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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Huerta, Joads, myths

Ah, Delores Huerta was given the Freedom Medal by Obama!  How fitting.  She is a Marxist socialist, is Head of the Democratic Socialist Party of America, and helped Caesar Chavez organize the United Farm Workers in the 60’s.  Chavez had formerly been associated with labor movements of Saul Alinsky, but Alinsky saw no reason to organize farm workers.  The union made gains under the Chavez-Huerta alliance in the 60’s and 70’s but was muscled out of the way by Teamsters for the usual reason.  UFW was communist.  It lost most members and has recently tried to organize under the AFL-CIO but got kicked out in 2006. Add Huerta to Van Jones, Anita Dunn, Carole Browner, Mark Lloyd as a list of most-favored communists by our Prez. 

Communist unions in the San Joaquin Valley remind me of how America came to believe a fiction about the dust bowl that has become as American as Apple Pie, the Okies in California myth.  The Oklahoma panhandle, Texas panhandle and SW Kansas was hit by a drought from 1931 to 1938.  No one has proven the cause of this and other droughts that plague the Great Plains, but for 8 years the average temperature shot up 10 degrees over normal and annual rainfall for the area fell from 18 inches to 8 per year.  15 inches constitutes desert, so the land devegetated and the dirt started to blow.  In the panhandle area, this is particularly easy since during the winters it often freezes every night and thaws every day.  Average January temperature in Guymon is 37F.  Moreover, the venerated farming practice of fall plowing exacerbates this in the area’s already friable soils.  Since the 30’s, farmers of the great plains have learned to not fall plow, use chisel-type tillage and minimum tillage.  This keeps a top layer of stubble on the soil and prevents the blowing. And in the 30’s it was a common practice for absentee wheat farmers to live in places like Denver but to show up at their farm in the panhandle for a few months to harvest and sow next year’s wheat.

But blow it did.  In March 1935, one dust storm kicked up and blew all the way across the eastern United States, leaving a film of dust on FDR’s desk, and noted by ships 3000 miles out into the Atlantic.  This is not a new phenom.  The Sahara does the same sort of dust bowl every year.  Drive west of Ponca City and you will notice small hillocks west of Tonkawa, then more prevalently as you go west.  These knolls, 20 feet tall and no consistent drainage pattern are extremely sandy.  They are ancient sand dunes now covered by scant vegetation.  And near rivers, as at Waynoka, there are active dune fields.

Unemployment in 1932 was 25%. As the dust blew out of Oklahoma it went east and seemed to symbolize the Depression’s disaster.  Yet in Oklahoma unemployment was not quite as bad—22%.  Farmers are extraordinarily self-sufficient and small communities took care of each other.  The deep south was another matter.  Unemployment in Mississippi was 52%.  That’s because FDR designed the AAA farm program to pay the owners of farms for leaving land idle.  In the South, poor sharecroppers did the actual work.  When rich owners got their checks, they often simply laid off half the sharecroppers who hit the road looking for a living.  Folks from Arkansas to Alabama often migrated to California which had not been affected by the drought-- that not only affected the great plains but the entire Southeast as well as the northern plains in the Dakotas. As farm workers, they settled in the Valley.

Postal records show 440,000 Oklahomans left the state from 1930 to 1940. (gross not net) 225,000 went to the Pacific NW where there were big dam projects.  Okies from the oil patch knew welding, erecting steel gridwork, pouring concrete.  70,000 went to California, 2/3 of those went to the Los Angeles Basin.  Very few went to San Joaquin Valley.  Yet today, the residents of Fresno and Bakersfield are known as “okies” and people in California swear the Valley is filled with Oklahomans.  Why?  It is because the accent of Arkansans and Mississippians was close to that of the Oklahomans already in the Valley who were working the oil fields. They got labelled by what Californians knew. 

And at this time, Woody Guthrie popularized his protest songs about the plight of displaced farmers in Oklahoma going west to California.  Guthrie, a communist, was trying to widen the revolution beyond city workers.  Sandberg (Wait! I mean Steinbeck.  I've been listening to Joe Biden too much! He thinks Steinbeck wrote about Lincoln.) took up the notion, and wrote Grapes of Wrath in which a hapless Joad family is forced to flee the dust bowl and then were mistreated by land owners in California only to find true happiness by the benevolence of the government intervention.   People believed this made-up tale because they saw stories of California union farm worker violence in the papers all around the country. But the violence was caused by Marxists who were (unsuccessfully) organizing Mexican farm workers. The “Joads” were a rare type.  Meade county, Kansas, at the very center of the dust bowl actually gained 2% population from 1930 to 1940.  The governors of Oklahoma protested the Steinbeck myth, but to no avail.  People in the heavily depressed cities were keen to believe that the dust had wiped out everything.  FDR called for the forced de-population of the area to make it a national grassland, but the states and Congress defeated him.  People wanted to believe in government and FDR as a savior. And so the myth has been propagated to this very day in much the same way that Huerta and the UFW have been hailed as a great movement, when really they were a failed one.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Losing Decoration Day

Decoration Day was what my grandmother always called it.  We don’t call it that anymore. That was the original title for Memorial Day, started after the Civil War to honor the men who had died fighting for what they believed in.  And she told about how the day was dedicated to talking about the American values those men had died for.  We don’t do that anymore either.  You never hear the media talk about just what it was that was so important that America lost enormous numbers of men in the prime of life.  Did they die for nothing?  If I were to play Jay Leno and ask people in the street to tell me why we fought in the Spanish American War, I bet only 1 in 100 could explain. Pity.  Why don’t we talk about it?

The War Between the States was fought by men on both sides who strongly believed in opposite interpretations of a value.  The South fought for individual states rights. Listen to the songs. Hoorah! Hoorah! For southern rights Hoorah!  Hooray for the bonnie blue flag that bears the single star!  The North fought for the inseparable union. The Union forever!  Hoorah, boys, Hoorah!  Down with the traitor and up with the Stars. So was it to be star or stars?  The underlying issue was slavery, and on that was hinged the disagreement: Union or States Rights. 

