The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘Founding Fathers’ Category


The final assembly at school before the Thanksgiving Holiday had concluded.  As in previous years, we students put on a presentation about the Pilgrims and that first day they recognized for solemn Thanksgiving.  And they had much for which to be thankful – mostly at the hands of their neighbors the Native Americans who had rescued them from likely starvation.  This program, which our parents attended, always concluded with the following hymn:

It never occurred to me that Thanksgiving day had not been celebrated continuously since the Pilgrims arrived in 1620.  I also was unaware that the Pilgrims when they had first arrived on these shores were primarily responsible for their own dire situation.

When they first arrived in the New World, the Pilgrims adopted a communal way of governance – “To each according to his needs.”  Sadly, even five centuries ago, there were some who did the work and others who benefited from the labor of their fellows.  It was only when the “communal land” was divided up and allocated to each family that the young colony began to prosper – as people took responsibility for themselves.  That is a lesson that does not fit well into the present political, statist mindset.  Nor does the fact that it is to a loving God that we are addressing ourselves with our songs of thankfulness.

Since George Washington first proclaimed his statement of thanksgiving and President Lincoln designated a day of National Thanksgiving as an official holiday, the fact that it was to a Divine provenance that we as a people were to offer our thanks was a clear and constant theme.  That was recognized in our school program and no one whether Christian or Jew, agnostic or atheist seemed to object.  At least I never heard from those who might have.

My family also recognized this in our small Thanksgiving ritual dinner by inviting those who had no families of their own to share our meal and be a part of our family.  Before Dad would begin carving the turkey, he would express his gratitude for the blessings he had received and would invite everyone around the table to do the same if they chose to do so.  Only when the last person had spoken would we begin to eat.

In my own way I tried to carry on some variation of this tradition.  For many years a number of us from the church in Chicago where I was a parishioner would wake up early and by four o’clock in the morning we would be working to prepare a complete traditional Thanksgiving meal that we would would serve to almost two hundred homeless people at a local shelter.  When the last person had been served her or his plate, we would sit down with them and join them for this special meal.

But it was a sad realization that while we had fed these people for one day, we had done very little to change their lives.  And it was difficult to hold on to a sense of Thanksgiving as we looked out over this ragtag, unwashed group of people, many of whom were recovering from their evening sedative of cheap whiskey or bad wine.

If there were any sense of hope it came from the few who turned to us and with sad but grateful eyes said, “Thank you,” as they left to return to their cardboard shelters – insufficient protection against the biting, blowing cold winds.  But in the back of our minds we knew the fate that they had chosen, willingly or not, and knew that there was a warm apartment and a comfortable bed waiting for each of us.

It seems to me that over the years we have done everything within our power to secularize, anesthetize and sterilize Thanksgiving.  It might better be described as a “Day of Carbohydrates and Gluttony, enhanced by a thorough immersion in football and concluded with a bout of  mindless midnight spending at the mall.”  Although I would be remiss not to note that in their attempt to suck the lucre out of the consumer’s purses and wallets, stores are opening even earlier than usual.

Given our abandonment of principle and our attempt to turn the sacred into the profane, it does not surprise me that a group of atheists, unmindful of the basis on which America was founded, have selected the Friday following Thanksgiving to launch a billboard campaign, boasting their credo, “Good without God.”  I should suggest that for the sake of consistency, they should have spelled God with a lower case “g.”

The great thing about living in America is that everyone is entitled to his opinion – and I am delighted that this atheist contingent have the ability to offer theirs.  I take no offense at their ministrations.  But, in the spirit of American fairness, I do expect the same courtesy that they receive from me and others who have a religious mindset when it comes to expressing ourselves and our beliefs.

Now if that were to come to pass, that would truly be a reason for Thanksgiving.


In addressing the Senate’s passage today of the so-called “Nuclear Option” to allow for a simple majority to have their way, greatly reducing the ability of the minority to object or delay presidential nominations, President Obama referred to “arcane rules” which do not reflect what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote them.

He who has been described as “The Great Orator” should realize that the idea of a supermajority to pass legislation or confirm appointments is anything but “arcane” – which simply means something that is obscure or known by only a few.  Anyone who knows how the Senate has conducted its business for two centuries understands that it was intended to be the more deliberative branch of the Congress.

After Sen. Majority Harry Reid pushed this through he also gave a press conference.  As you might expect, he (and Obama later) both lauded this rules change as a good thing which will allow that body to fulfill their role in “doing the people’s business.”  The sad truth is that it is not the “people’s business” about which either the senator or the president are concerned – but rather it is advancing the administration’s agenda.

Both Sen. Reid and then Sen. Obama spoke out strongly against going down this road when President Bush was in the White House and Republicans controlled the Congress.  But anyone who has not seen a consistent pattern of this administration’s only enforcing the laws and regulations which fit its political agenda and ignoring those which do not meet their “standards,” is not following the news very closely.

As we are now on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, there are probably more conspiracy theories than ever about what actually happened that day in Dallas – and we are no closer to knowing the truth.  So in such an environment, I thought I would advance my own conspiracy theory for your consideration.

