The world, in particular the Internet version of it, is filled with people who are more learned than I. One of the really neat things about the 'Net is the ability to find them, sort of like a candy store and library all in one. Not Heaven, but pretty neat.
Sometimes you find something that someone said or wrote or did that deserves an even wider distribution. Here is one: Orson Scott Card's How Our Civilization Can Fall dated Dec 3rd and posted on the The Ornery American site
One of the things that has concerned me for a while now has been the perception on the part of most Americans that the current state of our nation, our economy, our civilization, are just the normal state of affairs. Not so, and, to the degree that most even think about it, they seem to believe that the only changes that should be made are to undo those things that in fact created and maintain this state of affairs. We are never more than a generation from barbarism, and he lays out in pretty logical fashion, not only how it could happen, but goes into some detail how it has happened.
Read it. You won't like it. I didn't. But read it anyway.
31 December 2006
The world, in particular the Internet version of it, is filled with people who are more learned than I. One of the really neat things about the 'Net is the ability to find them, sort of like a candy store and library all in one. Not Heaven, but pretty neat.
30 December 2006
I have been reminded of a staff report entitled ''A Line in the Sand:
Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border'', which came out of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Investigations. Go read it - you paid for it after all. It puts the lie - again - to some of the blather put out by those who persist in making excuses for widespread illegality and shows more clearly than I like the breakdown of law on the Mexican border.
I hate pounding on this subject. I hate it. There are a lot of things that ought rather to be in front of us. But unless and until we deal with this issue as, in my humble opinion, we should do -- by vigorously enforcing existing laws without an apologies for doing so, we shall continue to have this problem
28 December 2006
The following is a series of e-mail exchanges I've had recently with another blogger who has a rather different take on the matter of illegal immigration than I do. I do not have his permission to release his name so I've removed it and references to his site.
Despite our differences, I have found him to be unfailingly courteous, reasoned, and intelligent. While I doubt that either of us has persuaded the other, I am happy to have encountered him and wish him well.
The exchange began when he sent me the following message after I had left a comment on his site.
Thank you for visiting -his site - and submitting a comment. If you don't mind my asking, I have a few questions which will help me understand your thinking on the issue of immigrants working illegally in the US. Q: The Latino population has grown tremendously in numbers. Aside from those here illegally, is that a problem? I see from your website that you are a Christian man, what is your responsibility to a fellow Christian that is trying to feed their family by seeking work in a foreign land? Was Jesus and his disciples illegal when they traveled to live and work in foreign lands? Finally, neither you or I have sought or employ foreign workers in our homes or in our businesses, but millions of American citizens and businesses do. To be morally and legally consistent in your absolutist approach, shouldn't the federal government also arrest, charge, convict and jail millions of "law-breaking" Americans?
To which I replied:
This contains some fair questions and they deserve fair answers.
To address the last one first, yes to be consistent those who deliberately or recklessly employ illegal aliens should be prosecuted to full extent of the law. I favor this in fact and have said so.
Now, with regard to the other issues. Christianity nowhere requires nor even permits me to violate the law of the land except as part of a religious obligation such as not bowing to Baal. It does not require me to, for example, steal from my neighbor in order to give money to someone in need. The fact that we are as Christians said to be under Grace does not get us out of speeding tickets nor excuse us from paying taxes.
The idea that we should overlook egregious violations of law as part of some sort of Christian duty is bad logic, bad law, bad theology, and a rather transparent attempt to excuse the inexcusable. The law exists. The border exists. ''I wanted to'' is no better an excuse for an illegal immigrant than it is for a rapist.
I note, by the way, that the Bible, including the New Testament, has considerable to say on the matter of being subject to governing authorities. I commend such reading to the attention of all.
Finally, the world has changed in many ways in the last 2000 years. There were, for example, no Social Security cards nor photo ID's in those days. I have no reason to believe that Jesus would have been in favor of forging them if there were and see no reason He is pleased with doing so now.
He responded with (and I did mention his courteous and civil attitude throughout.)
Your position is principled and consistent. In civil society, lawbreakers are lawbreakers and 1) shoudn't be excused, and 2) should be punished.
I generally agree with this view. However, taken to its extreme it becomes silly and self-defeating. For example, people speed, litter, cheat some on taxes, etc. Except for a few saints, most of us are guilt of breaking some of the rules.
We have between 10 and 20 million people here illegally. Where I live in afluent suburbia, I'd say that every other homeowner utilizes the services of what I suspect are illegal workers. Additionally, the farms, restaurants, car washes and other labor-intensive buisnesses seem to depend heavily on this workforce.
But wouldn't arresting millions of guilty Americans be politically and practically impossible? Frankly, don't believe that Americans support arresting 20MM, or 10MM, or 5MM, or even 1MM illegally employed/employers.
My view is that the fundamental dynamic at play is one of supply and demand, and that to the extent that you have a huge and powerful demand for labor, you won't stop workers from crossing the broders nor Americans from hiring them. Supply doesn't cause the problem. As with Prohibition, Americans and the people they seek to employ will find creative ways around government restrictions.
This is why I agree w/President Bush and others that have proposed a temporary guest worker program. It's really the only way to rationalize and manage this part of America's labor supply.
It took 1,000 federal agents to arrest 1200 Swift Company workers. The human and economic damage to workers, families, communities and the company is incalculable. Arresting and/or harassing the valued workers of the Swift Company, people who do incredibly taxing and dangerous work, instead on tracking and arresting domestic and foreign terrorists, seems, well, confused.
I responded with:
Are you familiar with the ''broken windows" theory of society and law enforcement? Roughly, it translates out to ''there are no insignificant violations''. And that goes straight to the heart of the rule of law, the nature of our society, and a lot of other things. It recognizes that once littering, for example, is accepted, there will be more litter. One Coke can on the street is not a disaster. A million in a block is. Part of the inner workings of our society and our government (and, by the way, they are NOT the same, one of the reasons that socialism is such a vile and unmitigated disaster) is to define and to enforce the limits and the boundaries and the expectations. One illegal is not a disaster for the society. But twelve million are. And pretending it is not a disaster is at least as big a disaster - it trashes the whole rule of law concept. Without close examination, it is at least possible that lack of such expectations are what has so damaged the societies that many of these illegals are leaving. Why should we import that?
You spoke of ''guest worker'' programs. I have two problems, at least, with that.
- Go to Europe. Many nations there adopted 'guest worker' programs over the last 20 or 30 years. The result? A permanent, un-assimilated, un-assimilable, hostile 'state within a state'. Check the Turks in Germany, the Algerians in France, the Somalis in the Netherlands, and so forth. This is a bad thing, a very bad thing, for everyone involved. Again, who would seriously want this?
- Under current - erroneous in my opinion - interpretations of federal law, children born to ''guest workers'' become citizens. That flies in the face of any reasonable expectation of 'guest worker' as a temporary resident, here for a very limited and specified period, expected to return in a short time to the nation of origin and possibly remain there forever.
- It flies in the face of the expectations of assimilation. Books and articles have been written on the subject, all probably better than I could write. If some of these proponents of 'guest worker' programs were correct, we would not even see the existence of organizations like LULAC and La Raza here. But we do, so I see hidden agendas.
Look, I have lived much of my life in various areas that had experienced a great deal of LEGAL immigration. People, good ones and bad, who had come from Guatemala, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Italy, Egypt, Mexico, Taiwan, etc. Many of them waited YEARS, some decades, for the permission to enter the nation legally. To allow those who ignored or willfully violated our laws to remain here is to insult those who followed the rules. So far as I am concerned, illegals here in our country should be deported TODAY, and sent to the border with the clothes on their backs and nothing else, and the nations of origin billed for the cost of the roundup and deportation. We do not excuse nor subsidize bank robbers and I class illegal immigrants as no better.
A word about the oft-repeated phrase ''doing jobs Americans will not do''. IT IS A LIE. It is a despicable lie, and it is an insult. Sir, I have DONE a number of these jobs. I've swept floors and picked produce and cleaned up after cattle and caught chickens and scrubbed toilets and .... and I resent the phrase. It is a lie. And I know, personally, American citizens who have been denied the opportunity to do these same low-end jobs because illegal aliens will do it for less. It has not escaped anyone's attention that there are now many applicants for those jobs at Swift, jobs Americans are quite willing to do, that had been in effect stolen by illegals. The work at a meat packing/slaughtering plant is not great. But Americans have done it for a long time - we need not import others to do it.
