Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Guilty as charged

Awhile back, I wrote about my being a centrist and I still think that label might be big enough to fit; it may be a bit snug at times but if I had to have a label (which I don’t!) then centrist would be the one. From the center, you can embrace (or reject) both the left and the right. But, enough of labels! Labels are a lazy person’s way of sorting and identifying all of the people we have some little knowledge of and I am guilty of doing just that. Conservative, right wing, liberal, left wing, commie, pinko, fascist, etc. Everyone gets a label. Yet, I am none of those by strict definition. I am all of those by practice

Do we label the people we know very well? I would say, rarely. I know that some of my friends and relatives would seem, at first glance, to fit within the confines of a label, but I know them and I know that they have other attributes that make them too big for a label.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to be labeled anymore. I refuse. Call me what you want; it’s your loss, not mine. There is more to me than a label. Accepting a label constrains me, makes me smaller. Think about it; are you a conservative? Is that really you? Isn’t there more about you that I should know? You say that you’re a liberal? What does that mean in your life? In your everyday life?

Just like fingerprints and DNA, there are no two alike. God doesn’t have an assembly line. We are all unique in His eyes and He loves us. I should strive to be more like Him. And there’s the rub…they say that the devil is in the details and so it is. Striving is easy to say but darn difficult to do. I can see myself getting into ethical difficulties as I allow no labeling of myself but am quick to label others. Ouch!

Monday, August 30, 2004

Here is something I spotted early this morning...

"We absolutely need to invoke Sept. 11 in the convention. This election will determine how we fight a war on terror that began right here in this city."RICHARD AGUILAR, a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

Mr. Aguilar is wrong. This election is about trust. The war will go on no matter who is in charge. The election is about whom we trust to prosecute that war. The man who masterminded the horrific events of September 11th is still a free man and the war on the people of Afghanistan and Iraq goes on.

And Mr. Bush's campaign communications director, Nicolle Devenish, said in an interview: "Those who support the president are inside the Garden. Those who are opposed to the president's policies are protesting outside the Garden."

And that is as it should be…Protest is as American as apple pie. That is what this nation is all about. Those who insist that I support the president as some form of patriotism have little understanding of patriotism or democracy. And I might add that it is those knee jerk conservatives that scare me the most!

And if you want a good view of the convention(s), check out Dan Walters column for this morning, in the Sacramento Bee...


Sunday, August 29, 2004

Rough Rider

I have been reading a biography of Theodore Roosevelt (Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris) and I must say that the author has convinced me that “Teddy” was a president that I would have disliked intensely had I been present during his time in history. He was a politician first and foremost, and all of his actions involved a great deal of thought about how they would appear to future generations. He never did anything or made any decision without weighing the political liabilities involved in his decision. The effects of his decisions on other humans were never considered. He was constantly writing notes “for posterity” as he tried to make certain that history would treat him well. I realize that I am making these statements and forming judgments based on the reading of just one book, but the fact that the author quotes “Teddy” quite often, makes it easy for me to do this. His own words convict him.

I keep a copy of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights on my computer and I like to refer to them at times. Why? Because so many politicians, like “Teddy”, abuse these documents in the name of patriotism and it helps to have a reference that you can trust.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A time for everything

We moved to Orland in June of 2004. It has now been close to 3 months since that time and I am not yet completely familiar with my new surroundings, but I am learning to see beyond the superficial.

We live in a large house on a busy road; busy as defined by Orland standards. Since the house is so large, we don’t hear much of the outside noise and so the house is comforting in its silence. From our vantage point in the kitchen, where we can usually be found, we see our small backyard, a pool and a fence surrounding it all. Over the fence we can see the tops of all the trees in our orchard and beyond that, more trees. The view is all shades of green and a blue sky, with an occasional white cloud streaking the horizon.

The fence reminds me of the palisades that might surround a fort in the wilderness and I sometimes spot movement through the gaps in the boards. What was that? Someone sneaking up on our fort? No, it was just a bird.

If we go out to the front of the house, our view now includes the distant mountains that make up the Mendocino National Forest. Closer, a 20 acre parcel is directly across the road from us and there are cattle grazing on it, usually no more than 20 or 30 of them. We can hear the cows calling to their calves. To the north of us, an old farmhouse and barn sits vacant, the owners now live down the road a ways, but they keep the lawn mowed. A herd of small horses graze on the land. To the south, our view is of our neighbors land with a coral colored hedge of trees in full bloom.

