07/17/14

Must have been used in religious ceremonies…

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Archeologists have a catch phrase that covers parts of the unknown history of any site they find.  It pops up when no logical answers to a particular item present themselves, “Probably used in some religious ceremony”, or words to that effect.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Stonehenge, Cliff Dwellings or the giant heads looking out to sea on Easter Island, “Must have some unknown religious significance”.

I’ve no problem with this approach to human history; heck, they’re probably right most of the time.  With no surviving members from ancient societies to shed light on what is found, it can only be assumed what their actual purposes were or make educated guesses as to any actual purpose for some of these finds based on how modern decedents use these items and places.

Take for example the kiva, generally assumed to be a special room used by the ancient Pueblo inhabitants in the Americas for religious ceremonies…

“When designating an ancient room as a kiva, archaeologists make assumptions about the room’s original functions and how those functions may be similar to or differ from kivas used in modern practice. The kachina belief system appears to have emerged in the Southwest at approximately AD 1250, while kiva-like structures occurred much earlier. This suggests that the room’s older functions may have been changed or adapted to suit the new religious practice.”

If I had a nickel for every time historians used descriptive words like assume, probably, may have been, likely were and so on…my bank account might be in better shape.  The fact is, we really don’t know for sure; but we’re too proud to admit it.

I could dig a small rectangular hole in my back yard complete with a large round stone to cover my new found wealth, place all my nickels in a fancy sack and hide it therein.  Do you see where this is going?

Years from now when archeologists happen upon this interesting spot under a huge Oak that’s out lived anyone from this era they will carefully examine the contents of the find, carbon date the residue found in the filter of a cigarette butt my son flipped in the hole and match it to a core sample from the Oak tree.  One of them will curiously examine the trinkets found along with fragments of cloth that at one time held them.  Measurements will be taken and compared with similar finds, “No doubt this was used for religious purposes, likely sacrificial offerings to their gods.”

Moving right along…

Scientists have found a giant hole in the surface of the earth over in Siberia, Russia.  It caught them off guard as the image was generated via satellite.

“The leading theory is that the crater is actually a natural phenomenon known as a ‘pingo.’ A pingo, or hydrolaccolith, occurs when ice pushes up from underneath the ground. In this case, climate change may have caused the ice to melt, resulting in a crater where the earth-covered frost once stood.” (emphasis added)

Based on the theory’s claim that climate change may have caused the ice to melt, which left the huge hole in the ground, the article mentions that scientists will be sent to the region to find facts to support such theories.  As with most assumptions supplied by the Church of Global Warming, there are yet to be facts to support such findings.

Next week I’m sure there will be a History Channel special supporting the idea that Aliens from across the universe used this great Kiva, possible humanoid life forms, seeded this planet long ago and served as the missing link to homo sapiens populating this spinning planet.  I’m picturing that geeky looking fellow who never figured out what a comb was intended to be used for, perhaps thinking it was a sacred religious item never to be touched by anyone other than the gods.

The great Kiva of Global Warming has presented itself for the High Priests of Junk Science to study and ascertain its purpose.  These are the same folks who brought you the United Nations IPCC report which is riddled with fabrications and computer generated assumptions based on improperly recorded data by folks being paid to come up with a viable presentation intended to redistribute wealth on a planetary scale.

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”.

07/15/14

Just walk away

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Yesterday a fellow called asking if I was able to make and program a key for a Ford Freestyle van. I told him yes and asked where it was located. He paused and you could hear him going through file folders and talking to himself. He then read me the location which was on the other side of town; but still within my service area. He wanted to meet there at 4:00, just as rush hour traffic would be part of the mix. Reluctantly I agreed as I added twenty dollars to my fee; aggravation charge.

While enroute to the job the fellow called and said he was there waiting; it was 3:15. He mentioned that it would be okay for me to come early because the place where the vehicle was located needed to close by 4:30. Rush hour starts around 3:00 here in Houston so my travel time would still put me on spot around 4:00; as scheduled originally and it wouldn’t matter that I could “come early”.

Turns out he’d transposed the numbers so the address given wasn’t correct. His cell phone number went into voice mail when he didn’t answer; my fuse was already burning short.

Knowing the area I figured out where he probably meant, at least narrowed it down to a couple of different storage lots. The first one had all the numbers he’d given; but the last two numbers were transposed. The folks in the office had not heard of him or the vehicle I was supposed to work on. Calling the cell phone number again…still went into voice mail.

