12/18/20

Christmas Magic

By: T.F. Stern | T.F. Stern’s Rantings

There was a challenge handed out the other day, what did your family do at Christmas?  A handful of memories floating around so I’ll start with writing a wish list.  This was done either on Thanksgiving or very soon thereafter.

We’d jot down, in our very best handwriting, items we considered worthy of asking Santa for. It didn’t matter if the requests were based in reality; but as a rule, these items had been seen on television or in one of the many catalogs, catalogs which many folks referred to as Wish Books.

After completing the assignment we’d place our lists on a plate along with some cookies and a bottle of Coca-Cola.  The idea was to make sure the Big Guy was rewarded for having traveled over to our house and considered our requests.  We were told that Santa wore magic mittens and that while holding up our notes to be read, those mittens would catch the pieces of paper on fire; proof that he’d read them would be ashes left on the plate.

We didn’t need an alarm clock to get up the next morning as we all raced to the dining room table to witness the miracle which had occurred during the night.  There would be a scorch mark on the china and a small clump of burnt up ashes.  It was the beginning of the Christmas Season, official and verified.

My folks must have been gluttons for punishment as they’d also told us that Santa was the one who decorated our Christmas Tree, that all we had to do was pick out a good one, keep it watered out behind the garage until Christmas Eve, and then haul it inside to the living room; Santa would do all the rest.  Once the tree was in the living room it was easy to convince us to get to bed.

I should mention that I learned some of my locksmith trade vocabulary from my father, who never was a locksmith, as he struggled to get the trunk of the tree to fit inside the classic tree stand.  Apparently, other trades, auto mechanics and carpenters come to mind, use similar vocabulary to express frustration.  I later found these magic words remarkably similar to terms used by police officers.

I can’t imagine how late my folks stayed up that night putting lights, ornaments, and tinsel on the tree as they also put together bicycles, dollhouses, wrapped and sorted gifts to be put under the tree, and… I almost forgot, fill our stockings and hang them at the end of our beds.  It makes perfect sense, now that I’ve gotten older, that my folks would want to sleep a little later on Christmas morning as our excitement level climbed slightly higher than the Empire State Building.

We were to wait in their bedroom while my father made sure Santa had actually come.  That translated means he went to the living room and plugged the extension cord into the wall so the Christmas Tree lights would be on when we came in.  Remember, the night before when we’d gone to bed that very same tree was bare; but as we entered the room it was dazzling pure magic.

In my teen years, having pretty much figured out the Christmas magic thing, I remember hearing my father carefully open the door to my room as he carried a stocking to place on the end of my bed.  As he did his best not to make a sound I smiled and respectfully called out to him as he exited, “Goodnight, Santa.”  He smiled back and accepted the fact that I was no longer a little boy, and, as I recall, he even winked back.

12/12/20

A Republic If We Can Keep It

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

(Image of Ben Franklin courtesy of factfile.org)

This past month has been a roller coaster ride for anyone trying to figure out which candidate actually won the election. I was tempted to use the term ‘earned’ rather than won; but that would give away my feelings about cheaters, swindlers, liars, and the rest of the Democrat Party.

Ben Franklin has been quoted when asked if we had a monarchy or a republic, “A Republic if you can keep it.” He may or may not have actually said those words exactly as history has claimed. Rather than share without having done my homework, I looked it up. The first reference that came up on Google was from the Washington Post’s coverage of last year’s phony impeachment hearings, a treasonous coup attempt to remove President Donald Trump.

The inclusion of Ben Franklin’s quote in that particular article is… interesting, well, actually far beyond interesting; but I can’t print my actual thought as it violates decency in many ways.

There was a coup attempt, masquerading as an impeachment hearing by the Democrat Party to remove the sitting President of our Constitutional Republic and they’re quoting Ben Franklin… un-bye-god-believable!

I can say it was a phony impeachment hearing because evidence has since come to light; the entire investigation into Trump’s dealings with Russia was in fact a creation, a fabrication, or a scheme cooked up by Hillary Clinton to take her out of the spotlight for her illegal private server, a felony.

An article by Steve Nelson in the New York Post dated October 6, 2020, explained the timing. That story didn’t make the rounds of the major news networks, gee-whiz; is anyone surprised?

