Monday, August 23, 2010
At this time, the United States maintained superiority in nuclear weapons, even having based some missiles in Turkey, a mere 150 miles from targets in the Soviet Union. Hoping to balance this threat to their homeland, the Soviets began to secretly base missiles of their own in Cuba.
They got caught.
U.S. Arial reconnaissance photographs revealed the construction of missile sites on Cuba, as well as missiles and the various supplies and equipment necessary to service and launch them. Kennedy and Khrushchev postured through both diplomatic and back-channels over the removal of each other’s missiles, until the American press got wind of the situation. Thereafter, an exchange of aggressive public speeches was added into this mix of indirect “super-power” communication.
The crisis climaxed with an American naval blockade of Cuba to prevent the delivery of any more missiles, missile supplies or equipment to that island. At the last moment the Soviets backed down, halted a convoy of ships just before they reached the U.S. picket line, and recalled them home. Subsequently, the existing Soviet missiles were removed from Cuba, and the crisis was averted.
A great concern at the time was that because of the complexities of the chains of command on either side, any misunderstood event or communication could have triggered a nuclear war. This problem was compounded by the lack at the time of any direct communication link between the executives of the U.S. and U.S.S.R.
I was a toddler at the time of what has become known as the “Cuban Missile Crisis.” Even though I was only three years old, I distinctly remember being able to discern a difference in the way people around me were acting. My mother and older sister looked frightened all the time, and my entire family paid what I thought was entirely too much attention to the news. As I grew older and was able to fill in the blanks through family conversations, I was able to link these memories to the missile crisis. I am quite satisfied that these are not false memories.
There was some good which came out of the crisis, I think. For one thing, a nuclear test ban treaty between the superpowers was signed that prohibited above-ground testing of these weapons. For another, a “Hot-Line” was installed linking the Kremlin and the Whitehouse by teletype (a sort of primitive email) to ease communications between the leadership of the two adversaries in the event of any future emergency. Both occurrences helped to ease the Cold War tension between the two nations just a little. I believe it is as a result of this germ of cooperation that I never again had to witness the level of fear that I remember from those days – at least not until a certain September morning in 2001.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Since the 80’s I’ve been listening to supposedly educated folks going on and on about this nation’s “Healthcare Crisis.” I have maintained for decades now that we do not have a healthcare crisis in this country. What we have is a “Litigation Crisis.” We shouldn’t be confusing the two. This litigation crisis is the result of unscrupulous people abusing our legal system through questionable lawsuits for personal gain – in ever-increasing numbers! This has created a two-pronged assault on our healthcare insurance costs. On the one hand, our physicians are being faced with out-of-control premiums for the malpractice insurance which they dare not relinquish in this sue-happy climate. On the other hand, they are, in many cases, obliged to practice what has become known as defensive medicine. The first adds significantly to the physician’s operating costs, the second, to your insurance carrier’s payables. Both wind up being passed on to you either in higher healthcare premiums, or out-of-pocket expenses. To elaborate:
As medical malpractice suits began to increase in frequency, and the resulting awards began to balloon, physicians across the nation began to counter with higher levels of medical malpractice insurance (which also began to balloon in cost). Eventually, they began to feel the pinch in their malpractice insurance premiums as the cycle began to spin out of control. Naturally, the associated costs had to be passed along to the patient, or his insurance provider. The insurance provider, in turn, passed these costs along to their customers.
Physicians now tend to flee from States with high insurance rates and liberal tort law, such as Mississippi (where it is increasingly difficult to find OB/GYN’s, for example). Physicians remaining in these unfavorable climates are both more expensive and increasingly rare. By some estimates the cost of delivering a baby in Florida includes as much as $2000.00 just to cover the malpractice insurance!
Besides insurance, another method physicians use to protect themselves from out-of-control litigation is defensive medicine. This can be defined as the avoidance of the suspicion of neglect. It comes in two flavors: assurance behavior, and avoidance behavior.
Ninety-Two percent of doctors, by one study, practice some form of assurance behavior. This means that they order additional (expensive) imaging and diagnostic procedures and/or make referrals for consultation with (expensive) specialists, rather than make the diagnosis themselves. Many of these additional services are only partially covered by the average healthcare package, and may even be redundant. Sooner or later, the costs come out of the patient’s pockets, either directly, or through higher premiums.
Studies further indicate that forty-two percent of physicians practice avoidance behavior. In other words, they simply restrict their practices by eliminating procedures high in litigation risk, such as delivering babies.
