Friday, October 09, 2015

A Texas-Sized Adventure

Back last Memorial Day, when the city of Austin was being pounded with rain and Lake Travis rose 7 feet, we had reservations to do Texas’ longest zip-line.  We decided at the last minute that it might not be the best idea to drive up there and rescheduled. It wasn’t too many days and all that water that fell in the Hill country and the Fort Worth area began to make its way down here and then we were hit by Tropical Storm Bill.

One thing has led to another and we finally called and set last Monday as our high-flying date at Lake Travis Zipline Adventures, in Volente, Texas.  They call it of all things, a 3 hour tour and it takes that amount of time to complete and fortunately you are not stranded on an island with a couple sailors, a farmer’s daughter, a millionaire… well, lets just say you are not stranded.
My Bride is fearless.

My bride has an adventurer’s spirit and at 56 she can pretty much keep up with the folks in their 20’s.  I can too, but I may show up a bit later.  Like Chuck Norris once said, “I can still run 5 miles; it just takes me a bit longer.”  She also has a bucket list.  I just have a list of geocaches I want to find.  It turns out there are geocaches at Enchanted Rock State Park and we arrived a day early.  The tricky part is each one of them is a hike or a climb, or in one case, crawling 50 feet up a crevasse in the dark.

On top of Enchanted Rock
Now we have become gym-rats and exercise with giddy abandon, so walking to the top of Enchanted Rock was nothing more than accelerated breathing for the 2 of us, but the view?  Oh my goodness.  No wonder Native Americans felt like this was hallowed ground. The air is so clean and with the low humidity you can see for miles. The big plus was there are no skyscrapers or businesses on the horizon.

One geocache in particular was on my list and it is called, “To Boldly Go.....GC1BNMP”.  It had the highest difficulty rating and a near-highest terrain rating and we crawled over car sized boulders and trails for about 4 miles or so before finding an ingress trail – of sorts.  We were nearly out of water and the sun was taking a toll on us, but up, up, up we went until my bride simply sat down.

Now this is where things can get out of hand – but didn’t.  If you’ve seen movies where hikers chew their arm off, this is the kind of place it happens. We had a communication error due to us both being tired and me assuming she understood my intentions.  I told her to just sit there until she was ready and then come up and I pointed.  I meant for her to wait up there for my return and as soon as I crossed the granite summit, I headed off 1400 feet away toward ground zero.

Would you crawl under this crack?
It was steep and dangerous and I walked with great care, finally arriving at a sheer cliff face with narrow cracks running both vertical and horizontal.  I have a phobia about suffocating and it appears it is getting worse as I age and I got down on my hands and knees and peered up into the darkness in a couple of places hoping I could simply reach in and find what I knew to be an ammo can.  Looking at the notes, the cache owner plainly states that you can only get to within 20 feet of the container.  I walked along the wall until I was 20 feet away, but there was no crevasse.

It was 30 feet away behind me.  “That’s 50 feet under the rocks, Bert,” I said aloud and noticed I was sweating.  I went back to the crack and crawled in on my belly into the dark.  Never mind that neither my bride or I had brought our cell phones, or that she didn’t know where I was and was screaming my name in near panic.  I didn’t or couldn’t hear her.

The geocache was 50 feet into the rocks.
The light is back where I came in.
Never mind that rattlesnakes love places like this or that I have a claustrophobic fear of being buried alive. I wasn’t about to be denied after coming all this way and in the darkness I used my camera’s infrared light to look around and after going the 50 feet, I found the container and signed the log book.  Needless to say, my bride scolded me for 30 minutes when I returned.  That was enough adventure for the day, but we still had about an hour of strenuous hiking to go to get back to the Jeep. We crawled over boulders on that trail the size of Honda Civics.

To shorten up this tale, the next day we did all 5 “zip-lines” they had to offer and the first 2 are short and sweet and break you in to the idea of gliding by wire. Number 3 is a “Leap of faith” and takes you 1800 feet across the water to a deck.  Everyone seemed to mark this as their favorite.  Number 4 was 1600 feet and all of us went off backwards. The final is named double barrel shotgun and there are two zip lines side by side and it is 2800 feet long and also crosses water.  Our group was of 12 and intimate enough that everyone chatted. Our 2 guides Lizzy and Chris were a giant bonus and we tipped them both.

