Sunday, June 26, 2011

Post in Which I Endorse a Candidate, I Can't Help Myself.

OK, I'll just go ahead and admit it now, I'm a Herman Cain fan. I have been trying to keep an open mind, but I've been leaning for so long now, I've fallen over. Actually, nothing would make me so ecstatic as a Cain/Bachmann ticket, but only the delegate counts will tell.

Why Cain? So many reasons. I think the thing I like about him the most is that he knows what he doesn't know. That is an extremely rare quality these days, particularly in politics. Yet it is an essential one for the leader of the free world. Now we have a guy in the White House, who thinks he knows everything. We all see how well that is working out for us. The current President knows more than his generals, his lawyers, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the American People. Every single day, he is ignoring yet another advisor, commission, or court decision. It would be one thing if his arrogance proved out in the real world, but time after time the misguided policies coming from this Administration are leading us further down the road to tragic ruin.

I was impressed right away when, in the South Carolina sound bite fest, Mr. Cain said he didn't have enough information to make an informed decision about the troops in Afghanistan. He went on to describe a well thought out, reasonable decision making process that has served his enterprises well over these many years. That kind of thought process and honesty is something I can get behind.

My heart was warmed as well, by a man who says what is on his mind. Particularly since that mind is sharp. Donald Trump says what is on his mind too, unfortunately what is on his mind is Donald Trump, and his ideas only work on reality TV and Park Avenue. If we wanted to build a spiffy new embassy somewhere or create a new show; “Congress Unclothed”, Trump would be my guy, but we have a country to save.

Mr. Cain's platform is rock solid. He is strong on the military, noting that the common defense is a primary purpose of the Federal Government. On spending we have a man who had to not just balance budgets, but turn a profit. He know about serious belt tightening, and the fact that he hasn't done it in Washington is a bonus. As we all know, few of the folks there have ever balanced a budget and even fewer have the stomach for doing it now!

Cain talks about securing our borders and strengthening existing immigration law so that it provides a path for LEGAL immigration and puts an end to illegal immigration. He speaks about expanding domestic energy production by loosening regulations on oil and coal companies, and letting free market forces work on alternative energy sources.

On the economy he is an “empowerment” guy not an “entitlement” guy. On health care, Obamacare must be repealed and replaced by market-centered, patient-centered policies that make health care more affordable for everyone. On education, one of the most important issues, he recognizes what a dismal failure our public education system has become. Mr Cain has a plan for unbundling education from the one-size fits all, federal government system to provide local choice and local control for parents over their children's education.

On social issues, Mr. Cain stands right smack in the middle of the Tea Party ideals. This is a sharp guy, who gives a GREAT speech, can think on his feet, and believes in the principals that this country was founded upon.

The other thing that has made a big impression on me though is that the national media ignores him. This morning on “Face the Nation”, Bob Schieffer did not even mention Herman Cain despite the fact that Mr. Cain finished third in the Des Moines Register poll Schieffer was extolling. Set to interview Michelle Bachmann, Schieffer correctly said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann finished first and second in the poll. But then skipping Cain completely, even though he got 10% of the tally, he incorrectly said Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich finished next after the two front-runners. I was incensed.

Time after time I have watched as Herman Cain finishes at the top, or near the top of straw polls, and likely GOP voter polls, and the media insists he hasn't got a chance. I had the chance to meet a well known Washington conservative pundit recently, and I asked him about Mr. Cain. He can't even get nominated was the response I got. Then he won the first Presidential Debate in South Carolina. On June 16th Rasmussen had Cain 3rd with 10% of likely GOP primary voters, and gathering steam. Yet the main stream media largely ignores him, calls him a second tier candidate, and looks around for someone else to run.

Why do I like that, you ask. Well maybe you didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you anyway. The media is scared of Herman Cain. The Democrats are REALLY scared of Mr. Cain. Unlike Sarah Palin, or Michelle Bachmann, who they crucify on a regular basis, they have to ignore Herman Cain. He takes away their ability to claim racism every time someone criticizes our current President. If Mr. Cain is Barrack Obama's opposition in November of 2012, the race baiting tactic is all but neutralized, and the President is left to run on his record, which as we all know, and even THEY know, is abysmal.

