Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

My Photo
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Ah, Childhood!

Tim Blair has a great post on his site about childhood behavior and safety. It got me thinking. My childhood was totally different than that of my children. Much of that is because of the difference in where I experienced my childhood (semi-rural Louisiana in the 1950's and early 1960's) and where they did (all over the world as military dependents in the 70's, 80,s and 90's). Another major difference was that I spent my childhood as a part of a large extended family, while my children existed in a single nuclear family. Times changed, people changed, the world grew more crowded, and the dangers were more widely acknowledged. Much of the fun was also eliminated, as the "acceptable level of risk" became smaller and smaller.

I grew up in an area where I had free reign of about 30 square miles of forest, pasture, streams, gardens and open areas. There were perhaps sixty houses on our "street", but most of the lots were huge. Ours was three acres - a hundred sixty feet wide, and almost a half mile deep. My dad's parents lived next door. My dad's youngest brother's mother-in-law lived across the street from us. A dozen other relatives lived within ten houses, one way or another. It was a quarter-mile to the school, and I went to the same school for twelve years (mine was the last class to do that, and only half of us actually stayed in the same buildings for twelve years). I started first grade the same year my dad's youngest sister started junior high, and there were always a dozen or more cousins in school with me at the same time. Of the 133 people in my graduating class, two were first cousins and one was a fourth cousin. There may have been more, but the family tree is so tangled only a forensics expert working full-time for a hundred years would be able to tell. To my knowledge, none of my children every went to school with a known relative. Never.

We had animals as far back as I can remember. There was always a cow or two, and for many years there were turkeys, chickens, and rabbits. I raised pigs as a 4-H project for four years. My grandfather had a small gray donkey for a few years, and a few relatives had horses. I learned to milk cows at ten, and by high school it was one of my full-time chores. There were always dogs and cats around as well. Quite often, I would bring home other animals to care for, ranging from a six-foot green snake to frogs, lizards, tadpoles, crawfish, snails, birds of all types (including a barn owl once), and small rodents. At least here our children have shared some of those experiences. We've always had at least a cat, and frequently both cat and dog. My youngest daughter loves hamsters, and has had several.

My dad always planted a garden. In fact, for several years our garden took up almost an acre of ground. We grew everything that would grow in the south, from beans and corn to squash and cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, eggplant, peas, okra, and watermelon. We had plums, figs, pecans and pears. We picked wild blackberries and huckleberries (similar to blueberries), gathered mayhaws (something close to crabapples) for jelly, and canned and froze enough to last all winter, not only for us but for a dozen relatives. We hunted and fished, and even did a little trapping. I've tried to teach my children to garden and to fish, with very poor results.

I was free to run our "neighborhood" - an area that extended from one major highway a mile to the east to another major highway a mile or more to the west, from the Dairy Queen three miles to the south to the church I attended and the friends that lived behind it a mile to the north. I sold the "Grit" newspaper as a teen. My paper route covered 26 miles, covered each weekend on a bicycle I bought for $2 when I was twelve. A friend of mine and I used to walk miles at a time, just for fun, when we were in high school. We've given our children as much freedom as we could, and encouraged them to work. Our oldest delivered the Stars and Stripes newpaper in Germany for a year, and ran the city of Wiesbaden with her other teenage friends. Today it's not safe for our youngest to do the same kinds of things in Colorado Springs.

I was a naughty child in many, many ways. I began by being gone from daylight to dark, running the forests, living on wild blackberries and other good things I could find, and driving my mother to screaming fits - at age five. I climbed trees (and fell out of several of them, but never getting seriously hurt), scraped knees, was bitten by all manner of insects and spiders, stung by bees and wasps, played with poison oak and poison ivy, stomped through muddy streams in knee-deep water, caught frogs and lizards and crawfish by the dozens, and just plain had FUN! I was hardly ever alone, but the leader of a group of a dozen or so children, half of them cousins of one degree or another. We had china-berry wars, slingshot wars (with dried clay balls - almost as hard as rocks), played cowboys and indians, and had a great time. We had pick-up baseball games in the summer, basketball and football games in the winter, went swimming in the creek or a nearby lake (with someone always on watch for snakes and alligators), had weiner and marshmallow roasts over an open fire in the back yard, stayed out all night in the back pasture, and did a thousand other things my children never got to enjoy.

We would go to the drive-in on Dollar-a-car night with twelve or more people piled into whatever car someone had at the time, skated at the local roller rink (without pads or safety equipment), went to school functions and church functions and just plain parties, usually with adult supervision, but without danger. Friends stayed over frequently, relatives visited and all the kids slept on pallets on the floor. Relatives were a big thing in my youth. My parents both came from large families, and we visited back and forth. My own children have visited my brother with us several times, and my wife's brother and sister now and then, but it's never been quite the same as those childhood visits of my early years. I was luckier than my brother, who's five years younger than I am. I knew two of my great-grandparents, and all four of my grandparents, well enough to remember them now, forty years or more after their deaths.

My parent's first home was heated by a propane heater in the kitchen, and a woodburning stove in the bedroom. One of my clearest childhood memories is helping my dad cut wood with a cross-cut saw. I was maybe six or seven at the time, and we cut a dead oak into foot-long sections and hauled them home through the snow in my red wagon. It doesn't snow often in Louisiana, and each one is deeply impressed in my memory. One of my jobs as a young child was cutting the kindling needed to start those wood fires. I had my own hatchet to perform this simple task, and I thought I was 'in tall cotton', as my parents would say.

Another early childhood chore was gathering eggs. I didn't dare break one - eggs were important. Unless you've ever eaten an angel-food cake made from scratch using turkey eggs, you've led a deprived existence. That's another thing my children have never experienced. My wife's made angel-food cake, and even one from scratch, but never using turkey eggs. Chicken eggs just don't compare.

It's impossible to remember in a few thousand words all the experiences of my childhood. I'm not sure a 500-page book would be enough. There are so many things - riding bareback on a mule - driving a tractor for the first time - cutting our own Christmas tree on 'the back forty' - riding in the cab of a steam locomotive at age seven, or just plain riding across a third of this nation in a railroad dome car - making snow ice cream - shooting snakes on the river at sunset - watching a momma bobcat feed her young - catching fireflies in the summertime - fighting a brush fire caused by some careless smoker. Growing up was full of wonder, and surprises, and the chance to learn about life and living.

Life wasn't all fun and games, or work. There were hard times, and childhood accidents. I've fallen out of trees, cut my foot on broken glass, carved my own fingers while whittling, and even once jammed a piece of barbed wire completely through my bare foot. I've been stung by scorpions and just about every kind of bee and wasp that lives in Louisiana. I stepped into a yellow jacket nest when I was sixteen, and was stung so many times my parents were afraid I'd go into shock from them. My mother became a practical nurse when I was twelve. One of the reasons she did so was so she could take care of all the scrapes, cuts, bruises, burns, bites, stings and sprains my brother and I would come home with.

Through all the wildness, the craziness, the escape from adult supervision, and 'learning the hard way', I lived, and lived well, as a child. I learned how to deal with a large part of the world by doing it. At fifty-eight, I look back and marvel that I survived. Yet I know that I've done things, experienced things, and enjoyed things that my children never can, and their lives are poorer as a result.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The Worth of Challenges

Blogging's been light for the past three weeks, and may continue to be light until I finish the current novel I'm writing. One of the major reasons was that I accepted a challenge - the challenge to write at least 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days, sponsored by the National Novel Writing Month organization, NaNoWriMo. It was a good challenge, and I've finished thirteen and a half chapters of a new novel, "King's Cross". I still have two, three, four, or five chapters to go, depending on how things work out, and how soon I can get everything tied up nice and tight in the end. This challenge has been good for me, because it got me back into writing. I love to write, and have a few novels posted on my personal website. "King's Cross" will join them as soon as I complete it.

Different people respond differently to challenges. Some people require a challenge to do their best. Others fear challenges, and shrink from even the mildest of them. Some people seek out challenges as an afirmation of their own abilities. Others hide from challenges, or dread them. Still others seek small challenges. Frequently challenges are forced upon people, and how they respond is a good indicator of the true character of that person. The response by President Bush to the challenges of September 11, 2001, is an excellent example of how a fairly ordinary person can rise to greatness in response to a challenge.

