Thursday, December 31, 2009


by Jeanne Marie

Here we are leaving another year behind us. Was it a good one for you? One you considered not the best?

Many of us find that the “worst” years are those that were just so-so. Nothing really exciting happened. Nothing really unexciting happened. It was just a rather ordinary year.

Perhaps that occurs because we become trapped in our view of who we are, what we can accomplish, what we believe, what we have been told to believe.

Is it possible that we could make 2010 a totally exciting year just by changing a few things about our perspective?

If you don’t already know that you are a beautiful person, an exquisite accomplishment of the Universe, a unique and special individual…then, by all means, please exercise your understanding of that point. It is the truth.

Fully grasp that you have the ability to accomplish what no other human being on earth can ever accomplish. It is your God-given freedom to make your ripple in time. You are free to plunk yourself right smack dap in the middle of your own life and make the difference you were born to make.

Stepping out of your comfort zone finds you stepping into adventure and wonder and awe. You sense that little buzzing feeling in your stomach and your heart beats just a little faster. Your imagination spreads its wings. And nothing is ever boring again. You are child-like once more.

Go ahead -- step out into your freedom this new year … do it all with love. You will change your life. You will change the world.

When 2011 arrives, you just may want to do it all over again.


I propose a new national award...The Founders be given annually to the person (or group of persons) whose outstanding achievements during the past year most contributed to the enrichment of the quality of life in America. Hopefully not, but there may be years when no award is given. The award will be in the form of a stylishly crafted gold medallion that appropriately reflects the admiration and thankfulness of the American people. It will be awarded in front of the White House by the President.

The award is named after our Founding Fathers because it was they who conceived of the glory of our country, and its treasured ideals...and because without their courage and willingness to risk all, this country would not have been born. They truly were America's first heroes.

Recipients of The Founders Honor may come from any sector of our nation: industry, military, science, medicine, diplomacy, the arts, etc. During the first ten years of the award, honorees will be chosen by vote of the Presidents of 25 randomly chosen American universities. Thereafter, they will be chosen by prior honorees.

It is hoped that The Founders Honor will focus our attention onto the good in our country, on achievement, on exploration and discovery, on potentials yet to be realized, and on the beautiful world of tomorrow. It is hoped that that focus begin at a child's first glimmer of wonder.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The recent series of stories of celebrities acting in bizarre and unexpected ways..."I didn't know they were like that, how could they do those things?r"...brought me to the subject of Principles and why they are where the answer to that question may be found.

A principle is a general statement that expresses a guideline for how life should be lived. Like, "One should always tell the truth" or "One should always tell the truth unless it will hurt someone you love" or "One should always tell the truth unless you have something to gain by lying".

There are principles about all aspects of life...personal relationships, business,politics, etc...and we all have them because, without them, it would be difficult to know, and time-consuming to figure out, how we should act in every situation we find ourselves in.

Where did we get them from? Parents, teachers, ministers, movies, etc. As a general rule, we adopted them haphazardly and without much independent thought..."it sounded right", "I heard it over and over when I was a kid", "most people live that way".

And therein, as Wil would say, is the rub. What was almost never considered, as a principle was about to be accepted as a way of life, was PRECISELY what benefits it would bring to our life if we adhered to it...and PRECISELY what damages it would cause to our lives if we violated it.

Go ahead. Test that out. Take a sheet of blank paper, write at the top any principle you hold, and then list 5 specific benefits you gain by living by that principle, and 5 specific ways you would be harmed if you chose not to live by it. Easy or hard to do?

In my view, the prime reason those celebrities, and many of us, abandon our principles from time to time is that they and we would have trouble with those lists. You will likely never intentionally ingest poison because you clearly know the downside and you want no part of it. You know you should not abuse those you love because you know the upside of having that love in your life and the downside of losing it. But are the lists for why you should have integrity, clear to you? Or why you shouldn't commit undisclosed adultery? Or why "It is ok to steal from the rich to give to the poor" is not a life nurturing principle?

Don't blame yourself for not knowing all the ups and downs, at least not until now. You were likely never taught them, and likely never thought about them, never even told they were important to know.

But that is in the past. It behooves you now to examine your principles, prove to yourself they are the desirable ones for you to live by, or speak with someone who can help you with that proof, and then place them in a secure place in your mind and confidently get on with your life.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


"For a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."

Could it be said any better?

Who does not know:

* you do not lighten the load by adding to it

* you do not protect freedom by denying it

* you do not win a war by quitting the fight, you win the war by getting your enemy to quit

* you do not effectuate positive change by repeating negative actions of the past

* you do not promote justice by granting it to some and denying it to others

* you cannot proclaim support of equality by treating people unequally

* when the number of new filings for unemployment insurance falls from one month to the next, it may still reflect an increase in the number of unemployed

* appeasement does not spell a p e a c e m e n t

* you do not make allies by apologizing to your enemies

* wealth that is not yours, is not yours to redistribute

* private industry cannot be publicly owned

* to say things are better when they aren't is to make things worse

* you do not gain stature by shrinking your moral standards.

Who does not know all that?

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Quibble all you want about what a war is, when a minor skirmish becomes a war, but we are fighting a war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Euphemistically using terms like "holding action" or "containment" does not change that fact...we are at war, and we all know it.

And it is an unConstitutional war since only Congress has the power to declare war and it hasn't done so. Is it important that we as a nation declare war when we are fighting in one? Yes. it will keep the idea that we are at risk and that some of us are dying to keep us safe and free, closer to the forefront of our minds, as it ought be. And perhaps that will help marshal our energy and resources to victory, which they are not today.

CNN reported that the U.S. has developed a new weapon that will change the way we conduct war in Afghanistan and turn the war dramatically in our favor. The network revealed what the weapon can do, the only location in the country where it can be found, and when it will be ready to be used. What, Where, When. In World War II, there were posters in the street saying "Keep Your Mouth "(Trap) Shut, Someone Might Be Listening", and it would show a picture of our enemy. Talking about the potentials of this new weapon, so that our enemies can begin to prepare defenses to it, and revealing its location, would have been considered an act of treason.

So, will some Congressman immediately file a motion or a bill or whatever declaring war against Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other anti-American terrorist organizations...and unless it is approved by Congress, Mr. President, remove our forces now, now, now, and bring them home.

Can't legally have it both ways...either it is a Cconstitutionally declared war or it isn't. It isn't.

Has our Constitution become obsolete, meaningless, passe? We give alien terrorists rights they don't have under our Constitution, fight an illegal war that has not been declared a war, give three states special payoffs to obtain their Senator's vote for the health reform bill in violation of the Equal Protection clause, have the Government take over/take control of the health industry and private banking and financial institutions in violation of free enterprise, and on and on. I heard some Administration official say "those are not subject to objections anymore, the public has accepted them." A new and unauthorized way of amending the Constitution, eh? Mob vote. Just what the Founders had in mind!

A study of history might help. Was it not thought that the vaunted Holy Roman Empire was indestructible and would last forever? Anyone seen it lately?

Thursday, December 24, 2009


The current administration has proposed giving $100,000,000,000 each year to underdeveloped countries to fight the alleged global warming problem...a problem which may or may not in fact exist. I object. The administration's sole responsibilities concern Americans, not foreigners. It is the government of, by and for the American people.

While I am opposed to a welfare state, wanna give away $100,000,000,000 a year, give it, for example:

*to the 3.5 million homeless in America...that would amount to about $30,000 per person, enough o acquire shelter, food and clothing.

*to the American Cancer Society, and it would represent 200 times the total annual contributions presently received by much would that contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer worldwide?

*to each of the 14 million Americans presently unemployed...that would be $7,000 annually to each.

*to public colleges...that would cover the average annual tuition of 13,000,000 students.

*to 100,000 small business start ups, creating numerous jobs and spurring progress and improvements to the quality of our lives in the future...with each business receiving $1,000,000,000 annually.

Keep in mind that the U.S. is over 10 trillion dollars in debt and does not, in fact, have one dime of that $100,000,000,000 commitment.

Are you happy with the choice President Obama has made as to how to spend this money we don't have? What would your choice be?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The single most influential factor on our lifestyle today may well be the innocent looking, taken for granted, The House.

When I was younger, other than farmers and those living in remote areas, it was generally the wealthy and some upper middle class folk who owned houses, which were seen as a sign of achievement and succeass. The rest rented apartments.

Today, the desire---yea, the seeming need--to own a house has spread like an out of control plague to affect almost all. Newlyweds starting out purchase houses before they have established themselves in the workforce. Owning a house has moved high on the list of what represents the American Dream. Today, it is not so much the house owner who is perceived as successful as often as it is the apartment dweller who is perceived as the unsuccessful.

Now, to be sure, there are potential advantages to house ownership: a greater sense of having roots in and of belonging to a community, more spacious accommodations, heightened sense of privacy, etc.

