Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Fellow Americans...

We live in a land of laws, guided by a Constitution that defines the power of government making and enforcing these laws, and assume that we, as citizens, will abide by the laws of the land. This is occasionally much more difficult  than it would seem to be.  

We will always need to be wary of those who believe that they know what's best and that we should follow their lead without question. 

I operate on two simple principles: Question everything, and the Golden Rule (Do for others as you would have them do for you; Lead by example).

Why Control Guns?

Because People are competitive; always have been, always will be!

Some people take competition to extremes; again: always have, always will!

Fighting, from one on one to military against military, is and always has been a decision maker.  Wars between clans, tribes or nations have determined who will lead.  One day, August 6th 1945, war became harder to justify, because the weapons became too powerful.  World War II ended abruptly when the world was first exposed to the awesome destructive power of atomic weapons; unfortunately it took two bombs to convince the receiving side that that war was done.

World War III was never fought!  It was not because humanity and their nations had become less competitive.  It was MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) that prevented the Cold War from becoming open warfare.

Small wars are still fought between groups of people determined to resist non-violent solutions to problems, but the threat of nuclear extermination limits the size and scope of these conflicts.

What has this got to do with anything?

Personal conflict has also become capable of extreme violence!  Weapons designed for wars have made it to the consumer market, and given out bursts of anger, grief, passion, narcissism, megalomania, etc… new power to destroy and kill.  Guns kill over 30,000 people every year (>1,000 accidents, >20,000 suicides, >10,000 murders) in the USA alone; actually we lead the rest of the countries of the world, not involved in a declared war, combined! 

More than 100,000 people are injured or killed by gun fire each year here in the USA alone.

The first sentence in the second paragraph of the United States of America’s Declaration of Independence:

 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.”

Citizens of the USA can own guns because of the concept, “pursuit of Happiness,” but are not allowed to terminate another person’s right to, “Life.”  

Some will say that the second amendment to the US Constitution (part of the Bill of Rights) gives a person access to unrestricted ownership and use of guns. 

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

There is no reference to an individual’s right anywhere in that sentence and that is the entire amendment.

The legal precedent, with only two very recent exceptions, in the entire history of our country has supported the definition of militia as part of the nation’s military.

Modern guns and ammunition have given personal disagreement the power of death and destruction that civilians were not meant to have, and the military’s use thereof is also tightly restricted.  It is time to take access to guns and ammo designed for the extreme circumstances of war off the streets of America!

Some will say, “If guns are illegal then only criminals will have guns!”  Clean, intentional, miss!  All guns should be regulated because they are tools designed to kill things, but not all guns and/or ammo will be illegal to own.

Some, often the same folks as in the previous paragraph, will say,”If regular citizens are allowed to carry their guns in public that that will control, possibly eliminate, gun violence.”  

Question: How does crossfire in a fire fight (shoot out) quell gun violence?

Answer: It not only does nothing to reduce gun violence, it adds to the death and destruction because a shot can become a gun battle.
It is well past time to regulate (truly attempt to mitigate) the havoc, injury and death that guns can wreak.

Consider This:

You’re at an event with some other people, and across the room a disagreement is starting.  A very large person is getting visibly angry and:

            Is getting louder and louder; are you getting concerned?
            Has balled fists; are you getting concerned?
            Has picked up a chair; are you concerned?
            Has pulled a knife; are you concerned?
            Has pulled a gun; are you concerned?

Why?  Why not?

In the USA only cars are as numerous as guns, and injure or kill more US citizens every year.

There are 100s of millions of cars in the USA, the vast majority of which are driven every day.

There are 100s of millions of guns in the USA, only a small minority of which are fired every day.

Some say, “I only use my gun for target shooting.”  Target practice is for improving your ability to hit what you are shooting.

Some say, “I only use my guns to hunt.”  That’s fine if you eat the animals you kill.

Gun rights advocates state that, “guns don’t kill, people do.”  Half correct.  A person with a gun can cause far more death and destruction, far faster than a person without a gun.  If you’re unclear on this concept, refer back to the start of this post.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights, Amendment Two, reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The amendment relates back to The US Constitution, Article 2, Section 2/1:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States…

The History of the US Army: the Early Years (copied from Wikipedia):
The Continental Army was created on 14 June 1775 by the Continental Congress as a unified army for the states to fight Great Britain, with George Washington appointed as its commander.

