04/14/14

From One Locksmith to Another – A Reply

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

There’s an open letter From One Locksmith to Another in the April issue of Locked-In, by C.D. Siems, president of the Greater Houston Locksmith Association (GHLA), of which I’m currently a member in good standing. It starts off reminding us that we’ve been licensed by the State of Texas for quite some time, as if we were unaware of our status as subjects of the state; but it goes down hill from there.

Apparently the president of the GHLA consider ‘scammers’ as a priority focus item when dealing with legislative issues placed before the membership, enough to request each member to donate $ 200.00 toward paying a lobbyist to take our ‘cause’ to Austin.

“…Scammers crawled into the picture and the State did little but collect their fees from our businesses and each locksmith with nothing in return. Nothing in return includes doing a very poor job inspecting The Licensed Locksmith, doing even less than that when it comes to arresting the scammers we hear so much about and finally our State Representatives not seeming to give a rats behind about the security of the Great State of Texas and its Citizens.”

First off, define ‘scammers’. Are they unqualified tradesman who goes about pretending to be locksmiths or are they locksmiths who conduct business but aren’t licensed here in the State of Texas?

That last part about the security of the Great State of Texas assumes that we, that is all of us have ‘voluntarily’ traded individual liberty for security; a dangerous path to travel, as once liberty has been relinquished it seldom if ever is returned. The truth is that licensing of the locksmith industry, the DPS/PSB overseers, mandated continuing education in order to maintain a license…all this violates the principles of American citizenship.

This is really a free trade issue, something which needs to be left up to the consumer under the antiquated notion, “Let the Buyer Beware”. It has been a mistake from day one to license the locksmith industry; yet another step toward pure communism where the state controls all aspects of life.

Somewhere along the way far too many of our fellow citizens have taken the approach that it’s up to the state to protect us from making poor decisions, or in the case of communism, any decisions. We have defined and boxed the world in a neat little package, identified what a locksmith is and does just short of inventorying each key on the rack in order to convince the public that the world is now secure. In the words of an old partner, “Pure male bovine excrement”!

Consumers have the responsibility to investigate the credentials of those who perform work; but somehow that aspect of individual responsibility been delegated to some state agency; we no longer have to worry about it, isn’t that what America has transformed itself into?

H. Verlan Andersen in his book, Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen, explained this principle of living in a free market society as well as anyone.

“If we desire for ourselves the freedom to enter a trade or occupation when and where we choose, we should allow our fellow men this same right. If we believe we should be left free to purchase goods or services from any person who offers them for sale, how can we forcibly restrict the freedom of other members of the buying public and still live the Golden Rule?”

Andersen goes on to destroy the supposed justification for overseers or governing boards which limit competition via licensing restrictions and which dictate who is qualified and who isn’t, “…there are not two groups of men—the qualified (*) and the unqualified; there is only one group and every member of it is unqualified to some extent.”

Siems pointed out that the board which oversees the entire locksmith industry doesn’t have a qualified (*) locksmith sitting among that distinguished group.

“We have also managed to get a Locksmith on the Private Security Board, (PSB), but as yet have not been seated.”

While they may not recognize their guilt, the board members of the GHLA, and other larger locksmith associations are proponents of the very system which has enslaved the locksmith industry.

For crying out loud, we don’t need a total sycophant sitting on the PSB to lend an air of legitimacy to their usurpation of powers,…powers never intended under our constitutional republican form of government.

Ezra Taft Benson explained The Proper Role of Government in a talk given many years ago. It’s available for anyone interested in understanding how our representative form of government is intended to work; but clearly, those involved in making sure the security of the Great State of Texas is managed as if we lived in communist Russia don’t give a ‘rat’s behind’ about individual liberty.

“The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess. So, the question boils down to this. What powers properly belong to each and every person in the absence of and prior to the establishment of any organized governmental form? A hypothetical question? Yes, indeed! But, it is a question which is vital to an understanding of the principles which underlie the proper function of government.”

Instead of working to further erode individual rights of locksmiths whose only desire is to conduct business in the free market system to the best of their abilities, the GHLA and all other professional locksmith associations should be doing all that is within their power to restore the sacred values of America; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to our now corrupted market place.

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficient… The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.” Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Count me out when looking for a $ 200.00 donation for a lobbyist to further enslave the locksmith industry.

T. F. Stern
GHLA Membership # 577

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

03/24/14

The Price of Salvation?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Have you ever asked a simple question only to find you’d opened a can of worms? That’s exactly what happened when looking for answers on why the Salvation Army had cratered to a law suit filed against them in New York in which they ‘voluntarily’ gave up $ 450,000 to make their legal issues go away.

