Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How Federal Agencies Control Your Life

I will admit that a certain amount of executive branch regulation is for the public good. For example, if a mattress manufacturer was filling its products with fiberglass and ceramic shards, it could prove to be bad for Americans.

However, some of these agencies are determined to take away your freedom of choice by limiting or completely removing your options.

For a quick primer in the 10 worst laws and non-legislated executive regulations, see this article by the Heritage Foundation.

First, let's take the wonderful NLRB. Members are appointed by the Chief Executive (That means the POTUS) with congressional approval, normally. They openly support unions. Once upon a time, labor unions served a purpose. That time has long since passed and they have become the very monster they were allegedly designed to prevent. These days, unions decide who gets to work and who doesn't. They also charge those who wish to work fees in order to even be eligible. What do they do with those funds? First they line their pockets. Next they lobby. They lobby the NLRB to enact regulations against companies that do not employ union members. They lobby Congress to earmark government spending into companies that hire ONLY union members. They assist in picking and choosing what companies are able to produce what products and at what prices. They drive up production costs of union employers. The non-union employers can provide more net pay to non-union workers while keeping capital costs down, therefore product prices lower. So, these unions get the NLRB to seek fines and regulatory restrictions against those non-union employers, causing production and capital costs to rise. Higher capital costs mean higher capital gains tax bills. This makes the non-union employers have to charge more for the products in order pay those higher bills, fees, taxes. This drives those companies out of business. So, the NLRB kills free trade and reduces the variety of products available.


Either that, or the companies seek labor and manufacturing capital outside of the US.

And let us not forget that the NLRB also sides with Teachers' Unions, but not in the interests of bettering education or eliminating comprachico indoctrination. In fact, they help further the comprachico's goals to brainwash your kids while failing to teach them basic skills like grammar, math, thinking, and reading:  http://townhall.com/columnists/kyleolson/2011/12/21/teachers_union_president_deems_education_too_complex_for_taxpaying_rubes

Next we have the lovely FDA. Untested drugs loosed onto the public could lead to bad things. However, the FDA doesn't just review testing and approve products. It would be nice if that is all they did. However, they force pharmaceutical companies to go through exhaustive and costly testing above what is necessary. After that testing is complete, the FDA does its own testing, charging the companies to do so. Why? So they can regulate what is put on the market and what choices you have available. All the testing also drives up the per pill cost for the medications. A pill that costs  $.30 in materials and labor can carry up to $10 in regulatory fees and "research costs" resulting from all of the testing. The release to the public of safe and necessary drugs also requires years and years before being available, at the cost of the health of those who could most benefit.

Thus the FDA drives up health care costs. Yes, those very costs that the government passed Obamacare under the claim it is meant to reduce. It doesn't reduce those costs. In fact, elements of the Obamacare law grant the FDA further powers to restrict production, choice, availability, and costs of drugs.

Under current FDA regulations, Aspirin would never make it onto store shelves and would likely cost $12 a pill by prescription (if it even got beyond the regulations to be made available).

The US Dept of Agriculture has even passed regulations that make it illegal for a Dairy Farmer to serve his own milk to his own family. Under recent regulations, that dairy farmer has to sell his milk to a processing plant and buy it back at increased prices in order to feed it to his family. Isn't it wonderful that a government agency can tell you that you do not have a choice to eat the food you grow? Those "victory gardens" planted during WWII would be regulated, taxed, fined, and restricted under current regulations. In other words, the USDA is trying to force you to have to buy food from the businesses that lobby them and bribe them.

Now let's move onto the greatest fiend in the executive branch bureaucracy, the EPA.

Who wants clean air, water, land, etc? I do. Everybody does.

But at what cost?

First of all, we have these "clean energy/green energy" bulbs. How good for the environment are they? They contain toxins that "Edison" bulbs do not. Sure, they use less electricity to produce candle-watt power. But if one breaks, you have to spend a mint to clean up the mess. If one burns out, what will the average American do? Toss it in the trash. From there, it goes into a landfill and poisons the land. So, it may reduce the amount of coal burned to keep your lights on. However, it poisons the land that will be the next low-rent housing project 5 years from now. Also, these things cost a LOT more at the retailer. Well, the EPA passed regulations and lobbied Congress to pass a bill outlawing incandescent bulbs. That means you lost the choice to purchase the types of bulbs you may want, and be forced to sit in the dark or buy the poison-bulbs. Thankfully, congress told the EPA to take a flying leap on this one.


The EPA also restricts US petroleum and natural gas companies from producing and refining domestic resources. They make us dependent upon foreign supplies. This drives up prices at the pump.


The EPA restricts and regulates coal mining, making it almost ten times its non-regulated price.

The EPA pushed for federal spending into such great products as the Prius and the Volt. The replacement cost on a Prius battery can be as high as $6000. And there is no means of disposing of the batteries without poisoning the air, land, or water. Why? Allegedly to decrease carbon emissions and gasoline consumption. However, those emissions over 5 years use of a regular car are nowhere near as toxic as a single battery. And those lovely Volts? Have you read up on them? They tend to burst into flames. Those fumes are far more toxic than the emissions of a standard gasoline engine. You have the same issues with the batteries you do with the Prius. Now you get to add the public safety hazard of cars bursting into flames. And the NLRB conspired with the EPA on the Volt. How? American Auto-Workers Union being given stock in GM during the government buy-out ("stimulus") ring any bells?

Here's even more headaches about the Chevy Volt. Sticker price to a buyer: $41,000. Cost to Taxpayers? $250,000 so far. http://reddogreport.com/2011/12/each-chevy-volt-costs-taxpayers-250000/#.TvH9_LpjZd0.twitter

And let us not forget how they intend to inflate your electric bills, heating costs, transportation overhead, etc. :  http://townhall.com/tipsheet/erikajohnsen/2011/12/22/the_epa_to_oil_and_coalfired_plants_cut_down_or_shut_down

I can go for days on the EPA. They are the single most intrusive regulatory agency in the executive branch. http://www.boortz.com/weblogs/nealz-nuze/2011/dec/15/epa-and-phony-environmental-movement/



Now let us look at the DOJ. Here we have Eric Holder trying to Unconstitutionally regulate state polling laws. We have Eric Holder bringing suits against states for enacting laws to support federal laws that he happens not to like. Then we have Eric Holder attempting to take away our Constitutionally guaranteed 2nd Amendment rights. How? He broke the law and supplied invading foreign criminals and their terrorist allies with weapons. His programs failed and caused a negligent fallout of US BP agents, US Citizens, and Mexican Nationals to be murdered. He then complains that the investigation is "racist". Why? He wants to join that fallout with the left-wing fanatic's assassination attempt against Gabby Giffords (D-AZ, but 2nd Amendment supporter).  http://townhall.com/columnists/chriswcox/2011/12/20/obama_administration_endangered_lives_to_justify_gun_control

The list goes on and on and on.

US Dept of Education telling you what you can and cannot teach your kids. They support truancy laws against parents who choose to home school. Abraham Lincoln was home schooled. He became a lawyer and then President of the US. The comprachicos in the government schools were nowhere near as insipid in their indoctrination programs in the early 1800s. They want to force you to have to pay for certain books if you do home school, in places they haven't been able to take away the home school choice completely.

And let us not forget what happens when the Dept of Indoctrination (Education) links up with the NLRB, Dept of Health and Human Services, and the First "Lady". We get substandard and overpriced "free lunches" "for the kids" that do nothing but line the pockets of another union known to be a bastion of the socialist agenda:  http://townhall.com/columnists/michellemalkin/2011/12/21/michelle_obamas_unsavory_school_lunch_flop 

The IRS is given the power to enact regulations, fines, and fees that carry the weight of law, without actually being law. They try to tell you what charities you can give to. They try to tell you what you can invest in. They try to restrict how much you can expand your business capital in order to produce more (and employ more people). http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/danieljmitchell/2011/12/20/federal_court_ignores_constitution_gives_more_power_to_irs

Now for the truly scary part of all of this. These agencies enact regulations either directly or through executive orders that have the weight of law. They do so WITHOUT representative legislation. That means they do things that have the powers of laws without YOU having an elected official voicing your rights or wishes in congress. This is not what the framers of the US Constitution had in mind. In fact, the Federalist Papers were highly against such actions. 

So, they drive up prices, restrict production, and eliminate your freedom of choice. Why? All in the name of controlling you because they believe they know what is best for you more than YOU do.

I would love to extend a personal "Thank You!" to all of the journalists that wrote the articles I linked into this essay. You guys are nothing less than awesome.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Who gets my GOP nod?

If you are reading this, you have some reason for wondering who I plan to vote for in the AZ GOP primary. Well, if you are looking for an answer and a reason, you will be disappointed. This article is more about where I stand in my personal vetting process.

Following the race, I liked a few candidates right out of the gate. I liked Cain, Gingrich, Perry, and Paul. However, the race was early on, and I made a concerted effort to remain open-minded. Why? I want to give my nod to the one person who fits a short list of criteria:

1. Can beat the socialist Herr Ruler who is currently a massive disgrace to that esteemed office.
2. Will cut economy & employment killing taxes, something VITAL to restoring the US economy.
3. Will work with congress to actually pass a proper and balanced budget ON TIME!
4. Strong on National Security, Veterans' Benefits, Keeping military paid, fed, equipped, trained, and ready
5. Pays attention to intelligence, prepared to act instead of REACT, including good foreign/international relations in trade, diplomacy, as well as military action when needed.
6. Get rid of executive branch regulations (they are NOT laws, but are treated like them) that drive up capital costs and restrict the very freedoms our Constitution guarantees. These include EPA and FDA regulations, etc.
7. Repeal Obamacare. It is designed to destroy the medical INDUSTRY and make it a state-controlled NATIONAL SOCIALIST activity.

2, 3, 6, &7 combine to reduce unemployment, increase US Prosperity, and increase free-market capitalism.
4&5 include securing our borders against invaders (illegal aliens).

I have yet to make up my mind. Cain dropped out of the race. He was a champion of tax reform and probably the best on the list to turn around the economy. That leaves me even more undecided.

Newt's debate answers continue to impress me. They should. he has a vast knowledge of history and can relate lessons from the past to today. We call that ability "wisdom". I will admit, some of the allegations coming out of the housing crisis do concern me. So, he has far from clinched my nod.

