Thursday, February 23, 2023

Let's Talk About Railroads And Derailments

Just like everyone else these days, I've been interested in the recent train derailments that have resulted in the huge catastrophe in Ohio and extremely horrible situations in other parts of our country. I have a special interest in derailments because, believe it or not, as strange as it might seem, I know a little bit about train derailments. 

As most of my long-time readers have heard me say many times over the years, I've had a few jobs in my life. Well, as hard as this may be for some to believe, I once worked for the railroad back in 1978. The fact is that in 1977, right after being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, I worked for a company that inspected and refurbished airbrakes for railroad cars. That company also made rubber brake hoses for trains and a few other things. I worked assembling those hoses and made thousands of them. It was a terribly boring job, but it paid the bills. Of course, I only did that work for three months before I was laid off because of cutbacks.  

The economy was in the tank in those days. And for a guy like me who didn't have a trade, and who was fresh out of the military, I was lucky to find a job. Since I was one of those guys who did anything honest to pay the bills and keep food on my table, I took whatever jobs that I could find. 

People today forget how it was in the late 1970s, but I haven't. It was a time of feckless Jimmy Carter and his focusing on everything other than what he needed to -- including the double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates, and double-digit unemployment that plagued our nation. 

It was the closest that America's economy had been to an actual Economic Depression since the Great Depression. The official inflation statistics claim that inflation was at about 7% in 1977, at almost 10% by 1978, and at almost 14% by 1979. Interest rates were at about 9% in 1977 and rose to about 12% by 1979. I remember it being much higher than that. As for unemployment? Supposedly the official unemployment rate was at about 8% by 1978. But in truth, I will never forget when the New York Times ran a story talking that almost 42 percent of the adult population in America was unemployed.

So, after working for that company for a few months, I was actually ready to back into the Marine Corps. In all honesty, it wasn't only the tough job market that was pushing me to return to the Marine Corps. The fact is I really didn't care for the civilian world. I especially didn't care for how my fellow Americans treated Veterans at the time. It was very popular, especially on college campuses, to spit at Veterans. It was "very cool" in those days to treat Veterans like trash. And yes, it was also very common for people who were running companies to go out of their way just not to hire Vets. 

I remember trying to get a warehouse job and the young man who looked over my application asked me for my discharge papers. I was told when leaving the Marine Corps that I should try to get a prospective employer to focus on my being an Instructor and a Sergeant -- instead of a rifleman. That didn't work and I'll always remember that young man looking me right in the face and laughing as he said, "We have no place for Veterans. But if we need a 'trained killer', a 'rifle-man,' we'll call you." 

I also remember putting an application in at a business where I was told to put down that I was in a college overseas, "anywhere overseas," instead of the military for those four years. I was told that was better than putting down that I served my country -- especially since the head of Human Resources for that company hated Veterans.  

So now, if you're now asking yourself, why would I want to return to the Marine Corps and again be ready to fight for such an America? Well, the answer is one that has never changed. I knew in my heart that the majority of Americans out there aren't like those who treated me like crap. I also wrote it off to my being in the San Francisco Bay Area which hasn't been representative of America for decades.  

So, did I re-enlist? No, because I didn't have to. The fact is, after I was laid off, my old foreman talked me into giving the civilian world another chance. He was a World War II Veteran and he didn't like how Vets were being treated at the time. To help me, he actually referred me to a friend for a job. 

It was after I left working on train airbrakes and making those train brake hoses that I went to work for Western Pacific Railroad. I remember how it was when I showed up at the head office of Western Pacific Railroad in San Francisco. I was given a name of a man who I was supposed to see about a job. And frankly, I had no idea what sort of job it was going to be. But that didn't matter as long as it was a job.

When I walked in the door, there was a sign on the receptionist's desk that said, "Not Taking Applications." As I turned around to walk out, I was stopped and asked for my name. After I gave the secretary my name, she led me to the man that I was sent there to see. From there, he gave me an application to fill out and then sent me to a medical clinic in Oakland for a back x-ray. Once the x-ray came in, I was instructed to go to the Western Pacific Railroad's repair yard in Milpitas and give an envelope to the yard foremen. 

When I showed up, I handed the foreman and he told me that I started work the next day. He also told me what I would be making an hour and that he may use me in other things. I went to work as a laborer. A few weeks later, I was put on as a Railroad Carman -- a railroad car mechanic. I worked for them for almost a year until they laid off half of the entire maintenance yard because Western Pacific Railroad was going bankrupt. 

