins may be “part of the patrimony of the Republic of Peru.”

    Judge Merryday also backed the magistrate judge’s June recommendation that Spain and Peru’s competing claims over the coins would be best resolved through direct negotiations and not in a U.S. court.

    • Such ruling has consequences.

      Now, when an ancient wreck is found – it will be destroyed. Its treasure melted, its jewels removed and whatever historical knowledge – including its discovery – will be wiped from the pages of history forever.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        I think all that treasure and ship should go back to the rightful place from which it came, and not be destroyed or coins be melted or jewels removed.

        Personally, I think it should go to a museum so others can see it.

        • Who is going to pay the millions to find and recover that treasure?

          That is why this is a terrible decision.

          Treasure hunters sell the artifacts because they are more valuable then their weight in gold.

          Now, they can’t even do that.

          Now, they will melt the artifacts and get the gold.

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            Then it might be best to just leave it where it is. I know, fat chance of that happening. Look at what they did to the Titanic, didn’t they take things from there as well? In fact, didn’t they try to raise it at one time? I thought I hear or read something about that a few years ago.

            As for who’s going to pay, couldn’t tell you, but my guess would be some government, do you think?

      • v. Holland says:

        All kidding aside-it really does seem like this is a perfect example of when a compromise is in order. From some very vague memories, aren’t these companies normally paid very large finders fees, if an original owner makes claim to what they have found.

        • Compromise? HAHAHA! Not those greedy folks. Personally I’d enjoy watching the excavation company take all the loot and throw it back into the sea over the wreck site, then tell Spain and Peru that if they want the stuff, they can go get it.

          I think this case will put a damper on wreck excavating. Why would anyone go through the trouble and expense of excavating just to have to artifacts confiscated? I don’t think many governments will bother exacvating wrecks. It is an expensive and hazardous job. Then of course, there’s the possiblity that some other nation will claim a cut.

  18. Judy Sabatini says:

    Has anybody seen the cartoon of the day? It’s about revising the constitution.

  19. I'm learning! says:

    Holiday Greetings Everyone

    I haven’t kept up with everyone’s postings like I used to. I miss it. Hopefully after the holidays I will be reading everyone’s words of wisdom again. I really missing having the time to read here.

    My travel plans are now changed since we are planned for 14 – 20 inches of snow and sustained 35 mph winds starting tonight and lasting until early Sunday. So instead of Christmas with my extended family, it will be Christmas with only my immediate family. But in some ways, I am looking forward to that for a change. Luckly no one in my immediate family has to work the next few days – except my office is open until noon tomorrow, but we worked ahead just in case we can’t get here.

    I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.

  20. Judy Sabatini says:

    UPS spends taxpayers dollars like monopoly money.

    http://www.onenewsnow.com/Politics/Default.aspx?id=825672

    • Good find Judy.

    • You know what time it is? Hehehe

      I Think Santa Claus is A Woman

      I hate to be the one to defy sacred myth, but I believe he’s a she. Think about it. Christmas is a big, organized, warm, fuzzy, nurturing social deal, and I have a tough time believing a guy could possibly pull it off!

      For starters, the vast majority of men don’t even think about selecting gifts until Christmas Eve. It’s as if they are all frozen in some kind of Ebenezerian Time Warp until 3 p.m. on Dec. 24th, when they – with amazing calm – call other errant men and plan for a last-minute shopping spree.

      Once at the mall, they always seem surprised to find only Ronco products, socket wrench sets, and mood rings left on the shelves. (You might think this would send them into a fit of panic and guilt, but my husband tells me it’s an enormous relief because it lessens the 11th hour decision-making burden.) On this count alone, I’m convinced Santa is a woman. Surely, if he were a man, everyone in the universe would wake up Christmas morning to find a rotating musical Chia Pet under the tree, still in the bag.

      Another problem for a he-Santa would be getting there. First of all, there would be no reindeer because they would all be dead, gutted and strapped on to the rear bumper of the sleigh amid wide-eyed, desperate claims that buck season had been extended. Blitzen’s rack would already be on the way to the taxidermist. Even if the male Santa DID have reindeer, he’d still have transportation problems because he would inevitably get lost up there in the snow and clouds and then refuse to stop and ask for directions. Add to this the fact that there would be unavoidable delays in the chimney, where the Bob Vila-like Santa would stop to inspect and repoint bricks in the flue. He would also need to check for carbon monoxide fumes in every gas fireplace, and get under every Christmas tree that is crooked to straighten it to a perfectly upright 90-degree angle.

      Other reasons why Santa can’t possibly be a man:

      * Men can’t pack a bag.
      * Men would rather be dead than caught wearing red velvet.
      * Men would feel their masculinity is threatened…having to be seen with all those elves.
      * Men don’t answer their mail.
      * Men would refuse to allow their physique to be described even in jest as anything remotely resembling a “bowlful of jelly.”
      * Men aren’t interested in stockings unless somebody’s wearing them.
      * Having to do the Ho Ho Ho thing would seriously inhibit their ability to pick up women.
      * Finally, being responsible for Christmas would require a commitment.

      I can buy the fact that other mythical holiday characters are men…

      Father Time shows up once a year unshaven and looking ominous. Definite guy.

      Cupid flies around carrying weapons.

      Uncle Sam is a politician who likes to point fingers.

      Any one of these individuals could pass the testosterone screening test. But not St. Nick. Not a chance. As long as we have each other, good will, peace on earth, faith, and Nat King Cole’s version of “The Christmas Song,” it probably makes little difference what gender Santa is.

      I just wish she’d quit dressing like a guy!!!

    • The Night Before Christmas, Legally Speaking

      An old Holiday story, after it has been reviewed and modified as necessary by the legal department:

      Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter “the House”) a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to, a mouse.

      A variety of foot apparel, e.g., stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick a.k.a. St. Nicholas a.k.a. Santa Claus (hereinafter “Claus”)would arrive at sometime thereafter.

      The minor residents, i.e., the children, of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e., dreams, wherein vision of confectionery treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.

      Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as “I”), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the party of the second part (hereinafter “Mamma”), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of head gear, e.g., kerchief and cap.)

      Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e., the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance.

      At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter “the Vehicle”) being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus.

      Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter “the Deer”). (Upon information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional co-conspirator named “Rudolph” may have been involved.)

      The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney.

      Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations.

      Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute “gifts” to said minor pursuant to the applicable provisions of the U.S. Tax Code.)

      Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as “lookouts.” Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination.

      However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim: “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” Or words to that effect.

    • An Unconventional Nativity Scene

      In a small southern town there was a “Nativity Scene” that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it.

      One small feature bothered me.

      The three wise men were wearing firemen’s helmets.

      Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left.

      At a “Quik Stop” on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets.

      She exploded into a rage, yelling at me, “You darn Yankees never do read the Bible!”

      I assured her that I did, but simply couldn’t recall anything about firemen in the Bible.

      She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled thru some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage. Sticking it in my face, she said “See, it says right here, ‘The three wise man came from afar.

    • A Politically Correct Xmas

      ‘Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck…
      How to live in a world that’s politically correct?

      His workers no longer would answer to “Elves”,
      “Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.

      And labor conditions at the north pole
      Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

      Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
      Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

      And equal employment had made it quite clear
      That Santa had better not use just reindeer.

      So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
      Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

      The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
      The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.

      And people had started to call for the cops
      When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

      Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
      His fur trimmed red suit was called “Unenlightened.”

      And to show you the strangeness of life’s ebbs and flows,
      Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose

      And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
      Demanding millions in over-due compensation.

      So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
      Who suddenly said she’d enough of this life,

      Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
      Demanding from now on her title was Ms.

      And as for the gifts, why, he’d ne’er had a notion
      That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

      Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
      Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

      Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
      Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.

      Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
      Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.

      Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
      Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacific.

      No candy or sweets…they were bad for the tooth.
      Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

      And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
      Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

      For they raised the hackles of those psychological
      Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

      No baseball, no football…someone could get hurt;
      Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

      Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
      And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

      So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
      He just could not figure out what to do next.

      He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
      But you’ve got to be careful with that word today.

      His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
      Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

      Something special was needed, a gift that he might
      Give to all without angering the left or the right.

      A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
      Each group of people, every religion;

      Every ethnicity, every hue,
      Everyone, everywhere…even you.

      So here is that gift, it’s price beyond worth…
      “May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth.”

  21. December 23, 2009 09:33 AM EST by John Stossel
    The Singapore Alternative

    I pointed out on my show last week that health “reform” that gives people more health insurance will only raise health care costs. Insurance itself is the problem. When people don’t spend their own money, they don’t care what health care costs.

    One solution is health saving accounts, or HSAs, in which people spend their own money for routine treatment (HSAs provide insurance for catastrophic health problems). Since Whole Foods adopted that policy in 2003, costs haven’t risen — and employees say they are happy with their coverage.

    The country of Singapore is another success story. Singaporeans have universal healthcare, but their system is unique in that it runs on, essentially, the HSA model.

    The WHO says that 64 percent of all medical spending in Singapore comes from individuals spending their own money at the doctor’s office. In the US it’s 13 percent. In France, where the government pays for just about everything, it’s 7 percent.

    The result? Economist Scott Sumner says:

    1. Singapore health care costs only half as much as European health care.

    2. Singapore has universal coverage.

    3. Singaporeans live much longer than Europeans.

    Some of that may be because of differences in culture and crime rates. But Singapore also beats its Asian neighbors that have government-run health care: Singaporeans spend half as much as Japanese, yet have virtually the same life span.

    If we do want universal care, more HSAs would be better than Congress’ 2,000 pages of micromanagement.

    Illusion’s thoughts, our government is not interest in health care, but control.

    • Singapores health care is heavily regulated by the government and also subsidizes those people who cannot afford the health costs. I thought that would be the opposite of what conservatives would want?

      • It is interesting, for myself, I want what works. A study of the different systems worldwide, and the good and bad in all of them seems like a logical approach to reforming our health system. Of course, we do the tried and true, lobbyist, special interests and pure bribery.

        Good to hear from you again, Bob. Hope you are having a Merry Christmas. Careful roasting those chestnuts.

        Speaking of roasting, what is your take on “climategate”?

        • No roast chestnuts here, just waiting for my boss to let me go from work early.

          I have not really studied it to be honest so cannot comment on it. If man made climate change is false then we have scuppered our economies a bit. If its true then we have not done enough and the results will be disastrous, a bit of a lose, lose situation. If only we could pump the same money into researching clean energy sources than making bombs to blow up brown people in mud huts then the world would be a better place. Hope you have a nice christmas.

    • LOI,

      Less sewage in drinking water is better than more sewage in the drinking water.

      But it still is not the same as no sewage in the drinking water.

      That analogy explains my thoughts about Singapore Health Care.

      • Flag, Flag,

        While I understand your position, and even agree to a large part, do you not do a lot of chitty comparisons? Just saying there is salt and other things in the world. Gives your writing a “fresh feel” when you mix things up a bit. LOL, Merry Christmas Pirate.

        • LOI

          Singapore more closely resembles my use of health care insurance.

          With a $10,000 deductible, I pretty much pay all my own doctor bills. The insurance is there to cover the “really bad and expensive” stuff.

          I suggest that my theory works well – and probably why Singapore works too.

          The low end stupid stuff, like a sore finger or runny nose doesn’t end up in a doctor’s office – reducing the pressure on the other services that doctor needs to attend to.

          The cost is borne by the consumer – who is less likely to spend his money badly then if he was spending someone else’s.

          Why government has to be involved at all….(shrug)….

          (How’s that?)

          • Much better, no sewage. I would also prefer free market solutions.

            Have had eight inches of rain in the last 12 hours, streets flooding, may snow tomorrow. A soggy, jolly Christmas. Kids are getting a Wii, so don’t think they will mind. I’m off to seek some eggnog.

