Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In The Shadow of The Tetons

"In the Shadow of the Tetons"

18 X 24 (acrylic)
Craig Willms

This new painting is based on a fine vacation photo by Sue Allhiser, my friend and insurance agent. I must say the composition of the photo was near perfect, an impressive image that I can only hope I captured here...

Be sure to see more of my paintings at Static Art Online


Monday, April 26, 2010

Illegal Immigration - Placing the Blame

Multiple Choice:
1. Capitalism
2. Socialism
3. Free Trade
4. Greed
5. Corruption
6. Hope
7. All of The Above

We who hail from the right of center can claim with simple indignation all day long that illegal immigration is the fault of the lawbreakers who cross our borders and scoff at our laws. If only it were that simple. We have to face the fact that the act of crossing the border is actually just one part of the problem. For an answer to other parts of this problem we may have to look in the mirror too.

If we remember back when NAFTA was signed into law and the term "that giant sucking sound" was coined we were told that it was the sound of American jobs going south. Well, sure, there was some of that, but it was also the sound of American agricultural products going south too. Since NAFTA was signed millions of Mexican farmers have been driven out of business. Cheap American corn in particular has devastated Mexican farming. A million and a half corn farmers and their families had to do something and that something was to come to America.

NAFTA was the free trade part of the story. The corruption and greed part go hand in hand. When large meat packing operations all over America broke their unions they replaced their workers with cheap Mexican labor. They openly recruited workers though newspaper and television ads in Mexico with the full knowledge federal agencies. These same agencies are finally forced to act when there is enough pressure put on Washington to do something about the "illegal immigration" issue. Whom do you suppose the enforcement agencies target? Well, it's not the corporate titans who have made billions of dollars recruiting and exploiting illegal Mexican nationals, it's the workers of course. I'm not here to defend the proletariat class against the bourgeoisie, I am going to indict the government for it's selective and uneven enforcement. Shouldn't these CEO's from meat packing or manufacturing industries also be brought up on charges? When they are it is usually a small time player who didn't write a big enough check to the campaign committee. This is what gives capitalism a bad name!

The uneven application of justice based on the power of political contributions is the destroyer of capitalism's reputation. Capitalists are no different than children playing games on the playground. Fun and games are good and business and profit are good too, but there has to be some rules for both or the bullies will rule. Capitalists are motivated by profit and the path of least resistance is always taken - like running water it needs to channeled or it will do as much harm as good. But like water it is also essential for life as we know it.

Socialism on the other hand is the uneven application of nonsensical rules applied arbitrarily on a whim based on whatever the administrator feels that day...

Seriously, socialism plays a huge part in the illegal immigration problem too. The dysfunctional socialist government in Mexico, sitting on a nation of vast resources and human potential, is failing it's citizens who largely want what we all want - a good life for our families. There would be no need for Mexicans to flood our cities if their own country would provide a decent economy and safe streets. An entrenched oligarchy bedevils a vibrant economy and a drug war in the northern states threatens to destabilize the Mexican national government and spill over into American cities near the border.

Under the ruse of social justice American socialism also plays a part in the problem as more and more government dollars are spent on educating, feeding and delivering health care for illegal immigrants. While breathlessly placing the blame on American policies and American business (both deserved) the socialists refuse to implicate their own culpability by way of making it attractive to come here with easy handouts, solidarity and pretend compassion.

There is of course the fact that we Americans like cheap meat, cheap vegetables and fruit, cheap roofers, cheap landscapers, cheap hotel rooms and cheap nannies. We don't realize that things are cheap because of cheap Mexican labor - if we do realize it we pretend not to. We are all part of the problem in a very real way. To be sure, in many cases there's nothing the consumer can actually do. We are largely ignorant of the true costs of this problem and how we actually play into it. I won't go so far as to say the average American is demanding "cheap" but we aren't doing much to turn things around as it relates to attracting cheap Mexican labor to our cities and towns. It's kind of like eating our cake and hating it too.

Lastly, the same thing that has attracted millions to our shores for the last 4 centuries is also true for Latin Americans. Hope for a better future. Or, escaping poverty and tyranny... Who can really blame them. But in the past immigrants went through proper channels - and that's all most of us are asking. Mexicans and Latin Americans can be some of the finest, hardest working people you would ever want to meet. We just want them and American based corporations and especially the federal government to obey the laws.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

But We have a Problem...

