The Obama administration has averted a war.

The New York Times reporting:

The United States and Mexico have reached a tentative agreement on cross-border trade in tomatoes, narrowly averting a trade war that threatened to engulf a swath of American businesses.

The agreement, reached late Saturday, raises the minimum sales price for Mexican tomatoes in the United States, aims to strengthen compliance and enforcement, and increases the types of tomatoes governed by the bilateral pact to four from one.

‘The draft agreement raises reference prices substantially, in some cases more than double the current reference price for certain products, and accounts for changes that have occurred in the tomato market since the signing of the original agreement,’ Francisco J. Sánchez, the United States under secretary of commerce for international trade, said in a statement.

What is that “reference price” mentioned in the article?

In this case, it’s price fixing.

Mexican tomato growers can produce a better tomato, transport it into the U.S. market, and sell it to U.S. customers at a substantially cheaper price than American farmers can charge for an inferior tomato.

Not surprisingly,the administration that never lets a good crisis go to waste played politics with the issue.

Again from the New York Times (ibid):

The new agreement covers all fresh and chilled tomatoes, excluding those intended for use in processing like canning and dehydrating, and in juices, sauces and purées.

It raises the basic floor price for winter tomatoes to 31 cents a pound from 21.69 cents — higher than the price the Mexicans were proposing in October — and establishes even higher prices for specialty tomatoes and tomatoes grown in controlled environments. The Mexicans have invested billions in greenhouses to grow tomatoes, while Florida tomatoes are largely picked green and treated with a gas to change their color.

The Mexican and United States governments will both carry out mechanisms to increase enforcement of the new agreement.

The dispute unfolded in the heated politics surrounding the presidential election, with Mexican growers charging that the Commerce Department was courting voters in the important swing state of Florida. Instead, the timing of the negotiations ensured that the government could win those votes and bring the controversy to a conclusion satisfactory to the Mexicans after the election was over.

Price fixing AND vote buying.

Florida growers accused Mexico of dumping product in the U.S. at a price below their production cost, but they failed to prove their allegations. One must wonder about a business plan that includes selling your product at below production costs year after year, since logic tells you that such a practice would drive you to bankruptcy. One must also wonder why Florida growers didn’t simply accommodate their Mexican counterparts by buying all their produce, thus availing themselves of a superior product at a significantly lower cost than the product they themselves can produce, then selling THAT into the market at a higher price than their own domestic crop.

Why it is so difficult for American farmers to compete with farmers faced with the additional cost of transporting their goods thousands of miles into their markets?

This report may give an insight into the challenges faced by American farmers today:

A case study from a blueberry farming operation in Maine shows that providing health insurance benefits under Obamacare would result in a staggering annual increase of more than $184,000. (Download PDF of full case study here.)

Due to the crushing mandates of Obamacare, this farm would face a whopping 203% increase of in the cost of providing health insurance benefits.

The blueberry farm now pays $90,540 a year to provide health insurance for its full-time employees. Under Obamacare, the farm could pay as much as $274,762 to cover both full-time and seasonal part-time employees—an annual increase of $184,222.

The same case study goes on to illustrate the inherent flaw in Obamacare:

However, if the blueberry farm chose to drop health coverage all together, Obamacare would impose a penalty of $76,250 on the business. That’s a 16 percent drop in what the blueberry farm now pays for health insurance.

Since the penalty would be significantly lower than the cost of providing health insurance under Obamacare, the blueberry farm would most likely choose not to offer health insurance at all.

Also, this case study does not account for the administrative costs the farm would incur to manage Obamacare’s eligibility rules, which in the case of seasonal workers would be significant.

‘This case study of a real business in Maine demonstrates how Obamacare will force higher health insurance costs on employers, which will result in fewer jobs for Maine people,’ said Joel Allumbaugh, author of the case study and director of the Center for Health Reform Initiatives at The Maine Heritage Policy Center. ‘It is shameful that politicians in Washington, D.C. did not investigate the devastating effects Obamacare would have on businesses before enacting it.’

It isn’t difficult to figure out that what ills befall blueberry farmers, fall equally on tomato growers.

To be fair, the tomato war drums have been sounding long before Obamacare was implemented, but that only illustrates that the costs of complying with Federal regulations were already killing American farmers. Obamacare is just the coup de grace to the industry.

Nutshell:

Mexican tomato growers can produce, pick, pack, and transport a better quality tomato at prices far below what their American counterparts can produce locally.

