Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Good New Year's Resolution

The following poem would be a good one for a new year's resolution.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The NSA…men who found the needle…and the haystack

“Most people look for the needle in the haystack. The NSA takes the whole haystack home.”

Terre Haute – Indiana Not too many months ago I read a major newspaper’s article about “the most powerful man you have never heard of.” General Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency, more commonly known as the NSA, had a large clandestine program. They had told the public they did not do large collections of metadata. But we have since found out that that was the “least untruthful answer” possible. It was a very kind way of saying they had lied.
But earlier this year, in one of the biggest stories of the decade, Edward Snowden, security contractor, hacked some fire walls, did some things we are still not sure of, stole a still unspecified amount of documents, possibly 1.7 million according to some, and told the world that the American government was tracking millions of calls daily, keeping tabs on allies, bugging headquarters of European Nations, and even bugging the phone of the head of Germany. It reminds one of the Cold War.
The official story is that this is to protect the nation against acts of terrorism. According to the Washington Post, one of the first to report the story, we still do not know of a single time when terrorism was actually stopped or stalled because of it. It was also declared, under the official story, to be constitutional.
A judge in Washington DC recently declared it “almost certainly unconstitutional” while another just yesterday declared it to not fall without of the realm of “unreasonable,” and thus to be indeed constitutional.
The one who said it was constitutional was a George Bush appointee, the one who said it was not was a Bill Clinton appointee.
Although the president is in Hawaii, during the holidays he is reading a 304 page report with almost fifty resolutions for an overhaul, by a committee of five. In an opinion piece one of them said
“Several news outlets have reported that the review group had called for an end to the program, but we did not do that. We called for a change in approach rather than a wholesale rejection… But make no mistake: The review group reaffirmed that the program should remain a tool of our government in the fight against terrorism…It has the potential to prevent the next 9/11.”
When the president comes back to Washington the debate will begin about the overhaul. The only thing we know for sure will happen is that the president will be nice to the press when he talks about it, and that, he said, is one of his New Year resolutions.

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Collage of Quotes

All taken from memory…. “Quotes taken from memory are a wonderful thing, they allow you to add your own words to someone else’s to make your point better, and then leave someone else with all the blame, and yourself all the credit.” –Sir Walter Scott.

“If Moses had thought of it, Moses would have said it!” Peppermint Patty, Peanuts comic strip.

“Quotes are the raisins we season our oatmeal with.” -Gerry Spence.

“Great men are forged in fire. It is for lesser men to light the flame.” –British script writer Steven Moffit.

“I have never made a mistake while working, I have only discovered 50,000 things that do not work.” -Attributed in various forms to Thomas Edison.

“If it happened, I would never know.” –American worker, when asked if he was afraid of the high level explosives he was working on for the Manhattan (A-bomb) Project.

“Everybody’s got a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.” -Mike Tyson.

“Strategy without tactics is a slow course to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” –Sun Tzu: Art of War.

“If the Federal Government was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, within five years there would be a shortage of sand there.” –Milton Friedman, Economist.

“An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why what he predicted yesterday did not happen today.” –Lawrence J. Peters.

"The shrewdest observer of human nature ever, invented the eraser." Peppermint Patty.

Nathan Bedford Forrest, when asked what his strategy was during the Civil War replied “Get there the fastest with the mostest.”

“Don’t duck men, they couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist…” last words of an officer before being shot during I believe the Civil War.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Spirit of Christmas: Part 1

Terre Haute, Indiana – There have been times, in the history of the world, when the clouds of prejudice, hatred, unkindness, and selfishness fade away for a moment, and the truth of enlightenment pushes away the mists. Some of those have been in forming unity, such as when the European Union was formed.

Others have been in law and government, such as when the constitution was written, and America was formed with its system of checks and balances. There are great moments in human history, such as the discovery of gravity, the first climbing of Everest, the invention of the computer, the Rise of Rome, the writing of great books.
But the greatest event in human history, after its completion, the one so important that we form the way we measure time and years of everyone else relative to it, was the life of Jesus Christ.
He was born during the reign of Rome’s first emperor, when memories of civil war were fresh in everyone's minds, and unrest from the zealots over the census was beginning.

Christ's birth disproved many statements by apostates and others throughout the world. He did not come as a warrior, as some thought, but as a child. He did not come as a king, but was born in a child. He disproved men like Hitler, a man filled with more hate than nearly anyone else in history. God did not hate the Jews. His Son was a Jew.

Many who claim to be his followers would not have recognized the Christ they claim to worship. A man who ate with both the rich and the poor, sat with the intellectuals and the fishermen, was popular with many, and hated by many. He came not to condemn the world, for it was condemned already. He came to save it.

He exhibited the spirit of Christmas.

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Washinton Irving

Below is the ling to Washington Irving's Christmas tale. One even better than some of Dicken's stories. And this one is true.

Old Christmas: A tale of happieness

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Top of the Mountian

Chicago, Illinois – A friend of mine once, told me of a mountain he had climbed which had taken him many hours. He stated that, while climbing, he many times thought that he saw the top, but when he got there, he found what looked to be the summit was still ahead, and when he got there, there was another up above him.

