When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise, we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year, A New Calibration

There is a theory in psychology known as the Gestalt Theory that posits that the mind is self organizing, seeks patterns, and that the whole is different than the sum of its parts. The image above is an example of Gestalt, where moving from A to D the mind sees a triangle, an S, a mace (or a sphere with cones/horns), and finally a snake or sea monster. In fact, these are visual perceptions of items that are not really present in the image you see. The mind is self-organizing, and craves patterns and consistency. We view with awe the uniformity of marching bands or Marines in a parade. We seek to find order in chaos.

In my professional world, a fact of life in management is a concept we use called a clean point. A clean point is the realization and agreement that things have become out of control; perhaps a process was not the right process or staffing inadequate to meet demands which has resulted in poor performance. A clean point is where we stop doing what wasn’t working and move forward with a new process or procedure or perspective.

Because of the two things above, I believe we see the stroke of midnight on a new year to be a clean point. We realize that something about our lives or about ourselves is not where we would like it to be. Listen to the resolutions given by friends and family. Among them I am sure you will hear multiple promises to lose weight, spend more family time, drink less, take better care of the yard, and the list is infinite. We use New Year’s Day to calibrate where we are, and look where we would like to be 365 days later. We seek to find order in chaotic lives; we seek patterns that can be relied upon. We know that our lives are more than the sum of the parts, otherwise there would be no triangle to be found.

I think America needs a clean point. I think that we have allowed ourselves to be distracted by the continuation of processes and trying to improve those processes that we simply refuse to acknowledge that sometimes it is best to do nothing at all. Sometimes it is necessary to make massive change to processes. I believe firmly that the election of 2008 and the Obama administration is the perfect opportunity for a clean point in this nation.

I shall say upfront that I do not agree with the liberal agenda for many items that are on the horizon. I can also say that a man who engaged the Clinton steamroller and the Republican machine in places like Virginian, North Carolina, and Mississippi, and stepped onto the podium to accept the Presidency, and did so without barely breaking a sweat, is made up of something as yet unproven. The President-elect has made courageous and important decisions regarding his cabinet. I am not sure of another time that an incoming President has asked senior cabinet members from another party to remain on the cabinet. I see left wing ideas, but I also see a centrist movement and a few right wing ideas looming as well.

We believe that the GOP has become weak, and has allowed conservatism to take a back seat to the other priorities of the party. We seek to change that. We seek to reinforce the nation’s desire for responsible and effective government. We seek to re-establish the Constitutional aims of our founders, but speaking out to our nation and our representatives that we must have a clean point in America. This clean point must be to define what we want from our nation, demand changes to the waste and corruption of politics, and move forward with the aims of success and prosperity for our nation and her citizens.

Change your new year’s resolutions. Make a resolution to be involved, active, persistent, and loud in the demands for conservative principles for our country. Don’t worry, there is much lifting to do and the weight will fall off. We have the perfect opportunity to take conservatism to new heights and new definitions. As the new year begins, there will be many opportunities for you to help us define conservatism. Roll up your sleeves, the four year ride begins soon.....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Conservative Lost In Liberal-Land.

My trip to the Smokey Mountains was awesome (do people still use that word?) and very enlightening. I've always heard the term southern hospitality and I've always known that the north and south were different, but this trip really opened my eyes.

From the moment that we arrived, you could just tell things were different, it was just a feeling that is almost indescribable. Our first stop was at the Cabin rental building where we were greeted with genuine cheerfulness. Notice that I used the word genuine, like it's somehow born and bred into them at a young age. Anyway, we got directions and were on our way. The climb up the mountain to our cabin would make even the calmest person a wreck. Mountain cliffs on both sides. Have they never heard of a side rail before? Suffice it to say tha
t we went very slowly and since I am back home to write this, we did it quite successfully.

We did a lot of sightseeing through the mountains, hit the aquarium, raced on the go karts, but what I want to focus on right now are the shows that we saw. First was the Comedy Barn. It was hysterical, and could even keep the staunchest, Bah Humbug, grouch in stitches.
I've enclosed a video below, and although it wasn't the one we attended it made us laugh so hard that we had to purchase it. If you somehow make it threw the video without getting downright hysterical, then there is just something seriously wrong with you.

**I should warn you, put down all drinks, and make sure you have gone to the bathroom before you attempt to watch this.

Now that you have been entertained, I will actually get to the point of my post. One thing very unique about the Comedy Barn is that is was wholesome family comedy. You didn't have to worry about the F-bomb getting thrown all over the place nor did you have to explain to your kids that a blow-job is actually when people get a job at a car wash and they blow the cars dry at the end of it. (You think I am kidding?) They somehow were able to make everyone of us, from three different generations laugh our butts off, and at the same time pride themselves on their family styled comedy. Half way through the show, they honored the veterans for their service and had them stand up to be recognized. What a sense of pride and thankfulness I felt at that moment. It hit me somewhere throughout the show that this NEVER would have worked in New Jersey. Besides the fact that they had cloggers and sung about a "Tender Tennessee Christmas" the reaction of the people back home would not have been the same. Northerners would have thought it hokey and probably made fun of everything they were doing. You might be asking yourself well, you are a northerner, so why didn't you? Even if you weren't particularly asking yourself that, I will tell you anyway. My family is southerners in disguise. We are so out of place up here in liberal valley it's like the show, The Beverly Hillbillies. So when we have a chance to visit the south, it is almost like coming home.

The next show we attended was The Black Bear Jamboree. A magical night, but another example of how very different the north and south are. People were polite and pleasant, not the usual...."Follow me" you get, like this is the last place they want to be, when we were getting seated. The show was full of singing, dancing and dare I say it...... GOSPEL. They actually celebrated the real reason for the season. They sung about the birth of Christ and it was a very poignant reminder to everyone there that Christmas had nothing to do with lights, tinsel, gifts and stockings and everything to do with Jesus' birth.

There wasn't one thing in particular that made me realize how very different it was between the north and south. It was as if we were visiting a totally different country. Southern hospitality is a living, breathing thing and this experience really restored my hope in America. I realized that the values and beliefs that are non-existent up here are bountiful down there and it just confirmed how much harder I needed to work with my kids, on instilling those same values. It's a difficult task I have ahead of me, when so many of their friends, are very different than what I expect of Anthony and Nicholas.

Being from the north doesn't make you a bad person, just as being from the south doesn't make you a good one, but there was just a fundamental attitude that was very different between the two places. The atmosphere here in Jersey, is stifling, it is crowded and people are just not friendly. They seem to have the "What can you do for me attitude", where as in the south, it felt more like "What can I do for you?" The atmosphere down in Tennessee was just genuine and welcoming and the people actually were polite and used phrases like "thank you" or "yes ma'am." Sometimes I feel downright lost up here. The people, the places, the values, and the atmosphere are so completely different. God seems to be welcomed down there, wherever you are, while here, He is only allowed certain places. Sometimes southerners get a bad reputation but I truly think that we would all be a lot more content if we took some lessons from them. Especially that southern drawl......that was music to my ears!

The mountains all around, reminded us every day of the beauty God has bestowed upon us. You could see HIs beauty in the clouds that floated over the mountaintop and the trickling streams running throughout the mountains. There was a sense of peace there that I have never found anywhere else. The air was fresh and clean and it was a wonder how the simple act of breathing felt so good. As I sit here in yankee-land, I am thankful for the memories that I will always hold with me and I hope those that are able to experience that beauty and magnificence every day, appreciate what they have been so blessed with.

Cross posted at Palace For A Princess

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wishing You Peace of Mind

(Painting by Ron DiCianni)

Although I run a political blog, for now I’m avoiding politics like the plague, with the exception of reading what other bloggers post. In fact, if it weren’t for the political postings of others I wouldn’t have a clue as to what’s going on, which wouldn't be such a bad thing, at least for awhile. It's a matter of sanity and wanting some semblance of peace during this sacred time when we observe the birth of our Lord.

