Thursday, December 25, 2008

Obama cabinet short on business experience

this new Presidential Cabinet and it's lack of business understanding will have a profound effect on the economy.

the mantra of "they just don't get it" will start resounding loudly during the next 4 years

Already - smaller U. S. toy makers are being put out of business in 2009 by the regulations our Democratic Congress put in place to prevent China from lacing toys with lead and poison paint.

In 2016, all U.S. light bulb production will be gone - another industry lost to overseas, done by Congressional legislation.

The tax package proposed by "our president elect" will shut down or push off shore businesses in the next 4 years. Exxon Mobile is already putting together an exit strategy to leave the U.S.

As more large employers leave the U.S. market, the TAX BURDEN WILL HAVE TO SHIFT TO SMALLER EMPLOYERS.

As more become dependent on government funds, the taxes that pay for those dependents have to increase on those who are not.

That's not just people - states are asking for more monies - Maryland is planning to request more federal funds to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure, because they are loosing tax revenue from existing residents.

The laws of unintended consequences will continue to fracture our economy, and further the recession.

Stay tuned for more on this as it develops.

Business News - Local News

Obama cabinet short on business experience

Baltimore Business Journal - by Kent Hoover Washington Bureau Chief

President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet will have a lot less business experience than President Bush’s first round of key appointees.

Bush, the only U.S. president with an MBA, turned to corporate America for several key positions, starting with vice president. Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton Corp., a Houston-based oilfield services company, before joining Bush’s ticket in 2000.

Another Texas oilman, longtime Bush friend Don Evans, was appointed secretary of Commerce. Former Alcoa Chairman and CEO Paul O’Neill was Bush’s first secretary of Treasury, but lasted less than two years.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had served as chairman and CEO of two companies, pharmaceutical giant G.D. Searle & Co. and broadcast technology developer General Instrument Corp. He also chaired Gilead Sciences Inc., a biopharmaceutical company.

Mitch Daniels, who headed the Office of Management and Budget, was a senior vice president at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co.

Obama, by contrast, largely turned to people with extensive government experience for his Cabinet.

The Commerce Department, for example, will be headed by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who also has served in Congress, as United Nations ambassador and as secretary of Energy. Obama’s pick for secretary of Treasury, Timothy Geithner, is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and served in the Treasury Department during three administrations.

Obama picked a Maine venture capitalist, Karen Gordon Mills, to lead the Small Business Administration, but it’s not clear whether the SBA administrator will be part of his Cabinet. That post was not part of the Cabinet during the Bush administration.

Not counting Mills, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, Obama’s pick for secretary of Interior, appears to have the most business experience of anyone in the president-elect’s Cabinet. Salazar, a fifth-generation rancher, and his wife have owned and operated several small businesses, including a Dairy Queen and radio stations in Pueblo and Denver.

Shaun Donovan, Obama’s choice to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, worked at Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. before becoming New York City housing commissioner. He was a deputy assistant secretary of HUD during the Clinton administration, and also has worked as an architect.

Steven Chu, Obama’s pick to be secretary of Energy, is a Nobel laureate physicist who runs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a government-supported lab managed by the University of California. He once served on the technical staff at AT&T Bell Labs.

That’s about it as far as business experience goes on Obama’s Cabinet. Should business owners be concerned?

“I don’t think it’s a huge red flag,” said Molly Brogan, vice president of the National Small Business Association. “President-elect Obama spoke out frequently on small business issues during the campaign, and we have no reason to think they won’t continue to be a priority. A lack of business background in Cabinet members can easily be accommodated for by a president taking proactive steps to ensure that small business is at the table.”

Those steps should include making the SBA administrator a Cabinet-level position and hosting a White House Conference on Small Business early in the administration, Brogan said.

“My concern is less with direct business experience than Cabinet members’ history and willingness to work with business leaders,” said Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. “For example, Gov. Richardson’s record on business issues is quite good even though he lacks experience in the trenches.”

Kerrigan is concerned about Obama’s appointees to regulatory agencies “and whether the new leadership will put less of a priority on tools and outreach to help businesses comply with regulation, or whether we’ll see a hostile crackdown with respect to enforcement.”

“Those with business experience would relate to the business owner’s difficulty in understanding regulatory complexity and costs,” she said, “and may lean towards education, tools and efforts to promote voluntary compliance.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

presidential line of succession

This is a list of the current presidential line of succession, as specified by the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 U.S.C. § 19) and subsequent amendments to include newly created cabinet officers.

# Office Current Officer
1 Vice President and President of the Senate Dick Cheney
2 Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi
3 President pro tempore of the Senate Robert Byrd
4 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
5 Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson
6 Secretary of Defense Robert Gates[1]
7 Attorney General Michael Mukasey
8 Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne
9 Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer
10 Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez (not eligible)
11 Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao (not eligible)
12 Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt
13 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Steve Preston
14 Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters
15 Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman
16 Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings
17 Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake
18 Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff


Under existing law, as part of a deal to give up outside income from speeches and other sources, Congress receives an automatic pay raise unless it votes otherwise. In January, Congress will receive a raise of $4,700, this will increase the average Member's pay to about $174,000, or a 2.8 percent increase.

Does Congress deserve a raise this year? A bill was introduced to reject the pay increase, but it died in committee. Tell Congress what you think.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It is now time for Atlas to Shrug...

It is now time for Atlas to Shrug...

As it appears that Obama has won this election, following Fox News calling both Ohio and PA for him, I think it is now time for the businessmen and women who run this country to make it quite clear what the consequences are to those people who sold out their freedom for empty promises.

Soon, Small Business owners, your taxes are now going to be raised. You now will face the difficult choice of either cutting your costs by laying people off, or by passing the increased costs of taxation on to your customers. This time I want you to take the time to tell that laid off employee exactly why he has lost his job. Tell him that the Obama tax increase has forced you to take his salary and give it to "the middle class". If he protests that he is part of the middle class, then explain that he should make good use of the $500 he sold his vote for, because it cost him his job.

For the manufacturers: When you move your production facilities overseas because the US has the second highest corporate income taxes in the world, and one more state increase is just too much, make sure your workers understand that their Union is mostly to blame, and they should go talk to them about why it was a good idea to vote for the guy who would make all union votes public.

