Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Healthcare - Intro

Besides Nukes and SCOTUS, Healthcare seems to be the topic du jour. I am going to stay away from the first two topics for the time being because I would probably be labeled a militant constitutionalist...and then the discussion would devolve from there.

But Healthcare is a topic that can be rationally discussed these days because noone really has the answer...and I think even the most radical left or right thinkers will admit that premise.

Fortunately, I have some very dear friends and family members who come from different sides of the equation. They hold learned viewpoints from the private, public, political and educational sectors. I look forward to future discussions with all of them as well as hearing the viewpoints of those who are on the ground dealing with these issues either personally or professionally.

Three points I am going to make upfront:

I believe that personal responsibility is the cornerstone for any successful program that we adopt. It is not mine nor my neighbors responsibility to fund your unhealthy lifestyle choices.

A total government run program is not an option. Government has NEVER run anything successfully. Accessibilty, Quality and Affordability will be out the door before the game starts.

Throwing money at anything just doesn't work. We (TN) threw $61 million dollars at a state-of-the-art Switchgrass program in 2007 with nothing to show for it. Government LOVES throwing money at things. Businesses want results. Somewhere the two shall meet.

Now that we have gotten the ground rules out of the way, let's talk.

BTW, thanks Eric, Damian and Richard for getting the topic going in my head. You know I am OCD!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Profound Statements

I was cleaning out my "inbox" this morning of all the things I kept for future reference (thank goodness it is paperless), and happened on this little nugget. I especially like the older quotes and #13.

As we remember our American warriors and the sacrifices they gave to protect our way of life, let's not forget that way of life was a dream given to us by our forefathers...after careful consideration of all the pitfalls that doomed previous civilizations and the innate nature of man.

Profound Statements

1. In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.

-- John Adams

2. If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.

-- Mark Twain

3. Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself.

-- Mark Twain

4 . I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.

-- Winston Churchill

5. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

-- George Bernard Shaw

6. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.

-- G. Gordon Liddy

7. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

-- James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

8. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.

-- Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

9. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

-- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

10. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

-- Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

11. Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

-- Ronald Reagan (1986)

12. I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.

-- Will Rogers

13. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!

-- P.J. O'Rourke

14. In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.

-- Voltaire (1764)

15. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you!

-- Pericles (430 B.C.)

16. No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.

-- Mark Twain (1866)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Redneck Values

As I was perusing my morning reading material, I happened on a few items that connected in a strange way. A.C.K. had a commentary on the Gibbons vs Haslam message and then I received an email from my local militant friend that I am posting below.

As the party searches their souls to redefine what it means to be a Republican, I can't help but appreciate what makes life in small town America so appealing.


You might be a redneck if: It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, 'One nation, under God.'

You might be a redneck if: You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.

You might be a redneck if: You still say ' Christmas' instead of 'Winter Festival.'

You might be a redneck if: You bow your head when someone prays.

You might be a redneck if: You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem.

You might be a redneck if: You treat our armed forces veterans with great respect, and always have.

You might be a redneck if: You've never burned an American flag, nor intend to.

You might be a redneck if: You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.

You might be a redneck if: You respect your elders and raised your kids to do the same.

You might be a redneck if: You'd give your last dollar to a friend.

If you got this email from me, it is because I believe that you, like me, have just enough Red Neck in you to have the same beliefs as those talked about in this email.

God Bless the USA !

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tennessee & John Jay Hooker

One of my personal and professional fascinations is researching the reasons behind why laws were originally passed. It is kind of like CSI for the political junkie mind. I did the same thing when I tried to understand the art world, but I decided to stick with politics after I learned of the sordid story between Gauguin and Van Gogh and the real reason Van Gogh cut off his ear...the art mind is just way too out there for my conservative leanings. Now, I just prefer to appreciate the beauty of art. Hmmm...I guess I can translate that thought process to other people's feelings on politics. Egads!