After the war, though, the Continental Army was quickly disbanded as part of the American distrust of standing armies, and irregular state militias became the new nation's sole ground army, with the exception of a regiment to guard the Western Frontier and one battery of artillery guarding West Point's arsenal.

However, because of continuing conflict with Native Americans, it was soon realized that it was necessary to field a trained standing army. The first of these, the Legion of the United States, was established in 1791 and disbanded in 1796.

For more information about the history of the US Army, please refer to the Wikipedia article found by searching the site for: US Army.

Until recently (excepting only two decisions by Chief Justice Robert’s Supreme Court) legal precedent has always considered, “Militia,” to mean part of the US military.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Republican Party has been Purchased by the Plutocracy!

Some of the 2% has purchased what had been a respectable Republican Party enroute to a plutocracy, sycophants serving plutocrats.  Wealthy folks are using inherited wealth in pursuit of more and more and more; think of the seagulls in the movie: Finding Nemo.

 Plutocracy’s greatest enemy is a large, informed middle class.  


Eliminate useful information via fact free environments like: Fox Ooze (a.k.a., Fox News, Bull Sh*t Mountain), the Heritage Foundation, the US Chamber of Commerce, etc…

The middle class is being assaulted by union busting and by jobs being sent out of country via bad, “free,” trade agreements like NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).  These bad trade agreements have allowed least cost management to export both jobs and pre-tax income beyond US borders.

Folks finally understand the extraordinary problems being created in service to this attempt at plutocracy.  Hopefully, more moderate conservatives will rise up and retake control of the Republican Party and bring it back to the rational perspective of fiscal responsibility that it had once represented; the party I had belonged to until 1980.   

Government is Soooo Bad…

Republicans keep saying, “business is good, government is bad.”

The financial services industry (Wall Street, The Market, etc…) used mortgages and mortgage based ‘investment instruments’ to crater the US economy in 1986 and 2007; both times bailed out using 100s of billions of taxpayer’s dollars!

These bail-outs are socialized failure for the very same financial services casinos on Wall Street that had pocketed enormous sums of other people’s money pretending to create more and bigger short term wealth from the 15 or 30 year investments that are home mortgages.

Mortgages are most often 30 year investments for average consumers buying a home.  Mortgage payments are structured in a manner that requires federal, and some state, government subsidies (income tax deductions) to be acceptable to consumers.

Isn’t it interesting that a political party, so vocal about the success of private businesses, insist that huge quantities of public funds from the big, bad government be funneled directly to rescuing those same businesses when they are found caught in traps of their own making.   

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Fiscal 'Bump' Debate

The current debate about the economy, the fiscal bump, at the US Congress is at a standstill because the Republicans want cuts in two major federal programs, but they want the Democrats to specify what will be cut.


Because the current iteration of the Republican party is a congregation of angry, old, white people and the programs they want to cut are extremely popular with these constituents; the programs: Medicare and Social Security.

The Republicans will not outline cuts because they want to be able to turn to their base and say, “the Democrats did it!”

It is tremendously dishonest Republican maneuvering because the majority of their base (especially the old, white people), and the vast majority of Democratic supporters, don’t want cuts to either Medicare or Social Security at all.

This post is asking the President and Democrats, in the US Congress, to stand firm; raise revenues, end the second war (paid for with debt) and make cuts to the military budget where the Defense Department has suggested.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Reasons to Vote for Me...

There are many reasons that voters from TX 31st US House district should vote for me. First, I've signed no pledges that will hamper my ability to work on the best solution to any given problem. I'm not indebted to any large donors, PACs or Super PACs. I am free to represent the voters in Bell and Williamson counties that comprise this district.

If elected there will be attempts made to improve on health care. The copy of Romney care, from MA, now called the Affordable Health-care Act (AHA), a.k.a. Obama care, is a step in the correct direction. The Individual mandate, from the conservative Heritage Foundation, will be merged into the intended end product: Medicare for all, a.k.a.: Single Payer Health care (SPH). SPH will return family planning to a discussion between a family and their doctor. SPH will also cover our military veterans, and their families, who are finding VA hospitals to be overwhelmed by the effects of America's two, most recent wars: Iraq and Afghanistan.

The DREAM Act, proposed by Republicans around ten tears ago, will finally become law. The action of parents, who brought their young children with them when they came to the USA illegally, should not be held against young people who have known only life in these United States.

