Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Truth vs Falsehood

I've been reading (laboriously) a book by M.D. & Ph.D. David R. Hawkins titled "Truth vs Falsehood -- How to Tell the Difference." It is quite a compelling 500 page thesis on Truth and Reality, the science of the evolution of consciousness (a.k.a enlightened awareness) and how to distinguish between fact and fiction in a world in which the paradigm is proving unreliable. The desire of the author is to discover the core and essence of Truth itself and how it can be "recognized, expressed, and defined".

Dr. Hawkins is of the opinion that until now, humanity has been "like a sailor at sea without a compass by which to discern truth from falsehood". The good doctor claims that the foundation in beginning to recognize truth and reality is by first accepting that truth "is actually a variable relative to an ABSOLUTE (caps mine) constant".

Hawkins asks if truth can be discovered solely through the scientific method, agreeing that the essential requirements of science consists of "an organized body of confirmable information that is comprehensible, logical, and replicable". Or, what we call theory and testable reproduceable hypotheses capable of both experimental and experiential confirmation.

However, the question remains, can truth, if it is related to an absolute constant, be fully known, or understood using the scientific method? I would postulate, like Hawkins, that it can if it weren't for one nagging problem -- human consciousness.

What exactly is consciousness? Even science can agree on some aspects of that question. Science agrees that it is a formless, invisible field of measurable energy that is infinite in potential. Where science and others depart is on whether this consciousness is limited by the confines of the physical, time and space. Others say no because being energy itself, consciousness has not only infinite potential, but also infinite existence. However, since that aspect of consciousness cannot be accurately or reliably measured, science has opted out of the discussion once it delves into that realm..as they rightly should. This is a field of endeavor best left to the philosopher. Hawkins being both scientist and philosopher isn't bound by that constraint nor is he afraid to tread its untested ground.

Hawkins argues that it should now become the domain of science to fully investigate the consciousness because only through doing so can humankind finally come to grips with what is real truth and reality. He argues that while the Newtonian paradigm has been informative and pragmatically productive, with the addition of quantum physics and the Heisenberg uncertainty principal, Newtonian science for understanding reality has lost most of its luster and certainly its dominance, being replaced by the more sophisticated and "advanced evolution of science that leads from the predictable linear to the unpredictable nonlinear". As a result we now must be faced with truth as an enigma, no longer set in the stone of physical reality per say, but has risen to the state of a true challenge and struggle.

Case in point:
It was soundly accepted in the past (and even by many today) that the mind and its ability, or capacity, for reason and symbolism, is the undeniable and irreducible foundational hallmark of what it means to be human. To put it in simple terms: Humankind's capacity for logical thought differentiates humans from animals.

What the last 100 years has shown us though is that the human mind is not the foundational or fundamental but an "epiphenomenon of consciousness" with an indeterminate range of usefulness and reliability. That is absolutely mind-blowing when grasped for its fullest impact and meaning. What has made this fact so amazing is the other fact that human consciousness has been very slow to evolve, having only made small progress by jumps and starts over the last 2500 or so years. It has only been since the mid-part of the 20th Century that some of the biggest jumps have been taking place. One of the major factors in the inhibition for the evolution of consciousness in humans has been the races unbridled ego. It is only as the ego weakens that the consciousness of humanity is free to evolve with its resultant displays of love and giving. Ego drives for one thing - power over the lives of others, its environment and its drive for absolute independence, self-sufficiency and sovereignty. When ego rules the day, consciousness takes a back seat and humanity grows stale and regresses to a place in which truth and reality play little to no part. Hawkins rightly makes the assertion that the "capacity to recognize and comprehend truth is concordant with the levels of consciousness.."

Hawkins makes some compelling arguments in his book and has challenged some of my preconceived ideas of what exactly is truth and how to know what is real versus false. I still have a ways to go in the book, it isn't a real page turner, but I do find it fascinating once I mull through some of his long-winded gobbly-gook.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

O Ye of Little Faith

I have been getting some flack from several of my European friends across the pond about my assessment concerning the new post of EU President that I wrote about in the blog previous to this one, which has prompted me to explain my reasons for the first entry.

Do you know why all the great minds within the intelligence community failed to prevent 9/11 or the most recent Fort Hood terror attack? Was it for lack of good intel? Not at all. In both cases the FBI, CIA and NSA had tons of information that pointed to danger on the road ahead. No, the problem with most of us in the world, including the intelligence community of which I one time belonged, is our inability to imagine such a horror, especially within the Western mindset. Evil on that scale is simply beyond the comprehension of most average, decent, hard-working residents of the world, no matter how much atrocity we witness around the world on TV news, it is simply too far removed from us -- until it actually strikes home.

I offered up in the previous blog ("A Man in the Shadows") my concern about the new office of the EU President in a bigger picture, not of how things currently are, but the possibilities of what, if world trends continue as presently coursed, how things are likely to be at some point in the future, whether proximal or distant. All things are moving in a direction that we as a world people are hell-bent on pursuing and one of the chess pieces that was missing until now was the potential for an EU leader (not necessarily the current EU President) to align him/herself into a position of vast power. This new office sets into motion that likely possibility.

As an American I speak from experience. When the office of President was created in this country it was one on equal footing with the two other branches of government. However, over the course of the last 233 years that office has ascended, at the willingness and behest of the two other branches of government and American people, to a place of greater power than was originally intended by the country's founders or its Constitution. The powers of the President, while openly are not brandished about, are quite extensive behind the closed doors of the White House. One of the prime examples of just how far-reaching presidential powers have become is the case of Executive Orders, which can, in the case of an emergency (real or perceived) override the protections of the US Constitution. I see the same thing in store for our European friends only it will happen at a much faster pace than 200+ years. The election of Rompuy is simply the first step in that inevitable direction.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Man "In the Shadows"

The European Union (EU) has done something unprecedented. It has quietly elected a President of Europe, not by a general election, but by quiet ballot amongst its own leadership.

The two top contenders for the job were well-known former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and a virtually unknown political player, Belgium Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy. Blair lost big-time.

Just how unknown is Rompuy? Recent polls suggest that of all the citizens of the expanding EU less than 15% have even heard the name much less know anything about the man, and yet he is now been put into the position of controlling their lives.

Just what do we know about Rompuy? Is he a friend of the United States? Where does he stand on the Middle East? What kind of relationship does he have with countries like China, Turkey and the Russians? What direction will he take Europe, quickly becoming under the auspices of the EU, a major world super power?

From his own lips Rompuy admits he is a man that normally does his work "from the shadows," whatever that might mean. According to the Guardian Rompuy is adamant about not allowing Turkey membership into the EU. Just 5 years ago Rompuy was quoted as saying "An enlargement (of the EU) with Turkey is not in any way comparable with previous enlargement waves. Turkey is not Europe and will never be Europe....But it's a matter of fact that the universal values which are in force in Europe, and which are also the fundamental values of Christianity, will lose vigour with the entry of a large Islamic country such as Turkey." His election has caused political sparks to fly in that all-important ally for Western/U.S. interests with many fearing that this could be the final blow that sends Turkey into the arms of radical Islamic extremism.

A man I have much respect for as a writer is Joel C. Rosenberg ("The Last Jihad"). He feels that Rompuy's quiet election to the new post of EU President could spark a bonfire that may change the face of future politics, not only in Europe, but throughout the world. He admits that we must have a wait and see attitude, but with his past track-record of near perfect predictions, one shouldn't discount his concerns.

Here is what we do know about Rompuy.

He began his career in politics as an economist with the Belgium central bank. He gained respect within his own country by helping drive down his country's debt and was rewarded with the position of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Budget. He later became a member of Belgium's Chamber of Representatives and then moved up to the position of Minister of State. On December 1, 2009 he will take the newly created post of European Union President, giving him control of all its member countries, currently numbering 27 with a citizenship of 500 million, a landmass approximately 2,000,000 square miles and a GNP exceeding $20 trillion dollars. He will control trading with the EU's biggest contributors, China and the Arab countries of the Middle East (who supply 98% of Europe's energy). What will be interesting is to see how the new EU President will look upon Israel now that the small Middle Eastern democracy has found vast reserves of oil and natural gas within its own borders. Will he view Israel as a competitive trading partner with the Arabs or as a threat to the EU's existing close relationship with the Arabs?

Here is what others say about Rompuy:

"A ruthless political operator" -- The London Telegraph

"Bland" -- Time Magazine

"Shrewd political operative" - The European Voice

"A camera-shy man who has been catapulted from relative obscurity....An avowed federalist, he has called for national symbols within the EU to be replaced by European symbols.
He has also called for a tax on financial transactions within the bloc to fund the EU." -- BBC News

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We are truly living in interesting times. (to quote an old Chinese curse)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Obama Administration Crying in Their Beer

Republican conservatives won big on Tuesday night's elections in Virginia and New Jersey, while Bloomberg barely held on to the Mayor's office in New York City, but managed to outspend and get enough votes to keep the seat in the Republican side of the tally.

The big question, however, is exactly what does this shift to the right mean? Is it a reflection on President Obama, the man? Or, is it a signal to the White House that people, while liking the man, are growing tired of his inability to bring about the change he promised and aren't necessarily pleased with the ways and means he and his administration have employed to try and bring about that change. I believe it to be the latter.

