Swickard: Energy industry under attack as is our economy

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “In general, presidents and congressmen have very limited power to do good for the economy and awesome power to do bad. The best good thing that politicians can do for the economy is to stop doing bad. In part, this can be achieved through reducing taxes and economic regulation, and staying out of our lives.” Walter Williams
            Despite claims otherwise, many elected leaders are the very reason our economy is faltering. They campaign promising to improve our economy yet they support the very government actions which cause critical harm to the economy. These politicians campaign to solve the problems which were caused by them.
            Currently there is a political controversy about flaring (burning) some of the gas from New Mexico oil producing wells. The talking points are that petroleum producers should sell that gas rather than just burn it.
            Activists claim petroleum producers intentionally throw money away. But people in business do not throw money away and stay in business. Some people understand the oil and gas industry while others do not.
            Former New Mexico Land Commissioner Ray Powell wrote in a recent Op-Ed: “The San Juan Basin is one of the most heavily developed energy fields in the Intermountain West. While the downturn in oil and natural gas prices has hit hard, there is a simple way we can boost energy and tax revenue – cut natural gas waste at existing oil and gas well sites.”
            Ray Powell’s statement has nothing to do with petroleum engineering. If there was money to be made, the petroleum producers would, especially now when prices have dropped.
            Why are these wells flared? Simply, there is no economical way to bring those products to market. There isn’t the infrastructure nor is it economical.
            The activists know this. It’s really an attempt to cripple the petroleum industry in New Mexico. Consider: this push follows a long list of industry killing events. The introduction of wolves in cattle country is strangling the New Mexico cattle industry in those areas. That is along with the Jumping Mouse rules which are designed to keep cattle from water.
            If new rules require the gas to be captured and sold or the well must be capped, all but the most productive wells will be capped. There is not the infrastructure to capture that low volume gas which also has Hydrogen Sulfide, (H2S) in it. This colorless gas with a rotten eggs smell is poisonous, corrosive, flammable, and explosive. No one is buying this substance so it is flared for safety.
            What is the political value in making New Mexico producers cap their wells? The progressive push is to end oil, gas and coal so that the economy goes on the wind and solar standard. The federal government has targeted coal which is used in about half of the national electricity generation. The coal industry is dying.
            The problem is wind and solar are not a good source for power generation other than for off-grid homes. For traditional energy uses solar and wind must be backed up by traditional generating stations. So we pay for the generation twice. The price is prohibitive, especially if the energy is used in manufacturing where competing products are produced with low-cost energy-dense power.
            In New Mexico curtailing oil and gas production will send the state budget into a financial abyss of epic proportions. The state of New Mexico is already reeling from the drop in oil and gas revenue. The current recession in New Mexico would turn into a never ending depression without oil and gas revenue.
            When you see elected leaders talk about reigning in the lost money in flaring, know that the intention is to end the oil and gas industry and replace it with wind and solar. They gain political power in this way but the citizens lose an incredible amount of money for their schools and lots of jobs.
            As Walter Williams wrote, “In general, presidents and congressmen have very limited power to do good for the economy and awesome power to do bad. The best good thing that politicians can do for the economy is to stop doing bad.”
            But we keep electing people who spend their time harming our economy.



© 2016 Jim Spence Freedom is kind of a funny motivator. You watch movies like Braveheart or a mini-series like Roots, and you think freedom is always in the forefront of people's minds. It isn't. After watching government take more and more control over every hour of your existence you might be tempted to think that the hunger and thirst for freedom has completely disappeared. It hasn't.

Every now and then something happens to remind us that not every human being has become a mindless big government drone 100% of the time. Witness the Brexit vote. The global news media, which distinguishes itself by having the attention span of a gnat, thinks it has had little else to do but cover the Brexit vote lately. It is the obsession de jour. No doubt the media has gotten bored with the story of yet another Islamic radical murdering people, most recently more than four dozen gays in Orlando. Predictably that story was morphed into a ridiculous argument about gun control laws by the radical's apologists. Let us forget guns are illegal in Paris for now.

