Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Voter Fraud

“Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!”
The Robot, “Lost in Space”

I loved "Lost in Space as a kid."  But in all seriousness: New Jersey taxpayers are in danger. The New Jersey legislature is about to commit votter fraud.  That body, ruled by the Democrats, is currently mulling a plan being that will diminish registered voters in the suburban and rural areas by as much as 50 percent because of low voter turnout in the cities. The districts will be weighted in favor of urban areas 2 to 1. This proposal, if passed, would in essence allow one person's vote in an urban area to count twice as much as the same vote in the suburbs, continuing and possibly worsening, the unbalanced, skewed elections we have had in the past.

1 person = 2 votes + voter fraud + high voter turnout = your voice is SILENCED!

This proposal is in opposition to everything the Founding Fathers proposed. The last time I looked, New Jersey was one of the fifty states, with a voting process based on the U.S. Constitution. We don’t have – or shouldn’t have – a different way of establishing districts. The fairest way to establish the districts is still one person, one vote.

All of us should be extremely concerned about the outcome and we should make our voices heard. The best way to do so is to attend one of the three meetings and speak publicly. If you believe in representative government then you need to engage in this discussion. The outcome will affect New Jersey's future for the next 10 years.

We all need to participate and speak up, while we still have the ability to do so. Don’t let the Media kid you: the people who live in Paterson receive plenty of information reminding them to vote on Election Day. Remember Obama’s “Boots-on-the-Ground-Running” get-out-the-vote strategy. There are numerous mailings and door-hangers leading up to the election. On Election Day, there are active Get Out the Vote campaigns and cars with loud-speakers on their roofs encouraging people to vote. If there is low voter registration or low voter turnout in a city it is because the residents choose not to participate.

If voter turn-out is low anywhere, it’s in the suburbs. We knew that (at least I did) when we started the Tea Parties. That low turnout was what we set out to combat here in New Jersey. This is what it’s been all about since that April Tax Day two years ago. The picnic is over; now it’s time for the real deal folks. It’s do-or-die for New Jersey. This is what all the rallies and the hard work and the meetings were for.

And what’s more, the Democrats in the N.J. Legislature know it. It’s do-or-die for them as well. They’ve seen our numbers. They’ve seen our rallies and though they’ve tried to discredit us in every way – racists, conspiracy theorists, idiots, know-nothings, tea-baggers (their names for us could fill up this entire space) – we’re still here.

For those of you who think all those things are true, we have a message for you, hiding behind your newspaper or computer screen there – we’re your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends, your relatives. We’ve been carrying the ball for you, just as small number carried the American Revolution right here in the crossroads of New Jersey, fighting for our freedom and yours while you thumbed your noses at us.

This is for real, though, and it’s time you started carrying your weight, as well as those who’ve been sponging off us all these years. The Apportionment (redistricting) Commission is nearing its decision. The commission will be meeting on Wed., March 16th in the City of Passaic. Time and location have not been disclosed, which should tell you something. SAVE THIS DATE ON YOUR CALENDAR!!!

ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE. You'd think it'd be common sense. If you have any, you’ll do something about it and make your presence felt at that meeting. This is the commission’s last meeting before its decision and your last chance.

Friday, March 11, 2011

An Ounce of Courage

Congratulations to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Assembly for passing In a decisive blow to union power, Wisconsin lawmakers voted Thursday to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from the state's public workers. The Assembly passed the proposal 53-42 Thursday. The state's Senate approved it the night before after using a procedural move to bypass its AWOL Democrats.

Walker said he would sign the legislation as quickly as possible.

As lawmakers prepared for a final vote, at least 100 protesters packed a hallway leading to the state Assembly, pounding drums, while the Democratic representatives gathered in front of the doors, which were opened just before 11:30 a.m. At least 50 protesters were carried out by police, and the building was locked down briefly while officers did a security review, according to Fox News.

The videos of protestors storming the building, breaking through windows, and reports of death-threats to legislatures is a “shame” that the union thugs and Liberals will have a hard time living down. We don’t intend to let them forget it, either. That’s the difference between the Tea Parties and the Liberals’ guerrilla theater tactics. Other governors and legislatures are now considering similar moves to reduce the power of the unions. According to a caller on Rush Limbaugh’s program yesterday, the thugs basically destroyed what was a beautiful building a beautiful grounds. The Morristown Tea Party, after one of their events, donated either some or all of their proceedings back to the caretakers of the Morristown Green to replant whatever grass and foliage might have been ruined.

