Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What a waste. A blog post for a contest. :)

But it is Star Wars!

My favorite scene from Star Wars:

Yoda, "Do or do not, there is no try."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I feel the need to speak on behalf of my friends in law enforcement concerning a couple of issues in the news recently.  Both in Ferguson and in Cleveland there are tragedies involving the police that should not have happened. 

We need to educate our children that there is a time and a place to verbally or physically protest police, and that there is a time and place to respect the authority of a badge.  The time to physically resist is NOT when police are confronting you to investigate an infraction.  Any quick or furtive movements while under police scrutiny is an invitation for that officer to ensure their own safety by exerting more control upon the situation.  In most cases this control is physical and it can be escalated to the use of deadly force.

We know (and if you didn't, you do now) that if you attack a police officer in any way, you incite a reaction.  This is by necessity, as the police officer is doing a job just like the rest of us but has to develop instinctive physical reactions to certain stimuli in order to survive.  There is a saying that whatever happens, at the end of the day an officer needs to live to be able to go home to see their family. 

I do not want to infer or opine in any way that there is not a problem in our society with police brutality, police protecting their own who may be guilty of crime, or the over militarization of our police forces.  Those are each separate topics that require separate discussions.  In many cases our society has carved out a different standard of laws and consequences for officers – this is not right nor should it be accepted.

That said, in these recent, specific cases there was a decision made by the non-law enforcement participant that changed futures and ended lives.  Standard police regulations for use of force is the same as it is for regular people like you and I but significantly more detailed.  We are entitled to use deadly force to protect ourselves and our loved ones from life threatening danger with the caveat that said danger be reasonably perceived, imminent, and that there is an element of innocence on our side.  Police are held to that standard as well.

It then goes without saying that a 300 lb man attacking a police officer, or a child with a toy gun that has the orange tip removed who makes a threatening move to pull the "weapon", will both be perceived in the heat of the moment as having the power to inflict imminent bodily damage or even death on a responding officer.  In today's society the capacity to kill is not limited to any specific age, race, sex or religion.  These events must be evaluated on a case by case basis to examine if they qualify for deadly force.

You and I may not be able to teach our children common sense, but we can teach them the rules of engagement and the right that we have to defend ourselves.  By extension, these lessons also teach the right that others have to defend themselves against us should we choose to violate them in any way.

We can try to spin these events to satisfy our own personal agenda.  The news does it all the time, all in the name of selling papers.  The truth is that we have a responsibility to inform ourselves and the next generation what it means to be accountable for our actions and the resulting consequences.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A note about our Debt - To Congress, the Senate, the President, and all the other liars in government.

Let me make one thing abundantly clear. I am not a mathematician. But I can't help but think that my math skills start looking pretty awesome when compared to all the idiots on Capitol Hill debating the budget.

Take a look at this info-graphic:

So let me get this straight. We have a budget of $3.7 trillion. $1.6 trillion of this budget is money that we don't have. We are currently hearing about $62 billion in proposed budget cuts by the GOP. The Democrats think that will sink our economy and that we can't cut that much. We are talking about less than 4% of our ANNUAL DEFICIT here.

Even more interesting, a new report has surfaced that analyzes duplicate/overlapping spending by government entities that have the same mandate. If you haven't read the paper lately, you can catch up here:

So we are stuck with a massive deficit that totals somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.6 Trillion dollars this year. Referring to the budget info-graphic again, there are a number of likely candidates for reform, but no one wants to talk about the only ones that would make a dent in this annual debt (Besides eliminating our debt and saving half a trillion in interest every year).

I'm talking about Social Security ($1.11 trillion) and Medicaid/Medicare ($0.8 Trillion). These 2 programs being phased out or completely cut would save the $1.6 trillion we need to save, in addition to leaving a nice $300 billion dollar surplus to start paying back our debts. Supposing we could save another $200 billion dollars on duplicate programs, we might even be out of debt within 28 YEARS. Yes, you heard me right. Even after completely doing away with entitlement programs, it would take nearly 3 decades to pull ourselves out of this gaping hole that we like to blithely refer to as our national debt. (Couldn't we at least capitalize that or something? Mandated italics just for the word NATIONAL DEBT?)