American tomato growers, faced with the costs of overwhelming Federal and State regulations and Obamacare, are getting their asses kicked in their own home turf.

The Obama administration parlayed this situation into an unclean quid pro quo between Florida growers and the Obama campaign prior to the election. The possibility of another similarly unclean quid pro quo deal may have been struck with Mexican growers looking to maintain that “reference price” low enough that it wouldn’t completely destroy their profits post election.

Who loses in this situation?

Americans whose access to better tomatoes at a cheaper price has been blocked as a result of the Obama administration’s implementation of what is effectively price fixing.

Is this a hidden tax?

Arguably it is, since the price fixing has been put in place to help growers cope with the cost of Federal regulations.

Blueberries and tomatoes are only two of the many food items impacted negatively

The implementation of Obamacare is just one Federal policy impacting the cost of our food. Everything you put on your table is being impacted. Everything you put on your table has (or will) increase in cost.

Thanks to Obama administration policies, inferior quality, gassed tomatoes are as expensive to U.S. consumers as superior quality vine-ripened ones. Then again, this seems to be par for the course for an administration whose landmark legislative achievement to date, Obamacare, is projected to give us all lower quality health care at a higher price.

The Great Mexican-American Tomato War of 2013 has been averted.

We lost.

Mexican_Tomato_by_Esqueleto

For Andrew

I have writer’s block.

It’s not that I can’t find stuff to write about, but rather that everything that I write ends up in the recycle bin when I proof it. It ends up there not because it lacks substance or the delivery is less than what I set up as a standard for myself, but because I read it and realize that it is a meaningless exercise.

My blog is the space where I go to organize my thoughts, where I put down ideas (some complex, many rather simple) in as an intelligent a fashion as I can.

Idea … supporting argument/facts … conclusion.

Simple enough.

Right?

That format isn’t working any more.

Sure enough, I can dutifully follow it and an entry appears, but then I proof it, and “delete” just follows naturally.
I delete it at that point in the proof reading process where having stopped trying to identify all my spelling and grammatical errors, I read my work and ask myself “does it matter that you wrote this?”

The response these last few weeks has come back “not in the slightest,” ten times out of ten.

I’ve lost my mojo.

Here’s the next thing that has me out of sorts: I don’t read anything that remotely resembles news or political commentary. I don’t watch TV news any longer, and my satellite radio has been pretty solidly stuck on “The Pulse” with occasional excursions into “Little Steven’s Underground Garage”, “Siriously Sinatra”, “BB King’s Bluesville”, and when the day calls for it, “Lithium”.

I just want to shut everything out.

I am so absolutely disgusted with the current state of affairs in this nation, and in the world at large, that I want to stay as far away from both as I possibly can, and when they simply refuse to stay away, I have SiriusXM, one Hell of an audio system in my car, and “Lithium.”

Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello!

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us!

That song’s opening line is the best…

Load up on guns and bring your friends
It’s fun to lose and to pretend…

I don’t want to fucking pretend.

THAT is probably the root of my writer’s block…I no longer want to fucking pretend that intelligent debate, logical arguments and opinions grounded on facts and history have any meaning at all.

They don’t, or at least not to people who lack both intelligence and the ability to grasp logic, and who couldn’t give less of a shit about facts and history.

Those people don’t read my blog because reading it probably gives them a headache.

Now, I know that there are a few people out there who do read my blog and Babalú, and I must apologize to you. I appreciate your support and your loyalty, but you need to understand what I’ve come to understand.

We are a small echo chamber of logic and substance trapped inside an insane massive bell tower cacophony of fucking stupid, and the stupid is growing by the day.

Listen, I know what’s supposed to be going on right now: Bloggers and the alternative media are supposed to be leading the fight against stupid, we are supposed to take up the forgotten standard of unbiased journalism, wipe the shit off the canton of intelligent reporting, and lead America back to a place where sanity reigns and “good night and good luck” meant that you had just been enlightened about the world around you, not indoctrinated.

But I don’t think that’s going to happen. It may happen some day in the future, but not right now.

Not the way things stand.

Today we live in a nation divided. A three way split of the entitled, the disinterested and the chattel that pay for it all

We live in a nation where condoms to be used for premarital sex are an entitlement, and should you forget to use them, abortion on demand is a right, but the exercise of our unalienable rights protected by the Second Amendment are subject to the approval of people far too stupid to understand that you cannot possibly be safer by giving up the most effective way to defend yourself from someone who doesn’t give a shit about laws to begin with.

