Modern Monetary Theory

Surely you have read or heard about the above theory. It has been bubbling about for a number of years. It is one of the pet proposals of the Left. It is advanced to support the concept of a very, very large government. A government that runs the economy from top to bottom and establishes a standard government approved culture. To do all this even the most committed lefties agree it will take money–money on a scale not only never considered before but never imagined.

The theory basically holds that the government can spend more or less as much as it wants. Since we have a fiat currency (that is a currency issued by government and backed by nothing of intrinsic value except that government) the government can borrow all the money it needs without ruining the economy with inflation or having a concern about the size of the debt. They believe that all the “good” that will come from government spending will more than make up for any inconvenience of a larger debt. The view is that worrying about the size of debt and paying the national debt is a relic of old thinking, hence the “modern” in their theory. There are a bunch of articles about this theory and you can read any you like it you think my analysis is incorrect. I am cutting to the chase in my opinion.

The debt was already very large before the china virus struck and now we have added about 5 trillion in the last 12 months and Federal City is ramping up 4/5 trillion more for government expansion programs. We are throwing money around like the proverbial drunken sailor on leave. Might be worth it to remind ourselves exactly how the Feds get their money to spend. There are really only two ways. We’ll ignore gifts and other anomalies that are so small as to not be worth measuring in any event. Those people in the Federal City get their money by collecting taxes or borrowing it. They haven’t yet resorted to outright confiscation but don’t be so naive as to think that couldn’t happen, history is replete with examples of that occurring especially under Communist or socialist regimes. If they collect 4 trillion and spend 5 trillion there is an obvious shortfall of 1 trillion. Those numbers are pretty normal these days and that is before counting the insanity of spending in the last 12 months. So how do the Feds make up the difference in the shortfall? They borrow money from individuals, hedge funds, pension funds and foreign governments. Not many individuals if any actually buy those bonds except those old fashion e bonds if they still do them. A few decades ago just for the self education I explored how you went about buying those bill, notes and bonds issued by the Treasury. I found out I could go to the local Federal Reserve bank in Dallas and buy them, but they came in really big dominations. You couldn’t go buy $100.00 worth, it was tens of thousand then.

So far we have been able to sell all the debt we wanted to or needed to. But like any borrower the Feds must find someone willing to loan them the money. And when the borrowed money and the taxes collected still don’t add up to enough what happens? Which has happened a lot recently. You have read about the Federal Reserve buying US treasuries because it has been all over the news for years now. The Fed is the ultimate backstop for the drunken sailors; it has so far been the bottomless pit of money. The Treasury offers bonds for sale and the Federal Reserve “buys” them. Of course the Federal Reserve isn’t like you and me. They don’t really have to have any money on hand to make the purchase like a real human being. Some unknown bureaucrat making 179k goes into the backroom and on their computer makes an entry for say 100 billion worth of bonds. That entry is transferred to another bureaucrat making 179k at the Treasury which shows up as a credit on its books. So now the Feds magically have have that 100 billion to spend on all the Federal programs. It is truly an example of seeing the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. Except this little man actually is real and dangerous.

We will save for another day the dilemma of what will happen when investors, real investors like individuals, pension funds, hedge funds and other governments decide not to loan/buy our US debt. It can happen and has so many times to governments around the world and several times in just your lifetime if you care to study the matter.

So the theory is that the Feds in Federal City can spend as much as they want on all manner of programs for social welfare and government sponsored industries and not be concerned with the debt problem or any balance sheet shortfall. They can just print up the money and everything will be fine. We’ll all be wealthy and Mother Government will provide everything we need from cradle to grave.

If the theory is truly legitimate then why even go to the trouble to collect taxes? Just print up however much the Feds think they need each year and give it to us in the multitude of Federal programs. These theorists have at last solved the riddle of the free lunch. Enjoy your hash.

Any enduring society is based on religion, language and its unique cultural norms. That will never change except for transitional lapses. See I can talk just like Jerome Powell.

Olcranky truly wishes all a thoughtful and encouraging Easter celebration. What greater blessing can one have than to be redeemed for our faults.

