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Global Warming. Islamic Radical Terrorism. National Health Care. The 2008 Presidential Elections. Illegal Immigration. The Inner Workings of Government.

How much of the above really concerns the common person? In many respects, none of it.

What?!?!?!?

According to the Media, Scientists, & Politicians, all of the above is important.

Perhaps it’s the cynic in me, but I don’t think that the common person really gives a rat’s behind about if the polar bears have a place to live, terrorists are blowing each other up “over there,” another illegal crosses the border, or what Government does behind closed doors (or open ones, for that matter). Yeah, for the time being, the common man is concerned about the elections and if government is going to take care of the “health care crisis,” but that’s only until the election is over. Then it’s back to whatever is considered “normal.”

Why, you may ask? Here’s the answer – The common person is concerned with the roof over their head, food in the tummy, a job that will pay for the roof and the food, and what’s on television for the night. Yeah, I’m cynical all right…

Many of the readers of this blog identify themselves with the common person. Ask yourself these questions from a realistic standpoint – Does the common person actively seek out the story behind the story, and do they really dig down into the details? Or do they go about their daily business trying to make ends meet, and just take for granted what is going on around them is for their own good?

Sounds like a choice between taking the red pill or the blue pill…

Ignorance is bliss only in the short term. In the long term, the consequences of ignorance will come back to haunt us with a vengeance. For instance:

The 2008 Presidential Elections (Primary Edition) is interesting on the Democratic side as it is ho-hum on the Republican side. The Dems are mudslinging like crazy, playing every card in the deck to gain an advantage over their opponent. The Republicans are running on the issues with a little mud on the side, which isn’t making hardly any news nor is it really putting forth what is on their menu. With the Media promoting the Democrat’s Liberal / Socialistic agenda and ignoring the Republican’s conservative message (except for the lone RINO in the group), the Media is playing kingmaker, hoping that the public sheep will follow them to the Liberal pasture of plenty. This could have some catastrophic consequences.

Depending on who is elected, your taxes would go up a little or a lot to pay for “free” health care. National defense may or may not protect United States citizens and property worldwide from terrorist attacks (probably not the way the Liberals are talking). The borders would not only be open but the illegals coming across the borders would be welcomed with open arms and amnesty. The continued prosecution against Islamic terrorist organizations would be doubtful, especially since everyone should now take mandatory diversity training to “help us understand them” while they are cutting our heads off. And let’s not forget about the movements to “go green” which will most likely cost everyone money in the good intentioned but doubtful reversal of Global Warming. Of course, Government will be doing all of this at the behest of a Liberal President “to help you.” I think Ronald Reagan said it best,

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

And what is the real cost? The most priceless of all – the freedoms & rights guaranteed by the Constitution legislated away by power-hungry politicians and ignored by a populace more interested in American Idol & Britney Spear’s antics. Don’t believe me? Just read a previous post for just the tip of the iceberg on the most valuable right we have under the Constitution – Free Speech.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and I could just keep on ranting. But the point is that the media, our politicians, and various power brokers are shaping and forming our opinions for us.

Yeah, I’m cynical… Just don’t call me paranoid, because I already know the world is out to get me…

A tradition around our house is to listen to Christmas Music on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We usually try and get one or two CDs of new Christmas music. The CD that we purchased this year is Josh Grobin’s Noel. I highly recommend this CD.

Listening to the rendition of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” gave me pause to think and reflect. Included in the recording are greetings from members of our armed forces in Iraq to their loved ones. One cannot ignore the fact there are people making great sacrifices on our behalf, whether it is being away from their loved ones or giving their lives. One also reflects on that it is not just the present day situations, but those situations in years past, both in open war and war disguised as peace. Our soldiers are the most obvious of those making sacrifices, but there are others as well who make sacrifices just as important – their families. I know I have written about this before, but it doesn’t change throughout time.

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.John F. Kennedy

And that is what our elected representatives and soldiers are charged with – defending freedom. There are those who decry our involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the world. That is their right under our Constitution. But they need to answer the question, “Is the world a better place with us or would it be better without us?” If the answer to the question is in the affirmative, then the sacrifices of all throughout the years is justified. If the answer is in the negative, then they do not understand the role of this country in defending freedom in the world, and the sacrifices have been in vain.

