Archive for the ‘Independent’ Category

Tea Party Tugboats, Shove Romney to Starboard!

March 9, 2012
Tugs Dock Aircraft Carrier

Small but mighty -- tugboats maneuver the carrier USS John F. Kennedy into its mooring place. (Wikipedia)


Patient and constant pressure – that’s how little tugboats move big ships where they are supposed to go. That is what conservatives will have to do with the new (God willing!) president.

This is directed at you Republicans who say you will stand behind your non-Romney candidate for the nomination, no matter what, all the way to Election Day.

I feel your pain. I wrote in Alan Keyes in the general election in 2008, and have discussed extensively why I did that. Hand-picked loser John McCain was just too repugnant a weasel to vote for.  I still believe the GOP establishment picked him as the best candidate to hand the election to Barack Obama. Why? Because losing was less scary for them than winning and having to admit to the unpleasant state in which George II left us, and then (shudder) deal with it.

The flaw in my analysis of that election was that I swallowed the popular assumption that electing the “right” president would reverse the century of Progressive erosion that has nearly washed away our fundamental freedoms.

That erosion paved the way for Trojan Horse Marxist Barack Obama, the single most destructive president in history, who then did more damage to our Constitutional Republic than any president since Wilson, and is on a trajectory to become a virtual – or actual – dictator in a second term.

With A Democrat majority in the House and Senate until the Great Rebound of 2010, Obama rammed through legislation, and appointed “Czars” that threaten to turn the Constitution into a meaningless rag. Obamacare, with its thousands of pages of abuses and illegalities; “recess appointments” without recesses; Supreme Court nominees without any qualifications other than allegiance to his socialist world view; “Fast and Furious,” and other, grotesque miscarriages of justice by his sock-puppet Attorney General, apologies to despots not entitled to apologies… the list is long.

If he gets a second term, Obama and his crew of leftist hacks and clowns will accomplish their mission, turning the best country in the history of the world into a third-rate banana republic, without the capacity to grow a single banana.

In fact, he can do so much damage between now and his last day in office — even if it is next January – that any Republican president will have to administer the political equivalent of first aid, maybe even CPR,  just to pull our country back from the brink.

After the airway, breathing and circulation are restored, there will still be not just years, but decades of work to do, rooting out the regulators and executive branch hacks and parasites who have embedded themselves in the bloated bulk of our federal government, feeding on their host while contributing, each of them, to its destruction.

That is why I will vote for the Republican nominee in November, no matter who he (OR SHE!) is.

Our new (God willing!) president, prodded by the conservative tugboats in Congress and the tens of millions of Tea Party conservatives and Constitutionalists in the electorate, will have to apply patient and constant pressure to the right, forcing the government back into the role prescribed for it in our founding documents.

No single man or woman, no single president, can reverse the century of socialization advanced by Democrats and Liberal Republicans.

The angry and awakened conservative electorate simply cannot go back to sleep — even if the Republicans win big in November.

We have to take some of the time that we used to use to work, play and take care of our families, and put it into relentless, constant pressure on all three branches of government to get out of our faces, out of our pockets, out of our families, out of our businesses, and back into the constraints of the Constitution.

We can force a Republican Senate to approve competent and ethical appointments to cabinet departments and to the federal courts, and to soundly reject stupid, negligent or simply corrupt nominees, regardless of presidential or GOP hack pressure.

We can steer a Republican House to reject any act that doesn’t contract our debt, and to defund agencies that don’t have any Constitutional basis for their existence, while we wait for a chastened executive branch to abolish those agencies and departments. We can also compel our Representatives to initiate impeachment of unfit judges, and build fires under cabinet officials who have lost sight of their Constitutional limitations and responsibilities.

We can’t do any of the above without research, emails, calls, visits, campaign contributions and constant vigilance applied by millions of diligent, persistent voters.

We can push a rudderless America away from the emotional appeals of the progressives and liberal lobbies, and back toward

Like tugs moving a giant ship, or like a Cumberland River towboat pushing thousands of tons of gravel or grain downriver, we can steer the Republican “leadership” in the right direction – or replace them in the next elections.

Tug pushing barges, Cumberland River

Barge tug pushes thousands of tons of cargo on the Cumberland River near Ashland City, TN (Photo by the author)

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NEWTRALIZING OBAMA

February 23, 2012

The cement is still wet enough to scratch my initials in, but it’s curing around my vote for Newt, March 6th.

Best Candidate:

We need a thick-skinned, sharp-toothed junkyard dog to beat the Obama/Media-Pimp/Soros/KGB/Muslim-Brotherhood complex.

Romney is such a gone-over marketing package that I see him as more package than product. Yes, he seems conservative on some issues — maybe even most — but he is SO polished and marketing-driven that I don’t think he will have a hard enough edge in debates with Obama and surrogates, and in ambush interviews with the Obamedia to keep conservatives interested and motivated, and to make a bold contrast between himself and Obama.

