Open Forum — Monday, January 17, 2011

Since the the 2008 elections, those of us who have opposed the initiatives of the Obama administration and advocated smaller government and greater personal liberty have been labeled extremists. On this day, the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. remind us that we are in good company:

“I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abraham Lincoln: “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . .” So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

I was born after the Civil Rights Movement was over and all I know about MLK, Jr. is what I learned in school.  Although I wrote one of my college application essays on the Letter from a Birmingham Jail and I have long admired his speeches and writings, I am not an MLK scholar.  I was surprised after Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally last year to see some blog writers scoff at Beck’s invocation of MLK’s message because, they argued, Rev. King was a socialist.

I’d love to hear thoughts from fellow Hikers on this or any other subject that strikes your fancy this morning.

113 Responses to Open Forum — Monday, January 17, 2011

  1. Pat P says:

    Thanks for this essay, Finch. I am sure you will/would be criticized by those who oppose what we represent for using MLK’s speech. The fact is, the MLK that is honored today is not the MLK that was.

    • AFinch says:

      Good morning Pat. I think it’s also fair to say that one cannot predict what MLK would say about today’s political and economic environment. He was still a young man–39 years old–when he was killed in 1968. Some of the economic policies he appears to have embraced (see http://www.lewrockwell.com/archives/fm/02-91.html) may have evolved as he got older. After all, if David Horowitz can go from red-diaper baby to ardent conservative, then anyone can.

  2. AFinch says:

    I caught the first episode of the Hank Haney project with Rush last night. In one scene, he’s hitting balls at the range and after a bad shot he says “I hit an Oprah.” Haney says, “You hit a what?” Rush says, “An Oprah. You know, a fat one.” Priceless. Here’s a preview for the series.

    • Bijou says:

      AFinch, thanks for posting this. It was great.
      However, I hadn’t seen Rush for awhile…he looks as if he’s getting quite chunky again. Kathryn better start getting on his case.

  3. pistol pete says:

    Dr. King would have no voice in today’s Democrat party.He demanded the best from every individual,giving an equal opportunity to succeed or fail on their own merits.
    Liberalism has grossly perverted who he was and what he stood for into a class of people from whom little is expected and much given thanks to government largesse which keeps them indebted to the nanny state.Without a monolithic black vote,the liberals would have no power.
    I’m sure Dr.King would have objected,and we all know what democrats do to those with opposing opinions.

  4. JRD says:

    Does this not describe the Obama’s to a T?

    Dumb-0 is so NOT smart and neither is Meee-shell. They both have such a “chip on their shoulder.” Mee-shell’s thesis while at Princeton was a pathetic piece of garbage that was not worthy of a high school sophomore. In was no better than a 2 year olds temper tantrum. It screamed, “Mom he’s looking at me. Make him stop looking at me.” And this earns her entrance into Harvard law?
    What really pisses me off about the Obama’s is how ungrateful they are. Millions of middle class families sacrificed for them. Their children were the ones who were denied entrance in to Ivy League schools not the Soros’ of the world. Yet the disdain they have for the middle class with their comments about clinging to our guns and religion is beyond the pale.
    Parents teach their children gratitude. Why do progressives not value middle class sacrifice and not feel those who are rewarded with Affirmative Action should be grateful to those who have sacrificed?

    Last Gasp of Affirmative Action?

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/01/last_gasp_of_affirmative_actio.html

    Getting scholarships and places in the universities at home and abroad is considered a matter of right and is not valued any more. Indeed, those who get these educational opportunities…seem to dislike the very people who created these opportunities. Worse still, they don’t seem to appreciate the opportunities that they get….” This is an all too familiar refrain at American colleges where a “chip on the shoulder” attitude and an outward disdain for shouldering responsibility describe far too many students who are receiving special consideration.

  5. AFinch says:

    For those of you who like hats of the tin foil variety, you’ve got to check out MOSC’s latest: http://maryohsocontrary.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/ok-so-i-am-a-little-spooked/#comment-115

  6. AFinch says:

    Speaking of economic equality, IAmDagney has a few posts up today on just this topic: “Jesus Christ — Economist, Parts I and II”. Here’s and excerpt:

    “First of all, Jesus says, “Leave her alone.” (Sinite illam.) Judas has appointed himself the arbiter of wealth and asset distribution and has decided that Mary’s flask of ointment (or the cash value thereof) should have gone to the poor. And Jesus says, “Leave her alone.” It is hers to do with as she (and her family) sees fit, and they have seen fit to use it to anoint their beloved Jesus. Judas, sit down and shut your proto-Marxist piehole. THWAP!”

    http://barnhardt.biz/

    • Kristi says:

      I WAS just reading that!

