Tuesday, September 5, 2017

DACA IS DEAD, CONGRESS IS CHALLENGED!

Today we found out that the DACA program is now dead, and that it is the duty of our congress to come up with a legal solution, not only for the dreamers, but for immigration policy going forward.  This is the way it should have been presented in the beginning.  Immigration policy is to be legislated, not ordered by presidential fiat.  Now we have impetus to get the whole damned thing right!
The presidential order that created DACA is flawed and unconstitutional.  If it went back again to the Supreme Court, it would be defeated by a 5-4 vote.  On June 23, 2016 the vote was 4-4, but with Mr. Gorsuch on duty now a victory would be insured.  Something had to be done, and President Trump has the backbone to do it right, for our citizens, for the dreamers, and for those who would want to come to our country legally.  It is about time!
Protests of his action abound.  In front of Trump tower there are protesters showing support for DACA, in front of the White house there is more protesting, and we will see more of this in the coming days.  There is fear that these people will be sent back to their original countries.  In a deeper sense, the protests are an extension of an oft used argument that our defacto open border policy will be ended by this President and Congress, which is interestingly enough just what the voters in the last election and the majority of Americans want. 

President Trump knows that immigration policy is a “hot potato” for Congress. He also knows that unless their hands are forced, this “do nothing” Congress will simply kick the can down the road.  Now they are forced to act.  For them to act reasonably, and put together a bill that the President will sign, it is now up to President Trump to give Congress direction.  Without specific direction from the President, Congress will fail, and none of us, including the dreamers want that to happen.  

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Alt-Right straw man?

In Charlottesville, the leftists greatly outnumbered the "America First" side.  In Laguna Beach last night, the "America First" right wing protesters were outnumbered forty to one.  With the total estimated headcount for both the protest and counter protest at 2500, that would mean that the "America First" crew would have been approximately 51 individuals.    This seems to be what happens with most of these rally's, with the left swarming violently over the opposition.

Who are these Alt-right groups that the left is most concerned about?  According to their signs, they are most concerned with the KKK and NAZI's.  Doing research, I found that reliable sources estimate that the KKK has between 5000 to 8000 members nationwide, mostly in southern states.  By contrast, The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that there are 99 Neo-Nazi groups nationwide.  The biggest is the National Socialist Movement with approximately 400 members in 32 states.  The other 98 groups are mostly local in scope and have less than 20 members each.  Doing the math, that would give them a maximum total of somewhere between 2,400 and 3,000 individual members nationwide.  Given these numbers, combining both these groups at maximum count would give them a reach with 11,000 members nationwide.

Now let's take a look at some of the most prominent protesters on the Alt-Left side.  Antifa is a group that we see at all these rallies, and there is no way to discern their numbers, being that they are so secretive that they even cover their faces in public.  What has been reported is that they have chapters in every major city in the USA and their numbers are growing.  If nothing else, we can guess that they outnumber the combined numbers of Neo-Nazi's and KKK members by a lot.

The next Alt-Left group that is very visible at these rallies are the BLM, or Black Lives Matter group.  Pew Research estimates that 41% of blacks strongly support BLM and it's methods.  There are approximately 41 million blacks in the USA, so BLM supporters are approximately 16,810,000 BLM supporters nationwide and growing.  That means that there are far more Alt-Left members in the country than Alt-Right members!

So why then is there so much press focusing on the KKK and Nazi's?  I wonder if it is simply to take our minds off of the rapidly growing far left side of our politics?  Maybe we are actually focusing on the wrong set of people?  BLM and Antifa are radical, violent groups that are growing and have numbers easily in the millions.  Shouldn't that be our focus?  Wouldn't they be the ones most likely to have a destructive effect on our society?  Is the Alt-Right simply a straw man?

Monday, August 14, 2017

From Mammoth to Reno......

RV Adventure-2nd part

We stayed in Mammoth for 2 days, and now we have relocated to a new RV park in Verdi, Nevada. Our intention is to finalize a decision on property in Dayton Nevada where we want to build our dream home.  We are looking at lot 126 in the Santa Maria Ranch.  The draw for us is where this lot is, right on the Carson river.  Great location with a view of the river, and no neighbors in back to obstruct our sight!
The Carson River flows through Santa Maria Ranch and this will be the view from the back of our house.

