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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

America's Ace in the Hole

I recently ran across a sobering observation by an Eighteenth Century University of Edinborough professor, Alexander Tytler, a statement I’ve heard several times previously.

President Reagan even quoted Professor Tytler in a 1964 speech when he was stumping for Barry Goldwater. While some believe Lord Thomas Macaulay or Arnold Toynbee coined the conclusion instead of Tytler, the veracity of the observation is beyond question. Failure after failure of democracies from Mesopotamia to Rome have proven its chilling truth.

In referring to the fall of the Athenian Republic two thousand years ago, the statement was made that ‘A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates (plug in Democratic Party here for its liberal policies) who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.’

Now, I’ll be honest. When I first read that assertion in college back in the medieval days of dragons and damsels in distress, I scoffed. But today—well— our current situation does give pause to wonder.

Still I don’t believe it will come about, but much will have to change for its conclusions not to hold true. I think we have an ace in the hole, but only if we citizens will play it.

The professor continued. “The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has always been about two hundred years. During that span, nations have always progressed through the following sequence.

a. From bondage to spiritual faith
b. From spiritual faith to great courage
c. From courage to liberty
d. From Liberty to abundance
e. From abundance to complacency;
f. From complacency to apathy;
g. From apathy to dependence;
h. From dependence back into bondage

You can’t deny we’re somewhere between apathy and dependence, most having waved a joyous adios to complacency a couple decades earlier.

But the ace in the hole is the fact we are not a democracy, but a constitutional republic. That gives me hope and the country an edge.

Now we always hear we are a democracy, but is that all we are? Is that all the founding fathers intended?

Democracy is a form of government in which all people have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives, including equal participation in the proposing, developing and passing of legislation into law.

A republic is a state in which the head of state and other officials are representatives of the people and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government’s power over all its citizens. Because the head of state is elected; because its representatives are elected, it is a republic, not a monarchy.

The framers of our constitution were well aware of the inherent problems of a simple democracy, so that is why they labored over a set of laws that limited the government’s power. That set of laws became the constitution.

In a constitutional republic, the executive, legislative, and judicial powers are broken into three distinct branches.

That a constitution exists limiting the government’s power makes the state constitutional.

That the heads of state and other officials are chosen by election rather than inheriting their positions and that their decisions are subject to judicial review makes the state a republic.

I’ve voted Democrat. I’ve voted Republican. Once, in a state of temporary insanity, I even voted Liberal.

That is our ace in the hole. We can vote the scoundrels out—if we simply choose to do so.

Those already on the dole who enjoy the largesse of liberal policy make up about 47 percent of our 311 million population, almost one half, a shocking increase over the last century, an increase that parallels the problems of social security solvency.

For example, in 1940 when Ida May Fuller of Vermont received the first SS check, there were 160 workers for every retiree. Today, there are three for every retiree.
Same thing is happening with entitlements.

If our citizenry will shake the apathy from its shoulders, don the cloak of independence that was once a driving force in America, then we can pull ourselves out of this morass of welfare, which daily is carrying us closer to a socialist state.

That’s why I applaud the Tea Party, and the Occupiers.

They’re making themselves heard. Now some might be crackpots protesting just to protest; some are there to party; some are there because they have nothing else to do; but some are there for a purpose.

Like the Tea Party or not, you can’t deny they put many new faces in Congress.
What we need to do to add more new faces, individuals who will serve the people and not themselves.

We have enough professional politicians in Washington, those shylocks who want to control us by deceiving us into believing they re doing what we want while instead they do as they wish.

If you’ll take time to look at demographics, you’ll see that politicians who have served numerous terms represent constituencies receiving a much higher percentage of entitlements

Look at Charlie Rangel, D-Harlem. Unemployment in his district is out of sight; so are food stamps; so are every entitlement across the board. He is convicted of eleven ethics violations, yet his voters put him back in.


They’re afraid they’ll lose the welfare he provides them.

Jokers like Rangel and his ilk need to go. The task won’t be easy, but I’d like to see my grandkids enjoy the same America as I.

