GUEST COLUMNS & EDITORIALS
The Proposed Changes to No-Fault Auto Insurance Policies Must Be Carefully Considered
By Maureen Rudel
I was practicing in Detroit as a defense lawyer (insurance companies hired me) when the No-Fault Act was passed. At the time, there was so much fraud for "whiplash" injuries that everyone knew something had to happen.
One of my cases involved 6 plaintiffs who claimed injuries. I took their depositions and their lawyer did not show up, told me to go ahead without him. All of them were in a house when a car sideswiped their parked car on a side street. The driver stopped to give his information and the cops were called for a report (necessary at that time). Before the cops showed up a runner from one of the ambulance chasers arrived at the scene before the cops. He told the owner to get as many people as he could and bring them to the car. They all claimed to be inside and suffered injuries in the police report. The runner then took them all to his captive chiropractor who gave them all neck braces, x-rays and injury reports. The runner then took them to the lawyer in my building who wouldn't come to the deposition, and signed them up. He gave them each $500 to buy their claims, and started suit. The depositions, under oath, were all the same. When the case came up for a settlement conference I told the Democrat judge (most of them were) about the case. Rather than turn the lawyer in to the Bar Assn, he made me call my company and they agreed to settle the case for $250, because that was the cheapest way out. The attorney took it because, even though he lost money, he kept his license and could continue his scam. When you have an offer, you must call the company or client and present the offer, even if you don't agree with it.
The insurance companies were desperate and offered the No-Fault policies we now have. They designed the package. Later, the definition of the severity of the injury required for suit was defined to eliminate most nuisance suits. This was done at the request of the companies.
The No-Fault Act was one of the first in the country. The unlimited medical was a big part of the sale, along with the lost wages and payment for someone to care for the injured party.
One of the cases I had before No-Fault was when my Flower Delivery van turned left in front of a line of 4 cars. My client was clearly at fault and so I started a case to lay my $300,000 limits on the table and let the court divide it up. One of the injured in the first car was a 10-year old who was left a quadriplegic. There were 6 other claimants. Even if the little girl got all of the money it wouldn't have paid for her initial hospitalization, let alone the rest of her life.
I know there are problems with medical payments and the cost. The insurers' losses were limited to $250,000 with the balance being paid by the catastrophic fund to which they all contributed. I understand the fund is extremely large. Insurance is largely controlled by the state insurance regulators. Any changes in statutes should tell the regulators what to do. For example, to keep the Catastrophic Fund from accumulating excess funds, the regulators should be required from, time to time, to have an actuarial assessment of the open cases to estimate the existing liabilities. That's what the companies do to have sufficient monetary reserves to cover their losses. The companies should not be allowed to "store" extra money in the fund.
The problem with the difference in medical payments between medical insurance and auto-medical payments is really caused by the federal and state payments to hospitals and doctors for Medicaid, Medicare, Unemployment, Veterans, and other federal and state liabilities. They don't begin to cover the costs of care. When the providers have a chance to try to catch up so they don't go broke, they do. Perhaps it is time to try and correct the government payments problem at the same time the legislature looks at auto insurance payments problems.
I was in the hospital recently for pneumonia. I had great care. On every shift there was at least a registered nurse, LPN, aide, if not more. There were pulmonary experts, x-ray technicians, ER doctors, etc. The cafeteria was available. We expect these things and get them. They have a cost. All of these people must be paid. Our hospital, along with many others, is going broke. St. Joseph, in Tawas, is part of the Ascension group.
People don't want to pay high insurance rates. They want someone else to pay for all the things they want. The very people who want to pay the least carry 20/40 limits on their auto policies with no vehicle coverage. If they cause an accident which is serious, their policy won't begin to pay the cost. If they, and the people they hit, are seriously injured, they want the kind of care I got. Someone has to pay.
You know if you give the 20/40 people a choice of paying for unlimited medical, they won't pay for it. They will expect it if they are hurt, and will go on disability and Medicaid so we (the taxpayers) can pay their bills.
The insurers designed this program and now they want out. Too bad.
When the legislators do look at this issue, please keep in mind that little 10-year old girl whose family was just driving someplace when her whole world was changed by my driver. The cost to take care of her is in the millions. There aren't many of her, but there are enough serious accidents where the cost for care, lost wages, and household help, along with home modification costs, far exceed the $250,000 figure to make it a real problem.
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The Danger of Cartels
By David Chandler
A Cartel is an association of similar companies that join together to corner a particular market. Illegal Drug Cartels come to mind.
In the case of Healthcare, the government and Healthcare Insurance Corporations have joined together to establish Obama Care which is being used to extort the wealth of the people under the guise of providing “Free Healthcare Services for all”. It’s the classic “Bait and Switch”!
There are two ways to be successful in business. One is to provide superior products and services at competitive prices. The other is to Lobby the government to provide you favored status in the market. Cartels pursue the latter.
As part of the process, competition is run out of business through costly regulation; effectively exchanging the free market for a government coerced bureaucracy.
The logical progression of any cartel is to incrementally withhold services, which lowers overhead while at the same time increases demand which justifies increased prices, leading to increased profit. Two examples of this model in Michigan are the Auto Insurance Industry (No Fault Insurance) and the Energy Industry (Consumer’s and DTE monopoly). Both of these industries enjoy the protection of government and are also enjoying maximum profits. The government, making it mandatory for people to pay fees artificially determined by a board consisting of the government and the industry, guarantees the profitability of the arrangement. The government also profits through the collection of fees and taxes.
Because the government coerces obedience through the threat of violence (Try not paying your property taxes and see what happens.), any plausible rational can be used to justify increasing fees. A Government supported Cartel has it’s own “Name your Price Tool”.
Ultimately, the government will turn on its “Partners” exposing their corruption in order to seize control of the market and ALL of the profits. This is why I fully expect some form of “Single Payer” system to be adopted by the government to seize absolute control of the Health Care Industry.
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VOTE NO ON PROPOSAL 3
By Maureen Rudel
Proposal 3 is another Constitutional Amendment which would add voting policies to the Constitution which are now covered by statutory law.
It would add straight-ticket voting, automatic and same-day voter registration, and no-excuse absentee voting. I would allow people top register by mail until 15 days before an election, compared to the present 30 days.
The changes are supported by a number of prominent Democrats, the ACLU, American Jewish Committee, Detroit Regional chamber, League of Women Voters, Michigan State Retirees Association, NAACP, National Council of Jewish Women, and United Auto Workers.
The major problem I see is same-day registration, and 15-day registration by mail. Minnesota has same-day registration.
The Center of the American Experiment reported on July 1, 2016, that a new voter fraud case before the Minnesota Supreme Court claimed 1,366 ineligible felons have cast at least 1,670 fraudulent votes in recent statewide elections, possibly tipping the outcome of close contests, including the 2008 U.S. Senate race.
"The case holds repercussions for the 2016 election with the plaintiffs seeking a court order to prevent state and local election officials from distributing ballots to ineligible voters by implementing new safeguards.
"The lawsuit marks the culmination of a years-long effort to challenge suspected voter fraud tied to Minnesota’s same day voting registration law. More than half a million Minnesotans register to vote on Election Day in general election years like 2016."
It is easy to see a group of out-of-state voters registering by mail 15 days before the election and requesting an absentee ballot. These could be sent to a phony address in state, completed and sent back by mail. When you vote absentee you do not have to produce a government-issued picture I.D. You sign the ballot and return it. With all of the activity prior to the election, it is likely that there would not be sufficient time to verify the registration. In larger cities and towns, the election workers are not likely to know all of the voters. No election official will see any identification.
There is no need for this Constitutional amendment. It is an invitation to fraud.
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VOTE NO ON PROPOSAL 2
By Maureen Rudel
On the November ballot is a proposal for a Constitutional Amendment to change the way voting districts are determined. The supposed reason for this change is the odd shape of some districts.
The proposal asks the voters to change from having the districts established by a law passed by the house and senate and signed by the governor. All of the founding leaders of the proposal "Voters Not Politicians" are Democrat party activists or donors.
The proposal is a solution in search of a problem. We actually have a historic system here in Michigan where our districts are based upon the Apol Standard, which was developed by a former state elections director named Bernie Apol. He was appointed a special master by the Michigan Supreme Court in the 1980 redistricting process, when the two parties couldn’t come together on a map. And he was appointed by the chief justice at the time, Charles Levin, who was actually an independent-nominated Supreme Court justice. And those standards require us to maintain the integrity of communities across the state. We break as few city, township, and county lines as possible so that we maintain communities, and so they can best represent the people who live in those communities. Under VNP, political parties and interest groups will lobby for districts to protect "communities of interest," an undefined term, which will likely encourage segregation by race, religion or religious identities.
In addition, the federal Voting Rights Act, when it was passed in 1964, required if you can build majority-minority districts—and in this case, two majority African-American districts, which Detroit has had since the advent of the Voting Rights Act—that you MUST build two African-American majority districts. And as we’ve seen in the last 30 years in this area, there has been a migration of a large number of African-Americans out of the city of Detroit and across the Metro Detroit area. And so there are 2 districts that follow that migration, making them oddly shaped, but leaving the units of government as compact as possible.
This new proposal would have the Secretary of State choose 13 part time Redistricting Commissioners to do the redistricting. They will be prohibited from being precinct delegates, legislators, campaign employees or volunteers, or family members of anyone who has participated in any of these activities in the last 6 years.. They will be chosen at random from a pool of 10,000 who basically have nothing to do with politics.
Under our present system, the districts established by the legislature and signed by the governor require the representatives chosen by the citizens, comprised of both parties be compact and reasonable. If the product signed by the governor is perceived to be unfair or illegally drawn, a court challenge can be pursued.
It seems to me to be very strange to turn the redistricting process over to 13 people who are the least likely to realize what they are doing. Now, we have 110 representatives, 38 senators and a governor doing the job with the courts acting as the check on the process.
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Why President Trump is Important to Republicans
By Maureen Rudel
To older Republicans like me who remember Ronald Reagan as our favorite President, it is surprising how much we really like Donald Trump.
When Ronald Reagan ran, the establishment Republicans at the State and National level tried everything they could to keep him from winning the nomination. The first time he ran, in 1976, Gerald Ford, was pushed forward to the relief of the party big-wigs who promptly lost to Jimmy Carter, our previously worst president. In 1980, they lost their battle and Reagan won two terms.
Like President Trump, Reagan knew how to speak to crowds, knew what he believed, and, did the best he could to get his policies adopted. He did have a Republican Senate for part of his time in office, but never had the House. Nevertheless, he turned the country around from the disaster Carter left. The Establishment never liked him, but couldn't defeat him at the polls.
With Barack Obama taking over as the worst president ever, Trump won the nomination over 16 establishment candidates. He worked hard and won the Presidency.
The "Swamp" Republican establishment doesn't like him. They don't like how he says things, how he fights them and the news media and is unashamed of his love of our country. The establishment wants to support the multinational corporations and trade deals and illegal immigration which keep their costs down and American wages in the tank. They get millions of dollars from these interests and somehow or another seem to get rich in office.
Trump doesn't need their money or support because he has the "Deplorables" behind him. Slowly but surely he is winning the battle. He's the first candidate since Reagan who doesn't try to get the main stream media to like him and knows how to fight for his priorities. While many of us are fed up with the State and Federal Establishment, we know the only fight we cannot win is the fight we do not have.
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Democrat Trump Derangement Syndrome
By Maureen Rudel
Over the 20-plus years I have been active with the Republican Party in Iosco County, I have seen a continued pattern of property destruction and theft by Democrats of campaign signs and Republican property. This does not happen to Democrats by Republicans. It is attributed by me to the total intolerance by the Left (Democrats, Communists, Socialists, Progressives, Liberals, etc.) of any opinions other than their own.
I have come to the conclusion that the Left knows if they tell the truth about their goals, no one would vote for them. For some strange reason, they think the world owes them a living. They were born and it is up to the rest of us to provide for all their needs and wants at little to no cost to them. This is why they always claim that those who have worked hard, saved their money to buy what they want and need and provide for their own retirement should pay more taxes to support those who have not worked and saved.
They believe that they are smarter, better, and know more than those stupid Conservatives who don't agree with them. Therefore, they know they should be in control to run the lives of those stupid people who don't know how to think correctly.
I have never seen it worse than with the present Trump Derangement Syndrome. Trump is everything they hate, a successful, wealthy. white guy who wants to get the government out of our lives as much as possible.
It has now come to the point that many on the Left celebrate the shooting of Republicans on a baseball field in Washington, DC. This is outrageous. If the Left wants to start a shooting battle, they should remember that most of their ilk are into banning guns, while many of the people they want to shoot are well armed and know how to use the weapons they own.
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What A Wonderful Day
By Maureen H. Rudel
On November 8, 2016, the Republicans accomplished something that has not happened since 1928 -- they won the Presidency and held the US Senate and US House of Representatives.
I know that a lot of people were surprised by the result. I was not. Since the middle of October I've been telling everyone who asked that Donald J. Trump would win. There were good reasons for my confidence. Dawn Campbell, the Vice Chair of the Iosco County Republicans, President of the Sunrise Side Republican Women and Chair of the Trump Campaign in Iosco, arranged with a number of other counties to buy Trump signs in bulk to get them at a reasonable price. At the last Republican State Convention, $4000 worth of signs were dropped off and distributed to the counties that bought them. Dawn picked 300 and was able to sell them for $2. Then came the Trump mobs -- the first in Oscoda and the second in East Tawas. People showed up even in the rain. The second one was September 27th and all of the signs were gone. We got more for the opening of the East Tawas headquarters. A good group of people showed up and before long the headquarters calendar for volunteers was filling up. The next Saturday the Oscoda headquarters opened and the signs were flying out the door up there as well.
Meanwhile, the volunteers were filling up the East Tawas calendar. After a couple of weeks, we ran out of signs again. We got our final batch. They were gone before the election. Iosco County distributed over 700 signs. We had literature on the various candidates that was disappearing as it never had. We had more visitors than we have ever had before and the headquarters was manned every day it was supposed to be open. The same story was happening in Oscoda. We owed a lot to our volunteers. We had people volunteering to do door-knocking. But the point is this -- in my 20 years of experience with campaign headquarters, I had never seen such enthusiasm.
So many people were fed up with the establishment politicians of both parties and the fact that all they cared about was collecting money from the Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street and big businesses that want open borders, cheap labor and cheap products. They don't care what their constituents want or what is good for Americans and America. Trump does and the voters knew it.
Let us hope that our state and federal representatives were listening and stop selling us out. We should not be paying taxes or supporting laws that are designed to benefit special interests and big business. Trump's victory should teach them all a lesson.
We are going to make America great again.
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Things That Need to Be Said
Dave Agema, Republican National Committeeman, Mi.
VISIT TOP GUN CONSERVATIVES
Since I was not allowed to speak at the General Session Meeting by our
Chairwoman Ronna Romney's orders, I felt it necessary to place the comments
below in writing that I was not allowed to speak to.
First, we must maintain our brand and the principles which distinguish us from the democrats. This is not happening. From my many speaking engagements statewide I have heard consistent complaints that our legislators and governor are not acting like republicans. Our budgets have gone up more and faster than under Granholm. The people specifically said NO to an increase in the gas tax. The republican led majority passed one anyway, with an automatic inflation factor built in so that the tax will rise on its own. I believe this to be in conflict with the Headlee amendment. They are buying a new senate building at 3-4 times its value, then when all is set up in the new building it is estimated the cost to be over $130 million. They have passed Medicaid Expansion which is part of Obamacare which will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions. This pays Medicare rates instead of Medicaid rates, hence many dollars by lobbyists were spent making sure they got their way and too many took large contributions for its passage - some as high as $500,000. This should not have passed.
So what's my point? Many elected officials could CARE LESS what you do at state committee. Elected officials expect YOU to support them with time and money to assure their election even when they don't abide by their promises concerning spending and don't act like republicans. They really don't care what you think unless it effects their election or your needed help. They do what they want to do for position, power and money. I know, I've been there and most of you have not. I have personally witnessed this. They need to be taken to the wood shed and it made clear via emails, calls, letters, etc., that this is unacceptable. It's not their seat, it's the people's seat and if they act like democrats they are ruining our party because our grassroots base will see no difference between democrats and republicans. They ruin our brand and more people stay home and don't vote. Too many grassroots are extremely upset and see republicans just as bad as democrats. Their failure to follow the principles outlined in the Platform is tearing the party apart.
I have taken huge hits by some in our own party (many hits from well funded liberals in the party) for standing up against homosexual marriage, radical Islam and for reposting Col. West's article on the breakdown of the family. The good news is that despite their efforts to blackball me from speaking at GOP events, I am still able to get my message out. I have spoken at multiple Michigan GOP functions, Tea Party, 9/12, Faith-based, and other venues. I have been given a platform to debate radical Islam to 23 million people, including the Middle East, on ABN/TCT television network. We have had many discussions of what Islam is and debated Imams, while CAIR ( Council on American Islamic Relations - a terrorist funding organization) has placed me and others like General Boykin, Allen West, Kamal Saleem (former Muslim Brotherhood terrorist, now Christian) on a quasi-hit list for lone wolves. We are exposing what Islam is and isn't, and they are NOT happy. Fatwas are on many. Last time I looked I was number 16 of about 50 on that list and their excuse wasn't even a statement I made. Typical of the lies from the critics!
Also as far back as 2007-2012 I introduced bills to stop sanctuary cities. These cities should not be rewarded with tax dollars while they are breaking the law. I also introduced bills to stop Sharia law in Michigan and our Governor and present Senate Leader didn't think they were necessary - they are dead wrong. Ten states have already passed ALAC (American Law in American Courts) legislation, and 22 more have legislation in process. Recent events are proving my foresight on Islam, sharia law, illegal immigration, etc., are needed and RIGHT ON THE MONEY. These laws were considered not politically correct and our leaders bow to the negative press from being called xenophobic, islamaphobic, etc. In short, they capitulate their duty out of FEAR, and in some cases, due to the reward of campaign donations from special interest lobbyists. It's time to stop bowing to the PC crowd, and put the interests of Michigan citizens first.
HOLD PEOPLE - HOLD TO OUR PLATFORM AND PRINCIPLES. Demand our elected officials do the same or we will lose our base. Hold your elected officials' feet to the fire. I took great heat by doing what I promised as a state rep but was ranked as 100% conservative and I was much appreciated in my district for sticking to my principles. ELECT PRINCIPLED LEADERS WHO DO WHAT THEY PROMISED AND WONT CAPITULATE TO POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, WHO WILL NOT COMPROMISE FOR SPECIAL INTEREST CONTRIBUTIONS.
As a side note General Boykin told me that
• ISIS is in every state of the Union and especially in Michigan.
• Dearborn is the 330th largest city in the United States.
• Dearborn total population 96,000 residents.
• Dearborn has an estimated 39,600 muslims
• Dearborn has more residents on federal terrorist watch list than any U.S. city except New York.
• There are 58,000 foreign student visa holders who've violated their visas.
• Over 6000 of those are expired and the holders un-accounted for.
• 80% of the people we catch crossing our border (and we don't catch many) that are not Hispanic, are from Muslim countries.
Refugee status from Muslim countries must stop. We are getting about 97% Muslim refugees and 3% Christian refugees from the UN. The Christians are being massacred by all sides and their children are sold as sex slaves. The enemies of our nation, with the help of Obama, are using civilization jihad to infiltrate the U.S. It must stop!
Thanks for listening.
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Don't Trust Anyone in Government
By Maureen Rudel
Over my years with the local party I have met many men and women who have held various positions in government. In the not too distant past one of these people told me "Don't trust anyone" in government. As I have been watching what is going on in Washington, DC and Lansing in all branches of government that person could not have spoken truer words.
At the state level, the State party and big donors attempt to punish conservatives for standing with their principles. Recently some conservatives have been ejected from the Republican conference because they would not vote against the will of their constituents. The State party actively seeks candidates to run against conservative incumbents, while trying to clear the field for those who are not.
We can remember in the not-too-distant past when the rules were changed for a convention to try to keep a candidate out of the race, lining up district chairs against the candidate to kneecap him. This effort probably backfired with county delegates because it was so openly unfair.
In Washington, DC, recent votes on Trade Promotion Authority were forced through the House and Senate despite overwhelming opposition from both Republican and Democrat constituents. This secret document could not be read openly, copied or discussed in detail - much like the famous Nancy Pelosi comment that "You have to pass it to find out what's in it." So the Republicans carried Obama's water and are richly rewarded by the Chamber of Commerce and big business who want to get immigration arguments out of the hands of Congress and turn it over to a governing body composed mostly of countries who really don't like us.
For those few stalwart conservatives who did not agree with this approach, Speaker John Boehner yanked their positions on committees and in the party.
Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader of the Senate took a different approach. The senators received large and appreciative donations to their campaigns.
Then there is the latest sellout by the US Supreme Court on Obamacare which had to ignore the clear language of the statute to come to a conclusion the justices wanted to reach. This is no longer just a "living constitution," it's made out of silly putty.
Since we cannot trust our leadership at either the State or Federal level, the only real way we can fight back is to join with the tea parties. Do not send a single dime to the State or Federal party, they are already rolling in dough from the people to whom they sold out. Don't just donate to candidates you know and personally like, if they don't vote with their constituents, they don't deserve your support. Maybe Democrats will win those seats. It won't make a difference if the Republicans vote as Democrats. At least you'll get the real thing.
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Truth in politics
By Bob Lamb, Alpena Tea Party
Our representatives in the house, senate and even the White House can serve constituents in a couple of different ways. The most American model is to know what the majority wants and make decisions accordingly.
Unfortunately, today’s most commonly accepted representation model features elected officials voting to please themselves. They do this because they think they know the politics better than the simple folks they represent. So to keep the simple folks in line politicians come up with a concocted version of the truth brewed over morning coffee or a few beers with co-conspirators.
Hillary brews her truth for the simple folks assisted by husband Bill the ex-president concocter. She is a politician who believes constituents cannot handle the truth so she concocts a politically acceptable version. To do this she is secretive, provides incoherent explanations to the gullible folks and exhibits contempt for anyone demanding real answers.
Hillary is not alone in choosing a concocted truth model. Most politicians believe they absolutely cannot be elected, or stay in office, if they are totally honest: therefore are truthful only when forced into it. In reality, what the simple folks actually want is a politician who'll tell them what they want to hear and proclaim that to be the truth.
Acceptance of the concocted truth is an after-thought because the real goal is advancement of an agenda laid-out by themselves and their co-conspirators. They can present an explanation to the simple-folks when it becomes absolutely necessary.
If the public really wants political truth it must begin with diligently searching for honest representatives. Voters should seek representatives who best exhibit truth, honesty and faith to both their constituents and the constitution.
Help each other find the truth. Ask questions. Just maybe you’ll find you are already getting the truth
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The Myth of Free Money
Bob Lamb, Alpena Tea Party
Our friends, relatives and even our
elected officials think money we get from the Feds is free money. In reality our
money goes from our hands to federal bank accounts by various taxes we pay. With
our money the government is able to pay for programs the state administers in
the name of the people. Money comes from taxpayers, goes to Washington for
laundering and then the scrubbed-money comes back to the states loaded with
rules and regulations for using what the feds believe to be their money
The constitution does not provide for these infringements on states’ rights so the feds use our money to bribe state officials to go along with their plans. This is done by devising programs at the national level that, in theory, help tax payers living in each state. The funds have created on-going programs that many people, in and out of government, think we cannot get along without. Consequently even well intentioned state legislators do not have the nerve to challenge this system foisted on the states.
Is it legal? Yes but States can legally refuse free money.
Why, in Lansing, don’t we refuse? States can opt out of most programs but legislators know refusal has potential voter backlash. Most of the free money comes to states in the form of entitlements and grants-in-aid which have the appearance of being totally funded by the feds. Programs usually only need administering by state and local officials. Of course these local people cannot be depended on to handle administration in a flawless manner so the feds write thousands of regulations and even send helpful overseers to dabble with our money.
We the people need a Champion in Lansing enforcing our States Rights as written in the constitution.