The War of 1812 was like that in that an underlying issue was that the British wanted to re-colonize America. It was called the Second War of Independence after the war but what was being fought for at the inception was the abuse of Americans on the high seas.  The Spanish American war was also fought because Americans were being abused when they tried to do business in the Caribbean by Spain.  Some would argue that USA had colonial desires, but Roosevelt and the Rough Riders didn’t volunteer for colonialism.  They fought for rights and freedoms.  The First World War had an ostensible slogan Make the World Safe for Democracy and USA fought on the side of the most constitutional monarchies, once again, pro-rights and anti-tyranny.  WW II was fought when we were attacked by fascists and of all the wars in our history, it was the one Americans joined with the most eagerness and anger at the opponent.  But if you ask many people, ”So what is wrong with fascism?”  they give some lame explanation about the Holocaust.  Well, we fought the entire war without knowing about the Nazi death camps. “Try again.” Fascism, National Socialism, represents a system of government control of vital businesses and people.  That was anathema in America.  We fought for rights as well as we defended our existence when attacked.  As we were attacked unprovoked again in 9/11, we fight for our right to exist and for rights that Islamofascists refuse.  Ironically it was a second time.  We fought them in the War of the Barbary Pirates in 1800.  We fought the spread of full-blown socialism in Vietnam and Korea, and another National Socialist Baathist dictator in both Gulf Wars.

What’s the common consistency?  We fight for rights, just as in the original Revolutionary War, and we oppose those who deny those rights, either monarchies or socialists.  First to fight for rights and freedom, then to keep our honor clean.  goes the Marines Hymn. We Americans sometimes disagree on the extent of rights and freedoms or the need to go to war. But today, oddly enough, we have those who rather side with a progressive national socialism, where rights are subordinated to the state in exchange for well-being, government controls key industries closely, and the Constitution is optional.  Don’t tell that to the veterans of the Civil War who fought over an interpretation of the Constitution and rights.  600,000 men died in that war. There were 12 million Americans in 1860, hence 6 million males or about 3 million adult males.  So America lost 20% of its men fighting for their cherished beliefs.

You say, “Well, Americans will never fight Americans again.” But if half of America believes in rights and the other half thinks rights are lesser than benefits--health care, minimum wage--there is surely going to be conflict.  I find myself wanting to tell progressive smiley-faced fascists that their fathers fought against exactly what they want.  John McCain does it better.  He, a war hero who can’t lift his arms over his head because of the torture he went through in Vietnam, was giving a Memorial Day address when a leftist heckler started screaming about Republicans being rich.  McCain paused as the security guards escorted the heckler away and then stated, “Jerk”.  Well put.

What did they die for?  We need to have this discussion every Memorial Day.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Obamacare databases threaten freedoms

I want to summarize Amanda Teagarten’s talk about Obamacare’s data bases, for a simple reason. When I first began to read excerpts from Obamacare, it occurred to me that the law violates the 1st Amendment by making some who have religious objections buy services for their fellows which strikes at their faith.  It violates the 4th and 5th  because the database of personal records is both an unreasonable seizure and deprivation of private property.  And it violates the 9th and 10th because the individual mandate takes free-market purchase away from both people and states. 

Everyone concentrated on the 10th amendment problem which was cosigned by 26 states in a suit now in the Supreme Court. Nobody talked about the database—except OK-SAFE (Oklahomans for Soveriegnty and Free Enterprise).  And it is much more horrifying than I imagined.  So if the individual mandate is struck down but the electronic interconnections are allowed to stand, our freedoms are in deep trouble, not only in healthcare but all sorts of other things. 

What it basically amounts to is that the Feds are trying to install a system of data systems which connected would get around all the legal, regulatory and statuatory restrictions that state legislatures, Congresses and others have put in place for two hundred years.  In this scheme, at the touch of a button, not only your health records, but also your vital identity numbers, your political statements, your religious thoughts, your financial status, and many other things would be instantly accessible, privacy be damned.   Vision 2015 is the grand scheme of electronic interconnections which lets government get into examining your emails, computer and telephone uses, your tax forms, genetic information, private purchasing as well as the aforementioned IDs and healthcare records.  And then in the big strategy, this would be shared globally with not only foreign private businesses, but also governments.

And this has been creeping up on us ever since the Clinton years.  But in particular, ARRA (Stimulus Bill) said that in order for states to get federal $$$, they must allow shared information exchanges.  PPACA (Obamacare) pounces on this by instituting, with a couple dozen sections, information sharing without which the entire national health care act cannot operate. And all nullify your rights to life, liberty, and intellectual property.  That is to say, the exchanges ignore the Constitution and state restrictions on confidentiality, etc. Interestingly enough, it also lets government select certain insurers to administer policies.  (Rather like fascism in which Schindler had to be in cahoots with the Nazis if he wanted to keep his business.)

There are practical problems, of course.  First not all computers can communicate. So uniformity standards have been put in place.  Now anybody who gets a federal grant must have IT compliance and use the new standards.  Fusion centers were set up in the last 2-3 years which will be clearing houses for law enforcement such as Homeland Security as well as hospitals. (One is in Oklahoma City.) The idea is to share not only with government but also with academia and the private sector.  This would also eliminate barriers to having your information be shared internationally.  Literally the whole federal government participates, but also everyone in the UN.  Some of our local attempts to make our computer systems efficient feeds into this.  OK has recently begun to put all state systems on a consolidated software.  The IT & Chief Information Officer just became the 16th cabinet member of the governor’s cabinet. Of course we did this to save money and get government working together.  But if we set up healthcare exchanges, the federal government will suddenly have access to all things state. OK already has an OK Health Information Exchange Trust.  But so far the governor has resisted doing an OK health care exchange until we see how the Supreme Court rules. 

