The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘history’ Category


Back in the days when grammar schools taught history and geography I remember having to memorize the names of the countries of Africa.  In the forty some odd years since the map below was drawn, things had changed – and they have continued to change on that continent.  Names that were once familiar to us students no longer exist and boundaries have been redrawn many times with many countries now being called by names based on their indigenous residents’ native languages rather than by names imposed on them by the western European countries that had formerly included them as part of their global empires.


If you were to ask the average student, young adult or, I suspect your typical American thirty or forty year old, which countries had claim to empires in the twentieth century or earlier, I believe you would get a rather blank stare as a response. How many of those you interviewed, were you to ask what countries Portugal had under their crown’s control would be able to tell you that Brazil was once part of that nation’s global empire? Or that Pope Alexander VI divided the entire continent of South America between the Spanish and the Portuguese in 1493? History does have implications.

Now if you were to ask those same people about the question of “White Privilege” you might do a little better.  Although this currently voguish PC catch phrase gets bandied about regularly, I am still waiting to hear, other than it’s being a veiled attempt to conjure up guilt that should be shared by all white Americans because of their skin color, exactly what it is.  But the nice thing about PCspeak is that what you say doesn’t have to follow the dictionary rules of providing an exact definition but can be morphed into whatever the speaker wants at any given moment in time.  This technique, of course, makes any real debate on this subject virtually impossible, which is fine as far as those who employ the term are concerned, because debate requires presenting purported facts that can be discussed and possibly debunked.

As to the term, “White Man’s Burden” which we learned was theoretically a motivating factor in European expansion throughout the world (beside the obvious that England, Belgium, Portugal, Spain and others had ships and as long as you have ships you might as well use tem to go places), I doubt that most of those who throw about “White Privilege” know what the “Burden” term means.

Simply put, it was a quasi religious/sociological term that suggested that whites, (by virtue of their skin color) were superior to people whose skin color was darker and that as a result of that inherent superiority it was their responsibility to care for those less fortunate and to impart (as much as they might be capable of comprehending) the culture, religion and knowledge which whites had been gifted to receive from the Creator.  In essence, the white man was the farmer and people of color were the farm animals who were given to him to care for and nurture.

That philosophy seemed to serve most Europeans rather well until Hitler came along and decided that even among whites, some were clearly better than others and that it was the imperative of the Aryan race to do away with those pseudo-whites like Jews and Slavs.  Fortunately Hitler was defeated.  But one can only imagine if he had succeeded in his first effort to “purify” humanity, how he would have dealt with the black and yellow and red inhabitants of the world.  I can’t imagine that would have been a pretty picture.

It would be not only fair but accurate to describe the term “White Man’s Burden” as a racist concept.  But then, so is the term “White Privilege”.  Any term which begins by using race as a descriptor is a racist term.  “White Power” and the “Black Congressional Caucus” are both racist by their self-styled names.  And anyone who refers to “White Privilege”, whatever that person’s own race, is in fact using a racist term and perhaps exhibiting their own racist views.

Today we would view the colonial concept of the “White Man’s Burden” as primitive and exhibitive of racial prejudice.  The idea that whites are inherently superior to those of other races – well that’s nearly antediluvian by most peoples’ standards.  Or is it?

The only real difference between the “White Man’s Burden” and “White Privilege” is the attribution of guilt in the second of these terms.  If you question this you have no further to look than at the percentage of the American black community that receives government assistance (largely paid for by the white American population) because they are obviously, like the colonial farm animals, unable to fend for themselves.  And who are those who constantly search for new ways to find more programs to fund these underprivileged souls?  None other than they who scream “White Privilege” the loudest.

I guess that goes to their point that “racism” is alive and well in America.  Perhaps before levying their next charge, they might want to consult a mirror.


My interest in Alexander Hamilton began with my first summer job with the Wall Street firm, E. F. Hutton.  Their offices at 60 Broad Street were just a short walk from Trinity Church and its very old graveyard among whom was laid to rest the first Secretary of the Treasury of the then newly born United States, Alexander Hamilton.