While I was with the railroad, I worked on a lot of railcars and replaced a lot of brakes, hoses, drawbars, knuckles, trucks, wheels, doors, and hooked cars at the Ford plant when I was sent there. I did whatever was needed. It was good hard work and I enjoyed it. And yes, it was during that time that I had to work on a few derailments. Of the six or eight that I worked on over that year, most were not too difficult or extreme. None were even close to what we've all seen take place in Ohio over the last few weeks. 

A few years after leaving the railroad, I was in my Jeep sitting at a railroad crossing in San Leandro as a Southern Pacific Railroad fast-freight was hauling its assets north toward their Oakland yard. I can still remember sitting there and thinking about how just a few years before I worked on such a string.

That was when my eye caught something in the distance at the end of the rail cars. It was certainly something that you don't see every day -- or night as was the case. About six or so rail cars from the end of the string, a car's wheels were on fire. 

I knew really well that its brakes had to be stuck closed and it was metal-to-metal on those wheels. What people don't understand about trains is that when hoses brake, or an airbrake malfunctions, when air is somehow cut off from a car -- a train car's brakes lock up. 

While I have no idea if it is still that way or not, simply because I'm talking about how it was back in the 1980s, it's probably still true today. Brakes on trains, the brake shoes, disengage and open up and away from the wheels when air is pumped through the string of rail cars. If things haven't changed, then it was easy to understand how a derailment can happen if a car's brake locks up. 

Metal-to-metal sparks, a fire, the extreme heat on the wheels, the dragging of the wheels that are locked up, the failure of the metal after a while, and then the possible loss of those wheels from the metal breaking apart. A sudden jerk when the car comes off the rails. The string responds with forces being pulled apart and soon there is a horrible derailment. All of that went through my mind. So many scenarios ran through my mind at the time. 

In the case of what happened that night many years ago, the brakes were stuck closed and the metal-to-metal friction had started a fire. I realized that the wheels might crack from the heat and derail the string, the fire itself might spread, and the train was passing by a heavily populated area. I remember thinking that train needed to be stopped. If not, there was certainly the possibility of a derailment. 

Since those were the days before cell phones, I knew that I need to find a payphone. So when the train finally made it past me, I floored my Jeep and found a payphone at a local restaurant. I dialed "0" and contacted a Phone Operator. I told her that it was an emergency. I told her that I need to talk to the Oakland yard office because a train was on fire. She immediately connected me and I told the Yard Master what I saw and that I once worked for WP Railroad.

He asked for my name, phone number, and address. I guess he wanted to know if I was placing some sort of crank call. Then the Yard Master had me wait on the phone as he radioed the train. In those days, Brakemen were still working on the trains. The train's Brakeman in the caboose looked out and confirmed that a car's wheels were on fire. It was stopped and the car was cut out of the string. It was pushed into a spur where it could be attended to later. The train then went on its way.

About a week later, I received a nice thank you letter from Southern Pacific Railroad. While they didn't have to do that, I did appreciate their sending it. But more than them saying, "thanks," I appreciated that they let me know that what I saw was what happened. That it was a car with a "sticking brake," and that it could have resulted in a possible derailment had it not been cut out of the string.

Tonight, while talking to my wife about the derailments going on in Ohio and elsewhere, I told her about what happened that August night back in 1981. I told her that I knew that those brakes were sticking and how that happened when air is cut off to the brakes. In the short time that I worked for Western Pacific Railroad, I saw a few derailments. Some were due to track maintenance, or more honestly lack of maintenance. Others were equipment failures of some sort.

While I didn't work for Western Pacific Railroad very long, I was there long enough to learn that some derailments are avoidable while some are not. Of course, track issues such as broken rails and broken welds are probably still major causes of derailments. An overheated wheel bearing is also a very common cause of derailments. Mechanical failures happen. Yes, just as operator errors happen.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in a typical year, American railroads move about 1.7 billion tons of freight across nearly 140,000 miles of privately owned track. That's about 29% of all goods that are transported from one place to another in our country. And here's something else, about 800,000 people are moved by rail each day. Those stats are impressive.

But, along with those impressive stats, we have to recognize that more than 1,500 train derailments, big and small, take place every year across America. The good news, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), is that derailments that result in the release of hazardous materials are "extremely rare." Of course, Americans hearing that train derailments that result in the release of hazardous materials are "extremely rare" is not a lot of comfort to anyone when it happens in your community.

