Monday, April 29, 2013

Back to the Roots

    I’ve had a very productive weekend, my garden is started and it’s a monster, 90+ feet by 90+ feet and an additional 30’ by 40’ melon patch.  I’ve been thinking about doing something on this scale for a few years now and it seemed to be the right time to try.  I was motivated by the history of the “Victory Gardens” planted during WW I and WWII.

    During the Great Wars the labor force relied upon for food production took a massive hit as young men were drafted into military service and young women left the farms to support the war effort in industry and other areas.  Food shortages and rationing became common place, so out of necessity many families took to planting small gardens to supplement their needs.  The practice caught the attention of Government Officials, they began promoting the activity to reduce the drain on an already overburdened labor force and transportation systems.  By the end of WW II the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated there were over 20 million Victory Gardens, producing 40% of the nation’s fruit and vegetable harvest.  For the people that took part in home or community gardens this was a great moral boost, they felt they were part of the war effort and helping to ensure final victory.

    I took their stories to heart, I could see the difference their dedication, their resolve, their patriotism made.  I looked to the “Greatest Generation” for guidance.  Those who have read some of my stories know I like to take hard turns and connect seemingly unrelated subjects…  Hang On! 

    Today we do not face a war with other nations that overtly drains off our labor and resources but there is a war.  There is no enemy force of men waiting to charge over the hill but there is an enemy.  The war we face today is an economic battle, the enemy we face is an enemy of ideology.  We have been lulled into dependency on a system that is manipulated by a few to control the many.  With the mechanization of food and crop production labor is no longer the constraining factor, petroleum is now the force that brings food to the family table.  Fuel is now what decides the price a family must pay for necessities.  The farmers are hit with fuel cost increases as they prepare their fields and plant, then again like clockwork fuel prices climb at harvest, all the while we sit atop oil reserves that could make our nation energy independent and stabilize fuel prices around the world. 

    President Obama’s failed “All of the Above” energy plan is just that!   All above the ground, we should be at least 3 years into aggressively accessing our reserves on public lands (Our Land! Not the Governments land and certainly not Obama’s personal property to withhold from use) instead our petroleum industry is being undermined and quite possibly damaged for years to come.  His all above ground energy policies have succeeded in siphoning funds from the public coffers after investing in one after another failed “Green Energy” scams and promising jobs that never came. 

    It’s time the law of supply and demand are turned on those that use manipulation to control the many, farmers need to restrict their production until an equitable energy program is in place.  There are no wind powered combines, there is no solar powered tractor.  Plant what you need to make ends meet but no more, let the market work for you, its time to quit expending your time and labor to cover Obama’s failed dreams… (More likely his extortionist agenda).

    With all the respect and adoration I have for the American farmer it grieves me to say, I’m going to work hard to limit my dependency on your products.  In the tradition of the “Victory Garden” I have started an Opposition Garden, I start it with the same dedication, resolve, and patriotism of the Greatest Generation.  I’ve started it to oppose the manipulation and dependency.  I don’t like seeing crude oil prices at the mid-$90 range with no real supply chain issues or shortages, I wonder how the Middle East oil producers would like to see a 300-400% increase in corn, soybean, or wheat prices?  I’ve been to the Middle East… a few times, not a lot of farming going on.

     Side Story:  I know not everybody has access to the land or equipment I’m using and me being a contingency planner type, I look for alternate paths to a goal.  I have also started a container garden and the majority of the seeds used in both gardens are non-genetically modified varieties (seeds from this year’s harvest can be used for next year’s garden).  I have about $34 invested and 20 hours of labor (kind-a fun as labor goes).  Just a little something to think about, find what works for you.  I drink way too much coffee, I’ve got another 20+ empty cans to set-up. 

Monday, April 22, 2013


    Many years ago just after the wife and I had our wedding we took a little vacation to Cumberland Gap National Park, one of the more memorable moments occurred during a mid-day walk along a nature trail.  As we meandered along the twisting path enjoying the fresh mountain air, the chattering songs of the birds and the scenic beauty I noticed a long dark object lying across the path.  Yep, about 25 to 30 yards ahead of us was perhaps the longest, fattest black rat snake I had ever seen.  Being a Kentucky boy, I’ve chased down my fair share of snakes when I was younger… this one would have given me reason to pause. 

