Why Do I Need To Vote, Anyway?

Why do I need to vote, anyway? The vote was given to Americans as a gift from our Founding Fathers.  Secured in the Constitution, a Right, that can never be taken from us. It is guaranteed.  But it is a privilege, as well. With the arrival of new inhabitants to the Colonies, one of the things “the people” wanted to secure was their ability to govern themselves and to get away from an oppressive ruling society.  When they arrived in the “New World”, they decided who would lead them. It was imperative they have a government that would allow them to express their pursuit of liberty and happiness.

The vote was given to land owners or those that owned a certain amount in livestock, as a means of determining their “investment” in the governing body.  Typically, if you had a stake in something you would be more apt to be interested and involved.  The vote was typically a white male, freed slave land-owner and on occasion women who had a vested interested. The votes cast in an election were typically small as landowners had to travel to cast the vote which was not always possible.

As civilization and generations spread to adjoining lands the desire to have a say in government also intensified. The people wanted to determine for themselves how they would be governed. The vote began to change from those with a vested interest, to individuals.  Many people today do not realize that in the beginning, the vote was to secure their holdings in a new society.  The vote moved from the land holder to the “person’.

The responsibility of voting was coveted. As more people lived in what were now cities and towns, the vote was given to the male of the house to determine best for his family.  It was the new American’s job to cast the vote, a Right not taken lightly.  Choosing a man of Honor, Integrity, one who was Fair and Equitable was not taken lightly.

Leaders, like the presidency, were to be men of great skill, military might, they were to be ethical, men of principal, of virtue, with great fortitude having an understanding of Biblical principles, and be of great moral character.

The first great battle on the American continent was fought for the vote. The American Revolution gave the people the ability to create a society which would allow a people to govern themselves.  Our forefathers died for this, in great multitudes, fighting off the oppressive European nations who wanted to rule over and control them.

It is a necessity that we continue this fight to quell oppressive governments and those who are put in place to govern.   The vote is the most important tool we have against tyranny.  We are called as a nation to choose how we will be governed and when those we place in high regard abuse it, it is our job to correct it.

The vote is a gift from our Founding Fathers, secured by the blood of those who fight and die for our freedom.

It cannot be but by Divine Intervention that we have been given such a “God-Inspired” document as the Constitution.  The instructions are very clear.  We must not take the vote for granted, for it is by which we shall live, freely.

The Declaration of Independence creates this very thing… ” We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Cast your vote. Exercise your Right.  Honor those who have died for your Freedom and for the privilege, right and gift of the vote, Do not take it lightly.

Vote a gift smaller

Kids~Shooting Sports and how new laws will impact them

Dear Honorable Sir:
I am a 4th generation Californian. My great grandparents came west a very long time ago… Our family has been institutional in the prosperity and success of this great state for more than 100 years… This year we celebrate 100 years of 4-H of which I have been a volunteer leader for over 20 years, too. I currently serve on the STATE OF CALIFORNIA 4-H SHOOTING SPORTS ADVISORY COMMISSION. We have been teaching and educating kids in the safe use and operation of firearms for as long as 4-H has been around. We are institutional in creating avenues to events like the Olympics and the World Cups. We keep our kids and young adults current and connected to the world of shooting sports. What is it about shooting sports? We have a proven track record of teaching children; eye hand co-ordination, success, team building without the competition, self esteem building, discipline, love for the out of doors, respect for self and others, love of family and how to be successful members of community, along with many other fine attributes.

The bills that are currently before us hurt us in every aspect of the attributes listed above. Our Olympic hopefuls shoot 1000 rounds a week sometimes, and we recycle all that lead… it is resold again and again and sales tax is collected over and over on the same small shot. Our Olympic hopefuls speak and present to local Rotary and Lyons clubs for support. Many of our kids compete with the same guns their parents used. In the course of a season, we have approximately 800-1000 kids in just the state of California practicing safe gun handling on any given day. In any given season, we travel as families, spending money and supporting our host communities, over and over…
Much like One Hundred years ago, kids who are taught safe gun handling and discipline can take down reassemble and clean any firearm. They are well aware that it is a tool… We have one of the lowest accident rates of ANY YOUTH SPORT!!!! Documented over and over again.
Hunting teaches a young person the value of a life, gives him/her the opportunity to feed themselves or others, and allows them to take a firm responsibility for their actions.
It is my contention that these bills. ALL OF THEM will only hurt the citizens of this once great state. It will drive more taxpaying citizens away, and will hurt our state in the competitive arena, severely. Currently, the most noteworthy and young up and coming athletes are predominately from California. The most medals ever won by an Olympian is in the shooting sports and from our great state…
While I agree there are some major issues to be dealt with, I think these bills will do more harm than good. It creates a society of discriminated against, profile group of Californians that have to adhere to Laws more like a criminal, than taxpaying, contribution members of their communities. California has THOUSANDS OF SQUARE MILES of Rural area, where we live, work and raise our families.
We protect our children and our livestock from predators with guns… We drive long miles for food and we grow and put food on the table… WE are California… Please reconsider on these bills…
We love our sporting guns, our sports for our kids, we love hunting and the value of the education, and we love families. We love our community clubs and they love us.
Proud member of USAshooting, CYSSA, SCTP, AIM, ATA, Boy Scouts, CMP, NSSA-NSCA, 4-H Shooting Sports. All youth, all the time… creating leaders for tomorrow.