So what? Well, the Healthcare exchange will start calculating Quality Adjuusted Life Years for everyone.  Your QALY tells Obamacare just how much good a particular surgery or treatment will achieve.  This in essence becomes information for whether you get care, given your age, habits, etc.  Sarah Palin, I think, called these “Death Panels” but it’s really far less personal than a panel to which one might make an emotional or legal appeal.  As for other things one might imagine what the government could do with your private habits and information, I leave that exercise for the reader. (Hmm. It says that you once wrote an opinion in a church newsletter against gay marriage.  Well, go to the back of the line for a liver transplant.)  

OK-SAFE recommends several things but the slide was not up long enough for me to copy them all.  No Health care exchanges.  Terminate OHIET.  Allow escape from the national data base system through whatever means. (by saying this, I take no responsibility, nor do I expressly suggest, that you send Obama a virus.) So that was Amanda's slide show.  Further info at

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rich Clingers

I should be a liberal.  I spent almost 20 years being buffeted by big corporation competition making 10 to 30 thousand a year.  But it teaches you to be rich in other things—faith, family and friends and even sidelines like becoming versed in local history and rooting for a sports team.  Especially important is the faith. 

So when I listen to some say that I should hate the rich who don’t pay a fair share, I find myself asking, “Isn’t that almost a pure definition of envy, the sin of the last commandment?  And if the rich pay 39% federal and all sorts of state and local taxes which come to 52%, well, how much do the Dems want?  100% and the guillotine like the French did?  Or is it some lesser number that will simply drive their job creation out of the country? 

And what’s this stuff about compassion in government?  Government doesn’t have compassion, it has entitlements.  If you are entitled, then there is no sympathy.  If you want to promote compassion, go visit the jails and talk to young men who have ruined their lives.  Help them get their lives and faith together.  Or take a poor family or an immigrant family under your wing.  Teach them budgeting or English and make friends.  Or take in a foster kid, a system kid who has all the entitlements from the government but doesn’t have a true blue family.  If the homeless bother you, take one home and give them a home.  But compassion in government?  It was two government guys who passed the dying man Jesus taught about and the Samaritan who was “good” because he stopped and did his best in the situation. 

It was Jesus who asked to see a Roman coin, the one with Caesar’s image and proclaimed him a god.  And then he said to his Jewish audience who knew “Love the Lord with all your heart”,  “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s”.  So much for the love of big government! He told a story about how three men were given different amounts of money and the guy who didn’t risk anything but just buried the money for security was thrown in prison while the richest risk-taker was additionally given what little the cradle-to-grave security guy had. Evidently God loves a risk-taker, like Peter who tried to walk on water or Paul who gave up everything for the gospel.  God, the risk-taker is a Father in the lesson of the Prodigal Son who risks his son going bad, then welcomes him with open arms when he does.  God, the ultimate risk-taker came to earth to be despised and smitten and crucified alongside enemies of the state just to gain us.

I guess Obama would call me a Clinger, although I’m not bitter and the only gun I own is a pellet gun. I don’t fall for the rich-bashing and the lure of government goodies or all the sweet talk about unity/hope/change if only I will give up my beliefs.  The guy I follow doesn’t offer much cradle-to-grave security, but He offers eternity with Him.  He told the story about a rich man who thought everything concerned money and possessions—like materialistic political philosophies and socialism do.  God called him “Thou fool”.  

I can’t wear that shoe because it doesn’t fit.  Here, Mr. Progressive, you try it on. 

The guys I would memorialize first on Memorial Day were the ones who walked wide-eyed into the certain knowledge that if they lost, they were dead men.  If the Revolution went bad, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and other nameless soldiers would be hung and called traitors forever.  Still, they risked all for the fight for freedom.  They were first to cling to faith and liberty.  "Is security so sweet or peace so dear?" yelled a young Clinger from the back of the Virginia commonwealth as the others debated whether to join the cause. Heads rose to listen. "Is security so sweet or peace so dear that it must be bought at the price of chains and even slavery?  I know not what others may do, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"  Patrick Henry lost both sons and died penniless after the war.  But when you are remembered for a gallant, defiant phrase that lives hundreds of years later, that swayed the key state to join the Revolt, that bought millions of people freedom in the most wonderful country ever conceived, that ain't dying in poverty, that's Rich.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Manure Spreader

I have a unique and rare 50-year-old manure spreader I would like to get rid of.  Beautiful and well-cared for and has not seen much hard use, but it is not a common brand.  Unusual name that some have said comes from Africa or Asia.  No supporting origins documentation available. Is a well-regarded name in 3rd world and totalitarian countries. Spreads manure like crazy with unique ability to not get much on itself.  Has a nice operational sound but is often said that you can’t tell what the sounds mean. Hence, hard to diagnose some erratic behaviors.  Not for sale because I believe that would reflect badly on me.  I want to give away, hopefully to an international collector on November 6 this year.  Comes with supporting teleprompter and no need for supporting livestock since makes own manure.

Harding Normalcy

Presidents nor Congresses cause neither recessions nor recoveries.  If you don’t believe that, please get a professional to invest your money.  But they do create an environment under which recessions and recoveries play out.  If you look at the last century, however, politicians tend to regard recessions with grave concerns and feel impelled to act.  Let’s look at the worst ‘crises’ of  the last hundred years and an interesting result appears.

            1920.  WWI was over and the drop in demand from peacetime caught business off guard. GDP dropped 17%, second-only to the Great Depression in severity.  Unemployment went from 4 to 12% and fed-up voters elected a dark horse Republican, Warren Harding.  Though later vilified for his unrealized crooked friends when he was in office, and often said to be the worst President for his inexperience, Harding went along with Congress which was in an anti-progressive mood and wanted to get back to “Normalcy” after the war.  They passed budget cuts, a balanced budget and tax cuts.  The economy took off like a rocket.  By 1923 unemployment was 2.4% and a “roaring twenties” decade of growth occurred.

