Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013!

Goblins, spooks and spirits alight, chasing unprepared away in fright this enchanted Halloween Night.

Our Halloween carvings for Jack-o-lanterns this year ...

That pumpkin on the far left must have weighed over 60 lb.!  The kids were goop-scooping on that one for over an hour at least, but they had a blast carving these.  Pumpkin carving is one Halloween tradition that we will never surrender.

Hope you all had a FUN and safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

First came "Hope", then came "Change" ....


This is just too good not to share!  Love Charles Krauthammer's way with words.  The man definitely has a gift:  God Bless him!

Humor, wisdom and salesmanship: all in under 10 minutes. Most impressive!

Think I'm definitely picking up a copy of his new book:  "Things that matter:  three decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics", By Charles Krauthammer.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Kaleidoscope Autumn ...

My Autumn needed some electrifying.  Late night painting ... playing with photographs.  Color your world, right?  Happy Autumn:  Love this time of year =)

"Kaleidoscope Autumn"
@2013 Copyrighted Image.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Pinnacle of Hypocrisy!

The nation is in the final hours leading up to the United States officially hitting the debt ceiling and where do we stand?  What have we learned?  What have we gained during these 15+ days of government shutdown?  Is perception really our new truth in the United States of America?  The best media campaign wins out over empirical truth?  I suppose, it helps immensely to have the media bias in covering recent events on your side.

How’s this for perception:  President Obama has said that he will veto any bill which includes the Vitter Amendment (previously passed in the Senate, but yet to be voted on by the House).  The Vitter amendment would require that all members of Congress, the Vice President, the President and members of the Cabinet be bound by the new healthcare law and enter into the exchanges without the 72% subsidies the Obama Administration unilaterally (without a legitimate vote of Congress) added to the healthcare law after it had been passed into law. 

The above has got to be the pinnacle of hypocrisy!  President Obama and Democratic members of Congress absolutely refuse to be bound by a law which you and I, the ordinary citizens of this nation, are being forced to comply with.  What does that say about the quality of the product being delivered by Obama-care????

In my humble opinion, if members of Congress are willing to sign-off on this hypocrisy then America is as good as gone.  We will no longer be a true democratic republic.  Quite frankly, I’d rather flirt with default on the national debt –which will not happen for at least another month according to leading economists— than capitulate to the demands of a would be group of tyrants (i.e., who will not negotiate, period and furthermore have repeatedly demonstrated --with aide of a blatantly biased liberal media-- that the current administration thinks they are above any accountability to the American people*).  Obama-care is at best “taxation without equal representation” and at its worst it is the crossing of a line which will forever-more fundamentally transform our nation, as the momentum of this unruly behemoth drags our nation further on the down the road toward socialism and control of the individual for the “greater good.” 

To Democratic voters who repeatedly (mindlessly) state “We won the election and Obama-care is the law of the land”, I have only this to say.  Winning the Presidency of the United States does not establish the President as the supreme monarch.   Furthermore we are not a true democracy, we are in fact a Democratic Republic.  That is to say that “we the people” elect representatives to act on our behalf in government, via the Congress (House of Representatives and the Senate).  The latter provides a layer of insulation to prevent the uniformed masses destroying our nation.  The latter being said, it is readily apparent that way too many members of Congress these days are seriously neglecting to listen to  'the voice' of the constituents who put them in office.   Furthermore, as for this “law of the land”:  if you truly understood government in any meaningful way, shape or form you would readily acknowledge the fact that there is a distinct difference between a law that is “passed by Congress”, “signed by the President” and “upheld by the Supreme Court” and the healthcare law that has been subsequently modified by President Obama and his administration – thereby subverting a legitimate vote of Congress— in order to exempt the President, Vice President, the Cabinet, members of Congress, Big Business and Unions from being legally bound to participate in the new healthcare law in the manner which you and I –ordinary citizens—will henceforth be required to partake.

It should be noted --since the mainstream media didn't do its job in relaying the entire story to the American people-- that in the early days of the government shutdown Republicans passed numerous concurrent resolutions to fund critical parts of government, sending them over to the Senate for a vote --in hopes of implementation-- but these concurrent  resolutions never saw the light of day on the Senate floor thanks to the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, acting on order from the White House/President.  So in essence it was the Democrats who were choosing to maximize the hurt inflicted upon the American people by keeping government shutdown (in particular the denial of death benefits to be paid to military families of U.S. soldiers killed recently in Afghanistan) ... though in truth, the shutdown was only a partial shutdown as 83% of government remained operational during the course of the "shutdown."