The global news media covered the pending vote in the U.K. endlessly the last few days. U.K voters were to decide if they had had enough of the idea of allowing the faceless E.U. to exert controls over their borders etc. Despite every media outlet predicting a failure of the Brexit vote yesterday, it turns out that 52% of U.K. citizens decided, that at least in this instance, they had enough of all the high-profile elected officials telling them that the E.U. knew what was best for them. For better or for worse, yesterday the U.K. voters decided to give people like David Cameron, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton the finger for making it their life mission to tell them what to do at every turn. By a final count of 52-48 this Brexit vote seems to have become a momentary example of a population deciding to make a statement about just how poorly they think big government has served them. Of course it is way too little, and way too late. And in this instance, the mini-rebellion is probably completely misplaced.

The U.K. voters, like most voters (Trump supporters etc.) decided to attack a symbol and support something dumb while ignoring the root causes of their problems. The root cause of the demise of the U.K. gets obfuscated by a self-serving education system that has poisoned the intellectual capacity of the population to grasp basic economics. Accordingly, the U.K. economy, like all of Europe, and increasingly the U.S. is drowning in a sea of lethargy and sloth brought on by a relentless government-knows-best embracing of socialism. Of course the dictates of the E.U. also contains a strain of socialism. However, at least there are some trade benefits that come with the E.U. agreement that are being tossed aside. Why does it have to be all or none?

The U.K voters remain ignorant of the fact that their politicians have been destroying living standards and eroding opportunities for young people at an accelerating rate for many decades because they embrace socialism. So while it is pretty clear that the UK voters know something stinks, and have decided on June 23, 2016 to lash out at their elected officials for not protecting their borders, they still don’t have a clue what stinks. As such, they can be expected to revert back to casting votes for socialist baboons again very soon.

Speaking of socialist baboons, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton make the same kinds of promises to Americans that Europeans have been duped into believing for decades. “I’ll give you free stuff. Free stuff for everyone but the rich. I’ll tax the rich and we will provide you everything you need for free no matter what the costs are.”

And of course more quietly they (Obama and Hillary) infer……”If you are an entrepreneur or successful business person you better watch out, because we are tracking your every move.”