We're fast approaching the one of the two greatest times in Christian life, when we celebrate the miracle of the birth of Jesus, God born as man. This, too, was a time of challenge - for Mary, and Joseph, and even more for the priest Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth. Zacharias and Elizabeth were devout Jews, following the commandments and doing the work of God, yet they were unable to have children. Elizabeth was past the age most women gave birth when God sent an Angel to Zacharias.

Luke 1

11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Zacharias wasn't quite up to the challenge of learning his wife would bear him a son, even when an angel of the Lord spoke to him. The angel punished him for his disbelief by preventing him from being able to talk until the child was born.

None of the Gospels record Mary's turbulent thoughts as she faced God's chosen angel:

Luke 1

26 ¶ And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
39 ¶ And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;
40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

Mary believed, and accepted the challenge laid upon her. Elizabeth and her cousin Mary must have been fairly close, for Mary to just walk in and stay for three months, but both women were willing to accept the challenge God had laid upon each of them. Today we revere Mary for her joy in her son Jesus.

Joseph also faced a challenge. He and Mary were to be wed when he discovered that she was with child. A woman bearing a child out of wedlock was considered an anathema to the Jews. Joseph would have been perfectly within his rights to reject Mary, and turn against her, even to having her stoned in the streets. Once more an angel of God threw down the challenge:

Matthew 1

18 ¶ Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Joseph, too, accepted the word of the angel, and rose to the challenge. He was faithful to Mary, and to her son.

Challenges are a part of life. Some are small. Some, like those faced by Elizabeth and Zachariah, and Joseph and Mary, can change the world. These people didn't accomplish what was necessary to overcome their challenges on their own, but through the help, guidance and support of God in Heaven. President Bush, too, acknowledges that God played a large part in his response to the tragedy of 9/11, and to the current challenges he faces as President of the United States.

Each day, as we face life's challenges let us remember the words the angel of God said to Mary: "For with God nothing shall be impossible.". By turning to Him, and asking His help and support, we can accomplish whatever we're asked to do, in His name. There is no challenge too great for God, or for us, with God.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Between doctor's appointments, trying to keep up with things at home, getting ready for Thanksgiving, and trying to finish a 50,000-word novel before November 30th, I haven't had much time to work on my blog. The novel is about 4/5 done. By the time the Thaksgiving weekend is over, I should be over the 50,000-word mark, and into the last chapter. Once I've finished it and proofed it, I'll post it to my regular webpage, where my other novels are. This month has not been the best to try to write a novel during, but I'll finish before the due date. The readers I've had look over what I've written so far have been enthusiastic about it. Once I've got this one done, I'll begin working on a novel I'd started, but put aside halfway through when I lost about 2/3 of it to a computer disk crash. I promise to do it at a much slower pace, and spend more time blogging!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Wild in the City

I had a doctor's appointment Friday out at the Air Force Academy. It's not unusual to see deer on the Academy grounds. There are tens of thousands of acres of open space between the scattered occupied spaces. There are two or three different herds on the grounds, ranging in size from about sixty to well over two hundred. Occasionally, you'll see wild turkeys, too. Eagles and falcons are present from time to time, but you don't often see them. I wasn't surprised to see a small group of four or five deer when I turned on Pinon drive and headed toward the hospital. I was very careful when I came by that area again. The deer there are almost tame, but they can still run out in front of your car. You DON'T want to hit one of these big mule deer!

The deer weren't there when I came out, and I didn't think anything more about them. The traffic on Academy Boulevard was worse than normal, and took all my concentration. When I drove through the intersection at the top of the hill heading down toward Maizeland Drive, however, the traffic ahead of me came to a complete stop. It took me a couple of minutes to see why.

There on the sidewalk on the east side of Academy Boulevard was a large mule deer, wanting to cross the highway and go back into Palmer Park, a large natural area on the west of the highway. The deer was coming out of a group of apartment buildings. He trotted up the sidewalk for about thirty yards, until the cars stopped behind him. The traffic also stopped on the other side of the street. Once all the cars had stopped, the deer trotted across the highway and up into the pines on the other side of the road.

Academy Boulevard is probably THE busiest street in Colorado Springs. It's amazing that a deer would even attempt to cross it. It's even more amazing the animal had adapted well enough to know it should wait until the traffic stopped before it trotted across the highway. Yet that's exactly what appears to have happened.

When we build cities, we displace a lot of wildlife. Apparently, the wildlife is moving back in, and adapting to city life and city ways. This deer was not the first, nor the only wild animal I've spotted. There's a family of foxes that live in a juniper along the front of a house several streets away from here. My neighbor has a couple of squirrels that have taken over birdhouses in his back yard. I've seen rabbits in a dozen different places, and there's a sparrow hawk that nests every year in a large cottonwood just one street west of my house.

Not all wildlife is as easy to live with. There are reports every year of mountain lions coming into people's yards over on the western side of the city, and young black bears are quite common. There's a herd of Rocky Mountain Sheep that graze in a rock quarry, and have to be shooed away before the quarry owners can blast. My neighbor loses several goldfish every year to the blue herons that nest around the area. There's a moose that makes regular trips up and down Monument Creek, which flows through the center of town. Coyotes are frequently seen in the more open areas, and there are a couple of pronghorn herds that frequent the airport area and fields between housing areas to the north.

Living with wildlife isn't always easy, but it can be rewarding. Squirrels can be entertaining, and the sight of an eagle flying overhead is always inspiring. It's apparent that more and more wildlife is learning to live in proximity to man. It's going to be interesting to see if man can adapt as easily to the presence of so much wildlife.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Why the Liberals are Whining

The outpouring of vitriol and anguish from the Left has been unprecedented following George Bush's re-election. There's good reason for it. This election proved the beginning of the end of Liberal dreams, when a significant number of Americans rejected the looney liberal spin and decided it was time to choose a government of adults.

John Kerry was the epitome of liberalism: high taxes, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro gun control, anti-defense, anti-intelligence, and pro government control of anything affecting human activity. President Bush still drew not only 51% of the popular vote and a majority of the electoral votes, but did both with a substantial margin for error. Four million more Americans chose Bush than Kerry.

The mainstream media couldn't have been more pro-Kerry, anti-Bush in their reporting and editorials, from major television networks to major newspapers to most "news magazines". They covered up the attack by the SwiftBoat Veterans and other anti-Kerry groups. They faked documents, they distorted stories, they hid facts, and outright lied on many occasions. They presented every word out of John Kerry's mouth as outright gospel, no matter how insincere or stupid it sounded to the rest of the nation. The Left raised significantly more money, especially among so-called "527 organizations". Several individuals donated more than $20 million each to "unelect" George Bush. Hollywood and Michael Moore trashed the President every chance they got.

It wasn't enough.

The Democrats and Republicans both organized and pushed huge "Get Out the Vote" drives, registering several million new voters, a majority of whom actually voted. Voter turn-out was higher than average in virtually every state in the Union. High voter turnout is supposed to favor the challenger, and the Democratic Party.

That wasn't enough, either.

The level of voter fraud in this election is unbelievable. One estimate stated that more than two million fraudulent votes were cast. There are a record number of criminal cases being prosecuted against individuals involved in voter fraud. The majority of the organizations involved in voter fraud (ACORN, ACT, the NAACP, and the AFL/CIO) were biased in favor of John Kerry.

Even that wasn't enough to elect a Democratic president.

The Democrats not only lost the White House, they also dropped four seats in the Senate, and more in the House of Representatives. They lost at least two heavy-hitters in their anti-Bush line-up, including Tom Daschle, the most ardent antagonist of President Bush's first term.


First, the major news outlets are now being challenged by non-traditional sources, including the Internet, Fox News, and a dozen non-partisan, unbiased news sources. Secondly, the collection of weblogs referred to as the "blogosphere" was all over every incident of abuse by "old media", and got their information out to the public. Information the mainstream media tried to suppress was made available in minutes over the Internet. "Spin" was countered with truth, often with a host of links to factual information on highly-respected servers. The manipulation the mainstream media had become adept at was suddenly rendered obsolete by the "new kids on the block", political weblogs.