For the record, I would be willing to personally pay for a college to menopause supply of condoms for Sandra Fluke, if that was a guarantee that doing so would mean that she wouldn’t bear children and add to the legions of stupid that we are being overrun by.

We live in a nation where a growing segment of the population wants to label health care and a college education as “rights” to be made available to all for free. Not being able to think sufficiently clear to figure out that the most basic definition of slavery, is one person claiming a right to the fruit of another person’s labor, they demand as a right the fruit of the labor of those who must bear the cost of that which they wish to receive for free.

We are a nation divided, shouting at each other from behind our respective barricades, not hearing a thing the other one is saying, and to be fair, not giving any more of a shit about their opinions than they do about ours.

The time for dialogue is over. It’s time for something else.

I remember the day, many years ago, when I had the first of my many political epiphanies. The day when I ran across something so elemental, so damned politically organic and centered that it moved me off the shifting ideological hill where I stood with uncertain footing, and transported me to this mountain of hard-as-granite, indisputable political logic where I still stand today.

“You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream-the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, ‘The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits’.”

Shuttered windows clouding my vision flew open, preconceived notions lay shattered and scattered across the landscape of my juvenile perception of the role of government in the lives of citizens, and understanding assaulted my eyes with the brightness of a midday sun.

It was my time for choosing, and choose I did.

“They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right. Winston Churchill said that ‘the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits-not animals”. And he said, ‘There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.'”

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

That was then, but this is now. We’ve taken more than just the first step into the darkness, and I don’t want to pretend that there is choosing left to be done by anyone

The time for choosing is done.

Look around you, everything is politicized.

I don’t listen to music I used to love to listen to because the musicians I used to follow are mostly leftist assholes.

I don’t watch movies because so are most actors and directors.

I don’t speak to a significant number of people who I used to be “friendly” with, because they are fucking blind leftists who look at me with their fucking condescension-filled eyes, as if I were some sort of fucking monkey boy just rescued from the deep jungles of Borneo that needs to be taught how to act around civilized people, when we discuss politics.

The time for choosing is done… it’s time for something else now.

I have absolutely nothing in common with the morons who seem to think that they are in charge in this nation at this time, so I choose whatever side it is that they are not on.

H. L. Mencken once said that “every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.

I don’t know about the throat slitting part of that, but I am all about hoisting the black flag. I am all about spitting on my hands and getting to it with these fucking morons.

The time for intelligent debate is no more, and I don’t give any more of a shit about what they think, than they do about what I think.

We’ve chosen, sides. There are very, very few undecided, and they have labeled themselves insignificant via their indecisiveness.

It’s time to get to it. Time to hoist the black flag, fling the grappling hooks and board their ship.

The time for choosing is done.

The time for “fuck you” has begun.

tattered CJ.1

Andrew Breitbart
February 1, 1969 – March 1, 2012

Fuck you.

OK…it’s been almost a month.

It’s time.

This is my post-election rant.

People who do not know me well will undoubtedly point out that it has in fact been a month since election night, and suggest that I should…well, let it go.

People who do know me, know that I don’t “let things go” easily. Hell, I’m still pissed off at Jackie Smith for God’s sake.

jackiesmith_165777c[1]

Pro Football Hall of Fame my ass.

Loser…

A REAL Hall of Fame receiver would have caught that damned pass.

But I digress.

I’ve read nearly every article written (by people worth reading) on the election.

I read the rants and I read the inside stuff, and I read the apocalyptic posts.

I read everything, but I couldn’t write anything. Or rather, every time I began to put my thoughts on the election down, the outcome looked something like this:

“You crazy $*&^%%$#, dumb ##)&^% jackasses! You just #*&^%#$# the whole a#@*^%#@# thing. What the #&^$=(&^ where you $##%** thinking?

Oh…EXCUSE ME!

Did I just #%#* insult you by $#(#%$ suggesting you @#*#&^%^ actually gave this whole #*&^%$# election thing some #*%#$% thought?”

Given the intellectual level that I normally maintain in this blog, those posts where never published.

I am a far bigger person than that.

I like to make sense out of things, to talk things out like civilized people, and look for common ground where none may be readily apparent.

So I decided to talk to some people who do not share my political ideology.