Laws that emerged in the aftermath of the Great Depression, including Glass-Steagall (taken off the books between 1980 and 1999), will return to law. The restoration of these laws will help insure that the Recession of 1986 and the Great Recession of 2007, caused by mortgage-based meddling in the entire financial services sector of our economy, will not be able to recur.

Mortgages, the only secured loans that are not, will become a concern of the bankruptcy court system. This will allow issues similar to the problems associated with sub-prime and adjusted rate mortgages to be recognized before the situation might get out of control again.

We must refocus on planning, installing, operating, maintaining and replacing common carrier infrastructure: roads, bridges, water, sewer, electric and telecommunications facilities. These things will return to the prominent stature they held over thirty years ago.

The funding of public education, pre-K through post graduate, will also return to the level of importance it too had attained more than thirty years ago.

I believe this will be the basis of what is needed to best serve the voters of this district and restore the government of these United States of America to its proper role: investing in the basic needs that have allowed this country to rise to become the world's largest economy and the only Super-power.

This will push the US Congress to rise above its current 10% approval rating.

This will give, “Hope and Change,” a Chance ...and a Push!

Register and Vote.

Congress Does Nothing, Again!

The AEA (American Energy Alliance - of oil interests) complains that the wind-based energy generation companies should be able to succeed without a billion dollars in annual tax credits; Production Tax Credits (PTC).  The AEA represents century old, incredibly profitable oil companies that have billions of dollars in quarterly (every three months) profits and multiple billions of dollars in annual tax credits themselves.

The US Congress responded in typical fashion, by doing nothing, and have, in doing nothing, implied that they will allow the wind-based energy credits to expire on December 31st of this year; the oil industry's subsidies survive untouched.

This is the same congress that has not allowed a much needed second stimulus bill to be passed and sent to the President.  This congress recently failed to pass a smaller stimulus bill that would have helped our military veterans get jobs after completing their service to our country.  Veteran's job experience is poorly understood by non-military employers and is causing them to have a larger than average, post-service, unemployment problem.

The European countries that share a common currency (the Euro Zone and the Euro respectively) have adopted a strategy of austerity that is causing all their economies to drop into the second dip of a double-dip recession.  The US Congress is, by inaction and otherwise, also causing the USA to pursue a similar course of austerity.  The Republicans in the congress have expressed, and followed through, on a strategy of doing whatever it takes, including refusing to actually do anything, to deny the current president a second term.  If it means the US economy will follow the Euro Zone into the second dip of a double-dip economic recession our congress simply shrugs!

Register and vote to replace a congress, so callous to their own constituents that they put no damage to our country above their own megalomania.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Continuing Saga of Very Basic Economics...

Capitalism's roots extend back to a Scottish economist and enlightenment philosopher named Adam Smith. Smith's hypothesis on economics, the economics of his time were driven by the mechanisms of imperial and mercantile systems, emphasized the underlying motivation of self-interest driven business markets. The theory was specified in the classic tome: Wealth of Nations; first published in the mid eighteenth century and revised, by Smith, in multiple follow-up editions.

As an enlightened thinker Mr. Smith waxed philosophically about the potential for use and abuse of self-interest driven markets by various characteristics of human nature; outlined extensively in the companion tome: The Theory of Moral Sentiments; also published in the mid eighteenth century and followed by Smith's multiple revised editions.

The potential benefits and reservations about self-interest driven economics are, simply put: enlightened and unenlightened, respectively, self-interest. This post will deal with three aspects of unenlightened self-interest: deregulation, monopolies and private equity.


In a deregulated market the potential to manipulate prices, via supply and demand calculations, can spur companies to take capacity off-line for increased profitability. That's why deregulation appeals to product or service vendors while delivering few, if any, oft promised benefits to the consumer (see also, Wikipedia articles on: deregulation and Enron).


A monopoly is when a single company has 70%, or more, of the market for any product or service. A monopoly position allows a company to thwart competition by driving prices lower. This tactic does not allow a perspective competitor the kind of profit necessary to ramp up their own product in a new market. As soon as the competitor is believed on the edge of failing out of said market prices will return to, or rise above, previous levels. Monopolies are not pursued for the customer's benefit, without regard for any promise to the contrary (see also, Wikipedia articles on: monopoly and Microsoft).

Private Equity

Private equity (PE) exists to make money for its executives and their investors, in that order. You can, and private equity does, make money finding companies that are going to be most profitable as scrapped and salvaged entities. If you're on the receiving end of this trade, employed by or purchasing after, the process may seem more like plunder and pillage.

