Monday, September 26, 2011

Rick Santorum's September Swagger

The title is not wrong because Rick Santorum has come out of September with swagger!

I know that may come as a shock to some readers, as I am not a fan of Santorum, however, what I saw during the FOX/Google debate this past week proved me right. A relaxed Rick Santorum is a coherent candidate and not the spaz so many Pennsylvanians have been accustomed to for so many years.

Santorum gave many answers that were simple and understandable, but I like the fight he brought forth as well, which is probably why he finished fourth in the Florida Straw Poll. Finishing fourth is something Santorum should hold his head up high over.

This doesn’t mean I am endorsing Santorum, for I do not see him coming close to a Presidency, however, it means that many need to rethink their previous observations of how much fight Santorum has.

He came out fighting and took his shots at the “anointed” front runner Gov Rick Perry. He hit Left with “Bi-National Health Insurance” and jabbed Right with “Free in state tuition for Illegal aliens,” two examples that had people talking about Santorum and what they see as needless unwarranted spending by State and Federal governments.

But, and yes, there’s always a “but” involved, it took Forbes Magazine less than a day to come to Gov Rick Perry’s defense on the “Bi-National Health Insurance” idea. As Forbes Magazine states, “it’s the type of free market policy solutions that America needs.”

In 2001, the talk of a “Bi-National Health Insurance” between Texas and Mexico was to help Business lower labor costs and keep money in the Medicaid system. Example: If a Mexican national is legally working in Texas, he/she may get health insurance through their employer, but policy prohibits their family members to be on that insurance plan. So his/her family is left uninsured. Also under the policy is that if he/she gets ill or has a medical need while home in Mexico, the employee would get the full brunt of the hospital cost.

The part of the plan was to help reduce Texas’ Medicaid costs as so many uninsured Mexicans continue to seek uncompensated medical care in US Hospital Emergency rooms.

The plan is a spin of legislation passed in California in the late 1990’s. Blue Shield of Ca offers such a plan. Their reasoning is pretty simple, medical costs and procedures cost almost 50% less in Mexico and their doctors are as competent as those in the US.

Maybe they were schooled in the US?

Blue Shield of Ca saw the idea of “medical tourism” in the late 1990’s before it became common in the mid 2000’s. It’s not unheard of that US citizens seek medical procedures in other nations, as it is cheaper to pay out of pocket then have to deal with their Health Insurance provider in the US.

An appendectomy in Singapore costs roughly 1/3 of price here in the US, with less Post Op time to boot.

Wonder if I could book a trip to Disney Asia and a lobotomy with my travel agent?

Yet, as the Texas business community went head over heels for the idea, it was scrapped as the Texas physicians lobby rallied with claims the plan would ruin their practice and destroy the Texas hospital system.

Santorum’s other point of “Free in state tuition for illegal aliens” hit a massive nerve with many viewers. I can understand Gov Perry’s thought that providing such “tuition” could provide the illegal alien with a pathway to citizenship, thus they would become a Texas resident and so on.

However, the fact that there are currently 12 total states that provide a form of “Free in state tuition for illegal aliens” and another 8 with legislation pending seems insane.

Texas, California, New York, Utah, Illinois, Washington, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Kansas all have passed state law providing such benefits for state universities, their only hitch is that they have attended high school for three or more years. Maryland has a law but it only provides for community colleges. Texas law is the only one that allows illegal aliens apply for financial aid through the state.

I checked on this and the states of Florida, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia had similar laws pending.

Now before you start yelling “bunch of liberal governors” make note that 12 of the 20 states listed have Republican governors. It’s not a Texas or a Southern States issue, its spreads coast to coast, border to border.

Now, there is a federal law that states it is illegal for an illegal alien to receive federal funding, so couldn’t we agree that the Dept of Education and the Federal government did something right?

But Santorum’s point was simple, the average “in state” cost to attend college or university in Texas is around $9k, while someone coming from out of state will pay close to double. And in 2010, there was close to 4,500 illegal aliens (in one form or another) receiving free in state Texas tuition. That’s over $40 million dollars awarded.

Here’s factoid, Texas ranks 50th in public K-12education and currently has cut $65 million in its public K- 12 education program leaving the program under-funded and lacking in current textbooks.

