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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But--

Iraq is falling back into its authoritarianism and police state despite our government’s insistence the Middle East country is a fledgling democracy!

This not-so-shocking news was released by the Human Rights Watch out of New York to Brietbard News Alert.

Now my question is, does that surprise anyone?

Folks a lot smarter than me have stated that the democracy we enjoy in the US will never exist in the Middle East. Never, as in never, never, never.

Why?

Simple. Muslim intolerance.

I voted for Bush, twice. (no, not the same election-four years apart). I, along with millions of others, believed our leaders when they claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Okay, so I’m an old codger, but not yet demented enough that I can’t clearly remember hearing of no such discovery even after one of our foot soldiers found Saddam hiding in a hole like a snake.

The tragedy of that ‘war’ is the almost 4500 US military were killed and over 33,000 wounded. They are all heroes as are their families that must find a way to live without loved ones.

Then we headed into Afghanistan after the Taliban.

Get rid of al-Queada and the Taliban, and everything will be peachy keen. That's the mantra Washington is waving over its head.

Nobody in his right mind believes that.

Look at the past. We strike, they hide, then vanish like puffs of smoke only to reappear in another place under another leader.

So, when we hear that Irag is tumbling back to a police state, we shouldn’t be surprised.

After we pulled out of the country with much fanfare, what happened? Irag’s new regime clamped down on freedom of expression and assembly by beating and intimidating demonstrations and the media.

A political crisis that broke between the Shites and Sunnis.

We could spend another ten years in there, and when we left, the same thing would happen.

Now, among the Republican candidates is Ron Paul. I’ll be honest, I can’t vote for him although I like a lot of his ideas, among which is for the US to stop sending American lives and billions of money to countries that do not want us there and will never change.

From time to time you hear of isolated instances of a Muslim individual switching to Christianity, but you hear much more of the Muslim persecution of Christian communities in Arab states. In fact, as more and more Arab countries elect Islamic parties, the persecution of Christian communities will increase.

A youngster brought up in a disciplined religion usually stays with those precepts throughout his life.

I see very few Catholics becoming Methodists; Church of Christ becoming Southern Baptist; Lutheran becoming Nazarenes. So why should we expect Muslims not to be Muslims.

Sure, I disagree strongly with their beliefs; those precepts are not mine. Never could be. The God I learned about is a loving and forgiving God who wants us to love others despite their faults. I deplore Islam’s abusive treatment of women; their savage and cruel laws; their drive to eradicate all who do not believe as they. But I can’t change them.

We can go in there and conquer, but unless we maintain a strong presence forever, things will slowly shift back to their religious beliefs.

So, let the Islamists run their own countries. The lives of our young are a heck of a lot more valuable than a futile effort to establish a democracy in a country that doesn’t want it and will not fight for it.

In case you’ve not thought of it, that’s the reason we have a democracy. Our forefathers wanted it badly enough to fight and die for it.

We can police the world, but only for our own protection, not to tell others how to live.

Let’s cut out a lot of bribes or as they are euphemistically known, foreign aid, we send to various countries, many of whom would slit our throats without hesitation. Let’s give our military the capability to protect our shores; monitor what is going on around the globe, and make sure every country realizes the catastrophic consequences they’ll suffer if they mess with us.

And prove it if we must.

Of course, we have our allies, and them we must support.

What we need in Washington are leaders who are not as concerned about themselves as they are the country. Make us energy independent, not with those whoopidy-doo green schemes, but by taking advantage of growing technology to extract energy we already have.

Just this last week, one of the largest natural gas suppliers in the country announced it would cut back on production this year because there is a glut of natural gas.

Right there is energy waiting to be used, and our government is simply funnel billions down the maelstrom known as ‘green jobs’.

We do need a change, folks, but not the kind that guy up there talked about. His changes will send us to four more years of the same quagmire we’re struggling in right now.







rconwell@gt.rr.com

http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/

www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell

www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Medicare Premiums to Increase

Medicare Premium Increase Ahead

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I opened up an email the other day that made my eyes pop wide open. Among other information, it detailed the increases in Medicare premiums for the next few years per person, courtesy the Obama Healthcare program now in effect. Read on. Your eyes will bug out too.

