Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Time to Grow Up

As Margaret Thatcher once said "The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money."

Also, related, Winston Churchill said (paraphrased, I suspect)

  • If you are 20 and not a Liberal, you have no heart.
  • If you are 40 and not a Conservative, you have no brain.
It's definitely time for folks to grow up.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Progressives vs. Conservatives

The state of the nation seems very much like this:

The labels on this cartoon say Mondernism and Tradition, but they really are Progressives and Conservatives. The Progressives really don't comprehend the strength and stability Conservatives provide — strength and stability the Progressives really rely on.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

How to Balance the Federal Budget

This might well do it.

Of course, the remaining federal employees will be overworked — at least until other changes are made.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Willful Blindness

Just one of the areas where President Barack Obama and his administration deliberately close their eyes to reality. I wish we had an adult in the Oval Office.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wells Fargo, A Criminal Organization

This is part of a firmly established pattern, so no further comment is necessary.

UPDATE: This is important, and oh so true!

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Media Surrender

Subtitle: Media For Hillary

Last week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump confirmed his belief that President Barack Obama was born in the United States, and noted that the original story had come from the 2008 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

The major media outlets — including the AP, Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS — quickly produced their agreed view on the issue. (The Wall Street Journal cites here the varying wordings of that agreed viewpoint by the AP, Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN. I heard the reporting by ABC, NBC, and CBS myself, and read the AP account in the Albuquerque Journal.) The way the agreed media story was put in the Albuquerque Journal is this:

WASHINGTON – After five years as a promoter of a lie about Barack Obama’s birthplace, Donald Trump abruptly reversed course Friday and acknowledged the fact that the president was born in America. He then immediately peddled another false conspiracy.

“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” Trump declared, enunciating each word in a brief statement at the end of a campaign appearance. “Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”

But as the GOP presidential nominee sought to put that false conspiracy theory to rest, he stoked another, claiming that the “birther movement” was begun by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. There is no evidence that that is true.

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it,” Trump said.

While the question of Obama’s birthplace was pushed by some bloggers who backed Clinton’s primary campaign against him eight years ago, Clinton has long denounced it as a “racist lie.”

If memory serves, Hillary started denouncing it as false about the time she was named to be Obama's Secretary of State.

Note that this agreed media story on the issue appeared in the media's news stories, not just in their editorials.

This writer suspects that Trump picked up legitimate discussions of and questions about Obama's birth that were running around the country (no, not just "some bloggers") in 2008. Some questions continued for a time even after the White House finally released a copy of the original long-form birth certificate because of perceived discrepancies in it.

But, frankly, that's not of concern. What is of concern is that the media have agreed on a single viewpoint, across news and editorial departments and across organizations, that is at odds with the verifiable facts — both as stated currently and as can surely be verified in news reports from 2008. Multiple members of Hillary's 2008 campaign, including her senior advisor and close confidant Sidney Blumenthal, are the ones who took this story to various reporters — a story that was supported by Obama's own statement in a collegiate biography that he was born in Kenya. Indeed, Blumenthal's deep involvement in spreading this story may be the reason President Obama absolutely forbade the hiring of Blumenthal in the State Department by Secretary Clinton, and order Hillary followed in its letter but not in its intent as he was clearly still working for her at the time of the Benghazi Attack.

But I'm reasonably sure of this:

It's not a conspiracy. It's worse. It's a consensus.

Perhaps the actual issue for this presidential campaign is that Donald Trump was gullible enough to really believe what he read in the media in 2008.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What is Hillary Really Like?

Hillary Rodham Clinton showed her true colors early in the Administration of President William Jefferson Clinton. (She had done so back in Arkansas as well, but not nearly so publicly or on the national public record.) This former First Lady, former New York Senator, and former Secretary of State engineered what would become known as Travelgate:

It was the first big case in which she showed poor judgment, a cool willingness to mislead, and a level of political aggression that gave even those around her pause. It was after this mess that her critics said she’d revealed the soul of an East German border guard.