Bachman turned me off early in the race. I am a huge supporter of the First Amendment, especially the Freedom of Religion clauses. She tends to push her religion as "correct" and shove it down my throat. She's backed off on that quite a bit. I am not "Pro-Life". I am anti-abortion as a means of birth control. I do find it disgusting that people can just procreate irresponsibly and not have to face the consequences. However, I will say that I am a man. If the kid didn't come from my sperm, I have no right to tell the woman what to choose. I just have the right to NOT agree with her choice. But if an 18 year old college student is drugged and raped at a frat party, she didn't choose anything in the resulting pregnancy. So, she has the right to terminate if so wishes. There ARE other options I'd prefer she chose. However, like not agreeing with somebody's spoken words, I do respect her right to make the choice in that situation.

One huge not on this is that I STRONGLY believe that US Taxpayers should not suffer that woman's choice, be it through welfare programs OR Planned Parenthood. Let them pay for their own decisions like I have to pay for mine. (THAT is equality).

The power of choice is very important to me in all walks of life. I also believe that one's choice is also the choice to accept the consequences, good or bad, and to be accountable and responsible for them.

But Bachman has given some answers and statements that I do agree with, recently.

I can go on an on. Perry impresses me with his immigration stand. I live in Arizona. We have a serious illegal immigration problem here. It is not a "victimless crime". We have people getting killed by illegals here. We have sex-slaves being smuggled who are criminally abused and forced into addiction.

In last night's debate, even Mitt "Mittens" Romney gave a few answers I liked. His track record in Massachusetts still leaves me highly skeptical of him. I don't need to rehash Romneycare, tax hikes, 2nd Amendment violations, or Court Appointments. They are all over the net.

Even Huntsman and Santorum haven't completely lost me. I just don't think either has the pull to beat Obama. However, if any of the above get the nod, I am comfortable with them as POTUS. Each has strengths this country is in dire need of in a leader right now.

And here comes the kicker. No, I have not yet mentioned former Libertarian Ron Paul .

If you look at some of my statements, you'll see quite a bit of a "Libertarian Lean" in my views. I am conservative, yes. I also am a card-carrying libertarian. "So what about Paul"?

Ron Paul might be a doctor, but he is ignorant on key things I find important.

The jury was out on him until the last few days. Let me tell you what ended any chance Paul had in getting my nod.

First, when I stated I wanted the candidates own words and actions on issues to make up my mind, and not campaigning by "supporters" I started getting harassed by Ron Paul's goons. I am sure this blog is going to bring more of them out of the woodwork. All they will do is add nails to the coffin containing Ron Paul's credibility with me. It is being down a run at the top of the 9th and putting in your 3rd string bench warmers and nose pickers to try to win the game.

Paul's supporters started harassing me right after I told them that doing so will turn me off of their candidate. I guess they, like their candid-dunce, are just to moronic to listen.

To top it off, they argued things that I already know to be untrue. They tried to state that Active Military support Ron Paul more than any other candidate. Ok, that's nice. However, I recently retired. I have HUNDREDS of friends who are still active duty. NONE of them admitted to supporting Ron Paul. So, my own experience is against their claims.

They presented numbers. That's nice. They overlooked federal laws such as the UCMJ in regards to political activity done by US Service Members. They CANNOT campaign while representing the military. If they say "I'm SPC Snuffy of the US Army and I support..." they are subject to a Court Martial.

Can they make campaign contributions? Yes, anonymously. If those contributions are less than $200, they do not have to state their employer. Paul's faithful minions try to say all contributions need to contain both employer and SS#. That one right there killed their argument. The Privacy Act of 1974 makes it illegal for campaigns to ask for that information. If they are collecting that data and using it to track military donors, they have broken federal law.

To top it off, Military Officers are prohibited from publicly claiming support for any candidate. Only enlisted members can do so, and under conditions that they make sure they STRONGLY evade doing so "as a Soldier".

Not quitting after being told several times to stop harassing me, they started sending me videos of alleged US Service members endorsing Paul. Not only is it illegal for them to do so, most of those on the videos have facial hair and haircuts that are grossly out of regulation. I saw more violations of AR 670-1 in those adds than I saw in all of the "Occupy" videos. If these actors are Active Duty military, I am a Hare Krishna. I also want to have a chat with their NCOs about enforcing the regulations and standards.

All of that wasn't enough to put me off. The resurgence of anti-Semitic comments Ron Paul has made (and continues to make) throughout his career puts me off further. In case you haven't noticed, I have strong religious beliefs that, for all intents and purposes, are Jewish in nature. I converted in 1991. My beliefs have evolved and are mine. But I hold most Jewish tenets close to my heart. So, for all intents and purposes, Ron Paul is prejudiced against my religion.


Of course, Dr. Paul had a perfect excuse lined up when confronted about the articles published by his paper and in his name. "I didn't read them and I didn't know. It was the editors' jobs." However, when you look for the editor's name, you find Dr. Paul listed as the editor. Perhaps he forgot he authorized the pieces. If that is the case, he's senile and should not be in office. However, let's give him the benefit of  the doubt and assume that somebody did the actual editing and approval for him. In that case, he is using the same defense that AG Eric Holder attempted to use in his Fast and Furious defense. "I didn't know" does not work for something that needed his signature for approval. That level of incompetence and negligence is not something that we need in the White House. We have that with Obama, Holder, Napolitano, etc, etc, etc. That is the type of dangerous administration we would rather vote OUT of office. 

Below is a record of the final nail in the coffin of Ron Paul's chances of getting my vote. It comes from the last Iowa GOP Primary debate. If you take the almost 20 minutes to watch the video in the link, you'll see where I saw the following statements that just destroyed any credibility Paul ever had (time hacks are approximate):

00:35 Paul grossly dodges the question. All candidates do this. But, it was a start to his fall.

02:00 He claims he will "cut the budget". What he doesn't say is his intended agenda to cut military spending and taking care of veterans as part of these cuts. His proposed cuts to defense spending will gut our military more than Carter did in the '70s. We all know how that turned out, right? Can I remind you of the failed rescue attempt into Iran? It failed because of lack of funding leading to an inability to properly maintain equipment.

03:00 Paul starts making up his own definitions. Government and Defense contractors are PRIVATE businesses that sign business contracts with the USGOV as a client. They are still private-sector jobs. If they weren't, they'd have to hire through USAJOBS.gov instead of private recruitment sites. Paul also ignored the key economic variable in macro-economics known as the "G" variable. This is government spending into the private sector economy for goods and services industries (in our country, these are owned by citizens) that the government is not capable of producing/providing to itself. Of course, he had to say his favorite word "bwubbwel". every time he says that, I want to hand him a bottle of liquid dish soap mixed with propylene glycol and tell him to go play in the back yard.

05:00 He tap dances his answer attempting to dodge and answer simultaneously. Here he proved he is anything but a martial artist. In any case, he was asked about "earmarks". He stated he votes against them. Then he says they are essential to take care of his constituents. Then he says they are necessary to keep the funds where they belong. Then he says they are evil. Then he says they shouldn't exist. then he defends adding them and voting for them if they go back to his state. Then he says "earmarks bad, if me president they no longer exist bcause me in backyard chasing bwubbwes" (paraphrased snark). Nice job begging the question with circular logic there. I liken this to Kant's failed attempt to argue against reason, values, and ethics.

07:30 He gives an answer that I interpreted as simply "As president, I won't be a leader. I'll let everybody roll over me because I want people to see me as their FAVORITE Weird Uncle who is chasing bwubbwes in the backyard". We need a strong leader. We had a socialist tyrant in charge for the last 3 years. we don't need Carter 2.0.

08:30 "Congress shouldn't have the power to subpena or impeach bad judges." He's been a US Representative for how long? Has he bothered to read the US Constitution? Guess what, THAT POWER IS IN THERE!

10:00 His answer can be boiled down to  the following: "I don't pay attention to intelligence. I will bow to what the UN claims on everything." He also slammed concerns over Iran as being "another Iraq". I hate to tell the ignorant buffoon, but I know the Intel leading up to Iraq. Iraq was NOT a bad move, at all. It was a smart one. The poor decision was pulling out too soon.

11:00 He referred to OIF as "useless". He is ignorant of the intelligence gathered prior to and during OIF. He has no clue about what happened over there. He claimed over 1,000,000 Iraqis were killed at US hands. That is blatantly false. His statement here boiled down to a personal insult against all the US Service Members who served, fought, and bled over there. It is a GRAVE insult to those fallen heroes who died over there. At this point he lost me completely. He insulted the heroic memories of my brothers and sisters in arms.

12:50 Paul demonstrates a lack of strategic and tactical analysis on Arabian/Persian Gulf states. He fails to understand that Iran's closing of the Strait of Hormuz does not affect just the US. It affects all of Europe. It affects our allies in Turkey, Jordan and Israel. It will harm developing African countries. It will destabilize the region causing global ripples.

14:30 I have to give some serious credit here to Rep. Michelle Bachman (MN-6) at this point. She calls Paul out on his statements and nails why Paul's statements are so disturbing. Her summary of the international relations and strategic nightmare such a policy creates is nothing less than a wonderful revelation of the extreme madness in Ron Paul.

15:15 Paul again shows his myopic views on the international scale. He makes a claim that terrorism hasn't touched "Switzerland or Sweden". Has he even bothered to watch the news over the past 20 years? How about the past 6 months? Rep. Paul then admitted he doesn't read intelligence reports and analysis. He countered Bachman's mention of an International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran's nuclear program. His rebuttal "It wasn't a UN report". There you go again, Paul, saying you bend your knee to the "One World Order" and claim you will give the UN sovereignty over OUR Country.


Ron Paul's Iowa Debate Dec 15, 2011 Highlight Reel

I didn't get the exact time of the remark, but Rep. Ron Paul also made a statement about his having been drafted in 1962. For me, this explains his dislike of our heroic service members. He is still butt-sore that, in the 60s, our military drafted him. Well, we haven't used the Selective Service to draft people into service since 1973. All the people currently in the military voluntarily signed their contracts with the USGOV. They deserve the benefits and pay they have earned, and more. So, here we are, 50 years and numerous changes in military recruitment, manning, and structure later, and he holds it against those who forced him to serve. Maybe he should turn his aggression towards Kennedy, who was POTUS at the time, and not towards GWB. GWB asked for volunteers who went bravely into the breach and fought a tough and heroic war to rid the world of a genocidal tyrant. And Saddam's political party was the Ba'ath Party. The Ba'ath party is a party rooted in National Socialism. They supported Hamas and Al Q'aeda. I am PROUD to have served four (4) tours in Iraq supporting that effort. Paul insults that pride.