A study by Daniel P. Kessler and Mark B. McClellan estimates that in 2005, defensive medicine cost between 100 and 178 billion dollars per year. This translates into approximately $1700.00 for the average American family for that year. This is a significant sum of money, to say the least.
If a well thought-out tort reform can be accomplished, it will make all of the above go away. It would be necessary to make bold strokes, however. Strict but reasonable caps would have to be placed on “pain and suffering,” and a “loser pays” policy would have to be rigorously enforced. The loser pays, or “English rule” is in force in most of the rest of the world. Under this system, the loser of a case pays all the legal expenses of the winner. This system discourages meritless lawsuits, and leaves the legal system to operate as designed, i.e. by giving the honest guy with the legitamate case easier access to the justice he deserves. Imagine it: Simple legislation could unclog court calendars overnight as the consequences of failure drive away hundreds of less-than-honorable plaintiffs and force their ambulance-chasing shysters to look for legitimate legal work!!
As the litigation dies off, so will the need for both the inordinate levels of malpractice insurance and the practice of defensive medicine with all of its baggage. If everyone is honest and passes the savings along, the physician’s bottom line will come down, the health-insurers bottom line will come down, and the patient’s bottom line will come down. Figuring out the solution was easy. We’ve examined and isolated the problem. We have formulated a logical solution. Now, all that remains is the implementation. Only one special interest group stands in the way.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Senator John Cornyn of Texas has been a champion of tort reform, and his efforts are to be applauded. See http://www.johncornyn.com/stories/380 for more information.
Ted Frank of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research has also been a tireless advocate of tort reform. See http://www.american.com/archive/2009/may-2009/a-stimulus-you-can-believe-in for an illuminating article on the subject.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
As a result of this trend (or movement) many people have been led to believe of late that God should be publicly invisible. This is a relatively new idea. There are movements today to remove God’s name from our money, as well as from our pledge of Allegiance. They are motivated by the misconception that the Constitution somehow forbids any official mention of God, and that the founders themselves intentionally avoided the very mention of God wherever possible.
Many facts concerning the mention of God in our society, as well as the founding fathers' attitudes towards religion and the existence of God, may surprise you. For example, the words "One Nation, Under God," were added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the early 1950’s. The pledge had been originally written by a Baptist Minister (who also happened to be a socialist) named Francis Bellamy. It was intended to be a recitation by school children at the 1892 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago on Columbus Day of that year. From that time, the pledge slowly evolved into what we have today. The Knights of Columbus instigated the Oakman-Furguson resolution during the Eisenhower administration, which officially added “Under God” and Ike himself said:
These words [“under God”] will remind Americans that despite our great physical strength we must remain humble. They will help us to keep constantly in our minds and hearts the spiritual and moral principles which alone give dignity to man, and upon which our way of life is founded.
"In God We Trust" actually began appearing on coins as early as 1864. The Civil War increased religious fervor at this time and made this addition a popular idea. Paper currency didn’t begin displaying "In God We Trust" until 1957 however, a year after it was declared our national motto by the 84th Congress.
As far as the notion of our founding fathers intending to distance themselves and the government from God, nothing could be further from the truth. There are several historic documents which confirm this. Look at Washington's first inaugural address, for example. In it he stated that:
…it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge.”
Washington concluded his address with:
I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.
Even Jefferson, who is widely and wrongly considered an atheist by many today, in his first inaugural address, asks:
…enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter—with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people?
One may also look at the Declaration of Independence, which begins with:
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind…
The Declaration goes on to again reference the "Creator" and closes with the assurance that the document was signed with "firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence..."
Yet Another good example of the official acknowledgement of God’s prominent place in our society is Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. This is, in fact where the notion of the United States being a “nation under God” originated.
The founding fathers never intended for Church and State to be separate, they only intended to avoid a State-sponsored religion. The phrase “wall of separation between Church and State” comes from a political letter that Jefferson wrote to a preacher who accused him of being an atheist. Jefferson considered himself a Unitarian. Others might call him a Deist. Either way, he believed that God or "Providence" was active in human affairs and the Universe, but from a distance .
As far as the Constitution is concerned, it only provides that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; that’s all it says on the subject. This means that tax dollars can not be used to support a State-sponsored religion, but neither should the government do anything to discourage the free practice of any religion. I doubt that the founding fathers would care about public displays of nativity scenes, crosses, stars of David, menorahs etc. These symbols, in and of themselves, don’t force or coerce people into any particular form of worship, nor do they discourage them from doing so.
