• Physical Fitness: Anything is Better than Nothing.


    I recently dropped twenty-five pounds I needed to shed, and have only gained back five over the holidays—so far. Hopefully, that will be it, and then I can get back on track after this holiday holding pattern, and chase away those five naughty pounds.


    During this, what I call, holding pattern, the reason I’ve only gained back five, and thankfully not the full twenty-five pounds is that I came to the realization that over the course of my fitness “career,” my normal tack had often been an all or nothing approach. Either I worked out regularly and I ate well, or I didn’t work out and I ate poorly. This approach can spell disaster.


    An anything rather than nothing approach will leave you better prepared to maintain a more fit lifestyle. If you simply can’t refrain from the plethora of goodie-ridden platters at the holiday season parties you’re committed to attend, then at the very least don’t give up on your workouts. Chances are, if you do get your workout in you may indulge more than you’d like, but having worked out, there should be less guilt and a better likelihood you may even eat less not wanting to compromise the work you did do.


    And, by anything being better than nothing, I’m talking as little as fifteen or twenty minutes of vigorous exercise is better than no exercise at all. This is especially true if you employ targeted techniques such as Tabata-style workouts, during which you employ interval training with as short an interval as ten or twenty seconds of work. Of course the work is all out, it’s short, but the benefits are exponential. With this technique even eight minutes of work will leave you exhausted and doing the backstroke in a pool of sweat, and is certainly much, much better than nothing.


    The best thing about it is you’ve done “something” that you can build on the next time you workout. You don’t end up stringing together too many non-workout days, making it even more difficult to get back to. Also, there is a much better chance that you’ll extend your workout to longer than the fifteen or twenty minutes you’ve intended, something that couldn’t occur if you didn’t work out at all. So, eat an extra cookie if you have to, but do something, for Christmas’ sake!


    These are some of my favorite fitness programs and resources:

    P90X Fitness Program


    Seattle Sports and Fitness


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  • Cowardly Democrat Leaders Call for Vote in the Middle of the Night.


    What in liberty’s name are the Democrats doing? We know that not all Democrats are far left politically, but we’d never know that by their recent actions. How many of them are committing political suicide by supporting the vastly unpopular, monstrously expensive, dangerously socialistic, healthcare bill? I suppose next fall will answer that question. I think any Democrats who’ve underestimated the current, and growing, anger of the American people, will learn an electoral lesson they will never forget.


    If nothing else shows how underhanded the Democrats are being, we just have to look at the timing of their votes and related news releases throughout this process. They come at the week’s end (read: end of news cycle), and in the middle of the night (read: cowardly), and without the people or their representatives given an opportunity to even read it (read: don’t read).


    Such is the case with the upcoming vote on the Senate’s version of the bill, for which the Democrat leadership has decreed they will gather in the wee dark hours of Monday morning (read: “Sunday” night), to stir their cauldron and cast their spell against the physical and fiscal wellbeing of the American people.


    They succeeded in bribing Senator Landrieu, ala “Louisiana Purchase II” and now it appears they’ve also purchased Nebraska for today’s version of thirty pieces of silver. Actually, for a Democrat under this regime, I give Senator Nelson credit (though not much) for hanging in there as long as he did. After seeing Senator Lieberman’s resolve collapse, it now appears there are no Democrats willing to stand up for the American people and liberty.


    How sad. I don’t know how retired Georgia Senator Zell Miller, arguably the last true conservative Democrat to have served, keeps his breakfast down while reading about his party’s latest totalitarian tactics, and surely John Kennedy and Scoop Jackson must be turning in their graves.


    The rush to get “something,” “anything,” passed before Christmas Eve can now be seen as nothing more than a surge to get anything other than a lump of coal in President Obama’s stocking, even if it’s only a cube of ice, which will melt away in the heat of the American fury sure to follow.


    Hold on tight, 2009 was the far left’s push against liberty; in 2010 Americans will push back!

  • Government cannot Bestow Rights; Government can only Recognize and Protect them.


    You know, folks always tell conservatives and libertarians that we must return civility to the political conversation. Funny; I can’t remember the last time I started a political conversation with a liberal or progressive, but they’ll sure start one with me. I was at a Christmas party a couple years ago and I mentioned something positive about President Bush about something fairly innocuous. The folks I was standing with looked at me as if I’d grown a second head.


    “You like Bush?” The normally genial hostess said to me, looking like she and her fellow public school teachers had just gulped a mouthful of dirt.


    I replied that I liked some things he’d done, and opposed other things. That apparently wasn’t good enough and I learned in the diatribe that followed that there wasn’t even one good thing about the man—ever!


