Monday, March 29, 2010
(It's only money...)
Dear Robert and Lynda,
First, thank you for the kind words! This cranky old schoolteacher is more often the target of the other kind.
Second, some news. State competition was last week. We took home two golds and three silvers. I have great kids (most of them) and they are national contenders, especially in audio production.
Third, some musings...
Last week, the American People took a beating but the bruises won’t show for years. It is hard to imagine the abject cowardice of a Congress which passed an obscenely expensive bill which will not take effect until the majority of those who voted it in are safely out of office or the public has forgotten who voted for what. It is incomprehensible to reconcile the urgency of a president who berated us that we must do this now! This is our last chance! with a bill which comes into effect over a decade, not a day.
I want better health care, more widely accessible health care. I am ashamed that the richest nation on the planet ranks somewhere between 28th and 32nd in infant survivability, behind such nations as Portugal and Poland. I was outraged when my insurance company tried to avoid covering my cancer treatment because the cancer was so advanced it must have been there before my college adopted them as a carrier. I would like my insurance to be portable when I move. Does it take three thousand pages to fix that?
How dare they say they will add a population equal to that of California to the insurance pool at public expense and save money in the process! Therein lays the dirty little secret! It took three thousand pages of gov-speak smoke screen to mask how this bill will be funded. Oh, the CBO didn’t actually lie; they did come clever counting to be sure, but did not lie (sort of …). There is an old saying in Washington. “If you add it up and you don’t like the numbers, change the way you count.”
First, they will “clean up the fraud waste and abuse in Medicare.” One is led to ask why that wasn’t done before and without this bill. Or, in fact, are they going to slash what Medicare covers by determining what care is appropriate and which is wasteful? Aha! That will save money. It will also place the federal government between my doctor and the care he or she prescribes for me. But health care will not be rationed. Just ask them.
Then they will cover millions more under Medicaid! Well, that won’t cost the Fed anything. The Federal deficit will not be affected! Instead, already financially strapped states will be hit by a massive surge in Medicaid costs mandated from but not funded by Capitol Hill. Federal taxes won’t climb but States will be forced to raise funds, therefore increase taxes. Is that passing the buck, dodging the bullet or dirty pool? Does it have a name other than reprehensible?
Then, conveniently after the midterm elections, Medicare taxes will climb. Every working man and woman will see their take-home pay shrink. How big is the bill you and I will pay? According to the most optimistic projections out there, the aggregate cost for the first decade (during which no appreciable changes come for the first four or more years!) is approximately $932 billion. During this time, the bill will supposedly reduce the federal deficit by $140 billion.
Some will ask when was the last time a federal program came in on or under budget and when was the last time the deficit was actually reduced, but even without that, the bill is astronomical. As in your comment about the lesser of two evils, a reduced deficit is still a deficit. How about reducing spending? How about stimulating this mummified economy by reducing taxes thus stimulating general consumption? How about, God save us, reducing the national debt?
How’s this for a contradiction? After decades of encouraging seniors, especially, to increase the depth of their coverage through Medicare Advantage and other supplemental insurance, let’s call that a Cadillac plan and add a surcharge! Let us penalize people for getting their own damn insurance! And let’s eliminate the tax break which encourages companies to help insure their retirees! That’ll work! Ask AT&T, Caterpillar or Deere! Let’s reduce the cost of medical care by levying new (and high) taxes on medical equipment from wheelchairs to linear accelerators! We’ve sold the American people reverse math before; this should be easy!
Last, immigration legislation is pending. May God help us and our children if we legalize the fourteen or so million illegal immigrants in this country, thus adding another enormous drain on the health care system at public expense. Oh, it will add to the roles of the Obamacrats if they vote. We won’t fund health care for illegal aliens, he says. We’ll just make them legal! So there!