I myself have experienced this. In fact, I have even encouraged others who were about to give out and stop that “the summit is right up there,” we found that we still had a third of the mountain to go when we got there.
In 1894, at the opening of the laboratory of the University of Chicago, the new director stated that all the important discoveries of science had already been made and that in the future, we would just be perfecting theories out “to the sixth decimal place.” The problem for that statement was that Albert Einstein was only just growing up, but in a few years he would come out with Relativity. This theory only bent space and time, overthrew, with proof and evidence, nearly six thousand years of scientific thought, and shook up entire branches of science.
Besides that he also reformed our idea of energy, and gave us e=mc2.
So it often is in science, man thinks that they now know everything there is to know. The ancients postulated the Sun was about a foot wide. That was taught as fact. Then we were told the earth was flat and everything revolved around us. At another time it was stated that no rational person would ever state that there were other galaxies. Now every fourth grader knows that.
It was once stated different objects fall at different speeds, and this held up for a thousand years, until somebody bothered to drop something and find out-the idea was wrong.
Now, it is accepted in science that the universe began with a big bang. The textbooks, the scientists, the History Channel all proclaim it. It must be true.
While currently the great majority of scientists believe in the big bang, that does not make it true. Not even the fact there is a book called The End of Science, proclaiming that the current ideas of our modern world will never be changed, just worked out to the sixth decimal point, can alter the fact that in the end, science will move on.
And when science does move on, we will come a little closer to doing what Johannes Kepler, the astronomer, said science was all about. “Thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”

Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, December 13, 2013

People v. President, Ukraine

The nation was once a Soviet Satellite, its grain fields being fought over during the Second World War by Russia and Germany. Although it is now free of Russia, the rich and powerful oligarchs still find it better for their pockets to remain in close economic ties with them, rather than with the European Union, which is what the people want. The president, Viktor Yanukovych, did not sign a recent deal bringing the nation in closer alignment with the EU, and the people have begun protesting.
Kiev, the capitol city, has become the focal point of the unrest. The square where the demonstrations are being held is named Independence Square. They seem to have chosen well.
But there is a history with men who wish to hold on to power. It is a history of anxiety attacks about free speech. Whether the president has such an attack is unclear, but someone did. Thousands of riot police stormed the square and knocked down the barricades.
But the police did not have as much resolution as the people, and the barricades are back, according to the British newspaper the Guardian, they are now twice as high as they were before the attack. The people retain control of city hall, and apparently the center of the city. Organizers are claiming that as many as 50,000 are on their way to join them.
The opposition is demanding the president sack the prime minister. One of their three leaders is a former heavy-weight boxing champion. Meetings between him and his compatriots with the president have brought nothing. Now, in Independence square a tent city has sprung up, as the people wait for justice. The city statue of Lenin has been torn down.
The president has promised the end of violence, but some are not so sure.
The government is now planning to hold their own weekend rallies, sending people in by train. There is an established law of physics, known as the Pauli Exclusion Principle. It states that no two pieces of matter can be at the same place at the same time. It is the same with massive groups of politically high-strung people. In Ukraine, it will be a very interesting weekend.
In Kiev it is after all Christmastime, and what a very merry Christmas it is turning out to be.
Andrew C. Abbott

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Man of the Year

He was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, but few people know that name. He was elected head of the world’s largest Christian denomination. This church’s membership is around a sixth of the population of planet earth. At 1.2 billion, according to Wikipedia. He spoke, not long ago, to a crowd which, according to one report, topped three million. But he sometimes sneaks out at night to visit the poor. He has been named Time magazine’s person of the year, but he could not at first be convinced to move into his suites because he was enjoying holding daily devotions with the hotel staff.

He is best known as Pope Francis I.
In the fifteen hundreds, Martin Luther nailed, on Halloween, to the door of the church at Wittenberg, his ninety-five thesis. At that time he had to go into hiding for his descent of the church. He could have been burned at the stake, as the theologians Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were, nearly thirty later, simply for disagreeing.
Things have changed since then within the Catholic Church. They now have their first South American pope ever. And the first that was not from Europe since the before the Normans invaded England. You are absolved from some of the years of purgatory simply by following His Holiness on twitter these days. Even atheists, it appears, are now assured a place in heaven.
The “Papal See” continues to reflect the movements of thought and change in popular opinion. The early church father’s would have been mortified. They refused to change their minds for even the emperor. But without force, the people have slowly brought about change since the purging and killings. But the Catholic Church, in the words of one “has moved on.”

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, December 2, 2013

To Outer Space

Calvert City, Kentucky – Yesterday, China, once a nation which seemed frozen in time, sent Chang’e-3 lunar lander and Yutu rover to the moon. It will be the first unmanned landing on the moon in nearly forty years.

