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The Tin Man Incident

Seeing the news this morning about the power plant in Puerto Rico reminded me of the business trips I took there years ago. I don’t want to bore anyone, but there is actually a point to this story.

For those who have been there, all the effort goes into maintaining the tourist areas (or so it always seemed to me) which makes a good deal of sense when it brings in so much money to the island. My job covered random air conditioning equipment in malls concerning contract breaches and problems. The island people are warm and welcoming, always eager to help and kind to strangers. However, off the beaten path in the local residential areas it could get rough. Non-tourist areas were not maintained at all and could be dangerous. Some malls had armed guards in the parking lots. Flying into San Juan was always depressing since there were beautiful resort hotels and there were destroyed half-hotel resort remnants from the last hurricane to come through. There were always destroyed neighborhoods and partially rebuilt ones. I once told my boss that it was as close as I ever wanted to get to mass destruction. It was just sad to see. Once there, it is worth noting that business was conducted a little differently and there were expenses built in to the contracts for bribes and “greasing palms”. It is not official, and it is fair because everyone does it, but it is wrong and it is illegal. This is common knowledge there, you cannot do business in Puerto Rico successfully unless you play by their rules. I have heard that it is still true.

Our reason for so many trips to the beautiful island over such a short time in the nineties was a panicked call from the cooling tower manufacturer. They claimed that the contractor in PR did not know what they were doing. I will never forget what they said, “We’ve never seen anything like it! It looks more like the Tin Man from Oz than a cooling tower!” Of course, we hopped a plane and flew straight down, the problem was….they were right. It did look a lot like the Tin Man. It turned out that every mechanical contractor on the island had the same last name. To shorten the story, we had to import a Florida contractor at an exorbitant sum to straighten out the mess.

Although I had many more occasions to go down to PR before and after “the Tin Man incident”, none of the trips or problems were ever as memorable, as funny or as much trouble as this one.

Moral of story: There is surely much more going on in Puerto Rico than the media is telling us!


Russian Collusion and Us

Let’s just work from the premise that we were given at the beginning. The Russia investigation was a counter-intelligence operation since collusion is not a crime and since there was no evidence of any such thing at that time. However, the argument went (and still does), that we must get to the bottom of Russian involvement in our election because it threatens the very foundation of American democracy. I am sick and tired of the liberal media and the establishment never-Trump Republicans still standing behind this and regurgitating these old, overused and nonsensical talking points.

Our law enforcement agencies operate differently from those that have been set up in police states. I do not believe most people understand the enormous fundamental constraints that even our intelligence agencies in the U.S. have when dealing with constitutionally protected citizens. American law enforcement in all of its manifestations, has never been allowed to take a complaint about a person (that they are bad or crazy or mean in generality) and then go search for a crime. If that were done, we would be a police state. To quote a former secret service agent whose podcasts I frequently enjoy,”The FBI can indict a ham sandwich if they want to.” Mr. Bongino is absolutely correct. Make no mistake, if an intelligence or police agency is armed with detailed information on your every move for the last five years and then you sit down while their trained interviewers/interrogators rapid fire questions on every date and everything you did (even things that held little or no importance for you and thus are totally forgotten), it is almost impossible NOT to have inconsistencies  or alterations and therefor a charge of “lying to law enforcement”. This is why the Special Prosecutor, the FBI, police, Intelligence agencies, all of law enforcement prosecute crimes but they do not prosecute people! Why are we making an exception in the way the FBI is looking for a crime committed by President Trump? Are we comfortable with police state policies?

Furthermore, at a time when our deficit is larger than ever. Our debt is greater than we can wrap our brains around. This is an astronomical problem of criminal proportions. We have a Special Prosecutor who is off the rails. His budget is eating up money without producing the results that the mission goals stated. Lying to the FBI is not remotely proof of any sort of guilt of the non-statutory un-crime of collusion. Every unveiling has revealed wrongdoing by the Democratic Party, not the Trump campaign. Digging into the past just digs up the crimes of the Obama Administration in association with the Clinton campaign. And we just keep throwing good money at Mueller to search for some Russian connection with our president! Is anyone looking at China? Could we please take that money and redistribute it to counter those countries that are successfully making inroads into our entertainment industry, economy and manufacturing….not to mention intellectual property Etc!!

If the Democrats were truthfully as concerned with Russian meddling in our elections as they say they are, they would be taking action instead of trying to dig up something on President Trump. Why are we not doing more to protect the election systems in the states. Obama tried to take control by placing control of elections in the hands of the Federal Government which would put each state at higher risk. We should be actively working to limit ALL INTERFERENCE in our elections and both law enforcement and Congress could be making better use of time! There is more, much more that could be done. There is much more that could be done if the Democrats were not spending all of their time strategizing and plotting how to take down the legally elected president while taking and keeping power. Many more problems could be solved if establishment Republicans were not constantly voting with the highest paying lobbyist and never willing or able to stand up and fight for the people.

