Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 7th - Never Forget

In memory of the 2,400 + victims of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

May we never forget them or those who were injured on that day. May they always hold a special place in our hearts and our nations collective memory.

God Bless them all.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Harry Reid - In his own words (Debt Ceiling)

You know, things must have been so much easier pre-internet. Back when you could say you were misinterpreted or the writer misquoted you........

Yeah, much easier than having to actually explain how the public's "lying ears" aren't really hearing what it is you are actually saying.

So, in the forum of radical truth what are the answers to the questions you were asking Harry?

Washington DC Name Calling - So this is Civility 101?

So let me just make sure I have this correct.

The Republicans have the audacity to try and extend the healthcare waiver to all Americans for a year, the way the President did for businesses.

As a result the Democrats proceed to call them: Extortionists, Terrorists, Saboteurs, Anarchist, Teabaggers, Squealing Political Pigs, Hostage Takers, Arsonists, Jihadists, Murderers, Unhuinged, Insane, Nazis, Enemy, Etc.,….

And then the Democrats say pass the CR and raise the debt limit and THEN we will negotiate?

What planet am I living on?

"Only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation,..." President Obama, January 12th, 2011.

So this is what passes for civility in America now?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Healthcare – Why do I have a problem with this?

A lot is going on in DC and at the heart of it is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. In fact it has led to a Government shutdown, although that seems to be more of a slogan than a reality. Let’s just say that it is a “slim” down and call it a day.

Nothing ever really shuts down in Washington, except open air memorials and the ocean apparently.

So what is really going on with all of this?

Sadly, most Americans have zero clue as to what is going on. They here “talking points” and think they have a grasp but the majority of times those talking points have no foundation in truth. Like your child saying he doesn’t know how the paint got on the wall when you and he are the only ones in the house.

On one side you have Republicans saying this is a major problem (the ACA) and we need to address it now and you have Democrats on the other side saying it is the law of the land and you need to live with it.

Here is what I know:

  1. We have no Budget, haven’t had one in four years. The Senate Majority Leader refuses to take a vote on one. We are running things on a Continuing Resolution (CR). Basically a CR is like two parents who can’t agree on what to spend and not spend so they just keep plugging along and tossing things onto a credit card and lie to each other that they’ll figure it out later.

  1. Republicans have presented a number of versions of the CR, each trying to cut away a bit of the ACA. First to defund, then to delay, then to modify, etc… bottom line is this doesn’t have to do with the funding of America as it does with the funding of the ACA. But honestly, that is the roll of the Congress as outlined by the Constitution. You don’t have to agree but it is our system and if you think that it is only the Republicans that do this then you are sadly mistaken and not a student of American politics.

  1. The Democratically controlled Senate hung the “closed” sign on the chamber door and said if it doesn’t include a flat out CR, that includes full funding of the ACA, we won’t consider it and we won’t negotiated. So you are effectively at an impasse. But the Senate and President saying it is all Republicans fault is disingenuous at best.

So what is the problem with the ACA? Well, I don’t have enough time to go over everything. Honestly, it is just not a well thought out plan. If this was the private sector it would have died a long time ago. Considering that they have had years to prepare and paid out at least $300 million for the website design you would think we would have gotten something better. Maybe they should have talked to the IT guys at Google or Amazon……. Just saying.

But the fact is private companies handle much greater traffic with far less issues. Considering this was President Obama’s signature legislation you would have assumed they would have pulled out all the stops to ensure it went off without a glitch.

What I do know is that the left is right……. It is the law of the land. Congress passed it in 2010 and the President signed it into law. Remember the whole “we need to pass it to see what is in it…

So again what is the problem? Well, considering it is the “law” the President himself doesn’t seem to be able to just let it go and see what happens. Consider for a moment the following things that have been changed, not through the legal process but by executive fiat:

Medicare Cuts – Delayed
Employer Mandate – Delayed
Subsidy Verification – Delayed
Out of Pocket Caps – Delayed
Business Enrollment – Delayed
Individual Businesses / Unions – Waived (I believe the last count is 2k plus)
Congress – Waived

This by far not a complete list, but it gives you a little idea of the changes the President has made, while at the same time telling Republicans there can be no changes….. Make sense to you?

Call me crazy, but if everyone is getting a break these days, why aren’t we, as in “we the people” getting the same breaks? My personal opinion is that the delay of the business mandate was put in place because they were afraid that more people would have been kicked off their company medical plans if it had been instituted and there would have been a backlash against the administration during the 2014 midterm elections. With that business delay in place we will never know.

Good political move.

It’s the same reason I think they added children up to 26 on their parents insurance. Why? Well, simple. Imagine the backlash if all of a sudden these kids had to go out and buy their own insurance. For the most part the ramifications of all of this won’t kick in until after the 2016 Presidential elections. By then it’s a moot point politically.


The administration keeps running around saying that people now have choices, but that’s really a bit of a stretch. The fact is we have always had choices….. At any time any person could shop for and purchase insurance. Sure there were always going to be some road blocks, pre-existing conditions could be problematic, but here’s a news flash: There are going to be problems with ACA!!

At the end of the day, despite all the fancy talking points, the final truth is that not everyone is going to be covered. The administration has already admitted that. The fact is that at present we have about 48 million uninsured. After the ACA is implemented we will still have about 30 million uninsured. What is most telling is that of the 30 million who will remain uninsured, 80% of them are U.S. citizens. So who exactly is benefiting from all of this?

So we had a system that provided coverage to something like 85% + and now we are going to mess around with it for what exactly? Think about how high 85% is……. Is anything that DC runs that effective? 

You need to watch this video of Jon Stewart interviewing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, on his show. Remember, SHE is the Health and Human Services Secretary, a cabinet level position,…… Listen to Stewart’s questions and, more importantly, her “answers.”  Does she even know what is going on?