It is important to remember that there is nothing about job creation in the definition of PE. While scrap and salvage is often the fastest way for PE to make money, it is not the only way. Employees of a PE owned business will continue to have a job only if their function can not be outsourced to a least-cost (read: low wage with a flexible regulatory environment) country; often mainland, communist, China.

Anybody who buys a company from PE needs to be aware that the company will be stripped down and all the short term profit will have been taken out pre – PE – voiusly (see also, Wikipedia articles on: Private equity firm, Bain Capital and Albert J. Dunlap).

None of the three forms of unenlightened capitalism are intentionally vicious to any party, nor are they illegal, but they do add significant emphasis to the old adage, “Caveat emptor (buyer beware).”

Monday, August 27, 2012

What of Medicare and Social Security?

What becomes of Medicare?

My plan for health care is Medicare for all (a.k.a., Single Payer Health Care) because it eliminates the for profit insurance companies from the health care loop. This is important because the primary concern of a profitable insurance company is growing profitability, not caring for the customers. Medicare has been very efficient at providing for services to seniors, because service is its primary reason to exist. I will propose extending that kind of service to everybody.

Keeping Medicare a program for seniors only, and privatizing it, is bad policy because seniors are prone to becoming increasingly expensive customers; not the people a profitable company can afford to serve. My wife and I both have, “pre-existing conditions,” so we peg the expense meter on insurance companies' actuarial charts. We are far from alone.  Many folks (young, old and in between) have one condition or another making them all expensive to insure, so privatizing (giving Medicare to for profit insurance companies) does not register as a good idea with my campaign.

What about Social Security?

Social security will come under tremendous fiscal pressure as my generation (74 million Baby Boomers) retire. That was actually anticipated in the Reagan administration; payroll tax rates were increased and more money than needed was collected. The excess money was not put into a safe place and was instead borrowed by the legislature, special treasury notes (the Congressional Budget Office refers to them as, "permission to spend money") were issued.

Some have said that the solution is to privatize (give to for profit companies) the entire Social Security program; how much of the, "permission to spend," would be paid out is never mentioned. Private companies would supposedly invest the money in the market and pay out from the returns on said investments. Individual savings and 401k monies are already invested in said markets, and o'er the last 30 years have grown and shrunk in a recurring series of economic cycles that cause a roller coaster to pale by comparison. I don't think putting Social Security funds on that same private ride is anything but a really bad idea.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Partial History of the First Term...

The constant theme of the Republicans running for government office is that the economy is bad, and that President Obama has done nothing to improve the situation.

Well, let’s review a bit of history (courtesy of Politico):

Here’s John Boehner, the likely speaker if Republicans take the House, offering his plans for Obama’s agenda: “We're going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell summed up his plan to National Journal: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Remember, that our federal government's power is divided into three separate branches (executive, legislative and judicial), so that no one of them can do much on its own.

The Republican policy is known as self-fulfilling prophecy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

No Keystone XL!

Port Arthur has a Free Trade Zone (exporting is simplified); pipe segments are fabricated in India (job creation; not here!); eminent domain is being used as a threat against land owners along the pipeline's path (a tool for public efforts being employed for a private, for profit, project); an enormous amount of energy is being used to: strip boreal forests (removing hundreds of square miles of nature’s best carbon sequestering processors), strip mine the bitumen (it is a solid, diluted, difficult to handle with minimal oil content product), prepare the product (solid to almost-liquid consistency) to be able to travel via a pipe; 14 leaks in the original Keystone pipeline, an abomination across the 'Saudi Arabia of Wind.'

The Keystone XL pipeline is something well worth the effort required to stop it!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This Infrastructure Crisis, Mr. Utt

An opinion published in the ViewPoint section of the Austin American-Statesman, on Friday the 16th of December 2011, was titled, “What Infrastructure Crisis?” by Ronald D. Utt of the Heritage Foundation (also found on the Heritage Foundation's website: ). I'd like to offer multiple corrections to the article. You can find and read the original article in either the newspaper's or the Heritage Foundation's archives.

First, Mr. Utt, an economist, disses the civil engineering (CE) professionals' perspective of a badly worn, worn-out, common carrier infrastructure across the entire United States. The CE perspective is shared by mechanical engineers (ME), electrical engineers (EE) and materials scientists (MS), plus the many folks who drive on the roads and bridges of the USA. Those who survived, and the next of kin of those who did not survive, the collapse of a bridge on Interstate Highway (IH) 35 (in Minneapolis, MN.) are especially aware.

