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First Things First—Our Foundation

22 Sep

Good to have you back. Let’s look at the bedrock of guiding principles set out by our Founders. They are very important. But, we have strayed away from them during the past twenty-five years. And it’s getting worse at an ever-increasing pace.We must rededicate ourselves to these principles before it is too late. Let’s review them:

  • A representative democracy,
  • A respect for individual and civil liberties,
  • A respect for human rights,
  • A belief in the equality of men and women,
  • And, a tolerance of different worldviews and religious beliefs.

You might argue that Secretary Clinton subscribes to the same thoughts. But you would be wrong. I really believe that.

Her acknowledged means of securing these values is totally different than the more conservative approach prescribed by the Founders.

Our Constitution lays out a much better approach. That is: maximize individual freedom by limiting government to specific areas of responsibilities.

Who we select to run our country for the next four to eight years will dictate the fundamental course of our human events.

Just what is at stake as “We the People” step into that voting booth and check off our picks in November? Well, let’s start with the fate of our Constitution itself.

Let us look at three of the amendments contained in the Bill of Rights: the First, Second and Tenth. Each of these has been severely threatened in the last several years.

The First Amendment

The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Jaded interpretations of our religious liberties eat away at the foundation upon which this great nation was founded. The values highlighted in a Judeo-Christian believe system has served us well over the years.

Many other religions subscribe to these values as well. However there are some that don’t.

If a religion won’t allow its followers to pledge allegiance to the Untied States, then let them visit, but not stay. Certainly not become citizens of this great country.

But as long as they align with keeping our nation strong, safe and free from religious persecution, we should welcome them. 

Did The Founders Screw Up?

If the Founders made a major blunder it was that they should also have referenced the Supreme Court and the President, as well as Congress, in the First amendment.

Of late the Court hasn’t felt constrained from establishing new laws now and again. President Obama has even has made up a few new laws on his own. Rightfully, that’s Congress’s job.

Members of the Supreme Court need a refresher on just what their duties are. Am I being a bit presumptuous? Perhaps, but that’s my take on what the Constitution dictates.

The beauty of the First Amendment is that it prevents government from adopting a particular religion. Government can’t force a particular religion on us. Nor can any individual or religious doctrine demand any other individual or our country to subscribe to its beliefs or practices.

It is clear our Founders knew what it meant to live under the threat of not going along with a religion sponsored by its government. They wanted to make sure that our citizens aren’t required to practice any particular religious doctrine or to have no religion at all if they so choose.

What about freedom of speech? Wow, has this concept been pummeled lately. I’ll admit that many people have stretched the boundaries of just what that freedom means.

A little common sense, common courtesy, and sensitivity would help. Perhaps some thicker skin would also help. But to abolish certain words, or allow only select people who use them goes against the grain of what our Founders prescribed.

In the old days: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” made sense. Today, maybe not so much. I’m just saying—let’s not get carried away.

On to the Second Amendment next time. See you then.

 

A slippery slope too far…

19 Sep

Our two major political parties are badly split on one very important issue. Just how should our Constitution dictate the way we live our lives?

The Republicans believe the principles laid out by our founding fathers should determine how we behave as a nation. The democrats prefer that things have changed so much that these principles no longer apply.

One Supreme Court ruling after another have sided with the liberals. Each moving us further away from the individual freedom and limited government the Founders drafted for us. Our nation is careening down that “proverbial slippery slope” at the speed of a full-blown avalanche. One could say we are quivering precariously on the very edge of no return.

I think we are smashing headlong toward a catastrophic dismantling of our constitutionally guaranteed way of life. A way that has served us well for over two hundred years.

Individual freedom is being ripped from our grasp almost daily. Liberal doses of Political Correctness and ideological, rather than constitutionally based Supreme Court rulings have inched us closer to the edge. Feckless leadership by our recent presidents and many of our so-called congressional leaders push us even closer.

“We the People” have a choice to make in November. That choice has never been clearer.

Will we pick continued reliance on our government for supplying our basic needs? Or will we shift back toward self-reliance leaving the government to safeguard only the poor, the weak and the needy?

Do we want an all-powerful central government rather than control closer to “We the People?” These are the questions that voters will answer in November.

Tune out now if you are frightened by the thought of individual responsibility. Or by the thought that you, not the government, are your “brother’s keeper.”

If you fall in this camp reading on will only infuriate you. Kind of like I react reading the progressive gibberish spewed out by the liberal blogosphere. Except my language isn’t so crass.

If you want a country that is truly diverse, not just racially and ethnically, then continue reading. Explore the possibility of a country blessed with a healthy dose of diversity of thought. In other words, a county strengthened by a melting pot not unlike that which made this country truly exceptional.

If you’re inclining toward where I’m heading, hang in there. See you on my next post.

