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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nothing New This Week...,

made some comments at The Agonist, Ian Welch's, and Don's blog. Now it is time to get some work done around The Ranch..., so here's an old Agonist diary submission on 9/20/09. It has a bit of relationship to one of my comments.

Living On Stimulus...,

to keep the party going. I remember those days. It was “speed” way back then. Cross-tops…, little white pills that kept your eyes open wide. It didn’t take long and we were crushing them to powder and snorting them to get the effect quicker and stronger. I balked when the needles came out. And never looked back. That isn’t to say that my eyes went shut. I could see a lot of old friends who thought they were going somewhere quickly…, I saw them going nowhere fast. After the initial rush was over and the magic was gone…, no amount of the drug could recreate it until your body had recuperated and purged the last dose. There was no way to keep the party going with more of the same. Over the years “speed” morphed to “crank” and “crank” morphed to “meth”. Which seems to be a different character altogether. I can’t speak from experience about those days…, I was busy going somewhere slowly.

It looks to me like our housing starts have received a meth injection, judging from the quarterly stats.

2009: 1st Quarter = 78,0002nd Quarter = 124,000

The “meth injection”…, or as it is called in the media “stimulus”…, came in the form of $8000 tax credits, low interest rates, and government (taxpayer) backed loans from Fannie, Freddie and FHA. My question is how long this rush will last?

We have already been through the “cross-top” faze with Greenspan keeping interest rates low for too damn long…, to keep the party going. We started crushing and snorting them with Adjustable Rate Mortgages…, to keep the party going. We turned to the needle with no money down payments and all the other liar loans…, to keep the party going. We moved to “crank” with the securitization and selling of those mortgages…, to keep the party going. We are in the “meth” and needle phase now in a effort…, to keep the party going.

At the height of the party in 2005’s second quarter (the historically high quarter for most all years) the number was 485,000. That quarter figure was above 400,000 every quarter since 2003..., until 2007 when it dropped to 333,000. In 2008 it dropped to 194,000. As you can see above, when the figured dropped to 78,000 in the first quarter of 2009, desperate measures were called for.

And we’re getting them. Like I already said…, I have no experience with “meth”…, so I don’t know if it this “meth injection” will work or not. But prior experience tells me that more of the same crap that got us here isn’t going to keep the party going. We have way to far to go for a quick rush to solve the problem. We aren’t going somewhere slowly…, we are going nowhere fast.

Scott R. September 20, 2009 - 1:22pm

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Great Read

Don over at linked to this one by Matt Taibbi. Thanks Don.

Taibbi writes about the Bail Out in terms of a great con-game. I urge you to read the whole thing..., here's a primer.

This may sound far-fetched, but the financial crisis of 2008 was very much caused by a perverse series of legal incentives that often made failed investments worth more than thriving ones.

The two key elements to the Dollar Store scam are the whiz-bang theatrical redecorating job and the fact that everyone is in on it except the mark. In this case, a pair of investment banks were dressed up to look like commercial banks overnight, and it was the taxpayer who walked in and lost his shirt, confused by the appearance of what looked like real Federal Reserve officials minding the store.

The scam's name comes from the Middle Ages, when some fool would be sold a bound and gagged pig that he would see being put into a bag; he'd miss the switch, then get home and find a tied-up cat in there instead. Hence the expression "Don't let the cat out of the bag."

They took so much money from the government, and then did so little with it, that the state was forced to start printing new cash to throw at them. Even the great Lustig in his wildest, horniest dreams could never have dreamed up this one.

In more ways than one can count, the economy in the bailout era turned into a "Big Mitt," the con man's name for a rigged poker game. Everybody was indeed looking at everyone else's cards, in many cases with state sanction. Only taxpayers and clients were left out of the loop.

One of the most common practices is a thing called front-running, which is really no different from the old "Wire" con, another scam popularized in The Sting. But instead of intercepting a telegraph wire in order to bet on racetrack results ahead of the crowd, what Wall Street does is make bets ahead of valuable information they obtain in the course of everyday business.

Not many con men are good enough or brazen enough to con the same victim twice in a row, but the few who try have a name for this excellent sport: reloading. The usual way to reload on a repeat victim (called an "addict" in grifter parlance) is to rope him into trying to get back the money he just lost. This is exactly what started to happen late last year.