Is there anyone out there in California’s 4-H?

What happened to the California 4-H Club as we knew it? 
Today, we receive the new State Newsletter and there is again nothing about Agriculture in it. There is no support for California’s farming/ranching  families, the small backyard farmer, the small families that strive to grow their own food, the concerned family wanting an education for their own family, anymore.  It has all gone the way of “i” this and that and “Thriving”.
Now I am all for healthy living, but isn’t that what we were all about already? Growing, making, and harvesting our own food? Creating, Designing, and Implementing new ideas in Products? Producing and teaching kids about where your food and textiles come from?
    100 years ago, 4-H was about California’s rural and sub-urban families gathering at California’s fairs and showing off their wares, proudly, after a year’s hard work learning new skills and perfecting old ones. A young girl’s work making a family heirloom quilt, this year’s bounty of berries hand picked and canned? The prize winning hog some child raised and hand fed? Newly learned welding skills.. Or how about the skills a young person learning breaking and training horses? Public speaking, writing, recitation?
What about the leadership skills young people learned along this growth path? Serving in their communities, speaking to groups, teaching younger siblings and club kids, working with adults on a youth adult level in their communities?
   4-H has always be associated with creating leaders and young persons who give back and to their communities. For 100 years it has created leaders and adults who have helped train, educate and guide young people into paths of success.  Not peer-to-peer but Adult volunteer to youth.. So I ask … what has happened?
    I, personally, am offended by the Thrive program. I have been a leader in 4-H for almost 20 years and through-out that time I have witnessed a lot of kids who have grown up and become amazing parents and valued members of their communities. The premise of Thrive suggests a “theory of change”, which alludes to something that hasn’t happened before. Well with that, I agree.. The program directs leaders to guide through activities the promotion of  self-awareness and self-competency, self-reflection and the 6 C’s.  “Thriving is defined as demonstrating growth in the functionally valued behaviors of competence, confidence, caring, connection, character, and contribution (AKA 6 Cs) across development.”
     Perhaps, the premise is not bad, but has 4-H become and after-school program? Have we abandoned the rural, farming, small town family?  Newsletter after newsletter I look for the promoting of agriculture, clean food, clean water, sustainable agriculture, protecting California’s agricultural resources, promoting new technologies and month after month the news is about … afterschool programs..

Have we been forgotten?

4-H is about pledging our
 HEAD TO CLEARER THINKING-Clarity, truth, education, critical thinking, plan, reason
HEART TO GREATER LOYALTY-Commitment, faithfulness, caring, respect, understanding, trusting, being noble, true
HANDS TO GREATER SERVICE- Learn by Doing.. and using those skills to share and train others.  to serve in a larger capacity than yourself. To be a Model Citizen, to be helpful, to be useful-a contributor.
HEALTH TO BETTER LIVING- Self, education on learning to take care of myself.
  FOR MY CLUB- Successes in learned practices to benefit my club, what can I share?
  FOR MY COMMUNITY-What impacts can I make in my community for what I have learned?
  FOR MY COUNTRY-Am I a mentor, Have I shared what I have learned?
  FOR MY WORLD-What do I give to benefit Society?

It’s not about Self-
It’s all about Self-less.

The Motto: To make the BEST … BETTER.. 

An Extraordinary Veteran’s Day Gift

Source: An Extraordinary Veteran’s Day Gift

An Extraordinary Veteran’s Day Gift

It was just a little more than a year ago when I began my pilgrimage into my yearly deep ponderance about a man I have never met yet who has been a part of my life since.. well, I am not exactly sure.. It must have been around 1972. I was just a young girl, impressionable, with older siblings. My thoughts and ideas formed from what they thought, what they did and what they cared about. It was also the beginnings of having great passion for life and the adventures that come with it. It was conflict! Beach Boys, War, marching in the streets against war and the beginning of the drug-induced hippie movement.