Baytown Bert screaming like a ninny!
You see, you don’t have to go to Cancun or Maui to have fun.  You can do it right here in good old Texas, but for goodness sake, don’t be stupid like I was.

Friday, October 02, 2015

The seasons, they are a changin’

Bob Dylan - The times they are a changin'

It was 68 degrees outside this morning when I stepped out to let my doggies do their morning ablutions. I looked at the stars and breathed in the cool nostril pleasing air. I guess Summer is finally over and it’s been a hot one. Hunting season is right around the corner and in times past I would already have my license.

October is one of my favorite months here on the Gulf Coast. I love the sunny dry days where I can go outside and not be covered in sweat. Come Springtime, May is like that.  There is a correlation between the changing seasons and the social environment which has devolved. Yea, I said devolved, because that is the way I see it and I can safely say others feel the same. In many ways our social interaction with strangers has taken a step backwards.

Whereas I welcome the changing of the seasons and the cooler air, I don’t necessarily feel the same way about some trends in our country. One of them is the erroneous sense of privilege that seems to be cancerously growing. Rude manners or no manners at all are becoming so common; no one even expects anything else. When someone waits to hold a door, 15 strangers rush through like rabid linebackers. I witnessed this at El Toro’s, not too long ago. 
In fact, I was the one holding the door.

In my front yard are thousands of little pine cone chips scattered on the sidewalk and street. In case you haven’t noticed, we have a bumper crop of tree rats. Our only hope of keeping these litterbugs in control is their bizarre propensity to run under a moving car. At one time I would sit in the woods and try to harvest as many of these tasty animals as I could. Now, I only clean up after them. They don’t even notice the mess they are making or the work it takes to make the ground clean.

A month or so ago, I was parked on the side of Sjolander Road repairing a geocache I have there close to the historic marker. There is no road shoulder, so I was very close to the edge of the road at the back of my Jeep. A car came by slowly and stopped in front of my vehicle. Hanging out the window on a leash was a white pit-bull weighing about 40 pounds.

A man came around the front of the car and angrily threw the dog back inside, cursing in Spanish at the jaw-snapping carnivore. “Your dog jumped out the window?” I beckoned. He looked at me and said something that made my short hair stand up.

“No, he was jumping to get you!” He didn’t apologize, but drove off and I stood in shock.  I would have had no chance against this dog, as my handgun was in my Jeep. Never mind that the guy didn’t care about my safety. Never mind that he didn’t roll up the window. Never mind that I was that close to being mauled or killed. I doubt he even thought about it.

On a regular basis I pick up trash. As a geocacher, it is something most all of us do in this high-tech game. We visit a sight where a geocache is hidden and we pick up trash as we leave. Collectively, this is tens of thousands of tons of trash picked up all over the world. Yes, uncaring people throw stuff out the windows of their cars and trucks and it doesn’t matter to them who sees it. Prior to about 1970, this was a common practice. What has happened that people feel free to do it again?

I often wonder what their reaction would be if a couple bags of trash were scattered across their property on a weekly basis. It would probably be the same reaction a thief gets when someone steals from them, which of course is anger. I watch how people drive every time I get in my Jeep and my bride tells me I should simply ignore their poor driving habits. Maybe so, but it appears that anyone can get a license these days. The only people I see who have an excuse of sorts are the elderly.

I am looking forward to those cool nights when camping is enjoyable and plan to camp in about a week. Like last year, I’ll most likely deer hunt in the Hill Country and like last year, I’ll most likely watch many deer pass in front of me, aim, and not shoot. I’ve killed enough animals for a lifetime and I have enough money to buy processed food. I’ll leave these animals to those who still enjoy taking game.

The changing of the seasons is a good thing, but when it comes to society, we need to proceed with extreme caution. Unlike the predictability of our seasons, too many changes too quickly cannot possibly be a good thing. I’m fearful many of the changes we’ve experienced in the last 6-7 years will be our undoing.