Holy cow, we are in trouble.

It’s not that the people I spoke to lacked a brain, it’s just that shared among so may, one brain falls way short of being efficient at anything, let alone critical thinking.

Take for example my co-worker. I’ll call him Jerry primarily because that’s his real name. Screw anonymity, and Jerry, if you’re reading this get over it…just like you want me to get over the whole “election thing”.

I asked Jerry why he voted for Obama.

(I know…some people claim that I have a rather strong affinity for masochism.)

Jerry’s response was typical, and he spouted every single talking point promoted by MSNBC, falling short of suggesting that it was his own grandmother on the wheelchair being pushed over the cliff by Satan incarnate himself, Paul Ryan. The only reason he didn’t do that was because I know his grandmother, and she’s not on a wheelchair.

She’s in one or another of the Boca West Country Club’s restaurants three nights a week.

I drilled down on his talking points, and began systematically knocking them down one by one.

Jerry’s eyes were glazing over.

“You know,” he said. “I’m just not into politics like you. I’m a Democrat, so I voted for the Democrat.”

OK…now we were getting somewhere.

“My grandfather was a Democrat, and so was my grandmother, and both my parents, so I’m a Democrat, and I vote Democrat.”

“I get that Jerry, I do.” I replied. “But you didn’t vote for a Democrat, you voted for a Communist. Can’t you see that?”

Jerry was actually offended.

“That’s Republican nonsense,” he was getting upset now. “The man is no Communist, and you have no reason to attack him like that. You Republicans are all the same.”

“Jerry, his grandparents were Communists, his parents were Communists, every person that’s had any measure of influence in his life is or was a Communist, INCLUDING his minister, so just like you naturally became a Democrat, he naturally became a Communist…get it?”

Jerry and I don’t talk much any more. We sort of wave as our cars pass each other in the parking lot on those days when I go to the office, his “Obama 2012″ bumper sticker still on display.

That was a worthless encounter if there was ever one such thing.

As an afterthought, and just in case any business owner faced with staff reduction decisions due to the impending cost increases associated with the implementation Obamacare is actually reading this, I suggest that the lay offs should begin in the parking lot.

Obama 2012 on the bumper, pink slip on the windshield.

Sadly, the conversation with Jerry was not atypical.

For some it was a racial identity thing, for others it was because they hated Bush. Some actually tried to engage me in how that whole “evil top 1%” (Jerry’s grandmother came to mind there) should be brought to their knees, and yet every time that I agreed with them, and suggested that they should begin with the guy who owns the company we work for, they all looked at me like I was crazy.

Some people (obviously living in that alternate universe where Bizarro lives) thought things were getting better.

Most of them however, kept coming one to the one unifying theme…everyone wanted something for nothing.

People love Obama because they can get shit for free.

Sigh…

How in the world did we manage to go from “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” to Sandra Fluke in just two and a half decades for God’s sake?

What in the HELL is wrong with us?

For the record, purchased in bulk, that $3,000 Ms. Fluke complained about spending in contraceptives during her years at Georgetown Law, translates into 15,000 lubricated condoms.

How do they find time to study?

Do they duct tape the textbooks to the dorms ceilings in Georgetown?

Sad…

What is wrong?

I’ve kept asking myself that question over and over and over again these past few weeks.

How could the people of this country choose Communism freely?

And they did…they don’t know it, but they did.

Check this out:

“Bye, bye Miss American Pie. The Communists have won in America—America continues to repeat the Soviet mistake.

Recently, Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term by an illiterate society and he is ready to continue his lies of less taxes while he raises them.”

That’s not FOX News, or World Net Daily, or even Lew Rockwell, calling us an “illiterate society” and Obama a liar.

That’s Pravda.

bizarro-superman-upside-down-american-flag

How did we get here for God’s sake?

This country brought the world out of darkness, driving human growth faster and farther than any other civilization before.

We cooked with fire and rode horseback in 1776, and less than 200 years later we walked on the Moon.

Eons of servitude to the elements and fear of common diseases, and four hundred thousand years from that first spark of fire in a cave to “We the People.”

One hundred and ninety-three years from Philadelphia to the Sea of Tranquility.

We built this, and now we are about to systematically destroy it, all in the name of getting shit for free.

The American Dream, once defined as an opportunity, is now an entitlement, and government of the people, by the people, for the people dies a slow death at the hands of the new ruling classes.

Patricians and Princes residing in DC.

