Sunday, August 30, 2009

Townhall Fever Pitch No Longer As Hot?

It appears that the "volume" of the townhalls has quieted down somewhat. In their struggle to find some way to stop the movement that the Democrats have called "astroturf", some of them are not even holding townhall meetings. Some Democrats are requiring photo IDs before allowing people into their townhall meetings. Some are changing their venues at the last minute and sending out invitations with the location and time, making it virtually "By Invitation Only". Some are filling the front of the rooms with planted "friendly" constituents or staffers, and some of attendees have been well identified as SEIU or ACORN who are being shuttled into the rooms through side entries before the doors are open to the public, all in an attempt to quell the "rowdiness" that was demonstrated by frustrated Conservatives, moderate Democrats, and informed Independents.

Have these tactics been effective? I believe that they have been as we see the Dems scurring to counteract what's been happening. However, the Rassmussen Polls are showing that the support of the Healthcare bill is longer falling. In fact, the numbers have been static for the last couple weeks. There has also been much said in the media about the Democrats ramming through this legislation through under the Resolution of Ratification measure. (If they do, they'll be using a procedure in an unconstitutional way.) My concern at present is that perhaps some of the "fire in the belly" of the conservatives has been extinguished or been replaced with the feeling of helplessness, in part because of this threat. We must not let these radicals and their moderate "sheep" intimidate us. That was our past. That's what got us where we are today. We must keep the pressure on.

Be encouraged. Most Americans are still opposed to the healthcare plan. Sixty-two percent say they have a better idea on how to spend tax money than Congress does. Seventy percent say they favor fewer services and lower taxes. Sixty-four percent have an unfavorable opinion of Nancy Pelosi, and Obama's and Harry Reid's are falling precipitously as well. Only 36 % approve of Eric Holder appointing a special prosecutor to investigation the CIA interrogation of the terrorists and 54% say that his persistence in doing this is harmful to our nation's security. (By the way, who's driving that bus? Is Obama speaking out of both of his faces?) And finally, somewhat surprisingly, 55% now say that closing Guantanamo is a bad idea. But we knew that all along, didn't we? So, it does appear that our voices are being reflected in the polls. And we know that Washington thrives on polls.

I understand that it's difficult to feel passionately about something, to take the effort to make a public stand, and then to find yourself ridiculed, ignored, slandered, and maligned by the very people we sent to Washington, DC to represent our wishes. Perhaps that's why many of us who are now speaking out have not done so in the past. We were intimidated. However, now is not the time to become intimidated by their threat to ram this piece of legislation down our throats through this "backdoor trick" called Resolution of Ratification. Democrats have been crying "foul" over the opposition to the healthcare bill. But their threat of ramming it though in this manner prompts me to ask, truly where is the foul? Now is definitely not the time to quiet our outcries or to soften our rhetoric or stay home from rallies or townhall meetings.

Perhaps the Democrats have found a way to "quiet" the crowds at the townhalls, but that doesn't mean that the conservative voice of reason cannot still be heard as loud and clear as possible. In fact, it must be heard if this nation is to survive. Remember, we have the power of the vote and the thing that these professional politicians want more than for the healthcare bill to pass is to remain in office. Therefore, we must follow through in the next election and allow them their right to rejoin the masses.

There still are other issues that we must watch for and speak out on as well. If your Senators or Representatives have already held their townhall meetings in your area, begin to organize an effort to be heard on other issues, for instance, the Cap and Trade (aka, Cap and Tax). This is a mean tax which will affect everyone at all levels of the socio-economic scale. We need to be heard on this bill as well as the others that are pending in the House and Senate.

And while we're speaking out, let's not be silent on the Czars issue. I believe that a fifth grader would know that this layer of "officials" is unconstitutional. Why are our senators and representatives sitting on their hands with their mouths silent? Are they not "smarter than a fifth grader"? How and why have they been allowed to be put into position with no questions, no accountability? What has happened to our constitutional system of checks and balances? We cannot allow this to continue. In fact, we must speak up now and put a stop to this before it becomes the new "format" for our government!

So, if you are losing heart that you're not being heard by your Senators or Representatives, write them letters. Email is easy, a phone call is only a little more difficult. But to really get their attention, write a handwritten note simply stating your position or concerns on all these issues. This carries much more weight with them than any other form of contact. In fact, it multiplies the effect of your communication by about 15 times! So, write a hand-written note! Let your "voice" be heard and really count, over and over and over! Don't lower your voice. Don't quit showing up at townhalls and rallies. But do write those notes.... these written questions and concerns are not "shut out" by the "invited" SEIU and ACORN people showing up on buses!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Speed-Read HR3200

I read a good portion of HR3200. I'm an relatively intelligent individual so I understood the words, but not the meanings of most of the words in the way that they were put together. I think that was the intent. It is entirely too complex and intentionally vague. Further, it continually referred back to other legislation that I didn't have on hand to read. (I wonder how long the bill would have been if those sections had been inserted rather than referred to! SHEESH!)

Conservatives, such as myself, are more than appalled that anyone would vote on any legislation that they had not read for themselves. Actually, it's the most asinine thing that a legislator can do. I would be willing to bet that the only sections of this bill or the other iterations of it that these people in the House and Senate are familiar with is the portion that pertains to their particular interests.

When called to account, some of our representatives and senators have said that they had someone else read the bill. Well, I guess that's alright, but I'll bet they didn't understand it either. Lawyers are even having a hard time understanding it. I actually heard a legislator say that they had speed readers read the bill. Take a look at this:

I've taken a speed reading course. There's no way that a significant depth of understanding of the content can be gleaned from reading a bill in this manner prior to voting.

So... if this is the way the speed readers read the bill, then there's no wonder when asked at the townhall meetings the representatives and senators couldn't say what was actually in the bill or what wasn't. In fact, almost without exception, the townhallers had a better understanding than the legislators and could quote section and page numbers in most cases.

As the bill was mentioned, the senators said there was no bill... true, enough because there hasn't be one come together in the senate. But that was a "play dumb" strategy that hasn't proven to bode well for them, because the Senate bill will be based primarily upon the HR3200, unless they completely start from scratch. When questioned on specifics of the HR3200 bill, House members were often clueless... or chose politician-speak (many words that talk around an issue without addressing it), or completely dismissed the question and moved on. It was pretty clear who had cared enough to even glance at the HR3200 bill.