The Tea Party loves Herman Cain. His stance on all the relevant issues is spot on. He is an inspiring speaker. He is a proven administrator. He is funny and personable and he looks good on TV. Herman Cain is the media and the Democrats worst nightmare, so they are pretending he doesn't exist for as long as they can!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Obama Announces Big Changes to AMP up the Future

(MOJ) Pittsburgh PA, June 24th – During his visit to Carnegie Mellon University today, President Barak Obama announced a new Executive Order.* After calling for a "renaissance in American manufacturing that would replace shuttered steel mills with plants producing robotics, nanotechnology and other high-tech advances.” The President said "We have not run out of stuff to make, we've just got to reinvigorate our manufacturing sector so that it leads the world the way it always has, from paper and steel and cars to new products we haven't even dreamed up yet.”

He said, "That's how we're going to strengthen existing industries, that's how we're going spark new ones." Adding, "That's how we're going to create jobs, grow the middle class and secure our economic leadership."

In announcing his new order He noted “We have a congress that refuses to raise the debt limit. They believe that we must cut spending at a time when we have these initiatives that will give jobs to American workers. Congress is blocking our new initiatives and walking out of important meetings.'

“Therefore, I am issuing an executive order today which will extend my authority to be supreme, relegating Congress to an advisory position only.  My new title will be Progress Czar.  We face an emergency in this country, and we must put our people back to work in ways that support our environment, green energy and innovation.  That is what the American people want, and that is what the American people need.  The authority for this order comes from Commerce clause of the Constitution, in order to promote the general welfare, and because congress throws up roadblocks at every turn and on so many issues, all laws from now on will be issued by my office.  There will be no need for a Presidential election in November 2012, because I know the American people want me to continue to lead them and the country forward.”

“John Bryson, as the new Commerce Czar, will be in charge of the overall jobs initiative for our nation.  He will be working with businesses, suggesting how many jobs they will create, and what the wage scale will be.  We realize some parts of the country are doing better than others.  We have identified areas, shown on this map in blue, where jobs need to be created.  The areas shown in red are doing fine, and will need to contribute their fair share to our economy.'

“Our Energy Czar, Seven Chu, working in conjunction with EPA Czar, Lisa Jackson, will be working with the polluters, oil companies, gas companies, coal producers and old technology power plants to bring them into the future.  There will necessarily be some big changes in this area and my Czars will be working with the current managements of these companies to bring them in line with my vision for our future.'

“It is natural for me to be making this announcement at CMU.  The folks here at CMU, working at the forefront of technology, have developed a new, high efficiency stationary energy-producing bicyclogen.  With my wonderful wife Michelle I have initiated a program which will not only supply our nation with green energy, but tackle two other pressing issues at the same time. As you know, job growth has been slightly less than we expected, we have faced headwinds and bumps in the road. The recovery, while strong, hasn't produced the green energy jobs as quickly as we had hoped.  This new initiative solves that problem. At the same time, and as you know, Michelle has been tirelessly working to make our population healthier. She has worked with Walmart, McDonalds, and many other companies to make better choices for the nation's nutrition.  Now she will also be able to help folks tackle their obesity problems in another way, while reducing the number of unemployed and lowering health care costs.  We will be creating thousands and thousands of high paying government jobs for 'green energy creators'.  Michelle will be the new “healthy energy job Czar”. In that position she will be identifying many thousands of over weight, unemployed folks. We will be putting them to work, at high paying, energy producing jobs, riding thousands and thousands of these new bicyclogens, losing weight and generating energy at the same time!'

As I develop new initiatives to move our country forward and Win the Future, I will be assigning Czars to manage every aspect of everyday American life.  It's what the American people want, it's what the American people need, it's what will keep our country moving forward down the path to a winning future.  Thank You!'

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Once in a while I get serious. Sorry about that!