Back in 1951, C.M. Kornbluth wrote what in retrospect could be the scariest SciFi story of all time. Included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two, “The Marching Morons” may hold a clue to both our future, and the path we took to get to where we are today.

In this story, a man wakes up after an unintended long-term period of suspended animation brought about by a freak accident.

The world he wakes up to is quite bizarre.

It it all starts to make sense when he finds out that the average IQ of the general population is about 45, and that one of the side effects of the lower IQ is a propensity for humans to give free rein to physical drives, with procreation being the strongest of all natural urges. As a result of that the human population stands at 5,003,000,000 people, made up of three million “elite” (people with average IQ of 100) and 5,000,000,000 morons. The elite, understanding that the population growth cannot be sustained, breed at a far slower rate than the morons, but because of that they have become veritable slaves, working feverishly trying to keep the morons from destroying the human race.

Asides from everything that they must do to keep things running, they must also spend every spare minute seeking a solution to what they call the Poprob”.

Their problem is simple:

  • The morons must be managed or they will literally cause billions of deaths, and the eventual destruction of the human race.
  • Sterilizing all the morons is impossible since there aren’t enough “elites” to accomplish that task.
  • Propaganda encouraging responsible sexual behavior and small families doesn’t work because the morons can’t fight the higher biological drive that calls for them to procreate.

Sound familiar?

Amazingly enough, the resurrected man quickly finds a simple, yet somewhat harsh solution to the problem.

He offers the morons free trips to Venus, which is described as a tropical paradise with blanket trees, ham bushes, and soap roots. In a world-wide frenzy, every nation rushes to get as many of their people to Venus as soon as possible so that they can stake their claim to the free land.

Being built and piloted by morons, the spaceships all blow up en route.

Now, I’ll leave it to you, kind reader to draw the similarities here. Go ahead and inject any time-worn adage pertaining to the odd similarities between science and fiction that you may wish to inject into this, my post-election rant.

They all work.

world_IQ_over_time

Sadly, the way things are going, I see 40 Venusian acres and a M.U.L.E. in humanity’s future.

All because those crazy $*&^%%$# dumb ##)&^% jackasses are #*&^%#$# the whole a#@*^%#@# thing. What the #&^$=(&^ are they $##%** thinking?

Oh…EXCUSE ME JERRY!

Did I just #%#* insult you? Was I #&^#^%# out of line by $#(#%$ suggesting you @#*#&^%^ actually gave this whole #*&^%$# election thing some #*%#$% thought?

Yeah well, eat $&^$ and #^%#$&^% die, you *E%^#$# marching moron!

I almost made it, didn’t I?

Maybe they are right, maybe I need to figure out a way to start being better at “getting over” things.

I think I’ll work on that now.

P.S. Why the French title?

If we’re gonna BE Europe, we may as well start speaking the lingo.

P.S.S. @*U^%## you Jackie Smith!

Loser…

OK..I’m done.

Back to getting over stuff.

Dedicated to Leonard Read

I am a Twinkie. The classic variety of Twinkie familiar to generations of Americans with an affinity for an occasional sweet indulgence.

I’m just that, a snack and not a meal, and I have never pretended otherwise; it is what I am, and I am satisfied with that.

I am writing my genealogy so that generations yet unborn may remember me. While my story lacks historical relevance, it does not lack for history or relevance. I am relevant in spite of the fact that for many years now I have been maligned and even ridiculed simply for fulfilling my purpose: satisfying an individual’s yearning for an occasional sweet indulgence.

At the surface, I appear rather dull and boring. I am not adorned by filigrees of syrups or encrusted in exotic nuts, my shape is rather uninteresting and unimaginative, and my flavor is a synonym for lacking flavor, yet I have been called upon to discharge duties worthy of pastries fit for Kings and Cardinals alike. I have provided comfort in those times when comfort can be derived from consumption; I have kept the secrets of some who wished to consume me without judgment. I have been both faithful friend and quiet co-conspirator.

I may appear simple to the eye lacking insight, and many claim to be able to imitate me, but if there is one thing that I can say with conviction it is that no one person can ever by themselves replicate me.

Perhaps you are surprised and my temerity. I am after all, just merely a Twinkie. But maybe you should not fall so fast victim to your innate sense of superiority; I am far more complex that you can possibly imagine. I don’t know that I can fully list the seemingly endless number of hands that helped shape the rather dull, uninspiring protagonist in this story, but perhaps if I mention enough of them you will see intricacy where now you just see a golden sponge cake with creamy filling.