The Magna Charta was signed ‘voluntarily’ as well; one of those words which apparently means different things depending on the urgency or force used to obtain compliance; but I’m getting off track…

According to an A/P story this past week:

“The settlement announced by the New York Civil Liberties Union calls for the Salvation Army to notify all current and future employees of its government-funded social service programs that it doesn’t discriminate based on religious belief. The requirement applies only to workers in New York.

The notification would also tell employees they are expected to follow professional practices in their work without regard to the organization’s religious practices.”

When most folks think of the Salvation Army they picture the little red kettle in front of a department stores, an opportunity to drop spare change to help some poor soul regain lost dignity; but there’s more to this benevolent Christian society…a lot more.

Bill Federer’s American Minute records the formation of the Salvation Army and its spreading across the Atlantic:

“Originally named the Christian Mission, the Salvation Army conducted meetings among the poor in London’s East End slums.

Adopting uniforms and a semi-military system of leadership, the Salvation Army ministered to the poor, drunk and outcast, while fighting sex-trafficking and teenage prostitution.”

Somewhere along the way the organization grew to the point where it became necessary to follow local, state and federal rules and laws which govern tax free ventures such as churches and other benevolent institutions.

While going through the many and varied accounts of how the Salvation Army conducts business here in these United States of America a few interesting statements seemed at odds.

For instance, the official webpage for the Lincoln, Nebraska branch of the Salvation Army states:

“All funds donated to The Salvation Army in Lincoln are used by The Salvation Army, or agencies of which it is a member. The Salvation Army connects your donation directly to the point of most urgent need. It is not funded with any federal, state or city tax dollars.”

Other pubic statements found on the internet indicate that “82 cents of every dollar spent” in donations handed over to the Salvation Army is spent on those services for which they were intended while the remaining money is for standard business expenses.

This tends to validate the Salvation Army as a truly benevolent privately funded organization; that is until some other items of interest are brought to light.

“Nongovernment donors — including holiday shoppers stuffing bills into the kettles — provide the greatest share of funds nationwide: $1.58 billion in 2009, out of total revenues of $2.86 billion.”

That’s $ 1.28 billion in taxpayer funded donations to the Salvation Army, almost half of the Salvation Army’s income.

It matters not, at least to me, how much money the Salvation Army takes in from private donations or how large their holdings come to, spacious buildings to conduct business or residential housing for their senior administrators; however, it matters considerably when public funds are used to support even the most virtuous philanthropic undertaking.

In my youth I grew up watching tales of Davy Crockett, “King of the wild frontier”, as the tune rolls in memory. Every kid wanted a genuine coon skin cap and we’d wrestle one another to prove we were up to the challenge; but Crockett was also known as a statesman, elected to represent the will of his constituents.

The following is an excerpt from Davy Crockett’s thoughts regarding the use of public money.

“I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity, but as members of Congress we have no right to so appropriate a dollar of the public money.”

My question to Congress, “Why is taxpayer money being spent to support the Salvation Army or, for that matter, any welfare entitlement programs”? Davy Crockett had it nailed; Congress has no authority to spend taxpayer money on entitlements regardless of their good intentions, such discretionary spending is for individuals and the private sector.

I could also ask why millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars was spent to help restore churches, temples and even Muslim mosques throughout the world. So much for separation of church and state; or is that even part of the discussion when throwing money down the toilet?

While attempting to mollify the public the U.S. State Department in an official statement said that, “…the money given to the Cairo mosque was “part of” a $770 million program to fix the city’s sewer system.” (You’re pulling my leg, they really said that?)

So it’s okay to give $770 million U.S. taxpayer dollars to a foreign country to fix their sewer system and provide a safer environment for those wishing to follow Islam and their hatred of all Westerners and infidels; but it’s not okay for a Christian organization to help the down trodden, the wretches in our own culture, at least not with tax money that could be sent over seas to help our enemies.…how silly of me to even bring up the subject.

At one time there was a saying, “Charity begins at home”; but apparently that doesn’t apply to Christian charities attempting to follow the myriad of laws and restrictions placed on them by Congress in order to placate the ACLU and Atheists among us.

I’ll bet the farm that had the name of the organization been changed from the Salvation Army to Muslim Brotherhood Outreach then nothing, and I mean nothing would have ever been said or done. Diversification and tolerance are only words to be used in accomplishing the agenda of progressives, the godless intent on destroying America and our Christian culture.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

03/15/14

No Knock Police Raids

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Inalienable individual rights as protected by our constitution and Bill of Rights have been further eroded, almost to the point of being erased. The 4th Amendment has been under attack for quite some time as police powers have triumphed over and over again under the pretense that society’s safety is more important than individual rights.

It wasn’t too long ago Homeland Security redefined the borders of our United States, expanding the coastline a hundred miles inland to accommodate warrantless searches to (supposedly) combat terrorism. I used to say, “…and if you believe that… I have some ocean front property in Ft. Worth for sale”; but according to these new parameters the stock yards of Ft. Worth are now adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, who’da’ thunk it!