It should also be noted, regarding the denial of death benefits for surviving family members of soldiers killed in Afghanistan:  The President could have immediately rectified the Pentagon’s error in denying death benefits to these grieving family members with a simple stroke of his pen via an executive order. The latter case of death benefits being denied to surviving military family members is a perfect example of a situation where the use of the president’s power to use the executive order is entirely appropriate. The President, however, chose not to use his power of executive order, opting instead to wait for the U.S. House of Representatives to pass additional legislation that would clarify the intent of the previously passed “Pay Our Military Act” --which the House had passed in the early days of the initial partial government shutdown.

11/10/2013 Found another great petition ...

Friday, October 11, 2013

United You Stand: Divided You FALL ...

If you're going to inflict a "pin-prick", guess it helps to know which parts of the body bleed the most profusely?

Is it just me, or do the Republicans lose all credibility moving forward if they cave yet again?  Can you say 'lame-duck' Congress?  In a game of chicken, the Democrats will always win? 

To my way of thinking, Republicans folding now (being divided yet again) forfeits any future bargaining power, because this was the BIG test, the last stand and Republicans capitulating to a lesser set of token compromises doesn't equate to any sort of meaningful victory for the American people.  If you, Republicans, weren't willing to see this fight for the American people through to its end, then perhaps you should have never started the fight?

The Democrats will now run the entire show from here on out --not that they haven't done so all along during the course of the Obama Administration thus far.  At least history will show a few fearless Republicans were willing make a stand -- that is, if our history isn't rewritten.  Wonder if the American people will remember this final stand looking back on the long lost days of our democratic republic? 

Well, aside from contacting your elected government officials, in order to voice your concerns, maybe signing a petition can be your final stand?  (this petition has over 2 million signatures thus far)*

*Note: I haven't verified the legitimacy of this campaign yet (saw an ad on TV), so I am not certain that I would be confident in making any financial donation at this time., but you can still sign the petition.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Lightening Strikes Twice ....

Photo art render of a recent photograph taken while visiting home.  While it was nice to visit with family, the parched North Texas landscape really tugged at my heartstrings.  So much loss due to drought.  I had told my family that I'd bring the rain, so prevalent here in the Pacific Northwest, with me when I visited and I'm happy to say that I delivered ; )

"Lightening Strikes Twice"
@2013 Copyrighted Photograph.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Current Government Shutdown is But a Pin-Prick ....

... compared to what will follow if Big Government is allowed to continue along its intended trajectory un-checked.  I am usually about peace, love, respect and compromise ... So perhaps what follows may surprise you?  What can I say ... Big Government has been acting in a void of respect and compromise for quite some time now and this void has now hit critical mass.  Therefore I say "No more Mister Nice Guy!"  It's time to take the gloves off and get down to business.

How do you negotiate with someone who has shown time and again that he and his party will not negotiate, period?  With someone who announces to the press in advance, via his press secretary, that the President has no intention of negotiating w.r.t. Obama-care even though the President himself had staged a 'meeting' with Republicans … A meeting to what end?  Another PR-stunt?   To my way of thinking it seems apparent that the only way to get this administration’s attention, with the ultimate goal of bringing them to the negotiating table in good faith, is to shut them down.  The shock just hasn’t worn off yet; give it time:  it will.