The Clinton White House was internally a dramatic one, as George Stephanopoulos later recounted in “All Too Human,” his sharply observed, and in retrospect somewhat harrowing, memoir of his time as Mr. Clinton’s communications director and senior adviser. He reported staffers and officials yelling, crying, shouting swear words and verbally threatening each other. It was a real hothouse. There was a sense the gargoyles had taken over the cathedral. But that wouldn’t become apparent until later.

What showed up in Hillary's Travelgate actions? She took vindictive actions that were intended in part to funnel government funds to her friends and associates. Those actions included, in that case, not only the dismissal of all the members of the White House Travel Office, who had worked for a series of presidents both Democrats and Republicans, and having criminal charges lodged against them which she knew to be fabricated and false. She made a long series of false statements, attempting to hide her mendacity behind a long series of changing stories. And she misused and subverted a whole series of government files and departments.

All of which could have been ripped from this year's current headlines. It just goes to show that absolutely nothing has changed.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

An Interesting Coincidence — Or Is It?

Bataan survivor Dwight Cable, formerly a Sergeantt in the 515th Coast Artillery (Anti-Air) of the New Mexico National Guard, died last month as previously noted. But there is a coincidence that's not noted in the Albuquerque Journal article about Dwight, or in his obituary — one that makes one wonder if there are ever really any coincidences.

Dwight was born at home, in an apartment at 5622 S Ellis Avenue in Chicago IL on December 16, 1916. (Babies were normally born at home, not in hospitals, in those years.) That apartment was right across the street from the west stands of the University of Chicago's Stagg Field, home of one of the founding members of the Big Ten Conference. (The Chicago Maroons dominated that conference until the University dropped its football team after the 1939 season.) That apartment building has long since been torn down.

The Nuclear Energy sculpture at the University of Chicago
The importance of the Stagg Field Stands in Dwight's story is that a squash court in the space under them was the location of the first man-made self-sustaining controlled nuclear reaction — the first operational nuclear reactor, which went "critical" on December 2, 1942. Henry Moore’s “Nuclear Energy” sculpture now stands on the exact spot. (This article provides more information.) Producing that self-sustaining nuclear reaction was a key step in the development of the atomic bombs which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th & 9th of 1945, respectively.

The Prisoner of War camp commandants in Japan had standing orders that, when the Allied invasion of the home islands began, they were to kill all the prisoners. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending World War II, avoided the need for an invasion and thus saved the lives of Dwight and the other POWs being held in Japan. So the research carried out across the street from Dwight's birthplace came to be used "across the street" from his internment camp — a use that saved his life.

Another coincidence. The apartments where Dwight was born were eventually torn down and replaced by a University of Chicago laboratory building, the Enrico Fermi Institute for Nuclear Studies. A laboratory in that building was used by one of Dwight's nephews. As best as that nephew could determine, the location of his laboratory was at the very location (though in the basement) of the apartment where Dwight was born. It really is a small world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Peter Lindberg, MD

New Mexico has lost a brilliant, talented, and exceptionally experienced oncologist, Dr Peter Lindberg. He graduated from medical school in 1965 and continued practicing through the early part of this year (2016) when he began treatment for his own esophageal cancer. He and his wife Mary enjoyed life together for 56 years. Dr Lindberg died very early yesterday, September 13, 2016.

A memorial page is available online on the website of the Prostate Cancer Support Association of New Mexico providing a lot of information about Dr Lindberg's life. The Peanuts cartoon described in the memorial page can be seen here.

Dr Lindberg will be greatly missed.

UPDATE (Sept. 23): Dr Lindberg's obituary has been published in the Los Alamos Daily Post. It is also being printed on September 25th in the Los Alamos Monitor and can be seen (with poor formatting) on legacy.com.

UPDATE (Sept. 27): Dr Lindberg's obituary was published today in the Albuquerque Journal. We all are still greatly distressed that he is gone.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11/2001 -- Never Forget!

Our own generation's "day which will live in infamy."

It's the day we were attacked by uncivilized barbarians. We saw some of what they caused.
Their successors are even less civilized than they were. We hadn't thought that possible.

No, we must never forget!