Santorum is a little too Mister Rogers for me, and, like Romney, he doesn’t appear to be capable of confronting Obama aggressively, and establishing the stark contrast that will make softer 2008 Obama voters think, “I voted for ‘change,’ not for ‘destruction’, and not for turning this country into a phony-baloney, socialist utopia. And that doesn’t make me a racist, it makes me willing to admit a mistake, and CORRECT IT.” 

There is too a strong vein of McCain-style, smiley-face milquetoast in him, and it can come out at the worst possible moment (think Arlen Specter), letting ObamaCo make him look flatter than stale beer.

Ron Paul may be capable of the junkyard dog thing, but how can anyone be comfortable with the appallingly-large component of wackoid, hate-spewing, racist loons who are stuck to him? Most of them have more in common with Louis Farrakhan than with me.

He can’t win the election, because his foaming-at-the-mouth acolytes will alienate everyone but themselves from him, and then they will turn on each other, leaving a battered few to show up at the polls… probably on Wednesday, after they run out of pot.

If a man is known by the company he keeps, Paul is a guy who is comfortable with a live grenade rolling around in the back of his pickup truck — probably Obama’s dream opponent.

Gingrich has shown repeatedly, in the 327 Republican debates, and in multiple ambush “interviews” that he can stand up under tremendous pressure and articulate conservative principles both rationally and persuasively, even in the face of the most intense, lying, hate-filed attacks Obama and his jackals can muster. He can punch, but most importantly, he can counter-punch, hard — and that is critical.

Newt’s so-called “baggage” is all out there, and none of it matters up against the Obama baggage (make that a Chinese mega-freighter full of shipping containers dripping toxic waste) already in the public record, AND the many, as-yet-undisclosed skeletons in Obama’s closet, many of which will spill out by Fall, despite the Obamedia’s best efforts.  If Newt’s campaign goes after Obama as it should and could, the baggage will all belong to Barack.

Best President:

None of the Final Four will make an ideal, constitutionally-sound president. If that’s what you’re looking for, forget it. Now, back to reality:

Santorum and Romney are in a mushy tie, as far as being trustworthy in the Big Chair. Either of them seems capable of being persuaded to do outrageous things in “the best interest of the majority (read, “Romneycare”, and “Arlen Specter”, as above), or in some Marxist-theology-tainted religious appeal, even if those things are explicitly unconstitutional and wrong — as long as they have the right emotional hooks.

Ron Paul is a non-starter. What does his acceptance of the support of his bizarre fan base say about Paul’s judgment? Nothing that makes me want him in the White House.

Add to that, he is clearly, fatally, 180-degrees wrong about Israel and foreign policy, and the threat of Islam. That he sticks with those insane, immoral positions is all the evidence I need that he has a deep character flaw, defective judgment,  and/or a tenuous grip on reality.

Okay, Least-Bad President:

Any of them would require a continuous prod with a flaming, sharp stick, to move them toward constitutional government and away from New Deal tyranny.  I feel about 1.5% better turning my back on Newt for as long as two minutes at a time. Mitt and Rick, not for a second. Either of them could be swayed by a good sales pitch, even if intrinsically wrong, if the emotional appeal were strong enough. Paul? I shudder to think of him loose in the Commander-in-Chief’s chair, spinning and squealing, without adult supervision.

My instinct is that Newt has a hard enough core to send any pack of lobbyist jackals dressed as a sales team packing, and feeling as if they had just had their bark peeled.  I can’t say that about any of the others.

Newt is my guy, by default — at this second.

Unicorns, Moderates, Undecideds, Independents, and Other Myths

February 22, 2012

I’ve had it with the Lamestream Media (credit: Joseph Farah) and Republican big shots and their concern for these mythical voters, the Moderates, the Undecideds, and the Independents.

First of all, who the hell are these voters?

Moderates are liberals who are embarrassed to admit to their liberalism, or some of its more repugnant aspects, because they know that liberalism is out of the American mainstream, indefensible and stupid.

Undecideds – those who truly are undecided, even after the primaries and conventions – are people who are unable to distinguish up from down, good from evil (or are uncomfortable with offending evil by denouncing it publicly) and who probably should not be allowed out of their rooms without competent adult supervision, because they will be unable to determine which way to turn at the door. Why do we care what they think about the important stuff? They can’t decide which color socks to wear.

Independents – See also “Moderates,” above. These hapless individuals see themselves as above labels and party political games, and morally superior to people who use such labels. However, they are really just Moderates by another name.

The exception is the “Recovering Republicans.” They were appalled by the feckless and incompetent presidential campaigns of Bob Dole and John McCain. They are terminally annoyed with the Republican Congressional Leadership’s fondness for the intricacies of political process, and their allegiance to party unity over Constitutional principle. They are undecided which likely Republican candidate will be least likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

They cannot become Democrats without first having their brains removed, but can no longer support the Republican National Committee and its various surrogates, which are neither conservative nor welcoming of people who are.

The “experts” and the GOP Establishment have told us for decades that mentioning the Constitution, “social issues” (they say, “choice” — we say, “abortion”) and God will drive away these three classes of voters, and they cite surveys, routinely conducted by liberal news organizations and left-wing special interest groups (often indistinguishable) who say any attempt to articulate conservative principles will scare off these three groups like crows scattering at the sound of gunfire.