“Ratcliffe’s initial disclosure said that, according to Brennan’s notes, Clinton allegedly approved the scheme on July 26. The minor inaccuracy shortens the window of time between Clinton’s alleged approval of the plot and the FBI opening its investigation of possible Trump-Russia collusion on July 31, 2016.”

Amazingly, the FBI and DOJ didn’t see any wrongdoing and Hillary Clinton walked away, free to continue as if nothing ever happened. I haven’t done the research; but somewhere down the line, the folks who didn’t see anything wrong with Hillary Clinton’s criminal behavior must have ties to the deaf, dumb and blind Justices on our Supreme Court.

This past week the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear a lawsuit contesting corrupt and fraudulent elections that affect all other states. Only two of the sitting Justices were willing to hear the evidence while the others did absolutely nothing to uphold the integrity of the election process which determines who will be President.

Saddened would be a mild description of how many American citizens feel at this time.

Here’s Allen West’s statement dated December 11, 2020, as Chairman of the Texas Republican Party’s official response:

“The Supreme Court, in tossing the Texas lawsuit that was joined by seventeen states and 106 US congressman, has decreed that a state can take unconstitutional actions and violate its own election law. Resulting in damaging effects on other states that abide by the law, while the guilty state suffers no consequences. This decision establishes a precedent that says states can violate the US constitution and not be held accountable. This decision will have far-reaching ramifications for the future of our constitutional republic. Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.”

Where does that leave us?

Some have suggested forming a new nation, one that actually follows the Constitution while the remaining nation of criminals, liars, and thieves go on doing business as usual.  Perhaps that would work, but a nation divided cannot stand.

My thoughts turned to Captain Moroni, the last prophet in the Book of Mormon in charge of the sacred plates around 400 AD (you’ll notice I refuse to refer to it as CE for Common Era). He was instructed by the Lord to bury the sacred records in the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York, so they could come forth in our day. Moroni witnessed the destruction of his people because of their iniquity and their refusal to repent, to follow the commandments, and come unto the Lord, Jesus Christ… and yet, he remained faithful, even joyful in his mortal life.

The honest hard-working individuals who try to do their best each day… have had the rug pulled out from under them, but will eventually understand what has happened. It is my hope we will endure in spite of the corruption that’s taken over, the attacks to destroy liberties that God has provided. Do we have the courage to be as Captain Moroni, to have hope, faith, and charity in spite of all that is going on around us? Ahhh, that’s a true test that we’ve been given.

With all that is happening, it makes me admire the wisdom of our founders, individuals like Ben Franklin who recognized the wondrous miracle of our newly formed Republic; that and his warning… if we can keep it.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer and, most recently, a retired self-employed lock­smith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.

12/11/20

Taking Care of Families in Need

By: T.F. Stern | T.F. Stern’s Rantings

Several years ago, there was a story printed, or perhaps I might have heard it from the pulpit; some of the details have left my memory so I’ve taken ‘creative license’ to replace that which I’ve forgotten. Accept my apology for not remembering the original author.

A congregation was asked to donate an extra portion during the Christmas Season to help families that were struggling. The challenge was given the week of Thanksgiving with the intent of having enough money collected before Christmas to offer relief for several families; a fine meal with all the trimmings, new clothing, and shoes, some toys for the children, and such depending on how much money could be collected.

One family had a meeting when they got home from church to consider various ways they could help with this wonderful project. The father said that after getting home from work he’d collect firewood and sell it. The mother would take in laundry and use that income to add to their contribution. Their son said he’d collect empty soda bottles and redeem them at the store while the daughter would babysit.

They did this for the entire month of December leading up to the final week and collected a little over fifty dollars which they proudly handed over to their minister. The father knew their contribution was probably smaller than most since he wasn’t one of the more affluent members of their congregation; but he wanted to know how much had been collected, thinking perhaps he could figure out a way to make up the difference by cutting down on some of his regular expenditures.

The minister sat quietly considering the moment as he tried to explain the situation in a way that would make sense. “We’ve received just over forty dollars in contributions so far, you being the only ones to have taken up the challenge.” The minister sat silent for a few more moments before continuing his thoughts.

“You see”, he looked heavenward for assistance as he struggled to further explain, “…your family was on my shortlist of those who could have used a little help during the Christmas Season.”

I’m sure there are many among us who could use the message contained in this story as we approach the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

11/21/20

Is it really over?