Here in Texas a homeowner got shot, the victim of a no-knock police raid. A warrant had been obtained to arrest the homeowner’s son; but because the home owner was thought to own weapons police decided that crashing in unannounced was their best option.

“In August 2006, Collin County (Texas) police obtained a warrant to search John Quinn’s home based on information that Quinn’s son might be in possession of controlled substances. The warrant did not authorize police to enter the residence without knocking and announcing their entry. Nevertheless, based solely on the suspicion that there were firearms in the Quinn household, the SWAT team forcibly broke into Quinn’s home after he had gone to bed and proceeded to carry out a search of the premises. During the raid, Quinn was shot by police, who panicked and opened fire on him through a solid wood door. Quinn had been reaching for his lawfully owned firearm, thinking that his home was being invaded by criminals.” (emphasis added)

{…}

“The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of a Texas man whose home was subject to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household. In denying a petition for certiorari in Quinn v. Texas, the Court let stand a lower court ruling that essentially makes lawful gun ownership and possession grounds for police to evade the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment and improperly penalizes and limits the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The Rutherford Institute had asked the Court to weigh in on the case and protect Americans against encroachments on their Second Amendment rights.”

There’s an important issue which runs afoul of the rule of law. The warrant, which I’ve not seen, didn’t authorize a no-knock raid by police; but police took it upon themselves to add a variable, “based solely on the suspicion that there were firearms in the Quinn household” in order to ‘get around’ the directions of the court issued warrant.

Think about that for a moment and you’ll come to the same dark conclusion. If this stands, and apparently the Supreme Court isn’t interested, then any and all future police raids will include the presumption, before or after the fact, that the homeowner may have a weapon based solely on suspicion rather than on recorded fact. Hell, anyone might have a weapon.

Just wait until the federal government produces a list of registered gun owners based on forms that supposedly are used only at the point of purchase to verify the buyer isn’t on the list of folks who can’t own or purchase a firearm. You think I’m a conservative oddball conspiracy nut cases…think again.

Last week agents of the federal government (ATF) raided a gun shop that sold lawful firearms and parts in order to obtain the names of everyone who had purchased parts.

“According to a memo from the Anchorage Second Amendment Task Force, the Great Northern Guns store in Anchorage was asked to give their Bound Book to the ATF so it could be copied in its totality. The store refused, citing their legal rights and the fact that to do so would be a violation of the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986.” (emphasis added)

Asked? Demanded is more accurate; if you don’t comply we will shut your business down, put you in jail and let your family starve. Tell me again how the federal government respects the rule of law and individual God given rights…

George Washington warned:

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

Getting back to John Quinn, the homeowner who got shot defending himself inside his own home; had the police officers followed the letter of the law as printed on the warrant would the outcome have been different? What criminal and/or civil charges have been filed against these police officers for expanding the effective limits of the court ordered warrant? Apparently the courts have already decided; they don’t give a crap because they refused to hear the case.

Watching America become a police state one incursion at a time may be the most painful part of being a citizen in our day. We are being destroyed from within.

In summary, the 4th Amendment, intended to restrain government from improper search and seizure, that 4th Amendment has no meaning in our day and age. The 2nd Amendment, the important reminder to government that individuals were to own and bear arms to protect themselves from government tyranny, that 2nd Amendment is hanging by a thread and is under constant assault from every level of government.

The courts and police have determined that force of government trumps antiquated thoughts such as the rule of law and individual God given rights.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

03/12/14

Final Resting Places

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

In the movie, The Bishop’s Wife, there was a line spoken by the old professor that garnered my attention. Professor Wutheridge had procrastinated working to complete a history book, one he’d supposedly been working on for many years. He recognized time was running out and wondered out loud to Dudley if he’d ever complete his book as he commented, “For some time now, every time I pass the cemetery, I feel as though I’m apartment hunting”.

We’re all going to die some day, you know, “Death and Taxes”; it’s just that we don’t dwell on the subject too much as it gets in the way of living.

Going out with a bang might be the way to go; the Darwin Awards, a spectacular exit from this spinning planet. I personally like the fellow who strapped a Jet Assisted Takeoff Pack (JATO) to his vehicle thinking he’d set some kind of land speed record.

“The Arizona Highway Patrol were mystified when they came upon a pile of smoldering wreckage embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The metal debris resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it turned out to be the vaporized remains of an automobile. The make of the vehicle was unidentifiable at the scene.”

As it turns out there really was no car embedded in the side of a cliff, a car that took flight after some fool strapped a JATO unit to his Chevy; but it sure makes you wonder about how stupid some folks are. The problem with many of these stories; they turn out to be nothing more than fabrications.