2011 96.40

2012 104.20

2013 120.20

2014 247.00



The message went on to explain that the increases were deliberately delayed so as not to affect the outcome of the 2012 Re-Election Campaign of the president, an explanation that any voter who wasn’t blind could see during the rush to push the health bill through a couple years back.

Now while I’m fairly na├»ve about some things, politics ain’t one of them. I’m as spooky about political moves as an old maid schoolteacher standing in the middle of a saloon.

So, I decided to find out the truth about the increases.

I did what we all need to do this election (all elections really). I looked up the truth myself.

On page 234 of the 2010 Annual Medicare Trustee Report, https://www.cms.gov/ReportsTrustFunds/downloads/tr2010.pdf, I found the following figures.

2011 120.10

2012 113.80

2013 117.20

2014 123.10

2015 128.10

And premiums continue to increase until 2019 when they will be $160.10. Look it up for yourself.



Now the report said something else that made my blood run cold. ‘These figures are just estimates that can change at any time depending on legislation.”

“Goody,” say all the Pollyannas in Lalaville. “That means premiums might go down.”

“Humbug,” growls the Scrooges. “We know better. The government never cuts taxes.”

I don’t know about you, but $160 bucks in a big increase for me. As things stand now, that will be a 57% increase, and you can bet my fixed income won’t go up that much. How about yours?

Now, I agree, $160 isn’t as much as $247., but the way things are now in Washington, just how long do you think it will take the government to go from 2019’s $160 to $247?

Now, I want you to stop and think about something. Obama jammed this healthcare through without ninety-nine percent of the Senate and House members having read it or having been briefed by their aides as is usually the case.

That’s how he plays the game of politics. Case in point. Remember sometime back when the two houses were deadlocked over extending the debt ceiling?

Remember Obama’s threat that perhaps Social Security retirees, Military retirees, Social Securty Disability recepients; and Federal retirees might not be paid?

He was trying to scare us, a common rought and tumble Chicago-Style political move.

A friend of mine pointed out just whom he did not threaten.

He did not threaten to stop payments to illegal aliens.

He did not threaten to stop internet access or the Disney channel for violent criminals.

He did not threaten to fire some of the thousands of unnecessary federal employess he’d hired.

He did not threaten to cut senators’ or representatives’ or their staffs’ salaries.

He did not try to stop his wife’s frivilous jaunts around the world.

He made no threat to stop welfare benefits, nor food stamp programs, nor foreign aid, nor anything involving his base voters.

Two months ago, pundits suddenly recognized that the president was in a full political re-election mode, and the at this very moment, propaganda spewing out of the White House is rewriting the history of the past three years.

(1984 hit it right on the nose, george)

And even as I write this, he is asking for more power so he can unilaterally make major decisions that could change the face of our country.

That’s the job of Congress, not a single individual who wants nothing more than to take hard-earned money from a working man’s pocket and give it to fourth generation welfare creeps.

And it isn’t just average schmucks like me, but now some of the misguided media are seeing what not enough of us saw three years ago.

Alan Caruba posted a very perceptive article concerning the president and the job he’s doing on the Wall Street Reader Comment Forum under the name of Eddie Sessions.

“I have this theory about Barack Obama. I think he's led a kind of make-believe life in which money was provided and doors were opened because at some point early on somebody or some group (George Soros anybody?) took a look at this tall, good looking, half-white, half-black, young man with an exotic African/Muslim name and concluded he could be guided toward a life in politics where his speaking skills could even put him in the White House.”

Caruba went on to point how Obama’s lack of political experience. “All those ‘gilded years’ leading up to the White House have left him unprepared to be President. Left to his own instincts, he has a talent for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. It swiftly,” continued Caruba, “Became a joke that he could not deliver even the briefest of statements without the ever-present tele-prompters.”

“Far worse,” wrote Caruba, “Is his capacity to want to ‘wish away’ some terrible realities, not the least of which is the Islamist intention to destroy America and enslave the west. Any student of history knows how swiftly Islam initially spread. Having gained a foothold in Spain, it began knocking on the door of Europe.”

With probably one of the most important elections in our history less than a year away, we must keep ourselves informed. Everywhere you’ll look, misleading garbage and outright lies will be flung in your face by both parties.

Take nothing at face value.

I don’t know which is worse, a president trying to turn our country into a socialistic one or an ignorant voter.