Rounding up and deporting 10 million is not easy. But it can be done and it starts with efforts like this - by making it crystal clear to all that we respect the law and expect others to do so and that lawbreakers WILL be apprehended and WILL be subject to the provisions of the law. It should not have been allowed to get this bad, that is true. But delay will not improve matters.
While illegals can be and sometimes are fine individuals, the United States as an entity can neither afford their presence nor tolerate the damage that widespread illegality does to the society. Time for them to go home and stay there. Time for vigorous defense of the border and vigorous efforts to apprehend and deport illegals. And time to remind the nations of origin, Mexico in particular, that cross-border invasions are an Act of War. We've had that discussion before and Mexico might wish to reconsider her actions based upon that memory.
The people of Guatemala, Mexico, etc. are welcome to solve their own problems. We have our own. The United States is NOT part of Mexico or Aztlan or a revived Olmec empire or other idiocies.
I bid you good day.
He answered with:
Thank you again for your spirited and thoughtful response. You make a number of very good points. I do, for example, see that in Germany's case the guest worker program there seems to have morfed into a large semi-permanent population of Turks. And it's true, a guest worker program that's not enforced, i.e., people don't go back and are not made to do so, is no better than what we have.
But having spent time in Europe, I can tell you that a big part of the unassimilating minorities problem there is that many of those societies are quite distinct from ours. That is, our immigrants have been historically-speaking assimilated, whereas in Europe the Germans, the French and others do not view immigrants as ever rising to the status of become a "real" Frenchman or a "real" German. So while immigrants there and everywhere tend to band together for mutual support, French, German or other societies there--through custom and law--ensure that immigrants are always, well, foreigners. America is just not that type of caste society.
I also appreciate the broken window theory. Believe me, I worked in NYC before and after it's implementation there and it made all of the difference in the world. So yes, I understand and appreciate the wisdom of the enforcing the smallest rules in order to deter/prevent larger infractions. (By the way, you should love Rudy Giulianni. What he did to clean of NYC verged on the miraculous.)
I also noticed the long lines of people seeking jobs at Swift. But you should know that Swift is offering higher pay to the new employees, and that that will bite into company profits and/or raise the cost of their products. I personally support people getting paid livable wages. But while long lines are telling, we'll have to wait to see how many of the new applicants are themselves working with false papers and whether or not productivity suffers.
My bet is that while many of the toughest, most dangerous and lowest paying jobs will go begging, many jobs can and will be filled by under-employed and unemployed citizens. I do believe that many American businesses have become hooked on low wage workers from Mexico and may be biased against American workers. I've heard a number of business owners suggest that American laborers are poor workers.
I especially love your point about the need to take to the Mexican government and the ruling elites there. See, I am more symthathetic to the Mexican worker even when they sneak across our borders to look for work, because I really believe that their government gives them no choice. From what I can tell, Mexico is no democracy and it doesn't really have a market economy. It's a more "acceptable" version of the Banana Republic, a society ruled by an exceedingly self-serving elite. It has virtually none of the policies that allows a middle class to expand and workers to become property owners.
In a sense, an open border w/Mexico is first and foremost a way to ensure that Mexico's robber classes are never held to account. That is why the oligarchy there is more than happy to find ever more creative ways to push their poor out of the country.
So here's where you and I may agree. The U.S. should demand that our neighbors real democracies. You never hear about Costa Ricans sneaking across the border, and that's because it's a real domcracy with a real middle class. To poor and working classes --as they do here--have pathways available for upward mobility through education and hard work. Costa Rica is the complete opposite of Mexico.
I for the life of me don't understand why we treat that regime in Mexico with kid gloves. My understanding is also that most of the "illegals" here and workers in Mexico would favor the US helping take down the Mexican plutocracy.
BTW: Talk that promote Aztlan simply have too much time on their hands. It's silly stuff. Any sensible American Latino--and most are that--can clearly see that there's a world of difference between the the U.S. and Latin nations. If in some fantasy world Aztlan ever came into being, most Latinos would move out.
While I still think arresting millions of people is probably a nonstarter, I do favor the use of a modern social security identification system that's tamper proof. It's kind of ridiculous that in this day people can simply say they're someone else and get their ID/SS card. Technology exists today to make that impossible.
Anyway, thanks again for the discussion. I do agree that we have a proble and that it has to be solved--and quickly. The solutions however should solutions and not half-baked measures that sound good but make things worse for everybody involved.
To which I responded, last night, with
Good evening and a very Merry Christmas to you. I hope that your holiday has been a pleasant one.
I need to amplify a bit on the 'guest worker'' issue just a bit among other things . Your comments were quite correct, but I wonder if perhaps don't cover quite the whole issue, starting with the European example.
But first, let's be clear about the meaning of the term. To the Europeans, it appears to mean imported hewers of wood, drawers of water, a permanent underclass that will never ever achieve true citizenship and/or acceptance. A lousy deal, but perhaps to be expected from a culture and civilization in a demographic death spiral, too fastidious to wash their own clothes.
To the Americans, the term means what I said before, someone coming in country temporarily , rather like a excavating contractor, and then leaving when the job is done. Not a citizen, not a prospective citizen, not a permanent resident, a contractor. The 'anchor baby' question is very much in play here. Again, the analogy to a contractor is on point. But there is this suspicion that what is being proposed is something very different from either of these, that it is instead a way to effect a back door amnesty for criminals, which is at best what illegal aliens are. And most Americans are revolted by the idea of an amnesty, a reward for criminality. Hence the controversy.
With respect to the Europeans, you are quite correct that the Europeans tend to be clannish and insular, even if they don't want to admit it. A Turk, for example, will never in a century be regarded as a ''real'' German. (By the way, the Japanese are much worse about this, and so are truly tribal cultures such as in the Middle East). There is history to prove this, the Jewish experience in the 20th century Germany being just one example. But in truth, the Turkish (or whatever) 'guest workers' have no intention of becoming German either, else we wouldn't have mosques being built in Bonn or see burquas on the streets of Berlin or Wuppertal. Or parts of Spain, France, Denmark, or the Netherlands.
The US experience is much different. As I noted before, I've spent much of my life in areas that have had substantial levels of legal immigration from many parts of the world, Latin America included (with substantial levels in both directions with regard to Puerto Rico, which is a special case). The situation was generally consistent without regard to nation of origin. Those who came here as adults from, say, Poland, would still speak Polish at home, but insist that their children learn and speak English in order to become 'real Americans'. They might, for a number of reasons, remain part of the Polish National Catholic Church, but even that might change by the 2nd generation or even the first. Same for Christians from every nation, except that those of Greek extraction might still be Greek Orthodox, the Russians remain Russian or Eastern Orthodox or might go over to the Byzantine Rite Catholics. But outside of that they would endeavor to assimilate while maintaining some unique cooking heritage.
The large exceptions to this are the Hindu immigrants from India, and the Muslims from everywhere, though that is a wholly separate issue.
In most of these cases, the individuals involved are great people regardless of nation of origin, race, color, etc. Mafiosi excepted, of course.
Perhaps the process involved to gain legal entry plays a part in that; known felons and wanted criminals are not welcome and the process of moving from legal presence (green card) to potential citizenship is one that expects and reinforces lawful behavior and a demonstrated intention to assimilate, to become an un-hyphenated American.
The illegals are a different story. Yes, there are examples, individuals we both know, of wonderful people who came here illegally. Wonderful, except that they commited a serious crime by coming here in violation of law, and compound that by remaining here. Consider, when you have a group that starts out by demonstrating a lack of respect for law, what are the chances that such an attitude will carry over into other areas? Good, actually. Here are some recently publicized figures:
I did not make up these numbers, they were I believe used in a speech on the floor of Congress. Add to that the areas along the border (primarily) where English is rarely heard even among 3rd generation kids, perhaps one is permitted to suspect that assimilation and becoming law-abiding American citizens was not the real objective of this. The stories I hear from law enforcement (including the Border Patrol types), nurses, store managers, and many others are consistent. We have a problem, and it will not be solved by ignoring it nor by calling it something else.