The other location was a storage lot two blocks closer to town so I asked the office manager the appropriate questions; sorry, not here either. She did ask me to leave a short stack of business cards and asked if she’d mind her handing them out. A line from a children’s story came to mind, “Oh, please, don’t throw me in the briar patch”…

My phone rang; it was my new favorite customer wondering why I hadn’t arrived. He told me the correct address, which just happened to be the original location I’d gone to; but he had been in the back of the lot and hadn’t bothered to tell anyone he was there.

He met me at the front gate and explained how we had to hurry because we only had twenty minutes to make the keys before they locked the gate. I figured I could get the job done; a few minutes to figure out the key cuts and ten minutes to program it would leave a few minutes to spare.

“Okay, so where’s the Ford Freestyle?”, it not being in plain view. He asked if he could get into my truck and he’d show me where it was. We drove to the back and he pointed to a car transport carrier (similar to the image provided). There were several vehicles on the transport; the Freestyle was on the top level. These were all stolen and recovered vehicles to be returned to their rightful owners.

I should give some background information at this time. A week ago I got a call from an out of state car transport company asking if I could make keys to a Ford Freestyle van, asking prices and availability. He said he’d have his local representative call me later in the day; but that never happened. Last Friday he called asking if the local representative had contacted me and I explained that he had not.

You guessed it; this was the local representative; except that when he’d called earlier in the day he had misrepresented himself, never mentioned the vehicle was on a transport or that he’d had the opportunity to have this work done for well over a week and had decided to wait until rush hour to do the work. Let’s not forget the lot closes in twenty minutes.

I turned to the fellow and said, “Get out of my truck”, followed by, “Close the door”. I then drove off, leaving him to walk back. If he started walking to the front right away, to where his rig was parked, he’d make it before being locked in when they closed up for the evening. There’s another line that could have been added, “…and that goes for the horse you rode in on”.

Some times it’s better to walk away from a job.

07/1/14

Are Police Public Relations in the Toilet?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

This past Sunday a friend of mine at church asked me how I felt about police public relations. He’s an active duty police officer and knew that I’d retired from the Department many years ago after he’d read some of my blog articles. He challenged me to consider how to improve police public relations.

Here’ a chance to improve the public’s perceived image of police officers as our society evolves from days gone by, Norman Rockwell’s vision of a young boy in awe of the town hero, to a more threatening consideration, SWAT teams kicking down a door at the wrong address or police officers shooting the family dog that’s inside a fenced yard.

A feeling exists among many citizens that there’s an ‘Us versus Them’ mentality that pits police officers against their neighbors; to a certain extent that might be true. Does it have to be this way?

There was a political cartoon by Tom Blanton of the Project for the New American Revolution (pnar.org), which caught my attention. He created a cover of an old children’s magazine, Highlife; except instead of a non-threatening milk toast subject like the magazine normally included within their pages he picked up on the trend, real or not, that police officers are the enemy rather than your neighbor who happens to wear a uniform. I remember reading Highlife magazines while waiting to see the dentist or doctor; something to kill time before being tortured, nice magazine. I wonder; does Highlife approve of Blanton’s sense of sarcasm or does it even matter?

Some police officers have the natural ability to come off as pricks, sorry, that’s just about the only way to call it. There’s actually a term associated with such cops, ‘badge happy’. Come to think of it there are several terms to cover obnoxious cops who’ve forgotten they are only there to protect and serve; but some of these monikers are inappropriate in mixed company.

Most of us can relate to cops who set up radar traps where speed limits are ridiculously low or arbitrarily placed. Are the tickets written protecting the public from dangerous drivers or simply filling the officer’s ‘quota’ for the day? Take that a step further, does the officer’s driving habits match with the expectations he/she has of the public’s driving habits? Probably not; so why issue tickets for violations which only tend to annoy the public?

Somewhere along the line police officers need to turn the public’s opinion back in the direction which puts them in a positive light.

Arrogance of office, being a power hungry prick, call it what you will; but when a police officer takes command of the conversation as if his/her opinion is the only opinion…well, let’s just say the public is ‘up to here’ with that attitude.

Police officers are paid to protect and serve, not dominate and demean.

Police officers are human beings, not robotic camera ticket systems hired to increase the revenue arm of government. That might actually be enlightening to some police departments as they struggle to make ends meet.

When I was a street cop, and I’m not making this up, our un-written quota was 2 per shift; two moving violations on the work card kept supervisors off your back.

I had a supervisor pull me aside one time and explain the reason I wasn’t getting a new patrol vehicle assigned to me was because I wasn’t being as ‘productive’ as officers who had less seniority. If only I’d had a tape recording of that conversation…; it’s against the law to enforce a traffic ticket quota; at least it is here in Texas.

As far as SWAT teams kicking in doors, officers shooting the family dog or accidentally blowing up a child when a flash grenade goes off too close to the crib…what can I say? There is a trend, for lack of a better term, especially among larger police departments to become more militarized.