    I used to agree that civility was needed in political discussion, but I think the liberals are winning me over. Why should I give any leeway at all to those political opponents who want to take away my money and my rights. We’re talking about people, with regard to the current “Health Care Reform” bill(s), who have no qualms with tossing my ass in prison should I choose not to purchase health care “insurance.”


    This seems to be the bottom line: If conservatives and libertarians get their way, liberty prevails and even the liberals are free to live their lives as they choose. If liberals and progressives get their way, liberty suffers and no one is free to live their lives as they choose.


    This being the case, why in the world should I be civil to a person who would take away my property (money) and my liberty? Now, part of the pity is most ordinary liberals don’t look at it this way, and that’s more than sad. On the contrary, the leaders of the progressive movement know exactly what they’re doing. Their followers have deluded themselves into believing that human beings cannot make a correct decision for themselves and therefore the government must make it for them. They’ve even arrived at the illogical conclusion that government providing entitlements is some sort of “charity.”


    Plain and simple, it’s not charity if it’s forced. Charity is a voluntary gesture from the heart, given from one person to another. I’m tired of liberals who accuse me of callousness because I don’t support universal health care. Health care being a product like any other product, I don’t believe in universal food distribution, or housing, or transportation, or televisions, or lawn mowers, or videogames, or etc.


    Making my own peaceful decisions, such as purchasing health insurance, for myself is my natural right; the government providing me with health care is an entitlement paid for by redistributing someone else’s money to me—how is this a right? Government cannot bestow real rights, only the divine can do that. Government exists primarily to protect my natural rights to my life, my liberty, and my pursuit of happiness.

  • Eternal Vigilance is Exhausting.


    I need to reiterate my frustration about having to be so increasingly and constantly vigilant against the devastating government encroachment into almost all facets of our private lives and businesses. I’ve long been fond of Thomas Jefferson’s commandment regarding liberty requiring eternal vigilance, however I’ve believed—until now that is—that, although a poignant edict, he’d employed a bit of hyperbole. I no longer think that.


    I’m about as fed up as I can get with trying to keep up with our government’s rapid-fire, liberty-shredding agenda. I simply can’t trust my government, almost, no one of high office, regardless of party, and, sadly, not our president, and most certainly not the party in control of congress for the past several years whose presided over this current disaster.


    I won’t bore you with the litany of attempted transgressions against liberty—and sanity—of the current administration, the list is lengthy indeed, although thankfully the administration thus far has been remarkably, happily, more impotent than anyone anticipated—on either side. Although they have attempted, and continue to attempt, to ram a radical socialist agenda down our throats to, “…fundamentally transform the United States of America,” the slow realization that he wasn’t kidding when he said that, which has lead to a growing resistance demonstrated at town hall meetings and tea parties across the nation, has been inspirational.


    So, let’s address one thing, the so-called Jobs Summit. This administration can’t seem to keep partisan politics out of anything. They can’t be oblivious to the public perception when the President conducts a “Jobs Summit,” held with the ostensible purpose of doing their level best to create new American jobs, without inviting groups crucial to job-making such as the United States Chamber of Commerce, to name only one, who, together with the other excluded small business groups, represent some 140 million American employers and workers. And they also do it without consideration of traditional, proven job creators such as lowering taxes and reducing regulations for small businesses.


    I wonder how I, as a conservative-libertarian, am supposed to take this summit seriously. I wonder how anyone of any political ilk—who is intellectually honest—could take this summit seriously. Why were some of the most potent forces for job creation excluded? It’s because the President is miffed and has demonstrated very little tolerance for decent in his realm. In an adolescent exercise, it seems he’s actually punishing those who oppose his views, in this case, by not inviting those “kids” to come play in his fort. Oh, come on! How can I trust an administration that would do such a petty thing at the expense of real progress? It’s like asking someone to come up with a way of filling a glass with water, but telling them they can’t suggest using water.


    Is there anything that remains outside politics with this administration—with their VP Biden-touted “Eternal Campaign?” And now, bafflingly, Americans are once again being made fools of by a president who asserts executive privilege in not allowing the White House social secretary to testify before congress regarding a serious security breach that threatened the security of the President of the United States of America within his own home. Executive privilege? For a social secretary? Where is the sense in this? Or I suppose the real question is: What is the purported most transparent administration in history hiding?


    These are but a few of the current issues that have this American in a state of constant vigilance, and the list continues growing. And although suffering political fatigue, the cost of inattention, or worse apathy, is not an option—we can’t let our Founders, and those who’ve fought to preserve their vision, down. I know the many will benefit from the price paid by the few who take an active roll in preserving American liberty, but as long as my children are among the many, it is a worthy effort indeed.