On their way to Mars right now are two unmanned ships, one from America, another from India. A study has begun to make a sort of PayPal for the universe, a galactic form of payment, usable on all planets. Recently I saw for the first time a commercial for private space-travel, the company even has a catchphrase, “Let us help you make your dreams come true.”
All those years ago, when Galileo pointed a ship’s spyglass at the stars, it is impossible to believe he ever thought it would become this. A spaceport America is already being built, possibly to be done by next year, to send man beyond the atmosphere.
Built for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, it is costing nearly 300,000,000. Not too long ago, as measured by the grand scope of human history, mankind still thought the earth was the center of the solar system, it was only after they understood that they did not understand, that they could begin to explore.
Of course, the time lines could be off, and it might still be another decade before Spaceport America becomes functional. Things could happen, there could be complications. Yet it appears that man could soon begin to explore the planets near him. An unmanned craft has already left the solar system. Things are being prepared to move on mars. Man is finally realizing a dream Adam must have had. To walk among the stars.
Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Good Man

"Let there be no more argument about what a good man should be. Be one."
- Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Raleigh, North Carolina - Today, America is one of the wealthiest nations on the planet. One of the largest nations on the planet in population, and considered the strongest militarily. Often, when foreign wars are about to break out, a word from our commander in chief has stayed it. Our president is the leader of the free world, we are one of the freest nations on the planet. And all of this came from a small group of pilgrims clinging to the Eastern Seaboard, half of them dying their first winter, freezing and starving to death. Truly, Americans have much to be thankful for. Good night everybody, and a happy thanksgiving.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sherlock Holmes

“I submit for your inspection one John H. Watson: medical man, late British army surgeon, raconteur, journalist…. Knight of the Battered Tin Dispatch Box, valiant and loyal friend.”
One doctor created another. In 1887, around Christmas, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a doctor of small practice, published A Study in Scarlet. In it, Watson has just come back from the war, and has a wound. Living on army pay, he needs to find “comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.” A friend tells him he knows of someone who may wish to share a room, and takes the good doctor to meet him.
The man is highly eccentric (he comes into the story beating a dead body with a stick to calculate the effect of bruising after death), smokes, and plays the violin. His name is Sherlock Holmes, and the flat number is 221B, Baker Street.
The first book was not well received. It did not sell out, and got poor reviews. However, three later Doyle tried again, this time with greater success. Not long after, a series of twenty-four stories were ordered by Strand Magazine. (It was the Life of its time.) Soon, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were rushing all over London and the English countryside, Watson with his revolver, Holmes with his pipe, Holmes shocking people by telling them a great deal about themselves through deduction, Watson writing everything down. Some people did, and some whom I have met still do, think Holmes to have been real.
After twenty-three stories, Moriarty, the great criminal mind, the second greatest in London, second only to Mycroft, Holmes brother, decides that Holmes has “inconvenienced” him once too often. It is the story of The Final Problem. When it appeared, ending in the seeming death of Sherlock Holmes, himself and Moriarty, in a death struggle, falling over the abyss and into Reichenbach falls, over twenty thousand readers of Strand canceled their subscriptions immediately.
Three years later, Watson is visited by a book seller, who asks him if he would like some rare books, to hide a bare spot on the shelf, Watson looks at the spot, turns around, and sees Holmes throwing away his disguise.
Holmes had returned, having survived by landing on a ledge and going into hiding to escape Moriarty’s men, to capture Colonel Sebastian Moran. And so the adventures continue, the deductions go on, until Holmes goes on to retire, just before coming out of retirement one last time to save Britain from the Germans in World War I, in His Last Bow.

Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, November 22, 2013

50 Years

Greensboro, North Carolina – Fifty years ago today John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States, was shot and killed in Dallas Texas. I am told by those that were alive that it was a shock to the national system. Children who were in the second grade playing on the playground had it announced to them over the loudspeakers, and they still remember.
Today, fifty years later, it is the feature of newspapers, the subject of television specials, twitter and Facebook posts. Even foreign newspapers, such as The Guardian, stop to remember the man from Camelot, who lived just over 1,000 days in the White House.
Putting aside who shot him, where the bullets came from and went to, how many films were taken, what happened with the bag-man, whether the Irish Mafia was involved, or who Jack Ruby was, the real mystery remains to be how the nation remembers them
At his time, the Kennedy family was the height of good looks. “When knights and fair ladies roamed Washington” according to the book A Women Named Jackie. And even though we now know that much of it was fake, that he had back problems, his wife was not exactly the nicest person in town, (she once ordered passengers off of an airplane, according to one author, so she could have seats she had not booked) and they were drug abusers.
Still, the Kennedys still manage to hold their place. Such as when a video in tribute to a lesser member of the dynasty, Ted, was shown at the DNC Presidential Convention in 2012, and the president, when talking up his party during one his campaigns, stated “we are still the party of Lincoln, we are still the party of Kennedy.” There was even a nephew of Jack’s in congress until two years ago.
Even now that the dynasty is mostly broken up, the moon has been reached, the missiles have left Cuba, and Jackie is no longer around to flaunt her hair-do, the story continues to enthrall, which is why the book on them by Richard Reeves was called Camelot.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, November 18, 2013