People killing people

In light of the recent campus shooting in Oregon, I am reminded what a Russian truck driver told me when I asked about the many guns in America and if it bothered him seeing they can't have guns in Russia. "In Russia, when we want to kill someone, we use a hammer."
If someone is bent on killing people, they will find a way. This mass shooting in Oregon happened in a gun-free zone. No one except law officers were allowed to carry a firearm on campus and the college had voted one cop was enough.  A 30.06 sign banning everyone else from carrying a firearm insured the shooter would not be immediately stopped. All the sign does is make concealed handgun license owners as vulnerable as those that hate guns and just as helpless.

Chris Harper-Mercer
Our own police department views CHL carriers as augmentees and force multipliers in the event that the police department or an officer is overwhelmed. Look around your social group as an example. Many people you associate with carry a weapon, but you never see it and often times enjoy your own safety knowing Uncle Bob has his gun. I have carried a firearm for over ten years and I’ve never shot anyone.

When you live in a society where deranged or ideologically motivated people commit these types of crimes, putting up a sign is about as effective as swinging a feather at a cannon ball. Our President can issue a statement on his frustration over and over again and it will continue to propel the idea that guns kill people instead of people kill people.

Changing the second amendment of the Constitution and removing the inalienable right to protect yourself, is not going to stop a single deranged or misguided criminal from shooting up any place where people congregate. Here in an area where 6 million people rub shoulders, we are seeing more and more examples of CHL holders fighting back and that sure beats the alternative.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Current events should baffle the educated

I am a news addict and I’m a progressive/conservative/libertarian voter. By this I mean I vote what I think is best regardless of which party is pushing which agenda. If you read my columns, you have figured this out. I am not for the far Right and I sure as heck ain’t for the far Left. I look at how these professional politicians have voted, not what comes out of their mouth.

Mrs. Clinton, who astoundedly has did most everything wrong, now comes out against something that would create thousands of jobs. She was vaguely for it until now. The Labor unions even endorse it. It’s the Keystone Pipeline and it would put money in the pockets of many Texans and food on their table. Now before you jump all over this, look back on the feet dragging for Alaska Pipeline fiasco that made us dependent on OPEC oil.

In his book “Fundamentals of the Petroleum Industry”, Robert O. Anderson, the wild-cat oil man who formed ARCO Chemical Company explained how environmentalists screamed foul and all of it was as hollow as a corn-cob pipe stem. The environmental evisceration carbon footprint simply did not pan out and we went through 45 plus years of Saudi dominance because we failed to build it immediately missing the opportunity.

Sure, we built it… ten years later. Environmentalists screamed to high heaven about how the herd animals would not walk under the pipeline, so every so often a giant expansion joint was added so they could cross. Guess what? They walked under all of it. While everything was at a halt awaiting legal finagling, which lasted years, the thousands of machines had to be ran to keep them from freezing up and the cost of all this was laid on the project.

“President Barack Obama is expected to make a decision in coming months on the (Keystone) pipeline that has been pending for seven years. The White House declined to comment on Clinton's position on Keystone.”  7 years?  Seriously? We have an administration that can’t make a call of something as big as this for 7 years?

The man can make a call on everything from sports to people being beaten by cops in seconds. What’s the problem?

President Obama continues to rip apart tradition in this country, alienating the masses to placate the few. Ask almost anyone and they will tell you the same thing. Everything from smooching up to communist Cuba, to inviting the Pope here is his pleasure. Throw in recommending we appoint an openly gay civilian to running our Army and you have an astounding Presidency that openly pushes the lunatic fringe ahead of they typical voter. 

I am old enough to remember the hesitancy of this country to elect JFK because he was Catholic. If you are a student of history, you will understand why and I’m not going to try to educate anyone here on this. That’s what Google is for. By the way, can I end a sentence with “for” and get away with it?

How is it some of our educators cannot see how bizarre this Democratic Party has become? When according to the latest Gallup Pole, only3.8% of the US population is gay, transgender, etc. How is it that an openly gay man is the most qualified person to lead an Army that 10 years ago he had to be undercover to even be in? God help us if Obama wants him to lead the Marine Corps.