God Bless,

olcranky

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Supreme Court–Rules of the Road

When I was in law school and for the first decade or more of my practice the requirements for the Supreme Court cases were quite different than there are today. In the good ole days the Supreme Court had two jurisdictional avenues for cases coming before the Court. The first was what was called mandatory jurisdiction. That meant that the Court had to take the case and rule on it. This jurisdiction was reserved for Constitutional questions. If there was a challenge to a statute, rule, court ruling or regulation that might be in conflict with the Constitution the Court heard the case and issued a ruling. These would be cases involving the Bill of Rights as an example. The second type of jurisdiction was discretionary and you filed what was called a writ of certiorari and submitted it to the Court and they could either grant it and hear the case and thus rule or refuse to hear your case and never rule. This was for non-Constitutional issues like a proper interpretation of Bankruptcy law for example.

I have forgotten when but that changed in the ’70’s or ’80’s. Judges like everyone perceive that they work too hard and are overworked. The politics for the changes were scrambled; some on the left liked it as did some on the right. The opposition was muted because the Court had a chorus of supporters from the elites in DC. The basic argument for was that the judges had too many cases to consider and with a smaller work load would render better quality judgments and more cogent reasoning to support the rulings. It was beyond the interest or understanding of the general public sadly.

I was opposed to the change then and remain so now both as a lawyer and citizen. In recent years there have been all manner of cases submitted to the Court bearing on immigration and election laws to name only a couple that have been rejected. This isn’t a left/right issue or at least shouldn’t be. But with the recent proposals for Court packing probably will make noticed by many. We all should know the rules of the road when it comes to Constitutional law. The election laws are a good example. Serious issues from the last election should be resolved by the Court yet they refused to even hear the cases. Yes, I know they also threw in the “no standing” matter which is a subject for another tirade another day. That bug out excuse is getting way out of hand.

They are revered, get good pay, and have lots of perks to go with their position as a member of the Court. I think it is only proper when a Constitutional question is submitted they must take the case and issue a ruling. I have no idea how they might have ruled on the election case from 2020 but a ruling would have been good for the country so we all would know what the rules and parameters are for elections whether you lean left or right it is a legitimate and even vital inquiry to have decided. That is what they get paid to do. They should do their jobs. Come down from that ivory tower and quit worrying about public criticism and execute your duty. I would very much like to see the old definitions of jurisdiction brought back so that the country knows what the rules are. Even if you despise the rules they set at least you know what they are and you can plan and anticipate accordingly. I don’t want the Ninth Circuit or the Fifth Circuit courts determining the ultimate Constitutional questions we face today and all the others that will arise down the road, and there will be plenty.

You can’t fix stupid. It is annoying and frustrating. Ignorance is really frustrating because that doesn’t have to exist. It can be fixed if you want to make the effort. Don’t confuse lots of volume with knowledge.

God Bless all,

olcranky

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Parliament of the United States

We do not have a parliamentary form of government here and expressly rejected it at our formation with the Constitutional structure we put in place. While we don’t have a parliamentary system de jure or we heading toward such a governmental method de facto?

Our deep political divide is obvious and commented upon with regularity. That is actually nothing really new. We have been divided by many factors and factions since the beginning. Hamilton versus Jefferson was the beginning. It was deep vicious and uncompromising on both sides. There has never been a time in our history when there wasn’t strong disagreements between significant segments of our society but we have pretty much stuck to the Constitutional set up of a Federal system with regular elections and compromises imposed by that system and divided governmental authority between the branches of government and the States versus the Federal government.

Recent events makes me wonder if that historical framework will endure much longer. Under a parliamentary system you have a vote of “no confidence” regarding the ruling leadership and if it passes by just one vote then you have new elections and a complete overhaul of the existing government if the vote goes that way by a margin of 50% plus one vote. As a practical matter we may be close to the point where the party out of power if it wins just in the House and/or Senate a new custom will develop to thwart anything and everything the “ins” propose. To so gum up the working of government as to bring it to a halt.

