Monday, November 29, 2010

The Curious Case of Brian Aitken

Brian Aitken of New Jersey
Proving that justice is not only blind, but sometimes quite dumb - and I don't mean mute - the strange and tragic story of the plight of Brian Aitken is the epitome of the insanity going on in America.

Brian Aitken is a young man of 27 who moved to Colorado from New Jersey, where he was born and raised,  several years ago. There, he met a woman who was also from New Jersey, and the two married. Shortly thereafter, the couple had a son, but the pair broke up when the boy was just an infant, and mother and son moved back to New Jersey.

Wishing to be close to his son, Aitken later decided to move back as well, and began making the preparations. Those preparations included learning how to legally transport the three handguns he purchased in Colorado back to New Jersey, a state with very strict gun laws. Starting in late 2008, Aitken made the first trip back home to New Jersey, the first of several to bring his possessions to his parents' home in Burlington County, until he could find his own apartment.

In December of 2008, Aitken and his friend Michael Torries - who had found an apartment together in Hoboken, NJ - made the final trip out to Colorado to retrieve the last of Aitken's belongings, including the guns. Before they left, Aitken researched and printed out New Jersey and federal gun laws to ensure that he didn't break any laws regarding transporting firearms across state lines. He also called the New Jersey State Police prior to leaving Colorado seeking their advice on how best to proceed. He wanted to make sure he didn't run afoul of the law. He followed all directions to the letter. It didn't help.

Brian Aitken and Son
In January of 2009, Aitken drove to his parents' house to get the rest of his belongings. He had been having difficulties with his ex-wife, who was refusing to let him see his son. He was obviously stressed about it, and his mother, Sue, noticed. A woman who works with children who have mental health problems, Sue Aitken has been trained to call police when someone appears distraught and may pose a threat to themselves, so when her son left, that's what she did.

Concerned about her son after he left, Sue Aitken called 911, but thought better of it and hung up. Too late, the police were at her home a short time later. Sue told the police of her concerns, and the police called Brian, who was driving to his apartment in Hoboken with his possessions in his car. The police told him to return to his mother's home, which he did, willingly complying once again with the instructions of law enforcement.

When he arrived, police determined that Brian was not a threat to himself or anyone else, but searched his car anyway. They found his guns, which were locked, unloaded, and stowed in the trunk, just as he was instructed for transport. Police arrested him for illegal possession of a firearm.

When Brian purchased the weapons in Colorado, he had to pass FBI and CBI background checks. He owned the guns legally, and transported them legally based upon the advice he sought from every law enforcement agency he could imagine he would need to avoid any trouble. Now he was facing trial in Burlington County, New Jersey.

The trouble really began when Brian drew Superior Court Judge James Morley, who was denied re-appointment by Governor Chris Christie after his inauguration. More on that later. A key element in Brian Aitken's defense was his right to transport legally purchased firearms between residences in New Jersey, which is precisely what he was doing.

Superior Court Judge James Morley
Police deposed that their search of Aitken's vehicle revealed many of his other belongings, which he was in the process of bringing to his new apartment in Hoboken. Judge Morley curiously forbade the jury from hearing that testimony in court. The jury expressed a clear level of discomfort in the prospect of convicting Aitken by asking the judge - on three separate occasions -  about exceptions to the law regarding the transportation of firearms. The exemptions are primarily for off-duty officers and security personnel, but also extend to hunters and those transferring weapons between residences. Morley ignored all three requests.

Judge Morley defended his decision to deny the jury of such testimony, declaring that it "wasn't relevant". In a subsequent telephone interview, Morley said:
"There was no evidence that Mr. Aitken was moving. He was trying to argue that the law should give him this broad window extending over several weeks to justify driving around with guns in his car. There was also some evidence that Mr. Aitken wasn't moving at all when he was arrested, but had stored the guns in his car because his roommate was throwing a party, and he didn't want the guns in the apartment while guests were there drinking."
Even if that were true, all it could possibly demonstrate is yet another, deeper level of responsibility on Brian Aitken's part, to have enough sense to remove even unloaded firearms from an apartment full of drunken revelers. No matter to the state of New Jersey, or Judge Morley, whose manipulations forced the jury to convict.

So, the man who did everything he could to stay within the boundaries of the law is now in prison, and as a result of his incarceration, has also lost all parental rights to the son he so desperately wished to be near. In August of 2010, Brian was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison for a "crime" he tried valiantly not to commit, and by a judge who manipulated the trial to achieve a desired outcome. That judge, as noted earlier, was denied tenure by the state of New Jersey's new governor for a few previous questionable decisions and their related opinions.

Judge Morley once opined after a case of a 45-year-old teacher's aide, accused of having sexual relations with a 16-year-old student, that said aide was not a "sexual predator". In another case, involving a former Moorestown officer charged with four counts of animal cruelty for having oral sex with cow calves, Morley ruled that there was no evidence of animal cruelty. Then the man, Robert Melia, was arrested for alleged sexual assaults of three girls, and a search of his computer revealed videos of him "allegedly" receiving oral sex from the cows. Now Melia is awaiting trial on 48 other counts.

And Brian Aitken is in prison.

If you'd like to help Brian, visit this site:

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Friday, November 26, 2010

About That Tea Party Longevity...

