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guffaw1952

I'm a child of the 50's. libertarian, now medically-retired. I've been a certified firearms trainer, a private investigator, and worked for a major credit card company for almost 22 years. I am a proud NRA Life Member. I am a limited-government, free-market capitalist, who believes in the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law.
guffaw1952 has written 2741 posts for Guffaw in AZ

A Possible Explanation

I used to LOVE the rain!  Growing up in the desert, it was rare.  Coupled with the addition of huge thunderheads, lightening and sudden downpours, it was the BEST!

Then, I got older and two things happened.

  1.  With age and illnesses came THE arthritis. (It’s a rule, once one reaches their sixties, one is required to put THE in from of the infirmity, i.e. the flu, the AIDS, the arthritis.)
  2. As people in Arizona don’t get rained-upon very often, unlike Midwest, South, and East-Coast people (and pretty much everywhere else!) they are less familiar with the process of driving in the rain.

AND PRETTY MUCH BECOME DANGEROUS IDIOTS ON THE ROAD, WHEN WATER IS INVOLVED!

So, rain isn’t as much fun for me, as it was when I was age eight.

BUT, I’ve developed a theory.

Remember, when it rains, how earthworms surface on sidewalks?

a-rain-worm

I’m now convinced that those that escape the sidewalks make it to cars, and start driving like maniacs!  Obviously they have less driving experience (with the rarity of precipitation).  And many don’t even have licenses!

THIS explains how there seem to be more idiot drivers during rainy weather, than when it is dry!

No Good Deed…

You know the rest!

With both my roommate and I having infirmities and physical limitations (along with no longer being 22!) sometimes things get procrastinated about, or just ignored.

One of those things is our back ‘yard’.

Living in a small townhouse, the yard isn’t particularly large, but my roomie, with her love for the flora, has numerous plants, both potted and in the ground, which sometimes require tending.

And between recent other adventures and doctor’s appointments, the yard has not seen proper maintenance.

And a number of ‘volunteer’ plants have been added to the mix by Mother Nature.  Like lantana, which has taken over to the extent we cannot reach the hose bib or electric box!

Now, there is a time constraint, as her first shoulder surgery is scheduled for March 21.  And I suspect nurse will be added to the title chief cook and bottle washer for me.  And, with her right arm immobilized for a minimum of six weeks, her physical abilities will be severely limited.

So, Thursday last, I carved out some time in the morning to take a stab at the yard.  Because it was necessary. (It didn’t help a number of massive fronts were coming in from California starting Friday!)

My target:

wp-1487515826737.jpg

(the white structure on the right is a non-functional Jacuzzi – now a plant stand)

I popped a significant pain pill, waited for it to kick in and headed out.  Wishing in all seriousness I had a machete ala Indiana Jones.

I had a rake, a shovel, and a weed-eater.

The plan was to work until it was done – no excuses!  Then, the pain pill wore off.  At about two hours.  When not involved in manual labor, they last four or more!

So much for THAT idea.

BUT, I cleaned up 75-80% of the yard, obtained access to the bib and the utility box (getting stabbed byagave-americana the century plant at least twice!), and trimmed back the palm tree by the back gate as to only get attacked by one palm frond, in lieu of three.

With palms like these, who needs anemones? – Thelonious Monk (from the liner notes for the Dave Brubeck ‘Take Five’ album)

More obviously needs to be done.  But that’s for another day.

And Friday and Saturday I paid for my good deed…

My arthritis kicked in big time, as did muscle pain, general tiredness and malaise.

And my doc wants me to limit use of NSAIDS, having over-used them for the past twenty years or more.

SIGH.

The Return Of BUREAUCRATIZILLA!

I’ve posted about the bane of my existence – BUREAUCRATIZILLA9 times previously!  And, they’ve not picked up the hint!

Not coincidentally, in today’s quote:

“Millions are fascinated by the plan to transform the whole world into a bureau, to make everybody a bureaucrat, and to wipe out any private initiative. The paradise of the future is visualized as an all-embracing bureaucratic apparatus. . . . Streams of blood have been shed for the realization of this ideal.” – Ludwig von Mises

(Please, let me preface this to state my roommate and I are barely scraping by.  Me on my disability benefits, her on survivor’s benefits.  She can work some, when her infirmities allow.  NO, this is NOT a bleg!  –  Guffaw)

Last week, my roommate received a letter regarding her Survivor’s Benefits from The Social Security Administration.  In short, because she reached a certain age, and changed her supplemental insurance, they decided to deduct previously gov’t paid insurance premiums for two months (essentially cutting her modest benefit in HALF!) then begin repaying her the Survivor’s Benefit (at a lower rate!) the third month.  She only began receiving her Survivor’s Benefit last year, and could have been receiving it for the previous three years, but did not know it was available.