I have little hope that Social Security will survive to pay me more than the cost of lunch by the time I retire. Medical Coverage just got "fixed" by Obama, but we can all agree that there is a problem with the way Medicine and insurance is run in this country - (I say we eliminate insurance and make the doctors compete in a free market for your business!)

Regardless of your thoughts on these programs, you have to agree that something must be done to stop the fiscal hemorrhaging. I don't care who you are or what you believe in, at the end of the day cutting $62 billion dollars to make up a $1.6 trillion dollar annual deficit not only helps no one, but makes the assumption that general math skills in America hold the highest deficit of all.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Mansion Sized Modular Fort Thingy...

Have you ever wanted to give someone the perfect gift? It happens to all of us at one time or another I suppose, but this time was different. Why? (I can hear you all thinking...) Well, this time was different because I had an outrageous idea, and I had the perfect skills and tools to pull it off. Little did I know...

My kids love building forts in the family room. Who doesn't? We pull the ottoman close the the couch, stack the couch pillows up, and throw a blanket over the whole mess. At their current sizes, all three kids can fit inside our makeshift "fort".... more like a micro fort... but there isn't room to spare, and they are right on top of each other, so the whining commences almost immediately.

So my brainstorm was a Mansion sized (compared to our standby) modular fort thingy, made out of wood cubes and dowels. Unfortunately, procrastination was my crime, and it definitely led to my sorrow on this one. I let the idea grow and mature for FAR too long :)

So, the Saturday before Greyson's 5th Birthday party, which was also to be Lincoln's 3rd Birthday party, I pulled out the man tools and got to work. Fortunately for me, I had already ordered the 1/2" oak dowels and picked up some 4" x 4" x 4' Fir Posts for the project.

I was so excited to set up my new planer. We bought it a while ago, but I hadn't needed it yet. I was apparently too excited to take any pictures, so I shot one of the planer once I was finished with it. (seriously recommend this Mikita Planer by the way!)

I don't have a jointer, and this was planned to be a project that didn't need to be anywhere close to perfection, so I planned to wing it - the fact that the posts weren't really that square wasn't a problem.

Once I planed the posts down to a mostly smooth finish (minor tear-out, not a big deal), I was on to the chop saw to cut the posts down into cubes. I set a stop so I could make repeatable cuts, and was soon happily on my way, chopping cubes like a pro. That was of course, until I noticed that the weight of the posts was knocking the stop back a tad every time it bumped it.

I reaffirmed my thoughts that we didn't need perfection here, because the way these blocks were fitting together wouldn't make a difference in the scheme of things. As much as I like my

woodworking to be perfect, I swallowed my pride and kept going.

My next project was to drill a 1/2" hole near the center of each side of the cubes. As I had 35 cubes, and each cube has 6 sides... 210 forstner bit drilled holes later I was pretty tired.

I called it a day. I think if I knew how much work it was going to take to get things ready for the kids I might have kept working. At least I had Greyson who loved helping me clean up. Of course, the big shop vacuum is a kid magnet!

The following Monday, I forced myself into the garage after a long day at work to make some progress. The Saturday party was looming closer, and I didn't want to be caught presentless.
Natalie requested that I round the edges on the cubes, as Greyson and Lincoln look at all things as weapons. I guess it is a boy thing. After several nights of sanding the edges of the cubes down, (and my hands incidentally...) I finished 31 of the 35 blocks. Since the first "build" was only going to use 16 I had mercy on myself and left the last 4 until some time in the future.

Next I set up the Lathe function of my ShopSmith, but I don't have any of the right chucks nor do I know how to use a lathe. I just used the lathe to spin the dowels while I sanded the ends to a basic level of fit. Once I had enough to build the first fort thingy, I left the rest of the dowels for later as well.

