Virus Redux

Talk of virus and the ravages of the China virus are all the news today but we’ve had pretty serious outbreaks caused by viruses in times past. One of those years was 1957. I don’t recall if it was given a specific name then but the flu was pretty rampant that fall. I know because I fell victim to it at a most inconvient time.

I was 15 and in prime health. I was the bmoc in jr. high and captain of the football team and had all the acclaim a 15 year old could want. In those days the local papers (we actually had two daily newspapers then) covered all the school sports including the jr. high sports. The high schools played on Friday nights and the jr. highs had games on Saturday because we had to share some of the fields. Both papers even had short recaps and comments about the jr. high games and it was always a thrill for us to see our name in the paper. I was fortunate that my name was there every week usually with a mention on both offense and defense. It was a big deal at that time. Our team that year was pretty good and we had a shot at the championship for the city. Then came late October or maybe very early in November and we were getting ready for our big rival game and one that might determine if we got to the championship game. Well old bozo here got sick in the middle of the week with that darn flu. Really sick. High fever, aches and total fatigue. Dad took me to the doc and he confirmed what we already knew that I had the flu. He of course recommended rest, fluids and aspirin. I don’t recall any medication. My coach was really down about it with the big game against our big rival boude storey only a day or so away. Well I missed the last two days of practice and just laid on the couch at home. Come Friday I was still really sick but dad and I wanted me to play the game. We checked with the doc once again and asked if playing would actually make me worse and he said probably not but it would delay my recovery and would be quite bad for me. But he didn’t say it would kill me. So the official line from me and my dad to mom and the coach was I could play if I didn’t get worse.

Well, of course I didn’t get “worse” in the next 24 hours. No way that was going to happen. So come Saturday I suited up and went to the game. I don’t remember much about the details of the game. I scored a couple of times but our defense just couldn’t hold them and we lost by a touchdown I think. I played the whole game both ways and was totally exhausted. I went straight home afterward which was not my usual post game activity. We always had some party or get together after normally. I was in bad shape and didn’t miss it. I just went to my room and crashed.

Of course I recovered in a couple more days and we even made the championship game a week or so later. We lost that one in another very close game with the most unusual ending I have ever seen or heard about. Just would mention that our team was on the bus to go home with a loss when we were called back off the bus for one more play which the referees totally botched.

And to finish off the year I had my tonsils removed. Mom insisted because she thought I got too many colds and sore throats. I was way older than normal for the procedure and fully grown physically. Not when that should be done. It was rough and both sides of my throat hemorraghed and I had to go back to have that treated with a long, very long curved needle to get the cragulant into the right spot way, way back in my throat.

Well, the young lad went on to fame and fortune and received more blessings than he merited.

Love seeks no profit or gain.

God Bless to all,

olcranky

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Summertime

Things are quite different today than they were when I was a boy and young teen in the summertime. Today during summer almost everyone spends most of their time indoors and out of the summer heat. Of course everyone today is also concerned about exposure to the sun and skin cancer. Don’t really remember any talk about skin cancer back when I was young. Do remember the women talking about the pros and cons of getting a tan and how much was too much. I can recall my mom talking about how too much sun made a woman’s skin look “rough”.

What I remember mostly from my summers as a youth was being outdoors almost all day long. I was 18 and about to leave home for college before I lived in a house with central air and heat. I was 16 before we had a house with window units and then only in the den and my mom and dad’s bedroom. We were outside because we wanted to play and have some freedom from mom’s constant monitoring. It was not any cooler in the house than outside and sometimes even hotter. All we had were blow fans to circulate the air and frequently that was like blowing around the air from an open oven door. So I was out the door as a tyke as soon as my mom would let me loose. The basic rule was I could pretty much go anywhere and play with whoever as long as I stayed on our block. To venture farther required specific approval from mom.

Went swimming at the local pool which was at the elementary school. Almost everyone of them had one and you could go there for a dime or whatever it was and it was there that most of us learned to swim. A coach from a near by school or gym teacher ran the pools and gave the lessons.

It was a hot and sweaty time. There were lots of smells. The cedar trees with those ghastly bag worms hanging all over them and the sugar gum trees and the odor of the tar patches and seams in the streets that emanated from the sweltering sun. As a youth I remember cracked yards and playgrounds because I knew nothing but drought from ’49 to ’57. We prayed for rain all the time in church and watched to see how the cloud seeding efforts would work. I never noticed them making any difference. It just finally starting raining again on God’s schedule. Sometimes the whole family would go to eat watermelon. The place I remember best was on Zang blvd. You would go to these large boxes filled with ice and watermelons and pick your own. They had lots of wooden pick nick tables all around and those string light bulbs above and salt and forks and a cutting knife. I never liked watermelons but it was an adventure and if we were lucky mom and dad would take us down the street to Brigham’s ice cream palace for a cone. That was what I really looked forward to. The building was most unusuaul as it was shaped liked it was made of ice blocks and snow. More or less like an igloo.

andIn 1955 when I started playing football for real at school in jr. high and during two a days I distinctly recall coming back dragging my butt after the afternoon workout and taking a shower. But even that didn’t totally cool me off. I was anxious to ride home with dad. He was there every workout. He drove a company pickup then and me and my pal who was also on the team would ride in the back so the wind from the drive would cool us on the way home. Once a week mom would swoon when I handed her my very, very sweaty workout uniform. They were made of heavy cotton and polyester and were 3/4 sleeves then. They probably weighed an extra couple pounds just from my sweat. She was a good sport and had it ready the next morning for me every time.