 

In the beginning…there was…

15 Sep

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“We the People of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

This Constitution guaranteed “We the People” individual liberty and freedom. Its fundamental principles, if followed, will protect us from an oppressive government. Never again did our Founders want their children or grandchildren to live under a government that rules over us, dictating our every move.

But will this guarantee last forever? So long as we stick to the principles outlined therein we will be OK..

The founders felt an all-powerful government was not in the best interest of the people. They provided us a Constitution that protects us against such a government. That protection will remain as long as we want it.

But if we get sloppy and neglect its principles we can forfeit that protection. And it can be lost is less than a generation.

The Constitution set out the principles that guards against man’s natural tendency to seek power. Carefully crafted “checks and balances” allows the pendulum of power to swing back and forth. Thus assuring that power-hungry politicians could never steal power from “We the People.”

Our Constitution places political power squarely on the shoulders of “We the People.” The bedrock of power plainly and unmistakably rests with “We the People.”

After “We The People,” the power shifts to the individual states. Always keeping control as close to “We the People” as possible.

Finally, just to make sure that the central government’s power is kept in check; the Constitution specifically limits its power. Only after those activities the states and local government can’t effectively handle does power shift to the central government. Things like providing for our nation’s defense and regulation of immigration into our country clearly belong at the federal level.

These aren’t living, changeable principles. No, they are carved in stone. Should we violate them, we do so at our peril.

That’s not to say that things can’t change as time marches on. The Constitution provides a method to make adjustments when appropriate.

Several changes have been made from time to time. One of those amendments (XVIII) was reversed when “We The People” decided a mistake was made.

I think at least one other Amendment should be reversed (XVII) as it takes away the power the states should have over the federal government.

Perhaps one other (XVI) should be modified to require a vote of “We the People” as well as Congress before imposing income taxes on us. After all wasn’t “taxation without representation” one of the reasons we fought to break away from England?

I hardly think that only five or six hundred people adequately represent three to four hundred million people. Do you? Yet that is exactly how it works in this day and age. Sometime as few as five can mess things up.

So today we are struggling to see just how we proceed as a nation. Clearly, it is simply not possible for us to continue to think that we can continue on as we have the past twenty or so years. Now is the time to fish or cut bait.

That is what we’ll explore in the next few articles. It should be interesting.

 

OUR COUNTRY’S FATE RESTS IN THE OUTCOME

12 Sep

Never in the course of human events does so much depend on what you do on or before the night of November 7, 2016. You have the opportunity to express your opinion upon the direction this nation will embark.

Now I don’t care if you care what I care about. But if you’re interested to find out…well here’s how.

I plan to post a number of my views over the next few weeks. Maybe longer if I think my investment of time might be of interest to you. Most posts might follow a pre-determined plan of attack. Others might be interjected in response to unfolding events.

Just so you know up front (though it won’t take long to figure out), I’m a Republican…a Conservative Republican at that.

This I will guarantee: These blogs will contain language suitable for most any family. My thoughts, on the other hand, will be decidedly of a conservative nature. So if your family can’t comfortably delve into that realm of diversity, then you best just skip over any urge to click on the link to my website.

I encourage your thoughts on my posts. I will pass them along, but the words you use matter. They must be family friendly or they’ll end up in the “Spam” trash.

So, if you’re ready, check out my next post in a few days.

Oh, regardless of whether or not you choose to come along with me on this journey, do resolve to VOTE. It is truly important. VERY IMPORTANT! Please VOTE!

 

If You Can’t….Don’t

01 Jan

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As we begin a new year it is customary to resolve to accomplish certain tasks.  I’m usually not into this custom as I know the keeping of such usually lasts only a few weeks or months at the most.  However, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I find myself dumbfounded, distressed, dismayed and even a bit depressed by the ill thought out policies of our president, Mr. Obama.  Whether or not it is his aim to drag our great country through the mud, that is in fact what he is doing.

I guess it is understandable how a background such as his could lead one to detest what America stands for.  I can see how he might feel that way, but I can not for the life of me understand why he wants to lead this nation.  That is unless he wants to transform the United State into a second rate, nay even a third rate country.  If indeed that is his aim he is succeeding.

He had such promise when he began his presidency.  We, as a nation could feel proud that he, a black man became president.  It seemed to prove that we had moved away from wounds fomented at our country’s beginning.  When he said he was going to transform this country I felt he meant truly transport us into a post racial period.  One like Martin Luther King envisioned.  One where a man or woman would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.  He was poised to put political bickering aside and unite us into the melting pot that made us so strong.  He promised to put country before political party.  In spite of a lack of real world experience his message was so promising that the country fell in behind him, dreaming of a great leader.