Twisted moral imperatives

© 2016 Jim Spence 
Sometimes you read a column that helps you understand contradictions. I recommend a column by John Hawkins you can read here. 
According to Hawkins, things have changed in Washington. These days Obama administration apologists don't even bother to disguise the fact that they produce propaganda. Look back to the good ole days. Consider when radical Muslims attacked the U.S. Embassy compound in Benghazi four years ago and murdered the American ambassador and three other Americans. It was September 11th of an election year. Of course there is nothing good about that. But think about how the Obama administration went into full political propaganda mode, going so far as to conjure up a bunch of lies about a amateur anti-Islamic video being the cause of the killings. In other words, it was an American's fault, not the killers. This propaganda worked well enough for Obama to win re-election, though later it became obvious the president and his henchmen and henchwomen were lying through their teeth.
Since Benghazi, radical Muslims have killed and maimed people on the finish line of the Boston Marathon, in San Bernardino, California, and now more than four dozen gay people in Orlando, Florida. And with these mass murders comes a chillingly brutal clarity about the Obama value system. In his twisted world, there are certain identity groups that are most favored, and somehow Muslims rank far above gay people.
How can this possibly be?
Witness Obama's own Attorney General Loretta Lynch. She was out running interference for Islamic murderers on national television yesterday. She told Americans that the FBI would be editing out the killer's declaration....that he was killing for Allah and ISIS. Lynch said the FBI would not be advancing "his propaganda." Sorry Loretta, what you are really doing is advancing the Obama propaganda...... the propaganda that embraces a never-ending denial of radical Islam.
Why does Obama always protect Islamic killers and blame something else? It makes no sense. Like all Marxists, Obama is generally hostile to anyone who has strong religious convictions that conflict with his worshipping of big government. And yet every devout Muslim on the planet has strong religious convictions. How about oppressors of women? Islam treats women like livestock. In places held by ISIS women are forced to wear burkas and/or veils. Many women in ISIS-held territory are forced to endure mutilation of their genitals to take the pleasure out of sex for them. Women are not allowed to leave their house or drive without a male relative. Women may be raped or beaten with impunity. How does this square with Hillary's, "I am woman 2016 ruse?" It doesn't.
Obama rails endlessly over imaginary violations of “gay rights.” He stands ready to drive Christians out of any American profession that won't cater to a gay wedding. And these days he is hell bent and determined that all American women should have to use the bathroom with men. Why? Because less than .2% of all men “feel like” women, and therefore, some would be uncomfortable using the men’s bathroom. Contrast this with the Islamic approach to gays and transgender people. Islam and homophobia go together like ham and eggs. In many Islamic countries being gay is a crime with long jail sentences or DEATH....being the penalty......for this identity. It doesn't make sense that Obama defends killers and exposes women and gays to atrocities.
Let's make sense of it.
To understand how Obama and progressive Democrats live in this twisted mixed up thought processes, you must know that they have tangled up their moral imperatives into such a mess they can't possibly think clearly. I interact with Democrats. There is no question they all think of themselves as more open-minded, fair-minded, and actually morally superior to non-Democrats. The only way these folks can see themselves as being more moral is to be obsessed with not discriminating. "Discriminate" is a BAD word in the world of the progressive Democrat. But of course we all must differentiate. Sadly, progressive Democrats confuse the idea of "differentiation" with the idea of "discrimination." And they confuse it recklessly. Accordingly, they blur the lines between right and wrong, good and evil, better and worse, and even truth and lies. If you differentiate based on a fundamental value system, a progressive Democrat can easily be persuaded that this common sense view is as an act of bigoted cultural discrimination. And for anyone to engage in discriminating, even to enforce basic fundamental truths like respecting gays and women, the progressive Democrat concludes this thought process has to be motivated by bigotry. Of course this is truly completely twisted. But this is the intellectual world Democrats now live in. As such, Democrats, and this is the key to their getting hopelessly twisted, they would actually PREFER to side with: evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success. Why? Because it is better to do this than to differentiate/discriminate, even based on a basic common sense value system.
These days Democrats find themselves trapped. If they first refuse to define anything as being better or worse than anything else, then success must somehow and illogically in this twisted paradigm, be deemed as "unjust." You see, in their increasingly warped world, quite a bit of success simply has to be unjust. And this of course explains why many progressives don't like to assign grades in school. It is unfair in their childish minds. It is the same as the "everyone must get a trophy" mentality. The logic goes completely off kilter. When nothing is better than anything else, they conclude that people achieving greater success, can be ascribed as having done so not due to greater effort or talent, but because of an even greater "injustice." Laziness and sloth can be written off not as a shortcoming, but as proof of victimization. And the greater the failure, the greater the proof of even greater victimization. It is a doom loop when this is translated into public policies. And oh friends, this mentality has been translated into public policies all over our nation.
Most Americans do not understand the twisted logic and astonishingly ignorant imperatives that drive the moral mindset of progressive Democrats. But until you do, you can never understand why they are so hostile to the successful in America. Why does Barack Obama seem to loathe America, even though we’re the richest, most successful, and most generous country in history? It is because the very fact that we ARE the richest, most successful country in history. In his world, our mere success proves that we must be doing something or have done something wrong and unfair. This is his mindset and it is also that of his followers.
Why in the Obama world do white Americans have to all be described as having benefitted from racism and “white privilege?” In Obama's mind it is because white Americans are a majority in the United States and they’re doing better (except for Asians) than most other racial groups. They must all be doing something immoral to be more successful. Whites are the easiest targets in the ultra-simplistic world of Barack Obama.
Sadly, this warped and totally ridiculous view of the world makes it extremely difficult for Obama to deal with Islam in an intelligent way. He will never concede a basic fundamental truth. This is the truth that says Islam goes with terrorism, like butter and salt go with popcorn. He won't admit that violence and rape define much of the male Muslim culture in the Middle East, Asia, and North Africa. He will never admit despite an avalanche of evidence, that there are gigantic risks to bringing Muslim immigrants to the U.S. Even after the children of Muslim immigrants butcher innocents in Boston, San Bernardino, and Orlando and all around the world by the tens of thousands. Obama continues to deny these fundamental truths. Even when a radical Muslim like the Orlando killer tells everyone he’s killing because of his religion, Obama and his propaganda machine can’t acknowledge this fundamental motivation in the mind of the killer. Instead they try to censor his declarations before releasing an edited and redacted transcript of what he said to authorities during the lull in his killings.
What can we expect from Hillary Clinton? We can expect her to keep blaming everything, lack of gun laws, bigotry, everything except the radicals who embrace the religion of Islam for all of the horrible things that radical Islamists are doing all over the world.