The President is still well liked, garnering a 57% likabability rating, and while that is down from the huge 72% he enjoyed soon after taking the oath of office, it is still in the stratosphere when compared to some past Presidents after they had been in office for a year in troubling times. What should be worrying the White House is who those voters were who turned out on Tuesday and cast their votes for conservatives and Republicans. It was moderates and independents, many of whom voted for Obama last year.

While members of the administration are publically saying these governor's elections in New Jersey and Virginia don't say much about the 2010 mid-terms, behind close doors they are worried, and they should be. With Pelosi and Reid saying that Obama's wish for a healthcare plan is on hold until 2010 and Obama's own failings in Afghanistan, a war he fully supported as a Senator and Presidential campaigner, people all across the country are finally beginning to realize that their man, as much as they may like him, is looking more and more like an empty suit. Like so many in the conservative movement tried to point out at the time, he is all flash with little substance. Just ask ex-Governor Jon Corzine. After 5 visits to that State on behalf of Corzine, the President was unable to move voters into the corrupted incumbent's corner as they went in droves over to his Republican opponent Chris Christie.

In last year's Presidential election Obama carried both New Jersey and Virginia in double digits. This year the Republican candidate for governor, Bob McDonnell, surpassed Obama's feat and carried the State with 59% of the vote. McDonnell's win brings to a close 8 years of Democratic control of the Virginia State House and it happened on Obama's watch. The Obama administration, regardless of their public demeanor, are crying right now in their beer at that picnic table on the White House lawn.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

News Outlets Rally Around Fox

It looks like President Obama and his administration headed up by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel may have bitten-off more than they could chew when they decided it was a good thing to take on one of the most successful American news outlets on television today. Obama and Emanuel put the Fox News cable channel directly in its sites and began a relentless campaign to cut-off the highly rated news channel from having access to the White House, members of the cabinet and other ancillary White House personnel, including military leaders and the various czars brought in by the President.

The Obama people likened Fox News to a highly flammable opinion piece instead of a legitimate news organization which I'm sure came as quite a shock to veteran news people like the award winning Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, Major Garrett, Bret Bair, Shepard Smith, and the countless other reputable and legitimate journalist that are employed by Fox.

It would appear that the 3 opinion shows seen on Fox News (Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity) have raised the ire of the President. Perhaps it isn't so much that two of these three are not journalist but conservative talking heads (Beck and Hannity) that have been highly successful in unearthing some not so flattering and news-worth information concerning many of the President's picks for positions in his cabinet and those he has chosen as czars to head up many internal positions of power. It was, after all, these non-journalists who revealed that Nancy-Ann DeParle, President Barack Obama’s health policy czar, had served as a director of several corporations that ended up facing various federal investigations, lawsuits and other regulatory actions. It was these non-journalists that exposed Obama's safe-school czar Kevin Jennings for his way of mis-handling an event in the past that dealt with a school kid's homosexual incident. Beck and Hannity were one of the first to show how Obama'pick for the Secretary of Treasurer was himself a tax evader...and the list just goes on and on with the likes of Holder (now Attorney General), Mark Lloyd and others. The real question everyone should be asking is not that people like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity seem to have an anti-Obama axe to grind, but why hadn't the mainstream media with their full task force of journalists been going after these definitely newsworthy stories. Why did it take non-newsies to get the ball rolling? It just so happens that these guys all work at Fox. They just as readily could have been on another network, in fact, Beck did work for CNN at one point and was just as avid and phobic when he graced their hallowed halls.

Today the White House tried to pull a Hugo Chavez and totally ban White House Fox News correspondent Major Garrett from being a part of the press pool, a position he has held with distinction for years. Fortunately for all of America and the Constitutional guarantee of a Free Press, all the major networks, both conventional and cable, joined forces with Fox and approached the White House with their own ultimatum -- Allow Fox News in as a full news partner or watch all major news outlets depart. Kudos to ABC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN for their courage in standing up to a President that continues to flex his muscles to see just how bullying he can be and just how much unconstitutional behavior he can get a way with. Of course, none of these other news outlets have any love for Fox News, since the station has consistently beat them all down in the ratings over the last several years. No, they locked arms around Fox today for self-preservation and hopefully to ensure the continued freedom of this nation. Let's face it, if the White House is willing to go after the strongest news agency in the biz, how much longer before one of them might be next if they should say or do anything that might upset the Obama plan?

This whole things reminds me of a scene from a promo for the upcoming ABC series "V" in which the visitor from another planet is about to be interviewed by a TV news reporter and he asks her if there is anything he can do for her before the cameras start rolling and her reply is "Just don't ask me anything that will show us in a bad light" and the reporter's stunned reply is "Excuse me!"

Friday, October 9, 2009

President Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize. Huh?

I have only one question: WHY?

There have only been two sitting Presidents to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. What has this one person done, not only in the last 9 months since taking office as President of the United States, but over the course of his entire life that would qualify him for such an honored and well respected prize? I'd just about lost all faith in the Nobel Prize effort after Yassar Arafat was given one and now after this the prize is dead to me, it has no honor left.

The Nobel Committee sited Obama's ability to give the American people and the world's people a sense of "hope for a better future" and for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples". Wow! When did he do that? If this is what it takes to win a Nobel Peace Prize these days then I can think of a ton more less notable persons right here in my own community who are far more qualified than President Obama. Perhaps this was his concillation prize for not getting the Olympic Committee to vote his way and bring the games to Chicago.

On the world stage there are even more who have truly proven themselves to be worthy of such recognition and Obama doesn't even rank as one who should be holding their coats. Right off the top of my head I can think of those brave women at the forefront of women's rights in Afghanistan, or the young people behind the Chinese dissident campaign, and the list could go on and on of far more worthier candidates - some known and more unknown.

I think I smells a rat here coming from the Nobel Committee. This smacks more of politics than true recognition of achievement. Could this be the Nobel Committee's way of throwing their own shoe at the previous President of this country, George W. Bush? Hints are given from a press release by a Committee spokesperson which lauded Obama for creating "a new climate in international politics". The Committee had been critical in the past of Bush's "unilateral military action," regardless of the fact that he had built a coalition of other countries to join him in the attack on Iraq and capture of Saddam Hussain.

Let's face it G.W. Bush was a very unpopular President and most of the world hated the fact that he was willing, if necessary, to do what he thought was best for democracy and the United States, regardless of what the rest of the world, or sometimes even his own citizens thought of him. Obama, on the other hand, has proven himself to be a spineless reed in the wind willing to bow to whatever contingent is blowing hardest at the time. Case in point, Israel has been a long-time friend and ally of this country, over 60 years of fellowship. But, this President is willing to sell them out just to keep the Arab world happy with him. He is even willing to listen to his sadly mistaken anti-semite advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski to shoot down Israeli planes if they attempt to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. Now we have this President opening the door to allow the Taliban a say in how the Afghanistan government is run. Haven't we lost the lives of American young men and women to ensure the Taliban no longer have any influence in the politics and lives of the Afghani people? Why would any person in their right mind even consider such a ridiculous action? That would be like Lincoln saying Lee could have a say in how the U.S. government should be handling the war with the Confederates. And now he is to be awarded for this reckless thinking and action with a Nobel Peace prize? We definitely have moved full-bore into a world in which evil is called good and good is called evil. Woe to a world in which we are forcefully driving our children and grandchildren! There will be hell to pay for our current actions.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Can U.S. Learn From Great Britain & the Former Soviet Union?

Afghanistan! It's a hard place, a stark environment, a rugged, ancient land that seems almost religious in its desire to remain in the dark days of antiquity and ignorance.

Over the last two decades it has become the seat of terrorism and the basecamp for the West's most feared and hated terrorists group called Al'Queda, the people responsible for the devastation of 9/11.

There are others in the land, particularly the Taliban, the warlord-type regime that ruled Afghanistan for nearly three decades and gave Al'Queda and its leader Usama Bin Laden safe haven for years. The Taliban rule was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and torture of Afghani citizens by adapting an extremist radical interpretation of Islam's Qur'an.

Some groups, such as RAWA, UFORJE and others are faint glimmers of light in the vast darkness, but for the most part, even after 8 years of American troop involvment, there remains very little hope that the country will be freed from the hard-closed fists of the various warlords, Taliban and Al'Queda supported factions.

The citizens of Afghanistan still have little in the way of real freedom of expression, freedom of religious worship, women's rights are all but non-existent, and their value remains less than that of a water buffalo.

Fortunately for those 50 years or older they now have several forms of government control to compare. From the 10-year occupation of the Soviet Union, through the Islamic fundamentalist control by the Taliban and now a pseudo-democratic process Karsi-led government and an 8-year U.S. troop presence. Question is, will the average citizen even bother to make those distinctions? After centuries of depression, oppression and subjection to the harshest of cruelties, are the Afghan people even capable of rising to the level of making that personal price of freedom for themselves?

As one who spent some time in that country 40-years ago I can honestly say that I'm not sure they are up to the task. One small sign of hope I do see coming out of the country is the fact that many common citizens are openly admitting that the time of the Taliban was the darkest period in their country's long and ancient history and, while they view Americans as occupiers, for the moment they are greatful for their presence. They see them as the only recourse to keeping the Taliban, still a force to be reckoned with, particularly in the north country, at bay as they take their first baby steps toward a fledgling democracy. While I am slightly optimistic at this news, I still view it with a jaundiced eye, knowing full well how opinions in that region can change on a dime when it relates to the West.

