The Farm Bill

Yesterday, our Senator from Colorado, Ken Salazar, once again got it wrong. He said, “President Bush’s veto of the farm bill is an insult to rural America and would hurt all those who benefit from the food our farmers provide.”

To paraphrase Shakespeare, “Pork by any other name would smell just as foul.” America’s farmers can hardly get any more crops into the ground and they are reaping huge profits off those crops, and they deserve every penny. A farmer’s life is hard; they deserve the profit they earn.

However, I see no reason for the massive subsidies promised every year, in some cases, subsidies to NOT plant. According to the Associated Press, $40 billion is to go to farmers for subsidies, $30 billion is to also go to farmers to NOT plant, and the rest goes to nutrition programs such as food stamps, etc. As I understand it, this is the government’s way of regulating how much of what crop is made available. What happened to the governance of the marketplace, and the law of supply and demand? The federal government has been manipulating the agricultural market for decades. It is time they stop!

We are looking at a $290 BILLION tax on the American public. We are being taxed into the ground as it is and the concept of paying one segment of our workforce to do the job (or not do the job) they have chosen is ludicrous. The farmers are working for the consumer, just as the plumber or the carpenter. I have yet to see any subsidies for plumbers and carpenters to NOT go to work. That would be called welfare.

I fully understand that there is a segment of our society that needs a hand up. Some school children must have subsidized breakfasts and lunches or they will go hungry. The question is why parents are not held accountable for this lack of care? Where are the mandatory education and/or training programs for those who cannot care for their children? Do not misunderstand me; I know that there are some who are not physically or mentally able to accomplish this. These folks need whatever assistance they can get. But isn’t that a state concern? Where in the Constitution is this type of aid authorized?

I have written our Congressman and two Senators to urge them to vote against this pork.

As always, I welcome your comments/discussion.

Illegal Aliens and the War Supplemental Bill for 2008

Below is a copy of a letter I have just sent to Senators Allard and Salazar:
It has been brought to my attention that Senator Feinstein has successfully attached an amendment to the War Supplemental Bill for 2008 that would give legal status to an estimated 1.35 million illegal aliens working in agriculture. I have also been informed that this bill is to be voted upon in the Senate in the next few days.
I strongly urge you to vote against this bill and work for its defeat. Illegal aliens are, by definition, law-breakers who have proven that they have no respect for the laws of our country.
There is an alternative to having illegals working in agricultural jobs. That is to have an established “guest worker” program such as that proposed by Marsha Looper in the Colorado State House. Using this approach, we would know who is coming in to work, where they will be working, and when they will leave. If they come in on a permanent work visa, we will still know who they are, where they are working and their exact status.
Why should illegals be given preferential status over those who stand in line and have respect for our laws?
Daniel C. Lanotte
Falcon, Colorado

S. 2433, the Global Poverty Act of 2007

The US Senate is getting ready to vote on S.2433, the Global Poverty Act of 2007. This bill, introduced by Senator Obama, is just one more piece of legislation that the Liberals want to use to promote their “One World Order.” The wording of the bill as printed on Senator Obama’s website is:

“U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) have introduced the Global Poverty Act (S.2433), which requires the President to develop and implement a comprehensive policy to cut extreme global poverty in half by 2015 through aid, trade, debt relief, and coordination with the international community, businesses and NGOs. Representatives Adam Smith (D-WA) and Spencer Bachus (R-AL) sponsored the House version of the bill (H.R. 1302), which passed the House in September.”
As a further example of the intent of this bill, the following is also copied from the source above:

“America needs to do more to help the 1.1 billion men, women and children throughout the world living on less than $1 a day by helping promote sustainable economic growth and development,” said Senator Cantwell. “We need to do more to save lives in the poorest countries. The U.S. needs to implement a real plan to combat poverty on a global scale while also addressing the national security risks extreme poverty creates.”

The goal is to work toward the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals . If this legislation passes, it would obligate this country to billions of dollars for world welfare. This clearly goes against the principles of the Founding Fathers.

