Monday, July 23, 2012

The Old and the New

Our posts are few and far between.  My internet connection never increases in speed it is always one speed "Slow."  We have been promised high speed internet  and I will be amazed when we get it.  In the meantime I will try to entertain from time to time.  The following article is just that.  I had just got through reading about how we need new blood in our organization and was thinking about it when I read this.  I'm sharing and I hope you like it.

"Did you ever wonder why people are far more likely to become conservative in their views and values as they get older? When this rather devastating question is posed to liberals, leftists, progressives, Democrats -- you choose the label or group -- they answer that people get more selfish as they get older. ... People get worse as they get older? If you were walking in a dark alley at midnight, which would you fear more -- a group of teenagers or twenty-somethings or a group of senior citizens? Do older people or younger people give more of their time to charitable institutions? Are our prisons filled with young people or old people? The fact is that not only do people get more wise and more conservative as they get older, they get more kind and more generous, too. ... If anything, we older people yearn for a peaceful world even more than young people do. We are the ones who lost friends or relatives in some war. We are the ones who have lived a lifetime of seeing and reading about human suffering. And, we, not you, have children and grandchildren whom we ache to see alive and healthy. ... What the term 'more idealistic' really means when applied to young people is that young people are more naive, not more idealistic, than older people. ... We are seduced by policies based on the awesome American value of individual initiative combined with liberty to create and retain wealth. It's now called conservatism." --radio talk-show host 1. Dennis Prager

Saturday, May 12, 2012

“My Cup Runneth Over”

Most of the time I am grateful for all the positives in my life. I have an abundance of positives and gratefulness just watching the sun come up. We do have to watch out for trip wires though they work in good and bad weather. Here we are, and Spring is upon us again, maybe it is for real this time. Not to bore you, but my home in Orange was broken into and all the copper plumbing stripped from the basement. Unless you have flushed a toilet with a bucket of water lately it is really hard to appreciate what it is like. Well, we will chalk it up for things to do this year. I did not relish a lot of free time anyway.
This is a short note, I have heard that Marines are at war and America is at the Mall several times. I do not like to repeat it as it fills me with disgust. Can you believe the news highlights of the last month and the deceit that is expended on social issues concerning a very small portion of our population but impact us all? Taking our eyes off the ball, I hope this does not mean there will be a lot of swings and misses. Focusing on what needs to be done in the coming election is most important.
This article was sent to me some time ago by a conservative lady we admire, Kathy, who we fondly call "Ma." So, for Mother’s Day, God Bless all the mothers. We love our Mom’s both here and departed, in our hearts they can never die. Most GI’s do what they do because of the experiences they have had as Americans and those of us that have had a great mother know where our motivation derives from.

Concerning a problem we face with so few in the Service and at a time we are increasingly surrounded by enemies.

Written by a USMA grad, but the same applies to all the others: enlisted and officer.

Thank you to the 0.45%

I remember the day I found out I got into West Point.

My mom actually showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out of class. She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my admission letter. She wasn't crying because it had been her dream for me to go there. She was crying because she knew how hard I'd worked to get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an infantry officer. I was going to get that opportunity.

That same day two of my teachers took me aside and essentially told me the following: Nick, you're a smart guy. You don't have to join the military. You should go to college, instead.

I could easily write a tome defending West Point and the military as I did that day, explaining that USMA is an elite institution, that separate from that it is actually statistically much harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least consider for a host of reasons, but I won't.

What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.

In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four years.

In Vietnam, 4.3% served in 12 years.

Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War on Terror.

These are unbelievable statistics.

Over time, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse. Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans with only one person having a child in the military.

Taxes did not increase to pay for the war. War bonds were not sold. Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out of the goodness of their hearts.

The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families. The volunteers. The people who swore an oath to defend this nation. You.

You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on. You've lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you'll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don't understand.

Then you come home to a nation that doesn't understand.
They don't understand suffering.
They don't understand sacrifice.
They don't understand that bad people exist.

They look at you like you're a machine – like something is wrong with you. *
*You are the misguided one – not them.

When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can't understand the macro issues they gathered from books, with your bias.

You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that. Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more.
But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay back what you've given up.

You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them.

Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform. But you do it anyway. You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775 – YOU SERVED. Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group.

Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.*


Friday, March 16, 2012


A short time ago at a meeting with a dozen Republicans an interesting topic emerged. The topic was how much interest is there in social issues. What is a Republican’s stance in Massachusetts on any social topic, whatever it is, here or nationwide? How should we address it? On one issue I even heard, "Let’s ignore it and maybe it will go away." "It is a third rail, Independents will distrust us." It started my thinking process of self worth, are we that unique?

My feelings are not shared by all my Republican peers. First, Shakespeare’s, "To thyself, be true." To me, means if it goes against my grain, why am I doing it? Second, I keep hearing about ‘reaching across the aisle’ and I take that to mean bi-partisanship. Third, where is it written that if I say I do not agree with the Democratic proposal I am stone walling government, I am mean and selfish and depriving someone of something. When I am really advocating not spending money we do not have, or just not condoning socialism.

Maybe it is time we took account of ourselves and what we stand for. Do we know? Do we understand that Republican principles are Limited Government, Lower Taxes and Local Control. Of course, what each segment means to us? Let’s explore that.

Massachusetts, by nature has been controlled by a Democratic Legislature for at least sixty years of my life. Does anyone remember when Democrats reached across the aisle? I don’t. They’ve always proposed whatever they damn well pleased and thrown the crumbs to the Republicans. In doing so they have dumped on tax payers. Many of us have cowered in the corner and just said, "Thank you," or replied, "We will try to meet you in the middle, good friends." It is almost like saying "Beat me up some more. I like it." We know their idea of ‘middle’ is somewhere around nine o’clock their time. Some Republicans, when in a position to make a difference have failed miserably. They find out how to play ball? Republican mediocracy? That makes me ill.

Past Republicans leaders, good people, if they were doing so well why didn’t the people support the party? Why did they leave? Was it for the freebies the Democrats throw out with the threat that if they are voted out the mean spirited Republicans will stop them? Or, is it they are both the same so I do not want to be part of either one? Is it because the unions and the government regard every job as a partisan job? Republicans need not apply, or just waste your time? Don’t bite the hand that enables you? Was there ever a time in Massachusetts that the Republicans were really conservative? I don’t ever remember it.

In Massachusetts, if I am a candidate running for office, I must court the Independent vote. Republicans are a minority, somewhere around 13%. Winning without the Independent vote is unlikely. I wonder, is it more attractive for a candidate to appear close to the issues that the state’s Democratic agenda feeds us? Should we contrive to be our own party and not Democrat Lite? If I was an Independent making the choice of two candidates both close to the ‘middle.’ One candidate pledges jobs and legislature congeniality, my vote could be swayed I think. Especially, if there is not a significant difference between the candidates except maybe hair style. Is anyone else feeling despair when they see the number of Republicans that turn out to vote? Could it be the middle ground our candidates dance on? Isn’t there a need for some criteria that says who we are?

What about complete contrast to the Democratic agenda? A platform that says previous representation no matter how good it was did not come without cost. Costs, that are only affordable off the backs of the taxpayer. A discernible message that is clear. That every social agenda has gone the way of the Democrats. It usually means higher taxes and higher user fees on every aspect of our lives and the result is failing government. So much for the Lower Taxes of our Republican agenda. They always flip us ‘It was a bipartisan bill with a ninety/ten bipartisan decision. What about, "I will veto every spending bill unless it does not have new tax funding and is funded?" What about, stressing the similarities to Greece and California and the recklessness of run away spending.

In the last 40 years the size of our government in Massachusetts has gone from approximately forty thousand state employees up over approximately eighty thousand, 100%. Our legal citizenry has gone from six million to approximately seven million a 16% increase. This will not take into account the expansion of federal or municipal employed workers in Massachusetts, I will leave that to other researchers. I would think with new technology we are using every state administrative office would be smaller? I guess that diminishes both Limited Government and Lower tax?

How many are following the Housatonic River cleanup debacle? I just threw that in the discussion for local control. Or, has anyone attempted to start a business lately or build anything that requires state permits? I called the DEA once to complain about toxins being thrown in Goose Pond and was threatened that I was a trouble maker by some pencil necked paper-pusher. How can it be, a communications company can dictate how co-axial cable is installed in communities? What citizen did we help with that brain storm? Is it the company, or the union control? Or, is it Corning that makes the fiber-optic cable? Take your pick. They all have their hand in our pocket.