It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war. – John F. Kennedy

And sometime, to secure peace, war must be waged.

A people free to choose will always choose peace. – Ronald Reagan

And that is what this country must strive for, to champion the freedom of people to choose their own destiny, otherwise, any sacrifice in the name of freedom will be in vain.

…that the public dislikes politicians, especially those in Congress?

Here’s the best recent example of this:

I’m traveling this week, and the car I have has satelite radio. All the talk shows have segments highlighting the Senate Majority Leader’s letter to Clear Channel Radio flaming Rush Limbaugh’s use of the words “phony soldier.” It doesn’t matter that Rush’s use is in reference to a debunked video of a person misrepresenting his service (he flunked out of basic training and didn’t serve in Iraq as he claimed), it’s still good for a Senate sponsored spanking.

What is so infuriating about this is that the politicians (mostly Democratic) are accusing Limbaugh of being less than Patriotic, and not supporting the troops. Excuse me?!?!? Exactly what have these various Democratic politicians been doing but calling the troops far worse names than what Limbaugh has falsely been accused of? Just look at Jack Murtha’s comments for starters, and you get the idea.

While Rush can get on your nerves with some of his shameless self-promotion and ego boosts, he does bring out many points that would otherwise escape the media’s attention. And this brings the ire of the Liberal politicos in this attempt to smear him and otherwise discredit his show and others like his.

Here’s the point: The hypocrisy that the Liberal politicians have demonstrated is absolutely disgusting. It is no wonder that the approval rates for Congress are the lowest that have been in years, lower than the President.

Personally, I would vote each and every one of them out and start with a clean slate, and that includes a clean slate of all the Presidential candidates too. We need people, not politicians, running this country. People with common sense(!), integrity, and a selflessness that is not evident in today’s government. People who are driven by a sense of public service, not power. I’m tired of the career politicians taking our tax dollars and lining their pockets or the pockets of their cronies with it. It is time to get the money and power out of politics and put the service back in. But then, I can be an idealistic you-know-what at times…

Yeah, I know, when pigs fly under their own power…

Coming back from a long, restful vacation is always interesting. One always wonders how fast reality displaces that peaceful feeling.

Mine came real fast. My desk at work earned a PhD while I was gone (that’s Piled Higher & Deeper), and I was assigned two more projects while I was gone to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Worse, I needed to come up with a presentation on one of those new projects by the end of the week, and still keep all the other projects running. I felt like a juggler with one arm tied behind his back trying to keep all the balls in the air. Sigh… There went the stress relief…

But the time away allowed Mrs. Common Sense and I some much needed time alone, and the unforgettable memories that make up any marriage. We had not been on an extended vacation away from home for 10 years. We were due, big time.

However, the world goes on, and one again wonders what is coming around the bend next.

For instance, OJ Simpson is back in trouble with the law. I have no idea how his latest run-in is going to shake out, and in some respects, I don’t care. I believe that this person got away with two murders, aided and abetted by the inept prosecution & law enforcement that is in Los Angeles, and the judge & jury that had no idea what they were doing. In some respects, that case shows how woefully inadequate our justice system is in dealing with celebrities and other high-profile cases – it becomes a popularity contest instead of justice & closure for the victims (or their families).

And this idiocy isn’t limited to celebrities either. The protests in Jena, Louisiana over the initial charging of 6 black youths with attempted murder over the beating of a white youth is incredible. While the initial charge was over the top, if the colors of the victim and defendants were reversed, the protesters would be screaming “hate crime” and nothing short of life imprisonment. From MSNBC.com:

The six black teens were charged a few months after three white teens were accused of hanging nooses in a tree at their high school. The white teens were suspended from school but weren’t prosecuted. Five of the black teens were initially charged with attempted murder. That charge was reduced to battery for all but one, who has yet to be arraigned; the sixth was charged as a juvenile.

The beating victim, Justin Barker, was knocked unconscious, his face badly swollen and bloodied, though he was able to attend a school function later that night.

The only crime here was the assault of the victim by the 6 defendants. While the act of hanging the nooses from the tree is disgusting, the act didn’t break any laws. But that’s not going to dissuade the race-baiters and activists from a good protest.

