"If at age 20 you are a conservative then you have no heart. If at age 30 you are a liberal then you have no brains."
Sir Winston Churchill
ADVOCATE FOR TERM LIMITS

Obama obviously knows very little about economics, specifically that "Society stagnates when independent productive achievers begin to be socially demonized and even punished for their accomplishments." This dilemma fogs Obama's reality. To him, accepting this truth is a "false choice", his answer to things he doesn't understand. And by the way... where is John Galt?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Will We Aid In the Murders of These Little Girls



Photo by Hossein Fatemi

Pictures sometimes speak a thousand words. In viewing this photo of beautifully dressed little girls playing outside their Afghanistan school, what we don't see is what's important. We don't see the Taleban lurking around the corner waiting for their opportunity to take over the country again. The only thing that is stopping this is the presence of western troups and aid associations. When the coalition troups start to leave in the summer of 2011, the aid association workers and teachers will be the first to be slaughtered, quickly followed by the renewed oppression of women and girls. Schools for little girls will be blown up, women will not be allowed to work, and the Taleban will revert to "protecting" the women by isolating them within their homes or underneath rediculous burkas. Breaking their perfidious rules may mean death or rape. Actually, this is happening now in parts of the country. The "honor" rapes and killings of women and girls still happens, although behind the scenes. Unfortunately, the only thing Obama is considering when he decides to withdraw from the country is whether Al Queda has been destroyed. As soon as he is satisfied or the US political environment changes to what the hollywood liberals want, Afghanistan will be abandoned to the fate promised by the Taleban. Note that the US has had troups stationed in Germany for over 50 years, and the Huns have behaved themselves. The same should happen in Afghanistan, but don't hold your breath... remember the little girls as they are now.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

CULTS... POLITICS...AND THE DEMISE OF HUMOR

The "Progressive"  movement like all proto-totalitarian movements has morphed into a thug like cult of fanatics who are humorless, insensitive and intolerant of anyone who gets in their way. 
They take on  pseudo sacramental symbolic  rituals speech and actions of the religions they so despise because their lives are empty and divorced from  the reality of the human condition. 
They want a society where the collective will as defined by a select elite few squashes individual wants, needs and rights like a bug.
To get to the utopia of automatons they desire, they have to dismantle  western civilization, brick by brick.  In the process of doing this  they have become the purveyors of truly asinine and idiotic ideas due to their lack of connectivity to historic norms that have stood the test of time... hence the circus we are threatened with being imprisoned in at the present.
America is in the midst of the of the rise of neo-Jacobin  politics trying to create a French Revolution "deux" to replace ex post facto, the revolution which gave us our freedom and liberties.  Ironically it is also simultaneously going down the "Red Book road" via a domestic version of China's "Cultural Revolution" where those who don't demonstrate sufficient ideological purity and zeal, first become pariahs while on their way to becoming enemies of the state.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

THE CASE OF PRISONER JUSTINA PELLETIER

To those who have not heard the story of Justina Pelletier, prepare to be outraged.  To  those who are familiar with it ...prepare to be outraged again.

Her ongoing nightmare was first chronicled by Boston Globe reporters Neil Swidey and Patricia Wen in December of 2013.  Justina is now a 15 year old young woman from West Hartford, Connecticut who was diagnosed at Tufts University Hospital with Mitochrondrial Disease by the Chief of Metabolism Services , Dr. Mark Korson, who had been treating her for three years.  Mitochrondrial Disease is a group of rare genetic conditions that effect energy, the stomach, the muscles, the brain and the heart.  Justina was the second daughter in a family of four daughters to be so diagnosed.

In February of 2013 while suffering from the flu, she  was rushed by ambulance accompanied by her mother Linda, to Boston Childrens Hospital (BCH ) in Massachusetts at the recommendation of Dr. Korson to see her Gastroenterologist, Dr. Alex Flores who had transferred to BCH from Tufts.

When Justina and her mother arrived at BCH she was not seen by Flores.  Instead her case was taken over by the Psychiatry Department at BCH who within three days came to the diagnostic conclusion that instead she was suffering from Somatoform  disorder which in laymen's terms translates for some into something like "your condition and related manifestations are all in your head".

