Stephen W. Browne Rants and Raves

July 29, 2015

Minnesota windmills

Filed under: Personal,Ruminations,Travel — Stephen W. Browne @ 10:57 am


I’ve been on the road for two weeks, starting from Oklahoma to Colorado, to Wyoming, to North Dakota, Minnesota and back to Oklahoma. I visited with friends each stop of the way, took some training and gave some training in martial arts. All in all a very productive trip.

I’ve always liked road trips and I like camping as well. Campgrounds are a cheap alternative to motels, and if setting up and breaking camp is a hassle KOA has cabins for about half the price of a decent motel. You have to bring your own bedding though. Big deal, it’s like a room with a bathroom down the hall except it’s across the lawn.

It’s like my old dad used to say, “The definition of a good traveling companion is one who doesn’t mind a bathroom down the hall.”

KOA cabins even have wifi, TV and air conditioning. However I found a campground outside Casper, Wyoming with cabins that had neither, but were only $25.

After a lifetime of moving around restlessly, I think I am beginning to master the art of travel.

When I was younger I was intoxicated by the idea of covering ground in a short time. Now I like to turn off the road and investigate whatever catches my fancy. The picture above was taken in Jasper, Minnesota a town of 633 residents located at the intersection of Minnesota State Highways 23 and 269.

There is evidently a windmill business in Jasper. These are the little decorative ones. What I missed about a mile and a half north of town was a 10-acre yard where Terry Rodman has a collection of larger working windmills.

Next time!

July 10, 2015

Hidden Agendas

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 6:22 am

Well same-sex marriage is now by judicial fiat the law of the land, and our president couldn’t be happier.

“Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle: that we are all created equal,” Obama said. “Sometimes there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”

Whatever your opinion on the issue is, there are two things I wish we were talking about.

One is that you can support the idea of same-sex marriage and still disapprove of the way it was achieved.

Proponents of utopian plans to set the world to rights have an attitude of, “Don’t care how it gets done, just so it gets done.”

The more cautious among us, those who study history, think that how something gets done in a republic is as important as what gets done. A constitutional system has to follow a consistent procedure or the system falls apart.

Yes it’s messy, expensive and time-consuming to go through the drill in 50 state legislatures.

That’s how it was designed. If you look at history you find examples of nations which fell into tyranny almost literally overnight. In the United States we’ve flirted with it from time to time without ever quite falling over the edge. At least not yet.

The other thing is Obama and Hillary Clinton were on record not all that long ago as firmly dedicated to the principle that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Now it’s no sin to change your mind. In fact I’d be bothered if a politician said he’d never changed his mind on a single issue no matter what.

But, it’s evident Obama did not change his mind. He’s been in favor of same-sex marriage all along and had just trimmed his sails until the political winds shifted.

We know that because his former adviser David Axelrod wrote in his memoir, “Believer: My Forty Years in Politics,” he’d advised Obama not to be honest about his real views for reasons of political expediency.

In other words, Obama had a hidden agenda all along. As did Hillary and a lot of others.

I could get loudly indignant about this. I don’t like people with hidden agendas. Not in my life and not in public life.

But I can think of three men with hidden agendas I can’t condemn.

After the Battle of Marathon, the Athenian politician Themistocles invented an imaginary threat from an island to the west of Greece to convince the Athenians to build a fleet. The fleet that destroyed the Persian fleet at Salamis and saved Greece for another generation.

Abraham Lincoln claimed for years he only wanted to restrict slavery to the states in which it already existed. Southerners didn’t believe him and seceded when he was elected. Lincoln’s early writing shows the South was right. He detested slavery and wanted to move against it when the time was right.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Again and again I tell you, your sons will not be sent to fight in any foreign wars.”

Again, history shows that to put it bluntly, he was lying through his teeth. He always intended to get the U.S. into the war. By doing so he saved Western Civilization for a few more generations at least.

There is a difference between a hidden agenda and putting an issue on the back burner.

Many conservatives such as the late William F. Buckley favored abolishing drug prohibition, but didn’t push the issue because it was divisive and the time was not right. By and large they didn’t lie about it (though I know personally of one exception) they just didn’t harp on it. Only now is the idea becoming respectable enough to bring up.

Themistocles and FDR saved their civilizations. Lincoln freed an entire people. But our civilization would not fall if we’d failed to legalize same-sex marriage.

It is an insult to free men to lie to them.

Yes, sometimes the people can be wrong and must be led by far-sighted leaders who cannot always be candid. Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures.

But how often? And for what ends?

Can we talk about that?

UPDATE: I got this in reply from the managing editor of a newspaper in Oklahoma:

“Rights afforded all Americans are a federal issue. Marriage as a right afforded to all Americans is a federal issue. Discrimination based on sex, race, age or sexual orientation is a federal issue. This is not a time to allow states to decide who they can legally discriminate against, requiring same sex couples travel from state to state under cover of darkness, harkening back to a time of underground railroads and lynchings.
You are barking up the wrong tree sending columns to us. We don’t run them, so please take us off your mailing list. We try very hard to be a non-finger pointing, non-partisan, all inclusive publication.”
Name redacted.

Does anyone else see the irony in that last sentence?

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