As usual, before Thanksgiving and right after Halloween was over, the commercialization of Christmas began. There’s not much on the boob tube about the real reason for the season, including movies. After we finished with Christmas Dinner I sat down to watch some movies on Hallmark, knowing they would be running Christmas movies all day long. I watched two, which were moving and entertaining, but neither of them had anything to do with the birth of our Savior. I believe the fact that I wasn’t surprised in the least says a lot.

No, I’m not going to even get into the War on Christmas in this post, because it will dampen my spirit and I’m feeling quite pleasant and mellow. I feel at peace right now because I do know who is really in charge and it isn’t any of us, no matter what we think. It isn’t even Obama! LOL!

All that build up and preparation for one short day! WHEW! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone would hold the spirit of Christmas in their hearts all year round? I don’t mean by going out and purchasing items either. I’m talking about being upbeat and pleasant and not walking around with a frown on your face. I see so many people when I do get into town who walk around looking like a living spirit of Doom and Gloom! I want to tell them, “Smile. You’re alive! You aren’t living in a mud hut somewhere scratching for roots to eat! You aren’t living in a place where you might be hauled out of bed in the middle of night and shot! You aren’t crippled up so badly that you can’t get around by yourself without help. Be thankful at least for those things.” But of course I don’t say anything. I would be perceived to be off my rocker. Besides, they may be slightly deranged and I might have my rocker knocked off! That’s another thing… we shouldn’t have to fear saying what’s in our hearts to anyone, stranger or not.

Christmas cheer should be something we hold in our hearts all year round, not only during the Christmas season. I’m going to attempt to hang on to mine, and that’s why I’m avoiding politics for a little longer than just on Christmas day. The nastiness going on in the world is simply too depressing. It’s a matter of self-preservation. So I will visit my blogger friends and risk running into political posts, but it’s not quite as bad as having a newscaster bleat all the bad stuff going on in the world.

To those of you whose blogs I may not have managed to visit to wish you a Merry Christmas, I’m doing it now. MERRY CHRISTMAS! To my Jewish friends I wish you a HAPPY HANUKKAH! To everyone I wish you PEACE OF MIND! All of us who are paying attention to what's going on in this world desperately need it, and it isn't an easy thing to achieve, so it's the best thing I can think of to wish for you.

This picture of our black lab Sweetie was taken on Christmas morning. She's getting a bit gray around the muzzle, but she still knows the joy of playing with her squeaky toys just like she did when she was a pup. She likes to play catch and she loves to fetch. She knows what peace is. We should all be so lucky!

Cross-posted at Dragon Lady's Den

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

Despite what has been an unusual Christmas season for me, and a heavy heart/mind this year, a friend reminded me late last night of love and joy! Christmas is here!

If you find yourself wanting Christmas stories that don't involve red-nosed reindeer, longhaired yaks, yams for dinner, or the bustle of crowds with every discussion about Christmas, take a trip over to Cathouse Chat and enjoy Kat's "Carnival of Christmas!" You can probably find yam recipes and there are stories about the Christmas rush, but there is some good reading there.

Our own Gayle was selected as "Pride of Place" this year for her Christmas posting, and given top billing. Congrats to you, Gayle, for a touching and remarkable story.

Jennifer and I are both humbled by the selection of our Christmas pieces to be included in the Carnival as well. Those pieces are here, of course, but they can be found under "Christmas Meditations" at Cathouse Chat. Jennifer, thank you for your posting and I hope your travels remain safe!

This time of year brings about rushing around shopping, baking, stress, love, joy, happiness, some grinchiness, and about every emotion one can experience. Take a few minutes and enjoy the work Kat did this year in continuing a Christmas tradition on her blog.

To all who may wander in here today and tomorrow, please accept the wishes from everyone here at Conservative Convictions for a safe, happy, warm, amazing, perfect, and fascinating Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Lost and Christmas Found

UPDATE - Dec 24,08: This post has been honored with a "Pride of Place" award by Kat who is hosting "Carnival of Christmas", a huge collection of great Christmas posts. That my meager offering won this honor - along with another post by Hoosier Army Mom for her post "The Men and Women of the Armed Forces" is a tremendous honor! Thank you so much, Kat!


We who celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th know who He is and I'm so thankful I know who He is. You see, I was raised by an Atheist father. I know my step-mother had been raised in faith, but she let my father have his way, so as a child Christmas didn't really mean very much to me after my mother died from cancer when I was seven. After all, I was only seven, so of course I blamed her death on God, and there was no one to dispel that notion until I went to stay with my grandparents for a year while my father dealt with his demons. I honestly can say that I have no childhood memories of Christmas except for one. Please don't feel sorry for me because I would truly hate that.

The year my mother died I remember Christmas because my father visited me and as a Christmas present he gave me my first bicycle. That's why I remember the Christmas of 1948. My mother died and I got my first bicycle. It didn't have anything to do with the birth of Christ. All other Christmas's from 1948 until 1958 have been wiped from my memory. There are many reasons for that, but the main reason is because I was truly miserable. I'm not going to go into the horrors of my childhood in any great detail, only to say that dealing with a verbally abusive alcoholic step-mother and an Atheist father who was gone most of the time somehow wiped my memory of those years pretty much off the slate, until 1957 when I met my future husband. I'm writing this on December 23rd, early morning on our 50th wedding anniversary, which seems surreal in itself. Fifty years! My word, the time goes by fast! Cherish your youth if you still have it, because it won't last long.

I have a very strong faith in our Lord, but I don't really know how I acquired it. It seems to be something that has always been with me. As a small child I felt the presence of God, and briefly lost that feeling after my mother died, but it came back soon thereafter, and when it did it was stronger than ever. I went to church whenever I could, but I had to go with a friend. My parents never attended church. Even with my faith in the Lord, I never put Christmas together with the birth of Christ. I don't know what I thought of Christmas because I seem to have some sort of amnesia. I suppose we had a Christmas tree and gave one another presents, but I don't remember. Perhaps I don't want to, but those Christmas's are lost, along with any birthday celebrations that may or may not have taken place. What ever the reason for the blank spots of my memory, I don't dwell on the past. I've always dwelt on the present and the future. The past is exactly that: The Past! The fact that I can't remember is probably a true gift from God.

I married a man who absolutely adores Christmas and knew about the reason for the season. I'm positive that my wonderful husband was sent to me by our Lord. When Walt came out of basic training at Ft. Ord, California, we were married in Los Angeles at City Hall the very next day and almost immediately got into his car and drove from LA to Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, where he was assigned for duty. I can tell you in all sincerity that I hated Los Angeles and detested my family, so when we left I felt that I had escaped the bowels of Hell. A strange thing to write on a Christmas post, but it's the truth. Many of you may wonder if I have forgiven my father and step-mother. The answer is yes. Absolutely! Nothing comes of carrying anger in your heart but the destruction of your own soul. To be honest, it took a long time, but I managed to forgive them both before they passed on. I do wonder sometimes if my father was surprised to discover he was wrong.

Christmas finally had meaning to me after our marriage. That first Christmas of 1958 was spent on the road driving across country to Ft. Belvoir, but even in a car with no tree and no presents, it was glorious! Every Christmas after that has been very special, but there is one that I will always remember more than any other. That is the one when my Lord sent my husband back to me alive and well from Vietnam. I'll never forget that wonderful and glorious gift, and never cease to thank God that I still have that gift! My husband is one of my life's greatest blessings. That was the Christmas of 1970.