Well I believe the lack in current textbooks is a result of the Texas School board 2 year battle of wanting to change textbooks such as history to add the likes of Limbaugh and omit or footnote more prominent Americans.

What Santorum did during the Fox/Google debate was get people to start thinking and have conversation about all candidates and not of a candidate’s swagger and cool disposition.

Kudos to Rick Santorum and his campaign staff as well as Fox News for acknowledging the other candidates by letting them present themselves and their ideals. If it weren’t for that, Herman Cain may not won the Florida Straw Poll by a monster margin over Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, nor would Rick Santorum be able to hold his head up high and be pleased with a strong 4th place finish.

(Note: Gov Johnson invited to his first debate finished ahead of Rep Michelle Bachmann, who finished last!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Time to put the end to the career politician; Sponsor the Big Poppa resolution today!

I’m tired of the game and it’s time to change the rules.

Oh, stop with the “you stupid liberal” chants, trust me, the rules I plan to impose will work for everyone.

For many years I have been talking about ending the career politician in Washington and to invoke term limits upon the elected position. Hey, if Congress can add the 22nd Amendment that gave term limits to the Presidential office, then we as voters can push Congress to change what constitutes their career.

My reasoning is simple with the fact that the career politician is destroying our government and causing more harm than good by using nothing but partisan ways to block everything they dislike.

It’s not just a GOP problem as it goes far into the Democratic means as well.

I’m tired of hearing about Constitutional Amendments for “Balancing the Budget,” or “Gay Marriage,” or “Abolishing Abortion.” These amendments will never happen as they are talking points to get the political base and partisan media jumping.

Why won’t they happen? Well for one to overturn Roe v. Wade, Congress will have to re-write an extreme amount of personal privacy laws. And that goes with Gay Marriage as well.

We’ve gone almost 3 decades with partisanship bullsh*t that has done more harm than good. Some great examples:

1995- In a game of partisan chicken, the GOP Congress sent a balance budget plan to Pres Clinton that if vetoed would shutdown government. Pres Clinton did veto the budget plan and government was shutdown, sending some 800K government workers home without pay. Once a truce was called, the GOP came out looking bad and government had a lot of retro pay to pony up.

2007- As Democrats were walking in glory of large wins in 2006, they entered 2007 in control of Congress and held our troops and Pres W’s Iraq Surge hostage in a call of force. By doing so, it only entrenched the mantra that Democrats hate the military.

Sept 21, 2011- Speaker Boehner tells GOP members not to stray away from the Spending Bill and fall in line or he’ll strip committee appointments. Hence, the GOP struck any Disaster Relief funding needed for communities hit by Hurricane Irene and Tornadoes in Missouri because spending cuts would not offset Relief cost.

So I think it’s time for voters to tell Congress to place term limits upon themselves. Currently House members serve 2 year term while Senate members have a 6 year term and both are elected positions. Yet they can run as many times as they want, practically growing roots in the Capital building.

When I say “roots” I’m talking being cozy with Lobbyists, Political Action Committees, Special Interest groups, and so on.

So the Big Poppa Resolution is simple (heck I’ve been calling for this idea for years):

For those serving in the House, you can keep your current 2 year term, but can only serve 6 terms total. And for Senators, you too can keep your 6 year term, but it ends in 2 terms. So both elected wings get 12 years.

But let’s add this hitch to the rule as well, kind of like non-compete clause;

1. If a sitting Senator is coming close to the end of their 2nd term and decides they want to stay in politics and run for the House, well, you have to sit out one election cycle (2 years).

2. If a sitting Representative wants to run for Senate to stay in politics, well they need to sit out the length of the cycle, which is one election cycle (2 years).

Why the break? Why not! It breaks the planted roots of Lobbyists and Political Action Committees and will drive someone like Grover Norquist crazy having to run around looking for more people to sign silly Pledges.

12 years is sufficient enough for both wings of the Capital to serve. Why 12? Well that’s plenty of time for members to become corrupt and move on with their life. Many in Congress have amassed a small fortune for themselves with gifted legislature to corporations and their constituency.