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

I read a comment issued by an old friend who happens to be a Biden supporter.  She was gloating, as if her intellectual superiority in assessing issues had prevailed, prematurely I might add.  “The election process is over; the final count had been done in Georgia.”  I have a great deal of respect for this individual and so rather than go for her throat, a rather crude way of saying we disagree; instead, I remained silent, temporarily, which is why I’m writing now.

There is room to wonder what she meant with her remark, it’s over.  In all likelihood a reference to the vote count in Georgia as reported by the major news media outlets, those honorable individuals who’ve presented their propaganda as is if it were factual information.  She believes that Georgia’s vote count assures Biden of the number of Electoral Votes needed to win.

Perhaps she was unaware of those individuals counting the votes in Georgia, the state where several batches of uncounted votes continue to surface, supposedly minor errors in the care and custody of presidential votes that had been cast on, …or even after November 3rd.  Never mind that the Senate seat, which has yet to be determined in Georgia, whose outcome will determine which party holds sway for the next several years.

I’d like to think she was selectively ignorant of yet another possibility, that our constitutional republican form of self-governance was over.  I say this because if we as Americans, regardless of which candidate we would prefer to win; if we allow the corruption which has tainted this voting process to stand then we are accepting corruption willingly and without regard for the consequences.

Many on the Biden side are asking for proof of any wrongdoing, any at all.  They have some kind of unrealistic idea of how to identify corruption, the intent to manipulate and control the outcome of this election.

I’m reminded of the scene from the movie, A Few Good Men, the courtroom scene where the now-famous line is uttered, “You want the truth?  You can’t handle the truth!”

Let’s work on the idea that there is a ‘preponderance of evidence’ which would indicate to a rational individual that something seriously wrong has, in all probability, occurred in the voting process.  We’ll save having to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ for later. In other words, is it possible that the statistical mathematics pointing out voting irregularities just happen to match with algorithms built into a machine intended to count votes, that these 20,000 Dominion machines were not intended to alter the outcome of such a count?

(Image of Eric Coomer found on Facebook, quote verified)

Never mind that the irregularities occurred in several states around the same time of night after it became clear that Trump was not only in the lead, but was projected to win based on the vote count prior to the unexplained ‘shutdown’.

If your answer is a flat out, No; then you’re not being honest.  Why would anyone design a machine that could be accessed from the internet by way of hidden backdoor passwords, have the ability to discount certain votes while at the same time award a higher percentage to the opponent?  Worse, why would any honest person consider using these machines, their ability to alter an election’s outcome wasn’t exactly a secret?

The machines in question have been used to assist the outcome of elections in other countries.  The CIA and other ‘three-letter government organizations’ are on record as having used them to disrupt elections in other countries. To say this is new information is beyond believable.  Some states refused to use the machines in question because the results offered could not be verified, thereby being unreliable and corrupt. But this could never happen in America…

So why did 30 states, to include so-called battleground states authorize the use of Dominion machines that were capable of altering election results, changing the outcome in favor of whoever had been pre-ordained to win?

But you say, that hasn’t been proven in a court of law…  I respond with, “If you’re walking along and see a pile of mushy brown substance, you wipe it with your finger, hold it up to your nose and take a whiff, then stick out your tongue and taste it.  After having puked on the sidewalk you say to yourself, Glad I didn’t step in it.”  Are you that hard to convince that something is amiss?

Or…are you willing to accept corruption, move on because the outcome went the way you’d hoped it would, your candidate won?

If that’s how you feel, then you’re probably right; it’s really over.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer and, most recently, a retired self-employed lock­smith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.

11/18/20

Your Mother is on the Roof

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

(Image of Biden’s Miraculous Vote Count courtesy of theredelephants.com)

My father had a library of stories and jokes that he’d share, usually when we were a captive audience while on a long drive.  What has this got to do with anything… I’ll get to that after sharing one of dad’s stories.

While getting ready to go on vacation Fred stopped by and asked if my dad would feed his cat and look in on his mother from time to time.  He left a key to the house along with a phone number to call should he need to get in touch.

Two days later dad found the cat had been run over while crossing the street.  He called Fred and told him, “Your cat’s dead, got run over by a car”.  Fred could hardly contain his emotions; but at the same time explained to dad that he might have softened the news a bit instead of blurting out, “Your cat’s dead”.

Fred suggested that it might have helped if, perhaps, on the first phone call dad might have said something like, “Your cat’s on the roof and I’m having trouble getting it down.  Then on the next call, you could say that the cat fell and you took it to the veterinarian.  That way I’d have been more prepared for the bad news about the cat dying.”

