Ripples on the Pond…

As a child I used to love to pitch a stone into a pool of water and watch as the ripples began and culminated at the shore; sometimes as they hit the shore they’d actually seem to reverse course and go on for a longer time.

We are witnessing other children casting their stones into the pond of Wisconsin and America to see where the ripples might take them.  These children are, unfortunately, adults but they are adults acting as spoiled children apparently because they didn’t get their way.  (My advance apologies to all children for this comparison!)

There are wild claims about voting irregularities when, in fact, this was a very clean election with few reports of problems at polling places.  Votes were cast, and votes were counted.  People lost and people won.  Some of the losers knew they were going to lose even as they filed their papers to be included on ballots.  Some seek recounts based on flimsy claims but, even in Madison, Wisconsin judges seem to be unwilling to respond positively given the facts that exist.

If you, for example, received only 35,000 votes out of the hundreds of thousands of votes cast, there is scant potential for a recount to change the reality.  The Green Party candidate, Jill Stein seems to have another plan since she doesn’t strike me as stupid.  She might prove to be ‘dumb like a fox’ as an old saying goes.  She might have some kind of longer-range strategy behind the recount demand, but it seems problematic at this juncture.  Not only did she lose, but the recount will cost her campaign some $3.5 Million.  The idea that she could appeal to enough people to amass this kind of money on a fool’s errand is astounding.  Maybe there really is one born every minute as an old adage holds.

President-Elect Donald Trump is actually acting quite presidential as he interviews candidates for positions in his administration and as he makes comments to the press along the way to his seat in the Oval Office in the White House.  He even looks like he might just turn out to be a very good President; so much so that Democrats are scared that they really misplayed their hand by fielding Hillary Clinton as their candidate thinking she was a shoe-in.

Time will tell but initial indications seem quite positive given how dumb and ill-equipped this guy was supposed to be.  And, the person whose turn it was, who was to be the first female President is reduced to helping to fund the ridiculous Green Party recount effort in Wisconsin.  This is so ill-advised that it makes one almost have to seek out the ‘real’ reason for this support.  Politics is a game played out over a long time when it is played at this level.  Maybe Jill Stein will reappear in time in another iteration.

There is an old saying about it ‘being all over but for the shouting’ that seems appropriate even though the losers have not yet apparently fully grasped their wipe-out at the polls.

Ripples on a pond might be very good medicine for the losing side.  Maybe those folks would benefit from the quiet gentleness of those ripples.  Even when a huge stone is heaved into the pond, it results in those same gentle ripples even though it takes a bit longer to see them develop.  I hope the losers can find whatever they need to enable their acceptance of this reality.  It is very real.  Donald Trump is set to become the next President of the United States of America, and I’ll not be surprised to see him become one of the best we’ve seen in this office in our lifetimes.

Chill Dems!

Good Faith…

Such a simple concept; Wikipedia says:  Good Faith is fair and open dealing in human interactions.  This is often thought to require sincere, honest intentions or belief, regardless of the outcome of an action.

As we look across the spectrum of news and politics, we see, from my perspective, a very decided lack of good faith.  The recount brouhaha is but one small example of a situation that cries out for good faith but that is simultaneously suspect.  Did the person buying recounts from three states really think that action was required given that she failed to gather enough votes to even be thought of as a real, honest candidate for the office of the President of the United States?  Or is this whole thing simply a guise for another set of convictions?  And how did she raise more money for recounts than she raised for her entire campaign?

Jill Green can not possibly believe, in her heart of hearts, there is a valid need for a recount of votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  This is simply the equivalent of a “Hail Mary” pass in football with two seconds left on the clock.  But it gets worse because it certainly appears that she has acted as a surrogate for Hillary Clinton.  Yes, the same Hillary Clinton who accepted, finally, the fact that she had been defeated.

These tawdry actions should make us all step back to take a good long look at what it is we have become.  That this kind of thing can be played out across this nation with the press anxiously covering it all seems the complete opposite of what our country used to be, what it used to stand for amongst the nations of the world.  It makes us wonder what we can and what we cannot believe even when we see it published in supposedly bonafide news outlets.

While many are still clucking over Donald Trump’s victory, there is this act being played out that could only have been thought to be the last possibility for a rebirth of Hillary’s campaign.  Hillary, of course, has conceded but that seems to mean nothing to her when this ‘opportunity’ presents itself.  Maybe her surrogate can disrupt the process sufficiently to let Hillary squeeze back into the limelight.  Maybe, just maybe, this ‘Hail Mary’ will be caught and Hillary can cross the goal line and be sworn in as the first female President of the United States of America.  After all, that was in the bag for her until the people acted so strangely as to vote for him rather than her.

