Club Priorities


I guess I am a social person. I belong to various clubs and associations. Humans seem to be social animals, and I am definitely animal, and apparently socially orientated as well. Many of the clubs I belong to could increase their membership and their members’ enjoyment if they prioritized elements of their club’s affairs.

As President of the Maine Ham Radio Society, I have been doing a lot of prioritizing and rethinking the way things have always been done. And I am just getting started.

Many groups I have been associated with in the past became stagnant, boring, and even unfriendly to certain other members, or potential members. If a club wants to be an active, vibrant part of their community, these habits need to cease. Here are a few things I have encouraged in the MHRS recently, and things I intend to implement in the future.

1. Our clubs need to be welcoming to all members and potential members. For MHRS, that means to people of all ages, both male and female. We need to leave any old-fashioned attitudes at the door. For instance, the female ham radio operators should not be expected to make the coffee, do the cooking and baking at club activities, etc. I intend to make the “goodies” at the next club meeting at my house, whenever that may be. I will make sure there is a bottle of TUMS on hand. Also, we are always complaining that there are not enough young people coming into the hobby or to club events. If we are lucky to have a young person join us, for Pete’s sake, let’s not be patronizing. Accept and respect them as you like to be accepted and respected. First impressions last a lifetime. BTW, I am not suggesting members intentionally behave in a manner offensive to others, but unintentional slights can happen.

2. Be active! For MHRS, that means to be RadioActive and to do things as a club. Covid-19 made it difficult, but not impossible to organize fun events for club members. A lot of people are tired of Zoom meetings (although the video conferencing platform has great benefits even without a pandemic), and are itching now to do things together, as a club. For ham radio, it is easy and perfectly safe to meet over the airwaves in fun and innovative operational activities. With certain commonsense protocols in place, we can also start doing things together in person again. ARRL Field Day, social breakfasts and suppers, and club meetings can start again, as they are here locally. Unless the zombies start patrolling again and the state and local officials begin another lockdown, the ham radio social calendar is looking good. Vaccines should start making a dent in the daily Covid-19 numbers.

3. Use Your Members! By this, I mean get to know all of your members, their stories, their strengths, and turn them into club presentations or discussions. Everyone has an interesting story or aspect of their life or hobby, and its worth sharing.

4. In a perfect world, you would not need to recruit members. Build the club and they will come. Well, no. You need to make an effort to recruit and convince people your club has something to offer them even though they have busy lives and many other interests. If every club member talked up the club and invited people to attend a meeting or to consider joining, the membership rolls would grow. Just emailing membership renewal notices is not enough. Follow that email up with a newsletter that includes a membership application. Then follow that up with a hard copy and mail it to those that have not joined or renewed. And the club officers must set goals. My goal for the 2022 membership area is to retain all existing members, and to bring in at least an additional ten. If the goal is not met, we can brainstorm how to improve the following year.

5. Publicize your group, a lot! Send in press releases to local papers when your club is planning something, or has done something impressive. Use social media every day! Post photos, videos, news, and more. I recently created a Youtube channel for my ham radio club, called MHRS RadioActive. I try to upload a new video every week or two. BTW, Zoom is a great tool for recording events and interviews! You can check out my videos at the link at the bottom of this blog.

Do things. Be nice. That’s the bottom line in making sure people get enjoyment from your associations.

MHRS RadioActive Youtube Channel:

Angels Have No Wings


Angels Have No Wings

(A poem for Randi)

By Philip Duggan

Darkness and biting nerves a constant fray

Wearing and churning

Vicious storms eroding the day away.

She is so different, he is so odd

But what’s so bad about that? Tell me please!

The endless rocking, whatever soothes and brings calm

From a day of neglect and disregard.

Mistreated he is, in a state of qualm.

Yet kindness and intellect abound within.

Courage and honesty are her traits.

What’s so bad about that, I’d like to know!

Angels have no wings, but they can fly.

Oh they can soar

Over barricades, over mountains high!

Angels have no wings, but they can fly.

Above the accusing roar

Loud as a lions pride

Stout hearts pounding into freedom’s sky!

She’s a pulsar, painting nebula masterpieces.