And this, just when she has been working less due to illness (she is a contract employee), and is preparing to have surgery next month!

It couldn’t have come at a worse time…

BUT, there was a mention on the Social Security letter of an appeal process.  As NO ONE was reachable by phone without an extension(!), we had to go into the Social Security satellite office, take a number, and wait about 20 minutes to get the required appeal form.  (After disarming, of course!)

Easy peasy, right?

WRONG.

The surprisingly helpful Social Security employee reviewed the letter, and advised us that the appeal needed to be made with the Arizona Department of Economic Security, not Social Security!!  It was Medicare who became aware of the insurance change, and notified AZDES, who contacted Social Security to send the letter(?!)

He provided us with the number to call.  And as it was late Friday afternoon, the call would have to be the NEXT BUSINESS DAY.  AFTER PRESIDENT’S DAY.

Next Tuesday!

BUREAUCRATIZILLA, MUCH?!

People ask me why I distrust government.  The above is a prime example.  First, they provide you with a benefit.  Then, after you become accustomed to it, they screw with it, and take part of it away.

“The government strong enough to give you what you want is strong enough to take it all away.” – Barry Goldwater

The Polygraph

(forgetting, for a moment, one cost me a job-unfairly, I think, back-in-the-day!)

polygraph-simpson

The polygraph is an instrument which measures things like heart rate, perspiration, breathing and sometimes other body activity over which the person measured has little or no control.  A skilled operator (who should also be a skilled interrogator) uses these measurements to determine if a subject is telling the truth to certain, carefully worded questions.  It is not a lie detector, but a truth verifier.

Prior to 1988, many private companies utilized a pre-employment polygraph test, to determine if a subject was generally honest before hiring.  Some also used polygraphs post-employment, at random intervals, to see if anything had changed.  In 1988, Congress passed legislation limiting the use of pre-employment tests, with the exclusion of persons in  certain sensitive positions, security, police and a few other jobs.  Some States followed suit.

Many private companies were put out of business.

Having worked for a private investigations/polygraph firm for a number of years, it was an interesting experience.

First, some of the polygraphers (many of whom were retired law enforcement) thought themselves superior to the lowly civilian private investigators.

Second, I observed on numerous occasions, polygraphers watching job applicants arriving for a test, and making disparaging remarks, even before the interview or test began!

“This guy has liar written all over him!”

Hardly a lack of bias going in.

There was also a polygraph school adjacent to and affiliated with the investigations/polygraph company.  When I was first employed as an investigator, I was considering signing up for the school, thinking it might be an important addition to my investigative skills.  After observing and hearing the polygraphers, my interest waned.

This is not an indictment of all polygraphers, but just an observation based on some of those with whom I had negative encounters.

I suspect some of the laws have changed post 911, what with more agencies tasked with protection of the Republic from terrorists and spies.

I hope the current crop of polygraph examiners are more professional than some I encountered back-in-the-day.

We need all the help we can get.

Werd Play

I like speaking and writing correctly.  Sometimes, I even succeed at so doing.  🙂

Perhaps a better title for this post would be Word Pet Peeves.

IRREGARDLESS

I loathe the use of this instead of the correct word, REGARDLESS.  Sadly, the O.E.D. (Oxford English Dictionary) has added this variant as a real word, because it is in common use.

SUPOSABLY

My guess is people were trying to pronounce SUPPOSEDLY, and stumbled.  Or mis-heard.  Then adopted it as correct.  It’s not.

PERBATIM

I used to work with an investigator.  An educated man, I can only surmise he mis-heard VERBATIM, and ran with it.

(One from my roommate)  FORTE

When one is good at something.  You may notice an accent is missing.  It is NOT FORTE’ !  And is pronounced fortAgain, something done wrong in common usage.  Look it up.  I had to.

And don’t get me started on mis-heard song lyrics!  I blame overly loud speakers, concert noise and the tinny AM radios of my youth.  Any suggestion that over indulgence in alcohol or other chemicals does not apply – to me, anyway!  😛

There have been books written about them.

