Goodbye Barry - Welcome Home AMERICA!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An email I received this morning - all I can add is SEMPER FIDELIS

I hope this poster circles the globe.
God Bless America!

If it weren't for the United States military, there would be NO United States of America!

THE FINAL
INSPECTION
The Soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass..
'Step forward now,Soldier ,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?'
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear..
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
'Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'
Author Unknown~
It's the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us the freedom of the press.
It's the Soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us the freedom of speech.
It's the Soldier, not the politicians
That ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness..
It's the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag.
If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for the Military,
Please pass this on and pray for our men and women

Who have served and are currently serving our country

And pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom....
THESE COLORS DON'T RUN

AMEN!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

For Those Few of You Who May Remember...

as I do, the original version of "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful" was written in Latin (not the most common of communication languages today), and is generally accepted to have originated around the 13th century. There is some discussion over who originally authored the piece - John of Reading, or John Francis Wade. The earliest existing manuscript, showing both words and tune, is attributed to Wade in 1751. For your enlightenment and enjoyment, both versions follow. (I wouldn't be surprised if the Latin version wasn't used yet today by Catholic choirs - the Catholic Church is steeped in tradition, and seems to be relatively slow to incorporate/accept change):

Adeste, Fideles


English Version: O Come, All Ye Faithful
Adeste Fideles
Laeti triumphantes
Venite, venite in Bethlehem
Natum videte
Regem angelorum

Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus,
Dominum

Cantet nunc io
Chorus angelorum
Cantet nunc aula caelestium
Gloria,
Gloria in excelsis Deo

Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus,
Dominum

Ergo qui natus
Die hodierna
Jesu, tibi sit gloria
Patris aeterni
Verbum caro factus

Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus,
Dominum

O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
O sing all ye bright host of heaven above;
Glory to God,
All glory in the highest; .

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.

Yea, Lord we greet thee,
Born this happy morning,
Jesus, to thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.

MERRY CHRISTMAS IN
EITHER LANGUAGE!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Electric Vehicles - Here's What Happened in 2011

Here's an interesting video I borrowed from SmartPlanet .com, and cut about 01:20 from the middle of it so it would fit here...

video
The items omitted were things I considered less interesting, but you might like to see this in its entirety - http://www.smartplanet.com/video/electric-vehicles-2011s-hottest-headlines/6332292?tag=search-river

ENJOY!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Iran "Captures" U.S. Drone

I have to ask... How and why? How did they get their hands on a U.S. drone aircraft (in one piece) in the first place, and why was it not outfitted with a fail-safe internal or operator remote-control destructive device if these drones are such a big deal? We have the technical capability for either... or both!

The other question that crossed my mind is:
If the RQ-170 Sentinel drone's stealth technology is so relatively unimportant that we don't bother to protect it properly, why the heavy media coverage? Is it truly newsworthy, or is it "much ado about nothing" on an otherwise slow news day? I think the stealth fuselage itself would be worth protecting.

Just curious...

Monday, December 19, 2011

FBI Violent Crime Statistics vs Concealed Carry Permits

Recently released FBI Violent Crime Statistics report that "preliminary January-through-June figures showed the number of violent crimes declined 6.4 percent from the previous year, led by a 5.7 percent drop in murders and a 5.1 percent decrease in rapes. In other violent crime categories, robberies declined 7.7 percent while aggravated assaults fell 5.9 percent. The FBI's regular statistical report did not give any reasons for the lower crimes nationwide."

Is it just a coincidence that in 1980 there were only one million concealed firearm permits in the USA, and that today there are over six million concealed firearm permits issued? Is it simply another coincidence that the FBI - an agency of the currently left-wing federal government - "did not give any reasons for the lower crimes nationwide."? Or, is it possible that the leadership of the FBI, fearing reprisal from within the liberal, Marxist-Socialist Obama administration, opted not to suggest that contrary to the administration's position on gun control (which position is contrary to the Second Amendment), the vast majority of gun owners in our country are responsible, law-abiding citizens?