Maybe this negotiation across the aisle should be a little more firm footed so the voters know what the Republican agenda should be. Just maybe, what attracts people that have left the party or insist on being Independent is a ‘broader decision?’ I don’t think they want to be neutral, I think they do not like either party. Maybe people are sick of living in a corrupt society where the legislature wraps everything in bacon just before they are indicted. Do we even think of this dilemma when we know the deplorable status of state and community budgeting? Oh, I know, we are doing really well, then I think of the eighteen billion in unfunded state pensions that are not quite up to snuff. Just raise the taxes and services we’ll still vote for you, until you are indicted.

Just my thoughts and I welcome comment.
Semper fi ...... peterR

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Excuses, are like friends, everyone should have one. Mine? I've had more internet problems then the law should allow. First, the computer internet and then stabilizing new accounts. Computers are a blessing and they can be a nightmare. I would like to blame it all on a conspiracy and of course that would explain some of the bizarre events. Too long to get into.

The good side is, we are up and running. We have used the last few weeks to help restore the Berkshire County Republican Association to greatness. Our paid membership had depleted, there were problems very much like the national problems of more money going out than coming in. I believe we have a handle on that now. We are after all Republicans. If you are reading this and have visited our new website of: you will be surprised.

I am sure if you are a member or have been a previous member you have received several emails inviting you to participate? Please do. We have been beating the brush for a Few Good Republicans. We'll keep a light on for you.

We are back on board just in time. So, let's start, I was reminded today that “We have to stand for something or we’ll fall for anything.”

The last few days have been very intriguing. Rush Limbaugh the alleged indigenous leader of the Republican Party was terminated from our local station WBEC. WBEC was one of two (the other was located in Hawaii) nationwide that changed their programming to get rid of Rush. Rush's plight was a controversial statement that he has since apologized for.

At first glance Rush is on shaky grounds for being a foul mouth when attempting to defend the religious assault on the U.S. Constitution. His stance, the same as many, was that to provide paid health care with funds provided by individuals that had a conscious religious objection was not right. It violated the first amendment of the Constitution. If we did not provide for well being of the Co-ed’s sex life it would be the demise of Roe vs. Wade. Well, I guess it is silly? Thinking it is not is almost as dumb as trying to pass off the story the Insurance Company will pay for hundreds of employees to have their sex life financed for free. We would like this to be a female issue but I have not heard that they would pay for vasectomies so maybe it is a gender bias issue? Not one word on that?

Anyhow, WBEC saw fit to terminate Rush. I have been a Republican for the last four years. Rush’s name has come up four times, total. Somebody besides some dumb Democrat should have told me he is my leader. Rush has some brilliant theories and delivers them to a vast audience of people that are intrigued with his talent and research. WBEC is a privately owned company so they are not obligated to anyone as to programming. There are many people that listened to Rush and I doubt the verbiage Rush mis-spoke was the worst that the administrators of WBEC had ever heard. I wonder if the people that demanded Rush’s removal will now listen to the replacement program? I doubt it. I do believe the sponsors of that time slot will now get 50 percent of the listeners or potential customers from their advertising. Good business move by WBEC, I wonder if they are passing the savings onto the sponsors?

I do not remember them denouncing the vulgar slurs offered against Sara Palin or Michelle Bachman. I am glad that WBEC got their Puritan Morals in line with the times. I am just pleased that their concern for the community took this drastic step to protect me and defend the offended. Who in their right mind really took it to heart that was a fan of Rush? Silently? Exactly, nobody, it is a non-issue, people that are not fans are saying they will not listen anymore. Well, we did not expect them to. If the truths are known probably there are thousands agreeing, of course as our political correctness commands the way we act in society today few will admit to it. Am I protecting women? I certainly am, in remembrance of my mom, boy, what she would have said. Rush would blush.

I am so disgusted, maybe I’ll go to NYC and camp out in the park and crap on a few police cars. How silly, the Tea Party does not do that, it is the other side.

Semper fi,

Monday, January 2, 2012

Our Congretional Dollars and how they add up

The following is some interesting discourse relayed thanks to H. Bishop, former Marine. It offers some insight as to the characteristics of debate over our Congress and financial decisions made by the lawmakers. I don't often look to the Times for material but this is even handed.