Nearly 6-years ago the Afghan people were given a taste of freedom when they elected their first democratically-formed government and chose Hamid Karzai as their new President. A one-time supporter of a monarchy, Karzai won re-election with nearly 55% of the vote in 2009. His government since has been snared in corruption and extortion.

This increased corruption and moderate police state-like activity of the Karzai government has allowed the Afghan people to see their new era of promised freedom begin to erode into life as usual. The sweet honey taste of freedom has turned to vinegar on the lips of many. The U.S. troops, after 8-years and regardless of their good intentions, are now seen more and more as occupiers on the same level as troops from the former Soviet Union. The common Afghani is no longer assured as he was in 2001 that the U.S. has his best interest at heart.

Many within Afghan's borders and those without who are keeping a very close eye on the situation are beginning to believe that regardless of President Obama's decision to either increase or decrease U.S. troop involvment, Afghanistan will soon revert to a full-scale civil war with the U.S. caught in the middle, making this war Obama's Vietnam. This, many believe will signal a return to the former warlord Taliban-styled government.

While I don't believe this will become America's new Vietnam, I must admit that we may be at a time when it matters little what a U.S. President decides as Afghanistan appears to be running headlong into its dark past.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Netanyahu Speaks Truth and Shame to UN Members

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the gathering of UN delegates today in New York City and accomplished in his speech the one thing U.S. President Obama failed to do when he took center stage at the General Assembly just yesterday. Netanyahu simply told the sitting delegates the hard truth with deep sincerity and honesty.

The Prime Minister verbally backed the UN members into a corner and forced upon them a rude awakening by proclaiming they are now faced with a very tough decision -- support Israel or State-sponsored terrorism!

His pronouncement came on the heels of the speech given yesterday by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that was laced throughout with hate, anti-semitism, holocaust denial and blatant disregard for Israel's right to exist. Many pro-democracy nations walked out of Ahmadinejad's disrespectful and hateful rant. Netanyahu took his time at the lectern to thank those who did so, for making such a public stand for liberty and condemnation of such hateful talk. For those nation members who stayed for the speech and even applauded Ahmadinejad's spiteful spewings Netanyahu had just one question - "Have you no shame?"

Today as the Israeli Prime Minister was invited to the podium many of those same delegates who praised Ahmandiejad departed the chamber before Netanyahu even began his first sentence. The Palestinian delegation filtered out over the course of the speech with only one female delegate left, and who eventually departed as well before the Prime Minister could finish.

Unlike the American President's speech the day before, the tenor from the Israeli Prime Minister was laced with hard-core facts concerning the real situation in the Middle East from the viewpoint of someone not new to the concern, but who has been in the front-line trenches for years versus only nine months. Netanyahu spoke eloquently about Israel's genuine desire to make a viable peace with its Arab neighbors. He reminded the gathered delegates that all through Israel's modern-day 62-year history whenever any Arab country or State desired real peace with them, Israel was more than willing to accommodate and seek out that peace. Netanyahu cited both Egypt and Jordan as perfect examples of how a successful and lasting peace was possible between such former bitter enemies. He also gave the delegates a refresher course in Middle East history, reminding his listeners that when this august body created a two-state solution in 1947 for the region it was the newly re-formed Israeli government and people who embraced it fully while every single Arab nation in the region rejected the notion of sharing the territory with a Jewish State and immediately surrounded and attacked the fledgling country hoping to destroy it as it emerged from the womb of the United Nations.

The Israeli Prime Minister was quick t point out that just like Egypt and Jordan, if Palestinians really desire peace then Israel would again embrace them as well. However, Netanyahu stated that as long as the UN allowed countries like Iran and Syria free-reign to usurp the ongoing peace effort between him and Palestinian leader Abbas by those nation's underhanded financial and military support of terror militant groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Al Queda, and others; then the failure of the peace rests squarely on the UN's shoulders, proving the critics of the world organization correct -- critics that say the UN has become nothing more than an irrelevant money-pit full of corrupt paper-pushers and money-grubbing opportunists with no real solutions for the world's problems or any power to make significant, positive change. The critic's pronouncement "The UN is a failed institution" will become a self-fulfilled prophecy.

If the UN allows this to happen then I can only echo the words of Benjamin Netnanyahu - "Have you no shame?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Obama on Late Night - Perfect Venue for the Broad Strokes

President Obama has found his niche'. He has the perfect platform for getting his message out and if the recent polls are any indication, he should stick to that strategy. What is it? Appearing on entertainment talk shows.

The President's appearance on David Letterman's "Late Night" this week gave the leader of the free world a much needed boost in his poll numbers that have been slipping since June. While the jump to the up column wasn't huge by any means, any move in that direction after his hot, hot, summer of trying to explain his healthcare measure is seen as a positive by his staff and media lovers.

On the show with Dave, the President was relaxed, informative and did impart that aura of leadership, calm in the face of uncertainty and boldness we Americans want to see in our President. He was funny, congenial, informative and given a nearly 45 minute platform to talk about whatever he wanted to get across to the American people in a relaxed, comfortable, non-agressive atmosphere. He basically shot a perfect score from the foul-line.

President Obama used his time on the late night talk venue to spread a full spectrum of generalities on subjects like health care coverage, our future policies dealing with terrorism, or how he put it - "Those folks over there," Iraq and Afghanistan and the economy. It was the perfect setup for a man who, behind close doors likes to dot every i and cross every t, but in a public forum such as this, prefers to paint with a very broad brush-stroke that is big in scope and very minute on detail - sort of Reagan-esq (in fact he even called on the Reagan name). But, let's face it - the Devil is in the details.

For those looking for that feel-good, "we got the right guy here" vibe then the President knocked it out of the ballpark with a grand slam homer. For those of us who can no longer get the same pleasure from just feeling good, he barely scored an undisputed infield single.

We don't need to be constantly told that we need to change the current health care coverage situation in this country, we are all bright enough to realize it needs fixing. Our question is -- "What's your actual plan?"

I will give the President cred for how he handled such questions as Iraq and the desire from some corners to either cut and run or increase our involvement in Afghanistan. His answers were thought-provoking, reasoned and the exact thing one wants to hear from their leader. He admitted, finally, that the world is a better and safer place without Sadaam Hussain holding the reins of power in Iraq, and kept to his promise that nearly all combat troops would be out of that country by the end of 2010 (or 2011 at the latest). When Dave suggested the President needed to move on a decision in Afghanistan, the President was quick to remind him, and all of us, that the situation there is not a simple one (just ask the Russians) and before he makes a final determination he will fully weigh the options of both sides drumming at his door because before he has to write another letter to a grieving parent or spouse about the loss of their loved one on foreign soil he wants to make sure that it was fully justified and necessary for the good of this nation's real security. However, in the most forthright statement ever delivered by him, either as a candidate or now as President, Obama made it perfectly clear that his primary job as the leader of this country and the main responsibility that voters gave him the office, was to defend and protect its borders, its people and its Constitution and that will be the foundation upon which he will make his final decision concerning our further military involvment in Afghanistan (or anywhere else we may be called upon to act). Good answer Mr. President. And, the audience thought so as well and responded with a huge applause.

On the various news outlets across the media much was made of Dave's "gushing" over the President. Sorry, didn't see that, other than his final comment to the President in which he stated "I love watching you work". What I did see was a truly engaged Letterman asking the same kinds of questions every citizen would love to be given the opportunity to ask our main leader face-to-face. What I didn't always get from the President was engrossing answers to most of them but the continued broad generalities one comes to expect from political leaders in office today. Can anyone ever simply answer Yes and No anymore?

I found very little to disagree with the President during his stint on Letterman. But, then again, there wasn't really a lot of substance there to agree or disagree with, so I turned off the tube after Dave waved goodnight feeling good about the last hour, feeling quite entertained, but not anymore knowledgeable about where the President is taking this nation then I did when he was introduced.

At least the President got something of substance from the show. He was gifted with a prized 2-year old heart-shaped potato by an audience member from the Show Me State of Missouri. I thought it was quite appropriate for the event.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ever Watchful - Always Vigilant

What should be of upmost concern to Americans in these early days of the 21st Century? I am of the opinion that all our current problems and concerns should be wrapped in a whole-cloth made of keeping a watchful eye on increased government instrusion in the personal and business life of its citizens, excessive and overbearing Federal, State and Local government regulation, the ongoing threat of terrorism, both domestic and international in origin, and ensuring the exercise of individual liberties guaranteed by this nation's Constitution, Declaration of Independance and Bill of Rights.

These were the same and similiar battles that past great leaders such as Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson warned their contemporaries of and the same one's we, as freedom-loving Americans, must remain ever vigilant to protect and defend.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Faith in Government Restored -- Slightly

Today the United States Congress did something unique. They overwhelmingly voted to strip the exceptionally scandalized ACORN from receiving any taxpayer federal funds. Only 75 congress members voted to keep this shoddy organization funded, while 11 Senators stayed the course for the corrupt institution. Unless those 86 represent very pro-ACORN constituents in their districts then they better find themselves a new day job come next election.

The only question I'm asking is -- why did it take members of Congress this long to cut ACORN's federal grant monies? The organization has been the center of corruption since its creation, has been investigated countless times by the various Attorney General's office, including close legal scrutiny in 12 different States.

