Monday, November 22, 2010

Without Ethics Twentyeight Years Equals Two Cardboard Boxes.

by Mark Baker

'Processing.' Processing is a word you'll never hear spoken in corporate meetings, but it nonetheless exists and is the means by which many companies rid themselves of 'Legacy Employees.' A Legacy Employee is one who has served the company for many years and is nearing retirement age where upon they look forward to enjoying the retirement benefits they earned in exchange for decades of dedicated service to said company.

The problem is, many companies having already divested themselves of ethics and integrity, follow the path laid out by their 'Human Resources' staff members, whose goals are no longer to manage 'Personnel' as much as limit or totally eliminate the companies debt obligations, the largest of which is often future retirement and health care obligations to their retirees. The surest way to eliminate these future obligations is to fire the employee before they can qualify for same and this is where 'Processing' comes into play. Companies deny they practice systematic 'age discrimination,' but it's widespread nonetheless and in fact it's an accelerating trend in America as it's pool of late 'Baby Boomers' (those born between 1946 and 1964) who entered the workforce in their late teens or early twenties approach 30 years of service where they would become eligible for early retirement.

Perhaps this trend was enviably as 'Personnel Management' segued from a niche to a professional concentration becoming 'Human Resource Management.' Personally, I never cared for the term Human Resources as it connotes a cold, impersonal feeling far different from that of the 'Personnel Departments' of old. Where the old model placed emphases on employee development and personal enrichment, the latter focuses on worker management. Even the words and terms have grown colder and impersonal. Where in the past, you'd be an 'Employee' of a company, you're now an 'Associate,' or other such term that paints a wall of separation between the worker and the company.

In stark truth, the Human Resource Department views their companies'
Associates as nothing more than 'Units of Production, or at best a necessary means to an end. The idea is to reduce the 'Employer/Employee' relationship to a point void of human connection or friendship. Even outside the HR discipline, today most companies encourage their up-and-coming mid-level managers to NOT develop personal relationships with their subordinates. This allows them to develop a certain degree of what psychologists refer to as 'Cognitive Dissonance' that makes it easier for them to club the unsuspecting 'unit of production' over the head when that day presents itself, with little to no remorse. All this Orwellian 'Newspeak' is also accompanied with a Soviet-style 'Un-Personage' that was perfected during the Gulag years. For example, in the worst companies that utilize these hideous practices, once an 'Associate' is 'Terminated,' the remaining 'Associates' are told the next day that "So and So is 'No Longer with the Company.'" The word 'Fired' NEVER is spoken (for good reason, due to the fact that to do so and call it what it is, would open said company up for potential litigation wherein it would actually have to substantiate 'why' so and so is "No Longer WITH the company.' And God help any remaining 'Associate' who dares to ever speak about, or even mention the name of the terminated fellow associate; to do so will generally land them in their managers office at the receiving end of a stern scolding that often includes disingenuous platitudes such as "We want to look forward, not dwell on the past..." Often these daring associates will find themselves the next candidate in the 'HR Processor.' It's also interesting to note that these 'Un-person' 'No Longer With the Company' (ie, Employee Firings) tend to happen systematically inasmuch as people who have over 25 years, or are over 40 years of age, or have had a 'Medical Procedure' performed that caused them to be off work for an extended period of time, etc.

Even though a companies' longest serving employees tend to often be their best in terms of production, AND they too are often times the 'Go-to' people for younger employees as they refine their skills, the bottom line is that the HR professional always views employees in terms of Diminishing Returns and Growing Liabilities; or more coldly again as 'Units of Production' with a finite 'Shelf-Life.' The 'Science' of their cold trade, is to best determine the point where they feel an 'Associates' Value to the organization is overshadowed by their perceived Liability to it; all under the constant mantra of "Avoid paying Retirement Pension and Long-term Health Benefits AT ALL COSTS!"

The reason I write this piece is two-fold, 1. I happen to know that 'Processing' IS proactively practiced by company HR departments (having had a personal friend who used to do it for a living for a large insurance company we both worked for before she got sick of it and left the field), and 2. Because I just watched it happen to my 48 year old girlfriend who gave 28 years of her life to another big insurance company based in Lansing as well. What's ironic is that I am a devout capitalist conservative who backs a 'Right to Work' arena over a 'Unionist mentality,' so as you can imagine, I get real steamed when I see companies that are wildly profitable, practice what amounts to age-discrimination an an attempt (albeit successfully) to reduce long-term costs at the expense of the very people who helped grow them into the successful companies they are. It may not be illegal, but these practices are gross ethics violations and a sad commentary on the direction of American Business.

So, this all said, on Monday, November 1st of this month at 4:37, I received a text message from my girlfriend informing me that she'd just been fired. As I waited for her to emerge, I watched many of her fellow 'Associates' exit the building at the end of their workday, it struck me as odd how so many of them looked the same carrying their insulated coffee mugs, or walking out with co-worker friends all sharing a look of a captive animal finding its way from its cage. Then after all the others had left, I stood outside the door to meet my girlfriend as she exited her office for what would be the last time after 28 years of service. She was doing her best to be brave and not allow her deep hurt to show as she was followed by two bleach-blonds pushing a wheeled cart that contained two white boxes that contained all my girlfriends' personal affects. I offered a smile to my Netti and then stepped in front of the two emotionless zombie-women who were escorting her belongings. I politely offered to the two automatons "Your indignity ends right here ladies; twenty-eight years of loyal service and her reward is two cardboard boxes; I wonder how you two can stand to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning?" whereupon I removed the two boxes from their cart and loaded them into my car and left.

To Annette and the others before her that have been 'Processed' at this company: You will come out of this treatment better then ever. To those friends of Annette who know her well and miss her, be brave and don't allow yourselves to be bullied into suspending your natural feelings about Annette and the others who have been singled out; watch your backs and stand together. For the management that practices this sort of treatment against your best and brightest (and especially you two sad bleach-blonds with all the emotion of the evil twins from 'The Shining'), well you have to live with who and WHAT you are; if you can, you're sorry excuses for human beings.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shouldn't Law-Maker Candidates Obey the Law Themselves?

by Mark Baker

Something unique happened yesterday in that I received an anonymous letter in the mail that had no return address, or sender information. Inside I found a five-page document that was titled: "Current Law-Maker Supporting Possible Law-Breaker?" The info in question deals with Cheryl Krapf-Haddock, one of the Republican candidates for Michigan's 71st State House Seat along with Laurie Raines, Deb Shaugnessy and Brett Slocum.

The crux of the information sent to me states that Ms. Haddock, as Executive Director of the 'Child Abuse Prevention Council of Eaton County,' appears to be in violation of the US Code, Tax Laws and the 'Hatch Act,' regarding section 501(c) 3, tax-exempt, non-profit agencies such as the one she runs. Following is the contents of the letter I received:

"Current Law-Maker Supporting Possible Law-Breaker?"

Is Cheryl Krapf-Haddock breaking the law? Is State Representative Rick Jones' reputation at stake by supporting her? Cheryl Krapf-Haddock has repeatedly used her charitable, tax-exempt, 501(c)3 organization's position as "Executive Director" to promote herself for a partisan political campaign, which appears to violate current laws.

According to the US Code, Tax Laws AND The Hatch Act, 501(c)3, tax-exempt, non-profit community action agencies like the 'The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Eaton County,' which Krapf-Haddock heads up are STRICTLY PROHIBITED from supporting, engaging-in, or allowing staff to participate-in PARTISAN political elections. Violations for breaking these laws can be quite serious. Non-Profit, tax-exempt, organization's staff and members, particularly 'Executive Directors, CAN NOT use their position or title to affect the outcome of any partisan election or raise money for a partisan candidate's campaign.

Cheryl Krapf-Haddock identifies herself to media sources, in local newspapers and in her political campaign materials as "The Executive Director for the 'Child Abuse Prevention Council'" a non-profit 501(c)3. Krapf-Haddock has made it very clear to the general public that she is running as a "Republican" for a partisan office while actively employed and paid by this publicly-funded, tax-exempt, community action agency. According to the law, that may very well be a violation:

United States Code, Title 42, Chapter 66, Sub-chapter IV, Section 5043:
"...(b) Prohibition on program identification. (1) Programs assisted under this chapter shall not be carried-on in a manner involving the use of funds, the provision of services, or the employment or assignment of personnel in a manner supporting or resulting-in the identification of such programs with-
(A) any partisan or non-partisan political activity associated with a candidate, or a contending faction or group, in an election for public or party office:..."

Also, under the IRS Tax Code, it is clear that 501(c)3's cannot engage-in or support partisan politicians or be used to influence the outcome of an election, as appears to be going on with this candidate flagrantly using their job title and the organization's name throughout her campaign. IRS Penalties may include "revocation of tax-exempt status" and possible criminal penalties for the organization and/or those involved.

According to Anita Lichtblau, Esq., CAPLAW's Update, "For those of you new to the world of Community Action and 501(c)3 tax-exempt organizations, as well as those with many years in the field, keeping track of the rules relating to election and campaign activity is never easy. But understanding them is nonetheless is critical... Here's a list of Do's and Don'ts to steer you through the rules: Don't run for office in a partisan election if you are an Executive Director of a CAA taking a leave of absence doesn't solve the problem; the candidate must resign from his or her position... Do not speak on behalf of the CAA, or use the name of the CAA when supporting or opposing any candidate..." Krapf-Haddock HAS NOT resigned from her Executive Director position, continues to use her non-profit title and cites her active involvement in this organization, repeatedly for partisan campaign purposes to promote herself. Krapf-Haddock has actively sought and received the support of a current law-maker in the midst of this situation, both ignoring te law.