Clearly, it is the sense of the current regime in Washington that we the people are incapable of caring for ourselves, even so far as choosing our own insurance. It is the frighteningly apparent trend to peel any vestige of authority from the several states and usurp a greater authority in Washington. “Specified powers” be damned, they say. What has become of us? It is a true Obama-nation …
I still consider myself a liberal. However, I will not allow my name to be spoken in the same sentence as the word “democrat” after the sleazy back-room treachery of the last few months. I remember when “government” was the result of a process, not a remote, voracious entity seemingly in opposition to the People.
Robert, please take back a little of what we have lost. Fight! Vigorously! Even if you do not win this time, you will not have lost if you inspire a few voters to pay attention. If your opponents must modify one plank in their platform because of you, it is better than it would have been. Please.
Sorry. I got wordy. I love my country. I want it back.
(Major Michael Fagan was a rescue helicopter pilot in Vietnam with 301 combat missions and 28 combat saves. In addition, Major Fagan served as a helicopter operations officer in Cambodia during the evacuation of Phnom Penh. He currently serves as Head of the Electronic Media Production Department at Ozarks Technical Community College in Missouri)
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
TEXAS MONTHLY -- Bucket List Issue
63 things all Texans should do before they die, including...
# 27 ------ VOTE FOR ROBERT A. NOWOTNY!
"Simply put, if you think politics is a load of hogwash, and most politicians are lying, greedy, arrogant simpletons keen on starting wars and running up astronomical national deficits, then go vote for Robert and the Libertarians for a change. If you think I'm wrong, vote for those other clowns. Me? I'm voting for Robert. What he says makes sense. Even if he is from Texas."
------ Rodney Twelftree
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Voting for the same Republican, in this case a RINO (Republican In Name Only) Republican, or another Democrat like the ones that are trying to insert a socialized medicine suppository into every American, is the same insanity. I have known Robert Nowotny for 40 years and he is the new, intelligent type representative that Texas needs to prevent giving our roads to foreign entities, to charge tolls on the roads we already paid for completely, or taking more land from Texans for a highway corridor that nobody wants. Vote for Robert or bend over and get more of the same!"
------ Jim Hanley
WHAT ABOUT BOB?
Sure, folks, the country is going down the proverbial tubes (and fast!).
But, WHAT ABOUT BOB?
You think you have no voice and no choice.
But, WHAT ABOUT BOB?
Republicans, Democrats, they're all about staying in office, not representing you!
But, WHAT ABOUT BOB?
------ Maura Murto
"Bob Nowotny probably doesn't have what it takes to be a successful politician. He's honest, straight-talking, clear-headed and profoundly competent. Yet, even with these strikes against him, I still support him enthusiastically!"
------ Bryce Zabel
So much tequila, so little time...
"Bob is a trustworthy, straight shooter who is honest to a fault and unafraid to criticize, challenge, and attempt to change the wrongs he sees. It makes him an annoying pain in the ass as a drinking buddy, but it seems these would be fine qualities for a politician...Eh, maybe not."
------ Darren Lohr, Screenwriter
"Really enjoyed the film clip.......great bit. Then again, I was already under the impression that most of the developed world was talking about your candidacy."
------ Hal Callaway
"Washington is broken. That's a widely accepted opinion. That's also Rick Perry's main message during his recent Primary campaign. Perry's vision is apparently hampered by all the Brylcreem, because Austin isn't that different from DC. Both Capitols are bogged down with politicians that worry more about their re-electability than important legislation that they never address. One thing both are very good at is spending our money like there's no tomorrow. Well, there is a tomorrow, regardless of the fact that the Mayan Calendar maker finally got tired and stopped at 2012. And our grandchildren and their children will be paying off this massive debt they are accruing. Spending in Texas is out of control, the stimulus check just covered the first deficit.
Austin can't seem to deal with the major issues facing the State. Okay, they picked some history books. They had trouble with that, too. School funding, too hard. Even DC didn't have "Killer B's", elected representatives that snuck out in the middle of the night like brat teenagers because a vote was not going to go their way. So instead of doing what the voters of Texas put them in office to do, they escaped and stopped the Legislature from acting...again. Most Democrats thought it was cute. I call it dereliction of duty. In Washington, it's the Republicans blocking everything, but at least they're staying at their posts.
