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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Unbelievable!  The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare 5 – 4.  Does anyone read the Constitution anymore?

I would like to know where there is a constitutional precedence for a mandate for any American to buy something; anything!  I admit you have to be plum loco to not want to be insured this day and age, but America is supposed to be a free country and it is supposed to be the American’s choice.  What mandates is this tyrannical and oppressive administration going to conjure up next?  And what about the poorest Americans who cannot afford neither the insurance nor the fine?

Health care reform is important.  It has been on the table since Teddy Roosevelt’s administration.  But Teddy would spin in his grave if he heard about this.  Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and all pre-FDR reformers were a different breed than the Franklin himself and those who followed.  BF (Before Franklin) reformers got congress to pass statutes regulating how an institution such as a health insurance company does business.  Although it is critical any regulation be limited so as not to impose on anyone’s freedom and stymie job creation and minimal unemployment, at least millions, even billions of dollars are not spent on the creation and maintaining of huge bureaucracies that do nothing but run this country deep into debt.  AF (After Franklin) reformers such as Obama and company have to create new government agencies that will inevitably bankrupt America and even what little services a limited government must provide will cease to exist.

As Glen Beck said, no matter how liberal or how conservative a stand you take on something like this, look at the people behind it and their ulterior motives.  Is the Obama administration intentionally trying to bankrupt America to ultimately replace our democracy with tyranny and oppression?

The first place I would look is who made this ruling, our U.S. Supreme Court.  Although I never supported Newt Gingrich and his quest for the presidency, he was (and is) very knowledgeable on how the judicial branch of government works.  He made reference to the Dred Scott decision; a pre-Civil War case where a man who owned a slave moved north of the Mason-Dixon line and was allowed to keep Dred in shackled in slavery on the basis that a man is allowed to take all of his property and possessions with him when he relocates and that includes his slave…

Many adversaries of Abraham Lincoln annunciated that slavery is therefore the law of all the land, north and south.  Mr. Lincoln made it clear that is only the decision on one controversial case and that nine [old men] do not make the law of the land—we have three branches of government.  Ever since the Warren court in 1958,it has been fashionable for presidents to stack the courts with judges who agree with their personal politics.  The judicial branch is not a law-making body, it is a law enforcement body and only acts dynamically in the law-making process when the constitutionality of a law or proposed law is questionable and deliberates and comes to a decision.  The last constitutional moratorium our Supreme Court ever held was in 1975 concerning Major League Baseball’s reserve clause.  Before that, Brown vs. Board of Education.  Look at the last two justices appointed to the court, both by Obama, Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Keagan, both liberals who would walk on water for Barrack Obama.

We must first balance the budget and then look at BF reform, not AF.  The solution must be a private sector solution with the aid of new statutes if necessary and no mandates imposing on the freedom of our citizens who value living in a free country and not impede on how we glorify God who allowed this greatest and freest nation to inhabit the earth.

 

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According to The Sacramento Bee, here are nine key issues where the candidates supposedly differ:

ABORTION & BIRTH CONTROL
OBAMA: Supports abortion rights. Health care law requires contraceptives to be available for free for women enrolled in workplace health plans.

ROMNEY: Opposes abortion rights. Previously supported them. Says state law should guide abortion rights,and Roe v. Wade should be reversed by a future Supreme Court. Said he would end federal aid to

Here on June 28, 2012, the candidates differ and Mitt Romney supports our conservative values; but he didn’t always.

DEBT
OBAMA: Fourth-straight year of trillion-dollar deficits is projected. Won approval to raise debt limit to avoid default. Calls for tackling the debt with a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases. Central to Obama’s plan is to let Bush-era tax cuts expire for couples making more than $250,000

ROMNEY: Defended 2008 bailout of financial institutions as a necessary step to avoid the system’s collapse, opposed the auto bailout. Would cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product by end of first term, down from 23.5 percent now, with largely unspecified spending cuts. Favors constitutional balanced budget amendment.

Here at The 7 Train, I see no evidence Obaman is going to mix spending cuts into his plan.  He may see the necessity, but is too tied into welfare recipients and labor unions.  And allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire, a roundabout way of saying he will raise taxes.  Romney is no saint in this department either, supporting the bailouts of 2008. He may favor capping federal spending, but he still favors a 25% corporate tax, which is not low enough to deter businesses from incorporating in Switzerland to avoid paying and is not a proponent of the flat tax.  Balanced budget amendment a good idea in theory, but not practical with the uncertainty now that America must make it in a worldwide economy.  Balance the budget without a constitutional edict first, then see where America stands.