And we must especially think on these things today, on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 Attack.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Bagpiper

Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life. As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Nova Scotia back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn't stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man. And as I played "Amazing Grace", the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head was hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "I never seen anything like that before, and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

Apparently, I'm still lost... it's a man thing.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Choice We Face

"Voting for an out of control egomaniac like Donald Trump would be like playing Russian roulette with the future of this country. Voting for someone with a track record like Hillary Clinton's is like putting a shotgun to your head and pulling the trigger. And not voting at all is just giving up." As Sowell also says, "Nobody said that being a good citizen would be easy."
        — Thomas Sowell


Zozobra is Old Man Gloom. For more than ninety years, he has been a key feature right around the Santa Fe Fiesta and Labor Day.

The tradition is that people write down their troubles and worries, which are placed in the giant (over 50 feet tall) marionette of Old Man Gloom raised each year in Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe. Crowds (more than 50,000 people) gather there in the evening at the start of the Fiesta to watch Zozobra — and all their cares & worries — go up in flames. Like they did last Friday night.

And this year we all have a LOT of worries and anxieties to send up in the flames.
Yes, Trever hits it out of the park once again. (from the Albuquerque Journal on Sunday, September 4, 2016)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Another Bataan Survivor Has Died

New Mexico honors its Bataan survivors. It always has, ever since they were rescued at the end of World War II. Here is the latest example, a story printed in the Albuquerque Journal yesterday (Friday, August 26).

Bataan Death March survivor dies in Oregon
By Charles D. Brunt / Journal Staff Writer
Thursday, August 25th, 2016 at 11:44pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Dwight Raymond Cable, a Bataan Death March survivor who joined the New Mexico National Guard’s 200th Coast Artillery Regiment while stationed here as a research scientist with the Soil Conservation Service in April 1941, died in his sleep Aug. 12 in Eugene, Ore., his nephew, Gary Cable of Peralta, said Wednesday. Dwight Cable was 99.

The Chicago native grew up in Tucson and attended the University of Arizona before graduating from the University of Idaho and going to work for the Soil Conservation Service, now known as the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service. Eight months before Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, which triggered America’s direct involvement in World War II, Cable joined the New Mexico National Guard and soon shipped out to the Philippines.

In April 1942, Japanese captors marched about 78,000 prisoners of war – 12,000 Americans and 66,000 Filipinos – for six days on the Bataan Peninsula on the Philippine island of Luzon to a prisoner-of-war camp known as Camp O’Donnell. Many were denied food, water or medical care, and some were stabbed or bayoneted along the 65-mile route.

Dwight Raymond Cable, who was in New Mexico National Guard’s 200th Coast Artillery Regiment, is shown in 2002. He died Aug. 12. (Courtesy of Gary Cable)Dwight Raymond Cable, a sergeant during World War II, is shown in 1941 shortly after joining the Army. Cable died Aug. 12 in Eugene, Ore., at age 99. (Courtesy of Gary Cable)

Among the American defenders of Bataan were Cable and some 1,800 soldiers from New Mexico, many with the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery Regiments. About half of them did not survive the war.

Cable, who was a company clerk with C Battery of the 515th Coast Artillery Regiment when captured, was sent on a “hell ship” to a POW prison camp near Shinjuku, Japan, where more than 2,300 other American POWs were held. His capture was first reported to the International Committee of the Red Cross on May 7, 1942, and the last report was made on Oct. 15, 1945. Based on those reports, he was imprisoned for at least 3½ years before being liberated by U.S. forces.

Gary Cable said his uncle’s only comment on his POW experience was: “You had to keep your sense of humor. Those that didn’t, didn’t make it.”

“What I remember most about Dwight was his dry sense of humor,” Gary Cable said. “He was once hiking with my parents in the mountains near Ouray, Colo. My mother was interested in learning about the plants they saw, and asked Dwight to identify them for her – including by scientific name. It took her a while to realize he was giving her the same scientific name for every plant she pointed to.”

Dwight Cable’s younger brother, Lowell Dean Cable, went into Normandy via Omaha Beach on the day after D-Day. His older brother, Donovan Chambers Cable, tried to join the military as well but was medically disqualified from contributing to the war effort.