The 'Hatch Act' does cover 501(c)3 public non-profits. In such cases, according to Eleanor A Evans, Esq., found at: "What does the Hatch Act Prohibit? Being a candidate for public office in a partisan election; Using official authority or influence to interfere with, or affect results of an election or nomination for office. If the offense/s are serious enough to warrant dismissal from employment, employer must either: Dismiss employee; or forfeit its federal funding in an amount equal to two years of the employees salary.

The Hatch Act has been enforced against two such organizations in recent years, in one case a county outreach coordinator ran for county legislator and despite warnings, continued their candidacy and faced the consequences. 501(c)3's are already prohibited by tax code from engaging in political activity in support-of or in opposition-to a candidate for office, 26 U.S.C. 501(c)3...Federal and State Election Laws impose additional rules on campaign activities of individuals..."

According to IRS Regulations: "To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)3. In addition, it may not be an action organization; may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates."

In another section of the IRS Code under "Political Activity": If any of the activities (whether or not substantial) of your organization consist of participating-in, or intervening-in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition-to) any candidate for public office, your organization will not qualify for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3. Such participation or intervention includes the publishing or distribution-of statements. Whether your organization is participating or intervening, directly, or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition-to) any candidate for public office depends upon all the facts and circumstances of each case.

The law is clear, Haddock's campaign materials are clear and so is her support by a current lawmaker. Who's breaking the law and jeopardizing this community organization's future to run as a 'Law-Maker?'

Having served as an officer of two area non-profit organizations myself, I am well aware of the very tight line they must adhere to regarding non-partisanship and political campaigns. We always insured that we were beyond reproach in these areas. I am not an attorney, and do not claim to have any expertise in this area, but given the apparent clear-cut nature of the documentation I was sent, I would hope that this could be looked at by a legal expert to determine if violations have indeed occurred within the Krapf-Haddock Camp.

Many Eaton County Republicans, especially those who have been active in the County Republican Party, have been collectively scratching their heads as to why Rick was so eager to back Haddock early-on, appearing prominently in her mailers, and placing her signs with his? Of course, when questioned Rick was always quick to state that he 'wasn't going to make ANY candidate endorsements for the 71st House Seat before the Primary. Well, that statement proved to be as trustworthy as a promissory note from a crack-dealer as Rick last week formally endorsed: DRUM ROLL.... Cheryl Krapf Haddock! That was about as big a shocker as learning that 'Bears actually do crap in the woods.'

Who knows why Rick Jones championed Cheryl Haddock's campaign, my thoughts, for what they're worth, are that Rick wished to have a 'rubber-stamp' in his old seat as he goes to the Senate, but I could be wrong; maybe he just simply wanted to irritate and confound the Eaton County GOP, as well as thousands of Eaton County Republican Constituents (you know, the people he's supposed to be working for instead of Special Interests)? Why else would this man turn his back on a women who had dedicated many years of her professional life to him, both when he was with the Eaton County Sheriff's Department, as well as the last few years as his Constituent Services Aide? A women who dug-in like an Alabama Tic on issues and concerns of the constituents of the 71st District; a women who he knows full WILL NOT compromise on ethical issues, nor 'play along' with the numerous games that are played behind closed doors in Lansing; a women who as the 'Homeland Security Grant Coordinator within the Michigan State Police, uncovered numerous funding violations and gross misappropriation of Federal Monies, and refused to knuckle-under to threats by those who were behind these acts.

This women is Laurie Raines, a dedicated mother of three and wife of Eaton County Sheriff Mike Raines, and a lady I've known since High School. Laurie is a true Constitutionalist Conservative who is a REAL 2nd Amendment Advocate, whose had a concealed-carry permit for over 20 years (and can outshoot many men), been an ACTIVE GOP member and officer and isn't ashamed to proudly state she's behind the TEA Party Movement to take-back our government and restore our Constitutional Republic. Rick Jones knows full well that Laurie Raines is by far, the most qualified, dedicated, uncompromising and educated candidate who has absolutely established beyond any doubt that she will not 'go along to get along' with the Lansing 'Play-Makers.' And I believe that it's for these reasons, Rick Jones fears Laurie Raines taking his old House Seat, because she knows him better than anybody else and he knows she will not partake in 'Business-As-Usual.'

Given the fact that Rick Jones has publicly endorsed Haddock and is a 'Lawmaker' himself, perhaps he should take the lead in looking into this and act accordingly. As our parents used to teach us: "It's NEVER too late to do the right thing." Cheryl Haddock should immediately withdraw from the race and take the steps necessary to save her 501(c)3 organization, and Rick Jones should endorse the candidate he knows full well is the best qualified to represent the people of the
71st District: Laurie Raines.

'We the People' are watching Mr. Jones...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Michigan's 71st District House Race: A Study in How Games Are Played & What We Must STOP.

by Mark Baker

This post shall serve as the final summation for the series I've ran on the Republican Candidates for Michigan's 71st State House Seat being vacated by Battle Creek native Rick Jones, who's leaving same due to term-limits. For those of you who have been following this series, I will reiterate for those who are just now reading the series, that I offered three of the four Republican Candidates the opportunity to share their thoughts on why they chose to enter this race and where they're coming from on the issues and what they hope to accomplish if elected to the seat.

As I mention in the lead-in for each candidates article, I did NOT offer Deb Shaugnessy an opportunity to post an article due to the fact that based upon her demonstrated history of words, behavior and actions, as legislative aide, and Charlotte Mayor, clearly establishes her as the quintessential archetype of what we DON'T NEED as a paid Representative. That said, I will now offer my thoughts and observations (for what they're worth) this race, and how it serves as a microcosm of what's wrong with the system and the games that are played behind closed doors by those in power to hold that power at all costs. I will also offer a case study in how some who enter political office often morph into someone far different than we thought they were after years in office. This metamorphosis is by no means universal, but is exceedingly common to those who lack integrity and a basic ethical foundation.

The four 71st House Seat Candidates again are: Cheryl Haddock, Laurie Raines, Deb Shaugnessy, and Britt Slocum. You can find articles from Raines, Slocum and Haddock below this one in the Blog-Scroll.

The ascension of Barrack Obama to POTUS, and his subsequent unprecedented assault on our Constitution, insane spending leading to an exponential expansion of America's deficit through another round of unbridled Keynesian 'Stimulus' economics, has caused Americans to awaken and rise-up like no other time in the last 150 years. Social Media tools have allowed us to 'find' each other and realize that we were never alone, and that 'We the People' indeed remain the vast majority of America. In short, we are Awake, Aware and Activated to halt the decline-of and assault-upon our Constitutional Republic.

The entrenched power elite, ignored us at first, then as our numbers grew, they still dismissed us yet another passing anomaly that they said would "burn-out." Then as our traction grew and our efforts exposed democrat socialists and RINO's in the GOP who began to either lose races they had become comfortable to winning, or deciding perhaps it was time to 'retire' than face the ugly music that awaited them around the corner, we are seeing that they are now taking one of two general courses to counter us: pathetically attack us as "racists" (which they're making fools of themselves with as 'We the People' are made-up of all races, colors and creeds, or attempt to co-opt us with faux outreach attempts that aren't effective in fooling hardly any of us. Try as they will to paint us at best as a 'passing fad' or at worst, 'dangerous armed racists,' they are beginning to sweat as we continue to grow in size and effectiveness at exposing them and their games. This is not just taking place here in our Michigan, but all across these United States and it will continue for the rest of our lives and be carried-on by our children, who will not surrender their Constitutional Citizenship for Socialist Serfdom.

MIRS (Michigan Information & Research Service) released the following article this week:

'Top Ten Open Primaries to Watch (except from

3. 71st House District, Republican - Only a couple weeks after all four candidates signed a "clean campaign" pledge, an e-mail popped up that linked two of the candidates to a pair of bankruptcies and all of the candidates are complaining about disappearing signs. Former Rep. Rick JONES staffer Laurie Raines (the wife of the local sheriff) is in the race, but Jones isn't supporting her or the "establishment" Republican candidate and outgoing Charlotte Mayor Deb SHAUGNASSEY, who staffed former Rep. Susan TABOR when she was in the House. Jones likes Cheryl Krapf HADDOCK, the executive director of the Child Abuse Prevention Council, but some observers see Britt SLOCUM, a local school board member and owner of three Jersey Giant restaurants as the strongest Republican. The winner will face a comparatively competitive general.'

Interesting that the Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS) IS part of the Michigan (Lansing Insider) GOP Establishment and they're admitting herein that they view Deb Shaugnessy as their "Establishment" Republican candidate? Hmmm? That helps make my work of pealing-back the layers of this onion to expose the stink a few layers below easier because by that they're admitting that they are RINO's (Republican In Name Only) also because this this the same gal who as Charlotte Mayor, tried to use 'Eminent Domain' to snatch-away Family Farms in order to expand the Charlotte Airport which there was/is no need for. She also spent over $90k for the 'Study' on same, but when pressed about this wasteful spending, tried to squirrel-out by saying that it was Federal Money (Ah hum, WHERE Ms. Shaugnessy do you think the Fed gets their money?); with a thought process like that, she displays that she's neither the brightest bulb in the package, nor in anyway, a 'Fiscal Conservative.'