OBAMA: Term marked by high unemployment, a deep recession that began in previous administration and gradual recovery. Responded to recession with a roughly $800 billion stimulus plan. Continued implementation of Wall Street and auto industry bailouts begun under George W. Bush. Proposes tax breaks for U.S. manufacturers producing domestically or repatriating jobs from abroad, and tax penalties for U.S. companies outsourcing jobs.
ROMNEY: Lower taxes, less regulation, balanced budget, more trade deals to spur growth. Replace jobless benefits with unemployment savings accounts. Proposes repeal of the law toughening financial-industry regulations after the meltdown in that sector, and the law tightening accounting regulations in response to corporate scandals.

Sure we must pay for Obama’s sins, we have no choice.  Unemployment savings accounts are a tough sell when people with six figure jobs are struggling to put money in a savings account.  I would prefer to leave the jobless benefit scenario status quo for now, focus on job creation and get the jobless rate below 2%, flatten the income tax to allow for more savings among all classes, and provide tax incentives for those desiring to start their own business.  Lower taxes and less regulation, I am with Mitt all the way.

EDUCATION
OBAMA: Has approved waivers freeing states from the most onerous requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law. “Race to the Top” competition has rewarded winning states with billions of dollars for pursuing education policies Obama supports.

ROMNEY: Supported the federal accountability standards of No Child Left Behind law. Has said the student testing, charter-school incentives and teacher evaluation standards of Obama’s “Race to the Top” competition “make sense” although the federal government should have less control of education.

The best way to create a world class educational system without bankrupting the nation is to privatize as much as possible. Let private sector companies run our public school systems, and instead of an entire bureaucracy in Washington composed of people with extravagant salaries who consistently fail to solve problems plaguing our schools today due to making union concessions, let’s have a simple Ministry of Standards where one person in consultation with experts will set the minimum standards that the respective private sector companies must adhere to when making curricular and other educational decisions.  Private sector companies have the wherewithal to pay quality teachers what they are worth, railroad out bad teachers, and ensure up to date text books, computers, and lab equipment.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
OBAMA: Ordered temporary moratorium on deep-water drilling after the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico but has pushed for more oil and gas drilling overall. Achieved historic increases in fuel economy standards that will save money at the pump while raising the cost of new vehicles. Achieved first-ever regulations on heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming and on toxic mercury pollution from power plants.Spent heavily on green energy and has embraced nuclear power as a clean source. Failed to persuade a Democratic Congress to pass limits he promised on carbon emissions.

ROMNEY: Supports opening the Atlantic and Pacific outer continental shelves to drilling, as well as Western lands, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore Alaska. Wants to reduce obstacles to coal, natural gas and nuclear energy development, and accelerate drilling permits in areas where exploration has already been approved for developers with good safety records. Says green power has yet to become viable and the causes of climate change are unknown.

I am more pro-environment than the average Republican, but for now, we will have to tolerate some drilling and make use of domestic energy sources; traditional until green sources can be development.  We have to keep the lights on in the labs and the Bunsen Burners burning on something if we are going to develop green alternatives that work in the future.  We also must reduce our dependency of foreign oil, but we must always buy some from Arab nations—unfortunately, America, with its ties with Israel, trading cash for oil with Arab states is the only thing preventing a Jihad, which could destroy the state of Israel.

GAY RIGHTS
OBAMA: Once opposed federal recognition of same-sex marriage, later said his views were “evolving” and has not taken a position since. Opposes constitutional amendment to ban it. Supports civil unions and letting states decide about marriage. Achieved repeal of the military ban on openly gay service members.

ROMNEY: Favors constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, says policy should be set federally, not by states. “Marriage is not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state.” But said he would not seek to restore a ban on openly gay

I agree with Romney that marriage is between a man and a woman.  That is the only form of marriage God will ever recognize.  Civil unions are acceptable.  Note that any marriage done legally but not in the presence of God is by definition a civil union, even if between a man and a woman.  Also note that not all religious people are saved—there is only one way to get saved.

HEALTH CARE
OBAMA: Achieved landmark overhaul putting U.S. on path to universal coverage if the Supreme Court upholds the heath care law and its mandate for almost everyone to obtain insurance. Under the law, insurers will be banned from denying coverage to people with pre-existing illness, tax credits will subsidize premiums, people without work-based insurance will have access to new markets, small business gets help for offering insurance and Medicaid will expand.