I repeat my original statements. All illegals need to leave, now. Period. No exceptions. Those who leave voluntarily are free to petition for legal residency, from their home countries. No exceptions. My personal belief is that anyone found illegally here by law enforcement should NEVER be permitted legal status. And that the nation of origin be billed for the cost of apprehension, incarceration, deportation, and any appropriate restitution.
There is no good remedy for illegality. But there are appropriate penalties. And it is time to employ them. Unfortunately.
I bid you a Happy New Year.
Again, there are matters upon which reasonable people may disagree. And we can disagree without becoming disagreeable.
26 December 2006
First of all, posting has been very light. The Christmas season has been quite busy for us, and has had its moments. I hope that God has blessed you through it as He has us.
But that is not the reason for the apology. A few minutes ago, I opened the blog as a regular reader would do, and clicked on an item on the sidebar links list. To my horror, what opened (after what appeared to be a redirection) was a very raw porn site. That's awful enough, but it was one of those hijack-type sites that then warns you of all the porn sites they claim you've visited (totally untrue) and ''offers'' a ''service'' to remove any embarrassing records.
While a list of everything God's had to forgive me for would require a lot of paper, hitting up the porn sites on the Internet hasn't lately been one of them. I have no idea as to what series of events led to this - I normally do a cut-and-paste while at the site I'm linking to, so I suspect that their site may have been hacked, but I don't know. It certainly wasn't any site I've visited.
If anyone has visited here and been hijacked like this, you have my sincere apologies. I can only say that I've removed the hijacked link. I don't know what else I can do.
19 December 2006
A quick, brief post, and perhaps more later.
I was made aware earlier of another site on blogger, one that has on it the COMPLETE text of Andre Servier's book, Islam and the Psychology (Mind) of the Musulman, written about 1924 about the heathen devotees of the Mohammedan cult of the Devil. Highly recommended. Go to http://musulmanbook.blogspot.com/ and see for yourself. I will also put this on the sidebar under my links list.
Islam delenda est.
16 December 2006
I must apologize for the light posting of the last week. Things have been busy, and not all good.
Good - sort of. Our older daughter, Ashley, has announced her engagement to Brian, with a wedding set for a year from now. He's a good guy. I just hope he's strong enough. I love her dearly and she's been a delight and a blessing. But she is one tough gal who wants to get her own way, always (not that she inherited that anywhere!) and would rather die than admit to a mistake. I wish them well. At this point they intend to live in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Brian believed her flat statement that under no circumstances would she ever again live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I'm already hearing rumors of ice sculptures, etc. I hope she's found a chest full of money 'cause I sure don't have one.
Bad - definitely. Brian's brother, Justin, was killed last week in a head-on crash with a drunk driver. He leaves behind a wife and a baby. Christmas will never be the same for any of them, or us.
The end of the year is always a time for reflection and memory. In the last 30 months, we moved several times across several states. While we had hoped, at this point in our lives, for a measure of stability and settledness, perhaps looking forward to a retirement some day. Instead, we moved hither and yon, lost everything we had, and at this point a retirement - ever - appears unlikely. Instead, I'll probably work until the day I die. And, since the average lifespan of a male in my family is around 48, borrowed time is a very real concept for me. Yet God knew, a million years ago, that this would be the case. He doesn't get worried over such things, so perhaps I shouldn't either.
07 December 2006
Anyone surprised that the problem continues?
Comes now a story out of Broward County, Maryland, entitled ''Crash may revive effort to bar illegals from driving'' which details the fallout from - brace yourselves for the shock - the death by vehicular homicide of two Americans. Citizens. You know, people who were born here and had a lawful right to be here and a reasonable expectation that their lives would not be ended violently as a result of the behavior of one Eduardo Raul Morales-Soriano, an illegal alien, with a blood alcohol level four times the limit. Sounds like blind drunk to me, sounds like a serious crime to me. Probably to the family of the deceased as well, though it would appear that this counts for very little these days.
What is truly aggravating is that officials of the state of Maryland had issued a driving license to a man whose very presence inside our borders is a crime. I wish that I knew the names of all of those responsible for that travesty, in order that I might do a more complete job of wishing them ill. There is blood on their hands, and they evidently have not even the sense of decency to be ashamed of their criminal malfeasance in office. This illegal should bear the full wrath of the state. But I see the entire range of persons whose actions and inactions led to this situation as being criminially culpable as well. Like the officials in Maryland who sanction such things. Like the persons who issued the driving license and auto tags, who employed this criminal, who housed and succored him, who refused to vigorously enforce the laws regarding illegals. And, not least, the evil, despicable, worthless persons within the government of the nation of origin. We should declare war on that nation.
Oh, by the way, back in February, this same illegal was involved in another drunken driving accident. The law was ignored then as well. Had it been enforced, two American citizens might be alive today.
I wish curses unceasing upon the heads of all those who make it their business to excuse the inexcusable. I mention in particular those persons within the Assembly of Maryland whose criminal inaction and despicable posturing has created this state of affairs.
30 November 2006
Sometimes it seems that some things never end. Take for example the ongoing carnage in our nation from illegal immigrants. Sometimes it is expressed in the death of citizens as they wait too long for care in an Emergency Room crowded with those who have zero business in our borders.
Sometimes it appears in the death, injury, rape, or fear resulting from the depradations of roving gangs who have, with good reason, no respect for our laws, culture, or criminal justice system. (and who can blame them?).
Sometimes, far too often, the result of the illegal aliens invading this nation appear in the newspapers as they report yet more death and injury resulting from traffic accidents caused by illegal aliens behind the wheel, quite often very drunk. Here's another such, out of North Carolina (odd how many times North Carolina figures in these), reported in the Fayetteville Observer under the heading Man charged in driving deaths apparently in U.S. illegally with N.C. driver's license
By the way, his blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit.
To add to the insult, back in February these creep refused a breathalyzer test at the scene of yet another accident. Yet his license (unlawfully obtained) was not suspended, nor was he apprehended as an illegal, nor was he arrested and required to appear. And so, two more US citizens are dead.
I have heard, until I want to vomit, the lie that illegals simply ''do the work that Americans won't do.'' That is a lie. It is a big lie, and it is an accursed lie, and I for one resent it - I've DONE a lot of the scutwork jobs these liars are referring to, and so have many other Americans.
I want to be kind. On this issue, there is no nice way to put this:
- Enforce the laws. ALL of them.
- Deport the illegals. ALL of them.
- Arrest the employers. ALL of them.
- Arrest those who aid and abet illegals. ALL of them, including the worthless two-bit liars that set up these ''sanctuary cities'' and those who REFUSE to do their sworn duty in this matter.
- Erect the walls, include sound sensors to detect tunnels, on the Mexican and Canadian borders. Do it immediately.
- Tell the government of Mexico to butt out, and give a strong hint that we are considering a Declaration of War.
- Immediately present a bill to the government of Mexico on behalf of US citizens damaged by the incursions of these illegal invaders. Hold all cargo coming across the border as collateral for these bills.
- Repudiate NAFTA and CAFTA.
- Then get tough.
29 November 2006
You can't do much better than a good headline:
25 November 2006
I've been remiss in following up on a previous post dealing with the realities of working in an engineering capacity in the American manufacturing world today. And part of that is a reluctance on my part, a reluctance in part born out of fear. A fear coming from experience.
Let's start with what we can see and I will speak of personal experience. Many of the industrial activities that I observed growing up are no longer around. I spent my early years down on the border of Ohio-West Virginia - Pennsylvania. Coal mining country. Appalachia, if you like. Places of great poverty and want, where the only occupations to speak of were farming, coal mining, or servicing one of the above, like driving coal trucks and working in the little truck stops. Oh, and yes, moonshine running was still done there and probably still is. I was in the little hamlet this summer where we once lived, and some of those homes still have outhouses and dirt floors. Yes, it still happens. But there's little going on today, little coal mining being done. More on that in a moment, but note that there is a large segment of endeavor now essentially gone.