      Very good article!

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      New rule: whenever anyone says THWAP!!….right next to it, there needs to be SD’s two penguins….where the one is THWAPping the the other one as it walks by. That’s my absolutely favorite penguinTHWAPping portrayal. Love the word THWAP!

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      Excellent point…even those who place very high value on the record of the Gospels often miss the confrontations that Jesus provided in day to day conversation, especially when others thought they had Him set up to make their own point. He did not suffer fools easily.

  7. PhillyCon says:

    Morning fellow “trail blazers”:

    Think you guys were be interested to know that I was called an “extremist” by a friend who misunderstood an e-mail I sent him.

    When I pointed out the error, and then asked him to please “cite an incidence” of any rhetoric which may construed as “extremist.” He apologized for the the misunderstanding and then went onto say, that I was a “staunch conservative” and “there’s nothing wrong with that.”

    Morale of the story: the quick knee-jerk reaction to call someone names. Then, the feeling of stupidity of reacting with emotion over intellect. Also, is this what he primarily believes since it was the first statement to come out of his mouth?

    I found it very interesting, b/c I could have easily called him “names” too, but chose to avoid that short of Leftist-inspired debate tactic.

    • PhillyCon says:

      Sorry, for the various typos throughout the post. Ugh.

    • JRD says:

      Was not Jesus an extremist for love — “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice — “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ — “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist — “Here I stand; I can do none other so help me God.” Was not John Bunyan an extremist — “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist — “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist — “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice–or will we be extremists for the cause of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thusly fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment.

      Letter from Birmingham Jail (April 1963) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  8. Kristi says:

    Since we are adjusting our tin foil hats….

    http://ccheadliner.com/news/article_fca0c66e-1db0-11e0-93d8-001cc4c03286.html

    I was just casually reading this story from Drudge yesterday.. then I noticed some comments asking why a defense dept intelligence person would do this……

    “This Huff guy owns a company that gathers intelligence data for the US Department of Defense and numerous other agencies. He’s building a 72,000 sq. ft home, 23,000 of which is underground. When they said basement this doesn’t necessarily mean 23,000 on one level this basement might be 20 feet deep. Concrete Walls, bullet proof glass and who knows what else. This guy is extremely paranoid or he knows something we don’t.”

    • Patriot Dreamer says:

      Maybe the owner read “One Second After”. I just finished that book, and I would be building a fortress if I had the money!

      *still wearing tin foil hat*

      • GracieD says:

        You’re not kidding Patriot! If I had the funds, I would totally build a fortress…right in the middle of the Swamp. One Second After put the fear of God into me, that’s for sure!

  9. TN WAHM says:

    Good Morning Honeys,
    I’ve gotten into a debate with Rep. Steve Cohen ~TN-9 Pelosi lapdog~ on his FB page over the weekend. I need some help in replying to him.

    It started last Friday when he was on Neil Cavuto talking healthcare. He posted the link on his FB page
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dPzfzCyeCI
    I was the first to comment with this.

    Me: ” This so called “Healthcare Reform Monstrosity” you passed against the will of the people is unconstitutional. It’s also an economics nightmare. There are better economic fixes than this “healthcare reform” bill. There’s a reason that pre…-existing conditions are limiting to coverage. It’s an economic issue. Let’s let insurance compete over state lines. Why not let individuals deduct their premiums like business do. Let consumers decide what kind of coverage they want; Cadillac that covers everything or basic catastrophic. We need free market solutions, not top down control from D.C.”

    Democrat #1: “Against the will of the people is quite a strong generalization- there are those for and against the bill, which is only natural, and very true regarding the health care reform since it is so new. However, there are most certainly those for… the health care reform and, like most change, it will take time, some adjustment, and patience. The act does not take away from competition nor does it take the decision away from the consumer regarding which insurance company to use. If anything, the act is meant to provide more protection for the consumer in addition to enhancing competition.”

    Democrat #2: “You obviously have the income level and health care coverage to put down those that you’re afraid might take a dollar out of your pocket. I pay for my own health care coverage with an individual policy not involving an employer, so don’t worry that this is coming from someone that’s trying to rob you. How would you feel if you had a family member dying from a disease they couldn’t afford treatments for that could possibly save their life? Much differently, I suspect. This subject totally disgusts me. Open your eyes and join the real world.”

    Me: “The majority of Americans did not and do not want this monstrosity. 60% want it repealed. Why do you think that the House flipped in such a huge way. Not only did the House of Reps flip, but so did governorships, state legislatures, righ…t down to the counties. The only reason Steve Cohen didn’t get beat is because his district is majority AA and AA’s vote 90% for Dems.”

