“The Sky is falling! The Sky is falling!!!” ~Chicken Little
There’s Money In Fear Mongering
If you spend any time on-line or watch certain news channels, by now you’ve heard the phrase, “Jade Helm.” You probably know it has something to do with a semi-clandestine military operation in several States in the South West United States. You’ve also probably heard the phrases, “martial law,” “invasion,” “FEMA camps” and “round ups.”
Those who speak about this subject, often speak with great conviction in matter of fact, “I told you so” terms. Like finally vindicated “prophets of doom,” the day of judgement they’ve long predicted has finally arrived! It’s as though they’ve conflated the movies, “Red Dawn and Mad Max” and taken them as holy writ, a foretelling of the “end times” which are now upon us!
There are rightwing talk shows and YouTube channels devoted to little more than scaring the pants off all who will listen. They combine a mix of flawed eschatology – Biblical “end times” theology – with the latest conspiracy theories, spice it with some racist, “dog whistle” conservative ideology and serve this toxic brew up as if it were a gourmet meal. The beauty of it? Since you cannot prove a negative, it is near impossible to prove them wrong! “The bogeyman is under your bed!” You look under your bed and see nothing more harmful than “dust bunnies,” they’ll tell you “he moved to your closet!” You rush over to your closet, fling open the door then they’ll tell you, “he was too quick for you! He’s back under the bed!”
They get you rushing back and forth, between bed and closet so quickly, you don’t have time to consider, what if there is no bogeyman? In the meantime, a commercial break tells you to buy Gold and Silver or buy nitrogen packed food… and they get paid!
Jade Helm – What Is It?
Map of States where exercise will occur.
Jade Helm is nothing more than a military training exercise to prepare our troops for operating in urban and suburban environments where there are non-combatant civilians. The days of armies lining up on battle lines and shooting it out with one another are largely a thing of the past. International borders are now fixed, Russia’s adventures in the Ukraine notwithstanding, and nobody is really interested in going to the headache and expense of annexing a recalcitrant Nation State into their national boundaries.
Warfare today is asymmetric. Insurgents attempting to take over a country, terrorist cells hiding amongst non-combatant civilians, carpet bombing a city or rolling in a tank brigade would be tantamount to taking a sledgehammer to a spider crawling up your wall. You may not like spiders, but a big hole in your wall? Really???
Our troops need to be able to operate within these environments with surgical precision. They need to be able to work with local governing bodies and their law enforcement personal. They need to be able to interface their intelligence gathering techniques with whatever the locals are able to provide. They need to practice the logistics of resupply and equipment movement in such a way as to interface positively with a trepidatious civilian population. Where exactly would you suggest they practice and perfect these techniques?
No Invasion. No Martial Law.
Let’s take Texas. There are 15 military bases in Texas already. Army, Navy and Air Force. There is absolutely no need for the United States military to bring in additional assets to take over Texas and enforce martial law. If that were their objective, they’d have done it already and they would not have put out a public notice telling you they were coming in July. Think critically!
Remember 2008? We literally were staring into the abyss. Our stock markets were in free fall. Our manufacturing industries were crumbling. Our housing markets were going up in smoke. Major banks were going bankrupt. People were losing their homes left and right. Their entire pensions and retirements were being wiped out. It looked like the end of the United States!
All this was because some idiot bankers figured out how to create profits out of thin air using “derivatives” – Calculus – and “sub-prime mortgages.” It wasn’t just us. Our collapsing markets brought the global economy to its knees. Europe, Japan, even China were reeling. Again, this was over something as innocuous as people not being able to pay the mortgage notes they’d been pushed into by greedy banks looking to make a fast buck.
What do you suppose would happen if the United States, declared martial law and began rounding up citizens in several of its States? How do you think the rest of the country would respond? How do you think the markets would respond? That type of disruption would make 2008 look like a minor hiccup! Wealthy people do not like to lose money! In 2008 while you and I were losing thousands – my portfolio dropped $100,000 – the wealthy were losing billions of dollars. They didn’t like it at all!
You must look at the big picture. Government instability would certainly impact you and I at a local level. Yes, we would quickly be up in arms. However, when the wealthy begin haemorrhaging cash, they pick up their phones and call all those congressmen they own and tell them in no uncertain terms to make it stop!
Alex Jones – Chicken Little Number One!
The “Chicken Littles” of the world – most of them racist – would like to make you believe that our first African-American President could simply suspend the Constitution, declare martial law and begin rounding up all the white people for some payback. Might make an interesting plot for the next dystopian movie, but in reality it’s not possible. The majority of our armed forces is neither Black nor Hispanic. The majority of our Generals and Admirals are neither Black nor Hispanic. Yes, he is the Commander in Chief, but each and every one of them swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. They would not obey an unconstitutional order whomever the President was who issued it.
Canary In The Coal Mine
If our government were even contemplating such a foolish thing, they would not test it out in “Gun Toting Redneck Land!” They would first try it in some isolated area on a depressed, predominately minority community. Some place out of the way with people this country historically hasn’t demonstrated concern for. Or, they’d go try it on some Native American Reservation. They certainly wouldn’t start with Texas or Utah. Bad strategy! So you can rest secure, this isn’t the “Mad Max,” “Walking Dead” apocalypse you’ve been getting ready for.
The Walking Dead – Zombie Apocalypse.
What About FEMA Camps?
Actually these are burial vaults for cemeteries
I, like some of you have seen the videos of these alleged FEMA Camps. I have even seen one video of these stacked plastic containers they said were coffins to bury all the people they were planning on murdering. Again, think critically! If you’re going to commit mass murder, you don’t need camps. Furthermore, you don’t need plastic coffins. All you need is a Bulldozer to dig a trench for the bodies and to cover them up. No need to go to all that expense.
FEMA exists for emergencies. No doubt it has been mismanaged and underfunded. However, it is needed. Hurricane Katrina taught us that. Remember all those people in the “Super Dome?” They then moved some of them to a stadium in Texas. Finally they began dispersing them all over the United States. Some even ended up as far away as Alaska. The plan was for them to return once New Orleans had been rebuilt, but some discovered they liked where they were, got jobs and put down roots.
FEMA Camps – clearly too small for such a large scale disaster – are for these types of situations. Why are they out of the way in hard to locate areas? Would you want a camp on your block? They’d have to be located on land the Federal Government owns. Fences and security are for the protection of the people in the camp. None of the pictures of these supposed camps would do much to prevent anyone bent on escape. We have inmates break out of much better secured prisons all the time. Think critically.
A real FEMA camp. Frightening isn’t it?
Right now we’re coming to understand just how dangerous the world can truly be. Let me list a few possibilities for you.
Yellowstone Super Caldera.
Any of the above could happen at any time. They would require moving survivors and caring for them, sheltering, feeding and medical treatment. These are the types of catastrophes only the full resources of the Federal Government can hope to address. FEMA is a pathetic nod at recognition of this need.
The ultimate goal is returning to normalcy. Our government needs people working, consuming and spending money in order for it to exist. Manufacturers need people buying their goods and services. We need farmers planting and harvesting crops. Grocery stores must have groceries. The phone company, cable company utility companies all need you healthy, happy, working and paying your bills. You cannot do that locked in a FEMA camp or under the societal disruption of martial law. Just think!
Defining Progress – What Is Progress? What Does It Mean??
“Don’t stick a knife in my back 8 inches, pull it out to 4 inches and tell me we’re making progress.” ~Malcom-X
When defining progress, it is important to realize progress is relative to something or some state that already exists. It is thus defined by where you are or what you have and where you want to be or where you want to get. If you ask me to tear down a building and hand me a sledgehammer and a crowbar, I can make progress on your project. Depending on the size of the building and whether or not I have any assistance, it might take me quite awhile… or, it might prove impossible.
I could not bring down a skyscraper with just a crowbar and a sledgehammer. That’s not going to happen. If you gave me a bulldozer I could probably make quick work of a house, but a skyscraper? Not going to happen. Although, I could certainly get to work on the project and day after day you could say, “I was making progress.”
If I were worth say, $8 billion dollars, and you were the trustee over my estate, charged with releasing money as needed, you could give me a couple of million dollars a year and with compound interest, I would die before ever actually acquiring my full $8 billion. You could argue that $2 million a year was nothing to sneeze at and call that “progress.” However, if my goal is to take over my complete estate, I may asymptotically approach that goal, but I’ll never reach that goal. All along the way it might be said that “I was making progress towards achieving my goal.”
Understanding An Asymptote
An asymptote is a line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at any finite distance. It will forever approach the curve – destination – but never touch or reach it. When we talk about progress in the struggle for the civil rights of Black people in these United States, we’re looking at an asymptotic relationship.
Slavery is no longer economically viable. Free the Slaves. Progress. But what did that actually mean? Yes, suddenly we had a large population of African-Americans who were no longer enslaved, but whom had none of the wealth of this nation they were so vital a part of its building. “Give them all 40 acres and a mule.” First understand that very few freed Slaves actually received 40 acres and a mule… but let’s say they did. They had no money to buy seed. If they had seed, they needed implements to clear the land and till the soil. What exactly were they supposed to eat or live on until their first harvest? Were they making progress? that certainly was the argument. The question is, “progress towards what?”