That image was shattered within days of being sworn in.  One might wonder if he took the oath of office at all seriously.  His actions crushed each promise one by one.  It soon became clear that he wanted to relegate us to the European model.  Perhaps not truly socialistic, but darn close to it.

Each step he took drug us down into a pit of economic despair through overregulation and uncontrolled spending.  And I found, more and more that I was being sucked down right along with it.  At first I was focused on his policies.  Those I certainly didn’t like. Then as time went by I saw those policies morph into him, the man.  I finally realized that I was beginning to not like the man.

This shift of dislike from his policies to him the man was disturbing to me.  I did not like what was happening.  But happening it was.  As I pondered what was going on, I was reminded of something my grandmother had instilled in my belief system.  Repeatedly she would say: “If you can’t say something good about someone, you shouldn’t say anything at all about them.”

I’ve tried to live by that standard, but obviously I’ve gone astray from time to time.  It seems time to resolve that in the case of President Obama I should reconstitute this belief and put it to work.

So as the new year begins, I resolve to not say anything about President Obama unless it is something good about him.  That is at least in this blog.

So let me start now.  President Obama

 

As the Worm Turns

28 Dec

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As the year comes splashing to an end,

And the next is just around the bend,

I contemplate the events just passed,

And put them clearly in the past.

 

Am I proud of what I’ve done?

I guess I am except for one.

If you can guess it, be my guest,

If not, then, I’ll just put it to rest.

 

I’ve made my share of real mistakes,

But not so many I’ll apply the brakes.

It’s been for me a pleasant year,

I hope it’s also brought you cheer.

 

Yes, the first is just days away,

Plenty of time to go out and play.

Though that’s not really my game,

I’ll do it some just the same.

 

To all of you out in ether land,

God bless you and our great land.

I’m glad you visited from time to time,

In your honor I’ll fill my glass with wine.

 

It’s now time make a resolution,

Worry not for its no revolution.

But it will be I’m very sure,

A change in direction to make time whirr.

 

I appreciate your rapt attention,

Hope it spurred some retention.

If not, however, I’ll not cry,

‘Cuse perhaps our paths will be nearby.

 

So now it’s time to say,

As we plant this year in dark red clay,

Lift your mugs filled with frothy beer,

I toast you all with a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

Clear the Skies! Here He Comes!!!

24 Dec

Tonight will be sleepless worldwide.  If only all children, in every nook and cranny could be blessed with a happy family and wonderful living environments we could really enjoy the upcoming day.  Sadly, that is not the case.  Maybe one day it will be.  If mankind doesn’t find a way to accomplish that, the one whose birth we celebrate tomorrow will surely do it for us.

Let us strive to fulfill our individual purposes to the best of our abilities.  May we be successful in our execution of our tasks.

In the meantime–MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL.  AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!!!

 

Tis the Season for Vacations

21 Dec

Everyone is doing it.  Why shouldn’t the President?  Why shouldn’t the Congress?

Well, everyone isn’t doing it.  In fact many aren’t.  Think of the police, firemen, EMT professionals, even ticket takers at the movie houses.

Then there are those that seemingly are on vacation but really aren’t.  They are the millions of unemployed.  The very ones that our fearless leaders could be helping if only they would stay on the job until the job is done.  Then again, more than a few of our leaders will be on a forced vacation of their own by this time next year.

The lucky ones, like me, are living a pleasant vacation as we while away the hours until we are elevated to an infinitely long vacation…..at least we hope that’s the way we’re headed.  But if our leaders don’t get to leading we too will be pushed into the kind of retirement that we surely don’t aspire to.

It’s not like they couldn’t have already done their jobs.  They tend to procrastinate.  In fact they take that exercise to an all new level.  I know it is difficult for them to make hard decisions.  We are, after all, approaching an election year.  Rather than be motivated to excel in the art of governing, they sit there frozen like deer in the headlights waiting for the train to hit them.  And the train will hit some of them right between their eyes.  That is except for those running away from their assigned work.  Worry not.  The train will get them too…right in their over calloused…well you know where.

It’s easy for me to criticize them I suppose.  I’ve never had to walk in their shoes.  I’ve not even tried to get a pair of my own by running for office.  However, like many, I don’t shy away from sending a barb their way from time to time.

I do hope that they can find a way to carve out a little bit of time to complete their task before year’s end.  The country is counting on them.

 

Ryan & Wyden Call Obama’s Bluff

17 Dec

How many times have you heard President Obama say that he is willing to listen to any plan that someone comes up with.  Sure, usually he is referring to any plan the republicans come up with.  Paul Ryan and Ron Wyden have put together a proposal for him to consider.  Let’s see if he really means that his mind will be open.  If so, this will be the first time.

The Ryan-Wyden plan for medicare has several things going for it.  It is bipartisan.  It gives people choices.  And, it presents an option that brings competition into the mix.