    “We, the consumer, won’t have a choice. If our plan changes in any way, we go to a government exchange. It also takes away competition because it’s going to cause insurance companies to go out of business. Companies will off-load their insurance costs to the government option because it will be cheaper to pay the penalty than to pay insurance. It also takes away choice in that if the government won’t pay for your procedure, then you can’t pay for it yourself. Currently, if your insurance doesn’t pay, you have the option to pay out of your own pocket.”

    “Look at the Canadian and British HC systems. There are long waits, terrible conditions in their hospitals and they are going broke. There are already many doctors that are not taking new m/c patients. Why is that? It’s not because they are greedy. It’s because they can’t pay their staff and expenses on what the government “deems” to pay them. Why do you think there’s a whole cottage industry of med-sup insurance.”

    “Above all, it’s unconstitutional. Congress/government cannot mandate us to purchase something, or put us in jail if we don’t purchase their product. It’s a loss of freedom; pure and simple.”

    ‎Me: @#2; I have a daughter that is in the process of getting a kidney transplant. We spent 16 days at Le Bonheur last summer with 8 of those being in PICU. She has dialysis 3 days a week. She went from having a stomach bug, to dehydr…ation, to HUS, to kidney failure. Yes, I am grateful that my husband has a job with excellent coverage, but he works hard for it. I also am grateful for the excellent care and the technologies that have been developed because of our current healthcare system.

    I can speak from experience because I have a daughter that now has a huge pre-existing condition. I also know economics though. Insurance companies pool risk. If they pay out more than they take in, they go out of business. They are not like the government which prints money. I also know that there are many kids who are at Le Bonheur with no insurance; so don’t give me that only rich people get the best care. I know different.”

    Steve Cohen: “there is no government option.Only insurance companies in exchange.It’s insurance reform!children on opolicy of parents til 26;no pre-existing condition disqualification or recision on getting sick or lfetime or yearly caps ;donut hole to be filled;small business subsidies for theier health insurance etc.READ THE BILL!!!”

    Me: “Obama, Barney Frank, and Jan Schakowsky in their own words about single payer, government healthcare.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-bY92mcOdk&feature=player_embedded
    The goal is to drive insurance business out of business.”

    “Who is going …to pay for this? It’s been tried. It doesn’t work. It’s an economic nightmare. What do you know about how a business works? How to meet a payroll? How to make a profit? You’ve spent all of your adult life in government. When have you run a business?”

    “Over 250 waivers have been given to companies exempting them from the rigors of the law so that they can stay in business. If it’s so good for business, why do they need a waiver?”

    Steve Cohen: “Public option is not law;not the exchange either.Exchange is all private insurance which involves free market competition and that gets better rates for citizens.”

    I need help from fellow hikers on replying. My mind is on overload and I can’t find my research about the hellcare bill.

    Happy MLK day from Memphis!

    • AFinch says:

      Looks like you’re doing a fantastic job on your own.

      Of course the “public option” is not the law. But we all know that as increased government regulation makes it more and more expensive and less and less profitable for private insurance companies to conduct business, competition will decrease until eventually the goverment is the only payer. It is insulting, disingenuous and incredibly short-sighted to suggest that market conditions will remain static as this law gets implemented. (Can you cite to examples in Mass. where Obamacare 1.0 has been in force for 5 years?) You, Rep. Cohen, are either an economic ignoramous or a charlatan. Which is it?

    • Bijou says:

      TN WAHM, mega kudos! As AFinch said, you are doing a great job on your own.

      However…IMHO, Rush is the expert on most everything, and he has covered Hellcare inside and out.
      I zipped over to his site and did a quick search. (‘Healthcare’ in the Search window brought up 314 items.) Besides his own reasoned arguments, he has a lot of ‘input’ from a wide range callers, from people like yourself, to doctors, hospital administrators, people in the insurance industry, etc., so he’s covered a lot of bases.
      Good luck and keep fighting the good fight. And give your sweet daughter a hug from Canada. :)

      http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/tools/search.guest.html

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to “win every point” line by line in order to present your arguments. Communication of ideas is more than winning arguments. Winning arguments by intimidation has become the proressives’ primary gool over the decades, and we get sucked into it by thinking we have failed if we don’t “win.”

      Present the ideas. And, like Finch says, it looks like you have done that well. By not insisting on winning the argument, you’re actually allowing the assumption that your opponent has a brain and can THINK. If they focus on winning the argument instead, that’s a commentary on them, not you.

      Favorite one liner from a forgotten source: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” And that describes what happens when people insist on winning every argument or destroying their opponents: all they’re doing is “convincing folks against their will….”

