Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I had already mentioned that my dad (in the oil business) has said repeatedly that the US is sitting on HUGE crude oil reserves and if we were only permitted to drill in places like ANWAR in Alasksa like Bush keeps pushing for and were allowed to build new refineries for the crude oil we have (no new refineries have been permitted to be built in over 30 years) we would have excess oil, CHEAP gas prices and wouldn't have to rely on and send money to our enemies in the middle east for oil. But as you can see in the article, the Democrats keep blocking all of it. Including the tuition and mortgage assistance packages that Bush keeps pushing.
Remember the election in 2006?
Thought you might like to read the following:
A little over one year ago: (while Republicans controlled the congress)
1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2 1/2 year high;
2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon;
3) The unemployment rate was 4.5%.
Since voting in a Democratic controlled Congress in 2006 we have seen:
1) Consumer confidence plummet;
2) The cost of regular gasoline soar to over $3.50 a gallon;
3) Unemployment is up to 5% (a 10% increase);
4) American households have seen $2.3 trillion in equity value evaporate (stock and mutual fund losses);
5) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $1.2 trillion dollars;
6) 1% of American homes are in foreclosure.
America voted for change in 2006, and we got it!
Remember, it's Congress that makes law not the President. It's congress that votes taxes, spending, regulations etc.
Quote of the Day........'My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it.' -- Barack Obama
Published Tuesday April 29, 2008
Bush open to suspending fuel tax
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush said today that Congress is blocking his proposals to deal with high gas prices and dragging its feet on other issues to address the nation's sagging economy.
President BushHe said he was open to any idea in terms of energy, including a proposal backed by John McCain and Hillary Clinton to suspend gas and diesel taxes this summer.
But, he said, he favored longer-term fixes, such as encouraging new oil production in the United States and the building of new refineries.
"It's a tough time for our economy," Bush said at a Rose Garden press conference. "Across our country, many Americans are understandably anxious about issues affecting their pocketbook, from gas and food prices to mortgage and tuition bills. They're looking to their elected leaders in Congress for action.
"Unfortunately, on many of these issues, all they're getting is delay," he said.
Bush was asked about a proposal by Republican presidential contender John McCain, later endorsed by Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, to suspend taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel for the summer travel season. The tax is 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents on diesel fuel.
"I'm open to any ideas and we'll analyze anything that comes up," he said.
But Bush also said he didn't want to inject himself into the ongoing presidential race. Of the three candidates, only Democrat Barack Obama has not backed the gas tax proposal.
The average price of a gallon of gas has reached $3.60 nationwide.
Bush renewed his objection to calls that the government discontinue adding to the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve supply while oil prices are so high. "If I thought it would affect the price of oil significantly, I would seriously consider it," he said of an idea embraced by many Democrats and some Republicans.
Bush also said that it was important to keep filling the reserve, in underground salt domes in Texas and Louisiana, in case there is a terror attack on the nation's oil supplies. He also once again called for Congress to permit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a proposal he has made repeatedly since he first took office in 2001, and to pave the way for the building of new refineries.
"Another reason for high gas prices is the lack of refining capacity. It's been more than 30 years since America built its last new refinery. Yet in this area, too, Congress has repeatedly blocked efforts to expand capacity and build more refineries," Bush said.
The president revived an earlier proposal to turn some military bases into sites for new refineries. In the past, oil and energy experts have expressed little interest in that, saying military bases often aren't situated near oil pipelines.
He sidestepped a question on whether there should be a second stimulus package. Rebates started to go out this week as part of a $168 billion stimulus package enacted in February. The checks will range to up $600 for an individual, $1,200 for a couple and an additional $300 for each eligible dependent child.
"Now, you know, after a period of time, the money is beginning to arrive. We'll see what the effects are," he said.
Bush also called on Congress to act more quickly on legislation to make more student loans available and to help homeowners facing foreclosure.
As he has in the past, Bush declined to call the current economic slowdown a recession, even though many economists say the nation is already in one.
"You know, the words on how to define the economy don't reflect the anxiety the American people feel," Bush said. "The average person doesn't really care what we call it. The average person wants to know whether or not we know that they're paying higher gasoline prices and they're worried about staying in their homes."