This has been, from its inception, a country based on the principle of each individual working for and achieving goals based on the sweat of the brow. For this country to take on the responsibility and financial burden of over 1 billion souls would drive us so far under the financial curve as to permanently bankrupt us. The Liberals of Congress have, for the past 75 years, worked to turn this country into a totally dependent entitlement society. The Soviets finally realized that type of society does not work and they collapsed for trying. Now, our Liberal-led Congress under the tutelage of House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid want to contribute to turning the rest of humanity into a completely dependent entitlement world.

When I first found out about this bill, I contacted Senator Salazar (D-CO) to urge him to work to defeat this bad piece of legislation. He sent this response:

“As you know, S.2433 would direct the Secretary of State to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the U.S. foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal.S.2433 currently awaits action in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which I am not a member. However, please rest assured that I am fully committed to combating poverty, disease, and hunger around the world, and that I will consider S.2243 with that commitment in mind should it come to the full Senate for consideration.”

Senator Salazar is playing very loose and free with your and my money, with the intent of sending it around the world. It was always obvious that Senator Salazar was sucking on Ted Kennedy’s Kool-Aid, but this time he has really gone too far. I urge all of my readers to contact their respective Senators to urge that they work to defeat this really bad piece of legislation.

As always, I welcome your comments/discussion.


Energy (Part 2)

As promised in my last posting, I am going to continue with my discussion on energy, even though I started the last one with Rocky’s shopping trip.

When I wrote the last posting about the grocery bill, ethanol, etc., I had no idea that it would find its way to WOW! I really generated some discussion. There were comments from both ends of the spectrum. One individual, who was extremely critical as well as rude, inadvertently provided me with some very good data. To that individual, I say “Thank You.” He showed a pie chart from DOE that shows only 1.6% of our electricity is generated by using petroleum. I stand corrected.

The chart also shows that only 19.4% is generated by nuclear power. I think that this is one place we could make major improvements. The Europeans have broken the code on nuclear power. One of the main concerns about nuclear power is what do you do with the used fuel rods? The Europeans do not have the bureaucratic problems we have. They reprocess the spent fuel rods to get more use out of them. We, by law, are not allowed to do that. Instead, we have a huge cavern in Nevada to take them to (of course, the citizens of Nevada are really happy with this concept). Instead of processing the real waste down into a pint can, we have to bury the entire rod. What a waste!

I have to assume that “Other Renewables” (2.4%) on the pie chart is referring to solar and wind. That is a pathetic number. When I was stationed in Alameda, CA, I can remember driving east out of the Bay area and going past a huge windmill farm. All of the wind mills were turning and making electricity. After I returned to the Springs I heard that the environmentalists made the power company shut them down because the birds were flying into the blades. OK, boys and girls, which way is it going to be? You cannot have it both ways. I think this example is sad in the extreme. The good part about wind and solar in today’s technology is that great strides are being made in solar collectors, storage capability, and wind mill technology. The price is coming down and the availability/choices are going up.

Now, getting back to the topic I started with last week; we are in love with our automobiles and use an appropriate amount of gas and diesel to feed that love. We are shocked at the pump when we fill up. It takes me almost $20 to fill my motorcycle and over $100 to fill my truck. Nobody will be able to convince me that the answer to the gas crisis is ethanol. Contrary to what some of the respondents on think, I am not that stupid. I have read reports that say ethanol burns dirty, it takes an inordinate amount of fuel just to manufacture it, and it eats up arable land, driving up food prices. I do not see anything smart in this lineup.

There is an unlimited supply of hydrogen on this planet. Even if we tried, we could not use it up. With all the talk about conservation where is the effort to develop a reliable, cost effective method of producing, storing and using hydrogen for the internal combustion engine, or some other technology. There has been a lot of research done on the fuel cell that converts hydrogen into electricity as it passes through a membrane. This is one of the outgrowths of the space industry. For commercial use, the technology is still immature, but some very smart people got this far; who is to say they will not make the breakthrough necessary to make it commercially feasible?

We have been crying about energy shortages for the last 40 years (almost) and yet, comparatively little has been done. Now we are faced with $4+ gasoline, and food prices that are skyrocketing because it is more important to plant corn for ethanol. To me, that borders on stupid, or greedy, or both. I certainly do not blame the farmers. In our competitive free market system, they are doing what they have to do in order to maximize their profits. The ones I blame are the bureaucrats and, yes, the eco-terrorists who are more concerned with protecting their income or their “movement” than seeking real solutions for real problems. It is high time that the smart people step up to the plate and say “enough is enough.” The bureaucrats are not the ones to do it. It is the scientists and engineers and their bosses in industry that will see this thing through.