From Obama’s perspective it seems to have only one thing going for it.  It is bipartisan, that is unless he kicks Wyden out of his party.  He cringes at anything that gives people a choice other than total government control.  And he detests anything that smacks of competing with the government.

The Ryan-Wyden plan puts something on the table for discussion.  Now I haven’t personally heard the president come out against it, but he has certainly sent his minions out to cut it off at the pass.

He should put his his big ears (his description not mine) to work.  Perhaps they need a cleaning.  It is for sure that he either doesn’t hear these proposals or in spite of global warming his brain freezes up.  I suspect the latter as time after time he has rejected out of hand any and all proposals that deviate from his mantra: It must be government controlled and run.

I hope the Ryan-Wyden plan doesn’t spoil his vacation.  I doubt that it will since he has had many of them.  I guess he is just trying to get one right.  I’m sure he won’t let this little bit of work get in his way.

I do wish him a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (at least the first ten months of the year).

 

Agenda 21–Beware

14 Dec

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Agenda 21 was the outgrowth of a 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development.  While this is a voluntary action plan that advocates “smart-growth” policies, its impact has created havoc.  “Smart-growth” is essentially what is more familiarly known as  “social engineering”; an effort to make society conform with some goals that “the high and mighty” want to subject on us.  That is to say, they know what is best for us, something we couldn’t possible know because….well, we just don’t know what is good for us.

Throughout my career I witnessed “social engineering” creep, first slowly, the rapidly into our transportation system.  When I began working for the Oregon Highway Department in 1961 highways were the backbone of our economic growth.  Timber and farming were our major industries followed by tourism and fishing.  It was relatively easy to plan, locate, design and construct a highway in those days.  I’ve seen many highways move from location to completion in less than a year.  Sure, many took much longer, but as fast as we could get the money we could improve the system measurably.

The “shovel ready” jobs (like President Obama claimed to have) were readily available so if we suffered a recession of some sort, we could put people to work quickly, often funded by a bond program.  A typical highway jobs in the rural area might cost a few hundred thousand dollars per mile.  In urban areas, a freeway might run up to one or two million a mile.

Oregon chose to set a high priority on rural completion of the Interstate system so our early efforts made significant improvements and were loudly applauded.  It was a priority of the state to get the backbone build as quickly as possible.  The public was strongly supportive of our work.  Largely because, our highways were paid for from a constitutionally formed trust fund.  That meant that the money our citizens were paying at the pump could be spent only on highway related work.

Resistance began building as we moved into the urban areas.  Before any Interstate money could be spent in our three largest cities, a highway plan had to be developed cooperatively with the urban governments.  This planning went very well at first.

Then in the early seventies along came the “smart-growth” movement.  Oregon was a leader in this effort.  The Highway Department was merged with the Aeronautics Department and several other related governmental units. This became the Department of Transportation.  That meant that we had to plan for all of the ways people got around–highway, bus, train, boat and air.  My job at that time was to pull all this planning together and make it work to the benefit of our traveling public.

Also at that time the state added two new agencies to our roster–The Department of Land Conservation and Development; and the Department of Energy.  I also was charged with setting up the Highway Division’s first Environmental Section.  Typical of any bureaucracy that meant bigger budgets and more people.  Before I was through we were able to get the Legislature to add around a hundred more people to our payroll.  And that was just for our department.

Highways were still the major backbone of our system and to get them built we had to follow the “new rules.”  And our efforts couldn’t be just paper tigers, they had to perform the work required by our new legislation.

Then as each year went by, more and more obstacles were placed before us.  We had always held public hearings and worked closely with the counties and cities.  But now we had to present our plans to the public as they were being developed.  Until then, by law, we had to keep our highway planning a secret to prevent developers from buying up land near them, thereby running up the cost of right-of-way significantly.  Then we had to make sure that we looked at all possible alternatives and their costs.  That really jacked up the cost of our projects and created significant delays.  A whole new set of lawyers were generated to fight our projects.   Anybody could stop or delay the building of just about anything for years.

Even that was tolerable to me, a died in the wool conservative.  The state still needed better highways in order to satisfy the growth that our system was allowing to happen.  But then in the late eighties and early nineties the “smart growth” movement really moved into high gear.

No longer were we trying to do what the public wanted us to do.  No, now we were trying to convince our citizens that they needed to change their lifestyles to conform with the policies of the “smart growth” movement.  In other words instead of saying (and meaning it) that “we are here to help you,” we were saying, “we’re here to tell you what you need to do in order to move our society in the required direction.”  It was a community organizer’s fondest dream.

As it turned out the timing for my departure was at hand.  I loved the work that I had done and much of what I was still doing.  But politics and wishful thinking helped me to decide to retire when I did.  And I’m very glad that I was able to do just that.

 
 

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