You Are Being Manipulated; Guns, Abortion, Healthcare

“When a broad table is to be made, and the edges of planks do not fit, the artist takes a little from both, and makes a good joint. In like manner here, both sides must part with some of their demands.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

I’ve written it before, and it remains true today. YOU ARE BEING MANIPULATED. You, be you Republican, Democrat, Independent, Liberal, Progressive, or Conservative…YOU are being manipulated. You are being made to feel angry. And you are being made to feel the opposition…from your point of view…is stupid or evil or both. Once I outline a few recent examples, I think you too will agree. I would ask, how could you not?

The predictable political rants over gun control following the calamitous murder of 58 Country Music fans in Las Vegas Sunday night prompts this post. As if a Pavlovian response to it those on the left are calling for restrictions or bans on assault weapons and/or bump stocks which the killer used to make his semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic killing machines. 2nd Amendment advocates reacted predictably saying the Democrats want to take away your guns and make us all servile patrons of a Nanny state.

The fact is that a poll from June 2016 (and other polls) following the killing of 49 at a Orlando nightclub showed that 55% of Americans favored tougher gun laws. But when broken down to specific restrictions like wider background checks, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill or felons or people on the terror watch-list support grows to between 87-90%.

With such overwhelming support you have to wonder why something isn’t done by Congress. Nothing is done, because if something truly effective and SMART were done Democrats and Republicans would lose an issue in which to bludgeon the other party. Each party is served by keeping the issue alive. It goes back to the old axiom “Follow the money”. Donations to each party as well as the NRA and Anti-gun groups grows precipitously from each groups/party’s constituents whenever there is a mass killing in the United States involving guns. USA Today also reported Monday that stocks in U.S. gun makers shot up 3% following the Vegas shootings.

So Democrats keep hammering Republicans as gun lovers and as being unconcerned for those killed by gun users. The GOP is afraid to budge even on the most reasonable gun restrictions for fear of additional measures coming in the future eventually leading to repeal of the 2nd Amendment; and for fear of suffering repercussions at the ballot from gun enthusiasts.

It’s the same with Democrats and abortion. A Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans favor some restrictions on abortion plus an additional 18 percent favor a complete ban. So, 70% of Americans favor some restrictions or a total ban on abortions. A separate ABC News poll shows 62% of Americans favor a ban on late-term or partial birth abortions. But faced with this overwhelming data Democrats jump up and down screaming that Republicans want to take away a woman’s right to choose. They say its part of the GOP’s War on Women. Like Republicans with guns they won’t budge on any reasonable abortion restrictions for fear that money will dry up and liberal voters will remove them from office. Such a position always leads to the nonsensical dodge answer we saw from Hillary Clinton during last year’s debates.

It’s been over 50 years since the Supreme Court Roe vs Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand at any stage of a baby’s development in the womb and we still can’t get Congress and a President to agree that aborting a child days or weeks before their natural birth is essentially murder of a fellow human being. There have been numerous times in the past 25 years when Pro-Life Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress and six years under George W. Bush and right now when they controlled Congress and the Presidency. So why not take action? Because then the GOP wouldn’t have their issue any more. They wouldn’t be able to call Democrats baby killers AND continue to receive the political donations they get from Pro-Life groups. 

Healthcare is no different from the abortion issue and gun control. In watching the Republicans first in the House and then in the Senate continually fail to repeal the falling-apart Affordable Care Act with zero Democratic help or input I’ve come to two conclusions. Democrats will block and fail to support any bill that includes wording repealing Obamacare. Republicans could present a bill that is a near carbon-copy of Obamacare under a different name but Democrats wouldn’t support it if it includes language making AFA the former law of the land. Secondly, Republicans are so invested in repealing Obamacare they would never approve any legislation that keeps the name, AFA, even if it’s proposed solutions completely overturn every unwanted, unworkable aspect of the key piece of legislation in Barack Obama’s legacy.