Remember, progress is relative. They were making progress away from their previous state, but what were they moving towards? The only goal they could be moving towards in this country is full equality under the law as defined by our Constitution. It is 2015 now. Slavery ended in 1865 with the passage of the 13th Amendment. It’s been 150 years now and we’re still making progress.
Your True Intentions Are Showing
If I owe you $5,000 dollars I can do one of several things. I can write you a check and clear my debt. I can pay you in cash, get a receipt and clear my debt. If I don’t have the full amount, I can offer to make payments – progress – if you will accept that. Whether or not you accept anything less than payment in full, depends entirely on your assessment of what I am capable of paying you.
If you owe your bank $5,000 and your balloon payment comes due, the bank will simply take it out of your account. Why? Because they know you have it. The payment is due. It now becomes their money. What about other types of debts?
This actually happened to one of my brothers-in-law years ago. He was driving down a street and noticed this beautiful gazebo sitting on this park like lawn. There was a stately mansion in the distance but as there were several parks in the area, he and his wife figured it was a park, pulled over and took their picnic basket and set up in the gazebo to enjoy an impromptu picnic on a nice summer’s day.
They were surprised when shortly into their meal a golf cart pulled up and two men in dark suits got out. Come to find out, they had picked the Governor’s mansion to have a picnic. Security was cordial and allowed them to finish. They could have made them leave immediately. When you’re trespassing on someone else’s property, you owe them your immediate removal. The security detail after determining they were no threat allowed them to make progress in leaving. “We’ll give you 45 minutes to finish but this is private property… be advised.
If you live next door to me and you throw a party and some of your guest are blocking my driveway or park on my lawn. Depending on my mood or what projects I’m engaging in, I might tolerate it for just that one occasion. I do try to be a good neighbor. However, it happens again, I’m going to speak with you about it. If it happens after I speak with you about it. I’m going to make an adjustment in my thinking and conclude you’re doing it intentionally. At this point I’m calling the police and a towing company. Why? Because your true intentions are showing.
When Black people are denied their voting rights, their neighborhoods do not receive the same funding as white neighborhoods, their schools are under funded, their roads are not repaired, predatory policing tactics are employed against them, your true intentions are showing.
We see these intentions in Fortune 500 companies. Certainly they all employ minorities… in their lower levels. However, as one moves up their corporate chain, minorities rapidly begin to disappear. In fact, females begin to become scarce as you approach the top levels. Rather than promote a minority or a female from within their corporation, they will go and hire a white male from outside the corporation, put them over the people who’ve been there and actually have a much better understanding of the business. This is neither accident nor coincidence. This is strategy. The people from within the corporation have worked with and formed relationships with the people on and below their level. They feel a responsibility and a sensitivity to these people who’ve helped them achieve their success. The people brought in from the outside only have an allegiance to the people at the top who brought them in.
We’re No Longer Interested In Just Progress
When President Barack Obama was elected, many people marvelled and patted themselves on their backs and pointed to all the progress we’ve made and how far we’ve come. Of course on the very night of his inauguration, a group of racist Republicans was meeting to decide that no matter what he tried to do, they would block him at each and every turn. Some would call this treason! At the time President Obama took office, we were in the middle of not one but two wars. Our economy was in free fall. Major banks were failing, our housing market had collapsed, our automotive industries were teetering on bankruptcy and the President the American People had elected to fix all this mess… They were conspiring to thwart and oppose at every opportunity.
Do Black people now have the right to vote? Technically yes. However, Republican controlled districts have been busily closing polling places in areas where African Americans vote, requiring new and unnecessary identification – a poll tax – to target poor and minority voters. For instance, Texas won’t recognize a Student ID but they will accept a gun permit.
Let’s look at what all is involved in getting a gun permit. Since I happen to own one in the State of Indiana, you’ve got to first go and get two money orders. One made out to the State Police and one made out to your local police department. You then have to go and get fingerprinted. Struck me as odd since my local police department did it all over again once I got down there. You have to fill out the application form on-line which of course requires a computer and Internet access. I suppose you could go to your public library and use their computers. All in all, I had to go to 3 different places to assemble the documentation I needed. My total cost since I opted for a lifetime permit – going through this process, once is enough – was around $130.00 not including my gas, time and parking. Of course implicit in this is that you actually own a firearm.
How many poor people have that amount of money or time to spend? How many even own handguns? Accepting a gun permit is facilitating a certain segment of the population in voting while trying to exclude another segment. If you don’t own a car, why would you need a driver’s license? Not to mention, driver’s licenses are not free! Okay, so they will give you a free State ID for voting. However, to get that ID you must first assemble all the other documentation they require and get to a License Branch. Of course if you don’t own a car, that too becomes problematic. This is a strategy plain and simple. Telling me I have the right to vote is not progress when you then turn around and make it difficult if not impossible for me to fulfill my franchise.
If you’ve got my 40 acres and a mule, don’t give me an acre, rent me my mule and tell me to take it slow. I want it NOW! There’s no debate, no discussion and no negotiations needed… just do it!
No Unarmed Person Of Any Race Should Ever Die Being Arrested Or In Police Custody
This is a very simple proposition. We train them, give them vehicles, radios and technology. If they cannot arrest an unarmed civilian without murdering him or her or causing serious bodily harm, they should be fired immediately. No debate. No negotiation. No taking it slow. Right now… no, make that yesterday!
Ask yourself why cities will pay out multiplied millions in “wrongful death” suits and keep these Cops on the force? Cities will pay out multiplied millions in overtime pay to control a population inflamed by the murder of an unarmed Black 18 year old and still keep the murdering Cop on their payroll. If you owned a restaurant and the dishwasher broke over $100 dollars worth of your plates, you’d fire him. Yet these cities are willing to keep and pay Cops who’ve cost them multiplied millions of dollars. Why?
I won’t say that Baltimore went up in flames, because in reality very few buildings were burned. The damage and unrest were actually limited to a relatively small portion of the city. The question nobody has asked as of yet, is “Why Did Freddie Run???” No, think about this for a moment. Think critically. I’m sure by now you’ve seen Freddie’s arrest record. What? Close to 20 felony arrests? Freddie was only 25 years old. Since juvenile records are sealed, we must assume that these felony arrests came after he reached the age of 18.
Any one of those felony arrests, had they got a conviction would have had him in jail or prison for at least 3 years. Any 3 felony convictions would have qualified him as a habitual offender and put him away for 30 years. He would not have been on the street walking around. He would have been in prison.
Next point. Did you notice that there were no outstanding warrants for Freddie Gray? It was not a case of “oh damn! It’s the ‘Po Po.'” They specifically said, “eye contact” was made and he ran. Ask yourself why. It is not like he’d never been arrested before. He knew he was clean, no warrants, so why run? Was something else going on?
Who Needs The Mafia When You’ve Got Cops?
Here in Indianapolis, the Cops control the drug trade and flow on our streets. I’m not making this up to cast disparaging remarks on my city. This is common knowledge on the streets. We’ve had numerous Cops arrested and sent to prison over narcotics.
Some years ago – back in the 80’s – there was a scandal involving at least 3 local police officers, speeding back from Detroit. They were doing well in excess of 100 mph in their personal cars. I believe a couple were driving a Porche and one was driving a Ferrari. Now I don’t know what they pay Cops up in Baltimore, but here in the “People’s Republic of Indiana,” Cops don’t make enough money to own those types of cars unless they married extremely well, or they’re dirty as hell! When they were pulled over by law enforcement for speeding, they flashed their badges, received “professional courtesy” and kept going. Several of the Cops who stopped them felt something just wasn’t quite right and reported them. It made the news. There were the normal noises about an investigation, and the story just sort of faded away. I figure it was a drug run.
I personally know of people who were small time drug dealers who were approached by the police to work for them and when they refused, they wound up dead. Execution style. I reported this to a homicide detective investigating one such murder and he dropped his head, nodded, indicated he knew about it and said that it was out of his hands and that Internal Affairs was looking into it. Well, they’ve been looking into it for over 15 years now evidently with no success. It is easy to overlook what you don’t want to find.
I remember the scene in the movie the “Untouchables,” where Sean Connery’s character is telling Elliot Ness, played by Kevin Costner, “everybody knows where the booze is. The question is how far are you prepared to go to stop it?”
What needs to be done isn’t easy. You cannot debate, negotiate or sneak up on it and tell yourself you’re making “progress.” Power is never ceded without force. Accepting the illusion of “progress” has now risen to the point of delusion. Everybody knows what needs to be done. If I walk into a convenience store and take a box of “Cigarillos,” that’s considered a justification for my murder. If a Banker loots the pensions, retirement plans of hundreds of millions of our Citizen, they don’t even worry about going to prison.
If a battered wife fires a warning shot into her own ceiling to stop her abusive husband, she faces over 20 years in prison. If two Cops murder a 12 year old boy in a park they’re not even charged. So, what are you prepared to do? How long will you settle for being told you’re making progress?
THE BIGGEST THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY? The Nullification Of A Presidency!
Elections do and should have consequences. Congressional Republicans have been committed to nullifying the Presidency of Barack Obama since the night of his first inauguration. The will of the people be damned!
Whether you love him or hate him… is NOT the point. The office is larger than the man. Unlike our previous President, President Obama was not appointed President by a panel of judges on a court stacked by his daddy. He was duly elected by a majority of the American people. He deserves the opportunity to enact his agenda. He deserves… the American People deserve for him to have his full cabinet filled. He deserves to have his appointments either confirmed or declined.