Now as for the legislators actually reading the bill, if speed reading is to be the way these absurdly lengthy and highly incoherent bills are going to be handled for the legislators, I'd like to suggest a comprehension test be given to the speed readers that are on the payrolls of these elected officials. And if they don't understand 90% or better of the content and can't explain it on a junior high school level to the legislator (and that is probably over-rating the intellect of some of them!) , then the legislator should be not be allowed to cast a vote on it. Of course, my preference would be that the legislators would be considerate enough of their constituents to actually read what's in it... not just for the benefit of their states, but to protect their states from portions that might actually be detrimental to their state's interests.

But really! Who in Washington, DC cares about those folks back at home? Really!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Astroturf Movement? I Would Hope So.

Yeah. Astroturf is a term I can embrace as one of those who would be counted among those townhallers who are shouting their discontent with the proposed healthcare reform as outlined in HR 3200 and the runaway spending by the Obama Administration. And here's why.

What happens to grass roots? They produce blades of grass. Someone comes along and cuts them back over and over. They get bruised and weakened when trampled on. They die back during the winter. Astroturf, on the other hand, lasts and lasts and lasts. It doesn't get cut back. It doesn't get bruised when trampled on. It stays strong and effective all year long, year after year.

So, yeah. I'm an astroturfer... and I hope that all those who have attended the townhall meetings to voice their opinions will also embrace the descriptor of astroturf and let that be a reminder to the liberals that we are here to stay!

Go "green" - be an astroturfer!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Obama Has Brought Me Hope and Change.... But Not Change I Can Believe In

Obama proclaimed during his campaign that he was bringing hope and change, change that we can believe in. I thought it was a nice catchy phrase. I prayed about our presidential election and exercised my constitutional right to have my say at the ballot box. Yes, Obama brought me lots of hope and between November 4th and January 20th, I embraced hope like I've never embraced it before.

I hoped that the sinking feeling I got when I first learned about this man and when I saw him as a new US Senator from Illinois would not be confirmed. I hoped that the scepticism that I had about his radical ideas about this country would be tempered by his genuine love of this country and a concern for the American people as a whole, not special interest groups. I hoped that he really would not run the country from the far left, a position that he staunchly adhered to while serving both in the Illinois and the US Senate.

I hoped that he would continue to lead this country in such a way that it would remain the great world entity that it has always been, a beacon on the hill. I hoped that he would put American interests above personal ideology and above the interests of corrupt countries. I had hoped and hoped and hoped. But I certainly should have been alerted that he wasn't really offering hope when early on "hope" took a back seat in his campaign to change. And he did promise change.

Change is surely what we got.... a fundamental change of our American way of life. That's exactly what he promised just four days before the end of the campaign. Well, he has brought change which is reshaping our country into something that is almost unrecognizable. He has brought change that is costing us more than the trillions upon trillions of dollars that he's printing and paying to special interest groups and using to pay for programs that aren't well planned or well executed. He has brought change in our governmental structure and its balance of power. He has brought change in the government making it one that is invasive, if not intrusive. He has brought change of our constitutional interpretations to more socialistic interpretations. He has brought change to every nearly of our lives -- except one.

I speak for myself here. He hasn't brought change to my personal liberties. That is to say, he hasn't brought change to my freedom of thought or my personal spirituality or my relationships. To the things that man cannot alter or take away, he hasn't brought change. The change I look forward to now is in 2010. And that, friends, gives me real hope!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Backlash

In my opinion, the Cash for Clunkers program wasn't a thought-through plan. Not just a "well thought through plan" but a "thought-through" plan. That's evident by the fact that the allotted $1 billion was depleted within four days. It wasn't thought through - again - when the additional $2 billion was added to the program and then had to be ended early because the funds once again ran out. And this was a good program?

In my opinion, I don't believe it was a good plan to get people to participate in "debt spending" to help the economy. And I don't believe that people really took advantage of this program because they wanted more fuel-efficient cars. I really think the draw was that people could some "something for nothing" from the government - if you can call taking some else's tax dollars and putting them in your pocket "something for nothing" - it's tax money, yours and mine, paying for this so it sounds like a form of theft to me. In some cases, they bought their cars 6 months earlier than they usually would for that rebate - good for them, I suppose. And in many cases, people who had no car payment, now have one. So how was this a good idea?

I don't have anything against anyone spending money they have or they can afford, but during this type of economy, is it really wise for any of us to take on more debt? Before long, they'll see their taxes raised, their paychecks getting cut back or completely removed as more companies shorten the work week and more people lose their jobs. So, why was this program such a good idea?

I watched a car dealer tell a reporter that she had sold 1290+ cars under this program to the tune of $5.5 million dollars in rebates. To date, she has been reimbursed for 8 cars. EIGHT! And that's just ONE dealership. Multiply that by the thousands and thousands of dealers across the country. Additionally she said that the trade-ins primarily were US-made automobiles and what they traded for were imports. Hmmm. That doesn't sound good for our US automakers, does it? Tell me again why this was such a good program?

Now, those who were in the market for a car either now or down the road a few months have purchased their cars all in a requisite short time frame. So, when the 2010 models from the US makers hit the lots, where will the buyers be? They'll be making payments on their "Cash for Clunker Cars" imported cars. Once again, tell me why this was such a good program?

When your taxes are increased to pay for this "successful" program, remember your tax dollars have just put new automobiles in your neighbor's driveways. Your tax dollars contributed to their indebtedness. Your tax dollars which could help people who have lost their jobs, had the money been put in unemployment benefits increases, were spent on imported cars which are now running up and down the roads burning fuel produced by unfriendly countries. Please, someone, tell me why was this such a good program?

Changing the Law to Suit King Kennedy

The gall of some people! Senator Ted Kennedy sent a letter of petition to Massachusetts lawmakers for the governor to be empowered to proceed with a replacement for his Senate seat, a replacement of his choice I might add. This would require a change in the Massachusetts law. Change the law of the state of Massachusetts in regard to representation due to a possible inability for a senator to make a vote on healthcare? Handpick your successor for the next few months and delay due process of special election? Give me a break!

Let me see... oh yeah. The law used to say that the governor picked the successor. But when Mitt Romney was governor and John Kerry was running for President, the Democrats didn't want Romney selecting a successor should Kerry win. So they got the law changed. The House minority leader Bradley H. Jones Jr. pointed out that that if Massachusetts had a Republican governor at the moment, he doubts Kennedy would have presented the same letter.

