Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obama’s “August of Our Discontent”

Nearly everyone is searching for the appropriate analogy or metaphor to describe the meltdown which the president has suffered over the last month. Some have portrayed him as the victim of sharks “circling in the water.” Others use “herding cats” to represent his efforts to keep his own widely varied congressional supporters on the same path to insure passage of his initiatives. As any cat owner can tell you, it is a useful analogy with regard to ideologues with unyielding opinions. While his presidency has not reach “Waterloo” status yet, he is definitely in the neighborhood.

Personally, I go back decades in recollection of golden moments in the cool crisp fall of Colorado and Wyoming and the hunt. Big game hunting has much to recommend it for life lessons as well as an increased larder. Even though the “getting close to nature” argument wears thin about three hours and two miles into getting up to your favorite spot before dawn, there is always much to be learned and appreciated. Fortunately, in any gathering of experienced hunters is the willingness to share their acquired knowledge.

Some of the most valuable advice is to beware of wounded quarry. The 4 am breakfast table is where tales are told of unwary hunters assuming, incorrectly, that their shot was fatal. Obviously, one approaches a bear or elk with extreme caution to avoid any mishap. The ingénue, however, sometimes fails to carefully approach the wounded harmless looking deer with the same skeptical outlook. The result can be devastating. Like all of God’s creatures, they are willing to fight to the last breath to preserve their lives.

This is same mistake which the president has committed. In a totally unanticipated vigorous response from Republican legislators, desperate to keep their jobs by obstructing his neo-socialist agenda, he has found a vigorous enemy. Apparently, “bi-partisanship” has run its course. Even in the minority, he discovered many of them willing and able to continue the struggle. It’s the old “bloody but unbowed” thing.

More important, he did not, and for him, could not, understand that the American people would rise to such heights to preserve that which they held dear to their hearts—their independence. They turned out for town hall gatherings with a vengeance. Derided in their Tea Parties, they scheduled more and more with increasing attendance. Now, they are in the process of carrying the fight directly to the enemy. D.C. is about to experience that event which they have all come to dread—an invasion from fly-over country. The “hicks” are coming. They will lack the polish, nuance, and subtlety of the locals but will be “on message.” They are not impressed with anyone who wants to make dramatic changes in their way of life and their successful pursuit of the American Dream.

Worst of all—they are mad as hell!

Washington politicos of every stripe will ignore these disenfranchised voters at their personal peril. For every one I know who is going, there are dozens left behind who do not have the time or resources to attend. They have local responsibilities which they are unable to circumvent.

Those who march on the Capitol on the 12th are well aware they are representing many more of their neighbors. I trust they shall do so with dignity and peaceful intent but with firm resolve. Most of them will not be the product of today’s government schools and will carry an awareness of the history of failed societies lured by the false promises of a life of ease for little effort. They will be folks who understand work and not welfare. They are the ones who favor law over largesse. They will realize the difference between patriotism and paternalism. With such common understanding they will arrive as ready-made friends with a shared knowledge and purpose.

September 12, 2009 has the potential to become one of those dates which is etched in your mind. A day people will recall with such detail they will be able to say exactly where they were on that occasion even decades later. Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing and Chappaquiddick, and 9/ll, are all of that importance and, depending on age, you will remember your circumstances at the time. 9/12/09 could well rise to that status.

Never in the history of our country has the role of the individual citizen been so important. Believe it; each politician follows the polls more carefully than any sports fan keeps an eye on his team. Your team can lose and you may still keep your job. If the representative loses a sense of the will of his constituents he will be tossed out. It’s just that simple. Although unlikely to admit it, they are all the same breed with a constant finger in the wind to adjust their “firm” policies to immediate contingencies. The only exception is in those gerrymandered districts where their re-election is guaranteed by fiat.

Just as important as the 9/12 March in Washington will be the attendance at local events which have been scheduled. If you can’t make it to D.C., please make every effort to go to a local affair and raise your voice in protest. Yes, we the people have been badly wounded but we still have a lot of fight left in us. In this critical time for America we must stand together to maintain all that is right and good about our country. Make your voice heard and your wishes known. Absent that; we are doomed to ever increasing government intervention in our lives. With it; we shall continue to be the “shining city on the hill.”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

UPDATE: Here are some references which are pertinent to the above:

The Washington Post has an article not totally biased on the subject. Be sure to read some of the comments.

The 912 D.C. agenda is an excellent resource for the happenings in D.C.

Check this site and scroll down about an inch for local events in your state.

A Letter to Auntie

My bride, from Cooperstown, New York, is blessed with a picnic table full of relatives in that end of the world. They are, without exception, gracious, decent people who express concerns for others and are good neighbors. Otherwise they are political liberals by rote and not particularly involved in the current scene.