Even though Christmas had no real meaning to me during my growing up years, it has been my favorite time of year for many years now. I learned the true meaning of Christmas and don't feel deprived in the least bit because of lost Christmas's of the past. On October 1st, 1941, my physical birth took place, but my real birth took place on December 23rd, 1958, a birth that I celebrate today. On Christmas Eve we will go to church to worship our Lord and celebrate His glorious birth, and in the morning we will do the traditional exchange of gifts, which we really don't need because we have each other, and that's the best gift either one of us has ever been given. I know I feel that way, and I also know my husband feels the same way because he tells me so almost every day.

I am so blessed!


(A Christmas Cactus Flower snagged from Born Again Redneck Bourgeois )

This post is cross-posted at Dragon Lady's Den.".

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Remembering Christmas

I remember as a child seeing pictures of the Magi from the east traveling across the dark deserts to see the Christ child in Bethlehem; those pictures colored drawings of men and camels gazing to the heavens in fascination at an enormous star glowing so bright as if it were reaching for the earth. The long tails stretching to the ground appeared to be God’s hand reaching down.

I remember many Christmas mornings from my childhood, although not really one in particular. I simply remember the coffee brewing and the excitement of my parents although in retrospect, and after being a parent myself, I realize that excitement was tempered a bit by the fact that they had played Santa and wrapped gifts until 200 a.m. The coffee certainly wasn’t the first pot of the day. I remember Christmas dinner which was always traditional, meaning it consisted of a menu of items that I didn’t really like. The entire family was present for those dinners, and that was the part my Mom loved the most.

One Christmas I do remember is because of a special gift I received for which I will be eternally grateful. I was about 10 years old, perhaps a year or two younger, and it was a tough economic time for many, much like today. A couple of years before I had been given an electric car, one of those toys that you plug in and charge for 12 hours so that a child can ride for about 30 minutes. I really liked that car, and took great care of it even at a young age. That year, my dad sat me down and told me that he wanted to give my car away. I was getting too big for it and there was a man he worked with who was having a tough time and wasn’t going to be able to buy any presents for his son. My dad wanted to give it to him so that his son could have Christmas.

I consented, reluctantly, and my car disappeared. Christmas morning made me forget it as there were new boxes and miles of colored paper that rapidly covered the floor. At the end of unwrapping, my dad pulled out a small package to be unwrapped. It was a gift from the man who had received my car. My dad opened it, and in un-Marine like fashion began to wipe his eyes which quickly became moist. Inside the wrapping was a little, brown, plastic horse with a cowboy. It was an inexpensive toy, probably fifty cents in those days, but has held a million dollars in importance to me to this very day. The note attached said that the gift was from a family that didn’t have much money and couldn’t compensate monetarily for the thing they had been given, but that love, respect, pride, dignity, and self-respect could not be measured.I don't remember the exact words, but this was how my dad explained it to me. He sent that cheap toy because we all have things to give; that we must always return the things that God had given as blessings, and that money was not important next to family and friends.

I wish I could say that I appreciated the lesson for the sake of the lesson, but I think that I appreciated the impact on my father – born during the Great depression, a Marine veteran himself of two wars, three children, and the daily efforts it takes to make men from boys. As I grew older I saw that toy every day in its prominent position on a shelf in my parent’s living room. Even today, 30 years later, I wind that horse at Christmas time and let him gallop for a short time to remind myself that what we truly have is love. To remind me that we are blessed with special people, not special things. Anyone can give a sweater or a football; to give someone love and admiration and to cherish what they offer is the real gift.

During the week of Christmas 1990 my brother and I were at Camp Lejeune, N.C. preparing to depart for Saudi Arabia. Several times that week our unit packed up and headed for Cherry Point, only to be returned to the barracks as our orders and priorities changed.

Christmas day saw a bunch of Marines sitting around a six-inch tree singing Christmas carols and praying. We knew what we were going to face - combat and miserable conditions for the foreseeable future - but the prayers were for families. Prayers that they would be comforted, and taken care of during the dark times. Prayers for them to be content, and happy, and to be able to anticipate our return and not be obsessed with the possibility that we wouldn't.

December 26th at dawn saw us loading an aircraft headed for the desert, and seven months of prayers that continued for families. I don't want to turn this into a discussion about Iraq, but for those who have never served with our warriors, they aren't concerned for themselves. They spend their days in combat zones worrying about their families. My biggest worry was not of death or injury, but in making a bad decision as a team leader that would cause one of my Marines to be injured or killed.

Within days, I saw first hand the stars that had guided the Magi to Bethlehem. Always an outdoors enthusiast, I was overwhelmed with the star filled sky and the amount of light that cascaded from the heavens. I may not have seen the Bethlehem star, but I did see the hand of God.

Those two Christmas memories are a little different. One is a reminder of how a fifty cent toy can mean more than a new car or a pony or an iPod ever could. The other, that we may find peace in the simplest of things. A brilliantly illuminated night sky showing me that peace and guidance were there for the taking, just when I needed it most.

In the intervening years I have asked for that divine guidance a number of times, and have been doing so for many days recently. Sometimes I heard the answer, sometimes not. Sometimes my mind is too cluttered or too determined to do it my way, even while I am asking for direction, that I don't hear the answer. The worst thing to know is that God is telling me to wait, that the time is not yet right for my answer to be revealed. I do know that God is there, he is listening, and sometimes just knowing that is enough.

Christmas is about giving, and giving is more than just something wrapped in colored paper purchased among crowds of people in shopping malls. It is about giving our hearts and even our very essence to something or someone on the outside. Sometimes it is giving something of yourself, with no expectation that it is even a gift. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the same is true for the value of things recieved. The best Christmas gift I have ever received was just this year, and the person who gave it to me paid nothing. It wasn’t so much intended for Christmas, but was given in the spirit of giving, just to give. The warmth of Christmas is spread not through wrapping paper, but simple conversations and the opening of hearts to let in new love and new possibilities. It is a time to renew old friendships and heal a rift with a neighbor. Pick up the phone and call someone you love that you haven’t talked to in years. Take an hour and speak to everyone on your Christmas card list. Drive your children to a dark place and let them wonder at the night sky. Let this be the year that they find their stars, or a little wind up horse.

I hope that this Christmas finds you in peace. Peace in knowing that you are loved and peace in knowing that others find peace in the love you give to them. Find peace in knowing that God gives without expecting in return, and loves without ceasing. May the celebration of the birth of Christ give you a boost into a new year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Christmas Post........

Christmas this year will be a little different than it usually is. By now, lights are on our house, lighting up the darkness, a tree is up with all the boys homemade ornaments, and the ones that we buy them every year as part of our Crispaldi tradition. I would like to say that the house is filled with smells of homemade cookies, but anyone that knows me, knows better than that. The house is decorated with garland and stuffed animals that sing when you touch them (you can tell the kids picked them out, if only to annoy us.) A manger scene sits in front of our tree and awaits the presents that will soon surround it come Christmas morning.

This year none of that happened. We will be spending Christmas down in Tennessee, (Pigeon Forge) in a log cabin, with my mom, and my sister and her family, who will be coming up from Texas. My sister has two boys that are Anthony and Nicholas' age, so I am sure they will have a lot of fun. We will be leaving today, so I wanted to get this post out because I am not sure how much opportunity I will have at a computer
. 10 days in a cabin with four rambunctious boys gives new meaning to "cabin fever."

Where I am eventually going with all this, is that however and wherever you spend your Christmas.....remember the true meaning of the season. It isn't about gifts, or egg nog, or the perfect Christmas tree, it's about celebrating th
e birth of Jesus. We always take time on Christmas Day, to sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus....okay it might sound a little corny, but it's our way of reminding the kids that there is so much more to Christmas than just the presents under the tree.

In the coming days, appreciate the simple things, most of us take for granted, this season. The fact that you are surrounded by those that you love, and you can celebrate knowing that you are safe, and protected. While we gather with friends and family, our soldiers are alone with only pictures and precious memories. Remembe
r those that are far away, missing their loved ones, risking their lives, so that we may celebrate however we may choose. Remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Wreaths Across America, has captured that Christmas spirit and have blessed those around them by carrying on this tradition.