We did a dry run and everything went together fabulously.

We were all ready for the kids.

The day of the party arrived and I brought in all the parts. It was fun to see Greyson and Lincoln catch on and build the fort with me. We threw a king sized sheet over the whole thing and it was the perfect size.

In the course of that one day, the fort was used as a hospital, a pirate ship, a repository of buried treasure, a tower for a princess that needed saving, a perfect place to unwrap presents, and last but not least, we read the boys their bedtime stories with all 5 of us inside.

The crazy part is that I have enough dowels and cubes to expand our mansion sized modular fort thingy to more than twice its size. Regardless - mission accomplished. Now it only remains to be seen whether this toy has the wow factor to stay at the top of the favored toys list for more than 5 minutes... :)

We can only hope!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why Handguns?

Many of you have read the things I have posted about guns over the years, but I think that a lot of you who don't know me that well would be surprised to hear why I am so serious about gun rights. I thought in light of recent events including the latest public shooting in Arizona that I would spend some time detailing my views on firearm ownership and the somewhat traumatic event that led me to my current stand.

My Dad grew up on a ranch, and to him hunting was commonplace. The stories that I heard included obscenely early starts, and large game being prepped and dressed out by sunrise. But that hunting culture was never passed down to my large family of brothers and sisters due to my Dad's soft heart. After hearing a rabbit scream during a hunting adventure he gave up hunting and moved on. (I think I have those details right.) So in our home the only gun I was aware of was an "investment" shotgun with a beautiful wooden stock - still in the original heavy machine oiled packaging. I think my dad still has it, never fired and waiting for the day when he wants to cash in on that investment.

Other than the occasional foray into .22 rifle range schooling through the Boy Scouts, that was the sum total of my gun exposure until I moved away to go to College. one of my best friends at the time had a Ruger 9mm, and he invited me to go shooting with him a few times my freshman year. I ended up buying my own Ruger 9mm that year, and went shooting with my friend as a diversion on occasion until I was called on a 2 year mission to Guatemala. I left my "semi-automatic" as the news calls them with my parents along with the majority of my belongings and left for my mission.

I returned from my mission and attended a college in another state for a year. Once the schoolyear was over I was transferring to BYU so I packed up my things and headed from Idaho through Utah to my summer sales job in Arizona, where I would work until school started in the Fall. Then back to Utah for school. It was on this road trip that my thoughts about guns and their use took a dramatic turn.

After getting a late start from Rexburg ID, I chose to spend the night in Provo with my cousins before getting an early start to Arizona. I had to open up a bank account in town before I left, and I wanted to do that on the way out of town.

The next morning, through some quirk of fate I was not the only one who had decided to hit the bank right after it opened. I filled out the new account paperwork, and was standing at the first teller. I had just given the woman my money, and she had processed it and handed me my reciept when I heard a man yell from the middle of the bank. He said, "This is a STICKUP! (seriously, that's what he said) Nobody be a hero!"

He wore no mask, no gloves. There was no subterfuge. He had a handful of bags in one hand and his other hand held the same exact handgun that I had learned to shoot with my friend, a Ruger P93 9 millimeter semi automatic handgun.

He moved to a teller that happened to be at the middle "window" though there was no glass, as the bank had more of a solid wall of chest high desks as teller windows. He pointed his gun at the forehead of the girl that was stationed there, I still remember her name. Wendy was slim and had long blonde hair. She immediately began to cry.

The man yelled at her to back away from the counter and hopped the counter, leaving behind a clear shoeprint on the top surface. He progressed to my teller first, and I noted that the gun was cocked and the safety had been removed. He was ready to fire with his finger on the trigger.

They cleaned out the first drawer of cash, including the "bait" pack which is supposed to set off a silent alarm. No one realized it but the banks alarms were not functioning. While all of this was transpiring, someone across the room dialed 911 and asked "Our bank is being robbed... should I be calling you?" 911 dispatch sent the police - not the alarm.