There is no doubt that Hamilton was one of the most influential of the Founding Fathers of the nation.  Born out of wedlock, he was raised in the West Indies and was educated thanks to the beneficence of some wealthy islanders who recognized the young man’s brilliance and talent.  And for years, we have continued to honor his memory by ensconcing his portrait on our ten dollar bills.  But that is about to change.  A movement is afoot to replace the esteemed Mr. Hamilton with a person of the female gender – the left proclaiming that, “It’s time we finally had a woman on our currency.”  Like so much of the rest of the pother they put out they’re wrong as there has already been a woman featured on our currency – none other than the nation’s first First Lady, Martha Washington.




The notes, which were redeemable for one silver dollar, a sound fiscal policy which incidentally was abandoned forty-seven years ago today, continued to be printed for ten years when they were replaced with the famous “Educational Series” notes which bore portraits of both Martha and President George Washington.




Alright, having dispelled the notion that having a woman on U. S. currency would be a first, Treasury Secretary Lew has opened the public to offer potential nominees for the changeover which is to occur in 2020.  Among those who have been proposed by that esteemed publication known as, “Rolling Stone,” you’ll remember them for their publication of that fake story about a university rape without bothering to check the facts, is the singer, Beyoncé.  Other than the fact that as she is still reportedly alive, which would violate an 1873 law which requires that anyone featured on our currency be deceased, Beyoncé’s contribution to anything is, to my mind, fairly suspect.  But certainly there are some excellent candidates who actually benefited the nation by their lives and examples.  But it seems to me that the obvious choice for the liberal left is Hillary Clinton.

Now you may be saying to yourself, “Hold on, Juwannadoright.  Hillary is out of the question.  Remember that 1873 law that says only dead people can appear on our currency?”  To that I answer, “Hang on Bucko.  Have you seen her on the campaign trail?  And you’re going to tell me that this portly bit of protoplasm is alive?”  Do we not measure “life” by both brain and heart activity?  How can there be brain activity when all we hear is the same robotic monotony that sounds as though it is pre-recorded palaver, set on an endless cycling loop of “replay.”  And can there be a heartbeat when there is no heart to support it?

As you might have expected, I do have a possible explanation for Mrs. Clinton’s apparent mobility.  It has to do both with a thorough investigation into the concept of zombies and the transmigration of souls, the latter of which actually interests me.

Now all things zombie are big business.  They’re big box office, big Halloween costume business and an apparent requirement to work in the Federal bureaucracy.  As you know, zombies walk around, lurching this way and that and attacking all those who are actually alive, mistaking them for the drive in of a fast food restaurant.  We do not call them alive and yet they move and create traffic problems.

So you say that even though you’re going to spend your money to watch Hollywood’s latest zombie flick you don’t really believe they exist.  (You’ve never been to Haiti have you?)  But let’s talk for a moment about the transmigration of souls – a far more interesting concept.  And that brings us to a discussion of Chairman Mao Zedong, the late dictator of China who was directly responsible for the deaths, through his proclamation of the “Cultural Revolution” of at least one and one half million Chinese intellectuals and just plain ordinary folk.

Mao died in 1976.  At that time, Hillary was working her way up (somewhat infamously according to some) at the Rose Law firm in Little Rock.  She had been married to “The grass is always greener, Bill” for a year at the time.  So what happened to that Mao Zedong soul?  Clearly, based on the economic ruin he brought on the Chinese people and the misery and suffering he inflicted on his countrymen it was not ready to move on to a higher state.  And, according to some religious sects, it is possible for one soul to transmigrate into a person who is already living, forcing out that person’s soul and replacing it with their own.  Well, it’s a theory.  But is there evidence to support this speculation?.



mao headshot




hillary clinton cropped


Some things never change.  Taste in clothes might be one of those.