If the outs were to win in ’22 would you really be surprised if they started impeaching prominent cabinet members and even the President or VP? All pretenses have been dropped and just about everyone right or left now acknowledges the fact that such impeachments are purely a political exercise in reality regardless of the historical intent for such proceedings. The Senate could likewise simply refuse to confirm Cabinet members in a wholesale fashion. No explanation offered other than they are from the wrong political party. Don’t like Supreme Court rulings? Simply increase the size with your team’s guys until you get the “right” people there to reverse such abhorrent ruling. Such a system has worked in parliamentary countries for several centuries. Maybe it would be nirvana for us. I have great trepidation about it but my concerns are of no moment I am merely a small voice in the gale of political opinion. Get rid of the filibuster and the Electoral College and restrict the rights of press and speech by defining such rights in terms acceptable to the majority and/or the opinion makers and if you have the majority you are in total control with no restraining force or even criticism. Oh, the filibuster used to be 67 votes, it was reduced by the Democrats several decades ago to enact their agenda down to the current 60 votes of today.

Maybe everything will serene and dynamic with a modified parliamentary system and our populace will adjust to it well and even thrive. Scares me but you know maybe I am the kind to be afraid of puppies.

I am making no predictions. I am not smart enough for that. I am only making an observation of current trends and what I perceive to be their direction. Makes no difference if I like that direction or not. Question is whether or not we are going there. You young people need to make up your mind about those issues. Not even my place to judge. My horizon is pretty short on the political landscape these days but you young’uns will live with the consequences so choose carefully and thoughtfully. I have abiding faith in the ordinary folks of this land but scant regard or esteem for those running government and certainly total disdain for their bureaucratic minions. I believe such “ordinary” folk include geniuses, visionaries and potential leaders and mostly plain decent folks. They work with their hands and in the most sophisticated science labs; I don’t trust or wish to submit to my “betters” of the elites on the upper East Side or horse country of Virginia or Georgetown.

“a nation can survive its fools…..” Cicero

God Bless and embrace His gift.

olcranky

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Redress of Grievances

The last listed right of the First Amendment is the “right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. It is hardly ever mentioned when discussing the amendment and not one out of a thousand people would have any idea why it is even there. After all before it is listed is the right peaceably to assemble so why mention a petition to the Government?

Well it is human nature to believe that our comments, gripes and concerns are at least heard by those in power. It is very frustrating and indeed annoying to believe your thoughts and words are completely ignored by those in power over you. This applies at work or in government or even families. But rising to the level of being mentioned in the Constitution? There must have been a strong reason and memorial events to spark the demand of an inclusion of the right to be heard..

You have to remember that the Colonies were in fact individual corporations with charters granted by the King or Queen depending on the time frame. Their operations and governance were spelled out in those charters. As the Colonies grew in size and economic importance the people wanted greater autonomy from the Mother Country which was so far away. Since the Colonies were more than mere corporate enterprises and were civil societies strictly business arrangements clashed with the aspirations and ambitions of the individual colonists. They had no representative in Parliament but were governed by the board of directors if you will of each Colony and the ruled from very far away.

When Ben Franklin made his trip to England in the 1750’s he was designated the representative of Pennsylvania initially to go and make known the wishes of that Colony to the board, not the King directly. They had grievances they wished heard and acted upon by those boards. What happened was nothing. The boards basically would not even read the petitions carried by Franklin. They believed that the Colonies should accept the direction and rulings of the board and give total allegiance to them and the Crown. Mostly Franklin was not even given a hearing before them. He had to wait months before they would even call him to speak with them and then they would summarily dismiss his comments without response. They were a brick wall or a bottomless pit where information went in but nothing ever came back, like the Hotel California. They would not even deign to read the petitions he submitted as they viewed them as insulting to their role and the subordinate role of the colonists who they believed should properly be ruled by them.

The colonists were never heard.

At the time of the Constitution’s making those events were still vivid memories in all the delegates at the Constitutional Convention. They recognized at a minimum the psychological benefit of the people believing that their concerns would at least have voice and be heard. Thus the inclusion in the First Amendment.

Our acts and deeds are like wisps of smoke in the pages of time, ah, but their remembrance carries persuasion for good or ill for the generations.

God Bless all,

olcranky

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Road Trips

We are blessed with a truly beautiful land. Reminds of Paul when he wrote about knowing the truth of a God when you look upon the heavens, the seas and the glory of the mountains and that such beauty could only come from the hand of God not some amorphous accident of physics. Over my years I have made many a road trip through almost all this land of ours–literally from coast to coast. In no particular order I remember the ones below for their serenity, majesty and beauty. Of course a few unplanned adventures along the way and the cause of laughter even years later.