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The Silent Generation
By Dennis Shannon
my life I have been hearing about the Baby Boomers and the Gen X'ers.
I stumbled upon an article about the "Silent Generation" (sometimes called Traditionalists)." Various age definitions, but generally born between 1927 to 1945. So finally I have my own group. I've been surfing articles about it.
In general they say we were overshadowed by the "G.I. generation" (renamed by Tom Brocaw as the Greatest Generation) and the Baby Boomers. We never elected a President, but skipped from Bush (G.I.) to Clinton (Boomer). Our numbers are small, which caused the overshadowing.
The Depression had leveled Class Distinctions, so we had fewer boundaries. We created the Civil Rights movement. While there are exceptions, there are few outstanding leaders or writers in our group.
In general, we kept our heads down, worked hard and got an education. Were loyal to our employers. Had many advantages, so some people have called us the "Lucky Few".
Among our advantages were low interest rates during our start-up years. Good employment opportunities (post WW-II labor shortage, and our small numbers.) Social Security and Medicare worked well for us because
of the population increase of the Boomers. (Basically, Ponzi Schemes work as long as the number of payers is increasing.)
Our timing was impeccable. We established home equity before the high interest rates of the 80's. Wages rose during our entire work life. Many of us retired and restructured our finances before the bubble burst in the late 90's.
During our youth, most old people were considered poor. We were making as much by age 30, as other generations made during their peak earning years. As a group, we were frugal and continuously saved; always taking a cautious approach to debt.
While the G.I. Generation had decent retirements; the Silent Generation is the wealthiest generation ever. We wonder why the following generations are having such a hard time.
One article says that the Baby Boomers and Gen X'ers will never recover financially from the last recession (to the point of matching the Silent Generation.) So we may be the wealthiest generation ever!
Another thing I read is that we often finance
family vacations with our grown children and grandchildren. That was very
uncommon in earlier generations.
From memory, the G.I. retired couples had average assets around $94k. For the Silent's, its about $194.
So that's a quick summery of the articles I've read. Thought you might find it interesting
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Swing to the Left is Dangerous
By Bob Lamb, Alpena Tea Party
The political pendulum has
taken a dangerous swing to the left. Liberal/progressives have a strangle hold
on government that is choking America. With uncompromising control of the Senate
and White House liberal/progressives have created a far left policy swing that
can only be corrected by the combined conservative efforts of the Republican
Party and the Tea Party.
Almost 50% of Americans currently call themselves conservative, 21% are liberal and the balance are moderate. Washington’s actions show there are no conservative Democrats.
Many of those we have elected claim to be conservative. Every thinking American knows far left programs are not working so anyone who can lay claim to conservatism is climbing on the band-wagon. Many proudly stand in front of cameras on national TV and try to look like conservatives.
For real conservatives the definition is simply-small government as defined by the constitution, adherence to the Bill of Rights and Economic freedom. In the past this has been the platform of the grand old party (GOP) but Tea Party support for these ideals leads to criticism from all directions. Including the Repubs?
Still the Tea Party is not looking for a fight with entrenched GOP politicians and their handlers. The principal strategy of Tea Party activists around America is to educate about the constitution, bill of rights and what economic freedom really means. Along the way the Tea Party hopes to convince America that the number one goal of liberal/progressives is to subvert our form of government and our way of life.
In a recent poll of registered Republicans it was found that approximately 40% think Tea Party conservatives will help the GOP in upcoming elections. In the near future candidates must be chosen, party platforms constructed, frustrations aired and fences mended.
We the people are ready to help.
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Citizens or Subjects?
By Maureen Rudel
While I realize that most school systems of today don't teach the real history of the United States and the establishment of the Constitution by that politically incorrect group of dead white men, I'm old enough to remember when schools did teach real history.
In order to realize what an exceptional country our founders established, it is important to recognize what existed in other countries at the time and before. Most of the European nations evolved from feudal societies, where various noblemen held on to their property by having established their own armies to defend their claim and by having peasants farm the estates to provide food for the lords and their armies. The peasants were also allowed to keep some of what they grew. The only person who claimed ownership of the land was the lord. These estates normally passed by inheritance to the lord's children by the rule of primogeniture. (First male wins.)
Eventually, one lord would win by war, all or most of the estates in an area. This ultimately led to the coronation of a King, who ruled over all of the lords and who gave and took property as he saw fit. The King was considered to have received his power from God and ruled over all of his "subjects." Over the years, in England, the Barons (land-holding lords) decided that they were tired of losing their property at the whim of the King and his heirs and threatened to dethrone him. Over time, the parliamentary system was adopted in England with the Monarchy and a parliament with the House of Commons to speak for the peasants and the House of Lords to represent the hereditary nobles.
After America was discovered the King, in exchange for promises of wealth and other considerations, allowed certain of his patrons to establish colonies in the New World. These colonies, such as Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, etc. had to attract people to move to America as colonists. Since the nobles had no reason to leave their cushy world of wealth and privilege, most of the colonists were peasants and/or dissenters. Many of these colonists were religious dissenters because England had a State Church, with the King as the head of the Church as well. All the subjects had to support the church with their taxes, whether or not they agreed with the tenets of the Church.
About 150 years after the establishment of the English colonies, the upstart Founding Fathers decided that they no longer wanted to be governed by a far-away parliament that considered America a "cash-cow" to support English wars and expansion across the world with Governors appointed by the King who also took money from the people in the colonies.
After a failed experiment with socialism early on, capitalism had really taken off here, and the colonists had established a legal system, had local governance and property rights. They were not thrilled by the oppression from the King and parliament, in particular, the taxes.
After the successful revolution, and dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation, the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution. Unlike England's constitution, America's Constitution was in writing. It was established to correct what were perceived to be the abuses and problems of the monarchy.
The most important difference between the two constitutions was the source of power. Under the American Constitution, the power came from the people who were endowed by their creator with inalienable natural rights that cannot be taken away. In America, the residents are "citizens" not "subjects." There is no nobility and no King who can impose his will on the people.
We are still governed by that Constitution, but are going through an extremely rough patch. We have a president who thinks he is a divine ruler. We have legislators who go to Washington, get sucked into the Democrat city and the media and decide that they are now the ruling lords over we, the peasants. At least the Democrats are honest enough to tell you that you are too stupid to run your own life or make your own living. They will tell you what to eat, what to buy, what to drink, where you can live and what you can make. Like the feudal lords, the product of your labors belong to them and they will decide what you are allowed to keep. The problem is that too many Republicans apparently agree with those ideas. The longer they are in office, the more they decide that the laws they pass should not apply to them because they are "special." That is why so many establishment Republicans despise the Tea Party and Conservatives. These upstarts will not act like the "subjects" they are.
We had better decide whether or not the Constitution is worth saving. If it is, it's time to clean house of all of the Feudal Lords, no matter which party they claim.
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First Obamacare Experience
By Dennis Shannon, East Tawas Summer Resident
I had my first experience with
Obamacare yesterday. My Florida doctor wanted me to have a blood test done in
three months, which meant it must be performed in Michigan. So I had checked,
and found I could get it done at a local outpatient clinic attached to the
The first problem was locating the correct line. One older woman was just standing there angry because her records were misplaced. So I finally determined I needed to stand behind the other woman, who was waiting. Once attended to, the intake clerk copied my ID and orders and told me to wait in the lobby. I said I would wait, because I had been told we would all be doing a lot of waiting with Obamacare. She didn't see the humor in my comment.
After about a 20 minute wait, I was called into see records clerk. She spent a lot of time trying to determine that I had never been to this clinic before. I think that was to see if I owed them any money.
She struggled with finding a license code for my out of state doctor. Then she said my out of state request for blood work wouldn't do, and copied it over to their sheet. Then she said she would finish my paperwork later. Told me to take my sheet to the door across the lobby for my blood work.
The person there said she couldn't do the work without all of my paperwork. I described the cubicle that the previous clerk was sitting in and suggested she call her. She got on the phone and argued with someone. Then said the patient is here, and I can't expect him to walk it over. I told her I was ambulatory and would take the paperwork back.
So I go back to the previous office and I am waiting, when the previous woman appears with another piece of paper and complains about it being incomplete. Then they have a three person argument about how to handle my paperwork. Finally the woman who said she would finish my paperwork later, said she would do it now. She kicked the person sitting in her cube back to the waiting room.
She then started telling me that she was ready to quit. They keep reducing people and increasing the work load. She said she could make the same amount of money working at McDonalds and not have all the stress. She said she told her husband to not be surprised if she came home early some day saying she had quit.
I started telling her that I wouldn't add to her stress level. It was a good idea to consider her options, and that she shouldn't let the stress bother her. Maybe a career change might be the right thing to do. (I didn't charge her for the work place counseling.)
It only takes a few minutes to complete the paperwork, but she needs to add the "medical codes" for the various blood tests. She tells me that I will have to wait in the lobby until someone qualified puts the codes on the paperwork. I considered leaving and getting it done in Florida, but really had nothing important to do.
After another 20 minute wait, I am called back in and told my paperwork is ready for me to take to the clinic. So I am back in the clinic with my paperwork. There the woman apologies for what had happened. She told me she was from Germany, and they have the kind of system we are going to implement. She says Germany is trying to get rid of the system because it is too expensive. They have a 19% tax to pay for it.
She goes on to say the system was supposed to be "paperless" and they have more paper than ever. People say "free healthcare"; it is not free, it is very expensive.
So once again, I go into counseling mode. I tell her that I spent a large part of my life implementing computer systems. They are doing the right thing by changing their procedures to match the computer system. It is changing the procedures which is causing the stress because people resist change. They are paralleling the system with paper while they are changing the procedures. In time the paper will be eliminated when they are confident in the system.
But on her larger point, I agreed with her. It is too expensive, but for people who don't want to work or to educate themselves, it is "free". For the rest of us, we not only have to pay for our own healthcare, we have to pay for the healthcare for those who won't or can't work.
I said I was in Sweden last year. The Swedes are constantly lecturing everyone about their wonderful welfare system. Yet, they had riots in Stockholm this spring. The reason is they gave sanctuary to a lot of Muslims; who neither work or educate themselves. They rioted because the best welfare system in the world is not enough for them. They want the same standard of living as the rest of the country without educating themselves or working. Such a system eventually collapses!
She was in complete agreement with me!
Finally I get a young
person ready to draw my blood. I realized she was a student, but that doesn't
bother me. All of us were once students. I asked her if she was a local graduate
and a "Brave"? She said she was.
When she couldn't find a good vein, I told her now was the time for her to tell me "That I shouldn't drink coffee before blood work because it is a diuretic and makes finding a vein difficult." She snapped right back saying, "I would tell you that, but it sounds like you've already had that lecture." I really liked her after that, she had some spunk!
When she found a vein in the other arm, she started reading the English version of the tests required. I told her I had waited 20 minutes for the Numeric Codes to be put on my form. She laughed at that.
She did a good job on my arm and I complemented her for it.
So the student was the bright spot of the day. But I came home a little worried about all of my medical records being online. The Government is monitoring our phone calls and e-mails, how safe will our medical records be from abuse?
Also, my Medicare and Social Security numbers are the same, so now my Financial Records can be linked with my Medical Records. That gives me reason to worry a bit.
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Thoughts from Dave Agema
Michigan Republican Party National Committeeman
The attention on immigration reform
has now turned to the House, where Republicans recognize there is a need for
reform and also believe that real, lasting reform cannot be rushed. In a GOP
conference meeting last week, Republican leaders expressed the importance of
working toward a real solution. House Republicans recognize that our immigration
system is broken, and have already worked on separate bills to address some of
the pressing needs. They will now take up the task of crafting a reform plan of
Student loan rates doubled this month, and grads have the Democrats to blame. Stafford student loan rates doubled on July 1 because Senate Democrats and the President failed to act. House Republicans did everything they could to fix the problem, and passed a relief package in May that was partly based on an idea from the President himself. Republicans in Congress remain committed to a bipartisan solution, yet Democrats drug their feet and played politics, opposing the President's own plan, and blocking any chance of any other plan passing. It's time for Harry Reid to stop playing games and to start working with Republicans to provide relief to students.
These ARE the times that try men's souls. Now we find that the IRS Chief Wilkins held up 2,900 Tea Party-type applications prior to the 2012 election, so they couldn't raise money against Obama. In addition, Obama signed yet another executive order (more abuse) requiring mandatory HIV testing under ObamaCare for ages 15-65. Survivors of Benghazi were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements. Folks, more than ever we need people willing to take a stand against any and all tyranny. We are being over-regulated and taxed at every juncture. Obama has and is centralizing power to our detriment. Paraphrasing Lincoln - "most men can withstand adversity, but few men withstand being given power." It seems we are reaping the results of a drunk-with-power president with a socialistic mentality who knows so little of basic economics.
I have never feared my own government more than now. If Christians, Tea Partiers, and Libertarians are considered terrorists under watch lists, then we are being led by a dictator with evil intent. More than ever we need true leaders who serve to protect the citizens of the U.S. from such abuse. Even in the military our soldiers are feeling the grip of our anti-God leaders by not allowing use or reading of their Bibles, nor sharing their faith. Chaplains are being restricted on what used to be common place, even to the extent of not praying with our troops. WE NEED A CHANGE! As Reagan said, "One nation under God," or a nation gone under.
Hold your elected officials to a high standard. Make your voices heard. If they don't listen, vote them out. One thing is for sure, now is NOT the time to bail out of the process. Now is the time to fight as you have never fought before. If you don't, we will become the very thing we used to fight against. Only you, by your involvement, can prevent this from happening.
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We Might Want to Rethink How We Allocate Presidential Electors
By Maureen Rudel
In the last presidential election, Mitt Romney gave up on Michigan right from the beginning of the presidential campaign. While he wanted the primary votes, he must have looked at the odds of carrying Michigan and decided from the very beginning he had no chance. This was why he never appeared here, didn't put resources here, didn't provide sufficient signs or literature early in the campaign.
He decided that he would not play Charlie Brown kicking the football while Lucy was holding it as so many other candidates have in the past. He is a shrewd businessman if nothing else. He does not like to waste money.
I did some rough calculations on the basis of the voter returns in the various congressional districts. Romney won at least the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 10th. Obama probably won the 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th. (It is difficult to determine the exact breakdown because the Secretary of State publishes the results by county and not by congressional district. Some of the large counties are broken into more than one district.) Southeast Michigan with its overwhelming Democrat population in the cities simply outweighs the whole rest of the state.
Two states, Maine and Nebraska allocate their electoral votes by congressional district. There is nothing in the Michigan Constitution that declares how the electors should be allocated. The legislature can vote to change the present system if it chooses to do so. It might be time to think about allocating by congressional district. It also has the benefit of insulating other districts if one or more have "unusual" results.
In the last presidential election, in St. Lucie County, Florida only one precinct had less than 113% turnout. The turnout county-wide was 141%, with the highest precinct reporting in at 158.85%. If percentages like that were to occur, for example, in Wayne County, it probably would not make any difference how the rest of the state voted because of the population difference.
We have time to consider this as an alternative before the next presidential election. If Michigan wants to play a role in the selection of the next president, something has to change. There are probably some disadvantages to this proposal, but since there are two states where it is used, the legislature could explore the advantages and disadvantages in committee hearings.
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After All That Campaigning, Here's My Reaction to the Election. . .
By Karen Elizabeth Bush, Rochester, Michigan
County-by-County map Red=Romney Blue=Obama
America woke up Wednesday morning to find that its electorate had chosen to retain a man as president who is determined – either in the name of political correctness, selfish personal ambition, or sheer vindictiveness (take your pick) – to “change” America into a second rate socialist nation. Those same voters left the House of Representatives (thank God) under conservative control, but kept the Senate in the liberal camp. Anybody of social security age and older, thanks to the resulting tacit reinforcement of Obamacare, has just learned that his or her life expectancy has been shortened by at least fifteen years. Should this calamity happen not to apply to you personally because you are young enough to represent more positive return on any investment of nationalized health insurance dollars, you still have an America waiting for you in 2012-2013 that is substantially less supportive, less welcoming, less secure, and less happy than it has been in 236 years. On the other hand, if you are an enemy speculating about America’s pending collapse on economic, social, and, above all, military fronts, you are absolutely rubbing your hands with glee.
I could be depressed, and I have talked to a number of people in the past day or so who ARE depressed and therefore are beaten. My reaction to the incredible gullibility and idiocy of the American people is more to try to analyze the way that conservative adults (and I stress the word “adults”) still can fight -- on what conservatives can do now, today, to not make it easy for a full Obama takeover – to reduce the bastard’s level of comfort when he leans forward to pat another Russian ambassador on the knee and tell him to assure Vladimir Putin that he, Obama, now has more “flexibility” to do God knows what.
We have more weapons to do this than some seem to think. For starters, we have in the past year identified a number of very good men of whom we'd never heard before: Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan -- all, especially Rubio, are leaders. To them I would add Josh Mandel and Allen West -- way too valuable and men of way too much substance to drop out of sight. I'll guarantee that they aren't wasting time sitting around being depressed. Allen West, only barely edged aside in a 50-50% matchup that included “damaged” voting machines that refused to display Republican choices, is demanding a recount. I would expect no less of him.
I'm not smart enough or knowledgeable enough to know exactly what we can do at this moment, but ousting Harry Reid (a possibility) seems like a good start. There is no law that says that Reid, whom many have identified as the single cause of Congress’ failure to pass a budget, must continue to be Senate Majority Leader. Nancy Pelosi also is more than vulnerable, however many waves she tries to make as (now) House Minority Leader. There are responsible men and women in both parties who can be persuaded to correct both situations in the name of compromise and – dare I use the term? “Forward” movement.
Barack Obama may think he's got his revenge, but I've not even started on mine. As a part time college instructor, I'm eyewitness to an education system that is more than biased. American schools are the place that the forces that have us in this pickle began their campaign – probably not long after the Second World War. We need to correct this if we wish to educate the voters who will graduate four years from now so that they know what it genuinely means to be an American. I can't do much by myself, but I can tell you that I’ve already done and will continue to do SOMETHING. I can refuse and have refused to join the union. I can be sure my students not only understand where today's conservatives really are coming from, I can teach them basic stories of American History (sans revision) that may let them see current events a little differently. I can speak out for conservative thought in all companies whenever possible, and whenever extreme right-wing conservative speakers turn off potential supporters, I can draw on persuasive skills learned in sales and marketing to demonstrate the costs associated with “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”
People like the woman who called me Wednesday morning in tears, and the many of you who have written e-mails expressing your depression at the outcome of the election, can be commended for recognizing the gravity of what has happened, but if these people persist in wasting their time with despair, they are a very major part of the problem, and they effectively are aiding and abetting the liberal cause.
We have lost the opportunity to right a great wrong with a single broad gesture. But we have not lost everything. We have a thousand small battles yet to fight and win with an intent to weaken our opponents so that, in 2014, we can retake the Senate, hold onto the House, emasculate the presidency (if you wish to take that literally and personalize it, this becomes a somewhat redundant effort), and begin to restore the country even in advance of the 2016 election.
Recognizable history no longer is taught in America’s schools. America’s great heritage of sheer, unadulterated heroism is downplayed, because it is politically incorrect to tell about it, especially whilst waving the flag. Therefore, in closing let me remind you of John Paul Jones and the Bonhomme Richard. For the politically correct among you, let me say (before you do) that Jones was not the purest of souls – the “Jones” is an alias added when a man then yclept “John Paul” got himself in trouble with Scottish law.
During the American Revolution at the battle of Flambeau Head, Jones was in command of the Bonhomme Richard, a 42-gun converted East Indiaman (cargo vessel). Surrounded by the British fleet and fired upon by multiple other ships and engaged directly by the larger Serapis, outnumbered and outgunned, he replied to the almost routine British demand that he strike his flag with a defiant, “I have not yet begun to fight,” and proceeded to prove the truth of his words. With his ship literally sinking under him, Jones rammed the enemy and used grappling hooks to tie the Bonhomme Richard to the conveniently still-seaworthy Serapis, and the fight continued hand-to-hand – for about another hour. Eventually, withering fire from Marines posted in Bonhomme Richard’s tops saw to it that the life expectancy of any British officer who ventured on the Serapis quarterdeck was measured in nanoseconds. Unable to command anyone else to do so, whether because there was no-one else, or because those so ordered refused in the rain of sniper fire, it was Pearson, the British captain, who struck the English flag with his own hands, surrendering to the American upstart he thought he had beaten.
IF WE DO NOT DAWDLE, we are in a helluva lot better shape today than were the sailors on the Bonhomme Richard. There is no need to go beyond the formal re-election of a president to give in to a force that is weakened by its assumption that it has the upper hand. If we don’t sit back Monday-morning quarterbacking, wallowing in our despair, we can help liberals discover that they are every bit as mistaken as was Captain Pearson back in 1779.
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An Idea for Presidential Victory
Adapted from an Essay by Frank Farrell, Submitted with permission by Gen. Earl O’Loughlin, Ret.
It’s going to be an ugly campaign. We all know it and we’re ready for it, but it’s going to be the nastiest and dirtiest campaign in history. If Romney takes this advice, it will send a clear message to the Republican establishment that conservatives aren’t going to do business as usual any more. It would shake the establishment and pull together conservative voters.
Vet the possible VP nominees now and stand ready to announce the running mate in a nationally televised press conference the day after the 1,144 delegates are in hand. Make the VP choice Allen West, a triple threat and a VP who will redefine the role. As the VP he would attend to the regular duties and be a heartbeat away from the presidency, would also act as a second Secretary of State in difficult diplomatic negotiations, and work in concert with the Secretary of Defense to realign our military and redefine its role.
Romney would then introduce his Secretary of State Nominee, John Bolton. As a former Ambassador to the United Nations, there is nobody with a better handle on the world’s issues or more familiar with the players. He is tough, straight forward and not likely to appease anyone.
Next to walk onto the stage, Sarah Palin, Nominee for Secretary of Energy. Her directive will be to set us on a path toward energy independence in 10 years. She is the best choice, invested in the goal, knowledgeable and adept.
Next out of the wings and onto the stage, the Nominee for Secretary of Defense, General David Petraeus. As great as he was fighting a PC war, imagine what he’ll be like once he and West have pressed the reset button on our rules of engagement. In Petraeus we will have a Secretary of Defense whose mission is to win. Period.
Next up, the Nominee for Attorney General, Pam Bondi. She is a no nonsense fighter who has taken on the current administration over Obamacare and will clean out the corruption rampant in that office today.
How about a Secretary of the Treasury? Someone who has worked for years in the tax field who understands the overwhelming burden of tax codes and who has, for years, fought to restructure those codes, Michelle Bachman.
We will need someone with new ideas to head up the Fed. Welcome Ron Paul. This, under Paul, will be a temporary position; but somehow, I doubt Ron Paul wants to make a career of running the Fed.
Secretary of the Interior? Governor Bobby Jindal, come on down!
And finally, to head up the Department of Homeland Security, someone who understands the issues we face, who has worked in federal law enforcement and won’t take crap from anyone, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Feel free to substitute names, add your own choices, but these are mine. The picks are only a part of the whole picture, however. The impact is as important as the names.
Never before has a presidential nominee entered the full on campaign with a fully assembled team. Each choice could be measured against the present office holder. There would be no way out for Obama as each and every key player on his team would be exposed and held to account from the word “go.” It would be a full on frontal assault and Obama would have no place to hide. He would either have to stand behind his choices or try to run from his record.
It’s a bold, brash and completely against establishment business-as-usual strategy. It’s earth shaking. As voters, we would be voting for the whole team rather than just the standard Presidential 2-person ticket.
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Politicians Should Put Their Money Where They Put Ours
By Maureen Rudel
I suggested to Sen. John Moolenaar and Reps. Bruce Rendon and Pete Pettalia that they introduce a bill that would require all legislators to invest a minimum of $1000 (more would be better) in any company or program on which they are willing to spend my money. It's always easy to spend someone else's money -- the problem occurs when you have to spend your own.
Even with Republicans in the majority, it is hard to break the spending habits of legislatures, state or federal.