The choice of uniform color, choice of foot wear and a host of other seemingly minor appearance related decisions puts a subliminal message out there for the public.

Here in Houston we used to have light blue uniform shirts that matched the paint on our patrol vehicles. There is a change in the wind, a move toward black uniform shirts and black and white patrol vehicles. A study was done that determined this change; police officers appear more powerful in black uniform shirts. The light blue shirts didn’t command the proper authority from the public. (not making this up either)

If you want to improve police public relations then go back to a less threatening uniform, remind officers that they are part of the community they serve and protect rather than the idea that police officers rule over their subjects; it’s that simple.

Some folks are concerned that police departments will eventually be instructed to begin disarming the public, confiscating firearms from individuals as each ‘crisis’ dictates further restrictions on individual rights to own and bear arms.

What will your local police officers do when such a directive comes down the pike?

Hopefully, and I say this with a knowledge that Most police officers really do understand the Bill of Rights and how it applies to Everyone; hopefully our police officers will recognize the need to stand up for what is right and refuse to follow such a directive. While their Departments may cow tow to the State or Federal government, individual police officers have to live with themselves and what they do for a living.

We live in strange days, the kind that makes freedom loving individuals long for the past. Watching the hand writing on the wall lends credence to the public’s fear of police in general.

Painting police officers as ‘the enemy’ is just as bad as badge happy cops running rough shod over a public that deserves better; neither path leads to improved relations.

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.”

06/20/14

Wireless Emergency Alert

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

The advent of Smart Phones with fancy APPs, many of which I have no clue about, reminds me that I’m a dinosaur living beyond my time. One that comes standard on most cell phones is the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA). I know it works because it went off three times when I was in the shower.

I remember having practice drills at school that coincided with a program sponsored by Civil Defense during the Cold War era. Alert blasts would come over the school’s PA system and we were taught to hide under our desks. In actuality, and this is only my opinion, it was so that when the atomic blast occurred our charred bodies would be more easily identified if we died in our assigned seating area.

When the WEA went off this morning I was in the middle of shampooing my hair. Was I supposed to squat down low in the shower and hope nobody would be offended that I died naked? If I’d been socially conscious and more responsible I could have thrown a towel over my birthday suit and crouched down under my oak desk. In this way my remains would be less threatening to archeologists sifting through the debris a thousand years from now.

Of course they’d get it all wrong… “Here’s a skeleton wrapped in a special religious cloth, pointing to a fragment of burned bath towel. This must have been a personal prayer uniform as he clearly was in the attitude of prayer when his body was consumed by extreme temperatures.” Archeologists always assume that unknown objects have some kind of religious significance.

After shaving and putting clothes on I glanced at the WEA text message. Apparently some kid on Cuero, Texas… As soon as I read Cuero, Texas I lost interest. Why the hell was I getting an alert message for something in Cuero, Texas?

WEA enables government officials to target emergency alerts to specific geographic areas (e.g. lower Manhattan) through cell towers. The cell towers broadcast the emergency alerts for reception by WEA-enabled mobile devices.”

Some kid ran away from home in Cuero, Texas, got kidnapped or forgot to take his medicine; exactly why is this important to anyone living a hundred miles away?

“How does WEA work?
Pre-authorized national, state or local government may send emergency alerts regarding public safety emergencies, such as evacuation orders or shelter in place orders due to severe weather, a terrorist threat or chemical spill, to WEA.

Alerts from authenticated public safety officials are sent through FEMA’s IPAWS to participating wireless carriers.

Participating wireless carriers push the alerts from cell towers to mobile devices in the affected area. The alerts appear like text messages on mobile devices.”

Maybe that kid from Cuero had a pocket knife and should be considered a potential terrorist; or worse, the kid was a member of a known terrorist organization like the Cuero Catholic Boys Choir.

Homeland Security has been notifying local police departments about potential terrorist activity based on political, religious affiliation or extremist organizations like the Tea Party movement who support following the Constitution; that must be it. The kid’s from a rural community and there’s a high probability of his being a conservative knife wielding terrorist who just went ballistic.

Put out an all points bulletin for a scruffy looking 10 year old wearing a plaid short sleeve shirt, blue jeans and cowboy boots headed on foot in an unknown direction. Notify all police departments that this kid may or may not be armed with a genuine Buck folding knife and has a history of twirling his pencil in an aggressive manner. Get this out to all WEA equipped cell phones and continue sending the alert until the cows come home. That is all…

Never mind sending alerts about thousands of illegal aliens crossing our southern border, some are known gang bangers and these potential terrorists are welcomed with open arms by the Obama administration.