Swickard: Minimum wage laws destroy free markets

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” Milton Friedman
            America’s “free markets” are more free than markets in some other countries. However, our markets are not really free because our government controls so much of them. Know this: markets cannot be controlled and free simultaneously.
            Let’s use two terms interchangeably: free markets and voluntary exchange. Voluntary exchange is when people are free to trade with each other without government interference. When the government prevents voluntary exchange between citizens through rules and regulations, there cannot be free markets.
            In Venezuela there are daily riots because the Socialist Government meddled in their markets until those markets collapsed. Venezuela has gone from being one of the richest countries in the world to one of the poorest in just a few years of mismanagement. They have almost limitless natural resources. Without free markets their citizens get no benefit from those resources.
            The term, “profit” is seen by some Americans as being bad. Much of our political dialog is about businesses making too much profit so the government must intervene. Consider: if there is no profit, then what’s there to tax? Importantly, without profits, what’s there to continue the business?
            In free markets if there are high profits it inspires competitors who undercut prices to gain market share. So where do “obscene profits” come from? They come when our government protects one business over others so that competitors cannot compete. The “obscene profits” problem is too much government control in the markets.
            In Venezuela, with government control of the markets, the shelves are empty. In our country they are full but our government is moving towards the Venezuelan controls.
            One destroyer of free markets is the minimum wage. There should never be a minimum wage in a free market. Each person should trade their labor for an employer’s money as they see fit. How did we get the minimum wage?
            According to economist Dr. Walter E. Williams (and others) the minimum wage was created to further racism. (http://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2016/01/13/minimum-wage-dishonesty-n2102804)
            In the 1920s, Blacks would work for less money than Whites. Racist employers had a price to pay for being racists. If they only hired Whites, it cost them more money. Political leaders passed the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act to thwart Blacks undercutting Whites. It created the minimum wage so both Blacks and Whites had to be paid the same. Then there was no penalty for racism.
            For Americans, the ability to negotiate our own wages should be our right. But the government doesn’t allow me to work for what I think is right to get a job even though I am a free emancipated citizen. Many people caught up with progressivism do not believe in freedom. Also, with the rising minimum wage comes rising unemployment. How is being unemployed ever better than employed?
            If the government doesn’t like what someone is paid then reinstitute the 1973 Comprehensive Employment and Training Act where the government paid part of an unskilled person’s wages to get them job experience.
            Requiring employers to pay more than they think is justified, based on the return on investment in those employees, results in unskilled labor not getting hired. Those potential employees then do not get experience to get the next job. It causes discrimination against unskilled labor, mostly young people.
            The most ridiculous thing said is that some people are not making a living wage. If people can live and continue then it is a living wage. I have worked for very little money at times. I learned as much as I could and then stepped up to a better paying job.
            The government mandated minimum wage is neither compassionate nor kind. It leaves the most vulnerable Americans in perpetual bondage because they don’t get job experience. They need job experience to prosper.
            The government lives to control people and markets regardless of the damage it does to our people and the economy. For true prosperity Americans must have free markets. Otherwise our economy will descend into a Venezuela. To start we must abolish the minimum wage so young people get needed job experience.
            To believe in free markets, we must first believe in freedom.


A moment of silence?