For your customers: Explain that the price of your product has gone up because of your taxes being increased, and because the rising price of oil because of keeping the caribou happy has forced you to charge them more. Tell them you tried inflating your tires, but unfortunately it did not put any more gasoline in your tanks.

Consumers: When you go shopping, and are considering buying a high ticket item, when you change your mind, make sure that they know that if you had only kept that extra 3% of your salary.... the "chump change", you could have bought their item.

In short: It is time for us all to become John Galt.

Make them understand that capitalism requires capital, and unfortunately Obama gave the capital you needed to somebody who was more deserving than them.

Ask them how it feels to be "rich".

Tell them that you are sure they will be OK, because Obama told them it would be so.

Ask them how they are enjoying their "Change", and if they have any more "Hope" for the future.

And every time someone complains, remind them that this is what they voted for, so shut up and swallow the bitter pill.

As my mother told me -
be careful what you wish for
you may just get it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Health Care plan assesment for Nov 4

This is a breakdown of the current health insurance system, as well as the system presented as part of the Obama and McCain health care plans.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an agent in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Further - It is my opinion that if the European plan were offered here, the sale of supplemental and replacement plans will be an economic windfall for health agents, as it has overseas.

I have tried to provide a reasonably unbiased review of the stated and posted plan of each candidate, pulled off of the candidate's own web site, and with nothing else added, with one exception. That exception was in a concern for the tax that has been stated will occur on health insurance offered by businesses.

To evaluate each candidate's promises and the impact, an understanding of what exists is appropriate

Current system

1) Employer provided
- employer pays all or part of the employee premiums, and sometimes pays for the spouse and children as well
- employer cost is usually between 350 - 1100 per month per person
this cost is a tax deductible expense for the employer, and any benefit plan under IRS section 125 offers additional payroll tax reductions. Employer expenses for health plans is usually subtracted from the profit before calculations of corporate taxes
- premium cost is usually a factor of the average age of the organization, and the history of incurred medical costs, called experience rating
- normally 75% or more employee participation is mandatory to have group coverage
- coverage is usually through the provider network of physicians
- no pre-existing coverage issues, anyone is accepted
- coverage until recently was offered with no deductibles to meet and minor co-pay costs
- no lifetime maximum per individual
- out of network care costs can go to 100% employee expense
- employers often change insurance companies to reduce premiums, this involves changing the provider network, and can result in having to change established Dr / Patient relationships
- the system encourages age discrimination by the employer, as younger workers reduce the average insurance age
- the employee cost share can become prohibitive, resulting in younger and health employees opting out, and going to individual coverage, leaving increased group costs for older and unwell employees
- unhealthy and older employees are tied to the employer for health care coverage, very much like the last centuries' "being indebted to the company store"
- when the employee is terminated / laid off / otherwise no longer employed, the employee and family usually have the option to accept COBRA - which is the coverage provided by the employer, at the full employer cost plus 4% admin fee
once COBRA ends, or if COBRA is not selected, the employee and family may purchase individual coverage on the open market, in many cases subject to underwriting and pre-existing medical condition exclusions or rate adjustments

2) Self purchased
- insured pays all of the premiums for self, spouse and children.
- cost is usually between 150 - 400 per month for an individual, family coverage cost is between 350 and 1100 per month
- the lesser premium cost is usually coupled with a deductible of some manner
- this cost is a tax deductible expense along with other medical costs on schedule A
- for the self employed, all medical, dental, LTC ins. and out of pocket expenses are a tax write off on schedule C per IRS Section 105, so it can be subtracted from profit before calculations of corporate taxes, and in the case of a husband and wife sole proprietorship or "C" corporation
- coverage costs are age adjusted, but adjustments for health issues are normally not allowed by state laws
- since this is the individual's coverage, the individual has no ties to an employer for health care coverage, allowing job mobility
- lifetime maximums of 5 to 8 million per person are available, although lesser levels are more commonly selected due to consumer ignorance of implications
- established lifetime Dr / Patient relationships are possible
- usually medically underwritten, and premiums can be adjusted at issuance based on health issues or coverage can be declined
- policies vary and can be confusing, to the point that some people may find coverage insufficient for their needs, or gaps can exist that do not cover brand name drugs or services

3) Federal, State or Local Government provided
- taxpayer pays all or a large part of the employee premiums, and sometimes pays for the spouse and children as well
- cost is usually between 400 - 1300 per month per person
- premium cost is usually a contractual amount, vaugly a factor of the average age of the organization, and the history of incurred medical costs, called experience rating
- coverage is usually through the provider network of physicians
- no pre-existing coverage issues, anyone is accepted
- coverage has no deductibles to meet and very minor co-pay costs
- no lifetime maximum per individual
- out of network costs can be shocking to the insured
- the employee and family have no clear understanding of actual coverage or service costs, resulting in a large financial surprise when they leave the government position
- unhealthy and older employees are tied to the employer for health care coverage, very much like the last centuries' "being indebted to the company store"
- when the employee is terminated / laid off / otherwise no longer employed, the employee and family usually have the option to accept COBRA - which is the coverage provided by the employer, at the full employer cost plus 4% admin fee
once COBRA ends, or if COBRA is not selected, the employee and family may purchase individual coverage on the open market, in many cases subject to underwriting and pre-existing medical condition exclusions or rate adjustments

4) Low income, CHiP and State High Risk Plans
- State pays all or part of the person' premiums, based on household income
- State underwrites the cost of covering the medically unwell
- individual cost is usually between 350 - 1100 per month per person, based on plan choice and deductibles selected
- no pre-existing coverage issues, anyone is accepted
- coverage until recently was offered with no deductibles to meet and minor co-pay costs
- this cost is a tax deductible expense along with other medical costs on schedule A
- for the self employed, all medical, dental, LTC ins. and out of pocket expenses are a tax write off on schedule C per IRS Section 105, so it can be subtracted from profit before calculations of corporate taxes, and in the case of a husband and wife sole proprietorship or "C" corporation, reduce the self employment tax as well
- coverage costs are age adjusted, but adjustments for health issues are normally not allowed by state laws
- since this is the individual's coverage, the individual has no ties to an employer for health care coverage
- premium costs are usually higher than a medically underwritten policy
- lifetime coverage level can cap at 1 to 2 million, which can be insufficient for the individual

