Thursday, May 16, 2013

Our soul is sick

   America, your soul is sick... very very sick.

   This blog is directed at those "low-level IRS employees" who put people who belong to the Tea Party through a virtual hell.  The question for you is, "What were you thinking?".   Doesn't anyone use the Golden Rule anymore and....

      Do unto others as YOU would have THEM do unto YOU?

I can just imagine the snickers and belly-laughs that must have had the workers in the IRS rolling on the floor as they made request upon request from these people.  In one case, the group had a book-club and the IRS requested them to list ALL the books they had reviewed and .... wait for this.... write a book report covering all of them.

   Really?

   That was a serious request made by the IRS?

    We have crossed a line somewhere in our country.  Politics now runs everything we do and say today and we see each other as democrat or republican and not as "American".  You are either friend or foe to this administration and that dissection has made its way down to us ... we the people.   I feel very sad not only for the Tea Party people who endured this oppression but also for those who inflicted it upon them for they too are casualties of this silent (and sometimes not too silent) war that has captivated our country.   So fixated on political ideology, they have lost sight of the fact that we are ALL Americans.   When we stop seeing others as humans who deserve honor and respect we become no better than the Nazi concentration camp guards who viewed the Jews as dogs that had over-populated and needed extermination. You may even call it a "Political Apartheid" where instead of it being black-vs-white it's red-vs-blue and each side keeps score on the other and anything "we" do (whoever "we" is) to the other is fine because it's payback for some offense done years ago.   I witness this all the time on the talk shows where for every problem Obama does, some past sin by Bush  (or Nixon) is drummed up and spit back at the person making the point. 

Nelson Mandela
    Maybe the cure for our sickness is to take a lesson from the former leader of South Africa Nelson Mandela who needed to heal the division and hatred that had so long been in his country from Apartheid.   His answer was simple.  He oversaw the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" to investigate crimes by BOTH sides, the government and the ANC (African National Congress).  He brought together both sides: the offender and the offended. Stories of rape, murder, arson, torture and bombings were brought out and amnesty was granted to all who confessed their crimes and owned up to their involvement. In some cases, even forgiveness was offered in response by the offended party.  His efforts helped to unite all of South Africa, black and white, as one people again.

    Imagine if we brought the Tea Party leaders into the same room as the "low-level-IRS agents" and what that would do.   Both sides would see a "face" and a "person" instead of a mindless "5013c form" or "response letter".   Maybe reconciliation will occur.  Maybe we would start to see each other again as "WE THE PEOPLE" and put aside our political views that so infect our lives.

   Maybe then we again live by the Golden Rule to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

   Maybe then our soul would begin to heal.






 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This administration does not make "mistakes"

    While it seems like the Obama administration has made some major mistakes as of late, I don't believe this administration makes these kind of "mistakes".   In my opinion (and feel free to disagree here) these scandals are meant as a shots-over-the-bow to the American people.

AP wire-tapping

    This acknowledgement is actually a two-fer for the President because with one scandal he can influence two groups:  whistle-blowers and the press.  This scandal, in effect, says to the press, "You can and will be put on my enemies-list if you investigate me"  and at the same time it says to whistle-blowers "If you go to the press with any information, I will be listening and you will be found out and prosecuted".  Who is going to go to the press now with any scandal information if they cannot be completely assured of anonymity?   Who can they trust?   After all, the AP has been extremely friendly to the WH  (It's not like they are Fox News!) and the old adage holds true here: "If this is what they do to their friends, what will they do to their enemies?".   (I must say that even as I write this column, I fear reprisal as well even though I am really a small fish in these waters).   Remember, the President used the Patriot Act to gain the wire-taps (it was an emergency after all and did not need a warrant from a judge) and so no one in the news media is safe as there will always be another "threat" that will give them the power to side-step the Constitution.  America, you were warned about this.

IRS scandal

    The release of this "apology" to the Tea Party is not really meant as an apology (what, did they suddenly develop a guilty conscience?) but instead it is a WARNING to all other groups that choose to be against this President.  The IRS apology will have a chilling effect on all other future groups who organize against him.  You want start a Tea Party or any other group?  Guess what we will put you on our watch-list and we will make your life a veritable HELL on earth.  (Even the Billy Graham organization has been audited under this president).  The questions by the IRS went way beyond just "what does your group believe", but also gathered information on:
  • Political connections (members of congress they work with)
  • Family connections (they asked for resumes of all family members)
  • Social Media connections (they requested print outs of all Facebook messages on their boards)
Put these two scandals (investigation and punishment) together and you have a very dangerous combination.