The subject of my “conspiracy theory”  is very simple.  Will there be a Congressional election in 2014?

If you were to ask most Americans to state what appears in Article 1 – Sections 2 and 3 of the U. S. Constitution which stipulate when the members of the House and Senate shall be elected, I suspect very few could answer correctly.  By Obama’s definition, that makes this fundamental governing document, rather “arcane.”  Actually, I think if you were to ask the majority of Americans the easier question of how often we elect the members of the House and Senate to office you would get a depressingly small number of those who could answer the question correctly.  Lack of information (and lack of concern) are the prime building blocks on which tyrants build their sand castles.

With Obama’s popularity and credibility in serious decline – at the nadir of his term in office – Republicans are poised to make significant gains in next year’s election and might well retake the Senate.  Obamacare, his “signature achievement” is plummeting in free fall and will certainly crash and burn as next year reveals that employers will be dropping insurance coverage for millions and the so-called “savings” which were sold as being a benefit of this law will prove to be premium increases which few want and fewer can afford.  And Republicans will focus on this law to throw those who voted for this nightmare into retirement.

But what if there were no election?  What if there were some sort of “national emergency” which occurred – an outbreak of some virulent disease – or some massive nationwide terrorist attack?  What if Obama declared a state of “martial law?”

Farfetched?  Perhaps.

But it should concern all of us that in the name of “national security” the NSA is collecting our phone calls, emails and texts; that Obamacare whether through malevolent intention or otherwise collects all our personal health information; that the IRS targets the administration’s political opponents; that all sorts of government agencies including Social Security are stocking up on hollow point bullets which are designed to inflict the maximum damage on their targets; that drone aircraft killing machines “may be used against American citizens”; and that we have a person in the White House who is quoted as saying, “He’s pretty good at killing people.”

Our closest allies have severe reservations about the reliability of the United States as a partner and friend.  They are, of course, distant from what happens here – which might enable them more clearly than we, to be able to see both the forest and the trees.



President Obama, in an effort to preempt the House vote scheduled for the following day, gives a one hour news conference.  In it he offers those five million plus individuals who have so far lost their health insurance coverage due to the implementation of Obamacare an “apology”, kinda, sorta.  His new plan is to allow insurance companies to ignore the requirements of the ACA and to continue to offer the plans which they were forced to cancel for a one year period.  The news reports focus on whether that logistically can be accomplished and even if it can whether the president has the Constitutional authority to implement this plan.


The House passes the bill submitted by Rep. Fred Upton (R – MI), which not only offers those who have lost their health insurance the right to keep it but authorizes anyone else who wants to purchase a similar contract to be able to do so.  This is a not very opaquely veiled attempt to sabotage the health insurance exchanges and ultimately Obamacare itself.  The bill passes the House with 39 Democrat representatives, one fifth of that caucus, voting for it.  The passage of the bill is viewed as a bipartisan effort to “fix” the law and Obama threatens to veto it should it ever pass the Senate which is unlikely with Senator Harry Reid controlling the agenda in that body.


There is no question that the proposals which have been offered by both sides have come about as the result of political maneuvering rather than from concern to develop sound policy.  And it is only sound policy that will save us from ourselves.  Consider, for a moment, why this current skirmish has happened.

It is true that as the ACA was originally written, all insurance contracts which were issued prior to its being signed into law were “grandfathered,” and those who had purchased them would be allowed to continue to be insured by them if the policy owner chose to do so.  But then, as happens with all bills, the agency designed to oversee the law, HHS began its job of writing regulations to interpret what this two thousand page law actually said – and it accomplished its job with an additional ten thousand pages of regulations.  The way those regulations were written (whether unintentionally or on purpose is immaterial) essentially negated the grandfathering provision of Obamacare.

As more people began receiving notices of cancellation from their insurers who had read the regulations and realized that they were not allowed to continue to offer these policies, the Administration took the position that, despite Obama’s repeated promises that this would not happen, they would spin this by saying that, 1) This only affected a “small percentage of Americans,” and as the numbers grew and people got angrier, 2) That these were “sub-standard” policies and that those who lost their coverage would be “better off” with one of the new Obamacare-compliant plans that were being offered – if only they could actually get on the website and buy them.

In any two thousand page law it is almost inevitable that there is something that at least accidentally has been written which is good policy and there is that in Obamacare.  Specifically, not allowing insurers to drop a client who develops a medical condition and requiring that insurance companies cover people who have pre-existing conditions is good policy.  A compassionate society has the responsibility to take care of those who cannot fend for themselves.

But if we expect our insurance company to have the wherewithal to write the check when we take the kids to the doctor or write the much larger check when a woman with breast cancer undergoes therapy, then those insurers have to earn a profit on their overall portfolio of business.  Unlike the Federal government which can merely print more money,  insurance companies can only write checks when they have the money in their accounts to do so.  Clearly those in government who view the ability to tax as an inherent prerogative and even their duty, have no concept of this or they would have written Obamacare dramatically differently.

There is perhaps no more telling statistic than that only eight percent of those in the Obama administration have ever held a job in private industry.  That compares with more than sixty-five percent in the George W. Bush administration and nearly eighty percent who served during the Reagan administration.  It is only natural that to people who have never known anything other than a government paycheck, that they have the mindset that government can do it best.  After all, government has served their and their families’ financial needs well through their lifetimes.