Bob Mueller is spending money we do not have and after almost two years with no evidence of Russian collusion, we need to move on and stop wasting money. There are other crimes that do have evidence that are just sitting out there while the respective statutes of limitation slowly run out.

REPOST: Who Is At Fault?

Quin Hillyer: Mitch McConnell helped create this mess in Alabama


If ever there is legitimacy to playing a “blame game,” it exists right now with regard to the mess Alabama Republicans face in a special U.S. Senate election that should not be occurring in the first place.In order of approximate chronology rather than of seriousness, here are all the places the blame lies – with the obvious caveat that by far the largest part of the blame lies with Roy Moore, if the allegations against him are even close to being true.
1) Luther Strange. I am reliably informed that numerous people, wise and experienced, advised Strange not to allow his name even to be considered for appointment to the Senate under the unique circumstances then existing. If he wanted to be the senator, he should have run under his own power, not as the selection of the very governor Strange was supposed to be investigating on criminal charges. The appearance of a conflict of interest was too obvious and too appalling.
2) Robert Bentley. Of course the governor should not have done any of the things that compromised himself in the first place – but, having done so, he should never, ever have considered Strange for the appointment. See above.
3) Mitch McConnell and his minions/Political Action Committees (henceforth: MMMPACs). MMMPACs, having failed to learn the lessons of earlier interferences in state elections (for example, opposing Marco Rubio in Florida, Ben Sasse in Nebraska, and others who proved to be excellent senators), decided to waste some $9 million on behalf of the un-re-electable Strange. Even worse, MMMPACs tried to act as bully-boys, threatening candidates and campaign consultants that if they opposed Strange, they would never work in/have no future in Republican politics ever again. Potentially strong candidates – ones who could have defeated both Strange and Moore – were thus bullied out of the race.
4) Governor Kay Ivey. She was wrong, both practically and I believe legally, to call for the special election this year. Practically, a cash-strapped state should not be spending $15 million to run an election when there would really have been no harm in waiting until a regular election in 2018. Also practically, the unique circumstances of the Bentley scandal meant that the political waters were too roiled to allow the public a “normal” and thoughtful consideration of the potential candidates, with too little time for some potentially good candidates to get organized enough to make the race. Finally, while nobody challenged her in court, I am convinced that once Bentley had called the election for 2018, nothing in state law allows a governor the power to unilaterally change a duly called election date. In short, this election should not have been held until November of 2018.
5) Mo Brooks. This is the least of these blame points but it warrants inclusion on this list. The conservative with the best chance of sneaking past Strange into the runoff with Moore chose an ill-conceived tactic that blew up in his face, by airing a TV ad with video of Brooks being interviewed at the scene of the shooting of Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Scalise’s staffers themselves were outraged, and were quoted complaining that Brooks appeared to be trying to profit politically from the assassination attempt.
6) Strange and MMMPACs. Together, they ran one of the most despicable campaigns I have witnessed in more than four decades involved in or covering politics. They poisoned the well with harshly negative, even vicious, and at least somewhat untrue attacks against both Moore and Brooks. (The worst was the one insinuating that Brooks somehow was weak against ISIS!) And when they weren’t wrongly attacking their opponents, they were running ads for Strange that were so trite they insultingly played into national stereotypes about supposedly simple-minded Alabamans. So obnoxious were their tactics that, if basing the judgment on the campaign alone, neither Strange nor McConnell should ever hold office again.
7) Donald Trump. He, too, should have stayed away from a state’s party primary. By jumping in before the first primary, he helped (at least at the margins) Strange ward off the challenge from Brooks. Well, if the national pooh-bahs wanted “anybody but Moore,” the only way by then to stop Moore was for Brooks to edge past Strange into the runoff. As I said the very day qualifying for the race closed, Strange had no chance on God’s green Earth to defeat Moore in a runoff if those were the two candidates who emerged.

It is time for a hard and fast new rule: National party committees and so-called “Leadership PACs,” and their affiliates, should avoid all direct financial involvement in party primaries. Sure, they can and ought to try to recruit good candidates, but their recruiting pitch should be this: “We can help line you up with good strategists and workers and policy briefings, and we will commit to raising X amount of money for you if you emerge as the nominee. But aside from that, winning the nomination is up to you; we are holding our money and our clout for use against Democrats in the general election, not to trash fellow Republicans in a primary.”

Mitch McConnell, Luther Strange and company utterly screwed up this whole election. They should hang their heads in shame.

Yellowhammer Contributing Editor Quin Hillyer, of Mobile, also is a Contributing Editor for National Review Online, and is the author of Mad Jones, Heretic, a satirical literary novel published in the fall of 2017.

