As I was sitting here tonight writing my latest post on a charity that means the world to many of our wounded veterans, I got a call from my cousin Chad. We had spoken many times already throughout the day about various things, but as soon as I answered the phone I heard a pain in his voice that struck me instantly. I automatically thought the worst, as I have lost so many close to me in the not so distant past, but when he asked me, “do you remember Scott Baumgard?”, it brought me to another time…
When I was 16 and my cousin Chad was 18, my parents had decided to move from Vermillion, SD to the suburbs of Minneapolis, Mn. It was nearing the end of my sophomore year in high school, and with my parent’s permission I decided it was time to take off on my own for a while. Chad and I decided we would go to the Iowa Great Lakes (Okoboji, IA), get summer jobs and see what life had to offer. In my 1970 Chevy pick-up, with my motorcycle, camping gear and my dog Blazer in the back, we took off. For the first 2 1/2 weeks, we lived in my tent, sleeping on 2 old WWII army cots that I had picked up at a garage sale. During that time, we both picked up jobs in seasonal restaurants and started making friends. A friend of a friend had an old Airstream camper that he was willing to rent, and after burning the tent, we parked that camper in a little city campground right on the strip so we would be right in the middle of all the action.
Each night after work, Chad & I would walk up and down the strip (Hwy 71) between Arnolds Park and Okoboji, looking for whatever fun may enter our travels. Our normal turnaround spot was a little convenience store called Kum & Go that locals would generally congregate. One night, there was a group of kids hanging out playing Hacky Sac. We joined the group, and this is the first time that I met Scott Baumgard and his older brother Al. Over the next few summers, there were many nights of fishing, camping, and scaring the hell out of any “newbies” that ventured with us to Loon Lake cemetary. We all became close as a group, and while I knew Al better, Scott was never far behind.
It wasn’t too many years later that I joined the Navy and left the lakes area, but always kept in contact with Chad who remained close to the whole crew. I regret to say, that with the passing years, I have come in contact with so many people, some of the best which have slipped through the cracks of my contact list. I have the memories though, memories that will live forever, and God willing, those memories will be put into words for all to read and remember.
I would ask that all who read this take a moment to reflect on how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away. I have personally lost 7 people in the last 16 months who, at one time or another were close to my life. I believe that life is a precious gift, given to us by God, and just because you or the ones you love got out of bed this morning, doesn’t mean you or they get to go to bed tonight.
Scott Baumgard was a young man taken too early, that may have played a small part in the history of my life, but there are many who’s lives he was a very big part of. I am sure that many who read this have stories of those who have been taken far to sudden and far to early as well. If you get nothing from the words that I have written here, please understand that life is far too precious to take anything for granted. Hold your memories dear of the people, the events and the freedoms that have made our lives so wonderful…
When you live in the greatest country on earth, a country that has given so much to so many, I feel one of the greatest gifts that you can give back is to put it all on the line to join your brothers and sisters in arms, and so many patriots that have preceded you, and join the US military. If you are not of this opinion, then this may not be the right site for you. All too often, the brave souls that do take it upon themselves to answer this call of duty become a casualty of the duties they are asked to perform.
I was first made aware of this great charity through one of the “right-wing” radio programs that the left so loves to vilify, and after some research, I knew this was a more than worthy charity, one that I have felt more than honored to donate to. Coming from a long line of men who have served our great country honorably, and having served myself, I can honestly say that it is a blessing to know that organizations like the Fisher House are there in a time of need.
I could continue to write about the Fisher house, but instead I think it better if I copy their about info & link and you can decide for yourself. Please take the time to check out this more than worthy cause:
The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America’s military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House Foundation donates “comfort homes,” built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times – during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.
There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. Annually, the Fisher House program serves more than 11,000 families, and have made available nearly three million days of lodging to family members since the program originated in 1990. By law, there is no charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs; and Fisher House Foundation uses donations to reimburse the individual Fisher Houses operated by the Army, Navy, and Air Force. No family pays to stay at any Fisher House!