Later we relocated up into that area bounded by Akron - Pittsburgh - Cleveland, including the industrial towns of Youngstown and Warren. Places where the industrial activities were the tire companies in Akron and the steel-related plants in Pittsburgh-Cleveland-Youngstown-Warren, including the ports up in Ashtabula and Cleveland. The steel plants were major users of the coal mined in the operations previously noted. Only most of the steel plants are gone. Without them, of course, no need for coal. Or metallurgical engineers, or designers of ladles, or protective clothing, or a lot of foundry equipment, or coking furnaces, or specialized rail cars or trucks or .... you get the picture. The tire plants are mostly gone from Akron also, which affects the makers and designers of things such as tire molds, or all the specialized equipment involved in being the world's tire center. Which it isn't any more.
Some of the steel coming out of Pittsburgh and Youngstown went to the US automakers. Back when the Big 3 really were dominant, and cars were made out of honest US steel coming from American steel companies who smelted American ore with American coal. Not so much the case now, is it? So changes there also.
I could go on at greater length and a whole lot more detail. But let's pause there for now.
I'm in the business of being a change agent, of finding a better way, of refusing to settle for the line ''but that's the way we've always done it''. At the same time, it's been painfully evident that a lot of what has been touted as improvements are nothing of the sort, at best neutral and sometimes injurious to the cause.
While America has been a dominating industrial center for a century, that is less the case every day, and in some of the remaining operations the important decisions are being made in Yokohama, or Dusseldorf, or Liverpool, or Wuppertal, or Seoul, or Shanghai. Chrysler is a German company now. Firestone Tire and Rubber is owned by a Japanese company. And remaining ones continue to shove production outside the borders. The last report I heard of the Whirlpool plant in Ft. Smith Arkansas showed a loss of some 1600 jobs (and still counting) most of which are going to their new facility in Ramos Orizpe, Mexico. And corollary damage - Moll Industries which had been a major supplier to Whirlpool is giving that business up totally - roughly a third of their entire production. I understand another firm with a Mexican operation will take it over.
We all have examples of this we can cite. Some are much worse.
To respond to this onslaught, a number of approaches have been taken. Some are the desperate flailings of an organism under attack and in danger of death. And, in such circumstances, unanimity of purpose, marching to the beat, is sometimes more valued than marching in the right direction. I think that I've been involved to some extent with just about every one of them over the last 20-odd years or so. Anybody out there stil refer to their copy of A Book of Five Rings which was very popular around 1982 or so, and supposedly allowed the words an author put into the mouth of a long-dead Japanese swordsman to be the path to True Manufacturing Greatness. Yes, people really bought into this stuff. Lot of money got spent and some people were greatly rewarded. Those who had some reservations were labled obstructionists and many were pushed out. Not marching to the beat. Same thing for every other such fad. Problem is that no matter how worthy a concept, it has some limitations that too many management types can't or won't comprehend. So any failures are blamed on the ''obstructionists'' and the 'champions' go off to tout the next management fad du jour
Most of us know this. And we all know that the most dangerous of these fads are those which correspond to the personal preferences of top managers. For example, take 5-S. Anyone want to dispute the merits of organized workplaces? It makes sense in an operating theater to have all the scalpels, clamps, retractors, etc. ready for used and in a particular place. Not the place to have a stray toilet mop show up, nor to run out of something necessary. But organization is to be directed to a purpose, it should not be an end in itself. But I once ran into a top manager with what I called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. He would have demanded that the scalpels be serially numbered and placed in the OR tray in that order. A nut, in other words, the kind that actually spends his evenings combing the fringe on rugs in his home. To him, 5-S is not a useful technique, it's a religion, a way of life, and doubters are worse than heretics, they are dangerous enemies to be liquidated. This is a useful way to improve your company? And there are many other examples that might be cited.
Those of us who took our engineering education into the manufacturing arena find ourselves dealing with most of the standard engineering issues, but we also find ourselves dealing with human factors, imbecilic regulations, avaricious investors, idiotic accountants, crooked union officials, and off-shore competition from slave labor countries like China. And yet we are periodically assured that what we do is valuable. Generally right before a major downsizing or corporate takeover.
I enjoy what I do, all things considered. But I wouldn't recommend it to my children.
Posted by tnmartin at 11/25/2006 09:50:00 PM
After a while, the phrase ''murdered by Mohammedan heathens'' becomes sort of a yeah, so what else is new? thing, we are becoming accustomed to the reality that those who worship a demon will do other evil in consequence.
Comes now a story out of Thailand via CNN of yet another murder of a school teacher by more of these truly evil people. See Teacher slayings shut Thai schools with a tip to Little Green Footballs for pointing us at the story.
Mohammedans have a great deal in common, more than they realize, with the ancient worship of Baal, Dagon, Moloch, Asherah, etc. Allah is simply another name for the demon that they worship, albeit unknowingly. They are deceived. Attractive as the urge to bomb and shoot them into oblivion, I believe that God Almighty has another plan, and in any even has reserved such things to himself.
One of the elements that must be included in dealing with the invasion of illegal aliens that our federal government, most especially starting with the President, has steadfastly (and in violation of law) refused to do, is to deal with employers who deliberately or recklessly employ this illegals.
Check out this site, entitled We Hire Aliens.com. Just like calling your local police to report a crime in progress, this provides an avenue to publicly call attention to this sort of criminal activity and also to alert other citizens of the situation.
Check it out.
And shame on the feds for violating their oaths and public trust.
Your wife's cat climbs up on her lap and ''shares'' her plate of grits. Betcha they don't see that in Manhattan or Chicago or San Diego. Durndest thing I've seen this week.
I'll be posting later as we recover from the holiday's events. Oh, and this marks the day that my One True Love In This World turns 29. Again.
19 November 2006
Some thiings are too awful to be described in words - the visual images are adequate.
This link is to a site with some images that should not be seen by children or those who are easily impressionable.
The next time one of these liars tells you Islam is a great religion
That all cultures are equally valid
We have no business judging other societies
Consider: the scenes depicted here have been the rule, not the exception, through the entire history of Mohammedanism. And they want to bring it here. In fact, chances are good that there is a mosque dedicated to that and it's not far from where you live. Does that make you feel good?
18 November 2006
Today's readings: Ezekiel 17, 18, 19 and Hebrews 13
I am generally reluctant to comment much on Paul's letter to the Hebrews. Perhaps it stems from too many years of watching the 'name it and claim it' TV preachers go overboard on the faith passages in Chapter 11 in particular. It's not up to me to oppose their message, but I don't agree with what some of these ''faith movement'' people have put forth.
The passages in Ezekiel are full of imagery and warning. As I've said here before, the issue for me is that so many of these warnings were ignored and the results foretold came to pass. The attitudes and sin preached against can be found in virtually every Western village and town. Should we think ourselves beyond the reach of God's retribution? Somehow we've come to believe that peace, prosperity, plenty, and the necessity for wicked entertainment are somehow our right. Ain't so.
Sorry for the light posting this week, we've had illness in the family while still working heavy duty hours. Rising at 04:30 every day and getting back home around 12 hours later, just as it begins to get dark, means you feel yourself living in a time tunnel. The tornadoes and related storms that roared through here the other day have added to the stress. Meanwhile, at work I'm trying to figure out the problems with a multimillion dollar piece of machinery that the Germans inflicted upon us. With the time difference and their less-than-inspiring office hours, invisible work ethic, and general ''attitude'', it's been a trial. I spent about 90 minutes the other day on the international call, including being shuttled from one side of their operation to the other, and at the end of it all was no further ahead. Having dealt extensively over the years with the Japanese attitudes, which I don't like, and also with the Europeans (Finland/Switzerland/ Denmark/ Germany /France/Italy), I can't say which aggravates me more.
14 November 2006
Ezekiel 7, 8, 9
Ezekiel is one of those books that I always feel I've not studied enough, yet am a bit uncomfortable with those who claim to understand all contained in it and in the book of Daniel. There's a great deal of very heavy imagery, a lot of judgment and retribution against the nation for prolonged and serious violation of the covenant. What makes it truly serious is that that promised judgment did occur, it was terrible, ghastly. And deserved.
Then we go from that reading to Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews for today's portion, and we find therein warnings such as
|26||For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,|
|27||But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.|
|28||He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:|
|29||Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?|
|30||For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.|
|31||It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.|
God is love, and He is full of grace and compassion and mercy. But He has standards, and expectations, and there is a point at which we are called to account.
