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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Misspeak is a Misspeak is a Lie

A Misspeak is a Misspeak is a Lie

I don’t have to tell you, ladies and gentleman, that things are getting crazier and crazier up in Washington—at least as I see it. The vote on Health Care and the subsequent bill sent to the President who signed it seems to have just ignited even more of a firestorm.

I didn’t oppose it when it began over a year back, but as I learned more about it, I perceived its fallacies. Then I began to oppose it. Now, despite what some firebrands might think, there were no politics on my part. I did what ninety percent of you, nor apparently our Congressmen, did not do. I read the whole disgusting House and Senate Bill all the way through. It blows my mind at the staggering number
of folks who blindly accept whatever they are told.

Contrary to what you may think (and I’ve been so accused), I do not regurgitate the philosophies of the Right Wing commentators so prominent on the airways today.
Many of them profess the conservative values my parents gave me. I treasure those values. And there are hundreds of thousands of folks out there who were taught as I. The explications of Glenn Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, and O’Reilly embrace those values.

Beck, I listen to maybe five minutes a week, and then only when I switch stations. Limbaugh, who is full of himself, ten or fifteen minutes on Tuesdays when driving out to the weekly luncheon with a bunch of old codgers like me who believe we can change the world.

I listen to Hannity, who dwells on too many half truths, when I have my grandsons and we’re heading for McDonalds. And then they’re shouting what they want to eat. Now if any of you holier-than-thou Liberal Saints think I retain anything from his words during that trip, you’re nuttier than the administration we have up there now, and you ought to run for a Democrat office.

Where do I get most of my information? Golly, gee, this is going to be a revelation, but I do what every American should do. I read and research a cross-section of media to see what is going on, C-Span, CNN, Fox, ‘The Nation’, ‘Harper’s’, newspapers, etc—an eclectic selection.

Then I listen to the words of Congressional leaders explaining portions of a bill only to discover when I read the bill, their explanation contradicts the bill.

A lie? Or perhaps a ‘misspeak’, one of those currently coined words used to coat the truth. If it were a lie, a ‘deliberate misspeak’, then shame on them. If it were an honest ‘misspeak’, then shame on them for not knowing the bill before they interpret it for the average Joe Sixpack.

We can call it what we want, but you know a lie—sorry, a ‘misspeak’. And here is one of the many ‘misspeaks’ in the Health Bill jammed down our throats. Obama led parents to believe kids with pre-existing conditions could not be turned down. But, gee whiz, seems like there’s a itty bitty catch. It just so happens that isn’t true.
Don’t believe me? Would you believe Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill? She says ‘Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of pre-existing medical problems.” Google it yourself.

Now, I don’t know about you hard-core Democrats, but to this little old country boy with no political affiliation, that’s as black a ‘misspeak’ as I’ve ever heard.
If you can explain it, help me out.

Disagreement is the source of America’s greatness as far as I’m concerned. We can disagree about anything we want. That’s our right.

To accuse, without proof, those with whom you disagree of repeating information from prejudicial sources is nothing short of political ignorance. Of course, Ignorance is great at throwing strikes of unsubstantiated accusations.

I’ve had many disagree with me in the past. Some, eventually, have seen what I meant; others have not. And that’s fine.

I’ve always believed ignorance seeks its own level, like stagnant water. But then, those who see things differently than I think the same about me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Lie by Any Other Name

By the time you read this, they might have passed that monstrosity they call the Senate Bill. I hope not. But, I don’t have to tell you that our president is hot and heavy on the campaign trail for health care just like he was for the first primaries. The only difference is that the majority of Americans believed him when he was on the primary trail.

Today? Well there might have been a president who distorted the truth more than our current one. No, that isn’t a fair remark. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, among many, many others, were no slouches when it came to verbal distortion.

Sure, we’re all jaded by politics. We know many of them lie and mislead us, telling us what we want to hear while doing just the opposite.

As much as I dislike saying it, our president is no better. And somehow, the fact he is President makes it even more reprehensible. Representatives or senators might lie, but not the President. Of course, I’m not so na├»ve to believe they have all been paragons of truth and virtue. Most of them can’t spell those two words. They’ve all lied, all except perhaps for good old Harry Truman.

And in the last few weeks, President Obama has been distorting the truth in almost every breath.

