Saturday, November 22, 2014

When did "citizens" get downgraded to second class status?

Way more than a half century ago I studied the Constitution.  It didn't excite me, failing as so many of my homework assignments were want to do, and while I now appreciate the assignment, as it helps me find particular sections more quickly.  When in school, the Constitution seems quite simple and quite clear: three branches of government, each with their separate responsibilities, and a check and balances element to keep the government from becoming the threat to individual liberty that Thomas Jefferson so deeply feared.

And the purpose of the Federal Government was to defend the Citizens and the borders of the United States of America, providing for the common defense and common good.

I spent some time looking through my dog-eared copy of the Constitution the other night, looking for the Amendment that vacated that last purpose.  I couldn't find it.  That still puzzles me, because it surely must have been repealed, or somehow eliminated.  Why?  Well, because the Federal Government is now taking steps to protect non-citizens as a priority over protecting citizens.  Apparently my citizenship now grants me second class status.  I think this is wrong.  I never heard any discussion about a change.  I was never consulted...or given an opportunity to vote on such a change.  So...why is it so.

Do I hear some of you saying "You are wrong; there has been no such change, ... what are you talking about!"?  Well...Consider the following factual points:

First: our borders are "protected" inadequately and those assigned to protect the border actually help and provide aid to people "sneaking" across and into our country;

Second: our federal administrative courts and tribunals release in the general public most of those apprehended with no certainty or, apparently, expectation that they will appear at their next scheduled court appearance and with no way of knowing where they might start looking for these people who are in our country illegally;

Third: while our economy is barely holding steady and we have millions of citizens who cannot find work in their fields or with the sufficient hours that would enable them to support their families, the Federal Government now is going to allow  a minimum of 5 million people who have come into the country illegally to get Social Security accounts and work permits so that they can compete head to head with the law-abiding citizens of this country.  Our President actually is defying Congress in this step to provide greater difficulty for citizens to find work and jobs that they so badly need;

Fourth: the federal government, when presented with State activity to protect their borders, their businesses, their roads, their homes from people present in their states illegally, prohibits and takes to court those states and prevents those states from protecting its citizens.

Fifth: the federal government provides aid...paid for by money paid in taxes by the citizens of this country...to those here without legal permission.

Now, maybe I just don't understand the situation.  However, absent a Constitutional Amendment that makes citizenship a second class existence, I am waiting for anyone in what is presumably MY (and every other citizen's) government to explain why I have been told to stand still while the welfare of non-citizens has been made a priority over my, and my family's, welfare.

Exactly when, and WHY,  did the cart get put in front of the horse?





Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Is Jonathan Gruber wrong?

In the past two weeks multiple videos have surfaced in which one of the consulting architects of Mr. Obama's Affordable Healthcare Bill is seen and heard referring to the planned obfuscation in the wording and design of the bill so that the American voter would not be aware that money was going to be taken from younger people to pay the medical bills of older insureds; that if that fact were made generally known, the bill would never have passed.  He goes on to refer to the general "stupidity" of the American voter in accepting the misleading wording.  He does this in many different videos taken at different times before different groups...and he is clearly proud of his accomplishment.

Is he wrong?

And just a vital a question is: was the public mislead by his efforts?

Before I discuss the possible answers to those questions, a little historical review is in order.  First...let us keep in mind that the human is always looking for "free" "stuff."  Usually it is in the form of a bargain, sometimes it is a gift, but always we feel good if we get something for less than we thought we would have to pay or work.

Second, Politicians have for years proven that they were serving "us" by "bringing home the bacon."  How often did we hear during campaigns of how many projects were brought back to us from Washington, how many federal tax dollars were made available to us because of our representatives' efforts?  Did any of us...ever...consider that federal tax dollars originally came from US?  That our politicians didn't give us THEIR money...they were giving us OUR own money, and taking credit for it?  Not many even thought about it.  Local pols would brag about a project that wasn't going to cost us anything because they had gotten FEDERAL money...glibly glossing over the fact that Federal Money is our money too.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.

However, because everyone in Washington was doing the same thing, and because over time the distribution of money evened out around the country, no harm was done; we all paid our federal taxes and we all got some of it back.  No harm, no foul, right?

Unfortunately, however, there was a harm.  We got used to accepting political lies and assuming that we weren't being hurt by them.  That is incorrect.  We were being, and have been, indoctrinated to accept without challenge politicians' promises of "free" stuff...even as deep inside we knew that no such thing existed.

