Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time For A Change

I have been writing this blog since October of 2006. In that time, I have had some readers come and go. I have also had a core group of readers that have stayed with me. I have always dreamed of taking this blog off of Blogger and moving it to it's own website. That dream has now come true. I am moving Political Friends to Political Friends Blog. The new url is simply . In about a week, I will install code to automatically redirect anyone from this site to the new website. You may also see a few changes to the new blog over the coming week as I get feedback on it and as readers comment.

Take a minute and stop by the new blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Friday, June 04, 2010

My Interview with Gerry Purcell (Part IV)

In this segment, I wanted to explore two issues I found about Mr. Purcell that caused me some concern. Mr. Purcell has campaigned on lowering health and auto insurance costs for Georgians. I get a little nervous when conservatives start promising to lower insurance costs. Also, Mr. Purcell has campaigned on making Europe pay "their fair share" in research and development costs on new drugs. Again, whenever a politician wants someone else to pay "their fair share" I start to worry. I would soon find some very interesting answer.

I asked Mr. Purcell, specifically, how he would lower insurance costs for Georgians. He has campaigned very heavy on this issue, and it's one of the first things you notice if you go to his Facebook page. I thought his answer was very interesting. Discussing health care, Mr. Purcell pointed out that while we are fighting to repeal Obamacare, we should simultaneously look for ways to improve health care. He called this method "Fight and Fix". Gerry Purcell is a proponent of allowing insurance companies the ability to sell across interstate borders. However, he believes the insurance commissioner should have the right to audit any company selling insurance in their state, even if that company is located out of state. "We set up a compact of four or five southern states, we tell the Federal government to stay out of it, we got it," he stated. He pointed out that we currently do this with long term care and other types of insurance. He also pointed out that Alabama, one of our neighbors, has cheaper insurance. Why? They have lower taxes on health care, and fewer mandates. Mr. Purcell gave an example of a tax in Georgia that drives up our health care costs. It's the health care tax, it runs 4.75%, and 99% of Georgians don't know it's there. Mr. Purcell stated that if he is elected, he will work to have all embedded taxes clearly shown to the consumer.

Another way to lower our insurance costs would be to allow businesses and smaller groups to pool together. Mr. Purcell pointed out that, "if you're a small business with 25 employees and you compare your rates to a business with 2500 employees you start out with a 20% punishment. You could be the healthiest group of 25 people in America; your rates are still going to be 20% higher right off the bat than the 2500 group." Gerry Purcell also told me that more transparency might help drive costs down. Most people have no idea what a doctor's or hospital visit really costs. Health savings accounts are great way for people to save for their insurance costs, and for them to see exactly what a doctor's visit costs.

In researching Gerry Purcell, I discovered that he has called for, when speaking of healthcare research and development, a "… bold trade policy to address the inequities, especially with the European Commission, Canada, and other nations who can afford to pay their fair share of research and development costs."

I asked him how would this work and how could he possibly force foreign governments to pay their fair share? Mr. Purcell quickly admitted that he couldn't do it by himself, that to fix this really required Congressional action. However, he pointed out something I had never considered: Insurance Commissioners actually have an interesting amount of power on a national level. He pointed out that Insurance Commissioners are considered experts in their field, and that many legislators really don't understand insurance. As such, an insurance commissioner can have a real impact on a national insurance discussion.

He then pointed out that over the last year there has been a lot of misinformation in the healthcare debate. One of the error's is when people compare healthcare costs in Europe to those in the United States. One of the reasons this is an apples vs. oranges comparison is that the U.S. heavily subsidizes Europe's health care. Mr. Purcell went on:

"I will give you an example: the last eight or nine blockbuster drugs came out of the United States and so the problem is that we pay. We use about 35% of the world's pharmaceuticals, which is high, but we pay for 60% plus of them. There are 29 industrial nations in the world, and it's time they pay their fair share. It's time that the President of the United States looks at Europe and says, "We're not subsidizing your healthcare costs anymore."

But what would this look like? How would we enforce such a thing? While it wouldn't be easy, or painless, we could do it very effectively with the correct trade policies. Mr. Purcell argues that we need to talk to our trade partners and explain it's time for a fair and free trade agreement. We won't continue to pay for their healthcare anymore.

In the next installment, I ask Mr. Purcell to look into the future and predict the challenges that our next Insurance Commissioner might face.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Road to Greece?

We are almost at the point where the rubber meets the road. One of the rules of life that everyone should memorize is: Actions have Consequences. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Reid pushed and fought and arm twisted to pass Obamacare. As our economy has continued to suffer, and as jobs have disappeared, the Democrats in Washington have continued to spend money as if the Washington Monument was loaded with cash.

Whether you agree with these policies or not, the policies of the Democrat controlled congress has come with a price tag. The Tea Parties have argued that President Obama and Congress are taxing our children and our grandchildren. We have word now that the reality may be worse: our children and grandchildren may not have the jobs to get taxed. Dick Morris writing yesterday says:

Meanwhile, the nation watches nervously as the same policies Obama has brought to our nation are failing badly and publicly in Europe. When Moody’s announces that it is considering downgrading bonds issued by the government of the United States of America, we find ourselves, suddenly, in deep trouble. We have had deficits before. But never have they so freaked investors that a ratings agency considered lowering its opinion of our solvency. Not since Alexander Hamilton assumed the states’ Revolutionary War debt has America’s willingness and ability to meet its financial obligations been as seriously questioned.

And the truth begins to dawn on all of us: Obama has no more idea how to work his way out of the economic mess into which his policies have plunged us than he does about how to clean up the oil spill that is destroying our southern coastline.

If our bonds are being downgraded, then we can see the road to Greece from here. A combination of lowered credit, mounting debt in the form of Social Security and Medicare, with a good, strong helping of national health care puts us on a path towards Greece. As we rush to implement national health care, Canada is looking for a way out of it. Canada has discovered what the Tea Parties have said for months now: Free health care is very expensive. We have two choices. We can continue down this road. We may even have some good times, but at some point, we will have to pay the bill for this. When that happens, we will be in the same place Greece is today.

Or we can get off this road. We can realize that a national health care system will cost money. We can stop trying to cut our own throats and start using all the energy at our fingertips: oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal. You name it, we use it. At some point we have to make a decision: Will we continue to be the world's Superpower, or will we follow Greece?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lt. John William Finn (U.S. Navy ) 1909 - 2010

If you have ever seen a World War II movie about Pearl Harbor, you have probably seen the following scene during the attack. As Japanese planes strafe Pearl, a lone man runs out to a machine gun and starts firing at the Japanese. That lone man was Lt. John Finn. His Congressional Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:

For extraordinary heroism distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lt. Finn promptly secured and manned a .50-caliber machinegun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machinegun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy's fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Lt. Finn died at the age of 100 this week. Admiral Chester Nimitz presented Lt. Finn with the Medal of Honor on September 15, 1942. When presenting the medal, Admiral Nimitz said that Lt. Finn, like many of those who serve out nation, never intended to be a hero. He just did his duty.