In my seven year tenure as an over-the-road truck driver, I have crossed the border into Canada many times. I have had many good experiences in that country and crossing the border was never a problem.  The rules for US carriers in Canada are reciprocal for US and Canadian companies.  A US carrier may deliver a load of freight in Canada, and pick up a Canadian load destined for the US, but they may not pick up a load in Canada and deliver it in that country as well. If the carrier cannot find Canadian freight destined for the US, the truck must come back empty.

As the result of the North American Free Trade Agreement, we are supposed to have a similar arrangement with Mexico.  In September of  1997, under the Bush administration, a pilot program was implemented to allow Mexican Trucks to enter the US and travel beyond the 25 miles they were limited to previously. This program was similar to the Canadian border crossing program in that Mexican trucks could not pick up loads in the US and deliver them in this country, they had to return to Mexico. The reciprocal part of the agreement allows US trucks to deliver freight into Mexico, and bring freight back.

The program was strongly opposed by James Hoffa, President of the Teamsters Union, US Senators Byron Dorgan, Arlen Spector and others, as well as several safety organizations. In late 2007, Congressman Dorgan led the successful fight to de-fund the program. Using a loophole in the law, the Bush administration was able to continue its pilot program despite several lawsuits, until it expired in 2009. The trucks and drivers were supposed to operate by US safety rules. Drivers were supposed to be able to speak and read English, and they were to meet American medical requirements.  During this pilot program, then Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, finally admitted before members of congress, that many of the drivers entering the US from Mexico could only understand road signs in Spanish.

As far as safety concerns go, the Department of Transportation is schizophrenic on the issue. In early September of 2009 they issued a report saying that more work is needed to insure the safety of Mexican trucks, noting that some states were not reporting convictions, and were doing only cursory inspections. Two days later they contradicted themselves by saying that Mexican trucks were safer than US trucks.

As part of its “be nice to Mexico at all costs” program, the Obama Administration has re-kindled the United States-Mexico cross-border long-haul trucking pilot program. The safety concerns still exist and the Teamsters Union still opposes the program, though in typical anti-truck driver fashion the American Trucking Association has embraced the idea.

Mexican truck and driver safety are only a small part of the issue, however. As it stands now, for freight to come into the US from Mexico, it is brought to the border by a Mexican trucker.  It is then trucked across the border by a driver who does nothing but border crossings and dropped inside a fifty mile radius in a common drop yard.  From there a US driver picks it up and delivers it inside the US.
If Mexican trucks are allowed to deliver freight inside the US, it will be at the cost of driver jobs inside this country.  Mexican drivers earn less, so it will be less expensive for the Mexican driver to deliver freight, than for a US driver do it.  The reciprocal part of the arrangement is supposed to combat the job loss problem, by allowing US drivers to deliver freight bound for Mexican destinations. Given the amount of drug cartel violence inside of Mexico recently, it is unlikely that there will be many US drivers willing to venture into that war zone. That means that the majority of the 2.4 billion dollars worth of freight bound for Mexico will be hauled by Mexican carriers.

An even more frightening reason not to allow the cross border program is terrorism.  US Customs estimates that one 18 wheeler crosses into the US every thirty seconds.  With that rate of transit, it is impossible to inspect more than a small fraction of them.  As the law exists now, a Mexican truck must stop and drop its trailer at a drop yard within a 50 mile zone.  If trucks are allowed unfettered access to US highways, a truck loaded with illegals, terrorists, drugs or guns has a much better than even chance of getting across the border unmolested and deep into US territory.  By working with a cooperative freight broker, the paperwork is easy enough to fake. Given the amount of corruption and violence in the current state of Mexico, it is not hard to imagine how it could be done.

Two weeks ago, Mexican officials happened to catch a tractor-trailer loaded with 213 illegal aliens from other Latin American countries.

Congress and the Obama Administration seriously need to re-think this proposal before something a great deal more lethal than illegal aliens comes trucking across our border into the heart of a major American city!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

If Thomas Jefferson were alive today

An unnamed congressman is responding to questions by Thomas Jefferson, who miraculously has come back to life and is presiding over a committee hearing. We arrive as the hearing is in progress, and we read only the responses to his questions:

“What was that Senator Jefferson?”

“No, we have not declared war on anyone.”

“Oh, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq? Well, those aren't really wars, you see.”