Am I against gay people? No. That’s not even the point. The point is the current administration is going to great lengths to placate the few in spite of what the majority thinks or wants. The majority is not even considered in most cases. It’s almost as if the man checks to see what is open for radical change and heads straight for it.

There is open season on Christians. Muslims, anti-police groups, fringe elements and almost everyone else are hugged with giddy abandon by this administration.  Take the kid who simply disassembled a clock and put it in a suitcase as an example. Only morons, imbeciles, and idiots wouldn’t think this looked like a bomb, but yet he gets an invitation to the White House immediately and is hailed as a “Science” guy.  Never mind that he also happens to be a Muslim and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wants to buddy up with him.

“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great. — President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015”

Imagine this boy bringing this “clock” into the White House prior to this incident.  He would have been slammed down on the floor immediately and the bomb squad called in.  In the news release there would be no mention of his religion, unless he was Apostolic. Then he would have been thrown in with that other “wacko” Kim Davis.

On another note, if my birth certificate was in question, I would simply publish it instead of letting folks guess – wouldn’t you? Geeze, I’m just a guy here in Baytown; not the President of the United States, but like Hillary and her email server, Obama would rather keep people guessing. Why? Because he can get away with it. You try something like that and you’ll be held in contempt and jailed.

The only thing this President has done that I agreed with was calling Kanye West an idiot when he jumped on stage to announce Beyonce should have beat Taylor Swift. The truth is he should have kept his mouth shut, as that was simply not Presidential. Our President is supposed to represent the bulk of this country. He is not a king or a demigod. He simply does not represent me as a voter. His only claim to fame is he presents himself well and that doesn’t stack up to a whole lot. Look at Joe Biden’s smile as an example of a hollow gesture. If I met Joe at a car dealership, I would run.

No, I don’t understand how any educated person can see that this is the direction our country needs to go or has gone so far. Health insurance premiums and prescription drug costs are through the roof. I want someone in the big house who can make these costs realistic. I want to see racial tension ease and our police forces returned to a place of respect. I want to feel like there is a future in this country and that is the person I will vote for.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Carl's Jr. tops my list of burgers

I've yet to find a MAJOR hamburger chain to match Carl's Jr. YMMV and I want to know what you think. I used to really think JIB was good, but they have went downhill. I stopped in Kerrville and ate a burger at Wendy's and it was disappointing also. Surprisingly DQ's Beltbuster is very very good. Okay, I know someone will post about a local place, but that is not what this is about. Its about your take on a MAJOR chain. Opinions?

Friday, September 18, 2015

What if The Donald actually wins?

What if the impossible actually happens and Donald John Trump becomes President of the United States? Will this be the end of the America as we all know it? Will everything go to Hades in a hand basket? Will The Donald make us a laughing stock for the rest of the world because he’s not a dyed in the wool slippery politician?

If elected, will he continue the politically correct trend of neutralizing anything and everything that could/would/might offend even one person?  Under President Trump will we rename the White House to something less offensive? Will people start naming their baby boy and girl children Donald or John because gender shouldn’t be an issue? Will the gardening term “green thumb” be found to be racist?

If Trump runs the White House the way Chemical Engineers and accountants run Exxon-Mobil, it should work as far as our economy goes.  Albeit, it would hurt like the Dickens for a while as they jerked the economy around - but remember Reaganomics?  Folks hated Reagan back in 1982 for correcting the Jimmy Carter idea of what America should look like.  Sound familiar?  It should, because we are currently experiencing the downside of fuzzy planning.

There is no doubt Donald Trump is a financial wizard and frankly, our politicians on both sides of the fence has decimated our finances.  Our finances. They’ve promised to give away more money than we have and borrowed it to fulfill their promises.  Their solution hasn’t been sound either, as they’ve raised taxes to cover it. Why not just quit spending? That’s what my bride and I do when we don’t have extra cash.

It is as if they cannot see the obvious when almost the whole country is clamoring for them to stop spending. Ockham’s razor folks.  “In the absence of differences in predictive ability—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.”  In other words, stop spending and the problem will go away! 

Trump's big challenge would be to surround him with intelligent people and then let them do their jobs without a Jerry Jones attitude of micromanagement. This would be difficult for him and I’m sure it would stunt any cancerous growth in government… Wait, what did I just say?  Shoot, maybe that is the answer after all.