Do the experts and interest groups ever bother to find out why the members of these groups identify themselves as such? Do they even care?

Are they afraid that examining the views of these wafflers and wishy-washies in any detail would reveal them for the airheads, liberals and lefties they really are?

Of course they are. How do you think they can claim to know what these people think about the Constitution, abortion and God, except by inventing this mythical voting bloc out of whole cloth?  Are they any more credible than mystics at a séance, claiming to speak for the dead?

No. The TV talking heads, the Republican Royalty and the Republican political consultants (real, and wanna-be) don’t know who Moderates, Undecideds and Independents really are, and they are no more able to predict how they will vote (or even IF they will vote) than I am able to predict winning Powerball numbers.

It’s time to ignore Moderates, Undecideds and Independents, and the people who claim to speak for them.

Conservative issues win. Let’s try them, shall we?

 

 

It’s NOT the ECONOMY, STUPID! It’s the FREEDOM!

July 5, 2011

It's NOT THE ECONOMY!

Why does any public discussion of our stumbling, staggering, bleeding economy dissolve into accounting-speak — deficits, debt, bonds, seasonally-adjusted unemployment figures, tax deductions, accelerated depreciation, corporate tax loopholes, taxing the rich, oil-depletion allowances, big oil, big tobacco, jobs training, college tuition, blah, blah, blah, ZZZZZ?

BECAUSE IT’S SUPPOSED TO. Whether it’s the baffled and hackneyed vice president or the Decepticon-in-Chief telling us we need to blame some fictional Monopoly-man villain, or the super-caffeinated Congressman Paul Ryan speed-talking to us about the his budget plan, we are soon lulled into a haze of indifference by the “hate-the-rich” blather, or the “dismal science” jargon.

This is by design. The Left blames the “rich,” and the Right blames the Left. Neither side in the argument will dare a passing glance at the real issue behind all the class-warfare rhetoric and financial minutiae – the metastatic intrusion of government into every aspect of our lives, consuming our freedoms and transforming our country from a beacon of freedom into an addled, paralyzed, stupid, Euro-socialist dinosaur.

In short, the real issue is the loss of freedom.

When a whole country tries to move back into its parents’ basement, somebody has to pick up the tab, and here we are. A nanny-state is an ever-expanding expense, and the trade of freedom for an illusion of security always, always, always has the same result. The number of people willing to make that trade exceeds the number of those who refuse, and, as Margaret Thatcher famously said, “…sooner or later, you run out of other peoples’ money.”

Then, one of a small number of things happens. One has happened so often that no one should be surprised, but some always are: mass murder and mass graves.

In the Twentieth Century,  socialism — under its two major brand names, Communism and Nazism — took off its mask of compassion and equality of result, and showed the naked face of absolute dictatorship. It tried to reduce its operating costs and remove inconvenient political opposition by killing a hundred million or more human beings.

It never works, but don’t look for this cost-cutting measure to be abandoned permanently. Scrape the socially-acceptable, compassionate-statist veneer off of any socialist, and the dictatorial, mass murderer is always there, waiting for its moment in the sun.

Another approach is by simply printing “money.”  This doesn’t work either, as the Weimar Republic and Zimbabwe have already proven, as if proof were necessary. Sooner or later, the rest of the world catches on that the “full faith and credit” of the officially-sanctioned counterfeiting ring is meaningless.

No matter how many zeroes the print shop adds to the bill denominations, they still buy less and less, and finally, they are worth more as paper than as currency. This is but another, intermediate step to the murderous dictatorship, or to chaos and destruction.

The rarest but most blessed outcome is an awakening of the people to the reality that they are better off trusting themselves and leaving themselves to their own devices and to the mercy of their friends and relatives, than to trust any government to provide for them.

Of course, this sort of awakening is also likely to be bloody, because the beneficiaries of “other peoples’ money,” and the people who maintain their positions of privilege and power by handing it out, do not often give up their free rides voluntarily.

Some of the calcified and impoverished European socialist states are now experiencing a tentative rebirth of freedom; they have hit the financial wall, and can no longer ignore the inevitable. The trade of freedom for security always ends the same — security and freedom both expire. Whether these states, currently teetering on the razor-edge between freedom and slavery, will fall toward freedom, or away from it, it is still too early to tell.

Which way our own, uniquely-blessed country will fall, will be largely determined in the next few months.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the issue, not the economy. Will we choose freedom, as our forefathers did over 235 years ago, or slavery? The economy is an effect, not a cause. The economy will heal if we choose freedom.

If we choose slavery, we will get the economy we deserve.

WHERE ARE THE LEADERS?

June 3, 2011

Where are the leaders?

Where are the leaders – the people who can and will lead the United States of America out of the open grave we have been thrown into by the “leaders” of the last fifty years?

Where are the passionate, honest and humble men and women who know that government running every aspect of our lives is a recipe for misery and slavery?

Where are the men and women who will place themselves under the media spotlight without a crippling need for acceptance, because they understand that the media do not share, and will never share, their values?