ROMNEY: Promises to work for repeal of the law modeled largely after his universal health care achievement inMassachusetts because he says states, not Washington, should drive policy on the uninsured. Proposes to guarantee that people who are “continuously covered” for a certain period be protected against losing insurance if they get sick, leave their job and need another policy. Would expand individual tax-advantaged medical savings accounts and let savings be used for insurance premiums as well as personal medical costs

The 7 Train is withholding commenting on this issue at this time.  The ball is in the court of The U.S. Supreme Court and we are awaiting this decision.  If Obama-Care is deemed unconstitutional, this issue of managed health care becomes a non-debatable commodity.  Once the verdict is reached, we can use the debating process to determine heath care reform, hopefully at the private sector level.

SOCIAL SECURITY
OBAMA: Has not proposed a comprehensive plan to address Social Security’s long-term financial problems. In 2011, proposed a new measure of inflation that would reduce annual increases in Social Security benefits. The proposal would reduce the long-term financing shortfall by about 25 percent, according to the Social Security actuaries.

ROMNEY: Protect the status quo for people 55 and over but, for the next generations of retirees, raise theretirement age for full benefits by one or two years and reduce inflation increases in benefits for wealthier recipients.

This is one of the few issues I believe former candidate Newt Gingrich got right.  We need to take Social Security off the federal budget, as it was before Lyndon Johnson put it on the budget to show a surplus to justify the Apollo Moon Missions of the late 60s and early 70s.  Someday, this should be privatized and paying into it should eventually become optional.  It is very important that we not penalize the elderly and disabled who have nothing else to live on at this time and put the onus on those in their twenties entering the work force who will have other choices.

TAXES
OBAMA: Wants to raise taxes on the wealthy and ensure they pay 30 percent of their income at minimum. Supports extending Bush-era tax cuts for everyone making under $200,000, or $250,000 for couples. But in 2010, agreed to a two-year extension of the lower rates for all. Health care law provides for tax on highest-value health insurance plans. Together with Congress, built a first-term record of significant tax cuts, some temporary.

ROMNEY: Drop all tax rates by 20 percent, bringing the top rate, for example, down to 28 percent from 35 percent and the lowest rate to 8 percent instead of 10 percent. Curtail deductions, credits and exemptions for the wealthiest. Eliminate capital gains tax for families making below $200,000 and cut corporate tax to 25 percent from 35 percent.

I am not crazy about either candidates plan.  I think a good flat tax plan is the best.  Keep corporate taxes in single digits to keep incorporation in America and provide incentive to small business.  Determine a flat rate income tax for all, have payroll withholdings set to exactly that amount, have that amount electronically transferred to the U.S. Treasury, and then you do not need the IRS—saving the government money on paper and personnel.

I hope Mr. Romney read The 7 Train!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While perusing through Saturday’s copy of U.S.A. Today, I came across a front page article was on the one-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of The War of 1812.  According to reporter Rick Hampton, Canadians see the conflict as its crucible of national identity.  Americans, not so much.  A reenactment of the Battle of Queenston Heights, the first major battle, will take place next week in Lewiston, New York, just across from the Niagara River.  But unlike 200 years ago, they will be all Canadians.

While The War of 1812 became the stepping stone to Canada becoming a free nation, seceding from the British Empire and forming the sovereign nation they are today, Americans considered it a war to forget.  We didn’t really win the War of 1812, we didn’t really lose it either.  We did achieve the end of the practice of impressment, a popular British practice of taking people into the navy by force as many Americans were forced to serve in the King’s Navy.  And in 1814, the final battle, The Battle of New Orleans where General Andrew Jackson (seventh president of the United States) led the U.S. Navy to victory.

Ultimately, The War of 1812 was the turning point where Great Brittan would make the transition from being our enemy to being or ally as they were in World War I, World War II, and the rest of the twentieth and twenty-first century wars and conflicts.  Two generations plagued by The Viet Nam Conflict, which shifted attitudes of young Americans toward war more than any other military conflict in history (and rightfully so), and the uncertainty of the War in Iraq, which may be the one tragic flaw of the George W. Bush presidency ultimately leading to the election of Barrack Obama; and I give credit where credit is due, the killing of Osama Bin Laden and the end to combat action in Iraq did happen on his watch.  The change in America’s perception of war among the generations may have a lot to do with why we are not into a War of 1812 Centennial Celebration.

 

Mister, we could use a man like Ronald Reagan again!  Absolutely!  The date was November 4, 1980 when a Ronald Reagan, a B-movie actor who made movies like Bedtime for Bonzo and Hellcats of the Navy got elected president of the United States.  He was sworn in on January 20, 1981; five months later, I graduated from Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Ronald Reagan, the actor, was a liberal Democrat and served as president of the Screen Actors’ Guild.  Ronald Reagan, the politician saw the light and became a Republican conservative; in fact, the founder of compassionate conservatism.  His first elected office was as governor of California 1967 – 1971.  After failure to get the G.O.P. nomination in 1968 and in 1976, he finally got it in 1980 defeating President Jimmy Carter.