Tom Correa

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Jaclyn Wilson & The Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch

This is a video well worth watching by everyone, both rural and urban folks, who want to learn about American ranching. The video is called "A Cowgirl - The Untold Story" and was Peter Santenello

The video depicts the Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch and the hard work that it takes to make a go of a ranch today. The video is not long, but it is truly a great representative of the beef industry and cattle ranching as a whole -- because it touches on so many aspects of ranching that many people today are completely unaware of. And yes, I really believe this would be a wonderful video for educational purposes -- especially for people who do not understand why ranchers and farmers are "the true stewards of the land." 

The Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch website states:

"The ranch was founded in 1888 on the western edge of the Nebraska Sandhills. Since the beginning, the family has constantly worked on establishing an elite herd of Red Angus and Red Angus/Simmental cattle. My grandfather Bus (third generation) was given the flying diamond brand as a wedding present. When he passed away, I found some papers in his office where he had called the operation Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch. Somewhere along the way the name had got shortened to Wilson Ranch, but with time, comes changes, and once again we are operating under the WFDR name."

I love that the Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch carries its original name. I love that we link today with our heritage and give credit to those who started what we treasure. Ranchers and farmers work every single day, they work so very hard, and in many cases barely make a living while doing the most important job there is -- that of making sure that people are fed.

As for representing what is good and great about America? The hard work and toughness, the resilience, the sense of purpose, and her taking things in stride, all that and more displayed by Jaclyn Wilson make her a great representative of what it takes to care for the land, run a ranch, do the jobs, and feed our hungry world. She is top-notch, meets challenges, and does what it takes in spite of the roadblocks put there by people, the weather, high fuel prices, and government regulation that seems more adversarial than helpful. 

I truly believe that her faith in the Lord helps her to remain grounded, and gives her the strength she needs to keep the positive attitude that she has. I'm happy that she loves the land and the life she lives. I'm very happy that she's living the life she enjoys. And frankly, we should all be since she and ranchers like her are fighting hard these days merely to stay alive.

If you are interested in ordering beef from the Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch, you can contact them by clicking on

Tom Correa

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Americans Have Good Cause To Be Angry And Frustrated -- PART TWO

As I asked at the end of Americans Have Good Cause To Be Angry And Frustrated -- PART ONE, what is the bigger picture that we're being diverted from seeing? What should be our real focus? What do I think is of vital importance to our nation?

The Mainstream Media steers and diverts our attention to stop us from taking an in-depth look at Election Fraud and the fixing that is taking place through something called "Ballot Harvesting", the criminal activities of the Biden family, and the Democrat threat to our National Security -- such as California Democrat Congressman Eric Swalwell's not being held to account for his association with his Chinese mistress who turned out to be a Chinese Communist spy. We need to know what sort of information he passed to her. And we need to get to the root of why the FBI has allowed that case to simply fade away?
We need to investigate the reasons that the Biden Administration has attempted to kill American oil production here at home while sponsoring oil drilling in foreign countries. We need to be concerned about how the crazy Leftists in Washington D.C. are attacking America's oil and gas industry, especially since it affects the manufacturing of the over 6,000 petroleum-based products that we use on a daily basis and our ability to transport needed food and supplies to their destinations.

But above all else, above and beyond our need for oil is our need for food. And along with this, the horrible plight of American ranchers, farmers, and dairymen should be our primary concern at this time. We should condemn the Mainstream Media and the Biden administration for doing everything in their power to divert our attention from the danger that American agriculture faces today.

The ongoing threats from the government, environmentalist groups, and wealthy individuals who want to dictate how and what we eat are as real as real can get. Some, like Bill Gates, want to eliminate beef and dairy products. The not-so-stealthy threats that the government, environmentalist groups, and the wealthy have shown to be on our food supply should be the number one concern of every American. We need to fight them to save American agriculture. That's what we need to focus on above all else.

My friends, traditionally, our "basic needs" means food, water, shelter, and clothing. When I say real concerns, I'm talking about the price of eggs, milk, bread, beef, turkey, pork, and chicken. The food that we all eat. If you can't afford to buy food, you go hungry.

So when I say focus, I'm talking about how we should be actively trying to find solutions to help those who keep America fed -- and fight the not-so-stealthy threats that the government, environmentalist groups, and the wealthy have shown to be on our food supply.