He sculpts the heavens

With gentle hands and divine reaches.

She is so different, he is odd.

But what’s wrong with that, please tell me now?

Beethoven saw music as colors.

Salvador Dali warped and melted the world.

Frida Kahlo in painful suffering brushed magical paintings.

So very different, so very odd.

I see nothing wrong with that, won’t you agree?

Angels have no wings, but they can fly.

Oh they can soar

Over barricades, over mountains high!

Angels have no wings, but they can fly.

Above the accusing roar

Loud as a lions pride

Stout hearts pounding into freedom’s sky!

Mitigating Minor Disasters


T-minus 6 days and counting until we launch our motorcycle tour of the lower 48 states. The countdown has not gone smoothly, on my end anyways. But it is proceeding nonetheless!

The day after Brenda, Randi and I returned from vacation in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia Brenda backed the Malibu into my bike. Thank the Lord for engine guards. They did their job and promtly broke the car’s bumber while protecting the bike. The bike was pushed back a couple feet, but stayed upright resting on the kickstand. The right side engine guard pipe was bent back into the foot brake pedal. Fortunately my mechanic was able to bend it back out. Unfortuneately for the 2017 Malibu, it no longer has that “new” look!

The other day I rode to Bangor and back and found that my new saddlebags seemed to have stretched a bit overnight after I installed them. The one on the right is just about touching the exhaust pipe and did burn some during the trip. I ordered some reflective heat shield tape that hopefully can keep the bag from getting scorched.

When I was in Bangor my glasses came apart again. The lense fell out and chipped. Quality government-issue VA glasses. So, I ordered new ones through a private vendor but they will not be here before we depart, so they will be shipped to Kevin’s in South Dakota. Hope they make it there by the time Kevin and I arrive in SD! I did get a temporary repair on the other glasses, plus I have my old pair with a slightly different prescription that will work in a crisis, so they are going in the saddle bag.

Today, Brenda has been scrambling to get me enough meds to last the trip. Old bikers need lts of meds, ha ha. We received the order of meds in the mail yesterday and they were short on what I was supposed to get. Quite a bit short. I am sure Brenda will succeed in her mission. She has been a nurse for about 45 years and knows the ins and outs of these things.

I’m back in Bangor today for my annual Veterans Administration medical appointment, and then this afternoon I dart across town to get a cortizone shot in my shoulder. The things we must do to prepare for a road trip when we are out-of-shape old farts!

False Propaganda


For you folks constantly posting flagrantly false information, stories, and MEMEs regarding politicians from both sides, you astound me. There is no shortage of actual true items regarding Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Obama, Bush, and others that clearly emphasize their shortcomings. When you post obvious and easily verifiable untruths, you damage your own cause and demonstrate an astounding lack of integrity and character in yourselves. Or is it that you are naive and incredible lazy?

We all screw up and get lured into this trap on occasion. But habitual postings of this nature reveal something of you.

A Glutenous Glutton For Punishment


I am not one of those unfortunate sufferers of Celiacs Disease who eats one crumb of a wheat cracker and soon starts puking. No, it takes initiative on my part, which I did recently during an 8-day camping trip. I consciously ate burgers and hotdogs with buns throughout the vacation and drank a few forbidden beers, and now I am paying for it. For others who are gluten-intolerant, I am curious if you have the following symptom once your gluten levels build up in your system?

My blood pressure goes on a roller coaster ride. Sometimes it is 175/100 and a while later it is 90/60. Until a few days of gluten-free diet, no amount of adjusting BP medications helps. Along with the alarming numbers go all the rotten systems of unstable blood pressure as well as the punishment for poisoning my system with gluten. Thoughts?

Milwaukee & Chaos Trend


I am a peaceful person and believe all of us should be able to get along, abide by laws, and help move America closer to a more perfect union. However, controversial as it might be…

 I can understand the sentiment that we need to “Kent State” these violent protestors who are destroying property and harming other people.

These protests are becoming more common in American cities.