World Unwar: Part 2

Greensboro, North Carolina – In the last several hundred years, our planet has gone through major revolutions in thought, in organization, and technology. We went suddenly from our fastest form of communication being a galloping horse, to being able to send messages to people on the other side of the world within seconds. The world has gone digital. Information is within reach of anyone. We can instantly find out when Queen Elisabeth I was born, and who won the super bowl twenty years ago. We can build skyscrapers over a hundred stories high; we can send a man to the moon and bring him back alive. 
And yet mankind still goes to war.
Like the monkeys in the jungles who crash each other’s brains in with sticks, we make war, just with more sophisticated sticks. It is an unfortunate reality. There are still those nations in the world who will not listen to reason. Who are ready to blow up their nearest neighbors to make points, and there are groups who kill to make statements. Technology has made mankind no better.
When wars end, their consequences do not. The boys do not all come home. The destruction takes years to clean up. In Europe, in some places, farmers must plough their fields with bombproof bottoms on their equipment because of the mines and undetonated shells and bombs that still lie there from World War I.
We must find ways to avoid war. Many nations, groups and individuals still have time bombs lying beneath the national physic. Old prejudices that this color is better than that, or that those of this denomination should all be run out of town or that if you speak a certain language you must be inferior. These are things that need to be talked through, if at all possible, with every other measure than war.
The reason this article is called World Unwar is because there are those that believe that World Peace is something only evil people would seek. Such as the Scriptural Antichrist. However, a call for world peace is not a call for a single one world government, it is something that Christ called for when he said that the greatest duty of man, after loving God, was to love his neighbor.

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, November 14, 2013

World Unwar: Part 1

“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.”-John F. Kennedy.

Greensboro, North Carolina – In the year of our Lord 1914, World War I was begun by the free and un-free peoples of a planet called earth. They thought that it would forever end war. They thought that their actions, their bloodletting, their killing, their pounding each other until little but bloody pulp was left would help things. In Germany, of all young men who were between twenty and thirty, fifty percent were dead when it was over.
It smashed up thousands of acres of good farming land. Left massive craters and miles of trenches. Young men were blown into pieces so small they could not be found. Entire armies walked over the tops of trenches, almost every single one not coming back.
But the wars did not end. The began again in World War II. Again the world went to war with itself. Again big machines and men with guns pounded each other until all that was left was a bloody mess. This time the free peoples won, but they won a continent of rubble.
Since then, the wars have continued. Thousands of young men and women dying in different nation’s disagreements. In Syria today a civil war continues, in which, so far, we are otld over a 100,000 people have died. Many of the, civilians. No matter who is right or wrong, in the end, when all of the blood dries, when all of the ground settles over the graves, it is neither the good nor the bad that win, it is war.
There is nothing to cheer about when it is over. When those that survived the horror of war come home, the only glory is in the mind. Even in the “golden age” if knighthood, people were still dying. Behind those visors and shields, behind those war cries, were humans. When the colonials of the Napoleonic wars lined up, and marched at each other in their massive chess games gone real, they were still killing real people. Behind the explosions, behind the terror, behind the madness, behind the propaganda, there are people with lives, with families, people who were once children. They are people, and the human race is too small, and it’s mission too great, to lose even one of its members.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Time of Peace

Greensboro, North Carolina - Yesterday I was in Virginia, at Appomattox, where, in 1865, Robert E. Lee was brought to heel by U.S Grant, and finally forced to surrender the army of Northern Virginia. The surrender set of a string of surrenders from other Southern armies across the South, which ended, soon after, in the final laying down of arms and the beginning of peace.

I stood on the spot where Lee and Grant met, and shook hands. After the peace that was signed at Appomattox, after the Civil War was over, the young men had to finally go home and begin to rebuild their lives. The war had lasted nearly five years. It had killed thousands, and at last these boys were going home.

Union General Joshua Chamberlin, who ordered a salute from the men in Blue to the men in Gray as they surrendered, stated: "It was worth a pilgrimage to see."

Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Greensboro, North Carolina - More than two thousand years ago there were two resistance movements, both fighting the Roman army. One was in Britannica, the other was in Gaul, beyond the Rhine.

While the battles took place at different times, one primarily in the time of Julius Caesar, the other in the time of Augustus, they were fought with the same sort of tactics by the Romans, against the same sort of odds (greatly outnumbered) but with different success. In Britain, when the Romans landed among the black forests and rolling fields, they were met with only small resistance at first. Later, there were rebellions, and huge armies of screaming, howling, weapon wielding although maybe not clothes wearing warriors swept down on them. It did no good, and the occupiers stayed around until they wanted to leave.

Not too many years after the Romans invaded Britannica, in the steamy woods of the land beyond the Rhine, they met with disaster. Here, the people were also disunited, and at the very beginning, the Romans were able to keep them divided. But a young, Roman trained young man, named Arminius, came forth, united the people, and kept the Romans from advancing further at that time. It is said Augustus paced his palace, shouting at his dead general to give him back his legions.

During World War II, France was split between those loyal to their nation, and those that were, for all practical purposes, under the sway of the Germans. The French Resistance, although in the end it would number over a quarter of a million men, was unable to clear their land of the enemy alone, because it was a land divided.

Once a nation is conquered, such as when Britain was in 1066 by William the Conqueror, no matter how the resistance movements try, they are nearly always unable to do anything in the way of bringing back their country.

When scientific theories begin to lose followers, such as the ether theory did to Einstein's Relativity, they often soon disappear from the textbooks, and then from memory, no matter how many problems the new one may have, it has momentum, and dikes rarely stand very well once water begins to go over the top.

The best solution is not a plethora of resistance movements, it is better to have better defenses and then offences in the first place, such as the Gaels under Arminius, then to try to win back your country, such as the British under Boudica. Everyone has heard of Winston Churchill, the man who kept the German's out of Britain, not many know the names of the men who led the French Resistance, who tried to kick them out.