The question I address here is: AT WHAT COST?...a question that from my observation is rarely asked nor answered today.

Here is my ever growing list of costs:

* lawyer's fee for the purchase
* down payment, normally 20% of the purchase price
* monthly mortgage payments (eg, $300,000 mortgage, $1,755 per month for 25 years; total payments $526,500)
* real estate taxes
* fuel costs, often dependent on international crises
* electric bills
* plumbing repairs
* multiple telephone and extension charges
* property maintenance costs, including lawn care, driveway repairs, etc.
* property damage costs arising from normal wear and tear, forces of nature (wind, rain, snow), vandalism, etc.
* house, fire and liability insurance premiums
* vulnerability to decline in value of house due to change in character of neighborhood
* vulnerability to having to sell quickly and at an inopportune time for health reasons, change in job location or marital status, etc.
* vulnerability to having to remain at an undesirable job to avoid foreclosure
* lawyer's fee for the sale
* and, perhaps most costly, the hours and hours of time, and the stress, to oversee and manage all of the above.

Compare that to the short term commitment to the rental of a significantly lower priced, landlord-maintained apartment.

More time for leisure, for learning, for avocations, for exploration, for adventure, for personal relationships, for communion with nature, for spiritual reflection.

Do you own The House or does The House own you?


From the "Overheard Recently" file
And God said "I give you dominion over all animals, to care for them and to see that my creations do not become extinct".

Your order, please.

I’ll have a shrimp cocktail, chicken soup, and the steak and lobster combo special.
How should we fight terrorism, Senator?

We should be firm but not hard, somewhat slack but not soft, not too rigid, a bit loose, solid but less sturdy than dense, and we should converse but not spout, assert without alleging, tell but not reveal, negotiate without bargaining and bargain without differing, dissenting without disagreeing, surrender with no capitulation, submitting but not succumbing, changing without deviating, altering but not varying, to some extent but not too little or too much, more or less, somewhat, sometimes, usually, but not often, at times, generally.
Tom, would you like chocolate cake on your birthday next month?

Mom, how could I possibly know what I'm gonna want next month?

Tom, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife ‘til death do you part?

I do.
You can never be certain of anything.

Professor, are you sure of that?
Every rule has an exception.

Then that rule has an exception, too.

So not every rule has an exception.

Yup, but it's the exception that proves the rule.

So, if a rule doesn't have an exception...that is, it is always true...then it can't be proven to be true.


And the only rule that can be proven to be true is the rule that is not always true.

There she is, the Statue of Liberty.

What a beauty!

Do you think people should be free not to have health insurance?

No, they need it.

Should people be free to smoke marijuana?

No, it's bad for them.

Do you support the military draft?

Of course, you've got to do your duty whether you like it or not.

Should homosexuals be free to marry?

No, it's just not right.

Do you favor requiring big business to produce it's goods here in America?

Absolutely, American workers need jobs.

There she is, the Statue of Liberty.

What a beauty! A symbol of what makes America great.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I am intrigued and a bit mystified by the seemingly large number of people who can say something like this:

"If the allegations of repeated sexual indiscretions, deceit and lying, being made against Tiger Woods turn out to be true, as now appears, I would think that he acted reprehensibly and irresponsibly, and even immorally, in his personal life -- but I can still enjoy watching him play, admire him as the great golfer that he is, and root for him to win. What he does in his personal life is his business, not mine."

Not me. Is Tiger Woods a great golfer? Of course, maybe the best ever. And I can separate his, or any person's, personal life from other aspects of his life, provided the immoral things he does do not foreseeably harms only himself and not others. If they harm only himself, they are none of my business and I can disregard them. But if the immoral things spill over and harm others, I am no longer capable of admiring him for his performance in one aspect of his life while denigrating his performance in another. I treat him as one entity, one being, and I judge the totality of him and assign him one grade. In Woods' case: F.

Tiger Woods' transgressions harmed and is harming others, and he had to foresee that. His lies caused his wife, Elin, to live in unreality, where there are no values to be had. His deceit destroyed the trust she had in him, trust pivotal to a good marriage and to her happiness. His reckless unprotected sex with call girls during the same time he had relations with his wife, placed his wife at an unacceptable risk of disease. He likely seriously bruised her confidence and self esteem. He set a poor example for his children (who will learn all about this when they get older) of the honorable and moral way to live life: fulfilling obligations, being truthful and honest, respecting and treating beneficently the lives of those you purport to love.

Morality is a code of pro life conduct and my philosophy helps prove that. One of the rewards a moral person earns is my support and admiration. I do not buy from shopkeepers I know to be harmfully immoral. I do not buy a ticket to see a movie, no matter how highly rated, starring that popular actor who verbally assaulted and abused his young daughter. I do not invite the harmfully immoral to my home. I do not vote for them to hold public office. I do not respect them. I root for the moral to win and the immoral to lose.

To do otherwise, would dangerously lessen the distinction between good and evil.


The now traditional Christmas in Washinton show, held at the National Museum Building, was attended last week by the President and First Lady and about 500 other Washington dignitaries and celebrities. A host of singers performed familiar Christmas tunes, George Lopez mc'd the colorful show and everyone seemed to be enjoying ushering in the holiday.

The problem was, it was held in the wrong venue. 150,000 American men and women were risking their lives in defense of our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan at the very moment Neil Diamond began singing Cherry, Cherry...and some may have no longer been alive when he finished it. We are at war but day by day our focus on it wanes. A roadside explosion overturning a Jeep and killing four gets a couple of minutes of our attention ...and then, poof, it is gone.

The expenditure of government funds in celebration of but one of a number of religious holidays celebrated in America may, in fact, be a violation of the separation clause in the Constitution. I don't care about that. The show was festive and inspiring.

But it should have been held not in our capital but in a concert hall or a mess hall in Iraq or Afghanistan, or on a battleship in the Persian Gulf, in front of as many of our brave warriors as possible. As Commander in Chief, the President should have flown to the combat area and addressed our forces, to lift their morale and to personally pledge to each of them, and to assure them of, America's unswerving commitment to victory.

Fifty some years ago, I was a soldier in the audience when Bob Hope and his humor, and Cardinal Spellman and his prayers, came to Korea to uplift our spirits. They got it right, and I shall forever thank them in my heart.

The President flew to Copenhagen recently to support the war against a questionable global warming enemy. He should have flown instead (as well) to the Middle East to support the war against an enemy we have identified.

Blessings to all those who risk their lives so that we may live our lives in freedom and peace.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


We suffer from a painful and debilitating emotional disease: embarrassment -- the feeling that our conduct has not measured up to our accepted standards of behavior. The disease comes with varying severity, embarrassment being the mildest, usually involving a minor impropriety, failure or infractions. With regard to more significant standards and matters, the disease may rise to the level of shame, or even mortification. There are also various hybrids of the disease, including humiliation (when the disapproval of others is an added element) and chagrin (when humiliation is mixed with anger).

Since the disease comes from the failure to act in accord with a standard, an important factor to examine is whether it is in fact the right standard to live by. Many standards that we hold were not chosen by us directly, but were ingrained in us by family, teachers and religion when we were young, imposed on us by society, and accepted by us without much thinking. All of those standards ought be examined and evaluated in terms of your personal values and virtues.

Another contributing cause to this disease is our common failure to recognize that we are not omniscient nor infallible...that concomitant with our ability to choose our behavior is our ability to choose incorrectly...that as humans we may feel lazy when we "know" we ought be productive, angry when we "know" we ought be compassionate, etc.

We are not automatized robots but the most complex, intricate and advanced form of life. We have no buttons to be pushed that will guarantee we meet or exceed our standards.

That is not to suggest that we abandon all standards of behavior and live with an "anything goes/I don't give a damn" attitude. That would be devastating to the nature of the species that we are. We are likely never to be perfect in all that we do. That fact of life must be included in our evaluation of what we have done.

Of all the things you will judge and evaluate in the world, none is more important than you, So the next time you feel the disease coming on, here is the antidote:

Examine the unmet standard and confirm whether it is the right one for you to live by. If it isn't, there is no disease. If it is, recognize the totality of what and who you are, feel pride and self-respect for all of the times you met your standard, make appropriate amends to those you may have harmed...and kiss the disease goodbye!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


by Jeanne Marie

A few years ago, I was worried about something. I don’t remember what. That’s the funny thing about worry. Time erases it.

Anyway, I was worried about something…but then I walked out into the yard. It was night. An eclipse of the moon was beginning. As I stood and watched it, I couldn’t help but think how small my concern was. I was watching a phenomenon of the Universe. Something over which I had absolutely zero control. It was going to happen whether I stood and enjoyed it or not. Even if I wished for it to not happen, or wished for it to be on another day, or fretted over why it didn’t happen when the sky was without cloud, I could not change one thing about what the Universe was doing. I could, however, change what I was doing. I could stop everything, including my worrying, and simply bask in the joy of the experience and the absolute wonder of it.