            1929.  US stock market crashed by 30% but no recession happened.  President Hoover enacted huge tariffs, upped the marginal income tax rate from 25% to 63%, increased spending 47%.  Unemployment made a slight comeback from 9% to 6% but then came a real worldwide recession triggered by banking credit crisis in Europe, 1931.  The GDP declined 27%, unemployment went to 25% in 1932 and FDR expanded the Hoover spending and taxation increases even more. Result were twin long-term recessions of 1931 and 1937 that lasted until 1941 when unemployment was 18%.  WW II is often credited with relieving the Depression but actually it just took 12 million men out of the job market.  Depressed levels of private investment continued during the war.

            1946.  Truman proposed a Second New Deal and conventional wisdom was that another post-war recession was inevitable.  But Congress said No Deal and cut taxes and spending.  Result was a boom of prosperity that continued through the 50’s. 3 recessions during this period but all were mild.

            1961.  This was a mild recession (7.1% unempl.) but everyone expected the newly elected liberal President Kennedy to scramble with spending and tax increases in classic Progressive fashion.  Instead he proposed a tax cut, though spending did increase.  Tax cut became law right after his death in 1964.  Economy expanded well with 4.2% unemployment and 3% annual growths. End of decade saw enormous spending growth.

            1973. Nixon scrambled to increase spending despite his price controls trying to control inflation. “We are all Keynesians now.”  The recession was triggered by excess inventories.  Recovery had paltry GDP growth (1-2%)  but continued inflation as Ford, then Carter were Presidents. 

1979. Another recession occurred that, depending on your definition of recessions, lasted as a double-dip recession until the end of 1982. Trigger was overspeculation in natural resources.  GDP lost 6% but unemployment reached 11.8% in the first year of Reagan.  Unlike Nixon, Reagan  proposed a landmark 25% cut in income tax(marginal 70% to 28%).  By 1983 inflation had gone from 13.5% to 3.2.  GDP growth was routinely over 4%, a rare accomplishment in a first-world country.  Revenue nearly doubled in 6 years. But budget deficits continued because Congress spent it all.  Nonetheless, the success of Reaganomics convinced most of the public to pursue low tax/ limited spending policies which continued through Bush41, Clinton, Bush43 and GDP grew continually by 2.5-3.5%.  Second Bush tax cut in 2002Unemployment was low and declined to 4.2% in 2006.

2007. Triggered by collapse of housing bubble and speculative instruments.  An emergency “TARP” stimulus was passed, then under Obama another $787 billion stimulus was passed.  Spending increases unseen outside of the World Wars were enacted with unprecedented deficits. Yet unemployment continued to climb to heights not seen since 1982, a year after the recovery had begun in July 2009. Taxes were relatively unchanged. GDP growth has averaged an anemic 1.9%.

What this story tells me is that every time the government has cut spending and taxes, it created an environment conducive to growth.  When stimuli with heavy spending and often heavy taxation occurred, it hampered the recoveries.  (forget the triggers and causes of recessions.  They happen a multitude of ways and there is no such thing as a big stimulus needed to avoid a worse recession--just Progressive yap.) Harding actually invented this “Reaganomics” but he just called it common sense.  Cutting back is how your family gets finances under control when times get tough.  The policies often trigger a decade or more of good economic activity thereafter.  But when heavy stimulation is tried, it leads to a pitiful economic environment.  If an era of good growth is coming, you don’t want to miss it with your investments.

Now here’s what is interesting about 2012.  Should Obama win, we may be headed for another 1946-like Congressional No Deal.  It is highly doubtful that Democrats will recapture the House and the Senate will surely go more Republican since the Dems have so many seats to defend.  So what would a Republican congress and a Progressive President do?  Congress controls the purse and with Senate cooperation would finally land a realistic and austere budget on the President’s desk.  If he doesn’t sign, I expect they would pass a watered down version over his veto.  But conservatives in the House will keep spending in check, whether Obama likes it or not.  What if Romney is President?  Then I expect he will follow his business instincts to curb spending and taxes.  Either way, it could be a decade of wonderful recovery from the 2007+ era.

Which we call Normalcy in America.  Tom Harding--the inexperienced guy from Marion, Ohio, out of his league, didn’t know how to staff a national government, who was the dark horse the Republican convention elected when it deadlocked among 4 other well-known candidates—at least understood common sense.

Bankrupt Rich?

Um, Mr. President, I was wondering if you could answer a question for me.  See this has been bothering me and I thought, you, being so intelligent could explain it.  Your ads are saying that Mr. Romney made his money by bankrupting companies and laying off the employees. And I heard you say that this was going to be a central part of your campaign. 

So what I want to know is this.  How do you take over companies, bankrupt them and lay off the employees and make a profit?  I mean, I'd really like to know because then I could get rich this way too.  I could accomplish the bankrupting part and I could probably hire someone to do the dirty work of laying off people.  But how do you make money doing that?  Could Romney have actually become a wealthy man this way?  Isn't the first order of business in a bankruptcy that the court takes control from all the owners and appoints a trustee who may arrange for a new management, but former owners get nothing out of the deal except getting the creditors off their backs?  Don't they get the company taken away from them and distributed/reorganized on behalf of the creditors?  So where's the profit?  You plunk down $XXX to buy the company and have $0 when it is bankrupt.  That looks like a loss to me, but since I'm just a dumb businessman, I am not smart enough to figure out these things like a Democrat does.

I do know of the practice where somebody buys a company and sells part of the assets to help finance the purchase.  That's called 'Greenmail' which is considered sharkish.  The word is a play on the term blackmail which means betrayal.  As far as I can tell, greenmail and blackmail have nothing to do with alternative energy or race.  Although there certainly are voters who feel betrayed when the government gives a green company tax dollars which it loses on the way to bankruptcy.  Which reminds me, Mr. President, if Solyndra and those 11 other companies we poured money into which went bankrupt and laid off all their employees, actually made profit for the government, then I'm expecting a tax rebate. And a smart guy like you could really talk about this.