And holding on to a “problem” for political gain is not just an American tradition. Or have you not heard about the plight of the Palestinian refugees. 70 years ago hundreds of thousands of Arab peoples fled the newly formed state of Israel for neighboring Arab, mostly Muslim, states of Lebanon and Syria and Jordan. Those refugees and their subsequent heirs are denied citizenship, home ownership or any kind of legal status in the countries to which they fled. Stop for a moment and ask yourself, what would happen if they were welcomed in all legal sense into the nations in which they’ve resided for the past 70 years? Would we still have a Palestinian crisis? My guess is no at best; and at worst it would be a far less divisive issue resulting in far less terrorist deaths and wars all these many decades later.

Neither Republican or Democratic party will compromise on our issues. In today’s political real-life world to compromise is to be a traitor to your party and to your constituents.

Thank God our great American leaders of the past didn’t feel that way. At the first Constitutional convention the elderly statesman Benjamin Franklin urged his fellow conventioneers to approve the newly written document saying: “I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution: For when you assemble a Number of Men to have the Advantage of their joint Wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those Men all their Prejudices, their Passions, their Errors of Opinion, their local Interests, and their selfish Views. From such an Assembly can a perfect Production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this System approaching so near to Perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our Enemies, who are waiting with Confidence to hear that our Councils are confounded, like those of the Builders of Babel, and that our States are on the Point of Separation, only to meet hereafter for the Purpose of cutting one another’s throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.” He compromised.

So did Abraham Lincoln. Most people’s knowledge of history tells them that our 16th President freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. If that’s your memory, your memory is false. Lincoln compromised. His Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 only freed the slaves in the rebellious Confederate states. Four “border states”, Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware, had slavery and fought for the Union. Lincoln didn’t want to lose those states to the Confederacy. So he compromised his own principles for the greater good of winning the war, retaining the United States whole and living to fight the battle of slavery at another time.

One of the least known but impactful compromises in American history was the Connecticut Compromise of 1787 which created the bicameral Congress we live under today. It allowed for each state regardless of size to have two representatives in the Senate, and representation based on population in the lower House.

Let’s imagine for a moment what might happen if our political leaders stopped driving wedges between Americans and instead compromised on these three divisive subjects.

What if Democrats agreed to halt all late-term abortions after 20 weeks (like a bill just passed by the House last week) in exchange for bans on bump stocks, assault weapons and gun sales to all with mental health issues, criminal backgrounds, or on the terrorist watch list. Republicans would agree to the greater good of saving unborn lives while relinquishing their debatable and somewhat twisted interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.

On healthcare what if Republicans agreed to let the name Affordable Care Act stand, but agreed with Democrats to completely change it by removing the mandatory insurance purchases by individuals and companies, allowing for intra-state purchase of insurance, and tax-deductible health savings accounts, as well as high deductible catastrophic coverage policies.

What would happen…three issues that have been issues dividing Americans for decades would instantly be removed. Each side would have to compromise on one of their core issues, so neither side would look like losers…or both sides would. And Americans could truly benefit from some common sense legislation that most Americans support. Other issues may still cause us to debate but these 3 vitally important matters will finally be addressed in a truly bipartisan common sense manner.

No I’m not drunk.

 

Tired of the Hate

Daisies

Pardon me while I go on a rant. I am so tired of hatefullness. I see it all the time and don’t understand it. Before anyone can accuse me of hypocrisy, let me state unequivocally that I have strong opinions and am not afraid to voice them. But you have never seen me rant that someone who’s mere ideas I oppose is “the lowest form of human life” a direct quote from a ultra-liberal “Friend” on Facebook about GOP Presidential candidate Scott Walker, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

I see hate directed at Gays, blacks, Republicans, Democrats, Mexicans, Muslims, Huskies, Cougars, the list goes on and on. I’ve had some people do unspeakable hurtful things to me directly, some of these people were very close to me. I know others who suffered the same sort of treatment turn their affection around into hate. Some of these same people don’t understand why I don’t. I can’t. Its simply not in me.

I hate actions not people. Murder, rape, betrayal, and selfishness. I recognize the worst of the worst. But hate of people is too heavy a burden for me to carry. This isn’t about religion or faith, though my faith tells me to LOVE not hate, and to forgive. But its not my religion that prevents it, its just a deep seeded feeling.

