Saturday, September 8, 2012

"It's Not Easy Being Green" - Really Green That Is

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truely recycled.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Courtesy of: LT.com

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jefferson's Call Still Sounds Out Loudly

There are some of the opposing view in political office and the media that believe those who speak out against this current administration, or any other government entity are unpatriotic, hate the government, are rebels, racists or are on the cusp of being traitorous. Nothing could be further from the truth for the majority of Americans who see speaking out against some of the policies of their elected officials and the government instituted to carry out those policies as their Constitutional right and a badge of liberty.

Most, in fact damn near all do not hate government at all. They respect it and see the common sense and even humanitarian need for it. However, many simply believe it has grown to a size so large and bogged down with layer after layer of bureaucracy that it has become out of touch with the daily lives of those whom it was created to serve.

These have great faith in America's system of government set forth by the founders, the Constitution and other founding documents. For some, however the government as it currently stands, regardless of which major political party is in control, is exploiting its citizens by over taxation, burdensome regulation and the use of intimidation, threats, fear, and yes, even false hopes and promises just to gain further dependence on that same government and to remove more of the citizen's common liberties.

The last thing most want is to see the end of the government, yet they are convinced it cannot continue on the course it is currently treading without severe revolutionary consequences down the road at some future time.

During the Shay's Rebellion Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter. I highly recommend it to be read by every American. One of his statements was quite apt for any generation of Americans who feel their government has gone beyond its originally designated intent.

Jefferson wrote, "Societies exist under three forms, sufficiently distinguishable:

(1) without government, as among our Indians;

(2) under governments, wherein the will of everyone has a just influence, as is the case in England, in a slight degree, and in our states, in a great one;

(3) under governments of force, as is the case in all other monarchies, and in most of the other republics".

"To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the first condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has its evils, too, the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs."

"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."

Our leaders of today would do well to heed the words of Jefferson. He saw the dangers of any government, even those founded on noble ideals, that had become out of touch with those they govern and his solution was clear. Those who rebel in these kinds of situations don't do so because they hate their government, on the contrary, they cherish it and wish to foster its return to sanity. They are willing to participate in such a political "storm" of upheaval that could well cost them their own lives and liberties because they see no other course that will capture the attention of their leaders and hopefully awaken them to the depths of just how far they have drifted from the founding principals and policies that made their nation great in the first place.

Are we in the United States of America to that place just yet? I don't think so, but, if those we have elected continue to take the nation down it's current path there will be a clarion bell rung to a future generation of patriots who will undoubtedly answer that call from Thomas Jefferson.

Romney's Economic Plan

Where does Governor Mitt Romney stand on some of the most important issues in this 2012 Presidential election? To find out let’s go right to the source - Mr. Romney himself.

According to Governor Romney the most important area in this election year is the nation’s economy, which covers government spending, taxation and employment. Therefore, that is what this article will focus on. The Romney campaign has listed several ways in which he plans a positive turnaround for the U.S. economy, one that he considers both clear to understand and realistic in its ability to be achieved. He has defined his plan as “Cut, Cap, Budget and Balance.”

The Governor’s first goal is to cap spending at 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the end of his first four year term in office. Last year’s spending under President Barack Obama had risen to a little over 24 precent of GDP. The average rate has historically been between 18 to 20 percent, even during times of past economic distress. He is calling for federal spending cuts to the tune of $500 billion each year by 2016 with an annual 4 percent growth rate while replenishing Obama’s cuts to national defense. Romney claims he will be able to immediately cap non-security discretionary spending to their 2008 level. Non-security discretionary spending is spending that is required by Congressional law such as social security, medicare and medicaid. Normally these kind of expenditures have a built-in cost of living increase feature. To change these spending laws requires an act of Congress.

On his first full day in office he plans on sending the Congress a request for a bill that would cut that non-security discretionary spending by at least 5 percent across the board, while encouraging passage of the original House Republican Budget Bill shot down during Obama’s tenure, thus allowing for that 2008 level.

Following this his next order of business will be the repeal of Obamacare, a move that Romney claims will immediately save the taxpayer $95 Billion. He will follow this up with the privatization of Amtrak, saving an additional $1.6 Billion per year, decreasing some subsidies like The National Endowments For The Arts And Humanities (NEA), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and The Legal Services Corporation (LSC). According to the Romney campaign much of the business of these three federally sponsored agencies is simply a duplication of services already provided by States, Local Governments, Private Organizations and Bar Associations. Also being targeted for cuts or elimination will be monies currently going to such things as Title X Family Planning Funding, a part of Planned Parenthood and a reduction in foreign aid. It has been estimated that these cuts and eliminations will amount to an additional $400 Million.

Romney wants to provide Block Grants to empower individual States to better control and organize efforts in the areas of Medicaid and the reeducating and training of workers for the skills needed for 21st Century jobs. The Governor believes that micromanagement on a federal level is not cost efficient and simply duplicates what should and could be done on a State or Local level of government adding another $100 Billion in savings. Finally, Romney wants to make the government more efficient and effective in the services it does provide by eliminating unnecessary waste, fraud and bills that do little more than duplicate already existing policy and law. All total this would save the taxpayer about $121 Billion.

This is what the Governor wants to do about the economy. The question is - how will he get it done?

STEP 1 - Entitlement Reform

“First, we must keep the promises made to our current retirees: their Social Security and Medicare benefits should not be affected. But second, we should ensure that the promises that we make to younger generations are promises we can keep.”