When one Party – ANY Party – takes it upon themselves to subrogate the collective will of the electorate, replacing it with their own agenda, Democracy dies. We no longer have a Constitutional Republic. What we have becomes a fascist oligarchy which will quickly degenerate into tyranny and despotism.
What Harry Reid did by changing the Senate rules ending the abuse of the procedural filibuster was to strike a blow for Democracy. Don’t be naive! Sequestration and the shutting down of the Government were both designed to deliver a one, two punch to the Affordable Care Act. Both came at a time when the federal government needed resources to launch the program correctly. The timing wasn’t an accident. Now of course, the Republicans are holding hearings to find out why things are going poorly. Republicans need look no further than their own mirror.
Presidential nullification is not just insulting and disrespectful to our first Afro-American President, it is a slap in the face of the American electorate. We voted him in not once but twice.
This was a firewall between retail banking and investment banking. Investors want a certain amount of risk. Taking risks can lead to windfall profits. Yes, you can lose your shirt, but heretofore, people who played in the investment markets, were the wealthy and only played with money that they could afford to lose.
With Glass-Steagall out of the way, suddenly people’s mortgages became investment instruments. Retirements became pension funds tied to the success or failure of your corporation. The middle class was built on home ownership. The majority of people’s wealth was in their homes. These homes were then passed down to their children giving them a leg up into the middle class.
For God’s sake! Don’t pass that wealth on to your children!!!
I can remember when ARMs – Adjustable Rate Mortgages – became all the rage. People were encouraged to re-finance their homes, take their equity out and spend it. Now they’re pushing “Reverse Mortgages,” Can’t have the “middle class” passing their wealth to the next generation. They might actually become really wealthy! You surely don’t think the collapse of the housing market was accidental do you?
STEP TWO:Cut the tax revenue coming into the United States
Click for full size.
The Bush era tax cuts, which the Republicans made permanent, are what has caused our national debt to sky rocket. Under Bill Clinton, we balanced our budget and had begun paying down our debt such that had we followed through, our entire national debt would have been paid off by the year 2010. Our nation would have been debt free!Once debt free, we could kiss the Federal Reserve goodbye! However, as I recall, the GOP simply hated Bill Clinton. Matter of fact, they impeached him! If the future of their grandchildren were truly as important as they’d like to pretend… They would have embraced Bill Clinton’s policies and remained on track to America becoming debt free. Bill Clinton left George Bush a $1.9 trillion dollar budget surplus.
STEP THREE:Burn through the national savings account.
George Bush went on a spending spree along with the congressional Republicans that would make a drunken sailor blush. Yes, we were attacked on September 11, 2001. I won’t go into the plethora of facts that make the official story absolute nonsense, but let us examine our response.
First, “Terror” is not a person. It is not a nation State. It is not an organization such as Al’Qaeda. Terror is a TACTIC.You cannot wage war on a tactic.Of course, caught up in the fervor of blood lust with our thirst for revenge, very little critical thinking was going on back then. We went into Afghanistan – which made sense – but, when we had the chance to capture Osama Bin Laden and decapitate the head of Al’Qaeda, we let him escape in order to rush into Iraq which had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks on the United States. Al’Qaeda wasn’t even in Iraq until they followed us there.
Remember how we effectively cut our income by giving tax cuts to the top 1%? By launching two wars simultaneously, we were burning through billions of dollars a day and there was no revenue stream incoming to replace our outgo. Thus we simply threw everything on the national credit card. In point of fact, George Bush didn’t even include the costs of these wars as a budget item. What could possibly go wrong???
He is a better painter than he was a President… And his paintings suck!
The only thing that did go wrong was George Bush’s timing. I am firmly convinced that the plan was to mortally wound the United States and then let a Black President preside over its demise and of course take the blame. Things came to a pimple just a bit sooner than Bush had planned thus the TARP bailout was on his watch. Yes, that’s right. It was George Bush who signed the TARP bailout, Republicans rail against. If only things had taken a few more weeks to come together, George would have been back in Crawford Texas painting his water colors and acrylics, pretending no involvement.
The media propaganda has been working hammer and tong to rewrite history such that even now, most Republicans and TEA Party nit wits will argue vociferously that President Obama was responsible for the TARP, Of course, history – and spelling – were never really their strong suits.
We Are In Much Better Hands Than We Should Be
Let Detroit Go Bankrupt!
So, here we are. What they never counted on was President Obama being as competent as he is. Remember Mitt Romney’s article, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt?” Can you imagine having a President who would so cavalierly recommend the total destruction of an industry? Let us forget for a moment the human impacts of his advice. We all know that Mitt was born without a soul. Think for a moment what it would mean to the safety and security of these United States if we lost our manufacturing base.
If we have to have our weapons of war, manufactured and shipped to us, this creates a logistics problem and a critical supply line that could be cut by an enemy we were at war with. No need to bomb over here. Just bomb the factories that are producing our tanks, planes and other weapons of war in the various nations we’d be forced to buy them from. Think having a shotgun for home defense, but storing it at your neighbor’s house.
During WWI and WWII, it was our automotive manufacturing facilities that were tooled up and re-purposed to produce the Tanks, Jeeps, Half-Tracks, Heavy Trucks and fighter planes that helped us to win the war. The big foundries that were producing engine blocks began producing armor plating, hull sections for ships and submarines, and a host of other items we don’t even think about. Our automotive industries and their manufacturing capabilities are crucial to the safety and survival of this nation. Any person who doesn’t know this, shouldn’t be President.
Other than the Bush tax cuts, the next biggest drain on our budget is health care costs. I don’t want to live in a 3rd World Nation where people are left to die on the side of the roads. I want people around me to be healthy. My health and well being depend on it. So do yours. However, equally important is the fact that our population is greying, getting older. Older people require more and more medical attention. The question is not whether we’re going to pay for this, the question is how do we get the best service while keeping our costs down?
Let me share with you something from my own personal experience. A year or so ago, I had to have vein surgery to correct some varicose veins in both of my legs. Thus I had to have two surgeries. One on each leg. We spaced these about 4 weeks apart.
The bill for each leg was roughly $16,000 dollars or $32,000 for both. Mind you, this is routine outpatient surgery. I did not spend the night in the hospital either time. Of that total $32,000 my surgeon who actually performed the surgery, his two surgical nurses who assisted him and the Anaesthesiologist who put me to sleep and woke me back up, combined they got a total of a little over $5,000 dollars in total for both procedures. Where did the other $27,000 go? The Hospital received that for renting out it’s surgical suite for less than 4 hours.
What did I use in that suite that amounted to $27,000 dollars? Since I saw the inside of the suite twice, I can tell you that the lights were the same each time, the stainless steel table was the same, the monitors and equipment were the same. Nothing had to be replaced between operations. So what exactly cost $27,000 dollars? That’s $6,750 per hour. Just like a gas station attempting to explain why the price of gas jumped 60 cents in 24 hours, the Hospital will try and explain the cost they’re charging those of us who can pay. You know? The ones of us with insurance. Their explanation is, we’re paying for all those people who do not have insurance. The ones who are treated in the Emergency room and never pay their bills.
It is a vicious circle. Insurance Companies raise your premiums because hospital costs keep rising. Hospital cost keep rising because people who’s only option is to use the “Emergency Room,” often cannot pay their bills. So, ultimately who is paying for people not having health insurance? You are. Just because you don’t see it as an itemized figure on your bill, doesn’t mean it is not there.
We need to address this and we’ve known since the 40’s we’ve needed to address the rising cost of health care. When people don’t pay their hospital bills, the hospital corporations write those off as losses on their income tax statements. In essence, they are double dipping. They’re claiming a loss to the federal government, while raising their rates to cover that loss through each paying customer. It is a sweet system… if you’re a hospital.
To save America we need to simply reverse what has been done to her. Regulate the banks. Get rid of the Bush tax cuts. The 1% were doing just fine under the Clinton era tax rates and we need to fix health care so that people can protect their income. It is just that simple.
Irony, i-ro-ny: Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.
How many times have you heard some Tea Party nitwit make the claim that President Obama is destroying our “American Way of Life?” It is a constant theme and the drum beat to whatever tune they’re singing. If they open their refrigerator and the milk is sour, it’s President Obama’s fault.
When unemployment was high, that was President Obama’s fault. Now that unemployment numbers have been dropping, well, those independent agencies that report on these matters, are fudging the numbers for him.
How many times have you heard some nitwit Tea Bagger declare, “I want my country back!” When I woke up this morning, I made a point to check on it and apparently it’s still here. Nevertheless, for some reason, they believe that this country has changed… and it’s all Obama’s fault!
A great number of so called Libertarians and Tea Baggers are simply appalled that two people who love each other, regardless of gender can make a lifetime commitment to one another and marry. This seems odd to me because I was under the impression that Libertarians enshrined the philosophy of absolute personal freedom so long as the exercise thereof does not negatively impact another.
“Obama’s coming for your guns!” How many times have you heard that one? Never mind the fact that your gun rights have actually been expanded under President Obama, nevertheless, that one sure gets people up in arms – literally – and hollering about the decimation of our Bill Of Rights.
The Irony? While they’re venting their spleens at President Obama, the United States Supreme Court – the majority appointed by Republican Presidents – has done more to change this nation from the comforting delusion they’ve embraced all their lives.