But even if Mr. Romney sold assets, money from the sale would have to be held in the company treasury.  So then if the debt gobbled up that money and exceeded the value of the company causing bankruptcy, that would leave a broke Romney.  So if he made a gazillion dollars, it stands to reason that he actually did turn around some businesses--likely a lot of businesses.  Money doesn't lie.  But of course a business can be still succeed even if only 2/3 of the bets it makes come out positive.  And Mitt probably made some bad bets.  On the other hand, it seems to me, that government can be wrong all the time and still come out winning if it lies and manages to convince enough people. Isn't this true? I mean, that's all I know about it.  But you've been in government almost all the time, like most Democrats, so you'd be the one to answer that.

So if you can just tell us how Romney gets rich by going broke, we the people would really love to hear it.  Because there are a lot of us out here who have the talent to go broke, even when we are trying to avoid it.  But you understand we're pretty dumb.  We still haven't figured out how guys like Charles Rangel got fabulously wealthy when he never had a job except congressman. Or how the lawyers who handle bankruptcies are the only ones who seem to get rich.  Is that what Democrats call being smart?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Christianity & Gay Marriage

Are we back to this Same Sex Marriage thing again?  Ugh!  I fear that Christians won't win this one politically since so many people pick and choose beliefs from a Christian heritage and mix it with some pop psychology.  Voila! They fashion themselves close followers of Christianity but vote against the Faith.  Cal Thomas has written a fairly good column about this in Obama's Other Gospel but he gets all wrapped up in heresy and orthodoxy and practices of the Catholic Church.  I'd like to do it Protestant-style--straight from the Inspired Word.

Do you believe in Jesus?  Well, here's what my Lord and Savior and Friend said about marriage,
"Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh'?" Matthew 19:4-5 (bold added in case you don't see the point.)  "One flesh" refers to procreation that is one flesh out of two individuals.  When my Boss tells me such things, I tend to accept it. 

The word Jesus uses for "hell" in the gospels is "Gehanna" which refers to the sight of a pagan Canaanite temple in the Kidron valley where Jerusalem dumped their trash.  The City Dump, Gehanna,  burned day and night as trash was added.  The razzed temple was for the pagan god Molech in which Canaanites sacrificed their firstborn children.  The way this was accomplished was through an intensely hot furnace into which the babies were thrown.  Molech's Babylonian name was Bel and that's where Shadrack, Meshack and Abednigo were thrown.  Now if you think that the act of throwing an innocent newborn into a furnace is something no one who is a parent could bring themselves to do, you are exactly right.  All the priests of Molech were homosexual men. 

And yet I hear people say repeatedly that Jesus never said anything about being gay or 'gay marriage'.

In Ephesians 5:25,32 it says, "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that He might sanctify her...This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church."  In those intervening verses, Paul is quoting that famous Genesis passage that Jesus quoted about a man and a woman becoming one flesh and his point is that marriage is a sacred contract, not a loose bond.  And he is admonishing men to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands--a phenomenal understanding of man's and woman's (not 2 gays) neglected virtues you wouldn't expect from an old bachelor like Paul. (Proof number 161 that this Word is Inspired)

In Levitius 18 God tells the nation of Israel not to behave like Egyptians or Canaanites-- no incest, no marrying sisters, no homosexual relations, no child and human sacrifice and several other things He despises.  vs. 28: "lest the land vomit you out when you make  it unclean, as it vomited out the nation [Canaan] that was before you." Pretty strong words! Evidently the Boss doesn't go for such things.

Okay, so the Lord of my life said it is one man and one woman (not two women and a dog and a parakeet), a sacred trust, thinks of Hell's demons and gay priests in the same thought (and He has seen Hell where I haven't) and is strongly against even gay practice, do you expect me to vote for gay marriage? Besides, I don't like being vomited out.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


July 14 is the 100th birthday of Woody Guthrie and as we go into this Memorial Day-to-July4 time you are likely to hear about this repeatedly in the media.  Moreover, Guthrie is likely to be treated as heroic, which leaves me a bit bemused.  Born in Okemah in Okfuskee county (You’re a true Okie if you can pronounce that quickly and show it on a map.) He died of untreated Huntington’s disease in 1967, which causes dementia and absurd behavior.  An avowed communist, the Communist Party USA wouldn’t accept him since he was a loose cannon.  He became famous as the “Troubadour of the Dustbowl” when he went on a cross-country trip with some Oklahoma farmers trying to relocate in San Joaquin Valley and wrote many songs about it.  Because of his music, the notion was encouraged that Okies fled in mass to California during the dust bowl (an enormous factual error), but with Steinbeck’s book it became ingrained in the national consciousness and if you try to argue the facts people will dispute you like you are a traitor to Well-known Facts About America.  He went on to produce ballads full of blues for the FDR propaganda films that were used to argue that Western Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas  should be made into a national grasslands and the people run off the land.  Such was progressivism.  But I could never understand where progressivism had any progress. Woody also wrote 174 columns for the communist party newspaper, Daily Worker.  Later he sired 8 kids from 3 women and had a terrific wanderlust leaving families behind. He eventually went to New York City where he was heralded as a true down-to-earth American from Oklahoma, unlike most of the other communists there. 

He is best known for ‘This Land Is Your Land’ a catchy tune and I-love-America lyrics.  The story of how this song came about is an eye-roller of irony.  Woodrow Wilson Guthrie wrote the song in 1940 as an asinine  spoof of “God Bless America”.  A communist atheist, he naturally hated both the lyrics and Kate Smith, the Songbird of the South who later sang it as a patriotic moment during World War II.  So he wrote a sarcastic cynical ballad in which he borrowed the tune from a popular Christian gospel song sung by the Carter Family at the time.  To which he wrote lyrics about how awful capitalist America was and then ended with the refrain “God blessed America for me.” They were lyrics of how common people were routinely exploited and the system was rotten.  Not exactly a good song for the patriotic nation in WW II.  Finally in 1944 he published it and no one noticed.  After protesting the draft, then serving a short stint in the merchant marine, he returned from the war and found his dust bowl fame had disappeared.  His career started going downhill. 