Is it just me, or does it seem that these actions always come from liberals?  Is Good Faith even a recognized term in the liberal lexicon?  Are we conservatives too honest for our own good from a political point-of-view?

This is all so transparent.  First, the filings for recounts, then the money that is required to fund these recounts, then the sudden fund-raising acumen of Jill Green.  All the pieces fall into place and Hillary Clinton comes back into public view.  Do we doubt that Hillary and Company were behind this silliness that has such a serious side to it?  Can you even imagine the screaming from rooftops that would be going on with the media if these roles were reversed?  Imagine if Hillary had won, and Donald Trump began filing for recounts after conceding victory to her.  None of us can imagine such an occurrence because it simply wouldn’t be occurring.  The non-biased media would’ve shut it down in an instant.

We have to again come to the realization that the political game is loaded in favor of the liberals.  They won the press for the most part since it is decidedly liberal in its belief system.  If these roles were reversed, Donald Trump would’ve been forced into exile somewhere by the liberal press.

Good faith sadly seems out-of-date and out-of-place in the country we occupy today.  Those of us who are still silly enough to believe in it, get whacked up side the head every now and then when we get taken because we thought good faith prevailed.  The recount thing was not done in good faith.  Hillary Clinton jumping on that bandwagon was not done in good faith.  The press not exposing it for what it is cannot be considered good faith.

But, we are conservatives and this is what we’re up against…and we still win one every now and then…in spite of the stacked deck.  That seems to corroborate that our belief system is preferred by voters, even with the press in the liberals’ pocket.

Free Speech: All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

I reflect back on Hillary Clinton’s gaffe, in my opinion, committed on September 9th when she said that at least half of Donald Trump’s supporters belonged in a “basket of deplorables”.  She then went on to describe those of us she was including as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamaphobic”.  I might’ve encouraged her to add another category: those of us who were Hillaryphobic and/or Clintonphobic, but I digress.

Had there been limits on ‘free speech’ she might’ve not been able to cram both feet into her mouth simultaneously. Although, that is a fairly large mouth as I think about it.  She managed to cause at least 50% of us Trump supporters to rightfully conclude we were backing the right person when she used the ‘right to speak freely’ about what was on her mind.  That proved to have been part of her problem; part of the reason she was not elected.

I might re-categorize those of us who were Trump supporters as a “basket of adorables” for the good we did for our country on this past election day.  We saved this country from another eight years of a Clinton-driven White House.  Imagine how great a treasure trove her private e-mail server would’ve been for whoever wanted it since it was essentially standing there unprotected if she ran the White House as she did the State Department, but I digress yet again.

Back to ‘free speech’.  It is anything but free.  A huge price has collectively been extracted over the centuries for this right of each of us Americans to speak our minds without fear of arrest or recourse unless, of course, we are inciting a riot or are engaged in some other such activity.  We are free to say what we wish to say for the very most part.  It is up to each of us to predetermine what that might accomplish…or what price we might pay for exercising that right.

We actually pay a price anytime we open our mouth in speech, or write a blog for that matter.  We pay the price of offending someone or many someones with what we say or write.  It is, obviously, better to have thought about what we are saying or writing than to have simply rattled it off without conscious thought.  The times I wish I had given something more thought are almost always those times when something flashes into my mind and I say it or write it without any further thought.

Politicians are especially prone to this since they often find themselves expressing a position or thought extemporaneously.  This is probably a good part of campaigns since we get the chance to see these people under pressure which is what they’ll be under once in office.  We now have almost real-time exposure given the speed with which their words can reach us.  Our President-Elect is a Tweeter.  That gives us short exposures to whatever made him Tweet and at whatever times he might be awake.

All this ‘free’ speech is also flying around the world at blinding speed and is consumed by our country’s friends and its enemies almost as those words were uttered or typed.  If we are to have issues with our soon-to-be President, it might be that he is prone to talking or Tweeting before he has given the subject more than knee-jerk thought/reaction.  I suspect that his ‘handlers’ will be ever-cognizant and ever-mindful of that propensity.  This, if properly managed and directed, might also be a real gift to our country and its position in the real world.