“Well yes, Senator, people are being killed, unfortunately.”

“You see, in 1973, after Richard Nixon ran a secret war, we passed the War Powers Resolution Act. It gives the President the authority to respond to hostile situations with the use of force, provided he notifies congress. Then after 60 days he has to get permission from us to continue.”

“Yes, Senator, it has been almost ninety days in Libya”

“No, sir He has not asked us for permission.”

“No Senator, I don't believe that congress has abdicated its duty. You see it's a dangerous world today. Things happen quickly. The president has to be able to respond if we are attacked...excuse me Senator?”

“No Libya didn't attack us.”

“No Senator, they didn't attack any of our allies”.

“Well no sir, you see they are just killing each other, and we are helping the Libyan rebels try to overthrow their government, besides, we aren't really fighting. NATO is running the whole thing. Excuse me sir?”

“Oh sorry, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, it is a bunch of countries bound together to protect each other.”

“No sir, Libya didn't attack any other NATO country. As I said, their leader Muammar Qaddafi is a pretty mean dude. He is killing his people, and they asked for help. What's that Senator?”

“No the President didn't ask us sir, but he did get permission from the UN”

“The United Nations sir. It a body with representatives from all over the world who gather to make sure wars and things like that don't happen.”

“The Constitution sir?'

“Well, that's a really old document sir. It's like a hundred years old. We don't pay much attention to that anymore.”

“Yes Mr. Jefferson, this is the United States of America.”

“Checks and balances sir?”

“Branches of Government, why yes sir, we have the Congress, the Senate, and the Regulatory Agencies”

“Well, you see, we don't actually go in for rule making to much anymore. We authorize regulatory agencies, and they make the rules.”

“No, a lot of the rules are unpopular with the people Senator, that is why we have agencies make them. That way we aren't blamed for their unpopularity.”

“Citizen legislature? No, Senator, most of us are career politicians. We spend the bulk of our time trying to get re-elected.”

“Enumerated Powers? I'm not familiar with that term sir.”

“Oh, yes, the commerce clause, things like that, yes sir. We used that to require everyone to buy health insurance from a private insurer, or we will fine them.”

“Excuse me Senator?”

“Yes, you see, health care costs are high now, and some people aren't buying insurance, so we decided to force them to buy it. That way, the taxpayer doesn't have to foot the bill for those without insurance.”

“Well, the insurance companies seem to like it sir, they wrote it.”

“Well I'm not familiar with all the provisions of the bill Senator. It was rather lengthy you see, and we didn't really get a chance to review it before it came up for a vote.”

“What's that Senator?”

“Oh yes, of COURSE I voted for the bill. It is important legislation!”

“Well it must be a good bill, the leadership told us to vote for it.”

“No, not always sir, not if they don't NEED my vote to pass a bill. Then I can vote the way I want.”

“Effect on the budget Mr. Chairman?”

“Well, we don't really have a budget, haven't had one in years.”

“No, we just pass a continuing resolution every so often to keep the country running, and we borrow what we need from somewhere.”

“I'm not really sure sir, the treasury department takes care of that, I think.”

“Me, sir? Yes I was elected overwhelmingly by my district!”

“Education? We provide everyone with a good education. The teachers union says so. We pretty much give them everything they want, why do you ask, sir?”

At which point, Thomas Jefferson pulls out a revolver and shoots himself in the head!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

When Did We Elect a King?

Or, Who gave Barak the Burger King Crown?

OK, I know I've been kind of preoccupied the last several days, wife in the hospital and all, but when did I miss the declaration of war on Yemen? Or on Libya for that matter? According to the New York Times, we have drones and fighter jets dropping nifty little explosive devices all over the southern part of Yemen, in an effort to bring some Al Qaeda folks to room temperature. Unfortunately the Al Qaeda folks are co-mingling with anti-Yemeni government fighters, blurring the line between the Arab Spring and terrorism. Typical of the Obama administration's foreign policy, it's hard to tell who our friends are and who our enemies are. I sometimes feel like our actual foreign policy is shoot them all and let Allah sort them out! My questions are these; what the hell are we doing, and by whose authority? When questioned about his failure to ask congress for authority to continue the hostilities in Libya, Mr. Obama said he didn't have to because...well because he said so! In just another of a long line of usurpations of power by the current Administration, we are rushing headlong toward the Chicago-style “government by fiat” system we fought a revolution to be free of.