Then in 1951 he got a chance to do a gig on a children’s television program.  Television was a fledgling industry.  And Guthrie wanted to sing God Blessed America for Me.  The producer of the show listened and gagged.  How could he sing lyrics like this for children?

 As I went walking, I saw a sign there,

And on the sign there, It said "Private Property."

But on the other side, it didn't say nothing!

That side was made for you and me.

(You can see how ole’ Woody loved property rights.)

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;

By the relief office, I'd seen my people.

As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,

Is this land made for you and me?

The show director demanded Guthrie change the refrain.  Change it or don’t do the gig.  Woody needed money so he changed it.  In keeping to those verses above he changed it  to “This land is made for you and me” as a postive expression. But the director still choked over the lyrics  continued to press Woody to change verses until, with the above two verses deleted, it sounded like an inane song of love of country.

This land is your land

This land is my land

From California to New York Island

From the Redwood Forests, to the Gulf Stream waters

This Land was made for you and me.

            Guthrie recorded it that way but hated it. It caught on, made him famous, but he hated performing it. For he was a writer of protest songs.  Today it stands as his singular work, a song with lyrics he was forced to write and tune set to a gospel song he plagiarized and detested. 

            I keep thinking irreverently, “maybe that’s what drove him crazy.”    

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

He's done

I don’t see it.  I've been a campaign manager and I don’t see how Obama can win—aside from a stunning Romney problem like John Edwards.  Barack  won in 2008 by 53-46%.  Hmmm—same margin as my candidate did.  That’s not a comfortable margin.  If you lose 3% you’re tied.  All right, let’s run some numbers.  Afro-Am’s are 10% of the vote and they favored him by 95% last time.  He’s polling at 85% now.  There goes one percent.  Hispanics are just over 10% and they favored him by 75% last time.  They are 55% now.  That’s another 2%.  Young voters under 30 favored him 66% last time and make up an uncertain 10% of votes.  They are now at 48% approval and what if only half of them show up this time through discouragement.  There’s at least another 2%.  He’s down 12% with women who comprise 50% so that’s -6%.  Down 20% with elders over 55 and that’s 30% of the vote so that’s another minus 6%. 

Of course there is a lot of overlap in many categories, but you get the picture that he’s about 10 points down from last time and the yo-yoing between 42 and 48% approval demonstrates this.  Only Rasmussen does polls of likely voters (at this time of the campaign) and they have been showing numbers of about 45-45 all spring.  Those 10% undecideds will go ¾ to the challenger.  All those other polls where they show 49-48% are blue-sky guesses since they just interview people at random.  1 out of 3 of them won’t vote. 

Obummer has made bad strategic decisions in his campaign like his allegation that R’s hate women, refusing to approve Keystone, looking like he doesn’t want to work but golf while his wife travels to 5-star hotels on the taxpayer’s nickel.  The attacks on rich and Wall Street have made the public roll their eyes.  His EPA is, in the eyes of most people, somewhere between a bureaucratic concern and a Gestapo.  No issue he brings up seems to get traction.

Republicans made mistakes too.  They couldn’t find a true and articulate unanimous conservative.  They keep talking as if the recession is still going and it has been over for 3 years.  If they had said the truth, this is only the third jobless recovery in American history, which performs like the sick man of Europe, the charge would be sticking to Oblamer like a tar baby.  But I figure Mitt has the discipline to talk economy all the way to the election and all the diversionary tactics of BHO will not get him flustered.  Obama defends unpopular policies of Obamacare, refusal to drill or mine, and foreign policy appreasement. Stick a fork in him, he’s done.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hands across the Convention

The day started and ended well.  It’s just the in-between that made you bite nails.  Steve and I attended the Walk For Life that began in the park.  He was the Send-off speaker and we had a great time visiting with many of the folks.  8 pastors were there for a great fund-raiser.  Salvation Army Chaplain Mike had a wonderful story about a small boy trapped in a high window of a burning house.  No one knew what to do until a man climbed an iron pipe up the side of the wall and rescued him.  But the pipe was so hot he burned his hand.  Moral: Love is costly.  I was reminded of the interconnectedness of Christians by all the fun we had visiting. 

Then we were off to the Republican convention in Norman.  Steve had called the day before and asked if we would still be seated as delegates if we came in late.  The answer was ‘yes’ but when we arrived Pam Pollard told us we would have to raise a point of order in the meeting and the convention would have to let us in.  Political parties have strict rules about attendance and credentials.  Otherwise you could have some outfit flash mob the place and disrupt.  We have enough controversy as it is without Occupy Norman showing up. It was nearly noon and Governor Fallin finished speaking.  The credentials report was next.  Turned out that the convention floor wasn’t in the mood to seat Steve and I and some other latecomers so we shrugged and decided to enjoy the day as spectators.  We always intend to have fun.  So we sat in the back next to Representative Dennis Johnson and Steve Fair of the Stephens county delegation.  Our Kay county folks were across the aisle.  Sitting there in the cheap seats we were continually visited by others like George Faught who is running for a bigger House—the US House seat in Eastern OK— Rep. Jason Murphy and others. 