© 2016 Jim Spence You would never think something as simple as a request for moment of silence to honor murder victims could teach you so much.
Turkey is considered a “moderate” Islamic nation. In Turkey last year, immediately following the horrific shootings by radical Islamic terrorists that killed 130 people in Paris, there was a professional soccer game being held. Prior to the beginning of the game, the public address announcer in the stadium called for a moment of silence to honor the murder victims. Unbelievably, the crowd, which was virtually 100% Muslim, booed and whistled loudly. It was a chilling reminder of how Muslim countries reacted when the Twin Towers and Pentagon were hit by suicide bombers on 9-11. Crowds of Muslims gathered all over the Middle East and Northern Africa and cheered in the streets, celebrating the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Sorry folks, these are not the behaviors of civilized friends who share your desire for freedom and peace.
This week, in the United States House of Representatives Democrats Seth Moulton and Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, along with colleague Jim Himes of Connecticut, actually refused to participate in a moment of silence to honor the shooting victims in Orlando. It seems fair to ask why?
Consider the motivations of these Democrats. It seems that they do NOT care for the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, they do know they have no chance whatsoever of over-riding the wishes of the majority of Americans who value that particular right guaranteed by the Constitution. Democrats do know how to do “end runs” around the U.S. Constitution. Accordingly, they want to put a de facto end to the 2nd Amendment, without actually getting the votes to repeal it or pass another amendment over-riding it. What they really want is a tough national gun control law that expands the power of the federal government and moves one step closer to disarming law abiding citizens.
Still, we all seem to agree that the murders of the people in Orlando qualify as a horrific atrocity. What happened in Orlando is absolutely sickening. Would you like to feel sicker? Consider the city of Chicago, which has had tough gun control laws for years. So far in 2016 the city of Chicago has had 283 murders. Most of the victims died from gunshot wounds. This is more than five times as many people who were killed in Orlando. It has happened in Chicago in less than six months. Essentially Chicago, with its very tough gun control laws, the kind of gun laws that Democrats want for all fifty states, experiences the body count equivalent of an Orlando……..every month.
Let’s consider Paris. This is a place where guns are not merely restricted, they are illegal. One hundred-thirty people were gunned down by radical Islamic killers last November in France, a country where it isn’t hard to own a gun…….it is illegal to own a gun.
Let’s return to the mindset of these Democrats in Congress along with their hapless leader Barack Obama. Many have had the sanctimonious gall to stand before the American public and put anger on display because they can’t get the gun laws they want. Laws like they have in Chicago, or better yet like the laws they have in Paris.
House Speaker Paul Ryan missed the opportunity to put these imbeciles in their place earlier this week. His response to their refusal to participate in a somber moment of silence should have gone something like this: “Fair enough, so you Democrats do not want to have a moment of silence for the victims in Orlando simply because you cannot get the gun control laws you want. Why not remain silent to honor the 283 victims of murder on Chicago this year? Most are shooting victims in a city that has the kind of laws you are demanding. Or, if that is not sobering enough for you, how about you Democrats remain silent to honor the 130 murder victims at the hands of radical Islamist killers in Paris from last November? You can honor them because guns are completely illegal in France. If that is not enough, and you still desperately need a reason to shut up, think back to Massachusetts a couple of years ago when radical Islamic killers murdered and maimed dozens with two home made pressure cooker bombs. No guns involved there, but still a good reason to remain silent so you can honor the dead, while the rest of us do the same thing. Please Democrats, if you could just honor any of these other groups of murder victims instead of the Orlando victims then the rest of us can continue to bow our heads with you. And when we finish, we can get on with the business of discussing radical Islamic killers.