Fighting fire with fire has worked in the past and is an option that many voice, or quietly think about, including myself, when we see neighborhoods and businesses burn and police officers and others killed. The Tiananmen Square approach is tempting, but it is not American, at least it shouldn’t be. Kent State, Waco TX, etc do more harm to liberty than help. There are ways to combat this chaos without diving into the cesspool with the protesters. But it requires something that is extremely difficult, nearly impossible. It would require local, state, and national leaders, both political and community, to shed their personal ambitions and political and social agendas, and start coming together to save America, for everyone. You can still advocate your societal concerns and take a strong stance against these riots.

That means President Obama, Al Sharpton, Hillary Clinton, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi,  and Donald Trump, to join other leaders in denouncing and calling for the swift and harsh punishment of all protesters that looted, burned, threw bottles and rocks, or behaved in any other illegal manner. Build more prisons if need be. Build them, and we can fill them! Only when you instill a real deterrent will these events begin to subside. We must do this before every police department starts seeing its officers refusing or hesitating to do their jobs. Anarchy is not acceptable.

America is worth saving! We put men on the moon. We can do this! Everyone needs to flood POTUS, Justice Dept, representatives at every level of government to demand they get this nonsense under control. What is the price of a book of stamps compared to your freedom and your country?

To Be Or Not To Be – America – Revolt or Revise?


Seven score and thirteen years ago President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address at the site of the Civil War’s bloodiest battle, which was a turning point in holding this nation together in a most divisive time. 

Lincoln questioned whether our nation, conceived in Liberty, could long endure, and he helped dedicate a portion of that battlefield “for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.” He honored the “brave men, living and dead, who struggled” to help keep the Union intact. 

Today is also a divisive period, albeit, not in the same sense as the American Civil War. In the more than a century and a half since President Lincoln spoke those words, America has endured, in large part due to brave men and women who have given their lives or limbs, or sacrificed their own freedoms and sometimes even families, to keep this nation whole.

The cry of revolution and “take back our country, with arms if necessary” is spreading on social media, clamoring in barrooms, and being debated at many dinner tables across America today. The anger and frustration of years of political strife and seemingly paralyzed elected bodies justifies these emotions. Adding to the dilemma are meddling enemies of freedom abroad and within our own borders. The potential Balkanization of America has terrorists and certain foreign leaders drooling in anticipation. Still, many honest Americans are fed up with modern day politics, especially this election cycle.

Before you give up on democracy, though, you should give these points consideration.  Since the Revolutionary War, hundreds of thousands of American service members and intelligence agents have spilt their blood for you. Millions more, from all 50 states and the territories, have sacrificed dearly so that you enjoy the special and unique freedoms that ONLY Americans enjoy. Law enforcement, fire fighters, EMT first responders sacrifice for you every single day. American businesses provide you with an awesome variety of products that make life easier and entertaining. For most of us, life is pretty good right now.

For those inciting revolution, do you think any alternative America and its new constitution would include the Bill of Rights that allow us to breathe and live such freedom? Would majorities and minorities still share power and protection? Would we be a nation of character, integrity, and honor? This is not a perfect union now, never will be, and it could be a lot less so.

The makeup of the Supreme Court, who we select as president, and the makeup of Congress is important to us all. But are a few years or decades of one political club tilting the scale worth dishonoring all that has been built and all that has been sacrificed? 

The patriots who gave their “last full measure” deserve more of our effort and attention. One might say they demand it from their graves! What’s more, the world needs America to stay united. We do much more good on the planet Earth than harm. Our freedom-loving people deserve more effort. Our children and grandchildren should grow in the same warmth of liberty of which we were handed by our parents and grandparents.