Last but by no means least is this silly recount stuff going on.  The Clinton team has stated it will be involved with the Green Party’s recount activity in three states.  My own state is one of those three and I have worked elections and have a feel for what hanky-panky might be possible.  Virtually no hanky panky is possible except for illegal voters foisted on the system by a well-known political party that lost the most recent Presidential race.  This is another example of the use of our freedoms which might be better thought before the user opens his or her mouth to utter some foolishness such as the Green Party seeking a recount when they could double their vote total and still be laughably short of any office from dog catcher on up the scale.

Note also the speed with which Hillary and Company jumped up to be a part of this travesty.  This is but another example of an ill-thought strategy that will simply add to the already sordid history Hillary Clinton brings to any party she attends.  The only hope on their part is that this drags out long enough to open the possibility of some shenanigans with the outcome of this election that might somehow auger in Hillary’s favor.  That would be Congress deciding to overturn the election results as it rewards Electoral College votes.  If that were to occur, we would be in instant anarchy.  Such is what these folks think of our country.  This action alone ought to be sufficient for the rest of us to reaffirm our original vote that produced a President-Elect Donald Trump who won the Electoral College votes even though Hillary gathered more individual votes.  He won.  Get over it!

Suspicious Recounts, Updated…

Jill Stein, the candidate for President offered up by the Green Party, has decided she will seek recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  She has somehow been able to raise more money, $5 million, to fund these recounts than she raised for her entire campaign for the office of President.  If one were even a tiny bit suspicious, one might suspect something is going on that could upset the Trump election and give us a new victor.

A member of the Green Party’s coordinating committee, George Martin (an interesting looking character if you were to Google his name tied to a Milwaukee Journal photo), said the recount had been requested because of the difference between the actual count and their exit polling.  Exit polling is anything but scientific and something that can be trusted.  If it were we could avoid having to count the ballots.

Of course, Jill Stein isn’t going to gain enough votes to make a difference in her case but someone else, by the name of Hillary Clinton, could find sufficient electoral votes to overturn the election of Donald Trump if these three recounts were to change the victories of Trump in these three hand-picked states into victories for Hillary Clinton.  At the very least, the physical recounts could easily take longer to complete given the turnout than is permitted by law, and that could negate these electoral ballots from being counted given the magic date of December 19th for this to be done.

That theoretically would cause these electoral ballots to be taken away from Mr. Trump and that would be enough to change the outcome of the national election.  The only recourse then would be to appeal to Congress since it meets on January 6th to ‘count’ the electoral votes and decide how to cast the three states’ electoral votes which is the final step in the election process.  And, of course, there would be that convenient argument over total popular votes vs. electoral votes if the three states’ electoral votes were tossed due to this recount.

The apparent reason for these recount requests is suspicion of the voting machines having been ‘hacked’ thus changing the vote totals.  The ballots cast are read by the machines as the voter stands there and witnesses that his or her ballot was counted correctly, and the final vote counts are transmitted via an Internet connection.  Experts explain this is virtually impossible to intercept or corrupt since these transmissions are randomly transmitted via the Internet to the County Clerks involved in the tallying process.

I have to wonder since Jill Stein wasn’t able to obtain pre-election funding from contributors of an amount near that needed to fund these recount petitions, where this newly found money might have come from.  Could it be that Hillary Clinton might’ve seen fit to donate funds from her account to Jill Stein?  Of course, this would only have been done by Ms. Clinton in the quest for fairness in the election process.  It certainly wouldn’t have been done in the hopes that she would somehow gain the electoral votes from these three states and find herself the victor after all.  Could it?

Given the unseemly history tied to the Clintons over the years, this would certainly fit the mold.  If the funds didn’t come from the campaign coffers of Hillary, might there have been some skullduggery involving the Clinton Foundation?  Or might a key funder of Hillary Clinton’s have seen fit to ‘help’ in this situation, to assure a fair election of course?

It is unfortunate, but they,  the Clintons, have brought this suspicion on themselves given the history they have amassed.  This is simply more of the same old, same old.

Surprise, Surprise:

Newsmax just reported that Hillary Clinton’s campaign will participate in vote recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan if they take place.  Her campaign claims that it “will participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides”.

This sounds eerily like there had been such a plan the entire time but this is staged so as to make Hillary look like she is just involved to be sure all are treated fairly.  Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water, another Clinton shark strike is initiated.  This has to be one of the most egregious actions I could imagine from the Clinton campaign.  Apparently, they are of the belief that ‘it ain’t over til the fat lady sings’, and they’ll stick around to be sure she has the right pitch when the singing begins.

Our Excesses Exposed…

Thanksgiving 2016 is behind us; and, depending upon the calories consumed the ‘behind’ part might have gotten more noticeable overnight.  But I digress.