During the 2010 elections I was speaking to a candidate for Congress and he informed me that once elected a member of Congress had in excess of a 4 million dollar budget to run their office. I was astounded as the mental math equated the total for the House to be in excess of several hundred millions of dollars. This does not take into account the special committees and travel perks. It does give us an idea of what we are getting for our five percent approval rating of their work.
Semper fi,

New York Times
updated 12/27/2011

WASHINGTON — When Representative Ed Pastor was first elected to Congress two decades ago, he was comfortably ensconced in the middle class. Mr. Pastor, a Democrat from Arizona, held $100,000 or so in savings accounts in the mid-1990s and had a retirement pension, but like many Americans, he also owed the banks nearly as much in loans.
Today, Mr. Pastor, a miner’s son and a former high school teacher, is a member of a not-so-exclusive club: Capitol Hill millionaires. That group has grown in recent years to include nearly half of all members of Congress — 250 in all — and the wealth gap between lawmakers and their constituents appears to be growing quickly, even as Congress debates unemployment benefits, possible cuts in food stamps and a “millionaire’s tax.”
Mr. Pastor buys a Powerball lottery ticket every weekend and says he does not consider himself rich. Indeed, within the halls of Congress, where the median net worth is $913,000 and climbing, he is not. He is a rank-and-file millionaire. But compared with the country at large, where the median net worth is $100,000 and has dropped significantly since 2004, he and most of his fellow lawmakers are true aristocrats.

Largely insulated from the country’s economic downturn since 2008, members of Congress — many of them among the “1 percenters” denounced by Occupy Wall Street protesters — have gotten much richer even as most of the country has become much poorer in the last six years, according to an analysis by The New York Times based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research group.
Congress has never been a place for paupers. From plantation owners in the pre-Civil War era to industrialists in the early 1900s to ex-Wall Street financiers and Internet executives today, it has long been populated with the rich, including scions of families like the Guggenheims, Hearsts, Kennedys and Rockefellers.
But rarely has the divide appeared so wide, or the public contrast so stark, between lawmakers and those they represent. The wealth gap may go largely unnoticed in good times. “But with the American public feeling all this economic pain, people just resent it more,” said Alan J. Ziobrowski, a professor at Georgia State who studied lawmakers’ stock investments.
There is broad debate about just why the wealth gap appears to be growing. For starters, the prohibitive costs of political campaigning may discourage the less affluent from even considering a candidacy. Beyond that, loose ethics controls, shrewd stock picks, profitable land deals, favorable tax laws, inheritances and even marriages to wealthy spouses are all cited as possible explanations for the rising fortunes on Capitol Hill.

What is clear is that members of Congress are getting richer compared not only with the average American worker, but also with other very rich Americans.
While the median net worth of members of Congress jumped 15 percent from 2004 to 2010, the net worth of the richest 10 percent of Americans remained essentially flat. For all Americans, median net worth dropped 8 percent during that period, based on inflation-adjusted data from Moody’s.

Going back further, the median wealth of House members grew some two and a half times between 1984 and 2009 in inflation-adjusted dollars, while the wealth of the average American family has actually declined slightly in that same time period, according to data cited by The Washington Post in an article published Monday on its Web site.

Rarefied air
With millionaire status now the norm, the rarefied air in the Capitol these days is $100 million. That lofty level appears to have been surpassed by at least 10 members, led by Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican and former auto alarm magnate who is worth somewhere between $195 million and $700 million. (Because federal law requires lawmakers to disclose their assets only in broad dollar ranges, more precise estimates are impossible.)
Their wealth has created occasional political problems for Congress’s richest.
Mr. Issa, for instance, has faced outside scrutiny because of the overlap of his Congressional work and outside interests, including extensive investments with Wall Street firms like Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs, as well as land holdings in his San Diego district. In one case, he obtained some $800,000 in federal earmarks for a road-widening project running along his commercial property.

Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat who is married to Teresa Heinz Kerry, set off an uproar last year when it was disclosed that he had docked his $7 million, 76-foot yacht not in his home state but in neighboring Rhode Island, which has no sales or use tax on pleasure boats. (Mr. Kerry, worth at least $181 million, voluntarily paid $400,000 in Massachusetts taxes after public criticism.)

Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, was challenged about her wealth, as much as $196 million, by a member of her own party a few weeks ago. Representative Laura Richardson, a California Democrat who is among the poorest members of Congress with as much as $464,000 in debt, attacked Ms. Pelosi at a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting for endorsing a Congressional pay freeze, according to a report in Politico that was confirmed by other members.
Ms. Richardson angrily told Ms. Pelosi that, unlike her, some members needed the raise. Members now make a base pay of $174,000 and would automatically get a cost-of-living adjustment unless they were to decide, for a third straight year, to pass it up. Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said the rising Congressional wealth fuels public doubts about whether members are more focused on their constituents’ interests or their own investment portfolios. “There’s always a concern that they can’t truly understand or relate to the hardships that their constituents feel — that rich people just don’t get it,” she said.