Dad listened carefully, aware that often times he didn’t consider the feelings of others. He apologized and told Fred to enjoy the rest of his vacation.  Fred asked how his mother was taking the loss of the cat.  Dad’s response, “Your mother’s on the roof and I’m having trouble getting her down.”

So what has this odd story got to do with current events?

If you’re only paying attention to how the results of the presidential election are being reported by major news media outlets, Twitter and Facebook then you’re in for one heck of a surprise.

These folks have already awarded the Oval Office to Biden/Harris even though not one state has officially certified the vote count.  In the meantime, they are ignoring what may be the biggest news story of the century, that being the use of computerized voting machines to steal an election.  They are not only ignoring the evidence of fraud, they are stifling anyone who says otherwise, censoring and containing the spread of facts.

Biden/Harris voters are thinking all is well, that their side has won.  The news media is telling them, “The cat is just fine, enjoy the trip”; not even a mention that, “the cat is on the roof and we’re just waiting for it to come down”…so to speak.

“There isn’t any evidence of voter fraud.  Trumpsters with their whacked-out conspiracy theories are only clinging on to hope.  The news media certainly would have reported something, that is if there had really been corrupted voting machines.”

But the news media has ignored the truth; swept it under the rug believing the courts would side with the news media’s having already “called the election for Biden”.

There’s little to nothing being reported about corruption which has been identified and graphed, mathematically and statistically impossible results have been referred to as ‘glitches’, baseless claims, rather than the result of intentional programming intended to steal an election.

There is irrefutable evidence that millions of votes for Trump were flipped and magically given to Biden, and this happened simultaneously in several machines at the same moment in battleground states giving Biden a presumptive lead and the presidency; but as with Jedi mind control, “Nothing to see here, move along”.

The impossible has occurred and yet the news media refuses to enlighten the public.

This will be painful to watch as it reaches the highest court.  Trump will be declared the winner, as he should; but what about the public that thought and actually believed the lies which the news media promoted?  They’re going to be told Trump stole the election by having a stacked Supreme Court because that’s the story the media has been repeating over and over.

Can you see where this will further divide the nation?  The propaganda outlets, having long ago given up reporting the news, continue telling the public Biden/Harris have won.

Dark days are ahead as the media sews discontent and chaos, all the while claiming we should all come together and Unite under Biden/Harris.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Biden/Harris are on the roof at this very moment.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer and, most recently, a retired self-employed lock­smith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.

11/8/20

Avoid the Appearance of Evil

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

Call me ‘Old School’ if you wish, but certain principles of conduct from another era seem to have been lost along the way.  Let me explain…

Several years ago I was given the assignment to check up on a woman from church whose husband had recently died.  She moved into our area and was still in the middle of grieving for her loss while at the same time she had nobody locally to lean on when her emotions got the better of her.

I made it a point to drop by regularly during the month, no scheduled appointment; just a neighborly check by to let her know someone was thinking about her.  She would invite me into the house, but this is where avoiding the appearance of evil comes in.  Instead, I’d suggest we sit on the front porch where her neighbors could see that nothing inappropriate was going on.

That brings me to the handling of votes and the appearance of impropriety, whether it exists or not, can be proven in court or not; red flags of danger have caught the public’s attention.  Perhaps that should be re-worded, red flags of danger have been ignored by those whose motto is, “Win by any means and to hell with anyone who says otherwise”.

I realize that being a supporter for your political party means hoping your candidate wins; but does that mean ‘at any cost’, to include destroying the fabric which holds your nation together as a constitutional republic?

When I watched a news clip showing poll workers covering up the windows so nobody could see them counting the votes, ignoring the protocols which call for members of the opposing party to be in attendance while the votes are counted, refusing to allow poll watchers during the election and other actions which would lead a critically thinking person to wonder if possible voting irregularities were being carried out.

When I was in college taking a course in Insurance which involved actuarial statistics to determine risk factors along with other issues that comprised that industry, it became fairly clear that some statistics form the limitations of reasonability and allow for the determination of what is unreasonable.  That’s why people over eighty years of age don’t purchase life insurance; the cost would be prohibitive, that assumes you could find a company dumb enough to sell the policy.