Eric Holder's Department of "Justice" was recently caught up in the tangled web of "Operation Fast and Furious", a government sponsored program that forced several border state gun dealers to sell some serious firearms (fully-automatic machine guns, sniper rifles, etc) to straw buyers for the Mexican drug cartels. Why? So the administration could say, "American guns are being illegally sold to, and used by, Mexican drug lords. We need more stringent restrictions on gun ownership in this country!!" The administration wasn't about to mention that those illegal gun sales were conducted at the direction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). And, by the way, the BATFE issues and controls licensing and inspections of firearms dealers. That control was used to leverage gun dealers into cooperating in "Operation Fast and Furious"... which resulted in the deaths of two federal agents, and the feds inability to account for more than half of the 2,200 firearms illegally sold under their direction. Technically, our government is probably one of - if not the - largest illegal firearms traffickers in North America!

Amendment II of the US Constitution closes with "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Therefore any modification of the 2nd Amendment is a violation of what is arguably our most important Constitutional right. The 2nd Amendment insures "We the People" have the capability to keep all the other rights.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What To Expect When the Economy Collapses

Times are tough. The U.S. dollar is losing ground as an acceptable currency for International trade. But then, so are most national currencies, with the single exception of the Chinese yuan, which is being touted in the U.N. as a replacement for the dollar as the reserve currency (the "reserve currency" is that currency which is used for International trade.).

Why is the dollar being devalued? Among the many reasons, two reasons immediately jump out at even the mentally insufficient in Washington D.C. (who choose to ignore it).
1. Our national debt is moving ever-upward on the express elevator.
2. Our government believes our economic salvation must take the form of:
a. borrowing more money from China (which will immediately be consumed by U.S. "foreign aid") - thereby deepening our own debt
b. printing more dollars - thereby reducing the buying power of the few dollars we may have because there is insufficient negotiable natural resource (gold, silver, diamonds, oil, etc) behind them.

As of today, our national debt tops 15 trillion dollars. That means that every man, woman and child in the USA "owes" over $48,000 to the government. From a per taxpayer standpoint, the amount skyrockets to more than $134,000 per taxpayer. The per taxpayer figure is the only realistic one, since the government gets its money solely from the taxpayers. With an average annual income of $26,364, each U.S. taxpayer would have to forfeit 100% of his/her wages for 5.08 years to eliminate their personal portion of the national debt... if the deficit were to freeze at todays level! Unfortunately, the government will continue to spend like they really have money, and in 5.08 years the national debt will - in all likelihood - have increased! This is a serious "doom-and-gloom" scenario for American workers, with no relief in sight for not just several, but many generations.

What can we expect in terms of practical effects from this doom-and-gloom scenario? As jobs become even more scarce and the unemployment rate continues its upward climb, times will become even more desperate. There is an axiom (of indeterminate age) that states, "Desperate times call for desperate measures", and it is generally accepted as a truism. As civilized as we might like to think of ourselves, human beings still have a survival instinct, and when it moves into the forefront we will then (to paraphrase an old Chinese saying) certainly "live (or die) in interesting times".

We can expect to witness the following behaviors - in no particular order:
Extreme pressure will be brought to bear upon the elected officials of the federal government to resolve our financial calamity. This pressure will experienced by respective governments world-wide, since the financial crisis is currently projected to be global in scale.
As unemployment grows, and food becomes scarce, outrageously expensive, or both, and people become unable to provide for their families, we can expect severe civil unrest, rioting, and a tremendous increase in criminal behaviors. Looting, assaults, burglaries, armed robberies and other forms of theft, will become so commonplace that law enforcement agencies will be overwhelmed. The "law of the land" will be "the survival of the fittest". Everyone - outside of the protected elite (government officials, corporate executives, the very wealthy, etc) - will become potential victims, and we will probably be further victimized by the imposition of martial law in an attempt to preserve whatever semblance of "peace" there may be.
The exchange system will probably shift to the barter system, since the dollar will have little or no value. Food (and any means by which to acquire food) will be the primary commodities. Farmers will be forced to guard their fields, and ranchers will have to protect their herds and flocks. Food distribution centers and detention centers may be established by FEMA with the use of U.S. Army "Internment/Resettlement Specialists" (31E). The 31Echo specialists "are primarily responsible for day-to-day operations in a military confinement/correctional facility or detention/internment facility. I/R Specialists provide rehabilitative, health, welfare, and security to U.S. military prisoners within a confinement or correctional facility; conduct inspections; prepare written reports; and coordinate activities of prisoners/internees and staff personnel." The I/R specialty also includes "Provide command and control, staff planning, administration/logistical services, and custody/control for the operation of an Enemy Prisoner of War/Civilian Internee (EPW/CI) camp" and "command and control, staff planning, administration/logistical services, and custody/control for the operation of detention facility or the operation of a displaced civilian (DC) resettlement facility". (the red was added by me for emphasis - for details see: http://www.goarmy.com/JobDetail.do?id=292 .