More to the point, the fact that we haven't done much of anything to change the rules and behavior of Wall Street shows that we still don't get it. Instituting a bailout policy that stressed recapitalizing bad banks was like the addict coming back to the con man to get his lost money back. Ask yourself how well that ever works out. And then get ready for the reload.

Monday, February 15, 2010


that's about it for now. There is work to be done on "The Ranch"..., there always is. I am just glad that I have a job to go to during the week..., so I don't have to work all the time. :)

There are still some old Agonist submissions I want to "publish" here..., and I hope to get some new stuff rolling soon.

Days of Future Past...,

…, no…, this isn't a link to a Moody Blues video. I am still in the Dial-Up Dark Ages here on The Ranch. This isn't even a remembrance of any days I have ever known…, but if I was a pious man I would pray that I never will. We don't seem to learn much from our past…, or maybe we do. We have unemployment and welfare now to keep people from starving the way they did during The Great Depression. And we are dumping billions of dollars and tens of billions of dollars and hundreds of billions of dollars…, dumping them somewhere…, in an attempt to make sure we don't have another Great Depression. Or so they tell me.

I had never read Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" before. I have seen the movie…, and sure enough…, Henry Fonda is now starring in the book. It always happens if you see the movie first. But the movie left out a big part of the book. John Steinbeck didn't just tell a story of the Joad family's plight in "The Grapes of Wrath". Every other chapter dealt with something a bit removed from the Joad's personal story…, it dealt with the story of America at the time. Listen to this and tell me if Steinbeck is talking about Days of Future Past?

“And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed. The great owners ignored the three cries of history: The land fell into fewer hands, the number of the dispossessed increased, and every effort of the great owners was directed at repression. The money was spent for arms, for gas to protect the great holdings, and spies were sent to catch the murmuring of revolt so that it might be stamped out. The changing economy was ignored, plans for the change ignored; and only means to destroy revolt were considered, while the cause of revolt went on.”

Substitute "banksters" for "great owners". Too much money concentrated in too few hands. Same problem…, past and future. I guess my question is…, are we building up this massive debt burden for our children and grandchildren in order to keep people like the Joad's from starving…, or are we ensuring the survival and prosperity of the great owners' and their ilk?

Scott R. May 23, 2009 - 12:43pm

Days of Future Past -- Part II

Well…, the seed potatoes are planted in the garden at The Ranch now…, and I am glad the lead up to that story is now in the ”days past” category. I should…, and no doubt…, could have done it much earlier. Hard physical labor was a way of life in my past…, along with hard partying. Like Don, I did inhale…, but unlike Don…, I am ever so happy that in my early 40’s I traded in my day job as a chain saw jockey for one jockeying a computer for the State. The days of the future warrant some anxiety for that job…, given the state of the State budget. But that anxiety is tempered by the fact that I made that transition over ten years ago…, so I have a bit of seniority. That…, and the fact that I now have some potatoes in the ground for the future. I’ll probably be thanking Don for the inspiration that led to all the perspiration…, after I fully recovered from the physical discomfort. But…, reading Steinbeck gives me no comfort. And his image of potatoes being dumped in rivers during The Great Depression…, while people were starving…, being dumped because they couldn’t be sold for a profit is haunting my present days and nights.

“The little farmers watched debt creep up on them like the tide. They sprayed the trees and sold no crop, they pruned and grafted and could not pick the crop. And the men of knowledge have worked, have considered, and the fruit is rotting on the ground, and the decaying mash in the wine vats is poisoning the air. And taste the wine--no grape flavor at all, just sulphur and tannic acid and alcohol.
This little orchard will be a part of the great holding next year, for the debt will have choked the owner.
This vineyard will belong to the bank. Only the great owners can survive, for they own the canneries too. And four pears peeled and cut in half, cooked and canned, still cost fifteen cents. And the canned pears do not spoil. They will last for years.
The decay spreads over the State, and sweet smell is a great sorrow on the land. Men who can graft the trees and make the seed fertile and big can find no way to let the hungry people eat their produce. Men who have created new fruits in the world cannot create a system whereby their fruits may be eaten. And the failure hangs over the State like a great sorrow.
The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges at twenty cents a dozen if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. A million people hungry, needing the fruit--and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains.
And the smell of rot fills the country.
Burn coffee for fuel in the ships. Burn corn to keep warm, it makes a hot fire. Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people form fishing them out. Slaughter the pigs and bury them, and let the putrescence drip down into the earth. There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificates--died of malnutrition--because the food must rot, must be forced to rot.
The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quicklime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”

A couple weeks ago I asked here, “…are we building up this massive debt burden for our children and grandchildren in order to keep people like the Joad's from starving…, or are we ensuring the survival and prosperity of the ‘great owners' and their ilk?”