I should point out that we have lived in lots of places in California; from San Diego (where I was in “boot camp”) to Janesville, in the far Northeast corner of California. We grew up in Los Angeles and Manhattan Beach, we moved to the San Fernando Valley and then to Ventura County. We spent a short time in Orange County before leaving Southern California forever in 1977. After leaving Lassen County, we spent 16 years in Roseville.

I guess we know a lot about a little bit of this state and now we are learning some more. And what I enjoy here in Orland is the pace of life. Not because it’s slower or less frantic than that of the Roseville area, but because the pace reflects the lives of the farmers. Agriculture dominates every life here. The growing and harvesting seasons determine what we do every day. God’s handiwork is evident everywhere!

And I can’t help but wonder what a young, urban, professional person from Roseville would think of this life?

I wrote of the busy road out in front and I see harvesters and tractors, trucks hauling almonds and trucks hauling hay. Each day, as the season progresses, the traffic changes to reflect what is being grown and harvested. I anticipate that the road will become quieter and the traffic will ease as fall arrives and the last of the crops are shipped away before winter arrives.

I like it here.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Where are the heroes?

Where are the real heroes these days? Where is Smedley Butler when you really need him?

“The hair on the back of my neck stands up when any government says a thing needs doing to protect the 'national interest': The vast majority of War is just a racket. I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight.

The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. When it only garners 75 %, then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. Before you know it, "investors" are getting a 200 % return and we have trashed another culture and raped another country of its resources, under the flag of Democracy.”
Major General Smedley Butler of the US Marine Corps

Do you want to know some more about this guy? Try these websites…



Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Does this bother you? And if not, why not?

"And at a recent Bush-Cheney campaign event, audience members were required to sign a pledge to support President Bush before they were admitted."

Monday, August 16, 2004

Deja Vu all over again


Take this link (above) to get a real taste of just how history repeats itself. Didn't someone, say something, once upon a time about the folly of not paying attention to the lessons of history?

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Early morning wisdom?

It’s almost 5:30 so I will take a look outside and see if the newspaper has arrived. Well, one of them was on the driveway; the Sacramento Bee. And here’s my opinion on a few things that I read.

The first article that I noticed was one on the use of new technology to catch more people illegally parked and to allow the police to “boot” more cars for unpaid parking tickets. They have equipped some vehicles with infrared cameras and GPS units and these expensive modifications allow quick searches of the police databases. More tickets and more revenue are the results. Now what if they spent their money on creating more parking spaces instead of policing the few they have? Sounds smart to me! But, hey…I’m just an ordinary citizen, who would listen to me?

An article that caught my attention briefly was another one about arnold, our acting governor. There was no substance to the article; there never is when arnold is the subject. It’s hard to believe that you can fool so many people at the same time, but he has a knack for it. Perhaps it is because we live in a society that values fame instead of integrity.

And the article of greatest concern for me was the one on the fact that the government is going to create a new position, a national intelligence director. Of course there will be a whole new department to go along with this position. Certainly! You can’t expect the man (I’m sure it will be a man) to do his job without some staff to help him out. But wait, what is his job? I think it’s to take the intelligence that flows into the FBI and CIA and other assorted spy agencies and to make certain that it is shared by all the agencies. But can’t the agencies simply share what they know now? Can’t someone (perhaps the president?) simply tell these agencies that they have to share their data? Here's part of an article...
WASHINGTON - President Bush is urging the creation of a national intelligence director, but some lawmakers wonder whether the post he's proposed will have enough power to get the nation's 15 sometimes turf-conscious spy agencies working in concert.

Bush announced his support Monday for a national intelligence chief and a national center to plan counterterror operations in the United States and abroad. On Tuesday, the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will discuss the counterterrorism center and the House Government Reform Committee will hold hearings on how to reorganize executive branch agencies so they do a better job sharing information.

"All the institutions of our government must be fully prepared for a struggle against terror that will last into the future," Bush said Monday in the Rose Garden. "Our goal is an integrated, unified national intelligence effort."

The two proposals Bush embraced were the key recommendations of a bipartisan commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"If Congress has the will, I believe we could enact intelligence reform legislation before we recess for the elections so that changes are in place before the year is over," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn. "That's an ambitious timetable. But I think it is justified, given that our country is under threat of attack."

Unbelievable! Why doesn’t someone just tell these bozos that they have to do a better job or they will be fired? Instead we will spend the money for a whole new government agency. Just imagine what the cost will be for the stationery alone. And they will need a new building so they can put an address on that stationery. And after all of that, what guarantee do we have that this new agency will work any better than the last 15? Would you like to bet some money on it? I will cover any bet you want to make! Now that I’m retired, I can use the extra cash.