Monthly Archives: October 2010

“The religion of blood and war.”

There are any number of voices, out there in the void we call the internet, “virtual Paul Revers”, verbally riding into the electronic night warning of the Islamic enemy. “Arise! Arise!! Before it’s too late.” You are being duped by a complicit media, a spineless government, bumbling bureaucracy, and leadership which has it’s own agenda (Caring little about defending the culture, the national identity, or the people at large.). All are passionate about this, and all recognize (at least to varying degrees) a very real threat exists.

But where we are perhaps only dealing with what appears to be a some what more benign strain of the Muslim malignancy (the willful destruction of the Twin Towers, Pentagon, and the potential third target which was spared due to passengers courageous actions in thwarting same, being the noted exceptions, at least for now); the people and culture(s) of Europe … the very cradle of Western civilization … are under constant and direct attack. One could argue this is a mess of their own making and design. That the signs were clearly marked for all to see had they paid attention. Much as Churchill (who is quoted in the title of this commentary) was a clarion call to appeasement being ineffective against the menace of the Third Reich, only gaining appreciation and acceptance when the Nazi wolf was literally at their door, they now are at (some might argue, beyond) the same point with the Islamists.

And this time there is no Churchill.

But there are those who are talented, passionate, and resolute enough in painting as clear and concise a picture of the threat. Showing this cultural cancer called Islam for what it really is, and not subscribing to the fictions being presented in its name.

Head over to Gates of Vienna (a worthwhile trip any day), and take a few moments to read the eloquent, but no holds barred account presented there. This needs to get out and about. Weston is saying what needs to be said and heard. My only concern is that it may already be too late. I sincerely hope I am wrong.

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Filed under Islam and other fables for our times, News of the Day, Politics

Redbridge Beer

In the comments on my recent post on Chocovine Raspberry wine, the topic of gluten free beer came up. Now I had never heard of such a thing until recently. My wife is working on maintaining a “gluten free” diet. This is opening up a new adventure in our eating selections and the house hold diet in general. One of the items which was no longer on her list of things to enjoy from time to time was beer. Wheat and various forms of malt being the primary ingredients in the frothy beverage, took it right off the adult beverage menu.

Imagine our delight when we found the following on our last trip to the big city.

Went ahead and gave one a try last night. It was not too bad. Sourgum based vice wheat so the taste was not the same, but considering it is a lager style “beer”, it was not all that bad. And is much better then no beer at all. We will let ya’ll know if we try any other gluten free beers, and how they compair to this one.

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Marco Rubio Gets It

I am only second generation American. All my grandparents (on both sides) came over on the boat. It made for an interesting experience growing up. even though both sides of the family had “Americanized” themselves, there were still ample chunks of “the old country” to be picked up on. For example; my dad’s parents could speak fluent Czech, and grandpa was an ardent supporter of soccer (or “real football” as he liked to call it). On mom’s side, Grandma (and Great grandma) spoke Hungarian with the greatest of ease. Though I never did meet my “related by blood” grandfather on that side, he being Russian and a Cossack while residing in Russia before arriving on these shores, we were told about him. And there was always something cooking from the old country(s) to be found at the dinner or desert table, from both sides of the familial tree.

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. We were brought up to be aware of our “roots”. Because of this we had a strong sense of both our family history, and perhaps a little more awareness of the world around us. Russia, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia were more than points on the map. We had real “family” (cousins) still residing there. I think this also afforded us a greater appreciation for this country. After all it had allowed all my grandparents to come on in. And they all managed to either make something of their lives or allow their children to do so. Seeds were planted at a very early age, bearing (the) patriotic fruit; that I wanted to give back to this country something, my way of saying “thank you”. Thank you for the opportunities you gave my family, and which you have given me (a natural born American). This would explain at least part of the reason why I joined the service so many years ago. It also explains why I feel so strongly about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the uniquely American ideals and processes they both call for and put into (governmental) play.

So it is extremely satisfying to discover when some one else picks up on these same vibes. It is even more surprising (though I guess it shouldn’t be) when it is someone who is campaigning for public office.
Check the following out, and see what I am talking about.

I wish I lived in Florida. This gentleman “gets it”! For those of you who are able to do so, he deserves your attention, and more importantly, your vote. We have only a week to go, in what I believe history will record as perhaps the single most important election cycle since the inception of this great nation. Get out and vote!

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Our Little Town

It is not yet mid-autumn here in our little town. The weather has, if anything, been a little warmer than the norm for this time of year, middle to upper 60’s during the day, sliding to the mid to lower 30’s at night. Still, the trees are in the process of shedding their fall attire, the summer sounds of crickets replaced with the rustling of leaves, come evening time.