It wasn’t President Obama who signed an executive order striking down the Defense of Marriage Act which led to Gay people finally being able to marry. That was the U.S. Supreme Court. It wasn’t President Obama who struck down California’s Proposition 8 which took away the legality of marriages between same sex couples. That was the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Land Of The Free?” The Supreme Court has held that police can seize your DNA without you being even charged for a crime. The Supreme Court has held that the police can strip search you if they arrest you for a traffic violation. Perhaps you didn’t have your insurance card with you when you were pulled over?
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Corporations have the same rights as an individual citizen. I’m 56 and this isn’t the America I remember growing up in. Hate the idea of everyone having health care – “Obama Care” – It was the Republican majority of the U.S. Supreme Court that declared “Obama Care” to be legal and Constitutional.
So, why aren’t the Tea Baggers taking a cue from the Occupy Wall Street Movement and marching on the U.S. Supreme Court? Because the real issue isn’t all the things they claim. Their real issue is, there’s a Black man in the White House. That’s what has really changed in this country and some of them simply have no idea how to deal with this fact.
When your racism blinds you to reality, your behaviours and your actions put your own self-interests at risk.
Last night President Obama delivered the annual State of the Union Address. The reality is this has become mostly theater however, there was some substance in his address. If we were to be technical, once he said, “the state of our Union is strong,” he could have ended his speech, dropped the mic and walked off the stage. Of course, that’s not how we roll. So, allow me to hit some of the highlights.
The Way Forward – SOTU 2013
SOTU – 2013
President Obama did a masterful job of laying out where we’d been and how far we’ve come. Yes, we’ve got a long way to go. However, we can see daylight in the distance. After a decade of war, we will be leaving Afghanistan within the next year. We’ve created 6 million jobs, we’re using less foreign oil than at any other time in the past 20 years, Corporate profits are at an all time high, we’ve cut our deficit by 2.5 trillion dollars, we’re producing more domestic oil than we have in the past 15 years and nearly half of all new energy production has come from wind power.
The future has the potential to be bright indeed. Tempering this outlook for peace, love and happiness, was acknowledgement of an extremely truculent Republican Party who to date has shown little inclination to do anything other than obstruct the President’s agenda while shooting themselves in the foot… repeatedly!
The Way Forward
How can any sane person oppose the VAWA?
President Obama laid out a host of programs that the Republicans have opposed. Many of them are what could be considered, “no brainers!” VAWA – The Violence Against Women Act – there shouldn’t even be a discussion on passing this. Politically, women are over half of the electorate. They’ve voted for and passed it in the past, why not now? The “Fix It First” program, we can see our infrastructure crumbling all around us. Whom in their right mind wouldn’t want our bridges and roads repaired? How many bridge collapses do we have to have before the Republicans come to their senses?
If we don’t fix our infrastructure, we will become a 3rd world nation.
Immigration reform. Again another no brainer. The fact is, we’re down to almost zero illegal immigration across our southern border. The problem is, we’ve got people who were brought here as children through no fault of their own. They don’t have any ties or connections with Mexico to speak of. Some don’t even speak Spanish. All they’ve known is the United States and some did not even know they were here illegally until they went to apply for a job after college. What do we do about them? We’ve educated them. They’ve been paying taxes and working along side us to build a better country. Send them home? This is the only home they’ve ever known. Some have even served and some have died in our military. Fixing immigration is long overdue.
Again, do the Republicans think they can survive alienating the growing Hispanic population? Their anti-immigration posture is lunacy writ large. Mitch McConnell said, “President Obama is out to destroy the Republican Party.” If that were his intent, he’d have to do nothing but simply get out of their way. They’re doing a fine job of destroying themselves.
Raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour? Again another no brainer! If you think tax cuts will stimulate this economy, raising the minimum wage will do it better and quicker. Here’s a dirty little secret. When you give rich people money, they save it. When you give poor people money, they spend it. Who do they spend it with? They spend it at all the businesses ironically owned by rich people. It is just common sense that anyone who works a full 40 hour week, shouldn’t be living below the poverty level. If you cannot make enough to live by working, what exactly is the point of having a job? Think of the crime, raising the minimum wage would cut down on. People will do whatever it takes to live… up to and including robbing you.
Paul Revere’s Ride
This has been both the foil and the bane of the Democratic Party. My personal opinion is that they should treat it like the 3rd rail and leave it alone. Here’s why, our culture is based on gun ownership. Going all the way back to the Revolutionary War, Paul Revere wasn’t riding through towns to alert the military. He was calling up the militia. Who were the militia? The militia was defined as all males between the ages of 16 and 45. These were common ordinary citizens who came with their own personal firearms, ammunition and supplies. In the army, your weapons and equipment is supplied. You’re given a uniform. Think about that word “uniform.” Uniform means that everyone, everything is the same. Everyone is issued similar weapons, similar ammunition, given similar training and is dressed similarly.
In the Militia, you come as you are and you bring what you’ve got. Had it not been for individual gun ownership, we would still be a colony of Great Britain and our national anthem would be “God Save the Queen.” So ingrained was this lesson in our early history, the importance of personal firearms ownership was codified into our Constitution. This is what the 2nd Amendment was about.
Understanding The 2nd Amendment
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Let’s take the first clause. This seems to cause people some problems. In order to regulate the Militia, the Militia must first exist. You cannot regulate what does not exist. When the armed citizenry come together as a group, they form the Militia. Then they can be regulated. They can be organized into groups. Given assignments, taught tactics what have you.
Why would you do this? You would do this because they are necessary to the security of a free State. Now remember whom the Militia is. All males between the ages of 16 and 45. They have to have their own firearms because the State or the Federal Government isn’t burdened with having to issue these citizens arms or supplies. This brings us to the latter clause. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Our Gun Culture
Clint Eastwood – The Man With No Name Trilogy
Guns in the hands of our citizens have been critical to not only our survival as a nation, but to our expansion into the west to fulfil our “Manifest Destiny.” Firearms were used to feed us and protect us on the frontier. The heroes in the old “Dime Store Novels” were the likes of Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hitchcock, Wyatt Earp and “Doc” Halliday.
When the motion picture industry came into being, the quick gun shootin, rooty toot tootin, Cowboy became and American icon. Tom Mix, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson and a host of others became our heroes. They all solved their problems with fast and accurate shooting. We played with cap guns in plastic holsters.
As we matured, guns and their use matured with us. The wise cracking, fast shooting Cop shows of the 80’s like “Miami Vice” introduced us to shoulder holsters and ankle holsters. Do I need to mention James Bond with is Walther PPK?
Thanks to movie ratings, we never saw the reality of the aftermath of a shooting. No pools of blood. No gray matter and brain tissue splattering the walls and the floors. No mothers falling out and weeping. It was all neat clean and tidy. Only lately have they begun to show limited realism in the CSI type shows.
Is it any wonder that our relationship with firearms seems so excessive to other cultures? You simply cannot undo over 200 years of our culture by passing a few laws. If you could wave a magic wand and remove all 300 million firearms from these United States, all you would succeed in doing is creating the worlds largest “Black Market” for guns. We can’t even keep drugs out of the country. Guns? I don’t think you can train “gun sniffing dogs.”
With these facts in mind, pursuing the tools of gun violence – the gun – will only serve to alienate – remember our culture – those who might otherwise stand with you on all the other issues. I fully understand the raw emotion of the issue when it comes to parents and family members who have lost a child to gun violence. I understand because my oldest son was murdered by a thug with a gun. So, I’ve been there. This isn’t theory for me, I’ve lived it. The gun didn’t murder my son. The piece of excrement who pulled the trigger did.
The Republican Response
The official Republican response to the State of the Union was delivered by Marco Rubio, the junior Senator from Florida. It was a colossal train wreck! First of all, his response was clearly written before he had the opportunity to hear the President’s address. You could determine this because he was rebutting statements and points that the President never made.
Marco Rubio’s Water Bottle Moment
He basically rehashed – in some cases nearly word for word – old speeches by Mitt Romney. Then there was the water bottle fiasco. Evidently towards the end of his speech, his mouth got dry. I suppose nerves will do that to you. He leans way off camera to grab a water bottle and it was so inartfully done, the effect was hilarious! I don’t know why they bother. At some point they came to the conclusion that in order to deliver a proper rebuttal, staging was everything. Thus, they’ve tried everything to give their responses more gravitas by attempting to make the staging look as officious as possible.
We’ve had them deliver their response in a State House stacked with phony audience members clapping on cue. We’ve had the disastrous marionette like walk out of Bobby Jindal and now Marco Rubio stands in front of a set designed to appear as though he’s standing in the “Oval Office” with a window behind him. Far be it from me to give them advice when they’re doing so well, but perhaps a bit less attention to form and a little more attention to substance would do them well.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, an interesting phenomena has been observed. Something of a shark feeding frenzy has been occurring amongst Republicans.
Those Republicans who’s districts are located along the Atlantic seaboard, where hurricane Sandy did most of it’s devastation, are suddenly coming face to face with the consequences of their own policies and rhetoric. Who are they at war with? Interestingly enough, their fellow Republicans!
The TEA Party
If we’re going to be honest and objective, the Republican philosophy has been proven to be a farce for years now. It is one of the most dramatic examples of false advertising imaginable. What are the primary planks of the Republican platform? I’m sure you know them. These are the things that come immediately to mind when you think “Republican.”
Strong National Defence.