Think about that concept and the argument that the policies which were cancelled were “sub-standard.”  The Federal government has now come to the rescue of these obviously “stupid” consumers who didn’t realize that they had bought a pig in a poke.

The insurance industry is one of the most highly regulated businesses in America.  Every state has an insurance commission which passes on all the policies which may be sold in their state.  They can require that an insurance company revise its contracts before they may be sold to consumers if the commission does not feel that a policy meets the standards which they have set.  So, these “sub-standard” policies were approved for sale by whom?  By government – or more exactly, by fifty state governments.  It seems disingenuous to believe that government should be entrusted to fix a problem that government has apparently created.  And the same may be said both of the recent “mea culpa” by Obama and the passage of the recent House bill as well.

In his latest excellent book, “The Liberty Amendments,” author Mark Levin argues that one of the Constitutional amendments which we should enact if we are to try to save the Republic is to require term limits for our legislators.  This is hardly a new idea.

“My reason for fixing them in office for a term of years, rather than for life, was that they might have an idea that they were at a certain period to return into the mass of the people and become the governed instead of the governors which might still keep alive that regard to the public good that otherwise they might perhaps be induced by their independence to forget.”  – Thomas Jefferson

But I would also add an additional amendment which Levin does not discuss.  That is “Time Limits,” in which Congress should accomplish its work.  In the early Congresses this occurred rather naturally as most who served had their own businesses which provided their livelihood and their service in Washington was a part-time job.  If we remember the old adage, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground,” we should be aware that people who view their jobs as “legislators” will fill the amount of time given to them to do just that – often with disastrous consequences.

If we limited the amount of time that those in Congress met and paid them a daily small stipend for their service, it just might force our legislators to work efficiently and in a bipartisan manner to address the issues which are their proper purview.  And it would allow them the time at home to find out what exactly was on the minds of their constituents.  We would need fewer polls because the people would have direct access to their representatives to speak their mind.  And that would be a good thing.


We’ve gone a long way down the road of abandonment from the principle in which, “That government is best which governs least,” was an essential foundation for our Republic.  Whether we continue our present route or reverse our course is up to us.  But we as we determine our own fate, it would be well if we remember the words that our first president offered his countrymen.

“The people must remain ever vigilant against tyrants masquerading as public servants.” – George Washington


The Greeks fell, the Roman Empire was overrun, the empire Charlemagne forged is no more, the British Empire saw the sun set and America is in disarray and in decline.  There may be those who would challenge that last phrase, but the empirical evidence surely points in that direction.  Today’s disruption and shooting at LAX is simply the latest example of a culture that is failing and lawless because its members have abandoned principles of morality and virtue.

Understandably Americans are worried about manic terrorists.  We should indeed be nervous after the events of the original 9/11, Ft. Hood, Benghazi and the Boston Marathon.  If there is any protection to which we might look it is the universal and equitable enforcement of effective and moral laws.  But when those whose responsibility it is to enforce the laws, fairly and universally, abandon that principle, not only does society suffer but those officials encourage terrorists and others who are lawless and contribute to the general decline in safety in society.

Attorney General Holder has, since his installation as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, consistently followed a policy of selective law enforcement, choosing as his venue the punishment of those who oppose him and his boss, President Obama.  This is not law enforcement but vendetta and any society which condones or, at the least, turns a blind eye to this practice, is complicit in what ensues.  That includes every citizen and especially those in the media..

This administration has followed a policy of replacing the Judaeo-Christian ethic with its own brand of secular morality – a morality which flies in the face of the principles on which the country was founded and which was instrumental in allowing it to prosper.  Human laws are made by human beings and directly reflect their values – or their lack of them.

Fundamental to the enforcement of any law is that those who are either the plaintiff or the defendant or a witness be required to tell the truth.  But if there are no consequences for perjured testimony that requirement is made as hollow as the carved Halloween pumpkin that sits on our front lawns.  And in the absence of fear of any consequences, whether those are meted out by government or by God, there is no reason to believe that anything we hear in our courts is the truth or that any findings reached there are valid.  This is the perfect scenario in which chaos and evil prospers.

In an ideal and utopian society, there would be no need for laws since everyone would innately know the difference between what is right and what is wrong and would by nature cling to the good and eschew that which is evil.  That we constantly promulgate new laws, in some cases to correct the deficiencies of ones that were previously enacted, suggests that we do not live in that sort of a society.

But when those who craft the laws and those who are given the authority to enforce them are themselves corrupt; when government forgets that it exists only with the consent of the governed and believes it has the power to govern without consent; then there comes a moment in history when those who have still clung to their sense of personal responsibility and refuse to cede it willingly or to abdicate this most fundamental right and duty to themselves, no matter the force exerted against them, will overturn the usurpers and cast them out.

That will be a welcome day.


When we use the word hero we generally think of a champion who has rescued us from some dreadful evil or done something so courageous that few of us, if given the same opportunity, would choose to take up the challenge.  The hero is a person to whom we look as a savior, a winner.