Although the tourist industry is unwilling to put any of its own money into the "Pure Michigan" campaign, the politicians put ours into it. What other industry am I required to subsidize? The movie industry. I haven't gone to a movie theater in so long I can't remember the last one I saw -- maybe "Raiders of the Lost Ark." However, because of the generosity of our legislators I am forced to support movies in which I have no interest and on which I would never voluntarily spend a dollar of my own money.
Now, we don't stop there. We pay for windmills and solar panels and batteries and electric cars that will not make it in the market place. The wonderful Volt electric car apparently runs out of battery power at about 25 miles (rather than the advertised 40 miles) and then takes about 12 hours to recharge. No wonder no one wants to buy one even at the highly subsidized price of $40,000. Apparently, even though P. T. Barnum's observation “There's a sucker born every minute,” is probably true, not enough of them are stupid enough to pay that much for a car that basically runs on gas, and not very well. The "green energy" companies file for bankruptcy after they have spent all their taxpayer money because no one else is foolish enough to invest a pile of money in companies that have no viable plan for success.
The government should get out of the business of trying to pick winners and losers and financing schemes that the all-knowing politicians think are a great idea -- like the bridge to Canada. There is NO reason to spend one dollar of taxpayer money on a bridge a private investor is willing to build.
Since I have no confidence that the politicians are willing to stop wasting our money and will not introduce a bill which would make them put their own money on the line, maybe the taxpayers should start a voter initiative to accomplish this. I would love to be able to force our legislators to spend their money as easily as they force me. However, there are some problems with my proposed solution. The legislators would be forced into a conflict of interest position; they would make money if the companies they favored succeeded. This might encourage them to make certain the favored companies succeed by punishing their competitors. This is already being done at the federal level -- think coal, oil and natural gas.
Maybe the better solution is to make legislators escrow $1000 in an interest-bearing account for every million dollars they give away of our money. At the end of every session, every two years, independent auditors will determine if the expenditure was productive or not, did it produce the number of jobs predicted or succeed in its goal. If the program is successful, the lawmakers get their money back with interest. If not, they forfeit it to the State of Michigan so the State will need less of mine for the next hare-brained scheme they decide to fund. If the success or failure of the project or program can't be determined in two years, the money remains in escrow for another two years and the next evaluation.
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Why Giving to Large Charitable Organizations is Problematic
By Maureen Rudel
The recent dustup with the Susan G. Koman Foundation for the Cure and Planned Parenthood proves my long-held belief that giving to large national charities is a bad idea. You never know how the money is spent. Many of these charities seem to exist to pay large salaries to the people who run them. Others have hidden agendas.
The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger was a believer in eugenics and decided to promote the elimination of black babies to improve the gene pool. The United Fund decided to go after the Boy Scouts because they don't want homosexuals as leaders. The Girl Scouts are promoting acceptance of homosexual behavior and supporting Planned Parenthood. The Humane Society of the United States advertises about abused pets and animals and spends virtually no money on sheltering animals and a lot on an anti-hunting agenda. Whether or not you agree with these positions is immaterial. You should know what you are supporting.
About the only large charitable organization which really does good work at very low overhead is the Salvation Army which spends almost all of its money on its missions.
I suggest that before you donate to any cause, you carefully check out what they really do. Small local charities are usually well-managed and can be easily tracked. While spaghetti dinners are not usually deductible, the proceeds go directly to help someone you know. The Iosco County Humane Society is not associated with the national organization and is run by volunteers. There are many opportunities for giving locally, for example, churches, scholarship foundations, the hospital, etc. and it is relatively easy to see the results of their work. A little time spent before you give will definitely pay off in the long run.
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Beware of Giving Your E-Mail Address
By Maureen Rudel
I have noticed that I have begun receiving all sorts of e-mail solicitations for products and services that I did not request. By noticing the address which is used, it is clear to me that the Michigan Republican State Party is selling my e-mail address, and presumably that of others who have given their address to the Party.
Candidates who are supported by our party for general election or who wish to run in a primary for an office are welcome (assuming they are active dues-paying members) to submit their information to me to distribute to our e-mail list. If you have any further questions on this subject, don't hesitate to contact me at 362-4747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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How the Government Can't Do Anything Right
By Maureen Rudel
For sure, the government fails at things which are not inherently governmental in nature. No matter what the intentions of the sponsors, the results are almost always a disaster.
In the reign of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the "Progressives" (read Liberals, Socialists, etc.) managed to turn a standard recession into a world-wide Depression which did not end until World War II. Using the same set of flawed theories, the Obama administration is trying to do the same thing in our present downturn.
Before there was Welfare, people who came upon hard times would rely on their families, friends, neighbors, churches and local organizations to provide "charity" to them until they got back on their feet. Most people did not want to accept charity, only taking it when they had to because of the "shame" involved. They did their best to recover from whatever problem they had so they could again be self-reliant. I remember those days from my childhood. Now, people demand Welfare and want to stay on it as long as they can. They believe they have a right to force their neighbors to support them in a lifestyle they cannot afford simply because they exist.
Before there was Social Security, people believed they had to save and invest to provide for their own old age. Often older parents lived with their children to help make ends meet. The "Ponzi" scheme that was started in the 1930s is actually worse than the fraud perpetrated by Charles Ponzi because you have no choice -- you must put your money in. Now, the old Aesop fable of the "Grasshopper and the Ant" is upside down. What we do now is take from the Ant who was foolish enough to try to put away enough to take care of himself and give to the Grasshopper who spent every nickel and went into debt to enjoy pleasures he couldn't afford.
Health insurance as an employment benefit was started during World War II because of wage and price controls imposed by the government. In order to get the best employees when the employers could not pay them more meant finding other ways to reward good employees. Once the person getting the good or service doesn't have to pay for it, there is no reason not to demand the best.
Before there was Medicare, health care was affordable enough that many people didn't even carry insurance because they could pay the bills directly to the doctor. I even remember the doctor coming to the house with his black bag and treating us there. Once the government got involved, fees were set, the incentive on the part of the doctors and the patients was to get more care than necessary because the patient didn't pay and the doctor made more by doing more.
In the Depression, the federal government imposed minimum wages. Unemployment got worse. When inflation overtook the minimum wage, it finally stopped adversely affecting employment. When I got my first job not working for my father, in 1962, working for Ewing's Chicken House in Oscoda, I was thrilled. I didn't have any skills, was a high school graduate and couldn't get a job. All of my education was college preparatory. I ended up making about 12 cents an hour working 58 hours a week. I came back the next summer and worked there again. It was the best job I ever had because I learned I could support myself. Now, someone like me can't get a job because the skills he has doesn't merit the wage which must be paid.
When governments try to pick winners and losers in the market place, you can predict that any company that asks for government grants will not succeed. If the company produces a product which appeals to a real market and has a solid business plan, there will be real investors willing to invest. If there is no market or good plan, it will fail.
I could go on and on (and have on many occasions) but I'll let you finish my lecture. Think of anything the government does. If it is not inherently a government function, such as policing, fire fighting, etc., the government never does it as well as the private sector which has to please customers to get patronage.
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Why Solar Power Will Never Be a Major Factor in Energy Production
By Maureen Rudel
Lately, I have been seeing ads on television for a solar generator that is supposed to provide you with power during outages. The generator looks like it is about as big as a toaster and comes with a solar panel. It sounds too good to be true, so I decided to check into it in greater detail.
According to the solar generator website, it can generate "up to" 1800 watts, comes with a 90 watt solar panel and 50' of cable to attach it to the generator. The panel has to be outside because it cannot generate energy from sunlight through a window. In Northern Illinois (where the generators are made), in full sun during the winter, it takes about 3 to 5 hours to fully charge the system. Two hour recharge times in full sun have been reported in the Southwest.
The TV ad states the generator is supposed to help you if you lose your electricity during a storm. If you just use the battery power and unplug the Solar Panel, the website gives some typical run times for some appliances -- it warns that high power consuming appliances are best to avoid (such as heat pumps, electric water heaters, ranges, etc.). You can run a 40 watt table lamp for 10.5 hours, a 13" TV for 11 hours, a sump pump for 1 hour and a microwave for 12 minutes. Combinations are also shown. A cordless phone, 13" TV, clock radio and table lamp can run for up to 4 hours. An 18 cubic foot refrigerator and home alarm system can run for up to 2.6 hours and a desktop computer, 17" LCD monitor, inkjet printer, internet modem and cordless phone can run for up to 1.6 hours.
After that, you have to recharge the battery with the solar panel. Typically, you might have some difficulty finding full sun during a storm, and if it is a snow storm, presumably you would have to keep the solar panel cleared of snow. This package is about $2200 at retail, but is on sale for about $1700 plus $120 shipping in the continental US.
You can get a 1600 watt portable gasoline generator for about $450 that holds .8 gallon of gas and runs on .32 gallons/hour (about $1.04/hr using $3.25/gal. gasoline). A similar 7000 watt generator holds 9 gallons, runs on 1.5 gal/hr. (about $4.88/hr.) and costs about $1200. Presumably you can refill them immediately and continue running your appliances regardless of the weather. They do have to run outside and a cord has to come inside so you can plug your appliances in.
An 8000 watt (8 kW) home standby generator (not portable) which runs on propane or natural gas costs about $2250 , plus installation, while a similar 10000 watt (10kW) model costs about $2850. At full load capacity, the 8 kW unit uses 139 cu. ft of natural gas per hour (about $1.25/hr. at today’s natural gas price) or 62 cu. ft of propane ($4.10/hr. at today’s propane price). Similar figures for the 10 kW are 156 cu. Ft. (about $1.42/hr.) and 70 cu. ft. (about $4.63/hr.) respectively. These models will supply most 2 or 3 bedrooms homes with sufficient electricity to run most of the appliances in a home (including your furnace), except the very high usage items. These generators can be wired right into your electrical box and start automatically about 20 seconds after the power goes off.
There is nothing wrong with using solar power or wind power, but to think that they supply a reliable source of power at the same or lower cost than fossil fuels is to hope for something that never was and probably will never be. Without subsidies from taxpayers, these energy sources would not succeed in the market place. We don't have the money to keep subsidizing politicians’ unrealistic dreams and we should not continue do so.
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By Maureen Rudel
This election was NOT necessarily an endorsement of the Republican Party. It was, rather, a rejection of the "Liberal" or "Progressive" policies of the Democrats in power in Washington DC and Lansing. What they have been doing is not working. The federal government cannot even run the post office successfully -- by the way, a Constitutional activity -- so it is no surprise that it cannot run businesses, produce jobs, or stop a recession. What it can do is take money from people who are not supportive of the party in power and give it to the people who are supportive. Both parties do it.
Every dollar the government spends must come out of the private sector. The more governments take, the less there is to start businesses and hire people. No business pays taxes. This is a ruse to keep people from realizing how much they are paying -- just as is the idea that your employer is paying half of your social security and Medicare taxes. It costs an employer a certain amount for every employee; wages, unemployment taxes, FICA taxes, workers compensation insurance, benefits, overhead and other costs to keep the employee working. Raising any of these costs makes it more difficult to hire someone and still make money. If the business can't make money it will go out of business (unless it is "bailed out" by the government with taxpayer dollars.
The correct tax on business is zero. If the governments tax businesses, the tax is paid by the shareholders (through lower returns), employees (through lower wages) or customers (through higher prices). Only people pay taxes. Businesses are not people. They are a legal idea that can be set up in a number of ways. If politicians would stop lying to their constituents and always promising great benefits at someone else's expense, reality would start to set in. You can "tax the rich" until they decide not to work so hard so someone else can live well off their efforts.
Welfare should not be a way of life for able-bodied people who are capable of doing something to earn a living. The correct minimum wage is zero. If you want to work for 10 cents an hour and someone will pay you to do it, you should be allowed to do so. This puts the employee on the ladder to success. They get a job, get some skills and get a better job. If no one will pay you to sit home and do nothing, you'll take a job so you can eat.
Every law or regulation is a limitation on freedom. Some politician has decided he knows what's better for you than you do. They don't want you to smoke, hurt yourself, eat the wrong foods, ride motorcycles without helmets (News flash -- the motorcycle always loses to the car or truck -- helmet or no), sit in a car without a seat belt or do anything the nannies think is not a good idea. If legislatures feel the need to pass a new law, they should be required to get rid of 3 existing laws. Stop trying to legislate against stupidity. It never works.
If the bureaucrats decide that you should not be able to use your land because it "is a valuable wetland and we need to protect it for the public good" they should be required to pay for it. Any time you lose the use of your property involuntarily by the action of a government, you are entitled under the Constitution of the United States to be paid for it. If governments had to pay for their actions they might start considering exactly how much their regulations cost.
A perfect example of federal excess was featured in an October 27, 2010 article in The Morning Sun, telling how Alma city officials want to partner with Alma College to create an "Alma Absurdity Award" with the first recipient being the Federal Highway Administration. It has adopted a rule that requires every sign in the US, street signs, speed limit signs, all traffic control signs to have all words begin with upper case letters and the rest lower case plus new reflective standards. Someone did a study that said senior citizens have difficulty reading words that are all capital letters. Alma estimates the cost to be $300 to $400 per intersection. When communities are trying to figure out how to pay for law enforcement, unfunded mandates, like this sign requirement, from the feds cost millions. And exactly where in the Constitution does the federal government get control over street signs all over the country? The new Congress should put a stop to this now.
Our elected Republicans are supposed to stand for small government, freedom, personal responsibility and opportunity to pursue your American dream. Let's hope they start doing it, or the American electorate will probably fire them in two years, just as they fired the Democrats.
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The Most Important Election of my Lifetime
By Maureen Rudel
It has been said from time to time that an election is "the most important" but, in my opinion, that statement is true for this November as it has never been before in my lifetime.
I received a letter from a friend who has voted Republican for years. He says: "I believe that our country is in serious trouble. We are headed for bankruptcy at an alarming rate. I am becoming more and more skeptical of both parties and wonder if either of them will be able to pull us back from the brink. . . . I am no longer going to give my vote to a person unless I am convinced that they have the country's best interest at heart. We must stop spending. We must bring back fiscal responsibility. . . . I'm not casting an automatic Republican vote any longer. I want to see the credentials and the past records of every person. If we don't stop the current movement, I fear the United States will crumble from the inside out and it will happen sooner than anyone imagines."
I could not agree more. We have candidates running for office at the federal, state and local level. Each level of government wants more money every year. In Iosco we have an unemployment rate that is probably more than 25% if you add in the people who have stopped looking for a job and who are underemployed. Those people who get unemployment insurance get it from premiums paid by employers, run through the state and federal bureaucracy and handed out by politicians who want you to know how great they are. Meanwhile, the taxpayers and companies don't have money to invest in businesses and provide more jobs. The more requirements governments impose on people and business the more it costs. No wonder that companies who can escape are running to countries without welfare states.
When I was growing up, doctors used to come to your houses and treat you. You paid in cash. You did not expect your neighbor to provide you with food, housing, medical care and your needs and wants. You were expected to work for a living. If you had a bad patch, the priest at my church used to ask for help for families. It was charity. No one wanted to have to take it. But they did if they had to, and got on their feet as quickly as possible. No one was "entitled" to a living. You were expected to provide for your retirement. The Grasshopper and the Ant by Aesop was a story that every child knew and believed. Now, the ant is a fool. Grasshoppers will simply take the ant's savings and live it up on them. Almost half of the people vote for a living and live off the other half who work.
If governments simply did only those tasks which cannot be well done by the private sector (like police and fire protection), the costs of government at all levels would collapse. It is not the government's job to take care of your children, provide you with food and medical care, put you in wonderful housing and provide you with an income so you can buy your televisions, microwaves, cars, entertainment, clothing and wonderful life. I have no objection to charities providing help for what we used to call "the deserving poor" but when the government steals money from one person at the point of a gun to give it to someone who did not work for it, it is theft.
When governments at all levels decide it is their job to make sure you make all the "right" choices with your life, they are not performing a government function. They are acting like dictators. I will not support any politician who feels so far superior to me that they want to tell me to wear a seat belt, wear a motorcycle helmet, or whether I can smoke some place or not. These are nannies, they are not serious politicians. They should be replaced, not encouraged.
It will take a long time to reverse the damage that has been done to this country by both parties, but if you go back to the Constitution of the United States and the State of Michigan, and provide only those functions, we can start to return to the country we had until the 20th century, a place of freedom, individual rights, and responsibility.
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Why the Global Warming Hoax
By Maureen Rudel
Except for those who get their information only from the "mainstream media," almost everyone has now heard of the e-mails exchanged between the director of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, Phil Jones, and other "climate scientists" at other universities, including the University of Pennsylvania's Michael Mann. These e-mails clearly showed they destroyed data, faked results, knew the cooling temperatures since 1998 showed their models weren't working and couldn't explain the failure of their hypothesis that carbon dioxide emitted by people-caused global warming.
They still claim that the theory has merit even though their "science" is questionable and the earth has actually been cooling. This reminds me of Dan Rather who still believes his George W. Bush-National Guard story is true even though his evidence was faked.
Global Warming has become almost a religious belief with the proponents. They apparently hate the Western way of life. They despise us for succeeding when so many other countries have failed to provide their residents with even a modest quality of life. They hate capitalism because it produces winners and losers. These people believe that everyone should be equally miserable rather than rewarding hard work and effort. They receive grants to promote their ideas.
Companies that would not be commercially successful in selling their products without government subsidies (wind energy, other "green" energy companies) support the theory because without it, their businesses would fail. People like Al Gore who plan to or have gotten rich in trading "carbon credits" also support it because without the theory and government mandate, no one would buy the emperor's new clothes.
Because the US Senate has stalled the "Cap-and-Trade" bill, more accurately known as the "Cap-and-Tax" bill, which Barack Hussein Obama guarantees will necessarily make your energy bills skyrocket, the Environmental Protection Agency, plans to adopt a regulation which will accomplish the same thing without the inconvenience of a congressional vote.
The Congress can stop this. They have the ability to prohibit regulation of carbon dioxide. If they don't, they must be removed. We do not need to be taxed into the stone age to provide this gift to the environmental gods.
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A Small Strike Against the "Nanny State"
By Maureen Rudel
In an amazing move, the County of Ogemaw voted down another chance to restrict our freedom by failing to adopt the smoking restrictions that the bureaucrats of the Health Department wanted to impose. Unfortunately, the Iosco County Commissioners passed up that opportunity.
Legislators at all levels, and of both parties, seem to think they can better decide how you should live your life than you can. You are too stupid to make the "right" choices, so they will choose for you. Bureaucrats at all levels want to increase their power and reach to secure their jobs. This is why the number of government employees continues to rise. You pay to give them jobs where they have more security, get paid more, and have better benefits than the private sector can afford. What's not to like?
It is supposed to be the job of legislators to protect you from government intrusions into your freedom, but, generally speaking, they want to intrude more. This is how we have gone so far down the road to Socialism and the Welfare State.
While this little victory is over smoking, it could have been anything else. I have been a smoker, I am not smoking now, but if I want to, I could start again. I have done so in the past. I quit, I start, it's my business, not the government's. If I own a business that caters to the public, I can decide whether or not I wish to allow smoking. People who don't like smoking will not patronize my business if I allow it, people who like to smoke will. I get to decide whether I will benefit more by allowing it or not. Stop worrying about these poor people who have to work someplace where smoking is allowed. If they don't like it, don't work there. I don't happen to like liver. It is not in my power to keep others from eating it, except at my house. That is the way it should be.
If we don't make a stand, pretty soon, the mattress police will be tasked to go into private homes and commercial establishments and arrest anyone who had the nerve to remove the tags on mattresses and cushions that say "Do not remove under penalty of law."
The cost of government goes up and up because of these stupid laws which are put on the books every day at every level of government. It is time to stop it. There should be a requirement that for every new law legislators pass they must repeal 5 old ones. When you can't afford to patrol the streets and roads in this county why would you want to make the law enforcement officers go around looking to see who is smoking where? Just because you can? A law that is not enforced or enforceable is a joke. If you don't enforce it all the time, you cannot enforce it at any time. Stop putting up with this.
It is time to take back our lives. No politician of either party who votes to unnecessarily restrict your freedom should be re-elected. No law should be passed just because someone thinks its a good idea. It is one thing to restrict murder, theft, or intrusion of your rights by another, it is another to pass a law to save you from yourself. Darwin's Law will take care of it. Seat belt laws, helmet laws, and the like should be repealed. Pretty soon, the people who remain will make the right choices. These things have a way of taking care of themselves.
Next year's elections are coming up rapidly. As you look at the candidates for all levels of government, decide for yourself if they will promote freedom or restrict it. This is America, freedom is supposed to be our birthright. Have these politicians done such a great job of running their own lives that you will let them run yours?
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Our Bloated Federal Government
By George Sevald, Oscoda
Our bloated Federal bureaucracy is an abomination! There are no incentives to economize, at any level. There is no bottom line to adhere to. On the contrary, a positive balance sheet is deemed to be a negative by the department head, and will be corrected, lest they have their budget cut. Spend it, or lose it!
This complex bureaucratic maze is rife with redundancy, inefficiency, incompetence, indifference, and unaccountability; and none of these shortcomings threaten anyone's job. That's not part of the system. Performance is not even a consideration. Excellence is likely accidental and often frowned on by lackadaisical co-workers. Mediocrity seems too lofty a goal. A system with so many liabilities cannot prosper, yet there is a select group that does quite well for themselves, and doesn't want to change a thing!
Our Congress is made up of intelligent people. They could streamline and reduce the size of government, and eliminate waste, if that was their goal. Unfortunately it is not! They continue to enlarge government and vote themselves pay raises. On the surface they are patriotic public servants. Underneath, they are motivated by wealth and power, and little else!
Far too many are corrupt, and their votes "For Sale" to the highest bidder! If these bad apples were the exception, they would be exposed by the rest, but instead they all look the other way, lest the spotlight fall on them! "Live and Let Live," is the mantra.
The top six wealthiest U.S. Senators have a collective worth of 960 million dollars, not counting their homes, and all six are Democrats. That's the party that believes in redistributing the wealth. Apparently, that would be OUR wealth, not theirs! The entire Senate has an average personal worth of more than 15 million dollars, and the collective wealth of all 535 members of Congress is 3.7 Billion dollars! (www.opensecrets.org)
Only one percent of all Americans are millionaires, while 62% of the Senate and 44% of the House are millionaires! How have they managed to accumulate so much more wealth, than the people that they allege to serve? In their unique role as law makers and trustees of the public funds, the opportunities for bribery and kickbacks are many.
If this assessment sounds overly cynical, is there a more logical explanation for the country with the greatest wealth of natural resources in the world, to be over 11 trillion dollars in debt?
The honest, trusting, voters, who are only asking for a decent place to
raise their family, are easy prey for these crafty predators in Washington!
We need to clean house!
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A Pox on All Their Houses
By Maureen Rudel
It is probably time to vote against every Democrat and RINO in Washington and Michigan. We might lose a few representatives and senators that are worth saving, but not many. I am so sick of these windbags voting for bills they haven't read, and couldn't have read because they weren't printed, and ignoring the Constitution.
Bart Stupak from the 1st District voted for the Cap-and-Trade Bill which will impose unbelievable taxes on every person and business in the country for the alleged benefit of controlling carbon dioxide emissions and lowering the temperature of the earth in 100 years of .5 degrees Centigrade. (That is the benefit the supporters of man-made global warming promise.) Cap-and-Trade is designed to send us back to the stone age because we live too well. By the time all businesses that have a choice have left "Amerika" and established themselves in some country that doesn't punish success, most of the people left here will be dependent on the government. This has been a successful campaign in Michigan. We have the highest unemployment rate in the country, the most people and businesses closing and/or leaving the state and the stupidest policies that are theoretically designed to benefit the Democrats' favored groups.
Unions get rewards -- Obama wants to push this "Card Check" bill to make it easier to force unwilling employees into unions by denying them a secret vote. That's great. However, nothing can force a company to stay in business or to hire anyone. Without an employer, no employee can join a union. Tax business -- that's a joke -- businesses do not pay taxes, people do. Either the employees, the shareholders or the customers of a business have to pay the tax which the business collects and sends onto the "Gubmint."