    • GracieD says:

      TNWHAM, I would ask Cohen why Congress felt a need to pass a 2,000 page law WITHOUT even reading it? I would also ask what a Fed takeover of Student Loans has to do with Healthcare? I have read multiple versions of the HC Bill, and it is very clear that the intent is to drive private insurers out of business, thus allowing the government to say “well, we don’t want to do it, but our only option is single payer.” Please let him know that while we were born at night, it was NOT last night.

    • Patriot Dreamer says:

      When the federal government cuts Medicare and Medicaid payments to doctors and hospitals, then doctors and hospitals are forced to shift the costs to private health insurance companies. That’s another reason why health insurance premiums are skyrocketing. Fewer people employed = more people whose health care is being paid for by the government.

      Congressman Cohen keeps harping on how there is no public option. However, what Congress has basically done is turn health insurance companies into public utilities. ObamaCare is not a free-market approach to health care reform – it is a top-down approach to national control over health insurance companies.

      I can’t speak for anybody else, but I do not want my little one to be on our health insurance policy when he is 26 years old. (1) I want him to have a job and be out on his own, and (2) health insurance for young people in their 20′s was already extremely cheap. It’s one thing if we decide as parents that we want to keep him on our policy, it’s another thing entirely when the federal government MANDATES by force of law that we MUST keep him on our policy if he does not get his own.

      IMO, health insurance should be for catastrophic health issues. Having somebody else (whether that somebody else is the government or private health insurance companies) pay for every little thing is the reason why our health insurance premiums are so expensive.

      Tort reform would be another good thing. We have become such a litigious society, that doctors are afraid of being sued. As a result, they are afraid to say “no” to patients who demand tests or procedures that are not necessary (this is called “defensive medicine”). But the Democrat party is owned by the trial lawyers.

      “How to Cure Health Care”
      by Milton Friedman
      http://www.hoover.org/publications/hoover-digest/article/7298

      “Americans Cut Back on Visits to Doctor”
      by AVERY JOHNSON, JONATHAN D. ROCKOFF And ANNA WILDE MATHEWS
      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703940904575395603432726626.html

      “Understanding the Cause of Health Care Inflation”
      http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/09/understanding_the_cause_of_hea.html

      “Wrong Diagnosis, Wrong Treatment”

      http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/wrong_diagnosis_wrong_treatmen.html

    • TN WAHM says:

      This was my reply. Thank you for your help. I’m surprised he hasn’t deleted my comments yet. He has in the past.

      Of course the “public option” is not the law. But we all know that as increased government regulation makes it more and more expensive and less and less profitable for private insurance companies to conduct business, competition will decrease until eventually the government is the only payer. It is insulting, disingenuous and incredibly short-sighted to suggest that market conditions will remain static as this law gets implemented. Just look at what has happened in MA since they have implemented the precursor to this monstrosity of a hellcare bill you have passed. http://wizbangblog.com/content/2010/04/06/massachusetts-health-care-system-killing-insurance-companies.php

      What does the Federal takeover of student loans have to do with healthcare? If this system is so good for all of us Americans, why isn’t it good enough for you in Congress? I’d be more inclined to listen, if you weren’t being such a hypocrite about it. This is about control; pure and simple. More government control over individual American lives.

  10. PhillyCon says:

    This seems to be the “establishment” talking point du jour. What do you common sense conservatives think?

    I thought this approach was completely de-bunked in Karl Rove’s book. Not responding to BushHitler, and taking the high road sure worked well for Mr. 28% (as Daily Kos calls him).

    What do they think trying to “be nice” and take the high road gets you? Are establishment people that scared of the Left? This is my only conclusion, they appear to held hostage to Alinsky politics and have been effectively neutered.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/civil-discourse-fail-giuliani-the-right-rushed-to-judgement-too-by-trying-to-defend-itself/

    • PhillyCon says:

      Someone on HotAir … mentioned Stockholm Syndrome … this is what I was trying to articulate … but could not think of the phrase.

  11. AFinch says:

    Time to fire up the phones, faxes and emails. Have you read Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America’s Future? If you have and you like it, let your congress critter know. (And tell them to sit on their own side of the chamber for the SOTU while you’re at it.)

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/257244/roadmap-not-taken-robert-costa

  12. Mrs. Compton says:

    Dangit, now I can’t find a source on the fact that more people are support deathcare than before the Nov election. Saw it yesterday. What say ya’ll? I think it’s spin, to get the pubs to step back.

  13. marie says:

    this weekend i heard several discussions as to whether this monstrous health bill will ever be repealed..concensus seems to be that once its vetoed, the courts will then have their say.. not one spoke in a positive way, but repeated that “they promised the people they would try” and if it fails then at least they tried!
    i want to hear something more positive from these elected leaders..