Hey, if the President and VP need to put their monetary lives into a trust then so should members of Congress, for every time they open their negative mouths about the Economy, Jobs, and so on, it affects Wall Street and their stock portfolio on the positive more than yours.

Seriously, it’s legal insider trading when you think about it.
When they speak ill of the American Dollar, particularly those wrapped in the Gold Market, their portfolio moves up as the dollar slides down. Ron Paul is notorious for this, just ask him.

If some have large stakes in Oil, well they go out and talk about how poor Alternative Energy is as an investment. Why do you think they never talk ill about the Oil speculators?

But I don’t want to stop there, I want to change the ways of the Vice Presidency, well at least the elected way of the Vice Presidency.

There was a time when being elected to the VP position was considered the death of one’s political career. Eventually it grew into a cozy position for the elder members of Congress to be elected, heck half never showed up to the office on a daily basis.

Honestly, I think a change is needed. Let’s go back to the beginning of government when the position was evolving. But to do so, we need to change voting rules as well. I’m thru with running partners, I want to return to days of no partners. I want the runner up, Ms. Congeniality to be the VP. Just as Adams served under Washington, as Jefferson served under Adams, and Burr and Jefferson, this is what I want.

Wouldn’t have been wonderful to see McCain serve as Obama’s VP or vice verse or Jimmy Carter vacate the presidency to be Reagan’s VP? Imagine Gore serving under Bush or Nixon being a VP for the third consecutive term under Kennedy after serving under Ike for 8 years.

It comes down to simple thought that we need to do away with the career politician. Please don’t squawk about “Well look at the Tea Party in 2010, they helped get rid of some the career politicians.” That’s not true, as many that ran under the Tea Party umbrella were indeed career politicians trying to find their way back into Congress.

When Charlie Rangel and David Vitter, career politicians, can be re-elected after scandals, it says more towards corruption and pay outs then what this country needs to awaken from this stagnant economy.

So call your Representative and/or your Senator and hound them about Congressional term limits. Do it or we’ll be stuck with another “do nothing Congress” no matter whom the President shall be.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The GOP debates and the lack of Media correction is why I blog

Over the last few weeks, I’ve received emails wondering “why do you care about the GOP debates when you hate them so much?”

Folks, I do not hate the GOP or it’s contenders as much as my words my say and there are times where I’ve agreed with them. What I’ve been trying to do is get the other side of the story out there, the parts that the Media leaves on the floor because it doesn’t fall into their political partisan programming ways.

Face the fact, the Media leads the conversation, whether from Fox News, MSNBC, Thinkprogress, Huffington Post or The Blaze, they determine how most Americans think in today’s partisan political regurgitated thought.

In today’s political divide, no matter who is thrown in front of the podium, devoted Republicans will vote Republican and devoted Democrats will vote Democrat on Election Day and we have the Media to thank for widening that divide. And it’s that fact that causes more harm than good.

I’ve asked the question to many “If you are a Republican/Democrat and you are able to agree with the opposition challenger 100% or you are upset with the incumbent, would you vote for the opposition?”

The answer 93% of the time has been a resounding “NO!” And the reasoning was simply “because he/she is Republican/Democrat and I cannot vote for the opposition.”

Even when President Ronald Reagan ran for a 2nd term and many Democrats detested him, they still voted for him and he won 49 of 50 states. So look where we have come some 27 years later, a division that cannot reach compromise.

After Pres “O’s” job speech last Thursday, many of the Republican Hierarchy ran for the cameras to say that they believe they can work with the President on many of his points, for they were in line with their views. It took all of 24 hours for some to say “Why would I want to work with the President and give him a win when we have him against the ropes and can win in Nov 2012?”

It’s that thought process that keeps this country stagnant on so many issues that plague us.

Either side would rather hold Congress hostage to make a symbolic stance, then actual work to correct the situation.

I care about the current debates and what the GOP contenders are saying, even if much is simple talking points and no substance.

I don’t believe Ron Paul has a chance to win, but he makes a great point on Nation building and our Defense budget. Why are we building schools and roads in Iraq & Afghanistan for $130 billion taxpayer dollars?

Gov Perry believes we should be Nation building but says it’s no place for government to do so here. So let’s create jobs in other nations and let our unemployment numbers sit at 9% or higher.

