Thursday, June 6, 2019

This is my Tribute / June 6, 2019 / to the World War II Vets / Thank you and God Bless

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." 
                                                               John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873) 

Battle of Normandy / Operation Overlord / D-Day 
Battle of the Bulge 
Battle of Okinawa 
Battle of Midway

And so many other places, some forgotten by history... 

 True Nelson

Saturday, May 18, 2019

True’s Miscellany: Corporation Taxes / Good or Bad / Sounds kind of boring, I know.

Recently, the State of Oregon passed a new tax on corporations (allegedly) to fund schools.  First, I have my doubts that the schools will see many of those dollars.  Most of the dollars will probably go to the general fund and to shore-up the grossly underfunded and poorly managed PERS program (Public Employee Retirement System). 

But... The subject is about taxing corporations.  Why am I discussing this?  Yes, I know it doesn’t seem to fit with my blog’s theme.  I suppose it’s timely, and anyway it was just on my mind this evening.

Politicians (whom, as I’ve said before, I hold in very low esteem) like to spin this new tax like it’s pretty much money from heaven with no strings attached.

Well, to answer the question as to whether or not taxing corporations is a good thing or a bad thing, it is neither.  It’s just another tax.  But please understand... 

Corporations do not pay taxes and they never have paid taxes!  People pay taxes.

What does that mean?  Corporations are business entities.  When Corporations are taxed, the Corporation simply adds the additional cost of the tax to the product produced; which, in turn, is paid by the individuals that ultimately purchase the product.  In other words, it is a stealth sales tax.  If a Corporation can’t pass the cost along to those who purchase their product, they must cut costs in other areas like laying off employees, cutting wages, robotics or automation – or, in some cases, deciding to produce the product in another country where labor costs are much less. 

So, if you favor higher taxes on Corporations, that’s fine.  Just understand that people (possibly you) will be paying the tab.

True Nelson 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Bravo! Jeff Thomas Black, Re: Neil Goldschmidt’s Portrait Hanging in Portland Oregon’s City Hall.

Hard to believe, I know.

I don’t visit the City Hall in Portland, Oregon very often.  Actually, I haven’t been there in many years.  But, can you believe that a portrait of Goldschmidt (onetime mayor) was still on public display - really, a self-confessed pedophile?

Well, Mr. Black took it down (stole it) and reportedly burned it.  A public service that ultimately led to his arrest by Portland police.

What can one say about this?  What do all of our past and present Democratic Mayors and Commissioners think when they have walked by the portrait?  If they were to comment, what would they have said?  Oh, perhaps: ‘Well, boys will be boys.’  'Or, maybe, he was a good mayor - sexual deviancy aside.'  Yes, and in response, I would respond hypocrites ‘one and all’.

I don’t know Jeff Thomas Black.  I’m not sure of all his motivations regarding the portrait of a disgraced politician, Goldschmidt.  I just would like to say that the removal of said portrait was long overdue.  And, hopefully, there will not be a replacement forthcoming.

One other thing.  It is to be assumed that the Portland prosecutor will treat Mr. Black with a modicum of respect and leniency.  At least in my opinion.

Read my previous blog post for a little more information on Neil Goldschmidt.  See hyperlink below.

True Nelson

Background information on Goldschmidt

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Mother and three young children begging, a bitterly cold day, Oregon City, OR

It was a bitterly cold day in Oregon City, Oregon.  A mother and her three children were 'begging' (Is that too harsh of a term for the circumstance?) at the entrance to a local shopping center. One child was in a stroller, the two other children had to be under nine or ten. The mother held a sign. I can't remember the precise wording - something about desperately needing help. 
I was driving and it wasn't appropriate to stop. It made me kind of sad and angry at the same time.  What has our society become?  Our governmental and charitable agencies seem overwhelmed. Many areas of the Portland Metro area are becoming virtual cesspools. However, I digress.  
The woman... she might have genuinely needed help. But begging is not the answer. Where is local law enforcement at times like this?  No, I'm not suggesting that she has, on the face of it, broken any laws.  Well, perhaps, one might consider the mother's actions a form of child abuse. I don't know. Personally, I think it is humiliating and shameful that a child is subjected to this.  It breaks your heart to see that sort of thing. 
Again, where are our local police?  There had to be patrols in the area.  Said woman needs to be interviewed, helped.  And asked... Why are you out here in the cold begging?  What is your situation?  What kind of help do you require?  Are you being forced to do this by someone else?  And, if her answers are evasive or not forthcoming, I think Child Protective Services should be notified without delay.  