Franklin Roosevelt wanted Harry Truman for a VP because Old Harry was a nobody and FDR didn’t plan on giving him any leash at all.  After FDR died, cursin’ Harry stepped in and did what no one else would have believed possible – he won the war and ran the country and he did it pretty danged well.  Most people don’t know that before he got into politics and he owned a five and dime-size clothing store.

Maybe we need a non-professional politician in the number one seat.  Maybe it’s time to elect someone who will do what is good for the United States over openly placating and bowing to the whole world. Maybe it’s high time we voted in a person who Putin wonders what in the world they will do on almost anything. I do believe the spin machine has everyone believing we need to reelect the same old same old and rocking the boat with anything else is too scary to consider.

The Donald is promising to cut through the baloney and create jobs and this appeals to everyone who wants to work, regardless of race or creed. He’s not afraid to ad lib and doesn’t give a hoot about a script and most of us find this amazingly refreshing. The Blue and Red are scared to death of him, as neither group of professional politicians can control him and this is another big plus for us.

Like I’ve said in the past, anyone they can’t control they demonize. Will he make mistakes?  Sure. Is he scary and unpredictable?  Yup. Will other world leaders try to bully him?  Maybe once.

In the coming months, they will do everything they can to discredit Mr. Trump.  They will compare him to Dan Quayle and explain how out of touch he is with the reality of running a government. They will call him an airbag of smoke and a buffoon and all because he is a major threat to them.

The Donald might have started this as a joke, but it isn’t now and he’s not going away. He doesn’t need lobbyist dollars and won’t promise favors to anyone. Wow, what a concept in American politics! Our Country is a business and he’s a successful businessman. Nope, Donald Trump isn’t going to suddenly back down and hand off an endorsement.  He’s seriously running for President.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I wish I had a solution to all this mess.

I am not against immigration. I am against immigrants putting the country they left ahead of this country. Whole parts of the country are being converted into areas where English is not even spoken, let alone learned. The old country customs and way of life is pushed ahead of learning to become Americans. When this continuous influx of migrants happens, it changes the demographics of an area forever. Note I am referring to legal immigration here.

Germany is experiencing this very thing where over 30,000 refugees are being resettled. Germans are
welcoming these masses with open arms. I think five years from now they’ll wonder what in the heck they were thinking. The demographic change will be a mixture of religion and customs and
permanently change the community where they move.

This was what happened to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of Hispanic workers
moved to the area to rebuild it — and never left. What was once a predominately solid culture of Louisiana cooking and customs suddenly became a town full of taquerias.

Am I against Hispanic workers?

No, I am making a point about demographic change. Many of the immigrants who are flooding into Europe come from the Fertile Crescent region of the Earth. This is the oldest civilized area in the world and yet they are preying upon each other like black ants against red. With all of their thousands of years of history, they can’t find peace.

Today is Sept. 11, 14 years after that fateful day when Islamic jihadists attacked the United States. Now, 14 years later, we as a country are more fractured than ever. We have open season on our police departments, no faith in our politicians, and a tanking economy. If you don’t believe me, look at your savings account. I told my bride that every time our country goes to war, the country we try to liberate comes home with our troops.

When the planes hit the twin towers, you hardly saw an American man with a shaved head and a
beard. Look around you now. Today, it’s not uncommon to see a covered Muslim woman or a mosque. I can’t recall seeing either prior to the attacks.I’ve long ago figured out that skin color means nothing, but customs do. The old tried and proven Mom, apple pie, and the Bible days are a thing of the past.

The old security of a stable family is gone, as many people have been married three or more times
and have kids scattered all over. No one can have a traditional family reunion, because their ex would be there.

I guess we are all to blame for messing up our country. That’s what our political leaders want us to believe, because it sure as heckire ain’t their fault. They are hell-bent on dropping in more and more immigrants into locales that will be smothered by the sheer numbers.