Most of all, however, the Left recognized that it was both their messenger and their message that was rejected. The American people no longer choose to follow Europe into self-inflicted socialist suicide. They no longer believe government is the answer to every question. They understand that the United States in a war, and one we can't afford to lose. They understand that many things in Washington are broken, and need to be fixed. They also understand the Democrats have no intention of fixing the broken, standing firm against our enemies, either at home or abroad, and offer more of the same in face of outstanding evidence of failure of their policies and practices.

Democratic policies in our schools are providing children with less education than their parents received, even with the per-child funding levels doubled or tripled. The Democrats want to establish "free" universal medical coverage. The average American has been able to see how poorly such systems work in Canada and Europe, and reject the idea. The Democrats support activist judges who create law, rather than conservative judges that interpret and apply existing law. The voters are not happy with that kind of behavior. The Democrats are weak on defense, and rely heavily on the United Nations for "legitimacy". The average American understands that a strong defense is the only way the US can protect its citizens. They've also watched the United Nations become a cesspool of corruption and vice, and feel no comfort in its almost-universal hatred of the United States. On issue after issue, the American voter has looked at the issues, looked at past performance on those issues, and voted against the Democratic stance.

The majority of the people in the United States understand what it means to be an adult. They understand the meaning of such words as "honesty", "integrity", "virtue", and "responsibility". They also understand that the Left hasn't reached the same point yet, and may even be unable to grow up. The results at the polls reflect the maturing of the average voter. The leaders of the Democratic Party are slowly coming to realize this, and know they face even further marginalization if they don't change. They also understand that the majority of their average constituency doesn't want to change, and will revolt against the radical changes necessary for the Democratic Party to again be successful.

The few adults left in the Democratic Party understand their current path will lead to annihilation and destruction, but can't convince the Party faithful they need to find another path to follow. The rabid members of the party howl in frustration, but it's the howl of a dying species, left to rot on the political wayside.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Catching up

There's lots of stuff on the Internet to keep me away from writing. Too much, in fact. I need to get back to it after spending three days reworking my plot to catch up with my characters. If you're a writer, you'll understand - frequently your characters will "take over", and you're just along to put the words on paper. That usually works for a couple of chapters, then you lose the plot. You've got to keep a tight rein on these nonexistent folk, or they'll steal your book! Anyway, it's time to dig in and start cranking out words. I'll try to update the count before going to bed tonight, but suffice it to say that I'm halfway and a bit more. Still need another 25,000 words, but I think I'll make the deadline on time.

I'm still interested in finding a few people to read what I've written, and let me know of any major blunders. It will have to be a labor of love, since I don't have an extra dime to send anybody's way! Just click on the Blog title for my email address, and let me know you're interested. I prefer to send my work zipped, so I'd also expect the recipient to be able to unzip it.

Here are a few things I've run across in the last couple of days that might be interesting, plus some comments.

More big fat lies
Obesity Statistics Are As Bogus As Weight-Loss Scams

As if we hadn't already figured that out for ourselves... Now we have research to back us up.

Lawsuit challenges critical habitat for 48 species in California
PLF lawsuit accuses two federal agencies of broad failure to meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.

Colorado had the same problem with the so-called Preeble's Jumping Mouse, which turned out to be the same species as 22 other "unique" mouse varieties along the Colorado Front Range. The Endangered Species Act is being used by environmentalists as a club against growth. Unfortunately, it's being extensively over-used, to the point where the entire Endangered Species protection process is being undermined.

A couple of blogs to check out:

Interested Participant has some good articles, including some really off-beat stuff that's good for a glow or a laugh.

2Slick, posting from Kuwait/Iraq. He's going in the MilBlog section!

Outside the Beltway has some interesting articles and great links this week, including some interesting stuff on the Bush Cabinet reshuffle. Check 'em out.

Patrick Ruffini is the person that ran the George Bush website, and did some great work helping get President Bush re-elected. He's returned to blogging, and is looking for a 'paying gig'.

The Left continues to disgust me.

I'm not a Republican, but I did vote for George Bush. I picked Bush, because I believe he understands one important thing - we are in a war, and it's going to be long, bloody, and costly. He also believes, as I do, that there's no other option but winning if the United States is going to survive. My vote was not just an "Anybody but Kerry" voter, but having been in Vietnam when Kerry was testifying, and knowing that every word out of his mouth was BS, I would not have voted for him if Atilla the Hun was the only other candidate.

One of the lies the Democrats keep repeating is that "they're far more intelligent than anybody on the Republican side". I don't know about the rest of the Bush voters, but I find that offensive. I'm not the sharpest pencil in the drawer, but I'm intelligent enough to have attended the Air Force Academy for a semester. I managed to make a perfect score on a Veteran's Administration intelligence test. My SAT scores were not great - verbal 604, Math 596, in 1963. Quite a few of my fellow cadets had perfect 1600's. My ASVAB tests were all maxed out, and so was my AFQT. My Air Force language aptitude score was 132 - I have no idea what that means, but the Air Force tried mightily to send me to Chinese language school. I don't have a Bachelor's Degree, but I do have more than 200 semester-hours of college credit, and could qualify for about 70 more through "life experience" - I've had enough of THOSE! Some of those "life experiences" including two different periods of working on archeological excavations. I've been credited with 7 hours of postgraduate credit in field work, if I ever decide to claim them. I've visited most of the countries of Latin America and Europe, and a few in Asia. I read about 300 books a year, which includes anywhere from 50 to 100 non-fiction works ranging from Anthropology to Zoology, with just about everything but math included. I never could understand how I could build B-52 flight plans that required a working knowledge of spherical trigonometry, but had to have a calculator to balance a checkbook...

The thing is, I know dozens, possibly hundreds of people like me. Most of us are prior military, or currently still on active duty. Most of us were Air Force, but a few were Army and Marines. A third of us are Vietnam veterans. We "fought" other wars as well, unrecognized, unheralded, but actively participating in keeping track of the action, building scenarios and watching them either be carried out or falling through, and more or less keeping track of all the nastiness that might threaten our nation. I've probably spent more time looking at East German airfields than most people in this nation did filling out their annual income tax over the last 30 years. The overwhelming majority of my friends consider themselves both well-informed and conservative.

It takes all kinds of people to add up to 60 million voters. To claim that "all the intelligent people" voted for Kerry is an insult to those of us who have just as much on the ball as any Kerry supporter, seasoned with some real-world experience and a healthy dose of common sense. That last ingredient, common sense, seems to be the primary missing factor on the liberal side of the political equation.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Is Christ Coming?

The world is full of books today, talking about the "second coming" of Christ. Pastors preach in churches, and the religious 'news' is full of predictions. Are they true? Is Christ truly coming again, in our lifetime? Listen to the words of Jesus, as he speaks to his disciples.

Matthew 24:
4 ¶ And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 ¶ Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Truly, all the signs that Jesus has spoken of are present. There are wars, and rumors of wars. There are earthquakes, and pestilence, and disease. Yet these things have come time and again since Jesus walked with his disciples in Galilee.

Yet Jesus himself said that "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."

Jesus has said that his disciples shall be tormented and persecuted throughout all nations, and many shall fall away. This, too, has happened time and again during our history, from the Roman persecution following Jesus' crucifixion to the persecution of Christianity under Islam, to the destruction of all religions under Communism. Yet the time has not yet come.

Jesus likens his coming again to a thief breaking into a house. The owner of the house, if he knew when the thief would break in, would be prepared. But Jesus said that " Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."

Christ will come when we think he won't, like the thief that comes when the homeowner is least expecting him.

Jesus also said that there will be many false claims of Christ's coming, and many who falsely claim to be the Messiah. We've seen that over and over in history, where one group will be convinced that their leader is truly the Christ. Think of Jim Jones, and the death of hundreds in "Jonesville", in Guyana. These people followed a false messiah. Jim Jones wasn't the first, and won't be the last. Remember the Heaven's Gate suicide pact, and the Aum Shin Riko group in Japan.

But Jesus also gives us hope, and gives us guidance on whom we should trust, and whom we should follow.

Matthew 7
15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

There are many good men, men who truly believe that they are right, but who do not follow the teachings of God. They teach accomodation to evil, and refuse to name sin for what it is. Those they teach are weak in spirit. Their faith is not built upon the Word of God, but upon the desires of men.