The potential for a very ugly future does exist. Whether or not it becomes a reality depends upon so many variables that I can't even begin to list them. Although doom-and-gloom is not my favorite subject, reality is. This is simply the sharing of my reality as I see the world condition today. Another part of my reality is that it is better to be aware of potential dangers than to be surprised by their unexpected occurrence.

I truly hope and pray that none of the preceding scenario ever happens... but I won't be taken by surprise if it does.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Supreme Court to Decide Arizona Immigration Law

The Supreme Court? THE Supreme Court? Is that a bit extreme, or am I the only one who sees it as overreaching? True, Arizona's new immigration law is essentially an insignificantly "tweaked" version of the unenforced USC, Title 8 (Chapters 6 and 12 inclusive) "Immigration and Nationality". However, it is not the legality of the federal law being challenged, nor is it the failure of the federal government to enforce the provisions of USC, Title 8 that's being challenged. What is under siege by the Obama administration's DOJ lackey, Eric Holder, Jr., is the right of the states to create their own laws. Here comes that pesky Constitution again...

Amendment X

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

The Constitution gives the United States the power to make laws... it also charges them with the responsibility to enforce those laws! The logical questions seem to be; If the United States chooses to abdicate its responsibility to enforce certain laws, does the enforcement of those laws not fall to each of the respective states, to deal with as they see fit? Also, do the states not then have the responsibility - and the right - to create specific laws that are applicable within the geographical boundaries of those states to insure that persons within their borders are legally entitled to be there? If the protections of our national sovereignty and citizenry are not enthusiastically pursued by the federal government, is it not then incumbent upon the states to provide such protections?

Logic aside (which is always the federal government's position), the Obama administration wishes to pick and choose which laws they will enforce. The United States of America is being invaded by illegal aliens on a daily basis. Who are they? Indeed, some are hard-working, law-abiding people looking for a better way of life. Some are criminals of varying degrees (ALL illegal aliens are technically criminals, because they have violated USC Title 8 upon crossing our border without legal authorization). Some come here for the entitlement benefits, such as public assistance (welfare) and free medical care. Their reasoning makes no difference - if they are not legally entitled to be in this country, they are de facto criminals. But, for some strange reason, these non-citizens are permitted to vote, and those votes are what Obama and the Democrats want. Votes that will enable them to continue to lead this country into economic disaster and soon achieve what we now refer to as "Third World" status.

In the meantime, the Holder-controlled DOJ bypasses the Arizona State Supreme Court, which (again, logically) should decide cases relating to Arizona State law under the Arizona State Constitution. Why? Probably to insure the court hearing the case will be more inclined toward supporting the position of the Federal Government, under the precept of what I call "circumventional victory" (which basically says, "If you don't feel that you can beat them on the appointed field, move the game to your home town"). The feds rarely lose a case in front of the SCOTUS, but the good news is that they don't always win! Finally, there is "hope" - although not of the kind Obama promised, and "hopefully" the "change" will come in November 2012, when Obama is replaced... before he and his cronies completely destroy our Democratic Republic! Keeping the borders open, overwhelming our public assistance programs, borrowing money, and the endless printing of more dollars (thereby devaluing those few that we may have in our possession) is the key to bankrupting the USA.

For further information on the mechanics involved in destroying a nation, Google the "Cloward-Piven Strategy of Orchestrated Crisis".