During their Presidencies, both Jefferson and Madison regularly attended church services in The House of Representatives, where such services were offered until after the Civil War. Their attendance was a deliberate gesture meant to demonstrate their support for religion as a fundamental component of republican government. This attitude is in keeping with an old Whig tenet, popular in colonial times, which stated that: “Because of its susceptibility to corruption, liberty must closely ally itself with virtue in order to resist the allure of power.”
One may also note that throughout his administration, Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. It was generally believed that since these services were voluntary and not discriminatory, (They were multi-denominational) they were not considered at all objectionable.
People are, of course entitled to their opinions, but they should try not to superimpose them on the founding fathers when trying to make their point seem stronger. These men lived in a time when even enlightened thinkers rarely denied the existence of God. Of course, the history of this subject is muddled and generally meanders back and forth over the “wall of separation” without too much trouble, so you will have to dig deep to find solid support for one side or the other.
So, to sum it all up, if you are not offended by condom or male enhancement commercials, or any of the other near-pornographic sewage pumped into your living room by prime-time television, or if you think it seems reasonable to kill a million babies per year out of convenience, then the National Motto or the occasional “Merry Christmas” should not offend you either.
We are guaranteed freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. As big boys and girls we should be able to acknowledge that religion exists whether we want it to or not. If people prefer that religion be kept hidden behind closed doors like a dirty little secret, they need to realize that they are the minority and shouldn’t get upset because others won’t conform to their world-view. It would be better for them to just look the other way whenever they cross paths with a religious symbol. It's a free country for religious folks too, no matter what the ACLU would have you believe.
The last poll I saw on the subject indicated that 86% of Americans held some form of religious belief. I guess that means the remaining 14% either work in the “entertainment” or “news” industries. There they can most efficiently spread their distortions of the truth and have us believe that it is the perverts that are in the majority, while those of us that believe in things like God, honor, integrity and virtue are an out-of-touch lunatic fringe.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Talk Radio under constant attack by the left?
If you're concerned about free speech take note:
"The Left is launching a new and more deceptive strategy to implement the so-called “Fairness” Doctrine -- under different names and without a vote in Congress. But their goal remains the same – the silencing of conservative and Christian talk radio."
-Media Research Center - Free Speech Alliance.
Don't look to the ACLU for help, all they care about is revolving-door justice and freely available pornography.
Please take a moment to follow the link below and "sign" the petition. Do not let the government squash the only remaining foil of the liberal-biased media - conservative talk radio. Any version of this so called "Fairness Doctrine" will require radio stations hosting conservative talk shows to provide equal time for liberal talk shows that can't get decent ratings on their own. This would push station owners to drop conservative talk shows rather than lose high ratings from half their broadcast day because of an "equal time" requirement.
Until we start to see some good old-fashioned OBJECTIVE reporting from regular news services, these guys are the only dissenting voice in town.
Please follow this link and follow the directions. Make your voice heard in Washington.
Thanks for your time and attention.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
A fundamental problem in America today is that voters are not properly educated in how government works and what the expected duties of a citizen ought to be. This was the original rationale for limiting the franchise to wealthy land owners & businessmen. It was felt that since they had the most to lose, and had access to the best educations, that they would vote the most responsibly. Benjamin Franklin was a proponent of tax-payer supported public schooling specifically so that the following generation of Americans would be well enough educated to prosper within, as well as offer the proper support to, the new republic. To this end, he was instrumental in establishing the Academy of Philadelphia which later became The University of Pennsylvania.
Resistance to universal male suffrage was only overcome when public-schooling (including comprehensive civics lessons) became available to all, convincing the elites that they were in no danger of having their property voted away from them by ignorant mobs armed with voter registrations.
The situation has changed.
To my knowledge, civics is no longer taught as a separate subject and very little of it, if any, seems to be taught in social studies classes. A quick check with their board of education website revealed that New York State has a serious-looking civics curriculum, but it is apparently being taught with all the gusto and enthusiasm of their geography curriculum. (I know two Master’s degree holders -ONE IN EDUCATION - that can’t find any non-North American countries on a map.) As a result of our educational system’s incompetence (and an accompanying lack of parental interest) children have been raised to think that voting is like a season of American Idol and therefore has no real importance or consequences. This is why we had so many jackasses willing to vote for bumper-stickers, catchy slogans and pretty logos while getting caught up in the excitement of making history by electing a black man as president. Never mind that he’s a socialist with dangerous radical associations and little government experience. Just imagine what fun they had playing "citizen."