Democrats have a plan for rich people, tax them. You can take every cent they make, once. They won't let it happen twice. As Lady Margaret Thatcher noted: "The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." The trouble with rich people is that they have the ability to go anywhere. Switzerland is benefiting greatly from immigration of people and businesses.
Cut the number of State Police and close prisons. Finance art museums, build new building that the State Police don't need or want. Increase the salaries of state employees and give them benefits that so far outdo the private sector that there is no comparison. In other words, if it is a legitimate function of government, starve it. If it is something that is really not a function of government, send more money that way.
The federal government already controls your toilet, your shower, your washing machine, your light bulbs (and wants to do more there), your use of seat belts, motorcycle helmets, baby seats, what you smoke, where you smoke, and soon, what you eat and drink. If some government entity wants your property so it can be sold to someone else who will pay more taxes, go for it. You haven't begun to lose your freedom; what can be done to you and your health care and insurance is yet to be unveiled. The Congressional Budget Office has priced one of the plans being considered by the Democrats at $1.04 trillion by 2019 for 37 million of the alleged uninsured. (It doesn't say whether that includes the 13 million illegal aliens.) Massachusetts is backing off its "universal coverage because it is bankrupting the State. Don't worry, the Democrats will push it through. No one needs to read it before they vote for it. Neither Nancy Pelosi nor Harry Reid will commit to giving the public a week to read the bill before they push it through.
It is time for another revolution. Compared to the sacrifices of the Americans who established this country as the last best hope for mankind, what is required of us is nothing. Let's throw the bums out before they totally destroy our Constitution and the country we love.
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The Benefit of Having No Children
By Maureen Rudel
I am getting older, thank goodness, have no children and would leave only my husband and dog behind if I got run over by a truck tomorrow. I feel great sympathy for you who have productive children and grand children who will have to pay the price for the terrible policies which have been imposed on our state and the federal government. I have come to the conclusion that there is probably no salvation for Michigan and that probably the United States is on the way to becoming the United Socialist States of Amerika.
Too many people think that the world owes them a living. When I was young, I was taught that if I wanted something, I would have to earn enough to buy it. I was not "entitled" to anything. What my parents were kind enough to provide was dependent upon my following their rules. If I didn't like it, I could leave and do whatever I could afford. Now, I know a number of young people who can't seem to find a job they think suits them. Since they can get food stamps and Medicaid, and if they are female and can have a baby, they can live in a house provided by taxpayers, don't have to work (because Michigan has not set real limits on receipt of Welfare benefits) and can make more babies to be supported by the fools who do work and pay taxes.
If you are foolish enough to try to work hard, succeed, pay your bills, save for your retirement and take care of yourself, you are punished. The people who don't work, live off of the taxpayers and save nothing say that it is not fair that you were so lucky. (Funny, I always found that the harder I worked, the luckier I got.) We have to tax the rich and redistribute their income to the "entitled" people -- those who are entitled to your property. And, after you have paid taxes on your income all your life, put your money in safe investments, the Wise People in Washington ignore the law on a whim, sell out the secured investors for politically favored groups and the federal government so that the auto industries (along with others) can be nationalized and run by unelected "Czars" who answer to no one but the president. And, if by some chance the redistributors have not succeeded in taking all of your money by the time you die, they apply the death tax on the remaining funds and pick the bones.
The "Apologizer in Chief" goes around the world explaining what rotten people the Americans are -- even as the world remembered D-Day and the invasion of Normandy and the American dead who lie in cemeteries all over Europe after fighting for the freedom of people who needed our help. But, no, those Americans owe apologies to countries who are actively involved in spreading and teaching radical Islam and supporting those who seek "Death to America."
And to add insult to injury, he called America a Muslim nation. Fortunately, our forefathers guaranteed freedom of religion to all Americans. You can find that guarantee in the outdated document called the Constitution. You can believe anything or nothing. Every woman in America is lucky this is not a "Muslim Nation." No woman has to cover herself head to toe, give up freedom to become educated, choose the future she wants, associate with whom she wants, drive a car, or suffer gang rape to atone for some offense of a male relative. That life might appeal to some, but darn few of them would be American women.
If the American population doesn't wake up soon and realize that our country is on the way to being the Socialist paradise that Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and other totalitarian states are, we will soon be treated to the same level of prosperity they enjoy. North Korea is a celebrated vacation spot. We can achieve that level of success if we keep on going the way we are now. Or, we can wake up and try to save our country.
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How Stupid Are We?
By Maureen Rudel
Every Christmas I am amazed to listen to the ads where companies sell you a star, let you name it, and send you a lovely certificate showing that it is registered with the Library of Congress. Apparently people do buy them. Of course, the Library of Congress is the registry for copyright works and must keep anything you send it to copyright. It doesn't mean that the work is correct, that it is real or that what it says is true. It is as effective as if I gave you a quit claim deed to the White House. I have transferred you all of the interest I have in the White House. If I have nothing, you get nothing and I don't warrant that I have any interest.
"Cap-and-trade" is just such a scam. First, you pretend that carbon dioxide, which every person exhales, and every plant requires, is a pollutant. Next you pretend that people can affect the amount of carbon in the atmosphere significantly. Then you pretend that if you lower the amount of carbon dioxide you put in the atmosphere, it will make a significant difference to "global warming," or "climate change," or "climate chaos," or whatever the latest terminology is. Then, you have the government allot or sell "carbon credits" (stars) to different companies or people or animals or whatever, with giving more credits to the entities you like best. Then Al Gore sets up companies to buy and sell credits that allow you to breathe or do business. (According to an Investor's Business Daily article from April 29, 2009, when Gore left office in January 2001, he was said to have a net worth in the neighborhood of $2 million. A mere eight years later, estimates are that he is now worth about $100 million.) He gets rich, you get poor and no good is done except that the cost of energy goes sky high, America's economy is destroyed, China and India (who are far too smart to go along with a scam like this) laugh all the way to the bank.
Australia has caught on. They are balking on buying their share of the stars. They figure they can name them without paying anyone else. They can send their own letter to the Library of Congress. I've always admired the Aussies -- they are tough fighters and nobody's fools. They have made some foolish moves (national health care and gun-grabbing) but are apparently deciding not to shoot themselves in the head on an increasingly discredited global warming scare.
I certainly hope we have enough sense to follow suit, but I'm not sure. When increasingly our legislators are willing to criminalize thoughts (hate crimes) and punish political differences (fairness doctrine) and dictate how we should lead our lives, I may soon be charged with sedition because of my opposition to the destruction of freedom in this country. But since I am only an individual and not a member of some favored group, it's probably time to get rid of me anyway.
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Individual Freedom and Responsibility
By Maureen Rudel
The Constitution of the United States sets out the limits of the Federal Government in Article I:
Section 8 - Powers of Congress
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
It doesn't talk about education, Social Security, Health Care, Redistribution of Wealth, Arts and Music, or the thousands of other things that the present-day federal government spends our money on and, in almost all cases, does badly.
The government can spend, but not manage money. It cannot even account for it. Every law limits the freedom of individuals and many of them remove responsibility from individuals to make their own decisions.
Until the Great Depression, the federal government pretty much stayed within the bounds of the Constitution. Admittedly, there were changes, such as the adoption of an income tax under Woodrow Wilson, but these changes were ratified as Constitutional Amendments, whether they were wise or not.
However, most of the programs that Congress has started during Franklin D. Roosevelt's reign and since have arguably been justified under "the Commerce Clause," "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; . . ." Apparently, the meaning of this clause can be stretched as far as the eye can see. While Democrats may have started the job, there have been many Republicans who have been complicit in this task. Promising to give someone something for nothing is an easy way to get them to vote for you. This is particularly true if the true cost of the travesty will come in the distant future when some other Representative or Senator will have to deal with it.
With the highly graduated tax schedules, the bottom 50% of the population pays only 3% of the federal income tax burden. This does not lead to responsible budgeting since this group can demand services that will be paid for by others. This feeds the demand for federal expenditures.
The feeding frenzy has been perfectly illustrated by the present "Bailout Bonanza" which is going on now. Goldman-Sachs grad, Sec. of Treasury Henry Paulson, several weeks ago cried wolf for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from the companies who were dumb enough to hold them. It had to happen NOW. When the Republicans in the House of Representatives wouldn't pass this on the first try, the sky was going to fall, and the financial markets were going to go to hell. So, add another $150 billion and a few days later the same piece of garbage only more so, passed, and the financial markets went to hell. Then, on November 12, Paulson said his original plan wasn't going to work but he had a better idea. . . .
Right now, the federal government has $54 TRILLION in unfunded liabilities, and that was before the present foolishness. It isn't going to get better until the US goes bankrupt or until our representatives start to live by the Constitution.
There is nothing in the Constitution that makes the federal government "Nanny in Chief." There is nothing that gives Congress the right to make you wear your seatbelt, stop smoking, eat your vegetables, avoid transfats, or any number of other mandates. The State of Michigan is not far behind. What gives the State the right to tell you to wear a helmet if you bike or ride a motorcycle or put your children in car seats. All of these things may or may not be good things. If they are such a good idea, the smart people will do them, the dumb people will win the Darwin awards. That is their choice.
At every level of government, we are being protected from ourselves. It is impossible to legislate against stupidity and no effort should be made to do so. Republicans must not give in to the urge to impose their wills over the general public.
Our brand is damaged, and with good reason. We have lost our way on individual freedom and responsibility and in consequence have become fiscally irresponsible. Rather than cut any program of the State of Michigan, Republicans voted for tax hikes and abetted the Democrats in killing the State economy. Every Republican who lost a seat can thank other Republicans who have been Democrats-lite. The voters went for the real thing. We offered no real alternative.
At every level of government we must regain credibility and avoid becoming The Better Nanny or the Daddy Party. We all had parents. We don't need another set. It's time for Republicans to get a backbone and stand for individual freedom and responsibility.
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Do Democrats Hate America?
By Maureen Rudel
I don't get it. Sen. Carl Levin opposes a missile defense program. He always has, he always will. He tried slow-walking the program to death until the Republicans took over. Pres. Bush abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (which said that the USSR and America would not try to defend against each other's missiles but rely on the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) to provide security. Never mind that the USSR did not exist, and a whole lot of nutty dictators were powering up their nuclear arsenals, it is not fair for America to defend itself. Besides, it can't work, he, in essence, said. The fact that it would never work unless it was developed escaped his gigantic mentality. Now, we have one. It ain't perfect, but a whole lot better than none. For this reason alone, he deserves to retire to his Washington DC area home. His Socialist program on the domestic front is not helpful either.
He, and the Democrat senators and a few deranged Republicans now want to cripple the US economy to stop global warming. They need not go through the effort. Even the supporters of the crackpot theory that people can significantly affect the weather on a long-term basis concede that the warming has stopped -- at least for the last decade, if not forever. It has not been warming since 1998. If the hot air coming out of Washington DC were to cease, it would help a whole lot more.
Levin agrees with Rep. Bart Stupak, our 1st District representative to Congress. We must not try to increase the US production of oil and natural gas. Instead, they want to pass a law giving Congress the right to sue the OPEC countries for not increasing their production of oil. This is nuts. Why not just let us increase our own? I guess the fact that China will be producing oil 60 miles off the US coast of Florida which Cuba leased to them is like the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. Pay no attention, we cannot go there.
Now, these goofy people want to drastically increase the cost of producing energy of all sorts -- in the name of global warming. They concede that, at a minimum, the price of gasoline would increase by at least another 50 cents a gallon -- so we can have more hearings in Congress to yell at the Big Oil Executives about the price of gas and threaten to steal their profits. Forget about the part where the US government makes more on a gallon of gas than the oil companies. They know that what they will do will raise the price of conducting business everywhere, the cost of energy across the board, and that it is all for naught because the biggest polluters in the world will not sign on because they are practical and not governed by a bunch of blowhard know-nothings.
Fortunately, most Republican Senators stopped this legislation, but if the Democrats remain in control in Congress, it is only a matter of time until they succeed in knee-capping the US.
By the way, they tell you not to worry about all those increased costs, because with the increased taxes they will reap, they will send you money to help you pay the bills they are forcing so high.
A little ethanol anyone?
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By Maureen Rudel
For all of my years, I have been making decisions, good, bad, or indifferent. I made them, I lived with the consequences. However, in the last few years, I have noticed a new "double-speak" coming out of Washington. I first noticed it in listening to Madeleine Albright, when she was Bill Clinton's Secretary of State. I have no reason to believe it originated from her, that's just when I noticed it.
In Washington, DC, people no longer "make" decisions. They "take" them. I wonder who they take them from. It's kind of like choosing between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. You take the one you want and pay for the cone. However, in Washington, the decision is disembodied. It doesn't belong to anyone and no one can be blamed if you "take" the wrong one. If it turns out badly, Washington says "Mistakes were made." No one ever makes them, they just appear.
I was thinking about this when I was listening to Mark Brewer, the Michigan Democrat Party Chair, talking about Chief Justice Clifford Taylor, who is running for re-election this year. He was explaining how Justice Taylor didn't decide a case the way Brewer wanted him to. In Brewer's point of view anyone who has had a misfortune, an accident, an injury should be compensated whether he deserves it or not and whether or not the law permits it.
This is how judicial activists take decisions. They start from the desired result, reward the plaintiff (regardless of fault) and punish the "corporations." They then figure out how to bend, twist, or create the law they need to come out with that result. I remember when the Michigan Court routinely did exactly that. No lawyer could tell his client what a law meant, what a contract said or how a case could be defended. It made no difference whether or not the defendant was in the right or wrong, he or the business would lose because the judges would make sure they did. It's not that hard to throw a case, especially when the judge starts acting as the plaintiff attorney and questioning the defense witnesses. How do you object to the question and expect the judge to agree with you. In the 1970's this was Wayne County justice and why any case that could be brought in that county was brought there.
Right now, in spite of everything else that is wrong with Michigan, our Supreme Court has been called the best in the nation by the Wall Street Journal. That is due to the fact that the majority of justices "make" decisions. They stand behind them, they explain why the case was decided the way it was. You may agree or disagree with the reasoning behind the decisions, but reasoning there is. No one wins just because they are injured, no one loses just because they are in business.
Pay attention to the judicial candidates. They are important. If you want to keep what business there is in Michigan, there is no particularly good reason to try to make things worse for them by electing judges who are unaccountable and "take" their decisions out of the clear blue sky.
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The Benefits of a Real Convention
By Maureen Rudel
There are those political pundits who are wringing their hands because, at the present time, it does not appear that either of the remaining two Democrat candidates will have enough delegates prior to the Democrat Convention in August to claim the nomination. This means that the actual decision would be made at the Convention itself by the delegates assembled there.
Younger voters don't remember that this used to be the norm. The party Conventions were intended to choose the candidates. They weren't originally designed to be promotions of the chosen candidate.
Personally, I prefer the excitement and reality of a real Convention. The last real one I can recall was 1976, when Ronald Reagan was challenging Gerald Ford, the sitting President, for the nomination. As it turned out, President Ford had the votes he needed to obtain the nomination on the first ballot, but it wasn't clear until it happened, and Ronald Reagan's performance at the Convention set the stage for his 1980 successful run.
The advantage of choosing a candidate at the Convention is that it allows for buyer's remorse to correct a mistake. If one of the contenders displays a fatal flaw after having toted up enough delegates to secure the nomination, arguably, the delegates to the National Convention could correct the mistake, but it is highly unlikely.
The late choice empowers the political parties, makes it beneficial to work closely with state and local parties and keeps interest high. There is no question that the level of interest of Democrats in the candidate choice is extremely high and has energized their party to a level not seen in years. The fact that the winner is not known and probably won't be known until the Convention, or just before it, will keep their interests high.
Give me the good old days and a real Convention.
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MIZ LILLIAN’S LITTLE BOY
By Maureen Rudel
It is my understanding that in the heyday of Vaudeville, there was a fellow at the side of the stage with a great, big hook who would swoop in and grab someone who was putting on a terrible act. Where is that man, now?
I don’t know whether Jimmy Carter came by his pessimistic, sour attitude because of his dominating mother who apparently instilled uncontrollable fear at the sight of a swimming rabbit, or just his own ornery self. Whatever the cause, it’s time to send this imposter back to the peanut warehouse in Plains and lock the door.
He was a terrible president. He brought on double-digit inflation and unemployment – remember the word “stagflation.” He brought down the Shah of Iran, and encouraged the establishment of the Ayatollah reign in Iran, who promptly stormed the American embassy and took American personnel hostage for 444 days – until Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.
His marvelous personnel choices – Stansfield Turner to head the CIA, whose main claim to fame was to gut the agency’s ability to put people on the ground in places they needed to be – Attorney General Ramsey Clark whose most recent claim to fame was to defend Saddam Hussein – and his defense establishment whose great efforts to try to release the hostages resulted in the crash of helicopters in the dessert, with American servicemen killed, the effort aborted, the military embarrassed and the hostages still in custody.
He so skillfully handled the energy problem that there were lines for gasoline, limits on how much you could buy and no increase in production. Instead, we were supposed to turn the heat down and put on a sweater.
Maybe I have a selective memory, but I don’t remember anything he did right, except to lose to Ronald Reagan in his reelection bid. Americans then had an opportunity to learn what a happy, optimistic, confident President could let them accomplish if they were left alone to do so and left with enough of their own money to make it happen.
Ever since he left office, the disgraced Jimmy Carter has been trying to redeem himself. He has utterly failed. His anti-Semitic, anti-American, anti-Republican, pro-despot comments on the world stage are not helpful. He is a viciously partisan Democrat, but he did nothing to make Bill Clinton’s life any easier. He was interfering with the diplomatic priorities of the Clinton administration as well.
We can remember what a good buddy he was of Yasser Arafat, but that figures. Any terrorist who wants to see the elimination of Israel gets his vote. Now, he is kissing up to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president who wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
From Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba, no one is worse for the world than George W. Bush. Remember the great deal he cooked up with Kim Jong Il to put an end to North Korea’s nuclear program?
It’s time for this embarrassment to go away. He must have gotten tired of building houses for Habitat for Humanity. I don’t care what he does from now on, but Miz Lillian’s sour little boy, who has never grown up, should get off the stage and let the grownups do their work in peace.
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The Road to Hell
By Maureen Rudel
Once again, the gun-grabbers have shown us the wisdom of their good intentions when the legislators in the Commonwealth of Virginia decided to disarm all of the law-abiding people attending Virginia Tech and the other colleges and universities.
The result, again, is VICTIMS. We seem to have an unending need for victims in out society – people that we can feel sorry for and memorialize. People who died for no good reason. They were not defending their country, their families or friends, or even themselves. They were shot down, defenseless, because of the actions of their own government and a demented, evil, killer who knew he had all of the time in the world because he was the only one with a weapon.
The story did not have to read that way. Instead of 32 VICTIMS and one killer dead, it could have been different. The resident advisor, who was the second person shot that morning, might have had his own gun and put an end to the killing after the first young lady was killed. Any of those students or teachers who were waiting for their execution as the killer went from room to room in the engineering building might have stopped him.
But, no, the press, the gun-grabbers and the blame-gamers want to second-guess the police and university authorities for their actions. The police cannot be everywhere. They are dedicated, hard-working people, but they are not psychic. They don’t know where everyone is at all times and what they are going to do next. Certainly, it makes sense to determine if a different course of action might have been better, but that is all speculation since no two events are ever identical.
Even the former police commissioner of New York City is rethinking his position on gun control and armed citizens, realizing that self-defense is a reasonable way to go in a free society.
We were recently visiting some friends in the South, whose universities do not ban guns. Many of the students carry guns on their persons or in their cars, and many more have guns in their rooms. You don’t read about mass murders at these institutions.
Maybe the time has come to rethink the wisdom of retaining those do-gooder legislators and the governor who so happily signed the bill that created all those VICTIMS.
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What Happened to the Republican and Conservative Majority
Lt. Governor Dick Posthumus...On Republicans & Conservatives
This is the view of a simple farmer (and now also a manufacturer) with twenty years of public service who loves this country and this state.
The majority of people in this country and especially in Michigan still generally have a conservative view of the world. The proof I would put forward on this is that: 1) The most conservative ballot initiative in Michigan was the “Michigan Civil Rights Initiative”. Agree with it or not, it passed with a large majority; 2) Many of the new Democrats elected to the U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate were (and in Michigan) were from the more conservative wing of the Democrat Party.
The Republican Party has not gotten too conservative, but instead had lost some of its direction and identity. I will discuss that in depth in a moment
The liberals and Democrat Party did not win more elections this year because they had better ideas. My proof on this is: Name more than one idea that liberals and the Democrat Party stood for in 2006-- They didn’t have any. They ran on two things: 1) Nationally, they ran on the idea that Republicans made a mess of the Iraq war and 2) In Michigan and in the nation, they just ran against Republicans. Both were successful this year, but neither puts forward a new vision for Michigan or the U.S. They are negative ideas, not positive.
So if the majority of citizens still have a conservative view, if the Republican Party hasn’t become too conservative, and if the Democrats didn’t have better ideas, what happened? I don’t think it is that complicated.
People were mad at the war, mad at the lack of leadership in Congress, and mad at the corruption.
I am not smart enough to know the answer to the Iraq war. I do believe, however, Republicans made a mistake in setting the expectations on this. There was the view that this was going to be over in a few months. The fact is people of all faiths, including Muslims, will be battling this radical, terrorist form of religious extremism for a number of decades before it is resolved. This has risen from time-to time throughout history and it takes a generation to solve. It is to my children and grandchildren’s generation what the battle against Communism was to my parents and my generation.
When a party is in power for a period of years it can have the tendency to become more interested in maintaining that power then leading based on a vision and ideas. That happened to the Democrats and the “Roosevelt coalition” in the 70s and 80s. And to some degree that happened on a national level to Republicans in the last four years. This led the Republican leadership to not taking steps against other members who abused their power. Don’t forget Republicans won control of the U.S. Congress because the Democrats had abused their power in the 70s and 80s making deals with lobbyists, etc. Is it any wonder the public was mad at Republicans because they allowed some of their members (allow a small number) to do the same thing?
Despite all of this, however, I think the most important mistake Republicans in Washington and in Michigan made was forgetting who we were. We became the majority because we represent a coalition of the working/middle class. The GOP coalition put together by President Reagan, Speaker Newt Gingrich, and others is made up of three groups-Economic Conservatives (traditional Ford/Dole Republicans most interested in helping to grow business and creating jobs), Social Conservatives (religious conservatives represented by people like Bill Bennet and Senator Brownback emphasizing issues like abortion, marriage, private education, family etc.), and the Cultural Conservatives (the Reagan Democrats or Blue Collar Republicans- found in larger numbers in Macomb, Monroe and UP Counties and most interested in tax cuts for their family, family issues, and good jobs). Together this coalition is a majority in America and in Michigan. Without all three groups, a majority is not possible!
Most people (especially the media) confuse the last two groups, throwing them together. They talk about two groups making up the Republican coalition. That is a huge mistake. Those two groups, and in fact all three groups have some differing characteristics (as identified above). Republicans must lead, communicate and work on issues that are important to all three parts of the coalition.
In the 2006 election Republicans generally did well with Economic Conservatives and Social Conservatives. It was Cultural Conservatives (blue collar, working families) they lost. The Cultural Conservatives didn’t see the GOP as representing them anymore. In Washington when the GOP talked about tax cuts, they talked primarily about capital gains and inheritance taxes. In Lansing the GOP talked primarily about SBT and Personal Property Taxes. While these cuts are important economically, working families generally don’t relate to them. As a result, Republicans were perceived (with the Democrats help) as representing only the wealthy. So Republicans had trouble maintaining their broader conservative identity in Lansing as well as in Washington, DC.