Ron Paul, the OIF veteran, Soldier Hard, has a Message for you:
"Shame on Ya'll"

To go along with Paul's disdain for the military, he backs traitors ( make that alleged traitors) such as PFC Manning. Manning was one of my AIT students. He was a dirtbag then. I didn't know nor did I care his sexual orientation at the time. What mattered was he failed to follow orders and security protocols while he was in school. And what did he do after graduating and going off to do real MI work? He violated laws and orders put in place to safeguard US Intelligence assets and Diplomatic missions. He (allegedly) sold those classified documents to WikiLeaks, for money, and all but shut-down several intelligence and diplomatic missions. Now, Ron Paul is all about diplomacy over military action, supposedly. Considering his ignorance on international events, I doubt it. A true diplomacy over military advocate should be even more on top of world events than a warmonger. But I digress. Paul has time and again made statements that he sees this traitor (alleged) as a "hero". http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2011/12/20/ron-paul-bradley-manning-soldier-who-stole-secret-us-docs-and-handed-them-to-wikileaks-is-a-hero-and-patriot/  If that is the type of person Ron Paul sees as a Hero, he is not the sort of person who should be Commander-in-Chief of the military AND head Diplomat for the US. (Yes, boys and girls, the POTUS is a higher ranking diplomat than the Secretary of State who he appoints). I'll  bet Mr. Bwubbwes secretly praises Benedict Arnold as a hero.

Somebody give him a bottle of "bwubbwes" and a wand. let him and his cronies go play in the backyard. He doesn't belong in the Oval Office.

My jury is still out on the rest of the candidates.

Other readings on Ron Paul's racism and downright insane views on National Security and National Defense:








Thursday, December 8, 2011

This "Religion is Offensive" Claptrap is OUTRAGEOUS!

By "Outrageous" I mean it in its most literal sense. I am outraged. Any SENSIBLE person (with a glimmer of REASON) should be.

It is an affront to our constitutional rights.

It is tearing at the moral fabric of our country.

It is ripping at the very basic construction of the foundations of our great nation.

It needs to stop, NOW!

New Jersey threatened to suspend a HS student in charge of a “holiday assembly” because he violated the “no Jesus, no Christmas, no SANTA!” rules. After student wrote an OP-ED published by Huff-Po, they backpedaled. Of course, this happened only because the Huffington Post stopped being a "progressive" rag filled with socialism propaganda for about five minutes and actually did the right (as in correct) thing and printed the kid's editorial.

Fort Worth, Texas socialist indoctrination centers, I mean, public schools district, not only eliminated any “blatant” religious references like Christmas, Jesus, Yule, Hanukkah, Menorah, Dreidel, Holly King, etc. But they removed ALL replicas of Frosty, Rudolph, and Santa first claiming “religious undertones”, then “too distracting”.

A California school has followed suit.

And I have heard rumors of the same in Denver.

I love Jan Brewer. I don’t always agree with her, and her voice can get on your nerves. But I love her. Over the past couple of years she has issued an executive order that, in Arizona, it is a Christmas Tree if on public property. She also has announced that Druids are more than free to have “Yule Trees”. She welcomes Jewish children to have dreidels and menorahs in schools as well. See, she gets it.

What is “it”?

“It” is the religion clause of the First Amendment.

First, Congress nor any state government (or duly elected official) may impose a state religion. That means, that the government cannot declare any faith or sect thereof to be the “one true faith” of the people. Sorry, kids, but we are NOT a “Christian” nation. Our Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the Declaration are very clear in recognizing there is at least one deity. There are several names for it. End of discussion. But they will not tell you that you must worship that deity in any certain way, faith, or creed. Call him “YHVH”, “Jesus”, “Odin”, “Jehovah”, or “Bob”. You are even free to not believe. No laws can force you.

The second part of that clause is that the right to worship “shall not be infringed”. That means THEY CANNOT STOP YOU! If your kid wants to say a few words to Taranis or Thor in between lessons at school, he has the right to. If the government school says “no”, they are in violation. (Private schools are a different story. You have a contract with them.) If you daughter wants to sing “Aleinu Shalom” and hug her friends in peace at recess, she has the RIGHT to do so. The government schools cannot legally stop her. If Abu Ali wants to genuflect in the city park at noon… yeah, we have to let him.

So, Jan gets it. The people want a nice, big, lit-up, bedazzled, beautiful CHRISTMAS TREE in front of the AZ capitol. They have one. I am more than sure she would allow Druids to place, with a permit, a Yule tree next to it. I am sure she’d allow a public menorah in the square.

In the opinion of this fringe-Jewish-sect convert, it’s a blessed CHRISTMAS TREE. Let the Christians have their celebration, PLEASE! It’s pretty. It’s nice. It’s about peace, and love, and being kind. I don’t get the problems with it. Let the kids have Santa! Santa is based on Tomte, a Scandinavian demigod who gives gifts and joy to kids. He is based upon the Celtic “Holly King” who does the same as well as brings warmth and joy to the season of ice.

He is Saint Nicholas, the Catholic patron Saint of children and charity. “St. Nicholas, who was said to live in Myra (Turkey) in about 300 A.D. Born an only child of a wealthy family, he was orphaned at an early age when both parents died of the plague. He grew up in a monastery and at the age of 17 became one of the youngest priests ever. Many stories are told of his generosity as he gave his wealth away in the form of gifts to those in need, especially children. Some years later Nicholas became a bishop–hence the bishop’s hat or miter, long flowing gown, white beard and red cape.” ( http://www.earthwitchery.com/santa.html )

Santa represents love, charity, and joy to children, especially those “underprivileged” or sick. There is a version of him in almost every religion.

There is a serious problem in today’s society when we give up symbols and celebrations of joy, charity, warmth, love, and kindness because it may “offend” some unmitigated douche-canoe.

To you Christians, Merry Christmas. I hope your Advent is filled with joy, love, and warmth. I hope you enjoy every second of it. You deserve to. Even more, you are ENTITLED to and and have a CONSTITUTIONAL Right to.

Even Chuck Norris, yes THAT Chuck Norris has noticed this has gone too far:  http://townhall.com/columnists/chucknorris/2011/12/20/feds_war_on_religion_part_1_of_2

Others joining the outrage:









Friday, December 2, 2011

A Little Common Sense

The latest numbers are out. The unemployment rate has dropped to 8.6%, the lowest it has been in over two years. That sounds like great news and a point in favor for Keynesian Economics. But it is a coat of white-wash I am about to rain all over.

Here are the reasons for the drop in unemployment numbers. First of all, there were a large number of seasonal hires in retail, private portage (UPS and FEDEX), and hospitality jobs. 90% of those "new hires" will be let go by January 15th. So, expect a sharp jump in unemployment in the report at the end of January.

The second big reason is a change in the labor force. Some people idyllically delude themselves to believe that the labor force is every adult over 18. That is so far from reality it is disgusting. The labor force (or "work force") are people who are employed or seeking employment. If you have a married couple and momma gets knocked up, then decides to be a stay-at-home mom for the next 4 years until junior hits school age, well, momma is no longer part of the labor force. If you get a war veteran whose injuries have debilitated to the point he can no longer work, he is not part of the work force. If a federal contractor says "screw this" and decides to quit and go use his Post-9/11 GI bill full time, he is no longer part of the "work force". Because of the pension, even military retirees who are actually seeking employment are not calculated into the "work force". Well, let me give you the reality here. The work force/labor force shrank by 315,000+ people in the past month. That means more than 315k said "screw it, I give up" and stopped working or seeking employment.

Let's do some simple math. Let's keep this easy. Let's say the labor force is 100 people. Unemployment was around 9% for October. So, that would mean 91 people were employed and 9 were looking for a job. Then 31 people say "screw this". So now you have only 69 people in the labor force. 8.6% of them are now unemployed.  8.6% of 69 people is 5.9. You can't have 9/10 a person, so let's say 6. So you now have 63 people employed instead of 91. You now have 37 people not working, not producing, not paying taxes, etc.

If we had a truly "fair" system that employed a flat income tax (and that were the only payroll tax), then we can see even more dismal news here. Let's be nice and "fair" and say each of these working laborers earned the same amount at, let's say $5k a month. $60k a year is middle class, you know. Let's say the tax is a flat 10%. So, before this mass exodus from the work force, the government collected 10% of the $5k made by 91 people. $5k times 91 people is $455k of gross income to pull from. 10% of that is $45,500 for the month in federal tax revenue. That's a salary for a GS-5 level bureaucrat for a year (to pay one gov't worker). Now, those 31 people leave, the unemployment rate drops. We all jump "hooray, the economy is picking up". I look at you like you are an idiot. Why? Well, now you have 63 people earning that $5k. So only $315k in gross income is generated. Now revenue on that (tax) is only $31,500. That's a $14k loss.

Now let's take that a few steps further. First, the gov't isn't going to fire that GS-5 for lack of funds. It's going to borrow that $14k increasing the federal deficit (which is already over $15TRILLION). Also, the net income for those working drops from $410k to $283,500. That's a $126k drop in money being spent. Look at the logic here. That means $126k less is going to be spent on food, rent, real estate, gas, cars, toys, movies, cell phones, airfare, music, etc, etc, etc. You would think that it meant more job openings due to 31 people leaving the force, right? Nope. It is a 28% drop in productivity. That means 28% of businesses end up having to cut productivity or flat out close up shop. Demand for those services will drop a bit due to reduced income, sure. But there will be about a 1/4 drop in supply. That drives prices up for products produced by those still in business. So your $1 loaf of bread is now $1.25. You have less money to buy it. Those who are still working see their $4 per gallon of gas go up to $5. Heck, you think "take the bus" instead? Well, the bus ticket goes from $1.50 each way ($3 total) go to $3.80 each work day.

As you can see, this leads to inflation combined with a depressed or "malaise" economy. This is BAD news.