The judgement upon the people of Israel and Judah was terrible and severe. They did little of a sinful nature that is markedly different than what is common in our society today. Does anyone really think we are somehow immune from the same result?
13 November 2006
12 November 2006
Ezekiel 1,2,3 and Hebrews 9
God's word is always appropriate, timely, and useful. With the events of the last few months, I've found this to be even more so than other times.
The passage from the prophet Ezekiel reminds us, among other things, that even in the midst of great trial and pain, God Almighty is still in charge and very much aware of what is going on in our lives.
And He cares. He cares not only in a remote and mildly interested sense, but He cares enough to make His interest known. And to seek to engage with us, even though we can not understand His purpose or nature.
The passage from the letter to the Hebrews is also a warning, a reminder that at the end of all of this life on earth, there is an accounting. Verse 27 should be memorized by all.
11 November 2006
Lamentations 3 - 5
One of the tough things about a regular through-the-Bible reading program like the one I have been doing for some years is that after a while you see the effects of the sin of the nation when judgment and catastrophe come upon them. It's perhaps a bit like watching the re-run of a catastrophe film - you want to warn the people and there's nothing you can do. Except, perhaps, to reflect upon the warning in the text and to realize that one of the reasons that the text is there for us to read.
The book of Lamentations follows in this path. The previous books of the Old Testament, particularly 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, and Jeremiah are often discouraging in the sense that the we see almost a determination to sin. The results of that sin are harsh and sure, though just. The record of death and slaughter, of pain, loss, bloodshed, and incredible violence are shocking. They're almost as severe as what we see in our own world though we dislike to recognize that fact.
And what scares me, what bothers me a lot, is the parallels between the culture in ancient Israel and Judah, and what I see in that part of the world we used to call Christendom. Particularly in the US, if only because I live here.
And I must reflect that virtually every evil, every sin condemned by the prophets in Israel and Judah can be found in nearly every American city and town. And, knowing that God is just, can we escape the retribution of which the prophets warned?
Today is Armistice Day, marking the end of WW1, the ''War to End All Wars'' as one of the biggest idiots in American political history called it. You don't see much about it these days, but at one time it was normal for school kids to learn one of the famous poems to come out of that massive bloodletting.
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.
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.
by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
I never read that final stanza without an element of shame over the way we have dishonored the efforts and memory of those brave men. I am no longer certain of the rightness of that war, it has been nearly a century now and the world has many new evils, and I know altogether too much about some of the participants in and around that war. But those who fought on behalf of the United States and of Canada, certainly deserve the very highest respect.
And now, if you're lucky, you can buy a red paper flower on a plastic stem from an old veteran in front of the Wal-Mart. If you're lucky. Somehow, I think we should honor them in a better way than that.
10 November 2006
Random stuff today.
I've been out a couple days. My beloved had a problem with the video on ''my system'' so she unplugged the cable from the video card, only to discover that the cable was all that was holding the monitor onto the monitor shelf of my desk. CRASH! Dead monitor. Also dead video card - the stress probably did the internal connections no particular good. And for a group normally having components underfoot (sometimes literally) we have ZERO video cards to replace mine with. A spare monitor (the trash pickup took away the busted one this morning) but no video card. And a
I see in the news that we have yet another dead citizen courtesy of an illegal alien. Check out the link Immigrant in crash poses dilemma in the Observer out of the Charlotte, NC area. I guess the dilemna arises from the unwillingness of the authorities to actually enforce the law, something that I thought they'd sworn an oath to. Stupid me. From the article:
Carlos Gonzalez Hernandez, 36, remained in Durham County jail Thursday charged with felony death by vehicle in the wreck that killed Sue Williamson, 54, and injured her husband, Tom, on Sunday morning on U.S. 70. Police said Gonzalez Hernandez had a blood-alcohol level of .17 after the crash.
It was the second deadly collision in North Carolina involving an illegal immigrant in two weeks.
This whole mess bothers me. We seem to have a situation here where citizens are dying weekly in encounters with illegal alien invaders, and there seems to be no interest in heeding, obeying, enforcing, or respecting the law. This is not a good thing.
08 November 2006
I guess that the title, in '' The Australian'' pretty much says it:
Coming soon to your town, I fear.
04 November 2006
One of the real distinctives of a Christian, as distinct from a ''progressive'', worldview has to do with moral differences. The more or less 'official' view is that we are, somehow, better people than our ancestors; that as a rule moral issues are products of conditions external to the individual, such as nutrition, poverty, literacy, inclusiveness, etc., and therefore we can of our own experience and wisdom create an ideal society. As one motivational type of years gone by had his adherents chanting, ''Every day in every way, we are getting better and better and better''. The Christian view is rather different. We believe that human beings are inherently flawed, that the flaws - we call the situation ''sin'' - are present by birth in every human being (the single exception being a rather extraordinary one) and that barring a miracle cure, this will be true throughout all human history. It's an old fight.
Sometimes something catches one's attention, something that leads to something very like despair at the human condition.
I've grown up in a society that regarded the Third Reich, the Nazi regime in Germany headed by Adolf Hitler, as being the worst society ever. We can compare bad ones later. We know, for example, that even before they took power, the society accepted some of their beliefs. Among those were that some lives were more worthy than others, and that some lives were better terminated. (If that sounds uncomfortably like Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood, it should. They were friendly.) And that led in turn, inevitably, to evaluation of children (and adults too) and decisions over whether to 'cull the herd'. This sort of thing became part of the list of charges in the Nuremburg Trials that sent several of them to the gallows.
Now I see in the Sunday Times out of London, an article titled ''Doctors: let us kill disabled babies'' which is a serious proposal from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology advocating in favor of ''active euthanesia'' for the ''overall good of families''.
I would have to suspect that Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, Mengele - and Sanger - seem to have won that argument. Perhaps we owe an apology for that little gallows incident if we are seriously proposing to admit that their idea was a good one. Particularly if we go beyond consideration into full-blown acceptance, and thence to common practice. It will, I predict, be justified under some sort of ''for the good of All'' boilerplate, and opposing it will be considered some sort of 'hate speech'.
I've never cared much for the Catholic idea of classifying sins. That's a worthy subject for a whole series of posts, if not a book. But they're not totally wrong. The pattern they describe is pretty evident: pride, greed, lust, and envy. We seem to have them all through the history of our race, which brings me back to the worldview issue that began this post. The sins of human beings just seem to repeat. We don't have any fewer today than those that Calvin or Luther or Paul of Tarsus saw. Or Jeremiah for that matter. I'm not sure quite where the shedding of innocent blood falls in there, but it's at least as old as the worship of Baal and Moloch.
This isn't 'progress'' as I define it. It's just the same old thing come around again. The difference is that we have recent experience of where it leads, so we have not even the bad excuse of not knowing better.
I'll go out on not too much of a limb here, and predict that this does not please God. Then again, I doubt seriously that this was one of the objectives of those proposing this policy.
03 November 2006
There is a good letter in the current version of the online edition of Modern Plastics magazine, in the section called ''As I see It''. You can find it online, titled 'Shortage? What Shortage?' . Go and read it, it's a story I've heard many times, in many places, from many people. I've been there myself. Individuals with excellent track records of accomplishment and value-add, part of the 'collateral damage' of the hollowing out of American manufacturing. Unable to get a job. In some cases, unable to get ANY job, at ANY level. Too qualified for some, or in some cases being experienced in the ''wrong'' CAD package, or something relatively trivial. For being unemployed - the folklore that it's easier to get a job when you already have one is true. Stupid, but true. Even, and this is true, for having a bad credit file. Being unemployed, particularly extended unemployment, is not conducive to a good financial picture. Keeping someone unemployed because of that is beyond asinine, it's something only an HR type or a beancounter could invent. But it happens daily, truly it does. And the type of attitude and business culture it reveals is part of the rot that is part of the real damage to the nation's industrial base - more than finances, quality, or regulatory environment, it's a terrible lack of leadership with a defensible moral philosophy. Part of the overtaking of industry by lawyers, accountants, and other leeches.
Anyway, I came across the letter this afternoon as I was trying to make some calls and navigating through the labyrinth of some of these devil-inspired voice mail systems. I was making the calls trying to get a recommendation for a repair facility for a worn/damaged injection mold. Many of the people I once dealt with are out of business, and the craftsmen they employed are gone to the winds. Let me give you one observer's recollection.