I’ve been saddened by the immense growth in race hatred in the years since Obama took the White House. I didn’t vote for him, but remember in 2009 writing of my hope that his election would finally end the racial mistrust and hatred that existed. It didn’t. It has gotten worse. I think all this hatred can be fixed. But not by our current leaders. We need parents to tell kids to reject all those who enunciate hate. We need to teach our kids that the best way to persuade is with love, forgiveness, understanding and setting a good example. Nobody was ever persuaded by calling them a hateful name. Many have been persuaded by a kind word or gesture.

I believe illegal immigration is a serious problem in our country and needs to be curtailed. But it’s wrong to characterize so many illegal immigrants as “murderers, drug dealers and rapists…and I suppose some are good people” as Donald Trump has done. Yes, statistics show illegal immigrants bring a disproportionate amount of crime to our country. This is an uncontroverted fact. But the overall picture of the results of illegal immigration is the harm it causes legal Americans, yes in crime; but also in lower wages, fewer jobs, diminished social resources (i.e. benefits) and housing. That’s not hate for one group of people. That’s compassion for another group of people. Our people. Fellow Americans. There is no need to hate the illegals because they want a better life in our country. But they must do it legally, in a controlled manner in order to not hurt those to whom we owe the most; our own brothers and sisters and moms and dads.

People need not misunderstand disagreement with hatred. Too often I see people calling another a “hater” because of their views, when hate has nothing to do with it. Some one once said, “Anyone who thinks you can’t strongly disapprove of a persons actions and not hate them but love them, has never raised a teenager.” Jesus once said, “Let him among you without sin, cast the first stone”. Where is that sensibility in today’s culture? The woman who Jesus saved from a stoning didn’t get off without a reprimand. Jesus forgave her of her sin(s) then sent her away with the admonition to “sin no more”. When asked by his disciple Peter how often he should forgive a brother who sinned against him, “Up to seven times?” he asked. Jesus said “I say to you not seven, but seventy times seven”. That’s not religion. That’s common sense. That’s learning to live more happily.

Be strong. Be opinionated. Argue for your beliefs. But don’t hate the person who feels counter to you. Provided their beliefs don’t inhibit your ability to live and be happy…let them go. Let them live as they would see fit.

I am a much better man now than I was in years past primarily because I won’t let anger hurt me or others any more. It’s a wonderful way to live that took me too long to discover. It took someone hurting me in the most profound way to come to this way of thinking and feeling. But it’s made me better as a result. I honestly believe others can benefit as have I. (And now for some religion…) And upon embracing a life of love, peace and understanding I believe God directly intervenes and blesses you. And even if you don’t believe that…you bless yourself.

10 year anniversary Logo

The Truth about the Health Care Bill By Someone Who Actually Read It | Vision to America

It’s a brief article, and its scary.

The Truth about the Health Care Bill By Someone Who Actually Read It | Vision to America.

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Democrats Continually Make Excuses. Is that Leadership?

It just makes me sick how Democrats so willing excuse the inexcusable done by their elected leaders. Time and again you point at lies and failures, and uncontrolled spending and Democrats (at least the ones I talk with, read, listen to, see on tv, hear about, etc) wave off the offense as if its nothing, no big deal, everybody is doing it. I got news for you Democrats; if you keep ignoring the offenses of your chosen elected leaders merely out of an irrational hatred of Republicans you’re likely to get exactly what you want. You’ll have someone else taking responsibility for and running your lives.

This is an election year. As such there will be no Federal Budget passed by the Democrats in the U.S. Senate. This comes as nothing new. This will be the fourth consecutive year the Democrat controlled Senate has failed to comply with U.S. laws and perform their most basic of tasks. As of this writing its been 1100-days since it was accomplished.

The fact that it’s taken so long indicates this failure is not so much incompetence as it is cold, calculating politics. Democrat Harry Reid leads the Senate, and has throughout this whole period of failure. In the past two years he has allowed two budget votes for the budgets proposed by President Barrack Obama. The combined number of votes in favor of passing the Presidents proposed budget the past two years was – ONE! The Senate, which is led by the same incompetent party as the President gave him 1 vote of support last year. This year, bupkis.