Doughnuts make my brown eyes blue

There’s a bathroom on the right.

Hold me closer Tony Danza

‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy.

I’m certain you can add to the list(?)

h/t Tomi

 

Lincoln Marx

(a sequel, as it were, to Lincoln Lenin, as President’s Day is fast upon us…)

(from Free North Carolina)

These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.
—Abraham Lincoln, from his first speech as an Illinois state legislator, 1837

Everyone now is more or less a Socialist.
—Charles Dana, managing editor of the New YorkTribune, and Lincoln’s assistant secretary of war, 1848

The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes. They consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world.
—Karl Marx and the First International Workingmen’s Association to Lincoln, 1864

ON DECEMBER 3, 1861, a former one-term congressman, who had spent most of the past dozen years studying dissident economic theories, mounting challenges to the existing political order and proposing ever more radical responses to the American crisis, delivered his first State of the Union address as the sixteenth president of the United States.

Preserver of the Union, or one of the first Progressives?  Or both?
If you think progressive presidents began with Woodrow Wilson (ptui!) (forgetting Theodore Roosevelt became the youngest President after an ‘anarchist’ shot McKinley) perhaps you should revisit history?
Fabians Socialists Communists Progressives have been around, even before Marx, constantly eating away at the Republic.
We need to continually ‘check our six’.
And no, I’m not a reincarnation of Joe McCarthy.

 

The Californian Confederacy?

Peter, of The Bayou Renaissance Man, brings us this:

The inimitable Victor Davis Hanson sees many parallels between California today and the antebellum South.

In December 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union in furor over the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln did not receive 50 percent of the popular vote. He espoused values the state insisted did not reflect its own.

In eerie irony, liberal California is now mirror-imaging the arguments of reactionary South Carolina and other Southern states that vowed to go it alone in 1860 and 1861.

. . .

Of course, this is 2017, not 1860, and California is super-liberal, not an antebellum slave-owning society.

Nonetheless, what is driving California’s current efforts to nullify federal law and the state’s vows to secede from the U.S. are some deeper — and creepy — similarities to the arrogant and blinkered Old South.

. . .

California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s. The California elite, wishing to keep the natural environment unchanged, opposes internal improvements and sues to stop pipelines, aqueducts, reservoirs, freeways, and affordable housing for the coastal poor.

California’s crumbling roads and bridges sometimes resemble those of the old rural South. The state’s public schools remain among the nation’s poorest. Private academies are booming for the offspring of the coastal privileged, just as they did among the plantation class of the South.

California, for all its braggadocio, cannot leave the U.S. or continue its states’-rights violations of federal law. It will eventually see that the new president is not its sickness, nor are secession and nullification its cures.

Instead, California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s. No wonder the state lashes out at the rest of the nation with threatened updated versions of the Old Confederacy’s secession and nullification.

But such reactionary Confederate obstructionism is still quite an irony given California’s self-righteous liberal preening.

There’s much more at the link.  Recommended reading.

I think Mr. Hanson is right.  The current frothing-at-the-mouth hysteria in California over President Trump’s policies reminds me of George Wallace’s inaugural address as Governor of Alabama on January 14th, 1963.

  • Insistence on doing things as Alabama wants them?  Check.
  • Refusal to kowtow to federal authority?  Check.
  • Warning Washington that the next President would be determined by voters who shared Wallace’s and Alabama’s views?  Check.

Well, guess who won that fight?  (Hint:  see the outcome at Appomattox.  Wash, rinse, repeat.)

California might want to think about that . . .

Peter

I’m torn on this issue.  States should be free to separate from the Republic as they wish.  Certainly California has been one of the leaders in thinking and acting different from the Constitutional Republic in which I was raised.
But, secessionCalexit?
It is interesting how in one week they ‘rattle their sabers’ for becoming a separate entity.  Then beg for federal help when their infrastructure continues to crumble.
I’m thinking you cannot have it both ways.

The Mouse On The Drain

(not to be confused with The Mouse On The Moon, or other Duchy of Grand Fenwick tales!)

“Welcome to the drain, gentlemen!”  😛

My roommate and I share both household upkeep and maintenance.  To the best of our abilities.  Between disabilities, health conditions, arthritis, age, pain and shared whining, sometimes things are not as pristine as either of us would like.

(The fact we both have an over-sufficient amount of ‘stuff’ doesn’t help, either!)