Admiral Nimitz would probably say the same thing of all of our hero's who have died serving our nation. I hope you have a good Memorial Day, and thank you to all the soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Interview with Gerry Purcell (Part III)

This is the third part of my interview with Gerry Purcell. Mr. Purcell is running for Insurance Commissioner for the State of Georgia. In the previous two posts, I gave a little background on who Mr. Purcell is and why he's qualified for this job. This time we talked about the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), global warming, and how to prevent the federal government from intruding in our health insurance.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

In researching Mr. Purcell, I came across the NAIC. This is an organization made up of the insurance commissioners from all 50 states. During our interview, Mr. Purcell pointed out that 36 of the states appoint their insurance commissioners. Georgia is in the minority in that we elect the Insurance Commissioner. Because of that, it's questionable how much this organization reflects the public, or what the voters in the 50 states want. Originally, this group did not have the power to force states to do anything. They could only make recommendations to the states. Mr. Purcell told me that changed under Obamacare. He said that Obamacare, "…nullifies, I think inappropriately, and perhaps illegally, the McCarran-Ferguson Act. " This act, "…basically establishes that states have control over their own insurance markets." With a federal health care system, this goes out the window. "Now you have this new, monstrous, insurance bill that invades and intrudes into that legislative authority that has been established for years, "he said. Mr. Purcell did warn what Obamcare would become a "full employment act" for lawyers because of the number of challenges that will be mounted on both sides of the aisle. There will be,"…dozens, if not hundreds {of lawsuits}, suing for the determination of the appropriateness of the legislative mandate, the nullification of McCarran-Ferguson, and the constitutionality of a non-governmental entity giving direction to a state." The last part of the comment brought us back to the NAIC.

I found that the NAIC had recently gotten into trouble because they had "asked" states to provide data on "climate related risks". They also stated that the states should have the ability to mandate insurance companies provide "climate related risks" data. I asked Mr. Purcell if he was elected, would he require insurance companies provide information on "climate related risks", would he ask they provide it, or would he drop the issue entirely? Mr. Purcell stated that he was the first candidate in the race to release a statement about this. When he first heard about this NAIC mandate, he made a call to John Oxendine's office asking them to drop this requirement, and then to the NAIC. He wanted to know under what authority the NAIC could make this a mandate to the states. When he spoke with the NAIC they stated it was actually "voluntary" and not a mandate. One of Mr. Purcell's concerns was the cost of this mandate. He estimated that the reporting would cost insurance companies millions of dollars. Further, that cost would be passed onto the consumer, and he didn't want to see insurance rates increased without any benefit to the consumer. Mr. Purcell said the only reason he could think that the NAIC would want data on "climate related risks" is to help generate support for a Cap and Trade bill. That shouldn't be the purpose of an insurance committee

How do you challenge Obamacare?

I asked Mr. Purcell if he would support a tenth amendment challenge to Obamacare. His response was very interesting:

"The tenth amendment is en vogue right now in Republican circles. Let me zero in on what that means to me. The question for me is: Does the federal government have the right, both legally and morally, to bankrupt the State of Georgia, and I say they don't. I say they don't and then you trigger the tenth amendment to exercise your push back on that."

Mr. Purcell is convinced that Obamacare will bankrupt Georgia. He points out that Obamacare will cost Georgia alone $1 Billion a year in today's dollars just in Medicaid. The federal government will fund this for the first couple of years. After that, they are going to stop funding it but require Georgians pick up the tab. Mr. Purcell estimates this could be as early as 2014 or 2015. By then, this will cost some $5 to $6 Billion. Mr. Purcell pointed out that Georgia had to balance its budget using $2 Billion in stimulus funds this year. Imagine trying to balance our state's budget without that money, but with an additional $6 Billion in expenses.

Next installment....

Next time, I ask Mr. Purcell how he would lower auto and health insurance costs for Georgians, and why he supports forcing Europe to pay their fair share of research costs for new drugs.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Are We Cowards on Race...or Just Plain Stupid?

The topic for this story comes from a reader, Pack04. He sent me this link for a story from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. For the complete story, refer to the link, but here are the highlights:

  • Catherine Ariemma is a teacher at a high school in north Georgia. She has been honored by both the community and the state for her dedication to her students and her profession.

  • Mrs. Ariemma was working with her advanced placement history students on a film project discussing racism.

  • Last Thursday, she had four students dress in Klu Klux Klan robes and walk through a portion of the school. She did not intend them to be anywhere near students, but forgot some students were eating lunch at the time of the filming.

  • Some students, including senior Cody Rider, were offended and complained to their parents. Their parents complained.

  • Activist Rev. Markel Hutchins was called to the town to, according to the AJC, quell,"...what seemed to be growing frustration among Dahlonega's small African American community."

  • Mrs. Ariemma has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. According to the AJC, "{School Superintendent}Moye said Ariemma has never been reprimanded for missteps and that she has always been an "outstanding" teacher. But he said he could not ignore this incident." The school system attorney is interviewing students to determine "what happened".

  • During a conversation with the School Superintendent, "...Hutchins asked the superintendent that a meeting be convened between the mayor and police chief to address Cody’s safety, as well as planning a diversity sensitivity training for the city, school staff and sheriff deputies."

These are the facts as reported by the AJC. The last one I find particularly depressing and humorous at the same time. Apparently senior Cody Rider is fearful the schools actors may come after him. The only threat of violence from the story is actually Mr. Rider threatening the actors.

In the story, Mrs. Ariemma said she was trying to do a film project with the students discussing racism, and that she couldn't do that without discussing the Klan. To do otherwise would be to condone their behavior. I think she's right. Can you imagine if a documentary on racism came out of a North Georgia school and the Klan wasn't mentioned in it at all?

I do think Mrs. Ariemma should have used non school hours to do her filming. But that is the worst thing I can see charging her with: poor logistics. She was trying to educate her students about racism, not lynch a student. However, because she used a different method, and because there is an Atlanta activist that needs more money, she may be fired. Not only that, but the county may have to spend money sending city staff, school staff, and sheriff's deputies into sensitivity training. The article didn't say how anyone from the city or the sheriff's office was involved in the original incident, but perhaps the AJC forgot to include that. The AJC also neglected to mention any similar incidents that might show how this was anything other than an isolated case. Finally, the AJC didn't mention this, but I wonder if the Rev. Hutchins plans on selling his services to the city to conduct the sensitivity training.

Eric Holder said we are a nation of cowards when it comes to race. I am starting to wonder if he's correct. There was no racism of any sort mentioned in the AJC story. Yet, a good teacher may lose her job, and a racial activist may make a good some of money from the city. I don't think either of these teaches the children of this particular high school anything about racism. It may teach them that political correctness could cost you your job, even if you are innocent.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rand Paul is Right

Rand Paul has been in the news this week with some controversial remarks. I think both of the remarks the media is talking about were correct. As a matter of a disclaimer, I don't claim to be a Rand Paul supporter. I am not a fan of his father, Ron Paul, and before Rand won the primary, I really didn't know much about him. However, when you're right, you're right.

Private businesses should be able to serve who they want.

The first comment that got him in trouble involved a discussion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Rand Paul has said a number of times that he would not support overturning the Civil Rights Act, and that he would have voted for it. However, he said he had some concerns when the act is applied to private businesses. The quote that got him in trouble, as reported by the New York Times was:

Asked by Ms. Maddow if a private business had the right to refuse to serve black people, Mr. Paul replied, “Yes.”