But not all heroes were victorious.  Sam Houston and Davy Crockett fell to the overwhelming power of Santa Anna’s army.  King Leonidas and his Spartans fell to the Persians at Thermopylae.  So we know that victory and heroism are not necessarily congruent.

What does it take to be a hero?  Certainly the first requirement is that the hero must have a cause in which he believes – a righteous cause.  That, of course, means that the hero subscribes to a value system which has formed him and shapes his worldview.  It is inherent in heroism that the individual stay steadfast to principle, irrespective of the eventual outcome.

It is a sad commentary on human society that the hero is often only recognized as such posthumously.  Perhaps it is true that a “Prophet is not without honor, except in his own country.”  That may often be said of a hero as well.  The recent flak over the partial government shutdown illustrates that point only too well.

Senator Ted Cruz (R – TX) has been demonized not only by the Democrats but by some members of his own party.  It is understandable why members of the political opposition would engage in vitriolic rhetoric.  The senator is attempting to stand in the way of theirs and the president’s signature piece of legislation.

He opposes their underlying premise that only the government knows what is best for the individual and that only the government has the right to decide what is good for the individual’s most fundamental rights – his or her health.  He is making them look bad because he is doing something that his constituency sent him to Washington to do – a principle they have long forgotten.

Perhaps the problem is that far too many of those in Congress have been in Washington far too long.  That is true on both sides of the aisle.  These representatives and senators are no longer there to represent those who sent them but to entrench themselves in the beltway power structure and gain influence and prestige for themselves.

Their actions make them the strongest argument for a Constitutional amendment for term limits.  If the Founding Fathers had foreseen how their successors would corrupt their high office, term limits might well have been incorporated in the Bill of Rights.

While the rallying cry for the administration and the Democrats is “change,” the only change they truly endorse is what they can force on the rest of the nation.  For them the welfare of the people is, at best, inconvenient and, at worst, irrelevant.  The recent refusal by the Democrats in Congress to include themselves in Obamacare is as clear a validation of that statement as any thinking person needs.

So is Senator Cruz a hero as his constituents and supporters believe or a radical who like the goat should be sacrificed?  How does he compare to the president who, by the polls came out of this skirmish looking relatively less scathed?

If we return to the premise that a hero must adhere to principle it is hard to find any aspect of his life, let alone his life in politics, in which Obama could be described in that way.  If the Nobel Prize Committee had an award for mediocrity, mendacity or simple laziness, Obama might top their list in all three categories.  This president believes it is in his job description to govern based on polls rather than on sound policy or principles.  That makes him a fierce political opponent – and a zero as a leader.

Setting aside partisanship as best as I might, I have only been able to find two statements that Obama, either as candidate or president has made which have held true.  The first is that those who currently are unable to obtain insurance because of their previous health issues will have access to it.  The second is that his presidency will change the fundamental character of America.

Sadly, that second statement doesn’t include the modifier that this would be for the better.  And it may take an army of heroes and many years to overcome the damage which he has and will inflict on the country during his tenure.

If the voters in this country are wise, a matter that is at best questionable, we need to learn a lesson from those who have imposed a “zero tolerance” policy as it relates to drugs and guns in our schools.  We need to embrace an attitude of having a “zero tolerance” attitude toward political hacks and work vigorously to elect those people who have the country’s true interests at heart and are the heroes we need to “deliver us from evil.”

Ironically, the law against which Senator Cruz fought courageously and for which he was crucified, Obamacare, is proving to be an amazing house of cards – just as he stated.  Perhaps the signature on this “signature legislation” which we will most remember is that belonging to the coroner as he signs its death certificate.


When I was in college, one of my classmates had a suggestion for a pleasant way to spend a Saturday evening.  The first part was going to Pizzeria Due for one of their pies (I was up for that).  The second part was going to see a native Chicago comedian, Shelley Berman at his one man stand up comedy show (I was not up for that).

Several years earlier I was unfamiliar with Mr. Berman, but in a foray in New York into Sam Goody’s I had browsed through the closeout section and encountered the album, “The Best of Shelley Berman” and had purchased it after reading the record jacket.  Even though I realized that the jacket contained material that was intended to promote the vinyl it contained, I was curious to hear what it described as Mr. Berman’s “unique” comedy – so I bought it.

If as a child you enjoyed pulling the wings off flies, you probably would find Mr. Berman’s humor enjoyable.  The hour that I spent listening to this record was nothing short of torture as I heard this self-deprecating man describe what a loser he was.  Rodney Dangerfield, famous for his line that, “He didn’t get no respect” would, by comparison, get a 98% approval rating in contrast.

Well, the economics of the proposed evening, my friend had a free extra ticket to see Mr. Berman, and my desire to enjoy a Due’s pizza overcame my better judgment and so I agreed to go.  The hour at the show exactly mirrored my earlier experience with Mr. Berman’s record and I recall fidgeting almost constantly in the seat, hoping that the comic was not feeling well and would cut his routine short.  At the least, I hoped there would be some new material that I had not heard on “The Best of …” that would be amusing.  Sadly my hopes were dashed.