Republicans must and can change this with a broader economic vision for Michigan. That is why I believe strongly that, for both economic reasons as well as political reasons, the Michigan Republicans need to change their discussion on the economic/budget crises facing this state. Republicans and conservatives must first talk about the crises facing the families and working people of Michigan, not the State Government. Let the liberal Democrats defend government. Republicans must defend the citizens. They must make cutting property taxes, and even possibly, income taxes for the families and the workers a part of the whole SBT discussion. They must lead with this economic vision along with cutting government. That is a vision that unites all of the Republican coalition, a large majority of Michigan citizens, and is the basis for a vision for tomorrow.
Lt. Governor of Michigan 1999-2003
Senate Majority Leader 1991-1999
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Watch the What the Democrats Do
By Maureen Rudel
Okay, everyone had their say and threw the bums out. Now pay attention to the bums who won.
Already at the state level, Jennifer Granholm is trying to figure out how to raise taxes. For the last four years, she has been trying to do that, but with both the State House and Senate in Republican hands, no general tax increase was imposed, although the Republicans did pass many fee increases and cigarette tax increases. We will watch to see if the Senate Republicans have enough courage to stand their ground.
At the federal level, the House Democrats have raised the minimum wage, have passed, or will pass, the requirement that the federal government must "negotiate" with the drug companies (set prices) -- even though the Congressional Budget Office has said it will not save a dime since the private sector has been so successful in dealing with the drug companies in the plans they provide. They want to lower the rates on college loans -- which, by the way, creates the moral hazard that people will pile on much more debt rather than working while going to school to keep debts down.
They have already backed off their stated promise to enact all of the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission, as if that group was the font of all wisdom. They say that they will institute "Pay as you Go" rules which require any new spending to be offset by spending cuts or tax increases -- guess what they will choose. They also say that they are going to adopt strong ethics rules. That would have been nice, but there are enough loopholes in the proposals they promote to drive a 747 (or private jet) through.
Rep. Charlie Rangel is dying to raise taxes "on the rich." Rep. John Conyers is dying to "impeach Bush."
Rep. Maurice Hinchey is dying to reinstate the "fairness doctrine" to squelch conservatives on talk radio. Even though the rest of the media is overwhelmingly liberal, we must make sure that no other views are available.
The Socialist agenda is on the rise. Think about what it would be like to have the biggest busybody you know running your life.
No trans fats, no cigarettes, no beer, wine is fine -- only if French, give us your paycheck and we'll give back to you what we think you deserve.
They are trying to hide their agenda for the next two years so that the new Democrats who were just elected will become entrenched and not lose their seats in 2008. However, they just can't stop being what they are. They will decide how much people should be able to make. Class warfare rules. The "Nanny State" will further intrude because you are too darn stupid to make the right decisions. Remember what Bill Clinton said -- something to the effect of: "We could give people a tax cut, but they might not spend their money in the right way."
Sometimes, you have to jump in the fire to appreciate the frying pan.
It is time for real Republicans to stand up, get their acts together and take back the State House, improve our numbers in the Senate and start working now for 2008.
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MESSAGE FROM IOSCO COUNTY VICE CHAIR, MARY P. SMITH
The recent death of Chair William Reilly creates a large gap in our local Republican Party. In addition to holding our organization and activities together, Bill also gave our county representation at the state level as one of three Republican state committeemen from the First Congressional District. Bill’s optimistic attitude, his deep involvement and generous spirit will be missed for a very long time to come.
While we experience this loss, know that we have a very capable team of officers, Secretary Dave Nelsey, Treasurer Maureen Rudel and yours truly, to guide our activities in the interim. I will be just a phone call away even though 1,300 miles will separate us for the next few months.
We trust that the right person will eventually be found to assume the leadership role. Anyone interested in consideration for the post should contact Maureen at 362-4747. In this off-election year, our primary activities will be candidate recruitment for the 2008 election and building our ranks with new and renewed memberships.
I have suggested that we institute an Iosco County Republicans Reagan/Lincoln Dinner as a fund-raiser for the Spring, so don’t look for the usual Lincoln Day Dinner in February. Our hope is to have Michigan Republican Chair Saul Anuzis as our speaker.
God bless you. And, God bless and protect the United States. See you in the Spring.
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Ten Years and Counting
By Maureen Rudel
Ten years ago, I put out my first newsletter. Shortly thereafter, it became a monthly feature. I have enjoyed all of the opportunities and efforts to try to put together an interesting and entertaining product. Hopefully, I have succeeded more than I have failed.
I never expected to be sending this without Bill Reilly presiding as Chair, but unexpected happenings do occur.
I thank all of you, who, from time to time, have submitted Guest Columns for us to read.
While I have no expectation of stepping down as editor, I know that this month I will be eligible to receive Social Security. Therefore, cognizant of the passage of time, I encourage all of you to consider sending items you would like to see in the newsletter (many of the items that have been in over the years have been sent by readers) and submitting opinion columns.
If anyone would like to take a shot at putting an entire newsletter together, I would be delighted to assist.
No two editors will ever produce the same product because each person puts his or her own interests into the mix when selecting items to publish. There is no one correct way.
As we have seen newsletters from other counties, you can see the personality of the editor in each. There is no one correct format, there is no one correct length.
The agenda of the next meeting and the activities of the Sunrise Side Republican Women's Club are the main reasons to send out the newsletter, but, as long as that must be sent, why not include other information that might be interesting.
That has been my approach to the newsletter, and will continue to be as long as you want me to continue as editor and as long as I am able.
Thank you for all of the kind things you have said over the years.
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Black and Blue
By Maureen Rudel
This column is directed particularly at the distaff side of the electorate. There are, of course some "wobblies" among the men out there, but women seem particularly offended by the necessity of armed conflict on some occasions. They think "Can't we all just get along" -- the famous Rodney King line. He, of course, finds it very difficult to do, and has been arrested and probably convicted of numerous drug, alcohol and assaultive crimes since he was paid his millions by the City of Los Angeles. (So much for the theory that poverty causes bad behavior.) This is probably due to the fact that most women have spent a good deal of time trying to make certain that fratricide did not shorten the natural life of the fruit of their loins.
However, there is a time to fight -- and, if necessary, to die. Death is NOT the worst thing that can happen to someone.
I want you to decide whether you want a black burka like they wear in most of the Arab countries, or a blue one as the women were required to wear under the rules of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Girls will no longer go to school. It is not necessary because they will not be able to work outside the home. They will not leave their homes (nor will you) without a male relative. No driving is allowed.
No man outside of your family can see your face or even a flash of ankle. No dating. The families will decide which little girl will be married off to which old man. No holding of hands. No talking to men or boys. No rights. No property. Divorce at the whim of your husband. No property settlement. No birth control. (Talk about barefoot and pregnant. . .)
If a man in your family offends a man in another family, the other's family and friends will rape the girls to settle the score. But, if the girls try to fight against the rape, they can and probably will, be killed with impunity. If they weren't married, there may well be an honor killing. If they were married, the women will be stoned to death for adultery. Heads you win, tails I lose.
Stoning and beheading is fit punishment -- in a public arena -- for any breach of the rules which are established for female conduct.
Wait, you say, those are only the rules for the Muslims under the Taliban. We aren't Muslims. You, my dear, are either a Muslim or an infidel. You can be killed for being an infidel. And, conversion can be coerced. Just recently, a Fox News reporter and cameraman were "converted" by the barrel of a gun. And, once a Muslim, no matter how it happened, you die for leaving the faith.
Have you noticed that under the radical Islamo-fascists, there are a whole lot of ways to die. A bullet would be better.
While I certainly am not thrilled with the spendthrift Republican Congress and self-important Senators (including the ones from Michigan), I am much less thrilled with the Democratic approach to people who want to kill us. It is the approach of Sergeant Schultz on Hogan's Heroes (I date myself) -- "I see nothing, I know nothing."
We should just sit down and talk to these people and negotiate with them. It's like negotiating with an environmentalist over how much of your property rights they should be able to take. They have nothing to lose. In the case of these maniacs who can't wait to die as long as they can take a lot of innocent civilians with them, do you negotiate on how many they get to kill in the hope that you aren't one?
Democrats don't like anything President Bush does to fight terrorism. They don't like the Patriot Act, which allows various government agencies to share information on potential threats; they don't like the idea of allowing the tracing of financial transactions which finance the attacks; they don't like letting the government intercepting communications between someone outside the United States with someone inside the United States where one of the parties is believed to be connected to terrorists. They don't like fighting the terrorists where they are in Iraq and seemed fixated on the capture or killing of Osama bin Laden. I'd like him dead, too, but killing him is not going to put an end to attacks on "The Great Satan" -- The United States.
Just remember, Liberal Democrats never change. No tax is high enough. No government program spends enough and there aren't enough programs. Who cares if they don't work, it's the thought that counts. America is the root of all evil, the United Nations is the savior of the world, and defending America from attack is best left to France.
All of the "Smart People" in Washington know that the Republicans are going to lose the House and the Senate. Jimmy Carter Democrats will rule again. And, they will be right, unless you remember what is at stake, for both the State and the Nation and vote Republican in November.
Your life may just depend upon it.
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All Republicans Who Want to, Scream Now
By Maureen Rudel
While I generally try to put an optimistic twist on occurrences in the world, I have had it with a good number of Congressional and Senatorial members who pretend to be Republicans.
Let's start with spending. I am a Conservative. I believe that the Constitution sets out the limits of federal power. Nowhere does the Constitution of the United States authorize the federal government to involve itself in education, health care, retirement security of the general public, insuring people who choose to live in places subject to disasters, or saving people from their own stupidity. I don't find art, science, farming, energy or transportation in there. Nevertheless, this group that has been in charge since 1994 has lost its way, spent and spent on every want with earmarks being traded by members -- "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." The President has failed in his duty to veto explosive spending bills. He pushed for new entitlements not authorized by the Constitution, and takes pride in getting Ted Kennedy's support. This is bad enough.
However, the Constitution specifically DOES required the federal government to defend us from foes, domestic and foreign. So some of our particularly "important" bloviators have decided to question whether the President should try to determine who the terrorists are talking to if one of the parties is out of the country. Have they lost their minds?
When a Representative in the House has failed to respond to a subpoena served upon him (which was announced on the floor of the House) and tries to hide documents during the course of an FBI search of the Congressman's house in which $90,000 was found in his freezer, after he was caught on tape accepting a bribe of $100,000, the VERY IMPORTANT HOUSE MEMBERS object to a search of the Congressman's office done under authority of a search warrant. You try to tell the FBI that you are too important to be searched when you are under suspicion of a felony. The "speech and debate" clause on which they rely states: "The Senators and Representatives . . . shall in all Cases, except Treason, FELONY and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place." It doesn't say hide evidence of felonies in your legislative office and get out of jail free.
But the crowning blow is this travesty of an immigration bill that came out of the Senate. Guarding our borders is one of those powers given to the federal government. I have no problem with controlled legal immigration. I do have a real problem with rewarding illegal aliens by charging them a fine which is less than the fees and legal bills that a legal immigrant has to pay. I am troubled by the fact that illegals will become citizens in less time and with less hassle than those who have followed the rules. I am disturbed that the bill gives amnesty to those who have stolen identities and used someone else's social security number, or made one up. They will be rewarded for that crime by receiving social security benefits based on those crimes.
The argument is that we can't go around and deport 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants that are here in the shadows. We don't have to. If the federal government would only enforce the laws that are already on the books and go after employers who have employees whose social security numbers don't match the official records, it would go a long way toward convincing illegals to leave and discourage others from coming. However, the geniuses in Congress not only don't require this, they prohibit the Social Security Administration from disclosing the employers who submit false numbers or the employees who submit them. If they are picked up by local police on traffic or other charges, and the immigration authorities are called, more often than not, they are told to release the illegals.
The federal government hasn't earned the trust of the American people in dealing with immigration. First secure the borders. Then enforce the workplace requirements. Let's see how that works for a few years. Then, we can talk about dealing with guest workers and what to do with the illegals who still are here. There will be a much smaller problem.
Fortunately for America, the supercilious, blithering, blabbering Senators, who know everything, forgot the first sentence of Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution which states: "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. . . ." We can only hope that the House, which seems so sensitive about its prerogatives, will tell the Senate to take their bill and shove it.
Republicans in Congress cannot expect their base voters to vote for them on the theory that the Democrats would be worse. That is undoubtedly true, but its really hard to get enthusiastic about someone who says: "Vote for me, I'll only disappoint you 75% of the time."
It's time for those who want to be in office to dance with the ones that brung them. If not, we should find new dancing partners.
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A Worthy Project
By Elden Teall, Hale
Here's an item I think is worthy of mention. It is something being done as a worthy project by the American Legion. It is a nationwide attempt to reach out and touch, to be an uplifting hand to those family members of our active military who have to leave their families behind while the go do their duty is the nasty places around the world.
This project is called "Military Family Support".
Let me first state that during my tenure (Air Force career) of 22 years from July '52 thru July '74, that NEVER EVEN ONCE was I reached out to be touched by either American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or by any of their members. The fact that I was exposed to dangers, which included aerial combat in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, while my wife and children worried back home next to their grandparents. Never once were they approached by any member of these two established organizations, to simply ask "Is there anything we can do to help or to ease your burden of grief?"
I wholeheartedly support this new attempt to gather the old eagles with the young eaglets into a common cause; that cause being the health, well-being, and welfare of the families they need to leave behind, while the new eagles learn to fly and protect this wonderful, God-Blessed, country we call the United States of America.
Elden Teall A Republican Forever, a Conservative by Choice.
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Corporations Don't Pay Taxes
By Maureen Rudel
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Dick DeVos when he was in Iosco on October 26, 2005. He was a delightful gentleman, but, more than that, an honest politician. While I was listening, someone came up and started to discuss business taxes with him, questioning how they should be done.
He was one of the few politicians who will tell the truth. Corporations DO NOT pay taxes. Remember, a corporation is a legal fiction, a piece of paper, which simply bestows the right for PEOPLE to conduct their business following certain rules. ONLY PEOPLE pay taxes.
The object of taxing businesses is to fool people into thinking that someone else is paying for the cost of government. Businesses collect taxes from PEOPLE and send them on to the government. The money that is sent by businesses can only come from three sources, the owners or shareholders, the employees, and/or the customers. Most people fit in at least two of these categories, many fit in all three. The payment is hidden from plain view by being included in the cost of the goods, the raise the employee did not get, or the dividend that was not paid.
The ideal rate of taxation for business is ZERO.
If Michigan were to adopt an honest tax system and eliminate the taxes on business altogether, we would have no difficulty luring businesses to the state and improving the employment picture. States which don't make the businesses collect their taxes for them have a great advantage. The problem with putting businesses in the middle of the tax picture is that it costs a lot of money to pass the money to the state. It takes a lot of time. It means that the business is doing something non-productive to its purpose and exposing itself to liability for doing it wrong.
The most recent Michigan State House of Representatives proposal to substantially lower the taxes on business is a good start, but if everyone became an honest politician and backed a ZERO tax rate for business, it would turn this state around.
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Just the Facts, Ma'am
By Maureen Rudel
In the late 1970's the Army Corps of Engineers proposed building fortifications at two strategic location that would have withstood the fury of a Category 5 hurricane. Floodgates would have been built to block storm surges from moving from the Gulf into Lake Pontchartrain. Those plans were abandoned after environmental advocates successfully sued to stop the projects as too damaging to the wetlands and the lake's eco-system. An injunction was issued against the project. May 28, 2005 New Orleans Times-Picayune.
In the New Orleans area, the local entity that oversees the levees and floodgates is the Orleans Levee Board. From 1991 to 1995 the federal government allocated almost $60 million for flood protection. This was to be part of a $140 million program which was to be completed by 1999. Because of mismanagement by the Board of contracts, it was denied the authority to refinance bonds or issue new ones until it submitted an acceptable plan to achieve solvency. Because the board could not provide the local match, it was unable to spend the allocated federal funds. The state government's 1998 construction budget of $2 billion dedicated $1.98 million to levee improvements while the rest was sent to other projects. By 2002, the state and local governments had deferred $60 million in flood protection projects, leaving the available 65% matching funds untouched. The levee board receives more than $6 million in taxes dedicated to capital projects. In 2000 and 2001, it approved or pledged millions of dollars for projects such as Tournament Players Club golf course, street relocation, historic district development, bike paths on top of levees, and, early this year, completed restoration of a fountain and new plaza next to the seawall for $2.5 million. CNSNews.com, Jeff Johnson, Sep. 7, 2005.
July 2004. Louisiana Office of Homeland Security with FEMA conduct an exercise for "Hurricane Pam," which overwhelmed the levees on Lake Pontchartrain, leaving New Orleans under as much as 20 feet of water. The city of New Orleans plan noted that a category 3 hurricane would necessitate at least a 72 hour period before storm reached land to properly implement evacuation procedures. Mayor Nagin waited until the day prior to landfall of Katrina before declaring a state of emergency and ordering mandatory evacuation. Governor Blanco acted two days earlier. Washington Times Weekly Edition, Sep.12-18, 2005
Thursday, August 25, 2005. Hurricane Katrina hits southern Florida as a Category 1 hurricane. National Hurricane Center says it is likely to become a dangerous storm in 3 days. President Bush calls Blanco to urge her to evacuate areas in danger.
Friday, August 26. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco declares State of Emergency. White House declares impending disaster area and orders DHS & FEMA to prepare to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. Defense Department establishes coordinating offices in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana that day and the next.
Saturday, August 27. Katrina builds to Category 3, with evacuations ordered in low lying areas. Blanco requests federal assistance, Pres. Bush declares state of emergency. Greyhound & Amtrak stop service late Saturday to move equipment out of danger. Amtrak offered to evacuate New Orleans citizens in the trains. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says he was never advised of this offer. Nagin declares state of emergency and urges residents in low-lying areas to evacuate. Gov. Haley Barbour declares state of emergency in Mississippi. Orders mandatory evacuation of Hancock county. Nagin says city's shelters should be used as a last resort and tells residents to bring enough food, water and supplies to last for several days. Gov. Bob Riley declares state of emergency in Alabama. FEMA and other emergency teams were in place and ready to move in as soon as storm was over, according to FEMA chief, Michael Brown.
Sunday, August 28. Katrina builds to Category 5. Alabama joins Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana as declared disaster states. Regional Transit Authority buses take people to the Superdome -- about 26,000 present. Louisiana Nat'l Guard delivers 3 truckloads of water and 7 of MRE's (meals ready to eat) -- enough for about 15,000 people for 3 days. Louisiana National Guard request 700 buses from FEMA for evacuation. 100 sent.
Monday, August 29. Katrina hit land at 6:10 a.m. Power went out at the Superdome. A barge broke loose and crashed through the floodwall on the Industrial Canal, flooding the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish. Levee breached at 17th Street Canal. American Red Cross and Salvation Army are standing by with emergency medicine, relief supplies, food and water ready to provide relief to the thousands suffering at the Superdome and convention center. Louisiana Homeland Security Department refused to allow them in saying that their presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city. This refusal never changed. 146 municipal mass-transit and 255 school buses were left to flood. Nagin later said he couldn't find enough bus drivers to drive his buses.
Tuesday, August 30. Water pours into city from breached levees. No power, no water, no sewer. Widespread looting and fires in New Orleans. US military starts moving helicopters and ships at request of FEMA, the largest search-and-rescue operation in US history. Blanco says everyone still in New Orleans must be evacuated. Rescuers in boats and helicopters pick up hundreds of stranded people.
Wednesday, August 31. 18 year-old Jabbor Gibson delivers 100 evacuees from New Orleans in commandeered, abandoned school bus to Houston Astrodome. He has never driven a school bus before. Looting grows exponentially. First buses start leaving Superdome for Astrodome in Houston. National Guard troops arrive in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
Thursday, September 1. Violence and shooting disrupts rescue efforts. Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff says 4200 National Guard troops trained as military police will be deployed in New Orleans over the next three days. Some 20% of New Orleans police have stopped showing up for duty. National Guard helicopter drops food and water at the convention center. Nagin calls for buses. People are bused to Houston Astrodome. A field hospital set up at the city’s airport flies people out of the area. Corps of Engineers expected to complete sealing the breach of the levee at the 17th St. Canal. FEMA director Michael Brown told CNN that federal officials only found out about the convention center crisis earlier in the day and had since directed “all available resources” to be made available there. Crowds at the Superdome swell to 30,000 with another 25,000 at the convention center. 76,000 are at Red Cross shelters elsewhere.
Friday, September 2. Armed officials from Gretna prevent pedestrians from leaving New Orleans by way of the Crescent City Connection over the Mississippi. Gretna officials explained that their citizens had left, the city was locked down and secure. They had no buses, food, water, shelter, or communications. They did not want thousands of people streaming into Gretna expecting help they couldn’t provide. Armed forces, including National Guard units begin massive evacuation from Superdome and convention center. Convoy arrives at convention center with food, water and medicine. 154,000 evacuees are in Texas. Other states offer to accept evacuees. President Bush offers Blanco the option to federalize the relief effort. She want 24 hours to think it over.
Saturday, September 3. Tens of thousands of evacuees cleared from the Superdome and convention center. Blanco refuses offer to federalize relief.
Sunday, September 4. Corps of Engineers begins pumping water out of New Orleans, having sealed breach at 17th St. Canal. Teams continue search-and-rescue efforts and look for remains.
Did the federal government fail miserably in its response to Katrina? Jack Kelly, writing in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on September 11, 2005, quoted Jason van Steenwyk, a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that: “The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne.”
He notes that guardsmen need to receive mobilization orders; report to their armories; draw equipment; receive orders and convoy to the disaster area. Those driving from Pennsylvania or Navy ships sailing from Norfolk can’t be on the scene immediately. Federal troops and Guardsmen from other states cannot be sent to a disaster area until their presence has been requested by the governors of the afflicted states.
The levee broke Tuesday morning. Buses had to be rounded up and driven from Houston to New Orleans across debris-strewn roads. The first ones arrived Wednesday evening.
Mike Thomas in a commentary in the Orlando Sentinel on September 8, 2005, brought up an excellent point. Hurricane Katrina caused every catastrophe conceivable except a major oil spill.
Despite the multiple hurricanes last year and this, with oil-drilling rigs torn from their moorings and floating around the Gulf, 10,000 miles of oil pipeline being torn up, no major oil spill has occurred.
When a storm approaches, the oil companies stop drilling and pull up their pipes. At the production platforms, they shut safety valves located in the shafts below the sea bottom. No matter what happens on the surface, the oil underneath is safely contained.
Pipelines remain vulnerable. Hurricane Ivan triggered several spills, the biggest of which occurred about 30 miles off the Louisiana coast. Cleanup crews collected 200,000 gallons of oil, not a large spill. This is because valves and lack of flow during storms limit the damage. Tankers and barges are a bigger threat than pipelines.
He then asks why Florida officials, despite the state’s high usage of petroleum products continue to oppose off-shore drilling in the eastern Gulf. This position makes even less sense in the case of natural gas, which is increasingly relied upon by the state for energy production.
He has an excellent point.
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We Can See That Judges Matter
By Maureen Rudel
In the recent case of Kelo v City of New London, the United States Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision that municipalities can use eminent domain, the power of condemnation of property, to promote economic development. In other words, if the government thinks it can take your property and give it to another private party who will pay more taxes, that is just fine with the majority of the Court.
People in Michigan should not be horrified by this decision. It sprang, fully formed, from the Michigan Supreme Court when it was controlled by liberal judges many years ago. It happened to Poletown. The City of Detroit condemned private homes in Poletown to give the property to General Motors to build a plant. There was no pretense that this would be a "public use" as is required in both the state and federal Constitutions. The case went up to the Michigan Supreme Court, which ruled, in 1981, that the public benefit from the plant justified the taking of these private properties. It was the Poletown case which led to the kind of taking upheld in Kelo.
However, in July of 2004, the Michigan Supreme Court, in the case of Wayne County v Hathcock, now dominated by judges who believe in interpreting law, not making it, reversed the Poletown case and held that it violated the state's 1963 Constitution.
Wayne County was trying to condemn property near Metro Airport for a high technology park. Some of the residents did not want to sell, so the County tried to condemn their property.