We have our own N.J. Gov. Christie to thank for leading the way. And Gov. Walker found that extra ounce of courage to see the bill through to the end – they found a way to bypass the obstructionist, AWOL Democrats (how interesting that they chose Illinois as their hideaway). Way to go, Gov. Walker and Wisconsinites!

On somewhat different topics, just an observation about Michael Moore – he seems to regard himself as a reincarnation of Saul Alinsky, urging high school students to boycott school today (I think). Moore seems to want to take on Alinsky’s mantle of negativism and proclaim himself the leader of the common man.

The middle class didn’t fall for it in the 1970s and they’re not going to fall for it now. We can and already have organized ourselves quite nicely, thank you very much.

Which brings me to the last topic of this week, a new movement called “The Progressive Tea Party.” Fox showed a video of their first meeting, with an organizing yelling at an audience that didn’t seem very impressed. They appeared to be more interested in their after-meal coffee than in tea. After the Liberals saw that the Tea Parties weren’t going away, they tried to organize an opposition movement then, which they called the Coffee Party. But it was nothing but very stale, left-over grinds.

Sorry, Liberals, but we own the Tea Party movement.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ye Gods!

“Men would be Angels,
Angels would be Gods.
Aspiring to be Angels
If Angels fell,
Aspiring to be Angels
Men rebel.”
“An Essay on Man” Alexander Pope, 1733-34

Children are gods, according to Van Jones? Geniuses and walking superpowers, to boot? Well, apparently, Van Jones, the Super Genius, doesn’t read Scientific American. And if he doesn’t, his progeny certainly don’t.

Three years ago, this month, SciAm published an article entitled, “White Matter Matters.” White matter versus gray matter, not white skin versus other skin. “Gray matter,” author R. Douglas Fields writes, “the stuff between your ears…is where mental computation takes places and memories are storied. This cortex is the ‘topsoil’ of the brain; it is composed of densely-packed neuronal cell bodies-the decision-making parts of neuron (nerve cells).”

But underneath it is a huge complex of “white matter” that takes up nearly half the human brain – greater than the percentage found in the brains of other animals.

“White matter is composed of millions of communications cables,” Fields writes, “each containing a long, individual wire, or axon, coated with a white, fatty substance called myelin. This white cabling connects neurons in one region of the brain with those in other regions.”

For decades, scientists discounted the importance of myelin, regarding it as little more than insulation. Learning and memory were considered functions of the neurons and the synapses, the tiny contact points between the neurons. But lately, scientists have been reconsidering the importance of myelin in the transformation of information among brain regions.

“New studies show that the extent of white matter varies in people who have different mental experiences or who have certain dysfunctions,” says the author. “It also changes within a person’s brain as they learn or practice a skill such as laying the piano.”

Gray matter may execute mental and physical activities, but white matter may be just as critical to mastering mental and social skills, as well as why it is as hard for old dogs to learn new tricks – or young dogs to know what to do with the tricks they’ve learned.

“Nerve impulses race down axons on the order of 100 times faster when they are coated with myelin, which is glued onto axons somewhat like electrical tape, wrapped up to 150 times between every node.” Without myelin, the signal leaks, just as in telephone wires, and dissipates.

The big “but” is that it takes experience, practice if you will, for this myelin coating to be laid down. Our brains are better able to do this when we’re younger than when we’re older. But until that time and experience is settled, we’re just not all that smart. The last place myelin is laid down is in the frontal lobes, where higher-level reasoning, planning and judgment take place.

“Skills,” Fields writes, “that only come with experience. Researchers have speculated that skimpy fore-brain myelin is one reason that teenagers do not have adult decision-making abilities. Such observations suggest that myelin – white matter – is important to intelligence.”

The study also found that concert pianists had very high levels of myelin and that the more hours a day they practice over time, the stronger the signals were in the white matter tracts. “The axons were more heavily myelinated or tightly packed.”

“Rules for Radicals” author Saul Alinsky had pretty much the same opinion of youth. In the very opening paragraph of the prologue of his book, he wrote, “The revolutionary force of today [the book was written in 1971] has two targets, moral as well as material. Its young protagonists are one moment reminiscent of the early Christians, yet they also urge violence and cry, ‘Burn the system down!’ They have no illusions about the system but they have plenty of illusions about the way to change our world. The failure of many of our younger activists to understand the art of communication has been disastrous.”