Where are the men and women who will laugh in the faces of liberal hacks and counterfeit intellectuals with their cries of “racist” and other cheap, cowardly epithets, and call them out as the frauds and liars they are?

What follows is the speech I want to hear from a candidate who believes himself to be one of the real leaders – one who will help us to climb out of that open grave, rather than throwing in smaller shovelfuls of dirt, and telling us everything will be fine, if we just relax and embrace the darkness.

My fellow citizens:

I want to save this country. I can save this country. I need to save this country.

We are sinking into serfdom. Our government has broken the bonds the Founders wisely put on in our Constitution, and it is becoming our master, rather than our servant.

In the unending effort to buy permanent power, our government has plunged us into debt and inserted itself into every aspect of our lives.

While it pursues permanent power, our government neglects its most urgent and legitimate responsibilities. It fails at protecting the weak against the strong, and at protecting our nation against foreign and domestic enemies. It fails at protecting our rights and property against unlawful seizure and against unlawful restrictions on what we may do in and with our own property.

In fact, government has aggressively pursued the destruction of our right to own property, and to do with that property what we wish, thus rendering the right to own property nearly meaningless.

I must tell you, my fellow Americans, that once government has rendered meaningless the right to own property, we all become the property of government. The most important difference between a slave and a free person is the right to own property and to do with it, while protecting the rights of one’s neighbors, as one wishes.

I will reverse this endless expansion of government power.

I will nominate judges to the federal bench and to the supreme court, who will treat their oaths to uphold the Constitution literally. I will ask Congress to impeach judges who violate this oath.

I will pare down drastically the bloated regulatory bureaucracy that is choking off our freedom and our ability to prosper.

On my first day in office, I will fire “czars” that are unaccountable to the people and who are openly hostile to freedom, and who have no basis for authority in the Constitution.

I will ask Congress to abolish entire executive branch agencies and departments that have no basis in the Constitution, and no goal but their own self-perpetuation and expansion of influence.

The unborn, the sick and the elderly – the weakest and most innocent among us — are fortunate, these days, if we allow them to live. The fortunate survivors are those who were not killed because they were inconvenient, embarrassing, expensive, or evidence of a crime.

Our government has, instead, made these innocents legitimate prey for the predators who will make themselves rich and advance their lethal, utopian ideals by killing them.

I will sign legislation that makes abortion and euthanasia illegal under federal law, and I will speak unflinchingly to the States, from the bully pulpit that is the presidency, urging them to do the same. I will ask Congress to send me a bill that removes taxpayer dollars from any program, foreign or domestic, that funds abortion or euthanasia. I will sign that bill into law immediately, before American taxpayers can be forced to pay for one more innocent’s death.

A citizen’s life is a citizen’s property, and the right to own that property is basic, without which no other right matters. The right to life subsumes the right to choose one’s own medical care, and to pay for it as one wishes. The current level of government interference in this right is intolerable, and illegal.

I will revoke any executive orders intended to advance Obamacare, and I will consider the federal court ruling that Obamacare is unconstitutional as binding. I will immediately revoke the authority of any executive branch agency, board or other bureaucratic structure put in place by preceding administrations to support or enforce this law.

I will instruct Congress to send me legislation repealing Obamacare completely, and I will then ask Congress to begin structuring legislation that will unleash the private sector to revolutionize health care while dramatically reducing costs and increasing the range of options available to consumers.

I would expect this legislation to include a gradual transition over several years from government-funded — and government-restricted – health care for the aged and for those who are incapable for providing for themselves. Medicare must be replaced incrementally with private medical care that patients who are capable of it can pay for themselves, as medical care was dispensed for hundreds of years before this bloated, self-destructive program came into existence. The indigent and disabled must be protected, and they will be. Those who can pay all or a share of their health care costs, though, should do so.

Contrary to the lies you are being told by the Left, this does not mean my administration would throw the sick, the elderly or the indigent out in the street to die uncared for. That is a lie, and the liars know it. What the liars are not telling you, is that Medicare and Social Security are both utopian schemes that bought a lot of votes in their day, but their day is over. We simply can’t pay for them any longer.

Let me say that again: Medicare and Social Security are both about to run out of money. If we shut our eyes to this stubborn fact, Medicare and Social Security will still be out of money very soon, and our nation’s sorry financial state will soon prevent us from borrowing any more from Communist China to keep them afloat.

Tell me, my fellow Americans, what will happen to the sick when our government-driven health care system no longer has money to care for them? Rationing. It is happening now, in every country that foolishly believed it could nationalize its health care and not face the same, inevitable consequences.

Care is being withheld, and patients are being allowed to die from neglect and by the withdrawal of basic life support. They are starving and dying of thirst in their unchanged, soiled beds. If their families do not bring them food and change their linens, they lie in their own wastes and die, slowly and in great discomfort. This is the fate of those the Left is supposedly defending against their allegedly greedy, heartless critics.

Those who are so often vocal in their expressions of compassion and concern for the sick, are the liars who cannot face the consequences of their own lies. The helpless victims, however, face those consequences daily. This is what happens when government takes away the property right of citizens to care for their own lives. They become slaves.