We need to fight them to save American agriculture. The reason is simple, American agriculture is in deep trouble. Because statistics tell us that they are failing and their numbers are at an all-time low, Americans should be working overtime to find solutions to remedy this dire situation. Not just a band-aid temporary fix, but a true remedy that addresses this ongoing problem. The issue is how to stop our ranchers, farmers, and dairymen from going under.

Frankly, I really believe that it's sad that American ranchers, farmers, and dairymen don't get the attention they deserve, the attention that they need to survive, yet they make sure we survive. And frankly, if it's simply a case of not caring about them because we're talking about Rural Americans, then shame on people for not caring about the most important people in our nation -- those who feed us!

If you think American agriculture producers are doing fine against the onslaught of attacks, think again. Our farm debt for 2023 is at $463 Billion, which is an all-time high. And for those of you who think farmers and ranchers are "too big to fail," think about the fact that the United States has lost over 100,000 farms, including small family farms, in the last seven years alone.

Of course, ranchers, farmers, and dairymen are not getting rich even though the cost of food, especially recently, has gone through the roof. Please remember that Inflation accounts for a lot of the price increases. Feed prices for cattle are sky-high, irrigation costs have risen, maintenance costs are higher than ever before, equipment is more expensive, and the cost of fertilizers and pesticides have tripled in the last two years.

While I have not even scratched the surface of what it cost agricultural producers to grow crops, raise beef, or produce dairy products, we should remember that we face an era of higher costs when it comes to medical, home, business, and equipment insurance, property taxes have gone up substantially, and there have been huge increases in wage output. While there is so much more to factor into why food costs so much -- while ranchers and farmers are going broke -- we should also look at how the rising cost of fuel has impacted the price of everything as never before.

Let's remember that rising fuel prices alone, all due to "Climate Change" policies created by out-of-touch wealthy politicians in Washington D.C., have actually made ranching and farming unaffordable. And no, I haven't even mentioned how much it costs ranchers, farmers, and dairymen to meet government regulations set forth by -- in most cases -- redundant government agencies. My friends, while operational costs soar, combine that burden with the cost it takes to "comply" with government regulations. Government is not a friend of American agriculture.

Do you think that I'm exaggerating? Take a look sometime at the agricultural regulations put out by the USDA, FDA, EPA, OSHA, and other Federal government agencies. Their requirements have to be met for ranchers and farmers to stay in business. And those are just federal government agencies. Don't forget that each State has its list of regulatory government agencies that also demand adherence.

Now ask yourself, am I exaggerating the financial impact on farms, dairies, and ranches because of the desire of government agencies to over-regulate farms, dairies, and ranches in the United States?

Here's an example of such a thing that took place back in 2009, it was one of the examples of government over-reach and over-regulation that pushed me into writing my blog. And by the way, I can start this with "Once upon a time," but this horror story is not a fairy tale by a long shot!

In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discussed regulating greenhouse gases in its "Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" under the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act. Their decision was to require farmers, dairies, and ranchers to purchase expensive "Cow Tax" permits.

Although the EPA did not move forward with requiring the permits, U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and, believe it or not, Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) introduced a bill (S.527) that prevented the federal government from imposing a "Cow Tax" on farmers across the country. Though it would have raised Billions of dollars across the nation by way of a "Cow Tax," thankfully it was shot down before it could be put into practice.

U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) later wrote the following: "The Clean Air Act was written to curb pollution from smokestack industries, not to regulate livestock production in South Dakota or elsewhere. Livestock producers do not need another burdensome regulation to worry about, and this legislation would ensure that the `cow tax' never becomes a reality. Cattle and dairy production are vital to the economy of South Dakota and to our nation, and in these difficult economic times, it would be disastrous to enact policies that would increase food prices for all Americans. This bipartisan effort reflects our commitment to ensure overbearing proposed rules are never put in place."

On this, Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) wrote, "Times are hard for families across New York State, and they are particularly hard for our farmers. The idea of imposing a 'cow tax' on our farmers and adding one more crushing burden is absurd. This bill will put an end to this insane 'cow tax' once and for all."

When this was proposed by the EPA in 2008, the USDA indicated that if the EPA chose to move forward with regulating farm animals and requiring permits for emitters of methane, farms with more than 25 dairy cows or 50 beef cattle would have been required to purchase permits for each ton of methane their animals emitted.