Of course there is always the possibility that I could be wrong about all of the above. The odds of that are about the same as the odds against the rising of the Sun in the east tomorrow morning. I may not have all the answers, but I do know what questions need to be asked.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"UNITED WE STAND" - Is It Just A Motto, and Not A Creed?

I was out and about today when I noticed a bumper sticker... one that I have seen probably a thousand times in my life. It stated simply, "United We Stand", but, for some reason, it struck me as odd this time.

Odd that we have it as our national motto, odd that it appears on our money (in Latin, no less; "e pluribus unum" - which translates as "From the many, one"), and even more odd that some people actually choose to display that sentiment on a lowly bumper sticker. It may have applied during our War of Independence -also known as the Revolutionary War - when we had a population of approximately 497,000. But, this antiquated sentiment has little application in the 21st Century, and for reasons of pure selfishness. (How old is this sentiment? Its origins have been traced back to the Greek slave, Aesop, who lived in the 6th and 7th century B.C.)

The current administration is working diligently to undermine our laws by discounting Congress and usurping our Constitution - that document which (until recently) was the foundation of our country's management philosophy, and is the basis for all United States laws (English Common Law notwithstanding). This so-called "transparent" administration relies almost exclusively on smoke, mirrors, misinformation, disinformation and flat-out lies. Obama's attempts to destroy our culture and our economy, incorporates the core precepts of the Cloward-Piven Strategy (Google it if you have no idea how to destroy a country), and is divisive in its implementation.

The areas of division are many, including (but certainly not limited to) these few:

Class Divisions - the old "have-nots vs haves", the rich vs the significantly-less-than-rich

Employment Divisions - the labor unions vs supporters of the right to work, and workers vs the indolent

Religious Divisions - the atheists vs religious, Christianity vs Muslims, Muslims vs the World

Educational Divisions - the educated vs dropouts,

Sexual Preference Divisions - "gays" vs "straights"

Racial Divisions - the whites vs non-whites

and last, but certainly not least...

Political Divisions
- Republicans and Democrats are obviously the two major political divisions, but there are several smaller - virtually impotent - political parties. These two parties control our legislative process, and both claim to want what's best for the country. However... their philosophies are diametrically opposed, so it follows that neither is 100% engaged in what is best for the United States. Each is so busy trying to undermine the plans of the other that, more often than not, each party is overlooking any good that the other may proffer! Who the hell is looking out for our Democratic Constitutional Republic?? If you chose "none of the above" as your answer, you're probably right.

The Obama administration is replete with left-wing, "redistribute the wealth", disarm the citizenry (except them), Socialist-Progressives and communists, as I reported in this blog on August 2, 2009. Let's look at the techniques they are implementing to facilitate the destruction of the United States of America as we know it.

Pitting the "have-nots vs the haves" has probably been going on since the beginning of time. The most successful of the hunters and gatherers were undoubtedly envied and/or resented by those who either lacked the requisite skills/sufficient motivation to develop/improve those skills. But, without lifting a finger (with the possible exception of the middle one), they were allowed to gnaw the residual meat from the bones the hunters discarded, and eat the nuts and berries accidentally dropped by the gatherers. However, the insufficient felt that they too should be able to feast on the flesh of the animals and sit close to the fire. Unfortunately for them, this was the time during which the biggest, strongest and smartest made the law. When the do-nothings complained about their place in the Neanderthal society, the tribe either beat them into submission and forced them to work in some capacity, or banished them from the safety and security provided by the tribal lifestyle. Harsh treatment was necessary in order to insure the survival of the many in those harsh times... it was primarily a PoP (Produce or Perish) social structure. The term "entitlement" had not yet been accepted by society.