It was the year 1957 – 57 years ago.  The scene was Little Rock, Arkansas.  The governor of that state was Orval Faubus (D), a name that may be unfamiliar to younger readers.  The nine male white Justices of the Supreme Court had struck down desegregation in public schools in the Brown vs. The Board of Education decision.  The governor of Arkansas disagreed with that decision and militarized the Arkansas National Guard to prevent black students from attending Little Rock Central High School.

The nine black students who had enrolled in Little Rock Central High School initially were blocked from attending by the Guard.  The Mayor of Little Rock, Woodrow Wilson Mann appealed to President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) who intervened, sending in the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock to escort and protect the students.  Eisenhower ultimately federalized the Arkansas National Guard, taking them out of the control of Governor Faubus.

Particularly during their first year attending Little Rock Central High, all of the students were subject to derision and abuse by their white counterparts.  One of them, Melba Patillo had acid thrown in her face and several white girls tried to light her hair on fire when she was in the rest room.  Others were spit on as they walked the school’s hallways.  That was the way it was in America in 1957 – at least in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The state of Arkansas elects its governor for a two year term.  Orval Faubus was elected to six successive terms by the citizens of that state.  Notwithstanding what transpired in Little Rock in 1957, Faubus won his final election as governor in 1964 and carried more than 81% of the black vote in that election.  What were the black voters of Arkansas thinking back then?  What are they thinking today?

There was something refreshing about Orval Faubus.  He made the list of the “Top Ten Most Influential Men in America” in 1958.  He was either loved or hated.  There was no parsing your position when it came to the governor.  You knew that Faubus was a strict segregationist.  He made no bones about his position and made no excuses for his beliefs.  Whether you agreed or disagreed with him, it was impossible to say that he was not honest.

I thought about Little Rock as events in Ferguson, MO are unfolding.  To say the least, the way in which the Ferguson PD has managed this has been far from perfect.  Suspicion has arisen because of the failure, until today, to release the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown.  The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon (D) took charge and by appointing the head of the Missouri State Police,  Captain Ron Johnson took a big step in the right direction.  Johnson is well-spoken and is a calming influence, helping to diffuse a situation that was at a boiling point and is now at a fast simmer.

The family made a statement and appealed to the community to keep calm, to continue to demonstrate but to do so in a peaceful manner.  That is admirable and is what should happen.  But in today’s release of the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown, it was also revealed that Brown was caught on the Quick Trip video security camera, robbing the store.  His identity and participation in this theft has now been confirmed – as well his manhandling the short owner of the store who is dwarfed by this 6’ 4”, 292 pound “gentle giant” as he has been characterized.  And then the attorneys for the Brown family, headed by Benjamin Crump who represented the Trayvon Martin family, released the following statement:

Michael Brown’s family is beyond outraged at the devious way the police chief has chosen to disseminate piece mil (sic) information in a manner intended to assassinate the character of their son, following such a brutal assassination of his person in broad daylight.

There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender.

The prolonged release of the officer’s name and then the subsequent alleged information regarding a robbery is the reason why the family and the local community have such distrust for the local law enforcement agencies.

It is no way transparent to release the still photographs alleged to be Michael Brown and refuse to release the photographs of the officer that executed him.

The police strategy of attempting to blame the victim will not divert our attention, from being focused on the autopsy, ballistics report and the trajectory of the bullets that caused Michael’s death and will demonstrate to the world this brutal execution of an unarmed teenager.

Benjamin L Crump, Esq.
Anthony D. Gray, Esq.
Daryl D. Parks, Esq.

If I hadn’t read the signatures at the end of this statement, I would have guessed that it had been written by Al Sharpton or one of the other race baiters who regularly stir the pot when these sorts of incidents occur.  And just for once, it would give all of us some real reason for outrage if the “victim” as Michael Brown may have been, did not engage in possibly illegal acts, such as the store robbery, which only muddy the waters on what happened.

I didn’t know the late Michael Brown.  Losing your life over fifty dollars worth of stolen cigars is mind numbing.  But I do know that good kids don’t steal from convenience stores.  And if there is one lesson to be learned, it is one that is generally ignored by our black citizens.