There are others who come, claiming to preach the Word of God, but who subtly change the meaning, so that good becomes evil, and evil good. They decieve many, and those that are decieved are lost. This is the tragedy of Jonesville, and of David Koresh, and many others.

There are also false prophets, and those that claim to be the new messiah. Yet they do not follow God's Commandments, or obey His laws. They set up new laws, and new commandments, and claim that victory is defeat, and that evil is good. They claim to be the voice of God's kingdom on Earth, but God's Kingdom is not of Earth, but of Heaven. Islam is not the only such false faith, but it's the most prominent.

Jesus warned his disciples about such false prophets, and about how their corruption would take the unwary, and the faint-hearted:

Matthew 13
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Again, the constant message that the true believer will bring forth good fruit, and will do so abundantly.

This brings us back full circle to the end times. Jesus has said that no man shall know when that time shall be, only God in Heaven. He has said that His return will be when we least expect it, like a thief in the night. He has said that the faithful shall be gathered up, and the unfaithful left behind. He has shown us how to recognize the faithful, to know the righteous, and how to avoid the false prophets and the preachings of wickedness. He has also promised us that if we strive to follow Him, with all that is within us, that we shall be those gathered up.

By living each day as if it were the last day, in truth and righteousness, we prepare ourselves for His coming. By being faithful servants, we bring forth good fruit, and will not be cast into the fire. To do these things, we must allow the seed of His word fall upon our willing hearts, that we may bring forth abundance in His name. By living for Christ, and IN Christ, even in death we will be victorious over our enemies, and raised up into Heaven. No man knows when Jesus will come again, but by living as He has taught us, we will be ready.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Blogspiration tank on empty.

You know what inspiration is - well, blogspiration is thinking of something worth writing. My tank is pegged on empty tonight.

It's been a nasty few days. Our car died on us Wednesday afternoon as my wife came back from her Quickbooks class. We had to have it towed to a mechanic we trust, and then have over $600 worth of work done. There's still a problem, but the car's drivable. Jean missed two days of school, and since she's taking an accelerated class, it's going to be hard to make that up. To top it off, we had a cold front move through early yesterday, and both of us felt like we were in our nineties. I didn't feel better until mid-evening, and didn't get anything done on my novel. Today's a better day, and I got another chapter finished. I need to write a chapter a day for the next twelve days to reach the deadline in time.

I still need a couple of readers, if anyone's interested.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

An antidote for the Democratic hate

Read this article. This article says what this nation is all about. It shows why the Democratic Party is the wrong party for America. If the Democrats could learn to even marginally respect others the way this town shows it's respect for our servicemen, there would be no hate, no talk of secession.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Forcast calls for Light Blogging

and intermittent brain fog as I really get into writing this new novel. I've got the Prologue and three chapters completed, and the plotline in place for the next six chapters. I've got three separate endings in mind, and will eventually have to choose between them, or write something totally different - I haven't decided yet. I'll continue to update the word count in the sidebar here as I finish chapters. I've also got to take some time out early next week for a host of doctors' appointments and medical testing. This is all in order to get my VA disability taken care of for the next five years. The way things are going, I may even get an upgrade.

Look back here daily - sooner or later, I'll have something of substance up, even if its just on Sunday.

When all else fails,

Hug a cat!

The cat in this picture is Leo, an unneutered male mixed breed with a deep blue-gray coat. The person holding him is my daughter's current boyfriend, Jacob. Leo is an unusual cat, and HEAVY! He weighs just a tad shy of 20 pounds. He also has one eye with a birth defect - the pupil in his left eye isn't a vertical slit, but a triangular one. It doesn't seem to harm his hunting abilities, and he's quite the mouser.

The following pictures are of the latest arrivals in the Old Patriot's household, Peekaboo and Baby. The only really effective way to distinguish them is by looking at the markings between and above their eyes. Peekaboo's are much more distinctive, and form a "W". Baby has a wider brownish spot between the eyes. They're part Siamese and part tiger.

"Nature's God"

Thomas Jefferson may well have been among the first to understand.

I believe in God the Creator, the God of Genesis, of the Old Testament Bible. I believe Jesus Christ was His Son, who came to earth to show us how we should live in an ever-changing world. I believe this because I have had a continuous, personal experience with God, and with His Son, both directly and through the Holy Spirit, for 46 years. I am alive today because I believe, and I listen when God speaks to me. I say this not to boast, but in humility. God speaks to all of us, if we but take the trouble to listen.

I love science - I always have. The mysteries of the universe thrill me more than I care to admit. It's not just the sciences that look outward that thrill me, but also the ones that look inward, toward the history of this planet, and of life upon it. I don't' have the math skills to follow all the sciences as well as I'd like, but I do read, constantly, and study. I have more than 300 textbooks in my house, on dozens of subjects, and I've read them all.

I've tried to understand the paradox between what I read in science textbooks and what I read in the Bible. I've spent a great amount of time in prayer, asking God for the wisdom to understand, and to solve this paradox. I've listened, hoping to hear the answers, and to know they come from God, and not from the Deceiver. I now believe that I understand, at least partly, the answers, and that they are truly from the God of all, the God of the Bible.

Many people say they believe in God, but then try to put God into a box, something small enough for them to feel comfortable with. They limit God to what they can accept, what they know, and what they're able to relate to. They refuse to acknowledge just how awesome, how powerful, and how extensive the powers of God are, because they cannot imagine, or accept, such a God. That doesn't mean He doesn't exist.

God created the entire universe - not just this Earth, or our solar system, but all that exists, seen and unseen. Nothing that IS in this Universe exists unless it was created by God. That includes all the so-called "natural laws" - of physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, geophysics, astrophysics, biology, and all their derivatives - these were just as much the creation of God as the dirt under our feet and the air we breathe. Man has consistently tried to reduce God to their level, because it's far too difficult to actually KNOW God as He is. Man has to limit God to what Man can believe, or the terror of the true awesomeness of God overwhelms him. That has absolutely no effect on God Himself, but allows Man to be a bit more smug about his relationship with God. It also means living a lie, thinking that they worship such a small, limited God. Unfortunately, man's understanding of God hasn't grown much in the ten thousand years of semi-recorded history of Man's dealings with his Creator.

I believe that God created the "heavens and the earth". I do not believe, however, that Genesis is a factual accounting of daily activity on God's part. I believe it's an allegory, a story created to allow Man to understand what God did, in a way that Man some six or seven thousand years ago could understand. I also believe that modern physics may have the science part right, and the Big Bang is a valid evaluation of how this universe was created. I don't see any contradictions in that. Science tells us the "what" and "how" of creation; the Bible tells us the "who" and "why". They are both sides of the same coin. I believe that God Himself told mankind the entire creation story, perhaps to Moses, but the story goes back thousands of years before Moses. God had to use an allegory. How can you explain particle physics, the Big Bang, quantum mechanics, the periodic tables, and the laws of thermodynamics to a simple goat-herder, and have him understand it, when he doesn't have words for half of what I just mentioned?

God hasn't revealed Himself to us all at once during the past 6000 years. He has revealed Himself bit by bit, as we, his imperfect creations, can understand what God tells us. We are imperfect, because we are capable of sin - of disobeying God. Without that imperfection, we cannot be ready to receive God, to repent of our sins, and to be made whole. God continues to reveal Himself and His glory to us, through the prophets of old, through His Son, Jesus Christ, and through tens of thousands of ordinary people. Sadly, we miss much of what God says, because we are too stubborn, to sure of ourselves, to open our hearts and truly LISTEN.

What of evolution? If we believe in God, can we accept evolution? Yes, if we understand that even this is a part of God's plan. God has created an ever-changing universe. Why is known only to God, and will only be revealed to us in the proper time. But change is a constant: unless there is some way for God's creatures to adjust to change, they will all perish. God would either have to constantly repopulate the Earth with all manners of living things, or establish what engineers call a self-correcting feedback loop. The easiest to understand form of such a feedback loop is self-adjusting disk brakes. "Evolution" is God's feedback loop for His creatures, to allow them to change along with their changing environment. A better name for this would be a self-correcting adaptive change mechanism, rather than evolution, as creatures don't really "evolve" so much as adapt to the changes that affect them.