In 1965, my oldest brother, graduated from high school. He left for the Air Force, shortly, thereafter. At this young age, I was much too young to understand. I know I missed him.. and he was gone. His leaving left a huge hole in my heart and in all my being. I have to say I idolized him. He never came back. He would write on occasion, and visit, seldom.

Around 1972, I attended an event, of which I cannot recall. But what did happen, set me on a course for an event 40 years later. There was a group at the event, who had these metal bracelets for sale. Each one, with a name and a date. Each one a POW or MIA.. Each one unaccounted for..It was exciting! I picked a bracelet that had a date, somewhat near when my brother went in. I chose Major James O. Hivner.

  Maj James Hivner 11

I found it interesting that a man would have an “O” for a middle name.  Here is the information they gave me. Major James O.Hivner, POW, went missing on October 5, 1965 and that’s it.  I wore my POW/MIA bracelet proudly. I can recall praying for him, or maybe what seems like today.. a kind of pray~wishing for him to be alive and safe. My POW bracelet took a beating. It finally began to crack. As if it held some magical power, over the life of my POW,  I was desperate to keep it whole. My dad said there was no fixing it. Determined not to let it crack the rest of the way, I tried super glue, metal bonding glue, and last.. tape. Nothing worked and eventually, it cracked into two pieces. Well, would this be the end of the story?  Idealistic, powerless, and sure if I was not wearing it, he would be forgotten, forever..  I wrapped it up in some tissue paper and put it away, in my jewelry box for safe keeping.

  Over the years, there were occasionally lists published in the Major James Hivner 12paper of POW’s and MIA’s who became accounted for. I never saw my POW’s name on any of them.  I would pray for him, think about him.. and wonder who he was and what brought him to the horrific event of becoming a POW.  The years past by, and I would think of Major Hivner, I would pray for him and wonder if he was alive or was he ever accounted for.

With the invention of the Internet, great opportunities to search for him opened up. But, alas,  It grieved me that I could never find his name on any of the lists.  So many were recovered, so many returned home to their families. Mine remained missing.. Every few years, I would do a google search in a desperate attempt to have some closure whether good or bad for “my guy”. My first glimmer came about 5 years ago, when I saw his name on a POW/MIA list. I was so hopeful! Sadly there was no more information.

In 2014, I was sharing my teen adventures with my youngest boy who is now 17. I got my POW/MIA bracelet out and share about the whole POW/MIA experience. He had recently read the story about Zamperini and his testimony.   I seldom share what my life was like when i was a teen.. but this time, sharing about my bracelet, rekindled the burning desire to know.  One afternoon, I sat down in front of the computer and began to search.. i googled everything, i read everything, I researched every link.. I searched and researched for what seemed like days. I had a breakthrough. I found the Pow Network and I clicked all through the site. I click on the POW/MIA which took me to a multitude of resources links. My thoughts were to order a new bracelet. I clicked on a link that just said “Vietnam”. This link took me to a page of Biographies!! Encouraged, excited, full of new hope I clicked..”H”. down down down… and then.. there it was!

Name: James Otis Hivner
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force, pilot
Unit: 43rd TFS
Date of Birth: 20 February 1931
Home City of Record: Elizabethtown PA
Date of Loss: 05 October 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 213200N 1062100E (XJ397815)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Incident # 0161
Missions: 35

 My heart stopped.. and then I wanted to shout for joy.. My Prisoner of War was released.. He was alive! As I continued to read his story, I am amazed at his testimony! A pilot, shot down in October of 1965 but not reported He was captured and held by the North Vietnamese. Major James O. Hivner, now a Lt. Colonel in the USAF was released on February 12, 1973. When I inquired about returning his braclet to the project, I instead received a long letter from My Soldier. I am happy to say that  Colonel James O Hivner, Retired is now my email friend. We are connected by life and circumstances. He is a warm and wonderful Christan man who has great love for his family, friends and his country. Now I thank God for the blessing of his life. never again, wondering, if he “made it”.  I have his journal from during the time of his imprisonment. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry, Silver Star for gallantry and intrepidity, The Legion of Merit medal for meritorious conduct, The Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement, The Distinguished Flying Cross Second Award for extraordinary achievement, Prison of War Medal for his time as a prisoner.  I am blessed to know this man. If you would like to read some of his story.. let me know..

I am a witness to history.

“I am a witness to history”

“I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history.

If you remember the plot of the Sound of Music, the Von Trapp family escaped over the Alps rather than submit to the Nazis. Kitty wasn’t so lucky. Her family chose to stay in her native Austria. She was 10 years old, but bright and aware. And she was watching.