We move from what has become for many of us THE day of excess consumption of food right into the full swing of the season of ‘getting’ on Black Friday.  We awaken very early and prepare to get into the full fray of shopping.  Black Friday has, over the years, become a momentous day for many of us.  The retailers of America have worked diligently to cultivate this ‘buy-buy-buy’ aura and we have seemingly been all too happy to participate.  More ‘stuff’ is very enticing.

For many retailers, this is touted as the day that will achieve their profitability for the entire year.  We purchasers seem all too happy to be enticed, by sales prices, into parting with more money than we had planned as we get caught up in the excitement of acquiring…for self as well as for others.

That is all well and good provided we do not lose sight of the true meaning of this season on the calendar.  We Christians are approaching the point on the calendar when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but many of us have become very happy to participate in the gathering of stuff, as well.  It is all well and good to combine the two, but keeping the most important aspect of the season in mind is critical.

Ideally, we can be mindful of the true meaning of this celebration even though we indulge ourselves.  I think, for the most part, that we do make that distinction and that we do not forget the most important part of this celebratory time.  This is a time when we gather together with family members beginning with Thanksgiving and continuing on to the start of a new calendar year.

I may simply be demonstrating my curmudgeonliness.  I recognize that is a distinct possibility; however, I feel blessed to be growing in my excitement about the real purpose behind this celebration with each day that passes.  I do not begrudge anyone enjoying the commercial aspect of this season; I, too, enjoy that.  I know that, for many, there are memories that become more clearly remembered at Christmas.  We think of those who have passed from our lives either by death or simply by leaving our lives.  We think of those who are fighting for us every day while risking their lives.  We think of those who are suffering one malady or another.

We are each truly blessed; some to a higher degree than others by circumstances, and some to a lesser degree by circumstances.  But, if we are able to remember what this celebration should center on, we are blessed regardless of circumstances.

So, the retailers will end the day tallying their sales.  The shoppers will end their day tallying their successful quests, and some might lament a bit over what their day cost from a monetary perspective.  So long as we know what this season is about, we are fine even if we occasionally go to excess on the material things.  We do want family members to be happy with their material gifts.  But even more, we want family members and friends to be aware of the reason for the season.

We can ‘have it all’ but it is a blessing if we can do so with a balance which recognizes each aspect of this wonderful time on our calendars.

Thanksgiving Day, 2016…

Most of us know the history surrounding the day we call Thanksgiving Day.  It began in 1620 although a declared national holiday was much later in arriving.  We are a nation of plenty, but there are still people who have little.  We, in many cases, back away from our personal feast tables of Thanksgiving having eaten so much that we fear we’ll be ill, while others wish there were more churches and other community organizations that offered food to the homeless and downtrodden.

Our country is the envy of many across the world, at least of those who know the story of our country and who haven’t endured the ‘brainwashing’ and ‘torture’ tactics of emperors and dictators.

But, we give thanks not for things so much as we give thanks for the opportunities with which we have been blessed as citizens of what we believe is the greatest country in the world.  We know people who rose from very meager beginnings to become very successful in one way or another…since success means different things to different people.

We are so successful as a country that we may not even understand what success means for others who are far less fortunate.  We were fortunate to be born in or admitted entry to the land of plenty as many other people view our country.  We, for the most part, take that for granted since we’ve not known anything different.

While the word ‘plenty’ typically refers to things and wealth of one form or another, we have plenty in another sense of that term.  We have freedom and we take that for granted.  We have schools and colleges and universities and we take that for granted.  We have the freedom to say what we want to say, for the most part, and to be able to do that without fear of recrimination.  We can be very different from others if that is our upbringing or our personal desire and not be fearful of being harassed or worse, although there are those who would lay the lie to that statement.

We enjoy, for the most part, our representative form of government.  We can extol its virtue without being forced to do so, and we can voice our complaints without fear of having done so.  We go through regular changes in people who we desire to have as members of our governing body, and we do so without armed soldiers in the streets.  We are so accustomed to freedom that many of us ignore the opportunities that freedom gives us to participate in selecting our leaders.  My local community, by the way, had an 89% turn-out in our most recent elections with which I was greatly amazed and very pleased to hear.  I was reminded of those people who emerged from the experience of being able to vote for the first time and who showed their purple-inked finger-tip signifying they had cast their ballot.