G. K. Chesterton said: "It is too late to cry out, when the hatchet is already in the air."

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, November 4, 2013

To meet Fire with Fire

Greensboro, North Carolina – When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them…
There have been times throughout history when the schoolyard bullies grow up and take control of nations. And those bullies start to push those that are weaker than they are around. Sometimes they roll over without a fight, like some nations practically did in World War II, other times they fight tooth and nail until they drive the invaders or king or armies or whatever or whoever it is on top of them off until they can stand up and take their own place in the world again, like the Germans did two thousand years ago when the Empire of Rome thought it would expand its border that way, and found that they could hold only the ground they stood on, and not even that was very secure.
The weaker resisting against oppression has been around since the dawn of history. We can be very certain Able did not sit down and whine when Cain came after him in the field. When the Persians attempted to march through the pass of Thermopylae, to put of Greece under its heel, three hundred Spartans stood them off and killed thousands.
But Able died, and the Spartans lost the battle. In Adolf’s Hitler’s Germany, the theologian Dietrich Bonheoffer and a small group of dedicated men attempted to assassinate and bring down Hitler himself with the aid of some of nation’s highest men. The bombs failed to go off, or when they did, they failed to work properly. The group was discovered and broken up. Bonheoffer was hung.
There were at least small attempt at overthrowing the Russians Reds as they came to power, but those to broke down and collapsed. But the attempted coups against Nero worked. In fact, the coups were so well that year that Rome had four emperors. Resistance worked quite well for Alfred the Great, as he fought against the Danes, and there were quite effective resistance movements in World War II.
To be continued.

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Of Spying

Ridgecrest Conference Center, North Carolina – People do in private things they would not do in public. We say to ourselves, sometimes aloud, things we would never say to another, and certainly not in giving a speech. We say to our friends what we would never say to some other people. But are you being watched?
It has now been released that in one month alone, the NSA, tracked about 60 million calls in Spain, and also in one month, about 30 million in France. According to some reports, even Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany’s phone was being tapped.
Apparently, according to recent revelations from newspapers such as The Guardian, and The Washington Post, without their knowledge, major information sites with lots of traffic, such as Yahoo and Google, are also being gleaned for information, without even the use of a court order.
These leaks, which have been coming at least in large part from Edward Snowden, former American contractor, are causing widespread debate and even attempts to end these processes from congress. It reminds one of the necessity of privacy in one’s own life. Even the NSA gets embarrassed and sometimes changes things when everybody else knows what is going on behind closed doors.
In, it appears, an attempt to find the reasons for the leak and to kill the story, several news agencies have reported having their records collected, and documents taken, to find sources by the authorities.
Just as the freedom of the press is protected by the first amendment to the constitution, so also it is one of the first necessities of a free society. Many prison camps have remained open, many corrupt politicians who were stealing money from the working classes have remained in office, until a photographer showed up to document the suffering, or until a journalist arrived to tell the truth.
But as the governments of the world must be kept a watch over by the people, the people still have a right to privacy. To live their lives in peace. To call their house during a hard day of work, and not have to know that that call is being monitored by some agent somewhere. To send a message to a friend without the fear that it will be tapped and read because of the possibility that an email about a birthday party may be a terrorist plot.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Advancement of Health

Calico Rock, Arkansas – Sunday, according to the Associated Press, there was another difficulty with the Affordable Care Act website. (Obomacare.) By now, nearly everyone of is aware of the disaster of the rollout of the website, despite millions of dollars being poured into it. Congress is seeking answers, even asking the secretary of Health and Agriculture for the mess.

In a USA Today poll, it was found that nearly 40% of Americans are now less enthusiastic about the new law. Over 40% do not even know where to go to get information about what is all means. According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the law is about 20,000 pages long. The stack is taller than a person.
About 15% of Americans are uninsured.
The government shutdown was, partially, about delaying or defunding the Affordable Care Act. Over forty times, the Republican filled and led House of Representatives has attempted to repeal the law. It is still in place. By next year, more of the law will go into effect.
There is a consensus in Washington, even joined by the president that, in all reality, the rollout of what is currently in effect has been a failure and a disaster. It leaves some wondering what it will look like when it goes into full effect.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

World Synergy

It is an anomaly that we can split the atom, but we are nearly powerless to persuade each other to embrace justice. We can recombine our genes, but we cannot ask each other, in simple ways, for love… In short, we have learned to dominate people as things, but when it comes to relating to people as people, we still tread wearily through the dark ages. – Gerry Spence

Phoenix, Arizona – America won the revolutionary war with the aid of the French. Some historians believe it would have been about as close to impossible as one can come, for us to have won without their help.
There is much Americans can do. We were the first to go to the moon. We developed cars, airplanes, and the ideas of special relativity quantum mechanics. But we cannot build everything alone. But we know that there are some things we cannot do alone. When we built the atomic bomb, we did it with the help of scientists from other countries.
Patriotism is a good thing. A powerful force. But patriotism should not change into exclusivism. The world has many types of people, and many of them have ideas about science and inventions and ways to make the world a better place, not all the great leaders in the world are Americans.
To have peace there must be respect. Nations cannot blatantly cross each other’s borders, make gigantic shows of force, build high flung rhetoric, and pout and turn their backs when they do not get the ninety-seventh clause in the treaty of trade that they wanted. I am reminded of a world war two poster I once saw which stated a great truth “United we are strong, united we will conquer.
And speaking of world war two, one of the greatest shows of synergy between nations in the history of this planet of ours was during that war, and especially at D-Day.
Thousands of men, massive amounts of ships, floating docks, marines, paratroopers, planes, supplies, generals, rangers, artillery, and men from nations from around the world. When those men hit those beaches, they were not concerned about the different accent of the man next to them, they stopped thinking about the differences of food, color, or things like that.
What mattered was the job that needed to be done, not where the person was from that you were doing it with. And that is something that should be remembered as a lesson to us. There are still tyrants in the world, there are still things to invent, there are still huge projects to pull off, still places where people are not free, still things to do. The tyrants of world war two would never have been toppled, the world would never have been saved, the beaches would never have been won, if the different nations there had not had each other backs. As sons of Adam, we’ve got each other’s backs. Now, let’s do this.
Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Trial by Power