Back in the 1990's, I worked for a now-bought-out major maker of consumer goods. Most of our products were made of rubber and plastics. At one time, so I was told, we operated American-made injection presses, processing American-made polymers through molds made at American tool shops, some near-by. Along the line, someone with a cut-price MBA decided that the molds, the more pedestrian ones, could be made more ''competitively'' off-shore. In Portugal, in fact. So there was less business for the US tool shops, and the trade, the craft, the respect and pay due a tool & die maker, suffered a bit. By the way, so did the profession of the tool engineer. Later, some one with a ''world-class quality'' chant on his lips, decided that we needed to try out some alternative presses, from Japan. Less work of course for the makers of injection presses and all their components, and of course for those who design them. Then it was decided that it was ''too expensive'' to operate these presses in the US, so some of the work was shifted to Mexico, and some to China. Then more and more to China. Then it was decided that it was silly to arrange a product in the US, make the tool in Portugal, and then ship it to China. So the tool build was also contracted into China. Of course, that meant Chinese tool & die makers, using Chinese machine tools to work on Chinese-made steel, made molds to go into Japanese (and then Chinese) injection presses to make consumer goods for American customers. Having work done by slave labor is cheap, but I thought we were better people than that.
Does this give a lower-priced toy at the big-box retailer? Probably. And this is not a bad thing, it may even be a good thing. Is that the only thing that matters?
Meanwhile, now I have trouble finding someone who can reliably repair the collapsing core of a low-volume injection mold. The shop in Ohio that repaired another mold for me two weeks ago is now deemed to be ''too expensive''. But while I could once find a dozen such within a few hours' drive most of those I once knew have been boarded up.
Those who periodically sign up for big government programs that want to up the numbers of students going into the so-called STEM majors (Science, Technical, Engineering, Math) seem blissfully unaware that the history I just recounted is going on all over the country. Finance majors, beancounters, and lawyers seem to be doing just fine. The engineering types, and the honest craftsmen that work with us, see their livelihood and sometimes their designs, heading to China, Mexico, and the like.
This is good for the retailers. And it lets us have more ''stuff''. Is it good for the country? Does it send a good message to our children as they consider their own futures?
01 November 2006
And yet one more example of the fruits of the criminal non-feasance in office of our high elected officials, and another attack in the de facto state of war that exists between the United States of America and Mexico.
Seems that Leopoldo Sanchez, an illegal alien (I know that's not the term approved by the cultural elites, the MainStream Media, most of the politicians in Washington on either side of the aisle, but heck with them), having once been deported for illegal activities, crossed our porous border again and raped at least one woman in the Houston, Texas area. See the story at the Houston Chronicle under the heading of Rape Suspect Had Been Deported Earlier This Year .
In the meantime, we finally have an agreement to build a fence along a short section of the border, though have no plan in place to finance it.
I have a suggestion, or rather several.
- A person who has not learned once won't learn twice. He does not intend to change his behavior. Hang him. Do it today. He is an invader, and is not - in my humble opinion - entitled to the legal protections afforded to US citizens or lawful visitors. He is an invader bent on evil designs. Hang him. Publicly.
- Those who have excused such patterns of behavior have acted the part of enablers. There should be consequences. Suggestions are welcome. I like the idea of public floggings, though the stocks and the pillory have their fans.
- This is a natural consequence of various public policy decisions on the part of the rulers of Mexico. My view of the matter is that there is now and has for some time been a State of War between the US and Mexico. Therefore:
- repudiate NAFTA, immediately
- declare war
- close the border, totally
- declare such organizations as LULAC, MALDEF, MEChA, La Raza and their ilk to be subversive and treasonous organizations dedicated to the violent overthrow of the United States. Act accordingly.
If I EVER again hear the lie about ''jobs Americans won't do'', I won't be responsible for my actions. That is a lie, an insult, and it's uncalled for.
30 October 2006
Go ahead. Read it. Consider it for what it is - a single snapshot picture of the extent of the evil being perpetrated against the world by the devotees of a demon-cult called Islam. It is repeated around the world, daily, and on virtually every continent. [I've not heard, yet, of one in Antarctica]. Wander off to some of the sites that I've linked to here, and see for yourself.
Think it won't happen here, say in London or New York? It already has.
In this particular case, these demon-besotted thugs grabbed a teenager, each grabbing a limb, and then they sawed off his head, while they chanted ''Allahu akbar!'', an incantation to their demon-god. His ''crime''? His identity card revealed him as a Christian. And to them, that was enough. Evil is never comfortable in the presence of the Savior.
There are a lot of things that a conservative can disagree with President Bush about. But surely one of them has to be his repeated reference to Islam as ''a religion of peace''. It is no such thing. It is, and always has been, a violent cult, spread almost exclusively at the point of a spear, and which admits of no other belief system.
How long before a 14-year-old in your town is killed by one of these?
There's a great link over at the Belmont Club blog to a site that provides maps showing locations of terrorist incidents around the world. It's at The Belmont Club: Mapping Terrorism
I highly recommend it. We have an unfortunate habit of ignoring the very real pattern of death and destruction of fellow human beings around the world. And there is, equally, a terrible pattern of ignoring the patterns of behavior and worldview links of those perpetrating these atrocities. I guess it's not totally correct to ascribe them ALL to the Mohammedan heathens, there is still the IRA and various Maoist groups are around. But most are the outgrowth of Islam. Check out the site - then consider your choices on Election Day.
28 October 2006
(More detail available from TheReligionofPeace.com )
Jihad attacks carried out, world wide, week of Oct 15-21, 2006 78
Dead as a result of these 390
Critical injuries as a result of these 462
Recap for the month of September, 2006
Jihadi attacks 242
Critical injuries 1790
Please take a moment to consider these figures. In just one month, devil-possessed heathens murdered more than one thousand three hundred human beings. In most cases, the main ''offense'' was simply that these individuals were not of the Mohammedan persuasion. In the remaining cases, the issue was the particular flavor of this hideous death cult.
In any event, it should be clear to all but the most blinded that Islam is a blight on the face of the earth, a cult fostered by Satan, and an embodiment of evil wherever found.
I am persuaded that the battle here is a spiritual one. There will be knives and bombs and rifles and all that, probably for quite some time to come. But the real issue is between God and the Devil, between the forces of good and those of evil. I've read the back of the Book, and I know how this struggle comes out, and it's not good for the followers of Muhammad. While there is some reassurance there, there is also an awareness that the followers of this cult are headed towards eternal damnation and that is nothing to wish on anyone nor to celebrate. The early Christians were up against a system at least as evil, and, by the power of God, overcame it.
Prayer and personal witness are, in the end, far more powerful than artillery shells and hand grenades. We have much to do. Time to be about it.
My wife has a cat. My daughters have cats. I have no cat. I want no cat. I don't particularly LIKE cats, and only go along with them because they are not dogs. I don't really have any understanding of the urge for pets. Animals were put on earth to provide meat, milk, eggs, leather, wool, etc. They're not people, and I can not understand those who act as if they were. Makes no sense to me, a descendant of generations of farmers.
But .... I'm outnumbered in my own home and have found it preferable to exercise the better part of valor. Meaning I shut up.
At least they don't bark or bite the neighbors. They do, however, get into some circumstances that can only be described as truly odd. You see one of them here.
Background here. A couple years ago, one of our neighbors suddenly picked up and left, hauling off their kids and getting onto the Cherokee Nation (reservation) by Sallisaw, Oklahoma. They left behind a remarkabable beer can collection, considerable evidence of drug use, and a pregnant cat. Who, being more than half feral, promptly deposited a litter on our back porch. Two lived, little Siamese-looking things. I came home one day to discover that Mama Cat had departed and the kittens had been adopted. Twins, one female, one putatively male. Names were already being solicited, with each daughter claiming one. Since they were evidently demented, I recalled the bad Japanese that an exchange student (Mikihiko Goto, where are you?) had tossed off once, to the effect that ''sukoshi nikki-nikki'' meant ''a little bit crazy''. Since daughter number 2 was thinking of calling the male (hers) as ''Squishy'', Sukoshi was acceptable and Nikki was adopted as the other's nom de nutso.
