Monday, September 11, 2017

Current Events

Our friends and family in the Houston area are still recovering from the devastating flooding caused by hurricane Harvey camping over the area for a week or so. I read an article yesterday that the Harris County Flood Control District issued a report over twenty years ago with a plan to prevent the flooding from being so catastrophic. The politicians would not spend the money at that time, I think in the $40 million range. Think what is being spent now for recovery and it is in the $100 billion range.

Of course, this was an unusual hurricane, but rivers and reservoirs and dams cause flood events frequently. Actions not taken years ago will probably cost $100 million now. Sad, but the money will probably still not be spent to prevent future disasters.

Now hurricane Irma hit the west coast of Florida and weakened as it moved north.  It was a category four storm that has already caused devastation in the Florida Keys, Lower Antilles islands and Caribbean nations. The entire peninsula of Florida will be affected by wind and rising water. Restoring electricity seems to be the biggest concern, now. Hopefully, the federal government will update the coastal maps to better identify high flood risk areas, although the people living there already know if they are in peril.

Our best wishes for people across the southern part of the United States as they recover from these disasters. Minimal loss of life and property is something for which to pray,

Forest fires in California, Montana, Oregon and Utah are causing severe damage to our forested areas and taking some homes away with the trees. Environmentalists, the Interior Department and lumber companies need to get together and initiate a tree cutting program to thin the forests, provide lumber for new building and lessen the ferocity of the forest fires. There is a lot we could do to help ourselves.

While all this is going on in the USA, 1,400 people have died from monsoon flooding in south Asia, primarily from India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Mother nature does not discriminate. Many natural disasters occur each year.

A happier note:

Our nephew, Austin Clark and a few of his friends that recently graduated from Liberty Hill High School were sworn in as United States Marine recruits on September 5th. They will attend Boot Camp in San Diego. Congratulations to the new Marine recruits and thanks to Liberty Hill for supporting these young men and their families. Austin is a great kid and we all love and appreciate him and his choice to serve this nation.

Austin, Justin, Shanna and John Clark

New Marines from Liberty Hill and family members

Austin being sworn in.

Proud to be joining the Marines.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bye, Harvey

From tropical storm to class 4 hurricane, Harvey was one of the worst disasters in Texas history. No one is sorry to see Harvey move along and dissipate. Harvey formed fast, but it did not act alone. A high-pressure area to the north and west of Texas kept the storm from moving inland, as tropical storms normally do. The consistent high-pressure area lingering to the north caused Harvey to stay in the same area for a long, long time, dropping rain for a good portion of its existence. Rockport and Aransas Pass took the brunt of the wind, but Houston received the most flood damage. Recovery will take years.

I felt all the government agencies worked well together. Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick, the Texas governor and lieutenant governor seemed to be well prepared to manage the crisis. President Trump, FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security and Housing and Urban Development were all engaged. Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston took some flak for not ordering an evacuation, but people complaining do not understand the issues he had to face. Houston is big. Way bigger than any other city in land area. Evacuating the whole city was not a possibility and determining who to evacuate was equally impossible. Turner stayed engaged and helped coordinate disaster relief. Who could ask for more? There is nothing smooth in handling disasters. Leadership staying engaged and coordinating is the best you can ever hope to get. I saw that happening.

The governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards was also engaged and helping with relief efforts. Texas and Louisiana both called the National Guard into service. The Department of Defense is mobilizing other National Guard units to assist in the rescue and clean-up efforts.

Kathi and I are in Utah, far away from the storm, but I am a proud Texan. People helped one another. Family members took care of their extended families, then looked elsewhere to provide more assistance. Some of the volunteers had their own homes under water and were still out helping others. Some were gathering donations to provide warmth and food to evacuees. Other volunteers, including the Coast Guard and Cajun Navy were out in boats rescuing stranded people.

With all the commotion in Texas it is easy to overlook the problems people were having elsewhere. We had friends in Florida that had flooded houses and cars. Hurricanes and tropical storms are a big deal.

There were some looters and a few burglaries, but these incidents were few and the compassion of the Texas people much overshadow these lawless creeps.

The rain is slowing and some sunshine is returning. Recovery will take years. Some of our friends and neighbors lost everything. State and federal help is available. Insurance money will come in slowly, but it will come. Mostly people will have to help themselves and get some help from their friends and families. That is how we always recover. The help is always there. That is why we will always recover. What a country and what great people.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Remember Harry?

Harry S Truman was our 33rd President. I remember him as an individual thinker and one that did not shirk responsibility. He authorized the use of atomic weapons against Japan to help end WW II. Following the war, he initiated the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. He also led the way into the cold war to combat Russian and Chinese Communism, via the Truman Doctrine. He also was instrumental in the creation of the NATO agreement.