Then, Shaugnessy somehow receives the Farm Bureau 'Agri-PAC' endorsement over Raines, Slocum, and Rick Jones 'Pet Project,' Cheryl Haddock (I only state this because I, like thousands of other 71st District Constituents, have noticed that Rick is hermetically attached to everything Cheryl does or mails out? Could it be that Rick is extending his support to Cheryl not because she's the most qualified (which she CLEARLY IS NOT) as he's been stating in private for months (even though he'd stated he would not endorse any of the 71st candidates before the primary), yet most of her mailers make the two of them appear as conjoined twins who were recently cut apart yet suffer separation anxiety, but political hacks and RINO's, like the democrats they pride themselves for "reaching across the isle to WORK WITH," have no problem doing what they said they wouldn't and now Jones has... Brace Yourself- publicly endorsed Cheryl Haddock; what a surprise that one was huh. Of course in doing this Jones broke his earlier-made statement that he'd "make no endorsements before the Primary", but again people without integrity don't lose much sleep over such things unless it causes them bad-press.

Now, how do you suppose it could be that of the four GOP candidates for the 71st Seat, the only one who based on well-established facts and history, SHOULDN'T have in anyway been seriously considered for the Farm Bureau 'Agri-PAC' endorsement, end up getting it? It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that Mr. Fred Marquardt sits on the Eaton County Farm Bureau Board, as well as the 'Agri-PAC' review committee (the plot thickens) or that Mr. Marquardt is the father of Linda Marquardt (it's getting deep, where's my waders?), who until she was supposedly fired (according to the Shaugnessy Camp) after she let her temper get the best of her and public ally referred to Rick Jones as a "Media Whore" served as Deb Shaugnessy's Campaign Manager (and although the Shaugnessy Camp is telling those who ask that 'that Person is No Longer Associated in anyway with Ded's campaign', Linda's been seen unlocking the doors to Shaugnessy's Campaign HQ? Oh the games, they know no limit). When I researched this most strange and odious endorsement at Farm Bureau's HQ level, everyone I spoke with pointed me in the direction of the LOCAL Eaton County Branch which "handles" the candidate interview process independently and then sends their decision to Farm Bureau HQ in Lansing for publication. So, to all you great Eaton County and especially, Charlotte-Area Farmers, and tax-paying residents, who like me wondered how in the hell Deb Shaugnessy could possibly have gotten the Farm Bureau Agri-PAC Endorsement, perhaps this was how! Games being played behind closed doors.

By the way, notice if you will, the ONLY candidate whose last name wasn't capitalized in the MIRS Report... Yes, Laurie Raines (RAINES), the wife of Eaton County Sheriff Mike Raines, who is a bold Constitutionalist Conservative Sheriff in the mold of Arizona's Joe Arpaio. Of the four candidates, my objective opinion is that only Laurie Raines and Britt Slocum are sincere, quality candidates who should be considered by any true Constitutional Conservative demanding an honest, fiscally responsible Representative, who I feel will serve with honor and integrity.

While I have publicly endorsed both Britt and Laurie and sincerely like both as individuals, my vote will go to Laurie Raines as I feel she represents the very best total package as a Representative in that her fifteen plus years of experience with the Eaton County Sheriff's Office, Department of Homeland Security/Michigan State Police, and last few years as Rick Jones' Constituent Services Aide, make her the best choice to serve the people of the 71st House District.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Note: This is the third of three consecutive Blog Posts looking at three of the four registered Republican candidates for Michigan's 71st District State House Seat. I'm covering this seat specifically because it's the seat of 'my' representative and therefor it matters more to me than others. I will NOT be posting any stories on any of the Democrat candidates due to the fact that I do not like or trust Democrats and 'Rule #1- This is MY BLOG, LOL! Additionally, even though there are actually four registered Republicans running for the 71st Seat I have only invited three of them: Cheryl Haddock, Britt Slocum, and Laurie Raines to offer features on their candidacies. The honest reason for this is that I don't particularly respect or trust the fourth candidate, Deb Shaughnessy. Actions, statements and behavior by her, when she served as Mayor of Charlotte DO NOT, in my opinion lend themselves to the type of person worthy of elected office. If you're offended by my non-inclusion of Deb Shaughnessy, I'll offer my apology and refer back to Rule#1.

My desire in this exercise is to allow my readers a forum to objectively review and compare the backgrounds, beliefs and goals of sincere candidates for an important representative seat. I hope you find these three consecutive articles helpful in making your decision.


“We Deserve a Return to Common Sense & Honesty in Government.”
by Laurie Raines

Why I hope to have the honor of further serving you as your next State Representative:

1. Our State and Country is in a mess. This mess didn't happen overnight and it won't be corrected overnight; however, we have reached a point of reckoning that 'We the People' can no longer ignore.

I’ve been inspired and invigorated by thousands of Michigan citizens who love and value our country and freedoms. Like you, I have had enough of the 'Business As Usual' when it comes to Lansing politics that are hurting our great state and threatening our children’s future.

I have worked with citizens, community organizations and business leaders from all walks of life, with diverse political points of view, who, like me, want to see our nation and our state restored to one of fiscal responsibility, morality, honesty, operational transparency and most importantly,
Constitutional Adherence.

I find it interesting that the patriotic Americans who’ve made many sacrifices to defend our freedoms are made-up of people from all political persuasions, ethnic and racial backgrounds, ages, and locations. While mean-spirited Lansing politicians ridicule and belittle citizens who want honesty and integrity in government leaders, they themselves often lack it. Rather than step up to the plate and serve with honor, those politicians prefer to rely on obscurity to hide behind their bad votes, lack of moral clarity and the gross misuse of taxpayer money….often digging deeper into the pockets of hard-working families and businesses struggling to make ends meet with no conscience. It’s time they stop!

You may ask, “What does this have to do with my entering the race to represent the good people of Michigan's 71st House District?” My response to you is…”EVERYTHING!” For starters, my primary motivation for running is as that of a concerned mother and wife. Like you, I feel blessed to have grown-up in a great country where freedom and the virtues of honesty, hard-work, sacrifice, charity and ethics were once the norm, rather than the exception. And these virtues have served us well as the very foundation of our society. Somewhere along the way, some of our national and state leaders seem to have lost their way and strayed from these simple truths. I will continue to stand strong on these principles and will not stray from the integrity you deserve.

2. “I'm one of you.” I’m a lifelong resident of Eaton County. I was blessed with wonderful, hard-working, Christian parents and grand-parents, who set a loving, honest example for their children to live by. My Christian faith has guided me throughout my life and my principles remain intact.

I graduated from Grand Ledge High School in the top 10% of my class; worked at Oldsmobile on the Assembly Line to help earn money toward my college; received my Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University (James Madison Honors College with studies in International Relations, Spanish and Design); and, I am married to Mike Raines whom I consider to be “The Best Sheriff Eaton County’s ever had! (O.K., admittedly, I'm a little biased on that one…). And, each and every day I thank the Lord for having blessed me with three wonderful daughters whom I love dearly.

Like you, I want all of our children to be able to enjoy the beautiful natural resources Michigan has to offer; to have jobs here to work and provide for their families; to have safe communities in which to live, work and play; and, to be able to provide all our kids with the resources and skills needed to succeed in quality educational environments.

I have met with many working families and business owners throughout Eaton County to hear their concerns on how we can work together to retain jobs and help get Michigan back to work. We have reached over 10,000 households during this campaign.

My experience is real and the results have been positive throughout my career. As the Legislative Assistant to State Rep. Rick Jones, I’ve listened to, worked with and helped thousands of Eaton County citizens and business owners to work through the cumbersome bureaucratic “Red Tape” in Lansing, to resolve issues they face each day and to help others get access to the vital resources they’ve needed to achieve positive results.

Over my many years of private sector, state and local government service, I’ve developed numerous contacts and learned how to best serve you. I know where government works and I know where it can and must be improved to better serve you. We must have a more citizen and business-friendly government working for us.

3. I have the background and experience necessary to “Hit the ground running!” With the crisis Michigan is facing (a looming $1.7 BILLION state budget deficit), there’s no time for “learning curves.” I welcome each of you to compare my actual experience, education and qualifications to all others in this race…You will see, by far, that I am the most qualified candidate in this race to best serve you.

With 15 years of accounting experience, I read the budgets, I understand how they work, I know they sometimes don’t add up and the overspending MUST stop in Lansing! I believe in transparent, accountable government and I don’t support the waste of millions of taxpayer dollars we’ve witnessed in Lansing! (Please visit to view some of those specifics.)

While some may claim to have a “Plan” my experience is REAL and PROVEN. I have worked alongside some of the strongest advocates for government accountability and transparency that you will ever know. No more taxes. Michigan State Gov’t. must be accountable and responsible with the money they already have, eliminating all waste and responsibly restructuring at all levels.