Cats seem to like to play. Here, we had three of them arguing over, of all things, a small fish bowl. (The fish once housed there had, ahem, no further use for it.) The photo is of the small female (now neutered, like the others) trying out the fishbowl as an appropriate hat. Please don't try to convince me that cats are intelligent. Intelligent beings don't put fishbowls on their heads. Of course, I'm not convinced that intelligent beings get tattoos and piercings either, but that is a matter for another day.
I see that one of the ''Beltway Snipers'', Lee Boyd Malvo, has admitted to another murder, this one in 2002 of Jerry Taylor on a Tucson golf course. I'm sure that provides a small amount of closure for the family of the murder victim.
But for others, it should be an item in an indictment. If you go to a 2002 article written by Michelle Malkin in her article ''Who let Lee Malvo loose?'' you will be reminded that Malvo is an illegal alien who was arrested back in 2001 in Belllingham, Washington, but - in violation of the law - was ordered released by the INS district in Seattle. As a result, Malvo was set free. And as a result of that, Jerry Taylor is dead. And so are a number of other people. Michelle has done a real number on them at her blog/column. Check out Another Beltway sniper victim for her take on it. I think that she does one of the better jobs on this issue, though there is some excellent work being done. But excellent commentary and excellent analysis do not, alas, seem to be translating into equally good policy and practice.
Persons taking up governmental duties are indeed doing exactly that: stepping up to perform duties that are greater than those expected of the average citizen. As such, they deserve respect and honor, so long as they ''well and faithfully carry out the duties of the office ...''. Clearly, quite an number of persons, and it reaches to the very top levels of the nation, are now feeling free to ignore their oath, their duty, their honor, and the expectations of the nation that these duties will be well and faithfully performed.
Ideas have consequences. INS, and the elected and appointed leaders, have ideas. And Jerry Taylor is dead. You can't ignore the law and honor and expect good results.
Enforce the law. The law specifies who may enter this country and under what circumstances. I am tired of hearing nonsense and lies to pretend that violations of these laws are unimportant. They're not unimportant. And Jerry Taylor is not the only victim.
The law specified deportation of illegals. The law prohibits knowingly hiring illegals. Enforce the law. Vigorously. Immediately. I want ALL the illegals out of OUR country, and now.
21 October 2006
As a Christian, and as an American, I frequently wrestle with issues that seem to be in tension between those two states. One is not always certain that these tensions are more contrived than real, but certainly there are issues which force one to think the matter through. Illegal immigration, and cultural and national standards, fall into that area.
There are those who will claim that all cultures are equally worthy. That's nonsense: who would prefer to live in a cannibalistic society, for example? And few would willingly live in a Marxist state - that's why the Berlin wall was erected, to keep the prisoners in.
And there are those who believe that the defense of national boundaries is un-Christian, or un-Progressive, or something else that they don't like. I doubt that these same people don't lock their own front doors. If that is OK, then defending the border should be as well. Among other things, Chistian charity should not be construed as to require giving away your neighbor's goods without consent. Give of your own substance, but don't steal from others to do so. And you aren't required to let the burglars even into your own home.
The self-proclaimed elites in our centers of power have bought into the idea that our US territory is not worth defending, or have determined to make a variety of bad excuses for their refusal to defend the boundary. I believe that the results of that will be expressed at the ballot box in the upcoming elections. While I regard the Democrat position in this - and most other issues as well - as being ridiculous and despicable, the de facto Republican one is no better and little different.
I have reproduced below a section of some exchanges that I had early this year with a Republican county chairman in Tennessee. I don't have his permission to reveal his name or comments, so the posting will be limited to my own statements.
original post in late March
It is beyond my understanding why we have de facto sanctuary areas in our very neighborhoods, why illegal aliens are not being sought out and deported the very same day, why we are continuing to permit mob rule in our streets by criminals openly promoting the reconquista of large parts of US territory.
I can not understand why I suddenly need to punch "1 for English" on a telephone system.
I can not understand why local manufacturing companies hire illegal aliens with impunity.
But, most of all, I can not understand the stance of the Republican Party, in particular at the national level and most particularly in the office of the President.
It is not helpful when those who call for the enforcement of existing laws are demonized as "vigilantes", when lawless behavior is winked at, when our borders and national sovereignty are being subsumed in an "open borders" worldview that the overwhelming majority of all Americans reject.
I find it even more discouraging when messages on this subject sent to my Senators are either met with a general form letter (Sen. Frist) or studiously and totally ignored (Sen. Alexander). I can promise you that ANY primary challenger to Lamar Alexander will get my active support, and I will do my utmost to bring others along. I don't care if the candidate is Donald Duck, he'd be better.
INS agents, augmented if necessary by the military, should have gone through those crowds yesterday and illegals should have been back across the border by nightfall with the clothes on their backs and nothing else. Nothing.
Instead, this mob, something eerily similar to the riots in France, was unchecked. The actions of the government of Mexico amount to acts of war. At the very least, we could stop the charade.
And, while we're at it, stop the President's deliberate gloss of the differences between legal and illegal immigration. Illegal aliens are felons. We do not reward felons, at least not as a matter of general policy. Why are we proposing to do so in this case? Illegals should be apprehended, deported, and never-never-never permitted legal residency.
A few words about these so-called "Guest Worker" plans.
- See how the "guest workers" have turned large parts of France into places the police dare not go.
- How the guest workers have taken over large parts of Germany.
- It was the children of guest workers who set off bombs in London busses.
- Or killed film makers in Holland.
- Or committed gang rapes in Australia.
- Or in Norway.
- Or control the types of cartoons that may be published in Denmark.
After a brief exchange, I responded as follows:
The comments I made were far more temperate than some I've heard in the course of my daily activities. There are a lot of people, including some you would not think of, who are just downright livid over this situation. It crosses lines of party, faction, race, age, social status, and others. There is a strong perception, unfortunately true in some cases, that the Republican party, particularly the old Rockefeller wing of it, is in favor of illegals as their presence tends to drive down the wages at the low end of the pay spectrum. If I hear "jobs Americans won't do" one more time, I'll throw a shoe at the TV.
I know how hard it is to get people to come to work on time and really work. But I, like many others, have put in his time, thank you, at mowing lawns, sweeping floors, scrubbing toilets, and working on farms. The so-called ''jobs Americans won't do''. I wouldn't want to do any of them for the $1.80 an hour I once got. But I could do them again if necessary and Americans still do every one of them. I did these things, and so did many others, and we learned a work ethic and frankly resent the 'jobs Americans will not do' - it's a lie, an insult, and it's uncalled-for. Now, between the illegals who will mow your lawn for cash under the table, and the Social Security and child labor laws, kids who could be out learning the value of work are pushed out of consideration and illegals take the work.
More to the point, illegals are here, we know it, and nothing happens. Local police pick them up on a variety of charges up to and include murder and rape, compounded by their very presence in the country, but INS tells them to "catch and release". You know it, I know it, everyone knows it, and NOTHING is being done except to insult those who want the laws enforced. A wall is proposed on the border, one that should have been erected after the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, and it is opposed on the grounds that it might work. (And is opposed on our own soil by the representatives of a nation with which we are essentially at war.)
Go down off I-640 onto Rutledge Pike early some morning and head over towards Mascot (note: this is an industrial park area northeast of Knoxville, TN, but the Morristown area is no different). Look to your right by the Dollar Store and see the crowd standing by the road. And that's only one example. Or go over into the Industrial Park in Mascot and watch who's working the 2nd and 3rd shifts, and not a one can speak a word of English over at some of them (you can research that one yourself). Been going on a while and it's no secret.
There are examples everywhere, and the party that was once known for law and order, which has been in power in two branches of the federal government for over half a decade, refuses to enforce the laws on the books. And everyone knows it. Go over to the grocery stores. Why do you think the Food Lion has a section with masa flour, a variety of Mexican foods, Mexican laundry products, and candle jars with the Virgin of Guadalupe painted on the sides? You think the people from the Church of Christ, or any local Baptist are buying them? You think it's an accident that you now have to ''punch one for English ......" even to use a credit card at Wal-Mart or Food City? And those are just some of the comments that I've heard in the last few days.