Now anti-ACORN elements need to take this battle to the State level as this federal level cut-off only effects federally funding them, but this move by both houses of the legislature is a real step in the right direction.

And just when I was beginning to loose faith in the system they go and do something good! If they keep this up we political bloggers will have very little to talk about.

Which Weighs More in Lady Justice's Scale - Rudness or Lies

I've been down and out for a few days with a cold/flu (not H1N1) so will make this next entry a short one. It still deals with Rep. Wilson's outburst and response to a lying President.

Those who have been supporting Wilson's nailing Obama as a liar have been getting flack. Those in support of calling for Wilson's censure or discipline state his remark was rude, unproffessional and one past president (Jimmy Carter) even called his remark racist. Now that has gone just too far and Carter, already near the bottom of my list as a great person has now plunged himself into the depths of hell as far as I am concerned. It seems the only one's raising the race card in this are those with a mind vacant of a good argument and know they don't have truth on their side......so, whip out the tried and true rascism charge.

Everyone continues to be caught up in Wilson's outburst and forgetting the why of it all. Simply put.....Obama was lying to the American people from his bully pulpit presented to him by his majority-holding House members. Wilson just called him out for the lie. Somehow all this self-righteous rhetoric from those calling the congressman rude miss the overeaching fact of President Obama's blatant lie. I guess in our so-so politically correct world the scales of justice between being "impolite" or "rude" for outweigh being a liar.

But then again, perhaps we 60's radicals who didn't bypass that era may be a little more sensitive to lies when we hear them spoken so eloguently and smoothly as being the truth. Nearly all of us babyboomers came into this world fresh off the heals of the greatest liar of the 20th Century (Hitler) and we heard the same kind of smooth-talking lies for over 40 years from the likes of Johnson, Nixon, Clinton and GW Bush. It's a shame we didn't have someone sitting in the House chamber calling them out when those killers of humanity were in office. Well, the Dems did boo GW. I guess that counts for something.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rep. Joe Wilson Has No Reason to Apologize

During President Obama's speech last night (09/09/09) before the full Congress one emotionally charged representative shouted out "You Lie," during a poignant moment in the speech that dealt with Obama's health care proposal, how it would be paid for and the status of illegal aliens as it pertains to the bill. The discontented comment could be distinctly heard as it came during a lull in the speech and applause.

That member of the House was Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, and I deem him as a patriot in the same vein as our early founders for freely speaking out his disdain at what the President was saying since it was quite obvious to anyone with even a half a brain that Obama was once again shrilling political partisanship and hard left-leaning rhetoric in a speech that was suppose to bring healing between the parties and clarity to the issue of exactly where the President stood on health care reform and just how he would implement and pay for said plan.

Members of the event from both sides of the aisle were aghast at Wilson's "lack of decorum" during the event and even Wilson himself later apologized for blurting out his comment.

Listen Joe, you need not apologize for anything done or said last night. You exercised your right as a citizen of this country and as a leader of a large constituency of voting American citizens who oppose the President's slide into socialized, government-run health care coverage. You have nothing to be ashamed of, nor do you need to concern yourself over other members of your own party who judged you or the ugly leer from that hack sitting in the Speaker's chair. I congratulate you for your strength of character and willingness to hold back because if you are like most Americans who oppose the President's plan and his lefty croonies on this hot-potato issue then yelling "you lie" was likely just the tip of the iceberg of what you could have shouted out. If President Obama had been living and delivering this speech as little as 100 years ago he would have just as likely had a tomato or worse thrown at him from a fellow congressman.

Wilson was quite civil and used proper decorum. When did it become un-statesmanlike to shout out a disagreement at our President from a fellow elected official or even an average citizen? When did we become less of a democratic republic founded on the bedrock of independent thinking and right of expression? I must have missed the memo that said being politically correct and agreeably quiet at a time of sharp differences is now the accepted norm.

Rep. Joe Wilson - a word to you. You keep right on voicing your concern over this President's or any other person's policies that you find reprehensible. That goes for the rest of the citizens of this country as well because the minute we put aside our basic, constitutionally guaranteed rights for the sake of civility and PC-like behavoir is the day you can kiss the country's existence goodbye.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Obama's Speech to School Kids -- Adults Need to Hear It Too!

Today President Obama delivered a speech via a classroom in Virginia, through the internet and Live TV to school students from kindergarten through 12th grade of high school. It was probably his most memorable speech and a truly Presidential moment since coming to office nearly 9 months ago.

It wasn't political or partisan in nature, but given from the heart of a father who has his own school-aged children.

The President kept focused on the issue at hand, American kids and their future leadership of this country and the world, and how those seeds of leadership are being sown in their lives now by their learning and school studying habits.

I can easily see the President sitting down with his two daughters and giving them this same speech in the comfort of their living room. That is how he came across, a caring father giving straight forward, real experienced-learned advice to the next two generations who will take this nation further into this millenium.

There was no hint of liberalism or conservatism or any kind of ism in his heart-to-heart talk with our nation's kids. He told it truthfully, honestly, heartfully and without any political bull or mud-slinging.

He reminded us all of the responsibility inherent within all of us in ensuring kids get the best opportunity to learn and grow. Parents, teachers, government leaders, but most importantly, the President stressed the importance of the responsibility the children have for their own learning.

One of the most memorable lines from the speech was -- "Where you are right now doesn't have to determine where you'll end up. No one's written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future."

Those are the words of an American President. Not a liberal, not a conservative, not a moderate, not a socialist, but simply a man, a father, a President concerned for the future of this nation's kids and this nation's role.

Kudos Mr. President. Now, can you show this same kind of leadership and non-partisanship for the other important issues before us today? If you can, then like Presidents Kennedy and Reagan before you, nothing will impede the success and progess of America as the role model for a true democratic republic, purveyor of good will and protector of the people.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Michael Moore - Fat, Nuts and Evil

Some filmmakers are brilliant, others ordinary and some just plain crazy or deluded. However, the so-called documentary filmmaker Michael Moore is not crazy, but I do think he is nuts and evil in the extreme.

In the beginning I believe Mr. Moore really did intend to simply expose some of the rot that was festering within the roots of the American culture. His first big success was as a writer and director with "Roger and Me." This 1989 film honestly exposed some of the corruption that led to the General Motors plant closing in Flint, Michigan which cost the jobs of over 30,000 employees. The film showed Moore's journey in trying to interview then GM CEO Roger Smith. It was critically praised and was Moore's only true documentary. He had no personal agenda or any kind of political axe to grind (if so he didn't reveal it in this film), but simply sought out the truth behind the plant closing.


Following the success of "Roger and Me" came "Bowling for Columbine". And, while Moore did begin with a sincere look at some American citizen's dogmatic love of guns, it quickly slid into an undeserved view that all gun owners were crazed maniacs on the prowl to shoot anything that moves. The film did offer up a poignant and in-depth interview of both the anti and pro gun lobbies found in the United States. The film also successfully exposed some disturbing elements that can be found within American culture, tendencies of overt violence made more violent by the use of easily obtainable handguns, but then Moore, in his own angry way came off preachy, the last thing a true documentary should ever convey.

His last two films "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Sicko" dropped all pretentiousness to being a documentary and were overt expressions of Moore's own paranoia, socialist agenda and quick slide into self-centered expose'.

Now comes his newest venture titled "Capitalism: A Love Story". This film claims that Moore is returning to his roots of documentary filmmaking and, like his ever expanding waistline, has bloated up to take on, not just General Motors, but the entire corporate mindset that is behind every aspect of the American way of life known by its more simplistic name of capitalism. Moore sets out to expose this corporate evil dogma of capitalism claiming it is at the heart of all that is wrong with the United States, how it is spreading and corrupting the rest of the planet. Moore uses the "evils" of capitalism as the blame for all the world's ills...its propensity for violence, abuse, its lies and betrayals and the basic cause of why we humans, particularly those evil Americans, act and do the things we do. If we could only remove capitalism from the equation, according to Moore, then all would be right with the world. This film leaves no room for doubt that Michael Moore is beyond nuts. He is a man with the capitalistic means to spread his evil agenda of destroying the foundations of what made this country a beacon of modern human civilization. A country that millions of people have run to for a chance to succeed in life, not run and hide from. A country that still opens its borders to those who wish to come here legally and if willing to work hard can have the same opportunity as all those who came before to make a better life for themselves, their families and their prosperity. Moore, with his hate of the very foundations of this democratic republic, is out to destroy that very ideal. Moore sums up his film by saying "Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil." What is unique here is that this is the only country on the planet in which Mr. Moore could ever succeed in expressing his evil views so publicly without fear of imprisonment or governmental interference with his ever-expanding personal lifestyle. That evil U.S. Constitution, the same one that allows gun ownership, also guarantees Mr. Moore that right of self-expression, as it does me to print this column.

And, he stands to make a pretty penny doing it as well. So much for the evils of capitalism and democracy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

How Green are our Pastures?

The other day I was driving along a road I generally take home located just outside of town less than a mile. I went by the same field I have gone past for several years but that day I actually paid attention to everything around me. The field is several thousands of acres of rich farmland and it was sown to the hilt with corn. The stalks were tall, plump, full of corn. The other thing I noticed is that the stalks were being left alone, allowed to dry out and become somewhat stunted. It was then I realized that this mega-field of corn was not being grown for human or animal consumption but would soon be harvested for my gas tank.