The property we are looking at appears to be better than we remembered.  We will be putting an offer in this week, and hopefully we will have a Nevada address in the next few weeks!  Pictures of the property can be seen below:


Once again we spent some time in Virginia City, and actually had people at our favorite bar (The Bucket of Blood) decide that they thought we were acceptable neighbors!  A couple of years ago when we first started looking, some of the same people labeled us "California Cockroaches"!  

On the road from Virginia City to Dayton, there is an unincorporated area called Gold Hill.  This is where gold was mined in the last century, and the major business there now is the Gold Hill Hotel and Saloon.
This hotel is the oldest in Nevada, opened in 1861.

These are still a few of the many remnants of abandoned mines all over the area.  
We stopped in for a drink and dinner, but the restaurant was full, so we settled on a glass of wine. The bar service was excellent, and we met a nice couple at the bar from New Zealand who were current guests at the hotel.
New Zealand couple with Becky one of the locals on the left.

The hotel is managed by 2 men from California that have permanently relocated to Gold Hill.  They live right across the street from the hotel.  They are doing a great job, with the hotel booked solid and the restaurant and bar continuously crowded.  Both locals and tourists have embraced this place, and it looks like they have given this old hotel a new lease on life!  We wish them luck with their business.
A wonderful couple we met, Kevin and Becky who live nearby and gave us a lot of great advice about living in Nevada.
A few of the many reasons we fell in love with the area is the eclectic combination of modern and preservation of the history.  On Main Street you feel like you've stepped back in time with buildings just begging to be brought back to life and restored to their former glory.  One such place is J's Bistro owned by Jerry Massad.  He's there most nights to make sure everyone feels welcome.  One step inside and you are greeted by one of the friendliest faces in Dayton, Debbie.
Debbie at J's Bistro
She'll make you a drink and remember your name and before you know you're hooked!  The food is world class and it is clearly a place where you can feel like you are home.  The other old buildings there are waiting for the same kind of renewal.
The Union Hotel at 75 W. Main Street was built circa 1870.  It is now a private residence.
Dayton Courthouse

Aside from all this history there is also world class golf course to enjoy.  With a community built on it.  Dayton is growing in leaps and bounds, our only fear is that it will lose its charm along the way.

We reluctantly left Dayton Nevada Saturday and drove home to the hustle and bustle of Southern California, dreaming of the day we will become permanent citizens of the Dayton community...

An evening with Dinesh D'Souza and Larry Elder!

THE BIG LIE

This event was on the evening of August 13th, and the reason for the event was to introduce another new book from Dinesh D'Souza called THE BIG LIE, exposing the Nazi roots of the American left.  Larry Elder, a local Los Angeles talk show host, hosted a Q&A between himself and Dinesh.  The questions and answers revolved around the general topic of the book, and as usual, Dinesh does a great job of sorting out leftist propaganda to show what really is going on and why.

He highlights how the left, supported by the Democratic Party, paints of picture of Donald Trump as the reincarnation of Hitler.  They also are attempting to paint the Republican Party as the new incarnation of the Nazi Party.  This is done so that they have a chance to destroy our President and to intimidate conservatives and Republicans into renouncing our President for fear of being painted with the same brush.  Nazism is considered the ultimate form of hate, embracing it is the ultimate hate crime, and the strategy is that no one would want to be associated with Nazism.

In the spirit of Joseph Goebbels, the left has constructed a twisted version of reality, painting themselves as the anti-fascists, and conservatives and Republicans as the real fascists.  In fact, this could not be further from the truth, but the lie is repeated over and over again.  In the spirit of George Orwell's book 1984, they use a process of double speak to make their points.  Using double speak, political correctness obfuscates the issue and they twist it to their own ends.  In actuality, the left practises the politics of hate, hiding behind lies and language.  They paint the opposite side as fascist, and they as the warriors against this hate, when in fact they are endeavoring to practice an evil inversion of the truth.  They blame conservatives and Republicans, victims of their lies, for being and doing what they in fact are perpetrating on them.  Dinesh makes it clear that the left are the true fascists, and that their lies are transparent when held under the scrutiny of the light of truth.  