I agree with him. I believe a private business should be able to serve or cater to whoever they want. If a bar, diner, golf course, or electronics store wants to "not serve" blacks, Hispanics, whites, or any other group, they should be able to. However, I also believe they shouldn't complain when a large number of people don't shop there because of that policy. I would never personally shop at a store that excluded any specific racial group, but I would fight to allow them that right.

The Obama Administration is Un-American.

If there is anything that drives liberals crazier than insisting on personal rights and accountability, it's stating that a liberal icon is un-American. This is exactly what Rand Paul did when he was trying to clarify his remarks about the Civil Rights Act. Once again, citing the New York Times:

“What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,’ ” Mr. Paul said, referring to a remark by Interior Secretary Ken Salazaar about the oil company. “I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business. I’ve heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it’s part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it’s always got to be someone’s fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen.”

Again, I think Mr. Paul is correct. Ken Salazaar was the first to say it, but Robert Gibbs has repeated it so many times in press briefings that this has become the tag line for the President's handling of the BP oil spill. Ignore your personal feelings for President Obama, do you really think it sounds Presidential, or American, to say that your administration will keep,"...a boot heel to the throat..." of a private company? Then your administration repeats it over and over? Is that the picture we want to paint of our government? It sounds like something you would expect out of a politician who was so far removed from the average American that he doesn't even realize what he is saying is cause for concern.

I think the media is attempting to use the comments to paint Mr. Paul as a fire breathing racist and anti-government zealot. Truthfully, they should look at his comments and consider what he actually said. If the media was really concerned with racism and the civil rights act, they would bring Senator Robert Byrd on to discuss why he voted against the law in 1964. They haven't, and probably won't. They are much more interested in looking at a stereotype than at what was actually said. Now who sounds like the racist?

How Republicans are getting this wrong.

Finally, a number of Republicans, both elected and not, are trying to distance themselves from this discussion. I think they are wrong to do that, and wrong to criticize Rand Paul for answering a direct question. First, how many times have we as voters complained that we can't get an honest answer from a politician? Well, you may not like the answer, but Mr. Paul has given you one. Secondly, avoiding this discussion gives strength to Eric Holder's comments that Americans are cowards about race. Let's have the personal rights versus politically correct discussion. Lets be honest about it, and let's examine where we may have gone wrong in the past.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Obama Picks Mexico Over United States.

"...Obama showed solidarity with his guest of honor, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who called Arizona's law discriminatory and warned Mexico would reject any effort to 'criminalize migration.'"

--Houston Chronicle

The President of the United States has sided with a foreign nation in criticizing a state in the union. He has decided that he would rather appear friendly to the Mexican government than the voters of Arizona.The President is worried that the new Arizona immigration law is racist. I would be interested to know how he came up with that opinion since a number of people in his administration have arrived at the same opinion, without reading the law. Who would do such an incredibly stupid thing? Especially when the bill is approximately 21 pages long.

As noted on Hot Air, Attorney General Eric Holder told Meet the Press that the Arizona law had, "...the possibility of leading to racial profiling," and that passage of this law was "unfortunate". He then admitted that his concerns were over what he had heard, and that he had not read the bill. This is the Attorney General of the United States. He should know that sometimes what a law says, and what the news says it says are two different things.

Of course, he wasn't alone. Secretary of Homeland Security (and former Arizona Governor) Janet Napolitano also criticized the law. According to Fox News:

"I believe it's a bad law enforcement law. I believe it mandates and requires local enforcement and puts them in a position many do not want to be placed in," Napolitano said. "When I was dealing with laws of that ilk, most of the law enforcement agencies in Arizona at that time were opposed to such legislation," she claimed.

She also admitted she hasn't read the bill. It's very interesting that senior officials in the administration believe they can pass judgment on a law that a state passed without actually reading the bill. Even more interesting, while critics of the Arizona law say that it will have the police in Arizona "checking papers", President Obama has already started. The President is scheduled to appear at Kalamazoo's Central High School commencement ceremonies next month. Ahead of his visit, students at the Michigan high school are being required to provide their birth dates, Social Security numbers, and (believe it or not) their citizenship status to Secret Service.

I hope there are no Mexican Nationals at Kalamzoo. I would hate for the President's new friend to criticize him for this.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Interview with Gerry Purcell (Part II)

Last week I mentioned that I was able to sit down and talk to Gerry Purcell. Mr. Purcell is running for Insurance Commissioner for Georgia. I gave a short biography of him last time, and thought I would start with the issues in this post.

The Interview:

When I sat down with Mr. Purcell, he was fresh off a string of successful straw polls. While straw polls don't guarantee a win, they do give a general picture of the mood of the participants. Gerry Purcell was particularly excited about two polls: the Sixth Congressional district and a UGA teen Republican poll. Mr. Purcell told me that he was really excited about the Sixth Congressional because, "… it was an opportunity to see all the candidates side by side." At that poll, Purcell won 78.2% of the vote. That translated into 360 votes. The next closest opponent won around 22 votes. At the teen Republican poll, Mr. Purcell won by 55% of the vote. The next closest candidate ended up with 19% of the vote.

I asked Mr. Purcell to tell me what he believed qualified him for the office of Insurance Commissioner. I was impressed with his answer. He pointed out that he, "…is the only candidate that brings to the office a national perspective on health care." Mr. Purcell has been a "functional area health care expert", for the last 15 years. He has been involved in working with health care payers at the national level and at multiple states around the country. He pointed out that with national health care reform being signed into law, Mr. Purcell believes Georgia voters want an Insurance Commissioner with national experience. He also stressed that while, "some of the other candidates have worked for mostly insurance companies," he has worked for the payers. He told me:

"I represent payers. Those who pay the bills. That's where my allegiance is to and it will be the consumers, if I'm elected. Of course we will do the right thing by the insurance companies. But my first allegiance is to the Constitution of the State of Georgia, and to protect the consumers of the state, secondly."

I was very impressed. I haven't heard many elected officials promise loyalty to the Constitution of the State of Georgia.

I have said a number of times on this blog that elections are important, and that voters should pay attention to every race. I asked Mr. Purcell why he thought voters should pay attention to the race for Insurance Commissioner. He then rattled off a list of areas that the Insurance Commissioner can affect your life. Anyone over 18, and even some under 18, has insurance of some sort, "whether your parents cover you to drive, you own a home, a business, a boat, or simply have health insurance." The Insurance Commissioner also manages the Fire Safety aspect of the state. In addition to fire stations, last year there were 960+ inspections of nursing home sprinkler systems last year in Georgia. The Insurance Commissioner is also responsible for small loans operators. "If you get a loan for under $3,000 as a consumer, its' regulated by the Insurance Commissioner's Office," Mr. Purcell informed me. This year, the job is even more important. With the passage of national health care reform, the State Insurance Commissioners are going to be responsible for implementing the program in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Purcell stated that the title "insurance commissioner" is mentioned about two dozen times in the new healthcare reform legislation. He also mentioned a surprise from the purposed financial reform bill. "…[I]n this new financial reform bill, the "too big to fail bill", we're talking about, has a provision that establishes, under the Treasury Department, a National Insurance Czar." I hadn't heard any reports of this in the media. Additionally, "…that individual would be responsible for all lines of insurance." In my opinion, this is just one more intrusion by the federal government.