  22. This article can be downloaded. The House that Uncle Sam Built:

    http://fee.org/doc/the-house-that-uncle-sam-built/

  23. I salute you … There is nothing I can give you which you have not got. But there is much, very much, that while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. TAKE HEAVEN! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance. TAKE PEACE! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. TAKE JOY! Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty.. that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage than to claim it, that is all! And so I greet you … with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away. Fra Giovanni 1513

    Merry, merry Christmas,
    Happy, happy Festivus.

  24. How Wall Street Bought Barney Frank

    By Kevin Connor, AlterNet. Posted December 22, 2009.

    Barney Frank takes pride in being the Left’s darling, but he’s almost entirely funded by Wall Street and his votes show it.

    http://www.alternet.org/politics/144454/how_wall_street_bought_barney_frank

  25. Hi Ya’ll!

    Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus and Happy Holidays to everyone!

    Today, I watched the Senate debates on my computer at work while actually working. Much of what I saw was voting of motions that was stating that the healthcare bill was unconstitutional. And, with each vote, the nays outnumbered the ayes, with all votes going strictly on party lines.

    At some point in time, this bill will be looked at by the SCOTUS, and a ruling will be made. If the ruling is one of unconstitutionality, what would that do to the Dem party as a whole, and if it is constitutional, what will the do to the Repub party as far as credibility. After watching it today, some group will have lost all credibility with me, which isn’t hard to do anyway, as I don’t care for the lot of them, but this would be the icing on the cake. I’m betting that parts are unconstitutional. Anyone want to set their own wager?

    🙂

    G!

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Hey G

      I believe that this health care bill is unconstitutional. Where in the constitution is it written, that there will be health care for all provided by the government?

  26. These are the tools we want youth to embrace for political reform? Using sex and bribery to influence decisions?
    Sex for votes……..awesome, future sluts of America unite.

    http://doodiepants.com/2009/12/22/mtv-pushes-youth-use-sex-to-rock-the-health-care-vote/

  27. Judy Sabatini says:

    I voted unemployment.

    What Economic Indicator Concerns You Most?

    FOXNews.com

    What economic indicator concerns you most?

    Share your thoughts, first answer our question and then click on “Leave a Comment” below.

    Thank you for voting!
    Gross Domestic Product 13% (2,663 votes)
    Home sales 3% (565 votes)
    Unemployment 77% (15,997 votes)
    Holiday sales 1% (105 votes)
    The stock market 3% (564 votes)
    Other 4% (738 votes)
    I’m not sure. <1% (63 votes)
    Total Votes: 20,695
    View Comments

  28. v. Holland says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and I hope you all have a merry little Christmas, even our politicians because I suspect they are gonna have a really rough New Year. God Bless!

  29. Judy Sabatini says:

    Can’t they even have the decency to wait until after Christmas to cram this bill down our throats? Are they really that desperate?

    Yea, boy, some freedom of choice we have, health insurance or jail, you decide.

    I see sooooooooooooo many jobs on the line if it does pass.

    Hey Harry, you listening?

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/23/gop-constitutional-challenge-senate-health-fails/

  30. Judy Sabatini says:

  31. Judy Sabatini says:

    Dreams really do come true. Listen to this and tell me they don’t.

  32. Judy Sabatini says:

    Because in everything I do
    You always have a part,
    Because a loving thought of you
    Is always in my heart,
    Because each little wish of mine
    You’ve tried to make come true —
    At Christmas time, I want to say
    How dearly I love you.

  33. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT

    Will be leaving on trip early tomorrow and may not get a chance to visit.

    So I just wanted to wish every one of you a Merry Christmas. That includes all those who read but don’t post for what ever reason.

    I sincerely hope you all have a wonderful holiday with family and/or friends.

    My Christmas Card to You:

    Tommorow: Over a mountain pass travelled by Lewis and Clark, snow glistening from the trees. The frost blowing in the air, glittering like fairy dust upon the breeze. Down, down, down and then along a winding river of ice blue and deep green, snow covered banks and boulders along the course. Cedar standing guard along the road, as wide as the car itself and reaching to the heavens. Canyon walls of black granite towering above, ominous and majestic, the occasional water fall frozen in mid air, as if waiting for the sun to return. Finally breaking out to a wider valley filled with pines and fir, grass and old cottonwoods along the river. Deer bedded under the trees and flocks of turkeys feeding here and there, picking at seeds while basking in the faded winter sun. Arriving finally where two great rivers combine before their final leg to the Columbia. A wide and open place surrounded by steep walls of lava and slopes of grass, where Lewis and Clark met and stayed with the Nez Perce. And where my family and I will do the same with old friends and relatives.

    There on Christmas night, with the crackle of the fire in the wood stove and the scent of the candles burning on the window sills, we will all join hands around the table and thank all mighty God for the blessings we have. And then we will raise our glasses to family, friends, those long gone, those to come and to freedom.

    Merry Christmas to All, And to All a Good Night.
    JAC

  34. This is for Buck, I think. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to post more info on the plans to merge our 401ks into a GRA. I don’t have much info but here’s what came in the snail mail today: The House Education and Labor Committee is spearheaded by Rep. Goerge Miller from CA’s Berkeley area. The persoanl 401ks would be liquidated, dumped into government bonds and linked up with Social Security.

    Maybe someone can do a little research or tap contacts to find out more……

    • HI CP!

      Hope this isn’t true, add this to the cut in Medicare and the puzzle begins to come together. I’ll research today.

      G!

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Thanks Cyndi!

      I’ll have to take a closer look into this one of these days.

      Hope you have a wonderful Christman…same goes to your too G, as well as everyone else here!

  35. This is what Christmas is all about…

    Better bundle up – the goose bumps will freeze you!! I think I need to read
    this every year at Christmas.

    Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their
    means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were
    genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that
    I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

    It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the
    world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me
    the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night
    for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could
    read in the Bible.

    After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the
    fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling
    sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read
    Scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went
    outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I
    didn’t worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.
    Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his
    beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I
    was really upset then. Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now
    Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could
    see. We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else
    that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not
    very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something,
    so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma
    gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house.
    Something was up, but I didn’t know what..

    Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the
    work team, already hitched to the big sled Whatever it was we were going to
    do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never
    hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up
    on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold
    was already biting at me. I wasn’t happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled
    around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I
    followed. “I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said. “Here, help me.”
    The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with
    just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a
    lot bigger with the high side boards on.

    After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came
    out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from
    the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was
    he doing? Fi nally I said something. “Pa,” I asked, “what are you doing?”
    You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about
    two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left
    her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I’d been by, but so
    what?

    Yeah,” I said, “Why?”

    “I rode by just today,” Pa said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the
    woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.” That was
    all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another
    armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to
    wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to
    our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a
    side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and
    wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his r ight
    shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. “What’s in the little
    sack?” I asked. Shoes, they’re out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny
    sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I
    got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a
    little candy.”

    We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen’s pretty much in silence.. I tried to
    think through what Pa was doing. We didn’t have much by worldly standards.
    Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was
    still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split
    before we could use it. We also had meat and f lour, so we could spare that, but
    I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy?
    Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors
    than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.

    We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as
    quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door.
    We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?”
    “Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?”

    Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped
    around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in
    front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at
    all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

    “We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Pa said and set down the sack of
    flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the
    shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a
    time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes,
    the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower
    lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started
    running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say
    something, but it wouldn’t come out.

    “We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” Pa said. He turned to me and said,
    “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let’s get that fire up to size
    and heat this place up.” I wasn’t the same person when I went back out to
    bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as mu ch as I hate to admit
    it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three
    kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears
    running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t
    speak.

    My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before, filled my
    soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had
    made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of
    these people.

    I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared. The kids
    started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked
    on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time. She
    finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent
    you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels
    to spare us.”

    In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up
    in my eyes again. I’d never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but
    after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was
    sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started
    remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many
    others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it..

    Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed
    when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I
    guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure
    he got the right sizes.

    Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave.
    Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to
    him and didn’t want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I
    was glad that I still had mine.

    At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to
    invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will
    be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he
    has to eat turkey for too many meals. We’ll be by to get you about eleven.
    It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn’t been
    little for quite a spell.” I was the youngest. My two brothers and two
    sisters had all married and had moved away.

    Widow Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles. I don’t have to
    say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will.”
    Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even
    notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, “Matt,
    I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little
    money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we
    didn’t have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from
    years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited,
    thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this
    morning to do just that,but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in
    the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had
    to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those
    children. I hope you understand.”

    I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very
    well, and I was so glad Pa had done it Now the rifle seemed very low on my
    list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on
    Widow Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

    For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block
    of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt
    riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that
    night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

  36. Hey, all a’yous crazies on the right (and yous whackos on the left), have a GREAT, SAFE, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    BF, I will get back to you on Ayn Rand, etc. … super busy these days (editing proofs for the new book) and heading to Antietam Battlefield Sunday (can’t wait).

    Again, wishing yous all the best … and for those unbelieving (like myself), Happy Festivus for the rest of us!

    • Happy Festivus to you too, you godless commie! 🙂

    • Christian One Liners

      Don’t let your worries get the
      best of you; remember, Moses started
      out as a basket case.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Some people are kind, polite, and
      sweet-spirited until you try to sit in their pews.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Many folks want to serve God,
      but only as advisors.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      It is easier to preach ten sermons
      than it is to live one.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      The good Lord didn’t create anything
      without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      When you get to your wit’s end,
      you’ll find God lives there.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      People are funny; they want the front
      of the bus, the middle of the road, and
      the back of the church…
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Opportunity may knock once, but temptation
      bangs on your front door forever.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Quit griping about your church;
      if it was perfect, you couldn’t belong..
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      If the church wants a better preacher,
      it only needs to pray for the one it has.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      God Himself does not propose to judge
      a man until he is dead. So why should you?
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Some minds are like concrete
      thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Peace starts with a smile..
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      A lot of church members who are singing
      ‘Standing on the Promises’
      are just sitting on the premises.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      We were called to be witnesses,
      not lawyers or judges..
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Be ye fishers of men.. You catch
      them – He’ll clean them.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Coincidence is when God
      chooses to remain anonymous.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Don’t put a question mark
      where God put a period.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Don’t wait for 6 strong men
      to take you to church.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Forbidden fruits create many jams.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      God doesn’t call the qualified,
      He qualifies the called.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      God grades on the cross, not the curve.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      God loves everyone, but probably prefers
      ‘fruit of the spirit’ over a ‘religious nut!’
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      God promises a safe landing,
      not a calm passage.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      He who angers you, controls you!
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      If God is your Co-pilot – swap seats!
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      Prayer:
      Don’t give God instructions — just report for duty!
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      The task ahead of us is never as
      great as the Power behind us.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      The Will of God never takes you to
      where the Grace of God will not protect you.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      We don’t change the message,
      the message changes us
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      You can tell how big a person is
      by what it takes to discourage him.
      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
      The best mathematical equation
      I have ever seen:
      1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given.

  37. v. Holland says:

    December 24, 2009
    Categories:

    * House ,
    * Senate

    Dingell: “Nobody is going to be happy with this.”

    Rep. John Dingell, the longest serving House member in history, woke up early Thursday morning to catch the historic health care vote.

    Afterward, the 83-year-old, 28-term congressman stood on crutches in the Senate halls and told reporters that lawmakers will have to accept a lot of what they don’t like in order for the bill to become law.

    “It’s pretty clear to me, and I think pretty clear to all of you, that nobody is going to be happy with this,” Dingell said. “There are going to be a lot of surprises, some of them unpleasant, and we’re going to have to start on doing two things: one is setting up the administration and the other is perfecting the legislation as it proceeds.”

    Dingell, who is staying in Washington through the holidays, said that “House members are divided rather like the Senate members are.

