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Saturday, October 25, 2014

The God of the Machine- The Sunday Collage

In about ten days time, three things are about to happen. Millions of un-informed Americans are going to march to the polls and vote for someone. Millions of informed Americans are going to march to the polls and vote for someone they think they know something about. Millions more are going to stay home for one of several reasons ranging from apathy to a loss of voting rights. I fall in the second group. I am going to go and vote straight libertarian which is an absolute waste of time- or maybe I'll just pass altogether.

The outcome of course has already been determined. Nothing will change. There will be no lobbying reform, or term limits, no tax reform, voting will not buy us ethical leadership nor a Supreme Court willing to stop the intrusions and illegal seizures of big government. In fact, voting will get us exactly what we already deplore. More of the same- insert a new face here or there. Rinse and repeat. The GOP is anxiously awaiting this year's election because they think their sociopaths are going to beat Obama's sociopaths. So it is, today's victory will be the next election cycle's loss.

We don't have a political problem in this country- we have a personal courage problem. I cannot think of a better illustration than the one I'm about to offer up. In my mind, it is the 20th century's greatest unsolved mystery.

I have always wondered how Japanese Americans could have been stripped of virtually every constitutional guarantee and freedom, their bodies seized, their homes and businesses left for ruin, and then relocated like cattle to some shitty desert locale like the Minidoka camp in Southern Idaho.

Can you imagine being arrested tonight, carted off to a camp, and jailed for a few years without any sort of due process? How did that happen? Did every citizen of this country just look the other way in 1942? What about the lawyers, what about civil rights? Where were they?

If we are guaranteed rights and freedoms given to us by God, specifically identified and itemized in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights- how was one man able to issue an executive order and remove all of those rights- systemically reducing people to cattle? It was 70 years or so ago and not exactly the dark ages. About 19 years before I landed on this rock.

I have had some furious back and forth with older Americans who rationalize and justify those actions as "reasonable" given the fact there "might be" Japanese sympathizers with ties to Japan and the national mood post Pearl Harbor was unanimously bitter and suspicious toward that class of people. I'm not sure what those potentially embedded west coast Japanese spies were going to do exactly- perhaps they had access to Colonel Sanders secret recipe.

I cannot think of a better definition of mob rule democracy. The rights of the minority were absolutely trampled by the majority. So how and why could something like that happen?

This feat compleat' was done by "executive order." An executive order is a mysterious order which cannot be found in the Constitution nor will anyone find any wording or phraseology that authorizes Presidents to remove constitutional guarantees or the rule of law- whenever they feel the urge. Executive orders do not exist anywhere in the Federalist Papers either. In fact, the framers were expressly trying to stop those very imperial edicts- edicts which abused and removed the God given freedoms and rights of our people.

FDR's very first executive order was an act that seized our gold in 1933. Did someone simply suspend the 4th amendment in the Bill of Rights? Did we not have lawyers and courtrooms back then? Did Congress go on a field trip? (They can overturn an executive order)

Who is going to stop an executive order which will violate immigration law by allowing millions of undocumented aliens into this country? Will Obama try that after the elections? A lot of people think so.

The king of the executive order- issuing more than 3500 of them and about as many as the last 11 Presidents combined- was FDR. Historians might say that Lincoln intruded on state rights and I might agree- but nobody undermined our rights and liberty worse than the Father of Statism- Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Many of FDR's edicts can be traced back to the Federal Reserve Banks' creation which plunged us into the Great Depression some 16 years later. They did the very same thing again- in 2008.

Certainly a President has the right to direct the activities of his cabinet, executive branch agencies, and the like. Nobody will argue that. But where I get a little frosty is when I see Presidents undermining existing law to satisfy their own selfish interests or destroying rights and laws designed to protect our civil liberties by issuing royal edicts. Here's a new twist from President Obama. He is exercising his "executive privilege" and obstructing the disclosure of legally obtainable documents on the Fast and Furious scandal- you know- because he is all about the "transparency."

We don't need voters. Voters do nothing other than extend the dysfunctional life of our political process and the sociopaths who make "careers" out of politics.

We need patriots. We need men and women of courage. We need people who understand that the Bill of Rights is not some negotiable instrument to be ignored or marginalized because it is politically expedient in any given moment. We need people who will stand against a mob and say, "We have a rule of law in this country and like it or not- that rule comes first and it protects us all." When we start caving in to the whims of the mob we undermine and lose our freedoms and liberty. We cannot let the mob decide who has rights and who does not or soon, none of us will have any rights at all. I submit- that day is not very far off. The Affordable Care Act has proven that to me.

The problem this country has is far simpler than just labeling everything a political quagmire and ignoring it. We've grown fat, complacent, cowardly. The solution? I'm convinced any such effort must start with campaign reform, political contributions reduced to paltry individual amounts, lobbying reforms, and most importantly- term limits. In fact term limits would go a long way to stop these enormous 100 million dollar re-election campaigns. They wouldn't occur because contributors would realize they would no longer have influence beyond the only re-election bid of any particular candidate. Our country simply cannot operate on a level playing field so long as political influence is available to the highest corporate bidder be it the health insurance lobby, big pharma lobby, or any other corporate interest seeking to monopolize the marketplace.