    Looking back now I don’t know why I decided to do what I did next, I guess that’s what they mean by hindsight being 20/20.  Instead of pointing the snake out to Sally at a “safe” distance I kept quiet, keeping one eye on her, one eye on the snake, just waiting for the reaction when it caught her attention.  With every step we grew closer and closer to the log of a snake directly ahead of us, I thought to myself surely she’s going to see it any moment now.  NO, it came to the last step, that’s when what we call the “RUN YOU FOOL, YOU FOOL” moment came. 

    As I mentioned this was many years ago and time has its way of distorting the past but this is how I remember what happened next.  Her next step would have been on the slumbering serpent that’s when she made eye contact with the devil himself.  She didn’t jump back, she didn’t jump towards me for protection, nope, with a continuous blood curdling scream she ran up my back and showing extraordinary agility and balance she commenced to stomping on my head and shoulders in an effort to signal to me it was time to depart the area.  NOW!!! 
(In Sally’s version, she says I squealed like a little girl, passed out and she had to carry me off the mountain… but this isn’t her blog so we’ll stick with my version).

    At some point during the commotion the snake slithered off into the brush… I’m sure to seek out a little peace and quiet away from Sally’s scream and the moans from the stomping I was taking.   To this day if I think I see a snake (even a mile away) I point it out to Sally, I see no reason for either one of us to go through that again.

    As silly as it is, this little story points out a couple of very serious errors.  First, Sally couldn’t see the trees (and the snake) for the forest, she was caught up in the moment she didn’t pay attention to what was going on in front of her.  Second and more serious, I saw what was about to happen and I didn’t speak-up.  But it was a simpler time (early 80’s) and a relatively harmless situation, that makes me question what happened during the Boston Marathon.  Of the multitude of people taking in the event with the ever present threat today no one thought to question a backpack being dropped next to them?  If in fact one was shoved into a trashcan… no one thought to question a backpack being put in it?

    It could be all my years in the military, all the Middle-Eastern, European and other deployments, but for the military through the 80’s and 90’s “See something… Say something!” and “Be aware of your surroundings!” was part of everyday life.  Since September 11, 2001 it’s been a part of everyone’s life.  I’ve heard a few murmurings that security failed (thankfully very few).  From the reports the area sweeps were conducted, the videos showed a visible/engaged presence and post attack the response was immediate and selfless.  There could have easily been a third bomb awaiting the responders, not an unheard of tactic.  The detective work in identifying, tracking and apprehending the suspects was epic to say the least.  The boots on the ground performed courageously. 
    If there is a failing in the security/intelligence apparatus it’s at the highest levels.  Not since the years of Nixon have the responsible agencies focus been directed to “Opponents of the Administration” over the “Enemies of the State” that present a real safety and security risk.  No administration has ever been so overt in targeting those voicing dissenting opposition, since the early days of the Obama Administration they have publically attempted to shift focus onto returning War Veterans, Christians, Pro-Life supporters, and those who believe in the Constitution as being the most concerning threat to national security today.

    They described me… I’m the threat.  Yet who placed the bombs?  Who were they warned about?  Who did they advert their attention from?  Another couple of Muslim wan-a-be Jihadist showing some love.
The “Underwear” Bomber
The “Time Square” Bomber
The Fort Hood “Workplace Violence” Shooter
And now, The “Boston Marathon” Bomb Brothers
All interested in fundamentally transforming America (I’ve heard that someplace before).

    Then to boot, we all had the opportunity to watch as more than one talking head (supposed news personalities) became almost giddy at the prospect the attack may have been conducted by a “Right-Wing” faction being April 15… Tax day.  I can only imagine their dismay and shock, a Muslim… again.
Ya think maybe it’s time to refocus???  Until then I suggest every citizen keep an eye down the path… could be a snake down yonder.