Don’t believe me?

Remember his last talk about health care? According to The Heritage Foundation, the President claimed the plan would lower health care costs. It doesn’t because it does nothing to solve the inefficiencies in the system that drives prices upward. He knows that, and the bill does nothing to address the problem.

Then he claimed his plan would not give government bureaucrats or insurance companies more control over health care. It does. According to the plan, spending increases in proportion to lessening controls, giving government and insurance what they want.

Obama again claimed “if you like your plan, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep him.” That, according to the Heritage Foundation, is simply not true. Not true, meaning ‘a lie’.

How? Read on. The much acclaimed Senate Bill gave federal regulators the power to define minimum benefit packages; specify the minimum amount that health plans must spend on medical claims; and impose new taxes that will not count toward minimums.
Stop and think. How many private health plans will meet all of the bill’s requirements, thereby allowing appointed officials, by accident or intention, to create a regulatory ‘squeeze’ that could eliminate current individual health plans?

Hey, don’t run off. We’re not finished.

Then the President had the gall to say his plan gives the same health care plan to citizens as those of Congress. It does not!

Two departments will administer health care. The OPM, Office of Personnel Management, which is an agency of the White House, will administer to federal employees, and HHS, Human Services, will administer to everyone else.
When questions or differences arise between the two, who gets the shaft, the White House, or the rest of us?

And finally, he says the plan is paid for. And again, it is not.

According to the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, Obama’s 950 billion cost is actually one trillion, and in ten years, would add up to 2.5 trillion.

Now whom do we believe, the CBO, or the community organizer from Chicago?

You see what I mean about lies? I’m fed up with them.

Now, the President claims he has a new plan that he will reveal as soon as the House passes the Senate Bill, but he refuses to say what is in the plan. He’s asking them to trust him.

Trust him, the guy who promised to end income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000.; close Gitmo; toughen rules for lobbyists; allow bankruptcy judges to modify terms of a home mortgage; double after school funding; and on and on and on?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I told you before, folks. I’m scared about what’s going on.

You best be too.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Midnight Ride of Trinidad Coy

The Midnight Ride of Trinidad Coy

Had it not been for a pile of dried locoweed and a forgetful farmer’s boy, the midnight ride of Trinidad Coy might have changed the fate of the Alamo, perhaps the United States.

Like most, I’d never heard the name Trinidad Coy, nor much less assumed that the Texican patriot of Mexican heritage played a role in the saga of the Alamo.

He did, and in both ‘the Handbook of Texas’ and Timothy Matovina’s fine little book, ‘The Alamo Remembered’, I ran across one of those quirks of fate that sometimes alters the destiny of states and nations.

According to the San Antonio Light, 26 November, 1911, Coy was one of several scouts sent from the Alamo to learn the intentions of Santa Anna’s army.

Travis, Bowie, and Crockett had heard the rumors that Santa Anna had entered Texas. Travis was skeptical, refusing to believe Santa Anna would stage an offensive at that time of the year.

Still, there was a possibility. If so, where was he headed? Crockett pointed out that whatever plans they made depended on whether the Mexican dictator was coming to San Antonio or going around.

According to Matovina, scouts were sent out, among them Trinidad Coy, who headed south. For days he rode, exploring rumors, gossip, speculations. A brave man, he preferred being back with Travis where he could defend the country he loved. But, he suppressed the desire to return and continued searching the vast mesquite prairies and rolling hills for any sign of Santa Anna and his army.

He knew Travis did not have the strength to hold off a large force, and that he would need every rifle available. But, what if at this very time the old church was besieged? Every mile Trinidad rode, he fought the urge to turn and race back to the Alamo.

Then the trail grew warm. Rumors surfaced. Peons gossiped. He searched harder, but swtill he found no solid evidence of the Mexican dictator.

He decided to return, putting up for the night with a poor family on their little farm. After supper, a neighbor dropped by, informing them that Santa Anna’s army was camped only a few miles distant.

Coy leaped to his feet and ordered the farmer’s son to bring him his horse. Minutes later, the lithe Tejano swung into the saddle. To his astonishment, his game little cow pony refused to move. After a few moments it sank to its knees.

Without thinking, the boy had placed the horse in the corral into which they had thrown locoweed earlier in the day. Saddling one of the farmer’s horses, Coy raced into the night, only to be challenged by Mexican guards a few miles down the road.