The GOP contenders talk about shrinking the government employee list, which is a great talking point and people drink it up, but no one will go further and talk about the 500k that already have been written off in the last 4 years by both the Bush and Obama administrations.

And what happens to those 500k, well they go on unemployment, becoming debt to society. But no one talks about that. They do not magically disappear, they become part of the problem. The longer that people are on unemployment and the numbers grow, the further the economy sinks.

How many of those placed on unemployment were baby boomers that were close to retirement age? Well many of those are now collecting their Social Security, while the 9% unemployed aren’t paying into Social Security creating a larger drain on the system.

No one at the podium talks about the amount that are collecting unemployment, there creating a draining domino effect on revenue and entitlements.

The political divide doesn’t stop at with the economy; it has become a social issue as well.

During the MSNBC/Politico debates, when Brian Williams asked the question of the 234 executions in Texas that Gov Perry signed. Perry gave the simple answer of "If you come into our state and you kill one of our children (or a police officer) will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas and that is you will be executed." The audience gave Gov Perry a loud applause.

Where Brian Williams failed as a moderator was not following up about those executed that were requested a stay of execution by a judge. Even with a request, Gov Perry still went forth with the execution.

At the CNN/Tea Party debates, Ron Paul was asked the hypothetical question (paraphrase) “If a healthy person, with no medical insurance, falls into a coma, who should help him pay?”

Ron Paul’s extremely long answer can be broken down to “they took the risk of not having insurance. We need to get away from the thought that government can take care of everyone.”

I can accept that answer, but I cannot not accept the audible reaction of “No let him die” coming from the audience and applause.

Over at The Blaze, Joe Seidl, tried to play off the reaction by saying “the applause came from a few liberals in the audience for Wolf Blitzer’s ‘Gotcha’ question” as well as “the applause came from delay in reaction to an earlier answer by Ron Paul.”

The overused answer of “those people were planted by so-so opposition group” doesn’t hold water any longer. There are immature, whack-o people on both sides of the political divide.

I have written many blogs looking into the past actions of Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney to know what they bring to the game. And there are the other candidates that Media trots out, just to say they are being fair, yet give little air time to.

Heck when former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain mentioned his “9-9-9” plan, I thought he was talking about “9 slices-9 toppings-for $9 dollars.”

When I hear Newt Gingrich speak, I’m waiting for him to tell me to go to his website and buy one of his books or documentaries to understand his position as if he is on the Home Shopping Network.

I am not a fan of Rick Santorum, but I’m glad he is acting mature and not the total spaz he normally is when trying to make a point because he feels no one is listening.

McCotter, Roemer and Huntsman are non-figures at the debates, hell McCotter and Roemer are never invited to speak.

No, I care about the debates because I am the type of voter these candidates are trying to sell too. There are many Independent and disenfranchised Democrats looking for a candidate to get behind.

I care because this country’s divide is growing larger by the day, and it’s the Media’s programming that’s got both hands on the edges pushing the rift further apart.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

President Wyl E. Coyote and his ACME Stimulus Plan September 2011

So, Pres “O” has come out with his latest & greatest idea, one that is greater than the last one that cost $700 billion and rarely produced much in results. Yet this new plan will cost roughly around $500 billion and is to be paid for by having Congress work out more spending cuts and put the ax to many tax loopholes.

HAHAHAHA!! Congress work together!!! Does anyone remember the last two adventures our country went on when these 535 attempted to work together? That result ended up with a downgrade in credit rating and the formation of a “SUPER COMMITTEE,” a committee that will be as powerless as Superman with a handful of Kryptonite.

OK, so the old “Wyl E. Coyote ACME” stimulus plan did produce some regional jobs, but it was archaic in thought, meaning it used old ideas to help a new era. The idea of infrastructure repair was good for the New Deal and the Eisenhower administration, as many of those jobs were like pothole patching the Grand Canyon. Basically, it was executed poorly.

That plan should’ve gone into smarter future infrastructure like Cell tower, Fiber Optic line grids and electrical power grid work. The Northeastern part of the country could’ve produce 200K in jobs alone for this type of infrastructure work and it would’ve lasted beyond tomorrow.