After the war, Cable went back to work for the Soil Conservation Service and later for the U.S. Forest Service. He wrote more than 100 peer-reviewed research papers and articles on native desert grasses and other plants. He was an avid hiker, outdoorsman and nature photographer.

Even after he retired and moved to Eugene, Ore., his family sent him a “care package” every year for his birthday, filled with items like biscochitos and a bag of red chile pods.

A memorial service will be held in Eugene on Dec. 16, which would have been Cable’s 100th birthday, his nephew said.

With Cable’s passing, only 13 former members of the New Mexico National Guard’s 200th and 515th Coast Artillery Regiments who survived the Bataan Death March are still living, according to the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico. Seven of them reside in New Mexico.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Police Retraining

There's no guidance or discipline in the home. The family situation is so unstable, 'Junior' doesn't even know where to send a Father's Day card. Junior gets dumped into the education system where he is socially promoted because the overwhelmed school district can't deal with the undisciplined whelp. Junior's major formative influences are 'gangsta' rap videos and a corresponding peer group of gangsta wannabes.

At age 18, Junior is turned loose on society carrying a bad attitude, a broken compass and no respect for authority. Junior gets himself in big trouble with the law because he is illiterate, unskilled, unemployable and his only source of income other than Government assistance is illegal and meets dire consequences. Then, the situation diagnosis is that the police need more training, compassion, sensitivity and understanding?

Pardon me for asking, but do you really believe this B.S.?

The conditions described here have taken decades to fully develop, and to result in the kind of unrest we see today. Fixing these conditions will not be easy or quick. It will take even longer if we don't get started.

We know what must be accomplished — teaching individual responsibility and accountability, as well as self-discipline, as well as providing an education that prepares young people for success in life without having to lean on gangs and illegal activities. We can only hope we can come to some agreement on how to get there.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Boss of the Sky

This came from a gentleman who runs a 2,000-acre corn farm up around Barron, WI, not far from Oshkosh and not far from the Twin Cities. He used to fly F-4Es and F-16s for the Air National Guard and participated in the first Gulf War.

His story:

I went out to plant corn for a bit, to finish a field before tomorrow morning and witnessed 'The Great Battle'. A golden eagle — big, with about a six-foot wingspan — flew right in front of the tractor. It was being chased by three crows that were continually dive-bombing it & pecking at it. The crows do this because the eagles rob their nests when they find them.

At any rate, the eagle banked hard right in one evasive maneuver, then landed in the field about 100 feet from the tractor. This eagle stood about 3 feet tall. The crows all landed too and took up positions around the eagle at 120 degrees apart, but kept their distance at about 20 feet from the big bird. The eagle would take a couple steps towards one of the crows and they'd hop backwards & forward to keep their distance. Then the reinforcement showed up.

I happened to spot the eagle's mate hurtling down out of the sky at what appeared to be approximately Mach 1.5. Just before impact, the eagle on the ground took flight, (obviously a coordinated tactic, probably pre-briefed) and the three crows that were watching the grounded eagle also took flight — thinking they were going to get in some more pecking on the big bird....

The first crow being targeted by the diving eagle never stood a snowball's chance in hell. There was a mid-air explosion of black feathers, and that crow was done.

The diving eagle then banked hard left in what had to be a 9G climbing turn, using the energy it had accumulated in the dive, and hit crow #2 less than two seconds later ... another crow dead.

The grounded eagle, which was now airborne and had an altitude advantage on the remaining crow that was streaking eastward in full burner, made a short dive, then banked hard right when the escaping crow tried to evade the hit. It didn't work — crow #3 bit the dust at about 20 feet AGL. This aerial battle was better than any air show I've been to, including the War Birds show at Oshkosh.

The two eagles ripped the crows apart, and ate them on the ground; and, as I got closer and closer working my way across the field, I passed within 20 feet of one of them as it ate its catch. It stopped and looked at me as I went by, and you could see in the look of that bird that it knew who's Boss of the Sky.

What a beautiful bird!

One of the best Fighter Pilot stories I've seen in a long time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Little Bit of Politics

Last week, President Barack Obama jumped into the presidential race. Supporting Hillary Clinton, he asserted that Donald Trump is "unqualified to be president" unfit to be president, lacking the necessary temperament and preparation for the office. His statement hit the news, as they say, big time — even though he's been saying the same thing for a long time, including in an interview reported in May.