Let’s cease this talk of violence and revolt and give America another chance, some more time and effort to get it right, revise and refine, so that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” 


WANTED: Faux Liberal To Challenge Hillary in 2020


     The likelihood increases everyday that Hillary Clinton will defeat Donald Trump in November. Yes, the polls are never to be trusted, but the one thing you can rely on more than death and taxes is that Trump will continue to sabotage his own campaign. Even some Trump supporters are finally opening their eyes and realizing Trump was a Trojan Horse that infiltrated the Republican Party with a mission to take it down.
     I know it is not a conservative notion, but it is time to start thinking about payback! If the GOP does not recover, and I believe it will not, then conservatism’s only hope is to do to the democrats what Trump did to the republicans. We need a brave soul who has a confused and mixed philosophical history that can start being Bernie Sanders 2.0. The Democratic Party needs to be fractured into many quarreling parts. If this saboteur gets a foot in the door, then he or she can import a wild assortment of socialist and right-wing ideas. A celebrity–an actor–would be perfect for this role.
     Success of this covert operation hinges on whether the democrats are as gullible and narrow-visioned as republicans turned out to be. If they are then both major parties will have sustained heavy damage perhaps paving way for Third Party inroads into presidential and congressional campaigns. One of these parties, just maybe, could see the value in the United States Constitution and could help restore compliance with it and our laws, and bring sanity back to our capital. 

Conservatism My Way


In an era when democrats are calling Trump and his followers conservatives, I felt it necessary to define what conservatism means to me, and it is nearly the polar opposite of Trumpkins. Not every conservative thinks alike and there are many varieties, but true conservatives will probably agree with the majority of my points. If you can agree with most of them, then feel free to share this; what the heck, share it anyways. Start a converstion!

Conservative Principles & Traits

1. Constitutional Conservative. Believes in and supports the United States Constitution and all of its amendments, even when it is inconvenient. Our founding framework for freedom is amendable, so if there is something you don’t like or think is outdated, fix it. Yes, it is a high hurdle to amend the Constitution, and it should be! Protect our bill of rights and freedom that our founders and creator gave us and countless service members have sacrificed to maintain. Don’t give them away!

2. Pro-Life. Abortion should not be an accepted form of birth control. Late-term abortion is clearly reprehensible and murder in my view. I am pro-life also when it comes to capital punishment. We have the capability to put murderers behind bars for life and the fact that human beings, including juries and prosecutors, make mistakes all the time warrants prison instead of death. You cannot undo lethal injection once it did its job. I only believe in killing for self and national defense. Many conservatives will not agree with me on the death penalty, but I hope they come around.

3. Border & Immigration Security. We are a sovereign nation and should keep it that way. Terrorism and migration of undesirables are valid reasons to secure our borders and reform legal immigration policy. However, we should not violate our Constitution as we beef up our security. Calling for the deportation of American citizens for their religious beliefs is a violation of our key founding principle. We should build walls, fences, and electronic security on our borders. We should also cease any policy that encourages people to illegally enter our country, such as the social programs the Obama admin has been offering them, and sanctuary cities that protect them from our laws. We should also modify our legal immigration policy to profile – yes PROFILE – potential immigrants and properly vet them to assure they are not terrorists or criminals or sympathizers of the same. We should be seeking people that will contribute to our nation and assimilate with our culture. If they want to come to America to form a mini version of the country and culture they are leaving, we don’t need them. We are a passionate and humane nation and we can accept certain refugees from persecution. But we are not a stupid or crazy people. Don’t try to make us into Europe where Islamic radicals are transforming their society. Not here!

4. Crime Does Not Pay. We should make that phrase applicable again. If you commit a crime you will have to pay a specific debt to society. Violent criminals should definitely spend a long time in a cell. If you purposely take a life and it is not self defense you forfeit your freedom forever. Here is where some conservatives will disagree with me. The War on Drugs was never waged to win. Drug and alcohol abuse are involved in some way to a majority of crimes in America. Home invasions, theft, assault, and murder usually involve drug and/or alcohol abuse. The trend is to de-criminalize and legalize drugs. This is a big mistake. Instead, we should treat drug dealers like murderers, because in many cases, that is what they are. It is not just the addicted person whose life is ruined, but entire families. Treatment should be offered to addicts, but in many cases harsher measures must be taken to break the cycle. Today, we tend to keep addicts addicted by providing them with never-ending access to methadone or other type clinics. This prevents them from ever contributing to families and society. Limit the treatment. Design a program that works. If that includes incarceration, so be it.