Swickard column: Real safety versus political safety

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “As journalists, because you don’t carry a gun, you sort of become this observer.” Tim Hetherington
            Over the years as a journalist I have been around gun violence without being armed myself. Two observations: crap happens quickly and when you least expect it. No, I was not injured.
            In those journalism years I was involved in one way or another in five shooting with me somewhat in the middle. It was frightening though I agree with Winston Churchill, “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”
            Americans are having some bad gun moments at this time because of recent attacks upon defenseless citizens both in the United States and in Europe resulting in many deaths and injuries. It is very much in our national consciousness. People really want to find a way to be safer.
            So we want to talk about these violence issues but we cannot really. Unfortunately, the political people on both sides no longer listen to understand, they only listen to reply. So nothing I say in this column will be heard by the partisans of either side. Sad. Political programs are just people shouting and not listening.
            The topic should be “Gun Free Zones.” That is where these extreme assault problems seem to occur because perpetrators know they will be the only ones with guns until the police arrive. So it is relatively easy for them to kill many people. Those victims have no way to fight back.
            It is not rocket science that when people are defenseless and other people are evil, bad things will always happen to the defenseless people. The rule makers who created Gun Free Zones had to know what would happen. It cannot be a surprise to them.
            You don’t see these same people making Gun Free Zones in Congress. Congress and others in Washington are well protected by people armed and ready to counter evil.
            George Orwell noted, “We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” Exactly. The force of evil is balance by the force of good. Guns can be a force of evil or good depending on who uses the guns and why.
            Would we sleep safe in our beds if we could not be protected? No, an evil part of our society would take advantage of our helplessness. The forces of evil must be countered. There is no other way for normal citizens to remain safe. The problem is that citizens may have seconds to live while the police are minutes away.
            Some people even think that the Gun Free Zone sign will make a crazy person say, “Oh, it’s a Gun Free Zone. I have a gun so I can’t go there.” It would seem no one could be that stupid to think that ever could be the result of declaring Gun Free Zones. More likely the evil ones say, “Good, they can’t shoot back.”
            Many of our legislators both nationally and locally live to pass more rules, regulations and laws. So there is a constant push to “Solve” the scourge of gun violence simply by passing the right laws. Top of the list for many politicians is to ban all weapons assuming that with all weapons banned everyone would be safe.
            In reality there seems little connection between reality and these thoughts. The media tries to ignore when guns are used to make a victim safer. Yet that is what happens often when criminals try to pick on more fragile people. The gun gives the smaller and more frail person a fighting chance.
            It is very apparent at public schools that a sign is all that protects them when evil attacks. Better would be a few well trained people in schools, shopping malls, theatres and other public places who could instantly counter an attack.
            It would be lovely if everyone would play nicely and there was no more violence in our world. But it isn’t going to happen. So we must protect ourselves and our loved ones and not let politicians take that protection away while they, themselves are protected by people with guns.


He continues to give us the finger

© 2016 Jim Spence - One of the most reliable voting constituencies of the Democratic Party for many decades has been the gay community. Early Sunday morning in Orlando, Florida, the myth that the Democratic Party policies would never jeopardize the safety of the gay community came to a horrifying end. It would seem that the despicable political ruse that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have foisted on the American public, has literally bled over into the American gay community. The ruse of course pertains to the threat of radical Islam on America........all of America, including the gay community. It seems that radical Islam, which Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton claim are not a problem........doesn't just hate America, it particularly hates gay America.

It has been an increasingly disturbing world of homeland security that has evolved since the Democrats regained control of that crucial cabinet department in 2009. We should have known this wave of murders was coming. And we should have known it was going to come in waves.

Remember the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks? Democrats were somewhat concerned about homeland safety; but not nearly so much as they were ticked off that George W. Bush saw a huge surge in his popularity in the aftermath of the attacks on America. The danger of radical Islam had to be under-stated by Democrats or else the fact that Bush went after the perpetrators swiftly would be legitimized instead of the result of crass fear mongering. I actually know a well-read retired history professor who reads everything.....the Warren Commission Report, etc. Sometime after the 9-11 Commission Report was released and published, I got around to reading it. And after I read it I asked him what he thought of it. He waved me off saying he had no plans to read it. It was a telling response from a life-long Democrat. When the radical Islamists murdered Americans on 9-11 it benefited Bush politically. Sadly with Democrats everything is political. The whole thing with radical Islam had to be downplayed for the sake of politics.