"What started over 17 years ago, as one's man's dream to honor Veterans with Maine wreaths for the holidays, has become an annual event cherished by many. Humbled with a new understanding about the impact the Arlington Wreath Project has made, not only in honoring the dead, but recognizing the sacrifices of the living, Morrill Worcester - President of Worcester Wreath Company committed himself to doing more, by reaching out across the country." For more information click here.

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. I wish you a child like happiness that fills your heart with joy.

"The Christmas season reminds us that a demonstration of religion is always much better than a definition of it...especially in front of the kids."


I am sure many of you have read this poem before, but we can all use a reminder of what it costs to keep us free.

Merry Christmas, My Friend.

T'was the night before Christmas, He lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
To see just who in this home did live.

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, No presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
On a wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
A sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen,
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, and had to see more,
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
There he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
curled up on the floor in his one bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I'd pictured A U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
Owed there lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the nation the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month and all year,
Because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder, how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

He must have awakened, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, Don't cry, this life is my choice.
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more,
My Life is My God, My Country, My Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off to sleep,
I couldn't control it and continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.

So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.

Though it barely fit me, I swelled with pride,
For one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn't want to leave him, so quiet in the night,
This guardian of honor, so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over and in a voice clean and pure,
Said "Carry on Santa, It's Christmas Day, all secure."

One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and Good Night.

Written by....James M Schmidt
To see the story behind the poem visit here.

I couldn't decide which tribute I liked best, so I posted all three.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dear Santa

This is my Christmas wish list for America.

End legalized pre birth murder. Not only does it diminish us all in ways we don't seem to recognize to sanction the pre-meditated murder of the most innocent and defenseless among us, it has contributed to the unacceptably high incidence of fatherless homes and poverty (such as it exists in America).

Abolish the federal reserve system. Jefferson warned that such a system would ruin us financially, Andrew Jackson stopped federal deposits to and failed to renew the charter of the Second Bank of the United States. But along comes America's first fascist, Woodrow Wilson to implement the collectivist ideas of Marx and Engels (centralization of credit) using the currency panic of 1907 as an excuse.

In the same vein, return America to the gold standard. Richard Millhouse Nixon couldn't get Congress to fund the Vietnam war effort, so he abrogated the Bretton Woods agreement in order to print the money he needed. Together with boom and bust cycles caused by the central bank, the ability of the federal government to confiscate wealth by inflating the currency has imperiled us all financially.

End the failed regulatory schemes and programs of America's second fascist, the one that Mussolini so admired, FDR. The SEC, Social Security, FHA, FNMA, FDIC, farm subsidies, TVA, etc. The regulatory schemes have created a false sense of security and confidence that has led to some very poor decisions and prevented nothing from occurring that they were designed to protect us against. The programs have distorted the market and kept prices artificially high, benefiting a few, politically well positioned souls at the expense of us all. The current rage is Bernard Madoff and his self described Ponzi scheme, it pales in comparison to the world's largest Ponzi scheme, social security.

End the monopoly of public funds going to failed public schools (like the centralization of credit, another Communist Manifesto favorite). Even if an academic education for all children has been universally accepted (which it clearly has not, given the high level of drop outs and nearly unlimited funding) why should money continue to go exclusively to union dominated schools, whose primary and secondary purpose is the provision of full teacher employment and benefits? It's worse than a Halliburton no bid contract, because at least Halliburton got the job done!

Because Brother TP is going to write on LBJ's failed War on the Poor (What I call the War on the Black Family) I'll leave this until next Christmas.

Finally, Santa, please expose the global climate change mythology for the redistributionist, anti-capitalist, Malthusian tripe it is before it completely wrecks America. Roll back the corn subsidies that are incentivizing the destruction of our ecology and biodiversity and far from helping the environment through facilitating the production of ethanol, it has only caused the price of staple foods to increase around the world and raised the price of food across the board.

Oh, by the way, I think a Titans win in the Super Bowl would be good for America too.

A System Of Logic

Friends, if you embark on a journey to both read and understand the following words then I wish you success in that endeavor, but I think it to be pointless. The following is more personal than political, although it has a distinct relationship to political thought that I will tie together in a few days. I must admit that political thought has not occupied my mind for some days now, for personal matters have demanded a solemn period of introspection that has not yet been resolved. I welcome comments and thoughts from those who are far more clearly able to reason at this point, should you elect to opine. For those pure humanities people out there, don't presume this to be a dissertation on philosophy.

For my entire adult life, as a result of my upbringing and my training, I have been a relatively logical person. When confronted with a decision I analyze the options and consequences and then take the path that results in the most beneficial consequences a year down the road. Recently, I have found myself with situations that have given me a desire to obtain the immediate consequences; to change the paradigm by which I have long made decisions and to discard the shackles of previous decisions. For the moment the best analogy that I can relate is that I set sail on a particular course and at some point I realized that while my objective has not changed, I had perhaps taken the wrong route and have never wavered from that heading. The question therefore becomes whether I change the course, encountering much more turbulent waters before I reach the calm seas of peace and tranquility, or do I press on in hopes of a change in wind that gives the current course fair skies and smooth seas?

That question begs that I pause to consider the framework of my personal decision making and how as humans we act based on circumstances. Socrates asked “How should I live?” The question results in many answers, for everyone has an opinion. How should I think? How should I act? Are my actions influenced by the desire to conform, or ar they true to my essence?

I believe that it was J.S. Mill who proposed the “Regularity of Sequence”; that is, people will take action based upon human history, their personal history, and other factors such as their upbringing. In Mill’s time it was known as the “Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity” and posits that whatever action a man takes, it is the only action that he could have taken. His contention is:

Person A, having disposition X, confronted by situation Y, will act Z.

It can be seen, perhaps, that this is an attempt to relieve man of responsibility for his actions because there is little that can change an inherited pre-disposition (through upbringing, history, or religious teachings perhaps) and that man will predictably act in certain ways. My intention is not to take this line of thought but to apply it to changing circumstances. The Regularity of Sequences is not a law; when X+Y=Z is stated, it should be accompanied by ceteris paribus, or “all other things being equal.” As even the course of large aircraft carriers are affected by winds, the actions of man are affected by changing conditions.

I freely admit to being the personification of the X+Y=Z model. I have constantly applied a personal belief system that frames my thoughts and decisions. To this point in my life, that box has been a comforting presence on my table. When something happens, I open the box, organize the facts inside, and close the lid. When I again open it the decision has been made because it fit inside. This particular model is not working for me at this point.

My next question is to the moral relativism between two principles. My own upbringing has taught self-sacrifice for the higher good. This can be admirable, for without that particular ethos then we would have no Audy Murphys of WWI or Captain Brian Chontoshs of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who placed their own lives in jeopardy for the sake of others. For sci-fi buffs, it is Mr. Spock’s famous “The good of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one.” When straying from this absolute principle, it begs the following questions: Is there a lack of morality in all selfish decisions? Are morality and selfishness mutually exclusive?

Recently a situation has presented itself that doesn’t fit in that box. It isn't so much that there is an outside influence acting upon the situation (Y), as it is a change in my disposition (X). In my personal history, rain meant a few things. As a Marine, the rain meant a favorable environment for combat operations. As a law enforcement officer, it meant a long night drenched from working traffic accidents. As a manager, it meant that my suit is going to get wet and I will look badly at the next meeting. They were all negative connotations! Today I want to embrace the rain because it is raining, and nothing more. Instead of focusing on the end game, or the next year in framing a decision, I wish to discard the entire box and reach for a ring without fear of the consequences. I have realized of late that I have never gambled with my life. I don’t mean gambling my very physical existence, as a Marine and a law enforcement officer I have done those things more times than I care to repeat. I mean gambled with the intangibles, taking a risk to see if there is a place that transcends the simple, yet to this point sufficient, gratification of being responsible and acting based on the greater good of others. I want to forget that the greatest fear I have is failure. I have been driven to succeed in an attempt to avoid failure, not driven to succeed because I have a great love for something. I have this overwhelming urge to change that sooner rather than later.