By the time “Rules” came out (it was preceded by another book, “Reveille for Radicals”), Alinsky was well over 30 – he was 62 – and writing to the generation that would teach the Van Jones and Barack Obama generation. They listened to Alinsky, but only after their brains had reached maturity. Their own students were – and are – still essentially Lenin's "useful idiots," mouthing Sixties platitudes and threatening violence to people who don’t agree with them.

As a communicator, Alinsky was right on many points. Community organizers have to know the community they’re organizing. But what speechwriter hasn’t known that? He had the audacity to quote the Founding Fathers to further his arguments. He makes no bones about using dirty tricks to further his cause of redistributing the wealth, including ridicule and mockery.

However, Alinsky underestimated Conservatives greatly if he didn’t think we had the capability to use the same tactics. What we didn’t have, at least until the Age of Rush, was a microphone. When I helped my local Tea Party organized, I used many of the same principles in “Rules for Radicals,” a book I only just read this week.

Alinsky gets more horrible as you get to the end. The mercy is the book is just under 200 pages and filled with nothing you didn’t know already or don’t have the ability to do – and better. The difference is in philosophy. Alinsky meant for his students to read this book and become teachers themselves, organizing and cajoling their witless charges to follow them into battle, rational, calm, although totally wrong. They would do it with confidence, though, Alinsky cautioned, if they followed his advice. They would win.

One telling anecdote reveals Alinsky’s true nature (that, and his dedication to Lucifer” “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment … to the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer”).

In organizing a black, ghetto community in Rochester, N.Y., one of his suggestions was to give the upper-class community mud in the eye by disrupting a Rochester Symphony Orchestra concert. They would invite one hundred black people to a dinner and the concert, with beans as the main fare. He pictures the scene for us, but admits they would have to sort of force-feed the blacks this meal because some of the black might balk at doing something so ostentatiously rude and embarrass themselves in the process and in the eye of the better-bred society.

Alinsky goes on to say that his organization’s merely planting rumors of such a debacle was enough to force the city fathers to rethink their attitudes about the ghettos. They did try such tactics in other cities and in corporations to great effect, intimidating shoppers into not crossing the picket line of one store and shop at another, rather than calling a mass strike on all the stores in the city, wreaking economic havoc on the stricken store.

The Wisconsin Senate’s actions are straight out of Alinsky’s playbook. If Gov. Walker wants his budget passed – and it is a law (“hang them up by their own rules,” Alinsky wrote) that it must be – at least one Democrat must be present in order to hold the vote. If they don’t hold the vote, the senators and even the governor can be recalled, and in fact, recall efforts are in motion. That is why the Republicans have been brought to kneel down before the Democrats.

There are enough Alinsky-taught Liberals with enough developed gray and white matter to think up and continue such Machiavellian schemes, enough Mainstream Media with enough gray matter to carry the message, and enough followers with little or no white matter to make sure it succeeds. And enough backers like George Soros with enough green matter to back them up in their efforts.

We Conservatives, older and wiser, have enough white matter to laugh at the notion that young people are gods, or even cupids. They’re more like brownies, those malicious, brainless sprites of olde who enjoy destruction and chaos.

I’m older now and they say it’s harder to learn new tricks when you’re older. But I didn’t learn all my tricks when I was old; I learned them when I was young, quite young, from my parents, and they’re well-ingrained, thank you very much, with those 150 wrappings of electrical tape. So is Rush Limbaugh’s, among others, and Rush has young followers.  If Alinsky thought he was going to seduce the Middle Class - whom he denigrated in every possible way (what business was it of his if we preferred to tend our gardens to bombing buildings?) - he reckoned wrong.  Incidentally, since when are teachers, who often have Master's degrees, blue collar workers?

Not all the children of the Sixties wore flowers in their hair or the peace sign around their necks. Some of us just watched, biding our time, which has come.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Let's Make a Steal

After an almost three-week standoff between absentee Senate Democrats and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the Associated Press reveals that secret e-mails have been passing back and forth between the two parties, with Walker offering ever-more lucrative “compromises” to lure the AWOL legislatures back to Madison for the vote. Republicans control the Senate, but can’t vote on the budget measure unless at one Democrat is present.

Still, the stalemate hasn't ended yet. Why should the Democrats surrender now when they get everything back with just a few more ugly protests by the unions? Why buy the dairy cow when you can get the milk for free?