If this interview was done by anyone on the right it would have been summarily dismissed, but in the uncomfortable humor there is a lot of truth.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Infamous 2013 DC "Shutdown"

I saw this photo that was taken during an event with the Democratic Progressive Caucus and furloughed federal employees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Oct. 4, 2013.

What originally caught my eye was the writing on the sign: “Set a budget – Do your job – We want to work”

I had to ask myself: “Does anyone get it?”

The other signs show photos of Republican house leadership and contend that it is the Republicans holding their jobs hostage. Here is my problem:

The Senate, under the questionable stewardship of Harry Reid has not passed a budget in four years. That is not to say that Congress has not sent them one, Reid just won’t allow a vote on them.

He is happy to continue getting by with last minute deals and funding the country on Continuing Resolutions and Debt Ceiling increases. That is an absolute disgrace.

So a note to the protestors: “The Congress did present a CR and your Democrat controlled Senate kicked it back. If Reid was interested in doing his job, and letting you do yours, they could have passed the CR and worked on the problems of the ACA which there are a LOT of problems.”

And just for the record, it is the Congress that controls the purse strings not the President. If the House chooses to not fund the Affordable Care Act that is within their purview. If the Senate refuses to accept it that does not mean that it is the Republican’s fault. It means that BOTH houses failed to reach an agreement. That is where the art of negotiation comes in. 

“My way or no way” is not bipartisanship nor is it good faith negotiation. 

Correct me if I am wrong.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Cicero's Prognosis - How little we have learned in 50 years

George Santayana once said "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it."

Take a moment to read this speech, Cicero's Prognosis, by the Honorable Justice Millard Caldwell (D-Fl), who served as a US Army officer during WWI, Florida Governor, Congressman and Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court.

Of particular note is the quote,  attributed to Marcus Tullius Cicero "Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions and laughed delightedly at his licentiousness and thought it very superior of him to acquire vast amounts of gold illicitly. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the 'new, wonderful good society' which shall now be Rome's, interpreted to mean 'more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.' Julius was always an ambitious villain, but he is only one man."

The stop for a moment and remember this speech was from nearly 50 years ago and the original incident was from 70 years before the birth of Christ.

And we wonder why we are in the place we are at today? - Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome.......

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Old Man and the White Horse

A while back someone made a great point about our lives and how we view them. They said we look at our lives as a series of photographs, gazing at the images during periods of highs and lows. At the time we may be caught up in joy or seized by agony, but we only see that moment. But God doesn’t see things that way. He sees the movie of our life, He knows the beginning, the middle and the end. To Him, everything makes sense, even the moments when we are in agony.

Today I received a letter from a friend in Asia. He knows about the tribulations we are experiencing now and he forwarded me this parable that I want to share with you. I think it describes precisely what we should all keep in mind, whether we are on the top of the mountain, or in the darkest of valleys.

The Old Man and the White Horse

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village.  Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse.  Even the king coveted his treasure.  A horse like this had never been seen before – such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.

People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused.  “This horse is not a horse to me,” he would tell them.  “It is a person.  How could you sell a person?  He is a friend, not a possession.  How could you sell a friend.”  The man was poor and the temptation was great.  But he never sold the horse.

One morning he found that the horse was not in his stable.  All the village came to see him.  “You old fool,” they scoffed, “we told you that someone would steal your horse.  We warned you that you would be robbed.  You are so poor.  How could you ever protect such a valuable animal?  It would have been better to have sold him.  You could have gotten whatever price you wanted.  No amount would have been to high.  Now the horse is gone and you’ve been cursed with misfortune.”

The old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly.  Say only that the horse is not in the stable.  That is all we know; the rest is judgment.  If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?”

The people contested, “Don’t make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed.  The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse.”

The old man spoke again.  “All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone.  The rest I don’t know.  Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say.  All we can see is a fragment.  Who can say what will come next?”

The people of the village laughed.  They thought that the man was crazy.  They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn’t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money.  But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, and old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it.  He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty.  Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.

After fifteen days, the horse returned.  He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest.  Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him.  Once again, the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke.  “Old man, you were right and we were wrong.  What we thought was a curse was a blessing.  Please forgive us.”

The man responded, “Once again, you go too far.  Say only that the horse is back.  State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don’t judge.  How do you know if this is a blessing or not?  You see only a fragment.  Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge?  You read only one page of a book.  Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of one phrase.  Can you understand the entire phrase?”

“Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word.  All you have is one fragment!  Don’t say that this is a blessing.  No one knows.  I am content with what I know.  I am not perturbed by what I don’t.”

“Maybe the old man is right,” they said to one another.  So they said little.  But down deep, they knew he was wrong.  They knew it was a blessing.  Twelve wild horses had returned.  With a little work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.

The old man had a son, an only son.  The young man began to break the wild horses.  After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs.  Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.

“You were right,” they said.  “You proved you were right.  The dozen horses were not a blessing.  They were a curse.  Your only son has broken both his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you.  Now you are poorer than ever.”

The old man spoke again.  “You people are obsessed with judging.  Don’t go so far.  Say only that my son broke his legs.  Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse?  No one knows.  We only have a fragment.  Life comes in fragments.”

It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country.  All the young men of the village were required to join the army.  Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured.  Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken.  There was little chance that they would return.  The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle.  They would never see their sons again.

“You were right, old man,” They wept.  “God knows you were right.  This proves it.  Your son’s accident was a blessing.  His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you.  Our sons are gone forever.”

The old man spoke again.  “It is impossible to talk with you.  You always draw conclusions.  No one knows.  Say only this.  Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not.  No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse.  No one is wise enough to know.  Only God knows.”