In Part Three of this interview, Mr. Purcell talks about a group called the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and why we should be watching them. We also talk about Mr. Purcell's plan to lower insurance costs for Georgians, and how he wants to hold other nations responsible for "their fair share" of drug research and development costs.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Let’s Get Some Perspective People

This is a guest post from a friend of mine, Drew. A few nights ago, he made some very good points about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I asked him to write up something for my website and he was kind enough to agree. I think this is a very interesting view point. Thank you, Drew. Enjoy!

The recent tragedy on the Transocean Rig Deepwater Horizon has only further soured me on the state of the American Media and our current political landscape.

It has been an unfortunate display of political point scoring. To be fair and in the interest of full disclosure, I work for a direct competitor of Transocean in the offshore drilling industry. To that end I perhaps may understand the events a little bit better than most of the general public. Please allow me a brief primer on offshore drilling.

BP contracted with Transocean to drill an exploratory well. Transocean drilled this well and were in the process of cementing it closed when the well "Kicked." What this means is that a pocket of Methane gas escaped up the well shaft. This is all we know for certain other than 11 men lost their lives when this happened.

Now we have an uncapped well that is spilling 4,100 barrels per day.. This is an environmental tragedy as well. The problem is that the media is behaving like teenagers with a juicy new rumor about the kid they don't like. They are leading the charge to make the story worse than it actually is and the politicians of Washington are all too happy to go along with it.

Much is being made of the oil being released. The same story I have referenced talks about the type of Oil being particularly bad as well. What you have not been told by anyone in this whole rush to judgment, is that the Gulf of Mexico has twice the amount of the Exxon Valdez spill (250,000 barrels for the Valdez) seep into its waters every year! That is 500,000 barrels of Crude oil every year from just natural seepage.

Does that exonerate BP and Transocean? Of course not. What it does do is provide some much needed perspective. That perspective being that this is an ecosystem that is used to this type of substance. Using the Valdez as a comparison is at its heart, a lie and a tactic to demonize. The Valdez spill took place in an area that has an ecosystem that was never exposed to such a calamity.

In addition we hear about BP's "History of negligence" in the news. Well they have had two foul-ups that everyone is reporting on. First, is the refinery explosion in Texas City and the second in the Pipeline Corrosion incident in Prudhoe Bay. These two instances can arguably be blamed on negligence. So that is two times since 2005 that BP has been negligent.

Let's apply that same standard to our personal lives shall we? Say you enjoy playing texas hold 'em with your friends. Say you aren't that good. If you lose your money twice in five years this same standard in the media would mean you have a "History of Gambling problems."

What about other areas? How about the Post Office? They certainly had more incidents of workplace violence (20 incidents from 1986 to 1997) than what could be reasonably explained and yet we don't hear about the US Postal Service's "History of violence."

The whole point is that the media has an agenda it is advancing. It continues to perpetuate a myth that Oil Companies are out to do harm in order to make a profit. Politicians should be scolded and held accountable for their childish behavior on this issue (and many others). They are supposed to be the ones who are mature about this situation and have clear heads about how to proceed. Instead we get sound bites like "[It is] a massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster," from the President.

What ever happened to leadership?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chililng words.

I heard about this video on the radio this morning. This takes place at the University of California - San Diego. The student speaking is a member of the Muslim Student Association. David Horowitz is the speaker. The end of the clip is very chilling.

I don't know that words really do this justice. This is a real problem, and we must find a way to deal with it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Airport (Lack of) Security

I continue to be amazed that we give terrorists an advantage when moving around our country. An outside observer might be shocked that nine years after the worst terrorist attack on American soil, we would continue to give terrorists access to the very weapon they used on September 11th. We continue to fight terrorism with one arm behind our back when it comes to airline security. In an effort to be politically correct, we insult grandmothers, families, and business travelers while ignoring terrorists. "Ignoring" might not be the right word here. That hints that we have already identified the terrorists but have decided to do nothing about it. We haven't gone that far.

Both my wife and I have frequently traveled with infants. We have taken both my daughter and now my son on trips to see family members. Traditionally, when we get to the gate, we get "infant in arms" added to one of our tickets. If you are traveling with an infant under two, the infant doesn't need a separate ticket. Instead, they are allowed to sit in your lap. On a recent trip, the TSA agent kicked my family out of security because none of the tickets said "infant in arms". My wife and daughter stood next to the TSA agent while I went back to have the appropriate language added to my tickets. Once back, the TSA agent subjected my ticket to extra scrutiny, then subjected my wife and daughters tickets to this same level of extra inspection (even though he had previously approved them, and they stood next to him the entire time I ran back to the ticket counter). What a pleasant way to start a trip.

To some degree, I can understand the TSA agent's caution. After all, none of my family fits any profile of a terrorist, but you never know when we may. My 8 month old son did refuse to divulge any information to the agent after repeated questioning, so he went to the top of the "suspicious" list. If I could have gotten him on the "no-fly" list, he probably would have skated straight through security. If the New York City bomber is any indication, the no fly list will get you right though security.

There are a number of threads that connect 9/11 members, Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan, the attempted NYC bomber Faisal Hassad, underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and shoe bomber Richard Reid. For example: they are all relatively young, most of them are well educated, they are all Muslim, and most (if not all) received training in Pakistan. They do not all look Arabic. Do you see the beginnings of a pattern? Instead of exploring, and exploiting these similarities, we have decided to install cameras that allow TSA agents to see black and white (for now) nude pictures of little kids traveling in airports, and Mayor Bloomberg has decided New York City should install a vast array of closed circuit cameras. I wish Mayor Bloomberg the best of luck finding the money to pay for his new cameras.

The nude scanners also have their own set of problems. Recently, a TSA agent "lost his mind" after co-workers viewed him on one of the new full-body scanners. The other TSA agents viewed screener Rolando Negrin on the scanner and then subjected him to, "…daily ribbing about the size of the screener's genitalia." We are assured that, "…screeners in a separate room view images of the human body, private parts and all, with the person's face blurred." That appeared to fail as a precaution in this case. If the TSA won't protect the identity of their own, why should we believe they will protect the identity of your family?

Terrorists are still able to get on our airplanes, even after leaving the site of an attempted car bomb in New York City. We are told the New York City bomber was "amateurish", which is what we are told after each of these failed attempts. But what happens when one of these terrorists gets it right? And with the number of terrorists getting on our planes, with the heightened security on infants traveling on airlines, and with TSA agents going crazy because they look at each other's genitalia, who really sounds "amateurish"?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Comedy Central Discriminates Against Christians

A few days ago I wrote about Comedy Central bowing down to threats from Muslim Extremist. If you haven't read about it, South Park recently did a show where they depicted Mohammed. In the next episode, Comedy Central censored every mention of Mohammed.