I am always amazed and saddened when any person, especially a person who claims to have faith in God, says the Earth is only 6000 years old. I am ashamed that believers in an Almighty, unlimited God can only concieve of things that are easy for them to believe, while swallowing whole a raft of lies that would choke any honest man.

The "date" of creation cited by these Christians is 4004BC - a date worked out by the Anglican Archibishop James Ussher in 1654. The amount of scientific evidence that states that the world is at least four billion times that old is greeted as the work of Satan to confuse mortal men. In other words, God has allowed the entire universe to be controlled by Satan. I cannot believe that. When two assumptions are so diametrically opposed, it's up to us to learn as much as we can to see where the error lies. There are lots of room for error, and most of them originate in a Church that thinks it knows everything, and anyone stating otherwise is a heretic. One only has to look at the Muslim faith's absolute dictate that nothing can be added or subtracted from Mohammed, whom they claim to be the "last Prophet", that God cannot ever again speak to His people, to see how that creates dissonance and the seeds of religious warfare and human disaster.

I enjoy studying hard sciences - astronomy, geology, geomorphology, nuclear physics, chemistry, biology, paleontology, and a dozen other "ologies". I'm not a professional scientist, but an educated layman. Everything I read conflicts with that 4004BC date. One or the other has to be wrong. The processes that say the Earth is 4 billion years old continue to exist today, and mankind uses many of the principles that establish this date in our everyday lives. Rivers continue to build deltas today the same way they did 300 million years ago, and we use that knowledge to search for - and find - oil and coal deposits. We know the sun shines because of a complex process whereby hydrogen, in the presence of carbon, unites through fusion to form helium, generating heat in the process. The same convection currents that bring that heat to the surface of the sun are present in the mantle of the Earth, moving continents, and in a pot as water boils. These things can be seen, can be measured, and can be studied through advances in recording devices and scientific principles. None of this, however, fits a creation that occurred only 6000 years ago. Something is wrong.

I've spent 20 years praying about this, speaking to God about this, and frequently, getting an answer. Saying you hear God speak to you will either get you stoned or put into a mental institution. Yet God Himself has encouraged me, even FORCED me, to speak out. I know this will cause pain between me and many members of my family - maybe even a split that will never be healed. Jesus said that He "came not to bring peace, but a Sword", and "a man's foes shall be they of his own household". How else can we understand the intense fight that has been generated among Christians, among non-believers, and among those who worship other gods, than that our lack of concensus about the very reality of God divides us, hardens our hearts to the words of others, and brings forth division and hate.

The first thing that everyone needs to understand is that God is Eternal. For Him, there is no beginning, and no end. Time measures beginnings and endings, and the passage between them. For God, time has no meaning. Time is for mankind, who is born, lives a little, and dies. God Himself said this: "Before the world was, I Am".

Once we understand that, unlike man, God has no limits, then Genesis can be viewed for what it is - an allegory telling us that God created everything, in His way, and for His Glory. God's statement that it was done in six days, and that on the seventh He rested can be accepted in many ways, not just in the literal sense. One indication that this is allegory, instead of literal, is that Genesis says in 1:14 that God created the "lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide day from the night" - in the fourth day. Yet the "lights in the firmament of the heaven" is our sun, which establishes our day, just as God has said.

The Bible also says that "a day for God is as ten thousand years, and ten thousand years as but a day" - another description of God's immortality. God doesn't measure time the way Man does. God is not that limited. He can compress all of time into so finite a measurable distance we cannot fathom it, or spread it out over 20 billion years or more. God is not limited by time, only mankind. That is why, often when we pray, we don't understand why God doesn't answer immediately. Usually He does, but in His time, not man's time. In God's time, it's never too late, only now.

God also says that whosoever shall harm any of His children, or cause them to stumble in faith, they shall be in danger of hell fire. I have written here what I believe God has said to me. I do not wish to change any mind, or convert any soul, only to speak what I believe is truth. If anyone wishes to think on this, I ask that you pray first for wisdom, and for God to show you the truth, whether my words or the words of others. Jesus has promised us that if we seek the truth from our Holy Father, it will be given to us. Let God speak to your heart, and to your soul, that you may know the truth.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Healing, or Heeling?

Via Swimming through the Spin:

We should let you rot. We should secede and leave you to fend for yourselves. Then you will see firsthand just how dependent you are. We are sick of fighting for you by fighting against you. Perhaps, when you see how dreary your lives have become without us, you will finally develop the spine to fight for your basic, human rights. And then we will gladly confront the plutocracy alongside you. We need your help to defeat the Blue Republicans, who, I assure you, are just as decadent as we are, though often richer.

This screed is taken from this article in The Register, a British newspaper.

Here it is complete, with my comments:

With hard work and superb organization, you have triumphed over John Kerry and the forces of Blue-state paternalism.

This outlines the first, and perhaps most serious problem of the Left: their belief that we are children that need adult supervision - from them. Unfortunately, they really BELIEVE this.
Clue #1: The 'red states' contain the majority of the country's farmers, dairymen, cattlemen, oilfield workers, machinists, truckers, and much, much more. The red states are where most of the stuff the blue-staters consume are produced. The people that do the hard work of creating what the rest of the nation - indeed, a large part of the world - consumes on a daily basis are not 'the elite' of society, but the middle class. They tend to vote about 3-1 Republican. They also tend to be the most innovative, the most inventive, and the most progressive - in the true sense of "creating progress".

The multinational corporations that hold you in bondage remain free to profit off your sweat nearly tax free, while their overpaid senior execs continue to pay a pittance in personal income tax.

Clue #2: The heads of the large "multinational corporations" supported your guy more than they did George Bush. John Forbes Kerry and his multi-millionaire wife paid less in taxes than the average doctor or lawyer in 'red-state' America. His running mate, John Edwards, made millions suing doctors in North Carolina. Do a Google Search, and see how much this has hurt North Carolina medical care. But that's right, you're going to make health care "free", aren't you? Guess you've never heard of TANSTAAFL - "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" - or free medical care, either.

Your primary and secondary schools will continue to turn out third-rate pupils with limited opportunities, while you enjoy the satisfaction of making it on your own without health care when a catastrophic illness bankrupts your family.

Clue #3: The reason our schools turn out such poor pupils is because the ^%$#^%#$ teachers' unions insist on keeping poor teachers on the payroll, refusing to allow parents access to textbook committees, have a hissy-fit about testing, and tend to vote Democratic 9-1. They also engage in unwanted, unneeded "social engineering experiments" with students, and refuse to be held accountable when these "experiments" fail.
Clue #4: The reason health care is so expensive is because doctors have to pay exhorbitant malpractice insurance premiums, order extra tests, and do all kinds of unneeded things to protect themselves from the out-of-control malpractice industry of the trial lawyers - another heavily-Democratic group.

Your agricultural universities will continue issuing Ph.D.s in football, and bogus Protestant Evangelical and Fundamentalist theology, and how to jerk off a bull safely.

Oh, we do have a high opinion of ourselves, don't we? Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back - you can't afford the doctor's visit.

Your children will learn to borrow enough money to erect chicken houses so that they, like you, can take custody -- not possession, but custody -- of Tyson's chicks, feed them, rear them, assume losses from those that fail to thrive, and in the end earn just enough money to service their endless debt, and realize a profit of perhaps $12K a year. Your bank thanks you; Tyson thanks you; George W. Bush thanks you; and I thank you.

I don't know where THAT screed came from, but last time I heard, Hillary was a big investor in Tyson. Maybe you've got George and Bill confused - after all, they're both white males, aren't they? "They all look alike to me".

You can continue sending your sons to die in Iraq on a fool's errand. When you bury them, you can console yourselves with Bush's platitudes about their heroic mission to defend America from weapons of mass destruction.

Clue #5: MOST Americans understand that we are at war, and that we've been at war for some time. While the enemy isn't a nation-state this time, the warfare is still a threat. We respond to threats by destroying them, not by trying to appease them. Our professional, all-volunteer military is the best in the world, and our parents don't send us anywhere. As for a fool's errand, I think Afghanistan has proved that it IS possible to create a democratic, peaceful state in the Middle East, and that the people in that area would prefer to be governed rather than ruled - another lesson the Democratic Party has failed to learn.