And there's this, foreign importation of dairy and beef products carries its own risks for American consumers. Foreign ranches and farms are producing livestock, produce, and dairy products that are not held to the same standards as that of American ranchers, farmers, and dairymen. In many cases, that low-grade beef, and tainted agricultural and food products make their way into the stores of American consumers.

And more so, besides facing a competitive disadvantage with the low-quality produce, beef, and dairy products coming in from foreign countries that produce their products using cheap slave labor and almost zero government regulations, a "Cow Tax" as with other additional government fees would have crippled American agriculture's ability to compete with such cheap products.

So really, if enacted, the cost to buy "Cow Tax" permits would have been devastating to ranchers, farmers, and dairies, and would have put family farms at risk of going out of business completely.

How do I know that it would have been devastating? Well, at the time in 2009, the American Farm Bureau Federation stated that the "Cow Tax" cost $45 a ton of methane. That was calculated as being $175 per dairy cow, $87.50 per beef cow, and $20 per hog. The "Cow Tax" regulation would have cost a medium-sized dairy farm with 75 to 125 cows between $13,000 and $22,000 a year. It would have cost a medium size cattle ranch with 200 to 300 head of cattle between $17,000 and $27,000.

And imagine this for a moment, those were the additional cost figures projected to impact farmers, ranchers, and dairymen in 2009. Just imagine what it would be today in 2023 if the government had its way. And today, skyrocketing costs both as a part of operating costs, cost to meet regulatory standards, cost as part of their tax burden, raising costs of insurance and all of the other raising costs that go into operating ranches, farms, and dairies are killing American agriculture.

Americans should be angry and frustrated. Frankly, there are a lot of things going on today to be angry about. The Mainstream Media and the Left want us to focus on the Climate Change hoax and other ridiculous crap, all just to divert our attention away from the federal government's overreach, the federal government attempting to "micro-manage" our lives, the criminal activities going on within our Capitol in Washington itself, the invasion of America taking place on our Southern border, the sleaziness of Biden's handling of Classified and Top Secret documents, the outright corruption and politicization of the FBI, the all-out assault on American oil production, and the neglect and unconcern over the dangers facing American agriculture.

With no help or relief coming from incompetent Democrats over the last few years, especially an inept Biden Administration, Americans are seeing the number of American rancher and farmer bankruptcies up as high as 50% in places across our nation. And with 44% of small farms of between 200 and 999 acres being lost, I believe that it's time for Americans to focus on how we can help American ranchers, farmers, and dairymen before it's too late.

Tom Correa

Friday, February 3, 2023

Americans Have Good Cause To Be Angry And Frustrated -- PART ONE

"We The People" are angry. And frankly, we should be. 

Besides the fact that our "Basic American Freedoms" are under attack by our own government which believes that they have the power and the legitimate right to micro-manage our life, what took place today is a great example of why Americans have good cause to be angry at our government -- and frustrated with the way things are going in our country. 

Today, it was confirmed that the Chinese directed a spy balloon into American air space to spy on our military installations and whatever else they want to record. To the amazement of almost everyone other than Communist China, Joe Biden doesn't see this as important enough, as a big deal enough, to order our Air Force to shoot the thing down. That balloon actually came in over Alaska and Canada before entering the lower 48 states. And now, we find out there is another Chinese spy balloon coming in over the United States from the South over Mexico. And no, Biden and company at the White House, like the border itself, don't want to do anything to stop it. 

Of course, as I just mentioned, there have been millions of Illegal Aliens coming into our country during these last two years, and Biden doesn't want to do anything about that. Thankfully, Americans have Texas Governor Greg Abbott who has ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas National Guard to work together to secure the border and stop the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and human trafficking into Texas. 

It's sad that Joe Biden, the President of the United States, doesn't give a crap enough to do what is his primary job as President -- protect the country. This is why Americans have to take it upon themselves to arm themselves, protect their families, and take time away from their work and families to detect, prevent, and interdict criminals coming in from across the border. 

As for the attention that Biden is giving the real crisis on our border or military overtures from China? He seems to have blinders on and instead wants Americans to be concerned about what our gas stoves are doing to the climate. Imagine that. Biden could care less about the border, the Chinese threat, or how he attacked Trump over his handling of Classified Documents when he himself was doing worse than Trump. 

Biden thinks it's okay to give Billions of American taxpayer dollars to the corrupt Ukrainians, help Venezuela drill for oil, and take Millions from China, all the while he makes war on American parents by forcing CRT and other Socialist BS into schools and attempting to micro-manage the lives of Americans by telling us how we cannot use gas to cook! 