“We elected him by a landslide – 98 percent of the vote,” she recalls.

She wasn’t old enough to vote in 1938 – approaching her 11th birthday. But she remembers.

“Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.”

No so.

Hitler is welcomed to Austria

“In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25 percent inflation and 25 percent bank loan interest rates.

Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn’t want to work; there simply weren’t any jobs.

“My mother was a Christian woman and believed in helping people in need. Every day we cooked a big kettle of soup and baked bread to feed those poor, hungry people – about 30 daily.’

“We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933.” she recalls. “We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living.

“Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group – Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone in Germany was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back.

“Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.

“We were overjoyed,” remembers Kitty, “and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and
everyone was fed.

“After the election, German officials were appointed, and, like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.

“Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home. An able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn’t support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been re- quired to give up for marriage.

“Then we lost religious education for kids

“Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school.. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools. The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler’s picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn’t pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles,’ and had physical education.

“Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parents were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail.”

And then things got worse.

“The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free.

“We would go home and gleefully tell our parents about the wonderful time we had.

“My mother was very unhappy,” remembers Kitty. “When the next term started, she took me out of public school and put me in a convent. I told her she couldn’t do that and she told me that someday when I grew up, I would be grateful. There was a very good curriculum, but hardly any fun – no sports, and no political indoctrination.

“I hated it at first but felt I could tolerate it. Every once in a while, on holidays, I went home. I would go back to my old friends and ask what was going on and what they were doing.

“Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time, unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler.

“It seemed strange to me that our society changed so suddenly. As time went along, I realized what a great deed my mother did so that I wasn’t exposed to that kind of humanistic philosophy.

“In 1939, the war started, and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn’t work, you didn’t get a ration card, and, if you didn’t have a card, you starved to death.

“Women who stayed home to raise their families didn’t have any marketable skills and often had to take jobs more suited for men.

“Soon after this, the draft was implemented.

“It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps,” remembers Kitty. “During the day, the girls worked on the farms, and at night they returned to their barracks for military training just like the boys.

“They were trained to be anti-aircraft gunners and participated in the signal corps. After the labor corps, they were not discharged but were used in the front lines.

“When I go back to Austria to visit my family and friends, most of these women are emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat.

“Three months before I turned 18, I was severely injured in an air raid attack. I nearly had a leg amputated, so I was spared having to go into the labor corps and into military service.

“When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers.

“You could take your children ages four weeks old to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, seven days a week, under the total care of the government.

“The state raised a whole generation of children. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had.

“Before Hitler, we had very good medical care. Many American doctors trained at the University of Vienna..

“After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything.

“When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full.

“If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.

“As for healthcare, our tax rates went up to 80 percent of our income. Newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household. We had big programs for families.

“All day care and education were free. High schools were taken over by the government and college tuition was subsidized. Everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing.

“We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables.

“Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn’t meet all the demands.

“Soon, he went out of business. If the government owned the large businesses and not many small ones existed, it could be in control.

“We had consumer protection, too

“We were told how to shop and what to buy. Free enterprise was essentially abolished. We had a planning agency specially designed for farmers. The agents would go to the farms, count the livestock, and then tell the farmers what to produce, and how to produce it.

“In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps. The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated.

“So people intermarried and offspring were sometimes retarded. When I arrived, I was told there were 15 mentally retarded adults, but they were all useful and did good manual work.

“I knew one, named Vincent, very well. He was a janitor of the school. One day I looked out the window and saw Vincent and others getting into a van.

“I asked my superior where they were going. She said to an institution where the State Health Department would teach them a trade, and to read and write. The families were required to sign papers with a little clause that they could not visit for 6 months.

“They were told visits would interfere with the program and might cause homesickness.

“As time passed, letters started to dribble back saying these people died a natural, merciful death. The villagers were not fooled. We suspected what was happening. Those people left in excellent physical health and all died within 6 months. We called this euthanasia.

“Next came gun registration. People were getting injured by guns. Hitler said that the real way to catch criminals (we still had a few) was by matching serial numbers on guns. Most citizens were law-abiding and dutifully marched to the police station to register their firearms. Not long afterwards, the police said that it was best for everyone to turn in their guns. The authorities already knew who had them, so it was futile not to comply voluntarily.

“No more freedom of speech. Anyone who said something against the government was taken away. We knew many people who were arrested, not only Jews, but also priests and ministers who spoke up.

“Totalitarianism didn’t come quickly, it took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria. Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.”

“This is my eyewitness account.

“It’s true. Those of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity.

“America is truly is the greatest country in the world. “Don’t let freedom slip away.

“After America, there is no place to go.”