"The hypocrisy is astounding,’’ said Jones. "If this institution supports the change, it is clearly a corrupt institution. It’s not making judgments based on what’s best for the whole Commonwealth, but based on what’s best for one political party.’’ Duh! Ya think?

Jones had been part of the Republican minority in the House in 2004 which sponsored an amendment to allow the governor to make an interim appointment in event of a Senate vacancy. It failed by a 44-to-104 vote. Now, Kennedy is suggesting that they return to allowing the governor to pick the interim appointment until the special election can be held.

I'm sorry for his health condition, but the Lion of the Left knows he's dying, and has for some time. He knows there's no recovery for him, just an extension of time for the inevitable. So, why didn't he resign and let the special election proceed some time ago? In my opinion, the answer centers around this proposed healthcare reform and his desire to champion it through his protege' Obama.

So, NO, Mr. Kennedy. Either take a chance it will be one of your good days should the vote come up before you pass on, or resign your position right now and let the people select your replacement immediately, but don't re-write the law of Massachusetts to suit your own personal preferences! Bad idea and really bad precedence!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Handwriting on the Wall!

Okay, so the naysayers will soon have the chance to eat their words. Remember when the present administration in Washington decided to "buy into" AIG, GM, Chrysler, and the Banks. Remember when they began bypassing boards of directors and removing CEOs and putting in their own choices? Remember when salaries and bonuses of these and other CEOs was set by the government? Remember when some of these businesses were told to buyout another company at certain prices? Remember when there was a swell of outcry about government meddling beyond the point they should in the operational issues of these companies? Remember?

How unfortunate that this administration is so very good at distraction! They have a well-planned agenda -- of agendas, if you will. The main agenda is to leave no stone unturned in regard to the American way of life at was before January 2009. So, the only way to make sure that they can turn all the stones over is to distract any who would object to one particular stone being turned by turning over two or more at the same time. They have picked their agendas, their stones with care, and have an effective strategy to accomplish this. If the outcry gets loud on this one stone, then move to another which will cause a louder outcry to distract from the first while you continue overturning it. And it's working! God help us, it's working.

Representative Henry Waxman has now sent out a strongly worded letter to the largest insurance carriers in the country demanding that they give finite details of their operations by September 4. All of the information regarding profits, taxes, and government compliances is public record, but that's not what he wants. He wants to know the details of their business plans, who their competition is, their customers, their advertising strategies, and more. Now, I believe the reason for this is one of two things. First, it could be just that he expects the government to be in charge of all insurance coverage with this healthcare reform and he just wants to get a jump on things. Or, he's planning to use this information to promote the differences between a government insurance coverage versus private insurers. Yeah, right!

I dare to imagine that it's perhaps to get some information with which he can vilify insurance companies since the mantra of the liberals is now "Insurance Reform" instead of "Healthcare Reform". But what is more frightening to me is that this man has subpoena power that he can use to intimidate these companies. That's an abuse of power at an elemental level. There isn't another logical reason that I can concoct for his actions and he, of course, hasn't explained his rationale. No surprise!

And we thought (and were assured) that the government was not interested in becoming involved with any businesses which did not take TARP money. Sure, sure they're not! Until they have upturned every aspect of private anything in this country they will not stop. So I ask: is there a liberal out there, more specifically, is there a politician out there that will every tell a complete truth? I believe the answer is a resounding "no!" Is there hope that some common sense will be restored to this country? I certainly pray so!

Cash for Clunkers - Are the Car Dealers Getting Clunked?

Hmmm. The Obama administration is claiming huge success with the Cash for Clunkers program. Well, it seemed a success, but the backwash is going to be extreme. Has this program been a cardboard cake form with thick sugary frosting on top? Apparently some dealerships are thinking so and are pulling out of the program. Why? Because they sold thousands of cars with a rebate of $3500 to $4500 per car from their lots but have received only 2% of $3 million dollar funding. So, can you blame them for pulling out now?

First, the government has placed a heavy shadow on these dealerships (the shadow of being closed down by the government, not based upon profitability but on ambiguity which some say is based upon political positions and favors).

Second, these dealerships have had a lot of their money tied up in loans for their business infrastructure as well as for their inventories for quite a while. Now, they're supporting the government's Cash for Clunkers Program by "loaning" the government these enormous amounts of money with no interest for an indefinite amount of time. (The agreement originally said there would be a maximum of 10-day wait for the reimbursement.)

So, it's easy to understand that these dealerships which had been allowed to continue their automotive business after the first White House "whack-down", signed up in the first place -- perhaps for fear of reprisal if they didn't. However, they're now paying interest on money that was passed on to these "clunker" customers and the White House isn't following through on their end of the deal. I'm sure they're wondering which situation is worse, going out of business because the Great and Mighty White House can arbitrarily shut them down, or having the banks foreclose on their business because they sold too many cars under the government's program for which they have not been reimbursed. I'm sure some of them dealers are finding it very difficult to make their mortgage and loan payments while they wait on the government to reimburse them. They're being screwed. How sad!

The White House says that the problem came about because the program was more successful than they'd anticipated. That's no excuse. No program should be implemented until it is thought through, and certainly given much more thought than this one was. That is not to say there won't be a few glitches because a new program always has some issues. However, in my opinion, this was a huge - and I mean huge! - miscalculation with no alternate recourse to be made available.

Okay, here's what a lot of folks are saying now after this fiasco: If the government can't run a simple program - and it is simple; customers trade an old car for a new one, the dealer files a claim online, and is supposed to get the rebate back in 10 days for the money that he's already passed on to the customer - then how in the world can we trust the government to handle more complex medical issues? They can't, primarily because they have no clue about the nuances of medical care. They don't have a clue about running a successful, profitable business. (This is not to say that they don't know how to get their hands on money and lots of it.... just ask Axelrod!)

Americans have to wake up from their fairytale dream and realize that the present administration is not their friend. It is not in power to benefit anyone other than those within the administration. And it's their intent, proven by their efforts to take over and destroy every part of American life, to gain as much power as they possibly can which will bring them great wealth at the expense of all the rest of us. When the majority of the people are against something proposed by the Administration, that should tell them something. But not this administration. Not this Congress. They are pushing through with each one of their agendas at the peril of destruction to this nation. Obama is not Prince Charming and this story cannot have a "live happily everafter" ending. That is, unless we as a nation step forward and begin right now to rewrite the story and its ending!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lockerbie PanAm Bomber

Here's one that I'm having a bit of an internal discussion about: Why would you want to let someone out of prison who was given life in prison without parole but has become terminally ill - why would you let them out so they can have a little freedom before they die? After all, wasn't the sentence was for them to remain in prison until they were dead? How can this be cruel and unusual punishment, especially if they are being given proper treatment for their illness and the drugs necessary to make that individual as comfortable as possible during their remaining days. So, again, why would anyone want to commute the sentence?