And frankly, while many of our nation's real problems are going on, the Mainstream Media is working for the Biden administration by diverting our attention on things like what celebrities are saying and doing, the NBA, gay male athletes in women's sports, and telling us that some rich Prince and his wife are supposed to be important for us to think about. 

And please, don't get me started about Racists crap! While I believe that "true Racism" exists in many form, such against Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, Whites, Americans in general, Europeans in general, Middle Easterners, nation specific racism, true racism based on prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism, I really believe that too many things in today's world is being called "Racist" when it is not "Racist." White, Black, Brown, Yellow, Orange, and Pink people can all be "Racist." 

The problem for the Leftists these days is that no one, including myself, gives a shit about "Racism" anymore. Why? Because the Left has successfully beaten the issue into the ground while becoming totally insane with what they call "Racist." Whether the Left wants to redefine the term "Racism" to fit their political agenda or not, the fact is that "true Racism" is simply "the action of disliking or mistreating others on the basis of race." 

Today, it has gotten so asinine that we even have people in our government who are calling inanimate objects, things void of disliking or liking anything, things void of any sort of sensory mechanism, things that cannot be "Racist." News flash, highways, roads, trains, planes, cars, tunnels, boats, refrigerators, washing machines, pancake syrup, and on and on and on have all been labeled "Racist." Some people on the Left today are even calling our troops "Racists" because our military trains for war. Of course, anti-gun advocates claim that all guns are "Racist" as well. But than again, everything under the sun these days is considered "Racist."

And by the way, no matter what the California Governor tries to tell you, California should not be even considering paying "reparations" for Black slavery to anyone. The reason is that CALIFORNIA ENTERED THE UNION AS A FREE STATE -- NOT A SLAVE STATE.

That means that California never ever had slaves. Unlike many other places, California did not have plantations with Irish, German, Native American, or African slaves, ever. The closest thing to slavery in California was the Chinese in the 1800s who were paid "slave labor" wages.  

By the way, ice cream cones and rocks are not "Racist" -- no matter what the people on the Left want you to believe. Friends, use a word enough and use it in ways that it was never supposed to be used, and use it in the wrong way, and it loses its meaning or power. It makes it meaningless. By calling everything "Racist," the hatemongers have made it so that people are now yawning whenever they hear that word being used. 

It's no different than the Mainstream Media and the Left trying to get Americans to believe that we are awash in pollution today, that we need to get rid of cattle, and that we need to start eating bugs. They believe that if they say it loud enough and repeat it over and over again, we will believe that that's true when it's not. 

It's the exact same thing as how the Mainstream Media and the Left are trying to get Americans to accept the notion that someone who calls himself a "Trans-woman" is actually a "real woman." Friends, while I'm not bothered by someone who is gay, a vegan, or a Democrat, I see a lot of news coverage totally focused on the politics of gay men who want to dress like women. I'm amazed that there are people who want to call them "women" when they are not women. It's almost insane to think that so many people see it as okay to refer to a gay man masquerading in women's clothing -- as a woman.

Again, I need you to understand, while I work to get along with others even if I disagree with their lifestyle and politics or eating habits, I really believe that allowing gay men dressed in "Drag" into our Elementary Schools and having them present among our young children should not be permitted. And yes, I do believe that it's important to remember that predatory gay men are the largest sector of true pedophiles.

By the way, before you write to tell me that I cannot prove that predatory gay men are the largest sector of pedophiles, please understand that even in the 1990s before a lot of gay lobbyists started trying to get the "age of consent" lowered so they can have sex with children and young boys, it was already known that the proportion of pedophiles among homosexual men is far greater than that of heterosexuals.

As for the schools that allow such predators among impressionable young children, while I think we should start focusing on "Reading, Writing, and Math" again in schools, it's easy to see that that's not what Public Schools want to focus on. It is apparent to everyone that schools feel entitled to indoctrinate the children in their care to embrace and accept things other than what parents want for their children. In fact, teachers and parents have a war going on at present over the role of Public Schools. 

Apparently, teachers want kids to play "pretend" instead of dealing with "reality." Parents, on the other hand, want their children to be students who graduate with the knowledge and academic skills needed to succeed in life. Parents don't want their children to merely graduate filled with the Left's useless ideas of Social Indoctrination. 