You can savor the deficit spending that stimulates commerce today, but will cripple the US economy in ten or fifteen years' time when the bills come due with interest. Perhaps a Democrat will be in office at that time, who can be blamed for W's delayed economic fiasco.

Clue #6: The United States has been in debt just about since it was founded. The largest part of the US debt has come from fighting wars - the last few under DEMOCRATIC leadership (WWII, Korea, Vietnam). Reagan's (and JFK's) tax cuts prove that it's exhorbitant tax rates, not deficits, that stagnate and destroy an economy, not the deficit. But keep lying to yourself - I'm sure you can create a self-fulfilling prophesy if you work hard enough at it.

You can continue believing, as Republican Party brainwashing has persuaded you, that we, your neighbors, are your enemies. You can believe that we have no morals; that we pimp out our teenage daughters for Internet porn; that we eat babies; that we are all gay; that we are cowards on the battlefield; and that we want to run your lives and give you AIDS.

Clue #7: We don't consider you our enemies - or at least, we didn't until you proved you were. Republicans didn't break into Democratic offices, spray paint vulgarities across the walls, slash tires, shoot out windows, and physically intimidate staff workers. Red-state Americans didn't preach hate the way Michael Moore, P. Diddly, and the other Hollywood "elite" did. Red-state Americans aren't suggesting that the President be assassinated, or call for impeachment of any Democrats. Red-state Americans aren't trying to force their religion down YOUR throat the way you're trying to force your secularism down OURS. The Republican candidate didn't consort with the enemy during a war. I think you need to take a good, long look at your mirror - I think then you'll be able to see who is preaching the hate this year.

Here's a clue: we are not your enemies; we are your countrymen. Your enemies are the greedy multinationals that the Republican Party bends over backwards to accommodate. Incidentally, most of them are based in Blue states, as are their Republican owners and major shareholders.

Clue #8: The Republican party isn't the party of "global tests", of "reaching out" to the only supposed allies who have sworn repeatedly they will not help us. The Republican Party isn't the party calling our allies in the War against Terror the "coalition of the bribed and coerced". Take a good, long look at Teresa Heinz Kerry's "Tides Foundation" to see a truly multinationalist organization. Look at International A.N.S.W.E.R., the flower-child of Communist Agitprop in the United States. These are NOT Republican organizations.

Here in the Blue States, Democrats and Republicans alike generate the lion's share of America's wealth, although it is you Reds who provide the lion's share of the stoop labor. You are our Mexicans, so to speak. We could not have accomplished the economic miracle that is America without your willing capitulation to a system that lies to you and fucks you over at every turn.

Clue #9: You generate NOTHING. You "handle the money" that hard work, dedication, and skill create. You refer to us disdainfully as "our Mexicans": you are so ignorant of economics it absolutely hurts. Entrepreneurship, small (under 70 employees) business, account for more than half the wealth in this nation. Quite a large number of those are in the red-state area - possibly a majority of them, since these areas aren't so hostile to them. Even larger businesses are looking to relocate to red-state areas, where the tax burden isn't so heavy, and the costs of operating so high. You are the "next Europe" - the place facing the brain-drain as people with intelligence flee, where businesses relocate to escape your outlandish socialist agenda.
Clue #10: Capitalism works, socialism destroys. Watch France and Germany as they implode slowly, thanks to the burden of socialist practices. Or go look at a REAL history of Russia, 1917-1991, and see what the "socialist workers' paradise" was really like.

Look at economic output and educational achievement on a state-by-state basis: it's painfully evident that we Blues are immensely more productive and better educated than you Reds. We have lots more money. We live longer. We eat better. We work less. We fuck more. We do cocaine and smoke fine Canadian buds, not the homebrew crank and cheap Mexican headache reefer you guys are stuck with. We drink French wine and Stoli martinis, not Budweiser. Our children rarely bother us: we've got them on Ritalin and Prozac. Our teeth are straighter and whiter, our necks longer, and our fingernails cleaner. And many of us are the Republican elite who have just punked you.

I doubt I could find a more fitting condemnation of the Democratic party than that. Educational achievement? Older schools, more "prestigious" schools, but actual achievement? I don't believe that. Economic output? If you consider banking "economic output", perhaps. More money? Possibly true. Live longer? I don't think so - I think the majority of centegenarians live in red-state country.

It's good to be a Blue, regardless of which party you join.

Understandably, you resent us, so you've fabricated an imaginary measure of superiority: Christian "values." Yet you talk about values the way a pre-teen girl talks about "love" in fan letters to Ashton Kutcher. You recycle quasi-religious platitudes and received slogans. You know nothing of moral theology, a rigorous philosophical pursuit that hardly exists outside the Catholic Church and its elite universities. You make of the Bible what you will; you attend prayer meetings with other semi-literates, where you reinforce each other's sloppy understandings of the text, and combine them with half-digested bits of old-timey Hallmark-card "wisdom." And when you spout gibberish, you call it "speaking in tongues." You actually fancy that you're saints, you silly, narcissistic creatures.

Boy, do you REALLY hate us! Resent you? Not at all! Pity you? I did before I read this screed. Now there's nothing left but contempt. You are so full of "wisdom", you are so superior. Gaaaack! Deliver me from morons with a superiority complex. I think you really need to read that Bible you hate so much. There are thousands of verses that talk about the problem you have - one of them might help you. Lord knows you need it!

Nevertheless, you are fellow Americans. The Blue Republican elite encouraged you to vote for George W Bush, because they quite simply own him, and they know that his administration will make policies that help them, even if hurt you. We Blue Democrats voted for John Kerry because we believed he would minister to your needs better than Bush. A President Kerry would have shared some of our wealth with you, assured your health care, raised the minimum wage, and checked the rapacious greed of the multinationals that hold you in thrall.

As an Independent Bush-voter, I cast my ballot because I knew John Forbes Kerry would remake the United States into another "old Europe" failed economy, just as you project. Look at France, Germany, Belgium, and see what Kerry would have done here. Gross Domestic Product growth of less than 2% per year. Unemployment figures in the double digits. Inflation in double digits. Taxes doubled, possibly even tripled. Sorry, I've already lived under ONE Jimmy Carter presidency, I don't need or want another one. As a military veteran, I already have "free" health care, and know how worthless it is, and how long it takes to get an appointment. I also know how "less than first class" my medical service is. Take a look at Canada, and their "vaunted" health service, or the United Kingdom, and theirs. I don't want OUR medical services to reach that depth of dispair.

As for minimum wage, hiking the minimum wage only destroys entry-level jobs, stagnates the economy, and makes the unemployment statistics worse. It makes you feel good, while hurting tens of millions.

Every paragraph you write highlights your self-proclaimed intelligence, and shows it for the fantasy it is.

President Kerry would have helped us to help you, which is all that we ask. It pains us to see you in wage slavery. It pains us to see you so ignorant and uneducated, and so eager to place yourselves in bondage. Yes, we live better; but we wish you to live better too, even if it means sacrifice on our part.

Clue #11: We don't want your help, we don't need your help, and we doubt we'd be able to SURVIVE your "help". Get the message? We are perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves. We are adults, with full intellectual capacities. We prefer to live where we do, the way we do - as INDEPENDENT of government as we possibly can.

What we wanted for you would have been far better than that which you, in your ignorant pride, demanded for yourselves. Oh, you defeated us all right, but only to your detriment.

We Blues will come out of the Bush era no worse for wear, although you Reds will come out very much diminished, deeper in debt, and less able to improve your circumstances by your own powers. But because you wish to be flattered more than helped, you will be grateful for your ass fucking from the Blue-state Republican elite that is laughing behind your backs today.

We did not wish it so. We honestly did want to help.

On 2 November, you thanked us by electing a shrewd, manipulative handmaiden to corporate America who panders to you while ruthlessly exploiting your ignorance and weakness for the benefit of his patrons in the national plutocracy. There is nothing we can do about that. You won fair and square.