I think it is the latter. That’s how we got the former.

rconwell@gt.rr.com

http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/

www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell

www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26



www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Voter Ignorance

If you’re like me, an ex-English teacher from the Neanderthal days when kids learned not only literature, but the dreaded grammar, then you’ll understand when I say I am bombarded daily by evidence of a growing lack of basic and practical knowledge of those around me.

Now, I said basic and practical, not technological. How well I know that twenty- and thirty-somethings on down can make an Ipad dance, a Smart Phone sing, and a Nook howl at the moon, but many are still lacking in various fundamentals. Me, I congratulate myself for being able to turn one on.

How many times have you heard about the dumb cluck behind the cash register that is stumped when a customer gives him and ten-dollar bill and eleven cents to pay for a snack that costs four eleven?

What really bothers me is that a certain percentage of these individuals actually go to the polls and elect others to lead our cities, state, and country. Maybe I’m way off base, but we’d better off if they’d just stay behind the cash register.

I take that back. We don’t need them where the money is. Brooms and mops are their forte.

Think I’m joking? In 2008, the city council of Chico, California issued a ban on setting off nuclear bombs in town. Anyone convicted of it would be fined $500.00.

Only idiot voters could elect idiot councilmen to make an idiot decision like that.

What prompted this harangue of mine was when I inquired of various veterinarians in regard to spaying a stray cat that has adopted us. Truth is, if it were left up to me, I wouldn’t spay her. I’d take her over to my brother-in-law Jim’s neighborhood and drop her off.

But if I did that, my wife wouldn’t forgive me, so I’m stuck with spaying or neutering strays that come along.

But, back to the call to the vet. I called several. Since this was just a neighborhood feline, I wasn’t interested in anything except preventing more felines, the tiny ones if you know what I mean.

Of the seven (vets, not felines) I called for prices, upon my asking if they spayed cats, four of the receptionists responded with “is it a female?”

Whoa there, partner. I’d pay a bundle to see the expression on someone’s face when they tried to spay an old ragged-ear tom cat.

Over the years, I’ve grown used to such mindless responses. They’ve become both understandable and humorous just like the story that came from a company that supplies goods for missionaries. Now, according to the article, one particular church requires all of its missionaries to carry a ministerial certificate showing they are authorized representatives of the church.

So the supply salesman was stunned when a woman from the church stated that the one last item on her list of needs was a menstrual certificate.

When questioned, she explained that ‘one of their elders had lost his menstrual certificate and needed a new one’.

The salesman rolled with laughter for five minutes before he managed to stammer out “ma’am, I think you mean a ministerial certificate.”

That’s as laughable as the young couple asking for a fecal heart monitor and explaining that it was to be used to hear the baby while it was still in the womb.

What they wanted was a fetal heart monitor.

These are voters, folks. Just what kind of intelligent decision can they make at the polls? They might as well eeeny-meeny-miney-moe at the various buttons or levers.

On the other hand, perhaps it is unfair to be so critical of their decisions. We’ve all make questionable, even dubious judgment calls.

Like the director of the Charlton Public Library in Massachusetts who sent the police to collect overdue library books from a five-year-old girl.

Oh, they collected the books and left, leaving behind a five-year-old in tears.

According to her mother, sending the police was like pounding a ten-penny nail with a sledgehammer.

In all fairness to the police, the department felt uneasy about going to the home, but the library insisted. (like the idiots they are)

Most folks suppose individuals in positions of influence render wise decisions. Not so. Not at all. There was a judge in Louisville who believed the jury went too far in sentencing the defendant to 5005 years.

He would show them the right way, the humane way.

So what kind of Solomon-like decision did this wiser-than-thou jurist hand down? He lowered the sentence to 1001 years.

Wow! Now the guy can ask for parole in only 600 years.

One of my classmates on my old high school chat group sent me a story concerning a conceited judge proud of his unusual sentences.

Once when a teacher came before him, he made her write 500 times, “I will not speed through a red light.”

But then his sentencing fancies caught up with him when a sharp (real sharp) attorney defending an accused burglar stated, “My client merely inserted his arm into the window and removed a few articles. His arm is not himself, and I can’t see you punishing the whole individual for an offense committed by his limb.”

The smug judge agreed, and replied ‘Using your logic, I sentence his arm to one year in prison. He can accompany it or not, as he chooses.”