According to various news sources, immigrants accounted for 13 percent of the total 316 million
U.S. residents; adding the U.S.-born children (of all ages) of immigrants
means that approximately 80 million people or one-quarter of the overall U.S. population, is either of
the irst or second generation.OK, we are talking legal immigrants only with all these numbers.
What are the chances that an illegal immigrant wants to assimilate? My guess is very low, as staying
under the radar would probably be a good strategy.

I wish I had a solution to all this mess. Hillary and Joe have come out saying they believe they can ix
what Obama has done. I’m not sure there is a reset button anyone can push. Maybe The Donald can do it.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Concerning Kim Davis

Here is my understanding of what took place with Kim Davis and we share beliefs. She is Apostolic and I am Oneness Pentecostal- same-same.

She swore to perform her office, but when the law changed, she appealed to be allowed to let others in her office sign the paperwork, citing her beliefs. She was denied. The outcome was inevitable if she stuck to her guns - which she did.

The final outcome is what she originally asked for and that is what is so stupid about all of this.
I truly believe the people in power and in our court system are doing everything possible to bend over backwards to meet the demands of all the other religions, but doing the opposite if a fundamentalist Christian throws up a red flag.

Evidence is all over the place the way they force Islam down the throat of this country, trangenderism, or atheism while pushing anything resembling Christian teaching as unconstitutional, bigoted, racist, or ignorant.

The First aMendment right concerning religion is so obvious, I can't for the life of me understand how it can be interpreted ambiguously by our courts and politicians.

Friday, September 04, 2015

The irony of awareness campaigns

Our society has become inundated with symbolic awareness movements in the last decade. From pink this and that for breast cancer to toy runs for kiddos and a plethora of organized outings for returning Veterans and list goes on and on ad finem – out there somewhere. Of course, there is no real end, because more causes are added each day.

It’s confusing to me for the most part. Sure, I understand how wearing pink reminds people that breast cancer kills and ruins people’s lives; I’m just not convinced that wearing pink will make a dimes worth of difference, seeing how it’s become common. I’m not sure that the person wearing it has contributed a single dime to fight the disease or if they are wearing it and making no connection to the cause.

5 new "causes to join" in one day on my Facebook
Take for instance the car in front of you with the Christian symbol of a fish and you watch how they drive and wonder what kind of association there is between the two. Don’t get me wrong on what I am writing here. I believe in supporting causes; I really do, but when a symbol of a movement becomes hip and cool, it loses all the momentum it fought so hard to get.

After 9-11 happened, I bought a pair of those yellow ribbons and magnetically attached them to our vehicles. I also put up Old Glory in my yard as did almost everyone. I wanted folks around me to know that I was supportive of our government and our troops.

Yellow ribbons became so profuse that they quit selling, so enterprising merchants came out with 50 variations and suddenly, there were ribbons for every cause. I took our two ribbons off our vehicles, but a year later, I was still flying my flag. Sadly, only a few yards out of hundreds continued to show support this way. They had ribbons a plenty though, because it had become hip to have them. Some cars had rows of every imaginable ribbon including the camouflaged ones.

Now here is the real irony in this awareness business.

We are living in a time where people are so distracted, they can’t even drive their car without fooling (in the true sense of the word) with their phones, adjusting their undecipherable media system, eating everything from a plate of spaghetti (an actual sighting by one of my brothers), or rubber-necking.  This is the short list.

Coming home from Houston the other day, a woman in the car next to me, while doing 75 miles per hour, was driving with her knees and eating a bowl of food with her hands using a fork. I constantly wonder if most of the people around me got their drivers license illegally, because they surely don’t know how to safely operate anything larger than a tri-cycle – and that may be a stretch.

We are distracted by everything from our phones dinging, ringing, or Lady Gaga’s ringtone to figuring out which campaign we will support next. In the meantime we watch TV and sit though the stupidest programs and commercials they can dream up. There must be a prerequisite in programming that it has to insult the intelligence of a 5th grader before it gets the go ahead. We are like dunces without the pointed cap, allowing ourselves to be manipulated 24-7. Our politicians are no help in clearing up anything and most of us think they don’t represent us anyway, so why listen to them?

There is an astoundingly stupid post on Facebook that asks the question “if you would be willing to be unplugged for 3 months, you could win 3 million dollars!” I think it may be a hypothesis, but I haven’t seen any takers either. 