I have led the charge many times when it came to disclosing violations involving misuse of taxpayer money in the “dirty back-room” state police headquarters deal between politicians and others and I strongly opposed the loss of trooper’s jobs in the midst of that “deal”; I researched and uncovered 62 convicted sex offenders deemed too dangerous to be on our streets “accidentally released” by some at the Michigan Dept. of Corrections (MDOC); and, I bring 15 years of experience to the table working with emergency responders, law enforcers and law makers to help write and pass COMMON SENSE responsible legislation that no other candidate in this race can offer you.

I fought alongside you when politicians in Charlotte supported the waste of over $94,000 taxpayer dollars, the destruction of 374 pristines acres of farmlands and Eminent domain to remove families from their homes for a failed airport expansion. (See ) In the middle of winter, I marched alongside the citizens of Carmel, Eaton and other Townships to help support and defend our citizen’s rights. And, I will do all over again.

I have dared to stand up to the crooked politicians in Lansing who have violated your trust and misused your money. I was warned and threatened before I got into this race that they would try to smear me if I dared to stand up to them or expose them for their wrongdoing. The last thing in the world they wanted was for me to run for office to try to protect and enlighten you.

I am aware of the way some in government have misused their authority to harm good people and I have never and will never support that kind of misconduct. In fact, I dared speak up about the serious violations in state government, risking my career, in order to protect the public safety of our citizens and to help ensure the integrity of the state department I respected and was proud to serve with.

After sharing evidence of escalating violations with superiors, I was prohibited from speaking to auditors and my Federal Oversight Position was terminated by those involved. I’m glad this is being brought forward. There’s really very little I can do with all the evidence, until I’m elected to office. I look forward to the day when the public can also see what I saw occurring inside this workplace and they can help me stop it once and for all. (See State of Michigan Auditor General’s Report notes a failure to conduct proper audits: , U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Federal Audit Report with numerous violations cited: , Mackinaw Center for Public Policy violations cited on accessing information in a Freedom of Information request: .)

The people of Michigan deserve much better than the misuse of their money, meant to protect our public safety. I’m not going to cower to sleazy politicians or anyone else who abuses their authority to mislead others about what really happened. The evidence they wanted back, official audit reports and the Mackinaw Center’s FOIA request make it clear they have much to hide. And, that’s only scratching the surface.

I believe those responsible for ensuring proper use of our tax dollars have been asleep at the wheel far too long. And, the Lansing “politics as usual” are hurting everyone in Michigan and I’m fighting hard to help stop it! Lansing is indeed BROKEN! But, with your help, together, we can help fix it by restoring integrity and fiscal responsibility to all areas of our state government.

4. I am not the “typical” political candidate and I won't become the “typical” politician. I have seen many go to Lansing and forget where they came from and who put them there. Often, they’ve forgotten what their true mission is…to be a representative of you and have your voice heard in Lansing.

I learned at a very early age that government is there to serve us, not the other way around. As your next State Representative, you have my word, that I will continue to listen to your concerns, work hard to best represent you and do all I can within my authority to help us have a government we can all be proud of.

Thank you for your continued support. I welcome your concerns and ask that you please consider encouraging your friends, family and others to view this information. Thanks and God Bless…

Laurie Raines

Paid for by Laurie Raines for State Representative, P.O. Box 542, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Michigan's 71st District Representative Seat: Second of Three Candidate Comparison Series

Note: This is the second of three consecutive Blog Posts looking at three of the four registered Republican candidates for Michigan's 71st District State House Seat. I'm covering this seat specifically because it's the seat of 'my' representative and therefor it matters more to me than others. I will NOT be posting any stories on any of the Democrat candidates due to the fact that I do not like or trust Democrats and 'Rule #1- This is MY BLOG, LOL! Additionally, even though there are actually four registered Republicans running for the 71st Seat I have only invited three of them: Cheryl Haddock, Britt Slocum, and Laurie Raines to offer features on their candidacies. The honest reason for this is that I don't particularly respect or trust the fourth candidate, Deb Shaughnessy. Actions, statements and behavior by her, when she served as Mayor of Charlotte DO NOT, in my opinion lend themselves to the type of person worthy of elected office. If you're offended by my non-inclusion of Deb Shaughnessy, I'll offer my apology and refer back to Rule#1.

My desire in this exercise is to allow my readers a forum to objectively review and compare the backgrounds, beliefs and goals of sincere candidates for an important representative seat. I hope you find these three consecutive articles helpful in making your decision.


Why I am the right guy for the job.
by Brit Slocum

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me and my candidacy for the Michigan House of Representatives – 71st District. This is a critical race, not only for the residents of Eaton County, but for the entire state of Michigan as we seek to get Michigan back to work.

Here are just a few reasons to vote for me:

1. I'm honest; I believe that you should always be honest to those you love, work for and trust. I’ve found that my honesty has come back to pay me off in spades many times over.

2. I'm fair-minded, I may wear different stripes politically, religiously, and ethnically than others but I always keep an open and fair mind. It’s the human condition to prejudge people, procedure and situations. I avoid that at all costs.

3. I'm caring and respectful of others as well as myself. I’ve always known that nobody is perfect, not even myself! I always put myself in other people’s shoes before coming to judgment. It has served me well, and you will not hear me say disparaging things about anybody at anytime regarding this campaign. I’ll only speak the truth.

4. I'm responsible for my own actions and circumstance! No one wants to hear me, you or anybody else whine about how bad it is, how tough it is, or poor pitiful me! Believe me, the choices we have made individually for ourselves or collectively as we elected officials that just aren't working out is our own darn fault! I'm not a victim and you shouldn't be either, I'm an agent of real change, the kind a conservative can be proud of, and today especially, you need me as that agent.

Between now and the August 3rd Primary Election, I will be traveling the district, going door-to-door, attending community forums and meeting with voters individually to share my story as a “Michigan Survivor and Job Provider” – in fact, I'm the only candidate in the Primary who can make that claim. At a time when Michigan desperately needs an economic transformation, you the voting public should be looking to the front lines of this economy to help solve these challenges.

As the owner/operator of Jersey Giant Subs!, I know all to well the challenge of meeting a payroll and keeping my doors open for my forty employees, and the families that depend on them. I know first-hand the obstacles of doing business here in Michigan and the steps we must take to restore our state’s entrepreneurial spirit – and it starts with smaller government, lower taxes, and less government regulation.

Twenty-five years ago, my wife Anne and I chose to raise our family here in Eaton County. We made that decision, because we believed strongly in all that Mid-Michigan had to offer young families – great schools, safe neighborhoods, and endless opportunities for success. And since that time, I've been proud to give back to my community at every opportunity, and as a candidate for State Representative, my goal is to ensure that remains true for future generations.

Having been elected three times to the Waverly Community Schools Board of Education, I believe strongly in the role Michigan’s education system must play in shaping not only our children’s future, but also aiding in Michigan’s economic recovery. On the school board, I've served as Secretary and Treasurer and, for 5 of the last 6 years as chair of the Finance Committee, overseeing the schools budget.

I've also volunteered my time to the Waverly Education Foundation, the Cub and Boy Scouts of America, Food Movers/Greater Lansing Food Bank, the St. Vincent Home for Children, and Rotary International. I am an active member and advocate for the Eaton County Republican Party, the National Rifle Association, and the Right to Life of Michigan.

I invite you to take a look at my qualifications, vision, and values. As the campaign progresses, I look forward to seeing you on the trail! Please do not hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions, concerns, and feedback. You may contact me via my web site at or email at


Thank you for your support this August 3rd,


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Michigan's 71st District Representative Seat: First of Three Candidate Comparison Series

Note: This will be the first of three consecutive Blog Posts looking at three of the four registered Republican candidates for Michigan's 71st District State House Seat. I'm covering this seat specifically because it's the seat of 'my' representative and therefor it matters more to me than others. I will NOT be posting any stories on any of the Democrat candidates due to the fact that I do not like or trust Democrats and 'Rule #1- This is MY BLOG, LOL! Additionally, even though there are actually four registered Republicans running for the 71st Seat I have only invited three of them: Cheryl Haddock, Britt Slocum, and Laurie Raines to offer features on their candidacies. The honest reason for this is that I don't particularly respect or trust the fourth candidate, Deb Shaughnessy. Actions, statements and behavior by her, when she served as Mayor of Charlotte DO NOT, in my opinion lend themselves to the type of person worthy of elected office. If you're offended by my non-inclusion of Deb Shaughnessy, I'll offer my apology and refer back to Rule#1.

My desire in this exercise is to allow my readers a forum to objectively review and compare the backgrounds, beliefs and goals of sincere candidates for an important representative seat. I hope you find these three consecutive articles helpful in making your decision.

Leadership We Need
by Cheryl Haddock

Hello, I am Cheryl Hadddock of Grand Ledge, and I am running for Michigan's 71st District State Representative Seat. When Rick Jones entered his final term for State Representative, I had many friends, family members and community leaders approach me about becoming a candidate.

Running for elective office was never a goal of mine. Many people in the community have been very encouraging. They want credible leadership. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with my good friend, State Representative Rick Jones, for many years going back to the time he was our Sheriff. Rick has been an exemplary leader and has served us well during the last 5 years in the House of Representatives. Now that he is unable to run for re-election because of term limits, I have decided to become a candidate because I want to continue serving our community. I love Michigan and it pains me to see people struggling to find work, struggling to make ends meet, and struggling to take care of their families.