Nearly all men can stand adversity. But if you want to test a man, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln.

San Jose, California – Huey Long, possibly the inspiration for the novel All the king's men, was known as the man of the people, the small-town boy next year. He was the son of farm owners, and homeschooled. He was so poor that when he won a scholarship, he was still unable to use it because he could not afford even the textbooks.
Long was the governor of Louisiana, and then a senator until 1935. He advocated a "share the wealth society." His works created hospitals and brought textbooks to poor children. His political career began when he was 25.
But then his social plans began to backfire. The governor tried to bring in new taxes to fund his programs. Soon, an attempt was made to impeach him. He was called out for blasphemy, bribery, and embezzling, along with misuse of power, etc.
Fifteen senators promised not to vote against Long, no matter what the evidence, he won his case. Afterwards, the man of the people was surrounded with bodyguards at all times. His work paid off, and a road system was made in the state connecting the back roads and small disparate parts of the state. His opponents claimed he had become the virtual dictator of the state.
FDR and the New Deal were not progressive enough. Long wanted a redistribution of wealth. He thought there should be a cap on how much money you could make in a year, how much money you could have, and on how much you could inherit. "This plan is the only defense this country's got against communism.”
Long continued to effectively control his state. The governor was his lieutenant. The senators were his allies. When he was in the capitol, he would take over the governor’s office, and sit on congressmen’s desks to explain to them how he needed them to vote.
Soon, his clubs had millions of members. He regularly has twenty-five million listeners on the radio. He received more letters every week from supporters and others than the president. Soon, he decided to run for president himself. He wrote a book My First Days in the Whitehouse. In his home state of Louisiana his detractors said he was so bad armed opposition may be all they had left. He probably would have crushed them had it come to that. He boasted he controlled everything but the Red Cross and the Community Chest.
But you may have never heard of Huey Long, that is because he never became president, not because he lost, but because, on September eight, 1935, he was at the state capitol building trying to pass "House Bill Number One.” A bill to remove Judge Benjamin Henry Pavy, a long time enemy.
At 9:20, Dr. Carl Weiss approached Long in the hallway as the session still went strong. He shot the senator in the stomach and killed him.
Men who seek for power may win it for a time, but they too shall fail. It is only virtue that will in the end triumph. Power is like fire. Handle is carefully, or it will burn you.

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Who sat up with the Sick Cow?

San Jose, California – Under Communism, just about everything is free except the people. Under the optimum strategy, all private property is abolished, and jobs are, apparently, assigned according to what the social planners think is the best place for them. The way everything will be is planned according to a select group’s decisions.

According to the established laws of economics this is a disaster. It is impossible to know what everyone in society will want, so impossible to assign it. Communism has historically been the cause of famine, bloodshed, and civil unrest. Under Communism, because everyone will eat and live regardless of how much work they do there is not much incentive to work at all. Thus, when one Communist says there enough potatoes to touch the face of God, and the other tells him there is no God in Communism, he can reply that there are also no potatoes.
The cow is an important part of the economic system and market. It gives milk, leather, and beef. If you are the settlers on the Great Plains, it also gives fuel. For a long time, in some places, your wealth was measured in cattle. The cow has been so important to some societies that when the cattle began to die off, or if there was an outbreak among them, the people quickly followed them to the grave.
Sitting up with a sick cow all night is not necessarily the most glorious or fun job. If there is no incentive, it will not be done, and even in a Commune probably not delegated, it being one of those things that planners do not think about; the creation of the department of watching sick cows.
Since it is no one’s job, in Communism, it will most likely not get done. In the end the cow will usually die, and so will Communism.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Default Button

San Jose, California –Congress faces another deadline. On Thursday, Jacob Joseph “Jack” Lew, Secretary of the Treasury will run out of ways to borrow money. He will have about thirty billion dollars remaining on hand-pocket change. By the first of next month we will begin to miss payments on the interest for our debts-default.