Asked if he thought government figures due out Wednesday on the nation's gross domestic product for the period from January through March would show the country was indeed in a recession, Bush said, "I think they'll show we're in a very slow economy."
Monday, April 28, 2008
Dr.. Vernon Chong, Major General, USAF, Retired
To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII).
The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means.
First, let's examine a few basics:
1 When did the threat to us start?
Many will say September 11, 2001. The answer, as far as the United States is concerned, is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001, with the following attacks on us:
* Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979;
* Beirut , Lebanon Embassy 1983;
* Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983;
* Lockerbie , Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988;
* First New York World Trade Center attack 1993;
* Dhahran , Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996;
* Nairobi , Kenya US Embassy 1998;
* Dares Salaam , Tanzania US Embassy 1998;
* Aden , Yemen USS Cole 2000;
* New York World Trade Center 2001;
* Pentagon 2001.
(Note: during the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide.)
2 Why were we attacked?
Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats, as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessor, President Ford.
3 Who were the attackers?
In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.
4 What is the Muslim population of the World?
5 Isn't the Muslim Religion peaceful?
Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests).
(see http://www.Nazis.testimony.co.uk/7-a.htm )
Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis as the six million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom hear of anything other than the Jewish atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy in killing anyone who got in the way of his extermination of the Jews or of taking over the world - German, Christian, or any others.
Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US , but kill all in the way -- their own people or the Spanish, British, French or anyone else. The point here is that, just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing -- by their own pronouncements -- killing all of us 'infidels.' I don't blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was to remain silent or be killed?
6 So who are we at war with?
There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you don't clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting.
So with that background, now to the two major questions:
1 Can we lose this war?
2 What does losing really mean?
If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions:
We can definitely lose this war and, as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does losing mean?
It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home, and going on about our business, like post-Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one can get.
What losing really means is:
We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but, rather, will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us over the past 18 years. The plan was, clearly, for terrorists to attack us until we were neutered and submissive to them.
We would, of course, have no future support from other nations, for fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see; we are impotent and cannot help them..
They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn't matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq . Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do will be done. Spain is finished.
The next will probably be France . Our one hope with France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are finished, too, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France . France is already 20% Muslim and fading fast.
Without our support, Great Britain will go, also. Recently, I read that there are more mosques in England than churches.
If we lose the war, our production, income, exports, and way of life will all vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us if they were threatened by the Muslims? If we can't stop the Muslim terrorists, how could anyone else?
The radical Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and therefore are completely committed to winning, at any cost. We'd better know it, too, and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.
Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put 100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to take that 100% effort to win.
So, how can we lose the war?
Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by 'imploding.' That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose and failing to dig in and lend full support to the war effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win.
Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation:
President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation. Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? This is war! For the duration, we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights to which we have become accustomed. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently.
And don't worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII, and immediately restored them after the victory ... and, in fact, added many more since that time.
Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him?
No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war. Get them out of your head.
Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose.
I think some actually do. I hasten to add that this isn't because they are disloyal. It is because they just don't recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening. It concerns our friends and it does great damage to our cause.
Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war, by a small group of our military police.. These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues, and otherwise murdering their own just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein.
And, just a few years ago, these same type prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type of enemy fighters who recently were burning Americans and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq . And, still more recently, the same type of enemy that was and is providing videos to all news sources internationally of the beheading of American prisoners they held.
Compare this with some of our press and politicians, who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the 'humiliating' of some Muslim prisoners -- not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but 'humiliating' them.
Can they be for real?
The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense. If this doesn't show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in, and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can.
To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned -- totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world. Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife. Again, I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they are absolutely oblivious to the magnitude of the situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us for many years.
These people are a serious and dangerous liability to the war effort. We must take note of who they are and get them out of office. Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels. That translates into ALL non-Muslims -- not just in the United States , but throughout the world. We are the last bastion of defense.
We have been criticized for many years as being 'arrogant.' That charge is valid. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful, and smart that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that, with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world. We can't!
If we don't recognize this, our nation, as we know it, will not survive, and no other free country in the world will survive if we are defeated.
And, finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, equal rights for anyone -- let alone everyone, equal status or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the world.
This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war or we will be equated in the history books to the self- inflicted fall of the Roman Empire If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history books to be written or read.