I knew of a man who was terminally ill with prostate cancer. This person wasn't what you would call the most evil among people. But in the last years of his life, he was mean, if not somewhat evil. He was given six months to live once diagnosed. During those remaining months, that individual was as hateful as any person could be, behaving as abhorrently as he did when he was healthy. Faced with the inevitable end of his life he didn't even try to make amends for any of his previous wrong-doings. So, what is to keep the Lockerbie PanAm bomber from completing some other horrendous acts during his remaining time? Nothing. Nothing that is until he's actually dead from the disease.

The Lockerbie PanAm bomber now has the opportunity to use his remaining time to spew hatred among his kindred and friends, recruit others to his cause, and even commit despicable acts if he wants. So, no. He shouldn't be allowed to be free. I only hope that these speculations do not come true, because I would hate to think that Scotland would be to blame for any more death and destruction caused by this one individual and those he was given the opportunity to influence.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Public Option" by Any Other Name...

I think this has to be a first for the US... this taking all the campaign promises a candidate made, removing the flowery phrases from them, and then ramming them through as legislation basically all at one time in rapid fire, no-discussion, "right now" time frame. These are very radical pieces of legislation which remove from us some of the most basic freedoms and at the same time heaps upon us the largest and irrecoverable indebtedness in our nation's history. It's no wonder that conservatives are up in arms... and very rightfully so.

Conservatives did get to celebrate a very, very short-lived "mini-victory" on the healthcare issue when they heard Kathleen Sebelius recently say that the public option in the national healthcare plan was not a "make or break" part of the plan, and when Obama himself said on Saturday that it was only "one sliver" of the overall plan, a direct about-face from their earlier statements. But we have to hold our horses. It's really not time to celebrate. Ms. Sebelius' recantation of her Sunday statements on Tuesday morning should stoke the embers of conservatives' outrage into full flames again. (Guess she got called on the carpet!) Listen up! Pay attention to these senators and representatives. Watch what they're saying and how they say it. If they get into their "congress-speak", then you know they're not listening to any opposing viewpoints. They're entrenched in their party loyalty and commitment to an ultra-liberal platform.

Do not be fooled. The healthcare public option is still very much alive and it is the intent of these liberal legislators to include this proviso whenever they vote on the final bill (presently scheduled for this fall). Whether or not they will have the gall to push it through "in the dark of night" as with other major legislation passed this year remains to be seen. Their intent is for government to be in control of every sector of American life. So, if they do vote in this healthcare control in the dark of night, or cloak it with the veil of "cooperatives", I sincerely hope and pray that every single one of them will pay with their seats when the time comes for re-election, regardless of their "esteem" or tenure, or political party.

In regard to the townhalls, what I'm also noticing is that these townhalls haven't changed the minds of any of these legislators yet. I'm not saying that some minds haven't been changed - those would be the minds of some in the general public. I believe the first few townhalls caused some who have been less involved in the democratic process to take a look at what this legislation really means and to become involved themselves and be heard. That is evidenced, I believe, by the mixture of the newer crowds which include old, young, middle-aged, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

The White House sure took notice. They know the truth, that this is the type of public outcry that can catch fire. That's why they've called out their "pitbulls" ACORN and SEIU to attend meetings in townhalls that are not in their own districts and to drown out, if not stamp out the effort. And it's been documented now that this is the "organized/busload" faction at these townhalls.

Senator Claire McCaskill of MO was the first Democrat to recognize these those attending the early townhalls as real people, not just an organized mob or some conspiracy. I watched part of her townhall meeting the other day. She said she couldn't understand why people were trying to all speak at the same time (and loudly) and called them rude. What she failed to understand is that these people have finally been given a voice. They've been silenced a long time and they feel desperate at this point. These townhalls offer them a limited time and place to speak up and ask their questions or present their concerns. Her real problem is that while she recognizes them as real people, she isn't listening to them with an open mind - because hers is closed to their complaints. To her they are of no value.

Multiply that by scores and scores of others behind this healthcare plan. Like her, other legislators are deceiving themselves that these townhall protestors are not really representative of America. They're dismissing these constituents who are speaking against what this administration is doing as as a few malcontents venting frustration, and some legislators are avoiding their constituents altogether. If they're not going to represent their constituency instead of their own interests, they truly need to go!

In regards to the healthcare proponent's newest mantra, "cooperatives", let me state my skepticism here about cooperatives. Be aware -- be very aware of wolves in sheep's clothing - or in this case, be wary of "Public Option" by another name. I do not believe that a government-backed cooperative plan for healthcare, which is similar to Medicare, is any better than a completely government-run public option. (We know what condition that Medicare and Medicaid are in, right?)

Here's why it's not better. Not long ago, by infusing funds, some bank and corporate butts were pulled from the proverbial fire. The result was that in those cases there was a government takeover of the financial and corporate entities which included a bypassing of the governing bodies of those entities - their own boards of directors - and included the daily oversight by the government in all aspects of their business including dictating what products would be produced and what salaries could be paid by these companies and who could head the organization. I don't believe Americans want the government telling any of us what care we can or cannot have access to, which is what the government will do if they're involved in a national healthcare cooperative.

Anyone who has any concern about government meddling in our private business had better sit up and take notice and not accept at face value these statements that the government will not be directing how these cooperatives are run and what policies and coverages will be made available. Government, especially this administration, cannot be allowed any further intrusion into our private business.

I am so thankful that we have been given the time for people to read this proposed plan as it is laid out in HR 3200. It is extraordinarily amazing to me how many Congressional members voted on the last few pieces of legislation like TARP 1 and 2, the Stimulus Package, and now HR 3200 without reading it or understanding the breadth and scope of its reach into private life of Americans. But now the general public is reading the bill, listening to the lies and distortions of what will and what won't be in the final bill, and has begun to express legitimate concerns about this particular legislation. But even more importantly, they're also making sure they're being heard on the other issues of concern like the monstrous debt that this administration has perpetrated on this and the next two generations through previously rushed and passed legislation.