You might be able to add one or two more, however they’re going to be in this same vein. When you look at the history of Republican administrations from the 50’s to now, what you see is nothing of the sort. Consider the national debt. Does it go up or down under fiscally conservative Republican Administrations?
The Inconvenient Truth
You might be surprised to know it goes up dramatically under the Republicans. While they are talking East, they’re walking West. How did Ronald Reagan defeat the Soviet Union? He spent them into oblivion. They simply could not match our spending and in trying to do so, they ruined their economy forcing their breakup. Is the world safer for having them gone? Simple question: Who now is controlling and monitoring all their nuclear weapons?
President Obama is the most frugal President we’ve had in modern history
Is President Obama the biggest spender in the history of our nation? The thing about statistics is, figures lie and liars figure and sometimes it is difficult to tell who is doing which. Republicans like to simply take the raw numbers out of context. They forget that President Obama is dealing with a much higher GDP and he’s also dealing with a debt that his predecessor – “Lord Voldemort or He Who Shall Not Be Named” – ran up. Thus, by simply paying on the debt already in existence, his spending is going to be – by the pure numbers – higher. However, when you compare his numbers to the rest of the economy and look at the adjusted and thus more correct big picture, it turns out that President Obama may be the most frugal President we’ve had in modern history.
Sometimes a dog will turn on it’s master.
This fact has not been lost on the American voting public. In an effort to generate enthusiasm, energy and new blood into the foundering Republican Party, they formed an unholy alliance with the TEA Party. These misguided souls, mostly racist running under the banner of people angry about paying too much in taxes, are like an attack dog. People seem to enjoy owning an attack dog. The concept of having an ever vigilant ally on one’s side seems comforting. But what happens when your dog turns on you?
Hurricane Sandy And Republican Hypocrisy
New York Republican Representative Peter King is livid.
This past week, Congressman Peter King of New York took to the airwaves to deliver one of the most scathing rebukes I’ve heard, to the Republican Party. What makes this so unusual? Rep. Peter King is himself a Republican. Within 10 days of Hurricane Katrina, the House voted to appropriate 60 billion dollars in relief and rebuilding aid for the stricken Gulf Coast. It has been 9 weeks and they haven’t appropriated a cent to aid the Atlantic seaboard. Frankly? I do not blame him! This shouldn’t be about politics. There are over 517,000 people who have had their lives devastated. Many have lost everything. You can have insurance, but what happens when the insurance company runs out of money? What happens when you cannot get building supplies to your lot to rebuild your home because the roads are impassable? Each day that goes by, the damage is compounded. If you’ve ever experienced a basement flood, you know that getting the water pumped out and the basement dried as quickly as possible is of paramount importance. It doesn’t take mold long to grow. Once mold sets in, you’ve got to start tearing out walls.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – the presumed Republican Presidential nominee for 2016 – also had quite a lot to say. What made his comments so Earth shattering was the fact he was the keynote speaker at the most recent RNC convention. He is considered the “working man’s blue collar Republican Champion.” Caustic, bombastic and extremely “real,” truth be told, Hell! I don’t know that I wouldn’t vote for him if I lived in New Jersey. I would rather have someone with whom I disagreed with on some issues but whom I knew was doing the best job for the welfare of my State. When Chris Christie called out the Republican House and John Boehner, it got people’s attention and rightly so! Why? Because the needs of American citizens who through no fault of their own, were being thrown under the bus in the name of Republican and TEA Party ideology.
America Is An Idea – Nothing More
Quite often we become confused with borders, State and Federal and we think our geography is what defines us. We are not a homogeneous society defined by ethnicity like China or Japan. You cannot look at someone walking on our streets, note their ethnicity or how they’re dressed and conclude that they are or are not American citizens.
What makes us American is we all believe in the idea of America. “Out of many one.” From California to New York, from North Dakota to Mississippi, from Texas to Maine, we all consider ourselves one nation. When trouble rises or disasters strike, historically we all have pulled together as Americans… until now. When the events of September 11, 2001 happened, we didn’t say, “bummer! Too bad about New York.” We felt that we all had been attacked. We were ready to go to war… with somebody… anybody… turns out that’s just what we did.
Pork is always something benefiting someone else’s district.
The definition of “Pork” in a congressional bill is anything that doesn’t directly benefit your State and your constituents. The same Republicans from the Atlantic seaboard who have decried wasteful government spending and who have demanded that there be cuts and offsets for every dollar spent, are now facing their Republican counterparts from States who were not affected by Hurricane Sandy. It’s a case of political Karma. How does it feel? It’s like being in the “Emergency Room” bleeding to death and before the doctor will operate to stop the bleeding and save your life, he pulls up a chair and begins discussing who your insurance carrier is and wants to check if you’re paid up on your premiums.
Crazy as a Mad Hatter.
Is this what the TEA Party has brought us to? We will either stand together or hang separately. The TEA Party mentality is exactly the same as that of the Southern Secessionists. The bloodiest war in our history was fought to lay that idea to rest. Many of these States who’s representatives promote these ideas are also the very States first in line with their hands outstretched seeking Federal aid. While Governor Rick Perry was making political points with his base talking about Texas seceding from the Union, wildfires were burning across his State. He was at the front of the line asking President Obama for Federal aid for his State. Like a rabid dog, he was busy biting the hand that feeds him while whining for more food.
It is time we say, enough is enough and get rid of our current crop of Republicans. No, you cannot make the “false equivalence” argument and try and claim that the Democrats do the same thing. They don’t. It is time to belly up to the bar, call a spade a spade and hold accountable the Party who is busily engaged in destroying our homeland. It is time to call Republicans on their hypocrisy. America will exist only as long as it’s citizens embrace the idea of America. That idea is under all out assault by the wing nuts in the Republican Party.
I first became aware of Tavis Smiley back in the late 90’s when Bill Maher was doing his show – “Politically Incorrect.” Whenever we see a Black face on televsion that is not in some comedic role, but is present to speak for and represent a Black point of view, I tend to pay attention.
The format of the show was a topical panel discussion, with a diverse group of guest. On the night in question, somehow the subject of African Slavery came up. One of the white male guest made the assertion that Slavery benefited Black people. As you might imagine, the hairs on the back of my neck snapped to attention and I sat up. I wanted Tavis to do one of two things or possibly both! I wanted him to first, knock this comment out of the park. It was like a slow ball pitched right over the center of the plate. “Swing for the fences Tavis!” Second, it would have warmed the cockles of my heart and put a smile on my face if Tavis had jumped from his seat and begun whipping some Ass right on national television!
Neither of those things happened. Instead of dissecting that comment with an insight bred of the experiences of our culture, Tavis chose instead to mug for the camera. He looked shocked as though he could not believe what he’d just heard. Wrong response! I was finished, through, done with Mr. Smiley from that point on.
State of the Black Union
State of the Black Union – Annual symposium put on by Tavis Smiley to discuss issues of concern to Black America.
Mr. Smiley introduced himself to me again, some years later with his “State of the Black Union” project. The reason I watched was because of the guest roster. Mr. Smiley had managed to put together an impressive array of impressive guests from various segments of society who presented their views. It was intelligent, informative and it was well done. I began to soften my view on Mr. Smiley, but he remained on probation.
It was at these annual “State of the Black Union” symposiums that I was exposed to Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. It was a pleasure to hear Black Ph.Ds articulate the issues and concerns of Black people in America. They made my heart smile. I had no idea whom Alexis de Tocqueville was or what he wrote. However, – as is oft the case – Cornel West quoting from some long dead French philosopher made him sound like a genius! The reality is, he might as well have been quoting the janitor down the hall. But he sounded good.
Cast of the TJMS when Tavis was a contributor
Tavis Smiley connected with Tom Joyner of the Tom Joyner in the Morning Show. Mr. Joyner is probably one of the best known and most listened to Black Radio Personalities. His show is syndicated all across this nation. If you’re Black and you’re driving to work in the morning with your radio on, chances are it’s tuned into the TJMS broadcast. Tavis began appearing as a weekly contributor offering “timely commentary” on the days issues.
Trouble In Paradise
When author Toni Morrison said that Bill Clinton was the “first Black President,” we knew what she was getting at, but evidently some people took her literally. Evidently, Tavis and Cornel West were two such people. I say this because their loyalty to the “Clinton brand” – don’t get me wrong, I first became a millionaire on paper under President Clinton, but George Bush dialed that back a bit – has surpassed all rhyme or reason!
President Bill Clinton
Were the policies of President Clinton beneficial to Black people? Absolutely! However, they were also beneficial to white people. Yes, rich white people got a lot richer under President Clinton. You may recall the “Dotcom Boom?” That wasn’t from a lot of minorities and Black people opening businesses in “Silicon Valley.” Bill Clinton was a good President and one of the reasons Republicans hated him so, was because his policies and the success they brought to the country showed Republican policies to be a lie. The National Debt was on it’s way to being paid off in approximately 15 years and we had surpluses.
Then came George W. Bush and all of that went away. When Hillary Clinton ran for the office of President, she was a known quantity to not just Black people but to a majority of Americans. She was loved by Democrats and hated by many Republicans. A lot of Black people threw their support behind Hillary… up until Barack Obama won Iowa. That changed everything. When Black people saw that white people would actually vote for Barack Obama, many of us pivoted and threw our support behind his historic candidacy.