Think It's Got Legs?
Is the Tea Party movement dead, or dying? Some have said as much, but thus far there has been no evidence to back up such claims. There was a lot of bluster by terminal politicians leading up to the mid-term elections to that effect, but such false bravado was akin to a bludgeoning victim screaming, "That didn't hurt", as each blow drains a bit more of his life.

After the Democrats suffered their own figurative bludgeoning in the elections, Rep, Boyd Brown (D-S.C.) told an audience of high schoolers that the Tea Party was a "fad", and that he thought it would "go away". Mayor Mike Bloomberg of New York City also labelled the movement a fad. And leading up to the mid-terms a year out, soon-to-be-former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi audaciously condemned the Tea Party as an "AstroTurf" movement.

It was a curious statement at the time, but one that recently has me pondering a few questions regarding its validity. Does AstroTurf have roots? After all, Madam Pelosi's comment was designed to cut into the credibility of the movement, suggesting that it was not of the revered family of "grass roots" efforts, but rather more of a machine of wealthy Conservative zealots, controlling the stupid masses through talk radio.

 Is it ever necessary to mow AstroTurf? Any sports fan would know that the very idea of AstroTurf was borne of maintenance needs. Stadiums that hosted multiple home teams, for example, were spending vast amounts of money on seeds and labor to keep up the pristine appearances in heavy traffic. Yet, the Left  has been on a continuous crusade to cut down the Tea Party, "fake grass" movement. Odd.

Finally, does AstroTurf have spores that can be spread aloft in the trade winds, carrying them to germinate and grow in distant lands? From what we already know about the product, the obvious answer would be "no". And yet, we learn now that the Tea Party movement is not restrained to the shores of the United States, at least not any longer.

Anyone who has been a regular reader of mine is well acquainted with my affinity for the ironic, and this latest development fits the bill quite nicely. While the Left has been urgently trying to declare a time of death for the Tea Party movement, it must be noted that it never really died in the first place; it merely lay in a dormant state for a few centuries. It was started originally as a protest against King George of England over his crippling taxes and finally spilled over (pardon the pun) into Boston Harbor in the eighteenth century. Here's where the irony comes into play.

FOX News is reporting that the Tea Party movement has taken (root?) in...England! While we certainly harbor (apologies again) no ill will over the original motivation for the Tea Party idea, it is still rather delicious that the people from our former reason to protest have now joined the band. On a more serious note, what this says about the entire notion is telling.

The Tea Party ideals have been with us for as long as we've drawn breath, embedded in our souls and always with us. We've just neglected them as we've progressed, feeling secure in our various degrees of personal success and concentrating our efforts on our own improvement. It wasn't until our own government began to actively impede that progress that we finally pulled them out of storage. Those on the Left, opposed to personal liberty and responsibility, might refer to this as having opened Pandora's Box. I prefer to think that the Beast has been released.

How big and how bad is this beast? Well, so far it has demonstrated a powerful yet peaceful method, and that is good. What's important to realize, however, is that this is no longer an anomaly here in the U.S., but something based on a principle that knows no boundaries, and one that Ronald Reagan articulated quite well. Freedom is the natural state of Man, and something which cannot be bestowed by other men.

We know it, and now so do the Brits. Anyone else want some? Hey, let's do tea!

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ain't That America

A Spirit That Refuses to Die

How did John Cougar Mellencamp and I become such bitter enemies? No, I have never met the man, but I despise his politics even as I love his music. And while his celebrity makes him very familiar to me, he has no inkling of my existence, even though he equally loathes my political philosophy, as far as his interviews have betrayed.

I have been hit hard today from two directions. The obvious assumption would be that those directions are polar opposites, but that is not the case. I just finished reading chapter one of George W. Bush's Decision Points, and took a break to watch Glenn Beck. I mention this because I no longer care what my critics may say nor how they may scoff sneeringly at my words. Such scorn has lost all meaning as our path has become clear to me.

Those of us who care enough to publish our thoughts share a common thread; we love this country too much to see it perish. The only barrier to cooperation has been a decided line of demarcation set for us by powerful ideologues who have manipulated us toward opposite corners of the ring. Divide and conquer...sound familiar?

Glenn Beck has been talking about the small town of Wilmington, Ohio, a town that should have been declared dead due to its rate of unemployment, but which has refused to succumb to extinction. Wilmington, through its collective, stubborn determination has instead relied on the principles that made America what it became through the same ethic. They are not waiting for the behemoth of the federal government to save them, and thus will avoid the Sopranos-style quid pro quo that such acceptance would entail.

God bless Wilmington. That tough little town should serve as the model for our overall renaissance, a pattern for us to follow so that the dress still fits. For far too long, we have drifted with the winds of figurative fashion, following mindlessly like the seeds of the dandelion, only to infest the lawns of our neighbors.

Our ever-expanding urban centers are festering pools of dependence, bitter reminders of the spoiled fruits of government dominance. In stark contrast to the fiercely independent spirit of ordinary people like the denizens of Wilmington, big cities are indicative of what the controlling influences of "benevolent" tyranny reap.