Kitty Werthmann

It is Natural to Indulge in the Illusion of Hope…

Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death

Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free — if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending — if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable — and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

A Morally Confused Marine by Dennis Prager

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINEpage_2012_200_prager_square

A Morally Confused Marine

Last week, the Washington Post published an opinion piece by a Marine captain titled, “I killed people in Afghanistan. Was I right or wrong?”

The column by Timothy Kudo, who is now a graduate student at New York University, is a fine example of the moral confusion leftism has wrought over the last half century. Captain Kudo’s moral confusion may predate his graduate studies, but if so, it has surely been reinforced and strengthened at NYU.

The essence of Mr. Kudo’s piece is that before he served in Afghanistan he was ethically unprepared for killing, that killing is always wrong, and that war is therefore always wrong.

   “I held two seemingly contradictory beliefs: Killing is always wrong, but in war, it is necessary. How could something be both immoral and necessary?”

The statement, “killing is always wrong,” is the core of the captain’s moral confusion.

Where did he learn such nonsense? He had to learn it because it is not intuitive. Every child instinctively understands that it is right to kill in self-defense; every decent human being knows it was right to kill Nazis during World War II; and just about everyone understands that if Hitler, Stalin, and Mao had been killed early enough, about 100 million innocent lives would have been saved.

How is it possible that a Marine captain and graduate student does not know these things? How can he make a statement that is not only morally foolish, but actually immoral?

The overwhelmingly likely answer is that Captain Kudo is a product of the dominant religion of our time, leftism. And one important feature of the Left’s moral relativism and moral confusion is a strong pacifistic strain.

   “Many veterans are unable to reconcile such actions in war with the biblical commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ When they come home from an environment where killing is not only accepted but is a metric of success, the transition to one where killing is wrong can be incomprehensible.”

I give Captain Kudo the benefit of the doubt that he does not know that the commandment in its original Hebrew reads, “Thou shalt not murder,” not “Thou shalt not kill.” The King James translators did an awe-inspiring job in translating the Bible. To this day, no other English translation comes close to conveying the majesty of the biblical prose. But the Hebrew is clear: “lo tirtzach” means “Do not murder.” Hebrew, like English, has two primary words for homicide — “murder” and “kill.”

Murder is immoral or illegal killing.

Killing, on the other hand, can be, and often is, both moral and legal.

In order to ensure that no more Marines share the captain’s moral confusion, the Marine Corps should explain to all those who enlist that the Bible only prohibits murder, not killing. It should further explain that killing murderers — such as the Nazis and Japanese fascists in World War II and the Taliban today — is not only not morally problematic, it is the apotheosis of a moral good. Refusing to kill them means allowing them to murder.

   “This incongruity can have devastating effects. After more than 10 years of war, the military lost more active-duty members last year to suicide than to enemy fire.”

As we have seen, there is no “incongruity” here. And if so many members of the American military believe that it is so “incongruous” to kill the moral monsters of the Taliban — the people who throw lye in the faces of girls who attend school (and shoot them in the head if they’re outspoken about the right of girls to an education); who murder medical volunteers who give polio shots to Afghan children; and who stone women charged with “dishonoring” their families — that they are committing suicide in unprecedented numbers, we have a real moral crisis in our military.

   “To properly wage war, you have to recalibrate your moral compass. Once you return from the battlefield, it is difficult or impossible to repair it.”

You only “have to recalibrate your moral compass” if you enter the military with a broken moral compass — one that neither understands the difference between murder and killing, nor how evil the Taliban is.

   “War makes us killers. We must confront this horror directly if we’re to be honest about the true costs of war.”

Other than the author, are there many Americans who enter the military in time of war without confronting the fact that they are likely to kill? Furthermore, it is not “war” that makes us killers; it is the Taliban. We kill them in order to protect Afghans from Taliban atrocities, and to protect America from another 9/11.

   “I want to believe that killing, even in war, is wrong.”

Why would anyone want to believe that? Were the soldiers who liberated Nazi death camps “wrong”?

   “The immorality of war is not a wound we can ignore.”

With all respect, I would rewrite this sentence to read: “The moral confusion of a Marine captain is not a wound we can ignore.”

Every American is deeply grateful to Captain Kudo for his service on behalf of his country, and on behalf of elementary human rights in Afghanistan. I have to wonder, however, why, given his belief that killing is always wrong, Timothy Kudo ever enlisted in the Marines.

On the other hand, he will fit in perfectly at NYU.

— This is Dennis Prager’s fourth column this year in an ongoing series, “How the Left Thinks.”Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His most recent book is Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.