Yes, corn, the one-time farming staple of our vast plains States and the foundation of every diet througout the world has become the foodstuff of machines.

Do I have a problem with this? Not really! However our farmers can make a buck and still meet an important need in the world's economy and environment is all well and good with me.

You see, what I have a problem with is this. Since I was, for once in my life, paying particular interest in this farmer's land as I was driving by I noticed one other important feature that is becoming a sad landmark throughout the midwest farming communities -- A For Sale Sign -- was also a part of the landscape.

Checking into the reasons why this land was up on the sales-block I learned that about a year ago the ever-expanding city has encroached on this parcel of land and enclosed it as part of the city through re-zoning. Now, what was once deemed land for farm use, making it eligible for certain tax benefits, is now just another piece of land within city limits subject to all kinds of land taxes.....and, anyone who even owns a small 130X60 lot of city land knows how expensive that is....so, you can only imagine what the tax bill for this farmer has become.

It would seem that there is no way this land could ever produce enough corn, soybean or any other kind of crop that will meet the endless money-pit known as city hall. The only thing left for the farmer? Sell the thousands of acres now inside city limits in hopes a developer will grab it up. If so the farmer will make more in that one land deal then his entire family made off that same land over the last 100 years. Of course, just how much of that money the farmer actually gets to keep will be left up to the city comptroller.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Can Obama Succeed With Peace Where All Others Have Failed?

U.S. President Obama is about to step into that dubious Middle East ring and act as referee between Israel and the Palestinians. My hope is he will succeed where every other U.S. President for the last 60 years has failed -- bring about an actual, working, fair and equitable, long-lasting peace between these two rivals for the holy ground they both claim as their own.

As much as I want to see all of Obama's socialist ideas for the U.S. fail, this is one area that I really do want him to succeed. There has been enough killing, heartache, pain and suffering on both sides of that conflict in the Middle East. It is now time for real progress in the region before it finally blows like a seething inferno.

According to an exclusive interview to be aired on Fox News, Israeli President Shimon Peres will announce that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will sit down together during their trip to the U.N. at the end of this September. President Obama has been asked by both parties to act as moderator of the talks between the two leaders. No one is really sure of what, if any, influence Obama can bring to bear on these talks, but if past comments from the President are any indication, don't be surprised to see him lean more a little in favor of the Palestinian side of the equation and may even use some foot-to-the-neck political techniques on Netanyahu. I personally am not sure what the Israeli Prime Minister thinks will come of this meeting with Obama acting as a go-between. The President has already made it quite clear in past and recent speeches that he feels Israel needs to put a permanent freeze on future settlements in the disputed areas and must also recognize the West Bank terrorists as viable negotiating parties. He has also indicated that he isn't opposed to dividing up Jerusalem. None of these proposals from the American President sit well with the majority of the Jewish citizens in Israel (96% oppose such radical moves), or with those living right here in the U.S. (the majority of which voted for Obama). Therefore, one must ask why Netanyahu even bothers to go along with it.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, will result from these talks. My guess is more of the same -- Israel making concessions it can ill afford, and a lot of hope for peace but very little real gaining of that elusive prize.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Oil is the God of the New Millenia - Just ask Gordon Brown

Most thinking folk have always realized that oil is one of the main barganing chips in almost all international negotiations, especially when dealing with the Middle East. Wars have been fought over its possession and countries have gone broke because of it while others have attained great financial wealth due to it; while all the time the entire world's population has been killing themselves and its own environment by using it. But -- Oil remains today's king-maker and back-room decision-dealer.

This fact became crystal clear this week after it was acknowledged that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's decision to let Lockerbi bombing terrorist Abdel Baset al-Megrahi leave the Scottish prison system and return home to a Lybian hero's welcome from Libia's people and leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, was not based on humanitarian reasons as was first released to the press, but for some kind of special deal from Lybia pertaining to some very lucrative oil contracts.

Abdel Baset al-Megrahi is reportedly suffering from prostate cancer and wished to die in his home country of Lybia. I'm sure all 270 passengers aboard Pan Am Flight 103 were wishing the same thing about 10 seconds before it plummeted into the icy waters.

One must begin to ask the question of just what value are we as a human race willing to place on our lives, the lives of our children and all those who are yet to come? How many barrels of oil would buy 270 lives? I guess we will soon know the answer to that one once the real dollar (sterling pound) amount of those lucrative contracts is finally revealed. At least the next time I board a plane for a domestic or international flight I will have some idea what the governments of this world think my value as a human being is. That should give me great comfort when I'm cruising at 30,000 feet.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy Dead at 77

It is said we are not to speak ill of the dead so I'll just say -- R.I.P. Teddy and say hi to Mary Jo for me.

Health Care Public Option - Am I Bashing?

I generally get grief from some of the folks I know from Canada and other countries that live under a government controlled or sponsored health care system. Those of my friends in Canada are especially touchy on the subject when I get their system in my sites. Most claim that since I have never been under their system I am in no position to judge it...and, in large part that is true, but the same applies to those living outside this country who would bash the system here in the United States.

While having not lived under the Canadian system, I have lived under the system the Canadian one was based on and forged from. Therefore, the double-standard does not wholly apply here. However, I will give you that I have not lived under Canada's health care system as it currently is...but, I am familiar with some who have and they, for the most part, agree with my assessment of it.

I am just as hard on our own system here in the United States. The current modus operandi gives insurance bureaucrats far too much power in deciding what is and isn't medically needed. That needs to change and do so quickly. However, it might all be moot since today it was discovered that, just like the pharmaceutical companies, the insurance companies are in bed with the current administration and are willing to take the public perception media hit because the Obama administration is promising them a lowering of their current coverage liability from 80% to as low as 65% without the same decrease in premium costs which will, except for the very rich in this country, drive most everyone else out of the private sector of health coverage and straight into the arms of the public option. Government and Insurance companies are both playing the sleaze card on this one and most Americans will be left with no choice but the handout and leavings of Uncle Sam. That's another nail in the coffin of American life as we have come to know it and another tear in the Constitution.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Obama's upcoming Attack on the State of Israel

According to Debka.com, an Israeli open-source intelligence paper based in Jerusalem, President Obama is about to do something that could turn out to be the turning point, and quite possibly, the spell of doom on his presidency. Debka and One Jerusalem are claiming that the President is getting ready to put on a tremendous amount of pressure on Israel to turn over their sovereignty of Jerusalem, as well as a complete ban on settlements in the disputed territories and calling on the Israeli government to formally acknowledge the West Bank terrorist-led State.

Besides the crucial issue of having an undivided Jerusalem as the recognized capital of the country of Israel (which is composed of both Jewish and Arab voting and tax-paying citizens) the other hot issue is the question of whether or not Jewish citizens of the State of Israel are to be allowed to buy land and build homes anywhere in Jerusalem.

President Obama will make his (as Jerusalem One calls it) ambush of Israel at the upcoming opening UN Assembly. His first partner in this crime is Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a supposed ally of Israel. Of course the United States is also a supposed ally, at least it has been since its founding nearly 60 years ago. Is all that about to change with Obama? One might be led to think so.

The problem with the Obama/Mubarak proposal is both simple and complex. Asking Israel to recognize the West Bank terrorist state would be like asking the American government to recognize and openly negotiate with Al'Queda. Not very wise. Giving any terrorist organization that kind of legitimate claim to public recognition is naive at best and disastrous at worse. Israel played that game with the Palestinian Liberation Organization and that effort has proved fruitless at best for both sides of the table. The only thing it has done is weaken the PLO and strengthen the more hard-lined terror group HAMAS, granting them unprecedented political power in the region that they would have never achieved otherwise.

Asking Israel to govern from a divided capital in Jerusalem would have been equivalent to asking President Abraham Lincoln to divide Washington, DC and give the Confederacy the southern half as their capital. Not only is that foolhardy but just plain stupid.

While a spokesperson for President Obama was quick to deny Mubarak's press release that the American President was finishing up a proposed peace agreement between Israel and Palestine that would entail the realignment of Jerusalem's borders, it must be kept in mind that despite scant assurances from the President, Israel, for the first time since the days of Jimmy Carter, does not have a real friend in the White House.

With the President revving up the pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the settlements and now this supposed restructuring of the walls of Jerusalem in question and the fact that current polling in Israel shows that the majority of Jewish voters don't want a freeze on new Jewish settlements - this could spell some new hard days for Israel. They held firm during such onslaughts in the past, but those were the days when the U.S. was a staunch friend and ally. Now with the support of an old friend waning, Israel may once again have to rely on that one source that has carried them along for nearly 6,000 years and kept them buoyed in troubled waters.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Obama Learning the Difference Between Running For and Being President

In his first real challenge to the man's obvious political savvy and personal charisma President Obama is finally learning the difference between campaigning for the office of President and being President of the United States.

Except for some early trailing in the polls against the then Senator Clinton, Obama's track to the Presidency was a wide open trail-blazing precedent-setting historical event. First he was the only African-American candidate to win an overwhelming approval rating across the board encompassing favor with every race and ethnic group of all ages and economic status. He was young, fresh, full of spunk and vigor promising change and new ideas to challenge the decaying status quo that had been devouring the heart of American politics for nearly two decades. Not since the campaign of Ronald Reagan had the political front seen such excitement.