While reading Decision Points - a splendid book, by the way - I was struck by the observations of a young George W. Bush on a visit to China while his father was stationed there as Ambassador in 1975. Stating that the "contrast was vivid" in comparing a vibrant capitalist society to that of the dreary reality of Communism, Bush wrote, "I was amazed to see how a country with such a rich history could be so bleak".

But what really leaped out at me were his words in this passage from Page 23:

"China's experience reminded me of the French and Russian revolutions. The pattern was the same: People seized control by promising to promote certain ideals. Once they had consolidated power, they abused it, casting aside their beliefs and brutalizing their fellow citizens. It was as if mankind had a sickness that it kept inflicting on itself. The sobering thought deepened my conviction that freedom - economic, political and religious - is the only fair and productive way of governing a society."
That was the observation of a future United States president, thirty-five years ago, and it belies an evident truth today. What we're experiencing in this country now is but the beginning of our end, the anathema in its infancy. And while folks like John Cougar Mellencamp - liberal to the core - are diametrically opposed to such a philosophy, they unwittingly aid in its propagation.

Mellencamp wrote about small towns frequently in his songs, celebrating the strong spirit of the people in this country. Never once did I hear him sing the praises of tyranny. "Ain't that America, you and me?" With a small degree of literary license, I must say that it almost ain't. Comparing the small enclaves like Wilmington and it's determination to survive with Detroit, a city that surrendered without so much as a whimper, gives one hope that there may at least be portions of the country left should we fail to save the whole thing.

Personally, I'd prefer an all-out rescue. The emergence of the Tea Party movement and the results from earlier this month are an encouraging start. For that, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. God bless.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Or Forever Hold Your Peace

Will America Emulate China?
I thought it might be prudent to get this piece out before Attorney General Eric Holder has the power to flip the switch on Sanity Sentinel and ban all of my content. Once AG Holder has that power, he may determine that the links, videos and photographs contained on this site constitute "copyright infringement", and I will be silenced.

Welcome to 21st century America and the era of Obama's Hope and Change. It is rapidly becoming a barren, lugubrious wasteland reminiscent of our worst nuclear-winter nightmares, a once gloriously free and industrious land choked into moribundity by the Progressive Socialist stranglehold. I'm reminded of an old Polaroid that was never properly protected by the felt roller, discovered decades later in the bottom of a drawer, once a colorful, cherished memory now reduced to an ashen image of the past.

So many societies have historically experimented with the philosophy of totalitarianism masquerading as compassion - and failed miserably - that we should know better than to keep trying, but the powerful are a stubborn lot. Then again, the powerful never understood the pain of what they had wrought until they lost. Expend no sympathy on their behalf, however, because whatever they experienced at the end was nothing compared to the devastation left in their wakes.

A few days ago a bill flew through the Senate Judiciary Committee with no resistance, passing unanimously. That bill was the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), and what it will do is to give the United States Attorney General the ability to shut down any website he deems to be in violation of this bill. He will have the authority to simply turn off any website on a whim.

COICA is ostensibly designed to protect Hollywood, music and media from piracy, but it's language is much broader than simply trying to prevent theft of copyrighted material. Yes, the AG will need to obtain a court order before acting, but the parameters for enforcement are so expansive that virtually any site he visits may suffer censorship and banishment. If copyright infringement is deemed to be "central to the site's activity", it will meet the criterion for action.

The chilling aspect of this is, even hyper links to another website may be considered grounds for termination, even if there has been no "crime" committed. For a good example, take a look at The Drudge Report. (Oops, I just did it!)

Matt Drudge's site is hugely popular, generating over nine billion hits in the past year. But his site is nothing more than a news aggregate source, consisting of nothing but links. While he has broken no laws, and while he has not been to sued to the best of my knowledge, it stands to reason that his site would be the first casualty of Lord Holder's reign.

 The good news is that the bill will not go before both full houses for a vote until next year, supposedly. One would think that in the new session of Congress, passage of such a thing would have little chance of success. But just the very idea that our government is even considering placing that sort of power in one man's hands is startling, at best.

Combined with elected officials openly calling for the shutting down of information television and radio stations, this is precisely the sort of thing that we the people must be ever vigilant against. We now live in a country built on freedom and personal responsibility that has been reduced to a government prison. They are taking our property, seizing our finances, and controlling our diets and habits. Now they are attempting to remove our ability to know about it.

The Tea Party movement probably never would have happened without the free flow of information. I maintain that that is exactly the reasoning behind these tactics by the government. If they can isolate us and silence us, we are lost forever. We simply cannot allow that to happen.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Channeling Chavez

Two Peas in a Pod?
"There's a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to FOX and to MSNBC: 'Out. Off. End. Goodbye.' It would be a big favor to political discourse; our ability to do our work here in Congress, and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and more importantly, in their future." - Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Never has America been this close to Socialism, nor have our elected officials - all of whom swore an oath to uphold our Constitution - been this bold in their contempt for our most cherished document. Certainly many of us have caught glimpses of the true face of half of our Congress, but only when the mask slipped ever so slightly, and quite inadvertently. None of us ever expected that they would eventually rip the disguises off in broad daylight and reveal their true intentions. But they have.

The truly puzzling aspect of this development is the fact that Democrats who espouse the socio-economic enslavement of their constituents continue knowingly at their own peril. They must know it after the Tea Party tsunami of the mid-term elections. Could they possibly be so naïve as to believe that the wave of sentiment that swept this nation was nothing more than a fluke? Perhaps the more important question might be, if not, what do they actually have planned?