© National Review Online 2013. All Rights Reserved.

another 2 cents on Prop 37 and how to save the small producer

Hello, I want to share my response to the the Prop 37 info and email. Just some “food for thought”  on why I choose to vote NO on 37 and save the small family farmer.  I have taken just one paragraph from Steve’s email and addressed it. Please research and read carefully for yourself. The ripples from this one could have extremely far reaching consequences. Sadly, this proposition is only about politics and extremism. It is not about the farmer and family producer. It would have been better if we had a label that said … “GMO Free” put on the ballot by farmers and small family producers allowing the public to freely choose.
4-H mom

old animal science major.

Small producer

From the email:
Steve “The cost of changing a label is exceedingly small, especially if they do what they do with nuts and just say “may contain GE ingredients” (the measure actually allows this, FYI).”

–>99% of all labeling would have to be changed for the “California” label.  Labeling does cost money.. new approved designs inspected for “Genetically Engineered” on all labeling. New packaging and boxing. Palletizing. It has to be labeled.  Zero Tolerance!.  New box designs, specific bills of lading, inspection,  trucks with product marked specific for California markets, plainly marked “GE” foods.
Steve “Furthermore, if the result was that shoppers actually stopped buying it this stuff on a wide scale, then the price of anything containing GE food would actually drop!”

–> California’s “all natural” market (which the term will be outlawed in this bill) currently supplies 40% of all demand nationwide, which makes up .08% of all foods consumed in the USA. This could not be true. The populations are too great for the quantity produced. It takes years of planning for crop production. Could you really just stop?  There is not enough GMO free product currently produced for consumption, so given supply and demand for NON gmo.. prices would skyrocket beyond accessibility.

 Imagine with me for a moment…the average grocery store now boasts 50,000 items, most of which would have to be relabeled.. There is NO cool off time for this proposition.. Ok one day.. out the next.. what a huge loss in food it will be.. HUGE. Who pays?

Steve “Thus, anyone that didn’t care, or couldn’t afford the GE free food, would actually save money. Not true.

Steve “Not only are some trying to confuse labeling with a ban (which arguably could cause prices to rise while farmers make the transition back), but they are counting on people not to think through the laws of supply and demand.”

–> Supply and demand. Where would farmers get this seed to “transition back” [to or forward]? Someone has to have already  harvested the seeds..

The population of the USA primarily shops at a grocery store. I do not understand how passing this could “save” money. Analysts agree this proposition will cost money, It has to.  Farmers, Trucking companies, Inspectors, Labeling, Testing.. it all costs! Who will pay for it.

 Currently there is NOT enough GMO seed produced and stockpiled on the planet, much less in any state or county that can take the place of the seeds that are currently stockpiled in the US.
Food feed and seed corn for Sept to Nov 2011- 14,766 million bushels produced.  ( Just Corn, just 60 days)

Californians will soon vote on Proposition 37, mandating that genetically modified (GM) food is labeled. Supporters argue that mandatory labeling responds to consumers’ rights, offers greater choice, and provides more information on food content. But the specifics of Prop 37 will result in a much different outcome. Food category choice will decrease and the added labeling information will be imprecise. Prop 37 will introduce a double standard for accidental GM purity in organic versus non-organic foods, favoring organic University of California http://giannini.ucop.edu/media/are-update/files/issues/V15N6.pdf

Prop 37 would apply the strictest threshold level for unintentional traces of GM ingredients of any international mandatory labeling scheme, including that of the European Union (EU) where the threshold is 0.9% for adventitious (accidental) presence of GM. The California initiative would implement a zero-tolerance policy for accidental presence of small amounts of GM substances, even if the U.S. government has approved the GM material for human consumption. It will be impossible for farmers and the food industry to comply with such an impractical tolerance standard. source see above U of CA

Let me give you an example: Let’s say you are an all-natural ( now outlawed terminology under prop 37) using NON GMO seed for soybeans. Soybeans are self pollinating BUT in a number of cases and tests, they do and will cross-pollinate by bees. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15612278.  This effectually limits the NON-GMO producer from being just that.. under the zero tolerance section of Prop 37 they are now GMO producers and will have to label as such.. “may contain GMO’s” .. We could get rid of all the bees and butterflies.. which along with the summer breezes are the largest pollinators on earth.. so what do we do? Will the people who are the consumers still purchase from YOU?  This will effectively kill the small farmer.

Next Scenario… Because the Good Neighbor/100 mile diet is so successful, what will happen to the all natural farmer; our friends, neighbors, ourselves?  Under prop 37 you will not be able to use the terminology “natural, all natural, etc”. Will the mom and dad, small farmer be able to afford testing to be sure there is no GMO blow over pollen from the farmer nearby? Or will they ignore this in an effort (to afford) to sell to the public? At the  risk of being sued.. This proposition is “ZERO tolerance”. No one really knows what the fiscal impact will be.