    “Liberal members are concerned about the fact that we don’t have a public option. And that’s a serious problem,” he said. “But the hard fact of the matter is that the Republicans are concerned in a different way over different matters, and the hard fact of the matter is that we’re going to have to resolve these differences and to make a process that’s inclusive and brings people together on a bill that is very, very important.”

    The former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which helped write the House bill, said that leaders from both chambers will each have to offer concessions before a bicameral compromise can be reached. But he expressed confidence that a final bill will make it to the president’s desk.

    “Everybody is going to have to give, that’s part of the great constitutional that we are a part of. Everybody has to give a little. Cooperation, conciliation, those are the important things in a legislative body or in a bicameral legislative body, a kind of which we are apart.”

    After the vote, Democratic Sen. John Kerry approached Dingell, who presided over Medicare’s passage in 1965 and whose father first introduced universal health care in 1943, saying “There’s the man.”

    Dingell responded appreciatively: “Thank you for what you did. It wouldn’t have happened without you.”

    By Manu Raju with Frates”

    I know it’s Christmas Eve and maybe no one wants to talk about this travesty of a bill but I had to post this- Note the title and then take note of the fact that they couldn’t get the bill they wanted passed, so they just pass crap with the sole intention of changing what they KNOW is bad later-Why the hell did they even bother to vote-this is the total opposite of a democratic process.

  38. v. Holland says:

  39. The knot in my stomach is finally loosening, thanks for helping me work through my anger-Christmas at my house is officially starting as of now-Hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Merry Christmas and hears hoping for a good New Year. 🙂

  40. Supercute 🙂

  41. Health Bill – insight from another post.

    The bill’s centerpiece is a clause prohibiting insurers from denying coverage based on a pre-existing medical condition. However noble and marketable an idea, this proscription removes the very basis upon which any insurance model operates profitably.

    A system of insurance requires that premiums be collected from a pool of low-risk people so that funds are available in case a high-risk event befalls a particular person. In that way, premiums can be low and coverage can be widely available, even if the benefits offered are hypothetically unlimited.

    For example, homeowners buy fire insurance even though their houses are very unlikely to burn down. Recognizing that a fire could wipe them out financially, most homeowners endure the cost of coverage even if they never expect to collect. The same model applies to health insurance in a free market.

    However, the health care bill removes the need for healthy individuals to carry insurance. Knowing that they could always find coverage if it were eventually needed, people would simply forgo paying expensive premiums while they are healthy, and then sign on when they need it. But insurance companies cannot survive if all of their policyholders are filing claims!

    Correctly anticipating this incentive, the Senate bill imposes an annual fine which gradually escalates to $750 for those who fail to buy coverage. So what? I would gladly pay $750 in order to avoid the $8,000 per year I pay now for personal health insurance. Currently, I’m relatively healthy for a 46 year old and I don’t anticipate making a big claim. But if I do, under the new rules I can always get ‘insurance’ after the fact.

    Heck, if I can stay healthy for the next couple of decades, I’ll save a fortune. Think about how much easier the decision would be if I were 20 years younger! Since most people are capable of figuring this out, the entire insurance industry would collapse under such a system.

    There can be no question that $750 annual maximum penalty is a mere placeholder. It is the camel’s nose under the tent. When the non-discrimination provision kicks in, the only way these companies could remain solvent would be for Congress to raise the fine to the point where the penalty is greater than the gain of skipping coverage.

    For me, that would have to be roughly $8,000 per year. Introducing such a fine right now would have surely killed the bill. So, the wily wonks in Washington have chosen to move slower, knowing that once the first step is taken, the second becomes inevitable.

    However, there is another, more devious possibility. Perhaps our elected officials actually intend to bite the hands that feed them. They could double-cross insurance companies by not raising the fine in five years, thereby forcing the industry into bankruptcy as millions of healthy people opt-out. During the ensuing ‘insurance crisis,’ our courageous leaders could ride to the rescue with a nationalized, single-payer system.

  42. If your government ordered you to do something that violated your principles, would you have the courage to say no?

    Fred Korematsu did and he paid the price for it. But what he did made history that affects you and me today.

    At first, there was nothing unusual about his life. Korematsu was born in Oakland, CA in 1919, to Japanese immigrants. After his high school graduation, he became a shipyard welder, he bought a convertible and he had a girlfriend.

    Then one day, his life dramatically changed.

    On December 7th, 1941 Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and anti-Japanese hysteria gripped the U. S. Would Japan bomb or even invade California next? Would Japanese Americans help them?

    Newspaper headlines and radio broadcasts claimed an attack could be imminent and in what was then a highly racist society, something drastic had to be done to stop the “Japs” who were already here.

    The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, Korematsu got fired from his job and soon police seized anything they thought Japanese Americans could use to help the Japanese military.

    Then in February, President Roosevelt issued an Order authorizing the internment (a lock up) of all people of Japanese heritage. The U.S. was also at war with Germany and Italy yet didn’t treat citizens of German or Italian descent this way.

    A national emergency overrode the constitutional rights of 120,000 people of Japanese heritage, 70% of whom were U.S. citizens, 40% of whom were children. With no congressional hearings or court proceedings, their legal rights were suspended and they were put indefinitely into primitive, barbed wired camps, surrounded by towers with armed guards.

    They had to report to those camps with just 10 days notice and in most cases; their property was sold at fire sale prices and often, a lifetime of hard work was gone.

    Rather than comply with authorities, Korematsu fled and to avoid detection had facial surgery and a name change. But on May 30, 1942, he was arrested and thrown in jail.

    The American Civil Liberties Union urged him to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the interment policy and after extensive soul searching; he did. But this suit made him the poster boy for being disloyal to his government in time of war and a lightening rod for racists.

    Korematsu was prosecuted and was sentenced to five years probation. He spent two years in an internment camp in Utah with his family. In the camp, others avoided him for bringing dishonor to the Japanese American community.

    He appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court but in 1944 that court ruled against him 6 to 3, siding with the military that internment camps were a necessity for the safety of the nation. But writing for the minority, Justice Murphy said the internment was “legalization of racism.”