In 1964 when black Arkansas voters cast 81% of their ballots for the segregationist/racist Governor Orval Faubus, the overall unemployment rate in this country was 5.2% and for black workers was 6.1%.  Today the rate for black teenagers, kids like Michael Brown is nearly 25% – and black Americans voted for another Democrat, Barack Obama giving him 95% of their ballots.

It makes me long for the good old days.


If you either owned or worked for a small business you probably have a number of expectations.  For example, the owner of the business expects that his or her clients will pay their invoices in a timely manner so that they in turn can pay their suppliers and their employees.  The employees expect that if they show up for work and accomplish the tasks assigned to them, they are going to walk in on Friday and be handed their check – which they will be able to negotiate at their bank so that they can pay their bills.

Unfortunately, “The best laid plans of mice and men …”.  Sometimes things simply do not go as planned.  The company’s clients might be experiencing a downturn in their business and their cash flow and pay their bills more slowly than usual.  This puts a strain on the small business owner who is depending on those payments so he can make his own payments both to his suppliers and workers.  Without having a contingency plan to counter this, that small business owner might either be late in paying his own bills and employees, or simply write checks which he knows perfectly well will be returned for “Insufficient Funds.”

No one is so prescient as to be able to predict the future accurately one hundred percent of the time.  But no business would survive if it developed a business plan which was incorrect one hundred percent of the time.  The free market has a simple, unyielding way of dealing with this level of incompetency.  The business shutters its doors and its employees have to find new jobs.

Now one can understand how a new business owner might stumble and be unprepared for an unexpected aberration from what he has forecast.  These sort of mistakes are actually good because they cause the thinking entrepreneur to plan against such future situations – if he survives the first lesson.  But if he survives a business-threatening event and fails to learn a lesson, he is likely to find himself in a crisis situation the next time around.

We can only make the same mistake once.  The second time it’s a choice.  One might argue that barring an extraordinary, once in a lifetime external event, say having a two mile wide meteor crash into Earth, the only reason for having to deal with a crisis is failure to having taken the steps to avoid it in the first place.  Thus, virtually all crises are the direct result of either inattention, ineptitude, ignorance or arrogance.

I would argue that government is a business – one that enjoys advantages that no other business has.  In fact it is the biggest business in the country with more than 22 million employees.  Compare that to Walmart, generally categorized as the largest employer in America with a total of 1.4 million workers.  In terms of longevity, government in America has been around for well over two hundred years while Walmart is a relative newcomer with only fifty-two years under its belt.  There is one even more important difference between these two employers.  The government consistently runs a deficit.  Walmart consistently makes money – and then is taxed on its profitability to fund the deficits that government compiles.

Reasonably, one would expect that government with its length of experience would easily implement programs which would actually work.  But counter-intuitively, just the opposite seems to be the case.  Not only is government wasteful, it does not see this as a disincentive to engaging in yet more waste.  The simple reason is that it has an unlimited checkbook, no accountability for the ineptitude of its executives and can (or so it believes) continue to run perpetually at a loss.  It justifies these deficits as being necessary in the “social interest.”

The “social interest” was well defined in the Declaration of Independence – a separation from what until its signing had been the government of the colonies.  “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were considered the basis of the “social interest” as it applied to each person.  Anything constraining, hindering or impairing that was an expression of injustice.

And so the colonists set on a path which resulted in the greatest crisis  that Great Britain had ever experienced and which resulted in a nation and a world that for the first time recognized that it was the individual, only as he or she gave consent to the existence of the state, who was most to be considered in determining what was right or wrong and what was good or evil.

There are many in this country who earnestly believe that the solution to government incompetence is to have more of it.  In many cases their conclusions are reached, not as the result of great thought, but because in the short term they see themselves reaping the benefits of wasteful policy by way of personal economic gain.  And as long as they can vote for and pressure those who represent them into increasing these benefits at whatever ultimate cost, they will continue to empower people whose only interest is in advancing their own political careers while all the time making the specious argument that what they do is in “the public good.”