Oh well, back to politics. Personally, I think we need to start repealing laws right and left because each law that is passed seems to shackle somebody to something. A few laws that get passed are truly done in this vein of thought, those laws are sometimes called "enabling legislation" (and yes, we have gotten much more of these this year). However, it seems the majority of laws that get passed each year are not enabling legislation at all but just more legislative slavery. The less nefarious ones are passed because of knee jerk reactions to tragedy or intentional malfeasance, they are sometimes called "public welfare legislation". The darker ones invariably get passed to benefit somebody in power under the GUISE of public welfare legislation because that is the only way they can get passed. It is a very, very old game. I see alot of it in organizational behavior, and unless you know how the game is played, many "good-intent" players don't realize the repercussions of the maneuvering until the deal is done. Machiavelli still has many dedicated and passionate disciples among us.

The best defense to this legislative slavery and abuse of power is an informed citizenry...and a demand for less government control. Our founding fathers knew what we were in for when our country was birthed. They were the parents who risked their own lives for their children's future. And like any good parent, they did their best to put the tools in our hands to keep us free from the tyranny they themselves had fought against...but they did warn us that without moral fortitude in the public arena, man's sinful nature would take over.

Sometimes I wonder if we haven't pawned off many of those cherished tools to Guido the killer loan shark for a spring break trip to Daytona Beach...but I digress.

Today, I was perusing my usual news sources and found this video gem. I can't remember a better 20 minutes of oratory than what John Jay Hooker gave last week in committee. It speaks to me on so many levels. And this man's command of Tennessee history and the art of old school oratory is breathtaking. Thanks SC for this one. You were dead on.

As Rosa Parks once said..."Not all laws are just laws". And John Jay Hooker confirms why and how a constitutionally flawed law came to be. Definitely a Wizard of Oz unveiling after my own heart.

Click on the link below for this amazing moment of political clarity.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Auto Restructuring Plan

Being in the political arena is a double edge sword if you have a conscious. Too often you have to translate political prose into bottom line reality and then somehow have to convince your own people what that means to them because the political prose is so dang pretty and deceptive...the snake in Eden concept.

It is kinda like a joke being told by a group of tuxedo clad people at a cocktail party, and the only people who don't get it are the people at the end of the punch line.

The facts of this restructuring represent that kind of joke.

Chrysler Restructuring Plan a Power Grab
By Robert Robb

The proposed end games for General Motors and particularly Chrysler illustrate why government shouldn't have gotten involved in the first place.

It's worthwhile to begin with the broader picture. Americans used to buy about 17 million new cars and trucks a year. Now, we're buying less than 10 million. That, of course, puts considerable stress on manufacturers with weaker products or financial structures.

How many new cars Americans will want to purchase in the future is unknown. But there can be a high degree of confidence in this: however many it is, someone will sell them to us.

Moreover, they are likely to be produced in the United States. A majority of cars sold by foreign manufacturers in the U.S. are actually built here.

So, why should the federal government care who it is that sells us our cars? There are two rationales offered. First, to preserve an "American" auto industry. Second, to preserve "American" jobs.

The proposed Chrysler restructuring gives the lie to both rationales.

Under the Obama administration's proposal, Chrysler would, in essence, be given to Fiat, an Italian company, to operate.

So, how is an Italian car manufacturer operating in Michigan any more "American" than a Japanese manufacturer operating in Kentucky?

And why should the federal government give a market preference - through taxpayer financing and warrantee guarantees - to Italian cars produced by American workers in Michigan over Japanese cars produced by American workers in Kentucky?

The Obama administration's proposed restructuring is more than just unjustified, however. It dangerously undermines the rule of law, as explicated so beneficially by Friedrich Hayek in his classic, "The Road to Serfdom."

The essence of the rule of law, according to Hayek, is that what the government will do is known to all economic actors in advance. That government will not act arbitrarily in specific circumstances to favor some economic actors over others.

Chrysler has $6.9 billion in secured debt. Under the law, secured lenders have the first claim on the assets of the debtor in the event of non-payment.

The Obama administration is attempting to muscle past this law. Under its proposal, the health care trust of the auto workers' union, an unsecured creditor, would forgive 57 percent of what Chrysler owes it, and receive 55 percent of the company's equity in exchange. The federal government would forgive about a third of what it would loan Chrysler and receive 8 percent of the company's equity. Fiat would pay nothing for its 20 percent initial ownership.