Anyone who thinks that this simmering rage will not be expressed, at the ballot box and in other, less savory ways I fear, is living in a cloud cuckoo land.
There is a term that needs to be remembered. It is "social fabric", and it deals with the ways we live and conduct our lives, ways which often have little or nothing to do with the laws and the government. It includes the niceties of manners, conduct, behavior, and such. It is a delicate but important thing. It means we know, without a law, not to belch or pass gas in public, to allow the aged, infirm, and ladies to sit while we guys stand, to turn the music down, to take time for the small kindnesses. It means we volunteer our time and money for charities, public services, and Boy Scouts. Yet we see in many places that the Emergency Rooms in hospitals - and sometimes the entire hospitals -- that were started and often maintained by donations, fund raisers, and such for the good of the community, are closing because they can't afford the burden place upon them by persons whose very presence in the country is a crime. At best. How do you think those volunteers feel when they are called racists and vigilantes and their concerns are ignored or slandered by the chief magistrate? The social fabric is strained when we throw out the traditions of assimilation, of rule of law, of wanting to be Americans, in favor of multiculturalism, reconquista, of expanding entitlements given to those who not only do not want to be Americans, they want to remain whatever it was that they were before.
The large display of Mexican flags in large numbers this week has emboldened those who, like La Raza, MEChA, LULAC, MALDEF, and others, join with the stated intent of the government of Mexico in intending to retake large sections of the United States. And our government DID NOTHING. Nothing.And when I write my elected Senators, one passes off pabulum and one ignores the entire thing entirely. Calling Lamar Alexander a RINO is too kind. He needs to find something else to do. Wal-Mart is hiring. Though even Wal-Mart expects you to actually DO the job you were hired for, something he seems to have forgotten.In the meantime, the State and local Republican organizations are strangely silent on a matter that has the concern of many citizens. I can not believe that ducking issues is the way to proceed.
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Since then, it's gotten worse.
We have seen, not progress, but further retreat. I see that two agents of the US Border Patrol have now been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for the ''crime'' of shooting, in the buttocks, a smuggler with hundreds of pounds of narcotics. A smuggler who escaped back to Mexico and then complained of his ill-treatment. A case brought by a US Attorney under the Department of Justice headed by Attorney-General Alberto Gonzalez and the Presidency of G.W. Bush.
It is difficult to find temperate language to accurately describe my reaction. My belief is that these agents should have been rewarded for faithful service (and then sent for marksmanship retraining), not prosecuted. The US Attorney is someone that I class as rating somewhere approximating whale dung at the bottom of the ocean, and Alberto Gonzalez is one of the President's very worst appointments (marginally better than Powell).
But the President is paid to be the responsible person, and I am disgusted by his attitude and actions on this whole issue. I regret that he won the 2000 nomination. I fear that those of us who were ''broken glass'' Republicans have accomplished little more than to be enablers of terrible public policies.
14 October 2006
I've been reluctant to comment very much on this issue. Better people than I have already done so, and the families of the survivors have and should remain in our prayers. The site, theosebes has done a good job on the subject, and I recommend you check in there.
I confess to more than a passing interest in the matter. My extended family came from the Lancaster area, my grandfather was born there. Virtually my entire extended family is Amish, Old Order Mennonite, or if liberal, have religious convictions approximating those of the General Conference Mennonite Church. Some of the victims had last names that are in my family tree. This is, to me, very close to home.
One of the best takes came from the keyboard of Rod Dreher of the Dallas, TX Morning News. I found it at the http://tinyurl.com/pyjvj site. I hope that it is still available there. Rod has chosen to emphasize, not the violence, nor the innocence of the victims, nor any of the normal themes found in the accounts of these all-too-frequent evidences of a broken world. He has pointed out that the real shocking story is that the families of the victims have taken up a collection for the widow and orphans of the shooter. The story is one of forgiveness, of refusing to return evil for evil. That is amazing, nonsensical, extravagant forgiveness. And that's the point. They are doing as Jesus Christ has done for you, and for me, and for all who believe on His name. No one, NO ONE, can in their own human strength forgive like that. Most of us, even those who are called Christians, would not even try. That is a terrible reproach to us.
Forgiveness is a subject that should be dear to the heart of all Christians and preached frequently from all pulpits. That is not the case, in general. Most of us, and I include myself, have adopted far too much of the world's attitude on this subject. Most of us would have been calling lawyers and filing wrongful death suits against the estate of the shooter, even if it threw his survivors into the snow. The Amish of Lancaster County have shamed me, and perhaps others. They have done unto others what the Lord has done for us, and done it without publicity.
I should do likewise.
07 October 2006
Now if one may change the subject a bit. This is part one of what I expect will be several. This is an issue that is important for reasons that will be addressed.
One of the things that I do for a living is in the area of manufacturing engineering. I've worn a lot of hats and carried a number of titles in the career.
Over the last 20-odd years in this line of endeavor, I've been through just about every sort of buzzword improvement program that has made its appearance in the New section of the business section of the bookstore of your choice. I've served on committees - usually concealed as ''Cross-Functional Task Teams'' or ''Quality Circles'' or even, Heaven help us, ''SPC Groups'' or any of a number of other terms with the word ''team'' to hide the fact that they are committees. I've received and distributed wagonloads of hats, shirts, coffee mugs, pens, notepads, and just about every other 'tchotchke' imaginable. In many of these ''great leaps forward'', the shirts and coffee mugs were the only lasting sign of the whole blasted thing. Oh, and the promotions and honors for the people who were clever enough to push the thing while avoiding the blame for the failure to produce. I still have memories of a certain now-vanished division of General Motors where the person pushing the management fad du jour arranged himself a promotion to 'Director of Excellence', and handed out wallet-sized 'Excellence' cards with slogans one was to memorize and chant like Mao's Red Guards. The division, as I said, no longer exists, and any improvements gained were largely illusory.
I've said all this to provide some background. I am sure that most of these efforts have been well-intentioned. I am sure, since I've been there, that many who get involved really do want to make things better, to gain the improvements, to remedy the issues that most thoughtful people can see, to do the right things.
So why are so many working so hard to such little result, if indeed that is the case? And what thing or things needs to happen to put the train back on the tracks?
First of all, I want to talk about some of the methods and tools that have been employed. Most of them have some good features. Almost all of them have some unintended consequences, some negative. And some of them work in some situations and not in others.
We need to recognize the Japanese influence. Starting in the late 1970's to early 1980's or so, and particularly in the of automotive area, the competition from the Japanese makers was overwhelming. Being adaptive if not particularly creative, some of the Bright Young Men in the automotive arena determined to copy what the Japanese were doing, or at least as much of it as they could fathom, and install it wholesale into the American factory. Things were to the point that if the Japanese did it, it was worthwhile, and if they didn't then it was counterproductive. I really did hear people, some highly placed, say almost exactly those words. Remember when everyone was expected to have a copy of ''A Book of Five Rings'' and to go about spouting the lessons that an author put into the mouth of a long-dead Japanese swordsman? This was supposed to provide insights into business processes, somehow.
This is not to trash the reputation of people like Shigeo Shingo, Genichi Taguchi and others like Deming. Some of it was very good and the approach has been immensely valuable.
But that does not mean that everything that they did or said, or that the practices of the Japanese manufacturers is immune to improvement or even to criticism. Who among us has not seen silliness like the adoption of unisex uniforms for all employees at all levels, and justified because ''the Japanese do it so we should too''?
The fact is that the Japanese approach works well in Japan, in Japanese culture, Japanese financial structures, etc., and doesn't necessarily translate well to American equivalents. Not to mention that some of their financial machinations would result in lengthy prison terms if attempted in the U.S. By the way, by most measures the Japanese economy has been in a deep recession for a decade or so. This is something to emulate?
In any event, the efforts have largely been in vain. Some of the organizations I once saw heavily involved in these exercises either are in bankruptcy (Delphi), no longer exist at all, have been bought out by the slash-and-burn predators, have moved their battered remnants to Mexico, or have simply outsourced everything to China. Net benefits have been very limited.
Now, much of what I have said already would get me banned from certain polite discussions, and saying what I have already said has not been helpful to the career. Yet most people in the business know these things, and will even admit to them privately. Not publicly - the pressure of groupthink is too strong.
It will get worse.