Breaking Up Is Hard – For Some – To Do
The irony is, it was enlightened white people in a part of this Country where you might least expect to find them – Iowa – that showed the rest of this nation – Black people included – the way! The result was, that those Black leaders who felt that they had inroads into a Clinton presidency, suddenly found themselves starting from square one with everyone else. Some of them did not take this well. Tavis Smiley signalled his unease about this paradigm shift in his comments and weekly commentary on the TJMS broadcasts.
When he hosted his annual “State of the Black Union symposium” that year, he invited then candidate Obama. Candidate Obama opted not to show for clearly strategic reasons. He did offer to send his wife, Michelle Obama. Tavis threw a “hissy-fit” and refused his offer. Those of us who are politically astute, understood that candidate Obama was running to be President of all these United States. He was facing slurs and innuendos designed to make white people feel that he would be just the President of Black people. The optics of his being involved with a symposium which had featured Min. Louis Farrakhan, not once but several times, would not have been helpful.
Cornel West and President Obama during happier times.
Cornel West seemed to understand the political dynamics and he did in fact campaign for and with Senator Obama. His falling out with the President – according to West – was caused because he did not receive tickets to the inaugural celebrations. A slight? An oversight? Who knows? His explanation for the genesis of his dogged criticisms of President Obama stem from him getting his feelings hurt because he wasn’t given tickets! Really? Had he been given tickets, I suppose everything would be just dandy now?
Un-Anointed And Self-Appointed
Tavis Smiley and Cornel West – The New Odd Couple?
We find ourselves today with brothers Smiley and West on a mission to critique any and everything President Obama does. They are struggling desperately to make themselves relevant to the on-going conversation in this nation on race, minority issues and issues specific to the Black community. So determined was Tavis Smiley to make himself the designated “watchdog” of President Obama’s policies, it led to his leaving the Tom Joyner in the Morning Show. The audience wasn’t feeling it and frankly? Tavis was embarrassing himself.
Un-Anointed, Self-Appointed Presidential Watchdog
There is a difference between constructive criticism and criticism that comes from the petty frustration of not having gotten one’s way. The majority of the American people – based on these latest election results – know that President Obama has been doing everything within his power to make things better in these United States for allAmericans. Further we know that he has had to fight an unprecedented Republican opposition, who’s stated objective was to make him a one term President… even if they had to destroy our nation in the process! When President Obama’s policies help poor white people, they help poor Black people too. When out of work white people get jobs, out of work Black people get jobs.
I have been Black for these past 55 years. I do not recall in my lifetime, ever being invited to, or ever hearing about a secret meeting of Black people wherein we vote on and elect our approved Black leaders and spokesmen. If this has happened, I did not get my invitation. For my white readers, pay close attention. Black people have no official Black spokesmen or leaders… well, that is up until 2008 when we and the rest of these United States elected President Obama. The irony? The only official Black leader and spokesperson happens to be the officially elected leader of these United States. Thus, the leader of Black people, is also the leader of White people.
Any Black person who believes that they are a self-appointed, self-anointed spokesperson for Black people is suffering from a “Black Delusion.” This goes for Cornel West and Tavis Smiley. To show the extreme state of his delusional thinking, Cornel West has now attempted to pick fights with Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Micheal Eric Dyson and Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry. Why? Apparently simply because they
Wonder how much this tour cost? Could that money have been better spent actually helping the poor?
are relevant and he is not! Yes, I heard about the Smiley-West “Poverty Tour.” It was cute. They spent God knows how much money touring this country on a bus talking about poverty and endeavoring to Blame President Obama. What did they accomplish? Not much! Both of these men are millionaires. The problem with poverty is, it’s like the weather. Everybody talks about it. Nobody does anything about it. Their time and their message would have been better spent had they opened a series of Smiley-West soup kitchens or homeless shelters. However, that would have actually required an investment. Paying lip service to an issue costs a lot less. Have they become irrelevant? Yes, they have. I suppose they could get a show on Fox News now? There are a lot of irrelevant people over there.
Faced with how a real President responds to a national crisis, Republicans are running around with their hair on fire! One is forced to ask, are they really that unpatriotic? Or is it that their hatred for our first Black President is greater than their love for country or their concern for the welfare of their fellow American citizens?
A Tale Of Two Storms
Woman picks through the rubble of her home after Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina and it’s aftermath is still fresh in our collective psyches. For the first time in our modern technological history, a portion of our nation took on the optics of a 3rd world nation. We seemed powerless to help our fellow citizens and this impotence was hammered home day after day, night after night by our 24 hour news coverage.
Hurricane Katrina Victims signalling for help
We watched as the people of New Orleans – those fortunate enough to make it to their roofs – stood on their roofs, some waving t-shirts, other’s spelling out the word “help” with whatever debris they could get their hands on, all begging for rescue. News helicopters unequipped to be any more than a photographer’s platform, filmed the horror with the unblinking eye of the camera… and we watched. We saw men, women and children endure what none of us could possibly imagine ever happening in the United States of America.
We pride ourselves on coming to the aid of other nations to bring relief and rescue. Suddenly it appeared that we, the worlds last remaining “Super Power,” needed aid. It was a blow to our pride, self-esteem and wounded our delusion of independent self-reliance. The notion of “American Exceptionalism,” was laid bare for the myth that it is.
Michael D. Brown – Head of FEMA under George W. Bush
When Katrina hit, Michael D. Brown – an appointee of G.W. Bush – was the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA. This was a curious appointment because Brown had absolutely no experience in emergency management of any sort! He was a lawyer and a radio personality. The only management responsibility on his résumé was his time as commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association. Bush might as well have made him “Surgeon General.” He was just as qualified for that position.
To his credit, following the Katrina débâcle a video tape emerged showing Michael Brown warning George Bush that Katrina “might be the big one.”
Unfortunately, being able to perceive that the light at the end of the tunnel might be a train, doesn’t necessarily mean you know the way out of the tunnel. In short, from my perspective, Michael Brown did the best he could, he was just in over his head.
George Bush in his pick-up truck on his ranch in Crawford, TX. Secret Service wouldn’t let him drive it on the streets.
George Bush had been vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, TX. On the Monday the storm hit, he was attending a ceremony in California. He did not return to Washington until Wednesday following the storm and did not visit New Orleans until that Friday. It was 5 days before he arrived on the scene of what he called “our worst natural disaster in history.”
Unusable FEMA Trailers – Contaminated with toxic levels of formaldehyde.
FEMA under the Bush administration had given a no bid contract to Bechtel. They were to provide trailers to be used to house victims of major disasters until they could return to their homes. The problem was these trailers had toxic levels of formaldehyde. The people who were moved into them became ill. Of course law suits were filed. Needless to say, this gave FEMA a “black-eye” in the view of the public.
To sum things up, the government’s handling of Katrina was worse than a Chinese fire drill. People died who could have been rescued. The perception that the government was ineffective and more hindrance than solution, was reinforced in the minds of many.
When Hurricane Sandy struck we all, I included, expected the government response to be similar. No, I did not think it would be anywhere near as bad as it was under the Bush administration. Cronyism and incompetence simply oozed from the pores of the Bush administration. However the differences in the responses between the Obama administration and the Bush administration have been stunning!
Craig Fugate – Head of FEMA under President Obama
The first notable difference is, when it came time to select a Head of FEMA, President Obama hired the director of Emergency Management from the State of Florida, Craig Fugate. Why? Florida is in the line of fire 6 months out of the year during Hurricane season. Florida gets hit frequently. Thus when he hired Craig Fugate, he was hiring someone with actual experience in crisis management and disaster mitigation. Yes, competence makes a difference.
In the aftermath of Sandy, in the words of Dawn Zimmer, the Mayor of Hoboken, NJ, “I put out a call for help and within 90 minutes, FEMA and the National Guard were here.” The other difference? The day after the storm, President Obama was on the scene, viewing the damage, finding out what was needed and giving physical and emotional comfort to those who’d lost everything. George Bush? 5 days. President Obama? Next day. There is a difference.
A Real President
I’ve heard some make the claim that the President does nothing other than show up for “photo-ops.” The explicit implication – I know, borders on an oxymoron – is that the President is using a tragedy for political gain. While there is little doubt this has happened in the past, with President Obama this is clearly not the case. Sometimes it requires an “Act of God,” to cause people to realize what is truly important.
President Obama meets with Governor Christie in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has been an outspoken supporter of Mitt Romney and an ardent, vociferous, bombastic critic of the President. When Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey, that was his “come to Jesus” moment. Partisan politics went out the window and Governor Christie found himself in the awkward position of needing the help of the President of the United States for the people of New Jersey. When your home gets blown away, you don’t give a damn which party the person helping you belongs to. You’re just happy someone is extending you a helping hand.
President Obama Comforts Female Victim of Hurricane Sandy
Having a real President show up clearly means a lot in a time of despair. It clearly meant a lot to the people who’d lost everything. When President Obama took that woman in his arms and told her that everything was going to be alright and that our government was going to help her put her life back together, it carried the weight of a President who means what he says and says what he means.
Say what you will about President Obama, there’s one thing that is beyond dispute, whatever he says he will do, he does. He said he would defeat Al-Qaeda, he’s done that. When the question was asked in the primary debates, if he would go into Pakistan to get Bin Laden if he had actionable intelligence, he said he would and he did. He said he would pass healthcare reform, he did that. So when he tells a grieving lady that everything is going to be alright and that the government was going to be with her every step of he way, she tends to believe it and takes hope from it.