One other thing Obama had that was new and never been experienced in American politics before was a total lack of any real scrutiny from the press. Most of the mainline press outlets from the 4th estate were openly tripping over themselves trying to get on board the Obama fan-wagon. Senator McCain didn't stand a chance!

Obama won the election and for his first 100 days has had pretty much smooth sailing, and of course, an overwhelming Democratic House majority and a filibuster-proof Senate certainly hasn't hurt him getting his "change" agenda rifled through and bills signed. Everything from increased Government oversight (takeover) of the banking industry, passing stimulus bills that promise to halt unemployment (which to date has yet to show positive results), basically nationalizing the American auto industry..and more on the horizon.

But, there could be hope on that horizon for, if not stopping the runaway Obama Train in its tracks, at least slowing it down a bit. And who would of thought it would happen with the President's campaign pet project called Universal Healthcare.

Americans by the thousands are showing up at town hall meetings, millions have written or emailed their representatives, as well as the White House, to express their deep concern over the President's desire to basically turn our current system into an EU clone of healthcare provision. The Obama Socialism Train seems to be running out of fuel as members of his own party (the so-called Blue Dog Democrats), after hearing from their constituency, are slowly backing away from the station to await another train. Hopefully, it is the train of common sense, free enterprise and democracy.

Faced for the first time with a real challenge to his ability to lead the President is doing exactly what all his predecessors have done in the past and as he should do - hitting the trail to face the public face-to-face and is he ever getting an ear-full. After the so obviously prepared set-up town hall in New Hampshire, Mr. Obama is now hearing from all citizens (and they are being civil) and the first thing he does is begin backing down from his most desired part of healthcare - the public option.

That one statement from him and certain members of his cabinet about accepting a bill without that option got him cheers from his critics and those who oppose it, but then --- WHAM! the President gets hit upside his proverbial political head from his staunchest supporters, the ultra-liberal left of his own party. Pelosi, Reid and others came out firing with both barrels at the President and the reality of his true situation is just now slowly beginning to dawn on him. He isn't this champion of change, this great charismatic giant of politics, this almost revered man of the people -- No, he is the President of the United States caught in the middle of two factions that have been in a verbal (and sometime physical) war with each for decades and he alone must somehow find a way - get ready for it - to do the most difficult thing for a man like him to do - Govern by COMPROMISE!

Welcome to the center seat Mr. President. The fun is over, the easy task is done. It is now time to prove your ability or inability to be a true leader of the people and defender of the Constitution.

I wish you well.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Robert Novak - A Real Giant is Gone

Political journalist Robert Novak has died at the age of 78 after a year long hard fought battle with brain cancer.

Robert was a fixture for years on CNN's The Capital Gang, Inside Politics and Crossfire, as well as Meet the Press and Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields, and for the last few years special political commentator for Fox News.

Ostensibly a conservative, what made Robert unique was his fearless approach to getting at the truth of a matter even if it meant the downfall of a conservative political ally.

Robert wasn't concerned about ideology as much as truth getting. He made members of both parties shake in their boots if he got the scent of something going on that was awry with a politician or a bill in Congress.

President Nixon loathed the man, which is a good barometer of just how great Robert was at his job of getting at the heart of a matter and also proved to be a real positive for his journalistic career.

If a major story broke, you can bet Robert was in the mix and quite likely responsible for breaking it in the first place. A registered Democrat, despite his conservative bent, Robert would go head-to-head with members of his own party. A strong proponent for small government, low taxes made him a threat to his own party, but his strong opposition to the Iraq war and the spend-happy Republican congress led by the Bush administration also made him person-non-grata in the White House during the Bush/Cheney tenure.

Robert's political contacts in Washington and throughout the world were staggering. He was one of the best connected journalist and political columnists (for Creators Syndicate) in the history of the news business, granting him information long before any other reporter or journalist. Sometime that got him into trouble, like the time Richard Armitage told him that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative, a fact that Novak quickly confirmed and reported in his daily column. The revelation led to an extensive investigation by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

Despite the few and far between mishaps, the majority of Robert's career was spent garnering information and getting the straight facts out to the American public with a conviction and fervor that isn't likely to be matched in a long time.

RIP "Prince of Darkness". You will be greatly missed.

True Faith Must Be Challenged

In what follows it should be understood that one thing I would never want to do is purposefully destroy someone's faith. However, I do challenge everyone to intelligently look at their faith, whatever it may be, and examine it with an unjaundiced eye. After all, faith in a real truth has nothing to fear. I believe it was Jesus himself who said that He came to bring truth and "you shall know the truth and it will set you free." I only want everyone to really know why and what it is they believe and does it fit into what this man many believe to be a Messiah and God would call "the Truth."

First let me address a well-worn argument that pertains to the first Christian believers. I will try to summarize it in a few sentences. Basically, the question being pondered is -- "Why would a group of simple businessmen and everyday folk give up everything they have come to know, believe in and respect to follow one man and his teachings...even to the point of sacrificing their families and lives?" It is a good question and one I have often asked about others in the world who have dropped everything to follow a certain man, creed or doctrine, even if doing so meant their ultimate death. I have asked that about those early followers of Simon the Wizard, millions of Arabs who have followed Muhammed, those hundreds of thousands of Jews who fervently followed Shimon Bar Kochba against the Romans and Sabati Zvi, the infamous false Messiah. Or, in more contemporary times Rev. Sun Yung Moon, Rev. Jim Jones, Jim & Tammy Faye, Jimmy Swaggart and the list just goes on and on.

What ability did all these leaders (or their teachings) have on those that have come into contact with them and given up all to follow blindly along? Once we can agree on the real answer to it, perhaps we can put an end to it once and for all...but I am not holding my breath. What one thing they do have in common, at least on the superficial surface, is something all humans want desperately -- HOPE! Paul got one thing right in all his writings...."these three abide, Faith, Hope and Love." As long as there is someone out there peddling any are all of these three, that person will gather around him a mass following no matter how ludicrous the rest of what they have to say or do is. People starve for faith, hope and especially love and there will always be predators out there to spoon feed them just enough of it to get them hooked on their tale of.....as Penn Jillette likes to call it ....Bullshit!

The following treaties is directed to those who believe the bible to be the infallible word of God. To those Christians, anyone claiming to be a Christian but not believing one of those basic tenets of faith as laid out in 2 Timothy 3:14-17 are not true Christians but are pretenders, no matter how well intentioned they may be.

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NIV)

The presupposition of official Christianity is that the Bible, was originally written down by people inspired by God, and as such is the infallible word of God in written form; has all the divinely inspired answer to the problems faced by humanity and the Earth. It has been accepted that some problems in translation do exist, however, the official Christian stance is that God Himself maintains the integrity and accuracy of His words through the work of the Holy Spirit even in its varied translated forms.

Faith is all well and good and a necessary part of being able to live and function each second of our lives. After all, without faith who would drive across a bridge spanning thousands of feet over empty space, or climb aboard an airplane, etc, etc. However, faith not based on substantial fact is not real faith but fantasy and wishful thinking. We have ample proof of that over the centuries. Just look at Sabati Zvi, Simon the Wizard, Jim Jones, Jim and Tammy Faye, Jimmy Swaggart (a lot of Jims out there asking for nothing but your faith) and a whole host of others who want you to put aside the facts and "just have faith" in their particular woven tale. Now on to the subject of the resurrection of Jesus:

According to the real founder of Christianity, the apostle Paul, the entire Christian belief-system stands or falls on one single alleged fact: that being, the resurrection of Jesus. In the apostle's own letter to his Corinthian believers he said this -- "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless" (1 Corinthians 15:17).

That is a very powerful claim. Resting everything on an event witnessed first-hand by no one. But not being witnessed does not necessarily mean we can't put the pieces of the so-called primary event together into an actual picture puzzle that makes rational sense so that if it be a true fact, one's faith can rest assuredly on its solid foundation and not on the sifting sands of other so-called purveyors of the Almighty.

All that follows will come from the Christian account. Not those who have spent a lifetime trying to prove or disprove the event, but simply the words of the Christian documents themselves. They will simply speak for themselves if they speak truth or falsehood. I will do nothing more than ask some relevant questions as it pertains to these document's claims.

One thing must be kept in mind when reading these texts from the Christian bible. As I mentioned earlier, they have been claimed by Paul, Stephen, Peter and other alleged writers of the texts to be wholly (and holy) inspired by God, the Holy Spirit, and without error or contradiction. (Acts 7:55, 6:10)

One of the first questions one is forced to ask is "Exactly where did Jesus go from the time of his crucified death to his alleged 'bodily' resurrection?" And, we are talking bodily resurrection not some spiritual one. Jesus supposedly made that clear when his physical body was missing only after 3 days of burial, asked Thomas to put a finger in his wound on the side of his body and he ate a piece of fish to prove to those standing around that his body, while of a resurrected state, was still capable of corporeal affection. So, where did Jesus venture off to between these two crucial events in his life (and death)?

Did he take a trip to heaven - the throne of God? According to Luke 23:43 the answer is yes -- "today you shall be with me in paradise." But then we have the Garden tomb area (John 20:17) account with his post-resurrection statement to Mary Magdalene, "touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to the Father." So, which is it - Paradise THIS DAY or I HAVE NOT YET ASCENDED - ? We won't even touch the accepted Christian doctrine that Jesus descended into hell and took all the souls out of the bosom of Abraham and brought them to heaven during this same time.