Speaking of fabrications…

Years ago Hal Holbrook had a one man show, Mark Twain Tonight. He’d stand on stage addressing a variety of topics dressed in such a way as to convince the audience they were in the presence of that old story teller. With the house lights turned low as if he were in his study talking to a few close friends, he looked up into the heavens, carefully gathering his thoughts about the fellow who fell into the carpet weaving machine and became part of a beautiful 9 by 12 area rug. He then would tap his foot on the small area rug he’d been standing on; how’s that for imagery?

Then there are pop up ads that present themselves on the internet while you read about airplanes vanishing into thin air or Russia invading the Ukraine, an endless stream of products and services, momentary diversions.

Is it just me…or does this advertisement that showed up on my Facebook sidebar strike anyone else as a bit morbid while at the same time comical? I mean… a John Deere Custom Urn to preserve your dearly departed’s ashes?

Then again…we gave my sister in law a jar full of biscotti for Christmas one year so when it was empty she could transfer the remains of her husband into it. John came home from the crematorium in an old shoe box and had been kept on a shelf in the closet for years.

I saw a bumper sticker some time back; wish I’d been able to obtain one. It had the John Deere green and yellow logo along with a reminder, “Tractors are Green – Trucks are Red”; yea, that would have looked good on my truck’s bumper.

Not sure about that urn; but I’m still looking around for a JATO to put on my truck, “fastest locksmith in town”, just aim me in the right direction.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

02/24/14

What’s that smell?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

One of our Hobo Kitties, White Sox, was looking more than a little puny so each morning when it came time to feed the other Hobo Kitties, Thunder and Puddin’ Head, we made it a point to keep a lookout for him. He was missing for a couple of days and we were relieved to see him last week, even in his emaciated condition.

He didn’t show up for breakfast last Tuesday and sometime in the middle of the week we noticed an unpleasant odor in the kitchen nook area near one of the air vents. We all had the same thought, guessing White Sox had died and his body was somewhere between the first floor ceiling and the second floor.

I went through the kitchen and the odor got stronger near the refrigerator and the idea came to me that perhaps it was an onion or bad potato up in the bowl that was causing the smell. Sure enough, Lucy pitched out a rotten onion that had begun to liquefy in the bowl; yuk!

The air began to clear immediately; that is except for the area in the kitchen nook.

This morning my son, William, got up on the step ladder and cut away a hole big enough to poke his head in. Prior to doing that, and this is my purpose for writing today, he said a little prayer.

“Please, Lord, don’t let anything dangerous get me when I poke my head up there.”

Fortunately the only thing William found was the body of White Sox there next to the warm air vent; no opossums or angry raccoons that might take exception to him poking around in that crawl space.

Tomorrow morning, after the Hobo Kitties have been fed and we’re relatively certain that no other vermin might be hiding in the crawl space William is going to seal off the conduit space that attaches the garage with its electrical wires from the main part of the house, something we should have done long ago.

When I was a young police officer I didn’t have enough money to purchase a back up shot gun for while I was on patrol. I did, however, own a nice lever action 30-30 and figured it would have to do. Some of my fellow officers joked about it; but you do what you have to do when you don’t have money.

One evening several units, to include my partner and me, were dispatched to a school burglary. We found entry and heard movement in the crawl space over us. It was one of those commercial drop in ceiling board systems and nobody wanted to poke their head up inside.

I had my 30-30 lever action rifle with me and I knew how to flush the burglary suspect out without having to poke my head up in there. I’m sure the burglar wasn’t thrilled knowing he was up in a crawl space with several police officers just below him. He was even lest thrilled when he heard the sound of a cartridge being jacked into place. That lever action rifle must have sounded like the end of the world to our burglar.

From up inside the crawl space we heard, “Don’t shoot, I’m coming out, don’t shoot”.

I’m pretty sure most police officers say a silent prayer as they go about poking their heads up into dark shadowy places looking for bad guys. It probably goes much like William’s short prayer, “Please, Lord, don’t let anything dangerous get me when I poke my head up there.”

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

02/19/14

Nero’s fiddle plays on

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Imagine a time when young people were taught to respect their elders; but not only taught, they were expected to show that respect. There’s a sign post ahead, your next stop… the Twilight Zone.

It wasn’t long ago children were taught to say, “Thank You, Sir”, “Please”, “May I”, “Excuse me” or a host of other standard pleasantries in order to express a mutual regard for each other.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a fellow in Jacksonville, Florida is in big trouble after a serious confrontation with a bunch of young thugs who refused to turn down their music. You can read some of the details as reported in an A/P article, ‘Loud music’ shooter called himself ‘victim’ in jail calls.

“The Florida software designer accused of killing a black teenager during an argument over loud music compared himself to a rape victim, telling his fiancee in a recorded jailhouse phone call that the police were trying to blame him for the shooting when he was only defending himself.”