On his inaugural address on January 20, 1981, Mr. Reagan declared in to be morning in America.  Just as the swearing in was completed and the presidency had changed hands, an airplane took off from the airport in Tehran, Iran, allowing some thirty odd American hostages held in captivity for 444 days by Ayatollah Khomeini in protest for the U.S. granting asylum to Iran’s deposed Shah Shapour Bakhtia.  America was in economic crisis too as unemployment was at an all time high, gasoline went over a dollar a gallon for the first time and long line at the pump for most of 1978 – 1979.  After that long cold night known as the Carter administration, it was morning in America again.  The economy and standard of living were up.   The stock market was up.  Jobs were created and unemployment was down.  There was money to be made.  And by the end of his eight year term in office, Communism would fall like the stack of dominos it had been compared with at the beginning of the Cold War.

Any similarities then to the state of the union today?  Yes, Mister, we could use a man like Ronald Reagan again.  But the party nominated Mitt Romney.  Like I said, not as conservative as Rick Santorum, my choice during primary season, a little spotty in some areas, but more conservative than Barrack Obama.  But Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan.

His plan for a 25% corporate tax will encourage more foreign business and outsourcing.  His progressive income tax will not generate revenue in the fairest way with compassion to struggling taxpayers like the flat tax.  His wavering on abortion and gay marriage issues leave question marks in the minds of conservatives.  Is he a true conservative, or is he an opportunist taking our side now because the pendulum is now swinging right in response to Obama’s faux pas and perfunctory policies.

Rick Santorum was the closest to Ronald Reagan in recently past field.  He was a true conservative who was prepared to bring God back to America.  Alas, Romney falls just a little short although I will support him for president now that it is decided he will be the Republican nominee.  But I must say, Mister, we could use a man like Ronald Reagan again!

The biggest gripe voters have these days is the lack of diversity among the two parties.  President Obama’s approval rating is less than 50% and most Republicans and other conservatives view Mitt Romney not much less liberal.  Popular belief is that grass roots conservative idealism and limited government will not be achieved with either candidate.  I cannot guarantee there will be any form of conservative nirvana under a Romney presidency (a lot to do with why I and The 7 Train endorsed Santorum before he had to answer to a higher calling with his family), but there is a quite a bit of diversity.

I had the radio on in my car as I was driving to work from Oxford to Stamford (Sunday is one day I have to drive if I am scheduled to work) and a young teenage girl who has been volunteering with her church fellowship pointed out a woman in Colorado who aborted her baby because ultrasound confirmed it was a girl and they wanted a boy.  Even pro-choicers cringed at this as an abuse of a system allowing a pregnant woman to choose as completely wrong and ungodly.  Yet, the Democrats refuse to condemn this action.  Mitt may be on the fence more than the average Republican at this time, but he would never allow this and if the only way to prevent it is to take a pro-life stand, so be it.  Since neither party can get the budget balanced either with their own politics or bipartisanship, the best answer is to turn the problem over to God.  Like The Bible says, …with God, all things are possible.  God’s solutions come via blessings and God cannot bless those who condone this ungodly behavior, i.e. the Democrats.  With the Republicans siding with life, they can earn blessings and although Mitt has issues, he has a better chance to see righteous reason and act accordingly.

On the drive home, a man on a talk show discussed the flat tax scenario.  He explained how it would give power back to the people.  His plan would be to replace the federal income tax with a 3% national sales tax only on new goods (not used).  I have mixed feelings about this although the federal government would save millions by being able to shut down the IRS.  I think a more practical solution is a flat rate federal income tax which also would not require an agency like the IRS because if everyone across the board, regardless of income, paid a flat 9% income tax (one percent less than The Lord asks for, a tithe), no IRS or forms required; just set everybody’s withholdings to exactly 9%, electronically transfer that 9% to the United States Treasury, and at the end of the year, everybody is paid in full—you couldn’t commit fraud if you wanted.  Many Republican support the notion of a flat tax—nary a one solitary Democrat.