We have so very much for which to be thankful and we are so accustomed to having had those things that we too often forget to say thank you.  We simply expect those things will always be available and that there will be even more good things in our futures.  We live in a truly wonderful country.  We are richly blessed.  We have the right to vote.  We can work at whatever we wish so long as we are capable of doing the task.  We can drive to anyplace in the country without needing the permission of authorities.  We can even own personal weapons and, in many states, we can carry them concealed or openly if we choose.

With so much freedom comes heavy responsibility.  Some of us seem not to be ready for that responsibility, and yet we can continue to live in this great land.  Some of us always seem to think we ‘need’ more when we already have plenty.  But, we can work and obtain the ‘more’ we think we need even if we don’t need it.

I have the freedom to write essentially whatever I choose to write so long as it is within the bounds of decency (some even write things outside the bounds of decency and remain free to do so).  I can applaud or decry my leaders.  I can be of whatever religious faith I choose to be.  I can work for or against any movement so long as it is within our system of laws.

I give thanks, today and almost every day, for these gifts and for the food I consume and the clothes I wear and the vehicle I drive and the church I attend and the faith I practice and the doctors I am able to visit.

Every day ought to be Thanksgiving Day for almost every one of us.  True, there are days and times when thankfulness escapes us given the weight on our shoulders, but we can still be thankful that we have hope, and that we are, for the most part, able to effect positive change in our lives.

In The Blink Of An Eye?

Many of us eagerly await the swearing in of our new President, Donald Trump.  It is as if we expect that everything will revert to what it was pre-Obama.  The ‘good old days’ will return and we will be rid of things such as ObamaCare.  That is a wonderful illusion, but it is just that…an illusion.

We may very well learn that it is an impossibility to simply kill what we know as ObamaCare and pick up where we left off.  That program has altered many things we do not comprehend.  It has changed the way in which medicine is practiced.  It has changed the landscape of physicians and hospitals and health insurance companies.  It has changed our expectations of the health care system.

Sure, many of these changes were not what we’d been promised they’d be, but they were enacted and we could do nothing about that.  Over the years since its creation and implementation, we have sort of become ‘comfortable’ with ObamaCare even though many of us continue to believe it has been a change for the worse rather than a change for the better.

We have virtually removed the person from office whose name appears on this health care program.  We have elected a person who has pledged to end ObamaCare.  I fear that we might be setting ourselves up for a letdown simply because ObamaCare is not going to go away overnight.  The name might go away but the implications of what is left behind will be with us for a long time to come; some of those implications may never go away.  That is among the problems of such far-reaching legislation about things that are very near to us, such as our health care and our doctors.

I think we can also expect very poor behavior from Democrats during this process of dismantling parts of ObamaCare and replacing those with other pieces that fill the void.  Politicians have a big problem with not denigrating things from ‘across the aisle’ even though those actions have been soundly rejected by the majority of voters.  We’ll hear how great things were under ObamaCare while the flaws we know we’ll find in the new world of health care will be blown out of proportion.

If there is one thing many Democrats would like to have, it is the removal of their names from this piece of legislation.  But they will insist on ‘having their cake and eating it as well’ by decrying the efforts of Republicans to amend ObamaCare to produce something better for us and for the medical community and for the country.  There will be hiccups in this process.  Something this massive that has tentacles everywhere is simply not changed in the blink of an eye.

Would that we, the electorate, remember some of these things and ward off such overly-aggressive change of such basic requirements in the future.  But, we will no doubt repeat this mistake under a different name affecting something different from health care.  Our politicians can’t help themselves from trying to help us as we expect of them when we vote for them.  Some actually rely upon these actions because they understand they can continue to bamboozle us term after term and that we’ll re-elect them in spite of what they do TO us in the guise of having done something FOR us.

In short, it seems that all too often, we get what we deserve.  We should be wise enough by now to recognize there is no free lunch.  We should be wise enough by now to avoid voting for those who promise us goodies rather than for those who promise to put our economy back on track to sustain us into the future.

Will we learn from this over-reach that was perpetrated on us by the Democrats?  I’d wager that many of us have already forgotten what was done TO us in the guise of having been done FOR us.  We are so easy to manipulate, and we seem to have very short memory spans.  We almost elected Hillary Clinton who would’ve perpetuated and added to the mess left for us by President Barack Obama.  And that happened in real time, not after a decade or two of time in which to forget who had done what TO us, rather than FOR us.

Wave a shiny object and watch us salivate.  Unfortunately, it seems that with each passing generation, we the people get more ‘needy’ for things from our government, and, consequently, we are bought and our vote is paid for by more goodies.

That reminds me;  how did the Obamas get to be so wealthy on $400,000 per year for eight years?  I know where the President-Elect’s fortune came from.