We are being transformed into Venezuela before our very eyes America!





Monday, May 13, 2013

Cracks in the dike

There appear to be large cracks appearing in the Obama "dike" as of lately.

Benghazi 

     ABC reports that the talking-points were dramatically edited 12 times and took out all mention of Al-Qaeda  or terrorism and put in information about the video.   Testimony from the hearings show that help was requested but was denied by the State-Department and that calling it a organic unorganized attack perpetrated by a video did have ramifications because it made it difficult to get FBI help to investigate the crime scene for over 3 weeks.   The hearings also showed that the WH requested lawyers present when Congressional members came to investigate which made it difficult to answer questions freely and that people who cooperated were demoted.  Now rather than admit their mistake they are doubling down saying that the story is only being used by Republicans to hurt Hillary Clinton.

IRS targeting Tea Party and conservative groups

     IRS admitted to using key words in forms to determine whether the group would have additional checks put on them before being granted the tax-exempt status.  These groups were hounded for private information such as donor lists, political connections, family members names and even social-media data such as Facebook contacts.  They tried to say its only low-level IRS agents involved but given that this treatment was widespread from California to Georgia, the level of corruption is undoubtedly at a much higher level.  Even those on the left at MSNBC have come after the President as saying this is unprecedented and that the IRS must be kept politically neutral in areas like this.

Associated Press (AP) phone records obtained secretly by Department of Justice

     This has Nixon-Watergate written all over it.  The AP is upset that their phone records were obtained by the DOJ from April to May of 2012 of 20 separate lines.  Who they were targeting is unclear at this time.  The AP's president, Gary Pruitt said,
"There can be no possible justification for such an over broad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the news gathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP's news gathering operations and disclose information about AP's activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know,"
This might just be Obama's undoing as the press has largely given him a pass on everything up until now.  If they feel that they too are targets of the WH, they might not cover him so nicely in the future.


Question:
If the President has NOTHING to do with any of this and was not aware.  Then what the HELL is he doing all day?   
Answer:    Playing golf!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Sometimes I just want to be a farmer

   I grew up in Nashville Illinois which is a small town of 3000 souls. Most of the people in the town have some connection to farming either by farming or someone in their family farms.   My mother's side was almost entirely farmers.   My grandpa, Henry Vogel, was a 1st generation American (his father came over in the late 1800's) and he did quite well.  Over his years he purchased over 600 acres of land and even became the local town's (Hoffman IL) bank president.   My Uncle Carl took over the main farm and took up residence in the very same home that great-grandpa Vogel had built.   He raised his 5 kids there on the farm and currently it is being run by my cousin Donny who will probably be the last of the Vogel's to own the property.

   I am amazed at what these men have been able to do over the years.  Every building on the property has been built out of the oak trees that line the farm.  Donny has continued this practice as well by building not only a new repair shed but even his own 2 story house on top of the hill.  Of course he has had it a little easier with modern cutting machinery compared to the axes and saws used to build the original house and barn.  A lot of blood and sweat has watered the land of this farm over the years. 

   One of my most fondest memories is that 4-5 days I spent there as a 5 year-old when my parents needed to go to Cleveland to find a home (my Dad was a school teacher and was taking a new job there).   I sat on every tractor and combine on the farm and pretended to drive them.  I swung from make-shift tire-swings hanging from a large pecan tree in the yard and pretended to be Superman rescuing kittens that ran everywhere. I also remember watching my uncle driving a bulldozer to take down some fences that used to hold cows (they were in the dairy business for a period of time until it was not economical anymore).

   Later as I grew up I worked on some of these farms for money. One of the best ways to make money was to help bale hay.  I had contacts with a few farms in the area and I soon developed a reputation for being dependable (they called...I came).  I enjoyed this work immensely even though I had allergies and asthma.   I wore my dust mask and carried my inhaler where ever I went and made do.   I learned to use bailing hooks instead of my hands.  I learned how to stack bales in a staggered fashion like bricks.  I learned how to walk on a moving hay wagon while bales popped out of the baler for me to stack 5 or 6 high.  These farmers became my extended family as well (and in one case they were my extended family as their mother and my mother were 2nd cousins) and I ate lunch and dinner with them as if I was one of their own.