Sen. Bob Jauch told the AP that he hoped “the compromise would serve as a blueprint for future negotiations.” What blueprint? That if you hold the state capitol building hostage, go AWOL so you create a media event by a willing media that will guarantee you full vocal rights, you can continue to rob the taxpayers and intimidate a free people into joining unions they don’t want to join?

Under Walker’s compromise workers would be able to continue bargaining over their salaries with no limit, a change from his original plan that banned negotiated salary increases beyond inflation. He also proposed compromises allowing collective bargaining to stay in place on mandatory overtime, performance bonuses, hazardous duty pay and classroom size for teachers.

The increased contributions for health insurance and pension, which would save the state $330 million by mid-2013, would remain. The unions and Democrats have agreed to those concessions to help balance a projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

But the Democrats haven’t come home to roost just yet. Jauch wanted even more items to be subject to bargaining that Walker seeks to rein, including sick leave and vacation pay. The unions and their supporters have thrown considerable taxpayer money at increasing the pressure on Walker to deal. They’ve even had the nerve (and the funds – Wisconsin taxpayers’ funds) to mount recall efforts against 16 senators, including eight Republicans.

Walker has also knuckled under to allow collective bargaining agreements to last up to two years, instead of the one-year limit in his original proposal. Unions would only have to vote to remain in existence every three years, instead of annually as Walker initially proposed.

Additionally, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority employees would not lose all union bargaining rights and the Legislature's budget committee would have to vote to approve any changes to Medicaid programs sought by Walker's administration. Under the original bill, the Department of Health Services could make cuts and other changes to programs benefiting the poor, elderly and disabled without requiring a hearing or vote by the legislative committee.

Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald acknowledged that pressure was increasing on the senators, saying the recall efforts launched against eight Republicans was “on everybody's minds.” But he said support for the underlying bill remained strong.

“We’re rock solid, we're fine,” he said.

If a taxpayer sinkhole, dug by union workers and their Democrat allies, is their idea of rock solid, Wisconsin is a place I wouldn’t to build a house.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Seattle Student Update

Michelle Malkin posted an update on the search for her cousin.  The girl was last seen in the University District in Seattle at a Safeway on Saturday between 1 and 2 p.m.  The police say a purchase was made on her debit card.  Missing person horary charts always depend upon the last sighting.  The houses change, but the aspects don't.  This particular chart, from a planetary aspect, indicates a great confusion of mind and emotional distress.  The location hasn't changed much.  A 2 p.m. sighting still indicates the university as the most likely location.  The outcome is a bit more distressing though, as the moon reaches its point-of-no return aspects to Neptune and Uranus, both at the 29th degree and getting closer.  The moon moves very quickly and it would have been a matter of only a few hours before the girl's crisis reached its point and either resolved itself, or didn't.  We can only continue to pray for Michelle and her family that the girl was able to resolve her situation safely.

Who's a Conspiracy Theorist?

Instead of flipping through the television this coming weekend, New York Times columnist David Carr might want to flip through the New York Times’ morgue – its archives – and find the newspaper headlines for Feb. 4, 5, and 6 of 1962. It’s a date CNN’s website neglected in its study of end of the world theories.

In February 1962, Mr. Carr, it wasn’t a lone television talk show guy, or a small collective of Christian end-timers predicting the end of the world; it was millions of Hindus in India praying before their candles to protect them from the calamity that they believed was about to befall them. They were not alone. People all over the world lived in terror of that day. For months before the event, bearded derelicts walked around New York City sporting sandwich board signs warning: “The end of the world is near!” But, it turns out, the millions of Hindus and the bearded soothsayers were seemingly wrong. But I suppose it’s politically incorrect to criticize the Hindus of India. Or is it?

Still, Mr. Carr can take comfort; a small group of Christians did huddle in the freezing cold on a desert mountaintop (I think it was in Arizona) on that same date waiting for the spaceship to come whisk them away from the coming Armageddon.

We’re all still here to tell the tale. The dire predictions of war, famine, earth-shattering asteroids, plagues, tidal waves, and earthquakes, owing their misfortunes to an unusual alignment of planets during a solar eclipse, did not come to pass. At least not yet.

My parents didn’t predict the end of the world, but they certainly predicted, accurately, the advent of communism. Every word they said was true. Neither of them was what you would call a crackpot. Dad was a newspaper editor; mom, a reporter for a trade paper.