My reaction on hearing Obama's latest outburst was this:

We know what the last 7½ years have done to us. We know what Hillary has done in every area she has touched, and what kind of disaster she has been in those areas. Trump doesn't have that kind of record — or any government record. That's why Obama is calling him unqualified; he doesn't have his government "union card". Translated, that means we know how bad Hillary would be, but Trump is an unknown and we're left with guesswork.

Thomas Sowell may be right when he asks, "How did we get into the predicament where our choices for President are narrowed to a candidate who inspires distrust versus a candidate who inspires disgust — and where both are dangerous?"

In an earlier column, Sowell says "Voting for an out of control egomaniac like Donald Trump would be like playing Russian roulette with the future of this country. Voting for someone with a track record like Hillary Clinton's is like putting a shotgun to your head and pulling the trigger. And not voting at all is just giving up." As Sowell also says, "Nobody said that being a good citizen would be easy."

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Hillary Railroad

It's on the wrong track, naturally. (What would you expect?) Following the track well-established for her by her party and her (she hopes) predecessor.

Once again, Trever hits it out of the park!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hiroshima — It Had To Be Done

Seventy-one years ago today, an atomic bomb nicknamed "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima. That was the day World War II in the Pacific began to end.

In late May, just a little over two months ago, President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima — the first U.S. president to do so. That visit reopened some of the discussion over whether the atomic bombs should have been dropped on Hiroshima and, three days later, Nagasaki.

Veterans of the war were pretty clear about that. One said, “I was there. I saw firsthand what kind of fortifications the Japanese had. We would probably still be there fighting if we hadn’t dropped the bomb. I don’t regret that decision for one minute.” The comment from another was “It had to be done; otherwise, that war would have gone on and on. Those bombs, they stopped the war.”

The bottom line is this: This was the day the war finally began to end. Hiroshima was bombed on August 6th. Nagasaki was bombed on August 9th. The Japanese empeeror announced his country's surrender on August 15th. And then the war was over.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Non-Indictment of Hillary

Of course it's not quite that simple. The prosecutors that will review the information developed by the FBI could still choose to bring indictments against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for her illegal activities as Secretary of State.

Of course, FBI Director James Comey said that "no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case." That caused me to wonder just what he meant. Did he mean that the evidence didn't support criminal charges — the impression Comey worked terribly hard to convey? Or did he mean that no "reasonable prosecutor" would proceed with such a case because they would know they would be cashiered by DOJ political appointees if they did?

Actually, Comey said more. He said that

To warrant a criminal charge, Mr. Comey said, there had to be evidence that Mrs. Clinton intentionally transmitted or willfully mishandled classified information. The F.B.I. found neither, and as a result, he said, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
This is wrong in multiple respects. Here are two:
  1. There are two statutes that apply to the mishandling of classified information as occurred in this case. One of them requires intent, either intentionally transmission or willfully mishandling of classified information. The other just requires the perpetrator be "extremely careless" — i.e., negligent or reckless — in the handling of classified information. And Comey demonstrated that Hillary had been "extremely careless" (his words).
  2. Reasonable prosecutors have brought such charges in the past, including the charges against a former director of the CIA who was indicted for having classified material on his home computer, and was only spared a trial by being pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001. And just last year the Obama Administration prosecuted and convicted a naval reservist who downloaded some classified to a personal electronic device but never made it available to anyone else.
There's also the fact that Hillary deliberately had her private server set up, in part to avoid the State Department's security systems.

So Hillary talks about how reckless Donald Trump might be, while she is the one who has demonstrated her recklessness — either deliberate intent or gross negligence — in handling national security information, as shown by FBI Director Comey.

And of course General Petraeus was cashiered for far lesser transgressions.

There are a couple of "take-aways" from this situation. One is part of what else the FBI director said.

After announcing his no-charge recommendation, Comey added:
To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.
In other words, laws are for little people.
Another likely inference is this:
which translates roughly as "the fix is in."

Clearly "All men are created equal", but some are more equal than others.