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Oregon Senate Bill 501 / proposed by Oregon Legislature Members Rob Wagner & Andrea Salinas

According to Hillary Borrud’s Oregonian article (1/13/19) State legislators Rob Wagner D – Lake Oswego / Tualatin and Andrea Salinas D – Lake Oswego are going to attempt to run through a ‘gun law’ directed at Oregon’s law-abiding gun owners.  I’m speaking of proposed Senate Bill 501.

Who are these legislators?  Well, you can look it up.  Both Wagner and Salinas reside in Lake Oswego.  OK, that might tell us something.  But, what always troubles me is that those who generally represent us usually have no significant work experience outside politics.  Moreover, I doubt if either has any experience or training with guns – which appears blatantly obvious in their proposed law.

In their rationale (the justification for purposeful new gun laws) they (Wagner and Salinas) reportedly met with Oregon High School students after the Florida school shooting.  And, undoubtedly those local high school students gave them their best ideas for a new Oregon law. “It’s really an important message that we listen to students.”  OK, I suppose.  But, there was no indication in the article that said legislators have bothered to talk to any firearms experts, law enforcement individuals or even a single lawful gun owner.  I don’t know if they own a gun, but one could probably make a good guess on that.

“The legislation would also require people to undergo background checks before purchasing or sharing ammunition and would limit ammunition purchases to 20 rounds within a 30 day period…”

“It would ban magazines that hold more than five rounds of ammunition.”  “The bill exempts .22 caliber revolvers and any lever-action revolver.”  (Not sure what constitutes a lever-action revolver.  I thought I knew a bit about guns, but don’t recall coming in contact with a lever-action revolver - an antique perhaps owned by Rob or Andrea.)

Said proposed legislative bill “would require people to securely store their guns and report the loss or theft of a firearm to law enforcement within 24 hours.”

“If the proposal passes, people… could face severe penalties… anyone who possessed a firearm without a permit could be fined up to $6,250 and sentenced to up to 364 days in jail.”

Apparently, some of the above proposed law’s aspects must have come directly from high school students.  How else can one explain their inanity and lack of gun knowledge?  On the other hand, perhaps I have underestimated the high school students and overestimated Rob and Andrea.


Almost all, if not all, of the magazines in ‘semi-automatic pistols hold more than five rounds.’  This demonstrates the lack of gun knowledge by Wagner and Salinas; and the complete disinterest in even doing basic research.

‘Background checks before purchasing or “sharing” ammunition…’  Question:  Did the people in Lake Oswego knowingly vote for them… really?  Sharing?  Come on!

Folks, if gun laws (like described above) actually get placed in law, brace yourself for the eventual fee-structured licensing of all guns.  License each gun, pay the annual licensing fee, or turn them over for destruction.  Is that where we are headed?

And, Ladies and Gentlemen, this will apply to all of Oregon, not just Lake Oswego.

Is this what the Second Amendment had in mind?  Have Wagner and Salinas even read the Second Amendment?  Do they care?  Doubtful.

True Nelson

P.S.  You can view my ideas for effective gun control - in the sidebar of this blog.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

What is the FBI’s FD-302 that everyone is talking about relating to the trial of General Michael Flynn? A Former Agent’s Explanation.

This format (the FD-302) has been used by FBI Agents for decades (since the Hoover era); and largely the rules have remained the same.