At least the new “ACME” plan sounds like it could work. Construction jobs, along with striking tax code loopholes, the need to keep the Social Security tax break, and other ideas from both sides of the aisle, all for the low price of $500 billion.

Consider the thought that the previous night’s GOP Debate all I heard was “more tax breaks and tax credits for the Wealthy and Corporations because they create jobs.” If we have learned anything over the past 8 years is that Government can give these groups all they ask for and they won’t create jobs.

Government cannot force business to hire. In today’s world, business will begin to hire when they can afford too or when they need the employees.
One thing that caught my attention was Pres “O” was his talk of special tax credits for business that hire returning Military personnel.
In regards to returning Reservist and National Guardsmen, if they were working when they received their deployment orders, they still have employment with their current employer.

Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act in 1994 signed by Pres. Clinton, it states “any person whose absence from a position of employment is necessitated by reason of service in the uniformed services shall be entitled to reemployment rights and benefits.”

In other words, you can’t be fired or loss your job when being deployed into military action.

A position is to be held for Reservists and National Guardsmen with their current employer, it may not be the position they left when deployed, but a position of some sort at the pay rate they left is to be waiting for them.

The issue to be rectified will be the psyche of those returning to adapt back to normal life after long service.

I’ve worked with a few that have returned from extended deployment. Once they returned back to the company, shortly thereafter they asked to be let go. They couldn’t adapt to a different position or they couldn’t handle the return to regular life outside of a warzone. Eventually they asked to be redeployed into the warzones.

What’s interesting is that even when military deployment was enacted for Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, unemployment still rose. One would think with 150K-250K Reservists and National Guardsmen being deployed, that business would hire to fill the void.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in August 2001 unemployment was at 4.9% and at by October 2001 unemployment had risen to 5.3%. It may not seem like much, but today when we hear that unemployment drops by 0.1%, the Stock Market improves, so a jump by 0.4% is a huge increase.

But even as our troops fought in Afghanistan, unemployment still rise and by March 2003, when the United States entered Iraq, unemployment sat at 5.9%

What truly happened was that many businesses took the time to rethink their business strategies, reconfigure job duties and realized that it would be easier to pay the overtime to the existing employees rather than hire, train, and insure a temporary or new employee at a higher cost.

Even with the Bush Tax Cuts, unemployment never went below 4.6%. Yes, there was some job creation but those numbers were offset by those signing up for unemployment.

What the United States needs is to move towards the next big business sector. At the beginning of the 1900’s, we were on our way to becoming the largest industrial nation on the planet. Forward thinkers such as Carnegie, Mellon and Morgan we building the nation, yet where are our forward thinkers of today? Creating Snuggies and Pillow Pets is not the answer.

The United States needs a Renaissance, to re-create itself towards tomorrow and get away from the archaic beliefs of yesterday. The Renaissance I speak off must begin in Washington and if Congress and the White House cannot get it done, then it’s time to rethink their positions come November 2012.

**NOTE: talking about overloading powergrids, well California, Nevada and New Mexico all went black just after 7pm EST today. Hm, were to place those jobs Mr. President**

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Do Presidential ceremonial duties affect the economy?

George Washington felt that the President of the United States should be visible to the people and undertook many tours of the new nation to meet the people that fought for a new freedom.

Considering that the role of President during his time was more ceremonial as Congress was trying to determine how we should go forth.

The ceremonail role of the Presidency is more then just meeting foriegn dignataries in Washington or abroad, conducting State dinners, and meeting civilians along with our men and women in uniform.

It seems during these partisan times, everyone seems to be attacking a President for still holding ceremonial obligations during controversial times. And leave it to the Media to create the controversy over the littlest nugget of intrigue.

If you are a NASCAR fan, you would've heard about 4 of the sports top stars having "schedule conflicts" and not being able to meet with President Obama in the next few weeks when NASCAR will hold their race in Richland.

So the Media has taken upon itself to create a stir and thought out loud that maybe it's a political stance these stars were taking.

Here's the deal with NASCAR, a drivers time off the track is so burdened with sponsor meet-ups, test track times, charity visits and so on, that trying to find an opening for anything extra is tight.