“As detailed by the Washington Times this week, the US Border Patrol’s employee union is trying to warn the American people what is occurring at their nation’s southern border right now. Chris Cabrera, the union’s Vice President, tells media outlets that thousands of known terrorists have streamed across the US border over the past couple weeks. The border patrol agents know they’re terrorists, but insist the Obama administration won’t allow them to take the anti-American fighters into custody or even stop them from entering.”

Where’s my WEA distress signal for a real terroristic threat? Maybe this is a modern day version of the Boy Who Cried Wolf; send out so many worthless alerts, enough so that when something important happens the public has already deactivated their WEA APP.

Government agencies can’t exist without an abbreviated name, DOE, EPA, ICE and so on. After a while you begin to wonder what the letters stand for. Take the EPA for example. At one time the letters stood for Environmental Protection Agency; but as they are being used now, End Productivity in America. Maybe the same holds true for WEA, We Endeavor to Annoy.

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.”

06/6/14

What if D-Day had failed?

By: T F Stern
The Moral Liberal

As a nation we look back and celebrate the efforts of the Allied invasion forces on the beaches of Normandy, often referred to as D-Day. Very few dates in history draw more attention; as reason tells us, had they failed the world would be a much different place. But they didn’t fail and our debt of gratitude is enormous, so much so that it’s difficult to express in words.

While on the phone with my mother this morning we talked about the significance of D-Day. In my mind’s eye I could see her pointing to an American Flag fastened to a short wooden pole she keeps next to the front door in the umbrella stand. “Should we put the flag out on display?”

Dad walked by as we were on the phone, “Hey Kid, how’re you doing?”

“Okay, Sir”, Dad doesn’t hear very well so that sums up our conversations as mom acknowledged our mutual respect for each other.

She then continued explaining her experience from the stand point of a young girl in high school listening to the public address system during her economics class. For a few minutes she recalled how that particular class wasn’t her favorite, that the woman teaching it lacked social skills and was flat out rude to most students. “I think she was a communist”, but so many economics teachers tend to lean to the left.

“The invasion of Europe has begun…”, her voice recalled the announcement over the intercom as her throat tightened, tears welling up in her eyes as the moment played out one more time in her thoughts. It isn’t difficult to picture a classroom of students intently listening as the message was delivered, each word carrying the fate of the civilized world, each knowing family members and close friends could be involved in the invasion and the great risks they would face.

Eisenhower delivered a now famous address to the troops, one which was intended to boost moral and spirit; that’s what my mother likely heard as she reached back through the years telling me about her D-Day memories. She remembered the solemnity of the address and how Eisenhower took full responsibility for any failure which might give NAZI Germany total and complete victory.

I found another document stored away in the National Archives, a letter written by Eisenhower in the event of total failure at Normandy.

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

It’s not a pleasant thought, wondering if everything you believe in, everything you stand for and have placed on the line, all the men who have gone to the front lines, men who would be slaughtered or sustain injuries beyond imagination; to consider that your decision and yours alone might be the end of freedom and liberty.

Thank Providence and Heaven’s help that day for letting the Allied invasion forces accomplish their task. Had they not won more folks would be aware of Eisenhower’s letter of failure instead of his words of encouragement to the troops.

05/19/14

Unreasonable People

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

I put off writing about the sale of my rent house to accommodate the actual closing, that part of the sale when the buyer and seller sit down together, sign off on a stack of papers and everyone walks away happy. Well, it didn’t happen, at least not today and not with the folks who claimed they wanted to buy the house.

I should back up and explain that our renters forgot to take some of their personal property; no big deal, we put those items in boxes to be picked up later. There is an inexpensive desk that still needs to be taken away that we’ll leave in the garage; either that or put it on the curb for trash day.

As soon as our renters moved out the local neighborhood thieves decided the opportunity was ripe for a visit. They punched out a window to have a look around, deciding the only item worth stealing was the outside air conditioning unit which they surgically removed making it much easier for us to replace since the wiring and copper tubing was cut cleanly.

During the past week or so we’ve been down to the rent house making minor repairs to sheet rock, cleaning and preparing the house for the new owners. We held off installing a new A/C unit until the new owners would take possession of the house; no reason to tempt the local thieves.

We got a call last week from the buyer’s realtor asking would it be okay for these folks to take advantage of the weekend to start moving in and would we install the A/C unit since they were having the electricity turned on early Saturday morning. This is a young family buying their first home and so we told our realtor to go ahead and supply them with a key and we’d have the A/C unit put in Saturday since there would be somebody at the house to secure the property.