I'm looking forward to reading this book!     

The President got it right!

Equivocation 

The President came out after the riotous demonstration in Charlottesville stating that hate groups on all sides of the spectrum cannot be tolerated.  He hit the nail on the head with that statement, even though the mainstream media is now vilifying him for not specifically identifying the KKK, Alt-Right, and White Nationalists as the root of the problem.  That could not be further from the truth, but it fits a dialogue that the left has been trying to push, that these particular groups are all Trump supporters and the reason for his victory.  They want to paint conservatives, Republicans, and Trump supporters with this brush in order to neuter our President and take away recently gained power that the Republican Party has garnered over the last few years.  It is a lie, but as Herman Goebbels said in WWII,  “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”  In other words, a lie if told often enough becomes the truth!!

The fact is White Nationalists, KKK, and Alt-Right groups are hate groups.  They hate anything that is not the same as they are.  They support big government that would coerce all people to do their bidding, and they have no problem with using violence as a means to their ends.  They are dangerous and they are counterproductive to mending our society.  They should be pushed out of the mainstream and jailed when caught doing evil.  There is no place for them in our civil society.

What was not lost on the President is that Black Lives Matter, ANTIFA, and other select left wing groups are also hate groups.  They hate anything that is not the same as they are.  They support big government that would coerce all people to do their bidding, and have no problem with using violence as a means to their ends.  They are dangerous and are counterproductive to mending our society.  They should be pushed out of the mainstream and jailed when caught doing evil.  There is no place for them in our civil society.

President Trump in effect called out all of these groups as 2 sides to the same coin.  He did so because it is the truth.  He also did so because he understands that doing anything less would fall into the leftist trap, painting the Republican Party as the problem, as opposed to actually identifying the problem as it really is.  The fact is that after years of divisive identity politics on the left, these groups sprouted up initially for disparate reasons, but at the end of the day, their reasons mirror one another.  Each of these groups want big government, socialism, and most of all, want their way imposed on everyone.  Their "own ways" are different, but the way to get it done is walking down the same path, which ultimately would lead to the destruction of our way of life.  President Trump knows this, and took pains not to give the left's propagandists fuel for their fire.

President Trump just spoke again about Charlottesville.  In that speech, he indicated that hate groups will not be tolerated, and those that engage in violence will be prosecuted.  He stated strongly that all of us need to embrace love for their fellow citizens, and that all in our country should be free to pursue happiness and success.  It was a speech of unity, which is exactly what our country needs today.  It is also a stark contrast to the messaging brought to us by the previous administration.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

North Korea - The tail wagging the lion!

NORTH KOREA - BASKET CASE

Kim Jon Un's country is a real basket case.  Without support from China and blackmailed concessions from the USA, Japan, and South Korea, the country would dissolve.  Since the Korean war, North Korea has been on the precipice, only surviving due to it's insane intransigence and belligerence, which by the way suit's China's need to keep other powers occupied (We will get into that a little later).