The FD-302 is little more than a blank sheet of paper.  When Agents conduct interviews; and they might conduct numerous interviews in a single day.  They take notes.  They do not normally tape record interviews.  Why?  Because if you’ve ever done a recorded interview, you probably are aware that they can become inordinately long, containing unimportant and irrelevant information. Resultingly, they are labor intensive to transcribe and to read.

Attorneys love to use recorded interviews, normally considered to be ‘depositions.’  Such interviews by attorneys might go on for days; and take days or weeks to obtain the final transcriptions, which additionally require proof reading and corrections.  The FBI cannot justify such inefficiencies.  If you’ve ever worked for the Bureau, you will know said organization deals ‘in paper.’  An investigative file might typically be volumes.  If all interviews were recorded, you could increase the number of volumes by ten, maybe more; making them impractical to read or comprehend.

One other thing you should know is that the Bureau always have had a ‘Five Day Reporting Rule,’ which reportedly has been violated in the Flynn case; but I do not know all the details on that.  Said Rule requires the Agent to dictate for transcription from his or her notes, the findings of a particular interview, within ‘five business days.’  During my Bureau service, you could, probably would be, censured for not meeting the Five Day Rule.

In recent years, Agents are required to keep their ‘rough notes’ for an indefinite period of time.  This was not true when I was an Agent.  Then, once the 302 was completed, signed (accuracy verified) by the interviewing Agent or Agents (as well as received a Supervisor’s approval), the rough notes could then be destroyed.

The FBI does, at times, record interviews.  They should have recorded the Flynn interview, but decided that such action would inordinately undermine the 'covert' nature of their inquiry.

They should have recorded the Hillary Clinton interview; but, as we all know, that would have been politically indiscreet – dare we say the ‘fix’ was in on that one.

Why was Flynn not given his Miranda Rights, as is often customary?  Well, normally, Miranda is not required as long as the ‘person of interest’ or suspect is, or believes he is, free to go.  In other words, Flynn’s was not a custodial interview.

And then there is Judge Emmet Sullivan (Flynn's trial judge):  Well, he really let his bias show (kind of embarrassing) in suggesting that General Flynn might be the modern day equivalent of Benedict Arnold.

But, isn’t it interesting that with all the news coverage most folks do not know what alleged law was violated by General Flynn.  Was it for lying to an FBI Agent?  Was it failure to register as a ‘Foreign Agent’?

That said, other than Judge Sullivan, I don’t think anyone is seriously contemplating hanging the General for Treason.

Incidentally, Benedict Arnold escaped to the UK; and lived (sort of) happily ever after.

True Nelson

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Advice to my grandchildren / ON VOTING / not this year, but in the future.

Maybe my grandchildren will be interested in these comments in 12 years or so; they are still in grade school.

Nonetheless, while voting is on my mind, here goes. My opinion, I suppose, is not for wide consumption – as my wife (Gamma) often explains. However, I read. I listen. I have had many life experiences that are relevant. I think I am fairly well informed.

What do my peers think of my opinions? Well, actually, I must admit that no one particularly cares about my opinion. Perhaps my grandchildren will care one day, contemplate... or laugh. Hopefully, not the latter. A knowing but respectful smile would be appreciated.

Boys and wee girl, this is Grumpy** speaking. Listen up.

Here is what I know...

On Voting:

When you are old enough to vote, you are actually too young to vote. You are not an adult. Your life experience is limited. Your brain is still maturing. Therefore, listen to your elders, those you respect, unless, of course, they are college professors (the opinion of whom is generally clouded by too much schooling and too little actual work experience).

Voting is usually about voting for the candidate you dislike the least. You should assume that both candidates are of doubtful character or worse.

If you have a choice, never vote for a lawyer. I've worked with lawyers my entire professional career. With a few exceptions, they are without any sort of moral compass. It is not their nature (or legal training) to possess such qualities. By profession, lawyers are solely motivated by money or personal gain; and they will readily join, support, lie for and defend any person (serial killer, fraudster, corrupt business owner, etc, etc.) if, that is, the money or their personal promotion is sufficient. Politicians who are lawyers are not the exception. They are the 'rule.' I once read that politicians have a lower public approval rating than 'used car salesmen.' Actually, I think that is kind of unfair – comparing a hardworking used car salesman, just trying to make a living, to a politician selling access and favors to the highest bidder.