Wouldn’t you?


rconwell@gt.rr.com
http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/
www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell
www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dad and the Texas Rangers

I hope you don’t mind a break from politics, at least for today. I just read something in the newspaper that brought back those halcyon days of my childhood in the little town of Wheeler up in the Texas Panhandle.

Our community was one of those ubiquitous small villages all over the USA where a dirty-faced boy or freshly washed girl, after a day of hard play, would drop dead in their bed without a care in the world.

We never questioned our security, our safety, or world.

So, what was so mind-grabbing in the paper?
Splashed across the headlines in Sunday’s paper were the bold words “Texas Rangers Return to World Series.”

If Dad were alive, I wouldn’t have had to wait until morning to hear the news. My phone would have been ringing off the wall as the game was over.
Dad was a big Ranger fan. He listened to every game after the team came to town in 1972. The move came after spinning seventy less than memorable seasons as the Washington Senators.

I promised myself when I started this column, I’d stay away from politics, but golly, the fact as Washington Senators, they accomplished nothing worthwhile in seventy years seems awfully familiar. Don’t you think?
But back to Dad and the Rangers.

When a Ranger game was on, you’d find Dad out on the patio with the radio and his flyswatter. Under the shade of a latticed roof covered with vines, he’d sit at an old table covered with a red and white checkered tablecloth with his cigarettes and ashtray, killing flies and sipping beer.

I was a big baseball fan also, starting as far back as the mid-forties. Dad had just come back from the war.

During those summers, almost every day, my best friend, Jerry Lewis, and I would lie on the grass in the shade of a giant cottonwood by the small creek just below our homes, listening to the afternoon ball games and spooking old fawn-colored jersey milk cows that grazed too close.

Usually, Jerry and I agreed on everything except he was a Yankee fan, and I always pulled for the Dodgers. Fortunately, they were in different leagues.
I can still hear the announcers’ voices and remember their names, (I think) Mel Allen, Jim Britt, Red Barber.

Looking back, I try to call up the magic of those days, Jerry and me sprawled out, leaning up against the rugged bark of a tree, cooled by the breeze sweeping across the hayfield and under the shade of the cottonwood. The sky overhead was blue as a robin’s egg. Puffy clouds that looked like elephants and goats and people tumbled past.

We probably had a RC Cola or Nehi Orange at our side.

The announcers’ voices were clear and crisp as they called each play. To this day, I can hear the crack of the bat striking the ball, the sharp sound cutting through the roar of the crowd. Even before the crack of the bat died away, Jim Britt or Red Barber would shout, “A homerun, ladies and gentlemen. A home run, and the Cubs lead it one nothing in the bottom of the seventh.”

We’d clap and shout with excitement.

That afternoon, when Dad came in from work, I’d run up to him and my words tumbled all over each other as I related the details of the game.

I’ll never forget how crushed I was when a bunch of us boys were talking baseball at recess one day. One of our friends sniffed and said. “Those guys who call the game ain’t really there. They just use sound effects.”

“What? How can that be? They got to be there.”

He calmly informed us his brother was in radio, and each station had a announcer who sat in a room listening to the game on headphones, then relating the plays to his own audience. “Why,’ he exclaimed, “he even has the sound of crowds on a record, and he taps his pencil against the microphone to make it sound like a bat hitting the ball.”

That night, Dad studied me a moment after I told him what I’d heard. He gave me that funny grin of his and tousled my hair. “Don’t listen to him. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

That was good enough for me. In my mind, I could see those announcers high in the booths looking down on the field.

Years passed. I grew older. Major changes came about. We sort of relegated baseball to a lesser priority although we attended several Fort Worth Cat’s games after moving to that city.

Dad never got real interested in baseball until the Rangers came to town. They were pretty bad, but he hung in there. He always assured me that they were just rebuilding. Wait until next year, he would say. For the twenty odd years until he passed away, he faithfully followed the Rangers with all their warts and moles.
Well today, he’d sure be crowing. “See. Just what I said. They’ve been building up to this.”