“The only practical way to meet 100% GMO-free purity standards for corn would be to create very large isolation zones in which only non-genetically modified corn is grown for miles around. Setting up and administrating such an isolation zone would be implausible at best in nightmarish at worst.” http://fairfoodfight.com/2010/02/17/food-thought-gmo-free-really-possible/

The California State Attorney General only acknowledges the Fiscal impact from lawsuits which are certain. http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/propositions/37/analysis.htm

State Regulation. The labeling requirements for GE foods under this measure would be regulated by DPH …develop regulations that describe the sampling procedures for determining whether foods contain GE ingredients.

Litigation to Enforce the Measure. Violations of the measure could be prosecuted by state, local, or private parties. It allows the court to award these parties all reasonable costs incurred in investigating and prosecuting the action… allows consumers to sue without needing to demonstrate that any specific damage occurred as a result of the alleged violation.


Increase in State Administrative Costs. This measure would result in additional state costs for DPH to regulate the labeling of GE foods, such as reviewing documents and performing periodic inspections to determine whether foods are actually being sold with the correct labels. Depending on how and the extent to which the department chooses to implement these regulations these costs could range from a few hundred thousand dollars to over $1 million annually.

Potential Increase in Costs Associated With Litigation.

The romantic notion that by passing a proposition that will label 99% of what is on every table in California  will be rosy, wonderful and somehow noble and that all small farmers, co-op farming families will be protected from big corporate seed companies is a farce. This proposition is poorly written, kills the small farmer, and opens all farming families to litigation. Farmers no matter how small need to THINK AND READ AND BE INFORMED and not be given over to passion without reason. This bill is so poorly written.. protect the farmer, the family.. VOTE NO ON 37..



Now how about a label for GMO Free!

Date: Monday, October 29, 2012, 10:53 AM

I’m forwarding this to help clear up what Genetically Engineered foods are.  This is a bigger issue than just a California ballot measure.  It is important that we know what these “fake foods” are and their effect on our agriculture and our health.  We also recommend the movies “The Future of Food” and “Genetic Roulette” for additional clarification.  Try to evaluate the science behind DNA adulteration, without all the “politics” and “economics”.

We hope this helps,

The Won*.* family

Thanks Steve, I will forward this on.

In Service to Freedom, Love and Laughter
Know your Farmer
If you don’t have one, find one
If you can’t find one, become one
Vote Yes on Prop. 37.  Its our right to know what is in our food.  Label GMO’s!

On Oct 27, 2012, at 3:09 PM Steven wrote:

As you know, I am a biologist, and you are absolutely correct! Any one concerned about what this measure does or does not do should simply read the text of the measure which, incidentally, is the “genetically engineered (GE) food act” (not the GMO food act). This clearly defines what GE means in Article 6.6. Although GMO is commonly used interchangeably with GE, it is a mistake to think that either term includes methods of artificial selection used by breeders for the last 10,000 years, or evolution by natural selection. I say this as someone with a Ph.D in plant pathology who has actually done genetic engineering for basic research purposes (as opposed to commercial uses) and knows many scientists across the spectrum on this issue who would agree on this. The “biologist” referenced below was probably using the argument that GE technology is an extension of the traditional breeding techniques, and therefore sees the “moral” argument of “playing god” as invalid. However I will argue that if you went through the trouble of breeding a fantastic new variety of stonefruit, for example, you would say what it is on the label, and not just pass it off as the old variety. So if GE is unique enough to be patented, it should be labeled as such to the consumer.

Monsanto and the food processing industry are spending millions to confuse this point (and other points) and unfortunately, some of the folks in this email chain have CLEARLY not taken the time to learn about the terminology. This terminology is accepted by BOTH proponents and opponents of the technology, and both are commonly used in the scientific literature on the topic, and are clearly distinct from the meanings suggested below. Even if that were not true for the term GMO, the measure clearly refers to GE as I said, and thus their argument about traditionally bred crops is moot.

The cost of changing a label is exceedingly small, especially if they do what they do with nuts and just say “may contain GE ingredients” (the measure actually allows this, FYI). Furthermore, if the result was that shoppers actually stopped buying it this stuff on a wide scale, then the price of anything containing GE food would actually drop! Thus, anyone that didn’t care, or couldn’t afford the GE free food, would actually save money. Not only are some trying to confuse labeling with a ban (which arguably could cause prices to rise while farmers make the transition back), but they are counting on people not to think through the laws of supply and demand.