Where I have problems with Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and their ilk (yes, ilk) is that they are not as color-blind nor as for equal treatment for all persons under the law as they would have you believe. No, they want their race to have special treatment. Multiple cases and incidents for both of these “gentlemen” speak for themselves if you care to do the research. The history there is that they stir things up, not resolve the problems or injustices.

Here’s my case in point: If they were as color-blind as they say they are, they would be pushing for hate-crime charges on the 6 black defendants. After all, didn’t the 6 black defendants beat up a white victim? And if past cases are to be used as examples, it shouldn’t matter what provocation took place – a physical assault took place.

And that’s the fallacy of “hate-crime” legislation. As far as I’m concerned, all crime is hateful in one respect or another. Hate crime legislation is not for the protection of the minority from the majority, but to provide additional penalties for crimes based entirely on hate. Which is another problem – how do you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt what a person is thinking or what really motivated him to commit a crime? Justice should be blind, and race (or any of the other hate-crime labels) should not enter into the mix. Entering criminal charges based on crimes with differing race, beliefs, or other criteria as factors can be just as discriminatory as the actions the accused is charged with.

While the above may crank off some of the readers of this post (and I can just hear this one coming) and think that I’m a racist, please stop and be intellectually honest with yourself. Do you really think that one race is superior than another? Do you hate a person’s race or skin color? I don’t on either count.

In many respects, this incident is something that has been blown completely out of proportion by activists. I’m not saying that nothing happened of a racist nature (there was), but calling attention to this event in this manner does nothing but present an “us versus them” attitude which numbs the message that they supposedly want to get across – equal justice. No, they want the defendants freed and not prosecuted for the assault. There is the injustice – do the crime, do the time, not freedom for the criminal.

And they wonder why people, in general, ignore these protests, and distrust the justice system.

Let’s not even start on Congress’s lowest approval rating ever, HRC’s health care plan or promised tax hikes, or Dan Rather suing CBS… 

This past week saw the two-year anniversary since Hurricane Katrina put New Orleans under water.  Of course, the news agencies were all over this, citing failure after failure of the government to address the needs of the storm victims.  And in some respects, they are right.

In other respects, what else would anyone expect from government?  Government, by and large, is a taker, not a giver.  Government is very quick to take a portion of your paycheck in taxes, but very slow in distributing funds (just the paperwork takes weeks to process).  If I remember correctly, there are still portions of Florida that are still in recovery mode from Hurricane Andrew from 1992.

Government failed the people of New Orleans.  First and foremost was the Mayor of New Orleans, who didn’t order an evacuation of the city with the resources he had available to him (remember the infamous pictures of the drowned school buses?).  He had plenty of time to implement disaster plans, but for some reason, didn’t.  Second was the Governor, who stuck her head in the sand and didn’t call the National Guard to assist in evacuating the city, nor to provide relief efforts until days afterward the disaster.  Last was the Federal Government, but not for the delay with FEMA aid.

The fault there was that there were numerous studies done and billions of dollars allocated for the levies to be reinforced.  The levies were not reinforced as needed, but the funds diverted for other projects as deemed by various Federal politicians.  I lay the blame squarely on the Federal government in not making sure that the funds were spent where best needed.  (link here)

The other problem that I see is that the people of New Orleans (and other places in the United States) believe that the Government will take care of them, no matter what.  The sad reality is that Government will not take care of them, and it is not the responsibility of the Government to take care of the individual’s needs.  We are being lead to believe to the contrary, but where in the Constitution does it state specifically that the Government is to take care of the individual?  It doesn’t, but we have been lead down that path, and we have blindly followed.

While I’m not a fan of Rudy Giuliani, he made this statement:

Government cannot take care of you. You’ve got to take care of yourself.

When I listen to some of the stories brought out this past week, some of them are truly heart-wrenching, others are not.  When I hear of people moaning and groaning that the Government isn’t taking care of them and doing nothing to help improve their situation, my sympathy for that person hits a new low.  When I hear of people trying to improve their situation by taking matters into their own hands, and requesting assistance to finish up that last part of putting their lives back together, then they have my admiration.