The way things were going in the Sixties, they were convinced women would be inveigled to abandon the raising of their own children to group nurseries where the kids could be properly inculcated at an early age into the glories of socialism and communism. They said marriages would begin breaking up. They said kids would begin ratting out their parents for the least of infractions. Sooner or later, they said, the young hippies then running around would wind up becoming the leaders of the future. Like a virus, they would infiltrate everything, including corporations, like the ones that refuse to advertise on Glenn Beck’s show.

They already had control of the unions, they said, and through the unions they would control education, the government, and ultimately, the business world. We would become slaves of the welfare state, they predicted, working to support those who refused to work, or even be educated. We would tear down our own flag – a prediction of Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev, not Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or Mom and Dad (though they thought it all too likely and did happen that American flags began being burnt).

There would be no more God in the schools or in the public square, my mother said, and when that happened, that would be the real end of the world. Not asteroids, earthquakes, or floods, although she said God might just cast down a few thunderbolts to let the guy who said “God is Dead” know that God was still alive and kicking.

Obviously, Mr. Carr is not a Biblical scholar, nor apparently are the end-timers. The Bible says, “Watch ye, for ye know not when the master of the house shall return.” Mark 13:35.

Kicking God out of the schools by outlawing prayer in the schools, which happened in 1962, was a much better presage than earth-shattering asteroids of the coming of the end of the world. So was legalizing abortion (which came a decade later). The whole sexual revolution, in fact, painted a pretty grim picture of what was to come. God didn’t destroy the world in 1962? We’re still here? Well maybe He’s just saying to Himself, “Go ahead. Go on. Keep it up. Do your worst.”

The 1962 Vatican compromise certainly didn’t help matters, either. What in the world was the Catholic Church thinking, desanctifying Santa Claus, of all people (among others)? Making secret deals with the Muslim world, according to rumors.

I saw some small portion of that horrible movie, “Beowulf” this weekend. It only took one of the characters cursing Christendom for “frightening” people to move me to change the channel. Frightening people? While ancient tribes in various parts of the world performed human sacrifices, tearing their enemies’ hearts out and devouring while they were still functioning? Ah, but we’re not supposed to criticize other cultures. Shame, shame, shame on Christianity.

Glenn Beck was shocked to find that one of his audiences couldn’t name one of the Ten Commandments. I’m no great Christian, but I was able to count them all out on my fingers sitting at home on my couch. And I haven’t been to church in years. Then, again, when I was small, my mother taught me the Big Ten by heart, along with the Lord’s Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the alphabet.

I’m still working on memorizing the U.S. Constitution.

Another thing I learned (from a friend, not my parents) was astrology. I was pretty good at it, though I never much cared for fortune-telling and refused to cast any charts, except horaries (a sort of prediction in hindsight, at least in these cases) to puzzle over mysteries such as missing persons or historical catastrophes like the Space Shuttle Challenger. Just a word on Michelle Malkin’s cousin – if they don’t find this girl by the time this blog is posted, if I were the police, I’d be investigating around Husky Stadium stop and along the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

There – that’s why I don’t like doing astrology. I hope they find the girl – alive. Neptune also rules miracles.

But back to the end of the world. Feb. 4-5, 1962 was one of those impersonal charts which I learned was connected with the End of the World prophecies. As I researched the New York Times, I discovered just how many people believed – and feared – that event. Looking at it from an astrological perspective there was plenty of reason to fear but still doubt.

A stellium in Aquarius should indicate (in a natal or birth chart) that the person is nothing worse than just being a very bad partner in a relationship. They’re too independent – and in extreme instances, crazy. But great at organizing mobs of people, certainly, and getting them to follow him or her. They’d also be a whiz-bang with electronic communications and new inventions. This person would be a “Great Communicator”. Only Ronald Reagan was born in 1911, not 1962. We also don’t take into account the retrograde motion of the constellations. All those planets in Aquarius would actually be in Capricorn, the sign of tyrants.

Carr goes on in his column to chortle over Beck’s lack of major advertisers. But why should that surprise anyone? You don’t need to look into a crystal ball to know that one of the Liberals’ tactics is to threaten to boycott advertisers of shows like Beck’s. My company won’t advertise on his show – too political, they claim. Fox offers these advertisers time on other shows instead. Yet major companies will sponsor advertising on absolutely the filthiest, most vile trash on television, as long as the programming pleases the young demographic Democrats.