What is so mind-boggling is that all the campaign promises to "fundamentally change this country", sans the flowery, feel-good phrases, is being accomplished in such short order. The tactical strategies of this administration have been to overwhelm and ultimately destroy the checks and balances within the system with an all-out push to get everything through while the country is enamored of the new administration during the honeymoon period. Thus far, they've succeeded. However, those of us who are concerned have been allowed a window of opportunity to be heard and to stop this run-away train. Hopefully, the country has regained its 20-20 sight instead of its post-election starry-eyed, enamored gaze, and now can see what is coming at them and will take action immediately to recapture and re-establish the greatness of America that has been the envy of the world. This may be the only opportunity we have to save our country from destruction - now that the honeymoon is over!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hey, Here Are Some Ideas on Medical Care!

A couple weeks ago, I was watching a panel of med students on TV discussing the Obamacare issues. They were asked questions by the moderator about their studies and fields they were pursuing. Interestingly they had genuine concerns about how it was going to affect them when they begin their careers and practices. Incidentally, one female student identified herself as a recipient of "full-ride" financial assistance from the government to specifically to study family medicine. Others on the panel were going into fields like oncology, research, etc.

This prompted me to begin thinking. I'm no expert by any means on this extremely complex topic, so I know I'm speaking way out of my knowledge base, but perhaps there's some sense to be found in my thoughts.

First of all, we have to.... let me restate that.... we have to get tort reform into the final bill.

Second, Obama is a "gung-ho" proponent of volunteerism and community involvement. Take that and combine it with the government incentive for medical students to study and pursue careers in family medicine this way. Let's say that Obamacare required that these medical students who were "on the dole" for their family medicine education to link up with hospitals where they would work off their education indebtedness as a hospital's in-house family practice and take the hospital's emergency room's off-the-street cases which aren't true emergencies. These hospitals could be given a tax credit for establishing and running these family practices to offset expenses.

The hospitals would pay these young family practice doctors a salary, of course, but I would imagine that it would be far less than the expense of utilizing the entire emergency staff and facilities for simple sutures and runny-nose and coughs type cases, and so. (Clearly, there are many implications that I'm not taking into consideration here, such as overall cost to run the emergency room or to develop a side family practice business.)

And then let's take it a little farther to benefit the entire community. Let's make the hospital emergency rooms real emergency rooms or trauma centers. Again, it seems to me that the newly minted trauma centers should make a lot more money without having the uninsured using their facilities for minor maladies - perhaps even more than enough to offset the cost of these new family practitioners. Of course, I'm not a hospital administrator, so I can't determine that; but logically, it sounds feasible. (And in my own defense, I think this is as thought-through as much of the HR3200 has been.)

I can't help but feel that this makes a whole lot more sense than trying to insure illegals or dismantling an entire healthcare system that for millions upon millions is working. In fact, it seems that this type of plan I have started describing here would be a whole lot easier to oversee than that which has been outlined in the HR32oo healthcare bill. It certainly wouldn't take all the bureaucracy that is outlined in this bill to implement because it could be overseen at the local level primarily with a "dotted line" to DHS in Washington.

If we took this healthcare thing and implemented it a step at a time rather trying to implement it as a whole, by the time Obama leaves office, we could have an excellent health program that benefits every American citizen. And, it certainly would also keep the government involvement out of private doctor-patient relationships.

Again, we need to stop frivolous and irrational lawsuits against doctors. This would bring down cost of malpractice insurance for the doctors and they could pass on the savings to the patients who would have more to buy insurance with.

High drug prices have also driven up the patients' insurance costs. So, Step Two is to get all drug costs under control. Again, by eliminating frivolous law suits against drug companies, costs can be dramatically reduced and should be passed on to the consumer. Research for drug companies is expensive, for sure. But what I am opposed to is their very lengthy patents. My opinion on this is not just for a research cost recovery that these patents are so long. I believe these drug companies charge extremely high prices for many, many years on these patented medicines to drive up their company's profits unfairly.

I've also struggled with pharmaceutical advertising to the public, primarily because I think I'm among the few who actually read the fine print at the bottom of the TV screen, or listen to the fast talker at the end of the commercial describing the horrific side effects that are scarier than the diseases! I think it might be best if they spent their advertising dollars to educate the physicians and prescribers on the new drugs so they're up to speed on the latest medicines and let the medical professionals who know their patients and who could benefit from the newer drugs make the appropriate recommendation to the patients.

With drug prices so high, those people without drug coverage or who have high deductibles and/or co-pays will opt to not pay for these drugs. What they need is alternatives to the high-priced namebrands to be made available much sooner. If they don't want to relinquish the patent completely because they would lose all the profit in those final years of the patent life, why can't the drug companies do generic production at the same time and when they reach the "breakeven point" take advantage of both tiers of the market. At the end of the patent years, they could continue their own generic production or sell off that portion of the business.

So, drug cost is the second thing that needs to be addressed.

Third thing, is insurance coverage, I don't think that there should be such a difference in premiums cost between those in a large group of people and an individual seeking coverage. Once you get the cost of doctors' care and drugs within reason, you could have levels of insurance coverage that can be made available to everyone at affordable cost. I think group insurance was probably used as an incentive to get big businesses on board to sell more policies at one time. However, businesses have been cutting way back on these kind of benefits once used to lure people into employment because of the pressure on their own bottom lines.

I'm saying that all people should be able to pay a reasonable price for basic insurance coverage for basic medical needs. Our car insurance policies and most life insurance policies aren't tied to employment. So, if the cost of doctors' care, and drugs costs come into a more sensible balance with actual costs, then perhaps insurance coverage should be "untied" to employment and group policy price structuring, meaning those who are employed or unemployed have the same access to the same coverage at the same rates.

Medical costs must come down... and they can if some of the steps discussed previously are implemented. Insurance companies could still offer their "cadillac" version for those who can afford it and who want it. They could also offer a mid-level option to the general masses. If offered through employers, the patient pays a percentage and the employer pays a percentage according to their agreements. (I believe that this is where most policy holders fall anyway.) And finally, they could offer a restructured catastrophic care coverage that would help keep people from being totally devastated. So, if healthcare costs are brought down because of changes in litigation laws, patent laws, and advertising costs, then more people who wouldn't have previously had insurance will more likely be able to afford insurance or pay for basic healthcare.

I don't personally know anyone who has not been able to get any health insurance coverage because of a previous or existing condition. I'm sure there are plenty. Regardless of any previous conditions, basic wellness checkups and preventative care should be covered regardless because illnesses caught early are less expensive to treat. A person who has had a devastating illness with no recurrence or symptoms within five years should be able to once again have full coverage. Pre-existing conditions should not be an automatic uninsurability either.

I don't know anyone with a pre-existing condition and I haven't studied up on this issue, but surely there is a way to offset the costs of care for the individual. These people have other medical care needs that may not have any correlation to their particular pre-existing condition. They still need wellness care coverage and general medical care that they could be covered on. There could have a disclaimer paragraph inserted into "special situation" policies for those with pre-existing conditions which is much easier to do than it is to write a whole new healthcare bill! In order to cover everyone, it makes sense to me that with the absence of frivolous lawsuits, without exorbitant profit-making, insurance companies should be able issue policies that everyone could afford. And just how few words that would take.... not 1000+ pages!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself - NOT!

Things are so convoluted in our government these days that a lot of people are feeling a sense of hopelessness, of being pushed back into a corner. So it's no wonder they're coming out swinging. It doesn't matter how much the administration and its mouthpieces, those "windup" spokespersons on camera in front of the White House, including paid commentators, spin their rhetoric about these uprisings and call these highly concerned citizens crazy, dangerous, organized mobs, etc. The fact is that these citizens are genuinely concerned about the direction in which this country is being taken. And it has not just been conservatives or Republican voters who are attending these townhalls and questioning the policies being put forth right now. The polls that came out today all are reflecting this same truth. People are sick and tired of being sold a bill of goods and told out and out lies. They are no longer willing to sit back quietly and just let it happen! More power to them!

My hope is that these national polls that were released today will be an encouragement to those who were feeling hopeless. Those "well-dressed" people (who can't possibly be "normal" citizens) at the townhalls are demanding that this madness stop! Their determination is beginning to make the far left nervous because these "rowdy" people are beginning to ask direct and pointed questions and demanding answers. They're beginning to hold the far left accountable for the lies they've been telling, and accountable for the piece-by-piece dismantling of this country. Since it is affecting "the powers that be", I hope that these folks really do recognize that their willingness to get out and stand up in those meetings and speak (at whatever volume it takes to be heard) is paying off and will convince them they are making a difference.

There's a term that's being bandied about strongly right now, primarily coming from the White House. That term is "fear". Those who are attending the townhalls are being described as an organized group of people motivated by fear mongering initiated by Republican leaders. That's not true. Rather, I believe there is extreme concern about how quickly and at what depth this administration is taking us away from the country America used to be. Perhaps there is a fear that if they don't act now, this country and the American way of life as it has been know and which has been the envy of the world will be lost forever. But I think that it's a healthy fear. It's the fear when one's survival hangs in the balance. It's the fear that you experience when your family is in danger. And let it be known these townhalls are not just about healthcare and end of life issues. They're about everything that this administration is doing that is destroying this country.

Let's look at where this fear thing all started. It started last fall when Bush started the banking bailout with TARP #1..... birthing fear of financial collapse if we didn't act now and act BIG. Nevermind that no one read the bill. That fear was perpetrated and even enhanced when Obama took office. We had to get the Stimulus Package passed now, don't take time to read the enormous bill, just pass the darn thing right now or the world would end immediately. (I'm still waiting for any news organization to report on the actual shovel-ready jobs that this was supposed to pay for.) And the jobless rate which was supposed to be curbed by this bill has continued to skyrocket dramatically since then. Many more families are in now in real financial jeopardy. Those who've lost jobs are fearful of not being able to get a new one because not only are there more people per job vacancy, there are far less vacancies because many businesses have gone under or have drastically scaled back. Those who still have their jobs are fearful they won't be able to keep it until we get out of this mess.

Well, they aren't alone. There is another fearful group of people. However, this group consists of those few legislators who are holding these townhall meetings as well as those who are too afraid to get in front of their constituents and answer questions as to why they aren't reading what they're voting for before they vote, why they aren't paying attention to their calls and emails, why they aren't being represented in Washington. These politicians don't know how to handle a crowd that's in their face! As a result of their own fear, they're now going to require things like photo IDs and even personal invitations before a person can enter a townhall meeting. Some have even concocted a shell game of posting locations for meetings and changing it at the last minute to do "damage control". What is profoundly interesting is that some of these are the same individuals who voted against requiring photo IDs to vote. Now, does that make sense? The pat answer to this would be that there are two sets of rules, one for the liberal side and one for the conservative side.

I've noticed something about these concerned citizens who are upset about the healthcare plan, the bailouts, the Stimulus Plan, corporate takeovers, and all the czars -- the more they're willing to bow their backs, the more it's confounding those in Washington. They don't know how to handle this. Liberals are the ones that usually behave this way - though perhaps it's not so much out of concern on the issues as it is a disruption of the meeting. So, that's why these fearful politicians and their followers are convinced this is an organized effort to get the "messenger" off topic. But I pray that this movement continues and grows exponentially. I want to see US citizens who are genuinely concerned for this country to fight for it. It's our country - if we take it back, that is!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Devaluing the Devalued Dollar

While we're being distracted by the hugely important issue of healthcare reform, and the raucous townhall meetings, the present administration is taking yet another gigantic leap in weakening the US on a different front. This time it's our dollar - again! And they're doing it on the sly. Here's what has happened last week while we focused on the townhall meetings:

Isn't that scary? And sneaky?

I wonder... what happened to the promised transparency? I haven't seen a single instance of it in this new administration, not one instance.

I must say I believe that the simultaneous bombardment on many fronts that is being perpetuated by the present administration has been strategically designed to push through changes which are intended to bring down this great country. But why?

Why would anyone who proclaims to be an American and who says they love this country want to see it brought to its knees? It's not just one man's insanity or evil as it was with Hitler or Stalin. It's one "front" man who is backed by liberal legislators, championed by the liberal media, surrounded by left-wing activists, leftist extremists, and out-and-out criminals (these people are called czars, now).

If this great country falls, it's not to the benefit of anyone... not to anyone on the right or on the left. So other than having the "power" of being able to interject their liberal philosophies into our government as a replacement of our Constitution, I cannot see any advantage to any of these who are doggedly perpetuating this national sell-out.

I can only pray that this country can hold on without permanent damage until those who seek her destruction are removed from office and positions of power and those who love the country and want to restore her to greatness can be found and put into office in place.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What About All This Health Care "Chatter"

I've been watching the reporting on several media outlets on these townhall meetings. The reporting appears, of course, to be a bit slanted depending upon which media outlet you pay attention to. So, rather than give comment on either of the various reports, I'll speak of what I saw and what I think about what I saw.

Time was that the townhall was used as a place where the people had a chance to tell their representatives what was on their minds and to ask for clarification on issues being discussed in the US Congress and get straight answers! But more recently, townhalls have become successful stumping grounds for political candidates in putting forth their political agendas prior to election. Thus, because that was so successful, townhalls have become a place where the well-entrenched politicians can come and tell us what they're doing and spin their actions such as to either confound their constituents further or to make "an appearance" of being a real representative for what is best for their constituents.

These more recent healthcare townhall meetings started with Arlen Specter and Kathleen Sebilius.... the first thing I noticed was that what came out of Specter's mouth was the excuse about not having time to read bills due to the rush put on them to pass the legislation, and then the same old rhetoric that has been spouted by healthcare proponents in the halls of Congress in Washington DC. At that point it became very clear that he and Kathleen were going to present the same old "blah-blah-blah" that had been spouted by all the healthcare reform supporters, and that's when those in attendance who are fed up with the same ol', same ol' began forcefully speaking out.

Yes, it was loud... and why? Because Specter and Sebilius had the microphones and they didn't, and they were determined to make their points. They saw that these two people came to present the same old propaganda with which they disagreed, and that these two standing in the front of the room really had no true answers to the legitimate questions the people had. So, their hopes of hearing something different, something to which they could ascribe, were dashed immediately and the result was that their frustration quickly grew.

I don't blame them. I've sent messages to my senators and representative and all I get for my effort is a thank you for contacting us form letter. There is no genuine statements of concern or that they were affected by my or anyone else's misgivings, nor did they give direct answers to my questions. So, if we call, email, or write letters and receive no real acknowledgement, is there any wonder that we're frustrated to the point of "getting in their face" just to be heard?

Today, I watched another of Arlen Specter's townhall meetings. Approximately 200 people or so were allowed into the hall and of those only 30 were allowed to draw numbers to ask questions. I applaud his attempt to control his meeting, but actually I found myself watching political "dodge ball" in some of the exchanges, meaning that I heard some pat "political non-answer answers" to a few of the questions to which he knew he'd get the most pushback or those he didn't want to directly box himself in on. I did hear a few promises made to not vote for certain provisions which were of concern to the audience members. Whether he keeps those promises is yet to be seen. After all, he abandoned those who put him in office, didn't he? All in all, it was a fairly respectful exchange with some passionate and pointed statements and questions. But I was still left with the feeling that Arlen Specter wasn't changed in his position by the concern and types of questions he was being asked. Rather, I feel that he was just relieved that he made it through this townhall meeting in one piece!

I feel it is really important to state that in the first townhall, I noticed the absence of what appeared to be an organized demonstration. I saw no pre-printed placards, I saw no group T-shirts. The only "union" I saw was when someone made a point that was shared by others in the audience, they stood up and applauded. For the most part they remained in their seats and a few stood to make their point before sitting down again. In the second one, I noticed the presence of law enforcement.... still no printed placards, no group T-shirts... no angry fists pumping in the air... just really concerned citizens. (But that's not what the far left and liberal media is claiming happens at these meetings.) Rather than troublemakers, I saw people who looked to be uber-mainstream... though somewhat older than those you normally see in a rowdy demonstration. No one advanced on the podium, no one shook angry fists in the speakers face, though there was some pointed fingers driving home their points. They were determined that this meeting was was not going to be a "just sit there and listen while I tell you what it is that's best for you," but the people in the smaller second townhall audience were more respectful and thanked him for showing up.

The atmosphere in these townhalls was charged no doubt, but they certainly weren't threatening. If the senators and representatives and cabinet members felt threatened, it must have come from within, knowing that what they were trying to sell wasn't a "genuine" product. And it wasn't until the White House called for their "paid grass roots" people - who are stupid enough to wear identification in the form of apparel and pre-printed placards - to attend and make their presence known - and were given preferential seating in the halls so as to present a more favorable appearance to the media - did there appear anything resembling violence. That's how they've been trained in these community organization camps - to disrupt through civil disobedience if necessary which means they can be violent, they can smack people around, they can shove and push, injure, and intimidate, etc. They better watch out, though. I've heard that little old grannies and old vets can be forces to be reckoned with!

I'm now watching Obama's townhall meeting and listening to him restate himself on some things he already said he wanted his healthcare plan to do. Standing behind him on stage are about a hundred obvious Obama supporters. The first several rows in the audience appear to be more of the same. Certain people are being selected from the audience to give their questions. In spite of the insistence that this isn't staged, it has all the appearances of an orchestrated townhall where he can relive his campaign glory days in a loving atmosphere and regurgitate his "charming" rhetoric to the viewing audience in an attempt to reset the tone and regain support for his healthcare/insurance plan.

I'm not the only one who's noticed a change in some of the terms he's using now. I'm not sure if it's due to the pressure he's feeling from some of these outspoken townhall attendees.... or a just reaction to the polls that are moving more and more to the negative. In an effort to win back those who have grievances against the original plan as published by the House of Representatives in their bill HR3200, Obama is now shifting from calling it "healthcare reform" to "insurance" reform.... just like he did when he changed the term the "stimulus" to "recovery". And why was that? Because the effects of the "stimulus" have not been evident. Recovery is a prolonged and less quantifiable term.

So far, the House and Senate leaders are sticking to their guns, though, and calling it healthcare reform. Some of these terms and other "volatile" terms continue to come out of the mouths of the House leadership. They're not following Obama's precedence. Perhaps Obama's Communications Director (or Czar or whatever) needs to communicate with the Senate and the House of Representatives about what the "term of du jour" is because they aren't saying the same things...

And it also appears that no one in Washington has actually read HR3200, or if they have, they don't know what actually is or isn't in it. You can tell that by the blank stares or excuses they're getting when asked about specific passages in the bill. Even Obama doesn't know what's in it and has said as much. No one has been able to answer what the actual cost of this legislation will be and where the funds to pay for it will come from. In fact, they want to pass it way before they know this information. That seems an asinine move. Would you commit to making a major purchase without knowing the cost and how you're going to pay for it? So I ask, are we surprised that we are somewhat confused about what is contained in this bill, what effect this healthcare/insurance plan will have on us, and what it's going to cost us not only in the immediate but down the road???