Me, an “Enemy of the State”… NEVER.
A dissenting voice of opposition…
You Bet’cha

Monday, April 15, 2013

O and CPI, Ay Yi Yi Yi Yi

    You’ve caught me on a bit of a down, not mentally, more physically… 20 hours of overtime will do that to me.  Pulling overtime goes against my principles of “Simplifying my life” but sometimes I’ve got to invest a little extra time short term to save long term.  The major complaint I have with overtime is the withholdings I’ll see at the end of the week, when all said and done close to 1/3 of my pay is gone before I even see it.  Later when I fill up the gas tank more taxes pulled, then when I buy the odds and ends I need even more taxes.  It may seem I don’t want to pay my “Share” but that’s not true, I don’t mind the deductions at 40 hours of work that’s part of our society but as I go over 40 I’m starting to sacrifice my quality of life and to an extent my physical/mental wellbeing.   These sacrifices are never considered by the bureaucratic machine that sees extra money for the taking.  So it’s up to me to avoid working overtime whenever possible.
    Even at 40 hours it is a bit disheartening to see my “share” being wasted by short sighted bureaucrats.  Then on the infrequent occasion that “money saving” changes to policies are announced, they are often nothing more than accounting tricks that complicate the issue and are little more than smoke and mirrors.   Mr. Obama unveiled his budget this week and again he missed a golden opportunity to put forth a plan that could unify the factions of the political parties, in particular his call for changing the Social Security cost of living increase formula.  The so-called “Chained-CPI” (Consumer Price Index) will reduce future benefit checks by approximately 0.5% (or $5 per $1,000).  To look at it on an individual basis it’s an insignificant amount but it’s causing an uproar within the Democratic rank and file (after all this is one of their Sacred Cows).  I see it as a simplistic reaction generated by a simplistic mind, announced to scare worthy recipients and create another wedge issue.
    Weak managers often resort to the simplest one size fits all measures when confronted with a problem, again this is the path Mr. Obama has chosen.  His “Lets reduce benefits to those that have earned them” approach missed the mark and does little to solve the long term issues within the Social Security system.
    After hearing of his plan I decided to look at what alternatives could have been presented and then of those, what one would be most palatable to both recipients and politicians, of course fraud waste and abuse floated to the top.  After all fraud hurts every person at all levels but then comes the question, how much of an effect does it have.  I started digging around and came up with a Department of Justice .pdf describing cases of fraud, in one year over 51,500 allegations of Social Security fraud were made.  Approximately 33,000 by citizens and anonymous tips, just over 10,000 by law enforcement, 7,500 from SSA employees, and 1,000 from varied agencies and others.
    I look at one random case file, in one year the individual received $38,919 from SSA, an additional $8,086 from state agencies and $23,235 in Medicaid payments for a total of $70,240 (close to double my yearly pay).  It was also noted that this individual was in possession of two other identities and active Social Security accounts… This person could have been raking in as much as $200,000 in a year (if not more).  What was the sentence for this crime, 24 months, with good behavior and being a non-violent crime say maybe 12 to 14 months.  This one case over one year could have affected the benefits of close to 3,400 people who depend on the system to survive.
    The February 2013 static snapshot shows just under 41 million people over the age of 65 are using SSA benefits so if of the 51,500 allegations 12,000 or more are similar to the case I used, there is the savings needed.  Instead of a simplistic solution that doesn’t sit well with anyone, an aggressive campaign to combat fraud could have been announced and he would have gained support from both Republicans and Democrats, it would have been supported by those dependent on the system and those contributing to it.  Guess a unifying call is just a bit beyond Mr. Obama, be it a few or a myriad of choices… Obama can always be counted on to choose the most disruptive, the most divisive, the most unnecessarily painful path.
    The crime of fraud needs to be taken serious and the penalties need to be equally serious.  As a mechanic I look for what’s wrong with a machine (little or big problems) and fix them, I don’t limit the machine’s output or restrict its capabilities to cover for its faults. 

