About Crucis

I'm a retired telecom engineer, life NRA member, Amateur Radio Operator and Air Force vet. I created this blog at the urging of some folks who think I have an occasional thought. A liberal friend once described me as "being just to the right of Atilla the Hun." I thanked her for that description and told her I'd do my best to maintain her expectations.

Happy Birthday, USMC

Happy Birthday, US Marines!

The Marine Corps was created on November 10, 1775, in Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by a resolution of the Continental Congress. In 1834 the marines became part of the Department of the Navy.

The globe and anchor signify worldwide service and sea traditions. The spread eagle represents the nation itself. The motto is clenched in the beak of the bird.

To all you current, inactive and retired Marines,

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Mathew 25-21.

Cruz #1 in FOX’s Power Index

I get a number of newsletters each day from a number of sources. Most of them are repetitive and duplicate one another. One is from FOX, their Fox News First Daily Politics newsletter.

I have a growing distaste with some of the FOX mainliners, mostly Brit Hume and Charles Krauthammer. Both are GOP establishment propaganda artists. However, the mainline reporting of the news on FOX is still “Fair and Balanced.”

One feature of this daily newsletter is their political power index—which candidate has the most potential coming out #1 for the GOP nomination—the survivability factor.  I admit, I’ve been skimming this for a while. But today, FOX actually gave a brief explanation of the index.  It’s worth reading and the same for their analysis.

The article begins with an analysis of Jeb’s campaign and his reported long-term plans—mainly to be a disrupter hoping to still be around when the dust settles. His recent attacks against Marco Rubio were examples according to the article.

But is it possible that Bush can knock out Rubio, Kasich, Christie and Carly Fiorina and be the last man standing to face the surviving member of the Donald TrumpBen CarsonTed Cruz tontine?

One of the reasons that Cruz continues to lead the index is that just such a scenario looks likely: An establishment candidate who emerges badly damaged by Bush’s attacks – or is Bush himself – proves unable to contend with the well-funded, well-organized Cruz, who continues to look best situated to survive his bracket.

Bush’s strategy involves winning a civil war within a civil war before March. And then face not some late-breaking Huckabeatific candidate scrambling to raise funds and build out staff but rather a juggernaut with cash reserves. Carson raised $10 million last month alone and is building a sizable campaign. Cruz may have close to $100 million when all is said and done.

But is it technically possible that Bush could survive the second civil war and destroy the conservative wing’s candidate or that the conservative would belatedly self-destruct? Yes, technically.

After that long ugly slog, though, what are the chances that Bush would be able to turn and pivot to fight a successful general election campaign against Hillary Clinton? She’s wrapping up her nomination now, and would be ready to unleash hell on her fellow dynastic claimant.

An establishment candidate without an electability argument for the general election is like a turtle without a shell: squished too easily. And that’s why the donors who made Bush into the $100 million man will now withhold the money he needs more desperately than ever.

1) Ted Cruz; 2) Marco Rubio; 3) Ben Carson; 4) Carly Fiorina; 5) Donald Trump; 6) Chris Christie [+2]; 7) John Kasich; 8) Jeb Bush [-2]; 9) Mike Huckabee [+1] ; 10) Rand Paul [-1]

On the radar –Bobby JindalRick SantorumLindsey GrahamGeorge PatakiJim Gilmore

— Fox Newsletter, November 2nd, 2015.

I am a Cruz supporter. I also like a number of the other candidates—Carson, Jindall, Fiorina and more distantly Rubio. I can accept any of them as the GOP candidate.

The power index has Trump as #5. While I can understand why he’s popular—and I agree with many of his statements, he’s become an artist of hyperbole and when pressed for specifics, doesn’t answer. I do applaud his tax plan. At least he has one and many others don’t. I like a flat tax—as long as there are no exceptions in the plan, nor specific taxes on a particular segment of taxpayers.

Ben Carson knocked Trump out of the lead in Iowa. It’s one state and too early to tell if it is a trend in other states.

One of Carson’s strengths, as well as for Trump, is that he’s seen as a Washington outsider. That is also true of Cruz. Yes, Cruz is a sitting Senator. He’s also been that lone voice speaking for the country and conservative values with occasional support by Rand Paul and to a lesser extent from Marco Rubio.