America is about 16.7 trillion dollars in debt. That is an amount of money so astronomical that it is hard to imagine. However, if the debt ceiling is not raised for the 43rd time since 1980, the government may default on its bond payments. If the single largest creditor in the world, the one with more debt than the entire European Union combined defaults, it could be a disaster. However, it is doubtful that that will happen. It is considered by most analysts that the debt ceiling will be raised again. However, we cannot leave out the possibility that it might happen, as, traditionally, the joke in politics has been that congress and deadlines are two things that should not be mixed. At the White House Press Dinner the President said that he proposed a toast at a dinner with some congressmen, but it died in committee.
America has had a long history of being in debt, stretching to its founding. The Continental Congress, during the Revolutionary War, printed so much paper money that it became so worthless that a phrase was made “not worth a continental” showing just how much the money was worth. To alleviate the problem, money was borrowed, which only made things worse.
Alexander Hamilton did a rather good job, at least in some areas, of cleaning up the disaster, as first Secretary of the Treasury. However, the nation was still in debt. And we continued to be in debt until the Presidency of Andrew Jackson, the president of the Trail of Tears. He was the only president to ever pay of the entire national debt, and to also shut down the National Bank.
However, his successors got the nation in debt again. It continued from millions to billions to trillions. To demonstrate the numbers, one billion minutes ago it was around one hundred A.D. Our nation is in debt around 160 hundred billion dollars. It has been a few years since we balanced the budget. Currently a fight is going on in Congress over cutting about 70 billion dollars from the budget, which everyone recognizes in not exactly fixing the problem.
Several world leaders have asked America to resolve the crises before Thursday, knowing that if America defaults, it could plunge us into another recession, and the rest of the world would almost certainly follow us down. The JP Morgan financial firm has spent large amounts of money preparing for the possibility of a default.
The default button is not really an option, but neither is the idea of a few trillion more dollars in debt. The interest will continue to climb, until we may, someday, be no longer able to pay that either.
This is what is, by any measurement, bad debt. Such massive fiscal irresponsibility could easily, one day, cause massive, global catastrophe if the largest economy in the world defaults. If the house is not shored up better, it will fall. And if it is not, it will come down. America is the two pillars of the world market.
If the pillars of the world money system collapse, so will the house.

Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Part 2: The People

Tulare, California, – Government is not the solution to all of the world’s problems, even our president understands that, and has said so. Just because government may be in a mess is no excuse to do nothing ourselves.

We have millions of dollars being pumped each year in benefits, and it is not doing great deal to alleviate poverty. We could say a great deal about numbers, and unemployment, and yes, things are doing slightly better than when the recession began, but we have always had the poor in our nation, and, as great as we may be now, and as far as we may advance with new programs, we will still have poor with us when a thousand presidents have come and gone.
Many of our ancestors, including possibly some of my own, came to America through Ellis Island. And when you get there, after that long run on the ship in, coming from the old world with all its history to the new world with all its promise, you will see Lady Liberty. And you will see everything it stands for. Liberty is not just something that was put into a Declaration to be forgotten about, it was something the Founding Fathers expected us to live.
Because we don’t just keep that precious liberty to ourselves and lock it up in dusty old documents, we share it, because if we don’t give it away, it must not be really worth having.
Giving away has been a part of the American Tradition. We are a strong nation not because we have Aircraft Carriers that can wipe out other nation’s entire navies. We are not strong just because we have the greatest military of the most organized government. It is the people that make America strong.
That is why it is “We the People,” because we are the ones who have the right to say how we are governed. And we know the government has its problems. The American people may not have the power of their government, but they have something that no bureaucracy, no matter who runs it; and that is a heart.
We cannot just take one look at Lady Liberty when we get here and forget all about her, and everything she stands for. We have to reach out to those around us, and create communities, which was what those Irish and Italians and Germans created when they got here.
When the “important” people fail, it is time for the world to see the real heroes. Because the real heroes are not the senators that show up to make a speech after the disaster is over. The heroes are the firefighters who actually fight the blaze, and some of who die in the attempt. They are the ones who make America strong, they are the real heroes.
The real heroes are the ones who walk the streets after the big speeches promising prosperity, and hand out food to the starving. The real heroes are the ones with charity.
Faith-Americans must believe that there is a future, or they will work for it. Hope-we must trust that the future will be better, or we will become cynical and simply watch while the nation deteriorates. And charity-which is the fuel that a nation runs on. Now these three abide, but the greatest of these is charity.

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Part 1: Political Peace

Tulare, California, - According to Fox News yesterday, about over 60 percent of Americans think the nation is headed the wrong way. About half of the nation is unhappy with the way the president is running the country, and over half of the populace thinks that both Democrats and Republicans are acting like spoiled children over the shutdown battle.

I once subscribed to an almost daily email of economics from a rather well known group of somewhat revolutionary economists. They said they wanted to convince America with their articles that we should be on a completely free market basis. They made their arguments with mathematics, long historical arguments from three thousand page books to prove who made up their ideas first, inserted many long quotes from authorities of their own, and made bad jokes about anyone who disagreed with them. I think I was more sympathetic to them before I began reading than after. I fell asleep and unsubscribed.
The people of America have heard political debates for over two hundred years on everything from where new wagon roads should go to whether we should have a bureau of tea tasters. Americans watch the debates in which only one to take a pounding is the facts, and, I would guess, probably fall asleep and unsubscribe, maybe permanently.
Those in the public eye need to remember that everyone is talking at once and almost no one is listening. “New Plans” “News Ideas” are all over and opinions are free but also worthless. Not many speeches change anyone’s mind. And the nation yawns and shakes its head.
There are people that are really hurting. Joblessness is a real problem. Hundreds of thousands are unemployed. That is a real issue. They are not numbers, they are people. I recall that it was said of Ronald Reagan that he was so loved because he talked to the people like they understood about things they understood.
Much of the political malice does not come from anger against ideas, it comes from anger against people. Against old scores and many times bad jokes. That goes all the way back to the Continental Congress, when John Adams called John Dickenson a “piddling genius” and caused such a massive rift it almost derailed some things.
The Scriptures say that the meek are blessed, not the one who can make fun of the other guy the best. “Swift to hear, slow to speak.” It is not a trophy to run with your fingers in your ears shouting at the top of your lungs “I will not change!” You could be wrong about some things-you are certainly wrong about something. If we all lower our voices until they can be heard, if we have more love instead of jokes, and listen more instead of shout louder, we just might get things done. We have to remember none of us are perfect. Even Ronald Reagan changed his mind at times.
Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Liberty is too important to be buried in books"