Aircraft Carrier turning
What can a real President do? First of all, he can cut through government “red tape” like a hot knife through butter. President Obama gave instructions that he didn’t want any hold ups or impediments to government aid. He can do a lot more. This is what I believe stunned Governor Christie. When the issue came up of helicopters coming in to bring supplies and assist in search and rescue missions, the problem was where to land them. President Obama picked up the phone and ordered 3 aircraft carriers to station themselves off the coast of New York and New Jersey, to act as mobile bases for the helicopters that would be needed.
C-130 being loaded
Getting the power back on? We’re Americans. When one State is in need, all of the United States pitch in to help. States all around the nation began rolling crews, equipment and trucks toward our Atlantic seaboard. California sent crews. When President Obama heard they were driving all the way from California to New Jersey and New York, he told them to divert to an airport where he would have C-130 military transports waiting to pick them up, trucks and all. This is what a real President can do. I’m damn glad we’ve got one.
As I write this, we are in the middle of an unfolding natural disaster the likes of which most have never seen. A few hours ago, “Hurricane Sandy” made landfall off the coast of New Jersey. To give you some perspective on the size of this storm, it would take a jet liner 2 hours to fly from one end to the other. As is our custom, some have named it “Frankenstorm.” It is a monster of a storm to be sure. Ironically, this type of storm is predicted and fits perfectly within the oft denied “Global Warming” model of climate scientists. Thus far there are 8.2 million power customers without power.
This is the only light some people have right now.
New York is flooded. Public transportation has been suspended and the Subway’s have been shut down due to the tunnels being full of salt water. Wall Street was closed today and will be closed tomorrow as well. The American marketplace, the engine of our economic system has been suspended while we all listen to a sermon from “Mother Nature.” All our technology, ingenuity and current “know-how,” has been placed in it’s proper perspective by a power greater than ours.
Power Company Truck – Ice Storm
Every State in the path of this monster is experiencing power outages and devastation from high winds and flooding caused by driving rains. It gets worse. A dip in the Jet Stream has allowed a blast of Arctic air from Canada to come down to join the party. Where the moisture meets the cold, you have extremely heavy snowfall and ice formations. Because this storm has hit at a time when leaves are still on the trees, we’re now looking at even more devastation from trees icing up and limbs breaking. The limbs falling on power lines is bound to increase the number of power outages exponentially.
Power Outage and it’s growing
It would be folly at this point to attempt to project the extent of the devastation we’re facing. Thus far at least 48 people are reported as casualties of this storm with more reports coming in. We do know that a hospital’s generators failed. As yet we have no idea what ramifications this may have caused. We are being reminded in the most fundamental way of how truly fragile our technology based society actually is. You turn on the faucet without ever considering that somewhere there is a pump driven by an electric motor, pumping that water into your home. If the power goes down at the pumping station, nothing but a distressing gurgle will flow from your faucet.
We no longer have “ice boxes,” what we have are refrigerator/freezers. Unlike our ancestors who had to spend a good portion of each day, either hunting, gathering or harvesting what they were going to eat each day, we now avail ourselves of supermarkets and grocery stores and buy food for the week. We store it safely in our refrigerators freeing up the hours in our days to pursue careers and other endeavours. When the power goes out, the clock starts ticking and that food we counted on is at risk of being lost. When the power goes out, the most disturbing thing is the absolute silence. You live each day surrounded by that 60Hz hum. You’ve become so accustomed to it, You don’t even notice it. That soft background hum is like the soundtrack to our lives. When it’s gone, the silence is deafening.
The Myth Of Self-Sufficiency
Dave Canterbury of the Pathfinder School. He’s no fool! He teaches survival but it’s a business. He gets paid to teach people how to rough it.
Most evenings, I listen to a radio program called, “Coast to Coast with George Noory.” The show covers a wide range of topics with an ever growing number of guests. There are a few guests who have become “regulars.” Depending on the news du jour, there may be a segment with a guest who’s written a book or has a website dealing with the particular hot topic of the day. Needless to say, tonight there were several guest who are into self-reliance and preparedness.
Survival Lean-to Shelter made from brush. If it comes down to this, you’ve got a lot of problems.
Back in the early 90’s I wrote a piece for a Usenet news group on being a survivalist. It was entitled, “The Realities of Being a Survivalist. (Getting Past the Bug-Out Mentality.)” Much to my surprise it is still around and referred to from time to time. It was written around the time the movie “Red Dawn” was in a lot of people’s minds. Many people had the mindset, that in the event of TEOTWAWKI – The End Of The World As We Know It – the thing to do was grab your “Bug Out Bag,” your guns and head for the hills. Live off the land, hunt and forage for food and survive like a hero from a Mad Max movie.
Sounds exciting, but it’s not very realistic. The gist of my article pointed out many of the fallacies of that type of thinking. For one, I’m not at all interested in running around in the woods with a bunch of other armed people all hunting for that same damn deer. My suggestion was to make your own home your survival retreat. Yes, I preached self-reliance. Food stores, water, a backup generator, certainly the ability to protect yourself and your family, with the added admonition of giving some thought to where you were living and relocate now to a safer, more strategic location. You probably wouldn’t want to be in the heart of a metropolis in the event of a crisis. We’re seeing some of the problems with this unfolding right now.
Desperately Needed Food Supplies
There are a lot of people in New York. In a day or so, they’re going to need access to food and fresh water. With transportation shut down and limited, bringing supplies to that many people is going to present a problem the likes of which may rival or surpass the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina. One thing in favor of the denizens of New York, the administration of President Obama is much more competent than that of George Bush. Nevertheless, it may be weeks or even months before New York and the rest of our eastern seaboard is back to normal.
Nobody ever thinks about toilet paper. How much do you have stored up?
Yes, self-sufficiency is good. Having supplies on hand is a great idea and everybody ought to have enough on hand to last at least 72 hours without assistance. A week or two would be even better. However, let’s be realistic. We cannot maintain our quality of life on our own. “No man is an island.” Even if you have a generator, eventually it is going to run out of gas. With the power out, if you can make it to a gas station, those pumps will not be working. How much food can you store? Toilet paper? How long can you stay or would you want to stay if you could not flush your toilets? Is it winter? How long do you think it will take for your apartment or home to reach the same temperature as it is outside? Is it summer? How long can you go without air conditioning? Excessive heat can be just as dangerous as freezing cold.
Ayn Rand High Priestess of the Virtue of Selfishness. Darling of Paul Ryan and Guru of the Republican philosophy
The Republican ideology of the virtue of selfishness begins to fall short when faced with the reality of the survival of a society. For years now the Republican mantra has been, “Government is the problem.” They’re right! Bad government is the problem. They fail to make this distinction. There is a reason human beings invented government. We exist today and have achieved what we’ve been able to achieve, even with all the setbacks and missteps, because we learned that working together in a coordinated fashion increased our chances for survival.
It was a hard and rugged life out on the frontier. There was nothing glamorous about it.
Species who’s survival strategy focused purely on distinct individual achievement are no longer here. They’ve gone extinct. Wolves hunt in packs, whales swim in pods, fish swim in schools, bees, ants and other insects have hives and colonies. The coordinated efforts of a group increases efficiency and effectiveness. In our recent history, early 1800’s, the era of the self-reliant outdoors-man, frontiersman, the average lifespan was just 40 years old. Think about that for a moment. You reached 40 years of age and died of the natural cause of old age. Why? Life was hard. It was brutal. It was dangerous. Your caloric intake was low. You suffered from malnutrition. You died.
The things we enjoy today and take for granted come to us because we’ve learned to work together much more efficiently than at any other time in our recorded history. We have become a society of specialists. We make the education of all our children mandatory. Not just the aristocrats or plutocrats. Allour children. Why? Because genius and innovation are not the exclusive province of the privileged and wealthy. We develop all minds both male and female.
We realize that you cannot be a productive, contributing member or society if you’re tethered to your home, armed to the teeth to repel thieves, robbers and invaders. Thus, we have professional police officers and if need be a military. You do not have to rely on folk medicine and remedies handed down by your family traditions. We have hospitals, emergency care facilities and emergency response personnel. They are specifically trained to quickly and efficiently respond to all medical emergencies.
Gas main exploding in a residential neighborhood.
Should some disaster strike, or your home or business catch fire, we have professional firemen and first responders. In times past, should your home or business catch fire, or some natural disaster befall you, you were largely on your own. To be sure, some of your neighbors may have come to help after they saw to their own needs, but professionals with equipment they were not! Because of our combined efforts – coordinated by Government – to care for and meet the needs of everyone in our society, we have experienced progress heretofore unknown in recorded human history.
Climate Change Anyone?
Notice a trend?
The Lunacy in the way the Republicans and the so called conservative movement, have dealt with the issue of “Global Warming” has been simply appalling. They have treated this issue as though the planet is sick and you can go shop for a doctor until you find one that will give you the opinion you want to hear. Scientist after scientist has sounded the warning. “We’re in serious trouble if we don’t do something now.” “We’re nearly at the tipping point.” I’m sure you’ve probably heard all the warnings. They haven’t exactly been keeping things a secret. The prescription has not been that severe. Reduce our use of fossil fuels. Invest in more wind and solar. Incorporate hydro-electric wherever possible. Develop wave powered tidal generators. Increase batter efficiency. Increase fuel efficiency standards in automobiles to bridge us over.