The Federal budget cycle is governed mainly by the following six laws,

1 Budget and Accounting Act.
2 Congressional Budget Act.
3 Antideficiency Act.
4 Impoundment Control Act.
5 Government Performance and Results Act.
6 Federal Credit Reform Act.

The Budget and Accounting Act was passed in 1921 and says: “Each budget shall include a budget message and summary and supporting information. The President shall include in each budget the following….” The provision goes on to list about thirty items, such as expenditures and receipts for the past year through the fourth year following the budget year, information on debt, financial information, and information on employment levels.

Without a budget we lose the summary and the supporting information and the close examination of what our leaders have decided to make their, or our, priorities. In essence, Democrats are saying “We will not give you a basis in which to judge our performance. We will talk a lot of rhetoric. But there will not be a measuring stick from which you can find flaws with my decision-making.” What kind of leadership is that?

The problem I see and hear repeatedly from run-of-the-mill Democrats not in elected office is “Well…that’s what all politicians do. You can’t blame Democrats for doing what Republicans do.” To which I respond…name the last time a Republican led body of Congress, House or Senate, went 4 years without passing a budget.

Wait! You don’t need to answer that. You don’t need to answer because we have a fair comparative example. In the past two years Republicans have put their political carcasses on the line and passed budgets. The GOP Paul Ryan budget would aim to cut $4-trillion dollars from government spending. It would also take a huge step toward entitlement reform which is mandatory for controlling this country’s deficit spending.

Passing these budgets have shown all Americans what plan the Republicans have going forward. It’s left them open to a lot of scrutiny and criticism; or haven’t you seen the Democrats commercial depicting Paul Ryan wheeling a wheel-chair bound old lady to the edge of a cliff and then pushing her off. And hard-core Democratic voters BELIEVE this crap! Are you idiots? I digress.

Until Democrats decide to grow a backbone and show the world their plans for the future, and how to pay for them, and how they prioritize them not one should get our votes. We can disagree with our political leaders. We can see them make promises they never keep. We can tolerate the mudslinging that makes every election cycle vomit inducing. But we should no longer abide by Senators hiding their goals for our country. They must pass a budget or be removed from leadership.

Ron Paul, BIG-Government libertarian – PostPartisan – The Washington Post

Ron Paul taking questions in Manchester, NH

This man can't be trusted!

I’ve called Ron Paul crazy. Fact is I don’t really believe it. He’s crazy like a fox. And as demonstrated in this article he is one of the most despicably dishonest politicians you will ever come across.

Ron Paul, big-government libertarian – PostPartisan – The Washington Post.

Paul can’t be trusted. That’s the message from this story.

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Bank of America is subject to Capitalism.

Bank of America announced yesterday that it would NOT be going ahead with its previously announced $5 debit card use fee. They say they listened to their customers. Damned rights they did. They listened and they watched a lot of them take their money elsewhere.

The news that BofA wasn’t going ahead with the new fee came after the nation’s largest bank JP Morgan Chase as well as Wells Fargo Banks announced last week that they would abandon plans for these fee add-ons. They saw the writing on the wall and didn’t want to further enrage the public (i.e. their customers).

In an Associated Press article from October 7 it was pointed out that Credit Unions were again reaping the benefits of these new bank fees. The country’s largest credit union, the Navy Federal Credit Union, said new account openings over the weekend  following BofA’s new fee announcement were 23 percent higher than normal. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee says roughly 51,000 people have signed up to move their money out of big banks on “National Bank Transfer Day” this Saturday. They also said 21k of those who have signed up will be moving their money from Bank of America.

Of course abandoning this $5 fee doesn’t mean BofA, or Wells or Chase for that matter, won’t be attempting to pick your pocket somewhere else. In fact BofA already raised its fee for its basic checking account from $8.95 to $12 last Spring. They’re hurting. They need the money. Bank of America’s stock price was down to $6.71 at the time of this writing. That’s from a high of $54.77 five years ago this month, and a post-recession high of over $18.00. Their January 2008 purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp looking increasingly like the wrong thing to do. Old Countrywide mortgage loans are STILL exploding on BofA and on our country.