"The county is without constitutional authority to condemn the properties," the court's opinion read. All seven justices voted to overturn Poletown, although three dissented over some technical aspects that do not affect the main ruling.
Justice Robert Young, who wrote the lead opinion, called the 1981 case allowing Detroit's Poletown neighborhood to be cleared for a GM plant a "radical departure from fundamental constitutional principles."
"We overrule Poletown," Young wrote, "in order to vindicate our constitution, protect the people's property rights and preserve the legitimacy of the judicial branch as the expositor, not creator, of fundamental law."
So, in Michigan, we are presently protected from having our property taken to give to someone else who will pay more in taxes. But, if we, like the United States Supreme Court, end up with judges who decide to write law, not interpret it, we could be in danger again.
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A Close Look at Gun Control Advocates
By Maureen Rudel
As the FBI comes out with its most recent report showing that the violent crime rate has fallen again, except in a few big cities, the gun-grabbers are trying to revive the foolish "Assault Gun Ban" which expired last year.
Let's go back historically to the gun ban efforts. They started in the post-Civil War south, when white Southerners were trying to make sure that blacks could not fight back against white hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. They migrated north in the 1930's when large groups of black Southerners came north for jobs in the auto plants.
Remember, in Michigan, until the recent "Shall Issue" law for Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW), the sheriff, prosecutor and a Michigan State Police official would decide who could carry a gun. Do you think that many blacks were issued permits in white dominated cities? How about in the first half of the 20th Century?
Remember that the next round of gun control came after the race riots of the late 1960's. The object of these was to get guns out of the hands of blacks. It worked very well to keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding blacks and whites.
While those who trumpet gun control, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow, Charles Schumer, George Soros and like-minded individuals live in gated, wealthy, well-protected or well-policed neighborhoods, and have no fear of nightly gun battles on their streets, they condemn others to death. It is undisputed that the highest number of violent crimes are commited by blacks against blacks. But, in city after city, and in particular, Washington, DC, law-abiding blacks are prohibited from defending themselves. They are supposed to call 9-1-1 and wait for the police -- who can fill out a report or take the victim to the hospital or the morgue.
What I don't understand is why these white Liberals haven't gotten over the racist urge to make sure that blacks (as well as the rest of us lowly peons) cannot defend our homes and lives.
Remember, The Second Amendment was not adopted to make sure people could go deer hunting in the fall. It was adopted to recognize our natural right to protect ourselves from harm by individuals or the government. Like all of our natural rights which are recognized in the Bill of Rights, they do NOT come from government and cannot be taken by government unless our Constitution is destroyed.
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Now Is the Time to Plan
By Maureen Rudel
On May 23, 2005, a travesty occurred. For four years, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow have kept the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals at 75% strength for partisan and personal reasons. Four of President Bush's Michigan nominees who have been waiting for a vote -- all of whom are highly qualified -- have been deprived of that vote by the Democrats' filibuster.
A group of 14 senators, "moderates", as hailed by the press decided to throw out the Michigan nominees as trash in their haste to grab the praise and cameras of the mainstream media. The people who have been sacrificed and vilified meant nothing to them.
Some of these self-congratulating senators plan to run for president in 2008. I wonder how they would react to their nominees being treated in the same way.
Michigan Republicans need to rethink the presidential nomination system. At the present time, Democrats choose their candidates in party caucuses. Democrats and other non-Republican voters also choose the Republican candidates. This is ridiculous. No wonder they call Republicans the "stupid party."
Not only does this farce cost the state of Michigan a bunch of money, it can result in county parties trying to find someone to go to the convention to support someone that not one of the delegates supported. It makes the State Convention a joke, and gives no one a reason to go.
It's time for Republicans to choose their candidates in county caucuses as well. We will get candidates who are supported by the party and bring some life and purpose to the conventions. It worked well for a lot of years. Let's starting making it happen so we don't end up with a Republican candidate whose arm is sore from patting himself on the back for feeding four Michigan judges to the wolves.
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Wear Red on Fridays
By Eldon Teall, Hale, Michigan
The Americans who support our troops, are the silent majority. We are not "organized" to reflect who we are, or to reflect what our opinions are. Many Americans, like yourself, would like to start a grassroots movement using the membership of the Special Operations Association, and Special Forces Associations, and all their friends, simply, to recognize that Americans support our troops. We need to inform the local VFW's and American Legions, The Vietnam Vets, our local press, local TV, and continue carrying the message to the national levels as we start to get this going.
Our idea of showing our solidarity and support for our troops is starting Friday, and continuing on each and every Friday, until this is over, that every red-blooded American who supports our young men and women. WEAR SOMETHING RED. Word of mouth, press, TV--let's see if we can make the United States, on any given Friday, a sea of red much like a home football game at the University.
If everyone of our memberships share this with other acquaintances, fellow workers, friends, and neighbors, I guarantee that it will not be long before the USA will be covered in RED=and make our troops know there are many people thinking of their well-being. You will feel better all day Friday when you wear RED!'
Wear RED on Fridays...
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE, BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE. FOR US, THEIR BLOOD RUNS RED!! GOD BLESS AMERICA
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WHY WORK THAT HARD?
By Maureen Rudel
President Bush is going around the country to try to explain to people that the Social Security program is in trouble. Why bother?
Every one of the Democrats in Congress knows it’s in trouble. They know there is nothing but IOU’s in the “Trust Fund.” They deny there is any promise that can’t be kept if only you “tweak” the system – raise the retirement age, raise taxes, means-test the program, raise the cap on earnings, etc., etc.
I have always known that the Social Security system is nothing but a Ponzi scheme. I have never planned to rely on it for my retirement security. I am an “ant.” My husband and I worked and saved and invested on our own. We didn’t wait for the government to take care of us because we know politicians aren't reliable.
Democrats don’t want to let people have private accounts because they will develop wealth and learn that the worst place to put your money is in some politician’s hands.
The Social Security system is designed to reward grasshoppers. Don’t save, don’t invest and don’t rely on yourself. Because the fund is not inheritable, no one ever moves up the ladder. This makes sure that there is a never-ending supply of people who have to rely on government to provide them with a meager life.
Whether the changes are made or not, the system is going to go broke. By 2018, more money goes out than comes in. In truth, it’s broke then. It’s broken now.
If the Republicans do nothing to try to save it, no one will. The many fewer workers who will be asked to pay the benefits for the baby-boomers will not do it. The entire system will explode and people will have to learn how to take care of themselves again.
The ants will take care of themselves and the grasshoppers will have nothing.
If that’s what the Democrats want, let them have it.
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Why We Are Different
By Maureen Rudel
On January 13, 2005, C-SPAN broadcast Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephan Breyer in a "conversation" about the wisdom of referring to foreign court decisions in Supreme Court decisions. Breyer took the affirmative view and Scalia did not approve of the practice. It was his opinion that the jurists should confine themselves to the American Constitution as the source of wisdom.
While Justice Breyer felt it was appropriate to see how other courts around the world dealt with questions that have arisen, Justice Scalia thought that it was fine to read them, just don't cite them. I vigorously agree with Scalia, not Breyer.
While the Founding Fathers reviewed writings from all over the world and throughout history in their deliberations on the writing of the American Constitution, they were writing it, not interpreting it.
When the founders established the United States of America as a representative republic, there was exactly one democracy in the world. They did not found a "democracy" in which the majority rules. They had learned that throughout history, those had failed because the majority would vote themselves benefits at the expense of the minority (soak the rich) leading, ultimately, to the collapse of the country. They established a representative republic, with the rule of law, protection of minorities, and checks and balances on the power of any one branch of government.
Even today, this type of system is rare.
Remember, most of the European countries started as vassal states, evolving into monarchies. Monarchs were said to receive their power from God. Power devolved down, according to the will of the monarch. "The King can do no wrong." Even Britains have a queen. They are not citizens, they are subjects. They have no written Constitution, and their parliamentary system allows the ruling party to run almost any law through. The same history applies to most other countries in the world. Because of this difference in view, most European law is not relevant to us.
In our system, power rests in the people. Those who are elected get their power from the consent of the governed. We have no hereditary titles or people who take office because they were born. This gives Americans a vastly different point of view.
Even at the end of the debate, Justice Breyer observed this difference, and noted (regretfully?) that Americans didn't seem to like having decisions come down from unelected people depending on foreign law.
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Another Bad Example of the National Academy of Sciences
By William C. Humphries, Jr., Macon, Georgia
After reading last month's article on the National Academy of Sciences report on guns, Billy was moved to give us another example of its incompetence. He is the founder of Forest Resources Consultants, Inc. of Macon. He graduated from the Univ. of Georgia with a B.S. degree in Forest Management in 1965, and worked with private industry before starting his consulting firm. He is Past President of the Association of Consulting Foresters of America (ACF), 2004 recipient of the Forester of the Year from ACF, has served as Chairman of the Georgia State Board of Registered Foresters and is a registered forester in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi. He has managed forests for some of the nations largest lumber companies. Here is what Billy has to say:
Here is another example that National Academy of Sciences study committees are apparently filled with those who merely use the organization to promote their own opinions -- regardless of merit.
This same group "studied", at cost of $500,000, the question "What should the role of the federal government in the management of private lands"? Everyone who owns land knows the answer to this -- quite simply, NOTHING! Get out of the way and let the market place work!
I attended hearings held by this "study committee" in the South, and participated (invited to represent ACF) in the final group discussion held in Washington which concluded the study. It was all a farce, so far as I'm concerned. About 20 so called experts (all state foresters, liberal college professors from mid west and west, and liberal policy wonks were appointed, but NOT A SINGLE "EXPERT" FROM THE SOUTH WHERE MUCH COMMERCIAL FOREST LAND IS LOCATED -- AND no landowners or those with experience in dealing with landowners. Pressure finally resulted in appointing of, arguably, one who does represents landowner views. Although the person appointed is known for his bias for federal subsidy programs which most of us abhor.
The result? A book that has served as the authoritative source for promoting subsidy and government "service" and other interference programs. The so-called hearings held around the country were a sham since most participants were invitees who favored more programs with welfare handouts. Serious timber growers' opinions were barely recognized although they own 80% of the commercial forest land in America.
Now as Paul Harvey would say -- here's the rest of the story: As you suggest in the gun control article -- it's all politics and pushing personal opinion, not science.
FACT: 80% of the people in America own 20% of the acreage. FACT: The remaining 20% of people who own 80% of the land are the serious timber producers providing wood supply for America, yet this study committee ignores the interest of this group of landowners, in favor of focusing on the 80%.
No brilliance required to see through this sham -- the 80% group is where the votes are that politicians focus on during every election and it's the group that's not dependent on forestland for a living, therefore can be more easily manipulated and more apt to go for the government service programs and handouts.
National Academy of Sciences may be a good idea on the surface, but I have no confidence in anything they do, based on my personal experience. Now I have your story as additional reinforcement. I now step down from my big soapbox.
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How Sweet It Is
by Maureen Rudel
I am sure that many of you have heard of the battle which took place at 927 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. For those who haven't here is the story. This super-ritzy co-op apartment building is home to apartments which easily fetch $10 million and such liberal luminaries as Paula Zahn, her husband, Richard Cohen, and Mary Tyler Moore.
Five years ago, a red-tailed hawk, dubbed Pale Male, took up residence on a 12th floor cornice, where he and his mates, current one called Lola, have produced 22 offspring. However, unlike the rest of the residents in the building, he has some bad habits. Carcasses of pigeons and rats were occasionally tossed from the perch, and falling over 100 feet, were a safety hazard. Droppings were not appreciated. And, city slickers who were fascinated by the birds scoped them -- and the other residents of the building with binoculars and telescopes.
Richard Cohen, as head of the board presided over the decision to remove the nest and eliminate the nuisance.
This is where the fun starts.
Remember that Liberals have two sets of rules, one for them and a different set for everyone else. When it comes to rural property, wetlands (otherwise known as swamps), private forests, farms, etc., they think nothing of treading on the property rights of others for "the greater good." The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution requiring payment for the taking of private property cannot be used to compensate private property owners for regulatory takings because it would cost too much. But for Liberals, they should be allowed to make decisions consistent with their ownership interest.
Enter the usual suspects. Here come the bird lovers and other eco-nuts with no stake in the game to demand that the hawk be returned to his perch. Some nut stalked Zahn, her husband and children. He got himself arrested and fired from Associated Press Television where he worked as an engineer. The co-op's lawyer received over 200 e-mails -- some including death threats.
Approximately one week later, the pressure was so great that the co-op voted to build a box where the nest was on the hope that Pale Male and Lola will return. As of this time, they have not found other lodgings which suit their taste.
The politically correct are hoisted on their own petards. Their private property rights are sacrificed.
How sweet it is.
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Life in Europe
By Eldon Teall, Hale
Being a retired Air Force Veteran (22 years of active duty), who served in aerial combat during the time John Kerry was spewing his hate rhetoric to congress in 1971, I took this election rather personal. Thank GOD and the heavy duty performance of the RNC and its thousands of active leaders and volunteers, we avoided a disaster that would have put this country right back into the early days of FDR. I can only imagine how socialistic we would have become on Kerry's leadership. The harm caused would likely have been irreparable. I can just feature the reincarnation of the WPA and the CCC and a military draft simply for the sake of "busy-work". I can envision a National Health that works no better than it ever has in Canada and England. Believe me, the whole medical process goes to the toilet on that trip. I've seen it first hand. However, it is truly a present if you are already oppressed into a socialist's society.
Have you ever lived in any country in Eastern Europe?
I have, I have lived in Great Britton (England) from Jan 60 to Mar 62, and in Greece from Mar 62 to July 64. Both countries claim to be democratic. Over there political parties are usually labeled as conservatives and labour parties. Conservatives, like us, basically represent the ideology of commerce and business oriented people. Labour represents working people that are union oriented.
During our tenure in Europe we noted that the people of both England and Greece seemed to be both morally corrupt and financially overburdened. In England most everything sold had a purchase tax of (to my recall) about 35%. Gasoline over there right now runs about 95 cents a Litre. Keep in mind that it takes 4 litres to equal an imperial gallon. That is about 5 qts. U.S. measure. So they are paying about $3.04 for a US gallon of petrol.
When we lived there in the early 60s, I mentioned to my wife, look everyone is riding bicycles, but the streets are crowded with automobiles on Sundays. Found out that is typical. Save all week to buy enough petrol for a Sunday drive. The whole social structure appears oppressed. They had only recently came off WW2 rationing. We thought rationing here was bad, check into England's ration system in that time frame. We (as a military family with 3 children) were accepted onto the roles for National Medicine. Didn't take us long to figure what was meant by the Brain Drain.
Was confidentially informed by our family physician that he couldn't afford to leave England, otherwise he would also be over in USA making the big bucks. He stated that their medical staff was bare bones due to the Brain Drain. My, going into one of their hospitals was like stepping back into the 30s. Dirt, grime and no Air Conditioning just to start with. Yet they can spend millions of Pounds (at that time a Pound equaled about $1.80 I believe) just to keep the Royal Family living in luxury. We still have that lasting impression that where goes Mother England, so goes the USA within 40 years. Believe me, if the Democrats were kept in office over 8 years, we'd be where England was 40 years ago. GOD grant us the wisdom to prevent that from happening.
I think if you traveled into Germany, France, Italy, or Spain, and probably most of the Nordic and Slavic states you would find a similar situation as England. I believe the Euro Union is their only savior toward building a financial bloc that can ever come close the the USA's GNP and technological advancements. The only drawback is that same Financial Bloc could very well be our next potentially, nuclear armed, enemy.
If you pay attention to the news media, hate is being spread around the world in order to set the stage for war mongers of the radical, liberal persuasion. What better stage to use than the religious differences, after all, wasn't that the root of the 100 Years War? Wasn't that the prime reason for the fall of the Ottoman Empire?
Wow, don't let me get carried away on this subject. I am just totally elated that GWB is back in the saddle and leading us to a victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. He now has a mandate of the people by the numbers in both House and Senate to overthrow the Roe vs Wade entrenched court decision. In my mind, abortion is a necessary evil, but it becomes a credit to us as humans to prescribe it with very controlled and specific, medical and social reasons. Otherwise, I call it Murder in the 1st. Doctors who do not go through guidelines and appropriate channels to perform abortion should be charged swith the 1st along with both parents of the aborted fetus.
Just some random thoughts to let you know how I stand as a thinking conservative, who was once a voter for the Democratic Party. I guess it is safe to say that like most, I was born into a society as a basic democrat, but as I went to procreate, learn and teach, my values were enhanced with some basic truisms. As such I learned to be a conservative.
Regards to all in your working group. I note that Crystal Nelsey helped a bunch in this election. She is one fine young lady. This reflects well on her great parents. David is truly a class act.
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We Won, and Now They Really Hate Us
by Maureen Rudel
In my editorial on "Why They Hate Us" (June, 2004), I told you all the difference between Liberals and Conservatives. I was right, and proved right in the election results when conservative Republicans, Democrats and Independents returned President George W. Bush to office by the largest vote in history.
It has, however, been really interesting to see the reaction of the Liberals to the election results. First, the "red" people are stupid. They are homophobic, bible-thumping, blinded idiots that vote against their own financial interests. The "blue" people are of the belief that if conservatives do not want judicial activists to read into the constitutions of the states rights which certainly don't appear in the documents, they must be hateful and bigoted. If many of them happen to go to church regularly, they are mind-numbed robots who are told by their preachers they will go to hell if they don't vote the way the preacher wants. They think that saving a thousand or two on taxes, thanks to GWB, isn't enough to matter -- the liberals promise many more "entitlement benefits" (read socialized medecine) at someone else's expense -- you know, "Tax the rich." They think that we should be stupid enough to believe we can get everything for nothing and be happy about it. They think that we should be happy to vote for someone who promises a raise in the minimum wage -- without considering that it is better to have a job than a promise of a wage many small businesses cannot pay. They can't believe there are people out there who do not want to be part of the welfare state and want to take care of ourselves and our families and make our own decisions about our personal priorities.
Some have decided to secede. A map has been circulating showing the blue states annexed to Canada, entitled "The United States of Canada" and the red states entitled "Jesusland." Sounds good to me.
However, before they decide to break away, they should remember that the red states have all the farms, much of the manufacturing, most of the military bases, most of the guns and the very best soldiers, sailors and marines the world has ever seen. And, since we are red people trapped in a blue state -- because of the voting power of about three cities -- I will fight any effort to move us to the Socialist States of Canada. They will have to pry my gun from "my cold dead hands."
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What's in a Name?
By Elden Teall, Hale
Why, all of the sudden, does Independence Day show up as "Happy 4th of July"? Has our whole nation gone politically correct, or are we all nuts?
I reminded the RNC (Republican National Committee) that to wish a Happy 4th of July is no different than Cinco de Mayo, or maybe Merry 25th of December. Right?
How about a simple, "Have a great Independence Day"!
For those of you who don't get the drift, I know it's early, but Merry 25th of December, and oh yes, Happy 3rd Thursday in November.
Regards--maybe I think too much. Ed
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Your District Library
By Stephanie Mallak Olson
Iosco-Arenac District Library must find new local sources of revenue, to continue to provide services, materials, revenue sharing, and more to eight branch libraries, and, to meet the requirement of the State of Michigan for local funding.
*The District buys, catalogues, processes and distributes over 95% of the books, audios, magazines and newspapers people check out and use in the eight library branches the District provides services to. The District solicits and takes advantage of discounts to reduce costs to purchase the 6,300+ new titles it adds every year to the branch library collections.
*The District pays for and maintains 46 computers including Direct Internet connections. Twenty of the computers are for public use.
*District staff delivers new materials to all branch libraries twice a week. The District also participates in the Statewide delivery system and annually borrows and loans over 2,500 books and audios to and from libraries outside of the District through an interlibrary loan system.
*A full-time Children’s and Teen Services Coordinator is employed by the District and shared by the eight branch libraries. Over 1,200 children and teens attended library events in 2003.
*The District applies for Federal, State and local grants and solicits funding from clubs, organizations, business and Library Friends groups for children’s programs, computer hardware and software, Internet costs, Reading is Fundamental book giveaways, and more.
*Over 10,000 library cards have been issued in the last three years and many more people use library computers and materials who are visiting our communities. Over 120,700 people visited branch libraries in 2003, and 187,594 books, audios, magazines and videos were checked out.
The District does not receive County appropriations or millage. The District is dependent on Penal Fines collected by the courts (mainly from traffic tickets issued almost entirely by State and County police). Penal Fines account for 80% of the revenue received by the District. State Aid is only about 5% of the District revenues. In fiscal year 2000, Penal Fines and State Aid totaled $558,290. In fiscal year 2003, Penal Fines and State Aid totaled $377,572. Since year 2000, the District has survived by using fund balance and by eliminating and/or reducing services, staff and materials.
A voter approved millage of .5 mills (50¢ per $1,000 of the taxable value) for 10 years will enable the District to continue providing for eight branch libraries.
For more information (the ballot language, Millage FAQs, the 2003 Annual Report, and more) please visit the District’s website www.ioscoarenaclibrary.org or contact:
Stephanie Mallak Olson, District Director
120 W. Westover St.
East Tawas, MI 48730
Phone (989)362-2651 Fax (989)362-6056 E-mail email@example.com
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Why They Hate Us
By Maureen Rudel
The question continues to reverberate: "Why Do They Hate Us?" I've thought a lot about this. I think I know.
They hate us because we are optimistic and believe that we can do anything with enough time and effort. They hate us because when we see a problem, we try to come up with a solution. They hate us because we think that ordinary people have enough common sense to live our lives the way we wish. They hate us because we want everyone to make and keep sufficient money to solve our own problems. They hate us because we will not bow to their dictates.
They hate us because we love our country and they believe that America is what's wrong with the world. They hate us because most of us are people of faith, and believe that our right to practice our religions (or not) are guaranteed under our Constitution. They hate us because we love our flag and they believe it is best when burned.
They hate us because we believe that all people are created equal and no one is entitled to special privileges or status because of wealth, stature, popularity, or educational level. They hate us because we believe that everyone should receive a good education in "readin', writin' & 'rithmetic" so we have an opportunity to make the most of our lives. They hate us because we don't believe that the state should be able to control the education of everyone. They hate us because we believe that women are equal to men and should be able to choose the type of life they will live.
They hate us because we love life and feel diminished by the loss of anyone. They hate us because we are willing to fight and die for those beliefs and they think those who do are fascists and imperialists. They hate us because we believe that all ideas have the right to be heard, not censored because they might offend someone.
They hate us because they cannot control us. We like it that way.
We, the Conservatives, will win. And the Liberals will hate us all the more.
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A Real War Hero
By Maureen Rudel
There has been a lot of discussion recently about Viet Nam and who is or is not a hero. I had the honor, recently to meet a real hero from that war. While Peter Lemon no longer lives in this community, it is still in his heart. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The following are excerpts from the official website of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Generally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress, it is often called the Congressional Medal of Honor.
PETER C. LEMON
"Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company E, 2d Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. place and date: Tay Ninh province, Republic of Vietnam, 1 April 1970. Entered service at: Tawas City, Mich. Born: 5 June 1950, Toronto, Canada. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Lemon (then Sp4c.), Company E, distinguished himself while serving as an assistant machine gunner during the defense of Fire Support Base Illingworth. When the base came under heavy enemy attack, Sgt. Lemon engaged a numerically superior enemy with machine gun and rifle fire from his defensive position until both weapons malfunctioned. He then used hand grenades to fend off the intensified enemy attack launched in his direction. After eliminating all but 1 of the enemy soldiers in the immediate vicinity, he pursued and disposed of the remaining soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Despite fragment wounds from an exploding grenade, Sgt. Lemon regained his position, carried a more seriously wounded comrade to an aid station, and, as he returned, was wounded a second time by enemy fire. Disregarding his personal injuries, he moved to his position through a hail of small arms and grenade fire. Sgt. Lemon immediately realized that the defensive sector was in danger of being overrun by the enemy and unhesitatingly assaulted the enemy soldiers by throwing hand grenades and engaging in hand-to-hand combat. He was wounded yet a third time, but his determined efforts successfully drove the enemy from the position. Securing an operable machine gun, Sgt. Lemon stood atop an embankment fully exposed to enemy fire, and placed effective fire upon the enemy until he collapsed from his multiple wounds and exhaustion. After regaining consciousness at the aid station, he refused medical evacuation until his more seriously wounded comrades had been evacuated. Sgt. Lemon's gallantry and extraordinary heroism, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army."