After the man finished pulling all of the money from the tills and hopping to the other side of the counter. It was at this point that one of the paper bags that this man had stuffed his money in split open and the money fell on the ground. (It was a greasy McDonald's bag)

The man knelt for a moment. He set down his gun. He picked up the money and placed it in the bag. There was a perimiter of space around this man- I was nearest to him at 14 feet away. That distance was tempting, and yet it seemed like a vast divide. The man with the gun at his feet had power to control the people around him. We were helpless.

I know this is getting long, but I have to express to you how it feels to be on the other end of a gun. The shadowed barrel seems ten times as big as it looks when it is in a safe environment held under control by someone who knows how to make it "safe". In this situation I feared not the gun, but the deranged man behind it - the man who upon a whim could end life.

He never focused on me. He picked up his gun and his money and went out the door. Short seconds later we heard the screech of a police car pulling up, and a number of shots were fired - one of them hitting the incoming police officer. We learned later that he had been hit and injured, but would be fine with time.

That man robbed a number of banks after learning that he had been infected with HIV. I don't know the whole story, but I heard he had been caught some time later pulling the same thing at a bank in Nevada.

I am not ashamed that I could do nothing to stop that man. I had no power to resist. But I made a choice that day that I would not be left defenseless again. When the summer ended I got a new job - working at a gun store. I found a new hobby, perfecting my aim. And I got a new license, to carry a gun concealed. Standing in front of someone who is breaking the law and threatening me with force is not an experience that I would like to repeat. I carried a gun for 5 years, every day, hidden under my shirt, to make sure that such an experience could be averted for those that surrounded me every day.

Now I live in California, and I walk among other people, just as helpless as I was the day that bank was robbed. Some politician in Los Angeles controls my ability to defend myself as I go about my daily business, and they do not allow regular people to defend themselves in such a way. That which is my desire and my right is taken from me by someone who does not care for my preference.

Now comes news of a young man slaying undefended people at a public venue. Democrats and Republicans blaming eachother for violence that should not be blamed on either. People demand why didn't someone notice him before he went crazy? Why didn't his family see this coming? They cry about political rhetoric causing madness.

There are only two things to blame, and they do not fall in any of the reasoning that you hear on the news today. The blame lies at the feet of a crazed lunatic who made horrific choices... and with the defensless public, who leaves their confidence in law enforcement and denies their right to self defense. I was once like them, and have returned to their ranks not by my choice, but by the choice of others.

I can only pray that I am never in such a situation with you by my side, because if this happens to us, we will be left defended by no more than our wits - and God help us survive such a horrible state.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Finally, time on a plane to update you all!

I suppose that a convention, with all the travel and downtime, is a good time to update friends and family via this stale old blog. It has been too long since I spoke with a number of you, so let me start by saying that I hope you all are doing well. Here at the Griffiths activity center, we have our hands full with our 3 boys (Greyson - 5 in Feb, Lincoln - 3 in Feb, and Ashton - 15 mos). All around us there is turbulence and upheaval in the world, but at home we have been passed over by the storm and are counting our many blessings.

Greyson is an intelligent, engaging caretaker who soaks up our behaviors like a sponge and then turns into a mini parent - warning the other kids to follow the rules in his best parent voice. He loves playing any kind of video game be it on my phone, a computer, his leapster, or his recently aquired privelage of playing the PS3 for 30 min each Saturday. His lazy eye is getting stronger with 4 hours of wearing a patch over the other eye every day - he takes his pirate status in stride. His glasses seem to get bent every time we turn around, but so far the first pair have made it through intact. He just endured his first real bout with the stomach flu, it was so sad to watch and yet his bravery and optimism in the face of tough circumstances was inspiring to watch. He is such an observant little boy, and will regularly notice that Mommy did the dishes or vaccuumed - always piping up with encouraging words to tell her how great a job she is doing. The other night I honked Greyson's nose as he was getting into bed... He waited till we were almost out the door to ask for one last kiss. He asked me to get a little closer so he could kiss me back from the top bunk and then honked me back. His laughter still rings in my ears like the sound of the sweetest music you have ever heard.