The use of statistics is important when looking at votes.  Certain polling places shut down in the wee hours of the morning following the election and then opened up a couple of hours later proclaiming they’d found thousands of votes…all for one candidate; the laws of statistics chimed in and proclaimed in unison, “Male Bovine Excrement!”.  There’s no way, statistically speaking, that all the votes which mysteriously appeared during the night were all cast for the same candidate, at least not legally.

That said, there are folks jumping up and down cheering for their candidate’s presumptive win, closing their eyes, ears, and minds to the likelihood of massive voter fraud; instead, euphorically caught up with, “He did it! We’ve won the White House!”

I’m having a difficult time congratulating the presumptive winners and those who’ve sold out this nation’s constitutional republican form of government for a cheap copy of a banana republic complete with bought and paid for election results.

Some might claim ‘sour grapes’ because my candidate hasn’t been re-elected.  My gut reaction tells me I’m watching an election process that steals a victory at any price and a public that will not only tolerate evil; but blindly congratulate those involved.

Putting it all in perspective with lessons learned from the Come Follow Me home study course, which only this past week covered Mormon’s witnessing the destruction of his people, a people ripe with iniquity who delighted in flaunting their evil ways rather than repent.  I had to wonder, did the Lord know this week’s lesson would be a duplicate of what is going on in America nearly two thousand years later?

The idea occurred to me that regardless of the outcome of this election, the steady downward spiral our nation has taken towards socialism along with accepting, tolerating, or even so many of our fellow citizens boasting of their evil ways; in spite of all these warning signs, we must place our faith in Jesus Christ and find joy in our knowledge of the gospel.  We have enjoyed the easy life; but the refiner’s fire proves us in our trials, whether we endure to the end is us to us.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer and, most recently, a retired self-employed lock­smith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.

10/20/20

Mister Trump Goes to Washington

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

A curious dream awakened me this morning, tying an old Jimmy Stewart movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, with current political situations.  Wiping the sleep from my eyes it occurred to me how President Trump and the fictional character Jefferson Smith, newly appointed Senator, have much in common.

(Mr-Smith-Goes-to-Washington-image-courtesy-of-silverpetticoatreviw-dot-com)

The corrupt political machine run from behind closed doors by a mover and shaker named Jim Taylor, had the puppet strings on just about everyone in their state, to include long time Senator Joseph Paine, played by Claude Raines.  Jefferson Smith idolized Paine, his having been a close friend of his own father.  Little did Smith know the underhanded dealings that were being pushed through by Senator Paine and his buddies, legislation which would greatly enhance their financial holdings by selling out their constituents.

With a little effort, very little effort, it would be easy to insert George Soros’ name for Jim Taylor and then trade out the Clinton Crime Syndicate/Obama Crime Syndicate along with Joe Biden and Son Criminal Enterprises.  So, we’d have former Senator Hillary Clinton and Former Vice President Joe Biden taking the place of Senator Paine.  Remember, we’re making a movie, purely fictional, just a silly movie for entertainment purposes only.  (Yeah, right)

The plotline would have to be altered a bit; but basically, the corruption would easily work the same way.  President Trump, upon taking office was unaware of exactly how much corruption was involved as his every move to clean up Washington was under fire.  Those involved in moving taxpayer’s money overseas to corrupt politicians so those politicians could line their pockets; but in return would pay huge kickbacks to the Clinton Foundation or to Biden family members to launder that money; all this was done to enrich the crime syndicate members.

The Obama administration “allegedly”, have to remember to include allegedly, had moved a large number of munitions illegally from the U.S. Government to our enemies, arms which eventually were used to take out one of our helicopters.  Unfortunately, the serial number for the ordinance which took out the helicopter was identifiable and belonged to weapons that were supposedly still in U.S. military possession.  Long story short…an arrangement was made whereby those weapons would be transferred back into our hands in a place called Benghazi.

It was supposed to have gone smoothly but as they say in the Middle East, “Shiite Happens”. Those friendly terrorists murdered the U.S. diplomat (arms smuggler) and three unexpected special forces heroes who defended the embassy for a couple of hours.  The Obama administration claimed the terrorist attack was the result of a YouTube video and arrested the maker of that video in order to distract the public.  Hillary Clinton, then-Secretary of State, erased thousands of email entries from her illegal server to eliminate any connection with illegal arms sales to Islamic terrorists and the FBI and Justice Department, “allegedly” working under the direction of President Obama, turned a blind eye to the entire incident.