He inherited a progressive Congress that followed the socialist policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Truman vetoed 180 bills that Congress sent to him. He liked a good political fight, especially when he thought he was right. The Congress overrode his veto 12 times.

Some Harry Truman quotations that describe his thinking:

Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.

The reward of suffering is experience.

America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.

I never did give anybody hell. I just told them the truth and they thought it was hell.

You know that being an American is more than a matter of where your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal and that everyone deserves an even break.

A leader in the Democratic Party is a boss, in the Republican Party he is a leader. 

The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all.

The buck stops here!

Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination.

When even one American - who has done nothing wrong - is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth - then all Americans are in peril.

Political Correctness is a doctrine, recently fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and promoted by a sick mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by clean end!

I see a lot of Harry in The Donald.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Truth is funny in political conversations. I tell people facts all the time and my friends on the left accuse me of right wing propaganda. I may use satire occasionally, but I never intentionally mislead anyone and I do not intend to do that here. There are two sides to every story and I like to hear and try to understand both sides.

I do not like or support white supremacists or KKK members. I also do not like or support black lives matter. I do not like the Muslim Brotherhood. I do not support the Democrats city and state leaders who are removing Confederate statues and Confederate names from buildings. When the last statue is gone, will we no longer be a racist country, where slavery existed? 

Robert E Lee memorial statue
I see no value in trying to erase our history. You can do it in public, but you will never get rid of all the books that tell our story. If you think you need a safe space, you actually need another country. Once you walk out of a safe space you are back in the real world with people that have freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom to do a lot of things none of us like.

History is something to embrace and study. As a country, there are things we are proud of and things that do not bestow pride. Both are part of who we are as a nation. People are supposed to learn from their mistakes and become better people. We call it informal education. People collectively learn the same way and those memories help us adjust our laws and social norms to fit the needs of all of us. There is no safe space, there is just here where we live.

We are at a place in our history where people on the left feel obligated to beat up people they think might say something they do not like. They accuse the people they beat up of saying words that might cause violence, so the leftist solution is to fulfill their own prophesy. Is this not insane?

In Charlottesville, a statue of Robert E. Lee was being removed to satisfy some people that hate slavery. Well, some other people that also hate slavery have a different understanding of the purpose of the statues. Until we understand that others also have a right to a point of view, we will have conflict.

White supremacists got a permit to demonstrate the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville. White supremacists showed up for the rally from states all over the country. A few joined in that just like statues and some joined in because they resent our history being destroyed. If these people were allowed to hold their rally in peace, the hateful supremacists would have been peaceful. They normally do not riot and destroy property.

The peace was threatened when opposition, ready for a confrontation, showed up to antagonize the supremacists. It seems to have worked. One of the supremacists got in a car and drove into the crowd, killing one and injuring several others. He should be prosecuted for murder and he will get his trial. You cannot equate what this person did and assign the blame to everyone in the group to which he belonged. That is not proper, just or legal.

President Trump disavowed the violence on national television. News pundits are criticizing him for not placing all the blame on the white supremacists. He is smart enough to realize they were not the only ones involved. Take off the political blinders and you can see the truth.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Help Wanted

The last few years we spent in Texas, we saw, “Help Wanted” signs in many businesses. Restaurants, stores where gasoline is sold, beauty parlors, auto parts stores and many others are looking for more workers. We knew the Texas economy was doing well and assumed businesses were thriving and growing.

Our trip this year from Texas to the Oregon coast, we visited Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and Oregon. Everywhere we went, we saw more, “Help Wanted” signs. 

We talked to people at the Winstar world casino and they got many applications, but the people applying, mostly Texans, wanted more money than they were willing to pay. The applicants routinely told them that they could make almost as much on welfare so they chose not to work. That’s right. Young able-bodied people were on welfare, because they drew almost as much from the government as they could get on a job, so they chose idleness.

Think about that. There is talk from the progressives about the government providing everyone a salary, so no one must work. These people do not have any idea the decadence that will cause in our population. It appears our welfare programs are already there.

When we were in Ogden and Sunset Utah, we found the same thing. A McDonald's store in Roy, UT had a sign up apologizing for closing at 6:00 p.m. because they could not get employees to staff the evening shift. The server I talked to said they had applicants every day, but would not work for less than $15 per hour. When I asked an individual why she was working instead of being on the dole, she told me that she never even thought about that. She started working at an early age and never considered not working.

Do you realize that after not working for a while, people lose their skills and even worse, they lose the desire to work? Retirees all know that. Most people that retire stay retired, although some retire and go to work immediately doing something else. Putting healthy people on welfare does not do them a favor. It decreases their ability to produce.