Just A Thought (or three)

In a time of stiff world-wide competition among a very few countries and global corporate conglomerates for total and absolute domination of technology, artificial intelligence, bio-engineering and its associated chip development, etc., etc., etc. when everything we read seems to be purloined from the pages of a classic Sci-fi thriller, this would seem to be the time to pay more attention to the atrocious problem of so much of our technological work product being siphoned away from our shores. Sometimes it is required in order to obtain a new market (should not be allowed), sometimes acquired in merger or acquisition (rare) and then sometimes it is stolen (bingo!) China has even stated through it’s media that it plans to rule the world (insert evil laughter here) through technology and STEM development and domination. 

Obviously, in the course of “growing up as a republic” we have allowed some institutions to become established with an insufficient amount of oversight. As a result these institutions have recently made it increasingly obvious that “We, the People” should shine the light of exposure on these highly secretive organizations so that they may either be cleaned up or abolished entirely. Proper controls and procedures could be put in place under President Trump, General Kelly, Senator Lee from Utah, Senator Cruz from Texas, or perhaps a few other select individuals HONEST, TRUSTWORTHY, UNPURCHASED and wholly committed to the Constitution in order to ensure Government security, defense of the homeland and intelligence is not compromised or released. However it is done, our president needs to set up some sort of review board or committee for:

  1.  Intelligence agencies
  2. DOJ
  3. IRS
  4. State Dept.

Our three branches of government no longer even blink when crossing the boundaries set by the Constitution. Federal appellate courts are blocking lawful Presidential Executive Orders on ideological grounds. The judicial branch has no knowledge, no familiarity and no authority over immigration yet, for example, a Maryland federal judge suspended President Trump’s executive order requiring more extensive vetting of refugees entering this country. We MUST return to the principles and the fundamentals set out for us in our founding document. We must get rid of the arbitrary administrative rules, regulations and requirements which have been attached to the people’s institutions in order to circumvent the purpose of those bodies or shift the responsibilities which each member bears as part of his duty to his/her constituents. Even more common it is used as a method to hide what he/she is voting for or against.

I will no longer be tactful and polite about it. The Democratic Party appears to have launched a campaign to chip away at our Republic, pushing this radical idea that being born on U.S. Land makes you a citizen, advocating for the rights (?) of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS!, advocating for and passing laws to protect lobbying, advocating for the consideration and even the application of foreign law in our courts (including sharia law) and I am not even covering education or the entertainment industry. Why does the Democratic Party want to change America in such a radical way? 

If we want to keep our American culture and our Constitutional Republic we had better wake up and closely monitor our representatives and senators. If the people we elect to vote in our name do not vote with our voice, if they vote for big business, if they vote with the media, if they vote with non-citizens – then we can not afford to vote them back into office again.

An elected office is a service job. Those who are called to SERVE are obligated to fulfill the promises they make, to work for the goals and needs of the poorest as well as those who own small businesses and the largest corporations equally. Any elected office is hard work involving more problems than possible solutions, it requires being excruciatingly frugal with the taxpayer’s money while concurrently being generous of heart but armed with research on how to get the most bang out of every single buck. An honest Senator or Representative does not get rich in Washington or the state capital, does not vote for automatic pay increases, outrageous perks or unbelievable pensions. For an ideal in service we need to think back to the beginning when George Washington was asked to become King by a very sincere and thankful nation. Most generals, heck most men who had fought tooth and nail, sacrificed and been through so much would have accepted the offer to continue to lead and protect the fledgling nation through its formative first years with the power to ensure all was done correctly and all the states stayed in line.               

Politically Manipulative and Incorrect

Freedom. Of. Speech.

Everyone throws that phrase around like it means saying whatever you please, without thought or rationale, never checking for any connection or relationship to the truth however distant and disregarding any and all consequences resulting therefrom. There is the Constitutional protection that American citizens have from government censorship. In addition, our privacy laws guarantee us the freedom to say what is on our minds to friends and family when we are not in public. (We hope) Otherwise, we all have to watch what we say!

It is a controversial subject these days. The mainstream media (MSM) along with the liberals are trying to shut down conservative commentators, talk show hosts and other prominent conservative political pundits. (I will make an exception of Fox News as it is the only place you will see a clip of Donald Trump condemning David Duke in 1991). Republicans, Libertarians and conservatives have been successfully rolled up into one group for ease of branding. The branding from the left has been constant, vitriolic and specific. Most of the allegations have been of a racial nature or being accused of corruption like the establishment Republicans. Nothing shuts down civil discourse between two ideologically opposed groups of people faster than a racial accusation or slur! The MSM has been very helpful in this cause. There are many places now where conservative thought and speech is considered offensive and unacceptable (read Silicon Valley, Hollywood and most major universities). One’s job can easily be lost if it becomes known that company politics and attitudes are not followed. It does seem as though freedom of speech is becoming more restricted.