We should let you rot. We should secede and leave you to fend for yourselves. Then you will see firsthand just how dependent you are. We are sick of fighting for you by fighting against you. Perhaps, when you see how dreary your lives have become without us, you will finally develop the spine to fight for your basic, human rights. And then we will gladly confront the plutocracy alongside you. We need your help to defeat the Blue Republicans, who, I assure you, are just as decadent as we are, though often richer.

Why don't you? Please? Don't go away mad, just go away. See how long it takes to find yourselves in such a disastrous strait, no one will talk to you. Go be another France, another Germany, another Belgium. Go destroy everything capable of sustaining you. Lock up the entire land area tighter than a miser's purse, force everyone to live in rat-infested cities, destroy the will to be creative by taxing it to death. Watch as the doctors flee by the tens of thousands. Watch as small businessmen lock their doors and relocate to a more business-friendly environment. Watch yourself screw into the ground at Mach 6. The rest of us believe in human dignity, the right to self-interest, the right to make our own decisions, fight our own fights, and make our own rules. If you don't like that, the best place for you is as far away as you can move yourselves.

But until you finally learn to respect yourselves, we can't respect you, and we therefore can't be bothered to give a rat's ass about you.

So let us secede, Blue America and Red America. We can handle the Blue state Republicans, so long as we don't have a lot of ignorant Red state lemmings frustrating our efforts and screwing themselves in the bargain. Secession will enable us both to live as we have chosen without the other's interference. We will prosper, and you will get a clue.

Fine, but we'll do it on a county-by-county basis, not state-by-state. That would be the only "fair" way to do it, wouldn't it? Allow each COUNTY to decide if it wants to be 'red' or 'blue'. Perhaps we'll trade you a couple of "red" counties in Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticutt for "blue" counties in the midwest. Or maybe they'll decide NOT to join you in your suicide pact. After all, it's THEIR lives on the line, not yours. Or would that not be "fair" in your book?

But do stay in touch after the borders slam shut. When you finally tire of living on the modern, corporate plantations of Cargill, Tyson, ConAgra and Smithfield; when you tire of shopping at Wal-Mart and sending your daughters to sling hash at Denny's in hopes that they'll meet the nicer sort of truck driver; when you tire of sneaking into Blue America as illegal white-trash wetbacks eager for casual work dusting our parlors; and when, like men, you finally rise up in rebellion against this immoral usury -- then, and only then, let us talk.

We'll gladly get your backs. But first you must grow the brains and the balls needed to profit from our help.

After reading this, I have to assume you're one of those 'over-educated idiots' my father warned me about some 40+ years ago. His warning is still valid, I see. So long, been nice knowing you. Don't write - we're not interested. And that border thing? Well, it works both ways. See ya! Enjoy the implosion, or the invasion, whichever comes first.

As usual, this screed is unsigned, except for coming from something called the "New Democrat Outreach Program". Any more reaching in my direction, and these "Democrats" are going to pull back a nub. That's another thing the "Democrats" don't seem to understand - the majority of our military is "conservative", and so are the majority of the rest of the nation willing to actually FIGHT for our survival. As Robert Heinlein once said, "those that 'ain't gonna study war no more' will only last as long as it takes for the next bunch of militant slobs to overrun them".

For those interested, take a look at this "Statistical Abstract" for a better insight, although outdated by a few years. I didn't have the time (or the interest) to dig any further. There's lots of interesting data there - comparative population growths, comparative tax rates, education statistics, comparative salaries and costs of living - oodles of good data! Have fun!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

New Links

The last two weeks have been hectic in both the blogosphere and in my house. I've updated my links list on the left with a number of new people and places, but haven't made any note of it. Let me correct that problem now. These are all interesting sites I've discovered in the last two weeks, and established links to. I've listed them here in the order I added them, rather than sorting them alphabetically, which I've done on my list. Check them out, and tell them I sent you!

Ann Althouse
Bill Hobbs Online
Megan McArdle
Poynter Online
Regime Change Iran
Middle East Media Research Institute
Tim Blair
Alice in Texas
Daily Pundit
Eric the Unread
Reb Lazer's Shtibble
Small Town Veteran
A Small Victory
Tony Snow
Stones Cry Out
Adventures of Chester
Angie Shultz
Michael Fumento
Right Wing News
In DC Journal
Politburo Diktat
Outside The Beltway
The Patriette
NoPundit Intended
Live from Brussels
Brain Shavings

"Wisdom" scorecards

There was an interesting post over at Medpundit, with a link to this table in the New England Journal of Medicine. The table shows the reasons given by people for casting their vote for their particular candidate. It's broken down by election cycle, from 1992 through 2004. The different questions asked in each election cycle make it somewhat difficult to compare across the years, but not impossible. The methodology also changed from year to year, as no standard was applied, and polling was conducted by different groups. The 2004 listing was done before the election, using "likely voters". Here are some of the findings:

The Economy & Jobs was the #1 item in 1992, #2 in 1996, #2 in 2000, and #1 in 2004. Today's economy is in about the same place it was in 1996, as far as unemployment rate (both 5.4%), but there are more people working today than at any time in our history. There are also more people running their own business, and the number of one-person businesses has increased phenomenally since 1992.

The Federal Deficit was #2 in 1992, and dropped to #6 in 2000. It's not on the 2000 or 2004 agenda. I know the federal deficit is a big issue with a lot of people. The Bush deficit is the fifth-largest, in constant dollars, of all time. Yet with a war, recovering from a recession, recovering from the worst enemy attack of all times, it's not as bad as a lot of people believe. It's still not good, but the tax cuts have spurred growth, and that growth has resulted in a deficit that was some 15% lower than initially projected. We'll have to see if the White House is truly interested in cutting spending. There's plenty of waste in the budget, and plenty of places to cut, beginning with some agencies that have long outlived their time.

Health Care was #3 in 1992, dropped to #5 in 1996, was #6 in 2000, and is back to #4 in 2004. Unfortunately, the best thing President Bush could do for health care costs is to implement tort reform - something very few politicians want to touch. The single biggest cost for a doctor to practice is malpractice insurance. The cost of that has been increasing expotentially for the last ten years, thanks to trial lawyers and exhorbitant settlements against the medical community. There still need to be some changes made to medicare/medicaid, and the government's attitude toward drug companies and manufacturers needs some major overhaul, but tort reform is still the #1 reason for the spiraling rise in health care costs.

Family Values was #4 in 1992, became #1 as "Moral and Ethical values" in 1996, was still #1 in 2000, and ISN'T EVEN LISTED in the 2004 list. We all have heard from the pundits that it was the #1 or #2 reason given by a substantial number of people during exit polls on Nov 2nd, so this is a big surprise, compared to the pre-election poll.

Taxes rated #5 in 1992, moved to #4 in 1996, back down to #5 in 2000, and isn't on the 2004 list at all. I'm sure, however, that the Bush tax cuts were sufficient for many to cast their ballot for him in the 2004 election.

Education rated #6 in 1992, moved up to #3 in 1996, was still #3 in 2000, and dropped to #5 in 2004.

Abortion rated #7 in 1992, 1996, and 2000, and isn't even on the chart for 2004.

Foreign policy was #8 in 1992, #10 in 1996 and 2000, and isn't on the chart for 2004.

The environment was #9 (and last) in 1992, #8 in 1996, #8 in 2000, and not on the chart for 2004.

Crime was not on the chart in 1992, #9 in 1996, and not on the charts for 2000 and 2004.

Poverty was not on the chart for 1992, #11 in 1996, and not on the chart for 2000 and 2004.

Social Security showed up as an item at #4 in 2000, but dropped to #6 in 2004.

The Budget Surplus appeared at #9 in 2000, but isn't on any other chart.

Two new items, at #2 and #3 respectively, in the 2004 chart was the War in Iraq, and the Campaign against terrorism.

What does all this mean? It means, for one thing, the people of the United States are paying attention to what's going on around them, and in what their government is doing in Washington. It also reflects that they respond pretty predictably to the world, the government, and what's going on in their neighborhoods. These results show the people respond first about things that directly affect them (jobs, health care, moral values, education, taxes), less about things that only indirectly affect them or affect them less directly (such as the federal deficit, social security, etc.).