Meanwhile, Vice President Biden “allegedly” set his son Hunter up as a bag-man between corrupt Ukrainian government officials and the U.S. taxpayers.  Money was handed over to the politicians so they could line their pockets and the Ukrainian crime bosses “allegedly” hired Hunter to a high paying position which only existed on paper in order to launder money back to the Biden Crime Family account. This process was “allegedly” duplicated with the Communist Chinese government with even more U.S. taxpayer money being laundered back and forth.

Had Donald Trump been defeated and Hillary Clinton become president the American public would never have known about any of the criminal activity that was being covered up with a phony FBI investigation followed by the Justice Department sweeping any left-over dust under the rug.  Hillary Clinton, as we have recently found out, didn’t want the public looking into all her email transactions.  What better way to throw off the spotlight than to cook up a phony document making it look like Donald Trump had violated his office by asking for an investigation into former VP Joe Biden’s crooked dealings over in Ukraine?

The Democrat Party was then given the task of making the phony Ukraine investigation look legitimate which included the 40 million-dollar Mueller Investigation which led up to the phony impeachment hearings.  At one time those involved in an attempted coup would have been rounded up, charged with Treason, and tried for their crimes; but that has not happened.

It can be officially called an attempted coup, we now have a ‘smoking gun’, the information found on Hunter Biden’s laptop computer.  Apparently, the FBI had this information for over a year and kept it from the public’s view, hoping that Biden would win the Oval Office and this whole mess would blow over.  But the information got out before the November elections and, even with the help of the major news media outlets refusing to share the story along with Twitter and Facebook censoring stories linked to the Biden’s corruption…the public can now connect the dots.

Unlike Senator Paine in the movie, whose conscience caused him to break down and admit his own corruption there on the Senate floor, there are no individuals with any honor left in them; referring to the Obama Crime Syndicate, the Clinton Crime Syndicate, and the Biden Crime Family.  They are content to remain silent as to their “alleged” involvement; instead, ramping up their attacks on President Trump, hoping the November elections will make this all go away.

It isn’t much different than the original movie; thugs pushing young boys carrying their home edition newspapers into the ditch and stealing away any news of the Shadow Government’s involvement while their own big-city newspapers unleash all manner of lies about President Trump.  “Your Comment Violated Community Standards”, oh, and Trump must be destroyed or we’re all going down!

The only thing that matters is holding onto or obtaining power.  Secret Combinations are made between those willing to sell their souls for a piece of the pie.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer and, most recently, a retired self-employed lock­smith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.

10/18/20

Appreciating the Moment

By: T.F. Stern

These last few weeks have been fun as I’ve been able to improve the audio-video capabilities of our modest home theater system.  We updated the audio quality by switching to an optical digital cable that’s now hooked to our television, and anything that goes through the television to the soundbar speakers.  I had no idea the difference would be that noticeable, speaking as a half-deaf senior citizen.  We also changed out the RCA type cables that run from the LaserDisc player to the back of the television to ‘Monster Cables’ that are supposed to have the better transfer of information.

But that’s not why I’m writing today…

One of the laserdiscs enjoyed this morning was Horowitz in Moscow.  There were images of various patrons soaking up the music produced by this world-class pianist. There was a camera shot from the balcony seating area where someone had placed their personal cassette recorder hoping to capture the experience so it could be played again once they’d gone home.

Here I am on the other side of the world watching and listening to a command performance given many years ago as if I were there.  I’m fortunate to own a laserdisc that captured each moment visually along with crystal clear reproduction of music.  It’s a good bet the audio reproduction on my copy far exceeds anything that was on the cassette recording made from the balcony.

The image shown includes a couple of items of importance.  Center stage is Horowitz as his fingers carefully and methodically move across the keyboard; but secondarily, as the laserdisc progressed, are images of those in the audience taking in the performance.  It occurred to me that I was among those in the audience, no different than if I’d purchased a ticket to sit among them as my reflection ghosts in from my vantage point on the sofa, nearly invisible until you study the image looking for that ghost.

Do we express our appreciation for the gifts we’ve been provided?  Perhaps we should say Thank You more often, not only for the things which are pleasing; but for the challenges that make us appreciate when things aren’t quite so hectic.  Gratitude is our way of paying for those moments, tears of sorrow for the passing of someone close, someone who was part of our world and made a difference, tears of happiness that they’ve gone home to continue their eternal progression.