Richard Millhouse Nixon lost his job for far less. Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment reads in part:

Article 2: Abuse of Power.

Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, imparting the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposes of these agencies.

And Article 3 reads in part:

Article 3: Contempt of Congress.

In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of the President of the United States, and to the best of his ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, had failed without lawful cause or excuse, to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, on April 11, 1974, May 15, 1974, May 30, 1974, and June 24, 1974, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. The subpoenaed papers and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President. In refusing to produce these papers and things, Richard M. Nixon, substituting his judgment as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by Constitution in the House of Representatives.

Nixon's problems all started with a secret, covert bombing excursion into Cambodia, without congressional approval. Ironically, it was the New York Times that first reported on the Cambodian war. Here is what they said about Obama's secret war: “WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has intensified the American covert war in Yemen, exploiting a growing power vacuum in the country to strike at militant suspects with armed drones and fighter jets, according to American officials.”

This is just another in a long list of the Obama administration's actions which ignore, subvert or bypass Congress, the Judicial Branch, and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Congress passed a resolution last week, requiring the President to come before them with justification for the Libyan action, and the Senate takes up a measure next week. “Ba-rraaaaak! You got some splainin' to do!”

Here is a partial list of the current Administration's abuses of power:

Contempt of Court

Refusal, in defiance of a court order, to turn over documents in the Al-Haramain terrorist trial, including evidence that the DOJ wire-tapped his lawyers.

Voter Intimidation

In 2008 members of the New Black Panther Party in paramilitary garb were at a polling place near downtown Philadelphia. (Some of this behavior is on YouTube.) One of them, they say, brandished a nightstick at the entrance and pointed it at voters and both made racial threats.

The Justice Department under Eric Holder has refused to prosecute the case, in effect saying voter intimidation is OK as long as it is intimidation against folks of non-color.

Contempt of Congress and Obstructing Freedom of Information Requests

Catherine Papoi, who was DHS deputy unit chief in charge of the Freedom of Information Act, said officials are “breaking the law by knowingly and intentionally delaying and obstructing the release of agency records.” She was passed over for a promotion and forced to vacate her office the day after she met with investigators.

Last March, Papoi went to the DHS Inspector General to complain of “hundreds” of cases of illegal stonewalling. The IG report has yet to be released a year later.

Health care slush fund

The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program under the new Obamacare legislation, in a style to make the late great Huey Long envious, has doled out billions of dollars to friends and supporters of Barack Obama, with almost no oversight as to who the recipients are. They include GE, GM, the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, UAW, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, The Washington Post, CBS and NBC.

Health Care Waivers

In a system which is supposed to treat everyone equally, health care waivers, exempting certain organizations from Obamacare regulations for a period of time, are again being handed out without any transparency. Again the appearance is that they are going to Obama supporters.

Health Care

Obamacare itself is thought to be unconstitutional by at least 28 State Houses and at least 2 federal judges, one of whom ordered the Obama Administration to cease and desist. That was an order they ignored prompting a rebuke from the Florida judge, and an insistence that the Administration expedite the appeal process.

Medicare 45% triggers

Enacted in 2003 the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernizations Act requires the President to submit a proposal to better fund Medicare when 45% of its costs are coming from the General Fund of the treasury. Obama has refused to do so, in violation of the law.

Defense of Marriage Act

President Obama has unilaterally decided that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and therefore has directed the DOJ not to defend it in court. Last time I looked the President doesn't get to decide which laws are constitutional and which will be enforced.


Organizing for America, Obama's campaign arm was very significantly involved in the Wisconsin State Legislature's fight over paring back collective bargaining privileges for state workers. This may well be in violation of the tenth amendment to the constitution.