One of the skits that Mr. Berman shared with us that evening was on the album.  It was a purported death bed conversation between Gertrude Stein and her long-term lover Alice B. Toklas as Ms. Stein lay dying.

In the skit, Ms. Toklas is sitting by Stein’s bed.  In a voice that is reminiscent of what we have come to expect of a medium at a séance, she says, “Gertrude.  Gertrude. What is the answer?  What is the answer?”  To this, Ms. Stein responds, “What’s the question?”

Whether that story is true or apocryphal, the question of what’s the question transcends Ms. Stein’s life and writings.  And it lacks only one addition to make it profound.  That addition is, “Who’s asking the questions?”

Eleanor Roosevelt made a profound comment when she said, “Small minds talk about people.  Average minds talk about events.  Great minds talk about ideas.”  If we watch any news show it is apparent that their coverage is intended to appeal to people who, by Mrs. Roosevelt’s definition are either small minded, or at best, average.  No example serves to illuminate this point better than the current discussion over both the partial government shut down and the likelihood of butting up against the legally set debt limit.

We’ve all heard the coverage of finger pointing by all parties involved; the use of provocative labels that are being tossed around; the effects of the shutdown in closing national parks and memorials; how certain benefits owing to veterans and their families are being denied.  This is far from an inclusive and complete list.

And the question these news gurus are invariably focused on is, “Who’s fault is all of this?”  The answer to that question varies, depending on the political leaning of the particular station.  Unfortunately, all the answers that they give are both short-sighted and wrong.

The answer to that question of who is at fault is, “Those who voted to cede their personal responsibility in favor of having government run their lives; those who voted people into office who believe in the philosophy that government can always do a better job than the average citizen; those who believe that they have an unalienable right to entitlement and a minimal level of subsistence; those are the people who are at fault for our present debacle.

The “Federalist Papers” are filled with serious debate over what would be the legitimate authority and role of a new Federal government.  The authors had different ideas.  But that they were great men is implicit in the fact that they had ideas and were not afraid to debate those, sometimes heatedly.  And their conclusion, as clearly expressed in our Constitution, was that the powers that they were willing to convey to a new Federal authority were severely limited, no way reflecting the state of affairs under which we live today.

Were they correct in their conclusions?

Well, the America that they constructed became the greatest country in the world, based on the personal effort of millions of citizens who worked for a better life for themselves and their families.  We became the most industrialized and productive country ever seen on the planet.  We took individual liberty seriously but were not afraid to help out those who were in need or unable to help themselves through individual and collective charity.  We became a land to which all who were oppressed throughout the world journeyed because they knew that in America, opportunity was only limited by a person’s initiative.  Their vision of America lasted for about one hundred sixty years.

Then came Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.  And in the last eighty years, government has grown and entrenched itself further in our lives, reducing the individual’s ability to make it on his own and, more importantly, characterizing individual success, the driving force behind America’s former greatness, as an example of cupidity and greed.

It would be fair to say that if government can demonstrate that it, rather than the individual, is better able to bring about a more efficient and fairer society, then any rational person would certainly support government growth.  But it doesn’t take a great deal of insight to see that what the growing Federal government has provided is fraud, waste, lack of direction and the largest national debt in world history.

The real questions that we need to ask are, “If this is what we get from an expansion in our Federal government, what do we need to do to get rid of it and go back to letting the individual be the ‘Captain of his fate and the Master of his soul’?  And if you and I are not willing to make the effort to reclaim the America that was given to us by the Founding Fathers, then whom do we think should be responsible for taking up the gauntlet?”


““My Dearest Wife Agnes,

I will begin my return to Philadelphia tomorrow but I hope that this missive will reach you before I see you in person.  My dearest, you should have no concern for my well-being should the events that have transpired in Boston reached you.”

“Mr. Dawson and I had concluded our business and had gone down to the harbor to a charming pub which he knew.  We enjoyed a wonderful repast when we heard the sound of a commotion outside.  To our surprise, a bunch of Bostonians, many dressed in the garb of the native heathen, had begun flinging cargo from several of the ships.  We later learned that this was tea sent to the colonies from the far off lands in which it was cultivated.”

“Both Dawson and I were appalled at this savagery.  These are men of mean spirit and low account and they shall, when our good King George hears of their effrontery, be punished for their misdoings, of that I have no doubt.  For to ignore this boorish, mean spirited and uncivilized behavior is to do nothing less than to capitulate to the basest form of anarchy.”

With all my affection,

Your loving husband, Richard

17 December, 1773 A. D.

Letter from merchant Richard Farnsworth to his wife.

By altering a few names, dates and places in this letter, we could as easily be talking about a letter written by a Democrat in his or her description of how Republicans are portrayed.  And if the Democrats wants to categorize those who fought a valiant effort to defund Obamacare as anarchists, then that should be construed as a badge of honor – not a mark of shame.  The corollaries between this recent Republican effort and the Boston Tea Party are rather remarkable.

The rallying cry at the Boston Tea Party was, “No taxation without representation,” referring to the fact that the British Parliament imposed a tax on the colonies yet the colonies had no one to represent their views in Parliament.  So what does a tax on tea have to do with Obamacare?  Everything.  You see, according to the highest court in the land, Obamacare is constitutional because it is a “tax” and can be imposed because of that document’s Commerce Clause.