Let's compare some statistics on North Korea VS. the USA:
1.  North Korea's annual revenue = $28 billion in USD.  USA's annual revenue = $19 trillion.
2.  North Korea's per person GDP = $1,700.00 in USD.  USA's per person GDP = $59,000.00
3.  North Korea's economy is 1/50th the size of South Korea's economy.
4.  North Korea's nuclear warheads estimate = 60.  USA's nuclear warheads estimate = 7,000
5.  North Korea's military = 945,000 active.  USA's military = 2,363,675 active/ready reserve
6.  North Korea's aircraft strength = 944/all types avg. age 43 years.  USA's aircraft strength = 14,000+/all types avg. age 17 years.  
7.  North Korea's tanks = 5,025/avg. age 47 years.  USA's tanks = 6,000/state of the art.
8.  North Korea's armored fighting vehicles = 4,100/avg. age 47 years.  USA's armored fighting vehicles = 41,000/state of the art.
9.  North Korea's artillery = 6,500  USA's artillery = 3,200
10.North Korea's rocket projectors = 2,400  USA's rocket projectors = 1,300/state of the art.
11.North Korea's aircraft carriers = 0  USA's aircraft carriers/all types = 19
12.North Korea's frigates = 11/avg. age 40 years  USA's frigates = 8/state of the art.
13.North Korea's corvettes = 2/avg. age 32 years.  USA's corvettes = 0
14.North Korea's destroyers = 0  USA's destroyers = 63/state of the art.
15.North Korea's submarines = 76/avg. age 44 years old  USA's submarines = 70/state of the art.
16.North Korea's small patrol boats = 450  USA's small patrol boats = 13/state of the art.  
17.North Korea's unemployment rate = 26%   USA's unemployment rate = 4.3%

It's easy to see that North Korea is no match either economically or militarily with the United States. Why then are they causing such a ruckus?   Their leader, Kim Jon Un now definitely has nukes and a way to deliver them.  In his mind he is in a much better position to blackmail the USA, South Korea, Japan, and others in the region.  His father and grandfather were successful blackmailers in their time, just threatening war and nuclear development.  Now he has in his own mind a hand full of aces to play poker with these same nations, and those aces are miniature nukes and ICBM's.  

How did it come to this?  The real reinforcement to the blackmail strategy came in 1994 with the Clinton North Korea deal.  The Clinton administration negotiated a great deal with North Korea.  In return for $4,000,000,000 in concessions from us, the North Korean government agreed to stop their nuclear weaponization program, and only pursue the use of nuclear power for electricity generation. On the surface the deal was brilliant, with just one fault.  Clinton was dealing with a rogue regime, that did not have any intention of living up to the bargain.  After the concessions were collected, North Korea was back to their bad behavior.  In effect, we paid a dear price for nothing. Subsequently, the Obama administration made no effort to stop North Korea from nuclear weapon development, giving Kim Jon Un the impression that the USA is weak and will do nothing.  

The lesson is that one should never negotiate in good faith with a rogue regime, especially one like North Korea.  Kim Jon Un's biggest fear is regime change, and he knows that the USA is capable of pressing for that.  Now that he can threaten the USA with nuclear destruction, he believes that he has us over a barrel, and his threats are not so gentle reminders that he is willing and capable of pulling the nuclear trigger if he so desires.  Sad to say, but the way we have handled North Korea over the years has created this situation.  Regime change should have happened a half century ago, and now we have a monster on our hands.

China has also used North Korea as a buffer zone to insure that the USA did not have an ally bordered on Chinese soil.  One of China's nightmares is just that, a unified Korean peninsula that leans toward western values and democracy.  They like it just the way it is, with Kim Jon Un firmly ensconced as dictator.  They control his food supply, his economy, and he in turn has allegiance to the Chinese leadership.  That relationship is strained right now, and even China, North Korea's only ally, is considering an alternative to Kim Jon Un.

China sees that Kim has become uncontrollable.  China does not want to see a war, and Kim's behavior is pushing that scenario to reality.  The last thing China wants is millions of North Koreans fleeing over the Chinese border, creating chaos and economic uncertainty.  China also values her relationship with the USA.  Even though in many ways China and the USA are rivals, economically they feed off each other.  China exports $1.5 trillion in goods to the USA every year, with 90% of these goods actually being American branded goods that otherwise would have been made in America.  That is roughly 1/20th of their entire economy, and they can't afford to lose that, and that gives us leverage with them.  In addition, the USA has China as their largest creditor, with China holding about 1.268 trillion in US treasury notes financing our looming debt, which gives them leverage with us.  

Rex Tillerson knows that the USA and China can fix this mess, and both countries have a big interest in the fix.  Regime change is most likely the only real solution to the Kim Jon Un issue, and we will wait and see how this plays out.  The last thing that China, the USA, South Korea, and local allies need is a shooting war, and that should be avoided at all costs.  