A rhetorical question if ever there was one…, in my mind at least.

Sure…, a lot of money is going to unemployment so people don’t starve. But one hell of a lot more is going to keep big business in business…, so they can produce the goods to sell to make a profit. By selling them to people on unemployment…,? How long can this Ponzi Scheme survive?

Today I ask…, are the measures being taken now to prevent another Great Depression doing more to fuel a future Great Depression than they are doing to fight another one?

Scott R. June 6, 2009 - 2:35pm

Days of Future Past -- Part III

In Parts I & II we looked back on days past, via Steinbeck and the Great Depression, and wondered if that is a vision of our economic future? Economic issues aren’t the only thing we should be concerned about in the future…, and those issues seem particularly relevant on Independence Day. Thomas Pynchon took a look back at the 60’s and 70’s and gave us his vision of what the Ronald Reagan Road of the 1980’s looked like, behind the media veil, in his book, “Vineland“. I wonder what Pynchon is saying today…, with a new cabinet level government law enforcement agency called Homeland Security…, and Border Patrol agents manning checkpoints, stopping all law abiding citizens and boarding buses? Are they really looking for “terrorists” and illegal aliens? Or are they just testing us…, again…, to see what magnitude of fascist oppression we will stand still for?

Mucho blinked sympathetically, a little sadly. “I guess it’s over. We’re on into a new world now, it’s the Nixon Years, then it’ll be the Reagan Years--”
“Ol, Raygun? No way he’ll ever make president.”
“Just please go careful, Zoyd. ‘Cause soon ther’re gonna be coming after everything, not just drugs, but beer, cigarettes, sugar, salt, fat, you name it, anything that could remotely please any of your senses, because they need to control all that. And they will.”
“Fat Police?”
“Perfume Police. Tube Police. Music Police. Good Healthy Shit Police. Best to renounce everything now, get a head start.”
“Well I still wish it was back then, when you were the Count. Remember how the acid was? Remember that windowpane, down in Laguna that time? God, I knew then, I knew….”
They had a look. “Uh-huh, me too. That you were never going to die. Ha! No wonder the State panicked. How are they supposed to control a population that knows it’ll never die? When that was always their last big chip, when they thought they had the power of life and death. But acid gave us the X-ray vision to see through that one, so of course they had to take it away from us.”
“Yeah, but they can’t take what happened, what we found out.”
“Easy. They just let us forget. Give us too much to process, fill up every minute, keep us distracted, it’s what the Tube is for, and though it kills me to say it, it’s what rock and roll is becoming--just another way to claim our attention, so that beautiful certainty we had starts to fade, and after a while they have us convinced all over again that we really are going to die. And they’ve got us all over again that we really are going to die. And they’ve got us again.” It was the way people used to talk.

We had a chance to turn that Nixonian fascist world in the making around when Jimmy Carter was elected. If he would have received the support from the people and the Congress that he deserved I believe he would have. But he faced an unprecedented economic crisis and no one was willing to make the sacrifices it required to confront and cure it. The man had a set of cajones…, and they weren’t in anyone else’s pocket. He said things like, “We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of this plan that affects them directly. They will say that sacrifice is fine, as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable, or unfair, or harmful to the country. If they succeed, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing.” But the “ordinary citizens” Jimmy Carter was trying to protect weren’t willing to make those sacrifices…, and the “special interest groups” who own the Congress wouldn’t stand for it. America chose the Reagan Road instead. Reagan tripled the national debt and saturated the courts with law and order control freak judges who legislated from the bench to the point where we are now subject to search and seizure for a routine traffic stop. Then George E. Bush convinced us that we were all going to die if the Patriot Act wasn’t passed and we didn’t invade Iraq…, and now Bill Clinton’s emails are getting legally screened. Bush sold us his War on Terror just like Reagan sold us his War on Drugs…, and used it for the same purposes.

When Barack Obama was elected to clean up the mess we were in I asked in, “The Election That Changed the World…,” if he would be a Carter or a Reagan type president? I think that answer is clear enough now. He won’t even reveal who he is meeting with at the White House. He hasn’t done a thing about the Patriot Act. If he continues on the economic path he has chosen, he will make Ronnie look like a penny pinching money miser. If Obama even has a set of cajones…, they are in the pockets of Wall Street and the Banksters.