In addition to constructing new houses, Fisher House Foundation continues to support existing Fisher Houses and help individual military families in need. We are also proud to administer and sponsor Scholarships for Military Children, the Hero Miles program, and co-sponsor the Newman’s Own Award.
It doesn’t seem like you can see or hear a news story today without someone yelling about their rights being violated. I think the most clear examples are what has been taking place in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, among other states when it comes to collective bargaining “rights” in regard to public employee unions. This, among other things taking place within our government, has led me to do a lot of thinking about what a right is and what a privilege is…
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”,[Declaration of Independence]
Most of us have heard this or seen it many times, but I believe some have either forgotten, or chose to ignore the fact that unalienable means not transferable or capable of being repudiated. Now I only say this, because all too often, the government elitists believe that it is up to them to decide what rights we have and do not, but that is not the case. This is where the problem lies my friends, because we are granted our rights by Our Creator, and only through the consent of the governed (us) do we allow an elected body of representatives to ensure that nobody infringes upon those rights. Somewhere along the line, things got all messed up…
Let us first take collective bargaining as an example. I contend that collective bargaining is a privilege, not a right, and here is why: Government, in its very nature, is an entity of force that does, per rule of law, have the ability to tax and we as citizens have no choice but to pay. Unlike in a private sector enterprise, that will allow the market to determine the compatibility of union collective bargaining, the monopoly of force held by government does not allow for market forces to make this determination in the case of public sector unions. Herein lies the rub… If (public sector union)collective bargaining is a right for those who are in a public sector union, does that not by nature force someone else to partake in an activity by force that they may or may not otherwise partake in??
This is the problem folks. Too many people scream about this right or that right, when in all actuality, most of what they are screaming about are really privileges. If what you see as a right requires something of someone else, and what is required of them infringes upon their rights, it is not a right, it is a privilege. In the case of the unions, if one side wants to negotiate, and the other side does not, forcing one to do the other is infringement upon their rights. If the federal government, in an effort to supply healthcare to all, forces one group of people to buy a product so that others may benefit, that is an infringement upon their rights. If the government says that company X must employ citizen Y to fill a quota, company X’s rights have been infringed upon!
Too many people these days have no concept of what the difference is between a right and a privilege. It has all become about entitlement and “what the government can do for me”. When you sit down and think, I would like you to ask yourself what are the rights you were endowed by your Creator with, and what those rights required anybody else to do? If it is a right, it does not require anything of anybody… If on the other hand, it does require someone else to sacrifice or give of themself in any way, it is most likely a privilege. Then it is time to ask yourself, “is it up to you or someone else to live up to the potential given to you by your Creator with those unalienable rights?”
Today, March 14, 2011, would have been my Dad’s 57th birthday. My gift to him is to write a little about the greatest gift that he ever gave me. He gave me what I feel may be the greatest gift that anyone could receive from a parent, but far too few seem to in this day and age. My father bestowed upon me the gift of honor and a strong work ethic.
Like many children born in the 1950’s, my Dad was born to a working class family of humble means, where his father went to work and mom stayed home to take care of the kids. My Dad was the second of 4 children. He grew up in a small midwest farm town that is much the same today as it was then, a place someone may stop to get gas on the way somewhere else. In 1971, at age 17, he dropped out of high school to serve his country, as all the Wilkinsons before him, and joined the US Navy, figuring he may end up in Vietnam. The next 3 years were spent between San Diego, Ca and the waters of South East Asia, where among the trials & tribulations of war, he finished his High School Education. In 1974, he returned to the midwest, where he met and married my Mother. Soon after is where this story of my early childhood lessons begins.
Like many veterans in the midwest in the mid to late 70’s, my Dad worked whatever blue-collar jobs were available, construction, packing houses and truck-driving just to name a few. My Mom worked too, mostly in clothing factories where the day’s end for both of them brought bloody fingers and stories of pain, sweat and misery. Those hard days and rthe tolls of their labor also brought home the paychecks that put a roof over the heads and food on the table for my two sisters and me. There is no doubt or denying, my parents were not without their flaws and vices, as all people have, but they weren’t about to let anyone say they weren’t doing their best.