Not looking for the easy fix
Looking for the right fix


NOTE:   DOJ case info has a few year lag so the actual number of allegations could be varied at this time but with the rapid increase of disability claims over the past 2 to 3 years and the reluctance to investigate allegations (of the 51,000+ allegations, only 7,000+ were investigated, effectively 1 in 7) I suspect fraud is rampant. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Labels Part 2 (End Game)

    I had written this with last week’s story and had debated whether to post it or wait for a SCOTUS decision.  I decided a glimpse into a potential future is more beneficial than an “I Was Going To Say That” at a later date…

If you haven’t read the first part you may want to take a moment to catch-up.
Labels (part 1)

    Several months back a case came before the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of labeling for products (Barf Sunshine Citrus Cola Company vs. Coke-Da-Cola Company).  Succumbing to Barf’s emotional appeal of “…everything would be fair, equal and we would feel better about ourselves…”, the court came down in favor of the plaintive, Barf Sunshine Citrus (and as a side note: Dingle Berry Bio-fuel Company was also allowed to use the coke-da-cola label).  Barfs had finished its packaging refit and has begun distributing its drink expecting to soon see the profits start rolling in but instead of gaining market shares their sales plummeted, along with the sales of the original Coke-Da-Cola Company and Dingle Berry Bio-fuel Company.  Consumers no longer knew if they were going to get a cola drink, a citrus drink or a mouth full of Bio-fuel. 

    (All of the players weren’t on the field, you have to look who’s on the sidelines sometimes.) 

    Since its inception in 2011 Barf Sunshine Citrus Cola Company had been receiving financial backing from a silent investor, the only stipulation for receiving continued support was, Barfs would pursue the Coke-Da-Cola label.  It has now come out this investor was Preppy Cola Company (Coke-Da-Colas’ number one competitor).  Now with Coke-Da-Cola all but ruined Preppy Cola has discontinued financial support of Barf Sunshine Citrus Cola Company leaving them to flounder with a diminishing consumer base.  The executives and employees of Barfs were little more than useful idiots being played by Preppy Cola to destroy its competition…  The folks at Dingle Berry Bio-fuel Company were even bigger idiots, they had no financing offered to them, they just saw a cause and jumped on the band-wagon without thinking it through.  Preppy Cola is now set to be number one in the cola drink market with no creditable competition.
    “Useful Idiots” that’s all the gay/lesbian community are.  There are three barriers that an Authoritarian/Totalitarian Government must overcome to achieve its goal… Freedom of Speech, a well-armed populace and Religion.  The attacks on gun owners is well documented and ongoing, speech will fall when the other two have been crushed.  How could religion be cut-down? 

    All the mainstream religions define “Marriage” as a union between one man and one woman and most consider any other arrangement an offence to GOD but as soon as gay and lesbian MARRIAGES are listed as a “Human Right” any religion/church that disputes or declines to take part in the full recognition of the new protected class (at man’s whim) will be labeled as “Discriminatory” and as a discriminatory organization it will no longer be entitled to the usual protections from government intrusion (i.e. taxation… most likely to the enth degree and collapse).  Or the religion/church would have to submit to the whims of man and disavow the 2,000+ years of their teaching undermining its standing with its followers.  Either way religion will be hard-pressed to survive as we know it.  On the other hand if the term, or label, Marriage retains its current meaning and the gay/lesbian union is deemed “Domestic Partners” religion/churches are unaffected because they have no part in sanctifying, need or desire to participate in the arrangement as they do in marriages.

    The gay and lesbian communities are being spurred on and used as “Useful Idiots” by people with an ideology that uses people or groups and pits them against each other to further their own agendas… you see it every day on TV, families of shooting victims used as a backdrop for a speech on gun control, factory workers as a backdrop at a speech threatening lay-offs, storm ravaged towns used as a backdrop for political pandering (the list goes on)… All useful idiots that are quickly forgotten once they have been USED!

    If you’re thinking my scenario is over the top you may want to consider these cases that have already come before lower courts…

    An Illinois state panel says it has found "substantial evidence" that two businesses discriminated against a gay couple looking for a venue for their civil union ceremony.