The judge leaned back and grinned, but the grin suddenly vanished when the defendant rose, smiled, rolled up his sleeve, and detached his artificial limb. He laid it on the bench and walked out.

Now, this country is a republic, which means everyone has a say in the way it is governed. That’s good on the one hand, but on the other, when those voters are not informed, not educated, or fail to think problems through, then we end up with what we have today, an administration intent on redistribution.

Vote however you wish, but do yourself and the rest of us a favor, and stay informed-or stay home.



rconwell@gt.rr.com

http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/

www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell

www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An Impossible Task?

A brand new year is ahead of us. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are past, leaving everyone, I hope, with pleasant memories and hopeful anticipation of the coming year.

I always enjoy those six weeks or so, especially when I recollect holidays past.

Often, I find myself wishing I could stay in those memories, but to do so is like the ostrich sticking its head in the sand. When he finally pulls it out and looks around, he recognizes nothing.

Life, however pleasant or unpleasant, has left him behind.

You and me, folks—we’re grown up. We’re children no longer with doting parents to solve our problems. That is up to us. And we have more than enough problems to solve.

We’re all facing a challenging year. If Big Banking isn’t turning the screws on us, then the politicians are feeding us lies. There are escalating problems in the Middle East. Genocide in Africa. Islam warns Christians in Nigeria to leave or be attacked. The job outlook is dim; money is tight; and neither Democrats or Republicans give a ‘Tinker’s damn’ about the middle class.

So we are, like the old homily says, ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t.’

You know as well as I there’s a whole slough of folks wanting to be president. I don’t know if a white Republican, a brown Libertarian, a red Whig, a black Democrat, or a green Martian will win.

Either way, I do not honestly believe you and me, the average Joe Sixpacks of this country, will find ourselves better off.

Washington, and I include all political parties here, has succeeded in setting up a convoluted set of connections that sheds accountability while enabling financial largesse beyond imagination. Those jokers get slaps on the wrist for behavior that would throw you and me in the deepest hole in the jail.

Perhaps, I should pause and take a step backward here and include local political entanglements also. There is more than ample evidence here in Southeast Texas as well as around the country and the world, that many elected officials are nothing more than crass barons of greed, perfectly willing to strip their constituents’ bank accounts for their own benefit.

Now, I have news for you. Maybe shocking; perhaps unbelievable; and certainly nothing new, but simply asking politicians to change won’t work.

Oh, they’ll agree that changes need to be made; they’ll assure us they’ll do all they can; and then as soon as we close the door behind us, they’ll stick another handful of greenbacks in their proverbial pockets.

Seems like to me these bloodsuckers are waiting in line for the plum political jobs; awaiting their turn at the trough of greed and wealth celebrated by the Potomac Two-Step.

Don’t believe me? Give me the name of a retired politician who lives on the median income of $50,000.00.

Like the Dodo bird, them fellers don’t exist!

What’s the answer, folks? Or is there one? Do we just simply move to the rear of the truck with the rest of the sheep?

I don’t know who coined the wry observation, but it smacks more of the truth than a lie. ‘An honest politician is one when he is bought, he stays bought.’

But there are a couple solutions, Blind Trusts or Term Limits.

Term Limits hasn’t worked. Sixteen states have term limits; nine for consecutive years, seven for lifetime. There were six other states with limits, but they were repealed, two by the state legislature; four by the state supreme courts.

I suggest term limits will not work for they must be put in place by legislators and judges, the very ones most affected by them.

That leaves Blind Trusts.

Lyndon Johnson was the first president to put his family wealth in a blind trust so there would be no question of impropriety; no question of using inside information for profit.

Why not require the same of Congress?

We send them to Washington to run the country. And we pay them well, $175,000 plus. Oh, yeah, and give them cost of living raises along with housing expenses.

Being in Washington, they are privy to financial information ahead of time, and more than one politician has made a fortune by that method.

Put their family wealth in a Blind Trust for the time they serve. They can’t touch it, so they won’t be tempted to do a little ‘insider trading’, a habit all too frequently taken advantage of by our congressional folks.

Now, most of those jokers up there currently won’t pass the necessary legislation, so we must do like the Tea Partyers and put in candidates who will carry out the wishes of America’s middle class.

An impossible task?

The realist in me says ‘yes’; the dreamer says ‘some day’.







rconwell@gt.rr.com

http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/

www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell

www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26