Before the ACA was passed, Sen. Charles Grassley (R- IA) added an amendment which specified that the members of Congress and their staffs be subject to the law in the same way that every other American is subject to it.  That became a part of the law as it was passed by Congress and signed by Obama.  However, among the many changes which King Obama made to the law by “Executive Order” was one which gave the members of Congress and their staffs preferential treatment.

One of the compromise offers that Speaker Boehner and the Republican House offered to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Senate would have required that all members of Congress pay the tax (Obamacare) in the same way that the law imposes it on every other taxpayer in the country.  The Senate refused even to consider that proposal.  Apparently, Reid believes that he and his self-serving cronies are so important to human history that they are above the law.

Common sense suggests that if something is a good thing, every rational person would want to participate in it.  That should be most apparent to those who wrote the law and best know what it contains.  Shouldn’t it cause all of us to question the benefits of a law from which the legislators who passed it want to be exempt from it?  And if the president’s signature law is such a great deal, then why aren’t he, the vice president, members of the Supreme Court and their staffs not participating either?

The “anarchists” at the Boston Tea Party protested intrusive and oppressive government and helped catalyze what was to become the War of Independence.  Their frustration with the heavy hand of monarchy started the colonies on a path which led to the creation of the greatest experiment in democracy that was ever seen on the planet.

If working to change a self-satisfied, self-serving government is anarchy, then we need more of it.


Pretty soon Congress will be back.  Ho hum.  And the focus of that august body will turn to the budget (there is none), the debt limit (there isn’t really one) and whether or not we should shut down the government (let me think about the benefits of that for a moment).

Leading the retreat on the part of the Great Offal Party will be Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R, OH).  He has already said that his “strategy” will be to offer a continuing resolution (the “Kick the Can Down the Road Theory”) until the GOP figures out what to do about funding the government.  Perhaps he has a visit scheduled with Glinda the Good Witch for the fall who will provide him with an action plan.  He certainly needs to get some fresh ideas somewhere.

It’s terribly difficult to tell most of the “players” in this dodge ball game without a score card.  Whether they label themselves with a “D” or an “R” most of them have the same agenda.  Don’t make waves which might compromise their ability to get re-elected in 2014.  Oh, and make some platitudinous speeches which talk in general terms about their doing what’s “best for the country.”  What a load of hooey.

The Congress is the ultimate evolution of our welfare system.  It’s just that they cost us more than your average food stamp recipient.  Oh, sure, they have to get off their duffs every so often to keep their cushy jobs, but with a return rate of incumbents of more than 85% you have to really mess up pretty badly not to get retained.

And if you retire from Congress, you can always run for Mayor of San Diego.  There is going to be an opening there in the next week or so and their weather is almost always quite nice.

Fortunately, there are a few people within the GOP who are actually trying to do the job that their constituents elected them to do.  (Naturally, in the vernacular of Washington and the MSM they’re thought of as kooks or right wing nuts).  They’re the Libertarian and Tea Party element of the party.  Sadly, there aren’t nearly enough of them serving (yes really, serving) in Congress – yet.

If John Boehner and his cohorts don’t wise up, some of them will find themselves having to work on their golf games as they are forced into a retirement which is four times greater than what the average American receives through Social Security.  Perhaps the litmus test for whether or not they get elected again will be how they deal with the issue of Obamacare – as much as they wish it would just go away.  It won’t – at least not without a great deal of assistance.

The problem with Obamacare has nothing to do with its negative impact on the economy; it has nothing to do with the rising cost of health insurance; it has nothing to do with the decline in the quality of healthcare which will result from its implementation; it has nothing to do with the additional cost of adding people to a bureaucracy to administer it; it has nothing to do with the fact that every American’s personal information will be subject to hackers and unvetted people who are enrolling people in this program.

The problem with Obamacare is that a government which has shown the greatest incompetence or concupiscence, whichever you prefer, in the way it has addressed the “phony scandals” of “Fast and Furious”; Benghazi; the IRS being used for political purposes; and NSA snooping on Americans will, through an un-elected bureaucracy be empowered to make decisions which will determine who will live and who will die.

This is an attack on the promise of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” at the most fundamental level and is simply the latest incarnation of an imperious and imperial presidency.  Didn’t we start a revolution to get rid of just that sort of government interference?

Speaker Boehner, if he wants to prove that he is not the gutless wimp his PR people are trying to have him project has two options to kill this law.  Both will require some courage and perhaps a double dose of Viagra.

First, he can agree to fund all government operations with the specific exception of Obamacare.  He probably realizes that the opposition knows how to manipulate public opinion far more effectively than those on his side of the aisle and will flat out lie that the GOP is trying to close down the government.  He and all Republicans need to learn how to play that game and stand up to the false criticism.  They not only need to stand up but to stand for something.

Second, the Speaker should realize that under his tenure the fact that the concept of three equal parts of government has been increasingly obscured by presidential fiat.  Nothing makes that point more than the never ending list of waivers that are being awarded at whim (and for political reasons) to this constituency or that when it comes to Obamacare.  Of course, it is a bit embarrassing that Congress and their staff are the latest beneficiaries of these executive orders.