Things are, despite internet access, cable television, and wi-fi “hot spots”, still pretty provincial out here in the hinterlands of Northern Illinois. For the most part it is housewives who head to the grocers during the day, while husbands make the daily commute to the nearest big city, or the megapolis three hours further down the road. Kids ride their bikes or skate boards wherever they can. The local high school is still a focal point every Friday night, during football season. Folks as often as not, are seen to wave at local police cars as they make their rounds. Conversely, the law enforcement folks know all the local “bad apples” (of all ages), if not on a first named basis, at least where they live, and what kind of mischief can be expected from same.

We take pride in having a clean little town, one where our kids are safe. Where the local fire department is well equipped, a point of community pride. The schools are clean and modern. The park district is able to provide any number of locations and opportunities to exercise your body, mind, and spirit. (Why, we even have our own observatory!) There is a new library in town, plenty of churches, and a senior center.

We are like any town here in the heartland of America. We eat, drink, work and play. We vote, go to PTA meetings, school board and city council meetings. Our kids belong to the Boy and Girl Scouts, FFA, and Junior Achievement. The adults belong to Moose, Elks, Knights of Columbus, Masons, VFW, and American Legion.

We follow the local news, on television and radio, when the big city down the road, finds us newsworthy enough. We even have a regional weekly paper covering the news of the county. And, like most everyone else, we know what is going on at the national level, and through out the world.

Though modern technology easily allows us access to the world at large, including major events shaping the world, there is a comfort zone between “the world”, and “our little town”. Sure we have crime … but not at the level and scope of what happens in “the big city”. Sure we are dealing with unemployment, but it at least appears to be some where else which has the long lines of unemployed, not here in our own little town. The local grocer may not be doing the same business he was a year or two ago, but at the same time, he is not yet closing his doors either. Life seems more insulated here in our little town.

Until today.

Today a young man returned home. He graduated from the local high school just last year. Like any number of kids from small towns, he decided to broaden his horizons, and sought employment away from the home of his youth. Like any number of kids, he answered a calling to serve, in and for, something greater than himself. (Although friends and family already knew this was a dream he held since early childhood.)

So, in June of 2009, Alec Catherwood enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He went on to begin living his dream. His travels eventually, took him to Camp Pendleton, California, where he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. From there he ultimately went to Afghanistan.

Today a young Marine returned home. Lance Cpl. Alec Catherwood will be laid to rest here in our little town this weekend.

Our little town, no longer feels as insulated from the events of the world, as it was yesterday. Our little town, as have many little towns across the country, has lost someone irreplaceable. One of our Sons has given the last full measure of devotion, in the service of his country. Rest easy Marine, your memory will live on here in our little town, for you are one of our own.

Semper Fidelis.

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Chocovine Raspberry

Some folks were initially skeptical when this companyintroduced their chocolatey goodness to the adult beverage consuming public. And to be honest, I was a little skeptical when I picked up a bottle and brought it home. It really was not all that bad. And for the price (a tad under ten bucks), it was well worth giving it a try.

Well, let’s fast forward to tonight. Lo and behold, the folks at Chocovine have a new concoction!

thick and creamy goodness!

Drinking it right now, even as I typo. And it is as good or even a bit better than their original offering. It is thick and creamy. There is a strong presence of chocolate (of course!) but the addition of raspberry, gives it a sweet little tang, which, after the sip has left the tongue, the mingling of all three major players, works out quite nicely, in the after tastes. That bit of memory left on the palet, and olfactory areas.

Give it a try, I don’t think you should expect too much from this, but as an after dinner (specifically with or after desert) wine, it’s interesting and fun. A nice item to share with friends, or with ones significant other after a hard day (yours, theirs, or both).

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Constitutional “What ifs” (part 2)

Continuing on from yesterdays post.

The constitutional parameters have been set. At least along the lines of what needs to be “pruned” from government, and limitations placed on terms of office. One note along these lines, thanks to an input from “The Curtal Friar”, in the previous post’s comment section, the term limits would be adjusted a bit more. The current length of a congress critter is two years, it may be better served to have that extended to a four year stent. But once you did a turn in office, that’s it. Stagger the congressional elections every two years, so there is even less a chance any sort of “empire building” would be allowed to take place.

Our military also needs to be addressed. The maintaining of our Armed Forces is considerably more complex. There are four branches of service, vice the two noted at the time of the founding fathers, (Five, if you include the Coast Guard, and they deserve to be formally added to the mix, no longer treated like a freckle faced redheaded stepchild.) Each has a responsibility toward the defense of this nation, her interests, and if need be – her allies. Their needs are far more complex, demanding, and costly, than anyone could have foreseen 230 some odd years ago. To be sure, the current methods of procuring, bidding, and supplying our Armed Forces, along with the massive bureaucracy which has developed since WWII which enable this, needs to be revised or reconfigured. And applicable (amendments) changes reflecting this need to be made at the Constitutional level. This is not meant to prevent our Armed Forces from having all they need (be it ships, tanks, aircraft, guns, ammo, bombs, or chow … you get the drift) but finding better ways in which to provide it to them.

