My Contemporary Thoughts

Seeking Veracity


Outrageous Medical Expense and a Fix

Medical care is being given to a 14 million illegal aliens in the United States, mostly at the caregiver’s expense. And guess what . . . it’s being passed on to us, the taxpayers, through our medical bills and insurance premiums. Paying illegal aliens’ expenses are absolutely outrageous and must stop. Just take a look at this testimony of a Florida hospital representative.

It seems to me that an illegal alien’s country of origin should be responsible for the cost if the individual alien cannot pay (before being deported). Well, the hospital in the video, above, tried to recover their costs from the individual’s country to no avail. I guess they just said “no”! So the hospital had to “eat” the money. It tasted real bad!!

I like to think of how we handle similar situations in a civilized society. Let’s take lawyers for example. When you need a lawyer, you must deposit a retainer into their account. This gives them complete freedom to extract funds, as they feel justified to cover their services. How about this one . . . When you lease an apartment or house, you usually need to give a security deposit to the landlord. Should there be any damage at the end of the lease, the landlord, having full control of the funds, just takes money from the deposited sum to cover the cost. So the payment for services or costly damage is in control of the giver and not the taker. Being in possession of the funds avoids forceful methods and is protection against irresponsibility or inability.

Now for the Fix . . . Let’s get back to the hospital’s situation. If the illegal alien’s country of origin is known, the State Department should simply deduct the hospital and deportation costs from the annual foreign aid sent to that country. The hospital would be reimbursed, helping to keep costs down for US consumers.

Someone please tell me what is wrong with doing this!

Independence Day

I was impressed with the 2009 Independence Day celebrations in Washington D.C. and Boston.  It's very inspiring and gave me pause to think about our country, its basis, its founders, and the freedom that we are blessed with.  Wouldn't it be fascinating to hear what Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and Washington might say about America today?  Anyway, here are my thoughts . . . first, the fundamentals.  I can't say it better than those in 18th century Philadelphia, so a little plagiarism (in blue) must follow . . .

The Declaration of Independence - No human concept for governing is a precursor to this: " . . . We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . . "  This Declaration proclaims our "natural entitlement" to individual freedom.  It justifies change . . . even revolution with:  " . . . That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness . . ."  This is one of the most important documents every written.

The Constitution of the United States of America - From the Declaration, the Constitution emanates with:  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” It then instructs us how government can facilitate and sustain freedom for the people and provides the structure to achieve it.  This is the law of the land.

The Bill of Rights - Many of our rights, are detailed in ten amendments that form "The Bill of Rights".   This leaves no doubt what is meant by "unalienable rights" mentioned in the Declaration as: Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of The Press, Right of Peaceful Assembly, Right to Appeal to the Government, Right to Bear & keep Arms, Right to Speedy Public Jury Trial, Right to Confront Witnesses at Trial, Right to Representation by Counsel, No Soldier Quarters w/o Permission, No Searches & Seizures w/o Probably Cause, No Answering for a Serious Crime w/o Indictment, No Double Jeopardy, No Self Incrimination, No Depravity of Life & Liberty w/o Due Process of Law, No Depravity of Property w/o Compensation, No Excessive Bail & Fines, and No Cruel & Unusual Punishment.

Equal Opportunity, but No Guarantees - A democratic republic was invented for the people who are all "created equal".  Accordingly, the government provides equal opportunity for all of its citizens to seek their fortune and flourish.  The problem is that even though all are created equal, all do not turn out that way throughout life.  Some are proficient, some are not for any number of reasons.   Some can't, some won't (or refuse), some don't take responsibility for their particular status or situation in life.  Remember, one's unalienable rights amount to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Here, the key word is "pursuit"!  We are not guaranteed happiness by nature, but have the right to pursue it without government getting in the way.  Whether it's attainable is up to the individual and the circumstances.

The Question - Much of individual happiness is connected to taking personal responsibility.   So what does government and the society do with those that can not, will not, or do not fend for themselves, or feed themselves, or find a decent living, or care for their family, or educate themselves, or allow rehabilitation, or arrange for medical care, and so on?