So by now you are asking one of three things – Has he been consuming an illegal substance? Is he planning a casino heist in Atlantic City? Perhaps both? I assure you, there is no truth to any of those. At this point I am trying to determine if there is a good served by living within the established framework that has existed my entire life, or if there is merit in changing my disposition to make decisions. Perhaps my priorities have changed from self-sacrifice for a greater good to a need to find my own essence. Perhaps the greater good, in the long term, actually melds with a legitimate self-interest in the situation.

Socrates also said to “Know thyself.” Perhaps the self I know has been on an inflexible course for too long.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When writer's block happens? ... just type away ...

Part of the problem with the Blogosphere is the self-importance we bestow upon ourselves. Everybody wants to be heard or in this case, read. Everybody wants to write something relevant, of heavy content and that creates a viral impact that spreads out to all ideology corners of the planet. OK, maybe not everybody is like that, but jeez, don't you wish that at times you can just read something mindless and fun with a superfluous amount of cheese to go with it? Well they don't call me TP for nothing... I've earned that acronym well and I wear it proudly on my TP holder.

Here's a couple of things that I've thought about for a while, that while important (to me) doesn't have enough meat for me to fully cook up a posting. Feel free to duck at your discretion:

* Remember when Congress was crying for an "exit" strategy on the war on terror? or the war in Iraq? Great. But how come nobody ever demanded an exit strategy on the war on poverty and the war on drugs? Those two wars by themselves have been colossal failures yet we keep giving them "surges" every 2 years...... just sayin'...

* You want to save some serious dead presidents to our Federal budget? lets look at the bloated Bureaucracy that is the intelligence community in our country. Can anyone tell me why in the world the US needs 15 intelligence agencies? I was astounded but not surprised to learn there are 15 intelligence agencies (that we know of) in the Federal Government. Fifteen! This is the official Government site for the intelligence tree (http://www.intelligence.gov/1-members.shtml). I count 6 for the military branches, 2 for in-country law enforcement, 4 for cabinet level directorates and 3 for James Bond stuff. Call me stupid or naive but just looking at this list has me of the opinion that there HAS to be severe overlapping responsibilities here, .... am I alone on an Island on this one? I would love to see what percentage chunk of the Federal Budget these 15 prima donnas takes in.

Lets cut the fat. I am fully for a strong, prevalent and take-no-prisoners policy as to intelligence gathering ability. But this largess has been built through years of inter-agency squabbling, military branch rivalries and territorial peeing. Its time to start consolidating these agencies into real-world efficiency entities. You keep hearing of inter-agency bickering and turf-protection... are you kidding me? Are we not all on the same team? Are the military branches not in the business of working together in a wondrous ballet of cooperation? (I know, I know.. but you get my drift). Somebody CALIBRATE me on this please.....

* Why is it, that you have to take a test for everything in life? You have to test to drive, to get a contractor's license, to sell real estate, to practice medicine, to teach,.... you have to get tested for almost everything this country has to offer........ except for two things. One, you don't have to get tested or pass a test to procreate. you just boink away and voila! you are a parent, regardless of whether or not you are psychologically ready or not. Regardless of the fact that if you fail, chances are tax-payers will have to pony up to take care of his offspring -one way or another-. And two: You don't have to take a test to vote. Nothing. You can be as dumb as a bag of rocks, and have the IQ of a grapefruit and they will shove your butt into a van, indoctrinate you on who to vote for on your way there, wheel you into the polling station, strap the electronic pen onto your wrist and boom! Done. Imagine that. Two of the most noble and important things a citizen can be, a parent and a voter requires zero testing or preparation by the state.

* You ever wonder why almost every cop car and highway trooper / patrol has a supped-up V8 engine just chugging away at the gas gauge? Why is it that the Sierra Club or Tree Huggers Inc have not asked or demanded that all public safety vehicles be Toyota Prius's? I mean, this is the lifesaver of the planet, is it not? Imagine the savings on gas? on local, State and Federal budgets, on carbon emissions, on insurance premiums,... on safety and accidents! Why is there a deafening silence on this?... inquiring minds do wanna' know...

* Finally, ... Colin Powell, (in my humble and subjective prism of view) is just as much a political opportunist as the Clinton's, the Cuomo's and the Kennedy's (insert GOP opportunists here as well, I just can't think of any at the time of my writing). Every single ounce of respect I had for him,... is nearly gone. I don't hate him or loathe him; and his contributions to flag, Army and country are noted. But respect is something you earn, and have to keep earning. But I have to give him one smidgen of credit, for at least now, he is finally showing what he has been for 25 years. A phony in conservative clothing.

There... don't we all feel better now?... OK,... back to the important postings that really make a difference ...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Guest Post From Tao - Part II

To be American used to mean that a man was not judged by the wealth that he exhibited but rather by the standards that he brought to his work. It was more honorable to be considered a good honest person rather than a rich person.

We were once a people that lived with one another but now we have our poor in separate neighborhoods and our rich barricade themselves behind the gates of their country club communities.

We were once a place where your banker worked in an office at the bank and now all decisions are made in another city by someone who you have never met. Customer service and your extended warranty are outsourced to other companies and other countries.

“Our” schools are run by administrators who hide behind regulations and standards that they call “regulations.” “Our” teachers work for the unions and “our” school boards are professional positions who meet and cloak everything in rules, regulations, and procedures.

“Our” churches have grown bigger and more grand where the congregation number in the thousands and yet their influence on our day to day lives is becoming smaller and smaller.

We shop in stores where if you have a question and if you can find store staff willing to help then the most typical response you will get to your question is, “…I don’t know…I just work here…”

It seems that as we have lost control with our own personal lives we seem to have an increased desire to control the events in other countries. We have meddled in the affairs of other countries all over the world since the end of WWII and we have not learned one thing from all that meddling. Then one day we find that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked (the White House was the third target). Did anyone stop to think that these terrorists attacked the center of our economic power, the center of our military power, and planned to attack the center of our governmental power?

NO! All we thought was, “…how dare they attack us!” Not once did we bother to think that we have been meddling in their world for decades and they have only once attempted to meddle in ours.

Did you ever stop to think that during the election, John McCain announced that “....the foundation of our economic system was sound…” and then for the first time by any Republican acknowledged that the American worker was the foundation of our economic system. In one sentence he debunked 30 years of supply side economics.

In the last 30 years we have watched as massive Agribusiness concerns have pushed families off the land they farmed for generations. We have watched as mega box stores have entered our communities and put the family owned and operated retail establishments out of business. We have watched as locally owned manufacturing concerns were gobbled up by multi national corporations which traded these factories back and forth among themselves for tax and accounting benefits only to eventually move the operations overseas. McDonald’s has replaced the local diner as the place to socialize and eat. Thanks to blogs and social media we are “friends” with more people in the world but know less about the people that we live by and work with.

We gave up being Americans when we became fascinated with “bigness.” We wanted our companies and our economy to get bigger and bigger. We wanted our military to become bigger and more involved in everything throughout the world. Of course then government became bigger because it had to meet all the demands put on it by the people.

We became so arrogant in our bigness and the corresponding righteousness that we felt from being the biggest that we no longer remember what America was all about. We got involved in wars with ideology. We bullied the world in the name of freedom and democracy. We created an enormous amount of wealth for a few and a tremendous amount of consumer goods for all the rest…but now it appears that we have in fact created nothing but illusions.