Below is the link to an excerpt from Jimmy Stewart's classic film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" a film in which a corrupt group of men frame the only man who is trying to stop them-Mr. Smith.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Government: Closed Until Further Notice

Los Angeles, California – The showdown to slowdown the shutdown is now over. One of the members of the house, at midnight on Monday stated “It is now midnight, and the great government of the United States is now closed.” One senator said the government was completely shut down, another lawmaker said that the other side of the aisle lives in a parallel universe, and yet another from the other side said that it was like Alice in Wonderland. In Washington we are told by the Washington Post that multiple veterans broke down the barriers of a war monument, closed due to lack of funding because of the shutdown, to pay tribute to their fallen comrades, although no one seems to know who did what, and the President said the Republicans are trying to make an ideological point.
One Rep. from Michigan said that the American people would get better government from Monkey Island in the local zoo then they would from their Federal Government, according to the Associated Press.
So we see that in government there is a lot of talk going on right now. And there is usually a lot of talk. Emotionalism. Excitement, fear, hope, madness, from all corners of the political realm. That is why our Constitution is our nation’s great safeguard. Because men are not angels, and they let their heads get away with their reason. The constitution is the bulwark behind which our liberties reside. If its wall are breached, it must, in the end, be to arms.
There is talk about America and the debt ceiling crisis, but it is not likely that the government will default on its debts. And if it does, the world will not end. The world lasted over fifty-five hundred years without us, and will continue to do so long after we are gone.
This is a great nation, a nation full of people and ideas and beauty and industry. I have travelled from sea to shining sea, I have seen the amber waves of grain and I have climbed the purple mountains, in all their majesty. There are still a few righteous in the city.
When John Adams, the second president of the United States was elected, some predicted America and its liberties were forever gone. When Andrew Jackson, just over twenty years later was elected, other predicted the same thing. Our nation has through one crises after another, from the tax on tea just before the Revolution to our current government shutdown. We have survived nearly a dozen wars, one of which ripped our nation in half. We have gone through the Great Depression, and stock market crashes. But our nation is still here, because all those things were just crises.
Rome, the empire that lasted over 2,000 years, had one crises right after another, and the empire seemed to always look as if it was on the edge of collapse. When that happens, when we are afraid of everything falling apart, that is the last time to run around screaming, because in your wild career you might knock down the walls that guard our liberty.
It is a time for thought, and careful planning. It is a time for the men of wisdom to sit down and talk of what must be done, and hen to do it. It is a time to ask of God, with Solomon, for wisdom, for who can judge this Thy people that is so great?

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Government Shutdown

Los Angeles – Unless something changes, at midnight Eastern Time, the United States Government will shut down for the first time in seventeen years. The senate has refused the bill to fund the government because a measure within the bill to delay the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) for a year, and also repeal a tax on medical devices.
However, the shutdown battle is really something quite small. In about seventeen days, another battle will take place within our congress, a battle of much greater significance. The battle to raise the amount of money our nation can borrow. If, at midnight tonight, nothing has been passed by the congress and signed by the president, although what will happen is being called a shutdown, America will still operate. National Parks will close down, you can no longer saunter down nature trails, which will of course be a grave trial, the police force will still be there. The inspectors will still be there inspecting food, the mail will still come, the Federal Reserve will still run.
But on the seventeenth, if nothing has been passed, we will not be able to borrow money to pay interest on money we have already borrowed. Then there may be a default, a massive global financial cataclysm, the bond market could collapse, and our credit rating be downgraded. Even if a budget had been passed, if there is no money be brought in besides tax revenues, which will not cover the costs, then we will truly be headed toward a massive endgame indeed.
What is being heralded as a government shutdown is nowhere near it. The military will still be there, the coast guard will still patrol, and Homeland security will not relax its vigilance on our safety. Even the benefits will continue to pour out. We will not go without our bread and circuses. In the time of the founding fathers, what is being cut did not exist.
Much of the difficulty is because of things that are there that should not be. There does not need to be multiple agencies being certain that the government uses less gasoline, there does not need to be dozens of programs for the same problem. To pay for all of this we must borrow, and a man who borrows becomes servant to the man who lends to him.
Percales, the great Greek general is said to have often repeated to himself “Remember Percales, you command free men.” Perhaps the ladies and gentlemen of the government would do well to remember that. They represent Americans, and we are freemen. We will not be another man’s slave, not in taxes, not in debt, not in life, for they would rather die then lost their liberty.
Andrew C. Abbott