I’m fond of telling others that 99% of what we worry about, never happens. And – that other 1% -- well – you will never even imagine it, never see it coming, and usually, it will break your heart. But all the worry/fear that I or another may do will never change the fact that the Universe changes. In fact, change in life is the only thing you can really count on. My fear, your fear will do nothing to cause change. It will only bind us up in a prison of our own making.

Recently I saw the movie 2012. Oh dear! It was colossal. It was stupendous. It was earthquakes and fire and death and destruction. It was “warning” us that the world will end because the planets are going to align.

I didn’t know whether it was supposed to be a horror movie or a comedy. Truly. I didn’t know.

I do know it was intended to scare me into thinking I only had two more years of life as I know it.

So what?

Even if it is true, what can I do about it? Is there really anything that I -- or any of us --can do to stop the planets from aligning? Am I truly supposed to stop all freedom, all joy, all serenity, all peace, all bliss and do nothing but prepare for the demise of the earth?

How silly.

I intend to live normally. Appreciate sunrises and sunsets, clouds and sunshine, clear days and rainy days, budding trees and dormant trees…every day…until my spirit leaves my body. If that happens to be on 12/21/12, so be it. When I go, I will be out there looking up at the sky, watching the Universe do “her thing”! And, my last breath will be filled with wonder and excitement and awe.

Friday, December 18, 2009


A recent case brought my attention to the subject of cyber-bullying, the disseminating via text messaging, emails or other digital technologies,of pejorative or sexual remarks designed to ridicule, harass and harm the victim.

Younger and younger children, some in elementary school are doing it, and are doing it with greater and greater frequency. The effects of cyber-bullying, aside from emotional embarrassment and stress, can be social isolation, inability to attend school, and even suicide. Groups have cropped up around the country to fight this new "menace". Some states have passed laws, also introduced in a number of others and on the federal level, that make cyber-bullying a crime, and to expand the authority of schools to punish cyber-bullies. Lawsuits instituted by the families of victims abugainst bullies are increasing.

Now, cyber-bullying is repulsive, disgusting, shameful and offensive. No question about that and those who engage in it ought be condemned. But there are perspectives on it that are not frequently heard:

1. Properly understood, all crimes entail the use of physical force (or some activity tantamount to it) against another person. The reason for that is absent force, the victim's right to be free and to live life as he or she chooses, has not been curtailrd. And we have laws on the books to punish those who perform criminal acts. No new laws are needed. Unless and until the bullying rises to the level of a threat of the use of immediate physical force against the victim, there is no crime.

2. There are slander and libel laws on the books in every jurisdiction that make those who publish defamatory remarks, or who violate someon's right to privacy (say, by the unauthorized posting of nude pictures),responsible for the damages they cause. No new laws are needed.

3. The bully enjoys freedom of thought, including the right to have a bad opinion of someone. The bully also enjoys freedom of speech, the right to voice or text those opinions.

4. Schools are institutions of learning. They should be encouraged to teach students the objectionableness of cyber-bullying, why it is not in the interest of the bully to be a bully,and to teach victims ways to cope with it...rather than focusing on punishment. Further, they should teach students that it is their chosen actions that determine who they are, and their self esteem, and not the invidious rantingsa of others.

5. The victim has choices: confront the bully, cyber-respond to the nully, and perhaps the most potent of all, IGNORE THE BULLY. The bully often has low self esteem and , subconsciously, seeks to enhance it by exerting power over the victim. Ignoring the bully, makes him impotent.

Let's stop the madcap rush to lawsuits. Let's toughen our skins up a bit by learning how to deal with animosities and assaults against us, and how not to be derailed in the pursuit of our dreams and the enrichment of our lives.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


There's dignity in suffering, nobility in pain; but failure is a salted wound that burns again and again.

A failure is a man who has blundered but is not able to cash in on the experience.

The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess Success. That--with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success--is our national disease.

There is only one success--to be able to spend your life your own way.

Half the failures in life arise from pulling in one's horse as he is leaping.

If you are alive, you are a success.

Success teaches you what to do next time, failure teaches you what not to do next time. Two good teachers.

Success and happiness are the same word, spelled differently.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Success should cost more than failure...greater demand, lower supply. But failure costs more.

It's been said genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. That's the same formula for success.

One fails forward toward success.

Failure is an event, never a person.

Just once it might be instructive to pretend you're accepting an award for failure, just to see who you would thank.

Sucess has made a failure out of a lot of men.

If you are on the wrong path, failure is better than success.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The scenario is always the same. Some government official verbalizes a perceived "problem"--not everyone can afford health insurance, there is a rise in home foreclosures, not everyone can find employment. The "problem" is then repeated over and over again in the media by other members of the same political part, and it is amplified to crisis proportions. The next step is the introduction of extensive legislation to "solve the problem", legislation loaded with new government controls and restraints over that sector of our nation that has the perceived "problem".

The problem with this scenario is that there is no problem in the forst place. There is no prescribed, preordained level which our society must reach and at which it must remain, There is nothing commanded as to what maximum health insurance premiums may be, or whent home foreclosures are not tolerable, or what level of unemployment is acceptable.

America was intended to be a free society, was designed to be a free society, and millions have fought and died so that it would remain free. The essence of a free society is that each of us is free to make our own individual choices regarding every facet of this one life we each have...where we live, what and how much work we care to do, with whom we associate, how much and on what we spend our money, etc. Our only obligation: to respect the rights of all others to their equal freedom.

In a free society, que sera, sera...what will be, will be, what happens, happens. Once the government provides us with a free society in which to live, it has provided us with everything that America is about.

If I raise my gun and demand your money, the government may properly step in to protect your freedom to possess your money and give it to whom you freely wish. If you are struck by lightning and become destitute, that is not a societal problem. It is your personal problem...and the government may not properly deny me my freedom and force me to give you some of my money.

Want to help those who are destitute, ill and cannot afford medical care, otherwise hurting and in need? That would be a humanitarian thing to do. Devote time and/or money to the existing charity of your choice, or set up a new one to which people may voluntarily contribute. Many before you have done so and have contributed mightily, and properly, to help solve perceived societal problems. In America, you are free to do that. You are also free to leave America and emigrate to a country that has laws and a government-run society structure more to your liking.

If there is a problem in the scenario I refer to in the first paragraph above, it is in the implementation of legislation that fails to recognize our individual freedoms and violates the American ideal.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


When I was younger I was taught and believed the adage:

"Women and children first"...until I realized it implied "Men second", and I am second to no one.

"All's fair in love and war"...until I realized that without trust and truth there is no love.

"A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do"...until I realized a man's gotta do nuttin'.

"A picture's worth a thousand words"...until I read "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".

"Everything in moderation"...until I realized that love and freedom do not come in moderation.

"Experience is the best teacher"...until I heard Ayn Rand give a speech.

"Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration"...until I realized it is also 50% determination.

"If passion drives, let reason hold the reins"...until I realized that reason frees and fuels passion.

"Lightning never strikes twice in the same place"...until I had my second beautiful child.

"The love of money is the root of all evil"...until I realized it's the love of someone else's money.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Would you have voluntarily fought with the American colonists in the Revolutionary War, a war that lasted eight years against the British Empire, the strongest force in the world?

Would you have voluntarily given up your comfortable life in the country with the highest standard of living in the world, and left your family anf career to carry a gun and fight?

Would you have voluntarily risked death for your principles?

Would you have participated in the Boston Tea Party?

Would you have signed The Declaration of Independence and pledged your life, your fortune and your sacred honor, to fight for freedom for yourself and your posterity?

And if you had been killed, as 8,000 of you were killed in battle in that war, do you think your death would have been worthwhile?

Were you an American Patriot who answered Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes?


America is on a cataclysmic self destructive course:

* Massive expansion of the federal government and a concomitant lessening, if not outright destruction, of our infividul freedoms to choose the course of our lives.

* Massive increase of our national debt, risking the viability of our economy, mortgaging our lives and foreclosing on our future.

* Engaging in foreign wars without any sense of how to win them, costing us lives and national pride and morale, and impairing our national defense.

* Psychologically and financially undertaking without restraint the problems of the world while being incapable of resolving our own.

* Obliterating the founding American ideal of the sovereignty of each individual and replacing it with the horrors and restraints and duties of global collectivism.

To date, the internal defense against the pending collapse of America has been but vocal, rhetoric in Congress and in the media. And though it may have slowed a bit our country's demise as a nation of personal expression and hope and unlimited potential, the onslaught relentlessly continues. History tells us what must be done.

In Biblical days, the Jewish people escaped enslavement by an exodus from Egypt.

When early Americans found themselves to be under despotic and tyrranical rule, they declared it "their Right...their Duty, to throw off such Government" and revolted.

When the South felt that its views of slavery (wrong as they were) and of states' rights were threatened by the North, it seceded from the Union.