  • It’s Past Time to Pass the Enumerated Powers Act


    It’s well past time to finally enact the Enumerated Powers Act (H.R. 1359, S. 3159). What is it? Well, in a nutshell, Arizona Republican Congressman John Shadegg has been introducing this legislation since 1995 (unsuccessfully with both Rs and Ds in charge), which would require members of congress who offer bills to cite the Constitutional authority to enact the proposed legislation. While certainly not a cure-all, it would certainly put the Constitution in the forefront of member’s minds—where it belongs.


    More recently Senator Tom Coburn, Republican from Oklahoma, introduced the Senate version of the bill. Although the bill hasn’t found much success in either Republican or Democrat congresses, aside from both the Senate and House bill sponsors, all of the co-sponsors are Republicans with zero Democrat support.


    Judging by how Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branch progressives have been shredding our Constitution over at least the past century, America is, sadly, desperately in need of this legislation. If the authority to enact any bill is not among the Constitution’s enumerated powers then the bill may not proceed without parliamentary procedure.


    From the disregard shown the Constitution by so many members of congress, not to mention the Executive and Judicial branches, one would never know that each of these members takes an oath, solemnly promising the American people to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution—not any person or political party—against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to that magnificent document.


    How many members can claim fidelity to their oath, or to even having truly read or understood the words, or certainly to taking those words into their hearts—how many times have they “cheated” on the Constitution? How many times have our elected and appointed leaders checked into some cheap motel room with some sleazy legislation, while their loyal Constitution remains faithfully at home trying to care for individual liberty.


    “Could you please tell me where in the Constitution you get the authority to force Americans to purchase health insurance?” Precious few in the media sometimes ask of some congressmen and senators, who sprout a dear-in-the-headlights expressions and then with nothing substantive to say reply, “Are you serious? Come on; are you really serious?”


    Well, Senator, Congresswoman yes we are serious. This isn’t some far out whacko question. To ask our elected representatives to provide us with the Constitutional citation for the authority to enact a particular edict, when our Founders went far to limit the government by restricting it to only specific enumerated powers, seems quite reasonable indeed. In fact, it’s too bad that wasn’t made an original requirement; I suppose they didn’t feel it would be necessary.


    In my job as a police officer I also swear an oath. And before I take any police action I must go through my mental “law” rolodex, which incidentally, includes the Constitution, in order to be sure I have the authority to take a specific action. Later in court you can be sure the defense will challenge what I’ve done and will require me to cite my authority for the actions I took, and certainly smite me if I lacked it. Just think of what society would look like if the police acted like congress does routinely, constantly flouting authority and disregarding rules, and assuming some “inherent” general powers, which change with the officer’s mood or agenda.


    Defense attorney: “Officer, what gave you the authority to take my client into custody?”


    Officer: “Are you serious, Counselor? No, really…come on; are you really serious?”


    Don’t think that would fly? No, me either. The officer must cite his authority. “I had the authority to arrest your client based on his statements, following my advising him of his Miranda rights, admitting to punching Ronald McDonald in the nose.” If I, a common patrol officer must cite my authority to act when it affects one person, surely it would be appropriate for a U.S. Congress member to be held to a similar standard when enacting legislation affecting hundreds of millions of people.


    It would seem that our elected officials have been passing legislation with blatant disregard for its enumerated Constitutional limitations, they never question the limits of their authority, which many of them seem to feel are inherent and infinite, so they don’t see why the people they’re supposed to serve should question it—or them—either. One wonders how they can ever use the phrase limited government with a straight face.


    The Founders wrote and the several states ratified the U.S. Constitution not simply to have a piece of pretty parchment to put under glass; they intended for us to care for it so it would care for us. We can no longer allow those who represent us to shout their reverence for the document, while simultaneously disregarding its principles in practice.  


  • Being Nasty won’t Help the Political Left.


    It’s stunning that we’ve arrived at a day in America where our republic’s most highly placed political leaders actually view their fellow Americans, citizens who simply oppose their political views, with abject contempt, and express it overtly and publicly. Those who dare to advocate for an America that reflects the constitutional republic originally created by our Founders are treated to scathing derision by their own elected representatives.


    These leaders are attempting to invert the exceptional nation our Founders built, while at the same time claiming to revere those founders and the constitution and country they created. Essentially the current administration’s leadership, when pressed, claims to revere Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin, while at the same time reviling those Americans who espouse an affinity for those founding patriots’ political perspectives.