"Whoo-Hoo! This is just like the Sanjaya phenomenon!!! How exciting!!!”
Forget about Wright, Ayers, Acorn, the proposal of a National Civilian Security Force, the tyranny of cap & trade, etc. If it hasn’t been reported on The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart, it means nothing.
Look what an apathetic and ignorant electorate has gotten us:
As far as the brown shirts-er, I mean the “civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the military... well, even though I haven’t heard any talk about it lately, I’m keeping my eyes peeled. After all, every good dictator needs a secret police force, and the fact that Obama even spoke of the concept during the campaign should have raised a gigantic red flag - er, no pun intended. (At least, given Obama's affinity for pretty logos, I'm sure his secret police will have very snappy uniforms to wear while they goose-step around chanting nonsense about carbon credits and crawl all over our homes and vehicles to write us energy tickets.) Maybe he won’t be able to secure the money for his secret police after all, but in light of recent events, money apparently has no meaning to him or the Congress.
And if they continue to print it at the rate they are, it will have no value either. (Google a newspaper article called "Start the Presses" from the New York Post dated about 11/26/08 it’ll make you sick.) The only reason we haven't seen runaway inflation yet is because the banks are being so tight-fisted with credit and none of this money has entered into circulation. Maybe the banks know something Obama doesn't? Is this possible?
Just this week (3/16/09), Obama met with leaders of various veterans’ organizations to discuss their disapproval of his proposal that veterans surrender their free medical benefits in exchange for private insurance. The President would not even discuss the philosophy of a nation’s responsibility towards those who have been injured in its defense. He and his chief of staff preferred to focus on the funding angle. How much would the government save by robbing our soldiers of this benefit? About $550 million. Pocket change in comparison to the recent expenditures we have seen. $550 million is one eighth of what ACORN is going to get from the stimulus bill! In addition to completely warped priorities, this administration is demonstrating a total lack of respect for the military. What effect, do you suppose, will this have on recruitment? Be afraid.
On a somewhat humorous note, The President and the Congress are sitting with egg on their faces. They have spent the past few days thumping their chests about AIG bonuses and how they are going to abrogate the contracts under which they were paid out. Now it turns out that those very contracts are protected…BY LANGUAGE IN THE STIMULUS BILL THAT THEY JUST PASSED…WITHOUT READING!!!
See what happens when you don’t read what you sign??
But don’t worry; the President is working very carefully and diligently to….pick out a family dog.
So let us look forward to the change we can believe in:
1) Cold dark homes resulting from ridiculously expensive energy
2) Runaway inflation with no corresponding wage increases
3) Lots of fat happy welfare cases
4) A Civilian Nat'l Security Force to enforce the redistribution of wealth.
5) Reduced military recruitment due to lack of interest in a soldier’s medical care.
Two final thoughts:
“You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
"Because of its susceptibility to corruption, liberty must make an alliance with virtue to resist the allure of power."
-Old Whig Tenet
Friday, November 28, 2008
Even though Germany had until 1984 to pay off this debt, the Great Depression combined with the greed of unscrupulous speculators and some international shenanigans over the Ruhr district made payment impossible. Left with no alternative, Germany began printing money at a ridiculous pace to meet its debts. This rapid expansion in the German money supply grossly devalued the mark and resulted in hyper-inflation. The mark dropped in value from approximately 40 per US dollar in 1920 to around 18,000 per US dollar in early 1923. By late 1923, the German paper currency was nearly worthless at something like four trillion to the dollar. In that year a pound of bread cost three billion marks, a glass of beer was four billion marks and a pound of meat cost a whopping thirty-six billion marks! (I’m not kidding, look it up!) It was literally cheaper for a German to burn his currency in his furnace than to use it to buy fire wood! And the entire mess was jump-started by some idiot who thought printing more money would pay the bills.
The crisis was eventually resolved by the issuance of a new German currency (The rentenmark, fixed in value and backed by real estate) and the later repudiation of the war reparation debt by a twisted little man with an absurd little mustache named Adolf Hitler.
Right now you’re asking yourselves “Where the hell are you going with this, Terence?”