When Rosa Parks felt that her life was not valued and her rights not recgnized by the government, she refused to move to the back of the bus, and changed our history.

I, for one, am not willing to allow the government to tell me how I must live my life and that I am but a pawn in servitude to the collective, what benefits I may purchase and enjoy, how my money will be forcefully taken from me and given to others, how my children's lives will be constrained and burdened by unConstitutionally imposed obligations, how my fellow citizens must die in undeclared wars that are fought as determined by untrained, unknowledgeable, civilian officials who make politically motivated decisions, and more.

The time for talk is over.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


An oft-repeated admonition is in regard to the importance of keeping your eyes on the prize...on your desired goal or reward...the hoped for payoff of your effort. The idea is thar the prize will provide you with the incentive and impetus to continue your quest in the face of obstacles, hardships and setbacks.

And that is good advice when the prize is a concrete one: a beautiful car, a large bank account, a grand home. Those are easy to be seen.

But what of prizes that are not happiness, love, confidence, courage, self esteem. If you want to keep your eyes on those prizes, where do you look?

Some would suggest that you cast your gaze at others who have attained those prizes. That approach may occasionally work, but it often gets entwined with jealousy, contempt, antipathy, suspicion, and resentment...all of which serve to lower self esteem and make it more difficult to maintain the effort and commitment necessary to win those abstract prizes.

Some would suggest that you cast your gaze inward to see what errors you made, what wrong turns you took, that placed those prizes as yet out of your reach. That approach may occasionally work, but it often gets derailed by regret, remorse, feelings of ineptitude, even self loathing, that lessen self esteem, etc. etc.

My advice? Stop trying to see the unseeable. Happiness, confidence, courage and the like are not purchaseable at the supermarket. They are the intangible and invaluable rewards that come to you automatically from doing your best at:

* living your life your way in accordance with your standards

. being true to who you are in every choice you make

* measuring your success by the quality of your effort and not by the response of others to it.

Abstract prizes require you to focus not on them, but on what they are the effects of.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


The Monks of Mt. Arian believed the Universe began this way:

A sublime spirit appeared in space. In its hand, a cluster of pebbles. One after the other, the spirit hurled the pebbles upwards into outer space. As each pebble left the spirit's hand, it turned a different, yellow, black, turquise, lavender. It flew swiftly until it neared its apex, then slowed and arched downward, accelerating in speed as it hurtled back to the spirit.

Again and again, the shimmering pebbles were hurled up further and higher into space. Each took its place in the ever exppanding elliptical arch that the Monks perceive was the first rainbow.

It is believed that though the spirit vanished after a time, the pebbles soared steadily on their elliptical path, for aeons. And then, slowly, they began to change shape and form. The blue pebble became the heavens, the green pebble, the sea. The others became Earth and the stars, the wind, the trees, all living things. In a time, all that there is in the Universe, came to be.

The Monks of Arian believed that the story of Creation teaches them the four fundamental truths of existence:

1. Everything that is, is of the same essence.

2. Everything that is touches and is touched by everything else that is. The wind blows the sea over the fall, making entrancing music that heals the spirit of man, who lights the fire that burns the tree, that creates the ash that becomes the coal and then the diamond that reflects the glow of the stars.

3. Everything that is, remains forever in constant elliptical motion, ascending, descending in the spirit created arch. The child grows older, then begets a new child. The Sun rises and sets. Man questions, then comprehends, then questions again. Passion can die, hope turn to despair, joy to sadness, pleasure to pain, desire to compulsion, courage to fear...and return back again.

4. Contemplation and absorption of the first three truths within one's mind and soul is the path to spiritual beauty and serenity.

The story of Creation as told by the Monks of Mt. Arian may be apochrypal. Not so the truths it reveals.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009





Monday, December 7, 2009


The mystery of attraction is best left a mystery.

No one heard the first Big Bang, at least no one we know of. Everyone will hear the next one.

The path you are on has no road signs; be certain you have your bearings.

The future beckons to us all, but awaits only the curious.

Indifference is misnamed, it makes a big difference.

Beauty is not skin deep, it is soul deep.

Today's effect becomes tomorrow's cause.

Dance has been called the poetry of the foot, but not everyone is a poet.

Why are so many left wanting after they get what they want?

Truth is not stranger than fiction, it is shorter than fiction.

Your state of mind is a dictatorship and not a democracy where majority rules.

Truth is the best diplomacy, it leaves more time for golf.

Pride does not go before a fall, it is what helps you up after a fall.

When man knows he knows not everything, and never will, he knows the most important thing he needs to know.

If most people were twice as smart as they are, they still wouldn't be as smart as they think they are, nor half as smart as yhey want you to think they are.

A wise man knows that knowledge and doubt are best of friends: one seems incomplete without the otheralmost always knows where the other is to be found.

Our self esteem rests on our not knowing then what we know now.

A tree is a perfect model for man: it has its roots planted sollidly on the ground while reaching for the skies.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


With the Democrats in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, there is a serious loss of the benefits of checks and balances that the Founders sought. The Administration is virtually free to implement any legislation it wishes.

True, the Constitutionality of that legislation can be questioned by appeal to the Supreme Court, but that takes someone or some organization to implement and finance that appeal through the appellate process...and it may take years before the case reaches the highest court, and at a prohibitive cost for most Americans. In the interim, we live under a law that may impose financial and other obligations and duties upon us when, in fact, the law may subsequently be declared unConstitutional, beyond the powers of the Government, and be erased off the books.

To avoid the injustice and hardships of such a scenario, I suggest that the Supreme Court establish a Preliminary Review Division that will review all legislation passed by Congress and give it, or deny it, a preliminary determination of its Constitutionality. Pending that review, the law will not take effect.

If the PRD finds the law to be Constitutional, the law would be immediately implemented, though that finding may be appealed to the nine judges of the Supreme Court via the normal appeals process.

If the PRD finds the law to be unConstitutional, the law would not be implemented and would be automatically sent up to the nine Supreme Court judges for their determination of its Constitutionality.

To enhance the likelihood that the findings of the PRD are objectively and impartially based, its members would be comprised of nonpolitically-affiliated Constitutional law scholars chosen by unanimous vote of the Supreme Court judges.

The prospect of an immediate review of the Constitutionality of new legislation may well temper the runaway excessiveness of a
political party in control of both the executive and legislative branches of Government. And that would serve us all, regardless of the party in power...and provide us with more of the protections our Founders championed.


Is the glass half full or half empty? The traditional view is that those who answer half full are the optimists, and those who answer half empty are the pessimists. And from my own observations, that seems to be generally true. Thus, "half full" would seem to be the preferred answer.

But there is another view of that glass, and it is a temporal one. Those who abide this view, see what half fills the glass as yesterday's achievements and successes...and the half of the glass remaining to be filled as the opportunities of tomorrow. From this perspective, focusing on the empty half can generate energy and motivation and a sense of excitement and adventure, and serve as the impetus to an ever growing fulfillment of life. Focusing on the half that is full can promote deserved pride and a satisfaction of accomplishment.

Seen from this temporal perspective, the best answer to the proverbial question is "totally full"...half full of past achievements and half full of tomorrow's promises.

That view unites your gives honor to your past and propels your spirit into the wondrous and exciting future.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


A comment was made about a celebrity's admitted transgressions that "at least he wasn't being hypocritical"...meaning, he hadn;t privately committed those indiscretions while publicly speaking ou against them. As others have done in the past.

How ironic! The transgressor who speaks out against evil and immorality, with all the possible public benefits of that, is now seen in a worse light, labelled a worse offender, than the transgressor who says nothing. What a reversal!

The lack of integrity in saying one thing and doing another is a personal immorality. It does not promote self esteem or happiness. And, yes, it can make others suspect the validity of what is being said. And therein lies the error: a statement about evil or immorality, the bad, must be objectively determined on its own merits. The realities of the nature of the world are the only proper tools to apply in determining the goodness or badness, the correctness or incorrectness, of what someone says...and they do not include the question as to whether the speaker subjectively acts out his or her pronouncements, has or does not have integrity.

Thomas Jefferson spoke out brilliantly in support of freedom. He is to be forever acclaimed for that and for all of the good his statements engendered. The rightness of his inspiring words is not diminished one iota by the wrongness of his having slaves. Not one miniscule iota.

If only those without any sins may speak out, the world would be a very quiet place indeed.

Friday, December 4, 2009


The whole world, it seems, is in a tumultuous state. Escalating evil around the globe in satanic scope: wanton brutal indiscriminate killing of hordes of innocents by suicide bombers, terrorist groups and nations; the rising quantity of WMD's: nuclear, biological, chemical and the growing clamor and threat of their immediate use; train derailments; ship piracies and kidnappings; worldwide economic chaos; personal iniquities and indiscretions; distrust of strangers causing deeper separations, isolation; growing pessimism.