Oh, yeah, then the gov't needs to  pay its bills. So what do they do? If they cut social subsidies ("welfare") and education, everybody will scream. If they cut regulation programs (so-called "green" programs), "progressives" will scream. So, the gov't isn't going to cut their pork. Hell, no. Keynesians will INCREASE TAXES to cover at least part of their bills. So, that flat 10% gets bumped to 15% or 20%. Watch the spiral. That means that those few still working are taking home even LESS. Demand will drop a little. But necessities will stay relatively constant. So supply drops again. Prices go up again.

On the surface, this drop in unemployment looks good. But, when the underlying reasons behind it are examined, you can see that this is VERY bad news.

Now let me depress you further with another dose of reality.

Congress passed TEMPORARY cuts to payroll taxes. Big deal. They are temporary. However, they intend to let the Capital Gains cuts ("Bush Tax Cuts") expire. The temporary payroll tax cuts will expire before those. So, they produce no incentive to hire more people. It just means they get a short little break for those they already employ. It will affect NOTHING in the marketplace. Why can I say this? Well, they also passed a 3% surtax on people making over $1Million. I'll bet the "99%" idiots are happy about that. They shouldn't be. It means that they now have less capital with which to hire anybody. That 3% raise actually means they will be paying MORE than they will save from the payroll tax cuts.

Now let me rain more on your parade. 75% of those $1million a year earners are private business owners. That means they are NOT corporate employees. They are Doctors, Lawyers (I could care less about them), Restaurant owners, shop owners, software designers, etc, etc, etc. They own the local qwik-e-marts. They own your local bookstore or movie theater. They own your local cab company. They own your favorite "mom and pop" coffee house or nightclub. They own your local game store. They own the company that picks up your trash and recyclables.

So, 75% of them are now seeing up to a 75% marginal effective tax rate. Yes, 75%. They pay business taxes, regulatory fees, payroll taxes, income tax, sales taxes on their supplies and insurance, property taxes, etc, etc, etc. By the time they are added up with that 3% surtax and increases in other "hidden taxes", they face a 75% effective marginal tax rate in 2012.

How many of you would take an $8 an hour job just to take home $2 an hour? Say you work 8 hours in a day, 5 days a week. So, standard 40 hour work week. Would you work 40 hours, promised $320 a week before taxes only to see an $80 paycheck? Remember, it's costing you $3 to $5 a day just to get to work (travel expenses). At $3 a day that's $15 a week just to get TO work. So, now you have $65 a week for food, rent, utilities, internet. Would you work for that?

So what incentive remains for those 75 out of 100 millionaires to bother keeping their businesses going? Here's a hint:  THERE ISN'T ONE! So, expect them to start cutting productivity (reducing supply yet again, therefore prices go up). Also, prices will go up to offset those taxes. (A 3% increased tax becomes about a 5% increase in a price tag on items produced or services rendered). It is more cost effective to go to part-time or just quit the business. That means all those employees are now out of work. So, nobody on a payroll means payroll tax cuts go all the way to NOTHING being paid, because, well, nobody is employed.

If you study the past 100 years, you will find that the "theory" of Keynesian Economics has proven itself invalid. Yet our current administration (both sides of the aisle, mind you) are using a system they MUST know to be incorrect. And who suffers? We do. We have 315k+ people say "fuck it" and quit trying to work. We will soon have employers saying "fuck this" and not producing or employing because they cannot afford to do so.

I do not see the sense in these policies. They are not reasonable or logical. They are stupid. And they sugar coat it all when presenting it to the dumb masses in the public who just take cursory numbers from the news as gospel. If you don't bother to THINK and ask "Why?" you get deluded by the white-wash. I just rained on it. So, I guess Tom Sawyer will be hiring idiots to try to paint his fence for him again, though he'll have no capital with which to do so. And I'll be here to rain all over it again.

And I won't be the only one doing the rain dance:










Friday, November 11, 2011

Of Honor For Honor To Honor -- Veterans Day 2011

First things first:  A disclaimer.  The words below are my intellectual property, unless otherwise quoted and referenced. the opinions and views below are mine and mine alone. They are the words of a retired military veteran, and not the opinions of the US Armed Forces. I stand up for them. But I do not represent them and speak for them. These are the words, thoughts, assessment and opinions of but one free man:  ME. 


There is a long-overdue political opinion rant inside of me that is begging to come out. This is not that rant. So, if you popped over here expecting to read that, you will be disappointed. However, please continue to read on. I will do my best to not waste your time.

In the summer of 1987 I found myself in a hard place. I had taken out student loans for college. I have always disliked having debt hanging over my head and was reluctant to take out any more. My scholarships did not cover all of my tuition, none of my fees, nor any of my books. However, I was a young idealist, punker, and, yes, anarchist. So, I can relate to the youth of today who believe that anarchy is the way towards progress. I do, however, also know, now, that is wrong.

Faced with a challenge to pay for school, I took the advice of my father. My father served in the USMC in Vietnam. I have not always agreed with him. However, I listened to his wisdom. Being a kid, I will admit it sometimes took years to sink in. This time, though, he made sense in that very moment. I went to a recruiter and joined the Illinois Army National Guard.

Four years later, I was faced with similar uncertain economic circumstances. I was relatively unemployed. I tore through temporary jobs one at a time, never knowing week by week if I would have a job after the weekend. There were periods of weeks or months I went without a job despite going door to door, dropping applications and resumes. One afternoon, I addressed my problems with my father. Again, his wisdom rang. He asked me what I could do, that I enjoyed, that would put food on my table. After running through a few pie-eyed and unrealistic options, the answer came to one thing:  my time in uniform. We struck a deal. I would move back in with him while the transfer to active duty processed. I would work around the house doing improvements and repairs. Then, in June of 1991, I left for an active duty career.

My term of service was intended to be four years. I would save as much of my paycheck as possible. I would then take that GI Bill and my DD214 and go forward with my desired career. At the time, I wanted to be a lawyer. Four years later, I re-enlisted and didn't look back. A year after re-enlisting, I switched Occupational Specialties (MOS) from Infantry to Military Intelligence and fell in love. Including that time in the National Guard, I served for 24 years.

I have had the privilege and honor to spend those 24 years serving with some of the best people anybody could ever meet. Many of them are no longer with us. Many are. I found one of the most diverse groups of individuals and expertise anywhere in the world. Yet we became a homogeneous culture with a common mission and a common oath:  "To Support and Defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic".

This military sub-culture, in our diversity, is truly representative of what our country stands for. Diversity is respected without being divisive, unlike several political movements and ideologies out there. If you want to see a true American culture made up of several sub-cultures that unite as one, look at our military. They set a true example.

When I say I have never met a greater group of Americans I mean it. The job they do is a difficult one. Most of the youth of today, especially those camping out at the "Occupy Protests", do not have the fortitude our veterans display on an hourly basis. Some people will respond to that with a quip about "well, there are members of my generation serving". Yes there are. However, less that 3% of the US population has ever served. Less than 1% of  the current generation is actively serving. They are the vast minority and not representative of the majority. They are BETTER.

The veterans of our country's Armed Services are, by and large, the most honorable people you can encounter. They may have signed a contract for any of various reasons. But they serve WITH Honor. They server FOR the Honor of our country and what our flag stands for (YOU!). So, I write this TO Honor each one of them, past, present, and future. They have done you, the American People, proud. Please, show them gratitude with the Honor and Respect they earned and deserve.

Now I'm stepping on my soapbox.

Over the past several wars, our military has been a "volunteer" one. Many people misunderstand that statement. There are members of the population who claim that, as volunteers, the military should not be paid. Their benefits should be cut. They believe that retirees don't deserve their benefits either. Well, I want to set a few things straight. Today is Veterans Day. So, I am standing up for my fellow veterans.

By stating we are a "volunteer" force we mean one simple thing:  We entered a CONTRACT of service voluntarily, of our own free will. It means we are NOT conscripts. It means we were NOT drafted. It does NOT mean we work for free. We signed a contract with the tax-paying citizens of the United States to serve that oath and follow the orders of the officers appointed or elected over us. We did not sign up to hand out blankets at a Red Cross office. We signed a CONTRACT to provide a SERVICE in exchange for PAY and BENEFITS. Nobody forced us into this contract. We bound ourselves by honor and integrity to fulfill our end of it. None of us did this for free. We did it for Freedom, Capitalism, and our Constitutional Republic. None of us did so for free.

Before anybody does the foolish thing of claiming I slighted Red Cross Volunteers, don't. I have been out there volunteering among them during a natural disaster. They are wonderful people who gave of their time, effort, and resources to help people in times of dire need. I have a LOT of respect for them. I also donate time and money to their efforts. They are charitable volunteers. This essay is NOT about them. It is about the Veterans.

Despite the high paychecks those officers the rank of COL  and above EARN each month, even they are vastly underpaid for the services they provide. No Soldier joins and serves just for the paycheck. That is true. It is not a very high paying job. However, those paychecks ARE EARNED. Those VA benefits ARE EARNED. They already are not enough compensation for the services rendered.

Our honor, integrity, and pride fill that economic gap. They are part of our pay. Those are invaluable things, priceless. So I am not begging for higher checks and  the like. There are things we earn through our service that no amount of money can buy. However, the benefits we receive we DID EARN. They are the last things any budget cuts should consider. To do so is actually a breach of contract.

Those whining brats at the various "Occupy" protests want for free what veterans EARNED. I have a simple message for them:  "Shut up 'princess'. Go earn it before you whine about it. You haven't earned anything and are NOT entitled to anything. 'There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (TANSTAAFL)' to quote Libertarian thinker and Science Fiction author, RA Heinlein. You are NOT entitled to what WE, the veterans, have EARNED".

Now I will dismount my soapbox leaving it with this thought:  this is not political in nature. It is about responsibility. It is about accountability. It is about TRUE entitlement. It is about what is morally and ethically right.  I know several people will not like what I wrote. Well, I am entitled to that opinion, not just because I am a free American, but because I FOUGHT for that right for ALL Americans.

Now that I have about 47% of you angered over my words, I will go back to a more historical note. If you made it this far, keep reading. I am going to close this with a speech I wrote for grade-school students I was asked to address last year. Before we get to that, I have a few more things to say, though.