One, in an email the other day, asked her what she thought of the impending health care legislation from her perspective (40+ years) as a nurse. Although tempting, I do not answer my wife’s mail.. I did offer some suggestions for the response. She gratefully accepted some and responded in her own way and in her extremely capable writing style. The fact that the individual asked marked a turning point and required a thoughtful response. If a family member of yours were to ask, some of my suggestions follow:

Let me make it clear that I am not opposed to an overhaul of some aspects of the medical system that is currently available. So, to answer your question, this is what I would do and what I am asking my representatives in the funny farm we call congress to do.

Regardless of what you may hear reported, the medical system we have now is the most dedicated, available, and best in the world. The alleged 47 million uninsured numbers disappear rapidly when you deduct the willingly uninsured, the illegal aliens, and those wealthy enough to self-insure.

What is really needed is a repair of the wasteful, corruption filled, inefficient Medicare. /Medicaid. This could easily be accomplished with an enforcement of existing law and if need be, a Special Counsel for additional investigation and prosecution.

We need individual legislation to rein in the rewards for trial lawyers who currently see every medical procedure as a meal ticket. Across the board federal limits to liability for medical practitioners at every skill level would immediately lower costs by reducing their personal liability insurance. Currently your physician has to practice defensive medicine in the extreme, to avoid the constant threat of suits. This results in tests beyond need and caution beyond reason.

We need individual legislation to insure that all health plans are able to cross state lines and then let the market work. This would provide free-market alternatives for the insured and allow insurers to pool risk with states with lower records of medical incidence.

As a Christian I could never lend my support to any legislation which mandates that my tax dollars support the practice of abortion. It’s bad enough that it’s legal but I shouldn’t have to pay for the murders as well. Individual legislation could easily exclude it from covered medical expenses and therefore not give federal imprimatur to the vile practice of killing the unborn.

In general, I am highly suspect of any governmental intrusion into the every day lives of citizens. That would cover medical, environmental, commerce, manufacturing, banking, housing and any area not specifically assigned by the constitution. As examples of government efficiency one need look no further than the Post Office, Amtrak, Social Security, Veteran’s Administration, Cash for Clunkers, the Department of Energy, the FAA and an IRS which can’t see violators of tax law in plain sight—as congressmen (Charlie Rangel), senators (Chris Dodd) and department heads (here see Treasury Secretary, Tim Geitner.)

Other than religious persuasion, I can think of no other aspect of daily life which is more personal or more individual than health care. My wife, as a practitioner for 47 years, off and on, fully understands the need of subjective care and decision making for patients in response to their individual needs. “One size fits all” is not appropriate for good health.

Every one of these proposals and complaints are covered in offered bills in both houses of congress by now toxic Republicans. In a partisan body, these never get to committee, much less out of it to the floor. It is the nature of the beast.

I do really appreciate the compliment of having you ask for an opinion on the subject. I will repeat that there is much to improve to make our health care system even greater than it is today. It’s just that the government, regardless of the administration, has the answer. In the military they do a bang-up job—in the society they are just too cumbersome to be effective.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Top Ten Ways the Health Care Bill Is Like Ted Kennedy

Some things are too good to waste. This piece from IMAO is typical of that opener. I would be reluctant to lift it if it were not spot on. Enjoy!

“Posted by Frank J. on August 31, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Democrats are considering naming the health care bill after Ted Kennedy, which is actually kind of appropriate if you think about it.


10. It’s bloated beyond belief.

9. Liberals love it while completely ignoring the harm it will do to people.

8. While you’re dying, it will do nothing.

7. It has no concept of morality in its actions.

6. It will only make empty gestures of helping others while primarily being concerned about preserving its own power.

5. People in the Beltway think it’s great, while everyone else is like “WTF?”

4. Death of others considered only a mild inconvenience to it.

3. It’s often incomprehensible.

2. You shouldn’t let it near your daughter.

And the number one way the health care bill is like Ted Kennedy…

Soon, it will be dead.”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Morning Rant 107

At 70º with the sun filtering through scattered clouds we enjoyed relief from heat and an extremely comfortable day. Bob Clark at Fellowship continued his history oriented sermons. He has done a tremendous amount of home work and it shows. The learning experience continues.

Preparations for the trip to D.C. continue apace with the application of enlarged logos (see the Taxpayer logo on top of the left margin) on the back window and the invitation to “FOLLOW ME TO D.C.” I was prepared to hand paint the logos when it dawned on me that I already had clear printable transfer paper. I put one on either side of the window with the text between. I’ll admit that I was somewhat reluctant to go with so much ID on the car and the possibility of vandalism. A quick chat with my Allstate man revealed that they would pay for whatever damage might occur. Ah comprehensive insurance, the answer to vile human behavior.