Nonetheless, I encourage you to vote if you know a modicum of history; and have read the U.S. Constitution – particularly the Bill of Rights. I might also recommend the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address (which I was required to memorize in high school).

Don't be swayed by campaign rhetoric. It's mostly lies anyway.

While I'm at it, a few other requests from Grumpy: Make me proud. Study in school, work hard in life, live healthy lives, and conduct yourselves by the Golden Rule – 'treat others like you would want to be treated.' Have I always lived by those tenets? No... I'm sorry to say that I do have regrets; but you have a fresh opportunity to be better than me.

Oh, and always stand proudly with your hand over your heart when our flag is displayed and the national anthem played. Countless men and women have died to preserve that flag. Always remember their sacrifice.  What's that got to do with voting?  Well, if you are willing to stand for the flag, I will have faith in your good judgment when it comes to voting.

** Grumpy:  This is what my grandchildren call me. It is somewhat counterintuitive in my opinion, but still brings me joy.

True Nelson

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Colin Kaepernick, NIKE (Money, Money), 'Believe in Something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.' … including integrity.

Well, I guess one might say that Colin Kaepernick has new found credibility due to Nike. Nike's think tank has given Kaepernick the promotional tag-line (in support of their Nike products)... “Believe in Something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

I'm trying to take it in stride – not a big deal. I don't really own a lot of Nike products anyway. And said company couldn't care less about the demographic that I inhabit.

“Believe in Something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

What exactly has Kaepernick sacrificed? Well, he thinks, as I understand it, that he should be playing football with the big boys – and he's not being picked.  Let's see, he's reportedly worth in excess of $20 million; and has been consistently on the Nike payroll for these many years. So, it's hard to feel real sorry for him. OK, I get it. He'd like to play and feels he can play at the NFL level. Maybe, he could. But, that's how it goes in the workplace. The CEO, the owner, the manager of a company or business can pick whoever they want (as long as there is no discrimination as defined under law – yes I get that part).  But, perhaps, the 'owners' feel Kaepernick would have a negative impact to their bottom line; and besides there is a lot of other good talent available.

Fortunately Colin (and count your many blessings), Nike picked you. And, it's easy money. No broken bones. No scrambled brain. I'm sure there are many in the NFL that would like to be in your shoes (Nike shoes I presume).

Nonetheless, the Nike tag-line is what annoys me. There are so many, particularly our combat vets, police officers, fire fighters, who have sacrificed EVERYTHING (including their arms, their legs, and their lives). What do their families think when they see this blatantly high praise applied to a football player? It is so demeaning, insensitive, even absurd to connect that inappropriate phrase to Kaepernick's imbroglio.

But I really don't blame him (Kaepernick that is). He didn't write the tag-line. So, Colin take the money. Don't feel the least bit guilty. Save some for your retirement. You've won the lottery of life. Good for you. I always try to tell myself that 'life isn't fair.' We see it every day. But, that is life. Right? Colin, just maybe, you were never destined to be in the Professional Football Hall of Fame. You were just destined to be rich. Nothing shabby about that.

No, the ones I fault, for unconscionable behavior, are the Nike executives who put forth this sham tag-line for the sake of making more money – at least that is what they are counting on. The 'ad,' reportedly, plays big-time with the demographic they nurture. And, lots of kids I suppose.

Are you aware that Phil Knight, one of the founders of Nike, is one of the 30 richest people in the world? Did you know that Mark Parker, the current CEO of Nike, earns approximately $47 million a year in salary and other tax sheltered options. How do you make that kind of money selling...? Well, you know what they sell. Do you know who actually made those products; and how much they were paid to make them? And where those laborers reside and how they live day to day? Look it up.