I am not ashamed to say, in fact I carry it as a badge of honor, that I grew up poor. I can say, that while I could not stand powdered milk, I still don’t think there is anything better than government cheese. I know, while most kids I knew couldn’t understand why we didn’t have a phone or a color tv, I was too busy camping, hunting and fishing with my Dad to really care. I also know that when a time came that my parents had to resort to food stamps, it hurt them to the bone. Years later, during a conversation with my Dad, he told me “nothing has ever hurt me more or de-valued me as a man, as not being able to support my family”…
When I was 8 years old, I told my Dad I wanted a leather jacket (like my favorite singer at the time, Michael Jackson). My Dad made me a deal. He said he would buy a bunch (around 150) of baby chickens, and for every one that I kept alive until the end of the summer, he would give me a quarter. In 1983, that was a lot of money, especially for an 8-year-old. When it came time to butcher the chickens, I had lost a few, but I was an 8-year-old with 30+ dollars to spend. I no longer wanted the leather jacket, but after playing baseball that summer wanted a new baseball glove. I asked my Dad, “Is it OK if I buy a baseball glove instead of a leather jacket?” He told me, “it is your money, you earned it, if you want a baseball glove then that is what you should buy, but that means you don’t get the leather jacket.” I bought the baseball glove, and that is the summer that I learned that working meant I could get what I wanted.
When I was 10 years old, I told my Dad I wanted a motorcycle. I knew that there was no way my folks could afford to buy me a motorcycle, but I thought maybe he could steer me in the right direction. My Dad laughed, and told me, “get a job.” Well, I didn’t get a job, I got three. Every morning before school I started delivering the Sioux City Journal, every Tuesday afternoon I delivered the Golden Shopper, and every afternoon, Mon – Fri, I cleaned the lint filters and vacuumed the lobby at Bogaard Cleaners. It wasn’t long and I went to my Dad and said, “I want a motorcycle,” and handed him $125 in cash. We looked around, and I got my motorcycle.
By the time I was 16, I owned a truck, a car, 2 motorcycles and I always had money in my pocket. From the time I was 10 years old, I can not think of a time, other than a few minute number of days, when I have not been working for the things that I have been graced by God to have. My Father, as his father did, God rest their souls, worked up to the day they died, many times doing jobs that took a tremendous tolls on them both physically and upon their souls, but they didn’t feel it was up to anyone but them to take care of them or their family.
At 35 years old, I reflect upon the lessons I was given by my Father, and I am grateful. I have had great successes and great failures in my life, but the lessons that I have received from my Father will assure that I have a positive future. Without having the freedom to fail and learn from those failures, one can never truly have the freedom to succeed. While the job that I currently have, that I incessantly hate, as it causes me great pain physically & takes its tolls upon my soul, I do because I know that I am doing the right thing by taking care of my family.
My Father, Robert LeRoy Wilkinson (3/14/1954 – 1/8/2010), was a man of honor, for the traditions and the work ethic that he has passed on to me are of insurmountable value, without which I would not be the man who I am, or the kind of person who I wish every American could be. It is because of the lessons of my Father that I have been able to live the American dream…
If you were to think about what a dollar really is, what is it that you would say? Is it simply a combination of materials such as cotton and paper that you buy stuff with, or is it a promissory note backed by our government that represents something more? Isn’t a dollar in fact, a note of traded currency that represents your personal property, property in the form of your expended effort earning that dollar? I think that if people were really to start thinking of dollars as a note that represents our “time”, they may become a little more concerned about the ruthlessness with which our government takes & wastes our time. If the government decides it is within their power to take “dollars” from one group of people and give them to another group of people, aren’t they really stealing “time” from one group and giving it to somebody else? I see this as a sick form of slavery.