There's also a direct response to perceived changes in their environment. Moral and ethical values moved from #4 in 1992 to #1 in 1996, 2000, and probably in 2004. This could have been a direct response to President Clinton's behavior in the White House, or the behavior of politicians in general, augmented by the scandals associated with several large companies. Americans understand that moral and ethical values are all that "keep the playing field level" in economic, political, cultural, social, and judicial society. If the "rules" don't apply to everybody, then they're not rules, but suggestions.

Individual liberty, control of one's destiny, and opportunity rate highly with Americans. We focus on the state of the economy, the availability of decent jobs, the role education plays in shaping our opportunity, and how taxes can place a lid on all of that. Thus, the Economy and Jobs was always in the top two.

As the Baby Boom generation gets older, there will be more emphasis on Social Security. The fact that the system is unstable, and that the majority of citizens KNOW it's unstable, has moved it up the ladder on things to be concerned about. There will also be an greater emphasis on health care, especially the role of Medicare and Medicaid, as the Boomers age.

War has always been a time of uncertainty, and the War on Islamic Terrorism is no different. The major difference is that now every American can conceive of themselves being a direct victim of war, as the terrorists concentrate on soft civilian targets. The war in Iraq is a major concern, because how well we handle that war will help determine if we, ourselves, become a more likely target. With the terrorists focusing on Iraq and Europe, we've had a respite. The probability of another strike in the United States is on everyone's mind, either consciously or unconsciously.

Abortion is still a major fault line in American politics, and even though it's not charted, probably played a significant role in this year's election. But abortion doesn't affect most Americans directly, so few list it as one of their primary reasons for voting for or against a candidate. Most Americans understand that the environment is getting better, so there's not a lot of emphasis placed on it. Bush's decision to rescind or modify some of the decisions made during the last administration may upset a few people, but they're too small a minority to have a major impact on elections. On the plus side, those same decisions may have attracted as many votes as they repelled, for either candidate.

Americans prove over and over that Foreign Affairs just doesn't interest them. Since the end of the Cold War, what other nations have thought about the United States has had less and less import on the American public, because it's had little or no effect on them. The United States, with the exception of a few raw materials, most specifically oil, is relatively self-sufficient. Americans are concerned with other nations when those nations threaten us or our people, or attempt to interfere with our lives. Otherwise, the world at large is studied, the antics of their politicians laughed at or scorned, and their problems tut-tutted, and then ignored as not being something to be concerned with. The opposite cannot be said, however: when the American people become annoyed with another nation, how they respond can have a LARGE impact on that nation, as France learned following September 11th and the run-up to the Iraqi war. What France did was similar to whacking a bee's nest, or stirring an anthill. The response was individual, and cost France several $billion.

The Lyndon Johnson "War on Poverty" must be over - who won? The American people don't seem to rate it as a major political problem any more, and certainly not one to choose a president or other high official over. Since the number of people that live under the poverty line has increased, why isn't it given more importance? The answer would take a post in itself, but basically, poverty in America is a misnomer - it's more the effect of illegal immigration (an issue rising in importance), incompetence, unwillingness to change, or circumstancial. Most people know that the majority of Americans have the OPPORTUNITY to rise above poverty on their own, and that the opportunities are ever-increasing. The solution to the "poverty" problem is in place, it just hasn't caught up with everybody yet (or everybody hasn't caught up with it, however you wish to look at it).

What does that leave? Crime is down in virtually every major category. There are still problems with schools, but the problems are with SCHOOLS, not education. Even that's improving, albeit slowly and painfully. "No Child Left Behind" was a good start, and when it's fully implemented, will force changes in the entire education system, from bottom to top. The changes are long overdue, but there are more important problems to concentrate on at the moment.

The exit poll data then shows an evolutionary process, where Americans concentrate on making decisions based on what they, as INDIVIDUALS as well as groups (think political parties), think are most important AT THE TIME. The score card will change - some things will pop up, others will fall away. The key is how much each item directly affects the largest number of households, and how those households feel about the people elected to deal with those problems. If they feel their elected leaders are doing a good job, they continue them in office. If they don't, they fire them, as Tom Daschle found out last Tuesday.

Americans have spoken

I'm sitting here looking at the county-by-county break down of election results for the 2004 presidential election from Real Clear Politics. It's a sobering map. The entire New England map looks blue, except two counties in Maine, two in New Hampshire, one in Vermont, and one in Connecticutt. Two-thirds of New York is red, half of New Jersey, and most of Pennsylvania. Alabama is solid red, except for a blue belt that represents the "rust belt" of the state - the former steel-producing regions. The blue areas in every other state, from east to west, can be identified as being the home of a large city, radical unions, or a majority of people who vote based on extreme environmental convictions the rest of the nation doesn't share.

There's a lot to learn from this map, and a lot of people are uncomfortable with some of the lessons. Someone remarked that the Republicans represented people who voted based on "God, guns and gays". There's some truth in that, but not exactly what the spokesman meant. Mark Steyn quotes Brian Reid of the Daily Miror (you know, the one with the headline "How can 59 million people be so dumb?" in his London Telegraph article, claims that " "The self-righteous, gun-totin', military-lovin', sister-marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', non-passport-ownin' rednecks, who believe God gave America the biggest dick in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land 'free and strong'."

What Americans did with their 2004 Presidential vote was to reaffirm the actions of our founding fathers, that governements are to "secure the rights" of Free Men, and are given only the powers needed to do that. They reaffirmed that the only legitimate source of power in this land is the power of the people, and that their representatives to government are to make laws, not the judges appointed to interpret and apply them. They recognized that we are at war, and only a strong military and a strong leader could win that war. They believe in the right to "keep and bear arms", not to hunt, or for sport shooting, but as the last check on an overreaching government. They once again acknowledged and affirmed that we are a free and sovereign nation, not dependent upon the approval of any other agency to do whatever we feel is necessary for our safety and security.

They once again affirmed that the American people as a whole are God-loving moral people, who believe there are limits to behavior, and that there really are things like "good" and "evil". Starr Parker calls them "inside-out" people - the core of their world is internal, based on religion and values, and is projected from within onto whatever is going on outside of themselves. These are opposed to the "outside-in" people, who let the external world affect what they believe, and whose belief systems change with the scenery. The majority of Americans don't hate gays, but don't want the gay agenda and the gay lifestyle crammed down their throats - by Hollywood, by New York, or by Washington, DC. The vote on "gay marriage" in eleven states, which was soundly defeated everywhere, expressed this unequivocally.

"The "non-passport-ownin' rednecks" comment is just another indication of how poorly the average European understands the United States. The entire European Union, plus Turkey and every other country in Europe save Russia, makes up less than 2/3 the land area of the United States alone. There's no need for the majority of Americans to own a passport in order to travel more than 3000 miles east-west, or 1800 miles north-south. Just to rub it in, however, I think that Europe would be surprised at the number of American that either have, or have had, a passport in the last 30 or so years. During the Cold War, the United States had more military troops in West Germany alone than the total population of Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, and the Vatican, combined. Each of these six nations issues, or at least issued, passports. The United States has a dozen National Parks larger than Luxembourg, and the total of the 52 parks listed on the United States National Parks home page contain more land area than Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, or Switzerland. In fact, the twelve largest US National Parks have a total land area larger than Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg combined. One National Park, Denali, is larger than Slovenia, and it's only one of eight national parks in that state. Thanks to border agreements with Canada and Mexico, we don't NEED passports to see more than one twelfth of the land area of the entire world.

We have always been a nation that believes in personal freedoms, personal responsibility, and the "pursuit of happiness" by everyone. We try to keep our government interference to a minimum, our productivity as high as possible, and our pleasures within the confines of the family. If given the chance, two-thirds of the world's population would be on our doorsteps tomorrow. If we don't want to follow the European Suicide Pact of declining family size, socialism, limited opportunity, and high unemployment, maybe there's a reason for it. Maybe instead of Europe turning up its nose at the United States, perhaps they should try emulating it. Our POOR live better than the middle class in most of the countries in the world, where there IS a middle class. Maybe instead of the rest of the world constantly harping on what we're doing wrong, they should look at what we're doing right, and try to copy it.

Middle Americans "get it". Europe, and America's left, are still lost in a fog of their own creation.