As always, I welcome your comments/discussions

Rising Food Costs

It is the first of the month and as is her habit, my wife, Rocky, went to the grocery to do her “stock-up” shopping. As the term implies, this is when we do the majority of our grocery and necessity shopping. We will do some shopping during the month for perishables and other necessities, so we normally keep fairly well abreast of the trends in food prices. The first thing my Rocky told me when I got home was that she was experiencing sticker shock. Our normal “stock-up” shopping trip is good for approximately $150. Today, she spent closer to $260. We are not folks who eat a lot of “snacky” stuff. Our snacks normally consist of a couple of bags of pretzel sticks. We do not eat prepared foods, Rocky is just too good of a cook. Therefore, we are talking about an exorbitant increase in the price of staples.

Even the least astute of my readers will understand that this is merely personal observation and not a scientific study, even though we have seen reports of this type of price increase on the news and the folks I work with have made the same observation.

Let’s look at a couple of possible causes for extreme inflation like this. My first thought is the eco-terrorists. But the harder I think about the situation, the less I am inclined to think of any other cause. You may ask, or not, what the eco-terrorists have to do with the price of groceries. Well, I’m glad you asked, because I am just chomping at the bit to tell you.

First, there is the eco-terrorist fight to keep us from drilling in ANWAR and in the coastal plains. We have enough petroleum within the borders and territorial waters of the United States to satisfy our needs for many decades. Additionally, with the new find in the North/South Dakota area we would be even more secure in our energy supplies. But that is only part of the problem. The eco-terrorists have prevented the building of new refineries in the United States for over 31 years. With the reduced refining capacity vs. demand, we have become increasingly dependent on foreign oil imports. Of course this is no surprise to anyone.

There is now a movement to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by turning corn into ethanol and mixing with gasoline to make our gas supplies go farther. Of course the farmers know a cash cow when they see one. With more and more of our arable land being taken up for ethanol production, there is less available for food production. Never mind that it takes almost as much energy to produce one gallon of ethanol as you get out of it. But what do the eco-terrorists care, we are using a renewable source for fuel, even though it is almost a wash as to cost/benefit, from a fuel standpoint. However from a food standpoint, there is definite negative cost/benefit. There less food available and therefore the demand/price equation comes into play and we not only see sticker shock at the pump, we see it in the grocery line.

But eco-terrorists are not economists; they are, by definition, terrorists. They are holding the country, and actually the western hemisphere, hostage. There is such a shortage of corn, that the price of tortillas in Mexico has sky-rocketed. I am not saying this to be funny; this was reported on the news (as reliable as that is).

OK, the experts tell us that the way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to use less. That is kind of a “no-brainer.” Let’s explore some ways to reduce our usage of petroleum products, primarily gasoline, diesel, and natural gas.

One of the primary ways is to convert power plants to coal or nuclear power. The coal plants of today are not the same as those of our grandfathers’ day. There are chimney and stack scrubbers that clean up the emissions to the point of acceptability.

And then we can look at nuclear power. I was not able to find out how long it has been since we have built a nuclear power plant, but I know that it has been a long time. It is just easier not to bother with it than to fight the eco-terrorists. When you look at the success of the nuclear power industry in Europe, one can only wonder why we do not follow suit. The answer is simple. The eco-terrorists have beaten Congress and various administrations into submission.

We use a lot of petroleum to make electricity. Why; because the eco-terrorists would rather scream about the ecology than do something about it. With every court battle, they prove their disdain for America.

Of course, no terrorist can ply his trade without an enabler. The good news for the eco-terrorists is that they have a number of groups of enablers. They start with the Senate and House of Representatives and go all the way down to state legislatures. In my next posting, I will discuss the complicity of these groups.

As always I welcome your comments/discussions.
Dan Lanotte

A Beginning Look at the Illegal Immigration Problem

In this time of debate over immigration, I think it is appropriate to touch on the root cause of our illegal immigration problem. It is not only our porous borders, or our “golden opportunities” here in the United States. One significant factor of the problem can be traced directly back to Mexico City.