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

THE GIRL WITH THE BOOKBAG WALKING THE RICE TERRACES OF BANAUE

In the northern mountains of Luzon in the Philippines lies the remote Province of Ifuago, home to the historic Rice Terraces of Banaue.  The terraces, 5000 feet above sea level were built by hand two thousand years ago, carved into the mountains and still worked by people living along their rims  and in the valleys that separate one set of terraces from another.


The people in the valley in particular live largely without electricity eking out a living as harsh and primitive as you will find in the developing world.  This is a hard life for all who depend on the rice, but one that illustrates the indomitable strength and will of the human spirit.
One day at dawn from the balcony of my hotel in the village of Banaue, which looked over a portion of the terraces which go on for many kilometers, I watched a speck of a person  on the far side of the valley that separated the terraces, begin an hour long trek down one set of terrace steps, then across the valley floor and the stream that split one side of the valley from the other and then up the corresponding terrace steps to the top of the other rim.  The speck was a schoolgirl with her book bag and she made this pilgrimage by foot over hard terrain every school day  be it monsoon season or dry season because not going to school is not an option to her and her family.

Monday, March 24, 2014

THE TAKE DOWN

Hypothetically if the following events etc took place what conclusion would a rational person make with result to their collective impact on the nation where they occurred?
If a government refused to make its borders absolutely secure...
If its general policy regarding illegal aliens was a pathway to amnesty and citizenship...
If it sold illegal guns to drug cartels in another country which were then used to kill innocents in both countries...
If it fought two hard wars against terrorists and then walked away leaving the defeated enemy to return and the blood and treasure sacrifice of their military to be for nothing...
If it drew a red line publically to make a foreign government from stop killing it's citizens and when they didn't ... there was no action taken...
If it signed a treaty claiming that it stopped a foreign government that sponsored terrorism from obtaining nuclear weapons and  then it disclosed later that the treaty did no such thing...
If it allowed an ally to be overthrown and a terrorist friendly government that was not a friend to be put in its place...
If it pressured and threatened the only democratic ally in a volatile region  to make suicidal concessions that would  create an existential threat for them...
If it refused to acknowledge that former global enemies were rearming and once again making threatening statements and actions...
If it had longstanding mutual defense treaties or agreements to protect the borders of friendly nations and did nothing when when these countries were threatened or invaded.....
If it refused to provide security for a critical consulate which then was attacked by terrorists with a loss of life and no one was caught and punished as it  lied about who did it and what caused it...
If it was confronted by enemy states with WMDs who were rearming  and terrorist networks trying to obtain WMDs who were growing and it deliberately slashed it's military capacity to defend the nation while making it vulnerable to attack from either or both..

Saturday, March 8, 2014

HISTORY AND FANTASY: The Road To Ragnarök

"As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return! "

THE GODS OF THE COPYBOOK HEADINGS
RUDYARD KIPLING 1919
All of a sudden, as if it were 1854  and the "Great Game" was  again afoot ...  we find ourselves thrust back into the Crimea where Russia once more ...ad nauseam... acts the bully while playacting the savior.  History once again comes back to bite us on the ass because we still don't get  that human nature as chronicled by history, is replete with nasty and horrendous people.
During the last 14 years we have witnessed the return of an Islamic Jihad bent on world conquest, something which seemed to have died a slow and strangulating death between the siege of Vienna and the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate.  It was as if humankind was exhausted by  a thousand years of fighting over God and decided to take a time out which we then foolishly believed to be the end of something instead of a mere intermission.
The contest between Russia and the west which culminated in the rise and fall of the Soviet empire, we also believed to be a relic of the past.  When the wall in Berlin came down and the "evil" empire with its socialist underpinnings disintegrated into independent nations, some historians proclaimed it to be the "End of History". 
China, a four thousand year old civilization without peer,  began a rapid decline in the 18th and 19th centuries fueled by opium which addicted the masses and destroyed the "Middle Kingdom" all to the benefit of those who brought it to the Chinese people. The internal response to this national disgrace led directly to the the People's Republic, and the end of any semblance of democracy and now  that government's  clear intent to regain its preeminent and predominate position in the affairs of mankind without regard to liberty and justice and  particularly at the expense of the United States.