    • AFinch says:

      Assuming the repeal bill passes the House and then the Senate and Obama vetoes it, then it dies. Personally, I think the House should keep passing it and make the dems and RINOs vote against it over, and over and over again. Make them run on their votes again in 2012. As Rush so often reminds us, Clinton vetoed welfare reform three times before he signed it. There are currently multiple bills in the House either repealing all or portions of Obamacare. The fight is far from over and far from symbolic, IMO.

      What the courts do with the current healthcare legislation is an entirely different question. As you know, a court in VA recently held that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that decision is on its way to the Supremes. Then there is the states’ lawsuit in Fla. I believe there is also a consumer class action as well.

      • Patriot Dreamer says:

        Yep, there are definitely ways to make things uncomfortable for the Senate and the guy who was known for voting “present”.

      • emmajeri1010 says:

        And of course, in order to get that done, the lovey-dovey Nonconservatives Holding Hands Across the Aisle will have to be persuaded to represent the people.

      • violet says:

        I agree, AFinch. The House should just keep passing the repeal and sending it to the Senate. Since the majority of voters favor repeal, they need to start beating up on their senators to vote on it. Whether Dingy Harry ever allows it to come up for a vote or not, at least the senators will have to go on record either for or against it, and then we need to target (yes, I used that word) the ones who still cling to their beloved Øbamacare (in much the same way their constituents allegedly cling to their guns and Bibles) — primary them, defeat them, replace them with people who will represent us for a change.

    • Patriot Dreamer says:

      Once it’s vetoed? How’s it supposed to get past the Democrat controlled Senate?

      The House must pass the bill to repeal ObamaCare. Many of them campaigned on this issue. After that, they must use their power to defund as much of it as possible. Then we need to take back control of the Senate and the Presidency and return free market principles to health care.

      It’s amazing to me how health care insurance companies are “beaten up” continuously over their measly 2-3% profits (and they don’t always make a profit, either). But if you added up all of the profits from all of the big health care insurance companies, they would still be less than the $60 billion the federal government loses each year to fraud, waste, and abuse.

      How much do health insurance companies lose to fraud, waste, and abuse? Only about 4%. How much does the government lose? About 10%, maybe more. Why the big difference? Private companies have an incentive to aggressively go after fraud, waste, and abuse, because it eats into their profits. The government has no such incentive.

  14. JRD says:

    I thought that you guys might be interested in Allen West’s first weekly update.

    Greetings to the Constituents of Florida Congressional District 22 and all Americans, what an incredible and momentous week this has been. It is with great, and humbling, honor that I send this first weekly update as your Congressional Representative.

    First of all, I’d like to send my thoughts and prayers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her staff and her family as well as all of the victims of this terrible tragedy in Arizona. My family grieves for those innocent lives lost and prays for the recovery of those brave individuals still fighting for their lives. This horrible tragedy is a reminder that we are all Americans first. Congresswoman Gifford’s will to survive is a testament to her strength and courage. As we go forward, I will continue to make myself available to my constituents through monthly town hall meetings and other venues. I will continue to follow the direction of the Sergeant of Arms Office in how to best secure my public meetings, but in no way will this incident deter me from being available to the very people who elected me. One more thing, for anyone to say this tragedy is a result of any kind of political dialogue is a tragedy in itself. The shooter was a very disturbed individual and it appears there were so many warning signs that he was going to do something horrible. We should be focusing on the mental health crisis in our country, not politics.

    Now on to the congressional news of the week. There is so much to share with you all but first let me just say thanks to all those who took the time to come up for the swearing in ceremony and also to those of you who watched from the District. Special recognition and gratitude to Joyce Kaufman for broadcasting her show from our campaign headquarters and hosting the dedicated Go West team members.

    Last week got off to a thrilling start with an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to express my positions on the critical economic issue which we face. It was extremely important for me to convey to Mr. Wallace that I do not believe in fear-mongering leadership. No one follows an individual who panics or instills fear in tough situations, people are drawn to those who calmly outline a vision for success and victory.

    Angela, Aubrey, and Austen arrived to Washington DC on Monday evening and we all met on Tuesday. It was so special having the girls up here.. It is imperative for each generation of American to set a new course and direction for their subsequent generations. I pray that I can truly give more to my daughters, as well as all of your children and grandchildren, as Herman and Elizabeth West left for me.

    Special thanks to Eyta, Laor and Renee and Danny Kaufman for the wonderful reception they hosted on Tuesday evening. I finally made my way there after the reception at The Florida House where I was able to congratulate Senator Marco Rubio. In between these two receptions, I was able to visit with the Republican Jewish Coalition and meet so many wonderful people, to include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who made it possible for me to become Congressman West.

