When reason, thoughtfulness and logic collide with emotion, fear and hysteria, predictably bedlam ensues.  Such are the circumstances that define the sides of conservatism in the first instance, and liberalism in the second.  Reason-based persuasion is a strange foreign language to the emotional mind.

Conservative thought follows a logical path based on the premise that suggests a method, a strategy, or a plan for accomplishing some stated goal or objective.  Liberalism begins with a feeling, a reaction, emotion, and only after starting with that does it consider the thought on whether or not it is even possible to accomplish the goal.  Conservatism discounts the emotional over the rational.  Liberalism insists upon emotional energy even when doing so isn’t logical.  Therefore, it follows that liberals and conservatives find themselves at loggerheads more often than not, simply because they are approaching solutions from such divergent starting points.  To a liberal, conservative thought seems cold, detached, even devoid of emotion.  Conservatives say that even if an idea or solution captures our emotions, it still needs to be possible, or at least practical in the real world of what can actually be.

A perfect example of this is embodied in the office of the President of the United States, via Donald Trump.  The levels of animus are amped up above the ozone when it comes to the conservative/liberal schism.

Donald Trump is wired in a way unlike any other politician in modern history.  While embracing generally conservative theory combined with pragmatism in the absence of political consequence or possible retribution, (because he has no political debts), he also has managed to erupt in emotional ways, hardly a hallmark of your typical Conservative.   This display of emotional outburst, whether it be in a speech or in a Tweet, completely befuddles liberals because they have come to believe that this level of feelings-driven reaction is their exclusive property.  To see a conservative, much less a hated, successful conservative use their own emotion-based tricks against them just pisses them off beyond measure.

Donald Trump has mastered the emotional component of persuasiveness in a way that still allows for conservative thought, preserves and enhances his appeal to the reactionary, edge-elements of his supporters, all while simultaneously enraging his opponents by forcing their reactions to surface for all to see.

It is said that you anger conservatives when you lie to them, while liberals become angry when you tell them the truth.  This Trump inspired era brings us to the intersection of what is possible versus the folly of utopian-based idealism.

Reason and thoughtfulness logically lead to conservatism because the process itself uncovers the realities of what is possible versus what we wish for.  This forces sober reflection about realistic and achievable goals.  Emotion and hysteria gloss over reality in order to envision a utopian idealism best left to the sleepy dreamer.  While these thoughts and the goals may well be noble of origin, reality cannot be ignored in the unrealistic hope that somehow, someway, nobility itself will magically redefine reality.

The path plotted by conservative thought is almost always harder than the way of the idyllic wanderer.  It is the path that insists upon existing in the world of what is as opposed to the world for which some wish.  Accordingly, it is the path most resisted, even when it is right because it is harder and demands more of us as reasoned, thinking people.




Until I read Senator Elizabeth Warren’s comment using this term, I had never heard of the phrase “slut shaming.”  According to Wikipedia, it means …”criticizing women and girls who are perceived to violate expectations of behavior and appearance regarding issues related to sexuality.”  Warren was commenting on a Tweet President Trump’s penned saying that fellow Senator Kirsten Gillibrand would…”do anything” in order to receive campaign support.  Extrapolating from that remark the wherewithal to accuse the President of slut shaming speaks more about the filthy mind of Warren than the intention of the President.

Gillibrand’s own record regarding the use of sexual allegations as a weapon is quite interesting.  In her inaugural political campaign in 2005 seeking office the following year as the US congressional representative from New York’s 20th district, Gillibrand accused her opponent, incumbent Congressman John Sweeney, of spousal abuse, by releasing a 2005 police report detailing a 911 call allegedly from Sweeney’s wife.  The Sweeney campaign stated that the report was false but the damage was done and the accusation was widely credited with tipping the elections outcome to favor Gillibrand in what was a traditional Republican stronghold.

When Gillibrand was appointed to fill Senator Hillary Clinton’s vacancy, created when Clinton was nominated to be the Secretary of State, she had no problem cozying up to the Clintons by taking their mentorship, money and endorsements, yet recently she stated that former President Bill Clinton should have resigned in the face of the sexual allegations he faced during his tenure.  If it weren’t for the Clinton’s, Gillibrand would not be a Senator yet even though she felt he should have resigned, she took whatever he had to offer in spite of her own “convictions.”  Apparently Trump is right.

Senator Gillibrand used the bully pulpit to shame fellow Senator Al Franken out of office.  She has also called on President Trump to step down, yet in her own book, she accuses unnamed fellow lawmakers of inappropriate sexual comments and rude behavior towards her, while refusing to name them.  Doesn’t Gillibrand risk the perpetuation of the actions of these unnamed lawmakers on other women?  Doesn’t Gillibrand turn a blind eye to the potential abuse of others because she steadfastly refuses to out these evil men within her own ranks?

The only plausible reason for her refusal might be the fact that perhaps these accusations are fiction.  Maybe Gillibrand fabricated these stories as a way to make her book more interesting while posing as a hard-charging, strong-willed, take-charge woman who won’t be stopped.  It certainly is conveniently self-serving to portray her colleagues as sexual aggressors as it helps to make her appear to be stronger than she actually is.  Why else would she tacitly condone their continued behaviors when doing so puts other women at risk?  How is she helping other women?  Maybe she can’t out them because it never happened.

kirsten-gillibrand-gty-jpo-171206By looking carefully at Gillibrand’s record, it appears Trump is right; she will do anything to keep her power.