It’s beginning to look to me like this passage from “Vineland” describes our current President…, as well as the Pynchon character, Brock Vond.

Well, what a life, you’d ordinarily say. But Brock coveted more. He’d caught a fatal glimpse of that level where everybody knew everybody else, where however political fortunes below might bloom and die, the same people, the Real Ones, remained year in and year out, keeping what was desirable flowing their way. Prosecutor Vond wanted a life there, only slowly coming to understand that for someone of his background there would be no route to this but self-abasement, fawning, gofering, scrambling for tips and offering other such hints of his eagerness to be brevetted on life’s battlefield to a rank higher than he would ever, by means of his enlistment, have deserved. Though his defects of character were many, none was quite as annoying as this naked itch to be a gentleman, kept inflamed by a stubborn denial of what everyone else knew--that no matter how much money he made, how many political offices or course credits from charm school might come his way, no one of those among whom he wished to belong would ever regard him as other than a thug whose services had been hired.

Yeah…, Obama is a wannabe…, a wannabe Real One. He isn’t the least bit interested in restoring the individual freedoms that this country was founded on…, freedoms that have been slowly taken away by Nixon-Reagan-Bush. He will continue to funnel money directly to the Real Ones…, and keep us ordinary citizens in check and in debt. But…, not to worry. If it all blows up and goes to hell…, Ronnie left Obama with REX 84 to fall back on. Even Ronnie wasn’t so sure that all that taxpayer money that he gave away to the Real Ones wouldn’t blow up in his face and end in disaster.

Scott R. July 4, 2009 - 12:43pm

The Election That Changed the World...,

after Obama won the election I submitted this piece to The Agonist.

The Election That Changed the World…,

no, no, no…, not the election of Barack Obama. Though I sincerely hope that I will someday write that about it.

Once upon a time we had a President who was truly elected by the people…, and he worked tirelessly for the people of America then…, and continues to work for the betterment of all mankind long after his term in office. He was elected mainly because he promised never to lie to the American people. And he never did. While in office he said things like,

“Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you about a problem unprecedented in our history. With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes. The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly.”

He told the truth…, always.

“Two days from now, I will present my energy proposals to the Congress. Its members will be my partners and they have already given me a great deal of valuable advice. Many of these proposals will be unpopular. Some will cause you to put up with inconveniences and to make sacrifices.”

He proceeded to lay out ten principals of the plan and seven measurable goals…, including solar energy in two and one half million homes.

“I can’t tell you that these measures will be easy, nor will they be popular. But I think most of you realize that a policy which does not ask for changes or sacrifices would not be an effective policy.”

He believed in the American people and their willingness to share common sacrifice to the betterment of all.

“I believe this can be a positive challenge. There is something especially American in the kinds of changes we have to make. We have been proud, through our history of being efficient people.”

He went on to say,

“I am sure each of you will find something you don't like about the specifics of our proposal. It will demand that we make sacrifices and changes in our lives. To some degree, the sacrifices will be painful -- but so is any meaningful sacrifice. It will lead to some higher costs, and to some greater inconveniences for everyone.”

He understood…, and stood up to…, the special interests in Washington.

“We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of this plan that affects them directly. They will say that sacrifice is fine, as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable, or unfair, or harmful to the country. If they succeed, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing.”
In closing this speech he reiterated his faith in the American people,

“Other generations of Americans have faced and mastered great challenges. I have faith that meeting this challenge will make our own lives even richer. If you will join me so that we can work together with patriotism and courage, we will again prove that our great nation can lead the world into an age of peace, independence and freedom.”

He continued to tell the truth though the next few years of his Presidency. But the American people soon found that they had no stomach for any form of sacrifice…, and they had much less faith in him than he had in them. The Baby Boom generation who had never wanted for anything…, only wanted more. And they got it…, when they elected Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter.

That was the election that truly changed the world.

If Jimmy Carter had been re-elected in 1980 this country and this world today would be a significantly better place…, in terms of energy independence, economic prosperity, and world peace. That election started us on the road to where we are in this current financial crisis. The Bail Out Bullshit that is occurring today pales in comparison to the Bail Out that Reagan instituted during his reign. He tripled the national debt to keep Americans from having to make any sacrifices (and enriched a lot of his friends along the way). He proved that real Americans were not the ones that Carter believed in. Real Americans didn’t care about deficits or any other long term problems. They only cared about “feel good now” policies. And every politician since then has learned that lesson well. It’s not that they want to lie…, they just learned that you can’t tell the truth or ask for sacrifices if you want to get elected.