And now, having addressed a few loose ends from yesterday, forward into the breech!

What would Americans of the year of Our Lord 2010 do with the restoration of their birthright of liberty? Would there be large changes in:

The day-to-day life of a typical American family?
Americans’ relations with their neighbors and local institutions?
Americans’ patterns of sustenance and employment?
The economic makeup of the United States — the percent of commerce dominated and Americans employed by Fortune 1000 corporations, for instance?
Our demographics, for example the rate at which we bear children?
Our savings rate?
Our indulgence in the various pleasures and vices?

Source: Eternity Road

What would Americans do if everything Constitutionally, was restored?

Well, we have already set (at least some of) the parameters needed in realistically “fine tuning” the Constitution, based on what has happened with abuses of power in the political arena, the changing international landscape (and the massive “shrinking of the world”). These would not effectively change “the spirit” or original intent of the Constitution. Indeed, all changes would be done either via amendment, or in enforcing the limits as already set forth by the Constitution.

So, assuming this is done, what happens next?

I think you would see a return to civility in almost all actions and transactions at all levels of society. There would have to be, because the other side of the coin in allowing citizens to once again become unfettered in their pursuit of “Life, Liberty, and (the pursuit of) Happiness”, would have to be the return (hurrah!!!!) of one being responsible and accountable for their actions. Thus, unless you wanted to be sporting a “shiner”, or perhaps being “rode outta town on a rail” wearing the latest in “tar and feathers”, you are going to learn how to correctly interact with your neighbor, your fellow townsfolk, and any other public gathering you elect to be a party of.

There are going to be areas of the larger cities which may not conform as willingly (if at all), they will be either removed, shunned, or find some manner in which to interact enough to be allowed to stay where they are. This will be a return of “tolerance” in the the real sense of the word. “We will put up with you as long as you do not become a problem for (or to) the rest of us. We don’t have to like you or deal with you, but you are not directly effecting us, so you can stay … for now.” Chances are however, over time, most folks will adapt.
And that last part is what the majority will (or would) do if the Constitution was restored to it’s former glory. They would adapt.

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Constitutional “What ifs”

The following is from the inspired pen of one Francis W. Porretto, major domo over at Eternity Road. Not only is he one of the “good guys”, he is one of the few who “get it”. (To be sure, the “Curmudgeon Emeritus”, who resides at the same web address, might take some exception to the above, however, who else would put up with his asserbic wit, while keeping him grounded at the same time. But that is a lively debate for another time and place.)

Fran posits the following …

Okay: we’re envisioning a return to the vast freedom originally promised by the Constitution, when and as it was written, minus the protection it afforded the institution of slavery. What would result? What would John Q. Public, and any associations of which he’s a part, do with that degree of freedom?

I’m not speaking of J.Q.’s ancestors from colonial times; I want answers pertinent to our contemporary milieu. What would Americans of the year of Our Lord 2010 do with the restoration of their birthright of liberty? Would there be large changes in:

The day-to-day life of a typical American family?
Americans’ relations with their neighbors and local institutions?
Americans’ patterns of sustenance and employment?
The economic makeup of the United States — the percent of commerce dominated and Americans employed by Fortune 1000 corporations, for instance?
Our demographics, for example the rate at which we bear children?
Our savings rate?
Our indulgence in the various pleasures and vices?

Source: Eternity Road

Take the time to re-read the above. Let it sink in, really sink in. I had to do this a number of times. This is one of the reasons why this post is somewhat tardy (well, that, work, and familial obligations), it is not as simple as it looks. And yet, yes it is.

Let’s take it from the beginning.

“I want answers pertinent to our contemporary milieu. What would Americans of the year of Our Lord 2010 do with the restoration of their birthright of liberty?”

The simple overall answer to this would be; assuming we had leadership on par with that which existed in Colonial America, it might be easier than we think. Remember the majority of folks who supported the Colonials was not all that large to begin with, certainly those who actively took part in the revolution either as “citizen solders” or held political office (and sided with same) were no more than 3 percent (the three percenters) at any given time. Yet, at the end of the day, once the war was won, and the process of the establishing a new Constitution was at hand “all of a sudden” the majority of the new American peoples embraced same. Granted, I am paraphrasing here big time, but the fact remains, once the heavy lifting was successfully completed, the majority fell in behind it. In other words, if the leaders are there … the sheepdogs are again in charge, the sheep will follow.