5) over 65 or severely medically challenged
Medicare part A (paid for by government)
and parts B and D, are usually paid out of the recipient's social security check
medicare advantage programs can combine the systems and provide an inclusive coverage package, forming an 80 /20 cost sharing for the consumer
- no pre-existing coverage issues, anyone is accepted
- coverage is offered with minor co-pay costs
open enrollment is every Oct 15 thru Dec 31, with an additional plan adjustment period the first months of each year
- the schedule for medical procedure payments is set by the Federal Government, and many qualified physicians decline to treat people with limited payment systems and Medicare
- without assistance, many over 65 do select plans which are insufficient for their needs, or fail to purchase part D, and so are penalized for not having the coverage when they enroll later, or do not have coverage when they need prescriptions
- plans can change every 6 months, so a viable plan can alter to the detriment of the insured

6) Uninsured
there are about 45 million who currently do not have coverage
22 million are here illegally, and they can not purchase coverage
it is estimated that another 10 million have ot been able to find coverage due to medical issues
the balance find the costs unacceptable, and choose to allocate funds for other purposes

European Systems:
Most operate on the same basic principal. Taxpayers fund the government sponsored plan, which pays 70 - 80% of the cost of care inside the plan offered by the country. The resident pays the remaining 20 - 30 % of the care costs. If a person can afford it, and they want a better level of care, they apply for a voucher, opt out of the government plan, and purchase a policy on the open market.
What this does is create a clear class system, much like is occurring with our similar, medicare system. Those who can afford to, opt out, and get better and quicker care, or even come to the US for care.

Obama's proposal

  • Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans regardless of their health status or history can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums. This exists in some states already, and comparable policy premiums are 10 -15 % higher. Fair and stable premiums artificially established by the Federal Government will require the Federal Government to re-insure the risk - it may be counter productive since the taxpayer becomes the financial entity responsible for covering the major cost of the financial risk. Without any controls in place, you and I will pay for the person who lives an unhealthy lifestyle, and the health risks they take. That also removes any incentive for the company to encourage the individual to adjust their lifestyle to minimize their personal health risks. In effect - the smoker who drinks a quart of booze per day and eats McFat burgers every day is put on the same economic level as someone who acts responsibly about their health
  • Create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide affordable health insurance to their employees. This will be a reduction in taxes paid in - if it is above and beyond the already existing effect of the Section 125 provisions, it will reduce employer taxes and decrease revenue for the government, a small employer tax cut if you will.
  • Lower costs for businesses by covering a portion of the catastrophic health costs they pay in return for lower premiums for employees. This will require the Federal Government to re-insure the risk - it may be counter productive since the taxpayer becomes the financial entity responsible for covering the major cost of the financial risk. Without any controls in place, you and I will pay for the person who lives an unhealthy lifestyle, and the health risks they take. That also removes any incentive for the company to encourage the individual to adjust their lifestyle to minimize their personal health risks.
  • Prevent insurers from overcharging doctors for their malpractice insurance and invest in proven strategies to reduce preventable medical errors. This will require tort reform, or caps on victim compensation - Obama did this to the sexual harassment laws in Il, reducing the amount an individual can collect from an employer. Premiums will not drop until the settlement is capped. We saw the impact of this in MD when the labor and Delivery malpractice costs were affecting the ability of Dr's to pay for coverage. Since no one can force an insurance company to cover a Dr, the private insurance companies recourse is to decline to issue coverage, since the stockholders (you and I and our 401K) will see this as an unsound risk. the next step will be that the Federal Government becomes the insurance company, and you and I become the persons accountable for paying the judgments and taking the financial risk
  • Make employer contributions more fair by requiring large employers that do not offer coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of their employees health care. This is the Federal Government telling the business how to run their business. No longer will workforce supply and demand control the benefits offered, now the Government will tell the employer what they can and can not offer. This will ultimately drive more industry off shore, since the costs to provide goods and services will include increased Federally mandated coverage levels. This practice is already in place for Federal and State contracts of all kinds. The costs the Federal and State governments pay for services are considerably higher than for the same service purchased by the private sector, and we, the taxpayer, pay for the coverage levels mandated by the Government in everything the Government purchases.
  • Establish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage. The congressional plan costs the taxpayer about 1200 per month per covered person. Given that most people d not have that level of income, the only way a private individual can afford the plan is with extensive Government subsidies, which the taxpayer will be paying for. Even assuming the average age of this coverage plan drops, and the rates reduce accordingly, covering 20 million plus uninsured and under insured people will still cost the taxpayer about $10,000 of the $12,000 per year premium per person, (this is Obama's own statement of premiums) or $20,000,000,000.00. If the plan is better and cheaper than the existing coverage the individual already has, it is very probable the coverage level will jump to 100 million plus people, which will cost the taxpayers an additional $100,000,000,000.00 per year as they subsidize the costs. (I'd take it as well, since it's better than any plan I can buy or sell) Interestingly enough, the GAO already reports the existing Federal, State and Local health care plans are underfunded and will go deficit spending, BROKE, by 2015 - see page 8 and 13 of
  • Ensure everyone who needs it will receive a tax credit for their premiums. This will reduce taxable income, income taxes paid in, and reduce tax revenue to the Government, increasing the deficit.

Reduce Costs and Save a Typical American Family up to $2,500 as reforms phase in:

The average individual family policy I write in MD is less than 6500 per year

  • Lower drug costs by allowing the importation of safe medicines from other developed countries, increasing the use of generic drugs in public programs and taking on drug companies that block cheaper generic medicines from the market. To do this, patent laws will need to be changed, so that companies will lose rights to ownership and development. The incentive to create and develop drugs and procedures and technology will disappear, and the US is one of the last countries on the forefront of medical development.
  • Require hospitals to collect and report health care cost and quality data. There is an increased risk for identity theft and privacy being compromised. Personal data will be widely available - anyone following the news has seen where laptop and data base files are being breached and compromised. the more data is electronically available, the more data can be and is accessed by individuals who have malicious intent. Google "government laptop losses" for an education on how bad it already is.
  • Reduce the costs of catastrophic illnesses for employers and their employees. This will require the Federal Government to re-insure the risk - it may be counter productive since the taxpayer becomes the financial entity responsible for covering the major cost of the financial risk. Without any controls in place, you and I will pay for the person who lives an unhealthy lifestyle, and the health risks they take. That also removes any incentive for the company to encourage the individual to adjust their lifestyle to minimize their personal health risks.
  • Reform the insurance market to increase competition by taking on anticompetitive activity that drives up prices without improving quality of care. Interesting idea - except there are currently many companies that compete in the individual and group sectors. MD has 6 major group providers and their offerings are dictated by the consumers, and the state laws and mandates. To do this, other insurance companies will have to be created, state regulatory laws will have to be challenged or removed, and the Government will need to subsidize companies to enter into and compete in a mature market.