My story begins many places, as I am born in many places.

Fields in Kansas covered in golden wheat are my birthplace, and I have roots in the ocean of corn covering so much of Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota and Nebraska; any place where corn and wheat grow is my birthplace.

I am also born under a tropical sun in the sugar fields of Florida, and in the soybean fields of the Buckeye State. Any place where eggs are hatched are also a birthplace to me.

Imagine the countless thousands of anonymous hands that plant me, care for me, harvest me, produce me, mill me, pack me, trade me, transport me, receive me, and warehouse me, all long before the first mixer comes to life and the first oven begins to warm.

There are stabilizers and artificial flavors that are a part of me, all bearing the touch of thousands of nameless others who take part into my becoming that unassuming pastry you’ve known for the greater part of a century. Many other thousands labor to raise, pick and transport the crops used as the raw goods from whence my packaging originates, and an equal number turn those crops into my cellophane wrapper and my waxed cardboard bedding. Imagine the multitudes of they who take part in my simply producing the raw ingredients from where I arise, all assembled under one roof, along with the thousands of other who provide machinery, services, and support for all those directly involved in the process thus far, all dependent on me to one degree or another for a living wage. The sight of them all assembled together would be breathtaking indeed.

And finally here I am, ready for the mixers and the ovens, ready for the packaging and transportation, ready to become that which I am meant to be, and to fulfill my preordained purpose, those few minutes of pleasure that I came into being to provide. Here again thousands more working to achieve those goals.

This is the partial accounting of the masses that have a hand in my coming into being. Partial in the fact that it leaves out the men and women who mine for the ore that feeds the foundries that form the iron and steel used to build the trucks and the ovens and the mixers. The thousands more who toil the forest where the rubber trees begin the process of becoming the tires on those trucks, or the oil fields in places near and far from where Mother Earth’s black and rich blood flows, to be transported into the refineries that turn blood into power.

It’s all far too complex to be stated here, certainly by someone as insignificant as your humble servant. It is enough that I have tried, enough that I have acknowledged the hands that formed me.

I have been produced with precise efficacy for many decades now, blended in mixers manned by nameless thousands, baked in ovens watched over by thousands more. Few – if any – left who can recall my inception, yet millions are aware of my demise.

I have provided honest labor for truckers and even a bit of sweetness as they rolled over the black ribbon highways that cut across our vast landscape. I have been shelved by stock boys in neighborhood groceries, and sold in school concession stands in towns big and small.

For a time, I was financier to Howdy, Bob and Clarabell and friend to the members of the Peanut Gallery. I was far less than insignificant to all whose livelihood depended on those broadcasts. I was Americana then.

I have been many things to many people. And insignificant as I have been, I have been instrumental in bettering the lives of so many along the way, that if properly accounted, the numbers would appear to be overstated. Yet, as you can see, I have been just that.

And now the last of me have been produced. The ovens are cold and the mixers are still, and I, along with my brethren exit the stage.

Some may say that my absence leaves no void, but I beg to disagree.

For the growers of the wheat, corn, soy and sugarcane there will be less to supply, and less to provide them with a living. There I leave a void.

There will be less for the makers of the stabilizers and the flavorings, less for the truckers to transport, the stockmen to shelve, and the machinists to build and maintain. Their ability to earn a living likewise impacted. I leave a void there as well.

There will be less for the support personnel to manage, less for the stock boy to resupply, and less for the school fundraisers to sell.

There is less to be had by all the others recessing back into the unfocused complexity of the free market system traveled by all my individual parts with such precise efficiency that it made the process seemingly effortless.

It bears mentioning that brinkmanship and belligerence in the part of what amounts to a relatively small percentage of all who took part and derived wages from my coming into being, ended my existence by interfering with that free market flow. They took work and wage from that intricate and far-ranging net of growers, producers, transporters and distributors of my raw ingredients, and the industries which provide them with the equipment and ancillary services, without ever offering them seat or voice at the negotiating table.

The greed of the few superseded the needs of the many, and in the end, that greed turned on its own source when demanding more than what they received by producing nothing until they got it, netted them the unexpected.

Many lost some, the belligerent few lost all, and all lost me.