This is not to imply, unlike our progressive antagonists believe, that just because people in general are followers (sheep, if you will) they are automatically cowardly, or unable to rise to any given occasion. Not everyone is a “Frodo”, or “Gandalf”. Some are “Sams”. But who can argue that when the need arose, Sam showed courage and bravery far beyond what could be expected of any “sheep”.

So the short answer is, yes it could be done, and done successfully.

Let’s take a deeper look.

Taking steps in restoring our government to conform to the Constitution as written, throughout all aspects of agencies and actions, even in the best of times, would be a labor befitting Hercules.  It would certainly be as daunting as any Aegean stable, and no doubt the stench would be as familiar.

And let’s assume we have 20-20% of the press in agreement with us, over and above Fox news, Limbaugh, Hannety, Levin, et all. I know that borders on fantasy, but it does be the alternative; gutting the current press to such an extent as it literally having to start over.  This would include print, television, and radio outlets.  The reason I bring this up?  Well, the public has a need to be able to at least understand as objectively as possible what is happening in the government.  And in this case, there is going to bea lot happening.)

Okay, getting back to our government.

1. All “alphabet agencies” not expressly provided for by the Constitution, are to be disbanded.  Period.

ATF/DEA gone.  The second amendment shall not be infringed, any other vice these fellas addressed, well really is there anything they are tackling which couldn’t be handled by either state, or local law enforcement, or the FBI.  (The FBI would be kept, but would also be subject to approval by Constitutional amendment.  It would stay in place until such time as said amendment was passed, or disbanded [I believe that would be unlikely] if said amendment failed.)

HUD/FDA/HHS/DHS say buh bye.  DHS in and of itself, is not needed.  Though some sort of specific law should be in place, requiring all LEO and Security Agencies (FBI/CIA, various military security agencies/groups) to share their information.  Need to know would be done with NO red tape,  You do not need an agency to administer same.  Oh, and the same thing goes for the CIA that applied to the FBI above, it would stay in place until such time as an amendment to the Constitution passed or failed.  (If failed, other agencies would take up the slack.)

In fact all the “alphabets” are either done away with directly, or are to remain in place until such time as their fate is decided by amendment.

2. All cabinet posts, save those already granted by the Constitution are devolved.  If any are desired to be brought back they have to pass Constitutional amendment muster.  (Are you starting to see a trend here?)  Needless to say, all Czars are history.  The President may have “advisors”, who do not hold any official position or official status,  but the days of extraconstitutional appointments ends now.

3. ANY member of the President’s cabinet, his administration, the Vice President and his staff, the Senate, Congress, SCOTUS, the State Department, the Justice Department, and all others who swore an oath to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitutionas written (no more of this “living document” crap),  who are found not to have done so, will be at the very least, released immediately from their job/position, and will not be able to hold any future office of any nature at any level.  At worst they will be either shot or hung by the neck until dead.

4. Term Limits will be incorporated into the Constitution, by amendment as soon as possible.  You can serve one term as a congressman, Senator, two terms as Vice President and two terms as President, and that’s all folks.  There will no longer be a need for a Congressional or Senatorial retirement package.  Four or Six years does not entitle anyone to such an extravagance.  Same goes for health coverage, or any other perk, outside of the potential for security details as given situations may warrant. The lone exception is the office of the President, shall be given a severance package (you can call it a retirement if you like) and shall maintain a security detail for as long as the former office holder elects to keep it.

5. All persons aspiring to hold elective office will be granted a predetermined amount of air time (radio and television), and ad space in the print media.  The cost for same will be an allowable deduction for the media organizations involved against their gross worth at the end of that reporting year.  All individuals will have the same amount of time allotted to them.  Those who make it beyond the primary stage, will be given additional amounts of time.  This shall be enacted into law and or amended to the Constitution.

Granted items 4 and 5 are not something which would be readily apparent as something happening if we “return to our Constitutional roots”.  The founding fathers had some concern about term limits, but they figured no one in their right minds would want to serve more than one term at any office.  But times being what they are these days, this may be about the only real check and balance we have in helping to hold down the amount of corruption going on.

Item 5 allows for the “common man” to run for office on the same footing as his more well heeled brother.  And would hopefully break up the “good ol’ boy network” of lawyers, political science majors, rich kids, sons of rich kids, and those who have been bought and paid for by this or that group.  They might still end up returning, but their numbers would be considerably smaller, especially if they could only serve one term.)

And on this note, I will call it a night for now.

This (now) being part one, part two will address the specific instances given by Fran at the beginning of this bit of long windedness.  Hopefully, that will be up tomorrow night.

And thanks again Fran for allowing me to grab a bit of your verbiage.

So what say all you good people here.  How do you feel or think the country would fare if the government was held to Constitutional accountability? And what needs to lead up to that point?

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