Cruz has an enviable track record. That’s a steep hill to climb for Carson or Trump, even for Rubio whose credentials are not, from a conservative viewpoint, as good as that of Cruz. Rubio is still tainted by his pronouncements on illegal immigration and favoring open borders. The whole immigration and open border issue will be critical in the coming years. We’re being invaded and Obama and the democrats are allowing that invasion. Rubio is on the wrong side of the issue.

So, for me, it’s Cruz all the way…and according to FOX’s Power Index, he has the funds and determination to win through to the nomination. I’ve seen nothing to say or indicate otherwise.

 

Same ol’, same old.

Some of my readers have asked when I’ll restart my blog. It’s a good question and one that I still can’t fully answer. Call it writer’s block, or call it disgust, or call it boredom of the “same old, same old.”

My politics have not changed. I’m still conservative, much more so than some whom I thought were also conservatives but who turned out to be nothing more than opportunists for personal power. I’m still a Ted Cruz supporter although I like Carson and Jindall, too.

Not much has changed. Trump still leads. Carson, Cruz and Fiorina follow. Jeb Bush continues to crater showing more and more that he’s nothing more than a democrat masquerading as a ‘Pub.

Trump continues to be in the lead. He still continues to be in the lead since his first public denouncement of illegal aliens and open borders. He was right and people flocked to him much to the surprise and fear of the GOP establishment.

Could I vote for Trump? I don’t know. I do not believe Trump has any core values other than the advancement of Trump. But—that is also true of most politicians. Nothing new there. The real question is if Trump’s goals and agendas are sufficiently in sync with ours? If so, great. But I’m still concerned that Trump is nothing more than a supporter of the current crony politics in Washington.

So, what it there to write about? Very little. I did see this piece from FOX News this morning. It could be prophetic.

Carson leaps in N.H. – In a new Boston Herald poll of New Hampshire GOP voters, Ben Carson took second place to frontrunning Trump at 16 percent, a 12 point jump from the Herald’s August poll. Carson also made gains in favorability, topping the GOP pack at 69 percent, a 14 point jump from August.

“I think the question is, whether when people begin to fall by the wayside …where their support goes and whether somebody emerges as the leading alternative to [Donald Trump]. Now, that could be Ben Carson, which would make sense in a way because after all, another constant in this cycle so far on the Republican side has been the enchantment with outsiders. And I don’t mean people who have been sort of outsiders within the system, I mean complete outsiders which is what Trump is. And it’s also what Ben Carson is.” – Brit Hume on “The Kelly File” Watch here.

Brit Hume, whom I once liked, is nothing more than a poster boy for the business as usual GOP establishment. Given that, when he speaks about the growing popularity and power of the outsider candidates, you can tell he’s worried. The establishment (note: lower case ‘e’. I do not capitalize the name of organizations I despise,) is now pushing Rubio as the establishment choice. He’s marginally better than Bush except for his support of illegal aliens and amnesty.

So, the jury is still out whether I’ll return to blogging. If I do, it won’t be with the frequency I once maintained.

Goodbye, Farmer Frank

The blogging and shooting world is small, it seems. When we lose one, it affects all of us who knew him. The ripples of the announcement continues to spread: Frank James has left us.

Who is Frank James? He was an Indiana farmer, a blogger, shooter, gun writer, consultant and contributor to several gun magazines and outdoor TV shows, and death to feral hogs. He was also a true gentleman, husband and father…and a friend to almost everyone he met.

My wife and I first met him at a gathering of Indy area bloggers. Frank sat across from me at a long table and we talked for quite some time. Frank was a crop farmer. As a gift to those at the gathering, he filled the back of his pickup with freshly picked corn. Mrs. Crucis brought home a full bag of corn. Frank was generous with the product of his labor.

I met Frank a few times after that. The last was at the St. Louis NRA convention. Frank and I, bloggers both, had media credentials. We met again during a break in the media room. Frank talked about his latest muscle-car, one that he’d driven to St Louis from his farm in northern Indiana.

Some time later, I heard that Frank had suffered a severe stroke. Followup reports indicated that he was recovering albeit slowly. Then I saw this notice, shared on FB by some mutual friends of Frank.

Frank_James

Frank James, 69, Wolcott, IN

Frank W. James, 69, of Wolcott, passed away at 7:34 p.m. Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at his home surrounded by his family.