If we don't win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to encroach, little by little, on the established French traditions.
The French will be fighting among themselves over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn't that sound eerily familiar?
Democracies don't have their freedoms taken away from them by some external military force. Instead, they give their freedoms away, politically correct piece by politically correct piece.
And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown, worldwide, that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even to themselves, once they are in power.
Muslims have universally shown that when they have taken over, they then start brutally killing each other over who the few will be controlling the masses.
What is happening in Iraq is a good example. Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct about the 'peaceful Muslims?'
I close on a hopeful note by repeating what I said before: If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. I hope now, after the election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situation we are in, and will unite to save our country. It is your future we are talking about. Do whatever you can to preserve it. I reiterate: our national election is under way.
After reading the above, we all must do this, not only for ourselves, but for our children, our grandchildren, our country, and our world. Whether Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal .... and that includes the Politicians and media of our country and the free world.
Please forward this to any you feel may want, or NEED to read it. Our 'leaders' in Congress ought to read it, too. There are those who find fault with our country, but it is obvious to anyone who truly thinks through this, that we must UNITE!
Lastly, I wish to add: at the risk of offending, I sincerely think that anyone who rejects this as just another political rant, or doubts the seriousness of this issue, or just deletes it without sending it on, is part of the problem. Let's quit laughing at and forwarding the jokes and cartoons which denigrate and ridicule our leaders in this war against terror. They are trying to protect the interests and well being of the US and it's citizens. Best we support them.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The Patriot PostFounders' Quote Daily "[T]he States can best govern our home concerns and the generalgovernment our foreign ones. I wish, therefore...never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawnfrom the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market."-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Judge William Johnson, 12 June 1823)
Reference: Original Intent, Barton (261); original Memoir,Correspondence, and Miscellanies, From the Papers of ThomasJ efferson.
It was Perot's philosophy that you could "Bankrupt" the Lobbyists by making them have to go to several different states in a single day to sit in waiting rooms full of constituents wanting that same representative to vote a totally opposite way than the Lobbyist was going to pay him to do. Just makes sense to me!!!
Friday, April 11, 2008
What Should Be Done?
By David Gratzer
Health care costs are not just soaring, they're reaching unaffordable levels, meaning that we'll have to look to managed care (again) or find a government solution, a prescription for rationing. With spiraling costs projected to continue, thereby doubling spending in the next 8 years, that choice will be made by 2014 unless we find a third option. What's the cure? Congress needs to administer a strong dose of capitalism.
Businesses struggle to pay for health premiums, which have nearly doubled since 2000. It's not simply corporate giants like GM that have trouble -- only 61% of American companies offer their employees health insurance, down from 69% in 2000. Even insured Americans feel the pinch -- though labor costs are up, median family income has dropped 2.6% over the past half decade, the largest decline since the last recession, in large part because soaring health premiums have swallowed up new money.
The situation will precipitously worsen in the next seven years as health spending is projected to rise to $4 trillion dollars a year, up from $2 trillion. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson declares this unsustainable, noting that as a percentage of GDP, US spending will soar from 16 percent to 21 percent. 2013 holds more problems: Medicare will start drawing dollars from the U.S. Treasury.
But for employers, employees, and government officials already fretting the cost of health care, beware: you haven't seen anything yet.
For years, the debate has been about 2 options for dealing with the cost crunch.
First, embrace HMOs. The idea faltered in the late 1990s but managed care held costs relatively stable in the mid-1990s (rising, for example, just 2 percent in 1996). But HMOs turn basic decisions over to bureaucrats, a paternalistic philosophy at odds with American values.
Second, convert to some type of government health care, an approach every other Western country has adopted. Though the idea grows in popularity -- California legislators recently passed single payer legislation -- socialized medicine is built on rationing care, forcing the sick and elderly to wait for even the most basic care in countries like Canada.
Is there another option? Look to capitalism, which governs the other five-sixth of the economy. Ultimately, we must choose market reforms.
That may sound easy enough, but for more than 60 years, government policy has drifted fitfully in the opposite direction. In the rest of the economy, we have moved away from regulations, price controls, and overreaching government agencies. Yet in health care, we have distorted the tax code, bulked up the Medicaid rolls, and let a million regulations bloom. Medicare alone has more than 100,000 pages of them. Price controls are endemic to Medicare and Medicaid. The result is a half-broken, semi-socialist system, low in satisfaction and high in cost.