    Today I work in the high-tech industry as a computer engineer.   I hear people whine and complain about the most trivial problems thinking to myself  "you don't know what hard work is!"   I have more respect for farmers than any other profession on earth and at times wish I could have followed my grandpa's steps as well.   I often become depressed as I see the fruit of my labor used to allow people to:
  • spy on people (where's our right to privacy?)
  • steal money from their bank accounts 
  • sell pornography and drugs
  • send harassing messages
  • destroy peoples reputations
  • communicate with other criminals/terrorists in secrecy
  • waste hundred of hours looking at stupid videos 
  • waste thousands of hours playing violent or stupid games
  • producing large quantities of audio files that barely can be called "music"
  • spend more time tapping on their phones in barely legible sentences rather than talk to their parent or spouse who is sitting right in front of them
Whereas my grandpa's, uncle's and cousin's labors provided nourishment to millions of people around the world while being lambasted by the media as being stupid or boring rather than thanked.

Thank you farmers for all of your hard work!
  





Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Psalm 146:3

Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.

     Recently I heard that a prominent new Senator from Arizona by the name of Jeff Flake, has decided to flip-flop (yes Flake is his REAL name) on the area of gun-control and immigration reform. His decision is reportedly based on possibly getting the the internet-sales-tax bill re-written or dropped altogether (something tells me he will get neither... FOOL!).  Until now, he had been a staunch advocate for the 2nd amendment and this has been disappointing for those who elected him to protect their rights and their citizenship.  

     This verse was the first to come to mind after hearing about this.  In this verse God reminds us that HE ALONE is the only one in whom to put our trust and our faith.  All others are men (and women) who will fail us.  Men who will put their own skin ahead of ours.  Men who will sell US down the river only so THEY can keep their titles and their cushy lifestyles.  We need to be reminded that our country, our politicians and yes.. even our constitution will fail us eventually.  Only God can be relied upon to deliver us from this body of death.

Thanks be to Jesus Christ who has already done this!

Why I am NOT jumping into the stock market

If you have been watching the current DJIA you would have seen it hit record highs lately.




 But most of these gains have been with little substantial data to back them up.   In fact everything contrary to gains has occurred

  • ObamaCare is set to kick in less than a year and it is known to be a business-killer
  • REAL unemployment (not the number the Commerce Dept puts out) is said to still be in double digits (over 11% nationally).
  • The US federal government is not addressing the increasingly out of control spending and debt problem which will eventually require draconian levels of taxes on business and citizens.
So what gives?

To me there are 2 things at play here.

1. Gaming the system.

     First of all the Dow (or DJIA)  consists of only 30 major industrial companies.  Companies such as 3M, Intel, WalMart, GE and others are "weighted" to compute a sum (or average).  Therefore concentrating on these 30 companies a group of heavy investors could push the DJIA to levels not in keeping with the rest of the world.   This creates a hysteria type of effect that causes the other indexes such as the S&P500 to follow suit and inflate as well as the DJIA is the most watched index on earth.

2. Computer Stock Purchases

      I am not talking here about you going on-line to buy stocks.  Instead I am talking about what is commonly called High-Frequency-Trading (HFT) or Algorithmic Trading.  Maybe you have not heard of this before but its quite common and growing in size.  In 2006, it was estimated that nearly 1/3 of all stocks bought and sold were done using HFT's.   These are high-end computer server-farms that watch stocks at the millisecond level.  If you remember Superman-II (most of us would rather forget it) the villain (Richard Pryer) makes a bunch of money using computers to confiscate rounding errors into a single account thus ending up with over a $100K.  These computers also, watch stocks and make money using algorithms to buy and sell stocks at such a rapid pace that they make fractions of a cent increases thousands of times a day.  Of course the stock market does not differentiate these buys and sells from those done by REAL people investing or divesting their money.
 

How to erase wealth from the earth

     These 2 issues can possibly cause a perfect-storm in the stock-market and could be used by those with computer skills and a desire to destroy us from within.  By causing people to think the worst is over and to put all their money into the stock-market, that wealth could be effectively "erased" by a sudden and unexpected collapse of the DJIA.   Of course those creating this panic will be the FIRST to get out and would be left with all the money.  Those who wait it out, will be decimated forever.