I have some Nike products, not many, but some. I'm not going to burn them – kind of silly. I do plan to put them in a bag and take them to the Salvation Army. Someone, less fortunate than me, might like to have them. I don't particularly want them anymore.

In fact, I've got an idea. Why don't all of you do the same? Kind of a mini, non confrontational protest. Gather up your Nike gear. Take it to the Salvation Army. They can distribute those items to the less fortunate, the 'homeless,' who are everywhere on Portland streets.

Even better, why don't we buy Nike products and give those products to the homeless. This would create two positive outcomes. Portland's 'homeless' population could be nicely outfitted in Nike shoes, shirts, hats, jackets, etc. And, more importantly, Nike's CEO, Mark Parker's income would not be needlessly impacted by some sort of misdirected boycott, or impetuous sell-off of Nike stock. A win, win. Everyone is happy. Well, almost everyone.

True Nelson

Monday, August 13, 2018

Jury Acquits FBI Special Agent Joseph Astarita - Accused of Lying about Two Mystery Shots Fired.

This was kind of an interesting trial here in Portland. The US Attorney seems to have put his foot in the bucket one more time. First it was the blanket acquittal of the Bundy Clan who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge – which, of course, ended with the law enforcement shooting death of Robert LaVoy Finicum. It was, undoubtedly, a painful defeat for the U.S. Attorney's Office; and now Agent Astarita walks.

In this most recent trial, Special Agent Joseph Astarita (member of the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team) was accused of firing two shots at Finicum's car – one hit the roof of the car, one missed completely – as Finicum's vehicle barrelled toward the police roadblock.

However, Astarita has steadfastly denied firing the two rounds. Some said he did. Others said he didn't. Astarita was tried for 'Making a False Statement' and 'Obstruction of Justice.' The jury decided that Astarita's guilt could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, the actual shooter of the mystery bullets officially remains undetermined.

I happen to agree, based on what I've read, with the jury's verdict. Am I absolutely certain that Astarita is innocent? Well, I wouldn't go that far.

As a former FBI Agent, I'm asked (and I hate to use the phrase made famous by Hillary Clinton – but here it is) 'what difference does it make?' Neither of the mystery bullets injured anyone, so what's the big deal?

Well, this issue isn't over. Not by a long shot (no pun intended). A 'wrongful death' civil trial is pending. If in said civil trial, the attorney representing the Finicum family could emphatically and aggressively state that FBI Agent Astarita inflamed the situation by firing first, they would be able to make a credible charge of 'contributory liability' on the part of the FBI.

As you might imagine, the FBI would like to avoid this. Finicum was shot and killed by an Oregon State Police Officer. The shooting has been ruled 'justifiable.' However, that ruling only goes so far. Therefore, the FBI would like very much to have a seat on the periphery of any potential civil trial and avoid any significant monetary damages awarded by a jury (not to mention public loss of reputation and credibility). On the other hand, attorneys representing the Finicum family will want to involve the FBI; and to include their substantial 'deep pockets' in any settlement. That said, it is extremely likely that after exhaustive negotiations, this matter will not go to court. The FBI and others will 'pony up' and the matter will be quietly closed.

Why did the local United States Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation agree to the prosecution of Astarita? Both agencies undoubtedly were aware that the case was weak. And as stated above, no person was harmed by the mystery bullets. Were local Feds pressured to proceed by the United States Attorney in D.C.? We'll never know the answers to these questions.

Moreover, does the public accept that justice was done? Or does the public believe it was much ado about nothing, and that a lot of taxpayer money was wasted?

Unfortunately, if Astarita is in fact innocent, I fear his career in the Bureau is over – one way or another. Why? Because both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney firmly believed he was 'not innocent.' That feeling will not go away anytime soon – or ever.

Post Script:  I've written several posts relevant to Astarita and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Take Over, as well as the Bundys.  You can find these posts by placing said names in the 'search box' on my blog's main page.

The following is one quick reference you might find of interest for background information:

True Nelson