The Obama-Biden plan will promote public health. It will require coverage of preventive services, including cancer screenings, and increase state and local preparedness for terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Adding preventative and early detection services will not add to many policy costs, as most are already covering those costs. It is a logical move. What is being missed is that over 50% of the population in this country already has it, thru their Federal, State and Local Government and Learning institution health care package. Also, most major employers have hugely beneficial preventative health focused plans already. individuals with HSA plans even have some, as most HSA plans allow certain early detection and testing without having to meet the deductible.

I am having a math problem with this one, only because there are no incentives in the Obama plan for healthy actions by the individual.

McCain's proposal

Cheaper Drugs: John McCain will look to bring greater affordability and competition to our drug markets through safe re-importation of drugs and faster introduction of generic drugs. Will require the Federal testing and approval system FDA, to be streamlined.

Chronic Disease: Chronic conditions account for three-quarters of the nation's annual health care bill. By emphasizing prevention, early intervention, healthy habits, new treatment models, new public health infrastructure and the use of information technology, we can significantly reduce these costs. We should dedicate more federal research to treating and curing chronic disease. There will be a financial impact on the taxpayer, to find the research, but there are already existing Federal funding programs in place on many diseases.

Coordinated Care: Coordinated care - with providers collaborating to produce the best health care for the patient - offers better outcomes at lower cost. We should pay a single bill for high-quality care which will make every single provider accountable and responsive to the patients' needs. Accountability and responsibility w
ill have an additional effect, in that malpractice may go down - reducing the multiple bills to a patient eliminates the confusion and double billing. however, the current delivery system has each provider as a separate entity, a separate company so to speak. To have one bill, there would need to be a structure to assimilate all bills into one, much like a general contractor manages sub-contractors.

Greater Access And Convenience: Families place a high value on quickly getting simple care. Government should promote greater access through walk-in clinics in retail outlets. Local care provided by easily accessed providers is a model that existed when we had the general practitioner of old, the town Doctor. This deliver system is one already in use for pharmaceuticals, and seems to work well.

Information Technology: John McCain will promote the rapid deployment of 21st century information systems and technology to improve patient safety, enhance quality and lower costs.
Communication of new practices and methods would be enhanced doing this. If it applies to patient records, there is an increased risk for identity theft and privacy being compromised. Personal data will be widely available - anyone following the news has seen where laptop and data base files are being breached and compromised. the more data is electronically available, the more data can be and is accessed by individuals who have malicious intent. Google "government laptop losses" for an education on how bad it already is.

Medicaid And Medicare: John McCain will reform the payment systems in Medicaid and Medicare to compensate providers for diagnosis, prevention and care coordination. Medicaid and Medicare should not pay for preventable medical errors or mismanagement. We also need to implement a zero tolerance policy towards Medicare and Medicaid fraud that is increasingly stripping away resources from the sick and the elderly. A good idea all around - some insurers are already refusing to pay for the results of medical mistakes. An increased focus on prevention will as a minimum keep the costs the same to the taxpayer, but provide early detection and improve quality of life.

Smoking: John McCain will promote the availability of smoking cessation programs. Most smokers would love to quit but find it hard to do so. Working with businesses and insurance companies to promote availability, we can improve lives and reduce associated chronic diseases through smoking cessation programs. The New England Journal of Medicine ran an article after a review of lifetime medical costs for smokers and non-smokers. The overall result was that smokers die sooner and incur less lifetime medical costs than non-smokers. Given that, this may have a negative economic impact on Medicare costs, and a negative impact on programs funded by the tobacco taxes.

Tort Reform: John McCain will lead the fight for medical liability reform that eliminates lawsuits directed at doctors who follow clinical guidelines and adhere to proven safety protocols. Every patient should have access to legal remedies in cases of bad medical practice but that should not be an open invitation to endless, frivolous lawsuits that drive up health care costs for everyone and make the practice of medicine unaffordable for good doctors everywhere. Currently, even though the Doctor can do everything right, he/she can still be sued, and in many cases the settlement is out of court since trial costs are excessive. This process, if done right, will allow peer reviews to determine if the proper procedure was performed. the risk is that the peer review process could be corrupted by professional interests.

Transparency: John McCain believes we must make information on treatment options and doctor records more public, and require greater transparency regarding medical outcomes, quality of care, costs and prices. We must also facilitate the development of national standards for measuring and evaluating treatments and outcomes. Given that most people have no concept of the actual medical costs, the public being aware can affect the amount of frivolous testing occurring. The risk is that new tests, new procedures may take overly long to be approved and accepted.
Reforms To Make Health Insurance Innovative, Portable And Affordable
Health Care Costs: John McCain will reform health care making it easier for individuals and families to obtain insurance. Americans are working harder and longer, yet the amount workers take home in their paychecks is not keeping pace because of rising health care costs. An important part of his plan is to use competition to improve the quality of health insurance with greater variety to match people's needs, lower prices, and promote portability. Families should be able to purchase health insurance nationwide, across state lines. This process already occurs in large, multi state companies, where the plan may be based in SC while the employee works in MD or DE. Currently, the cost of a policy varies due to profit, claims. state mandates and insurance overhead costs. Allowing sales across state lines will weaken state regulation and put the consumer at greater risk of no state representation, or having to go to the policy state for assistance. This may be an unacceptable option for the consumer.