The employment divisions are equally clear, and is simply a variation of "haves vs have-nots". However, the right to work class struggle, strangely enough, is initiated by those who have. In order to protect themselves, members of labor unions believe that all skill marketing should be strictly controlled within the domain of the union. As tribes expanded into villages, and villages grew into towns, there became a need for job specialization within the community. Initially the specialization process was one of hit-and-miss. Successes were rewarded, failures were not. Trade "guilds" (first formed in the 14th century) were the forerunners of labor unions, and the concept was quite simple then. A youngster was "apprenticed" to a skilled artisan, where he/she would learn that trade from the ground up - first doing the most menial of tasks (many of which were probably not job-related), and eventually developing the skills of the trade. During this apprenticeship the "pay" was provided in the form of room and board. After a period of several years, the master craftsman would recommend his apprentice to the local guild, which body then decided if the apprentice was qualified to set out on his/her own. Today, union membership is about keeping jobs and pay raises for the less-than-qualified and the totally incompetent. The important thing is continuing the influx of union dues. My personal belief is that we have an inherent right to profit from our individual labors... not from those of our neighbors.

Religious divisions are slightly more difficult to identify, but just as easily provoked by those who wish to pit one belief system against another. Each belief system is certain that theirs in the only true belief. Quite simply then, if any one belief is true, then all others are - by default - false. This creates an ideal condition for fomenting inter-religious and, by extension, interpersonal discord! And, by way of comparison, the Judeo-Christian system(s) are primarily ones of tolerance and acceptance of variations in doctrine, whereas the Muslim/Islamic system is one of intolerance toward, and total rejection of, all other belief systems. Even within the Judeo-Christian system there are those who preach divisiveness for a myriad of reasons - most of which have no basis in fact or reality. Nonetheless, they seem to be at least minimally effective in creating those divisions. Everyone in this country has the right to believe - or not believe - as they so choose.

Educational divisions are relatively easy to pinpoint. Those with advanced education are generally in executive and management positions within an organization, and those with insufficient education are more likely to be found in the labor intensive jobs. This does not mean that one is superior to the other as insofar as their worth as human beings is concerned. It just means that one has taken greater advantage of their educational opportunities to prepare them for a work experience that provides them with a higher standard of living. Unfortunately, the professors of academia are overflowing with left-wing liberal Socialist-"Progressives" who subscribe to the Marxist philosophy of "to each according to his needs, from according to his ability", and thus it is taught, provoking discord between liberals and conservatives. The proper philosophy for a Democratic Republic should be, "to each by his own means", reflecting that we may only prosper from our own labors.

The sexual preference division is a relatively new social partitioning, and has been accomplished via the granting of "special protections" which are above and beyond those provided to the general populace under the Constitution. These special protections put the minority "homosexual community" at odds with the majority heterosexual community. In essence, it places them on some type of "endangered species" list... which may be an accurate description, since they cannot reproduce strictly within their own community. The creation of "hate crime" laws was instrumental in creating this division, and it includes other minorities including but not limited to, racial, religious and ethnic minorities. Such laws are totally unnecessary, because any physically aggressive action is well-covered in previously existing laws. Laws against assault, battery, theft, maiming, manslaughter, homicide, etc., have been around for centuries, and provide for "equal protection under the law". "Hate crimes" cover the state of mind of a transgressor - or quite plainly put, how he/she felt about the group in which the victim is identified, and the reason they took criminal action against them. Reason makes no difference - a criminal act has taken place, and should be punished under the law based upon that fact alone!

Racial divisions are fairly obvious since identification is based upon stereotypical physical features such as skin color and facial features. According to our president (lower case "p" is intentional), apparently white people don't like anybody of color just because they are "of color". We especially don't like Blacks because of the high contrast, and illegal aliens because most of them are brown (certainly not because they violated our laws entering this country). But, as long as the government can benefit (somehow?) from portraying the majority (white Christians) as basically racist, they will continue to do so. The only possible "benefit" to the political party is at election time, when they capitalize on this strategy at the voting booth. This brings me to...

Political divisions. Political divisions are similar in one respect to religious divisions; we are greatly influenced in our choice of each by the authority figures in our life... mainly our parents. All parents want their children to be "more" than they are, so we intentionally try to pass along our traditional belief systems (which most of us inherited from our parents) to our children. This is not exactly fair of us, but it is "normal" human behavior. It diminishes, to some degree, the child's right to choose. But, to permit that total freedom of choice would imply that we were not strong in our own beliefs, so we indoctrinate our children.