I give my deepest heartfelt gratitude to those who served before me. In addition, I give my brotherhood and love to those I served with. To those still serving, I give the above as well as my deepest respect for serving in these dangerous and uncertain times. HOOAH!


And last year's speech:

“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (US ARMY Oath of Enlistment)

Hello. I am ----------------------- of the US ----------. I love this country and its people. Other than the scriptures of my religion, I find the US Constitution to be one of the most important documents ever written. I am honored and proud to have spent the last 23 years defending the US Constitution and all of you. Each of you is what makes our country the best on this planet and our Constitution such a beautiful thing. 

Today you are observing Veterans’ Day. Veterans’ Day is officially, by law, on 11 NOV. I’d like to take a couple of minutes to let you all know the history behind this federal holiday. 

Almost 100 years ago, there was a big war in Europe that was called “The Great War”. Today we call it World War I. France and England asked the USA to send Soldiers, Sailors and Marines to Europe to help them fight the bad people that started the war. At the end of that war, all the countries of Europe and the USA signed a written promise call an “Armistice”. This was a temporary agreement made by all the people in all of these countries that they would stop fighting each other until they could all agree on a final promise. That first promise, the Armistice, was signed on 11 NOV 1918. On 11 NOV 1919, a year later, the final promise called a Treaty (Treaty of Versailles), was signed.

In 1921, President Woodrow Wilson signed a law saying that the 11th of November of every year would be a day for the USA to say thank you to all the soldiers that fought in WWI and brought peace to the world. It was originally called “Armistice Day”.

After that, the US military fought in two other big wars. The first one was WWII against Hitler and the National Socialists in Europe and against the Japanese Emperor in Asia and the Pacific. The second big war was fought against the Communists in North Korea and China to defend South Korea from the Communist Tyrant Mao Tse Tung. So, President Eisenhower, who was a General during WWII, looked at all the military men and women who fought in these two wars and said that they should also have a day every year that the people take a day off from work to thank them. So, in 1954 he passed a law changing the name from “Armistice Day” to “Veterans’ Day” and said that from then on, every 11 NOV would be a day to say “thank you” to all the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who fought to protect the USA in any war. 

In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a new law that said that Veterans’ Day is not just for the military people who fought in a war, but for all people that served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines and protected our country.

I cannot tell you what this day means to you. To some people, it means a day off from work. To other people, it means that some stores will have sales going on. But this is what Veterans’ Day means to me. As I said, I have been in the -----  for --- years. My two brothers served in the ----, one for -- years and the other for --. My father was a Marine in Vietnam. My grandfather and all of his brothers were in the Army or Navy. My mother’s brother, my uncle, is a retired Marine COL. So, I have military service in my blood. I have been all over the world either stopping people from fighting, like in Bosnia and Kosovo; or fighting against bad people like Emmanuel Norriega in Panama and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. 

In 2001, a group of bad people called Al Q’aeda destroyed two big buildings in New York City and killed a lot of innocent people. I have been all over the world finding people in that group so that they will have a hard time hurting the people I care about. In all of these things, people I consider to be like my brothers and sisters fought with me. Some of them didn’t come home. Some of them came home very hurt. Some of them came home and feel hurt in their hearts. We call that hurt “PTSD” or “Soldier’s Heart”. Veterans’ Day, for me, is a day to say thank you to all of my family, and all of the people who protected this country with me. It is my day to say “Good Job Guys!” to all of them and to thank them for being there when I needed them. 
So, please, if you know somebody who has been in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines, please take a minute to tell them “thank you” today. 

What are your questions?

Thank You.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Educating Our Children in Politics

While I type this, I am muttering a mantra of "do not get overly political...". Given the topic, I will find it difficult.

I have felt the need to write this essay for a long time now. While I was still serving, I restrained myself out of fear of crossing a line. That line is no longer drawn in the same place, in my case. Though I still hold to a code of personal ethics that still makes me a bit hesitant to publish this. Well, that is I was hesitant until a recent event tipped me over the edge.

A teacher in San Antonio, Texas brought some of his students on an unauthorized little field trip. The fact that the parents of these kids accompanied the trip only serves to cover him from legal liability. He is a teacher of US Government Studies at the JFK HS in San Antonio. His actions there prove that he doesn't use his classroom to teach political systems and philosophies from an objective standpoint. His actions demonstrate that he uses his classroom to preach his own political ideals to the students. Is he entitled to his political beliefs? Yes. Should he be preaching them to high school students? NO!

I'll bet you are wondering what he did. Here is a link to a political blog covering the event. I will say you need to watch the video and make up your own mind. However, even some of my more left-leaning acquaintances agree that this man's actions were far from acceptable. Chicks On The Right: This Dude Will Probably Get Teacher of the Year. 

Now, this is just my opinion. I have taken many courses in education. I have taken many courses in civics. I am more of a philosopher than a politician. I am not a parent, yet. However, my fiancee loves to test that line on a regular basis, asking my input and advice in the raising of her daughter. I do, never the less, have many children in my life whom look up to me. They see me as an example. They look upon me as a sounding board. Even more unbelievable is that they come to me for nuggets of wisdom they feel they aren't getting from their parents. Of course, that is because I appear more objective and more open to listening. Then again, I won't scream at them, either (usually). These kids range in age from 1 to 18. So, while not a parent, I do have some role I am filling.

If a student is less than voting age, it is unethical, irresponsible, criminal, and immoral, as an educator, to indoctrinate them into anything other than the US Constitution (and whatever State and local constitutions or charters apply). If you are a teacher, your job is to teach and to facilitate learning. It is the parents' jobs to help the kids to formulate their moral and ethical foundations. It is the individual's responsibility to formulate their own opinions based upon facts. Yes, that means it is the kids' right and responsibility to think for themselves.

So, how do we educate our children on politics? What is the best way?

This really needs to start at home. We need to teach our children about responsibility. We need to teach them about making choices and living with the consequences, good or bad, of those choices. We need to teach them to choose, though. I am not advocating any form of extreme punishments or letting our children come to harm over a bad choice. That will happen regardless of what we do. We can and should mitigate that as much as possible.

However, if you give the kid a choice between a banana and a bowl of cherries, sure, it is ok to turn your banana into a banana split after the kid chooses the cherries. It will teach the child to get all of the facts before making a snap decision. If your child decides to behave poorly, you let the child know that continuing to do so is choosing to loose a privilege.

Teaching a child to share is important. However, we need to also teach our children about ownership. Having somebody share something with you is NOT your right. It is the sharing person's decision, kindness, and charity. If another child won't share, it is that kid's right. It is your right to not reciprocate when time comes around (or better yet, choose to be the better person). But there needs to be a lesson there on the difference between "mine", "yours", and "ours".

It is also imperative that we teach our children the system of merit. They need to learn what it means to earn. They need to learn that productivity and progress are rewarded. Let them earn an allowance for duties accomplished. Do not extend credit on promises of "I'll be good if...". Reward them for good grades, doing chores, going above the standard.

Now let me address for formalized education. If this is not being done in your schools, it is on us, the adults, to teach it at home. It is also our responsibility to impress upon our employees (and yes, teachers are OUR employees!) our demands that our children are TAUGHT not INDOCTRINATED.

First of all, the kids have to get a good foundation of history. They need to be taught where the ideas the framers of the US Constitution came from. They need to learn that the Republic of Rome, though based on nobility and aristocracy, lasted longer than the Democracy of Athens. They need to learn how England forced King John to sign the Magna Carta, thus transforming Great Brittan into a Constitutional Monarchy.

The next step is to start introducing them to some political philosophies from an objective standpoint. They need to be given the definitions. They need to be shown examples of these systems when they were employed, how long they lasted, what they accomplished, and how and why they failed. These are historic and pre-1787 examples.

Next you need to teach them about how the US came into being. You need to address the points made in the Declaration of Independence, one at a time. You need  to cover why the Colonials took each of these issues and why each issue is important, even today.

The next step is to cover our first government and why it wasn't working. Then start teaching about the Federalist Papers. These essays became the foundation of the US Constitution.

After covering all of the previous comes the much overlooked and arduous task of teaching the US Constitution AS IT CURRENTLY STANDS. Each article needs to be covered showing what powers and authority WE grant to the federal government, and what each branch is responsible for. Teach them the limits of each branch, according to the US Constitution. Teach them what each is allowed to do. Teach them what each branch is NOT allowed to do. Teach them what, by the US Constitution, WE mandate each to do.

Then cover EACH and EVERY amendment. Don't skip over ones you "feel" are not important. They are ALL important. Each of us may feel some need to prioritize them. However, all are equal and all are imperative to be taught with equal weight.



Next, you cover the polling process. Then the process by which bills and proposals become laws. Teach them the system that exists, not the one you personally wish to be. Keep your opinions out of the classroom.

(For your own kids, yes, do let them know your thoughts. That is a parental right and responsibility).

The next step is to teach them some of the more modern philosophies and systems. Yes, we want to teach them about Marxism, Socialism, and Communism. Give them the facts and let them make up their own minds.

However, when we teach Marxism, we have to teach them about National Socialism. So we have to teach them about Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussayn. (Yep, the Iraqi dude was a member of  the Ba'ath Party. the Ba'ath Party operated on the tenets of National Socialism. The oil fields were all state owned, for one example. And don't correct my spelling of his name. I follow a certain Arabic to English trans-litteration guide that prohibits "C", "P", "O", and "E".)

We also need to teach them about how Lenin brought Marxism to Russia. From there, we need to teach them about how the USSR government worked and how it FAILED after about 70 years.

We need to teach them about Maoism. We need to show them how North Korea is having internal problems due to their political and economic system. On the flip side, we need to show them how China may be Maoist internally, but acts as a capitalist corporation in the international market. However, many of  their people still suffer under their internal government. No, sorry, not every Chinese citizen is getting an equal share.

We need to show them how the Constitutional Monarchy of Great Brittan has evolved. Do the monarchs still hold the powers they used to in the times of King George?

About this time we should also be teaching, objectively, the political philosophies of our various political parties in our country. I would include all the various parties that have existed throughout our history (including the Tories). I would include the US Communist Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the Reform Party, and yes, the TEA Party. I would not limit it to just the "big two".