The Healthcare Bill, however, was a break from the traditional, "you protect my back and I'll protect yours" attitude that was largely based on district based "pay backs."  This was nationwide and involved what may turn out to be a one time country wide taking from an entire class of people in order to benefit another whole class of people.  No foreseeable payback here at all...yet it was sold much the same way, with the added twist of planned and carefully considered lies and misstatements designed to support getting enough votes to enact the bill.  The Leaders of the Democrat Party as well as the Democrat President took a Healthcare model that they ideologically favored and crafted a bill that would put this model into place.  In the process, the drafted both language and construction that hid the fact that one main element and result of the bill would be re-distribution of wealth.  They also knowingly failed to announce this, and when opponents pointed the facts out, lied and denied that it was so.

Adding to this con, the President knowingly assured the American public that the bill would not require anyone who was happy with existing healthcare plans to change anything about their coverage...even as he constructively had to know that he was lying.

And now we are presented with the filmed proof that Mr. Gruber, who was considered the "go to" guy by the administration on the design and construct of the bill, not only worked to hide the facts and present wording that would keep the CBO from considering the true costs of the bill, but was effusively proud of his ability to mislead a "stupid" electorate.  And...with that, all members of the administration and of the Democrat members of Congress have developed a curious case of amnesia regarding Mr. Gruber;  they only dimly remember the name and cannot recall any substantive dependence on his abilities to design and craft the bill.  Suddenly there is no recollection of his being one of 4 people who met in urgent session with President Obama 3 days prior to the Senate vote that passed the bill on pure partisan lines to figure out how to reassure (falsely as it turns out) wavering Democrats who's votes would end up being critical to passing the bill.

Now, any thinking person would think through the process used to conceive, draft, and promote the oddly named "affordable" Healthcare Bill and perhaps some to the conclusion that those that came up with this bill perpetrated a fraud on the American public and on the Congress as a whole, and abdicating their responsibilities under their oath of office in the process.  I feel that way, but am not sure that, as self-protective of federal office holders as Federal Law is (note that the RICO statutes exempt Congress for consideration thereunder) seems to be, there is any legal recourse.

The main thought of this particular post, however, is...was, and is, Mr. Gruber wrong in his attitude about the intelligence of the American voter.

One can argue both ways.  Surely, there was an effort by opponents to point out that the claims by Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid, Ms. Pelosi and the rest of those in office were false and could not be accomplished under the claimed financial considerations.  At some level, we all know that there is no such thing as a "free" lunch, yet we did not react with either anger or disbelief, but sat silently by as Congress acted.  And even recently, many of those Democrats who voted for the bill were re-elected...and this was done with them acknowledging that they never read the Bill before voting in favor.  These are certainly facts that seem to support the accuracy of Mr. Gruber's characterizations.

On the other hand, people in a bad economy are focused on working, earning money, stretching their available funds to take care of their families and they believe, with certain fairly minor deviations, that their elected representatives are looking out for them...at least in the major areas.  And Healthcare involves about one-sixth of the American Economy...so I could also argue that the electorate could reasonably rely on their elected officials to do the right thing...even as the opposition was shouting "fraud" and "you lie" to the high heavens.

I suspect that many of those that partake of the Progressive, Socialist, Liberal, Democrat ideology do indeed see themselves as of superior intellect, an elite group that truly does the entire country a favor by not only knowing what is best for everyone, but doing it despite any desire on the part of the "others" to disagree.  That is the attitude so clearly demonstrated in Mr. Gruber's commentaries.  He may be right.  I happen to think he is wrong...but I don't count.  Elections have consequences and recent elections certainly have seemed to support a general acceptance of Mr. Gruber's ( and those of Mr. Gore, Mr. Soros, Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid, and Ms. Pelosi, among many others) point of view.

One wonders if we have reached a tipping point in this country where no longer will the electorate insist on government being responsive to the public, but allow the government to cause the electorate to serve the government.  After all, when was the last time that the government gave you back a personal freedom...or granted you a new one?

Monday, September 15, 2014

When did we become Killers?

Some of you will respond that we are carnivores...we've always been killers.  Well, that is outside my area of expertise, so I won't respond.  Besides, that isn't what I am talking about.  I am talking about the casualness with which we destroy those around us, both friends and enemies, with no guilt, no thought, no emotion and often with no thought or active decision to do so.

I grew up before social media.  You could get bullied in school.  And you could be whispered about in school.  But it was limited to your class or your building and if adults heard any of it, they dismissed it as immature "stuff"...and it was.  It was discarded when you moved on.

A kid getting caught doing something wrong was punished.  Often the police turned him or her over to the parents, 'cause they did a more intense job than the police did...and it didn't leave a permanent record.  Besides...the parents took the responsibility seriously.

And that, too, was left behind even as the lessons learned stayed with us as we moved toward adulthood.  Almost all went on to productive lives, applying for and getting jobs that allowed us to finance and fulfill our families and our lives.