When I wrote about this, I wasn't offended by Comedy Central's actions. I was disappointed. I would like to think Hollywood would stand up and protect their own. A number of people, including Bun Girl from the blog of the same name pointed out that Comedy Central has no problem criticizing Jesus and other figures. They are willing to offend Christians, Jews, Scientologists, and fans of countless numbers of Hollywood figures. However, they appear to be afraid of fans of Mohammed. They also appear to have a special mean streak when it comes to Jesus.

Today, I became offended by this story. Today is when Comedy Central confirmed it's working on a new show called, "JC". To prove I'm trying to be fair about this, I turn to the liberal Huffington Post:

JC" is one of 23 potential series the network said it has in development. It depicts Christ as a "regular guy" who moves to New York to "escape his father's enormous shadow."

His father is presented as an apathetic man who would rather play video games than listen to his son talk about his new life, according to Comedy Central's thumbnail sketch of the idea. Reveille, the production company behind "The Office," "Ugly Betty" and "The Biggest Loser," is making "JC."

So to sum up: Comedy Central will censor any depiction or speech attributed to Mohammed in a cartoon.However it has no problems attacking Jesus in a reoccurring role on South Park, and creating an entire show based on God ignoring Jesus while playing video games and Christ searching for meaning in New York. Is there any way to see this other than as discrimination by Comedy Central? Is there any way to interpret this other than as a concerted effort to harass Christians? With the vastly different ways Comedy Central has treated the two religions, I don't think Comedy Central can really defend itself.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

My Interview with Gerry Purcell (Part I)

Back in October I ran an interview with Maria Sheffield. Mrs. Sheffield is running for Insurance Commissioner for the State of Georgia. I mentioned then that if I could get an interview with any of her competition for Insurance Commissioner, I would be happy to post those interviews. I was able to sit down with Mr. Gerry Purcell this week. We talked for about an hour on his campaign for Insurance Commissioner and his thoughts on the national health care debate.

The Presidential election of 2008 has taught us an important lesson: elections matter. Few people would have thought Barack Obama would be President when he was elected to the U.S. Senate. No one thought he might get elected before the end of his first term. Many of our State and Local politicians could quickly run for national office, or even become figures on the national stage in the blink of an eye. It's important to look at every position on the ballot in November. I hope these interviews help Georgia voters go into July (the Georgia primary) and November a little more informed.

Mr. Purcell announced his campaign in March of 2009. According to his Facebook page, he is running as a conservative and a constitutionalist. One of his primary goals is to lower health and auto insurance costs for Georgians.

Gerry Purcell was born in Toccoa, Georgia and grew up in north-east Georgia. He graduated from Truett-McConnell College and enlisted in the Army. While serving in the Army he was stationed in Hawaii and earned an ROTC scholarship to the Chaminade University of Honolulu. He came back to Georgia as a military intelligence officer and was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia. At Fort Stewart, he supervised 150 soldiers and millions of dollars worth of equipment. After the military, he took a job with Mobile Oil and turned around a number of multi-million dollar business units. At the age of 29, he was diagnosed with cancer. His fight with cancer brought him back to Georgia, and he started a career in health care. He started as an agent and worked his way up to National Sales Director before he left to start his own company. According to information from his campaign, he is,"…recognized as a free-market health care and insurance expert, saving millions for companies and local and state governments nationwide". Mr. Purcell is very passionate about lowering health care costs for the payer, whether that payer is an individual, company, or insurance provider. He pointed out during our interview that he is the only candidate running for this office with national health care experience working for "those who pay the bills". He currently lives in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Over my next few posts, I will go into the question and answer portion of our interview. Like the posts with Mrs. Sheffield, these posts will probably be longer than my typical posts. I hope you enjoy them. If you are in Georgia, let me know if there is a specific candidate you would like me to get an interview to post on here.

Monday, May 03, 2010

South Park Was Right

If you have never been insulted by an episode of South Park, you either haven't watched the show, or you don't have a pulse. Whether you like the Comedy Central show by Matt Stone and Trey Parker or not you have to give them this: they insult and criticize everyone. In the eyes of Comedy Central, the 200th episode of South Park went too far: it included a depiction of Mohammed.

If you are a fan and missed the 200th episode, you're probably wondering what terrible thing Cartman did to the founder of Islam. Perhaps the show had Mohammed kill Kenney in some unique, but too-hot-for-TV, manner. If you saw the movie, you might be wondering if there was some sort of love triangle between Saddam Hussein, Mohammed, and the Devil. In each of these cases you would be wrong.

The prophet Mohammed appeared in the episode twice. The first time, he was heard (but not seen) from the back of a U-haul truck. In his second "appearance" he was inside a bear costume. For these offenses, Comedy Central did something it has rarely ever done: it censored an episode of South Park. Nina Shea, writing at National Review Online reports:

For the follow-up 201st episode, Comedy Central ramped up the self-censorship, replacing with audio bleeps not only every mention of the word "Mohammed", but also the entire speeches with which {creators} Parker and Stone had intended to conclude the story – speeches that, ironically, were about standing up to intimidation. In the words of the Hollywood Reporter, this rendered the entire episode "practically incomprehensible".

Perhaps the powers that be at Comedy Central should have spent more time watching South Park and less time censoring it. Additionally, the episode prompted some followers of Mohammed to do something they do frequently: threatened to kill those who would criticize the "religion of peace". Zachary Adam Chesser, a.k.a. Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, posted a comment on a "fringe" Muslim website threatening the life of both Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Mr. Amrikee stated that both Stone and Parker were likely to end up like Theo van Gough. Mr. van Gough was killed by a Muslim for making a short film criticizing Islam and its views towards women. Additionally, Mr. Amrikee posted the home addresses of both South Park creators.

Writing about the incident at the Wall Street Journal, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, warns that this threat should be taken seriously. She was the co-creator of the short film that Theo van Gough was killed over, and has been in protection since his death. She also encouraged Hollywood to engage in a "solidarity campaign" aimed at showing support for Stone and Parker, and showing that Islam and Mohammed can be criticized without fear of violent reprisals.

While a number of people have stepped up to defend South Park, the fact that the network the show airs on failed to defend the show speaks volumes. Hollywood has not been known to fight against Muslim intimidation, I wouldn't expect them to start. We are told endlessly that there are "moderate" muslims in the world who don't condone killing in the name of Islam. If this is true, it's time for them to step up to the plate. Western culture allows us to criticize anyone. Muslims may not like what appears on South Park. I promise you there are people who were upset that Jesus was shown watching porn. However, I doubt there are many Christians looking to kill the creators of South Park.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The American Creed

This weekend I found a real treasure at a local library sale. I am a big fan of Dr. William "Bill" Bennett. You can imagine how happy I was to find a copy of The Book of Virtues in the sale stack. The library wanted a mere $3 for this treasure. I quickly grabbed it up before another Bill Bennett fan could come along and grab it up.

Thumbing through it with my daughter a few nights ago, I found something called The American's Creed. Dr. Bennett writes this introduction to the section:

In 1917, William Tyler Page of Maryland won a nationwide contest for "the best summary of American political faith." The U.S. House of Representatives accepted the statement as the American's Creed on April 3, 1918. It's two paragraphs remind us that responsibilities are the source of rights. It deserves to be read and recited. Today very few people have even heard of it.