Charlie’s Service in Sunset, UT was continually looking for RV and auto mechanics. They got very few applications. Young people with no tools and no experience wanted to start out at the hourly rate that experienced, self-efficient mechanics were making.

While Barack Obama was president, his job-killing policies put millions of Americans out of work. Welfare was the only choice many had. Progressive policies always do that and Obama was more effective than most other progressive presidents.

Now that we are creating jobs again in this country, we have a lot of younger people who will not participate, if welfare gives them enough to survive. The federal government and the states must turn off the spigot to hardy people. 

Unfortunately, most of the people marching in the streets as protestors do not have the skills they need to get in the labor force. We may have to cut off the welfare before they will even agree to be re-trained. The good progressives like to pretend they are passionate, but their policies provide decadence.

Friday, March 24, 2017

How Things Get Done

When a group of concerned people are assigned a complicated task to accomplish, it is hard to get started, unless someone shows up with an idea, often called a strawman. If that person is allowed to explain the idea in a manner that is understandable to others in the workgroup, they have an agreed understanding and a place to start. Everyone else in the work group may have ideas that will make completion of the task simpler or more effective, so they try to include as many of the good ideas as they can. Some ideas conflict with others and an agreement must be made on which idea to implement and which to exclude. When the proposal is ready to submit or work is ready to begin on the project, they put the proposal in a format that is easiest to explain.

When the proposal is presented to the leadership team, there are usually several members of the leadership team that say the proposal will not work. Most of the leadership team members are skeptical of everything and some object, before understanding the proposal. That starts arguments between members of the leadership team and usually one or more of the leadership team walks away from the presentation angry or frustrated that everyone else does not see their point of view. The leadership team leader is normally the one to accept or deny the proposal, after understanding the concept and hearing all objections. Some minor changes may be made after the presentation, but usually not major changes. If the proposal is deemed improbable of success it is usually scrapped and a new workgroup is assigned to take on the problem. If the proposal is deemed probable of success, the proposal is made public.

Some of the public likes you and they listen with an open mind and are willing to go along with implementation of the project. The portion of the public that does not like you will not listen to the presentation, will never understand the proposal and will harp and complain constantly that it will not work. We usually call these people ignorant and they are ignorant by choice. The people that understand the least complain the most.

We have a country full of people that choose ignorance, rather than listen to someone they do not like. We have a political party that survives by dividing us. So many know so little they do not realize the enemy is themselves. Or like Pogo said many years ago, “We have met the enemy and it is us.”

If you want to know the truth, do not waste time talking to people that agree with you. You learn the truth by trying to understand the people with whom you disagree.

Monday, February 20, 2017

45 %

All through the 2015-2016 election season, Donald Trump kept a constant 45% of primarily Republican voters. Everyone said he did not have a chance to get elected, because he never polled over 50%. When we got to the general election, Trump kept getting 45% in the polls. All the pollsters were sure he could not win with only 45% of the people supporting him. He won anyway.

 The 45% of voters in this country that still support Donald Trump is constant, because Trump’s mindset is like ours. Yes, I am in the 45% and I will be hard to dissuade. I think we are the main stream of America. I think we are the bulk of the middle class. We consist of die-hard Republicans, disgruntled Republicans, disenchanted Democrats, and independents that were willing to take a chance for something better in their life. The coalition is solid, because Trump is attuned to what is hurting our country.

The left won elections during the Obama years by dividing our country. Blacks against white, undocumented aliens against Americans, teachers against Republicans, the gay-lesbian community against Christians, Hispanics against whites, students and college professors against white men and a lot of other divisive groups. The enchantment of division began to wear thin.

The left has almost shut down free speech on college campuses and are beginning to branch out to the rest of society. They go after jobs of people they disagree with for any non-ideological belief. They boycott businesses that do business with their chosen enemies. They destroy all monuments to anyone that did anything in the past they deem inappropriate. They are trying to change our history and ruin the livelihood of their opposition.

What our response should be is to try and grow the 45%. John McCain and a few other congressional Republicans seem to be openly against everything Trump does. I have thought McCain should be out of the Senate for many years, because I favor term limits, but more people are opposing McCain and calling for him to lose his office, because he speaks out against Trump. Shepherd Smith, a well-known Democrat on Fox News criticized Trump and people started shouting for him to lose his job. My advice is to stop that talk. That is what people outside the 45% do and we cannot become them and keep our country. If we act like the opposition acts, we are them. Stop it.

Trump needs more supporters that are drawn to him by better opportunities, more safety, better jobs and better lives. We do not need to lose anyone because we act like the opposition. We need to support “freedom of Speech.,” especially when we disagree with it. We need to support “freedom of Religion,” even though it is not our religion. We need to allow peaceful protesters freedom of assembly. We must stand with the Constitution. I think that is where Trump stands.