Real confusion arises in the Christian gospels agreeing on who saw whom first. John 20:1 says Mary Magdalene was the first to approach the tomb and she was alone when she paid the visit. However, the writer of Matthew 28:1 disagrees and says it was Mary Magdalene and another woman also named Mary (Matthew 28:1). Luke 24:10 adds a third person on this first visit not even spoken of by the other two writers. Her name was Joanna. Now along comes Mark. Mark's account is well documented to be the oldest of all four accepted gospels, written somewhere between 30 to 50 years after the supposed events they report on. All the others are between 80 to 100 years later, with John's account being the last written of all four, probably between 100 and 150 years after the events. Also, the oldest known accounts of Mark's gospel don't even mention the resurrection but simply end with the death of Jesus. Several years later the latter verses of Mark 16 were added. This is an undisputed academic fact and I see no need to elaborate on that here. There is plenty of evidence in scholarly works available to anyone interested in studying them. With the later additions to Mark's gospel, a resurrection account was added and that entry states that there were the two Mary's on hand and a third woman named Salome. No mention of a Joanna (Mark 16:1).

One would think that for such an important event which acts as the foundation for the entire belief-system the simple matter of determining Jesus' whereabouts and precisely who was at the tomb and when would have been worked out so that there was agreement between all parties. But, let's move on.

Once these unknown number of folks reached the tomb, was there anyone there to greet them. Was Jesus there? Perhaps a groundskeeper, or maybe some angels? It would appear that the four transcribers of the event couldn't quite agree on this simple matter either.

Matthew 28:2 & 5 says a single angel was sitting outside the tomb upon the arrival of visitors to Jesus' tomb. However, Luke 24:4 disputes that and says no one was outside, but there were two men (not angelic beings) standing inside the tomb area. Mark's later added account disagrees and says there was only one man inside the tomb awaiting them. John 20:1,2 says there wasn't anyone - angel or men - there to meet the tomb visitors.

Thanks goodness we don't have to rely on these four witnesses of this important event for court room evidence during a murder trial.

Anyway, now that at least Mary Magdalene is at the tomb, did she receive any kind of word of warning concerning the resurrection before her actual encounter with Jesus? On this three of the gospel writers do agree and say yes she did (Matthew 28:5; Mark 16:6; and Luke 24:5). However, the youngest of the gospel accounts totally disagrees with the three older versions of the story and says that it was Jesus himself, and not another, who first reveals himself to Mary that he was alive and well. See John.20:14-17.

Okay, at least we have all four agreeing that Mary was the first to either see Jesus, hear from him directly, or at least got the message from some other source that Jesus was resurrected. Whew! I was getting a little worried that these accounts might not be so trustworthy. Wait, Oh no another major dis-accounting of what may, or may not have taken place. Matthew 28:8-9 says that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene on a road, but John 20:14-17 says it took place, not on the road to (or from) the tomb but at the actual tomb site. Comon! Now I'm getting a little frustrated over these four guys inability to just tell it like it was and not what they wanted it to be.

I guess the next question to ask would have to do with how the other listed woman reacted to the news of the resurrected Jesus. Now, when these women were first told that Jesus had risen, did they fearfully keep the news to themselves as the later addition to Mark's gospel claims (Mark. 16:8)? Or, did they immediately rush to inform the rest of Jesus' disciples as reported by Luke. 24:9 and Matthew 28:8? Which was it I wonder -- Keep it secret or spill the beans? I guess it's up to you to decide. Fortunately if you had been living in the 1st & 2nd century (when this new faith was growing) you would only have to agree with whatever gospel account was available in your city, town or village. Today however, we have all four to compare and the discrepancies are just too obvious to ignore.

Now let's get back to our supposed key witness -- Mary Magdalene. Was her initial report to the disciples a hearsay account of what she had been told by those two men found in Luke 24:9 or, was it her own first-person account of an actual visitation by the risen Jesus as reported by John 20:18? Again, you decide which is true and false.

Then there are those pesky disciples. What have they been doing all this time? Most gospel accounts agree they were in hiding. Of course though they can't seem to decide if they were still hiding in Jerusalem or scattered around the Galilee. More importantly though is when and where Jesus made his revelation to them. Was it in Jerusalem with the eleven remaining as Luke 24:33 & 36 claims. Or, possibly many miles away in the Galilee as reported by Matthew 26:16 and Mark 16:7 & 14. John has them meeting up with Jesus in Jerusalem, only its ten not eleven because Thomas was off doubting somewhere during this visit. See John 20:10, 19, 24.

Paul really goes out on a limb and says Jesus appeared to all twelve disciples (1 Corinthians 15:15). Funny how this event took place before Judas' replacement vote occurred in Acts 1:26. Paul can be forgiven I suppose since he was just a babe in diapers at this time and wasn't actually there to witness it himself, so getting that little fact wrong is understandable. Oops! No, sorry, it can't because all these writings are Holy Spirit inspired and without error, so while Paul may not have been there, the Holy Spirit directing his writing hand certainly was. Wonder why the error then? Humpf! Will have give that one some thought. I have often wondered who was this number 12 disciple Paul was referring to though. Surely Paul knew Judas was already dead by this time (Matthew 27:5), but then again, maybe that lends some credibility to the Judas gospel after all. Time will tell.

All these discrepancies must lead even the most thinking faithful to ask the following question: "Would it be prudent to base even the simplest decisions of everyday life upon reports and witnesses which were so obviously inconsistent and contradictory?" That leads to the even more important question then, "Does it make sense to do so when one's eternal salvation is at stake?"

Monday, August 17, 2009

The First 200-plus pages of the 1018 Pages of House Healthcare Bill Analyzed

Purusing HB3300; America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, just off the cuff I notice one thing contained in the bill that shows just how much this bad boy will cost (and it's only a projection of how much). The bill states that an initial $2 billion will be needed to cover 90 days worth of claims. That's approx $8 billion a year just for year one. The bill stays in effect for 10 years, so not counting inflationary costs and how badly government projections have been in the past, that cost to tax payers will be in the ball park of another $80 billion to $1 trillion dollars added to this nation's already bloated $1.3 trillion dollar deficit. Oh yeah. Now I see the plan of all you folks outside this country clammering for us to initiate a governement run universal healthcare coverage plan. You want America on universal health care because it will be the last straw that finally breaks the back of the terrible, evil American Empire and brings down this nation just as other great powers have been brought low in the past. Can I get a high-five from such past greats -- Great Britain and France....yo!

Oh God there's more. And keep in mind, this is just one of the bills under consideration in the Congress. But here are some more of my findings pertaining to the bill in question:

GOOD THINGS found so far:

A qualified health benefit may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusionary clause.

Early baby and child wellness program will be instituted under the plan.

Now for more of the BAD THINGS in this one of several bills under consideration:

How this plan affects all other health care plans available --

Title I, Subtitle A, Section 101
"On or after the 1st day of Y1, a health benefits plan shall not be a qualified plan under this division unless the plan meets certain applicable requirements established by this 'government' plan."

So...your privately owned health care could go bye bye if the government deems it doesn't meet their requirements. Even if you're happy with your current plan, you may have to kiss it good bye. It has been estimated that this one clause in this bill could cause as many as 93 million workers to loose their current employer sponsored plan, even if they like their employer option.

Also Part II (A) states that there is a 5-year grace period for private plans to meet government requirements. Hmmm, doesn't sound like choice to me.

This bill, as currently written, grants the Secretary of Health and Human Resources the authority to enter contractual agreements with the lowest bidder of healthcare insurance providers. This reminds me of a statement I once heard said by an astronaut. He said that every time the Shuttle lifts off from Earth strapped to those powerful rockets, all onboard are reminded that their lives are in the hands of NASA's lowest bidder of rocket technology. Do American's really want their healthcare decided by the government's lowest bidder?

"Payment rates for practitioner's services otherwise established under Section 1848 of the Social Security Act shall be applied without regard to the provisions under subsection (f)........." In other words, just like Medicare, regardless of what it actually costs a hospital, clinic, lab or doctor's office to perform a procedure, the government will only pay amount the amount specified in Section 1849 of the Social Security Act. Let me tell you why that is a bad thing. Right now (I work in healthcare) it costs x dollars to do a test. There is no getting around that. Materials and time have a rate applied to them. They are what they are. Certain medical equipment, drugs, salaries, etc. have a certain cost. However, the government fully aware of the actual costs will only reimburse for a small (very small) percentage of it and the provider (hospital, doctor, etc) cannot legally go after the patient for the remaining amount. They can bill for it, but if that patient is on Medicare or Medicaid, they cannot go after the payment for what the government won't pay. Result, hospitals, offices, etc slowly begin operating in the red and over time must either cut back on services, cut workers or their benefits, or go out of business (which a lot of doctors are now doing). Here in America, under a fully run government system you will see a sharp decline in physicians and services that will take literally decades to recover from if this or a similar bill is enacted into law.

This bill's Annual Limitation Clause:
Here is something that you won't hear the President or his media cronies talk about. It's the Annual Limitation Clause.