How to employ market reforms? Here are five simple steps.
1.) Make health insurance more like other types of insurance. Health savings accounts, which passed as part of the Medicare reforms of 2003, were an important first step, separating smaller expenses from high-deductible insurance, for catastrophic events. However, the legislation is overly rigid. Congress must expand and revise the structure of HSAs, and level the tax playing field for those not covered by an employer plan.
2.) Foster competition. American health care is the most regulated sector in the economy. The result? A health insurance policy for a 30-year old man costs four times more in New York than in neighboring Connecticut because of the multitude of regulations in the Empire State. Americans can shop out-of-state for a mortgage; they should be able to do so for health insurance. Likewise, many laws intended to promote fairness end up reducing competition and thus innovation. Congress should reconsider such laws, beginning with the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA).
3.) Reform Medicaid, using welfare reform as the template. Medicaid spending is spiraling up, now consuming more dollars at the state level than K-12 education. Like the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children, part of the problem stems from the fact that the program is shared between both the federal and state government -- and is thus owned by neither. Congress should fund Medicaid with block grants to the states, and let them innovate.
4.) Revisit Medicare. Back in the late 1990s, a bipartisan commission approved a reasonable starting point for Medicare -- junking the price controls, and using the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan as a model. Elderly Americans would then have a choice among competing private plans. Given that the unfunded liability of Medicare is four times greater than that of social security, the time is right to experiment with this idea.
5.) Address prescription drug prices by pruning the size and scope of the FDA. It costs nearly a billion dollars for a prescription drug to reach the market, and roughly 40% of that is due to safety requirements. This is effectively a massive tax on pharmaceuticals. With new technology and focus, it would be possible to update the FDA, drawing from President George H. W. Bush's experiments with contracting out certain approval steps to private organizations, which boasted lower costs and faster approval times.
None of these steps would be dramatic but all are important. Congress also slowly needs to weigh bigger issues: how to shore up Medicare, create portability of health insurance, and foster a market for medical innovation.
Of course, in today's political environment, this seems implausible. Just last year, Congress spent months negotiating a budget that called for Medicaid growth to be trimmed back to 7.5 percent a year, not the forecasted 7.7 percent -- an inauspicious start on a difficult journey. But the political need to act is growing, literally, on a daily basis.
America has been at the forefront of medical innovation: death by cardiovascular disease has plummeted by two-thirds in the last fifty years; polio is confined to the history books; childhood leukemia has gone from a death sentence to an eminently treatable condition. If we have achieved so much with medicine, the task of health care reform seems relatively modest. The patient is fading; Congress must act.
45 million Americans without health insurance?
· 17 million (38%) live in households with an annual income of $50,000+
· 9 million (20%) live in households with an annual income of $75,000+
1. They choose not to spend their money on insurance even though they can afford it.
· 14 million (31%) are eligible for government healthcare programs such as Medicaid but choose
not to enroll.
1. Over $1,000 are spent annually on charity care for every man, woman and child that is
uninsured in America (that’s over $45 billion annually).
2. America has an extensive system of low or no cost community healthcare centers and
free healthcare clinics that provide even the basic services such as annual exams for
free or sliding scale costs.
· 14 million (31%) are illegal immigrants but still receive free charity care.
1. The U.S. even allows “compassionate entry” permission to Mexican citizens in border
towns that need medical assistance, in which they are picked up by ambulance at the
border and transported to emergency rooms in American hospitals to receive free
· 18 million (40%) are ages 18-34 and spend more than 400% more on alcohol, tobacco,
entertainment and dining than on out of pocket expenses for healthcare.
1. All are treated if needed, but few ever pay.
2. Federal Law requires that all hospitals must provide emergency care to anyone that
comes within 250 yards of an emergency room regardless of ability or willingness to
· 8 million (18%) of the 45 million are truly uninsured.
1. NOTE: Every nation has a group of people that refuse to participate in society or take
responsibility for their own wellbeing. They wouldn’t comply even if our government
attempted to force them to receive regular healthcare.