Had he been astride his own little pony, he wouldn’t have worried. The brave horse had great stamina and heart. Once the sturdy mustang gained a lead, nothing could catch him. Coy hoped the farmer’s horse possessed the same qualities.

Leaning low over the neck of his pony, he burst through the guards, racing up the winding road for the Alamo with the news of Santa Anna. Now, the defenders would have time to make plans for the oncoming force.

The farmer’s game little pony soon gave out. Coy scrabbled into the thick briars and spiny underbrush. The sentries searched for him. Just as he thought he was free, they pounced on him.

He explained he was going to visit a sick sister, but the Mexican officer doubted him, and placed him under arrest.

Taken back to San Antonio with the army, he was confined to a secluded room in a chapel for several days.

Outside, he heard the gunfire, the cannons roar.
One morning well before sunrise, everyone was gone, watching the battle. He freed himself and slipped from the chapel to a familiar trail that would lead him around to the rear of the Alamo.

At the end of the trail, he pulled up in a stand of cottonwoods. Beyond lay the Alamo. All was silent.

He peered through the trees, then closed his eyes in pain when he saw the flaming pyre consuming the bodies of the defenders of the Alamo. He was too late.

Trinidad Coy died in 1888 and is buried in San Fernando Cemetery No. 1 in San Antonio.

Could events have turned out differently if Travis, Bowie, and Crockett had a few days notice? We’ll never know. But, still, one can wonder.

m

The Midnight Ride of Trinidad Coy

Had it not been for a pile of dried locoweed and a forgetful farmer’s boy, the midnight ride of Trinidad Coy might have changed the fate of the Alamo, perhaps the United States.
Like most, I’d never heard the name Trinidad Coy, nor much less assumed that the Texican patriot of Mexican heritage played a role in the saga of the Alamo.
He did, and in both ‘the Handbook of Texas’ and Timothy Matovina’s fine little book, ‘The Alamo Remembered’, I ran across one of those quirks of fate that sometimes alters the destiny of states and nations.
According to the San Antonio Light, 26 November, 1911, Coy was one of several scouts sent from the Alamo to learn the intentions of Santa Anna’s army.
Travis, Bowie, and Crockett had heard the rumors that Santa Anna had entered Texas. Travis was skeptical, refusing to believe Santa Anna would stage an offensive at that time of the year.
Still, there was a possibility. If so, where was he headed? Crockett pointed out that whatever plans they made depended on whether the Mexican dictator was coming to San Antonio or going around.
According to Matovina, scouts were sent out, among them Trinidad Coy, who headed south. For days he rode, exploring rumors, gossip, speculations. A brave man, he preferred being back with Travis where he could defend the country he loved. But, he suppressed the desire to return and continued searching the vast mesquite prairies and rolling hills for any sign of Santa Anna and his army.
He knew Travis did not have the strength to hold off a large force, and that he would need every rifle available. But, what if at this very time the old church was besieged? Every mile Trinidad rode, he fought the urge to turn and race back to the Alamo.
Then the trail grew warm. Rumors surfaced. Peons gossiped. He searched harder, but swtill he found no solid evidence of the Mexican dictator.
He decided to return, putting up for the night with a poor family on their little farm. After supper, a neighbor dropped by, informing them that Santa Anna’s army was camped only a few miles distant.
Coy leaped to his feet and ordered the farmer’s son to bring him his horse. Minutes later, the lithe Tejano swung into the saddle. To his astonishment, his game little cow pony refused to move. After a few moments it sank to its knees.
Without thinking, the boy had placed the horse in the corral into which they had thrown locoweed earlier in the day. Saddling one of the farmer’s horses, Coy raced into the night, only to be challenged by Mexican guards a few miles down the road.
Had he been astride his own little pony, he wouldn’t have worried. The brave horse had great stamina and heart. Once the sturdy mustang gained a lead, nothing could catch him. Coy hoped the farmer’s horse possessed the same qualities.
Leaning low over the neck of his pony, he burst through the guards, racing up the winding road for the Alamo with the news of Santa Anna. Now, the defenders would have time to make plans for the oncoming force.
The farmer’s game little pony soon gave out. Coy scrabbled into the thick briars and spiny underbrush. The sentries searched for him. Just as he thought he was free, they pounced on him.
He explained he was going to visit a sick sister, but the Mexican officer doubted him, and placed him under arrest.
Taken back to San Antonio with the army, he was confined to a secluded room in a chapel for several days.
Outside, he heard the gunfire, the cannons roar.
One morning well before sunrise, everyone was gone, watching the battle. He freed himself and slipped from the chapel to a familiar trail that would lead him around to the rear of the Alamo.
At the end of the trail, he pulled up in a stand of cottonwoods. Beyond lay the Alamo. All was silent.
He peered through the trees, then closed his eyes in pain when he saw the flaming pyre consuming the bodies of the defenders of the Alamo. He was too late.
Trinidad Coy died in 1888 and is buried in San Fernando Cemetery No. 1 in San Antonio.
Could events have turned out differently if Travis, Bowie, and Crockett had a few days notice? We’ll never know. But, still, one can wonder.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The True Hero of the Alamo