He was born April 24, 1946 in Lafayette to the late Harold “Pete” and Ruth Irene (Wurzbacher) James and was a 1964 graduate of Remington High School. He graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Agricultural Economics in 1968.

His marriage was to Cathy Gudeman on January 22, 1977 in the Wolcott Christian Church; she survives.

Frank published thousands of articles over seven countries during his career as a writer. He published five books and was awarded the Anschutz Outstanding Writer of The Year Award in 1994. He was an expert outdoorsman with a passion for adventure and travel. He also owned and operated farms in the White County area for over 45 years. Frank created the White County Shooting Sports 4H Program and hosted Davidson’s Gallery of Guns on the Sportsman Channel as well as appearing on Gun Stories that airs on The Outdoor Channel.

He was an active shooting competitor, having shot in The Masters International Tournaments and USPSA (IPSC) competitions. He and his wife were longtime members of Palestine Christian Church and he also served on the Wolcott Library Board for several years.

Goodbye, Frank. Feral hogs in Texas still fear you.

A Busy Weekend

I suppose some of you have noticed I’ve not been following my usual five posts per week this summer. There’s been a number of reasons for my reduced output.

  • Burnout from politics and my growing dissatisfaction with the GOP at all levels.
  • My decision to upgrade my Ham radio antenna system. A tree had grown to envelope my old vertical antenna.
  • Building a backup HF antenna, a 40M OCF dipole.
  • Taking off for a trek through the backroads of most of the western states that lasted most of July.
  • Passing a kidney stone after we returned home from our trek.
  • Upgrading my ham ticket from Advanced to Extra.
  • Move and reinstall my vertical antenna.

I’ve completed all those tasks except for the last and I’m close to finishing that.

This last weekend, I knocked off that next to last bullet on the list. I’ve been an Advanced class Ham for over 40 years, since 1971. It was time to upgrade.

Gordon_West_Extra_Class_Cover

Gordon West’s Extra Class License Manual

The class was hectic. It wasn’t a “class” per sé. It was a crash-review of all 700+ questions in the Extra class question pool. I had been studying for the test, off and on, since last Spring. I had both the ARRL Extra Class license manual and the Gordon West manual.

It is much easier studying today than studying for a FCC exam in the 1970’s.

At that time, the questions weren’t published. The only “public knowledge” questions were those whom test-takers could remember after leaving the FCC office and some group collected.

This was the second time I had passed the Extra Class written test. When I took the test to upgrade from Novice, I, like all the other hams at that time, took the test at a FCC office under the eyes of one or more of the FCC engineers. In my case it was the Kansas City FCC office (apparently soon to be closed, I hear.)

There were two engineers giving the test that Saturday in 1971. I knew both of them, not that that helped me any. Instead, their expectations of me were much higher.

There was a large crowd of hams at the FCC office that Saturday. I don’t remember how many, now; more than twenty, I believe. The usual practice was to give the Morse code test first and then, if you passed the code test, you were given the written test. That Saturday, there were too many Hams to be tested to follow the normal test pattern (plus the FCC office closed at noon. We had to be finished by that time.)

We lined up and, like many of us did in the military, counted off by twos. The “Ones” filed off to take their code test. The “Twos” went into a classroom to take their written tests. I was a “Two.”

As a Novice, I had to take the General/Technician test first. Then if I passed, I could take the Advanced test and the Extra. The senior engineer belonged to the same ham club as did I. He gave me my test sheets and kept me under his eye.

I quickly finished the General test and passed it. There was still time available so he stuck the Advanced test under my nose and said, “Take this, too.” I did.

Looking back, I thought the Advanced test was easier than the General test. I still had some free time. The other group was still taking their code tests.

The Morse code tests started at 5wpm for those wanting a Tech license, followed by the 13wpm for those seeking a General and Advanced class license. There were a few going for Extra. They were still waiting to take their 20wpm test.

Rather than sit around in the classroom doing nothing or wandering around in the lobby and having passed the General and Advanced test, my FCC friend gave me an Extra class test and said, “Do this one, too.” I hadn’t studied for the Extra class license, but I found many of the questions were similar to those on the General and Advanced tests, just more so.