Think I’ll put on the laserdisc with Harry Chapin’s Final Concert, the one that has Cat’s in the Cradle; yeah… “but he smiled as he did and he said, I’m gonna’ be like him, yeah, you know I’m gonna be like him”.

It dawned on me, my father passed away four years ago, those tears must be for the beautiful music I’ve been enjoying; yeah, must be the music…

10/13/20

Safety Issues Tied to Police Cutbacks

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

The public is starting to realize that using the Police Department as a ‘whipping boy’ for all the ills of society has consequences.  An article by Melanie Torre of CBS Austin relates some of the safety issues associated with cutbacks to police services.

“The Austin Police Association says understaffing is causing 911 calls to go hours without a response.

According to APA president Ken Casaday, Saturday night some shifts were staffed at just 50 percent.”

A little further in the article more information was shared:

“Casaday says — on the shifts he’s worked– the department has enough officers to respond to Priority 0 calls. According to Casaday, Priority 0 includes shootings, stabbings, assaults and serious crashes. He explains, Priority 1 calls are where there’s been a delay. Priority 1 calls include criminal trespass, simple assault and non-active burglaries.”

Citizens requesting police service might see this as a minor inconvenience since really important calls are being handled in a timely manner.  Being told that you’ll have to wait an hour to file a burglary report or some other non-life-threatening incidents might not be as bad as all that.

The City Council in Austin decided to cut-back police services and payroll; and, after all, slower response time goes with the territory.  These measures were taken to make a bold statement, that police brutality, shooting suspects without cause and such won’t be tolerated.  Other major metropolitan cities like Portland, Oregon have taken a similar stance.

To be sure, those municipalities which are making such drastic cuts in police services have turned their police departments into political footballs with little regard for either the safety of their law-abiding citizens or for the police officers performing these important services.

Several years ago, prior to my retirement from the Houston Police Department we were considerably understaffed; perhaps matching the observation made by APA president Ken Casaday, working with roughly 50 percent of the number of police officers needed.

One Friday night prior to the beginning of our shift several of us were in the kitchen area of the police sub-station enjoying ice cream bars donated by the local Borden Creamery.  An Assistant Chief of Police entered and I recognized and welcomed him informally to the younger officers who might not have known who he was since he wasn’t in uniform.  I asked if he was here in an official capacity or was it simply a casual visit.

His answer was polite; but hinted at something he had on his mind. “I’ll wait until Roll Call when I can address everyone at the same time.”  He smiled as if he had been dealt a winning poker hand, not wishing to tip his cards just yet.

I responded directly, “Then you might as well tell us now; this is the entire shift you’ll be addressing.”  There were only six of us in the room.  Consider the area we were assigned to patrol on a Friday night in Houston, Texas, an area that stretched from the 610 Loop out to the city limits between the I-10 corridor and Highway 290.  That’s a two-man unit and a one-man unit in Four District and the same in Five District, four police patrol units to cover the area equal to Rhode Island. In layman’s language, don’t get into any situation that requires a back-up unit, there won’t be any, none.

The cheerful countenance the Assistant Chief had upon entering quickly vanished as the reality of our being understaffed well below anything reasonable landed on his mind.  Originally, he’d planned to give us some kind of Pep-talk; but we’ll never know since he changed his remarks, sounding more like an apology for putting us in harm’s way without sufficient manpower should anything, anything at all go badly.

My retirement date came up a couple of years later and it’s with great pride that I display a shadow-box hanging on the wall of my office, a small reminder of my twenty years of service as a police officer.  I also am well aware of the dangers each police officer faces, a danger multiplied to an unacceptable level when those they work for don’t like police officers in general or appreciate the hazards that go along with that job.

One line that most officers are familiar with is shared at the end of each Roll Call prior to hitting the streets.  It’s both a warning and a reminder, “Y’all be careful out there”.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer and, most recently, a retired self-employed lock­smith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.

09/5/20

Irregulars and Militias – Are Militias Still Legal in Texas?

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

(Image: The Concord Minute Man of 1775, a monument created by Daniel Chester French)

The most uncomplicated definition of Militia – military force composed of ordinary citizens.

The question has been asked, “Are Militia groups legal in the State of Texas”?

“From 1903 to present, following the Militia Act of 1903, the Texas Militia is legally empowered by Title 32 of the United States Code and Article 4, Section 7 of the Constitution of the State of Texas to “execute the laws of the state, to suppress insurrections, and to repel invasions”.