On any given day I observe people texting as they drive.  I don’t have to wait more than a few minutes and I will see it. Usually they are the first car at the red light and don’t go when it turns green. So tell me; how can we be a nation who is aware of all these causes and we can’t even get it through our thick heads that texting and driving will kill or maim us and those driving around us?  We can believe in the long range effect of carrying a ruck sack on our back for a 10 mile hike and showing support of police officers, but we can’t stop texting while driving?

How can we be so blind to the obvious, but optimistic about something that may or may not have a lasting effect?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Ashley Madison Hack an Unrighteous Act!

Have you known a person who successfully quit smoking cigarettes and goes on what can only be labeled as a righteous campaign against smoking? They become almost militant and openly complain that the mere smell of cigarette smoke over-powers their sensitive nose holes. They want everyone to stop smoking and voice this opinion every chance they get.

Never mind that just months ago they were equally indignant when anyone even suggested that their cigarette smoke was repugnant. There is often nothing more intolerant than a reformed person.

This is the only logical reason hackers would out the adults who have paid to look for extra-marital affairs on in my opinion. They must have either been the victim of adultery, or repented from it – and now they want to expose all the consenting adults who are active in what society deems immoral activity. They claim it was for poor business practices.

“The hackers who took responsibility for Ashley Madison's data breach have said they attacked the website in an effort to close it down as punishment for collecting a $19 fee without actually deleting users' data.” Yea, right. That’s why they committed this crime.

Now, extortionists are coming out of the mud like money-ravenous leeches, hungry to black-mail subscribers or they will expose the filthy-minded prurient transgressors.

“Extortionists are now sending messages to the publicized e-mail addresses, demanding a payment of several hundred dollars in bitcoin, threatening to otherwise send their personal information to their significant others.”

The hackers see themselves as righteous bastions of good, when in fact they should serve time for hacking into a secure server. Their behavior and actions are greater transgressions than those they are outing. The proof is it is not illegal to have an affair, but hacking is.

Let me go on record and say I never heard of this website before it appeared in the news.  My email address is not one of the 39 million addresses exposed. I would like to say I lead a spotless life of a born again Christian, but I have failed at it so many times, I will get into heaven by God’s grace alone. I have a saying that any man who thinks he can handle more than one woman is either deceived, an idiot, or lives in Utah.

I have a good woman I’ve loved for 38 years and I know enough about what goes on in Anytown, USA to know that if a spouse wants to fool around, you don’t need to go further than a few blocks away to find someone who thinks the same way. So why in the world would any sane person join a website, pay money, and risk ruining their marriage to fool around with a stranger online?

Beats me.  The outcome of this heinous act of server hacking will now put millions of marriages in jeopardy and do the exact opposite of a righteous deed. I used to work with a guy who had a saying that went something like this’ “I do not support what people do, but I support their right to do it.” I mulled that over for a long time as a Christian man and finally concluded he had it right.

I do not support adultery and think it is a sin against you. You will be living a lie and breaking your vows, not to mention damaging your marriage and hurting the one you claim you will go to the grave with. However, I am not God and neither are the hackers. This AshleyMadison business is for consenting adults. Consenting adults. They may be wrong, or reckless, or to many – sinners, but I support their freedom to make this choice. I ain’t going to make it, but I sure as heckfire ain’t going to play God and mentally cast them into the infernal smoking fires at their misfortune. On top of that, I am fairly certain that many of these folks are on that site out of curiosity and vicarious sexual excitement and it never will go further than that.

“There is going to be a dramatic crime wave of these types of virtual shakedowns, and they’ll evolve into spear-phishing campaigns that leverage crypto malware. And the proof, in this scenario, would be a booby-trapped attachment that deploys spyware or malware.”
Cyber attacks are something most of us will experience in the future and they need to be seen as such, whether what is hacked goes against our values or our money. Hacking is a crime and this AshleyMadison theft should be seen as a monstrous breach of freedom, nothing more.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Voting doesn’t have to be complicated

I’ve been a conservative voter for many years and still am for the most part.  If you have read my opinion on some of the more controversial subjects, you understand that in some ways, I side with the more liberal thinkers.  Blame my service record for that.