Saturday the A/C unit was installed and the house was nice and cool while I was there replacing the broken window left by the local criminal element. The house was wonderfully cool when the new family showed up with their young children. We had a chance to exchange pleasantries and walk through the house so they could see the progress made on the list they’d presented for repairs.

They were so happy to enjoy the moment as their dream of home ownership began to materialize. I explained that the new grass for the back yard where the pool had been would be delivered the following Thursday because the only sod available that day was below grade “pick over quality”. Since they hadn’t turned the water on as yet putting new sod down would be a wasted effort and they agreed that waiting until Thursday was a good idea.

I left them to begin the process of measuring for window coverings and getting used to their new home.

Sunday afternoon my son went down to finish some drywall patch work. The phone call went something like, “Dad, they took the new A/C unit; it’s gone”. My son has a way of keeping conversations simple. Many years ago I got a call from him, “Dad, do we have a second fire extinguisher?”, that kind of simplicity.

Apparently the new family hadn’t bothered to have the water turned on so they decided not to start moving in until Monday. They called their realtor who called our realtor; but the new A/C unit, the one that had already been installed and worked; well the A/C unit didn’t put up much of a struggle when the local thieves carted it off, and they took the original box it came in too.

The only reason we’d installed it prior to closing was to accommodate the new owner’s schedule for move in; what do you say to folks who don’t appreciate you did them a huge favor by letting them move in prior to closing? They didn’t offer to split the cost and it never crossed their minds to consider I’d installed a fairly expensive piece of equipment just to make their lives more comfortable.

Did I mention that my homeowner’s insurance policy has a $1400.00 deductible per claim? Yea, do the math and you can see making a claim won’t help since each claim makes your insurance rate go up.

Sunday evening we all got together down at the house to consider how to proceed; their realtor, my realtor and even the police officer who made the theft report. Their realtor kept demanding a new A/C unit be installed prior to closing (did I mention that closing was Monday morning at 10:00am?). Their realtor then demanded the house be professionally cleaned prior to move in.

Lucy and I had planned to clean the house ourselves after all the drywall work had been completed; that dust from repairs settles on everything. Something in their realtor’s tone of voice, her attitude of demanding this, demanding that; well it rubbed me the wrong way.

Thank goodness my realtor was there and stepped up to the line, explaining the reason the A/C unit was put in prior to closing was on account of a request from the buyers to start moving in early. There was a moment where I had to bite my tongue and walk outside to keep from handing their realtor a real piece of my mind. There’s a term for this type of woman, it rhymes with Witch.

I explained that no A/C unit would be installed until after closing and after funding had been provided. At that time the A/C unit would be installed and not before.

“Well how can we convince the lending firm to release funding without knowing the A/C works?” The conversation went down hill from there as the official Walk Through became a sticking point, “We can’t release funding until we know the A/C unit was installed and works properly”.

I think there’s a law against leaving dead realtor carcasses rotting on the driveway. I’m glad I keep a shovel handy just in case the need for a shallow grave pops up. She’d never be missed and it might help the new grass in the backyard; that new grass where the kid’s pool had been could use some of the fertilizer she was spreading.

Interestingly, closing was to proceed as planned, 10:00am on Monday.

We got a call from our realtor asking to go down to the house an hour prior to closing for a final walk through. They had a representative from the lender present to verify the house was ready to be transferred, that all repairs had been completed and so on. He asked about the A/C unit at which time I explained the unit would be installed just as soon as closing was completed and funds had been released.

You’d have thought I was holding him up at gun point. “Well, we can’t release funds until the job has been inspected.”
My words, “I don’t do business with unreasonable people. Either we close as planned, the A/C unit gets installed and you can check its efficiency later or we don’t; but I’m not putting in another A/C unit until we close.”

Their realtor started to play games, demanding a completed installation; but I stopped her mid sentence. I told her, “This is unacceptable”, and went outside, leaving my realtor to explain how the cow ate the cabbage. A little while later they all came outside and said closing was still on for 10:00am; but would we paint over the patch repairs inside the house… No, painting the house wasn’t part of the deal and we’d been told the buyers planned to do the inside with a different paint scheme because they didn’t like the light green and blue.

I called Lucy to let her know I was on my way home to pick her up so we could get to the closing. I ‘vented’ my frustrations, mostly the attitude of the other realtor’s demanding ways. The fifteen minute ride home permitted me to relax and prepare to move on with closing.

As we were about to leave for closing the phone rang; our realtor let us know closing wasn’t going to happen; the buyers had backed out. She reminded the buyers that they’d forfeit their earnest money so it will help cover some of the cost for the second A/C unit, the A/C unit we’d put in to make life easier for the new buyers.