Well, I’ll tell you where I’m going: I happen to have in front of me an article from the November 26th Edition of the NY Post that I’d love to share with you. (See “Start the Presses” by Paul Tharp p. 35.) It appears, according to the article, that the US Treasury plans to print some eight-hundred billion dollars in extra cash to buy a bunch of bad loans and mortgages, etc. According to Mr. Tharp, this will bring the total bailout package - past, present and yet to come - to eight point two trillion dollars. This is a staggering sum. (I'm not even sure what that many grains of sand would look like! We didn't even learn numbers like that when I was in school!) With the endless parade of corporations and industries coming to Washington with their hands out for cash, eight hundred billion may just be the beginning.
Not to sound alarmist, but is any of this starting to sound familiar? (Hint: YES!) This situation could easily spiral out of control.
But wait, it gets worse…
To keep up with the increasing demand for cash, the government is planning, according to Tharp, to expand two huge printing facilities which are already spitting out cash at full capacity.
But wait, it gets even worse…
To add insult to injury, the government is turning to a Swiss firm, KBA-Giori, SA to do the upgrade. The Treasury wants to contract with the Swiss giant to provide everything from labor to software and everything in-between on the project. Our President-Elect claims to want to create jobs for Americans through public works, etc… I submit that squashing this Swiss deal and keeping technical jobs like this at home should be his first priority.
Our money is one of those basics that helps define us as a nation. I prefer that it be made by Americans. I also prefer that it not be devalued into the toilet by overproduction, especially because some high-ranking idiot never took macro-economics or a history course. If however, we are going to be asked in the near future to endure hyper-inflation and struggle to the grocer’s with wheelbarrows full of cash, it should not be too much to ask that we at least be able to say that the money itself is the product of American industry.
We’ll be lucky if the dollar has half its current value by this time next year.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
A Post-Election Tirade
I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but here are some things we should be watching out for from the Obama Administration:
1 - Civilian National Security Force
2 - Cap and Trade program that may bankrupt the coal industry
3 - Fairness Doctrine
4 - The promotion of 1960’s style radical philosophies such as those of William Ayers
5 - The encouragement of divisiveness a’ la Jeremiah Wright
6 - Abortion legislation
7 - Supreme Court Justice nominations
The Civilian National Security Force = Police State. I don't know where Obama would get the money for it, but you know what kind of people would volunteer for it. Nasty little schmucks that are just champing at the bit to abuse whatever power they're given in order to force their world view on the rest of us. We'll probably find the little dirt-bags crawling all over our gas & electric meters spewing B.S. about carbon credits and writing out tickets.
I heard an audio clip of Obama speaking about his Cap and Trade Program. He said that his plan would "of necessity," cause our electric bills to "skyrocket." His words, not mine. He also said that he thought it was important to use pricing to moderate our behavior patterns. So, I guess if the Obama government wants to reduce our cholesterol, we’ll see eggs priced at $8.00 each and beef at $60.00 per pound.
Fairness Doctrine: Done deal: Fairness has nothing to do with it; the jackasses just can't tolerate dissenting opinion. Just because Air America has no listeners doesn’t mean conservatives should have to provide them. Obama makes his opinion of free speech pretty clear. Note that the dissenting newspapers were unceremoniously tossed off Obama’s campaign plane to make room for the likes of "Jet" magazine just a few days before the election.
And I love his attitude towards botched abortion survivors. Maybe they should get a blanket while they lie alone in a room to die. Thanks Mr. Compassion! You know, if it's got 46 chromosomes, it's a human being, and if it's breathing it deserves medical attention, just like the grownups. We live in a country where you can get taken to court for throwing a rock at a damned pigeon, but you're branded some kind of a retard if you say abortion is anything other than what it is: a selfish murder for convenience.
And, of course my personal favorite: Wealth Redistribution. We have just damned-near nationalized our financial industry. Do we really need to be experimenting with a re-incarnated 60's radical communist at this juncture?
What sort of radicals will Obama nominate to the Supreme Court for confirmation by those leftists on Capitol Hill?
With a rubber-stamp House & Senate, this man will make big trouble, one amendment at a time. I still have hope that in the worst case, there will be a recoil in 2 years that will result in alot of Democrats loosing their seats, and the restoration of some sanity.
They will over-step. They can’t help themselves.
The best we can do is stay on top of these issues and stay in continuous contact with our representatives to make our positions clear. Maybe I’m wrong; after all, it was the moderates that elected Mr. Obama. If he realizes that, and is wise enough to lead from the center, we’ll be O.K. and I may (happily) find myself with my foot in my mouth.
I cannot repeat this enough:
"You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."
May God Bless the United States of America, and preserve her from all enemies, foreign and domestic.