    He appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court but in 1944 that court ruled against him 6 to 3, siding with the military that internment camps were a necessity for the safety of the nation. But writing for the minority, Justice Murphy said the internment was “legalization of racism.”

    Then in 1981, Peter Irons, a U.C. San Diego professor was researching the internment and in reading the old case files, learned prosecutors had lied repeatedly to the Supreme Court. Among many examples was their claim that Japanese Americans were doing “extensive radio signaling and shore-to-ship signaling” to Japanese ships, a claim they knew was false.

    This began a two and half year legal process to overturn Korematsu’s conviction. He was offered a pardon, which he rejected, believing he hadn’t committed a crime. His case was heard in U.S. District Court and on Nov. 10, 1983 he was invited to address the Court.

    In a large court room that included other internees and their families, the room grew silent as 64 year old Korematsu rose to speak. He spoke for several minutes and as he spoke, people began to cry as they recalled the terrible circumstances of the internment.

    Korematsu said, “As long as my record stands in federal court, any American citizen can be held in prison or concentration camps without a trial or a hearing.” Judge Marilyn Hall Patel agreed and overturned Korematsu’s conviction.

    In her ruling, she said, “(Korematsu) stands as a caution that in times of distress the shield of military necessity and national security must not be used to protect government actions from close scrutiny and accountability…” (Los Angeles Times, 4-1-05)

    Also in 1983, a federal commission concluded that the internment policy was a result of “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” In 1988 President Reagan called the internment a “grave injustice” and signed legislation authorizing reparation payments to interment survivors.

    As for Fred Korematsu, in 1998 in a White House ceremony, President Clinton awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the U.S.’s highest civilian honor to acknowledge the courage he had shown in opposing ironically the U.S. government.

    In learning from the Fred Korematsu case and the Japanese American internment, we must be ever vigilant to protect our civil liberties from an overzealous government that may try to avoid accountability as it pursues its “War on Terror” or any other matter it deems “National Security.”

    • I was going to post the link to the National Guard Ad for Internment Camp Specialists but found this:
      We’re Sorry.

      This job has been removed from the site and is no longer available for viewing.
      Please use the form above to enter new criteria.

      But then I remembered that I’d saved it back in August….

      Job Title: Corrections Officer – Internment/Resettlement SpecialistCompany: Army National Guard Location: Multiple locations Job Status: Part Time
      Employee Job Category: Security/Protective Services Career Level: Student (High School) Experience: Less than 1 Year Occupations: Correctional Officer
      Military Combat
      General/Other: Security/Protective Services Job Description

      As an Internment/Resettlement Specialist for the Army National Guard, you will ensure the smooth running of military confinement/correctional facility or detention/internment facility, similar to those duties conducted by civilian Corrections Officers. This will require you to know proper procedures and military law; and have the ability to think quickly in high-stress situations. Specific duties may include assisting with supervision and management operations; providing facility security; providing custody, control, supervision, and escort; and counseling individual prisoners in rehabilitative programs.

      By joining this specialty, you will develop the skills that will prepare you for a rewarding career with law enforcement agencies or in the private security field.

      Earn while you learn

      Get paid to learn! In the Army National Guard, you will learn valuable job skills while earning a regular paycheck and qualifying for tuition assistance.

      Job training for an Internment/Resettlement Specialist requires approximately 19 weeks of One Station Unit Training, which includes Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training. Part of the training is spent in the classroom and part in the field. Some of the skills you’ll learn include military laws and jurisdictions; level of force procedures; unarmed self-defense techniques; police ethics procedures; interpersonal communications skills; close confinement operations; search and restraint procedures; use of firearms; custody and control procedures.

      Benefits

      · Paid training

      · A monthly paycheck

      · Montgomery G.I. Bill

      · Up to 100 percent Tuition Assistance for college or vocational training (up to $4,500 per fiscal year, 1 October – 30 September)

      · Retirement benefits for part-time service

      · Low-cost life insurance (up to $400,000 in coverage)

      · 401(k)-type savings plan

      · Student Loan Repayment Program (up to $50,000, for existing loans)

      Requirements

      · High School Diploma or GED (If you do not have a diploma or GED, you may still apply – ask a recruiter about how the Army National Guard can help you earn your GED.)

      · Must be between the ages of 17 and 35

      · Must be able to pass a physical exam and meet legal and moral standards

      · Must meet citizenship requirements (see http://www.nationalguard.com/monster / for details)

      • Also looked at this article fromthe Artmy Times again. I wonder if this guy would say the same thing now that O has been on the job for a year…his quote:

        I don’t know what America’s overall plan is — I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they’re called,” Cloutier said. “It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home.”

        Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1

        3rd Infantry’s 1st BCT trains for a new dwell-time mission. Helping ‘people at home’ may become a permanent part of the active Army
        By Gina Cavallaro – Staff writer
        Posted : Tuesday Sep 30, 2008 16:16:12 EDT

        The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

        Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

        Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

        It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.

        But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

        After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.

        “Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”

        The command is at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., but the soldiers with 1st BCT, who returned in April after 15 months in Iraq, will operate out of their home post at Fort Stewart, Ga., where they’ll be able to go to school, spend time with their families and train for their new homeland mission as well as the counterinsurgency mission in the war zones.

        Stop-loss will not be in effect, so soldiers will be able to leave the Army or move to new assignments during the mission, and the operational tempo will be variable.

        Don’t look for any extra time off, though. The at-home mission does not take the place of scheduled combat-zone deployments and will take place during the so-called dwell time a unit gets to reset and regenerate after a deployment.

        The 1st of the 3rd is still scheduled to deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2010, which means the soldiers will have been home a minimum of 20 months by the time they ship out.

        In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

        They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

        Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.

        The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

        The package is for use only in war-zone operations, not for any domestic purpose.

        “It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

        The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

        “I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body.

        “I’m not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds … it put me on my knees in seconds.”

        The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).