Lucy and I looked at each other and we had the same kind of relief; not a major let down as we thought we might have had, as we should have had; but a feeling a mild relief. We found that remarkable.

In the movie, City Slickers II, after our heroes wandered all over hell and back only to find the treasure they’d sought was only a box of gold painted lead; that moment when they felt foolish for having spent so much time chasing after a worthless box, they looked at each other and commented, “You know, I really don’t feel as bad as I thought I should…”, that moment.

I don’t think we were supposed to sell the house, at least not to this family and certainly not with the realtor these folks had picked to represent their interests. I don’t like doing business with unreasonable people; which reminds me…

I have a very nice house that was put on the market a few minutes ago. Reasonable people may contact; Ellen Mangrum with Stay Realty 281-761-1633. (free plug for Ellen)

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.”

05/6/14

Christian Socialism – a true oxymoron

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by a fellow named Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and it was formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942. Bellamy felt strongly that it should be used in the public school system and used Columbus Day to kick start its use as it coincided with the opening of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

“In Francis Bellamy’s recollection of the creation of the Pledge, he recalled “At the beginning of the nineties patriotism and national feeling was at a low ebb. The patriotic ardor of the Civil War was an old story … The time was ripe for a reawakening of simple Americanism and the leaders in the new movement rightly felt that patriotic education should begin in the public schools.”

Here is Bellamy’s original rendition:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Louis A. Bowman, an attorney from Illinois, was the first to initiate the addition of “under God” to the Pledge and according to historical records:

“President Eisenhower sitting in Lincoln’s pew, the church’s pastor, George MacPherson Docherty, delivered a sermon based on the Gettysburg Address titled “A New Birth of Freedom.” He argued that the nation’s might lay not in arms but its spirit and higher purpose. He noted that the Pledge’s sentiments could be those of any nation, that “there was something missing in the pledge, and that which was missing was the characteristic and definitive factor in the American way of life.” He cited Lincoln’s words “under God” as defining words that set the United States apart from other nations.”

President Eisenhower later in 1954 had “Under God” added to the Pledge of allegiance to bring America back to God. This desire to remind citizens of our nation’s reliance on the Lord has become something of a sticking point in these latter days.

Francis Bellamy is also listed as a Socialist, a Christian Socialist to be more specific. Matthew 25:31-46 is a major component of Christianity and is considered the cornerstone of Christian socialism.

I’ll trim that scriptural reference down to a bite sized chunk which most of us are familiar with:

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”

Somehow these passages from the mouth of Jesus intended to enlighten individuals, to impress upon everyone the need to implement the Golden Rule, provide for the sick, the afflicted, the penniless, the imprisoned; somehow Christian Socialists have read into the Bible that instead of individual benevolence, government can force individuals to take care of the sick, the afflicted, the penniless, the imprisoned. Instead of calling it benevolence it’s called Social Justice, the redistribution of wealth from those who unfairly obtained that wealth to those who otherwise would have had an equal opportunity to be modestly successful were it not for this, that or the other.

Talk about opening up a can of worms; after looking up and finding Christian Socialism, it links with the Fabian society “which favoured gradual change rather than revolutionary change” and the term “social justice”.

“Classically, “justice” (especially corrective justice or distributive justice) referred to ensuring that individuals both fulfilled their societal roles, and received what was due from society.”

An important thread to all of these ‘feel good’ socialistic romps is the use of force, mild in some cases; but force all the same. How else to ensure that individuals fulfill their societal roles and receive what is due from society? Force of government by exacting that which under other conditions would not be given.

Clearly showing benevolence to those in need is not the same as having a representative of the government exact donations for those less fortunate and it certainly isn’t anything preached by our Lord, Jesus Christ regardless of the cherry picking of scripture proposed by Christian Socialists.

“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.”

With this simple thought process as found in Ezra Taft Benson’s talk, The Proper Role of Government, we are forced, pardon the use of the word, forced to recognize a foundational principle of sound governance and yet so called Christian Socialists would have us believe that good intentions trumps the rule of law. It only works if you ignore the truth, something which our nation has been doing far too long.

And so we see that the Father of Lies, Satan, doesn’t call Black White or White Black; instead he paints portions of truth as if it were all true and entices good men down the path leading them to destruction through deception staged as if it were the truth.

You’re either a Christian following the teachings of Christ or you’re a socialist, content to enslave your fellow citizens by having government obtain social justice by force, to include theft of earned income and property all the way to loss of freedom and imprisonment for resistance and even death should the resistance merit such force. There is no such thing as a Christian Socialist; that’s an oxymoron.

You claim to be a practicing Christian Socialist…what other lies are you telling yourself in order to hide from the truth?