With Social Security the Governor says that he is looking at several different options for those younger citizens, such as raising the eligibility age or looking at different ways that benefits are indexed to inflation for high-income retirees. He is against raising the payroll tax, particularly on the middle income workers nor does he favor an expansion of the base of income to which the tax would be applied.

With Medicare, Governor Romney supports the objectives of Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan that was rejected by the Senate, however, while sharing the same objectives, Romney’s plan would differ on how it would be structured. How it differs in structure has yet to be made clear by the candidate, other than some vague recent statements about introducing market-based dynamics into the mix. Under the Romney plan Medicaid would be overhauled by no longer writing the States a blank check without accountability for how those funds are being distributed. Romney will push for the conversion of Medicaid to a block grant administered by the States. The campaign says this approach could save the federal government over $200 Billion each year by the end of the decade, while also providing States with the flexibility to develop innovative and effective approaches best suited to their individual needs.

STEP 2 - Reduction in the Size of Government

According to the Romney Plan the best way to reduce the government is first to cut back on the size of its work force - keyword - Government Jobs. This would be accomplished by aligning the wages and federal employee’s benefits package with those of the private market sector. The campaign projects that this competitive approach will eventually lead to a reduction in the overall size of the federal work force by 10 percent, mainly through attrition. How long it would take for the effects of this strategy to have a positive force on government spending is not laid out in the plan.

STEP 3 - Control Runaway Federal Spending

This will likely be the most difficult part of the Romney Economic Plan to achieve in any meaningful way, however, the Governor believes that holding the reigns on spending is the only way to ensure a stable economy and without it getting successfully accomplished all other efforts are doomed to ultimate failure.

Romney plans to attack the exaggerated, dysfunctional and duplicative “layers of bureaucracy that prevent government from serving the people.” This can only be done the same way it is achieved in a large corporation - by agreeing that the federal government is not and cannot be “everything to everyone.” Romney and his cabinet, aides, and working with Congress, will need to decide which functions and services currently controlled and run by the federal government could be better served by the private sector, State and Local governments. With an incentive to make money, instead of wasting the taxpayers monies, the private sector would be induced to succeed where the government has proven in its long history to sometime become lax in its ability or desire to provide the best service. Amtrak is just one of those federal services that Romney would turn over to the free market private sector for overhaul.

STEP 4 - Seek A Balanced Budget Amendment

I stated earlier that controlling runaway federal spending might be the most difficult task for a President Romney to achieve. I misspoke. There is no doubt that getting both sides of the Congressional aisle to agree to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution will be a monumental task that every President since Reagan has failed at. Time will tell, if elected, whether or not Romney will succeed where other great leaders have not.

Mitt Romney, if elected, has his work cut out for him. He will have to go up against a money happy Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, that haven't had to pull in its reigns of spending in the memory of anyone living today. Some of his proposals I have listed are admirable, some will be impossible to accomplish in eight years, much less four. However, if he is determined to get spending under control by not being afraid to tackle those big entitlements and those other sacred cows like the Pentagon, then he will at least begin the process of setting this nation’s feet back on a more solid economical footing. If elected I wish him nothing but success.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Vote For Johnson Could Kill America

I would like to take this time and space on my blog to personally thank former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the current Libertarian Party candidate for President for doing his part to help destroy this nation by ensuring President Barack Obama’s reelection. I don’t say this lightly since my fiscal and social sentiments run more closely to Johnson’s than to any other candidate currently seeking the office of President of the United States of America. Keep that revelation in mind as you continue reading.

The United States of America is currently still a relatively free country and Governor Johnson can run for President if he wants to and those supporting him are still free to pull the lever with his name on it in the voting booth; even though his running doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning, but his running does guarantee a win for Obama, which means in just four more years he and his supporters will likely no longer be as free as they presently are and Johnson will never be able to run for anything, except the border of Canada for freedom, along with the rest of us. Logistics and history have shown that the independent, Libertarian thinker and undecided voter rarely swing in the direction of the established Republican candidate if there is a nationally known third alternative. Why this is so still is kind of a mystery, but I do have some personal ideas why this tends to be the case. Regardless of the reason, logic (or lack thereof), it appears to be the case nonetheless.

While Governor Johnson will not likely be the “great spoiler” that businessman Ross Perot ended up being for President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 Presidential election, he is primed to be a major factor for those who were leaning heavily for Ron Paul, which is no insignificant number. With an alternative other than Romney or Obama, those Paul voters are more likely to vote for Johnson, or just stay at home. Their votes won't help Johnson even come close, but they could be the few 100,000's of votes necessary to put Romney over the top and beat Obama in what appears to be a very, very tight race.

How is this possible? Because Congressman Ron Paul, to show his real desire to beat Obama, should have released his delegates to Romney, played the politico ballgame like his son Senator Rand Paul did in order to ensure an Obama loss. But, like a spoiler, he didn’t do that. If Obama wins this election the results for America's future will be so horrendous that it absolutely mesmerizes me to think Paul supporters or those independents not thrilled with a perceived mundane Romney could even consider voting for Johnson over Romney. They need to put their petty differences aside and do what is best for this nation's future instead of making a stance for a lost cause, and that better future at this time in history is Mitt Romney, not Barack Obama.

This has come down to life and death for a freedom loving, independent, free market, democratic Republic called the United States of America. Petty squabbling because Paul didn't get the nomination, or didn't get his delegate votes mentioned on the podium at the RNC is ridiculous when weighed against the tragic damage Mr. Obama will do to this nation over the next four years when he has nothing to loose and everything to gain by his zealous socialistic agenda.

Please remember that a vote for Johnson or a vote not cast is a vote for Barack Obama and a nail in the coffin of a free America.