Yes…, you can argue that Carter was ineffective as a President..., and you would be right. He couldn’t get support for his policies because no one was willing to give back anything. No one was willing to make the sacrifices he asked for. Not the special interests, the other politicians…, or the American people. Jimmy Carter brought us to the brink of peace in the Middle East. Reagan brought us the Star Wars initiative. Carter’s vision was real…, Reagan’s was illusion. Carter had us on the road to fiscal responsibility. Reagan squandered our fiscal future. And we have never recovered…, fiscally or morally.

No…, Jimmy Carter wasn’t the best President we ever had. But he was the best man we ever had as President. And if Barack Obama is half the man that Jimmy Carter is…, maybe I will someday be writing about another election that changed the world.

Scott R. November 8, 2008 - 6:12pm

While the Bail Out...,

was still being debated and the campaign was still in full swing, I submitted this piece to The Agonist.

Karl Rove is Alive and Well…,

Nobody else could have conceived a bait and switch of this magnitude. Georgie and his cadre propose a $700 billion Bail Out. It is a non-starter from the word go because of the Section 8 “no review or oversight”.clause The Democrats jump up and down…, change a few words…, spout some rhetoric about “protecting the taxpayer and homeowners”. The Republicans announce that a deal has been struck. John McCain flies into Washington with some reservations about the plan and the deal is off. Now the Democrats are jumping up and down saying we have to pass this bill to save American. The very bill they were so opposed to in the first place. They haven’t changed anything significant about the bill what so ever.

The bill that will do nothing to help the average working man or woman on the street will get passed by the Democrats…, and they own it. Sterling pointed out in much better form than I did exactly why it won’t work. Once the money flows into the system and the market stages a record breaking bounce…, the fat cats will cover their margins…, and quickly convert to cash. They will be ready to take advantage of the crash that will quickly follow.

I believe it will happen before the election and John McCain will be able to say, “I always had my reservations about this Bail Out…, but the Democrats forced it through.” The Republicans will get what they want and Democrats will get the blame.

My hat’s off to you Karl…, truly masterful.

Scott R. September 26, 2008 - 2:22pm

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Inspired By the "Success"...,

of having my first blog submission recognized as worthy of "elevation" to The Front Page of The Agonist, I submitted this piece about the state of the economy prior to the upcoming election in 2008. It didn't make The Front Page.

The Crash is Coming…,

with or without this Bail Out. The Bail Out is just that…, a Bail Out of the fat cat investors that run this country. It will accomplish one thing and one thing only. It will “buy” them time to reposition their portfolios and make money from this coming crash.

The US economy is run on housing starts. Housing starts ripple throughout the economy like a life blood. The effort to keep that life blood flowing is what brought us to this brink of disaster…, and this Bail Out will only build a temporary dam to keep that blood from spilling out into the streets…, I repeat…,temporarily.

Housing starts keep everyone from concrete workers, loggers, saw mills, lumberyards, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, heating and cooling contractors, window and door manufacturers, carpet layers and appliance makers and sellers employed. Not to mention the huge profits from the mortgages on those houses for the banks and investment firms. This Bail Out isn’t going to help any of the working men and women of this country. And those banks it does help…, they aren’t going to be making loans for any housing starts for a good long time.

There is a glut of houses on the market “clogging up the system” right now. The proposal to buy up all that “bad paper” isn’t going to make all those empty houses disappear so new ones can be built. Who is going to snap up those houses at bargain basement prices and hold them until better times arrive? Are those Bailed Out bankers going to sell them to former foreclosed owners who are in worse financial shape now than they were when they took out the original loan? A rhetorical question if ever there was one. A majority of these foreclosures are on second homes of rich retirees that have moved from California thinking that the bungalow valued at $500,000 in the Hollywood suburbs would sell and allow them to move to northern Idaho where they could build a $250,000 mansion on five acres of former farm ground…, then live off the profit and their investment portfolio that was growing an average of 20% in the stock market. They have driven up the property values in rural America to the point where lifetime locals can barely afford to live in there generations old family home.

