Thursday, April 28, 2016

Good bye, Denny Hastert

As I write this, former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert (R-Il) is preparing to start serving his federal banking beef (structuring) sentence of 15 months in The Big House.

I do not write this with relish.  It is yet another black eye for the conservative movement, much like the day that Richard Nixon resigned.  

Denny, my former congressman whom I voted for several times as the representative to the U.S. Congress from the 14th district in Illinois (my home) has not only let me down, he has let down all of us conservatives with his felonious activities.  I don't want to get into those, as they are all heinous and deserving of punishment of the highest order.  If you ask me, Denny got off with a rap on the knuckles.

His biggest failure, however, was as Speaker of the House in 2005, during the Mark Foley scandal.  He knew of this scumbag's malfeasance for years, and chose to do nothing.  Accordingly, Nancy Pelosi used the Mark Foley scandal to beat the Republicans over the head, and rightly so painting the GOP as running a 'culture of corruption.'  And this successful campaign by Pelosi resulted in the loss of the House in 2006.  A direct result of Denny's failures.

And why did Denny not purge Mark Foley?  Likely because HE HIMSELF had identical skeletons in his own closet, and allowed the country to suffer incalculable damage at the hands of the Democrat majority in Congress for the next 10 years, rather than act to clean up the GOP's act.

I never want to hear of this pathetic scumbag again.  A pox on him and his house.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

Jacking up the minimum wage to $15/hour is just plain dumb

"A living wage" is only fair, right?  Everyone should make a 'living wage.'  It's what employers everywhere in every industry should pay, gosh darn it.  It's only fair.  And $15/hour is the minimum anybody should be paid to do anything in the land of the Free and the home of the Brave.  Period.


So wrong.  Such a dumb mistake on oh so many levels.

I sincerely wish that we would teach just basic "Economics for Dummies" in high school, or perhaps even start in grade school.  The curriculum in, say, 5th grade should include instructional techniques as to how to start up and run a lemonade stand.  Going through the basics would underscore the nature of how things work in a capitalistic, market based economy.

And it would in the most simple terms underscore that everything has a price, and that when the price of virtually anything goes up (and we shall leave out the concept of price elasticity and in-elasticity for  now), demand for whatever that is will go down. Simple economics.  Simple display of human behavior.

Wages are nothing more and nothing less than the price of labor.  And as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, if mandated minimum wages are arbitrarily set higher, then the demand for them (or employment) will fall.  Unemployment will be the guaranteed result of raising the minimum wage to $15/hour.

In a true, correctly operating market driven economy, the inarguable minimum wage is $0.00 per hour.  That is the going wage for somebody with absolutely no skills whatsoever.  Now, once you train this no-skilled person, then their value goes up accordingly.  But up to a $15/hour level?  This is only true if their output makes their employer at least $25/hour in value.  If not, then the employer is losing money, since they have to pay FICA, Medicaid, healthcare, etc. in addition to the $15.00 basic wage.  And employers are not in business to lose money.

Human behavior is such that if this mandated minimum wage is raised to $15/hour, employers will not just sit back and eat this cut in their profit margins.  They will either fire people, close businesses and simply leave the money they had invested in the business in their bank, or find other ways around the cost increase in their labor, perhaps through automation.  

There is basic data available now from a decision made last year to jack up the minimum wage to $15/hr in Seattle, Washington: unemployment is up considerably in the 18-25 year old segment of the population. 

But telling this to the $15/hour or 'living wage' crowd falls on deaf ears.  Much to the detriment of their constituents.   

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Word to the wise: 'never volunteer, son...'

I was just reading the latest news about guns from a reliable source: Virtual Mirage ( and had to add my own gun experience which is profoundly different than the erstwhile author LL's.

I grew up in suburban Eugene, Oregon in the early 1960's; significantly before the place was transformed into a poor man's Berkeley, where everybody is offended nowadays at the drop of a hat.  "Fredd, how dare you say 'at the drop of a hat'??!!  You pathetic neanderthal, don't you get it that hats are a male thing, and that you sound like a sexist pig spewing that hate?"  Yes, I am just a lousy hater, I've come to accept that.

My household was a gun-free zone back then.  Sure, as a little kid I was always playing cowboys and Indians (which went the way of the dinosaur decades ago as a racially intolerant activity), and us little kids emulated Vic Morrow and Rip Torn as WWII combat weary veterans in the black and while TV series "Combat."  But real guns were just not in my life.

Then I went and joined the U.S. Army at age 19.  All of a sudden, I was able to field strip and re-assemble an M-16 military combat rifle blindfolded, and was qualified as an expert marksman with this weapon.  

My dad, a WWII veteran, had warned me before I shipped out to boot camp: 'when you're in the army, son, never volunteer for anything.  Just don't do it, volunteering to anything, no matter what it is, it just never turns out good for you.'

Well, of course I volunteered as an E-6 staff sergeant to supervise an ordinance disposal detail.  Because our battalion had such bad leadership, our annual TO&E allotment of ammunition for the battalion was never used up in gunnery range training, because our leaders always had other priorities than keeping the troops' weaponry skills in order.  Then came the end of September, and thus the end of the fiscal year.  If we still had ammo left over, the brass would get less the next year since we had not used what was issued in the prior year and we all know that officers simply cannot do with less of anything, under any circumstances.