I passed it. I don’t know by how much. My friend wouldn’t say, so I suspect I was a squeaker. I do remember his firm handshake when I passed it.

By that time, the code group had finished and it was my turn. In the 1970s the code test was generated by a machine reading a paper tape. It was perfect code running exactly as the required speeds. It was also 5-letter code groups. In later years, the code test became a multiple-choice test. I wasn’t interested in a Tech license and no one in our half of the group did either. We started off directly at 13wpm.

To pass the test you had to correctly copy “x” numbers of characters in a row. I had been using the on-air ARRL code practice sessions and was confident that I could pass 13wpm. I did. Since I had passed the Extra class written test, I took the 20wpm code test. As I recall, I needed to copy 100 characters correctly in a row. I gave my copy sheet to the engineer giving the code tests. He had a template that he used to grade the test. He kept shifting it all over my code sheet looking for that magic 100 correct characters.

He could only find 98.

So, I didn’t get my Extra class license that day. I went home an Advanced class. I never tried to retest for Extra until this last weekend.

Sometime in the Spring, I saw on Larry’s List, a ham radio email list, that our local W5YI group was scheduling a class for Extra in August 2015. That class was held this last weekend. I attended and passed the Extra class test late yesterday.

My timing is perfect. My test will be sent to the W5YI coordinator for confirmation and processing and then sent to the FCC. Usually, it would take about ten days to two weeks for my upgrade to appear in the FCC database.

But, as I said, my timing is perfect. The FCC will be taking their database down next week for maintenance. No 10-14 day turn-around for me. No, I expect I’ll have to wait two to four weeks for the FCC to work through the backlog.

Regardless, I passed. After forty years.

Ramblings

When Mrs. Crucis and I took our trek last month, we expected to see a cross-section of America. We saw some of the best of our nation and some of the worse.

We love the mountains and the deserts of the South West. One of our favorite areas is the Four-Corners area where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico meet. It is also the location of the Navajo Nation, a third world nation, poverty stricken, and dependent on federal welfare, a reservation where the only new buildings are those built or underwritten by the feds. All else is ramshackled and dilapidated and most of the housing is either rusting mobile homes or decaying federally funded public housing.

The Navajoes have a rich culture. One that appears to be incompatible with that of the rest of the country. It seems to affect the Navajoes more than the other tribal areas we traveled through in Utah, Idaho and Montana. The Blackfoot reserivation in Montana was clean, neat and well-kept. They have the same problems with drugs and alcoholism as do many reservations, but they also have a viable community. The Blackfoot Reservation was remarkedly different from the Navajo Reservation.

The Navajoes culture is dying. When we traveled through Shiprock, NM, we stopped at a (federally underwritten) strip-mall. There was a gift shop that Mrs. Crucis wanted to visit and we needed to stock up on edibles. We usually fixed sandwiches for lunch when traveling.

Next to near the entrance of the grocery was a bulletin board. While waiting for Mrs. Crucis, I scanned the notices, sale items, people looking for rides to one destination or another, handyman flyers looking for work…and a notice from the Navajo Tribal Government looking for people to teach the Navajo language to the younger members of the tribe.

That saddened me. The loss of the language and its culture wasn’t due to assimilation, it was due to purposeful neglect. The feds refuse to allow Navajo to be spoken in schools. The younger generation, those who still remain, don’t speak it in their day-to-day life. The older generation is dying off. The language is headed for extinction.

Contrast the economy of the Navajo reservation with that of Utah, Idaho, Montana and to a lesser extent, New Mexico. In Utah, the homes were well kept and maintained. Nearly every yard had a well-kept, neatly mowed and trimmed lawn. Due to the climate, many were small, some only 15’x15′. But the care and effort to maintain the home was well evident. Mrs. Crucis loves Utah, it is one of her favorite states.

I was struck with Darby, Montana. Montana has no state sales tax; no sales tax at all. On the other hand, there appeared to be a casino around every corner with a pawn shop within walking distance. We saw more casinos and pawn shops in Montana than in any other state in our travels.

What struck me about Darby was seeing three gun-shops in a three-block stretch of town. That’s my kind of town.

On the political scene, to differences are just as obvious. The moral and political corruption of the establishment parties in Washington are becoming incompatible to the conservative core outside of the DC beltway. It matters not if that establishment is Dem or ‘Pub. Both are rotten.