{…}

“Dunn, 47, was convicted Saturday of three counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting at three of Davis’ friends who were all inside an SUV, but the jury hung on a first-degree murder charge for Davis’ death. Dunn, who is white, has argued that he fired at Davis after the teen threatened him and raised a shotgun or something that looked like one after he asked the teens to turn down their rap music. No shotgun was found in the SUV.”

Details were a bit sketchy as to how the incident escalated; but having a minor confrontation turn into a full blown war only takes a moment, sometimes half a moment. I’m not here to expound on the virtues of any presumed Stand Your Ground law, something which has surfaced among the politically correct media or whether or not the charges fit the crime; and surely a crime was committed; no, that’s not my purpose in writing.

The problem for Michael Dunn started long before being faced with a car full of disrespectful ‘turds’ (a police slang often used when not in front of the news media) with their music cranked up…, the problem started long before…

In the movie, Secondhand Lions, there’s a scene inside a general store with the McCann brothers sitting down at the counter to have lunch, their young protégé along side observing life. (This is just after Hub checked himself out of the hospital, having suffered a heart attack at the feed store while loading fifty pound sacks of lion meal into his truck.)

Several young men waltzed in and one of them was so bold as reach over and grab at the meal being enjoyed; but Hub McCann batted his hand in such a way as to challenge any further action.

Hood 1: Hey, who do you think you are, huh?

Garth: Just a dumb kid, Hub. Don’t kill him.

Hub: [to Garth] Right.

[Grabs Hood 1 by the throat]

Hub: I’m Hub McCann. I’ve fought in two World Wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I led thousands of men into battle with everything from horses and swords to artillery and tanks. I’ve seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I’ve won and lost a dozen fortunes, KILLED MANY MEN and loved only one woman with a passion a FLEA like you could never begin to understand. That’s who I am. NOW, GO HOME, BOY!”

Maybe Michael Dunn is guilty of being an anachronism and nothing more. He’s found out our society no longer teaches or expects a modicum of respect for anyone much less for those who have earned it.

Several years ago while putting gas in my truck a young man in a fancy convertible pulled up on the far side of the lot with his music so loud as to be annoying even from a distance. A police unit at the pump next to me was also filling his gas tank, oblivious to the loud music.

My warped sense of humor kicked in as I challenged the officer, “Five bucks says you can’t shoot a hole in that radio on the first shot.”, as I aimed my hand, as if it were a pistol and clicking off a shot complete with imagined recoil in the general direction of the offending vehicle.

Some officers have no sense of humor. He quickly explained that shooting out the radio was against the law. In the back of my mind a less than wholesome thought came to mind, something like “No shirt Sherlock” except the second word only sounds like shirt.

In the end we all lose; an otherwise law abiding citizen’s life has been turned upside down and he’ll probably spend several years in prison. The three surviving ‘model citizens’ will continue to play their music as loud as they want without regard for anyone because they have no respect for anyone, to include themselves.

This could have been avoided with a little civility, something we’re sorely lacking. When family values, morality and the bible are removed from the public square and schools the fabric which holds everything together falls apart.

Nero’s fiddle plays on.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

02/14/14

Keep Good Notes

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

One of my all time favorite motivational speakers was Zig Ziglar. I still have his Biscuits, Fleas and Pump Handles talk on cassette tape; but no longer have a cassette tape player to enjoy it on; but it’s available via other means thanks to the internet.

He mentioned his brother who said he was going to have his ‘best year ever’. Zig asked a simple question, “So, how much did you do last year?”, a natural response. If you’re going to do more than you did last year you have to know where to set the bar.

Clearly his brother had no idea how much he’d done gauging from the rest of the story.

Zig then instructed his brother to take good notes; how many people he talked to, how many items were sold and so on. He was to write this information down daily so he’d know exactly how much effort was required to obtain those results.

If memory serves, since I haven’t listened to that presentation in well over 20 or so years, his brother had a phenomenal year. He did that in spite of several set backs to include a death in the family.

Keeping good notes is part of being successful in any endeavor.

In the locksmith business I’ve put this to use in a couple of areas. I keep a daily record of phone calls that come in requesting service along with the dollar amount that will be added to the monthly figures. In this way I know how much money is available to pay re-occurring bills.

But that’s not why I’m writing today…

This past week one of my regular car dealerships called to restore keys for an older Ford pickup truck; the service manager had lost the keys. As I’ve mentioned in a previous article Ford only has access to key codes for the last 10 years of their own vehicles because they throw away anything older so obtaining a code was not an option…or was it?

Upon fitting the door key and entering the vehicle one of my habits kicked in; I looked in the glove box to see if my ‘mark’ was there. I’ve been recording my efforts for quite some time and put my mark where it’s not too bold and yet easy for me to find. If you’re working on cars and trucks, what’s already been supplied? The Vehicle Identification Number or VIN is an excellent constant reference point.