And while we are at it, how come no one is asking about all these fund raising trips? Are tax dollars being used? Are Air Force One and other government resources being used to raise funds or further Mr. Obama's campaigning? Inquiring minds want to know! Well I want to know anyway.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Democrats - Read at Your Own Risk

I have developed a theory about the difference between Republicans and Democrats. I'm talking about the rank and file now, not necessarily the leadership, but what I have to say applies to them as well. Republicans think logically. Republicans try to use logic in their arguments. Ask a republican a question, and if they don't know the answer, they will go look it up, from more than one source. We rely on history. We generally have long memories. We are good with numbers and science, subjects that can be viewed objectively and quantitatively. In short, Republicans are left brain thinkers. Tell a Republican about a problem you have and he or she will generally try to find some solution to it. It may not be a solution you like, but it will generally be based on experience. Where Republicans often fall short is in our ability to express compassion. We have it, we often just don't express it well.

Democrats are more random and intuitive. They rely on their emotions for decisions and are more subjective. They cannot easily be swayed by rational thought, and are easy targets for emotional appeal and demagoguery. In short, they are right brain thinkers. This theory explains how democrats can believe their politicians when they say one thing this week, and four weeks from now say the exact opposite. The rank and file believe both contradictory statements, because the statements themselves appeal to the emotions rather than the intellect. Republicans miss the boat because we try to express ourselves logically and factually, appealing to the logical intellect, and we forget all about the emotional appeal. This works with the Republican base, but ignores the left completely, and to a lesser extent ignores the middle.

In 1993, in response to Hillary Clinton's health care reform bill, the Health Insurance Association of America released a series of ads featuring “Harry and Louise”. Harry and Louise were a couple who were worried about their health insurance, and what would happen to it under “Hillary Care”. The ads were highly effective and derailed the largest takeover of the US economy until Barrack Obama. Those ads were effective because they not only told the truth, but they did so in such a way as to appeal to the emotions as well as the intellect.

We got blindsided by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Act was passed through congress almost before it was printed. No one, not even the democrats themselves knew what it said. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi said, in front of the National Association of Counties “You have to pass the bill so we can find out what is in it”. Even she didn't know what it said. I understand, I've tried to read the thing myself, and found much of it unintelligible. The parts that are understandable, however do contain many alarming provisions. If you try to explain some of the scarier portions to a democrat, they won't believe you. Even if you show them the text, they won't believe you. If you prosiest, they will get frustrated and call you names and accuse you of wanting people to die from lack on medical attention. It is a little like trying to teach a pig to dance. It's frustrating for you and merely annoys the pig!

For example, the law has a provision which allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services to set up prevention services organizations to tell you how to live you life, what to eat, how much sleep to get, with whom you can sleep, etc.. I know, you don't believe me. Well here is the text:

‘‘(D) implement wellness and health promotion activities.

‘‘(b) WELLNESS AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS.—For purposes of subsection (a)(1)(D), wellness and health promotion activities may include personalized wellness and prevention services, which are
coordinated, maintained or delivered by a health care provider, a wellness and prevention plan manager, or a health, wellness or prevention services organization that conducts health risk assessments or offers ongoing face-to-face, telephonic or web-based intervention efforts for each of the program’s participants, and which may include the following wellness and prevention efforts:

‘‘(1) Smoking cessation.

‘‘(2) Weight management.

‘‘(3) Stress management.

‘‘(4) Physical fitness.

‘‘(5) Nutrition.

‘‘(6) Heart disease prevention.

‘‘(7) Healthy lifestyle support.

‘‘(8) Diabetes prevention.

I know, you still don't believe me. Well depending on the interpretation of the word intervention, that is EXACTLY what it means. I know, you still don't believe me. Suppose, though, you saw an ad on television.

(opening scene, outside of a house. We see the back of a strong man and a woman with shoulder length hair. Both are wearing blue jackets, like FBI jackets, but with HHS lettering. They ring the doorbell. After a few seconds, a slightly overweight man answers, smoking a cigarette.)

Man: Can I help you?

HHS Woman: “Mr. Johnson, we are here to conduct a healthy lifestyle assessment”.

Man: “A what?”

HHS Woman: “We are going to evaluate your health and tell you what you need to change to keep your health insurance and avoid paying a fine.”