What government gives, government can take away – including life, itself.

This nation has a history of decades of government encroachment into our lives, decades of spending money we do not have, decades of gradually surrendering our sovereignty to creditors and to those who think we should not have borders, decades of growing generations of government dependents, decades of failing to educate our citizens in basic skills, history and analytical thinking.

We cannot reverse this disastrous course overnight. But, we must begin immediately, shouldering the burden and working against the pain that will result, because if we do not change course, we will die as a nation, just as surely as the sick will die under national health care.

We must change course. And we will.

I want to save this country. I can save this country. I need to save this country.

But, I cannot do it alone. I must have your help and support. Now, and after the election, I must have your support and your trust. With your help, and with the Lord’s guidance, we will save this country. We must save this country. We owe it to ourselves and to our posterity.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your attention. Now, let’s get to work.

May God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Hey, Stupid Party! Anybody Home, in There?

March 30, 2011

“Give us money, so we can re-elect spineless leaders to ignore you until next election.”

I just got an email from the RNC, begging for money, again. I get them all the time, but, as I sometimes do, I will respond to this one in an “open letter” format.

The immediate trigger for this open letter was reading the following paragraph:

Nothing would make The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Huffington Post happier than printing articles in April that the Republican Party is finished because the RNC’s Federal Election Commission first quarter report showed us lagging behind in donations from our nationwide network of conservative grassroots supporters.

Herein we find one of the stupidest things the Stupid Party believes: That we should give a damn what The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Huffington Post thinks.

A pathetic and pointless desire for approval from these left-leaning media hacks is one of the most glaring weaknesses of the Stupid Party “leadership.” This “leadership” has brought us to this precipice, over which is a socialist autocracy in which the Constitution is an irrelevant, historical curiosity.

If the “leadership” had rejected the $105 Billion land mine in the continuing resolution that funds the implementation of the obscenity known as Obamacare; if it had rejected the taxpayer subsidy for killing unborn children to be handed to Planned Parenthood; if it had rejected taxpayer funding of the government’s left-wing propaganda organ, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, there might be a whisper of a chance I would give the RNC a dime.

Of course, none of that happened. The “leadership” in the House won’t even come down firmly in favor of not raising the debt limit – let alone on introducing the kinds of spending cuts that would really make a difference in the long run, and that would signal to American taxpayers and the world that there is any seriousness about getting us out of debtor-nation slavery.

What sorts of cuts am I talking about? How about defunding Obamacare, the Department of Education, the EPA’s “cap and trade” scam, the FCC’s initiative to regulate the Internet and shut down talk radio, all foreign aid to countries that routinely fund terrorism and discriminate against Christians, and – yes, I’m saying it – the Cowboy Poetry Festival. That is just a tiny percentage of the wasteful and self-destructive government activity we can do without.

Individual Republican candidates may see some small change from me, if there is any left over after buying gas and inflated groceries, but RNC, don’t hold your breath.

If you care so much about what The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Huffington Post think, ask them for money.

SORRY, Internet Closed! NOW WHAT?

February 3, 2011

Who pulled the plug?

(Geekspeak Alert! Multiple occurrences of Information Technology jargon and abbreviations follow. Approach at your own risk.)

What if, what if, what if…? The recent discussion of the Egyptians’ reliance on the Internet for communication in their uprising, and of the “Internet Kill Switch” legislation in our own Congress, led me to thinking about preparedness in general, and emergency communication in particular.

The Internet has gone from an obscure fad to a virtual communication spinal cord in a couple of decades. It’s “the network of networks.” It’s “the cloud,” and the “information superhighway.” To some, it’s a free-flowing gutter; to others, it’s a lifeline to information, communication and entertainment they can’t imagine being without.

You are “plugged in,” to one degree or another, to that “cloud,” or you wouldn’t be reading this.

What if it went away?

Egypt did its best to shut off public access to the Internet when the rioting in Cairo began to turn into a revolt.

According to a TIME online story, what the Mubarak regime did was order the Internet Service Providers that serve Egypt to shut down their Domain Name Service (DNS servers). The article offers a capsule explanation of DNS:

When you open up your web browser and type a domain name into the address bar—say Time.com, for instance—your service provider sends a lightning-quick request to whichever service provider Time.com uses to make its web pages publicly available on the internet.

The computer that holds all of Time.com’s web pages sends a response back through its internet service provider basically saying, “Yes, we’re online. Here’s the web page you requested.”

That’s part of the story. The critical part of the DNS process is address translation. The Internet doesn’t know from www.yoursite.com. The DNS server converts the Universal Resource label (URL), the “human-friendly” name for the site you want to see, into an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which, for now, is a series of numbers and periods in the format ###.###.###. That is what really travels across town or around the world, to arrive at “www.yoursite.com.”

There’s a lesson, for you. If DNS service is down, you need a list of Internet Protocol addresses you can put into the address field of your browser to get to sites directly.

To get to my favorite Internet news site, World Net Daily, in the absence of DNS service, I simply put “70.85.95.100”(without the quotation marks) into my address field, and go there.