Heads of nations rush here and there talking of political, military and economic solutions...but so far to no avail. Zero avail. None are working. Why? A cloud of evil encircles our planet and man seems impotent to halt it.

Strangely, these thoughts of what is happening today in the 21st century skipped my mind back to Biblical times. The Bible (and I refer to it solely as a history book) relates that our distant ancestors, too, fell from time to time under clouds of evil that would destroy them. And each time, God is believed to have saved His people the same way.

He sent a Prophet to serve as a role model and to spread the word of the beauty and glory of righteousness, of living an ethical life, as the only path to personal happiness, and as the essential force to combat and conquer evil.

And that, I realize, reveals what is missing today and what is needed to reverse the course of our world. Not more and more political, military and economic solutions... though they each can have a role to play...but an ethical solution, a respected spokesperson who can inspire us toward a life of righteousness and goodwill. What amplifies our problems today is the popular but erroneous belief, taught in universities, that there is no one proper ethical code of conduct, that one person's code is as good as anyone else's...which misguided view destroys the whole idea of ethics and makes the spokespperson's job even harder.

And who is it today to be that spokesperson? I know of no one. The leaders of the world today stand on political expediency, not on ethical principles. Their speeches appeal only to those with similar views, and inspire no others. They contribute to the evil we face and will never be the solution to it.

I believe that what is neded today and will work today is what our forefathers needed and what worked for them: an uplifting of ethical, moral, standards, and an affirmation of the value, the treasure and the majesty of human life. Perhaps, hopefully, our Prophet now lives.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Two events captured global attention over the past few days.

The first was about that couple who seem to have successfully crashed that big White House party the President threw for the Prime Minister of India, and even got to shake hands with the President. An investigation is underway as to whether there was a major breach of security and how that could have happened.

The party and the story were not important. Had the couple committed a terrorist act inside the White House, it would have rattled our nation to its core and been extremely important. What is most interesting to me about this event is that the President and his staff have apparently given priority to drink, eat and be merry with a coterie of celebrities and "big shots" while thousands of our troops are risking their lives, undermanned, in a war...a war nobody in Washington seems to want to think about, or, for that matter, officially declare a war. The President has said he will announce his decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan next week. Why next week? Why not today? Yesterday? Why leave our forces in greater danger than they need to be? Should not the winning of that war be the President's first priority? Welcoming the Prime Minister could and shoould have been done quietly and privately. What was the real reason for this unimportant party and the outrageous disrespect shown toward the lives of our soldiers?

Driving in a car yesterday, my 19 year old son and I saw a license plate frame that said "Veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, 1944-5". "Wow", said my son, "I learned about the Battle of the Bulge in school. He fought against Germany and protected our freedom 65 years ago. That's great!" We saluted the car as we drove past. Are you listening, Mr. President?

At about 2:30 in the morning the other day, Tiger Woods had a one-car accident just outside his home, driving his car into a tree and sustaining some facial injuries. In the two days since, he has not made himself available to police, who are investigating the accident. His wife is reported to have given somewhat different stories about what happened, and global gossip is rife with speculation about where Woods was going, did he have a mistress, were the wounds to his face inflicted by his wife, etc.

Who cares? Where he was going, whether he has a mistress, and whether his wife caused his injuries is Mr. and Mrs. Woods' private business...and unimportant to the rest of us.

Where are we as a society when we have greater interest in being voyeurs than in being comrades in arms?

I had occasion yesterday to have breakfast with, and renew friendship with, someone I hadn't seen in 35 years. Now that was important. Very.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


America was founded on 3 ideas: Liberty, Justice, Equality. Those words capture the heart and soul of our country. We commit ourselves to those ideas when we Pledge Allegiance to our nation, "with liberty and justice for all". The "for all" is Equality.

What did Equality mean? Equality of what? A cursory study of our history reveals that it was Equality of treatment by the Government, equality under the law, that our Founders set as one of the cornerstones of our country. For perhaps the first time in the history of the world, a nation was formed on principles, and not preferences, privileges or position. Aristocracy, royalty and classes were shunned. All were to be treated the the only thing the Founders were creating, the only thing they could limit...a nation acting through its representative Government.

The Founders recognized that man is the unique species of choice and that our individual minds give each of us the power to make our own individual choices. They enshrined that reality in the Constitution referring to our "right to life"...our right to live our lives as we choose....with the only logical limitation being that we are not free to choose to restrain or to limit the co-equal right of choice of others.

Must I, individually, treat all the same? No. May I choose to befriend only people of certain races, religions, political beliefs? Of course. Invite only them to my home? Of course. Give gifts only to them? Yes. Hire only them? I should be. It is only in our treatment by Government that it can be said that we are equal...for in every other way, we are clearly not equal.

Some of us are are stronger than others, healthier, better looking, smarter, richer, more artistic, more talented in various ways, more creative. We are individuals. We are not equals. We are not peas in a pod, we are not indistinguishable duplicates of each other, we were not made by a cookie cutter. We are each one of a kind, and how much more vibrant, more exciting, more fascinating, are our lives because of it!

The Obama Administration seeks to recast the historical and proper meaning of Equality, bantering around terms like Equality of Opportunity, Equality of Quality of Life, Equality of Entitlements, and more. It is in the name of their erroneous sense of Equality, that Obama wants to take the wealth earned and owned by some and redistribute it to others, to guarantee everyone the same health care, education, housing, to welcome the good and the evil alike to be our partners in life.

A proposal I heard yesterday was to impose a war tax on the "upper class" to pay for the war in Afghanistan (isn't it about time that war was declared?). Is that Equality of treatment by the Government? Is that a classless society? Is Obama creating a privileged class of the poor, the indigent, the disadvantaged?

The problem with every one of the President's programs, no matter how humane you may think them to be, is that it requires forcibly taking money, goods or services away from some to give to others. It is a gross violation of liberty in the name of Equality. And if there is one thing that is and ought be equal about us, it is in our Liberty.

America's greatness rests, or falls, on the equality of our three founding principles, not in the imagined equality of our people.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


"We come from the planet Atari in the TriLunia Galaxy. We have studied your world with great interest and in much depth. We have read all of your profound writings and listened to your esteemed wise men. We admire your intellectual and esthetic achievements. We come because there is a word you use here on Earth that is causing great damage on our planet, as it has caused on yours. It is a word that we abandoned centuries ago as an anathema to our species.

"Many of our children have innocently accepted this word as representing an honorable, even noble, principle, when in fact it represents a concept that is a vile and menacing enemy to our existence. In the name of celestial affinity and harmony, we have come to ask you banish this word forever from your use and memory. It is the word 'must'.

"The beings on our planet are called essentia, as yours are called humans. The essentia mind is as the human mind, and unlike anything else in the Universe. It is a choosing instrument, with the unique power to select, to prefer, to decide. Our capacity to choose our actions is at the core of essentia and human genius, and it is what makes us...we and you...the most evolved and astounding beings that we are.

"Freedom of choice is incompatible with what the word 'must' represents...unchosen duties and obligations to other members of society. It is understandable to us that young essentia are captivated by the notion that others 'must' do things for them. It brings to them an endless bounty. Under the banner of what must be done for them rather than chosen to be done for them, they would have other essentia labor to gift them with shelter, clothing, toys, education, health maintenance, and more. They are too young to realize that the word 'must' is incompatible with their nature, and that one day that word, in ever growing scope, will be directed at them. They will be mandated to live their lives in ways they don't wish because others decree they do so. The elder beings on our neighboring planet, Dioxus, adopted 'must' as the cornerstone of their socio-political structure, as many of your elders have done here on Earth...and never saw its terminal dangers even as their planet imploded.

"To remove choice from the mind is deadlier than ingesting fatal poisons into the body...for if the mind is given freedom to choose, it can choose steps to remove or neutralize the poisons. Without choice, essentia and humans become as sand, to be blown about by the winds and drowned by the tides.

"We ask you to remember that choosing to surrender choice is a prelude to extinction.

"Essentia bestow upon you a lavishness of the Six Pillars of Life: purity, love, courage, beauty, serenity and simplicity."


On his television show yesterday, Bill O'Reilly had this exchange, in essence, with Sarah Palin:

O'R: What would you do if she were President about Iran,who is this close(he emphasized, by puttubg two fingers a 1/4" apart) to having nuclear weapons?

P: Impose economic sanctions in concert with other friendly nations.

O'R: Including a blockade? Russia won't go along with that.

Pailin didn't directly respond. Had she persisted in the imposition of a blockade, O'Reilly's next question, increduloisly asked, would surely have been, "And risk nuclear war?"

What would Sarah Palin have answered to that?

John F. Kennedy answered that question "Yes" when he imposed an arms blockade of Cuba and was confronted by a Russian ship heading to that country, presumably with weapoms, and bent it seemed on breaking the blockade. "Stop," said JFK, "or we will stop you". Nuclear war hung in the balance..The Russian ship turned back.