Making the Tax Subsidy Fair: By making the tax code more equitable and transparent, John McCain will give every family a refundable tax credit - cash towards insurance - of $5,000 (Individuals receive $2,500). Every family in America, regardless of the source of their insurance or how much they make will get the same help. Families will be able to stay with their current plan, or choose the insurance provider that suits them best and have the money sent directly to the insurance provider. This portion is a plus for the consumer as there is no difference for the insured based on employer or employment.

Making Insurance More Portable: Americans need insurance that follows them from job to job. Too many job decisions today are controlled by a fear of losing health care. Americans want insurance that is still there if they retire early and does not change if they take a few years off to raise the children. John McCain will lead the reform for portable insurance. This is a solution to a real problem - if I can not keep my insurance in effect, I am at risk of not being able to acquire a replacement policy due to pre-existing issues.

since there has been much talk about taxes on benefits, I searched also for this, and found Mc;Cain's speech on health care, see:

from that speech:

"Americans need new choices beyond those offered in employment-based coverage. Americans want a system built so that wherever you go and wherever you work, your health plan is goes with you. And there is a very straightforward way to achieve this.

Under current law, the federal government gives a tax benefit when employers provide health-insurance coverage to American workers and their families. This benefit doesn't cover the total cost of the health plan, and in reality each worker and family absorbs the rest of the cost in lower wages and diminished benefits. But it provides essential support for insurance coverage. Many workers are perfectly content with this arrangement, and under my reform plan they would be able to keep that coverage. Their employer-provided health plans would be largely untouched and unchanged. "

Only if this benefit would no longer be a tax reduction for a business would it have the effect of reducing the amount of coverage a business would pay for.

To do that, it would require a change to the tax code (not likely) and such a change would only affect about 25 - 30% of the employed. Here is why:

Since the government pays no taxes to it's self, changing where those benefits fall on the balance sheet would have no impact on government workers. Those that are self employed, and those in the the public service sector, like Public Schools, Police and Fire, State and local municipalities and services, would also not see any changes to coverage. Add to that the 6% unemployed ( just under 30 million), the 45 million uninsured, plus those on Welfare programs, those who are retired or on Medicare and out of 360 million in the US, it's safe to say over 7o% of the population will see no impact of such a change.

"But for every American who wanted it, another option would be available: Every year, they would receive a tax credit directly, with the same cash value of the credits for employees in big companies, in a small business, or self-employed. You simply choose the insurance provider that suits you best. By mail or online, you would then inform the government of your selection. And the money to help pay for your health care would be sent straight to that insurance provider. The health plan you chose would be as good as any that an employer could choose for you. It would be yours and your family's health-care plan, and yours to keep. "

This would encourage the healthy uninsured to get coverage, since they could not get the credit without the insurance.

"The value of that credit -- 2,500 dollars for individuals, 5,000 dollars for families -- would also be enhanced by the greater competition this reform would help create among insurance companies. Millions of Americans would be making their own health-care choices again. Insurance companies could no longer take your business for granted, offering narrow plans with escalating costs. It would help change the whole dynamic of the current system, putting individuals and families back in charge, and forcing companies to respond with better service at lower cost.

It would help extend the advantages of staying with doctors and providers of your choice. When Americans speak of "our doctor," it will mean something again, because they won't have to change from one doctor or one network to the next every time they change employers. They'll have a medical "home" again, dealing with doctors who know and care about them.

These reforms will take time, and critics argue that when my proposed tax credit becomes available it would encourage people to purchase health insurance on the current individual market, while significant weaknesses in the market remain. They worry that Americans with pre-existing conditions could still be denied insurance. Congress took the important step of providing some protection against the exclusion of pre-existing conditions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996. I supported that legislation, and nothing in my reforms will change the fact that if you remain employed and insured you will build protection against the cost of treating any pre-existing condition.

Even so, those without prior group coverage and those with pre-existing conditions do have the most difficulty on the individual market, and we need to make sure they get the high-quality coverage they need. I will work tirelessly to address the problem. But I won't create another entitlement program that Washington will let get out of control. Nor will I saddle states with another unfunded mandate. The states have been very active in experimenting with ways to cover the "uninsurables." The State of North Carolina, for example, has an agreement with Blue Cross to act as insurer of "last resort." Over thirty states have some form of "high-risk" pool, and over twenty states have plans that limit premiums charged to people suffering an illness and who have been denied insurance."

for another opinion, see:

The press and the election

Many are not going to like the question I raise

many are not even going to want to read this, or think for themselves

because many of us BLINDLY "trust" the news to give us clear and real information

many of us count on the news to give us facts, which we accept,

and will use to decide our vote with in a few days

but here is a big issue to ponder

Let's start with the totals I was working with:

People murdered in California in 5 years: 12, 047

with a population of under 36,000,000

163,696 sq mi

non-military, domestic state, with gun laws

People murdered in Texas in 5 years: 7,000

with a population of under 24,000,000

268,820 sq mi

non-military, domestic state, with right to carry laws

Combat deaths in Iraq for just over 5 years: 3,389

with an Iraq population of over 29,200,000

169,234 sq mi

active combat zone

Last time I looked - California and Iraq are about the same geographical size

Although I don't want to see anyone killed
- I came across one big problem with the news reporting for the last 5 years.

look at those numbers, and then ask yourself these questions

Why is the murder of over 2,250 people / year, in one state in America, which is NOT a war zone, being ignored by the news media?

There are over 6 people per day being murdered in one state, in peaceful USA

3 x more people are being killed in one state of this Union, than soldiers in a war zone

Anyone want to explain why murders at home not make the same news as a soldier in Iraq?

what if the "facts" we are getting are slanted and biased?

what if there is an agenda?

perhaps - it's more popular to bash a policy and to report on what is happening elsewhere than it is to be honest and report what is here under our nose

Now for the big question

If the news media is slanting the news in this manner, and not reporting this to We, the People

What else is the news media hiding, or being less than open and fair about?

To me, that there is a bias and agenda are blatantly clear

the bias is even being reported as making the news

so much for fair and complete news reporting

by the way - more people are also murdered in IL and AZ combined
with a population of just over 19,000,000
than US soldiers in Iraq during the war
these are states that would be lost inside the Iraq boarders

in case anyone would like to argue the numbers - here is the link for crimes - 1960 to 2007 for California

the newspapers report the soldiers deaths daily, so I won't bother

The new Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday

a friend forwarded this - how fitting for either side on voting day

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights? <>

By Orson Scott Card

Editor's note: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism.