Man: “What?”

HHS Woman; “Yes Mr. Johnson. As part of your health insurance program, you must allow us to asses your habits, and see where they are unhealthy. We will help you to change them to meet the healthy lifestyle requirements laid out by the government. May we come in?”

Man: “What?”

HHS Woman: “Oh, yes Mr. Johnson, it's all part of making America healthy. I see you smoke. That will have to stop, and you are at least fifty pounds overweight. You will need to start exercising right away, and we will tell you what you can eat from now on.”

(fade to black)

(White letters on black background – The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act)

Voice Over: “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Is this REALLY what you want from your health insurance provider, or your government?

Call your congressman today, tell them you will make you own choices about how to live.

(Fade to black)

I know, you STILL don't believe me... but you are thinking about it, aren't you?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Humble Beginnings

I grew up in a household of democrats. I myself was a democrat. My excuse is that I knew no better. I excuse my Father, because times were different then. Democrats were different then. There was a time when liberal meant freedom. There was also a time when Southern Democrat meant racist. My Father was never a Southern Democrat. In fact, my father came from, as do I, a long line of radical thinkers. To Dad, the Democratic party stands for the little guy. To him, they are anti-war, pro peace and pro free speech. Perhaps it was that way once, but it is no more.
One of my distant relatives was John Holland. For those of you with a public education in the latter 20th century, John Holland was a pilgrim. He sailed on the Mayflower from England to the new land to escape religious persecution. He was also the only guy to fall off the boat, but fortunately, they got him back aboard.  I digress.

In the early 1900's, another of my relatives, Aunt Tilly, took food in to starving miners who were on strike. They were under siege by company men, and were being starved out of their stronghold in a small church in Rossiter, Pennsylvania. Tilly wrapped herself in an American flag, under the theory that even the Pinkertons would not fire upon a woman AND an American flag. She turned out to be correct, and the men were saved.

My grandfather taught blacks in the Knox School in Selma Alabama long before the famous bus ride, and at a time when teaching blacks was very unpopular in the deep south.

I grew up listening to these stories. John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were the great men of my youth, and I learned that Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved the country from the Great Depression.

My family was anti-Vietnam War, and my father is anti all war to this day. I do understand his angst. I grew up listening to Walter Cronkite give the body counts every night over dinner, and when Walter was talking, no one else should.

Dad taught school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. When I was about ten years old, I remember attending sit-ins on the lawn of the ROTC building there. I had little understanding of why, but it seemed like a good time to a ten year old, especially with his much older brother. No, there was no throwing of Molotov cocktails, I didn't even know what a Molotov cocktail was. It was all very peaceful.

We thought Nixon was a crook, and I know dad voted for Hubert Humphrey.

I excuse my dad, because he still thinks that the Democrat party is the party of the common man, peace and freedom. He still is anti-war, more so now than ever. He is for equal rights, while the rest of the party has blown way past equal rights to special rights for “friends of the party”. He believes in opportunity for all, he is kind to animals and humans, he has a strong work ethic, and he believes in God.

He thinks taxes are too high, gas is too high, food is getting a little too high, and unfortunately, Democrats are the answer. It's not that he doesn't pay attention either. He still watches the news every night. He watches PBS. He believes technology reached its peak with the ball point pen, so the only news he gets comes from broadcast TV and the local papers. His news is one sided, but having little to compare it to, he doesn't know. I try to help. I made him a copy of the first 2011 republican debates in South Carolina, so he could get a clearer picture of the modern Republican party. I hope he watches. I hope his VCR still works.

So yes, friends, it's true, I was a Democrat. I confess! With that pedigree, what else could I be?

Then came Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter, my saviour. Jimmy Carter gave us lots of stuff. He gave us high unemployment. He gave us high inflation. He gave us 21% interest rates, and he gave us a nifty hostage crisis, ahhh good times. Fortunately, he gave us Ronald Reagan!