What sort of security policies have we gotten since Obama took over? We have gotten naive immigration policies that allow killers to come and go as they please from terrorist training states. Yes, we have returned to the dumbest sort of immigration and international travel rules imaginable. Accordingly, the Boston Marathon bombing, the awful mass murders in Orlando, and the killings in San Bernardino were bound to happen. Expect the Obama administration to continue to pretend that radical Islamists are not really the problem and we should let people come and go from dangerous areas in the Middle East as they please.

The responses from Obama and other Democrats to these murders have been and will continue to be absurd. Recall the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. It was planned and financed by Khaled Sheikh Mohammed. That attack killed six people and injured more than one thousand. Nobody blamed the bomb itself. They blamed the perpetrators. Consider Adacia Chambers. This woman was drunk as a skunk last October when she crashed her car into a crowd that was watching a homecoming parade in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She killed four people and injured many others. Nobody blamed her car. They blamed her.

Predictably, after the San Bernardino attacks, Mr. Obama, the man who has been solely responsible for the U.S. letting its immigration and travel policies guards down, decided to blame the killer’s guns. It was a great irony that off to the side of Obama while he was demonstrating what an idiot he is, were Secret Service bodyguards, protecting Mr. Obama with.......guns.

This is the world we have created by voting for Democrats. Stop.


Swickard column: My time to talk writing

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “Storytelling was the first human occupation beyond finding food, shelter and a mate.” Michael Swickard
             I’ve written weekly newspaper columns much of my adult life. A couple of months ago I published my first novel, Hideaway Hills. This Saturday, June 11th I will be signing my novel at the Coas Bookstore in the Downtown Mall in Las Cruces from ten to noon.
            I am a writer because I love storytelling. Luckily for me over the years I’ve been around many good storytellers. Some were just normal folks with an entertaining way around a story while others are professional storytellers.
            Americans are big on stories as is evident by Hollywood. The best part of being a writer is that whatever is happening to you, it might end up in a story. Example: lightning hit a couple of houses away and went through the cable lines burning out my computer and television.
            I took the dead cable boxes to the local Comcast office. The representative told me they were not going to replace my computer and television. I never even considered it. They said it was an “Act of God.” I said, “So I can quote you.” They nodded. Then I added, “Major corporation Comcast affirms there is a God.”
            Until now it hadn’t made it into a column. As a writer I have lots of scraps of paper with those kinds of oddball thoughts waiting for the right moment. The novel came about because over the last decade I daily took care of my uncle to keep him out of a nursing home. One year ago at age 89 he passed away.
            So from 24/7 care of a relative, especially every night, I suddenly had lots of time. Therefore, I started Hideaway Hills from story ideas I had while living in Lincoln County in the early 1980s. Every day I would write. Then came the happy day a couple of months ago when I typed THE END and set about to publish it which in today’s world is relatively easy.
            Hideaway Hills is the first book in a trilogy about New Mexico. It is set in 1985 in the Sierra Blanca area. People have told me stories all of my adult life. I have used some of them in columns and kept the rest in a box. This book let me use some of those stories.
            For instance: one day in a Lincoln County coffee shop one of the old men who told great stories was asked about the nearby Native Americans. He said, “They’re fine folks though when I was just a button on the Bonita me and three friends were attacked while we were camping. They were shooting at us and we were shooting at them. Then we realized we were running out of bullets.”
            The old man paused and sipped his coffee. One of the youngsters at the table impatiently asked, “What happened?” This old man smiled and said, “Son, the Indians killed us all.” He got up and left to our applause.
            Writing is interesting since once it is published it may last for generations or not. I like that I have captured a time in a small community. None of the characters are real but after a year of writing they seem real to me. I laugh with them and cry with them and in the silence of my head I listen to what they have to say.
            I have been asked how to become a novelist. The answer is easy and the work is difficult. You sit and write every day. Many people have told me of their desire to be a writer. They say they have a story but often they have a vision but sadly do not write it down.
            Augusten Burroughs wrote, “The secret of being a writer is that you have to write. It’s not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work.” Amen.
            If you are in Las Cruces Saturday, I’ll be at Coas Bookstore in the Las Cruces Downtown Mall ten to noon. Hope to see you there.