The Constitution is very clear that it is Congress which enacts laws and the President’s only responsibility regarding those which have been passed is either to sign or veto them.  Congress passed the ACA and President Obama signed it (amid much fanfare) into law.

Nowhere does the Constitution, which the President swore to uphold, give the executive branch the right to alter, amend or in any way change the law.  His responsibility is to enforce the laws as they are written.

Therefore, if the Speaker is concerned that he and his party might be lambasted should they try to defund the law, this alternative allows them a way out.  That way out is called the Constitution.

Rather than try to defund it, they should insist that the law be implemented exactly as it is written and void any executive orders which the Prez has issued.  If the Senate (under the brilliant leadership of Half-Wit Harry Reid) should oppose that, then the GOP can say, “Hey guys.  We voted to implement the law the President has championed.  The Democrat controlled Senate opposed implementing the very law that they themselves passed.  We, therefore, have no choice but to refuse any further funding of the government which includes the ACA.”

It is clear that there is no possibility that Obamacare will be ready for rollout on schedule.  Forcing everyone to comply will cause the law to implode of its own ill-conceived stupidity.  It will force large employers to furlough or reduce the hours of their workforce now rather than after the mid-term elections (the reason they got a year’s deferral) thus bringing the reality of what the geniuses who crafted this bill wrote into it to light.

Sometimes we need to suffer in order to see the wisdom of amending our ways.  Implementing this bill will cause a lot of short-term suffering.  But the benefit of being able to make our own decisions regarding our health choices is worth a lot of short-term suffering, because that is a right which is inalienable but is under attack.

Grandma used to say, “If you have your health you have everything.”

I wonder if Speaker Boehner ever heard that adage.  Based on his conduct, I rather doubt it.



My father was one of the most generous people who ever lived on this planet.  He would help out anyone if it were within his power, whether or not he knew or liked the person.  I guess in today’s parlance, you would call him a chump.

I don’t know how many times he and I were out walking and a “bum” would ask him for a hand out.  Dad never refused one of these men the change he had on him – or if he had none, a small bill or two.

His generosity extended to everything he did – how he treated his employees and how he contributed to charities in which he believed.  Although he did not subscribe to the tenets of the Salvation Army, he always made a point of dropping a five or ten dollar bill in their red kettles during the Christmas Season.  As he pointed out, “During the Great Depression, they were the only organization that would give away free donuts to those who needed something to eat.  The only one.”

I offer this not as a paean to my father but to put in context something that he said many times.  It was the reason that he refused to give money to “charities” whose work consisted of trying to eradicate some particular disease.

When asked by a friend if dad contributed to The American Cancer Society, he replied with an emphatic, “Absolutely not.  If they actually found the cure for cancer, they would suppress it.  There are too many people who make a living from fund raising for them ever to let that cure be released to the world.”

Now that may sound cynical to you – but if you stop to think about it for a minute one thing should be very clear – particularly in light of all the conversation centered around Obamacare.  We know that the health care industry represents approximately one sixth of our economy.  That includes doctors, dentists, hospitals, medical equipment manufacturers, pharmacists and, of course, prescription and non-prescription drugs.  And as large as it is now, it can only grow bigger under Obamacare as we add a new layer of bureaucrats to try to mis-manage it further

If you’ve read this blog for any period of time you realize that I normally reference “health care” under the more accurate name “disease maintenance”.  Put another way, our drug-therapy-centric system merely ameliorates the symptoms that our various maladies cause.  Ninety percent of our drugs treat symptoms (sometimes with devastating side effects) but do nothing to correct the underlying physical condition.  If you question the truth of that statement ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Since we have classified so many different forms of cancer, let me offer the easier example of diabetes to illustrate my point.

We know that in the U. S. we have an outbreak of diabetes which is nearing (and will soon reach) epidemic proportions.  To call this a plague is not to over-exaggerate.  We also know that the adult version of this disease, Type II, most often results from the dietary choices we make throughout our growing years and our adult lives.

This is a crippling and a chronic illness.  It has significant implications for those who allow it to go uncontrolled which may result in amputations, blindness and nearly always has severe impacts on cardio-vascular health (another chronic illness).  So how do we deal with treatment for those who have been diagnosed with Type II diabetes?

Is our emphasis on educating these patients on the foods which they should be eating and those which they are to avoid?  Yes.  That’s about ten per cent of our treatment.  But ninety percent of our treatment is establishing them on a regimen of blood monitoring and dispensing insulin to control their condition.

The medical industry doesn’t make a lot of money selling its patients on the idea of going to the grocery store and loading up on fruits and vegetables.  In fact, it makes none.  But it does make a lot of money selling blood glucose monitors and diabetic supplies.

The following is what the American Diabetes Association (ADA ) has to say about this disease:

The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 is $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity. The largest components of medical expenditures are hospital inpatient care (43% of the total medical cost), prescription medications to treat the complications of diabetes (18%), anti-diabetic agents and diabetes supplies (12%), physician office visits (9%), and nursing/residential facility stays (8%). People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes. For the cost categories analyzed, care for people with diagnosed diabetes accounts for more than 1 in 5 health care dollars in the U.S., and more than half of that expenditure is directly attributable to diabetes.