Of course, this had little to do with today’s story…

Being the male in the house, many (not all) of the yuckier tasks fall to me.  And sometimes, it’s just the “luck of the draw”.

Today was one of those days.

The past couple of days while visiting the shower, I noticed what we always called when I was married (back in the 80’s) the mouse on the drain.  That is, a disc of hair jetsam on top of the drain grate, starting to inhibit shower drainage.

Back in the 80’s, it was roughly the size of a half dollar, and easily disposed of.

And, of course, not wearing my corrective lenses in the shower, it could have been something else – as in this case it was, a small round grey plastic comb.  (My roomie and I share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom.)

And she does many hair-related things in there, with a multitude of chemicals and preparations.  I have shampoo and conditioner.

Fast forward to this morning.  Having picked up the plastic comb, I thought I’d be free of the ‘mouse on the drain’.

Not so fast, there, bucko!

The real mouse on the drain – or, in this case the rat or nutria(!), had wrapped itself into the workings of the grate, and was hanging (yuch!) down into the drain proper!!  And the shower floor was beginning to fill with water!

Fortunately, my hair is in need of cutting and is maybe a third of an inch long.  So, I’m thinking I’m not the main culprit. (ignoring body hair additions here for discretion).

I was able to complete my shower and listened to the slow-but-inevitable noisy drainage, fortunately before it crested into the bathroom proper.  Then, I picked up a proper tool to remove the drain cover (a long hemostat that is left in the bath for this very purpose – what earlier functions it may have had I can only imagine!  🙂  )

And took it upon myself to remove the long, tangled, fist-sized wet hair clumps from the grate and dispose of them.

After having done that, I policed the opening of the drain pipe for any additional hair/soap remnant escapees.

And replaced the grate.

I washed my hands and exited the bath.

I’m hoping next time I will notice the impending crest a day or so sooner.  And be able leave the mouse on the drain for someone else…

😛

Our Tax Dollars At Work, Again

(from Judicial Watch)

JW Files Suit For ‘Refugee Travel Loans’ Information

Tightening our immigration and refugee programs is a matter of national security (despite what some out-of-control judges may think), and it is also a matter of cost.

In this regard, we have filed a lawsuit against the State Department for records on the number of “Refugee Travel Loans” issued by State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration to the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration from 2010 to the present.

We are also seeking the number of loans defaulted upon and the amount of money written off on each defaulted loan. We filed the suit on January 24, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:17-cv-00157)).

Judicial Watch filed the suit after the State Department failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on February 5, 2016, seeking the following:

  • All records reflecting the number of Refugee Travel Loans furnished by the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) per year; the number of travel loans that are defaulted upon per year; and the amount of money written off per defaulted loan.

The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration provides funding for aid and relief work abroad and the bureau’s admissions office handles settling refugees in the United States. According to the agency’s website, it spent nearly $545 million “to provide new beginnings to the world’s most vulnerable refugees” in 2016 and more than $2.8 billion to “humanitarian assistance overseas.” It provided $103 million directly to the UN’s International Organization for Migration.

The International Organization for Migration, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, has an annual budget of $1.4 billion  and (as of 2014) a staff of 9,000 throughout the world. According to the International Organization for Migration website, the organization provides interest-free loans “furnished by the Department of State” to “all refugees arriving in the United States:”

All refugees arriving in the United States are offered interest-free travel loans by IOM.  Refugees who accept these travel loans are required to sign a promissory note prior to departure, committing themselves to repayment of the debt within 46 months after arrival in the United States.

IOM arranges for refugee travel using funds furnished by the Department of State, and is mandated to subsequently effect collections on behalf of the Department of State.  Repayments made by refugees toward their loans are returned to the Department of State for use by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to defray the cost of future refugee travel.

In July 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution making the International Organization for Migration part of the UN.

Even The Washington Post reported that the nine resettlement agencies contracted by the State Department to help resettle refugees in the U.S. actually make more than $5 million a year in commissions on refugee debt collection.

The State Department has stonewalled our request for refugee loan information and associated taxpayer losses for a year – an unlawful delay that screams “cover up.”  This is an opportunity for the Trump State Department to come clean and clean up this refugee welfare program.

And there’s a lot more for the Trump administration to clean up when it comes to “refugee loans.”  In June 2016, Judicial Watch reported:

The U.S. government gives refugees on public assistance special “loans” of up to $15,000 to start a business but fails to keep track of defaults that could translate into huge losses for American taxpayers, records obtained by Judicial Watch reveal. The cash is distributed through a program called Microenterprise Development run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement.