Furthermore, the measure specifically excludes meat from animals FED GE products. That is currently where most of this stuff goes (along with GE cotton) and so this may actually cause the price of corn and soy fed meat to drop as well!

What about the corn and soy farmers (because there are almost no other food crops currently on the market that are GE)? If they were to shift to non-GE crops due to the drop in price for GE commodities, they would benefit from the higher price of the non GE crop to cover any increased production costs, and if not, our system of subsidies would still support them. However, both the GE drop and the non-GE gain would only go as far as the market will bear. Ironic how little faith in the free market system there is among some people who I suspect consider themselves libertarians and republicans (and perhaps call Obama a socialist?).

Finally, most agbiotech companies have moved beyond GE for most crop-improvement goals because it is relatively simplistic by current technology standards, and doesn’t even get to the goal faster (than say, marker assisted breeding). In other words, you don’t have to be a anti-technology to vote for this, just for transparency and accountability.

So unless you work for Monsanto, its hard to understand why anyone would be against sharing information about a product (unless it indicates their product is inferior, and they will be forced to DROP their price!). And if I’m wrong and the price of corn syrup and other processed empty calories does goes up, maybe it will save some of the billions in health care costs these things cause!

Anyway, feel free to forward this to anyone you like, and keep up the good fight!

Steve *.*, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology


Proposition 37 in California

I know a lot of you are planning on voting Yes on 37. So I invite you to sit down have a glass of wine while you read this. While my family is a producer of non-GMO foods, (livestock) I am NOT voting for it.. and here is why.
The premise is good, but the approach is all wrong. If it passes, California would have to have “specially packaged” food labeled for sale just in California.
This means, the product covering, the packaging it goes into, the boxes or cases that goes into.. all requiring the specially labeled for CA stickers..

As a farmer and especially around here, small farmers contribute to the bigger farms to produce a product. All of which would have to be certified. Farmers of every size would bear the brunt of the cost. VERY FEW products do not contain GMO’s at some level. Recently even Koshi cereals was busted.
–> Do you really want to pay for special packaging for everything in a package..just for the “California Market”? for everything????<–

Walk down the aisle of even the smallest store.. look at every product.. EVERY PRODUCT!and tell me .. are you willing to pay more for a California OK product label on each item? Ten’s of thousands of items. I have seen supermarkets boasting that they carry more than 50,000 items for a grocery store!!!!..

From Meat to Soda, crackers, soup to broccoli,from Baby food to Toothpaste, to Vanilla, and Saltine crackers, Top Ramen, a Bag of Chips? How about Celery, or an Apple, or Strawberries?
Really?? This is what your a saying when you say yes to Prop 37.

This also means trucks will have to haul just for the CA market, each bill of lading will have to certify it is “California Labeled” before crossing into Ca to deliver to the stores.. Really -–> Are you really willing to pay extra for this??
If we really care wouldn’t it be easier to label from the other end.. [ a product free of GMO’s ] as a specialty product and not for the 99% of EVERYTHING ELSE ON THE SHELVES? … If you live in CA you will have to bear a huge burden if this passes..
We already have the highest gas prices in all 50.. –> What are you willing to pay for a label?

Whether you shop at Azure, or Mt People’s Co-op, Grind and grow your own.. or shop at the $ .99cent store. It will be the same.. It will ALL have to be specially labeled for CA. You know the little cherry stand? Well it’s the same story there. Do you think those trees have been GM’d? Yes they have. To grow faster, resist diseases,

Oh, that Glass of wine you sat down with… Every vine younger than 30years has been grafted on to a parent plant that constitutes GMO!

Tuesday’s cheap night at the movies, eat the GMO popcorn, drink your GMO vitamin WATER, eat that box of GMO Raisinets, keep in mind each one of those things will then have to be specially labeled in CA resale packaging…. Are you really ready for this??? “Oh Honey, did you feed the dog his special GMO California Labeled dog food??” Fresh produce.. aw, if I were you I would just buy the stuff from Mexico or Chile, or some other country even though California is the number one grower of produce in all the USA.. and leading worldwide exporter.. but wait.. ..That foreign stuff….It’s exempt.

So what is exempt? ” Dairy products, eggs, meat and poultry are all exempt. Fruit juice requires a label, but alcohol made with some of the same GE ingredients is exempt. Food sold in a grocery store requires a label, but the same food sold in a restaurant is exempt. Food imported from China and other foreign countries are exempt if sellers simply claim their products are “GE free”. Unscrupulous foreign companies can game the system. ”

Get the facts.. do your homework… http://votersedge.org/california/ballot-measures/2012/november/prop-37

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