    Doctors in California may not discriminate against gay patients on the basis of their religious beliefs, the state's Supreme Court ruled

    A photographer who declined to shoot the commitment ceremony of a lesbian couple. An attorney for the couple, however, argued that the business openly advertises its wedding  photography services, and as a public business is required to follow the same anti-discrimination laws as any other company.

These are just a few examples of cases that have been in the system at lower level courts, laying the foundation and if you’ve noticed some of the wording that had been slipped in is very telling.  I especially took note of the story with the photographer “ openly advertises its wedding photography services”.  They didn’t advertises Civil Union photography services did they???     

    It still comes down to a basic fact, homosexuality is a behavior… nothing more, nothing less, it’s all about choosing to participate in an activity… or not.  To force its acceptance upon those that view it as sordid, is Tyrannical.  

We’ll see how this plays out
   Note to the professional photographers (and others out there), If your approached to do something like this kindly decline the first request if you like, but if pressed give them a cut-rate price… and cut rate work.  Myself, the smart-a$$ that I am, I would’ve given them a day they would have never forgotten!

Monday, April 1, 2013


    Barf Sunshine Citrus Cola Company vs. Coke-Da-Cola Company could be the one of the cases argued before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) this summer.  Barf cola lawyers contend that Coke-Da-Cola has an unfair market advantage because of its name recognition, causing Barf Cola company employees and executives to feel inferior to the employees and executives of Coke-Da-Cola.  Executives at Barf Cola contends that if it would be allowed to label its drink Coke-Da-Cola “everything would be fair, equal and we would feel better about ourselves…”

    Barf Sunshine Citrus Cola, est. 2011, is a non-carbonated clear greenish liquid with pineapple/asparagus flavoring.  While Coke-Da-Cola, est. 1892, is dark carbonated drink and gets its flavor from the kola nut.  In all actuality the only thing the two drinks have in common is they are both liquids but still, Barf lawyers are set to argue there is no difference, both drinks are equal and they should be known by the same name.  It should also be noted that standing on the sidelines is the newly established Dingle Berry Bio-fuel Company, they have developed a pineapple/kola nut based bio-fuel that also happens to be a liquid.  Depending on the SCOTUS decision they would also like to label and market their product as Coke-Da-Cola.

    If this case does come before SCOTUS, I’m expecting a quick decision… A similar case is currently being argued dealing with the label “Marriage”.  The gay/lesbian community wishes to redefine (for everyone) the established term of marriage (the religious, social or civil union between one man and one woman) in the name of fairness, equality, inclusion and “FEELINGS”.  For some reason the label “Domestic Partnership” that defines the unions they enter into is not to their liking.  If the “Domestic Partnership” laws are not to their liking why not work towards change them? 

    A San Francisco psychotherapist, Michael Halyard contends that gay/lesbian couples experience “stress-related disorders, low self-esteem, guilt and shame” when denied the label “Marriage”.  Really?  Isn’t it more likely the feelings of stress, low self-esteem, guilt and shame stem from the “Behavior” and not the label used to define the behavior?  Are they still looking for someone to tell them they are “Normal”?  Could the same argument be used for other behaviors, I could see where someone addicted to drugs could feel “stress, low self-esteem, guilt and shame” from being saddled with the label “addict or junky”… Maybe they would feel better if they could use the label Pharmacist… Ultimately it’s not about inclusion or they would have included polygamist relationships, man and goat relationships, or how about two women and a Buick relationship?

I don’t know their status but… they seem happy and committed.

    If my argument seems oversimplified, think again Sunshine, “Feelings” of happiness and commitment could be the new and only defining factors of marriage.  Changing the label on the packaging doesn’t change the content of the package… changing the definition of marriage doesn’t legitimize the abnormal behavior of a gay/lesbian relationship.  The word marriage can be tracked back as far as the early 13th century and had never been used to describe a relationship between anyone other than one man and one woman but much like the folks at Barf Cola, gay and lesbians want to misrepresent the… drink… the behavior.  Our “Labels” describe our behaviors, if you don’t like the label… don’t participate in the behavior.  If you choose to participate in the behavior be ready to wear the appropriate “LABEL”.  

Pineapple/Asparagus flavoring… Where
did that come from??? Oh well…