The True Hero of the Alamo

I remember seeing an interview with a Medal of Honor recipient who denied being a hero. He did what he had to because there was no choice. The act was thrust upon him.

When people talk about the Alamo, the names of the heroes that first leap to mind are Crockett, Bowie, and Travis. Usually in that order. And they were heroes, but not the only ones. The other hundred and eighty who died there also deserve the honor.

To me, the major player in the saga of the Alamo was Travis, William Barret Travis,
age 26.

Much has been written of him by those much more capable than I. I’ve researched him a great deal, and I found him to be a typical American male, possessing an all-consuming drive for the prominence and recognition that comes with success. That drive took him to Texas for a fresh start. This ambition ultimately landed him in an untenable position from which his pride and sense of duty would not permit him to flee.

Travis practiced law in Alabama, then moved to Texas, deliberately settling in Anahuac where he would be the only lawyer, which he knew would result in a profitable practice. He became involved in politics and eventually, the revolution.
Santa Anna set up a Custom House at Anahuac and staffed it with a hard and unforgiving officer to collect the exorbitant tariffs levied on the Texicans.

Travis promptly raised a company of twenty-five men and marched on the Custom House, taking it over and arresting the officer.

By now, there was no escaping his fate. Eventually, Houston sent him to the Alamo with orders for Bowie and Colonel Neill, the garrison commander, to destroy the church and retreat.

Of course, Bowie was well known throughout the country as was Crockett, who, fresh from losing the election that would send him back to Congress, set out to find a new conquest to regain his glory. “You can all go to hell,” he had exclaimed. “I’m going to Texas.”

And he did, along with fifteen or sixteen Tennesseans. At the Alamo, he took the rank of private.

Ill with consumption, Bowie was nothing like ‘the most dangerous man alive’ label that had been pinned on him. He spent the last eleven days in his sick bed.
Travis wasn’t supposed to remain at the Alamo.

Before he arrived, Colonel Neill and Bowie had already decided to disobey any orders to destroy the church. Being the impetuous risk-taker, upon his arrival, Travis jumped into the affairs of the Alamo with enthusiasm.

Colonel Neill took an unexpected leave of absence, and Bowie took a turn for the worse. Travis was left in command, a command he had not sought, nor particularly wanted, but one he would fulfill to his dying breath.

So there the twenty-six year old South Carolinean stood, leader of a pitifully small force with which he hoped to derail a juggernaut called the Mexican army.

He knew Houston needed time to raise an army. He hoped to hold Santa Anna at the Alamo.

Santa Anna was a cruel tyrant. Had he been a better tactician, he would have bypassed the Alamo and caught the entire rebel congress on the banks of the Brazos.

Instead, in his obsession to make the rebels pay, he did what Travis hoped. For thirteen days, the dictator battled the defenders of the Alamo, thirteen days that gave Congress time to sign a Declaration of Independence, draw up a Constitution and provide Houston precious days to begin raising an army.

Travis’s gamble paid off. Although he died early in the final battle at the North Battery from a bullet in his forehead, he died a hero. He had been faced with a situation thrust upon him, and he committed all he possessed to the task.

And, as in all stories, there are many ‘what if’s’. One is what might have happened if the horse belonging to Trinidad Coy, one of Travis’s scouts, had not eaten locoweek. But, that’s another story for another time.