Government's Role - This is where a society must step up and provide the necessary programs for those citizens who are willing, but for some reason cannot take advantage of the American environment to independently "seek their fortune and flourish".  This means that the government must somehow assist these people so that their "unalienable rights" . . . their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is not denied.  So if a citizen takes responsibility for his or her life, this "natural entitlement" must be assured by the government.  But those that refuse to take responsibility for their lives and pursuit of happiness must be dealt with in a way that minimizes the financial burden on the rest of the citizens. 

Capitalism Yes, Socialism No - In addition to logical common needs, like communication,  national security, international relations, and commerce, etc., the needs of responsible citizens must be supported by all of society (the tax payers) as well.  This assistance is simply mandatory and it validates the fundamental premise stated in the Declaration .  So, government, of the people, by the people and for the people, must enable free enterprise as well as provide for all those in the population qualified to receive a variety of governmental assistance.  And there you have it . . .  a mix of Capitalism but with certain very limited social programs.   Note that off-shore style socialism, and "sharing the wealth" as Obama put it, is a proven failure, a destroyer of individual incentive, a destroyer of capitalism, and is out of the question!

Public Servant Integrity - We must also consider some things that the founding fathers did not specifically address in the above statements.  Elected politicians, appointed judges, and career government employees who are supposed to be managing the republic in accordance with the Constitution must be accountable for their honesty, veracity, integrity, ethical behavior, competence, and adequate representation of their constituents.  The Constitution allows the legislature to impeach and try a public official, but this happens very infrequently.   Elections by the voting public can choose to replace or retain an incumbent politician to properly represent their interests in Congress.  This happens every two years for the House of Representatives, and every 6 years for the Senate.  The time in between these events leaves a lot of "running room" for the undesirable public official.   So we, the people, should have new mechanisms established to exercise more control over our representatives, our public servants.  For example, the current fiscal irresponsibility by the Obama Administration and the Congress must be curtailed, but we are powerless to do much about it while the House and Senate just keep rolling along.  Note that there is significant unrest and resistance in the country from grass roots groups who are having independent meetings ("tax day tea parties") and rallies across the nation.  But they have little mid-term influence over the antics in Washington D.C..  All they can do is to inform the voters in preparation for the next election.

Conclusion - We are blessed with American ideals and form of government.  Each of us has inherent rights as human beings, but responsibilities too.   They are not bestowed by our government, but by nature.  Government is responsible to ensure these rights for citizens, to provide for the common good, and manage the republic according to the Constitution.    As great as the American democracy is, a new republic structure is needed to better represent the will of the people and provide more public control over our representatives in government.  Government assistance programs must be designed only for responsible citizens needing help.  Those citizens unwilling to take personal responsibility for their lives need special consideration by the government.  Just how this would be determined and administered needs careful thought.

Sarah Palin: The Democrats' Worst Nightmare

Sarah Palin will step down as governor of Alaska the end of this month.  This might represent a brilliant maneuver on her part and was totally unexpected by the media and everyone else.  To her credit, she will leave a competent lieutenant governor in charge, ensure that the citizens of Alaska will not pay for a “part-time governor” heavily involved with national politics, and will allow increased attention to her family, at least for a while.

For maximum effect, this announcement was strategically timed for the eve of Independence Day.  It sends a shot across the “democrat, liberal bow”.  It is the Democrats’ worst nightmare that she should begin to focus on the national and international scene, and gain long term traction with the American voting public.  The DNC’s nasty response proves that.  It demonstrates their fear that she has the potential to lead conservative Americans, including all the current grass roots groups in overturning President Obama and his “lemming” Congressional caucus.  Her leadership represents the hope of patriotic Americans that we can regain our country from the current socialistic scourge.


Propositions for the U.S. Congress

It would be interesting to get an up or down vote by the public on the following propositions:

A. All proposed Senate and House Appropriations (Bills) must incorporate a short, clear, Summary aimed at communicating the, Bill Objectives and Cost Estimates in language understandable to the voting public as well as the legislators.

B. Senators and House Representatives must Certify (in writing or electronically) they have Read and Understood a proposed Appropriation Prior to Voting.

C. All requests for funds in any Bill must answer the Objectives in the Summary. So called “Earmarks”, “Pork”, and requests for funds unrelated to the Objectives are specifically prohibited.