This week I got a kick out of my old hometown's "pizza and politics" semi annual ritual. Every two years the local newspaper holds debate night where candidates put their best face on and try to pretend that they know what they are talking about. What they are really after is ego gratification, a little power and influence, some money, and a better looking resume'. Events such as this help the "voters" pretend to be informed.

I shall leave you this week with my favorite all time quote and this blog's former subtitle. It is the very definition of politics. They do it on purpose. Thanks FDR.

“Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends.” 
― Isabel PatersonThe God of the Machine

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Hunting Trip, Part 2- The Sunday Collage

Wednesday was largely uneventful. We had some more yelling, some more swerving, some more dog whining, one heated political discussion, and then we arrived at our destination in Williston, N.D. late Wednesday. We hunted a little on Thursday and Friday. The big hunt was scheduled for Saturday morning.

I have to tell you about an incident that occurred on Friday. We had driven by two gals on horseback who were riding about a quarter mile from us. We were hunting some farmland about ten miles from Williston. My cousin Ronnie is a character. He has lived here his entire 61 years, everyone knows him, he has catchers mitts for hands and a size 14 shoe. He was quite the rounder in his day and he still scares the shit out of me. So Ron jumps out of the truck and just as soon as he does- the dog kicks up a rooster. Ronnie shoots it. Just as he shoots, I glanced behind us and the two horses those gals were riding spooked a little bit. The riders were about 200 yards away and they brought the horses under control pretty quickly. I didn't think anything of it.

About an hour later, some drunk guy showed up driving his truck and attempted to kick us off the land we were hunting. Ronnie always gets permission and he told the guy to beat it since it wasn't his land and he had no standing in the issue. The drunk guy's daughter (one of the riders) was in the truck with him and she was trying to turn this incident into some big deal which it wasn't. We attempted to apologize but this only empowered the young girl to act even worse. So between the drunk guy and his whiny ass daughter, we quickly surmised there was no win here and that if we continued- one drunk guy was liable to get hurt. It reminded me a lot of my old law enforcement days.

On Saturday morning after about 5 minutes of sleep, we had to go into Williston to get Montana hunting licenses via some state reciprocity at 6 a.m. The Bakken oil shale formation has turned Williston into a traffic nightmare. Williston simply doesn't have the infrastructure to support the enormous truck traffic which has consumed this area. As we got closer to town, a truck turning right onto the highway had ripped out an entire four lane traffic signal system- temporary lights which they have strung up like Christmas tree lights. The lights were laying all over the road with the cops directing traffic. (I looked for a link to the news story but I could not find one)

We obtained the licenses, drove back to my cousin's house, and though it was still very dark- we left for Montana. The wind was howling when we arrived at the posted and protected 1500 acre farm that we would be hunting. I was only out of the truck for a minute or so when I realized my ears were about to become frozen and turning blue. It seemed entirely possible that they might break and fall off my head with any sudden movements. I felt like an idiot for leaving my knit hat behind. I noted everyone had the hoods up on their hoodies. That seemed like a logical move.

There were pheasants everywhere. Hundreds of them. My dad and I posted up at the end of a field while two dogs and four people drove birds at us. The wind was blowing so hard that the pheasants were coming at us like small, 100 MPH missiles. I tried leading them 10 feet or so and I couldn't hit them. At one point, there were dozens coming, we couldn't keep shells in our guns, and we still hadn't hit one pheasant. I began laughing so hard that I couldn't stop.

Ya know, I've been shooting my whole life. Anybody can hit clay targets that move the same speed, in the same directions, on command, at the shooting range on some warm day that you select. I would have loved to have seen some professional shot gunners I know- guys who have shot in the Grand National- try to hit those birds. I have a feeling that I would have laughed even harder seeing those guys miss. I have no idea how far one leads a pheasant fleeing for his life with a 30 mile an hour tailwind. The walkers nailed a couple.

We changed locations. One of the guys coming at us shot straight at me. I heard the thick grass, maybe only 20 feet in front of me, get peppered with shot. I hate hunting with more than four people for that reason. You really have to pay attention to where everyone is, where the dogs are, where the trucks are, and sometimes you just can't shoot. Sometimes, people make mistakes.

We must have covered 10 miles of very hard walking on Saturday. We shot 17 pheasants, one short of our limit.

On Sunday morning at 6 a.m., cousin Ronnie decided to wake us up with his electronic dying rabbit calls which he uses to lure in coyotes. He has a remote control and he can make several different noises. So the dogs went haywire  and started barking, we all got up shaking our heads, and Ronnie was upstairs laughing as he changed the desperate noises on the remote control.

We hunted again on Sunday morning but mostly I am hunted out at this point. It was a beautiful day, sunny, warm, all the trees are changing color and they were beautiful. My brother, his wife, and cousin Ronnie went fishing during the afternoon.. I napped, watched football, and wrote this. We will probably hunt one last day and point the truck towards Idaho.

The week went by quickly. I hope the trip home goes by just as quickly.