But the obvious good news with this retraction of the proposed fee and for the time being no new replacement fee is that Capitalism works. This is exactly how it is supposed to happen. And guess what no Government intervention was necessary. 18th Century writer, philosopher and economist Adam Smith had it right in his seminal book The Wealth of Nations when he described the invisible hand that guides a country’s economy. Government needs to stay out and things will work out. It’s in each individual company’s and corporation’s best interest to serve the public, their clients, for to do otherwise will only hurt their bottom line. And growing the bottom line is most important of all.

Anyone with eyes wide open will see that Government interference in the form of the Dodd-Frank Banking Finance law forced banks to impose many of these new fees by restricting how much banks could charge merchants for the use of debit and credit cards (I bet a lot of you didn’t know that we, the business owners, also pay the banks every time plastic is used). Banks, as well as other companies will seek revenues and if government takes away one form of income, they’ll just go elsewhere. And the ones who will pay the real price is the consumer. Thank you again Democrats. Every time you try to protect us we get the shaft.

Nonetheless, take homage in the fact that your outrage moved big bad BofA, Chase, Wells Fargo and others from imposing THIS fee. You the consumer do have choices. You can go to a neighborhood bank or Credit Union you can spend your money elsewhere, or choose not to spend at all. Think of the Occupy Wall Street protesters and their claims of big corporations having way too much control. Let this be their lesson that the big corporations only have as much control as we give them. And the one, and possibly the only thing I’ll agree with OWS about, is that its long past time that we stop giving the big corporations so much power. But we don’t need government to do anything. We need to take responsibility for ourselves, our habits, and our spending.

But, of course, this comes from a guy who’s had his money in a credit union for some 15 years.

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The difference between Republicans and Democrats.

This article was published elsewhere previously. It is edited and made more timely for publishing now. – M Schuett

 

Michael Schuett in New York

M Schuett at Empire St Bldg

“The difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats are willing to give up a little freedom in order to achieve fairness; while Republicans are willing to give up a little fairness in order to achieve freedom.”- George Will, Conservative columnist and commentator
Every tax and every law written is an impingement on individual liberty. By definition if you are required to do or to give something by force or threat of negative consequences your liberty has been diminished. And while being a citizen of a nation founded for the first time in history on the concept of respecting individual liberty and democratic (small d) rule loosing ones liberty ought to not be taken lightly. Lately I think it has been.

However, it goes without saying that in order to live happily in a society free from anarchy some surrender of our individual liberties is a requirement. And thus we come to the wedge of which George Will was referring at the top of this writing. When does Government go too far in governing? When does an individual’s right to liberty become TOO detrimental to society as a whole? And where do you stand?

Do you think it’s some kind of accident or freak of nature that we keep bouncing back and forth throughout our nation’s history between Democratic and Republican Presidents and Congress? It’s no accident. It’s a reflection of who we are. Roughly half of us are or lean Republican or Conservative (big C); while the other half is or leans Democrat or Liberal (some would rather I write “Progressive”, to which I respond “Whatever. Call yourselves whatever you wish. A rose by any other name…”) And really the other side is not evil. Though for most of our 234 year old existence many have continued to paint the other side as doing the work of the devil. I think it comes down to what you value.

I like George Will’s definition of Republican vs. Democrat because I think it’s mostly accurate while not intentionally offensive to either side. But I think there is a more clear values oriented definition of America’s two party system that makes the distinctions plainer. Before giving you my definition lets all recognize a truth. Most of us are what we are because of who are parents are and what their beliefs are or were. By no means is this “truth” 100% carved out of granite. But it might define 70-80 percent of us politically. And if I’m right, what does that say about who we are, what our beliefs are, and for whom we vote? It say’s what voter turnout percentages have screamed for decades. Most of us don’t care. Most elections are lucky if 50 percent of eligible voters vote. Again, in terms of literal definition that means MOST of us don’t care.