Texas–Highway 82 that parallels the Red River just south of it. From near Wichita Falls to Sherman. Horse ranch country. Lots of wooden white fences and nice homes. Not mansions but really impressive places and a few quaint towns along the route. Then try from say from Diboll to Nacogdoches on to Tyler. If you’ve been to New England it will remind you of that; rolling hills and lots of green forests of both evergreen and deciduous trees. Out in West Texas almost anywhere around the Davis mountains and Big Bend nat’l. park will impress you and you’ll most likely see some antelope.

California–recommend the drive along the coast on rt. 1, from Big Sur to just north of Carmel. Didn’t drive it but ran 20 miles of that on a marathon. Yosemite is worth the basic drive through. Still have some old pics and moving pictures of my mom, dad, brother and me driving through the general Sherman Sequoia tree. Guess they don’t let you do that anymore. That was in the 50’s.

Washington–go further up the coast and take the highway from Seattle to the Olympic Park peninsula. You have to use the ferry to cross Puget Sound, or at least you did the last time I was there. Then take the coastal highway that follows the north shore of the peninsula all the way past Port Angeles (which is just a wide spot in spite of the name) to Neah Bay. That is the most northwestern point of land in the lower 48. The sea and waves are huge coming in from the north Pacific. Some may think it bleak but it is surely impressive. You’ll be alone.

Colorado–There are many great drives through the Rockies but one of my favorites is the one from Colorado Springs to Breckenridge through the middle of the State. When you are about 30 miles of so west of Colorado Springs you will come to an enormous valley. You are high on one set of ranges then the valley and far off in the distance are more mountains. Great place to reflect and pray.

New England–basically don’t like damn Yankees but the drive from NYC up the Hudson to the finger lake region and the over to Maine is terrific. Once you are well clear of the metro area of New York the views are great of the river and many historical sites to see. Go up past lakes George and Champlain and then bear East till you hit the Maine coast line. Personally I found that coast more beautiful than any in the warm weather states. Especially make a drive following the coast as close as you can from say Bar Harbor to Booth Bay. Unless you have a stunted sense of beauty and grandeur you will love it and can stop and have some lobster and get one of the locals to teach you how to take them apart without having to use any of those sissy tools.

Arizona–the Grand Canyon. Just follow along the south rim highway as far as you can either east to west or vice versa. You will be rewarded. It is so large, mammoth really, it looks like God came down a made a painting on earth.

Gee there are a few more but don’t want to wear out my welcome. I promise you won’t go wrong with any of these. We’ll do a few more some day when the mood strikes me.

The novel 1984 did not have a happy ending for all those who have never actually read it but only comments about it.

God Bless all,

olcranky

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Laws, Laws and The Gate To Tyranny

When I was in law school and the first decade at least of practice the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) was about two bookcases. Each 21/2 ft wide by 7ft tall. At least a third of it was the Internal Revenue Code regulations. Which was the IRS’s own interpretation of the IRS code, not actual court rulings. The rest was all the other departments, agencies, bureaus, etc of the Federal Government. The last time a few years back when I was in a large law firm’s library when they still had actual law books on the shelf that CFR had grown at least ten fold. Indeed most firms by then only got the volumes relevant to their area of expertise. The CFR comprises the rules and regulations formulated by the various agencies of the Feds. To wit: bureaucrats and technocrats employed with your money to write what becomes actual law for the Commerce dept, the EPA, dept. of Education, OSHA, Labor Dept. and Agricultural to name only a mere handful. Try sometime to find out exactly how many bureaus, agencies, boards and other entities are included in the Federal umbrella. I guarantee you will not finish. There must be at least two hundred such outfits in the Defense Dept alone.

We should be a nation of law. We a people who respect the law and are at least generally law-abiding. But when we reach the point that ordinary and sensible people can be in violation of “laws” just going about their daily endeavors something is badly out of whack. Like the farmer who moves a small rill so it won’t flood a crop area and finds himself in violation of some Corp of Engineer’s rule about “navigable waters” we have allowed the good to become the bad.

Some think all Conservatives love criminal laws. Not this one for sure. Again I challenge you to try to find out exactly how many rules, laws, statutes there are that allow criminal penalties. You will give up. There are tens of thousands of them. The majority of which were not enacted by Congress but created by some regulatory agency.