Arizona is trying to save itself. On Friday Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration into law. On the surface it may ring of police state tactics, but is it really? Drastic times call for drastic measures. Arizona is in trouble. Kidnapping, murder and drug running in the American southwest has dramatically escalated since the relaxing of immigration policies through the 80's and 90's.

President Bush's feeble attempts at border security late in his term did little to stem the tide of illegal immigration. Politically correct re-naming of these law breakers as undocumented workers didn't change the fact that an invasion was taking place. The only thing that has had any effect was the tanking of the American economy - jobs have dried up for low wage Mexicans as well. This is most likely temporary, unless a robust economy never returns.

From a New York Times article:
Hispanics, in particular, railed against the law as a recipe for racial and ethnic profiling. “Governor Brewer caved to the radical fringe,” a statement by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said, predicting that the law would create “a spiral of pervasive fear, community distrust, increased crime and costly litigation, with nationwide repercussions.”

I take exception with the notion of a radical fringe. I think even naturalized Mexican's who went through the trouble of following American laws to become citizens are in favor of tough immigration enforcement. This law is a natural reaction to politically correct mayors and police chiefs across the nation issuing policies not to aide ICE and other Federal agencies in enforcing Federal immigration laws. These proclamations are an open invitation for Latin America to invade American cities. This means of course Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California being the points of entry are being overrun. With their hands tied by these lax policies local law enforcement is over-matched. This law seems to me to be a leveling of the playing field. It isn't perfect - nothing is.

On Friday a few hundred demonstrators gathered, mostly peacefully, at the Arizona capitol plaza, the governor, speaking at a state building a few miles away, explained that the law “represents another tool for our state to use as we work to solve a crisis we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix.”

Truer words were never spoken. The political will in Washington DC does not exist to address this very real and serious problem. Conventional wisdom says that Republicans gladly give lip service to tougher enforcement, but actually prefer to look the other way while business reaps the benefit of cheap labor. Democrats dress the problem in flowery rhetoric but their ultimate goal of a new and permanent welfare dependent voting bloc is painfully transparent to thinking people. I think it indicates that the border states have a greater exposure to the problems caused by the invasion than those cloistered in Washington do. In Arizona John McCain's reelection bid may even hinge on the degree of urgency to which Arizonans place on this issue. McCain is clearly part of the DC mentality - we'll see how that plays out in Arizona.

The new Arizona law may not withstand challenges, but at least it is a signal to the nation that a breaking point is being reached. It only goes to heighten the urgency some of us feel to stop cold the Obama administration's goals on immigration (see above paragraph).


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chicago in The Spring

Taking some time off and visiting Chicago... We're gong to see a show at the House of Blues tonight... and checking out some of Chicago's fine eating too! We traveled by Amtrak for the first time. Not to put too fine a point on it - it was nothing like the Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint experience in Hitchcock's masterpiece "North By Northwest". It does have some advantages over flying these days, but one has to wonder what it would be like if 1.) rail travel were actually popular in this country, and 2.) a private company was running and maintaining the cars and the system. To put it bluntly the whole thing looked and felt like we were a stroke of luck away from a breakdown at any given moment...

Here's some random shots of 2nd city in the spring...


Friday, April 16, 2010

People: Ya Gotta Love 'Em

There are basically four types of people in America these days:

1. There are those that don’t know and don’t care, the ignorant and apathetic among us… They watch Jerry Springer and WWE and every other reality TV show out there. They know the cost of gas, bread, milk and toilet paper are going up but they cannot quite grasp the concept, any concept...

2. Then there are the people to the right of Rush Limbaugh and his clones. Greed is good, never saw a smokestack they didn’t like. They are big business is good, government is bad type of people. They think rest of us should just get off our lazy asses and get a job. These people are so self-assured they don't even recognize that they're delusional.

3. Conversely there are the left-wing lunatics who want electric cars but don’t want coal or nuclear power plants for electrical production, they think we can pull electricity out of our ass… They are government is good, big business is bad type of people. It's entirely possible these people are mentally retarded.

4. Then there are the rest... Maybe a little off center to the left or to the right but understand they are being screwed by government AND big business. They marvel at the way each side plays them off the other. In reality government and business elites are in deep collusion to enrich themselves and their constituents. These basically decent people like to laugh at, or more likely, heap scorn on the other types of people, but in the end the joke is actually on them.