Ronald Reagan answered "Yes" to O'Reilly's unasked question when, pointing to the degradation that was the Berlin Wall, he fearlessly exhorted the Soviet Union to "Tear down that wall"...the implication being, "or we will". The wall was taken down, the Cold War ended.

Presidents Kennedy and Reagan knew what children around the world know...that bullies are afraid of only one thing: force. Bullies, whether individuals or nations, use force to gain their ends and cower when faced with the threat of greater force. Few in Washington today seem to know this.

If civilization is to endure around the globe, it will be only if America and other nations stand steadfastly and resolutely against tyrants and terrorists, with the willingness and courage to risk all for the sake of victory.

Winston Churchill also knew the answer to Bill O'Reilly's unasked question:

"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival"

Thursday, November 19, 2009


A few years ago, I became aware that many religious people perceive Eternal Life in Heaven as the prime reward for their beliefs and lifestyle. Although not religious, I set out to design a painting to illustrate the many blessings offered by a spiritual life that are enjoyed here on Earth, including Benevolence, Compassion, Courage, Optimism, Grace, Honor, Serenity, Renewal and Exaltation. Blessings are illustrated with contemporary figures in the beautiful painting by Delton Gerdes titled Blessings of a Spiritual Life, and each blessing is referenced to an inspiring quotation from the Bible, as follows:

ETERNAL LIFE: "In Christ, all shall be made alive" 1 Corinthians 15

BENEVOLENCE: "God saw all that He had made and behold it was very good" Genesis 1

COMPASSION: "Forgive and you will be forgiven, for the measure you give will be the measure you get back" Luke 6

COURAGE: "Put on the whole Armour of God" Ephesians 6

OPTIMISM: "Abound in hope for that we see not" Romans 8, 15

GRACE: "The path of the just is as a shining light" Proverbs 4

HONOR: He that endureth temptation shall receive the crown of life" James 1

SERENITY: "Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven" Matthew 6

RENEWAL: "And Jesus touched them and their eyes were opened" Matthew 9

EXALTATION: "Praise the name of God with a song, magnify Him with thanksgiving" Psalms 69

During my work on the painting, I came to realize a simple truth: the blessings portrayed in the painting are not restricted to those who are believers, but can be experienced in full and in their own way by all those who live a loving, moral, spiritual life.

Color poster copies measuring 17-1/2" x 25", suitable for framing, are available at $% each (for shipments in the U.S.; add actual shipping cost outside the U.S.).


"Divine" is defined in the dictionary as:

"sacred, godlike, characteristic of a deity, heavenly, celestial, extremely good, unusually lovely, of superhuman or surpassing excellence, the qualities regarded as godly"

I came across a young boy on a farm who was playing with a gift he had received from his parents. It was an inordinately sophisticated, futuristic, robot-like technological apparatus, no batteries, that could do amazing things. The pure joy the boy had in playing with it and discovering its powers was manifest on his smiling face.

The mechanism had the capacity to:

be excited
be thankful

The boy's parents told me that once their son realized the unique capabilities of their gift, he would play with it from morning to night...alone, sometimes with friends. He seemed always to find new things it could do, new things he could do with it. No other toy he had ever had could generate the pleasure and excitement and awe that this gift did. Every day, he marvelled at it ever more. He never wanted to be without it. It had become and would surely remain his forever friend and companion.

It was his divine mind.


From the beginning, there have been two fundamental, and divergent, ways of seeing man:

1. One way is to see each man as an independent individual who is sovereign over his his life, with no unchosen obligations to anyone. A person with such a view favors freedom and equality, believes it is moral to act in his own rational self-interest, and would tend to politically support capitalism.

2. One way is to see man as a link in a social chain, a member of a group, with sovereignty resting with the group. A person with such a view favors altruism, the moral code that denounces acting in one's own self-interest rather than in the perceived common good and tends to favor some form of political socialism (fascism, communism) with government ultimately in control of man's life.

The first view was the prevailing view of the Founding Fathers, hence their emphasis on the unalienable rights of individuals, and the limitation of the powers of Government to those expressly granted to it by the people.

They extended this view of man's independence and sovereignty to man's political agency, the United Colonies. Hear the deep meaning of their words:

In the name and by the authority of the good people of these Colonies, we declare that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states...and alll political connections to Great Britain (their enemy) be dissolved.

President Obama manifests the other view of man and of his Government. He befriends, and supports agreements and alliances with, terrorists and known enemies of America. He favors lessening our defense capabilities, placing us in greater danger of those who would welcome our destruction. He sees America as but an indistinguishable link in a chain of united nations, no better, no worse, than any of the others, and with obligations to all. He believes America must redistribute its wealth and resources around the world. He has moved the Government toward socialism, taking over sectors of industry and financial institutions, seeking to influence what we eat, how much we drive, how we heat our homes, what health insurance we must have, etc. He is repeatedly apologetic for our country and its freest, most productive, most charitable, people on the planeT.

Maybe not for long.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Commentators on radio and television who label themselves Conservatives generally support their political arguments with undefined talk of "limited government" and their "Biblical roots"...both being open to many interpretations. Their rantings opposing the Obama Administration give me a sense of what they are against, but not precisely what they are for...and more importantly, what exactly are their guiding principles and what proof, if any, do they offer that their positions on the issues are correct.

If Conservative Republicans are to become a serious alternative to both liberal Democrats and liberal Republicans, and for them to obtain the support of thoughtful voters, they will need to answer the following questions with specificity:

1. Which particular federal programs should be eliminated in their entirety? Why?

2. Which particular federal programs should be reduced in size? To what size? And why?

3. What new federal programs should be implemented? Why? At what cost? How will it be paid for?

4. Should the federal deficit be eliminated, and if so, how? Should all new federal programs that would generate a deficit be rejected?

5. Should an abortion be legal if the pregnancy was the result of incest? Rape? If it endangers the life of the mother? If the mother-to-be is under age? What age?

6. Should homosexual unions be legally recognized as fully as are heterosexual marriages, and would the parties to such unions enjoy the same rights as marriage partners? If not, in what ways? And why?

7. What specifically should be the principles guiding our country's relationships with other countries? To what extent, if any, should we have diplomatic relationships with countries whose priniples and actions are antagonistic to American ideals of freedom and equality?

8. What should our missions be in Iraq, Afghanistan and of total victory over the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terrorists, or one of containment?

9. Once those missions are set, should their military implementation be determined by the President or by the military?

10. Should nuclear weapons be used against our enemies? If so, under what conditions?

11. Should our income tax system have each adult pay the same dollar amount of tax on the theory they each receive the same government services and protection?

12. Should a military draft be declared unconstitutional, as violating a pperson's freedom and right to life?

13. Should the use of hard drugs by an adult be decriminalized on the theory that the only restraint there ought be in a free country is the initiation of force against others?

14. Should adult prostitution be legalized since it does not entail the use of force against others?

15. Should the Bible or other religious writings continue to be used as the ultimate authority of what is moral or immoral> Or should that be determined by know, rather than merely believe on faith: the reality of man's nature and the nature of the world he lives in? Do you recognize that your belief in God is no stronger than the terrorists' belief in their God?

16. Is it the Conservative view of man that he is a link in a social chain, a member of a group obliged to act in the interest of the group? Or is each man an independent sovereign being?

Answers to the above questions, and others, will determine whether Conservatism will become a central political force in our country, or remain on the vociferous fringe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The Obama Administration's decision to try the Gitmo detainees in American civilian criminal courts raises anew the spectre of the exclusionary rule...only this time its foreboding shadow threatens to impale civilization's ability to defend itself.

The exclusionary rule blocks the introduction into a trial of any evidence that was obtained by authorities in violation of Constititionally-protected rights...including the right to counsel, the right against unlawful searches and seizures, the right against cruel and inhuman treatment, the right to a speedy trial. the right to be Mirandized and advised of your rights. All of which were apparently violated with regard to the detainees, and that fact will no doubt be raised by the detainees' counsel in motions to exclude confessions and damaging evidence and to have the confessed ringleader of the 9-11 attack, and his cohorts, be set free in the name of...justice!

And so a court may feel reluctantly compelled to the endangerment of our country, our people, our way of life, our future.

The principal argument in favor of the exclusionary rule in civilian criminal matters is that it, hopefully, will dissuade the authorities from violating our Constitutional rights. The wisdom of that reasoning is questionable. If the authorities have evidence, no matter how obtained, that will help them obtain a conviction and remove a danger from our streets, why should those facts of reality be ignored? Could it possibly be in our interest to do so? Policemen and others who obtain evidence via unlawful searches or seizures, or otherwise, ought be severely punished, even discharged...but facts are facts and ignoring reality is a fool's path.

Here are some additional facts:

1. The Gitmo detainees are not American citizens.

2. Our Constitutional rights do not apply to them.

3. They are not criminals, but warriors engaged in wardare.

4. Civilized nations established the Geneva Convention to regulate waefare. Neither the Gitmo detainees nor their leaders signed to be bound by the Convention...nor are they entitled to its protections.