A phoney war on women...

2014
The year of action has begun.  The pen and phone offensive promised by Barack Obama is in full swing by the cast of White House characters  who see problems, self created or otherwise, as opportunities for committing political homicide upon their enemies rather than obligations to find solutions for the people.
Weeks ago, it was predicted that the White House would act aggressively to change the national conversation now dominated by the economy, joblessness and "ObamaCare".
So far we have the following issues before us...all designed to to divert our attention away from the economic, military, constitutional and cultural disintegration of the nation.
The FCC attempt to monitor news organizations...
Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour...
The decimation of our military capabilities via the 2014  Defense budget...
The declaration by AG Holder,  that states Attorneys General should seriously consider not enforcing anti same sex marriage laws passed in their states...
The continued reluctance of the President to approve the XL Pipeline...
The continued aggressive efforts of the EPA to shut down the coal industry...
The overarching goal of the Administration to legislate the elimination of income inequality...
The use of the theory of "Disparate Impact"  to justify almost every radical action the Administration decides to take...
The continuous efforts to fast track  pathways to citizenship for people illegally in the country...
The effort to establish "Universal Pre-K" nation wide...
Legalization in some form of posessing and/or using marijuana... 
The attempt by the USDOJ to reinstate section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in order to continue to control how elections are run by states and localities. while attacking state voter ID laws as racist..
Restriction of political speech by 501 ( c ) ( 4 ) entities by the IRS...
All people with Obamacare horror stories are liars...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

UNIONS

I was born and raised in a union household.  I owe a lot to my fathers union.  I probably would not have gone to college without it.  I have never crossed a picket line in my life and I pray that I never will.  Unions helped create the modern middle class in 20th century America.  Unions did so, by being the champion of middle class values and American patriotism and exceptionalism.

 As an adult I was a member of two unions.  The first was the UFT, the NYC chapter of the AFT.  This union or at least the chapter in one school where I taught Special Education, did not think much of my students and at times even less about their members who taught them.  Both the AFT and the NEA nationally would initially oppose efforts to mainstream students with disabilities.  Today both would probably deny this but they would be lying.
 
So my personal experience with unions has been mixed as has the experience and perceptions of millions of other Americans which are reflected in the decline of union membership in the work force to 11.3%.  Private sector union membership is now an anemic 6.7% while the public sector union membership is a healthier 35.3%. while growing in controversy as to its effect on the size and cost of government at all levels. 

This past weekend workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee voted not to join the UAW despite  the active cooperation of VW management and I G Metall the bargaining agent for Volkswagen  workers in Europe.  The UAW has fallen from a high of 1.5 million members  to less than 400,000 nationally.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

BASEBALL

I grew up in upstate New York.  Winters there begin before Thanksgiving and end just before Easter ...if Easter falls in April.  As kids my brothers and I reckoned that Spring actually began in February when the Pitchers and Catchers reported for spring training in either Florida or Arizona.  We knew that somewhere it was warm  with sunny blue skies and we could almost smell the linseed oil and pine tar.
 
Baseball is the most democratic of sports.  You can be thin or fat...tall or short...man or woman...fast or slow...disabled or not...and after 1947 black, white, brown or yellow.  Somehow if you love baseball ...baseball will love you back.
 
Once down in the Dominican Republic, where every town, village or barrio has both a church and a ball field, I watched a group of boys, some with shoes and some without, clear rocks and debris from an empty field to make a   diamond and outfield.  I stayed and watched them play ...some still without shoes.  They had to play and I had to watch.
Baseball tugs at your heart and tugs at your brain.  It is unlike any other sport because it  truly is a metaphor for life...a drama conceived and played first on an American stage and now on a world stage. It begins the first time you visit a ball park and for that I will let the words of my brother Don describe it from memory,  in the eyes of an eight year old boy...
 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

IMMIGRANTS


I am the son, the husband, the grandson, the nephew, the cousin and the descendant of immigrants.
The first  came in May 1638 on the ship BEVIS out of Southampton England.  Her name was Annis Littlefield and she came with six children and two male bond servants.  She landed in what is now Welles Maine, which then was close to the North East boundary of what was  the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth Plantation Colony.