Wikipedia addressed the topic of Unorganized Reserve Militia as follows:

“Militias thus can be either military or paramilitary, depending on the instance. Some of the contexts in which the term “militia” can apply include: forces engaged in a defense activity or service, to protect a community, its territory, property, and laws, the entire able-bodied population of a community, town, county, or state available to be called to arms…

a private (non-governmental) force not necessarily directly supported or sanctioned by its government, (emphasis added)

an irregular armed force that enables its leader to exercise military, economic, or political control over a subnational territory within a sovereign state, an official reserve army composed of citizen soldiers known as the militsiya, a select militia composed of a small, non-representative portion of the population…

The definition is wide open for interpretation; however, that one line, “a private (non-governmental) force not necessarily directly supported or sanctioned by its government”, leaves such an interpretation up to the individual rather than leaving that interpretation up to the government.

Wikipedia went on to include:

“Within the United States, since approximately 1992, there have been a number of private organizations that call themselves militia or unorganized militia.  In states such as Texas, the state constitution classifies male citizens between the ages of 17 and 45 to belong to the “Unorganized Reserve Militia”.  The Texas constitution also grants the county sheriff and the governor of the state the authority to call upon the unorganized reserve militia to uphold the peace, repel invasion, and suppress rebellion, similar to the early “Texas Rangers”.”

It should be noted that the age limitation mentioned as 17 to 45 represent those individuals who can be drafted according to the mandates of the Governor of the State of Texas; however it does not preclude the involvement of individuals who are younger than 17 or older than 45 from being able to serve voluntarily if they so desire.

Other points of interest brought out through further links provided include the following statement:

“Most militia organizations envisage themselves as legally legitimate organizations authorized under constitutional and statute law, with reference to state and federal law of an “unorganized militia”.  Others subscribe to the “insurrection theory” which describes the right of the body politic to rebel against the established government in the face of tyranny. (In the 1951 case Dennis v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the insurrection theory, stating that as long as the government provides for free elections and trials by jury, “political self-defense” cannot be undertaken.)”

Bare in mind much of the article related to militia groups focused on those groups formed to respond against governmental tyranny, real or perceived rather than on citizen groups organized to maintain law and order being threatened by domestic terrorists such as Antifa and/or BLM thugs.

So…If a group of local citizens living in a small community organized themselves into an Unorganized Militia for the purpose of defending their lives and property from those who would violate the laws of the State of Texas, such a non-sanctioned group would be within their Second Amendment Rights as protected by our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Since their militia does not fall into the “insurrection theory” aspect alluded to in the above paragraph, that portion does not apply (even though the Supreme Court got that one wrong; but that’s a whole other article).

The Lone Star Watchmen Militia is an unorganized militia group in Texas which apparently fits the legal parameters which other communities might consider as they work to protect each other’s lives and property.  The following was copied from their website:

“Lone star Watchmen is a Texas Mutual Defense Group. We are Second Amendment based (first and foremost) and are sworn supporters of the United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution. Our Mission is clearly defined as providing for the protection and survival of our families, communities and ultimately Texas through medical, tactical support/security and survival training.

First and foremost we are your average American citizens. We are your citizen soldiers who are always ready to serve.  We are doctors and lawyers; firemen, EMT and police; teachers and tradesmen; retirees and young families like everyone else in your local community.  We come together as a group united by our moral beliefs, and our loyalty to our Constitution and Texas. We live by and support what the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights decrees.

We are not revolutionaries. We are not a hate group. We are not Anti-Government. We are, however, in favor of promoting education and resources for the protection against Tyranny and the corruption of Government officials, bad and unconstitutional legislation.

The word Militia has been linked to many negative groups in the past so now is a good time to learn the truth. We are not a militia- because you are already a part of the Militia.

Everyone is welcome regardless of age, race, religion, gender or political affiliation provided you believe in our great country and the Constitution being the supreme law of our land.  We are a diverse group of ordinary citizens with a love for our Country and for Texas.  We promote the Constitution as a way of life and the only medium for our lives.  Our forefathers fought for us to have this Constitution and we will carry the torch of liberty they lit for us and our future generations.”

That should be enough information to validate the legality of forming a militia group as long as their stated purpose is to uphold the Constitution and Laws of the State of Texas.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer and, most recently, a retired self-employed lock­smith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.