It apparently hasn't occurred to Mr. Utt that decades of use, combined with exposure to the weather, wears out things like roads and bridges.

Next, is the attempt to deny that an infrastructure bank, to fund road and bridge (plus: water, sewage and electric power distribution infrastructure) maintenance and replacement, would employ a large number of people. It seems as if Mr. Utt has never observed work being done along the roads he commutes every day.

Next, he lists what he understands to be common carrier infrastructure, mistakenly including: residential housing, manufacturing facilities, office buildings, hotels, shopping centers, cars, trucks and buses.

Continuing to misinform, he compares our government's managed infrastructure with that of the former Soviet Union. Our crisis was created by the failed, Republican policy of 'supply side economics' (aka, trickle down economics) that under budgeted for operation, maintenance and replacement of infrastructure, preferring to market the idea that we should sell these facilities to private, for profit, industry; not the result of the actions of an authoritarian oligarchy billing itself as a dictatorship of the proletariat.

Common carrier infrastructure is a function of government because, when done correctly, it is quite expensive and must serve everybody; even where population density is so sparse that a profitable return on investment isn't possible. Mr. Utt declares that privately accomplished facilities would thrive, except that (once again) his examples are multiple things that are not infrastructure.

In Texas there is an example of a privately built toll road (the Camino Columbia Toll Road) that failed in less than five years, as drivers proved that they would rather be stopped in heavy traffic than pay profitable toll rates. We have more toll roads that were not built by TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) but are being subsidized by TxDOT, because they are not bringing in the projected toll revenue; said infrastructure is not, as was promised, self-sufficient.

What had worked, for decades, for transportation infrastructure is publicly owned and operated, by municipal, state and/or federal DOT. These facilities are supported by state and federal taxes on the fuels used by the vehicles that travel on these roads. While vehicles have gotten more efficient, inflation has made provisioning more expensive and fuel taxes have stagnated (since 1991 federal and 1993 in Texas) common carrier infrastructure has been utterly underfunded by supply side benefactors in Republican administrations (President, Governor and Legislators).

There really is a very significant infrastructure problem in the United States that should already be being addressed. It would be incredibly unfortunate if more folks were to be injured or killed before proper attention is devoted to resolving this crisis.

Republicans Refuse Responsibility

The extraordinary drift of the Republican Party into the far right, deep-end of politics continues as they try in vain to blame everything on the current President. When there is success then the President shouldn’t have done it, it could have been a huge mistake; like the federal bankruptcy proceedings that saved GM and Chrysler. Then there is a thing like health (Obamacare) care’s individual mandate that is unacceptable even though it was originally a Republican idea.

The Dream Act was first proposed by Senator Orrin Hatch (R – Utah) in 2003 and it went nowhere; though there was a Republican majority in the Senate and House – till January 2007, and a Republican President in the White House – till January 2009.

The Republicans had a majority in the US Senate and House at the start of the W administration in January of 2001; inheriting a federal budget surplus from the Clinton Administration. The surplus was turned into a deficit and the debt grew from $5.7 trillion to $8.6 trillion (by January 2007) and to $10.2 trillion by the end of W’s time in office. It took till the start of the Obama administration for Republicans to notice that the deficit is a problem!

Tax breaks for really rich folks (called, “job creators,” by Republicans even as thousands of factories and service centers – millions of jobs – left the United States during the W years) are at the core of Republican strategy. However, tax breaks for job holders was apparently not very important and a two month extension barely passed before congress left for their holiday vacations.

Complex regulations are an enormous problem for businesses now, according to Republicans, during the current administration. It wasn’t enough of an issue during the W admin because it wasn’t even mentioned, let alone being addressed.

The economy grew at the fastest rate in the last 30 years – more than 20 million jobs were created – during the Clinton presidency; the R’s theory suggests that there had to have been fewer regulations (except that there weren’t).

So, there are a bunch of new (to Republicans) problems in the Obama administration and it is entirely the President’s fault. Nonsense, ideas don’t stop in the legislature because of the chief executive, legislators are charged exclusively with passing bills before they can be sent to the next level; you know, the White House.

If the voters want to have a congress that will do their job; accomplish the things that will actually get our legislators’ approval rating above 12%… They should vote for new representatives: like me (candidate for the US House of Representatives, TX district 31).

Voters should also push hard for term limits for these new public servants, so that we will not forget that we are indeed civil servants to our constituents: voters!