Liberals have no scruples about carrying on boycotts, where Conservatives do. It’s rather odd that companies will shy away from advertising on a conservative news show, which voices support for capitalism and free enterprise but advertise with abandon on Liberal shows and networks.

They want to “go where the money is.” But where do they think that money comes from?

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Last Doughboy

The last surviving American veteran of World War I, Frank Buckles, died Feb. 27, less than a month after his 110th birthday. He served as a U.S. Army ambulance driver in Europe during what was then known as the “Great War,” rising to the rank of corporal before the war ended. During the War, Frank received the World War I Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal, and was named a member of the French Legion of Honor

He served as a ship's officer on merchant vessels during World War II. Captured by the Japanese in the Philippines during World War II, he was held prisoner of war for more than three years before he was freed by U.S. troops. Late in his life, he became a public advocate for a national World War I memorial in Washington comparable to those for veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

More than 116,000 Americans were killed in World War II, many dying of influenza during a 1918 outbreak, and more than 204,000 were wounded, in the 19 months of U.S. involvement in the war. The overall death toll of the war was more than 16.5 million, including nearly 7 million civilians, and more than 20 million wounded.

There are two remaining World War I Doughboys, both English.

Frank Buckles was born Frank Woodruff Buckles on February 1, 1901, to a farming family in Bethany, Mo. He and his family subsequently moved to Oklahom.

Despite his youth, Buckles tried to enlist in the armed forces. The Marines turned him down because he was underweight and underage; the Navy turned him down for being flat-flooted. He finally succeeded in enlisting in the Army in August 1917. Only 16 at the time, the recruiter asked him to provide his birth certificate. Later Buckles said of that event:

“I was just 16,” Buckles told an interviewer, “”and didn’t look a day older. I confess to you that I lied to more than one recruiter. I gave them my solemn word that I was 18, but I’d left my birth certificate back home in the family Bible. They’d take one look at me and laugh and tell me to go home before my mother noticed I was gone. Somehow I got the idea that telling an even bigger whopper was the way to go. So I told the next recruiter that I was 21 and darned if he didn’t sign me up on the spot”

Buckles was sent to Europe on the RMS Carpathia, which had rescued RMS Titanic's survivors five years earlier. While on the Carpathia, Buckles spoke with crew members who had taken part in the rescue of Titanic survivors. During the war Buckles served in England and France, driving ambulances and motorcycles for the Army's 1st Fort Riley (Kansas) Casual Detachment. After the Armistice in 1918, Buckles escorted prisoners of war back to Germany. Following his discharge in 1920, he attended the dedication of the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City in honor of those Americans who died in World War I, and met General John Pershing, commander of all United States forces in France during the war.

As of 1942, Buckles worked for the White Star (the line that owned the Titanic) and W.R. Grace shipping companies. Business took him to Manila in the Philippines. He was captured there by the Japanese in 1942, and spent the next three and a half years in the Los Baños prison camp. He became malnourished, with a weight below 100 pounds, and developed beriberi, yet led his fellow inmates in calisthenics. He was rescued on Feb. 23, 1945.

After World War II, he moved to San Francisco, where he married Audrey Mayo in 1946. In the mid-1950s, he retired from steamship work, and bought the 330-acre Gap View Farm in West Virginia, where he raised cattle. His wife died in 1999 and their daughter moved back to the farm to care for him.

Though its origins are undocumented, the term “doughboy” was first used in the 1840s. The most often cited explanation is that it arose during the Mexican–American War, after observers noticed U.S. infantry forces were constantly covered with chalky dust from marching through the dry terrain of northern Mexico, giving the men the appearance of unbaked dough.

Another suggestion is that doughboys were so named because of their method of cooking field rations in the 1840s and 1850s, using doughy flour and rice concoctions baked in the ashes of a camp fire. Still another explanation involves pipe clay, a substance with the appearance of dough used by pre-Civil War soldiers to clean their white garrison belts. The uniforms worn by American soldiers in the World War I era had very large buttons. In addition to that, the American soldiers wore white spats over their boots. The soldiers from allied nations suggested that the Americans were dressed like “Gingerbread Men” and then began to refer to the Americans as “The Doughboys.”

One hundred and ten years is a long life-span. We should all be so lucky. Many decry World War I an unnecessary war. They even decry World War II as an unnecessary war. Adam Smith was very critical of any war as waste of money as well as lives. Such pacific notions, being idealistic, don’t take into account the realities of the world, and do dishonor to the many doughboys who weren’t so lucky as Frank Buckles, dying at 17, 18, and 19 in service of their countries.