I have been happily married for 24 years to Phillip Haddock, who is the Chief Underwriter for a privately owned bank. Phillip and I have two adoptive children, Alexander, age 18, and Francesca, age 13. We are active members of our church and have served in church and civic leadership roles for over 22 years. A Michigan native, I have lived in Eaton County for more than 30 years and I was raised in the automotive industry – specifically automotive dealership operations managed by my father. Additionally, I have spent many years working on our family farm that taught me the values of hard work, honesty and responsibility.


I am currently the Executive Director of the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Eaton County. I have developed effective child abuse prevention programs and awareness initiatives that have saved many kids from abuse and neglect. I have a lengthy resume’ of appointments and community service involvement with human services agencies and charities all across the mid-Michigan area. My service includes being a licensed foster parent for 10 years for newborn infants that were being placed for adoption.

Over the last decade, I have successfully run a non-profit business that serves several thousand families in our community every year. Under my leadership, this organization expanded programs and nearly quadrupled income and funding sources. My leadership roles on numerous non-profit and civic boards make me uniquely qualified to lead in Lansing .


For seven and a half years, the people of Michigan have heard a lot of talk; I feel we need less political posturing and more results. Most importantly, we need effective leaders serving in the legislature who have the ability and also the credibility to get things done. In Lansing,the Governor and those in her party, play political games that balance the budget on the backs of seniors, children and hard working families. Meanwhile our State continues to hemorrhage jobs. Enough is enough.

My Turnaround Plan is a common sense approach aimed at making the tough but necessary decisions that leaders in Lansing have refused to make:


I know lower taxes and less burdensome regulations allow businesses to create more jobs and opportunities right here in our community.

-Reform the Michigan Business Tax
-Eliminate burdensome regulations and accelerate the permit process to jumpstart economic development
-Stop picking winners and losers and create a business environment that attracts ALL job providers


In these tough economic times, Cheryl understands that every dollar in your pocket is important to meeting the needs of your family.

-End the reckless spending
-Stop income tax increases
-Stop gas tax increases
-Stop new taxes on everyday services

I am committed to stop state government from putting more criminals back on the streets with early releases of violent offenders.

State government must live within its means and focus on core responsibilities. Good ideas and plans on paper won’t change anything without the leadership to deliver results. I know we can make Michigan competitive again. We just need the right leadership and courage to make the right decisions. For more information visit

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ok Mr. Politician, do we have your attention now? Can you Spell CONSTITUTION!

by Mark Baker

It's apparently indeed getting quite hot under the collar for RINO's within the GOP as these pesky damn Conservatives within the party just won't shut-up about that whole 'Constitution-thing!' I experienced an example of this phenomenon the other day after posting on FaceBook a link to an article from Arizona Governor Jan Brewer regarding her joining forces with Sarah Palin to fight for stronger boarder enforcement. While I really appreciate and respect Arizona Governor Brewer, I was a little concerned that she'd feel she needed Sarah Palin's help to do the right thing.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for defending our boarders against criminal trespassers, but I'm justifiably concerned with Palin's involvement given her numerous 'Moderate' endorsements of late (read LIBERAL). Now that the Democrats have finally boldly come out of the closet as the loud, proud, socialists we always suspected they were, the battle focus has shifted to the GOP where many other socialists have for years, also hidden under sub-titles such as 'Moderates' and 'Progressives.'

We Republicans need to get beyond the symantics of word-games and determine what the party actually stands for. For example, what's actually meant by the word 'Moderate?' Do you see John McCain as a moderate? Did you view Arlen Specter as a 'Moderate?' Or, how about the word 'Progressive;' there's the latest one that Democrats have kidnapped to mask the term 'Liberal,' which use to exist to mask the word 'Socialist.' Again, I've heard some fellow Republicans refer to themselves as Moderates, or 'Progressives.' If we are to categorize our party by a word or two, rather than 'Moderate,' or 'Progressive,' why don't we use words like 'Conservative' or 'Constitutionalist' which have always supposedly been at the core of what we are.

I've been (by that I mean voted, volunteered-for, ran campaigns-of, and donated-to) Republican since I was old enough to first vote for Reagan. If we dismiss word symantics and look at it logically, we'd realize that since 1980, while America's had three Republican Presidents: Reagan, Bush the elder, and Bush the son; in truth we've only had ONE Conservative President, Ronald Reagan @ 8 years, and FOUR 'Progressive' (read Socialist) Presidents @ 21 years and counting. Now don't misunderstand me, I voted for Reagan twice (and was very happy), voted for George HW Bush twice (and was EXTREMELY UNHAPPY with him), George 'W' Bush twice (and was quite unhappy with him), and last election, I like millions just like me, took a deep breath, pinched my nose and voted for John Sydney McCain only because the 'National Party' system 'Dole'd' us again AND the fact that pretty Mrs. Palin was on the ticket with him and we thought maybe there'd be a chance the old nasty RINO bastard might die in office.

So the Dems are able to win with a Card Carrying Allinskite Socialist whose got less elected experience than the average Dog-Catcher, who proceeds to spend money we don't have -at a rate that would make a teenage girl in the mall with daddy's credit card blush, while at the same time borrows unprecedented amounts of money we can't pay back from a long-standing strategic enemy. Oh wait, while using our Constitution as toilet paper for good measure!

So, in response to those socialists hiding within the GOP under various stylish names, who constantly question whether if we should " make room for more moderates' in the GOP?" My short answer would be NO! Not at the national, state, county, or 'Dog-Catcher' level. If the GOP wants to be a "Big Tent Party" no problem, all they need to do is dedicate themselves to our CONSTITUTION and Conservative Principles (Fiscal & Social) it espouses. Do that and they won't be able to find a tent big enough to hold all of us. However, if they can't get down with such 'Radical Themes' of radical thinkers like Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Hancock, and yes, Reagan. Then they should just put on some 'Big Boy Pants' and admit it. We can then move forward with honest divorce proceedings whereby depending on which party 'keeps the house,' they can either go join the democrat-socialists they've been shacking-up with behind our backs for years, or wise-up and read and start abiding-by the Constitution. OR... they can continue to try to with their exposed 'Moderate/SOCIALIST/Progressive' ways and see how that works out for them...

NOTES: While Specter and McCain are classic examples of RINO's at the national level, there are hundreds more at the combined national, state, county and local, municiple levels as well. And it's vital to realize that not all are necessarally socialists at heart, they ALL are disengenuous deal-makers who will either partake in corruption or willingly 'look the other way' for 'favors,' or to 'go-along to get-along.' For the first time since our Founding Fathers stood-up to tyranny and establihed our Constitutional Republic, 'We the People' are beating back modern tyrants by exposing lies and liers. Press On...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

ACTION ALERT: Alien Abductions Reason for Weak & Failed Broadband Signals

by, Mark D. Baker

NEWSFLASH, Grand Ledge, MI:

Have YOU been suffering from ever-weakening Internet Service Signal Strength? I'm afraid it's the Aliens! Yes it's true, and it's getting worse at a much faster rate than I anticipated in my initial projections. They've been randomly abducting unsuspecting internet service signals from mostly the southwest US, but lately they've been doing a few 'sapper' raids deep into the heart of the midwest as well.

They've been.... sorry, I had to gather myself for a moment. They've been taking the poor little signals, hanging them out to dry for an hour or so, then placing them upon greacen rolls (in some cases even toasted/lightly buttered rye {the dirty bastards}), then covering them with fellow-abducted lettuce and then drowning them all with humus! People it's horrible. I've even seen with MY OWN eyes, bits and pieces of what used to be little innocent sprigs of cilantro! The poor little fellas never got the chance to grow into medium-sized sprigs, let alone dream of adult 'Sprighood.'

So my friends, I implore you to contact your Internet Service Provider and DEMAND they spend some of their lofty profits on more robust ISCAAM (Internet Service Counter-Alien-Abduction Measures) protections. If you're too lazy to do it for yourself, do it for our children!

In a related twist to this story is an example of what is becoming a ever-more frequent response to righteous outrage over dropped cell calls and slow internet connections across our country. Grand Ledge's oldest resident, 123 year old Maude Stackman yesterday tossed her 'Jetterbug' brand cell phone down the storm drain outside the Grand Ledge McDonalds to protest the damage being wrought in America by aliens. When asked what prompted her to become so incensed as to toss her cell down the drain, Maude responded: "Number One Sunny boy, I didn't even want one of these new-fangled ray-beam phones, but when my Great Grandbaby Cari found me one with buttons big enough to dial with my nose, I said ok; I may be 123 years old but I ain't no stick-in-the-mud fuddy-dutty." She further added: "These gosh-awful aliens are just plain cussid and something needs to be done about 'em! And Number Two, my State Representative, Riccardo Josepheppi is pushing a bill that will make it illegal for me to even use the dang thing while driving my late Alfred's old '63 Dodge Dart, so what's the use!" "And Number Three young man, I'm just a bit extra crotchity today because all these out-of-towners keep complementing me on 'my costume!' I'll have you know I've been dressin this same way since ought-seven! THAT'S WHY!"

Word spread quickly through this normally quiet little hamlet, 10 miles west of Michigan's capitol. But yesterday was Grand Ledge's Annual 'Victorian Days' celebration, so the little town was filled to the brim with families, and visitors for the annual VD Parade. Soon this reporter was part of an ever-expanding crowd of people from all walks of life, age, race, internet-service-provider and creed, that had gathered in the McDonald's parking lot around Great Grandma Stackman.