An open letter to the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting sub-prime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a essay entitled "Do Facts Matter?" (] ): "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?

Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number-two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.

And after Freddie Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.

If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.

But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign — because that campaign had sought his advice — you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign.

You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.

If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.

If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.

There are precedents. Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension — so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link. (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)

If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences. That's what honesty means. That's how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time — and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter — while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That's where you are right now.

It's not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe — and vote as if — President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats — including Barack Obama — and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans — then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More Joe the Plumber: It's really about the dream

More Joe the Plumber: It's really about the dream

Filed under: Entrepreneurship, Tax, Career

The controversy still rages over Joe the Plumber, who has been raked over the coals by the media and bloggers for asking presidential candidate Barack Obama a question about his tax plan. He's been accused of being a plant and an outright liar, and his divorce and delinquent taxes have been discussed ad nauseum.

Whether you're for or against Joe the Plumber, it's clear that he still represents the American dream. Maybe he's not considering buying a business. Maybe he doesn't have a plumber's license and instead works under someone who does. Maybe he's never going to make a lot of money.

But Joe represents the possibilities that Americans believe in. Someday he could be a business owner and he just might make enough to be considered one of those "high income" people. And indeed, many Americans believe they have a chance to someday be financially successful. But they also know that a strong U.S. economy depends on entrepreneurs.
Companies considered to be "high-growth" are responsible for creating almost all the job growth in the U.S., even though there are only about 30,000 of these companies. When inventors get to work and bring desirable products and services to the marketplace, we all benefit, and the economy expands. Our economy relies heavily on innovation, but that could be negatively impacted by a decreasing desire by consumers to start their own businesses in recent months.

It's popular to suggest that higher taxes on the "rich" are better for us as a whole, and that those in need are helped by such a move. Higher taxes likely would have just the opposite indirect effect, however. When governments seize more from taxpayers, the incentive to innovate and take risk is reduced. That results in less entrepreneurship, which results in fewer jobs, which impacts those in need very heavily.

A system that taxes more and distributes those funds to the less fortunate shouldn't ignore the side effects. Lower taxes encourage development of new companies and industries, and history has shown that the increased output from such development can greatly benefit all classes of taxpayers. So before we're too quick to believe that more taxes on the wealthiest of Americans are their duty (and even a "penalty" that they deserve for being wealthy), let's pay careful attention to what a move like this might mean for the rest of society, which depends on the jobs created by innovative entrepreneurs.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud

Camp Followers

Camp Followers
By Patrick J. Buchanan
October 24, 2008

Perhaps the only institution in America whose approval rating is
beneath that of Congress is the media.

Both have won their reputations the hard way. They earned them.

Consider the fawning indulgence shown insider Joe Biden with the
dripping contempt visited on outsider Sarah Palin.

Twice last weekend, Biden grimly warned at closed-door meetings
that a great crisis is coming early in the term of President Obama:

"Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests
Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. ... Remember I said it
standing here if you don't remember anything else I said ... we're
gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the
mettle of this guy."

A "generated crisis"? By whom? Moscow? Beijing? Teheran?

This is an astonishing statement from a chairman of the Foreign
Relations Committee who has access to the same intelligence as
George Bush. Joe was warning of a crisis like the Berlin Wall of
July 1961, where JFK called for a tripling of the draft and ordered
a call-up of reserves, or the missile crisis where U.S. pilots like
John McCain were minutes away from bombing nuclear missile sites in
Cuba and killing the Russians manning them.

Is Russia about to move on the Crimea? Is Israel about to launch
air strikes on Iran's nuclear sites? What is Joe talking about?

If one assumes Joe is a serious man, we have a right to know.

Instead, what we got was Obama's airy dismissal of Joe's words as a
"rhetorical flourish" and a media -- rather than demanding that Joe
hold a press conference -- acting as Obama surrogates parroting the
talking points that Joe was just saying that new presidents always
face tests.

Had John McCain made that hair-raising statement, he would have
been accused of fear mongering about a new 9/11. The media would
have run with the story rather than have smothered it.

Contrasting McCain with his hero, Joe declared a few weeks back,
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the
television and ... said, 'Look, here's what happened.'"

Nice historical reference. Except when the market crashed in 1929,
Hoover was president, and there was no television.

Can one imagine what the press would have done to Sarah Palin had
she exhibited such ignorance of history. Or Dan Quayle?

Joe gets a pass because everybody likes Joe.

Fine. But Joe also has a record of 36 years in the Senate.

Has anyone ever asked Joe about his own and his party's role in
cutting off aid to South Vietnam, leading to the greatest strategic
defeat in U.S. history and the Cambodian holocaust? Has anyone ever
asked Joe about the role he and his party played in working to
block Reagan's deployment of Pershing missiles in Europe, and SDI,
which Gorbachev concedes broke the Soviets and won the Cold War?

In the most crucial vote he ever cast -- to give Bush a blank check
for war in Iraq -- Joe concedes he got it wrong.

Is Joe's record of having been wrong on Vietnam, wrong in the Cold
War, wrong on the Iraq War, less important than whether Sarah Palin
tried to get fired a rogue-cop brother-in-law who Tasered her
10-year old nephew to "teach him a lesson"?

"I've forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my
colleagues know," says Joe humbly. Given his record, it is
understandable Joe has forgotten so much of it.

Saturday, the New York Times did a takeout on Cindy McCain that
delved back into her problem with prescription pills. Yet when
Hillary's campaign manager, Mark Penn, brought up Obama's cocaine
use on "Hardball," he was savaged by folks for whom the Times is
the gold standard.

The people apparently had a "right to know" of Bush's old DUI
arrest a week before the 2000 election, but no right to know about
how and when Obama was engaged in the criminal use of cocaine.

The media cannot get enough of the "Saturday Night Live"
impersonations of Palin as a bubblehead. News shows pick up the
Tina Fey clips and run them and run them to the merriment of all.

Can one imagine "Saturday Night Live" doing weekly send-ups of
Michelle Obama and her "I've never been proud" of my country, this
"just downright mean" America, using a black comedienne to mimic
and mock her voice and accent?