Even in adulthood, if you broke the law in some way, we all knew that was what the Justice system was for and we didn't take punishment into our own hands.  And the few times that that happened, those that gave into "mob" rule, were in turn punished...that was not justice, that was mob rule, feeding a blood-lust that didn't fit our view of what a civilized society should be about.

Law breakers had to word harder at it, but they could rejoin society if the proved that their transgression was a one time thing.  Yes, suspicion remained if something untoward happened, but that was the price...the consequences, if you will...of having broken the law in the first place.

That is not today's world.

Today, children and adults destroy others' lives without even a thought. No guilt!  No shame!  Often not even a thought for either emotion!  And there is a lack of inherent self-control on the part of all that often invites destruction. When I was growing up, it was drummed into me not to do anything that we were not prepared to have appear as a headline, with pictures, in the local paper.  Where and when did that admonition go...'cause it sure doesn't seem to be either known or acknowledged today by children or adults.  And the concept of consequences for both stupidity and purposeful wrongdoing has also disappeared...unless it captures the attention of the media or special interest groups.  No longer can any transgression be left to the courts; there must now be attendant consequences: loss of job, public ridicule, public denigration...often before a legal verdict is rendered.

There are those that will claim that all this is either appropriate or that it is life as it exists today and no thought need be given to it.  Well, time will tell whether that is or is not so.  But I leave you with this thought:  If you did something that was either wrong, or might be wrong, and it was taken up by the legal system, would you accept non-legal punishment dealt out by nameless individuals or groups that destroyed your ability to make a living or walk the streets in safety...all before a Justice system had ruled on you actions and, if appropriate, declared you legal punishment?

Have we reverted so far back to the days of each man for himself that we endorse mob rule based often on rumor as much as fact and taking upon ourselves the right to rule on life, death and pursuit of happiness of others without formal assignment of that task?  I find that a fearful thing from any standpoint: accused, accuser, observer, or judge.

Of course, I also find it abhorrent that so many around me are so uncertain in their place in life that they would make it legally required that I approve of them, their actions, or their beliefs.  I would not want to interfere with what others lives are, provided they do not actively interfere with mine;  I see no reason why I should be required to take any notice whatever of their lives...I do not require their acquiescence to my beliefs, actions or way of living.  I neither need nor want their involvement; why would they required...and that by act of law...mine?  But that is for another discussion.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

President Obama...and ISIS

At the moment, many are concerned about the ongoing actions of the group known as ISIS (or, as the current administration curiously labels it, ISIL).  There are really only two major concerns: 1) why the apparent delay or failure of this administration to have a strategy already prepared for a group who's existence and power is no surprise; and 2) what should that strategy be.

The first answer is fairly straightforward. Mr Obama has shown himself to have little or no interest in devoting the hard work necessary to be an effective President. There is a reason all of our Presidents have looked so worn down after their period in the Oval Office. It is hard, worrisome work. Mr. Obama prefers raising money, making speeches (often including totally unacceptable lies and never followed up on by hard work to make promises a reality), and playing golf while enjoying the image and perks of being President. Also, while he might have proven that he can play well with others, he also has shown a very thin skinned inability to work well with others. He simply doesn't want to do the work of being President, and doesn't want to be hounded or found fault with for that lack of work.

The second question is much harder: what to do. This country...and the world, really...has often shown little initial interest in people being subjected to genocidal and other treatment. The Nazi's are on point, and there are many instances on the African continent and in Asia that come to mind. We need a personal threat that smacks of reality or an actual attack to get our attention and inspire purposeful action. I would think that a lot of governmental people are very nervous about the depleted condition of our military, so I think the first step should be a re-evaluation of needs and purposes and a concomitant authorization of funds to make our military capable of responding to any number of threats.

Additionally, our military and Homeland Security should already have (and if not, to quickly develop) plans on how degrade the military abilities of ISIS (or, as the administration prefers to call them, for reasons unfathomable to me, ISIL) and screen those coming to the U.S. (including finally a securitization of our borders so that we actually know who is arriving) to prevent individual terror acts. And finally, it would seem obvious that any comments that are made by the President...or his "people"...should avoid phrases that seem limiting. One doesn't have to threaten; just indicate a willingness to do "what must be done" to protect and defend. Declaring that no military action involving "boots on the ground" may be true...but you are absolutely insane to verbalize it. Let those who would harm us worry about what we will and will not do...don't hand it to them on a silver platter.

Anyone have a better idea?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Entrapment?

Ever notice how a child, when they misbehave, looks around with a sense of foreboding or fear?  They know they have done wrong and are waiting for the expected consequences.  Present and aware parents are there to respond...the child suffers the consequences that the child expects, and the learning about life in civilized society continues.