    How can this be? If the current administration truly reveres our Founders and the Constitution, within which they framed self-government, wouldn’t they logically also be sympathetic to those who still follow and venerate the Founders? Sadly, too many current administration figures express, rather than affinity for Madison or Monroe, camaraderie with Marx and Mao.


    I understand having opposing political arguments: they don’t agree with me, I don’t agree with them; fine, now let’s go watch the game and drain a pint or two. But today we have elected officials who deride average Americans, some of them their own constituents who’ve become energized and have begun to actively participate in the political process, some for the first times in their lives.


    We have an American President who campaigned on bipartisanship but who allows, and at times seems to tacitly and overtly encourage his party’s leaders, including the Speaker of the House, to disparage, not elected political opponents, but ordinary Americans. For example using condescending terms such as “astroturf,” when referring to the most genuine grassroots political movement to manifest in years. This grassroots movement—tea parties, town halls, etc.—is the type of action the left has always claimed to admire so greatly, but, it would seem, only if the roots sprout on the left side of the political lawn.


    How can any American trust political leaders who show such utter disdain for those who sincerely oppose their progressively ambitious, if not radically socialist, agenda? The President has even quipped that his opponents “stay out of the way” while he and his, “mop up their mess.” The President pokes jabs at politically energized citizens as, “tea-baggers,” a crude term having no place in a U.S. Presidents’ terminology regarding Americans he represents.


    Many of these so-called “tea-baggers,” were, if not outright supporters of the president, were at least willing to give him a chance and even the benefit of the doubt. Being chided, derided, and marginalized by their president will not earn him any future benefit of the doubt. Our new president said he wishes to bring civility back to the political dialogue. Then, what’s stopping him?

  • Government Gains Equals Liberty’s Loss


    Every government action has an equal and opposite liberty reaction. Okay, perhaps not every action, but I’m trying to make a point here. Every time government grows liberty shrinks. People don’t seem to spend much time thinking about this concept. Too often people are willing to cede their liberties in favor of increasing government rules if they perceive that particular rule as a “good idea.” When this happens, people disregard the loss of liberty they’ve either acceded to, or may even have voted for themselves. What they fail to realize is the very same concept used to infringe on the liberties they care little about can be used to infringe on liberties about which they care a great deal.


    The one thing government needs, when it can’t, or perhaps can’t find a way to, use direct force, is some kind of leverage over the people. One favorite form of leverage has been to use environmental issues—both exaggerated valid concerns as well as fabricated concerns such as the 1970’s Ice Age scam and the current manmade Climate Change (the term replacing global warming, as it seems the globe has recently decided to cool for a bit) “crisis.” Our government has used the environment, to one degree or another to usurp people’s property rights and abridge other liberties for decades. Now it seems the United Nations will do the same thing globally if it can get away with it.


    Why do they, the Socialist-, Collectivist-, Marxist-leaning in our government, do this? Well, it would be much harder to steal our liberty, “just ‘cause.” They need to get compliance from a certain percentage of us, so on occasion we’ll even vote our own liberty away, piece by piece, until the United States of America becomes unrecognizable from the country our Founders created.


    What else is used to usurp liberty? Big government types like to create “public burdens.” This was actually simple to do. First they create an entitlement for those in society deemed “victims,” such as Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc. Then they usurp citizens’ rights for “watchdogging” tax money they’ve confiscated from you and then redistributed to those deemed more worthy than you of the fruits of your labor. These laws are called nanny laws i.e. helmet and seatbelt type laws.


    The current governing political party is rapidly attempting to bludgeon the American people by creating the most massive public burden to date, the so-called Healthcare Reform Bill. We can only imagine the liberty grab headed our way should this monstrosity become law. Whether or not you support this bill, ask yourself, does buying seven years worth of product, but paying ten years worth of money for it seem like a good deal—even for its supporters. If this portion alone, within the 1,990 pages, isn’t evidence of ideological madness I don’t know what is.


    And one more thing; why do Obamacare proponents fall so silent when someone on the other side mentions tort reform, interstate insurance policy purchases, or things such as expanding health savings accounts. These seem like common sense reforms that could be enacted quickly and in a bipartisan manner. The far left’s silence when these reforms are suggested is eerie. Very few on the left even try to debate or argue these suggestions, they just seem to let them pass in conversation until they becomes political vapor, disappearing into the cloud of the next point.


    This points up very clearly that for some politicians, especially those on the far left, whom it so happens currently holds government’s reigns, it’s not about reform, it’s about power.


  • Suspect Theater


    I watched a well-teased video of alleged police misconduct on a FOX news show the other morning. “Caught on video!” My ass. They promoted the video as if it were of a clearly recorded action scene directed by Steven Spielberg. Instead, viewers could barely see some vague, shadowy images within a darkened doorway. The reporter mentioned that the suspect could be heard better than seen and was, “…clearly yelling for help…,” as if that in and of itself somehow imbues the suspect with credibility.