There is a larger lesson to be learned here about the negative impact of artificial interference with the delicate balance of a free market economic chain, but I am not the one to teach it. I am after all just a Twinkie, and Twinkies are fluff and sweet cream and indulged cravings. I was just that, and I never pretended otherwise, and I was satisfied being just that. I’ll leave the lesson to be taught by those possessed with more substance.

And I, Twinkie, will choose to bid you a fond and forlorn good bye instead.

Dear friends,

As a matter of long-standing tradition, we leave politics out of our dinner conversations, and understanding the gap between our political positions, this has generally been a good policy.

I am, as the majority of my fellow Americans of Cuban descent or origin tend to be, a staunch Republican, and you are, as the overwhelming majority of American Jews tend to be, staunch Democrats, so this understanding and mutual respect for our rights to each hold our independent opinions has allowed for good conversations over good food, centered around updates on our children’s activities, news about family and mutual friends, and all those other topics that make good times spent with good friends, something to look forward to and cherish for years, and the unspoken decision to avoid those things that would divide us a good thing.

I am sorry, but I am going to have to broach our forbidden subject; I need to speak to you about the upcoming election.

Before you stop reading this, please take a second to reconsider. We have known one another for quite some time, and you know me for who and what I am…not a fanatical, obsessive demagogue, a political extremist, or even a one-issue ideologue. I am your friend before this conversation, just as I will remain your friend in its aftermath, a friend who holds some political positions considered too liberal to conservatives, and others that are, in the opinion of liberals, far too conservative in nature.

I am a guy with opinions, just like you. The fact that we can both hold our opinions, support the political Party and candidates of our choice, and still be able to share meals as friends is a testament to this country’s greatness.

The fact that you, a Democrat, and I, a Republican, have shared meals, laughter and even a tear or two along the way paints a picture that’s more real than the divided, partisan America that we see in the news so often these days.

America is great because her people are great.

This year however, things are happening that should raise an alarm in both our minds. Things of such disturbing connotations that should bring us together over a cup of coffee, and a taboo.

This year we need to discuss politics, you and I, face to face, and here is why:

“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” – Barack Obama, addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations, September 25, 2012

That is a disturbing statement for an American President to make, because it is either naive and ignorant, or calculated and dangerous. The problem is that even if it’s only a naive and ignorant statement made by a well-meaning politician, that statement puts people like you, my Jewish friends and family, in mortal danger, and by extent, it puts me and mine in equal danger.

How can this President, a man who received a staggering 78% of the Jewish vote in the 2008 election, not understand that your very existence, and the existence of the State of Israel, slander the “prophet of Islam”?

Or in understanding that, how can he then publicly announce that people like you and I, Jews and Christians whose adherence to a religion other than Islam constitutes a de facto slander of Islam and its prophet, must not have title to a future?

Perhaps the callous contempt toward Israel exhibited by this President doesn’t bother you; as Americans, we should all expect, no…demand that our elected public officials act with America first and foremost in their minds. But while we all would be correct in thinking that Israel needs America, it is not untrue that through military intelligence, it is Israel that often protects America, so as Americans, we must wonder why our President would chose to stand with people who would see us destroyed, over those with whom we share such long-standing ties with.

As Ruth R. Wisse, the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University recently wrote for The Wall Street Journal:

“No citizens would seem to need a strong America more than the Jews, who are once again targeted by aggressors seeking to destroy what they cannot attain. Iran develops the bomb and threatens to annihilate the Jewish state. Fundamentalist-controlled Egypt threatens to abrogate the treaty that cost Israel the Sinai Peninsula. Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza vie over which is Israel’s more effective enemy, with the latter firing more than 400 rockets into southern Israel so far this year.”

As Americans, we all need to be concerned by the growing threat of a nuclear fundamentalist Islamist State like Iran, and as Americans we all need to realize that the security of the State of Israel is vital to the security of the people of the United States.

So, I am asking you, as a concerned friend, to think just a bit before casting your vote in this election. I am asking you, as another human being whose existence slanders Islam and its prophet by the mere act of not accepting him as a prophet of our mutual God, to reconsider your support for Barack Obama.

I am asking you to question the validity of the future not belonging to someone based on someone else’s opinions of how the future should discharge itself…ask yourself if there is a disquieting familiarity to the idea that perceived offense based on merely existing, is a justifiable reason for one group of people to take from another group any title to the future.

In that, I am not asking you to remember, I am merely asking you to not forget.