Friday, August 4, 2017

Another RV adventure

McGee Creek RV Park in Mammoth Lakes California
Welcoming Entry to the Park Grounds

We are on another adventure with our 5th Wheel this week!  First stop was McGee Creek RV Park, and I have to say it is one of the best parks we have ever stayed at. 
The office has charm as well as the staff.


The staff was very friendly and helpful.  Since they did not have any pull-through sites as requested, they gave us a large site Creekside.  I’m not the best at backing up a 36-foot RV, so one of the owners, Steve came down and assisted me with this task.  We were parked in record time and set-up for our stay.
Steve is the man, always helpful!

Right behind our RV was McGee Creek.  Since snow is still melting, the creek was running like a river.  Too fast for fishing but it actually took the weather down about 10 degrees for us because the water was in the 30’s, and at our site the temperature never got above 80F even though the higher ground was at least 90 degrees F+. 
McGee Creek

We spent a lot of time talking to fellow campers.  It seems that this type of camping has its own subculture.  Everyone was very friendly and we felt the camaraderie right away.  We spent time at neighbor’s camps as they did at ours, and our stay was most enjoyable because of that.

We went the second day to Convict Lak, about 10 miles north of our camp to hike and take pictures.  This lake and its subsequent surroundings are so majestic that it feels like a testimonial to our creator!  Many families were fishing there, some on shore and some in boats, and catching rainbow and brown trout.  Others were hiking around the lake and taking pictures.  If you ever get the chance, go to this lake and see for yourself the natural beauty and magnificence of the scenery!



Our campsite was number 20 with a full view of the creek.
I’ll be back soon to report on the next part of the adventure.  We are now in the Reno, Nevada area camping and looking at properties that we just might buy this trip. 
Leaving with a great feeling and we will be back!!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

DUNKIRK-A MOVIE WORTH SEEING, BUT DID IT MISS THE MARK?

Jenny and I went to see Dunkirk yesterday.  The movie was powerful, and did a more than adequate job of depicting how Britain came together to rescue their stranded troops at the port of Dunkirk.  The timeframe was the beginning of June 1940.  Hitler's Germany had recently invaded and subjugated Poland, with France and Great Britain declaring war on Germany on September 3rd, 1939.  Great Britain had sent over a large expeditionary force of almost 200,000 men and equipment to bolster France's resistance to the Nazi push to take over all of Europe.

The new war technique of Blitzkrieg implemented by German commanders beat the French and the English back to the sea.  By the middle of May 400,000 French and English troops had their backs against the sea at the French port of Dunkirk, completely surrounded by 800,000 Germans, with their artillery and tank regiments at the ready.  It appeared that the entire Franko-English army was going to be wiped out!

Hitler did not think it wise to send tanks and heavy artillery into the marshes of Dunkirk.  He was of the opinion that he would lose too much equipment using that strategy.  Instead, he took the advice of Marshall Goering, and let his Luftwaffe destroy the trapped army.  Goering convinced Hitler that his Air Force would do the job in no time at all.  They did not count on the motivated and feisty English Royal Air Force!

The British people have not yet been told that the situation in Dunkirk is hopeless, but their new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, is well aware that the war now could be lost!  He has tasked the Royal Navy to rescue as many of their soldiers as they could, and privately thought that if they could get 30,000 of them home they would have done a good job.  He also has tasked the Royal Air Force to back up the effort with as many planes as possible, knowing that the Luftwaffe would be running bombing sorties both on the rescue ships and the men on the beaches of Dunkirk.

By the last week of May 1940, it looked hopeless.  Winston Churchill put out an order to civilians.  The order was that their country needed their boats.  Fishing boats, yachts, coastal runners, anything that floats is needed now to evacuate the troops out of Dunkirk.  Now, the cat is out of the bag, and everyone knows that there is major trouble ahead.

People with their boats came to the rescue, some 700 boats of all kinds in all.  Some making multiple trips to and from Dunkirk to rescue, braving torpedoes and attacks from the sky.  Ships were sunk, lives were lost, but this ragtag fleet got 330,000 soldiers back on English soil by June 4th, 1940.  This ragtag fleet, along with the brave pilots of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, saved Great Britain from total defeat!