But...what about families where that doesn't happen?  No consequences.  Soon the child comes to believe that whatever instincts he or she was born with can be discounted as inconvenient and an impediment to doing whatever it is he or she wants.  Is it any surprise when those children break the law, both in their early as well as later years?

And...what about countries and ideological groups?  Does the same apply?

When, as an example, Hamas launches missiles at Israel, and the United Nations and others defend the practice...is that not the same as not visiting consequences for "bad" behavior?  And...I would suggest...that to allow that to happen over time, is to invite the presumption that there are no consequences and thus invite an escalation of such unacceptable behavior.

Hamas must be punished...or eliminated.  Which is not clear, but one or the other will happen.  But...I think that the United Nations is complicit in encouraging Hamas to believe that they would not suffer consequences for the killing of Israelis or for the destruction of the Israeli State.

Such thinking and behavior should never be rewarded or approved.  The United States of America should cease funding the U.N.  Other nations routinely fail to pay their dues; America should stop paying money to an organization that encourages violence toward others.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Civility

Does anyone out there remember Johnny Carson?  How about Everett Dirksen?  Remember Ronald Reagan? Can your remember what they had in common?  Civility!

I don't bother with late night tv anymore.  It is mean.  The jokes are mean...and I often think the stars are mean too.  I grew up...and more intelligent...with Johnny Carson.  He would poke fun at anyone who acted stupidly, or made a fool of themselves...but it was never mean.  He had a humor that was observational, not an attack.  Don't know how he did it, but he did...and he made America better for it.

Dirksen was a politician...but he understood that politics was a craft that required negotiation, not a "Sherman's march to the Sea."  Progress, as his ideology defined it, was slow...but not a reason for destruction.  He lost some.  He won some.  But he treated his opponents the same way that he treated his allies...with civility.

Ronald Reagan was a man with strong convictions.  He never foreswore those convictions.  Yet he negotiated with a Congress that opposed him to achieve progress.  He didn't demand "winning'"...he gave some and won some, but like Dirkson understood that it was a gradual influence that he wielded, not the label of a "winner" or "loser"...time would determine those things.  Both realized that the job of ruling the country came first.  Each put politics away once an election was over, because they needed to DO THE JOB!  Not only that, they did it exemplifying the art of civility while promoting their own agendas.

Today, I experience ole age with a certain amount of disdain for America.  Not for the country physically, but for our government.  There is no civility.  Oh, sure, there is feigned politeness...but it comes with obvious cynicism...it's not real.

And the President has no skills in negotiating.  Of course, he knows that so there is an avoidance of even entering that arena.  For the first time in my more than 70 years, I see a President afraid of the Oval Office.  I see a President unable to even call Congressmen and Senators and talk about solutions for problems.  Instead, he runs off to fundraise or play golf.  I expect that he is scared of showing his lack of experience if he sits down in the situation room with his military officers and discusses the ongoing world-wide challenges.  For such an intelligent, learned man, how could he not realize that the admitting of ignorance is the beginning of both knowledge and the inspiring of a desire of those around him to help.  Instead, he ducks, weaves and avoids.  And makes believe all is well.

His attitude, mentally, is the equivalent of the old story of the Emperor's new Suit of Clothes.

Unfortunately, this is NOT a fable.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A "probable" solution to the flood of minors coming over our Southern Border

Let us forget the "blame" game regarding the overwhelming flood of minor illegal aliens crossing our southern borders.  The first question should be "how do we stop it and get control over our border?"

The only logical solution I have heard so long has been presented by Senator Flake, from Arizona.  His answer:  Ship a couple of planes to each of the major source countries for these minors chock full of those very same kids.

Consider that families have paid many thousands of Dollars to human smugglers and the cartels to send their children to the "land of milk and honey" expected that we will take them in, and they will have a chance for the American success story.  I can't blame them.  And, truth be told, our current administration has given those parents every reason to think this country will "wink, wink, nod, nod" and allow them to stay.

But...if suddenly those children start showing up back home in planes sent by the United States Government, those parents have just thrown thousands of dollars away...dollars they had to skimp and scratch to get in the first place.  They will not throw...perhaps cannot...that kind of money away again without the likelihood of success.

The result would be that within 30 days the flood would start to abate, and within 90 it would virtually come to a halt, and the border would normalize.

That is not to say that there would not continue to be the ongoing drug smuggling and adult crossings, but that would be a matter for another, much longer, discussion.

Two or three plane loads to each country...9 plane loads tops...and this problem starts to go away.  Mr. Obama, you can fast track  that many kids in two months...get to work.  It would help mightily if you were to discipline yourself to stay in the Oval Office and actually work at this...but even if you have to assign it to someone else, get it done.  Fix this.  You can do it.