So when NASCAR and the White House decided upon a scheduled date for all to meet, well many couldn't break the already scheduled moment.

The only controversy here is that the Con-Opinionators in the Media feel that Pres "O" shouldn't be meeting with anyone other then CEO's and Economic genius during the current economic down turn.

But if Pres "O" canceled a ceremonial date with the Boy Scouts of America, those same Con-Opinionators will claim he is un-american and against the Boy Scouts.

On June 30, 1950, President Truman ordered American forces into Korea after the Communist North advanced South. After he made that order he still kept his ceremonial duties and met with a group of Overseas Employees from the State Department.

Was he wrong for still committing to that duty after sending American troops into a conflict?

President George W Bush met with close to 35+ Sports champions in his 8 years in office, that is not counting all the other ceremonies that were held.

On August 3, 2001, Pres "W" met with Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. Armstrong was the last Sports winner to meet with Pres "W" until Dec 31, 2001, when he met with the MLB Champs Arizona Diamondbacks.

During that span of 4 months, the devistation of Sept 11 happened and soon he gave the order to go into Afghanistan. Should he not have met with the MLB Champs while troops were fighting a war?

Or how about March 19, 2003 to May 1, 2003? That was the timeframe of the OIraq Invasion. Pres "W" met with the NCAA Champs on Feb 24, 2003- that would be the build up to the invasion- and met with Commander in Chief winners the Air Force Academy on May 16, 2003. Should he not have kept himself occupied with both Afghanistan and Iraq?

Many consider February 2007 as the beginning of the House Bubble breaking and by October 2007, US Secretary of TReasury called the burst "the most significant risk to our economy." Now those words sound horrific and Pres "W" should've locked himself in the Executive Mansion and worked hard to stop the crash.

But no, he met with:
2006 NBA Champs Miami Heat (Feb 27,07)
2007 Super Champs Indy Colts (April 23, 07)
2007 NCAA Champsionship Team (June 18,07)
2006 & 2007 NCAA Sports Champs (Sept 21, 07)

all while the economy started to tank!!

When Pres "W" signed the $700 billion TARP Bank Bailout on October 2, 2008, he still met with the 2008 NCAA Sports Champs on Nov 12. Shouldn't he have been watching what was going on with that $700 billion?

The point being, the President, no matter their political affliation does have other duties to perform.

Imagine if a President refused to meet with everyone and anyone. It’s an honor to meet a President, no matter who you are or what you do.

And yes, as these 4 NASCAR stars have said they cannot meet Pres "O" due to scheduling conflicts, there have been those that have made it known they have no need to meet the President

Two examples come right from my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.

After winning the 2005 Super Bowl, then linebacker Joey Porter was asked if he had anything he would say to Pres "W." Porter answered;

"I'm looking forward to it. Like I said, I got something to tell him, too. I don't like the way things are running right now. I feel like he gotta give me some of my money back, so I got something to tell Bush"

Word got back to Pres "W" and during the ceremony, "W" had some fun with the qoute by Porter, as did the press.

After winning the 2008 Super Bowl, linebacker James Harrison stated he wasn't going to make the trip to meet Pres "O," because had the Arizona Cardinals had won, "He (Obama) would have invited Arizona."

NASCAR drivers are some of the classiest sports figures in professional sports. They appreciate the fans more then anyone. They appreciate those that sign their paychecks and the sponsors that support their team.

They live up to their obligations, unlike some pro athletes that would sports camps for kids and never show.

Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Catepillar, wondered out loud that when people are debating about NASCAR's visit with Pres "O" it only shows the partisan divide within our country.

"Ten years ago, after 9-11, this country was unified. This country was together," he said. "Today, we're sitting here talking as if someone, for political reasons, is going or not going to the White House. And we wonder why this country is in trouble. We can point the finger and blame all the people in Washington. Well, maybe we need to look in the damn mirror a little bit. Really. It's our country."

No Mr. Burton, it shows how the Media spewing partisan stupidity over the fiber optic lines by creating debate over harmless Presidential duty that goes back to the beginning of our nation.

Whose gonna tell George Washington he was wrong that the President should be visible to the nation?

Todd Morgan Kelly