This was a great story, and for the most part the movie did an excellent depiction of how Britain came together, and everyday civilians risked life, limb and treasure to come to the rescue.  It also depicted the selflessness of the English sailors and flyers in their efforts to get their soldiers out of Dunkirk.  An amazing effort that anyone watching this movie will be astounded by.

On June 4th, the morale of the British people was in the gutter.  The general population was happy to get their boys back, but the thought was that they were no match for Germany, and that invasion would be coming soon.  A dark malaise descended over the country, and it appeared that their worst fears would soon be realized.

The movie did not focus much on what happened next.  What happened next was incredible!  Their new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill rallied his people with an incredible speech!  The speech put iron in the backbones of every Britain, and rallied them to fight on.  In fact, the speech was most probably the saving grace not only for Great Britain, but for the whole of the Western World!  The movie, on the other hand, did not focus on this turning point, but instead had a rescued soldier grab a paper and read a headline about the speech.  For this reason, I give this movie a B-.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

PROFILES IN COWARDICE

Frankly we all should be disgusted with the present congress.  They do not have the backbone to get anything substantial done.  The Democrats are in "Resist" mode, refusing to cooperate in any productive way.  In fact, they purposely stand in the way of many productive initiatives for no other reason than resisting the leadership of the President.

Republicans, on the other hand, cannot agree on anything substantial.  Health Care is now dead, tax reform is foundering, and regulations imposed on the economy by the previous regime are still in place.  They seem not to understand that voters gave them a majority in the house, senate, and the Executive Branch because they wanted Health Care reform, tax reform, and toxic regulations eliminated so that the economy can grow.  They seem to be backing off all their promises in fear that if they actually did what they promised, that they might alienate future voters.

There is another reason why congress can get nothing done.  It is the way the institution has morphed from a body representing constituents, to a body raising money for their respective parties.  Freshman congressmen are told that their primary job is to insure that they raise at least $18,000 per day for their party.  In short, they have little time to represent the voters that put them in office.  Instead they are professional fundraisers.  They need to raise money to insure that they continue to have their job after the next election cycle.  $174,000 per year and their perks are more important than representing their constituents!

There are a few that actually show the courage of their convictions.  Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, Andy Biggs, and Mike Coffman are some of the senators and congressmen that stick by their principles and vote their conscience.  Most of the rest are just too busy trying to get reelected.

As voters, we need to get rid of this system that ignores our better interests.  We need to vote these "Do Nothing" representatives out of office and replace them with people of moral substance.  At the end of the day it is us, the voters that have actually let these elected officials run amok, and only we can stop this insanity.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

KEEPING THE RUSSIAN NARRATIVE ALIVE

Donald Trump Jr. is certainly his daddy's son!  He tends to trip over himself and if that doesn't work, then he shoots himself in the foot!

The New York Times makes a big deal of this nothing burger, and instead of letting it just run its course, Junior sends them his e-mail trail depicting every conversation he had about this matter.  That didn't prove there was any wrongdoing, but it definitely reopened the almost closed door on Russian/Trump collusion, yes, even if there was none.  ABC, CBS, NBC, and all the cable news networks owe their higher ratings to young Junior.

Can't these guys just understand that they are never going to be media sweethearts, and when you are in that position, don't fan the fire?


Saturday, July 8, 2017

A WALK INTO THE PAST - VIRGINIA CITY, NEVADA


My wife and I have decided to move to the Reno/Carson City area in the near future.  We took advantage of the long July 4th long weekend to visit the area, and fell in love with property in Dayton on the Carson River.  But that is not what I am writing about today.....

Abandoned mine in Silver City
Abandoned mine in Virginia City


The face of Virginia City

We spent some time in Virginia City, one of our favorite haunts in this part of Nevada!  Virginia City is really a step back in time!  The city has been preserved as it was in the late 1800's, complete with saloons, boardwalks, old-time hotels, shops, old mines, museums, and restaurants.  But it is not just the city, but the citizens of the city that makes everything happen on the weekends!