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.”

05/5/14

Out with the old, in with the new

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Yesterday during our Sunday School lesson on the Old Testament we discussed how Israel was commanded in nearly every aspect of their lives right down to items to be worn and their purpose. It was the Lord’s way of transforming them into His. Being a stiff necked people and easily distracted it was important that the land they conquered, a land which had previously been occupied by idolaters, that land must be cleansed of those idols along with the people who followed false gods.

“Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.” Exodus 23:34

And as the Israelites took control of this newly conquered land they were again reminded not to entertain any of the customs found, not to marry outsiders or consider anything which would open the way for corruption.

“But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.” Deuteronomy 7:5

The tactic of destroying altars and breaking down images is being used against the Lord’s people in our day, a siege if you will, of idolaters against believers. Who will win?

The Ten Commandments have been banned from the public square, crosses which stood for years on public lands have been ordered removed to satisfy the demands of Atheists or others ‘offended’ by outward symbols of religion. Supposedly these assaults on Judeo-Christian America have been carried out to conform with constitutional restrictions separating church and state, something which isn’t in the constitution; but our Supreme Court managed to extract it from among the smoke and mirrors.

‘“It is a sad day in our country when the moral foundation of our law and the acknowledgment of God has to be hidden from public view to appease a federal judge,” said (Alabama Chief Justice Roy) Moore, suspended by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission last week for refusing to obey (U.S. District Judge Myron) Thompson’s order.”

Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”; but he was referring to the slavery issue as Southern States withdrew support from the Union.

More recently the Supreme Court seems to have reversed direction, or at least altered the course by upholding the right of city council members and others in public meetings to open with prayer in a 5-4 decision.

‘“The inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce nonbelievers,” Kennedy said.”

Sadly, history recorded the Democrat Party’s (Socialist/Communist Party’s) intention to remove God from the public square during its 2012 build up for the presidential elections. Long time Democrats, hard working Americans who’ve followed after their parents and grandparents footsteps, believing the Democrat Party still stood for Judeo-Christian core values were left scratching their heads in disgust as a small but very vocal portion of progressives took charge of the proceedings.

“The Democratic National Convention has removed any reference to “God” from the party’s platform, or as some call it, the party’s 24,000-plus word mission statement.”

{…}

“Delegates approved the final version of the platform Tuesday afternoon including language that supported same-sex marriage and almost unlimited abortion rights for women.”

A curious dichotomy exists in America, one which makes us weaker and eventually will destroy our foundations. Elements of a godless society are intent on silencing people of faith. The State must reign supreme and to accomplish this God and references to religion and faith must be removed until the people recognize that all benefits, rights and powers are gifts of the State.

It will be interesting and challenging in the years to come as the battle for America continues to divide and separate the wheat from the chaff; humm, wonder where that came from?

We The People are caught up in the ancient war between good and evil. Will we play the part of the Lord’s chosen people and follow Him or will we be Canaanites establishing false gods and idols, all the while tearing down images of the Ten Commandments, committing all manner of abominations to include abortion and same sex marriages or any other deviant practices which act in defiance of God’s Plan of Happiness.

Each day we get to decide who we will follow, the Lord votes for us doing what is right, the Devil votes against; but we make the deciding vote. In modern terminology I guess you could say, “It’s out with the old and in with the new”; but that doesn’t say which side will win, now does it? If this were a Paul Harvey moment I’d close with, “Good day”.

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.”

04/29/14

Crossing the Line

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Today I’d like to talk about legal traffic stops and road side checkpoints. There’s a line in the sand, or in this case, a line in the road which separates a lawful traffic stop and something which goes beyond; but that line keeps moving. The 4th Amendment included in the Bill of Rights states:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Bill of Rights was written by our founders with the idea individuals were not to be stopped by agents of the government for any reason without probable cause. Randomly stopping individuals has been properly equated with oppression and tyranny; something the King of England had been inflicting on the colonies in order to bring them into subjugation.

Cars hadn’t been invented at the time and it has been left up to us to figure out what constitutes an encroachment of the 4th Amendment upon the driver of a vehicle under modern conditions; but I can tell you this, individuals drive cars and are under the same protection as any other individual when it comes to oppression and tyranny.

Having stopped many vehicles for traffic violations while serving as a police officer it was a requirement under the law to have Observed a violation prior to stopping any vehicle. Once a violation had been Observed the driver of the vehicle could then be required to pull over and present a valid drivers license. If another violation came to light during that legally Observed traffic stop, such as a strong odor of alcohol indicating the possibility that the driver might be intoxicated, at that time further investigation was permitted under the law.