Being Conservative or being Liberal in my opinion comes down to whether you value an individual’s right to liberty more or whether you value a specified community’s benefit more. If you value society’s well-being over that of a single individual in that society you are more likely to be a Liberal and/or Democrat. The Conservatives have a tougher task because in standing up for an individuals right Conservatives are repeatedly labeled as advocating selfishness. If you are a caring and loving person of course you would advocate society over individual benefits, right? I say, “Hogwash!’. To advocate society’s or a community’s well-being over that of any individual in that group is the height of arrogance and promotes tyranny.

Promoting community benefit promotes the idea that you know best. It says I know better than you what’s best for you and everybody else in your community. And since you are in effect children we will tell you what to do in order to not hurt yourself or your neighbors. And in order that you grow up and live your life to the level that we would call “the fullest”. Again, because we know better. Ladies and gentleman I give you the definition of Liberal. I also grant you that not a single Liberal thinks of themselves in quite that way.

I laugh when I hear Democrats criticizing Republicans by calling them “Do nothing Republicans”. Dear Lord if only it were true. Democrats just don’t get it. Doing “nothing” is the heart of Conservatism. For doing “Anything” involves one more law, or tax or infringement on liberty. Often doing nothing is what is best, is what is called for; is worth defending.

I believe in individuality. I believe in self-determination. And I believe in selfishness. “Ah ha!” you say. “You reveal your evil intent”. On the contrary, as stated by 18th Century writer Adam Smith in his monolithic book, “The Wealth of Nations” a person acting selfishly will by instinct act toward the benefit of community as a whole because to do otherwise injures the individual’s selfish interests. We have to act in the interest of others for any number of reasons, but primarily if we don’t act in the interest of others while serving our selfish needs nobody else will act in our interest. Like Henry Ford defined in building his Model T at the start of the 20th Century. He believed he had to pay his assembly line workers enough so that they could afford to buy his product. Conversely he also believed he had to build a car that a working “man” could afford. Such a view toward serving the “common man” made Ford an extremely wealthy man, and fulfilled his every SELFISH need and desire.

I fondly remember previous employers who all found me a good hard worker but hard to control. I never thought I needed to be “controlled”. But I still remember my one time team leader telling me she was the only one (of other Team Leaders) who could control me (I wish I could go into greater detail…but I won’t). I was always best when left to my own devises. It’s my overwhelming desire for freedom of thought and freedom of choice that led me to be an independent business owner, answerable to no one but the man in the mirror. And our country is loaded with individuals like me who don’t answer to authority as readily or willingly as do others. And it’s our individuality and right to it that needs to be protected. For if my right to speak my mind is ever quashed, yours will be next. The ever-changing flux of that which is popular dictates it so. I still remember news article in the 1980s detailing the coming third “Ice Age”. Not something Global Warming advocates will even acknowledge today.

The Health Care reform law, commonly known as Obamacare, has me and so many others nervous or outright scared to death. Our individuality is threatened. Without debating specific aspects one over riding undeniable fact about what is happening with it becoming law is that our Government will grow in size and scope tremendously. In doing so my liberty again is chipped away further. And I believe deeply.

Isn’t it sad, in my view, that the rights of the individual weren’t kept foremost in mind throughout the debate. Claims by House Democrats that a Government option was necessary in order to create competition flies in the face of competitions definition. There are 306-million Americans. If the health care industry and the health insurance industry had to actually win the precious dollars of each and every one of us individuals you would then have competition and you would then have affordable health care. Instead we have a debate over health care coverage and its cost, rather than a debate over health care and its cost.

As blasphemous as this sounds, WE ARE NOT ALL EQUAL. Efforts to force us to be equal will only force us into George Orwell’s nightmare “Animal Farm” where the pigs stated without hesitation or fear of consequence that “Some of us are more equal than the others”. The fact that we’re all created equal doesn’t change what we become. Some people and activities are valued more than others. Those who entertain us are valued much more than those who educate us. For reasons that pass understanding those who haul away our garbage are valued considerably less than those who sit in Congress and create additional refuse. The point is an individualized health care system would take into consideration our differences and aim to serve us as individuals instead of as a community.

And when I’m under the scalpel, on the operating table, in a hospital I want my individuality the foremost thought of my care takers…society be damned. That’s my selfish wish. And I defy anyone to embrace anything less.

Comments are welcome. Thanks for visiting.