They ALL listened (some teenagers there even went so far as to MUTE their incoming text-messages) as Maude's rhetoric segued from the her disgust with alien's messing with our 'God-given' cell-phones, self-serving media-hound politicians, and people mistaking her for a 'Parade Prop' to real substantive heartfelt stories about the need to re-establish using 'the switch' today, if not behind a woodshed than perhaps the satellite dish; the simple virtues-of and need-to re-establishing 'Courtship' between men & women and why it's good to not "peek under the bloomers till after the wedding because those things all work out well if couples'll just connect the dots instead of carrying-on like crass cattle in the field;" finally to the eloquence, timeless-applicability and importance-of our Constitution and the Republic it was written to serve and protect! I watched as all these people were visibly MOVED. Granted a small number of the crowd were visably moved as their poorly masticated McWraps laid siege to their lower intestines, but the vast majority of the crowd were moved by and changed by Maude Stackman's timeless Wisdom.

Mark's Notes: Hope this little story caused you to chuckle in joy as well as reflect on the Wisdom of our Parents, Grand Parents, Great Grand Parents and Founding Fathers. Because of our love for our Children. We should willingly step to the plate in this, 'Our Time of Service,' to be counted as Freedom-Loving Americans who will get off our duffs to promote, restore and forever vigilantly defend, our Great Constitutional Republic.

BTW, Maude & Alfred were indeed actually my Great Grandparents; they did own a cool old '63 Dodge Dart; they both 'a time or two' DID spank my young unruly behind for my benefit, and they and millions just like them, DID live and pass-on to there children, the timeless wisdom of our Founders. The question that our countries survival as a Free Land begs to ask is: Will WE exhibit and pass-on to OUR Children these treasures?

Press On,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Can I Please Borrow $100,000? Tea Party says. . . NO!!

by, Andy Badolato

Would you provide a $100,000 loan to a company or an individual who;

1.Has personally guaranteed short and long term debt of $1,630,000.
2.Has $100,000 in questionable non liquid balance sheet assets with no savings.
3.Has current income of $240,000 per year, but is currently spending $350,000 per year on his planned and budgeted bills and expenses. The next 5 years of budgets and financial projections that they provide also show expenses and fixed bills exceeding their income by an average of 30% every single year.
What would your answer be? What would a bank say?

Yet, these are the same ratios of debt, assets, income, monthly obligations and expenditures of our country at this time.

On tax day, April 15th 2010, President Obama addressed the country, and in a mocking way directed criticism and his amusement towards American citizens involved with the Tea Party protests. He was humored and felt it ironic, since taxes did not go up for Americans. Other Democrats, talk show hosts and celebrity left have also been seen smirking and joking about the Tea Party; labeling them as redneck militia, domestic terrorists, and or racists for being so concerned about the economy, national debt and taxes.

These simple actions clearly define how out of touch and clueless the Democratic Party, Obama administration and some mainstream media have become with the American people and the role of government. How they view themselves as elite, above us and looking down upon, entitled, while pompously acting as if they know what is best for us. How stupid they think the average American citizen is, and or being too arrogant and stupid themselves to look at the facts or the bigger picture.

Since the Presidential inauguration, our national debt has increased more than $2.7 Trillion to $12.8 Trillion. We have purposely prepared, budgeted and planned for an additional $7 Trillion of borrowed cash, giving us a $20 Trillion total noose by 2015. This strategic, planned on purpose -$7 Trillion budget was introduced to the American public with big happy smiles, a gloating giddy media, and lots of congratulatory applause. The title is ironically called, "A New Era of Responsibility, Renewing Americas Promise" and the first chapter of the budget presentation is titled "Inheriting a Legacy of Misplaced Priorities". This presentation and budget is directly overseen by the OMB or Office of Management and Budget, the largest department of the executive branch of the White House. The highlighted quote on the front page of the OMB website correlating directly to the $10 Trillion of actual and planned debt increase in two years is from President Obama. He states, "Let’s invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let’s meet our responsibility to the citizens who sent us here. Let’s try common sense".

This single paragraph and facts described above should provide a glimpse of the seriously flawed political and economic system we really have, the problems we face in correcting it, and the legitimate beefs of the Tea Party.

Some say the recently passed heath care bill could increase debt another $10 trillion on top of the $108 trillion of unfunded social security and Medicare entitlements just starting to become due. Let’s discuss your share as of today, before it increases. Are you sitting down?

Per Citizen Per Taxpayer

National Debt
$12.8 Trillion
$41,613.00 $117,035.00

Unfunded liabilities $108.3 Trillion

Personal Debt:
$16.5 Trillion

State and Municipal $2.8 Trillion $9,446.00 $26,449.00

$401,596.00 $1,129,194.0


There are many that now point to an improving economy now emerging due to recent economic reports and statistics. I pose the question, "If you personally made $240,000 per year and were handed $270,000 of borrowed cash and told you had to spend it all in one year, do you think your economy might improve slightly?"

Fellow Americans, we have a ticking thermonuclear economic bomb that requires immediate action, not denial or procrastination. Some say it’s too late already, it’s better to avoid all of the madness and worry, buy gold, guns and canned goods, hunker down, buckle your chinstrap and hold on tight. This national debt issue has just recently started to surface the past two years, having been suppressed, ignored, and tossed from president to president like a hot potato. Our political parties have become like the arguing newlyweds after getting the credit card bill from the extended honeymoon and the new furniture bought using the 90 days same as cash promotion. Rather than sensibly and logically attempts to deal with the obvious, they fight over whose fault or idea it was to go, or who signed for the expensive room service and massage while the other wasn’t around or complain about it to their friends. This type of behavior has become the meaning of bipartisanship in our country.

We have been living in a fantasy dream world, a delusional economy and sugar credit high, based on phantom money printed out of thin air backed by nothing. It’s as if we received a bunch of credit cards in the mail one day that our parents said to only use for emergency. Then, we quit our day jobs to live lavishly, take vacations and buy new clothes and cars, living off credit and equity line checkbooks to pay our bills. When the monthly payments become due, we paid with credit cards and wrote credit line checks. Sometimes, we transferred the entire balance to another card to make things all look good, keep a good credit rating and pacify our ego. At just the time we finally experience a serious event indicating a potential problem and our conservative friends suggest a debt Rehab clinic or an intervention; we decided to say the heck with it, took a tequila shot and "DOUBLED DOWN", going for broke. We gave our friends a high five, smiled widely and called our travel agent for an exotic vacation. We needed a get away from all the emotional stress, ridicule and hassles we suffered especially from the friends who nagged us to cancel our credit cards. It's easier for us to now deny those friends exist and cut them out of our lives, ignoring them completely. We ridicule and label them as nuts and kooks to others. Besides, it’s easier to get more friends, especially when you have several trillion dollars of money to spend and throw around. Just ask Mike Tyson.

The difference between the Tea party citizens and current elected government is:

• The American citizen knows the responsibilities and consequences of personal debts. Our elected elite politicians do know the consequences of debt, but unfortunately don't really care but still act like they do. They personally don’t have to pay it back, plus they get additional contributions, ribbon cutting invitations and other perks for the favors they provide with our borrowed cash. If it ever does become an issue, they have PR people that advise them who or what to blame, and write their response scripts advising them to be sure to act very angry towards the blamed person or party when asked by the press or on TV. Besides, if this mountain of debt finally one day causes the dollar to collapse or inflation to set in, they have no worries. Congressional, senior government and cabinet pensions automatically are protected for inflation and standard of living inflation adjustments in laws they passed themselves.
• The American citizen generally understands the meaning of how much they make each year and the importance of not spending more. Elected politicians understand, but don't really care and or don't understand sound business principals. Our current President has never run or operated a business as well as many in congress. After all, we elect the people who promise us the most and can give great speeches. Foolish of us to entertain the thought that government is a business and to actually vote for those qualified even if they are not great speakers or look good on camera.
• The American citizen understands the reality and consequences of not being able to pay their debts. Losing homes in foreclosure, lawsuits, liens against assets, utility shut offs, and repossessions all happen when income is not enough to pay debts after monthly bills. Our elected politicians understand but don't really care; being more concerned how they can benefit politically in the NOW rather than later when the debt has to be repaid. Besides, if they don’t say yes to bailouts, vote for pork barrels and pass new laws that help big corporations; they would get blacklisted unable to get $400,000 per year lobbying jobs or corporate speaking gigs when their term is up.
This decision to double down was triggered at a time when the crisis was related only to the debt of the consumer mortgages. The total of these loans are now at $14 trillion after write downs/write offs the past year and giving the banks enough money to cover the loss. Many leading economists indicate that further deeper write downs will be needed and that commercial mortgages are twice the size and magnitude of the residential market waiting to explode. Many blame the mortgage problem on our government as the enabler via the passage of the community reinvestment act. It allowed literally anyone to buy a home and the law made it mandatory and a crime not to provide these loans regardless of traditional qualification approvals. This lit the match and started the beginning of the housing boom as well as low interest cheap money made available by the Fed. The government obligated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans were what brought the banks to negative reserve capital, sending shrapnel everywhere. We may still require further trillions to the banks due to commercial real estate, perhaps triggering other too big to fail corporations that will need more money too. Maybe we have only addressed 30% of the total problem? Unfortunately it gets worse.