There comes a tipping point, as there did in Boston Harbor in 1773, when those who are productive, mind their business and want no more than to be left alone from the intrusions of others finally have had that final straw laid on their backs and they will say, “Stop.  Enough is enough.”  And that will be the final crisis which our government will have the opportunity to mismanage.


If there is one common thread that underlies all politically liberal philosophies it is that there are only a limited amount of resources available and equitably distributing those among all people should be our primary goal.  That was the thinking that underpinned “The Communist Manifesto” and that is the attitude that emanates from the current administration in Washington.  It is the mindset which motivates those in political power to seek wealth re-distribution because it has turned its back on the possibility of wealth creation.

When Obama was sworn in as the Chief Executive the country was recovering from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.  Instead of seizing the opportunity to focus on the economy, the administration spent its first two years crafting together Obamacare which satisfied its ideology if not the country’s immediate needs.  As a result the country languished and the uncertainty that was created through this signature law have contributed to an anemic semi-recovery.

The Obama administration responded to the faltering economy by securing funding for “shovel-ready” jobs.  While the money was spent, the jobs never materialized.  It used the taxpayer’s remittances on green energy projects like Solyndra which went bankrupt leaving us $400 Million further in the hole as the government increased the official national debt to an historic $17 Billion.  It refused, because of its ideology, to approve the Keystone Pipeline Project which would have provided thousands of jobs and even more importantly would have moved the economy forward by lowering energy costs through additional supplies.

The fundamental philosophy of liberal thinking is the same as that to which a committed gambler clings. “ Let me take what someone else has.”  That is the driving force behind every “game of chance,” every sports bet, every state run lottery and of every system of government which looks to “re-distribute” wealth.

There is only one fatal flaw with this viewpoint and that is that time and again it has been proven to be a failure.  We have no further to turn than to compare the implementation of this philosophy in the former Soviet Union, Cuba and North Korea to realize that.

This paternalistic philosophy, however well-intended, unfortunately is grounded in a world view based on pessimism.  Its premise is that ordinary people – the ones whom they are presumably championing – are simply not smart enough to make rational, self-benefitting decisions on their own and must be “taken care of” by those who are wiser and more prescient – they and those they elect to govern the masses.

Further to their mindset is the belief that all that there is now available to society in the way of resources or the way of doing things is all that there ever will be the, “Everything that can be invented already has been invented,” sort of mentality.  In some respects this becomes a self-fulfilling philosophy.  If we do not believe that there is a possibility for a better future, we must then content ourselves with a dismal past.  Looking for something that we have defined as being non-existent is certainly a waste of time.

This philosophy is not unique or even original to the Obama administration.  The president and his staff are merely its latest exponents.  But we should have realized that when, as one of his first acts in office, Obama made a world tour, apologizing for all the “mistakes” that America had made over the years, there he did not accept the concept of either “American exceptionalism” or, for that matter of “human exceptionalism.”  The concept of “equality” cannot tolerate the notion that some of us are a little brighter, a little more gifted or a little more motivated than others.   Admitting to that is to destroy the goal – which is that we should all be equally mediocre.

Fortunately, there is  a basis for optimism.  Despite its attempts to obviate the provisions of the Constitution, this administration is not as thoroughly entrenched as it believes and the level of disapproval is increasing weekly as more of its flawed policies are making themselves evident, notwithstanding their hyperbole and their rhetoric.  If current polls are an indication, Americans are beginning to realize that Obama and his crew have sold the country a bill of goods which lacks substance and that we’ve had more than enough talk but very little productive action.

When we reach the critical mass of wide-spread awareness, then we can again turn our eyes to the stars and realize, “There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in Obama’s philosophy.”  Rather than wasting our time trying to re-distribute the wealth which America has created through the individual effort of its exceptional citizens, we can look for ways that we can increase the bounty that all of us were promised in our founding documents and will realize that Obama and his cronies were the necessary distraction which re-awakened us to our real birthright.