Here’s a radical idea. How about at least requiring that any criminal penalty whether jail time or fine, must be specifically passed by Congress and set forth in black and white in the Federal Penal Code. Is that really too much to ask that all federal crimes be listed there? If it ain’t there then you committed no crime is the way it should be. I saw just a day ago that the CDC issued a new regulation requiring masks on interstate transport. Further the CDC said it “reserved” the right to make the mandate punishable as a crime. Who died and went to Heaven and put the CDC in charge of our criminal laws? Maybe the masks are a good idea medically. But if we want to make non-compliance a crime those folks in Congress should pass a law that says it is criminal and put it in the Federal Penal Code. That example is merely a pebble on the beach of such actions by bureaucrats and their agencies.

The more laws the less freedom. Sure we need all the basics that have existed since Biblical times–like murder, theft, rape, assault and others. We don’t want anarchy but laws that protect us not hinder us and most importantly of all open the gates to oppression by the Federal government so that it can pursue almost anyone for something. It is Congress’s job and duty to pass our laws not pass the buck to bureaucracies. Let the bureaucrats propose anything they like. Some of the ideas I am sure would be appropriate and make sense. But we shouldn’t allow criminal law to be oozed out of those Departments and slipped into the CFR and then used to make criminals of fellow citizens. Criminal behavior is a serious matter and should be treated as such by Congress.

It is said that ignorance of the law is no excuse. But that derived from a far simpler time when it was likely you had a pretty good idea what the law was. That concept doesn’t fit well when no one can even accurately count the number of criminal violations tucked away in tens of thousands of pages.

I don’t want to live in society that eventually just uses catch all crimes like the Soviets did…..Kafka, Solzhenitsyn, the Soviets didn’t need that many criminal laws after all….you were simply charged with “crimes against the people”. Either you met the Governments perception of a good citizens as they defined it in an ever changing manner or they would remove you in this fashion. All perfectly legally under that system.

Think it over. Regardless of your political bent why would you oppose having all crimes specifically listed in one penal code.

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words. Proverbs

God Bless to all, especially those who seek solace.

olcranky

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Bruce Alger Was Right

I believe our Federal system of government is the cornerstone of a vital and vibrant democracy. I want to have a push and pull between the States and the Federal government. I detest the idea of a central command and control autocracy centered in the Federal City. Unfortunately during my lifetime that system has undergone a vast weakening of the States versus the Feds. Like so much in life when looking for root causes or sources of power and decision making it is prudent to follow the money. Whoever controls the money you can bet is also calling the shots on most decisions and policies. All of my life there has been a greater and greater concentration of the money in DC and thus greater and greater control from that center over all aspects of your personal life and your civic life i.e., your relationship with and to government whether local or national.

Bruce Alger was the US representative from Dallas from the late ’50’s to about ’64. In that time frame new legislation was proposed to have the Feds fund a school milk program. Who could oppose that? It was a boon for the dairy farmers and for heaven’s sake who could possibly deny milk for the children? Well old Bruce was the only member of Congress to vote against that bill. He suffered great ridicule at the time as an ogre. His argument was quite simple. Under our Federal system and the “police powers” of the States the Feds had no authority to impose its demands on the States. Further and presciently he warned that by accepting the Federal money the States would be ceding their Constitutional authority to the Feds. He warned this was merely the nose of the camel in the tent. That whoever controlled the money would also control all the policies of the recipients. Last time I looked the Federal department of Education’s budget was around 38 billion. That is still a lot of money even today. The Feds have no precept in education. That is wholly within the domain of the States. It is not within the Federal government’s Constitutional jurisdiction. Yet the various States send that money to DC and then get some of it back with all the strings attached by pointy headed bureaucrats in the Federal City. Who pays the piper calls the tune as has been true since Biblical times.

Sadly education is only one area of this encroachment on States rights. Ever problem does not require a new law or a National solution. Let us as individuals or our States figure it out. We are not as dumb as the elites in DC think we are. But I do believe those elites are as ravenous for power as a Nero. I have enormous faith in the American people if mostly left to problem solve by our own wit, determination and innovation.

Let’s get back to the rule of law and not the rule of policy wonks from foundations, institutes and Congress. Have some faith in our collective wisdom.

Some of the saddest people are those that have abundance and enjoy it not.

Goodnight Mrs. Calabash wherever you are.