***

HHS is not the only government agency doling out huge sums of cash for this cause, though its focus on refugees appears to be unique. Others, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) also dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars to various microenterprise causes. For instance, in one recent year alone USAID spent $223 million  on microenterprise development activities, according to figures released by the agency. The USDA also allocates large sums to provide loans and grants to microenterprise development through a special “Rural Microloan Revolving Fund” and the DOL regularly pours lots of money into various microenterprise projects that are promoted as workforce investments in areas with high rates of poverty.

So the debate about refugees is more than about keeping dangerous refugees out, but there is also the matter of asking just how much it costs to make politicians to feel good about themselves by using our tax dollars to provide special assistance to these foreign nationals.

I have no problem with legitimate, vetted refugees or immigrants following protocols for legal residency and eventually even citizenship.  I used to know a guy who, with his family, escaped Saddam Hussein and Chemical Ali’s tyranny, to arrive here, become a citizen, and open a liquor store.  He practically hugged every customer who walked in!

And I remember wondering where Lee Harvey Oswald got the ‘Traveler’s Aid'(CIA) funds of $200, after renouncing his U.S. citizenship and living in the Soviet Union.  And was allowed to return back to the United States after purportedly giving away military secrets to the Russians.  With nary a hitch.

Much has changed since the 1960’s.

And not for the better.

 

Gun Talk Media VS The NRA

I received two emails yesterday from two (one would think) like-minded entities.  One, the NRA (full disclosure, I am long time Life Member), the second, Gun Talk Media, an Internet blog and media source.

I have posted on this blog regarding the NRAs push to contact Congress regarding the last administration’s efforts to restrict gun rights to those who may have mental limitations (by their view mental illness).  And I have supported their efforts to reverse this measure.

Now comes these emails.  The NRAs requesting immediate action on a pending Senate vote to stop this travesty.

And this from Gun Talk Media:

FAKE NEWS ALERT
Social Security Administration Gets Into Gun Ban Business

As he left office, President Obama screwed American seniors who own or want to own guns by issuing an executive order directing the Social Security Administration to treat seniors in the same miserable way the Veterans Administration does our vets. That is, the SSA now reports to the FBI anyone who prefers to have someone else handle their finances, and the FBI puts that person on the list that is a LIFETIME BAN on owning firearms.

Naturally, the general media portrayed this as keeping guns out of the hands of those with serious mental defects, and when the House of Representatives voted 235 to 180 to repeal this gun confiscation move, the howls from the fourth estate nearly drowned out the facts. Nearly.

As a Gun Talk Truth Squad member, you have the opportunity to push back on these bogus reports, and to answer friends who offer that this ban “seems reasonable.” Here are the facts.

The media said that the SSA would be providing the information to the FBI so these people could

be included in a “background check database.” Well … doesn’t that sound reasonable? The fact is that this move actually puts these people on a list that bans firearms ownership for life.

Who would oppose putting those with “serious mental defects” into a “background check database?” The NRA, of course. But wait. Another vocal opponent is the ACLU. Yes, the American Civil Liberties Union.  Groups supporting and providing aid to those who actually do suffer from mental handicaps also opposed the “I’m outta here” move by the departing “vertical pronoun” President to ban tens of thousand of Americans from owning guns, and all without due process.

Here’s an example of the media coverage of the House vote to repeal this rule. This is from Politico.

Democrats ripped the move as an effort by Republicans to undermine background checks for gun purchasers. After the House vote, Sen. Dianne Feinstein pleaded with supporters to rally against the move in the Senate. “Senate may vote today to weaken background checks on gun purchases. Call your Senator to oppose this change — ensure your voice is heard!” she wrote.

Tell your friends that there has been a law in effect for decades that prohibits the truly mentally incompetent from owning guns, and this law provides for due process. Under current law, if one has been adjudicated mentally incompetent, he or she can’t own a gun. “Adjudicated.” As in, a judge and a court room. Where you can defend yourself. Not a bureaucrat who checks a box and places your name on the banned-for-life list. ~ Tom

So, has the NRA been waving a false flag (creating FAKE NEWS) to feather it’s own nest?  Or is it simply rubber stamping additional efforts to let the government know we are no longer allowing our civil rights to be curtailed without due process?

What do YOU think?

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…