We have a tough choice here. Say no to the Bail Out and suffer once…, or accept this Bail Out and suffer twice? Not that tough a choice if you ask me. I will gladly suffer now to watch the fat fry while all the fat cats go down in flames. And that is what will happen if we “just say no” to this Bail Out. Us little guys are going to suffer some…, but the fat cats who are leveraged to the limits are going to be badly burned. Which is what they deserve. If we bail them out now you can be damn sure that they will be allowed to de-leverage and be in a lot better shape to withstand this coming crash.

This Ship of State we are on is in rough seas now…, and headed for rougher. For those who are screaming, “Bail Out”…, I say, “Go ahead, bail out”. I am ready to cast them adrift in the lifeboats. But I will keep the $700 billion on board and ride this storm out. There is no room in the lifeboats for it and we are going to need it. We need it so Don can plant us some wheat, we need it for the unemployed, the uninsured, and the people who need a roof over their heads. Not for guys like John McCain so they can hold on to their seven houses and investment properties.

This Bail Out makes no economic sense. I have already heard little Georgie Bush and his cadre scream, “Mushroom clouds on the horizon!!!!!” I didn’t believe it then…, and sure as hell don’t believe it now. All of us Agonists will feel the pain…, but it will be much less and much shorter than predicted by Georgie. And we will emerge much stronger and sooner without this Bail Out. With it…, I fear for all our survivals.

Scott R. September 25, 2008 - 12:59pm

OK..., Now What?

The first piece I submitted to a blog was a diary entry to The Agonist. Much to my amazement..., it was "elevated" to The Front Page. It seems only fitting that it be reproduced here. It was written around the anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous speech.

I Had a Dream...,

Last week I dreamed that I was on a bus in Guatemala. I was rudely awakened from my nap when armed, military uniformed militia stopped the bus at a checkpoint along the highway. They boarded the bus, interrogated each of the passengers regarding their citizenship. One dark skinned young fellow didn’t answer to their satisfaction. As he struggled to explain in a language he seemed unfamiliar with, the interrogator stated, “You’ve already said enough.” The young man was yarded off the bus, arms cuffed behind his back with plastic strip ties, and led away out of site. Our bus was allowed on its way. I was feeling a bit relieved that I hadn’t been yarded off the bus because I was a bit disoriented and confused after being woke up and had stumbled and stammered trying to answer the interrogator. But I couldn’t help but wonder…, what happens to a young man yarded off a bus in Guatemala?

Only…, this was no dream. I didn’t wake up on a bus in Guatemala. I wasn’t in El Salvador, or China, or Iran or Iraq. I was a few miles north of Forks, Washington on a Clallam County Transit Bus. I was on my way home from work on the free and open road of U.S. Highway 101 when the event described above took place. Perpetrated by U.S. Boarder Patrol agents. After reading the Peninsula Daily News story on 8/27/08…, I have to wonder…, did I wake up in Guatemala? The story says, “Giuliano said officers will set up four to six more times…by mid-September.” And, “Giuliano said that checkpoints on the Peninsula will remain a regular occurrence,…”.

I am still seething with outrage that these Guatemala Checkpoints are being allowed to continue. I don’t want to live in Guatemala. I want to live in an America where I am free to drive down the highways and byways of this great nation without having to suffer the abridgement of my civil rights by being pulled over and interrogated at an illegal Guatemala Checkpoint by Border Patrol agents…, or any other military or law enforcement personnel…, unless there is a documented, clear and present danger. We don’t allow them to come into our homes without warrants and probable cause. Why are we allowing them to do it out in the free world? And if we allow this behavior to continue…, how long will we be safe and secure in our homes from such intrusions? How long before people like me who dare to stand up and speak out are yarded off the bus on “suspicion”? What constitutes suspicion? “Giuliano wouldn’t clarify how they determine suspicion,..” the article says.

Fellow Americans…, WAKE UP…, this isn’t a dream. It’s a nightmare come true. Write this paper…, write your congressman and senator…, write the Governor. Speak up, shout it from the rooftops. Tell everyone that you don’t live in Guatemala. Someday…, maybe…, we will be able to drive down the road without being stopped and interrogated at Guatemala Checkpoints.

I Have A Dream…,

AFTERTHOUGHT: How many illegal aliens came across the border while our agents were perpetrating this…, if not illegal…, at the very least…, immoral act? The illegal immigrants are here because the Border Patrol isn’t doing the job where they should be…, on the border.

Scott R. September 1, 2008 - 11:59pm

First Try

Well..., I guess once you have contributed and commented on other blogs..., the next step is to create your own. So this is it.