Pondering the possibility of some uber-nefarious scheme, words such as Rockefellers's would be in line with the need to conceal such a motive. Think about it; he is advocating for the United States federal government to shut down two giants in the information media, to silence two of the most popular sources for the people. In other words, he wants to douse the spotlight on Congress "ability to do our work here".

Fortunately for us, Rep. Rockefeller exposed his wishes in an arena in which his ilk has no control. FOX and MSNBC are privately broadcast stations on cable, and therefore not subject to the whims of power-hungry Socialist politicians. Still, the alarm bells are ringing. How far will these people attempt to traverse the road to totalitarianism?

Soul Brother Smile and Handshake
Hugo Chavez has been closing broadcasting companies critical of his regime and seizing industries in Venezuela, ostensibly for the "benefit of the people". President Obama seemed rather chummy with Chavez during his visit to that country early in his own reign, even accepting a revolutionary tome from the Venezuelan leader. If we are to accept the premise that Obama is the academic sponge we're told about, it would only stand to reason that he absorbed the message in that book post haste. His own actions since that visit seem to validate such a notion.

The Obama administration and its operatives have been quite vocal about their disdain for FOX News, declaring the NewsCorp outlet as a pseudo-news organization, and denigrating its personalities as clownish "entertainers". Likewise, the administration has attacked successful talk radio programs and hosts in the same vein, working feverishly with its cohorts in Congress to reinstate the poorly nomenclatured "Fairness" Doctrine.

While proclaiming a desire for "openness" and "transparency", the machinations of the temporary monopoly that one party briefly enjoyed was all about stifling opposing viewpoints and concealing its own motives. Thankfully, the people mobilized through the Tea Party movement and implemented an almost immediate cessation of such activities.

It must be noted, however, that if the Democrats had succeeded in their primary goal - the silencing of their perceived enemies - we would have had virtually no chance of victory, however slight it may have been. And remember the president's own words, in which he told a Univision interviewer - whose target audience is comprised of Spanish-speaking viewers - that Republicans, and by inference, Conservatives, are the enemy.

Americans have spoken at the polls, and we've stated emphatically that we do not want the governance of Hugo Chavez. We've also made it abundantly clear that we loathe his message even more when spoken vicariously through our own president and his surrogates.

We're at the point where none of them wishes to listen. That's fine, because we have effectively preserved our right to purge them for their arrogance. And so we shall.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Think the American Spirit is Dead?

Think again. A 13-year-old boy in Denair, California was told that the American flag proudly flying from the back of his bicycle may cause "racial tensions" and a potentially unsafe situation for students. He was told he could not ride onto campus with the flag any longer.

The story caused such an uproar that the school, Denair Middle School, relented. Great. But just to accentuate the idiocy of their initial position, a group decided to rally behind the boy, Cody Alicea. That group was the Patriot Guard Riders.

If you don't feel your chest swell with pride, or get a lump in your throat, somethings wrong. Enjoy!

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

And Justice for All?

Why would anyone need a waiver from
something so wonderful?
In true shoot-from-the-hip fashion, the Triad of Obama, Reid and Pelosi rammed through a program they touted as a special gift to the American people, a most fair form of health care that would ostensibly benefit all, including the poor. We were told of the unfortunate multitudes of people suffering illnesses because they couldn't afford the treatment that the wealthy could afford. Most of us knew the scheme was a charade, but the Triad successfully inflicted it on us anyway.

The closer we get to its actual implementation, the more people resist. Unfortunately for the "little guy", only those with the financial resources to fight Obama Care have thus far been able to opt out. That is because, armed with a battery of expensive lawyers, these entities have procured from the government a total of one hundred and eleven waivers, and counting.

High-powered unions and large corporations are securing exemptions at a rapid pace. The questions must be asked, then, if Obama Care is so great, why are so many fleeing in terror? Why do they absorb such great costs to fight it legally?

The only answer that makes any sense is that they have already spent huge sums to study the potential impacts on their ledgers from this disaster, and that they made the decision that it would better to lose a little now than lose a lot later. That tells me that there is something terribly wrong with this impending crippler for our personal finances and the overall economy.

From the administration that trumpeted a new age of government transparency and open governing, we now have a law about to take effect that will be selectively enforced. The entities permitted to ignore this law are those whom Chairman Obama decides may be exempt. As pointed out in the video below, the Obama administration has implicitly admitted that this is a bad law, thus the need to grant 111 waivers.

I tried to find the buried story on the Health and Human Services website, to no avail, which also speaks volumes to the promise of transparency by the new administration. Suffice it say that despite the alleged urgency of this law - and the resultant need for speed and the lack of understanding by those who voted for it - its passage was a huge mistake. Hopefully our new Congress will be able to starve it to death by withholding appropriations.

As Newt Gingrich would say, I hope this travesty "withers on the vine".

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

To Fetch a Pail of Water

It is hard to fathom that - in a country once as free as the open frontier - we could find ourselves today fighting a daily battle to retain our liberties. It's equally difficult to imagine that what was once considered normal is no longer viewed that way.