The idea is to educate our children with as many facts as possible. Give them the data that will allow them to think critically and formulate their own assessments, analysis, and opinions based upon ALL the data. Teach them how to research things and find their own data outside of what is spoon-fed  in a classroom. Not only should we be teaching them HOW to think, but teaching them to actually THINK. We should NOT be teaching them WHAT to think. We should only guide them on things to THINK about.

Now, once in High School, sure, it is time for more debate and discussion. Starting in junior year, yes, the students should, if TAUGHT correctly, have enough data and experience to be able to express their views of each of these systems. A good teacher will play devil's advocate in some of these discussions, offering objecting points of view. At no time should the educators actually pick one over the other and espouse a political ideology as "the best one" except if it happens to be OUR system. Why? Well, it is OUR system and WE pay THEM.

When kids get to college, somebody is flipping the bill. With any luck, our kids will be paying for it themselves through some form of earnings or merit (scholarship, military benefit, working their butts off and saving, etc.).  When they hit this level, we should have armed them with the ability to make choices and understand that, then, they are the ones paying their educators and it is their right to demand the education they are paying for.

I have a great story on how things should not be. A friend of mine started as a political science major in college. He had done time in the Navy prior to this. While in his first class, the instructor brought up some of his personal opinions that contradicted my friend's real world experiences. My friend's employee (since he was paying this professor to teach, not to pontificate and indoctrinate) continued, attempting to single my friend out (knowing him to have been military). My friend agreed with the guy. Then he offered additional actions that would have to be taken in the case of what the Comprachico proposed. The answer was truthful and based upon real world experiences and not those in the vacuum of a classroom. The "teacher" did not like a student having such a well-thought-out, honest, and reasonable response. That employee told my friend that if he didn't ascribe to the employee's ideology, my friend would never pass one of his classes. So, there you go... an educator threatening "think how and what I tell you to think, not for yourself".

My friend changed majors. He is now VERY successful in his line of work. So, in effect, he "fired" that "teacher". Our kids need to be taught that, once in college, they do have a right to earn what they have earned; and to get what they paid for:  Nothing less, and nothing more.

Ok, I hope I didn't seem to push any particular political agenda or policy here. I really did my best to keep my actual political philosophy out of this essay. If I failed to do so, tough, It is my essay, my blog, my right.

Feel free to comment. Please, though, keep it to facts and assessments. Do not throw emotion around. I don't debate emotions. I pass out tissues and pacifiers and ignore you until you come back with reason, logic, and data. Vulgarity, inappropriate language, insults, and anything less than adult behavior will be deleted, blocked, reported, and banned.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reflections on Shattered Glass (11-Sep-01)

My battalion was selected to send a company to Veszprem, Hungary to advise and train the Hungarian Army. Hungary was the latest addition to NATO. This opportunity gave us not only a key mission in developing this new alliance, but gave an intelligence geek like me the opportunity to get hands-on experience with Soviet Block weapons and equipment. I was more than excited about this mission.

Per normal protocol, I prepared a threat briefing for those deploying. We were not a nation at war in those days prior to the deployment. However, we would be at the time of our return. However, the biggest threats we faced were foreign intelligence agencies seeking to exploit our soldiers; and a few international terrorist groups that had demonstrated a fondness for attacking US forces who were abroad. Naturally, therefore, the briefing I prepared included the assholes responsible for attacking the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as the USS Cole in Yemen:  Al Q'aeda.

Also, per normal protocol, many of the Soldiers zoned out, not thinking this to be overtly important to our mission. A couple of the more senior NCOs, Gulf War vets, paid a bit more attention and asked some questions. The questions led to discussions that spurred the younger Soldiers to become curious. The 45 minute brief ended up lasting over 2 hours. Of course, I was happy to share my knowledge and analysis. However, even as long winded as I can be, at the 70 minute mark, the topic was beginning to bore me. But I trudged on. By the end of the brief and the long Q&A, I had many Soldiers coming up to me to ask questions they were afraid to ask in front of the group. This, of course, is a hallmark of being a good intelligence analyst. Usually, the audience just wants you to shut up. Then again, this particular brief fell into my usually ignored and, at the time, seemingly irrelevant specialty.

It had been a busy year for me. A company from my Battalion had deployed with the rest of the Brigade to Kosovo. It was the company that we left in reserve when the rest of the Battalion spent 7 months in Albania (and Kosovo) during the initial campaign. So, we had just spent six months doing the Brigade's normal missions in garrison, plus supporting those deployed. I have never been one to sit on my hands when things needed to be done. I took up the mission of bolstering the force protection measures of the garrison. I also managed to do a few inspections with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) during those busy months. Then, when the rest of the Brigade returned, I went to Kosovo for my second time, to lend assistance to the hunt for some key bad guys. On that deployment, I was also tapped by another government organization to assist in securing Camp Bondsteel for a very special visitor. Yes, I was attached to the Secret Service for President G W Bush's visit. After that almost 3 month tour, I returned to my unit to be informed we won the Hungary mission. That gave me 5 days to prepare myself and my unit for that deployment.

Ten days later, I had fallen into a routine of doing my daily activities. I checked for things that presented a threat to my guys while deployed. I inspected the arms rooms to make sure all security protocols were adhered to. I socialized with the Hungarian soldiers and officers, sharing what little I could and soaking up every detail like a sponge. I even managed to make "friends" with a Maygar general whose coin I still keep on my mantle.

The capstone event of this mission was a planned demonstration of combined arms firepower between our two countries. We had trained tactics and planning and all the fun stuff. Then we set to rehearse for this demonstration. Many big-wigs from NATO were scheduled to watch the main event, including SECDEF Rumsfeld.

The day prior to the demonstration, we had run two "full-dress" rehearsals. That meant all of the munitions were live and not sub-caliber practice rounds. It meant lots of explosions and carnage brought to bear on the hulls of old, broken tanks and plastic mock-up enemy soldiers on "pop-up" lifters. So, sometime in the early afternoon, I marched up from the rehearsal (I was there to give pointers on how to make those darned plastic bad guys looks like they were using real enemy tactics) to our Operations Center. I had to give a current events brief, to include sports scores, to the Soldiers at 4pm. That briefing very quickly changed tone.

I checked the open-source information sources to prepare my brief. I had to keep at the lowest classification possible, so I used these sources to help do so. An "open source" intelligence source is also known as news-media. The date was 11 September 2001. I do not think I need to tell you what breaking story I found everywhere while I complied my nightly brief.

A former member of our Battalion was in the Pentagon that day. He died in the attack. I had several Soldiers with family members that worked in or near the World Trade Center. One of my best friends had family in the FDNY and NYPD. I had to do one of the hardest things in my life. I had to tell my Soldiers about the attacks. I had to look in their eyes as the images of pure horror filled their brains. No official word had yet been culminated on who was responsible, and no group had yet claimed responsibility. However, the question was asked "Who did this?". I gave the official answer. "Sergeant Mat, you know who did this, don't you? Who?". The words of my best guess came too easily: "That group that attacked the USS Cole, Al Q'aeda".

As soon as I said those words, I knew something in me had changed. I had spent the previous years being more of a vigilant guardian watching for a potential threat to pop its head up and attempt something stupid. Now, that potential threat had reared its head and done something horrific. I was no longer that vigilant guardian. I transformed into a flail of retribution and a sword of wrathful vengeance. I became war.

Coming up in the ranks, one of my mentors was, to use his official pseudonym, J. David Galland, a close associate of COL David Hackworth. Mr. Galland, whom I called "Sergeant Major", once told me that I was a rare retro bit of military equipment. He used to joke that he and I needed to be left alone and put in cases with placards that read "Break Glass Only In Case of War". Usama bin Laden broke that glass. All I can say in response to his little act of war is:  "I'm still alive motherfucker. How many times have you and your assholes tried to kill me? I'm still breathing. Where the fuck are you, huh?"

Still, there are days when it is too quiet and a little non-invasive thing will ping on my memories. I sit with a small regret at not having seen this war through to its necessary conclusion. It is far from over. All it takes is five minutes of complacency, and they will attack us again. They are down, but not defeated. This is an enemy we need to kick while he is down until he is unconscious. Then we need to kick him once more to make sure he isn't playing possum. Then we need to watch him and kick him back to sleep the second he starts to stir. If we don't, he will roll away and come back with friends.

Ten years, four tours to Iraq, and numerous trips to places undisclosed, I sit here. I have been retired from the US Army for 41 days, after 24 years of faithful service. Thoughts of many events still well up feelings of anger, wrath, grief, sadness, guilt, and indignation. Like the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and John Lennon, people will, for decades, still share their memories of where they were when the Towers Fell. I not only remember where I was and what I was doing. I also remember who I was and who I became.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Battle of Southern Arizona (Camarilla Fiction)

Over the past few months, the kindred of Cochise County had been plagued by an army of adobe Terra Cotta warriors. These warriors looked like ancient Japanese Samurai. A demon had risen and was seeking vengeance for the destruction of his daughter a year prior.

The demon-child, in the guise of a young Japanese girl, terrorized the kindred for months. She sacrificed some in bloody rites to other Oni. She ate some of them. Others she compelled into playing games, interrupting their abilities to feed, conduct business, hunt, and survive. Conchobar of the Norn, his sister-wife, and their daughter, Green, attacked the demon. In a harrowing battle that claimed the life of Mebd, Conchobar's twin sister and wife, the three destroyed the demon-child.

Now her father came forth with vengeance determined to destroy all supernaturals until his honor could be restored.

Conchobar, having taken Praxis of Southern Arizona had enough. He claimed that the day of his wedding to Lady Illyana Constantine would mark the destruction of  the demon. Kindred from all over the globe heeded the call to battle and massed, prepared to end this foe before his vengeance spread.

The kindred formed 7 teams of fighters, one team of ritualists from various covenants, a team for communications and logistical support, and a team to cover the masquerade lest mortals find out what really lurks in the darkness.

The 6th team of fighters was acutally a lone Dragon named Alice Cross, who took command of one of the strange companies of life-sized Apache dolls and Kachina. Vosh, Bear Sundancer, and several other Crone had set to work, convincing ghosts of Apache and Hopi to fight on the side of the kindred.

The 7th Team was Conchobar's. This was his main effort. He would face the demon-father named Bukogi Reichi Oni. For Conchobar, this would end tonight!  The remainder of the teams had the hard job. They had to keep the Terra Cotta Samurai from defending the demon.