The Ron Paul folks are very intense about his candidacy and they arrived in force far greater than the Paul vote percentage in OK's primary.  First vote was to change the rules so that the slate of delegates to the national convention would be opposed by an alternate slate drawn up by the Paulistas.  The majority of the convention opposed this by a vote of about 800 to 500.  But there were computer problems with 6 counties, who had more voting delegates than the computer screen at the front of the room showed.  Kay had 23 voters and only 22 delegates.  “Whassa deal?” I asked Lowell.  "Did we pick up a Chicago Democrat who has been out to the graveyard copying names?”  Turned out that someone in registration line had punched the “guest” button instead of  “delegate” so it was all innocent.  But the 2 big counties, Tulsa and Oklahoma had 20 or 30 folks unaccounted for.  It wouldn’t have made a difference in the vote results, but the Paul people had a fit, not willing to go down to defeat so easily.  They had to re-certify the counties by hand and that took eternity.  Steve and I were getting hungry.  We used up my two granola bars and all the candy kisses he could find in his suit coat pockets and down in the lining and what-not.  Of course that wasn’t sufficient for us two fat boys.  Dennis, who also shares this trait, told somebody that if we had a famine he intended to be the last man standing, and Steve would be second to last. 

Pam and Jeff and Matt, our fearless state party folks were trying to do their best to get things rectified, and really held up well under the threats from the floor.  So too did Mark who was the chair and the parliamentarian who really knew the rules front-to-back, but that only aggravated the Ron Paul folks.  One young guy with a full beard and long hair stood up and gave a passionate demand of why voting had to be perfect.  Good Point.  Steve said to me, “Did Jesus show up to tell us how it should be done?” I told him that that the Democrat Convention always mistakes Jesus and his disciples for Robin Hood and his merry men.  The vote was eventually upheld but by now a fist fight had broken out between two guys in the back corner and did that ever get attention of the house!  Every cell phone camera was running.  Don’t tell me Oklahoma doesn’t have cock fights.  Finally at 2:30 we had a lunch recess.  Steve said, “you can see how so many people died on the Titanic—when people get cross and start arguing.”  Fair and Johnson agreed.  I have always heard that the Republicans on  the Titanic saw the fiscal iceberg coming.  The Democrats said there was no iceberg or if there was they bitched and whined about it not being big enough.

Back from lunch at 3, we voted on the state slate.  It was another long vote, same results, and thus OK will now have a state delegation at the National Convention.  But there were all sorts of angry attempts at amendment.  The chair turned many down flat which really got some in the crowd whompin' and stompin' and mad enough to fight snakes.  They were yelling “tyrant” and similar unrepeatable things.  But we had 2 hours until the hotel had to have the rooms for weddings.  The vote on a state chairman was next.  Steve Fair was a candidate and I leaned over and said, “Now if you win, don’t be like Vaughan, here.  He danced around and got all excited at his watch party and his neighbor asked me if I’d ever seen a guy get so excited about a $38,000 a year job?  Fair was kinda biting his nails and he got a huge kick of relief out of that remark.  Well, by golly, he won.  Couldn’t have happened to a better guy, who has built the Republican party almost from nothing down in Stephens County over the last 30 years and given us good ideas to do in Kay and Osage.

With those two drop-dead necessities done, we were free to consider platform items and the Paulistas were loaded and ready.  Trouble was, we were out of time and the hotel staff was ready to set up walls for their weddings.  Platform items can be taken up at State Party meetings later, but the Ron Paul people were fit to be tied.  So the movement to adjorn was passed over a pandemonium of protests.  They poured out into the parking lot to try to convene their own “convention in exile”, vowing to elect their own slate of delegates and a platform.  Ugh. I have seen this happen with churches too.  A church is an organization with doctrines and beliefs where people disagree and sometimes vehemently.  But it is held together by a glue of shared relationships with God which spawns relationships with each other.  Same for a political party.  We have issues we believe passionately.  But we also have relationships.  If you don’t have both, you fail.  That’s why a chaotic convention is bad.  Relationships break down temporarily.  And yet we have a common goal of getting rid of Benito Obama.  I'll save my passion for that.  

So Mr. Steve got hungry and while I was watching the bedlam, he was on his iphone finding a good place to eat.  Crackerbarrel at 122nd exit.   The word was passed and we rendezvoused there for dinner.  There we became family again, thinking about the re-election, planning our strategy and not mentioning the convention.  Things get fun again when you are with family. We don't all agree but are willing to work toward a common goal and we trust one another.

Sorry, didn’t finish the story.  The little boy was the sole survivor of the fire, and the town was trying to decide who could take him in.  Perhaps they could send him to a boys ranch where he would be free to run and play.  Or maybe to a good boarding school where he could learn.  Then suddenly at the door a man appeared, dropped to one knee and held out his arms.  The boy immediately knew who it was because the man had scars on his hands from the burning pipe.  He ran into the waiting arms.  Which is the story of us.  “But Zion said, ‘the Lord has forgotten me.’… Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the firstborn of her womb?  Yes, even these may forget, but I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.” Isaiah 49:14-16

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mean Mitt

How does that Monty Python thing go?  “Help, help!  I’m being repressed!” (when the peasant digging peat gets pounded by Arthur who can’t afford a horse) There’s a believer in democracy everywhere you go. 

Don’t tell me Obama isn’t shrewd politically.  He made an announcement about supporting gay marriage and it fell flat.  So immediately his crew sent out a half-bogus story about Mitt bullying a gay student in high school.  If your original strategy doesn’t work, change the subject. 

A few thoughts about picking on candidates for what they did as minors:  Women have ¼ the muscle mass of men and talk 4 times as many words per day.  Thus they usually flee violence since it ruins relationships and they would be on the losing end of a physical contest.  Teenage girls hurl insults right and left if they get in a fight, but usually don’t swing.  The same behavior can be observed in nature.  Females of a species often flee, then send out verbal warnings, and then when they do have to fight, fight with no-holds-barred, to-the-death to protect their young. 