We have found out that bigger is not better.

It is obvious that the concept of “Too big to fail” is an illusion. It should also be no illusion that this country is “Too big to fail.” There is nothing wrong with being big as long as you maintain the same values that you had when before you were big. We obviously lost our values along the way to gaining “the one and only superpower” status.

Now, we do not need to wait to elect change we can actually begin to implement change ourselves. Shop locally and buy “Made in the USA.” Find local providers of produce and buy baked goods from local bakeries. Find local service providers and use them rather than national chains. Move your banking to independent locally owned banks and or credit unions. Turn the television off once a week and the computer and take the family to the local library. Don’t go to church but rather have your family commit that time to a local charity or cause. Go to the next school board meeting and ask them a very simple question, “..why is this school so far behind the national average…” or better yet, “…why is my kid so stupid?” Then demand an answer because we have to start locally to demand accountability and no place is more local than school boards and city councils. Go to your local city council meeting and demand that all services contracted with local funds be given to local firms. Call this the beginning of an affirmation action program for Main Street. Look around your company, your church, and or your school system and see what goods and services they consume and demand that they be locally produced and or provided and that they be “Made in the USA.”

Will it cost more? Sure! But freedom is never cheap and this is definitely an issue of freedom. We have to free ourselves from big government and big business because they exist to support each other. We will never be able to overcome the interests of lobbyists or the desire of politicians for money and thus there is no other way to combat the ills that affect this country except by changing ourselves. We are not victims but rather we have victimized ourselves. If, as conservatives, we believe in the power of the individual and the concept of small government then lets do something about it and lets start now. It has nothing to do with philosophy or concepts but rather it has everything to do with each and everyone of us taking responsibility for our own actions.

I do not need elected officials or leaders to change things I can do just fine all by myself and I have been doing this since around 2000. I do not shop at Walmart but rather at local stores. I buy American every chance I get. I even invest in only companies that have plants in town, and are companies that I know quite well; .truthfully, I invest mostly in Treasury Bonds, Municipal Bonds, and my favorite, U.S. Savings Bonds. When my banker of 15 years told me he had to check with “corporate” I moved all my banking to a local community bank the next week.

That is why I do not buy into all the typical conservative slogans and it is why I do not get all worked up over Obama and all that. I know what it means to be an American and I know that my actions speak louder than any vote I could offer ever could.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Radio On Saturday!

UPDATE: Jenn and I were on the show for about 50 minutes, and it was a very interesting experience! Our thanks to Ken and Oliver for having us on and giving us a forum to talk about our place here and conservatism in general. I don't think we broke any barriers, but it was fun! My personal thanks go to Jennifer for being a trooper...she came down with the flu yesterday but was determined to carry the torch...The link is below to listen, and it will be good until 1:00 pm EST, Tuesday. After that, go to The Liberal Lie for playback.

Just a little reminder that Jenn and I will be appearing on The Liberal Lie radio on Saturday at 10:30 am EST. This show is fun, light, and quick moving. We are both excited about the chance to get our voices and views out beyond this space.

Go there a few minutes early and register for the chatroom, where you can interact with the show if you don't want to call in, but since we thrive on interaction on the blog, we certainly will on radio!

If you miss the live broadcast, it will be archived on the BTR site within minutes of the show concluding. Click over there and listen to the first half hour or so...

We have all been a little slow this week due to the busy time of season, but don't go away, check out the radio show, and stay tuned in the near future for appearances by T-P and Craig, and even Gayle and Sam if they can break away from life for a few minutes...

A Guest Post From TAO - Part I

Sometimes you have to look around at the world you find yourself in and you just cannot help but wonder, “...what is going on?”

Just a few short months ago our economy was just chugging along and now when you look around not much looks different but you are now seeing everything from a different perspective. In a matter of months our economy went from being strong and robust (Paulsen, July 2008) to today where we find out that the core of our economic system is rotten and that we are most likely on the verge of a depression. Oh, and it was announced this week that we have actually been in a recession for almost a year (I am not really sure what kind of data the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department, and or all these economists study but it sure is out of date by the time they get to it if it takes them a year to figure out a recession!). The only real difference between a recession, which most of us are familiar with and, a depression, which very few of us has any experience with, is that the situation is similar except that during a depression you also have deflation.

There are homes empty on your street where once families lived and this is due to the economy. It is not something that affected certain communities but it is affecting all communities; it is just not as obvious of an event in some communities as it is in others.
Between the subprime mortgage fiasco, the absurd mortgages that were proposed, and or the economic downturn many more Americans will lose their homes.

Our children are also beginning to drop out of college because their parents cannot afford the cost of tuition. I am not real sure that our economy can truthfully generate enough jobs, even in the healthiest of times, to justify all the college graduates we turn out in a year but I do realize that without college graduates we sure are not going to be able to create anything.

If you really look at our middle class today, you see people who work very hard and are very capable. But they are fearful for their jobs. They are putting off having children just due to the sheer cost of raising children. They are taking part time jobs or working for temporary agencies just in an effort to stay economically viable. Yet, they cannot seem to achieve anything without credit. As I drive to the office everyday I cannot help but notice that most of the newest businesses that have opened up over the last five years are payday loan centers and rent to own stores.

None of which represents wealth but in actuality represents poverty. In the month of November we lost the most jobs in one month than we have lost in any one month in the last 34 years. Our only gains, in regards to jobs, occurred in schools, government, and health care. All of which are dependent on the government to a large degree for their income.

We need to realize that this economic meltdown began with the speculation in real estate. Ten years ago you could not find a home valued at $500,000 now we have gated communities where the lots alone cost $200,000. With the development of interest only loans any weekend handyman could begin to “flip” houses on the weekend and make big bucks. It’s no different than in the days of the internet bubble when anyone with a couple of hundred dollars could get on the internet and trade stocks during lunch time. You didn’t need to know anything about the stock market, you didn’t need to know anything about the companies whom you were trading their stock; the market always went up.

I was getting telephone service from WorldCom and every month the bill was getting less and less and every month there was another special to save me hundreds of dollars and every month their stock was hitting new levels.

Enron was breaking records with its income but yet under everything they were a utility company and for the most part utilities are a regulated sector.

If you are constantly building homes, remodeling homes, or selling homes for a higher and higher price you need to constantly find more people to sell to if the scheme is to continue.

Our automakers are on the ropes but do not fear, so are all the foreign automakers; I wonder how many millions of their cars are sitting on the docks at our ports. No one is selling cars right now.

Less than six months ago our economy was just fine. Now we have watched our stock market lose almost 50% of its value, we have watched real estate prices plunge and will continue to do so. Next we will see companies folding, those companies that need short term loans to make payroll every week, then those companies that used low interest rates to expand their facilities and then in a short time the REITS will begin to fold under the over leveraged positions they find themselves in.

Then it will be credit card debt that will fold and take down the very same banks that are being bailed out right now. In 2007 banks earned 18 billion dollars in late fees on credit cards debt alone. Trouble is they can call it income but it is only a fee until such time it is collected. In 2009 they will charge all the fees they want but until someone actually pays their bill that income is an uncollected receivable.

Now, conservatives can continue to point at government and blame them, the liberals can point at the rich and blame them but the reality is our government and our economy no longer represent the values of the people of this country. It is not about the values of our Founding Fathers, or of our religious beliefs, but rather the core values that have made this country great.