The corruption that has run rampant in Mexico for decades is driving their citizens out of their homeland. Not a month goes by without news of a major drug war or drug bust. It would be tempting to say that the Mexican government is making headway on their own counter-drug program since they keep making large drug busts. But if they are making such headway, why are there always such large drug busts to be made?

An article from the Washington Post of 20 Apr 2008, discusses the massive Mexican Cartel problems across the border from Columbus, New Mexico, in Puerto Palomas. On 17 Mar of this year, the entire police force of Puerto Palomas resigned and the Chief of Police, Perez Ortega walked across the border into Columbus to request asylum. Chief Ortega is currently in a detention facility awaiting a decision. When the drug gangs start fighting in Puerto Palomas, the Sheriff Raymond Cobos of Luna County, NM puts his entire force on alert. Victims with bullet holes in them are dropped at the border because their relatives are convinced that the US is the only place they will be cared for.

The problems across from Columbus are not isolated. All along the border, these stories are told and documented. The little town of Puerto Palomas was once a bustling tourist town of 12,000. In the last two years it has dropped to 7,500. Because of the violence people are leaving, including the police. The town has been able to recruit nine more officers and a new chief, but there is no telling how long they will stay.

We have heard that Mexico has one of the toughest immigration policies in the Americas, at least on its southern border. If it is so tough, how do the drugs get into the country, and why do most of the major drug busts take place within sight of the US border? How can the drugs that come in from South America traverse the entire length of Mexico undetected?
Well, the problem is that they do not traverse the country undetected. Drugs, primarily cocaine, come in by land, sea, and air into Mexico. They do not have to worry about importing heroin, methamphetamine, or marijuana. Mexico is one of the world’s leading producers of these three drugs.

There is also the problem of corruption in the Mexican armed forces. In many places the drug cartels operate with impunity. When there is the possibility of honest troops being present, the cartels’ intelligence networks issue sufficient warning. However, the cartels have become so powerful that in places they are openly defying the Mexican military.
All of the aforementioned drug cartel activity significantly contributes to a disastrous economy with little opportunity for economic gain and a very good opportunity for getting killed. Is there any wonder that the common Mexican wants to find a better, safer life? They are more than willing to brave the torturous Southwestern desert and the US legal system to find that life.
I see two positive actions that the Mexican government must do to even start to quell the massive flow of illegals into the US. First, by whatever means, they must shut down the drug industry. That includes production, transportation, and distribution. In all fairness, they may be attempting this, but we will likely never hear about it. Behind Columbia, Mexico has the second highest rate of journalist murders, in the world. There is doubtless no one who believes that the Mexican government will accomplish this feat anytime soon. The cartels are too powerful and the reputed corruption within the government is too rampant.

The second task is to create an environment where the average Mexican citizen can work for a living wage. Mexico is a land of vast resources which could be tapped to build an economic powerhouse if managed properly.

Please do not let my discussion give the impression that all of our illegal immigration problems rest squarely on the shoulders of the Mexican government and the cartels. This is far from it. Many of our national policies have been enabling factors in the problem.
When an illegal can walk into any hospital and receive free medical care, there is a problem. When illegals are given preferential treatment by a sanctuary city, there is a problem. When employers turn a blind eye to the illegal status of their workers, there is a problem. When the Social Security Administration is incapable of noticing that one social security number is used two, three, four, six, or eight times, there is a problem.

In this piece, I have concentrated on only one aspect of the illegal immigration problem. But as you surely know, the problem is vast and extremely complex. Perhaps, in the not-too-distant-future, I will take on other aspects of the problem, such as prosecutors that go across the Mexican border to retrieve a drug runner for the sole purpose of charging Border Patrol agents and sending them to do hard time for doing their jobs. (Sorry, I felt a new soap box coming out.)
As always, I welcome your comments/discussion.
Dan Lanotte

Racist America?

Something has been chewing on me for the past couple of weeks. Please forgive me, because it should have been chewing on me for the past four decades. America is a grossly racist country. We whites have worked diligently to subjugate the non-white communities. I should have realized this fact every time I pass the plantations with the workers picking cotton.