Males on the other hand fight physically all the time.  Practically every high school guy picked on someone at some time and was picked on himself.  Fights erupted and somebody got beat up or at least slugged. It's kind of a sport, that guarantees to draw a crowd.  The constant fighting helps develop competitiveness and to understand their own power. Men are supposed to be dangerous but controlled.  But guys practice aggression under strict rules of engagement. It starts young with boys arguing about rules of wrestling or football that last longer than the actual fights last themselves.  Physical fighting teaches men something.  It teaches that there must be boundaries or there will be bad consequences.  But mostly it teaches you to resort to violence at last resort.  Else you might get beat up.  Thus it is that men ardently write the laws and the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 

And so most of us are a bit bemused at the allegation that mild-mannered Mitt was a toughie.  “If that’s true,” I can hear one of my friends who was a big tough guy in high school say, “then he sure has reformed.”  And that is said with admiration of character in mind.  Now realistically, it sounds like the story of Mitt as Aggressor has been embellished with politics in mind.  Likely he wasn’t so mean.  But whatever he did as a kid was likely a good lesson that changed his character.  The only guys we note for their meanness are the adults who never learned to be measured and stable.  Those are the guys with mug shots on the nightly news. That's Khruschev pounding the table with his shoe. 

So here’s my prediction.  When the story has played itself out, Mitt will gain support among men.  We understand what’s going on and who among us would like our own childhood dissected by the media.  Whether Mitt gains support among women depends on how he comes across, as a nerdy but lovable guy who can put us back on the right track or the evil demon the Dems make him out to be. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Half breed

Two weeks ago B. Hussein Obama said that he was not going to question his opponent’s patriotism.  And then this week he did just that with his ad about how Romney wouldn’t have gone after Osama.  It surely reminded me of how he wasn’t going to make abortion or reproductive rights part of the campaign and then a couple days later he started the baiting of the Catholic church by making it plain to them that they would have to pay for birth control and abortafaciants, Fluke and all.  Does this not show what kind of a campaign this is going to be?  Making such ‘high road’ statements and then dropping a bomb doesn’t just show hypocrisy.  It shows a real eagerness for mudslinging.  Disclaimer: when I suggested that, due to his penchant for taking over the auto companies, and all my friends saying he was really a Muslim, that his nickname could be Carbama, I did not realize what a bomb-thrower he was going to be.  So I am not responsible.

Listening to Rush on Friday, I think he was getting pretty edgy with his fun again.  He was laughing about Elizabeth Warren’s gaffe about being Indian because she was 1/32 and using her minority status to get a dinner invite when she was at Haw-vud. He selected an old Cher favorite,Halfbreed, as a theme song.  I haven’t heard that song in about 40 years, remembered the words and began laughing not only at his skewering of Diversity, but laughing at myself for having liked that song.  The Indians said I was white by law.  The white men always called me, Indian Squaw.  I guess that song captured the angst and anger of youth which pre-emptively blames an adult world for failure on Unfairness and Racism. I suppose I was more liberal in those days. Half Breed! ‘She’s no good’ they warned. Too bad we still have one party that uses Unfairness and Racism and teenage thinking to get voters.  The songwriter eventually blames her love life and all else on being mixed race.  But you get older and realize things never were as you imagined.  America is a pretty mixed race place.  I read a series of papers that were meeting notes of the Nazis and Japanese at the beginning of WW II.  The thing both agreed upon was that if America entered the war, it was a nation of “mongrels and mixed races” that naturally fought with each other.  Thus USA would be easy to defeat.  Then came the windtalkers.  Then came the patrician general Patton who asked a bunch of Texas farmers to make suggestions about the Sherman tank.  They gave him a host of critiques about where grease zerks needed to be and certain parts needed to be redesigned “else you’d wait forever for parts’.  That done, the Sherman became a rapid-manufacture tank that “any farm kid could fix and any city kid could drive.”  The mongrels found no trouble allying with every nation against the Axis powers and Ike held them together like determined brothers.  Instead of a patsy, the Nazis found a juggernaut. 

We always moved around from town to town/ When you’re not wanted, you don’t hang around. Perhaps the Halfbreed songwriter really did experience such prejudice, but I doubt it was long-lasting or in Oklahoma.  I was doing research on Indian numbers for one of the elderhostel classes I taught for OU.  I came across evidence that totally destroys the racist narrative.  The US Army has kept very thorough notes on frontier incidents since colonial times.  The sum of all Native Americans killed in all skirmishes, ambushes, disagreements, and wars totals about 79,000.  But the census of 1900 for the first time asked about ethnic background and found 200,000 full bloods and over a million people were “partial Indian”.  Now if you are ‘partial’ that means you had a mixed marriage in your ancestry.  Thus there were at least 10 times as many romances going on as killings. (roughly 1/3 of Oklahomans are part native American.)  So I asked my blonde housekeeping assistant at the hotel (who was on the Ponca Tribal Council) if she knew anybody with a romance story about Cowboys and Indians.  She gave a grin as wide as the Salt Fork River and sat down to tell me the stories of her grandparents on both sides.  Gee, that didn’t take long!  Boy meets girl at trading post stuff. 

One story was humorous.  Some Indian fathers were eager to marry their daughters to settlers since the cowboys treated the girls well (that Western notion called “romance”) and the family got a heads-up on new ways of the white people with a son-in-law.  Ah, so Carolyn’s grandmother’s cowboy asked Papa for her hand and secured a dowry and the girl was so darned mad she wouldn’t talk to anyone.  This dismayed both her father and her fiancĂ©.  Finally they figured it out.  A good woman was worth 3 horses in Ponca dowry, but the poor cowboy had only two.  Bride was insulted.  But the poor cowboy sat her down and told her he really loved her and was terribly disappointed because he wanted her to wear his sister’s wedding dress and get married in the Methodist church.  Suddenly she flew into his arms and all was forgiven.  Because Indian girls used to hide behind trees from a distance and envy the white girls getting married in the gown, and the cake, and the dance—well, you understand. Now in their 80’s, health of the old farm couple was getting bad and so Carolyn had come home to take care of them. 

The genius of America is that you can be what you want to be.  The genius of Oklahoma is that they poured a whole bunch of mixed people together and it still works, maybe works better.  So when this campaign gets nasty with the race allegations from the left, just roll your eyes and laugh.