The first team, led by Sariel St. James took the field, advancing on the
last known locations of the Terra Cotta in the Northern section of the Mule
Mountains, just to the south of Tombstone. He was accompanied by Thomas Odd,
Danoir, Joan D’Aquitaine, Sara MacAyle, Bishop Abidea, and McKenna
Adrosteas. Upon seeing the statues, the team halted. Sariel performed and
exorcism rite while Joan supported with prayer. Thomas Odd and several
retainers armed with cross-bows shot at the statues, which appeared to be
frozen. 3 of the Terra Cotta burst into bits of rubble from the shots. The
team then advanced on the remaining 2 in sight.

The team halts short, trying to stay out of range of any ranged attacks the
remaining 2 TC may have. Thomas Odd fires and destroys what is left of one
of the remaining two. The retainers fired, harming the remaining TC, causing
great gaping holes in its torso. The clay samurai lets out a war cry and
charges with the full force of a freight train. He impacts a retainer,
impaling him on the adobe katana. The statue then explodes with a blast of
numina, causing multiple deep bruises on a nearby retainer. A hail of arrows
falls around the team, but causes little damage.

Joan’s prayer joins in with Sariel’s next attempt at an exorcism. The
statues again appear frozen. The team closes the distance to the newly
discovered bowmen.

Thomas Odd realizes that the ranged weapons of the bowmen could be
disastrous. He casts Damage Reduction to protect the team. The team moves a
bit closer and holds fire, aiming until they get into better range. The
adobe bowmen loose another volley. A couple of the arrows find their mark
and penetrate one of the retainer’s armor. At this point, the remaining
retainers return fire on the identified target and obliterate one of the
statues. The team advances cautiously.

The prayer and exorcist rite reach a crescendo. The Statues again seem
paralyzed at the might of G-d striking at their core. Now another group of
katana wielding statues is visible, and one lets out a soul-piercing howl
that routes the team momentarily, causing them to flee back down the

Through inspiration from Joan and Sariel, the team regains its composure and
advances on the remaining Terra Cotta. Thomas and the retainers fire again,
knowing exactly where their targets are. The shots bring down two of the
swordsmen in a thundering crash of crumbling clay. One of the adobe samurai,
badly damaged, charges and kills one of the retainers. He then explodes in a
blast, knocking two of the remaining retainers to their knees with blood
seeping from their wounds. The remaining retainers heed Sariel’s call to
tighten the lines. The kindred push forward with full force, preparing for
possible melee.

Again, the chants of prayer coming from the LS warriors and faithful seems
to rise to an apex and stop the Terra Cotta in their tracks. Thomas Odd and
the remaining retainers fire again, causing another of the katana-bearers to
crumble. The team reloads.

The team fires one more time, killing the last of the swordsmen in a rain of
crossbow bolts.

 The adobe bowmen fire their arrows, concentrating on a single retainer,
killing him.

 At the height of the wedding and a joint LS and CoC ritual back at the
rack, the clay samurai seem to be stunned by this act of faith. This energy
pulses through the air, motivating the team. The team takes advantage of the
moment and fires 3 volleys of crossbow bolts at the clay archers. They
concentrate on one, and he explodes in a rain of clay. They fire on a second
and miss. Determined, they aim again at the second target and loose a volley
that disintegrates the kyodo warrior.

 The team reloads and advances on the remaining minions of the Father-Demon.
They fire and bring one of the remaining archers down in a cloud of dust.
The archers let out an ear-piercing howl that vibrates through the bones of
the kindred and their remaining retainers. Routed by the mystical energy,
they flee back 300 meters. When they regain their composure, they see the
two remaining archers have turned and fled back towards their master.

 The team tends to their wounded and prepares to assist team 2, if called.

The second team, commanded by Raziel Bellmont in conjunction with Missionary
Rachel, Nathan Prince, Joseph Johnson, and Peter Cross and multiple
retainers marched into the central region of the Mule Mountains, just north
of the town of Bisbee. Their mission was to clear Terra Cotta in sector,
then form a blocking line tied into Team 1 in order to prevent the TC from
moving in and stopping the main effort from getting to the demon father.

The LS and Invictus rise in prayer, led by Missionary Rachel. The Terra
Cotta warriors freeze in their tracks paralyzed by the power of the prayer.
There are 10 of them with Naginata in sight. The team uses the initiative to
move within pistol range. Raziel looks around, shaking his head that none
had come armed with bows or rifles. He can sense this is going to be one
heck of a fight.

Raziel lets loose with a Spear of Faith. It seems to
sputter in the wind as though he was distracted by the thought of having to
advance this close. Peter Cross and the retainers fire their pistols in a
unified report in order to conceal how many are shooting. The shot is times
with the lightning. Two Terra Cotta are torn by the bullets, one falling to
a lump of mud on the ground. The other, badly damaged, lets out a war cry
and charges into the formation. He cuts deep with his naginata into one of
the retainers causing mortal wounds. The Clay warrior then detonates in a
psychic blast injuring those around him and leaving the first retainer a
broken body on the desert floor.

Then a rain of clay arrows descends upon
the formation and another retainer falls, his body filled with arrows.

Rachel pulls out her prayer book and begins to lead in another rousing
testament of faith. The Terra Cotta again are held by some mystical force,
as though the faith of the prayer severed his link to the dark Shinto oni
that commands them. Raziel sends out another spear of faith, this time
hitting its mark with all of G-d’s fury behind it. In declining amounts,
four of the clay warriors have huge chunks of adobe burst from their torsos.

The rest of the team fires their pistols at the most damaged samurai,
realizing that they charge when they have taken too much damage. The focused
fire hits the mark and reduces the statue to a pile of mud and dust in the
torrential rains.

Raziel yells to Rachel to continue the prayer before the monsters can move
again. But the break was all they needed to go back into action. The team
advances closer hoping to do better with melee weapons. Raziel looses
another spear of faith into a different group of warriors. This time five of
them burst with massive chunks of dirt flying off of them, leaving gaping
holes. Two warriors, badly damaged from the blast, charge into the
formation, their initial thrusts causing mortal wounds to two more
retainers. Their detonation kills them, and sends waves of deep wounds to
the rest of the formation.

Peter Cross’s retainers use their vitae to heal
some of their wounds, and the gangrel’s unnatural resilience seem to dampen
the effects of the blast. The clay archers fire. Nathan and Joseph can see
some of their vitae mixing with the rain water as they pull the muddy arrows
from their chests.

Rachel’s prayer rises over the din of the monsoon. The clay automatons stop
dead in their tracks. Raziel lets loose with yet another spear of faith,
this time against the clay bowmen. Four of them looks as though grenades
went off in their chests as dust flies from their bodies. The rest of the
team focuses its pistol fire on the most injured archer. The bullets tear
through it and it falls into a pile of broken pottery.

Thinking he has used the spear on all the terra cotta in sight, Raziel lets
fly a bird of sin. The bird manifests on one of the archers and begins
pecking at its eyes. The affected archer bats at the bird as it is torn to
bits by the ritual. The team fires its pistols again, bullets piercing the
enemy archers and tearing off pieces of clay. The archers return fire,
finding purchase in two of Peter’s retainers. The ghouls use their vitae to
heal from the attack. Joseph finds himself wounded yet again from the damned
arrows. Nathan and Joseph charge at the terra cotta, ripping them down where
they stand. The statues explode causing Nathan and Joseph to take more
damage. The remaining warriors swing at Joseph and he falls into torpor from
the damage, despite burning blood to heal. It was enough to save him, but
not enough to stop the sleep of death to render him inanimate. The rest of
the team advances.

Rachel’s prayer again disrupts the unholy flow that allows the terra cotta
to move. Noticing more archers against the rock wall, Raziel lets loose with
another spear of faith at the new targets. Five of the archers explode with
rock and pottery flying from their forms. Peter Cross fires, destroying what
is left of the most damaged samurai.

Raziel lets loose a bird of sin, as does Rachel. One statue swipes at the
bird once before he collapses in a pile of mud. The other begins to take
damage as the bird will peck away pieces of clay for the next few seconds.

The team can feel the power of the unholy wedding taking place. The union
between the pagan nornir and his invictus bride brought LS and Crone
together to officiate the wedding. Their joint prayer and ceremony sends
tides of faith against the statues, rendering them defenseless and immobile.

Peter and two of his ghouls fire at one statue, destroying it. Nathan
charges in and swipes an archer down with his claws. Price fires and kills
another archer. Raziel and Rachel let loose birds of sin that peck at two of
the bowmen. Cross takes aim focusing his and his four retainers fire and
watch as their target disintegrates in a hail of bullets. The archers fire
but fail to strike a single target. Nathan rides his fury and tears of huge
handfuls of clay from another of the bowmen.

Rachel begins her prayer yet again as two of the birds of sin end two more
of the enemies. Nathan strikes with his claws and brings down anther of the
archers. Raziel lets loose with another bird of sin, and it strikes at one
of the remaining foes.

Only one archer remains, and it is being harried by a bird of sin. Cross and
the retainers focus their pistol fire on the remaining statue, obliterating
it as it begins to attempt to flee back to its master. It takes two steps as
it crumbles to the ground.

 Raziel leans down and picks up a piece of the clay as a souvenir. They grab
their wounded and head for the link-up point hoping to get time to heal.

 Raziel gets word from Joan D’Aquitaine. Kasmir Lanszak has spotted a
formation of terra cotta samurai cavalry headed their way. He has stated
that he thinks he has also spotted the demon father who is yelling
"Conchobar and Green of the Norn, I Bukagi Reichi-oni call you out! Face me
you cowardly worms!"

The team passes around reliquaries and does what it can to heal as much as
possible before the next wave.

 Catching news of the impending cavalry charge, teams one and two joined
forces to fend off the counter-attack. Those too wounded to fight stayed
back and helped each other nurse wounds and spend their vitae to heal.

 Team 3, under Darius Grey sits in reserve, itching for a fight. They know
that if they rush in, the tactics won’t hold. Their job is to plus up
defenses and rush to assist any team that calls. The reports coming in from
teams 4 and 5 are that they are meeting only small resistance as they clear
the Valley to the south (team 4) and southwest (team 5).