Lincoln has always been an energetic ball of contradictions. He has always been a stout boy (Grandpa's little tank) that loves to be rough and tumble. He has a huge smile and his dimple combined with those baby blues are enough to melt my heart. He has a hilarious sense of humor and his antics are appreciated by the whole family... most of the time! He loves nothing better than physical contact with his brothers; he is always driving Greyson crazy by trying to sit by him when they watch TV (did I say "by" him...? I meant "on" him!). It can be such a crack up to watch Greyson move away from Lincoln every 30 seconds or so, with Lincoln determined to stay next to him. They both move in tandem around the couches for hours on end until Greyson can't stand it any more and calls for parental backup. Lincoln has a soft spot for Ashton and will always greet him by imitating Natalie by pitching his voice really high and saying "hiiieeee baaaaabyyyyyy!" This can be repeated in conjunction with patting him on the head or any available body part until Ashton screams or retaliates. Lincoln has his favorite blanket that was made for him by one of his adoring aunts that he refuses to sleep without. Early on in his blanket relationship he found a corner that he liked better than the other 3. This caused quite a problem for Nat and I as we couldn't tell which corner was his favorite, and resulted in protracted guessing games about which corner needed to be closest to him. We thought the repeated nightly ritual could be dispensed with when his favorite corner became discernable due to his rubbing it so much that it frayed, but he was adamant about maintaining the status quo and "choosing" his corner every night. Lincoln seems like a force of nature - impervious to outside influences and unfazed by life - but we know better. All it takes is a little disciplinary action to bring out his tender underbelly, he is a softy at heart. WHenever he gets in trouble he wants to give us a kiss while he cries. Last night (the night before I left for a 4 day convention) I spent some extra time with the 2 boys before bed, and as I was tucking Lincoln in I told him I was going away to work for a few days and to be good for Mommy. I watched his face fall and he started to cry. He said, "why you want to go away Daddy?" My eyes tear up just thinking about it. He is serious about being a Daddy's boy, and I try to live up to that honor.

Ashton is expanding his horizons daily. Now that he is a little steadier on his feet, he is quick to exploit any gaps in baby security - temporary though they might be. Nat left the baby gate open for a few seconds yesterday and he baby-sprinted through the opening and made a snap decision to go for the stairs. He was all the way up them in a flash and checking the off limits doors (The bath and our room) to see if they were unlocked. He loves nothing better than those moments of freedom - especially if we growl his name a little as we give mock chase. His newest pleasure is getting up onto our couch by walking up the corner and levering himself up using his hands and head on one side of the corner and his feet on the other. It takes him a minute, but don't you dare try to stop him because he will open up a can of baby anger and hit you in the face with it... loudly. Once up on the couch he makes a break for the end table where he likes to stand and play with the light switches or keep an eye on Mommy in the other room. He has fallen once or twice but trying to keep him down from there incurs serious baby wrath, so what baby wants, baby gets at this point! It seems like all of Ashtons teeth have decided to come in at once, but he is a surprisingly happy baby. He picks up on anyone laughing, and joins it with the biggest mouth wide open mostly gums laugh he can muster. It doesn't matter how far away he is when someone laughs, he is in the joke and laughing with you, often while pointing (another of his favorite things to do)

As for Natalie, she is a busy woman. Keeping the house perfect, the meals cooked, the clothes washed, and all 4 of her boys in line is a full time job! Somehow she finds time in there to make monogrammed jean blankets for all the boys, cross stitch a baby blanket, dress her truth, manage our cahs only household budget (Thanks Dave Ramsey) and host the odd get together here and there... I don't know how she does it, but I try to pitch in where I can. We have been making a resolution to lose the weight we gained over the holidays, but we haven't quite hit our pace yet. We have played raquetball with some frequency - Natalie's reflexes are still as sharp as when she was an MVP pro third-basewoman - which can be annoying to those of us who have been playing for longer than a couple of months as she gets a hold of a ball here and there that we thought we had put away. I have to say, she is a steller Mom and a fabulous wife. All of the things that she thinks she isn't doing as well as she could are so minor. She inspires me. She gets more beautiful as time goes by and our love continues to grow and deepen - I am so blessed to have her.