    Swearing in day began as a Soldier would have it, a 0500 hrs run with two friends, Brendan Barry and Vince Virga along the National Mall from the Capitol down to the Lincoln Memorial. It was a nice 7 mile run for me but enabled me to put all this into perspective. As an American Warrior, my life has been spent standing upon freedoms rampart guarding the institutions of liberty for our Constitutional Republic. Later that day, I would again take the oath first taken on 31 July 1982 but this time I would be serving inside one the institutions that make America great, yes, exceptional. The middle Son of Buck and Snooks (my parents’ nicknames) would soon be walking among places of greatness.

    The first ceremony of the day was to be sworn into the Congressional Black Caucus, the first Republican in almost 20 years. It was the right thing to do and regardless of the media attention, all went well and the reception was just fantastic. When Representative John Lewis came up that day to shake my hand, I reminisced the days when my parents voted for him…and I told him such. I let him know that I attended Henry Grady High School and he let me know that his dry cleaners is the one across the street from my Alma Mater, which I clearly remember. Incoming CBC Chairman Rep Cleaver spoke about “rebuilding the wall”, and I told him that after having stood as a sentinel upon the external wall of freedom…….I am ready to take my post on the wall of restoring our Republic, recommitting to our principles, and reclaiming our American pride.

    The swearing in ceremony was spectacular and sitting to my right was former Congressman Clay Shaw, who pinned on my 112th Congressional lapel pin. It was great to enable Congressman Shaw, a true American Statesman, to return to the House floor and be remembered and honored by his former colleagues. Up in the gallery, sat Aubrey and Austen, and I pray this was a moment which they shall never forget. Members of my extended family from both sides came up as well as so many of my friends that I served with in the military. It was a great moment for me to take that first picture with the family and especially with my young nephew, Captain Herman West III, who was in his Army dress blue uniform. God bless you all from all over the district, Florida, and America who shared this moment with me.

    The cherry on top of the sundae of swearing in day? When former Commandant of the Marine Corps General Carl E Mundy, an Atlanta native as well, honored our office with a visit to wish me well!

    On Thursday, a very special honor came, I read the last part of Article I, Section 8 of our United States Constitution, also known as the “Necessary and Proper” clause. To have been part of a historic event, the first ever reading of the Constitution on the House of Representatives floor will never be forgotten.

    So enough of that memorable stuff, you all sent me up here to work so here are some key points;

    – I had a meeting with the Obama Administration Deputy Director for Legislative Affairs to the US House on Thursday. We presented him with a letter outlining three major focus areas, small business growth, Afghanistan (to include concerns about Rules of Engagement and our heinously imprisoned American soldiers), and relations with the State of Israel.

    – I had my first two House GOP meetings with the Armed Services and Small Business Committees. I will be canvassing for small business owners who wish to come and testify before the committee. As the schedule permits, I will be taking a CODEL (Congressional Delegation) visit to Afghanistan.
    – I signed on as a co-sponsor on several pieces of legislation, some as an original cosponsor; Repeal of Obamacare, Balanced Budget Amendment, Prohibition of Federal funding to Public Broadcasting, End of Lame Duck Act, Repeal of Obamacare Individual Mandate, Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition (ending federal taxpayer funding to abortions), and the Birthright Citizenship Bill (prohibiting use of 14th Amendment for children born to illegal immigrants in America), and Stand Alone requirement for Defense Appropriations (MILCOM/Veterans Affairs) Bills.

    There has been a lot of media attention given to me and you all must realize that I shall always be straight and to the point. One thing I have seen here already is that truth seems to be subjective and relative in the D.C. world. And as Jack Nicholson’s character COL. Nathan Jessup stated in the movie “A Few Good Men”, there are those who cannot handle the truth.

    The strangest things this week: First, the taxpayer funded Institution of Peace. Funny, I thought that was the business of the Pentagon. It is a lovely building just off the back corner from the Lincoln Memorial.
    Second, standing at the media interview area in the Cannon rotunda and watching a Democrat Congressman apply makeup on his face, and it was his own personal makeup. If anyone ever sees me applying makeup to myself, you have explicit orders to ask a Capitol Hill Police Officer to arrest me.

    I was in the district through this past Tuesday morning and attended the Palm Beach Police officers ball Saturday and the Zionist of America meeting in Boca Raton on Sunday. Saturday morning, I had an appearance on Fox and Friends.

    In closing, it is an honor to serve all of you, those who voted for me and those who did not.

    *Please go to my new Congressional Facebook page and become a fan as soon as you can.
    It’s important that you do this.