 Team 4 under Ruiz finds only small bands of either foot swordsmen or
pole-arm bearers. They use their formation and fight a single unit, seeming
to cut through the soldiers in single passes. They take some bruises, but
nothing that isn’t easily healed. Then they hear of team 1 and 2 joining
together to fend off a cavalry charge. This is what they are good at! Ruiz
changes directions and leads the team into a forced march straight east
towards the mountains.

Team 5, under Orcus, is given the mission to open the valley for the main
effort which is set to strike as soon as the Father-Demon is spotted. They
clear to the Southwest of the Valley towards Carr Canyon. They first
encounter a team of 5 katana wielding foot-soldiers. Their ranged combat
combined with Malachi Decatur’s prayers and rituals make quick work of the
scouting party. They continue closer to the mountains. If they encounter no
more of the walking pottery, then they will set up a defensive barrier at
the mouth of the canyon to stop the creatures from defending their master.
Oddigeson, Desmonov, Telreya, and Solomon Quartermain rounding out the

 Once they get to the mouth of the canyon, they see a massive group of
mix-matched terra cotta moving purposefully in their direction. Behind them,
at the top of the canyon, they see bands of what appear to be Apache
warriors chasing after the Terra Cotta. The Apaches toss tomahawks and shoot
bows, picking off the terra cotta one at a time.

 Orcus hears that teams 1 and 2 are preparing for a cavalry charge. He just
feels that Ruiz won’t sit still and knows that it is up to him and his team
to protect the west flank for the main attack. He orders the formation to
close in. Telreya and Malachi give a resounding prayer that stops the terra
cotta cold. The Legio formation charges towards the horde, again fighting as
a unit. Quartermain fires rapidly, with deadly accuracy taking huge chunks
of clay off of the terra cotta with each shot. Taking advantage of the
paralyzed pottery, they hack and swipe at the terra cotta until little
remains but small, sharp shards of clay on the canyon floor. Now within
closer view, and much faster than their adobe counterparts, the team sees
that the Apaches are dolls. They also see many of the terra cotta in the
distance, closer to the dolls, freeze. It appears as though vapors of smoke
or steam rise from the clay bodies and seem to hug the dolls. The dolls
raise their weapons and cheer in their native tongue. Oddigeson heals his
wounds and smiles at the rest of the formation.

 Word comes in that another cavalry unit is headed towards them from the
west. The team stands ready to withstand the charge. The Apache dolls take
up ambush positions along the canyon walls  to help dwindle the horsemen as
they come past.

The first two teams joined together, leaving the wounded to the side to heal. They were in no shape to continue the fight this night. Many of them would need to feed soon, as well.

Rachel sends of a bird of sin while Raziel looses a spear of faith. The
Spear of faith tears gaping holes into 3 of the cavalry while the bird of
sin pecks holes into a fourth. The four wounded samurai charge in furiously
and cut down the remaining retainers and ghouls. They detonate sending waves
of psychic damage and shrapnel into the formation. The rest of the cavalry
charge behind them, swiping deep cuts into those still standing.

At the end of the charge, as the horsemen wheel around for another pass, Thomas Odd and
Joan D’Aquitaine are the only two in the formation who haven’t fallen into
the death-like sleep from their wounds. Thomas Odd grabs hold of Joan and
says “We need to fall back and regroup, can you move?”

Joan responds, while running to cover, breaking her normal polite protocol “Encole!”  She then grabs her radio
“Darius Grey!  Pusse ta viande! We need help with wounded.

 The cavalry charges through where the formation was and resets somewhere
back in the mountains. The vampires and retainers in the third team quickly
police up the wounded and the vampires in wound-induced torpor and bring
them to a defensive position in a canyon. They start to devise a means to
attack the quick-moving statues. They can hear the rumble of thunder and the
rumble of hooves.

 Darius tells Henry Taxis to take charge of team 3 and the remaining kindred
from Teams 1 and 2. Henry directs Daniel Morris and Jackie O. to begin
setting barricades and blocking positions. James Coy looks over a ridge and
sees one lone Kindred, Alice Kross, with a formation of DOLLS! Recognizing
the dolls as those Tira Neuman, Kasmir Lanszak, Bear Sundancer, and Vosh had
dressed  to look like local Apache, he lends his vestiges of his mortal
lineage to her formation, directing the Apache dolls to block off the
Cavalry from the rear.

 Darius Grey looks down into the valley and sees a formation of Legio
Mortis! The tactics pour through his mind as if by pure instinct. Darius
takes off at his greatest possible speed and joins the Legio Formation of
Team four and directs them towards the incoming cavalry.

With Darius Grey assuming command of Team 4; Ruiz, Serrano, Castor, Sun Wu,
Wade and Gordivea of the Santcified charge ready their gifts. The gangrel
summon their resilience and pop their claws. They take a wedge formation
like a spearhead. This tactic improves upon those of the Spartan Hoplites,
and the kindred attack and defend as a single entity.

The horsemen charge at the Legio. The Legio charge at the horsemen. Just
before the clash, the Legio tighten their phalynx and hit the cavalry
formation with everything they have, in unison. They tear and slice at the
adobe samurai, stripping legs off of the horses and carving into their
torsos. Hardened clay flies all around them.

The Terra Cotta let out with a tremendous cry as they detonate. The formation suffers slight wounds that
would have been lethal to mortals. Castor passes around his reliquaries so
all may refill with precious vitae, heal, and prepare for the next battle.

 Meanwhile, Team three; under the command of Henry Taxis, plus Joan
D’Aquitaine spot several groups of Terra Cotta samurai foot-soldiers. None
of these seem too concerned with the kindred, but are making a bee-line down
towards the southern most edges of the Valley, just southwest of the town of
Bisbee. As the clay automatons cross into their lines of sight, they fire
with prayer, ritual, and crossbows onto the small formations, reducing them
to just one or two remaining.

James Coy sends word that he and Alice are
mopping up the rest as they pass them by. The apache dolls are taking
damage, but faring well using ambush tactics on the stragglers.

Then comes a furious voice from the depths of the valley. Standing 10
stories tall is a massive vision of a shogun. “Conchobar the Coward and his
baby bitch, Green! I challenge thee! Fight me with honor!”

 At a high rate of speed, come two SUVs. Kindred pile out. One SUV heads up
a mountain to one side, the other to the other side. With a great double-axe
on his back, and garbed in Sioux buckskins, Conchobar looks at the massive
demon and snarls “Here I am. Come and get me, if you dare.”

 The kindred with him take up positions around the demon, seeming to make a
circle around Conchobar and the shogun. The vengeance-father booms “Give me
your daughter as you have taken mine or face my wrath, vampire.” Conchobar
responds, “Try to take her!”

 Sebastien Belmont jumps from one shadow to another, getting behind the
demon. Bjorn and Green of the Norn flank Prince Conchobar. A two shots ring
out from the mountains, one piercing the demon’s mask just below its eye.
Abahay comes from under his cloak of darkness and strikes with his claws at
the demon. Conchobar strikes as well, to the demon’s leg. The rest of the
kindred attack. The demon wails from the pain caused by the attack. In the
mist from the rain, spirits sent by the forsaken to avenge the clay
creature’s theft of the essence from loci bite and sting at the demon.

Waves of energy and power pulse at the demon, seeming to come from the the Rack.
Vosh, Bear, and Daniel of Canterbury are calling out their power in a
massive joint ritual.

 The demon swipes, knocking down one of the kindred. He then lets out an
earth-shaking howl that sends many of the kindred running in unnatural fear.

 Now they are angry. Conchobar rides the wave, staying just short of a
frenzy. All of the kindred jump onto the demon. Abahay, Gabriel, and another
gangrel climb onto the beast and tear at it with their claws. Prince Belmont
swipes at the demon, causing him to howl in pain. Conchobar and Bjorn tear
at the demon’s inner thighs. They bring the demon down, screaming “No! No!
No!”  The demon’s form wisps away in tendrils of mist and shadow as his
physical form disintegrates under the assault.

 “He isn’t gone,” states Sebastian. Prince Belmont then invokes his ability
to strike into the shadows and begins to slash at where the demon stood.
Piercing the dark and coupling with the thunder, all the kindred in the bowl
can hear “No! No! No!”  The trio casting the joint ritual push out their
power, stunning the demon, even in his shadow form. The demon continues to
wail “No! No! No!”

Cheering on Sebastian Belmont, Conchobar starts to sing the Nornir chant. Bjorn, Green, and Tira join in. Soon, the rest of the group is chanting with Prince Conchobar, seeming to lend the energy of the Nornir bloodline to Prince Belmont. The vigor and ferocity of  the Nornir Chant cuts into the spirit realm, driving the demon to his knees.

 Relentlessly, Prince Sebastian lands blow after blow onto the demon. After
several blows, the shadow form explodes, sending waves of energy across the
Valley. The wave traces back to the “Hoe-Down” and rips into Bear, Vosh and
Daniel of Canterbury, injuring them and driving them to ground in pain. But
the pain gives over to smiles of victory.

 Team 5 sees the cavalry unit charging. The tomahawks and bows from the
apache tear chunks of earth from the horde. However, thirty strong, the unit
takes little damage. The team braces for the clash of the charge, prepared
to counter-strike in the melee.

Just as the formation is about to impact the kindred, a pulse of energy strikes and the horsemen disintegrate into a wave of mud and pieces of pottery. Telreya looks over at Oddigeson and says “You
need a bath”.

 Kasmir reports back to Prince Conchobar that all of the terra cotta fall
apart. All of the apache dolls walked back to Elysium and the ghosts that
animated them seem to have gone back to join their tribes. He then leaves to
help the fighters find safe places to hunt and heal. Daniel of Canterbury
travels with him and offers his reliquaries to waken those rendered into
torpor from their wounds.

This is an account of the "Heroic Battle of Southern Arizona" as presented through Live-Action Roleplay, a form of improvised theater. This battle occurred at the (AZ-009-D) Nomads of Twilight's Regional Featured Game of the Month in August 2011. The tale is a shared story written by the storytellers and the players. All Rights are reserved by the Camarilla. Paul-Gregory Matuszak, US2005065516, Venue Storyteller for AZ-009D Requiem. Vampire the Requiem is Copyright by White Wolf Games. The Camarilla Club utilizes the system on a global-scale chronicle with permission.