I have to admit that I had never heard of it. I did some searches online to find out more about the creed and about William Page. The American's Creed is listed on a number of websites, and I can't find where it has ever been repealed or changed. William Page was later elected to the Clerk of the U. S. House. More impressively, when power changed in the House in 1934, the position of Minority Clerk of the House was created. Mr. Page held that position until his death 8 years later.

I think this creed is a great creed and it's easy to see why it was selected out of 3,000 entries. Without further ado...

The American's Creed

I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Will the President Continue to Ignore Jobs?

We are currently at an important crossroads for President Obama's legacy. Typically, I would say a little over a year into a presidency is an odd time to evaluate the entire four years. However, President Obama has been embarking on a course that will truly define his presidency. The next few months may define his four years in office.

For his entire first year in office, and into this second, the President spent all of his political capital on health care reform. This reform, recently signed into law, will make the most sweeping changes to our health care system ever. It will do so to the tune of over $1 Trillion, and in spite of the fact that most Americans opposed it when it was signed into law, and continue to oppose it a month after its passage. Most Americans believed, and continue to believe, that fixing our economy was much more important than the push for Health Care reform. Trying to get some breathing room for reform, and trying to acknowledge that Americans wanted more of a focus on jobs, the President vowed in his first State of the Union address to focus on job creation. The Guardian UK started their coverage of the address with this:

"Barack Obama bowed to the wave of US public anger over unemployment and other recession-related issues when he promised in his first state of the union speech last night to make the creation of a million jobs the overwhelming priority for the coming year."

What we didn't know then is that job creation would take a backseat to politics in order to get Health Care Reform passed.

Once health care reform passed, many thought President Obama would move to job creation. However, the President seems to have ignored jobs, and forgotten his promise from the State of the Union. Once again, the President has dashed the hopes of American voters. In the month since health care reform passed, the President has tried to pass a new financial regulation bill, has discussed resurrecting the job killing "Cap-and-trade" bill, and has now launched a major campaign aimed at immigration reform. None of these policies will create jobs, and some, such as "cap and trade", will actually cost jobs.

No one is predicting Democrats will gain seats in November. The question is whether or not Democrats will hold onto their majorities in one or both houses. Without the super majorities the Democrats hold, it's going to be very tough to pass any of President Obama's agenda after January of 2011. With the elections about seven months away, there may not be time to pass any major legislation between now and November. This means, after the President's first four years in office, he may look back and only have health care reform to show for his efforts. If Republicans campaign on repealing that reform and win, he may not even have that.

The President campaigned on uniting the country. During his first State of the Union, he promised to focus on job creation. It's time for the President to live up to his promises. He should stop trying to pass an ultra-liberal agenda, and start working to put Americans back to work.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Size of Entitlements

This chart is from the Heritage Foundation. I think it does a very good job of illustrating one of the problems with entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare, and now Obamacare. They say a picture is worth a thousand words:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Breaking News: Obamacare will cost Americans $Billions

If you have followed the health care debate, you aren't surprised by the title to this post. The Health and Human Services (HHS) Department released a report today detailing their economic analysis of Obamacare. The President claimed for a year that he could cover millions more Americans, and he could do it for less money than the country currently spends on health care. No one who took a serious look at the facts could possibly believe the President's claim. The HHS announced that Obamacare would increase the costs of health care over the next ten years, not decrease it. According to the report, Obamacare will cost the United States an additional $311 Billion. As the AP reports:

"The overhaul will increase national health care spending by $311 billion from 2010-2019, or nine-tenths of 1 percent. To put that in perspective, total health care spending during the decade is estimated to surpass $35 trillion."

Of course, in order to only spend an additional $311 Billion, we will have to spend almost $1 Trillion to implement Obamacare. There were also a few warnings in the report. The $311 Billion increase in spending is assuming that Medicare reductions called for under Obamacare actually happen. Most people believe there is very little chance that either Democrats or Republicans will vote for reductions in Medicare. If they should, the bill will still cost more, and, "…Medicare cuts could drive about 15 percent of hospitals and other institutional providers into the red, 'possibly jeopardizing access' to care for seniors."

The Democrats in Congress and President Obama spent a little over a year creating a bill that Americans weren't behind, and still don't want. At every turn we find the bill includes things no one was aware of, or will costs more than the President claimed. A partial list of the new surprises includes:

  1. No coverage for preexisting conditions for kids until 2014.

  2. Insurance premiums will still increase under Obamacare.

  3. Obamacare will cost companies more than $14 Billion.

  4. Obamacare will forbid new doctor owned hospitals from being opened, and has halted construction on some already in the works.

  5. Members of Congress and their staff can be moved from their current health care and placed under Obamacare against their will (this is one of the few surprises that makes me smile).

Nancy Pelosi famously said that the bill had to become law so that Americans could see what was in it. So far, many of us don't like the surprises included in Obamacare. If these surprises and additional costs keep piling up, the Democrats may not like what's in the bill come November either.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Of Government and Men:Taxes

Last year I started a series entitled "Of Government and Men". It was my attempt to explain my philosophy on government. I want to periodically update that series, and this is the first "sequel" to that.When writing the series, I didn't spend as much time on taxes as I wanted to. I despise taxes, but I cannot deny that a certain amount of taxes are required. However, as Henry Hazlitt wrote in Economics in One Lesson, "...every dollar of government spending must be raised through a dollar of taxation." The government has no means of raising it's own funds. When it borrows money, that money must be repaid at some point, and can only be repaid by taking the money from the taxpayers. The government does not make a profit. Every dollar the government spends is a dollar taken from someone.

To summarize Hazlitt's argument, the government should carefully examine any tax as the money taken from taxpayers is money the taxpayers can't spend. That's money that isn't used in the private sector to create jobs. Hazlitt used a bridge project to illustrate this:

If {the bridge} is built to meet an insistent public demand, if it solves a traffic problem or a transportation problem otherwise insoluble, if ,in short, it is even more necessary to the taxpayers collectively than the things for which they would have individually spent their money if it had not been taken away, there can be no objection. But a bridge built primarily "to provide employment" is a different kind of bridge. When providing employment becomes the end, need becomes a subordinate consideration. "Projects" have to be invented. {bold is mine, emphasis in the original}

Any spending of tax money should be done because the need for the items bought by taxes are needed, not because the government wants to "create jobs" or bailout a company. If the need for the bridge, road, building, or dam isn't a real need, the project shouldn't be created.

The other danger in taxes is on what they tax, or what they may cause to happen. Taxes discourage the behavior they tax. A tax on cigarettes will discourage some people from smoking. A tax on investing discourages individuals from investing. In the first case, it makes the object more expensive, in the second case, it decreases the reward of the behavior. When an investor risks $1, he risks losing $1. If his investment is successful, for every $1 he makes, the government will step in and take some percentage of that $1. Let's assume there is a 40% capital gains tax. Then if an investment is a bad investment, the investor loses $1. If it is a good investment he gains $0.60. This level of tax will discourage some people from investing.

As our deficit gets worse and worse, Congress will purpose new taxes to solve the problem. Remember these two rules: Is the spending government purposes worth the money to the taxpayers? And, will the taxes discourage something we want to encourage (like business growth)?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quick Notes: Hawaii Edition

I have been on vacation with my family in Hawaii since last week. I will be home soon and will resume a normal posting schedule then. William F. Buckley use to say that no one can live politics 100% of the time. I have been enjoying other things over the last couple of weeks including some diving.