    Steadfast and Loyal,
    Allen West

    • Jennifer H says:

      Thanks JRD my favorite part: “One thing I have seen here already is that truth seems to be subjective and relative in the D.C. world. And as Jack Nicholson’s character COL. Nathan Jessup stated in the movie “A Few Good Men”, there are those who cannot handle the truth.”

    • Mrs. Compton says:

      Why aren’t we cloning him instead of that stupid mammouth!!

  15. Patriot Dreamer says:

    I don’t always watch or agree with Glenn Beck, but Friday’s show was a good one. Guests were Jim Rogers and David Buckner. The topic was the rise of China. It was interesting to me how Jim Rogers spoke of how some states in the U.S. are actually more “communist” than China is, and how capitalistic China has become.

    If you are interested:

  16. Pat P says:

    Noticed that Bing’s photo today is of a memorial (I think) and the quote “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” They attribute the quote to Martin Luther King (I know it is in the speech) rather than the biblical citation.

  17. AliRose says:

    A Note on the Honey Trail FB group:

    For those of you who haven’t had a chance to sign up yet, you can find us here…

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_122814694453508&ap=1

    …or by searching Honey Trail on FB. The privacy is still set to “closed,” meaning that any FB members can see a list of group members, but cannot read anything on our group wall. We will change the privacy setting to “secret” late Tuesday/early Wednesday. After that point, the group will no longer be searchable and you will only be able to find it if you are already a member or receive an invite to join from another member.

    If you have a concern about privacy and do not want people to see you in the list of members, just send a private FB message to one of the admins (available on the group members list), indentifying yourself (screen name), and we will send you an invite once the switch is made. We don’t want to be too strict about members joining, but are trying to keep the trolls out. We thank you in advance for your understanding.

    We would like to clarify that the FB group is not intended, in any way, to detract from our participation at Honey Trail. It is merely a way that people can contact each other directly, without exchanging e-mails, etc. Also, members will be able to post more personal information, if they choose, in a forum that is not viewable by anyone on the internet. One of the nice features, that may become useful in the future, is group Chat.

    We would love to see everyone there, but understand if some prefer to maintain their anonymity/privacy.

    • AliRose says:

      For anyone who doesn’t already have a FB account, but wants to get in touch with other hikers…

      It’s easy to set up an account and doesn’t require anything other than an e-mail address. It does ask for your “name,” but you can use your screen name instead of your real name, if you want to. You can also change these settings at any time. Most FB user add lots of other personal info, such as address, phone number, etc, but it’s not required. You can just leave these blank. You also have the option to add a picture of yourself, but, again, it’s not required.

    • AFinch says:

      Thanks Ali. I think it’s great you guys are doing this. I have, to date, resisted having a FB account and I think I’ll hold out at least a little while longer.

      • AliRose says:

        I completely understand. I’ve only had mine for a year now after finally giving in to all the pestering. I use it mainly for keeping close family and friends up-to-date, ’cause we move around so much.

      • Patriot Dreamer says:

        And in the news today:

        Facebook Apps Allowing Access to Numbers, Addresses

        http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2375888,00.asp

        • AliRose says:

          From the article…
          “Because this is sensitive information, we have created the new user_address and user_mobile_phone permissions,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. “These permissions must be explicitly granted to your application by the user via our standard permissions dialogs.”

          Just like everything else in FB, you have to give explicit permission for this info to be shared. When you sign up to use an App (which are little extra programs added to FB by outside programmers) it will ask you for permission to use your information. Also, you do not have to input any of this info to open an account. You can just leave it blank.

      • Jennifer H says:

        Same here AFinch

      • Ting says:

        I don’t blame you a bit, Finch. I never did much of anything with mine, only put my photo on last night after about a year! My daughter taught me all kinds of privacy settings, so I felt a little easier about it all. I mostly peek at friends and relatives – actually, it is more that I read the things they post that happen to show up on my home page, which isn’t really like peeking – they have broadcasted it! I do like the private message part – it has helped me get in touch with some people that I did not have other ways to contact. For example, that is how I got AliRose to come here! Other than that, you are not missing much.

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      This is a neat idea, but I fall somewhere in the resistance category with Finch. I actually do have a FB account. I got it for purposes of being able to keep up with grandkids’ sports activities, etc. and then, once I had it, also have enjoyed the potential of seeing travel and wedding photos from our peers, which is a completely different generation. I don’t create that much input myself, so sometimes feel like a lurker/gawker and wonder if that’s offputting for others.

      • AliRose says:

        I’m mostly a lurker, too. I post something every 3-6 months, at best. I keep promising my family to post more pics, but it’s hard to find the time. Especially since I’ve found Honey Trail!

      • violet says:

        I think lurking is just fine, Emma. You are the master, FB is the servant. You should use it exactly as you see fit.