The $108 trillion unfunded liabilities Grim Reaper has been patiently sharpening and honing his scythe, ironed his new black cloak and just landed in town as the first of the baby boomers reached retirement age earlier this year. This 65 year old Reaper is quite angry at us. He knows we have already collected these monies and made promises to set it aside, but instead we decided to spend it all along the way. This eye opening reality now means that every single United States citizen (man, woman and child) is liable jointly for $350,000 starting in 2010, ending in 2029. Since only 1/3rd of the US citizens pay income taxes, this means each would be responsible for $985,000 paid out over the next 19 years. This makes you really wonder about the smiling widely, yet reserved denials of the "death squads" political debate when the Heath care bill was being discussed. PS. Dear Granny; bring your shotgun and sleep with one eye open.

Based upon our current national debt projections of $20 Trillion by 2015, and assuming balanced budgets thereafter, the interest payments alone are $1 Trillion at 5% interest. This would be 41% of our government’s total revenues if they stayed the same as they were today and 83% if interest rates were 10%. Remember, that not too long ago interest rates were 18%. The money that is left over has to be used for the unfunded liabilities of Medicare and social security, military expenditures and homeland security now at almost $1 Trillion, and the rest allocated to the government Departments and Services overseen by the Czars at the Heath and human services, Transportation, Veterans affairs, housing, education, Energy, agriculture, Justice, commerce, labor, Treasury, interior, EPA, Corps of engineers, small business, Science, HUD, and community Services.

Oh, and don’t forget about figuring out how to pay for our personal debts of mortgage, consumer and credit cards totaling $16 trillion averaging $53,000 per citizen, and keeping our States, counties and cities operating smoothly that will need $2.8 trillion to pay off their loans.

Any sensible American taxpaying citizen with even half a brain and can use a calculator knows that there is an extremely tough rocky road ahead, a huge price to pay, and most definitely additional tax increases required. This was the case even before our national debt was increased by our elected leaders from $9 Trillion to $20 Trillion in just 2 years. We have reached our credit card limits already and may not have enough. Who is going to give us this money? There is no more equity line available or assets to leverage. As of April 2010, our country’s combined personal, business and corporate assets are valued at $72 Trillion dollars. This includes the stock market valuations and we all know what that would be worth if there was a serious or even a rumored sovereign debt problem. The total of Federal, State, municipal, personal, business and corporate debt is $71 Trillion. We have on paper a positive $1 Trillion in assets. But the problem is we still have $20 Trillion in debt and still owe $108 Trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Does this make you understand the views of the Tea Party a little better?

It seems as if all of our elected politicians have either become like; Nero playing the violin and sipping champagne while Rome burns, or crew members of the Titanic arguing over how to reorganize the chairs on the deck. A more appropriate analogy of the actions of our political leaders is; the crew members of the Titanic looting, robbing and stealing from us before taking our life jackets and lifeboats all the while smiling to us telling us things are OK and they are saving and protecting us. A great movie to watch that further explains our country's economy, culture, society, political system and how we got here is

The insinuation and sheer madness of those in our country, that would laugh, joke and make fun of American citizen Tea Party groups that have legitimate concerns about national debt and the future of their country is appalling and embarrassing actually. They want to know why their government continues to spend more money and discuss even more programs.

The extreme polarization, differences, increasing antagonism, brewing resentment and irrational interpretations by the political parties and our media that is happening in our country is just the beginning. Just wait till the time when we can't borrow more, or interest rate costs increase enough to consume a majority or all of our current or projected revenues. We can’t keep printing money either, or the dollar will become virtually worthless setting off massive price inflation. Any of these events occurring will be the time when the hard decisions and the real hardball politics and finger pointing starts. Who to pay and why, and who to cut and why. Thus, a form of economic triage of decisions that will be made that possibly could literally mean life and death for many. In the meantime, it’s still easy to maintain status quo using the credit cards and fighting over how to spend trillions of borrowed money.

We are at a crossroads that cannot be compared to any other time in history. We are entering just the first phase that will indelibly redefine our future.

Note: Mr. Badolato currently serves as chairman, CEO of the Renewable Corporation. He has extensive experience in venture capital, technology transfer, and development stage start-up companies. You can check his company out at:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Research shows that 78% of Americans don't trust Central Government: A Look into the Game of Spin Control

by Mark Baker

This morning's MSNBC lead story is a feature by AP Reporter Liz Sidoti titled "Poll: 78% don't trust Big Government. Sidoti's article is based on the results of poll research released yesterday by the respected Pew Research Center. The results of the research don't paint a pretty picture for Obama and the rest of 'Team Thug,' as Sidoti writes:

"The poll released Sunday illustrates the ominous situation facing President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party as they struggle to maintain their comfortable congressional majorities in this fall's elections. Midterm prospects are typically tough for the party in power. Add a toxic environment like this and lots of incumbent Democrats could be out of work."

Imagine my surprise then (NOT), that these research results didn't show-up as a 'Lead Feature' on any of the old 'Big Three' TV News Networks, ABC, CBS, or NBC, although FOX did feature it. Keep in mind that major Poll Research doesn't develop in a perfect vacuum and as such, there findings are generally known by professional news-people before the general public. This 'cushion period' allows time for the wire-service reporters to write articles to 'package' the info in. Generally speaking, these releases are fairly straightforward in nature due to the fact that the research stands for itself.

By now, most everybody's heard of term, 'Spin.' Broadly speaking, Spin is ones attempt to re-paint, or manipulate a piece of information (be it 'hot-off-the-presses, or historical in nature), to best serve one's agenda or interests, or in many cases, to 'control damage' that result from the data's public release.

Two of the most common means to 'Spin' news or data, is to 'Wring-In,' or 'Wring-Out' false or weak arguments either for or against the original premise of the subject or material in question. Without exception, one of the best examples of obviously nefarious wringing-in and wringing-out Spin Control regards the left's relentless campaign to misinterpret the meaning of our Constitution's Second Amendment.

Try as they will to spin -and frighteningly enough, to some extent successfully twist the writers intent or meaning-of it, inasmuch as far too many otherwise intelligent people have been fooled into viewing the 'militia' verbage as ambiguous where in fact it is not. The debate is over whether that amendment protects private, individual ownership of firearms or whether it means something else. Typically, people who favor gun ownership take the first position, as do many legal scholars who study the Constitution on an objective basis that concentrates on division and assignment of rights and responsibilities between 'The People,' 'The State,' and 'The Central Government.' Opponents of gun ownership on the other-hand, subjectively argue that the amendment protects only the right of the states to form militias or National Guard units.

I've digressed here from the original topic only to share a well-known example of 'Spin' by those who wish to ignore or undermine our Constitution in pursuit of their own objectives. NOTE: I will offer more background on the 2nd Amendment battle in a future post.

Back to the Pew Research findings -78% of Americans don't trust Washington- and what we can learn regarding the manner its' findings are being (or NOT being) shared in the media.

I find it very interesting (and revealing) to consider that while all four major private media outlets (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) ALL posted the Pew Research Findings on their internet news links, but from what I've seen, only FOX has released it in BOTH their internet and TV outlets? The burning question that should be asked of the other three is WHY? I offer as consideration, the possibility that their motives are based on the difference between the 'Audience Demographics' of the two mediums, Internet vs. traditional TV. I would speculate that perhaps the reason is based on institutional racism and audience control* (*which I'll expand on later in this post).

While Fox and MSNBC, to their credit, feature the Pew Research findings very prominently in their internet feeds today, CBS and ABC do not:

CBS buried the story under 'Additional Political News (requiring an additional click) whereas one on their site would first be 'informed' about the Iceland Volcano, the American Country Music Awards and even a demented 'Thong & Panty Theif' busted at Michigan State University.

ABC meanwhile, leads with a worthy piece on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, but nowhere can one see the Pew Research findings -although if you scroll down to their 'Politics' area, you'll find a lead featuring Obama and Barbara Boxer in a loving embrace, as well as links to stories on 'Senate nearing a Bi-Partisan Climate Bill', 'Obama taking Financial Reform on the Road', 'Clinton on Rush...', AND an apologist link titled, 'Clinton: I was Wrong to Listen to Wrong Advice Against Regulating Derivatives.' I'm not lying, check it for yourself on the ABC News website right now (in their 'Politics' section which can be found right after their 'Recipes' Section).

'Institutional Racism' & Audience Control: As I mentioned earlier, I personally feel that the various media outlets cynically make their 'news-dissemination' decisions based upon either maximizing, or minimizing the 'impact' of the information on their target demographic audience. They realize that on average, people get the bulk of their information from different sources based on differing demographic factors. They also realize that the factors that make-up these demographic differences are fluid in nature, and thus 'adjust the feeder-spouts' occasionally so as to control not only what their target audience gets to feed on from their plate, but also how it's prepared for them (to ensure better control the digestion perhaps?).

I view their desired 'control' over any demographic group as being Institutionally Racest in nature in that they desire to see certain 'approved behaviors' practiced by those within their 'control groups.' Rewards (often in the form of legitimacy, or additional wide-coverage) are sprinkled upon those who do and say as they are supposed to; examples being: Maxine Waters, John Conyers, Charlie Rangle, and Jocelyn Elders, etc., while those within the demographic who 'dare to deviate from the accepted dogma of the controllers, are demonized and attacked as 'Uncle Toms,' or worse; examples being: Alan Keyes, JC Watts, Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams.