5. Limited Government, Fiscal Responsibility. What happened to the Republican Party’s mantra of small government? The federal government has ballooned under democrat and republican administrations and congress. Along with that is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money and infringement of Liberty. All levels of government can be significantly trimmed. Politicians and judges have used creative license to interpret the Constitution’s definition of federal government role to include everything under the sun. This cannot continue. Get back to basics!

6. Strong Defense. If we allow our military to decline in funding and number any further, we will not be able to perform the basic function of federal government that the Constitution demands. Security of our nation from enemies, which we have many, is crucial. At the same time, we should adopt former Secretry of Defence Cap Weinberger’s rules for when it is appropriate to put military members in harm’s way. Google it. The United States is not a colonial empire and we should not always be the world’s policeman. We should always put U.S. national security interests above all, as well as honor our treaties with allies.  

7. Civil Liberties. This is a complicated one. When it comes to marriage, religion, and morality, social conservatives often conflict with fiscal conservatives. Gay marriage, transgendered rights, and the list goes on. I lean libertarian and am torn on this issue. In my opinion, marriage is a religious institution dating back far before The Declaration of Independence. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion. I had hoped civil unions for gays would have been sufficient as long as they had the same privileges and benefits of married couples. But the Supreme Court has ruled and it is now the law that gays can be married. Now ‘transgendered’ and people who self-identify as something other than themselves want all sorts of rights and special privileges. The result is that a small minority get to impose their wills on the majority, and religous and other freedoms are infringed upon others. For instance, a Christian baker family has lost their religious freedom in order to satisfy a gay couple who could’ve ordered a wedding cake from numerous other bakers, but insisted on making a case against the Christians. This is rediculous! Our system of government is designed to protect minorities, as it should be. But no where in the Constitution does it say minority rules, or a minority’s civil rights outweigh the majority’s rights. No more! On morality, whether you are religious or not, as a conservative you most certainly believe that a nation and its people must have a moral compass to keep them from abusing power. There IS a right and wrong. Without a moral center, many wrongs and atrocities are possible. This is my biggest concern with Mr. Donald Trump and his followers. They either don’t have or don’t care about morality.

8. Free-Market Capitalism. We did not become the greatest nation on planet Earth using socialism or communism as our economic system. We used a reasonably regulated free enterprise system where individuals and companies make profit by providing products and services to others. If you want to reap the benefits of socialism, move  to Venezuela. 

9. Fact over Fiction. Whether it be within our government, schools, media, or elsewhere, conservatives prefer dealing with fact and evidence instead of rumor, myth, or lies. Unless we are reading a novel for entertainment we like the truth, even when it hurts. To those who say there is no such thing as truth: Be Gone! Yes, there are gray areas here and there, but most things can be boiled down to true or false. Schools should stop revising history (and math) and teach the truth. There is good and bad in our history. The kids can handle it. But stop being political. They will form their own political beliefs as adults. Teachers or government don’t need to brainwash them. The media has First Amendment rights, but I implore them to stop trying to affect American politics and instead impartially report on it. This election cycle has demonstrated how corrupt both our government and media have become. The American people themselves have to become more responsible and stop spreading myth and rumor on social media. It is fairly easy to fact-check using the Internet or library. 

10. Freedom. If America can exemplify one concept, it is freedom. It is why we were founded, and what we grew and nurtured through the generations. Not everyone enjoyed freedom equally at the beginning, but like any infant, we grew and learned and are now the beacon of hope and liberty to oppressed people everywhere on the globe. Let’s keep it that way. Our founders insisted on a Bill of Rights before they approved the Constitution because they knew in order to keep our government from becoming just another dictatorship, we needed guaranteed individual freedoms. These liberties are now under constant attack by politicians, radical judges, and groups who really want to make a more powerful central government. We will no longer be America if we allow this to continue.

11. My Eleventh Commandmant! Elected officials affect our lives in many ways. Our liberty, our money, our future depend on electing people who exhibit high levels of integrity, character, honor, and conviction. Does this mean they should be rigid and inflexible? No. But they should be honest, principled, and courageous. Voters can put these type of people in office, or as has been trending, they can put waffling, unethical, power-hungry people in office. We get what we deserve!