Despite the claims of the Left that there is no war on Christianity, no matter how contrary to that claim their constant assaults appear, God and prayer are seen today by too large of a portion of our society as antithetical to our well being. There are plaintiffs against God in our Pledge of Allegiance, there are demands to remove all vestiges of prayer from government entities, and there are litigants who say that the Ten Commandments should be removed from courthouses.

It then must be considered insanity that a member state of the Union is seriously debating whether to incorporate Shar'ia Law into its legal system. How serious is the debate over something we once would have scoffed at? So serious that on Election Day two weeks ago, the state of Oklahoma had a ballot initiative to ban the use of Shar'ia Law in its courts. Naturally, there are now pending lawsuits.

But let's forget the hypocrisy of pushing for the use of Muslim laws here in America when Liberals have exhausted themselves trying to remove the tradition of our Judeo-Christian laws. Instead, let's examine why it would be foolhardy to implement Shar'ia in the first place.

For an example of Shar'ia Law, we'll take a look at a recent case in Pakistan, where a Christian mother of five has been sentenced to hang by the neck until dead. What kind of heinous criminal is this woman who deserves such a brutal end? Certainly her crime must be so horrendous that she must be removed from the Earth, leaving her five children without a mother. To the adherents of the gentle Muslim faith, it was.

Asia Bibi is a married, 45-year-old mother who has not only received the death penalty, but she's been held in prison since June of 2009. She was working as a farmhand tending a field with other women last year when she was asked to get water for the workers. When she returned with the water, a group of Muslim women refused to drink it because it was touched by a non-Muslim and, therefore, "unclean". Words were exchanged over it, but nothing evolved from there.

But a few days later, Asia Bibi was set upon by an angry mob of Muslims, and police were summoned. They took her to a local police station "for her own safety" because the mob, including clerics, wanted her dead. But after being rescued by the police, she was then charged with the crime of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed, based on the words of those Muslim women from the field.

So, to sum it all up, a Christian woman in a predominantly Muslim country is to be put to death for bringing her co-workers water while laboring, and was offended by their lack of gratitude. No one in the angry mob, who threatened or attempted to murder her, has even been arrested. And this is what we are fighting in America now?

It is stunning that the crowd that believes that a Jewish or Christian high school football coach leading his team in prayer before a contest - that may find one of them injured - is dangerous to our society, also thinks that the prospect of stoning and "honor" killings by decree of Shar'ia Law is some twisted form of tolerance.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vietnam Outrage Continues

Vietnam Vets Left Out in Cold Again
Today, as we commemorate the men and women of our military for the incredible bravery and sacrifice that is responsible for the blessings of our nation, I would like to begin on a positive note by offering my deepest gratitude to each and every one of them. That gratefulness is extended to the living and the dead, as well as the young and the old.

I am saddened, however, that the gradual transition of attitudes in my country has left behind - and even insulted - so many who deserve the same level of respect. It began with the Korean War, which to this day is still neither considered an actual "war", nor an action that is technically over. That particular action has remained in official "cease-fire" status for six decades.

Veterans of the Korean War do not enjoy the benefits - for whatever they're worth - of other veterans of "actual" wars. They do not qualify for membership in local VFW organizations where they live, nor are they offered a military flag upon their deaths. My father-in-law, a Korean War vet, passed away a few years ago, and as we prepared for his final resting, I wanted him to have a flag for his service. I was prepared to buy a flag to drape his coffin. It wasn't necessary.

Another soldier, himself a veteran of the Army as a Ranger, procured one on my father-in-law's behalf, and from the United States Army. In an act of camaraderie that touched me in ways I cannot describe, that soldier  not only obtained the flag my father-in-law should never have had to ask for, but he presented it at the burial in military tradition, while in full dress uniform. That young man was not yet my son-in-law, but would eventually marry my daughter. My thanks for his initiative - nor my astonishment at this selfless act - can never be adequately expressed.

Yet, while that memory is seared in my mind forever, it serves as a constant reminder of the indignity it suggests for those without the loving and devoted family such as mine, without which many are relegated to oblivion forever, their sacrifices discarded and bravery forgotten without reverence, simply because of callous bureaucrats so absorbed in their political careers that they have long dismissed the very reasons for their existence.

The Vietnam veterans have likewise been betrayed by the country they served, and continue in that vein. Their long-overdue Wall in Washington was the culmination of not only their continuing battle, but that of their civilian support team; grateful patriots. My friends from that war have told me that it only relieved some of the sting of the shameful reception they endured upon their return to the country for which they fought.

So every year we have Veterans' Day, a time when we offer our thanks to those brave souls, hold parades for them, and now, in the electronic age, pay tribute to them all over the Internet. Sadly, what still eludes the "Vietnam Alumni" is the recognition they have never been given by the body that sent them to that Hell, a Hell that they faced with valor, and for which they were greeted upon their return as villains.

Yesterday, Jim Robbins of the Washington Times wrote an article that should make all of us sick. Robbins reports that Congress, two years ago, authorized the Pentagon to move forward with plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War to "thank and honor" those veterans. Finally, justice would be served, right? Not so fast.