There’s an article by Adam W. Lasker about the legality of DUI traffic stops in the State of Illinois which caught my attention as it brought up subtle changes in language which are important in understanding how government is able to award itself powers never delegated to it by We The People.

‘“Reasonable suspicion,” not the more exacting “probable cause,” is threshold requirement for an investigatory traffic stop, the Illinois Supreme Court held in a recent DUI ruling.”

In the case brought before the courts the police officer Observed the suspect’s vehicle cross the line which raised the officer’s suspicions that the driver might be intoxicated. Rather than call such an observation Probable Cause the state decided to call it Reasonable Suspicion and so a crack was created in which common sense might later be laid aside or worse, a power grab by the state by lowering a long established requirement or standard.

You’d think the requirements for a proper traffic stop would be held to the same standard in all 50 states; but you’d be wrong.

Some states work on the principle that if you’re driving on a public road then the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply because the safety of the public trumps any presumed individual right or protection from being randomly stopped, questioned or searched.

Another writer who goes under the handle, Fake Consultant, posted an intriguing article, On Traffic Checkpoints, Part Two, Or, When Does Safety Become Siege?, addressing the ever increasing distance our government has placed between the 4th Amendment’s intent and the application of it as pertain to police traffic stops.

Fake Consultant set the tone with a history of Border Patrol stops and searches referenced in United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543, in which the Supreme Court determined Probable Cause was NOT required in Border Patrol searches and United States v. Ortiz, 422 U.S. 891, which basically found the 4th Amendment irrelevant. In the end our Supreme Court came to the conclusion:

“The Government had argued that it was impractical to find probable cause before conducting this type of search; therefore they were justified in ignoring the Fourth Amendment and establishing this checkpoint.

The Court agreed, and justified this conclusion by deciding that the searches were not “unreasonable”, and therefore a warrant was not required. Justices Brennan and Marshall, in dissent, reminded the majority that the inconvenience of the Government was no excuse for ignoring the clear language of the Constitution.”

Were these decisions limited strictly to the true borders of our United States then perhaps We The People might recognize that our best interests were at the heart of the matter; however, as with most encroachments upon individual liberties, usurpation of power leads to expansion of power, oppression and tyranny.

Homeland Security has declared the true borders of our United States go far beyond the actual crossing points between our nation and others; so much so that anything within 100 miles of the actual crossing constitutes the ‘border’.

In this article blatant usurpations of power by our government come into focus.

* “…searches can take place even in the absence of any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.”

* ‘“particularized suspicion” was not required for a border search.”

* “…Limiting searches “would only reward those individuals who, either because of the nature of their contraband or the sophistication of their criminal enterprise, hide their contraband more cleverly or would be inclined to seek entry at more vulnerable points less equipped to discover them.”

That brings us back to my original question regarding Traffic Checkpoint Stops for the sole purpose of removing DWI/DUI suspects under the Supreme Court’s ruling that such stops don’t violate an individual’s free movement in society and are therefore within the limits of the 4th Amendment.

In a Michigan case brought before the Supreme Court of the United States it was argued that random traffic checkpoints were ineffective and “subjectively” too intrusive to be justified under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution.”

“The Majority Opinion notes that the average motorist stop was 25 seconds, which they felt was a minimal degree of “objective” intrusion (an opinion shared by the State Court)…but they found no substantial “subjective” intrusion.

This is because, in their opinion, the average motorist should have no “fear or surprise” regarding a checkpoint. An examination of the ruling shows no recognition of any other factor as contributing to a subjective intrusion, including motorist annoyance or resentment.”

Did you feel that slap in the face? “Hey, it’s no big deal…We’re saying it’s okay for the police to violate your rights because it’s only a few seconds; get over it!” I guess that same logic could be applied to rape victims, “Hey, it’s no big deal, it only lasted for a little while, get over it!”

I have news for the members of the Supreme Court, any stop, regardless of the duration of that stop, without probable cause, or perhaps the less stringent application of “reasonable suspicion” is an unacceptable infringement upon our inalienable right to be free from unwarranted searches and seizures.

Without an Observed violation of law Any traffic stop becomes an infringement and no altering of the English language justifies marginalization of the original intent to prevent government from oppressing individuals for any reason.

As these decisions are applied in unison the intent of the Bill of Rights to protect individuals from oppression and tyranny dissolves before our very eyes.

The courts have created powers never intended or permitted under our constitutional republican form of government by stretching the meaning and definitions of words, words which at one time held limited meaning. Tyranny is unacceptable, even when done under the guise of protecting society from sexual perverts or drunk drivers.

The courts have crossed the line and need to be pulled over for usurpation of powers never granted them by We The People.

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.”

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.”