D. The number of consecutive terms U.S. Senators may serve is limited to Two (2), 6-year Terms. U.S. Representatives are limited to Three (3) consecutive 2-year Terms.

E. U.S. Senators and Representatives must take a Public Service Oath as a requirement prior to taking office. He or she must state; their purpose is Not for Career Advancement, they Reject “quid pro quo”, they divulge All Pre-conceived Agendas, and they Serve the Public, Not the Special Interests (lobbyists, etc.).

F. Establish an Independent Agency to oversee Congress and publicly Appraise the Performance of each U.S. Senator and Representative. This would be on-going, similar to The Agency would Set and Administer Pay, and recommend disciplinary action if and when needed.


Progressivism versus Conservatism

TR through FDR wanted Progressive government and felt the traditional Philadelphia ideas were out of date. The New Bill of Rights suggested in FDR's 1944 State of the Union Address has now been championed by President Obama who claims he wants positive, not negative rights.

The post Civil War Progressive & Liberal idea is Collective Freedom. Government grants rights (entitlements & "civil liberties") to the society in order that the people be free from the limits imposed by nature and necessity. The aim is the "Equality of Results".

The American Founder & Conservative idea is Individual Freedom. God and nature have granted unalienable rights (life, liberty, property, pursuit of happiness, etc.) so that the people are free from excessive, oppressive government, enabling the individual to pursue happiness. The aim is the "Equality of Opportunity".

To keep our individual freedom, we need to turn things around in 2010 and 2012.

"It's the Excess Spending Stupid"

Obama seems to be emulating the New Deal, but many think it will extend our economic problems and lead to socialism. A UCLA study concluded that recovery from the depression would have been very rapid had FDR's government not intervened. An opinion piece by Dick Morris warns of impending socialism. Candidate Obama's mantra was "change you can believe in", but he skillfully withheld the details to ensure his election.

The most important issue now is the current Federal expenditure level. The liberals are "salivating", and Obama and the Democrat Congress are taking advantage of a duped public. They are racing to get their socialist ("control freak") agenda passed before it's "too late" . . . defined as, when the public wakes up, and when Obama looses control of the Congress. Pelosi is just one of several flagrant offenders and she deserves every bit of criticism by me and others.

Ideological spending will lead to unlimited taxes. During the Clinton campaign someone said, . . . "it's the economy stupid". Well, this time . . . "it's excess spending stupid". The point is there are no foreseeable circumstances short of global war where the current Federal fiscal irresponsibility is justified! Our freedom, our money, our civilization, and our children's future is being stolen.

Pelosi Must Go!

Speaker Pelosi’s news conference performance this morning proves that she should not be in a position of leadership. She is a national embarrassment. She was nervous, defensive, repetitive, needed a written statement, didn’t speak from the heart, and in a "partisan rut" by always referring to the Bush Administration. She claims that the CIA lied to her on the water boarding issue, but it’s pretty clear that she is the one not being truthful to the American public. She talks about wanting a "Truth Commission" . . . what a hypocrite! Nancy Pelosi is a “national joke”, clearly incompetent, and I hope the Democratic caucus removes her from the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives.

How can we get rid of this dangerous person???

The "New Bill of Rights"

FDR’s New Bill of Rights Articulated in his 1944 State of the Union Address

  • A Job - "The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • Minimum Wage - "The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • Regulated Price - "The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • Monopoly Control - "The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • A Home - "The right of every family to a decent home;
  • Health Care - "The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • Social Security - "The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • Education - "The right to a good education."

Barack Obama Wants a New Progressive, Liberal Bill of Rights

The need for a "Second Bill of Rights" has been championed by Obama ally and advisor, Cass Sunstein, Law Professor at the University of Chicago, in a book entitled "The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need it More than Ever." Obama surrogate Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D) Ohio recently demanded the implementation of a "Second Bill of Rights" at an Obama campaign rally.

The revival of the concept of a "Second Bill of Rights" puts a new face on Barack Obama's seven-year-old musings about the Constitution. The Constitution suggests that human beings have rights granted to them by God (or nature if one prefers) that governments cannot take away. The government cannot take away ones right to speak or own fire arms, jail someone without just cause, take property without just compensation, and so on. These are "negative rights" according to Barack Obama.

