Oh, so wrong about Hillary

My original post was a query about Hillary’s special glasses. I wondered if they were projector glasses. I said: “I don’t have a clue but those glasses sure look like they might contain technology other than special lenses for eyesight correction.”

Now I know differently.

Update and Correction:

Okay, I found a reference to using prism glasses that corrects double vision. It appears that the Fresnel prism is an addition to the eyepiece and will correct one eye to match up with the other. Sometimes both eyes need correction.

Typically, Hillary Clinton wears contacts but since her tumble she is seeing double because of the trauma. The glasses have a lens for each eye and one of those lens has an additional prism lens upon it to reduce blurred or double vision.

I take back my original query and substituted this in its place.

(Why did Hillary choose such ugly frames for her corrective glasses?)

When will Joe Scarborough admit the truth about gun confiscation?

Joe asserts today (again) that no one wants to take your guns away. When will he admit the truth that the way the government works is to take away your rights incrementally?

Has the government taken away your right to ride your cycle without a helmet? No, but they will fine you, make you furtive if you do, and mount safety campaigns to make you look like an idiot if you ride your bike without a helmet.

Has the government taken away your right to drive your car without a seatbelt? No. But the darn alarms and the tickets and co-opting the car companies to incent you to wear a seatbelt makes you tired of the fight.

Does the government take away your gold and give you paper money instead? Well, they actually did do that. Sorry.

Does the government take away your right to smoke cigarettes? No, but look at the taxes per pack, the laws that prevent you from smoking where and when you want, and the bans on indoor and outdoor smoking. Sure you can still buy and enjoy cigarettes, but the personal cost to do that is prohibitive for an average person.

So when Mr. Fancy Pants Joe Scarborough says “No one’s coming to take away your guns” he is technically right and completely wrong.

And you and I and every other rational and reasonable person knows it.

The New John Kerry? Harummpf

All of a sudden Sen. John Kerry is senate-supported to become Sec’y of State.By all but three senators? How can this be?

During his campaign for President, Sen. Kerry fumbled the campaign football so often that he began to look pathetic. Then after the campaign, his VP running mate was found to have an illegitimate child from his ex-mistress. Kerry is an incredibly bad judge of character, yes?

So what has changed that qualifies Kerry to be Sec’y of State? Is his judgment any better? Is this some type of compensation for reasons unknown? Perhaps it is to get him out of the Senate in order to put his seat up for election?

To go from Hillary Clinton to John Kerry is astonishingly ignorant and short-sighted.

I suspect that President Obama cannot abide any conflict. He has purged his circle of anyone who will not kowtow to him. From the purge of generals a few months back to Hagel and Kerry, I suspect that President Obama is choosing phlegmatic personality types like himself.

Perhaps the question is “Why is Obama surrounding himself with weaker men in the wrong positions?” Does his ego demand so much adoration that he cannot stand strong leadership?

Makes you wonder…

Buried (cough) in the obit section of the Rice Lake Chronicle is this minor headline:

New construction down in Rice Lake

It turns out that in 2011, new construction in the city totaled ~$11.1 M but in 2012 it only ran ~$6.6M. Roughly, four and a half million dollars less. That is catastrophically less. It is almost economic death. Perhaps it was an editor’s sense of humor to place this news in the obit section. But it is well-placed considering its possible portent of things to come. If there is no rebound in 2013, one might consider if there is a future at all for Barron County.

Will the fracking sand save the county? Makes you wonder…


Barron County: Prayer before government meetings

Since 1957, the Barron County Board has prayed at the start of its meetings. Last year, the Freedom from Religion Foundation threatened a lawsuit if it continued this practice. On January 21st, the County Board voted to continue its invocation. It had the support and the urging of 35 citizens to proceed with this longstanding practice.

All of this is common sense, isn’t it? It is one thing to prevent the Federal government from establishing a national religion and quite another to say that people should forego a common time for religious prayer because it offends someone else. Although I may not be able to explain why a government call to Muslim prayer five times a day is different than a County Board calling for voluntary prayer once a month, I know that others can.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation seeks to prevent a time for voluntary prayer so they are not offended by someone else’s beliefs, and yet they seek to offend every religious person by denying them a time to jointly pray to their Deity for guidance.

As noted by others, the Constitution grants ‘freedom of religion’ but not ‘freedom from religion’. While we need to be mindful that we do not force people to pray, there is no cause to prevent people from voluntary prayer if they so choose.

I support the Barron County Board in its decision… and the Devil take the hindmost if you believe in that, too.

Your Permanent Federal Record and You

Are you concerned that businesses like Google and Yahoo track your every move throughout the internet? Do you know they sell that information to advertisers to pitch products to you?