How did I find that out? I opened a command line window (I speak Windows; sorry, Apple and Linux speakers – you’re on your own) and ran the PING command using several of my most frequent browsing destinations.

Here’s an example of the PING command and its output, from my IP address gathering process:

C:\Documents and Settings\Tom Cox>ping drudgereport.com
 Pinging drudgereport.com [209.234.251.93] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=105ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=113ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=112ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=111ms TTL=46 
Ping statistics for 209.234.251.93:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
 Minimum = 105ms, Maximum = 113ms, Average = 110ms

The important information here isn’t the lousy ping times I get from my ISP, but the fact that when I enter the domain name — drudgereport.com in this case – (note the omission of “www” and the like), PING gives me the IP address, (209.234.251.93) it got from the DNS server I am currently connected to, which it uses to find the right server at the other end and measure the time required to get an acknowledgment.

Obviously, taking down the DNS service will impede access for those who don’t know how to get around it, but just as obviously, that is a porous barrier to the Internet. Not only can people who have stored their most-used IP addresses locally get through, but satellite-based ISPs, as well as any ISP who can be reached by dial-up, even in another hemisphere, can provide access, however slow and filtered that access may be. Any regime or force that wants to cut off Internet service completely, or at least much more completely than the Egyptian government did, has to take down wireline phone service, as well as cellular service, and jam satellite downlink frequencies.

The Internet is designed with “robustness” in mind, with multiple paths among connected nodes, and that makes an “Internet Kill Switch”more of a challenge than it may appear to be from a user’s perspective. (Thanks to Bruce Schneier, long-time Internet security and encryption expert)

If it were possible to take down the Internet in a given region, the results may be a classic, “be careful what you wish for” scenario. Governments that want to clamp down on the Internet may discover too late how dependent their own activities are on it. Will they be able to use government debit cards to refuel military vehicles? Will their air traffic control system’s communication network collapse? How about the electrical grid, public transportation, metropolitan traffic control systems, for starters – will a government that wants to enhance its grip on its population deliberately blind and deafen itself, just to silence social networks and news outlets?

Government suppression of the Internet may be the least of our concerns, in fact. We don’t even need our government to put the Internet at risk. Two other “actors” may be a lot more likely to succeed where governments fail: terrorists, and the sun.

All it will take is a little, tiny episode of solar flatulence, known scientifically as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The sun, notorious for its stubborn inclination to ignore and flaunt government regulations and environmentalist lobbying, is about due for another of its periodic episodes of instability. This instability includes a tendency to fling huge clouds of high-energy particles out from its nearly-endless supply of such materials.

A solar corona hole, February 3, 2011, courtesy http://www.spaceweather.com

 

Should our planet happen to be in the way of one of these clouds, the results will be spectacular and calamitous, but not unprecedented. As it passes through the cloud, the energy in the cloud will induce electric currents in any conductor, such as a power line or radio antenna, and the currents induced may be much greater than the conductor, and any connected equipment, can tolerate.

The earth itself will rattle with the shock of this blast of energy. A geomagnetic storm is a secondary effect of the CME. The earth’s magnetic field will ring like a bell, with effects on life and technology both known and unknown.

The history of these storms shows but a hint of the potential impact on the whole energy-transportation-communication-security-economy infrastructure.

This impact would not be an overnight phenomenon, but could bathe the earth in strong energy clouds for weeks or months. The associated Aurora displays might be spectacularly beautiful, but most of us will be too busy trying to survive the other effects to have much time top enjoy the show.

Aurora, courtesy Wikipedia

Aurora Borealis, courtesy Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Polarlicht_2.jpg

Ole’ Mom Nature and government shutdowns are not the only way uncontrollable forces can have a huge impact on the Internet and the rest of the infrastructure.  A small, but well-funded group of terrorists, or “axis of evil” agents, armed with a small nuclear weapon and a “SCUD” class, intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) can blind and cripple us, too.

SCUD on semi-trailer launcher, courtesy Wklipedia

 

A nondescript container ship could pull up off the Atlantic coast a hundred miles out from Washington DC, and launch a missile sold or donated by Russia, North Korea, Iran, or a non-state entity with lots of money. If the missile has a warhead consisting of, say, a refurbished Russian tactical nuclear warhead, furnished by the same thoughtful donor or another, or sold by some organized crime venture, the goal would be to detonate the missile not on or near the ground, as in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, but a hundred miles or so above Washington, or nearby.

The nuclear detonation, even resulting from a very small, “suitcase”-style weapon, would have the expected blast effects from heat and sudden pressure – although they would be diminished on the ground due to the high altitude of the detonation — but it would also create a huge, sharp electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Before discounting the possibly existence of nuclear warheads small enough to launch above a SCUD-sized IRBM, recall that both the Russians and Americans developed and built thousands of nuclear artillery shells, one of which was successfully test-fired and detonated.

The upper atmosphere would interact with the pulse to create a huge, secondary pulse that would spread over an area of hundreds, or thousands, of square miles. There would be instant and dramatic effects on anything electrical for hundreds or thousands of miles in any direction. The impulse would be far stronger than a CME-induced surge, but lasting only a fraction of a second. The effect, though, would last for months, or years, in terms of its effect on the nation.