Conservatives In A Pickle


Conservatives Long-Term Options
Conservatives are in a pickle! Trying to decide short-term objectives without specific long-term goals is tricky. This is the predicament many #NeverTrumpOrHillary conservatives are caught in: no clear vision of how to move conservatism forward since the hostile takeover of the GOP and the Trumpese purging of true conservatives.
The question conservatives face is how to get the conservative “movement” in motion again and expanding? The Republican Party was the vehicle for conservatism for decades, but clearly that has changed since Donald Trump was nominated as the GOP candidate for president. If conservatism can be like the Phoenix and rise again one day from the ashes of Trump’s destruction, it will be from a long-term and persistent effort by every conservative possible. 
Here are the options I see as potential steps that could clear a path for this to happen:
1. Stick purely to principles and write-in a true conservative as a clear message to the GOP that they have truly lost or purged their former conservative base. Perhaps that would leave the door open four years from now for the GOP to make amends. There are problems with this option. First, many states have ridiculous rules regarding write-ins and you could invalidate that vote and maybe even all the down ballet votes. I have heard that if I were to write-in Ted Cruz, it would not count because in Texas Cruz would actually have to register as a write-in candidate and he has refused. I have not confirmed this, but it would not surprise me. Secondly, you have a better chance of winning Power Ball lottery than getting your choice elected. Thirdly, the GOP has not been the most nurturing and welcome home for conservatives long before Trump crashed the gates, so hoping for a reunion may not be the best solution.
2. For some conservatives, a Trump presidency could be so devastating to our lives that they would even vote for Hillary Clinton to keep him from having his finger on the nuclear button. I cannot imagine voting for either of these horrendously-flawed candidates, but Trump’s behavior and comments have sinked to new levels on a daily basis, so once in a while I even have these thoughts myself. We have to hit rock-bottom before we rise again!

3. Vote for a third party. This stands a better chance than a write-in, but still unlikely. BUT, it could have the effect of giving more power to third parties in future elections and perhaps put an end to the 2-party system that has worked up until now. It remains to be seen whether this would be a positive thing for America and our freedoms. There is no 3rd party that is a perfect vehicle for conservatism or one that was as good as the GOP was a quarter century ago. But if the GOP can change so dramatically, so can 3rd parties. I am considering the Libertarian Party, although I have serious issues with it, and very serious concerns with their nominee. Johnson is not very conservative and not even very libertarian.

There is no quick fix for the mess we are in now. The American political system is evolving (or devolving depending upon your view) and it will continue to do so for decades. Our short-term objectives must be focused to influence people and parties to adopt conservative values. Just as no one agrees on everything, no single conservative agrees on exactly what conservatism means, but generally we all swim with the same current. Let’s not hamper our recovery by disagreeing on single issues. For instance, I am in the minority of the movement when it comes to the death penalty. I oppose it. But I would not wring my hands and walk away just because the majority was pro death penalty. 
The election is only weeks away. We have to make up our minds now and start influencing our conservative and moderate friends immediately. Right now I am leaning 50-50 towards options one and three. I will give myself a two-week deadline to choose, and then the game is on.
In the meantime, our focus should be on highlighting the virtues of conservatism. We should cite example after example of positive outcomes of conservatism. Select people and events that have had a positive impact on Americans and our precious freedoms. Let others dwell on the negative. Instead, use the best approaches that Ronald Reagan used to instill enthusiasm and optimism in his followers. The people we cite do not all have to be fellow conservatives or belong to a single party. If they exhibit conservative virtues, then highlight them. For example, I have no idea what political party or philosophy Dallas Police Chief David Brown identifies with; all I know is that his speech and behavior after the horrible massacre of Dallas police officers last month was admirable and demonstrated the best qualities of a true leader. Those are traits all conservatives can respect.

Pepper the Internet and newspaper opinion pages with these freedom-inspiring stories. Take a myriad of small steps towards a vision of a rising conservative movement in the future, a new home from which to safeguard our constitutional freedoms and values from the always encroaching bloated government and moral decay. This is a quest worth taking and gives us something to do other than to dwell on the prospects of a Trump or Clinton presidency. Plan for the future. Don’t give up on conservatism.