America is standing in the sand, staring at The Line.  The line that once we cross over, America will be forever more irrevocably changed.  Up until now it has been a series of little steps, PR-conditioning and media wrangling … smoke and mirrors, while our elected officials chase after a barrage of chaotically dispersed carrots.  Divide and conquer.  Government is in our email, phone conversations, texts, on-line interactions and transactions –and we only know this thanks to someone  our government has labeled as a ‘traitor’.  Government tells us what to eat and how much.  Government tries to tell us which tin-can, green cars to buy and which PC-‘green’ products to use.  Government espouses energy independence, but then shoots America right in the knee-caps when it comes to realizing immediate, large-scale energy independence available in terms of North American natural gas and domestic oil.  Meanwhile, Government sends much needed American jobs overseas with its excessive regulations.   Government even goes so far as to try to discourage political opposition via the government agency responsible for collecting taxes, the IRS … and thus far they seem to have gotten away with it, just like every other scandal perpetrated by this administration (i.e., Fast and Furious, Benghazi).  And now, the final straw:  with the launching of Obama-care, Government will now be in perhaps the most personal and private aspect of our lives:  our personal health (and by extension our sex lives?) and the IRS will be charged with oversight of the insurance portion of the system.  I don’t know about you, but this scares the hell out of me!  Oh, and bonus:  under Obama-care all medical records must now be kept in digital format, opening medical records up to potential NSA spying and other on-line hacking.

Our Government has shown us time and time again that they think they know better than us, that we should just trust them and blindly follow, while they speak with two faces  and string us along on a line of half-truths (e.g., “We have to pass the law before we can find out what’s in it.”, "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." … drafting, passing, and signing Obama-care into law through constitutional channels, while subsequently unilaterally --bypassing a vote by Congress-- modifying the passed legislation to exempt themselves and their staff from being financially bound by it, and then giving Big Business a one-year waiver from mandatory participation in the new healthcare law).  Of course Big Government is smart enough to sweeten the deal with lots of “free stuff” and predictably the cattle among us have fallen right into line. 

But since the government has been shut-down, Big Government is singing a new tune:  that of an extremely spoiled, unhappy child.   How else can you explain the unnecessary expenditure of manpower and resources in order to close-off outdoor, open National Monuments like the WWII Memorial and the new Martin Luther King Jr. Monument?  Attempting to turn away 90 year-old veterans who have been gifted a once in a life-time opportunity to visit the WWII memorial in person.  Can you say "media circus" at the expense of our veterans?  You can clearly see the frustration in the faces of Big Government, hear the unnerved cackle in their voices when they speak publicly these past few days, since the government has shut-down;  they just can’t understand why, at this point in the conditioning process, everyone won’t just shut-up and get in line. … Get in line?  This when our highest elected officials have unequivocally demonstrated their contempt for accountability, as dictated by the U.S. Constitution, to the American people (e.g.,  NSA large-scale spying on U.S. citizens, Benghazi, and subsequent unilateral modifications to the Obama-care law, in the form of subsidies and waivers) – sorry, I just can’t bring myself to say the laughable phrasing “Affordable Care Act”.  I’m surprised the OMB hasn’t requested that the law’s name be changed, given OMB’s budget/numbers predictions for this unruly behemoth.  Socialized medicine here we come!

Republicans, you drew this line … The Line … in the sand, please don’t give in yet again!!  Too much is at stake!  Big Government is banking that given enough time and media pressure you will fold once again.  This time, I urge you to hold your ground, stand firm and in due time (i.e., as debt ceiling deadline draws nearer) Big Government will own its fair share of the current unrest.  The End, in this instance, does truly justify the means, because once this cumulative mass of “change” crosses The Line and begins its downhill motion, the momentum it will attain will become all but unstoppable.  The current government shutdown is but a pin-prick compared to what will follow if Big Government is allowed to continue along its intended trajectory un-checked.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy." ~Martin Luther King Jr.

10/9/2013  With U.S. about to hit its upper limit for credit and borrowing money, you'd think members of Congress and the Obama Administration would be looking for any and every way to reduce costs and save/re-allocate revenue wherever possible, right?  Well that's what logic should dictate.  In the line of looking for ways to save money, here is another reason to delay the individual mandate portion of Obama-care for at least a year:  Doing so could save the U.S. Treasury an estimated $35 Billion (with a "B", 9 zeros!) dollars, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  Definitely a BIG push for delaying the individual mandate, I would say!

On-line Petition:  We need an on-line petition specifically targeted at delaying the individual mandate portion of the new healthcare law by at least one year.  I did find other petitions on-line that are broader in their scope (e.g., delay and defund), but these may not meet with widespread approval.  That is to say many who would currently be on-board with delaying the individual mandate portion of the law, might not necessarily want to entirely defund Obama-care.  Check out the petition I found for yourself and see what you think?  (this one has over 2 million signatures)