We are at a point in our country’s history where the language has been so bastardized, that people actually do not know that we are a constitutional republic as opposed to a democracy. A “democracy” is a government wherein the decisions are made by the masses of the people rather than by elected officials. A “republic” on the other hand is a system in which laws are passed and decisions are made by the elected representatives of the people. [The Five Thousand Year Leap] Our constitution is then in place to lay out what the government can and can not do. This system was established for many reasons, not the least of which, so that there would be checks and balances in power, and so our laws would not be subject to the fluctuating and superficial emotions of the people. This system however, has become so abused, that politicians have realized that they can use the masses, who have learned that they can vote themselves a check, to stay in power.
Our government was never supposed to be in the business of charity. I don’t care what you call it, welfare, income transfer payments, subsidies, social security, medicare, Medicaid & on & on, these are all forms of redistribution of wealth, and they are absolutely killing our country. “The problem with socialism, is eventually you run out of other people’s’ money”~Margaret Thatcher. This is so true, and if you don’t think it is true, there are many examples throughout history that undeniably prove it. Whether considering the more militant forms of socialism (communism, nazism & fascism) which have caused more war and bloodshed than any other form of government in history or Democratic Socialism or Fabian Socialism which produce a perpetual state of poverty and bankruptcy, they never work!! The United States of America has enjoyed a more even and greater standard of living than any nation in the history of the world because of our economic freedom. Unfortunately, due to the liberal/socialist policies of our federal government, we find ourselves at a tipping point, teetering on bankruptcy as a country.
Starting in the early 1900’s, politicians like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, just to name a couple, began implementing policies that basically made it the government’s job to take care of everybody, both domestically and worldwide. These socialist policies are disguised as compassion, but make no mistake, they are simply an effort to increase the size and scope of government. Unfortunately, people do not begin to realize until too late the “law of unintended consequences” when it comes to such policies. This is because, one can begin to justify almost anything when they are the ones getting the check. For example, the great economist and author Dr.Walter E. Williams has said that, “welfare did to the black family what oppression and slavery could not, it broke it apart”.
Lets take the quote by Dr. Williams as an example. Since LBJ started implementing his “great society” and waged war on poverty, the deleterious effects have been staggering. To quickly sum it up, we as a country have spent trillions of dollars on welfare and income transfer payments, and what we have really accomplished was fathers leaving the home, or never establishing one to begin with, because the government was paying more than they could provide. This has led to generations of impoverished single family households, massive amounts of fraud and abuse, and more people of each generation dependent upon government than the next. It doesn’t matter what ethnic group you come from, becoming addicted to this type of government dependence enslaves & limits people to a life of just getting by. Please take the time to read some of the writings by Dr. Walter E. Williams for more about this.
Another example of socialist government interference having negative consequences is minimum wage laws. Now, one might wonder, “how could minimum wage be bad?” Well, by the government forcing such requirements upon business, it decreases opportunity for younger generations to become employed & acquire much-needed experience. It simply makes more sense for an employer to hire someone who already has work experience, may be more mature and more stable. This not only takes its toll upon younger generations trying to enter the workforce, but on all less skilled and qualified people in general. By the government forcing “minimum wages” upon an employer, it only makes sense that employers seek the greatest amount of productivity they can for the dollars they are forced to spend. This in turn proves to be to the detriment of those who are less skilled and less capable. What kind of compassion is that?
I could go on and on about this, but the point I am trying to make is this; If I have a dollar, and I earned that dollar through some type of effort that I expended through work or investment, is it right that the government take part of that dollar and give it to someone else who did not expend any effort at all? In a report by trimtabs investment group, social welfare benefits make up 35 percent of wages and salaries this year, up from 21 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in 1960. These so-called “benefits” have increased by $514 billion in the past two years under Barak Obama, and we now have a record number of people receiving government assistance, by a longshot. No matter who you ask, this type of government dependence is in no way, shape or form sustainable. Not to mention, this type of redistribution of wealth is thievery, it is extortion through force, and it is wrong!!
So, I ask you again, what does a dollar represent to you?