What the Republicans did was turn to their own scientist – most on the payrolls of the energy industry – who say, “Global Warming” needs to be studied more. Or, “we’re not sure how much of this is caused by man.” Really? You’re kidding me right? It’s like that commercial that says, “4 out of 5 dentist agree…” and they turn to that 5th dentist for advice. We simply cannot afford this.Too much is at stake. Remember the GOP convention where they were chanting “Drill Baby Drill” as though it were some Buddhist Mantra? I want you to hold that in your mind and hear it as you look at the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Two huge lies. The first is, that the global supply of oil determines your price at the pump. The price per barrel is set by oil speculators who are trading oil futures like Day Traders trade “penny stocks” on the Stock Market. It’s pump and dump. They don’t give a damn about consumers, they’re in for he quick kill and you pay for their profits.
Coming to a National Park Near You?
Lie number two: We can drill our way to lower energy costs. The United States has a little over 2% of the World’s proven oil reserves. We consume roughly 20% of the World’s oil. Do you see a problem? I do. Simply put, if we were at peak capacity we’re not able to produce as much oil as we consume. It’s like being behind on your mortgage and coming up with the brilliant idea that going through you couch cushions looking for change, will solve your problems. The humor is muted by the tragic reality. You’re going to lose your home. If you were lamenting to me that you were facing foreclosure and I asked you if you’d checked your couch cushions for change, I’m pretty certain you’d have to suppress an impulse to bust me in my eye. Hell! I wouldn’t blame you if you did! I have the same impulse whenever I see or hear a Republican talking about “drill baby drill.”
The reality is, our planet is heating up. How many “100 year storms” have we had in the past decade? They’re coming almost every two years now aren’t they? Coincidence? I don’t think so. To those who lamely try to make the argument that “Man” is not involved, look at it this way. If you were coming down a mountain and you tapped your brakes and they went all the way to the floorboard, what would you do? Would you throw your hands in the air and say, “oh well, there’s nothing I can do. Might as well floor it and go out in a blaze of glory?” Or would you down shift and try the emergency brake? Would you look for a place to drag your car along the side of the mountain to slow and stop it?
The Republican Lie
Republicans have as one of their confessions of faith, “Government is the problem.” “We want Government so small you can drown it in a bathtub.” What about now? When disasters strike like Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, Mt. St. Helens erupts, Earthquakes, God forbid, Yellowstone’s super Caldera lets loose, you’re going to want Government there with all the resources necessary to return our lives to some semblance of normalcy. this is why we pay taxes. This is why whom we elect is so critically important!Everybody complains about taxes… until their home is under 6′ of water or on fire. When your child gets lost in a National Park while you’re out on a picnic, you couldn’t afford the cost of the search and rescue effort that the government – we the tax payers – will mount to reunite you with your child.
Irony – It’s a Bitch isn’t it?
If your home is on fire, you don’t want the fire department to show up with a clipboard and ask you, “will this be cash, check or charge?” Same thing if you were having a heart attack. These things we take for granted, are the very services that cause people to want to live in our country. No matter whom you are. No matter what you’ve done. If you’re in trouble, society will come together to save your life and help you get back on your feet. We call it “Our Social Contract.” It is what makes us Americans. There is a cost associated with this contract and we cover this cost by paying taxes.
Ever hear the phrase,”all roads lead to Rome?” There is a reason for that expression. The Romans knew that to build and maintain an empire, they needed to be able to quickly move and supply their armies to any location within their empire. Thus they built roads. These roads made marching easier and faster. They made it possible for wagons with supplies to accompany their armies. People spend a lot of time talking about the Roman phalanx, armament and use of the short sword to explain their military success. True their tactics and use of equipment played a large part, however the most important part in my opinion were the roads they built that increased their logistic efficiency and made it possible for reinforcements to quickly arrive on the scene of a conflict.
Collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis in 2007
At one time, we knew this. At least we acted as though we did. We spared no expense to connect our country, first with rail lines and with the invention of the automobile, our interstate highway system. Our roads made commerce possible and caused towns and cities to spring up and grow along these thoroughfares. Power lines, roads, rail systems, bridges all these things make up parts of our infrastructure. If we do not maintain them, they will crumble and fail. It always costs more to rebuild something than it does to maintain it. Don’t like paying taxes? Think about this the next time you’re crossing a bridge. Saving money can be expensive.
When Katrina struck, the Levees broke.
How expensive? Hurricane Katrina really wasn’t all that bad by the time it came ashore. It had greatly weakened. The problem was the levees. They knew there was a problem with the levees and in fact money had been set aside to address this problem. However, instead of that money going to fix the levees, because of decreased revenue caused by cutting taxes, that money went to take care of other things. A levee is sort of like a parachute. You can fly 1,000 times and never need one. However, when you do, you need it to work. Again, infrastructure like those Roman roads, gets ignored until it crumbles or is no longer there.
Privatizing Profits, Socializing Costs
David Cay Johnston – Author of “The Fine Print.”
In his book “The Fine Print,” David Cay Johnston lays out how we’ve arrived at our sorry state of affairs. We have deified the private sector to the point we damn near worship corporations as gods. We have allowed such aphorisms as, “the business of America is business,” or “what’s good for business is good for America,” to filter into our collective psyche. We accept these pronouncements as divine truth. We do not question them or actually analyze them. Perhaps we should. First of all, the government of the United States is not nor should it be considered a business. When the Constitution speaks about “promoting general welfare,” it is not talking about corporations or business interests. It is talking about the welfare of the citizens. Quite often what is best for corporations is terrible for citizens.
To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, “the game is afoot!” It has been afoot for quite awhile now. Step one in the game plan? Promote the idea that taxes are bad and that they’re too high. This part is easy. When you tell people they’re paying too much, who is going to disagree? Everybody has been convinced that paying more for something than you have to is a sign of a mental defect.
Step two in the game plan? Convince the State that the “private sector” can provide the same services cheaper and more efficiently. Has anyone ever studied this leap of faith? Yet, because you’ve got the citizens up in arms over paying taxes, this suddenly looks like an attractive alternative. Utilities which used to be owned by the commonwealth have been turned over to private companies. Of course, they’re going to need some assistance and incentives in the way of tax abatements, but hey! It’s off the State’s books. Did you catch that? “tax abatements?” What that means is these companies won’t be paying State income taxes. Thus, the revenue of the State has just been decreased. The State also has lost control over vital parts of our infrastructure.
Here’s what this means. One of the reasons Hurricane Sandy has caused over 8 million people to be without power, is because, power lines have been knocked down by the high winds of the storm. There is a really simple solution to this. Bury the damn lines!Because power companies are now privatized, they’re not interested in incurring the cost of burying the power lines. What’s in it for them? If they cannot justify the cost – translation: make a profitburying the lines – it’s not going to happen. Had the power lines been underground where they should be, our power grid would have been largely unaffected by Hurricane Sandy.
Isn’t it interesting that Mitt Romney wants to get rid of FEMA?Right now when people’s lives and the restoration of their property hangs in the balance with FEMA standing between them and total unrecoverable loss, Governor Romney wants to get rid of FEMA. Hear him in his own words.
Just as he showed abysmal judgement when it came to – in his words – “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt!” Drawing from the same arid well of wisdom, he has prescribed doing away with FEMA. I don’t know how to say this any other way… but the man is a dangerous idiot!
Hurricane Sandy Destroys Republican Ideology
I am not a religious man, but it seems that some form of divine intervention may have occurred. “October Surprise?” This one may have come from higher up than we’d like to consider. For the past four years, Republicans have been trying to paint President Obama as divisive, partisan and refusing to work with Republicans. The reason they’ve been so successful in selling this nonsense is that their base only watches FAUX News. In point of fact, President Obama has alienated his own progressive base by reaching out to Republicans.
The Affordable Care Act called “Obama Care,” went before the U.S. Supreme Court over one issue. That issue was “the individual mandate.” The “individual mandate” was a Republican idea. Republicans have added “poison pills” to Bills and proposed them. When President Obama has said, “okay, we’ll do it your way,” they then turn and vote against the very Bills they’ve written and proposed.
President Obama with an extremely grateful Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey
The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy has made it necessary for Republican ideologues such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to have to put aside partisan politics and seek Federal Aid from the President of these United States. Right about now, Chris Christie is damn glad that Barack Hussein Obama is the President of these United States. He has been effusive in his praise of our President. One can only imagine how things might have been had the Republicans acted like grown-ups from day one and participated in governing instead of collecting tax payer checks for doing nothing?
The Monk, Monastery, Basket and Rope
A traveller visiting an ancient monastery was surprised to discover that the only access was by an elevator up the side of the cliff in a basket pulled up by a rope. As he rode up he noticed that the rope was frayed. He turned to the old Monk and asked how often they replaced the rope? The Monk replied, “each time it breaks.” This describes the way we currently handle business.
Rather than raise taxes and spend the money maintaining, repairing and improving our infrastructure, we will wait until it breaks. Had the levees in New Orleans been fixed and maintained as they should have been, the flooding from Katrina would have been minimal. The loss of life would have been greatly decreased. If our power lines were buried underground as they should be, we’d have very few power outages.
Had the Republicans extended their hands in a willingness to work with our President, instead of coming to him in their time of need, imagine what things would be like today.