We have men on duty right now who are performing with like bravery. I find it hard to understand how you can honor the troops, vote against funding their activities and needs, and suggest that somehow, the United Nations (which left Iraq because of the dangers there) would be a better choice to defend America.
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When I Met John Kerry
By Maureen Rudel
At the end of the 1980's and beginning of the 1990's, I was a member of the Baldwin Township Flood Insurance Committee which had been established to react to the proposed changes in the Flood Insurance Maps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Committee included Ron Ward, Lawrence "Butch" LaVoie, my husband, Lewis Rudel and me.
After a presentation at a Baldwin Township meeting, we determined that we had to fight the proposal to put the eastern shore of Lake Huron in "Velocity Zones." These zones not only would drastically increase the cost of flood insurance, but would require houses to be built on stilts as is now common in the south for those areas which are subject to frequent hurricanes.
We developed a plan. Ron Ward contacted city and township representatives from Alpena to Kawkawlin to determine whether they were interested in joining our fight. Most were. Butch, who knew most of the politicians got our State and Federal representatives behind our efforts. Lew and I reviewed the various documents the US Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA had prepared.
This was a non-partisan effort. The various communities up and down the shoreline were governed by both Democrats and Republicans. Democrat Tom Alley was instrumental in helping up set meetings. Representatives of the offices of Senators Carl Levin and Don Riegel, both Democrats, attended the meetings. Finally, we got the attention of FEMA when the George H. W. Bush appointee who headed FEMA asked if I would be willing to testify on then-pending legislation. His administration agreed with our position that the Flood Insurance Program should be actuarially rated to recognize risk.
The main reason that FEMA was trying to make the changes to the maps was to obtain a massive infusion of funds to the FEMA program. Most of the money was spent in the southeastern coastal states, and, in many cases, on the same properties over and over again.
Since Michigan has more miles of coastline than any other state in the continental US, we were a prime target. This is true despite the fact that it is almost impossible for anyone to collect from flood damage caused by the Great Lakes because of the definitions of lake level variations in the policy. What a great plan -- get a lot of money from people who will not be able to collect for any claims.
Senator Riegel extended me an invitation to a round table hearing discussing the pending legislation. While I knew he would be unable to attend, he did send a staff person with me to explain the rules. I had letters of support from almost every community along the shoreline which were placed in the record of the hearing.
On the day of the hearing, 3 senators were present: Connie Mack and Bob Graham of Florida and John Kerry of Massachusetts. The hearing lasted a couple of hours. There were presentations from a number of people and then comments by participants such as me.
Both Senators Mack and Graham were very polite and listened to what I was saying, asking questions. Even though Michigan was not in a hurricane zone and had very few claims over the years which involved flooding from the Great Lakes, we were being asked to pay the exact same price as homes in Louisiana which flooded every year. Senator Kerry spent most of his time talking to other people while I spoke. The one time I remember him talking to me, it was to interrupt me to ask one of his environmental witnesses to comment.
After the hearing, he went running down the hallway telling me that the legislation did not say what it clearly did say. I was not impressed. It was obvious to me that the problems of the Great Lake states were of no concern to him.
As to his war record, the Viet Nam Vets suggest you check out the following site: http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnkerry.com/
P.S. In case you want to know the end of the story, the communities involved were able to stop the draconian plan which had been proposed and adopted new maps which were almost, if not exactly, the same as the previous ones.
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Why I Love Billboards
by Maureen H. Rudel
I realize that many people will disagree with me, but I love billboards. I love signs of all types. If I had my way, any person or business could put any sign on their own property that they wished.
As I drive down the highways, I love to look at the signs. Since I hate driving and get terribly bored by driving, the signs along the way keep me awake. For those of you who might be on the road at the same time I am, you might be grateful to the signs, also.
These signs tell the story of America. They tell you of the wonderful places that you can stay, where you can eat, where to get gas, what you can buy, where you can get it, what you can see and how to get there. They are loud, colorful and informative. They showcase the marketplace that is this wonderful country.
There is a move on in the legislature to ban or limit billboards, again. There are those who wish to legislate a limit on free speech. They wish to preclude a property owner from marketing a piece of their land for a legitimate business purpose because they don't like the signs. My advise to these folks is to move to Vermont. In the wonderful state of Vermont, it is so politically correct that you can't even find a grocery store. Everything is hidden from view by tasteful hedges. Only politically correct signs are allowed to be seen from the road. The trouble is, unless you know that "Carter's" is a grocery store, you will never find it.
If the sign haters wish to limit the number of signs, they can put THEIR money where THEIR mouth is. To the farmer who owns the field, the sign is a form of income. Go offer the farmer the same amount or more not to put the sign there. The billboard companies rent their boards. Pay them the same amount or more not to rent the space. Pay them for the cost of the structure. Make these agreements for a long enough time to make it worth the while of the farmer and the billboard company to be attracted to the deal. That is the American way.
But no, the freedom-hating people don't want to actually use the system to accomplish their desires. What they want to do is to limit the freedom of others by passing a law to enforce their preferences on others. They wish to limit the opportunity of others to make a legitimate income from a legal act. They have no intention of paying for it with their money. They will employ the power of the State to enforce their will.
What will happen when they wish to restrict one of the freedoms that you hold dear? Will you go meekly to the slaughter? It is time for all Americans to stop the intrusive big foot of government from increasingly stepping down harder on us.
Cheer for the billboards.
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It's Time to Take A Look at Our Balance
by Maureen Rudel
I am not a religious person. Some of my best friends are. Some feel very deeply about their faith, and I admire their willingness to express it openly. Some people of faith feel the need to try to "save" others and change their minds. If my friends feel that way, they've given up on me.
However, while I believe that the government has no business trying to establish a state religion and tax the citizens to support it -- as in England, I think the "separation of church and state" has been misconstrued in court rulings and has resulted in a hostility to religion which cannot be constitutionally justified.
Remember, the founding fathers lived in a country which was peopled by people who had left England because of religious persecution. In England, even today, the head of state is the head of the Anglican Church, the official state church of England. It is supported by taxes. This was the evil that the founding fathers were trying to avoid. Even at the time of the signing of the Constitution, several of the states had official religions. These were not abolished or outlawed by the adoption of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
It does not say, "You can't say 'God'" if it offends anyone. As a matter of fact, the "freedom of speech" clause specifically anticipates that the speaker may be mouthing unpopular, outrageous, even blasphemous words. The ACLU will fight to the death to make sure that unpopular speech is allowed. It is the popular speech they try to suppress. Whether or not anyone likes to admit it, this country was established by people who overwhelmingly believed in God. They would never have prohibited praying in public places. They established the practice of opening Congressional sessions with a prayer. The Supreme Court of the United States opens with a prayer. These are public places.
If you do not wish to participate in prayers, no one can make you. That is guaranteed by the First Amendment. If you do wish to participate in prayers, you should be allowed to do so.
I am pleased that the United States Supreme Court will be reviewing the decision to remove the phrase "under God" from the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. It's time to stop running this country by a tyranny of the minority under which only the rights of believers can be suppressed.
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Reply to Lois Lanski
by Robert A. Shmina, Au Gres
In your September Newsletter you featured a Guest Column by Lois Lanski. I quote from that column "... I, for one, do not ever want, in my lifetime to have some government official telling what I can and cannot do on what I think, is my land." How macho! How idiotic! How selfish!
This attitude is not the attitude of a responsible land owner who realizes the land owner also has some responsibilities to others to preserve natural resources, but rather the attitude of a selfish irresponsible child. This is the attitude that caused some of the "range wars" of the 1800's when a land owner decided he owned the water flowing through his property and he had the right to stop it and choke off those downstream from him. This is the attitude of some today that they own the land that has the wetland and that gives them the right to destroy it. If you do not know the value of the wetland then you are too far gone to see any rational thinking regarding the protection of the environment. This irresponsible and reckless behavior in the destruction of our natural resources by some land owners in the past is what necessitates this type of government action now.
So, Ms. Lanski, maybe Ducks Unlimited has a more responsible attitude than you do. I think you should urge others to support the group.
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Politics is a Hoot
Now there are ten. As Al Sharpton said: "Eight politicians, an officer and a gentleman." They have a lot in common. They all hate George W. Bush. They all want to tax the "Rich." Any amount of money for the military and defense is too much, but there is no limit to what they will spend to establish another socialistic entitlement program. They believe that our nation's security should be left in the hands of the United Nations and France (so we can learn how to properly surrender).
They make a great deal of noise about the economy. Their answer to the capitalist market system is to take more money from the successful hard working people and give it to government programs and employees because that will help make everyone equal. The idea of rewarding success and hard work is so foreign to their mindset because most of them have been involved in politics their whole lives and have no idea of what it takes to succeed in the real world.
However, as in Agatha Cristi's famous murder mystery, Ten Little Indians, they are about to start knocking each other off. Fortunately, unlike the novel, they are not going to do it on a deserted island out of touch with the rest of the world, they are going to do it on national TV and in the rest of the mass media.
It is interesting that the liberal, elite media has gone through several lovefests already. First, it was John Edwards. Then it was John Kerry. Then Howard Dean. Now, Wesley Clark. As the extreme left-wing of the Democrats in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary choose their favorite socialist, the media will swoon.
When all of the dust clears, and when it gets down to the "Last little Indian" on the fireplace mantle, the public can compare the survivor to an honest man, who does what he believes is best for America -- not what will make France, Germany and Kofi Annan happy. He will place his priority on the Constitutional duty to protect us from enemies, foreign and domestic, rather than spending his time trying to expand programs which have no Constitutional basis at all. I think the American people will have enough sense to re-elect George W. Bush, who understands that there is no substitute for victory.
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Private Property Rights and Ducks Unlimited
By Lois Lanski
Recently a friend of mine called asking if I had read an article written by a chief executive with an international wildlife organization. The contents of this editorial sparked this rebuttal.
“This is my land I own it”. Oh really! Do you pay Taxes? Do you have to purchase a permit to put a driveway in, build a house on it, and move in it, only after an inspection?
Now in brief Ducks Unlimited
One of the largest citizen organizations involving sportsmen and women is supporting government control of most waters and wetlands, seasonal potholes to major lakes and waterways. This is regarding the breeding grounds for waterfowl.
The spokesperson for this absurd idea is their executive Vice President, Mr. Don Young. You don’t suppose that his early upbringing and time spent owning and operating a consulting firm dealing with wetlands in Canada might be part of the reason he is with the initial group that is suggesting such a preposterous idea here in the U.S. As we are well aware the Canadian Government controls the lands in their country as well as strict rules governing the right to own firearms. This too might be a reason that Mr. Young is an anti-hunting proponent, to the point that he and many others in the leadership role for this organization feel that no one should own a handgun and that guns used for hunting be sold to a select few that belong to the large hunt clubs in this country.
Two proposed laws in Congress at this time S 473 & H.R. 962, overturn the Supreme Court decision and say that once and for all that ALL wetlands and waters of the U.S. deserve federal protection. There it is. If this passes, all the wetlands and water on YOUR LAND, comes under federal jurisdiction. They are saying you (all waterfowl enthusiasts) should step up to support protection of valuable wetlands for the waterfowl resource we treasure. Remember now this is private land -- you own it, right? If these measures should pass you will not be able to turn a shovel of soil wherever the wetlands are, put in a drive, build a road or grade it without the Federal Government’s approval.
Take a good hard look at who is proposing that we support these bills, why, none other than the executive Vice President for DUCKS UNLIMITED, Mr. Don Young.
Think about this -- government “Say So” and control on your PRIVATE LANDS? I don’t know about you, but I, for one, do not ever want, in my lifetime, to have some government official telling me what I can and can not do on what, I would like to think, is my land.
I will not consider supporting an organization with this type of socialist leadership.
To read the contents of this article in depth refer to the Ducks Unlimited magazine –July-August 2003 edition, pg. 8.
A FORMER MEMBER OF DUCKS UNLIMITED
Lois Lanski, Glennie, MI
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Science Works Every Time
By Maureen H. Rudel
I don't care where you went to school, or how far you went, you were "exposed" to some science. The problem is that it seems very little of it became imbedded in the brains of most of the American public. This is particularly true of the members of the mainstream media.
I don't think there is a "Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy" which meets in some corner somewhere and decides: "How can we fool them today?" I believe that people who go into journalism are most often enamored with the power of words. They enter the field on a mission. They want to make the world a better place. They are oozing with compassion and emotion. They are willing to do almost anything to accomplish their ends. Take a look at the various columnists, reporters and authors who have been exposed over the last several years for fabrication, plagiarism, distortion and totally erroneous works. Not one is a conservative. However, these do-gooders often do a great deal of harm by falling for something that sounds good and is nonsense. If they were to apply the smallest amount of scientific logic to their cause, the truth would out.
The scientific method (you remember this) depends upon logic. First, you develop a hypothesis to explain a phenomenon. Then, you develop an experiment to test the hypothesis. Next, perform the experiment. Analyze the result. This will tell you whether your original hypothesis was correct. If it was, you should be able to perform the same experiment time and again and get the same results. Think about the old magnet and compass. The magnet attracts the compass needle every single time.
Now, let's talk about some recent "issues" where a little logic would work.
I have a friend who had a daughter in college who was taking environmental science. That is the least scientific field I can think of. She started railing at her mother about recycling the trash. Her mother was at her wit's end with frustration. I suggested an experiment. Her daughter was assigned to follow the trash at her own college. All of the glass, cans, paper and garbage was separated in various bins. They were picked up separately. They all went to the land fill. They were all dumped in the same bin. However, the trash company was making a whole lot more money by charging for the handling of the separate bins. Think about it. If recycling really worked, people would pay YOU for your trash. However, no one ever tests a program like this which is so politically correct.
My favorite is global warming. First, one has to establish that the globe is in fact warming. This means that one has to have an accurate method of measuring the temperature of the globe over a very long time. Remember, thermometers are relatively new. What do you measure and how do you do it? If you can establish that the globe is warming, one might want to know why. One might also want to know how much it is warming, how long will it last, how hot will it get, and what will be the result. The global warming disaster-mongers cannot answer any of these questions. What they have done is to develop computer models which they say answers these questions. The problem with computer models is that if you put garbage in, you will get garbage out. Not a single model which they say will predict the future can accurately replicate the past. Remember, if it's real science, it will produce the same result each and every time.
If it's an anti-capitalist agenda, it will cost a whole lot of money, will produce a disaster for the United States and still won't solve the problem.
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by Maureen Rudel
First, let's establish what "progressive" is. It's the current word liberals use since "liberalism" has been shown to be failed strategy.
Next, who are progressives? Liberal Democrats, Socialists, Communists, eco-terrorists, peaceniks, anarchists and anti-capitalists of all varieties make up the cadre.
What they have in common is their total commitment to their elitist values, which are most easily seen among the university professors in the liberal arts courses -- except those in the hard sciences. They know what is best for you. You are too stupid to be in charge of your own life. They, the "anointed," will tell you what to wear, say, eat, drink, smoke (tobacco bad, marijuana good), do with your time and your money.
They believe in the Utopian view which is best expressed in Communism and Socialism. They believe that, while it has failed every time it's been tried, it is because the "Right" people haven't been in charge yet.
The premise is that everyone will be happy when they have an equal share of everything. All outcomes must be equal. The problem with equal opportunities for everyone is that it doesn't produce the same outcome. Some evil people will work harder and make more money. Some people will save better than others, some will invest better, and some will just be lucky -- although I always found that the harder I worked, the luckier I became. Since this system is best expressed in capitalism, capitalism is bad.
In order to overcome the effects of capitalism, we must redistribute the wealth. Take money away from those who have more and give it to those who have less. This is accomplished by a steeply "progressive" tax code, the death tax -- which strips the fruits of years of hard work from those who were foolish enough to save, and reward behavior which produces failure. Punish marriage because if people marry and have children only after doing so, they are more likely to be more successful. Therefore, tax married people more than single people. Try to get as many people on "entitlement programs" as possible -- this accomplishes two goals. Many forget that once upon a time they bought their own insurance, paid their own medical bills and planned for their own retirement. They are convinced that without "the Government" they will starve, be denied health care and live in dumpsters. They then decide that all of their "wants" should be "rights" and demand more. This enlarges the government, creates the need for more taxes, and pushes the private market out of the field.
The object is to get more than half of the people living off "the rich." This way, most people will never be in favor of tax cuts because most people don't pay taxes. We're almost there. Listen to the demagoguing going on over President Bush's proposed tax cuts.
The progressives do not believe in a republican form of government where the power flows from the people to the government. They believe that The Government possesses all power and will give you what they decide you need. That's why they always say: "We can't afford a tax cut." In their mind, all money and property belongs to them, and they will let you keep only what they don't need. The problem is that THEY NEED IT ALL because there is no end of PROGRAMS the people need.
You have to divide the people into factions. Set the factions against each other to try to get the most spoils from the bountiful government. The spoils are awarded on the basis of status, not merit or achievement. This is the essence of "grievance" politics which you hear from certain groups of people who so busy being aggrieved they never do anything to improve their lot.
When the elitists ultimately take over, they always kill all the people who don't agree with them. They also reward themselves at a very high level for their wisdom and correct thinking -- all pigs are equal, but "some pigs are more equal than others." They cannot abide a different point of view. It's not just wrong, it's EVIL. And if you don't think we're headed in the wrong direction, explain political correctness and affirmative action.
This country is at a crossroad. In this 50-50 nation, it's time to take a stand. Don't be cowered into silence.
You can be darned sure that you are not going to end up a "more equal pig."
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and Babies are Conservatives
by Maureen Rudel
Both puppies and babies are conservatives. They come to you knowing nothing. They want to eat, drink, and take care of bodily functions. They want to be warm and cozy and cuddled. They want to be happy and don't want their world to change in unpleasant ways. They are afraid of falling and loud noises. As time goes on, they make progress. First, they learn English. Then, they learn how to interpret those words to understand what they mean.
What you need to learn is that these little creatures only want to make you happy. They want to do what you want. If you set reasonable rules and enforce them consistently, they will do exactly what you want. (I know, all you mothers are saying: "What about the terrible twos?" At this point, your child is starting to actually think. They are practicing on you to see if you will do what they want, rather than the other way around. If you continue to insist on the rules, consistently, like a broken record, you will win. (Admittedly, girls are easier, both in kids and dogs. They seem to react well to shaming. Little boys sometimes need a swat on the back end to get their attention. . . .)
Time passes. However, they still are conservative. They are not happy with change. They want everything to stay the same. They never want to move to a different house. They are never happy with a change in the family, another puppy, another baby. They want all of their people around them all the time.
Eventually, things change. If you have done your job well, your dog will be a faithful loving companion all of its life. However, things never go that easily with kids. They get into their teens. Any setback is earth shaking. All problems are monumental. If they are "different" from their friends, the world will end. They express their individuality by trying to be exactly like each other, same clothes, shoes, music, etc. They try to test the limits of your patience and endurance by fighting your every statement. Boys do strange things with their hair, girls do strange things with their clothes, and they all like strange music. However, inside, they still want rules and limits. If you are reasonable and persistent, you will raise a good kid.
Raising kids is the hardest job in the world. I know that. I never had any. I have had dogs; they never become teenagers. If you're not up to the hard part, stick to dogs.
As to cats, I don't know. Maybe they are liberals. . . .
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The People Who Make the
By Maureen Rudel, East Tawas
I was thinking the other day about those people who run for office. It is a project which has never appealed to me. I have taken appointed positions, but have never run for anything but precinct delegate.
Those people who run for township boards, city and county offices and the higher offices which are elected, make our republic run. We have a representative form of government, not a democracy. In a democracy, there is chaos. The majority always wins and the ultimate result is dictatorship or anarchy.
In our republic, individual rights, not group rights, are supreme. Private property rights are protected by the Constitution. While there have been many inroads which have weakened our country, I remain ever hopeful that we will recover from our experiment with socialism and return to the vision of our founders.
This will be a possibility only as long as good people are willing to run for office. They must spend lots of time, shoe leather, and money -- their own and that of their supporters -- to make our country work.
Once they get elected, they go to meetings, visit with constituents, deal with problems, appear on command at various dinners, events and public activities. When people are happy, no one shows up at the council, township or county board meetings. They only come to complain. They have a problem. They want it fixed. The office holders can't go out to dinner without the real possibility that someone will interrupt the dinner with a complaint. Very seldom do people tell the office holders they are doing a good job.
Why do they do it? I suspect that in many cases, the people who run have felt that they could do the job as well or better than the incumbent. They have an idea, a dream, a philosophy, they believe will be better for the republic than the existing agenda. They may be right, they may be wrong, but they are willing to put themselves on the line to test their ideas in the marketplace of liberty -- elections. In most cases, the pay they receive for their services does not begin to compensate them for the time they spend. In most cases, they want to serve the public. In most cases, they are not crooks. There are always a few exceptions, but in this country, fortunately, those are few.
As long as there are people who are willing to do these jobs, we have a chance to continue to keep our republic. The next time you see one of our elected officials, thank them for their service.
After all, what if we had an election and nobody ran?
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The Truth About Corporations
By Lewis C. Rudel, East Tawas
It must be the political season because the demagoguery about the evils of corporations is in high gear. The rhetoric accuses corporations of the vilest of deeds, including "corporate greed", as if the corporation was a real person. Attorneys General are filing criminal indictments against corporations, as if the corporation can be locked up in a jail cell. We hear calls for corporations to pay "their fair share" of taxes, as if corporations paid taxes.
It occurs to me that many people don't understand what a corporation is and what its purpose is in our society.
Quite simply, a corporation is a creation of the law- a legal fiction. A corporation is a way for different groups of people to organize their activities to achieve a mutually beneficial result. The corporation consists of one group of people (the employees) who wish to produce a product or service for another group of people (the consumers) by using the money provided by a third group of people (the shareholders). The corporation's main advantage as a form of organization is its continuity (it can survive after the death or departure of its founders) and the limited liability it provides for investors (rarely can an investor lose more than the amount he or she invested in the corporation).
A corporation receives money for its products or services from the consumers. This money is shared (after paying expenses associated with producing and selling the product or service) with the employees (salaries and wages) and the shareholders (dividends) and some may be set aside for future needs of the corporation.
Once one understands this fundamental relationship, it is quite easy to see what happens when a government comes to a corporation and demands that it pay a tax. That money must come from one or more of the groups involved in the corporation. There is no other place to get it. Either the consumer pays the tax through an increased price for the goods or services the corporation produces, or the employees pay the tax through lower wages and salaries, or the shareholders pay the tax through lower returns on their investment. So when the corporation pays a tax to a government, it is really just collecting that tax from one of these groups of people, giving it to the government so that the government can give it to some other group of people.
Viewed in this way, it is also easy to see that "corporate welfare" provided by governments to corporations is just the government's way of taking money that was provided by all taxpayers and channeling it to one or all of the groups of people involved in the corporation.
Likewise, when a corporation pays a fine to a government, it is just another form of taxation. It comes from the employees, consumers, or shareholders of the corporation and goes to some other group selected by the government. (Guess where the money involved in the "tobacco settlement" is going to come from.)
There is also no such thing as "corporate greed". There may be greed by some of the people involved in the corporation. Management employees may try and steer more of the corporate income their way, or union employees may try to channel the money their way, or shareholders may try to increase their share of the corporate pie. But one thing you can be sure of. The "corporation" isn't the one that is greedy. When governments try to get more of the corporate pie through taxes, it is seldom referred to as "government greed", although perhaps it should be.
It's easy and very popular in some circles to make the corporation a whipping boy, but once one realizes what the corporation really is, it becomes readily apparent that the real whipping boys are the consumers, employees and shareholders of the corporation.