Suppose that you query on ‘herpes’ to learn something. This query is provided to companies and then advertising is directed to your computer that relates to herpes or to medicine in general. And that information is retained forever:  the owner of computer ‘ABC’ is interested in herpes. There is a huge amount of information about you and your family held by companies in the US.

Now what happens when the federal government begins to amass a dossier on your life from all the different government agencies you may deal with?

The federal government is in the process of linking various databases of very personal information from a wide range of state and federal agencies. It wants to track individuals from kindergarten through death. It’s stated purposes include the ability to conduct more effective research and better evaluate education and workforce training programs. But dig a little deeper, and it’s clear that what’s at stake is whether government should be able to shape the lives and character of citizens.

And how will this occur? Well , here is one example:

Beyond the ever-present danger of unauthorized use or negligent release of information, the federal government has arrogated a right to collect information and share it with other agencies and individuals without the consent of the individual. Where have the people, or of more importance, the individual, consented to government’s tracking their lives across states lines, from job to job, in sickness and in health?

The grave danger here is that government will use the data to conjure “studies” showing that particular behaviors and mindsets make poor students, poor employees, or poor citizens.  Sound far-fetched?  In the Florida legislature, a subcommittee recently approved a bill under which schools will grade parents on criteria set by the school board.  The “evaluation data” will become a part of the student’s permanent record and, under 2012 regulatory changes pushed through by the Obama Administration, could be shared with any government or private entity.

The ever present and oppressive Federal government has chosen to keep records on you from birth to death. They are involving state agencies to amass all the information they need to ‘guide’ your life.

Call it what you want. These efforts diminish liberty, and they build the structure for engineering society and the economy. They upend the idea that the people, not the state, are the ultimate sovereign. It is another giant step, along with Obamacare and the Common Core Standards, toward transforming government into a human resources manager along the lines of education reformer Marc Tucker’s 1992 proposal to Hillary Clinton.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is under attack.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, … and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Seizing information about your private life and creating a federal permanent record is the hallmark of oppression.

If voted into office, I will work to prevent any increased federal intrusion into your life and I will work to ensure your private life remains private. I will do that by supporting the Fourth Amendment in Congress. You cannot be secure in your home if the government knows everything about you. The Executive Branch’s  agencies have too much power and too little resistance to their overreach.

At one time America was a place to start over for hundreds of thousands of people. But now, if the government has its way, you can never start over. Your permanent record will haunt you throughout your life for ill or for gain.

Sen. Johnson’s Questions for Sec’y Clinton

Sec’y Clinton artfully avoids pointing finger towards the intelligence summary given to Susan Rice and consequently avoids pointing finger towards White House in this exchange. Senator Johnson says that Sec’y Clinton is making excuses when she says that she did not want to interfere with the investigation. Read below.

Senator Johnson : Thank you Mr. Chairman and Madam Secretary, I’d like to join my colleagues in thanking you for your services sincerely, and also appreciate the fact that you’re here testifying and glad that you’re looking in good health.

 Were you fully aware in real time – and again I realize how big your job is and everything is erupting in the Middle East at this time – were you full aware of these 20 incidents that were reported in the ARB in real time?

 Secretary Clinton : I was aware of the ones that were brought to my attention. They were part of our ongoing discussion about the deteriorating threat environment in eastern Libya. We certainly were very conscious of them. I was assured by our security professionals that repairs were under way, additional security upgrades had taken place.

 Johnson : Thank you. Did you see personally the cable on I believe it was August 12th, specifically asking for reinforcements for the security detail that was going to be evacuating or leaving in August? Did you see that personally?

Clinton : No sir.

 Johnson : Okay, when you see the ARB, it strikes me how certain the people were that the attacks started at 9:40 Benghazi time. When was the first time you spoke to, or have you ever spoken to the returnees, the evacuees? Did you personally speak to those folks?

 Clinton : I‘ve spoken to one of them, but I waited until after the ARB had done its investigation because I did not want there to be anybody raising any issue that I had spoken to anyone before the ARB conducted its investigation.

 Johnson : How many people were evacuated from Libya?

Clinton : Then numbers are a little bit hard to pin down because of our other friends.

Johnson : Approximately?

Clinton : Approximately, 25-30.

Johnson : Did anybody in the State Department talk to those folks very shortly afterwards?

Clinton : There was discussion going on afterwards, but once the investigation started the FBI spoke to them before we spoke to them, and so other than our people in Tripoli, which I think you’re talking about Washington right?