The locals put on their early western outfits, complete with 6 shooters, shotguns, and western boots and go into town to party, and boy do they!  The Bucket of Blood Saloon is a favorite of ours, complete with Country Western band, the famed Comstock Cowboy's who performed their Second Amendment Concert in honor of the Fourth of July Weekend and a big dance floor in case you want to do some stomping!

Last Saturday the Scottish American Military Society staged their "Scottish Takeover of the Bucket of Blood Saloon".  Veterans dressed in Highland regalia, complete with kilts and sgian-dubh's were the order of the day.  When the CW band takes a break, a Scottish piper would march through the Bucket of Blood bellowing rich Scottish military music from his bagpipe.  The local commander of SAMS Post 1864 then would go up and make a speech about their organization, brandishing a Scottish Claymore battle sword being auctioned off that night for a dollar a ticket.  My wife Jenny would then go through the crowd collecting money for the raffle.  She personally sold hundreds of dollars in tickets, and had a lot of fun doing it!  Lot's of cowboys, cowgirls, ladies, and gentlemen dressed in period costumes bought from her!


Jenny and I are looking forward to the day when we can walk down Virginia City's boardwalk with our boots on and 6-guns strapped to our waist!  That day is coming soon.  Stay tuned!

The drive down the mountain back to Reno always includes a stop in the Highlands of Virginia City to see if we can catch a glimpse of any wild mustangs.  We weren't disappointed.  We found a small herd with a brand new colt, still wobbly on it's little legs.  So good for the heart that we can still find a bit of the wild west left, especially for us Southern California city dwellers!
New baby to add to the herd
This baby was so new, it's little legs will still wobbly.


The last of the Wild West, please support efforts to keep our national treasure safe!



Thursday, July 6, 2017

EBT-WHAT DOES IT REALLY DO?


The foundation for SNAP (Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program) was implemented in 1933.  It was a "New Deal" program that assisted farmers during the depression where the Federal Government bought food from farmers and redistributed the food to the poor.  This program was called the AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Act).  This did save many farms from bankruptcy and greatly assisted hunger relief programs at the local level.

The Food Stamp Plan was another "New Deal" program implemented in 1939.  Food stamps were made available to low-income individuals and were only to be used for specific nutritional foodstuffs, not for luxury items or alcohol or tobacco. Individuals were required to buy booklets of orange stamps, with each stamp worth $1.  For every orange stamp purchased, individuals were given a blue stamp for free that was worth 50 cents.  The program was discontinued in 1943, as World War 2 raged and the subsequent economic boom greatly decreased the amount of people living below the poverty line.

In 1961 President Kennedy brought back the food stamp program.  The stamps still had to be purchased, and were redeemed for nutritious foodstuffs only.  In 1964, the Food Stamp Act was passed as part of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society Program".  It outlawed discrimination for qualification for the program by race, color or creed, but was basically the same old program that had been around for years.

The program funding was cut drastically during the Reagan administration.  Also, participation in this new program now officially called SNAP was relegated to the states, with the federal government matching funds.  The new regulation also called for individuals to be eligible for participation only if their income is less than 185% of the poverty line.  This new program had the effect of drastically cutting eligibility and participation rates.

In the early 2000's, the program changed once again.  Eligibility was extended to immigrants and children 18 years old and younger.  This spiked participation rates dramatically.  EBT cards were introduced, allegedly for the purpose of eliminating fraud and reducing the stigma attached to using government benefits.  The card looks like a debit card from any bank, and is used in much the same way.
Local carwash with two signs showing acceptance of EBT cards
Same carwash, not only can you get your car washed, but you can get cash to spend anyway you want.


45 million Americans are now carrying EBT cards.  The Obama administration actually paid for advertisements to entice people to sign up for SNAP, along with eliminating the work requirement.  With 14% of the population now on this program, the advertisements and work requirement eliminations were very successful.  Allegedly the program is limited to retailers that sell nutritious food, and does not include purchases of luxury items, alcohol, tobacco, or any non-nutrition related services.
Perfect example of non-nutrition related food stuffs, at local liquor store.
Fast food using EBT, the cost of one fast food meal, can feed an entire family if food was purchased and home made.