Please understand, I could care less about how people live. And yes, I really believe that most of these topics are designed to get our focus off of our real concerns. But, while I really don't care about a person's lifestyle choices as long as they don't hurt others, parents need to have a say as to whether they want their kids exposed to such deviant lifestyles. 

As I said, I don't really care if someone wants to "marry" their goat -- just as I don't really care if someone is dumb enough to vote for Democrats. But really, I don't have to play along and pretend that there are more than two genders when it is a fact of life that there are only two. I simply don't have to "play along." I also will not be forced to "play along."

That is a fact. As a freedom-loving American, I refuse to allow the government or societal pressures to force me to do things that I don't have to or that I know are wrong. I certainly don't have to play pretend as if I were a child and can't discern right from wrong. Frankly, as an American, as a person who hates the very idea of government coercion, as a person who hates the very idea that our government would use its powers to get Americans to "comply" by using force or threats, I don't have to comply and pretend that something is not what it is -- even if it means that I upset others in the process. 

There is a part of me that wants to apologize for not playing along. But really, today's Political Correct environment reminds me of going to a party in the 1970s as a teenager and everyone at the party was doing drugs and smoking pot. I see the pressure of the Left telling me that I "must accept change" and call people by something other than what they are not -- as the same sort of peer pressure that I had to deal with from those people who wanted me to do drugs with them. I know better and didn't want to. I didn't do drugs and was seen as not keeping up with the times. 

I wasn't going to pretend that I was "cool" and do drugs. It is the same way with pretending that there are 700 genders or that lies from Democrats don't matter, just because others want to pretend it's "cool" to do so -- doesn't mean that I have to. Also, I don't care if I'm not accepted as being "cool" because I won't call a gay man "a woman" just because he's in Drag. 

As for using the terms "Trans-whatevers," the "theys," the "thems," the "its," and the "whatevers" they feel like calling themselves today, I won't play along. I refuse to play "pretend" with a bunch of people who are "delusional" at best and totally off their rocker at worst. If they think they are birds or flowers or animals or unicorns or some off-the-wall made-up gender other than what they were born -- then that's their problem. It's not mine. The way I see it is that there is a lot of delusional schizophrenia out there. If that is their problem, then so be it. Frankly, if that's the case, it's certainly not my problem. 

And by the way, in 2015, Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, stated that "transgenderism is a 'mental disorder' that merits treatment, that sex change is 'biologically impossible,' and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder."

If a man pretending that he's a women wants to "play pretend" like children do, that's on them. It's their problem and I don't have to play along. But that's okay, after all, history is filled with stories of people who pretend to be people that they are not. For example, there is the famous case of Joshua Abraham Norton. I wrote about him a couple of years ago, Joshua Abraham Norton -- America's Self-proclaimed Emperor Of The United States. In his case, he called himself "Emperor Norton" and pretended that he was indeed the "Emperor of the United States." Others went along with it because it was a good laugh. The guy wasn't threatening so it was sort of comedy relief for the times.

He was a resident of San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. He became quite the local celebrity after having a nervous breakdown and proclaiming himself "Norton I, Emperor of the United States" in 1859. In Norton's case, just because he declared himself "Emperor of the United States," that certainly didn't make it so. Of course, that didn't matter to Norton, especially after he started making a living off his newfound "royalty." People treated him as a curiosity, but that was about it.

While today we have gay men who want to dress like women to pretend they are women to attract other gay men who are into that sort of thing, we all know that just because someone declares himself "a girl" or herself "a boy" doesn't make it so. After all, as was the case for those who came into contact with "Emperor Norton" back in 1859 -- it's our choice on whether or not to go along with such an absurd charade. As people have always known, just as they did back in 1859, none of us have to play pretend with people who are delusional. We can just look at them for the joke they are and go about our business.

It's the same thing with all of the news coverage regarding people in Hollywood. No one should really care about what a bunch of wealthy people in Hollywood say or do. Hollywood is not representative of America. Let's face facts, the Mainstream Media's efforts to divert our concerns from what is really important is what their focus on Hollywood is all about. And of course, as with oddities like gay men who want to attract other gay men dressed as women, wealthy actors don't have anything in common with the vast majority of everyday Americans. Besides, what the people in Hollywood think and what they do, or how amoral they are, has nothing to do with the bigger picture of life in America. 

So, what is the bigger picture that we're being diverted from seeing? What should be our real focus? What do I think is of vital importance to our nation?

Tom Correa