I have a personal theory that we are each endowed by our creator (your choice here - intervention by a "Supreme Being" or the sperm donor's DNA) with a unique internal "blueprint" for our life. My theory goes on to postulate that this unique internal blueprint is socialized out of us, beginning almost at the moment of birth. This is the "Cookie Cutter Mentality" at work. (If you want to be a socially acceptable "cookie" you have to fit the same mold as all the other little cookies.) It has its good points, and a multitude of bad points. What would happen if we were allowed free reign, with the exception of say, physically aggressive behaviors? There would likely be little if any prejudice in the world, because prejudice is a learned behavior, and there is no innate dislike of the unlike.
Reducing learned prejudices from our repertoire of behaviors, would result in minimal racism and less "my belief system is better than your belief system". With little physical aggression, there would be fewer boundary disputes between neighbors, whether next door or across the national border. It's a nice theory, but given human nature, it is not practical to expect such radical changes. We humans are fallible creatures. On the whole, we are not solitary beings, and we do tend to "go along with the crowd" in order to insure and preserve our acceptance in the society into which we were born. And therein lies the rub - to get along, one must go along. But, I digress...

With so many divergent social paths available in a free society, is it any wonder that free societies can be torn asunder from within? Yet oppressive societies also suffer from a similar tearing apart, by the inherent yearning that all people have for certain freedoms, especially the freedom to choose.

The above is not meant to be a "lesson", but rather to provoke thought and perhaps stimulate social discourse. Most sentient beings find it enjoyable to simply think, and consider it good fortune to have someone to share their thoughts with. Try thinking outside the box... you may like it! And remember, "United we stand, divided we fall"... it must be more of a creed than an empty motto, or we shall surely perish!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pay Freeze for Queen in UK Austerity Measures!

"In a sign of dire economic times across the pond, Queen Elizabeth II will see six consecutive years of frozen pay, as new austerity measures in the U.K. have cut funding for the royal household."

In the interest of "belt tightening" the leaders of our government should lead by example. But something more significantly more immediate than a "down the road" approach. It's as easy to tell the populace to tighten their belts, as it is to spend other peoples money - which is what the Socialist-Progressives in our government do with great aplomb, and impunity.

Here's my suggestion: Every government official, being paid with our money in Washington D.C., should take an immediate 50% cut in pay and benefits (staffing allowances, etc), and a staff reduction of 30%. Then eliminate their retirement benefits and place them all into the Social Security retirement system. Cut the freebies - haircuts, lunches, healthcare, vehicles, drivers, and education packages for their children. I think most of us could live very well on $87,000 per year... that's one-half of the salary with which a Congressman begins his "government service" experience.

And, as long as I'm running the country, let's revert to the system under which elected officials were originally paid in 1813. No, not the $8 per day, that's just too severe. They were paid only for the days they were in session, ostensibly doing the necessary work required to satisfy the people. Not themselves, or the labor unions (which didn't exist back then), or some major corporation in which they were deeply invested. They were "the servants of the people"!

Then let's see how many of them want to make a career out of government "service". My best guess is that we would have about 500 vacancies to fill in the combined House and Senate. They are not royalty! They deserve nothing better than that which the average person has in the way of pay, benefits and perks.

Have you ever wondered why anybody in their right mind would spend millions of dollars to get a job that pays $174,000 per year? Well, they're spending other peoples money, most of whom consider the expense to be more of an investment than a "donation". Could there possibly be a hidden agenda there? Could there be more "perks" for our elected representatives than simply their pay and allowances? Politicians would sell their mothers if they thought it would benefit them!

We know that they are all liars, and that they will play to whatever audience is in front of them during their campaign, only to do the bidding of their major contributors after they are elected. Knowing this full-well, we vote for them anyway, fearing that if we don't go to the ballot box, some other liar (the one whose lies we don't like) will get elected. We have no true leadership, only fools who have fooled us into electing them to run our country. If they ran a McDonald's franchise the way they run our country, it would be the only McDonald's to ever go bankrupt! If they were in charge of Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats, it would be depleted of salt within 90 days. Send Washington D.C. a message in 2012... replace them ALL!