Our government and our economy lost those values because we lost sight of the importance of our values to our lives. We got wrapped up in dogma of the political parties, we got blinded by the reward of supply side economics, we got cocky about being the “winner” of the battle of superpowers, and we became distracted by issues such as abortion, and gay marriage. As the liberals watched “MSM” which discussed all of the negative news the conservatives hovered over Rush Limbaugh and Fox News who lambasted everyone else and glorified their listeners and viewers for being the “true” patriots.
Some place along the way we forgot what it meant to be Americans. We lost sight of the fact that Americans were liberals, and conservatives. That Americans were the rich and the poor, the gay and straight, the pro life and the pro choice. Someplace over the last 30 years we lost sight of the fact that society, government, and an economic system all exist for one purpose and one purpose only: “…of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Guest Post From Ken....Baracks's Night Before Christmas

A fantabulous guest post written by Ken at The Liberal Lie, The Conservative Truth


Twas just days before Christmas and all through the land, liberals were celebrating the election of their man.

His name was Barack the libs favorite son, they just worshipped this guy and called him, "the one."

He hailed from Hawaii or Kenya or both, the left didn't care they just gave him their vote.

With change as his motto and no substance at all, this guy came from nowhere and they gave him the ball.

Now he has signs which say, "I'm Prez -Elect," he's picking and choosing from rivals to select,

those that work with him as he takes up the reigns, of an office in DC which can be a strain.

Nancy and Harry are up on the Hill, chuckling and dancing, which gives me a chill.

"We've got full control and we think it just swell, though the people who come here surely do smell."

"We'll push through our socialist plan every day, with our messiah, Barack leading the way !"

But wait just a minute, "the one," changed his plan, he's picking some people who differently stand.

He says to Bob Gates, " I want you to stay, since defense in now working we'll keep it that way."

The left is now fuming and feeling betrayed, but don't worry guys you'll still get your way.

You see he's got Hillary and Joe, Eric and Bill, they think as he does from the left with a shrill.

Don't forget Bubba with his wife now at State, he'll find blonds and brunettes to add to his slate.

Barack's in Chicago meeting the press, with his wife named Michelle finding an Inaugural dress.

He stands at his mike with a sign he made up, just telling his minions, "I'll give you a full cup."

"Filled with programs and goodies and government deals, paid for by those with more earnings, those heals !"

"I've got bailouts and credits and loads of green cash, whose mortgage is paid for by those we will tax."

"I'll talk to Iran, Hugo and Castro, we'll sit at a table they'll call me their Bro."

"The UN will be the foreign policy guide, and terrorist need no longer to hide."

"The courts will take over not guns, men and tanks, the troops will come home and give ME their thanks."

"Their mission will be left not finished and undone, but I'll still claim victory and tell you, I'VE won."

"The troops will complain about their relief, but who gives a rip I'm Commander in Chief !"

Barack will soon to Washington go, with plans and agendas taking him to an fro.

They'll dance and they'll sing on inauguration day, but surely our history might show him the way.

When he sees each great icon of George, Abraham and Tom, standing in awe in Washington town.

I pray that the influence these giants created, will give him a pause and he'll see he's overrated.

The greatness of men who have led us through time, may hopefully give Barack the wisdom of mind,

to see that our freedoms came not from the Gov, but from a an idea whose framing was made through strong love.

For a country where everyone achieves and believes, in making our way in this land of the free.

If this happens when Barack takes command, then maybe we'll have bright hope in our land.

If not then the struggle in keeping us free, will reside in the power of you and of me.

In making this guy who thinks Gov is the key, accountable and answerable to each who are free !

If we do then this Christmas of two thousand and eight, will be one in which we the people do great.

In keeping our land from the socialist bug, and fighting for freedom in this land that we love.

Telling this guy who thinks he's the light, Merry Christmas to all, and our country's still RIGHT!!

What Color is the Conservative Flag?

We thought this to be an interesting post with some interesting comments, and thank those who have written for their participation. We are leaving it on top for a couple of more days, so please not only read and respond, but keep scrolling for new material!


Lately, we have been talking about certain tenets or beliefs dealing with government and civics that all factions and wings of conservatives can rally around. So what are those things? What are these pillars of conservatism that we all agree upon, regardless of where we are in the ideology spectrum?

I took this question to the esteemed members of this Blog. Each of us have our own Blogs, our own life-experiences that have influenced how we view conservatism; I can safely say we each have a particular view within the conservative tent that appeals to us more than others.

I chose four as the number. Four is an architectural commoner for me, as it implies symmetry, cohesion and basic support; pillars of foundation for lack of a better visual. I think we as believers of a conservative philosophies can express at least four items to imprint into a universal conservative platform. At the very least, its a good start.

I volunteer to step on the Elephant dung first. My choices, not in any way prioritized, are as follows:

* Smaller Government: Can there be a bigger Elephant (pardon the pun) in the room? If this is not the one banner to unite us, then we cannot be united. But what is small? Size of bureaucracy or size of budget? I will keep it simple just to get to my next one. I will pick budget. I recommend a Constitutional amendment that will limit federal spending to no more than 15% of GDP (excepting bona fide national emergencies). That's a full 5% more than God himself demands from his flock. I'm being generous.

* Non-foreign intervention: This is a sticky one, but I am not saying cutting the military unnecessarily. I am saying, eliminate wasteful weapons systems that will NEVER come to production, stop being the world cops for every little event that happens and calling for an end to being protectors of the European Union. We send the Marines abroad only when there is indisputable proof and blatant evidence that by not conducting pre-emptive action that it would cause grave and imminent harm to the United States. Liberating countries and spreading freedom through military means is a liberal bastion of thought. Where the hell it got into the conservative platform is beyond me.

* Free-but-equal trade: This is not a sexy choice, but I think there is no larger item that directly affects the economic model of a conservative country. We tear up every single NAFTA, CAFTA, CRAP-TA agreement we have and make new agreements with everybody. You subsidize your industry? so do we. You have cheap labor, sorry, our consumer goods have to rise a bit but we don't bleed our jobs overseas for the sake of 10% savings on our I-pods. I am simplifying of course, but you clearly see where my sails are blowing here. This goes somewhat cross-grain to my open market belief, but like all things, none can live in a vacuum.

* We celebrate conservation of the land: What? you say... are you talking environment? Isn't that a liberal stronghold? Yes it is! and I don't know why! Look, I am not for taking over large swaths of land by Fiat the way Teddy Roosevelt did, but the Genie is out of the bottle on that. Conservatives let liberals steal this prime item by using the land when convenient (oil, gas, lumber and coal industries) but looking the other way at clean water issues, air quality, and keeping our lips shut when the Exxon Valdez went "ooops" up in Alaska. Conservatives should conserve! Conservatism moves slowly and methodically towards change. That is natural to us. Who says we have to be business developers 100% of the time? Can we at least get a dialogue here?

OK, who is next?


Okay, I guess it's my turn. I'll stick with the theme and do my four most important conservative principles. Not in any particular order I will now type who is safe.......oh sorry, I've been watching too much Dancing With The Stars.....

* Small Government -
I agree 100% with T-P on this subject, although I will take it a step further and say both bureaucracy and budget. I want the government involved in social issues, health care, education, etc. as little as humanly possible. Let me decide what is right for me and my family, not some out of touch with reality politician. When we put politicians in charge we are basically saying that they are more honest and capable of making decisions and nothing could be further from the truth. Stop the irresponsible spending, especially on bailouts that they have no business interfering with, in the first place.

*Preserving the Constitution -
The Constitution of the United States is the cornerstone of our American government. Our forefathers developed the Constitution to set limitations on what government is allowed to do and establish our freedom. It has done so quite effectively for over 200 years and they would be appalled if they could see how liberalism is chipping away at it's fundamental principles.

*Individual Freedom
and Empowerment - There is power in knowing that it is up to us to determine how we live our lives. It is our duty and responsibility to protect and defend individual's freedom and rights granted to us by the Constitution. Individual Freedom has empowered people throughout the years and they have accomplished many great things because of it. We want to be free, to choose our own destiny, to make our own choices and to have the power over our own mind, body, lives, and soul.