A commission was formed to make all of this happen in the "spirit of the intent of Congress". From Robbins' piece in the Washington Times:

The Defense Department also was charged with coordinating, supporting and facilitating "other programs and activities of the Federal Government, State and local governments, and other persons and organizations in commemoration of the Vietnam War." The proposed budget for the commemorations was $100 million, which was less than the amount spent on the World War II and Korean War commemoration efforts. For example, the 1984 commemoration of the Normandy landings alone cost $38 million.
The idea was to have a series of commemorations that would begin in 2009, 50 years after the July 8, 1959, Viet Cong attack at Bien Hoa killed Army Maj. Dale R. Buis and Master Sgt. Chester M. Ovnand, the first two names on the wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The commemorations were slated to continue until 2025 and the 50th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
In other words, the cost of this belated expression of appreciation was to cost us an average of just over $3.8 million per year, if my math is correct. And yet, the man given oversight over the anniversary commission for the Vietnam veterans has slammed on the brakes, claiming "fiscal restraint". That man is Michael L. Rhodes, director of administration and management at the Pentagon.

Just this week it was announced by our Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, that the United States (that would be you and me) will be giving the Palestinian Authority $150 million. At a time when the economy is paramount in all of our minds.

So on Veterans' Day, keep in mind that in the New America, we can happily deny - once again - the honor of our veterans from the Vietnam War because of costs, but we can send $150 million to the Palestinian Authority without qualm.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

So Long Toots

I've tried really hard to refrain from using videos on the main page here, but when I stumbled on this gem, it was just too hard to resist.

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Justice as a Misnomer

We hear the word "justice" tossed around quite frequently these days, and often in startlingly cavalier fashion. While America is a nation of laws, its people are ever increasingly being subjected to the whims of its government under the guise of justice. It is a cunning practice, for who could legitimately argue against fairness?

The accelerating attacks on liberty are all bolstered by the spectre of justice in many forms. Social justice, economic justice, racial justice and the like have become a natural part of the American lexicon, and people numbly nod in agreement without so much as a casual thought as to what those things mean to themselves. Sooner or later there is going to come a shocking "wait-a-minute" moment, and then all Hell will break loose.

As government takes on more and more responsibility for our care, - or seizes it as the case may be - they also claim more of the necessary control in order to rein in associated costs. The latest example of this is the city of San Francisco's mandate that McDonalds cease and desist from selling Happy Meals. The reason? Obesity, and the cost associated with medically treating the ailments associated with being fat. Oh, McDonalds can still sell food, thanks to the gracious magnanimity of our "public servants", but they cannot package it with toys.

Add then to the list the moniker of nutritional justice. Just as social justice has outlawed your right to engage in a legal activity - smoking - in certain public settings, just as racial justice has criminalized speaking to someone in a cross manner or criticizing a person of different hue, and just as economic justice has suddenly made the redistribution of personal finances an acceptable practice in a nation that has redistributed more than its share of blood to fight such a thing, now we have our government dictating what we eat and drink.

The governor of New York, David Paterson, has also delved into the arena of government mastery, proposing taxes on sugary drinks and considering additional taxes on "other obesity-linked foods such as hamburgers and chocolate bars." Paterson attempts to justify these positions by claiming that the state would be able to better cover "the $7.6 billion the state spends every year to treat diseases from obesity." (Forgive my ignorance, but I thought that's what personal insurance and pro-rated premiums were for).

David Chapman has covered this in Townhall .com. Here is a sampling:

As it happens, soda taxes may affect only the people who don't need affecting. California Polytechnic State University economists Michael Marlow and Alden Shiers, writing in Regulation magazine, noted data showing that "taxes on alcohol consumption significantly lower drinking by light drinkers, but not heavy drinkers." One study found that a 58 percent tax on soda would "drop the average body mass by only 0.16 points" -- on a scale of 30.
Restrictions on fatty food are no more promising. Suppose a 5-year-old has a Happy Meal every week (which is how often new toys appear). Economist Michael Anderson of the University of California at Berkeley tells me that while a child who dines on fast food may get a couple of hundred extra calories, that's not much compared to the 11,000 calories she is likely to eat in a week.
Perhaps our elected officials should focus on the criminals who have slowly forced our children indoors and thereby into such sedentary lifestyles. Perhaps they should focus on releasing the taxation stranglehold on the people so that we may slow down enough to enjoy healthier meals at our own discretion. Maybe we would all benefit from lower stress levels through the absence of worry over how to make enough money to give more to a monolithic government.

As for McDonalds, I would love to see them sell the toys separately, and have parents buy food in a box, adding the toy before they bring the food to the table or to the home. That would be poetic justice for the ruling elites.

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Crashing the Party

West will join the CBC
After the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, Tennessee Democrat Stephen I. Cohen became a freshman Congressman. Representing a predominantly minority district, Cohen thought it would be a good idea to join the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). The problem was, Cohen is white. He was rejected by the Caucus, despite being a Democrat, simply because of his skin color. Ostensibly seeking the counsel of the membership in the belief that he could better understand his constituency, it's just as well that he was rebuffed.

This year Republicans turned the tables on the Democrats, figuratively smashing them at the polls. There were also some new Black Republican Congressmen elected. One of them was Allen West, a U.S. Army Retired Lieutenant Colonel, now Congressman-elect of Florida.