        “I can’t think of a more noble mission than this,” said Cloutier, who took command in July. “We’ve been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home … and depending on where an event occurred, you’re going home to take care of your home town, your loved ones.”

        While soldiers’ combat training is applicable, he said, some nuances don’t apply.

        “If we go in, we’re going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role,” said Cloutier, who, as the division operations officer on the last rotation, learned of the homeland mission a few months ago while they were still in Iraq.

        Some brigade elements will be on call around the clock, during which time they’ll do their regular marksmanship, gunnery and other deployment training. That’s because the unit will continue to train and reset for the next deployment, even as it serves in its CCMRF mission.

        Should personnel be needed at an earthquake in California, for example, all or part of the brigade could be scrambled there, depending on the extent of the need and the specialties involved.

        Other branches included
        The active Army’s new dwell-time mission is part of a NorthCom and DOD response package.

        Active-duty soldiers will be part of a force that includes elements from other military branches and dedicated National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams.

        A final mission rehearsal exercise is scheduled for mid-September at Fort Stewart and will be run by Joint Task Force Civil Support, a unit based out of Fort Monroe, Va., that will coordinate and evaluate the interservice event.

        In addition to 1st BCT, other Army units will take part in the two-week training exercise, including elements of the 1st Medical Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bragg, N.C.

        There also will be Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

        One of the things Vogler said they’ll be looking at is communications capabilities between the services.

        “It is a concern, and we’re trying to check that and one of the ways we do that is by having these sorts of exercises. Leading up to this, we are going to rehearse and set up some of the communications systems to make sure we have interoperability,” he said.

        “I don’t know what America’s overall plan is — I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they’re called,” Cloutier said. “It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home.”

        ———

        Correction:
        A non-lethal crowd control package fielded to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, described in the original version of this story, is intended for use on deployments to the war zone, not in the U.S., as previously stated.

        • Bottom Line says:

          They’re getting into position/poised for something perhaps?

          • Maybe. The article is over a year old. It could be coincidence or not. Who knows, but I find it interesting that it is done at all. Under a president like Bush, I find it less worrying than under Dear Reader. When Bush was in office, we had the usual political corruption. Under Dear Reader, we have the usual corruption and something else just beneath the surface. I detect a malvolence in addition to the corruption. The troops may or may not be intended to supress rebellion, if it comes. I’m dreading 2010.

  43. The Lie in the Sand

    by Phil Maymin

    How did Hanukkah, celebrated last week, actually come to be?

    The popular explanation is that the eternal flame of the Temple in Jerusalem burned for eight nights on a supply of purified olive oil that should have lasted for only one. This was after the Temple had been rededicated following the Maccabees Revolt, in which a Jewish rebel army ousted the Seleucid Empire, which had outlawed the practice of Judaism, from parts of Israel.

    Yet in the contemporary accounts of the rededication, the oil is not mentioned. Even in the apocryphal Books of the Maccabees, no miracle is mentioned. Instead, the success of the revolution is the reason for the celebration. Four hundred years later, when many of the oral traditions of the religion were first put to parchment, no mention is made of the miraculous oil. It wasn’t until 300 years after that, in the Talmud, that the miracle first appears in writing.

    Perhaps a fuller history is needed.

    Antiochus IV was the king of the Seleucid Empire, which covered the parts of the Middle East where the U.S. is either fighting right now or looking to fight – Iraq, Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and, of course, Iran. Although it is popular to compare America to the Roman Empire, in its rise and scope and ultimate fall, it is probably closer to the Seleucid Empire.

    Like almost all leaders past and present, Antiochus liked war. He attacked Egypt twice, and failed twice. The second time, he encountered Gaius Popillius Laenas, an old Roman envoy, who, standing alone, demanded Antiochus withdraw from Egypt or consider the Seleucid Empire at war with Rome. Antiochus said he would discuss the matter with his council. The envoy then literally drew a line in the sand, encircling Antiochus, telling him to give an answer before he crossed the circle. Antiochus meekly complied and withdrew. This is the origin of the phrase “line in the sand.”

    Antiochus returned home from Egypt a loser, and his need for tyranny unfulfilled, so he outlawed Judaism. He looted the Temple in Jerusalem. He massacred anyone possessing Jewish scripture. He made observing the Sabbath illegal. He brought a statue of Zeus onto the Temple and ordered people to sacrifice pigs to it, an abomination and idolatry under the traditional Jewish religion. Whoever failed to pray to the Greek gods was executed.

    One family resisted. Mattathias, the father, refused to worship the Greek gods. A Hellenistic Jew tried to take his place and offer the idolatrous sacrifice. Mattathias killed him. He and his five sons then fled into the wilderness. A year later, the father was dead, but his son, Judah Maccabee, using guerilla tactics, led a makeshift army to victory over Antiochus. They immediately went to cleanse and rededicate the Temple. (Hanukkah translates as “dedication.”)

    The first couple of decades after the Maccabees revolution saw relative peace and independence, but then the military leaders established the Hasmonean dynasty, which engaged in more war. Ultimately, the dynasty ended in Roman subjugation.

    Perhaps the editors of the Talmud wanted to downplay the Hasmonean dynasty, partly because they felt only descendants of the House of David can rule Israel, and the Maccabees/Hasmonean were not, and partly because it was a violent regime. Perhaps they thought if Hanukkah celebrated olive oil instead of bloodshed, that would be a good thing.

    We are now building our own empire on the basis of even flimsier rewriting of history. None of the 9/11 hijackers were from any of the countries we are now occupying or eyeing. None of those countries have weapons of mass destruction. Without our military interference in the Middle East over the past 50 years, it is possible al-Qaeda and other extremist Muslims would have never existed or would have eventually fallen into obscurity. Where is our Laenas today? Nobody has drawn a line in the sand for America

  44. Floating across my virtual desk…

    ,i>
    Passport Capital tested the gold market last summer. It took delivery on 100 ounces of gold from the COMEX (Commodity Exchange) in New York City. This was an experiment. Could the outfit get delivery?

    The head of the company had bought a futures contract in July for delivery in August.