Like many people from my generation, we have grown up with wonderful memories of the many crazy soundbites from the “hard to take seriously” Reverend Jesse Jackson. This goofball has never seen a microphone he didn’t like or a situation he wasn’t tripping over himself to interject his agenda. But, did you know that his son is now a state representative in the liberally run state of Illinois?
As our country is faced with one of the longest periods of near double-digit unemployment in American history, record numbers of people below “poverty level”, record numbers of people on food stamps and welfare, what are we to do? Well, if you were to ask Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., he would simply tell you that giving everybody everything per the constitution is the answer. Like any good socialist, Mr. Jackson is completely out of touch with reality. Apparently, this clown does not get that if you simply give everything to everybody, nobody will work for anything and all society collapses. I truly do not understand how people can be so ignorant as to elect people like this, but we have been gradually seeing it more and more in this country.
I would like to write more, but I have to run for now. Please take the time to watch this socialist rant by Jesse Jackson Jr. and let me know how you feel about it.
If not seeing video, click:Socialist rant by Jesse Jackson Jr.
I am going to make this short, because I have to get up early to go to a job I can not stand in order to make sure that I may stay within my budget. Unfortunately, Harry Reid, who I find to be one seriously deplorable little weasel, knows nothing of staying within a budget, and everything about stealing hard-earned dollars from hard-working people. As our country is faced with a faster growing debt and deficit than any time in history, now over $14 TRILLION & nearly 100% of GDP, Harry Reid & his cronies are refusing miniscule cuts of $61 billion for the rest of this fiscal year (which is only being done now because the highly corrupt and incompetent democrats of the 111th congress failed to do their job). Please understand folks, that $61 billion is less than 4% of just the actual deficit for the year, placed upon the debt of future generations by Barak Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi & many other thieves. This type of spending CAN NOT CONTINUE, & if left to their evil ways, people like Harry Reid will continue to drive the future of this country into the depths of hell. Here’s a little clip of the thief in action…
If not seeing the video, click…The Thief at Work
As I have been sitting here reading over many of the news stories of the week, and seeing many of the reactions of protesters and consumers over current economic & fiscal matters facing our great nation today, I have to wonder, do people ever just ask themselves, “What it the role of Government?”
It seems to me that things are becoming more polarized and very clear that there is a distinct difference between those who believe Government should be all things to all people and those who truly believe that the Government should have as little a footprint on our individual lives as possible. Our founders were very aware that the worst thing that could happen to our great republic would be for the Federal Government to become a overburdensome one-size-fits-all type of Government, but as I have noticed throughout my lifetime, it has become more and more of just that. It is becoming more and more clear that there is a distinct difference between those who depend on government for almost all things and those who simply want government out-of-the-way. I think that it is becoming more and more clear everyday that there is a distinct line between conservatives who believe in individual liberty, personal accountability, & the freedoms afforded by limited government and liberals who by most accounts that I have encountered and been exposed to, believe in collective rights, increased big government intrusion in our lives and little, if any, individual liberty & personal accountability.
We can see the effects of these different mentalities playing out more and more within our country. Lets take for example the situation in Wisconsin… Public Employee Unions, who are the epitome of anti-individual liberty, have been raising havoc in that states capital for over two weeks now. Not only that, but they are now being joined by and egged on by outright socialists looking for revolution. The problem is, as more and more people begin collecting a check from government, and the government finds itself in a position to make cuts, it must cut from those who are depending on that government check, and then the havoc ensues. This doesn’t even begin to address the people who are not working for their government hand-out.