Friday, December 2, 2011

And Now... For Something Completely Different

Everybody who likes school drumlines, raise your hand... well, mine went up, did yours? Perhaps it's because I was in the Disston Jr High Marching Band and Orchestra in St. Petersburg, FL, as a teenager, but I have always enjoyed a good drum cadence - or "street beat" as we called it back then. I wasn't a drummer, which is a good thing, since I undoubtedly lack the hand coordination and pure, unfailing sense of rhythm necessary to play a percussion instrument. In the mid-1950s South, there were still racially segregated schools, and as good as our school drumline was, the all-black 16th Street Jr High was far better. When they would begin to warmup at a parade staging area, all the white kids would be tapping their feet. 16th Street Jr High put on a magnificent "show"! Here's a "little something" for those of you who do enjoy a good drumline (if you think enjoying a drumline is a bit weird, check out the one below)...
video
I think I must have been a Scotsman in a previous life. There's something about the skirling of the (bag)pipes and the cadence of the (generally accompanying) drums that stirs my soul. I know... most Americans find the sound produced by the bagpipes to be something less than musical, but to me "the pipes" are felt as much as heard - it's a visceral experience. I was fortunate enough to see, live and in concert at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, UT, the premier pipe band in the world - the Black Watch (3rd Battalion, Royal Highland Regiment of Scotland) twice, 11 years apart. So this one is primarily for those of my friends and family of Scottish descent, but the rest of you may find that, when done well, the pipes may also move you...

video
Okay... one more for the Scots! If there was ever a man to play the lead in the movie "Rob Roy", it would be the first piper shown (and a couple of more times) in the following video - "Mull of Kintyre". If he's not the stereotypical highlander, nobody is...

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I hope you enjoyed watching these videos as much as I enjoyed bringing them together for you!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Man-made Super-Flu Could Kill Half of Humanity

The following quote from an Internet source presents an interesting paradox for us, if it is true...

"A virus with the potential to kill up to half the world’s population has been made in a lab. Now academics and bioterrorism experts are arguing over whether to publish the recipe, and whether the research should have been done in the first place.

­The virus is an H5N1 bird flu strain which was genetically altered to become much more contagious. It was created by Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, who first presented his work to the public at an influenza conference in Malta in September.

Fouchier said the strain circulates in animals, particularly birds, but rarely affects humans.
In the ten or so years since bird flu first emerged in Asia, fewer than 600 cases have been reported in humans. But the H5N1 strain is particularly vicious, killing roughly half of patients diagnosed with it. What stops it from becoming a major threat to public health is that it does not readily transmit from human to human. Or at least it didn’t – until now.

Researchers in Fouchier’s team used ferrets – test animals which closely mimic the human response to influenza – and transmitted H5N1 from one to another to make it more adaptable to new hosts. After 10 generations, the virus had mutated to become airborne, which means ferrets became ill from merely being near other diseased animals.

A genetic study showed that the new, dangerous strain had only five mutations compared to the original one, and all of them were earlier seen in the natural environment – just not all at once. Fouchier’s strain is as contagious as the human seasonal flu, which kills tens of thousands of people each year, but is likely to cause many more fatalities if released."

The question arises; why wasn't Fouchier tarred, feathered and run out of the Netherlands in fear of his life? And this is where the paradox comes in... the scientific community seems to believe that (given time) this adaptive mutation could have occurred naturally. If it had, we would initially be defenseless against it and scrambling for a vaccine. Therefore Fouchier's research allows the strain to be studied and - hopefully - an effective vaccine developed. But, here's "the rub"... Fouchier wants his study to be published! So does virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka, who led similar research in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of Tokyo, and reached comparable results. And it is up to NSABB to give them the green light.
The other part of the paradox is, that many academics and biosecurity experts are naturally cautious about releasing information which could provide any bioterrorist with a ready recipe to hold the world to ransom. Some argue that such work should never have been done in the first place and call for international monitoring of potentially harmful research.

Assuming the natural mutation did happen someday, it would have yielded calamitous results for much of the world's population. Yet if it never happened naturally, somewhere in a laboratory (or two) there is now a man-made virus with the potential for mass destruction. I hope those labs have better security than the U.S. borders!