How could it ever come to this?

© 2016 Jim Spence Your choice for president might be Hillary Clinton. Hillary is part of a husband and wife team that is allowed to run a money laundering operation in America. Some call this operation the Clinton Crime Syndicate, while others know it as the Clinton Foundation. 
How corrupt are the Clintons? Bill was disbarred for committing perjury. This means Bill does not conduct himself with enough integrity to be a lawyer. As for Hillary, she is a compulsive liar who should be in jail for violating national security laws.
Alternatively, you can select Donald Trump as your next president. Trump is an unprincipled braggadocio who inherited hundreds of millions dollars from his daddy. Trump would have us believe he made his millions on his own. But the truth is Trump has stiffed investors many times with his self-serving bankruptcy filings. He is a master at illusion. Trump is also known well for his sexual conquests, which he describes vividly in many of his books he wrote himself. Imagine a president who has told his readers exactly how great he is. Ooops, Obama already did that. Trump does distinguish himself from Bill Clinton in that he brags about the babes he has diddled, whereas Bill Clinton denies his well documented encounters, many of which have involved force, according to his accusers.
The two characteristics these slime bags (Trump and Clinton) have in common is an insatiable thirst for power and the willingness to trash and destroy anyone who gets in their way. The power both want to get their hands on is possessed by the American federal government. When the Clintons had this power before, Trump gave them money to access it.
How could it ever come to this?
The answer is simple. Our federal government has seized so much power from individuals, families, municipalities, counties, and states it scarcely resembles the constitutional republic that was established more than two hundred years ago merely so that another would-be despot like George III would never run roughshod over our citizens again.
Before we identify the missteps along the way to America’s gradual march towards its demise, let’s consider a list of really good things that our constitutional republic accomplished to evolve from thirteen defiant British colonies into the greatest nation on earth. The list starts with the adoption of the Bill of Rights, also known as the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments were ratified simultaneously with the Constitution in 1789, and guaranteed by law, the basic freedoms we now take for granted. Unfortunately, our freedoms for all men and women were incomplete in the eighteenth century so we Americans amended our constitution repeatedly and improved upon and expanded basic freedoms. The thirteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery. The fourteenth amendment specifically provided equal protection under the law to all citizens. The fifteenth amendment provided us with protection from discrimination. The nineteenth amendment guaranteed women the right to vote. All of these were steps taken to improve America. And they did. They improved our country because they expounded on and broadened freedoms for all Americans.
So where did we start to go wrong?
We went wrong by allowing appointed judges to look the other way while ambitious politicians in our federal government violated the U.S. Constitution. Instead of our courts doing their duty and INSISTING that ambitious politicians wanting to expand their powers amend the Constitution to make what they wanted to do legal, they gradually rendered the document useless. There were hundreds of bogus court interpretations of what simple words in our Constitution actually meant. 
With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016, we see that nothing they say about what they think is required to mean anything. It is all just gibberish to placate the ignorant. Both Clinton and Trump want to seize the awesome power Americans have naively handed over to the federal government via the judicial system.
Thanks to our judicial branch of government, the branch that ignores instead of protects our governing document from perversion, the U.S. government has become so powerful, with so much control over all aspects of the lives of its citizens, that billions and billions of dollars are spent every year to either seize or maintain this awesome power.
Again, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are products of a corrupt system where the citizens have been poorly educated regarding the basic concepts of freedom. It is precisely the opposite of what Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and John Adams rejected when they began to take on a British king and his armed forces in the 1770’s. 
Sadly, up until now Democrats have naively thought that their efforts to constantly expand the size and scope of government at the expense of personal freedoms benefited them. But as the Venezuelans and Greeks are learning fast, when you are so corrupt that you are willing to use the federal government to confiscate someone else’s property for your personal use, pretty soon, when all of their property is gone, that same federal government will come after yours. 
We are almost there now.