In fact I’ve recorded so many vehicles in my personal data base that it reached its capacity and I had to start a second file. I call them Allcodes (VIN) and Allcodes One (VINI) and they can be summoned easily upon demand from my laptop.

One of the locksmiths I trained used to laugh upon opening a glove box on a vehicle I’d worked on previously, “Hey look, it’s Vinney”, a broad smile finding its way across his face, “We’re done!”

On this particular Ford truck my mark was clearly visible so I looked for it in the most recent data base and was surprised that it wasn’t to be found there. Upon looking at the mark I realized that this vehicle had been recorded in the first Allcode data base. Sure enough, there it was.

Most of today’s vehicles have only one external lock to work from (or NO external locks) so it makes good sense to record the information gained from your efforts. Crooks like to attack door locks with a variety of tools; their favorite seems to be a large flat blade screw driver slammed into the lock by a fairly large hammer.

If you produce keys for smaller car dealers or ‘note lots’ that cater to folks who have a higher probability of repossessions then keeping good notes becomes a cash cow in time savings alone. I’ve replaced keys several times for the same vehicles placing them into a special category, “career vehicle”.

The best part about having good notes on vehicles is being able to recognize the ‘moment’.

For example, walking up to the door and observing that the lock has been destroyed usually means a lot more work to figure out how to generate a key. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you already knew what the key was supposed to look like?

I’m getting to be an old crank, a level of locksmith which is achieved through age and the school of hard knocks. I don’t like pulling door panels or getting up under dash boards near as much as I did when my knees worked and my arthritis didn’t hurt so much.

I’ll explain to the manager of a small car lot that I can restore the key; but let his mechanic or general purpose body ‘fixer upper’ pull the damaged lock. I’ll gladly match up a new ‘in the package’ replacement lock to the original key and hand it over to them to install. Like I mentioned, I’m getting to be an old crank.

So today’s lesson; take good notes. There’s easy money obtained for just a little extra effort.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

02/13/14

News or Propaganda

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

There’s a disturbing piece on the Fox News website written by George Russell regarding the efforts of former Clinton Administration chief of staff, John Podesta. According to the information supplied, Podesta has been “spearheading President Barack Obama’s aggressive strategy of government-by-regulation”, advising the United Nations by, “setting the stage to radically transform the world’s economic, environmental and social agenda.”

Some folks might call this news; but the manner in which it’s presented makes it a propaganda piece.

Had we been told John Podesta is actively attempting to undermine our constitutional republic in favor of a worldwide totalitarian state wherein the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would no longer hold sway…, then it might have been considered an accurate accounting of what is going on at the United Nations.

Thomas Jefferson once asked:

“What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body.” (Works 6:543; P.P.N.S., p. 125)

{…}

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?” (Works 8:404; P.P.N.S., p.141)

Think about that for a moment; our nation was founded to create an environment where individuals had the final decision on how to go through life, not the collective. And yet the great ‘transformation’ which Obama is imposing on these United States of America through executive orders which negate representative government of and by the people, this transformation is nothing short of pure communism.

The Fox News article then continues to outline Podesta’s (Obama’s) intentions:

“Its supporters hope that effort will end next year in a new international treaty that will bind all 193 U.N. members– including the U.S– to a still formless “universal sustainable development agenda” for the planet that will take effect in 2020.”

Well isn’t that special…these folks want to shackle America to the United Nation’s form of communism better known as Agenda 21. If you’re not aware of Agenda 21 then maybe you need to wake up and smell the male bovine excrement which it represents.

In short Agenda 21 removes property rights from everyone and turns such minor issues over to the collective, in this case, the United Nations.

You see, the collective knows better what to do with ‘your property’ in terms of global environmental harm. They know where you should live, how you should live, your transportation needs, what kind of light bulb to use, how much water is needed to flush the toilet…the collective knows better than you how to make it through life without further destroying the planet.

Everything is tied in with the UN’s IPCC reports even though these reports have been exposed as fraudulent. That’s right, the IPCC reports are based on fabricated data intended to prove the man made global warming hoax in order to use governments around the globe to exact huge sums of money to fund their planned Utopia, a Utopia that insures that not one soul will ever go hungry and always have a roof over their head.

Of course the governing body will decide how much food you get, where you live and how big a living space you’re entitled to have; but let’s not get too hung up on the details, leave that to the collective.

“The new agenda is also intended to bring “a new sense of global partnership into national and international politics”; must cause the world to “act now to halt the alarming pace of climate change and environmental degradation;” and bring about a “rapid shift to sustainable patterns of consumption and production,” to name just a few things itemized in the document.”

I read a scientific study which after exhaustive review of all pertinent data concluded that the overall CO2 adjustments to our planet caused by man are nearly insignificant.