You still have plenty of time to arrange vacation days, take sick leave, skip the bowling banquet, tell Brenda to hold her horses, or get your dear cousin in DC to die so you have a legitimate reason to go. One place I used to work had a sign which said, “Employees having an unexpected death in the family must notify management by 9:00 am the day of the game.” We have ten days to plan, pack, and join the “mob.” I offer this in a measure of jest in spite of the fact that I regard the trip as an extremely serious effort. The media and the elected officials will pay no attention if we do not jam that place to the rafters.


I received this from one of my very oldest friends. I feel complimented that he sent it as he thought I would understand. To my readers, I feel I must share the story. You may feel complimented as well.

“They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie, as I looked at him lying in his pen. The shelter was clean and the people really friendly. I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open.

Everyone waves when you pass them on the street. But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn't hurt. Give me someone to talk to. I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local news. The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn't look like "Lab people," whatever that meant. They must've thought I did. But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner.

See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off when we got home. We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home). Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too. Maybe we were too much alike.

For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls - he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes. I guess I didn't really think he'd need all his old stuff, that I'd get him new things once he settled in. But it soon became pretty clear that he wasn't going to. I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like "sit" and "stay" and "come" and "heel," and he'd follow them - when he felt like it. He never really seemed to listen when I called his name - sure, he'd look in my direction after the fourth of fifth time I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever. When I'd ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey.

This just wasn't going to work. He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes. I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell. The friction became so bad that I couldn't wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff. I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the "damned dog probably hid it from me."

Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter's number, I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter. I tossed the pad in Reggie's direction and he snuffed it and wagged, the most enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home. But then I called, "Hey, Reggie, you like that? Come here and I'll give you a treat." Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction - maybe "glared" is more accurate - and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down. With his back to me. Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought. And I punched the shelter phone number. But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten about that, too. "Okay, Reggie,” I said out loud, "let's see if your previous owner has any advice."

 "To Whomever Gets My Dog"

Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie's new owner.

I'm not even happy writing it. If you're reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter. He knew something was different. I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time... it's like he knew something was wrong. And something is wrong . . . which is why I have to go to try to make it right.

So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you. First, he loves tennis balls; the more the merrier. Sometimes I think he's part squirrel, the way he hordes them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn't done it yet. Doesn't matter where you throw them, he'll bound after it, so be careful – really, don't do it by any roads. I made that mistake once, and it almost cost me dearly.

Next, commands. Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them again: Reggie knows the obvious ones - "sit," "stay," "come," heel. “He knows hand signals: "back" to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and "over" if you put your hand out right or left. "Shake" for shaking water off, and "paw" for a high-five. He does "down" when he feels like lying down - I bet you could work on that with him some more. He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone" and treat" like nobody's business. I trained Reggie with small food treats. Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog. Feeding schedule: twice a day, once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening. Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.

He's up on his shots. Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they'll make sure to send you reminders for when he's due. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet. Good luck getting him in the car. I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he knows!

Finally, give him some time. I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He's gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn't bark or complain. He just loves to be around people and me most especially. Which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new? And that's why I need to share one more bit of info with you.

His name's not Reggie. I don't know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them his name was Reggie. He's a smart dog, he’ll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt. But I just couldn't bear to give them his real name. For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I'd never see him again. And, if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything's fine . . . But, if someone else is reading it, well . . . well it means that his new owner should know his real name. It'll help you bond with him, who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change in his demeanor if he's been giving you problems.

His real name is Tank because that is what I drive. Again, if you're reading this and you're from the area, maybe my name has been on the news. I told the shelter that they couldn't make "Reggie" available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.

See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've left Tank with . . . and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter in the "event". . . to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption. Luckily, my Colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he'd do it personally. And if you're reading this, then he made good on his word.

Well, this letter is getting too downright depressing, even though, frankly, I'm just writing it for my dog. I couldn't imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family. But still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family. And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.

That unconditional love from a dog is what I took with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things . . . and to keep those terrible people from coming over here. I had to give up Tank in order to do it. I am glad to have done so. He was my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.

All right, that's enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. I don't think I'll say another good bye to Tank though. I cried too much the first time. Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home and give him an extra kiss goodnight - every night- from me.

Thank you,

Paul Mallory

I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope. Sure, I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at half-mast all summer.

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog. "Hey, Tank," I said quietly. The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes brightened. "C'mere boy." He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted; searching for the name he hadn't heard in months.

"Tank," I whispered. His tail swished. I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him. "It's me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me." Tank reached up and licked my cheek. "So whaddaya say we play some ball? His ears perked again. "Yeah. Ball. You like that? Ball". Tank tore
from my hands and disappeared in the next room. And when he came back . . . He had three tennis balls in his mouth.”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon