October 24, 2009

Tea Party Boot Camp (Fresno) photos

Opie has a pretty darned good post about the Boot Camp HERE

I'm just gonna post a few pics from this impressive gathering of Patriots.

These folks were not shy about loudly voicing their
salty advice whenever the names Reid, Pelosi,
Schwarzenegger or Obama were mentioned.

The organizers made a real effort to remind us all
that we were in Fresno. This guy was one of the
most enthusiastic cheerleaders for political action.

Opie shocked organizers by leading the entire throng
in an impromptu and spirited rendition of
George M. Cohan's Yankee Doodle Boy.

Opie cornered Congressman Tom McClintock and
demanded his promise to stand firm against Cap 'n Trade.

Opie offers to purchase a FREEDOM T-shirt
for a bewildered homeless man. He finally
settled for two dollars and a bag of Cheetos.

Reform Socialism

“There would be meat stored in great piles in rooms; and the water from leaky roofs would drip over it, and thousands of rats would race about on it. It was too dark in these storage places to see well, but a man could run his hand over these piles of meat and sweep off handfuls of the dried dung of rats. These rats were nuisances, and the packers would put poisoned bread out for them; they would die, and then the rats, bread and meat would go into the hoppers together”.

From “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair (1906)

We've come a long way from the conditions that Upton Sinclair described in "The Jungle" in 1906, to pork luncheon meat with imbedded smiley faces. Obviously, things were not always this "good". You can't come away from Sinclair's book, or Orwell's "Road to Wigan Pier" without some sympathy for the socialist causes of the last century. Or can you?

"The Jungle" is still in print and widely read, although I'd guess that the sales are skewed by school reading lists. Sinclair's jungle was ruthless capitalism, where power metastasizes in the dark. His book led to the Pure Food and Drug Act with the help of Teddy Roosevelt. Sinclair went on to other causes, even one about corruption in journalism (The Brass Check) and "Oil" which was twisted into the recent film "There Will Be Blood". An energetic socialist all his life, by the end of it he was a Cold Warrior and supporter of the Vietnam War.

The charging, reformist spirit is usually more complicated than the ideologies that spring from it - but people like Sinclair have been incorporated into the liberal/progressive myth that the great ideas and movements of the 19th and 20th-centuries were driven by people like themselves.

Progressives not only analyze and "deconstruct" the problems of the present, they can predict the future under their management and predict the past, too, because people like themselves were there, and accomplished great things! In their minds, conservatives are descended from the meatpacker capitalists, when there's no rational way to calibrate the moral properties of minds long dead. But who said progressivism is "rational"?

Through the first half of the 20th-century, Sinclair's socialism came and went in hard and soft versions. But it failed to harden in America because Americans recognized that big arbitrary power (big business, etc.) isn't effectively replaced by another big arbitrary power called The State. Controlled, yes, regulated, yes, but hard socialism isn't necessary for "reform". The danger with radical big-state reform is its proximity to big and little tyrannies - the ones it abhors and the ones it tolerates - in its effort to eliminate the first it establishes the second.

Collectivism is NOT the answer to any question I know. If an individual is encouraged to work out his/her destiny apart from mankind's, it's the best preventative for the "consolidated government" that the Anti-Federalists feared in 1787. The paradox of trusting the jungle of gargantuan government to correct the wrongs of big business, leads to correcting the "wrongs" of Big Fox News, or Big Talk Radio, or Big Liberty or Big You.

Socialism needs to be reformed. It infiltrated the minds of the old reformers - and continues in the minds of their ridiculous duplicates today - because economic liberty produced injustices and evils that any modern society, under any regime, would have simply outlawed - but the total state seemed to be the only solution. Maybe it made sense at one time. But it's Old Socialism; reactionary and obsolete, and poison to a modern society.

Most Odious Words/Phrases in the English Language: #8

Bear with me ... Number 8 probably wasn't on your list (yet).

But Here it is:

"The American People" -- Phrase used by liberal and/or cowardly politicians and pundits to describe Americans. Using "American" as an adjective instead of the damn noun that it is allows such scalawags to avoid calling people "Americans" -- a stronger word that conveys an identity in and of itself.

"American" needs no modifier or explanation, for it does both. But the purveyors of "people-speak" don't talk in terms of American identity. Hell, to them, the "American People" are humans who live within the border of the locale/cafeteria/mall/DMV office/dispensary called America.

Want some perspective? Try this on for size ... the Chinese People ... the Mexican People ... Who talks like this? How often do you refer to the French as "the French people?" We properly call people French, Chinese, Mexicans, Germans, etc.. You see, but these identifiers tell you where these people are from, and probably what race/nationality they are. But America and Americans -- the nouns -- say more, don't they? Thus, these terms are like garlic and crucifixes to libpunditry. Indeed, for plain ol' People are more important than to such pundits and politicians than mere Americans, who are tainted by virtue of living on this soil.

But keep in mind, usage of "The American People" does allow certain politicians and pundits to avoid confusing "the American People" with other equally important residents of America, i.e., American dogs, cats, parakeets, pet alligators, and, of course, "undocumented workers".

Hey, I am off this weekend to see Cutter, Jr. at The Liberal Factory (that would be college). Don't worry. I've waterboarded him since he was 6 in anticipation of this. He'll be fine. It's a beautiful October weekend here. Hope you have a great weekend.

Stay strong. God bless you Americans, America, and all of our great friends the world over who love liberty. See you next week some time ...


We have seen lie after lie (on video) where Barack Hussein Obama and his administration pander to the mob (whichever mob they happen to be speaking to) - but their agenda remains consistent. As MAINFO pointed out, the multi-trillion dollar public option for healthcare "miracled itself" back to life in the form of a new government owned and operated healthcare insurance company, which would compete with private enterprise and drive them out of business since they run on tax dollars and there seems to be no end to the money we can print.

Some of you have read about my strident complaints that the government can't seem to get much right. I'm wrong in that. They spend your money with reckless abandon and they have made a business of doing that.

Free enterprise can not coexist with national socialism. It's impossible to compete with the government in business when they can legislate the rules YOU have to go by while exempting themselves. So we must content ourselves with widening national socialism and more government interference with our lives - or we must stand against the ObamaNation - against collectivism, and in favor of free-enterprise.

Enterprise happens to be the name of many famous US Naval warships. Today an aircraft carrier (CVN-65) carries that name with pride. There was a day, once, when free enterprise meant something to Americans. Somehow we've lost our way and it means a great deal less than it did. 2010 will tell the tale. I think it's the single most important election that most of us will face in our lifetimes because this country is at a crossroads and we will either take the high road or we will follow the ObamaNation deeper into the morass of unrestrained public debt - generated with the hope of "changing and rearranging" American society along a National Socialist model.

October 23, 2009

I hope I'll see some of you there!!

Tea Party Bootcamp Tomorrow in Fresno
Central Valley Tea Party

Saturday - October 24th 2009
8:30 am - 2:00 pm
Fresno Fairgrounds
A Training Event


Four Training Sessions Session One - Activism

1. Street Activism - Scott & Saundra Hawkins
2. Boots on the Ground Activism - Julie Griffiths
3. Precinct Level Activism - Lonny Leitner from American Majority

Session Two - Using the New Media

Lonny Leitner from American Majority explains how to use
Facebook, Twitter and Blogs to advance the Tea Party Movement.
From beginner to online activist in one hour.

Session Three - Health Care

Deanne Martin-Soares - Local health care professional and
Tea Party Patriot gives us the facts on the health care debate.
Session Four - Cap & Trade

Representative Tom McClintock explains the details and what
we can do about it.

Lunch, Materials and Seating Provided
Tickets: $15 in advance / $20 at the door


Fresno Fairgrounds Industry Commerce Building 1121 S Chance Ave Fresno, CA 93702

There will be parking next to the Industry Commerce Building on the fairgrounds property. Enter the fairgrounds from Kings Canyon Road.

Most Odious Words/Phrases in the English Language: #9

Back to the dirty work of purging and defending the world's greatest language ...

9) _____________ (Insert loathesome corporate-speak phrase or word here) -- In reviewing the nominees, there are simply way too many fine ones too whittle it down to one, so they have all tied for #9. That would make corporate "middle managers" happy, any way -- a real, "win-win." So, look at this as a "robust", "empowering," "team-building" exercise of "thinking outside the box" (i.e., my last creative thought is packed away in a box that I think is somewhere in my grandmothers' attic) to "enhance" our "functionalities." We all have our least favorites here.

And that she-man with the modified mullet on the UPS commercials ... you know he/she/it has a big brown truck full of this stuff. But I digress ...

Here is what you need to know to properly identify truly wretched corporatespeak of the most pernicious kind. In cooking up the perfect batch, the simmering cauldron of Bravo Sierra must contain just the right mix of cowardliness, mediocrity, and an utter lack of creativity. Mix those three and mmm ... mmm .... mmm. If you throw in a bit of secret sauce to where no one in the room knows what you are saying but it still sounds smart to these myrmidons, ahh ... magnifique!

Incidentally, in studying this subject of vital national interest, I discovered that a whole cottage industry of creating, coding and cleaning up this crap is flourishing on the internets.

There's even a book. Check it out:

If you don't want to merely decipher, but instead would like to create your own, well, you can.

Try this on for size: Generate some genuine corp-speak, right here.

And after you are done, get that B.S. wiped off ... with this. It figures that a Swede would be fluent in this stuff.

Line rip-off alert: If there is one thing I hate worse than "intolerance" (another honorable mention, for sure), it's the Swedes.

Until next time ...

A Sad Day in the Goomba Household


On Tuesday afternoon I penned a 10 year deal with an exciting new celebrity blogger who had insisted on sharing his spirited political Conservatism under the nom de guerre Winston Smith. Early this morning, my daughters Saccia and Maglia rushed to my bedside to tell me that Soupy Sales had died. Along with Soupy, my dream of a HuffPo-like empire had shaken off its mortal coil.

I'll miss the big guy. He was a beloved golf buddy, and shared stories of our early days in the Catskills could fill many a winter evening. My fondest memories are of me, DC, Soupy and Sandy Baron at a Stage Deli back table surrounded by wide-eyed showgirls, the air filled with giggles, lies and well-lubricated with celery tonic.

Good-bye, my friend. Be true to your teeth or they'll be false to you.

Counting Down the Hits ... Top 10 Most Odious Word/Phrases: #10

You know those countdown harmony singers on the FM dial that give it to you right before the song starts (as you wait with anticipation) ... Got that sound in your head? Well, here you go:

Num-ber 10 ...

-- Let's see, let's try a nautical illustration. Bi = Two. + Parts = Two Parts times One Ship = Republicans walk the plank. Since it's football season, here's another example ... Republicans win the coin toss but defer to the second half. Democrats get the ball and go on offense for entire first half. Republicans penalized and called racists when they ask to get the ball back in second half. Republicans kick off again in second half. Repeat first half. Game over. ACORN workers in luxury boxes cheer wildly.

More (9) to come as we cleanse our system. It's medicine we must take ...

October 22, 2009

Is anybody gonna be surprised when the Gefilte Fish finally hits the fan??

The latest anti-Israel stunt


The significance of Israel to the west is out of all proportion to her size and in direct relation to her place, on the front line. The country is unambiguously western, and not only her institutions but the way they operate leave no doubt of this. When, for instance, there are allegations that Israeli troops have committed crimes, in the course of military operations, there is an investigation. The contents and conclusions of that investigation are invariably made known. There will most certainly be open public discussion, and Israel's press is remarkably free.

The country is full of what we can easily recognize as "liberal" people, indeed more than to my taste, and I am frequently amazed that people who live within a mile of an enemy who obviously wants them dead, can blather on so glibly. I find it a source of discouragement: for at one level I had always assumed that "the prospect of a hanging concentrates the mind" -- that people whose minds have been scrambled by moral relativism must necessarily wake up, when their own extinction is in view. But no, they only turn in their sleep.

The significance of Israel is that she stands proxy for America and the West in the minds of our most lethal enemies.

In Islamist propaganda she is the "Little Satan," as the U.S. is the "Big Satan." And while there is plenty of blood-curdling anti-Semitism in Islamist pronouncements, there is also clarity about the long-term goal.

First destroy "the Jewish entity" of Israel, because she is exposed. Then destroy "the Christian entity."

The U.S. is held constantly in view as the ultimate target, to accomplish this; and the destruction of Israel is constantly presented as a means to it.

I've never noticed any subtlety in this propaganda. Whether it is rejected by the whole Arab and Muslim world -- whether that world secretly longs for peace and normal relations with Israel, as with America and the West -- is moot. The frontline states, around Israel, and all of the Arab regional powers, speak of the country only as a pariah.

Against this hard and seemingly inalterable background, western policies are made. The Camp David accords, more than a generation ago, promised real change in this background condition, falsely. Thirty years later, the Egyptian government has reverted to type and, quite frankly, they fear their own people too much to show the slightest public generosity towards Israel or Israelis (even if there is much co-operation behind the scenes).

It is against this background that we watched the latest anti-Israel stunt unfold in the United Nations, whose corrupt Human Rights Council -- loaded with some of the worst violators of real human rights on the planet -- commissioned the Goldstone report to advance the international battle against Israel.

This investigation of "war crimes," during the Israeli military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, was explicitly anti-Israel, for it began from the premise that a legitimate sovereign state, governing an open society, could be put on a level with a terrorist organization ruling a closed society.

The conclusion was cheaply, "both sides committed war crimes," but the open celebration of the report by Hamas, and outrage even from liberal elements in Israeli society, tells us what we need to know about it.


Bring Our Troops Home Now

From Germany, first. Obama Fingers MIT CURRY DIP!

From Japan, next. I Love Obama Hamburgers, indeed!

Dear Leader deserves better!

Can you imagine what the political landscape would be without Fox?

Obama's war on Fox & half the country

By Allan Erickson at American Thinker

On the one hand, we should celebrate the war between Fox News and the White House.

It is a good thing President Obama & Co. are angry with Fox. It means Fox is doing its job, you know, holding the Executive Branch accountable, like a real news organization. This is good news. Traditionally in America, the Fourth Estate's role has been to challenge those in power, challenge the assumptions, examine the assertions, and check for accuracy, all the while carrying both sides of the story.

A real news organization serves the people, acting as a check on power by informing people so they can make good decisions at the polls.

The fact that Fox is holding Obama's feet to the fire should cause rejoicing.

On the other hand, there are three bad news dimensions to all this: the rest of the media is content to lick Obama's boots, true to pattern Obama is glad to selfishly attack a private news organization (by the way, the most highly rated television news group in the nation), and the more Nero fiddles, the higher the flames.

Barack Obama is happy to fight a war on Fox.

Oh, that the Commander in Chief would fight the war on terror with as much energy and focus.

The truth is Barack Obama is becoming a most divisive President.

He preaches unity with his mouth, but with his hands, he sows seeds of division. Do not forget how he applied thug tactics during the campaign while denigrating Fox, insulting average Americans as gun-toting Bible thumpers, encouraging racial tensions as he always had through 'community organizing,' i.e., ACORN. Never forget how his machine took money from overseas. Remember how he raised an enormous war chest via the internet with no way to track donors. Don't overlook the thug tactics used during the Texas caucuses, how law enforcement was instructed to suppress media criticism in Missouri, how free speech and a free press were quelled in Chicago when a reporter sought to cover Obama's Chicago activities via Annenberg and Ayers and 'education reform.'

Notice today his army of Czars: radical leftists, race baiters, anti-American globalists, distinctly and angrily opposed to most traditional American values.

And now we have his media czar Anita Dunn singing the praises of Chairman Mao, and bragging that the Obama campaign controlled the media. All this coming at a time she calls Fox nothing more than a Republican mouthpiece. (Never mind that half of Fox's viewers are Democrats and Independents, according to a recent survey by the Global Marketing Research Center.)

Thanks to the internet (which Obama seeks to control as well), those who are wise consumers of media and news have been paying attention. They know full well this President and his operatives are capable of most anything now. The lies and misrepresentations increase almost daily.


Most Odious Words/Phrases in the English Language: Honorable Mention

This is dirty work, sifting through all of these dastardly words and phrases to perform the vital function of informing Nickie's readers of how to understand these verbal terds. But, as the blog's literary critic and being fluent in English and completely understanding the wickedness and vapidity of postmodernism, I believe that it is my duty to perfom this public service.

Here are those words and phrases that did not quite crack the Top 10:

"Eco-friendly" or "Green" -- A type of unadulterated B.S., and normally used to guilt white suburbanites into parting with large quantities of greenbacks and/or otherwise reducing their standard of living.

"Raise Awareness" -- To promote the advancement of some sort of unadulterated B.S..

"Fundamentalists" -- Leftist definition: Christians who believe the Bible or jihadis who saw people's heads off and/or blow up women and children. To the left, these are pretty much the same thing, except the Christians are more dangerous.

"Extremists" -- Liberal definition: Any actual (jihadis) or supposed (conservative) evil that liberals can't bring themselves to actually define, for fear of mobilizing Americans in righteous indignation and coordinated opposition to liberalism itself.

"The Rich" -- Demo definition: Some one that has more money than the person using the term and also pays taxes.

"Undocumented workers/immigrants" -- Key constituency of Democrat Party. Used to be referred to by the racist term "illegal aliens", but now are properly viewed as the boundary-challenged future citizens that they are.

"Oy" (or "Oye") -- Women's or metrosexual blogger's version of "Zoinks".

We will start rolling out the Top 10 soon. Looking at the verbal minefield above, you can tell that some difficult reading awaits. So, take a shower and get back here for more.

October 21, 2009

Top 10 Most Odious Phrases/Words: The Ballots Have Been Counted

I am resisting pressure from Hillary Clinton for a recount to lend legitimacy to the Top 10 Most Odious Phrases/Words in the English Language. Accordingly, we'll roll out the Honorable Mention in the morning.

Thank you all for your nominations. I'm not gonna lie, you were a big help. If I don't get it right, well, "My bad". And yes, though this might be paradigm shift for this here blog, this is "heavy lifting" that needs to be done and is serving the nation. We've got to set some benchmarks for how to roll these out, and we will. We've got to get this right.

Like, whatever.

Debbie Stabenow is Huge ...

I just got a look at her on TV, and I thought my screen was messed up. She is really big. Wow. She turned just right and everything went dark in the Senate Chamber.

Hope and Change. Hope and Change. Repeat after me.

Doug Mataconis at Below the Beltway introduces us to the newest publicity campaign in The Big Apple.

Starting Monday, New Yorkers will have a new ad to look at on the way to work:
NEW YORK (CNN) — Some New Yorkers may want to reconsider exclaiming “Thank God” when arriving at their destination subway station beginning next Monday.

Or at least that’s what a coalition of eight atheist organizations are hoping, having purchased a month-long campaign that will place their posters in a dozen busy subway stations throughout Manhattan.

The advertisements ask the question, written simply over an image of a blue sky with wispy white clouds: “A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?”

On October 26, a dozen bustling New York City subway stations will be adorned with the ads as “part of a coordinated multi-organizational advertising campaign designed to raise awareness about people who don’t believe in a god”, according to a statement from the group, the Big Apple Coalition of Reason.

New York City’s subway system is one of the busiest in the world with over 5 million riders per day and over 1.6 billion total passengers in 2008, according to the Metro Transit Authority.

Recognizing this, the Big Apple Coalition of Reason decided the “best bang for the buck” was to place posters in popular subway stations to capitalize on the amount of potential viewers, says Michael De Dora Jr., Executive Director of the New York Center for Inquiry, one of the associated atheist groups.

De Dora says the ambitions behind the advertisements are threefold.

First, the coalition hopes the promotion will enhance awareness of New York City’s secular community. He explained that the coalition also hopes to encourage “talking and thinking about religion and morality,” as well as support involvement in groups that encourage a sense of a social community for non-believing New Yorkers.

John Rafferty, President of the Secular Humanist Society of New York, another member group of the coalition, said the ads are in no way an anti-religious campaign. They are looking to reach out to more people who have similar feelings, but might not be aware of an outlet to express their beliefs, he said.

Rafferty and De Dora cite the American Religious Identification Survey, released earlier this year, as evidence of a shift away from organized religion. Those checking “none” for religion rose from 8% of the population in 1990 to 15% in 2008, effectively making “no religion” the fastest growing religious identification in the United States.

De Dora said that the “million” New York nonbelievers mentioned in the advertisements is the result of an extrapolation based on the survey’s findings. With over 8 million residents living in New York’s five boroughs, the organization projects over a million potential atheist New Yorkers.

De Dora said individuals “don’t need religion to be good people and productive members of society” and ultimately he feels that groups of nonbelievers are “adding to cultural life of NYC.”

As an addendum to this post, visit TF Stern at TF Stern's Rantings. TF's piece: Classic Good vs Evil in 2009 is readable and important.

I swore I was not going to mention this story again, but...

This cartoon mirrors exactly how Conservatives are portrayed in much of the media. You might say it's not that different from the way Jews were demonized prior to that Socialist uprising in Germany.

October 20, 2009

Seeking Input for the Mother of All Screeds

Putting together a post on my translation of some of the most useless/odious and otherwise worthy of severe punishment/scorn sayings in the English language. I already have a list, but I would like to get it to 10. Let's see, #11 is, "Hey, let's give this Obama fellow a try. He seems so scholarly and moderate. What's the worst that could happen?" But I jest.

But one of them is ... "It is what it is" ... surely, one of the most evil and vapid phrases ever spoken in the history of mankind. I will translate this for you and soon, since I have learned that no one knows what it means. But in the meantime, please send me any phrase you would like to nominate ... either in the comments below or to dcutter-at-gmail-dot-com.

For your amusement in the interim, please check out this photo from Drudge:

Drudge put the photo over the headline: "Pentagon Chief: Afghan Decision Can't Wait". Beautiful. Nothing like seeing Gibbs in the tool chest, where he belongs. I am thinking screwdriver. What do you think?

Okay, let me have those phrases (single words accepted, too). Must be English. Scunnert, if you need help, see Rhod.

Davey and Little Rahm

Barack Milhouse Nixon has dispatched his tethered bumblebees, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel to aim their little stingers at Fox News.

Mrs. Doubtfire, aka Robert Gibbs, did his command whimper about Fox, as well.

This isn't The Chicago Way, it's three cake decorators snivelling that the boss's special way with sugar roses on Waldorf Astoria Red Cake has been exposed.

Even DC's old flame, Helen Thomas, thinks that attacking Fox News is a bad idea.

If you want to know where all the men have gone, don't look for one on Pennsylvania Avenue.

October 19, 2009

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

October Sky

Jack and I headed out on Saturday morning for our walk. The first cool front of the year arrived Friday night and this was one beauty of a day. It was about 60 degrees with a little breeze to put a spring in your step. I mean, not only couldn't I help but notice, I said out loud on a couple of occasions, "Man, what a beautiful day." Then, I laughed when I listened to what I was saying and what it meant to me. We had turned the corner on this year and summer ... finally.

We get a few of these sorts of rejuvenating days around here. And many of them are in October.

I love that October sky. Clear, blue, and true. It's back.

We don't know much about winter in these parts. We get a few weeks of that, at most. We get a couple weeks of spring, and maybe a few of fall, if we are lucky. Mostly, we get summer. Boy, do we get summer. (Texans are especially skeptical of global warming claims, for one thing, because we remember that it has been hot as hell as long as we have all been alive and we have never met any one here who can tell us any different.) Yes, summers are seemingly endless on the Gulf Coast. There would be no humans here but for the invention of the air conditioner.

What keeps the populace upbeat, though, is that we know that the summers eventually end. How do we know? Well, the newcomers have heard that they do. But for the rest of us, we've actually experienced it. And it usually happens in October. From a psychological standpoint, fall in Texas is pretty much like spring in the Northeast. That first front blows in ...

And all is new again. Hope springs eternal. It's football season. Hey, there's even some color on those trees. Look over there.

"Man, what a beautiful day." Remember the last time you looked upon beauty that compelled you to speak out?

Even though we know the summer will end, sometimes it still seems like it won't. We have seen it before, though, for the October sky returns every year. We should have faith, but we lose heart. I wonder if life itself is not like this, as well.

That is, we have lived through a lot of life's long, hot summers, but we have seem them end before. Through observation and intuition, we know that life has cycles. Good times come; good times go. We know that there are things we can't regulate or understand completely, lest they either fundamentally change or end.

For me, I know that God is faithful and have seen His mercies return anew in my life on countless occasions. So, when I go through a long, hot summer of life, I know that October will eventually come. Mind you, I don't know when the first front will be here, and I have my moments of bitching about the heat, if you will. But I do believe I will see the October sky again. How? Well, I've seen it before. And it has never failed to return.

Friends, these are dark days in America. You don't hear me (the alleged "Pollyanna" around here) talk this way much at all, but it's true. I realize that we are in the midst of a long, hot summer. We don't know when or how it will end. We mere mortals never know how the story ends, truth be told. We don't get the script, only our parts.

But this we know: People are uneasy, afraid, and wondering if we have lost something special here ... and perhaps permanently. For the first time in our history, many people believe that their children are not going to have a better life than they had here in America. People wonder aloud if America is going to be what she has been, and also many now openly wonder if our adversaries abroad have inexplicably gained the upper hand.

But I believe that we will make it. I really do. I have a deep-seated confidence that this long, hot American summer will end and we will see a renewal much like we did in 1980. How can I believe this? Like I can't create or predict the first cool front, I don't know the mechanism, or the time that America's long, hot summer will end. But I have seen it so many times before. And I know that the faith, the courage, and the spirit that brought on prior American renewals is still alive.

How? Well, I rub shoulders with it ... with them ... yes, with you every day.

We will be okay.

I am not a prophet, if you will. But ...

I do still believe in October skies.

October 18, 2009

Destruction Of Healthcare Delivery System Underway

The Bulletin
It has instead has become a policy of Chicago thuggishness. Remember his policy of transparency? Now the public doesn’t even have a chance to read the bills before passage and the various bills will be put together behind closed doors. But if I would list all the Mr. Obama lies and broken promises, I would need not a column but a multi-volume encyclopedia.
If you want to understand why Aetna, Independence Blue Cross (Keystone), and other insurance companies are dropping some, though not all, of their Medicare Advantage policies, you have to understand the way these plans have been tainted by President Obama and the Democratic proposals for Obamacare in its various forms. Their proposals, not yet enacted, will destroy the greatest health care delivery system in the world if enacted. But what they have already done has started to do serious damage to our system, as exemplified by what is going on with Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans are popular and have many advantages for senior citizens. So, naturally, Mr. Obama wants to kill them.

The trade association America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) describes Medicare Advantage plans as follows: “An increasing number of Medicare beneficiaries are choosing Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. Medicare Advantage plans offer a different approach to health care delivery than beneficiaries experience under fee-for-service Medicare. Instead of focusing almost exclusively on treating beneficiaries when they are sick, these plans also place a strong emphasis on preventive health care services that help to keep beneficiaries healthy, detect diseases at an early stage and avoid preventable illnesses. In addition, MA plans help reduce beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs by providing additional benefits not covered in the Medicare program and reducing cost-sharing for Medicare-covered benefits.” AHIP says about 10 million people are now enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, accounting for 25 percent of the market.

Mr. Obama has proposed cutting the heart out of Medicare in general and Medicare Advantage plans in particular by trying to save about a half a trillion dollars to finance his government takeover of our health delivery system. This Obama proposal and its reasons are, of course, as phony as a three-and-a-half dollar bill, as everyone knows those savings have been talked about for decades, but never achieved. They are virtually inherent in a government system of health delivery and the fraud, waste, inefficiency and abuse it produces. If those savings from eliminating fraud, etc. are there, why haven’t they already realized them?

But the Obama Medicare and Medicare Advantage savings ploy is not only a phony idea, but also an immediately damaging one. Mr. Obama has demonized Medicare Advantage, virtually painting it as a fraud, involving government payments for no good purpose. This has probably raised concerns in the minds of Medicare Advantage providers, who may wonder about the future of this form of coverage. But there’s more. When you see the disgraceful performance of Mr. Obama and his leftist radical Congress who are in the process of acting more like junior dictators than legislators, you wonder why anyone would even want to be in the business of selling health insurance. Consider what Congress is doing:

• The Democratic Congress has been passing bills of astronomical cost and complexity without reading them

• The legislative process has frozen out the Republicans, so what should be a bipartisan process, as promised by Obama, is turning out to be hyper partisanship at its worst, Obama style

• These same Democrats have voted against giving the public 72 hours before a vote to read the bills. You’d think if Congress doesn’t want to read the bills, at least it would allow the public the right to do so, given Mr. Obama’s promise of transparency

• Then there’s the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, which just passed not a bill with legislative language, but a bill with “concepts.” This means no one knows what the bill will cost or what it will really mean once it is translated into legislative language. The Democratic Senate is, in a real sense, flying blind and is about to crash not only our health care delivery system, but our economy as well

• Finally, Mr. Obama and Congress are willing to ignore the Town Hall meetings, the Tea Parties and public opinion, which concertedly, repetitiously and loudly say, “Read the bills, let us read the bills and don’t wreck our present health care delivery system.”


Why Do We Fight?

This post started as random thoughts about pacifism, and the war at home over the wars abroad. Everyone knows the liberal view about the illegality, waste or stupidity of the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The paleo-conservative view contains some of these ideas and a strain of isolationism. We know the standard conservative view.

Buried in the politics is something else - doctrinaire or convenient or ideological pacifism - or just the decadent unwillingness to fight for liberties that seem self-evident and self-generating to millions of people. I want to know what Nickie's readers think. The subject covers a lot of ground, from the two-legged jackal yapping at the man or woman in uniform, on up to the philosophical summit of Gandhi.

Gandhi is a special case, but he teaches the class. His satyagraha, or "firmness in the truth" (widely thought of as passive resistance) was combat without violence. It wasn't the limp sogginess of passivity, because Gandhi was fighting for something; it mattered which side won. He fought against the British Raj at great risk to himself. Within his campaign for Indian independence was also the calculation that violence against him or his followers would highlight his moral cause.

He also endured terrible condemnation for his misunderstood 1938 essay, where it could be inferred that he proposed that European Jews commit mass suicide rather than violently resist German anti-Semitism. Orwell was partly responsible for this interpretation, and the story is more complicated than can be told here. The point is, pacifism, non-violence, anti-war-ism involves risk and an unyielding moral strategy. If it's to be taken seriously, neutraility about winners and losers, and old saws about violence never solving anything, are not sufficient. Whether or not you have to fight, you should have a philosophy about it.

Without checking this fact, I think we've had legal standards for Conscientious Objection since about the time of World War I. For most young men this only matters when there is active conscription. For every other man, for the conscientious consenter, the world isn't an easier place, it's a world as cold as frozen steel.

It's simply not true, as the moral prig would have it, that violence is the easy way. It's the hard way; there's nothing harder. In millions of unmarked and marked plots, and in the rusting shells of blue-water vessels on the sea floor, lie as many conscientious consenters as a wing of Heaven can hold. They came from everywhere, and every nation honors them not because its people love war, but because we grieve for a world which made their sacrifice necessary.

Can't we ask the man or woman who knows a better way to tell us what that is? The freak protest, the wail in the legislature or the pie in the face of a returning Marine? Is that the best they can do?

Do They Make Politicians Like This Anymore?

I find myself singing made-up lyrics to my toddler to the tune of "Davy Crockett". Just for kicks, tonight I looked up the song on You Tube. Fess Parker didn't do a bad job. And now I feel wistful. Can we find politicians like this? Real men who know about life and war and survival and honor? Men who can go to Washinton to do their "politickin", then go off into the sunset of the frontier?

Well, at least we can send our career politicians off into the sunset. That is probably a more attainable goal.

Howdy to all. This is my first guest post on the Goomba News Network. Thank you, Nickie, DC and Rhod for your confidence.