“And since humans only contribute 3% of all CO2 emitted into the atmosphere each year (97% is from nature), the human contribution is 3%…”

If we implemented every single environmental control proposed by the UN’s Agenda 21 initiative it would accomplish…wait for it…total and complete subjugation of every individual living in the 193 UN member nations – to include the United States– while reducing the planet’s overall temperature by perhaps 1 degree over a hundred year span…or as Chicken Little would say, “The sky is falling!”.

We’re being sold a pig and a poke!

We’re being told we can’t own the kind of cars we want, the size or location of the houses we’d prefer to live in, the kind of light bulbs we prefer to read by…and all because of the UN’s agenda driven junk science IPCC report.

“We have to do this to save the children”, that will ensure a stamp of approval on destroying our founder’s dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If the news media did their job of pointing out communists for what and who they were, folks like Obama, Podesta and the United Nations would be exposed as the traitors to humanity they really are. Thanks Fox News for jumping off the cliff along with the rest of the Lemmings.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

02/11/14

There is stormy weather ahead

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Watching the news reports out of Washington is disheartening with the lack of leadership on either side of the isle. If America is to have any chance of pulling out of our downward spiraling economy then you’d think somebody…, anybody, would have figured out by now that adding to our enormous debt is not helping.

Fox News reports Speaker of the House, John Boehner, supposedly a Republican, has decided that attempting to reign in obscene spending practices by our government isn’t worth fighting for.

Boehner, referring to Obama and Democrats, said. “We’ll let his party give him the debt ceiling increase that he wants.”

I’m left scratching my head…, wondering why we elect folks if not to look out for our nation’s best interests.

Looking through sites dedicated to the nation’s debt, our economy and how to solve some of the issues facing us did not make me feel any better. Some of the observations found on Google were less than encouraging.

“By way of example, the total deficit on in 2010 was just over $9,000 billion US Dollars (USD), or $9 trillion USD. When you divide this figure by 309 million, which is approximately the entire population of the United States that year, you are left with over $29,000 USD for every man, woman and child.”

Then jump over to more recent figures and compare:

“The Outstanding Public Debt as of 11 Feb 2014 at 07:32:29 PM GMT is:
$17,268,215,781,963.36

The estimated population of the United States is 317,622,120 so each citizen’s share of this debt is $54,367.17.”

I was never that good at math; but going from $29,000 debt per person to $54,000 looks awfully close to twice as much per person in a very short while; not a good thing.

It’s not going to improve with more debt. In fact about the only thing ahead for Americans is debtor’s prison; except it won’t be called that. It’s better known as indentured servitude or slavery. The folks to whom we are in debt will only let this go on for so long before they demand payment which makes me wonder why those in Washington continue to destroy the economy; are they intentionally subjecting each of us to a life of servitude?

A while ago I mentioned that our outstanding public debt was calculated to be around $17,268,215,781,963.36, give or take a few pennies; but having grown used to our government being ‘less than honest’ I looked for a more accurate representation of our debt, one that includes a ‘reality check’.

“As the Obama administration prepares to finance a Fiscal Year 2011 budget deficit expected to top $1.6 trillion, the American public is largely unaware that the true negative net worth of the federal government reached $76.3 trillion last year.”

{…}

‘“As government obligations continue to spiral out of control and the U.S. government shows no willingness to make the magnitude of spending cuts required to return to fiscal responsible, the U.S. economy is headed to a great collapse coming in the form of a hyper-inflationary great depression,” says economist John Williams, author of the website Government Shadow Statistics.”

I’m afraid it gets worse because a goodly portion of our citizenry think that conservative methods, fundamental principles which launched and then catapulted our nation into being the most productive and financially sound industrialized nation on earth, conservative methods to restore stability and prosperity are no longer considered valid.

I found the following statements; but these are only a couple examples of the many which point toward a collectivist approach rather than a free market solution.

“Being an economist I favor more market oriented approaches than liberals, but don’t buy the free-market religion of conservatives.” (Steven Stoft from his blog page zFacts)

“Essentially, the House GOP Leadership just told the Tea Party Caucus to go screw itself…” (Doug Mataconis’ Facebook page February 11, 2014, linked to Boehner’s spending cap article above)

“Boehner is determined not to allow any more pointless Capitol Hill crises to interfere with the GOP winning elections this November.” (John Burke who commented on the same article posted by Mataconis)

Speaking with a certain amount of trepidation as recorded by the New York Times:

“It lets the debt go up cleanly,” said Representative Steve Pearce, Republican of New Mexico, referring to his leadership’s decision. “And I’m not sure that’s in the best interest of the country.”

Throughout the fabric of today’s media there’s a hint; more accurately, a condescending accusation directed toward anyone espousing conservative values and indicating loss of rational thought, especially folks linked either directly or indirectly with the Tea Party. Why is that?

I don’t expect an answer, it was a rhetorical question; however, I will draw from a talk given several years ago by Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. About half way into his presentation he mentioned a biblical story, the story of when “Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, dreamed dreams which greatly troubled him” as recorded in the 41st chapter of Genesis.