It's all symptomatic of the broken, two-party system. It also illustrates how stuffy, obstinate, and unimaginative our current elected representatives are. With either of the two parties in power, you get the majority's rhetoric, the minority party's displeasure, and nothing of importance seems to move through. The legislature is like a big intestinal tract, and the two party's are diverticulitis, slowing the movement through the process.
That's why we need some people like Robert Nowotny, a third-party candidate, running as a Libertarian. We need Robert to be our Representative, a third-party laxative as it were. Somebody new. Somebody with a sense of humor that can deal with the stuffed shirts and hair cream we have now. A creative thinker -- we don't seem to have any of those now. That would be different. Robert Nowotny is a creative thinker, he started making movies in high school. We need Robert Nowotny because he isn't part of the problem. Problems don't get fixed throwing the same ingredients back every election. They'll only be fixed when you throw a solution. That's why I endorse Robert Nowotny for State Representative.
Let's fix Austin. Send someone intelligent to Austin. Send Robert Nowotny."
------ Pete Hanley
Sunday, March 21, 2010
As most of you know, I have promised to pursue my campaign with conviction and, where appropriate, with humor. It is with this second goal in mind that I present a preview of my first potential campaign ad.
Did you know that the entire world is rooting for me to win this election?
It's true. (Sort of...)
If you don't believe me, take a look at this video -- it may take a little time to download, but I think you will find it worthwhile.
(And yes, this is way over the top -- but it is fun)
Here's a link the the proposed television ad. Just cut and paste, sit back and enjoy...
Thursday, March 4, 2010
There is no doubt that Border Security and Illegal Immigration are extremely important issues. I have spoken to a number of experts on this topic, including H. Joaquin Jackson, perhaps the best-known living Texas Ranger whose extremely popular books include ONE RANGER, A MEMOIR and ONE RANGER RETURNS. Here's what I have learned:
1. We can't let "Ivory Tower Politicians" in Austin and Washington dictate policy and procedures. They no more understand the complexity of Border Security or Illegal Immigration than they understand the BCS System. What we need to do is to listen to those on the border, those involved with the existing situation on a daily basis, and pay heed to their first-hand experience and expertise.
2. The much-ballyhooed "Fence" is not the answer. Other than providing some curtailment benefit along the border at large metropolitan areas, the fence has been repeatedly crossed over, under and around. Yes, I said around, because large, permanent gaps exist thanks to the successful legal wrangling of powerful land owners who basically received a "not-in-my-back-yard" exemption.
3. There is no need for new laws or legislation -- the existing immigration laws on the books are more than adequate if, and here's the big "if," they are applied consistently and uniformly.
4. Finally, the so-called "virtual fence" is also a boondoggle. There is simply no substitute for manpower on the ground -- never has been and probably never will be.
Regarding "manpower on the ground," here's an interesting perspective that no one has publicly authored until now. I have posted this point of view more for the sake of discussion than as an official proposal. Then again, there is some merit as you will see...
Let me begin by stating that the United States currently has active military forces in over 135 countries. Among these are Barbados, Fiji, Ireland, Jamaica, Sweden, even Switzerland. This is insane.
Now, for the sake of argument, consider these three countries -- Germany (56,222 American troops), Japan (33,122 American troops) and Italy (9,700 American troops). In the case of Japan, we have served almost exclusively as their primary military force -- Army, Navy and Air Force -- since the end of World War II. This, of course, is at the expense of the American tax payer who, based on most criteria, actually has a lower standard of living than his Japanese counterpart.
Given the above statistics, these three countries, alone, account for 99,044 United States military personnel -- enough to station a guard every 100 yards along the entire US/Mexican border, from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, one guard every 100 yards deployed for eight hours per shift. What a concept -- American military troops protecting the American Border!
If nothing else, this is interesting food for thought...
...and speaking of food, the only negative to this idea is that our courageous men and women in the military may find it harder to find good schnitzel, sushi or scarafiuni.
(A special "thank you" to Hal Callaway who originated this concept.)