For example, in 2000, research indicated that less than 50% of Black and Hispanic Americans had daily access to the internet, so the 'Big Three' (CBS, NBC and ABC) were relatively comfortable in knowing they could by and large control the 'news' that that demographic population received through their traditional TV medium.

However, as I've stated, demographics are constantly changing due to many forces, and by 2003, a research study by Grumwald & Associates showed a 314% increase from 2000 figures in internet access by young black American students, and lesser but still significant increases by other minorities. Thus 'control' of these demographic groups were allowed to be exposed-to became a a much harder game to play.

While I've emphasized the white-liberal-elite control over willing-black-liberal-followers thus far, that by no means that the Big-Government/Big-Media cabal doesn't also target every other ethnic group and race, for it's an 'Equal Opportunity Oppressor' in function and design. When it says to you: "It rubs the lotion on its skin." You better be rubbing or look out! If you're white and respond with "No thanks," you can expect to be called all sorts of names and such. However, if you are Black or Hispanic and DARE to not march in lockstep fashion, you can expect to be attacked relentlessly at every side without ceasing.

Like an onion, the truth makes itself known after one takes time to peel-back a few layers. If you want a clear (albeit sad and disgusting) example of institutional racism, look no further than 'Planned Parenthood,' and its founder, Margaret Sanger, a venerable bastion of liberal (eg. Socialist) admiration and unquestioned support:

This 'Game,' or attempted control goes on every day. Few people today remain naive enough to believe that news-outlets, be they from the left or right of the political spectrum are unbiased. Be they the major electronic players, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, or PBS, or the major print players such as Time, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, etc., they all play the numbers and adjust accordingly, in their attempt to control what you get to see and how you interpret it. This is why many and an ever-growing number of Freedom-loving, Constitutionalist Americans of all races, and socio-economic classes are comming to view the Blog World as the last true (or 'New-Born') Free Press in America.

Not only does the viral expansion of the internet and it's affiliated 'Blogasphere' serve to protect and defend the premise of Free Thought here in America, but causes tyrants to quiver in fear the world over as they feel the loosing of their death-grip upon the Free Thought of Free People.

In closing, I'd like to share the thoughts of one of my hero's, Thomas Jefferson:

"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823. ME 15:491

"The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves, nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384

"The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper." --Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632

NOTES: If you read my posts, please take an additional moment to rate them below here (you won't break my heart if you don't like it, lol). Also, I would appreciate your comments as well. This helps contribute to constructive dialog which is something Free Societies like ours should partake in.

Press On,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My '70's Nastalega

by Mark Baker

I recently 'misplaced' my cell phone for the better part of a day, the end result of which caused me to reflect on how much things have changed since I was a kid. But, before I get too far ahead of myself, back to the missing cell phone...

I, like millions of other 'Clip-the-Cord' folks today, a couple years back, decided it made little sense to pay both a cell AND land-line bill, so I 'went bare.' That's all good until the day you realize you don't have your cell and have no damn idea what you did with it. Suddenly one begins to miss that good old land-line, because even if it had a 73 foot line (like the one our Mothers had with their kitchen phones), you could always find it by 'reeling it in.'

Yeah, I know, nobody has had a corded land-line (or will admit to it) for years, but even the cordless ones could be found by idiots like myself by simply hitting the 'Ring Alert' button whereupon it would cry out from beneath the pile of clothes you just dumped on the couch.

After searching absolutely everywhere I had been that day, I notified my FaceBook Friends of my predicament so as to apologize to anyone trying to call me and that I'd get back to them as soon as it turned up -this was a slightly disingenuous statement in that I KNEW without any doubt that 'some PUNK' must have stolen my phone at some point (because I'm simply too smart to loose it myself, right)!

Anyway, after completing my near county-wide search, I remembered that I'd put a load of wash in hours before, after getting back home from meeting friends at lunch and that I'd forgotten to transfer them into the dryer. So down into the dungeon I went and what do I discover atop the box of Spartan-Brand Dryer Sheets, next to 'Scraps' the sleeping Cat? Why of course, my missing cell phone! I had to laugh at myself because I didn't remember carrying the thing down there, but really couldn't allow myself to believe that, that same mystery punk, after going to all the trouble of steeling my phone, would then be dumb enough to sneak it into the basement to place next to the sleeping cat. I considered the cat for less then 30 seconds, before my superior intellect told me he couldn't be the culprit as he lacks the necessary opposable thumbs to pull-off such a caper.

It was at that point that I remembered back to loading the washer, where I realized that there was still some 'room' in there for more stuff, so I pulled-out my belt, which caused my cell-phone and holder to fall to the floor, dropped my pants and threw 'em in (they were actually still clean, but what the hell, a guys gotta get his moneys-worth out of the 'Arm & Hammer' Soap People, right)! I STILL do not remember picking-up the phone off the floor or placing it atop the dryer-sheets, but I must have because again, the cat lacks thumbs and really prefers Milk-Jug Rings to cell phones anyway.

That experience caused me to consider how much easier AND how much more complicated our lives have become since we were kids in the 60's and 70's. I mean, it would have been unheard of to 'loose ones phone.' How the hell could that happen when it was mounted TO THE WALL! Likewise, anyone who'd of dared wax-on in public about the need to replace their 'Floopy' with a 'Hard Drive,' MIGHT have found themselves getting a visit by the County Sheriff; and 'Wee' was what we boys did behind trees when we were too busy playing WhiffleBall in the street to run home.

We didn't have 11,872 channels to 'surf,' we had THREE! Oh, excuse me for not being 'Politically Inclusive,' that's TRACE to you Amigo! Three damn channels, 6, 10 and 12; CBS, NBC and ABC (two and a half actually, as 12 was usually foggy, however their commentators, such as Chris Schenkle {RIP} made up for it by always wearing hideous bright-plaid sport coats in yellow or green that allowed you to see 'em through the fuzz). We're talking the high-tech world of VHF baby! Oh sure, if you wanted, you could maybe double the number of channels available by switching over to UHF, but UHF always seemed to feature odd programs put on by odder-looking people with really bad hair.

Back in our day, you didn't compare equipment in terms of Gigs, or Bandwidth, no way. There was no cable, and the only folks with access to satlites were those in NASA or SAC. It was all about Brand and Model-name baby! To tune their tubes, my Aunt & Uncles had the inferior 'Tenna-Rotor U-100's' by Alliance. You'd work 'em by turning that big tanish knob with a red-line. You'd crank that puppy so far and it would go 'CheePonk,' 'CheePonk,' 'CheePonk,' until it reached the stop point. It was loud and it was SLOW! We, on the other-hand, had the fancier 'WhisperJet-5000' by 'ChannelMaster' of course. It was a MONSTER of a unit; came complete with a warning to not place it too close to the edge of the TV console (Console TV's are a subject for a future blog) because if it should topple-off, it's weight would surly break foot bones, or kill a family pet. It had a hand-sized dial that you'd turn so far and the whole thing would 'BUZZ' (not really a whisper, but more like an irritating synthesized gas-leak sound) until it arrived to it's stop.

Regardless of brand, everybody had little pieces of tape or 'magic-marker' marks on their dials for the various 'sweet spots.' The 'WhisperJet' wasn't THAT MUCH faster than the U-100 Tanna Rotor -in fact a Consumer Report comparison actually established that it was SLOWER than the U-100- but who cared because only odd-balls read Consumer Reports, plus, the ChannelMaster 'WhisperJet-5000' looked like something that came right out of the Starship Enterprise, while the U-100 looked like it was pried off the Dash of your Grandpa's old DeSoto FireFlite.

My Dad's side of the family, were 'Curtis Mathis' people ("the most expensive TV, and darn well worth it." {when it wasn't back in the shop for frequent repairs that is}), while my Mothers side tended to be a hodge-podge of Zenith, RCA, and Magnavox folk. We were Magnavox people till RCA came out with 'Instant-On' technology (which really only meant that the damn thing never actually turned-off, but you could buy 43,000 KW of monthly juice from the local power company for between $10-$15 per, so what the heck). The RCA's with 'IO-TECH' never came close to getting as sharp a picture as the Magno's, but you could snap that puppy on/off like 237 times in one minute to beat your little brother's score (I know, because I DID); it's all in the wrist! lol.

Then, Christmas of '72, we became the envy of the tri-county area when Mom & Dad bought us an 'Atari PONG!' What totally sucked was that they played it for like three hours before my little brother and I could get at it, so I ended-up'accidently' shooting-out one of the garage windows with my slick new Crossman 760 Pump. The next day, I donned my little brother's new Yellow Tonka Construction Helmet and had him shoot me in the head with the Crossman (but ONLY 4-Pumps), thinking it would bounce-off (and assuming he didn't miss it altogether and put one into my face. The pellet hit the helmet just above and to the right of the 'Tonka' name.... went right through the plastic and buried itself into my scalp! My 5 year old brother and I dug that little .177 cal slug out of my head and stuffed the hole with 'Bag Balm.' I lived, and we made a pact to never tell Mom or Dad. Years later at a family get-together, 1987 or so, figuring the 'Whup-Ass Statute of Limitations' had expired, we decided it would be safe to tell Mom... We were wrong.

Ahhh, nostalgia...