He reminded those listening of the dangers associated with being in debt with no means of survival other than to bow humbly to those who had planned ahead, those who were in actuality your masters.

“Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order.

So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings.

We have witnessed in recent weeks wide and fearsome swings in the markets of the world. The economy is a fragile thing. A stumble in the economy in Jakarta or Moscow can immediately affect the entire world. It can eventually reach down to each of us as individuals. There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.”

As individuals we have the ability to control our debts to some degree; but when our nation’s leaders place the yoke of servitude upon us…what then? The scriptures are replete with examples of unbridled debt and the consequences which surely must be paid, and paid in full. My sentiments are similar to those of Elder Hinckley, “There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.”

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

01/18/14

What are we teaching our children?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

I’d like to think children get a goodly portion of their education at home, parents giving the next generation the basics; right and wrong, the Ten Commandments, our relationship with God the Eternal Father in whose image we were created and social skills such as how to get along with others… with the public schools helping to reinforce that foundation with reading, writing and arithmetic skills. With an opening statement like that it’s possible I’m living in a padded cell; but they let me out on warm spring days to enjoy the flowers.

We send our children off to public schools each morning; but what are they being taught?

Are they being taught about America’s exceptionalism, the Creator’s hand in establishing our founding documents and Providence’s role during the Revolutionary War, a war in which a bunch of farmers and shop keepers banded together to beat the most powerful military force in the world? I hardly think so from what I’ve seen lately.

There’s an article by Rachel Alexander, Common Core Curriculum: A Look Behind the Curtain of Hidden Language, which raises more than a little concern regarding the intent of such a nation wide approach to education.

“Diane Ravitch, a former assistant U.S. secretary of education who was appointed to office by both Clinton and George H.W. Bush, recently changed her mind about Common Cause. Ravitch now refutes claims by Obama and Common Core that the standards were created by states and voluntarily adopted by them. She writes in the Washington Post, “They were developed by an organization called Achieve and the National Governors Association, both of which were generously funded by the Gates Foundation. There was minimal public engagement in the development of the Common Core. Their creation was neither grassroots nor did it emanate from the states.” Instead, Common Core is being driven by policy makers in D.C.”

{…}

“The curriculum replaces the classics with government propaganda. According to the American Principles Project, “They de-emphasis the study of classic literature in favor of reading so called ‘informational texts’, such as government documents, court opinions and technical manuals.” Over half the reading materials in grades 6-12 are to consist of informational texts rather than classical literature. Historical texts like the Gettysburg Address are to be presented to students without context or explanation.”

My grandson was given a glimpse of Common Core teaching last year; probably one of the many reasons he is now being Home Schooled. He came over after attending public school and we, as grandparents, asked him what he learned that day.

He’d watched a video shown on Presidents Day to all 6th grade children, a production by the National Geographic Society, The Real George Washington. We decided to watch the video in order to find out what was in it, have something to talk about with our grandson. I wrote about what I’d seen last February here; but I’ll share one paragraph now.

After only a few minutes of the video the important biographical facts about George Washington were that he was a power hungry young man who lacked military skills and was extremely lucky to have advanced in rank. He made terrible tactical decisions but because he was so lucky he survived to fight another day.

We then took the time explaining to our grandson that when we were his age George Washington was portrayed ‘somewhat differently’ at school; a modest way of saying that the rest of the afternoon would be spent ‘filling in the blanks’ and giving him a wider perspective.

I wonder how many parents and/or grandparents take time to review what is being taught to their children while away from them.

As I sit here typing away one of my younger grandchildren, London, is enjoying the music of Rachmoninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in the next room. London’s only 7 months old and has wonderful sounds to enjoy, music which will have a direct impact on how she perceives her world. She could be watching or listening to almost anything; but is this important?

Many years ago when our oldest daughter, Bonnie, was in Kindergarten her teacher put on a record for the children to listen to. After a little while the teacher asked, “Does anyone know what that is?”, looking for answers like, “a record player” or “music”. Bonnie raised her hand and responded confidently, “That’s Rachmoninov”. She’d gotten it right; but it had astounded her teacher. Many of her classmates apparently didn’t get much in the way of a classical music background at home.

That said, it’s a pretty good bet a large percentage of children don’t get basic teachings at home. I often wonder how many of them really know right from wrong.

They’re probably not given much in the way of American exceptionalism while sitting down at dinner as the family exchanges thoughts during evening conversation. It’s not likely they’re receiving lessons which explain divine inspiration given our founding fathers during the formation of our nation and our accountability to God, at least not in a public school.

Our public schools have been taken over by a national propaganda campaign that indoctrinates children from pre-school age on through college to reject family values, self reliance, self discipline and our accountability to God in favor of an all encompassing socialist state which provides for our every need and entitlement.

What we are teaching our children at home is important.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”