*States Rights - We desperately need to give the power and responsibility back to the states, especially in regards to education. All states are different and need to be treated as such. One policy that might make a lot of sense in Alaska, might not work so well in New York. We need to remember that the government did not create the states, the states created the government. Too many have forgotten that important fact! One size fits all may be great for sweatshirts but in government it just doesn't work. The Tenth Amendment states.......

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


Since I haven't yet been voted off the island here at CC, I will press on and add what four items on which I believe the conservative philosophy should rest. This is easier for me since T-P and Jenn have already served as guinea pigs.

* Respect for the original intent of the framers of the Constitution. Distinctly different from strict constructionism, originalism is the theory of interpretation that relies upon the framer's intent. The articles within the Constitution are both broadly written and narrowly defined. The Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial does not specify the definition of speedy, but the Sixth Amendment does specifically guarantee the right to counsel for a trial.

It is important that the intent of the founders be respected if the document is to remain viable. Adding new rights and eliminating old ones are not within the purview of courts. The courts were constructed so that the Constitution would be applied to federal and state decisions, not to be the creator of phantom law.

* Respect for states rights. Jenn covered this one, but as usual we are of like mind. I need not discuss the concept here, as it is evident in the text of the Constitution that the federal government was to be limited to specific areas of concern, and the other areas left to the individual or to the states. A prime example of the intrusiveness of the government into state affairs is the condition of education in this country. The Constitution does not give the fed the responsibility of educating children, therefore the education standards should be written and enforced at the state level. It is how citizens can actually control the outcome of the affairs of the states, as local control is far more effective and responsive to citizen desires and concerns.

* Capitalism. In his first inaugural address in 1801, Thomas Jefferson said "A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government."

I am not sure anything else need be said.

* Strength and Integrity of the nation. Alexis de Tocqueville stated "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."

America's integrity is in question. Not because of the war in Iraq, and not because we seek to eradicate those who would attack us. It begins at home, where about 1 in 5 people have a healthy disrespect for the very legislative body that rules with an iron fist so many aspects of our lives. Our government, as individuals, acts selfishly with only the thought of today. How can the decisions of our federal government around the world be respected when her own citizens do not have confidence in the very people for whom they vote?

Conservatives must define the role of the United States in the world, for the reality is that as America goes, so does the world. It can be seen in this current economic downturn which is affecting the entire world population. The economic situation didn't start in North Korea or Somalia or the United Kingdom. It began in America because of irresponsible lending practices by banks that were not regulated by government. It is our own domestic actions that cause doubt and lack of confidence in America.

There you have it, short and to the point. Will they let me stay here another week?


What am I trying to conserve? When I look at the world, even the history of the world, what we have in America is unprecedented and unique. Imagine going to a room at a convention center in any city in America and sitting with 2 or 3 dozen other people and its up to you to form a new nation. You have just come through a period of abuse and oppression at the hands of a monarch. Older relatives have told you stories of how they fled their homeland because of religious persecution. Some of the people in the room with you own other human beings and treat them as chattel. What are your priorities, what do you insist upon, what points do yield and what informs your decisions?

Imagine being able to access the words and thoughts of people throughout history through youtube videos. You could watch History Channel depictions of past civilizations and determine what worked and what didn't work. If you had the works of great philosophers and thinkers who had studied these questions long before you, what would you find? What would be your priority? The absolute essence of who we are as Americans, what draws the rest of the world's citizens to our shores, legally, illegally, by stowing away on a ship, by milk cartons and inner tubes tied together with shoe laces launched into shark infested waters, by H1 visas and through asylum, by charter or military transport, by hook or crook is freedom from the tyranny of government. Whether it is the stifling tyranny of Eurosocialist regulatory and entitlement schemes or the dictatorship of a Zimbabwean thug, their people want to come here. Whether it is the oppression and corruption of the ejido system or laws in Mexico that don't permit dark skinned Indians to migrate to the cities or a People's Republic that can't feed its people in Asia, they want to come here. But why?

It is rumored that Thomas Jefferson was unhappy with a couple of the revisions to his original writing of the Declaration of Independence. Principle among the changes he objected to was changing the wording of that famous phrase "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Hapiness." It is rumored that he originally wrote what he took from John Locke's Two Treatises of Government, Life, liberty and the pursuit of property. Jefferson understood and believed what Locke wrote. He knew that the key to freedom is the ability to own and dispose of property as you see fit (property and contract rights). Jefferson hung around long enough to eventually become president, of course, but also to participate in the Constitutional convention. In the 5th and 14th Amendments, you will find in the due process clauses of those amendments the phrase, life, liberty or property.

Property rights secure our freedoms (religion, speech, right to bear arms, assembly, etc,) and protects us from the tyranny of government. As it turns out, it is also the key to our prosperity and anywhere you find prosperity in the world, you will find either tyranny or property rights and since there can be only so many tyrants, to me the essence of classical liberalism, conservatism, what I want to conserve, is free exchange secured by property rights. The strongest critique of John Locke was by Karl Marx who in his Communist Manifesto said "the theory of communists may be summed up in a single sentence: Abolition of private property." How does one "spread the wealth?" Through the abolition of private property.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Revolutionary Spirit

A Good Idea For All Of Us! Courtesy of TAO at A Radical Perspective.

Since Christmas is fast approaching I think it might behoove all of us to realize that WE can make a difference! So, remember this as you go out shopping:

"There are 293 million people living in the United States. If each one would shift $20 a month in spending from foreign made products to American made products, that would create 5 million new jobs."
---Made in the USA.com

So rather than waiting around for Washington to solve our problems or waiting around till 2010 to vote for the candidate that will represent our values let "vote" with our pocket book; lets start a revolution one person at a time!

Two great resources: Made In The USA and Still Made In The USA.

Lets purchase $20 worth of MADE IN THE USA goods for each and every person in your household and or each and every person on your Christmas gift list!

P.S. To all my blogging buddies please cross post this on your own blog (banners are available at http://www.madeinusa.com/ and
http://www.stillmadeinusa.com/ it is the patriotic thing to do!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday Night Panel Chat - Economics

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Radio Appearance By Jenn and Robert!

We are humbled to be invited as guests on a BlogTalk Radio show next Saturday, December 13th at 1030 a.m. Eastern time. You can listen at http://theliberalslies.blogspot.com/
The BTR link will be at the top of the main column, and click on it to be taken to the show page. Go a few minutes early and register there, as there is a chat room that accompanies the show and you can interact with the show in chat, or you can call in just like regular talk shows.

Ken and Oliver over at The Liberal Lie are long time blog friends of both of us. In fact, it was through the blog over there that Jenn and I first met. Ken spotlights a new Blog Of The Month and Jenn's was highlighted one month, and I thought her title was intriguing - Jenn's Journey As A Conservative Chic - so I clicked over to find an interesting place on the net. I don't remember how long her site had been published, but neither of us had been there very long. It didn't take long and we were friends, each following the other's blog. Ken was a regular at both of our sites, and has already become a regular here. I have always valued his perspective, his words of support and encouragement, and CC is his current BOTM.

He has done a BTR radio show for some time, and has a nice following there. If you go to the BTR page from his page, then you can listen to archived shows. If you are hanging out Saturday morning, click over there and listen to Jenn and I muddle through this interview. It will be good practice, because we have already talked about a Conservative Convictions show of some type.

In the coming weeks, Ken wants to get the entire CC group on as guests, either individually or all together, and I promise interesting interviews and fun radio. As always, we enjoy your support and following, and the knowledge that you guys have taken ownership of this place too. Without you, we are just a few odd people typing to ourselves...Please join in the radio broadcast. Our part will be about 30 minutes at 1030.

Almost forgot - Don't go hunting Jenn's Journey. Jenn abandoned that site to create her Palace For A Princess. Our loss, because she had some amazing things there.