The annual limit for an individual is $5000 (USD) and $10,000 (family) with increases rounded to the nearest $100 (USD) per year. Coverage will = 70% only. Even the most basic private plan available to American's today gives 80% coverage. This lack of acceptable coverage will require the purchase of a government approved supplemental insurance plan (just like the EU plans) to cover the rest. So, your taxes will go up to pay for this plan, plus you will shell out more money for a supplemental plan, and you still won't be covered 100%, so you can continue counting on out-of-pocket expenses as well. Sounds like a great deal to me...sign me up now!

Why Do We Need Universal Health Care for All in America?

Why do we need universal healthcare? Why not just have a government program like Medicare for citizens who can't get insurance for whatever reason. Why make it open to those who already have and are happy with their current plans.

Any employer in his/her right mind will not spend the thousands and millions on healthcare coverage for their employees if there is a government run universal plan available out there. Most of the expense for companies is employee benefits like healthcare and pension plans. My hospital employees around 5000 people. Their benefit costs are millions every year. Do you think they would continue with that if the government opens up a plan for all its citizens? Not hardly. That is why it is imperative not to forget the importance of choice. It doesn't matter what President Obama says about people happy with their plans keeping them. If their employers drop the plan because their employees can be covered by a government plan that won't cost the company a damn thing...believe me, healthcare provided by employers will be the first benefit out the window.

Of course, unless the whole problem of Tort reform isn't addressed first then all this talk of universal health care is moot.

A Once Silent Majority Are Now Speaking Up - Loudly!

Our representatives in Washington, D.C. haven’t been this out of touch with their constituency since the days of English rule and the Boston Tea Party.

If anyone really think those showing up at the recent town hall meetings being critical of the current House health care coverage plan don’t speak for America as a whole then it is time for the likes of Senator Specter to change parties yet once again and step down to a retirement party.

This unrest over revamping and overhauling the healthcare system crosses all party and ideological lines. Our representatives don’t get it do they? This isn’t about not wanting to reform health care coverage; it has to do with impinging on choice. CHOICE is the only thing Americans have ever had. It is the bedrock of all our liberties and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Senator Specter his ilk from both sides of the aisle have been whittling away at choice for decades and healthcare has become this generation’s Tea Party moment and, but like George of merry old England, our elected official's resolve is to belittle, berate and attack those they claim to represent. You boys and girls in Washington better look out. To quote one of those 30’ something young people in Specter's town hall meeting - “You have awakened a sleeping giant.” Remember what happen to Japan after they awakened that giant? Not only do our representatives have the young generation’s ire up, but they’ve also ticked-off the baby boomers, those who created effective change-making protesting in the 1960’s. Just because we have gotten older doesn’t mean we have forgotten how to get real change accomplished, with or without your help.

Socialism/Capitalism - The Balancing Act

Socialism isn't evil, it simply isn't American. Nazism, Fascism and Communism are evil.

The simple fact is that in the United States pure socialism doesn't really exist any more than pure capitalism does. Most Americans, when pressed into a corner, admit that the current mixture and balance of socialism/capitalism works just fine in the United States.

What frightens most is when that balance gets skewed too far in either direction. Under Reagan/Bush Sr. and Clinton/Gore that balance was, for the most part, maintained. Under Bush/Cheney, and now Obama/Biden the pendulum has swung out-of-control first in one direction and now the other.

Hopefully, once Obama moves out after 4 years some sanity can return after 12 years of madness and the balance can be returned.......hopefully.

How Successful was the G.W. Bush Presidency?

It might be too soon to equate the 8-year Bush presidency as a failure as many are wont to do. During the last year of his administration he sat center seat during one of America's worst economic downturns since the horrendous days of the late Ford and entire Carter years. This, and what many saw as his trampling of constitutional rights in the name of national security didn't make him well liked in his final two years in office, even by many who voted for him twice, however, one can never gauge success by how well one is liked or disliked and to say his presidency was an utter failure may be a bit premature at this early date.

If the goals President Bush set to accomplish are the backdrop for discussion, then one may be led to say -- at least at this time in history -- he was about, on average, 67.7% successful. That's not too bad of a success record for any President, especially one who had the majority for the first 6 years of their tenure in the White House and struggled with minority control as a lame-duck President in his final 2 years. But, the big question is what was he successful at and did his success in meeting those goals really help the country? The answer would have to be an unqualified Yes & No.

Here is a brief look at some of President Bush's goals and his success or failure rate:

Goal: Keep Americans in the homeland safe from another terror attack of any kind after 9/11.
Success: 100%

Goal: Remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.
Success: 100%

Goal: Establish a democratically free-elected government in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Success: 100%

Goal: Keep the economic growth begun by Reagan and continued by Clinton going in that positive direction.
Success: Keeping in mind the devastating economic effects of 9/11: Years 1-4 = 90% Years 5-8 = <60%

Goal: Keep unemployment rate below 6%.
Success: 100%

Goal: Take away more citizen's personal freedom chartered by the Constitution.
Success: 85%

Goal: Bring overall stability to the Middle East with Democracy the rule of law in the region.
Success: 0%

Goal: Find, capture or kill most of those behind the terror attack of 9/11.
Success: 90% in bringing bin Laden's key planner to justice.

Goal: Find, capture or kill the 9/11 mastermind Usama Bin Laden.
Success: 0%

Goal: Raise the level of global cooperation with and respect for the United States.
Success: Years 1-4 = 95%. Years 5-8 = <25%>

Like all Presidents who came before him time will be the final deciding factor on the success or failure of George W. Bush and his 8 year term as President of the United States. In 20 to 50 years will he be hailed a hero or villain, or just another footnote in the annuals of American history?

All Citizens Already Eligible for Healthcare in U.S.

No one living in the United States can be denied healthcare regardless of their insurance status, citizenship or anything else. I have worked as a healthcare worker since 1972 and have never, ever seen anyone turned away. For one thing, it is completely illegal to do so, especially for any hospital, Urgent Care or Emergency Room that is tax exempt, inspected by any government agency such as CMS, JCAHO, NRC, FDA, EPA or any other health related services agency of the U.S. government and the 50 State governments. The only facilities that can deny healthcare to someone for lack of insurance are those indicated as Self Pay facilities that do not receive any kind of government funds and most of those few and far between facilities are generally specialty facilities.

Not only can nearly 98% of all healthcare facilities not turn folk away, they also can not demand payment if the person is unable to do so. And, none of this reflects on the kind of standard-of-care that patient receives. Those actually giving the healthcare have no idea of the patient's insurance or monetary status. We treat all patients the same from the President to the person who is homeless living on the streets.

So, in a sense, the U.S. already has universal healthcare. The only question that is currently being asked then is how will it be paid for? As currently is with those who do have insurance (mostly the middle and upper income populace & businesses that provide employer plans to their staff) paying for it with ever increasing insurance premium costs to make up for the many who do not have it, or the U.S. Government by raising the taxes of the middle and upper income populace & businesses that provide employer plans to their staff. Six one-half dozen of the other. The only difference is, with U.S. Government calling the shots there will be a steady increase of interference from Washington lawmakers deciding what is appropriate healthcare instead of the insurance companies doing it as they are now. Either way, bureaucrats (government or private industry) are making the rules and the middle and upper income folks still pay for it.

The Day Journalism Died

The main reason you see so much partisanship in the media today, more so than say 30 years ago, can be pinpointed to one specific event in human history. The day journalism died. That day happen on June 1, 1980. That was the day that Ted Turner launched his brainchild called CNN and the birth of 24 hour cable news began. That was the very moment that news died as a journalistic field of integrity and became show business with a political ideology and agenda.

Soon to follow were the joining of Bill Gates and NBC News to form MSNBC and right on the heels of those two came Fox Cable News. Soon after that came the parody news programs like Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report, both originally meant as a satiric look at the cable news industry and how far they had moved real news away from an unbiased view of world, national and local events to a mouthpiece for the political agenda of the cable news owners. Now, even Stewart and Colbert are taken as serious news in some quarters. Worse yet, because of falling revenue due to more people watching and less people reading, the newspapers and news magazines, once somewhat dependable weather gauges of events, have fallen under the same spell and now spout mainly agenda instead of hard news. My how far we have fallen. No wonder no one really knows what the hell is going on in the world. All they really get is 24-hours of constant brain bashing of the political agenda of the news station they are watching.

When I grew up we use to watch Walter Cronchite every night for our 30 minute news fix. He gave us the straight news. Not his opinion, not his ideas, not his slant of the events or his interpretation of them, but simply told his viewers what happen and let them decide what they wanted about it. That is journalist integrity....a straight telling of the story and the events that surround that story. No one who didn't know Walter ever knew what his particular political leanings were. We didn't need to know, nor did we care. We simply wanted the straight poop, not a lot of frill or ideology. We were quite capable of creating our own. It wasn't until the man retired that anyone outside of his close circle knew his own personal political leanings. You would have never known from his reporting if he was a liberal, moderate, conservative, libertarian, socialist, communist, atheist, deist...whatever. He simply told his viewers what happened and closed with ....."And that's the way it was."

That kind of clear, clean and honest reporting died on June 1, 1980 and it will probably never return. We now have a whole generation of people in this world who have no idea what journalistic integrity is and think people like Wolfe Blitzer, Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams, Cooper Anderson Bret Bahr and Shepard Smith are news anchors. They are news political pundants hired to spread the propagandist ideas of their company, no more and no less. There are no more real news journalist left in this world. They have gone the way of the dinosaur and will never return. Too bad!

Goodnight and Goodluck Mr. Edward R. Murrow.