"Saturday Night Live" would be facing hate crime charges.

How do we know? When the New Yorker ran a cartoon of Michelle in an
Angela-Davis afro with an AK-47 slung over her shoulder, New Yorker
editors had to go on national television to swear they were not
mocking Michelle, but the conservatives who have so caricatured
Michelle and The Messiah.

Is there a media double standard? You betcha.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Would you, as possible President

associated with terrorists?
would you retain someone who has a history of terrorist association to provide advice on policy?
According to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Malley provided informal advice to the campaign in the past without having any formal role in the campaign. On May 9, 2008, the campaign severed ties with Malley when the British Times reported that Malley had been in discussions with the militant Palestinian group Hamas, listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization. In response, Malley told The Times he had been in regular contact with Hamas officials as part of his work with the International Crisis Group.
Obama aide wants
Foreign adviser's 'anti-Israel policies,'

Posted: January 29, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2008

Robert Malley
JERUSALEM – While officials here largely maintain a policy against interfering in U.S. election politics, some Israeli security officials quietly expressed "concern" about an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama who has advocated negotiations with Hamas and providing international assistance to the terrorist group.

The officials noted Robert Malley, a principal Obama foreign policy adviser, has penned numerous opinion articles, many of them co-written with a former adviser to the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, petitioning for dialogue with Hamas and blasting Israel for numerous policies he says harm the Palestinian cause.

Malley also previously penned a well-circulated New York Review of Books piece largely blaming Israel for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David in 2000 when Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern sections of Jerusalem and instead returned to the Middle East to launch an intifada, or terrorist campaign, against the Jewish state.

Anyone like the sound of this?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another black democrat

Another black democrat

Joke of the week

(Bear facts)

The photo below captures a disturbing trend that is beginning to affect wildlife in the US.


Animals that were formerly self-sufficient are now showing signs of belonging to the Democratic Party... as they have apparently learned to just sit and wait for the government to step in and provide for their care and sustenance. This photo is of a Democrat black bear in Carthage Tennessee nicknamed 'Bearack Obama'!

Excuse me - Mr Obama - could you explain this?























Friday, October 17, 2008

Letter from a Virginian to Obama

I came across this in an email.
This is long but it contains some very important and vital information concerning the upcoming Presidential election.
I hope that you will take the time to read it.
There are two pieces which are incorrect in the exact detail, but on target to the essence.
(although not a professor in the sense of the word - the position he held is called professor
McCain was cleared of any wrong doing in the Keating 5, and was investigated only because "they had to keep one republican" for the investigation)

As I am not the author - I will not alter the document. Thank you.
To Barack Hussein Obama,

The New York Times carried a story on Saturday, October 4, 2008 that proved you had a significantly closer relationship with Bill Ayers than what you previously admitted. While the issue of your relationship is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America about it.

The Chicago Sun reported on May 8, 2008 that FBI records showed that you had a significantly closer relationship with Tony Rezko than what you previously admitted. In the interview, you said that you only saw Mr. Rezko a couple of times a year. The FBI files showed that you saw him weekly. While the issue of your relationship is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America about it.

Your speech in Philadelphia on March 18, 2008 about 'race' contradicted your statement to Anderson Cooper on March 14 when you said that you never heard Reverend Wright make his negative statements about white America. While your attendance at Trinity Church for 20 years is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America on March 14.

In your 1st debate with John McCain, you said that you never said that you would meet with the leaders of Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and North Korea without 'preparations' at lower levels ... Joe Biden repeated your words in his debate with Sarah Palin ... while the video tape from your debate last February clearly shows that you answered 'I would' to the question of meeting with those leaders within 12 months without 'any' preconditions. While your judgment about meeting with enemies of the USA without pre-conditions is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America in the debate with McCain.

On July 14, 2008, you said that you always knew that the surge would work while the video tapes of you from more than a year ago show that you stated that the surge would not work. While your judgment about military strategy as a potential commander in chief is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America on July 14.

You now claim that your reason for voting against funding for the troops was because the bill did not include a time line for withdrawal while the video tapes of you from more than a year ago show that you voted against additional funding because you wanted our troops to be removed immediately ... not in 16 months after the 2008 election as you now claim. While your judgment about removing our troops unilaterally in 2007 is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America about your previous position.

You claim to have a record of working with Republicans while the record shows that the only bill that you sponsored with a Republican was with Chuck Lugar ... and it failed. The record shows that you vote 97% in concert with the Democrat party and that you have the most liberal voting record in the Senate. You joined Republicans only 13% of the time in your votes and those 13% were only after agreement from the Democrat party. While it is of concern that you fail to include conservatives in your actions and that you are such a liberal, the greater concern is that you distorted the truth.

In the primary debates of last February, 2008, you claimed to have talked with a 'Captain' of a platoon in Afghanistan 'the other day' when in fact you had a discussion in 2003 with a Lieutenant who had just been deployed to Afghanistan. You lied in that debate.

In your debates last spring, you claimed to have been a 'professor of Constitutional law' when in fact you have never been a professor of Constitutional law. In this last debate, you were careful to say that you 'taught a law class' and never mentioned being a 'professor of Constitutional law.' You lied last spring.

You and Joe Biden both claimed that John McCain voted against additional funding for our troops when the actual records show the opposite. You distorted the truth.

You and Joe Biden claim that John McCain voted against funding for alternate energy sources 20 times when the record shows that John McCain specifically voted against funding for bio fuels, especially corn ... and he was right ... corn is too expensive at producing ethanol, and using corn to make ethanol increased the price of corn from $2 a bushel to $6 a bushel for food. You distorted the truth.

You and Joe Biden claim that John McCain voted like both of you for a tax increase on those making as little as $42,000 per year while the voting record clearly shows that John McCain did not vote as you and Joe Biden. You lied to America.

You and Joe Biden claim that John McCain voted with George W. Bush 90% of the time when you know that Democrats also vote 90% of the time with the President (including Joe Biden) because the vast majority of the votes are procedural. You are one of the few who has not voted 90% of the time with the president because you have been missing from the Senate since the day you got elected. While your absence from your job in the Senate is of concern, the greater concern is that you spin the facts.