Let us now take a hypothetical look into the future… We currently have sustained unemployment levels higher than most any of us have seen in our lifetimes, currently have greater numbers of people on food stamps and welfare than any of us have seen in our lifetime, and a greater number of citizens in so-called poverty than most any of us have seen in our lifetime. Now, that said, we have political elitists that do not have the political fortitude to say enough is enough when it comes to entitlement spending, so the self-perpetuating cycle continues to grow and feed itself. This my friends is a prime example of socialism and why socialism always fails. As the government continues to take from the productive people in this country and “invest” in those who are not productive, the number of producers begins to shrink and those “investment” recipients begin to grow. Well, the number one flaw in socialism is, eventually you always run out of other people’s money. If you think the protests are bad in capitols like the one in Wisconsin, what happens when the millions of people currently depending on government hand-outs start to face serious cuts in “entitlement” benefits? This, my friends, is a serious danger that our great nation is faced with.
We are fast approaching a tipping point in our country folks where more people are dependent upon government than those who are funding the government. As we surpass that tipping point my friends, it is all over but the crying, because as those numbers of people dependent upon a government check grow, knowing that they can vote themselves a higher portion of the productive classes earnings, we begin to quickly run out of those productive earners and the money spicket runs dry.
I truly believe that the worst thing a person can do for themselves and their family is become dependent upon the government. I believe that if we don’t quickly return control in everything from education to healthcare to the most local of levels and reduce the bureaucracy of a one-size-fits-all federal government run by political elitists that don’t have the political fortitude to say “no” when it comes to socialist spending, our republic is doomed to fall.
Please just ask yourself, “What is the role of Government?” and are you one of those who are more dependent on government than it depends on you? God bless all of you and God bless America…
It is times and situations like this of which you are about to read that make me wonder how some people’s stupidity affords them the opportunity to reach adulthood, let alone be elected to public office, but then again, we are talking about Illinois. The actions of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan are outrageously misguided, dangerous, and benefit nobody, (yes even those who agree with her stupidity). The following should be an outrage to all gun owners or anyone who has any regard for their safety or that of their family.
Due to a request by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information act, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has said that the State Police “must” make public a list of all firearm permit holders. Now, despite how you may feel about guns or gun control laws, the idea of making public a list of those law-abiding citizens that own and have the ability to carry guns is just plain flawed and dangerous logic. First of all, this just sets a plainly dangerous precedent that will do nothing to benefit anyone except criminals. Second, it allows criminals the ability to more easily pick and choose their targets. Third, how is it anyones’ business who legally owns a gun and who does not?
I would like you to think about something… If a criminal looking for action was to drive into your neighborhood, and had readily available information that allowed them to pick which house was more likely to have a gun owner in it, is there any doubt as to which house they would pick? Or maybe this… If a criminal was looking to acquire a gun or guns, and they had readily available information that would tell them a house that they knew to have guns in it, would it really be that much of a stretch to think they may stake out that home until no-one was there to break in and get the weapons that they sought? There are many scenarios to which this misguided decision by AG Lisa Madigan could prove to endanger citizens with no societal benefit.
As stated by John R. Lott, JR. (Author of “More Guns Less Crime”):
“One would think that people in Illinois of all places would understand this problem. Chicago’s crime statistics haven’t quite gone the way gun control advocates have predicted. Not only did Chicago murder and violent crime rates soar after its handgun ban went into effect in late 1982, but the reverse has happened since the Supreme Court struck down that law last June.
Handgun permits started being issued in July, and murders in Chicago have declined. During the first 6 months of 2010, Chicago’s murders were up 5 percent from the same period the previous year. Things were so bad that members of the state legislature suggested that the National Guard be dispatched to Chicago to curb the violence. But, after the Supreme Court decision, the last six months of the year saw murders fall by 14 percent compared to the same months the previous year.
But the evidence goes well beyond that. State laws requiring that people lock up their guns results in criminals being more likely to invade people’s homes while the residents are still inside, but it also means that the criminals are more likely to be successful in committing crime. ”
There is overwhelming evidence to prove that dumb-ass moves by government elitists such as this cause much havoc and cost many lives. If you would like more information and statistics to back what I am saying, I strongly suggest that you get the book “More Guns Less Crime” by John R. Lott, JR. I personally believe, no matter what side of the gun issue you find yourself on, this is a must read book …
I pray for the people of Illinois and all Americans if this horrible power-grab comes to fruition.