This is the wreck of the Carthaginian in Maui, Hawaii. It's one of my favorite dive sites. This time, I also had an encounter with a sub on the wreck:

The bottom of the Carthaginian is about 100 feet down. It really is a great dive.

In the coming weeks, I hope to have another global warming post (in honor of Earth Day), and I may have another interview with a Georgian running for office this year. Back in October, I ran a series of posts with Maria Sheffield. Mrs. Sheffield is running for Insurance Commissioner in Georgia. I said at the time that I hoped to run interviews with other candidates, and I am working on that now. I try to focus on National and International issues. However, a number of my readers are Georgian's and I feel I owe it to them to bring them information on those candidates running for office in our state.

Whether you agree with President Obama or not, his election should have taught everyone an important lesson. That lesson is: all elected offices are important. In 2008, the voters elected a man with less than one term as a Senator to the highest office in our nation. That means we should pay careful attention to all of our elected officials, and at all levels. I am trying to help by discussing some of the candidates that don't receive as much attention.

I hope to be back to a normal schedule by Sunday. Are there any topics you would like to see discussed? Anything I have covered that you feel needs more attention or more debate? Is there an issue that I haven't covered that you think needs to be discussed here? This is your chance to help guide the direction I take for the next month. Leave a comment here with your thoughts, or email me at

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book Review: The Road to Prosperity

It's been a number of months since my last Book Review, and I thought now is as good a time as any to revive the column. This time, I am reviewing Pat Toomey's The Road to Prosperity: How to Grow Our Economy and Revive the American Dream. Patrick Toomey is a three term Republican from congressman from Pennsylvania. In a season of campaign books, this is another one. Mr. Toomey is running for the U.S. Senate this year, and I am sure he hopes this book will help him. I wouldn't have normally picked this up, but it was part of the Red State Book Notes Project. Having gotten all of the disclaimers out of the way, I really enjoyed this book.

Unlike a number of other conservative books written in recent years, this book looks specifically at many of the financial issues facing our nation today. It was written last year, so it doesn't take into account the recent passage of Obamacare, but there are a number of other issues it does tackle. Social Security, out of control spending, and taxes are just a taste of some of the issues from Road to Prosperity. There is also some very interesting background information included with each of the chapters. Chapter Two is titled "Lessons from History" and discusses the Great Depression, the financial boom of the 1980's, and Ireland's more recent economic successes. Each of these is treated as a case study, and includes the authors views on what we should take from each of them.

While many of the topics (such as tax policy, and the 2008 financial collapse) could be complex undertakings, Toomey does a good job of discussing the topics in everyday plain English. If you want a more detailed preview, I wrote a number of posts at Red State discussing the book:

The Celtic Tiger

The Superiority of American Manufacturing

Social Security and Obamacare

Final Thoughts

Each of these were written for the Book Notes project, but I think they stand by themselves pretty well. I wouldn't recommend this book for everyone, but it is probably one of the better campaign type books written, and at least one chapter should be required reading at the high school level. If you live in Pennsylvania, you should pick this up as a good resource to decide if you want to vote for Mr. Toomey or not.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Bad News for Media and Democrats

Since early last year, a number of people have been involved with Tea Parties throughout the United States. I have been to two different Tea Party rallies, and have been impressed with the people I have personally met there. The vast number of them have been very normal people who are just worried about their country. I have met Republicans, Independents, and Democrats at these rallies.

As the movement has gained more and more attention, the mainstream media, and a number of Democrats have insulted, dismissed, and belittled Tea Party attendees. I have never understood this. The people who go to Tea Parties are average Americans that are concerned about the direction of their government. Their primary concern from the beginning was to stop the out of control spending by our government. When President Bush was criticized for eight years, we were told questioning our government was patriotic. Where did that sentiment go? CNN, MSNBC, and other outlets have insulted these people time and time again. Tea Party members are simply exercising their constitutional rights, even while their elected representatives ignore them. That may soon change.

There are two polls out that suggest the Tea Party is much more mainstream than even I thought. Here are two findings of these polls that should really give Democrats and the Media a pause. First, according to a Rasmussen poll, more people identify themselves with the Tea Party (48%) than President Obama (44%). Second, a USA Today / Gallup poll finds that 26% of Americans identify themselves with the Tea Party while a slightly smaller percent oppose the Tea Party.

So what does this mean? How should elected officials interpret this when the Tea Party itself has no official leaders? It's simple: Democrats, Republicans, and the media need to stop insulting these individuals and start listening to their concerns. The Tea Party has attracted a large number of Americans from all walks of life. The USA Today poll even found that the demographics of Tea Party supporters closely mirrors the demographics of the country at large. Members of Congress who ignore this group may be looking for a new job after November.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

He is risen today! Alleluia!

Happy Easter to you and your family. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Easter Weekend.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Obamacare Update

Days since Obamacare became law: 10

Days left before the beginning of $500 Billion in new taxes: 273

Companies that have announced they will lose $14 Billion due to one page of Obamacare:

3 M
A K Steel Holding Corp
AT & T
Deere & Co.


How is your new health care?

Monday, March 29, 2010

“I Swear By My Life…”

This weekend, my wife and I attended a local "family day at the opera". We have a lot of fun at these family days, and my daughter really enjoys them. Who knows, maybe it will spark some future career interest in the arts in her. This is the second year we have gone to this event, and we have had a lot of fun both times.

This weekend I was wearing a shirt I bought online with a quote from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. On the front it says, "If you can read this, you should read Atlas Shrugged". On the back, it contains one of the more important quotes from the book:

I swear, by my life and my love of it

that I will never live for the sake of another man,

nor ask another man to live for mine.

The shirt is a very vibrant green, and I am sure you can find one just like it if you do a quick search on any of the internet t-shirt sites. However, while we were at "family day" I had someone from the staff come up to me and compliment me on the shirt. He said that the quote was particularly important in today's world. I tend to agree. The quote, and the passage in the book it comes from, argues that no able bodied person should leach off another individual if they are able to provide for themselves. There are too many politicians today that would argue we should take from people who have provided for themselves, to give to others who haven't. Instead of some people succeeding in life, everyone should be mediocre. Instead of most people having good health care, everyone should have sub-par health care.

What amazes me about this weekend is that this isn't the first comment I have gotten from wearing this shirt. I have a number of other politically themed shirts, but none of them get as many comments and compliments, and from as broad a walk of life, as this one does. All of the comments are positive, and most are very positive.

I have a theory as to why many people like this shirt, and it's the same reason I think sales of Atlas Shrugged have continued to increase over recent years. I think it's because the theme of both the book, and the signature quote that is written on my shirt resonate with many, many Americans. We want to be left alone, we want to take care of ourselves, and we don't want to pay crushing taxes to go to a permanent welfare group. I believe in helping those less fortunate than me, but I don't believe in paying someone to not work, and I don't believe in creating a permanent class of people who are 100% dependent on the government for everything.