Such was life in a different time and different world.

The cattle are all in the corral so shut the gate.

You guys can go back now to your iphones and laptops.

God Bless,

olcranky

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Life Without Regrets

Of course it is impossible to live without some regrets unless you are a cyborg or robot. There were events in your life that you wish you had handled differently–quicker, smoother, more intelligently or with greater charity. We are not perfect and are no angels but there is nothing wrong with at least having the aspiration of being better and aiming at the golden ring of correct human behavoir. Indeed merely being able to concieve of such behavior toward our fellow man is what separates us from an ape or rabbit. We are self-aware as those fancy sociologists proclaim.

In my humble opinion there is no great secret to living with as few regrets as you can. Try. Think. Plan. Pray. It still won’t turn out perfect ever time but you can eliminate lots of mistakes made in haste, anger or through inattention. There will still be bumps in the road but with that effort they will be smaller and fewer. The worst thing of all and the most regretful is to not even make the effort. Selfishness inevitably does not produce the happiness you ultimately seek. Our personal relationships are the foundation for our contentment and feelings of self worth. All else is transitory.

There is no greater elegy or eulogy for a life than that said so many millenia ago to Moses. “Well done…good and faithful servant.”

There is another quote that inspired these thoughts today. I don’t have it exactly right I am sure but the sentiment is there. I can’t even remember its origin. Shakespeare? A poet? Not sure.

“so oft does man lament…..what might have been.”

It is for you to control your life and your decisions. Exercise your free will with compassion, thoughtfulness and integrity. At the end look back and hope you don’t have to reflect very much on what might have been.

Not much is made these days about Memorial Day and the vets who went off to fight for ideals, not conquest or lucre. But I salute my dad who marched off to the sound of the fife and drum so I can write these words today. For freedom in a word. You fight for the freedom for your descendents. It is your duty to the generations yet to be.

Sit upwind so the campfire smoke doesn’t irritate your eyes and pour me another cup of joe.

God Bless to all,

olcranky

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“I don’t know….”

It is regrettable that so many people seem incapable of simply saying that phrase. If you listen to the talking heads whether from NPR or Fox news that spit out conclusions and/or talking points as though they have a lock on the truth of matters. I personally learned a long time ago that saying I didn’t know or have the answer was much better than trying to fake my way through a conversation where I was really pretty much lost or trying to make something up on the spot that at least sounded reasonably sane. I am here to encourage you that it is ok to admit you don’t know the answer or that you need to think about it for a while and mull it over.

I am much wiser now than I was 20 years ago or 50 years ago. Notice I didn’t say I am smarter or that my intellect is more acute that ever. If we pay any attention at all to the world around us and the people in it we almost by default should become wiser. By wiser I mean observing the actions and behaviors of Man around us whether literally next door or half way around the world. By that observation we learn. We reach our opinions of groups, individuals, societies and cultures. We adapt, adjust or stand pat in this ever evolving world around us. Often we stand pat when we are uncertain of the best course of action for ourselves or those we are responsible for like your family. Nothing wrong with some reflection about your next course of action when you are not sure which action is best. Prudence doesn’t mean ignorance and a little caution might avoid a negative outcome.

I don’t equate the foregoing with being a Negative Nancy or a Timid Tim. Sure when you are faced with circumstances where you have to make a decision, give it the thought it deserves or that the circumstances allow and then go with your best conclusion. Being decisive is a very good trait. One of the hallmarks of leadership. Churchill had it in spades. When faced with an emergency you may only have seconds to think and then act. But these folks I am fussing about are talking about political, economic and social issues that affect an entire society and our Nation. When you have 330 millions (and sadly exploding higher and higher) the issues become more complex and the opinions on direction even more divergent. That calls for thinking things through and at least trying really hard to anticipate the intended and especially unintended consequences.

So I sure would like to see some so-called leaders of all stripes say ” Gee, I am not sure. I don’t really know and don’t have an answer right now. I want to give that some thought”. I would find that refreshing and encouraging. Those people spouting off opinions are NOT masters of the universe nor the wise men.

Olcranky reads the international weather report every day for my own edification. I hate being told conclusions about the weather. I like to look at the facts for myself. For your info Europe had what you would call a relatively mild winter but Russia had a deep freeze and lots of snow.

You can worry about climate change. We’ll muddle through. What would be very scary is a big solar flare or the magnetic poles really accelerating their move. Imagine a new “north pole” over New York city. The radiation levels would skyrocket. The Flare would fry just about every satellite in orbit, no GPS for starters.

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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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