But the "Second Bill of Rights" are "positive rights," things that the government must give one. Jobs, education, health care, housing, and so on are not things that people have the right to acquire by their own effort. Government must give people these things. There are two problems with Barack Obama and "The Second Bill of Rights":

First, jobs, education, health care, housing, and so on cost money. Governments, by their nature, cannot create wealth necessary to provide such things. To get the money necessary, governments must take it away from other people which it deems to have too much of it. In other words, redistribution or "spreading" the wealth.  And no one has the right to keep their wealth if the government wants to use it for its own purpose.

Second, as Tom Palmer, who reviewed Professor Sunstein's book suggested, the very idea of a "Second Bill of Rights" means that there are no God-given or natural rights, but simply rights that the government grants or takes away according to its own convenience and whim.

Thus the implementation of a "Second Bill of Rights" implies a complete reversal of the founding philosophy of the United States, that government should be limited and have only those powers that the people are willing to grant it. Instead, government and not the people is all powerful and people only have the rights that government wills to grant them. That is the future that we face should Barack Obama become President with huge majorities in the House and Senate.

So what we have is this:

The Post Civil War Progressive & Liberal Idea is Collective Freedom

Government grants rights (entitlements & “civil liberties”) to the society in order that the people be free from the limits Imposed by nature and necessity.  The Liberal aim is the “Equality of Results”.

The American Founder & Conservative Idea is Individual Freedom

God and nature have granted unalienable rights (life, liberty, property, pursuit of happiness, etc.) demanding that the people be free from government confiscation of these rights, thus enabling  the Individual to pursue happiness.  The Conservative aim is the “Equality of Opportunity”.

A Congressional Manifesto

Here are some of my thoughts regarding the state of the country and conceptual planning to take our country back.  The Declaration and Bill of Rights are the basis for most of my thinking, but we must gain control of Congress and then the White House.  Click here for a more condensed versionSo here I go!

" . . . We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . . "

The free society described in these most important 55 words above is what Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress invented for us in the 1776 Declaration of Independence.  Benjamin Franklin warned, it’s  . . . “a Republic if you can keep it”!   But I fear we are in the process of loosing it.

Some other things must be added to the “mix” for a satisfactory government of the people.  They are the human virtues that include honesty, integrity, veracity, and selflessness.  What we need are virtuous leaders, legislators and judges who are patriotic public servants.

And then one more thing is required . . . and that is a governmental process that not only assures powers are derived from the consent of the governed, but moreover, sufficiently controlled by the governed. This is what is lacking currently and must be corrected.

What we presently have in Congress and the Administration is petty party bickering, lying, twisting the truth, grandstanding for photo shoots and TV, public servant arrogance, officials lecturing constituents, condescending attitudes, obedience to Congressional leadership, criminal fiscal abuse, opaque legislative processes, Congressional bribing (quid pro quo), incompetence, obsessive party loyalty, blind compliance with Executive branch leaders,  I believe all this is characterized with one word . . . “Politics”!  But this is not what the Founders of the country specified or set forth in the 55 words above.

Near term we must rid ourselves of the scourge currently in Washington DC using existing governmental processes.  It means that all thinking Republicans, Independents, Conservatives and grass roots patriots need to support new candidates for office on the Republican Ticket for the mid-term 2010 Federal elections.  Then in 2012 our objective should be to purge incumbent representatives and replace President Obama and his distructive Administration with a President and program that will reverse the fiscal and ideological insanity that is currently being imposed upon us.