5. The right venue for warmongers is the military court and the right time is after the war has as not to to remove personnel from their war duties, so as not to have to reveal our secret operations and sources, so as not to divert our attention from the war at hand.

The argument that our not giving the detainees our Constitutional rights "lowers us to their level", is untrue and absurd. They INITIATED warfare against us, we are DEFENDING against that warfare, for our survival...and the difference between the two is the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, life and death.

The message we ought send the world is this: Attack us, terrorize us, seek to destroy us, and we will fight you not on your level but at levels you cannot imagine...not with one hand tied behind our backs, not with protocols or restraints, but by unleashing the full unrestrained might at our command. You do not set the terms of our battle, our survival does!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Two seemingly totally unrelated matters over the past couple of days came up parallel on my intellectual radar...President Obama's visit to China, and the movie "Law Abiding Citizen".

First, the movie. It is the story of an educated family man , wonderfully played by Gerard Butler, who in the first scene sees his wife and young daughter raped and murdered by two armed intruders into his home. The killers are identified by Butler and captured. The prosecutor, Jamie Foxx, enters into a plea agreement with the one who actually committed the murders, ostensibly for the purpose of maintaining a high conviction rate, under which the killer received a nominal 3-year sentence in exchange for testifying against his accomplice...who is found guilty, put on death row, and executed.

Butler is horrified at the injustice of the plea bargain and the failure of the criminal justice system, and implements his own personal scheme of justice by systematically killing every one who had anything to do with the plea bargain. Foxx is last on his list. How Butler manages to continue his rampage though he is being held in solitary confinement in prison, is an intriguing part of the movie, but not the focus of this post...which are the rampant injustices and dangers of our prevailing plea bargaining system under which criminals are prematurely set free and their victims unremembered and dishonored.

My views on plea bargaining are set forth in an earlier post about the Michael Vick case, "Justice Vick-timized".

President Obama, this past weekend, sought fit to enter into his own plea bargaining agreement with Red China. Unspoken to be sure, but a plea agreement nonetheless. His deal was as follows: in exchange for the Red Chinese strengthening commercial exchanges and continuing to lend us money, he would ignore China's oppression of its people, its restraints on freedom of speech, assembly, religion, reproduction and emigration, its jailing of anti-Government protesters, he would abstains from visiting the Dalai Lama because Red China objected to his making the trip. And to seal the deal, the President wore a Chinese style shirt to help him project a spirit of camaraderie and friendship and the "we are all the same and I am one of you" attitude he carries to the dungeons of the world and their ruthless rulers.

Justice is the cornerstone of civilization. Failure to treat others for precisely who and what they are, in the manner they deserve by their chosen actions, not only fails to punish evil, but narrows the distinction between good and evil...and tears apart the very fabric of civilization. In the movie, Butler threatens to tear down everything that supports the unjust criminal justice system. "It's gonna be Biblical", he warns. The President ought see the movie...and soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Any reader of whodunits will tell you that it is easier to find the culprit if you can find a motive. Perhaps because that is true, many Americans have jumped to the conclusion that virtually regardless of the crime they perceive being perpetrated, it is the businessmen who are guilty because "they all have a motive...the profit motive".

What are business profits? They are the excess of income over expenses. They represent tangibly the excess of the market value of what is produced, or the service provided, over the cost of producing or providing it...a cost, I might add, invested by the businessman at the risk of losing it it all.

In other words, what the businessman is guilty of is adding values to our lives. Who would think such a person evil, immoral? Only someone who thinks values are inately evil. Who would think that in light of the obvious evidence that values make our lives safer, healthier, richer, more enjoyable. Your home was likely built by a company with a profit motive, as was the car you drive, the food you eat, the medicines you take, the phone you use, the clothes you wear.

Who would think such values are not of value? Only someone who has a negative view of life, who does not, in the deep recesses of his soul, think man ought to be safe, well fed, entertained, happy...a person who has an inverted view of values and who has reversed good and evil.

Perhaps, some might say, it is moral to produce values but not moral to desire or to selfishly keep the immoral profits that result from such production. If you hold that view, you believe in human sacrifices...desiring, demanding with the force of government authority, that the businessman spend his effort, his effort, his time, his ideas, not for his own benefit but for the benefit of others. To label such a sacrificial code of behavior as moral is an inversion, and perversion, of the worst order.

In fact, quite the contrary is true. It is the profit motive that is inherently moral...for it represents the desire to enrich life on Earth, it recognizes the justice of the producer enjoying the fruits of his production, and it respects the law of cause and effect: the effects you cause, good or bad, are yours to enjoy or to bear the consequences of.

Beware of those who demean and denigrate and denounce the profit motive and those who have it. They have a motive of their own: to make your life value-less.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


If you think we need a Constitutional Amendment to permit prayers in school, you haven't stood in school hallways lately during final exams.

Have you noticed that those who practice diplomacy have never received a diploma to practice it?

Of all living things, only man is aware...occasionally.

Aristotle discovered that A is A, things are what they are...and the world has been trying to disprove it ever since.

Most political speeches are good examples of free speech...and you know what you get for free.

Anti-trust laws are aptly named...those who support them do not trust freedom.

The world is like an extravagant buffet party...with no waiters.

Isn't it ironic that there could be no government handouts if the government kept its hands out of our pockets.

To believe things on faith is to believe in mind over matter.

What you do to others may be a crime...what you do to yourself never is.

Teach a child how to think and you've opened his world...teach a child what to think and you've closed it.

If your education stops when you finish school, you didn't learn much.

Man's will is free for him to use...but can cost him his life if he doesn't.

Your senses tell you what is...your emotions tell you how you feel about what is ... your mind coordinates the two and tells you what you can do about what is.

The reason many people believe in a sixth sense is because they can't make sense out of what they learn from the first five.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I was wondering the other day why, as I get older, I more enjoy the game of baseball. It is a slow game, basketball and hockey players would say...the pitcher straightening out the dirt on the pitching mound, staring in for the catcher's signals, the batter finding just the right stance at the plate, and then stepping out to slow down the pitcher even further. And I realized I like slow. Well, not very slow, but a bit slower than the turned up, speeded up, frenetic pace that inflicts so much of what we do these days.

I enjoy the walk a bit more when it's a bit slower...I can sense more of the beauty of the earth and the sky and all that is in it. I enjoy whatever I am working on when I am not hurried and have time to think deeper about the things that interest me. I enjoy a book or a movie that unfolds a bit slowly, giving me the pleasure of savoring the unfolding of the characters in the story, giving me a chance to identify the plot and its implications, to identify with the hero's plight and how I would respond to it.

I love the subtle touches which Arthur Conan Doyle gives you about Sherlock Holmes' place at 221B Baker Street...the crusty old books, the smell of that rare Swedish tobacco, the feel of the easy chair...which adds so much to the flavor and the intrigue and the mystery of that ribboned envelope being slid under the door with three orange seeds in it and the one word note "Finally".

I like conversations with each point of conversation explored slowly and thoughtfully, with quiet spaces for cerebral time. I like more detailed and probing interviews on radio and television, more time to examine the depths of an issue (I shut my mind off when the interviewer says, "I only have 45 seconds, how would you deal with the unfolding nuclear crisis in the Mideast?") Takes me longer than that to brush my teeth, and there's not much to think about when I brush my teeth.

Now, I don't like everything when the bank teller who counts your money over fourteen times, or when the express lane on the thruway is used for sightseeing, or when the waiter in that fine restaurant seems to have developed amnesia. I don't like dawdling, lackadaisical, lethargic, supine, lymphatic, sluggish, dopey, drugges, leaden, lumpish, stultefied, inert, stagnant, languid, listless, vegetative, dormant, numb, moribund, dead.

But I do like slower than hurried, rushed, pushed, pressed, crowded, hustled, bustled, scuttled, scampered, stampeded.

Know what I mean?

Sunday, November 8, 2009


The 6th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees to every accused the right to a speedy and public criminal trial. Such a trial, conducted under objective rules of law and evidence, is man's practical bulwark against government oppression. Without the security offered by a fair public trial, an accused would stand helpless at the mercy of an accusing government. It is imperative, therefore, that nothing be done to upset the intricate system of justice developed over centuries.

Television may be doing just that. More and more television stations are seeking to poke their cameras into juicy criminal, and civil, doubt to boost ratings. And they do so under the banner of making the trial even more public.

But the right to a public trial is the right of an accused for the protection of the accused, and he or she ought be free to waive the public nature of the trial if he or she so chooses. Television lights blinking on and off, cameras catching and magnifying every nervous twitch, every expression, every private detail of an accused or witness' life, and distributing it all not just to the country but to the world, can be nerve-wracking and intimidating to all involved, may lessen the willingness and availability of some critical witnesses to testify, and may in fact undercut the very purpose of the Constitutional guaranty of a public trial.