    The reporter repeatedly mentioned the possibility of police abuse, but never the possibility of suspect theater. I don’t think the reporter intended any malice to law enforcement, but I do think the report could have been more fair and balanced, and less inciting against the police. (And I’m a regular FNC viewer).


    The reporter seemed sadly ignorant of the notion that sometimes suspects scream simply to get attention and that suspects often lie about police abuse. I can’t tell you the number of suspects I’ve arrested or have seen arrested who scream at the least little—or no—provocation; it serves a purpose. I remember one arrestee whom an officer had handcuffed and was lying on the sidewalk awaiting a patrol car to arrive at the scene. Four of us were standing by, with only one officer in physical contact with the suspect, his hand on the suspect’s shoulder.


    Let me tell you, that suspect was screaming as if we were poking him with a cattle prod. This guy should have been nominated for an academy award the way his blood-chilling cries carried throughout the neighborhood, curtains drawing open in the high rise apartment buildings—he would have won it hands down. If I weren’t seeing with my own eyes that the guy was completely uninjured, I’d have sworn he was being tortured—not enhanced interrogation—real torture. Later at the precinct, with no sympathetic eyes watching, I asked the suspect why he wasn’t screaming now. Having adopted a rather pleasant demeanor he said, “No reason to now.”


    Look, I’d never suggest no officer ever abuses his authority, but please remember, it’s in a suspect’s best interest to make bystanders think the officers are abusing him. It takes the focus off of the suspect and his alleged crime, and places it on the officers who are in the vast instances simply attempting to protect the community. At the very least, view these dubious, grainy, shadowy news videos with that proverbial grain of salt. If the officers are guilty of some offense, we’ll hear about it soon enough and loudly; if the officers are cleared, as they usually are, we’ll never hear about it again.   

  • Obama Administration has Americans Politically Punch Drunk

    I’ve never in my left felt it necessary to pay so much attention to what my government is up to while I’m simply trying to live my life. Perhaps I may at least owe the Obama administration a thank you for forcing me to be even more politically diligent, but somehow I don’t feel very thankful to my president at the moment; instead I feel political fatigue and the soft tyrannical abuse of my government. This government is so overwhelming the people with its overreaching, overarching agenda that we’ve become a politically punch-drunk populace.


    When work is over, at the end of my long hard day, having earned roughly 40% for me and 60% for the government, all I want to do is come home, spend some time with my wife, maybe write a little, or get a workout in—generally enjoy the fruits of my pursuit of happiness, not worry about mine and my family’s future being subverted before my eyes.


    But with this government power onslaught I find myself reduced to a TV news junkie, sifting through the alphabet soup of channels to find those programs with honest information, fair interviews, and the balanced debates I need to make informed decisions. I don’t need to know how many times the First Lady can swing a hula-hoop; I need to now how many times, and how deeply, the government plans to dig into my pocket over the next few years.


    I remember being politically aware early on, especially since first registering to vote as an eighteen year old Libertarian in 1978, during the abysmal Carter administration. (I’ve since become a—small “l” libertarian). However, I’ve never felt as beat up as an American citizen as I have during this past year. I walk around with that weird feeling that I’m always being watched, or followed—an oppressive feeling indeed. It’s like if I turned around quickly I’d find the government inspecting me for proper political attitude and castigating me as a tea-bagging, dangerous, racist, gun-clinger if I don’t. I’m expected to accept him as my American president, which I do, but he apparently doesn’t accept me as his American citizen.


    Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Never has this statement been truer than it is today, especially with this current president and congress. I no longer care about the “R” and “D”, or for that matter, “L,” after a politician’s name; I care about whether or not they care about my liberty.


    I am still an optimist though; George Washington’s extraordinary perseverance during our most improbable American Revolution and early years of our constitutional republic gives me confidence to look forward to a better, more free, America, despite current activities to subvert liberty. I was watching a show one time where a Russian character, who’d obviously grown up in the old U.S.S.R. says something like, “That’s the thing about you Americans; while the rest of the world expects the worst, Americans always think things will work out.” She hadn’t intended it as a compliment, but it really is.


    But the critical question remains: will Americans step up to this latest leftist onslaught against individual freedom? Are there more people who love liberty than there are people who love free stuff from the government? I believe America has enough liberty-loving patriots who will remain eternally vigilant, and will continue to venture out of their comfort zones to do the things necessary to retain our God-given and constitutionally ordained individual rights.