God bless, olcranky

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The Shame of Nurnberg

Olcranky believes evil should be punished here on earth and trust that God will deal with it appropriately in the next life. The Left wing Nazis of Germany at the highest levels deserved retribution and the pangs of revenge at the conclusion of WWII. The death sentence is a painful necessity in extreme circumstances such as those that accompanied the actions of some of the Nazis leaders during the War. I never liked the idea of the formal “trials” that we conducted at War’s end.

The most obvious problem was allowing the Soviet-Commies to be a participant in them with equal voice with us, the Brits and France. Joe Stalin was Hitler’s equal in cruelty, inhumanity and tyranny. The American Left was in love with old Joe right up to the start of the War. He killed millions in Ukraine through intentional starvation, became Hitler’s ally and gleefully joined in the invasion of Poland at the War’s beginning. During that early period the Soviets committed the Katyin forest massacre of 10 to 30 thousand Poles. No truly accurate estimate is possible. The Nazis reported the event to the world but it was ignored at the time. Then old Joe invaded Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia without any apology for the naked aggression. Lastly he launched the invasion of Finland. This all occurred in ’39 and ’40. These atrocities are in addition to the military purges and show trials of ’37 and the unknown number of those shipped to the Gulag to never emerge again. He was a beast, ogre, tyrant and pure evil.

Why in the name of Heaven did we allow such a evil empire to have an equal say in the trials? The Soviets should have been on trial beside Goering and the others, not sitting in judgment. We didn’t have to do that. We could have exacted our own justice on the Nazis in our control and let the world see the Soviets for what they were. We gave cover to the Soviets and Stalin with a patina of decency which was an offense to all concepts of decency. It is to our lasting shame we sat with them as equals.

Historically the losing side in all wars were punished by the winners at the whim of the victors. War is not fun, clean or neatly done. Often the leaders of the losers were simply executed outright without any justification other than they lost. Depending on the politics of the moment and the intensity of the savagery of the war some were paroled, given amnesty or made into a subservient class. Trying to define a war crime is a very slippery slope. By modern standards, Sherman, Sheridan, Butler and Grant would all be guilty of war crimes. They didn’t just take horses, cattle, and crops for their own use, they destroyed intentionally homes, barns, drove people out and made them refugees regardless of any personal wrongdoing. Wars are a winner take all proposition. Losers have to pay the price of defeat and if justified for their evil.

I would have preferred it if we had taken the Nazis we thought most responsible and had a simple hearing where we proved we had the right guy, proved his rank and authority and then administered justice as we thought fit to their wrongdoing.

The Good Book rightfully teaches in both old and new testaments to not associate yourself with bad folks. We defied that admonition by working arm in arm with Stalin and the Commies at Nurnberg. We should have administered our own justice with the Brits and France. It was a true stain on our efforts and sacrifice during the War to have that denouement.

olcranky ordered another book on physics and the universe which will be beyond his skill set no doubt. But it is interesting to try some understanding of things eternal. such efforts always reinforce my faith.

Another time I will explain the accurate justification of calling Nazis left wing.

The miracle in my life is the underserved blessings I have received.

God bless all

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Be A Good Shepherd

There have been untold numbers of sermons about the Good Shepherd and I have heard more than one during my life. Of the hundreds of informative, inspiring or instructive stories in the Bible this is one of my personal favorites for many reasons. I personally find it a parable about devotion to duty and love.

We all have many different relationships in our lives. Those of consanquinity, personal friendships, or a close circle of friends of companions in a common cause. It is more than just parent and child in my way of thinking. It includes all family relationships–brothers, sisters, cousins and can be aunts, uncles or grandparents. It can be a lieutenant in charge of a platoon. Those relationships are too numerous to list. But in those close confines of mutual dependence and devotion there should develop deep and abiding emotions of love and devotion to duty. That duty can and does vary a great deal but its impact should be deeply felt.

It was only one sheep missing out of the hundred. Ninety-nine were home safe. Practicality and humanistic reasoning would hold that you should be happy with the safety of the 99 and let the lost sheep wander on its own and just hope for the best.