This is important because I believe more and more Americans are paying attention to politics, and more and more Americans are starting to feel like this. It's one of the reasons the Tea Party movement started, and it's one of the reasons there was such a backlash on Democrats for Obamacare. The quicker politicians realize that there are more and more voters paying attention to what they are doing, the quicker Congress might actually start focusing on the things that are important to voters like jobs, the economy and security.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How's Your Obamacare?

Days since Obamacare became law: 1

Days left before the beginning of $500 Billion in new taxes: 282

How is your new health care?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Call to Action

I consider myself an amateur historian. Amateur because I don't study history for profit, I study it because I find it an incredible story. I would argue that the story of America is one of the richest, most beautiful stories ever told, and stands against any work of fiction ever written. I love the National Archives in Washington. Seeing the actual Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution is a very moving experience. On the west side of the Archives, the following inscription is written in big bold letters:

The glory and romance of our history are here preserved in the chronicles of those who conceived and builded the structure of our nation.

I never fail to be moved when I read that inscription. As an amateur historian, I will tell you that I find it hard to believe the tyranny that has been forced on our nation by the U.S. Congress, by the U.S. Senate, and by the current President of the United States. I do not use the word "tyranny" lightly. Tyranny is defined as "oppressive power". Today, Tuesday, March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the most massive redefining of our economy to take place since The Great Depression. Under the guise of "health care reform", this law gives the government the power to decide what kind of health care you and your family receive.

In addition to this travesty, it will increase our deficit according to Democrats own internal memo's. The law costs $1 Trillion. That's $1 Trillion we don't have to spend. The law attempts to pay for itself through taxing the very services, devices, and people, it claims to help. A few days ago a comment on this blog went, "Oddly, when I woke up this morning and looked outside, I didn't see any communist nationalistic troops with tanks rolling down my street." True. However, is your health care better today? Do you get better appointments at the Doctor's office? Is your Doctor even still in business? Do you suddenly have medicine you couldn't get on Saturday? Is the "change" in your insurance worth the estimated $500 Million in new taxes we will see on January 1, 2011? The honest answer to most of these questions is "no".

This health care law by itself hasn't destroyed our nation. However, with its passage into law today, I can see the end of our nation from here. Our country can't afford the price tag of this bill in this economy, coupled with the price tags of Social Security and Medicare. Both of these programs are running out of money. Some estimates state they will be out of money in the next ten years, just as we're paying increased taxes for the law signed today. The Democrats in Washington have decided a one and a half year crusade to centralize healthcare decision making power is more important than getting people back to work, and more important than improving our economy.

The "Greatest Generation" fought to protect our country, and the west in World War II. However they failed to pass on the values of their generation to their children. The Baby Boomers are starting to retire, and failed to fix Social Security or Medicare, and failed to protect our nation from the encroachment of soft tyranny. This "beneficial tyranny" believes in protecting everyday people from themselves at the price of their freedoms. President Obama says, "I will protect your health, just give up your right to make your own health care choices."

It's now up to our generation to stop this soft tyranny, and to begin to repeal it. It's up to the Baby Boomers who are still willing to fight, the Generation X-ers who must fight, and Generation Y that is coming into its own politically. Lines have been drawn around freedom, and around uncontrolled, nation destroying spending. If you're reading this blog, YOU must make a choice. You must decide if you will continue to fight for this country or if you will sit back and let Democrats in Washington decide how to run your life. Will you take care of yourself and your family, or will you trade your freedoms for the shackles of government handouts.

In 1964, Ronald Reagan told an audience that they had a rendezvous with destiny. Today, we face that same rendezvous. Will we fight for our freedoms? For our nation? In the coming months, each of us must ask, as Reagan did, "Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves." Another famous Reagan quote also applies to today:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Now is a time when we must decide: Will we protect our nation and leave freedom and this great country to our children and grandchildren, or will we let planners in Washington make our decisions for us and voluntarily put the shackles on our children's children?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Real Health Care Summary

If health care passes tonight, get ready. My wife saw this on Facebook yesterday, and it's a good summary of the Senate health care bill the Democrats want to pass. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Keep Your Enemies Close And Reject Your Friends

In 2008 Senator Barack Obama campaigned on cleaning up our image internationally. This appealed to a lot of people who believed our image had been tarnished by the eight years of President Bush. What they didn't know is that this would be another broken campaign promise.
The "Obama Doctrine" appears to consist of two points:

1) Never meddle in our enemies affairs.

2) Insult our allies whenever possible.

When a pro-democracy protest began in Iran after fraudulent elections, demonstrators were looking to the West for support. The words of encouragement our President gave them were, "Now, it's not productive, given the history of the U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling -- the U.S. President meddling in Iranian elections". While President Obama faltered in Iran, other nations stepped up. For example, French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated the clear message Obama should have said, "These elections are an atrocity." Perhaps President Obama simply has a blind spot for Iran. He did commit to meeting them without precondition during the campaign. Perhaps he didn't want to be hamstrung by such pesky things as morals during that meeting.

In our nation's history, we have considered England a special ally. They share our history, and we have worked with them to solve many world problems. We worked with Churchill in World War II to defeat the Nazis, and Margret Thatcher during the Cold War to stop the spread of Communism. How does our global-celebrity-commander-in-chief treat this ally? Shortly after being sworn in, our State Department told England that they were no longer considered any different from any other nation on the planet. If this wasn't bad enough, the Obama administration has slapped the British government in the face by refusing to acknowledge British claims over the Falkland Islands. This is a serious issue as the citizens of the Falkland Islands are British citizens, and have decide for themselves they wish to remain part of Britain. Argentina is attempting to claim the Falkland Islands. They argue that the citizens of the Falkland Islands have no right to self determination. This could become a serious issue as Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982. Britian is believed to be considering military options. Into this tense situation, our country has stated officially:

We are aware not only of the current situation but also of the history, but our position remains one of neutrality. The US recognizes de facto UK administration of the islands but takes no position on the sovereignty claims of either party.

This is a slap in the face of the British, and it is not the way we should treat one of our most trusted allies.

Recently, there was a lot of news of Vice President Biden's trip to Israel . His trip coincided with an announced Israeli settlement plan in Jerusalem. This embarrassed the Vice President as he was there to try and further the peace process. Biden felt Israel was working against his efforts with the settlement in Jerusalem. The Israeli's argued that this settlement was going in an area that must remain in Israeli control in ANY peace agreement. The Israeli Interior Minister tried to apologize saying,"We had no intention, no desire, to offend or taunt an important man like the vice president during his visit...I am very sorry for the embarrassment. We need to remember that approvals are done according to law even if the timing was time we need to take timing into account." This apology should have ended things. However, days later Secretary of State Hillary Clinton let it be known that she spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for 45 minutes. She stated that she berated him for the settlement decision the entire phone call, thus further embarrassing Israel. Both Biden and Clinton used the word "condemn" when disusing the US view of the settlements in Jerusalem.

When all of this happened, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority dedicated a public square in the West Bank to a woman who helped carry out the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel's history. Neither Biden nor Clinton appear to have voiced concern of how this might impact President Obama's attempt to bring peace to the Middle East.

President Obama has definitely ushered in a new image for the United States globally. Unfortunately, I don't believe it was the image voters thought they were getting back in November 2008.