The business has been pretty flat since March of last year. We took a beating last Jan/Feb but for the last 10 months of the year things ran pretty well. We actually wrote quite a few more contracts in 2010 than we did in 2009 - I think what hurts the most is the level of quality (or lack thereof) that today's customer is looking for. Everyone is on a tight budget and looking for the least expensive way to get things done. On the upside, we have been able to do enough business to justify keeping our key administrative staff while making what we need to make to get by, so we feel like we have been blessed in this downturn. A couple small competitors have already closed there doors in the SCV, and a couple more seem to be headed in that direction, so the net effect of the recession should benefit our business in the long haul. Bless my father for running a business in such an efficient, conservative fashion for so many years. We were as prepared as anyone for the crash and have weathered the storm so far as well as we could hope.

I have to say, that with all of the above there isn't all that much more time left over for me to laze around much! It is a good thing that I love what I do and I can't wait to get home at night to spend time with my amazing family. I even get a couple of hours to play my PS3 one night a week or so while Natalie is off with the young women of our church helping them to work on trying to be as successful in life as she is. They are lucky to have such a great role model. As for woodworking, those night stands are still unfinished... they have languished in the corners of our master bedroom for 2 years now while I refurbished the tools I would need to make the drawers. The last tool, my bandsaw is now ready, and now I just have to resaw a few boards and get going. With the small distraction of my boys birthday presents coming up (Making a wooden fort system out of dowels and wood connectors) I should be back in business and finishing the night stands this year. I'm swearing off large complicated furniture as soon as they are done too. Small projects/toys FTW. I can't muster the energy or the will to ditch my kids and wife in my spare time to work in the shop, so I have a feeling my woodworking will be spotty until the economy improves and I can work less. Here's hoping!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Debt. Why do states and countries have any?

This is an interesting article. Aside from the "No taxes 100 years ago" part it is a good concept. In truth, 100 years ago there were excise taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes. There were no income taxes or transportation taxes.

The truth of the matter is that most Americans are not opposed to being taxed. The problem with being taxed comes with the perceived value of the services provided by the money that we give to the government, as well as the perceived efficiency of those using our moneys.

For many middle class Americans, what we expect from our government is fairly easy to accomplish; smooth roads, electricity, clean water, sewage and garbage services... We want to know that building aren't going to spontaneously fall down and that our kids toys aren't poisoning them with lead. If the government provided a clear report on the utilities provided(utilities that most persons actually used), I doubt anyone would argue with paying moderate taxes at all.

Where I draw the line is when the government escalates taxes due to poor efficiency, or dedicating our hard earned money to causes that do not merit the application of those funds.

Somehow, our state government in CA has dramatically increased our spending in the last decade - and it is not readily apparent where the money is going. City or highway, driving can be compared to off-roading in many places. I need additional filters in my home for my water because the water here is so bad. All summer long I have to deal with "brown outs" or black outs. My toilets flush, but my kids diapers still stink! (ok, that was a joke) My point is, there is NO PERCEIVED VALUE to all of this extra spending. Specialty groups get the money for whatever purpose - when our society and our economy would be better served by cutting our spending (and thus taxes), and letting the increase in discretionary income have its own positive impact on our economy and society.

OK, with that being said, enjoy the article.


By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them...Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits? Have you ever wondered if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes? You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million who are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country. I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress.

In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason... They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party. What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits...The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker Of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party... She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red...

If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it's because they want them in IRAQ .

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way...

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or" politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people and they alone, are responsible.

They and they alone, have the power.

They and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees... We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not a single tax existed 100 years ago(not true, see my comments above), and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the hell happened? Can you spell 'politicians?'