I can see him now, flyswatter in hand, sitting at a table with maybe St. Peter, and the two of them looking down as the Rangers take the field in this years World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. He’d give St. Peter that funny grin of his and announce. “I always knew they’d make to the series. And this year they’ll win it.”

When I think about him and baseball, those carefree days so long ago come sweeping back, carrying me back to those misty days in my memory. I hold so precious and dear.

Enjoy the series, Dad. You deserve it.




rconwell@gt.rr.com
http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/
www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell
www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Campaign Mode

You know what the definition of Campaign Mode is, don’t you? That’s when politicians tell you exactly what you want to know even if they have to lie about it. Hey, often, they’ll lie to us when the truth would serve better.

If you’ve noticed, in the last few weeks our president has gone back to his campaign mode he so successfully utilized in ’08. You remember, sleeves rolled up, collar unbuttoned-just a regular good old boy.

And he’s doing exactly what he did back then, telling us what we want to hear regardless of truth.

For example, a few months back at a Democratic National Committee meeting in Austin, he made the remark that we had doubled our exports.

The truth is in 2009, exports totaled $1,571 trillion. The first quarter of 2011, exports totaled just over $505 billion. If you multiply the first quarter of 2011 by four, you’ll have $2,020 trillion, which is an increase, but only 29%, not the doubling he claimed.

Why do they deliberately misrepresent their accomplishment to us? Obviously, to be re-elected, and if they don’t have something positive to say, they’ll make it up.
The old saw ‘believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear’ is as valid today as when old Ben Franklin coined it.

Have you grown as sick of the budget mess we have up there?

I'd like to say, take heart, but I can't.

The president claims his budget ‘will help reduce the deficit to $400 billion over the next decade—the lowest level since Dwight Eisenhower was president.’

But a strange thing happened on the way to the forum. Using Obama’s own summary tables from his budget proposal, PolitiFact found that the deficit for 2011 will be $1.645 trillion. In 2021, the end of the span of which he spoke, the deficit is projected to be $774 billion, almost double his claim of $400.

In his effort to defend his healthcare, he stated categorically “twelve judges have thrown out legal challenges to the health care law because they rejected the notion that health care law was unconstitutional.”

Twelve judges did dismiss the case, but not because of ‘the notion health care was unconstitutional’ but because upon procedural grounds. They did not even look at the merits of the case.

Four more judges have ruled on it, two for, two against.

But doesn’t it sound much better to claim twelve tossed it out? He blatantly stated, “they rejected the notion that health care law was unconstitutional “, which they did not.

In another fairy tale, he claimed he had not raised taxes. If he didn’t then it was his clone who signed into law raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

His clone also signed into law the new healthcare law that taxes those who decide not to have health insurance. By 2016, penalty/tax will be from $695 per uninsured person up to a maximum of three times that amount or $2,085.

No taxes, he claims. How would you explain that starting in 2013, individuals who make over $200,000 and couples making over $250,000 will see additional Medicare taxes as well as begin paying Medicare taxes on their investment income.

Another false statement.

Had enough?

No, well, this idea of cronyism has been bandied about in the last few weeks.
If you’ll think back, in his State of the Union address last year, the president stated “we’ve excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.”

According to PolitiFact, he did sign legislation barring lobbyists, but, as usual in politics, there was a loophole. That loophole was that he could, by executive order, issue a waiver okaying a lobbyist to work for the administration.

And that is what took place.

He issued a waiver for:

William Lynn to be deputy secretary of defense, the No.2 positional at the Pentagon.(think defense weapons) Lynn was a Raytheon lobbyists for six years, lobbying on defense-related issues.

Jocelyn Frey, director of policy and projects in the office of the First Lady. (this one states she is director of policy)

Cecilia Munoz, director of intergovernmental affairs in the executive Office of the President.

In addition, the White House has issued seven more waivers and among various federal agencies, fifteen more waivers had been issued.

I’m tired of listening to such dribble as ‘health reform will give every American the same opportunity to buy health insure the way members of Congress do.

Or preventive care saves money.

Or –never mind. The list of half truths is interminable.