If the ADA’s analysis is correct, last year we spent over $52 Billion as a nation on prescription medicines to “treat the complications of diabetes” and on anti-diabetic agents and diabetes supplies.  That, by virtually anyone’s standards, is a lot of money – spread over a lot of companies that manufacture and distribute these products and which support a lot of people who are their employees.

Where is the incentive for our medical professionals to cure this disease when those who treat patients with diabetes collectively earned $20 Billion last year in office visits from those who suffer from this malady?  Or for our hospitals to do all within their power to eradicate this disease which earned them revenues of over $75 Billion?

This isn’t a matter of rejecting the common logic and practice of medicine as we find it in this country.  This is merely a matter of applying common sense to a nonsensical way in which we treat disease and asking, “Why would ‘health care professionals’ pursue a path that does not cure but merely ameliorates the symptomology of a disease?”  If you can find an answer to that question that is something other than “money” or sheer ignorance, please share it with me.

In all fairness to our doctors and others in our medical establishment who are devoted to providing quality patient care and who make that their first priority, I believe it is only honest to say that even if they were to get on my bandwagon and to  insist that their diabetic patients observed a life style and eating regimen that might resolve this medical condition, it is likely that only a small percentage would do so.

We have developed a mind set of entitlement and immediate gratification.  We pop a pill to lose weight or so that we can achieve an erection and we smear our faces with creams that we hope will take years off our appearance.  And the drug and cosmetics industries, recognizing our weakness, feed our human frailty with “newer and bigger and faster and more effective” products to satisfy our laziness and vainglory.

Perhaps, even if for all the wrong reasons, the country is beginning to wake up to the perils that Obamacare presents.  Perhaps there is a stirring among at least a few of us that we do not have trust in the government to make wise decisions about our health care and that ultimately the responsibility for staying in good health falls neither to the bureaucrats nor to our doctors but is ours and ours alone – because we are the only “me” that is now, has been or ever will be on this planet.

Perhaps, something good will come out of our objection to Obamacare.  Hopefully, it will be an awakening that the individual has responsibility for his own life and his own actions and will not allow an impersonal government to make decisions which rightly belong to each of us and to each of us alone.

If that were to occur to enough people it might start a revolution of thought and action which would make the Founding Fathers  proud of the great experiment that they set in motion nearly two hundred fifty years ago.


The mob that gathered last Saturday to voice their negative opinion of the George Zimmerman acquittal did get one thing right.  Whether or not one agrees with their premise that the basis for Mr. Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict was the result of a justice system that punishes minorities more harshly than it does whites, they are correct in saying that anytime anyone is either convicted or acquitted of a crime because of something extraneous to the facts of the case, there is an inequity which has prevailed – and all of us should protest against it.

Why should we protest such a miscarriage of justice – especially if we happen to like a particular verdict?  The answer is little more than “self-preservation”.  If we close our eyes to this sort of behavior in someone else’s case, who knows how long it will be before a corrupt political system finds reason to place us in the defendant’s box?

This administration, beginning with President Obama and continuing with Atty. Gen. Eric Holder have demonstrated a continuing pattern and practice of engaging in precisely such behavior – not only in violation of their oaths of office but to the general degradation of our legal system and ultimately to the detriment of every American.

It is hard, other than for political reasons, for me to understand the administration’s resistance to requiring people to provide proof of identity before they are allowed to vote.  When I write a check for groceries, the store wants to verify who I am.  (I don’t blame them).  When I call my gas or electric or telephone or cable TV provider to make an inquiry on the phone, they ask for the last four digits of my Social Security number and my DOB.  (I don’t blame them).

Why, then is it such a big deal that a person be required to prove that he is the person who he or she claims to be before being handed a ballot?  In fact, I believe that if we want to talk about discrimination in voting (as the Atty. General recently has regarding changes in the voting rules in a Texas county), I believe a strong case could be made about the disenfranchisement of legitimate voters by allowing people who do not have that right to vote in our elections.

There are only a few plausible explanations:

1)  The Administration is more concerned with getting people who support their agenda to vote them and their cronies into office than they are in upholding the Constitution;

2)  The Administration is terminally brain-dead and doesn’t have a clue that voting “irregularities” occur.  (If President Obama had lived his entire life in Alaska rather than a good portion of it in Chicago, there might be more believability in this);

3)  The Administration is vindictive and selective in its enforcement of the laws of the land;

4)  The Administration, having been called on by the mob to bring “Justice to Trayvon”, realizing there is no basis for their further pursuing this, need yet another distraction to show that they’re on the side of the “oppressed”;

5)   The Administration is just down right upset at the recent passage of tighter abortion regulations in Texas and is trying to appease one of its most faithful voting blocs.

That Atty. Gen. Holder’s new initiative comes in response to the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down key portions of the Voting Rights bill as being currently irrelevant is particularly disturbing.  There is a reason that the Founding Fathers ordered government divided into three equal parts.

Perhaps the president and the AG missed that semester in law school.


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