The effect on a society as dependent on electricity and electronics as ours, would be devastating, and that is not just the apocalyptic fantasy of a few catastrophe freaks and post-apocalypse survival enthusiasts. Credible groups have testified before Congress on the potential effects of such an attack, but with little apparent impact on our national priorities.

Nightmarish scenarios exist, such as a novel by a historian named William Forstchen, One Second After.

There is considerable disagreement as to the scientific and technical accuracy of the novel’s predictions, as one can see in the extended discussion of the book on Amazon, but not much disagreement that the effects will be severe and long-lasting. As long as the Internet stays up, you can learn more about EMP in its various forms at EMPact America, http://www.empactamerica.org/

Whether the cause of the outage is government action, terrorism or solar storms, doing without the Internet is

What’s a communication-dependent technophile to do? Do you carry a spare tire in your car? Why? The odds of a flat in the middle of nowhere are low, but the repercussions are severe – what disaster prep strategists refer to as a “low probability, high consequences event.”

Technophiles are smart to be ready with multiple options for communications, to fit the circumstances. Dead cell phone battery? Where’s your crank-up charger? Power out for an extended period? Cable system, wireline phone system, and cell service down? Where’s your CB radio, your GMRS/FRS portable radio set, your crystal radio, complete with rolled-up, ready-to-launch wire antenna, your HF ham radio and accessories, your fire starting kit, your wood stove, your bottled water, your toilet paper, your emergency food, your maps, your compass, your handgun, your rifle, your ammunition…

From a dead DNS server to the collapse of civil society and enemy attack – you can be a victim, or you can be prepared.

It’s Not the Marketing, Democrats, It’s the Product. SOCIALISM STINKS!

November 4, 2010
New, Improved Socialism!!

NEW! IMPROVED! BUY NOW, OR JUMP IN MASS GRAVE!

Those of us above a certain age remember when TV ads trumpeted a “new, improved” cereal or dish detergent. All the proof we had of newness or improvement was the package, which had new, snazzy colors and maybe a cool, new shape. Sure enough, the words, “NEW!” and “IMPROVED!” are there, right on the label.

Of course the new product often came with a new, improved, higher price.

When we opened the new, improved package, we often found the same, old product inside, or an old product with irrelevant tweaks and tunes that left us with same ole’ same ole’. The marketing department obviously ran the show in these enterprises, and the product research and development department was AWOL or irrelevant.

It doesn’t matter whose picture you put on the box – Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot — socialism is a failed product that has been repackaged countless times over the last 150 years. It has never worked, and despite a death toll of well over a hundred million innocent people in a seemingly endless series of ruthless and bloody “marketing campaigns,” it keeps coming back.

The latest attempt at socialism, advanced by Democrats and RINOs, is a hideous parade of defective products:  Obamacare, Government Motors, Cap and Tax, and union pension bailouts, to name but a few. President Obama, in a post-mid-term election presser intended to explain away the blunt rejection of the same old product with his latest packaging, stubbornly refused to understand the meaning of the election results.

The problem, he said, was with the message. It was just bad marketing.

As the Gipper famously said, “There you go, again.”

No, Dear Leader, the problem isn’t the marketing. The product – socialism — stinks, has always stunk, and always will stink. No amount of marketing, packaging, promotion, rebates, coupons or discounts will sell socialism, because it is an inherently defective product.

Socialist regimes always have to threaten their customers with death or imprisonment to get them to buy it, and they inevitably have to carry out those threats, if their regimes last long enough.

Whether or not it is imported from China, socialism is easily broken into sharp-edged, poisonous choking hazards, and ultimately, it is a threat to health, safety and, especially, to freedom.

It’s not new, it’s not improved, and we aren’t buying.

Tennessee’s 8th, Continued — Ducking the Debates

September 20, 2010

A little local politics, again, from the arena of the 2010 election, in the race to replace retiring “Blue Dog,” John Tanner.  Do we swap him for another Democrat hack, a probable RINO, or a real Constitutional conservative? I sent this letter to the editor to the Jackson (TN) SUN, today (9/20/10), concerning the apparent difficulties of getting the candidates together for a debate. The Democrat is willing, an Independent conservative is able, but the Republican (RINO?) is — laying low.  Why? And, why not go ahead without him?

Here’s the letter to the editor:

To the Editor,

Over here in the northeast corner of the 8th Congressional District, I feel somewhat slighted as to the coverage of the Congressional Race.

Stephen Fincher is ducking opportunities to flesh out his views and demonstrate his ability to think on his feet. How? By refusing to debate the other candidates on the issues.

This is disturbing, because one’s views and one’s ability to defend them in public are qualities that make or break a successful lawmaker. Is Fincher afraid he lacks those qualities?

Yes, I’ve seen the Fincher signs, with the slogan, “Plow Congress!” What does this mean, exactly?

I’d like a little more detail on how Fincher proposes to fix the way Washington has turned its back on the Constitution over the past few decades. If he is unwilling to commit on any of that, well, that’s his choice, but it doesn’t make me want to vote for him just because there’s an “R” after his name.