Israel is all of us, and we are all Jews in the eyes of the world’s radical Islamists.

I am not asking you to vote for any particular candidate…I don’t expect that from anyone, but I am asking you to stop, and wonder why President Obama sees the future as something that doesn’t belong to you, and I for that matter.

I am asking that for the sake of all our future generations, that this year you consider casting your vote as an American who stands by our friends in Israel, just as they have stood by us for so long.

I am asking that you consider voting for anyone other than Barack Obama.

We have six days to stand up for Israel and for our mutual future, and we all know that six days is more than enough time to beat anyone threatening our future.

Whatever happens, no matter what happens, I will be your friend, and I’ll stand with and by you.

I hope and pray that you choose to stand by me as I stand by Israel

One of the most memorable movies scenes of all time (for Star Trek geeks like myself that is) was Spock’s “dying” scene in “The Wrath of Khan”:

That idea is the basis for most liberal logic, but liberal logic, must remove human values from the equation in order to work, as witnessed in Detroit, when a first responder acted on basic human instinct, and engaged in a primary human reponse.

Fox 2 News Headlines

A Detroit paramedic is being punished, and the reason behind it may surprise you — it was, he claims, for giving a cold man a blanket.

The paramedic punished is Jeff Gaglio, and he says that he has to answer officially via departmental channels for the crime of wanting a man to not freeze in the cold. Gaglio has spoken out to local press about the incident, and is just as incredulous as you or I might be if the allegations he’s making turn out to be accurate.

The paramedic said of being punished:

“I’m being punished. I’m being punished for giving a man a blanket, something that would seem like a common, every day courtesy. Something that any man or woman would do in the City of Detroit, give a freezing man a blanket. I’m being punished for it.”

MyFoxDetroit asked who punished the paramedic, and Gaglio said:

“The chief of EMS Jerald James.”

James gave a statement on the paramedic punished for the blanket transgression, and the station explains that the blanket given to the man was not even purchased by the department — it was a donation for victims of house fires.

James explains why the paramedic is being punished:

“We can’t have an employee who feels that they have a right to give away state property, be it donated, be it a blanket, be it a tire off a vehicle, without getting prior approval from somebody or notifying the proper authority. This is what he did.”

So it would appear the paramedic was indeed punished for giving a blanket to a cold man, and that his story checks out as per EMS brass in Detroit.

You are a paramedic, you arrive at the scene of a house fire and see a cold, nearly nude, crippled old man shivering outside wearing nothing but his underwear, and you give him a blanket. A blanket donated to the department for use under such circumstances…blankets given freely to be used to comfort people just like this old, crippled man.

So, Jeff Gaglio, the paramedic in question, is being brought up on EMS departmental charges for giving away a blanket to a citizen without obtaining proper permission, and two quotes come to mind:

“[Euthanasia] is what any State medical service has sooner or later got to face. If you are going to be kept alive in institutions run by and paid for by the State, you must accept the State’s right to economize when necessary …” The Ministry of Fear by Graham Green (New York: Penguin Books [1943] 2005, p. 165).

If this is the State’s reaction to the misappropriation of a blanket, what should we expect from the State when it sees a hospital bed as being something that should be reserved to satisfy Karl Marx’s “common good”?

How can anyone not see that this is the real cliff in our path ahead?

Or perhaps, Flannery O’Conor’s great quote is more appropriate here:

“In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber.”

With “tenderness” of course, being a word that today could perhaps be substituted by “compassion”, or even “fairness”, within the liberal interpretation of either word, and include unspoken, politically incorrect adjectives such as “forced” or “artificial” (which precede nearly any liberal concept known to man), and used in a way that embraces Spock’s “the need of the many” quote.

But Spock was only half human, and where that human half was ready to willingly engage in the ultimate act of selflessness for his friend, his Vulcan half, controlled by “logic” and untarnished by emotion, failed to understand that in human beings, faith, not logic, defines compassion and shapes tenderness.

Logic dictates that a gifted blanket must be used to satisfy the greater needs of the many, even if that means that the few must suffer while what constitutes that “greater needs” is being calculated.

Compassion and tenderness, driven by faith and humanity, will always have us give the blanket to the nearly naked, crippled, shivering old man sitting outside his burning home. Even when we know that our action may have severe consequences.

We are after all, human, and when the State attempts to substitute artificial “tenderness” and “fairness” for humanity, well, “that way lie the tumbrels and the guillotine.”

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