      • Pat P says:

        My FB account has given me the pleasure of getting back in touch with my nephew, my sister’s granddaughters in California and Oregon, and some cousins in California and Florida, and sharing photos etc.

        I also see more photos of my grandsons, and daily updates on what the family is doing (they are in Illinois).

    • Auntie Lib says:

      I just sent a request to join, but I’m not sure how you’ll know it’s me. I use my real name on FB – cause I use it to keep up with my kids and grandsons in Oregon. I also have a different gravatar. Look for the “Blog Lady” cartoon…

    • Patriot Dreamer says:

      That was a good read!

    • JRD says:

      Jennifer, that’s just too good. Thanks, you just made my day and ruined some of my Long Island liberals. Whoo-hoo! I owe ya one sister.
      Nah, nah,
      nah, nah, nah, nah,
      hey, hey, hey,
      goodbye.

      I wish you could see how livid these liberal guests I have visiting me this MLK weekend are. Their foaming at the mouth I tell ya.

  18. Jennifer H says:

    http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/01/tucson-tea-party-leader-releases-statement-may-press-charges-against-eric-fuller/

    This is absurd on so many levels.
    My desire is that Mr. Fuller receive whatever help he needs in order to return as a reasoned member of society that poses no danger to me or my family or anyone else. If my dropping the criminal charges can accomplish that, I am willing and eager to do so. If, however, pressing charges guarantees that he will have the care and observation required to overcome his desire to do me or anyone else harm because of political beliefs, I will proceed with them, such as I can. It is my hope that the Sheriff’s Department will work with me to do what is best for Mr. Fuller and act in a manner that will help keep my family and the rest of Pima County’s citizens safe.

  19. Jennifer H says:

    http://www.myfoxdfw.com/dpps/news/report-loughner-showing-no-remorse-dpgonc-20110117-gc_11470518

    Report: Loughner Showing No Remorse

    First news I have seen about his incarceration.

  20. violet says:

    Another hilarious rant from Hannah’s dad:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/DougGiles/2011/01/15/jared_loughner_was_a_tea_partier_and_i’m_an_atheist_river_dancer_who_hates_hunting/page/full/

    (This one sounds as if it could have been written by sundance, doesn’t it? :-) )

  21. yomotley says:

    Hello Hikers and Honeys, Today I was wished a “Happy Chocolate Milk Day”

    Took me awhile to catch on……..

  22. Patriot Dreamer says:

    UK Government Plans Major Health Care Reform
    British government plans major health care overhaul, but critics say changes could cause chaos

    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=12631311

    But I thought that single-payer health care was the bestest and cheapest thing ever!

    /sarcasm

  23. JRD says:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/01/tucson_and_zhivago.html

    By using the Tucson murders to attack conservative “incivility,” the left is essentially calling their opponents out as enemies of the people. Such is the audacity of power-hungry leftists who euphemize a demand for political suppression as a call for civility.

    Today’s incivility gambit expands the left’s shopworn tactic of charging conservatives with racism and discrimination against various minorities i.e., making them enemies of certain classes of people. Post-Tucson, they simply began tarring the right as enemies of all the people. Once begun, such witch hunts gain a grim momentum that feeds on itself. The libeling of the right will surely continue. Progressives and their media supporters will be further motivated by a desperate need to dictate the terms of a debate they cannot win on their agenda or their record. After their midterm debacle, keeping conservatives on the defensive is an existential imperative.

    As the specter of leftist libel looms over America, we should add the verb “Zhivago” to our political lexicon. To Zhivago an individual or group is to attempt to suppress them politically by leveling charges of incivility, discrimination or other conduct that casts them as enemies of the people.

  24. Patriot Dreamer says:

    Tick, tick, tick: The cost of Obamacare is a time bomb

    One top [Democrat] Senate aide plainly stated last summer, “This is a coverage bill, not a cost reduction bill.”

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/01/tick-tick-tick-cost-obamacare-time-bomb#ixzz1BLMqe9WL

    Just like in Mass.

  25. sundancecracker says:

    A white guy (Matthews), playing the race card, against a Black Guy (Steele), on MLK Day…. it don’t get much better than that in showcasing liberal hypocrisy. (Must Watch) Had this been O’Reily, Beck, Hannity, et al…. discharge requests would have followed before the show even ended….

    http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/checker.aspx?v=hd6UaG6U6U

  26. staceedb says:

    Just curious…I know most of us have moved on past hillbuzz, but I still glance there once and awhile… who is this “Bridget” that posts all the time now?? Just weird I tell ya… I guess I am just interested just for the mystery..that’s all..

  27. yomotley says:

    Looks like I will be making the news…….

    “Julian Assange vows to reveal tax details of 2,000 wealthy people”

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