Independent candidate Donn Janes has declared he is ready to debate the Democrat candidate, whether or not Mister “Plow Congress” wants to come out and play.

I really hope Donn Janes will get the chance to do so. Somebody needs to stand up for Constitutional principles, and if the Republican can’t or won’t, let Janes step into the vacuum and put his own views and principles on the line.

If WREG-TV can’t make it happen, perhaps the Jackson (TN) Sun will find some other venue. I sure hope so.

Respectfully,
Tom Cox
Dickson County, TN

A Flood of Inattention

May 10, 2010
Cumberland at Ashland City, TN in better days

Cumberland River near Ashland City, TN, in better days -- August, 2008

Ah, how nature can turn. The gentle, slow-moving Cumberland River and its tributaries have given us lots of comfort and beauty, and not a few catfish.

Last weekend (May 1 and 2, 2010), however, nature turned mean. A vast and unstoppable force, sometimes raging, and other times creeping, the Cumberland and its tributaries surged out of their banks and up miles of roads, in through thousands of front doors, stealing irreplaceable personal and public treasures, and destroying dreams and lives.

Flood water under Cumberland River Bridge

Flood water churns under the Ashland City bridge over the Cumberland, twenty feet higher than normal. 5/5/10

Riverview Restaurant/Campground, Ashland City, TN 5/5/10

There it met the water from the second day of rains flowing downhill, having saturated the surrounding ground to the point where it could absorb no more than a paved parking lot. Inconsequential creeks and streams became roaring whitewater monsters.

Take the most rain ever to fall in Nashville over 48 hours… and double it. At one point along the Cumberland, in better days, a relatively civilized river was a few hundred feet across. By Monday morning, after over a foot of rain, that same stretch of river had swollen to thousands of feet across, and it carried cars, livestock and whole buildings along at an astonishing pace. Structures that weren’t floated off their foundations were crushed under the weight and pressure of millions of tons of running water, pushing debris ahead like battering rams. Every crushed building, uprooted tree and floating car added to the mass that careened downstream, multiplying the flood’s destructive power.

As the flood waters recede – and they continue to recede, a week later — they leave behind mud, building materials, brush, dead things, an evil stench, uncatalogued contaminants and nightmarish memories that will last as long as the survivors.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the system of dams, locks and generating sites along the Cumberland and other rivers in the region, had no experience to guide them in operating the flood gates and locks to best manage the water, because not since the completion of the system in the late ‘60s has so much rain fallen in so short a period. The best they could do for a few days was operate the system to keep the floods from destroying it, adding greatly to the surrounding destruction. That they did.

When I had time to watch national news, which was seldom, I was amazed at how little coverage was given to our situation. My amazement diminished when I thought about it.

I composed a “top-ten list” of reasons the lamestream media ignored this story:

10. Tennessee is a Red state. You could skip 9) through 1) now, and know all you need to know.

9. Al Gore didn’t call a press conference at his Nashville estate to blame the flooding on global warming.

8. People in Tennessee don’t sit around and wait for the gummint to give them a hand. They help themselves, and each other. No government dependency story, here, folks; move along!

7. New Orleans Progressive hack Ray Nagin is not the mayor of Nashville. Karl Dean is. Dean took personal responsibility for his city’s rescue and recovery, and was clearly in charge. No whining, no blame-shifting, just good communication and effective action.

6. People in Middle Tennessee cling to their bibles and guns. Looting makes good video, but it has not become a popular leisure-time activity here, because it is publicly frowned upon, and is likely to be fatal.

5. There is no way to blame it on Karl Rove, Halliburton or Dick Cheney.

4. CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and CNN did not inform the hacks and opportunists in Washington of events in Tennessee, thus depriving them of timely photo opportunities against a backdrop of hapless victims and tireless aid workers. No one watches MSNBC, so coverage there would not have mattered, anyway.

3. There was no way to blame it on Wall Street speculators, Big Oil or Big Tobacco.

2. It’s hard for the race mongers to claim racism, since people of all races got wet, and people of all races were immediately helping each other, without waiting for government permission or coercion.

1. There was no way to blame it on George W. Bush.

It doesn’t matter much to locals to notice the way we were ignored by a crisis-hungry White House and its propaganda engine, but it certainly tells us who our friends are – and aren’t — and how we stand in the eyes of the current establishment.

It’s not hard to imagine. Some primped New York twit from a network morning show in fashionable raingear, trailing a camera crew and makeup artist, walks up to a Bubba dragging soggy, stinking carpet out the front door of his mobile, or searching for his lost goats in the trees, or carrying a dripping family photo album. The twit sticks a microphone in his face, and asks, “So, how do you feel? Don’t you wish Bush and Cheney had done more to prevent this?”

Considering the most reasonable reaction to the kind of stupid question said twits are capable of, maybe it’s just as well. There were enough casualties from the flood waters, without adding any New York twits to the body count. A jury of peers would acquit Bubba in five minutes, but the lawsuits would go on forever.

Stick your microphone where the sun don’t shine, New York twits. We’ll manage without you, somehow.

After all, we’ve managed up to now.