It is not that the Shepherd loved that one more than the others that lead him to seek out the lost one. He loved them all, passionately. But the 99 didn’t need any help at the moment. The one did. He couldn’t rest easy knowing the one was lost, in need, and merely reflect on his good fortune that the 99 were doing fine. If he didn’t seek out the one, he would not be a shepherd much less a good one. The 99 should take great comfort that he sought out the one, it could have been them that was lost. I think it was the love he had for them all that lead him to go out, without assurance of success. Love is indivisible. You don’t chop it into pieces for those who are the object of your devotion.

Yes, he had a duty to perform. It was a civic duty and a moral duty. Civic in that society of sheep and shepherd for him to fulfil his responsibility to protect them all regardless of inconvenience or even danger. Many a lieutenant would and have gone to extraordinary lengths to defend and protect just the one soldier. It was his duty. I think the story would be as inspiring even if he had not found the missing sheep as long as he did all he could to find it. The 99 should see his efforts as a clear sign of how much he loved each of them.

Maybe you will never have a missing sheep in your life experiences but if you do then be a good shepherd. Yes, life sometimes brings us burdens we wish not to bear. But after the event you and those with you will always find a solace in doing one’s duty and any display of love is never, never a wrong approach.

“a light heart lives long” Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act V

olcranky says amen

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New Year Memories

A week or so ago when awake in the night I heard the migrating geese flying overhead through the partially open window in the bedroom. You can tell the difference between the local stay-at-home geese and those on the move south for the winter. Don’t get to hear that sound every year but over the years have heard it often enough to recognize it. I can also remember several times when I have seen them by the thousands moving south early in the morn or late of an afternoon. As my dad would have said they are flying “high, wide and handsome”. These guys were no doubt heading for the Anahuac peninsula east of Houston and all those rice fields down there. Had an interesting case involving those rice fields 25 years ago; all about the water rights and irrigation systems to flood the fields, but that is another story.

I find it very comforting to hear the sound of those geese even if it is not an annual event I personally witness. It is so re-assuring to know that some things have their cycle that is so dependable and rather majestic. I find it orienting and placing some perspective on our daily existence. We do have a tendency to puff ourselves up. Now we are right up to the new year. I am so sick of all the claptrap about what an awful year it was and such a struggle. Balderdash. Gee, get a grip. How about 1942? Think that was a great year? A damaged Navy, loss of the Philippines, Guadalcanal, hell even Alaska invaded on Kiska and Attu islands. I personally think 1969 was a terrible year for a variety of reasons. Much worse than the year just passing. How about 1812? Gee the White House was burned and the New England states were agitating for secession. Stop with the historical bigotry thinking that everything happening now is the most important event in the history of the world or our nation.

New Years are so quiet now compared to my youth. There are so many rules and regulations these days. When I was a boy we always had fireworks for the New Year. Dad would take me and my brother to buy them. There were lots of firework stands. We usually went to one on Fort Worth Highway. We would get Roman candles, those cheap little string firecrackers, sparklers and of course a few of the bombs to shoot up into the sky. Mom would give all kinds of warnings about being careful and off we would go the the front yard to have some fun. I loved holding a roman candle in my hand and letting it fire those colorful streams into the night sky. Of course they scared the devil out of me and dad was right there beside me. Sparklers were sissy and for the girls but I loved twirling them around to make designs in the air. I always said I would stay up until it was midnight but never could make it. I would fall asleep every time before midnight. But mom and dad would let me stay awake as long as I could which was an adventure in itself.

New Year’s day we would have a ham and our black eyed peas and shoot off the few fireworks we held in reserve and then play some football in the front yard. When I was a little older, 12, I would got to the Cotton Bowl game with my cousin. We would ride the bus to Jefferson blvd. then take the streetcar down Jefferson and across the viaduct over the Trinity river to downtown and walk the last few miles to Fair Park and the Cotton Bow. Even watched that awful game between TCU and Air Force (0-0 tie) with sleet everywhere including the stadium seats. Today I am sure the cps would be all over a parent that let their child do that alone.

I hope you will have memories of your New Years as the decades roll by and that some of them will be as vivid as mine and as much fun. We had fun even if it was on the cheap.

Reflect, revive and be your best version. You can’t control what you are genetically but you do have control over your own behavior and character.

Be brave. Cowering in the face of adversity will never produce favorable outcomes. The results won’t be any worse and you’ll feel better.

“keep me as the apple of thy eye”,,,,Psalms

olcranky

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