    He got delivery. Now he is doing it again, this time with investors’ money. He is worried about the inflationary effecs of massive expansion of the FED’s balance sheet (monetary base). He told the reporter this:

    “A year and a few months after the crisis, there’s no recognition that we have to change. Instead, the U.S. is borrowing and spending again, like a rogue trader doubling down.”

    “We’re liable for another collapse of some sort,” he added, noting that “physical gold could go to very high levels” in such a scenario.

    The firm has used ETFs in the past. It is shifting policy. It will take delivery of physical gold.

    There is a risk that contracts will be broken in the next crisis. Gold is an insurance policy. But you have to own the gold, not promises to pay gold.

    “If someone can’t pay, an exchange closes or a counterparty goes bankrupt, you don’t actually own gold in those situations. And that’s when you want to own it most.”

    There would be “backwardation,” where the physical cash price is higher than the futures prices.

    Indeed, the firm argued in a research note earlier this year that the price of gold futures has little connection to the actual metal because about 99% of contracts are settled in cash.

    For most commodities, like copper, oil or corn, taking physical delivery and storing the stuff is tricky and expensive. But gold is much more portable and storable. . . .

    “There could effectively be a global run to physical gold as people simultaneously converge on gold markets and demand delivery,” the firm wrote.

    That could trigger a surge in physical gold prices, a bit like a short squeeze which forces traders to close bearish bets by buying back shares they’ve borrowed and sold, Passport explained.

    But there is a problem for the company, which the author of the report failed to mention.

    It still does not own any gold.

    Owning physical gold through a bullion bank costs 5 to 30 basis points a year, while gold-backed ETFs charge roughly 40 basis points, Passport noted in its research report. (A basis point is one hundredth of a percentage point).

    Even if investors follow Passport’s experiment and take Comex futures contracts to delivery, then leave the gold bars with one of the exchange’s depository institutions in New York, it will cost them less than 30 basis points a year, the firm added.

    What about the promise to pay issued by a bullion bank? Bullion banks are short the gold market. What if gold rises, and they are bankrupted?

    Everyone pretends that his storage facility has the gold and will deliver on demand. Verifying this is hard to do. Delivery is not delivery until you hold the gold.

    . . . Passport is planning to pay extra to have its bars “allocated.” This means the gold is segregated from other investors’ gold in vaults. The act of allocation moves the title of the metal from the bank to the investor.

    In an unallocated account, investors have a general claim on the bullion bank for a certain amount of gold. Investors who own gold this way assume counterparty risk with the bank. If the institution goes bankrupt, these investors have to get in line with other creditors to get their gold, “or whatever is left of it,” Passport explained.

    Passport will still own a promise to pay.

    Once Passport buys physical gold, the firm is planning to store it in countries like Canada, Norway or Australia, which are politically stable, resource rich and fiscally fitter than the U.S.

    Passport will still own a promise to pay.

    There are no free lunches. There are no safe havens. There are only safer havens.

    In anything like a breakdown, promises to pay will be broken.

    This includes promises to pay gold.

    As this commentator suggest “Gold in hand is the only gold one can claim is in one’s hand”.

    However, underlying this article is if the ETF hedge funds begin demanding gold delivery (whether or not it is ‘gold in hand’) it will create a serious run on physical gold.

    If one starts, like birds in a flock, they’ll all start.

  45. Judy Sabatini says:

  46. Some good articles at Mr. Lott’s site. Sorry for all who had Christmas spoiled by global warming.

    http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/

    LONDON (AFP) – Eurostar train services between Britain and Europe were suspended for a third straight day Monday due to the freezing weather, throwing the Christmas plans of thousands more people into chaos.
    More than 24,000 people have already been affected, but the operator of the high-speed Channel Tunnel passenger trains linking London with Paris and Brussels said there would be no services Monday.
    Eurostar said that following tests Monday to train modifications it would make an announcement about the prospects for travel Tuesday between the three major European capitals.
    Eurostar sent out modified test trains Sunday to see if they could withstand the freezing temperatures and snowy conditions in northeastern France which are being blamed for causing five trains to break down in the under-sea tunnel on Friday.
    “Eurostar will not be operating services on Monday,” the company said in a statement. . . .

    On this being the first time this has happened:

    Eurostar spokesman Nick Mercer said the company would be running test trains in the tunnel on Sunday “to get to the bottom of this, really, quite abnormal situation.”

    “This is the first time in 15 years that we’ve encountered this problem. We run something like 20,000 trains a year, and this is the first time this has happened,” he said. . . .

    Here are some results for a search done Monday, December 21, 2009 at 6:20 PM
    Number of stories in a Google news search on “Eurostar trains canceled”: 1,806
    Number of stories in a Google news search on “Eurostar trains canceled cold”: 1,062
    Number of stories in a Google news search on “Eurostar trains canceled cold “global warming””: 1

  47. Judy Sabatini says:

    I would like to take this time and opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy Hanuka.

    I know I said this before, but it’s worth repeating. As I told Flag above, I feel truly blessed in getting to know all of you these past few months. You all have brought me joy, laughter, sorrow, and some great debates, and wonderful talks. But, most of all, you have brought me friendship, a friendship that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

    You have helped me to learn a lot about you and I also have learned a great deal from you as well. And, for that, I am so very grateful to each of you and I thank you.

    USW, I want to specially thank you for this site and the opportunity you have given us all hear to speak our minds, argue back and forth, share our experiences and just plain everyday chats, that I have come to love, not to mention, bringing us all here together in this special bond that I would like to call friendship. I value everything you do and the time you put into writing the articles you do. I want to also take this opportunity to thank your wonderful wife for her input as well, and also for allowing you the time for what you do here. I thank you both so very much.

    You all here are so very special to me, and I am very proud to call you my friends and I truly love you all so very much, for I will not ever forget any of you, ever.

    Hope each and everyone of you will have a wonderful Holiday and wonderful New Year.

    Always and Forever

    Judy

  48. Same to you Judy! And Merry Christmas to everyone here….

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