You did not take an active roll in the rescue plan. You claimed that the Senate did not need you while the real reason that you abstained was because of your close relationships with the executives of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Countrywide, and Acorn ... who all helped cause the financial problems of today ... and they all made major contributions to your campaign. While your relationship with these executives and your protection of them for your brief 3 years in the Senate (along with Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, Maxine Waters, and Chris Dodd) is of concern, the greater concern is that you are being deceitful.

You forgot to mention that you personally represented Tony Rezko and Acorn. Tony Rezko, an Arab and close friend to you, was convicted of fraud in Chicago real estate transactions that bilked millions of tax dollars from the Illinois government for renovation projects that you sponsored as a state senator ... and Acorn has been convicted of voter fraud, real estate sub prime loan intimidation, and illegal campaign contributions. Tony Rezko has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to your political campaigns. You personally used your political positions to steer money to both Tony Rezko and Acorn and you used Acorn to register thousands of phony voters for Democrats and you. While your relationships with Rezko and Acorn are of concern, the greater concern is that you omitted important facts about your relationships with them to America.

During your campaign, you said: 'typical white person.' 'they cling to their guns and religion.' 'they will say that I am black.' You played the race card. You tried to label any criticism about you as racist. You divide America.

You claim that you will reduce taxes for 95% of America, but you forgot to tell America that those reductions are after you remove the Bush tax reductions. You have requested close to $1 Billion in earmarks and several million for Acorn. Your social programs will cost America $1 Trillion per year and you claim that a reduction in military spending ($100 billion for Iraq) can pay for it. While your economic plan of adding 30% to the size of our federal government is of concern, the greater concern is that you are deceiving America.

The drain to America's economy by foreign supplied oil is $700 Billion per year (5% of GDP) while the war in Iraq is $100 Billion (less than 1% of GDP). You voted against any increases to oil exploration for the last 3 years and any expansion of nuclear facilities. Yet today, you say that you have always been for more oil and more nuclear. You are lying to America.

Mr. Obama, you claimed that you 'changed' your mind about public financing for your campaign because of the money spent by Republican PACs in 2004. The truth is that the Democrat PACs in 2004, 2006, and 2008 spent twice as much as the Republican PACs (especially George Soros and You are lying to America.

Mr. Obama, you have done nothing to stop the actions of the teachers union and college professors in the USA. They eliminated religion from our history. They teach pro gay agendas and discuss sex with students as young as first grade. They bring their personal politics into the classrooms. They disparage conservatives. They brainwash our children. They are in it for themselves ... not America. Are you reluctant to condemn their actions because teachers/professors and the NEA contribute 25% of all money donated to Democrats and none to Republicans? You are deceiving America.

Oh Mr. Obama, Teddy Roosevelt said about a hundred years ago that we Americans should first look at the character of our leaders before anything else.

Your character looks horrible. While you make good speeches, motivating speeches, your character does not match your rhetoric. You talk the talk but do not walk the walk.

1. You lied to America. You lied many times. You distorted facts. You parsed your answers like a lawyer.

2. You distorted the record of John McCain in your words and in your advertisements.

3. You had associations with some very bad people for your personal political gains and then lied about those associations.

4. You divide America about race and about class.

Now let me compare your record of lies, distortions, race bating, and associations to John McCain: War hero. Annapolis graduate with 'Country first.' Operational leadership experience like all 43 previously elected presidents of the USA as a Navy Officer for 22 years. 26 years in the Senate. Straight talk. Maverick. 54% of the time participated on bills with Democrats. Never asked for an earmark. The only blemish on his record is his part in the Keating 5 debacle about 25 years ago.

Mr. Obama, at Harvard Law School, you learned that the end does not justify the means. You learned that perjury, false witness, dishonesty, distortion of truth are never tolerated. Yet, your dishonesty is overwhelming. Your dishonesty is tremendously greater than the dishonesty that caused the impeachment and disbarment of Bill Clinton. Your dishonesty is tremendously greater than the dishonesty of Scooter Libby. You should be ashamed.

Mr. Obama, it is time for us Americans to put aside our differences on political issues and vote against you because of your dishonest character. It is time for all of us Americans to put aside our political issues and vote for America first. It is time for America to vote for honesty.

Any people who vote for you after understanding that you are dishonest should be ashamed of themselves for making their personal political issues more important than character. Would these same people vote for the anti-Christ if the anti-Christ promised them riches? Would they make a golden calf while Moses was up the mountain? Would they hire someone for a job if that someone lied in an interview? ... of course not. So why do some of these people justify their votes for you even though they know you are dishonest? Why do they excuse your dishonesty? Because some of these people are frightened about the future, the economy, and their financial security ... and you are preying on their fears with empty promises ... and because some (especially our young people) are consumed by your wonderful style and promises for 'change' like the Germans who voted for Adolf Hitler in 1932. The greed/envy by Germans in 1932 kept them from recognizing Hitler for who he was. They loved his style. Greed and envy are keeping many Americans from recognizing you ... your style has camouflaged your dishonesty ... but many of us see you for who you really are ... and we will not stop exposing who you are every day, forever if it is necessary.

Mr. Obama, you are dishonest. Anyone who votes for you is enabling dishonesty.

Mr. Obama, America cannot trust that you will put America first in your decisions about the future.

Mr. Obama, you are not the 'change' that America deserves. We cannot trust you.

Mr. Obama, You are not ready and not fit to be commander in chief.

Mr. Obama, John McCain does not have as much money as your campaign to refute all of your false statements. And for whatever reasons, the mainstream media will not give adequate coverage or research about your lies, distortions, word parsing, bad associations, race bating, lack of operational leadership experience, and general dishonest character. The media is diverting our attention to your relationships and ignoring the fact that you lied about those relationships. The fact that you lied is much more important than the relationships themselves ... just like with Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon ... Monica Lewinski and Watergate were not nearly as bad as the fact that those gentlemen lied about the events ... false witness ... perjury ... your relationships and bad judgments are bad on their own ... but your lies are even worse.

Therefore, by copy of this memo, all who read this memo are asked to send it to everyone else in America before it is too late. We need to do the job that the media will not do. We need to expose your dishonesty so that every person in America understands who you really are before election day.

Mr. Obama, in a democracy, we get what we deserve.
And God help America if we deserve you.

Michael Master
McLean, Virginia