The secured creditors, with the first claim on Chrysler's assets, were asked to forgive 70 percent of what they are owed and receive nothing in equity. When they refused and forced the company into bankruptcy, they were excoriated by Obama - a shameful act by a president who pledged to uphold the law, not make it up as he went along.

The proposed GM restructuring is equally lopsided. The union trust would forgive half of what it is owed and receive 39 percent of the company. The government would forgive half of what it is owed and receive 50 percent of the company. The other private lenders, in this case unsecured, would forgive 100 percent of what they are owed and receive just 10 percent of the company.

In his recent press conference, Obama said he had no interest in owning or operating car companies. Until this point, I was willing to accept Obama at his word, while fundamentally disagreeing with his economic policies.

Given his actions, however, it's hard to credit his disclaimer in this instance.

These proposed restructurings are power grabs, pure and simple. The positions of lenders are eviscerated to give control to the union trust and the government. The emergent companies are given market preference through taxpayer financing and government warrantee guarantees. All to serve no true national purpose.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Since the legislative session is winding down and my OHV bills had a 1/3 success ratio with time to spare before next year's battle, my philosophical focus has now shifted to the education conundrum. A huge issue in my neck of the woods and one that could, in my opinion, be easily changed if we all put our thinking caps on and be willing to get over "status quo" issues and think about solutions.

Personally, I think the solution to any problem is education of the mind and expanding our world view. Since adults usually close off the most porous of these brain cells (unwillingly, willingly or just by attrition), my intentional focus will be the children and figuring out how to help them be the best that they can be in life...whatever that path may be. I think we spend way too much time telling them what they should be instead of focusing on their own unique skillsets. God has given us each our own set.

I decided to have my own children later in life (although I was one of the first of my dear college friends to do so). When I made that decision, my entire life revolved around expanding their minds and souls. Yes, I even did the Vivaldi in the womb thing.

When it was time for school, I jumped in and became that involved parent. By second grade, my eldest was evolving faster then her teachers could keep up with educationally. Unfortunately, the school resources were being spent teaching English as a Second Language and not challenging the above average student(our little suburb had a huge influx that they were not prepared for).

As PTA President, I did what I could, but the education system is not one you can "fix" overnight. So after third grade, I pulled her from public school and placed her in a Christian private school that fit my preferred educational qualifications. I had one shot at this parenthood thing and education was a huge component.

Sometimes life gets in the way with all of our best laid plans, but so far, my children are still expanding their minds (they are 12 and 17 with 4.0's). So I know this education thing has some merit. In fact, opening up their world views early in life probably helped them get thru some of the hardest of personal times a child can have in life. I am thankful every day for that miracle.

I don't have all the answers, but I welcome an open discussion on the matter...and maybe just maybe, we can put our thoughtful discourse into practical application. It is time to think out of the box on this issue. Let the fun begin!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

God and the World Theatre

Ron Paul has a point. We really need to stop telling the world how to run their lives. I know it ticks me off beyond belief to have my own government trying to run my life, can you imagine how it would feel to have another country try to do it? I think Jihad (as-sayf type) would be a calm movement compared to what some of my local brethren would do if such a situation happened here.

In bible study today, we took an entire class period to discuss God's will in history. Are the prophets writing it as it happens or are they recounting it after the fact? I know when things happen in the world today, it takes a great deal of thought and prayer to find the hand of God in it. If I wrote about it several years later, I might be able to find the lesson and the message. It certainly does make a difference in perspective.

When we as a nation get involved in other world conflicts, is it because we are trying to be good Christians or are we doing it to further our own interests (which goes back to my issues with the lamentation of Tyre in Ezekiel)? We think about Hitler when we think about moral "intervention" but Genocide is not a new concept in world history. Who are we to say that we know best? Inflicting our own morality into world politics is a slippery slope. Where do we draw the line. I think it is our job as Christians to give others the ability to choose a better way of life, but it is not the government's job to do so...nor it is the government's (or Christians) right to force it on them.

So if we were writing recent history from a God's will point of view...what do you think it would say?