The ‘Pub establishment fears Trump, Cruz, Walker and the other conservative candidates more than they do Hillary, Sanders, O’Malley and Biden. The ‘pub establishment believes they can work with the dems. We already see that in the actions of McConnell and Boehner.

Sadly, the infection is present at the state and local levels as well. The Republican Party is dying. There may be a period of remission if Cruz, or Walker, or one of the conservative insurgents win the nomination and the Presidency. But the sickness is still present in DC.

A conservative President would have to fight both the dems and the ‘pubs in Congress. I doubt that he could prevail unless he chooses to use some of the same tactics as has Obama. Using Executive Orders to bypass Congress, for instance.

Ted Cruz has declared that if he wins the nomination and the Presidency, one of his first acts would be to rescind every illegal Executive Order issued by Obama. I think he should go further and rescind all EOs issued by Obama and some from G. W. Bush, too. That act alone would reverse a corruptive trend in government started by Teddy Roosevelt.

Before TR, a President issued an Executive Order rarely. Those EOs, were issued when Congressional approval wasn’t available, when action was needed immediately. Later, the EO would be presented to Congress for approval. Some were approved, some were disapproved and the EO was rescinded.

It is time for the use of Executive Orders to end. It is time for the political establishment of both parties to end as well.

Is it time of a new party, a third party to give conservatives a choice? I’m unsure. The ‘Pubs have one last chance to survive, to end the rule of the Establishment and return government to the people instead of the Washington political elite.

I’m supporting Ted Cruz. Nearly everyone I meet and talk with does, too. Some like Trump because he says what they believe. I can understand that. I agree with much than Trump says as well but I don’t believe Trump would be a good president. He is as corrupted by power as is the Establishments in Washington.

When we were traveling through New Mexico, the news of the EPA spill in Colorado that polluted the Animas River was announced. The prevailing opinion of the region’s residents is that the EPA purposely broke the dam that caused the spill.

It was ironic that when John McCain visited the Navajo Nation a few days later, he was run off by the President of the Navajoes. The dependent children of Washington rebelled against one of the leading members of the Washington Establishment and ran him out of town.

It was a good day, when I heard that.

Anti-Constitutionalists

When Mrs. Crucis and I took off on our trek last month, we make one decision before we left. We would not enter Colorado. We would not spend any of our money in a state that has purposely violated the US Constitution.

We bypassed Colorado taking a route that passed through Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas to reach New Mexico. A few days later we made another decision. Head Northeast towards Cortez, CO to go toward Moab, UT, and Canyonlands NP, or head west towards Page, AZ and Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP. Sorry, Moab, we decided to skip you this time. We turned west into Arizona. On our return route home, we chose to head east on I-80 through Nebraska than use I-70 and drop through Colorado to Kansas.

Why did we make this decision? Because Colorado is infested—infested with those who purposely seek to violate the Constitution. The latest case is of the baker who refused to bake a cake for a ‘gay’ wedding because of his religious beliefs. The US Constitution’s first amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Colorado ignored the underlined portion of the 1st Amendment above. by ordering the baker to comply to the demands to bake, and therefore participate, a cake for the ‘gay’ wedding.

However, SCOTUS has already declared that portion of the 1st Amendment must apply to Colorado as does the rest of the Amendments. The US Supreme Court has declared that the US constitutional amendments (cite: McDonald v. City of Chicago) applies to the states as well as to the federal government.

The ACLU brought the original suit against the bakers and chose their target carefully; a small establishment unable to finance a strong defense. The bakers were unable to do so and the ACLU, abetted by the Colorado courts, has declared the “free exercise” portion of the 1st Amendment does not apply in Colorado. This viewpoint was expressly defeated in McDonald v. Chicago.

The Left likes to pick and choose when and under what circumstances they support the Constitution. They support free speech—when it is THEIR speech. They support free assembly—when it is their assembly and their riots. But when WE want to exercise OUR rights, our free speech, our free exercise of OUR religious beliefs, OUR right to assemble, to protest and petition government, then they do not support those same rights for us.

That is the reason we, as a family, chose to boycott Colorado. I would hope someone, some organization with sufficiently deep pockets helps those bakers appeal through the federal court system. They have a case.