As a part of the Prospect Mountain interchange project, the roadway on Chenango Street that goes underneath the Route 81/17 highway was renovated into a concrete tunnel.  Recently installed lights in this 150 foot-long structure include 89 separate LED light fixtures connected to 89 separate circuit boxes, 38 on either side of the roadway and 13 down the center of the roof.

After FOILing the NYS Dept of Transportation, I learned that the cost of the lighting portion of the project was $336,914.23.

Inexplicably, all 89 of the lights are on during the day.  Only four of the fixtures are operable at night.  The daytime illumination is so bright; you literally need sunglasses as you drive past.  At night, the four fixtures do a completely adequate job of illuminating the entire structure.

The State did with 89 light boxes what it should have done with just four, wasting over $300,000.00 in the process.

IMG_1835Over $300,000.00 of tax dollars squandered in this single project alone.  Lord only knows how many more examples of boondoggle, waste and over-spending exist in a project of this magnitude when those who do the work also oversee their own accountability.



The 28th Amendment

US Senators being forced from office provide the opportunity to examine the unintended consequences of the 17th amendment to the US Constitution.

The original Constitution called for the office of US Senator to be appointed from within the ranks of the sitting members of the respective statehouses.  The collective membership of these statehouses were tasked with choosing from their own membership, the two Senators that would represent their state.  The genius of this system was that the states had the authority to not only select their Senators, but theoretically, the power to recall them.

In 1913, the Constitution was changed by the 17th amendment, mandating popular election of US Senators.  The change meant that any otherwise eligible, state resident could run in a general, statewide election.

The 17th amendment is the only significant structural change ever made to the original version of our Constitution.  After witnessing over 100 years of federal governmental functionality courtesy of popularly elected US Senators, it seems self-evident that a 28th amendment needs to be passed to repeal the 17th.

The only other repealed US Constitutional amendment was in 1933 when the 21st amendment repealed the 18th. (the nation-wide prohibition of alcohol.)  It took voters only 13 years to see the folly regarding prohibition.  After 104 years of popularly elected US Senators, the wisdom of our founders originally designed notion of senatorial selection via statehouses should be a vision gaining increasing clarity.

Regardless of individual political bent, we all likely have our own personal opinions regarding Senators we might label as buffoons.  With the average senatorial election campaign costing some $10.5 million dollars, what was once a carefully considered mechanism tightly linking states interests and states control over the ever-present threat of a too powerful federal government, has turned into a pay-to-play popularity contest.

The recent resignation of Minnesota Senator Al Franken serves as perfect illustration supporting a 28th amendment.  Franken was a comedian and never held public office until his senatorial election.  Because Franken enjoyed celebrity via national television notoriety, he attracted the horsepower and the financial backing of a hyper-liberal political machine that vaulted him into national office as a complete political neophyte.  It is hard to imagine any statehouse deciding that the best and brightest they had to offer would mirror the Senate we have today.

Clearly, the federal leviathan needs to be weakened and the States need to take back the power that our founders originally intended they preserve.  James Madison made it clear in 1788: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”  Re-linking states interests to federal legislative undertakings insures the superior strength of states and checks what our founders feared most and what we have today: the unbridled growth of a too strong, too over-arching federal government.


Addicted to Entitlements

While helping addicts to overcome addiction may be noble, using other peoples money to do so is wrong.  It is a moral failing to expect productive taxpayers to underwrite the costs of treatment for those who made bad decisions and became dependent.  If the demand for such services is sufficiently high, private enterprise is the appropriate solution, not the public sector.  Government run anything is always over-priced and inefficient.  The same services in the private sector are always better, faster, more successful and cheaper.

Considering that Broome County taxpayers are already over-taxed, over-regulated and over-burdened by unnecessary layers of government, over-lapping bureaucracies, fees, fines and regulations, the creation of a new and expensive treatment facility is a bad idea.

Government at all levels, should focus on the core duties and responsibilities they were created to provide, not wander off into enterprises and undertakings that compete with private sector providers.  Roads, bridges, police and fire protection, the legal system of adjudication, courts, these are the things to which government is limited.  Over-reach beyond those services is clearly outside the scope of what our founders intended.

Government was envisioned to be severely limited, leaving citizens to pursue their own business, determine their own interests, while being mindful of unnecessarily interfering with the citizenry.  Ideally, governments should be as small and unobtrusive as possible, just large enough to accomplish its the basic services.

While we cannot afford the expense of this program, even if the costs were not an issue, the reality is that government should not be in this business.

Make not mistake, this is not an argument against the treatment of addicts or a dismissal of the anguish, suffering and heartache families endure.  The scourge of drug abuse is real and deserves attention.  The argument is about the morality of expecting productive, successful total strangers to pay for solving a problem they had no role in creating.

Those pushing this agenda have so far relied heavily on emotion and heartache to sell the idea.  When the loved ones and relatives of addicts attend public meetings holding up pictures of those souls lost to their addition, their tears, grief and sorrow are weaponized in order to sway opinion and convince others of the wisdom of this project.  Whenever the chosen primary tool of persuasion is emotionally based, it is at the expense of reason.  When it is likely that logic, reason and thoughtful discussion will prove to be a more powerful persuader to the contrary, the tears of emotion are employed to obscure the vision of the bigger picture.

The thoughtful and reasoned discussion is the question of the legitimacy of government involvement in projects best suited for the private sector.  The unjustified assertion of a moral authority that demands of hard working taxpayers their hard-earned dollars is unconscionable.  It is unreasonable and ironic to think that those who have managed to remain productive and successfully un-addicted are obligated to pay for expensive and often times unsuccessful treatments for those who are.