I was assigned to supervise 5 enlisted men to take a 2.5 ton truck (lovingly referred to as a 'deuce and a half') loaded with our unused ammo out to the range: box upon box of 5.56 ball ammo for M-16's, box upon box of M-60 light machine gun ammo (with tracers every 5th round), a goodly amount of M-203 grenades, a ton of .45 rounds for the M-1911 Colt pistols issued to senior NCO's and officers.  Since we were an intelligence unit, this was the extent of our ordinance, and no .50 cal rounds, fragmentation hand grenades, Claymore mines, or any of the fun stuff was issued to us 'REMF's'.  

Still, this was a ton of ammo, and I was directed to bring back the spent brass casings so that it could be accounted for.  I could hardly wait to go and blow off all of this, it was a detail that would only happen in my dreams.  

Not so fast, there, Fredd.  The first 15 minutes of popping off the M-60 rounds was great.  Changing the red hot barrels every 200 rounds or so was tedious, but still, very cool.  The next hour or two, things became pretty repetitive, and the fun of all of this was quickly disappearing.

Then we started on the bulk of our ordinance, the M-16 rounds.  Those had to be loaded into the magazines (we had banana clips which held 30 rounds), and this was also incredibly tedious.  After 5 or 6 hours of this, all of our hands were raw and blistered, holding onto and firing these weapons with no gloves.  We started wrapping our hands in 100 mph tape (duct tape in the civilian world), and it helped some, but soon nothing really helped.  We were all in agony.

Towards the end of this nightmare detail, one of the privates asked me 'sarge, I'm dyin' here, can't we just bury the rest of this shit, and get out of here?'  As good as that sounded to me at the time, I had to account for the brass and was not inclined to get busted for not coming back with the correct number of casings, so this was not going to work, either.

In the end, this was perhaps the most miserable experience I ever had in the army.  Our hands were dripping with blood, and not even the 100 mph tape kept it from flowing like water.  We were to a man completely miserable to the bone.  And to drive a stake through our hearts, we then got to the M-203 grenades.  Although there were only a few boxes of those, they had to be fired from an M-16 mount, and those rounds kicked like a mule.  It was hell trying to hold onto those weapons with bloody, blistered aching hands.  I was convince I was in hell.  I had never been more miserable.  Ever.  And this detail was supposed to be fun.  

"Never volunteer for anything, no matter how good it sounds at the time"....I still remember to this day my dad telling me that, and how I blew off this sound advice much to my detriment.

I now own a .357 magnum caliber revolver, and this gun is for home protection only, and will only get fired at somebody who is intent on doing me or my family harm.  And so far, the gun has never been fired.  God willing, it never will be fired.

I will be a happy man if I meet my Maker, never having fired another weapon as long as I live.  I've probably put more rounds down range than anyone else on the planet.  Well, other than those other five guys on that detail from hell.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

Voting with your middle finger

I've heard it said lately that voting for either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in the presidential primaries in 2016 is done with the middle finger.

On the Republican side, voters have been betrayed by the Establishment GOP one too many times: their deal with the voters the last four elections or so is that if we hand them the gavels (committee chairmanships gained with a majority), they will:

  • Repeal Obamacare
  • Defund Obamacare
  • Roll back/restrict Obama's executive orders
  • Get control of the out of control government spending
  • (fill in whatever other promise these weasels made here)
And what are the results of these promises that the Establishment GOP made, now that we the voters have empowered both the Senate and the House with GOP majorities, and handed them their gavels?   The results are the following:

.................(crickets chirping here)...............................

In essence, the Establishment GOP broke its promises to the voters on too many occasions to count.  They simply lie to their constituents while on the stump.  Flat out bald-faced lies.  

I just wonder what would happen to these GOP liars if they had made such promises to the Mafia?  To the Medillan or Sinaloa drug cartels?  Promises such as those made by the GOP Establishment to groups such as these and then wantonly and openly broken/ignored would be dealt with harshly.  Very harshly.

We now are seeing what it looks like when voters get tired of being lied to: defections to 'undesirable' candidates.  You know, the kind of candidates that Karl Rove and Reinz Preibus don't like.  Those kind of 'undesirables.'  And yet Karl Rove and Reinz Preibus to this very day don't understand why their chosen 'Establishment' candidates are getting no traction whatsoever.

We voters understand it perfectly.  And we are doing something about the Establishment's having taken the American conservative vote for granted for so long.  We are enmasse voting for 'undesirables.'

Now we are all waiting for the GOP convention in Cleveland, which is governed by the Establishment GOP.  The majority of delegates earned during the primaries have gone to such aforementioned 'undesirables,' such as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.  When the convention gets underay, we will see what kind of destruction the GOP can render to their already tattered credibility.  

The GOP Establishment will have to make a choice: go with the general mood of their pissed off constituency and nominate an 'undesirable,' thereby losing control of the Republican Party.  Or, alternatively, they can hand pick one of their guys, an Establishment candidate that Karl Rove calls a 'fresh face' to head up the Republican ticket.  And then they can watch as the conservative voters completely and totally wash their hands of these GOP Establishment morons, in essence relegating the Republican Party to another 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

If the Establishment GOP chooses the latter, it looks like Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or even a Democrat interloper like Joe Biden or John Kerry will get elected to a third term of Obama.