I hate to sound like an old hippie, but I do not know how else to say this. My generation called for free speech, demonstrations, protests and sit-ins. We did get our say by utilizing those tools and by working around and through the system. I admit that there were rough spots, but the vast majority took Gandhi and Martin Luther King to heart. Flower power was not for running our cars! Peace was more than a slogan that sounded cool and no one ever thought that sitting down somewhere and refusing to move could fail to bring out administration for “a chat”. It usually worked. 

What the kids are doing now is self-defeating. It brings no one to the table. Nobody is inclined to listen to a violent mob, if anything one would be much less so. Suddenly, speaking out against the rioting and the violence brings accusations of racism, white supremacy and prejudice, etc. This is the left using language and political correctness to manage society and public opinion. It is not First Amendment. It is not even honest or truthful. It closes the discussion and the two sides hate each other because of name calling. We were better than this ten to fifteen years ago! We are regressing!!

I am making these points because more people complain to me every day about the loss of their First Amendment rights. What they are really complaining about is the control over politically correct language that the left exercises mercilessly. Part of that control is our fault because we give in and abide by their rules, we stop speaking out because we are afraid. 

If we want to remain free and if we want to stop the long slow progression towards allowing the left to write and pass these politically correct but Constitutionally offensive ideas into law…then we had better support our President, vote conservative in 2018, check voting records and become more aware. The establishment Republicans are every bit as guilty and bad as the Democrats. We need Representatives who want to do the right thing, work with our President to lower taxes, straighten out health care, kick out the lobbyists, strengthen the military and audit the pentagon not make themselves rich!

More Vacations than People Who REALLY Work!

Congress is off on vacation again! It would not be so objectionable if they had met a few of their obligations, kept even one of their most frequently repeated promises to their voters or done anything productive. All summer both parties have allegedly been working their smooth manicured fingers to the bone trying to fix our health care. Most of their time has been taken up posing in front of cameras either in hearings, press conferences or TV interviews focused on Russia, rumors and politics.

We the People who pay their rediculous salaries and overlook their outrageous perks, put up with their elitist attitude of superiority and are getting really tired of the serial lying, we work hard for our money. Our taxes are entirely too high, our health insurance is too expensive and the deductibles are unbelievably high as are the co-pays. These two items have been high on the promise list of every candidate running for a seat on Capitol Hill. Repeal Obamacare and lower taxes. Usually said in a raised voice with an upheld clenched fist and a fierce grin to overwhelming applause, whistles, hoots and other various crowdly indications of strong approval. We remember!

So why do we now have a fist full of excuses but no repeal of Obamacare? Oh, I have heard all of the stuttered “reasons” that merely sound like they wanted to work something out with the Democrats all along. We all have heard over and over how willing the Dems are to “come to the table and compromise”. The only problem is that it isn’t compromise at all when there is a condition…….we have to KEEP Obamacare. Mitch wants to give up on repeal now. Give up? Did George Washington give up? Did Benjamin Banneker give up? You never ever get to the goal if you give up!! 

And they went on vacation. They could not make any personal sacrifice of time to accomplish what they had been sent there to do. They went on vacation. It wasn’t to stay in touch with their constituents, they don’t care about their constituents. Those were the same constituents hooting and clapping in that crowd while they were making their famous heartfelt promises about REPEALING OBAMACARE AND LOWERING TAXES! Furthermore, we now have a whole range of improvements on the Pony Express, even snail mail works eventually. They should have stayed in Washington and at least Repealed Obamacare. Going on vacation was inexcusable!

We have a horrible bunch on Capitol Hill and we really need to do something about it! We need to research voting records and pay attention. We need to look for who is paying for the advertising and not believe what any candidate says about himself or any other candidate! We need to be careful who we elect because part of this problem is our fault, we became apathetic and complacent.

We got exactly who we elected – wimpy, lazy, greedy, lying, establishment crony capitalists, willing to sell the country out to make a buck or to stay in power.

Drying Up the Swamp II

It has always seemed a trifle wonky to me that Congress can decide on its own salary and perks. I don’t think it is any coincidence that Congress gets a very healthy salary, great perks and seriously wonderful benefits. Being somewhat insulated from the results of some of the social legislation that they pass, they tend to disregard some of the harsher consequences or they forget that ordinary Americans struggle to pay more taxes in whatever form.

I have said before that I believe we should all support the Article 5 Convention of States. I say this logically and because it is the remedy set forth in the Constitution for us, instead of marching out into the street pumping my arthritic fist while yelling, “POWER TO THE PEOPLE!” Neither the Senate or the House is going to reduce its access to the candy jar, shouldn’t we (as their employers) slap the lid on it??

The entire Federal Government has its own health care. However, if the House and the Senate are going to negotiate with lobbyists and then plan out our health care then I think they should be required to live under the plans and the laws that they pass. 

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