So which type are you? I'd like to think I'm a #4, but... My friends and family might say otherwise!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's Because He's Red, Not Because He's Black

"This is a great country! I need you to help me change it."
Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama, 2008

For those of you clinging to your cliches and platitudes, such as:

"You don't like him because he's black..."

I say nonsense!!! It's because he's red, not because he's black. Stop and consider what he has done and what he is doing - historically -before you condemn people with legitimate gripes against his radical agenda.

No American President has ever tried to seize control of major industries and businesses, either directly or by regulation, including the auto industry, banking and finance, health insurance and hospitals, mortgage underwriting, schools, student loans and now the Internet.

No American President has ever declared a desire to put a vital major industry, namely the coal mining industry "out of business".

No prior American President traveled the world apologizing for America's existence, and bowing and scraping before the world's worst dictators, while simultaneously insulting our traditional allies.

No American President has ever put OPEN communists and communist sympathizers on his team.

No American President has ever worked this hard at demonizing ordinary Americans, from doctors to bankers to soldiers to police officers, and yes, even gun owing religionists.

No American President has ever worked so diligently to openly thwart the will of the American people by ignoring the popular sentiment against his agenda.

Barack Obama's contempt for America isn't exactly a well-kept secret. It isn't Presidential, either.

He spits on our allies, and embraces our enemies. If you feel like defending this BS, go right ahead, but to call millions of Americans racists and klan members because they are finally fed up with the Federal takeover of every aspect of our culture then you go too far. Barack Obama is half white too, have you forgotten? The opposition to this President has nothing to do with his skin color. It has everything to do with color of his agenda: red.

You can pretend, or actually believe, that the free market system and it's engine called capitalism has failed and will require a socialist/communist solution to make it "fair" but you'd be fooling yourself. We haven't had a true free market system for many decades. Every major financial and economic downturn (or disaster) can be directly traced to government actions (including wars). Every crisis brings more layers of government until the free market system and the American people are smothered by sixteen thousand pages of tax code and trillion dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see...

It's madness. Barack Obama is taking advantage of a crisis of confidence brought on by decades of incompetence and fraud by all political entities in Washington DC. Sanity and common sense must be restored or we are done.

Consider carefully if you think its time to put the brakes on Obama's radicalism come November. I do.



I was in class all last week taking in some intense training on some new technology (OK it was new to me). Hence, I haven't had a chance to blog at all.

Bear with me... I'll be writing soon.



Sunday, April 04, 2010

Seriously? Offshore Oil Drilling?

When the morning news programs splashed the headline, on cue, as directed by their handlers in the White House, that the administration would support new offshore oil drilling my bullshit meter went into the red zone. The whole idea was so contrary to everything that had come out from their side of the isle for years that it had to be taken with utmost scrutiny.

A tiger doesn't change his stripes, but a tiger is the master of camouflage and so, I contend, is President Obama. As a senator from Illinois Obama had spoken out against offshore drilling when his opponent Sen. McCain proposed striking down the federal moratorium banning offshore oil and gas drilling to help alleviate high gas prices. Throughout the campaign Obama refused to cede any ground, calling McCain's proposal "a strategy designed to get politicians through an election."

He went on to say: "It's not going to provide short-term relief or medium-term relief or in fact long-term relief. It won't drop prices in this administration or in the next administration or in the administration after that."

So what has changed?

Well, the Senate, which is controlled by a near overwhelming Democrat majority, essentially refuses to even vote on Obama's so-called Cap and Trade dominated energy bill. The economy killing carbon reducing rules in this plan is a huge detriment to passing the bill. With the credibility of the global warming alarmists in question the appetite to self impose draconian rules on energy consumption in the political class and in the general public is very weak. Especially at a time when the economy is this fragile.

So the President is engaging in crass political move to buy votes in the Senate. He has no intention or any real expectation that new drilling will ever take place. The coordinated effort in getting this apparent policy shift out into the public consciousness was designed to make Obama appear to be compromising. His allies in the environmental movement and minions in the EPA will make sure no new oil platforms will ever be erected.

The real strategy of the Obama administration - based on actions not words - is one of energy starvation. Obviously this will be done slowly, behind the scenes while maintaining the outward appearance that he is a reasonable centrist. This is his MO on all issues. Personally, I don't believe a word he says - about anything.