Regardless of what this piece of legislation is called it doesn't change the content of the bill and the things are that the townhallers are incensed about. I can't help but wonder. The majority of the people do not want this particular bill in either version. What they do want is tort reform, changes in insurance companies' control over cost and coverage, and they want affordable insurance premiums and healthcare. Why then are these congressmen embracing all these other things that are in this bill? Well, the answer is that's Washington. Slip whatever you can in under the radar so that you get what you've been paid for or repay those to whom you owe favors. I heard a report that pharmaceutical companies struck a deal with the White House within the last few days. Hmmm. There's only one answer for that I can think of.... lobbyi$t$!! What do you think?

I can only assume that Congress really doesn't care about how it affects everyone else because it doesn't touch them in a personal way. Well, hopefully those things are being watched more closely by the citizenry from now on, and those in the Senate and House will be held more accountable after this. Not only do we need to keep pressuring our representatives with questions for clarity on the healthcare issues, but we need to hold them accountable for all the promises they have made in their campaigns and in these townhall meetings.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

America Has a Long-Term Memory Problem

In regard to making a change in the politics of our country, there is something that bugs me about Americans. And that is they like to whine about situations... nothing more, just whine! Whichever party is in power, everything is their fault.

But what that really bugs me is that people have such short memories when it comes to following up at election time. Oh, they get upset or angry in the moment and threaten to make a difference when the time comes to "vote the bums out" -- but do they follow through with their threats? Never! Rather, they get wrapped up emotionally in the most current issue(s) of the moment when making their decisions, forgetting that these issues which have been brought to the forefront at that particular moment are only a portion of the greater problem. And most often, it's the same issues that have been with us since the early days of our country.

Why do we not follow through? Is it because we're a "forgiving" nation? I'm all for being forgiving, but I personally adhere to the saying, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." So, I forgive.... but I don't forget. Or, could it be that we just expect people in Congress to change? Perhaps it's both. Will people actually change? Well, no they won't. They adjust or re-adjust, but they don't change. And if they're left alone out of the spotlight, so to speak, and are shielded for a while from the pressures that predicated the adjustments, they regress. So, since this is the pattern of human nature, we need to become mindful that making a difference in our politics requires being determined to follow through when the time comes to exercise our only avenue for change. Let's not be hoodwinked by sweet, but empty promises, a winning smile, or eloquent speeches.

Soon, some of us will have an opportunity to have our say when we cast ballots next year in local elections. It will be a time for actions to line up with words. It will be a time to be heard. It will be a chance to create a real change for this nation. That is, if we will remember to follow through.

If we cannot get a law through to limit terms for our elected officials, our votes can limit them. Vote those out of office who are not listening to the wishes of the people they represent. Vote those out of office who sell their votes to gain favors for their own benefit. Vote those out of office who vote along party lines because of a party label only. To make the difference, to get the kind of change we really want in our country, we must begin requiring our senators and congressmen to actually represent us and our best interests and not special interests of a small group of people or organizations or face us at the ballot box.

So, put up or shut up! When the time comes to make your voice heard, don't let the issues of the moment cause you to whine and complain and forget what it is you must do to begin to change the situation we are finding our country is in. Don't vote based on personality or looks, or God forbid--- just because of a political party label....follow through and vote the bums out!

Loud-Mouth Liberals and Screaming Conservatives

I've never really thought I'd become a blogger, but as I sit here day in and day out feeling that my voice has become so weak and low that no one can hear me, and believing I have something valid to say, I decided that perhaps a blog was a good way to communicate even if with an unseen world who may or may not care. That is of unimportance to me. What is important is that I interject into the tangible what is intangible -- my thoughts, those things which left unsaid seem to bounce around in my mind doing their best to get out and be expressed. So it is mostly for my own benefit that I'm allowing these thoughts an avenue of escape in order that new thoughts have room to enter and to develop.

So, here goes.

I listen to the media and here's what I'm hearing. One side with "rehearsed" rhetoric about what they are wanting to achieve while their window of opportunity is open. The other side is crying out to be recognized as an alternative to the other side, but they don't speak with a single voice or express a unified idea. Both sides have become so vocal, that no one is listening. While I have a particular opinion of which side I believe is right, that's not what I want to address here. What I am most concerned about is the viciousness that I'm seeing, where the game rules of one side, when adopted by the other, are denounced as foul. That's hardly the way our country is supposed to be run. Each side is supposed to have a fair and equal say. It is up to us as intelligent individuals to make our own decision as to which view we agree with.

Now, here's where I'll reveal more about which side I'm on. I'm on the side of reason, the side of what is right and fair, the side that gives the best solution to the masses - and not just for what benefits a few or certain groups based on a few people's ideology. I'm on the side that does not seek power to force their own agenda on the people. I'm on the side that believes that every person should be heard. I'm on the side that believes that there is a higher power that ordained this country to be great as long as it held to its foundational principals.

So, there. Where on the political scale do I fall? You figure it out.

I'm tired of professional politicians. I'm tired of liars, of no one caring enough or having enough fortitude to speak the truth or act truthfully and honestly in their business dealings or in their representation of their constituents. I think politicians have forgotten that they were given an assignment to represent their constituents. Somehow, they have decided that they know more than the folks back home and are self-proclaimed "governors" of the people... and not just those from their respective states. I'm tired of the endless depth of corruption in our political leaders and our business leadership. I believe that politicians should have term limits. I also believe that corporate executives should be compensated fairly based upon their responsibilities and experience and their bonuses should be tied directly to their company's performance.

I am not registered with any political party. I have voted for both Republican and Democrat, depending upon how I felt about the candidates ability to lead this country in the way our founding fathers intended. Oftentimes, though, it's been to select a lesser of two evils. There have been times when I wish I didn't have to vote. Yes, I said "have to". I believe that if I stop voting and you stop voting then there won't be an election, but a proclamation.... Welcome to dictatorship.

But I cannot accept that. I hope you cannot accept that. I hope that you are intelligent enough to not have someone else do your thinking for you. I hope that you won't let someone put words in your mouth or thoughts in your head because you're too lazy to become informed and speak your own thoughts.

As long as we have the right to voice our own opinion, we should exercise that right - and often. What is so sad is that I can see that right becoming more restricted, and that is scary. That must not happen! If you truly have something to say, then speak up. Speak with your own words, not the "rehearsed words" of "your" party. Speak what you believe in your own heart. Say it with honest conviction and not utter repetitive rhetoric you've heard before. But most importantly, let us listen to each other and be respectful of each other as we participate in an honorable conversation.

Until the next time I need to unload my thoughts.....