Today, carwashes, liquor stores, restaurants, casinos, and banks proudly advertise their acceptance of EBT cards.  At banks one can get up to $100 in cash daily.  You can get your car washed, a pack of smokes, 6 pack of beer, or a casino bankroll in Las Vegas with your EBT card.  In fact, over 20% of EBT purchases are "out of state" at luxury resorts, cruise ships, hotels and restaurants.
Every liquor store we drove by had a sign advertising acceptance of EBT cards.

This program is not doing what was originally intended.  The abuses are rampant, and something needs to be done.  Further, there is no reason why 45 million Americans need to be on this program.
Additionally, there does need to be a stigma for using such a program, and food stamps, although embarrassing, did serve that purpose.

Some states like Alabama are now requiring able bodied people to search for and to accept work in order to be eligible for SNAP.  Alabama has shown that this requirement has lessened their participants by 85%.  Similar results are shown with other states that are embracing work requirements.  This is a step in the right direction.  There also needs to have purchase restriction enforcement on what can actually be bought with the program.

Sources:
Fox News July 4, 2017 - Food stamp rolls plummet in states that restore work requirements.
Los Angeles Times Oct. 4, 2010, Jack Dolan author - $69 million in California welfare money drawn out of state.
SNAPtohealth.org - The History of Snap.
EBT Abuse:  The Cash-for-Drunkards Program - Jan. 11, 2013 by Michelle Malkin.
Watchdog.Org - EBT fraud and abuse:  Looking past your state - July 24, 2012 by Todd Shepard

Friday, June 23, 2017

HEALTH CARE REFORM - A HUMPTY DUMPTY MOMENT

Humpty Dumpty Sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a big fall.
All the Kings horses and all the Kings men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

This seems to be the state of "Repeal and Replace" Obamacare at this moment.  The latest Senate version sounds a lot like Obama Care Light.  It looks like rather than putting some deep thought into the process, the Senate simply took the Obama Care outline and changed some things to make it a little less insidious, but essentially it is still simply a rejiggered Obama Care version.  This is simply a bill being rammed through because a new bill was promised, rather than something that people can count on.

This bill won't pass muster in the Senate, let alone the House.  The end result if it did get passed simply would be that the Republicans will be left holding bag when their version fails as badly as Obama Care.  They will own it, not the Democrats that created the actual problem.  That is why it ultimately it will not pass muster with a vote.  No one wants to take ownership of the Obama Care failure, especially the Democrats.  I'm sure that they are secretly praying that the bill actually passes for that reason.

Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee are 4 Senators that are saying no to this version.  Why?  
1.  It does not effectively repeal Obama Care, simply changes some of its tenants.  
2.  It does not necessarily lower premiums.
3.  It doesn't give states greater flexibility.
4.  It does not give insurance companies the right to sell all types of policies.
If the new law does not do these things, they are not going along with it, and their votes are needed.  What's more, they are right, but they also know that the issues are more complex than that.  

The big problem that no one is even looking at is that Obama Care not only addressed the individual payer market and uninsured people, it also played havoc with employer based plans, changing what they needed to cover and who they needed to cover.  In short, Democrats took Humpty Dumpty and pushed him off the fence.  Now we have a big mess all over with the entire health system in crisis.  Costs are going up exponentially, basic services are being degraded with higher deductibles, less health care professionals, and an overall degraded system than we had before Obama Care.  

Will Congress and the President be able to put a great, workable system back together?  Looking at their present offering, and the effort put into that plan, I don't think that they will.  There is a great possibility that instead of inviting the insurance and medical communities together to assist in crafting a workable plan, they will simply fail and default to a single payer program, insisting that when it is run by the government it will be much better for everyone.  This was the intention of Obama Care all along, and if that is what we will be spoon fed, they all need to be voted out of office.  No critical thinker believes that the government runs anything well. It is beginning to look like all the Kings horses and all the Kings men will not be able to put Humpty back together again!