I didn't like Ronald Reagan. That was my first election, and I lost interest in a girlfriend because she voted for him. Believe it or not my friends, my first ever election I actually voted for a second term for Jimmy Carter... what was I thinking? Actually, I was thinking that Mr. Reagan would get us in a war with the Russians. I was thinking that I was a little fond of my skinny butt, and didn't want to get it all shot up. I was wrong. I was wrong about much in those days, but that is another story for another day.

President Reagan didn't get us into war. Peace through strength, that was his idea, and it worked. Lower taxes, not his idea, but he ran with it and it worked. Interest rates went down, unemployment went down, wages went up, and inflation went down, and I became a Republican. I couldn't wait for election day so I could vote for Ronald Reagan.  Vote for him I did,  and helped elect him to his second term. I'm sure this was much to my father's dismay, and dad and I have been canceling each other's votes ever since!

I should say here, that my father is the most honest man I have ever known, and except for his party affiliation, the sanest. If all Democrats lived their lives as he has, and thought like he does, I would still be a Democrat. He is patient with me, and listens to my ideas. He is not a parrot of the talking heads nor is he a particular fan of those inside the beltway. His only prejudice, as far as I can tell, is for the state of Texas. It used to be France, but I think the Bush's changed it to Texas.  He only allows himself one.

He has always been a creative person. He taught photography and motion picture production for most of my youth. He still writes and gardens.  When I was a boy, he was always building something. Often his projects would start with a balsa wood or cardboard model, to be worked on and perfected for weeks, before moving into actual production. It is his creative nature, along with my observations of politics in the twenty-first century, that got me thinking about the difference between Democrats and Republicans. I learned from him to listen to what everyone has to say, and from that listening, I learn. I learn and I theorize. Perhaps that is a dangerous thing, but it keeps me off the streets at night.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Missing the Boat.....Again

The New York 26 District congressional seat was lost by a lack of vision on the part of the Republican Party. Why we continue to let the Democrats eat our lunch with demagoguery full of lies is beyond me. Surely I'm not the smartest guy in the room, but even an Ordinary Joe like me can figure this one out.

Now, I don't mean to insult anyone here, but the country as a whole, has the attention span of a gnat. Everyone knows this. I myself, will flip channels the instant a commercial comes on. I just don't have the patience. So when we see an image of granny being pushed off a cliff in her wheel chair by a Paul Ryan look-alike, of course it is going to sway voters. What do we do? We talk and talk and talk. We say “It's not true”. We say “The Ryan plan does nothing to change Medicare for those 55 and over, and it mumble mumble mumble.......or in Charlie Brownese “hanwha whawawnhanahn wah wan”.

How about this instead. Put your imagination caps on here:

Television Commercial

Opening Scene:

(It is a beautiful spring day, we hear soft upbeat spring-like music in the background. Look-a-likes of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, all wearing coke bottle thick glasses are pushing a wagon with Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, and two children through a meadow. Blindly pushing the wagon forward, it comes to the edge of a cliff and tumbles over. Barack, Nancy and Harry throw their hands up and mouths open in surprise)

Voice over: With no plan to repair Medicare, the Administration and the Democrats in Congress are blindly pushing us all off a cliff.

Background noise: Family screaming as they fall!

Cut to: (We see Paul Ryan, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Michele Bachmann, and several other prominent Republicans holding a large blanket emblazoned with the words Ryan Plan. One by one they catch the falling family members and safely place them all on the ground)

Voice over: Paul Ryan and the Republicans have shown real leadership with a budget proposal that saves Medicare for all of our seniors, and insures health insurance will be there for everyone when we reach our golden years. Don't let those who have no ideas of their own use lies and distortions to scare you. We have an answer that will preserve what was promised, and protect all of us in the future.

Fade to black

“Elect Jane Corwin and preserve our future.” appears on the black background.

Instead Ms. Corwin tried to run from the Ryan plan and it cost her the election.

Unfortunately the demagoguery from the left side of the aisle works. I would not be so offended if it was at least based loosely on the truth. What is missing on the right side of the aisle is not an understanding of what is needed or what works in terms of policy, but an understanding of how to get the message out. We really do need more catchy phrases, and more ways to boil the message down to a thirty second television commercial.

If you folks need ideas, just ask me, I've got a million of them.