At least, that is what the “Reverend” Wright and Senator Obama would have us believe. Dr. King died 40 years ago yesterday for the cause of unity between the races. When I listen to the comments of Senator Obama, one thought comes to mind. Do we want a racist like Barak Obama as president? Do we want to be told for four or eight years that whites hate non-whites, and non-whites hate whites? This is antithetical to Dr. King’s efforts. From the moment of his death, racists like Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Charles Rangel have been trying to hold a pity-party on how down trodden the blacks, in particular, are. They play the “race card” with alacrity.
Well, those three are getting a bit long in the tooth and need to pass the mantle on to the younger generation. Who better to take up the gauntlet, but Barak Hussein Obama? He is everything they could possibly want. He is only one generation away from Africa. He is the product of and a white American woman and a black African man. He wishes, by his own admission; he could rid himself of his white blood. He has discussed how frightened his white grandmother was of black men and that was a typical white response. My question to the good Senator is; “What have you done to calm your grandmother’s fears? You are a black man who, obviously, identifies with your perception of the black community. Why haven’t you presented a non-threatening side to your grandmother?”

I am, admittedly, white. I always have been white and always will be. I even have the unmitigated gall to have blond hair and blue eyes. Therefore, I do not and will never be able to see the world through a black man’s eyes. However, I have worked with a lot of black men, and a few black women, in my 40+ year working career. Since the mid 1970s I do not recall the extreme rancor that Senator Obama is talking about. Obviously, there are some blacks that have been harboring this resentment all these years. The evidence is fairly clear; just look at “Reverend” Wright and Senator Obama. And now they appear to be determined to fan that flame once again.

At this point, I would like to relate to you a personal experience. I left the active duty Navy in late 1968 and returned in mid 1973. At that time I was assigned to the USS Truxtun (DLGN-35). This was a time that the Navy, and all of the services, was going through growing pains with regard to race relations. The Navy, always trying to be on the cutting edge of societal evolution, established a mandatory program called “Upward Seminar.” This was a program whereby a group of 15 – 20 sailors of mixed rank and race would come together to discuss race relations, and specifically how each of us felt about the other races. Each seminar was facilitated by one black and one white sailor who had been trained to conduct these sessions. I remember the session (several days per session) I attended. My division Chief Petty Officer was the white sailor and a close acquaintance, a Petty Officer 2nd Class from a different department, was the black sailor (I do not remember his name). At the time I was a Petty Officer 2nd Class. At the beginning of the seminar we each were asked to share our feelings, candidly, about the opposite race. I said that I did not have an opinion about blacks, as blacks. I looked at each sailor as shipmates and judged them as individuals. About half way through the seminar, the black facilitator looked me in the eye and proudly pronounced me to be a bigoted racist. This really took me back and made me reflect on what I might have said or done to convey this opinion. I drew a blank and still do. At the end of the seminar we were all asked what we had learned and what we were taking away from the multi-day event. When it came to me, I said quite simply that my opinion of blacks had not changed, but no longer liked the black facilitator. We never spoke again. I don’t know if he was trained to provoke that type of incident. If he was, he never relayed that information to me. My only conclusion is that he was of the same ilk as Senator Obama.

I have not discussed the Senator’s wife and her obvious dislike for this wonderful country. I could not come close to improving on Michelle Malkin’s discussion of the Michelle Obama.
I love this country and honestly believe that we are only great because of the hard work and ingenuity of ALL of its citizens; not white, not black, not Hispanic, and not Asian. I do not believe in hyphenated-Americans. Black-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans demonstrate their desire NOT to be Americans. These are the people that long for another time and place. In all actuality, all of us could stick a hyphen in our ethnicity. I could say that I am a Belgian-American on my dad’s side or I am a Native-American (evidenced by my blond hair and blue eyes) on my mother’s side.

I encourage all of my readers to contemplate these ideas and reflect on your attitude toward America. Are you Americans?

As a footnote, I put “Reverend” in quotes because, as a believing Christian, I do not view Mr. Wright as one. I believe that if he is a “Reverend” he is praying to and glorifying a much different god than I do. I believe that his god was thrown out of heaven by God.