West is a no-nonsense man who doesn't buy into the notion that people of his color cannot succeed, and he has backed up that belief with solid actions. Both he and his wife, Angela, have proven that Blacks are no different than Whites when properly educated and motivated. And West doesn't have a very high tolerance for those who refuse to accept that simple truth.

To accentuate his point, he plans on joining the CBC in the 112th session of Congress, and he's not going to wait for an invitation. He was recently a guest on the Steve Malzberg Show, a radio program found on WOR 710 Radio, New York, weekday afternoons at 4:00 PM. Here's what Mr. West had to say:

It should be interesting to see how Allen West is received by the CBC, currently an exclusive club for Black Democrats. As noted, the CBC is more about being representative of Black "victims" than their other Democrat constituents. And after the treatment of White Democrat Stephen I. Cohen, as well as a similar rejection of White Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif thirty-five years ago, West will be the first Black Republican to join.

West, saying that it's so important "that we break down this quote unquote monolithic voice that continues to talk about victimization and dependency in the black community" seems poised to not only represent a fresh new beginning in race relations in America, but a promising beacon for the Black youth today who have been force-fed a steady diet of negativism.

God bless you, Allen West, and the best of luck in your new career.

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The Olbermann Affair

I feel true sympathy for the few thousand people in this country who actually depend on Keith Olbermann for their news, or even on MSNBC for that matter. For obvious reasons, that pity is derived from the fact that those people will now be deprived of their beloved bloviator. For peripheral reasons, it is because they have been so misinformed over the course of his career.

Olbermann has been suspended without pay indefinitely from the floundering cable network for violations of the corporation's rules regarding political contributions. Already the Liberal Progressive machine is mobilizing, ready to defend Keith with every lie and obfuscation in their play book. These modes of defense will be coupled with the obligatory "the other side is doing it too" excuse.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has fired the first salvo. Sanders, an Independent (cough, cough) has written a brief letter published by Politico demanding the immediate return of Olbermann to the airwaves, and his salary. And he employs the predictable plaintive wails usually reserved for children deprived of candy and equally devoid of reason. In his letter, Sanders makes the claim:
"At a time when the ownership of Fox News contributed millions of dollars to the Republican Party, when a number of Fox commentators are using the network as a launching pad for their presidential campaigns and are raising money right off the air, it is absolutely unacceptable that MSNBC suspended one of the most popular progressive commentators in the country."
Imagine Sanders' outrage had it been announced that FOX's Sean Hannity had made the maximum individual contribution of $2,400 to three different Republicans. Ah, but Sanders didn't mention that, he cleverly used a much larger figure - "millions of dollars" - as News Corp's contributions as a whole. This serves two purposes; it indicts an entire organization while giving his intended audience a comparative source of outrage, one they would never think to question.

That's why I'm here.

First, News Corporation is free to make political contributions, just as are major airwave networks and competing cable networks. Keith Olbermann was an employee of one such entity who was found to have violated one of its rules. And while Olbermann's own network took him down, the commentators of FOX News have been under constant attack by the competition who have repeatedly demanded that they be silenced. Big difference.

Sanders got his figures from the recent disclosure that News Corp. contributed a million dollars to the Republican Governors Association, a fact that the Left viewed as a perfect "gotcha" moment despite CNN's having reported on it in August. Sanders saw an opportunity to paint FOX as a purely partisan organization based on the disparity, as did the very network that just canned Olbermann. That being said, if Bernie Sanders wants to play the "who's worse" game by attempting to portray Olbermann's contributions as small and insignificant in contrast to those of all of News Corp., I say "my serve".

While Democrats - holding hats in hand - complain bitterly about the possibility of "anonymous corporate donors" , they seem to have no problem spending the money of the workers they claim to champion, nor the money - by extension - of taxpayers. News Corp. has donated a few million dollars to Republican candidates and PACs. But the three largest unions in the country have donated more than $150 million to Democrats. (Most of that money is derived from the dues of union members, which is supposed to pay for benefits and retirement).

Barack Obama was the largest beneficiary of campaign contributions from BP Oil, not only a large corporation in the oil industry, but a foreign corporation to boot. Yet the Democrats complain of corporate financing influencing our elections.

Back to the point, though. Liberal interests and politicians have been scheming for years to somehow get FOX News shut down and silenced. Now they are allegedly outraged over one lunatic getting suspended for breaking his employer's rule. Media Matters is already whining that Sean Hannity and Neil Cavuto made contributions to Republican organizations, thus fulfilling the promise of the "they're doing it, too" excuse.

One small problem with that argument, however; News Corp. doesn't ban the practice. Neither do some large broadcast companies, whose employees donate to all kinds of causes, politics included. Olbermann hasn't been silenced, as Bernie Sanders intimates, he's been disciplined. It happens all the time in the grown-up work place. If Keith has a beef with that, perhaps he should take it up with his shop steward.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Surviving the Referendum

To begin, I would be remiss if I didn't offer my most sincere gratitude and congratulations to my fellow Americans, without whom yesterday would not have been possible. Having suffered the machinations of one-party rule for two years, you have all managed to hang on and fight back to put an end to the madness. The 2010 mid-term elections were an incredible event, thanks to all of you.

The Tea Party has endured and defeated the most vitriolic campaign the so-called mainstream media could unleash. Never once did they think to back down, to give up, to throw up their hands and accept the seeming futility of it all. Perhaps the reason for such truculence and perseverance was always the mantel of truth. And our preferred candidates felt it.