Let’s get Social Security and those services too essential to eliminate privatized so that they will continue to exist for those who need them, just not at the expense of the government.  Let’s create the opportunities for our young people so that they can overcome, live the American Dream, and not need the entitlements.  People my age and myself may not live to see this process completed, but let us begin.  Ask NOT what your country can do for you, ask NOT what you can do for your country either, ask God what he wants you to do for your country and do it…

 

This noon (6/6/2012) I stopped at a place on the Seymour-Oxford town line called Uncle Willie’s BBQ, specializing in southern fried chicken.  I tried one of their chicken breasts with some mashed potatoes and their famous sweet sauce.  There are only a few tables as he is mainly a to-go establishment in a small strip-mall.  I looked at some of the pictures and artifacts on the wall and he had a picture of a Texaco fire engine like the one I had when I was a kid with the original Texaco star logo and a advertisement that you could buy it for $3.98 with a purchase of gasoline, probably costing less than 26.9¢ per gallon at a station on a picture next to it of Route 66 in 1953.

 

I got mine from my grandfather as a gift and had it to pass on either to my sister or some other cousin’s child as it lasted a long time—I think I pulled off one of the headlights as a kid but the rest was in good shape.  What went through my mind when I saw that ad was the huge generation gap of which I am now on the sunset side.  Today’s child would not play with that fire engine toy—it has to be wired to something with high quality graphics on a screen with buttons to push to text or tweet a friend.  The technology of the day makes kids grow up long before their time and quality childhoods just don’t exist anymore.

 

I remember my senior year in high school.  I wanted my driver’s license and as soon as I got it, since my grandmother had purchased a 1980 Chevy Citation, I purchased her 1971 Ford Pinto (gas tank recall rectified before I drove it) for one dollar (she gifted it to me, the dollar was simply a symbolic gesture).  One day after work heading up the Connecticut’s Route 8 North to get me home from Stratford Railroad Station to my home in Oxford, I heard on the radio about a study that says if you gave today’s teenager a choice between a car or internet access, most would rather have internet access.  In my day a car at that age was a newly found freedom.  My!  The times, they are a changing!

 

As a conservative, I have always believed that grass roots values are an essential nutrient to succeed in a respectable and responsible manner in a free country.  The innocence of wheeling around a Texaco fire engine versus eyes glued to a computer screen or smart phone texting or tweeting, open to corruption from the outside world.  The pride in owning a car and taking care of it, maybe working a summer job to pay for the expenses associated with it versus technology that will ultimately be replaced by something else putting us in a throw-away society for life.  Preferring long distance relationships on these devices over meeting with someone head to head in person and exchanging ideas, chewing the fat, and enhancing conversation skills.  We lose our humanism and become closer to automatons one step at a time.

 

If we are going to reform our educational system and get into the world’s top ten, grass roots values among pupils, teachers, parents, and everyone involved are critical.  The best educational system in the world can lead the horses to water, but can’t make them drink.  We must allow children to be children and there is a time and place for more adult things through growth, maturation, and the coming of age.  Like the song about says, Childhood…Once you cross its borders, you can never return again.  There is a time for the fire engine and a time for the smart phone.

 

9:48 PM Eastern Daylight Time on the night of June 1, 2012, on the 8,120th baseball game in the history of the New York Mets, beginning as an expansion team in 1962, the year I was born, I lived to see the first no hitter in franchise history.  And who better to pitch it than Johan Santana, the current ace who just came off major shoulder surgery.  I have seen many baseball game, especially Met games, and I will never forget this night.

I was six years old, less than a month from my seventh birthday on July 8, 1969, when I sat in the upper deck section 1 (right behind home plate) to see Tom Seaver perfect for 8 1/3  innings.  Back then $1.30 got you general admission in the upper deck above the sidewalk that separated the upper deck boxes from what would be sold as reserved seats in the later years.  Chicago Cubs Jimmy Qualls gets a seeing eye single to short left field.

I watched a game in 1984 on TV where Dwight “Doc” Gooden pitched a one-hitter in Pittsburgh on a single getting by Ray Knight’s glove at 3B that my father and I both thought should have been scored an error.  There was David Cohen, Al Leiter, Sid Fernandez, etc., a franchise built on pitching.

When the Mets came to being in 1962, a supermarket chain called King Corn (long defunct) offered one million S & H Green Stamps to any Met pitcher who threw a no hitter.  WFAN radio broadcaster Howie Rose referred to the Mets inability to throw a no hitter The King Corn Curse.  I bet you Howie Rose would love to find a old King Corn sign and shoot a paintball gun at it.

In a season that will most-likely end with a sub-500 finish, either fourth place or the cellar, this is the highlight of the season for me and it makes it worth it for me to be a die-hard Met fan in these [rebuilding] times.  I tip my hat to Johan Santana.  OK Etta James, belt it out,” AT LAST…”