In an effort to gauge how directly the country’s economic problems affected lawmakers, The New York Times contacted the offices of the 534 current members (one seat is vacant) for an informal survey. It asked if they had close friends or family members who had lost jobs or homes since the 2008 downturn.

Only 18 members responded.
Half the respondents said they had close friends or relatives who lost homes, while the other half said their personal contact was limited to constituents who came for help. Two-thirds said they had close friends or relatives who had been laid off or had shut down a business during the downturn. The rest knew no one in that category personally.
Representative Anna G. Eshoo, a California Democrat who took part in the survey, said several cousins in their 40s and 50s whom she considers brothers and sisters lost their jobs recently. Without college degrees, none have found work, and they have emphasized to her the importance of unemployment benefits.
“Personal stories are very powerful because it’s not a theory,” Ms. Eshoo said. “It’s not talking points of a party. These are people experiencing the harshness of what is an economic depression for them.”

'Different lens'
Multimillionaires in Congress “view life through a different lens,” she said.
Ms. Eshoo herself has escaped the worries weighing on her cousins. While she reported being in debt in 2004, she is now worth an estimated $1.8 million, her financial reports show. She said the rise came mostly from the sale of a family home where she lived for 40 years.
“I was fortunate,” she said. “I’ve lived from paycheck to paycheck most of my life, and I’m a single mother.”
One likely cause of the rising wealth, political analysts say, is the growing cost of a political campaign. A successful Senate run cost on average nearly $10 million last year, and a successful House race was $1.4 million, significantly above past elections.
The prohibitive cost has inevitably drawn richer candidates who can help bankroll their own campaigns and attract donations from rich friends — while deterring less well-off candidates, political analysts say.
The data analyzed by The Times corroborated the idea that incoming members are in fact richer than those in the past. The freshman class of 106 members elected last year, including many Tea Party-backed Republicans, had a median net worth of $864,000 — an inflation-adjusted increase of 26 percent from the 2004 freshmen.
Once in Congress, members benefit from many financial perks unavailable to most Americans. Beyond a base salary of $174,000 — an increase of about 10 percent since 2004, somewhat less than inflation — members get extra pay for senior posts and generous medical and pension benefits, as well as accouterments of power often financed by taxpayers or their campaigns.

While the housing collapse nationwide has hurt many Americans, lawmakers still find the real estate sector the most popular place to park their money, statistics from the Center of Responsive Politics show, and members of Congress continue to profit from their investments there. Perhaps the most tantalizing but hotly debated factor in the rising wealth of Congress is lawmakers’ performance in the stock markets — and the question of whether they are using their access to confidential information to enrich themselves.

In a study completed this year, Mr. Ziobrowski at Georgia State and his colleagues found that House members saw the stocks they owned outperform the market by 6 percent a year. Their research from several years ago found that senators did even better, at 12 percent above average. The researchers attributed the performance to a “significant information advantage” that lawmakers hold by virtue of their positions and the fact they are not bound by insider-trading law.
However, a separate study last year by researchers at Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that the portfolios of lawmakers actually performed somewhat worse than average investors. It found that members did do better when investing in companies in their home districts or associated with campaign donors — suggesting that they benefited from their political connections — but still not as well as the average investor.

While concerns go back decades about lawmakers trading on confidential information, the issue drew renewed attention with a new book on the topic, “Throw Them All Out” by Peter Schweizer, and a “60 Minutes” report in November. Both linked high-level briefings that Congressional leaders received on the 2008 financial crisis and on health care to their purchase and sale of certain stocks.
Members insisted that they never traded on information that was not public, and some Congressional leaders pointed out that their investments were in blind trusts managed by professional advisers. Nonetheless, the publicity led some 90 members of Congress to call anew for a ban on insider trading.
Mr. Pastor, the Arizona congressman, said he never relied on fancy stock investments to make money. He said the key to his good fortune was watching what he spends, paying off debts and, at age 68, collecting Social Security and a pension from his days as a county supervisor.
“I don’t see myself as a man of great wealth,” he said. “To say that I’m enjoying a millionaire’s lifestyle — well, I can tell you, I guess a millionaire’s income doesn’t go very far these days.”
The article, "Economic Downturn Took a Detour at Capitol Hill," first appeared in The New York Times.
Copyright © 2012 The New York Times