I could go on and on relating his remarks, but the point is that up until the next federal election, citizens should remember Ben Franklin and be skeptical of all they hear, not just from the president, but from all politicians.

Now in all fairness to him, probably ninety-five percent of our politicians do the same thing.

They just don’t have a big a platform from which to speak.





rconwell@gt.rr.com
http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/
www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell
www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Is America Turning to Socialism?

Unless you've been stuck away in an attic for the last few years, you've heard the word 'socialism' batted around more than a volleyball in a five-game match.

Socialism advocates the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth should be owned and regulated by the community as a whole.

The philosophy is very much like communism in which all property is publicly owned.
Each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.

The difference in the two is that communism advocates class warfare, a word you’ve heard bandied about in the media over the last few years.

Joseph Stalin once said that "America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life." He continued. "If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within."

To that end, a platform of forty-five communist goals were established to insinuate destructive philosophies into the American model. In fact, these goals entitled 'Current Communist Goals' were published in the U.S. Congressional Record in 1963.

You're probably saying that was over sixty years ago, so what does that have to do with today? Read on.

Forty-five is too many to cover in such a short space, but there were some that leaped off the page and struck me between the eyes.

Goals twenty-four through twenty-six:

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them ‘censorship’ and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV. (what explanation is necessary? Take a look at what Hollywood and the printed word offers today)

26.Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."
(gay marriage had dominated headlines for the last several years)

In fact, take a gander at your TV schedule for the next week and tell me these three goals have not been achieved.

What a change from the sitcoms of the sixties and seventies. We had ‘Leave it to Beaver’,‘My Three Sons’, and the 'Brady Bunch-, all of which provided healthy lessons on life. We had heroes then such as Batman, the Lone Ranger, Superman. And we had the light-hearted 'Gomer Pyle', 'Dick Van Dyke Show,' and 'Betwitched'. The cartoons were light, always concluding with the good guy winning, not vulgar like the current South Park or King of the Hill or Family Guy, all three of which are laced with obscenities.

How did all this come about?

Here’s how.

Communist Goal 21 states 'Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.’

Do you think this happening? The most recent example I can point out is last week, Hank Williams Jr made the remark that Obama and House Speaker Boehner playing golf was like Hitler playing with the Israeli Prime Minister. When asked to explain, Williams replied, "They, meaning Obama and Biden, are the enemy." His remark got his Monday Night Football opening canceled by ESPN.

Now, I'm not saying ESPN is communist. I’m not saying any media is communist. All I’m saying is that over the last forty or fifty years, our country has leaned more and more toward that particular philosophy.

Over the decades, government has been insidiously insinuating itself more and more into our lives.

Is this just coincidence?

Goal 27 calls for infiltrating the churches and replacing revealed religion with 'social' religion; it calls for discrediting the Bible and emphasizing the need for intellectual maturity, which needs no religious crutch.

Goal 28 states eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."
We've seen that come about. We've witnessed students punished for praying in school. We can’t pray in school. We can’t pray at ball games.

And then there is the furor over ‘In God We Trust’ on our coinage.

I'm not smart enough to have a solution satisfying everyone, but our country was founded upon and by religious principles. We're not floundering around now because God is punishing us; we're floundering because our country has moved away from the principles upon which it was founded.

In Washington today, the thrust is to take from those who've worked hard, who've worked smart, or who hit a streak of luck, and give part of their income to those who don't have as much. Pure socialism.

Communist Goal 29 states ‘discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.’

Don 't think so, then explain why North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue suggests we skip--yep, skip (as in forgettabout it) Congressional elections.

And then farther up north, we have Peter Orzag stating that what our country needs is less democracy. Who is Orzag? A graduate of Exeter and former Obama staff member.

Are they communists? No, but they are leaning in the direction the communist philosophy espouses.

Fifty percent of households pay no income tax. How to you reconcile that with the socialist philosophy? Fifty million Americans are on welfare. That's not counting the twenty-three million illegals, the majority of whom are drawing some type of welfare. Aren't taxpaying Americans taking care of them?

Any way you cut the cake, it stills comes out socialism.

rconwell@gt.rr.com
http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/
www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell
www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26