 There for 150 years, my ancestors farmed, fished, hunted and fought the French and Indians and then their British cousins in the Revolution.
By 1830 my great-great grandfather Spencer moved to south central New York to work on the Chemung Canal which connected the Erie Canal at Seneca Lake to the Chemung River and then the Susquehanna.
On August 13,1862 his son, my great grandfather Charles, enlisted in the Union Army.  35 days later he was at Antietam, followed by Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and all the battles up to and including the capture of Atlanta.
107th Monument at Gettyeburg
He came home sick from the war and married Mary Jane Bunnell who was of German and Irish ancestry.  My grandfather Forrest was born in 1880 and he would marry my Grandmother, Cynthia Amanda Richards after the turn of the century.  Her family name was originally Richarde but her father Egbert, Americanized it after he married  my other great grand mother Elsie who was a Howe. They and my Grandmother's little sister Bertha all died of diphtheria in 1880 and she and her baby brother grew up as orphans.
The second wave came in 1912 and 1914 from Smaland, Sweden.  My grandfather Gustav came first to make glass in Corning, New York.  My grandmother Klara Franson Erlandsson came next with my father, his two brothers and her sister in May 1914 on the RMS Mauretania just months before the start of the Great War.
Mauretania 1930s.JPG
In 1917 my father ran away at 13 to join the Army and fight the Kaiser.
My Grandfather had to take the train to Buffalo to bring him home.  In 1942 he was back in Buffalo to fight either Hitler or Tojo but this time Uncle Sam found him too old and too married and sent him back to Corning Glass to make CRTs for radar for the war effort.  In between the family had changed their name and become citizens.  By the time I was born my father and my uncles had lost most of their Swedish and were Americans through and through.
The third wave came in  April 2003 on a Northwest Airlines jet from Pangasinan in the Philippines.  This wave was a single person... my wife to be, who four years later became a US Citizen in a ceremony so moving that it still sends chills up my spine.  She is the vanguard of more de la Rosa's, de la Cruz's, Sta. Ana's and others who will follow her here because this nation is still the end of the line for any and all who seek personal and religious freedom, and the  opportunity for the pursuit of happiness and a better life.

Monday, February 3, 2014

THE STATE OF THE UNION IS NO LONGER "JUSTIFIED"

The annual State of the Union Address or SOTU has become a ghastly affair.  It makes buffoons out of our elected officials and makes the television viewers at home long for a pageant at least as dignified and solemn as the Grammy's...which should not be an impossibly high standard.   Hey... Jay-Z and Beyonce at the 2015 SOTU...now that's a thought.   After that we could have the "Cirque du Soleil's" production of "Potomac Fantasia" complete with acrobats, clowns, and people breathing fire. I mean If you are not going to talk substance... then bread and circuses are all that's left.

Thomas Jefferson refused to make the pilgrimage to the hill because he understood he was a co-equal branch of government.  Instead he sent a written epistle and for 100 years his successors wisely did the same until the autocratic Woodrow Wilson decided to use the occasion  as an opportunity to try and make the Executive Branch not co-equal but a superior branch of government.

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale.
Today the SOTU has become a festival of words unaccompanied by either action or facts.  It is a stage where the actors on the stage often loath each other but when on camera take every opportunity to kiss, hug or embrace one another as if they hadn't seen each other in weeks.
Barack Obama's fifth SOTU was an unexceptional and graceless affair until the very end when he paid tribute to wounded warrior Ranger Sgt. Cory Remsburg who was horribly wounded during his 10th deployment to Afghanistan. The sustained applause for this brave man was the only genuine  moment of the evening and the President is to be commended for including this and at least ending a dreary event on a high note.