People need to take responsibility for themselves, period.  Yes, there are those that need help to get back on their feet.  But I oppose the “cradle to grave” or as Right-minded Frank would say “womb to tomb” support that certain segments of our society feels that they are entitled to.  But I digress…

When I think of Government assisting the population, I always think of this quote:

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help. – Ronald Reagan

Enough said…

Let’s get one thing straight – Lewis “Scooter” Libby has not been pardoned by President Bush. His sentence has been commuted. He still pays a $250,000 fine, and will not be able to practice law. If he was pardoned, then he wouldn’t have to pay the fine and he would be allowed to practice law.

So he didn’t pull a Bill Clinton, who seemed to pardon almost everyone around him for similar and worse crimes. So why are the Democratic candidates (especially HRC) making so much of this? In a word – politics.

The problem that the Democratic candidates have is that they are not running against President Bush in the next election. They really don’t have anything else to showcase what they stand for. National or universal healthcare is an issue that might fly at first blush, but if anyone with half a brain thinks about it for any length of time, this is one elephant that no one wants in the same room. All the candidates have stated is that they will raise taxes on the wealthy, but they differ on who exactly fits in that category. They also want to repeal the tax cuts that helped boost the economy (and exactly what do they think this will do?) They can try to hang their hats on Iraq, and they might get some traction there, but again, they are not running against Bush. And let’s not even talk about the “culture of corruption” – both parties have major problems with this one.

So they are left with trying to make political hay over a commuted sentence. Big deal. But since they decided to bring up the rhetoric a notch or two, why don’t we chew on this one for a couple of minutes…

Why don’t we start with the Democrats favorite son, the former President Bill Clinton. Looking at his pardon record at the US Department of Justice, there are so many pardons that he issued it is unbelievable. Some of the most notorious are Marc Rich, who was pardoned while he was still evading authorities and after his family made a $1,000,000 “donation” to the DNC. Then there were the FALN pardons timed to help his wife gain the New York Puerto Rican vote in her successful bid for the Senate. Or how about his brother’s drug sentence? All in all, Bill Clinton pardoned and commuted the sentences of over 180 people for various crimes.

Compare Bill Clinton to his predecessor, George H. W. Bush, who only pardoned and commuted the sentences of 78 people. The current President, George Bush, currently has a paltry 117 pardons and commutations.

In all fairness, many of the pardons issued by all the Presidents were for run of the mill items. But some really stand out, and others are for the same types of offenses. But the political rhetoric is incredible!!

So now the Democratic Presidential hopefuls are screaming at the top of their lungs, “Unfair! Unfair!” to which could I say “Can it!!” Or maybe we should keep quiet and let these buffoons continue to shoot themselves in the foot. After all, the more noise they make, the more scrutiny they bring upon themselves (especially HRC), and the more attention they will garner on their many faults.

Haven’t posted for over a week, and that’s just not good.  Son is graduating from high school, so there’s all that to get arranged & taken care of.  He’s also trying to get a job, and find a roommate for his assisted living arrangements.  We think he has found a place to live, but there are so many details that need to be worked out.

Then there’s the job.  Have a project that’s going to take up most of my time for the next 6 weeks.  It’s good that I have a job considering the state of the automotive industry in Michigan.  It’s bad that the OT will cut into what little free time that I have to write.

Upshot is that posting will be light or non-existent for the next few weeks.  Don’t worry – I’ll be back!!  Stay tuned and keep commenting.

But before I go, here’s a few headlines and comments that have shown up in the past week:

Immigration Bill Pulled

The Senate immigration bill has been pulled from the floor of the Senate.  This just might kill this horrible piece of legislation, but there are those who state that it will be back.  I hope not…

Paris Hilton Out of Jail

Yep, she’s out of jail, but not out of trouble.  Now it’s house arrest for 40 days with a rather unstylish electronic ankle bracelet.  Why we care about what happens to this protected airhead is beyond me.

Democratic Candidate Debate

Verbal body slams were the on the agenda for this debate.  It was interesting that the candidates attacked each other as much as they attacked the President.  But there’s no way I would vote for any of them.  Obama is becoming a Black Militant.  Edwards is bordering on the left-wing fringe.  Clinton is stiff and smarmy, and who really wants Bill back in the White House?