But let us also plan for the long term.  We need new rules, guidelines and processes for public officials to follow.   More specifically, I would like United States Senators and Representatives to be subject to the following guidelines and ideas so that the business of the people can be accomplished with due diligence.  Let’s change the way Congress works and demand the following:

  1. Voting on legislation is not permitted without public certification, either written or electronic, that the Senator or Representative has read and understood the bill.  Then, the bill must be decided on its merits, the desires of the constituents, and the Senator’s or Representative’s honest evaluation . . . no "horse trading" . . . no "quid pro quo"!
  1. Each bill must be prepared with singular objectives and considered by each Senator or Representative only on its merits.  Earmarks, riders, or unrelated appropriations are forbidden.  The results of implementation must answer the objectives.  This will eliminate the need for a line item veto.  Of course legislators can try to persuade each other to be for or against a bill, but on the merits only.  There will be no “quid pro quo” deals resulting in modifications to a bill.
  1. All Senators and Representatives must publicize a log of their meetings with special interest groups and professional lobbyists for their constituents.  A website will be used for this purpose.  Posting is required no later than 24 hrs after any of these meetings. 
  1. Congressional consecutive Term Limits shall be two 6-year terms for Senators, and six 2-year terms for Representatives, or 12 years maximum in Congress.  After 6 years out of office, a previous Senator or Representative may run again.  Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.  The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators that serve their term and go home and back to work.
  1. All legislation must be written in clear English and organized and formatted in a logical way that includes an objective, expected results, and financial information supported with credible estimates including all assumptions.  It must include clear definitions of terms and also be legally interpretable.  It must be written so that legislators, and the voting public can readily understand and evaluate it.  Elements of the bill must “stand alone” and not depend on confusing references to other pages or documents.
  1. Senators and Representatives must take an explicit public service oath promising to abide by, protect and defend the concepts and laws and ideas contained in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  They must attest that their purpose in holding Federal public office is to serve the people of their state, and of the nation.  The oath must divulge all pre-conceived agendas and specifically refute “quid pro quo”.
  1. A new agency for each state government will be established to evaluate their Federal Senators’ and Representatives’ performance on the job in between elections.  Assessments will be publicized by this agency which is independent of executive, judicial and legislative branches of Federal and State government.  It will have the responsibility of communicating results of their deliberations to the people, probably via a website.  It will also set and administer pay for Senators and Representatives.  It will have the power to recall, fire, and discipline legislators who are not representing their constituents or not behaving in a consistent manor with their election campaign promises.  “Any drastic action of this sort will require ratification by the state’s voting public.  A Congressman collects a salary while in office but should receive no pay when they are out of office.
  1. Political parties form ideological platforms for use in Federal elections to the Congress.  However once in the Senate and the House of Representatives, those elected must maintain their allegiance to the will of constituents in their home state who voted them into office.  Obedience to party dogma and to congressional party leaders is strictly forbidden and can lead to recall by the state performance evaluation agency.
  1. All Congressional committee hearings and Republican or Democrat caucus meetings must be publicly televised.  Secret meetings are forbidden unless they contain sensitive National Security information or legal information that might prejudice a pending legal action.
  1. Congressional travel must have tight guidelines regarding expensive worldwide trips or that involve special charter aircraft for domestic travel.  All trips and travelers must be approved by Congressional leadership in advance with an estimate of the expected cost.  All expense reports will be posted on a website for state constituents to review.
  1. Campaigns for national office should be financed by the voting public and not labor unions, not religious organizations, not corporations . . . not any organizations . . . and not from the candidate's own private funds.  Voters are the decision makers when it comes to an election.  Some equitable arrangement should be designed to vet the candidates, and then provide Federal funds to each legitimate candidate so that they are all on a level playing field.

And continuing what Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress warned in the Declaration of Independence about large government . . .

" . . . That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness . . ."

Our nation is on a fast track toward this:

Government grants rights (entitlements & “civil liberties”) to the society in order that the people be free from the limits Imposed by nature and necessity.  The Liberal and Progressive aim is theEquality of Results”.

So there you have it.  We must correct what has happened to our Federal government and regain our patriotic senses before the country is completely ruined by the current “Progressive” Administration and the “Lemming”  Congress.  Let’s demand that Congress adopt the 11 rules presented above toward this end.  Then, we must press toward this:

God and nature have granted unalienable rights (life, liberty, property, pursuit of happiness, etc.) demanding that the people be free from government confiscation of these rights, thus enabling  the Individual to pursue happiness.  The Conservative aim is theEquality of Opportunity”.

Well, that's it!  If any thing looks interesting or you have comments or questions, I'd like to hear from you. 

Fred Arbogast . . . Angels Camp . . . February 1, 2010