There is much too much media coverage of criminal trials. Radio, television and newspaper outlets flash names and pictures of the accused before they have been found guilty. Families and friends of the accused are pressured for interviews. Media commentators often pronounce judgment and sentence without having heard one word of courtroom testimony, perhaps thereby denying the accused a fair trial by improperly influencing the views of prospective jurors.

Let's protect the right of the "innocent until proven guilty" to a fair trial by keeping television cameras out of the courtroom...unless the accused agrees. "Lights, camera, action" are three very intimidating and daunting words.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


"He acts like an animal."

You've heard it before, you may have thought or said it yourself. It is said derogatorily, often when someone is acting brusquely, arrogantly, crazily. The implication is that the someone being equated with animals is not properly using his human capacity to think. Animals cannot conceptualize.

But animals do many things we can admire and which would be in our interest to learn. Animals function solely on the sensory and perceptual levels of consciousness. And because of this, they rely to a greater extent than we do on their senses. Humans frequently question the validity of their senses, thereby undercutting the validity of human knowledge. Which is why we will sometimes hear someone (often menmbers of the academia) ask, "Since nothing can be known for certain, how do I know you are really here?" as they gaze into someone's eyes. Animals have no such problem. They "know" you are there because they see you and smell you. They are sure of it and act accordingly.

Animals have no choice but to act in their least to the extent their incredible instincts program them to act. We humans, on the other hand, have the blessing of free will and choice...a two-edged sword that can result in our acting contrary to what is in our best interest. We are even capable of accepting the notion that it is immoral and improper to act in our own self- interest, and that it is ideal to sacrifice ourselves to others. (See any of the collectivist philosophies prevalent in our society today.) An animal is not capable of such anti-life thoughts or actions.

Animals are judgmental, as survival requires. Man has been warned to "judge not lest ye be judged" and often finds his trust betrayed, his love misplaced. Animals are generally persevering in their struggle to survive, they are generally benevolent to those who care for them. You know about humans.

Animals sleep better than we do, they get sick less often, they have fewer nervous breakdowns, their marriages are more enduring. They almost never attack their own species. We have much to learn from them.

And how do we treat those animals we profess to love? We put the birds in cages so that they cannot spread their wings and fly...we put man's best friend on a leash so that he cannot romp and play...we neuter them so that they cannot reproduce...we behead them for ornamentation...and we eat them.

The next time someone says "you're an animal",. smile and take it as quite complimentary.

Friday, November 6, 2009


President Obama's philosophy is based on a fundamental redefinition of the America's guarantee of equality to all.
Unique in its historical meaning, equality meant equality under the law...all were to be treated the same and no one was to be favored with special privileges or rights or benefits by reason of family heritage, wealth, or any other consideration. In effect, no royalty of any character.

The President seeks to recast equality as equality of entitlements, equality of character. Hence, the President overtly seeks to redistribute the wealth of this country by taking it from the wealthy and giving it to the poor, thus obliterating the idea of equality under the law. He argues that all are entitled to health care, to higher education and to whatever else crosses his mind today, and ignores the undeniable reality that those things do not grow on trees, and ignores the question: At who's expense and at whose forced labor? The President believes in a universal equality of character among all people's of the world notwithstanding their virtues or vices, and hence his constant apologies for America's actions and his failure to acknowledge America's role in saving civilization from annihilation, his willingness to shake hands and bow down and smile at and negotiate with known terrorists and ruthless dictators, to release Guantanamo assasins, to shut down some of our missile defenses, and to delay the sending of recommended support troops to aid our forces in Afghanistan, presumably under the belief that "we're no better, they're no worse".

That is President's idea of the Constitutional right to equality guaranteed to all of us. It is the underlying premise to his desire and drive to take over American industry, for he knows that that is the only way for him to implement his definition of equality.

What is next? Will the FBI to meet with heads of the underworld to negotiate certain limitations on FBI surveillance and weaponry? Will homeowners be required to allow indigents to set up tents on their lawns so that they, too, can enjoy living on their own piece of land? Will the Pledge of Allegiance be replaced by The Plea of Apology? Will only those ignorant of the glory of America's ideals hold high public office? (Actually, we already have that.)

The Founding Fathers' definition of equality is rooted in freedom. President Obama's definition of equality is dependent on slavery and ignorance. In the end, reality will determine which definition of equality better serves man's interests.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


My mind
One of a kind
I cannot find

Do as we say, my parents did remind
Do as we all wish, it has been signed
Do as God commands
And divines

Our lives are intertwined, they opined
They must be wined and dined
And I resigned
Or I left behind

So I was benign
To those who would my arms bind
I surrendered what I mined
Smiling under the grind

My vision declined
My spirit confined
My being misaligned
With Hell's despair entwined

My mind
One of a kind
I cannot find



We are a civilization addicted to noise, and a civilization that derogatorily designates the lover of quiet as an antisocial recluse, a thoughtless fool, a studious nerd, an iconoclast, a rebel, a religious ascetic, an eccentric, standofish, recluse. I proudly wear all those labels.

The past 50 years has significantly swelled global noise. Television sets blast away even with no one watching ("keep the set on, robbers will think there's someone home", "I feel lonely without the tv on"). Advertisers grab your attention with high-pitched blaring announcements of pending sales and giveaways rather than with facts about their product. Cell phones have people talking while walking, while driving, while sitting in hospital waiting rooms. Rock and roll, hip hop and other modern music genres are premised on screaming vocals and electronically amplified sounds. Motion pictures have turned to explosive mindblowing ear-shattering acoustics to lure your attention and your dollar. The two minutes of silent thought or prayer to honor the fallen, in my youth, has been shortened to one fleeting moment..."let the games and the noise begin."

I know that noise can philosophically be associated with the physical in our world...and quiet associated with the thoughtful and spiritual. It is difficult to be in touch with your inner self amidst clamor, racket, uproar, pandemonium. Quiescence is the quintessential need of the human mind, and the human soul.

Throughout the centuries, the pendulum has swung from one sphere of our lives to the other. One or the other has dominated, when ideally both are a vital part of, and contributor to, the beauty of our lives. Today, the pervasive attention by so many on the physical in our lives, coupled with the ascendant use of mind-numbing drugs, makes me wonder: When and how will the pendulum start to swing again?

Friday, October 30, 2009


What seems like 100 years ago, Vaughn Monroe, Frankie Laine and a few others sang a catchy and popular song, Ghost Riders in the Sky. But it wasn't the tune that has haunted me all these years, but the meaning lurking in its lyrics:

An old cowpoke went riding out one dark and windy day
Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way
When all at once a mighty herd of red eyed cows he saw
A-plowing through the ragged sky and up the cloudy draw

Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel
Their horns were black and shiny and their hot breath he could feel
A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the sky
For he saw the Riders coming hard and he heard their mournful cry

Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat
They're riding hard to catch that herd, but they ain't caught 'em yet
'Cause they've got to ride forever on that range up in the sky
On horses snorting fire, as they ride on hear their cry

As the riders loped on by him he heard one call his name
If you want to save your soul from Hell a-riding on our range
Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the Devil's herd, across these endless skies

Civilization has developed and shaped most of us into a herd of Riders forever chasing a herd of cows...whatever they may be: fame, fortune, power. The chase is a tedious and tiring one (their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat)...and for most, an unsuccessful one (but they ain't caught 'em yet). Better change your ways, the song warns or you, too, will become an eternal Ghost Rider (trying to catch the Devil's herd across these endless skies).

What are we chasing? The greatest value is life itself, and that each of us already has. The intoxications of life...the bounties of life...sights, sounds, aromas, textures, music, beauty, love, serenity, spirituality...are always at hand. They abide within us, they abound around us. If we don't take the moment to stop and rest atop the ridge, to gaze without and within, to contemplate and to feel to the depths of our soul, then we are destined to a life of mournful cries.

It is a haunting song.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


If you do not see the beauty of a blank scroll, you have nothing to inscribe on it.

Temptation addresses your soul, embrace it.

We are each more than we seem to be, less than we can be, and always what we choose to be.

Knowing what is irrelevant is most relevant.

If a rainbow could speak, why would it?

A man is never alone, his soul walks astride him, whither he goes.

A wise man knows he cannot love and lose.

The serene soul sees only serene skies.

The majesty of the eagle emerges when it soars above and beyond where it can walk, and so, too, man.

Where you arrive is a matter not of an unchosen destiny but of a chosen destination.

The wise man savors the known and relishes the unknown.

It has been said that life is a dream; if so, dream on.

Virtue and beauty are as critical to our being as is the beating heart.

The scholar is a warrior, too, fighting for what is right with a sword of curiosity.

Remember that we are just around the bend from what is just around the bend.

Welcome the stranger for we are all on the same journey, though we take different paths.

The greatest miracle of all is to be in the Universe.