Years ago I read Lyndon: An Oral Biography and Plain Speaking an Oral Biography of Harry. S. Truman both by Merle Miller. I read 5 of John McCain’s books.  I’ve read many other books about our presidents and political figures and they have helped me understand how American politics are supposed to function. For the people, by the people, etc. Of course I am no expert and don’t want to give that impression.

The TV series House of Cards pretty much nails how it works though, with powerful politicians calling in favors and chits, often skewing the voting records of those under their lofty positions. Lyndon Johnson was possibly the best at getting things done in the White House of all the presidents and political figures this country has ever seen.

On television and before the people, he drawled on in a monotone, appearing to be this slow-talking Texan with very deliberate word choices. In reality he had almost inexhaustible energy and forced through his policies and opinions by stabbing a big index finger in his victim’s chest and then using his Texas cowboy boots, he would kick them in the shins.

I’m not making that up. Hubert Humphrey was permanently scarred by Johnson and would pull his trouser legs up to show the permanent bumps. 

Over the years the crevasse between the 2 major parties has became a so wide that neither side wants to give an inch and herein lies the problem. Whereas LBJ could push things through, through compromise, nobody on either side wants to be accused of “working with the enemy”

Take the Kennedy-McCain immigration bill for instance. It would have and still would work, but it was picked to pieces by both parties and made both politicians look foolish and like turncoats. What did we end up with when the immigration bill failed?  Nothing. The same old thing that didn’t work. Americans were carefully manipulated to thinking both of these guys were jerks for even suggesting the joint plan.

So who benefited from this failed bill? The illegal aliens, that’s who. The reason I say this is because I actually read the whole thing! Yup. Unlike idiots in high places like Nancy Pelosi, I actually read this stuff.

There is a website located here:

It is where you can see how a politician actually voted on major issues. Now bear in mind, that on some of this stuff, they were coerced into voting against their desire so they could get their own stuff passed. That is important to remember.

At the bottom of each politician’s page is a matrix that shows how they rate as far as Liberal versus Conservative, etc. You may believe that the far left or far right truly reflects your views, but understand that any of these representatives whose mark is in the extreme, has more intention of pushing their parties policies over what the voters want.

They no longer represent YOU. They represent their party and their party knows what you need or want or deserve more than you do. As a Conservative with Libertarian leanings I do not want anyone in the White House who is against returning this nation back to the way the Constitution and Bill of Rights initially declared.

Think about that. You should feel the same way. Our freedoms are disappearing and all for our own good according to them. They have massive benefits while ours are vanishing. The do not call list is an tiny example of their self-serving privilege. They voted to exempt themselves so they can call you while you and your family eat supper.

Our political system has been allowed to morph into a government that is parasitical and has little to do with the voter’s wishes.  Whether you love or hate marijuana 68% of the population of this country believe it is time for marijuana law reform. When Jeb Bush votes “No medical marijuana; it's just a guise toward legalization”, he ceases to be anything to me but a Party hack out of touch with 7 out of 10 voters.

I’m expressing marijuana here to prove a point. Look at above website. Forget what is coming out of their mouths and see how they vote. Every once in a while one of them will speak the truth though. Bravo to Joe Biden for calling the Chattanooga shooter who killed our Marines and one sailor, a “perverted jihadist”. As far as I know, he’s the first person in the Obama Administration to call the guy a terrorist.

Our few good politician’s are made villains by other politicians and we lemmings sit back and let them. Look at Sarah Palin’s voting record. She was ridiculed to the point that she became a laughing stock. Her voting record is clean and reasonable. If all I could see was her voting record, I would vote for her.

The Presidency is serious business folks. Choose carefully. We can only support so many people who don’t and won’t work. We can only give so many anti-American countries 150 billion dollars – thank you Obama. Our country has to make the correct choices and our leaders need to find a way to work together.

Donald Trump is not the villain he is being portrayed as. He is an uber-threat to the 2 established ultra-partisan parties and both parties are scared to death, so they are demonizing him. He knows this and is forcing both parties to actually declare what they are going to do on real issues.

That may be the only reason he is running and I say bravo. Research how these people vote before you punch out that chad.