We forget that there are defenders and aggressors, who not only don’t care about peace but don’t care how many lives are shed in achieving their objectives. Moammar Qadaffi is one such aggressor. Ahmadinejad is another. So was Hitler. The wars are over; it does no good to blame the defenders for what they might have done to prevent the wars once they began. The only thing they could have done, realistically, is surrender. There may have been plenty they could have done to prevent them while still at peace, but that will hardly bring peace to those who died. We can only learn from the past, not change it. No matter what the causes, the soldiers and sailors died honorably (for the most part) in the service of their country. Tarnishing the country also tarnishes the soldiers who gave their lives for it.

Still Buckles came home and lived a long, long time. When asked about the secret of his long life, Buckles replied: "Hope."

He added, “When you start to die... don't.”

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Disappearing Act

Despite the disappearing act of Wisconsin’s state Democrats, the vicious Media attacks on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the ominous poll ratings from Rasmussen, the unions are in a lot more trouble than their governor is. The state animal, the badger, is a notoriously savage animal when trapped. The unions chose their battleground almost too well.

The Media and the unions have spent millions in advertising to mislead the already notoriously Liberal population of Wisconsin that union members are the middle class (are they kidding? Really? They’re the bourgoise? I thought they were supposed to be the proletariat – the great masses?). They’re only angry because the governor is trying to deprive them of their right to unionize and bargain collectively.

No, what Gov. Walker is trying to do is balance their budget, unhinged by untenable union wages and benefits. He’s also trying to give Wisconsin citizens the right to choose whether they even want to belong to a union, without being coerced.

Right-to-work laws are statutes enforced in 22 U.S. states, allowed under provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibit agreements between labor unions and employers of making membership or payment of union dues or fees a condition of employment, either before or after hiring.

Without mandatory membership, unions will be bereft of much of the money they use to influence legislation in their favor. The dues are used to fund campaigns of legislators, mainly Democrats, who will vote generous pay raises for public sector employees and put pressure on private sector companies. One hand feeds the other.

Big union's theatrical and violent behavior comes as no surprise to older Americans. In the past, unions have used violence and even murder against those who oppose them. They’re not at all above intimidating the powerless employees they force into their unions. Anyone who crosses a picket line is considered a scab.

My brother is a manager. When his company’s union went on strike, he had to cover for the striking workers. It’s a good thing our grandfather taught him how to use a wrench and a screwdriver. He carried an enormous wrench and hired a couple of very big former FBI agents to protect him as he did his job.

According to the League of Women Voters, Gov. Scott Walker is close to the finish line of a major victory for taxpayers across the nation. On Friday the Rasmussen poll found that 60 percent of Wisconsin voters “disapprove” of Gov. Walker and 48 percent “strongly disapprove” of Gov. Walker.

Reportedly, the big unions are pouring millions into organizing activities and media to attack, distort and vilify Scott Walker and his proposed law. Other reports suggest Pres. Obama is working behind-the-scenes to defeat Scott Walker.

What Walker is doing is curbing the power of these unions and their members, so he can modestly reduce their lavish benefits and pension packages – to make them comparable to what private sector workers get. Wisconsin is careening toward bankruptcy with a $3.6 billion budget gap. This crisis requires strong action. Scott Walker and the Republican members of the legislature know they must apply real medicine now before the state passes a point of no return. The vote with the full Senate is nearing.

The Democrats are stalling for one reason: they know public support for Scott Walker in Wisconsin is faltering. Their attacks are beginning to have some effect. Union protesters know they’re an ugly sight to behold and that such ugliness and violence works in their favor, creating fear and uncertainty.

A Democratic Public Policy poll just released a few days ago found that 47 percent of Wisconsin voters support Scott Walker. The most recent Rasmussen results show a movement against Walker because of the intense attacks he is receiving. The League of American Voters continues to stand with this courageous governor and so should we.

If you have family or friends in Wisconsin, tell them not to be fooled by the PR job the unions are performing. No one is going to take away their right to form unions or bargain collectively. Those senators who are AWOL are union supported. That means it’s Wisconsin tax dollars that are being used to support this theatrical demonstration.

Their disappearing should come as no surprise, though. Harry Houdini, famous for his many disappearing acts, was a Hungarian-born magician, who first lived in Appleton, Wis. It’s the unions and the Democrat Assembly and Senate that should be ashamed.