 Johnson : The point I’m making is a very simple phone call to these individuals would’ve ascertained immediately that there was no protest prior to this. This attack started at 9:40 p.m. Benghazi time and it was an assault. I appreciate the fact that you called it an assault, but I’m going back to Ambassador Rice five days later going to Sunday shows and what I would say is purposefully misleading the American public. Why wasn’t that known? And again I appreciate the fact that the transparency of this hearing, but why weren’t we transparent to that point in time?

 Clinton : Well first of all Senator, I would say that the once the assault happened, and once we got our people rescued and out, our most immediate concern was number one taking care of their injuries. As I said, I still have a DS agent at Walter Reid seriously injured, getting them into Frankfurt, Ramstein to get taken care of, the FBI going over immediately to start talking to them. We did not think it was appropriate for us to talk to them before the FBI conducted their interviews. And we did not, I think this is accurate sir, I certainly did not know of any reports that contradicted the IC talking points at the time that Ambassador Rice went on the TV shows, and you know I just want to say that people have accused Ambassador Rice and the administration of you know misleading Americans. I can say trying to be in the middle of this and understanding what was going on, nothing could be further from the truth. Was information developing? Was the situation fluid? Would we reach conclusions later that weren’t reached initially? And I appreciate the —

Johnson : But Madame Secretary, do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn’t have ascertained immediately that there was no protest? That was a piece of information that could’ve been easily, easily obtained?

Clinton : But Senator again—

Johnson : Within hours, if not days?

Clinton : Senator, you know, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on, number one—

Johnson : I realize that a good excuse.

 Clinton : Well no it’s the fact. Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because even today, there are questions being raised. Now, we have no doubt they were terrorist, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown—

Johnson : No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that – an assault sprang out of that – and that was easily ascertained that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.

 Clinton : With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again Senator. Now honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process I understand going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear it is from my perspective less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on the meantime.

Johnson : Okay, thank you Madame Secretary.

The real issue is:  why the cavalry did not come and why the US military is not used to protect its embassies.

And perhaps Sen. Johnson needs to be reminded that Susan Rice does not work for State Department but reports to the President. He should ask Obama.


Benghazi Hearing and Clinton

The travesty of the hearing is self-evident. The devolution of Congressional hearings over many years from a factual discovery of information,  to a presentation of information to the American people, to ‘cover your butt testimony for lies you have told’, and now, finally, to  extreme partisan theater is now fully evident to the American people. And for Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ron Johnson to salivate over using this forum for partisan theater reminds us all that the deaths of four Americans is fodder for partisan acrimony rather than an investigation.

I remember after 9/11 when Condoleezza Rice was grilled as National Security Advisor but not by Congress. “In March 2004, Rice declined to testify before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission). The White House claimed executive privilege under constitutional separation of powers and cited past tradition. Under pressure, Bush agreed to allow her to testify[48] so long as it did not create a precedent of presidential staff being required to appear before United States Congress when so requested. Her appearance before the commission on April 8, 2004, was accepted by the Bush administration in part because she was not appearing directly before Congress. She thus became the first sitting National Security Advisor to testify on matters of policy.”

When Advisor Rice testified, she was forced by Democrats to read the title of the report given to her a month before 9/11 by Richard Clarke, Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Group. This is (and was) an insult to the accomplished Rice. The same insult can be said of Rand Paul’s comments that had he been President he would have fired Secretary Clinton if she had not read cables from her ambassador. Rand Paul makes an ass of himself at times and this was one of them. No congressman said he would have fired Rice for failure to act upon  Richard Clarke’s report.

When Senators Paul and Johnson seek to attack the work ethic and attention to detail of a sitting Secretary, they demonstrate that there is a war between the two parties, not of goals or ideology, but of power and perception. They did not cull new information, nor seek the truth of things, nor call out Secretary Clinton for lies, instead they focused themselves on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appearing on Sunday talk shows and reading embassy dispatches. (One item of interest is that Susan Rice’s position was elevated to Cabinet level and she reports to the President. And yet Sen. Johnson’s questions did not reflect his knowledge of that fact when he drilled Sec’y Clinton. His tone implied that Amb. RIce worked for Sec’y Clinton. ) 

We all know that some Senators are idiots and can do nothing more than parrot the talking points of their political parties -and many of them did that yesterday. I believe the two political parties are in a ‘Hot War’ with each other instead of a ‘Cold War’ and that America suffers as a result. The devolution of congressional hearings into partisan theater over the death of four Americans is an example of that Hot War between the two parties.

The words of Abraham Lincoln that we should remember today are ” A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Although Lincoln was speaking of slavery, his words have the same meaning today. And if the Benghazi hearing represents the future of all congressional hearings, may God save us all.