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THAT FIRST VOTE
By Maureen H. Rudel
For those of you who really aren't sure if it makes a difference if you vote for a Republican or a Democrat, keep this in mind. It doesn't matter how much you like a candidate if you don't agree with the first vote cast in the legislative body.
The first vote taken in a state or federal legislative body is on organization of the chamber. Each member votes for a person who will be the majority leader, speaker or president of the body. The person with the most votes wins. From here on in, the committees are set, the ratios of members of the committees are established, and the chairmen of the committees are set. The majority rules the chamber involved. The heads of the legislative bodies control the agendas of the bodies, the chairmen set the agendas of the committees.
A startling example of the difference these votes make was provided after the November 2000 elections. The US Senate was split evenly, 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats. From January 1 (when the US Congress was sworn into office) until January 20 (the inauguration date of President Bush), the Democrats were in charge because the Vice President (Gore) would vote in the event of a tie. When Vice President Cheney was sworn into office, he voted to break the tie in favor of Republicans, who then had the majority in the Senate. It was during the reign of the Republicans that the tax cuts promoted by President Bush were enacted.
When Sen. James Jeffords, who ran as a Republican in November 2000, accepted funds from the Republican party, and was elected as a Republican, decided to change his affiliation to "Independent," things changed. He decided to vote to organize with the Democrats. This left Sen. Tom Daschle as the Majority Leader of the Senate. Any bill he doesn't like he will not allow to come to the floor for a vote. He has pulled bills from committee chairmen because he was afraid they would pass in the committee and he would then have to bring them to the floor. Sen. Carl Levin became the Chairman of Armed Services Committee. This is a man who has never seen a tax increase or a defense cut that he doesn't love. He is adamantly opposed to an anti-missile defense and has done everything he can to make sure that the US cannot defend against an incoming missile. Sen. Patrick Leahy became the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He has been responsible for making certain that the federal judges chosen by President Bush are not approved by the Senate. His objection to these judges is not their qualification for the job, it is that they are not activist, liberal judges who will make the law, not interpret it. And so it goes throughout the Senate.
In the US House, which is also quite close in numbers, the change of approximately 6 seats will mean change in control of the House. Dick Gephardt, anti-gun, pro-abortion, tax and spender would be Speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi, who is now leading the charge against allowing President Bush to defend us against Saddam Houssein, would be Majority Leader. Charlie Rangel, who entertains his good friend Fidel Castro whenever he can, would become Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. This committee is in charge of all federal tax policy. Under him, the only way for taxes to go would be up. John Conyers would be Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He is the gentleman who has, for years introduced a bill on Slave Reparations. Henry Waxman, would become Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform. The parade of horribles goes on. All of the Democrats who are in a position to assume leadership roles are from the far left of the Democrat party. Their litmus test issues are pro-tax, pro-redistribution, pro-abortion and anti-gun.
The same rules apply to the state legislative bodies. Michigan has prospered under Republican leadership. Taxes have been cut over 20 times. When the budget got tight, the Republicans have made the State cut spending, not the citizens. They aren't perfect, the cigarette tax for example, but they are way ahead of the party in second place.
You see, the first vote is key. It establishes control.
For the sake of the country, I hope that the first vote of the candidates you choose is for a Republican.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING
by Maureen H. Rudel, East Tawas
Now we hear great outrage levied against corporate executives who have lied, cheated and stolen from their companies, shareholders and employees. "Throw the book at them!" I agree. But why did this happen at this point in time?
Could it be that during the eight years prior to the presidency of George W. Bush that the nation was led by people who assured us that "character doesn't count?" When Sen. Robert Kerrey of Nebraska commented on what an "unusually good liar" Bill Clinton was, the elite media and Democratic membership laughed about it. When Clinton lied under oath, not a single senator from his party would stand up and be counted to do more than chastise him. When Clinton broke campaign laws with impunity, sold the White House, Air Force One, pardons and state secrets for campaign and presidential library contributions, the elites from the left coasts commented and clucked. Nothing else happened.
A tone was set. The country listened. Grade school children engaged in oral sex. Do what feels good. There are no absolutes. It's the economy, stupid. Who cares, as long as we're making money. It's only lying about sex. There was no penalty for unacceptable actions. Those jerks in the hinterland are making a lot of noise about nothing.
A price is being paid for this mentality, and it isn't over.
As Arthur Anderson dissolves in its well-deserved demise, new accounting firms will be looking at the books. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose if they cover up any wrongdoing. All of the warts will show.
The politicians who went along with lowering the standards of our country stand up and bloviate about the crimes of the corporate executives. They'll pass laws that will probably hurt the economy. They won't save a nickel for any employee or shareholder. But most importantly, they won't look in the mirror.
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Michigan Sentencing Guidelines
by James Bacarella
The Michigan Sentencing Guidelines, have endangered every person who enters the borders of this State.
When the criminal sentencing guidelines were enacted, the State sold them as new, and tougher than those created by the State Supreme Court in 1988. Unfortunately, they release criminals prematurely. Their real purpose is to shift the burden of the financial cost of our State's prisoners to the counties, in violation of the Headlee Amendment in Article IX Section 25 of the State Constitution, and reduce the cost of the prison system by releasing State prisoners prematurely into our community.
The first, and most obvious problem is that if the maximum minimum sentence is less than 17 months, then an "intermediate sentence" is must be imposed. An intermediate sentence is confinement in county jail. A person may be confined in the county jail for a maximum period of twelve months. The result is a person who previously went to prison ends up in county jail, for a shorter period of time, increasing the financial burden on the county without remuneration from the State, as required by the Headlee Amendment.
A second concern is that the guideline score for forgery, ( a form of identity theft) treats a 14 year felony as if it were a felony with a five year maximum sentence. If a crime is serious enough to mandate a 14 year maximum term of incarceration, it is hard to justify treating it as though it only carries a five year maximum. A tough-on-crime stance buys some politicians votes, so it would be political suicide to reduce the maximum penalty from 14 years to five years.
In another example, a 46 year old man was accused of touching the vagina of his seven year old niece and then forcing her to perform oral sex on him until he ejaculated. The case was tried before a jury. The jury found him guilty of one count of 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, a 15 year felony and one count of 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, a life offense. Because of the guidelines, his sentence on the CSC 2nd was 71 months and on the CSC 1st was 85 months. The judge's hands were shackled. He could not give the defendant the sentence he felt was appropriate. The net result is that in seven short years, we will have a child molester returning to our community.
The problems do not lie in just Criminal Sexual Conduct cases. The misguided guidelines have the same effect in several cases, including Home Invasion, Drug Dealing, Embezzling, Drunk Driving and Assault with a dangerous weapon.
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RED AND BLUE AMERICA
By Maureen Rudel
I received a Christmas card from one of my favorite cousins, a Liberal Democrat, who has lived her whole life in the Washington, DC area. I have known her since we were kids because we are about the same age and her family has always had a cottage in the Tawas Beach Club.
My cards are printed with the name of my husband, myself and my dog. Hers had her name, her husband's and her daughter's. Underneath her daughter's name was written "Titania" in parentheses. This alarmed me greatly because I know that the name of her Sheltie is Jack. He's a great dog. I've babysat with him when my cousin and her daughter traveled to Stratford, Ontario, and he has adored me ever since.
With great alarm, I e-mailed her to ask what had happened to Jack and if Titania was also a Sheltie.
Her response started out with: "You are kidding, right?" From there on she explained that Jack was fine and that her daughter had played Titania in Midsummer Night's Dream this fall. In fact, the picture on her card was of her daughter and the weaver who had been bewitched and was temporarily given the head of an ass. (I didn't know what the picture was of, but I get a lot of strange Christmas cards. . .)
I explained to her that I had never really gotten into Shakespeare and, that every time I went to see a play, I fell asleep. I told her I really enjoyed "Escanaba in Da Moonlight" but didn't mention that I went to a matinee so I could stay awake.
She told me that Jack got a great bag of treats from the Gourmet Dog Biscuit store. They bake snowmen in parmesan cheese, Chinese fortune cookies with fortunes for dogs, squirrels with peanut-butter/carob flavor, etc. Jack loves their dog biscuits. (My dog was thrilled to receive pigs' ears and Milkbones.)
She went to one of her sisters' home for Christmas. They had a flaming beef tenderloin with Bearnaise sauce that was heavenly. I told her that I had cooked one of Erna Krueger's fresh turkeys, which everyone agreed was so much better than the frozen kind that there was no comparison.
She is anti-gun rights, I have a CCW. She thinks meat comes born in plastic wraps. I know what cattle look like. I am a "Red" American, supporter of George W. Bush. She is a "Blue" American, supporter of Al Gore.
We are both Americans. We can speak to each other without shouting or yelling at each other. We both want what is best for this country. There is a way to get it done. "Let's roll!"
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Equal Justice Under the Law
by Maureen H. Rudel
Having been fortunate to have been old enough to have been saved from the benefits of "Affirmative Action" I am not a supporter of "special rights" for anyone. I believe that every person should proceed on merit and hard work with no advantage or disadvantage visited upon them by reason of their race, creed, color, national origin or any other specific characteristic which they possess by reason of their birth. I am not foolish enough to assert that this has always been the case in America -- having been old enough to have employers tell me they didn't hire women for "that job." (I always felt that was their loss.)
I am not for repealing laws which allow people equal opportunity to do anything. Actually they are redundant to the rights already guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Which, by the way, was why I opposed the Equal Rights Amendment. I like the body of law which surrounds the 14th Amendment and feel no great need to start over.
I am, however, getting sick and tired of every politically correct effort to define another "victim" group to which to assign special rights. Soon, the only people left who will have to get or hold a job on the basis of merit and performance will be non-union, healthy, able-bodied, heterosexual white males, a distinct "minority group.
The news which set off this rant is an interview conducted on ABC 20/20 on September 5, 2001. (I didn't watch it, but read reports of it.) In the interview, a movie actress, Anne Heche, (who I have never seen in a movie) claims that she was insane for 31 years. While she recently married a man, she had a well-publicized lesbian relationship with another woman named Ellen DeGeneres, who I also have never seen. They were much touted by the press, and if I recall correctly, were feted at the White House by the former President and First Lady. If Ms. Heche was entitled to special rights while engaging in a sexual "behavior" while she was insane, does she lose those rights now that she has changed her mind and married a man? How would an employer know from day to day if preferences must be doled out? Is there a daily questionnaire? I don't care what anyone does in their own bedroom. I'm not in favor of persecuting people with whom I disagree, since I've never met anyone who agrees with me on everything, but I'm sick and tired of this politically correct movement which says you can't say anything which might offend anyone, and have to afford special consideration to anyone who claims "victimhood" -- except, of course the afore-mentioned white males. Of course, I might be considered prejudiced because I married a wonderful one of those 33 years ago, and wouldn't change him for the world.
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A Way of Life in Danger
Maureen Rudel, East Tawas
I remember the first time I shot a real gun. Not my Lone Ranger silver cap pistols, not the BB guns my brother and I played with. A real gun. I was a skinny little girl (that's really true, for those of you who know me now) probably about ten years old. We lived in Davison, Michigan, then. My parents owned a nice tract of land with both trees and open areas. Pheasants were plentiful. We had Irish Setters then, and even though they had not been trained, they naturally pointed the pheasants.
My father took me along for the hunt. I still have the old double-barreled 12-guage shotgun he used. On this trip, he let me try. The bird flushed, I pulled the trigger, and the next thing I knew, I was laying on my back in the field looking up in the sky. Needless to say, I didn't get the bird.
There are strong forces who are working hard to make sure that your children and grandchildren will never be able to tell a story like this. The anti-gunners continue to try to raise the age for hunting and owning a gun. There is a method to their madness. The higher the age, the less likely it is that children will develop an interest in hunting. Think about how old you were when you went on your first hunting trip. I would bet it would not be legal now.
There is a world-wide movement to try to disarm private citizens. It is heavily promoted in the Socialist countries of Europe and what was the English Empire. The movement has always been supported by Totalitarian states like Nazi Germany and the USSR. America is considered a barbarian nation where all those "Cowboys" want guns.
At the end of July in New York, the United Nations will focus on trying to separate you from your weapons. The UN Disarmament Commission plans to try to regulate and eliminate the legal manufacture, commerce and ownership of weapons all over the world. A "Draft Programme of Action" setting forth these proposals already exists. The Second Amendment is a nuisance to these folks, not an "unalienable Right."
Even if you are not a gun owner, you must oppose these moves. Without the Second Amendment, the rest of the Constitution isn't worth the paper it's written on. The fact that so many of your neighbors are armed protects you as well -- your way of life depends on it.
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IS NO "LOCKBOX"
Editorial by Maureen H. Rudel
It is disconcerting to hear people say the federal government should "save Social Security first." The federal government cannot save money. It can only spend money. Let me explain.
At the present time, payroll taxes collected from current workers exceed the current cost of Social Security and Medicare payments to retirees. The extra money is called the "Social Security surplus." Unlike people, companies and even state governments, the federal government does not have a way to invest the money and earn interest. This is good, because a lot of mischief could be caused if Congress or the Executive Branch had the freedom to pick and choose the winners and losers in the market place. So, what happens to the excess money?
The so-called "Social Security Trust Fund" does not have a nickel of real money in it. It holds special bonds which cannot be sold on the market and which represent a debt from the government to itself. If the "Trust Funds" (and there are many of them) are the left pocket of a pair of pants, the right pocket holds the rest of the funds which flow through the federal government. When there is extra money in the left pocket, it is moved to the right pocket and replaced with an IOU. The money in the right pocket is spent on government programs and to pay interest on the national debt.
The debt is made up of two parts. The first part is the money that the government borrowed from the public through issuing treasury notes, bills and bonds (like savings bonds). Each of these bear an interest rate and the interest must be paid when it comes due. From time to time, each of these instruments expire and can be redeemed, just like a savings bond. The government then must pay the face value of the instrument as well as the interest due. In previous years, the government would then go out and borrow more money to replace the money it just paid out. Now that we have surpluses, the government is not borrowing from the public by issuing more debt instruments, it is borrowing from Social Security, Medicare and other trusts funds. These are the other part of the debt. This is why you hear politicians talk about paying down the "public debt." What they don't tell you is that the debt owed to Trust Funds is going up every year. The only way to pay that off is with future taxes.
The money that was once paid by a worker for Social Security and Medicare is then spent on other programs.
There are two ways to stop the theft of this money. One way is to lower the payroll taxes so they only bring in enough to pay off current retirees. However, this leaves a major problem for current workers when they become retirees, because there are simply not enough people who will be working when the baby boomers retire to pay the costs of their benefits and still have any money left to live on. It has been estimated that, if there are no changes to the systems, the baby boomers children and grandchildren would have to pay 85% of their income in taxes to cover the Social Security and Medicare payments to the boomers.
This is why the systems must be changed. The other way to stop the theft of the Trust Fund money is to effectively take it out of the government's hands. That is the purpose of creating individual accounts for younger workers. Since there is so much extra Social Security money coming in right now, the extra money could be used to establish separate accounts for current workers and still pay off the people who are already retired or are very close to retirement. The worker would have a choice of whether or not he wanted to stay on the old system or try the new system. If they went on the new system, a part of their social security taxes would be invested in an account in their names. They would be able to choose from a variety of safe investments -- all of which would produce much higher returns than the IOUs in the Social Security Trust Fund -- which now returns about 2%. The accounts belong to them, not the government, so they can't be spent and Congress does not get to decide whether it can change or lower the payments from those accounts as it can for regular Social Security. If the worker dies before he reaches retirement age, the private account would go to his family. Now, he loses it.
The rest of the Social Security payroll tax would be used to pay off current retirees and to maintain the death and disability insurance benefits that exist now.
The Medicare excess payments that are now being generated could be used to set up a different system. The one proposed by President George W. Bush would work like the system the federal employees have now. There would be a choice of policies or medical programs offered to each retiree. The recipient would be given an amount of money to apply to the premium for the program he chose. If the recipient wanted better coverage, he could add to the money he received and get it. If he wanted to get a policy which contained prescription drug coverage, (because he didn't have it elsewhere, for example) he could get it. If he decided to stay with the old Medicare, he could do it. The choice is in the hands of the citizen, not Congress and not a bureaucrat.
This is the approach that President Bush favors and so do I, because I know the truth.
There is no "Lockbox."
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By Maureen H. Rudel
This is the most important election of my lifetime, 55 years. This election will most certainly determine, for a very long time, the future of America. While that may sound like an extreme statement, I do not believe it is. The last election which had as much impact as this one will was 1932, when FDR was elected for the first time. With that election, America started down the road to Big Government and Redistributive Politics. Whether it was a good or bad idea is something historians will decide. We are where we are.
Since FDR, the Democrat Party has moved further and further to the left. Now, I am not talking about your next door neighbor or the fellow you play cards with. Those every day Democrats vote Democrat because their parents and grandparents did. They pay no more attention to politics than most Americans. They get up every day, raise good kids, work hard, pay taxes and go to church, just like their Republican neighbors. They believe the "Big Lie" -- Republicans are the party of the RICH and Democrats are the party of the "Working People." That has not been true for years.
The Democrat Party is now being controlled by a group of very left-leaning politicians who agree with and are praised by the Socialist Party of America. Most people don't spend their days watching C-SPAN and don't have any idea what is going on in Congress or even in Michigan. They don't realize the assault on the Constitution which is being waged. The attack on the 1st Amendment, the right to practice your religion without interference by government, the right to free speech (hate crimes and politically incorrect speech), the assault on the 2nd Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms), and similar attacks on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 10th amendments abound.
What the Left cannot accomplish by legislation, it tries to get by litigation. Think of the suits against "Big Tobacco and the Firearms Industry. That is why the Left is so outraged by the present composition of the Michigan Supreme Court, rated by many the most Constitutional court in the country. They do not substitute their judgment for the legislature. They enforce the law as it is written and not as special interest groups would like it.
For the last 60 years, the Democrats have been dominant because they have controlled the redistricting process. It is amazing that Republicans have taken control of Congress and the Senate and have done so well in many states despite districts which have been set up to elect Democrats. This year, we have a chance to elect a Republican President, Senate and Congress. That will effect the choice of Supreme Court Justices. We need to keep control of the State House. We will finally have a fair chance at redistricting. You need to vote Republican. You need to get others to vote Republican.
Just remember, every Democrat is an opportunity. . . .
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Lights On, Still Nobody Home
David L. Nelsey, P.O. Box 2, Hale, MI
During the past few years, you probably heard about school choice. This allowed parents to take their children out of one public school and enroll them in another school. Charter schools were formed at this time as a means of alternate education along with the easing of restrictions for parents to homeschool their children. This was a great step in the right direction towards returning the control of education to the parents where it rightfully belongs. However, after a court battle, the guidelines that governed charter schools were reduced to nothing more than public schools in a miniature size. Just a couple of differences were that the teachers did not necessarily have to be certified or belong to a teachers union. The best news was that parents now could homeschool without having to worry about the local school district dragging them into court. Why? I believe the opponents main reason was money. Oh sure, there are other reasons, but every time a school loses a child, they lose an average of $6,600.
In the months to come, you will be hearing about school vouchers. Again, this is an excellent opportunity for parents to control their children’s education. And again, the opponents main issue is m-o-n-e-y! The people of today are more concerned about money than they are interested in the education of the children. Consider this, all you bean counters, if a school will lose $6,600 per student, the voucher that is issued to send the student to another school will only be worth $3,300. The balance could then be used elsewhere.
But when it comes right down to it, SHOULD money be the main concern here? I say no! What we should be concerned about is the quality of education our children receive in the form of curriculum. Gone are the days when the kids are taught "HOW" to think and replaced with telling them "WHAT" to think. Gone are the days when kid’s learned respect. Why? Because the kids don’t have respect for themselves let alone for others. Gone are the days when the kids learn about the true reason about how America was founded and the BIBLE inspired the Magna Carta and in turn inspired the writing of The Constitution. Today, it’s "do your own thing", "if it feels good do it" and my favorite, "don’t listen to your parents, they’re old and don’t know what is going on".
When will we as parents take back control of the schools by insisting the curriculum get back to the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic instead of reading, writing, and reloading? If we continue to let the government and judicial system run the education system, then we should expect the future to bring an end to Democracy as we know it and a Socialist Government be instituted, followed by a Dictatorship. Look closely! The leaders of tomorrow are learning in school today!
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DO SOMETHING FOR THE ADULTS
by Maureen Rudel, East Tawas
Every time this administration comes up with another half-baked idea for a new entitlement, a new program, a new restriction on the freedoms that Americans are entitled to enjoy -- if only we could go back to a Constitutional government, the mantra "We're doing it for the CHILDRUN" is used.
The tobacco bill was NOT done for the children. It was done to seriously affect a group of donors who typically supported Republicans. It has been illegal in all states for years for children to buy cigarettes. Enforcing the law, however, would put personal responsibility on those who broke it. This would not bankrupt the cigarette companies, the ultimate objective.
The attacks on the gun industry are NOT done for the children. They, again, are done to attempt to bankrupt an industry which typically supports Republicans. The shameless pandering over the tragedy in Littleton is truly egregious. The two miscreants who did the shooting broke 16 to 20 laws. No matter how many more laws we pass, it would not have stopped these two. They had already been in trouble. They had been thrown out of school. They fooled their counselors into thinking they had seen the error of their ways all of the time they plotted their rampage. They were responsible, no one else.
(It is also interesting that the main beneficiaries of the attacks on tobacco and guns are the trial lawyers, typically Democrat supporters.)
Clinton decided to start a war using NATO, theoretically a DEFENSIVE alliance, to make sure the children of this country would not have to grow up in a bad world. He, therefore, bombed a whole bunch of other children, displaced hundreds of thousands of other children -- so sorry, "collateral damage" -- and it was NOT for the children. It was to distract America from the unbelievable revelations about how his administration sold us out to the Chinese Communists.
While I could go on and on about the travesties that have been committed in the name of the children, I would like to suggest that the Republicans stop shaking in their boots and cowering every time the Democrats yell about the "childrun." Instead, Republicans should do something for the ADULTS who vote and pay the bills. They should stand on individual responsibility, stand for freedom from the Nanny State, and stop funding the Socialist programs that have been embedded in our government by years of Democrat rule.
Let's do it for the "Adults."
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PROPOSED SEAT BELT LAW
By Mary P. Smith, Oscoda
Every citizen in Michigan should rise up in opposition to the Primary Seat Belt Law now under consideration for a vote in the Michigan House of Representatives.
This terrible law surprisingly passed in the Republican controlled Michigan Senate. The law is another example of government intrusion in its citizens' lives. It would allow law enforcement officers to stop a motor vehicle and ticket the driver if the driver or passengers in the front seat are not wearing seat belts. Do you want officers looking into your vehicle for a reason to stop you on the road? Do we need officers protecting us from ourselves?
This law would give over-zealous or unscrupulous law enforcement officers authority to harass certain citizens. And, we know that will happen.
Our Republican State Senator Walter North voted against this bill, but managed to amend it so it applies only to persons in the front seat. The original bill applied to all persons in the vehicle. Senator North said this legislation allows government too much intrusion in personal choices. He is to be applauded for his stand on this law.
If you agree this is a bad law, you should write to the Speaker of the House, Charles Perricone and to members of the Michigan House of Representatives and urge them to reject this bill.
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GOVERNMENT AND TAXES
By an East Tawas Resident
1. Everything of value that you receive from a government has been taken from some person at the point of a gun. If you do not believe this, try not paying your taxes and see how long it takes before the men with guns are at your door to take you to prison.
2. Corporations do not pay taxes, only people pay taxes. Corporations are artificial entities. The only money they receive comes from shareholders or consumers of their products. The money they pay out in taxes comes from consumers (through higher prices for products or services), shareholders (through lower returns on investment) and employees (through lower wages). Conflict arises between these groups with respect to how these taxes will be apportioned. A corporation is simply a conduit designed to funnel money from people to the men with the guns (government).
3. Democrats and Socialists do not understand these concepts. Communists do understand these concepts and have chosen to do away with the complications inherent in item 2.
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