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.



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 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?”


During the 1960’s as a college student, I became involved in the anti-Vietnam war movement.  My view of the war changed from one of indifference to opposition as President Johnson expanded our involvement and more of our young men were killed in action.  This opposition was directed toward our government’s policy – never to those who had enlisted or were conscripted into this war.

When I first began working to end the United States’ engagement in southeast Asia, mine was a minority opinion.  But as more of our fathers and sons and brothers fell in battle, what had started as a movement of college students spread throughout the country.  The protest marches soon included mothers and fathers and grandmothers and the American people en masse demanded the war end.  And those in Washington heard their voices and we brought our troops home.

Unfortunately, the antipathy to this war became so great that it carried over to those who had served in it.  Those who would now be called members of the ultra-left treated those returning soldiers with scorn and disrespect.  They did everything they could to shame them for exercising their consciences and doing what they viewed as their duty.  It’s amazing that a movement that for many of us was a plea for peace could be so mis-interpreted by some as a vehicle for them to exhibit anger and hatred.

I offer this backdrop to you because today the ultra-left is thoroughly in charge in Washington.  And it shouldn’t surprise any of us who lived through Vietnam that the same attitudes and tactics that they exhibited fifty years ago are still part and parcel of their playbooks today.  The goal is to enforce their philosophy on everyone and convert them to their way of thinking – irrespective of the tactics that they feel they must employ to achieve that end.  To them, the end always justifies the means.

That brings us to the question of how our CIC, President Obama and his administration is dealing with the partial government shutdown.  Are they simply trying to deal with the reduction of less than one fifth of government by efficiently trying to manage resources, or are they trying to make a statement by taking actions which seek to score political points?  I believe the latter conclusion is inescapable if a person reviews the evidence.

Perhaps the most egregious of the President’s actions are the closing of the WW II Memorial and the refusal to pay for the families of five of our soldiers and marines who died this weekend in Afghanistan to attend their return home at Dover Air Force Base.

The Administration spent limited resources to erect barriers to prevent World War II veterans who flew to Washington on honor flights to view the memorial erected in their honor.  The veterans, in their eighties and in wheelchairs broke down the barricades to this open air memorial in order to view it.  Fortunately, those in the Park Service who are responsible for maintaining the memorial did not stand in their way and, reportedly, some of those encouraged them to do so.

What must be the view by those veterans of a CIC who attempts to prevent them from viewing a memorial that was established to honor them for their service?  If you’ve seen any of the interviews with those vets, you know the answer to that question.  And they’re not part of the 37% of Americans who give the President a favorable rating.

Then there are the four servicemen and one servicewoman whose remains were brought home yesterday.  Their families, who would normally be flown at government expense to attend their return, had to have their trips funded by a private not-for-profit organization.  The excuse by DOD Secretary Hagel was that despite the fact that the Congress passed a bill to make sure that funds were available for this purpose, the law presumably was deficient the way it was written according to DOD lawyers.  Both the Secretary and the President expressed “outrage” at this situation.

Well, how outraged can the two of them really be?  Frankly, it’s hard for me to picture Sec. Hagel being outraged at anything.  He barely has a pulse – and his level of competency might be in the single digits.  Why, when he learned about his legal department’s concerns didn’t he bring this immediately to the CIC’s attention?  Or did he?  That is one of the burning questions that is, at this moment, unanswered.  Supposedly the Pentagon knew and warned this might occur four days before the partial government shutdown occurred.

The problem could have been corrected immediately by President Obama with a pen stroke on an Executive Order.  The President is familiar with this process.  He has used it 19 times to amend Obamacare.  Perhaps it was the overriding agenda of this administration to try to embarrass its opposition that was the primary motivation for allowing this to happen.

Politics is a dirty business.  But  someone needs to explain to Obama that he no longer is running for office.  If he continues to dishonor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, he might find that he will have one last political battle.  That will be running from the reputation and legacy he has created.

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