The leftist networks and cable shows did not receive the message last night in the aftermath of the drubbing their party took, continuing to use ridicule and false bravado as a tool to defeat those who had already vanquished them.  Chris Matthews of Hardball on MSNBC, along with those on his panel, interviewed Michele Bachmann after polls closed in Minnesota's 6th C.D. Bachmann, a favorite target of Liberal pundits and a Tea Party darling and beneficiary, infuriated host Matthews by reminding him of his "thrill-up-his-leg" moment in the Obama ascendancy.

Matthews and company predictably laughed like school children at her performance during the interview, further exposing the juvenile mentality that permeates the halls of Liberal enclaves such as MSNBC. But Matthews' irritation was clearly evident. Score another one for Bachmann and - as a result - all of us. (Matthews' indignant retort was one of pure semantics because Bachmann used the word "tingle" instead of thrill).

While last night was a time of jubilation for us - the American patriots fed up with lectures and heavy-handed "compassion" from the people we hire to serve us - the underlying message was still clear from the coasts and other liberal bastions. The politicians most responsible for our successful activism were left unscathed. That may prove beneficial to us as we traverse the next 733 days until the presidential elections, but is disappointing nonetheless.

Outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi will still be a House Representative, although not as Speaker, and Harry Reid will retain his position as Senate Majority Leader. However, the disappointment of those results should be seized as the fuel we need to continue the fight. Just as comfort and complacency were concerns going into yesterday's polls, so must we remain alert to the sad truth that those regions will never be transformed. But they can be isolated.

How many times over the past decade have we heard the snobbish denigration by elitist politicians of rural America as "fly-over" country? That characterization is not about to change, despite the fact that "fly-over" country just handed them the sort of drubbing  bested only once in our brief history. I say let them have their Liberal encampments on the distant shores, and let them fly over to their hearts' content.

They had their shot, and they failed miserably, but never assume that the war is over. You (we) have awakened a spirit that has been too long dormant in this greatest nation on Earth, and as I wrote on Election eve, politics is far from a gentlemanly sport. We have already demonstrated our immunity to their sharp-tongued barbs. We have already proved the worth of our beliefs, and we have shown that theirs is a house of cards. But vigilance is not to be abandoned now.

There is still the specter of the lame-duck damage the bitter losers from yesterday may inflict upon us. And we have so much to undo as we move forward. Do not take the olive branch being offered, and never assume that their contrition is genuine. Just as a defeated combatant seeks to lure you in by exploiting your compassionate nature, only to bury a concealed brick in your head, so will Liberal Progressives attempt to use the Ju-Jitsu philosophy against you.

Yesterday was a clear referendum on the policies of our current government, despite what the President may say. You did this. You succeeded. Don't wipe your hands and feel that the job is done now. Stay fired up and vigilant for the next contest. They will be numerous and forthcoming.

Nevertheless, great job yesterday. I am proud today.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Game Day Prep

Graphic Courtesy of a Special Friend
It's generally considered bad form for one professional football team to run up the score on a badly out-classed opponent. When one team is clearly cruising to victory, they are expected to suddenly behave in a gentlemanly manner, and deliberately lay back until the final whistle. While this sounds like a very nice and sportsmanlike gesture, it runs contrary to everything that football players do in preparation for game day. 

Football players train all week to take the field as warriors with one goal; winning. To have them turn that emotion off - or even to dial it down a notch - contradicts everything they worked so hard for prior to the game. Too many times it has backfired, much to the chagrin of the formerly jubilant fans who suddenly see their heroes of the day turned into the vanquished.

We see that same mentality today in both war arenas, Iraq and Afghanistan, where our soldiers - trained to fight and kill - are ordered to fight nicely.  Rarely does such a strategy result in anything resembling a positive outcome. There comes a time when the practice must be abandoned. Tomorrow is it.

Tomorrow is Election Day, as if anyone reading this needed that reminder. We have all been riveted to the polls and prognostications, feeling like the game is ours for the taking. All we have to do is show up. Ironically, that is true to a point for an election, but in sports it means you have to do more than just show have to play.

Tomorrow, we have to not only show up, we have to vote. Don't just drive by your polling precinct and think, "Wow, what a crowd. I guess they have it covered. I'm going shopping." No, go in and vote, no matter how good it looks. For late voters, don't worry about reporting precincts predicting the landslide victory we do expect.

Go in, run up the score. Rub their noses in it, spike the ball and do an end zone dance.

Remember Nancy Pelosi and crew walking and laughing after inflicting the Health Care bill on us. Remember all of the rhetoric about that stupid car in the ditch. Remember all of the admissions that no one read the legislation that they passed. Remember the arrogance of your representatives at town hall meetings (think of Pete Stark, for starters). Remember all of the union thuggery exhibited by the likes of the SEIU, et al.

Remember being called domestic threats by Janet Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security, and stupid by your own Congresspeople. And remember your president referring to you as "the enemy" to an Hispanic television station.

As you vote tomorrow, remember all of this. As you contemplate the trip to your polling place, and perhaps consider that your vote might not mean much...remember. Go. Vote.

Make 'em pay.

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