Democratic Candidates Express Faith

Faith in what?  Didn’t hear anything on the sound bites that resembled anything but self-promotion.

Republican Candidate Debate

Much more agreeable debate.  Were at least courteous in their disagreements with each other’s opinions, & didn’t stoop to character assassination.

Republican Candidates Express Faith

At least there were a couple that stated that their faith was based on God and Jesus Christ, and done so in a way that promoted God and not themselves.

Jefferson Charged

William Jefferson (D-LA) finally has been charged with multiple counts of criminal activities.  About time.

Time to go.  Stay tuned!

As many of you probably already know, Cindy Sheehan has “resigned” from the protest over the Iraq war. The event as described in a MSNBC article has several snippets that I would like to comment on.

In what she described as a “resignation letter,” Sheehan wrote in her online diary on the “Daily Kos” blog: “Good-bye America … you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

I’m sorry that America is not the country you want it to be. I’m not exactly happy about all of the things that happen here, but I am not naïve enough to believe that if I parade around the world protesting that everyone is going to follow my lead and do the same.

“I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called “Face” of the American anti-war movement.”

And that’s exactly what will happen if you go out and protest. There will be repercussions of some nature from the opposition, especially from parents in a similar situation. Whether you will be strong enough to weather the criticism is something that is not for the faint-hearted.

When she had first taken on Bush, Sheehan was a darling of the liberal left. “However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the ‘left’ started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used.”

“…would rather live under Hugo Chavez than George W. Bush.” (Hardball, July 5, 2006, with guest host Norah O’Donnell)

Sheehan said she had sacrificed a 29-year marriage and endured threats to put all her energy into stopping the war. What she found, she wrote, was a movement “that often puts personal egos above peace and human life.”

Congratulations, Cindy, you just found out you was used by the liberals to further their agenda. Once you outlived your usefulness, you were discarded like yesterday’s garbage. Making statements of wanting to live in a Socialist country with an anti-America dictator running it did nothing but make you appear like a wacko and make you a liability. Politics (and politicians) do not respect personal sacrifice, nor do they care about anything but the advancement of their personal agendas.

“Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives.”

I can do nothing but agree with her statement (surprise!!). We are a fickle nation with misplaced priorities and limited attention spans.

Kristinn Taylor, spokesman for FreeRepublic.com, which has held pro-troop rallies and counter-protests of anti-war demonstrations, said dwindling crowds at Sheehan’s Crawford protests since her initial vigil may have led to her decision. But he also said he hopes she will now be able to heal.

“Her politics have hurt a lot of people, including the troops and their families, but most of us who support the war on terror understand she is hurt very deeply,” Taylor said Tuesday. “Those she got involved with in the anti-war movement realize it was to their benefit to keep her in that stage of anger.”

I agree with Miss Taylor. Cindy Sheehan has always struck me as a person with a deep amount of pain over her son’s loss. I think she started asking why her son died, and couldn’t come to terms with it. I do hope that she finds peace, and hopefully, heal the wounds that the loss of her son created.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

…it must constantly be paid for in pain, blood, and lives.

This Memorial Day weekend, let us not only celebrate and remember the sacrifices of those soldiers, sailors, and airmen that have given their lives for this country and all it stands for, but the people behind them.  The wives, families, and friends that they left behind with the memories of their passing and lives should also be remembered.  Often, it is the ones left behind that carry the most pain.

My father is a Korean War Veteran.  He doesn’t speak of what went on over there – he prefers to remain silent on the horrors that he witnessed.  He gave my mother a picture, which I now have, of him in Korea.

I had two cousins that were in Vietnam.  One didn’t come back, and the other one probably shouldn’t have.  Their respective mothers keep pictures on the mantle.

One of my friends spent two tours in Iraq.  He made it back without a problem, but I know the unit he was with.  He saw some action, but I’m too polite to ask him what happened over there.

Everyone reading this post knows someone within their family or circle of friends that has been in the military.  Those families that have their sons & daughters in the military dread that knock on the door or the ring of the phone telling them that someone they love is gone.  Even though this may not come to pass, this is their sacrifice – the waiting for that notice that they pray will never come.

These people all deserve our thanks – living and the dead – for their respective sacrifices for the freedom we all enjoy.